Battle Report – The Hidden Artefact

Things are beginning to ramp up in the Realm of Life now, and this week we have a pitched battle on the ice fields of the Sea of Serpents. Grab a coffee for this one, as battles do not get much tighter than this!

 

The Story So Far

The last battle upon the ice of the Sea of Serpents was sufficient to delay the fleeing Sylvaneth and Hallowed Knights, allowing the Rotbringers to begin encircling them.

The exodus from the forces of Nurgle was now getting desperate, for while Torglug and his men were now snapping at their heels, the Lady of Vines could see more units beginning to overtake her.

For his part, Torglug was being driven forward by the presence of Alarielle’s seed pod, and he could literally feel it within his reach. Cracking whips and issuing threats, he forced the Rotbringers to march at double-pace. If he could just cut off the retreat of the Lady of Vines, Alarielle would be all Nurgle’s.

 

The Forces

The Rotbringers are beginning to be able to bring the full weight of their forces to bear, though the Stormcasts have had some last minute reinforcements delivered straight from Azyr.

Rotbringers
Lord of Plagues (Torglug the Despised)
Blightmage
Great Unclean One (Guthrax the Putrescent)
Blightkings x 10 (two units of 5)
Chaos Knights x 5
Chosen x 10
Chaos Warriors x 36 (three units of 12)
Plague Drones x 3

In this force, Torglug has managed to bring more of his elite forces into play, including more Blightkings, Knights and the Chosen. He also has full access to the Foulblessed battalion rules which not only make him a very durable killing machine; the Blightkings will now be even harder to kill than usual. And all that is before we get to the Great Unclean One which, as usual, we have doubled the wounds on due to us using the Forge World model…

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Castellant (Lorrus Grymn)
Lord-Relictor
Gryph-hound
Knight-Vexillor
Knight-Azyros
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 5
Protectors x 5
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Prosecutors x 3

Sylvaneth
Branchwraith (Lady of Vines)
Tree Lord Ancient
Tree Lords x 2
Treekin x 4
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)

This is much the same force as the last battle (including the two battalions being used), but the Stormcasts have been reinforced with more Paladins and the Knights-Vexillor and -Azyros.

The Lady of Vines has to retreat off the table, ahead of the pursuing Rotbringers. However, the Rotbringers have the option of trying to send flanking units ahead of her to cut off the escape. The Jotunberg is, of course, still stirring, and will be disrupting the battlefield as before.

 

Deployment

Many of the units in both armies started in combat, the two forces deploying very close together. The Tree Lords formed a bulwark in the rearguard, fending off the Chosen and Blightkings, while a retinue of Liberators locked shields on the left flank to guard against approaching Chaos Warriors.

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Torglug had already seen the danger of the Lady of Vines slipping through his grasp and ordered units of Chaos Knights and Chaos Warriors forward to try to flank the escapees.

 

Battle Round One

The Lady of Vines and Lord-Castellant Grymn had constructed a finely tuned battleplan to ward off the encroaching Rotbringers and give enough space to escape. Unfortunately, these plans came crashing down as the Jotunberg stirred and a blizzard erupted across the battlefield, reducing visibility almost to zero. With no other choice, the Lady of Vines raced forward with her bodyguard of Dryads and Treekin, a Tree Lord Ancient lumbering up behind them all.

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The fighting was vicious from the outset, with one Tree Lord reaching over a unit of Blightkings to strangle Torglug. Unfortunately, the Lord of Plagues survived this attack, even as the Chosen took their huge axes to the other Tree Lord. Though they inflicted a lot of damage on the mighty Sylvaneth, the Dryads accompanying it made them pay, bringing three of their number down.

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Meanwhile, on the far left flank, Liberators made a shieldwall as Chaos Warriors smashed into them. The Liberators held firm, and they shouted praises to Sigmar as they steeled themselves against repeated attack – with Grymn’s training and his lantern shining upon them, they formed an impregnable fortress. The Knight-Azyros soared above them to land behind the Chaos line, preparing to disrupt Rotbringer activities later on.

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The Jotunberg stirred once more, and an ice spasm gripped Grymn’s Gryph-hound, causing it to explode – the icy shards impaled a nearby Judicator.

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As Torglug began to heal his early wounds and the Blightmage hurled an Arcane Bolt into the nearest Tree Lord, the Chaos Knights and Chaos Warriors sent forward to flank the Lady of Vines appeared. The Chaos Knights charged straight into the Prosecutors, slaying one of them immediately.

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Seeking sanctuary from the punishing blows of mighty Tree Lords and vindictive Dryads, one unit of Chaos Warriors tried to sneak through the defensive line by using an icy outcropping.

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The Tree Lords were already beginning to suffer, being placed so deep into the rearguard. One was seriously hacked by the large axes of the Chosen, and now faced the Blight Drones, while Torglug began to systematically tear apart the Tree Lord that had tried to strangle him. No help was forthcoming from the Knight-Azyros either, who found he had his hands full with the Great Unclean One who had noticed his arrival.

More worryingly, a unit of Blightkings had punched through the centre of the rearguard, having slaughtered first a unit of Dryads then a retinue of Judicators, and now they were closing in on the Lady of Vines.

 

Battle Round Two

The Jotunberg’s stirrings caused thundersnow to fall upon the battlefield, crushing the life out of three Dryads.

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Now the blizzard had lifted, the leaders of the forces of Order could now begin to enact their plans and react to the Rotbringers. The Tree Lord Ancient began by freezing the icy outcrop the Chaos Warriors had taken cover within, holding them in place as Judicators rained fire down upon them.

Close by, the Knight-Azyros unveiled his lantern, causing the light to sear through the Great Unclean One, but even Sigmar’s power could not halt the daemon, and it tore the Stormcast apart in swift order.

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As the Lady of Vines continued her exodus across the ice sea, Liberators, the Lord-Relictor and Knight-Vexilor all ran to her flanks, desperate to hold off the newly arrived Chaos Knights and Warriors.

Retributors pounded forward to intercept the Blightkings who had broken through the rearguard, but only two of the Rotbringers fell to their massive hammers. Then, a cry was heard across the battlefield.

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The Tree Lord who had been holding the centre of the rearguard had managed to smash Torglug, sending the Lord of Plagues reeling back to disappear beneath a snow drift. However, far from dismaying the Rotbringers, they instead fought all the harder, and the Tree Lord was brought down by more vengeful Blightkings. The centre of the rearguard had now completely collapsed, but the flanks still held.

More Thundersnow fell then, killing another two Dryads and further eroding the Lady of Vines’ bodyguard. The last Tree Lord fell to an Arcane Bolt from the Blightmage, who was now swelling with magical power, as the Great Unclean One shook himself and healed all the wounds the Knight-Azyros had dealt him. He then turned round and sent a Plague Wind ripping through the Liberator shieldline that had completely stalled the Chaos advance on the left flank.

The Chaos Knights, having finished off the Prosecutors, now kicked their steeds into action and they thundered towards the Lady of Vines who was now beginning to look quite vulnerable.

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In the centre, the Blightkings were now pouring through the gap and, rather than avoid the Retributors, they gleefully charged. The heavyweights of both sides pounded upon one another’s armour.

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The Chaos Warriors who had flanked the forces of Order marched forward until they were in range to charge the Dryads leading the Lady of Vines to safety. Though casualties were high, the Dryads held their ground, refusing to let the Chaos Warrior pass.

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Battle Round Three

Fights now raged across the entire battlefield, and there was not a single patch of ice that was not being fought over or already heavily stained with blood.

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Seeing the Lady of Vines was in danger, the Tree Lord Ancient used a Frost Spirit spell to travel across the battlefield and take position close to the Chaos Knights who were racing to cut off the Branchwraith’s escape.

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Undeterred, the Lady of Vines tried to force her way through the Chaos line but she was now in danger of being held up by the flanking forces until the main Rotbringer army could reach her. If that happened, the battle would be over quickly.

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To help break the newly formed Chaos line, both Treekin  and Liberators charged into the Chaos Warriors, inflicting heavy casualties but failing to smash through. The Tree Lord Ancient, for his part, attacked the Chaos Knights, but both merely battered the other’s armour.

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Further down the battlefield, the fighting was still vicious, with the Great Unclean One moving into the Liberator shieldline in effort to break through them once and for all. For a while, at least, they held, though they were beginning to lose men and weaken.

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Meanwhile, the Chosen charged the Protectors, though few were paying attention to what was happening in their lonely region of the battlefield.

Seeing no advantage to fighting the Tree Lord Ancient, the Chaos Knights broke contact and reformed in front of the Lady of Vines, daring her to try to get through them, even as two Treekin fell to the Chaos Warriors close by.

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Battle Round Four

Seeing the primary danger to the Lady of Vines were now the Chaos Knights, both the Lord-Relictor and Tree Lord Ancient targeted them, with lightning and Arcane Bolts respectively, though only one horseman fell. Knowing that a tough fight was ahead, the Lady of Vines called upon Alarielle’s power and healed the Tree Lord Ancient before it charged the Chaos Knights, killing them – the way forward was now clear for the Lady of Vines!

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Then tragedy as the Jotunberg stirred and froze the Lady of Vines into an icy hibernation. While she was now safe from harm, this would give the Rotbringers the time they needed to close in on her and end any chance of escape.

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With the Tree Lord Ancient now far away, the Chaos Warriors within the icy outcrop were now free to move, and they immediately raced forward to charge the last Judicators and Lord-Castellant Grymn. They soon regretted this as one was felled immediately by Grymn’s halberd.

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By this time, the rearguard had completely collapsed, and the Rotbringers were easily catching up. The Blightkings charged into the Lord-Relictor, who had taken up a defensive position with the Knight-Vexillor to shield the Lady of Vines as she hibernated, and they quickly sent him back to Sigmar.

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Battle Round Five

While he was surrounded by Blightkings, the Tree Lord Ancient spied another, one Blightking approaching, all that was left of the unit who had faced down the Retributors earlier. With a casual gesture, the Tree Lord Ancient hurled an Arcane Bolt at it, ending the wretches’ life before tearing into the other Blightkings, crushing two under foot.

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The Treekin finally dispatched the last of the Chaos Warriors they had been facing, but they had been greatly wounded in the doing of it.

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Meanwhile, under Grymn’s watchful eye, the last Judicators had been fighting like true heroes against the waves of Chaos Warriors they were facing and were only slightly daunted by the sight of the Great Unclean One waddling towards them. Another three Chaos Warriors fell to their arrows and blades; at this point, they felt as though they could take on Archaon himself!

The Jotunberg stirred yet again, sending an ice spasm through a Treekin. The Sylvaneth exploding in icy shards, taking two close by Liberators with it. As Plague Drones approached the Lady of Vines, the surviving Liberators tirelessly took up their hammers once more to defend her.

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The Knight-Vexillor went down quickly under a hail of diseased heads thrown by the Plaguebearers on the back of the drones and, as the Tree Lord Ancient rocked under a terrible assault from the Blightkings, it was all too apparent that the Lady of Vines did not have many allies left to defend her…

 

Battle Round Six

The Jotunberg shifted its attention, lifting the hibernation spell from the Lady of Vines and placing it on the Great Unclean One. While the greater daemon was now immobile, the Lady of Vines was free to escape and she took full advantage of the opportunity.

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Though badly wounded, the Tree Lord Ancient surrounded himself with a Mystic Shield which, combined with the magic of Alarielle, made him impervious to most of the enemies he now faced as he concentrated on bringing down a Plague Drone.

However, there was sad news from further away. The Judicators, despite having fought so bravely, finally succumbed to the repeated attacks of the Chaos Warriors.

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The Great Unclean One shook off the effects of the icy hibernation and, seeing Grymn still holding up nearby Chaos Warriors, hurled an Arcane Bolt which knocked the Lord-Castellant out cold. Now free of distraction, the last remnants of the Chaos line was on the move again and, this time, it looked as though the Lady of Vines did not have a ready answer for them.

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The Blightmage, having waddled all the way up the battlefield, was now in range for his magick to do its work, and he too hurled an Arcane Bolt, though this was directed at the Tree Lord Ancient. With almost contemptuous ease, the Ancient blocked the spell.

Alarielle’s power was evident as a shield sprung up around the Lady of Vines, deflecting more diseased heads from the Plague Drones, which had been thrown at her back. However, the Tree Lord Ancient, though now badly wounded, was able to dispatch the last of the Blightkings in a surprising burst of speed and power.

 

Battle Round Seven

Once again, the Blightmage tried to hurl an Arcane bolt at the Tree Lord Ancient, and once again the spell was blocked.

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However, the forces of Chaos had finally caught up to the struggling escapees, and the Tree Lord Ancient proved to be no obstacle tot he Great Unclean One who simply crushed the Sylvaneth with its immense bulk.

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Meanwhile, the Lady of Vines had finally been cornered and caught. A battered and bloody unit of Chaos Warriors had managed to fight their way across the battlefield, and were eager to exact their revenge upon the Branchwraith. Their axes and swords rained down, and even Alarielle’s power could not stop her being wounded.

With few choices left, the Lady of Vines fled from the Chaos Warriors, healing herself as she went.

 

Battle Round Eight

The battle stood on a knife-edge – the Lady of Vines was close to escape but the forces of Nurgle were perilously close.

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With a last burst of speed, the Lady of Vines fled from the pursuing forces of Chaos, leaving utter carnage behind her on the ice.

 

Conclusion

It does not get any closer than that! The forces of Nurgle (especially with that great big Unclean One roaming free) outmatched the forces of Order, and it all came down to who went first in the eighth turn. The Lady of Vines managed to grab the initiative and, having already moved into position, was free to escape – however, if she had failed… well, she was unlikely to have been able to fend off those Chaos Warriors and, even if by some miracle she did, she had no defence against the Great Unclean One.

Both Sigmar and Alarielle were watching this time!

This is a very, very mobile battle, and fights were breaking out all across the tabletop. If anyone ever says to you that Age of Sigmar just ends up with a scrum in the middle of the table, play this Battleplan with them – you may just convert them permanently!

The Chosen were used for the first time in this battle and they were… okay. They are no Blightkings, but are noticeably harder hitting than Chaos Warriors. Probably more than a match for Liberators (though with Lord-Castellant Grymn leading them, maybe not!).

 

The Story Continues…

The Lady of Vines and her followers are still in a precarious position, but they are moving ever closer to their goal. However, events elsewhere may have a powerful impact upon her chances and to see what is going on there, we will be travelling to the Realm of Fire next.

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