Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

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Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:07 pm

Denethor, Steward of Gondor, trudged towards the river Anduin, muttering to himself, a sour look on his elderly face. Behind him, his bodyguard of warriors and Citadel guards followed warily. The steward's behavior had become somewhat erratic as of late, and no one knew what he would do next.

“Look,” he cried, pointing to the citadel of ruined Osgiliath. Upon the height of the citadel, an Easterling warrior in heavy bronze armor stood with his arms folded, an ornate helmet upon his head and a crimson cloak flapping in the wind. “Shame upon Gondor that we have allowed the outer defense to fall so easily.”

His faithful friend Damrod approached him. “Sire, are you suggesting that we attack the Easterlings on the high ground today? They are led by the cunning and cruel Tai-Shan, and Amdur, the Lord of Blades, follows his banner. It would not be an easy thing to drive them from the heights. Are you absolutely sure of this?”

Denethor opened a pouch at his belt and brought forth his Palantir. He shook the seeing-stone furiously and then looked at the bottom of it. “Victory is assured,” he slowly read. “Yes, we attack at once!”

Damrod gulped. “As you wish, sire.”

Gondor's four warbands formed up into a battle formation. Denethor, hemmed in by his Fountain Guardsmen, held the center with many warriors of Gondor and Citadel guardsmen with spears. Two captains of Gondor added the strength of their own warbands to his, and presented the Easterlings with an armored hedgehog of spears and shields. On Denethor's left, Damrod formed up with the bowmen of the citadel.

On the side of the Easterlings, Tai-Shan mounted his armored warhorse and held the center of the high ground with a troop of Easterling warriors and a few Khandish horsemen. On his left, and Easterling War Priest held a similar troop, although he led Khandish axemen as well. On the right, Amdur led a cavalry contingent of Easterling Kataphrakts and Khandish horsemen.

The Gondorians opened the battle with a hail of arrows, that slew Tai-Shan's horse and sent him to the ground with a sting of Eastern curses. Next to Amdur, a Kataphrakt with war drums beat his drums furiously, and the Eastern cavalry began a great sweeping movement to attack the left flank of the Gondorian troops. Damrod, well aware of the danger of his position, heroically called for a retreat and reform, refusing the flank and presenting a wall of steel to the Easterlings. Knowing that they needed to capture the high ground, the Gondorians in the center began to advance. Arrows flew between the two forces, slaying men here and there, but ominously, the strength of the wind began to increase.

The winds blew fiercely then, preventing any shooting whatsoever. Damrod muttered a short prayer to the Valar as Amdur got all of his cavalry on-line in preparation for a mighty charge. In the center, the Gondorians raised a battle cry and charged forward into the Easterling lines, where the two heavily-armored foes met with a deafening clash of steel and bronze. The Easterling War Priest, energized with the might of Sauron in his arm, led two Khandish horsemen in a flanking attack, intending to win glory with a heroic combat, but he failed utterly, and his fury was utterly spent.

Amdur raised his falchion on high and the Eastern cavalry charged into the Citadel guardsmen. The men of the West fell like wheat before the scythe, and Damrod's last sight was that of Amdur's falchion descending in a murderous arc. A moment later, the Gondorian hero's head bounced in the dust, and a roar of victory burst from the Eastern cavalry.

A brutal shoving match began in the center of the battlefield. With the Gondorians slowly pushing the Easterlings back, due to the strength of their two captains and the continued incompetence of the Easterling War Priest. Even old Denethor joined the battle, swinging his sword with vigor and covering himself in Eastern blood. On their left flank, however, Amdur's charge seemed unstoppable, and Gondorian infantry were crushed and trampled beneath Eastern hooves. Although the Gondorians had begun the battle with many more men than the Easterlings, they had lost two men for every one Easterling that had fallen, and their position was very precarious, indeed.

Men of Gondor assailed the hill, and the Captains of Gondor surrounded Tai-Shan, and although they surrounded the Easterling Captain and hacked at him furiously, Tai-Shan stood bloodied and defiant upon the crest. Amdur's cavalry smashed through the last of the Citadel guard and turned to attack the Gondorians from the rear, and the army of Gondor was well and truly broken.

Sadly, a second round of battle left Tai-Shan defeated and a prisoner of Gondor, and the Easterling force was then broken as well. The War Priest, realizing the dread punishments his failures were sure to bring, threw away his battle staff and fled.

The tide of war now turned against the Easterlings, while the Gondorians rallied. The men of the West piled upon the hill, while the Easterlings lost the momentum of their charge and began to fall casualty to the renewed vigor of Gondor. Amdur, lord of blades and survivor of many battles from knowing when discretion was the better part of valor, spat in disgust at Tai-Shan's capture and rode off. Truly, it was clear that the day would belong to Gondor.

However, this was quite unclear in the mind of the Steward. With all of the blood and noise surrounding him, the old man's mind finally snapped, and he turned on one of his faithful fountain guardsmen who had been knocked to the ground by a Khandish horseman. “You have failed me! You have all failed me!” screamed the maddened Denethor. He kicked the man on the ground, viciously.

“Flee, flee for your lives!” howled Denethor. The last two Eastern warriors, a Kataphrakt and a Khandish Horseman, were inspired by the Steward's exhortations and made another charge at the Gondorians. Meanwhile, one of the Gondorian captains, loyal to a fault, or perhaps just looking for an excuse, followed the Steward's orders and fled the field. Denethor raised his sword and hacked down a hapless Citadel guardsman. “Traitor! Coward!” spat Denethor as he murdered the surprised man.

The last two Easterlings spurred their horses away from the battlefield, leaving the devastated army of Gondor in possession of the hill. Denethor wandered about, muttering to himself, kicking the severed head of Damrod like a sporting-ball and cursing the man for his failures. The remaining captain of Gondor shook his head and said, “Another such victory and we are undone.”

*FINIS*

Well, that was a fun game! The highlights to me were when the treacherous wind prevented Damrod's troops from firing, allowing Amdur to line up a perfect cavalry charge. The charge was devastating, breaking the back of the Gondorian army. I very much enjoyed controlling Denethor as well, having him order my troops to Stand Fast and having him murder his own men. On the other hand, the War Priest was a miserable failure. He cast Bladewrath on himself, charged a lone Citadel guardsman with two Khandish horsemen by his side. Six attacks against one, and he still managed to lose. His Fury spell was of no use at all. I suppose that it is my fault for trying to use him as a warband leader, when he is truly just a support character. I will revise this list and replace him with a mounted Khandish Chieftain, who is a better leader, adds another bow to my force, and is cheaper to boot.

The Khandish troops proved an excellent addition to the Eastern Kingdom's force. Their high Fight value was of good use against the F4 Guardsmen. Their bows did some damage, and at one point, Tim was forced to expend a Might Point when one of his Captains lost a fight to an axe-swinging Khandish warrior. Overall, I was quite pleased that my Easterlings were able to take on a force of elite troops with more heroes that greatly outnumbered them and very nearly extinguish them utterly.

Cheers!

Baron DeSade
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Re: Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby Smeagol » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:55 pm

First Damrod is safely defending Ithilien. It was Beregrond that died defending my left flank. This was a tough fight for me in the initial stages. I forgot that the wind prevented me from shooting or I would have closed that gap in my center instead of lining up to shoot. I'm pretty pleased with the performance of my force and very surprised at how easily you were dispatching my warriors of Gondor. The Citadel Guard are fairly easy to wound and catching my archers out of position and unsupported cost me a lot of men. That drummer is definitely a solid must have for your Kataphracts. The only upgrade I would recommend would be to upgrade your Kataphracts to Black Dragons.

My copious amounts of archery did very little with only three turns of shooting instead of the six I should have been able to inflict. Denethor was truly inspiring taking down three enemies and one friendly. Luckily I had already spent all his Will so you couldn't force him to flee by making him fail his courage test and thus gain the dead general bonus.

The new scenarios have changed how battles play out and the alternating deployment rules will force me to rethink how I deploy and compose my warbands.
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Re: Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:43 pm

Fie upon Black Dragon Kataphrakts! A Kataphrakt is already overpriced, so why on earth would I throw more points away on them? A Khandish horseman is already cheaper than a Kat, and has a bow, so he can do more than just charge at the enemy.

The only time I would upgrade to Black Dragon Kats would be if had a dedicated cavalry troop, led by Amdur, because his banner effect would not work on Khandish Horsemen. Even so, I would be worried about putting so many points into a unit that could only charge, as it is not exactly a subtle tactic and I would expect my enemy to react rather severely upon seeing that unit hit the table, which would blunt its effectiveness.



Cheers,

Bds
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Re: Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby Smeagol » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:43 am

I agree with the Black Dragon Kataphracts thoughts. Personally I prefer the Khandish Horsemen myself. The Easterling infsntry are a proven element all they've really lacked was decent cavalry support. Amdur is an overpriced hero in my opinion especially when mounted. Yes, he's more points efficient than a generic captain with a banner bearer nearby, but he's still a points sink. This changes is you field him with the Black Dragon Kataphracts. Now you have FV 4 heavily armoured cavalry that benefits from a living banner. They are still only strength 3' but they're less likely to lose fights which greatly improves their chances at surviving and doing damage. Khandish horsemen can do the same trick using a Khandish King cheaper, but they are much softer targets.

My thoughts above were reflecting the fact that you had Amdur in your force and the Kataphracts would have been even more effective if they had been Black Drsgons. Of course you would have had to lose something else to gain the needed points.
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Re: Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby BaronDeSade » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:11 am

The advantage of the Khandish Horseman is that he can sometimes force the enemy to come to him, rather than having to go to the enemy to fight. Of course, it is always better to have a bow that can move farther and fire, and better to have a high Fight score on your cav for when they charge.

I disagree that Amdur is overpriced. If he were an Easterling Captain with +1 Might, +2 Fight and a Halberd, he would be 70 points, and an Easterling Banner is 25 points (especially since he doesn't take a penalty when he fights,) and his abilities of Combat Stance and Blood and Glory are easily worth more than 5 points.

He's an even better deal when mounted, since his mount costs the same as any other Easterling hero's mount, but it increases the circle of his banner effect by something like four times its size when he is on foot (minus the 40mm radius of his own base) and his horse benefits from combat stance.

He is a very expensive hero, to be sure, and because his living banner only affects Easterlings, I thought it would be better for my army to have a Kataphrakt with a banner instead of Amdur. I could have put a Khandish King there, who is another type of living banner, but that would be out-shining Captain Tai-Shan, and that must not happen! :P

I agree that a dedicated cavalry unit of Black Dragons with a war drum, led by Amdur, would be a very powerful cav troop. I don't have enough points for something like that after I paid for my Khandish horse troop.

Cheers,

BdS
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Re: Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby Smeagol » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:25 am

BaronDeSade wrote:I could have put a Khandish King there, who is another type of living banner, but that would be out-shining Captain Tai-Shan, and that must not happen! :P


Lol. Yeah I can see some ego issues there. :P
I don't have a mounted Amdur yet. I can see him being useful for Black Dragon Kataphracts. If the Dragon Knights weren't so unusable I'd love to see a couple of those as Amdur's bodyguards. They went from might use to not a chance I'll ever field. Those guys would have made decent two attack warriors, but they are lousy heroes. Even more so with the warband rule changes.

I've considered what changes I could make to my Gondorian force to counter your Easterlings better. I'll have to see how well the changes work out. This battle reaffirmd what to already knew about combined arms. If played well (and you did that) then it can steamroller an opposing force or at least paralyze a portion of the line to give advantage elsewhere. I made a lot of rookie mistakes due to lack of attention to the scenario rules in effect and being intimidated by that cavalry.
Last edited by Smeagol on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby Smeagol » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:38 am

Revised Gondor list:
1 Denethor (leader)
4 Guard of the Fountain Court with shields
8 Citadel Guards with spears

1 Beregond on horse
12 Citadel Guard with Longbow on horse

1 Cirion
6 Warriors of Minas Tirith with shields

1 Faramir with heavy armour and shield
6 Citadel Guards

Points = 600
Models = 40
Might = 7

Thematically Denethor needs to stay as the leader, though it will probably cost me a couple of games given his lack of Fate. Faramir and Cirion give me the Might this force lacked in the earlier version and Faramir is also as good a fighter as his father so that's two killing machines on the field of battle. Beregrond and his archers are now mounted which gives me better mobility with my archers and FV cavalry when I need a bit of extra punch or to counter enemy cavalry. I lose twelve models, but that's not too bad of a tradeoff given the things I've gained.
Last edited by Smeagol on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai-Shan vs. Denethor!

Postby BaronDeSade » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:01 pm

Yes, this army looks a lot better. Now that you have some cav, I won't be able to just "steamroller" you. :lol:

I don't think the Dragon Knight is as bad as you make him out to be, but he is definitely a luxury item.

BdS
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