Played fantasy at the club last night - quite frankly after apoc sunday we needed a break from the hi-tech world of lasguns and orks beating each other with sticks. Instead we went for the low tech world of steam driven tanks and orks beating each other with sticks...
Took an entirely different Empire army (yes, same as every week - I love the variety in the Empire codex) and this week I went all out on Knights. So many in fact that I had to dust off some old Bretonian models from my very first Warhammer boxset to make up the numbers. I also went with lot's of heroes (went again with the voracious Karl Franz, though now knowing how hard he is I wanted to get him into combat sooner rather than later - hence the horse) and a couple of steam tanks. With very few points remaining I filled out my core choices with cheap as chips militia, and chucked in a couple of level 2 wizards for magical support.
The main bulk of my army I planned to keep together. A unit of white wolf knights led by Karl Franz and joined by a warrior priest and Ludwig Scwarzhelm - so all in all the front line of uber characters should see off my natural disadvantage of striking last even on the charge (though against Elves that would be completely irrelevent anyway) and between them and the units standard bearer I had a unit strentgh of 36, caused fear, was immune to psychology, tested on Ld 10, all my characters had a 1+ save, Karl had a 4+ ward and if he failed his lookout sir roll Ludwig took the hit instead, and to top it off had magic resistance of 3. The reiksguard unit alongside them led by kurt herlborg - which means I have a runefang and Ghal Maraz in my army - two characters whose hits automatically wound with no armour saves. Leading his unit made them immune to pschology and stubborn, and a magic banner gave them magic resistance of 2. With a steam tank to either side of this mass of cavalry (get a flank charge through one of those mofo!) I felt ready for anything.
Of course, game time I come up against Rich and his Elves, most importantly the ever annoying Teclis. Through most of the game that magic resistance meant jack shit - any roll of a double gives Teclis irresistable force. I only had 5 dispell dice per turn, and I was usually throwing them away. My magic phase in response was a bit of a none starter from the get go. Yes, Rich had masses more dice than me, but I could hope for natural irresistablesz myself. But my spells rolled were poor. I had one wizard who could hurt everything (friend or foe) within 12" - not so good until I got a little closer to the enemy. He also had the rather nasty pit of shades - but on his first casting of this Rich pulled out a special scroll. It was dispelled and on a 4+ forgotten. I never make those rolls. Rich did. So I had a very dangerous wizard - to anyone near him at least. My other wizard could make a unit cause fear - not so much an issue against reliable troops like Elves. Or he could make a single character make a flight move. Great. The first game I put all my heroes on horses. It was a couple of turns in I had the bright idea of flying my offensive wizard over to Richs side of the board then trying to do his hurt everyone near me spell. Sadly this backfired as my wizard miscast, and promptly rolled a double 1. In effect his brain was sucked out of his arsehole by a daemon. And that was pretty much the highlight of my magic usage, which says a lot.
The steam tanks proved to be reliable for as long as they're running good again. The one on my left blew a chariot to smithereens, narrowly missed Teclis with a cannonball, then charged into combat and obliterated 11 spearmen. Sadly the other one overloaded at a crucial juncture - it then sat there getting pierced by bolts for the rest of the game. If I'd realised how deadly they would be, my steam tanks would have sent a cannon ball or three in their direction while the going was still good. My reiksguard unit got delayed by a wall of fire - I could have gone through it, but I feared I would have prevented the steam tank from charging, and thought that would be the more fun thing to do. Karl Franz and his unit laid in with glee to the enemy, and caused the spearmen to run. Sadly the other spearman unit was stubborn and stuck around (ignoring the -12 modifier damn them!) My knights couldn't chase down the larger spearmen unit as they were locked in combat with the steam tank trampled unit. Annoyingly this state of affairs lasted for several rounds of combat - none of my unit being able to fight apart from a too well matched duel. My combat resolution was consistently higher, but he kept passing his stubborn leadership checks. This I fear was my undoing. Karl Franz needed to be out killing stuff. Sat in a unit of knights on a horse just milling around while your priest dukes it out with some elven hero isn't the best use of his time. Eventually he got underway again and caused some more merry carnage, but too much time had wasted. The reiksguard had been cut down and put to flight by superior combat resolution, and eventually Rich dragged down most of the rest of my army. Karl Franz survived the day though, off reaping bloody vengeance on the bolt throwers that had pierced his tanks and whats more decimated his knightly orders.
Looking at this list it was magic weak, but under the circumstances that was irrelevent. Teclis rolled so many irresistable forces that had I had 20 dispell dice, I'd have never had the chance to use them. I see two ways I could take this list in future. One way is to boost the knights even more. By dropping to a single level 2 wizard, I could afford to take 4 units of 10 militia to make up my core choices, and then have the points to upgrade every knight to an inner circle knight, which makes them all +1 str (though then moves them from a core unit to a special one) If I knew I was facing Teclis again, I'd do this in a heartbeat - I was so magically outclassed in this my wizards may as well have not been there. I'd also try it against a khornate army.
The other army build I'd like to try (though don't think I have the models for at the moment) would be an entirely mounted army. I'd take a couple steam tanks as they're mobile and can keep up. My core units would be knightly orders, my specials pistoliers and outriders, and my rares the tanks. My heroes would all be on horseback (including any wizards) and for fluff purposes I'd probably have to include my mounted engineer on mechanical steed - even though with no actual cannons he'd have no purpose in being there. Say he's logistical support for the tanks to explain his presence, though in game terms it'd be a waste of a hero slot. Would be a fantastic looking army to assmeble though. Might have to come up with a theoretical list to work towards...
With the tournament just over the horizon, last time round it was dominated by the magic heavy armies. There are two ways I could try to deal. Compete with them magically, or say "fine, have the magic phase" and spend enough points for me to compete against other armies, but save most points for other fun stuff. I do have a magic heavy list, though even that might not deal well with Teclis. But that is part of my sick army list that I have taken a 2000 point version of, once, against Dan. For that game I purchased a great big bushy beard. I don't particularly want to turn up at a tournament with that for fear about what it might do to my reputation. Ironically it isn't even that outlandish an Empire army - A grandmaster on a crusade, calls in at Nuln and they lend him an army. Being the foundry of the empire it's all guns and cannons and a couple of steam tanks. Seeing he lacks magical support, he asks for some - and gets a delegation from the colleges of magic. It's hardly a nidzilla list, and seriously lacks in numbers... the back line is in fact quite fragile... you just have to cross the valley of death to reach it. Ours is not to reason why, eh?