Las Vegas Grand Tournament – Game 1

Its several weeks old, but I’m going to try and get my battle reports posted from the Las Vegas Grand Tournament. The first installment is Game #1.

Game 1: Reconnoitre versus Grey Company/Minas Tirith Alliance

The scenarios for the Las Vegas GT where the exact same scenarios that were used in my last GT in Chicago 2007. This meant starting off with Reconnoitre. I knew that my infantry based army would be at a disadvantage against armies with Cavalry or other fast moving models. Also since the heart and muscle of my army was D5 Mahûd Warriors supported by D4 Orc spears, armies featuring a significant number of bows worried me. My first opponent was, of course, a Grey Company army (30 shots!) accompanied by cavalry contingent of Knights of Minas Tirith lead by Farmir, Captain of Gondor. Chris was a familiar face from the last two Chicago tournaments and we battled out in the Clash of Heroes event the day before so I knew we’d have a fun game.

We scattered terrain throughout the battlefield with the most significant pieces being a forest towards each corner (my NW and SE corners) and a hill in the SW corner. There were a number of other pieces placed but those three proved to be the most strategic in nature. I ended up on the side with the hill on the corner (my left) and a forest (my right). I deployed in three groups with the a small contingent of Mahûd Warriors, Morannon Orcs, and Mordor Orcs in each corner, safely protected behind the terrain and the majority of my force in the center of the board. Each of my corner contingents was about 6-8 models strong. This left about 40 models for me in the center of the board including my heroes and my orc trackers. Chris deployed in three largely equal split groups. Each group had 10 Rangers (either Rangers of Arnor or Rangers of the North) allowing three separate volley fire groups. His Cavalry contingent deployed in between the far left and middle groups. In addition to the rangers, his central deployment group had several warriors of Minas Tirith providing some armor to the line.

Chris played his army as most Grey Company generals would. Advancing 3″ per turn and maximizing his ability to shoot. His Cavalry contingent moved quickly to the western edge of the board and alongside a forested area. We traded turns of volley fire and he knicked me up a bit. I targeted his cavalry models with my volley fire as I was really just trying to dismount his forces. Whether Chris knew it or not, I was only concerned about his Cavarly. My plan was to battle my way up quickly to the center of the board and just hold back enough reserves to keep him from poking through on the edges by accident. His cavalry really negated my strategy as I had to divert significant resources from my central group to make sure my line would be strong enough to wear him down.

After having redeployed a portion of my forces to hold the western corner I continued my frontal assault in the central area. I knew I had to weather at least two or three rounds of direct fire from two archery groups before I could close and as you could expect, the Grey Company did their job. They whittled away at key pieces of my attack plan. Also by not being able to dismount the cavalry, I had to divert more of my attack force than I wanted. In one nasty round of shooting, Chris was able to roll 4 sixes in a row to kill off two of my Morannon Orc Shield Screens. That left me very thin up front.

Well into the match, neither of us had any models off the table. Chris had his cavalry about half-way across the board and I had advanced almost three-quarters of the way across the board and engaged his line. The decisive moves of the game occurred when Faramir led his forces around the hill in my left corner and moved towards the center of the exit. He was two turns from being able to get across (about 12-14″ away) and I threw everything I could to slow him down. All my archers shot at his models hoping to force a dismount. I tied up enough of his individual cavalry that it came down to two models – Faramir and a single KoMT. Faramir and the Knight were able to get within 10″ of the board edge and I knew that I was in jeopardy of losing. We both called heroic moves and Chris won the roll-off allowing Faramir and his Knight to exit to the south. If I would have won that roll-off, I could have charged both Faramir and the Knight and kept the game alive.

With those models across the table, I turned my attention to trying to get my own models off the other side. The battle line near Chris’s side of the table was a struggle. I was killing enough models to ensure my numerical superiority but Iwasn’t able to punch a whole through his line. I finally got a Ranger isolated on one side with my Mahûd King and called a Heroic combat. Dispatching the ranger, I was able to move past his line to finish the move on my Heroic Combat. Chris didn’t realize that I didn’t have to charge back into combat and I was able to move my Mahûd King straight towards the edge of the table. When my King survived the next round of archery at his back, I was able to exit off the board and prevent Chris from getting a Major Victory.

Time ran out on our game and neither of us even reached the breaking point. Chris won a tactically challenging game by an exit count of 2-1 achieving a Minor Victory for him and a Minor Loss for me.

In the end, my worst fears for my army came true. I faced a heavy dose of archery that thinned my combat lines and I didn’t have sufficient mobility to counter the small dose of Cavalry that my opponent brought to my side of the board. However, achieving the minor condition was important for me to get some battle points and try to dig my way back into the tournament.

Outcome:  Minor Loss (7 battle points)

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