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9th Age Battle Report

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I am real bad at getting around to doing things! I played a game of 9th Age against Jim last Tuesday and was planning to put up a report here sooner, but haven't gotten to it yet. I did however put together a report that I posted on the 9th Age playtesting forum so I'm just going to copy that over for the most part with a few edits showing the differences between 8th and 9th:


I played an army of Blood Drake (Dragon) Vampire Covenant (Counts) against Jim's Sylvan (Wood) Elves.


I took:
470 - Vampire Count: level 2, path of necromancy, blood drake, crimson rage, shield, armored skeletal steed, sword of strength, talisman of supreme shielding, crystal ball

9th Age Blender Lords can only take a single bloodline power that is attached the the bloodline they choose in addition to the bonuses they get for the bloodline itself. I chose Blood Drakes which give +2 WS and full plate, but require that I challenge unless another Blood Drake in the same combat challenges instead. Crimson Rage is the same as Red Fury, but 65 points. Sword of Strength = Sword of Might, Supreme Shielding = Preservation, and Crystal Ball gives the new Lightning Reflexes special rule which replaces Always Strikes First. Lightning Reflexes gives +1 to hit in close combat and if you have a great weapon you lose the +1 to hit, but strike at initiative.


125 - Necromancer: level 2, path of necromancy, unholy tome

Unholy Tome = Book of Arkhan


120 - Barrow King: mithril mail, great weapon

Mithril Mail = 2+ Armor Save


280 - Skeletons x 50: shields, full command
266 - Skeletons x 59: spears, full command

Skeletons lost fear (which now also gives -1 Ld to anyone in combat with them in addition to the fear check), but parry changed to giving the Distracting rule which is -1 to be hit in close combat instead of a save. Spears now give Lethal Strike (Killing Blow without doing multiple wounds) against Cav, Chariots, and Mostrous Cav in addition to fighting in multiple ranks.


40 - Direwolves x 5
40 - Direwolves x 5

No changes.


416 - Barrow Guards x 28: great weapons, full command, banner of the barrows

Grave Guard (and Wight Kings) still have Lethal Strike and also have Multiple Wounds (2) against Infantry, War Beasts, and Cavalry. In addition, they have the rule Bodyguard (General, Barrow King) that makes it so that if the General or a Barrow King is in the unit, they are Stubborn. What Stubborn does for unstable troops is that it halves the number of wounds taken by unstable after losing combat.


170 - Vargbeast: vanguard
170 - Vargbeast: vanguard

Varghulfs got moved to Special and are now S6. They're now Monstrous Beasts instead of Monsters so only a single stomp, but are only 150 points base and can take vanguard, fly, or d3+1 stomps. I took vanguard.


405 - Vampire Knights x 5: full command, bloodline unit, castelhof banner

Blood Knights got fixed big time. They gained W2, lost Frenzy, and if you took a Blood Drake as your General, you can upgrade them to have full plate and Devastating Charge. The Drakenhoff banner now gives its 4+ ward save against ranged magic attacks as well as shooting.


He took:
Avatar of Nature with clinging vines

This is the upgraded combat version of the Treeman Ancient (there is also a caster version). Clinging Vines is now reroll hits in close combat.


Captain BSB with Hail Shot

Hail Shot = Hail of Doom Arrow. All of the Elves in the army that would have had Always Strike First now have Lightning Reflexes.


Captain with Sunstone

Sunstone = Moonstone of Hidden Ways


Enchantress Lvl 2 of Beasts with Dispel Scroll

Scrolls are 35 points now


Enchantress Lvl 2 of Shadow with Acorn of the World Tree

World Tree = Acorn of the Ages, but one use at the beginning of one of your turns drop a single forest completely within 12" and more than 1" from enemies.


10 Grove Guard with Truemark arrows
10 Grove Guard with Truemark arrows

Wood Elf archers lose AP1 and volley fire if they pick a special arrow type. Truemark = Trueflight


17 Forest Guardians full command

Eternal Guard have Bodyguard (Forest Prince, Captain) now instead of always having Stubborn. 9th Age does this a lot with units that were just straight up Stubborn in 8th.


11 Dryad skirmishers

Dryads can upgrade to skirmish and are back to S4


5 Bladedancers

Wardancers got an option to take a shield and are A2 instead of having additional hand weapons so they now get Parry for -1 to hit them. Their dances may have changed?


6 Wild Huntsmen
6 Wild Huntsmen

Wild Riders lost Fast Cavalry and instead have Free Reform, which makes them mostly the same, but without Vanguard.


3 Treefolk

Treekin are mostly the same I think?


Forest Eagle
Forest Eagle

Eagles moved to Special


5 Sisterhood Order

Sisters of the Thorn moved to Rare, traded Fast Cav for Free Reform and can now only cast spells with a 70 point upgrade. Their shooting attack got Multiple Shots (2).


5 Pathfinders
5 Pathfinders

Waywatchers have the option of choosing any type of arrow at the beginning of their shooting phase. I don't know how much the arrow types have changed.


In deployment, I knew I was going to be outdeployed no matter what so I took advantage of a new rule in 9th Age that let me deploy multiple units in a single drop and finished my deployment while Jim still have 6 or so units left to deploy. The advantage this gave me was a bonus to my roll to go first equal to the number of drops he had remaining, so basically guaranteed first turn. Knowing that I had first turn let me make my vanguard moves a lot more aggressively than I would have normally and as a result my Vargbeasts were in his deployment zone in turn 1 facing down a unit of Grove Guard in his backfield with his BSB in it. One Varg got shot to death on his turn 1, but the second one got into combat with the Grove Guard and eventually killed them all, but died to a flank charge from the Dryads on the turn he finished off the BSB.


My Vampire Knight unit with the Lord got blocked with one of his Eagles, but my Count was able to charge out at his Avatar of Nature for an epic showdown with the Spear Skeletons in the flank for combat res if things went against me. His Bladedancers charged in and assassinated my Necromancer, but on the third round of combat I managed to fell the Avatar and break the Bladedancers, running them down with ease. My Vampire Knights finished off the blocking Eagle, but had to take a charge from the Treefolk, who got a +1 S/T buff along with -1 to hit for me. I lost the first round by a couple of points, but got healed back up by my Count and fought on, killing off the Trees and running them down. My Barrow Guard ended up spending all game holding an objective on a flank and getting harassed by the Forest Guard unit teleporting behind them and then teleporting away with their Sunstone. I would have liked to get them into some combat, but was happy to preserve their points and the 250 from the objective (objectives give 10% of the game total).


The game ended in a draw with him killing all of my Skeletons, my Necromancer, my Direwolves, and my Vargbeasts and me killing his Avatar of Nature, his BSB Captain, his Eagles, his Bladedancers, and one of the Grove Guard units. Overall it was a very fun, close, tactical game with lots of character and with a lot more balance than I remember ever running into in 8th.

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I think the only thing that really allowed me to hold it to a draw was how separated your units became. The Grave Guard hanging back, the skeletons on your other flank staying back initially out of fear of being charged with the Wildriders, and the Vargulfs charging forward without support gave me plenty of maneuver room and space to take out units at a time. I think if you had kept things together to better support one another, I'd have had a hard time of it. As it was, when I got into a unit of skeletons, I had plenty of time to whittle away for a couple of turns before you could get more support in.


I really like the way both armies play. The Woodies feel like a nice balance between 8th and 6/7th books. It was great to have the option for skirmishing dryads and S5 treekin again (even though I didn't use the latter). Most of all, I'm tickled about the fixes to the magic system. It's a solid phase, but not a make-it or break-it phase anymore.

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