- Vampire Counts Vs Dwarfs – 2000 points
Eager to play 8th Edition Mr Hutch an myself arranged a 2000 point clash down at the store.
Hutch took a Vampire Lord lvl 4 with the master ability, a 1+ Armour Save and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. Using the new rules to his full advantage he also took 4 Wight Kings all with Great Weapons. Two on foot and two with mounts. Lastly for his characters he also took a necromancer as a back up caster in case his lord fluffed a spell. In the new rules if you fail to cast a spell you cannot cast again, so a back up can be worth while.
The rest of his army consisted of 50 zombies, 30 skeletons, 2 units of 6 Black knights , 3 banshees and the Black Coach.
Leading my throng was the Mighty King Borri, being a true Dwarf his army had not changed much from the tried a tested force he had used for the past 3 years. Even with the whole warhammer world telling him to change his ways his will was as tough as bootstrap. However, I told him to make some changes so he did (But only a couple! – Borri)
Borri was the usual nastiness, on shield bearers (making him immune to standard killing blow as he is unit strength 3), with a 1+ armour save (rerollable), 4+ ward, 5 attacks, Strength 5 and always strike First. In the new rules if you have always strikes first and a higher initiative this grants you rerolls on missed attacks. Knowing that Borri seems to have issues with hitting and not wounding I convinced him to take the new Swiftsrike Hammer rather than his favourite Great weapon with plus two attacks.
Accompanying Borri was his kinsman Snorri the Battlestandard and two of his most trusted Runesmiths. Together they had two auto-dispels and the Rune of balance which steals an enemy power die and adds it to your dispel pool. The new rules seems to have toned down magic. So Borri sought to stop the count casting altogether.
Troops wise the dwarf Throng consisted of 25 Longbeards with command, shields and runic banner (+1 to combat res and take 1 combat test on 1d6), 12 Quarrellers with shields and command and 12 thunderers with shields and command.
The special choices consisted of 20 Hammerers with shields, command and the rune of battle (+1 to combat res) and a cannon.
Cannon crews no longer have to guess range any more so Borri took a cannon with the rune of forging (rerolls misfires) instead of the traditional two bolt throwers.
Lastly Borri took a Gyrocopter, which now due to the no partials template rule meant it was far more deadly. Now all models touched by templates are hot. Even though flyers only move 10″ now, meaning first turn it would have to march, and forgo shooting, to get into position I was sure it would perform
Terrain and Deployment
We decided to fight a standard pitched battle (now only 1 of 6 battle types) and generated 7 pieces of terrain. I won the terrain roll off and placed a tower in my deployment, knowing that my cannon could now garrison it. The only other piece of terrain to effect the battle was a field with walls which I deployed in the centre to protect my right flank.
I then went on to win the deployment roll off and decided to deploy my unit first. Starting from the left I deployed the quarrellers to guard the flank, the cannon in the tower, the Hammers with Borri and Snorri in the centre. Then in the walled field I placed the thunderers with a Runesmith the Gyrocpter and the Longbeards with a Runesmith
Hutch starting from his left set up the two black knights (both with one Wight King each) with the skeletons Vampire count and two Wight Kings behind. Next along the line was the Zombie Horde, the Banshees and then lastly the Black coach on the right, opposite my quarrellers.
The Battle Begins
Hutch won the roll off and advanced with his whole force. In the magic phase he rolled a an 8 (a 3 & a 5) for power dice generation. This gave him 10 with his master ability. This gave me 5 dispel dice from the winds of magic plus 2 form my Runesmiths and 1 from from my runic thieving. So magic phase 1 began with 9 power dice vs 8 dispel. With such a tight margin Hutch failed to cast any spells.
In my phase I marched the Gyrocopter to the my right and the left of the Vampire’s Skeleton unit. The longbeards advanced to the field wall waiting for the black knight charge.
In the shooting phase the cannon misfired, but thanks to the rune of forging the shot still went off, but it overshot only killing one skeleton. The quarrellers and thunderers targeted the closest black knight unit and killed 5 of them.
Turn 2 began with hutch charging the shot up black knight unit into Borri’s Hammers. Now with the random 3D6″ chose the highest two plus normal movement (Sounds silly- Borri) charge they easily made it. The Banshees also declared a charge, but failed and moved forward the highest roll on the 2d6″ plus movement charge they rolled (you only get 2d6 for infantry – Borri).
The rest of the army advanced again and the other unit of Black Knights moved out to my right so they could flank charge the longbeards next turn.
In the magic phase Hutch rolled better and with the extra power die he stole from my magic phase he got off a couple of spells. Two black knights were resurrected.
In the new combat system charging does not let you strike first any more so Borri got to swing first due to his rune. The Knights all had WS7 due to the nearby Vampire Lord so even with re-rolls Borri only hit 4 out of 5 times. He went on to wound three time, but hutch saved all of his armour saves. The Wight King had issued a challenge which the hammer champion had bravely accepted. He was quickly cleaved in two and 1 overkill wound also caused. In response I went to roll for my 6+ invulnerable save, but then Hutch gleefully told me that since my Hammerers were equipped with great weapons they now had to use them. Ouch! I always use to use them with hand weapons and shields so they survive longer.
Hutch then attacked Borri with two Black Knights and scored a killing blow. Unit strength 3 means nothing in the new book so Borri was felled after he failed his ward save. Knew I should have double checked it! (You wont get me next time Hutch, my Runesmiths can make me immune to killing blow for 15 points! – Borri). The remaining knight killed a Hammerer. The Hammers and Snorri then attacked back with full fury and wiped out the knight unit. The Wight King was left on his own and as he lost the combat by 2 was left on one wound.
The Dwarf turn 2 was fairly quick, the cannon overshot again, the quarrellers failed to damage the Black Coach , and the Thunderers/Gyrocopter combo killed 9 skeletons.
In the combat phase Snorri avenged his kin and killed the Wight King in a challenge.
Turn 3 saw the banshees charge the cannon crew killing one, however the crew held firm and the banshees were unable to take the building and were forced outside.
Hutch’s zombies charged the Hammerers, The Black Coach charged the quarrellers, the Black knights charged the flank of the Longbeards and the skeleton unit failed to successfully charge the thunderers. The thunderers and quarrellers both stood their ground and shot but failed to wound.
In the magic phase Hutch managed to cast Vanhel’s on the Zombies giving them rerolls to hit and always strikes first. He also cast it on the Black Knights in the flank of the longbeards. However, Ulrik the Runemith used a rune of spellbreaking to stop it.
The Zombies were arrayed in ranks of 10 which now allows the third rank to attack. With re-rolls to hit and ws7 due to the counts trinket they managed to eat 5 Hammerers. The hammers killed three in return, meaning they lost the combat. But, due to their stubborn rule on Ld9 they held.
The Black Coach smashed through the quarrellers with ease and pursued them off the table. The Black Knights killed 5 Longbeards and I forgot that they would be at minus 1 to hit as they were behind a wall. With only 7 models the Longbeards still had their rank bonus (you know need 10 models to disrupt a units rank bonus). Thanks to this bonus the long beards only lost by 3, but I used the rune of determination to make sure they would not flee. Even if you lose a combat you can know turn and face the enemy if you pass an Ld (test minus the amount you lost the combat by). However, with the unit of skeletons only 4″ away I decided to keep fighting the knights at the flank as they could not negate my rank bonus.
The start of my turn 3 was awesome! The runic cannon killed two banshees, the Gyrocopter than killed 12 skeletons and the thunderers shot 7 skeletons. Wiping out the unit! All that was left was the Count and his two Wight King Bodyguards, right in in front of my thunderer unit and probably far enough away to grant them stand and shoot next turn!
The Zombies suffered without magical enhancements and the hammers won the combat by 6. However, then my right flank buckled and the battle was over. The Black Knights won the Longbeard combat by 5 and the ancient Dwarfs fled and were cut down. The knights finished their move in the flank of the thunderers.
Turn 4 saw the Black Coach move back onto the battlefield and position itself behind the Hammerer unit. The Vampire and two Wight Kings advanced towards the engaged thunderers and the banshees assaulted the cannon again.
Now with one of my Runesmith’s dead Hutch had magic superiority. He added 18 zombies to the zombie unit, but then miscast. His count took a strength 10 hit, the wight kings were also close enough to take the hit. The count and 1 wight king took 1 wound.
The lone banshee failed again to defeat the cannon crew and was forced outside the tower. The black Knights fluffed it against the thunderers only killing one. The thunders held.
The dwarf turn 4 saw the cannon grapeshot the final banshee to death and the hammerers take a chunk out of the zombie unit. The thunderers and knights failed to wound each other again and they held.
In turn 5 Hutch charged his characters into the thunders and the coach into the Hammerers. His characters and knights made short work of the thunders and overran into the side of the Hammerers. At this point we called it a day as the battle was surely over.
Hutch had easily won with an 1800 to 830 victory point win. All of his characters (except for the necromancer which spent the battle hiding in the woods) were wounded, but in the new rules you only get points for kills so it did not matter. In fact, in the new rules as long as you have more than 100 victory points than you enemy you win, which seems a little odd. What happens if you play a 4000 point engagement? A 100 point difference should not decide it.
Other than the victory points oddity, the new rules do seem to be a fun improvement, the game did seem to be faster and there is something pleasing about seeing big units on the table. Not to mention that historically (You do know this is a fantasy game?! – Borri) infantry blocks were huge on the battlefield. I also really enjoyed placing down the scenery. It can really help your battle plan!
I look forward to play testing more. Next week Borri returns (with the rune of preservation!) to fight an Ogre Tyrant.