Well, after last week’s climactic finish to the Quest for Ghal Maraz, Sigmar has his hammer back! That could only mean one thing… the Celestant-Prime could come out to play.
I must admit, I have been looking forward to this Battleplan ever since it appeared in White Dwarf (how can you go wrong with the Celestant-Prime versus a very angry Bloodthirster?), but I had made myself a little rule: I would not use the Celestant-Prime in our campaign at all, not until we had played through the recovery of Ghal Maraz.
So, it is only natural, as soon as the hammer was reclaimed, the Celestant-Prime would make an appearance!
The Story So Far
When Ghal Maraz was returned to Sigmar, the God-King was finally able to awaken the Celestant-Prime, the instrument of His Will who would take the hammer and use it to smack the Chaos out of people all over the Mortal Realms.
One of the Celestant-Prime’s earliest battles took place on the plateau atop Anvil Mountain in Chamon, the Realm of Metal. The dread Bloodthirster Khrul’Sath the Slaughterer had been leading its daemonic and mortal forces with great success against the Stormcast, determined to prevail where the feckless forces of Tzeentch had fallen.
This was set to be a titanic confrontation of Bloodthirster versus Celestant-Prime, of unfettered fury versus Sigmar’s finest…
The Khornate side has a mixture of mortals and daemons under the leadership of the Bloodthirster, while the Stormcasts are going in loaded for bear – they have a solid core of Paladins, assisted by Prosecutors and Judicators.
The Forces of Slaughter
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury (Khrul’Sath the Slaughterer)
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 20 (two units of 10)
Wrathmongers x 5
Blood Throne of Khorne
Bloodletters x 30 (three units of 10)
This is a list full of some very, very angry people. The mortals bring the numbers, while the daemons bring the hard-hitting stuff, including a Herald upon a Blood Throne. The Stormcasts will have their work cut out for then, especially if those Wrathmongers can get anywhere near their heroes…
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Protectors x 5
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)
To match the forces of Khorne, the Stormcasts have brought along only their most elite forces. Heroes abound in this force, backed up by the might of the Paladins and supported by Judicators and Prosecutors.
This Battleplan relies on the opposing generals killing as many of the enemy as possible or, better, making sure the enemy general ends up dead. The Bloodthirster is going to get cracking straight away, while the Celestant-Prime must decide when he will grace the battlefield with his presence – too soon and he will be too weak to tackle the Bloodthirster, too late and the Bloodthirster will be too far ahead on the skull tally to catch up.
Added to that, for every five models a general kills, a bonus is granted, ranging from being healed, to having greatly magnified attacks.
Timing will be everything!
With no Liberators to soak up the oncoming horde, the Judicators were deployed far forward, allowing the Paladins at least a little respite and the opportunity to pick their targets.
For their part, the Khorne forces set up in a huge wave with which they intended to overwhelm all Stormcasts before them. The Bloodthirster set up on the opposite flank to the Protectors – he might be very angry, but he was not stupid…
Battle Round One
The Stormcasts were patient and watchful. Knowing the Khorne worshippers would inevitably come to them, they held their positions and waited.
With a terrific cry, every Khorne unit rushed forward, eager for blood.
Judging the time was right, the Stormcasts acted. The Knight-Vexillor saw a perfect cluster of enemies, and called a comet down from the heavens to implode in a shower of dirt and body parts amidst the Khorne line, killing Bloodletters and a Blood Warrior. The Judicators followed this attack up and concentrated on the Bloodletters who were somewhat stunned by the terrific blast.
Sensing the Bloodthirster was too great a target (both generals get an additional 3+ save against all wounds in this battle), the Knight-Venator selected the Blood Throne as his target. A Starfated Arrow shot across the battlefield and exploded, destroying the chariot instantly.
Not to be outdone, the Knight-Heraldor rushed forward and blew his horn, shaking the Numinous Occulum. The falling masonry killed a Wrathmonger and Bloodreaver, and also wounded the Exalted Deathbringer and even the Bloodthirster!
Battle Round Two
Suitable enraged, the Bloodthirster rushed forward, leading his troops by example – he had spied the enemy responsible for his (slight) injury, as the Knight-Heraldor had advanced in front of the rest of the Stormcast line.
With a loud crack, the Bloodthirster’s whip shot out and snared the Knight-Heraldor, dragging him within reach of its axe. With a short spray of blood and a flash of lightning, the Knight-Heraldor was sent straight back to Sigmaron.
All along the line, a general charge saw Khorne units smash into Stormcast, and a general melee erupted around the Ophidian Archway as Blood Warriors tried to force their way through the arch while Bloodletters and Bloodreavers swept around it to attack the Judicators.
Three Judicators fell in the initial assault for little reply, finding themselves at a distinct disadvantage so close to their enemies.
However, the Blood Warriors who charged the Decimators fared far less well, only wounding a Paladin while losing four of their own number.
A hail of missile fire shot from Stormcast retinues, a mass salvo of hammers and javelins, all aimed at the Bloodthirster. However, when the dust cleared, the greater daemon emerged with a triumphant roar, completely unhurt. Stealing themselves to the duty, a retinue of Retributors charged.
While the cracking of their lightning hammers was impressive, the Bloodthirster shook off the worst effects, and instead concentrated on the Lord-Relictor who had joined the Retributors in the assault. That fight was very short, and ended up with the Lord-Relictor being flung back to Sigmar.
Across the battlefield, Bloodreavers were suffering from the attentions of the Stormcast. The Boltstorm crossbow-armed Judicators unleashed their weaponry at point blank range into one unit, while a joint charge of Protectors, Prosecutors and the Knight-Azyros smashed into another. This was too much for the mortals, and the few survivors quickly fled.
The Decimators slew more of the Blood Warriors they faced, but those at the Ophidian Archway had forced their way through and were now attacking the Judicators directly.
Battle Round Three
The Slaughterpriest called upon Khorne for a boon, but the Blood God judged him not to be worthy of any gifts. Knowing he had to gain favour with his deity, the Slaughterpriest led a unit of Bloodletters into battle against the Protectors and Prosecutors, killing two and wounding the Knight-Azyros leading them.
In the centre, the last of the Judicators fell to Bloodletters, leaving them to face only an oncoming retinue of Retributors.
Things were hotting up around the Bloodthirster (literally, even the land was rebelling against its presence). The Knight-Vexillor had wandered too close and in an instant he had joined the Knight-Heraldor and Lord-Relictor. However, the Retributors had started to really find their rhythm, and the Bloodthirster reeled back with a terrifying roar as their hammers smacked into it.
And then, upon a ray of light shining down from the heavens, the Celestant-Prime arrived! As he descended to the ground, he summoned a comet down from the sky with his scepter, killing a Wrathmonger and inadvertently catching a Retributor in the blast.
With the Bloodthirster distracted by the holy light shining from the lantern of the Lord-Castellant, the Celestant-Prime charged, smashing into the back of the daemon with Ghal Maraz hammering chunks out of it!
The Bloodthirster was caught completely off guard and reeled from the attack, clearing badly hurt (reduced to a single wound!).
Elsewhere on the battlefield, the Knight-Azyros unveiled the light from his own lantern, causing the Bloodletters he faced to cry out as they tried to cover their eyes, even as their bodies melted into nothing.
Meanwhile, the second unit of Retributors moved up to plug the hole in the centre, charging both the Bloodletters and Blood Warriors who had taken control of the Ophidian Archway.
However, the Bloodthirster turned its attention to the Retributors, slaying enough of them to gain Khorne’s attention. Not terribly impressed with the bloodletting that had taken place this day, the Blood God gave the Bloodthirster a little renewed strength (a single wound was healed).
Battle Round Four
Keen to capitalise on their attack, the Lord-Castellant and Celestant-Prime coordinated their actions, while all other nearby Stormcasts concentrated their fire upon the Wrathmongers. The Lord-Castellant raised his lantern, catching the Bloodthirster right in the eye.
As the Bloodthirster twisted in fury, the Celestant-Prime unleashed another flurry of blows with Ghal Maraz, pummelling away until the daemon evaporated into nothingness, sent back to the Brass Citadel to explain itself to Khorne.
A low moan broke from the lips of the surviving Khorne forces and, seeing their general beaten so decisively, they began their retreat.
The forces of Sigmar were triumphant!
Well, that was a blood-filled battle, and no mistake!
The Celestant-Prime really managed to catch the Bloodthirster on the back foot, which is just as well, as even a wounded greater daemon of Khorne can probably tear the wings off the Prime in a single round – while the Prime can certainly dish out the damage (that last attack dealt something like 18 points of damage on the Bloodthirster – of which it saved 14!), he cannot take it. A mere 8 Wounds and a Save of 3+ just does not cut the mustard when fighting a Bloodthirster, and the Lord-Castellant was not close enough to boost his armour.
It could also be said that the Bloodthirster ended up with a rather low kill tally, with just 5 models in total to its name. However, it has to be remembered that it was chewing Stormcast heroes up at a very comfortable rate of one a turn before the Prime showed up. Also, there were few targets for the Prime so even 5 models would have been difficult to make up.
Still, that meant the battle just had to end with a clash between the two generals directly – and it does not get much more fun than that!
The Story Continues…
The Celestant-Prime has to hop off now, as he is needed elsewhere in the Realms, on a hundred battlefronts. We need to move on as well, for there is much going on. Next week, we will be taking a trip to the Realm of Fire and seeing what the Fyreslayers can do in their first outing in the Realmgate Wars campaign!