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So, in the Halloween spirit, I decided to work on a new Vampire Counts list, and today I got to try it (and the new Realm of Battle board) against a friend of a friend. It was an absolute massacre, although I don't know if I'm going to keep the list, as I think that it's extremely unbalanced.
I got a copy of his list, and cleaned it up a bit to match the style that I wrote mine in.Vampire Lord w/ Master of Black Arts, Red Fury, Blood Drinker, Helm of Commandment, Flayed Hauberk, Nightmare
Vampire w/ Avatar of Death, Dark Acolyte, Nightmare, Book of Arkhan, Enchanted Shield
Vampire w/ Avatar of Death, Dark Acolyte, Nightmare, Black Periapt
20 Crypt Ghouls w/ ghast
20 Crypt Ghouls w/ ghast
9 Black Knights w/ barding, fc, banner of strigos,
5 Blood Knights w/ fc
5 Blood Knights w/ fcHere's the report. Like always, it's written in a fluff style. For anyone who's followed my Vampire reports or fluff, and are wondering where Christobel went: this is a rare battle where Chatould was fielded. His powers are returning, so he can take to the field (and has to because I don't have a female vampire on a horse haha)Arch Lector w/ Armor of Meteoric Iron, Doomfire Ring, Sword of Strength, War Altar
L2 Wizard w/ wizard’s staff
Captain BsB w/ Banner of Sigismund, Full Plate armor
29 Swordsmen w/ musician (BsB goes here)
Detachment A] 10 Handgunners
Detachment B] 15 Free Company
5 Knights w/ Standard Bearer, Banner of the Daemon Slayer
20 Greatswords w/ standard bearer, warbanner
Detachment A] 10 Handgunners
Detachment B] 10 Free Company
1 Great Cannon
1 Great Cannon
Steam TankI don't know- I think it was a simple case of his list not being prepared to deal with a threat like mine, and him getting too "set" in his tactics, and not reacting to what I was doing. I think that the fact that this was his first time against vampires (I didn't know until I arrived), made a big difference too. I doubt I could pull the same stunt against him again, he's not a bad gamer at all.Terrain:
we used one of the ‘Realm of Battle’ boards. The board was set up in the ‘advertised’ way, with the hills in each corner. This left a nice flat plain in the middle of the table that would favor his gunlines. I placed two woods- one nestled between the two hills on a long edge, and the other nestled between two hills on the short edge. This effectively cut off one of the hills from being any use, and broke up one of the deployment zones.
He won the roll for sides, and gave me the zone with the trees. It had been a gamble, but with my smaller army, the broken deployment zone didn’t really phase me. I would just be fighting at an oblique.
He deployed by placing a single cannon on each of the two hills. Next he placed the STank and Altar together right in the center of his lines, with unbreakable Flagellants on either side. The swordsmen and their attendant BSB were deployed to my left flank- where there were no trees. The greatswords were placed alongside them, on the extreme flank. I think he might have been trying for something of a refused flank, he placed his knights on my right side.
I deployed my army widely spread throughout my entire deployment zone, ignoring the trees entirely and placing regiments within the woods with impunity. This was somewhat baffling to him, as he hadn’t played against Vampires before.
My first Ghoul regiment was placed on the farthest left flank. The second regiment of Ghouls was placed to their interior, and a regiment of Blood Knights with my book-keeper went behind the Ghouls. The Zombie regiment was placed in the center of my lines. All three regiments were located close enough to benefit from spells cast by the Book-keeper. The Zombies and first Ghoul regiment were within his march-radius. The second ghoul regiment was within march distance of my next regiment, the 9 Black Knights and General. The final regiment of Blood Knights was deployed on my rightmost flank. Both of these cavalry regiments were starting in the trees.
I think that his original tactic was going to be to swing the knights, stank, and chariots into my force, while the infantry held. The flagellants on the right flank would defend the right flank. I intended to throw a wrench in that plan. I was playing a refused flank of my own, sending my Ghouls and Zombies in as a baiting force against his anvil. If he took the bait and brought his flank around, I’d be able to line him up for charges with my Black Knights and right-flank Blood Knights and Periapt vampire. If he didn’t take the bait, those two regiments could easily deal with the Flaggies, while the zombies and central ghouls put up a suicidal barrier for my Blood Knights to charge his swordsmen and crush through them into the rear of his lines. VanHel’s Danse Macabre would be my most beneficial spell this game, as I needed to be able to spring a succession of surprising far-reaching charges.
Although I rolled highest, I gave him the first turn. Either of my tactics relied on reacting to his moves, so I wanted to be able to see what he would do...
Chatould sat astride his horse, peering through the haze that clung heavily to the branches even in the late afternoon. The battlefield was as silent as a crypt, only the muffled sounds from the Imperial lines disturbed his reverie. He glanced to his left, at Castille, and to his right at Alexandre. Both vampires nodded to him, and closed their visors. The Blood Knights around them were anxious but completely still. They watched the Imperial lines for any indication of movement. Chatould twitched at a sudden rumble in the distance. Two distinct thunderclaps. Only a second later, a cannonball whirred through the trees overhead, splintering one and raining shards onto his unfeeling skeletal knights. A second ball bounced, ploughing through a rank of screaming ghouls and blasting one of Castille’s knights from the saddle.
Chatould sat for a while longer, waiting for the Imperials to make some kind of move. Satisfied that they were going to stand as firm as stone, Chatould silently ordered his legion forward. The infantry double-timed into the face of the enemy. The zombies staggered and tripped forward, while ghouls loped alongside on all fours. Castille and his knights trotted behind them, while Chatould and Alexandre watched from the tree line. The Imperials hadn’t moved at all- he couldn’t spring either of his two traps just yet.
With a whispered incantation and a lazy circling of his finger, Castille brought his missing knight back to his feet, and Chatould assisted in calling forth more ghouls to fill in the casualties. The lone Bright Wizard across the field was overwhelmed by the onslaught of magical castings, and the army was brought to full strength once more.
Chatould watched his diversion force advance across the open field at Castille’s will. He had full faith in the martial pride of his champion, even if the man’s resolve seemed weak outside the battlefield. The Imperial shuffled uncomfortably, but still didn’t move. The cannons spoke out once again. This time, Chatould’s unnatural eyesight watched as a black iron round sailed through the air and embedded itself in the earth forest floor just in front of his regiment. The gunners were starting to dial him in. The other cannon fired towards Castille again, the shot landing short and smashing apart three unfortunate zombies.
A line of pure fire blazed out from the hilltop, and another from the front of the imperial lines. Musket shots thudded through shambling zombies and loping ghouls. Howls filled the air as ghouls were blasted from their feet. The zombies simply collapsed a twitched on the ground- blessed rounds.
A ripple pulsed faintly through the winds of magic, the bright wizard was trying to bring his own expertise to bear. Chatould laughed at the mortal failings, squashing the spell as easily as he would crush a troublesome insect.
Castille pushed his force further forwards, the ghouls loping forward, driven by his fiery will. The zombies shambled ahead slowly, too far away for him to command them onwards at any greater speed. His knights galloped along behind the slower infantry. Chatould finally waved his own element forward, sauntering out from the trees alongside Alexandre’s cohort of knights.
Incantations of power completely twisted the winds of magic, threatening to drown the bright mage. The fallen ghouls were quietly replaced from skulking degenerates at the battle’s edge. Eying the nearby cannon warily, Chatould and Alexandre pulled a fresh company of zombies from the tortured earth. The limping horde faced down the cannon with moans and grunts, hungry for living flesh.
The gunners across the battlefield reloaded their charges with trembling fingers, looking nervously towards the Priest and the steaming bulk of the Tank that the engineers had sent to them. With a groan the hulking machine rolled forward towards the flank of the advancing ghouls. With a shouted prayer on his lips, their Priest-general rolled forward in his chariot. A cheer went through the Imperial lines to see the two great warmachines charging forward.
Magic lashed out from the Altar’s Griffon and from the lone wizard. Both spells appeared as flashed of brightness in the setting sun, but were drowned out by the shadow that seemed to creep ever onwards above the heads of the Undead.
Bullets and cannon still worked even in the bleakest of nights however. The piercing shot landed all around Castille and his men, pulverizing a rank of zombies, shattering some of the ghouls, and knocking another knight from the saddle.
With roar, Castille drove his ghouls before him into the gunfire. They were at the very edge of the imperial line, his knights following behind. Chatould and Alexander galloped forward at full tilt. Chatould had torn his helmet off, and grinned with the mad leer of a sadist. His trap was sprung. The skies overhead darkened with storm-clouds tinted gory red by the setting sun. Magic whipped through the air and suddenly Alexandre and Chatould’s knights were propelled headlong towards the tank and altar, while Castille’s ghouls went tumbling into the Imperial regiments. From the hilltop, one regiment of handgunners was able to pelt the charging ghouls with lead shot, but the other was caught entirely off guard as the charging ghouls crashed into their reloading lines.
The Imperial lines were suddenly awash with blood and panicked, terrified men. On the right flank, the massive iron hull of the tank was pierced by lances and sword cuts from Alexandre and his attending knights. The only small victory is that the crew was likely dead by impalement before the gashed steam boiler vented into the hull of the tank, flooding it with scalding water that boiled flesh off the bone. The proud tank shuddered and hissed its dying breath, then fell silent. The knights surged around the smoking hull with a roaring cheer, and crashed into the mass of crazed flagellants.
Chatould smashed into the flank of the charging Knights. His mind fluttered into unconsciousness as his bloodlust overtook him. In a mad orgy of slaughter, he and his regiment demolished the brave knights before they could even raise a blade. Chatould’s gory exultations carried him screaming into the flank of the Arch Lector’s war altar.
The ghouls were frenziedly tearing apart the handgunners with their filthy claws, or crushing armor and bone with crude stone weapons. The handgunners were slain almost to a man, and the handful of survivors quickly fled from their twisted assailants. The ghouls gibbered with hunger and madness and charged after them, smashing headlong into the serried ranks of spears behind the handgunners.
The ghouls facing down the Greatswords had a harder fight at hand. The Greatsword’s regiment of free company wheeled in and counter charged, slamming into the ghoul’s exposed flank. The savages were caught off guard, but still managed to drag three greatswordsmen and two militiamen screaming to the ground. Six ghouls were killed in return. The ghouls were rattled by the flank charge, and Castille kicked four of the beasts aside as they attempted to sneak away from the field.
Now the Imperial line was in shambles. Individual battles had engulfed entire brigades. The handgunners continued their flight, running from the battlefield altogether. The flagellants, hearing the screams and the smelling the myriad scents of true battle, thought that the end times had arrived, but couldn’t find a route into the battle. They were blocked off by the gilded flank of the Altar and the shouting, jostling mass of spearmen. They could only turn to prepare for either of those regiments to break, so that they could hold off the enemy if they got through. The spearmen’s detachment of militia troops was likewise left cursing and blundering as they watched their parent regiment fight for its life against the slavering ghouls.
Once more, the Bright magic that should have coursed over the battlefield was consumed by the darkness. Wizards vented their frustration as the vampires cackled in their bloody triumph.
A cannonball scorched through the ranks of the newly risen zombies, trying to slay the shambling mob before the gun was overrun. A terrific explosion lit up the sky and dazzled the fighters on the plains below as the left cannon destroyed itself in a fireball of molten steal. The crew rained down over the battle as a fine dusting of gore, leaving the vampires and ghouls ecstatic, but only adding to the horror of the scene for the living troops.
In combat, the BloodKnights took a bloody toll from the Flagellants, leaving all but two of them broken under hoof and booted foot. Those two crazed lunatics held their ground all the same, striking back and wounding Alexandre.
Chatould bore down on the Arch Lector with a vengeance. Lances thudded through the heavy wood on the side of the chariot, while Chatould lashed out with his sword, bringing down the steeds and leaping onto the back of the chariot itself. The Arch Lector stood no chance against the raging vampire, and giving his soul to Sigmar, he fought to his dying breath. Victorious, Chatould and his knights surged across the battlefield once more, but stumbled into the backs of Alexandre’s squadron, and couldn’t join battle.
Instead, the vampire lord bent his will towards the ghouls fighting against the spearmen. The ghouls suddenly gained a glimmer of malicious intent that far belied their own, and their assault was relentless. All around the army standard bearer, spearmen were hacked to ribbons or poisoned by the encrusted grave filth on the claws of their cannibalistic assailants. The standard bearer himself cut down the single ghoul who had turned its cruel intentions towards him, and his small victory was just enough to save his regiment. Suddenly finding themselves at the mercy of raving ghouls, the spear regiment wavered but then held fast.
The greatswords were against dealt a cruel blow by the ghouls, who tore down three more of their number. It was not enough to claim victory for the ghouls however, who were in turn cut apart by militia and vengeful house guard. Once more, Castille found himself lashing out at the cowardly degenerates who tried to escape.
Now Castille had a target though. He found himself swept up in the exuberant charge of his frenzied Blood Knights as they crashed into the side of the militia regiment. Chatould turned his own attentions towards the enemy wizard, leaving his regiment and threading through the carnage towards the enemy caster. Magic brought back a handful of the ghouls as they floundered, and Alexandre cruelly raised a mob of zombies behind the enemy army, to round up any troops who might think of fleeing the field. Chatould lent his magical skill to speed the attack of his ghouls, imploring them to attack before they could be set upon by spears or milita.
Once more there was blood in the air as the brutal close combat continued. Alexandre cut down the last two of the flagellants personally, and cast about for fresh enemies. Like so many of the regiments on the field however, he was caught on the edge of the fighting and could not press through to any enemy forces.
Chatould unleashed the power of his crown upon the ghouls fighting the spears once more. Now the beasts became a true threat, striking with uncanny accuracy and speed, hacking down eight of the spearmen with no return damage. Despite their army standard being in the thick of the fight, the spears had had enough and fled from the battle. Turning away, they fled straight over Chatould, and into the mob of zombies, who tore them asunder and scattered them utterly. With a corpse in each hand, Chatould laughed madly, his voice booming over the battlefield. The ghouls were quelled by the sight of their joyous master, and did not pursue the fleeing meal.
Castille’s charge against the militia had a similar effect, while the ghouls struck out before the militia men could attack. The militia regiment collapsed inward and fled. Seeing their detachment break and flee, the greatswords also turned and ran. They fled through the detachment of free company that had been attached to their spears, and both regiments became entangled as a fleeing mob. They crashed into the zombies and scattered in a panic.
All that remained of the once glorious army was a lone wizard, a regiment of hangunners, and a single cannon. The troops hastily turned and fled, hunted through the night by Alexandre and Chatould, and the regiments of blood knights.
Left alone among the carnage and the army of ghouls and wights, Castille offered up a prayer to no gods in particular, begging forgiveness for his crimes on this night. He dismissed the army, the ghouls slinking back to their shadowy lairs, zombies crumbling back to the dirt, and the Wights beginning the long march back to Araby to guard the castle of their lord. The immortal knight cut a solitary figure amidst a field of butchered bodies waiting silently for his master to return.
Real nice touch to an army list. From reading it looked like what died just stood back up and i wouldve been terrified and pissed if i were the empire XD. Might i ask how you rolled through a stank in 1 turn XD?
I didn't manage to stand everything back up throughout the game. He didn't have a lot of shooting though, so on my way in, I wasn't taking many casualties. When he targeted most of his army at my lead Ghouls, I took a heavy pounding that even made me think twice about pressing that attack. I just didn't take note of the numbers of models killed and raised, so I guess it could seem that I was actually recuperating all of my losses.
As for rolling through the tank:
I hit it with the following profiles--
16S7, WS5 attacks
3S5, WS6 attacks
11S4, WS3 attacks
I was surprised that I rolled through the tank so cleanly. I expected to do a lot of initial damage, but then still have to finish it off on a subsequent turn, or to have it take its final wounds while generating SP to fight me. The tank was only T6, and by the time the armor save was modified, it was saving on a 5+ with a massive 10wounds on its profile. I barely scraped 11 wounds off it with a total of 30 attacks. We both sort of looked at each other and shrugged.
He was a good player, but he found himself really hamstrung by his armybook and the choices that I brought against him. Losing the tank so fast is what made the difference between a Massacre and a standard Victory. If the tank had held, he would have been able to counter-attack with the Flagellants when I overran into his altar. Although he would have probably still lost his WarAltar, he would've likely beaten my knights in combat, and tied down or even killed my general. It would seem a simple general-for-a-general, but I would've begun to crumble at that point and the game would be over.
I think I'm going to have a rematch against him later with one of my other armies. Not HE, as they aren't much more fair than the VC, but perhaps WoC infantry or my dusty Wood Elves.
Haha i forgot Bloodknight were frenzied(plz dont laugh at me XD) Ya now i can see how you killed it. Great report and will love to read more. Maybe add some pics in here and there showing models or movement. Rep for you story BR
I tend to agree Capt that the player hampered himself, but I wouldn't blame the army book. Not taking VHS was one error, and not going all or nothing on teh combat front or the magic front was the other - insufficient power dice meant that Bright wizard was really only useful as a scroll caddy and the odd hopeful magic missile.
Also his small squadron of cavalry was utterly doomed, he obviously tried to approach them from a frontal
Cannonry - was he engaging your forces in enfilade or head-on?
Same with the knights - its a shame he didn't have any light cav to reroute through your ghoul lines and redirect the blood knights - whilst shooting either they or the black knights down.
The way he envisioned the game (I think) was to run a refused flank. On my left, he was trying to hold with his infantry, while his right side was going to run combined charges into my ghoul's right flank as I advanced.
He was deployed at the center of the table though, so I could've easily just deployed my fast-movers to flank his anvils. I just knew that I could move faster than he does, and that cavalry versus cavalry usually swings to whoever gets the charge.
I was deployed off-center because of the terrain, I wanted all my ghouls in an open area. Much of my right side was woodland, with a cannon in enfilade on a hilltop. The cannon on my left flank would have been firing at an angle as well, I had deployed centrally. Instead, I was advancing at a steep enough angle that it was firing through my ranks head-on. The cannons were scary, as they usually scythed down several of my infantry. Shots at my cavalry were unfortunately, few and far between.
Knights to have rerouted my BKs would have been a disaster for me. I'm worried about other armies like Dark Elves who can field great regiments for redirection, and that's why I probably wouldn't ever run this as a tournament list. It can be utterly devastating for some enemies, but other foes would just crush it by tying up all of my vampires in useless baited charges.
His most common foe is a dwarf player, so his list wasn't prepared to handle an army like the Vampires. He apparently has success against my friend's dwarves, probably by way of the STank, and the fact that neither player went fully 'gunline'. My Vampires easily overran his casting phase, and the cavalry element of my army made the game advance too fast. One moment I was waiting patiently in the trees, and the next moment I was on top of him.
I think that the next time I play him, I'm going to use infantry-based Warriors. That should even the odds a bit, plus I gave him tips and pointers to expanding his army after we played.
He really ought to try and get some pistoliers, who are absolutely excellent and possibly teh second best fast cavalry in teh game due to their weight of fire...
I have a 'for fun' Empire army based on the Irish. Nothing as heavy as his list. I suggested he look into Pistoliers as well, and to definitely get a VHS onto a character.
The best advice (i think) that I gave him, was to be a little more realistic with his plans. Running a refused flank is a great ploy, and is underused in a lot of warhammer games imo. However, you should always assume that your opponent is smart enough to understand the trick. He was counting on me just running right up the middle. I told him that he needed to be more careful with deployment, so that he doesn't have regiments tripping over eachother (really hurt him when the charges hit: he had 15 Free Co. and 10 Flaggies just staring dumbstruck).
I'm going to play him again soon, on a day when I've got time to play a game against him, and my dwarf friend. I'll put up at least the Empire report in this thread. I'm planning on swapping out and using my Infantry WoC list that I hate so much. Or do you think I should use my VC again to see if he's learned anything?
I would ask him if he wants to play the Vampires again. He may have been demoralised by the loss and think that the list is broken or whatever. Doesn't sound like that sort of a player but who knows.
Playing again gives him the opportunity to adapt his tactics and list to cope a little bit better.
There is nothing more frustrating than planning on facing one army and having a totally different army show up, especially if it is after a bit of a hiding. I think it is more fun long term to let your opponent learn to play one list, when I get smashed (or beaten) by a particular list I always want a "do-over" game to try and fix my mistakes.
I like to beleive that every list can beat every other list, as long as they are played correctly, I know that it isn't exactly true but I try and stick to it.