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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:19 pm 
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Green Istari

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Yeah, I wondered about that Andros. The High lvl2 seemed to be a good fit in the bus before. He carried the Scroll, he buffed it up with Shield (stacking with the 6++ of Dragon Armour/Ironcurse of course). But I think generally, not just with High Elves, guys are saying "with 50% Lords why not take 2x Lord caster instead of Lord caster + Hero caster?". I seem to remember Seredain not being a fan of putting a caster Lord in the bus.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:50 pm 
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Quote:
But I think generally, not just with High Elves, guys are saying "with 50% Lords why not take 2x Lord caster instead of Lord caster + Hero caster?". I seem to remember Seredain not being a fan of putting a caster Lord in the bus.


Yes indeed. At the event I attended, there was many armies with two lvl. 4 casters. I think the winner was an empire player with a huge bus of inner circle knights, Karl Franz, steam tank, 2 cannons and 2 lvl. 4's with death and life - ouch..

Also the wood elf setup with a lvl. 4 high mage and a lvl. 4 metal mage is also very powerful.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:39 am 
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Andros, SA,

I think with this particular list it isn't too helpful to speak of "the bus", especially in respect of this latest draft, because it makes us think that every deployment will see the block of silver helms going down with at least two characters in it. That might be true against armies with template war machines but, in most other cases I will keep my eye on the possibilities for running the components separately.

When does a silver helm unit become a Big Bus?

The chief problem I had with the level 2 High mage who, in pre-50% days, did a wonderful job of adding solid defence to a full bus and a full compliment of High spells, was that he was mostly stuck in the silver helm unit. He was too fragile to go anywhere else if I was facing an enemy with even a token amount of shooting or damage magic. Obviously when facing war machines I'd have to put the prince and ogre blade BSB in the bus as well, but the fact is I'd often be forced to do it anyway because, without them in the unit, the mage would quickly end up in the front rank, even if I deployed the helms 3 wide, and then he'd die. The problems with characters like this mage is that they shoe-horn you into a bus build even where it isn't tactically that useful - e.g. against shooty/avoidance elves or one of daemon lists (in particular Kairos-based lists) with an endless supply of furies and single beasts (easy to hide, hard to shoot) to throw in your way. Putting an archmage in the unit would create a big-budget version of the same problem, assuming he doesn't take high magic and a 4+ ward. If he does take the 3++ build I'd be satisfied he could usually stand up to combat, but a high archmage has little reason to be in combat unless the unit he's in is powerful enough to do the damage. 3++ phoenix guard would qualify, but helms usually would not, so really you're looking at adding more characters to build a proper bus, here, unless you're happy to field an archmage and silver-helm bodyguard as a support unit (actually not a bad idea). So in goes a giant blade prince and BSB. But you don't want the archmage miscasting and destroying this now valuable unit, so you put Banner of the World Dragon in. Now you have another character who can't take war machine shots (not so unusual) but, with only a 2+ 6++, can't stand up to crossbow bolts or tough combats either - so he is bound to stick with the bus for the ward buff or, if you picked another lore (Life, Beasts), you are bound to put more characters into the helm bus to push him into the second rank. If the former, you have a predominantly ranged lore riding around with a fast combat unit that often wants to deploy on a flank and make manoeuvres which would reduce your mage's targets. If the latter, you have 1000 points in one easily-chaffable block (it is of course much, much harder to chaff up solo cavalry characters).

The point is that, as is typical with our latest army book, certain choices force, or at least encourage, you to field larger and more expensive units. In this case, the mounted mage and mounted World Dragon BSB force you into fielding an army that will almost always need to deploy a full (3 characters or more) cavalry bus regardless of the matchup and, once you've started building such a unit, it feeds on itself and tends to grow bigger (World Dragon for level 4 miscasts, more heroes to push world dragon into the second rank). This is of course a perfectly valid choice. Proper big bus builds are great for certain things - they're really hard to kill and, against certain lists, you can smash big 20-0 wins (if you're playing that system - and most tourneys seem to). You'll just have to accept that one day a good player will show up with a whole bunch of low profile chaff, preserve it and use it well, and so have a good go at making sure your bus never sees a meaningful combat. Lots of players, including high elf players, have been doing this for years. If you're fine to play the points system for a tournament then maybe that's ok, but if you're trying to build an all-comers army regardless of a particular local meta, it's problematic.

Character Builds and Tactical Options

My character builds are intend to go some way to prevent me having to field a full bus except where it is advantageous to do so considering the enemy deployed opposite: the short point being that my list shouldn't need to employ one except for the purposes of LOS saves against war machines. And even then, I don't need to put all three characters in the helms because the BSB can take two cannonballs. Against machineless lists, because all of the mounted characters are very well armoured and immune to flaming, you can pick and choose where they go - whichever unit you like, or solo, or in one hero unit together as the Three Amigos (good if you want to take out chaos lords but leave the helms free to run over chariots etc). Just watch your cover modifiers agains BS weapons. When you are able to do this, you'll typically find you get much more mileage out of the helms themselves - they're fine to go running down skinks, archers, crossbowmen, scouts, war machines, chariots, fast cav - or working wide round a flank to hit an infantry unit from a weird angle - if they're not dragging both Ld 10 and the BSB with them. As for the heroes, they can concentrate on killing things that would probably, if they chose, chew up your helm unit and maybe back 300ish points in the process.

If you are forced to deploy all of the characters in the unit, it's probably because you're facing a gunline. Here you'll want to go on the attack anyway, and enemy chaff will be throwing itself into the open to block your advance - this is when your magic missiles and arrows come into play to clear out annoying units like gyrocopters while your guard and helms force redirectors to throw themselves away from Turn 1 (terrain matters here so deploy accordingly). In more normal circumstances where there are a couple of cannons but no gunline, and where you might deploy the BSB with the phoenix guard and the prince + noble in the helms, the bus is your road-block and counter-attack unit. The extent to which it performs either task is often dependent on how you employ your shooting and magic phase: do you use your magic missiles and bolts to weaken main combat units which you then shatter with the bus and phoenix guard? Do you allow the pheonix guard (magic missiles), bolt throwers and archers to chip points away from the enemy army (against MSU lists, for example,), while your merely bus protects them by threatening long charges (to be made at will)? Do you set-up a static shooting base with the infantry section of the army (plus BSB) and throw your knights forward at a weakpoint or work around a flank to earn points for themselves (while the phoenix guard hold the ground)? Depending on the enemy army, and the terrain, a medium-strength cavalry bus has a lot of options when supported well by this much ranged damage, combat buffs, a couple of movement spells and a rock solid infantry unit working in support.

Conclusion

Andros, I guess to conclude, you are quite right to say that my army is fundamentally a defensive list. In this context the job of the mounted characters and the knights is that you have the tools to ensure you can collect big points for winning the ranged war (shooting is not good at this - combat gets it done quicker): either by killing enemy shooting units, covering board space to protect your own, or running over units already damaged by your own ranged attacks. Knights are perfect for this because they are fast, quite hard to kill and core troops. Of course, you have the option to put all the mounted heroes in the helms to ride out in bus formation and smash hard units alongside your phoenix guard while your ranged units takes care of enemy chaff and shooting (beware of operating close to buildings, where the enemy can safely hide chaff or damaged units). The fundamental point of my mounted character builds (and the absence of certain others - including the mounted archmage and World Dragon BSB) is that you have a little more freedom to choose when it is in your interests to do this and when it isn't. The first job of the silver helms is to make sure the prince isn't killed by a cannon ball. Aside from that, the world is their oyster.

The fundamental point of the prince, meanwhile, remains that he can kill enemy models that nothing else in my low-strength army can touch. The point of the mounted heroes (featherfoe, OTS) and casters (wound heal, combat buffs, sometimes ward buffs) is to help him to do this: to combine points into one combat to bring down the worst enemy lords without being forced to keep them there for every other circumstance as well (as a monster would), or making me vulnerable to losing a load of points to cannons (as a monster also would).

The Cavalry Prince vs Wood Elves

Waystalkers are a threat if they are alive and have a clear shot to your prince when he's riding with helms, yes, but there are things you can do about this. Just like waywatchers, way watchers are terrified by the amount of ranged hits this list can put out - take the snipers out as a priority. Archers + hand of glory and soul quenches + fireball are brilliant at this. Why, against wood elves, do you have to deploy the prince with the silver helms? He doesn't need LOS so you're free to put him where you like. If waystalkers don't have trueflight arrows (I believe they don't), you have cover saves. If the waywatchers are gone or far away, hide the prince behind the silver helms. The simplest option is to put the prince in the phoenix guard and get the archmage's war buff. If you don't want to load up, the BSB is perfectly happy in the archers and will ignore those sniper shots with his items. Both he and the prince will do good work in the infantry units threatening long charges. Obviously your army's chief anti-armour weapon is not designed to kill armourless elves. The fact is that neither the BSB nor the prince is likely to see combat against wood elves that don't have wild riders, but they're easy to protect, still provide the leadership, and frankly the rest of the army is perfectly designed for killing light units in droves. This is precisely the sort of environment where your silver helms will want to ride off and bag themselves some archer units. Even in a ranged war they can be great: there's nothing like a line of heavy knights charging straight at you to make an archer think twice about which target he's going to pick.

Thanks for reading,

S

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Last edited by Seredain on Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:23 pm 
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The Miscast point is a good one. That's why when we see a lvl4 in a bus without World Dragon (say Furion's old list with WD Lions) he's often on Life I believe. Though that boat sailed from this thread some time ago!

:)

I like the flexibility of running the characters solo, I'm just continually surprised by how good you find this Seredain. Looking at the armies:

O&G: Doom Divers
Dwarfs: Cannon
Tomb Kings: Banishment
High Elves: RBT
Vamps: Terrorgheists
DE's: RBT
Daemons: Bolt of Change, Gateway
Empire: Cannon
Ogres: Ironblasters
Wood Elves: Waywatchers, Amber Spear
Skaven: WLC
WoC: See Daemons
Chaos Dwarfs: WM's + Engineers

Brett's, Beastmen, Lizards not so much maybe. Maybe I'm just underestimating the things that can be done here. But the guys with the World Dragon buses packed with characters do seem to do very well with them. Partly that's due to LoS vs Dwellers etc but it's huge points denial and very hard to fight, tooled up. Perhaps the general relaxing of chaff because of more flyers etc helps it too. These factors also give the smaller bus with lvl2 a boost IMHO and it's less vulnerable to chaffing etc because it comes with more of an army.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:42 pm 
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That's all true, SA, and the simple fact is that my prince and noble will normally deploy with the silver helm unit. But the first trick is to always remember that they don't have to, and the second is that you don't need to keep your characters where they deploy. A lot changes over 6 turns and it's important to keep aware of those moments when soloing your heroes becomes a good idea. Dark elves are a good case in point: my list is good at killing the reapers and anyway all dark elf shooting suffers from cover saves. I can therefore be much more flexible about my approach to the cavalry characters than simply thinking of them is component parts to a helm bus (and the same goes for the helms themselves). At the very least, against any army without cannons or stone throwers, the deployment options for these characters treble even when you don't want to run them solo, because they can deploy with the infantry. But even solo characters can use terrain and are much easier to hide from monsters.

As you know I've long had a problem with LOS saves for Dwellers etc. These spells are the chief counter to mega units and should be allowed to be so, unless people want to start putting arbitrary points caps on unit sizes. For sure having that LOS makes a massive difference to the viability of 4-5 character units: if you're only going to fail one save on average with Str 4 characters, at least, having one LOS makes all the difference. If players are choosing to, in addition, take no chaff because the current meta includes a lot of flyers, then to a certain extent they're inviting a munching from these big buses. That's really a meta-comp conflict that doesn't interest me too much as an all-comers player (I am quite happy to live without the Book and Banner partly because it takes me outside the whole comp question). I can certainly see the benefits of mega buses - they're obvious - but since I am always liable to face a chaff heavy or full avoidancelist from time to time, even in a tournament meta, I don't think I'll be happy that they're for me. Of course, there's no point getting used to fielding a unit like this only for comp to pull the rug from under your feet, as is always be danger with our Banner buses, and as you know I like to use the same (albeit evolving) army wherever I go. For me, building a resilient and flexible army design is a vital part of the game. Of course, I'm quite happy to put three mounted characters in a helmbus and throw all the combat buffs at it for those times when I just want to smash face!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:51 pm 
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I guess as a WE player, I bear in mind that, as with Amit's list, those Waywatchers will be backed up with Hand and Withering and it all gets very complicated.

Great point about about joining and leaving units though. We saw so much of that with your old book list. Like with my Stag Lord, who costs his unit Fast Cav. Only he doesn't always because I can just march him out 18" and then repeatedly reform the unit to my heart's content.

Chaff...oh dear. I'm still agonising over whether I can drop an eagle to go lvl4 and almost guarantee rolling Dwellers for those Deathstar lists.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:43 pm 
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Of course, when talking about an army book matchup in the round, we can only be relatively general. But, from a general stance, having a large unit of archers (still tweaking so these are back up to 24), some shots on the fast cav (I just gave these bows too), four bolt throwers, the reaver bow (OTS noble), two soul quenches of up to 6d6 and all the loremaster's spells, a dispensable unit of core heavy cavalry to clear units with, and a safe bunker in the phoenix guard (watch out for Dwellers), you feel safe to say that the list has plenty of anti-elf tools. I haven't seen way watchers stand up too well, so far. Amit's always a good stress test of course - he deals only in filth!

Haha, if we went legion I would be sorely tempted to drop my fast cav for an upgrade from archers to glade guard but this, I reckon, would be a mistake!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:15 pm 
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Glade Guard are pricey and a bit static.

Most lists need some but how many (if any) is a delicate balance.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:11 pm 
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Hi Seredain,

as for the latest list you now field I have a question if you don´t mind. Do you feel it is really necessary to fill out your points with another lord modell? I mean in particular the Loremaster?
I know that he adds flexibility to the magic phase and he also substantially boosts the phoenix guard in close combat. But you could add a whole unit of your beloved swordmasters (even including our infamous banner), or a unit of White Lions to mitigate the loss of high strenght from the Loremaster. The mounted noble could be replaced by a low level mage to bolster your magic phase.
All in all this would weaken your silver helms and therefore your character hunting ability (OTS) and it would weaken your magic phase in terms of flexibility. But I am not convinced by two lord level casters in a high elf army (personal experience and preference :) ) as it feels to me as not being that effective. And you gain a medium to large sized infantry unit (it even looks better on the table :D ).

Please bear with me as I played my last tourney last summer and I have little experience with any new meta. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:15 pm 
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SA, glade guard are certainly very pricey. Having toyed with the idea, I've noticed they don't do much more damage than high elf archers to the kind of targets I usually want to take out - just that they have fewer wounds and so are less useful in combat and more fragile generally. The difference comes when you're looking at high toughness or well hidden targets, when poison becomes a real asset but, here, Hand of Glory really covers the gap rather nicely. It does seem that, not least against other elven missile troops (with little armour), high elf archers have the best of both worlds: longer range than crossbows, more numerous and robust than glade guard. If it came to fielding a legion list, probably the only straight swap I'd make is to turn the reavers into dark riders. And probably, since he had no dragon armour, the cavalry prince into a steed-mounted dreadlord (gasp)! Not being able to put a magic banner on the archers is so, so irritating though.

Hey Gwydion,

It's a fair question. I started off fielding somehing like my old MSU(ish) set up when our new book came out and, honestly, I found circumstances had changed enough for our GW elites that they became much less attractive in this role than they had been under our old book. The loss of re-rolls in combat was huge for their damage output and, to compensate, you really need those full 3 ranks fighting for a sustained period. You're also going to take much heavier casualties from I5 troops (chaos in particular). Both of these mean you need to take more troops
in a unit for them to work well, as compared with our old list. Assuming a relatively straight points swap from noble to mage, I could afford 16 swordmasters full command with the Banner for the roughly the same points as the loremaster, and my magic phase would swap back all the signatures for two high spells. What you'd gain here is solid damage output. What you'd lose is synergy with the characters I've already invested in: no real combat buffs for the prince, BSB and phoenix guard, and obviously a complete loss of the hard counter spells which the loremaster had to counter hard to tackle units such as hidden war machines (fireball, iceshard). In revisiting my hero set-up I might have to lose the featherfoe torc, which covers a straight up weakness of the list against mobile flyers, in order to keep OTS. The reaver bow would go too as an option.

So, I'd have a much reduced prince and magic phase, as well as MSU noble options in order to add a third infantry block. As against magical attacks I'd have a hard counter unit but, otherwise, I'd worry I was losing an enormous amount of flexibility, and ranged power, to improve something the list can already do quite well: mid-strength melee. Perhaps it's worth a try but, on balance, I wonder if sustained AP attacks from the 3++ loremaster, plus the utterly flexible spell selection, plus the extra noble assistance for the prince with optional MSU deployment (plus reaver bow), isn't too much to lose for the privilege. In a hero-heavy game, I might find my strength spread a bit thin. Then there's the problem of what to do with the new level 2 mage. Wherever he goes he's a liability since he's so likely to die in combat (Talisman of Preservation is already taken), so we'd go back to having to put him in the second rank of a helm bus which, by necessity, would require 2+ fighting characters to go in the front rank at all times and, hence, lose me the tactical flexibility I've written about above.

Perhaps what you could try is to put a level 2 of High in with the phoenix guard and a 4++, then the archmage with Book and 5++ in the swormasters. The problem then is that at least three of your spells per phase need to be focussed on getting ward saves up - one for the phoenix guard and two for the archmage and, then, you're not able to throw big dice at one crucial spell when you need it (by contrast, the phoenix guard with merwyrm loremaster and 4++ level 4 need only one ward buff, are much lower maintenance and therefore more reliable). Taking more elite infantry with this high elf book almost creates more weaknesses than it offers strengths, then, at least for my list. For our great weapon elites to be worth the investment of all this ward buffing, and sustainable in combat after the loss of ASF, I'd say the units need to be big. I'm not sure that another medium unit of I5 AS5+ elites wouldn't offer my opponents another gold mine of points which my thinned-out hero choices would struggle to preserve.

I'm not, at all, saying that taking another unit of infantry is a bad idea, but the magic and item choices in this list (archmage + AP banner with loremaster, ogre blade with phoenix guard, optional featherfoe torc, OTS and combat buffs with prince, flexible deployment of characters between units, plus reaver bow), synergise in such a way that to do so would be the equivalent of a butterfly flapping its wings in London and causing a typhoon in Hong Kong.

Thanks,

S

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Last edited by Seredain on Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:00 am 
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Hey Seredain,

many thanks for your elaborate reply. I really appreciate it. I know that you have created many synergies in your list and I am beginning to understand the direction you are going to. Maybe it just comes down to my stubborn refusal of having too many characters in my army (and therefore too few elves :) ).
My last game was nearly two weeks ago against a star dragon list against which I took the good old live bus ( in Germany we have look out sir against dwellers and other such spells) with two units of elite infantry (phoenix guard and lions with banner). The star dragon was defeated by the silver helms and the attached characters even after taking a charge from my opponents silver helms and his star dragon (life magic was key here).

I know that there are a lot of hard counters to white lions but with the banner I think they still have a place (they are a really hard counter to demons which are very common here, to chaos armies which field many skullcrushers, skaven have some difficulties to touch them (apart from the big unit of stormvermin). There are a lot of places where lions and swordmasters struggle but infantry with a specific task is able to threaten (as you know :D ) parts of the battlefield in a way which no character model or cavalry unit can. I think that life magic is the key to their survival. High magic offers a lot of tools to a lot of different scenarios but life keeps your infantry going (even after taking a lot of hits) and the prince can go toe to toe with the big baddies.

But overall your list is more flexible than mine is (I think) as it has more answers in the magic phase to a lot of threats and your characters add more flexibility, but my army simply refuses to die :D .

Just my humble two cents.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:07 pm 
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Sounds good! I used to run the infantry with Life magic too and really found it perfect for making up for their fragility: Flesh to Stone at the right moment is a game changing spell but Regrowth too is important for keeping fighting strength up, especially without our old re-rolls and our need for the 3rd rank. Earthblood I never really got the hang of... it's hard for an archmage to cast it on a useful unit without putting himself in danger (the loremaster finds this easier) unless of course he's in the second rank of a cavalry bus.

I wonder if a Life / High combo wouldn't be something to try: Life Level 4 and then a High level 2 or 4 deployed in phoenix guard. Then again, Dwellers is so much weaker if opponents get a LOS save... That's life-saving for your big bus of course, but bad for your magic phase. As an experiment, why don't you try taking the 'LOS saves vs Big Spells' rule out of the equation, and see how the big bus stands up in your games? Consider it a stress test for when you bump into someone who doesn't play the same comp as you.

In principle though, as someone who likes reliability, I agree that Life magic goes with elf infantry very well. And I completely agree that the chief virtue of infantry is that you get more wounds for the points, more attacks and, not needing to charge, a better ability to hold ground (so long as you can keep them alive, and catch those flyers!).

Sounds like you're on to a good thing.

Thanks,

S

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:57 pm 
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In regard to look out sir against dwellers and other such spells it is possible to loose a game outright. You could say that my list will work best in certain metas. But I haven´t seen many life mages at all at the tourneys I play. Germany is a lot about rules and restriction ( :lol: ) so we tend to play with one of two major comps. One of those two is the ETC comp. But I don´t know if I wish to participate at those tourneys that use this particular comp as I feel that armies tend to look like 5th edition armies (my guess could be wrong). Tourneys without comp may be even worse. I read Curu´s last tourney report and it seems that the armies nowadays are all about one big unit, some mean special character and not much else. But I´m trailing of. :lol:


What do you lose / get by getting rid of the Loremaster and introducing a Life Level 4?

Range: You lose some magic missiles as well as spirit leech. Magic missiles are much needed against the new skaven toys (Stormfiends). But you have very good shooting and the magic missiles of your High Level 4. So you might not lose that much. But against other elves the loss of the fireball against repeaters and wood elf archers shooting from hard cover with their trueflight arrows will surly be felt. On the other hand with the Life Level 4 you might win the shoot out because your archers are t5 / t7 and because of Regrowth. As a side note: if your opponent fails to kill a repeater bolt thrower instantly you could heal it back. Small detail. Overall I think that you lose a bit on the ranged part (movement miasma on the big enemy unit to gain another round of shooting is nothing to sneeze at) but I think that your shooting and the ranged power of your High Level 4 (with the ring) is still sufficient to let other armies come to you.

Close combat: Adding a character with s6 to the phoenix guard is always a sound plan (having played that some time too) and it would weaken (as written already) them by loosing that character. And by getting rid of him you lose all those wonderful small little buffs that can change many combats. With life on the other hand you gain the ability to make your units nearly invincible and have them still fighting even after taking lots of inevitable damage. And you can be sure that your prince survives the fights with most enemy lords (as you have already proven countless times).

Additionally getting the second Level 4 adds redundancy to your magic defence. :)
All in all I think that this is worth an experiment as your army simply becomes tougher.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:23 pm 
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Just had a look at the Firestorm lists:

http://www.warhammer.org.uk/phpBB/viewt ... 3&t=127861

Utter. Filth. I wonder if the team format exacerbates this?

I was thinking "10 Silver Helms?". "16 PG?"

...2200

:(

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:17 pm 
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The points limit is an awkward one. You can tell that plenty (most?) players have taken the generic hard lists and scaled them down but this has created two different kinds of list, for me: some which emphasise the min-max quality of the larger version of a list, and those that run a scaled-down version of essentially the same army, retaining a larger number of abilities but spreading themselves thinner. I as usual fall into the second categpry and, as a result, think I can take a good number of the matchups on so long as my magic phase performs (though the war machine heavy matchups could be swingy). If it doesn't, my units feel small!

The dark elf lists interest me a lot in this context - they've got excellent points denial in their characters but the volume of shots they can pump out (which for me is what makes them so dangerous), looks much weaker.

Gwydion,

Replacing the loremaster with life level 4 basically changes the way the army plays, I think. I'd gain character assasination, which is new (though subject to comp), and very usefully a way to keep the helms grinding on and on (though to a lesser extent the loremaster's combat buffs already allow for this). The big problem with the switch is deployment: a level 4 of Life needs protection and to be kept out of combat. Essentially, in my list this would place him in the archers where he should be able to stay out of trouble and perhaps play field doctor to wounded bolt throwers. Of course, this reduces the flexibility of the archers themselves (they make an otherwise reliable steadfast block when you need one), and loses the AP combat ability of the loremaster. Lastly, it loses me that extra damage output you get from spells like fireball, shems and searing doom which do so much to plug the all-comers gaps against war machines, regeners and heavy armour. For a list like mine there are advantages in defence, but the disadvantages are many when it comes to situational flexibility and damage output generally. It also makes the archers a unit of strategic importance yet simultaneously harder to protect than the phoenix guard, where the loremaster's points are pretty safe.

As ever, something like this is never a case of making a straight swap. It's worth a try but then I think you'd see the list slowly evolving into a gunline with knights.

Thanks both,

S

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:25 pm 
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We are hungry. Battle reports! Battle reports!

Waiting,

Sutilar

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:47 pm 
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hey seredain, any reports from firestom 4's...?!

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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 6:58 pm 
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I salute you all commanders,

The Great Seredain has fallen from the horse.
R.I.P.

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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 12:30 pm 
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Don't speak too soon!

*Remounts horse*

I've been away. Now, where were we?

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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 2:59 pm 
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Firestorm and those filthy Dark Elves?

Oh and PM'd. You're going to laugh...

:)

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 9:19 pm 
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Firestorm Fours

Real Life being what it is (I've been working on a case heading to trial and... yeah - heavy), if I did a proper job of reporting, 9th Edition would be upon us before I'd finished. So here is my stripped down narrative guide to my attendance with Team Angel at Firestorm Fours in Cardiff some... two months ago? (who knows haha). As discussed above, I was using the 2200 version of my regular list. That meant fewer helms (10 full command), slightly fewer archers (18-20), only 16 phoenix guard and only one hero (mounted BSB toting Sword of Might, OTS, 1+ save and luckstone).

Edit - Wrrooooong - my BSB actually had sword of might, OTS, golden crown and the charmed shield, not enchanted shield. Hence in the greenskin game I actually deployed him with the phoenix guard to draw rock lobba fire away from the silver helms.

Call it old age.

Game 1 - Orcs & Goblins

Considering the 2200 points limit, this was the heaviest green gunline I’d seen: two doom divers, two rock lobbas and five spear chukkas, as well as the typical mangler / chariot / savage ward-horde filler. The thing is, at these points and with so many machines on the table, the greenskin army was even more of a one-trick pony than these lists are normally, so the fate of the game rested much more on what happened in the orc shooting phase (plus Foot). The control of the board was mine for the taking and it seemed to me that there were so few genuine combat units that, if I didn’t want to fight the savage horde, I simply wouldn’t have to. On the other hand, if all that shooting found its target I would lose the helms (I had fewer of them than I was used to taking and no ironcurse icon), perhaps also the prince, and have to spend the rest of the game taking out the smaller units with my ranged attacks to make up the difference. A swingy matchup, then, but I reckoned I could pull off a draw if I lost the prince, and a 20-0 if I could weather the storm of Turns 1 and 2. I deployed my army tightly together, to stave off panic tests and make sure all my units has some mutual support against the greenskin MSU units. My opponent, an excitable chap, had his horde and goblins in the centre and then a long backline of machines protected by a loose coalition of manglers (perhaps just one), chariots and fanatics from the night goblin archers. I prayed for the first turn.

I didn’t get it aaaaaand the greenskin machines still didn’t work quick enough. Turn 1 the doom divers clipped a single helm to death and the rock lobbas hit nothing, as did the bolt throwers (though only one of these had a clean shot on the helms, who were covered by a stone tower). I threw my units into range and began peeling off the mangler and machines with arrows and magic. Hand-buffed archers (plus a bolt thrower) took out a doom diver and Iceshard Blizzard knocked out the other for a turn. The mangler went down to the other bolt throwers. Next turn the enemy bolters took out maybe another knight, but one of those misfired as did a rock lobba – which collapsed. One of the bolters would blow itself up the following turn and, by the mid-game, it was clear my opponent was going down hard. The chariots had nowhere to run – elves before them and unleashed fanatics behind (from a Walked move with the unit of reavers), so had to fling themselves at my infantry: one into the archers in order to prevent them from shooting the goblin machines, two more into the phoenix guard. The first was shot down on the approach, the latter were just free points to 3++ phoenix guard.

With his machines flubbing and then dropping like flies, there was not a huge amount my opponent could do and he took it with excellent grace. He also rolled high magic phases and started pummelling the helms, once my scroll was gone, with Foot. All of them were gone by Turn 6 and I began to wonder why I’d thought is safer to stay out of combat and keep them hovering on the left flank. At this point my opponent had one spear chukka left (far out of range) and one rock lobba with one clean shot on the lonesome prince. Thank Heaven, it missed.

Big Win (20-0 I think, maybe 19-1).


Game 2 - High Elves

A good start, for the whole team in fact, and so we were up against what looked like dirty lists. I like elven matchups - my massed missiles (the strength of the 2.5K list that I'd taken the greatest care to preserve), can kill off elves in droves while the phoenix guard and silver helms have the resilience to shrug off other elven shooting. But my opponent's list was a genuine challenge: a huge horde of archers - 40ish strong - containing a World Dragon BSB, level 2 light mage with scroll, and Teclis. 4 bolt throwers in addition, and a couple of units of bow-armed reavers made this list clearly shootier than mine, at least until I could bust through the double scroll. Going forward was complicated by an annointed on frost-phoenix (carrying the ogre blade, I think).

So how to tackle this army? Simple - go for the bucket of points sat in the archer horde. There was no way I could catch the annointed with my land-based units, so chasing him would be futile. Magic wouldn't really touch him either. On the plus side I figured that, if he tackled any of my ranked units, he'd be pinned and swamped by my own combat characters. Sure enough, on his Turn 1 (which he one), big bird fixated on taking out the war machines strung out along my back-line. My opponent obviously figured that he were going to have a shoot out and that, while holding back with his ranged forces and blasting away, he could use his monster tilt the shootout in his favour. Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that he was right. As the annointed moved round my left flank to eat my repeaters Teclis, and his archers and machines, opened up and mullered me - a whole rank of phoenix guard died. A 4+ ward save really isn't as good as a 3+. Up against the Banner and all these shooters, I clearly wasn't going to win the ranged war. But I'd figured this already. My archers were going to have to be combat troops - they and the phoenix guard marched straight at the enemy longbows, the silver helms on the right, archers in the middle, phoenix guard centre-left. I needed some magic to give them decent protection against all these arrows, but my magic flunked - arcane unforging - the only spell I was able to get off - was scrolled by Teclis. Thankfully it wasn't destroyed, but another volley thudded into the guard and, after some atrocious saves, I lost another rank. In spite of my own counter-fire (my repeaters were focussing all their fire into the archers), it was starting to feel like the charge of the Light Brigade.

Except my opponent had made two mistakes. The first was to separate the big monster from the archers (he'd overrun into another bolt thrower by Turn 3) - robbing them of combat support. The second was to deploy the archers in the woods, robbing them of steadfast. My helms, with both mounted characters, were closing in now and, however effective the banner was at stopping my giant blade, ogre blade and sword of might, my knights' armour was just as effective against all the attacks my opponent could throw at me. He couldn't get out of the woods so felt he had no choice but actually to move towards me, into the open, before I declared the charge. That but the archers in range of my phoenix guard too. I took the charge, therefore, with both my best units, and by now the guard had their 3++. Finally a decent magic phase (arcane unforging had pulled the other scrolll on Turn 2), threw iceshard blizzard onto the enemy archers. I won combat easily and, crucually, slew the World Dragon BSB with my helms. With the frosty so far away I had plenty of time but, now, luck was with me. My opponent failed his Ld 9 test, broke, and in one fell swoop the archer horde was gone. I spent the rest of the game cleaning up bolt throwers with arrows, magic and knights, and dodging the frosty. Alas, I got too clever for my own good and, while casting Walk Between Worlds to bring the last enemy bolter within range of a Soul Quench (and put my archers out of range of the frosty), my archmage (who'd now switched to the longbows), went down a 3-dice hole, blew my archers to crap and sent them panicking towards the table edge. The frosty cleaned the few stragglers up but, happily, my opponent only had the big bird, one bolter and an eagle left. Also thankfully, the rest of my army was basically intact. Well, in points terms at least. I had one phoenix guard left, hiding behind a house.

Big Win (15-5 I think).



Next up, those filthy dark elves.

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 9:24 pm 
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Great to see that Seredain rides again! :) Did you have time to take a few snapshots? It always spices up the report :)

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 10:35 pm 
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Yes, good stuff Mr S!

As you said, if the O&G player rolls well things get a bit hairy. But I guess the most vulnerable unit is the Helms (and characters). If he gets lucky and takes those out he still has to deal with sustained HE shooting which will have made a good start while he's clearing up the knights. Not only that but your magic is effective here as well. As it was his shooting went TU and you were able to make hay. Him not quite killing the Prince seemed to sum things up here.

Game 2 very interesting, civil wars are often a case of who can bring certain elf strengths to bear better than the other guy. The shooting phase is always important here but it seems like he just didn't have enough to stop your combat units. Did his Reavers get shot early? If Teclis had been in the more traditional White Lion bunker, would this have changed things much do you think?

Looking forwards to the DE game. I know you've a soft spot for them.

:)

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 6:19 am 
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Thanks for the reports so far. A good read! I will be interested to hear about the game v dark elves in particular as I'm just about to go to a tourney in which they have a heavy presence :roll:


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A fun read. Thanks Seredain. I always like the HE civil war games too but I think this is more because I've played the army for so long that I generally know them better than my opponent does and this tends to give some sort of advantage in knowing how certain situations work out.


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Hello, welcome back to the school Seredain!

@ Game 2 vs High Elves,
You surprised me marching forward with your Archers infantry, joining the assault of the Phoenix Guard. I could hardly see any player acting that way, when you can try shooting models down to make the close combat softer for your assaulting units.
That way you kept your units supported with each other and the Ice Phoenix wasn't able to eat your Archers.
As you said, you had the only chance of the opponents mistake, deploying his archers in the woods. Were you looking for that mistake from the very first turn, when you decided to march forward with your Archers? You ned that advantage or the combo-charge you finally did, and no expect much help from your own magic support...

Sutilar

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Game 3 - Dark Elves

Another good result for the team put us up against a top foursome with some more nasty lists. Mine was a quintessential dark elf flying circus list, with all the toys. Morathi, three peg-masters (including one BSB) with lances and hardcore saves (one had the cloak of twilight), three units of dark riders, two units of warlocks, four reapers and a block of about 21 witch elves. Lots of killy models there, but I had plenty of shots and magic missiles to throw at Morathi and the reapers, and arcane unforging and searing doom for the masters. By comparison, without any crossbows in core, my opponent had far fewer shots at range, which I trusted would give me the weather-gauge in the first couple of turns and force my opponent to rush a prepared posittion.

Deployment was therefore interesting. The board was relatively open in the centre, bar for a longish stone wall (perhaps 8”) running horizontally just east of centre. A large building stood near the north-east corner, two low hills in the centre of both deployment zones, a tower centre-west and a wood or marsh in the far north-west. I deployed south. The right-centre-right of my deployment zone faced a wood just a few inches in front – the edge of it perhaps 15” from the backline, planting it roughly half-way between the south-east corner and the central wall. Lecalion the archmage rolled arcane unforging, fiery convocation, hand of glory and drain magic. My opponent had Block Horror and a load of hexes, plus the warlocks.

I deployed my phoenix guard behind the wood and a little easterly – an early challenge which my opponent answered by dropping… dark riders on one flank, to be followed by his other light units scattered about in the usual way. My archers went down to the left of the guard so that they’d get a cover save from anything stood in front of them opposite my right flank (which would likely, and did, include a couple of reapers and two units of dark riders). If I got first turn, I would move into the wood and begin shooting without penalty (after the move, at least), but getting the soft cover. If my opponent came forward, I could back out of the wood to regain steadfast and retain some dangerous terrain tests against any charges. With this setup, and the greater range (plus the lack of enemy crossbows – at these points, the pegasi masters took a fair chunk out of the usually impressive DE troop set-up), the ranged war was mine to win. My opponent place his witch elves behind a low hill, gaining them hard cover for a turn. I did the same with two of my repeaters – thankfully the hill was the perfect height to allow them to shoot and simultaneously grant them hard cover. I placed my other machines out left and far right (that's east). The westward machine was deployed alongside the reavers, to give the DE light units something to do other than chaff up my main units, but it also had line of sight over the centre of the table to add its weight to the central pair behind the hill. The repeater on the easter board edge (and 11” up) would work similarly but more aggressively – laying down close-range fire on any models approaching the ground in-front of the silver helms (my opponent would surely want to either chaff them up or bumrush them with all of his pegs at once). These were deployed as a bus with Seredain the prince and Caradath the BSB, directly opposite the house which would most likely serve as the base of operations for the pegasi, as indeed it did. My opponent would have all his characters hidden for turn 1, which was a shame, but I had plenty of other targets to go after and, at least this way (since the pegasi had to deploy 2 by 2 to fit them behind the house), I wouldn’t have to worry about a united charge from all four of them until Turn 3 (Morathi’s actually quite dangerous don'tchaknow...).
 
My opponent won first turn (again) but, actually, this was no bad thing, since he had to be aggressive and that brought more of his units into range. And my ranged attacks did absolute work on the dark elf light troops during these early turns. Arcane unforging against Morathi reliably drew dice before I power-stoned fiery convocation into the witch elves and, over the next two phases, killed all but three of them (eventually to be finished by missile fire). The archers, with +2 ballistic skill from a 1-dice hand of glory, moved into the wood and picked off an enemy reaper. One more was whittled down by bolter fire that turn and next before much of the enemy fast cavalry reached close range. The unit of dark riders on the eastern flank was gone in two turns, albeit they wounded my eastern repeater before dying. The silver helms, on Turn 2, backed off a little to avoid a peg combo charge and, simultaneously, opened up line of sight from the archers to Morathi. They, with help from a cheeky one-dice Hand of Glory, wiped a couple of wounds off the witch, putting her under real pressure. To escape, she took the bait of the nearest (right flank) bolt thrower and charged at an angle to run off the board – giving me one less turn of Black Horror to deal with. Just as well, too, because when she came back on she IF’d a black ball right through my helms and guard (shrugging off the consequences), and only by the grace of Tourney Comp did the loremaster survive with a successful LOS save. I felt that was rough on my opponent but, hey, comp is comp and, hey, Morathi's a bitch. Next turn she got what was coming to her: Lecalion soul-quenched her to death with the ring of fury.

By this point the last unit of warlocks had charged my archers, now backed out of the wood, after hitting them with a soulblight. However, after two warlocks fell to terrain tests and an accurate stand & shoot ("Hand & shoot"?), and my own magic responded with a drain magic, the archers started grinding them out well enough that my opponent had no hope of breaking steadfast with his pegasi, now sheltering behind the stone wall in the middle of the table. They were ready to leap out and snatch some points if things went well but, with the range advantage in hand (and no hope of running around after flyers with my combat troops), I was free to cover the archers with my phoenix guard, opportunistically joined by the prince, and left my opponent to make his move while my 3 v 1 bolter advantage in the centre and west took out the enemy machine deployed centre-west. This left one reaper still alive on eastern side of the NE house. Later he would kill a few knights but, otherwise, he was out of contention.

The masters didn’t take the bait but couldn’t do much else either. So they went to hop back behind the house and get away from my magic.  At this point, however, my opponent’s team captain came over and told him to try and get some points, so they hopped behind the wall again to take a Turn 6 charge into my characters or archers. It didn't work – arcane unforging drew my opponent's dispel dice again before I searing doomed the BSB to death. One master took a wound from bolts and arrows. Chastened, the two masters went into hiding again. At the end of it all, my opponent had a reaper, two pegasi left and I think the remains of a dark rider unit too. I think I killed everything else. In return, I’d lost a repeater or two and maybe the reavers (though I think I kept these alive hiding behind a building).
 
Steadfast has a massive role to play against flying circus lists, as do archers against reaper batteries.

Big win - 20-0.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:16 pm 
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Responses

Thanks for the response so far chaps.

Swordmaster - unfortunately no pictures! I was too concerned with accidentally slow-playing to take the extra time to take snaps. Next time though!

SpellArcher - if your opponent get the first turn and the doomdivers both roll well then there's little you can do except hope the rock lobbas miss. With the smaller bodyguard, no ironcurse icon, and fewer archers to help out, the prince was much more vulnerable. As you say, though, I figured the greesnkins would struggle to get enough points from me that I could at least draw even by whittling down the green MSU units. I had this matchup as Amber-Green.

(Edit - Oh, I should say that my BSB actually had sword of might, OTS, golden crown and the charmed shield, not enchanted shield. Hence in the greenskin game I actually deployed him with the phoenix guard to draw rock lobba fire away from the silver helms.)

We'll be looking at a white lion bunker in the next game... Assuming world dragon is in there, white lion bunkers are intimidating. On the plus side, they die hard to units with true ASF - which is all of mine. 3++ phoenix guard absolutely tear them up so I don't mind them so much. The real trick is to get enough wounds off them during the early game so that you can finish the unit off before the game ends! Getting rid of the Banner helps a great deal, but switching your magic to anti-MSU/shooting duty, and using your mundane missile units to kill the lions, also works. Against white lion gunlines, it's the shooting units that are the real danger, so you always have the option to concentrate all your resources on them and then dodge the lions when they finally come out to play - that worked at SCGT last year.

Galdor - I suspect I'm too late for your tourney but I hope to have been of some posthumous assistance at least! People complain about dark elves having stupendous fast cavalry and flying heroes, and this is true, but these armies do struggle to overcome steadfast, and a high elf army with lots of ranged attacks (and arcane unforging) will put them under real pressure from the get-go.

John - I agree - knowing the army so well makes civil wars somewhat easier for me, though even in that context my natural conservatism when it comes to list-building (or call it "dedication" if you wanted to be more charitable), means that even some high elf choices are rare enough. That annointed frost-rider was my first. Of course it's also never fun to face Teclis! On the plus side, my own army has given me a very healthy respect for high elf shooting phases, and I've often done well to ensure first and foremost that the ranged war is run. That wasn't possible in game 2, above, but since I knew the danger of standing there slowly losing a shooting war, I did at least make the right call in dedicating my whole army to an advance in order to ensure that enough attacks reached the enemy bunker to overwhelm it. As it was, my own archers didn't engage, but it was good to have the backup in the event that the enemy held their ground after the first round.

Sutilar - To continue the point, I think my opponent made a mistake in not adjusting his archers' position soon enough once it became clear that I was running at him with everything. It was no mistake to deploy them there. The wood was a fantastic place to deploy with a straight shootout in mind and, if my opponent expected me to engage in one, ordinarily he would've been right. But the first turn mattered here and, having lost it and failed to match my opponent's ranged phases with my own poor showing, I figured I had to attack with everything to give myself the best chance of cleaning up the bunker. Fearing elf shooting as I do, thankfully I'd deployed my archers forward just in case this very thing happened, giving myself the option to attack if I had to. Simultaneously, aggressive use of the archers kept them within the army's leadership bubble and put some distance between them and the bolt throwers which were the enemy annointed's primary target. If I'd left the archers behind, I probably would have still lost the ranged war (in particular given the big swing on turn 1 and the presence of the Banner), perhaps gotten stuck on the bunker (I couldn't know my opponent wouldn't hold on steadfast), and eventually lost the archers to the frostheart on turn 6. That this happened anyway was a matter of magical catastrophe which is, at least, better than poor planning!

Up next - more high elves and a white lion bunker.

Thanks as ever for reading,

Seredain.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:36 am 
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Been looking forward to this. I should mention that Seredain's opponent here was co-author of this year's ETC comp. Perhaps not quite on Furion's level but a strong player who brings hard lists.

Looking at the lists it seems he's got to make his movement count but facing ranked units that are hard to sweep away and superior HE shooting this is difficult. The decision to go with Witch Elves over Darkshards looks important here. It gives him a real combat threat he can throw into hard enemy units (Beasts of Nurgle say) but it definitely cedes the ranged game vs elves.

I feel the early dispel of Unforging was a mistake. I guess he didn't see the Power Stone coming (edit: open lists!) but with no scroll he needs to be wary. He risks losing Morathi's combat punch but that's much the lesser evil, Convocation just destroys the Witch Elves. Casting at an average plus 7 is fantastic but a scroll remains a scroll. Especially as any shooting at the Witch Elves helps the DE missile troops and if they're not dealt with the PG combat is very bloody.

Funny how HE players seem to enjoy killing Morathi, I recall Ptolemy taking great delight!

:)

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:15 am 
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Very interesting stuff and thanks for the reports!

I share your enthusiasm for playing an all comers list that can contribute in every phase of the game. Also I consider HE to be one of the few races, that can actually make a competitive balanced list. It seems that many other races need to field heavily skewed lists in order for them to make it work. At least that is what my club mates usually tell me :) .

First of all - congratulations on an amazing showing by the Cav prince =D> .
I wonder what your strategy would have been if the HE player hadn't just rushed forward and leaving his bunker to its fate? He clearly had shooting (even magic) superiority, as you mentioned, which makes me wonder why on earth he moved forward. Getting that annointed on a frostheart into your phoenix guards would be a nightmare. Have you played against other frost hearts before with this list? Because I think it can be very scary for this setup.
It is always good to see our evil brothers being taught a lesson :) . I guess it is not many losses to DE you can tell tales about with your list. It seems to me, that it is very good against them with all your magic and shooting. And of course 3++ phoenix guards.. Which is just freaking amazing.

I've got lots of inspiration from reading your block or put in another way - shamelessly stolen your list :wink:. However after a lot of games the list evolution has brought me to another place than your current list. It is almost the same, but our core setup is different. Which brings me to a question, I know Curu has asked you a lot. Those archers.. They are very very good in elven matchups, especially wood elves and dark elves. I see that. But your lists is already good at handling these armies with bolt throwers, high magic (two soul Q), loremaster (magic missiles), phoenix guards (their is just nothing in a WE and DE army that can beat these guys). But in other matchups where your list struggles a bit, I feel they don't really help at all. They are almost useless against chaos, deamons and empire. And whenever I've taken them, it just seems to be free points for the enemy. They basically have three targets for their magic and shooting. 3++ phoenix guards, 2+ AS silver helms or naked t3 guys. 20 Archers die amazingly quick if they are focused on for on turn.
Also whenever I face an enemy who I need to rush (tomb kings, dwarfs etc.) they are often stranded behind, which gives me the feeling that they do not operate in tandem with the rest of my army.
I remember I played a tournament with your setup and archers and from memory it ended something like this: vs. DE (flying peg circus 20-0), DE (shadestar 10-10), WE (avoidance 17-3), Chaos (1+ AS, deamon prince, Chimera 0-20), HE (3 flamespyres where 2 were mounted :shock: 3-17). Having only an eagle and one unit of reavers really hurts me a lot. I feel it makes the list very slow and so a lot of my opponents easily outmaneuvered me. When playing against HE and Dark elves, I had no way of getting to those 4 bolt throwers. They can easily shoot one eagle and 5 reavers. This was my main reasons for changing the core setup. Have you maybe had some of the same considerations or is it just me :) ?

My core setup is now:
13 silver helms full command
5 silver helms w. banner
2xreavers w. spears.

Other then that I have the cav prince, OTS noble BSB, Book of Hoeth(you don't miss this one?) High mage, Loremaster w. ogre blade and 4+ shield.

So I think this core setup helps the list in areas where it really struggles. When you have so few drops you will get outmaneuvered and thus the reavers and helms makes up this by slowing down the enemy in areas on the board you can't control.

Thanks again for some interesting battle reports and some thoughts on our fragile elves :)


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