This skirmish was absolutely brutal. Just when I thought that Team Underdark was going to blow out poor sexy Sune and her boys, a series of ridiculously bad rolls by Team Underdark almost took victory from the jaws of defeat. The Night Below team was absolutely dominant most of the game, getting to choose both the map and winning all but one initiative roll (two of them on ties, which gave the Naga the win due to her higher commander rating). I will admit I absolutely underestimated how good Shadow Dragon is on the right map, and he was by far the MVP of the battle. I did make a number of mistakes during the game, both ruleswise and strategically, which I will continue to try to get better about. One thing I didn’t want to do was over-analyze every move, as that slows the gameplay down. I used to play Chess with my friends and it could take me 10 minutes to make a move, which drove us all crazy (myself included). I’m trying to keep the turns short, so I’m not thinking about things more than about 20-30 seconds per turn. So if you see some strategic mistakes on my part, please consider that!
I tried to keep better notes about the match, including points scored by turn, and who killed who.
Setup: Underdark Wins initiative, chooses Keep of Fallen Kings. I didn’t do much right this game, but I think this ended up being a great choice for Team Underdark, as the walls allowed plenty of antics by the Shadow Dragon.
Turn 1: Sune: 16, Underdark: 13
Turn one was busy. The Darkmantle got rolled onto the correct Victory Tile (Though I placed him wrong due to a brain cramp). Underdark made a mistake (sort of) and made Sune play first after winning the initiative. This allowed Sune to move the Air Mephit and use his cone attack to kill the Darkmantle. This didn’t end up being as bad as I thought as it allowed the Shadow Dragon to charge later in the turn and one-shot the Mephit. The Fire Mephit was able to get to their VP for an additional 10 points.
Turn 2: Sune: 16, Underdark 42
The Greater Barghest was able to move and one-shot the Fire Mephit on the VP, while the Shadow Dragon flew behind 2 of Sune’s Goons and routed the Disciple of Silver Flame. The slowness of the Blood Golem was really telling here, as he wasn’t able to even get to the dragon. This is partially due to the slowing terrain on Keep of Fallen Kings. I did make a mistake here in that I allowed the Shadow Dragon to attack of opportunity the Disciple which I forgot wasn’t allowed (the creature causing a figure to route doesn’t get an AOO on that figure when it routes). Honestly, however I don’t think that would have made any difference as she failed her morale check anyway and was going to be quite a ways from the battle if she ever did recover. During turn one I had kept a path open for the Gnoll Claw Fighter to charge, and it works out as he is able to hit with both attacks and rend the Wild Elf Warsinger that moved to attack the dragon, killing her. Also, +10 VP for Naga.
Turn 3: Sune 40, Naga 85
This is where it started to get ugly and where I thought TU was going to run away with the battle. The dragon was based by the Bugbear Gang Leader and the Blood Golem of Hextor, and the two managed to do 30. However, on the dragon’s activation, he was able to kill the Bugbear Gang Leader, Shadow Jump to behind the Guardian Naga, who then proceeded to heal her wounded friend for 30, putting him back to max health. The Pentifex Monolith then entered the fray (flying with his soulmeld), charging the Bugbear and killing it with some help from Sune’s Commander Ability. Team Naga then added +10 VP (which is a theme, as they were able to block the lanes and sit on their VP most of the game)
Turn 4: Sune 40, Naga 95
This is where things turned bad for our cave-dwelling hereos from Night Below. With the Shadow Dragon being so dominant and thinning Sune’s team pretty handily, and the Blood Golem based by the Greater Bargest, which has magic damage to get through the Blood Golem’s DR5, I (I still think reasonably) thought that killing the Blood Golem was possible over a couple of turns. So the Shadow Dragon Shadow Jumps behind the Blood Golem, giving both him and the Barghest flanking. This was going to allow 5 big attacks per round on the Golem, at +15/+10 for the Barghest and +14/+10/+10 for the Dragon. Plus, the Drow Enforcer joined in, though he did all of 5 points total to the golem.
The Shadow Dragon then rolls the first natural 20 I’ve had in two skirmishes for an attack, but of course the golem is immune. And unbelievably, the Greater Barghest proceeds to miss the Golem on turns 4, 5, and 6. He rolled 4’s on his first attack for all 3 turns. The Blood Golem did not miss, forcing a morale check on the dragon, which he made with exactly 20 (including the +1 provided by the Naga).
+10 VP Naga
Turn 5: Sune 88, Naga 105
Team Underdark still felt they could kill the Golem, so the Dragon again attacked it with all 3 attacks. Barghest whiffs. It ended up being just a huge slugfest, with the Golem dishing out more than he got in return.
+10 VP Naga
Turn 6: Sune 123, Naga 177
After much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, the combined forces of Night Below finally take down the Blood Golem, with the last 5 coming from a desperate Earth Mehpit cone. However, he took the Greater Barghest with him, and the last major damage dealer for the Underdark team.
Turn 7: Sune 123, Naga 187
Turn 8: Sune 123, Naga 211
Turn 7-8 were ‘hold your breath’ worthy as Sune and Pentifex vainly tried to push Naga’s minions off the VP’s. Cleric of Sune managed to route the Deep Legionaire and Pentifex routed the Guardian Naga, but alas it was too late, as the fleeing Phalanx Soldier pushed Team Underdark over the top.
The game was much closer than it appeared, as it was the 70 straight Victory Points that allowed team Underdark to win, as Sune’s Goons still had 68 active points worth of minis on the board at the end of it. However, after her spells were exhausted, Sune really couldn’t contribute anything. She ended up wasting her Confusion by casting it on a high level creature in a desperation move. Had I thought mid-game battle with the Blood Golem was going to go that bad, it’s likely Team Underdark could have used the dragon to pick off Sune or the Pentifex, and only then come back to the big construct. Still, I think focusing the Golem was the right call, as he would have had at least another turn on the board and maybe 2 without the dragon’s damage.
Opportunities to Improve and Mistakes to Avoid Next Time
The first two were pretty minor and technical in nature, and even though they might be considered mistakes, likely gave TU an advantage by allowing the dragon to kill the mephit.
1: I misplaced the Darkmantle, and should have had him in a corner, avoiding the kill by the Air Mephit. However, that might have resulted in the dragon not being able to kill kill the Mephit.
2: At the very least, I could have placed the Naga to where the Darkmantle would have made it’s morale save. (This too would have made the dragon’s charge impossible)
3: I had the dragon make an Attack of Opportunity on a creature it routed, which it is not allowed by the routing rules.
4: Be more cognizant of Legion’s Magic Weapon and it’s attack bonus and it’s bypassing DR. I’m not sure if I misplayed this at all, I just need to remember the effect. I do put a label on the wall behind the map to remind myself, but I might need to put something on the board itself.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!