All in the Name of Conquest

A battle report by Greg Johnson and Peter Spiller

A group of us recently attended Conquest, which is a long-established Warhammer Fantasy tournament (among other things) held at Melbourne High over Easter. This time there were only 20 players attending, and given that there were 8 HGC members going (and one defacto member who was an old friend over from Germany), there were good odds of us playing games against each other.

Pete and I met in the 4th round and being regular opponents we settled in for a hard stoush. The game ended up being a particularly amusing one, and so after the tournament we decided we should revisit it and turn it into a battle report. Given the well-planned manner in which this was recorded then, you'll have to forgive us if our account is not 100% accurate (though I think it is, and nobody else saw the game so I think we're pretty safe).


Drycha's Vengeful Host

It took me a while to work out what army I wanted to take into Conquest this year, but in the end I settled for Wood Elves. Even then I had trouble deciding whether I wanted Wardancers, Wild Riders and the rest, but in the end I decided that I would like to take Drycha. Last year a friend took an army that was very similar to this one into the same tournament, and performed moderately (including handing me and my borrowed Vampire counts our biggest win of the tournament - thanks, Aaron!). I figured I could do better, and Drycha looked like fun to use. I was originally going to include a unit of Wild Riders anyway (they are Forest Spirits after all), but in the end I found myself starting to paint them on the day before the tournament. It wasn't long before reason took over and I abandoned them in favour of less ideal (but more painted) options, in a few more Dryads and the mounted mage.

In the end I came equal 4th in the tournament, which was a pretty good result given that I ran into 2 Daemonic Legions along the way. The army has no answer to Greater Daemons (especially the Bloodthirster), and losing all my saves while my opponent keeps all of his makes it a pretty tough assignment. I lost to both, but learnt a few lessons by the second game and came out with a few more points. I had to learn to curb my aggressive playing style, which was somewhat on display in this battle report.

For those who don't know what Drycha can do, she is basically a very angry Dryad Branchwraith with 5 Strength 5 attacks and rerolling failed hits, but only 3 Wounds and Toughness 4. So she's dangerous but weak. She can deploy elements of her army in Reserve and they enter from forests rather than table edges. She can also teleport herself and a unit from one forest to another, but can't charge as she does so. She gains attacks for lost wounds, is a Level 2 mage with 2 bound Treesingings, causes Terror and adds 2 additional dispel dice to the pool. Basically she's a walking basket of special rules. Oh yeah, and in case I missed that point, she's really, really, pathologically, unrelentingly angry. At me. At you. At everyone!

For spells, I rolled Treesinging and Fury of the Forest for Drycha, and Treesinging and Call of the Hunt on my mage. This last one was critical, given that it would go some way to compensating for Pete's Vanhel's Danse Macabre, which he would at least have in the Book of Arkhan. I managed to win the roll-off for table edges, planted my BYO forest in the middle of the table, set up fairly spread out and I was good to go.


Elven Steed
Glamorweave Kindred
Ranu's Heartstone

12 Dryads
10 Dryads
10 Dryads
10 Dryads

3 Treekin
3 Treekin








Alexei von Carstein's Dread Legion

The last time I entered Conquest I used Skaven, and while they didn't go too badly some things were a bit beyond them (ie passing Ld10 Terror tests). I felt like a change, so I used Vampire Counts this time. (Nothing to do with not having to take inconvenient Psychology tests or the fact that my re-vamped undead probably look a bit nicer than my 'sea-of-brown' Skaven.)

I took an infantry-heavy list which I'd like to think was reasonably balanced. It had a couple of characters who could fight reasonably well (the Vampire Count and the Vampire Thrall), decent amount of magic (the Count and a pair of Necromancers) and enough infantry to look vaguely Legion-esque. The Grave Guard could actually dish out some pain as well as take it, which was handy. Some Dire Wolves and Ghouls were handy for cleaning up light enemy units and generally getting in the way of things, and a Banshee was usually good for shrieking at things or holding up monsters/chariots/etc when combined with the BSB (or both). I say 'usually', since against an army that was immune to her scream and uniformly equipped with magical attacks she'd probably be as useful as a water-soluble boat, but at least she's only 90pts.

I rolled pretty well for spells - Vanhels Danse Macabre on the Count, Gaze of Nagash on both Necromancers and Invocation of Nehek for everybody. 'Pretty well' is a bit of an understatement since I couldn't really think of a better selection to have against Wood Elves (maybe some Hellish Vigor would be nice, but I'm getting greedy). Even with Drycha generating an obscene number of dispel dice, I was feeling reasonably confident about my magic phase.

When it came to deployment, I did my usual anti-Wood-Elf-huddle-in-the-corner thing. As long as I a) avoided being flanked and b) kept topping up the Skeleton units with Invocation, I could probably hang around in the face of the maddened wooden blender army long enough for the Vampires and Wights to do their choppy thing and save the day. In theory, anyway.

Alexei von Carstein - Vampire Count
Great weapon
Level 2 wizard
Ring of the Night
Cursed Book
Wolf Form

Zlad von Carstein - Vampire Thrall
Battle Standard
Sword of Might
Flayed Hauberk

Abel Yemenov - Necromancer
Level 2 wizard
Book of Arkhan
Dispel Scroll

Vargas Raschid - Necromancer
Level 2 wizard
Power Familiar

Bone Legionaries - 19 Skeletons
Full command group
Light armour, shields
Dust Legionaries - 19 Skeletons
Full command group
Light armour, shields
Legion Militia - 16 Zombies
Standard, musician
Flesh-Eaters - 9 Ghouls
Corpse-Eaters - 9 Ghouls
Night Stalkers - 5 Dire Wolves
Night Prowlers - 5 Dire Wolves

Legion Elite - 20 Grave Guard
Full command group
Heavy armour, shields
War Banner

Druellagh - Banshee




Wood Elf Turn 1Turn 1Turn 1

Seizing the initiative, Drycha assumed command of the nearest unit of Treekin and led them forward into the forest in front of the centre of the battleline. As they marched into the trees, the air seemed to distort and a cloud a leaves was whipped up into the air. The unit vanished, only to reappear on the other side of the battlefield in a similar cloud of swirling foliage, right in front of the Ghouls who had been charged with holding that flank.

Following their smaller kindred into the central forest, the two hulking Treemen advanced to the forward edge and then halted, surveying the enemy arrayed before them. The mage followed the Treemen into the forest, taking shelter where she could. All along the line the remainder of the army advanced, nimble Dryads and lumbering Treekin, all of them closing the distance to the foe.

Drycha and her allies tried in vain to bend the forests themselves to their wills, however the Necromancers were well prepared and able to dissipate all attempts to rouse the trees from their slumber.


Vampire Counts Turn 1

Seeing the enemy advance, Count Alexei wasted no time in going forth to meet them. He immediately assumed command of his elite Grave Guard, ordering the Necromancer back into the Zombie regiment led by his compatriot, and was himself joined at the front by his personal banner bearer. The regiment marched forward with a level of discipline and unity than only decades of undying service and battle can bring. Behind them, the rest of the line shifted to face the approaching threat. The Banshee swept around behind the rear, knowing her horrifying scream would have little effect on the enchanted foe before her.

On the far right, the Ghouls capered and jeered in front of Drycha, howling taunts, making obscene gestures and slinging mud and less savoury projectiles at their newly arrived enemies. A pack of Dire Wolves streaked across the field, placing themselves directly in front of the massive Treemen and blocking their advance.

As his counterpart found his place at the front of the ranks of rotting dead, one of the Necromancers spotted the Dryads sweeping wide around the flank and swept their position with the terrible Gaze of Nagash, his eyes blazing with unholy fire. 3 Dryads fell to the ground, a scorched and twisted ruin of their former selves. Alongside him, the other Necromancer summoned forth another 11 Skeletons into the regiment on the right flank, bolstering it for the fight to come. The Vampire Count attempted to invigorate his unit with the power of Vanhel's Danse Macabre, but Drycha was able to counteract his power, and the spell came to nought.


Wood Elf Turn 2Turn 2Turn 2

Realising that she had played right into the hand of the enemy, Drycha swept a taloned hand in front of her, and she and her unit once again vanished from sight in a cloud of leaves, only to reappear in the forest on the far side of the battlefield, ready to engage the main body of the Undead lines.

Finding no less than two Vampires and the cream of the enemy forces directly in front of them, the Treekin on the right backed off a little, buying time for their allies to assist them. The Dryads at their side cautiously pushed further forward, trying to swing past the Grave Guard and hit them from another side. The other Dryads on that flank thought better of trying to engage such a powerful enemy, and moved around the far side of the forest.

The Treemen charged into the unfortunate Wolves in front of them, trampling them into the ground with the crunch of breaking bones, moving through without even slowing down. Around them the Dryads continued to advance, with the unit on the far left now being given the task of engaging the vile Ghouls occupying the far forest.

Having developed an instant dislike for Ghouls and finding another unit in front of her new position (albeit too far for them to throw anything less wholesome than unintelligible insults at her), Drycha sent a stream of emerald energy into them, two of them dying with pitiful shrieks. Their comrades immediately fell upon the smoking remains, which were cooked just the way they liked them. The rest of the Wood Elf magic was still blocked by the Necromancers, whose frantic hand-waving and gabbled dispels showed the immense pressure they were under.


Vampire Counts Turn 2

Having been sent on his way with a dismissive gesture from the Vampire Count, the Thrall charged out from the Grave Guard and into the Dryads before they could skirt any further around the unit's flank. The rest of the unit continued to push on, the Treekin firmly in their sights. Cruelly denied a target for their excrement-flinging by Drycha's sudden departure, the Ghouls on the right flank wandered cautiously around the edge of the forest toward the enemy, careful not to step into the tree-infested area at such a time as this.

Vargas the Necromancer had witnessed Drycha's appearance in the nearby forest and wasted no time in sending his evil Gaze her way. Drycha appeared to be ill-prepared for the onslaught and it nearly killed her, leaving her reeling and staggering back against the nearest of her Treekin guards. That particular guard was not so fortunate, and had been cored right through by the horrific energies unleashed. It toppled to the ground as Drycha regained her balance, but the damage had been done.

Seizing upon the distraction caused by his minion's assault, the Count unleashed the power of Vanhel's Danse Macabre. Drycha attempted to counter the spell, but in her wounded state she was not prepared for the force with which it was cast. The energies blasted through her hastily formed dispel, and the Grave Guard were invigorated beyond the realms of mortal endurance. They surged forward with their lord at the forefront, crashing into the startled Treekin with murderous force. The Vampire wielded his massive blade with deadly intent, although the worst of the damage was deflected by the magic that coursed through the Treekin. Although badly wounded none of them fell, and they fought back by seizing the champion of the Grave Guard and tearing it apart. However, the force of the charge was too great and they were forced to fall back, only to be torn apart from behind by their magically energised foes.

Alongside this the Thrall went about his work with calm control, slashing through the Dryads as he rode. With every blow a Dryad collapsed lifelessly; their enchanted hides providing no protection against the magic sword in his hand. Seeing their cause was hopeless, the remaining Dryads turned and fled the field, with their tormentor in hot pursuit.


Wood Elf Turn 3Turn 3Turn 3

Hearing the destruction of her kin behind her and seeing the smoking remains of her bodyguard at her side, Drycha was driven into a rage that surpassed reason. She herself was almost dead, her body scorched and damaged. She could almost feel the life of the forest flowing out from her. She howled in fury at the fate that lay before her. Her army was losing, and without her it would be doomed, as would the forest she had sworn to protect. Driven beyond sanity, she leapt from the protection of the forest and her bodyguard, and charged straight for the Zombie regiment in which the accursed Necromancers skulked. It was they who threatened to destroy all she held dear. They would die for their folly. She would feast personally upon their dusty, shrunken hearts.

As she closed the distance across the open field, Drycha heard the pitiful wailing of the Banshee from behind the ranks of Zombies. Spotting her ethereal form over the shoulders of the rotting mass between them, she sent out another blast of pure green energy. She was rewarded with a shriek and the lovely sound of silence that followed - the apparition was no more. As Drycha ran on towards the Necromancers, filled with a bitter sense of triumph though she was, she found herself tiring. It was only as she began to near her target that she realised how far away they had been, how much open ground she had to cover - more than she was capable of, even in her rage-fuelled state - and how very alone and vulnerable she had suddenly become.

On the left, the Dryads spotted the foul Ghouls skulking around the forest and charged. Realising that their dung throwing could only achieve so much, the Ghouls turned tail and fled, scrambling over each other in their haste to escape. They wasted no time in their retreat, and were soon scampering from the fringes of the battlefield, leaving only a foul mess and the echoes of their hoots behind them.

The Treeman strode across the battlefield and placed themselves directly in front of the large Skeleton regiment, but their gazes were directed elsewhere. Nearby, the remaining unit of Ghouls suddenly found the earth erupting beneath their feet as the strangling roots of their enemies went to work. 5 of their number were dragged to the ground, clawing futilely at their assailants and struggling to keep themselves from being pulled underground. The remaining couple of Ghouls thought better of trying to save their comrades and beat a hasty retreat, scattering from the field and looking for somewhere less hazardous to try to find a decent feed.

The remaining Dryads continued to advance, as did Drycha's erstwhile bodyguard of Treekin. They formed a battle line and prepared to assault the main body of the enemy army in support of their leader's rather impetuous and ill-advised charge.

Seeing Drycha's crazed state and her imminent doom, the mage urged her horse forward and streaked across the field, taking shelter again in the nearer copse. As she went, she summoned all of her power and unleashed the Call of the Hunt. It rose in an irresistible wave, washing over Drycha and urging her onwards. Her hate-filled eyes blazed with renewed vigour, and she surged forward again, closing the remaining distance to her targets in a flash.

Observing that their enemy was upon them and that she could not now be deterred, Abel Yemenov bravely volunteered his companion for single combat by giving him a good shove in the back and then stepping back himself. Finding himself facing an enraged forest daemon of considerable power, Vargas Raschid pulled his knife and prepared to sell his unlife dearly. Unfortunately, the blade had barely left its sheath when Drycha crashed into him, one taloned hand plunging straight through his chest while the other seized and tore his head clean off. Such was her onslaught that the entire unit was forced back a pace, and the magic holding them together wavered slightly, with a Zombie falling out of the back rank and collapsing to the ground, at peace once more.


Vampire Counts Turn 3

Lacking any particular guidance and the common sense to fear that which they could not hope to best, the Skeleton unit on the right stepped forward into combat with the 2 Treemen, heedless of the peril that they faced. In similar fashion, the remaining Dire Wolves loped forward and placed themselves directly in the way of the somewhat depleted Treekin, as well as a small army of Dryads.

Cantering back onto the field, the Thrall spotted the Mage and rode directly towards her - easy meat for the kill. If only he could get to grips with her, his master would be well pleased.

Turning his own unit of Grave Guard around, Count Alexei was indeed pleased by the sight of his loyal lieutenant. Summoning his mastery of the dark powers, he once again cast Vanhel's Danse Macabre, intending to grant his servant the chance to prove his worth by disposing of the mage. However, as the energy gathered and he was on the brink of releasing the spell, the winds of magic shifted and shattered his control of it. Blinking, he saw the frantic hand-waving of the mage and smiled grimly, his fangs gleaming. It seemed the Elf was not ready to die. Yet.

The Skeletons charged right up to the feet of the Treemen, futilely swinging their rusty swords repeatedly against their unyielding skin. The Treemen also continued their advance, smashing aside Skeletons at will. Their assault was vicious and the Skeletons' push was stalled, 7 of their number claimed by flailing branches and the frailty of the magic that bound them to their master's will.

The Necromancer Abel managed to quickly summon a handful more Skeletons onto the unit next to him in the time it took Drycha to discard the remains of his counterpart in a shower of dust and frail body parts. As she turned her baleful gaze upon him, he too drew his dagger and prepared for the inevitable. However, he was not his bookworm brother. He still remembered a time when he had wielded his blade with deadly intent; when he had been more than a mere husk, and a deadly assassin to boot. In the days before that fateful night when his current lord and master had caught him opening his coffin with stake in hand, he had been one of the deadliest swordsmen in the land - and he still knew a thing or two. Not sensing the danger that he represented, Drycha this time attacked several opponents at once. She shredded no less than 5 of the Necromancer's Zombie guards on the way in, however the effort she had reserved for him, while perhaps enough to fell a lesser opponent, was insufficient. He deftly deflected her blows and then struck back with unerring accuracy. The blade plunged toward her chest, only for it to be deflected at the last moment by her magical hide in a shower of green sparks. Drycha slowed for a moment, surprised by her opponent's unexpected skill. Looking down at the gouge in her torso that had nearly claimed her life and then back at her enemy, her eyes narrowed and she hissed venomously. Abel Yemenov knew that he would not likely get another chance.


Wood Elf Turn 4Turn 4Turn 4

Intent on supporting the remarkably successful assault of their mistress, the Treekin charged the Wolves directly in front of them, while the Dryads to their left did the same, into their unprotected flank. The Dryads on the far left, having been denied the pleasure of dismembering the foul Ghouls, continued to sweep around the flank of the Undead host, into a position to support the brutal efficiency of the Treemen.

The mage, seeing a chance to escape the clutches of the Vampire Thrall, shot past him to safety on her horse and rounded again in order to keep the battlefield in her field of vision. Surprisingly the Thrall no longer seemed interested in her, and she soon saw why. He was urging his own steed toward Drycha's vulnerable rear, intending to catch her unawares. This was unacceptable. With the enemy no longer boasting their full complement of Necromancers to continue their remarkably stiff resistance to her powers, she called upon her eternal ally, the forest itself. She could feel the earth shaking beneath the hooves of her horse as the trees lurched slowly forward, roots shifting and tearing free, forcing themselves back underground, only to lift themselves free once more as they continued their inexorable advance. Even as he prepared his charge the Thrall saw his window of opportunity closing, and then lost sight of Drycha altogether behind the shifting trees as they settled into their new position.

In the centre, the Treekin and Dryads made short work of the unfortunate Wolves they were fighting, wiping them out and continuing their charges - the Dryads sweeping across next to their kindred, and the Treekin crashing headlong into the fresh regiment of Skeletons who awaited them, weapons at the ready.

The remaining Necromancer took a step back and raised his dagger once more; preparing to finish the task that he had so nearly accomplished a moment before. However, this was not to be. Even as he lifted the knife for the killing blow, Drycha lunged into him, tearing and slashing with renewed anger. Abel's weapon arm was removed at the elbow, quickly followed by his head. Flinging aside his limp body body, Drycha turned upon his few remaining bodyguards, who regarded her with slack jaws and lifeless expressions, little understanding or caring about the doom that swiftly approached.

Meanwhile, the Treemen continued their relentless push through the other (now somewhat depleted) unit of Skeletons, with another 9 falling to their thrashing limbs and the continued weakening of the Vampire's unnatural hold over them.


Vampire Counts Turn 4

Having been thwarted in his attempts to save the remaining Necromancer, the Thrall turned his attentions elsewhere. He spied the last couple of Dryads whose position had been exposed by the retreating forest, even as it moved to cover their mistress. Spurring his horse onward, he wasted no time in charging into them. He had learned that targets could vanish almost as soon as they appeared.

To his left, the Vampire Count also led his Grave Guard toward the Dryads, whose attention was now taken by the arrival of the Thrall. Little did they realise the fate that awaited them. As they formed up to fight the Thrall, they were suddenly caught in the flank by the Vampire and his Guard, propelled with unnatural speed by the irresistible power of Vanhel's Danse Macabre.

The combat was short and bloody, with the Vampires and their minions making short work of the Dryads. The handful that survived turned to flee, but were run down mercilessly as their foes pursued and slammed into the other unit of Dryads who were nearby.

The Treemen burst through the rear of the Skeleton unit, pieces of bone scattering as the remainder finally crumbled into submission. Drycha also crushed the remaining few Zombies, and together they all turned their attention to the solitary unit of Skeletons still fighting off the Treekin. This they did with remarkable ease as the charge of the hulking Forest Spirits faltered on their shield wall. Without felling a single opponent, the Treekin turned and fled, soundly defeated and beaten off. Their flight was short-lived, however. Despite the Skeletons holding their ground rather than attempting pursuit, the Treekin found themselves face to face with the advancing ranks of the Grave Guard, whose cruel Wight Blades made short work of the retreating foe.


Wood Elf Turn 5Turn 5Turn 5

Seeing their smaller cousins being cut down like wheat enraged the Treemen, and they smashed into the flank of the victorious Skeletons. On the other side of the unit, Drycha wailed in frustration at the sight of more of her comrades being butchered, but now was not the time for rashness. Seeing the fast approaching Vampires and her own exposed position, she chose instead to slink behind the Skeletons and use them as cover from a potentially fatal charge. It seemed foolish optimism to think that the Dryads currently facing off with the Grave Guard would do anything more than slow them down a little.

Having watched Drycha put the Skeleton unit between herself and the remaining enemy, the mage decided to allow her leader to have her cake and eat it too. Casting Call of the Hunt once more, she gifted Drycha with an additional burst of speed, and she duly ploughed into the rear of the unfortunate Skeletons - safely out of sight of the enemy, and still able to wreak terrible vengeance upon them. She lashed out at everything within reaching, tearing half a dozen Skeletons to pieces in a matter of moments.

Inspired by this display of savagery, the Treemen laid about them with brutal efficiency. Skeletons were smacked clean out of the unit by flailing limbs; otherwise were driven mercilessly into the ground by massive gnarled fists and huge soil-covered feet. There could be no resistance against such a combined assault. The entire regiment was swept aside, and the Treemen continued their glorious charge - their momentum carrying them all the way through into the forest.

The Grave Guard, led by their Vampire masters, made similarly short work of the pitifully few Dryads that had turned to face them. Absently carving two of them in half himself, Count Alexei led from the fore, a feral snarl upon his face. He was not even looking at the feeble opposition in front of him. He looked beyond them, to the form of their vicious Dryad mistress, tearing apart the few remaining Skeletons and jumping up and down with savage glee on their desecrated remains. Even as his Grave Guard cut down the last of their opposition and sent the remaining two fleeing for their lives, he forestalled any pursuit with a raised hand.

Crazed as she was, seeing everything through the haze of battle lust and bitter hatred, it took Drycha a moment to realise that the fight was over. That her opponents had been shattered. That the Treemen had swept right through, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. That she was, yet again, exposed and alone in front of the enemy. Life was so unfair.


Vampire Counts Turn 5

With an evil, triumphant laugh, the Thrall charged Drycha and cut her down without even slowing, his momentum carrying him from the field of battle. Her pitiful defiance was over.

Behind him, the Vampire Count led his Grave Guard in a charge into the flank of the nearest Treeman, confident that his might would be sufficient to bring it down. However, he underestimated how resilient these tree fiends could be and his mighty blade glanced off its tough hide. In return, he was nearly killed by a backhand return blow that caught him full in the chest. Only the magic of his ring kept him from being crushed completely. His loyal Grave Guard pushed forward, their weight of numbers giving them an advantage over the massive brute's strength. However, the Treeman was firmly rooted to the spot and seemed disinclined to move anytime soon. In the back of his mind, the Vampire Count began to doubt the wisdom of this particular encounter.


Wood Elf Turn 6Turn 6Turn 6

Seeing its comrade beset by yet more unliving fiends, the remaining Treeman turned and stomped around beside the unit. The mage summoned her powers yet again, in an attempt to bring the Treeman into combat with the Grave Guard to aid its friend, however through some frantic hand-waving and unintelligible half-shrieked incantations, the Vampire somehow managed to avert disaster. Well, almost…

The Grave Guard made another attempt to penetrate the thick skin of the Treeman, to no avail. With a savage battle cry, the Count pulled back his massive weapon to strike again, only to be pounded unceremoniously into the turf by a massive wooden fist, his magical ring unable to deflect such brutal force.


Vampire Counts Turn 6

Seemingly undeterred by the loss of their leader, the Grave Guard fought on, but it was a futile effort. Another two of their number perished to the attentions of the Treeman and it showed no sign of giving in. Given its massive frame and stubborn nature, the fight seemed destined to go only one way.

The Vampire Thrall re-entered the field just in time to see his master fall, and thought better of charging head-long into the fray. If the Count was dead, there was no point charging in heedlessly and getting himself killed. After all, a new Count would be needed, and he rather fancied the position for some time now…

The battle was over and the field was lost. The Thrall lowered his flag and rode off into the shadows once more. He would come back for his late master's ring later.




Flower Power

Berserker tree-daemon of the matchBerserker tree-daemon of the matchWell that was an unusual game, I have to say. It was rather dominated by combats, but combats that were brought about by rampant magic. It's not often that both players will have movement spells at their disposal and it had a massive impact on the game.

After a frustrating first turn in which Pete managed to stop all of my spells (including 4 bound castings of Treesinging), things were looking a little grim. When Drycha was down to 1 wound in the second turn and I had already lost a unit of Treekin and one of Dryads, I admit that I thought the game was lost. It was at this point that I had the choice to either withdraw with Drycha and protect her, or to gamble massively and hope against hope that she could make it to the Necromancers. I decided on the latter, fully expecting it to end badly one way or another. Even if I made it into combat with them (unlikely with only one movement spell and my opponent holding 6 dispel dice and a dispel scroll), I would be fighting against unit strength, 2 ranks, a standard and a musician on a unit that could grow in the magic phase. On the bright side, I did have 7 attacks with rerolls to hit each turn, thanks to Pete's dastardly Gaze of Nagash (Drycha gains an attack for each wound she suffers, and given that she was almost dead I now had my maximum number of attacks). And then of course I went and rolled irresistible force for Call of the Hunt (much as Pete had done with Vanhel's Danse Macabre the previous turn, I might add).

I also admit that my heart was in my mouth when that Necromancer somehow managed not only to survive my attacks in the second round, but made me take a 5+ ward save to live in return. I still find it hard to believe I survived that, so it was probably only fair that in the end I fell victim to my own high rolling when I accidentally wiped out that unit of Skeletons that was meant to protect me. I even had a chance to shield her with an overrunning Treeman, but they rolled 8 and 9 respectively, so they shot straight past.

The Treeman beating down the Vampire Count was really the icing on the cake. I should point out that this too was pretty unlikely, given that he had the Cursed Book so I was hitting on 5s.

I guess Pete had a bit of luck too, raising 11 Skeletons with a 7+ Invocation, doing 10 hits with a Gaze of Nagash and casting Vanhel's irresistibly at a critical moment (not to mention some gloriously effective dispel rolls), but all in all I think I was rewarded for ridiculously aggressive play at a time when many players would have cut their losses. It's nice to know that “stupid” and “wrong” are not always the same thing…


Can't see the Trees for the Forest (Spirits)

Blood-sucking fiend of the matchBlood-sucking fiend of the matchThat was one of the funniest games I've played in a long time (or, actually, ever). The ridiculously over-the-top rolling on both sides was certainly something to see. Particularly impressive was Drycha and two Treemen completely annihilating a unit of 25 Skeletons on the charge, the Necromancer managing to fry a Treekin and almost kill Drycha with a single spell and my ludicrously good dispel rolls for the first few turns (I think I stopped about 8 bound Treesingings - using one dice each - before one managed to get through).

Drycha was an absolute fiend. 'Angry' doesn't begin to describe how ticked-off she is. She managed to drill through a reasonably-sized zombie unit like it wasn't even there (by herself), shred a good third of a Skeleton unit and rip up both Necromancers. The last bit was my fault, really - I'd shifted both of them to the far side of the unit so they could both launch Gazes of Nagash at Drycha. Unfortunately, that meant she made it into contact with both and duly dismembered them, despite a sterling effort from the second one (acting more like a Ninjamancer than a Necromancer). At least I managed to get my revenge when the Thrall finally got past her wooden bodyguards (animated or otherwise) and finished the job. Even having my Count pounded into the ground by a Treeman didn't manage to completely spoil things (it's not the wooden stakes you have to worry about, it's the wooden huge monstrous crushing tree-things - they're a lot more painful).

As I said before, though, that was one of the best games I've played for ages, complete with lethal combats, insanely powerful magic and impressively large amounts of casualties. We both had mere handfuls of troops left at the end of the game, but unfortunately (tournament points-wise, anyway) Greg's handful was worth quite a bit more than mine, and so he won by quite a decent margin. After that stunt with Drycha and her subsequent heroics, though, he definitely deserved it!