I posted our second battle report up on The Warhammer Forum and it has drawn more responses. The first highlights a quirk in our army lists.
Lovely report! Just as the other!
Just one thing; What is it about you and your friend bringing four dispel scrolls? That's alot! I've never attended a tourny with more than two.
Well, that's a funny thing. My intention with the Chaos army was to go magic light and pick a low level caster or two just to hold up the enemy magic. As you can tell from my list it is quite hero heavy and I plan to drop one of the sorcerers when I add another unit. I guess I just was afraid of the Dark Elf magical barrage (these are my first games at 2000 points).
Gary has played more aggressive lists than I expected and has sometimes played very little or no magic. That has made my magic seem quite good and Gary is now afraid of it (especially steed of shadows). I was somewhat surprised to see four scrolls in his list, though.
Also, we're both rookie players so expect to see some weird stuff in our lists, tactics and games.
If your warriors are charging into a combat they want to, on turn two, he(the DE player) is doing something wrong. With that army, he should have been march blocking you, and shooting/magic you to death. Or at least until he could easily defeat the scattered remnants. Charging the warriors on turn two is not needed, and he would have been much better of letting you move forward at a slow speed and then engaging later when it was to his advantage.
Sounds like he need to slow down a little and not just rush into combat. DE doesn't work like that. Major Combats shouldn't start until turn 3 at the earliest really.
These are comments that were echoed after game one. I had real trouble in my early games versus the Dark Elf dark riders as they got around my flanks and march blocked me. I sat down with the Chaos army book and had a good think about my options. I added the furies, the banner of wrath, the book of secrets (to utilise steed of shadows) and totally changed my deployment style. I added speed, shooting and more supporting units. I have never looked back since and Gary has never managed to come to terms with my army.
Some recommendations for Gary.
Take the sorceresses out of the chariots. If the chariots are stupid, the mages can't cast. This is very bad if he's loading up on magic! Try mounting some of them on dark steeds, or maybe a pegasus. You'll be able to march block, and get in range faster to use your magic.
I'd make the executioner unit smaller (12-15) and the spears bigger (20). He might also want a second unit of 10 crossbows or 5 dark riders. The executioners shouldn't be running up and hitting things in the face, they should be getting into the flanks.
I noticed in both reports your hydra kept engaging Chaos to the front. That's a bad place for him. Try getting him to attack the flanks of the enemy. You'll cancel his rank bonus, and your flank will offset his outnumber. The best thing is to use him with the spearmen, so the spears hit the front, and the hydra hits the flank. If the enemy turns to face your hydra then run your spears into his flank.
Dark Elves v. Chaos is an uphill battle. Take advantage of your magic and shooting early on. and don't engage the enemy until you've thinned out their numbers a bit. Keep trying!
In our second game I think Gary did a good job of stripping my supporting units away (like the marauder horse and the war hounds) but he didn't manage to get in around the sides of my army to lever the flank charges. I was trying to encourage him to combi-charge my units rather than hope that one hard unit would do it alone.
I likened it to the days when we used to play 2nd edition 40k. Gary generally based his army around a supertough Chaos lord who could beat anyone on the board in single combat. My plan was to either slam two powerful heroes into him and take him down or use my superior mobility to avoid him and then beat up on the rest of his army. Just throwing my hardest fighter into combat with the lord wasn't enough because even he wasn't tough enough to take the lord out.
The Dark Elves are the same in that they just won't be able to stand up to my Chaos units one for one. They have to use more guile and either gang up on my units or avoid them and fight only a portion of my army.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn't suit Gary's playstyle. In 40k he plays Chaos with a Khorne slant, Dark Eldar, Tyranids and sometimes Necrons. In all those armies there are models that can pelt full tilt across the board and take on just about anything when they get to the enemy. I tend to favour the tricksy armies like Tau, IG and Daemonhunters who require more finesse because they don't have such big hitters.
Our roles have been reversed in Warhammer and I seem to have adapted quicker. All it will take is one or two battles where Gary works out the tactics and we'll be back on an equal footing again.