A Bad Day in Mordor (2 quick reports)

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A Bad Day in Mordor (2 quick reports)

Postby BaronDeSade » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:38 pm

The Orcs had definitely overstayed their welcome in Rhun, and Captain Tai-Shan of the Easterlings and his blood-brother, Nur-al-Din of Harad decided that they could bear the foul-smelling creatures no longer. Meanwhile, the great troll Bhurdur and his pet, a large wild Warg Chieftain, decided that they liked Rhun and intended to continue to pillage its farms and fields until the food ran out. Both sides decided that the easiest way to get their foes to leave town would be to burn them out, and so both forces met for a 600 point game of Storm the Camp!

The Easterlings formed a great semi-circle of bronze shields on either flank, while their center held their archers, backed up by Haradrim Spearmen. Captain Tai-Shan had strung his own bow and prepared to order a volley fire. On their left flank, the swordsmen parted like a bronze gate opening, and Nur-al-Din and his Haradrim cavalry archers charged out and took position on a hill, readying their poison-tipped arrows for action.

The Orcs and Easterlings traded volleys of arrows, but few casualties resulted and the Orcs decided to pick up the pace. Teams of Wargs ran out on either flank while the Orcs in the center charged forward. The Men of Harad and Rhun began to pepper their foes with arrows, and Orcs and Wargs began to die.

On the left flank, the wild Warg Chieftain and his pack readied themselves to charge the Haradrim cavalry, but Nur-al-Din caught them wrong-footed and led his spear-armed horsemen into the fray with a shrieking battle cry. Wargs were speared or slain with sword-blows, and Easterling infantry charged forward to support their cavalry.

The Orcs shifted their attention towards the Haradrim cavalry, and the majority of their army began to drift left. The wild Warg Chieftain gave Nur-al-Din a fierce bite, but overall, the Haradrim were dealing out terrible damage to the Wargs. Seeing this shift in posture, Tai-Shan ordered the Easterling archers forward, to engage the flank of the Orcs. The Orcs saw this and turned to face this assault, but the blows of their crude, rusty weapons did little to the well-armored Easterlings.

Bhurdur had reached the battle by this time, and his great sword easily shattered an Easterling shield to kill the man behind it, but Bhurdur was but one fighter on the battlefield, and the press of Orcs around him hampered his movement.

With a flourish of his sword, Nur-al-Din slew the Wild Warg Chieftain, and the morale of the Orcs began to falter. In desperation, they lunged at the center of the Easterling lines and pushed open a hole. Some Orcs broke through, only to be met by the Easterling reserves. Sensing defeat, the Orc army broke and fled, leaving the unbroken Easterlings in command of the field. At the time this battle was ended, the Easterlings had won a major victory over the Orcs!

A second game was played, then, with my army of nine Nazgul and Morgul Knights against a seemingly endless horde of mounted Khandish Mercenaries. The Mercenaries drew first blood by shooting down the Knight of Umbar in an unbelievable run of luck. They had a wraith of their own as well, and he gave them good service by draining the Will of the Witch King and the Tainted as they closed. The Witch King drew one of the Mercenaries forward, where he and many other Morgul Knights jumped on him, slaying him in a truly heroic mugging and catapulting their army forward.

The Mercenaries attempted to surround the Morgul Knights and use the weight of their numbers to gain an advantage, but in this, they were sorely hampered by the terrifying aura of the Nazgul as well as their own natural cowardice. It was not unusual to see four or five Mercenaries paralyzed with fear for each of their comrades who was brave enough to charge into combat.

Although the Shadowlord soon dissipated from his magical duel with the two remaining Nazgul, the Mercenaries did, in fact, have enough numbers to take down the Morgul army, although they took heavy losses in doing so. First, the Witch King was worn out with combats and disappeared, followed later by the Tainted. With their aura of terror gone, it was slightly easier for the Mercenaries to fight, and they beat down the Black Numenorian Marshal who led the Morgul Knights.

With only three of the black Knights remaining, one fled, ending the game with a major victory for the Khandish Mercenaries. It was well understood, though, that if the Morgul force had been successful in breaking the Mercenary army, they would have quickly fled the field en masse and the game would have sharply swung the other way.

I was unimpressed with the Tainted, and the Dwimmerlaik is rising to take his place even as we speak. Suffice it to say, it was a bad day in Mordor.

Cheers,

BdS
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Postby Smeagol » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:50 pm

The mercenaries are a much tougher force than the Angmar force. i'll have to get more play time with them. They should do pretty good, but they just don't seem to have what it takes to be competitive. I still have a couple of options I'm thinking of.
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Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:03 pm

If I might make a few observations...

While there is nothing "wrong" with your Khandish Mercenary army, it remains a mainly S3 army and it is hard to win with those against D6 opponents, as I very well know. This is especially true against D6 infantry forces, which will be able to overcome your advantage in numbers by using their smaller base size to overwhelm your horsemen. True, the Shadowlord basically gives you the ability to shoot an opponent with little fear of retaliation, but a large force of D6/D5 infantry, such as my Easterlings, are not going to worry much about your bowfire and with the size of your army, the infantry will not have much trouble marching forward and engaging you, because there is only so much tabletop you can retreat to.

You have maneuver on your side, but maneuver becomes less useful as the size of your own and your opponents' forces increase, because there is less "safe" space on the table to maneuver to. Against my Morgul Knight army, you were able to surround me, but against a wall of Easterlings, I doubt that your army would have the strength to break though any one point in my lines and exploit a gap, especially with the base-size issue.

So I think that your mercenary army could be improved with a "line-breaker" squadron of cav that could punch a hole in the enemy that the mercenaries could exploit. True, this would reduce your numbers, but as I already mentioned, I think that your numbers are actually hampering your ability to maneuver and with the Shadowlord's high Courage, you don't need to worry so much about breaking.

I see several structural problems in your Angmar force, if you will excuse me for saying so. Bhurdur actually seems like a weakness, rather than a strength, because although he is a combat monster, he is slow, and so it takes a long time for him to get in a position for him to do damage to the enemy. Again, this is exacerbated by the number of warriors you have in your army and the issue of base-size: Bhurdur has trouble pushing through the Orcs to get into combat, especially because you are using the Orcs as a meat-shield in front of him for most of the game. It seems to me that you are spending a lot of points on Bhurdur where a hero of infantry-base size might do the same tasks more efficiently.

While the Wild Warg Chieftain is a solid hero, the Wild Wargs that accompany him are pretty worthless. Although they give your army maneuver, their numbers and base-size end up hindering their ability to manuever. In our game, I don't think a single Wild Warg broke through my lines, whereas several Orcs did, so that leads me to doubt their utility for manuever in your force.

Your Orcs are pretty poor troops as they stand at the moment. Spears help, but if a D6 opponent can Shield, there's not much advantage to be had, whereas the D5 Orcs will die twice as fast against D6 infantry of the same Fight score. Numbers help a bit, but again, if I have enough infantry to form a solid wall, it's going to be Thermopalye for the Orcs.

I think that adding a couple of Spectres to your army would give you the Compel/Heroic Combat trick that I am always using, and that would let you catapult Bhurdur into combat a round or two earlier than normal. If he's surrounded on the following turn, it's hardly an issue since he has such high Fight and Might points to spend. Spectres are acutally much better than the Ringwraiths for this task, because they force the enemy to make a full move instead of a half-move. Since one of the Spectre models looks like an Orc, it would be perfectly thematic with the rest of your army.

I know that the value of Shades is questionable, but since your army focuses on mass anyhow, it might be worth running a few test games to see how useful they are for your Orcs.

Wights are awesome, and have better courage than Bhurdur, but you already know that :P .

Just my .02 :D

BdS
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Postby Smeagol » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:42 pm

BaronDeSade wrote:While there is nothing "wrong" with your Khandish Mercenary army, it remains a mainly S3 army and it is hard to win with those against D6 opponents, as I very well know. This is especially true against D6 infantry forces, which will be able to overcome your advantage in numbers by using their smaller base size to overwhelm your horsemen. True, the Shadowlord basically gives you the ability to shoot an opponent with little fear of retaliation, but a large force of D6/D5 infantry, such as my Easterlings, are not going to worry much about your bowfire and with the size of your army, the infantry will not have much trouble marching forward and engaging you, because there is only so much tabletop you can retreat to.
I seldom retreat and only use bowfire to gain an advantage against my opponent. If I can manage to pick off the enemy's heroes then I don't have to deal with Heroic Actions. Strength 3 is not a death sentence since cavalry gain double strikes and four dice to wound a D6 model is much better than 1 or two dice to wound the same model.

BaronDeSade wrote:You have maneuver on your side, but maneuver becomes less useful as the size of your own and your opponents' forces increase, because there is less "safe" space on the table to maneuver to. Against my Morgul Knight army, you were able to surround me, but against a wall of Easterlings, I doubt that your army would have the strength to break though any one point in my lines and exploit a gap, especially with the base-size issue.
It's a problem for all cavalry based forces, but the ability to paralyze my opponent is hard to quantify. You cannot manuever against a cavalry force as it can hit you anywhere it wants and all an infantry force can do is react. With proper timing and the ability to negate enemy Heroic Actions it is possible to hit a slower force in multiple locations and then disengage and maneuver to strike elsewhere.

BaronDeSade wrote:So I think that your mercenary army could be improved with a "line-breaker" squadron of cav that could punch a hole in the enemy that the mercenaries could exploit. True, this would reduce your numbers, but as I already mentioned, I think that your numbers are actually hampering your ability to maneuver and with the Shadowlord's high Courage, you don't need to worry so much about breaking.

I've never experienced this problem. Heavy Cavalry is not really worth their points in an evil army, well except for maybe morgul knights.

BaronDeSade wrote:I see several structural problems in your Angmar force, if you will excuse me for saying so. Bhurdur actually seems like a weakness, rather than a strength, because although he is a combat monster, he is slow, and so it takes a long time for him to get in a position for him to do damage to the enemy. Again, this is exacerbated by the number of warriors you have in your army and the issue of base-size: Bhurdur has trouble pushing through the Orcs to get into combat, especially because you are using the Orcs as a meat-shield in front of him for most of the game. It seems to me that you are spending a lot of points on Bhurdur where a hero of infantry-base size might do the same tasks more efficiently.
There is nothing really wrong with Buhrdur. He's just there because he's a cool model. If I want a competitive Orc force I won't use Angmar.

BaronDeSade wrote:While the Wild Warg Chieftain is a solid hero, the Wild Wargs that accompany him are pretty worthless. Although they give your army maneuver, their numbers and base-size end up hindering their ability to manuever. In our game, I don't think a single Wild Warg broke through my lines, whereas several Orcs did, so that leads me to doubt their utility for manuever in your force.
I own them so I use them. They are mostly used as dismounts for Warg Rider forces. Wild Wargs are better utilized as a support model to a combat than as an attack force. They are fairly well adapted to counter cavalry forces or more accurately to gain a first strike capability when necessary. they can't stand up to cavalry any better than an infantry model and in some ways they are less effective due to their lack of equipment (shield) and their base size.

BaronDeSade wrote:Your Orcs are pretty poor troops as they stand at the moment. Spears help, but if a D6 opponent can Shield, there's not much advantage to be had, whereas the D5 Orcs will die twice as fast against D6 infantry of the same Fight score. Numbers help a bit, but again, if I have enough infantry to form a solid wall, it's going to be Thermopalye for the Orcs.

I think that adding a couple of Spectres to your army would give you the Compel/Heroic Combat trick that I am always using, and that would let you catapult Bhurdur into combat a round or two earlier than normal. If he's surrounded on the following turn, it's hardly an issue since he has such high Fight and Might points to spend. Spectres are acutally much better than the Ringwraiths for this task, because they force the enemy to make a full move instead of a half-move. Since one of the Spectre models looks like an Orc, it would be perfectly thematic with the rest of your army.

I know that the value of Shades is questionable, but since your army focuses on mass anyhow, it might be worth running a few test games to see how useful they are for your Orcs.


I've done the shade, wight and spectre route before and they work well enough, but they do not give you a combat hero, Buhrdur is an outstanding combat hero.

If you want to see a seriously effective orc force I can do that for you. You won't like what you get hit with though.
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Postby Sajii » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:30 pm

Smeagol wrote:
If you want to see a seriously effective orc force I can do that for you. You won't like what you get hit with though.


I'm curious to see that! :D
What, do I sign my name here or something?
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Postby Smeagol » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:02 pm

1 Black Guard Captain
1 Kardush the Fire Caller
1 Shade

20 Morannon Orcs with shield
20 Orcs with spear
20 Orc Trackers

Points = 600
Models = 63
Might = 3

The Shade makes the line nasty in close combat, the black Guard Captain becomes a deadly killing machine as well. Kardush can survive combat when near the shade and he provides a near limitless amount of offensive firepower at close range, plus the Fury ability.

Morannon Orcs are hard to kill for most S3 troops, but their one big problem is their average FV of 3. The Shade lessens that problem as the Morannons will win any fight where they roll the same number as their opponent (due to the -1 modifier) which effectively gives them the highest FV on the table. Trackers are a nuisance already, but when you add in a -1 combat modifier they become a lot more survivable.

Plus this has all the advantages of any infantry horde so it's hard to break and with Fury it's nearly impossible to chase away, though the Shade will probably disolve pretty quickly.
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