BR02 – Dirz VS Acheron

I finished editing my first ever battle report on the eve of a Confrontation game, with many ideas on how to improve it. During the battle I was as much a general as a war reporter and was happy to be able to take some pictures of the key moments of the battle. This did not, as I feared it would, reduce the immersive aspect of the game, on the contrary. This gave me a ton of materials to work with.

As soon as Pigeon, my eternal Confrontation foe, was out of the door I started working on the battle report. Here it is…


Azaël felt the presence of another wizard long before she could see him or the warriors protecting him. She had expected to be disturbed during her rituals, as she knew her coming to the chapel would not go unnoticed. That was why she was surrounded by a strong escort, strong enough to repel any Akkylannian patrol. To her surprise, these were no Akkylannians approaching the chapel…

Azaël interrupted the rituals and summoned her scattered minions. The presence she felt was too unsettling to ignore. A dark wizard was coming, one she had to meet on the field herself. The Necromanceress closed her eyes and smiled, summoning the dark powers to her.

Someone had come for her, someone she was eager to kill…

Game / Scenario

Game: Confrontation v.3.5, which is a kind of short FAQ added to the v.3 (you’ll notice we switched version since our last game, to adopt the last official version of Confrontation rules created by Rackham, many versions of the rules were developped afterwards by players but I am, for now, happy with this edition).
Scenario: « execution » (p.125 of the French edition of the Confrontation v.3 rulebook). The objective is for each player to kill the mini with the highest points value [PA] in the ennemy army. If neither or both players succeed, the game is tied.

Nota for Confrontation players: we may have made mistakes during this game. I played Confrontation v.2 back in the days and only switched to v.3 last year and v.3.5 for this game. Still, when games are fun and played in a friendly environment, I consider rules honest mistakes not a serious issue.

Battlefield

Confrontation standard setting – Battle Lines.

Same as last time I used papercraft scenery (do you want to know more?) and my cobblestone gaming map. The battlefield is a little bit more crowded than last time, with many crates and a small church in the center of the table.

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This time you’ll get the cardinal orientation from the pics and I’ll try to remember them as I write the report (had to proof read and change them at least three times in the previous one since I was unable to remember what I had decided…).

The armies

It is a 200 points [PA] game (pretty standard in Confrontation) opposing Acheron (undeads) to Dirz (heretical cloners). As it is a friendly game, I allow +/- 5% of « creativity margin » when constituting the lists.

Acheron Barony (my friend, « Pigeon du Canal »)

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Azaël used her usual spells: one to summon skellies and one to make them blow up once engaged. Zombies used a special option to get a change to stay in game as « dislocated zombies » (basically fighting dismembered bodies) once dead [Nota: home ruled that one to reduce its points cost].

As the most expensive soldier, « Jean-Claude » (the zombie wolfen) was my target.

200 PA, 8 warriors, a very versatile army.

Dirz Empire (me, « Le Verménarque »)

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Kayl Kartan is an impressive wizard and using v.3.5 of the rules, he could learn a LOT of spells. Before the battle he learned how to cast fireballs (very useful), how to heal his soliders after they injected mutagen into their veins, how to enchant weapons so that they would deal more damage. He also had a spell to increase wounds penalties on his foes (but I forgot about it during the whole game…). I also gave him the « skull of souls », a magical artifact which allows Kayl Kartan to use the dark arts to make his ennemies do his bidding. I took it for fun, but it was well worth the 17PA!

As the most expensive soldier, Kayl Kartan was Pigeon’s target.

203 PA, 7 warriors, strongly relying on Kayl’s mastering of the dark arts to prevail.

One thing you should know about the Dirz army (or else the game won’t make much sense) is that they are allowed to inject themselves with mutagen during the game. You get a number of dice to give your soldiers each turn (you’ll notice big green dice next to my troops on the pics), then you can roll these dice and get bonuses you can use to boost some caracteristics at a convenient time (untill the end of the turn). This is pretty random but, when the dice Gods are with you, it is a GREAT bonus since it is very flexible.

Deployment

Once again Acheron won the tactical roll (unexpected and unfortunate, since they have a very low discipline skill) and Pigeon chose to deploy on the north side of the battlefield (sounds familiar doesn’t it?).

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Here you can see Pigeon’s deployment, using his now « traditionnal » 2+1 formation: one battle group protecting Azaël which would be reinforced by the skellies she is able to summon (on his eastern flank), one battle group around Jean-Claude in charge of protecting him from shooters while he approched my battle line (in the middle of his army) and finally the « loner », this time the light centaur (on his western flank).

My deployment was what we call « défense en profondeur » in French. As Pigeon’s army was supposed to be more mobile than mine, I decided to deploy in three lines: first, the crossbowmen, covering all the battlefield with cross fire ; then my close combat clones, able to fill in the gaps in my first line where my ennemy would strike ; finally, at the rear (in my center) Kayl and Tigrou.


Turn1 – Hello there…

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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The light centaur gravely wounds my crossbowman…

The first round was basically an exchange of arrows with the light centaur getting first blood when he wounded the crossbowman holding the center of my front line, while Azaël was rushing to the safety of the church door and summoned her first skellie.

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…then my crossbowman lightly wounds his foe.

I decided to split Kayl and the tiger, with the later hidding at the back of the church (I did not want to loose him to the arrows of the light centaur or being charged too quickly) and the former rushing to the wounded crossbowman to enchant his crossbow. The crossbowman then shot the light centaur but failed in killing him (eliminating fast moving loners is always one of my first goals in battles, as I do not like my ennemy having too much tactical options). It was a bold move for Kayl, which I regretted a bit, but I considered a 91PA wizard with good combat skills was safer in the heat of battle than leading from behind, eventhough he was Pigeon’s main target. Still, Tigrou stayed clone enough to rush to Kayl’s support whenever things got rough.

They heavy centaur positionned himself in the center of Acheron line, in cover but in a good place to charge whoever he wanted in the next turn. Jean-Claude cautiously moved forward, behind his zombie escort.

End phase

We both did good mystical rolls and got enough gems to use magic as we wished. It was going to be fun!

Turn2 – The battle of the church

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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Very subtle positions.

Turn 2 saw the beginning of a shooters duel opposing the centaur and one of my crossbowmen on the western flank. This duel was to last for almost the whole game with a bunch a nice shots, a bunch of really bad ones and, in the end, no deadly blow… The clone guarding my left flank failed his bravery roll and froze, unable to charge the light centaur.

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Kayl summonng the flames of Hell.

In the center of the battlefield I knew the heavy centaur would soon be able to charge Kayl. You do not want to be charged by a dead centaur-knight in armour wielding a long spear… Kayl could have fallen back to the relative safety of the rear guard, but then the heavy centaur would be able to joyously butcher my infantry. Since I had more than enough magical gems to use deadly spells, I decided to take a shot at it. I moved Kayl forward and casted a massive fire ball in the centaur ugly face. I set it ablaze and watched it burn from the distance. He finally emerged from the flames, gravely wounded but still standing…and now Kayl was dangerously exposed.

I had given a mutagen die to Kayl and got a good roll, thus allowing me to boost his stats to survive the centaur’s charge. This was enough to make Pigeon hesitate. He did not activate the centaur immediately and gave me the opportunity to move a clone in front of Kayl, thus making it impossible for him to charge only Kayl.

My view of the battlefield from the center of my line.

In the meanwhile, Azaël seemed a pretty tempting prey for my tiger on my right flank. Sure, she was protected by her skellies, but Dirz tigers and pretty brutal cats and crushing Pigeon’s left flank would be a good way to relieve the pressure from my center. I moved Tigrou and a crossbowman towards the necromanceress, successfully engaging a skellie. The only thing I had forgotten was Azaël perversity and her ability to make skellies blow up…

She did exactly that, using her large amounts of magical gems to unleash a massive explosion and critically wounding my tiger… It was bad news, but at least the tiger had sruvived.

Kayl now being protected (and having a bunch of mutagen points to spare) and the tiger being in bad shape, Pigeon decided that the centaur would be more inspired to charge Tigrou than Kayl. He also charged with his remaining skelly, just to be sure. If only my tiger could hold…

Close combat phase

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Things were not looking good for my tiger. Heavy centaurs have strong charging bonuses and Tigrou was outnumbered and wounded. I still declared « furie guerrière » (one more attack die as long as you take none in defense), as my only chance was to inflict as much damage as possible before inevitably succombing. Then the dice Gods chose to intervene in my favour. Pigeon rolled a « one » on his initiative roll, thus giving me first strike. My tiger would be able to strike his foes before being killed, that was more than I had asked for.

The tiger jumped on the centaur and burried its fangs into his rotten flesh and burned bones, agravating his wounds. It then turned to the skelly and broke a bunch of its bones. My foes then stroke the raging beast but failled to kill it. My ennemy’s wounds were severe, preventing them to strike serious blows.

After this first round my tiger still had one attack die. It attacked the centaur once again with all its rage, finally closing its jaws on the centaur skull, crushing helmet and bones alike. The centaur was dead and only a wounded skelly was standing between me and Azaël.

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End phase

Once again we both amassed numerous magical gems. The elementals kingdoms must have been close to Aarklash that day and the wizards felt more powerful than ever.

Turn3 – Kayl VS Jean-Claude (first round)

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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I hesitated to send my crossbowman to help Tigrou but decided it was lost anyway and shot Azaël instead. He inflicted a light wound, better than nothing.

In the center Kayl now could unleash magical fire on Jean-Claude. I mustered all the magical power I could and released a flamming fireball on the beast. Its fur and muscles caught fire, but it survived (still, it was gravely wounded, which was very good news for me). I rolled to see if the zombie escorting Jean-Claude was affected as well and failed.

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Jean-Claude, still recovering from the fire ball that blew up in its face…

Then Pigeon activated Azaël, who advanced near the church and summoned a skelly in front of Kayl, ready to charge him in the next turn.

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This skeletons tend to pop up in the worst possible places…

Pigeon activated Jean-Claude and wanted to charge Kayl right away, but because of the skelly and clone blocking its path and its size, that was not possible. Jean-Claude could only charge both the clone and Kayl (on Kayl left flank). Because the beast was already wounded Pigeon did not risk it and instead Jean-Claude retreated to the safety of the church.

Pigeon was not happy about the way my tiger had treated his centaur and skelly so he sent a zombie against the big cat. The other zombie closed in on Kayl, in support of the skelly summoned by Azaël.

All was quiet on the western front…as our two shooters were still exchanging useless shots and my coward clone failled his bravery roll again.

Close combat phase

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Without surprise my tiger did not survive a second fight, and collapsed, struck down by the zombie’s scythe. This allowed the skeleton to engage my crossbowman, but they were both tired and no damage was dealt.

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The eastern flank, after the death of my tiger.

End phase

Well, it all went well…

Turn4 – Tactical retreat

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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I felt Kayl started to be a little too exposed in the center. He was facing a zombie and a skelly, the zombie wolfen and Azaël were close behind and on the eastern flank my crossbowman would not hold Acheron forces, which meant I could be circled back in the last turn.

I decided to retreat, but first I used the skull of souls to make the skeleton step back (the further your ennemy, the better you are). Then Kayl fell back behind what had been my front line. This meant he was safe for one more turn (and able to try to burn down Jean-Claude once more). As I « tactically retreated » Pigeon voiced his opinion on my lack of bravery and fair play.

He then moved his whole army forward. On the western front his light centaur crossed my line and surged behind me, threatening Kayl with his arrows (eventhough it was wounded). In the center the zombie engaged my clone and the skeleton Kayl had made retreat advanced again. Azaël also moved forward, safe now that my clone was engaged by a zombie, and she summoned a skeleton in front of Kayl (again). On the eastern front Jean-Claude and a zombie charged my crossbowman, making sure he would not survive to see the eve of turn 5…

In the meantine I regrouped, my coward clone getting in position to join the fight on the eastern side of the church. I finally killed the light centaur in a deadly crossfire between the crossbowmen covering my center and left flank.

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Close combat phase

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On the eastern side of the church, my crossbowman did all he could. Thanks to a fine mutagen roll which boosted his stats (thanks to it I got first strike and upgraded his attack and defense skills) he was able to kill the wounded skeleton, but was butchered by Jean-Claude.

In the center, we both failed to deal any damage.

End phase

We got enough magical gem to still cast a lot of spells in the last turn, our wizards would still be a power to recon with to the last minute.

Turn5 – We meet at last…

Activation phase (movement, mystical arts and shooting)

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Victory was slipping trhough Pigeon’s fingers, but he was not ready to quit just yet. He got the tactical roll and was able to activate Azaël first.

Azaël and a skeleton, triing to stop Kayl.

She charged Kayl with one of her summoned skelly. I was confident Kayl could hold Azaël at bay in close combat (he gets additionnal attack dice thanks to those metal claws on his back, making him a far more powerful warrior than many wizard of the same rank). This was not good enough for me though, because it meant Kayl would be stuck in combat with Azaël, unable to move to the east side of the church to cast another fire ball in Jean-Claude’s head…

This is NOT a good roll…

Pigeon knew Azaël may not be able to kill Kayl, so he decided to blow up his skelly before the close combat phase, hopping to wound me. Anticipating this and thanks to my good mutagen roll, I increased Kayl toughness and prayed the dark gods. Pigeon used all of Azaël’s gems to increase the power of the blast and successfully casted his spell. The skelly exploded. Then Pigeon rolled to wound…

Kayl was only stunned, thanks to his artificially increased toughness and Arh-Tolth (Dirz’s God), who cursed Pigeon’s roll.

As I activated Kayl I saw an opportunity. I used the skull of souls to force Azaël to break contact and retreat (she could not diffuse the spell as the had no magical gems left). I then moved Kayl to my right flank, to face Jean-Claude and casted a fireball straight into its face. I rolled to wound…and critically wounded it. It was not enough to win, but it was enough to have a shot at victory if Jean-Claude (still not activated at that point) moved to engage Kayl. I also critically wounded the zombie escorting the wolfen, which was pointless but sweet.

Stunned but standing, Kayl once again uses the dark arts to try to kill Jean-Claude…

Pigeon then activated Jean-Claude. He hesitated. Would he choose not to charge the obvious target, the game would be a tie. This did not sit well with his sense of panache, so he charged, giving us both one last chance to win. The Gods were offered an opportunity to decide our fates in one last bloody duel. I was reasonnably confident, but still, a wolfen zombie, even wounded, is a formidable foe…

The rest of the battlefield grew quieter. My crossbowmen were now useless and the remaining zombies, skellies and clones soldiers charged each others on the east side of the church. Anyway, everybody knew this would not be decisive.

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Close combat phase

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Big fight of little guys.

On the eastern side of the church there was a big fight of little guys (2v2).

Everybody wounded everybody, nobody killed anybody.

The fighters knew the battle was comming to an end and their fighting was pretty much pointless. Their Gods were looking at the only duel that mattered…

The duel between Jean-Claude and Kayl would be the key to victory. We resolved it last, like all epic deciding moments should be resolved. Kayl was stunned and suffered penalties because of Jean-Claude’s charge. He still had some mutagen points which I used to increase his initiative and attack scores. Jean-Claude was wounded but we both knew if he could land some of his punches they would be devastating.

The initiative roll would be crucial. I rolled a one…and Pigeon too! We rolled again, I got one again and that time Pigeon got the opportunity to strike first. I decided to keep dices in defense, but thanks to my claws I would still have a chance to kill the beast (additionnal attack dice).

Last man standing…

Jean-Claude stroke first, but…rolled another one. Kayl activated his claws and burried them deep in the wounded beast throat, thus ending is non-life.

Victory was mine.


Victory

With the last roll of the last turn, I successfully killed my target and Pigeon’s one was still alive. A clear cut victory at the last minute.

We also checked what the outcome would have been had we chosen a more « standard » scenario (ie. « bloodbath », self explaining in terms of objectives), but this would not have change anything as I had inflicted far more damage to Acheron troops than they had inflicted on mine.

Not many tactical mistakes were made on either side, I just got very lucky on some decisive rolls and Pigeon very unlucky on some ones. I think maybe Pigeon should have engaged Kayl sooner, with the heavy centaur for instance (instead of sending it finish off my tiger) and brought the wolfen zombie in close combat quicker. Still, I had denied him tactical freedom and to do that would have exposed him far more than the cautious approach he chose. Maybe he’ll care to give us his point of view on this…

Kayl Kartan slowly removed his mechanical claws from the zombie wolfen throat. The undead beast collapsed under its own weight, its rotten flesh not even bleeding from its wounds. From the corner of his eye the Technomancian saw the Necromanceress covering her head with a dark hood. He did not care about her. She was not his target today. He felt her presence fading as she disolved herself into the dark tides of the tenebra, releasing her minions from the grip of her will. The remaining undeads started to collapse one by one, as the dark magic supporting them disappeared.

The Technomancian couldn’t refrain from wondering what it like felt to revive dead flesh the way the necromancers did. He quickly rejected the blasphemous thought and smiled. He had what he had come for, a wonderful specimen of zombie wolfen to study. Sure the beast was not in pristine condition, but its tissues were still more than Kayl  Kartan needed to learn what he needed to know…


The sun sets on the battlefiel…

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In the end it was a very balanced game (again), decided with the last roll, I promise it was not on purpose.

Kayl Kartan, wizard of the month

Kayl Kartan, in all his dark glory.

I played against a Driz player many many times back in the days and remembered a very brutal army. The ability to modify skills during the game makes Dirz unpredictable and playing against them is very unsettling, as you can never trully anticipate what kind of ennemy you’ll be facing (as long as the Dirz player gets good mutagen rolls).

Playing them was new to me. I did not have many options regarding my list since I wanted to play painted minis and have not painted much more than what you see here (do you want to know more?). To reach 200 points I had to play Kayl 2nd « incarnation » (more expensive but more powerful as he masters two kind of magic -tenebra and fire-) and pay him the « skull of souls ». At the beginning of the battle I found having half of my army invested on one wizard risky as mystical powers can be tricky to master and knowing he would be first on my ennemy kill list (because of the scenario we were playing) worried me a lot.

In the end I do not regret it a bit. Kayl is one of the most powerful wizard I have seen on Confrontation battlefields (the Dirz I used to play against did not use him because he did not like the mini, well, too bad for him!). He is a very versatile character, his claws and good mutagen score (combined with my lucky rolls) allow him to survive in tough spots and land some vicious blows, even in close combat. His mastery of the dark arts is impressive and the range of spells he can use encompass some pretty nasty stuff. Last but not least, the artifact (the infamous « skull of souls ») he has access to is not a pointless toy (as I thought it was at the beginning). It helped keep my tactical options open and in the end, I owe it my victory.

I think v.3.5 of Confrontation rules are really better than v.3 (and v.2 before them) regarding magic (and faith). In the former version of the rules wizards and priests (and especially characters with a mastery of the mystical arts) always seemed too expensive to be worth playing since you had to pay for them (and characters tend to be expensive) and for their spells. In the end a wizard with his spells would always be a very risky choice compared to a warrior costing the same price (since spells are more random than a good old axe or sword). In smaller games, they were basically impossible to play due to army list restriction (in a 200 points game I could not have afforded Kayl with the spells he had for example). The alternative system (the number of spells the wizard knows depend on its rank but each spell is free in terms of points) makes them easier to go with, even in small games. It brings variety to the battlefield and makes the games much more fun and epic in my opinion (who does not love a good old fire ball?).


Well that’s all for folks. Hope you liked what you read, see you soon.

Banner picture found on the interweb, other pictures were taken by me during the battle.

7 réflexions sur « BR02 – Dirz VS Acheron »

    1. I’ve got a bit of a mix, though mostly Dirz and Wolfen, but there are a few other figures that I have simply because I liked the look of them.

      J'aime

    2. The Dirz range counts some of the most stunning minis they ever made imo. I would not say they are easy to paint, Confrontation minis usually are not (hudge amount of details) but they are lovely once done.

      J'aime

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