Come 10am we finally got the call for round 1, which was to be the Watchtower. The game would go for a set 6 turns and the winner of the tower would get a bonus 500VPs. For round 1 I got Mark Moloney's High Elves. Sparky, as he had become known to me on the forums, had a not-so-typical list, with plenty of threats but not the usual uber-magic to back them up.
Barded Elven Steed, Giant Blade, Dragon Armour, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone
Barded Elven Steed, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, Shield, Dragonhelm, Heavy Armour
Battle Standard Bearer, Barded Elven Steed, Charmed Shield, Golden Crown of Antwyr, Star Lance, Dragon Armour, Shield
Level 2 High, Dispel Scroll
10x Silver Helms
Full Command, Shields
12x Swordmasters of Hoeth
Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
8x Dragon Princes
Full Command, Sword of Anti-heroes, Banner of the World Dragon
Reaper Bolt Thrower
Reaper Bolt Thrower
Note as always that I may have some of the item combinations wrong. He had the usual Prince bunker with the Banner so he was basically immune to my Daemon Prince, Skullcrushers and Warriors. I planned to gauge early what his plan for the tower was and decide then whether the 500VPs was worth going for or if it would cost too much to take it. Not getting the tower in the roll-off helped in this matter as I would get to see right from the start how he planned to handle the scenario having only small infantry blocks.
For spells Mark rolled up Hand of Glory and Apotheosis, while I got Spirit Leech, Doom and Darkness, Fate of Bjuna and Purple Sun on the Daemon Prince, and Miasma on the Shadow Level 1. Mark chose not to put a unit in the tower starting out, and deployed rather spread out with all of the flyers hidden and ready to pounce. The Giant Blade General and the BSB went with the Princes while the other Prince went with the Helms. The Mage bunkered up in a unit of Archers. This was all topped off with a statement that we will fight in turn 5, a statement I intended to challenge. I stayed relatively close to the centre and decided to send Throgg and the Trolls at the tower since the flaming Swordmasters were so far away. It also looked to me like Mark was not going to go for the bonus VPs so this made them mine for the taking if so. The BSB and Sorcerer went with the Warriors.
I surged forward to open up the game. The Hounds went full throttle to try and draw out the Prince bunker and the Trolls went right toward the tower. The Warriors and Crushers held back to anticipate the High Elves' opening move and the Chimera joined them since Throgg was close by and it could get plenty of cover. On the other flank I used the Chariots to give the Daemon Prince cover from the Bolt Thrower and prepared for magic. Rolling up only 4 dice I decided just to throw them all at Purple Sun, which managed to draw out Sparky's Scroll early on. Not a bad turn considering.
Sparky's reaction to my turn wasn't too abrupt for the most part, with most of the army staying still. On the left flank the Silver Helms and Phoenix swung out a bit, but the only big move was the Dragon Princes swinging around the tower, presumably to try and tackle the Daemon Prince before he got free reign of the battlefield. However this was a huge mistake for Mark as you will see soon enough.
Magic was unsurprisingly uneventful, and shooting saw off 12 Hounds and 2 wounds on a Chariot, though nobody panicked in the intended checks.
I declared no charges this turn as I had my plan set for me. Throgg entered the building with his Trolls and looked outside. The remaining Hounds made a beeline for the Bolt Throwers on the off chance they survived another round. The Chimera and Crushers moved more aggressively on the right flank, but everything else
just shuffled and continued to wait.
In magic the Daemon Prince managed a Spirit Leech on the Phoenix however the creature's will proved to be too strong, and Purple Sun was stopped by the enemy Mage. Doom and Darkness managed to go off on the Prince bunker however. In shooting things were not so good for the High Elves. Sparky's mistake became very apparent to him when Throgg stuck his head out the window of the building and spewed all over the Dragon Princes, killing 6 of them. Unfortunately they didn't panic away however.
After their shocking losses the Dragon Princes retreated back toward the other flank, trying to bait the flaming Warriors into a charge while still confident that a Giant Blade would cut down the Chimera if he tried.
One of the Eagles broke cover and moved to intercept the oncoming Juggernauts. On the opposite flank the Helms and Phoenix continued to move out slowly under cover of the woods, ready to break at their own pace. Magic, like every round this game for the High Elves, was non-existent, however Mark forgot to dispel Doom and Darkness. In shooting the Hounds were wiped and a bolt pierced the Chimera but the wound regenerated. On the other side of the field the charm on the Prince's shield was used up and he suffered a wound following.
I finally declared some charges this turn, starting with the Crushers going into the Eagle. I knew they would be redirected, but there was no other way of getting them through to the Archers. More importantly the Chimera charged the Prince bunker who failed their re-rollable Panic check thanks to Doom and Darkness, and to add insult to injury, only ran away 3" and were caught by the charging Chimera. On the other flank the Daemon Prince flew to the flank of the Helms while the Chariots backed off the try and over-prepare a charge. The Warriors began to back away, as they would essentially have no role to play now in this fight.
Magic was in the air for sure this turn as Chaos released a barrage of spells. Starting with Spirit Leech and Fate of Bjuna on the nearby Prince, the Mage was forced to stop them, however this allowed the Daemon Prince the send a Purple Sun down the left flank where 1 Silver Helm and the Phoneix were sucked in. The damage caused gave the Daemon Prince back two dice which he used to Doom and Darkness the Silver Helms. In combat the Eagle was wiped and the Crusher ran 10" through the graveyard, taking a wound along the way.
Caught in a bad spot the Silver Helms moved just enough to stay out of the Daemon Prince's charge arc but also to stay as far away from the Chariots as possible. The only other movement was from the other Eagle who broke cover. Shooting saw a wound on a Crusher and a wound on the Chimera but nothing much of consequence. Seemingly the High Elves were fighting the long defeat.
At this point I knew I had the tower and a lot of points and so resolved to take the Warriors out of the fight all together as all they could do now was get shot, so they reformed and moved behind the building. Similarly Throgg and co' sat comfortably as they were not needed. As for charges, the Chimera swung into the Mage bunker while the Chariots both charged the Silver Helms despite one of them needing a maximum charge. The Daemon Prince also glided across the flank in other to get stuck in next turn.
For magic I just bombarded the Eagle until it was dead. Combat was completely one-sided as the Chariots swept all of the Helms and then ran down the lone Prince for only two wounds in return, and the Chimera easily disposed of the Mage bunker. Unfortunately nothing nearby panicked.
The High Elves had little they could do but try and hold out, so there wasn't much movement. The Swordmasters retreated back from the incomnig Daemon Prince and the Archers on the right turned to face the Crushers, while their brethren nearby marched out of the overrun path. Sparky finally got a bit of a break this turn as he killed the Chimera with a single bolt. It was shot lived however as he aimed to second one at the Chariots and missed.
At this point there wasn't much left to do. The Daemon Prince charged the Swordmasters and the Crushers charged the Archers. Meanwhile everything else I had retreated away from any change of being shot. In magic nothing happened in combat the Archers and 6 Swordmasters were wiped out.
In the High Elf turn the Archers continued to run while the Bolt Throwers turned and managed to fell a Skullcrusher. In combat the rest of the Swordmasters were killed and the Daemon Prince regained his lost wound.
To finish out the game I realized I couldn't get the Archers so I simply charged a Bolt Thrower with the Daemon Prince and then Purple Sunned both of them to death. Game.
I won't lie, I got very lucky when Mark forgot about Throgg's breath weapon and when the Chimera ran down his Prince bunker. I think Mark played a little too defensively, and some earlier Eagle support or a Swordmaster flank charge might have saved him some grief in the later stages of the game. Other than that, he had horrible dice, and contrary to what I was expecting coming into the tournament, his army didn't match up very well to mine.
Due to SCALE differences (1 in his favour) this was a 19-1 victory to me, putting me up to table 1 for the second game against Beastmen. Stay tuned.