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Historicon 2015 NICT AAR - Nikephoran Byantine

 
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Frank Gilson
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:46 am    Post subject: Historicon 2015 NICT AAR - Nikephoran Byantine

Well...finished up (distant) 3rd.

List:
CinC PA 2E Reg A/B EHC/HC L,B,Sh
Sub similar
3 units of 2E Reg B LC B
6E Reg C LC B
6E Reg D LI B,Sh/B
2 units of 2E Reg C LI JLS,Sh
4E Reg D(1 C) LI JLS,Sh
2E Reg B SHC/EHC L,Sh
2E Reg B EHC/HC L,B,Sh
2 units of 4E Reg B(1 A) LHI/LMI 2HCW,JLS,Sh (Varangians)
4 units of 4E Reg C HI/MI LTS,JLS,D,Sh (Konaratoi)
18 units, 2 cmds, 50 scouting

The goal was not to face knight armies...in particular such that also had more scouting points than I!

Game 1 vs. Mark Stone's Early Polish
Uhoh, Mark has Irr B SHK/EHK (perfect dismounters) and more scouting. I have to be careful as my Varangians simply die to Knights, and dismounted knights will beat the Kontaratoi. I try to skirmish on the flanks and slowly move Kontaratoi forward in the middle.

Kontaratoi retire and counter away from dismounted knights. One Kontaratoi unit receives a charge from impetuous Polish MI and a knight unit simultaneously. I roll some +1s, Mark does not roll up. His knight unit tragically gets stuck to the Kontaratoi and ends up routing. He generally passes wavers.

I lose some LI. We score 1-1. Hard for him to push (dismounting and advancing takes time). Our flanks skirmishing is not conclusive.

Game 2 vs. Matt Kollmer's Alexandrian Imperial
I have more scouting...so Matt has to set up first. He ends up with a gap between pike units I can exploit with a 2E LC unit. It gets a +2 shooting roll against shieldless flank of a 4E pike unit in column causing a waver, which the uneasy C class pike unit fails. LC go in...waver for being charged is passed, waver by pike for resulting combat disorder is passed.

I'm pushing heavily down the left and right flanks while refusing the center (excepting my weird LC attack).

On the right I drive away his Asiatic LC and set up to round a corner with the SHC and a pike unit to attack some of his pike.

On the left he's moving to counter me and get elephants in position. His pike are not on the left (his right)...so some of my Kontaratoi have a really good time as they match up well with Hypaspists and elephants.

Meanwhile my lone LC unit in center does rout the shaken pike unit...Matt passes wavers, and routs the LC unit with some Companions.

I get some elephants and a Hypaspist unit on my left, and a pike unit and peltast unit on my right. 5-1 for me. It's a pretty good matchup for Nikephoran that has tools to oppose pike/elephant armies.

Game 3 vs. Scott McDonald's Wallachian/Moldavian
Uhoh...Scott has knights and over double my scouting. I do have terrain and set up awkwardly in a 'fort' situation in my right corner...sending a 2E LC B unit up the left to delay his marches and eventually die.

My fort is not impregnable...partly by design (to encourage attack) but partly because I traffic jammed myself. My delaying LC also causes his knights to arrive somewhat piecemeal.

He surprises me on my right with a 2E Irr C LC unit charge I did not expect...which jams me up for 2 turns, preventing my turning that corner.

Scott sends 2 SHK units simultaneously into one 4E Kontaratoi unit. Dice favor Scott and my unit recoils disordered.

...and we run out of time...advantage Scott. Nikephoran has trouble with LC plus Knights. It surely does...as it is prevented from taking an aggressive posture.

Game 4 vs. Todd Kaeser's Abyssinians
Todd does not have a good matchup. My Kontaratoi can use Testudo to avoid his dense shooting. My Varangians and Kontaratoi beat elephants. He can't send his lancers into the Kontaratoi. I can use LI to force his Irr A LMI to charge and charge without contact.

He does send an Irr A EHC L,Sh unit uphill into my Varangians...and roll up...routing the poor guys, causing 2 wavers. I fail with a Kontaratoi unit that he charges with his CinC, routing it...but I pass the remaining 2 wavers.

Meanwhile I'm blasting elephants and eventually routing tired Irr A LMI and Todd kindly fails a couple of wavers with Irr A and B troops. 5-1 me.

Game 5 vs. Phil Gardocki's Anglo-Irish
Phil runs the list with 3 huge Galloglaich unit and one 12E MI longbow unit with shields and stakes that secures a flank.

I get it in my head that I can kill the longbow unit with my Kontaratoi charging from testudo...which, while correct, takes forever for them to march over there. However, they do fulfill a purpose of bending back his line, causing the LB to retire...and making a Bonnacht unit uneasy.

Both my Varangian unit charge the Bonnacht unit who can only charge non-impetuously. My units are both +2...and Phil's is not. Sadly I vaporize his unit without it routing back to cause wavers.

Phil is careful not to expose flanks of the Galloglaich.

On my right, his left, we have a dance where I shake a LI unit, he kills one of mine...an overextended Anglo-Irish HC unit is eventually exhausted and killed, shaking his LC. I kill another LI unit and another HC unit there.

My Kontaratoi never get to his LB unit (although did score some points picking up stakes...which I should have just walked over in at least one case as one turn's disorder would not have mattered).

Kudos to Phil for setting up and maneuvering well...but I did pick up 4 or 5 points here.

Notes:
Nikephoran is quite good against non-knight armies! Likely alright against knights with fewer scouting...not good against knights plus more scouting.

The Kontaratoi are very flexible...the problem is that you've got to set them up and move them properly so they have a real effect on the battle.

You need about 2 units of Varangians...but not really the third. The almost equally priced Kontaratoi are better for the open spaces of our battlefields.

Frank Gilson
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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:18 pm    Post subject:

Given how the Varangians operate under current list rules, Byzantines are a really powerful army. It's interesting to contrast Frank's experience with Nikephoran this year with Derek's experience with Komnenan last year.

Generally, I think Nikephoran is the preferred list. It's less complex, has more manageable minimums, and the close order foot is much better. But it has the striking defect of being pretty limited in the face of a good knight army. I suspect that the desire to have some knights is what motivated Derek to play Komnenan, even though the list is cumbersome in other ways.

To some extent it comes down to the luck of the draw. If Frank faces no knight armies, he maybe walks away the winner. As it happened, he was handcuffed enough in at least two matchups to get taken out of the running.

I would have thought Nikephoran would have been an excellent bet this year. With the Alexandrian theme, I expected we'd see a bunch of pike and elephant armies in the Nationals just so people playing in both Theme and Nationals didn't have to bring duplicate lead. As it happened, I believe only Matt Kolmer played a pike and elephant army in the Nationals.

The lesson, I suppose, is to not overthink matchups: play the best army you are comfortable with, and adapt to matchups and terrain as best you can.
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:53 pm    Post subject: Byzantine vs Macedonian

I fought Derek last year and boy is it tough for the Macedonians - but took him 22 turns to beat me - so it is not impossible.
I think this is a match up where Alex Imperial actually does better than Seluicid because you have better light troops - but having enough scouting is so important and does not play to Macedonian strengths - painting an African warrior list that is a different rock paper scissors equation - but has its weaknesses as well
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Frank Gilson
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:00 pm    Post subject: Komnenan

Komnenan has HK and a little EHK...but Derek's way of purchasing it (one command) is probably the best given how inefficient that list is with regard to required minimums.

Komnenan's HK can also be partially Irr A, which helps. Knight on knight is do-able. You can rely on having around 2 more lancer units than most opponents.

Frank
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:55 pm    Post subject: Comegnan

Yep - it is tough to get the charges off you need though with one general - I don't have my books with me but I think 2 generals at least are a must for me- or I will not e able to coordinate stuff
I have not looked at Comegnan lately so will review - was thinking it would be a fun list for teams
Robert
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Frank Gilson
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:05 am    Post subject: Teams

Komnenan would be great for teams...you can afford a sub-general!

I think to Derek's list I would add a EHK/HK Sub and look at another lancer unit, possibly two...and make sure I feel I had enough support troops.

That would eat up the 400 pretty easily.

Frank
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