Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Valley of Kings 1 - Dwarfs - 2017/03/17


In the round two of the 1st Valley of Kings tournament I got a chance for a re-match against Matt and his fantastic looking Dwarf army, almost entirely composed from Sciobor's Miniatures.

Not only we were paired against each other again but it seemed that our armies have not quite changed since the last game. It was thus very interesting to play again when certain tricks may not work anymore! :)

Here is the army list Matt used for the reminder and easy reference:

Dwarfs - Army List

40 Shieldbreakers, Horde, Blessings of the Gods - 240
- 10 Berserkers, Troops, Fire-oil - 130
- 10 Berserkers, Troops - 130 
- Ironbelcher Organ Gun, War Engine - 85
- Warsmith, Hero - 85

20 Ironguard, Regiment - 160
- Ironbelcher Organ Gun, War Engine - 85 

20 Ironguard, Regiment - 160
- Ironbelcher Organ Gun, War Engine - 85

10 Berserker Brock Riders, Regiment, Maccwar's Potion of Caterpillar - 230
- Berserker Lord, Hero, Mounted - 150

10 Berserker Brock Riders, Regiment, Brew of Haste - 225
- Sveri Egilax, Hero - 240

As I have already described each of Matt's choices in some detail before, I hope you don't mind if I simply direct you to the battle report from the previous game:

Kings of Cro-Nation 1 - Game 3 - Dwarfs - 2016/12/01

Deployment and Scenario

Terrain and Pillage Tokens

If I remember correctly, I placed the tokens in the corners while Matt put his more towards the center of the battle field. I also added the information about the each piece of terrain for the reference.

Here is how we ended up deploying our respective forces.

Deployment of the armies.

Deployment view and tokens positions.

As soon as I saw two organ guns being placed facing the pond I expected the third one going there as well but Matt placed this one in the difficult terrain on the right flank. I also expected him placing his infantry in the middle so that he can have a better control over the tokens in the center.

Because of that I decided I want to avoid organ guns for turn 1 but I would need to do something quickly later on. Otherwise, they would control the approach to the tokens. What is more, the one in the top left corner was also in a good place for Matt. He could consolidate his positions and was not required to move much.

I decided then to divide the army in two groups. The fast one on the left would need to approach the Organ Guns but at the same time make sure the Dwarfs would have been blocked from advancing along the flank. What I wanted to achieve here is to remove the artillery, stop the Brock Riders and Berserkers and keep Silver Breeze in my corner to claim the objective.

At the same time second unit of fast cavalry would most likely stay on the other flank to do the same. I chose Silver Breeze for that mission because I can still use them as mobile shooting platforms while being fast enough to get back to the objectives.

The group on the right flank was to engage enemy units in order to tie them in melee, possibly inflict some damage with shooting and prevent them from moving towards the center. Crucial for that mission was to neutralize Brock Riders.

If the fast troops on the left overwhelmed the artillery and if the units on the right could stop the enemy from advancing, I should be able to dispatch troop of Palace Guard to claim the token in the pond. Then it was a matter of contesting or even claiming one extra token to win the scenario.

I got a first turn this game.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Moving forward!
First success!

Both groups of Elven army moved forward. The one on the left were still outside the range of the enemy artillery. While the one on the right had the first success when they shot down first Organ Gun! 

Dwarfs - Turn 1

Dwarfs are not hasty in their approach.
Consolidating positions.

Dwarfs are not known for hasty decisions and this time it was not different! The infantry in the middle tightened up their formation while the cavalry on the flanks either withdrew a bit or remained stationary. Clearly the Dwarfs wanted the Elves to come to them instead!

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves continue their approach.
Risky maneuver on the left.

Elves decided to press harder on the left flank and sent two units against Organ Guns. The rest of that formation stayed behind to block the potential advance of the Dwarf units on the left flank.

The rest of the units approached in formation while the shooters all aimed at the now isolated Brock Riders. 

Dwarfs - Turn 1

Organ Guns open fire.

Storm Wind cavalry is wavered!

Finally, the Organ Guns acquired some targets. It was now the question if they should split up the fire or should they focus on the single enemy. The Warsmith decided that getting rod of one enemy for good is a better option. Storm Wind cavalry was the target and proud Elven knights were badly damaged and had to spend time regaining control over their terrified steeds. 

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves attack!

It didn't go according to the plan!

As the battle line of the Dwarf army started to have gaps, Elves decided it is a good time to press forward. On the right flank the units approached the Brock Riders and shooters added more damage against that unit again.

On the left flank, Drakon Riders were greedy and went for the Warsmith first in order to follow up against the Organ Guns. Unfortunately for Elves that didn't work as planned as the stubborn Dwarf didn't even think about moving from his position!

Dwarfs - Turn 3

Defending the flanks.

Dwarfs counter strike on the left flank.

With Elves over-committed it was now Dwarfs turn to use the opportunity. First, the exposed Palace Guard troop fell prey to the attack of the Berserker Lord. Second, greedy Drakon Riders had to eat quite a lot of lead and were wavered in the process. That didn't look good for the Elves, especially that the units on the right flank haven't attacked yet!

Outcasts - Turn 4

Second wave

This attack is not successful either!

Once again Elves try to break enemy lines. Storm Wind cavalry charges the wounded Warsmith but they too fail to rout him! On the right flank, second unit of Drakon Riders is sent to finish off the Brock Riders but they too refuse to yield! Now many Elven units are in bad positions and Dwarfs were getting ready to take advantage of that.

Dwarfs - Turn 4

Elves are taking casualties.

Time to pay the price.

It was time for Elves to pay for their mistakes. On the left, Storm Wind cavalry blocked the enemy but it was clear that they would not hold for long. Their companions were now shot down by the Organ Guns. 

On the opposite flank, Bersekers attack exposed side of the Drakon Riders and killed them! Now, instead of dominating that flank, Elves would have to divert the resources to defend it!

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves keep attacking.

Third wave of attacks - partial success.

The fight became desperate and Elves stretched their resources thin to keep the chance of survival. Drakon Riders finally destroyed the Organ Gun and Army Standard moved in to distract the second one but failed.

The War Chariots with the Lord decided to attack Iron Guard as the regiment would be more difficult to shift from the objective but also could not rout the stubborn Dwarfs! 

Last but not least, another round of shooting against badly damaged Brock Riders failed miserably too! It was not good day for Elves for sure. 

Dwarfs - Turn 5

More Elven units die!

More Elven units died and the army started to melt at a very high ratio. Storm Wind cavalry on the left flank could not hold any longer. Would their sacrifice be enough to hold the Dwarfs away from the treasure?

Drakon Riders had no chance against horde of Dwarven infantry and the War Chariots met the same end. Finally, careless Elven mage was captured by the Brock Riders!

Outcasts - Turn 6

Last attack of the Elves.

Desperate Gamble.

Elves lost too many units and had to gamble now. They diverted Palace Guard and Silver Breeze troops to control two objectives. The fast cavalry on the left moved forward to block the enemy as even if the Elven unitwas defeated, the Dwarfs would be too far from the objectives. 

In the center Palace Guard regiment clashed with Iron Guard to contest another objective while Drakon Lord attacked the damaged regiment and routed it. Finally, on the right flank the shooters managed to get rid of the Brock Riders.

Dwarfs - Turn 6

The battle ends!

More casualties.

More casualties followed. Elven units died again and only few of them remained intact. However, it was enough to secure a draw and both forces withdrew to redress the ranks and regroup.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-Battle Thoughts

First - many thanks to Matt for a great game! It was fantastic to pitch our armies against each other again. I really like these "classic" conflicts and it was great to add yet another chapter to that saga. 

Also, well done on winning entire event too! (and apologies for the spoilers :)).

When I was making the diagrams I came up with the name for that battle - the Battle of Many Mistakes :) Definitely on my part, although when we discussed the outcome with Matt after he was not happy with a few moves either.

While I personally think that the deployment was not bad, I noticed it is easy to force me to deploy away from the war engines and shooting hordes. It is understandable but gives my opponents a better idea where the army will deploy and how to counter it. I need to come up with another variant that is not that obvious.

I also think I need to deploy in the way that allows to move decisively, even if going over the obstacles. In particular, when I can move so that my fast units are in position to attack turn 2. I didn't achieve that on either flank. While it was ok (I think) on the left as I was not shot at yet, then the right flank should have moved further. The general idea for the good deployment is that it should allow to move towards the positions without delay instead of spending precious time on correcting the mistakes in the initial formation.

Looking at the situation with the full benefit of the hindsight I was too greedy. I should have attacked the Organ Guns and ignored the Warsmith. The difference is that even with the double 1's for nerve I still prevent the war engine from shooting. But as a result I was held in place way too long and lost entire flank anyway.

On the right flank I was happy with the damage done by the shooters and then I thought it is enough to send Drakon Riders into a dangerous terrain to finish off the Brock Riders. I can't remember if I rolled poorly for damage or low for nerve or both but I should have done something to take such option into account. For example, charging the berserkers with Drakon Lord would have helped. The same with positioning of my mage. It was careless and unnecessary.

Another mistake was to badly choose targets for the attacks in the center. I had better chances to do proper damage to the Sveri with the combined charge of the Chariots and Drakon Lord. I would have probably lost the Chariots anyway but Iron Guard is not even close to what Sveri can do in melee. And by attacking him I would have blocked the Dwarven infantry from reaching the pillage token too. 

Last but not least I should not have moved Silver Breeze forward in an attempt to block the Dwarven units on the right flank. Yes, they didn't reach the token but only because there was no turn 7 (extremely lucky for me!). If I withdrew the unit so that they would have still been in 3" distance from the token, I would have been away from charge range of the enemy cavalry. Since the Brock Riders were facing towards the different direction, they needed to pivot to move towards the token. 

The mistake Matt mentioned was about leaving the top left corner and not moving any unit back to claim the token. As a result, due to the fact we didn't have turn 7, his Berserkers were still a bit too far to claim the objective and thus the battle ended as a draw due to scenario. However, Matt smashed my army decisively and got a far better result on attrition!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Wow, there are a lot of good things to discuss in this report I think.
    1. I really like his army. The models that he used are fantastic. I like the list composition also!
    2. I enjoyed the diagram that told what all of the scenery was. Very helpful.
    3. I really liked your deployment in this game. For MSU, I've found that setting up 2-3 different "teams" is the way to go. Any units that aren't supported are to small to survive and never really get any work done.
    4. As far as deployment against organ guns, I think you really don't need to alter your deployment that much. I think they are 24in range, so setting up half an inch back should ensure that you only have to endure one round of shooting. As an aside, the new sparkstone item is pretty fun and I've put it on my pegasus lord. While setting up a future charge, it gives you a 50% chance to disorder a caster/warmachine!
    5. You mentioned it but I think you could have been more aggressive. Since his only long range threats were far on the flanks, you could push up everything in the center much farther and project threat to both sides of the board. For example, you charge an organ gun with the drakons, if he can bring the horde into them, he should be exposing his flank/rear. With the chariots especially, having them further up the board projects huge threat! And then you should be close enough to the enemy with multiple units to get any favorable charge that you like.
    6. I think the major difference in this game (which you talked about) was that you usually wait later in the game for the perfect turn to charge everything in which cuts down on the chance you take with the dice. You saw a few early opportunities and jumped on them which takes away some of the power of your usual "huge multi-charge of doom" turn in the games that you usually perform your best.
    7. It was a great game to learn from and it really highlights one thing I really like about KoW: scenarios really allow you to stay in the game. Even if you get down in attrition, you still have a chance if you do a good job of playing towards scenario!

    Thanks again for taking the time to write up the reports!

    Also, I signed up for the Lone Wolf tournament in Texas. Many of the great UK players as well as the US master will be there so I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that to really test my army against the best. It is 6 games and 84 players so far so it should be a blast! I'm currently working on my display board so hopefully in a week or so, I'll have some army pics for you.

    1. Thanks, Dan! Great to know you enjoyed the report and thanks a lot for a very detailed feedback! It is very much appreciated!

      Ad.1. Totally agree! Matt tells me it was a fast painting because he wanted to have an army that looks presentable but he intends to work on details now so it will look even better!

      Ad.2. Thanks! I used to add it regularly but somehow I stopped doing it. I think it is a good idea to add one anyway, even if the map may be self-explanatory. It is a good reminder.

      Ad.3. I like to have that option and that is why I am happy with 2 mounted Army Standards that help forming such task forces. But at the same time it is good to have some connection between the teams. That was my plan here that I didn't quite execute well.

      Ad.4. I considered that new item but chose a bit different option. I had one game on UB2 with such set up so I will reveal it in due time :)

      Ad.5. I agree! I should have ignored the warsmith and if I destroyed the organ gun I could also have more options to maneuver around with Drakon Riders and at the same time bring the other elements in! Next time :)

      Ad.6. The reason I wanted to attack earlier was that if I succeeded in breaking through the artillery line as I intended, I would have had a good opening to the back yard of the Dwarven army. The units on the left would have to navigate around the terrain and that slows them down. And having one unit of Drakons behind your back always makes people nervous :)

      Ad.7. So true! I got lucky to end the game turn 6 so that I could still save the draw on scenario. But other options are also true, when you can win big if you keep scenario in mind!

      Lone Wolf! That is already a big event and I am sure you will have a lot of fun! Can't wait to see more pictures of your fantastic army, not to mention the display board!

      Thanks again for all the feedback!

  2. Awesome report, Dwarfs are always a tough nut to crack ;)

    1. Thanks! And yes, they are but I will keep trying :)