Call to Arms 4 – Round 2 – 19/04/2020

I’ve been wanting to have a go at writing a Kings of War battle report for years, so I thought that while I have some more free time on my hands, now would be the perfect time to start.

To add a bit of extra pressure, I’m going to be doing my first battle report on the game I played against ‘Mr Battle Report’ himself, bone fide internet celebrity and Mantic employee – Kyle ‘Master Crafted’ Przenenski.

Yes that Kyle – from the videos

This was round 2 of a Call to Arms, the tournament being held over Universal Battle which has 146 players from across the world. The scenario for this round was Pillage and all players are using a set six objective makers. The event is using the Northern Kings scoring system (because its the best scoring system in the world).

My list

Kyle’s list

Deployment

Seeing as I’m new at this, I forgot to get a screen shot of my deployment, but you can sort of see what it was based on my turn 1 moves. I changed my plan for deployment half way through because Kyle put the Fiend horde down quite early on. That made me decide to put both Order of Redemption Knights on the left flank, hoping that their combined might along with the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1) could hold the left two objectives on their own.

It did mean that Kyle had a much stronger right flank than me, so I would have to use my faster speed to keep him boxed in and delayed as long as possible. The hope was that I could kill everything on the left and centre and hold off the right flank as long as possible.

Top of Turn 1

Top of turn 1

I moved up fairly cautiously across the board – I knew Kyle would have to move towards me because he had no long range shooting and a stand off would suit me in long run as it would give me more time to get my flying Redeemers behind his lines.

I out sped him with pretty much all my units, so the plan was to get in a position where I could get multiple charges off against a single target. Kyle had a nice second row set up with his Fiend hordes and Impaler regiments, meaning that when I committed I needed to try and get charges off with as many units as possible to clog up his lines and block his units and try to avoid getting flanked.

The Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1) on the left flank moved up, putting himself in range of the Soulbane but nothing else – if the Soulbane did charge he would be charged by the Knights next turn. If Kyle pushed up fast on the left, I was planning on flying the Redeemer 20″ behind his lines to threaten the middle Spearmen horde (2) the next turn.

Bottom of Turn 1

Bottom of turn 1

Kyle’s movement was quite cautious as well. He moved the Gargoyles (1) up to block my Redemption Knights and moved the Spearmen (1) and Impalers (1) behind them, but not far enough to allow my Redeemer space to land behind them.

The Spearmen (2) in the middle moved up slightly and the two Shadow Hulks moved into the forest (I’m guessing Kyle’s plan was to make the most of their Strider while keeping them safer from charges).

His right flank moved up and turned towards the centre of the board to start putting pressure on my units. He sensibly moved the majority of his army into charge range all at once. I see a lot of people try and stay out of charge range for as long as possible, but when you are slower than your opponent this is often the wrong move as you just find yourself backed into a corner. Better to push forward, take the initial charges and then counter attack.

Top of Turn 2

Top of turn 2

I thought about my charges for quite a while – pretty much my entire army was in range to charge something, but there wasn’t a single charge I could make where there wasn’t a risk of being flanked or counter charged by something nasty.

In the end, I opted to go for what was probably the riskiest charge, but that had the greatest reward if it succeeded. I triple charged the Kindred Spear Horde (2) with the Waters Elementals (1), Exemplar Redeemer on Horseback and the Order of Forsaken Knights. Quick maths told me that even against phalanx they should do a combined 15 damage on average (Waters Elementals 6, Order of the Forsaken w. bane chant 6, Exemplar Redeemer 3), and using Nick Williams excellent rule of thumb that explains why averages aren’t always helpful I knew that I would most likely do -/+2 damage to the average, so roughly 13-17 damage. So with top estimate, I should have been in with a good shot of routing them.

I thought it was worth the risk, because if I managed to break them I would control the centre of the board and effectively split Kyles army in two – taking control of another objective maker and forcing Kyle come to me. Plus, I could reform all of my units in a way that meant I wouldn’t take any charges the next turn.

The Water Elementals (2) and Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (2) backed up out of charge range. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, and I’ve lost games in the past by being too rash and charging units in when you’re unsure. So I decided to hold them back and if I did manage to break the Kindred Spearmen, the Water Elemental (2) horde could help keep Kyle pinned on the right hand side of the forest.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go to plan.

I failed to cast Bane chant, even with the re-roll from the Conjurers’ staff and the Exemplar Redeemer only managed to do 1 damage after rolling 3 ‘1’s to damage. In all I did 12 damage to horde.

Even though I knew I would now most likely lose the Forsaken Knights to the Shadow Hulks in their flank, I felt putting a good amount of damage on the Kindred Spears (2) was still a positive.

Both Redemption Knights on the left flank double charged the Gargoyles and unsurprisingly routed them. The left ones backed up first and rolled a ‘1’ which kept them in charge range of the troop of Impalers who were in their flank. This meant I couldn’t risk backing up the right regiment as if I rolled more than a 1 it would expose left regiment’s flank. This meant that the Kindred Spears and Impaler troop were both in range to charge the Redemption Knights with Brew of Sharpness in his next turn, but they would at least both be hindered.

The Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1) moved out of arc and into the flank of the Kindred Spearmen horde (1). I knew he was in charge range of the Soulbane, so I made sure to position the Redeemer in such a way that if the Spearmen did charge the Knights, I could pivot past the individual and charge the Spearmen’s rear even if I did lose my fly.

I flew the Pegasus out from behind the building and turned to face the flank of his Spearmen horde (1). The hope was to use him to harass his Crone for a turn for two before flying off to score an objective in later turns.

Bottom of Turn 2

Bottom of turn 2

As expected the Kindred Spearmen (1) and Impaler troop (1) both charged the Order of Redemption Knights with the Brew of Sharpness. Luckily they were both hindered and so only did a combined 9 damage, although this was still enough to waiver the Redemption Knights.

The Soulbane charged the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1) and only did 1 damage.

The two Shadow hulks flanked the Forsaken Knights and the Crone Hag Drain Life’d them doing 4 damage and healing 4 on the Kindred Spearmen horde (2) (I hate Drain Life with an unholy passion, it is massively overpowered compared to all other spells in the game, is only available to a select few armies and just does too much with very little downside). The Shadow Hulks easily routed the Forsaken Knight – one turned to face the left Water Elementals (1) and the other turned to face the other Water Elementals (2).

The Kindred Spearmen horde (2) counter charged the Exemplar Redeemer on horseback, hoping to kill him and be able to overrun into combat with the Water Elementals (1). Luckily for me, even with the help on Bane chant they only managed to do 6 damage to the Redeemer and waivered him, saving the Water Elementals (1) from taking damage.

The Gargoyles (2) moved to protect the Spearmen horde (2)’s flank.

Top of Turn 3

Top of turn 3

Showing how indifferent they were to these bothersome pointy ears, both the Redemption Knights and Exemplar Redeemer shrugged off their waiver with successful Headstrong roll (both on a ‘6’, they really didn’t care!).

As I’d set up earlier, the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1) was able to disengage and pivot past the Soulbane to charge into the rear of the Kindred Spearmen (1) – The Redemption Knights with Brew of Strength joined him in the front.

The Redemption Knights with the Brew of Sharpness counter charged the Impaler troop (1) and only managed 5 damage – luckily I rolled a 10 on the nerve and killed them. They also regen’d 2 damage back this turn (keep an eye on how much damage they regen this game).

The Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (2) on the right charged the Fiend regiment. I was really hoping I wouldn’t kill them as they were much more helpful to me a road block, holding up his Fiend horde. I did 3 damage and failed to waiver – pretty much perfect.

The Water Elementals (1), Exemplar Redeemer on horseback and the Pegasus all charged the Kindred Spears (2) in the middle doing another measly 6 damage between them. Thanks to the healing from Drain Life and a low nerve roll, I only managed to waiver them. This didn’t look good for the Water Elementals (1) who now had a very angry Shadow Hulk looking straight at their flank.

Bottom of Turn 3

Bottom of turn 3

On the left flank, the Impaler regiment (1) charged out of the woods into the Redemption Knights with the Brew of Sharpness. Unfortunately for Kyle the hindered charge only managed to put another 3 damage on the Knights, taking them up to 10 – he did at least manage to waiver them again.

Incredibly, the Shadow hulk (1) only managed 9 damage in the flank of the Water Elements (1) and they held! The Crone Hag cast Drain Life on the Exemplar Redeemer on horseback but thankfully only managed 1 damage this time and he also held.

The Impaler regiment (2) on the right charged the Water Elementals (2) and the Fiend regiment counter charged the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (2) doing a very respectable 6 damage. Luckily both units held.

The Soulbane decided he’d had enough of this flank and went his full 18″ taking him out of arc of the Order of Redemption and putting him in range of the Men at Arms (1) who up until this point had been sat on an objective minding their own business. The Gargoyles (1) also turned 90 degrees and moved up to threaten the Men at Arms (1). He moved the Gargoyles (1) into charge range of the Men at Arms (1) which I personally thought was a mistake because he could have easily kept them out of range of any of my unit – but as it turns out, it ended up working out for him!

Top of Turn 4

Top of turn 4

The Redemption Knights with Brew of Sharpness failed their Headstrong roll this time, so instead of counter charging they disengaged 1” and spun 180 degrees to cover the Men at Arms (1) and the top most token. They also regen’d 7/10 damage taking them down to 3!

The regiment next to them flanked the Impalers (1) and killed them. They over ran but only rolled 1”. If they have rolled a 3+ they would have been in range of the Shadow Hulk (1) in the centre of the board and it would have been a very different game – sadly it was not to be.

Keen to avoid anymore Drain Life, the Pegasus charged the Crone Hag who had been cowering behind the Shadow Hulk (1). It did the all important 1 point of damage but failed to waiver/kill her.

The Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1) moved across from the left flank into the centre of the board by charging the flank of the Kindred Spearmen (2) that had survived so much punishment so far. An Exemplar Redeemer in the flank proved to be too much for them and the Redeemer picked up his second Spearmen horde of the game, forever gaining himself the moniker of “Spearbane”.

The Water Elementals (1) that I had expected to be killed in the previous turn countered the Shadow Hulk (1) and the Exemplar Redeemer on horseback did a 360 to also join in. They did a respectable 7 damage but with Def5 and -/20 I knew that they were unlikely to kill it. The plan was to do as much damage as possible and hopefully pick it up later with a late game charge.

I got incredibly lucky on my right flank, and for once it was actually a plan not just blind luck! I moved the Druid over to Bane Chant the Water Elementals (2) so that they were damaging on 2s for their counter charge against the Impalers. I knew that if I could waiver or fail to kill the Fiend regiment, I could use it to protect the Water Elemental horde’s (2) flank if they killed the Impalers (2). This would keep the Fiend horde out of combat for yet another turn.

I rolled the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (2) combat 1st and waivered the Fiend regiment – so far so good. The Water Elementals (2) then proceeded to do 6 damage to the Impalers which was the bottom end of average, but rolled a 10 on the nerve and killed them! Because I already knew my flank was protected by the waivered Fiend regiment, I turned to give the Shadow Hulk a front charge feeling quite smug that my plan had actually come off.

The Men at Arms (1) charged the Gargoyles (1) and did 3 damage, waivering them.

Bottom of Turn 4

Bottom of turn 4

This turn despite having front not flank charges, and despite all my clever plans to keep the Fiends out of combat both Shadow hulks decided that they’d had quite enough of the Water Elementals and proceeded to easily kill both units- I suddenly felt a bit less smug!

The Crone Hag valiantly counter charged the Pegasus and was even supported by a Bane chant from the Army Standard Bearer. It was all set to be the upset of the centaury… but sadly she missed with her 1 attack.

Unable to make it into any combats (thanks to my cunning plans that turned out to not matter anyway!), the Fiend horde side stepped to give itself better positioning for the next turn.

Top of Turn 5

Top of turn 5

At the top of turn 5 I started to really think about how I was going to score scenario points. The left half of the board was clear of enemies so I decided to ‘bank’ the two tokens I had over there and leave the rest of my forces to fight over the rest of the objectives. This wasn’t an easy decision because leaving a 280 point regiment of Knights to do nothing but hold a token did mean that I was going to struggle elsewhere.

I spun the Order of Redemption with the Brew of Strength 180 degrees to that they could take the far left token on turn 6. I also turned the Pegasus around and flew it 10” towards the other left hand token. The Crone Hag would survive – this time.

The Men at Arms (1) charged the Gargoyles (1) again and the Brew of Sharpness Redemption Knights charged the Soulbane.

The plan was for the Men at Arms (1) to kill the Gargoyles (1) and then turn so that they could move at the double to capture the middle objective on turn 6 – using their superior unit strength to take it from the Shadow Hulk (1). The Redemption Knights had a very good chance at killing the Soulbane as they had 20 attacks hitting on 2s and damaging on 3s. This would free them up to move onto the top objective in turn 6. If it all went to plan I would have a fairly comfortable win – and there was no reason it shouldn’t all go to plan…

It didn’t quite go to plan – the Knights did a very respectable 10 damage to the Soulbane but only managed to waiver him. Far more importantly the Men at Arms (1) did 5 more damage to the Gargoyles (1) and rolled… a double 1!

The right Men at Arms (2) moved forward, keeping just out of range of the Shadow Hulk (2). The hope was that the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (2) would kill the Fiend regiment this turn so he could over run out of the Shadow hulk (2)’s arc (he only needed 1″ to get out of arc). It shouldn’t be took hard to kill the Fiend regiment, they were already on 8 damage and weren’t Inspired. This would force the Fiend horde to commit or else risk the Men at Arms (2) capturing the right most objective unopposed.

Sadly it was not to be – the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (2) only managed to do 1 damage to the Fiends! He did waiver them again, but this time he was going to get a Shadow Hulk (2) in the flank next turn. Worse of all, it meant that the Fiend horde could safely move left toward the objectives in the centre of the board without having to worry about being charged in the flank by the Exemplar Redeemer (2). My plan to keep them pinned had been scuppered.

In the middle of the board the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1) and the Exemplar Redeemer on horseback charged the Shadow Hulk (1). It was already on 7 damage so if they could do average damage to it (between 4-8) then they would be in a good position to kill him and take another scoring unit off the board. Again, sadly not. They managed to do 4 damage between them but rolled a 3 on the nerve check.

I was starting to get quite nervous at this point – I’d flubbed three very important and fairly easy combats and my comfortable win had been flipped on its head. It was going to be a mad dash for the objectives at the end of the games.

Bottom of Turn 5

Bottom of turn 5

To add injury to the insult of the double 1 the Gargoyles (1) regen’d 6/8 of the damage on them and then proceeded to do 6 damage to the Men at Arms (1) on the counter charge and killed them! Oh bugger!

As expected, the Shadow Hulk (2) flanked the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (2) killing him easily. The poor Men at Arms (2) now had to deal with a Shadow Hulk (2) and a Fiend regiment on their own.

The middle Shadow Hulk (1) counter charged the Exemplar Redeemer on Winged Unicorn (1), he needed a 10 to kill him (with a re-roll) and he got it! He reformed to face the middle objective.

The Fiend horde moved into the woods to make a late game move for either the bottom or middle objective.

That had not been a good turn for me!

Top of Turn 6

Top of turn 6

The Men at Arms (2) charged the heavily damaged Fiend regiment and with the help of a Bane chant, finally killed them. They turned to face the Shadow Hulk – all they had to do was surive one charge from him and they if the game ended on turn 6, they would hold that objective.

I had a big decision to make with the Exemplar Redeemer on horseback. He could either charge the damaged Shadow Hulk (1) and try and kill him, or charge the Fiend horde and block them from moving onto a token in the bottom of turn 6. Statisitcally speaking I should kill the Shadow Hulk (1) but by this point I was pretty nervous of combats I should win! So I decided to forsake the extra tournament points for killing the Shadow Hulk (2) and charge the Fiend horde as I knew I could definitely block them getting to a token this turn (the Redeemer is Mighty so even if he failed to damage he would block the Fiends).

The Redemption Knights with Brew of Sharpness finished off the Soulbane and reformed so that they were just out of 12” of the Shadow hulk (1).

The Redemption Knights with Brew of Strength and the Pegasus moved onto their objectives, effectively taking them out of the game but ensuring that those points were safe.

I’d done all I could and put myself in as strong a position as possible – so long as the Men at Arms (2) survived the charge, I would win the game if it ended on turn 6.

Bottom of Turn 6

Bottom of turn 6

The Fiend horde counter charged the Exemplar Redeemer on horseback and did 8 damage to him, killing him in one! Clearly they didn’t appreciate being blocked! They over ran but rolled a ‘1’ – this would be big later on!

The Gargoyles (1) flew on to the top objective.

The Shadow Hulk (2) charged the Men at Arms (2) – the ones that needed to survive in order for me to win on turn 6. His to-hit rolls were pretty bad and he only did 5 damage, definitely the lower end what he should have done.

He needed a 10+ to kill them… and rolled a 10! Boo!

At the end of the Turn 6, losing the Men at Arms (2) meant that the game had shifted from a win to a loss. I really, really needed a turn 7….

Salvation!

Top of Turn 7

Top of turn 7

There was a turn 7!

The Redemption Knights charged the Gargoyles (1) in the rear and killed them. I held my breath before rolling the nerve check on them, I was sure it was going to be another double 1, but thankfully not!

My Druid valiantly threw himself under the Fiend bus. He managed to position himself in such a way that the Fiends couldn’t move through him and still leave a 1” gap at the end of their move. So their only chance to get within 3” of an objective was to charge him and over run.

I really took my time moving my Druid and got out spare units to triple check that the Fiends couldn’t make it past. I would say don’t ever be afraid to use spare units to double check things like this. Its one of the great features of Universal Battle, but I’ve found that by doing this online, it has also made me think more about where my opponents units can move on the table top as well.

At the end of my turn 7 my Redemption Knights had taken then top token off the Gargoyles and my Druid had valiantly taken the place of the Exemplar Redeemer as “Chief Fiend Blocker” – preventing them from being able to grab another token.

Bottom of Turn 7

Bottom of turn 7

The Fiend horde charged the Druid and as expected killed him easily. They over ran…. 1”!

We actually checked and even if Kyle had rolled a 6, he would have been out of 3” of the objective by milimeteres (remember when I said it was really important that he only rolled a 1 on his over run against the Redeemer?).

At that was the end of the game!

I won 3-2 by the absolute skin of my teeth! Kyle played an absolutely fantastic game and was a brilliant opponent. The game was incredibly close and really did come down to whether or not there was a turn 7. You can see how close it was by how many points we both killed – I killed 1480 and he killed 1470.

So we both scored +3 for kills, I scored +3 for scenario and Kyle scored +2. The final score was 21-10.