The Pull of the Sea



Some say it makes you all powerful. 

Some that they don’t have access to it and it upsets them. 

A taxable commodity in a certain person’s ideal. 

I’ve seen requests for it to be banned and heard anecdotes of it giving people nightmares. 

Although I’ve used units that shamble before I’ve never either had access to, or chosen to double up shambling with surge.

My abyssals larvae legion were a great unit and performed exactly the function required of them. I never really felt the need to try and arrange their massive footprint for a flank surge so didn’t miss surge. I’ve had some water elementals in a couple of games for my fledgling Trident Realms army but never gone the whole hog. With the recent addition and assembly of a Ggreater Water Elemental I figured I’d go all in and try a surge Mythican, Siren, GWE and a horde of WE. I’ll aim to assess what I think and mull over whether I think it’s for me.

For the first time in a battle report I’m going to write me thoughts and preamble before the game to outline by strategy without it being discoloured by the murky (Thuul) ink of hindsight. I’ll be playing a spot of Vanguard and a game, maybe two, of KoW against some Northern Alliance and Varangur respectively. I’ve played a couple of games against Varangur before but only one Beta rules and one full rules game of Vanguard.

Army Selection

Although tempting to tailor a force to my opponent I don’t get a whole lot of casual games in these days so am targeting tournaments to get my KoW fix. That means I’m looking to build rounded lists to try out that can deal with most things and aren’t hideously skewed. We’re playing 1750 which is a step up from the 1k double list I played the other week and will just about squeeze the pips out of the options I have assembled and painted.

I’ve started off with my raiding party of the Thuul formation accompanied by two regiments of tidal swarm. This set of five units and a character provide a high number of attacks for clearing chaff and hordes and are cheap enough to be used as chaff for others if needed. The Mythican is a capable fighter and with his movement is very versatile. He gets bane chant to help out his octopus friends and surge. The regiment of Thuul get the hammer of measured force with their high move if they can threaten flanks I’ve found Thuul lethal.

Monsters up next and with no big flying monster access my 2 Knuckers provide the ability to hunt war machines, threaten flanks and stand off against things like dragons. Combined with the Thuul I’m hoping maneuverability is a winner. The Greater Water Elemental is a first outing and will team up with the other slightly slower units.

Forming the anchor of my army is a horde of Gigas, a horde of water elementals and the siren. The idea that these have high nerve and defence with some regen smattered about. The siren inspires and can top up wounds late in the game with drain life, great when adding them back to high de units. The Gigas get Maccwar’s potion of the caterpillar meaning everything in this mini battalion has pathfinder which is handy for marching to gain field position and with so few attacks keeping them at me3 is essential. The horde of elementals I’ve gone for the Banner of the Griffin. This will hopefully boost the GWE and Gigas for long enough. If the tidal swarm get deployed as chaff in front they’d also benefit. Although people say chaff is there to die as they are fearless and nimble I’m usually confident they can wriggle out of the way of needs be.

I like the cohesion in fluff top of this force. With the Thuul on one hand and a mass of water being shepherded by the siren on the other. it’s tempting to a lob in another horde of water elementals to take it to 2k. I’m secretly hoping that CoK19 has a formation using the water elementals and a greater water electable perhaps with brutal or something similar. It’d be very thematic.

The Cunning Plan

The deployment really sorts itself. The elementals, Gigas and siren will deploy together. If it’s a section control or dominate they’ll line up in the middle. The Thuul hit squad will react to what’s needed. With push or similar I’ll probably put tokens on the elements as they are still move 7 and if needed can be surged. I have a couple of cheap units that can also camp on objectives and deny areas if required.

I’ll be messing about pulling units forward with the siren and then trying to surge wherever possible just to make mistakes to learn from. The disordering will be not as handy against a more combat focused force but the TC stripping will help.

The Lists


 

Initial Thoughts

I'll be hoping to chaff up the bigger hitting units such as the fallen, mounted sons and Sons with a combination of tidal swarm and tying up with the Elemetnals. Meanwhile the Knuckers can plan to work in a tag team against Magnilde and the Skald to snipe them. The archers I'm hoping to disorder where possible using the siren but 10 shots on 4+ with all my stealthy I am not as worried about. There isn't a heap of hide around which is nice.

Scenario and Deployment

We actually decided to play a game of Vanguard before hand with my Goblins and Louis' Northern Alliance and that it would directly affect the outcome of the main  battle. As a certain Mr Renton appears to be addicted to it and we had a painted model we decided on Light the beacon with me being defender and Louis attacking. I'll write up the battle report for that at a later date. If you want to know what effect it has you may be best waiting for the (as yet non existent) Vanguard report. 

***Spolier Alert***

I won the battle so get to "Delay" two of the Varangur units by forcing them to only perform a halt action on their first turn. You can see that report Here.

***Spoiler Over***

We initially rolled up Secure the filed but with only one piece of terrain to pick from each we binned it, re rolled and got eliminate. The six bounties were on:

  • Greater Water Elemental
  • Horde of Water Elementals
  • Gigas
  • Mounted Sons of Korgan
  • Fallen Horde
  • Sons of Korgan on Foot

This as often happens meant that all our big hitting units were going to need to be protected while still trying to thump stuff. 

I deployed with my Gigas cowering in some woods along with some Tidal Swarm Body guard and the bulk of my infantry spread across the middle with the GWE to anchor one flank and the Thuul regiment on the other with their hammer. I hoped that the way the impassable ruins were laid I could move up on the objective and use them to guard my flanks. The last to place were my Knuckers on the flank. As I knew I could delay two units I chose the knights and large warband horde in the centre. 

The Varangur deployed in the centre with their faster cavalry, Fallen and dogs on either flank. 


Turn One TR 0 - 0 VAR

I won the first turn and raced my Knuckers up to make use of the stranded knights, knowing they could do nothing and threatening their flank. The remainder of my force curiously moved forward with the Thuul moving to face the threat of the Fallen. 
The Varangur mostly stood steady sending their tundra wolves out in front to pin units down. The archers took shots along with the Skald's lightning and wounding the central unit of tidal swarms. 


Turn Two TR 0 - 0 VAR

Choosing not to take the chance on the knights the Knuckers re positioned to threaten the flanks and rear of a larger amount of the field. The rest of the line continued to move up and the Thuul re positioned again to receive the charge of the wolves on the TR Right flank. In order to stop them shooting and provide a screen against the Siren pulled the Poachers towards the GWE. 



The Poachers and dogs seized the initiative and headed for a bath by charging the the Greater Water Elemental in front of them. The same occurred on the other flank with the dogs and Fallen moving up on the Thuul. Magnilde flew over the field to begin threatening the backfield. The knights pivoted to face the Knuckers and prevent them getting a twin flank charge off on them. The mounted standard bearer rode up behind the poachers to play them a jolly tune and manged to Bane Chant them using the lute. More lightning bolts knocked some more damage off the Nerticans but none fled. In combat the combined might of the two units didn't see off the Greater Water Elemental despite him taking 10 wounds. 


Turn Three TR 0 - 0 VAR

The Greater Water Elemental went back into the wolves in front of them while the tidal swarm and Gigas began their slow advance through the Woods.More advancing in the centre with the main force led them to. The Knuckers clearly fixated by the lute playing charged into the standard bearer for a closer listen. The Water Elemental healed more of its wounds aided by the Siren draining life on the adjoining poachers. The massive wall of water sadly fluffed its lines though and only wavered the dogs. One Knucker swallowed the knight and his standard whole, the other slowly digesting his mount. To give flexibility they offset each other by going forward and backwards on the regroup. This opened up the angles of attack where needed. 

Magnilde charged into the closest unit of Thuul hoping to damage them before the fallen got to strike. Crucially the Thuul Mythican while preoccupied trying to hide from the enemy warrior had expose his flank to the waiting hounds so they bounded in hoping to overrun into the Thuul troop. Due to the facing they wouldn't be ensnared! The fallen moved up to support them and mop up anything that was left. On the other flank the Dogs were blocking the ability for the poachers to advance and hence there was a stalemate. The knights pivoted again to threaten the centre of the board. 

Both combats resulted in failed assaults with the dogs wounding but not breaking the Mythican and the Thuul regiment holding strong but wavered.



Turn Four TR 0 - 0 VAR

With the dogs exposed in front of them the the Thuul attacked. the Thuul regiment had the Fallen in range and charged. The mythical continued to cower unable to do anything useful. The Greater Water Elementals ignored the Dogs as killing the would open up a charge for the knights and went into the flank of the poachers. The Knuckers continued to advance screening the Gigas. The Knuckers had digested their meal and shot off as a pair into the flank of the Sons of Korgan. They were assisted by Water Elementals decided they needed to lend a hand and moved in to support them. The Siren counter intuitively pulled the knights forward. This helped two fold. With the wall just in front of them it would guarantee to strip their thunderous and if lucky I could pull them onto it ensuring they would also be hindered. I rolled well and it would mean whatever they attacked they would be on -1 to hit and have lost their TC(2). 

The combats had mixed results. The Water Elemental despite hitting flank couldn't do anything to the poachers. The Thuul troop also didn't manage to clear the wolves in front of them. The Sons on foot met their end, allowing the TR army to claim the first bounty. determined to show the smaller unit of Thuul how it's done the Regiment of Thuul readied their Hammer (Tentacles?) of measured force and one shot wiped out the horde of Fallen! This claimed the second combat bounty.  The Knuckers re positioned to cover both sides of the battle field and the Water Elementals pivoted to prevent a flank charge being available from the Warband Horde. The turned to face the Frothing Ancestor of Hirja

Determined to avenge the Fallen (sorry, terrible pun) Magnilde went back into the Thuul. The dogs next to him went into the mythican again hoping to once again over run into the troop of Thuul  The Dogs on the other flank went into the side of the Greater Water Elemental and The Poachers supported with their pick and place counter charge. The Knights thundered off to hopefully clear out the Tidal Swarm protecting the Gigas, a very big hammer to squishy some very squishy frogs. The warband seeing their exulted brethren disintegrate beside them  sought revenge by charging the horde of Water Elementals. 

The Skald continued to snipe into the centre taking out the remaining Thuul troop. The Knights left a bloody smear of otter and amphibian guts carrying themselves towards the Giant crabs in front of them and crucially out of range of the roaming Knuckers. Magnilde dealt a hideous amount of damage but buoyed by their Fallen-Slaughtering a double 1 turned up and the Thuul shrugged off the damage. The Dogs attacking the Mythican amazingly fluffed their lines doing no damage and allowing him to roam free. 

The combination of the dogs and poachers kept splashing away against the Greater Water Elemetnal with no results and the warband achieved the same. The waters of the Nerticans dousing the fury of Korgan. 

Turn Five TR 4 - 0 VAR

Little was left in the way of subtlety now with all units throwing them selves back into the fray across the table. The Thuul charged both the dogs in front of them and Magnilde. The water elementals with no clear escape path despite some thought about how to push and pull using surge and the Siren went back into the Warband hoping to survive long enough. The Crabs, clacking their pincers together scuttled towards the Knights making use of their pathfinder and assaulting out of the woods. Weighing up the options the Greater Water Elemental turned to take out the Tundra Wolves in front of them hoping to break them and turn back to face the poachers. The Knuckers re positioned, one to threaten the rear of the knights and the other to line up to try and sneak onto the objective in Turn 6 if needed. To try and help out the Greater Water Elemental the Siren drained the life of the poachers, healing the embattled mountain of sea. 

The Thuul made a good fist of it but were clearly exhausted from their previous efforts and couldn't take Magnilde down. Their compatriots fared better and finally took out the Tundra Wolves, pivoting to get a clear run on the central objective in Turn 6. The crabs tore into the knights damaging them but failing to bring them all down. The Greater Water Elemental tore the heavily wounded tundra wolves apart and turned to face the poachers. The smaller Elementals knocking a few more wounds off but not enough. 



All three TR bounty regiments were in a position to be assaulted and the fate of the battle was hanging by a few key combats. The Mounted sons dug their spurs into their mounts, driving them towards the opposing crustaceans. The warband went back into the Water Elementals (On reflection I really should have moved the water elementals back and charged the Knucker in to Shield them preventing them being attacked). The Greater Water elemental was targeted by the Poachers. All four remaining bounty tokens were now engaged. Magnilde targeted the infamous double 1 Thuul, tearing them apart with brutal swipes from his sword. The knights blunted by being disordered managed a solitary single wound on the Gigas. The Water Elementals fared less well and were destroyed. The victorious warband advancing to close down the Knucker's advance.

Turn Six TR 4 - 2 VAR



Finally in range and positioned after five turns of maneuvering the Knucker finally was in range of the knight's rear and charged supported by the counter charging Gigas .The Water Elemental went back into the Pocahers to finish them off. the final remaining troop of Thuul ran off to get onto the objective and sensing his chance the Mythican charge Magnilde. The second Knucker with no clear path to the Skald or the objective charged the warband horde to prevent them getting near the centre objective. Not being able to target the Skald was a risk as with its lightning bolt it had the ability to clear the troop of Thuul from the objective. 



The Water Elemental finally cleared out the Poachers having spent all game trading blows between them and the tundra wolves. The Gigas and Knucker wiped out the Knights claiming the last Varangur Bounty.. The Mythican, seeing the exposed wounds on the Varangur Hero, pressed home his assault and slew the vaulted champion. The lone Knucker predictably achieved nothing! 

The remains of the Varangur force were the warband horde who launched themselves at the Knucker and the Skald who moved up to zap the Troop in the centre. Inspired by the Siren's presence the Thuul held firm but the Knucker, sluggish from its feeding all battle succumbed to the stabbing blades and viscous vigor of the warband . 



There was no Turn 7 rolled

Final Score TR 7 - 2 VAR

Conclusions

Me

On the whole I was more than happy with the way the battle turned out. I had a fair bit of luck as always at crucial times. I don't remember a lot of double 1's thrown against me at vital times but the one today really had an impact. The Thuul's ability to take down high powered units along with the Mythican who again has proven more of a combat unit than a caster. The stars of the show had to be the pair of Knuckers. They really proved their worth and I'm learning more with them not to commit them to wasted combats but more to position them to threaten. The Siren and the GWE were their first outings and I would definitely take them again for the staying power as a pair. The aren't going to take on the world offensively (shown by their inability to kill even a troop of Tundra Wolves) but the regen and a bit of drain life was a massive boost.

I think all the artefacts I took proved their worth with the Griffin Banner saving my Mythican against the dogs, the Gigas getting the protection from the woods and Hammer of measured force as usual allowing my Thuul to be a freight train. 

Him

I think the ability to pin the knights and warband in one place on turn one made a big difference. Knowing my Knuckers could move up and effectively have two turns to get in position was priceless. The warband pinned down meant that the Sons of Korgan were unlikely to advance on their own and effectively trapped them. As ever playing Louis is great fun with everything played in the spirit of the game and debates over rulings brief and resolved amicably. It always sounds easy to review your opponent's performance after a game they have lost and usually hard to do it without coming across immodest. If I was him I probably would have used Magnilde more as a character sniper. I only had two sources of inspiring and taking them out would have had a big difference. I maybe would have moved up the centre a bit quicker and the glaring issue was the positioning of the Knuckers on first the Knights and then the Sons of Korgan. Other than that I would have largely done the same and used the terrain to help me get round the back with my faster units hoping to threaten multiple options and force uncomfortable choices. 

Vanguard - KoW Combo

The game combination was very interesting. Although the forces we used were not really thematically linked the effect of the battle and that were were using similar scenery really helped to hold it all together. I do like my KoW games a bit purer though and I think that the effect it had on the battle was significant. For a campaign it'd be great but linking within a tournament setting I think it would quickly become very Overpowered. 

Surge

And finally, surge. Well despite it all being a cunning plan to use it and me advancing things around to possibly make it happen there was never really a circumstance where it was an option. I shall continue thinking about it but can't help thinking the 40pts would be better spent. 

Venue

AS a post script I thought I'd mention the venue we were playing at. It's the new Darksphere Shepherd's Bush shop which has just opened and will be the venue for Franticon 2019 in March. In short. It's massive. It's really well stocked with all manner of stuff and very well connected for public transport with the tube and national rail just outside. It's a little tucked away but they have effectively taken over the whole basement of the shopping centre and the opportunities for hosting big events is certainly there. The only slight strange thing was the choice of scenery I was given and that I had to ask them for some more rank and flank things like hills and woods as I think a lot of the common crowd are more sci-fi, skirmish or AoS. I'll be sure to head back there. 


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