The next battle in the Realm of Life campaign has rolled up, and this one sees the first fight in which the Stormcasts take to the field against Nurgle’s Rotbringers.
The Story So Far
The first two battles in the campaign focussed on the Sylvaneth and their stirrings as they realise the Stormcasts have arrived and that now might be the right time to finally defeat the forces of Nurgle who have corrupted their homeland. In this battle, the Stormcasts have gained a beachhead in the Realm of Life and the Rotbringers are slowly beginning to realise they are under attack – too slowly.
The Hallowed Knights (one of Sigmar’s Stormhosts, and the one I just happened to use for the colours of my own Stormcasts) are marching through corrupted Rotbringer territory and have just happened upon the Rotfane, a small fortress commanded by the Blightmage Slaugoth. Wasting no time, they attack!
The Rotfane is a foul place and Slaugoth has harnessed its power to literally spew out a pestilent wind through its gate that withers all in its path. The Stormcasts need to close the gate and destroy all resistance inside.
We used very similar forces for this battle as appeared in The Trap – in fact, the Sylvaneth had exactly the same force (one tree has to be pretty much like another, after all, and my collection of them is limited), while the Rotbringers had a few less models but got to mess around with both a Skull Keep and a Bastion.
Blightmage SLaugoth (Nurgle Chaos Sorcerer)
Putrid Blightkings x 10 (with Icon Bearer and Sonorous Tocsin)
Nurglings x 9
Plaguebearers x 24
Plague Drones x 3
Another small garrison, representing a Sorcerer Lord and his retinue of Blightkings, along with various daemons he has made pacts with (plus the ability to summon a whole lot more).
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Retributors x 5
Judicators x 5 (armed with bows)
Prosecutors x 3 (armed with Javelins and a Trident)
The Rotfane sat in one corner, and the daemons were deployed outside its walls to act as speed bumps for the Stormcasts. The Blightkings kept close to guard against a break through while Slaugoth himself stood high on the gates where he commanded a wide view of the battlefield and ensured he remained in range for his spells.
The Stormcasts had a long way to walk to get to the gates (and Paladins ain’t quick by any measure), though Prosecutors on the left flank, led by a Knight-Azyros, were ready to cross the open ground and put pressure on the Rotbringers early.
Battle Round One
The Rotbringers had the first turn but, aside from a little shuffling and a mystic shield being cast on the Plaguebearers, they held their ground, content for the Stormcasts to come to them.
For their part, the Stormcasts ran across their entire line, with only the Judicators getting a few shots off to kill a few Nurglings.
Battle Round Two
Slaugoth summoned a Herald of Nurgle to bolster his daemonic force but, again, the daemons lay in wait for the Stormcasts to get closer.
The Judicators maintained their fire, taking out three Plaguebearers, while the Prosecutors managed to flank the Nurgle force and threw their javelins, but only succeeded in wounding a single Plague Drone.
Battle Round Three
At just the right time, the Stormcasts grabbed the first turn, but few were in a position to charge. The Decimators ploughed into the Plaguebearers and absolutely tore them apart, their own armour bolstered by the Lord-Castellant’s lantern so despite being mobbed by Plaguebearer and Nurgling alike, they remained firm.
Meanwhile, the Judicators discovered they were in range of Slaugoth himself, and sent a volley of arrows that seriously wounded the Blightmage.
Deciding that his position on the gate was a little too close to the enemy for comfort, Slaugoth retreated further along the wall, out of sight of the sharpshooting Judicators.
Against the growing melee outside the gate, the Decimators were living up to their name as they scythed through the Plaguebearers, but the Nurgle daemons had the eye of their god and most popped back into reality by the use of the icon the unit carried. Meanwhile, the Plague Drones repositioned themselves to block the advance of the Prosecutors.
Battle Round Four
The losses the Plaguebearers had sustained were made good by Slaugoth as he summoned a brand new unit, and the Herald dived into the battle against the Decimators. For their part, the Decimators were still enjoying the Lord-Castellant’s protection and were killing massive amounts of Nurgle daemons while taking few losses of their own. However, the Plaguebearers’ icon kicked off once more, returning banished daemons back into the fight.
On the left flank, the Prosecutors and Plague Drones had something of a stand off which the Knight-Azyros tried to break by using his lantern. One Plague Drone fluttered to the ground, but the other two hovered defiantly.
In the centre, a unit of Liberators charged into a swarm of Nurglings to try to relieve the growing pressure on the Decimators, but on the right flank there was a massive crack of thunder as the Retributors charged into the Blightkings. Suitably motivated by the command of Lord-Celestant Gardus, all of their attacks hit, and hit hard – the Blightkings reeled under this assault and when the smoke cleared, six of them lay dead on the ground.
Against the Plaguebearers, the Decimators killed ever greater numbers, but the daemons’ icon kicked off again and brought more back.
Battle Round Five
The Plague Drone were targeted by both the Judicators and Prosecutors, and another was destroyed. The Knight-Azyros, seeing that not much time remained to close the gate, flew past the last drone.
Any Stormcast that was not already engaged charged forward, with Lord-Celestant Gardus sneaking through the battle line to engage the recently summoned Plaguebearers and thus get much closer to the open gate.
As the Retributors finished off the Blightkings, the icon carried by the Plaguebearers was activated yet again (seriously, it requires a roll of a 1 on the Battleshock test, and it happened four times in this battle…) and Lord-Celestant Gardus realised that his momentum had been lost.
Sounding the retreat, Gardus led the Stormcast Eternals away from the battle. There was, after all, more important targets to engage in the Realm of Life…
That battle was competed fairly quickly, mostly because the initial turns involved movement and the odd special ability. As the two forces met, it turned into a more ‘regular’ game.
The Stormcast Eternals could have worked a bit harder to reach the gate, where things would have turned into a push/pull battle involving the Blightkings and whatever daemons were still standing. Certainly, the immortal Plaguebearers in front of the gate (and the Stormcasts call themselves ‘Eternal’ – they have nothing on these daemons) managed to stall both the Decimators and a unit of Liberators, while almost everyone else was too far away to really influence the battle.
This could have been solved by either more Prosecutors (who would have probably just had their wings ripped off) or ‘deep striking’ units. Perhaps a nice medium between these two would have been the battalion that features three units of Prosecutors who can ‘teleport’ a Liberator unit across the battlefield. If we played this battle again, that is probably what I would try.
If you wanted to win this battle at all costs, Stormcast Eternals dropping from the sky is probably the way forward, but that would force the Rotbringers to be a lot more defensive and I am not sure that battle would be particularly exciting.
The Story Continues…
So, the Lifewell has been liberated but not everything is going the way of the Forces of Order, and the Rotfane is still spewing out its muck. Now it is time to really ramp up the fight as the Stormcast Eternals have located the Gates of Dawn, a valuable Realmgate that should prove to be a major strategic advantage for whoever holds it. In the next battle (hoping to get done his Friday!), we will see the Stormcast advance upon it…