« on: April 15, 2012, 05:33:19 PM »
Finally got my first game in with the new book yesterday, 3000 points vs. OnG.
Instead of writing up a battle report, I thought I would just point out a few things from the game that highlighted the new rules and and some things to be cautious of.
The Left Not an awful lot to be learned from the goings on on my left. But suffice to say that my 40 great sword horde with arch lector and captain with just FPA and shield, a detachment of 5 archers, a detachment of 20 swordsmen took out: a squig horde, a boar chariot, a wolf chariot w/ L2 shaman, a big block of goblins and a lone goblin character on a cave squig coming to hunt war machines. I lost the archers, about 4 swordsmen and about 25 of the greatswords.
The Crux. The crux of the battle focused on the center to the right of my line. In the center I had 17 IC White Wolf Knights w/ warrior priest, a block of 50 halberds, including a warrior priest and BSB, with a detachment of 5 archers operating out in front of them and a detachment of 20 swordsmen on their left, and then anchoring the left flank was the steam tank. Opposite my forces, from left to right (the same order) were a horde of savage orcs with a level 4 and his warboss, a block of 20 or 25 black orcs, an arachnorak and a mangler squig.
The Artillery One cannon and one volley gun proved pretty good at thinning dow the savage orc horde. I used the engineer to fire pigeon bombs in turn one, but quickly decided to attach him to the volley gun after that... with great results!
- The engineer should not do double duty as a pigeoneer and artillerist. Pick one or the other.
The Detachments There was a wood right in front of of the halberds. I moved the archers up into it and after firing ineffectually at the black orcs, I decided to reform in the following round to offer them the archers 1 model flank and shoot at the mangler squig instead. I moved my halberds up within 3" of the archers to confer hatred and the 5+ ward save from the warrior priest. But I miscalculated because when the skirmishers compressed they were more than 3" away! As it happened, just one survived and held on stubborn LD 7, thanks to the woods, setting up a flank charge on the Black Orcs by my IC knights that wiped the Black Orcs off the table.
As the mangler squig made its way towards my army's flank and the steam tank had been taken out by the arachnorak, I was forced to charge into the savage orc block to get away from the mangler, one turn earlier that I had wanted to. But I charged with both the detachment and the halberds so that in maximizing, I could edge the halberds out of the forest and preserve their steadfast, which would transfer onto the sword detachment (still partially in the forest), but more importantly, deny as many savage orc attacks as possible onto the halberd unit. A handy 5+ ward from the warrior priest helped everyone stick around long enough to see the savage orcs off. In fact I won every round of combat, but it was only the crown of command on the the warboss that kept them in so long. The combat was also joined by boar boys and the BSB, who bounced, and the one wound araknorak who joined combat after destroying my IC knights, but suffered many wounds in the front of my Halberd horde.
- Swordsmen can do very few wounds, but can really help mitigate damage returned to the unit.
- Either the 5+ ward or reroll wounds spells from the warrior priest can make a dramatic swing in the melee.
- Being able to transfer steadfast and other effects from the parent unit to the detachment is tremendously powerful.
The Steam Tank. I had almost the worst luck with the steam tank that I could have had, but it really helped turn the game my way very subtly. My boiler blew in all three of the turns that the steam tank existed. In the first two rounds I rolled misfire on my steam points, with the same result on the table: cannot fire steam gun. Luckily that didn't interfere with my plans. On turn three I was in combat and had already taken four wounds, I rolled a 10 on the artillery dice and ended up losing d3 steam points, in this case, just one. I rolled snake eyes for the number of impact hits. Faced with having to defend my weak flank from both an arachnorak and a mangler squig, I had opted for shooting the cannon. In turn 1 I hit and did 1 wound. In turn 2, I hit and did 4 wounds and was then charged. In turn three I was in combat and did 2 wounds, leaving the arachnorak with just one wound.
- The new steam tank is not as reliable at the beginning, but is more reliable as the battle proceeds than the old one.
- Blowing the boiler doesn't neccasarily ruin the turn for the steam tank.
- It is actually worth firing the cannon, now that it is S10 and D6 wounds and the tank is more reliable after taking wounds.
- The tank is going to operate closer to the line and is definitely more defensive now than before. I would have run the steam tank out and been more aggressive with it, except I couldn't be sure I would have made the charge.
- The steam tank now does fewer impact hits overall.
- The steam tank is still awesome, just awesome in different ways. Honestly, I like it better because even though it's not as powerful, it's much harder to defeat.
Magic. This was really where I struggled in building a list at first. I didn't bring either of the new big magic carts because I've been spending my money on terrain for an upcoming campaign, rather than on new bits for my army. I also decided that I wanted the reliability of hatred in the units, and multiple prayer rolls, rather than depending on just those from the Altar. So I took 3 WPs, one for greatswords, one for halberds and one for IC knights. I took a single level 4 with light. My opponent had his way with my level 4 during the magic phase and brain burst my level 4 off the table by turn 2. The only thing the level four managed to do in his short time with us was to Banishment 2 savage orcs off the table. Thanks for playing, Sparky.
- WP spam casting is awesome! It has a very synergistic effect in the magic phase and a very synergistic effect in combat and even during movement. My opponent had to carefully pick and choose what to dispel as any one spell he let through could swing an upcoming combat dramatically.
- WP spam casting suffers from not having bonuses to cast. There's not much to say about this really, just use a lot of single and double dice rolls and hope for the best.
- I think that WP spam casting will be helped by low level wizard spell casting. It's going to be most effective when you really draw out your opponent's dispel dice.
- I don't think that Lore of Light is a good compliment to WP casting. Pha's protection could be really good if you're facing BS shooting, but otherwise, WP prayers are really a mid-game, end game strategy. With Light, you just don't have the offensive power you need to maximize the magic phase in turn 1 and 2. If I go WP heavy again, I will definitely be trying out Shadow or Life instead. Both are more powerful offensively. Life will also let me toughen up and regrow my troops as we stand off and give them the artillery. I just see more magic synergy with lores other than Light.
- I am more concerned about using the WarAltar now. The WP effects on combat are so profound that the War Altar must be your opponent's number one target. If he is able to take it out, then our troops lose some major advantages. Furthermore, in this battle when my line split (the greatswords and company ran off well forward and to the left) they would have been well out of range of the War Altar's effects. I think they still would have done alright, but it would have been much tougher going for them. I would be tempted to go for the War Altar minimal Prayer strategy if I was using a level 4 and a level 2 or even two level 4's at larger game sizes. But alone, or with just a level 4 for back up, I would worry about this strategy. Maybe that will be offset by being able to put more points into other units, so I'll have to try it out a bit before really deciding, but for now, I'm unconvinced. One place that I can see the War Altar being especially good is for a player that runs flagellants. The War Altar would be the only way to get those prayers and hatred on the flaggies, so would be worth checking out for that. Also, it might be better in a more aggressive and less stand-off kind of army than the one I played yesterday.
- I did not use, and did not feel I needed the new magic carts. I had bad luck channeling despite having four channeling dice and was routinely rolling poorly for my powerdice, while my opponent was routinely rolling well in his magic phase. This was very much to the detriment of my Level 4 early in the game. However, the large number of power level 3 spells available to me meant that I had effective magic phases when I needed them most and I was still able to dispel the one most crucial spell most of the time. I can definitely see the uses for the new carts though, especially in turn 1 and 2 when my combat oriented magic meant that I had a lot of useless power dice that could have been put to use firing lasers and storm bombs.
All in all a great game and a solid new army book. It played very much the way I've always played Empire with a few subtle tweaks that I would say really increased the overall effectiveness of the army. Using the new rules to their most effective will take a little practice, but there are definitely some new and interesting possibilities. I would say that it is much more apparent to me now that there really are a good variety of builds in the book as well. I won the game by a very convincing points margin, but there was no point in the game where it felt like I was overwhelming my opponent and tension was high the whole time. It made a very balanced and engaging fight! Very solid, very consistent with the feel of the Empire, and I didn't use a single new model or unit.