My opponent for the first game of 9th Age was a member of this forum, ArchangelusM (also known as Ljinxphoenix), a Croatian ETC veteran. We decided to play a 2500 Battleline game, with no additional composition rules whatsoever.
NOTE: All rules changes/9th Age additions are highlighted in BLUE
to make it easier to follow and appreciate the changes.
Wood Elves 2500 points
Treeman Ancient, Lvl3, Lore of Life: Master of Stone (D6/2D6 s4 magic missile in proximity from hill terrain), Flesh to Stone, Dwellers Below (Same as before, only it comes with a built-in protection clause for the first model to fail the S test)
Spellweaver, Lvl4, Feedback Scroll*, Lore of Beasts: Wyssan's Wildform, The Wolf Hunts (permanent +1 movement and swiftstride), Curse of Aranheir, Transformation of Kadon (now is a mix between savage beast of horros and the old transformation - it gives the choice of several boosts for a target single model, more on that later on)
20 Eternal Guard, Full Command, Gleaming Pendant
10 Dryads, Skirmish (in 9th Age the Dryads regained their Skirmish status, all forest spirits got 5+ ward and the Treekin got back their S5 at last!)
10 Dryads, Skirmish
5 Glade Riders
5 Glade Riders
18 Wildwood Rangers, Standard, Musician, Banner of Swiftness
5 Wild Riders, Shields
5 Wild Riders, Shields
5 Treekin, Champion
* The feedback scroll now forces a roll on the miscast table, instead of its old rules. By using it one forgoes the chance of dispelling the spell.
Wanting to test the changes, I went for a list that was based on my regular Wood Elves, but with the addition of Treekin,Eternal Guard and skirmishing Dryads. I had to cut points from somewhere to afford these units, and the obvious choice was the Glade Guard (gasp!).
So I ended up with the equivalent of a Khorne Wood Elf list: no shooting, all combat!
High Elves 2500 points
Annointed of Asuryan, Giant Blade, Enchanted Shield, OTS
Archmage, lvl4, Book of Hoeth, Gem of Sunfire, Lore of Fire: Fireball, Flaming Sword (can now be cast as an AoE for 14+ or so), Piercing Bolts of burning (mage now chooses to deal damage according to number of ranks OR number of files the unit has, whichever is more numerous), Flaming Cage
Lothern Sea Helm, BSB, Sword of Might, Armour of Silvered Steel (its point cost was lowered), Luckstone
Mage, lvl2, Feedback Scroll, Lore of Fire: Fireball, Cascading Fire (D6 s4 hits on unit at the end of each magic phase, RiP)
15 Archers, musician
15 Archers, musician
5 Silver Helms, Shields, Standard, Musician
5 Reavers, Bows
5 Reavers, Bows
18 Phoenix Guard, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness
15 White Lions, Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon (now gives a 3+ Ward Save vs magic/magical attacks instead of a 2+)
3x Repeater Bolt Thrower
5 Sisters of Avelorn
5 Sisters of Avelorn
My opponent, being much more reasonable than yours truly, opted for a balanced force based around a big PG block bolstered by the Annointed and a Lothern Sea Helm, just to make flanking all the more difficult!
With the changes in the Lore of Fire, I was looking at quite a few magic missiles coming the way of T3 wood Elves and their flammable (yet durable) companions. Add to that a healthy amount of shooting and you've got a challenging opposition to say the least!
Nobody’s perfect in this life, so I forgot to take pictures until Jinxy had finished his first turn. So we’ll start from the assumption that we deployed, the wood elves taking cover behind the hill in anticipation of going second, and then my opponent won the roll off and he did stuff during his turn:
TURN 1 - High Elves
(From left to right: dryads, wild riders, dryads, Eternal Guard, Wardancers x2, Treeman Ancient, Great Eagle, Glade Riders, Treekin, Treeman, Wildwood Rangers, Wild Riders)
(From left to right: Glade Riders (ignore, they are ambushing), Archers, RBT, 2x Sisters, Reavers, Phoenix Guard, Reavers, RBT, Archers, Silver Helms, White lions, RBT)
What happened in this turn is a bit of cautious advancing (Jinxy knew he had the upper hand in the ranged fight, no reason to advance more than a bit).
In the magic phase the Archmage got IF on two dice while casting Fireball on my Wild Riders in the middle. The new miscast table meant that even though he rolled the result where he’d have lost magic levels, given that he had only used 2 dice he only lost 2 dice and no levels (the formula being that you lose levels equal to the Power Dice used minus 2)
Thankfully, the Wild Riders saved most of the damage and only lost one of their number.
Shooting dropped another 2 of them, while a well-aimed RBT shot dealt two wounds on the Treeman and the archers on the left claimed a single dryad, despite needing 7’s to hit.
TURN 1 – Wood Elves
I haven’t got a picture from this turn (or the next, for what it’s worth). But the general idea was going forward full throttle, especiall on the flanks. In the right flank the Wildwood Rangers dared the White lions to charge them inside the forest (18 attacks and reroll 1’s is nothing to sniff at). It’s worth noting that with the 9th age rules Strider units don’t lose their Steadfast status in the relevant terrain, so the woods are the place they want to be!
Wild Riders stayed behind in countercharge duty if need be.
In magic I got 7 dice and looking at the possibilities I saw that Phoenix Guard unit with 4 character in it. Cue a 5-dice Dwellers Below, cast with Irresistible Force (which in reality gave it a boost of 5 (dice used) +D3).
And then Jinxy pulled an ace from his sleeve: Feedback Scroll, he said! The spell was cast, healing the regular Treeman in the process. The Archmage failed his Strength test, but since he was the first model passing a test, he could ignore the failure
. The Lothern Seahelm BSB was less fortunate and perished to the attack of the dead. ( or whatever the Dwellers below are) Five Phoenix Guard joined him, after some good rolls from my opponent.
And then came the miscasts: I had to roll twice on the table, once I lost 3 levels and the second one disaster struck! Dimensional cascade, which is now harsher when it comes to reckless wizards casting with 5 dice; The Treeman died automatically (that’s right, no roll needed
) and any dice left were drained away.
TURN 2 – High Elves
No photos here, either (surprise!), but the general idea was to hold the ground and shoot as much as possible at the incoming units. The Silver Helms pulled off a maneuver that allowed them to evade both the Rangers and the Wild Riders and threaten my backfield.
Magic saw the casting of fireball yet again, this time on one of the dryad units getting dangerously close to the bowline on the left: two fell to the flames (their new 5+ ward saved two more)
and the lore attribute (now allowing do cause d3 s4 hits within 24’’ like a hex)
killed another one. The Archmage then cast Flaming Sword on the archers directly opposite the surviving treeman, and I failed to dispel it!
The boosted archers turned their sights to the treeman and let loose, but they failed abysmally! Only two shots wounded and these were saved by the 3+ armour save. The rest of the shooting dropped two dryads more (one from each unit) and brought the Wild Riders on the right down to one survivor. The Treeman warded an incoming bolt thrower shot and evaded a second one.
TURN 2 – Wood Elves
Some early charges to declare here: The dryads each spotted a unit of Sisters of Avelorn and proceeded to charge. The left unit fled while the right one held. Little did it matter, though, as both units managed to roll the required 10+ to make contact! Unfortunately for me, the victorious dryads failed their Ld to reform on the spot, meaning that they left their flank open to a countercharge next turn. On the right flank the Wildwood Rangers threw all caution to the wind and charged the White lions, now unsupported by the Silver helms. Their banner of swiftness helped accomplish that charge, making it a good buy!
Remaining moves saw the wood elves in the middle close in for a turn 3 charge, with 7-wide wardancers threatening the phoenix guard should they get the idea to charge. The Eagle blocked the Silver helms, with the lone wild rider threatening to countercharge. The ambushing Glade riders arrived to put the pressure on the leftmost shooting battery.
Magic was completely shut down, I was trying to put the Wolf Hunts on the Treekin to give them Swiftstride and movement 6 but my opponent knew better than to let this through! Shooting killed a single Reaver on the left.
In combat the dryads and sisters fought to a stalemate, while the White Lions chopped down 7 of the Rangers for just three casualties back! This meant the WWR lost the fight by 3, but they valiantly held and fought on!
TURN 3 - High Elves
The Archers on the left took the opportunity and flanked the big dryad unit, while reavers moved to intercept the Glade Guard and to block next turn’s charge from the Treekin/Treeman/Wardancers. The Phoenix Guard performed a swift reform and backed away from the incoming trees. Finally, the silverhelms charged the eagle.
Magic was focused on my wizard’s wardancer bunker: I stopped one fireball, but had to let go the second one, which killed 5 wardancers. Finally, the Cascading fire was stopped.
Shooting dropped one glade rider, one Wild Rider to the right and put two wounds on the Treeman. The RBT on the hill targetted the mage’s bunker (now comprised of himself and a wardancer bodyguard), and managed to wound the mage once.
Combat kicked off with the Archers beating the dryads but not pursuing for fear of a next turn Eternal Guard charge. The Sisters/Dryads combat raged on, only two sisters remaining now. The Silverhelms easily dispatched the Eagle and reformed to face the incoming Wild Rider. Finally, the White Lions fluffed their attacks and only killed two Wildwood rangers, suffering 3 wounds back. This meant the Rangers won combat by 1, and my opponent helped them out by failing his Ld8 Stubborn test and fleeing. The lions were caught by the rangers’ pursuit, which brought the latter close to the RBT.
TURN 3 – Wood Elves
The Treeman, Treekin and Wardancers charged the Reaver Screen, the Glade Riders on the left went into the second Reaver unit and their counterparts on the right charged the nearby archers to allow for a Treeman overrun into combat. The lone wild rider also charged, into the Silver Helms. (I had a plan!) The victorious rangers fell into the RBT and the fleeing Dryads rallied.
My plan was revealed in the magic phase: the idea was to use the beast spells to bolster that lone wild rider to Daemon Prince status! The new Beasts attribute allows to give a single model (not necessarily a character) +1 attack or +1 strength. Combined with Wildform and/or transformation of Kadon (which could give for example +3 strength and a 4+ scaly skin, or +2 attacks and Regeneration, or even a S4 Breath Weapon) that lone wild Rider would be a formidable adversary.
Alas, it was not to be as the Archmage more than matched my Spellweaver’s spell casting (bad dice here, and the Book Of Hoeth saving the day!)
The Rangers dispatched the RBT, dryads kept hacking at the Sisters (one left now!) and the Glade Riders on the left failed horribly and got two of their own killed in the process, although they held their ground at least.
The combined tree charge dealt with the Reaver screen, which allowed the treeman to overrun into the engaged Archers’ flank. 8 of these fell, but they held due to steadfast. The Wild Rider fluffed his attacks against the Silver helms and died killed by a horse’s hoof. That’s what you get for underperforming!
TURN 4 – High Elves
The Asur went on the offensive: phoenix guard crushed into the dryads right in front of them, the archers on the left charged into the dryad/sister combat and the silver helms attempted a charge into the Wardancer screen, but failed.
Since now most of the Fire magic spells are either direct damage of Hexes, the Archmage had spells to cast: The Flame cage vs the Eternal Guard was dispelled, but this left me without any dice to dispel the Cascading fire on the Wardancer/Spellweaver duo hiding behind the hill. I used my Feedback scroll instead, but the resulting explosion was less impressive thant the one my Treeman Ancient managed: Three PG fell, along with a couple of dryads and a wound on the offending mage. The cascading fire put a wound on the spellweaver, but left the wardancer bodyguard unscathed!
With everything engaged in combat, the only shooting was the two RBT that targetted my remaining wild Rider unit: this proved to be quite effective, leaving just one rider alive.
Combat was swift: Rangers killed the RBT, Treeman and GR killed the remaining archers and reformed, while the phoenix guard and the flanking archers made short work of their dryad adversaries respectively. However, this left the archers exposed to the Eternal guard’s countercharge since the lone sister was blocking their overrun. The victorious phoenix guard reformed 4-wide, in order to push the Mages into the second rank and away from Wardancer blades.
The underwhelming performance of the Glade Riders continued, the fight being a stalemate after one rider fell from each unit.
TURN 4 – Wood Elves
Treeman charged the Silverhelms, who elected to flee. The glade riders attempted then to push them off the table, a task which they failed by a mere inch! The treekin and lone WR charged the middle RBT and the Eternal Guard went for the archer unit stranded right in front of them. Finally, the Wardancers parked in front of the Phoenix guard and dared them to charge them next turn.
Magic was yet again shut down, owing to a failed casting attempt on my part.
In combat the reavers finally beat the Glade riders and sent them fleeing off table, but the Archers fared a lot worse and got cut down in pursuit by the eternal guard, who in turn overran into the lone Sister of avelorn. The RBT was dealt with and the WR moved closer to the last Bolt thrower.
Over the last two turns the phoenix guard charged the wardancers, made short work of them without getting in the way of any killing blows, but then failed to overrun far enough to avoid the Treekin/Eternal Guard double charge. These two fell into the unit and ground it down over two rounds of combat, enough to force a double-1 break test and catch around 1300 points in pursuit.
The saving grace for the High Elves was that the RBT killed off the last wild rider and the Archmage lived enough to kill his adversary with yet another Cascading Fire.
In the end, both armies were left bloodied, but the Wood Elves emerged victorious!
So there you have it, my first 9th Age report! My impressions on the game and comments on the rules to come shortly!
@ Swordmaster: I can always count on you for a warm welcome back to the Battle Reports forum! 9th Age looks nice, I think we’ve got quite a few battles left before we put the armies into the display cabinet for good!