We are beginning the process of seriously gearing up to play through the Godbeasts campaign book (will be starting end of September/beginning of October, I think!) but, in the meantime, we are continuing our tour of the Mortal Realms. Today, a trip to the Realm of Fire to see what the Tzeentch Arcanites are up to in what is traditionally Khorne territory.
The Story So Far
Xergon Ninefates used to be a big deal within the court of Tzeentch but a faux pas in ages past saw him cast out and, since then, he has been trying to find a way back into his god’s good graces. Now, he thinks, he has a way.
Gathering his Chaos Warriors, Xergon marched to a volcano known as the Shimmering Fist, deep within the Blacksplinter Range in the Realm of Fire. He knew there was a powerful Numinous Occulum there, and he had figured out a way to use its energies to open a vast maelstrom that would act as a gateway to the Realm of Chaos, of such size that veritable legions of daemons could pour out.
This, he thought, could not help but gain the attention of Tzeentch himself, who would then invite Xergon to join him at his side.
However, just as the gateway opened, the Slann Starmaster Azqualta turned up, quickly bringing into being a horde of Seraphon, all intent on using Xergon as target practice. Racing up the sides of the volcano, the Seraphon launched an assault on the Numinous Occulum, determined to close the gateway and end Xergon’s schemes once and for all.
This is a fairly low model count battle, but the Seraphon have come loaded for bear and the Tzeentch daemons have almost unlimited summoning at their disposal, capped only by the total number of models present on the day.
Sorcerer of Tzeentch (Xergon Ninefates)
Chaos Warriors x 10
Pink Horrors x 30 (three units of 10)
Screamers of Tzeentch (two units of 3)
Flamers of Tzeentch x 3
The Tzeentch ‘summoning pool’ is going to be limited to the models the army starts with, but that will be of little comfort to the Seraphon as this type of force is notoriously hard to kill – so long as the Pink Horrors are around, they can chain summon just about everything else, meaning you can almost wipe out an army like this and it can still come back near full strength in a single turn. If the Tzeentch Sorcerer can just stay alive, the army always has the potential to come back for more.
Slann Starmaster (Azqualta)
Oldblood on Carnosaur
Skink Priest with Feather Cloak
Scar-Veteran on Cold One
Saurus Knights x 18 (three units of 6)
Stegadon x 2
A bit of a change for the Seraphon with this army – no foot troops and everyone is either mounted on a beastie, floating in a chair, or equipped with a cloak that lets them fly! So, the force will be fairly mobile but it is going to have its work cut out for it as a Tzeentch force that includes daemons can be extremely difficult to wipe out. The Saurus Knights are organised into a Firelance Starhost but that is the only Battalion present and it is not the most powerful one around, it has to be said.
This Battleplan comes from the recently released Dominion of Chaos book and, it has to be said, it is kinda nice playing a Battleplan that has only just come out (normally it is a few months before we get to them!).
To gain victory, the Seraphon must completely wipe out the Tzeentch force in six rounds – and this will be far from easy as, in addition to the defensive position the Tzeentch force has, alongside their normal summoning powers, all their wizards have access to the Reversal of Fortune spell which is easily cast (Casting Value of 4!) and either completely replenishes a unit of slain models, or brings a unit back from the dead in its entirety! The Seraphon can try to damage the Numinous Occulum to stop this happening, but they will have a hard choice between doing that and keeping the number of daemons down to a manageable level.
Xergon himself is going to be a priority target!
The Seraphon raced up the slopes of the Shimmering Fist and were upon the forces of Tzeentch before Xergon realised he was under attack.
Both forces assembled across a narrow front dictated by the rocky outcroppings on the side of the volcano. As his Seraphon prepared for battle, Slann Starmaster Azqualta glanced up and saw the constellation of the Hunter’s Steed was ascendant – perfect timing for the initial assault.
Battle Round One
The Seraphon wasted no time in getting to grips with their hated Chaos foes, and crossed the last few yards separating them in seconds as the Skink Starseer watched carefully for beneficial portents and Azqualta summoned a blinding light from the heavens that bolstered his forces and caused daemons to recoil in horror.
As the Bastiladon blasted three Chaos Warriors with its energy ray, the Oldblood on his Carnosaur led the Saurus Knights and Stegadons into melee with charges made across the whole front line.
The Carnosaur tore into the Chaos Warriors in front of it and the lone survivor of its vicious attacks promptly fled, all too happy to leave Xergon to his fate.
Meanwhile, Saurus Knights levelled their celestial lances and skewered most of the Pink Horrors before them, forcing some to flee and leaving only a tattered handful still fighting.
Xergon was perturbed by the speed at which the Seraphon had acted and he had watched almost his entire army break apart under their attack. Trying hard not to panic, he retreated a little further into the shadows of the Numinous Occulum and prepared his counterattack.
Using the magical power of the ruins, Xergon brought a new unit of Pink Horrors into being, who promptly summoned more of their friends. The surviving Pink Horrors on the front line tried the same trick, but Starmaster Azqualta contemptuously unbound their enchantment, ending the spell.
Throwing himself on the mercy of Tzeentch, Zergon beseeched his god for aid, and it amused the Changer of Ways to send a unit of five Screamers into battle for the sorcerer.
A wave of magical fire erupted from the daemonic line, immolating five Saurus Knights but the Seraphon still looked as though they had the upper hand. The Flamers of Tzeentch dove into combat with a shattered unit of Saurus Knights but quickly paid for their mistake as a Celestial Lance pierced one, exploding it.
Battle Round Two
While some holes had appeared in the Seraphon attacks, Xergon was clearly hard-pressed and he tried to ignore his dry mouth as more spells were prepared.
Pink Horrors hurled a succession of arcane bolts into what they deemed to be the biggest threat before them, the Oldblood on his Carnosaur, even as Xergon used the power of the Numinous Occulum to summon even more Pink Horrors. The newly arrived Screamers lived up to their name as they shrieked through the sky towards the wounded Carnosaur.
Seeing the sky-sharks likely had the task well in hand, the Pink Horrors turned their magical fire upon Saurus Knights and many Seraphon were burned into nothingness in seconds.
Determined to follow up this attack, Pink Horrors surged forward to engage a Stegadon and Saurus Knights, but they had little impact and a dozen were quickly sent back to Tzeentch, gibbering in delight as they were torn apart.
Meanwhile, the Screamers had surrounded the Carnosaur, nimbly evading its claws and teeth as the Oldblood tried in vain to bring his spear to bear.
Rushing in, they savaged to great beast, finally bringing it down to the ground before it shimmered and disappeared from the battlefield.
Mildly perturbed by the loss of the Oldblood, Starmaster Azqualta tried to bring it back from his dreams but the power of Tzeentch had begun to hold sway on the battlefield, and all of his spells were either unbound or simply had the power leached out of them. Instead, the Slann glanced up to the sky and, with a wave of a webbed hand, spun the constellations so that of the Great Drake appeared overhead – this immediately energised the Seraphon and they began to fight much harder, intent on destroying their ancient enemies.
While the Seraphon had dispatched a great many daemons already, the assault on the Numinous Occulum was in danger of being bogged down, but with a great roar a Stegadon broke free of the Pink Horrors milling around it. Leaving them to the attentions of the Suarus Knights that had accompanied it, the Stegadon thundered forward, searching for Xergon within the ruins. In seconds, it was far too close for the sorcerer’s liking.
For just a moment, Xergon’s attention was focussed on the Stegadon and he did not notice its sister a short distance off before it was too late. A Skybolt was fired from the back of the beast, missing him by inches.
Things were beginning to get just a little too dangerous for Xergon and he began making plans as fast as his mind could turn.
Meanwhile, the Bastiladon charged its energy beam and unleashed its full power against the Screamers that had destroyed the Carnosaur and were now free to rampage through the Seraphon’s back line. The beam disintegrated three of them imemdiately, and the Bastiladon’s subsequent charged ground the survivors into the rocky ground.
Elsewhere, despite the losses the Seraphon had sustained, Pink Horrors continued to be dispatched in numbers that were becoming alarming to Xergon. Even the Flamers were now suffering, having been charged by the Scar-Veteran atop his Cold One.
Battle Round Three
Painfully aware of the Stegadon now just yards away from him, Xergon still managed to concentrate hard enough to engage the Numinous Occulum – more Pink Horrors were summoned. These then managed to create a successful summoning chain, bringing into being other Pink Horrors who then summoned more Pink Horrors, who in turn brought a group of Screamers into being. Against all odds, Xergon had managed to rebuild almost his entire army and the daemons now threatened to completely envelope the Seraphon’s left flank.
Worse, the Screamers now directly threatened Starmaster Azqualta himself.
Only too happy to sacrifice daemons to save his own skin, Xergon directed Pink Horrors to halt the stampeding Stegadon, but their magical fire simply bounced off its thick hide. Callously ordering them forward, Xergon forced them to then charge the beast. While they failed to hurt it, they did manage to arrest its advance, which was just fine with the Sorcerer.
Meanwhile, a Skink Priest had advanced just a little too far ahead of the rest of the Seraphon, and Pink Horrors gleefully descended upon him.
However, in a display of incredible martial prowess, the little Skink twisted and dodged their attacks while laying two daemons low with his staff.
Starmater Azqualta saw the battle was now balanced on a knife edge, but while danger existed so too did opportunity. He directed his Skink Starseer to consult the portents and then throw a mystic shield over the Stegadon closest to the Tzeentch Sorcerer. Meanwhile, he called forth a large unit of Saurus Knights from his dreams, using them to block the threat the Screamers posed to himself.
Another Skybolt from a Stegadon this time found its mark, hammering into Xergon’s shoulder. The sorcerer reeled from the attack, seriously wounded.
The Bastiladon used its energy beam to pound the Pink Horrors surrounding the other Stegadon, the few survivors finished off by javelins hurled by the Stegadon’s Skink crew.
Then, the Stegadon charged…
Its head down, it crashed through the walls of the Numinous Occulum, showering Xergon in dust and bricks. The Sorcerer had just enough time to look up before one of the Stegadon’s mighty horns gored him, raising Xergion high into the air before tossing his lifeless body aside with a flick if its massive head.
So ended the schemes of Xergon Ninefates.
However, while the mortal sorcerer was now dead and his plans turned to ash, there were still many daemons of Tzeentch on the battlefield and Starmaster Azqualta was all too aware that any one of them could continue the ritual Xergon had begun. They would have to be exterminated one by one. The Scar-Veteran took the lead with this, urging his Cold One to plough into the Pink Horrors who had surrounded the Skink priest. The priest took advantage of this distraction and, using his Feathered Cloak, soared into the sky to escape them.
Battle Round Four
Now free to enact their own plans without interference from a mortal, the Daemons of Tzeentch renewed their attacks. More Pink Horrors were summoned to the battlefield as the Screamers swooped low, bypassing Saurus Knights to attack Starmaster Azqualta directly.
Though caught in mid-flight as he tried in vain to evade them, Azqualta proved no slouch when things became up close and personal. With a wave of his fingers, the Starmaster unleashed a torrent of celestial lightning upon his attackers, destroying one of the Screamers. His floating seat took a few knocks in return but already the Saurus Knights were beginning to redirect their loping strides to free him from attack.
The balance of fate had swung firmly in the hands of the Seraphon, but Starmaster Azqualta had fought the minions of Tzeentch too many times to be fooled – every single spellcaster had to be annihilated or he would risk being overwhelmed by a horde of daemons just when victory was in his grasp.
Casually hurling an Arcane Bolt at a Screamer, sending it shrieking back to Tzeentch, the Starmaster ordered his Skink Starseer to alter fate to ensure the battle progressed as Azqualta had foreseen. Then he directed his Seraphon to annihilate all Pink Horrors.
Fire from the closest Stegadon whittled their numbers down, but a particularly large gathering of Horrors was mustering among the rocky outcroppings. Steadying itself on its massive paws, the Bastiladon braced itself and unleashed a massive energy beam. A cloud of magical energies mushroomed skywards where the Pink Horrors had been capering.
When it cleared, they were gone.
The few remaining Pink Horrors were swept away by charges from the Saurus Knights. Their work finished, only a single wounded Screamer was left.
Battle Round Five
Its animal instincts dimly aware that it alone could form a beacon that would eventually draw more daemons to the area, the Screamer fled, taking cover behind smoke-wreathed rocks.
The Seraphon were quick to react, but even the Bastiladon could not pick out its target from the thick smoke that swelled over the sides of the volcano.
A desperate charge by the Saurus Knights, led by the Skink Priest swooping in on his Feathered Cloak, flushed the Screamer out of hiding. Though it nimbly dodged the Celestial Lances of the Saurus riders, their Cold Ones were now eager for its daemonic essence, and they tore it apart with cold efficiency.
The Seraphon had achieved their major victory.
Despite looking lop-sided at the start (the Seraphon are going to bring all their big beasties), this is actually a very good battle, and a great deal of fun.
Let the Seraphon player take pretty much what they like (encourage them to avoid their Skinks and Saurus Warriors, this is a chance for them to come loaded for bear!), and allow the Tzeentch player to chain summon, limited only by the number of models he starts the battle with. The battle then becomes a desperate battle of attrition, with the Sorcerer (and Pink Horrors!) constantly summoning to try to plug holes in their line!
This means the Tzeentch player can pretty much rebuild his army at the start of any turn, focussing the Seraphon’s attention where it should, the mortal Sorcerer – once Xergon has been polished off, he can then start hunting down the other wizards in the force. Meanwhile, the Tzeentch player is constantly degrading the oncoming Seraphon, hopefully to the point where one last counterattack will drive them off!
As it was, that last Screamer came very close to winning the battle for Tzeentch, its massive movement carrying it past most of the Seraphon forces and, if it had been allowed to survive another turn, it could likely have evaded them completely. Only the Starseer’s manipulation of the fates (giving re-rolls to many units) allowed the Saurus Knights to actually reach the Screamer and finish it off.
A close one!
The Story Continues…
Next time, we will be journeying to the Realm of Life for another battle drawn from the Dominion of Chaos book, this time pitting a combined Pestilens/Skryre force against the Sylvaneth, who are fighting to defend a precious Realmgate.