Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Last March of the Dinosaurs

A pseudo-event recap

They say a star burns brightest before it dies (at least, I think they do – I’m sure I could look that up), and that Cherry blossoms are at their most beautiful in the moments before they perish (according to some Japanese poetry I read once anyway).

According to the ever-reliable interwebz, a new Lizardmen book is on the horizon.

This has had a perhaps unsurprising demotivating effect on my love of all things cold blooded and scaly.

So, imagine the quandary when I received a message from Ol – face of OG Games, the webstore that sponsors… well, everyone. He was waiting for my list for the upcoming Waagh event (monthly-ish relaxed 3 game events, unranked and with a heavy emphasis on fun – that I had actually completely forgotten I was going to). It was running SCGT v2 comp.

My ETC comp list for the upcoming 6 Nations team event (more on this at a later date) doesn’t fit under it (bizarrely SCGT comp is harsher on Lizards than ETC – but that is a moan for another day), so couldn’t use it for practice. My vampire army is, well somewhere. I lent it to the UK’s most unreliable wargamer’s brother (if you follow all that), so will get it back some day… I’m sure. Beastmen, the other army I have been pushing around for fun are a bit dull under the comp.

So this left lizards.
Whilst ruining hobbies at a tournament is sort of fun if you are into that sort of thing, I really couldn’t be bothered to take 120 skinks to the event. I didn’t want to think that much. I wanted something fun.
My colleague’s phone rang. He has the Jurassic Park theme as a ringtone.

An idea was born.

This could be the last (and first) time I got to take a dinosaur list!
Immediately I took stock of how many I owned. Unfortunately the mighty Kroq-Gar is 635 points (seriously?!), so he was out. Turns out I own 8 Stegadons. Don’t ask. I don’t know why either.
How many could I get in a (semi-functional) list?

Challenge accepted.

I thought it would really go against the spirit of the enterprise to take 600pts worth of chaff… I wanted a nice, simple army. In fact, I wanted an army with stuff that I never used in it!

The end result: 

Slann: Life Magic, Focus of Mystery, Focused Rumination, Becalming, Soul of Stone, Cupped hands, Divine Plaque of Protection, BSB, Banner of Swiftness
25 Saurus FCG
24 Skinks 3 Krox FCG.
Stegadon Sven
Stegadon Oberon
Stegadon Helix
Ancient Stegadon Saturn
Ancient Stegadon Jupiter

A few points – I was gutted I took Skrox – wasn’t sure I owned enough Saurus! (turns out I do). I also really wanted to take an Engine of the Gods but it was simply too expensive. It would have meant only 4 Stegadons – which is frankly lame. Life Slann made sense, Cupped Hands was because, well, I haven’t used it in over 3 years… And dispel scrolls are for the weak! My counter-dwellers strategy was to not stay in a unit and used Becalming to hopefully stop people casting it… what could possibly go wrong? 2+ ward vs range and a metric tonne of other targets should probably keep me safe from shooting too.

Annoyingly I couldn’t quite find some of my Stegadons (or, bizarrely, Kroxigor), so had to use some unpainted stuff, but I somehow survived (don’t tell the #FPP!)

So… 3 games with the least subtle list I have ever used (yes I am including my VC bus list!) coming up… How did the Last March of the Dinosaurs fare?

Game One: Tom “Closet Frenchman” Hale

The mighty host of the 6 Dice Monkies Podcast himself (check out link over there somewhere ----à ), pushing forward the new hotness, Bretts 2.0, also known as Warriors of Chaos. A nicely varied list, comprising, in summary, of ALL THE DISC RIDERS IN THE WORLD (including a lvl2 with Gateway and Flickering Fire), 2 Skullcrusher units (with lances), a full blown Chimera, some chariots (of both types) and dog/marauder cav chaff. Infantry is very last year by all accounts.

Now, in all honesty, I had no idea what to do with my army. He was faster than me, better at fighting than me, and I had very limited shooting (and no real offensive magic). Cue the DinoCastle ™ deployment. The terrain on the table made it hard for him to bring his whole weight to bear at once, so I decided to attack the army in front of me, whilst committing a Toughness 10 Stegadon and the infantry to hold up my left flank.

DinoCastle engage!

In the chaos of it all, I completely forgot about the Chimera and its breath weapon – it killed 16 skinks in one shot. Poor little blighters!

Sometimes, T2 really isn't enough....

Early game I used the giant blowpipes on the ancients to clear off his chaff. It’s hard to describe exactly what went down – lots Stegadons were brutalised (his army was almost entirely Slaanesh Marked), but kept in the game (just!) with Life magic. My Slann stood bravely behind the noble beasts (not hiding, coordinating) as wave after wave of chaos warriors broke upon them. The T10 Stegadon, Oberon, got royally destroyed in short order by a unit of Skullcrushers, much to my disgust – and Tom’s typical glee.

On the Eastern flank an Ancient, Saturn, grunted a challenge to the other Skullcrusher unit, who promptly charged. Badly wounded and teetering on the edge of death, the noble beast held his ground. On this cue I unleashed my most of my reserves, Jupiter and Helix, in a devastating counter charge, smashing the scions of Khorne.

Charge of the (very) Heavy Brigade!

On the edges of the wood where the Slann had decided to make his last stand a mighty duel took place between the rabid madness of a chaos Chimera and the stern nobility of Sven the Stegadon. The Chimera  wrought grievous wounds on the noble beast, but, kept alive by the desperate meditations (desperate meditations….?) of the Life Slann, Sven finally overcame the monster, roaring in victory.

In the thick of the battle the Saurus and the remaining Stegadons bravely held the onrushing chaos hordes next to the bottleneck caused by the eastern building. This bought enough time for Saturn and Jupiter, having dealt with the Crushers, to lead yet another game saving counter charge upon the exposed flanks of the WoC forward elements. Helix bravely held his ground, buying time against the Chaos Lord, a Gorebeast Chariot and core Chariot, finally succumbing to its wounds in the final turn of the game. The disciplined ranks of Saurus, having been taken apart by the Disc Exalted for 5 turns finally realised they were dealing with a real life Chuck Norris and broke in the final turn, despite the very disapproving croak from the Slann.

As the dust settled, I had lost 2 of the mighty beasts and the Saurus block, but had  13-7.
I was lucky at time, unlucky at others, but given my inexperience with my tools, I was happy with the result!

Game Two: “Bumper-car” Sam

As the march of the dinosaurs arrived at the next battle field it halted to let the nature of their next opponent’s army sink in.
This WoC army had 2 units of hellstriders. And chariots. Nothing but chariots. 6 Core chariots, 3 Characters on gorebeast chariots, and 2 or 3 gorebeast chariots. Who needs magic when you have chariots?

The flight path of the flies buzzing around the Slann’s made it clear the plan was set. It was time to deploy the DinoCastle!

Getting used to deploying in corners....

The rolling fields were thick with the dust thrown up by chariot wheels. Not being able to take that many chariots at once, I deployed in my Western corner, with a building partially guarding one flank, and forcing four or 5 chariots to deploy in or travel through a thick copse of trees in Simon’s deployment zone. Hopefully the trees could do some damage before battle was joined.

Thrusting the infantry elements up to invite long range charged (through trees), allowing for Stegadon counter attacks, the crews on the mighty beasts started peppering the enemy with missile fire. The blowpipes on the Ancients  cleared off the chaff units, while the bolt throwers scored a number of telling hits on the incoming chariots. Jupiter and Oberon moved to cover the Eastern passes round the building, and battle was joined.

4 mighty chariots made the long range charge into the Skrox unit, all not only making the charge, but avoiding any trees on their way. The gods were not with them though (probably what comes from having a slaanesh army and tzeentch characters, but then again I am clearly a fluff player…), and their impact hits were relatively minor. Though decimated, the Skrox steadfastly held. Saturn and Sven bellowed their battle roar and charged into the combat, Saturn’s fury being so great that he pulverised a Gorebeast chariot on the charge (and found himself out of combat). Despite losing by 5 the Chaos Lord and remaining chariot held firm, determined to wreak havoc on the skink ranks in front of them.

Around the ruins of the watchtower I tried to force the issue – hoping that a well-aimed charge on a chariot could see me break into the other side of Simon’s lines. The Saurus and Helix charged a core chariot, who promptly fled. Redirecting towards the Tzeentch Exalted, the puppet of chaos lost his nerve at the sight of the charging beast and turned and fled. A couple of chariots made subsequent charges, but fell into the pattern of being held for acceptable losses and taking an angry charge from Saturn in the flank, who, along with Sven cleared up the Western part of the battlefield of chaos buggies. At the centre of it all the serene Slann kept the noble beasts alive despite countless wounding blows.

The Lord finally broke through the Skrox unit, and into my backfield. A stroke of luck meant that the many eyes in his helmet confuddled him for a turn, allowing me enough time to redeploy to deal with his threat.

The stout guardians of the Eastern passes, Jupiter and Oberon valiantly held the flank – Jupiter being sacrificed to buy the safety of the Slann, who then ensured that Oberon lived on, buying time for relief to be brought to bear. As the battle died down all that was left of action was the Lord engaged with Helix and Sven, who smashed his chariot apart before proceeding to trample him into the ground.

At the end of the day, the Skrox and Jupiter, in exchange for the entirety of the Chaos armies. 20-0 win.

The final showdown - Game Three: Tom “where is my bow” Richards

The author of his own blog (and youtube channel) (check for the link over there somewhere for it --------à ) he was running his Pigeon-fest Wood Elf list. 3 great weapon wielding combat characters on eagles, 2 baby eagles, 2 units of dryads, a lvl4 life and glade guard.

Maning up and deploying in the middle. I felt so brave!

I knew I had to advance here – I could not play the ranged game. The Slann risked the wrath of the Glade Guard shooting and refused to join any units – I was afraid of careful movement by Tom allowing his wizard to get into dwellers range of the Slann’s unit whilst remaining out of Becalming range. Throughout the game he tried to hide amongst the Stegadons, whilst using the Saurus to block enveloping threats.

The March of the Dinosaurs

I formed something of a Stegadon wedge down the centre of the table and advanced, and was promptly assaulted by 3 angry hippies with big sticks. I had the luck of the poison in my stand and shoot though – I got 2 wounds through against the lord, and wounded one of the nobles. A pathetic magic phase later and I was barely hanging on with three separate dinosaurs – thankfully the winds changed, and some luck such (as failed fear tests) bought me some time. I was able to grind out the characters and continue the advance.

The Skrox focused on clearing out my Western flank, chasing off some glade guard – very heroic it should be said. Jupiter was left on 1 wound and no crew after a blistering turn of shooting, and promptly went and hid behind his younger brothers. A miscast in my turn made (by the wonderful physics of Cupped Hands) the wood elf wizard forget to cast dwellers – which is always a good thing.

I was conscious to not commit too much at getting at the large glade guard unit and lvl4, I didn’t want them teleporting off into an unthreatened forest – so made sure to have threats converging on the unoccupied wooded spaces of the board. And then things REALLY went well for me. A Stegadon bolt thrower took the BSB’s head off, and I used mighty dwellers skills to take off his mage. After Tom knew the game was up and we wrapped it up – taking the chance to see what happens if a glade guard unit charges a Stegadon in combat (SPOILER: they die).

As the dust settled the WE force was put to flight – ten glade guard and an eagle all that was left of the proud host that had smashed apart chaos dwarfs and… something else… that day.
This was all rather incredibly harsh on Tom, who understandably would feel very comfortable taking on my usual skink armies.

So, 53 points, another Waagh win – as a prize I took the new novel Skarsnik. I didn’t even know it was a book, so looking forward to reading that…

In conclusions, tales of the extinction of dinosaurs are gravely exaggerated, their march continues!

A fantastically fun list to use. As with every low model count army, its massively luck-reliant though! A Stegadon dies instead of surviving on one wound (to be healed with Life magic) and you are not only 230+ points down, you have also lost a major part of your army. Life magic (on a Slann) and monsters is obviously awesome. In case anyone was wondering.
Clearly this is the new filth! This list beats the internet. The end. *

*Beating of the internet is reliant on the complete absence of cannons, or any other war machines. Armies or characters that can fight very well must also not be faced. Shadow or Death magic are right out. Armies that have too much chaff, or that can grind, or have too much shooting should also be avoided. Also it has to be assumed that your opponents will have terrible luck, and your luck will be good.

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