How to find your way through the wreckage

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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Battle Report - Warhammer - Dark Elves vs High Elves - Episode III

Warhammer Fantasy Battle

Dark Elves (Hostile Invasion Specialists) - Me


High Elves (The Outcasts...Lost on the Way Home) - Swordmaster

Episode III - Revenge of the Assassins

Round 3 of the civil war finally took place after the forces had a chance to take a festive break to rest and recuperate from the bloody battles that had taken place previously. Once again there were a few changes to each army. Well, mostly mine as I tried some new things. Master Horkrim was rewarded for his loyalty with a trip to Har Ganeth to treat with the Brides of Khaine for support for the new invasion. Whether it was by good looks, cunning, or the blood-price paid in recent battles a Death Hag agreed to accompany the army with a Cauldron of Blood to celebrate the blood that was foreseen to be spilt. The Outcasts of Swordmaster unerringly refilled their ranks with little to no changes, despite the fresh faces in the army. Once again we will be using Universal Battle for the conduct of this clash. Battle maps will be submitted using our favourite Battle Chronicler.

The Forces of War:

The Good Guys (In the most evil way possible)
High Sorceress Melith (Level 4, Darkstar cloak, Dragon Bane Gem) - Dark Magic
Sorceress Tabith (Level 2, Dispel Scroll)  - Death Magic
Death Hag Karena (BSB, Cauldron of Blood)
Assassin Kalil (Rune of Khaine, Extra Hand Weapon
Assassin Sharik (Rune of Khaine, Extra Hand Weapon)

22Corsairs (Full Command, Extra Hand Weapon, Sea Serpent Standard)
28 Warriors (Full Command, Shields, Banner of Murder)
16 Repeater Crossbowmen (Musician)
5 Dark Riders (Musician, Repeater Crossbows)

12 Shades (Bloodshade, Repeater Crossbows, Great Weapons)
12 Shades (Bloodshade, Repeater Crossbows, Great Weapons)

3 Reaper Bolt Throwers

The Bad Guys (Vauls Outcasts)
Archmage (Staff of Solidity) - High Magic
Noble (BSB, Heavy Armour, Shield, Great Weapon, Dragon Helm, Reaver Bow)

10 Archers (Musician)
10 Archers (Musician)
15 Lothern Sea Guard (Full Command)
15 Lothern Sea Guard (Full Command)
10 Swordmasters (Musician, Bladelord, Amulet of Light)
10 Swordmasters (Musician, Bladelord, Talisman of Loec)
10 White Lions (Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame)
10 White Lions (Musician, Standard, Gleaming Pennant)
5 Dragon Princes
5 Dragon Princes
5 Ellyrian Reavers (Spears)

Great Eagle
Great Eagle

1 Eagle Claw Repeater Bolt Thrower

Only minor changes to the armies, notably Master Horkrim's recently acquired friend with the Cauldron of Blood.


We were playing the Dawn Attack scenario which saw the High Elves seize the advantage and deploy across the breadth of the battlefield to protect the outlying farms from Dark Elf raiders. Both armies were new to the area and the pre-dawn fog had caused havoc with the scouts and trail breakers resulting in many units from both armies ending spread across the field, without a coordinated support plan.

Magic Spells:
High Elf Archmage rolled: 1,2,4,6 (+0). Translates to: Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Fury of Khaine, Vauls Unmaking.

High Sorceress Melith rolled: 1,2,4,6 (+0).  Translates to: Power of Darkness, Chillwind, Doombolt, Bladewind, Black Horror.
Sorceress Tabith rolled: 2,5 (+0). Translates to: Power of Darkness, Caress of Laniph, Fate of Bjuna

Dark Elves were unable to steal the advance from the High Elves who had been awake all night waiting for them to arrive.

The Dark Riders and Ellyrian Reavers conducted vanguard moves towards each other, eager to draw blood.

Final Deployment

Turn 1

High Elf Turn 1  
High Elf Turn 1
With dawn rising and revealing the disorganisation the High Elves swiftly began reforming their lines to better stop the imminent attack from the Dark Elf raiding party. The Archmage tried to curse the Dark Riders who had wandered in to the centre of the battlefield but the spell fizzled as it flew across the field. Unwilling to be deterred Archmage Archibald cast Fury of Khaine with Irresistible Force, however was only able to kill two of the shades in the central forest. The new Staff of Solidity he had just acquired broke as soon as he lent on it, leaving him grumbling about the shoddy workmanship of modern arcane tools. The Sea Guard and BSB were able to concentrate their fire and were able to kill all of the Dark Riders foolishly sitting in the open. The Shades, realising they were far too close to the High Elf lines fled through the forest, losing two more of there brethren as they entered the river panicked. The Eagle Claw reached out across the field and punctured two of the Repeater Crossbowmen who were still waking up.

Dark Elf Turn 1
Dark Elf Turn 1
Still manoeuvring to provide a better killing ground for the Dark Elf ranged fire-power  High Sorceress Melith was surprised to see her central unit of shades continue to flee out of the forest and away from the battle. Not willing to be outdone by her opponent Melith reached out and cast Bladewind on the Sea Guard that had killed her Dark Riders. She was only able to kill two of them, however the feedback caused injuries to both her and Sorceress Tabith. Eager to prove herself, Tabith cast out at the High Elf BSB but simply could not organise her spell weaves properly and the attempt was easily defeated. The Shades on the left flank hastily butchered the peasants in the house and took up firing positions above the High Elf Archers standing idly in the pre-dawn, cutting them down to the last. This spooked the nearby White Lions who fled in the marsh, looking for cover. The Reapers were only able to cull four of the Ellyrian Reavers, leaving the last horseman to taunt them. One of the Reapers tried to get the central Sea Guard unit to break, however the stern gaze of the nearby BSB and Archmage helped them to hold firm.

Turn 2

High Elf Turn 2
High Elf Turn 2
The Dragon Princes, seeing the threat of Sorceress Tabith to the BSB and Archmage, charged into the frenzied Corsairs. Losing one of their brothers to the dangers of the forest as they rode they were still able to make contact with the enemy. The White Lions realising that no one else would be able to hold the High Elf flank rallied and secured themselves in the marsh. Archibald managed to get a Shield of Saphrey on the central Dragon Princes, however poor winds of magic did not leave him much power to work with. The Eagle Claw strikes once again at the Repeater Crossbowmen, however this time the blessings of Khaine deflect the dangerous bolts into ground. With a scream Assassin Kalil jumps out at the Dragon Princes who had just ridden into the frenzied Corsairs. Despite his skill the Dragon Princes are able to ride down Sorceress Tabith, and Kalil is impaled as he takes a Dragon Prince into deaths embrace. The Corsairs were able to kill two more of the Dragon Princes leaving a sole warrior to face down the frenzied hordes.

Dark Elf Turn 2
Dark Elf Turn 2
Melith lashed out at the central Sea Guard with Chillwind stopping them from firing upon the Dark Elf battle line. Flicking a Doombolt at the Swordmaster unit containing the BSB, Melith cut two of the noble warriors down. One of the Reapers spots a Great Eagle gliding about and summarily pins it into the ground with four large bolts. Another Reaper works in concert with the Repeater Crossbowmen to strike two thirds of the right hand Sea Guard unit apart as it continues to advance. The Shades in the house continue their barrage, killing six of the remaining archer unit trying to escape them. Seeing a perfect flank shot into the central Dragon prince unit, the Reaper on the far right punctures through one of the heavily armoured cavalry however a lucky deflection stops any further casualties. The frenzied Corsairs lose one more to the Dragon Prince before they drag him from the horse and commence the butchering.

Turn 3

High Elf Turn 3
High Elf Turn 3
The central Dragon Princes charge into the Dark Elf Spearmen, eager to emulate their brothers actions and kill the Dark Elf Sorceress. The river protects the Dark Elves again, and two of the mighty Dragon Princes are killed trying to cross the river. On the far right, the Great Eagle and White Lions charge the Reaper. Distracted by the bird flying about the White Lions fail their charge, however the Eagle swiftly snaps up the two Dark Elf crewmen, destroying the dangerous machine. Both Swordmaster units and the Sea Guard unit pivot to form a new battleline to deal with the approaching Corsairs and possible assault from the Dark Elf Spearmen. The remaining Ellyrian Reaver parades in front of the Repeater Crossbowmen, taunting them and distracting their shooting at more valuable targets. Once more Archibald casts Fury of Khaine with Irresistible Force, this time on one of the Reapers, however is only able to cause a single wound. In return he takes a wound from the magical backlash. The Dragon Princes who survived the river crossing are able to wound the Sorceress Tabith, however could not finish the job before Assassin Sharik leaps up and cuts both their throats.

Dark Elf Turn 3
Dark Elf Turn 3
Seeing the weakening archer unit in front of them the Corsairs howl and charge straight into them. Continuing to hold the battle line, Melith is able to concentrate and draw deeply upon the winds of magic which have surged across the battlefield. In short order she unleashes Chillwind on the central Sea Guard again, Doombolt on the Archmages Swordmaster unit before culminating in unleashing a Black Horror on top of the Archmage killing him. Nearby units are also struck by the flailing horror and many casualties are caused to already dangerously weak units. The Shades continue their target practice from the house, cutting six of the White Lions hiding in the marsh down. For a moment the White Lions consider fleeing, however their hatred of their Druchii cousins holds them firm. The Reapers and Crossbowmen unload across the High Elf line advancing towards them, and despite inflict casualties on all units are unable to force any of them to break. The Corsairs tear the outmatched archers apart and continue their rampage into the rear of the High Elf advance.

Turn 4

High Elf Turn 4
High Elf Turn 4
Whittled down, only a dash forward to stop the Dark Elf Sorceress could turn the tide. The remaining Sea Guard and lone Swordmaster make it into combat with the Dark Elf Spearmen. The larger Swordmaster unit is unable to make the distance and falls short. The White Lions on the far left finally make it into contact, clipping the edge of the Repeater Crossbowmen. They manage to kill two of the Dark Elves, however lose one of their own on the charge in and another from a lucky dagger strike. The Great Eagle and remnants of the other Sea Guard unit charge across the river into one of the Reapers, tearing the crew to shreds. The Eagle Claw finally gets its ranging right and is able to kill the remaining crewmen of the last Reaper, bringing the threat of long ranged destruction to an end. Despite losing one of the Sea Guard in the river assault, the lone Swordmaster is able to cut the High Sorceress Melith down before the Assassin Sharik claims vengeance by tearing his heart out. The sole Sea Guardsman seeing his duty done, grimly accepts his fate as a half-dozen spears pierce his body.

Dark Elf Turn 4
Dark Elf Turn 4
The Corsairs swiftly turn to chase the large unit of Swordmaster before they can make contact with their Spearmen brothers. The Shades finish off the last of the White Lions, satisfied with their body count for the battle. The White Lions having reformed, kill three of the Crossbowmen, however once again lose one of their own without breaking the troublesome Crossbowmen. 

Turn 5

High Elf Turn 5
High Elf Turn 5 
The BSB turns the Swordmasters to face the approaching Corsairs. The Eagle Claw and BSB are able to claim five of the frenzied warriors with shooting. The trio of Sea Guard kill one of the Spearmen holding the river crossing. The White Lions this time manage to kill six of the Crossbowmen, yet again losing one of their own. This is enough for the Crossbowmen who commence their withdrawal from the battle.

Dark Elf Turn 5
Dark Elf Turn 5
The Corsairs cannot resist the taunting of the Swordmasters and foolishly rush straight onto their awaiting blades. They are mercilessly cut down by the expert swordsmen, however manage to force the Swordmasters to a draw by killing the BSB and some of his closest fighters. The Crossbowmen complete their withdrawal from the battlefield. The Shades leave the house which has served them well, eager to continue the fight. Lofting their bolts high they are able to cause two wounds to the Great Eagle, however the tough beast does not fall.

Turn 6

High Elf Turn 6
High Elf Turn 6
The last Ellyrian Reaver, trio of Sea Guard and White Lions try and coordinate a charge onto the Cauldron of Blood, however once again the White Lions are too slow into the combat, leaving their brothers to be butchered by the bloodied Hags guarding the Cauldron. Inspired by the blood letting, Khaine protects the Corsairs from certain annihilation, giving them a glimmer of hope of survival. The Great Eagle flies away, realising it is now too weak to continue the battle.

Dark Elf Turn 6
Dark Elf Turn 6
In a desperate bid to save the corsairs, the Shades and Spearmen attempt charges on the Swordmasters. At this moment Khaine stretched forth his presence and slows their charge, leaving the Corsairs to be executed bloodily by the remaining Swordmasters.

End of Game

End of Game

RESULT - Dark Elf win 11-9.

Post Battle Wrap-Up

Wow! That was epic. After a brutal opening I thought I was in serious trouble and was going to get absolutely rolled! This was a 'perfect' game that represents the absolute blood bath this civil war is. It was a very narrow victory and so many things could have swung the result in either direction. Thanks to the crew that were a well behaved audience. Special mention to Gatti for taking responsibility for the some of the atrocious luck that Swordmaster and I suffered. :)

Here are some of my thoughts on the battle:
Deployment: This could not have been worse for me. This army was really tailored towards a centralised core, however the Dawn Attack spread everything out of supporting range. The only saving grace was that Swordmaster has similar difficulties and could not pair his units up to do the most damage like he usually does.

Movt- With the strong shooting and magic in my army I played a defensive battle and forces Swordmaster to come to me. Having the river in my deployment zone gave me a very natural barrier to restrict movement and cause difficulties for units wanting to charge across it due to the dangerous terrain. If I had not held back from charging the Swordmasters with the Spearmen, I would have been in a better position to support the Corsairs  possibly saving them from destruction.

Magic- Big magic phases for me this game. While I only got a chance to try one Death Spell, it made its mark, and a Death mage is probably going to feature in future armies. Also, I need to get my Sorceresses out of combat! They are super squishy. Maybe back onto flying mounts for them I think.

Shooting- Despite losing a whole Shade unit before I could start, I was able to put a decent amount of shooting damage each turn. This really hurts a MSU army as it whittles their units down and really quickly drops their combat effectiveness. Swordmaster was finally able to kill all of my Reapers, a feat he had yet to achieve!

Combat- High Elves are a pain to fight against. Their ASF is an absolute back-breaker for using Assassins and the like. I am going to have to sink the points and get some ward saves on the Assassins, else they are too easily killed by their High Elf cousins. I really didn't want to give Swordmaster three turns worth of combat to kill the Corsairs, however I could not restrain their frenzy, ah well these things happen.

Overall- A butchers game. The casualties were appalling for both sides. It was also a seriously close game which really wasn't decided until the very last turn. It was a really good game that was enjoyed by both of us.

This brings the Civil war to a 2-1 tally in favour of the Dark Elves. Perhaps I foresaw this victory with the pre-emptive titling of the draft as Revenge of the Assassins, however I think they made their mark by claiming revenge on the High Elves killing the Sorceress they were assigned to guard. So they are good killers, not great guards...but get that.

I hope you all enjoyed reading. Feel free to leave comments on the forums or here. Any questions I will do my best to answer them.



  1. I will be looking at adding spell effects in the near future, this should better provide a guide on what is going on during the magic phases!

  2. Hi GR!

    That was awesome battle and as I have mentioned on the forum, I will try to write my own account of the game. Not that I don't trust your objectivity :-P I think it is good to read about the same game from both points of view. At worst I will just post my own remarks on what worked, what didn't etc.