We are continuing our Clash of Wills campaign, with the forces increased to 1,250 points. The Skaven have suffered a catastrophic loss against the undead forces of Lord Helmut von Drakenspyre, and are in retreat. A rearguard has been sent out to slow down the undead, but the undead are now being led by the von Drakenspyre’s personal harem on board their Coven Throne…
Revenge at Blackblood Weald
This Battleplan was determined by the winner of the previous battle, so we are playing Revenge at Blackblood Weald.
These are the two forces:
Stormfiends x 3
Stormvermin x 20
Clan Rats x 20 (two units of 10)
Jezzails x 3
Command Trait: Lord of War
Artefact of Chaos: Crown of Conquest
Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade
Spirit Hosts x 3
Skeletons x 60 (two units of 30)
Zombies x 30
Command Trait: Death Incarnate
Artefact of Death: Cloak of Mists and Shadows
The Lord Helmut von Drakenspyre has sent some of his underlings, on board their Coven Throne to oversee this phase of the campaign – he has way too much minion blood to drink at the moment to stir himself from his castle.
The Skaven sent out a single unit of Clanrats to act as the rearguard to their main force, and this proved to be wholly inadequate. Before the battle even began, the Clanrats were wiped out, and one of the Jezzail teams was caught and slain before they could get away.
Anxious to stave off further disaster, the Skaven Warlord hastily formed up his troops. The remaining Jezzail teams were set up in woods on his far flank, while the Plagueclaw was placed within more woods in the centre. The Stormvermin took position on one side of those woods, while the remaining Clanrats acted as a screen for the Stormfiends on the other side.
The Vampires on board the Coven Throne were content to let the Wight King manage the deployment of most of their forces and, lacking true imagination (though that had not seemed to affect his ability), the Wight King deployed the Skeletons and Zombies almost exactly how he had on the Verdigris Plains.
The Vampires took their Coven Throne to the far left flank, dragging the Spirit Hosts with them, for they had already spied their priority targets, and were eager to drink the blood of their enemies (even though their enemies were filthy rats – von Drakenspyre does not treat his girls well, it seems).
Battle Round One
Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the last battle, the Warlord hesitantly pushed his troops forward. He squeaked in frustration as the crew of the Plagueclaw wildly missed their target (again), and became apoplectic when he saw the work of the Jezzail teams.
Sighting the Wight King, the Jezzail teams cracked off two shots, but they ricocheted off his ancient shield.
The undead began their steady advance, the Wight King hoping to repeat his success upon the Verdigris Plains using exactly the same tactics.
However, the Vampires on the Coven Throne had other ideas. Their queen activated her Cloak of Mist and Shadows, and the whole throne flickered and appeared much closer to the Skaven line. It then surged forward to flank the Jezzails.
The Skaven desperately tried to bring their weapons around to bear but with a thunder of spectral hooves, the Coven Throne crashed through the trees and wiped them out in seconds. The Vampire Queen did not even have to reach down to finish them off, leaving that odious work to her maidens.
Battle Round Two
First blood had gone to the Vampires of the Coven Throne, but the Skaven Warlord was not in the least bit perturbed by that, and he ordered the advance to continue, running to catch up with his Stormvermin (but always ,making sure they remained between him and the enemy, of course).
Summoning up the power of Warp Lightning, the Warlock Engineer hurled a powerful bolt at the Wight King, seriously damaging the undead hero.
Meanwhile, the Stormfiends bellowed as they spied the Coven Throne within the woods the Jezzails had occupied, and started lumbering towards it.
The maidens on board screamed as the Coven Throne was rocked by Warpfire, Poison Globes and shells from the Ratling Guns the Stormfiends carried. However, the Vampire Queen hurled venomous curses at them, and this seemed to make them pause, for they were reluctant to charge her. On the opposite side of the battlefield, the Stormvermin also stalled, choosing not to charge the Zombies just ahead of them.
The forces of the dead reacted with uncharacteristic swiftness to this hesitation. Cautious of their heavy weaponry, the Vampire Queen beguiled the Stormfiends as the Coven Throne swept behind them. Mesmerised by the beautiful woman on board, they stared stupidly at the Vampire as she rallied the undead around her.
Elsewhere, the Tomb Banshee shrieked a ghastly wail, and three Stormvermin clawed at their own ears as they fell to the ground – then, the combined forces of the Skeletons and Zombies charged them.
Nearly half of the Stormvermin were slain in that initial rush, but the others stood firm and began striking out at the walking dead with their halberds. With the Warlord so close, they would never risk fleeing, and so held their ground despite being so heavily outnumbered (more than three to one!).
By this time, the Vampires of the Coven Throne had organised their own assault. As the Coven Throne crashed into the back of the Stormfiends, who resolutely refused to strike back at it, a massive wave of Skeleton Warriors ploughed into their front, catching nearby Clanrats and the Warlock Engineer in the charge. To ensure the balance was firmly in their favour, the Vampires called upon the Spirit Hosts to sweep into the Clanrats as well.
While the Stormfiends were able to resist these attacks with just a few scratches, the Warlock Engineer was seriously wounded by the swords of the Skeletons and the Clanrats were utterly slaughtered.
Battle Round Three
Despite being so badly wounded, and with Skeletons pressing around him from all sides, the Warlock Engineer managed to spy the Wight King whose presence was having such a powerful effect in the battle against the Stormvermin. Summoning more Warp Lightning, the Warlock Engineer experienced a momentary feeling of regret before his Warp Condenser exploded, completely blasting him apart in a burst of green fire.
As the Plagueclaw Catapult missed the Skeletons it was targeting again, the Stormfiends opened up with their tremendous firepower against the Skeletons they were battling. Shattered bones flew everywhere as nearly a dozen were mown down with a single salvo. However, it was to no avail, as these losses had no effect upon the Skeletons and they continued to attack, finally killing a Stormfiend. This was too much for one of the big brutes and it fled, leaving a single Stormfiend holding the entire flank.
Zombies, Skeletons and Stormvermin ground away at one another on the other side of the battlefield, with neither side willing to surrender. However, this battle of attrition could only favour the undead.
The Skaven Warlord saw the obviously damaged Wight King stumble in front of him, but checked his charge at the last moment, not feeling the time was quite right to attack.
The Vampires of the Coven Throne revealed that they were indeed Death Incarnate, and the savagery of their attacks wounded the lone Stormfiend before it was pulled to the ground by the mob of Skeletons.
With the Skaven flank now destroyed, the forces of the undead began to close in.
While the Spirit Hosts began to swoop towards the Plagueclaw Catapult still hiding in the woods, the Wight King and Tomb Banshee strode purposefully towards the Skaven Warlord. The Banshee’s scream injured the Skaven slightly, but the Wight King was unable to bring his foe to battle.
Meanwhile, the Stormvermin continued their now desperate fight against the Skeletons and Zombies. Both sides had suffered horribly in this clash, but the Stormvermin were taking casualties far faster than the undead.
Battle Round Four
The Skaven Warlord underlined, with some force, his desire for the Stormvermin not to run, but it was a hopeless gesture, as the last of them soon disappeared under the claws of the Zombies. Seeing few chances for redemption, the Warlord finally geared himself up to charge the Wight King, destroying it with a swing of his halberd.
However, the Warlord had not kept his eye on the Coven Throne, and the Vampire Queen coolly directed an Arcane Bolt towards him, blasting the rat where he stood.
Once again, seeing the loss of their Warlord caused the (very) few remaining Skaven to flee for their lives.
The Vampire Queen was content that she could now report her victory to the Lord Helmut von Drakvenspyre.
Another win for the undead, though they suffered a lot more casualties in that fight. The Coven Throne did its job, though if it had not managed to Beguile the Stormfiends, I fear it would have been lost in the third round.
The Stormvermin more or less held an entire flank by themselves, but they never really got into their stride – with the right set up, they could near enough destroy any one of the large undead units in a single round of combat, but their position meant they could never get their full weight to bear as the undead gradually whittled their numbers down.
A fun game, overall, and a big thumbs up for the Matched Play system we are using in this campaign.
Next week we will be finishing this campaign as the undead forge ahead with their advance, pushing their way into the Realm of Fire for a final showdown with the Skaven.