Saturday, February 1, 2014

WOTR Batrep: The Necromancer's icy claws

When I started playing WOTR, I had to break myself, forcibly, of the bad habit of running all my heavy cavalry at the enemy unsupported. I tended to take all my beloved Knights (I have two full sized formations of them) and put expensive Epic Heroes in them, and crash into the enemy line as as soon as I could. Predictably, that did not go well. What worked much better was running a line of heavy infantry at the front and keeping the cav, on the wings, behind this line. We get up to the enemy, the line pins the enemy front, a couple of nimble small units peel off on the flanks, then columns of cavalry come streaming through the gaps and wreak havoc on chosen enemy units. I'm typing all this out so I can remember it. Why? Oh no reason. In other news, Andy and I got in another game of WOTR. Reinforcing columns of the army of Gondor had a meeting-engagement in the snow, with the forces of Dol Guldur. The evil army had the momentum after punking Thorongil, would a young Imrahil stop them cold in the snow?

Andy had the exact same force as last time. Because why mess with a winning formula?

I had: Radagast and Imrahil (using the Faramir model, which I prefer), a full formation of Knights with shields, including the Captain and Banner; the Axemen of Lossarnach, a unit of Rangers in their snowy white cloaks; a unit of Minas Tirith Warriors with a Captain; and lastly a six coy formation of the Veteran Infantry (Osgiliath Veterans) who have both shields and bows.

I write to you, Lord Ecthelion, for somewhere to the east of the mighty Anduin. Imrahil, was leading us to the relief of Thorongil's army. We were not aware of their defeat and the falling snow masked the enemy's approach. It was only the unexpected shying of the horses, balking at any further advance, that alerted to us to the approach of deadly spirit hosts. The silent ghosts were come to bring us death in the falling snow.

Imrahil is young my Lord, so perhaps can be forgiven his rashness. Indeed, I foresee that, in future years, he will acquire a reputation for great valour. While our infantry were still forming up in the centre, he wheeled the main force of our knights left. They rounded the walled farmstead and bore down on the enemy right flank. 

None may question the bravery of the heir to the Principality of Dol Amroth. The fell Necromancer himself stood there. To his left, a all about him were hordes of savage orcs. Some even bore great two-handed mand cleavers. This was not the extent of the peril, for the end of the enemy line was anchored by the dread Castellans of Dol Guldur. Imrahil did not falter though, my Lord.
No he did lead the charge home, 'Gondor!' was his battlecry, and the flower of our Knights followed closely in his Van. At first, it seemed that his charge would carry the day. Scores of orcs fell beneath the lances of our Knights. However, it would seem that the Necromancer can rely upon nigh limitless reinforcements of these foul, misshapen, minions. And they may be unpleasing to look at, but equally are they fill of malice and hatred lends them strength. Stepping over the corpses piled up at their front, came more orcs bearing great weapons and laying our Knights low.
Undaunted, the Brown Wizard led forward the Veterans in the centre. To the right, a formation of warriors began to encircle the enemy warhost, while the Axemen of Lossarnach made to occupy the walled farmstead and the rangers made their stealthy advance. Aided by Radagast's magic, our archery began to pepper the enemy lines with arrows. Cries of dismay arose along the line though, as men saw arrows pass clean through the ghostly legions, as they crested the hill at range. 

The numbers of the Necromancer's warhost were great. With the Knights lost so cheaply, there was unlikely prospect of any swift encirclement of our foe. Yes, we could rain down arrows but the enemy line was oft screened by scurrying spiderlings or insubstantial ghosts. So we could look forward to a bloody grind of attrition in the deep snow. The Veterans would not give ground easily, and we had recourse to the aid of one of the Istari. However, it was freezing cold, the enemy had uncanny spirits at their command, seemingly endless orcs and the the thing at their head was fear incarnate....
My lord, if at that point Radagast had not perceived the subtle use of ensorcellment to sow dread amongst our ranks, and had the Captains dispel these terrors, we would have broke at the first charge. However, our situation was still grim. The Necromancer was a creature of spirit, rather than a man of tangible flesh and bone. He (or it) glided right through our ranks, then reformed itself to menace us from the rear.
Radagast tried to ward off death with his Wizard's stave but the Necromancer beckoned with the finger of death and our leader met his untimely end. So it was left to Cirion the elder, Captain of our Veterans, and an untried Captain on  the flank to, to lead our forces out of this trap.
The enemy had laid his snares well though. The Veterans were assailed by masses of orcs to their front, the swirling tower of flame and shadow to the rear, and the flanks were harried by masses of venomous spiders. The brave Axemen of Lossarnach strained to come to their aid but their way was blocked by the grim Castellans of Dol Guldur. Only the rangers were able to fight their way clear of immediate enemies as they bravely exorcised the ghostly legions in their midst.
Despite being surrounded. The men had fought well. Gaps were finally appearing in the enemy lines and the Warriors of Minas Tirith had even managed to force march through the snow, round a high hill, and were in position to charge the enemy rear. But it was all in vain, my Lord. The Necromancer was already retiring through the woods to our rear, the battle all but won. The remaining dregs of the Dol Guldur vanguard were more than equal to the task of mopping up the remnants of Imrahil's force.

Ouch! On the upside, I did manage to take a lot of them with me, though no doubt Sauron can breed more orcs aplenty and after a battle like that there will be plenty more spirits to chain to his will. At least we know Imrahil must have survived the battle! See the start of the post for plans I need to (re)learn to follow. And I also need to remember Imrahil has Epic Charge. I'm not so sure about Radagast. I suppose he is worth it for the powered up 'guide arrows' alone. However, Thorongil/Aragorn was sorely missed in the main battle line. If he'd been there, I imagine the Necromancer might have kept it's distance... Great game Andy. Good fun and I like the balance of the lists. I just need to play mine better.


  1. twas another great WotR.. cheers mate, nice write up again :D

    1. Thanks Andy, anytime. Jason mentioned (after casually swatting aside my WHFB army) that he should really get his Elves out for WOTR. I'm going to have to lift my game a bit.

    2. yeeeah, the elves are hardcore... be interesting to see how Dol Guldur does verses them, especially with their courage being so high... and lots of guide arrows/command&wilderness.
      I would be happy to host another 4 player sometime, maybe after day of days, combine elven forces and I have plenty of Dol Guldur stuff to field for 2. sounds fun...
      Your warhammer army looks cool... you should definitely finish it mate, I can run my Military Order Crusaders at it when I finish them:)

    3. I have big plans for that stuff I'm using in the Warhammer army. It can be early Italian Wars Venetians or possibly even Borgia's force. Will be good for Impetvs or Pike & Shotte or lots of different things really.

  2. I have only one thing to say : HELL YEAH ! Tthis battle report is absolutely awesome ! I've been searching the internet for War of the Ring communities for ages, and it was about time I found a WOTR player still in activity ! I look forward to see some more batreps from you, so many thanks for your dedication to this fantastic wargame, and keep up ! :)
    (please don't mind the bad orthograph, English is not my first language)

    1. Thanks Eärendur. Andy and I are keen on the game but don't get to play it too much.
      Sorry your comment went into moderation, by the way. Older comments do that automatically to avoid bots using the comments to advertise kitchens.... and other things. :)