THE HALLOW 17: VARANGUR

So anyway, guess I’m taking Herd to Dead of Winter ๐Ÿ˜… I took a look at how little time I have to build and paint Tortured Souls, versus painting already primed Woodland Critters (or nothing at all if I ran Centaurs as chaff), and decided Herd were way more realistic for this holiday season. Plus I vaguely understand the army better and have been painting new units that have never seen the table, so may as well. Pretty sure this is the list:

Herd 2150

Lycan Horde – Brew of Strength
Guardian Brute Horde – Brew of Haste
Guardian Brute Horde
Minotaur Chariot Regiment – The Stampede
Tribal Warrior Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Woodland Critters Regiment
Woodland Critters Regiment
Lycan Alpha – Zephyr Crown; Wind Blast (5)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff; Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief
Centaur Chief
13 (24)

Over the summer I realized that I need to lean into the Herd’s hammers if I want to have much fun or success (different things but related) with the army. Struggling my way to the enemy and then doing nothing is a bad feel … but struggling my way and then smashing something to bits, that’s ok in my book. While I would rather be running triple Brutes, I’ve given in to the upcoming GT’s format (no triples) with just two hordes of them, along with a couple more smashy friends and really quite a few control pieces to help them get there. I could monkey with items further – and believe me, my skin crawls at 135 points in items! – but these big ticket upgrades really help their units shine and/or match the minis I’m using (the flying Brutes, for example).

Varangur 2150

Snow Trolls Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Huscarls Regiment – Brew of Haste
Mounted Sons Regiment – Guise of the Deceiver
Mounted Sons Regiment – Guise of the Deceiver
The Fallen Horde
The Fallen Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Draugr Regiment
Cavern Dweller
Magus Conclave – Famulus
Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox
Snow Troll Prime
12 (23)

Quite sure somebody in there has Boots of Striding? Probably some Mounted Sons. It’s a hardy list with good speed and lots of fight in it. Happy to see the Magus Conclave and Cavern Dweller make it in, and shout out to the Snow Troll Prime for being just damn awesome. Cory did consider some changes after the game, which I’ll touch on later.

We decided to play one of the missions from the upcoming tournament and keep it simple while we were at it: Invade it is! I won the roll, chose lazy gamer’s side, dropped my Warrior horde and away we went. Eventually the Varangur took the initiative.

BATTLE

Hallow 1: I respond to the Varangur advance by advancing much more cautiously. And by wind blasting the right Mounted Sons back 3″, out of alignment but still on the hill.

For a unit breakdown, Varangur are (L2R): Draugr, Fallen horde, Fallen reg, Snow Troll Prime, Snow Troll horde (Mierce rhino dudes), Cavern Dweller (more Mierce <3), Magus Conclave by the house, Huscarls behind Mounted Sons behind Snow Foxes, Frostlord to the right also behind Snow Foxes, and Mounted Sons.

Herd are (L2R): Lycan horde (worm thing) behind Woodland Critters next to Centaur Chief, Warrior reg next to wood filled with haste Brutes (white wings) and more Brutes, Woodland Critters in front of Lycan Alpha and Warrior horde, and Warrior reg in front of the Stampede and Centaur Chief.

Varangur 2: The eevil vikings and their monstrous allies slam into the vengeful forest dwellers. The Fallen reg tackles the left Woodland Critters, as the nimble and very fast Lycan horde stares at the nimble and very fast Fallen horde and its numerous allies. The Cavern Dweller plows into the central Tribal Warriors, while on the right I’ve successfully gummed things up with the other Woodland Critters, limiting the double-plus charge into the Warrior horde. Mounted Sons run down the Woodland Critters cavorting in their way, as the Frostlord holds down the Warrior horde and the other Mounted Sons crash into the last of the Tribal Warriors. Last but not least, the Snow Foxes make the ultimate sacrifice …

Snow Foxes swarm their natural prey, the docile and easy-going Stampede.

The Fallen regiment barely kills the Woodland Critters on 4-5 damage, overrunning to block the Lycans’ ability to pivot – which was smart, because they 100% had a nimble charge into the Fallen horde behind. The Cavern Dweller mauls the central Tribal Warriors, wavering them on 6 damage (out of only 7 attaks). The Mounted Sons vs Woodland Critters ends as you’d expect, with the Mounted Sons reforming to face Brutes, and the Frostlord picks up 9 dice and does 9 damage to the Warrior horde. Whoa. The rightmost Mounted Sons similarly crank the dice, delivering 10 damage to their Tribal Warriors, but snake eyes the rout, creating a roadblock for their path into the Stampede … which is compounded when the Snow Foxes nibble a single wound through on the Stampede, stripping its TC2 ๐Ÿ˜

Before all this, the Magus Conclave zaps 3 damage into the Lycan Alpha, 2 of which she’ll never regen.

Hallow 2: With the second Varangur wave posed to crash in next turn, I need to strike back hard and/or make things complicated. The flanks are easy since I don’t have many choices there. On the left, the Lycans charge 1 mm into the Fallen regiment blocking them, with their Centaur Chief charging the Fallen Horde to hold them in place. On the right, the Stampede boops into the Snow Foxes and the miraculously alive Tribal Warriors counter their Mounted Sons. The Tribal Warrior horde counters the Frostlord, intent on tearing this meta boogeyman down over two turns … if they don’t succumb first, 9 damage a turn is too stronk ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I spend a while thinking about the mess in the center. The Huscarls have a charge into my right Brutes, but they’ll have a double charge if I can’t drop the Mounted Sons too. I could fade them into the woods and hope Cory can’t roll 4+ to hit, or I could at the least smash the Sons and let the Huscarls do their worst. Brutes and Lycan Alpha charge the Sons to do just that. This leaves the Cavern Dweller protected from my haste Brutes by my wavered Tribal Warriors. I’m at a loss until I see the Magus Conclave has crept forward – one 13″ charge later and my Brutes are in Cory’s back line.

The Fallen reg is blended and the Lycan horde deigns to face the Draugr, given them its flank in a clear act of hubris. The Centaur Chief smacks 2 damage (after IR) into the Fallen horde. Centrally, the haste Brutes dunk the Conclave, spinning to face the Snow Trolls and Cavern Dweller. The slow Brutes and Alpha shatter the Mounted Sons (on like 20 damage), and the Brutes turn enough that the 2.5mm of base overhang when the Huscarls hit them will hinder them on the woods. The (bane-chanted) Warrior horde shreds 8 damage into the Frostlord, wavering the big bad! The Warrior reg smacks 4 damage into their Mounted Sons, and the finally the Stampede detonates the Snow Foxes, despite being only CS1.

Varangur 3: Cory starts by teaching me a thing about nimble foot hordes, as the Fallen horde withdraws (for -1 to hit), jukes the Centaur Chief and charges the Lycan horde lurking in the pond. Draugr scamper into their flank (hindered). The Cavern Dweller turns 90 degrees and walks away from the central Tribal Warriors, making space for the Snow Trolls to mash into them (hindered). The hindering continues as the Huscarls thunder off the hill into my waiting Brutes, swinging one guy’s foot through the central wood. The surviving Mounted Sons have another go at their Tribal Warriors on the right, as the wavered Frostlord backs up 4.5″.

The Fallen gently shit the bed, moments before the Draugr unleash their raw power.

The Tribal Warrior regs both detonate, but miraculously (to me anyway) the Brutes survive the Huscarls on 7 damage and the Lycan horde only wavers on 8. Which is especially nice because I don’t think they’re inspired ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Hallow 3: A shrill shrieking can be heard across the field as the Hallow descends in force, led by the Lycan Alpha aiming to block or kill the Frostlord herself. The Stampede plows into the Mounted Sons, offset because the Centaur Chief over there didn’t want to get mulched on a counter charge in case this went south. Which is crazy talk once the Warrior horde mobbed the eevil knights’ flank too. The slow Brutes counter charge the Huscarls, hoping to mangle them before getting killed next round, and the haste Brutes hop into the flank of the Cavern Dweller. Sorry big boy. On the left, the Centaur Chief attempts to do anything to the Fallen Horde that might buy the Lycan horde some time to shake its waver.

Speaking of Lycans, I am so bad at 5+ regens y’all ๐Ÿ˜€ But I do manage to get the Lycan horde back down to 5 damage – take that, Draugr!

The Lycan Alpha wavers the Frostlord again (10 damage), and the Mounted Sons are reduced to a red smear on the hill. Shockingly, the (bane-chanted) Brutes one round the Huscarls … but when you hit 80% of the time with 30 attaks I guess that’ll happen ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Cavern Dweller also gets Bruted, and over on the left the Centaur Chief does hearty damage to the Fallen horde and wavers them.

Varangur 4: With just three functioning units, the Varangur turn is short but still violent. The Snow Trolls charge the haste Brutes and, despite being hindered and hitting on 5+, one round the horde! Somebody’s mad! The Draugr can’t work similar magic in the Lycan horde’s flank, failing to hit once.

Hallow 4: On the right, the Stampede flanks into and through the Frostlord, CS1 + TC3 off the hill leaving no question to his fate. On the left, the Lycan horde and Centaur Chief finish off the Fallen horde, then prepare to clean up these damn Draugr next turn. Centrally, nobody wants to broach the safety of the woods, having seen how painful Snow Trolls on 5+ to hit can be – plus my Brutes are damaged so probably can’t take the first punch, no matter how furiously the Druid is healing them with her Heal (2).

Finally, we meet as equals. There can be only one slash fourteen.

Varangur 5: The Dragur manage to jab a single filthy dagger into the Lycan horde but they hold. The Snow Trolls don’t want to breach the central wood either.

Hallow 5: The Lycan horde blends the Draugr and turns to face the Snow Troll Prime, and otherwise the Herd are fecking cowards and turn to maximize Invade points.

Varangur 6: The Snow Troll Prime has a go at the Lycans’ in the puddle they’ve never moved from all game, but can’t do much hindered. The Snow Troll horde meanwhile shoves into the center, what with the Hallow distracted.

Hallow 6: The Lycan horde and Centaur Chief tag-team the Snow Troll Prime, almost certainly killing him. The war of the woods sees my Brutes and Stampede turn to face the Snow Trolls in case there’s a Turn 7, and the Lycan Alpha wind blasts them for good measure but the Trolls’ leader point remains in the woods.

Blessedly that’s game, and a decisive …

HALLOW VICTORY

I was quite sure the Varangur were going to eat my Herd’s lunch – they’re fast, tougher and on the whole fightier than me, plus Cory is no slouch. His dice were also really solid, with the exception of the Fallen and a couple places Turn 2 where he lost momentum and I was able to take it back. The old pop-n-spin off the Magus Conclave was clutch and allowed me to escape a piece trade situation, compounded by my Centaur Chief wavering the Fallen horde and keeping my Lycan mega-hammer in the game.

More importantly, I enjoyed running my Herd again, something I haven’t said in a while! Hammers plus scenario / control pieces is a good feel and suits how I want to be playing if I’m not doing a combined arms control approach.

Going into the game Cory was pretty sure he’d be swapping Huscarls out for more Snow Trolls, and after the game the Cavern Dweller’s fate was sealed as well. Here’s his possible redux:

Varangur 2150

Snow Trolls Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Snow Trolls Horde – Dwarven Ale
Mounted Sons Regiment – Brand of the Warrior
Mounted Sons Regiment – Brand of the Warrior
The Fallen Horde
The Fallen Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Draugr Regiment
Cavern Dweller
Magus Conclave
Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox
Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer; Brand of the Warrior, Devoted Icon (Stealthy), Snow Fox
Snow Troll Prime
13 (23)

Another control piece and another source of Very Inspiring feel great, and I dare say the Lord is going to do the murder work that the Cave Dweller would be doing just as well if not more often, since he’s smaller and can make it into more combats more often (i.e. by not being targeted by everyone). The brutal on the Mounted Sons is a surprising move but I think it’s a canny one. Stealthy isn’t going to be useful against all opponents, while brutal definitely is – and the Lord’s rocking a stealthy aura that works on the Sons as needed. Also Snow Trolls are great, certainly better anvils than Huscarls and pretty scary in combat when dice or time are on their side.

Thanks for reading, have a Merry Solstice and Happy New Year! Catch you in 2023 for more carnage.

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