For the first game, I got drawn against the only other Wood Elf player there, Josse. He came from the Netherlands and his army was a pleasure to look at (he went on to win Best Painted)
His list, from memory, looked like this:
JOSSE'S WOOD ELVES
Spellweaver Lvl4, Lore of Beasts, Wand of Wych Elm, Annoyance of Netlings
Noble BSB, Great Eagle, Hail of Doom Arrow, Asyendi's Bane
Spellsinger, lvl2, Divination Orb, Pageant of Skrikes
Spellsinger, lvl1, Elven Steed, Deepwood Sphere
Branchwraith, Cluster of Radiants
10 Glade Guard, musician
10 Glade Guard, musician
10 Glade Guard, musician
5 Scouts, Musician
5 Glade Riders, Musician
5 Wild Riders, Full Command, Banner of Dwindling
So a list with considerably more avoidance elements, more shooting, less hitting power and a magic defense as good as it gets. We got to play Dawn Attack, and he got to deploy first, meaning that he'd probably get the first barrage into my units.
Now, here I commited a mathematical and tactical error: A quick calculation somehow convinced me that if I deployed on the 6” mark I'd be able to avoid the first turn shooting, which is, of course, false. To rectify this, I had to put my wild riders between Josse's shooting base and mine, and hope I'd get to steal the initiative.
(A more sound approach would have been the “in your face” approach, putting both trees and the treekin on the 12” mark and advancing rapidly, I think)
(I forgot to put the scouts in the central-right forest, they were this well hidden!
Rolling for my spells, I got Wildform, Pann's Impenetrable Pelt, Amber Spear and Savage Beast of Horros.
Josse got Wildform, Flock of Doom, Amber Spear and Curse of Aranheir for his Beastweaver. The Lvl2 spellsinger got Fury of the Forest (D6 s4 magic missile) and the Ariel's Blessing (Regeneration) , while the lvl1 got Treesinging.
Rolling for the first turn, I failed to steal the initiative. So the Bad Wood Elves started first!
TURN 1 – “Bad” Wood Elves
The entire battleline moved up to be within shooting range, with dryads pushing forward a bit more aggressively on the flank. Nothing surprising so far.
In the magic phase a Flock of Doom was cast on the Wild riders, but no wounds went through their armour and ward save. The amber spear was out of range/line of sight due to the big impassable terrain in the middle.
Shooting had more of an impact, considering the shooting penalties, dropping in total 2 Wild Riders, 2 Glade Guard from the rightmost unit (shooting through the woods!) and another 2 from the middle unit.
TURN 1 – “Good” Wood Elves (mine)
Realizing my blunder in deployment, I decided to push forward on the left flank with the Treekin and the Treeman and try to lure the enemy in the middle for some comboo charges from the Ancient, the dryads and the Wild Riders. The latter backed up to get some protection from shooting.
Magic was shut down easily, given the +1 dispel dice from the Cluster of Radiants and the rerolls from the Wand of Wych Elm.
In the shooting phase I focused my shots on the scouts inside the forest, hoping to cause them to panic. Only 2 wounds were dealt, but they passed their Ld test with ease. To the left, the GG shot at an eagle and got 2 wounds through.
(The Treekin are actually where the red die is standing)
TURN 2 – “Bad” Wood Elves
Josse wisely didn't take my bait, and opted to shoot me some more instead of charging head on. So his movement consisted of some fudging, pushing the dryad units and treeman down the middle ( another error I'd consistently commit during this game would be failing to keep my units outside the 16” effective range of the Treewoman's strangleroot attack) and putting his eagles in annoying positions.
Magic saw another Flock of Doom, this time killing two of the middle Glade Guard. The Hunter's Spear was dispelled against the Treeman Ancient. (It is possible that Ariel's Blessing went off on something, but I cannot remember).
In the shooting phase the skies went dark from the arrows, and I lost 5 Glade Guard from the rightmost unit and another one from the leftmost unit, as well as 2 wardancers.The Treewoman got a “10” for her Strangleroot and killed 4 dryads with it.
My shooting division was diminishing fast, so I'd have to go on the offensive.
TURN 2 – “Good” Wood Elves
Since the shooting game was lost, I'd have to win the combats, right? The right dryads charged into the blocking eagle, the Wild Riders charged into his wounded counterpart to the left. He fled, but was cut down thanks to the Banner of Swiftness! Other charges were the BSB into the Treewoman's flank: Josse had put her too far from the BSB/General bubble, meaning that I had a decent chance to break her with my flank, charge, banner, plus any wounds I'd be able to get (especially in case the Beast of Horros was cast). I unfortunately failed to get the 9+ needed, so that plan went out of the window.
What slightly made up for it was the charge of the depleted dryads on the Scouts; Josse decided to flee with them, and I then proceeded to roll Boxcars and catch them right in the middle of josse's battleline, wild riders right in front of my dryads.
In the remaining moves I advanced with all my tree spirtis on the flank, the Treeman Ancient rumbling down the middle of the board. Some maneuvering to evade the Treewoman was had, and the Great Eagle flew right in front of her for some charge-blocking.
Magic was yet again uneventful, the wand of Wych Elm blocking all of my attempts at casting spells. (we were getting an almost even number of dice on each of my magic phases).
Shooting failed to even scratch the Treewman and the archers to the left.
In combat the dryads put two wounds on the Great Eagle, but also lost a couple of their own to the bird's talons, which then held its ground.
TURN 3 – “Bad” Wood Elves
The Wild Riders charged into the dryads right in front of them, eager to avenge the scouts. The rest of the army avoided getting in close combat. Some maneuvering led to the small dryad unit with the brachwraith entering the middle forest, and glade guards advanced to get in close range of their targets.
The Glade riders blocked the regular Treeman's path to the wizard bunker, with the BSB close behind.
Magic saw me use the scroll against a high casting roll of Amber Spear. The rest of the magic was subsequently shut down.
Shooting took a heavier toll, once more; the BSB used his hail of Doom arrow on the Wardancers, killing them all off, while the treewoman attempted to strangleroot the dryads right in front of her but failed (misfire). The rightmost Glade Guard killed my eagle with a single volley. Finallly, the archers to the left went haywire and killed all of the Wild Riders, denying me the chance of chasing down the enemy BSB on the following turn.
In the combat phase my Dryads went first against the Wild Riders and dropped two of them from their saddles before losing one of their number to the Elven horsemen. They then passed their Ld test and the battle carried on (3 on 3 now). The rightmost dryads finally made short work of the Great Eagle, and that gave them a juicy reform move (see picture). A combo charge into the dryads was in the making.
TURN 3 – “Good” Wood Elves
The time for some charges had arrived: The treekin crashed into the leftmost glade guard, the Treeman fell into the Glade riders, who held to save the BSB right behind them. My Eagle rider, along with the Treeman Ancient and the victorious dryads from last turn performed a double flank charge on the branchwraith's retinue inside the forest. I knew they would be steadfast, but it was a way of protecting my units from shooting for another turn.
In remaining moves I moved everything I could away from the Treewoman, putting the Beastweaver into the leftmost GG unit.
Yet again, magic was shut down completely (and I was going for multiple spells in an attempt for attrition...). Shooting did nothing to the Treewoman.
In combat, the Treekin made short work of the Glade Guard, leaving only 2 to flee (under the rally point), then they ruined half my plan for rolling up the flank by failing their restrain test and pursuing 11 inches! The Treeman next to them killed killed all but one Glade Rider, sending them fleeing and reforming from victory to face the glade guard bunker.
In the dryad/ Wild Rider combat, the 3 remaining dryads killed only one wild rider, and the remaining caused two wounds, winning combat by 2. The Dryad then obligingly failed its rerollable 7 Ld test and fled, leaving the elven cavalry free to act in my opponent's next turn.
In the main event things went better, with the Noble killing the Branchwraith in combat and the rest of the forest spirits amounting for a total of 5 dead dryads. The remaining 4 passed their steadfast test and held their ground.
TURN 4 – “Bad” Wood Elves
So last turn my forest spirits finally made contact with the enemy, and now Josse's response was a typically wood elven one: Evade!
The Spellsinger on horse and the spellweaver both moved the furthest possible away from my treemen, and the BSB on eagle did the same thing, now that his Hail of Doom arrow was expended. The remaining 2 Wild Riders decided to conserve their points, too, by hiding in the top right table corner.
Magic was mainly my opponent trying to cast the big Amber Spear on the unengaged treeman and me dispelling it. Shooting killed off my rightmost glade guard, and the Treewoman once more misfired while trying to strangleroot my middle Glade Guard.
Combat was brief and bloody, all the enemy dryads were stomped to the ground and all of my units reformed to face the enemy Spellweaver and BSB.
(The lone eagle is actually the BSB on eagle, just the rider broke off mid-game)
TURN 4 – “Good” Wood Elves
The regular treeman charged into the former bunker and made it! On the other hand, the BSB failed a 16” charge on the beastweaver, leaving him a sitting duck inside the forest. This forced me to move up my treeman Ancient (which I had destined for Treewoman/dryad killing) after the Spellweaver.
The rest of the army maneuvered away from the dryads and the Treewoman.
In the magic phase I got a good roll, 6 power vs 4 dispel, now that the Branchwraith was gone. I cast an Irresistible boosted Amber Spear on the Treewoman, causing only 2 wounds, sadly.
As luck would have it, he lost 3 levels due to the miscast and forgot all his spells save for Pann's Impenetrable Pelt.
In the Shooting phase, the flaming Glade Guard didn't put a single wound on the Treewoman, while the Ancient fared better and got the 3 wounds needed from Strangleroot to kill the Spellweaver.
The Treeman hacked and stomped at the Glade Guard, but they remained steadfast and passed their Break Test.
TURN 5 – “Bad” Wood Elves
No charges for my opponent, his BSB, Wild Riders and Lvl1 on horse moved even closer to the table corner and even further away from all the action.
More importantly, the Treewoman passed her march test and marched up to the BSB stranded inside the forest. Come the Shooting phase, she got 4 s5 Strangleroot hits on him, and I obligingly failed all my armour saves and the first 3+ Stone of the Crystal Mere ward of the bunch, killing my character instantly.
A long range barrage got the last fleeing dryad (of former Scout killing glory).
In combat, the treeman finally wiped out all of the Glade Guard, and reformed to look at the Treewoman.
TURN 5 – “Good” Wood Elves
Now, here's what happened next. When we began turn 5, we had 50 minutes left to bring the game to a close. When Josse ended his turn, there were only 15 minutes left... So we decided, sadly, that since the judge was pretty strict about the 3 hour limit, we'd finish the game at the bottom of turn 5. Not as painful as when playing against a dwarven Gunline, but still a bit frustrating given the circumstances.
So instead of maneuvering to get the Wild Rider and/or the BSB on the final turn, I turned everything towards the Treewoman, hoping to bring her down with shooting. 14 Strangleroot hits and 10 s4 flaming shots later, she had only suffered a single wound ,denying me any bonus points.
And with that, the game came to a close.
Counting the points, it turns out I won by about 300 points, a result of 11-9 in my favor according to the tournament rules.
WOOD ELF VICTORY!
A very interesting game, one I feel could have gone better, if not for a couple of tactical errors on my part and a lot of bad rolling.
Losing the roll to go first: This put my shooting units at a disadvantage, since it allowed a first turn barrage.
The fumble in deployment: 24”+6,1” protects from imperial crossbows but not from Glade Guard longbows. Using the Dryads in a shielding fashion would have been a better idea.
The effectiveness of Josse's shooting: Even shooting through his own units and through forests, he managed to whittle down my Glade Guard pretty fast.
The failed charges: The BSB was probably feeling a bit under the weather, failing first a 9+ charge, then a more important 6+ charge, that cost him his life and me 300 points!
Trees > Elves: in this game, pairing units for combats was key; I didn't want my dryads to go toe to toe with enemy dryads, or the treewoman. My treemen did most of the work, and could have also gotten the Treewoman (and a bigger victory margin) if I had had my final turn.
Josse was a good, fun opponent and the game went quite smoothly. An interesting rules query came up, one that I am presenting to you:
When a unit decides to flee as a charge reaction, what comes first:
a)The roll for the flee distance, then the attacking players' decision to redirect or not?
b) The redirection decision happens first, then the defending player rolls his flee distance?
I have always played it and seen it played as (a), and it had never posed a problem before. I think it makes fleeing less “safe” and the decision to follow or not a fleeing unit a more rational one.
This was in fact ruled against me this time, by both the tournament judges. According to them, you first decide if you're going to redirect into another unit, THEN your opponent rolls the dice.
Both approaches are legitimate and the rules can be read both ways, so I'd be interested to know what you guys think on that one (mainly, how you and your gaming communities resolve this).
Next up: GAME 2: Pitched Battle against the Glittering Host!
@ Laribold: Hey, thanks a bunch for the reply! As you see, you were not mistaken at all. Internet cookie for the foresight!