I played a fun 25 point game vs. Holier Than Thou last night. I went back and forth on army composition. I chose Grissel because of the point value, as I only own her, Grim, and Madrack1 and I think Madrak has become a bad choice vs. Menoth due to upkeep removal and all the Blessed Weapons ignoring Sure Foot. Grim is a good choice but I can't fit everything I want with him in 25 points. So I would normally take a Pyre, Axer, and a bunch of troops with Grissel but with the Pyre's new animus there is no point, so I took an Axer, Mauler, and a full unit of champs. This would be a very axe to mouth army. I went back and forth between max krielstone with UA or min with the Chronicler but I couln't take the chance he'd have Feora so I went with the former. Also, my last game the amount of buffs in my own army confused me so I figured this time 2 warbeasts, 2 units and a lock would be easy to work with.
When I saw what my opponent fielded I kind of wished I'd brought Grim, an Impaler, and the Chronicler, but that's how it goes sometimes.
His list was:
Yikes. I have no ranged outside of Grissel's spray and no way besides Grissel to hurt Vilmon in Impervious Wall. Plus Seneschals are always a pain to deal with.
We kept terrain simple, the center line of the table had 1 stone keep to my right and an old crumbling statue to the left with an open area in the middle. We both had melee armies so that worked for us. I won the roll and set up first, with a wall of Champions, followed by Grissel and the Axer, and the Mauler off to the right, with Stone scribes scattered randomly behind them. He had his knights to my left, Jacks center, Vilmon and Kreoss right, and a Seneschal on each side.
I went first, ran everything straight up, and dumped 6 Fury on the Krielstone. He ran forward and stayed just outside of my charge range.
I needed Vilmon to lose Impervious Wall so I ran everything, shifting to my left by the statue. Grissel cast Hallowed Avenger on the Mauler and used Hoof It on herself to position behind the statue for safety and I left my leftmost Champion and Mauler in threat range of Vilmon hoping he'd charge them rather than advance.
He didn't take the bait, and advanced his Reckoner and Revenger. A Reckoner shot did minor damage to my Champion leader. Kreoss arced his AOE spell but was 1/4 inch out of range from the leader. However, a lucky deviation dropped it back on my Strone Scribes, killed two that failed their tough rolls. He left a few knights in threat range and gave them +2 armor.
I upkept Hallowed Avenger and popped the feat and cast Rage on two Champions, who then charged the Revenger. Another two charged two Exemplar, with one running behind the first two so the Reckoner couldn't push them back. I killed the two knights and broke the Revenger's Arc Node and Shield arm. My axer killed a third knight. I then reformed everyone using Hoof it, bringing them back to a base to base wall of champs with Axer to the left and Mauler behind them.
He was surprised at how quickly my Trolls were moving around, and this would prove to be a brutal turn. First, his Exemplar (who could not charge thanks to Cacophany) advanced and only one made it to melee with my champions, but a lucky roll killed him outright. His Seneschal to my left charged the Axer and beat him up badly (half his boxes but no aspects out) and slammed him into a Stone Scribe who passed his tough roll. Thanks to those two there was now a hole in my line of Champions where my Axer could be seen and the Reckoner assaulted. He knew he couldn't fit his base between my Champions but got the shot off for more damage on the Axer and was now engaging two Champs. The Revenger used Powerful Charge to damage another Champion, and the Seneschal killed one off before he got to slam it. He had wisely chosen to kill the two champs that linked the rest first, so now none were in base to base (nor would they be the rest of the game). However, this did trigger Hallowed Avenger, and my Mauler charged the Reckoner, but whiffed thanks to Choking Veil (living enemy models within 2" get -2 MAT). Finally, he tied up my rightmost champion with Vilmon by just advancing him.
Ouch, that hurt. I shook off Knockdown on the Axer. I saw Grissel was going to need to deal with Vilmon herself, so I brought her out of cover to line up a countercharge on him, cast Rage on the Mauler and a Champion and put Heroic Ballad on the Champs. The Mauler made a very poor showing against the Reckoner, only needing 6 to hit and missing 6 out of 9 times. At least I took out his Cortex. My Champions did just as badly, missing consistently thanks to Choking Veil, which I would consider his most valuable model ability of the game next to Impervious Wall. One Champ did kill another Exemplar, leaving only two, and one killed a Seneschal. I sent the Axer against the other Seneschal and it took all three focus to kill him, but I knew it was now or never.
On his turn, both Seneschals were removed from the table (Yay!) and he saw an opening for the win. First the Reckoner backed away from the Mauler, who missed his free strike (stupid snake eyes!) and shot at Grissel through a hole in my scribe line, but missed. He saw that if my right-most Champion was killed, Vilmon would have a straight charge lane to Grissel. It was through two Stone Scribes that would free strike him, but worth the risk. So Kreoss popped his feat and charged that Champion, autohitting. That sucker made about 3 or 4 tough rolls, but Kreoss finally took him down. With his last focus he cast a spell to kill one of the Scribes, so Vilom could now even angle the charge and avoid the free strike. The Knights Exemplar and Revenger killed another Champion, but my last one kept making tough rolls. Finally, here comes Vilmon. Two autohitting attacks, and I look at my two Fury and realize both beasts are maxed on Fury and I can't transfer. Ouch. He rolls low and takes me down to three wounds.
My turn. I leech from the Axer and of course the Mauler frenzies and since the Reckoner had back off he instead eats my last poor knocked down Champion. Too bad he wasn't hurt because it would have been fun for snacking. I (finally!) Remember to activate the scribes first for +1 damage and the move to block lanes and one even hits Vilmon for 2 points. And then I activate Grissel and make my critical error. I put Heroic Call on the Axer for another attack, and go to kill Vilmon. Boost to hit. Miss. Buy another and boost to hit. Miss. Try again, finally a hit! He drops and Grissel has only 1 Fury left. The Axer then walks over to engage the Revenger, Reckoner, and a Knight, and Thresher destroys the Reckoner and Revenger, and the free Heroic Ballad attack kills the knight. I felt like Sauron in the beginning of Lord of the Rings. The Axer regenerated for 1 wound back.
Well, I'm down to three wounds, but at least I can transfer now. He had 1 knight, Kreoss, and the Choir left, and I have two beasts, Grissel, and the Krielstone with 1 Scribe and the Elder. He knows it's now or never. Kreoss is out of charge range, but he advances to get LOS on Grissel and casts Chasten at her twice. Both hit and I only have 1 fury for transfers, so the second one takes her out.
Post game discussion revealed I could have easily stopped him by using either Hoof It or Cacaphony on Grissel the turn before, and he was wondering why I didn't. Either I could have backed out of range after killing (or failing to kill) Vilmon or I could have kept Kreoss from casting. Essentially, by using Heroic Ballad on the Axer, I literally made the wrong call, and it cost me the game.
I have to say I really like that she can affect her beasts now, and Hallowed Avenger was pretty cool, even if the free attack did miss. I miss the Hand Cannon though. At 8", I'd rather charge than spray. Champions with her is a no-brainer, as Hoof It let's them fall back into base to base after charging muliple targets to keep their high armor, and Heric Ballad (especially combined with a damage buff) gets a good value from 5 extra accurate high damage attacks.