Battle Report – Path of Retreat

We have reached the grand heights of the penultimate battle from Balance of Power, and this is a bit of a weird one. Tzeentchian plots are at full tilt in this battle, so pay attention…

 

The Story So Far

Within Chamon, the Realm of Metal, hung a sphere called Golgeth. This was an orb so dense it pulled lost magicks towards it – and yet, inside the sphere, there was a complete world called the Undervault, and people lived in settlements at the foot of Mount Kronus.

Within Golgeth, both time and gravity worked… differently, both heavily compressed and subject to swirls and eddies. Into this place, Tzeentch bound his greatest Lord of Change, Kiathanus (we have said it before, Tzeentch can be a bit of a dick), taking the daemon’s true name and breaking it into nine magical sigils which were then strewn across the Mortal Realms so they could never be gathered and Kiathanus released.

Though bound, Kiathanus was not completely without power, and he whispered secrets and half-truths to the peoples of the Undervault, gradually manipulating them and sending champions out to find and release the sigils that held his name (not that they knew that this was what they were doing…). Over centuries, all the sigils were released – bar one, kept safe within Skarbrand’s own prison in the Bloodkeep.

Unwittingly, the Stormcast Eternals released the sigil when they tried to claim the Brass Chain. Sigmar saw what was happening, and sent a Stormhost to ensure Kiathanus never broke free.

However, he was not the only one who saw what was happening with the sigils and a Gaunt Summoner, the Watcher King, swooped in to claim the power that would be unleashed with the release of the greatest Lord of Change.

The Watcher King was ambitious – he knew that with the secrets possessed by Kiathanus in his grasp, he could control Archaon himself and make the Everchosen do his bidding.

It was around this point that Archaon turned up, demanding to know just what the Watcher King thought he was doing. To his credit, the Watcher King’s first reaction was to try to blackmail Archaon.

That so did not work…

 

The Forces

At the precipice of ultimate power, things have suddenly gone very wrong for the Watcher King. He now has to flee the full fury of Archaon’s wrath.

Everchosen
Archaon, the Everchosen, Exalted Grand Marshall of the Apoclypse
Exalted Hero
Varanguard x 3
Chaos Warriors x 24 (twounits of 12)
Chaos Knights x 5

What this force comes down to is basically Archaon, with a few speed bumps thrown in for good measure. The Everchosen is going to be very confident in this battle…

The Watcher King
Gaunt Summoner (the Watcher King)
Exalted Flamer
Pinks Horrors x 30 (three units of 10)
Screamers of Tzeentch x 10 (two units of 5)
Flamers of Tzeentch x 6 (two units of 3)
Burning Chariot

The Watcher King is going to be a little less confident going into this battle. All he has on his side is speed and a few minions to throw into Archaon’s path in the desperate hope they hold up the Everchosen long enough for the Watcher King to make his escape. He does have access to the Watcher King’s Horde battalion which will ensure a constant cycling of minions without any pesky summoning rolls, but that is a thin thread from which he hangs his hopes…

This battle is simple, but effective – the Watcher King has to race across the battlefield to get to a Realmgate through which he can escape. Archaon merely has to stop him. Both will be throwing minions into the path of the other in an attempt to slow them down.

 

Deployment

The first to appear on the battlefield were the Watcher King and Archaon himself – and immediately, things did not look good for the Gaunt Summoner.

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Indeed, the Realmgate that was to be the Watcher King’s salvation seemed an awfully long way away.

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To make things worse, despite Flamers and Pink Horrors appearing to aid the Gaunt Summoner, the forces of the Everchosen had shown up as well, with Chaos Knights and the Varanguard racing to cut off the Watcher King’s escape.

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Battle Round One

Feeling Archaon breathing down his neck, the Watcher King tried to outfox the Everchosen with a Fractal Mindstorm, but the spell dissipated harmlessly. He tried again with Thief of Time, an enchantment made possible in Golgeth that would steadily drain Archaon of his essence over the course of the battle. However, it seemed to have little effect now.

The Gaunt Summoner then called forth Pink Horrors, an Exalted Flamer and Screamers from the Crystal Labyrinth – and then sailed forward as fast as his Disc of Tzeentch could carry him.

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The Watcher King raced towards the Pink Horrors who had taken position within the Numinous Occulum, intent on using the structure to boost his spell casting.

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A short distance away, the Flamers and Exalted Flamers bathed the Chaos Knights in magical fire, though only one fell to the attacks.

Bellowing loud, Archaon called more forces to the battlefield, and an Exalted Hero appeared. Taking position within the Ophidian Archway, he waited for the Gaunt Summoner to try to pass him.

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Archaon ignored the effects of the Thief of Time spell and instead threw up a Mystic Shield as he moved towards the Exalted Flamer. Meanwhile, the Varanguard charged the Pink Horrors closest to them.

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Utter carnage ensued, and the Pink Horrors were annihilated almost instantly by the force of the charge. Further up the battlefield, the Chaos Knights tried to duplicate the Varanguard’s attacks, perhaps hoping to join their ranks one day, butt he Exalted Flamer proved an elusive target.

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Battle Round Two

The Watcher King, seeing too many enemies close by, threw up his own Mystic Shield, then hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Chaos Knights – unfortunately, it merely bounced off their Runeshields.

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As Archaon finally began to succumb to the effects of the Thief of Time spell, the Watcher King summoned Flamers, a Burning Chariot and more Screamers from the Crystal Labyrinth.

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The Watcher King started to veer towards the Ophidian Archway to avoid the Chaos Knights, thinking the Exalted Hero within would prove little challenge – however, he then saw the Varanguard would be within striking distance, and so the Gaunt Summoner changed direction and headed towards the centre of the battlefield, a flight of Screamers trailing as escort in his wake.

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The Exalted Flamer bathed the Chaos Knights in magical fire, immolating three of them instantly. The last decided that perhaps he was not Varanguard material after all, and promptly fled the battlefield. The Varanguard themselves were wreathed in fire from the Flamers and Burning Chariot and, finally, one succumbed to the persistent flames.

As Archaon hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Exalted Flamer, slaying it, and threw a Mystic Shield about himself, a retinue of Chaos Warriors arrived to block yet another safe path for the Watcher King.

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The Varanguard charged the Flamers atop a small rise, slaying two immediately, while Archaon closed upon the Watcher King.

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Unfortunately, the Everchosen became entangled with the escorting Screamers and, in great anger, killed two of them.

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This left the Watcher King feeling distinctly vulnerable.

 

Battle Round Three

Furious at seeing his prey start to escape once more, Archaon hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Watcher King, his enchantment so strong the Gaunt Summoner could not even attempt to unbind it. The magical energies slammed into him, nearly knocking the Watcher King off his disc.

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Even as the Watcher King recovered, more Chaos Warriors appeared further down the battlefield.

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It was then the Exalted Hero saw his chance. Shouting ‘I’ll get him, Lord!’ he charged, hoping to slay the Watcher King right under the gaze of Archaon.

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Caught off guard, the Watcher King desperately tried to parry the Exalted Hero’s attacks, but the Hero surged forward once more, landing a hail of blows upon the Gaunt Summoner.

The final blow was an axe to the chest and, cursing his luck, the Watcher King sank to the ground, his life bleeding from him…

 

Conclusion

That was certainly a fun battle, and a nice way to introduce the unholy trinity of the Everchosen (Archaon, the Varanguard and the Gaunt Summoner) without being burdened by a ton of rules all at once.

It was a nice touch that it was the Exalted Hero who managed to down the Watcher King, and right under the gaze of Archaon – presumably he won’t be a mere Exalted Hero for long now! It was also a bit of a surprise, as I think both players had sort of written off the Exalted Hero in their heads, presuming he would not have much of an effect on the battlefield. Just goes to show, you never can tell!

It was a bit of bad luck that got the Watcher King – he should have had a fair chance of unbinding Archaon’s Arcane Bolt, and it doing maximum damage did not help. Add to that, the Watcher King was getting an effective 4+ additional save against the Exalted Hero’s attacks, and he should have perhaps survived for one more turn.

What would have happened after that is up for a bigger debate. Sure, the Watcher King could have healed himself (using a spell from the Time of War sheet we were using) but, assuming he managed to get a ‘double turn’ after the third, he would have been able to get within spitting distance of the Realmgate – but would be contending with Chaos Warriors and the Varanguard, either of whom could easily have finished him off.

So, a tough battle for the Gaunt Summoner, but a fun one!

 

The Story Continues…

Well, Archaon has well and truly entered the storyline now! With this little distraction out of the way, the Exalted Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse will now be turning his attention to the Stormcast Eternals. And, as it turns out, things have not been going well for Sigmar’s boys. Stay tuned for the climactic final battle of Balance of Power!

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