It’s been ages since I played a game of Warhammer that wasn’t part of our ongoing Border Princes campaign. But after seeing the constant stream of fabulous Warriors of Chaos miniatures posted on Forkbanger‘s blog, and particularly after he mentioned that he’d only managed to play them so far against one opponent, it seemed like a good idea to get in a game. We selected 2000 point lists, each based on a previous list we’d used in order to keep that ‘take-all-comers’ feel that I generally prefer in my gaming. My unruly herd:
Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Beasts (GBS)
Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)
Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)
Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS2)
39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)
20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)
2 x 6 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)
5 Harpies, scouts (H)
2 Razorgors (R)
29 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)
Forkbanger took this bunch of lunatics:
Sorceror Lord, level 4, Disc of Tzeentch, Mark of Tzeentch, Bloodcurdling roar, Blood of Tzeentch, Lore of Tzeentch (SL)
Festus the Leechlord (F)
The Troll King Throgg (KT)
20 Chaos Warriors, Mark of Tzeentch, shields, full command (TW)
17 Chaos Warriors, Mark of Khorne, additional hand weapons, full command (KW)
5 Trolls (T)
Chaos Warshrine, Mark of Tzeentch (CW)
I’ve never played against Warriors of Chaos before, but I can see from the look of the army that it’s entirely bad news to be in its way. We roll up the Meeting Engagement, and an improbable series of rolls gives us only mundane terrain (except for the mysterious forest and rivers that is). The Sorceror Lord takes Flickering Fire of Tzeentch, Baleful Transmogrification, Pandemonium and Treason of Tzeentch, while Festus has Curse of the Leper and Rot, Glorious Rot. Good names for spells one and all. Over on my side, the Great Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform, Amber Spear, Savage Beast of Horros and Transformation of Kadon. Both Bray Shamans have Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasm, one has Enfeebling Foe and the other gets Withering. The Warriors of Chaos set up first; King Throgg and the Tzeentch Warriors are late. For the Beastmen the Bestigors and one unit of Raiders think that they had time for one more drink before setting off for the battlefield. I briefly consider setting the Gors up to ambush but decide they’d be more use in the battle line.
The game begins with the Hellcannon rampaging in the general direction of the Harpies (but not far enough to get stuck into them). The magic phase is a mighty one with 6,5 dice plus a channel for the Warriors of Chaos. Curse of the Leper is put on the BSB’s Gors (let through) then Rot, Glorious Rot is dispelled. Pandemonium is let through. Treason of Tzeentch goes on the same unit (failed to dispel) killing 13 of them. Ouch; they do pass panic though. Flickering Fire (let through) puts a wound on the Great Bray Shaman and kills another 2 Gor and finally Baleful Transmogrifcation fails to hurt the Razorgors. The Sorceror Lord lets out a Bloodcurdling Roar which kills another Gor from the BSB’s herd… it sounds like a particularly bad way to go, having your blood curdled. Finally the Warshrine blesses the Khorne Warriors so that they cause fear.
The Razorgors charge the Sorceror Lord, and after a bit of consideration I decide that the Harpies aren’t going to get a better target this game than the rear of the Warshrine; both make it. The BSB’s significantly reduced herd swift reform to 5 wide. The wind of magic give me an almost-as-impressive 5,5 power dice. I dispel Pandemonium but fail to make the roll to dispel Curse of the Leper on two dice with the Great Bray Shaman. A boosted version of Miasma with 3 dice goes on the Khorne Warriors with Irresistable Force, but the miscast sucks all the remaining power dice from the pool (though luckily nothing else bad happens). The Razorgors put 2 wounds on the Sorceror Lord for no loss and he flees but luckily manages to get away; the Razorgors contact King Throgg and his sons. Meanwhile a spectacular pillow fight ensues between the Harpies and the Warshrine; no one is hurt but the Warshrine flees and is run down.
The Khorne Warriors restrain their frenzy to avoid charging the Gors, and the Hellcannon’s crew/minders manage to keep it under control. Not surprisingly the Sorceror Lord rallies, telling his minions that fleeing like a little girl was ‘all part of the grand plan of the Changer of Ways’. The winds of magic calm down somewhat to 2,2 dice. I scroll Rot, Glorious Rot on the BSB’s herd and manage to dispel Flickering Fire. The Chalice of Dark Rain somehow stops the Sorceror Lord from Roaring (perhaps all the nasty maggots etc got in his mouth?) but the Hellcannon kills another few Gors. Throgg vomits copiously over the Razorgors, easily killing them, although they do kill one of his Trolls at the same time. The Harpies, caring sympathetic souls that they are, panic and flee from the sight of the Razorgors dying so horribly.
It’s time to get stuck in properly now. The BSB’s Gor herd charge the front of the Khorne Warriors and the Bestigors charge their flank through what turns out to be a normal wood. The smaller unit of Gors consider moving to redirect the Tzeentch Warriors but I realise that there’s nowhere useful to send them so I just charge instead. The Harpies rally. In the magic phase, I only roll 1,1 power dice, so that narrows my options – I need to dispel Curse of the Leper on the Gors. Unfortunately for them, I roll 1,2 and it stays on. The Khorne Warriors don’t need a second invitation to annihilate the toughness 2 Gors and wipe them down to only a single rank. The Bestigors kill a few but I still lose combat by a huge margin. The Gors fail to roll the 1,1 they’d need (even on a reroll) and so flee leaving the BSB to his fate. The Bestigors are steadfast so they hold; the Warriors reform to face them. The other Gor herd loses a few to the Tzeentch Warriors but hold.
The Hellcannon charges the Harpies who fail their terror test and start fleeing again. It tries to redirect into the Bestigors but they’re too far away. The Trolls charge the flank of the Gors. We get 4,2 magic dice and the first thing that happens is Curse of the Leper ticks again on the Gors, wiping out the pitiful remnants of that once-proud herd; one of the Raider units panics at this and flees. Festus puts Curse of the Leper on the Bestigors with Irresistable Force, the miscast blows up a couple from each unit. Treason of Tzeentch and Flickering Fire on the (non-panicing) Raiders are both dispelled. The Bestigors lose again to the dwindling number of Khorne Warriors, though they do chop Festus into a mucous-y paste. The Gors are no match for Tzeentch Warrior, Troll and King Throgg and the tiny number of survivors are run down by the Warriors. The Trolls fail to restrain pursuit, leaving them facing the wrong way.
My fleeing units both rally. The Raiders (i.e. my only movable unit) move to direct the Tzeentch Warriors away from the main action. I roll another 1,1 for the winds of magic and fail again to dispel Curse of the Leper (note for clarity: we both inexplicably forgot that it just went away when Festus died; I doubt it affected the result). In a rare need for me to mention a Beastmen shooting phase, the Raiders manage to put down one of the Tzeentch Warriors. The Bestigors finally wipe out the Khorne Warriors but there are only about 10 of them left.
The Hellcannon rampages again, this time it hits the flank of the Bestigors. The Tzeentch Warriors charge the Raiders. There are 5,1 dice for the magic phase. Pandemonium is let through but Baleful Transmogrifcation and Flickering Fire on the unengaged Raiders are both dispelled. The Raiders are annihilated by the Tzeentch Warriors (apparently shooting one down with a short bow just makes them angry), and the Hellcannon rips the Bestigors to shreds, thunderstomping most of the survivors for good measure. I’ve seen enough (and I’m running out of units, while having no chance to do much in return), so I surrender. Victory for the Warriors of Chaos.
It was a very good fun game, though I think that the result was not in doubt after I failed to dispel Curse of the Leper on the Gors in turn 2. I think that if I was going to play the game again I’d still have made the choices I did, with the possible exception of charging the small unit of Gors into the Tzeentch Warriors – in retrospect that was a fight that was only going one way.
As far as lessons learned, I think that the main point is about the unpredictability of magic. On the one hand, I could learn that sometimes it just doesn’t go your way (I only got a single spell off in the entire game) and live with the fact that it’ll cost me games from time to time. Alternatively, I could try to rely on it less. Since I find magic one of the fun parts of the game, I suspect I’ll be going for the first option. Of course I also got to find out some things about Warriors of Chaos which is useful in its own right.