Pistols at Dawn: Captain Victoria Haley vs Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Champion (Invasion)

This week´s game is brought to you by … sleep deprivation and Covid scare!

As the year is winding down, it is hard for me to find time for games and to be honest, I hope motivation is just down due to the bad weather and cold.

I have been playing a few games on Wartable, but it is hard for me to use it, as I tend to be more intuitive and rely on eye-balling distances and it has been hard for me to take into account that the screen might just show a zoomed-in part of the table, which has led to me finding it hard to estimate threat ranges etc. Yes, I know that Wartable actually shows all distances, but it is a psychological thing. But enough of that.

For this week´s matchup, I have chosen Vlad2 because it is a powerful list I want to play more over the months to come, but one I struggle with online, so maybe playing it on the physical table will help me get to grips with it. As the opposing force, I wanted to give Haley1 another go as I like the concept and have also recently painted more Gun Mages to go with it.

The lists were:

Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion + 27
Marauder: 11
Grolar: 18
Void Archon: 8
Void Archon: 8
Koldun Lord: 4
Koldun Lord: 0 (4)
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire: 7
Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10
Greylord Escort: 3
Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10 Greylord Escort: 3
Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10 Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10 Greylord Ternion: 0 (7) Greylord Ternion: 0 (7)

(Wolves of Winter)

A pretty basic Vlad2 list. I tried running it with Ruin and a Thamarite Archon instead of the Grolar and Alexia, but Alexia gives me more recursion and better access to Arcane Vortex.

Captain Victoria Haley: + 27
Squire: 0 (5)
Hurricane: 35  
Lieutenant Bastian Falk: 0 (5)
Gun Mage Captain Adept: 0 (5)
Gun Mage Captain Adept: 0 (5)
Arcane Tempest Rifleman: 4
Arcane Tempest Rifleman: 4
Anastasia di Bray: 3  
Tempest Blazers (min): 11
Black 13th Strike Force: 10
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages: 11
Gun Mage Officer: 4
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages: 11
Gun Mage Officer: 4  


(Sons of the Tempest)

The Haley1 list has been slightly changed by reducing the Blazers from a full to a minimum unit, which freed up 7 points to add the second Rifleman as well as Anastasia di Bray to get better odds of choosing whether to go first or second.

Predictably, I roll a 2+1 for Haley and a 5 for Vlad, who goes first.

DEPLOYMENT

Those Doom Reavers sure look far up the table.

´We have guns and our opponents wear loincloths. What could possibly go wrong?´

View from the top. And yes, I have picked up a bit of the Game of Thrones wargame as a palate cleanser.

Anastasia uses her Ambush rule. She is a Gun Mage too by the looks of it.

ROUND 1

Vlad puts Hand of Fate on a Ternion (I guess that is their collective name), Arcane Might on himself and Assail on the Grolar for some trample plus shooting shenanigans.

The second Ternion puts up some clouds on the Doom Reavers to block off line of sight on the left flank, while a unit of Doom Reavers moves to a spot behind the forest to be able to use Apparition to get into the forest and then charge out of it. Otherwise, the Doom Reavers try to stay out of range, while also threatening charges.

Haley puts Arcane Shield and Deadeye on the Hurricane, another Deadeye on the Tempest Blazers and moves up cautiously.

The Tempest Blazers kill the three Doom Reavers in the clouds, but between some Tough rolls and twice rolling 4 on 2d6 for damage rolls, they don´t manage to do more.

Thanks to Deadeye, the Hurricane easily slams one Doom Reaver into another, then shoots its longer-ranged cannons into the Doom Reavers behind the building. Unfortunately the only one wounded by the cannons passes his Tough check. The other Gun Mages attempt to mostly stay out of range.

ROUND 2

Vlad upkeeps his spells and allocates two to the Grolar. The unit of Doom Reavers behind the forest teleports into the forest.

The Ternion with Hand of Fate use Bonds of Woe to kill Watts (or Lynch? One of the two without double pistols) and a Gun Mage to return the two Doom Reavers who got killed by the Hurricane´s guns.

The Void Archon flies forward and sprays over the Gun Mages, rolling the necessary 8+ to hit the two it got under the spray template. Then it teleports backwards with its two Soul Tokens.

The right Void Archon charges the Tempest Blazer in front of the Doom Reavers, using one of its three Soul Tokens to boost the attack roll, gaining it back when the Blazer dies…

… then teleports forward towards the building. It kills the Gun Mage there, again using a Soul Token to boost the attack roll and immediately regaining it. To make matters worse for the Cygnarans, it then sprays over a Tempest Blazer, Bastian Falk, a Rifleman and a Captain Adept, boosting to hit the three solos and hitting all of them as well as the Blazer. Everyone is killed and the Archon is once more on full Soul Tokens.

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Vlad feats, selecting the Koldun Lord on the flag (in case Anastasia wants to charge him) and four Doom Reavers in front. He also advances a bit.

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The feated-on Doom Reavers gain Relentless Charge from their Escort, then charge forward, murderating all their targets. At this stage, only two Gun Mages survive on the right flank.

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The Grolar ends up simply running forward as there is no viable target left for its guns. The Ternion on the right drop clouds on the Koldun Lord, Vlad and a Doom Reaver standing in front of him. The Marauder moves up to remain out of charge range of the Hurricane, but potentially threatening it with Assail should it move into the zone. Alexia rides forward, summons two Thrall Warriors, then falls back again. The Warriors charge the Hurricane, but only manage one point of damage between the two of them. Some Doom Reavers run to engage the Gun Mages, knowing that they can easily shoot them down, but restricting their movement.

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Anastasia bravely charges the Void Archon, but rolls poorly and only does 5 damage to it. She might still be able to pin it in place though.

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Haley, having upkept Arcane Shield and taken one from the Squire, moves up, uses her feat and stabs a Thrall Warrior. She then casts Chain Lightning on a Ternion, killing him and also a Doom Reaver while also knocking another one down. Interestingly, neither Alexia nor the Archon can claim the Soul Tokens for the Doom Reavers as they can only collect from models killed by attacks.

The two Gun Mages on the left do good work and kill two Doom Reavers despite them being DEF 16 and Tough.

The Black 13th show their worth, Ryan kills two Doom Reavers (she loses her second initial as she has charged and killed the charge target with the first initial, but can make her additional attack), then Watts calmly executes the Void Archon with two shots.

The Gun Mages on the right kill the Thrall Warrior and four Doom Reavers, but waste quite a few shots due to Tough rolls.

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The Hurricane knocks the Marauder down and deals 20 points of damage to it, but crucially not taking out any systems to it. The Ternion before it also dies, as do another two Doom Reavers to a slam shot. The Squire runs to control the right flag. The Khadoran forces control their right zone and flag.

Haley 1 – Vlad 2 (could be caster number or points score).

ROUND 3

Vlad drops Assail and Hand of Fate, upkeeping Arcane Might for free. He also allocates two to the Marauder, which uses its Power Up focus point to stand up after being knocked down by the Hurricane. The last two Doom Reavers on the left charge in opposite directions, one runs behind Anastasia and kills her, the other one charges right into the Gun Mages and promptly misses the first one. The Escort tries to spray the Gun Mages before running, but fails to hit them. The Koldun Lord does the same thing he did last turn and casts Puppet Master on the Void Archon. The Void Archon, now freed up from Anastasia, flies over and uses boosted sprays to kill the Captain Adept and the Gun Mage, but missing the Officer. It then teleports into melee with the Hurricane and the Gun Mage next to it, killing the Gun Mage and then hitting the colossal with a boosted attack. The damage roll is disappointing, so I use Puppet Master, turning a boosted 4 into a boosted 3. Yikes!

The remaining two Doom Reavers in the centre left unit charge in, one kills the Squire with the help of a Vlad boost, then misses Haley. The other one does a fair chunk on the colossal. Vlad moves over, potentially exposing himself for an assassination run, but being in range to put Assail on the Marauder. The Marauder can reach the Hurricane due to the Assail bonus and does a fair chunk of damage, leaving the Hurricane on 17 boxes and one side completely out. Alexia rides into the zone and drops off three Thralls. However, the positioning of the Void Archon and Marauder means that only one Thrall can charge, promptly rolling a double 1 for its attack. Not quite what I had in mind. The other ones charge the Gun Mage Officer in the rear and kill her.

The Doom Reavers on the right easily take out the last two Gun Mages on that side.

The Grolar kills Watts with its hammer, then sprays the objective, dealing 10 damage in total to it. The centre right Doom Reaver unit just advances and one of them takes a swing at the objective, but leaves it on 1 box. The right Ternion drop clouds on Vlad and the Ternion before him. Khador controls their zone and flag, no other elements are scored.

Haley 1 – Vlad 4

Desperate assassination run time! Haley allocates two to the Hurricane and tries to cast a boosted Chain Lightning on the cloud-wearing Ternion blocking Line of Sight to Vlad. You can see the die roll above. Whoomp, whoomp! In the interest of seeing what could have been, I fudged the dice to let the Hurricane shoot, but even after hitting the boosted 11 and slamming Vlad, two focus points on Vlad and one crippled side on the colossal mean that the run predictably fails. The odds were really low to begin with.

Haley stabs two mofos, Ryan shoots another two and the last regular Gun Mage kills a Thrall Warrior. In the real timeline where the Hurricane has no line of sight to Vlad, it uses a Power Attack Sweep and two bought attacks to kill the Marauder, Void Archon and Doom Reavers that engage it. But to no avail as the Khadoran forces score another two points for the win.

SCENARIO WIN (AND MASSACRE) FOR KHADOR!

AFTERTHOUGHTS

I am a bit torn here. A few more failed Tough checks early on would have opened up the left flank more to enable the Gun Mages to kill off more Doom Reavers and I shouldn´t have left one Tempest Blazer in the zone as that allowed the Void Archon to teleport and murder all those solos behind the wall.

Overall, I think that the Void Archons might have been the big deciding force here, as they could collect souls and use them to remove expensive models with every attack, as well as being a way around two thirds of Arcane Shield that Haley cannot deny with Arcane Vortex. Maybe that is the difference between a pre-Oblivion and post-Oblivion force.

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