Monday, 17 April 2017

Game 51 - Trident Realms - 2017/04/17


This game was long overdue as real life interfered a bit and Ed and I had to postpone it. Fortunately, Ed found some time to play before his trip to US where he is going to attend Lone Wolf KoW tournament. He is bringing his trusty Trident Realms army, that is continuously undergoing a very interesting development. 

Ed used this particular force during his last event, Fools of War, and was very successful indeed as he finished the event on 7th position and having the same amount of points as 5th and 6th players (including Dan King himself!). I believe this excellent result was not only due to a very interesting composition of his army (Trident Realms and Dwarf allies) but mainly due to his persistence and very good experience with Trident Realms faction. 

I was very curious about Ed's army, both about its potential on the battle field and the modelling aspect. Ed told me, that Dwarfs are actually Pirates! Now it all makes perfect sense to include them in the Neriticans army and I can't wait to see his newly painted units. (the picture above was taken during his most recent tournament where his allies were not yet ready)

Here are the details of the Trident Realm army with Dwarf Allies:

Trident Realms - Amy List

 40 Naiad Ensnarers, Horde, Hammer of Measured Force - 250
- 10 Riverguard, Troop, Two-handed weapons - 120
- Leviathan's Bane, War Engine - 95
- Knucker, Monster - 145
- Naiad Envoy, Hero, Lute of Insatiable Darkness - 80

40 Placoderms, Horde, Brew of Haste - 305
- Leviathan's Bane, War Engine - 95
- Knucker, Monster - 145
- Placoderm Defender, Hero, Wings of Honeymaze - 150

3 Tidal Swarm, Regiment - 75

3 Tidal Swarm, Regiment - 75

Dwarf Allies

20 Rangers, Regiment - 180
- Sharpshooters, Troop - 100
- Sharpshooters, Troop - 100
- Organ Gun, War Engine - 85

This is a very different army to what I have faced so far in our games against Ed and his Trident Realms, even if there are some very familiar elements in it. The main difference being probably the fact that he included quite a lot of ranged attacks on his own. His army has 15 elements in total, exactly the same as mine, so it was interesting to see how the deployment phase would look like. 

When I first saw the army list of Ed's army I admit I was puzzled as how to approach it, so let's got through the units as usual first before I write abut the idea I came up with.

40 Naiad Ensnarers - in general, I am quite familiar with the unit. However, it is always amazing to see how differently the same element works in a different army and with a different upgrade. In this case, Ed equipped his unit with a new artifact from Clash of Kings 2017 supplement -  Hammer of Measured Force. 

Naiads are already very good at traversing any terrain due to their Pathfinder special ability but not all the terrain that can potentially hinder the charge is difficult. In particular, defended obstacles may be a problem as hitting on 5+, even with 25 attacks to start with, may often result in very little damage. The Hammer seems to be a very good solution here, allowing Naiads to hit consistently. 

40 Placoderms - this unit looks like a perfect one to hold the line. Defense 6+, Phalanx and now Ensnare mean they are very, very difficult to rout. Ed mitigated their potential weakness, Speed, with the upgrade of Brew of Haste. They can, however, do some damage in melee too, as they have 30 attacks on their own and that should be enough to pass through any armor. Besides, war of attrition is what they want anyway so they may not be too worried about not inflicting too much damage on their own. 

2 x 3 Tidal Swarms - these are not new and I know how useful they can be. They are cheap but have enough attacks to do something on their own, cannot be wavered so they are very reliable element of the army and can potentially operate on their own too. 

10 Riverguard - this is a new unit that I have never played against before. Quite intriguing because they fly but are Speed 6 at the same time. They are also quite flexible with Crushing Strength 1 and Throwing Weapons. Their weakness seem to be low Defense of 3+ so I expect them to be a second line support unit that would help the hordes when necessary rather than moving fast forward. 

2 x Knucker - these are my favorite Monsters of the TR army. Very maneuverable and quite dangerous if not countered, I would need to keep an eye on them. They are not easy to rout as they would often use any terrain to cover their advance and combined with Ensnare it is hard to hit them. Fortunately, I have a few fast elements that can potentially intercept them!

2 x Leviathan's Bane - another new addition, this time in the form of a long range fire support. Trident Realms may be hurt with such attacks so I guess Ed wanted to fight fire with fire. Having two of them allows to cover a few angles and at the same time provides a bit more consistency in terms of hitting. But once they hit they will definitely do some damage so I would need to find a way to get to the back yard of Ed's army and deal with them - the faster the better.

Naiad Envoy - a very useful hero, quite cheap source of Inspire. Bane Chant will be very useful for either Naiads or Placoderms as with added Crushing Strength 1 they will be even more dangerous in attacking. 

Placoderm Defender - another familiar hero, very fast and hard to catch. The reason I am very happy that I don't bring any large unit of shooters :) 

20 Rangers - very versatile unit thanks to being equipped with crossbows, ability to Vanguard and Pathfinder skill to get into good positions and having Crushing Strength 1 too. They are a bit more fragile than regular Dwarf infantry but that is usually the case with flexible units.

2 x 5 Sharpshooters - another type of the shooters that aided the army. Longer range than bows but with Reload rule meaning they have to be placed properly and not to lose any turn for maneuvering. Piercing 2 is of course dangerous so like with the other war engines, I would need to disrupt them as quickly as possible.

Organ Gun - a psychological weapon but also the one capable of dealing a lot of damage. The one that cannot be ignored and the one I would probably need to get rid of first. It has relatively short range for the war engine so I expected it to be positioned on the edge of the deployment zone. That can be my chance to shoot at it and try to rout it before it starts shooting back.

Ed brought the army that had better ranged attacks with 3 war engines and 3 units against my 4. These ranged attacks hit harder than mine and outranged my units too. Hence, going into shooting duel was not an option here. 

His army also had some elements against which I could not go head on, even with multiple units attacking together. I needed to find a way to separate them, isolate them and get these flank and rear charges. This is a challenge in itself but even more so when I had to use fast elements in eliminating the shooters. The problem is to do it quickly enough and with as few casualties as possible so that the fast elements can turn around and help the infantry with fighting against the hordes in particular. 

And there is always a question about the scenario objectives :) But before I get to that, here is my army list for reference:

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Brew of Haste - 175

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175
- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
 - Army Standard, Hero, Mounted - 65

3 War Chariots, Regiment, Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar  - 160
 - Army Standard, Hero, Mounted - 65
20 Palace Guard, Regiment - 150 
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
20 Sea Guard, Regiment - 170
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
- Army Standard, Hero, Mounted, Lute of Insatiable Darkness - 85

As you can see I am using the same army as last time. I wanted to continue playing with the modifications I have recently made to see how I can perform. The changes are not dramatic but are made to emphasize the speed and maneuverability of the army.

The general plan against Ed's army was to use my own shooting to get rid of the Organ Gun and if possible - Knuckers. Then use my own fast elements to attack either the Shooters or War Engines or both if opportunity arises. 

The two hordes were dangerous but I hoped I would be able to hold one and possibly stall the advance of the other long enough for the cavalry to get back and help.


Terrain details.
As usual, we used Maps Pack created by Epic Dwarf and this time we got Map 14, one of the new maps he has recently created. 

The respective heights are indicated on the diagram. I wanted to focus on an interesting aspect that came up during the discussion before the game. I missed the topic on Mantic Forum but fortunately Ed brought me up to date about the difference between height 0 and flat terrain.

Height 0 still confers cover to the unit behind it, provided the rules for cover apply, i.e. the difference between height of the target and the terrain is 1 or 2. Hence, infantry and cavalry would still benefit from the cover

On the other hand, flat terrain provides cover only for the units that are in it. That is quite an important difference and it is good idea to make sure which one is which. 

Scenario and Deployment

Deployment order.
This time we also played one of the new scenarios from Clash of Kings 2017 book - Occupy. I must say I found it very intriguing due to the way you place the tokens and how much they are worth to each player.

First, we rolled for sides and I won the roll off. I decided to take North mainly to deny the middle forest to Ed's forces. I was concerned that if I let him take it he would park his Placoderms in the forest with the middle token in his reach as well as secondary objective behind the unit. In fact, I decided to try and do the same, i.e. I placed my secondary objective in the forest so that I could potentially control two of them with a single unit.

Ed placed his secondary objective on the right flank and that suggested the area where the majority of his forces would advance. Because of that I placed my primary objective in Ed's half on the opposite flank. It was to avoid the main forces but also to be able to use more favorable terrain there for my own units to advance.

Ed countered with his primary objective placed in the pond and that allowed me to form some more details about the plan. My general idea was to stall the advance to the primary objective on the right flank for as long as possible. At the same time I hope that this action would allow me to keep enough resources to hold two secondary objectives in the middle. However, in order to make sure I can win I needed to secure my own secondary objective too. 

I was not sure which units Ed would place to counter my forces there but I wanted to use my fast units on the left to eliminate any shooters they may face, leave one unit to secure the objective and if successful and fast enough, I wanted any element from that group I could spare to to reinforce the units in the center.

Since the terrain didn't favor cavalry on the right, I grouped all Palace Guard elements there to stall enemy advance and added Drakon Riders as support. The presence of the flying cavalry would allow me to present additional threat to the enemy, i.e. landing behind the lines. I hoped that threat would buy me some more time too.   

The middle group was there to allow some control over the center and in particular, to be able to bring all the shooters against the Organ Gun. Despite the cover and defense 5+ I knew I have a chance to rout it too. As Ed placed majority of his shooters to counter my cavalry on the left, I hoped to help infantry wing as well a bit. Especially that marching units and terrain would provide some cover for my army.  

In short, win the left and secure the objective, hold the center and control two secondary objectives there and hold/slow down the right so that the enemy does not have enough time/resources to push me from the center.

Ed won the roll off and decided to take the first turn!

Trident Realms - Turn

First shots.
Neriticans begun their steady advance on the right flank while their Dwarf allies started shooting at the Elves. Cavalry units were the main targets and one of the Silver Breeze troops wavered under the incoming fire. Clearly, they underestimated their enemies and move too close too early.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves take up the positions.
The deadly fire of the foe prompted Elven units to be more decisive. The fast units on the left moved forward at haste to be able to attack soon. All they need to do now was to survive another volley.

At the same time Elven own ranged attacks were all focused on the single target - Organ Gun. The conditions were far from perfect but one lucky flaming arrow must have hit the gun powder storage and entire entrenchment for the war engine exploded!   

Trident Realms - Turn 2

Firs charges!

The loss of the potent Organ Gun was unexpected and Naiad Envoy ordered a halt and regroup of the formation. It was also to give time for the Defender to engage enemy shooters so that they would need to deal with a direct threat.

On the left flank one of the Knuckers attacked Storm Wind cavalry and routed Elven Knights but was not fast enough to withdraw. Fortunately, the Sharpshooters wavered the second unit of Elven heavy cavalry.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Counter attack!
With heavy cavalry neutralized, Elves had to attack with Drakon Riders alone. They charged one of the units of Sharpshooters but unfortunately, only wavered their enemies. Seeing that, brave Army Standard charged against the second unit alone, hoping to distract them for long enough to allow other units to regroup. While Drakon Lord tried to hunt down the Knucker. This proved to be more difficult because even surprised with a flank attack, the beast was hard to hit and evaded a lot of attacks.

Trident Realms - Turn 3

Placoderms advance towards the center.
With the impacts of the first attacks spent, both armies tried to regroup and find new openings in the enemy lines. Placoderms spearheaded the advance towards Elven center while their leader kept attacking and disrupting Elven units.

On the left flank, the shooters defended themselves and wavered Elven Knights again but could not get rid of the annying army standard either.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Offense is the best defense.
Elves decided to attack first. The units on the right flank focused on the Rangers, routing them and making a breach in the enemy lines. Fast cavalry blocked the Placoderms while one unit of Palace Guard distracted Naiads. Sea Guard managed to rout the Defender and regained the control of the second line.

Drakon Riders on the left finished off the Sharpshooters and got ready to attack again. 

Trident Realms - Turn 4

Neriticans counter attack.
Both armies were fully engaged now and Neriticans pushed against their enemies to break their formation. Elves lost three units in that exchange and the army was really hard pressed now to prevent the Trident Realms from reaching the objectives. 

Outcasts - Turn 4

Some measure of success.
Drakon Riders and Drakon Lord charged enemy units on the left flank and this time they were successful in routing their enemies. That allowed them to regroup and face the Knucker, the immediate threat to securing their primary objective.

On the opposite flank Drakon Riders were the only unit to block enemy advance. Palace Guard troop managed charge the Envoy too and that allowed the regiment to be safe for now from any enemy attacks. 

Trident Realms - Turn 5

Another powerful attack of Neriticans.
Trident Realm army pushed hard on the right flank and another three Elven units perish! The situation became quite dramatic. Also because the war engines changed their facing while Elven units on the left flank were focused on the Knucker. They would need to survive some heavy barrage soon!

Outcasts - Turn 5

Evasive and blocking maneuvers.
Elves were running of of time and units but they were not yet defeated. Drakon Riders blocked the access to their primary objective while the Drakon Lord moved to threaten enemy war engines. 

At the same time, Sea Guard finally got rid of the pesky swarms while Palace Guard formed a defensive circle around one of the secondary objectives.

Trident Realms - Turn 6

Palace Guard holds!
Almost all units capable of attacking do so. But Elven Palace Guard units hold! It is all up to Leviathan's Banes to turn the tide. Unfortunately, they all fail to hit the Drakon Lord! 

Outcasts - Turn 6

Desperate fight continues.
With very few units left to fight, Elves attack bravely but with a bit of desperation too. Both Palace Guard didn't have much hope to succeed against their enemies but at least they kept them in one place. 

Only the Drakon Lord destroyed his target. More importantly, however, was that Sea Guard was free to move to reclaim two secondary objectives. The battle rage on still, though, and Elves had to muster some more energy to hold against one more attack. 

Trident Realms - Turn 7

Palace Guard regiment holds again!
This was the last chance for Neriticans to reclaim the objectives and win the battle. First, Palace Guard troop was to be removed and Naiads saw to that. But Placoderms failed to rout their enemies, the last regiment of Elven elite warriors

Yet again, it was all up to Leviathan's Bane to shift the balance into the Trident Realms army favor. Two harpoons sailed through the air and both hit home! Drakons cried in pain but their Raiders, knowing how much is at stake, miraculously regained the control over their mounts and held their position!

The Elven army was bloodied bu held to their objectives long enough for their enemies to withdraw!


Turn-by-turn animation summary.
After-battle thoughts

Thanks a lot, Ed, for yet another fantastic game! It was great to play against you again and I think you would agree that the battle was not decided almost until the very last moment!

I really like Ed's army. He showed now and again how creative he can be not only in terms of modelling and painting but also in terms of approaching the challenges of this particular army. To me it is a sign of a true People's Champion, who paves the path for aspiring Trident Kings to follow! 

Plcoderms Defenders - one of the great units in Ed's army!

It was definitely hard fought battle for me and many times I thought I lost it! In the end, I secured 1 primary objective, 2 secondary and contested third secondary objective. I could not prevent Knucker from claiming the primary objective but fortunately for me it was enough to win the scenario. However, I lost substantially more units than Ed to do so!

While happy with the outcome I noted several mistakes that should have been able to avoid and create more favorable situations througout the battle. The first one being the deployment, where I foolishly positioned fast cavalry to be shot at by the Rangers! While it was possible to actually avoid that with a better placement.

I got very lucky with the roll for nerve for the Organ Gun but it was another reason why I should have positioned fast cavalry better. I could only focus three out of four units at it and fast cavalry is the best shooting unit I have.

Taking the full benefit of hindsight, I concluded it was a mistake to attack the Knucker with my Lord. I should have charged together with the Drakon Riders to make sure the Sharpshooters are gone. Instead, these units were kept in the area for too long. I was lucky the Army Banner held the line against the Tidal Swarm here. 

In that fight I also made a mistake of pulling him a bit too far. I realized I allowed Knucker to charge him which in turn would give the monster the opportunity to advance into Drakon Riders. So I had to reform them to face the monster rather than the war engines. What is more, I didn't want to risk Drakons being attacked without source of Inspire nearby and I kept my Lord nearby too. As a result I allowed war engines to shoot at my units again and again. I was very lucky that they didn't succeed in routing my fliers as that would have been a game over for me.

Another mistake was charging the Swamrs in the middle with the Chariots. They had far better chance with shooting as that was not affected by Ensnare. I am not sure why I made that mistake again, as last game it was quite similar situation.

I am glad I saw the opportunity for the attack against the Rangers as that allowed me to threaten Placoderms rear and probably stopped their advance towards the objectives. What I should have done there was to hold the position with the Palace Guard regiment without attacking enemy horde too. The reason is that when I counter attacked I didn't have any hope to stop them. Lucky double 6 may have wavered them but the odds are low. Instead, by holding still I would still force them to make hindered charge over the obstacle and increase my chances of a success. While I was lucky to survive and not to be shot at by war engines, that was not the best choice either.

Once again, many thanks to Ed for a great game! I wish him all the best at Lone Wolf tournament and I am sure his fantastic looking Trident Realm army with Pirate Dwarfs will attract a lot of attention!

Thanks for reading!               


  1. Such a whimsical and fun looking army there. I love it and the painting style.

    1. Thanks on Ed's behalf! I am looking forward to his Lone Wolf updates already!

  2. Very awesome report! I love games that come down to the last turn. I'm very interested in the trident realms army, it seems like a tricky but fun list with a lot of great options. I haven't had the pleasure of playing Trident Realms yet, but maybe I'll get lucky and play Ed at Lone Wolf!
    I'll at least get a chance to see his beautiful army in person.

    Thanks for the report!

    1. Hi Dan!

      Thanks a lot! I must say I am always sure that Ed can find a very original and unique way of incorporating the elements into his army so that it looks great! By all means, find him at Lone Wolf and hopefully you both will have a chance to play against each other. In any case I also hope you both are going to have a great time and that there will be a lot of photos from the games and whole event!