This game had less finesse than either of the prior two…it was a pure brawl from round 2. I was definitely worried for team Lightning Arms having 73 points in one mini, however the Marilith ended up being a total house. She was able to maneuver such that she could use her Enhanced Mobility, hit with her Melee Reach and and yet still have fodder units protecting her. She could also bypass both the passive defenses of DR 5 and Conceal 6 with her Magic Damage and Blindsight, allowing her to put out 150 damage over 3 rounds. The Shadow Dragon put out a bit of damage, but it was too spread out. He ended up taking a risk and Shadow Jumping to hit 5 units with his breath weapon, but almost everyone saved against both the breath weapon and the resulting morale save, which pretty much sealed the game and allowed the Marilith to do her thing.
The ‘Hard-to-Kill’ medal goes to the Greenspawn Sneak who placed himself in Victory Area B on setup. He survived 3 rounds of attack from the Gnoll Claw Fighter (including a Pounce) and 2 from the Drow Enforcer. Having so many attacks tied up by such a low-cost unit definitely hurt Team Underdark. For 6 points with AC 19 the little draconic definitely pulled his weight.
Here’s the turn-by-turn:
Setup – Team Underdark won the map and placement rolls and were pretty confident going into the skirmish. Setting up, they got their Darkmantle into Victory Area A, denying the Greenspawn Sneaks easy Turn 1 VP’s.
Turn 1: Lightning Arms: 6, Underdark: 0
A charging Darkmantle tragically misses with a charge against the Greenspawn Sneak in Victory Area B…the Sneak had better luck, hitting the Darkmantle twice for an early kill.
A quick swoop by the Shadow Dragon slays the 2nd Greenspawn Sneak and TU ends up with early VP’s, as they seem to every game. Lightning Arms was determined to keep everyone together to benefit from the Harmonium Guard’s AC Bonus Commander Effect. They knew that would put them at heavy risk to a big Breath Weapon, but the thought was if the Dragon was close enough to blow he was close enough to kill.
Turn 3: Lightning Arms: 6, Underdark: 26
The Bluespawn Stormlizard let out an underwhelming Lightning Bolt, with everyone it hit saving. Still, he caught the Barghest, Shadow Dragon and Drow Enforcer, for a total of 30 points of damage. The next choice was the biggest decision of the game, and it took almost 5 minutes to make. The Bluespawn decided to retreat and took 15 damage from an Attack of Opportunity in order to let the Marilith in for 6 attacks vs. the Barghest. She hit 4 times for 40, though the Naga moved up and healed him for 30. This sets the Shadow Dragon up for his Shadow Jump/Breath Weapon. He does 50 damage total across 5 minis, but both the Bluespawn and War Sorcerer make their morale saves. At this point, Underdark knows they’re in trouble, with both the Dragon and Barghest now at risk. Looking back, I would have made the same call with the dragon and just hoped to hit even a couple creatures for full damage.
Turn 4: Lightning Arms: 54, Underdark: 86
Lots of points put on the board this turn. The Barghest kills the Hero of Valhalla. The Marilith does 50 to the Shadow Dragon, and the Red Hand War Sorcerer finishes it off with a Lightning Bolt. The Shadow Dragon and the Earth Mephit finally kill the Bluespawn. And +10 VP’s for Team Underdark keeps them ahead. However, with the dragon gone and the Barghest knowing he was next, the writing is on the wall. There won’t be enough damage left on the board for Team Underdark after the next turn to be able to even force a Morale Check on the Marilith. So the only hope is to clear everyone else and gather enough VP’s to maybe eke out a win.
Turn 5: Lightning Arms: 102, Underdark: 102
The Marilith finishes off the Barghest. Frustration continues as the Gnoll misses the Sneak for the 3rd round in a row, 6 total attacks, though the Drow Enforcer finally slays the little creature. Red Hand War Sorcerer kills the Earth Mephit.
Turn 6: Lightning Arms: 102, Underdark: 156
It still looks like Underdark is winning, but it never really feels like it. The Marilith is an unstoppable force at this point, and is either going to wipe the little dudes from the Victory Area or run down the Naga. The Naga kills the Red Hand, but that allows her in range of the Marilith, who hits for 50.
Turn 7: Lightning Arms: 156, Underdark: 166
Marilith kills the Naga and a routing Deep Gnome.
Turn 8: Lighting Arms: 200, Underdark 166
Overall this was a very fun, if not very dramatic, match. Team Underdark were never able to put the Marilith in danger, while she was able to get off her full attack nearly every round. I didn’t see much of a way around that for Underdark, as if she needed to she could’ve just cleared the Victory Areas and sat on them. Her threat range with Enhanced Mobility and Melee Reach just seemed enormous.
Final Thoughts: I felt I made fewer mistakes that game, and I was able to play a little quicker overall. I still struggle with the first two turns of every game, and where I should put each piece to minimize the chance of an early kill by either team. Lightning Bolt seems like a stronger spell for me now, as I used to always picture it as just a straight line down a vertical path. However, now I understand I can use LOS and angles to catch quite a few creatures in it. The Red Hand also managed one turn to hit the entire enemy team with a Snowball Swarm. Granted it only did 5 damage per model, but that still equaled 35 total damage. The Red Hand definitely was worth his point cost as he did 2nd highest damage in the game, only losing out to the Marilith.