I recently joined a one-day doubles tourney together with my friend Eirik´s Ostlanders. We were designated as team “Mostly harmless”, which fit with our outlook. We were most focused on having a great looking army and having fun. Of course, we were not planning to roll over, but there were several list pairs that sounded a lot worse than ours.
Kislev Ostland alliance – Kislev army
Duke on winged aralez (Tzarina)
Honour guard horde, brew of haste (Sons of Ursun)
2x Household knight regiments (Winged lancers)
Halfling archer horde (Kossars)
Kislev Ostland alliance – Ostland army
Standard bearer, lute of darkness
City militia horde, penchant of retribution (Halberdiers)
Spear horde, hammer of measured force
City militia troop (halberdiers)
Iron beast (steam tank)
Doubles battles set some different demands on your list. Since spells and inspiring is not shared between the different parts of your list, it becomes even more important than usual to set up autonomous battle-groups. Because of our respective collections, we decided to go for a hammer and anvil type of list, where Kislev provided the hammer and the Ostlanders would be the anvil. To that end, my part of the list was composed of a heavy hitting fast core of two lancer regiments and the Sons of Ursun. I considered taking a horde of city militia to really double down on close combat power, but my lack of chaff meant that my melee hitters would have to clear enemy chaff themselves, so I instead brought an archer horde to provide some ranged support. I considered other options for my inspiring support, but ended on Tzarina for looks and because I didn´t have the models ready for a more optimal composition.
Eirik´s list was tasked with holding down the center / flank while my part would push into the enemy before swinging in towards the center to support the Ostlanders. To make it more fun to play, we leaned more towards melee, with shooting being at pretty much a “minimum supporting” level. To this end, it had two beefy hordes of infantry with some items to make them both a real pain in defense and offense. The spears come with phalanx and 30 attacks. They are normally a bit expensive, since they struggle killing anything in return, but with the new hammer of measured force, they suddenly are a threat to 5+ defense, and a menance to 6+ defense, doing an average 7.5 wounds on anything out there. The city militia´s biggest weakness is their 3+ defense, so they got the penchant of retribution to make it a bad option to charge them with overwhelming force. A steam tank was added instead of a third horde, as it is easier to manouvre, opening up more options for flanking than another infantry horde would do. It also brings a bit of shooting itself. To support the main line, we had a BsB with lute, ready to bane chant the city militia. A volley gun would be placed in the intersection between the Ostland and Kislev lines, able to give supporting fire both ways. A troop of city militia was added for flexbility in scenario play. It is great to have some cheap unit that can hold an objective or carry loot while the rest of the list fights. It could also be sacrificed as chaff if needed. A war altar anchored the line, giving us a bit more shooting and making the Ostland list even harder to shift.
I was very happy with Eirik´s part of the list. It felt like all units had purpose and support. My own was a bit light on options, the lack of chaff in particular was worrying. At the same time, it packed a lot of punch for a 1000pts list, even if it had no bane-chant, so hopefully it would be able to push through by brute strength.
I made a default setup for our list. From my experience, having a plan for deployment greatly helps to make sure you are never totally out-deployed and that you don´t spend too much time on deployment. For a doubles setting, it is ten times as important as usually. If you don´t have a plan and have to react to your opponent, you also have to discuss every drop since you don´t have a telepathic connection to your co-player. And even if you did, the limitation on inspiring and spells mean that you need pre-configured battle-groups anyway.
The plan was that I took whichever side had the best terrain for my cavalry charge. The shooting units would go in the middle so they could support the largest area possible. My flank would lean in towards the middle, with the Sons of Ursun being close to center, able to support the Ostlanders in the middle. The Ostland flank was anchored by the steam tank. The deployment was meant as a guideline and plan for the overall deployment, not a totally fixed rule for each drop. Units could change locations as needed based on terrain and opponents.
Round 1 vs Undead and Abyssal Dwarves – Scavenge
2x Soul reaver cavalry troops, catterpillar, brew of strength
Greater obsidian golem
Obsidian golem horde
2x Immortal guard regiments
Overmaster, lute of darkness
Ironcaster, surge 8
Lots of defense 6+ units. That hammer of measured force will certainly come in handy in this match-up. They don´t have much shooting, so we can hang back and wear them down a bit before we engage. Lady Ilona could be very annoying for my TC-reliant force, so if we could, we would prefer to get the Ostlanders matched up against the undead. The immortal guard would be easy to kill for my part of the list, although without TC3 / bane-chant, the defense 6+ golems would be a pain.
The scenario was predetermined that each side has 3 objectives to place, worth 1,2 and 3 points respectively. We placed the objectives so neither side has a huge advantage, but we placed some objectives far back on each side, so the melee-centered army of our opponents would have to sacrifice some of their units to hold objectives.
Even though, or maybe because, we had a pre-determined deployment, we managed to get the match-up just as we wanted. We delayed putting down the really committing pieces, starting with the hell blaster, which certainly dictated our opponent´s deployment, just look at that empty space in the center. It felt like we had a very good chance of doing well just based on deployment. Those soul reavers would struggle hard to get through the wall of spear and the exploding halberdiers. Lady Ilona could be ignored by Eirik´s list. The dwarves in the middle would get worn down on the way in, and could easily be finished by the sons of Ursun. The right flank was a bit worse, but the golems are slow, so I could be able to outmaneuver them and get some flank support from Tzarina to help my knights.
The steam tank anchored the Ostland flank. The spears stared down the opposing cavalry with glee, while the halberds readied themselves to take up defensive position in the forest.
The Kislev flank had lancers on the end of the line. The Sons of Ursun are flanked by fire support on both sides.
We won the roll for selecting turn and chose to go second since we would not be able to do any significant damage with our shooting. That would also enable us to shuffle around for objectives in the last turn if needed. Our opponents moved forwards carefully. The right flank with dwarves stood practically still, while the left flank saw the cavalry, gargoyles and Ilona move up. The catapult got a hit for 5 wounds in on Tzarina.
In return, the human lines moved forwards more aggressively. The lancers moved into charge range of the golems, Tzarina moved into range of the catapult and the Sons of Ursun moved up in range of the Immortals. On the other end of the line, the steam tank moved up shielded by a hill, ready to flank the soul reavers if they moved further up against the infantry line.
Turn 2 saw a lot of action. The soul reaver cavalry with catterpillar charged into the city militia while Lady Ilona charged the steam tank. Both attacks bounced, although not without doing 8-ish wounds each. Ilona was also blocking the steam tank from charging the second unit of soul reavers. Unfortunately, the damned catapult hit Tzarina again and killed her! That was a big blow. If she had survived, she could have taken out the catapult and would have been in a position behind enemy lines where nobody could hurt her.
I decided to gamble with the lancers. There was an opportunity to charge both at the golems, and if I could take them out, there were no enemy units that would be able to see my units. Such a blow would pretty much end the match. However, as is seemingly becoming a norm, my combined charge landed a total of 3 wounds. Statistically, I should see 11 wounds, which would be dangerous territory for the golems. To make up for the lancer´s lackluster performance, the spear horde flanked the soul reavers. With 60 attacks hitting on 5+ and wounding on 4+, combined with the bane-chanted 25 attacks from the halberds, the soul reaver troop was crushed. The steam tank charged the gargoyles, wiping them out, and our shooting combined to take out a regiment of Immortals.
The winged lancers started to get worn down, with one unit biting the dust. The other unit put more wounds down on the golems without TC than they had both done with TC the last turn 😛 Lady Ilona kept hacking at the steam tank, bringing it close to going down. The damned catapult put another hit in, putting 4 wounds on the war altar. Our spears engaged the second unit of soul reavers, waivering them. The Sons and halberds moved up the field, controlling the middle objectives and starting to threaten the objectives on their half.
Ilona killed the steam tank off, while my lancers were also finished off. In return, the spears killed the soul reavers, and the bears saw an opportunity to kill the overmaster and overrun into the flank of the immortals. Our shooting started to make a dent in the golem horde.
Lady Ilona started moving towards our rear line, but we moved things out of her reach, buying time. The Sons of Ursun took out the immortals, while our shooting destroyed the damaged golem horde. The Sons were in danger of being charged by the greater golem, so they presented their rear to the zombie regiment. As the zombies would be hindered, that seemed like the better option.
Lady Ilona changed her mind, realizing it was too late to do a difference against our rear line, she charged after the spears, starting to pile on wounds. The golem was surged into the halberds, while the zombies tried their luck against the sons. The golem bounced. Taking no chances with the objective, the Sons counter-charged the zombies, and the spears went into their flank. With that overkill done, we were safe on objectives.
Lady Ilona tried her best to take out the wounded spear horde, but wasn´t able. In return, the spears could also not get rid of her. The enemy catapult missed it´s last shot. The halberds and bears combined to kill the golem and then merely swung around to surround Lady Ilona for a cool photo opportunity.
We got a solid 18-2 win in the first game. While my flank fell apart, the Ostland flank and the center did very well, easily cleaning up everything in the way. We made sure to secure enough objectives to secure the win even with bad luck, which fortunately ended after the failed lancer charge.
Our army worked very well together, and every unit except the lancers and Tzarina really pulled their weight. Our opponents were also awesome, very friendly guys, so it was a great start to the tourney.
MVP Kislev: Spear horde with hammer of measured force. Man that item makes the difference for the normally pillow-fisted spears. They stopped the undead defense 6+ advance hard, allowing us to just roll that flank so we could get a very controlled win.
MVP opponents: Balefire catapult. Taking out Tzarina by turn 2 stopped us rolling that flank as well. Having her roaming around behind the golem units would have been hell for our opponents.