I had another opportunity to play with my MSU army upgraded to 2500 points. I played against my usual opponent Wardancer (from warhammer.org.uk or Eastern Barbarian for those who visit UB). Wardancer is testing his army in the preparation for a tournament and I was more than happy to step in and help him. Especially that he did exactly that when I needed some sparring partner for CanCon :)
Army lists and pre-battle considerations
Daemons of Chaos still followed slaaneshi theme with some bizzare addition of rotting plauge bearers (at least from the background point of view for those who still remember the time of animosity between different gods :)).
Daemons of Chaos
Keeper of Secrets, Level 4, Siren Song, Torment Blade
Herald of Nurgle, BSB Great Icon of Despair, Stream of Bile
Herald of Slaanesh, Siren Song, Torment Blade
Herald of Slaanesh, Torment Blade
Herald of Tzeentch, Level 2, Master of Sorcery - Lore of Beasts
26 Daemonetess of Slaanesh, Full Command, Siren Standard
25 Daemonetess of Slaanesh, Full Command
2 Fiends of Slaanesh
1 Fiend of Slaanesh
25 Plaguebearers, Full Command, Standard of Seeping Decay
More compact army than last time, with an obvious strength lying in LD modification due to Icon and possible Phantasmagoria. Daemonettes are dangerous too with herlads but the main problem for me lies in dealing with Keeper and Plaguebearers. Keeper does not need any explanation :) while T4 Plaguebearers with Regeneration and very annoying icons can proove too tough. The advantage I could use is the fact I have more deployment drops and with fewer units I might be able to set up good combinations for charges.
Archmage, Level 4, Annulian Crystal, Dragonbane Gem - High Magic
BSB, Dragon Armour, Great Weapon, Radiant Gem of Hoeth
20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard
20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
10 White Lions, Musician
10 Swordmasters, Musician, Bladelord, Amulet of Light
10 Swordmasters, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician, Drakemaster, Foe Bane
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears
In my case the changes were to accomodate Drakemaster with Foe Bane (to give me something extra against monsters and ethereals) and second unit of Reavers. I believe 2 units of light horse can work much better than one and I am going to use them for a while to see if I can make it happen. There is one less unit of Swordmasters but the other two are slightly stronger. In the end the principle of the army stays the same with a little addition in the "fast" department :)
Daemons keep very tight formation to avoid envelopment
I wanted to deal with support first with magic, shooting and fast units which in doing so would be able to go beyond the enemy lines. My plan was also to block Plaguebearers in the middle and overwhelm Daemonettes. Even single unit of Swordmasters backed up by Spearelves should be able to grind down the enemy and I had Dragon Princes for flank charges. If I were able to keep the Keeper busy and eliminate Daemonettes fast I would be able to have enough time to set all out attack on Plaguebearers.
The spells for respective wizards were as follows:
Keeper of Secrets - Acquiescence, Succour of Chaos, Slicing Shards of Slaanesh, Pavane of Slaanesh
Elven BSB - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery
Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Fury of Khaine, Flames of the Phoenix, Vaul's Unmaking
High Elves won the roll off despite having more units to deploy and they started their opening moves.
High Elves Turn 1
High Elves move to positions
Elven units on the Center-West moved wide to outflank the enemy while the Eastern regiments held fast and awaited the enemy. Elven Archmage drew deep from winds of magic and pointed his finger at furies. Immediately magical fire leaped towards flying daemons engulfing them all but their god was watching and 2 were left in material plane to distract the enemy further. The archmage prepared another mighty spell but this time, surprisingly, he lost concentration and no more speels were cast. Archers and Reavers aimed at fiends and even manage to kill one on the Eastern flank while the single one was wounded. Definitely a good start for elven archery!
Daemons of Chaos Turn 1
Daemons move forward fast to hit one enemy flank before the other moves in to help
One fiend attempted to charge Ellyrian Reavers but swift horsmen performed feigned flight and gracefuly jumped over the ruins of some stone wall. All daemonic army moved forward quickly but kept tight formation and wounded daemons looked for cover. Winds of magic blew weak and with a help of Annulian Crystal elven archmage dispelled a single attempt to cast a spell by the Keeper with easy.
High Elves Turn 2
Siren Songs disrupt elven formation
Siren Songs were heard clear and loud over the battlefield and while Archers charged through ruins, Dragon Princes could not control their steeds which succumbed to their primal fears and carried the riders towards the river. Both units were also unfortunate to lose some warriors in the process.
On the East Reavers position themselves to bait the enemy charges and shot at the fiend but this time their arrows failed to wound. Archers on the hill also aimed at the Fiend but could not break through its daemonic protective aura. In the battle of wills Archmage managed only to cast Drain Magic.
Daemons of Chaos Turn 2
Daemons begin their attack
On the Eastern flank Fiend charged reavers who held confident they can at least keep the monster in place before the help comes. Second unit of reavers was prepared for another feigned flight but somehow were transfixed by the images on the Icon carried by daeomonettes and held. Unfortunately both units were destroyed, as one regiment could not wound the Fiend and broke from combat only to flee the battle, while the other one was killed to en elf. At least they managed to wound the herald.
On the West Dragon Princes had to withdraw again or they would be attacked by furies while still in waters. In the center Plaguebearers charged and eagle and archers but they both fled with archers losing some warriors in trecherous terrain.
This time evil magic was unstoppable and as a consequence White Lions near the ruins became stupid while curse of anraheir was cast on the Eastern Dragon Princes (Edit: I failed to dispel that spell using 7 dice :D).
High Elves Turn 3
Elves are outflanking the enemy
Elven units yet agian speed forward to encircle the enemy. On the East Spearelves move close to Daemonettes to block them while Dragon Princes move to the flank but the Curse claims two of them. Swordmasters follow and Battle Standard Bearer moves alone to support regiments with his presence.
Elven archmage tries to destroy cursed icon carried by the herald of nurgle but his attempt is dispelled. Thanks to that, however, battle standard bearer casts shield of saphery on nearby Spearelves who will need it in the upcoming fight.
Daemons of Chaos Turn 3
Daemons do not rush their attack and redress their battle formation instead
Only single Fiend charges this time and is wounded for his effort as elven archers elected to stand and shoot. What is more his attempt failed as the beast misjudged the distance or maybe that lucky arrow made it stumble? Both regiments of Daemonettes reformed into deep formations while lesser daemons exposed themselves for attacks of powerful elven units to buy time fot their master.
High Elves Turn 4
Elves counterattack (Herald of Nurgle should be on the other side of the unit, sorry!)
Elves charge but not all goes according to the plan as Swordmasters fail to catch up with Spearmen and they will have to fight alone. Nearby Dragon Princes charge the Fiend, kill it and reform to be able to help Spearelves who fight bravely, kill the herald and hold thanks to encouragements ot their Battle Standard Bearer.
Elven Archmage manages to cast powerful Flames of the Phoenix and a lot of Daemonettes are erased from this plane of the existence. Archers, inspired by this display, aim at the last Fiend and kill it too.
Daemons of Chaos Turn 4
Disaster on the Eastern flank
Daemons once again attack. Keeper of Secrets makes a short work of the blocking eagle, while burning Daemonettes charge Spearelves who hold and even win this combat.
But then disaster struck. First, herald of tzeentch draws immense amount of power and in an unstoppable attempt to increase strength and toughness of Eastern Daemonettes explodes and returns to realms of chaos. His job was done.
Herald of Nurgle summons his own powers of decay and stream of corrupted bile hits Swordmasters with battle standard bearer. Seeing their comrades die painful dead due to corrosive fluids and with their minds engulfed by the power of the icon of despair warriors of Hoeth flee.
Stronger and tougher Daemonettes are more than a match for Spearelves who break from combat and are destroyed in pursuit. Seeing their companions killed and fleeing Battle Standard Bearer, Dragon Princes are too overwhelmed by visions of no hope and flee the battle. Thus entire Eatern flank of the elven army collapsed.
High Elves Turn 5
Elves keep fighting
Battle Standard Bearer with his unit of Swordmasters fails to rally and flees the battle too. Despite that remaining regiments keep fighting. White Lions charge the flank of Daemonettes but their brethren on the other flank do not respond to the shouts of Spearelves who desperately need help. Affected by conflicting visions cast by enemy magic they stumble forward as half-witted simpletons forgetting for a while who they are and what are they doing.
Spearelves, seeing that no help is coming flee from the Daemonettes and only last second charge of the other units of Chracians which at that moment hits home saves that regiment. (Edit: another chain of bad rolls, failed fear test, almost no hits and then only single wound on herald and 3 1's out of 4 remaining hits against Daemonettes. Ouch!)
Daemons of Chaos Turn 5
Daemons definitely gained an upper hand
Daemonettes managed to break White Lions and in pursuit not only destroy them but hit Swordmasters already fighting Keeper of Secrets. Warriors of Hoeth wound it twice but are all killed shortly after. Daemons broke the elven battle line but are they going to kill them all?
High Elves Turn 6
Last desperate attack by High Elves
Remaining units try to fight back. White Lions charge Daemonettes to avenge their comrades but once again daemonic aura is tough enough to protect minions of chaos. The Archmage tries to send magic missile against Keeper of Secrets but to no effect. Nearby Dragon Princes, ready to attack greater Daemon, in a similar fashion as White Lions earlier, are perplexed with strange illusions and do not charge at all. In the last attempt archers aim at the monter and inflict many wounds. Daemon falls to its knees and when it looked as if it was finally brought down it pulled itslef up with a terryfing scream.
Daemons of Chaos Turn 6
Daemons kill some more elven units
Keeper of Secrets, enraged at the attempt to destroy him, punished elven archers who fought bravely but were still destroyed as were their companions from the second regiment. This was a black day for elves who had to withdraw defeated from the battlefield.
Wardancer played very well and earned his well deserved victory and got the revenge for the previous losses :) I really liked his disciplined formation and the fact that he kept his units tight and close to the Icon of Despair meant I had to take a lot of -2 LD tests. He also avoided some combats and was patient enough to fight the fights which he could win. It also seems that exchange of flamers for tzeentch herald was a very good decision. Well done! :)
As to the things I could do differently here are my ideas:
1. I should have used reavers on the other flank to block Keeper as I was considering in the meantime. They had more space there and would be much more useful. The gamble with a unit to destroy Fiend was not that bad but I just could not wound it with shooting and then in combat. Placement of the second unit in front of Daemonettes was a mistake as I forgot I cannot flee from that unit.
2. Charging with Swordmasters and Spears was a good idea but I simply failed the charge by rolling 5 when I need 6! On the other hand I could place Spears and Swordmasters in front of the Daemonettes again. I just wanted to start grinding them earlier.
3. In the same turn I had an opportunity to charge Plaguebearers with Lions, Swordmasters and Spearelves, where all units were close enough to make that charge. Lion had flaming attacks so would be able to inflict enough damage to win the combat (I think) and Swordmasters had a good chance at killing the herald too. Maybe I should not be concerned with Plaguebearers that much?
4. In turn 3 I could try to destroy the Icon but chose to cast flames instead which went through. I am not sure if I would get it with Vauls unmaking as there was still unused dispel scroll. However, I could have made that a priority and maybe even risk casting that spell with more dice every turn as this single item was my bane this game for sure.
Thanks for reading!