Beastmen vs Bretonnians (1600 points); 19Jan11

Another week, another battle report for my Beastmen.  This time, my furry braying herd got another chance at Aramoro‘s Bretonnians – a match which has not seen them fare too well so far (a couple of one-sided thrashings noted here, and my best ever result against Aramoro, a draw, here).  I decided to try out a couple of new things, specifically Razorgors and the Lore of Death, and I made room for them by ditching the Ungors and Tuskgor Chariots.  Following a suggestion from Zebrazach, there are four units of Ungor Raiders; two to ambush and the other two to get in the way a bit.  Finally, I keep thinking that I should keep a 20 Gor unit in the army to give me another option in case we roll up the Watchtower scenario.  As it happened, I forgot about that part when I actually made up this list, bumping that unit up to 24 to use up a few more points.

Great Bray Shaman, Level 4, Steel Claws, Talisman of Preservation, Jagged Dagger, Lore of Death (GBS)

Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour, Shield (BSB)

29 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)

24 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)

4 x 6 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 to UR4)

24 Bestigors, full command, Standard of Discipline (B)

2 x single Razorgor (R1 and R2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

Aramoro was testing out Grail Reliquae in particular this game, and was re-examining the Lore of Heavens.  He also just finished assembling a new Trebuchet, so that was going in the list (not that it was likely that they’d be left at home after it was established here how good they are).  His noble force consisted of these heroic knights, plus a few oppressed peasants.

Prophetess of the Lady, Level 4, Silver Mirror, Lore of Heavens (P)

Paladin, BSB, knightly stuff, Dragonhelm (BSB)

11 Knights of the Realm, full command (KotR)

2 x 16 Peasant Bowmen (PB1 and PB2)

Grail Reliquary and 27 Battle Pilgrims (GR)

9 Questing Knights, full command (QK)

2 x Field Trebuchet (T1 and T2)

The terrain was generated and set up.  All the hills are normal, the building in the centre is a Tower of Blood (but the others are normal), there is a Sinister Statue in the West with an Earthblood Mere in the North.  The walls are Blazing Barricades – note Aramoro’s clever placement of them.  Walls are dangerous terrain for cavalry, and Aramoro has had more than a few bad games with dangerous terrain checks.  Aramoro cunningly positioned the walls so if he took that side then they would be good protection for his artillery, and if I had that side then they wouldn’t be in the way of his glorious charges (as I wouldn’t be hanging about on my own table edge getting hit by flying rocks if I wanted to make a game of it).

The Prophetess takes Chain Lightning, Uranon’s Thunderbolt, Harmonic Convergence and Curse of the Midnight Wind (which always make me think it’s due to the results of a post-beer curry).  The Great Bray Shaman just takes spells I think look cool since I’ve never tried any of them yet – Soulblight (because Sorcerous Portals keep putting it on my units), Doom & Darkness, Fate of Bjuna (a spell where victims laugh themselves to death promises much entertainment) and Purple Sun of Xereus.  The random deployment sees the entire Bretonnian army channeled into the centre, and the Beastmen spread slightly wider across the centre and right flank.  The harpies know their cue when they see it; they scout up next to the West Trebuchet, well out of the charge arc of any nasty knights.

The Bretonnians pray to the Lady, so I gratefully take first turn to avoid a bit of Trebuchet-ing.  One set of Raiders ambushes in the East, and another set moves up into what turns out to be a Blood Forest.  Forkbanger points out to me what a nightmare it would be to use Battle Chronicler to record a game with moving scenery… I hope that Aramoro doesn’t decide to start casting spells at these guys.  Both Razorgors angle themselves to deflect any chargers away from the main action.  The magic phase sees Soulblight dispelled on the Knights of the Realm, but Doom & Darkness goes on to the Peasants accompanying the Prophetess.

As usual, I find that I’ve moved everyone too far forward.  Questing Knights hammer into the small unit of Gors, Knights of the Realm try to turn a Razorgor into a pork kebab and the Battle Pilgrims carry their Grail Reliquae into the forest to get the other Razorgor.  Meanwhile, the Prophetess bails out of the Archer unit (leaving them to their Doom & Darkness); they turn to face the Harpies.  Harmonic Convergence is cast on the Knights of the Realm – it is let through since they hardly need any help to kill the Razorgor on the charge.  Chain Lightning on the Harpies is dispelled.  In the shooting phase, an improbable volley of arrows downs three Harpies (7s to hit, 4s to wound…) and causes the other two to flee, but normality re-establishes itself as the other unit fail to get a single wound on the Gors and both Trebuchets also miss the Gor unit by a comfortable margin.  Predictably, both Knight units squash their puny opposition.  The Gors flee and outrun the Questing Knights’ pursuit, the Razorgor is pierced by many lances and the Knights of the Realm reform to face West.  Over in the East, the other Razorgor manages to eat / stand on a few Battle Pilgrims but it’s not enough to beat their basic combat resolution so it is sent packing.

The Bestigors see a (slightly generous) charge into the back corner of the reformed Knights of the Realm – it takes us a while of looking at the various angles before allowing – and to my huge surprise they opt to flee.  Thinking back on it, I now see Aramoro’s reasoning: the Bestigors would have clipped the rearmost Knight, dealt a wound or two then won by a huge margin on combat resolution due to their ranks etc.  The Knights would have needed a good roll to stay in combat and if they failed then they’d not only lose both the BSB and the unit standard bearer but give the Bestigors a huge boost toward the Bretonnian lines.  Meanwhile, the Harpies and Gors rally, but the Razorgor continues its flight for the board edge at a glacial pace.  The Great Bray Shaman tries Fate of Bjuna on the Prophetess, but she dispels it using all her dice. Seeing my chance for a big play, I throw the rest of the dice at the Purple Sun which (if it works) could go through the Knights of the Realm, the Archers and one of the Trebuchets.  The dice come up with a success… and the Prophetess promptly pulls out her Silver Mirror, dispelling the Purple Sun and wounding the Great Bray Shaman into the bargain.  Dang.

The Questing Knights kick the turn off by charging the rallied Gors.  The Knights of the Realm rally, although it would have been hilarious if they’d just fled off the board; they reform to go 6 wide (apparently this is due to some vagary of the lance formation rules).  Over in the Blood Forest, the Grail Reliquae unit begins what will be an unenviable trend by failing their check to swift reform, which strands them away from the main action for another turn.  The winds of magic only gives the Prophetess 3,1 dice to play with so she uses them all on Chain Lightning at the Bestigors, getting Irresistable Force.  Three of the Bestigors are killed and the bolt fails to jump anywhere, but the miscast does nothing at all – a hit on everyone in base contact (no-one) and lose some power dice from the pool (but there were none left anyway).  The Archers shoot another Harpy out of the sky and the survivor decides that, in fact, she doesn’t really fancy her chances against a Trebuchet crew so she flees for the safety of the pub.  The other set of Archers and one Trebuchet kill 8 Bestigors between them (no panic though, luckily for me) and the other Trebuchet misfires, although it’ll be able to fire again next turn.  Over in the far North West, the Questing Knights get medieval on the Gors’ arses (appropriately enough), sending them fleeing off the board.  The Knights aren’t able to restrain themselves and so they make it almost the board edge themselves.  The only good thing about this for the Beastmen is that the Questing Knights are (like the Grail Reliquae) stranded far away from the centre field action.

Two turns of taking my licks from missile fire is plenty for the Beastmen, so now it is time to get stuck in.  The Gors hit the Archers, and the Bestigors just barely make it into contact with the Knights of the Realm (need an 8, got an 8).  It is the turn of the Great Bray Shaman to get Irresistable Force, this time while putting Doom & Darkness on the Prophetess (I’m trying to stop the other units getting the benefit of her leadership).  The miscast is an explosion which kills off two Knights of the Realm, the three Bestigors under the template aren’t even wounded as Aramoro rolls triple ones!  To add insult to injury, the Great Bray Shaman makes his ward save.  The Bestigors get stuck into the Knights with their handy tin openers and when all is done, bravely Sir Robin et al run away.  Somewhat more predictably, the Gors tear the hapless peasants apart and pursue the survivors into the Trebuchet (the Archers get off the board so they can look forward to a bit more oppression from the Knights of the Realm once they all stop fleeing).

Over in the East, the Grail Reliquae unit charge the Raiders, who spent last turn angling to direct the Battle Pilgrims further away from the action.  The Questing Knights follow the trend of the previous turn by failing to swift reform, and the surviving archers don’t bother to try when they turn to face the unruly mob of Beastmen rampaging about behind them.  The Great Bray Shaman makes a total mess of his dispel attempts, so the Prophetess kills a handful of Bestigors with Thunderbolt and Chain Lightning.  The latter also jumps to the Raiders, leaving nothing more than smoking hooves of four of them.  As it happens, the space those hapless Raiders were standing must have been cursed, because a Trebuchet shot aimed at the Bestigors also scatters on to the space that, just one phase earlier, had been occupied by the now-frazzled Ungors.  The Gors make short work of the artillery crew and reform to face the remaining Archers, and similarly the Grail Reliquae’s unit easily kill all the Raiders and reform to head back to the centre.

The Gors continue their rampage through the Bretonnian centre, charging the Archers on the hill, while the Bestigors can do no more than be annoyed that their smaller brothers are getting all the action.  If anyone remembers that fleeing Razorgor, it finally fails its last opportunity to rally and goes off the table.  At last, the Great Bray Shaman gets Fate of Bjuna off on the Prophetess, but I find out that she has a 3+ ward against magic (5+ ward and magic resistance 2) so not even a single wound gets through.  I can’t help but be disappointed… I was expecting big things from that spell.  The Raiders get their first kill of the entire game, knocking a Questing Knight off his horse (though the rest of the Knights must surely be getting weighed down from all the arrows sticking out of their plate mail).  The Gors kill a whole slew more peasants, the survivors flee and get away as the Gors clip the Trebuchet.

The two serious surviving Bretonnian units (i.e. the Questing Knights and the Grail Reliquae) start their slog back to the centre of the board, and the Questing Knights yet again fail their check to march.  It’s as if they think they’ve done enough Gor-killing for one day.  The Prophetess neatly takes out all the remaining Bestigors with magic, but to my great relief the Great Bray Shaman doesn’t flee.  The second Trebuchet puts up as much of a fight against the Gors as the first (i.e. none at all) and all of a sudden the Prophetess finds herself staring at a very large herd of enraged Beastmen.

It’s probably not worth doing picture maps for most of the remaining turns.  The Prophetess flees a charge from the Gors (straight off the table) and they can’t help but follow.  At least they’ll come back after they’ve finished doing 18-rated things to her.  The Archers rally, but their last volley (at the Raiders in the West) is totally ineffective; the Questing Knights and the Grail Reliquae continue to fail to march because of a handful of Raiders lurking around them.  The big Gor unit comes back onto the table and is joined by the Great Bray Shaman, it is positioned to accept a charge from the Questing Knights in turn 6.  Note that I could have just put them on the hill; there are impassable cliffs on the North and West sides (I couldn’t find any suitable pictures in Battle Chronicler) which would have made them unassailable and pretty much guaranteed me to win, but that’s just boring.  The Questing Knights do indeed charge the Gors, hoping for an epic ballad to be composed in their honour.  Sadly, they had been Soulblight-ed the previous turn, lose a few to the Gors and flee!  Finally, for those keeping count, the fourth unit of Raiders rolled six 2s or 3s in a row and failed to make it onto the battle field at all.  Evidently they decided that the pub was altogether more pleasant than a muddy field full of virtuous / murderous Knights.

The game ends and, for the first time, it is close enough to be worth bothering to add up the Victory Points… Victory for the Beastmen!

That could be the closest game I’ve played yet, it was very enjoyable and tense.  Aramoro could even have won it in the last turn if the Questing Knights had managed to see off the Gors (although I don’t think that was very likely to happen).  I was particularly pleased that I could use some of the smaller units to direct the threats, especially the Grail Reliquae, away from my main blocks.

I like the potential utility of the Razorgors, but I definitely need to work out how to use them better.  The one in the centre was fine – I was happy to sacrifice it to get the Knights of the Realm where I wanted them.  The Razorgor which was charged by the Grail Reliquae unit was just plain embarrassing though.  It simply didn’t occur to me that they might charge it, and of course it was pretty unlikely to hold with all the combat resolution they brought with them (and that rather generously assumed that they couldn’t wound it at all).

The first attempt with the Lore of Death wasn’t so impressive as I had hoped.  Compared to the augments and hexes of the Lore of Shadow, there just didn’t seem to be much damage dealing capability.  It will bear further examination though, so I’ll try it again next time and see how I get on.

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Categories: Battle reports, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Beastmen vs Bretonnians (1600 points); 19Jan11

  1. wow! a real nailbiter there.
    Glad it worked out. I think you would have done MUCH better with lore of beasts, shadows or even….lore of wild. Lore of death is not the best for us, but it’s fun to play with. Maybe a second shaman for some small curses/hexes?
    Did your BSB have a magic banner? he had no magical equip. Your build is similar to mine (HA, SH, Gnarled, BEAST BANNER). Making the gors S 4 makes a world of hurt.

    When the Graile R. charged the razorgor, was it in the woods? it looks like it was, but I can’t’ be sure. Ranks don’t count in woods, so he may not have fled. Razorgors are good sacrifices when needed, but when they get that charge, they’re monsters. I use them as mini-chariots now. 25 pts cheaper and better str.

    A very good game overall. That bestigor herd took a beating, but as long as they killed the knights, it was worth it.
    Have you considered the “Chalice of Dark Rain”? It would shut down shooting for a round and open up the field for charging. I use mine when the ambushers show up in force, or to prevent close range blasting.

    Thanks for the fun report! It could have gone either way….and I hate to say it….but I think that luck was on your side and carried the day. Had his 2 big units got back into the fight early…it could have been hurt-time.

    • I wouldn’t have called it luck, My units got out of position and were well managed, though I would like to have marched at least once.

      We looked this up at the time, you can claim rank bonuses in a Forest but not a River. You can just never be steadfast in a Forest. Luckily the Grail Reliquary is Stubborn.

      It was a good game, it drew closer to the end than I thought it was going to. Taking Heavens was decent in the end and not a cheesy as taking Life, next time I think I shall try out Beasts but with some more Heroes to buff. Losing my KotR to the Beastigors was not good, when I charged the Razorgor I was sure I would be out of reach because of the tower, but you learn something in every game.

      • Aramoro – as discussed last night, thanks for the generous interpretation of my luck versus my skill at the game. It was a pretty close call with the Knights of the Realm / Bestigor charge positioning.

        Zebrazach – thanks again for commenting. As always you raise good points, ask interesting questions and offer constructive advice.

        I have given the Chalice of Dark Rain some consideration lately. In the last few battles I must admit that I’ve simply forgotten to stick it in the list. But I also need to find somewhere to put it; in this sort of list, the Great Bray Shaman would be the only canditate. I guess that firing it on the second turn is probably quite useful – in the first turn ranges will usually be long, and by turn three I generally find I’m getting into combat anyway.

        I am still trying to get a good balance in a list. Even though I won, this list isn’t likely to be repeated in its current form; there were just too many flaws with it. I like your idea with a second shaman (indeed, it is what I used in the last few games), so it’s just about selecting Lores that will fit with the rest of the herd. I was trying to get a list with a Beastlord, Wargor BSB and a couple of normal Bray Shamans when I was chatting with Aramoro last night, and I kept finding the Hero points very tight.

        I really like your suggested BSB build. Do you think the Beast Banner could work in such a small army? It seems like a lot of points for one item.

  2. Life is one of those ‘super cheese’ lores. Heavens sounds fun and is just incredible to think of in action. The silver mirror is a very handy item that can shut a caster up. Bravo!

    One thought on the Great Shaman; with his build, he’s more for a lore of shadows / beasts. If you can get savage beast on the steel claws….world of hurt. I’d go for more of a caster build (skull of rak, something else) for death. It’s a lore for sniping characters, and is hard to do in combat.

    • I’m quite interested in the concept of the ‘cheesy’ Lore. What is it about Life that makes it so amazing? It always strikes me as odd that we spend all this time playing and tweaking lists, but then there are some builds / items / Lores / etc that are just considered to be ‘too much’. I don’t have enough experience with Warhammer to see the cheesiness in anything so I worry that I have been selecting super-hardcore Beastmen lists without knowing it, with all the attendant loss of fun for the other player that true cheese involves.

      That’s great comment about the Great Bray Shaman. I had thought initially that since many of the Lore of Death spells are short ranged it would be good to go for a combat build to make sure he would be close enough. But of course he can’t actually cast any of those spells from combat, so most of them were wasted each round. It might be that I’m treating Lore of Death as though it was Lore of Shadow. Do you think it would be useful to stick him in a herd of Ungor raiders (to protect from missile fire) and keep him just behind the main combat lines?

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