So we have another battle report, this time it’s Trolls vs Elves, as Madrak Ironhide leads his scruffy troops against the Retribution of Scyrah. Following some trash talking and a frankly awful dance-off, both players are hustled to the table and forced to deploy their armies.
Say hello to Anto’s Trollbloods, a nicely painted, standard Troll Brick list. For new players, his support units layer protective and aggressive auras onto his troops, letting them grind the opposition down. The Pyg Burrowers, in particular, have a strong record of killing far more than their points. They even threaten the most heavily armoured troops. Trolls as a faction have the Tough rule, on death, they roll a d6. A roll of 5+ leaves them knocked down rather than killed.
Mark’s Retribution force, or at least, the central section. Retribution are noted for their excellent infantry and thus tend to run a lot of troops and few myrmidons (warjack equivalents). This commander is no exception, with units of Sentinels and Invictors in the field. The latter are ranged troops while the former are melee fighters.
The remainder of Mark’s force consists of two solos, Narn on his left, eEiryss on his right. Narn is a close combat-oriented character and eEiryss is a ranged combatant. Both are advance deployed and represent a minimal flanking force.
The battlefield in all its glory. The scenario requires you to hold uncontested flags to earn points, each flag held at the end of either player’s turn is worth one point. The first person to score three or more points and have more points than their opponent will win. Of course, an assassination victory is also possible.
The Pyg Burrowers trigger their special ability, unsurprisingly, this involves them burrowing underground to pop up on their next turn. If you have any surplus malice in your heart, I strongly encourage you to direct it their way.
The remainder of the troll army advances, attempting to keep assets within range of all three flags. The abundance of medium based troops does make redeployment difficult and the Troll player must carefully position troops to cover all three axis of advance.
The Retribution mirror the tactic but go about it very differently. Narn moves up to stand off his left hand flag. Although well outside contesting range, the flag will not activate until the end of the second player’s second turn.
eEiryss does likewise on the opposite side. In both cases, the Retribution stands well off the flag to protect his flankers from unexpected charges.
Having been utterly butchered in earlier games by Burrower charges, the Sentinels are ordered to form a line to hold the menace off. Their weapons have a very long reach and careful positioning should expose only the front rank to imminent death and dismemberment. The Burrowers will not be able to charge through to more valuable targets.
As expected, the Pygs pop up and take the bait. A forgiveable decision as there is no better option. Burrowers must reappear the turn after they descend. They have to charge now or die next turn. Their trollish nature cannot compensate for their general squishiness.
As the left hand flag has vanished, the trolls move on the right hand flag. This is a lucky break for the Trollbloods as they are far better positioned to seize this flag than its vanished companion. The Bomber and Pyre Troll represent a sizable force by themselves and there are additional solos moving in place behind them.
The Pyg charge wipes out the first line of Sentinels as a mix of ranged and melee attacks kill all within reach. Those poor sods are deemed acceptable losses and their friends start plotting a terrible revenge.
The brick sweeps onto the central flag in all its glory. This mass of tough infantry will be very difficult to shift and could easily achieve a scenario victory if not countered in some way. The defensive buffs are in place and the caster stands nearby. The Trollbloods are clearly intending to claim a scenario win or failing that, draw the Retribution into close range and pummel them.
The Sentinals take their Vengeance actions, chopping down some Pygs. Some are killed outright, others make their tough rolls and are merely knocked down. But this is only the first step and their death is imminent.
An overhead shot of the line shows that the Burrowers have taken some hits but, as you can see, the majority remain intact. For now.
In the first action of the normal turn, Narn runs in to contest the flag and tie down the bomber. This is most certainly a suicide mission as the pointy eared git cannot hope to survive. If the bomber does not crush it, there are two solos and another beast who can oblige.
This is the moment Anto realises that Invictors shooting while under the Shatterstorm power, will bypass his Tough rolls. His impenetrable central block seems a little more vulnerable.
The focus now switches to the centre and the point of decision is clearly the block of Fennblades. Lady Aiyana casts Kiss of Lyliss on the unit. This spell will increase all damage rolls against models in the unit and generally means that each hit should be a kill. The Invictors grin.
Her lackey/partner, Holt breaks out his pistols and drops two Pygs clearing a section of the line. This is not mere random violence as shall later be revealed.
One Pyg proves too stupid to run away as his friends are butchered. As part of their activation, the Sentinels have left a hole in their formation.
This gap has been created to allow the Invictors and the Phoenix to position themselves for attacks against the Fennblades, just visible to the left of the picture.
The Invictors shoot well, dropping six Fennblades and a Stone Scribe, permanently, which tears the heart out of the Troll’s main infantry block.
To finish the job, the Phoenix charges in and combusts, turning two more Fennblades into torches. The unit is now under half strength and while they may contest it, they cannot score points on the flag.
The trolls, rocked by a nasty turn, start by killing Narn. This leaves one flag entirely in their hands. It’s also unclear whether the Retribution can get any reasonable portion of their army into the area. It appears that this flag is now completely secure.
The trolls around the central flag appear to be clearing a path for someone or something. Bear in mind that most of the above are support rather than frontline troops.
The bomber smashes through the trees, appearing on the Retribution’s left flank, lobbing bombs around with abandon. This snarling beast eliminates any chance of breaking through to the Troll-held flag.
The hissing, powder-filled kegs begin to rain down. Lady Aiyana takes a bomb directly to the face and expires. The Invictors manage to duck.
She is quickly followed by Holt as his heart breaks at the sight of the mangled elf. Or a misplaced bomb scatters next to him and blows him up. We’ll leave it to the poets.
As a formality, the Pyre Troll moves onto the right flag to grab the scenario point.
The Phoenix quakes (insomuch as a soulless contruct can) as Madrak Ironhide storms in, swinging his world-ending axe. In the fluff, this is the most dangerous weapon in existance, an apocalypse with a hilt.
Clearly, the responsiblity is starting to weigh on the feckless savage as Madrak fluffs his initial charge, missing the opportunity to do some major damage.
But with his fury reserve and a feat which grants extra attacks, a wrecked Phoenix is inevitable. The trolls score two points on both flags and need only one more for victory. A solid comeback which maintains the scenario pressure on his opponent.
With Madrak exposed, Lord Arcanist Ossyan moves in. He must go for the assassination as the trolls will certainly score a third point at the end of the turn. Simply shooting everything at Madrak will result in failure. The troll warlock is protected by layers of overlapping defences which have to be stripped away. But his faction does have the tools required with multiple medium strength ranged attacks.
Ossryan magically blasts two Fennblades to clear a path to the support models which provide defensive buffs. The Fennblades have had a rather terrible game as their signature resiliance is bypassed by precise shooting.
The Sentinels sweep in to eliminate the support unit, making a terrible, terrible error.
This is the moment when Mark realises that he has accidentally engaged Madrak in close combat, which will give him a defence bonus against Mark’s ranged attacks. With only an ranged unit remaining, he may have lost himself the game.
To resolve the issue, he must use one of his own spare Sentinels to hack down the offending model. The unit leader finds himself fragged by his own men.
Elsewhere, the last Pyg gets chopped and diced. Always good to see the wretched, undercosted vermin get theirs.
Initial shooting drops Madrak’s grenade jumpers. The warlock has an ability whereby warrior models near this particular warlock take hits on his behalf and die. It was necessary and more resource-efficient to clear them out first with single shots. This finally leaves Madrak exposed.
To boost the chance of hitting and wounding Madrak, all remaining Invictors combine their last shots into three volleys. The first of three combined ranged attacks inflicts light damage, taking off four of eighteen hitpoints.
The second attack is much better, knocking off 8 hitpoints. An average roll should see him downed.
With six points of health left, the final volley inflicts only five. Madrak lives, the Trolls score a third point to win by scenario.
With a last ditch assassination, the Retribution steal victory by the skin of their teeth.