Dol Guldur/Minas Morgul 700 points

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Dol Guldur/Minas Morgul 700 points

Postby BaronDeSade » Sun May 29, 2011 11:18 am

Hello All,

I had a dreadful game against Tim's army of Black Guardsmen, Orc Spearmen and mounted Orc Trackers. My Shaman was killed in the first turn of the game by volley fire and the Black Guard steamrollered over my common Orcs without breaking a sweat. C'est la guerre, no?

I haven't really been taking the game seriously for a while now, because I have had a lot of other things happening in my life, but I was inspired to sit down and do my best to write a decent 700 point list that was survivable and could melee, shoot and maneuver with the models I already own.

The Dol Guldur contingent has a Black Guard Captain, seven Black Guard, and eight Orc Spearmen to back them up. Yes, that's what Tim did to me the other day, except he brought about 20 BG and I was using the BG long before he was, so there! :P

Anyhow, the Black Guard are a ne plus ultra melee force. Because I am lazy, and I have almost finished painting the model, I am putting in a Mordor Troll to act as a "hinge" between the Dol Guldur/Minas Morgul infantry. The troll is also sculpted/painted to look like a giant Black Guardsman, so there is a little amusement with it as well :P .

I have eight Orcs with bows to back them up with volley fire (when combined with the Minas Morgul Orcs.) For the manuever element of this force, I have two Giant Spiders, who are quite good at running through difficult terrain in scenarios such as "Reconnoitre."

For the Minas Morgul contingent, I have a Black Numenorian Marshal on foot leading seven BN's. Seven Orcs with spears and shields back them up, along with an Orcs with a banner. The terror effect of the BN's compliments the hitting power of the BG's, I think, providing a battle line that is both offensive and defensive. If my opponent rolls poorly with Courage tests, then each BN can potentially neutralize multiple enemy models. They are also much cheaper than BG's, although they don't hit nearly as hard, so I think mixing the two kinds of model together will give some good synergy of offense and defense.

For the maneuver element, I have two Morgul Knights. Love those models, and their terror aura helps them as breakthrough troops.

Eight more Orc bowmen join with Dol Guldur to make sixteen and give me volley fire and some bodies to plug any gaps that may form in the line. I had fifteen points left over, so I threw in a Dead Marsh Spectre. I don't expect that model to do a whole lot, but the potential is always there.

That gives me a neat 700 points and 54 models, which is an OK number since I have terror and/or D6 on a lot of the models to reduce casualties, plus extra wounds for Captains, Spiders and the Troll.

We'll see how it does!

Cheers,

BdS
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Postby Gartl » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:01 am

The pitfalls I see with this force are weak shooting (yes there are 16 archers, but they hit on 5's with range 18), not very versatile characters (yes, the two you have are good brutes, but that is about it), and a lack of cohesion in manuever elements. I see a potential for your force being spread out so much that they can't effectively support one another (infantry together, archers far behind, and spiders and cav running about).

If played correctly it could be a very dangerous hth force with the capability to win almost any scenario (as it has elements to handle just about anything).

I think you have a viable force here, but it does have some weaknesses that you will have to account for with your generalship.
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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Postby BaronDeSade » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:03 pm

So, you're saying there is no hope...
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Postby Gartl » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:33 pm

So, you're saying there is no hope...


Depends. Who is playing the army? :-P
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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Postby BaronDeSade » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:16 am

I agree with you: the shooting is weak. What would you do to address that issue?
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Postby Smeagol » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:45 pm

I had a much longer post, but it didn't post and the information was lost. So I'll just summarize.

Archery: Your number of archers is fine. Orcs suck at archery. Best use is as a combat reserve as they allow you to maintain a two attack frontline if they fill in for better troops after they fall. Use their archery surgically with limited objective and don't expect great things from them.

Combat line: Black Numenoreans can't protect your line with their Terror as there are too dfew of them. The Black Guard are suseptable to enemy archery as you close and you have to few of them. My recommendation - dump the troll and beef up your number of Black Numenoreans. This will improve your ability to control when and where you are engaged, use the Black Guard as an assault force held in reserve until you reach the point you want to breach then slam into your opponent's line with the Black Nuenoreans holding off coutner attacks with their Terror, high defense and FV.

Cavalry: Small contingent is limited/crippled in it's ability to affect the battle. Easy fix is to dump the spectre and trade it for an armoured horse for the Black Numenorean Marshal. This gives you a HQ unit to help spearhead or exploit a breach and it greatly improves your chances in scenarios where speed is a critical element to success.

Below is a form of what I'm talking about. I know that you may not have all of these models in these numbers, this is just an example force.

===========
1 Black Numenorean Marshal with shield on armoured horse

1 Mordor Orc with banner
12 Black Numenorean Warriors
2 Morgul Knights
12 Mordor Orcs with spear
12 Mordor Orcs with orc bow

1 Black Guard Captain
7 Black Guard
8 Mordor Orcs with shield and spear
8 Mordor Orcs with orc bow
2 Giant Spiders

Points = 700
Might = 4
Models = 66
Break Point = 33
Archers = 20
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Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:58 pm

I know, "dump the troll." Let me ask, though, is there any use for the Mordor troll or is the model just completely passe'?

I know that in these numbers, the Black Guard are vulnerable to archery, but yes, this is all I have. Of course I cannot control what my opponent will shoot at, but does the Troll not function as an arrow magnet in this build?

The Knights and Spiders are a breakthrough element for scenarios like "Storm the Camp," or "Reconnoitre." They remain in the third rank until they are needed to either exploit or plug a gap.

The Orc archers are intended for volley-fire, where they are decent enough, and, as you say, to plug gaps in the front line, where they will not last long but they will serve anyhow. I am hesitant to drop my archery because this is a heavy infantry force and I do not wish to be outmanuevered.

I am hesistant to put my Black Marshal on an armored horse, and I have had those horses shot out from under me so many times that I really question their worth.

Cheers,

BdS
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Postby Smeagol » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:38 pm

Mordor Trolls are pretty unpleasant, but to be honest I can feed a blocking model to contain trolls relatively easily. Those Black Guard are actually worse in my opinion since you can gang up on my models and they can thread small gaps the troll can't navigate. With strength 2 bows the Mordor Troll requires me to hit and then roll a 6/4 to wound it. I just need 6s to pick off Black Guard. One troll is really just a nuisance not a threat.

Don't drop the archers. That's not what I was trying to convey.

I understand your reluctance on the horse, but that Spectre isn't buying you anything useful and the horse acts as an extra layer of protection as the horse will take half of the hits from archery, plus if you do manage to keep him mounted he's a lot more dangerous in combat.
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Postby BaronDeSade » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:32 pm

I have spent some time thinking about the Troll. I have used Trolls before and I have generally been disappointed in their performance. On the other hand, I have been using Trolls in an offensive mode, and perhaps their role is more of a defensive one?

I have been thinking about what I would do if I was faced with your "wall of Black Guard" army. One option would be to buy a ton more Black Guard and just copy your army. Another, better option, I think, would be to focus on one part of your Black Guard while avoiding/blocking the other part.

As we saw the other day, Black Guard cut through normal Orcs like a flaming katana through melted butter. A Troll, on the other hand, takes up a lot of space, causes terror and can smash Black Guard in HtH. So, putting a Troll on one flank, with perhaps a Ringwraith to increase the terror effect, sounds like the beginning of a decent impediment to the movement of the Black Guard to me.

Thoughts?

BdS
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Postby Gartl » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:29 pm

Just shoot the Black Guard to death then hack up the orcs. Works for me ;-)
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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Postby BaronDeSade » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:36 pm

I don't think I can keep out of melee with the Black Guard long enough to do that.
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Postby Smeagol » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:33 pm

Trolls are a problem, but not that big of an issue all things considered. Normal orcs with a shaman behind it will tie it up in combat if I want to ignore it. If I have extra models, which I will after a couple of turns, then I can throw in attempted charges at Courage 2 (3-1 for wraith) which will net me a couple of models in a good turn and then surround the thing with Furied Orcs. The wraith is another model that will have to deal with the dangers of fearless cavalry which will run it down and eventually wear it out.

Evil on Evil is a dangerous game. If you are dealing with Good vs. Evil then it's closer to your model, but bodyguard troops and high courage troops can make a mockery of that attempt as well. Plus their bowmen shoot better so cutting down that troll with bowfile is always an option.

I'm not a fan of trolls in the larger model count games.
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Postby BaronDeSade » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:17 pm

Of course, any given model's value is relative to what's in the rest of the army and how the army is played.

So, here's what I am initially thinking:

Because I only have about eight Black Guard and their Commander, it makes sense to group them together to focus my hitting power. In a pitched battle, I would depoly them on one of the flanks, whichever one seemed most likely to get me to the objective I want. With supporting Orc spearmen and perhaps a banner, that gives me a "strong flank."

Orc archers would be deployed in the center to get maximum range of their lousy bows. This unit would "give way" if the enemy approached it too closely.

On the other flank, the "weak flank," I was thinking of having a mass of Orc infantry supported by the Troll. This group could advance or hold position as needed. Whatever manuever elments I might choose, Wargs or Spiders, would go behind the lines.

Thoughts?

BdS
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Postby Smeagol » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:24 pm

What happened to the Black Numenoreans?

Gary used a similar tactic against me last time we played. His rangers held his center and were his camp guards while he split his fighting line into two hero escorted parts. The weaker force was on the flank that was protected by a wall of trees while his stronger flank (led by Prince Faramir) manuevered to my right. Had I been able to contain Faramir (obviously I didn't) then I had a chance at infiltrating through the woods on my left with dismounted orc trackers and wargs while I pushed into his Rangers in the center. Once Faramir got by my front line I had nothing to stop him and had to concede the Major Loss to him.

So yes it can work, but the orcs hit on 5s not 3s so they have a slight problem there. The orcs fight okay, but they are dead meat against Strength 5. Luckily there are very few models that can muster that level of hitting power. More importantly they are hard pressed to kill defense 6 models which are their bane.

You could consider mounting your orc archers on wargs to get more mobility and some strength four cavalry into your mix. Of course that means picking up a bunch of models you don't already have.
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Postby Gartl » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:53 pm

What about using an Easterling archer contingent? Take a Easterling Captain and 12 or so Easterling archers and you end up with longer range and better hitting.
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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