Thursday, September 16, 2010

They came from the North

Tonight I had the chance to play against my friend Larry's Nurgle themed Warriors of Chaos.  It was a tough list but one I enjoyed going up against thoroughly.  We played out 2500 point lists and Larry was able to patiently sit through six turns of my fuzzy-headed sniffling wood elf tomfoolery.  I apparently have a cold or sinus infection which has just made me tired and distracted.  Anyway, I'll just quote the guys and move on "Get over it sissy".
Larry's army was pretty balanced and if you will notice the sacred number is repeated through out.
Nurgle List:
1 Chaos Lord on steed w/ 6 Knights of Chaos - mark of nurgle
1 unit of 21 Chaos Chosen of Nurgle - mark of nurgle
2 units of 28 Warriors of Chaos - mark of nurgle
1 unit of 28 Marauders
1 unit of 7 Chaos Hounds
1 level 2 Chaos Sorcerer
1 Hellcannon
1 War Shrine

So if you look at it all you see is tough, tough and oh yeah more tough chaos warriors through out the army.  The Mark of Nurgle also automatically reduces the opponents WS by 1 in base to base and bestows a -1 to shooting at the unit.  It's a pain in the ass!

Anyway, I'll give you a brief summary of each round since once again I didn't take pictures of the damn battle.
Turn 1
Wood elves - Waywatchers sneak up and kill 4 Chaos Knights with Lethal Shot and the general's Bow of Loren and Arcane Bodkins combo.  Wood elves also kill all 7 Chaos Hounds and cause panic in the marauders.
Chaos - Knights charge Wild Riders with the Hellcannon (wtf I hate this thing) and win combat but fail to catch.  Knights reduced down to Lord.  Chaos Sorcerer casts some spell that inflicts wounds on every unit within 18" of the caster.  A great eagle gets blown the hell to pieces.
Turn 2
Wood elves charge Chaos Chosen with Treekin, Sorcerer unit of Warriors with Dryads.  Waywatchers kill the Chaos General.
Chaos - Hellcannon charges Waywatchers and wins combat and forces them to flee. Treekin and Dryads continue to chew up chaos and vice versa.  War shrine hooks up other chaos unit with a 2+ armor save grr...
Turn 3
Wood Elves - Chaos Chosen fall to the Treekin.  Wild Riders get chewed up along with a Great Eagle to the damn Hellcannon.  Non-engaged chaos warriors fail a charge against BSB and her unit of glade guard.  Spellweaver turns into a dragon.
Chaos - Hellcannon inflicts some wounds on the BSB unit, dryads are charged by unit they fled from and then die. Spellweaver gets dispelled, not a dragon.
Turn 4
Wood elves - Treekin charge warshrine, Warhawk riders charge sorcerer unit.  Ineffective shooting and I turn the spellweaver into a dragon - again.
Chaos - Warshrine dies to the Treekin and Warhawks lock combat with warriors.  Hellcannon misses BSB unit.  Spellweaver gets dispelled again, not a dragon.  Spellweaver unit flees combat from Marauders.
Turn 5 -
Wood Elves - Treekin charge unengaged unit of Chaos.  Warhawks die to warriors.  Spellweaver unit rallies and she turns into a dragon - again.
Chaos - Treekin lose combat to the chaos warriors and flee.  Chaos marauders fail charge. Rest of army reforms.
Turn 6 -
Wood Elves - Treekin fail rally and keep fleeing.  I turn into a dragon AGAIN!  I kill almost half the unit of chaos with breath weapon attack.  Chaos passes morale and says "ha ha no..."
Chaos - Dragon gets dispelled and chaos prevents any victory points from being stolen at the last minute by a foolhardy charge.  Oh yeah, Larry dispels my god damn dragon again.


I really don't feel like this was a tie however, I had a Treekin fleeing at the end of the game and that unit was worth 390 points.  That should have counted as a victory point unit and given Larry the 390 point advantage and subsequently the win.  It was a good game and it concretes how I feel about my army.
Things I learned from the game:
1. I absolutely hate Hellcannons.  Those damn things are getting Amber Speared from now on or avoided in general.
2. Transformation of Kadon - when I get it that's great.  Using it as a counter for my opponents magic phase was a new tactic I hadn't thought about.  They don't want a dragon running rampant through their ranks so they will throw 5-6 dice at it to dispel it.
3. When you are charged by a Hellcannon - god damn it flee. Don't try to pull out the upset Stand and Shoot win cause it's not going to happen.
4.  Multi-charge units - I should have hit the chosen with the dryads AND treekin then overran into warshrine.  I also separated my archers which was a bad idea since I was no.1 outside the zone of my general's leadership and 2. I was outside the range of my BSB's zone for rerolls.  Poor positioning on my part. Very poor.
5. Keep your damn dice pool on the other side of the table.  I almost threw too many power dice the 2nd turn because my dumb ass counted out 11 dice, put down 11 dice and went to look at a card and grabbed the wrong set of dice and had 14 power dice.
6.  I really, really need to not spread out my melee units.  I once again allowed my 3 big melee units to get separated and their effectiveness was halved.  I will chock this up to ignorance on how the Hellcannon worked and now that I know. I will definitely do better next time.

Thanks for the game again Larry, it was a blast!

This now brings me to the second part of my post.
Apparently the type of armies that I create and play are not what are considered "normal and fun armies".  I will further qualify that statement by adding that my friends enjoy playing me and I don't have a broken list or anything like that.  I just apparently choose armies that specialize in hit and run tactics which frustrate people who I play against.  I hear the "it's not you it's the army" comment a lot as well.  But when you think about it, it really does = you.  You make the list, you play the army and you develop the tactics.  While your friends attempt to make you feel better by saying "it's the army not the player" - I'm pretty sure if someone else played my army that my friends would probably roll over the wood elves like a dutch hooker on freebie Fridays.  I don't take it personally, but I don't want to frustrate my friends either.  Am I just a douche to play against? I don't think I am. I would hope I'm not.  Hrm... anyway.
The "classic" theme for Warhammer Fantasy is to take huge blocks of guys and smash them into other blocks of guys and roll dice to see who wins.  I don't really have that in my army.  Not because I don't want to take it but because my army really doesn't provide me with those options.  I mean sure I could take 30 Eternal Guard but I don't have that many of them and I've gotten very used to my list.
Few folks will call my army a "points denial list" which doesn't really make sense to me since I am engaging you with half my army in melee while the other half strikes at your other units.  I combine mobility and functionality of the army in order to be successful.  If this doesn't encompass the classic feel of warhammer I don't know what to do other than to make lists that I don't care for or that don't function in the spirit of how the army book was written.  I think the premise is that warhammer fantasy is more tactical then people give it credit for.  No more are the days of guessing range and then maneuvering to see who charges first.  Now you have to look at your units and define in your head how they are supposed to work.  Not every unit is designed to ram into the front of a huge block of heavily armored infantry.  I've run into the same thing with 40k.  My eldar absolutely do not function like normal eldar armies.  I completely disrupt your ability to shoot me effectively then I charge you and engage you in close combat while MY ranged units clean up your army.

I'm concerned that perhaps my list creation and play style has perhaps turned me into an unconscious "Win at all costs" player.  I'm worried that I unintentionally make difficult armies to play against in order to ensure that I can win a game with ease.  That's really not my intention when making lists.  I don't know, I just keep hearing the same thing over and over from various people. "It's not a fun army to play against.  I don't like this type of army" etc...  I personally don't know what to do.  My armies function exactly how I want them too which is direct and with a purpose.
Wood elves - move my dedicated heavy melee units into position while my archers soften up the targets in order of priority.  Utilize waywatchers and spellweaver to take out key heavily armored units.
Eldar - Outflank and maneuver half the army in transports into my opponents deployment zone.  Engage into close combat with the key units and use my long range units to take out the rest of the army.
Black Templars - Barrel forward with every single melee unit and completely wipe out target no.1 then proceed to target 2 while my backfield softens up the secondary target.
I don't really care what my opponent brings - if I get experience playing against it and know what to expect then I can make mental notes on how to deal with it with my existing list.  I don't change my lists to ensure I can beat a unit, I change how I play it.

I hear the comment of "You play armies that disallow people to play their army the way they want to."  I don't think that the Wood Elves or Eldar were designed to counter act or negate other armies from functioning the way they were intended.  I think it's just that I understand how my opponents army works and take measures to counter that.  Whenever I am provided with an opportunity to learn something new about an army, I ensure I learn it and tuck that detail away.  Tonight was a perfect example - hellcannon 101.  Great lesson imho.

Winning - I personally can give a shit if I win or lose a game.  I enjoy playing.  Example: Larry's Chaos Daemon list - holy shit that was fun and I got my ass handed to me by it.  Eric's Slayer army back in 7th was also absolutely brutal.  I frigging LOVED that game.  I don't care what my opponent brings to the table.  I may not particularly care for it but if that's what he is going to bring then so be it.  If it's a complete assbeater unit or special character and I kill it.  Awesome.  If I get my ass kicked by it then I will at least know how it works and figure out how to beat it with my current list.  I enjoy a good challenge and I enjoy beating a challenge even more.

This brings up the other concern I have.  Will my beastman army also have this problem?  I fully intend on playing the army the way the army book presents it.  You have an entire army of little or no armored units that have a lot of attacks and are fast.  Half the units get hatred every round (dependent on successful LD roll) or they get frenzy.  I have the opportunity to ambush units to take out things in the backfield and if you think about it, this army is yet another hit and run type of army.  Yes, it's called the "War Herd" and initially you think - ok lots of goatmen and minotaurs hording up and killing shit.  That's fine. That's what some of the units do.  This army however has a ton of units that can flank and get multi-charges off with little or no effort.
So with this in mind you think "well then I need to take a ton of Gors in order to survive long drawn out battles".  Do you? Do you need to take an army of 170+ models to remain on the field? I don't think you do.  I think with Beastmen you can pick your fights by properly positioning units and get some pretty nasty flank charges off.  We'll see however.  I need to play with the army before I can start sounding like I know what the hell I am talking about =).

In closing - I just hope I'm not seeing a trend in how the armies I make are being regarded.  I work really hard at building, painting and playing the armies I obtain to have fun with friends.  I would really hate to think that people don't want to play against my armies because they think they are too hard or intentionally difficult - or that I'm just being an elitest douche!

I am very close to falling asleep since the sinus medication I took is making all this shit fuzzy.  I pray this post makes sense and is legible and not some long-winded diatribe in the format of stream of consciousness a.l.a. James Earl Joyce.