Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hordes Mk II Battle Report: Circle vs. Legion

Hordes is something I got into as a way to improve my painting (and to give myself a break from power armor and high-tech vehicles). I chose the Circle of Orboros for two simple reasons: Barbarians and werewolves. I've been collecting models for about a year and I had only played two games under the Mk I rules (both losses). When Mk II was announced I thought it would be a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor. When our local game shop (Championship Games) announced a Risk-esque War Machine/Hordes campaign I was so in.

Through no fault of my own I've managed to accumulate 11 territories without playing a single game. This week I opted to come out swinging and invaded my neighbor Partho. Partho runs a Legion of Everblight army (affectionately known around the store as the S&M Ninja Elves) and, as seems to be the case with him and games, is fairly proficient with them. Not to dig on Partho for his army choices, but if it's a miniature game and you want to know which army is broken, see what he plays.

As the defender my opponent chose to play a 25 point game. This being my first official game under the new rules Partho was kind enough to compromise on the points. I was hoping for a 15 point skirmish and he preferred to go with 35 points, so 25 was a nice gesture on his part. I have been wanting to try some new things so I opted to take Morvahna, the Autumnblade as my warlock. I threw in a Pureblood and a Feral Warpwolf as warbeasts, added a unit of Tharn Ravagers for added melee, brought along a Blackclad Wayfarer with some Shifting Stones for mobility, and capped the force with my nearly finished Totem Hunter minion.

Partho chose Absylonia, Terror of Everblight as his 'lock supported by a Nephilim Protector, Raek, Shredder, and Carnivean as warbeasts. For maneuverability he brought along a unit of Raptors light cavalry and added The Forsaken as a solo.

Partho was kind enough to allow me to go first (which I've come to learn in Hordes is the kiss of death, at least in my limited experience). I deployed behind a wall of forests between 2 hills and he did the same behind a stone wall on his side of the table. I had Morvahna cast Harvest on herself and then Restoration on the Ravagers giving them a +2 ARM. The entire force advanced into the nearest trees with Morvahna and the Warpwolves moving into the middle of the Shifting Stones.

Partho brought his force forward with his warlock buffing her troops (spells I would later learn she could upkeep for free. Broken: check).

All was fine until I got overly aggressive and left my Pureblood Warpwolf out on his lonesome. Partho's evil reindeer cavalry charged and the burly white wolf was put down like Old Yeller.

I responded by leaping Totem Hunter forward to attack the pitiful little Shredder. Hunter scored a crit on the diminutive beast and knocked it prone but failed to break armor with his second buckler attack. Partho's Carnivean strode confidently forward, picked up Totem Hunter, and ripped him apart handily.

Blackclad Wayfarer, hiding in the nearby trees, unleased his Stone Spray special attack on the Shredder and Carnivean. Shredder was (appropriately) shredded but Carnivean thought the sharp rocks felt strangely like his mother's teats and suckled happily.

Partho finally moved his caster forward to bleed the life (and Fury) from my Feral Warpwolf (leaving Morvahna with 3 Fury and no Warbeasts). His Raptors had charged the Wolf to assist in the kill and were nicely clustered near Absylonia and her Protector. I had to do something so I took a gamble.

I charged the Ravagers out to battle the Carnivean. They failed to kill it (naturally) but they cleared the path for Morvahna to move up and get Absylonia and the Raptors in her control range and in range of her Eruption of Life spell. She centered the spell on the Raptor that was closest to Absylonia. The spell killed that Raptor and the one next to it as well as damaging Absylonia. I moved the Shifting Stones up into the trees, placing the Blackclad Wayfarer within 2 inches of one of them. The Wayfarer Phase Jumped behind Absylonia and struck, hitting her but failing to break through her Spiney Growthed ARM. My hand was played and the enemy kept the field.

Partho healed Absylonia and casually moved The Forsaken up along with the surviving Raptor to rend Morvahna into tiny leafy shreds.

Lessons learned:

Morvahna needs small base units to use her spells effectively.
When going first it's perfectly fine to sit back and buff while not advancing.
Absylonia is ridiculous (free upkeep and can heal herself completely as well as warbeasts.)
When both armies have Pathfinder that advantage is nullified.
Totem Hunter is not as geared toward killing warbeasts as I thought. In fact I'm having a hard time figuring out what he's good for other than looking cool. More research is needed.
Warpwolves need to run in a pack to be truly effective.

And finally:

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