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AoS Because it is Bitter, and Because it is My Dinosaur Heart

Discussion in 'Battle Reports' started by Christopher, Dec 8, 2017.

  1. Christopher
    Skink

    Christopher Member

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    ...or, my first Battle Report.

    Today, I played my fourth ever Age of Sigmar game, and first ever thousand point game. Because I listened to the good people here (though not quite hard enough), this is what I took:

    Eternal Starhost—130
    --> Saurus Eternity Warden (1, Leader)—140
    --> Saurus Guard (5, with Stardrake Icon, Battleline)—100
    --> Saurus Guard (5, with Wardrums, Battleline)—100
    --> Saurus Guard (5, Battleline)—100
    Ripperdactyl Riders (3)—140
    Skink Starpriest (1, Leader, General)—80
    Razordon (1, Artillery)—40
    Skink Handlers (3)—40
    Chameleon Skinks (5)—120

    I elected the Seraphon allegiance and so enjoyed the benefit of Lords of Space and Time. My Skink Starpriest had the Nimble Command Trait and the Prism of Amyntok Artefact. The Eternity Warden carried the Blade of Realities Artefact.

    My opponent, who I’ve played twice before and who is the reigning local Age of Sigmar champ (most of the people in our area play more 40K than AoS, he doesn’t play 40K at all), brought this army:

    Zombies (10, Battleline)—60
    Morghast Harbingers (2)—220
    Skeleton Warriors (20, Battleline)—160
    Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade (Leader)—120
    Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon (Leader, Behemoth, General)—440

    The army had the Death allegiance and so enjoyed the benefit of the Deathless Minions Battle Trait. The Vampire Lord General had the Red Fury Command Trait, though this never came into play. Neither did any Artefact of Death come into play, and I don’t, in fact, know which one he’d chosen for his army.

    Before I get into the report proper, I’ll say something about “rules mastery,” which my opponent certainly possessed, and Capricorns, which I am. Not that I believe the stars affect my destiny, beyond the celestial powers granted by our Slann overlords, of course, but I do possess the classic (I’m told) “Capricorn trait” of being a rules-follower.

    So, I showed up with my detailed and completed Pitched Battle Army Roster and he showed up with a box of models and said, “What are we doing, a thousand? Hang on a minute.” He did have the courtesy of telling me what each of the models were as he pulled them out and did his calculations, so I was able to load them in the app and read up on them as he prepared. That’s all fine. And it’s more or less fine if, as he says, it’s “just how we do it locally” that all measurements were taken from base to base when I thought they were taken from model body to model body. So long as it’s consistent throughout a game, I don’t guess it makes a difference, though it did surprise me. But there were some, I guess, “loosey goosey” things that made me itch a little. I’m pretty sure he was taking the Deathless Minion roll for all units whether they were within 6” of a Death Hero or not. And he seemed to be taking the additional Infernal Standard roll for all UNITS within range of that Wight King ability instead of all MODELS, which, y’know, makes a difference. He also ended the game by having his Wight King kill my last model with Blood Boil, using it as an ability, when it’s actually a spell of the Vampire Lord’s. That was probably an honest mistake, and I think he was just trying to end a long game he ultimately found frustrating (see below) despite winning it by a country mile, but taken with other stuff, it just seemed weird.

    So, we rolled the Battle for the Pass Battleplan. He finished setting up his units before mine and elected to go first. The battle last five long rounds, and I only took the roll and went first on the fourth. He went first on all other rounds.

    Battle for the Pass is all about accumulating points by controlling any or all of four objectives, as all of you know better than me. He set up his Zombies on the objective purely in his control, I set up my entire Eternal Starhost near (but not on) the objective purely in my control. The rest of our units were scattered around, mostly in or among various pieces of terrain. I did not put my Chameleon Skinks on the board until the Move Phase of the second round.

    In the first round, he moved his Skeletons out (in kind of a dodgy way that basically involved a U formation around a piece of scenery, but seemed to involve some of the skeletons going straight THROUGH the scenery) and landed them very close to my Blight Toad.

    I don’t know whether he meant it to be a trap, but if it was, I sure took the bait. I flew my Ripperdactyls out there and shortly found myself removing them from the battlefield as his flying Morghast Harbingers arrived to make short work of them.

    Next to go was my Skink Starpriest, who I teleported onto a tower deep in his territory planning to take pot shots at his Zombies. That Vampire swooped over and took him out in two rounds.

    Now, here’s where the tenor the game changed. The Skink Handlers didn’t last long, but the Razordon got in some good hits on the Skeletons and on the Morghasts (though the Skeletons kept coming back, of course). And I wound up using Lords of Space and Time to rescue the Razordon and move her back so she could play a role in my one bit of glory, more on which soon.

    I had parked my Starhost and was determined to make him come to them, so they could take advantage of all the synergies they get from not moving and staying close to their Eternity Warden, which he eventually did. First he came at them with the Skeletons, and that was pretty satisfying, as they got decimated. Though of course a bunch of them came back. And because of the various things he had going on, they each got, essentially, three saves on every wound by his usage and interpretation of the rules (which I have no reason to doubt, beyond that one model/unit discrepancy).

    He was piling up the points on controlling objectives, and I determined by the end of the second round that there was no way I was going to win. I was thinking of a graceful and fun way out when he said, “I really hate having to take any of my models off the battlefield.”

    O-kay.

    My plans changed.

    I immediately stopped trying to control any objectives and just concentrated purely on generating wounds, pretty much evenly divided between the Morghasts and the Skeletons, depending on who was closest to the Starhost.

    He charged the Starhost with the Morghasts and lost one of them. I then managed to roll a 6 on Lords of Space and Time and extricated the Chameleon Skinks from where they’d been cornered by Zombies, and put them on a ridgeline above the center of the battlefield with the previously teleported Razordon. Those two units managed to eliminate the Skeletons entirely, something, according to my opponent, that “had never happened before.”

    But then the Wight King and the Vampire Lord waded into the middle (the second Morghast, down to 1 wound, retreated to take control of an objective). The Wight King made quick work of the Razordon and the Chameleon Skinks, and then, friends, I did not do the honorable thing. I did not concede.

    Instead, I made him take almost a full hour to slowly grind away the Starhost with the Vampire Lord (with its regeneration and 14 wounds). Towards the end, when I had a lone model left, he said, “You want to call it?”

    And I said, “I do not.”
     
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  2. Crowsfoot
    Slann

    Crowsfoot Guardian of Paints Staff Member

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    Haha good on you for not calling it,

    What would you do different if you played the battle again?
     
  3. Killer Angel
    Skar-Veteran

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    That was probably a honest mistake, I did it too. Usually all abilities based on range works on units, so things that work on models are more an exception
     
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  4. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the report!
    Same question as @Crowsfoot now: It was a tough matchup, but judging by your experience with that Death army, what did you learn?

    I have a few remarks that I can make now, the rest (including discussion of tactics) later.

    - Measuring base to base is the way most people play as it is just better in many regards.
    - The "three saves" for Death is indeed correct. The first is the regular save where he saves against the wounding attack, the second is the 6+ one against the wounds the attacker gets through his saves (allegiance ability), and the third is against a model dying if said model is in range of the Infernal Standard of his Wight King. As Skeletons only have one wound that ability is triggered with every wound so it looks like a 6+ save.
    Combined with the regeneration it makes Skeletons really good.
    - As for the units or models being in range for the Standard: Since the defender chooses which model dies, he can choose the one that is closest to the Wight King to take the test, so yeah in that case it means if one model of the unit is in range that's fine. As far as I can tell that's OK as long as - if the test fails - he indeed removes that model and not suddenly one that is out of range of the Standard. That's why in big games you often see some Skeletons standing in a long conga line toward a Wight King (or another hero, to get the Deathless Minions ability).
    - Deathless Minions works within 6" (or a bit more around the General if he took the right Command trait) so yeah if he used it outside of that: That's wrong. Doesn't have to be intentional, I forgot that myself once or twice. It happens when you are used to playing a dense battlefield with many heroes, there is always one hero near. Then you suddenly play a game where the army is spread a lot and you forget you cannot take it.
    - Moving left and right around the obstacle is OK as long as there is less than 1" between all models of the unit. Moving through the obstacle is not OK though, you have to spend the extra inches to flow around it. That slows down units quite a bit.
     
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  5. Killer Angel
    Skar-Veteran

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    the problem here was that a part of the unit passed to the left of the terrain and a part passed on the right... without breaking cohesion, which was not possible.
     
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  6. Christopher
    Skink

    Christopher Member

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    Thanks everyone! I'll give this some more thought and attention as to specifics later in the weekend, but for now, I think the three big answers to the "what did I learn" question are these.

    1. I have a ways to go as a tactician and strategist.
    2. Very much related to 1, the secret to this game seems to be synergy. My greatest successes, such as they were, came from using multiple units, abilities, Artefacts, etc, together to achieve greater effects than individual units could achieve on their own. I really need to study my warscrolls and find those synergies. And of course, I need to get more Skinks.
    3. I think this might be a typical newcomer's problem, but I believe I've basically been ignoring victory conditions. The object of the game--which is different every time, more or less--might involve objectives, removing particular enemy models, or other achievements. I think I've been playing instinctively thinking "The object of this game is for my guys to kill all his guys" and not paying much attention to the actual battleplans.

    Cheers,

    Christopher

    PS Bonus fourth answer. "Don't open the battle by sending your Ripperdactyls straight up the middle, even if they're going to benefit from Toad Rage."
     
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  7. Crowsfoot
    Slann

    Crowsfoot Guardian of Paints Staff Member

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    Did you enjoy it?
     
  8. Christopher
    Skink

    Christopher Member

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    I did!
     
  9. Crowsfoot
    Slann

    Crowsfoot Guardian of Paints Staff Member

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    Good that’s the main thing
     
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  10. Christopher
    Skink

    Christopher Member

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    So, the main question I haven’t answered is from Crowsfoot—what would I have done differently if I played the battle again?

    First off, this is by no means an academic question. Tomorrow, the thousand point week of our shop’s ongoing escalation league starts and it’s entirely possible I’ll face the exact same opponent using exactly the same models as soon as this weekend. That only partly influences my answers, however.

    So, one thing I would do differently is swap out the Skink Handlers for a Salamander, and that is, in fact, what I’ve done with the list I’ve prepared for this weekend (which, by the way, is 990 points, not the spot-on 1000 my opponent had/will have).

    Other things I would and will do differently include the following:
    1. Despite that neat little trick I stumbled across with the self-teleportation and the Prism of Amyntok Artefact, I’m going to treat my Skink Starpriest as a General and not as a deep-striking assassin. I’m going to hold him back to support my Eternal Starhost, who I plan to, if the Battleplan allows, keep back securing homefield objectives and exerting battlefield control.
    2. I’m going to keep my Ripperdactyl Riders to the edges and use THEM as deep-striking assassins, not send them up the center of the battlefield to face the fullest strength of the enemy head on.
    3. I’m going to pay more attention to the actual Battleplan. Because my tactical and strategic skills are only at the beginning of their development, I think I’m going to play it by asking myself this question every time it’s my turn—what can I do to score the most points THIS TURN? And then do that. Or try to do that.
    4. I’m going to use my Chameleon Skinks to secure objectives, not to attack enemy Heroes or mobs.
    5. I’m going to use Lords of Space and Time (in conjunction with the Chameleon Skinks movement abilities) to move them and my Artillery (a Razordon and a Salamander) around the board, using them as both fire support and objective securing units.
    Five things seems like plenty for me to remember and to try to implement for my next game!

    I do have a couple of other niggling rules things I’d like to check on. Well, one in particular. In yesterday’s game, my Ripperdactyls were finished off by my opponent’s flying Morghast Harbingers, but only after they’d been softened up quite a bit by his Skeleton Warriors. I take his word for it that base-to-base is the locally accepted standard of measurement and I note well what Aginor said here about that being the way most people play (though on rereading the rules and the FAQs, I merely state for the record that this is definitely a house rule, as it runs counter to all that’s written there.) Nevertheless, when his Skeleton Warriors, armed with Ancient Blades, went to attack, I asked, “Wait, do they have the range?”

    “They’re base to base,” he said.

    “But they’re more than an inch away from my Ripperdactyls, right? The flying stand doesn’t count as part of their body, does it?”

    At which point he explained that models merely have to be next to each other for range measurement, and that verticality doesn’t count, otherwise, and I quote, “Most models wouldn’t be able to reach up to them to fight them in melee.”

    Well, okay. But that seems to make the Ripperdactyl Rider’s Swooping Dive ability kind of nonsensical, doesn’t it? And I could have sworn I remembered a particular rule about that. I went to look for it, and didn’t find anything specific on the situation until I found this in the Age of Sigmar FAQs document.

    Q: Some very short models, such as Goblins, are not able to attack models on flying stands, as the distance between the two models exceeds the range of the smaller model’s weapon. Is there any way for the smaller model to attack in such a situation?


    A: No – it will need to find some scenery upon which to stand in order to reach the flying model. Likewise, the flying model would be unable to attack those small models unable to reach it, should its melee weapon not have enough range to do so.

    Which seems pretty cut and dried to me.

    And once I got into the FAQs, boy, did the way we were running pile-ins not stand up, but that’s a story for another day.

    Okay, off to carefully pack my models and paints for tomorrow’s trip to the local Games Workshop! Thanks again, everybody!
     
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  11. Christopher
    Skink

    Christopher Member

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    Hmmm. Since I'm not going to use the Skink Starpriest as a deep-striking assassin, I'm highly tempted to take the Light of Dracothion Artefact for him rather than the Prism of Amyntok. Decisions, decisions...
     
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  12. Killer Angel
    Skar-Veteran

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    Just remember that with teleport you place the model at 9" from the enemy, and the sally got shooting range 8".
    Razordons are wonderful for teleporting Attacks, sallies much less...


    This is a huge can of worms.
    Base to base is a so largely used houserule, that is mentioned even in the GHB, so it's semi-official.
    That said, that FAQ is pretty clear, so to measure base-to-base will be against the game as clearly intended .
    I'd say that base to base goes for things as measuring charges, pile in and so on, but you still must have the reach to hit a flying model. We have the specific FAQ on that, so don't give up on this point.
    Of course, if your rippers have already used the swooping dive, then they are considered to be at terrain level.
     
  13. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    Seems you got it covered!
    Your five points are all spot on and will definitely improve your game.

    About flying and so on:
    Flying rules don't make sense in AoS, sorry.
    That's also one of my main gripes about the rules.
    Yes, a Goblin with a kitchen knife can hit and wound a flying airship.
    That's pretty much the only downside of base to base measurement compared to model to model.
    But that's good because otherwise some armies would have no defense at all against flying units.

    B2B measuring is much more than just some houserule.
    I have yet to meet someone in person who plays m2m and not b2b measurement.
    Even many tournaments use that rule.
    People just hate if you pile your models onto their beautifully crafted bases and the problems with converted (and even some not converted) models are huge. Measuring from the tips of lances and such stuff.
    Prime example from our army: Troglodon.
     

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