Romans! Thousands of them!
Romans! Thousands of them!
Second up in the SELWG league was a game against George’s Kingdom of Men. KOM were the first army i used when starting out in KoW a year or so ago when i was using my old GW Dogs of War. I was pretty hopeless and it took me a while to get to grips with before trying out Abyssals and moving on with them. I was keen to see what they would do in a the hands of a better general. A brief note on George’s army and list, it’s a lovely set of Romans based on legionnaires and cavalry which looks amazing and fits very well fluff wise as they have few missile troops and blocks of rock hard infantry. I was pretty worried about trying to chew through all that de5 nerve if they got anywhere near objectives.
Deployment and scenario
The scenario was Scavenge....again. I rolled up on the terrain table and got a building, two woods and two forests. We rolled up for who would place first as per the instructions. George got to place....a house in the middle of the battlefield. We each placed a hill and a forest. Amusingly the layout looks very similar to last time. The hill to my right was wooded. Even the tokens being placed in the same areas. It’s a bit sparse and while technically a tactical set of terrain I feel its a little dull.
I deployed the bulk of my infantry in the centre aiming for the middle objective with a flanking, faster force on the left flank. The Romans were arrayed with a solid line of infantry, a unit of shield wall in reserve, heavy cav on their left and light cav on the right. The redeployment of The Captain allowed the lighter horsemen to be shifted about. I was out dropped so knew I wouldn’t get to close where to face up against the horde of knights so just had to hope I could deal with them. The intention was to race and hold the centre, smash the left and hold off the right as best I could. The woods should provide hindered charges and make it hard to get look off my larvae etc. I rolled to go first and off I went.
Abyssal Turn 1
The archfiend tried to repeat the trick from last game to get into the backfield and raced for the centre. Everything else thrust forward the infantry racing for the cover of the trees with the fleshlings heading off to receive the inevitable charge of the horsemen. My fast flank hoped to smash through the light cavalry and swing into the infantry as soon as possible. The temptress with little to do chanted an incantation and a nimbus light appeared around the winged Abyssal daemon increasing the effect of his spells. My Archfiend muttered and static filled the air between the central infantry block and himself splitting into a sheet of blue lightning resulting in first blood.
With a braying of long horns and the rhythmic stamp of feet the legions advanced. All the infantry rolled forward with the right flank turning to face the floating Souls wailing in front of them. The light cavalry spurred their mounted, lowered their lances and thundered towards the abyssal champion who had spearheaded the daemon advance. Way out on the edges of the battlefield the horse archers turned and fled hoping to draw the ravening hordes on. With no shooting the only combat resulted in the champion being wounded, stripping his ability to fly.
Abyssal Turn 2
The abyssal cavalry couldn’t resist the flank of their fairer mounted opposition and crashed home. The winged champion, although grounded was still fast and shot through to the back of the tight grim faced ranks. The Archfiend claimed a loot token, instantly dropped it and launched a frenzied charge into the exposed Sage resplendent in his white robes. The larvae slithered forward and picked up the one available loot. The plan was for them to just sit tight with the building protecting their flank and use the abyssals and fleshlings to deal with the attacks until relieved by the faster section. The Lower Abyssals moved up to protect their loot laden chums and the fleshlings, keen to prove their worth to their dark masters, ran howling towards the onrushing sea of knights. The temptress looked to the heavens canting ancient words and drawing on the glowing crown atop her brow. She thrust her palms forward towards the horde she was facing, forcing them back out of the woods and out of useful range. Chroneas moved forward and enveloped the knights in fire.
The horsemen smashed their foe and remained stationary. Stalling their snarling mounts as they began to feast on corpses. The confident winged daemon crashed into the Sage but to his horror and despite wounding him greviously he stood firm. This left the fiend exposed in the centre, having bounced back the 1” away from his combatant.
Romans Turn 2
The horse archers turned and prepared to fire on their opposite numbers. The infantry blocks all held firm except the shield wall who sought revenge for the lightning that had wounded them and piled into the unprotected flank of the Archfiend. The knights lowered their lances and stampeded into the fleshlings.
The archers peppered the Abyssal horsemen and lightly wounded them. Despite getting 50 attacks on the Archfiend, with the thick undergrowth hindering them it only resulted in 4 wounds. The knights smashed a bloody smear of the fleshlings easily wiping them out and lined up to continue their glorious ride into battle.
Much of the battlefield on the Roman right was in standoff waiting for one one make the first move while their right moving ominously towards the abyssal lines and threatening to overrun them. If the knights could smash through the thin blue line they would be ready to roll up the flank and claim objectives at will.
Abyssal Turn 3
The standoff on the left flank continued with nothing moving except the tortured souls who broke ranks and assaulted the sage who had held up the Archfiend. The archfiend flew into the shield wall hoping that the tortured souls could overrun to assist having wiped out the sage. The Lower Abyssals decided all they could manage would be to try and tie the wounded knights up stripping their thunderous charge and blunting them to last two rounds of combat. Crucially the Captain in his Wiley way had moved behind the infantry block that was forced back last turn and prevented them being moved. There was an option to move the unit sideways but either way would expose the larvae flank. She decided to throw herself into battle hoping ensnare would assist. The winged champion flew into the army standard hoping to shut down any source of inspiring. Although a target there was no use in the larvae charging the shield wall flank. Despite the 60 attacks they would get, they would be hitting on 7s due to the woods and hence unable to achieve anything.
Chroneas fired upon the light cavalry behind the knights and despite them being battered and bruised, when the conflagration had subsided they remained blackened but understandably wavered. The Lower Abyssals stripped yet more wounds form the knights but could not rout them. The temptress achieved little and bounced back. The tortured souls ripped into the Sage but the Stubborn old man furrowed his brow, drawing on his faith against the odds and stood firm with a double 1. Without the assistance from the souls the Archfiend ripped limbs from bodies but the wounds were not enough to trouble the unit. The winged champion’s blade and claws thrust back and forth and although wounded the standard stood proud and grim faced.
Romans Turn 3
The archfiend was continuously held up and the shield wall he was facing went again. The standoff on the right continued and the reserves began to commit themselves to help resolve it by charging the exposed flank of the tortured souls. The abyssal line was thinning before their eyes and still the flank with the fast attack units was not committing so the infantry took their chance. They rushed for the objective, pivoting to ensure they were within 3” to contest it. The knights struck back against the Lower Abyssals and the infantry launched themselves against the fair maiden in front of them.
As little had happened, the horse archers again fired on the cavalry damaging them slightly. The tortoured souls predictably were ripped apart by the onrushing shield wall. Their brethren faired better tearing great gashes in the Archfiend’s ancient daemonic flesh, yet he stayed in the fight eager to seek his revenge. The foot guard battered the temptress but she remained stalwart. Crucially I made a mistake. If I had just left her 1” from the unit they would be ensnared AND hindered. As it was they were only ensnared so the 4+ rather than 5+ played a big part. Clearly the knights had been long on the training grounds and buoyed by how easily they brushed the fleshlings aside they proceeded to smash the their opponents in a single charge despite having lost their thunderous charge! This was a big blow as they along with the infantry were now in prime position to claim the flank and have free reign of the loot now the lower abyssals had been wiped out.
Although the abyssals were still 1-0 up loot the tables were starting to turn as they began running out of units to marshal their defences.
Things on the right were not going well, nor in the centre and the left flank were somewhat daftly standing off against their foe worried about not being able to take a unit out in single charge. The Abyssal Cavalry tried to reposition by taking the extreme flank and the gargoyles went after the horse archers to stop them threatening. With little chance of breaking a unit in a change the remaining tortured souls made use of their nimble and repositioned to contest the objective and threaten the flank. The archfiend continued the too and fro in the centre. The temptress was disordered so unable to cast spells. She had little to do but go back into the infantry to stop them charging the larvae who reversed to try and stop exposing their flank. However, this time she stood her ground ensuring they were hindered. Chroneas advanced on the knights, knowing that with a fair amount of damage sustained it had a fair chance of routing them in a round of shooting.
Chroneas let rip at the knights, the air filling with smoke and fire. As the black fog and soot blew away the knights emerged blackened but crucially not defeated. They were however hindered, still with a chance of getting a charge off due to their headstrong.
The archfiend continued his fruitless assault, ideally suited more to assisted charges or more exposed attacks on the flanks he only succeeded in wavering the doughty humans. Due to his position there was little else he could do while unable to fly. The gargoyles flapped with bluster and intent but only managed to waver the horsemen.
The abyssal line was thinning before their eyes and still the flank with the fast attack units was not committing so the infantry took their chance. They faced up to the tortured souls to force the issue. The reserve foot guard went back into the champion and with the foot guard wavered the archfiend finally spent a turn out of combat. Again combat ensued with the tempretess to try and finally wipe out the remnants of the abyssals on that side of the board. With much praying to Mars the knights passed their headstrong test and rammed home into Chroneas.
More plinky shooting from the horsemen clattered into the horsemen annoying them. Having stood regimentally in the centre of the board and seeing off all comers the Roman Sage muttered casually and cast a handful of fireballs at the stranded archfiend. As they struck home the mortally wounded foe collapsed almost out of indignation at the concept. With a curt nod at what he had achieved the sage surveyed the battlefield for his next move.
The abyssal champion kept being slapped about but the temptress met her match. The knights relentless advance was finally halted by the manipulator of time a despite ripping into the chroneas it stood firm.
The field was strewn with the corpses of the abyss whereas hardly a dead plate clad Italian was to be seen. As they had little to do the gargoyles charged back into the archers desperate to achieve something. The horsemen realising it was late in the day spurred their steeds and desperately tried to head back into the battle. The Tortured souls couldn’t manoeuvre to continue to contest the objective so their only hope was to charge and break the infantry in front of them. Moving away would just gift the loot. Chroneas’s only option was to try and flame the knights and try to reposition to take the other objective
Finally the gargoyles took out the horsemen and repositioned to face the centre. The chroneas finally sent the knights to a grave of cinders but was now facing the remaining infantry block. Predictably the tortured souls bounced off the foot guard.
The roman line reshuffled to face their foe and advanced where they could. The standard bearer repositioned to prevent the charge of the cavalry into the exposed legionaries. Crucially the foot guard moved up onto the objective ensuring they would get look next turn as they had nothing contesting it. The charge against the tortured souls struck home and saw them off with an exact rout roll. This effectively secured the objective as there was no abyssal unit that could get near enough to contest.
The sage meandered around and cast some fireballs at the larvae achieving little.
The only way to achieve. A win would be for a turn 7. The only way to get a draw would be a lot of luck.
Too late the cavalry they had achieved nothing. They cantered into the battle standard bearer to at least allow them to get closer to the foe. Choneas’ only chance was to get incredibly lucky and barbecue the foot guard who had the loot in front of it and hope that the horsemen behind him forgot to pick up the goodies. The gargoyles moved up with the cavalry hoping that they could combine a long shot charge. Throwing more long shots into the mix the abyssal champion raced over to the unit who had just finished off the tortured souls.
Chroneas did a fair amount but not enough to break the infantry. The abyssal champion despite being a thorn in the side swung and swung against the loot carrying foot guard but 5 attacks was not going to achieve a lot. The battle standard played his part and died gloriously stalling the horsemen’s advance. Everything was set up for a last ditch to try and wrestle a win if there was a turn 7.
The light cavalry took their chance to avenge the death of their heavily armoured kin and jointly charged the Chroneas with the foot guard. More manoeuvring to prevent access to the loot was achieved and the abyssal champion came under attack relentlessly.
Chroneas finally fell beneath hooves and stabbing short swords and the abyssal champion gave in and fell.
The roll for turn 7 came and went. The battle was over. Having suffered barely any unit casualties the Romans had won 2-1
George played really well blocking out and had a plan from the outset, even with a printed version of my list scrawled over in notes. His army looked glorious on the field and the pop he has on his painting really makes it stand out. It was a lovely theme holding it together and it really goes to show how powerful mass blocks of infantry can be.
I think I was definitely in with a chance of winning and think I made some pretty key mistakes. Namely I didnt follow my plan! Yes there were some insane dice rolls on the nerve checks (a certain sage comes to mind) but I should have mitigated these. It was a great, massively tense game that felt seriously hard work by the time we’d finished. To summarise daft stuff I did:
Charging the sage with my Archfiend
It was not a dead cert with 9 attacks and by better positioning I could have just lightning bolted for the same hope of success and threatened the backfield the following turn. Getting the archfiend bogged down was a real pain.
Not holding back the temptress
I should have probably bane chanted the Lower Abyssals or at least moved out of the way rather than throwing her at the foot guard. Either way the -2me rather than -1 could have proved crucial. Her wind blast on objective games is devastating and I should have made more use.
Not committing against the infantry with my fast attack
There was enough force for me to tie up one infantry unit and pile everything against the second on my left. I was so worried about not breaking units that i just hung about doing nothing. Get up there. Get in combat. It’s their job.
Not doing the speed and drop tactic
I should have done the same with my cavalry like i did with my Archfiend. With pathfinder and a big base I could have moved up to contest then just dropped onto some Tortured souls. Straight away i would have been 2-0 up and in control.
I’ve got full paint scores, a win and a loss but haven’t been able to pick up bonus points for game completion before given dates so I may struggle to progress out of the group stage of the league this year. If George does meet his match i may stand a chance of sneaking in but we shall see. I’ll need to be seeing off a shooty elf list, a fly heavy Basileans and an late submission Herd list.
I’m out and a bout a fair amount too so will be having to spread my time between Blood Bowl and KoW for gaming. In the mean time I’ll be trying to complete my Bretonnians and monopose figs for fun.