After a game against Justinmatters‘ Goblin force, next on the menu for the evening was a contingent of High Elves piloted by Forkbanger. My list is as noted previously, but for convenience, here it is again.
Miss Madras, Firebelly, additional hand weapon (FB)
Heidi’s lasses, 5 Ironguts, musician (IG)
Helga’s lasses, 3 Leadbelchers (LB)
Blackcat Bone, Sabretusk (ST)
Forkbanger has noted the impracticalities of putting a force of High Elves together at 500 points as everything is expensive and it’s hard to take anything that can absorb a hit long enough to do real damage .
Mage, level 2, Lore of High Magic (M)
15 Sea Guard (SG)
6 Sword Master of Hoeth (SM)
Sky Cutter, bolt thrower (SC)
Sticking with Battle Line, we roll up a hill, a forest, an Earthblood Mere, some Ghost Fences (on the hill) and some wall (not on the hill). For the third time in a row, the Firebelly rolls Cascading Fire Cloak and swaps it in favour of Fireball. To be honest, I’d have swapped anything for Fireball in this match up, even Flaming Sword of Rhuin and Fulminating Flame Cage (both of which I love), as small units of Elves really hate strength 4 magic missiles. The Mage takes Soul Quench and Walk Between Worlds. I force Forkbanger to take the first turn hoping that the High Elves will advance into my Leadbelchers and get shredded.
Luckily for the gaming, Forkbanger isn’t so silly. The only movement is the Sky Cutter, which moves to the centre then one-shots the Sabretusk with its bolt thrower. For this exact reason, I always try and keep the Sabretusk 6″ away from any other units; panic is a very real threat when no-one is packing Lords or BSBs. We get 3,2 magic dice, then find out that Soul Quench is out of range of any targets.
I run the Ironguts into the swamp (taking a wound from dangerous terrain) and the Leadbelchers walk forward to get range to shoot the Sky Cutter. Funnily enough, this is just what I hoping to get Forkbanger to do (i.e. walk into my short range shooting) but the difference between Ogre resilience and High Elf resilience is significant. I roll up 1,1 magic dice then roll low on a small Fireball at the Sword Masters; the Mage dispels it with his single die. The Leadbelchers manage to put a wound on the Sky Cutter.
The Sky Cutter moves out of the Ironguts’ charge arc and lines up a beautiful shot on the flank of the Leadbelchers; everyone else moves up behind the Ghost Fence. There are another 1,1 magic dice which turns out not to be enough to even cast Soul Quench, and another impressive turn is completed as the entire army rains arrows and bolts onto the Leadbelchers to no effect whatsoever.
Not surprisingly, the Ironguts charge the Sword Masters (losing one outright to dangerous terrain). Surprisingly, the Sword Masters elect to hold. The Leadbelchers, now looking somewhat like hedgehogs after the barrage of arrows last turn, continue their advance toward the Sea Guard. We finally get a big magic phase (3,1) but I get greedy and fail to cast the big version of Fireball by a single pip. No matter, as the Firebelly uses her breath weapon [it looks like the Sea Guard are too far away in the maps but there was a corner of the unit in range when we played] and the Leadbelchers unleash hell to shred the Sea Guard. Impact hits take out a few Sword Masters before they get to swing, and the survivors aren’t even able to finish off a single Ogress before they are chopped to bits. The Ironguts reform to face the Sea Guard while stuffing tasty white meat into their mouths.
In an act of apparent desperation, the Sky Cutter charges the Firebelly on the flank of the Leadbelchers. The Sea Guard stay still; I thought that this was to avoid the moving and shooting penalty, but Forkbanger cleverly uses his 3,1 magic dice to cast Walk Between Worlds to get them out of trouble. Sadly, the dice say no and the Mage fails to cast it, leaving him surrounded by the disappointed glares of his compatriots and (slightly further away) a hungry force of Ogresses. Still, at least they won’t suffer the same fate as their brethren in the Border Princes did at the hands of the Beastmen. The Sky Cutter makes up for it, killing off one of the Leadbelchers with impact hits and taking no wounds back. The Leadbelchers hold, but fail to reform to face.
The Ironguts charge the Sea Guard who flee but are run down. The Sky Cutter continues its good run by putting two wounds on the Firebelly for none in return. The Ogresses once again hold but fail to reform.
The Firebelly is killed by the Sky Cutter and the Leadbelchers flee and are run down. We realise that the game is pretty much over now, as the Ironguts will never be able to charge the Sky Cutter (which can move out their charge arc each turn) and the Sky Cutter is unlikely to kill off all the Ironguts in the remaining turns. Rather than moving the miniatures, we just roll the dice to see if the Sky Cutter gets a lucky hit to take out the Ironguts or make them panic off the table, but it’s not to be. Victory for the Ogre Kingdoms!
The game was fun, but it was a bit of a mismatch. Ogres are good at brawling even at low points but High Elves seem to struggle to even fit in the required three units at this level. At the start we both assumed that magic would dominate as Fireball is highly effective against small units of Elves and Forkbanger had taken a level 2 Mage, but as it turns out neither of us got a single spell off all game. In some ways it is a bit disappointing that Forkbanger’s clever play (especially trying to use Walk Between Worlds) were stymied by the dice, whereas my own simplistic ‘run forward and smash’ game was rewarded.