But Balin was not without support. He had brought all he could muster to meet the encroachment. Two companies of Clansmen armed with short bows held the far left flank, guarding the two Ballistas on the neighboring hill. Hilik, Thane's son, a might Dwarf Champion if one ever existed positioned himself next to two companies of Vault Wardens. Clansmen held the center in two companies. Gandalf, his old friend, fought with Dysik's Shields and Balin with Gavik's Axes. Rangers, with Bows mounted the second hill, three companies, prepared to rain arrows down on their foes. Finally, on the line was a Great Eagle that had come with Gandalf. Somewhere in the woods to the far right, his brothers from Ered Luin, with young Gimli in their midst lurked in the woods preparing to surprise the dreaded foul beasts.
The Uhrik-Hai advanced rapidly with most nearly running across the field as quickly as they muster. The Crossbows entered the left most wood and took up defensive positions. Nearly every unit had a dreaded shaman. Where Lurtz had found them, Balin did not know, but he was not happy with the bolts of fire and the shield breakers that came towards his force. Balin ordered careful advances having the Vault Wardens and Hilik clear a path for the Ballista crews to fire. Gandalf summed up his sorcery and transfixed the Pikemen. He saw through his peripheral that the Great Eagle moved to get a flank on the Wargs closest to him. As soon as forces were in place the arrows flew. The scouts did enough damage to the Wargs to drive them back, but unfortunately it also gave up the flank for the Eagle. The clansmen bows took a single Warg and the Ballista tossed stone into the Phalanx as planned. Finally the Eagle swooped in on the Wargs, taking three of the beasts out, but was overwhelmed by a lucky shot that brought the noble beast down.
Balin challenged Lurtz, who answered the call, then ordered his forces forward and gave the signal for Gimli and the Ered Luin Rangers to surprise their foes. Gandalf's formation also advanced to get close to the Phalanx and Transfixed them in place to ensure they would not charge. Again Hilik and the Wardens advanced to towards the Isenguard Orcs. The clansmen bows advanced towards the Wargs, blocking their advance around the tight space between the edge of the vale and the small lake. Lurtz found his warband with enemies in the front and rear and recalled the Berserkers and Mauhur's Marauders to cover against Gimili's force. The right flank Wargs moved into a clean flank on the poor Ranger Bowmen... It wasn't going to be pretty for them.
With a mighty Baruk Hazad! Gimli threw himself into Lurtz warband as his Ered Luin Rangers tossed their throwing axes before they were flanked on both sides by Berserkers and Marauders. The Ranger bows let loose to try and thin out Lurtz Warband and both Ballista's missed their targets. Gimli charged Lurtz's warband from behind, but was countered on his flanks and Balin himself charged Lurtz to conduct his heroic dual to no avail as he and Lurtz exchanged blows to no satisfaction. Gandalf's force charged the Phalanx to only conduct minimal damage. Balin's formation did great damage to Lurtz's force, but both Gimili and the Ranger Bows were decimated by the flanks. Oddly enough the Clansmen Bows charge on the Wargs won and carried the day.
The lines have met and the blood continued to flow. As units dropped across the field it was clear to Balin that his right flank was going to crumble with Wargs in his rear, so he made a hasty move to Ganalfs forces that continued to pound on Phalanx. Lurtz as well made his move to join the Marauders as his unit began to fall. The clansmen bows finished the Wargs and advanced up the field. The King's Champion, Halik, and the Vault Wardens were finally charged by the Orcs, but armor held and damage was inflicted. They Orcs fell back and were in disarray, allowing the Dwarves to continue to press into their numbers, wittling down the huge formation. With the new lines focused on the center of the vale, the vile Isenguard forces began their sweep to the left. Both the Orcs and Phalanx finally fell, but they had done their job as the fighting forces were soon too weak to fight. Even, Halik fell, as the crossbows found their range and took him down.
-- Break Break--
Heath and I played a great game at 2000 points. Heath won by 13-10, but it was fun with lots of carnage. I am really pleased with a few new additions, but I need to get a better feel for them in the game. Specifically the Ered Luin with Gimli I think are just a sneaky combo. So far it is still a gimmick as it hasn't been 100% successful on each deployment. I think I am launching them a turn too early, allowing Heath to get folks on them on the same turn. The Great Eagle can be a beast in combat, but I don't think it should be on its own, as it needs more things to be easier targets to suck up the wounds.