Monday, 22 July 2019

Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Prince (Vlad1) vs. Lord Ghyrrshyld, the Forgiven (Goreshade4)

Goreshade is making trouble again. Last time he managed to get the better of Irusk and his Winter Guards. This time the responsibility falls to Vlad. He brings the new hard hitting Winter Guard Kommand list, including two of the wonderful Gun Carriages. However, he is not the only one bringing Battle Engines. Goreshade is bringing a Trident, which turns out to be quite dangerous. However, the crazy elves are no match for Vlad and a Marauders in assassination mood.

I kind of like to play against Retribution. It is normally not too bad against the Winter Guards, yet still a challenge. I have faced them once before. This was using the Winter Guard Kommand list under Irusk2 (for battle report see here). Once again the trusted Winter Guards are facing Goreshade4 in a Legion of Dawn list. This time under Vlad1 (for a rationale behind this WGK list, see here). The two lists are:

Retribution Army - 74 / 75 points
[Theme] Legions of Dawn

[Goreshade 4] Lord Ghyrrshyld, the Forgiven [+28]     
- Chimera [8]
- Imperatus [20]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Dawnguard Destor Thane [7]
House Shyeel Artificer [0(5)]
House Shyeel Artificer [0(5)]
Lys Healer [3]
Lys Healer [3]
Dawnguard Destors (max) [20]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
- Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [0(4)]
- Soulless Escort (1) [1]
Dawnguard Trident [16]
Khador Army - 74 / 75 points
[Theme] Winter Guard Kommand

[Vladimir 1] Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Prince [+28]
- Marauder [11]
- Marauder [11]
- Marauder [11]
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich [4]
Winter Guard Artillery Kapitan [3]
Winter Guard Field Gun Crew [0(4)]
Winter Guard Field Gun Crew [0(4)]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (min) [8]
- Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (min) [8]
- Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]
Winter Guard Gun Carriage [17]
Winter Guard Gun Carriage [17]

Initial thoughts

I general, I think that quite many Retribution lists are manageable for WGK lists. This one, I guess should be fine. There are plenty of nice targets for Winter Guards to shoot at. Not to mention the Gun Carriages love for hostile infantry. The only thing that worries me is the Dawnguard Trident, which I haven't faced before but heard a lot about.

Lord Ghyrrshyld, the Forgiven is very much a debuff caster. He can lower ARM by 2 through Hand of Ice, lower DEF by 2 through Light of Wrath, and cast Freezing Mist, which can make it even more difficult for the trusted Winter Guards to hit anything. -2 to attack rolls makes Winter Guards very sad. I guess this is also one of Goresade's trademarks: the unreasonable amount of clouds he can put out, given enough souls in his feat turn.

However, this is actually not so bad for a WGK list. This list does not rely on high DEF or high ARM, rather partly on strength in number. Also, Arcane Vortes doesn't do a lot against the WGK list, as Vlad doesn't really have any spells to negate. Goreshade's feat can potentially be a problem for the Triple Marauders. However, the Gun Carriages are immune, and the Winter Guards just want to shoot stuff.

The two main annoying bits are Dauntless Resolve, which offers +3 ARM and tough to a model or unit. This can make Sentinels a proper pain to deal with. Finally, Revive is always annoying - dead elves should stay dead.

Goreshade has two 'jacks in his battle group: Imperatus and a Chimera. The latter's two most annoying things are Apparition and being an Arc Node. This little fellow is probably there to be a mostly annoying Arc Node (mostly for Hand of Ice and Light of Wrath in particular), and for scoring zones. Imperatus, on the other hand, is a hand hitting monster.

Imperatus is almost Colossal-robust as it has what amount to 51 boxes (including Phoenix Protocol), and this is assuming more than 12 points of damage per round against it (to remove the Force Field and thus the d6 healing). It has one POW 14 gun at range 10". But most importantly it has two P+S 17 range 2" weapons. To add insult to injury, it has Side Step and can ignore friendly Dawnguard models for LOS and advancement (theme benefit). If he has an Arcanist Mechanik nearby to give it Concentrated Power, it can on the average one-round a Khador Warjack. This is clearly a force to be reckoned with.

Dawnguard Sentinels are really annoying. They are reach 2" P+S 12 weapon masters (which is surprisingly hard hitting). They do Vengeance for a bit of movement and an extra attack in the maintenance phase (assuming a model has been damaged). They also have Relentless Charge from their Officer. What really makes them annoying is their really high ARM. They do a base ARM of 15, which goes to 17 if they are base to base. When they are running along Goreshade4, he can raise it with an additional 3 under Dauntless Resolve; and just to add to it, they do an Iron Zeal mini-feat, which adds another 3 to their ARM. All in all it can bring them to ARM 23!

Dawnguard Destors are Retribution's heavy cavalry. Here they come in a standard package with the Dawnguard Destor Thane, who is basically a super charged version also giving all the cavalry Unyielding (landing them at ARM 19 in close combat). A charging Destor will do the following damage: Impact POW 12 (avg. 19); Charge P+S 14 (avg. 25); and Cannon POW 14 (avg. 21). A single Destor is not really scary for our 'jacks nor the carriage (even under Hand of Ice, which would be 11 points of damage to a 'jack). However, a full unit is a completely different story. Also with (sub)optimal placement of the Winter Guards a single Destor can easily take out three guards. Finally, if they can't be bortherd to charge, they can shoot our poor Winter Guards, and reposition after.

The two House Shyeel Artificers is a bit of a thorn in the eyes on trigger happy Winter Guards. It can add two to the DEF of themselves or units, forcing the Rifle Corps to do at least two-man CRA to hit stuff. They are also really good for zone contesting, as they are kind of difficult to remove and can slam stuff.

There are also two Lys Healers. They are less annoying here than against other lists. They do however offer no knockdown in a 5" bubble, which really makes both the Field Guns and Gun Carriage sad. They can also heal living models.

Three Arcanist Mechaniks are also to be found in the list. They are basically super mechanics, somewhere between our Mechaniks and the Choir. They can Empower, Repair, and do Concentrated Power (see the part on Imperatus).

Finally, the huge (but in this specific case invisible) Dawnguard Trident. I have heard quite a lot about it but never actually seen one (I still haven't). This is a battle engine with a lot of rules, almost so many that it looks like cheating. It can generate Power Tokens, which can be used to increase its DEF or place friendly models within 2" of it. Most of all, it is a shooting platform. It has three cannons, which can deliver between three and nine attacks. They are range 10" and POW 13. I already dislike it.


We are playing one of the new 2019 Steamroller scenarios: Recon II (which is exactly the same as the 2018 version). We both opt for the Stockpile objective (remove d3 point of damage within 4"). Vlad and his trusted troops goes first.

Vlad deploys, more or less in the Empress standard deployment pattern 2. That is: a Gun Carriage on each flank; A Rifle Corps and a Field gun on either side; and 'jacks, Vlad, solos and Mortar in the middle.

End of Deployment

Goreshade deploys his Destors and the Trident on my left flank (note that apparently the Trident is flying so high that only the base is visible). He put a House Shyeel Artificer on my right flank, ready to contest the rightmost zone. The rest goes more or less in the middle. The deployment is quite left skewed. So he is probably going for the leftmost zone, whilst just contesting the rightmost.

Turn 1

Turn one is as often uneventful. This is, however an exception to this rule, as the Destors and Trident shows off their tricks.

End of round 1

Vlad is basically just advancing everything forward as fast as possible. A Gun Carriage goes into each of the zone to be ready for the crazy elves. The three 'jack move up to be ready as the anvil. All the Winter Guards just moves forward. Vlad casts Wind Wall to cover him and the two solos. The picture above shows the situation after Vlad's move.

End of turn 1

The Chimera moves forward, which allows Goreshade to cast Hand of Ice on the leftmost Gun Carriage. He then moves up and hides behind his 'jacks, and put out two clouds to "block" the rightmost Gun Carriage. The Destors move up the left flank and they shoot everything at the leftmost Gun Carriage. This is followed by the Trident, which proceeds to roll 5, 5, and 6! Everything goes into the Gun Carriage, which is killed. This came as a very unpleasant surprise. The Sentinels spread out and move forward. That was it. I strongly feel that is was more than enough. One Gun Carriage already gone. The picture above depicts the scary and annoying situation at the end of turn 1.

Turn 2

I think I might be in trouble. The Trident is really good. I need to controle the left flank somehow. There is an annoying forest in the middel of the field. I think this is not a game to be won on scenario. To get at Goreshade I have to go through the right flank.

End of round 1

Vlad starts by casing Signs & Portens, and moves up behind the Objective (this is a very cozy spot to be). Winter Guards are cheap, so I move up the left flank and spread out. I'm assuming that they will be shot or charged to death shortly. They shoot a bit and take out one of the Destors. Joe shouts Courage of the Forefathers at them to make them Tough. A combination of the Rifle Corps and the Field Gun also removes the Thane; at least that removes Unyielding from the Destors. On the right flank, the Gun Carriage moves around the wall of clouds and starts shooting at the Sentinels (well aware of trigering Vengeance). It takes out two Sentinels and the Soulless Escort. The rightmost Rifle Corps spread out and moves up, knowing that some of them are going to die a glorious death. Two of the 'jacks moves up on the right flank. One to take the hit, and one behind to get even. The last Marauder moves into the forest. The picture above shows the end of the Khador round.

End of turn 2

Goreshade allocates focus to Imperator. The Chimera moves to the right so Goreshade can cast Hand of Ice on the Gun Carriage. He then moves over to the flag. Through a combination of Vengeance and charging the Sentinels removes the baiting Marauder, kills a few Winter Guards, and heavily damages the Gun Carriage. They also mini-feat. However the Gun Carriage is still alive! Imperatus moves into the woods and beats up the Marauder. The Marauder is left at just a few boxes (which is sufficient as it is within 4" of the objective). Finally, the Trident and Destors move forward and to the right to screen Goreshade, while they shoot a lot at the Winter Guards. They are grateful to Joe for Courage of the Forefathers. That was it. Actually less damaging than I would have though. The picture above depicts the end of turn 2 (please note that the two clouds on the right flank are not actually there. They were just too difficult to remove). 

Turn 3

So, I think that Vlad is a bit on his heels. Not panic-style, but nevertheless. It is time to be creative. I think that there might be a possible assassin run for the rightmost Marauder. The plan is a simple two step plan: 1) get rid of the Sentinels (they are only ARM 23); and 2) get Marauder to Goreshade and kill him. How hard can it be?

End of round 1 - end of game

So the important bit is to get rid of the Sentinels. This requires Vlad to get his hands dirty. He starts by allocating two focus to the designated assassin. He the casts Signs & Portents and feats. He charges the Sentinels and kills two of them. Blood Boon allows him to then cast Boundless Charge on the assassin. He is left exposed. But it is a case of kill or be killed. The Rifle Corps CRA and picks of Sentinels to make sure that as few as possible are base-to-base (bringing down their ARM by two points); and some of the artillery kills the rest. The Gun Carriage takes over and charges the objective. It Impacts the Sentinels in front of it, and tries to shoot Goreshade. The objective goes away. The road is now clear for the Marauder. So it charges Goreshade partly through the forest (thanks to both feat and Boundless Charge). A fully loaded Marauder against Goreshade is almost unfair. Goreshade dies. The picture above show the glorious victory of the Empress' finest.

Final thoughts

This is promising. Vlad, two Gun Carriages, Winter Guards, and Triple Marauder is fun. I have to admit that it was getting worried already in turn one, when the flying lawnmower took out a Gun Carriage and then proceeded to decimate a Rifle Corps. It is dangerous. The player was taking about getting another one (or actually two). I'm not sure that WGK can deal with that.

Goreshade was the victim of a well carried out assassin run. I don't think that there was any doubt that it could work. The Gun Carriage did not even contribute to clean a charge lane. Even if Goreshade had feated, it wouldn't have been a problem. Speaking of charge lane: feat and boundless charge is just wonderful.

Main take away is that Tridents are dangerous, Gun Carriages are not as robust as they look, and Hand of Ice tips the scale more that expected.

Until next time.

For the Motherland!

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