Battle Report – Headlong Onslaught

This time round, we are heading to the World Chasm, the dividing line between the Realms of Fire and Life – and we are testing out a brand new army… the Ironjawz have arrived!

 

The Story So Far

The Skybashas had been having fun in the Ream of Life, giving small pockets of Sylvaneth a good beating wherever they were found But now the Orruks came to a dead halt, for they had come across the World Chasm, a huge gaping maw between continents that marked the division between Aqshy and Ghyran.

Slann Starmaster Zectoka had been watching the progress of the Skybashas with growing interest, but had not taken any action. The Slann had thought that, deprived of more Sylvaneth to slaughter, the Orruks would inevitably turn upon themselves. However,  Megaboss Zogbak, their leader, had other plans.

The Silverglade Citadel was a massive tree city that lay across the World Chasm, and the rampaging Ironjawz had found it. Seeing the threat the Ironjawz posed, not just to the citadel but the whole of Aqshy that would lie before them should they cross the World Chasm, Zectoka reluctantly moved to block them. In flashes of cerulean light, Seraphon started to appear on the Silverglade Citadel, ready to oppose the Skybashas.

Megaboss Zogbak did not hesitate – bellowing, he rushed forward at the head of his Brutes, determined to give the Seraphon a good duffin’.

 

The Forces

We have a brand new Ironjawz army painted up, and we can’t wait to get them onto the tabletop and fighting!

Seraphon
Slann Starmaster
Saurus Warriors x 40 (two units of 20)
Skinks x 40 (two units of 20)
Terradons x 3
Saurus Guard x 15
Stegadon x 2
Bastiladon

This is a fairly average Seraphon force, with solid units but no real ‘tricks’ up its sleeve. Saurus Warriors will form the main line, Skinks will roam the flanks, while the Saurus Guard protect the Starmaster. So long as those units all function as they should, the main hitting power will likely reside with the Stegadons and Bastiladon.

Ironjawz
Megaboss
Weirdnob Shaman
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Ardboys x 30 (two units of 15)

The Ironjawz, too, have brought a fairly no-frills force – perfect for our first outing with them.

 

The Battleplan

In this Battleplan, the Ironjawz are attempting to bull their way past the Seraphon defenders – if they can get a quarter of their models (13 Orruks) past the Seraphon, they claim a major victory. However, if at any point they can just get their Megaboss past the Seraphon, they can immediately claim a minor victory (or not, if they decide to go for the major!).

The Seraphon have some problems to deal with, mainly to do with the speed of the Ironjawz’ attack. Only half of the Seraphon’s units can deploy in the path of the Ironjawz and many won’t be able to move in their first turn – a real problem, as the Ironjawz go first and will be on the Seraphon right from the start.

Furthermore, if an Ironjawz unit attacks a Seraphon unit and wipes it out, it can make an extra move to get further towards its objective.

Both sides get bonus army rules. The Seraphon can double run rolls if they are close to their Starmaster, while the Ironjawz get bonuses to their charge rolls if their Megaboss leads the way.

 

Deployment

Despite being taken aback by the sudden appearance of the Ironjawz so close to their lines, the Seraphon deployed as best they could to contain the greenskinz. Skinks took up position on the flanks where they could chip away at the Ironjawz without being slaughtered, while the Stegadons and a thick line of Saurus Warriors anchored the centre. Behind them all were the Saurus Guard and Starmaster. The Starmaster glanced up at the heavens and, seeing the constellation of the Great Drake was ascendant, knew his Seraphon would fight all the harder.

img_7543

The Ironjawz took a far simpler approach, simply lining up so the most boyz could reach the Seraphon in the shortest possible time.

 

Battle Round One

The Ironjawz wasted no time and, with a mighty bellow, they rushed forward, weapons ready to tear the Seraphon apart.

img_7544

From atop his Stegadon, the Skink Alpha directed the nearby unit of Skinks to sweep forward and bring the charging Gore-Gruntas into range of their javelins. Hurling their weapons, they proved deadly accurate, and one Gore-Grunta crashed into the ground spraying up a fountain of dirt. The Bastiladon behind the Skinks unleashed a powerful searing beam, annihilating a second Gore-Grunta and catching the last in the explosion.

However, while the Skinks were alert, many of the other Seraphon had been caught offguard and were slow to respond to the rush of the Ironjawz. One Stegadon lumbered forward to engage the Ironjawz but the crew of the other had trouble getting their own beast moving.

Alone, the other Stegadon shook the ground as it crashed into the advancing Brutes.

img_7546

One brute was gutted by the Stegadon’s massive horns, another was crushed under its feet, and a third turned and ran, unwilling to face the beast in battle. However, the Big Boss was made of sterner stuff and managed to grab the Stegadon by the neck with his Boss Klaw. Holding the Stegadon immobile for just a second, he bashed the beast over the head with his Smasha. The Stegadon reeled under the blow, its skull cracked, before the Brute with the Gore-Choppa carved a terrible wound in its flank.

 

Battle Round Two

Raising his huge Boss Choppa into the air, the Megaboss bellowed a mighty Waaagh!, galvanising his whole army. The Weirdnob Shaman got overexcited by this, and fumbled his casting of the Foot of Gork.

img_7547

As one, the entire Ironjawz line surged forward, eager to get to grips with the Seraphon.

img_7548

The Skinks were the first to suffer, and the units of both flanks were rushed by Ardboyz.

img_7549

One unit of Skinks was utterly destroyed within seconds, their bodies winking out of existence, but the second managed to retreat into nearby woods before the Ardboyz could swing their weapons.

img_7551

As the Stegadon fell to the attacks of the Brutes, more Brutes and Gore-Gruntas, led by the Megaboss, ploughed into the Saurus Warriors in the centre.

img_7550

The shields of the Saurus Warriors proved little better defence than those of the Skinks as the Brutes cut through more than half of the unit. The rest fell to the wild swings of the Megaboss.

With momentum on their side the Ardboyz, Brutes and Megaboss continued to thunder forwards.

img_7552

Seeing the Ironjawz starting to get a little too close for comfort, the Slann Starmaster covered his Saurus Guard with a Mystic Shield as the Terradons flew over the advancing Ardboyz and landed behind them in an effort to distract the Ironjawz. They dropped rocks as they flew, flattening two Ardboyz before the Orruks realised they were under attack.

img_7553

Having seen their Skinks wiped out by the Ardboyz, nearby Saurus Warriors charged into the Ardboyz, determined to make them pay for every inch they advanced. However, while three Ardboyz were felled in their assault, forcing another two to run, it was the Saurus Warriors who paid dearly, with many falling to the weapons of the Orruks.

In the centre, the Slann Starmaster summoned a huge block of Saurus Warriors to hold the centre, and then sent his Saurus Guard forward to stymie the Ironjawz advance and, perhaps, kill the Megaboss.

img_7555

Joined by the last Stegadon, the Saurus Guard charged into the Megaboss and Brutes supporting him, killing four of the Brutes instantly, though the Stegadon was badly wounded in the charge.

img_7554

Battle Round Three

Maintaining his Mystic Shield upon the Saurus Guard, the Slann Starmaster also hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Brute Big Boss holding them up. With him out of the way, the Saurus Guard could now concentrate on the Megaboss alone.

img_7557

Though his Boss Choppa dented the shields of the Saurus Guard, the Megaboss was quickly sporting many wounds and his swings became slower and less powerful.

Behind him, the Terradons had spied a likely target, the Weirdnob Shaman, and they swooped in for the kill, hurling javelins as they went.

img_7556

The Weirdnob Shaman was badly hurt by these attacks but he flailed back with his staff, inadvertently catching one Terradon and smashing the life out of it.

The Stegadon swung ponderously around to join the Bastiladon as both massive beasts lumbered into the Ardboyz who had been killing Skinks and Saurus Warriors with equal ease. While a handful of Ardboyz were flattened by their attacks, the Stegadon was finally killed by their choppas.

img_7558

The Weirdnob Shaman was far too distracted, even terrified, to cast any useful spells and instead ran from the Terradons as quickly as he could, racing for the protection of nearby Brutes.

img_7559

However, the Brutes had other ideas than helping a loony Shaman. Seeing that their Megaboss was in trouble, they rushed forward alongside a single Gore-Grunta to save him from the Saurus Guard.

img_7560

The Gore-Grunta was badly wounded, and though four of the Saurus Guard were mashed into the dirt by the Brutes, they were too slow to save their Megaboss. The celestial glaives of the Saurus Guard hacked through his armour until he fell to the ground and moved no more.

Just a short distance away, a swirling melee was fast developing between the newly summoned Saurus Warriors and the Ardboyz and Gore-Gruntas who were close to securing the entire left flank.

img_7561

While the Saurus Warriors managed to bring down a Gore-Grunta, the weapons of the Ardboyz were telling, with many Seraphon falling in the first few seconds of the fight and the rest fleeing from battle.

Now, the only Seraphon unit holding the left flank were the Skinks hiding in the woods, hurling the occasional javelin at a passing Orruk.

img_7562

Battle Round Four

Seeing there was now very little between himself and the oncoming Ironjawz, the Slann Starmaster’s eyes went wide with consternation, and his concentration shattered. The spells he had been preparing dissipated without effect.

img_7563

Elsewhere, things were going no better for the Seraphon. The Bastiladon snorted and stamped at the Ardboyz surrounding it as its Skink crew tried to line up its Searing Beam, but only three Ardboyz were killed while its own wounds were beginning to tell.

The Weirdnob Shaman was still bedevilled by the Terradon riders, panicking as he desperately tried to hold them off. Their beaks sneaked forward and pecked the Shaman, leaving him covered in wounds but still alive.

img_7564

Blasting one with an Arcane Bolt, the Weirdnob Shaman fled once more, running towards the rest of the Ironjawz who had now advanced far ahead.

img_7565

Showing uncharacteristic discipline and tactical nous without the leadership of their Megaboss, the Ironjawz acted as one and broke from their battles with the Seraphon, racing past them at speed. The Slann Starmaster realised just how precarious his position was as the last two Gore-Gruntas galloped towards his hiding spot in the woods.

img_7566

The Bastiladon was left completely wrong-footed as the Ardboyz it had been fighting ducked under its massive tail and sprinted past the beast, even as the Saurus Guard and Brutes pounded one another in the centre.

img_7567

Battle Round Five

Continuing their headlong onslaught, the Ardboyz joined the Gore-Gruntas rushing past all the remaining defences of the Seraphon. Seeing the battle lost, the Slann Starmaster closed his eyes and disappeared, leaving the Ironjawz to their victory.

img_7568

 

Conclusion

Well, their first outing and the Ironjawz get themselves a solid victory!

So, what did we make of them?

Ironjawz are hard! Their core troops, the Brutes, are extremely effective and the Boss Klaw carried by the Big Boss of the unit is fairly devastating – just that and the Gore-Choppa carried by one of the boyz nearly accounted for Stegadon in a single turn. As for the Gore-Gruntas, it may seem from this battle that they are not entirely awesome but they did not really get a good charge off, and the Skinks were extremely lucky in downing them with their javelins.

The real surprise though was the Ardboy units. These are the ‘little’ guys of the Ironjawz – but they probably killed more Seraphon than anyone else! We used units of 15 in this battle and were planning to put them in units of 20 later on. However, that may be overkill! A unit of 10 will do just fine on the battlefield and there may not be much that can stand up to an assault of 20 Ardboyz, particularly if they have the Megaboss close by to encourage them.

Could the Seraphon have done better? They were fairly spannered in the last couple of turns, with their shooting going completely awry and then the Slann Starmaster failing to cast a single spell – just one more unit of Saurus Warriors might have held up the advancing Ardboyz. The Ironjawz then getting a double turn sealed the fate of the Seraphon.

All in all, a fine start to the battle honours of the Ironjawz, and we are looking forward to seeing what else they can bring to the battlefield.

 

The Story Continues…

Having given the Seraphon a good duffin’, the Ironjawz will be staying in the Realm of Life as they pick a fight with the Sylvaneth in our next battle.

Going Up The Garden Path

Here is an interesting little something I acquired of late – an old D&D module, ST1: Up the Garden Path.

img_7537

This module has a bit of a history. It was sold at just two events in 1986, the National Garden Festival, and Games Day (the original Games Day, when it was an RPG-based convention held at the Royal Horticultural Society Hall in London.

Now, I actually attended that Games Day and yes, I picked up a copy of Up the Garden Path. However, I sold it in my teenage years (for about £15!), so was quite excited to be able to grab another.

img_7538

What makes this module interesting, not to mention highly collectible is not only was it only sold at those two events, but it had a very small print run, maybe less than 600 copies. One of the authors (Graeme Morris) believed that only 100-200 copies were sold at the events combined.

How many exist today? Well, nobody knows. There have been suggestions that maybe only 50-odd are still about, and I have heard (probably false) claims that there are only 14.

If the lower limit is true, however, I am always on the look out for the other ten!

img_7542

So, is it any good?

Well, it probably isn’t going to be the essential part of any campaign. It uses an actual map of the National Garden Festival, and the basic plot is that the players are transported to this pocket universe that threatens the existence of all other universes. To close it, they have to explore and locate a bunch of things that are contradictory (things like water birds, wooden magnets and a square wheel, and bring them to a partial Quirk.

img_7539

Overall, I would class it as fun but silly. Or silly but fun.

img_7540

ST1 consists of a wraparound cover with a full colour interior (the map of the festival), and the 16 page adventure. Three new monsters are added; IffanbutT (a Probability Elemental), Shadow Wolf, and Snap Dragon.

img_7541

Is it worth anything?

Probably.

It has been a long time since I saw one of these pop up eBay (not that I look very often, admittedly), but maybe to the right person it would be worth a couple of thousand Dollars – I have seen asking prices of £5,000 from collectors, but I am pretty sure they would not get them.

Anyway, I would consider these as part of my retirement plan!

 

The Christmas Project

Over the past few years, I have shut down the office for two weeks over Christmas. It gives the staff a chance to recharge, and gives me time to dive into what I have started calling my Christmas Project.

In the past, this has involved finishing a novel (writing, not reading – I am not that bad), or getting some painting done. A couple of years ago, I did a whole Craftworld Eldar army over the break. Last year it was a complete Seraphon force.

This year is a bit messy. The basic plan is to paint everything for Age of Sigmar that is needed for the campaign Battleplans we have not yet played, so we are all bright-eyed and ready for war in the New Year.

Now, this does assume I will finish painting the Bonesplitterz before Christmas, which I suspect I will not be able to do (it is very tight in the run up to Christmas because I have, you know, work to do as well) so they may ‘spill’ over into the project. It also assumes I am going to be able to build one new unit every day from now until Christmas – and I am not sure that is exactly doable either.

Still, best foot forward!

It will more or less break down like this:

Khorne Cavalry
I already have a bunch of Skullcrushers, but not enough for a proper Brass Stampede and, of late, I have found myself inspired by the Redblade Vanguard from Godbeasts. So, I am looking at doing more Skullcrushers (another 6), 10 Chaos Knights dedicated to Khorne, and a Gorebeast Chariot, also a Khorne follower.

Beastclaw Raiders
Yeah, this is probably the biggie and, in another life, I might have done these guys alone as a Christmas Project. I am not going to do everything I planned for them (that involved a total of nine – nine! – Thundertusks and Stonehorns), just those needed for the campaign. This boils down to four (maybe five, depending on how things go) Stonehorns, two Thundertusks, eight Mournfang Cavalry, the Hunter, some Sabres and a clutch of Yhetees.

More Ogors
There is a battle that appeared way back in the Bloodbound Battletome that featured some Ogors, and I think it is about time we got around to fighting that one. Pinching a Stonehorn from the Beastclaw Raiders, I will also add a couple of Ironblasters, ten Ogors, four Leadbelchers and four Ironguts. Of all the forces planned, this is likely to be the easiest.

Sylvaneth
I only did ten Tree-Revenants when I last tackled the Sylvaneth and, to be truthful, I could probably use some more, so I would like to slip in another ten of these guys at some point over the break.

And…
That is basically all I am planning to do. However, just in case I do need something else to be ‘getting on with’, I have an idea to do twelve more unaligned Chaos Warriors, another five Knights to go with them, plus an unaligned Warshrine. And a Ghoul King on a Zombie Dragon.

But that really will be all.

Might want to tackle the new Tzaangors too.

Anyway, will all of this get accomplished? Well, it is a Big Ask, and it is dependent very heavily on me not getting distracted by Forza Horizon 3, Skyrim, or any of the other usual suspects.

I think I would give myself… a 60% chance of getting all of this done over the break. Maybe 62%.

So, what are you guys going to be painting or playing over Christmas?

Battle Report – Two Became Three

We are going to be sticking with the Flesh-Eater Courts for our tour of the Mortal Realms. In this fight, Fyreslayers and Skaven are having one of their normal bashes, but a Flesh-Eater Court has now arrived. This is our first three-player, three-army game in an all-against-all, so expect carnage!

 

The Story So Far

On board the massive Wyrd-Engine, lumbering its way over the Iron-Scree Wastes of Chamon, Fyreslayers and Skaven were locked in an ages old battle. Many times had they clashed for control of the Wyrd-Engine, but now the Skaven had a new weapon.

Grey Seer Reeknik had commissioned the construction of a Screaming Bell and when the rats surged up from the depths of the Wyrd-Engine to attack the Fyreslayer’s forge-temple, he was on board his new weapon.

Every time the bell peeled, Fyreslayers fell to the ground, clutching their bleeding ears. Thousands of rats were behind the Grey Seer, and overwhelming wave of Skaven that could only crush the Fyreslayers once and for all.

However, something else stirred in the depths of the Wyrd-Engine, something neither Skaven nor Fyreslayer suspected the existence of. It was Reeknik who first saw something was wrong when his planned reinforcements failed to materialise, but soon he realised just what was happening.

A Flesh-Eater Court had revived itself from a long slumber, and now the Abhorrant Ghoul King leading it was intent on claiming the entire Wyrd-Engine as his own domain.

 

The Forces

This is a relatively small battle, concentrating on the action that takes place where the three armies have converged – there is a lot going on off-camera, but this is where the fight will be decided!

Flesh-Eater Court
Abhorrent Ghoul King on Terrorgheist
Crypt Infernal Courtier
Crypt Ghast Courtier
Crypt Ghouls x 40 (two units of 20)
Crypt Flayers x 6 (two units of 3)

These are just the lead elements of the Flesh-Eater Court, as the rest are already feasting on the vast numbers of Skaven who would otherwise be overwhelming the Fyreslayers. However, they may find the other two armies easy prey after they have been battering one another…

Fyreslayers
Runefather on Magmadroth
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Runemaster
Battlesmith
Grimwrath Berzerker
Auric Hearthguard x 5
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 5
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (one units of 20, one unit of 10)

The Fyreslayers may have thought they were coming to this battle able to deal with anything the Skaven threw at them but, despite the presence of the Magmadroths, they are going to find themselves under serious pressure from the start.

Clan Verminus
Screaming Bell (Grey Seer Reeknik)
Clanrats x 50 (two units of 25)
Stormvermin x 20

The Skaven have more foot troops than either of the other two armies, but they will have to use them carefully. If the Clanrats (or, the Horned Rat forbid, the Stormvermin) are thrown into the battle carelessly, Grey Seer Reeknik will have nothing to face the Flesh-Eater Court with.

 

The Battleplan

This is a three-way Battleplan, with three armies and three players. There are no special rules as such in this battle (the Flesh-Eater Court can re-roll failed charges, while the other two armies can re-roll wounds of 1 against one another), just the facility for handling three players. Every round effectively has three turns, and models fight in each if they are near an enemy, regardless of whom it is.

On the face of it, the Flesh-Eater Court is likely to sweep the field clear of battle-weary Skaven and Fyreslayers. If either is to triumph, they must (temporarily) unite against the Flesh-Eaters but as their one special rule makes it easier to hurt one another, this might be more difficult than it looks!

The victory conditions are calculated when one player has been wiped out, with major victory going to the survivor who has lost (proportionally) the least in their force. The players involved in this battle are competitive, so expect to see them watching their opponents carefully and counting models on the fly!

 

Deployment

The three forces assembled on the battlefield, with the Skaven and Fyreslayers looking venomously at one another. However, both noted that the Flesh-Eater Court had deployed heavily weighted towards the Fyreslayers, positioning that caused the Grey Seer to lick his lips with glee.

img_7491

Having half-expected this, the Fyreslayers had deployed aggressively to face either foe, hoping they would not have to do so simultaneously.

 

Battle Round One

The Screaming Bell tolled, a mournful sound that shook the battlefield. An avalanche of energy flowed from the bell, which the Grey Seer quickly harnessed into a spell. Crack’s Call ripped a chasm across the ground, into which three Vulkite Berzerkers tumbled, screaming as they fell.

Then, the Grey Seer unveiled his master plan. Chittering to his troops from atop his bell, the Grey Seer ordered a steady retreat, pulling his Clanrats even closer to him. His strategy was made clear immediately – he wanted to wait until the Fyreslayers and Flesh-Eater Court had more or less destroyed one another, then swoop in to claim victory!

img_7492

The Ghoul King had no such worries about his own safety and took to the air on his Terrorgheist as more Crypt Ghouls sprang out of the shadows to join the growing horde. As one, they advanced across a broad front.

img_7493

A unit of Crypt Ghouls and Crypt Flayers pushed their way towards the Skaven, but the bulk of the Flesh-Eater Court was aiming straight for the Fyreslayers.

Seeing this, the Runefather quietly directed his troops to face the threats. Vulkite Berzerkers advanced cautiously towards the Skaven, determined to take advantage of the cover the woods provided but all too aware they would provide no protection against the Grey Seer’s Crack’s Call. The rest of the force rearranged itself to face the Flesh-Eater Court while the Auric Hearthguard began lining up a few long-ranged shots at the Crypt Flayers lurking amongst the trees.

img_7494

Battle Round Two

Hearing a command barked from the Runefather, the Fyreslayers halted their advance and readied their weapons. Only the Runemaster paced forward, raising his staff and speaking words of power. Among the trees closest tot he Flesh-Eater Court, magma bubbled up from the ground, spurting to drench the Crypt Flayers and immolate a Crypt Ghoul who had strayed too close.

img_7495

The Auric Hearthguard continued the bombardment of flaming rock, training their magmapikes upon the Crypt Flayers. Fire blasted through the trees, felling two of them.

Across the battlefield, the Screaming Bell tolled once more, feeding the Grey Seer yet more magical energy but it was too much for the rat to handle and his Crack’s Call failed this time, much to the relief of the Vulkite Berzerkers.

Then, the Ghoul King stood high atop his mount and gave a hideous shriek that galvanised his court into action. As one, they surged forward, aiming straight for the Fyreslayers.

Two Crypt Ghouls sank into bubbling magma as they rushed carelessly through the woods, but the rest did not even notice their pitiful cries, more dismayed by the Crypt Flayer and Ghoul King himself overtaking them to reach the fresh meat.

img_7496

Two of the Auric Hearthguard fell to the ground, clutching bleeding ears as the Terrorgheist unleashed a tremendous scream that boiled their brains, but the others stood firm against the Crypt Flayers who dove into their thin line. One of the Hearthguard fell to the Crypt Flayers’ talons, but Vulkite Berzerkers were quick to respond and piled-in, slaying on of the beasts. Another Crypt Flayer soared above swirling melee to land next to the Runemaster. Drawing his runic iron, they immediately clashed, trading blows and wounds behind the front line.

The Ghoul King had already chosen his target, and aimed his Terrorgheist at the largest enemy he could find, the Runesmiter who had advanced forward on his Magmadroth. The two beasts scratched and raked one another as their riders duelled.

img_7497

Quicker on the wing, the Terrorgheist savaged the Magmadroth, causing great gouts of volcanic blood to drench the nearby Crypt Flayers, boiling them as they fought. The Runesmiter backed his badly wounded Magmadroth up slightly, now wary of his enemy.

 

Battle Round Three

Having built up momentum in their charge, the Flesh-Eater Court continued to roll forward over the Fyreslayers.

img_7498

The Terrorgheist screamed again, this time at the Magmadroth. Waves of the terrible sound broke across the beast, smashing scales and unleashing its volcanic blood. The Runemaster saw it arcing towards him and sidestepped, allowing the lone Crypt Flayer he was fighting absorb the magma, immolating it completely.

Before the Magmadroth could recover, the Terrorgheist darted forward and snapped it heads off with one bite of its enormous jaws. The Magmadroth fell, spilling the Runesmiter to the ground. Before he could stand, the Ghoul King was on him, ripping the Fyreslayer apart with his bare claws.

The line between the Fyreslayers and Flesh-Eater Court became confused and messy, as Vulkite Berzerkers fought Crypt Flayers and Crypt Ghouls. Many ghouls fell to their axes, but the Auric Hearthguard could not free their weapons from the close tangle and were quickly killed.

img_7499

A lone unit of Crypt Ghouls had been quietly advancing across the other side of the battlefield, far from the developing battle with the Fyreslayers. The Skaven finally saw them approaching and started chittering among themselves, alerting the Grey Seer to the threat. Diverting his attention from the Fyreslayers, the Grey Seer directed a Crack’s Call spell at the ghouls, with several falling into the yawning earth.

img_7500

Seeing the Crypt Ghouls ignore this warning, the Grey Seer squeaked furiously, goading his Clanrats forward to face the enemy.

img_7501

Fifty Clanrats raced forward, the Stormvermin hot on their tails. The Crypt Ghouls were somewhat taken aback by this sudden move and were immediately forced onto the defensive as they were surrounded by Clanrats.

img_7502

While the sprawling battle was vicious, with much hissing and squeaking, few actual blows were landed and the result was a desperate tangle of angry Skaven and Crypt Ghouls trying to lash out at one another.

Still, at least the Grey Seer was safe, so he counted that as a win.

The Fyreslayers were facing far more problems. Another wave of Crypt Ghouls raced forward past the Terrorgheist and completely overwhelmed the Vulkite Berkerzers.

img_7503

Now, only the Runemaster alone held the Fyreslayer’s flank, and he had already been wounded by the Crypt Flayer he had fought.

The Runefather was well aware of the Perilous position the Flesh-Eater Court had put his force in, but he also spied opportunity now the Skaven had been drawn into the engagement. Roaring a command, he urged his Magmadroth forward towards the rats, the Battlesmith and remaining Vulkite Berzerkers streaming in his wake.

The Grimwrath Berzerker was charged with holding the flank, a suicidal duty he relished. Leading the Hearthguard Berzerkers, he raced for the Ghoul King on the Terrorgheist, legs pumping as fast as they could.

img_7504

Leaping over the remains of the Runesmiter’s Magamdroth, the Grimwrath Berzerker bellowed a challenge as he brought his axe down over his head. The Terrorgheist looked up in alarm as its mind slowly began to understand what was happening – far too slowly.

The Grimwrath Berzerker’s axe cracked its skull wide open with a single blow, but the Fyreslayer was not yet done. Jumping up onto its head, he sprang for the Ghoul King and, with one mighty swing, cut the vampire in two.

The Hearthguard Berzerkers were not going to be outdone by this display, and they raced for the Crypt Flayers surrounding the Runemaster. They were not quick enough to save him, but their axes made short work of the Crypt Flayers, felling two and wounding another before they realised what was happening.

img_7505

Battle Round Four

Busy squeaking orders to his incompetent Clanrats, the Grey Seer belatedly realised that the remaining Fyreslayers were running towards him, intent on wrecking his Screaming Bell and separating his head from his neck. The Grey Seer chittered a series of confused and contradictory orders, but the Clanrats got the gist of them and they started to flee, running from the Crypt Ghouls as fast as they could while the Stormvermin advanced meaningfully towards them, halberds ready.

img_7508

One unit of Clanrats stuck around just long enough to stop the Crypt Ghouls from escaping the Stormvermin – then the elite rats charged.

img_7509

Unable to run, the Crypt Ghouls raised their arms in a vain attempt to halt the descending halberds, but they were all butchered to a diseased, degenerate ghoul.

With the Ghoul King killed, the Crypt Infernal Courtier now took command of the Flesh-Eater Court. Raising up on his haunches, he screeched at the sky and was soon rewarded with a flock of Crypt Flayers arriving on the battlefield to bolster his waning force.

Then, to the surprise of both Crypt Flayers and Crypt Ghouls, he ordered the court to disengage from the Fyreslayers and start running for the Skaven. Perhaps he wanted revenge for the slaying of the Crypt Ghouls by the Stormvermin. Maybe he had seen the effectiveness of the Grimwrath Berzerker’s axe and merely wanted to avoid its kiss. No matter, the Fyreslayers were now free to fight the Skaven too…

img_7510

This reversal of the intentions of the Flesh-Eater Court had not gone unnoticed by the Runefather, and he was thankful for the relief it gave the Fyreslayers. The Grimwrath Berzerker and Hearthguard, he noted, were chasing after the Crypt Ghouls, helping to shepherd them towards the rats.

As the Battlesmith led the Vulkite Berzerkers into the woods, where they would be in a position to both weather a sudden charge from the Stormvermin and be in range to strike at the Creaming Bell, the Runefather goaded his Magmadroth forward at full speed, aiming straight for the nearest Clanrats.

img_7511

The Magmadroth spat a gob of magma at the Stormvermin as it galloped, toasting three of them in a wash of fire and panicked squeaking, but their cries were quickly overwhelmed by those of the Clanrats who suddenly realised who the Magmadroth was bounding towards.

img_7512

A spray of rat blood soared into the air as the Magmadroth bounced among them, biting and swiping while the Runefather made long, powerful sweeps with his latchkey axe. Seven Clanrats were killed between the Magamdroth’s claws and the Runefather’s axe, and another were hurled from the battle by sweeps from the beast’s tail. This proved too much for the survivors and another seven scampered for the shadows, alongside two of the Stormvermin.

 

Battle Round Five

The momentum had been firmly seized by the Fyreslayers, and they took every advantage.

img_7513

Streaming out of the woods, the Vulkite Berzerkers roared challenges at the Skaven, but it was very clear the Grey Seer was not going to accept as the Screaming Bell trundled as fast as it could away from the fighting.

img_7514

The Magmadroth continued to tear apart the few Clanrats who still stood, but most of them were ready to break and run anyway. The creature took enough time to spit another gob of magma at the Stormvermin, causing them to back up and huddle together for protection, but this caused them to miss the oncoming Vulkite Berzerkers.

img_7515

The Vulkite Berzerkers smashed into the Stormvermin like a Steamhead train. Flinging their shields as they ran, the razor-edged discs sliced through five of the Stormvermin, while the axes of the Fyreslayers quickly dispatched the rest before the rats could react.

The centre had been torn out of the Skaven force within minutes, much to the consternation of the Grey Seer. His Screaming Bell was now moving much slower now it was not being pushed by his minions, and the only Clanrats left had fled to the far side of the battlefield and there were some very angry Fyreslayers between him and them…

Seeing this turn of events, the Crypt Infernal Courtier reassessed his priorities and, spying the Grimwrath Berzerker and Hearthguard following behind, barked an order to his followers. Responding instantly, they turned to surrounded the Fyreslayers.

img_7516

The Hearthguard Berzerkers were quickly beset by a massive horde of Crypt Ghouls. Though nearly a dozen ghouls died to their axes, there were simply too many for the Hearthguard to face, and they were torn apart in a shower of blood, organs and limbs.

img_7517

The Grimwrath Berzerker fared better. Having reached the woods, he spat curses at the Crypt Flayers that came for him, deriding their treachery, however expected it had been, Though wounded by their talons, his axe accounted for one of their number, forcing them to be a little more cautious.

img_7518

Battle Round Six

By this time, all three armies had taken horrendous casualties, but victory remained possible for all.

img_7519

The Fyreslayers were the first to make their move, and the Runefather decided to continue pressing his advantage on the Skaven. While the Vulkite Berzerkers reversed their direction to chase the Screaming Bell, he pursued the Clanrats upon his Magmadroth.

img_7520

Seeing this, the Clanrats tried to run even faster, though they knew they could not outpace an angry Magmadroth. The Grey Seer had other ideas though, Fed up of constantly running, he turned the Screaming Bell round, and rolled towards the Vulkite Berzerkers.

img_7521

Another Crack’s Call spell opened up the ground, causing several Berzerkers to fall into the earth, while the Screaming Bell itself rolled over more. However, the survivors stood firm, and their axes caused the frame of the Screaming Bell to shudder and creak as several of its timbers crashed to the ground.

Dispatching the wounded Grimwrath Berzerkers, the Crypt Flayers took to the air, searching for new victims. The Crypt Ghouls had already found theirs, and they rushed through the ruins to reach the Runefather, cutting off his pursuit of the Clanrats.

img_7522

Their oversized horde flowed across the broken masonry as they reached, claws outstretched, for the Runefather. All they accomplished was the ripping off of a few scales from the Magmadroth. Then the Runefather’s massive axe descended, cutting ten of them in two and forcing more to run.

img_7523

While others still remained in combat with the Magmadroth, the great charge of the Crypt Ghouls had clearly been shattered by the Runefather’s staunch defence.

 

Battle Round Seven

The Crypt Ghouls did not know whether to fear the Magmadroth more, or the Crypt Infernal Courtier who they knew lurked in the ruins just behind them. It was the Magmadroth that made the decision for them. Swiping with its claws, most of the ghouls were killed instantly, and the rest promptly bolted for the shadows around the battlefield.

img_7524

Further away, the Battlesmith joined in the fight around the Screaming Bell, carving great chunks out of its wooden frame, though a swipe from the Rat Ogre at its rear left him with a savage wound across the back.

img_7525

This was a distraction that poorly served the Rat Ogre, as its pulls on the bell became erratic. The Screaming Bell peeled a discordant note that sent tremors through its frame, damaging it further.

The last remaining Clanrats cowered on the far side of the battlefield, hoping no one would notice them. However, they had already been spotted by the circling Crypt Flayers who now dived towards them.

img_7526

Badly damaged as it was, the Screaming Bell and its Rat Ogre managed to kill the last of the Vulkite Berzerkers and the Battlesmith who had joined them. Now, it rattled its way towards the Runefather, the Grey Seer hurling Arcane Bolts as it went, determined that the last Fyreslayer, at least, would not walk away from the battle.

img_7527

 

Battle Round Eight

The Clanrats could not flee from the Crypt Flayers, and they squeaked in terrible fear as they were cornered, trying to clamber over one another in a bid not to be the first to die.

img_7528

It made little difference to the Crypt Flayers, who soon feasted on rat flesh.

Seeing that the damaged Screaming Bell was in no shape to catch him any time soon, the Runefather turned his Magmadroth and went hunting Flesh-Eaters. He found his first victim climbing out of the ruins, the Crypt Ghast Courtier who had been responsible for building up such a massive horde of Crypt Ghouls throughout the battle. Now caught in the open, the Courtier managed to shriek in true terror before the Runefather’s Latchkey Axe removed its head.

 

Battle Round Nine

However, the battle had been a long and hard one for the Magmadroth, and a constant stream of volcanic blood dripped from its many wounds. It was now not moving as fast as it had been, and the Crypt Infernal Courtier easily reached it with one long glide.

img_7529

The fight was short but intense. The Magmadroth managed to gouge a hideous wound in the Courtier, but the Flesh-Eater’s own talons proved more telling. Bounding up the Magmadroth’s flanks, it tore the Runefather from his mount and sank its long teeth into his flesh.

The last Fyreslayer had fallen, and the Grey Seer decided to leave the Wyrd-Engine to the Flesh-Eater Court.

 

Conclusion

Well, that was a battle and a half!

As always, it was very close, and we really had no idea who was going to win, right up until the end of round nine when the Runefather fell (and that fight could so easily have gone the other way!). At first it looked as though the Fyreslayers were going to be knocked out first, then the Skaven, and then the Flesh-Eater Court (the Flesh-Eater Court was not allowed to count newly summoned models as survivors, so they actually only had a few left!).

At the end of the battle, the Fyreslayers had been wiped out, but the Flesh-Eater Court only had 6% of its starting models left on the battlefield, and the Skaven 1.4%! You really cannot get much closer than that!

As far as the Fyreslayers were concerned, the man of the match was probably the Runefather, who led the charge that shattered the Skaven as a fighting force. However, honourable mention should go to the Grimwrath Berzerker who managed to utterly destroy the Ghoul King and his Terrorgheist in a single round of combat!

This is a Battleplan I would wholeheartedly recommend for any group to try (you can find it in Battletome: Flesh-Eater Courts). The rules for three player games are extremely simple and do not put much overhead on a battle, but (as with all good rules in Age of Sigmar), they add a whole new dimension that players must come to grips with – not least that it is very possible to lose models in another player’s turn when that player’s models are not fighting yours (because if you are in battle, you fight, no matter whose turn it is). This means you are getting another lot of close combat in every round, which can be good… or very, very bad…

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, we are taking a trip to the Realm of Life for our first battle featuring the Ironjawz!

Why I Like Age of Sigmar

It has been nearly 18 months since Age of Sigmar was released and, for some, there has been some heartache and a lot of confusion on the way.

img_7387

Round our way though, things have been bright and sunny, or at least as much as they can be in the Mortal Realms where war stalks the lands. We have played an awful lot of games (more than we did 40k or Fantasy Battle before Sigmar was released), we have got through four big campaign hardbacks, and I have painted way more miniatures in that space of time than I ever have for any other game. Ever.

There are reasons why…

 

Every Game Different

Just about every game we played of Warhammer Fantasy was drawn from one of the six ‘main’ scenarios in the rulebook (we did at one point substitute one of them for a Storm of Magic scenario, but that was about as adventurous as we got). 40k was no better, rolling on the mission table for every game, drawing from the same six missions.

Now consider this.

Since Age of Sigmar came out, we have played nearly 70 games in the grand storyline campaign featured on this site, plus a few Matched Play games and some events at Warhammer World.

Aside from a few games at those events, we have never played the same Battleplan twice.

That means you could forget about tweaking your army or getting hold of new units (and we do plenty of both), every game is still different. There are over a hundred Battleplans for Age of Sigmar right now, and you can be sure many more will be coming next year when the new campaign books start appearing.

IMG_4894

If you find yourself repeating games in Age of Sigmar, you are doing something very wrong.

 

Smaller Armies, and More of Them

Once we broke away from the rigid ‘must have a 2,000 point game or it ain’t Warhammer’ mindset, we found it easier to spread the love between different forces – no longer was an army a year(s)-long endeavour where every possible variation of units was put together, then followed by doubling down on the most effective units. Instead, we could explore lots of areas of the Warhammer universe, focussing on those forces that held the most interest, but giving each at least a little time in the sun.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the forces built over the past 18-odd months have grown, well, fairly titanic – in the display cabinets I have 4,500 points of an Extremis Chamber alone, and the Bloodbound probably come to more than that. However, you would also find an Aleguzzler tribe, all clans of Skaven well represented, the Devoted of Sigmar, Spiderfang Grots. I even have an Eldritch Council on the way.

IMG_4400

Multiple armies multiplies the fun, and the set up of Age of Sigmar (once you move beyond Matched Play) encourages you to explore them.

 

No Argument, No Fuss

I really cannot overstate this one.

When playing 40k or Fantasy Battle, at some point the game will stop as one of the players opens a rulebook or Codex up. Maybe the players will start chatting or debating the rules. Maybe an argument will start. It does not matter how many years you have been playing these games (coming up to three decades, myself!), there will always be some rule somewhere that gets read wrong or understood badly or, worse, a player will intentionally try to get a bad reading of a rule working in his favour.

Either way, the game has just ground to a halt.

Since playing Age of Sigmar, there have been no rules debates in our group. None. Nada. Zilch. And here is the funny thing – I cannot think of one cropping up during events at Warhammer World where you are playing against strangers.

I will even go as far as saying that I cannot recall the last time I looked at the main rules for Age of Sigmar – it has been months since I so much as glanced at them.

Age of Sigmar simply works.

It does not pretend to be some grand tactical simulation where great minds engage one another in a mental duel akin to Grandmasters (and if you think you are demonstrating your mental abilities when you win a game of Fantasy Battle or 40k, well, it may be beneficial to take a step back and consider where your life is going).

Age of Sigmar is about getting cool models on a good-looking table and seeing what is currently happening in the Mortal Realms. That is all it is aiming for, and all it needs to do.

IMG_4334

The core rules for Age of Sigmar are so simple they effectively become invisible during play, with only Warscrolls (and the occasional Time of War sheet) popping up.

Simple, easy, does not get in the way.

That is not to say they are not without their subtleties. To give one example…

In Fantasy Battle, siege games were a bit of a deal, and required special rules, a special set up, and you could end up hunting around for a decent set you were happy with, plumbing the depths of previous editions for something suitable.

Age of Sigmar does not need any of that. In fact, you don’t really need the Warscrolls for the Dreadhold to play a siege game. They just add some fun rules for specific parts of a fortress. All you require is a castle and the assumption that the units attacking it are equipped with some basic siege gear – ropes, ladders, spells of levitation, whatever you fancy.

It is not until you are actually assaulting that fortress that you start to see how clever the core rules are and how they handle siege assaults.

You see, for the average soldier, enemies on the ramparts are untouchable (they are further than your weapons can reach). However, if the enemy is completely strung out along those walls (or, at least, the section you are attacking) you cannot move onto them to reach him, and you cannot charge him because his models are blocking your movement – you cannot move through his models, and so you cannot place your own on the wall, even if there is room behind the enemy.

IMG_3857

This means that to take a Dreadhold, you must:

  • Clear the walls first with missile fire or magic.
  • Use something big enough to literally reach over the wall and clobber the enemy.
  • Use flying units.
  • Or, if you have one, push open the Malefic Gate (not an easy job; I have managed it a grand total of once over the past 18 months)

Which are all solid tactics in a fantasy world. But here is the thing: at no point have any ‘siege’ rules been added to the game. This is all done through the core rules.

Simple. And brilliant.

 

Play the Game, Not the Rules

This one leads on from the last.

Once you find yourself in the happy position of never, repeat never, consulting the rulebook, you find yourself free to enjoy the game.

There is no looking up of the rules (during play or afterwards) in an attempt to leverage every ounce of advantage from them. There is no ‘pushing’ of rules over common sense, where models start doing things that are technically legal within the rules, but would never happen in the real world.

Instead, your focus is on the actual game – whether your Stormcasts can roll up the flank of the Skaven with a full force of Prosecutors leading Retributors, not whether you can squeeze another +1 from the combat resolution. Whether your Blightmage can finish off the Necromancer with a well-timed Arcane Bolt, not whether you have the right magic item to give you more magic dice.

IMG_3217

Warhammer at its most fun and, I very much think, the way the designers intended for it to be played.

 

The Storyline

The odd Matched Play aside, the main driving force behind our games has been the ‘official’ storyline, as laid out in the campaign books and Black Library novels.

And you know… it is actually quite a good story!

This background material gives battles on the tabletop a depth that, up to now, has been somewhat lacking in games, even given the (very) rich background of the Warhammer universes (you can see the format developing in the End Times books which, rules aside and with a great deal of hindsight, do seem to be Age of Sigmar in a different guise).

We have charted the fall and rise of the likes of Lord Khul and Torsun the Redeemed, not over a few battles, but over continuous games across 18 months, and there does not seem to be any sign that their stories will end any time soon.

We have seen the assault upon the Eldritch Fortress and watched as the Grand Congregation of Nurgle discovered the Athelwyrd, triggering the Exodus of Alarielle. We witnessed the arrival of Archaon, Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse, into the Realmgate Wars, and the unleashing of the Chamber Extremis in response. Heroes have risen (such as the brave veteran Liberators who faced down Valkia the Bloody) and the craven have fallen (Bloodsecrator Threx failing to recover Lord Khul when wounded then retreating to a Skull Keep to avoid his master’s wrath, only to find he had put himself in the path of the main Stormcast attack).

IMG_3669

These were not abstract events that happened in some background piece in a Codex or the pages of a Black Library novel. We saw them take place, on our tables, as we rolled the dice.

And that is a whole other experience.

 

A Lot Goes on in Age of Sigmar

We once had a game of Age of Sigmar that lasted just two turns.

What we found was that a huge amount had still happened during the game.

In Fantasy Battle, it would have been quite a disappointing match – by turn two, you might have a couple of initial charges, but more likely just some sporadic bow fire and the odd wizard flinging a spell (or immolating himself with a miscast).

In Age of Sigmar, there is always a lot going on, and it happens in multiple layers.

  • Even basic units can often do something a little out of the ordinary, and damn near every Hero has funky rules that let them take special actions on the battlefield.
  • You have to go long and far to find a Battleplan that does not add something to the depth of a game, from new General Abilities that, perhaps, do something as minor as allowing units to re-roll wounds, to big battlefield-wide events that open up chasms under the feet of units or drop daemons from a spinning vortex in the sky.
  • Time of War sheets are the cherry on top, adding more events, spells, and special rules.

The point is, from round one, something is always happening in Age of Sigmar, and that keeps things interesting.

IMG_2827

A side benefit of this, but one not to be overlooked, is that while I can predict what will happen and when during a game of Fantasy Battle as soon as deployment is complete (and figure out who will win – how boring is that?), I often can’t tell who is going to claim victory in Age of Sigmar until the last turn!

 

A Teenager Again

When Age of Sigmar first came out, we played with no points – you did not have a choice in the early days.

I could say playing games without points became a revelation but, really, it was a rediscovery – after all, this was how we used to play these games when we were kids. And you know what? We had fun doing it!

As army lists came out back then, with the likes of Chapter Approved: First Book of the Astronomican, and then new armies (like the Eldar) appearing in White Dwarf, we buckled down and conformed to what became tournament play.

But, you know, there is more to games than tournaments and, as much as I might sound like a social worker, more to life than winning.

Not that I lack the competitive spirit. You face me in Fantasy Battle or 40k (or Matched Play with Age of Sigmar) and I’ll take you down. I’ll do it quickly, efficiently, and without mercy. Turns out I am a little bit good at competitive miniatures play.

Take the points out and, frankly, I could not give a damn who wins. I really cannot stress that enough. Could. Not. Care. Less.

IMG_2051

What I am looking for is a fun time, rolling dice and pushing models around the table (with absolutely no arguments brewing) as cool things happen on the battlefield.

I don’t care if this battle means I will have beaten you a dozen times in a row and it represents an unbroken line of achievements (it just doesn’t). I want to know if my lowly Grot Shaman is going to safely guard the entrance to the egg nest on his own against your Chaos Warriors. I want to see the (truly majestic) sight of the full Extremis Chamber riding down the enemy horde, a tidal wave of armour and scales. I want to see Aleguzzler Gargants get so drunk they cannot even stumble their way towards the enemy.

Competitive, tournament play still has its place and I enjoy dipping back into it (I am going to one in a couple of weeks at Warhammer World). But, and I have said this before, if you find yourself continually playing games that would not be out of place in a tournament setting, ditch your competitive spirit for just a game or two, find some like-minded people and play Warhammer like (as I have said), I am pretty sure, the designers do.

It really is okay for you to do that. Jervis has given you permission.

So, those are just a few of the reasons I have been enjoying Age of Sigmar. What has been your excuse?

The Fist of Gork

Two little milestones achieved this weekend…

img_7530

The forces of Destruction are coming on well!

First up is Gordrakk himself, the Fist of Gork.

img_7531

This model marks the last of the Ironjawz I will be doing for a good while (might sneak in a handful more Ardboyz to take me up to three units of 20, and I could probably use another unit of Gore-Gruntas), and one of the last models needed for the All-Gates campaign which we will be starting soon, likely after Christmas.

img_7532

This was a fairly no-stress model to paint, just following the paint scheme that comes with the box set.

img_7533

Even the yellow is no fuss these days, with the ‘Citadel Painting System’ (used to hate doing yellow).

So, as the Ironjawz are completed (that is, ‘completed’), the Bonesplitterz start appearing. While I have a few other bits and pieces to be getting on with (Prosecutors, a Skull Keep and Morghast Harbingers on the painting table right now), I wanted to get one unit of Bonesplitterz done before launching into the main bulk of their army, just to see what is what when it comes to painting them.

img_7534

And… they are fairly easy to do!

img_7535

They are, of course, mostly green skin with bone, hair, leather, stone and tattoos the only real additions to them. The only real pain was that you really need to do the leather and hide in two stages – once to get the main loincloths and straps done, but then again once the bone is complete to sort out all the leather straps on the shields and weapons. Not a real hassle, but I really like only doing colours once on a model.

Also managed to pop one of these chaps in:

img_7536

Just to get the point across that this is a monster-killing army!

This weekend I also put together a couple more characters for the Bonesplitterz and a unit of Boarboyz. The aim is to get the whole army more or less done before the Christmas break and not make the Bonesplitterz my Christmas Project, but I think that might be a little ambitious, especially as I will be losing a weekend to the Battle Brothers event, plus I need to spend some time actually building whatever I end up doing for the Christmas Project.

Still best foot forward!

Guarding the Starmaster

So, I will be attending the Battle Brothers event at Warhammer World in a couple of weeks or so. This is a team event, where you and a buddy each combine 1,000 point forces and take on all comers.

Now, having, umm, quite an extensive AoS collection, I thought we might take something interesting and unusual… Until my running mate (mentioning no James’ names) informed me he was taking a Daughters of Khaine force for his 1,000 points.

Okay, I thought, any hopes of Sportsmanship/Best Game awards had just gone of the window, they were a pipe dream.

You see, there are a handful of forces that are known to be just plain nasty in AoS – you will hear phrases like ‘Beastclaw Raiders’, ‘Skyborne Slayers’ and ‘Kunnin Rukk’, to give just three examples. However, the Daughters of Khaine are a kinda stealth army. They are right up there with those three but few people know it and, looking at the army, opponents will not suspect a thing – until the first Witch Elves shrug off a hail of shooting and mortal wounds, and then tear apart any unit they come into contact with.

So, I had to have a rethink on what I was going to take. In the end, I settled for another ‘stealthy’ type force, based around the Seraphon. However, it meant I had to paint a few more models…

img_7468

This is the first time I have painted a unit specifically for Matched Play purposes, and I am not sure if I feel dirty or not…

Anyway, I painted myself up another 15 Saurus Guard, giving me a total of 30.

The idea here is that the Witch Elves run forward and… do what Witch Elves do. Eat the enemy, mostly.

My Seraphon, comprising three units of 10 Saurus Guard, an Eternity Warden, and a Skink Priest (there is enough room for something else – maybe a Bastiladon to counter any Balewind Vortex shenanigans), advance behind the girls and sit on objectives.

The trick is that they have been arranged into the Eternal Starhost. This gives them a number of benefits.

img_7469

First off, assuming the right Heroes are near (they will be), each Saurus Guard has an effective 2+ save that ignores Rend of -1 (most of the Rend out there), without going anywhere near scenery or accepting a Mystic Shield. And the Skink Priest will be getting them to re-roll that. Oh, and they will have a Bravery of 12, for all that will matter.

This makes the Saurus Guard an absolute rock that will be a pain to shift as they sit on objectives, quietly accruing points.

But suppose the enemy manages to break through the Witch Elves and staggers, battered and bloody to the Saurus Guard line?

Well, the Eternity Warden will be giving my lizards an extra attack (total of three each), which are already at 3+/3+/-1 but, so long as they do not move (and, sitting on objectives, they won’t be), that is coming in with D3 damage too.

That is a total monster killer.

Now, this force does have weaknesses. Unless they are accompanied by the Bastiladon, they have no ranged ability. Plus, they have no protection against mortal wounds – however, that is what the Witch Elves are for (#LizardLivesMatter).

So, the upshot of all this is, while there are going to be some nasty forces at Battle Brothers, I think we will be going into the fight with some fair optimism.

The only real question is: do I up my Saurus Guard to 60 models and do the same thing at 2,000 points for the Grand Tournaments next year..?