This battle represents a decent milestone – it completes the first half of the Godbeasts campaign. This is a massive battle as Archaon brings his full weight to bear upon the Stormcasts, while the Fyreslayers try to enact a plan that will scour all life from the whole Land of the Chained Sun…
The Story So Far
Archaon’s attack on the Land of the Chained Sun had been hard and brutal, the Everchosen quashing any spark of resistance from the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers wherever they could be brought to battle. Now, his plan for the Realm of Fire was almost complete. One more mighty victory would allow him to crush the last of the forces of Order, giving him enough time to bind the Godbeast Ignax to his will, spelling doom for any who opposed him.
Unless the Fyreslayers could do something about it…
The Fyreslayers, once populating the Land of the Chained Sun in their millions, knew their floating island was lost to Chaos. However, they were determined not to go quietly.
The lodges gathered their forces and marched alongside the Stormcasts in one last desperate bid to foil the plans of the Everchosen. Capturing the Great Tethers, the chains that held the Land of the Chained Sun under Ignax, they engaged the mighty winches, pulling the entire island up, up and closer to the Godbeast. If they could succeed in this bid, the terrible heat of Ignax would scour the whole island clean of life, destroying the Fyreslayers utterly – and Archaon’s plans alongside them…
As befits the final battle of one half of a campaign, this is going to be a true epic with massive of models, huge monsters and great heroes!
Archaon the Everchosen, Exalted Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse
Varanguard x 3
Daemon Prince of Khorne (Lord Khul)
Exalted Seeker Chariot with Herald of Slaanesh
Skullmaster, Herald of Khorne
Herald of Nurgle
Herald of Tzeentch
Bloodletters x 50 (five units of 10)
Plaguebearers x 30 (three units of 10)
Pink Horrors x 30 (three units of 10)
Daemonettes (three units of 10)
Bloodcrushers x 6
Plague Drones x 8
Seeker Chariots x 2
Flamers of Tzeentch x 6 (two units of 3)
Mutalith Vortex Beast
Giant Spined Chaos Beast
Archaon is clearly not messing around with this force (in fact, I have a feeling this is the largest army we have used yet in Age of Sigmar!). With his Varanguard, he has brought along every daemon he could threaten or cajole from Orb Infernia, and every single one of them wants a piece of the Stormcasts. On top of that, Archaon has also unleashed his Menagerie in the form of five monsters all whipped ahead by a Bloodstoker. This is a Battalion from the Ironwarp Citadel book, and it seems appropriate to use it here. As well as granting one of the monsters (the ‘alpha’) extra wounds, the Bloodstoker can also give them a good whipping, ‘encouraging’them to run and charge further, and be a lot nastier when they get into battle.
Lord-Celestant on Star Drake
Fulminators x 6
Tempestors x 6
Concusssors x 6
Desolators x 6
Liberators x 25 (five units of 5)
Judicators (two units of 5)
Runefather on Magmadroth
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10
Auric Hearthguard x 5
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (one units of 20, one unit of 10)
The Stormcasts have come to battle ready for whatever Archaon may throw at them – but even a full Extremis Chamber with Fyreslayer support might be hard pushed against this force!
The winching mechanism for the Great Tether is housed within a Numinous Occulum, which the forces of Order have managed to capture. At the start of their turns, the forces of Order roll two dice (they can add a further D3 with a special Command Ability) if they occupy the Numinous Occulum and keep track of their ‘exertion’as they wind the mechanism and bring the Land of the Chained Sun closer to Ignax. As this total increases, every unit on the battlefield will begun sustaining mortal wounds every round. If it goes past a total of 30, the forces of Order win (well, sort of, they will be roasted alongside all the Chaos forces).
All Archaon has to do is wipe out the forces of Order before this happens. To aid him in this, he can recycle any of his units that get wiped out, plus has a special Command Ability that allows a nearby unit to pile in and attack twice in a turn.
The forces of Order ringed the winching mechanism. The Fyreslayers toiled hard to begin winding the Land of the Chained Sun closer to Ignax, while the Stormcasts assembled before them, forming a block between the Fyreslayers and the Everchosen. The Liberators would take the brunt of the first assault, with the Extremis Chamber ready to surge forward to counterattack.
Archaon’s daemons ringed the forces of Order, with retinues dedicated to each Chaos God keeping to their pwn areas of the battlefield. The Everchosen’s Menagerie filled the centre, aiming to punch right through the thin line of Liberators and stop the Fyreslayer’s attempts to crank the mechanism of the Great Tether.
Battle Round One
As the forces of the Everchosen started to surge forward, the battlefield blazed with solar flares from Ignax. Plaguebearers were sacrificed to the Pyroclasm, but the sentient firestorm rejected the offering and living flames tore through Chaos worshippers, leaving behind many blackened corpses.
Archaon refused to let either Ignax or the Pyroclasm steal victory from him and he ordered his army forward regardless of cost. The ring around the forces of Order began to tighten sharply.
Arcane Bolts erupted from the daemons of Tzeentch, engulfing the Dracothian Guard and claiming a Fulminator with his Dracoth, even as the Bloodstoker whipped the Mutalith Vortex Beast into a frenzy. A warped beam of change shot from its back and plunged into a retinue of Liberators. One of the Liberators succumbed quickly to the blast, his body mutating and changing within seconds before his spirit gave up the fight.
The Pink Horrors continued to laugh and caper as multi-coloured flames burst from their fingertips. They were soon joined by the Flamers and Burning Chariot, and one whole flank of the forces of Order disappeared under magical fire. When the smoke cleared, two more Fulminators had been sent back to Sigmar, along with Judicators, and even the Magmadroth of the Runesmiter was singed.
The rest of the Everchosen’s army had not dallied to throw missiles at the defenders, and their headlong charge took them right to the shield line.
As Daemonettes, led by their Herald, clawed their way through one retinue of Liberators, the heavy charge of the Bloodcrushers pounded another into the ground. The Dracothian Guard reacted quickly to the Khornate assault, however, with the Tempestors bringing down two of the Bloodcrushers and the counterattack of the Desolators completely wiping out a band of Bloodletters before they could raise their Hellblades.
In the centre, the Everchosen’s Menagerie smashed into the Liberator line, while the Cockatrice and Chimera soared above them before diving into the Judicators.
The Chimera proved a vicious beast, its fiery breath and sharp talons tearing apart the Boltstorm-armed Judicators, while the Cockatrice savaged the Skybolt-armed Judicators. However, a spirited countercharge by nearby Vulkite Berzerkers quickly overwhelmed the Cockatrice and their axes managed to score several telling hits on the Chimera, causing it to roar in pain from all three heads.
All around the semi-circle of defenders, the battle ebbed and flowed, with Chaos pushing hard in some areas and getting beaten back in others. One heroic retinue of Liberators held their ground against a charge of Slaaneshi Seeker Chariots, arresting their motion before the Greatsword-armed Liberator smashed the war machine apart, leaving the Daemonettes to be slain by his comrades.
A single Liberator sacrificed himself to the Pyroclasm, and this selfless act abated the fury of the firestorm.
Despite having suffered cruelly from the flames of Tzeentch, the Fulminators advanced with the Runesmiter in their wake, determined to hold the left flank and make the Daemons of Chaos pay for every inch of ground they took.
Though the missile fire of the defenders lacked the sheer volume of Chaos, precision shots were nevertheless telling. The Tempestors unleashed a flurry of bolts that disrupted the attacks of the Varanguard, while their Dracoths unleashed a Storm Surge that annihilated the last of the Bloodcrushers.
The Stardrakes added to this as they called down meteors from the heavens, the burning rocks impacting amongst the ranks of daemons and pulverising one of the Varanguard, even as the few surviving Judicators peppered the Chimera with Skybolt Arrows.
The Stormcasts not already engaged against Chaos Daemons then held their ground under the orders of the Lord-Celestant, who knew the line protecting the Fyreslayers had to be held – there was no room for glory-seeking in this battle.
Those already fighting, however, had a desperate struggle on their hands. Daemonettes and the Slaughterbrute both wiped out retinues of Liberators, but the Vulkite Berzerkers slew the Chimera and the Greatsword-armed Liberator smashed another Seeker Chariot.
While the Stormcasts had already suffered great losses, they had managed to push the forces of Chaos back just a little.
Battle Round Two
The ground lurched as the Fyreslayers continued to crank the Great Tether, and the fires of Ignax began to scorch the battlefield, immolating a score of Chaos Daemons. The forces of Order had known this intense heat was coming and had hunkered down to escape the worst effects, by the Numinous Occulum suddenly burst into flame, killing three nearby Fyreslayers.
More Arcane Bolts were hurled by the Pink Horrors, and yet another Fulminator fell to the barrage. Archaon added his sorcerous powers to the attack to target a Tempestor, but the Dracoth shrugged off the attack.
However, while the Stormcasts had proved victorious in the face of Khorne’s daemons in the initial assault, they steeled themselves as they saw another Chimera and Cockatrice enter the battle close to them, leading yet more Bloodcrushers.
On the other side of the battlefield, Plague Drones hurled Death’s Heads at the Magmadroth of the Runesmiter, scoring several telling hits. Volcanic blood sprayed from its wounds, drenching one of the nearby Concussors.
Then, the second wave of Khornate Daemons, led by Lord Khul and Archaon himself, struck the Stormcasts’ line.
The Tempestors took the brunt of this assault, facing both lord Khul and Archaon. However, they were undaunted by the foes they battled, and their Dracoths savaged Dorghar before the creature could strike.
The Desolators too were quick off the mark, and nearly a score of Bloodletters fell to their sweeping axes.
On the other side of the Numinous Occulum, Plaguebearers shambled their way into the Dracothian Guard and now was the Daemons of Nurgle who suffered, this time from the hammers of the Concussors.
Even in the centre, the forces of Chaos began to stumble. The Slaughterbrute raged at anything close by, and its claws tore apart Daemonettes who had wandered too close before its Bloodstoker could bring it back under control. However, the monster was now wary of the Slaaneshi Daemons and the Vulkite Berzerkers took advantage of this, slipping under its reach to begin burying their axes in its flank. They managed to corner some Daemonettes too, but reality blinked and the Daemonettes returned to the fight as quickly as the Berzerkers could slay them.
Close by, the Greatsword-armed Liberator was determined to claim the Exalted Seeker Chariot of a Slaaneshi Herald, but they were intercepted by the Mutalith Vortex Beast who finally put an end to this hero and his retinue.
Bellowing as he ran, the Grimwrath Berzerker raced for a target he thought worthy of his axe – Lord Khul. Hearthguard Berzerkers streamed behind in his wake, all eager to get their axes wet, while the Runefather looked on approvingly from his Magmadroth.
As the Mutalith roared in pain and fury, the creature suffering under the fire of the Auric Hearthguard’s Magmapikes, the Grimwrath Berzerker led the charge against the Daemon Prince Khul.
Lord Khul spread his wings and hopped back just far enough to avoid the wild swings of the Grimwrath Berzerker, but momentum of the Hearthguard carried them far enough forward to reach him. The Daemon Prince’s reality-splitting axe cut three of the Hearthguard down, but the others remained undaunted and Lord Khul was forced to flee the battlefield as their own axes split armour and cut deep into his flesh.
Behind them, the Runefather led his Magmadroth into the heart of a retinue of Bloodletters, his great Latchkey Axe swinging low to slay every last daemon within reach.
As Archaon drew the Slayer of Kings and used the terrible weapon to send two Tempestors back to Azyrheim, the Lord-Celestant directed his Stardrake into the Plague Drones, leading the Concussors in the counterattack.
Despite their resilience, the Plague Drones had no real answer to the hammers of the Stormcasts, and several were pounded into sticky, immobile piles of rotting flesh, along with several Plaguebearers who had wandered too close.
However, the battle was beginning to take its toll, especially on the Fyreslayers. The Herald of Slaanesh led her Daemonettes against both a retinue of Vulkite Berzerkers and the last Judicators, dispatching them both with a few snips of their claws. Despite their oaths, some Fyreslayers cast aside their axes and started to run, with even one of the Hearthguard joining them in the rout.
Battle Round Three
The Great Tether continued to be cranked, and Ignax now loomed low in the sky, filling the heavens. The sheer heat of the Godbeast began scouring the battlefield, killing a score of daemons, along with one of the Varanguard and the Runesmiter.
The heat raised an wind that blew in a terrible ash storm, all but blinding every combatant.
Realising they were in danger of losing their momentum to the axes and hammers of the forces of Order, the Daemons of Tzeentch joined the Everchosen in cloaking themselves with Mystic Shields.
Feeling the Gods of Chaos owed him more than a few favours, Archaon then demanded additional reinforcements, and Khorne responded magnificently – snorting flames and cracking its whip, a Bloodthirster stepped out of the ash storm and immediately began seeking skulls to offer to its god.
The defenders steeled themselves to face this new threat, but another warning cry was heard as more reinforcements appeared out of the ash storm on the other side of the Numinous Occulum. There, more of the Varanguard led Slaaneshi and Khorne Daemons, along with another Slaughterbrute.
A unit of Daemonettes took advantage of these distractions and they managed to race their way to the Numinous Occulum, completely unopposed.
As they lithely clambered up its walls, fighting brook out within the ruins as the Battlesmith and Auric Hearthguard tried desperately to repel the surprise assault.
Though the Battlesmith managed to throw two of the Daemonettes off the ruin, their claws scored several deep gashes, leaving him badly wounded.
Everywhere else, Chaos Daemons moved in for the final assault. The Stormcasts and Fyreslayers had fought valiantly and slain a great many daemons, but their losses could not be replaced and there were now all too few defenders left.
Once more, magical fire from the Daemons of Tzeentch drenched the ragged line of defenders, this time targeting the last of the Vulkite Berzerkers. When he flames finally ceased, only a single Vulkite Berzerker was left alive, swearing he would avenge the fallen Fyreslayers.
A deafening wave of roars, growls and in-human shrieks swept across the battlefield as the Mutalith Vortex Beast was goaded by the Bloodstoker into charging the Drakesworn Templar and his Stardrake.
The Templar was wounded by a swipe from one of the Mutalith’s foul tentacles, but the Stardrake tore into the monster’s flesh in return, leaving it mewling piteously with terrible wounds all across its body.
Nearby, the Desolators had been steadily whittled down in number from successive waves of Khornate Daemons, but they were still fighting hard. A charge from more Bloodcrushers wrong-footed them, however, and instead of going for the Dracothian Guard, the daemons instead barrelled into the thin line of Liberators in front.
One Liberator immediately went down under the hooves of the Juggernauts, while the rest were dispatched quickly by Hellblades.
A raging heatwave from Ignax galvanised everyone fighting on the battlefield, just as the defenders prepared to throw their last efforts at the daemons, hoping to buy just a little more time for the Fyreslayers to crank the Great Tether and end Arcahon’s plans once and for all. The Varanguard were getting close to the Numinous Occulum though, and so the Lord-Celestant directed his Stardrake to take to the air, landing right in front of them.
Wasting no time, the Stardrake plunged into the bodyguard of the Everchosen, maw wide open. The Varanguard had no time to react, and the Stardrake had swallowed two of them whole before they realised they were under attack, the third knocked senseless by the Celestine Hammer of the Lord-Celestant.
Just a few dozens yards away, the Concussors, finally broke free of the Daemons of Nurgle and launched a charge against the Pink Horrors closing in, wiping one entire unit out in seconds.
As the wounded Battlesmith drove the last of the Daemonettes out of the Numinous Occulum, the last of the Hearthguard Berzerkers mustered their courage and charged the Bloodthirster.
Despite their bravery, the combat was terribly one-sided, and a single swipe of the daemon’s huge axe ended their lives swiftly.
Elsewhere, the weight of the battle was certainly on the side of the daemonic host, with just a few pockets of Stormcasts and Fyreslayers still fighting.
Battle Round Four
With heavy hearts, the remaining Fyreslayers put their backs into the cranking of the Great Tether, and this new burst of speed lifted the Land of the Chained Sun much closer to the Godbeast Ignax.
Raging fire from the Godbeast seared the land, burning buildings, armies and mountains with the heat of a sun. Daemons and Stormcasts evaporated while Fyreslayers simply ceased to be as the death toll across the entire Land of the Chained Sun began running into the hundreds of thousands.
The Fyreslayers surrendered their lives in the belief that their great and noble sacrifice had ended the plans of the Everchosen, but perhaps the lat of them to perish would have been dismayed to hear a great cry from Ignax as the chains binding it fell away from the force of sorcerous ritual.
Archaon had succeeded in enslaving his first Godbeast.
That was a battle full of individual heroes, great and small – from the mighty Lord-Celestant hammering the advance of the Varanguard, to the humble Greatsword-armed Liberator who smashed apart the Slaaneshi Seeker Chariots, there was plenty of glory to go round!
However, fate was on the side of the Everchosen in this battle, and now Archaon has a Godbeast.
The Story Continues…
For the moment, an ominous hush is going to fall over the Realm of Fire. Archaon has claimed one of the mighty Godbeasts and enslaved it to his will. If he can just bind one more to his forces, he may well prove unstoppable, able to take the Realmgate Wars to the halls of Azyrheim itself.
His dastardly plans will now begin to unfold in the Realm of Life, so that is where we will be travelling to next time…