Game two saw me drawn against Tim ‘Flash’ Martin, who I know from the Dudley Darklords but who I had yet to have the pleasure of facing. He was rolling with Circle, so I was naturally eager to see what sort of stuff made my Hordes faction of choice tick at 25 points (since I’m fairly sure that Epic Kaya and two heavies ain’t it).
That’s my kind of list. I haven’t played against the Stormwrath in a while, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Tharn on the board, so I had no idea what it was going to do to me. I decided to stick with the Deneghra list – it had served me well so far – and set up the customary Thrall brick. Combine in front so that they actually get into range to use their abilities; the Mechanithralls overlap them and intersperse with Stitch Thralls to pass their carcasses back; and in this case the Banes went on the right so they could gun for the Woldwardens.
The usual jockeying for position in turn one saw my Mechanithralls fan out ahead of the lines to absorb the Tharn charge, as was their way; I kept the Banes and Combine back to wade in once the Mechs were down, and camped focus. Flash cast Lightning Tendrils on the Tharn and sent everything lurching forward at full pelt.
Flash grinned and sent the Tharn forward on the charge, butchering the front line of Mechanithralls and blasting the ones behind them with Electro Leap from his Lightning Tendrils, and successfully engaging the Ripjaw. The Woldwardens advanced and used Geomancy to blast some Chain Lightning into my lines, killing the foremost Bane Thralls and more Mechanithralls. The one nearest the Bane Thralls enshrouded itself in Undergrowth, the Swamp Gobbers dropped a gas cloud in front of it, and then Flash dropped the Stormwrath’s feat.
That bugger. Fortunately the Brute survived. Deneghra sidled forward and Withered the entire Circle army, casting Crippling Grasp on an unengaged Tharn and Parasite on the nearest Woldwarden. I edged the Combine up, stripped Lightning Tendrils off the Tharn and bunged out a Dark Fire that skelped one of them.
The Necrosurgeon spawned a few Mechanithralls next to the feat template of electric death and they ploughed into the foremost Tharn, doing some odds and sods of damage.
The Bane Thralls received Ghost Walk and edged through the gap between the feat template blocking them and the troll hut – only one could charge the Woldwarden but he took a goodly chunk out of it. The others positioned themselves to absorb any Geomancy shots at the standard bearer and engage the Swamp Gobbers.
Hampered as they were by the various debuffs layered on top of them, the Circle couldn’t do much more than edge forward and Geomancy some more Chain Lightning into my army, pulverising the Necrosurgeon (doh!) and most of the Mechanithralls but leaving the Bane Thralls largely unscathed. The Stormwrath used Skyborne to position himself further back and the Tharn did their best to finish off the Mechanithralls, killing most of them.
Despite the casualties, I remained pretty confident; the Banes were out of the lightningy woods and carved up the Parasited Woldwarden in short order. The Mechanithralls closed in and pummelled most of the Tharn, with a little help from the Ripjaw, while Gorman – not engaged by a Ravager – walked over and Black Oiled the remaining Woldwarden. Deneghra walked through the feat template next to her, put Ghost Walk on the Combine and Parasite on the Woldwarden, and then the Combine charged and ripped half its rocks off.
All well and good… save for one thing. Can you tell what it is? Flash could. The Stormwrath cast Skyborne, moved, then charged Deneghra, sinking all his fury into a flurry of blows – alas, the charge missed, as did his first attack, and while he put a lot of hurt on her it wasn’t enough. Even a Chain Lightning in the back (damn Geomancy!) onto Deneghra didn’t finish her off, although it left her with two points of health left.
On my turn, I waltzed Deneghra out of melee – I’d been debating staying in to Shadow Bind him but rolling 12 on three dice is harder than rolling 10, so I opted to use Parry for a change, back off and Scourge him to his knees. The Bane Thralls circled around to finish off the second Woldwarden, and that freed up the Combine to move in and attack, taking yet more of the druid’s health boxes for their own. Still not quite dead. Gorman moved in and stabbed him – a fatal mistake, as fellow Darklord Dave pointed out, as he could have just tossed in an acid bomb before the Combine engaged, and that might have let me finish him off without needing to kill the Woldwarden and feed him Fury. I always forget that Gorman has a direct damage attack in his box of tricks. The Skarlock moved in and cast Venom, bringing the Stormwrath down to two boxes with Corrosion on him. Even more crucially, I forgot to have the Bane Thrall Officer carve up the Swamp Gobbers (a fair cop, since Dave had forgotten about them in his last turn as well).
Corrosion did not wear off. One point left. Said Gobbers ran across the board, with the Bane’s free strikes missing them both. The Stormwrath stood up, forfeiting his movement, blasted the nearest one with Chain Lightning, which bounced onto Deneghra and finished her off.
Despite having given that one away through sloppy play – Gorman going into melee, not killing the Gobbers – I honestly feel that the dice had behaved so strangely during the previous turns (viz. Flash’s assassination run failing) that it was really his game anyway and I only had my counter-attack turn via sheer luck. Having not been expecting Deneghra to survive, I didn’t plan it out properly and thus didn’t achieve all that could be achieved. That’s Warmahordes for you. Levellest head takes the prize. Alas, my head was not particularly level at this stage, and it would only become less so after lunch…