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Mordor (with Great beast of Gorgoroth!) vs Minas Tirith with Gandalf and Gwaihir!

Well, this was a doozy! With two really cool new models done (Gwaihir and the Great Beast), Andrew and I were keen to see them on the table. We did the veto system, with Andrew nixing Domination and me killing Fog of War, which left Hold Ground.

Andrew was running a low model count, high impact Minas Tirith list. 650 is tight to fit Gandalf the White and Gwaihir, but it can certainly dominate certain situations! 

My Mordor list went the opposite direction, with a pretty large orc horde anchored by the Witch King, the Great Beast, and Kardush. No big combat heroes, but a whole lot of chaffe to wade through.



On the bottom of turn 1. The War Beast rolled a 1 for Maelstram which I was okay with. 

Full disclosure here, Andrew and I played a turn where the Great Beast arrived right into his ranks and smashed a few guys... but then Gandalf compelled him off the edge. I totally forgot that it could be compelled off the edge and, rather than playing a game with the trade of 2 rangers and a WoMT for the Great Beast, Andrew kindly let me roll that back!

I drummed and Madril marches, so our forces closed rapidly on the center. The Great Beast arrives in the North West.

Finally on turn 4, the lines clash! Gandalf sorcerous blasts my banner into Kardush- knocking them both down and putting a wound on Kardush. Ouch!

Gandalf is able to cast Fortify Spirit on both himself and Gwaihir... but the Witch King still tries to break his staff to no avail.

As the game enters the main combat phase, Andrew has led with his Knights to put space for him to hold the objective. Gwaihir gets stuck in and starts absolutely churning through orcs... but the Great Beast is closing in! 

I throw enough orcs into Gwaihir to keep him from being able to heroic combat... but it's costly! Kardush unhorses a knight with flameburst... and I totally forget that I channeled fury and let 6 or 7 orcs die this turn with no fury save! I remember for the rest of the game, thankfully.

On the following turn, I win priority. Madril and the Great Beast roll off for heroic moves. The beast wins and tramples 6 warriors of minas Tirith! 25% of Andrew's force dies in one charge. He stops JUST short of slamming into Gandalf.

Elsewhere, the lines continue to clash. Orc after orc charges into Gwaihir...

and keeps getting pushed back. We never win a single fight against Gwaihir- but it's just about keeping him from flapping off into the Witch King's face! Gandalf and 4 warriors score a single wound on the Great Beast and of course it Stampedes! The Witch king successfully Black Darts Madril before charging into and killing a Knight.

Andrew sends the great beast far away from the objective on its Stampede, hoping to buy some time to chomp orcs. Many orcs die- at this point I am down 20 models. Gandalf attempts a heroic combat, but but fails to kill the one Morannon he charged. Meanwhile, morannons are trapping and killing Minas Tirith Warriors. Gandalf sorcerous blasts Kardush who is down to 1 wound 1 fate, but he survives. The Witch King lands a second black dart on Madril, which kills him. Minas Tirith has 12 dead at this point, and breaks.

On the following turn, the Beast returns, trampling 2 more warriors. A Guard of the Fountain Court peels off the drummer, leaving just 2 orcs on Gwaihir who has spent his last point of might on a heroic combat. Unfortunately, though Gwaihir wins, he does not kill both Morannon orcs. 

And then, unfortunately, the game ends on the roll of a 1 at the first opportunity. Because most of the orcs in the Howdah are within 6" of the objective, it easily swings to Mordor... but with one more turn and the ability to compel the Great Beast away, this could have easily swung to Andrew. I am 20 dead, and thus 2 from broken.

With 5 VP for having more than double Andrew's forces in the center, and 3 VP for breaking the forces of Good without being broken, the game ends as an 8-0 for Mordor.

Closing Thoughts: Well, both the Great Beast and Gwaihir were super cool to see on the table. I believe Gwaihir was responsible for 8 or 9 orc deaths, while the Great Beast slew 8 or 9 itself. The beast is a LOT more finnicky to use than I originally anticipated... but it's proving to be a pretty fun puzzle. As is often the case, I feel this game was a lot closer than the score dictates. I believe I had 17 models in the center to Andrew's 8... but the majority of my models came from the Beast. Just one Stampede! or even Compel with one more turn could've swung that hard. 

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