I played another game of LotR the other night. We are all fine tuning our armies and just trying to get some practice in. This time I played against Chris Ward, who is always a fun opponent. We rolled randomly for scenarios and got the night fight one, which is my favorite.
Chris has a nicely painted Uruk army led by Saruman. I was anxious to play against him because I do not have a lot of experience vs magic. In addition to Saruman there were a captain, a handful of crossbows and an equal mix of shields and pikes as well as three berserkers. His model count was 37.
I was running my new list. Faramir, Captain of Ithilien with rangers and Osgiliath veterans. My model count was 50. I really feel the lack of might in this army, with only Faramir's three. On the other hand the 12" banner, fight 4 within six inches of Faramir and the high model count all work well. Faramir's better stats are nice too.
As I said, we rolled for a scenario and got "Ill met by moonlight". We each divided our army in half, with a hero forward. We were playing on part of the Osgiliath table. I say part, because we only had some of the tiles and none of the scatter terrain.
Chris had Saruman, the five crossbows and berzerkers forward with the rest of his numbers split, pretty evenly, between pikes and shields. I had Faramir, all of my rangers and veterans forward with only veterans to the rear.
Chris had to set up first and he built a firebase in a ruin in the very center of the table. I placed my rangers to each side of that, with veterans in front. Faramir, valiantly, hid behind a ruin so the crossbows and Saruman couldn't start the game by crushing him.
The first few turns were fairly even. Our shooting was effective, as usual in this scenario. The +1 to hit meant he was killing rangers on a 3 and I was killing Uruks on a five. I had more shooting his was better. It evened out. He rushed everything but the crossbows and a couple of shields towards my right flank, which is where Faramir was now. Both of us were moving our reinforcements up as fast as we could. My left flank archers were sliding up towards his table edge. In the way rolls were saving his crossbows, I only killed one through shooting the whole game, though his normal warriors and a beserker were not so lucky.
We finally engaged on the right flank, Saruman threw out a scorerous blast which killed one veteran and knocked over a couple of rangers. The first round of combat was pretty tame. Faramir got in one charge, killing two Uruks. Saruman then blasted him six inches. Faramir lost his horse but was unhurt, and no one was behind him.
Chris had moved his reinforcements over towards the brawl, dropping a couple off on my left flank, with the crossbows and their guardians, and a couple more in the center, forming a wall between two buildings. I split my reinforcements, just about evenly, between my right and the center, with a couple heading over to help my left flank out.
Things were looking pretty bad for the forces of good. Faramir was locked down every turn. Chris had more models in the main fight and many of mine were squishy rangers. We then had two brutal, for the Uruks, turns of combat. In the first turn I killed six Uruk Hai. I blew away nearly his entire center formation, between the buildings, opening up my route into his rear. I killed a couple in the main fight, evening things up there enough for me to hold my own. I also gained clear dominance in the flight on my left flank.
The rest of the game was just me closing the trap on the Uruks who were pinned in on my right. I broke him but Saruman's standfast meant he didn't have to take any tests. The fact that he had no room to maneuver and that I was coming at him from, literally, all four directions, meant that almost all of the fights were going my way. With F4 and a reroll out to 12 inches Chris just couldn't win enough to make a difference.
Chris had some bad rolling going on in the end there, but I think my banner is what made the biggest difference. In the end, the last turn, I killed Saruman when I jumped him with nine dudes. He rolled a 1 for the fight, which was not really epic at all. I offered to let Chris re-roll it, since that seemed like a sour note to end the game on, but he stuck to his guns and took the 1. We hit 25% over the rest of the turn and the game was over.
I was not broken so it was a Major victory to me. We didn't keep track of the kills for our heroes, but I think Saruman got one or two and Faramir got two or three.
On my side, I was really pleased with how my army worked. I really feel the lack of might in the late game, with only one hero. On the other hand the F4 is pure gold. The 12" banner really paid off in this game, though this is the first time that it has. Ranger shooting was as good as always and the large numbers were really useful. I shielded more in this game and that helped me stay above break until the end.
For Chris, as he said, "I don't know if my army sucks or not with rolling like that". I had two good rounds of combat that pretty much determined the game. Saruman was good, making all of his spells and fighting off my troops until he was really, really, outnumbered. There were a couple of places that Chris could have played differently, but with his center getting blown away in one round of combat there was not much he could have done to salvage it.
It was a fun game, as always against Chris, and I learned more about how my army works. I'm pretty sure this is the list I will take to MitM.