Some of the new Sylvaneth models have been painted up, and it is time to see how they fight on the battlefield!
The Story So Far
The Greatstump was a massive severed trunk hidden within Thornfallow, and in its hollow grew the Peakwood, a glade most sacred to the Sylvaneth and coveted by Nurgle. Rotbringers led by Plaguelord Glurbchrot wanted to honour their god by seizing the place, and marched into battle with a song in their heart, much to the puzzlement of their Clan Feesik allies. However, it quickly became clear that the Plaguelord had woefully underestimated the sacrifices the Sylvaneth were willing to make to retain control of the Peakwood.
Led by the Wrathsinger of Clan Naeth’aer, the Treelord Ancient Haaldhorm, the Sylvaneth began to rally as they realised they were under attack by their old enemy. The Rotbringers faced just scattered forces of Sylvaneth at first but, soon enough, found the whole forest was turning against them as trees sprang into life and from their depths sprang Dryads – and worse. For the first time, the Rotbringers encountered both Noble and Free Spirits, both far more powerful than the Forest Folk they had faced before – following the song of a Branchwych, the Tree-Revenants and Kurnoth Hunters had entered the war as they savagely fought to defend the Peakwood.
While I have plenty of Dryads and their kin, I am only just starting the journey of painting up the new Sylvaneth, so this will be a modest-sized battle. However, both forces are very solid so it will be interesting to see how far the Sylvaneth can get!
Lord of Plagues (Plaguelord Glurbchrot)
Blightkings x 10
Chaos Warriors x 24 (two units of 12)
Plague Monks x 20
Plague Censer Bearers x 5
We have had many battles in the War of Life, and this is a very representative force for Nurgle. The Blightkings and Chaos Warriors form a solid core, well supported by the Plague Monks. The Lord of Plagues is no slouch in battle (with the right back up, he can have a serious go at facing down a Treelord Ancient), while the Blightmage provides decent magical support.
Treelord Ancient (Haaldhorm)
Treelords x 2
Kurnoth Hunters x 3
Tree-Revenants x 10
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)
The Sylvaneth will be using both the Household and Forest Folk Battalions for this battle. While we are very familiar with the Dryads, Treelord Ancient and Branchwraith, we are trying some of the new Sylvaneth units for the first time in this battle – the Tree-Revenants, Branchwych and Kurnoth Hunters.
This battle is drawn from Battletome: Sylvaneth, and has the advantage that massive forces are not required, meaning it can be played with just a few of the new Sylvaneth models – perfect to get motivated to paint up the rest for the bigger fights in this book.
The Sylvaneth start with very limited forces in this battle and must advance across the field to awaken their soulpod groves, which begin in the hands of the Rotbringers. A major victory is gained if the Sylvaneth manage to awaken all four soulpod groves, otherwise they must roll a dice – if the number is less than the number of awakened groves, they gain a minor victory. Anything else is a major victory for the Rotbringers.
We will also be using the Places of Power Time of War sheet for this battle (it serves well for any battle that takes place somewhere special to the Sylvaneth). This means the entire battlefield will slowly begin to respond to the presence of the Sylvaneth, but Chaos forces can use wizards to halt the process or even reverse it.
The Chaos Warriors and Blightkings heard something stir in the woods and walked out of the soulpod groves to investigate, but the Pestilens Skaven and Blightmage were more interested in prodding the strange growths around them.
The coming Sylvaneth attacked with great speed, Tree-Revenants and Treelord taking forward positions, under the watchful aegis of the Kurnoth Hunters.
Battle Round One
The Tree-Revenants faded from view in front of the Chaos Warriors, reappearing behind the Plague Monks, much to their surprise. The nearby soulpod grove responded to their presence and blossomed into life.
As the Kurnoth Hunters sighted the confused Chaos Warriors, loosing huge arrows and killing two, the Treelord raced towards another group, strangling two then stomping another.
Realising they were under attack, the forces of Chaos tried to react quickly, but the Blightmage stumbled over his incantations and failed to launch a magical attack on the nearby Tree-Revenants.
As the Chaos Warriors advanced towards the Kurnoth Hunters and the Blightkings closed range with the Treelord, the Plague Monks charged, hitting the Tree-Revenants at full speed. In a frenzy of stabbing and biting, they tore apart the Tree-Revenants in seconds, leaving just a few leaves floating in the breeze.
Battle Round Two
The power of Chaos was still strong in these woods, and the land itself reacted against the Sylvaneth, sucking life force from the Treelord.
More Tree-Revenants appeared on the battlefield, stepping out of still sleeping soulpod grove. This time, however, it did not react to their soft song.
Seeing their chance to rob the Rotbringers of their magical support, the Tree-Revenants immediately charged, slamming into the Blightmage and wounding him badly. Two Censer Bearers were also caught unawares, slain by sharp branches before they could react. A third turned tail and ran.
Meanwhile, as the Kurnoth Hunters continued to rain fire upon the Chaos Warriors advancing towards them, the Treelord swept aside four of the Chaos Warriors he faced, causing the others to flee the battlefield in terror.
The surviving Chaos Warriors finally reached the Kurnoth Hunters, who threw up a Tangleroot Thicket before them, hampering the assault. Quiverlings leapt out of the shrubbery and claimed another Chaos Warrior.
The Blightkings, however, had cornered the Treelord.
Their charge was unstoppable, and the Treelord crashed to the ground under their repeated blows and ravaging diseases.
Once more the Plague Monks found Tree-Revenants in their sights, and once more their charge proved overwhelming, wiping out the Sylvaneth to a tree.
Battle Round Three
Haaldhorm, the Treelord Ancient and leader of this small group of Sylvaneth arrived on the battlefield, striding through the awakened soulpod grove as the trees wrapped themselves around him, providing protection He gestured with his tendril staff and a Mystic Shield further bolstered his defences.
The Blightmage cast a spell that the trees themselves rebelled against, corrupting the land and withering vegetation around him. The Plague Monks watched the soulpod grove intently, knowing the Treelord Ancient was within, but hesitant to rush into woods whose trees clearly wanted to hurt them.
The Censer Bearers were less concerned and rushed in where other rats feared to tread. However, the trees were thick and neither the Skaven nor the Treelord Ancient found their enemy.
Battle Round Four
More Tree-Revenants appeared, taking the place of the last group. Once again, the soulpod grove did not respond to them, but they rushed forwards to smash into the Blightmage.
Even the presence of the nearby Plague Monks could not save the Blightmage, and his black heart was quickly pierced by the glaive of the Tree-Revenants’ leader.
Seeing that his children had blunted the Plague Monks and killed the Blightmage, Haaldhorm used the spiritways to carry him to another soulpod grve, but this one too continued to slumber.
Far away, the Kurnoth Hunters and Chaos Warriors were still locked together, fighting their own private war. Finally, the Sylvaneth were able to get a bead on the enemy at point blank way, and a savage volley finally skewered the last of the warriors. They had defeated their enemies, though one Kurnoth Hunter was badly injured.
Meanwhile, Haaldhorm had been trapped by the Blightkings before he could fully reach the safety of the trees. Though two were killed by the trees of the grove as they rushed through at speed, they knew well how to kill Treelords, and set about Haaldhorm, opening up great rents in his trunk with their axes.
Battle Round Five
The mere presence of the Blightkings was toxic to Haaldhorm, and he visibly wilted under the filth and disease that emanated from them. He was in no fit state to defend himself, and the followers of Nurgle easily overwhelmed the ancient creature, the last of them burying his axe deep into Haaldhorm’s heartwood.
Plague Monk still clashed with Tree-Revenant and both sides suffered greatly. With the dead of both sides littering the floor, both Skaven and Sylvaneth ran from the battlefield, leaving the slumbering soulpod groves eerily still.
Seeing their brothers and sisters destroyed, the Kurnoth Hunters mournfully retreated from the battlefield.
Another fun, and very tactical battle!
The Tree-Revenants were the real saving grace here, their ability to pop up almost anywhere on the battlefield a real boon. However, they do not have any staying power in combat when they are away from their trees and were gradually picked off, one by one.
Overall, the Sylvaneth never really got their momentum going in this battle, being restricted to hit-and-run attacks as they tried (usually failing!) to awaken the groves. It may have been better if the Tree-Revenants had stuck close to the Treelord Ancient for a much better chance of awakening the groves, but they got greedy and tried to get two per turn instead. The dice rolls were just not that good!
The Kurnoth Hunters, clearly, can be very powerful. They just did not show it in this battle, constantly missing with their bows and relying on Quiverlings to kill Chaos Warriors in close combat. Not their best performance, but they show promise!
The Story Continues…
Next time, Sigmar sends an expeditionary force of Stormcasts into the Realm of Death to retrieve the bodies of devoted Warrior Priests. You can be sure Nagash is not going to be happy with that…