The Goretide – Battalion Breakdown

The Goretide - Battalion BreakdownFor Bristol Smash 2017, I decided to field The Goretide battalion from the Blades of Khorne battletome in an attempt to bring some exciting shenanigans to my army.

So the army composition rounded out as follows:

Allegiance: Khorne
Mighty Lord Of Khorne (140)
General
Trait: Great Destroyer
Artefact: Gorecleaver
Bloodsecrator (120)
Banner of Khorne: Banner of Wrath
Exalted Deathbringer (80)
Ruinous Axe & Skullgouger
Artefact: The Blood-forged Armour
Skullgrinder (80)
Slaughterpriest (100)
Slaughterpriest with Hackblade and Wrathhammer (100)
10 x Blood Warriors (200)
Goreaxes
1x Goreglaives
10 x Blood Warriors (200)
Goreaxe & Gorefist
1x Goreglaives
5 x Blood Warriors (100)
Goreaxe & Gorefist
5 x Skullreapers (140)
Daemonblades
1x Soultearers
5 x Skullreapers (140)
Daemonblades
1x Soultearers
1 x Khorgoraths (100)
5 x Wrathmongers (180)
1 x Skull Cannons (180)
Battalion: The Goretide (40)
Battalion: Slaughterborn (80)

Total: 1980/2000

This included the vast majority of my painted units (with the exception of some Bloodletters) and allowed me to have a two drop army.  Hopefully you’ve read my review of Bristol Smash 2017 so know that I placed in the bottom 1/4 of the leaderboard.  I’m actually really happy with how the army played out – it certainly wasn’t optimised but I feel that I’m actually a lot closer than I’ve been so far and wouldn’t need to change a massive amount to get it a bit more competitive.

As this was my first outing with the army, I slipped into my normal tactic of being a bit too cautious with my units, quite often leaving them too far away to get stuck in.  It’s something I really need to make sure that I identify in future games and need to remind myself that the bulk of my army is geared towards close combat with little ranged shooting.

Heroes

I was running with the maximum six heroes (two mandatory for running The Goretide) and would say that this is probably the one area I should look at.  My Skullgrinder wasn’t particularly effective, most games simply granting my opponent an easy 80 kill points, something like an Aspiring Deathbringer would bring more utility to the army as I could trigger his command ability using a Blood Tithe point.  I’ve got really mixed feelings on the Slaughterpriests, their prayers are 50/50 – when they work, they’re fantastic but on other occasions they don’t kick out very much.

My biggest disappointment was my Mighty Lord of Khorne, who constantly found himself sniped off with shooting or magic.  Sadly the new Blades of Khorne battletome doesn’t actually provide a way of bouncing mortal wounds (other than caused by spells) so he’s a really risky proposition with only 6 wounds.

Units

I’m actually quite happy with the composition of units I ran.  Blood Warriors always come up trumps and a unit of 5 are solid enough to force your opponent to have to deal with them.  I actually remembered my Gorefists for a change too!

Skullreapers are a great little unit though I did forget their re-roll abilities as they kill enemy models (I need some tokens for this), having a 4+ save also makes them pretty survivable.  Wrathmongers are as always the ultimate threat unit as they can generally give a kicking to most opponents, though they are a fairly premium unit from a points perspective.

The Khorgorath is still one of my favorite tar-pit units in the army, able to take a bit of punishment and dish out loads with his improved damage.  Finally the Skull Cannon did put out a little bit of ranged threat, although it’s still a little bit unreliable based on its to hit and wound rolls and the cost you pay for it.

The Goretide Battalion(s)

To outline, The Goretide has a mandatory requirement of one Mighty Lord of Khorne, one Slaughterborn battalion (with 3 units of Blood Warriors) and you can add in any number of Khorne Bloodbound warscrolls or battalions (bearing in mind all the battalions in Blades of Khorne are simply “Khorne”).  In exchange the battalion gains a D6″ hero phase move and the Mighty Lord gains an 8″ pile in and attack in the hero phase and can re-roll all failed to hit rolls.  On the surface it’s pretty juicy (Slaughterborn grants a hero phase charge for units within 12″ of the general too).  However it’s when you really look at the wording on the D6″ move that you realise exactly what you can do…So you’re probably reading that thinking it’s nothing special, Destruction has it already – however this rule is missing the phrase “as if it’s the xxx phase”.

The rule simply states move the number rolled in inches.  A retreat move is one that puts you more than 3″ away from the enemy, so you could feasibly use this to move a unit currently in combat around so that you ensure you’ve the maximum number of models in combat, providing they all stay within 3″ of the enemy unit it’s not a retreat and because it’s not a pile-in move there’s no requirement to close the gap to the closest enemy – see I said The Goretide gave me shenanigans!  Of course because this is a hero phase movement it does mean that the Bloodsecrator can move before planting it’s banner, allowing me a little bit of repositioning.

Being able to use it as a charge is also pretty powerful, especially against units that can make a flee style movement such as Kharadron Thunderers.

Summary

Although The Goretide battalion allowed me to “get in the fight” a lot more effectively, any kind of competitive game highlights some of the gaping holes in a Bloodbound army – namely a huge vulnerability to shooting and mortal wounds (movement issues were reduced with The Goretide battalion).  Most of my heroes got taken out with mortal wounds from one source or another reducing my ability to deal with large threats and other heroes.  I know this makes me sound a little bitter (I guess I am a bit) but I wish there was something that could be done to provide a little bit of protection – Blades of Khorne appears to contain nothing for Bloodbound armies along these lines, so you’d be looking at something like a Warshrine.  Actually I do lie a bit, the hard counter to shooting and mortal wounds is to run a horde army – as soon as you roll out 150+ wounds in an army most opponents are going to struggle – however I can’t really see that being a fun army to play and I’m not a fan of Bloodreavers.

One thing I did discover afterwards is that there was a similar army being run on the top tables – the big difference being that it didn’t include Wrathmongers, a Khorgorath or a Skull Cannon, instead going for a Gorepilgrims Battalion with more Blood Warriors (40 in all), a unit of Blood Reavers and a Lord on Juggernaut as the general.  This makes a lot of sense as the Lord has 8 wounds and a 4+ ward against spell damage – plus a movement of 8″, so has great synergy with the Slaughterborn battalion.  I’d be interested to see what opponents he faced and if he came up against anybody with a heavy shooting/mortal wound approach.

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