Painting   Tactics   Army Lists   Battle Reports   Reviews   Archives
Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Cunning Scheme: Feigning and trapping

I wanted to share a strategic move I performed while going up against a Beastmen army down at the gaming club last week. My opponent was running a Gor Horde of around 40 models, joined by a Beastlord, a Wargor BSB and a Great Bray-Shaman. They had the Beast Banner for +1 strength and was backed up by three shamans with the Wyssan's Wildform signature spells (granting them 1+ S and T). So they were almost certain to have somewhere between S and T 5-7. With Primal Fury for re-rolls and a higher initiative than my troops, defeating this Horde was certainly non-trivial. I went about it with a cunning scheme.

Trolls and Savage Orcs prepare to take on a Gor Horde

What is not shown in the picture above is the left flank, where my Giant is sneaking around (well, kind of) to threaten a flank charge on the Gor Horde. This alone would definitely not break them, but any time a potentially devastating monster is threatening a flank, the player tends to feel pressured. I wanted him to attack and fight on my terms, so I tried to urge him to charge now rather than waiting for more units to get in position.

An aggressive Giant forced my opponent to spend a Razorgor to redirect him, despite him not actually being in combat with anything. If he didn't, he probably felt that the Giant could pin him in place for a few turns, cause a lot of casualties while I moved my units to take out his support (the 2nd Gor unit) and outflank him.

As the Razorgor was charged by my Giant, it was unable to take out my 20 bowgobbos. So instead I reformed them into a Horde of their own and moved in front of the Trolls. The idea was not to redirect the Gor Horde, but to make sure that he would be fighting my main combat units during my turn and that I would be able to pick which one of the units he charged. Because I reformed the Night Goblins into a Horde, that meant I could predict how he would align against me if he charged (he had to maximize models, so one Gor would stick out slightly on each side). For my magic, I made sure the one spell I got through was giving my gobbos poison. 

My third move was to place the Savage Orcs slightly ahead of the Trolls and with one model within the path of the Gor's potential overrun. This meant that if the Gors overran, they would only be able to get in base contact with a single model from the Savage Orcs (since they can't wheel more due to bumping into the Trolls). From a first glance, this would seem like a good trade for the Beastmen: Rather than being combo charged by 8 Trolls and 26 Savage Orcs with 3 characters, he would be fighting a single model from the orc unit and allow his entire Gor Horde to fight my 8 Trolls. 

My gobbos took aim with their arrows and took down a few Gors, who elected to charge in their turn. This meant I could stand and shoot with my poisonous arrows and take out a few more. Since both units struck at initiative 3, I was able to roll a few more 6's. In total, I had taken down around 10 Gors with my gobbos before they died, not to mention set up a key strategic move. To further convince my opponent to overrun I allowed him to imbue his Gors with a single Wildform, while dispelling the other two. When your opponent has more dice than you in his power pool, and three versions of the same key spell that he can cast multiple times, always let through the spell with an above average dice roll or the one cast from the wizard of the highest level while dispelling the other two. I wanted my opponent to feel like this was his best shot at beating me - fighting Savage Orcs corner-to-corner and taking on my Trolls with his full S5 T5 Gor Horde. What I did not want was for him to restrain pursue after killing the gobbos, reform and wait for more units to arrive and block one of my units. I was happy when he decided to overrun.

In my turn, I charged in with the Trolls and quaffed a Potion of Speed with my Warboss. During my magic phase, I baited out his Dispel Scroll and all his dice to prevent me from lowering the Gors' initiative and to give my Trolls poison. This was fine, as they were both ruses to allow me to get through 'Ere We Go. That might seem weird, considering I only had a single Savage Orc in combat, so my opponent let it go through. What's important to note though, is that this spell was very important for what happens in the following combat.

Since all three Beast characters are locked in the middle of the unit and fighting the Trolls, who care very little about their augmented S6 and S7 (as they regen just as well), I can safely make way with my Savage Orc Warboss into combat. This proves key for two reasons: first of all, no regular Savage Orcs can now take damage, meaning they will retain their rank bonus which is already higher than the Gors in a Horde formation. This meant that with the BSB nearby, I would be steadfast at my Warboss' leadership if the Trolls get destroyed and flee, meaning the Gors cannot pursue them. Second of all, my Warboss was sporting the Sword of Anti-Heroes, which gave him a total of 9 S9 attacks with so many Beastmen characters in the Gor unit, all striking at initiative 8 thanks to his potion and with all their misses being re-rolled. Before the Gors get to even strike the Trolls, 9 of them were dead, leaving little more than 20 standing. Even despite the characters hitting hard, the Trolls were not giving up 9 wounds with their regeneration, and still hurt T5 Gors enough to draw the combat on their own. With my Warboss' attacks and the static combat resolution of the Savage Orcs, that was more than enough to force a Beastmen break test on snake eyes.

Failing their break test, the Gors flee with the Greenskins in hot pursuit

The point of this post is to highlight how to decide on a plan or a strategy - fight the Gor Horde with my Warboss on a corner while the Trolls tank with their regeneration, while having the Savage Orcs provide ranks to break them and to make sure I will not lose units if I lose combat - and then perform a number of tactical moves to execute that strategy. Deciding on a strategy on how exactly to defeat a particular enemy unit before the game is most of the time critical in my victories (I do well with executing a plan, I do poorly when I have to improvise mid-battle). If you haven't tried that method before, do so and maybe some of those losses will turn into glorious stomp-fests for the green guys.