It has been another long road but, finally, we are at the end – this is the final battle in Balance of Power, and Archaon is unleashing the full weight of his hordes.
The Story So Far
The Stormcasts had been fighting hard within the world- sphere of Golgeth, in an effort to keep the Great Lord of Change Kiathanus imprisoned. They had taken the Temple of the Truthsayer and using the Realmgate there, ascended Mount Kronus. As the full weight of Golgeth’s strange time and gravity fluctuations took their toll on the Stormhost, they saw a greater foe awaited them.
Row upon row of warriors of the Everchosen, flanked by Tzeentchian warriors and daemons marched forwards, ready to smash Sigmar’s soldiers apart. And, above them all, hovered Archaon on the back of Dorghar.
The Everchosen reached out to grasp the sigil that granted the true name of Kiathanus, giving him eternal power over the greater daemon.
Lord-Celestant Vandus shouted a challenge at the Everchosen, even as the immensely superior hordes of Chaos closed range. The Stormcasts were hideously outmatched, but Vandus swore that of himself and Archaon, only one would leave the battlefield this day.
The Stormcasts are seriously outclassed in this battle. Not only is Archaon present, not only are the Stormcasts already outnumbered – the forces of Chaos can constantly replenish their casualties. All that is left is for the Stormcasts to last as long as they can and maybe, just maybe, slay the Everchosen himself…
Archaon, the Everchosen, Exalted Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse
Varanguard x 3
Chaos Sorcerer of Tzeentch
Herald of Tzeentch on Disc
Chaos Warriors x 60 (five units of 12)
Chaos Knights x 5
Pink Horrors x 20 (two units of 10)
Flamers of Tzeentch x 3
Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch
Whichever way you look at it, this army is just plain mean. The sixty Chaos Warriors alone would be enough to crush just about any army that can be fielded, they have a great deal of daemonic support, and are led by the Varanguard. Best of all, any losses can be quickly replenished through the Realmgate on the battlefield.
Lord-Celestant on Dracoth (Vandus Hammerhand)
Lord-Relictor (Ionus Cryptborn)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Protectors x 5
Liberators x 25 (five units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)
In any other battle, this would be an impressive line up, especially with that hard core of twenty Paladins. Against the might of the Everchosen though? The Stormcasts can only hope they last long enough to at least delay Archaon…
With Archaon near the Realmgate, the Chaos force was all set to crush the Stormcasts. Chaos Warriors made up the front line, supported by daemons, knights and a Sorcerer Lord.
The Stormcasts lined up to receive the offensive. The Liberators with shields formed a line across the pass, with the Paladins directly behind them, ready to plug any breakthrough. For his part, Vandus planned to punch through the Chaos forces himself in an attempt to reach the Everchosen. Most of the Stormcast missile troops were placed on the right flank to annihilate the oncoming Chaos Warriors with the aim to give the Prosecutors and Vandus room to move forward.
Vandus himself took position on the highest point of the battlefield to overlook the oncoming horde.
Battle Round One
The Stormcasts reacted quickly as they saw the size of the Everchosen’s legion coming towards them. As the Lord-Castellant shone his lantern upon the Liberators in the front line, the missile troops on the right made a short advance to bring their weapons into range sooner.
The Knight-Venator aimed carefully at the Exalted Flamer within the Ophidian Archway but missed (naturally – anyone following these battles will know of my long-running struggle to get the Venator doing anything approaching reasonable performance in battle).
Next to Archaon, the Realmgate pulsed, affecting both time and gravity nearby. Some Chaos units found themselves speeding up while others were frozen in place. As the Sorcerer Lord used the power of the Numinous Occulum to Pierce the Veil of time and Mystic Shields were raised across the line of Chaos Warriors, the entire legion surged forwards.
Floating between the Ophidian Archway and Numinous Occulum, the Exalted Flamer breezed carelessly forward and unleashed a torrent of flame at Vandus Hammerhand. The Lord-Celestant was bathed in magical fire, leaving him distinctly singed.
Battle Round Two
As Vandus retreated from his lofty perch to seek Sigmar’s healing from the Lord-Relictor, the missile troops on the right flank started to wear down the approaching Chaos Warriors.
However, the Stormcasts were dismayed to find that slain Chaos Warriors were quickly replaced by reinforcements brought forward by Archaon. As more Mystic Shields were draped over the advancing units, Chaos Warriors started to reach the Stormcasts all along the front line.
Worse, the Varanguard had managed to make their way to the front and they prepared to break the Stormcast shield line.
On the right, Chaos Warriors charged the Judicators and their Liberator escort, but to little avail for the Stormcast line held while two Chaos Warriors fell to the ground.
In the centre, the Varanguard smashed into a retinue of Liberators, sending three back to Sigmar in short order – but the shield line managed to hold them fast.
Battle Round Three
The vagaries of time and gravity on this battlefield were beginning to take their toll, and the Varanguard seemed slightly confused as a wave of cognitive dissonance washed over them, slowing their blows.
On the left flank, the Battle of the Hill had begun, with Chaos Warriors and Knights assaulting the Liberators that had taken their place upon its summit. Seeing the Liberators beginning to suffer under the continued assaults, the Lord-Castellant waded in, quickly dispatching one Chaos Knight.
As the Lord-Relictor worried why Sigmar was not answering his prayers to heal the Lord-Celestant, Vandus led a retinue of Retributors into battle with the Varanguard. Mighty flashes of lightning erupted from their hammers, and the Varanguard were neatly dispatched, relieving pressure at the front. Just a little further down the line, the Decimators had moved forward to support the Liberators, their great axes hacking apart Chaos Warriors with speed.
Unseen by the Stormcasts already engaged in battle, a new unit of Varanguard appeared behind the Stormcasts line.
Urging their mounts ahead at full tilt, the Varanguard caught the Lord-Relictor completely unprepared and simply mowed him down from behind.
Their momentum carried them ever onwards and they reached Vandus Hammerhand within seconds, a glaive piercing his armour and robbing the Stormcasts of their general in an instant. Within seconds, the Stormcasts had been robbed of their highest-ranking leaders and now only the Lord-Castellant was left.
As the Sorcerer Lord stepped into the Numinous Occulum and prepared to fully harness its powers, Pink Horrors hurled a nasty Arcane Bolt straight at the Lord-Castellant, leaving him with a nasty wound. Magical fire erupted from the Chaos lines as the Daemons of Tzeentch started to add their weight to the attack, felling two Liberators and the Gryph-hound – though the Lord-Castallent found himself healed by the fire!
The fighting intensified in the Battle of the Hill with both Liberators and Chaos Knights falling, while the Lord-Castellant was injured further. Still, he vowed not to give the Chaos forces an inch.
The sight of the lone Liberator armed with a Grandhammer atop the hill’s summit was enough to galvanise other Stormcasts to action.
Battle Round Four
As more Chaos reinforcements entered the battle, it was becoming clear that the Stormcast line was beginning to buckle from the continued assault. A Burning Chariot of Tzeentch slid over a Retributor, taking off the Stormcast’s head, before turning its attention to the Judicators on the right flank. However, not much else moved as units were locked in battle across the line.
The crossbow armed Judicators were beginning to suffer under the attacks of Chaos Warriors and Pink Horrors, but a lone Stormcast held firm, keeping the attention of the Chaos units at the foot of the rise the missile troops had positioned themselves upon where the survivors could continue to rain volleys down upon them. However, it could not last. As the Judicator was blasted apart by fire from the Pink Horrors, the forces of Chaos were finally free to surge forwards.
In the Battle of the Hill, the lone Liberator bravely beat back the Chaos Knights and Warriors who continued in their attempts to gain the summit.
Despite smashing another Chaos Knight into dust, the Liberator was finally overwhelmed – the hill now belonged to the Everchosen, even as the Varanguard broke another retinue of Liberators in the centre.
Seeing no chance to retake the hill, the nearby Prosecutors took to the sky and soared forward, hoping to at least distract the Chaos forces at worst, and maybe launch an attack directly upon Archaon at best.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the battlefield, more Prosecutors surrounded the Burning Chariot and finally broke it apart with their Javelins and Trident.
In the centre, the fighting had intensified greatly, as Retributors concentrated their hammers on the newly arrived Varanguard, bringing down one and seriously injuring another. However, reinforcements for the Varanguard were already on their way…
Archaon’s own lieutenant, a Chaos Lord of the Everchosen, had finally waded into battle, facing the surviving Decimators while urging his Chaos Warriors forward. However, the forces of Chaos seemed a little cowed by the Decimators’ axes, which claimed Chaos Warriors and Pink Horrors, and even managed to wound the Chaos Lord.
Battle Round Five
If the Stormcast line had begun to buckle before, it was now broken and Sigmar’s warriors were now in a desperate fight for their lives.
The Sorcerer Lord and Herald of Tzeentch both hurled Arcane Bolts into the surviving Retributors, destroying one retinue, while the bolts of Pink Horrors finally succeeded in bringing down the Decimators, where the swords and axes of Chaos Warriors had failed.
On the far left, Chaos Warriors and Flamers of Tzeentch swept over the hill to confront the Protectors who had been holding position behind it, even as the Chaos Knights turned round and rode down the Prosecutors who had flown over the Chaos line.
The Exalted Hero (the same one who had ended the reign of the Watcher King on the last battle – one more great victory and he might be made a great Lord of Chaos!) led a charge to relieve the pressure on the Varanguard, and a retinue of Chaos Warriors surged forward.
However, the Retributors picked their targets and brought down not only another of the Varanguard but ended the career of the Exalted Hero too! However, the Retributors paid for this staunch defence and, when the dust settled, only one of them was still fighting.
Those clashes had taken their toll upon the Stormcasts and there were precious few of them left. As the surviving Prosecutors manoeuvered to find some way past the Chaos forces, the Protectors retreated, trying to buy more time.
However, that was simply not an option for the last Retributor who was now surrounded by powerful enemies.
Even as the Exalted Hero was toppled by his hammer, the multitude of Chaos Warriors finally managed to find the cracks in the Retributor’s armour, and sent him back to Sigmar.
One retinue of Prosecutors managed to find a path free of Chaos Warriors, but they had not moved quickly enough…
Battle Round Six
Even as a new Burning Chariot appeared amidst the surging forces of Chaos, a salvo from the Pink Horrors managed to bring down a single Prosecutor.
Waves of magical fire washed over the Protectors on the other side of the battlefield, before the survivors were completely swamped by a mass of Chaos followers, all eager to claim victory.
Even their long glaives could not hold back the hordes and the light of the Protectors was quickly extinguished as the Varanguard rode them down.
A similar tactic was employed upon the last Prosecutors, and they quickly found themselves swamped by Chaos Warriors, Pink Horrors and the Exalted Flamer.
Incredibly, though badly wounded, the last two Stormcasts on the battlefield managed to fend off the worst of the attacks. Spreading their wings, they both leapt into the sky to leave the forces of Chaos far below them.
The mighty force the Stormcasts had assembled had been shattered, leaving just two Prosecutors to return to Sigmar and report on the defeat. However, even these two survivors were an insult to Archaon and he raged as he watched them disappear over the horizon…
Well, technically that was a major victory for the Stormcasts as the Everchosen had to kill all of them to win the battle – but by Sigmar, that was close and I think we can all agree that, in terms of the storyline, this was a big loss for the Stormcasts.
This was another really, really close battle and with just another choice or two, it could so easily have gone the other way – for my money, sending the Burning Chariot after the Protectors might have been the final tipping point as there was already a huge amount of forces lined up against the Paladins while the Prosecutors could probably have used just one more unit against them to stop them fleeing.
Still, a nicely doomed battle for the Stormcasts and at least two Prosecutors managed to salvage some honour out of it.
The Story Continues…
So, dark times abound for the forces of Order. However, Archaon is about to hatch another diabolical plan, one that will give him all the Mortal Realms – as covered in the Godbeasts campaign book.
Before that though, we will be taking another look around the realms to see what else is going on. We will visiting the Clans Pestilens as they continue their quest for the Thirteen Great Plagues, the Seraphon will be having a crack at the forces of the Everchosen, and it seems as though the Stormcast Eternals are about to unleash a brand new weapon in their fight against Chaos.
Stay tuned for more action from the Realmgate Wars!