Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The (Bubonic) Court Is in Session


Only got one game in with the Bubonic Court last night, but it was a pretty good one.

We ended up bumping things up to 2250 because of my concerns that, after dropping 575 for Nurglitch, there wouldn't be enough left over to make a viable army; I think I was probably right.

What I ran:
An Itching, Burning Sensation
Bubonic Court of Nurglitch - 2,250 points

Lords & Heroes
  • Plague Lord Nurglitch
  • Plague Priest - BSB, Storm Banner
  • Festering Chantor - Lvl 2 Upgrade, Plague Censer, Dispell Scroll x2
Core
  • Plague Monks x24 - Full Command, Extra Hand Weapon, War Banner
  • Plague Monks x24 - Full Command, Extra Hand Weapon
  • Pusbags x20 - Musician
  • Pusbags x20 - Musician
Special
  • Frothing Giant Rats x25
  • Frothing Giant Rats x25
  • Plague Censer Bearers x10
  • Plague Censer Bearers x10
Rare
  • Rat Spawn
  • Rat Spawn
What Mike ran:
Khainite - First Cut
Dark Elves - 2,250 points

Lords & Heroes
  • Death Hag - General, Cauldron of Blood
  • Master - BSB, Heavy Armor, Sea Dragon Cloak, Dark Steed, Ring of Hotek, Crimson Death
  • Dark Elf Assassin - Extra Hand Weapon, Manbane, Rune of Khaine
  • Dark Elf Sorceress - Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Darkstar Cloak, Dark Steed
  • Dark Elf Sorceress - Level 2, Dispel Scroll x 2
Core
  • Crossbowmen x10 - Shields
  • Dark Riders x5 - Musician, Repeater Crossbows
  • Dark Riders x5 - Musician, Repeater Crossbows
  • Harpies x5
  • Harpies x5
Special
  • Cold One Chariot
  • Har Ganeth Executioners x16 - Standard, Musician
  • Witch Elves of Khaine x20 - Standard, Musician
Rare
  • Repeater Bolt Thrower
  • Repeater Bolt Thrower
  • War Hydra
I truly did start the game expecting to be wiped off the table in half an hour... in the end, though, the game had a lot of back-and-forth and was pretty close. We had to call the game at the end of the fifth turn due to the store closing, but I think I had a pretty good shot of winning had the game gone on to the sixth turn.

That said, there were three things that made the game as close as it was:
  1. Mike's list. The list he ran was different from his usual list; including units he'd never really run before and leaving out units he's come to rely on. He wasn't running a deliberately bad list, but it was something new and not particularly optimized.
  2. The winds of magic hating him. Eternally hating him. His casters miscast every. single. time.
  3. His assassin was unable to drop Nurglitch. Eight hits became two wounds, neither of which were able to penetrate Nurglitch's foul misasma of funk.
That's not to say I played a perfect game. Far from it. I dropped the ball in a number of places.
  • I did an execrable job screening my Frenzied units (nearly all of them) with my non-Frenzied units (Pusbags). I didn't. Instead, I deployed them the way I normally deploy my Skavenslaves: in a fat block waiting to either catch an enemy unit in the flank or flee from a charge, setting up a flank charge for another unit. What I should have done is stretched them out in two ranks of 10 Pusbags each and screened my Plague Monks from charging off.
  • Casting wasn't great. Although I didn't roll a bunch of 1's, Nurglitch lost Plague to an excellent casting roll turned into a miscast by the Ring of Hotek. From that point on, I didn't have much ability to get off Pestilent Breath due to range and dispell dice and I never really wanted to cast Death Frenzy. In an army that will never lose Frenzy, it looks very useful but it's absolutely a death sentence.
  • This also means that Warpstone Tokens weren't particularly useful, and it also means the Level 2 Upgrade for the Festering Chantor was a complete waste.
  • I consistently forgot that Giant Rats are M 6 and not M 5. At 12" charge distance is very different from a 10" charge distance. I don't know if that would have helped (I'm sure I would have caught Mike's Dark Riders with them) or hurt (I'm not sure that having them tied up in combat and not soaking up Bolt Thrower fire would have been a good thing), but it's a fundamentally dumb thing to forget.
  • I also consistently forgot that I had the War Banner. +1 CR matters, damnit!
The army was well outside of my comfort zone, and played very, very differently than what I'm used to. That's fun. It didn't hurt that there were a number of things worked pretty well for me, either.
  • Fewer units meant that each real block of rank & file had at least one character in it. One unit of Plague Monks had, for its fronk rank, Nurglitch, a Plague Deacon, a standard bearer, and a Festering Chantor. The other had a Plague Priest and a Plague Deacon up front. That added both a leadership boost that Skaven really love to have and a great deal extra punch, which the Plague Monks really need.
  • Nurglitch is a big, tough, bastard. I don't know that he's worth nearly 600 points, but he threw out a number of attacks that I'm simply not used to, had an extremely high toughness and a ton of wounds. Statistically, he should be able to survive the Assassin he saw last night (but just barely): the Assassin threw out 8 attacks with Manbane (4 base attacks, extra hand weapon, bonus from the Cauldron of Blood, and 2 attacks from Rune of Khaine), 7 of which should hit, 4.6 of which should wound, only three of which should get through Nurglitch's 5+ Ward Save.
  • Having some hard-hitting characters in the units, plus Frenzy never going away, plus the regular Skaven static combat resolution helped a lot.
  • The Rat Things did quite well. Stubborn 10 is another thing I'm not used to. Their strength could be higher, I feel, but they seemed to do quite well tying up units.
All in all, it was a fun game that was full of back-and-forth, something I've found lacking in WHFB. I'm going to fiddle with my list (and paint up Nurglitch) and try to fit in another game or two with the Court.
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