Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Kings of War 3rd Edition: #020: Ogres vs Undead [Fool's Gold]

Intro and Lists

I was treated to another weekday game from Cartwright. He decided to mix things up, fielding the frightening and numerous Undead that his youngest son normally fields. Knowing this, I was expecting a Vampire on Undead Dragon, Soul Reavers, and lots and lots of zombies. Knowing how he runs the Penitents in his Brothermark army,  I was interested to see if the zombies would appear as wide blobs to tar pit my units, or as regimental blocks for additional drops and a slightly more diffused presence on the battlefield. We agreed to hop over to the Big Red Book, as we were both using Mantic's new list building Companion program. His army consisted of the following:

My hunch proved somewhat correct! The Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon was left behind, probably because it is a huge model. However, there were some Soul Reavers and a lot of Zombies, and the latter did indeed end up being fielded as numerous regiments, reminiscent of his Brothermark army. The Zombies would take up a lot of early drops and cover a lot of real estate. Doing the heavy lifting for the list would be doubles of Soul Reaver Infantry regiments, Wight Hordes, and Balefire Catapults. Also run in doubles were the more chaffy Wraiths and supporting Liche Kings. If seemed like a pretty competent list, and well thought out, like normal. It had a surprising amount of drops, lots of Nerve and Unit Strength, and a good number of very dangerous hammer units. I was quite excited to see how it would perform, as this is actually quite similar to the bulk of my own Undead collection! 

I decided to try something different as well. I have a few armies in storage that have not seen the table for 3rd Edition yet. I feel the need to justify having them, and will try to get a game in with each in the next couple of months. For this game I eventually settled on running the Stormcast Ogres, which I  had painted up over the summer. Up to test are the following:

  • Ogre Warlocks. I took them as they are cheap sources of Inspiring, which I badly need in a list this big. I know Lightning Bolt 3 isn't really strong enough to be reliable, and they would likely need a different spell to be potent. But I am not current on what magic is good these days, so we'll see how the trio perform with no bells or whistles to get a baseline for them.
  • Hunters. I think these could be a decent thematic basis for an army, and given how Potion of the Caterpillar is going away, these could perform alright in multiples. I need some unlocks anyways, so we will give them a go.
  • Shooter Hordes. These were ubiquitous way way back in early 2nd Edition with strong stats and lax ally rules. They still seem like a decently strong unit, with some very nice range, and a fair amount of Piercing, so any shot that does hit should have a good chance to wound. I am relying on them to do some heavy lifting this game. Pot Shot will be very rough though, so smart positioning will be needed. We'll see how I good I am putting them on the table, and how well they do in the game!
  • Boomer Regiments. These were taken mostly for fun. With only 12" range on the Boomsticks, I didn't expect them to do much against anything scary since the Wights, Wraiths and Soul Reavers are all pretty speedy; if I can shoot them, they can charge me. But they might be able to pick off Zombies or take some charges to help the rest of the list out. Move and Shoot can be powerful, so we'll see how they do on the field and what lessons can be learned.
  • Warrior Spam. The nerve is a bit low, but I think they have decent stats otherwise. My theory was that I should be able to cover a lot of area, and anything that isn't readily addressed should be able to punch above their weight with the flank charges. However, they are being countered a bit with the cheaper Zombie spam, so we'll see how that theory holds up here.
  • Retributor Warriors. I don't actually know what Ogres would normally run. I figured having a second horde wouldn't be a terrible idea, and that the additional CS from the Brew should let help out against all the scary stuff.
  • All Large Infantry. Unlike my opponent, I didn't bring a very varied list. Everything I have is large and on foot, and while they move 6", a lot of his Undead stuff is actually quicker than me. 

Match-up wise, he had a few more drops, though that should hopefully be mitigated a bit by the Scrying Gem. I had a slight edge in the unit strength, but a distinct lack of variety to my units. Would simple brute force be enough to overcome the Shambling Undead and their Surge shenanigans?

Table, Deployment and Scenario 

We still had the goal to play through all of the scenarios together, but I had left the list of games played at home. My opponent did have a nice new set of Bluff Tokens though, and so we gave the Fools Gold Scenario a try, knowing we had never played with those before. For the uninitiated (like us), for this scenario each player gets a set of 5 Bluff Tokens, one worth 2, two worth 1 and two worth 0. We deploy those on the opposite side of the board, like Objective tokens, but with the value face down, so it is blind to our opponent. After Round 3 everything flips up, and work as Objective Tokens worth the printed value. It seems like a neat scenario, and rife for trickery and mind games.

We traded token drops, with my opponent making decisions, and me shuffling the tokens up and dealing them off the top. I figured learning an army would be tough enough, and didn't want to overload my brain, so the scenario and guile took a backseat here. With a wide army and Speed 6, I was hopeful that I'd be able to adapt when the tokens flipped.

We generated the terrain and shuffled it around. The forests are height 6 difficult terrain, the chapels height 9 buildings and impassable terrain, hills height 3, fences are height 2 obstacles, and the graveyards were height 2 difficult terrain. Previously I had played the graveyards as height 1, which I think I will revert back to. They should provide cover, but not obscure infantry movements. The Ogres are all Height 3 though, so this wasn't that big of a deal.

From the left, getting most of my opponent's stuff in frame.

We forgot about my Scrying Gem a few drops in, so accounted for it nearer the middle of the deployment phase. I only got one extra drop out of my opponent for it, and I had to deploy first, so it did not really pay off as much as I would have hoped, especially against this list and all the Zombies.

The rather sparse center.

Being a new army for me, I wasn't sure what to really do with my deployment and mostly winged it. All the Boomers and small Warriors came down first to spread my presence around. Seeing some big drops from my opponent, the hordes of Warriors and Hunters came down later on my left. The Shooters came down very late to take the center, forgetting that the graveyards would be providing some decent cover, but this was probably still the best place for them at the time. 

At the end of it, my opponent had one overloaded flank and then had two similar supporting blocks off on the center and on the right. He continues to plan out battle groups very well with his list building. The left was the overloaded flank with the two Liche Kings, two Wight Hordes, two Wraith Troops and two Balefire Catapults atop the hill. I believe I picked sides, so whoops. That would have been a nice place for my Shooters, though they would have just drawn out the Balefire shots all game without much recourse, so it's ok I guess. Lessons learned already I guess! The center was pretty sparse, with three Zombie Regiments and one Soul Reaver Regiment. The right was three more Zombie Regiments, the Soul Reaver Regiment and the Necromancer.

I gave up on my right pretty early on, with two Boomer Regiments, two Warrior Regiments, and a Warlock. My center was my two Shooter Hordes, and seeing how much was arriving against my left, all my units ended up here: two Warlocks, two Warrior Regiments, the Siege Breaker Regiment, the Hunter Horde, the Warrior Horde with the Brew of Strength, and the Boomers with the Boots.

My opponent won the roll off for first turn, and wisely took it.

Top of Round 1: Undead

Not much happened in the center or on the right. The Zombies all shambled 5" up, supervised by the nearby Soul Reavers for tight uniformity. On the left, the Wights advanced, each screened by the Wraiths and supported by a Liche King. Even these, part of a larger grouping, are nice self-contained little formations with a terrifying amount of Surge at their disposal. My opponent writes some thoughtful lists.

All the excitement is on the left.

The Balefire Catapults fling their payloads at a unit of Ogre Warriors, and the Liches shoot Lightning Bolts as well. Things hit, but the damage rolls aren't too great, and thankfully, the Warriors hold.

Bottom of Round 1: Stormcast Ogres

My right was similarly boring. Things moved up. Some of the things were units of Boomers with aptly-named Boomsticks. Unfortunately, those only have a 12" range, so the action is a little slow here, as I don't really want to charge ahead, given the number of units against me. 

The snowfall outside was messing with my camera a bit. Or maybe I need a better camera. Anyways, this is the first non-blurry shot of this corner of the table, so enjoy! This is what's going on here.

On the right though, I do ready up a Lightning Bolt, and my opponent points out the Ogre Warlock special rule, which I had completely overlooked up until now. I knew that was a similar ability for the Nomagarok unique character in 2nd, but I didn't realize that this had been moved to a generic ability in 3rd, or that it was counting so many unit sizes. This is neat and opens up some more build ideas, though it does mean I will not get that full benefit on my right, as I deployed a little poorly with the Warlock on the very end. Anyways, I toss the lighting, and manage to score 2 damage on some Zombies. 

Alright! The first combined volley is off to a good start. It's just Zombies, but that is still one less unit to worry about later.

In the center, I was hoping for 1st turn and a volley against the Wights, but that was not to be. Both Shooter Hordes fire their bolts into the Zombies screening the Soul Reavers. I roll a bit above average for hits, find it hard not to wound Zombies, and manage to rout them. It's not much, but it is a start!

The Ogres occupy the difficult terrain, bracing for the faster elements of the Undead.

On my left, I move up. Things stick close to the terrain, looking to force Hindered charges. Firing angles are a little rough, so each Warlock here flings lighting into separate Wraith units. I think 2 damage gets through to the one on the flank, and nothing against the one nearer the middle.

Top of Round 2: Undead

And with Round 2 underway, we are suddenly into it! I didn't really measure, and the Wraiths have a nice front charge into the Boomers with the Boots. The other Wraiths move forward and pivot, getting into the flank arc of the same Ogre unit. The Liches cackle and surge the murderous phantasms into the Boomers, and once connected, the Wraiths align flush and then slide down, with the smaller 100mm frontage on the Wraiths enabling all of this. The Balefire Catapults fire again, but I don't think hit anything this turn.

A lot of unexpected violence here. Probably didn't seen the Wraiths approaching with all the daylight.

Unfortunately for my opponent, we don't catch that the Wraiths have Strider, so shouldn't be hindered, though we will catch that in later turns. Considering that they are Hindered, their damage output is good, but the Boomers are only wavered. I was sloppy in not measuring and was expecting one more turn to prep before we got to fighting here.

Already lacking some targets here. Positioning is definitely very important with these.

In the center, the Soul Reavers pivot and run for cover, urging the Zombies ahead to screen until the Vampires can reach the graveyard. We talk it out, and the Shooters on the right would be shooting into cover against either unit while the Shooters on the left look to have open edges against both units.

A slow and steady advance.

On the right, the formation is mostly unbloodied, and continues to slowly push up. However, lacking ranged attacks, nothing much happens here. Still, these little formations are neat to consider. That's a lot of Nerve to attack through, and the Soul Reavers should be able to easily dispatch anything that tries to attack through the Zombies. I think three Zombie Regiments might be overkill, and might suggest placing the Soul Reavers off-center like bricks to get some line of sight, but some very cool list ideas from my opponent here. I will definitely be borrowing some of these for my Undead, whenever they may hit the field.

Bottom of Round 2: Stormcast Ogres

Keeping on the right, my Boomers are just in range. I was hoping to split fire a bit, but the shots aren't terribly cooperative, with most things missing. The two regiments and the Ogre Warlock are only about to do 9 damage between them to the zombies on the flank, bringing them to 11. The Zombies hold.

Shooting wasn't as effective as I was hoping. Fortunately they have not quite closed with my lines.

One unit of Warriors moves to zone out the hill a bit, threatening flank charges to anything approaching the Boomers. The other unit sees an opening, and makes a hindered charge into the flank of the screening zombies in the Center. It is close, but those Zombies are indeed dispatched, and the unit reforms to get both the Soul Reavers and remaining Zombies into their front arc. Unfortunately, we were at the edge of the graveyard, and the reform puts my front edge outside the terrain, meaning unhindered charges next turn for the Undead.

Not quite sure what to do but wanting to do it quickly, the Siege Breakers move at the double at their odd angle. Depending on how the Zombie combat goes, they might be able to fight some Soul Reavers, otherwise my plan was to get them to try and reach the back lines and go after the undefended catapults.

The Shooters are letting me down a bit. 

The Shooters are in a tough spot. One moves up and pivots, to fire into some Zombies off on my right, (the ones way back by the chapel) but Pot Shot is indeed very rough, and only 2 damage goes through from the halved attacks. The other unit moves as well, though I can't remember why. I think I forgot I was Height 3 and this was me trying to plan ahead. The Zombies were in combat, and I think I wanted options against the Soul Reavers here going forward. Unfortunately, moving again puts me at 6's to hit, with only half my attacks, so the better plan would likely have been to sat back and fished for 6's with all my attacks. I am definitely learning a lot this game! Even a pretty straightforward army like the Ogres has a learning curve.

A very messy left flank.

On the left, the wavered Boomers mess things up, and it is probably far worse for me than for my opponent.  We don't think the Boomers can really get out of the way, so they jam up the Hunters. I just don't know what to do with either of these here. In retrospect, maybe moving the Hunters sideways towards the middle might have been a good idea, to get unstuck and better fields of view come what may on the next turn. 

I move one Warlock into the graveyard, zoning the hazard out, allowing the Warrior Horde with the Brew an unhindered charge into the terrifying Wights, and 7 damage is done. This Warlock zaps some lightning at the Liche King for fun, and sneaks one damage in. The other Warlock moves, and facing the center ... I don't recall what he did. I think nothing. I think I was just getting him out of the way. 

Positioning with these Large Infantry casters was actually pretty difficult. The Periscope item should be helpful for casting buffs, but for Lightning Bolt, you really don't want to be casting against things that get cover bonuses. My positioning for the Warlocks was pretty bad all game honestly, and something to focus on should they hit the table again.

The injured Warrior Regiment bravely charges the other Wight unit, as damage is damage and aside from Lifeleech, my opponent has no healing. I believe they manage two damage... which isn't much, so we'll but that theory to the test it seems...

Top of Round 3: Undead

My opponent wanted to explore surge a bit, and definitely had some tricks! The left continues to devolve for the Ogres. The Wraiths in the flank disengage, and use their move to go sideways, back towards my deployment done. They will get surged into a flank charge against the Hunters, and with Strider, the Wraiths are unhindered, and will do a respectable 7 damage. Had I shuffled the Hunters sideways last turn, that could not have happened, so this was a very smart play by my opponent.

Very cool use of the Wraiths. I did not see this coming.

The other Wraiths will charge the Boomers again, routing them, and the Wraiths will swirl back a few inches in victory. 

Bad news all around for the Ogres here. Picture from the end of the turn.

The Wight Hordes both countercharge. The Warrior Regiment is obliterated and the Horde takes 8 damage, but holds. I had deployed both of these hordes after the Wights came down, and was counting on them to deal with the Wights, but the Wraiths were just so darn disruptive. Props to my opponent!

The Breakers are gone, meaning the catapults will likely continue shooting all game now. I don't have anything quick to catch them. 

The center does not go well for the Ogres. The Siege Breakers had ventured forth, and this turn met multiple catapult hits and a Lightning Bolt from a nearby Liche King. I had prioritized movement, so all the shots hit their flank, ignoring the Big Shields they were lugging around. The Breakers are broken. Additionally, the surviving Soul Reavers and Zombies annihilate the Warriors near the graveyard.

Ouch. Not a great situation for the Shooters.

On the right, some Zombies spy the lurking Warriors, and charge, ending awkwardly on the hill, hitting the Warriors for 1 damage. The rest of the Zombies shamble up into charge range, still supervised by the Soul Reavers.

The skirmish on the right.

All things considered, not a great turn for me, but all my hordes are still on the field, so we'll see what can be done to salvage this!

Bottom of Round 3: Stormcast Ogres

On the right, the Boomers inch back. The Zombies will still be within 10" to charge, this should just get them out of range of the Soul Reavers, in case I am missing anything. The Warlock and Boomers fire again, but again, it is not very convincing. The Regiment on the flank is already in double-digits of damage, but the shots just aren't landing. I think the Lightning Bolt whiffs first, dealing no damage and requiring a volley from a Boomer unit, leaving only one Boomer unit to fire at the central Zombies. At the end of the phase, he flank Zombies take a few damage and are routed. The central Zombies take a meager 2 damage, and hold. In better news, the Zombies fighting the nearby Warrior Regiment were already damaged, and so the Warriors are able to smash their way through to a victory. I didn't want to risk a surged rear charge from the remaining Zombies, so instead of turning to face the center, these warriors continue to lurk, to try and support the Boomers more next turn in this little shooting gallery. There are a few points to be had out on this flank, so we'll see what can be done.

Not great. I'm not sure what that token is doing by the Warriors though?
The Boomers are standing on the 1 Points Objective Token here.

The Shooter hordes are again in a rough spot, due to my poor positioning. From the graveyard, the Soul Reavers can catch the right-most unit with a charge next turn, even if the Shooters were to back up. The Shooters are still Ogres though, and have the inches to charge either. I opt to charge the Zombies. The charge will be hindered, but with the low defense, I might be able to get them, or at least get some damage going. I don't. I do a mere 2 damage to the Zombies. 

Thankfully, the other Shooters have a clear shot into the Soul Reavers, and fire. The Vampires are not deep enough into the cover to get any benefit. Unfortunately, the dice are not with me here either. I need 5's so it's not great, but out of 18 attacks, one hits. For what it's worth, it does go on to wound.

Oh... Shooters... oh... no...

On the messy left, the Hunters countercharge the pesky Wraiths and rout them, turning to face forward again. The Warrior Horde countercharges the Wights, and gets them this time, and they bravely turn to face the second horde of Undead.

Everything here is beat up, but the Ogres have taken the worse of things.

The Warlocks toss some boosted Lightning Bolts into the surviving Wraiths, but one Warlock is in the way of the other, granting some cover, and only 2 damage results from the little storm and the Wraiths hover, menacingly. While Nimble, the Warlocks are not individuals, so positions has been a bit rough for me with so much going on. Things to keep in mind for the future!

View from the table edge on my right. 

At the end of the round, the Bluff Counters are flipped, and I eagerly look to see how my strategy of ignorance will pay off. From my perspective, the following tokens are in play from what I placed, corresponding roughly to  2' by 2' squares on the board: Undead Left 1 Point, Undead Center 1 Point, Undead Right, 2 points. Ogre Left has 2 Points, Ogre Center has 1 Point, and Ogre Right has 1 Point.

Top of Round 4: Undead

On the right, the Zombies take a charge against some Boomers, looking to disorder and delay them, while the Soul Reavers back up to claim the 2 point objective. It's not flashy, but it is a good call. With only 12" on the Boomsticks, if I do get into range, they can simply charge me on the next turn, and without some amazing chip damage and focus fire, which I seem unlikely to produce, the Soul Reavers are likely to survive the game.

The Balefires continue to deliver. Generally. Always take war machines in multiples!

The lurking Warriors are targeted by the Balefire Catapults, and the shots land, horrifically, and the unit is destroyed. In the graveyard, the the Soul Reavers and Zombies multi-charge the Shooters. Hindered, the Soul Reavers do 8 and counter charging, the Zombies do 3. Damage is healed from Lifeleech, and the Shooters are wavered!

Lots of neat plays, and I still have a horde... but it is not looking good for the Ogres.

On the left, One Liche King throws a Lightning Bolt into the unengaged Shooters, dealing one damage to them. The Wraiths move up and pivot, and the other Liche King surges them into the Flank of the Warrior Horde. Fortunately, the Wraiths have an off turn, and only deal 2 to the Warriors, who hold. The remaining Wights have the boots, which are popped to grant an unhindered charge against the Hunters. While the Wights are still Ensnared by the Hunters, far too much damage goes through, and the Hunters are ignobly destroyed. I had tried to get them up against the Wights for testing, but they just got out-played and beat up. 

Bottom of Round 4: Stormcast Ogres

The left fights back as best it can. The Warriors countercharge the Wraiths. Defense 6 isn't as impactful with the CS2 on the unit, and I deal a fair bit of damage, but will fail to rout the Wraiths. One Warlock bravely advances, looking to stymie the oncoming Wights. Angles-wise, the Wights will not be able to multi-charge the Warriors with the Wraiths. Both Warlocks toss Lightning Bolts into the Wights, but only 1 damage goes through, since they are in the woods and are getting cover. 

What a mess. And I can't even get rid of a troop here.

In the center, the wavered Shooters disengage, giving the other horde another chance. It's a weird angle, but we rule they can see the vampires. The Soul Reavers are in cover now, so I need spikey dice, needing 6's to hit now. Again, one hit and one damage goes through, which will be negated again by the Lifeleech in the coming bloodbath. The Shooters here are consistent in their output I suppose, but 1 damage a turn from this unit is not going to be enough to do anything significant. Especially with Lifeleech in play. These are worse than war machines...

Both Shooters are still struggling.

On the left, I multi-charge the Zombies with both Boomer units, and destroy them. The nearby Warlock is just close enough to be boosted by the Boomers, and fires a Lightning Bolt into the Soul Reavers, resulting in one damage. 

The Zombies had taken 2 damage last turn, Lifeleeched 1 back, but were now smacked down by the Ogres. This is more what I was hoping for, in taking so many regiments. The flanking Boomer regiment will reform to face the Soul Reavers hunkering down off in the distance.

At the end of the Round, the Soul Reavers hold the 2 Point Objective in the Undead Right section, the Boomers hold the 1 Point Objective in the Ogre Right. The unengaged Shooters hold the 1 Point Objective in the Ogre Center, and the Ogre Warrior Horde holds the 2 Point Objective on the Ogre Left while fighting off the Wraiths. Technically, I am ahead as the Round concludes, but that doesn't seem likely to last.

Top of Round 5: Undead

On the right, the Soul Reavers stay put. They aren't in any real danger, and need to hold the Objective.

The Undead prevail against the wavered Shooters.

Over in the center, the Soul Reavers and Zombies again multi-charge the wavered Shooters. Both are hindered charges since the Shooters withdrew last turn, but if memory serves, the same damage is done, another 8 from the Soul Reavers and 3 from the Zombies, and the Ogres are knocked into the open graves nearby. The Soul Reavers reform to threaten the other Shooters, though are not quite in charge range yet. The Zombies change facing as well, looking to shamble back to claim the 1 Point Objective in the Undead Center area.

What is left of everything on the left.

My opponent finally keeps things simple on the left, with the Wights making a hindered charge into the impeding Warlock, the Wraiths countercharging the Warriors, and both Liche Kings tossing Lighting into the other Warlock. 

The Warriors are dragged down by the Wraiths, and the apparitions overrun to claim the valuable 2 Point Objective over here. The hindered Wights deal 6 damage to the Warlock, but the caster holds, and is only disordered. The Lightning Bolt rolls are great, and deal 5 damage to the other Warlock. 

Bottom of Round 5: Stormcast Ogres

Lacking units mean lacking options, but it also means the turns start to go by really quickly. The disordered Warlock countercharges, as I don't know what else to do, but does no damage. The second Warlock throws a Lighting Bolt into the Wraiths, I believe finally routing them this turn. The Warlocks do have a Unit Strength of 1, so I do have the potential to score in scenarios like this, which is neat.

It has certainly been bloody over here.

In the center, the Shooters shoot into the oncoming Soul Reavers, who are in cover. The Shooters deal no damage that I can see, per the other pictures. I was relying on them to tip the scales, and they have just not delivered. A huge portion of that is unfamiliarity with them, and bad deployment, but they seem to be cursed by very low dice as well.

I eventually remembered to bring their damage dice with them.

One Boomer regiment stays behind to guard the 1 Point Objective. I am writing the repot and I need to put some points on the board here! The other marches after the retreating zombies, hoping to harry the Zombies as they withdraw, and stop them from claiming that Objective. They do deal a few damage, but the Zombies continue shambling on. As I recall moving at the double would have just opened them up to a charge from the hunkering Soul Reavers next turn, which seemed foolish. So, scooting and shooting it was for right now.

The Warlock threw more Lightning into the Soul Reavers, but I don't think anything landed this time.

Top of Round 6: Undead

The Balefire Catapults fire, and land some hits against the pursuing Boomers, blasting them off the field. Well, so much for that idea. The Zombies continue to shamble towards the Objective in the Undead Center, while the Soul Reavers continue to hold the Objective in the Undead Right. The Soul Reavers in the graveyard creep towards the remaining Shooter Horde, getting into charge range, but wisely not quite leaving the graveyard.

On the left, I think one Warlock is shot through by Lightning Bolts, and the other is crushed by the Wights, who I think are able to secure the 2 Point Objective with a tiny overrun. The turns were quick, and I didn't have a lot of down time to take pictures, and was not taking good notes.

Bottom of Round 6: Stormcast Ogres

On the right, the Boomers are facing no opposition, and remain, keeping me on the scoreboard. The Warlock goes to pursue the Zombies now, throwing some lightning, but I don't recall if any damage was actually dealt.

Last picture of the report, taken sometime during my turn of Round 6.

I decide to charge the Soul Reavers with the Shooters, to see how that goes and to roll more dice as the game concluded. It does not go well. I am hindered and so am hitting on 5's, and have no idea how much damage is dealt, if any. The Undead are winning 4-1, and we then roll up a Round 7.

Top of Round 7: Undead

The retreating Zombies continue on, claiming the 1 Point Objective in the Undead Center. The Balefire Catapults only have the remaining Warlock as a target. As a Large Infantry, he's not getting the benefits of all the Individual special rules, and the shots land, blasting him off the table as well. The Soul Reavers countercharge, and I do not remember the outcome, nor have a picture to help my memory. 

Bottom of Round 7: Stormcast Ogres

I do nothing significant on my turn. I don't recall if I even had the Shooters left to fight with. I don't think so. 

The Undead turn up the heat to win 5-1, but I'm still on the scoreboard!

Game Conclusion

As always, this was a very fun game against Cartwright and it was very neat to see some different armies on the field for both of us and have us each work through those. 

The Undead list was indeed interesting and as always, my opponent played a good game! I will need to borrow some of these ideas when mine hit the table. The Zombie Regiments did take up a lot of drops and board area, though I think 6 might be a bit much. Two regiments seems ok for objective sitting though, and two regiments plus two hordes seems like a nice split. Surge was used to great effect, especially on the left against my poor Hunters. The Balefires did work as the game went on, but the commanding hill helped them out, as did my small unit sizes.

The Ogres meanwhile were very nearly tabled! I put a lot of faith in two Shooter hordes and they did not really deliver. A big part of their lack of performance was from bad positioning, requiring multiple instances of shooting into cover and/or of needing to move, but the dice rolls were also pretty bad as well, exacerbating my issues with the unit. The Shooter horde requires a surprising amount of finesse to use, which I simply did not have here.

Testing Conclusion
  • Ogre Warlocks. I am indebted to my opponent for pointing out the Ogre Warlock special rule when we got into the game. I had missed that, and the extra dice to the spells makes them far more viable! Deployment and positioning really matters for them though, and these were not used particularly well by me. More experience will help.
  • Hunters. I still think these might be ok if you need the unlocks. And I think running in multiples might be good, especially since they have the Pathfinder special rule and that is harder to get these days. However, this was a very poor showing for them. Shambling and Surge really hamstrung them this time, so I will need to give them another go sometime.
  • Shooter Hordes. I wanted to deploy these together in order to focus fire things down, but I think they were deployed pretty poorly, and I should have paid more attention here. If you play with a wide open killing field in the middle all the time, these would be great, but terrain really complicates things. Had I gotten first turn, a double-volley against the Wights might have me singing a different tune though. With practice, I think the Hordes could be viable, but I think next time I would bring these as Regiments, deployed early just to cover the obvious firing lines and try some area denial. This approach could even pair nicely with the Pathfinding Hunters. Rereading the army list though, giving an Ogre Sergeant character a Heavy Crossbow might be an even better option over running a Regiment of Shooters, as for some reason the Sergeant here gets Steady Aim, which is a huge benefit. I will need to try out both some time.
  • Boomer Regiments. These ended up being an even weirder unit than I was giving them credit for. The Boomstick range is just so low! Even with Steady Aim, I think you'll likely only get one volley off against most aggressive things. I am now wondering if a Horde might be a better way to run them? Maybe the extra attacks would let you just shotgun through stuff and make the most of your (likely) only Boomstick volley. Something to consider. An Item like Blessing of the Gods should help them out, but that might be throwing good points after bad. Additionally, a Boomer Sergeant gets 8 attacks at range, almost as much as a Regiment. You give up a sliver of Nerve and skimp on the melee attacks, but will save a staggering 50 points. The should be about 2 damage a turn, and might be useful to interdict as chaff, or to guard flanks or something. These various Ogre Sergeants just seem ridiculous!
  • Warrior Spam. I only took 4 regiments, but these worked out ok actually. I think I could lean into this more even, replacing the Boomer Regiments. These did take some effort to remove, and did ok overall. 
  • Retributor Warriors. This Horde and the Brew of Strength was good to have around, and they worked out pretty well. That said, they needed a magic item, so a Siege Breaker Horde would seem to be the go-to for this kind of unit, as the Big Shield and extra CS seems to be worth the cost, and you can take more than one unit.
  • All Large Infantry. This did bite me a bit. I didn't have anything truly speedy enough to go deal with the war machines. I am not going to buy any "goblins" or chariots or anything, and being Large Infantry, I can't even use the Wings of Honeymaze item. So I will need to figure out the army's ranged options more to give me that versatility and help with board control and such. 
  • Conversion Trays. This was an army I did up for potential introductory games, building the minis on round bases and then using trays, to highlight the unit-approach Kings of War takes, and hopefully show to prospective players that they could grab or make some trays and give Kings of War a go with armies they already have, thus lowering the barrier to entry. I didn't have any issues with things falling off in-game, and the 40mm round bases translate easy to 40mm rectangular trays. This was good, and I'm making some progress on wrapping my head around some other multi-system armies.
Building a list for an unfamiliar army from scratch is a tall order. I didn't give the best of showings, but I definitely learned a lot, about both lists, and had a great time doing so. A big thanks to my opponent for fitting the game in on a weekday!

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