This is it. This is the big battle of turn 13 of the Border Princes campaign, at least for the Beastmen and the Orcs & Goblins. You can keep your Malko, you can keep your special territories. Here, the Beastmen march out of the woods and into the home territory of the Orcs & Goblins. Luckily for Justinmatters, you get a ‘free’ fortification bonus to add to your defences if you have to face an attack on your starting territory, so I’m coming in at a slight points disadvantage. I’ve been trying out a list with multiple Bestigor herds, and thought that I might as well just use the same army that narrowly beat Furycat‘s Empire in its previous battle. Frankly, the list is tricky to use since having so many bodies means that inevitably some are far away from the general and the battle standard bearer; not good if you have terrible leadership and rely heavily on passing leadership checks. Still, more testing is always useful, and there’s a certain satisfaction to putting down such a number of bodies.
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)
I never have the slightest idea what’s coming from Justinmatters. The Orc & Goblin army books have incredible choice, and he likes to play around with army composition even when he’s found something that works. Having our master theorycrafter (Furycat) on hand while playing with the list usually means that something wicked comes out.
Black Orc Warboss
Orc Big Boss, BSB (BSB)
Savage Orc Shaman, level 2, War Boar, Dispel Scroll (SOS)
Night Goblin Shaman, level 2 (GS)
50 Orc Big ‘Uns, additional hand weapons, full command, Ranger’s Standard (BU)
5 Wolf Riders (WR)
30 Black Orcs, full command (BO)
33 Squig Herders (SH)
6 Trolls (T)
14 Boar Boyz, full command, Gleaming Pennant (BB)
20 Arrer Boyz, full command (AB)
Rock lobber, Orc bully (RL)
For the first time in my Warhammering, we get Battle for the Pass. So both potential ambushing units go straight back to the battle line. Still, if I’m going to do a Battle for the Pass, it might as well be against an army with hardly more shooting than me. Most of the terrain is normal (in the sense that it doesn’t actively attack the armies), but a Settlement of Order in the centre has Blazing Barricades and a Wizard’s Tower as its Easternmost part. It’s probably worth noting that the hills we use (excellent quality hand-made by Justinmatters) have impassable cliffs on them, which I’ve tried to show in the maps. The Savage Orc Shaman rolls Gaze of Mork and ‘Eadbutt, with the Night Goblin taking Sneaky Stabbin’ and Gork’ll Fix It (a name which never fails to bring a smile to my face). The Great Bray Shaman takes Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, The Withering, and Okkam’s Mindrazor, with the Bray Shaman selecting Wyssan’s Wildform and Curse of Anraheir and mentally picking a comfy seat in the Wizard’s Tower. The Beastmen take the first turn.
The first Beastmen turn begins with me failing my stupidity check, having deployed the Bestigors 6 wide; too wide to fit through the gap in the buildings ahead of them. They sheepishly reform to 5 wide and head forward. No-one else slows down their headlong assault apart from the Gors in the West who have to form an orderly queue behind the Bestigors to get past the cliffs. I roll 5,4 magic dice. The Bray Shaman rifles through the Wizard’s Tower, selects Flock of Doom and kills off four of the Wolf Riders. The last one ‘bravely’ notices the stern glare of the Warboss right behind him, and keeps his cool. A three dice casting of Amber Spear on the Boar Boyz fails with a roll of 1,1,2. Enfeebling Foe is dispelled on the Big ‘Uns, but an upgraded casting of Miasma (-3) does go off on the Trolls.
There’s no animosity, which (in a rare event) we actually remember to check at the right time. There’s a bit of shuffling about, mostly just to change some odd formations from deployment; though I’ve no idea why they were deployed that way in the first place, particularly the Trolls and Black Orcs. Still, what do I know? The surviving Wolf Rider moves to get in the way of the Harpies on the hill. The greenskins rolls 1,1 for magic, but then channel. The Savage Orc Shaman then makes a serious of spot-on rolls to blow away the Bray Shaman with an ‘Eadbutt (perfect on the casting total, perfect on the distance. exactly met the required roll for wounding and did just enough wounds to kill him and no more). Savage Orc surgeon more like. The Rock Lobber is more orcy though, and misfires which will prevent it firing next turn too.
The Gors charge into the Trolls, and everyone else continues to trundle forward. The Harpies shuffle to get past the blocking Wolf Rider; looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t just charge him. With 5,2 magic dice, the Trolls receive -3S thanks to an Enfeebling Foe that the Shaman couldn’t dispel, but a dispel scroll is used on Withering the Big ‘Uns. The Trolls are indeed mashed by the Gors, with the remnants run down in the pursuit. It’s about now that I realise my mistake…
…As the Big ‘Uns pile gleefully into the flank of the Gors. The Boar Boyz join in on the front corner too, although the presence of the Harpies restricts the contact. The Squig Herders poke their enraged charges into the Ungors too. The only saving grace is that the Black Orcs and Arrer Boyz are too busy getting stuck into each other to contribute much other than a trivial number of casualties on each unit. The Orcs roll 5,5 for their magic, but can’t cast any spells since the Savage Orc is too busy fighting Gors and the Night Goblin is jeering wildly at the Black Orcs. Not surprisingly, the Gors are beaten heavily in close combat, and flee the table with the Boar Boyz in pursuit. The Big ‘Uns just casually reform to face the centre of the table. watching the Harpies panic out of the corner of their eyes. Plucky resistance is put up from the Ungors against the Squigs, and they only lose by 1. Sadly, they fail their break check despite the presence of the General and are run down. To make matters worse, the Bestigors then panic and flee too.
The Raiders charge the building (not because I think they’ll do anything, just to get them out of the way) and the Bestigors charge the Black Orcs. At least, that’s the plan. In fact, the Raiders lose a couple to a stand and shoot reaction from the Arrer Boyz then panic and flee, which in turn causes the Bestigors to panic and flee too. So my left flank is a total mess of panicked goats, and is still better than my right flank which is mostly trampled into the dirt. Imagine the smell. Still, at least the herds that panicked last turn manage to pull themselves together and rally. With 6,4 magic dice, I put Enfeebling Foe (-3S) on the Big ‘Uns, but Miasma fails on 1,1.
There’s not much for the greenskins to do this turn since the Beastmen have all fled out of range. The Squig Herd moves a bit closer to the building, presumably to keep out of reach of the Bestigors, and the Black Orcs reverse for no apparent reason. We roll 6,3 magic dice and the Night Goblin Shaman casts and Irresistable Gork’ll Fix It on the Eastern Bestigors to further spoil their day. The resulting Calamitous Detonation gets 3 of the Arrer Boyz, but they come up as 1,1,1 to wound. How’s about that then? Gaze of Mork is comfortably dispelled. The Rock Lobber tries to atone for the earlier misfire, but scatters a shot far from its intended target. Still, it’s an improvement.
Oh well, it’s time for the silly matchups now, as the Bestigors charge the Big ‘Uns in a display of pointless
heroism suicidal tendencies. The Gors (one of only two units not to have fled during this game) charge the Arrer Boyz since they’re out of range of both the General and the BSB. The Harpies finally charge the Rock Lobber and the Raiders pile into the Wolf Rider. The fleeing uints turn round to watch the carnage. I generate 5,2 power dice, and start to feel reasonable about the Bestigors’ chances against the Big ‘Uns since Justinmatters didn’t dispel the Enfeebling Foe on them from last turn. A four dice casting of The Withering on the Arrer Boyz rolls 1,1,2,2 thereby not only failing, but ending the magic phase and ensuring that there are plenty of dispel dice to get rid of Enfeebling Foe. Dang. The Rock Lobber is killed off by its natural predator (the Harpies) but the Raiders don’t even manage to force a single armour save out of the Wolf Rider, who easily holds. The Arrer Boyz are mildly inconvenienced by the Gors, but are brave enough to repulse them from the building as the Black Orcs visibly salivate at yet another presented flank. The Bestigors are beaten senseless before they get to swing, and I offer Justinmatters my hand in defeat. Victory to the Orcs & Goblins!
That was a good game, but I made far too many mistakes in it. Justinmatters didn’t need to work very hard to get the win, surely the easiest I’ll hand him in a while (I hope). It was a bad start when I didn’t measure the width of a gap between buildings and had to mess about reforming a unit when they should have just started at the correct width. The killer mistake was sending the Gors against the Trolls. Or more precisely, the mistake was when I committed them. I should have waited a turn to let my army keep up instead of going for a long charge that opened up their flank to the hardest unit in the other army. Alternatively, I should have used the Harpies and Raiders to delay the Big ‘Uns for a turn or so. That brings me neatly to my other major mistake: poor focus. I’d become too keen to get rid of the Rock Lobber, and I wasted a few opportunities to use the Harpies (and the Raiders, to a lesser extent) for blocking and redirecting, which would have been far more useful. I don’t really consider throwing the Bestigors into the Big ‘Uns as a mistake, since the game was effectively over by then; I wouldn’t choose it normally though.