This account will probably span several posts and make for a longer read. I hope you'll stay with me and that you find it interesting. Make sure you click on the pictures and diagrams for close up looks of the battlefield. Also, feel free to ask questions or leave comments at each stop, and I'll make sure to answer them.
I had brought this army list to the fight:
Orc Warboss on Wyvern
Charmed Shield, Amulet of Preservation, Sword of Striking, Potion of Strength
Savage Orc Great Shaman, level 4
Lucky Shrunken Heads
Black Orc Big Boss
Battle Standard Bearer, Enchanted Shield, Ironcurse Icon, Crown of Command
Night Goblin Shaman level 1
Goblin Big Boss on Wolf
Spear, Light Armor, Shield, Dragonbane Gem, Potion of Foolhardiness
27 Savage Orc Big 'Uns
Full Command, Additional handweapons
39 Night Goblins
Standard Bearer, Musician, Shields, 2 Fanatic
5 Goblin Wolf Riders
10 Orc Arrer Boyz
Standard Bearer, Musician
3 Wolf Chariots
20 Black Orcs
Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame, Shields
Snotling Pump Wagon
Outrigger, Exploding Spores
A list quite similar to what I'm using to running, with the additions of the Doom Diver and Wolf Chariots like I've talked about. I also shifted some points around and removed the Nets from the Night Gobbos (more on that later), leaving me short on core points. Excellent opportunity for the Arrer Boyz to make an entrance. I mounted my Gobbo Big Boss, and chief flaming attack diverter onto a Wolf, to make him more mobile and keep the Wolf Riders from fleeing as soon as things get rough. As an experiment, I also removed the ward save on my BSB in favour of the Crown of Command.
The High Elf list that Johan had brought went as follows (hidden magic items not included):
Archmage, level 4 (General)
Lore of Shadow
Mage, level 1
Lore of Metal
Great Weapon, Dragon Armor
Standard Bearer, Musician
27 White Lions
2x Great Eagles
2x Bolt Throwers
A solid list in my opinion, one that would be difficult to break for certain. I was a bit intrigued by the second Noble and had no idea what he was supposed to be doing in this fight. Johan is a skilled player though, so I was certain he had his reasons for bringing him along.
The scenario for this game was randomly determined to be a Witchhunt, where the first two wizards killed would award two points each, and the remaining 16 would be settled through regular victory points. We rolled for spells and my Great Shaman got the Foot of Gork, the Hand of Gork, 'Eadbutt and 'Ere We Go. My Gobbo shaman got Itching. The Archmage got The Withering, Enfeebling Foe, Mystifying Miasma and for the final spell had to decide between Mindrazor and Pit of Shades. He went for the Pit of Shades, which was an interesting choice. Obviously he hoped to kill me off from afar rather than beat me in combat early. The Mage went for the signature spell of Lore of Metal, Searing Doom, quite likely intent on sniping down my Wyvern, so I had better beware.
The battlefield consisted of two buildings on each flank (we decided to play them as impassable as we feel it makes for more enjoyable games), two green hills in the middle, a stonewall in the north and two forests. They were later revealed to be a fear-causing Abyssal Forest in the south, and a magic-devouring Blood Forest in the north. It was determined that I would get the southern side, while Johan's High Elves would anchor their line in the north.
As we counted up our army we realized I had two more units to deploy than my opponent did. The High Elves won the roll for deployment and asked me to go first, hoping to lure out my important troops and be able to matchup well against them. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. I was quite certain that one of his units were going to be carrying flaming weapons, as Johan knows my army well and I'm sure he had prepared for my Trolls. But they had to fight something and I'd rather fight the hardest hitting unit with the fewest attacks (White Lions) rather than the slightly less hard hitting unit with lots of attacks (Sword Masters). However, before engaging either of them I wanted to suicide my Wolf Chariots into them to soften them up before the real fight. I wanted to pit my Savage Orcs and Black Orcs against either of the Spearmen units, as I was certain they'd be able to take them down, possibly even on the charge. I wanted to anchor one of the flanks with the Night Goblins and hope to tie up the Elite unit I wasn't fighting with the Trolls while I dealt with the rest of his troops.
I started out the deployment with the cheap, throw-away stuff, deploying my Wolf Riders in the Abyssal Forest to see what was in there, my Arrer Boyz on the opposite flanks, since either would be able to do their jobs no matter what the elves would do. Johan matched my deployments with Archers on either side, followed up by the Eagles and the Bolt Throwers as I put down the Doom Diver, Pump Wagon and Mangler Squig behind a hill so he wouldn't be able to fire at it if he stole the first turn.
After that it was time to drop the heavier stuff and so I went straight for the Savage Orcs, who I deployed right in the center. Rather than saving these guys for last, I'd like to force a reaction from the enemy early and since I don't really fear anything for them to fight, it's better to put them in the middle since that usually means they get to fight something and quickly. Johan matched that with the big regiment of Spearmen, which was probably the one unit, aside from the White Lions who could take a charge from the Savages and remain steadfast for a turn.
I followed up by placing the Wolf Chariots next to them in the middle, because they are so swift I'd easily be able to go towards either flank if he placed his elites there, and put my Black Orcs on the other side of the Savages, since I wanted them to get the benefits of the Great Shaman's spells, who was going to go with the Savages. That made him put down his Swordmasters far away on the opposite flank to fortify a wall there, probably to ward off shooting and to make it even harder to fight them in combat. They are also quite capable of defeating the Black Orcs in combat, since with their 21 attacks that hits me on 3+ (with re-roll) and wounds me on 3+, they'd take out more than half of my units before they even get to strike.
That knowledge almost prompted me to deploy the Night Goblins to the left of the Black Orcs in order to tie up the Swordmasters, but as I had planned to put my Wyvern in the forest early on to protect him from the Bolt Throwers, that would leave the Goblins outside of his Inspiring Presence. So instead, I deployed them next to the forest and trusted in the ability of the Arrer Boyz to redirect the Swordmasters for a turn while I fought the rest of his troops. I was quite certain he would place the White Lions on the eastern flank rather than stack the opposite flank and leave the Spearmen against most of my army, and risk walking the Lions through the Bloodforest for two rounds and allow me to do additional damage to his fragile troops with my spells. As expected, he did deploy the Lions opposite the Gobbos, leaving only the Trolls left to be deployed.
I was first tempted to place them far out on the eastern flank, by my Wolf Riders, and sweep in to outflank the White Lions. However, that would leave them outside of the BSB's presence, and although my Warboss was within range of them, a turn lost to Stupidity would not be good for me. Also, I was a bit concerned that the Swordmasters would cut up my Black Orcs and claim that flank to even threaten the Savages, so I wanted my Trolls closer to the action if so. Therefore, I placed them behind the Wolf Chariots, since they would be off charging in round two anyway, opening up for the Trolls to move around after that.
Johan placed his BSB with the White Lions, probably to make sure they wouldn't fail their Stubborn checks, while the Archmage and the curious second Noble went with the Spearmen (S1) up against my Savages. Finally, the Mage with the Lore of Metal went with the smaller unit of Spearmen (S2), which pleased me as I wanted to stay out of his 24" magic range with my Wyvern. So I placed my Wyvern in the forest as planned, the Great Shaman with his Savage brethren and also put the Black Orc BSB there as well.
I usually want to keep my Savages in check and safe from animosity in the early rounds, mostly so that I don't risk losing out on casting spells. This is also why I've created an animosity free zone around them. If one of the other mobs roll the dreaded 1+1, forcing them to squabble with the mates closest to thetm, the Night Goblins and the Wolf Riders are closer to one another than the Savages, and the Arrer Boyz are out of reach. The Black Orcs, Trolls and Chariots, naturally, don't test for animosity. Keeping your troops in check, especially the one with the Wizard, is of utmost importance for a Greenskin general.
The Wolf Rider Boss went with his peers and the Gobbo Shaman followed suit with his own Night Gobbos.
I used the vanguard move of the Wolf Riders to move them out of the forest and in hiding behind the hill in the middle of the field, granting them cover from elven arrows and bolts, while still closer to being able to charge a warmachine early on.
Since he finished up ahead of me, Johan got +1 for the roll to begin and claimed the initiative. Smiling, he decided to go first.