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Helm’s Guard vs Mordor: the rematch! Divide and conquer at 600.

 

After our previous, decidedly one-sided game, both Andrew and I wanted to see these two forces square off again on the table! We each made a few tweaks to our list- I added some Riders of Rohan for a little flank harassment and Andrew replaced Shagrat with Goroth, and replaced Guritz with Kardush. Both excellent choices! As usual we used the veto system. I eliminated Assassination while Andrew nixed Heirlooms of Ages Past. That left us with Divide and Conquer.

Helm's Guard with a few tweaks from the previous game. I also mounted my Banner- not sure if I prefer that or not!

I think Andrew's tweaked list looks like a huge improvement.

DEPLOYMENT
Pretty spread out deployment! Goroth and Kardush in the top left. Rohan Captain top right. Witch King bottom right and Helm bottom left.

The Witch King and his warband.

Helm n' the Bois

Goroth and Kardush

The Rohan Captain

The top of Turn 2. Helm's Royal Guards and the Rohan Captain start converging on the Witch King.

The Witch King compels a Royal Guard and Warg Riders slam into him! First blood to Mordor.

The top of turn 3. The Rohan Captain is hit by the Witch King with Helm just out of reach.

On turn 3 the forces collide! The Captain takes a big risk and winds up trapped. The Captain loses the fight. The Witch King rolls two 5s to wound while the rest fail. Andrew takes the gamble and spends 2 might to score 2 wounds on the Captain. Unfortunately, the Captain succeeds on his Fate save and survives!

Helm's Warband has reached the Witch King, but it may be too late to save the Captain!

The Witch King tries to black dart the Captain.  The Captain spends his one will and last remaining Might to resist, and the Witch King charges in to try and finish the job. The Captain has 1 wound, no fate, no will remaining. Helm Heroic Combats into the Witch King. The Witch King is trapped between the Captain, a Warrior and Helm...

but because Helm Heroic Combatted we tie on fight and the Witch King wins, slaying the Captain of Rohan. Ouch!

Now the lines start clashing. The Witch King successfully transfixes Helm.

Goroth gets ready to start smashin'...

and Goroth loses the fight... then I roll 2 sixes and Andrew rolls a 1 on his fate! Goroth <almost> dies! Right after this picture, we remembered "Come Here, Maggot!" so Goroth is brought back to life and the spear orc by the stairs eats it for the boss.

The struggle continues across the board. The Witch King tries to Black Dart Helm's Horse (but fails) as Kardush comes in for the Flameburst. Helm resists but is down to 1 Might and 1 Will left, but avoids the flames.

Now Helm starts calling a move every single turn and Andrew's Might is drained.

A Mounted Royal Guard ties up the Witch King and kills his horse. The Witch King then rolls a "1" on his thrown rider, knocking him prone! The Witch King is getting low on Will now.

The view of the center from Andrew's board edge as Helm spends his last Might on a strike against Goroth, eliminating him. I keep throwing Royal Guards at the Witch King, keeping him tied up and draining his Will. My flanking Riders of Rohan (who previously managed to put a Wound on Kardush from bowfire) charge into the fray.

It's now a scramble to get more bodies on the central objective. Kardush falls to a Rider of Rohan.

In the late game Andrew wins every priority... but Helm can call Heroic moves for free. We play several rapid turns with Helm getitng the charge each time. 

Both forces careen past the break point on the same turn. Helm does Helm stuff. He Heroic combats onto the central objective  to clear some orcs.

The Witch King remains tied up, fighting one Royal Guard.

And the game ends on the first possible opportunity. Thanks to Helm's heroic combat, Rohan manages to have 1 additional body on the central objective making this fight come to a close, slightly in Rohan's favor.

Rohan scores 3 VPs for the central objective, 2 VPs for one of the other objectives (held by 1 Royal Guard), and 1 VP for breaking Mordor.
Mordor scores 1 VP for breaking Rohan.

6-1 Victory for Helm

The Witch King ends the game with 1 will remaining.

CLOSING THOUGHTS: 
Well, Andrew's dice aren't the complete dumpster fire they were last game, but this is definitely one of those games where any one dice roll result difference could've shifted the whole trajectory. Having Goroth wrecked like he was was pretty crazy. On the other hand, the Witch King winning while trapped and slaying my Captain was equally huge.

I really like Helm. He does give me pause as he is such a lynchpin of the list. Had any of Andrew's Flame Bursts or Black Darts laid him low, the army feels like it would crumble around him. Still, for now, he is a fun different way to play Rohan, not unlike Theodred's Guard.

The Mordor special rules came up quite a lot in this game. At least 3 Wound rolls re-rolled from a 1 into a 5, earning the kill. I think Andrew's list is a big improvement over the last one!

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