Andy (Empire of Sonnestal) vs Rob (Orcs and Goblins)
So, the Vale Renegades The 9th Age League is underway and I thought it would be good to do battle reports on my games this year.
The army taking on my Orcs and Goblin Hordes is Andy with his Empire of Sonnestal.
I think Andy won’t mind in saying that both are not looking at the Division 1 table with any hope of a high finish and games between the two of us, in the past, have usually been close affairs with the result coming down to a couple of key moments. (This one was no different)
We had also played each other the week before the league with very similar lists and the game although not close (20-0 win to Andy) meant both of us knew the capabilities of each other’s armies. Lists can be found on the Vale Renegades website (http://vale-renegades.weebly.com/the-ninth-age-battle-league.html)
So as per the league pack we were playing Dawn Attack. This meant a diagonal deployment and the secondary objective as breakthrough. (remember this it plays a key role later)
We rolled for map and got General Map 12.
My thoughts behind this were that with my superior shooting at long range, I would be able to hide my war machines in the ruins and the forest and pick off the empires key units. Also with my recent issues with hills I thought it best to stay away. The hill on the top left however did give me a good place to hide my pump wagon.
We then rolled for spells and I rolled as best I could. I got Pyro Flow, Flaming Sword and Scorching Salvo. Although Andy’s army are mostly high armour save I was confident that my mage could make an impact on the empire support troops.
Andy rolled and got pretty much all the spells on Divination. This mixed in with his prayers and bound spells meant most of his deployment zone was taken up with the cards for all the toys he had to play with. We both had +3 to cast so I thought this would be an even area of the game. (how wrong I was)
With me choosing sides Andy first placed a single unit of non-skirmish militia on the right-hand side of his deployment zone.
After facing Andy the week before I knew that I stood the best chance by having the first turn as with the massive amounts of strength 4 AP1 shooting the empire army had, I thought it best to try (strong word) to reduce this somewhat.
I dropped everything and elected to go first. Andy then proceeded to load his left flank positioning his deadly reiters on the far left and his squishy light troops flanked by his knight bus and griffon knights just inside.
Neither of us vanguarded or scouted as due to the deployment type and large number of units our options were limited.
With a customary hand shake and an orc bellow the orcs lurched forward. Well kind of. My Iron orcs, gnasher dashers and idol looked at what was near them and realising most of the cowardly empire had deployed on the other side of the board proceeded to ignore the small unit of militia nearby and start the foot slog across the board.
My goblin and orc archers (containing the pyro shaman) were out of range so shuffled forward to at least could target some of the empires lighter troops.
The pump wagon also bounced off the nearest goblin rider behind the hill with the aim to launch a surprise charge over the hill is the empire didn’t see the danger.
The magic phases started well with the shaman being able to get off both pyrocastic flow and scorching salvo. Although the empire mage managed to dispel one, the other proceeded to burn the unit of militia on the empires right flank. The militia feeling abandoned by their master proceeded to turn tail and run for it leaving the empires entire right flank empty. First blood to the orcs!!!
The shooting phase was less of an event the archers fired all 60 shots at the heavily armoured knights (only target in range)and did zero wounds (not surprising) but the artillery let loose on the arcane engine as its aura of distracting (from experience) makes mediocre empire knights into gods. Between both spear chukkas and doom divers 2 wounds were taken off leaving it with 3. (a start). Not great but not the end of the world. With no combat, it was the empires turn to show how men shoot.
Empire Turn 1
With the loss of his right flank the empire decided to ignore this and proceeded to take the orc right flank in exchange. The reiters spurred their mounts and ran to the far corner of the table enabling them to see the hidden units behind the hill. The rest of the empire line moved up cautiously preparing to charge in the upcoming turns.
The empire magic phase went (as most did in the whole game) with the wizard casting his full array of spells. With most being combat based, and with the orc shaman knowing that 2D6/3D6 hits wounding on 4+ spelt the end for the idol he resigned to stopping this. He therefore had to allow the arcane engine to be made a hard target meaning it was not so much of an easy target for the orc artillery next turn.
Once the wizard had had his fun it was then time for the empire to unleash its greatest asset, gunpowder. The reiters first unleashed all their shots on the poor pump wagon. Although this is only “90pts of awesome”, Andrew Lewis 2017, what it has in attack means that it stood no chance when faced with a wall of lead. With the pump wagon disappearing in a blaze of fire and blood it was too much for one of the goblin cowboys who decided to run for it. Initially I thought this was fine as my orc brain was telling me that he would run from the site of the pump wagons demise (towards centre of the board). Though after some rule book searching we found that he ran from the nearest enemy unit which was the knights and therefore off the board. Not the best of starts.
The empire then decided to compound the misery by hitting both goblin units with a mortar each and severely reducing their numbers. Once again combat was yet to be drawn so we proceeded on with turn 2.
The tertiary objective was won by the Orcs and Goblins. (It least that was something).
With the goblin cowboy in the face of the knight bus and no mad gitz in the way the charge was called. The goblin tried his hardest to apologise for his words and asked whether they could just be friends, this didn’t work.
The empire then declared a charge with the griffon knights into the flank of the night goblin archers on the right of the orc line preventing the rest of the empire army moving forward.
(Once a battle I seem to make a single decision that costs me a game. This is it.)
I looked at the board and with the goblins being 10” from the board edge and with a 9” head start I elected to flee. They rolled a 6 meaning they didn’t run off the table. Yay. The griffons then chose to redirect which I expected, what I didn’t expect was the target. I expected them to direct into the other goblin unit forcing them to flee also but instead Andy chose to charge the boar boys and the general through the gap that had been cleared by the fleeing goblins.
With the unit sitting 5” from the board edge I had to hold and my only hope was that he would not roll the 9” to complete. A 11 was rolled with swift stride and the orc general got his axe ready to take on the empires finest.
Finally, just to make the charge phase a complete success the now fleeing goblins were just in range of a unit of skirmish militia that declared a charge pushing the goblins off the board edge. Well that was not good.
With the rest of the movement phase the empire repositioned the rest of the units into the whole left my the rapidly disintegrating orc right flank.
The empire’s magic phase continued from the success of the movement phase. All spells were directed at the key combat between and the griffon knights and the general and his boar boy entourage. The orc shaman tried his hardest to prevent them but the empire dominance continued with the knights getting blessed with +2 WS and Initiative and re-rolls to hit.
The empire shooting was (thank god) all either out of range or missed so we moved quickly on to the combat phase.
The opening combat saw the goblin cowboy disappear in a spray of blood and spider legs as the empire cavalry smashed the little man for his insolence.
The act 2 was a closer affair. I looked at this combat with bated breath. With griffon knights striking first due to the spell they had to choose whether to fight the unit or try to kill the general. Andy elected to direct 1 griffon and 2 knights at the general and the rest on the unit. Average rolls would see the unit being destroyed easily and with the banner and charge would leave to a combat res. of 7 which even with the general doing the max wounds would leave the general with a Leadership 6 test with a re roll at best.
So, the dice were rolled and no wounds were done on the general. Andy then rolled for the attack on the unit. With 9 attacks from the griffons and 2 from the knights hitting on 3 with re rolls and then wounding on 3s meant the odds were in the empire favour. Dice were rolled and amazingly a single boar boy was left clutching his important banner. The orc general then swung back and killed a griffon from the unit. The combat score was worked out and the orc general was left with a Leadership 7 test with a re roll. Better than I could have hoped. A 11 was rolled then an 8 he ran!!!! The griffons ran him down and finished 1” from the board edge. FFS!!!! Turn 2 was over and the game was definitely going the same way as the previous encounter.
With the iron orcs securing 1 objective the Orcs won the Tertiary for turn 2.
Well that was not the plan. With my right flank massacred I looked to the left to save the day. The gnasher dashers declared a long charge on the nearest mortar but failed.
The rest of the left flank continued forward to form a line across the battlefield to pressurise the empires light troops in the later turns.
The magic phase, like those previous, did not do that much and only managed to take another wound off the arcane engine (2 left).
The shooting phase however was ready to step up to the plate. With the griffon knights now very close, the short-range target was too tempting of a target. The so far ineffectual spear chukkas fired both bolts hit and managed to kill a whole griffon reducing them to 2 models. However, men are men and these had had enough to just ran from the hills, therefore somewhat avenging the loss of the their general. (clutching at straws I know)
The git launchers then turned on the knight bus and killed another 3 knights reducing their number to 6 plus the characters. (Getting there)
Once again there was no combat.
Empire Turn 3
With the loss of the griffon knights the empires movement was used mainly to position the knights and light infantry to form a battle line across to face the orcs ready for round 2 of the game.
The reiters deciding that the greenskin artillery were biggest threat, so moved up to try and remove the menace.
With no units in combat the magic phase achieved nothing except the severely wounded arcane engine gaining hard target again to protect it from any artillery that remained after the might of empire shooting had been unleashed. Importantly the greenskin shaman prevented the wizard giving any of the reiters re-rolls to hit.
With the lack of rerolls on the reiters shooting and the combination of moving and the cover provided by the ruins meant only 4 of the 60 shots hit the nearest spear chukka and only 2 of these wounding leaving a lone wound on the machine.
Finally, with no combat again the turn ended and the orcs for the third turn in a row took the tertiary objective.
Orc and Goblin Turn 4
That was better. Although I had lost my general the knight bus was severely reduced and as long as my artillery kept killing at the rate it was, and luck was with me I was hopeful of salvaging something from this game.
The gnasher dashers this time made their charge into the nearest mortar to hopefully silence it forever, and if my luck held overrun to get the second.
My focus the was on the danger the knight bus still presented. I therefore pushed my depleted remaining goblin unit into the face to see if they could do any better with their mad git than their cousins earlier.
The remaining movement saw rest of the orc line shuffle forward to close the gap a bit more to counter charge whatever was left of the empire troops following this turn.
A hopeful eye went on to the magic dice for this turn as with several the empire units on low wounds a high dice roll could mean that some of the empire troops may feel the burn. So as with bated breath a roll of a 1 and a 2 then an empire channel meant that the empire had nothing to worry about.
So, then it was time for the second instalment of Mad Git time and it was definitely a sequel as a 1 was rolled for number of hits on the knight bus and this failed to wound. UUURRRRRRGGGHGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!
The war machines also failed to have the success of earlier rounds with only removing 4 of the reiters from a unit and further reduce the knight bus by another 2 models allowing the characters to finally be targeted, but alas this was at the point where the orcs ran out of things to shoot.
The only combat saw the gnasher dashers gobble the mortar crew up and proceed to roll enough to over run into the second crew. A small ray of light in what was a disappointing turn for the greenskins.
Empire Turn 4
The empire breathed a big sigh of relief. Although the empire was definitely ahead at this point, it was still not a done thing. The orc artillery had left its mark on the empire armies main units and 2 units and an Idol were still unscathed and hungry to avenge their general.
With not much option the knight bus charged the goblins in front of them. The reiters moved up to get within point blank range of the artillery to improve their chances to remove them once and for all.
The militia looked at the idol bearing down on them and moved to get away but with the none skirmishing militia being without a musician their manoeuvrability was greatly hindered.
The empire magic and shooting phase was much like the previous one with very few spells being cast and the ruins offering just enough protection. The reiters managed to remove the last remaining wound on the spear chukka but after all the shots at the nearest git launcher it still had a single wound left.
The ruins were definitely playing their part.
The two combats went as expected. The Gnasher dashers again gobbled up the mortar team and the knights destroyed the goblins leaving only the musician and a little friend covered in the remains of their 20 mates. They ran and the knights chose to turn and face the orcs and idol that were threatening the empire infantry, and hope to survive another round of orc shooting.
The lack of scoring units near the tertiary objectives allowed the greenskins to win this again.
Things were still close and with the continued winning of the tertiary objective I had clawed 400 bonus points so far. I was also in a good position with both iron orc units being in scoring positions for the secondary objective and the empires not.
At this point I had a decision to make. My idol could charge the knight bus but with Andy’s general was likely to result in massacre unless backed up by the iron orcs. These however were out of comfortable charge range and without the general to use the waaarrrgh I did not want to risk it. Also with most of my artillery still intact I was confident to at least start being able to remove some of the characters that made the unit as deadly as it was.
So, the idol instead charged the militia unit which was also the other scoring unit. The unit fled and after a redirect onto the skirmishing militia these also elected to flee instead on facing certain death.
The Iron orcs positioned themselves inviting a charge from the Knights. The front unit bared Mikinoks totem that with their superior weapon skill meant that they would not be as easy a target as the goblins.
The orc bowmen (very little mention of these so far I know, they did nothing all game) now depleted moved to shoot the militia and the orc shaman moved out of the unit to avoid running if the unit decided to break after the empires next round of shooting.
The magic phase came and went a small victory was achieved as the second unit of skirmishing militia panicked after suffering 25% wounds and ran towards the table edge.
The shooting then had its chance to save the day and start killing the empire characters that so far had protected themselves with the lives of the knights.
A misfire taking the final wound and 2 misses meant that this chance came and went and the knights prepared to charge and make the orcs pay.
Empire Turn 5
It was make or break time now for the empire. With us not keeping a running score we were not that aware of how close it was. But with one of the empires two remaining scoring units running Andy new that he had to charge his knights into the iron orcs to prevent the greenskins winning the secondary objective.
The charge was called and battle was joined.
The three running empire units continued to run further deepening the empires need for the knights to save the day.
The magic phase however became a turning point and the empire wizard again bested his orc opponent. The shaman was unable to stop the wizard giving the knights +2WS and +2I and although the shaman dispelled distracting a single remaining dice allowed the priest to cast the turn defining prayer giving the unit a 5+ ward save.
The shooting phase saw the now depleted reiters were able to whittle the orcs down to 7 and although the passed their panic test they did not look good for the remaining turn.
The combat was the match of great weapons vs great weapons but although the characters were without their magic weapons the superior WS, ward save and my poor rolling swung the battle in the empires favour and although only 5 orcs died; the orcs broke and were run down. More importantly however, when measuring to see how far the knights overran it became apparent that I had left a millimetre of the other iron orc unit in the path of the overrun. Big mistake number 2.
The empire knights were also now contesting the tertiary objective so this round it was a draw.
That was a huge cock up. The first problem was threefold. Firstly, it prevented my iron orcs moving the 1 inch to get into a scoring position for the secondary objective if they survived. It also meant that the WS and ward save spells were still in play for the upcoming combat. Finally, the greenskins remaining artillery would also be unable to target the unit.
But I would try my best to grab as many points to reduce the scale of the now certain defeat.
The gnasher dashers charged the militia pushing them off the table edge. The Orc shaman re-positioned himself to hide behind the unit but also be as far from the doomed iron orcs as possible.
The idol with nothing to target stood resolute in the centre with nothing to do.
The magic and shooting tried to get as many points off the remaining empire units in range but alas got none.
Then the combat was a for gone conclusion. The iron orcs did have the opportunity to put 4 attacks at the now exposed Wizard (that had been so key to the empires victory) however. Sadly, they could only achieve 2 wounds and the ward save stopped one of these. Sigh.
The orcs broke and the knights turned to the what remained of the orc army.
Empire Turn 6
Victory was the Empires. But by how much? The general with a nod to his unit spurred his horse and charged out alone towards the exposed Shaman cowering behind his orc unit.
The skirmishers realising victory was theirs found their courage and stopped running.
Then it was Andy’s turn to make a big mistake. After a bit of deciding on what to do with his knight unit and a bit of measuring to ensure that he was within 6” of the tertiary objective he pointed his unit at the orc artillery to attempt to magic at least one off. (More on this to follow).
With another key magic phase in progress I had to decide on saving my git launcher or trying to prevent the general having re-rolls to hit on my shaman. I chose to help the shaman and the git launcher was blown from the board in a blaze of light.
The reiters finished off the orcs in a hail of bullets killing them to an orc.
The empire general then swung his mighty sonnestal wounding 3 times. The shamans regen save was able to prevent an instant death but with 1 wound and a rear charge it meant he was left with a re-roll 4 break test. This was failed and he was run down by the victorious general.
VICTORY FOR THE MIGHTY EMPIRE!!!!!!!
The dust then settled but I had seen Andy’s mistake during his movement phase. In any other game I would have pointed it out but this was a league game and I needed every point I could get.
In being so fixated on the tertiary objective Andy had forgotten about the secondary and not moved his knights into my deployment zone. To make things worse after the game he was able to find a spot where he could have achieved both. Mistakes: Rob 2 – 1 Andy.
But a great game.
Game 1 of the league done. So, what have I learnt about my list. Firstly, I didn’t go into this game with much hope. A 20-0 result in a mirror match did not fill me with much hope. My army does well against low armour troops not 1+ AS knights. My git launchers were stars and the one thing that did prevent a certain 20-0 result this time. Their ability to hit on a re-roll 4/5 is ridiculous. I would say it was broken but it is the only thing in the orc army book that is over powered. Therefore, I am not going to say it’s too bad I can only take 2 and they are still goblins.
I think I deployed ok and the option to drop was good. I misplayed my pump wagon and left it in the wind. If I had flanked it with the spider cowboys it would have given it some protection to the empire shooting.
My 2 main mistakes massively cost me the game. Not fleeing my goblins would have set up a counter charge for my general. Him charging into the griffon knights leads to a completely different outcome.
Then the mistake of leaving the chance of an over run was due to over confidence in my iron orcs to stand up to the empire knights. This I have learnt from. 13 Iron orcs are NOT the 24 that I usually play with.
But Andy’s mistake was just as key and it cost him 3 easy battle points. Making a certain 19-1 to a 16-4.
The one thing I was not expecting was the kicking I received every magic phase. I do think an argument could be made for the Empire being the strongest in the magic phase of any army in 9th age. The access to divination (one of the most powerful laws) that really counters the weaknesses of the empire. They also have access to thalmaturgy, pyro and alchemy!!!! Then coupled with the access bound spells and easy to cast prayers the overall effect gives them the ability to consistently give 1-2 key buffs that swing key parts of the game.
So next up I have Michels Beast Herds so hope to do another report for that.