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How to lose small with Wood Elves - Tournament Report

posted Jun 28, 2012 07:39:46 by BenThomas
Hello all, and welcome to another of my tournament reports on here.
Firstly, I didn't intend to do a report on this weekend, so memory is a little hazy and pictures will not be forthcoming, but its amazing what being laid up with a leg injury can do to you.

To those who are aware of the UK tournament scene, I went to a 2 day tournament called Miniatures Mayhem, 40 players under the SCGT comp system which is, essentially, 450 point unit cap, 12 dice per magic phase and a Look Out Sir against the worst offending magic spells.

So into this largely uncomped tournament I decided to push my Wood Elves. Now, I don't rate them as badly as most (Jen) seem to. 8th has hurt them a bit for sure, but with that comes the advantage that nobody really knows how to play against them any more, and the work of Mark Borland in the UK, and Joe Rogers stateside shows that something must work.

None of their armies are quite like this however:
Highborn - Forest Dragon, LA, Dawnspear, Stone of Crystal Mere, Charmed Shield, Other Tricksters Shard
Noble - BSB, Moonstone of the Hidden Ways, Warrior Bane
Noble - Great Eagle, LA, S, Spear, Amaranthine Brooch, Potion of Foolhardiness, Dragonhelm
Spellsinger - Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Ironcurse Icon

8x Dryads
8x Dryads
8x Dryads
8x Dryads
22x Glade Guard - Banner, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame
6x Wild Riders - Musician
6x Wild Riders - Musician
Great Eagle
Great Eagle

In this kind of tournament, Wood Elves are always going to run into bad match ups, because they have many, this list even more so. As such, my main aim in this tournament was, if I was going to lose a game, don't lose it big, hoping that each game would be no worse than a 13-7 loss. Going into the tournament hall and seeing the armies present made it clear that this was to be a big ask...
The way the list works is fairly simple: everything apart from the archer block is very mobile, so people tend to send their best unit after the bunker, seeing easy points. The bunker sits 2 inches in front of the free wood, and when things get dangerous, swift reform into it and teleport away with the Moonstone. All the while the monsters and other fast stuff are picking away at what they can of the enemy army.

Sounds like a good plan doesn't it. Game 1 to come soon.
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8 replies
BenThomas said Jun 28, 2012 09:01:07
Game 1 - Jak Spedding - Dwarves

Jak is a friend from my club but one who I haven't played ofter. We were meant to have a practice game the week before and, having seen the draw, were glad it had been cancelled. He is, by all standards, a thoroughly pleasant chap.
But he is a Dwarf player, and I hate Dwarves. Especially when I have a Dragon flying around.

And so began part one of "losing small in a bad matchup".
Jak had:
2 units of 22 Quarellers
30 Hammerers with BSB, Lord on Shields, 2 Runesmiths (I was never, EVER going to go near this)
2 Grudge Throwers, 2 Organ Guns and a Cannon, all watched over by a Master Engineer

In a moment of startling ingenuity, Jak deployed it all on the back board edge, with the Hammerers and Quarellers protecting the front and sides of the war machine battery respectively.
His deployment had given me an opportunity with my Dragon though. I deployed it in such a way that should I get first turn, or he be able to survive the first volley of Warmachine fire, he would be able to get behind a building in such a way that none of the Warmachines could see him, but he could see the Quarellers. I got first turn. The Dragon advanced to the aforementionned position. Jak sighed.

Jak responded by flaming cannoning off my Treeman, which I thought was a bit unsporting of him, but the majority of the rest of his shooting did very little, taking off a handful of Dryads and Archers. He also used the Master Rune of Challenge on my Eagle Noble, forcing her to flee. She never rallied. That put me about 400 points down. The Dragon would have to catch this up all by himself.

He charged the Quarellers first, and over 2 rounds of combat with some lucky rolling managed to drop them below Steadfast and see them scurry off the table. Jak had turned his Hammerer block in such a way that, should I charge his warmachines, he would be able to get a charge on my Dragon. This would not do. The Dragon went for the other Quarellers instead, and 2 rounds of combat later they were also feeling worse for wear. As was the Highborn on top of the Dragon, but nobody really cares about him.

After this came the dicey phase, where I wasn't in combat and had to take some shots to the face. Thankfully the one Grudge Thrower in range scatterd away and the Grapeshot bounced off fairly harmlessly.
For the record, the rest of my army had turned around LONG ago, seeing that there was nothing they could really add to this Dragon feeding frenzy, apart from one Eagle, who stood himself in front of the Hammerers at one point. What a hero.

The Dragon finished its feast by eating 2 of Jak's warmachines, taking his total during the battle to 3 warmachines, 2 units of Quarellers and a Master Engineer. I heard dragons aren't very good in 8th...

With my early losses and necessary sacrifices (some Wild Riders had needed to do something rash at one point, I forget now) I had managed to pull out an 11-9 win, which I was absolutely delighted about. A bad matchup down, surely I wouldn't get another one immediately. Surely?
Greg2thePerson said Jun 28, 2012 13:29:02
This is shaping up to be a fantastic tournament report! I love the trick with the Moonstone, I'm eager to see if it comes into play. Nice job against the Dwarfs in round one.
The slightly less beautiful host.
BenThomas said Jul 04, 2012 07:23:33
Game 2 - Shaun Tokens - Vampire Counts

Remember that time when I said I expected to face a few bad match ups in this tournament... This was exactly one of those.

Ghoul King on Terrorgeist (not sure on my spelling here but I'm sticking with it, it comes up a lot)
Vampire BSB, Level 2 Necro in 45 Ghouls
3 units of dogs, 2 units of bats, 2 units of Hexwraiths, single spirit host
2 (TWO) Terrorgeists

Shaun's tactics were very complex in this game and totally weren't "fly around and scream at everything". I knew this was going to be hard work as a full wounds Terrorscream does 5 wounds on average to a Treeman and 3 to my Lord on Dragon, but those were always going to be 2 of the few things that could reliably take them out. Operation lose small part 2 commence!

I felt that I had 2 strategies open to me in this game:
1. Place the Glade Guard slightly out of a corner with enough room to hide anything of real value behind them, limitting the dcreams to the reasonably resolute block for a few turns, whittling their wounds down with shooting before charging over/around the archers when things got hairy. The problem with this would come if he chose to just go all out and charge the Glade Guard, especially with his Hexwraiths hanging around.

2. Place the Glade Guard right in the corner, and run everything else as a fairly standard battleline, take out the chaff quickly (WE are good at this) and try and do a lot of damage quickly. The problem here is that I would lose the Dragon eventually, so would have to get some points off the table if I wanted a reasonable score.

Now, had I not just had a very negative defensive game against Dwarves, I would probably have chosen plan 1, as looking back I think it would have been the better option. However, I was there to play some Warhammer, so plan 2 it was.

Shaun was probably a bit suprised by this move and so played very cagily at first, allowing me to clear up all his chaff apart from ne unit of Hexwraiths, who were off on an irrelevent flank, before the serious screaming began. I needed his first big round to leave me with my big models on the table, and he did in fact leave the dragon and rider on 1 wound each, and the Treeman on half wounds.
This allowed me to make some charges, with the Dragon sadly failing on something, but the Treeman getting into one of the unridden Geists. An exciting round of combat ensued, and the beast was left standing on a single wound. My heart sank.

Shaun's next screaming phase finished off the dragon and Treeman with his 3 flying beasts still standing, and thus began The Tale of 3 Dryads.
I ended up, in Shaun's turn, with 3 Dryads in the flank of a Terrorgeist with 1 wound left. I can;t remember how they got there at that point, I can only assume they overran from clearing up some chaff. But I spotted an opportunity due to a bit of unfortunate placement. If they could finish off the screamer, they could reform, and in my turn charge the flank of his Ghouls, on the end of which was his BSB who had only 1 wound left after a miscast, and assassinate the Vampire for a load of points. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. Well I was suprised as well because ALL OF THAT HAPPENED. The Dryads went into the Ghouls, took the last wound off the BSB, and died horribly. For Glory.

And with that the game was over. It was clear that Shaun had won, but neither of us were sure by how much, and I was desperate for my 13-7 dream to be in tact. Shaun had beaten my by about 500 points, exactly a 13-7 win to him. I was pretty pleased. Shaun was a real gent throughout this game, knowing he had a good match up but was very complimentary about how I had played it.

So not a great result but still wasn't losing big, let's see if I can keep it up or possibly WIN something!
BenThomas said Jul 04, 2012 10:27:10
Game 3 - David Barker - Dwarves

I'd skip onto game 4 if I were you, nothing interesting to see here at all. For reference, his army was essentially the same as Jak's, his deployment was exactly the same as Jak's, and the only difference between the 2 games was that he shot 5 wounds off my Dragon and 2 off my Lord first turn forcing me to put everything in the corner.

And I mean everything. The Treeman and Eagle rider were both shot off, as was a unit of Wild Riders from indirect fire and that was it. Half an hour game, 13-7 loss.

In all seriousness I do not get this kind of list. Sure I understand that it is (in the UK scene) the only real viable tournament build for the army but where is the fun in it for anyone? There are so many cool things in the Dwarf book and, along with Wood Elves, they are the only army left that can still do out of turn charges. Yet they just sit in the corner and refuse to play warhammer. Awesome.

In fairness Dave was a nice bloke, but I didn't feel particularly up for a second non-game so my attitude may not have been the best. As it was the last game of the day I shot off fairly early and went to a BBQ at my friends, which drastically improved my mood.
2 more to follow.
BenThomas said Jul 05, 2012 11:11:09
Game 5 - Yavor Bidzhof - Warriors of Chaos

Well now this is a bit more like it, an army that will actually come and FIGHT ME. For those of you on Moonstonewatch I actually hadn't used it at all on the Saturday. I hadn't realised this when building/testing the army but the sheer number of mobile threats mean that a lot of enemies are too scared to come forward too much, certainly not to try and get to the bunker. Maybe people didn't realise just how many points were back there but I digress. My point is that Yavor had a massive combat army. He WOULD be coming after the bunker.

Tzeentch fighty lord on a disk - 1+/3++ stubborn
Level 2 on disk
BSB + Level 2 death in a unit of 8 or so Knights backed up by 2 Warshrines
2 units of 40 or os GW marauders
2 units of fast cav.

The army scared me quite a bit, but I was able to have the Marauders deployed out of the way where they would only be able to play with Dryads all game, leaving the bulk of my force to deal with his characters and Knights. Predictably, this job became much more difficult when they were immediately blessed with a 3++ ward. Splendid.
I figured that my Dragon could probably take down the Chaos Lord. He shouldn't be able to kill my general in the first round, and hopefully the Other Trickster's Shard would turn the combat nicely in my favour, and so I used my first turn to set this up.

Yavor's first turn was a success as he managed to Gateway off my Eagle Noble who, for some reason, he saw as a pretty serious threat, and with that it was all or nothing time. The Dragon charged the Chaos Lord.

Massive digression
This was a really good game of Warhammer. Yavor and I were fairly quiet to each other at first as we'd never met before and wanted to work each other out but my turn 3 we were having an excellent time, laughing and joking throughout. This being said, as I think back I realise that not a great deal actually happened in this game. Turns 2 through 5 are pretty much a blur in which I know a few events, but not in what order or turns they occurred, so I shall simply list them. Safe to say the Dragon and Chaos Lord were fighting throughout.
End massive digression

- The Marauder blocks each dealt with a 2 or so units of chaff but were so far out of the fight that they didn't matter
- A unit of Wild Riders chased on of Yavor's fast cav units off the board
- Yavor's Death Mage miscast, dimensionally cascaded and killed around 5 Knights and itself
- I did a wound to his disk mage through shooting
- His disk mage miscast and took his own life
- My Treeman charged the Knights, hoping to keep them out of countercharging the Dragon. He was eventualy killed, but managed to take down the BSB first (amazingly)
- My Highborn was knocked off his Dragon

And so we came to turn 6. The sitution was this: we were probably about equal on points, his Lord had a single wound left, my Dragon was frenzied and had 4 wounds left. His 5 remaining Knights were looking directly at my bunker, with no redirecters left to stop them. And so, for the first time in the tournament, it was Moonstonetime! I often wish I could take a picture of an opponents face when I tell them about that item, and Yavor's was impressive as he realised that 600 points were not only safe, but also had 20 bows pointing at his remaining fast cav unit (that soon went away).
Yavor's misery however, was short lived. After 4 turns of my avoiding it, he had managed to charge my Dragon in the flank with a Warshrine. This would put him up by 3 if I couldn't do a wound. The shrine itself would have been slightly easier to hurt but where was the glory in that? Where indeed? I wish there was a wonderful climactic ending to this story, but the Dragon fluffed, was broken and run down.

I had failed my primary aim for the tournament, and had lost 14-6. I didn't mind one bit, as it had been a wonderful tactical game against an ETC opponent, and I stand by the fact that my Dragons SHOULD have killed his Sorcerer Lord.

I had one more game to go, and was determined not to lose it. SPOILER: Its against Lizardmen
Greg2thePerson said Jul 06, 2012 10:20:42
Ben, I need to chime in again and tell you how awesome these battle reports are! You give the perfect amount of detail, such that the reader can easily follow the action, but is not bogged down and turned off by massive walls of text. Jen and I are eagerly awaiting the conclusion to your saga.
The slightly less beautiful host.
BenThomas said Jul 09, 2012 09:25:29
IN THE PRESENT: (As opposed to the increasingly distant past in which these battles took place)

Every morning I cycle 13 miles to work, and tend to do so whilst listening to a variety of sporting and Warhammer podcasts. This morning there was a new Painting Tabled on my iDevice so I put it on and set off on my way. Imagine my joy when these reports were mentionned and given praise.
Thanks to Greg and Jen for giving them a shout out.
However, this feeling was soon replaced by one of fear and dread, coming over me like a black plague. One thought remained.

I had better get this finished then!

Game 5 - Ben Hunter - Lizardmen

I like my chances against Lizardmen with Wood Elves. In the match up a lot tends to depend on the early turn "chaff-off" and I tend to find that Wood Elf chaff is just better than other armies chaff (the same here applies to O&G).

Ben's list had
Party Slann - Lore of Light
2 Scar Veterans on Cold Ones
25ish Saurus and 24+3 Skroxigor
3 units of skirmisher skinks, 2 of Chameleon skinks, 2 of Terradons
Big and Little Stegadons.

My deployment in this game was not in its usual strict order (Dryads, Wild Riders, Eagles, Treeman, rest), as I knew, and knew that Ben knew, that my monsters would go straight through his Saurus, and make a mess of his Skrox pretty quickly. As a result, I deployed my Treeman straight away, fairly close to one flank, knowing that he would put most of his stuff on the other. This is exactly what happened.

Becuase of this most of my army was lined up against his chaff, but his Slann was nowhere nearby, meaning that if I could create some nice chain panic I could rid myself of a lot of problems quickly. I pushed forward a unit of Wild Riders to bait out his Terradons, they dropped the rocks and left 2 standing. My army then charged the terradons right back to his own lines, causing a huge number of panic checks, some of which were failed, fleeing from the board. In the shooting phase, further panic checks were caused by shooting off the second unit of Terradons and the flank was looking pretty secure.

At this point, it looked for all the world as if we were playing the Meeting Engagement scenario, with his blocks towards one corner, my points all near the other, and his Stegadons in between. From experience, I knew that a Dragon or Treeman could take down a Stegadon as long as it wasn't buffed, but with a Lore of Light mage around that was no guarentee. Having done nothing all tournament the bird on the bird came to the rescue. She managed to get right behind the enemy lines and forced the Slann to turn around to deal with her, meaning that in the turn where my monsters charged, he wouldn't be able to buff the Stegadons, giving them 3 rounds of combat to deal with the beasts.

3 rounds later the Stegadons were wounded, but still standing. And protected by Pha (-1 to hit). And the Scar veterans were close. A quick rundown of what Scar Veterans do to Treemen. Either they have the burning blade which, whilst wounding on 5s, allows no armour or ward and does double wounds, or its the poisoned magical great weapon, which also stings slightly.

Thankfully, and unusually, the Scar Veteran that charged my Treeman had neither of these, and just a very good armour save and the Warrior Bane. The Treeman took the final wound off the Stegadon, then in the next round of combat smashed the smaller lizard dead.

At this point I knew there wouldn't be time to chew through the Saurus or catch the Slann, so the army did the standard Wood Elf thing and turned back, utterly satisfied with their days work.

This turned out to be a 13-7 win to me, which I was pleased with but felt could have been better. Had my monsters dealt with his a bit quicker they could have gone crazy against the rest of his army, but still, a win is a win.

This was my favourite game of the tournament from the start, as Ben and I both knew we had nothing to lose and just had a fun time throughout. Plus, you know, always nice to go out on a win!

Closing thoughts to follow.
BenThomas said Jul 09, 2012 14:54:51
So when the dust had settled and the results were in I had finished 23rd out of 40 people. I was slightly disappointed as it has been a fair while since I had been in the bottom half but I had somewhat brought a knife to a gun fight but felt I could have done better.

In the end my list had done reasonably well at what I wanted. When my back was against the wall my list was very able to look after itself and protect all the major points and take 6/7 points in a 20-0 system. However, for this kind of thing to work it also needs to be able to push for big wins when that seems possible, and I just don't feel that it is possible to do that.

My more usual build would have the Dragon replaced by a level 4 on beasts and a unit of Treekin, and with this build it would be much easier to go for the big wins, but if something half decent has the flaming banner it is impossible to get out of the way of it, and you can easily end up losing by a big margin.

In thit tournament my usual stars of the show (Eagle Noble and Wild Riders) didn't really do much for me. This is probably because if was a fairly local tournament, and a lot of the people around me know what these things can do now, and so deal with them quickly. The Dragon however was fantastic fun to use and against armies without the right war machines people really panic against him. I feel I was unlucky to lose him to the Chaos Lord (stupid 3+ ward save...) and apart from that he was excellent.

Thanks for reading guys, and will probably post another on here soon.

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