Skybasha Ironjawz

This weekend, I added a new army to the forces of Destruction – the Ironjawz have finally arrived!

img_7077

I have spent a lot of time this year humming and harring about the colours to do these guys in. The ‘standard’ yellow of GW’s Ironjawz is all well and good, but a bit bright for my eyes. I am not keen on the blue, and the orange just looks awful. I was going to go red, but then I spied the Skybashas in the Ironjawz Painting Guide.

The Skybashas Warclan is typically found floating across the skies in flying scrap-craft (this comes from the painting guide – they often have snippets of background information like this), and they hammer their armour and weapons out of sky-iron. However, they then daub it with bright red teeth and patches to prove they ain’t soft.

Perfect!

img_7078

In the first lot of Skybashas, I concentrated on the Ardboys in the main, as they will form the bulk of the tribe in numbers, with 22 of them polished off. I have another 15 of these guys sitting on the desk waiting to be done, and I figure I’ll end up with three units of 20 by the time I am done.

img_7079

You need a Megaboss, of course, and while I have one waiting in the wings on top a Maw-Krusha, this chap will serve well until that is ready.

img_7080

A Weirdnob Shaman, of course, a delightfully characterful model. While all red on these models is washed with Agrax and highlighted with Evil Sunz, I actually use a different base for cloth and armour – Khorne Red for the former, Mephiston Red for the latter. This provides a subtle but effective difference that suggests they are made from different materials.

img_7081

And finally a Warchanter.

Like the Flesh-Eater Court, these models are superfast to paint, and I would not shy away from doing a hundred Ardboys (not that I will!). I finished these guys on Saturday, and started work on the Brutes and Gore-Gruntas on the Sunday, and they are practically finished – only my running out of Zandri Dust put the brakes on them.

Those done, I will be doing mode Ardboys and tackling the Maw-Krushas, and I am beginning to eye up the Bonesplitterz now!

Battle Report -To Kill a King

The penultimate battle of the first half of the Godbeasts campaign is here – and it is a titanic battle within the Ironwarp Citadel as the forces of Order and Chaos vie for control of Ignax, the great Godbeast that hangs in the sky above them like a sun.

 

The Story So Far

Under the continued attacks by the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, the Ironwarp Citadel was beginning to fall into the hands of Order – and that was something Archaon the Everchosen simply could not allow. Riding Dorghar, he alighted upon the highest tower of the citadel and stared down at his enemies as they continued their bloody battle against the mortal forces of Khorne.

Then, the Extremis Chamber struck. Having gathered its strength after forcing the initial breach of the Ironwarp Citadel’s defences, the Dracothian Guard now led the way for the final attack, Stormcasts and Fyreslayers moving up quickly behind them to smash the Bloodbound.

Stretching its wings, Dorghar took to the air, carrying Archaon down into the swirling melee. If the Ironwarp Citadel was to be theirs, the tormcast Eternals would have to kill or at least drive Archaon off.

 

The Forces

The Ironwarp Citadel is Khorne’s own domain, but now Archaon has arrived to personally oversee the battle, along with just about every luminary in the ranks of the Bloodbound.

Everchosen
Archaon the Everchosen, Exalted Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse
Mighty Lord of Khorne
Slaughterpriest
Exalted Deathbringer
Aspiring Deathbringer
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Bloodcrushers x 6
Wrathmongers x 5
Skullreapers x 5
Khorgorath
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Chaos Warriors x 12

Just about every mortal Khorne model we have is involved in this battle, all led by Archaon himself. This will be an extremely tough army to crack, but it seems like the Stormcasts have come loaded for bear…

Stormcast Eternals
Celestant-Prime
Lord-Celestant on Stardrake
Drakesworn Templar
Lord-Relictor
Concussors x 4
Fulminators x 4
Tempestors x 4
Desolators x 4
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)

Fyreslayers
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Runeson (Volgrov Burrson)
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (three units of 10)
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10
Auric Hearthguard x 5

This is another joint Stormcast-Fyreslayer force but, this time, the Extremis Chamber is back. So long as the Dracothian Guard can keep the pressure up, the Stormcasts should be able to forge their way ahead in this battle, but while they have two Stardrakes leading them, Archaon is (as always) going to be the foe they have to deal with.

 

The Battleplan

To Kill a King has one simple aim – the Stormcasts have to destroy Archaon (we can assume he will be so badly injured he has to retire from the field – don’t worry, he will be back soon enough!) or drive him off. The latter can be achieved by causing so many wounds that Archaon has to take a special form of Battleshock test, not an easy task in itself!

However, there are (as always) some complications. First, the Stormcasts can re-roll any wound rolls of 1 when attacking Archaon. But that is the only bonus they enjoy.

For his part, Archaion can use three Command Abilities in a hero phase and can use the Command Abilities of any of his underlings. On top of that, he gets a special save against any and all wounds.

 

Deployment

The forces of Order deployed along a broad front, with the strongest forces arranged against the nearest wall of the Ironwarp Citadel. However, Fyreslayers and Dracothian Guard were sent to sweep across the plains to annihilate any defenders who were found outside the walls before making their way to the Malefic Gate.

img_7018

The Bloodbound had been caught off guard by the Stormcasts’ sudden assault and were left scrabbling to gain the walls before the forces of Order swept over them. Only a single retinue of Blood Warriors managed to clamber onto the ramparts as Archaon sat astride Dorghar, ordering his minions forward.

img_7019

However, the Juggernaut cavalry of the Bloodcrushers and Skullcrushers took to the plain alongside the Khorgorath.

img_7020

Battle Round One

The eye of the Godbeast Ignax spied the battle developing outside the Ironwarp Fortress, and burning rays lanced down from the sky, seeking the unworthy – and they found them among the Bloodbound. A Bloodreaver and a Blood Warrior simply disappeared as the rays annihilated them and the Khorgorath roared in pain as another sliced across its back.

Within the Overlord Bastion, the Slaughterpriest went about his bloody work, but not with Duardin or Stormcasts. Instead, Bloodreavers were brought to the Altar of Khorne and sacrificed, not to the Blood God, but to the Pyroclasm. The sentient firestorm seemed satisfied with this offering and hung broodily above the Ironwarp Citadel, savouring the thought of more sacrifices.

As Bloodreavers were brought, screaming, to the altar to await the Slaughterpriest’s axe, the presence of Archaon outside the bastion ‘inspired’ others not to run.

img_7043

At a barked command from the Everchosen, the Bloodbound rushed forward, knowing Archaon would punish them severely if they failed to reach the walls before the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers. Only the Bloodreavers were kept back, their duty to satisfy the Pyroclasm so their betters could fight unhindered.

As the forces of Order advanced, Ignax unleashed solar flares across the heavens, blinding everyone on the battlefield. While this had little effect upon the crazed Bloodbound, the Judicators of the Stormcasts and Auric Hearthguard of the Fyreslayers were dazzled, making their missile weapons quite useless. The Skybolt-armed Judicators instead took up position in the Skull Keep, the Lord-Relictor joining them.

img_7021

Battle Round Two

The solar flares continued to bathe the battlefield in brilliant radiance, even as the Slaughterpriest dedicated six Bloodreavers to appease the Pyroclasm. Their mounts clawed paws scrabbling at skulls and other fixtures, the Varanguard climbed into the walls, a magical shield granted by Archaon shimmering around them. They were soon joined by Blood Warriors and, on the plains, the cavalry of the Bloodbound shook the ground as they thundered towards the enemy.

img_7022

They quickly saw the Runesmiter on his Magmadroth, too eager to reach the Malefic Gates, had advanced ahead of the rest of his army and the Bloodcrushers charged in.

img_7023

The impact of the metal Juggernauts sent the Magmadroth reeling, and the Bloodletters found it an easy mark for their Hellblades. As huge gouts of volcanic blood  washed over the Bloodcrushers and nearby Dracothian Guard, the Magmadroth retaliated, shredding a Bloodcrusher with its vicious claws.

As  a Liberator bravely sacrifice himself to the Pyroclasm, the forces of Order cheered as they saw the walls of the Ironwarp Citadel ignite into huge columns of flame. The influence of Ignax burned the Bloodbound, immolating three Blood Warriors as their retinues struggled to withstand the intense heat and stay in their defensive positions, wary that the Stormcasts were closing in fast.

img_7024

As the Stormcasts neared the walls, powerful wards exploded in their faces, injuring a Retributor, even as the Judicators rained Skybolt arrows down onto the Varanguard. The Everchosen’s personal warriors, protected by Archaon’s Mystic Shield, weathered the attack calmly, sustaining barely a scratch. The Drakesworn Templar had planned to assault the walls after the Judicators had swept them clear of the Varanguard but, seeing them almost completely unharmed, he hesitated and did not charge.

img_7025

The two Star Drakes instead called upon the power of Drachothion and stars fell from the heavens to rain down upon the Ironwarp Citadel. However, the Bloodbound had faced the Extremis Chamber before and they quickly hunkered down on the ramparts, with only a single Skullcrusher outside the walls blasted apart by the impacts.

img_7026

On the plains, the Dracothian Guard counter-charged the Juggernauts, unleashing a Storm Surge of lightning as they approached. As they crashed into the metal monsters, axes, hammers and glaives hacked through their enemies, killing the Khorgorath and leaving just a single Skullcrusher still fighting.

img_7027

The Dracothian Guard had proved, once again, they were the superior cavalry, and they now swore to prove the point by finishing the Varanguard they had heard had made an apprentice in the battle.

 

Battle Round Three

More Bloodreavers were sacrificed to appease the Pyroclasm as Ignax sent a raging heatwave across the battlefield. This drove the Bloodbound to even greater heights of frenzy, and the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers proved not to be immune to its effects either.

img_7028

Racing forward, the last of the Bloodbound finally gained the walls and, between them, they quickly formed a credible defence against the assault.

img_7029

As more solar flares from Ignax blinded the forces of Order, the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers began their first determined attack on the gates and walls.

img_7030

The walls of the Ironwarp Citadel exploded as they were bombarded with arrows, bolts and missiles of lava, but the solar flares caused many shots to go wide. When the dust finally cleared, only a single Chaos Warrior and Skullreaper had been killed. At the gates, the Magmadroth had more luck, throwing gouts of lava across the ramparts to burn three Blood Warriors.

Then, the Drakesworn Templar finally persuaded his Star Drake to charge the walls and engage the Varanguard.

img_7031

The Star Drake leered over the high walls and plucked one of the Varanguard off his mount, tossing him through the air to land heavily on the rocky ground, where he lay motionless. The other members of the Varanguard thrust down with their Fellspears, digging deep into the Star Drake and forcing a terrible roar of pain.

 

Battle Round Four

As Ignax granted Dorghar the Legacy of Vulcatrix, its breath turning to fire, Archaon ordered the Bloodbound to hold firm and not leave the walls. The Everchosen solidified the defence by maintaining the Mystic Shield upon his Varanguard.

img_7032

More solar flares brightened the battlefield, as the Magmadroth hurled itself against the Malefic Gates, but they held fast, locked in place by the Blood Warriors defending it.

img_7033

Realising that while the walls were heavily defended, the gates could quickly turn into a weak point, the Aspiring Deathbringer ran across the walls to help hold the line.

img_7034

A great shriek then erupted from the far side of the battlefield as the Fellspears of the Varanguard found their mark and were driven deep into the heart of the Star Drake, killing the beast and sending the Templar crashing to the ground.

img_7035

The fight intensified outside the gates, as Dracothian Guard and Fyreslayers both lent their weight against it, trying to force a passage into the Ironwarp Citadel. Three Vulkite Berzerkers were blasted by the wards that decorated the gates, a reminder that even the fortress itself was lethal.

img_7036

The Skybolt armed Judicators in the Skull Keep had planned to continue raining flights of arrows upon the defenders on the walls, but the Judicator-Prime then noticed that the Everchosen himself had flown closer in an effort to continue shielding his Varanguard. Giving the order, he instructed his Judicators to loose a flight at Archaon.

img_7037

In surprise more than pain, Dorghar’s three heads all barked as arrows thudded into its flank. The damage was minor, but served as a reminder that the Everchosen could be hurt.

At the gates, only the Runesmiter on his Magmadroth could reach the Blood Warrior defenders above them all, joined by the lightning of the Dracoths, the upper reaches of the gates were washed with lighting and lava. Blood Warriors toppled from gates, simultaneously blasted and burnt. Under this sustained assault, the nerve of many broke, and Blood Warriors began to run from the gates to head deeper into the Ironwarp Citadel, uncaring that their cowardice was witnessed by the Everchosen.

img_7038

Battle Round Five

Once again, the walls of the Ironwarp Citadel blazed with fire as they were set aflame by Ignax, but the Bloodbound were now wary of this and only a Vulkite Berzerker outside the fortress was caught in the inferno.

Another Liberator bravely sacrificed himself to the Pyroclasm but, this time, the firestorm rejected the offering, believing the Stormcasts had far more worthy beings amongst them. A roiling storm of flame tore through the rank of the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, quickly accounting for a horrific death toll.

Struggling to manage to pain, the Lord-Relictor planted his reliquary staff and called upon Sigmar to aid him. Lightning lanced down from the heavens to strike Archaon, causing the Lord-Relictor to grin under his helmet – at least the Everchosen had now felt some of the pain of the Stormcasts. He was distracted from his gloating by a loud cheer from the other side of the battlefield, voiced by both Stormcast and Fyreslayer.

The Malefic Gates had finally been forced open!

img_7039

The Dracothian Guard were the first in, but they were quickly followed by the Runesmiter and Vulkite Berzerkers.

img_7040

As the forces of Order spread out in the Ironwarp Citadel’s courtyard, searching for enemies cowering inside, more defensive wards exploded, striking the Concussors and slaying more Vulkite Berzerkers.

img_7041

This proved too much for some Fyreslayers and, already ravaged by the Pyroclasm, many Vulkite Berzerkers broke, and ran, despite threats and curses from their Runesmiter.

Seeing the gates fall, the Lord-Celestant spied the Aspiring Deathbringer still on their ramparts, and he urged his Star Drake forward to slay the villain.

img_7042

However, the Aspiring Deathbringer knew how to use the walls to best effect and he ducked down, the Star Drake’s claws only wounding him. A single Blood Warrior saw his chance for glory and rushed forward to strike at the Lord-Celestant, but the Stormcast caught the blow on his Thundershield. The shield reverberated from the attack, unleashing a titanic peal of thunder that blasted the Blood Warrior where he stood and injure the Aspiring Deathbringer further.

An ash storm then descended upon the battlefield, a further gift from Ignax, limiting everyone’s vision. Archaon chose to withdraw the protection of his Mystic Shield from the Varanguard, and cloaked himself with it instead.

img_7044

As Bloodbound repositioned themselves along the walls to plug the gaps that had appeared in their lines, others jumped down into the courtyard to halt the rush of the Dracothian Guard.

img_7047

However, the Exalted Deathbringer had other ideas. Seeing his rival duel the Lord-Celestant, he knew he had to make his own mark so, leading a retinue of Skullreapers, he confronted the Tempestors. Not to be outdone, the Varanguard leapt down too, their massive beasts shaking the ground as they landed in front of a retinue of Retributors.

img_7045

Sensing the chance to break an entire flank of the Stormcast attack, Archaon goaded Dorghar to take to the air, landing heavily upon the walls.

img_7046

The Retributors were taken completely by surprise by the Varanguard’s attack, and barely had time to raise hammers as they charged out of the swirling ash storm. Two Retributors were skewered by their Fellspears before they could react, and the Varanguard were gone before any retaliation could be mounted.

The Exalted Deathbringer, however, spat and cursed as the ash storm blinded him. He could hear the Skullreapers rushing forwards to find the Tempestors, but the Deathbringer could see only dust.

The Tempestors too were caught by surprise as the Skullreapers rushed them, but the reactions of their Dracoths were up to the task. Two Skullreapers were torn apart by their teeth and claws, but it was not enough. Once the Skullreapers were close enough, their daemon weapons hungered for Stormcast souls, and two Tempestors were quickly dispatched.

All of a sudden, the Stormcasts’ flank began to look shaky.

img_7049

Seeing the Aspiring Deathbringer going toe-to-toe with the Lord-Celestant and his Star Drake, a Mighty Lord of Khorne entered the fight, swinging his powerful axe.

img_7048

Aided by his Flesh Hound, the Lord of Khorne hammered away at the Lord-Celestant, his axe seeking to break reality and slay the Stormcast with one cruel blow. However, the Lord-Celestant had seen him approach and caught the axe again and again on his Thundershield. Twice, the Thundershield peeled with the force of a storm, the sound waves injuring the Lord of Khorne and blasting the life out of the Aspiring Deathbringer.

Truly, the power of the God-King was with him.

 

Battle Round Six

The Slaughterpriest continued his bloody work, hewing Bloodreavers as their comrades brought them, struggling, to kneel before him. Five Bloodreavers were butchered to appease the Pyroclasm, but the Slaughterpriest failed to follow the proper rites and a terrible firestorm swept through the ranks of the Bloodbound, immolating a Chaos Warrior, Wrathmonger and one of the Varanguard.

High above the walls of the Ironwarp Citadel, Archaon raised the Slayer of Kings and bid the Gods of Chaos lend him their air. It was Khorne who responded, dispatching a veritable legion of daemons – six Bloodcrushers and thirty Bloodletters, all led by a Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury.

img_7050

Hurling an Arcane Bolt that blasted a Retributor off his feet, Archaon then descended into the heart of the battle outside the walls.

img_7052

The Skullreapers rushed towards the Stormcasts defending the Skull Keep, but were met by brave Runeson Burrson, who thrust out with his Wyrmslayer Javelin, piercing the heart of one.

img_7051

Inside the Citadel, the Bloodthirster led the charge against the Dracothian Guard and Fyreslayers who had breached the gate. The weight of the Juggernauts was telling, as they bowled over a Desolator and ground it into the dirt.

img_7053

The Bloodthirster seemed confused at having been thrown straight into battle by the Blood God, and its swings were wild and unfocussed. Taking advantage of its lack of attention, the Dracoths of the Concussors savaged the daemon, tearing great rents in its flesh. The Hellblades of the Bloodletters accounted for another Desolator, but only at the cost of one of their own.

As the Varanguard dispatched the last of the Retributors they faced, the Mighty Lord of Khorne aimed a savage swing of his axe at the Star Drake of the Lord-Celestant. As the axe bit deep, reality cracked and a rent in the fabric of space sucked both man and beast from the battlefield, leaving only a coldness in their wake.

img_7054

Burning rays from Ignax sought the unworthy across the entire battlefield, settling upon a Wrathmonger and Liberator. Both were burned for their sins, leaving only black soot where they had stood.

From within the Skull Keep, the Lord-Relictor could see the next important phase of the battle would be fought at his feet. Raising his reliquary staff, he called upon the power of Sigmar once again, and another bolt of lightning struck the Everchosen.

img_7055

The heavens then blazed with a brilliant light that dazzled everyone within sight of the Ironwarp Citadel. Like a comet from the sky, the Celestant-Prime smashed into the battlefield, immediately seeking an enemy of Chaos. His eyes immediately locked on the Bloodthirster and the Bloodcrushers near it.

img_7056

Courting no delay, the Celestant-Prime swept into the fight, hitting with the full weight of the God-King.

img_7057

The Bloodcrushers had no time to react as the Celestant-Prime hit their rear line. As Ghal Maraz swung, bolts of lightning lashed out and Juggernauts were hurled so high into the air that some cleared the walls of the Ironwarp Citadel itself, landing in craters across the plain outside. Two tried to struggle past the Fyreslayers to escape, but a Dracoth mauled one and the Vulkite Berzerkers finished the last with their axes.

The Hearthguard Berzerkers finally managed to scale the walls of the Ironwarp Citadel, and found themselves face-to-face with a Mighty Lord of Khorne. His lethal axe lashed out once again, slaying three of the Hearthguard. Two more ran from the Citadel, immediately shamed by their own cowardice, but the Karl and one of the Hearthguard stood firm and piled into the Lord with their axes.

img_7059

The Lord could not defend himself from their berserk attacks and was finally killed where he stood, his Flesh Hound soon following him.

 

Battle Round Seven

An ash storm swept across the battlefield, limiting everyone’s vision to just a few feet in front of their noses. The Slaughterpriest continued to sacrifice to the Pyroclasm but the sentient firestorm had grown weary of a diet of Bloodreavers and, once again, living flames tore through the Bloodbound.

Heedless of either the ash storm or the Pyroclasm, Archaon threw a Mystic Shield over himself then hurled an Arcane Bolt into the Skull Keep, killing a Judicator.

img_7060

A small tribe of Bloodreavers finally rebelled against the Slaughterpriest, and they fled the Overlord Bastion. Seeing the Celestant-Prime right in front of them, they hungered for the blood of another, and they charged, screaming foul curses as they ran.

img_7061

Even the Celestant-Prime was surprised by attack from this quarter, and a Bloodreaver managed to dent one of his armour plates with a Goreaxe before Ghal Maraz descended once more and hammered each Bloodreaver to oblivion.

The land itself rebelled against the presence of the Bloodthirster as it roared and stamped in anger, rents beginning to appear in the walls as they shook and split. One of the Hearthguard Berzerkers fell into a gap, instantly crushed as the walls slammed back together, but the last of the Concussors swung his hammer hard and sure, caving in the skull of the Bloodthirster. Of Khorne’s reinforcements, only the Bloodletters remained. However, they had bought the Everchosen a great deal of time and he had taken advantage of that.

img_7063

Outside the Ironwarp Citadel, the Skull Keep garrisoned by Judicators and the Lord-Relictor was quickly becoming a focus, and Archaon led a small but potent force against it.

img_7062

As the Judicators desperately tried to hold back the last of the Varanguard and a Skullreaper, the Lord-Relictor swung his hammer at Archaon, catching Dorghar in one of its heads. This did little more than draw the attention of Dorghar and its Nurglesque head snapped round the Stormcast, swallowing him whole. Invigorated by the power of the Lord-Relictor, some of the wounds on Dorghar began to heal.

As solar flares burst across the sky, the forces of Order started to redirect their assault back to the Skull Keep.

img_7064

Inside, the Judicators continued to loose volley after volley of their Skybolts into Archaon, but one arrow bounced off his shield and ricocheted back with full force into the helm of one of the Stormcasts.

img_7065

As the last Desolator raced across the courtyard to finish off the Slaughterpriest skulking in the Overlord Bastion with a blast of lightning, the Celestant-Prime took to the air and then dived, straight into the midst of more than a score of Bloodletters.

img_7066

Ghal Maraz carved great arcs in the blood-filled air, sweeping daemons with each stroke and launching some high into the sky. When the Celestant-Prime was done, not one Bloodletter remained in the courtyard.

img_7067

Back in the Skull Keep, the fight was becoming desperate, and relief from the Fulminators and Retributors seemed a long way off.

img_7068

However, even under assault from the Everchosen himself, the lone Judicator-Prime inside refused to give way. The Skull Keep still held.

img_7069

Battle Round Eight

Not keen on facing the Celestant-Prime, the last of the Bloodletters leapt from the wall to confront the Fulminators, hoping to at least delay them long enough for Archaon to enact the next stage of his plan.

img_7070

Though one Dracoth received a nasty slice across its front paw from a Hellblade, the Stormcasts barely noticed as they simply rode right over the daemons.

With his attention focussed solely on defending himself from Archaon, the Judicator-Prime inside the Skull Keep did not notice the last of the Skullreapers gain entry and come up behind him. As the Judicator’s helmet spun through the air from a decapitating strike, Dhorghar bellowed in victory with all three heads.

The Skull Keep had finally fallen.

img_7071

Burning rays once more lanced down from Ignax to search for the unworthy – but on this battlefield, anyone unworthy had already met their end, and those left were all heroes in their own right.

The Stormcasts, few in number now, continued their mad dash for the Skull Keep, now hoping only to avenge their fallen brothers.

img_7072

However, Archaon saw he had a more immediate problem, for the Celestant-Prime touched down softly upon the walls of the Ironwarp Citadel and gestured at the Everchosen with Ghal Maraz, an obvious challenge.

img_7073

Beneath the notice of those titans of the battlefield, the Fulminators lowered their glaives and charged into the Skullreaper, Varanguard and Exalted Deathbringer who, only seconds ago, had been the ones on the attack.

img_7074

The Deathbringer was thrown heavily against the wall of the Skull Keep by the surge of lighting that the Dracoths rolled before them, while the glaives of the Stormcasts made short work of both Skullreaper and Varanguard.

Arachon was now on his own.

img_7075

 

Battle Round Nine

Waving his Cometstrike Sceptre to order the other Stormcasts to keep back, the Celestant-Prime leapt from the ramparts to stand before the Everchosen.

img_7076

Though Archaon towered above him on the back of Dorghar, the Celestant-Prime was undaunted, for Ghal Maraz shone with the divine power of the God-King. With the briefest of pauses, Everchosen and Stormcast smashed into one another.

Spiralling out of reach of Dorghar’s snapping heads, the Celestant-Prime raised and swung Ghal Maraz again and again, landing terrible blows upon the beast, causing it to howl in pain.

Seeing the Ironwarp Citadel was lost, Archaon saw no profit in continuing to duel the tiny Stormcast, and he ordered Dorghar to take to the sky, leaving the Stormcasts victorious behind him.

The Everchosen had a far greater plan to enact, one that would render the results of this battle fruitless.

 

Conclusion

That was a titanic battle, with a titanic finish!

Archaon going up against the Celestant-Prime? It just does not get any more epic than that!

The Momentum was very much with the forces of Order throughout the first few turns, with the Dracothian Guard leading the way as usual. However, the Bloodbound managed to steadily whittle them down, blunting their edge, and things looked decidedly shaky when the Bloodthirster turned up!

Only two things really carried the battle for Order, I think. First, that Bloodthirster did nothing. It managed to miss or failed to wound with all of its attacks in every round, only killing one Hearthguard Berzerker, and that was with its special ability. What could have completely reversed the breaching of the gates turned out to be… less than impressive.

The second was the arrival of the Celestant-Prime or, more specifically, Ghal Maraz. If you look back, you will see he arrived on the sixth turn, meaning he was rocking 12 attacks, each with 3+/2+ to hit and wound, with Rend -3 and Damage 3. No wonder he managed t clock two units of Bloodletters in one turn!

However, even then, the final confrontation with Archaon was far from a foregone conclusion. If the Everchosen had just a few more wounds at the start of that fight, he would have survived the Celestant-Prime’s initial rush, and then there would have been every chance he could have finished off the Stormcast with his return attacks…

 

The Story Continues…

Archaon may have been driven out of the Ironwarp Citadel, but he is far from defeated. Rallying the daemons of Orb Infernia, he is now able to launch a cataclysmic attack on the forces of Order within the Land of the Chained Sun, to finally finish them off and claim the Godbeast Ignax as his prize. However, Runeson Burrson has climbed one of the Great Tethers to hammer the Rune of Binding into Ignax, and now the Fyreslayers have hatched a truly self-destructive plan to stop the Everchosen in his tracks…

Battle Report – Securing a Foothold

The forces of Order have launched their assault upon the Ironwarp Citadel and managed to gain entry – but the Khornate defenders are going to have something to say about that…

 

The Story So Far

The Stormcasts’ attack on the Ironwarp Citadel was now in full swing, with breaches made all along its walls. However, the Stormcasts were holding onto this ground by their fingernails as more and more of the Bloodbound rallied to throw back the beseigers.

However, the Ironwarp Citadel was of particular interest to the Fyreslayers, as it protected one of the Great Tethers, massive chains that reached up into the sky to hold the whole floating island under the Godbeast Ignax. One Runeson, Volgrov Borrson, possessed Auriakh, the Father Rune of Binding. He hoped he would be able to slip past the Khorne defenders, climb the huge links of the chain, and hammer the rune into Ignax, hopefully thwarting the plans of the Everchosen to bind the Godbeast to his will.

This would rely on the forces of Order not only holding onto the territory they gained, but forging ahead deeper into the Ironwarp Citadel.

 

The Forces

As more and more worshippers of Khorne realise that the forces of Order have managed to get inside the Ironwarp Citadel, the size of these battles is going to increase – we will have some truly epic confrontations on the way!

Khorne Bloodbound
Aspiring Deathbringer
Bloodstoker
Darkoath Chieftain
Skaarac the Bloodborn
Scyla Anfingrimm
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Bloodcrushers x 6
Wrathmongers x 5
Skullreapers x 5
Khorgorath
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)

Skaarac is back, this time joined by Scyla. On top of that, we have all the usual Khorne suspects, including Wrathmongers and Skullreapers.

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Relictor
Lord-Castellant
Concussors x 3
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)

Fyreslayers
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Runeson (Volgrov Borrson)
Doomseeker
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (three units of 10)
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10
Auric Hearthguard x 5

The Dracothian Guard are reforming their line, ready for the next phase of the assault, so the strain of holding onto the breach and allowing more reinforcements to come in is going to be left to the rest of the Stormcasts – however, the Fyreslayers have arrived to lend their weight to the attack as well.

 

The Battleplan

The forces of Order are surrounded in the Ironwarp Citadel’s main courtyard in this battle, Securing a Foothold. To make things worse, the Khorne defenders are able to constantly recycle destroyed units, ensuring a constant wave of attacks against the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers.

The only thing the forces really have in their favour is that the battle may be short – either four or five rounds (it is random). They also do not need to take Battleshock tests but, considering the sheer number of attackers they will be facing, that may be small comfort.

If the Khorne attackers wipe out every Order unit, they gain a major victory. However, if just one Order model survives, major victory goes to them.

 

Deployment

Having burst through the Chaos defences, the forces of Order were ragged and in desperate need to reform before they renewed their assault upon the Ironwarp Citadel. The Lord-Castellant took over command, seeing the need for a defensive formation, and the Retributors and few members of the Dracothian Guard caught within this force clustered around him. Liberators and Judicators occupied the Overlord Bastion, but Vulkite Berzerkers halted in their advance towards a Skull Keep when they saw the Bloodbound massing around them.

img_6940

The Bloodbound completely ringed the pitifully small army of Order, but two main threats rapidly became apparent. Skaarac the Bloodborn was back, and the Skullcrushers and Bloodcrushers had combined their weight into one, terrible charge of Juggernauts.

The Doomseeker saw his opportunity for a good death, and promised he would slay Skaarac or die in the attempt.

 

Battle Round One

The power of Ignax caused the gates of the Ironwarp Citadel to burst into flame, columns of smoke reaching high into the sky. Far above, the sentient firestorm, the Pyroclasm, hungrily sought new victims, but the noble sacrifice of three Liberators temporarily abated its wrath.

The Lord-Castellant ordered both Stormcast and Fyreslayer to hold their ground and not be baited into charging the Bloodbound. A few long-ranged shots from the Auric Hearthguard immolated a Mighty Skullcrusher, while the Judicators in the Overlord Bastion shredded the Bloodreavers running towards them, dropping five and forcing another to flee the battlefield in terror.

img_6941

Then, as Skaarac roared in fury, the Bloodbound charged.

img_6942

Paying no heed to the Pyroclasm as it burned through their forces, the Bloodbound sprinted to the lines of Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, even as the Overlord Bastion burst into flame from the heat of Ignax, claiming a Liberator and Vulkite Berzerker.

Skaarac led the way, and he saw the Doomseeker standing behind a shield wall of Liberators, taunting the Bloodborn. The Doomseeker mocked Skaarac as the beast vomited burning blood at him, the Fyreslayer nimbly rolling out of its path. Unable to reach the Doomseeker, Skaarac vented its anger on the Liberators and Vulkite Berzerkers before him, slaying those closest with ease.

img_6943

Knowing they would be hard to shift, the Bloodbound focussed on the Judicators and Liberators within the Overlord Bastion. Even though the Liberators had benefitted from the Lord-Castellant’s healing lantern, successive waves of Blood Warriors, Skullreapers and Wrathmongers took their toll, and Stormcasts began to fall.

img_6944

Scyla, having first charged the Vulkite Berzerkers, leapt out of combat to join in the attack on the Overlord Bastion, instinctively knowing it had to fall.

 

img_6947

On the other side of the shrinking circle of Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, the Juggernauts of the Skullcrushers and Bloodcrushers hit the line, smashing Liberators and Hearthguard into the ground.

img_6945

The Hearthguard Berzerkers fought bravely, bringing one Bloodcrusher crashing down, but nothing could stop Juggernauts at full tilt. The Hearthguard Berzerkers were almost annihilated, only their Karl managing to avoid the daemons’ attacks, while the Auric Hearthguard and Skybolt-armed Judicators fared little better.

Behind them, Blood Warriors followed a Khorgorath into battle, and an intense battle with Vulkite Berzerkers outside a Skull Keep erupted.

img_6946

Three Vulkite Berzerkers fell in the first few seconds of the charge, but their axes soon started hitting back, savaging the Khorgorath and slaying a Blood Warrior.

img_6948

While a few scattered followers of Chaos fled the battlefield, dismayed at the resilience of the defenders they had trapped, in truth the opening stages of the battle favoured Khorne. Both Fyreslayer and Stormcast Eternal had suffered very heavy casualties already, and the Bloodbound were giving them no room to manoeuvre.

Feeling the power of the Blood God behind him, Skaarac bellowed his praise and felt the few wounds he had suffered seal and close.

 

Battle Round Two

Burning rays from Ignax lanced down onto the battlefield, seeking those the Godbeast judged to be unworthy. They settled upon the lone Judicator who had survived the charge of the Juggernauts, focussing on the Stormcast before disintegrating him – Ignax had judged him a coward for living while his comrades had fallen.

The Bloodbound held off the fury of the Pyroclasm with the sacrifice of a single Bloodreaver. Despite the meagre offering, the firestorm seemed satisfied and relented in its attack.

img_6949

The leaders of the Bloodbound, having seen many of their peers killed in recent battles, were being more cautious but, now seeing Skaarac plough through Fyreslayer and Stormcast alike, they grew bold and followed.

img_6950

Though he was still tied up by the tiny Vulkite Berzerkers at his feet, Skaarac paused in his slaughter just long enough to vomit burning blood at the Doomseeker once more and, this time, he predicted the Fyreslayer’s nimble dodge. The Doomseeker disappeared under a torrent of blood but then emerged, smoking, wounded… and very, very angry.

Further away, Bloodreavers finally reached the forces of Order, lending their weight to that of the Juggernauts who had almost completely smashed the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers before them.

img_6951

The fighting at this position suddenly intensified as the thin line of Order struggled to hold,. The Karl of the Hearthguard Berzerkers bellowed an oath to revenge himself upon the Bloodcrushers for the deaths of his friends and he threw himself at the daemons, his axe hewing until a Juggernaut sank to the ground under the impacts, its rider long since beheaded.

img_6953

Unfortunately, even the Karl’s skill and anger could not hold the line, and the other Bloodcrushers simply rode over him, even as the Skullcrushers finished off the Auric Hearthguard and most of the remaining Liberators.

The Aspiring Deathbringer plunged into a retinue of Vulkite Berzerkers alongside the Darkoath Chieftain and Blood Warriors, but they were frustrated in their gifts of skulls and blood to Khorne as Skaarac carved his way through the Fyreslayers before anyone else could reach them.

img_6952

The Bloodstoker had taken a slightly different path and not followed the other two leaders into battle. Instead, he dived into a retinue of Liberators and started lashing out at them, taking no notice of the few wounds they caused in return.

img_6954

The Overlord Bastion had been central in the defensive plans of the Lord-Castellant, but he could see the sheer numbers of Khornate warriors that now almost ringed it were making the fortification all but impossible to hold. The Boltstorm-armed Judicators had already been wiped out, and only two Liberators were left to fight on.

img_6955

With the Overlord Bastion about to fall, and the two main defensive lines quickly evaporating, the Lord-Castellant knew action had to be taken and fast – he ordered a counterattack, hoping to fend the forces of Khorne off long enough for the Extremis Chamber to reorganise and strike back at the Ironwarp Citadel.

img_6956

As Ignax sent a raging heatwave over the battlefield, two Liberators volunteered to sacrifice themselves to appease the Pyroclasm – however the sentient firestorm rejected their offering as unworthy and it tore through the forces of Order with a fiery vengeance.

Despite the ravages of the Pyroclasm, the Lord-Castellant shouted at his forces to keep focus as he shone his lantern upon the Concussors, strengthening their armour. The two retinues of Liberators split, one heading towards the Skullcrushers, the others racing to support the last surviving Vulkite Berzerkers as they battled the Khorgorath and Blood Warriors.

img_6957

Yelling a challenge, the Concussors wheeled their Dracoths about and ploughed into the Blood Warriors, unleashing a Storm Blast as they closed in. Lighting washed over the Darkoath Chieftain and Aspiring Deathbringer, but both held their ground as the massive beasts raced towards them.

img_6958

They barely noticed the small Doomseeker running alongside them, but Skaarac did. The Doomseeker swore the Bloodborn’s lowly demise as he threw himself at the gigantic beast.

img_6959

The Doomseeker buried his axe into Skaarac’s shin, angering the beast more than hurting him, and then tumbled to one side to avoid the Bloodborn’s giant hooves. Skaarac roared in fury as the Doomseeker continued to evade him, and took his anger out on a nearby Concussor, carving though both Stormcast and Dracoth in one mighty blow.

The charge of the Concussors rode over two Blood Warriors, but the rest of the Bloodbound arrested their momentum, bogging the Dracoths down in battle.

img_6960

The Retributors then struck the Bloodbound. Those facing the Skullcrushers smashed in the metal skulls of two Juggernauts. The sight of their massive hammers unnerved one of the Chaos Warriors riding the daemonic beasts, and he whirled his Juggernaut around to gallop for safer areas of the Ironwarp Citadel.

img_6961

Meanwhile, those sent to reinforce the Vulkite Berzerkers made short work of the Khorgorath and then started smashing apart the Blood Warriors. A single Blood Warrior managed to escape Sigmar’s fury, but the Fyreslayers were quick to react and he disappeared under the repeated blows of their axes.

When they looked up from their bloody work, they grinned at the Retributors who towered above them – together, they had broken the Bloodbound line about the Skull Keep, and there was now a way out of the trap!

However, behind them, they heard a great cheer erupt from the Bloodbound surrounding the Overlord Bastion. Scyla had torn apart the last of the Liberators holing the tower, and a massive Bloodbound force was now free to sweep through the centre of the forces of Order. If the Fyreslayers and Retributors were to escape, they had to act quickly.

 

Battle Round Three

Once again, Ignax blasted the battlefield with burning rays, this time settling on a Blood Warrior. Though the Godbeast judged him unworthy, the Blood Warrior was quick enough to dive to one side, avoiding the worst effects of the ray.

To appease the Pyroclasm, the Runesmiter donated a portion of the volcanic blood of his Magmadroth, and this seemed to satisfy the fury of the firestorm.

img_6962

As the Lord-Castellant once again shone his lantern upon the Concussors to keep them in the fight as they held off both Blood Warriors and Skaarac, Retributors ran to the closest Skull Keep, intending to form another tough defensive point that would slow the Bloodbound as the brave Liberators had in the Overlord Bastion.

img_6964

Meanwhile, the Vulkite Berzerkers ran for freedom, racing into the foothills in a bid to escape the forces of Chaos.

img_6963

The Runesmiter had fought bravely and was succeeding in holding off the Bloodcrushers from charging weaker units, but Runeson Volgrov Borrson could see the daemons would eventually overwhelm him. As the Bloodcrushers became occupied with the Runesmiter, Borrson charged them from behind.

img_6965

Unfortunately, his Wyrmslayer Javelin proved less than effective against the Juggernauts. The Runesmiter’s Magmadroth accounted for a Bloodcrusher but reality blinked and, all of a sudden, the Fyreslayer found himself another three!

img_6966

The Concussors finally got their rhythm going with their hammers, smashing in the skulls of both the Darkoath Chieftain and Aspiring Deathbringer, while the Doomseeker managed to plant solid wounds upon both Skaarac and the Bloodstoker who had moved to join the battle. However, the Bloodstoker managed to distract the Doomseeker just long enough for Skaarac to lift a colossal hoof and crush the Fyreslayer into the dirt.

Ignax then turned his attention to the Bloodbound and, once more, burning rays lanced down to seek the unworthy. This time they settled upon a Skullreaper and, perhaps because they had taken so long to capture the Overlord Bastion, the warrior was disintegrated in seconds, bawling out his fury as he disappeared.

The Pyroclasm then descended upon the Bloodbound, shipping through their ranks with a terrible fury that immolated any who did not take shelter quickly enough. The Bloodstoker was consumed in seconds, and he was quickly followed by a Bloodreaver and two Blood Warriors.

However, the Bloodbound forces elsewhere in the Ironwarp Citadel had begun to realise that the forces of Order were claiming their territory, and more flooded to the area, keen to take their share of blood and skulls. A full retinue of Mighty Skullcrushers arrived on the battlefield, cutting off the Retributors before they could take position within the Skull Keep.

img_6968

On the other side of the battlefield, the other retinue of Retributors was now solely responsible for holding back the tide of Bloodbound that was now streaming away from the Overlord Bastion.

img_6969

Skullreapers and Wrathmongers closed in as Retributors fell, until only the Retributor-Prime was left. The mighty warrior swung his hammer in huge arcs, felling Bloodreavers with every stroke, and causing the nerve of others to break.

img_6970

As Bloodreavers raced for safety, it looked like the Retributor-Prime might defeat the odds and hold the tide. However, the arrival of the Wrathmongers signalled his defeat, the hammers at the end of their long chains snaking out in wide arcs to cave in his skull. In a bright flash of blue lightning, the Retributor-Prime was hurled back to Azyrheim to be feted a hero.

A short distance away, the Concussors were being surrounded by Blood Warriors, even as Skaarac continued to pound away at them. However, their armour, bolstered by the Lord-Castellant, proved strong and they continued to fight despite their wounds, slaying another three Blood Warriors.

img_6971

A loud crash of metal-upon-metal resounded across the battlefield as the Skullcrushers smashed into the Retributors outside the Skull Keep, dragging the last Vulkite Berzerkers and the Lord-Castellant himself into the fray.

img_6972

The Retributors suffered the worst of the charge, with three of them being sent back to Sigmar, while a lone Fyreslayer was ground into a muddy paste by the hooves of a Juggernaut.

 

Battle Round Four

A solar flare from Ignax blinded many on the battlefield, while the Pyroclasm descended upon the forces of Order once more, searing all among them. Then, the Lord-Castellant smiled, for he had heard a horn.

A short distance from the battlefield, a Knight-Heraldor stood atop a rocky outcropping and blew his horn. Behind him, the might of the Extremis Chamber, followed by the rest of the Stormcasts and more Fyreslayer reinforcements, appeared. If the Lord-Castellant could just lead the defence for a little longer, they would be saved and the Bloodbound would be forced back to their last line of defence in the citadel.

However, more Bloodbound were on their way too, and the battle for the Ironwarp Citadel stood balanced upon the edge of a knife…

img_6973

Rapidly becoming cut off from the other Stormcasts, the Lord-Castellant turned his lantern upon himself then plunged into rampaging Skullcrushers. Swinging his halberd down hard, he destroyed one Juggernaut then effortlessly dispatched its rider.

Seeing reinforcements massing from both the Stormcast and Fyreslayer armies assaulting the Ironwarp Citadel, the Vulkite Berzerkers fled from battle, trying to put as much distance between themselves and the Skullcrushers as possible. They felt shame from leaving the Retributors to their fate, but vowed to return with vengeance once they had joined the new army.

img_6974

Runeson Borrson had a similar idea, knowing that he carried the vital Father Rune of Binding and could not be captured.

img_6975

However, elsewhere, the forces of Khorne were breaking the last resistance they faced. Skaarac carved through the last Concussors as though they were no more than lowly Greenskinz, while the Runesmiter and his Magmadroth finally succumbed to the blades of the Bloodcrushers.

img_6976

As an ash storm descended upon the battlefield, the Bloodbound were hungry for more enemies. Skaarac the Bloodborn led the charge as they swept across the battlefield to smash the last pockets of Order still holding out.

img_6977

The Vulkite Berzerkers had thought themselves safe as they picked their way through the low hills between the defensive lines of the Ironwarp Citadel, but steeled themselves as a retinue of Blood Warriors appeared in front of them.

img_6979

Runeson Borrson thought he too had escaped, but the thundering metal hooves of the Bloodcrushers behind him told a different tale. Screeching, the Bloodletters urged their mounts on, frenzied in their lust for the Fyreslayer’s blood.

img_6980

It soon became clear to Borrson that he could not outrun the Juggernauts and, as they closed in, he threw himself onto the ground, hoping to hide within the dust and the ash storm, praying they would not crush him as they rode past.

By now, Skaarac had reached the battle taking place outside the Skull Keep, the Lord-Castellant only becoming aware of his peril as a massive shadow fell over him.

img_6981

Swinging his halberd, the Lord-Castellant took the head of another Chaos Warrior upon a Juggernaut before he whirled round to face Skaarac. He was immediately forced backwards under a flurry of powerful blows from the beast before Skaarac picked him u and dashed the Stormcast against the hard walls of the Skull Keep.

In the low hills, the Vulkite Berzerkers were in similar peril as the Blood Warriors ran into their midst, axes lashing out. The Fyreslayers fought back hard, knowing this was the last chance for life they would have. Two of their number fell to Khorne axes, but the same number of Blood Warriors also fell dead to the rocky ground.

img_6982

Scyla had been following Skaarac but, as the Bloodborn rushed forward to end the life of the Lord-Castellant, Scyla went the other way round the Skull Keep to confront the few surviving Retributors.

img_6983

One Retributor fell to the axes of the Skullcrushers, but the Retributor-Prime fought on, swinging his hammer to force Scyla back, despite his heavy wounds.

Them as the ash storm began to clear, the horn of the Knight-Heraldor blew once more, a cold, clear note that filled the Bloodbound with dread and the few surviving Stormcasts and Fyreslayers with hope – for it signalled the charge of the Extremis Chamber who now thundered onto the battlefield, driving the Bloodbound before them, and crushing any underfoot who did not flee.

img_6984

It had been a brutal battle for the forces of Order, with so very few surviving to its end – but they had managed to hold the Bloodbound just long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

Now they could prepare for the final assault upon the Ironwarp Citadel…

 

Conclusion

Well, wouldn’t you know it – another very, very close battle!

We really did not know who was going to claim victory, right up until the end of the final turn. The forces of Order had been all but shattered and their only hope lay in moving away from the central field and weathering the attentions of whatever reinforcements the Bloodbound brought on.

As it happened, they were very lucky. At the end, only three Vulkite Berzerkers and a single Retributor with one wound left remained! If the battle had gone on for one more turn (and there was a 50% chance that it would do so), then it would surely have been curtains for them – the Retributor-Prime could not have stood up to another round of battle against the Skullcrushers, never mind Skaarac and Scyla, and the Blood Warriors could have easily taken care of the three Vulkite Berzerkers.

However, in the nest traditions of heroic fantasy, the forces of Order managed to just hold out long enough for their reinforcements to arrive!

This was a really fun Battleplan though I warn you, if you are the force in the centre of the battlefield, things are going to look vert bleak for you in the first two turns! Just stick with it, and try to bust out of the trap.

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, things come to a head in the Ironwarp Citadel in the penultimate battle of this phase of the Godbeasts campaign. The war stands on a knife edge as Archaon himself arrives, bringing with him massive reinforcements to throw the Stormcasts back once and for all.

Two Gods

I mentioned last week that I had not done many models of late because I was working on a couple of larger projects. Well, here they are…

img_6985

Nagash, God of Death, and Alarielle, Goddess of Life!

Normally, for normal people, these would be the kind of models that  you do on their own, free of other distractions. However, I got the mad idea that while one God could be drying, I could be working on the other…

As it happened, neither took an amazingly long time to do. Base colours mostly done throughout over a couple of evenings in the week, all the detailing done over a lazy weekend. Nothing too stressful at all!

img_6986

Alarielle is obviously the looker out of the two and makes for a very attractive model. For both gods, I leaned on Duncan and Warhammer TV heavily, switching between two Youtube tabs as I flicked from one model to the other. The little time bar at the bottom of the screen makes for a useful gauge as to how far you have to go!

img_6987

I pretty much followed Duncan’s instructions throughout this model, even engaging in edge highlighting, which I hate. However, cannot argue with the results.

img_6988

I needed to get a few new colours to tackle Alarielle but, once they arrived, everything proceeded smoothly. If you have a swing at this model, just follow Duncan’s instructions step-by-step, and you’ll do yourself proud.

img_6989

Now, Nagash has several areas where you will start thinking ‘that will be a giant pain in the derriere’, such as the blending between robe and spirits, and the armour. However, in the end, there was nothing too awful and the biggest stress was probably the nine books he carries, and those only because they will be the last thing you do and you’ll be impatient to finish the model!

img_6991

Once again, follow Duncan, and you’ll get through this model easily. There are four videos to do Nagash, but it is actually less work than it seems – the first video is about putting him together (mine came pre-built from eBay), and the last half of the final video is final assembly.

That all goes to cut down on the painting time!

img_6992

There were a few techniques used on Nagash that I had not really tackled before, such as the blending between spirit and robes, but they ended up being no hassle. The biggest potential area for stress is probably the edge highlighting on the armour but, frankly, I cheated a little on this, doing a glorified drybrush to get much the same effect (it would have been no neater if I had done actual edge highlighting, I promise!).

img_6993

The final result of this weekend’s work are two fine centre piece models for two armies. And you cannot really go wrong with that!

Completing Alarielle means I am just about done with the Sylvaneth (I intend doing another ten Tree-Revenants some time soon, but they’ll be ‘slipped in’ among other models), and doing Nagash means I can now have a bash at that big battle between him and Archaon in the Everchosen book – something to have a swing at after we finish Godbeasts, I think.

So, what is on the painting table now? Well, having put the time into two big models, I think it would be a nice change to do lots of smaller ones, so the next 2-3 weeks or so will be all about the Ironjawz (going for the Skybashas guys). However, I am going to break them up a bit (avoid monotony) with a Screaming Bell, some Prosecutors for the Stark Hammers Stormhost, and a couple of new bits and pieces for my Daenons of Khorne.

Battle Report – Storming the Gates

Things are really starting to ramp up in the Godbeasts campaign now, with Archaon finally enacting his plan to bind the Godbeast Ignax (a big fiery dragon that the residents have, for centuries, mistaken for a sun…) to his will, giving him a super-weapon against the forces of Sigmar. The next three battles are taken not from the Godbeasts campaign, but from Ironwarp Citadel, a special release book only available from Warhammer World.

 

The Story So Far

The war in the Realm of Fire had shifted its focus from the Ashlands to the Land of the Chained Sun – a huge, floating island that was chained to a sun (actually the Godbeast Ignax) with mighty links. The Scarred Isle below it was home to several Fyreslayer lodges and Archaon had dispatched his Varanguard and other minions to hunt the Fyreslayers down so he could enact the next phase of his plan to enslave Ignax.

Ignax was already stirring, having been roused by the waves of fury unleashed by Skarbrand through the Crystal Henge, and two of the chains binding the Godbeast to the floating island snapped, crashing down onto the Scarred Isle and gouging great furrows. However, Archaon now had a path up the chains to the Land of the Chained Sun, and so the invasion began.

Though the duardin who lived there numbered in the millions, Archaon saw them as no more than a small obstacle – but Sigmar had acted quickly and the heavens shook on the third day of the invasion, with great bolts of lightning lashing the land. A full twenty Stormhosts had arrived, led by the Dracothian Guard. In response, Archaon summoned the daemonic legions of Orb Infernia to his side – the war for the Land of the Chained Sun was now a titanic battle of Order versus Chaos.

The war had come to the home of the Fyreslayers, and they were far from passive. The lodges roused themselves to war, with two goals – first, lodges were sent to each of the remaining Great Tethers that bound the island to Ignax. Once taken from the forces of Chaos, the chains would be retracted, pulling the island closer to the Godbeast until its scouring heat scorched the entire island clean of all life, ending Archaon’s plans in fire. It was a terrible sacrifice to make, but the Fyreslayers had made an oath to die rather than allow the Everchosen to win.

Second was to ensure the Godbeast aided the Fyreslayers rather than Chaos. To this end, the Fyreslayers had forged Auriakh, the Father Rune of Binding. Five Runesons of Austarg Lodge, including one known as Volgrov Borrson, swore they would climb the chains and hammer the great rune into Ignax. However, to do that, Borrson would have to gain entry to the Ironwarp Citadel, a massive fortress dedicated to Chaos and now Archaon’s central base of operations. It was also the site of one of the Great Tethers and, together, the Fyreslayers and Stormcasts swore they would gain entry.

It was the Extremis Chamber that would lead the assault and forge a passage through the Ironwarp Citadel’s outer defences.

 

The Forces

As the campaign starts to ramp up the pace, so the size of the armies increases. These are powerful forces, with a lot of special characters leading them.

Khorne Bloodbound
Exalted Deathbringer
Aspiring Deathbringer
Slaughterpriest x 2
Skullgrinder
Bloodstoker
Skaarac the Bloodborn
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Bloodcrushers x 6
Khorgorath
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)

This is a powerful force, with most of the leading lights of the Bloodbound present. However, pride of place perhaps has to go to Skaarac the Bloodborn, a super-Khorgorath (you may have seen the model from Forge World).

Stormcast Eternals
Drakesworn Templar
Lord-Relictor
Fulminators x 5
Tempestors x 5
Concussors x 5
Desolators x 5
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)

The Stormcasts have been charged with forcing entry into the Ironwarp Citadel – and who better to do that than the Extremis Chamber? As we have seen before, they are a very powerful force but getting into the fortress is likely to be only half the battle…

 

The Battleplan

Storming the Gates is a fairly straightforward fight, lasting fir six rounds. The Stormcasts gain a major victory if they wipe out the defenders or can get three of their units to the far end of the battlefield – right at the foot of the Ironwarp Citadel’s walls. If they fail, major victory is instead earned by the Bloodbound defenders.

The Bloodbound can recycle up to six units (not Heroes or Skaarac), sallying out of the Citadel during the battle – this is a slight change to the Battleplan as written, but only because I don’t want to paint up another six units of Bloodreavers and Blood Warriors!

Both forces have specific Army Abilities – the Stormcasts can re-roll all charges, the Bloodbound all Battleshock tests.

 

Deployment

The Bloodbound hastily deployed outside their walls, the sudden appearance of the Stormcast Extremis Chamber something of a shock to them. The Exalted Deathbringer took command of the ad hoc defence, promising many skulls would be claimed for Khorne. However, he cursed the slow movement of the Mighty Skullcrushers, for they had been inflicted with a Firetrap Curse, perhaps a gift from some Mage of Order that threatened to explode if they moved too quickly.

The Stormcasts formed a wedge, led by the the Extremis Chamber with a Drakesworn Templar at their point.

img_6895

Battle Round One

The Exalted Deathbringer held his forces back, a little unsure as to how they would hold up to the huge Dracoths of the Extremis Chamber. Bloodreavers were sacrificed to the sentient Pyroclasm to ward off its effects while, high in the sky, a brilliant solar flare from Ignax bathed the battlefield in bright light.

As the Bloodstoker bravely whipped Skaarac into a frenzy, the Bloodsecrator planted the Portal of Skulls, opening up a gateway to Khorne’s own kingdom in the Realm of Chaos. Amplified by the Overlord Bastion he was within, the blood crazed effects of the icon started to spread through almost the entire Bloodbound force.

img_6896

However, the Bloodbound proved unusually disciplined and they heeded the commands of the Exalted Deathbringer, holding their ground to bait the Stormcasts into charging them.

The Drakesworn Templar dismissed any plan the Bloodbound may have cobbled together, and proudly led the Stormcasts forward to storm the walls. His Stardrake responded to the power of Ignax, and flames started shooting out of its mouth alongside lightning. Behind the Extremis Chamber, two Liberators gladly relinquished their lives to  appease the Pyroclasm, returning to Azyrheim with honour.

img_6897

The Tempestors were the first to attack, opening up with their Volleystorm Crossbows upon the Bloodreavers who served as a bodyguard tot he Bloodsecrator.

img_6898

Eight Bloodreavers fell to the salvo, joined by another six when the Judicators following up the Tempestors loosed their Skybolt Arrows. However, under the influence of the Portal of Skulls, the Bloodreavers did not waver, even under this terrible assault.

The Stardrake ridden by the Drakesworn Templar growled a command that the firmament itself obeyed, and stars started falling from the sky. Several struck the Overlord Bastion and Numinous Occulum, but simply splintered apart on the hard stone rather than injuring those inside. Another struck Skaarac hard in the chest, and the beats bellowed with rage, impatient to get to grips with the oncoming Stormcasts.

 

Battle Round Two

He did not have long to wait, as the Drakesworn Templar gave orders for the Stormcasts to increase their pace and charge.

img_6899

As the Numinous Occulum burst into flames as the power of Ignax waxed, the Tempestors thundered forward to pepper Skaarac with their Volleystorm Corssbows, their accuracy causing the creature to writhe in pain even as the Drakesworn Templar approached.

img_6900

The Desolators replaced the Tempestors in hammering the Bloodreavers, finishing them off with Storm Blasts from their Dracoths while, on the other side of the battlefield, the Concussors unleashed their own storm upon a second retinue of Bloodreavers.

img_6901

Judicators tried to get sight of the Bloodsecrator, but few of their arrows made it past the thick walls of the Bastion.

Then, the lead elements of the Stormcasts hit the Bloodbound line with a crack that resounded across the Ironwarp Citadel.

img_6902

The impact of the Stardrake sent Skaarac reeling, vainly flailing at the Drakesworn Templar with his claws as the Stormcast gouged several deep wounds that made a mockery of armour.

At the Templar’s side, the Fulminators levelled their Stormstrike Glaives at the Mighty Skullcrushers, spearing one through the throat before they could react. A little further along the line, the Concussors charged the Bloodreavers who had survived their Storm Blasts, riding over them with ease.

img_6903

The Stormcasts initial assault had been fast and hard, though the Bloodbound were far from being broken.

An Ash Storm swept over the battlefield, reducing the visibility of all combatants. More importantly for the Bloodbound, it blocked the effects of the Bloodsecrator’s Portal of Skulls, and some of the frenzied blood lust left the defenders just when they needed it most to repel the Stormcasts.

However, the two Slaughterpriests within the Numinous Occulum knew there was more than one way to channel the power of Khorne and, together, they enacted rituals that boiled the blood inside one of the Fulminators, sending him back to Sigmar before the Stormcast knew what had happened.

img_6904

To the relief of the Exalted Deathbringer, reinforcements showed up as Bloodreavers leapt over the outermost wall of the Ironwarp Citadel to confront the Concussors and halt their advance.

img_6905

The rest of the Bloodbound moved forward to block the Stormcast advance and surround their lead units.

img_6906

Bone tentacles from the Khorgorath plunged into the Stardrake, before the creature rushed the Tempestors. The Stormcasts were caught off-guard by this sudden attack, but their Dracoths reacted on instinct and savaged the Khorgorath before it could do much damage to their riders.

img_6907

In the centre of the battlefield, Skaarac rallied himself to strike back at the Stardrake, but the Templar was ready for any of the Bloodborn’s tricks and once again Skaarac was forced backwards. As the Templar raised his Stormlance to deliver the final blow, Skaarac held up a clawed hand to ward off death – just as the Bloodcrushers charged.

The impact of their Juggernauts smashing into the side of the Stardrake knocked the creature off its feet and spilled the Templar to the ground. Taking advantage of their Juggernaut’s momentum, the Bloodletter riders swept down with their Hellblades, dispatching both Stardrake and Templar together.

One of the Fulminators avenged the Templar after a fashion, piercing Skaarac’s black heart with his glaive, but the damage had been done. The mightiest of the Stormcast had been banished from the battlefield.

Elsewhere, Blood Warriors confronted both the Concussors and Desolators. The Concussors were well into their stride now, smashing apart six Blood Warriors before they had time to strike, forcing another two to run.

img_6909

The Desolators fared almost as well, though the Blood Warriors did manage to take one of the Stormcasts down and succeeded in holding the rest up.

img_6910

The initial assault of the Stormcast had been halted but now the Warrior Chamber closed in to lend its weight, its Stormcasts hoping they could bend then break then Bloodbound. However, both sides keenly felt the losses of the Drakesworn Templar and Skaarac the Bloodborn.

 

Battle Round Three

Once again, the power of Ignax caused buildings to burst into flame, but both sides were now far more cautious and avoided being burnt alive. With the Ash Storm clearing, the Bloodsecrator once more planted his Portal of Skulls, and a red light bathed the battlefield, driving the Bloodbound into a frenzy.

img_6911

More reinforcements arrived, with a small retinue of Mighty Skullcrushers trotting out of one of the gates to guard against any moves the Stormcast might make on their left flank.

img_6912

The Slaughterpriests once again enacted their rites, and another Fulminator succumbed to their blood being boiled, but Khorne was not happy with one of the Slaughterpriests, and sent crippling pain to remind him to show more respect.

img_6913

As one, the leaders of the Bloodbound moved in to fill the gaps left by their weaker underlings. Together, the Exalted and Aspiring Deathbringers attacked the Fulminators, though their weapons did little more than dent armour, and the Exalted Deathbringer had his arm gouged by a Dracoth’s fang. Meanwhile, the Bloodstoker charged the Tempestors, pulling one Stormcast off his mount with a whip, then ending his life with a thrust of a blade.

The Concussors finally managed to work their way free of the few Blood Warriors who had pinned them down, but one of their number fell to a crazed Blood Warrior who threw himself upon the Stormcasts before dying. However, the Concussors were now free to act, and they assemble themselves to make a charge against the Bloodreavers who defended the wall.

img_6916

The Stormcast advance had noticeably slowed, but Ignax sent a Raging Heatwave onto the battlefield, infusing everyone, Stormcast and Bloodbound alike, with a murderous rage. The Lord-Relictor used this fury to channel Sigmar’s own power, and he summoned a lightning that burnt a Bloodcrusher to a crisp before leading Retributors in a charge.

img_6917

Lightning surged form the Dracoths of the Tempestors, causing the Bloodstoker to jerk violently before falling still to the ground, even as two Bloodcrushers went down to the hammers of the Retributors and Lord-Relictor.

Close to the wall, the Concussors charged line abreast towards the Bloodreavers, barely noticing as they rode right over the barbarians, wiping them out to a man.

img_6919

Storm Blasts from the Desolators rocked the Overlord Bastion, and this time found their way to the Bloodsecrator. The Portal of Skulls was finally closed, and the Bloodbound wilted noticeably without its boon.

img_6920

As the second wave of the Stormcast Eternals followed the Dracothian Guard, the Warrior Chamber was finally in a position to show what it could do. Liberators rushed forward to support the beleaguered Fulminators, surrounding the Aspiring Deathbringer, and laying him low with their hammers.

img_6921

Battle Round Four

The battlefield was now littered with the dead and injured but while the Stormcasts had enjoyed some successes, the Bloodbound had indeed managed to slow them down and, aside from the Concussors, no Stormcasts had reached the walls.

img_6922

Feeling that time was now set against them the Tempestors broke free of the Bloodcrushers and, joined by the Desolators, thundered towards the Ironwarp Citadel.

img_6923

Invigorated by their easy victory over the Aspiring Deathbringer, the retinue of Liberators sought out a new target, just as the Skullgrinder emerged from the shadows of the Numinous Occulum. With some glee, they charged once more.

img_6925

However, the Liberator-Prime soon began to wonder if they had not made a mistake, as the Skullgrinder’s anvil smashed into their shields, forcing the Liberators back and leaving them unable to strike.

The combined power of two retinues of Retributors and the Lord-Relictor proved irresistible to the Bloodcrushers, and the last of the daemons was destroyed. However, it was with some dismay that the Lord-Relictor saw more Bloodcrushers leave the Ironwarp Citadel, just in time to intercept the Tempestors and stop their advance once again.

img_6926

Yet another Fulminator succumbed to Blood Boiling from the Slaughterpriests but, once again, Khorne was not happy with the way one of them performed the ritual, and the Slaughterpriest’s own blood briefly burned with angry fire.

img_6927

As a Solar Flare from Ignax bathed the battlefield in bright light, the Bloodbound refused to pay further homage to the Pyroclasm, and the firestorm swept down upon them with a vengeance, burning all in its path.

The Skullcrushers and Bloodcrushers combined their weight to lead a charge against the Tempestors. One of the Stormcasts was wounded in their attack, but a Dracoth was quick enough to turn round and snatch one Chaos Warrior from the back of a Juggernaut, savaging then flinging him across the battlefield.

img_6928

The Liberator-Prime’s premonition about the Skullgrinder proved to be prescient, as the anvil cracked the skulls of the Liberators, leaving the Prime to face him alone.

img_6930

The Skullgrinder’s anvil thudded repeatedly into the Liberator-Prime’s shield, sending him spinning backwards but, somehow, the Stormcast managed to block all of the Skullgrinder’s swings.

 

Battle Round Five

Once again, the Pyroclasm was slighted by the Bloodbound and, once again, it descended upon them with wrath, seriously injuring one of the Slaughterpriests who emerged from the depths of the Numinous Occulum to target the Concussors who were beginning to pound at the outer wall of the Ironwarp Citadel. Briefly one turned back to boil the blood of the last Fulminator, removing the retinue from the battle completely.

img_6929

The gates of the Ironwarp Citadel swung open once more, this time to disgorge more Skullcrushers who promptly charged into the few surviving Tempestors, leaving just one alive to hold all the Juggernauts of the Bloodbound in one place.

img_6931

As another Ash Storm descended upon the battlefield, the Stormcasts raced for the walls, knowing that if they did not reach them soon, the Bloodbound would be able to summon overwhelming reinforcements.

img_6933

Even the Retributors were able to lend their support as, led by the Lord-Relictor, they charged into the Bloodcrushers in a desperate attempt to relieve the Tempestor. However, even as they destroyed one of the daemons, reality blinked and it reappeared in front of them, grinning with undisguised blood lust.

img_6934

Battle Round Six

The Stormcasts made a final push for the walls, finally securing them for the massive army that followed in their wake.

img_6935

As the Judicators began to open up on the Juggernauts with their Boltstorm Crossbows, Stormcasts began to scale the walls and slaughter the few defenders that had reached them.

img_6936

However, it proved too late for the Liberator-Prime who duelled the Skullgrinder, the massive anvil finally caving in his chest to send his spirit soaring back to Azyrheim. He departed in honour though, ready to report to the Go-King that the outer defences of the Ironwarp Citadel had fallen and the main attack could now begin.

 

Conclusion

Another fun battle on a great looking table – this is what Age of Sigmar is all about!

I mentioned this battle on the Age of Sigmar Fans Facebook page, and the reaction was fairly uniform – the Extremis Chamber was going to roll right over the Bloodbound. And yes, they did. Of course they did.

However, that was not the aim of the battle. The Bloodbound were never going to be able to mount a credible defence against an assault from the Extremis Chamber. The Ironwarp Citadel is simply too large and the Stormcasts too mobile to be able to deploy a defence in force. What they had to do was slow the Stormcasts down long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

And they came quite close to doing that – the Stormcasts only reached the walls in strength on their very last turn, and that was only because the Tempestors effectively sacrificed themselves by getting the attention of every Juggernaut on the battlefield.

So, advantage Stormcast, but it could certainly have gone the other way!

It was a shame that we did not get to see more of the Drakesworn Templar or Skaarac, but a confrontation between those two was always going to result in disaster for both. Never fret though, we will see both return to the fight for the Ironwarp Citadel before the war is over!

 

The Story Continues…

With a path forged through the defences of the Ironwarp Citadel, the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers will be able to force an entry over and through the outer walls – but as the Bloodbound rally to their presence and flood the area with murderous warriors, will the forces of Order be able to secure their foothold?

Floating and Flying

Really got only two things done this weekend, though I have excuses – as well as all the actual games that have been played (see recent battle reports), I am currently working on two really big projects, the kind of things that you should really only do one of at a time. They are not quite ready to be unveiled yet, but maybe they will be all done next week…

Anyway, first up this weekend was a Knight-Azyros for the Stark Hammers.

img_6832

This chap is needed for the All-Gates campaign book, leading three units of Prosecutors (they are on their way). They will be competing with a Knight-Venator and Prosecutors from the Hallowed Knights as they both try to track down a Great Unclean One in a swamp.

img_6833

The only other things I polished off were another three Cairn Wraiths.

img_6835

These guys are intended for a fight from the Ironjawz Battletome, as they swoop down upon a Vampire’s force around a river. That fight is a long way off, but these guys are so easy to do, I popped them in alongside the big projects.

Speaking of Ironjawz, I have pretty much the whole army (minus some more Ardboys and the two Maw-Krushas) all undercoated and base-painted, and they are now just waiting for shading, highlighting and details. However, they are not one of the big projects I mentioned, and will be waiting their turn until those are complete!

Battle Report – Bringing Down the Mountain/A Twist of Fate

As the Godbeasts campaign continues, we come across a very special battle – this is actually two Battleplans wedded together, played on two tables simultaneously! We like to do things big around here…

img_6803

The Story So Far

Led by Lord-Relictor Cryptborn, the Stormcasts had gained some ground against the Bloodborn but they still had two very real problems – the enervating curse from Nurgle that was sweeping through all the Ashlands, and Skarbrand (who is always going to be an issue). Cryptborn, however, had figured out a way to use one to destroy the other – even though it meant temporarily having truck with Valkia the Bloody.

Using the Hengegate, a type of Realmgate that led to the Unreachable Mountain on whose slopes lay the Crystal Henge, the Lord-Relictor led his soldiers to enact his plan. Cryptborn had figured out that the Crystal Henge could amplify raw emotion, and Skarbrand had anger enough to scour the entirety of the Ashlands clean of Nurgle’s plague. All the Stormcasts had to do was channel it, and Valkia had given Cryptborn an idea how to do this.

Climbing the mountain, they would confront Skarbrand and, using the power of the Paladins’ weapons, they would bring the mountainside tumbling down on top of the Bloodthirster. Carried away on such an inglorious descent and buried under tons of rock, there was little else that would guarantee the maximum fury from Skarbrand.

The Stormcasts would not be the only followers of Sigmar affected by these events. Floating at the foot of the Unreachable Mountain was the Tauroi Archipelego, a series of islands suspended in the air. Upon them lived the Candlemen, once proud rulers of the land but now greatly diminished by successive waves of Khornate invaders, and none so much as the Bloodscorch beasts, a massive Warherd comprising Bullgors and Ghorgons.

The Stormcasts had launched attacks against the Bloodscorch, but been repelled by the fury of the Warherd. They instead devised a new plan – use the land and its people against the enemy, crushing them with Sigmar’s own fury.

Led by Arch Lector Veltahren, the Devoted of Sigmar left their caves and rallied behind the Stormcasts, determined to break the oppression of the Bloodscorch tribes once and for all. It would be a tough fight but perhaps the forces of Order could win, if only fate would smile upon them… and perhaps drop a mountainside on top of their enemies.

 

The Forces

This sprawling conflict sees the Bloodbound (with Skarbrand!) up against the Stormcasts on one battlefield, and the Devoted of Sigmar against a full-blown Warherd on another!

Bloodbound
Skarbrand
Aspiring Deathbringer
Slaughterpriest
Chaos Warriors x 12
Bloodreavers x 20

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Relictor
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Protectors x 5
Liberators x 5

The Bloodbound do not have a massive force in this battle – but then, nor do the Stormcasts! This is a fight between small, elite forces with Skarbrand all too capable of toppling the balance.

Warherd
Doombull
Bullgors x 9 (three units of 3)
Ghorgons x 3

Devoted of Sigmar
War Altar of Sigmar
Warrior Priests x 4
Flagellants x 60 (three units of 20)
Knight-Azyros
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)

This side of the battle sees the use of two formations – both of which are pretty much designed to kill the other! The Warherd is using the Bloodscorch Bulltribe, which adds +1 Wound to every model, re-rolls all failed charges, and re-roll wounds when attacking anyone from the Tauroi Warclan. The Devoted of Sigmar, on the other hand, are using the Tauroi Warclan, which allows them to recycle units that are destroyed, add +2 to their Bravery, and re-roll misses against any Bloodscorch models.

They also, of course, have the War Altar of Sigmar on their side which, against Chaos units, is frankly a Death Star in the making.

One way or another, this will be a very, very bloody fight!

 

Battleplan(s)

As mentioned before, we are actually using two Battleplans, on two different tables.

In Bringing Down the Mountain, the Stormcasts must advance out of their territory and use specialist units (such as Retributors) to hammer the ground and, well, bring down the mountain. If they succeed in this, they win this fight as the mountain comes crashing down, taking Skarbrand with it.

However, that does not necessarily mean they win the fight as a whole.

That relies on what happens in A Twist of Fate. Both battles are fought alongside one another, turn-for-turn – and the Devoted in A Twist of Fate will be wanting the mountain to fall on the Bloodscorch Tribe as soon as possible! In this battle, the Bloodscorch Tribe have seven turns to wipe out the Devoted completely, gaining a major victory if they succeed. Things look pretty bleak for the Devoted (though remember their Battalion rules allow them the possibility of recycling units) but when (if) the mountain falls, the Devoted player decides who gets first turn in battle rounds, all Chaos units receive D6 mortal wounds, and the Warherd loses a special Command Ability which allows units to re-roll misses whenever a Devoted unit gets wiped out.

Both battles will use the Ashlands Time of War sheet, which features:

  • The Blessings of Ignax, the Solar Drake: Players must roll on a table every turn to see what effect Ignax has on the battlefield – this ranges from solar flares dazzling archers to scenery bursting into flame.
  • Apocalyptic Rage: Skarbrand’s fury, magnified by the Crystal Henge, will make units far more bloodthirsty in battle, forcing some of them to make charges.
  • Burning Skies: Flying units will get scorched if they spend too long in the air, while wizards can call down a Meteoric Conflagration.
  • The Pyroclasm: A sentient fire storm regularly sweeps through the Ashlands, which the players can try to appease with sacrifices in the hopes it ignores their army.

 

Deployment

Upon the side of the Unreachable Mountain, Skarbrand led his mortal followers in a tight wedge, Bloodreavers boasting they would claim more skulls than the Chaos Warriors. The Stormcasts spread out, Liberators to the fore, ready to receive charges upon their Sigmarite shields. The Paladins deployed behind them, most intent on bringing the mountain down upon Skarbrand. The Protectors, however, stood ready to engage Skarbrand in close combat should the others fail.

img_6804

Upon the Tauroi Archipelego, the Devoted of Sigmar assembled in motley fashion within a narrow pass as their Stormcast heroes advanced to receive the charges of the Warherd.

img_6805

Battle Round One

On both battlefields, the forces of Chaos swept forward, both keen to utterly destroy the Stormcasts and their lackeys.

Upon the mountainside, Skarbrand breathed fire as the power of the Godbeast Ignax infused him with its strength, while the Slaughterpriest sacrificed two Bloodreavers to appease the Pyroclasm. However, Khorne found the Slaughterpriest’s willingness to court other powers distasteful and withheld his gifts.

img_6806

The, led by Skarbrand, the Bloodbound charged. The Liberators took the brunt, leaning into their shields against the Bloodreavers, but Skarbrand shattered their line as he dove into the fray.

img_6807

The Chaos Warriors rushed forward and managed to reach the Protectors, tying them up so their glaives were unable to touch the Bloodthirster. Though they killed three Chaos Warriors, one Protector was brought down by their axes.

An Ash Storm then descended upon the battlefield, another gift from Ignax, reducing visibility all round as volcanic dust blinded all combatants. Lord-Relictor Cryptborn challenged the Pyroclasm, refusing to bend his knee to a false power, and the Retributors behind him paid the price as the fire storm descended to blacken their armour.

Though the Ash Storm obscured nearly everything, Cryptborn could just make out the massive form of Skarbrand through the dust, raging as he turned this way and that, seeking new prey The Lord-Relictor prayed to Sigmar for deliverance, and a thick lightning bolt lanced down from the sky to strike the Bloodthirster, enraging him even further.

img_6809

The Decimators flanked the Chaos Warriors, while another retinue of Retributors stopped their work on dislodging the mountainside and charged Skarbrand, knowing they could not afford to let the Bloodthirster rampage freely through their lines.

img_6812

Trapped between the Decimators and Protectors, the Chaos Warriors had nowhere to go and most were pierced by glaive or bisected by axe. The pitifully few survivors threw down their weapons and ran, the Paladins allowing them to escape as they had far more important enemies still on the battlefield.

img_6814

Swinging their hammers, the Retributors pounded Skarbrand, causing the daemon to roar with equals parts rage and pain. Bones started to crack under the onslaught, but this merely maddened the daemon further and when his axes, Slaughter and Carnage descended, the Retributors had no defence. The entire retinue was wiped out in just a few swings. Skarbrand was wounded but now he was also free to fight.

On the Archipelago, battle was also raging as the Warherd met the first line of defence, a shield wall of Liberators. Bullgors were joined by a Ghorgon, and the Devoted of Sigmar moaned as one as they saw Sigmar’s blessed destroyed in seconds, the blue streaks of their souls rushing up to Azyr.

img_6808

The Ash Storm that had plagued the Unreachable Mountain now rolled down into the Archipelago, blinding all. This caused problems for the War Altar of Sigmar, but more for the Doombull who could no longer command his Warherd effectively.

img_6810

The Devoted of Sigmar had seen their heroes destroyed with ease by the lead Ghorgon and Bullgors but instead of cowering in fear from their age-old oppressors, they rallied quickly and advanced.

img_6811

As Flagellants gladly sacrificed themselves to the Pyroclasm on an effort to attain victory, the Warrior Priests led the others in prayers to Sigmar. The God-King’s countenance was shining upon his mortal servants this day, and every Flagellant felt the power of Sigmar enter him. Feeling indestructible, the Devoted threw themselves at the Warherd.

img_6813

Used to easy victories against puny humans, the Warherd were immediately forced onto the back foot. The War Altar of Sigmar glowed bright as the Light of Banishment erupted from its idol, its white-hot beam lancing into the chest of the leading Ghorgon. The Ghorgon was blasted back, stumbling as it tried to paw at the blackened crater in its chest. Though the Doombull roared at it to continue fighting, it now approached the Devoted with a noticeable limp.

The nearest Flagellants sensed weakness and surged forward, surrounding the Ghorgon as they pounded it with whips, flails and their own fists. With a terrible bellowing, the Ghorgon stumbled again and fell to the ground, where the Flagellants continued beating down until it stopped moving altogether.

A great cry went up from the Devoted – they had killed the greatest of their oppressors! Surely the will of the God-King as on their side.

Before the Bullgors could react, a Warrior Priest led more Flagellants against them, but the brute strength of the beasts was telling and several Flagellants met their end in the emboldened charge.

 

Battle Round Two

Upon the mountainside, rocks burst into flame as the influence of Ignax waxed, burning the Retributors taking shelter there. Fearing anything more powerful than them, the Bloodreavers eagerly sacrificed more of their own number to appease the Pyroclasm and, once again, the sentient storm found their gift worthy and passed them by.

img_6815

Skarbrand bellowed his rage at the Protectors, even as the surviving Liberator-Prime battered the Bloodreavers who surrounded him.

img_6816

Seeing the Paladins undaunted by his fury, Skarbrand charged the Protectors before they could raise their glaives to properly defend themselves. With consummate ease, Skarbrand sent each and every one of them back to Sigmar in a streak of blue light that flashed up to the sky.

img_6820

Sensing an easy victory with the Bloodthirster on his side, the Aspiring Deathbringer advanced to challenge Lord-Relictor Cryptborn, and a duel quickly erupted between them, both trading blows but failing to land a lethal strike.

img_6818

As a Solar Flare from Ignax dazzled everyone on the battlefield, Lord-Relictor Cryptborn stepped back from the Aspiring Deathbringer and once more called upon the God-King to smite the Bloodthirster. Again, lighting lanced down but, to the Lord-Relictor’s dismay, Skarbrand still stood after the flash had dissipated – in fact, he seemed almost energised by the lightning.

Though they were better suited to attacking the likes of Bloodreavers, the Decimators bravely stepped forward to swing their Thunderaxes at Skarbrand. The hefty weapons seemed to have little effect upon the Bloodthirster, but then the Decimator carrying the Starsoul Mace entered the fight. One mighty overhead swing smacked the weapon directly into Skarbrand’s chest, causing the daemon to reel and collapse into the mountainside dust.

With Skarbrand temporarily knocked insensible, the Stormcasts could now begin the process of bringing the mountainside down on top of the daemon – so long as they could keep the Bloodbound at bay.

On the Archipelago, the Ash Storm continued to blow, but the blood of a Bullgor was not deemed a worthy sacrifice to the Pyroclasm, and the fire storm raged across the entire Warherd, immolating two Bullgors as it turned them into fiery columns that caused the Devoted of Sigmar to cheer all the harder.

img_6819

By now, the Warherd had advanced deep into the pass and was within easy striking distance of the heart of the Devoted. Despite their earlier losses, they could almost taste the blood of humans and were eager to find their fill.

The Doombull bellowed at the lead Ghorgon to tear apart the War Altar of Sigmar that trundled on its wheels just in front of it, but the beast spied the last retinue of Liberators and found them a far more tempting target. Furious at the dumb brute, the Doombull started his own rush forward but the Ash Storm thickened and he roared with frustration as the Devoted disappeared from view.

img_6821

As the Liberators managed to hold the combined charge of the Ghorgon and a retinue of Bullgors that had joined it, the Flagellants were beginning to suffer casualties at the hands of the Warherd. However, a brave Warrior Priest confronted a Bullgor directly, despite having been knocked to the ground by its massive axe. Pulling himself back to his feet by faith alone, the Warrior Priest ducked under its guard and hammered away until the beast crashed to the ground to move no more. The nearby Flagellants, galvanised by this display, surged on to batter another Bullgor to death.

img_6822

As the very rocks outside the pass ignited into flame, a Warrior Priest sacrificed himself to the fury of the Pyroclasm, abating its fury.

The air began to hum with religious fervour as the remaining Warrior Priests led the Devoted in prayer. The Knight-Azyros judged the time to be right, and he opened his Celestial Beacon to allow the light of Azyr to shine forth. The Bullgors nearest him reeled under the divine purity of the light that burned their eyes and scoured their flesh. When the Knight-Azyros closed the lantern, two Bullgors had been thoroughly purged, burned away to nothing.

img_6827

Seeing the Ash Storm clear, the Warrior Priest riding the War Altar of Sigmar peered through the clearing dust to see the Doombull emerge in front of him. Crying to his horses to carry him closer, the War Altar picked up speed as the Light of Banishment lanced out once more, this time striking the Doombull. The beast staggered under the assault, but bellowed its pain away, looking up just in time to see the War Altar crash into him at full tilt.

img_6825

As the horses rode over the Doombull, the Warrior Priest’s Grandhammer swung just low enough to catch the beast in the head, caving in its skull with a single blow.

 

Battle Round Three

Ignax sent a Raging Heatwave across both the Unreachable Mountain and the Tauroi Archipelago, sending all warriors present into an apocalyptic rage that forced them to fight all the harder.

The Slaughterpriest dispatched six Bloodreavers to appease the Pyroclasm, but this finally angered his own Blood God and he was crippled by pain when he had the temerity to ask Khorne for favour.

img_6828

Not quite believing they had managed to lay Skarbrand low, at least for a while, the Decimators charged the Bloodreavers, their Thunderaxes making short work of the barbarians.

img_6830

Knowing he had to draw blood, and lots of it, to regain Khorne’s blessing, the Slaughterpriest joined the Aspiring Deathbringer in battling Lord-Relictor Cryptborn. The Stormcast, feeling victory close, calmly dispatched the Deathbringer before turning to the Slaughterpriest and battering the brute down with his hammer.

img_6831

All went quiet on the side of the Unreachable Mountain, then a steady rhythm began, growing louder and louder, as the Paladins hammered away at the ground with their largest weapons, seeking to dislodge the entire mountainside and bury Skarbrand before he could recover.

Down on the Tauroi Archipelago, the Raging Heatwave drive the Devoted to ever new heights. Ignoring the Pyroclasm completely, few noticed as two Warrior Priests were consumed by fire.

The War Altar of Sigmar continued its sweep forward, barely slowing down as it trundled over the still body of the Doombull. Turning, the Warrior Priest aimed the Light of Banishment at one of the Ghorgons and scored a solid hit. The divine light struck the centre of its back and burned through to light up the entire path. The Flagellants had just enough warning to get out of the way before the creature crashed to the ground, its body still smoking.

img_6829

Only one Ghorgon now remained of the Warherd, and the Knight-Azyros swooped around its head, causing the creature to flail with its four arms in an effort to keep the Stormcast away. Timing his attack perfectly, the Knight-Azyros dodged the bladed limbs then dove in, sword held forward. Its point pierced the skull of the Ghorgon, leaving it swaying for a few seconds before it too crashed into the dust.

The Devoted saw more beasts of the Warherds approaching them over the horizon, but they no longer had any fear for their oppressors and the Warrior Priest atop the War Altar bade them reform to receive the new attack.

Then they stopped – a deep rumble began to shake the ground, and one Flagellant cried out as he pointed upwards. The peak of the Unreachable Mountain had started to collapse and massive boulders began raining down on the Archipelago, landing in front of the pass held by the Devoted, crushing the new Warherd beneath tonnes of rock.

Once again, the power of Sigmar had been revealed to the Devoted, and they all reaffirmed their vows to the God-King.

 

Conclusion

Well,that battle really did not go the way we expected at the start – I had thought that the Stormcasts might just be able to sneak a victory against Skarbrand and pull the mountain down on top of him, but that the Devoted of Sigmar would be hard pushed to stall the advance of the Warherd before that happened.

As things worked out, they need not have worried so much.

The big issue here was the absolutely appalling rolls made by the Warherd. If there was a critical charge to be made (like against the War Altar of Sigmar who was just ruining the huge Ghorgons), it would be failed. If there was a set of 3+ hit rolls, they would be failed. As for armour saves… no such thing, really.

The Devoted, on the other hand, truly had Sigmar on their side – only two prayers were not answered during the entire battle, meaning the Flagellants enjoyed constant protection and had their own attacks nicely pumped up.

Still, it is nice to see the good guys get a convincing victory for once!

One thing I should mention is the Ashlands Time of War sheet – this one is really worth a look, as the combination of Ignax’s effects causing fires to spring up all over the battlefield, added to the placation (or not) of the Pyroclasm, meant there was always something interesting taking place on the battlefield, regardless of what the players were doing!

 

The Story Continues…

Their pact concluded, Valkia the Bloody promptly dove down from the sky to skewer Lord-Relictor Cryptborn through the chest, sending him back to Sigmar in ignominy – however, his plan had worked and the Ashlands were safe from Nurgle’s curse. It was now time for Archaon to enact his own schemes to finally enslave the Godbeast Ignax. For this phase of the war, we move our attention away from the Ashlands and up to the Land of the Chained Sun, high above the battlefields we have been fighting on so far…