Gathering in the Desert, Game 5

Game 5 – The Last Alliance vs Jeremy’s Serpent Horde Cavalry

After three years of tournament play, Jeremy and I finally got a chance to play against each other. I think we were both looking forward to the opportunity. However, we knew that matching up in Game 5 meant that we both knew we still had a shot at Best Overall (especially depending on how Chris and Sean’s game would come out).

Our scenario was a To the Death variation with the outcome actually judged by Victory Point differential. The other interesting twist was that if at the end of the game, you had any models left within 12″ of your deployment edge, then you could finish no better than a draw.

Jeremy’s army was all mounted Haradrim. He had Suladan, a Haradrim Chieftan with a bow, 8 Serpent Riders, and the rest were Haradrim Raiders (mixed with war spears and bow). He deployed his entire army in the center of his deployment zone with the archers to my right and the Raiders and Serpent Riders towards the left. His archers pushed forward towards the right. His non-archers split into two groups, one small and one larger one. The larger group turned towards the left to sweep around a large ruined tower in the center of the battlefield. The smaller group was pulling to support the Raiders with bows.

Deployment of Jeremy's Raiders

Deployment of Jeremy's Raiders

I deployed in a tight box style formation hoping to be able to defend both a northern and western flank with lines of Mahud warriors. I left a very small contingent on the far right side to protect a flank that was around area of difficult terrain (wooded forest).

During my forward advance, I used a formation consisting of a Haradrim warrior blocking two Mahud warriors. I knew the Haradrim had lower defense but I could afford to lose a few of them in order to get into combat. Jeremy took several shots with multiple in the ways to try and get at some of my stronger models (Half-Troll and a Mahud Raider). I advanced my archers towards the ruined tower in the center. I knew that if I could get there, I’d have a nice archery platform and be protected from the advancing cavalry models. Nothing significant came from our archer attacks.

We continued this general approach for the next few turns with a few causalities on each side. I lost a few Haradrim spearmen and Jeremy lost two Raiders. I made one huge mistake during this phase of the game. At one point, I left my Mahud Tribesmaster exposed to the Haradrim Raider archers. Jeremy had 14 shots without any in-the-way rolls. He scored 5 hits and I was really worried. Luck was with me on this turn as not a single wound was scored (a consistent theme throughout the match). Whew, disaster averted.

As the game proceeded, Jeremy left his archers outside of his charge range, content to let them try and dink and dunk some shots. Around this same time, Suladan and his escort were circling around the ruined fort and eyeing up a charge. I had formed up my lines on both the north and western flanks. I also moved my Haradrim Cavalry towards the southern side of my army in order to prepare for a counter charge. I purposefully left my Mahud line within the Haradrim charging range (although Jeremy only had about 3 Cavalry in full range). Jeremy took my bait and charged in towards the Mahud warriors he could reach. I withstood the charge winning the fights and managing the kill 3 Serpent Riders (and also dismounting another one with my archery).

It was a critical moment in the game and Jeremy decided to go for it on the successive turns to charge into lines. Unfortunately the second turn was much like the first, with the Mahud winning most of the fights. He was able to break through and kill some of my army on the northern flank and Suladan was doing a good job winning his fights and killing his opponents. However, on average, I was killing a lot more than he was able too. Of particular note was the Mahud Raiders who managed to kill an enemy each and every time they charged into combat thanks to their impaler rules. The Half-Troll and Mahud Tribesmaster were hacking their way through Raiders making a lot of kills. The game was starting to draw towards a close and Jeremy’s army was close to breaking.

In the late stages of the game, I kept feeding Suladan a single Haradrim warrior while the rest of my army was trying to break him. I was determined to my best to kill him all on the battlefield and not rely on victory points. However, Suladan was a mighty foe indeed. A quick model count showed that Jeremy was within 1 kill of breaking my force. He won the priorty roll and managed to charge into two Haradrim Raiders. I could have counter-charged with my Haradrim Chieftan but since I was so close to breaking, I didn’t want to risk the potentially valuable victory points. I managed to kill the rest of his army on that turn but Suladan won his combat and killed both of his foes. I was broken and my Mahud Tribesmaster would have to take that dreaded courage test on the next turn.

On the following turn, I won priorty and picked up a pair of dice. I needed that same 7 again and this time the dice smiled at me rolling an 8. I was able to charge the Tribesmaster into Suladan and then completely surround him with other models. On that last turn, Jeremy failed to roll a six and I won the combat and managed to inflict 11 wounds on the trapped Haradrim King. His army was completely wiped out. However, since I was broken, the scenario rules dictated that the best result I could achieve was a Minor Victory.

Eleven Wounds!!

Eleven Wounds!!

This game was very enjoyable for me, especially since my plan worked out almost perfectly. I avoided a near fatal brain cramp with the exposed Tribesmaster, but otherwise things went almost perfectly. One thing I really failed to remark on in this report was how brutal Jeremy’s dice were. Even on the combats where I didn’t roll a 6 to win, Jeremy couldn’t seem to roll higher than 3 with most results being 1. It became a running joke as he would toss each crappy die to one side after it failed him. Although I don’t know it to be true, I’m fairly certain he’s melted those dice into a heap of plastic. They really did deserve it.


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