After a good thumping at the hands of Furycat‘s Empire in my last game, I was looking forward to getting my own back in turn 13 of our Border Princes campaign. I decided to go for an army with many, many bodies in it; not actually as many as possible in the point limit, but enough that I was reduced to using the chariot as a unit filler for Bestigors.
Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Shadow (GBS)
Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)
Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)
40 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)
20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)
2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)
30 Ungors, full command (U1)
5 Harpies, scouts (H)
24 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B1)
24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B2)
Furycat decided to finally bust out his long-theorycrafted Lore of Fire army.
Arch Lector of Sigmar, War Altar, Dragonhelm, Luckstone (AL)
Wizard Lord, level 4, Sword of Justice, Power Stone, Lore of Fire (WL)
Captain of the Empire, BSB, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone (BSB)
Battle Wizard, level 2, Seal of Destruction, Lore of Fire (WB)
Battle Wizard, level 2, Rod of Power, Lore of Fire (WF)
2 x 30 Swordsmen, full command (S1 and S2)
20 Crossbowmen (C)
50 Halberdiers, full command (H)
2 Mortars (M1 and M2)
Great Cannon (GC)
Yet again, we get Blood and Glory as our mission, with the maximum 10 pieces of terrain. There is a Scree Slope and a Wizard’s Tower in the West and a Dwarven Brewhouse in the North, but the rest of the terrain is either normal or lying mysteriously in wait for us to blunder into it. All three of the human mages take Fireball, with the Wizard Lord getting Flame Storm, Fulminating Flame Cage and Piercing Bolts of Burning, and the others taking Flaming Sword of Rhuin on one packing the Rod of Power (in the East in case Battle Chronicler isn’t clear) and Burning Head on the other. The Great Bray Shaman gets Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, The Withering, and Okkam’s Mindrazor (turning down Pit of Shades due to the happy absence of any Steam Tanks) and the Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform and Curse of Anraheir. The Beastmen get the first turn and take it gladly.
The game begins well for the Beastmen with the ambushing Gors showing up in the West, though the Raiders had their map upside down and appear in the East, far far away from the action. Other than that, it’s a simple movement turn: everyone moves forward as fast as possible. There’s not much point holding back when I can’t do any damage at range. We get 5,3 magic dice, but it doesn’t do much as Enfeebling Foe (on the Swordsmen), Miasma (on the Crossbowmen) Amber Spear (thanks to the Wizard’s Tower, on the Wizard Lord) all dispelled with dice and Withering on the Swordsmen stopped with the Seal of Destruction. Thankfully it doesn’t get destroyed.
There’s a little bit of shuffling in the Empire line to face charges cleanly, but the overall line remains rather solid-looking. The Empire get 4,4 power dice and start it with a very high 4-dice casting of Flame Cage on the Gor Horde. I could try to dispel it, but I doubt I’ll match the roll even using all my dice, so I leave them to their fate. One of the Battle Wizards fails to Fireball the Bestigors, but the Wizard Lord shows him how it’s done by killing a few of them with Piercing Bolts of Burning. The Battle Wizard in the West tries to save his life by Fireballing the Harpies breathing down his neck, but it’s dispelled. I accurately predicted that Furycat would try that at the end of the phase, so I kept dice back for it, reasoning that the Harpies flapping around in the backfield would be more useful at this stage than a handful of Gors in a big unit. The Bray Shaman uses the Chalice of Dark Rain and all three of the Empire artillery pieces obligingly fail to fire. The Crossbowmen do better though, killing 4 Bestigors on their own, despite needing 6s to hit.
The ambushers charge into the Great Cannon, the Harpies flap into the Wizard, the Bestigors in the West crash into the Swordsmen and the Ungors scurry over to the War Altar. Sadly, the other Bestigors don’t quite manage to contact the Crossbowmen (and lose another couple to the stand and shoot reaction), and the Gors sit still cursing the Flame Cage surrounding them. This turn, I get 5,5 magic dice. Flock of Doom on the Wizard Lord is dispelled, but Enfeebling Foe on the Swordsmen fighting the Bestigors is let through (-1S). Withering is dispelled on the Arch Lector; it’s like the spell casters are saving the dispel dice for themselves. The ambushing Gors get Wildform, mainly for the anticipated contact with the Swordsmen next turn. Indeed, they handily spike the cannon and overrun into the waiting Swordsmen. At this stage, it’s all going perfectly for me, but it doesn’t last. The Harpies flap hopelessly at the Battle Wizard, wounding him for the loss of one of their own, and the Bestigors are even worse. They fail to kill a single Swordsman between them, lose a few and are run down by the wildly celebrating State Troops. At least the Ungors hold the Arch Lector in place, although they don’t actually wound him.
The glorious Swordsmen reform to face the flank of the Ungors to extricate the Arch Lector from the endless tar pit he’s found himself in. Furycat rolls 4,4 magic dice, and starts off with Speed of Light and Flaming Sword on the Swordsmen fighting the Gors. Flame Cage fails to cast on the Bestigors (rolling 1,1) but Soulfire blows up a few Ungors after the Great Bray Shaman failed to dispel it. The unengaged Battle Wizard blows up 4 of the Raiders in the East, though the plucky musician holds. Finally, a Healing Hand on the wounded Battle Wizard is dispelled. Both Mortars miss by a long way, but the Crossbowmen continue to prove their worth, pincushioning anther few Bestigors. Despite all the augment spells being thrown around the Gor vs Swordsman turns out to be a grinding draw, but the Harpies do pull down the Wizard on their second attempt.
The Harpies flap into the Mortar in an attempt to atone for their performance against the feeble Battle Wizard, the Bestigors charge the Crossbowmen at the second time of asking (but lose another three to stand and shoot) and the Gors, enjoying their freedom of movement, hammer gleefully into the Halberdiers. With 6,2 power dice, a Curse of Anraheir on the unengaged Swordsmen is dispelled, but the Wizard Lord can’t muster the strength to dispel Mindrazor on the Ungors. It nearly comes good, as they take the War Altar down to a single wound; they reform to face West in anticipation of the Swordsmen next turn. The Harpies continue their display of ineffectiveness, losing two to the Mortar crew but holding. Even worse, the Bestigors lose to the Crossbowmen (what is it with Bestigors this game?) but hold. To make up for it, the Gors go absolutely crazy on the Halberdiers, losing only about five after some dire dice from Furycat and killing around 30. The survivors flee and are run down; I can’t really blame them after that display.
Not surprisingly, the Swordsmen charge the Ungors. There’s no other movement since just about everyone is in combat, but the Battle Wizard realises that the Wizard Lord is on his own in a pub, and heroically heads over to join him. The winds of magic blow weakly at 2,1 but after channeling with both magic users and pulling a couple of dice out of the Rod of Power gives the Empire 7 power dice to play with. The Wizard Lord kicks off what is shaping up to be an unpleasant magic phase with an Irresistable Flame Cage on the Gors; the resulting detonation wounds him but leaves the Battle Wizard untouched. Speed of Light on the Swordsmen is dispelled and Soulfire toasts another Ungor. The Mortar finally kills something in the shooting phase as a scattering shot clips the Gors and blows one up; they’re doing better in close combat. Indeed, the engaged Mortar crew beat another Harpy to death for no loss, though the survivor does hold. The Bestigors and Crossbowmen carry on grinding each other down. At least the Great Bray Shaman is getting good value out of the Jagged Dagger today. Over in the West, the Gors kill a few more Swordsmen, but they hold. Finally, the Ungors bust the War Altar to great cheers from me, but otherwise lose narrowly and are run down by the Swordsmen. Still, they did take a few with them. The Arch Lector turns to face the Great Bray Shaman, intent on swapping insurance documents.
After much deliberation I reform the Gors; the explosion from the Flame Cage kills 15 of them, but fortunately they hold. We roll 5,4 dice for magic. Curse of Anraheir on the Swordsmen is dispelled, as is Savage Beast on the Great Bray Shaman. Enfeebling Foe does work on the Crossbowmen; I’m down to only a few Bestigors and have had enough of having them picked off by these scrubs. By this point the Great Bray Shaman has racked up so many power dice from the Jagged Dagger that I might as well use some, so I put the upgraded version of Miasma on the unengaged Swordsmen, mainly to discourage them from charging the Gors. The Bestigors kill a few more Crossbowmen, but they’re stubborn thanks to the Brewhouse, so they’re not going anywhere. Over in the corner, the Gors finally lose combat to the Swordsmen after failing to get Primal Fury for five rounds in a row (they did 4 wounds, which were all saved), and are run down when they break. Oh well, at least they got the cannon. The last surviving Harpy still can’t muster a hit on the Mortar crew, who finally put it out of its misery.
The Arch Lector, apoplectic at the loss of his ride, charges the Great Bray Shaman. The Swordsmen in the West fail to swift reform, instead lining up a charge on the Wizard’s Tower. The other Swordsmen decide that they don’t fancy the look of the Gors so much when they’re hexed, and just move toward them. The Empire get 3,2 power dice and start things off with a Flame Cage on the Gors. I’ve seen enough of that spell for one game and dispel it with all my dice. Instead, the Arch Lector tries a couple of cheeky single die casting of Soulfire (works but does nothing) and Armour of Contempt (fails anyway). One of the Mortars finally gets a good hit, killing a few more Gors, but the other scatters hilariously onto the Brewhouse, killing the Battle Wizard just as he was heading to the bar. The Bestigors kill all but the last Crossbowman (who hold since he’s stubborn) and reform to two wide facing the Arch Lector.
The Gors notice that 1) there’s a pub right next to them and 2) there’s a Wizard Lord in it drinking their beer. They charge wildly at it. For some reason I fail my stupidity check and charge the last surviving ambushing Raider at the Mortar. The other Raiders leave the Wizard’s Tower to keep themselves safe from the Swordsmen; they’re careful to let the Bray Shaman stay in library-ransacking range. We roll 2,2 power dice, and I put three of them into the Curse on the Swordsmen in the centre. Sadly, with a roll of 2,1,1 nothing happens apart from the Bray Shaman looking embarrassed. The Great Bray puts the upgraded Miasma back on the Swordsmen, -3 to their statistics this time. Then I use a few more Jagged Dagger dice to put Withering on the Arch Lector, but it’s dispelled Irresistably. Dang. The heroic Raider does manage to kill one of the Mortar crew, but he’s killed by the others. In the Brewhouse, the Wizard Lord issues a challenge to try and reduce the number of incoming attacks. The Wargor happily retires to the back of the herd and sends his minions in to do the dirty work. The herd moves into the pub and starts arguing about whose round it is. Finally, the last Crossbowman is killed off and the Arch Lector is wounded, though he does hold.
Both units of Swordsmen realise that it’s all going to come down to the battle in the centre, so they start making their way over to it. The Arch Lector, as the last surviving caster on his side, gets 6,1 magic dice and starts with an Irresistable Soulfire which does nothing except end his magic phase. The Mortars try and blow up the Raiders, but one misses and the other misfires (and won’t fire next turn either). In close combat, the Arch Lector realises that he’ll have a much better chance by killing off the Bestigors, and kills the last two; the Great Bray can’t manage a wound on him in return, but does hold.
It’s the last turn, so I’m going to have to make this good if I’m to win. Sadly, I can’t actually do anything useful, so it’s all down to the Great Bray Shaman. I have 5,3 magic dice and start off putting Withering (-3T) on the Arch Lector. Savage Beast on the Great Bray Shaman is dispelled (I was anticipating that it would have been handy in the next turn at least). I then use the remaining dice from the Jagged Dagger to put Enfeebling Foe (-2S) on the Arch Lector; I don’t think it’ll be needed, but I might as well use the dice. It’s worth it, as he duly tears the Arch Lector to shreds.
Furycat knows he’s only got one meaningful target this turn: the Great Bray Shaman standing in the beer garden of the Brewhouse. Both Swordsmen units charge in, and (after another miss from the Mortar) fail to kill him. The Shaman does a few wounds to them, but still loses heavily to static combat resolution. Luckily, he’s in range of the Brewhouse which allowed the Crossbowmen to be such a pain in the arse, and easily holds. We total up the victory points since neither of us reached breaking point, and it’s very close. Victory to the Beastmen!
Another great, tight game against my arch-nemesis Furycat. Midway through turn 2 I thought this was all over and I had it in the bag, but a couple of catastrophic combats let the Empire back in (in fairness, they were only in a hole because of their terrible dice in turn 1). Then there was a really interesting game of interfering with movement and it finally came down to the battle of the generals.
I quite enjoyed this list with the two herds of Bestigors, after a little worry that it might leave me short elsewhere. However, both herds had a rare off-day and didn’t really do much apart from hand over victory points. The Harpies were even worse. Although they did more than earn their points by killing the Battle Wizard, I was looking for them to roll straight through the Mortar too.
One thing I definitely should not have done was throw the single Raider at the Mortar crew. It would have taken improbable luck to kill off the crew on its own, and I just wasted the victory points. Especially since there was half a board he could have lurked in. Those victory points could easily have made all the difference in such a close game as this.