Author Topic: High Elves + Greeks vs Lizardmen: Breaking Point  (Read 1289 times)

Hannibal

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4596
High Elves + Greeks vs Lizardmen: Breaking Point
« on: September 16, 2013, 01:35:00 PM »
We only got in one playtest game last week (despite coming up with a solution for the Helot issue).  What can I say, football has started and so we end up chatting a bit more for a couple of weeks.   ;D

We're still trying to see if High Elves with Greek Skirmishers is broken.  We did our usual "set up three scenarios + maps and each get a veto."  We ended up with Breaking Point on a constrained board, because Scott didn't want to give the HEs lots of room to maneuver.

Lizardmen:  1 Trog Spearmen, 3 Trog Warriors, 2 Triceratops Herds, 1 Raptor Pack.

High Elves:  2 Battles Squads, 2 Elder Blade Swordsmen, 1 HE Chariot, 1 Celestial Guard,  2 Bithnyian Peltasts.

Greek mercs for reference:
Bithnyian Peltasts – Standard - 77 pts
O:(3)5/4  D:1*/0  Rge:5”  Cge: 11  Mv: 5"  3G/1Y/2R
Skirmisher, Javelins, Impulsive.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +2/+0 vs ranged attacks.

A tribe of Thracians that settled in Asia Minor, Bithnyians were brutal and savage even by Thracians standards.

I hadn't intended to take the exact same build, I was actually meaning to take 3 EB Swordsmen and upgrade the Chariots to Knights, but when I saw him take Lizardmen I knew I had to take the Celestial Guard.  Otherwise, I simply wouldn't have an answer to the T-Rex (either in a straight fight or taking the CG with the intent to chew through his other stuff quickly).


Deployment


High Elves (L->R):  Celestial Guard (in front of Chariots), Bithnyian Skirmishers (in front of Battle Squad), EB Swords, EB Swords, Battle Squad, Bithnyian Skirmishers.

Lizardmen: (L->R):  Trikes (in front of Raptors, Trikes, Trog Warriors & Trog Warriors (backed up by Trog Warriors), Trog Spearmen

I was a little surprised by Scott's choice of units, because the T-Rex could tromp right through that swamp with no penalty (or through the brush without outrunning his line).  Or he could take the T-Rex and have a short line that he could anchor to the terrain.  Still, this was a pretty good fight for him:  his Raptors could probably beat my Chariots and he liked having his Trikes on my Battle Squad.  The Celestial Guard on his Trikes was a good fight for me, but it would take too long for me to chew through them.

It came down to my skirmishers having to pull him out of position.  My Chariots got Hold with an objective on my left, while the Celestial Guard & EB Swordsmen both got Close with an objective behind them (the table edge).  My right battle squad got an objective to their left, to threaten the Trog Spearmen if they tried to go by.  I'd pull 243 pts of his right out of the game.

Now, this is where the skirmishers being Impulsive really messed with my plan.  On the left, I had to put them on Hold because of the unique issue with the Trikes:  they move 3.5" (so they stay in line) but final rush 5".  Usually, skirmishers can absorb an enemy charge and create gaps that way.  But Trikes could FR out to 5", getting far enough ahead of their line so that they could run off the skirmishers early and give the rest of the line time to catch up.  Making matters worse, my skirmishers were Impulsive.  So I couldn't move cap them because after turn 1, they'd be close enough to become Close.

On the right it was the same issue:  my skirmishers would be on Close once they got within 7" so they I couldn't really move them out as a flanking unit to pull the Trog Spearmen out of position.  Instead, I opted to give them Hold with an objective to redeploy them early and hope they could cause some general chaos.


Skirmisher in Action


A couple of turns later and my skirmishers have gotten up in his face, and I realize I'd missed a golden opportunity.  See, Scott gave his line Close but without any objectives.  This meant that by running up my skirmishers like that, there were 4 units able to charge my skirmishers.  If I'd just put my fighting units on Hold, they'd be in position to flank any enemy unit (the Trikes and two units of Trogs) that flanked my skirmishers.

If I'd instead sent them forward with a move cap of 2.5", I would have been able to take advantage of that without expending any CAs.  Ah well, mistakes by both of us.


Broken Line


Scott spends 2 CAs (one to DC the Trogs and one to change the Trikes to Hold).  The middle Trikes charge the skirmishers, who fail their check and call it a day.  On the right, the Trogs charge the skirmishers, who rout into the terrain.  That flank is pretty well delayed.

Meanwhile, the Raptors advance up, daring the Chariots to engage...

Celestial Trap


...only he's playing High Elves.  So for 1 Sprinting CA, the Celestial Guard are now in final rush range, and in they go.  Despite needing 2s (from a well timed Mettle) the Celestial Guard do 5 wounds!  The Raptors end up passing their Yellow check solely because of Fury.  They respond by inflicting 2 points (would have been 3 were it not for Mithril).

Meanwhile, my Battle Squad get Hold-Objective and pull back out of final rush range of those Trikes.


All But Over


On the next HE turn, my Battle Squad maneuver to keep both Trikes in front of them while protecting the flank of the EB Swordsmen.  The Chariots slide out and are positioned more than 5" from the Trikes but within FR range of both Trikes if they charge anywhere.

At this point, Scott was in trouble.  He only hope was that the Raptors lived through the turn so that the trikes could pinch the Celestial Guard.  He'd already expended a Cold Blooded to make sure they didn't rout last turn and he had another one, plus a Fumble card.  Unfortunately it wasn't to be, as the Celestial Guard did 1 more point than was needed.

The Lizardmen were in trouble.

Elsewhere, the EB Swordsmen charged in and did a measly point.  Also on the far left, the Bithyian Peltasts Impulsive struck again!  They were Impulsive, so after auto-rallying last turn (being .25" into the terrain meant that the other units FR range was 2.5" and so they were not able to charge the skirmishers), the Bithyians went to Close.  And since they were in the flank of the enemy, they could final rush.  This is an interesting effect of the Impulsive, because its not something I'd expend a CA on, but I was happy to delay the Trog Spearmen.  The Trogs put them into the Yellow, but the Bithyians passed their check.


Charge of the Trikes


With only the dice to save him, Scott let his Trikes charge in.  This time, I learned and played my Oathbound for the Fear checks (both of which I passed).  On the left, the Trikes put the Celestial Guard into the Yellow and took only 2 pts in return.  To the right, the Trikes did 3 pts to the Battle Squad.  Both units passed their check.

Elsewhere, the Trogs made a good accounting of themselves against the EB Swordsmen:  one did 2 pts vs taking 3 pts.  The other one took a whopping 5 pts on the charge but gave 3 pts in return.

The Trog Spearmen put the Bithnyians into the Red and they amazingly passed their check, but it would be no matter:  if they died this turn or next (the HE turn) it was the same effect:  the Trogs didn't move this turn and couldn't move next turn.


The Shame


On the left, the Chariots charged the Trikes, who passed their Cge 12 pinch check.  The Chariot & Celestial Guard put them into the Yellow, but it was a very poor showing:  the two units did 4 pts (with cards) when they should have done 5-6 pts before cards.  The difference was a Yellow vs red check:  he rolled an 11.  If it'd been a Red check, those trikes would've been gone.

Instead, the trikes rolled three 1s against the Celestial Guard and did 2 wounds.  Note the dice in the picture:  that's the Celestial Guard's rout check.  sigh  This makes 3 games where I've outplayed my opponent and bad dice have just sunk me.

Elsewhere it was a continued comedy of errors:  the EB Swordsmen continue to underperform while the Trogs force Yellow checks on both of them.  Luckily Cge 13 holds up.


The Grind


Now I'm exactly where I don't want to be: in a grind match with an army that get bonuses for grinding.  Both my Elder Blade Swordsmen are at/near the Red, and while my Battle Squad is holding valiantly against the Trikes, I can only expect so much.

The Chariots get lucky and force a Red check on the Trikes, who fail their rout check.  However, they pass the check from free strikes, meaning my Chariots still have to deal with them.


High Elves Crumble


Originally this picture was "The Shame pt 2" but in truth, I can't really blame the High Elves for failing a bunch of rout checks here.  They failed 2 of 3, but they were all red checks after passing their yellow checks.  The odds of passing both a Yellow and Red check for a Cge 13 unit sub-50/50.

Luckily for me, one of the Trogs failed their check as well and that will let me flank the Trikes and hold them off.


Desperate Measures


In the previous turn the Elder Blade Swordsmen flanked the Trikes to hold them in position[1].  The Chariots were DC'd to come around to set up a rear charge.  And the Celestial Guard went into the flank of the other Trike unit, destroying it.  The Trikes, despite attacking to their flank, managed to whittle down the EB Swordsmen and destroy them.

Elsewhere, I let my Battle Squad rout to take them out of harm's way while DCing my other Battle Squad to back up.  I was 1 unit away from breaking the Lizardmen, but was getting very close to a Draw so I was trying to preserve points.

[1] and only got 1 die for charging.  Man I'm liking that rule less and less.  It should be just a flat +2 dice or even +2 dice based on starting dice, before casualties.  I mean, units in the red would always get +1 Pow under the Pow charge.


Endgame


Again, this is a couple of turns later.  The Trikes absorbed rear charge from the Chariots and even managed to put them into the Yellow.  This turn, the Celestial Guard flank charge them (only getting +1 die for charging   :-\) and although the Trikes passed their rout checks, they were cut down this turn. 

(Seriously, to whom do I need to sacrifice a chicken to get those Cge 12 Trikes to blow a rout check?  Cause I'll do it!  At this point, I'll go all Angel Heart for some average dice on both sides)

Elsewhere, the Trogs final rush my Battle Squads.  Here's where things get interesting.  See, because if either of my Battle Squads is destroyed, I have less than 1,000 pts on the table and its a draw.  I had one fully healthy squad (on the right) and one rallied Battle Squad in the red (at the bottom).

On the right, is where them only getting +1 die makes me play ultra-conservative.  The Trogs had 2 Green boxes left.  If I was rolling 5 dice on the charge, I might send them in, drop my best card, and go for the rout.  At the very least he'd have fewer dice to try and rout me in return.  Risky, and the safe bet is likely still to delay, but its an option.  But needing to do 2 pts with 4 dice (because I only get +1 die) and I'd have to spend a CA to put these guys on Close?  Nope.  Its an automatic choice:  go for the delay.

(Edit:  I'm not lobbying for any changes, just kinda grousing)

So the Battle Squad on the right eats the charge and goes into the Yellow on the last turn but pass their check. This turn, I drop Blue cards to save them from taking a check.

On the bottom, the Battle Squad has to eat the charge (no debate on the dice charge here:  you don't charge in this situation).  I play Parry making him hit me on 1s and he does 1 hit and then fails to wound.  All he needed was 1 wound for me to take another Red check, but it doesn't happen.

And that's 1200 pts of Lizardmen killed.  High Elves have 1136 pts on the table, and limp to a 4-2 win.


Post-Game Thoughts & Greek Analysis

There are two maxims that applies here:

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake
--Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower

"It is better to be lucky than good"
--The Red Baron

Clearly neither of us played a perfect game (I mean, every game could be done better, but we both made slip ups here that we shouldn't have), but I took advantage of a mistake that let me Celestial Guard slam into his Raptors.  But in the end, he made many of the clutch rolls and I didn't.  This should let you know how bad my dice were and how good his were:  I had 3 unit to his 2, mine could Sprint & Maneuver Mastery, and I was a hare's breath from a draw.

On the skirmishers, neither of us came away thinking they were broken.  I mean, this was another good situation for them, and while they strongly influenced the game, that was more about the opponent failing to react to them.  I look at it this way:  with the extra 154 pts, I could have upgraded the unit to a regular Swordsmen unit.  Which would I rather have?  (In that case, I'd put the EB Swordsmen on the Trikes and the regular Swordsmen unit on the Trogs)

The one thing that bugs me is the Impulsive.  On the one hand, it was a severe disadvantage early on, because I knew once the other guy got near, that "go the Close" thing would be a pain.  Basically it means that you can't really redeploy with these skirmishers other by DCing them.  They get deployed and then go straight at the enemy.

The flip side is that being auto-close gives them some nice advantages when they get charged.  They can redeploy if they bounce behind your line or they can come back at the enemy otherwise.  So instead of being a true disadvantage, there's time when they can actually be an advantage.

One thing I could do is tweak their costs.  But, Impulsive only counts for like 2 pts.  Some folks may think that there's this line on a chart where 1-2 points turns a unit into a "take" vs "don't take" but I don't.  To me, its always about nominal cost.  If I'm willing to spend 70 pts for a unit, and it has no comparative units of that type in the army, then I'd be willing to spend 80 pts.  The 10 nominal points won't influence my decision.

Still, at least tweaking the cost would allow me to say "hey, it's accurate."  So far Impulsive has provided me with a benefit 2 times while providing a negative 1 time.  I could see dropping the discount down to 2% or even 1%.  Like I said, not a big points change, but at least its something.


Edit:  interesting thought that I just had while replying to another thread. I felt like the skirmishers going to Close wasn't a big disadvantage because they don't final rush (so all the good of coming off Hold for free but none of the bad by charging into unfavorable matchups).  In this game, my skirmishers flanking the Trogs felt like a win for me at the time.  However, look at my points at the end of the game:  1136 pts.  If those skirmishers hadn't charged, I'd have 1213 pts.  Meaning I could have lost a Battle Squad and still have won.  So actually, those skirmishers running in hurt me more by throwing away 77 pts.  Huh...
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 11:43:45 AM by Hannibal »

RushAss

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3835
  • Eat your beets - Recycle!
    • My Facebook.  Where you can see my, uh... face.
Re: High Elves + Greeks vs Lizardmen: Breaking Point
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 04:28:27 PM »
Good report as always!  Nice use of the Chariots there.

Man, you need to lay off of the Celestial Guard for a while!  And while they will stand up to a T-Rex, I'm still not totally wild about that match up.

Can you tell me why the Bithnyian Peltasts are Impulsive?  I just can't get over the flavor-weirdness of it.
"You can never break the chain - There is never love without pain
A gentle hand, a secret touch on the heart
A healing hand, as secret touch on the heart"
-Rush, Secret Touch

Hannibal

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4596
Re: High Elves + Greeks vs Lizardmen: Breaking Point
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 04:47:21 PM »
Quote
Man, you need to lay off of the Celestial Guard for a while!  And while they will stand up to a T-Rex, I'm still not totally wild about that match up.

The CG won't actually stand toe-to-toe with the T-Rex.  My plan was to use the skirmishers and a HE unit to delay the T-Rex while the Celestial Guard killed whatever was in front of them and flank the T-Rex.  I was figuring that with him being at -1 die and the CG being at +1 skill (plus the fact that the Celestial Guard can use Command Cards at no penalty), that I could win that fight.


Quote
Can you tell me why the Bithnyian Peltasts are Impulsive?  I just can't get over the flavor-weirdness of it.

Bithynians were a tribe of Thracians.  Thracians made Gauls look calm and even-tempered (Note that Thracian warriors are also Impulsive).  Alexander's Thracian Peltasts won't be Impulsive, but they're more of the exception.

As an aside, the reason I chose Bithynia for the unit name is because this region was part of the Persian Empire (although it continuously asserted its independence).  A peltast style unit was something that didn't make the cut into the Persia release.  This would allow Persia to use them.