We are going to be sticking with the Flesh-Eater Courts for our tour of the Mortal Realms. In this fight, Fyreslayers and Skaven are having one of their normal bashes, but a Flesh-Eater Court has now arrived. This is our first three-player, three-army game in an all-against-all, so expect carnage!
The Story So Far
On board the massive Wyrd-Engine, lumbering its way over the Iron-Scree Wastes of Chamon, Fyreslayers and Skaven were locked in an ages old battle. Many times had they clashed for control of the Wyrd-Engine, but now the Skaven had a new weapon.
Grey Seer Reeknik had commissioned the construction of a Screaming Bell and when the rats surged up from the depths of the Wyrd-Engine to attack the Fyreslayer’s forge-temple, he was on board his new weapon.
Every time the bell peeled, Fyreslayers fell to the ground, clutching their bleeding ears. Thousands of rats were behind the Grey Seer, and overwhelming wave of Skaven that could only crush the Fyreslayers once and for all.
However, something else stirred in the depths of the Wyrd-Engine, something neither Skaven nor Fyreslayer suspected the existence of. It was Reeknik who first saw something was wrong when his planned reinforcements failed to materialise, but soon he realised just what was happening.
A Flesh-Eater Court had revived itself from a long slumber, and now the Abhorrant Ghoul King leading it was intent on claiming the entire Wyrd-Engine as his own domain.
This is a relatively small battle, concentrating on the action that takes place where the three armies have converged – there is a lot going on off-camera, but this is where the fight will be decided!
Abhorrent Ghoul King on Terrorgheist
Crypt Infernal Courtier
Crypt Ghast Courtier
Crypt Ghouls x 40 (two units of 20)
Crypt Flayers x 6 (two units of 3)
These are just the lead elements of the Flesh-Eater Court, as the rest are already feasting on the vast numbers of Skaven who would otherwise be overwhelming the Fyreslayers. However, they may find the other two armies easy prey after they have been battering one another…
Runefather on Magmadroth
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Auric Hearthguard x 5
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 5
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (one units of 20, one unit of 10)
The Fyreslayers may have thought they were coming to this battle able to deal with anything the Skaven threw at them but, despite the presence of the Magmadroths, they are going to find themselves under serious pressure from the start.
Screaming Bell (Grey Seer Reeknik)
Clanrats x 50 (two units of 25)
Stormvermin x 20
The Skaven have more foot troops than either of the other two armies, but they will have to use them carefully. If the Clanrats (or, the Horned Rat forbid, the Stormvermin) are thrown into the battle carelessly, Grey Seer Reeknik will have nothing to face the Flesh-Eater Court with.
This is a three-way Battleplan, with three armies and three players. There are no special rules as such in this battle (the Flesh-Eater Court can re-roll failed charges, while the other two armies can re-roll wounds of 1 against one another), just the facility for handling three players. Every round effectively has three turns, and models fight in each if they are near an enemy, regardless of whom it is.
On the face of it, the Flesh-Eater Court is likely to sweep the field clear of battle-weary Skaven and Fyreslayers. If either is to triumph, they must (temporarily) unite against the Flesh-Eaters but as their one special rule makes it easier to hurt one another, this might be more difficult than it looks!
The victory conditions are calculated when one player has been wiped out, with major victory going to the survivor who has lost (proportionally) the least in their force. The players involved in this battle are competitive, so expect to see them watching their opponents carefully and counting models on the fly!
The three forces assembled on the battlefield, with the Skaven and Fyreslayers looking venomously at one another. However, both noted that the Flesh-Eater Court had deployed heavily weighted towards the Fyreslayers, positioning that caused the Grey Seer to lick his lips with glee.
Having half-expected this, the Fyreslayers had deployed aggressively to face either foe, hoping they would not have to do so simultaneously.
Battle Round One
The Screaming Bell tolled, a mournful sound that shook the battlefield. An avalanche of energy flowed from the bell, which the Grey Seer quickly harnessed into a spell. Crack’s Call ripped a chasm across the ground, into which three Vulkite Berzerkers tumbled, screaming as they fell.
Then, the Grey Seer unveiled his master plan. Chittering to his troops from atop his bell, the Grey Seer ordered a steady retreat, pulling his Clanrats even closer to him. His strategy was made clear immediately – he wanted to wait until the Fyreslayers and Flesh-Eater Court had more or less destroyed one another, then swoop in to claim victory!
The Ghoul King had no such worries about his own safety and took to the air on his Terrorgheist as more Crypt Ghouls sprang out of the shadows to join the growing horde. As one, they advanced across a broad front.
A unit of Crypt Ghouls and Crypt Flayers pushed their way towards the Skaven, but the bulk of the Flesh-Eater Court was aiming straight for the Fyreslayers.
Seeing this, the Runefather quietly directed his troops to face the threats. Vulkite Berzerkers advanced cautiously towards the Skaven, determined to take advantage of the cover the woods provided but all too aware they would provide no protection against the Grey Seer’s Crack’s Call. The rest of the force rearranged itself to face the Flesh-Eater Court while the Auric Hearthguard began lining up a few long-ranged shots at the Crypt Flayers lurking amongst the trees.
Battle Round Two
Hearing a command barked from the Runefather, the Fyreslayers halted their advance and readied their weapons. Only the Runemaster paced forward, raising his staff and speaking words of power. Among the trees closest tot he Flesh-Eater Court, magma bubbled up from the ground, spurting to drench the Crypt Flayers and immolate a Crypt Ghoul who had strayed too close.
The Auric Hearthguard continued the bombardment of flaming rock, training their magmapikes upon the Crypt Flayers. Fire blasted through the trees, felling two of them.
Across the battlefield, the Screaming Bell tolled once more, feeding the Grey Seer yet more magical energy but it was too much for the rat to handle and his Crack’s Call failed this time, much to the relief of the Vulkite Berzerkers.
Then, the Ghoul King stood high atop his mount and gave a hideous shriek that galvanised his court into action. As one, they surged forward, aiming straight for the Fyreslayers.
Two Crypt Ghouls sank into bubbling magma as they rushed carelessly through the woods, but the rest did not even notice their pitiful cries, more dismayed by the Crypt Flayer and Ghoul King himself overtaking them to reach the fresh meat.
Two of the Auric Hearthguard fell to the ground, clutching bleeding ears as the Terrorgheist unleashed a tremendous scream that boiled their brains, but the others stood firm against the Crypt Flayers who dove into their thin line. One of the Hearthguard fell to the Crypt Flayers’ talons, but Vulkite Berzerkers were quick to respond and piled-in, slaying on of the beasts. Another Crypt Flayer soared above swirling melee to land next to the Runemaster. Drawing his runic iron, they immediately clashed, trading blows and wounds behind the front line.
The Ghoul King had already chosen his target, and aimed his Terrorgheist at the largest enemy he could find, the Runesmiter who had advanced forward on his Magmadroth. The two beasts scratched and raked one another as their riders duelled.
Quicker on the wing, the Terrorgheist savaged the Magmadroth, causing great gouts of volcanic blood to drench the nearby Crypt Flayers, boiling them as they fought. The Runesmiter backed his badly wounded Magmadroth up slightly, now wary of his enemy.
Battle Round Three
Having built up momentum in their charge, the Flesh-Eater Court continued to roll forward over the Fyreslayers.
The Terrorgheist screamed again, this time at the Magmadroth. Waves of the terrible sound broke across the beast, smashing scales and unleashing its volcanic blood. The Runemaster saw it arcing towards him and sidestepped, allowing the lone Crypt Flayer he was fighting absorb the magma, immolating it completely.
Before the Magmadroth could recover, the Terrorgheist darted forward and snapped it heads off with one bite of its enormous jaws. The Magmadroth fell, spilling the Runesmiter to the ground. Before he could stand, the Ghoul King was on him, ripping the Fyreslayer apart with his bare claws.
The line between the Fyreslayers and Flesh-Eater Court became confused and messy, as Vulkite Berzerkers fought Crypt Flayers and Crypt Ghouls. Many ghouls fell to their axes, but the Auric Hearthguard could not free their weapons from the close tangle and were quickly killed.
A lone unit of Crypt Ghouls had been quietly advancing across the other side of the battlefield, far from the developing battle with the Fyreslayers. The Skaven finally saw them approaching and started chittering among themselves, alerting the Grey Seer to the threat. Diverting his attention from the Fyreslayers, the Grey Seer directed a Crack’s Call spell at the ghouls, with several falling into the yawning earth.
Seeing the Crypt Ghouls ignore this warning, the Grey Seer squeaked furiously, goading his Clanrats forward to face the enemy.
Fifty Clanrats raced forward, the Stormvermin hot on their tails. The Crypt Ghouls were somewhat taken aback by this sudden move and were immediately forced onto the defensive as they were surrounded by Clanrats.
While the sprawling battle was vicious, with much hissing and squeaking, few actual blows were landed and the result was a desperate tangle of angry Skaven and Crypt Ghouls trying to lash out at one another.
Still, at least the Grey Seer was safe, so he counted that as a win.
The Fyreslayers were facing far more problems. Another wave of Crypt Ghouls raced forward past the Terrorgheist and completely overwhelmed the Vulkite Berkerzers.
Now, only the Runemaster alone held the Fyreslayer’s flank, and he had already been wounded by the Crypt Flayer he had fought.
The Runefather was well aware of the Perilous position the Flesh-Eater Court had put his force in, but he also spied opportunity now the Skaven had been drawn into the engagement. Roaring a command, he urged his Magmadroth forward towards the rats, the Battlesmith and remaining Vulkite Berzerkers streaming in his wake.
The Grimwrath Berzerker was charged with holding the flank, a suicidal duty he relished. Leading the Hearthguard Berzerkers, he raced for the Ghoul King on the Terrorgheist, legs pumping as fast as they could.
Leaping over the remains of the Runesmiter’s Magamdroth, the Grimwrath Berzerker bellowed a challenge as he brought his axe down over his head. The Terrorgheist looked up in alarm as its mind slowly began to understand what was happening – far too slowly.
The Grimwrath Berzerker’s axe cracked its skull wide open with a single blow, but the Fyreslayer was not yet done. Jumping up onto its head, he sprang for the Ghoul King and, with one mighty swing, cut the vampire in two.
The Hearthguard Berzerkers were not going to be outdone by this display, and they raced for the Crypt Flayers surrounding the Runemaster. They were not quick enough to save him, but their axes made short work of the Crypt Flayers, felling two and wounding another before they realised what was happening.
Battle Round Four
Busy squeaking orders to his incompetent Clanrats, the Grey Seer belatedly realised that the remaining Fyreslayers were running towards him, intent on wrecking his Screaming Bell and separating his head from his neck. The Grey Seer chittered a series of confused and contradictory orders, but the Clanrats got the gist of them and they started to flee, running from the Crypt Ghouls as fast as they could while the Stormvermin advanced meaningfully towards them, halberds ready.
One unit of Clanrats stuck around just long enough to stop the Crypt Ghouls from escaping the Stormvermin – then the elite rats charged.
Unable to run, the Crypt Ghouls raised their arms in a vain attempt to halt the descending halberds, but they were all butchered to a diseased, degenerate ghoul.
With the Ghoul King killed, the Crypt Infernal Courtier now took command of the Flesh-Eater Court. Raising up on his haunches, he screeched at the sky and was soon rewarded with a flock of Crypt Flayers arriving on the battlefield to bolster his waning force.
Then, to the surprise of both Crypt Flayers and Crypt Ghouls, he ordered the court to disengage from the Fyreslayers and start running for the Skaven. Perhaps he wanted revenge for the slaying of the Crypt Ghouls by the Stormvermin. Maybe he had seen the effectiveness of the Grimwrath Berzerker’s axe and merely wanted to avoid its kiss. No matter, the Fyreslayers were now free to fight the Skaven too…
This reversal of the intentions of the Flesh-Eater Court had not gone unnoticed by the Runefather, and he was thankful for the relief it gave the Fyreslayers. The Grimwrath Berzerker and Hearthguard, he noted, were chasing after the Crypt Ghouls, helping to shepherd them towards the rats.
As the Battlesmith led the Vulkite Berzerkers into the woods, where they would be in a position to both weather a sudden charge from the Stormvermin and be in range to strike at the Creaming Bell, the Runefather goaded his Magmadroth forward at full speed, aiming straight for the nearest Clanrats.
The Magmadroth spat a gob of magma at the Stormvermin as it galloped, toasting three of them in a wash of fire and panicked squeaking, but their cries were quickly overwhelmed by those of the Clanrats who suddenly realised who the Magmadroth was bounding towards.
A spray of rat blood soared into the air as the Magmadroth bounced among them, biting and swiping while the Runefather made long, powerful sweeps with his latchkey axe. Seven Clanrats were killed between the Magamdroth’s claws and the Runefather’s axe, and another were hurled from the battle by sweeps from the beast’s tail. This proved too much for the survivors and another seven scampered for the shadows, alongside two of the Stormvermin.
Battle Round Five
The momentum had been firmly seized by the Fyreslayers, and they took every advantage.
Streaming out of the woods, the Vulkite Berzerkers roared challenges at the Skaven, but it was very clear the Grey Seer was not going to accept as the Screaming Bell trundled as fast as it could away from the fighting.
The Magmadroth continued to tear apart the few Clanrats who still stood, but most of them were ready to break and run anyway. The creature took enough time to spit another gob of magma at the Stormvermin, causing them to back up and huddle together for protection, but this caused them to miss the oncoming Vulkite Berzerkers.
The Vulkite Berzerkers smashed into the Stormvermin like a Steamhead train. Flinging their shields as they ran, the razor-edged discs sliced through five of the Stormvermin, while the axes of the Fyreslayers quickly dispatched the rest before the rats could react.
The centre had been torn out of the Skaven force within minutes, much to the consternation of the Grey Seer. His Screaming Bell was now moving much slower now it was not being pushed by his minions, and the only Clanrats left had fled to the far side of the battlefield and there were some very angry Fyreslayers between him and them…
Seeing this turn of events, the Crypt Infernal Courtier reassessed his priorities and, spying the Grimwrath Berzerker and Hearthguard following behind, barked an order to his followers. Responding instantly, they turned to surrounded the Fyreslayers.
The Hearthguard Berzerkers were quickly beset by a massive horde of Crypt Ghouls. Though nearly a dozen ghouls died to their axes, there were simply too many for the Hearthguard to face, and they were torn apart in a shower of blood, organs and limbs.
The Grimwrath Berzerker fared better. Having reached the woods, he spat curses at the Crypt Flayers that came for him, deriding their treachery, however expected it had been, Though wounded by their talons, his axe accounted for one of their number, forcing them to be a little more cautious.
Battle Round Six
By this time, all three armies had taken horrendous casualties, but victory remained possible for all.
The Fyreslayers were the first to make their move, and the Runefather decided to continue pressing his advantage on the Skaven. While the Vulkite Berzerkers reversed their direction to chase the Screaming Bell, he pursued the Clanrats upon his Magmadroth.
Seeing this, the Clanrats tried to run even faster, though they knew they could not outpace an angry Magmadroth. The Grey Seer had other ideas though, Fed up of constantly running, he turned the Screaming Bell round, and rolled towards the Vulkite Berzerkers.
Another Crack’s Call spell opened up the ground, causing several Berzerkers to fall into the earth, while the Screaming Bell itself rolled over more. However, the survivors stood firm, and their axes caused the frame of the Screaming Bell to shudder and creak as several of its timbers crashed to the ground.
Dispatching the wounded Grimwrath Berzerkers, the Crypt Flayers took to the air, searching for new victims. The Crypt Ghouls had already found theirs, and they rushed through the ruins to reach the Runefather, cutting off his pursuit of the Clanrats.
Their oversized horde flowed across the broken masonry as they reached, claws outstretched, for the Runefather. All they accomplished was the ripping off of a few scales from the Magmadroth. Then the Runefather’s massive axe descended, cutting ten of them in two and forcing more to run.
While others still remained in combat with the Magmadroth, the great charge of the Crypt Ghouls had clearly been shattered by the Runefather’s staunch defence.
Battle Round Seven
The Crypt Ghouls did not know whether to fear the Magmadroth more, or the Crypt Infernal Courtier who they knew lurked in the ruins just behind them. It was the Magmadroth that made the decision for them. Swiping with its claws, most of the ghouls were killed instantly, and the rest promptly bolted for the shadows around the battlefield.
Further away, the Battlesmith joined in the fight around the Screaming Bell, carving great chunks out of its wooden frame, though a swipe from the Rat Ogre at its rear left him with a savage wound across the back.
This was a distraction that poorly served the Rat Ogre, as its pulls on the bell became erratic. The Screaming Bell peeled a discordant note that sent tremors through its frame, damaging it further.
The last remaining Clanrats cowered on the far side of the battlefield, hoping no one would notice them. However, they had already been spotted by the circling Crypt Flayers who now dived towards them.
Badly damaged as it was, the Screaming Bell and its Rat Ogre managed to kill the last of the Vulkite Berzerkers and the Battlesmith who had joined them. Now, it rattled its way towards the Runefather, the Grey Seer hurling Arcane Bolts as it went, determined that the last Fyreslayer, at least, would not walk away from the battle.
Battle Round Eight
The Clanrats could not flee from the Crypt Flayers, and they squeaked in terrible fear as they were cornered, trying to clamber over one another in a bid not to be the first to die.
It made little difference to the Crypt Flayers, who soon feasted on rat flesh.
Seeing that the damaged Screaming Bell was in no shape to catch him any time soon, the Runefather turned his Magmadroth and went hunting Flesh-Eaters. He found his first victim climbing out of the ruins, the Crypt Ghast Courtier who had been responsible for building up such a massive horde of Crypt Ghouls throughout the battle. Now caught in the open, the Courtier managed to shriek in true terror before the Runefather’s Latchkey Axe removed its head.
Battle Round Nine
However, the battle had been a long and hard one for the Magmadroth, and a constant stream of volcanic blood dripped from its many wounds. It was now not moving as fast as it had been, and the Crypt Infernal Courtier easily reached it with one long glide.
The fight was short but intense. The Magmadroth managed to gouge a hideous wound in the Courtier, but the Flesh-Eater’s own talons proved more telling. Bounding up the Magmadroth’s flanks, it tore the Runefather from his mount and sank its long teeth into his flesh.
The last Fyreslayer had fallen, and the Grey Seer decided to leave the Wyrd-Engine to the Flesh-Eater Court.
Well, that was a battle and a half!
As always, it was very close, and we really had no idea who was going to win, right up until the end of round nine when the Runefather fell (and that fight could so easily have gone the other way!). At first it looked as though the Fyreslayers were going to be knocked out first, then the Skaven, and then the Flesh-Eater Court (the Flesh-Eater Court was not allowed to count newly summoned models as survivors, so they actually only had a few left!).
At the end of the battle, the Fyreslayers had been wiped out, but the Flesh-Eater Court only had 6% of its starting models left on the battlefield, and the Skaven 1.4%! You really cannot get much closer than that!
As far as the Fyreslayers were concerned, the man of the match was probably the Runefather, who led the charge that shattered the Skaven as a fighting force. However, honourable mention should go to the Grimwrath Berzerker who managed to utterly destroy the Ghoul King and his Terrorgheist in a single round of combat!
This is a Battleplan I would wholeheartedly recommend for any group to try (you can find it in Battletome: Flesh-Eater Courts). The rules for three player games are extremely simple and do not put much overhead on a battle, but (as with all good rules in Age of Sigmar), they add a whole new dimension that players must come to grips with – not least that it is very possible to lose models in another player’s turn when that player’s models are not fighting yours (because if you are in battle, you fight, no matter whose turn it is). This means you are getting another lot of close combat in every round, which can be good… or very, very bad…
The Story Continues…
Next time, we are taking a trip to the Realm of Life for our first battle featuring the Ironjawz!