Battle Report – Tornado of Destruction

The Ironjawz have shown up again, this time in the Realm of Death, where they have run straight into the realm of a Vampire Queen.

 

The Story So Far

Megaboss Dakkbad Grotkicker was in a foul mood. A rival, Megaboss Grugek, had stolen his favourite boss choppa (or, at least, he believed that, as one choppa looks pretty much like another…), and Dakkbad was in pursuit with his boyz.

Following the directions of his Weirdnob Shaman, they arrived in the Nightlands, piling out of the Arch of Secrets to find the decaying city of Crookback on the banks of the River of Souls. This was the domain of Aylessa, Consort of the Blood Queen and blood sister to Cyssandra. Not that the Ironjawz cared – they ploughed straight into Crookback and started smashing its skeletal inhabitants as they mindlessly toiled, barely slowing down as the legions of Deathrattle warriors gathered to face them.

Aylessa had spent centuries ruling over the Nightlands in a reign of blood and terror, using her sorcery to attain utter mastery of those who dwelt in her realm, mortal and otherwise. A member of one of Neferata’s bloodmaiden broods, she had been in the midst of responding to a summons from her mistress when the Ironjawz struck. Not about to let Orruks tear apart everything she had built, Alyessa reversed her course and headed back to the Nightlands, summoning all the denizens of undeath along the way – Spirit Hosts, Banshees, Cairn Waiths, Zombies and the mighty Morghast Harbingers…

 

The Forces

We are kicking things up a notch with these forces as we get more used to the Ironjawz and what they are capable of doing on the battlefield, so a few more extra rules are being thrown into the mix!

Ironjawz
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha (Dakkbad Grotkicker)
Weirdnob Shaman
Warchanter
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Ardboyz x 30 (three units of 10)

The Ironjawz will be using the Brutefist Battalion (tougher Big Boss, plus can charge early in the turn and deal mortal wounds as it does so), plus the Ardfist, which allows the recycling of Ardboys.

Soulblight Vampires
Coven Throne (Alyessa)
Necromancers x 2
Skeletons Warriors x 40 (two units of 20)
Zombies x 20
Morghast Harbingers x 4 (two units of 2)
Cairn Wraiths x 4
Spirit Hosts x 6 (two units of 3)
Tomb Banshee

This is a nice broad mix of undead, covering many bases from skeletons and zombies, right up to the elite Morghasts, all led by Vampire Lady Aylessa on board her Coven Throne. They have enough Wizards to constantly cycle destroyed units, though the Ironjawz have that to an extent as well, so expect carnage!

 

The Battleplan

The Ironjawz are invading Aylessa’s domain, vandalising her buildings as they go. If they can vandalise half of the terrain features on the table in five rounds, they gain a major victory – failure means that Alyessa does instead.

To help with the objectives of both forces, Alyessa has A Living Bulwark command ability, which adds to the save and hit rolls of all stationary undead units close to her, as well as restricting the movement of the Ironjawz.

For their part, the Weirdnob Shaman has a new spell, the Gorkamorka Stomp, which will greatly aid in the vandalism of terrain features as a big, green, spectral foot crashes down upon them!

 

Deployment

The Ironjawz wasted little time in gathering their forces. The Ardfist took the centre while the Brutefist occupied the high ground to the right. Gore-Gruntas galloped forward on the flanks, and the Megaboss, Warchanter and Weirdnob Shaman formed a command group just behind the Ardboyz.

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Vampire Queen Alyessa was a little perturbed at the speed by which the Orruks had assembled and quickly gathered her forces in the main street of the Crookback suburbs.

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Aboard her Coven Throne, just outside her skull villa, Alyessa ensured her Morghast Harbingers and Necromancers were close and sent her Skeleton Warriors and Zombies forth to meet the Ironjawz.

 

Battle Round One

The Ironjawz initial tactics were simple, direct, and to the point. Their whole line surged forward, the Weirdnob Shaman pausing just long enough to throw a Mystic Shield over Megaboss Dakkbad. Gore-Gruntas scampered up the difficult terrain to reach the first tower outside the city and began lighting torches.

Within Crookback, Alyessa peered into her cauldron to gain valuable Tactical Insights as her Necromancers dropped a Mystic Shield upon the Skeleton Warriors closest to the Ironjawz and raised more Zombies. The Zombie horde started to swell as the walking dead clawed their way out of the ground and stumbled out of the doors of nearby houses.

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Spirit Hosts shrieked as they swept forward to engage the Gore-Gruntas, but the Orruks were not much impressed by the wispy ghosts and simply ignored them as they fluttered by.

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Battle Round Two

The tower atop the hill burned as the Gore-Gruntas trashed it, grinning as they spied an entire city worth vandalising before them.

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Pumped up by the power of the Waaagh!, the Brutefist sighted their first enemies and completely ignored the city below as they all pushed their way to the Spirit Hosts.

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Not to be outdone, the Ardboyz followed suit, rushing towards the first houses of Crookback. However, they slowed up as they saw the first Zombies emerge from round the buildings, and hesitated when Megaboss Dakkbad ordered them to charge.

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Cursing the Ardboyz’ reluctance to fight, Megabass Dakkbad stamped on his Maw-Krusha’s back, goading the beast forward. He had intended to barrel into the Zombies but his Maw-Krusha was instead distracted by the Tomb Banshee shrieking at the Gore-Gruntas. Thinking one dead person was as good as another, Dakkbad gave his beast free rein and it smashed into the Banshee, its massive bulk sending her reeling. However, she recovered quickly and managed to avoid both the Megaboss’ weapons and the Maw-Krusha’s fists.

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Behind him, the Spirit Hosts let loose an exalted scream as one of the Gore-Gruntas they fought fell to their ethereal blades.

However, the Spirit Hosts had begun to suffer from the attentions of the Gore-Gruntas, and the Necromancers summoned more within Crookback.

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Mindlessly following the wishes of the queen, the Zombies stumbled forward, seeking the living. As they left the streets of Crookback, they sensed the approaching Ardboyz.

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Drawn to beating hearts and flowing blood, they picked up speed until a tidal wave of the dead fell against the Orruk line.

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The Ardboyz reacted first with a collective ‘Yuck!’ but quickly got into the spirit of the fight as they realised that knocking down Zombies was actually a lot of fun. They ignored the two Orruks the Zombies managed to pull to the ground and started to chuckle as Zombies started flying through the air with each sweep of their huge weapons. In less than a minute, every Zombie lay broken and barely moving.

On the left flank, two Morghast Harbingers led Skeleton Warriors to engage the Gore-Gruntas on the hill, stymieing the advance of the Brutefist as they thundered past the now burning tower.

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Much further away, the Tomb Banshee swooped and dove, avoiding the worst Megaboss Dakkbad and his Maw-Krusha could throw at her. Dakkbad was beginning to get angry at the elusive spirit but, no matter how hard he tried, he could not catch the Banshee.

 

Battle Round Three

Within Crookback, the two Necromancers worked together, summoning a mighty horde of Zombies to replace those the Ardboyz had destroyed. Once again, the street was thronged with the walking dead.

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On the hill, below the burning tower, the battle was turning to the Ironjawz but the dead stubbornly refused to give ground. The Brutes had finished off the Skeleton Warriors and Spirit Hosts but a single Morghast remained to slay one of the Gore-Gruntas.

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Once more, the Tomb Banshee ducked and weaved her ethereal form past the weapons of Megaboss Dakkbad, but his Maw-Krusha had had enough. Opening its great mouth, it surged forward to catch the Banshee by surprise, swallowing her whole. Looking disappointed as it tried swallowing the spirit, it lumbered round under the Megaboss’ direction to face the Zombies filling the street.

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As the Ardboyz finally arrived on the outskirts of Crookback, a great, green spectral foot hovered above the battlefield. At the behest of the Weirdnob Shaman, it descended, stomping one of the Spirit Hosts out of existence. Buoyed by this, the Ardboyz increased their pace and reached the first houses.

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As one, the Irojjawz poured into Crookback, the Ardboyz following in the wake of Megaboss Dakkbad. The remaining Spirit Hosts proved no obstacle to the Maw-Krusha at all, and it barely noticed as it barrelled through them to lumber into the newly assembled horde of Zombies.

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By the time the Ardboyz reached the Zombie line, the fight was all but over, and rotting body parts flew in all directions as the Orruks bashed and hacked. The few remaining Zombies, bereft of the magical energies holding them together, simply collapsed to the street.

The Skeleton Warriors close by had advanced to protect one of the houses, and they fared no better. More Ardboyz entered Crookback, smashing bones apart until not a single Skeleton Warrior remained.

Vampire Queen Alyessa now felt the first trace of worry as the Ironjawz entered her city, and she realised her defences were crumbling fast.

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Battle Round Four

Seeing the Orruks draw far too close for comfort, the Necromancers both panicked and ran back to the safety of their Vampire Queen, but they both fumbled the casting of their spells.

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Promising both a long and painful death, Alyessa summoned more Spirit Hosts to block the advance of the Brutefist, and then assembled her remaining minions into solid lines of defence across the street. If she could stall the Ironjawz long enough to summon more reinforcements, as the Morghasts had managed at the tower, Crookback could still be saved.

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By now, the first houses in Crookback were beginning to burn as the Ardboyz tore them apart with whoops of sheer joy. Even the tavern was destroyed, albeit inadvertently, as the Maw-Krusha thundered through its thin walls.

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In the distance, Gore-Gruntas had sighted a second tower and, seeing their Megaboss had the main street well in hand, trotted over to destroy it.

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There was now a rush to Crookback, with the trailing Ardboyz and Brutefist eager to reach the city before the other Orruks had destroyed everything. The line of Cairn Wraiths Alyessa had assemble to protect her proved no obstacle to the Megaboss and Ardboyz who ran along his side, the spirits evaporating under the first blows.

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Battle Round Five

Vampire Queen Alyessa surveyed the burning buildings further up the street, and found it inconceivable that a brutish Orruk could possibly defeat her superior tactical mind. As she summoned more Morghasts to defend her, an idea crossed her mind.

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If she dispatched one unit of Morghasts to defend the tower and then took the others with her to defeat the Megaboss atop his great Maw-Krusha, she could, perhaps, save the rest of her city.

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Alyessa barely noticed as her Necromancers, doubting the efficacy of their queen’s plan, turned and ran as fast as they could from the oncoming Ironjawz. She directed her Coven Throne to surge forward into the Maw-Krusha, intending her Morghasts to hit him in the flank.

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It took Alyessa a few, vital, seconds to realise the Morghasts had disobeyed her instructions, and she saw them watching her malevolently, utterly still, as she stood up on her Coven Throne to fight the Megaboss. Her first thought was that she had somehow disappointed Neferata, or even Nagash, and they had directed the Morghasts to fail her at a critical point as punishment.

Such thoughts quickly fled her mind as Alyessa realised she was now in the fight of her life against an enraged Ironjawz Megaboss.

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Her sharpened stiletto and the poniards of her Hand Maidens quickly found their mark, digging deep between the armour plates of the Megaboss, though Alyessa could not bring herself to give him the Blood Kiss.

The pin pricks from the vampires’ tiny weapons barely registered as pain to Megaboss Dakkbad, and his Maw-Krusha tore into the Coven Throne, throwing it aside before tearing it apart. Alyessa staggered out of the wreckage only to find the Megaboss had leapt off his mount and was swinging his Boss Gore-hacka at her. The Vampire Queen did not have time to scream before the massive blade messily severed her head from her shoulders.

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As the Necromancers fled for their lives, behind them Crookback burned…

Conclusion

A major (and well deserved) victory for the Ironjawz!

This was a fun battle, not least because we discovered some new buildings that had appeared from the local gaming club had removable roofs – which meant we could our flashing smoke markers to signify which buildings had been trashed by the Ironjawz, which led to us seeing a steady progression of fire sweeping its way up the street!

Despite the undead stalling a whole flank of the Ironjawz near the tower, the Vampire Queen could just not get the rest of her force properly organised. The high point was the summoning of a brand new unit of 30 Zombies as soon as the first lot had been destroyed (which is what a Death force should be doing), but it all went downhill from there, with both Necromancers failing in their summoning just when it mattered. This was further compounded by both units of Morghasts failing their charges right at the end, sending Alyessa in to her doom as she faced the Megaboss alone.

That was a last ditch effort, true, but it would have bought the dead another turn.

Still, ’twas not to be!

 

The Story Continues…

We are going to stick with the exploits of the Ironjawz for a bit longer as the Fist of Gork himself, Gordrakk, has just arrived and he is determined to prove to the Stormcasts who is best.

Battle Report – The Wild Hunt

A fairly momentous battle this time – Alarielle the Everqueen has awoken, and she is most vexed by Bloodbound incursions into the Jade Kingdoms. She is therefore taking a trip to the Realm of Fire to sort them out.

 

The Story So Far

When Alarielle was rebirthed, she was not idle – everywhere, the forces of Chaos pushed against her lands and her children, and everywhere she took vengeance upon them.

When the Hellhaze Realmgate atop the Godskull Mesa burst into life, it took the Khorne worshippers camped there by surprise, to say the least. They had often used the Realmgate to conduct raids into the Realm of Life, but no one had ever followed them back to Aqshy – until now.

Alarielle came out of the Realmgate first astride her massive Wardroth beetle, but she was quickly followed by waves of Sylvaneth as they spread out across a fiery landscape of thundering volcanoes and towering brass fortresses.

The Khornate horde rallied quickly to face the Sylvaneth – knights, warriors, and daemons flooded out of the Dreadholds to face them. Alarielle was not dismayed in the least.

She was smiling.

 

The Forces

Up to now, we have always played the Sylvaneth as being on the back foot but, this time, we are unleashing their full power, spearheaded by none other than their own goddess. We just have to hope the forces of Khorne have something to match her…

Khorne Bloodbound
Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage
Slaughterpriest x 2
Skullgrinder
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Bloodreavers x 20
Chaos Warriors x 12
Bloodletters x 40 (two units of 20)
Skull Cannon

This is not your average warband of Bloodbound by any means – the Lord has managed to rally the support of two Bloodthirsters to his cause, and enjoys the presence of two Slaughterpriests and a Skullgrinder. Up to now, they have been ready to face whatever they happened across in Aqshy or Ghyran.

Sylvaneth
Alarielle the Everqueen (Throne of Vines)
Treelord Ancient (Regrowth)
Branchwych (The Reaping)
Branchwraith (Verdant Blessing)
Drycha Hammadreth (Verdant Blessing)
Treelords x 2
Son of Durthu
Kurnoth Hunters x 11 (two units of 3, one unit of 5)
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)
Spite-Revenants x 10
Tree-Revenants x 20 (two units of 10)

Clearly, Alarielle is not mucking about, as she has brought her best and brightest with her. The Sylvaneth have assembled themselves into three Battalions, the Household and Forest Folk, both of which we have seen before, as well as the Free Spirits which allows the Son of Durthu and Kurnoth Hunters a free move in the hero phase, so long as it is towards a designated enemy or terrain feature.

As this battle represents Alarielle unleashed, as it were, we thought it would be both fun and appropriate to add the Sylvaneth Allegiance Abilities to the game.

 

The Battleplan

In this battle, the table is divided into six sections forming 12″ ‘strips’ across the long edges. The Sylvaneth’s territory comprises the first of these strips and increases to the next one so long as there are no enemy models within it (models within 3″ of a Sylvaneth unit do not count as they have already been overrun. If the Sylvaneth can push their territory right across the table by the end of the fifth round, they get a major victory.

If they do not achieve this, the Khorne force either has to wipe out the Sylvaneth to gain a major victory, or a minor victory will be determined (somewhat randomly) based upon how many territories the Sylvaneth did manage to claim.

Alarielle has a command ability that can force enemy units to flee out of a territory, while the Khorne general has an ability to stop them doing that. In addition, any Khorne model in Sylvaneth territory has its Bravery reduced, while Sylvaneth Wyldwoods will pop up throughout the battle as the force of life makes itself felt.

On top of all that, we will be using the Brimstone Peninsula Time of War sheet (minus Blood Geysers) to represent conditions in the Realm of Fire.

Deployment

The forces of Khorne had been caught off guard by the sudden appearance of a bunch of angry foliage, but were disciplined enough to begin forming battle lines. However, they remained on the back foot and only half of their forces were ready to take the full impact of the Sylvaneth.

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Alarielle was keen to bring the wrath of the Sylvaneth to the enemies who had plagued them for so long, and her forces came flooding out of the Realmgate. Tree-Revenants equipped with Waypipes took station on the far flanks, ready to leap forward to distract the Khorne defenders in their rear lines, while Drycha and her Spite-Revenants were instructed to remain far from the main body of the army. Alarielle and her Tree Lords occupied the centre, forming a solid block that she intended to roll over the defenders.

 

Battle Round One

With a keening cry, Alarielle gave the order to advance, her Wardroth Beetle stomping at the ground in eagerness to reach its enemies. Mystic Shields flowed like vines to cover Alarielle and the Spirit of Durthu as Drycha summoned trees that quickly grew out of the ground between her and a horde of Bloodletters.

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As one, the Sylvaneth surged forward, with Alarielle leading the way. Kurnoth Hunters supported the advance, launching huge arrows from their mighty blows into the first Bloodthirster that led the vanguard of the Khorne force, the missiles lodging deep into its thick skin.

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Another horde of Bloodletters scampered at the greater daemon’s feet, and Alarielle glanced contemptuously at them. As the Spirit of Durthu channelled his own life force into his sword, unleashing a mighty blast of living energy into their ranks, Alarielle hurled the Spear of Kurnoth at them. Bodies of more than a dozen Bloodletters spiralled high into the air as explosions erupted around them.

Behind the Sylvaneth attack, the Tree-Revenants used their Waypipes to access the Realmroots, using the shadowy path to emerge near the Dreadholds of Khorne. Their arrival had not gone unnoticed though, and already Blood Warriors and Skullcrushers were turning to face them – exactly the distraction Alarielle had intended…

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Her Wardoth Beetle carrying her far ahead of the rest of the Sylvaneth, Alarielle alone was in position to begin the attack in earnest. With no hesitation, the Goddess threw herself at the greatest threat in the Khorne front line – the Bloodthirster.

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Hapless Bloodreavers were inadvertently caught in the charge of the Wardoth, and five of their number were crushed under its heavy front feet. However, Alarielle’s attention was fixed firmly on the Bloodthirster. The great daemon thundered and roared, its great axe skidding harmlessly off the Wardroth’s thick carapace, even as the beetle’s massive antlers thrust forward to gore the Bloodthirster’s stomach. With Bloodreavers caught between the two battling giants, the fight went back and forth until, finally, Alarielle reached forward with the Talon of Dwindling and snatched the unholy life of the daemon.

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Behind her, the Sylvaneth hissed in victory, as the first greater daemon had been dispatched within seconds of the battle beginning, and vegetation blossomed in the wake of their Goddess.

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Bloodreavers threw themselves at Alarielle in a desperate bid to gain the attention of the Blood God, and the rest of their front line advanced to meet the Sylvaneth head on. Behind them, the Mighty Lord of Khorne turned his Juggernaut around, having spied the Tree-Revenants who had appeared near the Dreadholds. He was followed by his Skullcrushers and, on the other flank, Blood Warriors followed suit while others garrisoned a Skull Keep. Not wanting to be outdone, the Slaughterpriest within the Crucible called upon the power of the Blood God, boiling the sap within one Tree-Revenant before it could run.

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With a blast of the Skullcrusher’s horn, the Juggernauts accelerated into an unstoppable charge. Half a dozen Tree-Revenants were flattened by the initial rush alone and while one Skullcrusher was badly wounded by their blades, the Sylvaneth were quickly wiped out. On the other flank, the Blood Warriors repeated the carnage with the Tree-Revenants they had caught as well.

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As Bloodreavers fought and died fighting Alarielle, the daemonic forces of Khorne raced towards the Sylvaneth, with Bloodletters leading the way. However, Alarielle’s attention was fixed firmly upon the second Bloodthirster which raced towards, bellowing a martial challenge. Its whip flashed forward but its barbs did nothing more than scour the Wardroth’s antlers.

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Such was the fury of its attack, Alarielle was forced to give ground while parrying axe and whip. The Bloodreavers took advantage of the distraction and hacked at the Wardroth with their Meatripper Axes, causing the beast to roar in pain.

Bloodletters raced through the woods Drycha had summoned, quickly finding the Spite-Revenants skulking in their shadows, and dispatching them with daemonic efficiency. Close by, Chaos Warriors routed an entire retinue of Dryads but Blood Warriors on the far flank soon found they had picked the wrong target when they charged a small unit of Kurnoth Hunters. Great scythes swung, easily slicing through thick armour and butchering the Khorne worshippers before they could properly organise their attack. The few that remained ran for their corrupted lives.

 

Battle Round Two

Advancing alongside the Kurnoth Hunters, the Branchwraith called upon the power of Alarielle for a Verdant Blessing, and more trees sprang into existence, this time next to an Ophidian Archway to help shield the advancing Sylvaneth.

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Having absorbed the initial attacks of the Bloodletters, the remaining Forest Folk disappeared in view, following the Realmroots to reappear in this new wood. They had simply bypassed the first Khornate wave and were now in a defensive position, ready to meet the second – Blood Warriors who had moved out of position to chase down the Tree-Revenants. Knowing that Dryads would pay a heavy price in facing Blood Warriors alone, the scythe-wielding Kurnoth Hunters ran forward to support them.

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As the Bloodthirster paused in its assault, seeking a way through the Wardoth’s defences, Alarielle bloomed with life, healing the wounds she had taken, and then reached into her Soul Amphorae to scatter pollen across the battlefield. Everywhere, Sylvaneth rallied and healed as the tiny grains floated past them.

The Spirit of Durthu pounded forwards to aid his Goddess, shimmering with the effects of the Mystic Shield the Treelord Ancient had placed upon him. Drycha, having seen her Spite-Revenants torn apart by the Bloodletters in front of her, also shimmered with magical defences as she prepared her own special form of vengeance.

Behind the Sylvaneth, life blossomed in a wave of vegetation and animal life, but the advance of Alarielle’s blessings were stalled by the nearest Skull Keep and the Slaughterpriest inside who enacted hideous rituals to keep the power of Khorne flowing across the land. Kurnoth Hunters tried to target the Slaughterpriest from across the battlefield, but even the great Spear of Kurnoth, thrown by Alarielle’s own hand, bounced off the thick walls of the keep.

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With a piercing scream, Drycha raised her arms and swarms of Flitterflies flew into the air, descending upon everything that moved. Six Bloodreavers and a Chaos Warrior were torn apart by the tiny spites, but Drycha’s fury could never stop with the blood of Khorne worshippers alone, and the Flitterflies tore great chunks out of Treekin and Kurnoth Hunters before they dispersed.

In the centre of the battlefield, the Spirit of Durthu and a Treelord had joined Alarielle in her fight against the Bloodthirster, and the ground shook as three titans of battle brought war against one another.

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The few remaining Bloodreavers were the first to suffer, stomped into the ground by the battling giants. The last of them fled the battle, leaving his unit’s standard battered and broken upon the rocks. Close by, the Spirit of Durthu casually squashed the Skullgrinder who had thought to lay low a Goddess.

Alarielle allowed her anger to flow freely now and, with a single order, goaded her Wardroth onwards. The mighty beast piled ahead, bullrushing the Bloodthirster and knocking it to the ground. Before the daemon could arise once more, the Wardoth plunged its antlers into the Bloodthirster’s black heart, sending it back to Khorne.

A short distance away, the Khorne Lord felt the first inkling of doubt cross his mind as he saw the last Bloodthirster bound to his service banished by the power of the Goddess.

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Undaunted by the advance of the Sylvaneth, the two Slaughterpriests combined their prayers, promising many worthy skulls to the Blood God if he would but aid them now. Khorne smiled upon their belief and the Spirit of Durthu was caught in the grip of the Blood God, sinking to one knee as his sap boiled with pure fury.

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As the Spirit of Durthu rose to rejoin the battle, the Crucible of Khorne unleashed a torrent of molten metal at him, incinerating his trunk. Blackened and still aflame, the Spirit of Durthu showed no hesitation in continuing his advance.

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However, Khorne was not yet done. The Skull Cannon clattered forward, its Bloodletter crew cackling as they sighted the Spirit of Durthu down their long barrel. With a blast of black powder and blood, fiery skulls rocketed through the air to impact the Spirit of Durthu in the chest. The great Treelord rocked back on his feet, then fell to the ground, never to move again.

Bellowing frantic orders, the Lord of Khorne reorganised his Skullcrushers, and returned to the battle. Across the battlefield, Blood Warriors advanced to the Dryads who had taken cover in the new growing trees, but only a small splinter unit actually reached the Sylvaneth. Several Dryads fell to their axes but their line held.

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Battle Round Three

Directing his great Tendril Staff, theTreelord Ancient awakened the wood the Forest Folk were fighting in, and branches impaled a Blood Warrior before he realised not everything he was battling was a Dryad.

Meanwhile, Alarielle cast a Metamorphosis spell upon the Slaughterpriest within the nearest Skull Keep, and the devout man died screaming as branches and leaves forced their way through his skin. With his foul rites at an end, the force of life flourished, and the Skull Keep began to sprout vines across its black metal walls. For good measure, Alarielle hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Skullcrushers who were assembling in front of her before raising the Spear of Kurnoth high to urge the Sylvaneth forwards.

The Branchwraith brought more trees into existence, close to the Crucible, and the Dryads moved forward under their branches, keeping pace with their Goddess.

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Behind Alarielle, Kurnoth Hunters dispatched the last of the Blood Warriors, even as Drycha tore apart the last of the Bloodletters.

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However, both had been delayed too long by their enemies and were now far away from Alarielle, who now surged forward to smash into the Skullcrushers before their Juggernauts could build up enough speed.

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The Wardroth Beetle possessed far more momentum than even a Juggernaut at full tilt, and three Skull Crushers were gored by its great antlers.

The great guns of the Crucible angled slightly in their mounts, one coming to bear upon Alarielle herself. She sensed the build up of magical energies as the Crucible unleashed an Arcane Onslaught upon her. Raising the Spear of Kurnos, Alarielle absorbed most of the energy from the attack, with just a single gout of liquid metal splashing against the carapace of her Wardoth. Then, the Lord of Khorne charged into the fight, astride his Juggernaut.

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Blindsided by the charge, the Wardroth was knocked a few steps to the right under the impact of the Juggernaut, but then held firm. Alarielle looked down upon the Lord of Khorne with a cold contempt.

 

 

Battle Round Four

With the forces of Khorne on the verge of collapsing, the Sylvaneth advanced under the shadow of their Goddess and the trees that were springing up in her wake, rising miraculously from blasted, volcanic rock.

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Alarielle once again reached into her Soul Amphorae and scattered pollen across the battlefield. This time, the tiny grains coalesced into four Tree-Revenants who dutifully took up position on Alarielle’s flank to guard against the oncoming Skull Cannon.

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However, a Treelord, leading Kurnoth Hunters and Dryads, got there first. The Bloodletter crew were quick to react and they turned the Skull Cannon around to attack the Dryads. The daemonic machine opened its maw and swallowed one whole, before belching its flaming head at Alarielle. Raising their greatswords, the Kurnoth Hunters wrecked the Skull Cannon with two heavy strokes.

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The Mighty Lord of Khorne continued his duel with Alarielle but soon realised that, alone, he could not hope to face the wrath of an angry Goddess. His massive axe did little more scratch the huge Wardroth, while its antlers nearly tore him off his saddle.

Realising he needed to regroup his forces before he could laucnh a successful attack, he gave an order to the hornblower among the few surviving Skullcrushers. As one, the Juggernauts turned and galloped away from Alarielle.

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Battle Round Five

Seeing his Lord flee from battle, the Slaughterpriest within the Crucible cursed the blatant cowardice and knew there would be a reckoning after the battle – there was no way the Lord could lead a warband after that rout, and perhaps now was the time for the Slaughterpriest to take command.

Invoking the power of Khorne, the Slaughterpriest called upon the Blood God’s aid as he activated the Crucible. Molten metal spouted from its guns and, once again, Alarielle raised her spear to block its path. This time, however, the fury of Khorne was behind the torrent and even a Goddess could not stop it all. Her Wardroth hissed in pain as boiling metal sank into its carapace.

As he saw the Wardoth falter in its advance, the Slaughterpriest saw how he could defeat a Goddess. Enacting his most vile rites, he sought to boil the blood of not Alarielle, but her mount. Under the heat of Khorne’s gaze, the Wardroth burst into a million tiny spites, forcing Alarielle  to take to the air and withdraw from the battlefield.

As the last Skullcrushers were hacked apart by the Kurnoth Hunters, the Treelord extended its roots and strangled the Slaughterpriest for the insult he had offered to Alarielle.

Now, just the Mighty Lord of Khorne remained on the battlefield.

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As he saw the angry Sylvaneth advance beneath the eyes of their Goddess who floated high in the sky above them, the Lord of Khorne realised his warband had been utterly destroyed. Turning his Juggernaut, he fled the battlefield as fast as he could.

The Sylvaneth were triumphant.

 

Conclusion

Now, that was a fun battle!

In the end, it was a minor victory for the Sylvaneth, as they only managed to capture four sections in all (that Slaughterpriest in the first Skull Keep seriously held up the advance of their territory), and only a reasonably lucky dice roll in the end meant they managed to win.

That said, while we have been playing with Sylvaneth almost since Age of Sigmar came out, this was the first time we saw them work as a truly potent force. This was in part down to Alarielle (she is lethal, and I am not surprised we have seen her start to appear in tournament lists, despite her points cost), but also because of the Allegiance Abilities and, in particular, the wider range of spells. The Verdant Blessing that allows trees to spring up over the battlefield allows for the effective leapfrogging of units and allowed (for the very first time, despite having taken the Battalion many, many times in the past) the Dryads to do something useful by using the Forest Folk ability to redeploy (and avoid certain death at the hands of those Bloodletters!).

It was a shame that Alarielle was driven from the battlefield in the final act, but she had been a real power house before that point – killing two Bloodthirsters, one after the other! Had the Treelord Ancient (or Captain Useless, as we have started calling him) managed to keep up with her, his Regrowth spell might have kept her going but then… you can never trust a Treelord Ancient…

 

The Story Continues…

In the next battle, we are going back to the Ironjawz, this time visiting the Realm of Death where a Vampire Queen has inadvertently placed herself between the Orruks and where they intend to go.

Last of the Beastclaws

The final nail was put into the coffin of the Christmas Project this week (only a few days late)… the last three models for the Beastclaw Raiders.

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Two more Stonehorns and another Thundertusk!

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The sad thing here is that I now have almost as many Stonehorns/Thundertusks as Mournfangs, which is probably not quite the right ‘balance’ for your typical Beastclaw Raider tribe. In my defence, this has come about purely for the storyline requirements of campaign games, not a Matched Play ploy.

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Still, I can now call the Beastclaws ‘finished’ until and unless they make a full appearance in the Realmgate Wars campaign (I am guessing that will be quite some time, if it happens).

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The next project is adding to the Everchosen’s horde of Chaos Warriors (unaligned guys), but I will be taking some time out to put together some non-campaign-related Forge World models that I have had lying around for a year or so now. Looking forward to that!

Review – Battletome: Disciples of Tzeentch

I managed to snaggle myself an early copy of the latest Battletome for Age of Sigmar this week, and have been busy ploughing through it. Covering all things Tzeentch, and at the vanguard of a wave of miniatures releases that have been gaining a lot of attention, this is one of the most awaited books for the game yet.

So, we must ask ourselves the question… is it any good?

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Weighing in at 136 pages, Disciples of Tzeentch is a £20 hardback, in keeping with GW’s recent policy of low(er) cost books.

One change, however, is that it does not cover a single faction, as with previous Battletomes, but now covers all Tzeentch-based forces – Daemons of Tzeentch, the new Tzeentch Arcanites, and even the likes of Slaves to Darkness who take the Tzeentch keyword. Basically, if Tzeentch is your thing, this is the book for you.

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The book starts off with a basic overview of who Tzeentch is, and what he is up to. With regards to the main storyline, you rather get the feeling the Tzeentch forces are going to be a Big Deal in the next round of campaign books (as Khorne and Nurgle were in the Realmgate Wars), and there is a steady progression through the first part of this book about the Changer of Ways having waited as he enacted all his various schemes to claim ascendancy among the other Chaos Powers (particularly over Nurgle, as the old rivalry is well highlighted in this book).

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As well as the familiar daemons, a fair amount of weight is given to the Arcanite Cults. While they have sort of been around since Grand Alliance: Chaos came out, it is only with the release of the new Kairic Acolytes and Tzaangors (the latter going on pre-order next week!) that the mortal followers of Tzeentch have been given any real focus beyond the Slaves to Darkness in the Realmgate Wars.

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The basic idea here is that the many, many cults of Tzeentch have sequestered themselves in all the major cities of the Mortal Realms (not just Sigmar’s – the cities of the Chaos Powers have them too, especially, once again, Nurgle), and are now just starting to make their moves, casting off their disguises and taking over.

There is an ever-so-slight shade of 40k Genestealer Cults here, keeping in hiding as they grow and expand their influence, before finally engaging in a massive uprising to topple those in power.

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The next section of the book, Servants of Change, takes a traditional approach to reviewing the background of every unit in Tzeentch forces (as opposed to the formation approach used in Beastclaw Raiders and Bonesplitterz). There is nothing massively new here (a Pink Horror will always be a Pink Horror), but the new Lord of Change is front and centre, with Kairos Fateweaver waiting in the wings.

All the usual suspects are here, including the Changeling (new model coming!) and the Blue Scribes, all integrated into the current Age of Sigmar source material. Added to that, there are some ‘new’ daemons, in the form of Blue Horrors and Brimstone Horrors who, as veterans of Warhammer (and the Silver Tower) will know, appear when Pink Horrors are slain. More on that a bit later…

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The mortals of the Arcanites follow, starting with Tzaangor Shamans (who, among many other things, like to track down Chaos monsters – the Mutalith is mentioned here, which fits in well with a Tzeentch army) and the Ogroid Thaumaturge. One small negative here is that the Ogroid has been kept mysterious, as there is no hint of what they are and where they actually come from. Fitting enough for a Tzeentch follower though.

Gaunt Summoners will be familiar to all Age of Sigmar players, and the Magisters (the leader of most Arcanite cults) is what used to be called a Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch. Hot on his heels are the Fatemaster (used to be Lord of Tzeentch on Disc of Tzeentch – Fatemaster is less of a mouthful) and the Curselings, who are now ‘standard’ heroes rather than a single special character.  They are now formidable warriors who also act as inquisitors and lie-seekers within cults.

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The ‘hobby section’comes next. I won’t dwell on this too much, but feast your eyes on some of the new models, including the Changeling, and Blue and Brimstone Horrors.

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The rest of the book, from page 72 onwards, are full of rules, making this the most rules-concentrated Battletome yet.

In one respect, this is to be expected, as the book has to cover two (and effectively three) armies, and efforts are made to keep them distinct (as opposed to separate).

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First up are the Allegiance Abilities. All Tzeentch armies have the same Battle Trait, namely the Masters of Destiny, which allows the rolling of Destiny Dice at the start of a game, which can then be substituted for dice rolls throughout the battle. This alone makes Tzeentch armies very, very powerful, as just a modicum of restraint will mean a Tzeentch player will always be able to make that one critical charge roll, spell casting, or Battleshock test. Anyone who has played with the Celestant-Prime will know how good that can be – and the Tzeentch version is better.

Every other Allegiance Ability is broken down between the different Tzeentchian factions. For example, Command Traits are divided between Arcanites, Daemons, and Mortals, selected depending on which keywords your general has. The same applies to artefacts and spells, the latter sporting two new Lores; the Lore of Fate (for Arcanites and Mortals) and the Lore of Change (for daemons).

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Regular visitors to this page will know that of everything in new Battletomes, it is the added Battleplans I like the most, integrating them into our long-running Realmgate Wars campaign.

Well, this Battletome has two Battleplans… but no storyline behind them. Just two pages each (I am sure this was done for space considerations, but I am hoping it is not a new policy, as I really enjoyed those background pieces), demonstrating ‘typical’ battles daemons and Arcanites (respectively) might engage in.

Yes, I could (and will) write my own background to these battles, but… I liked the way each built upon the Age of Sigmar background, adding just a little extra weight to it each time.

Narrative Play is supported by the introduction of Warband tables for Path to Glory campaigns… which is nice, glad to see them. But, frankly, I am still quietly fuming about those Battleplans.

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The next just-under-40-odd pages are taken up with Warscrolls, both for Battalions and single units.

And it is here that the full weight of Tzeentch forces begins to make itself apparent.

If anyone has played against a Tzeentch daemon force under Narrative Play without summoning restrictions (yeah, I know I have lost most of you at this point), they will know that Tzeentch fields a real brute of a force. With even Pink Horrors able to summon (and then chain-summon), it becomes a game of whack-a-mole as you hunt down any unit that even has a whiff of the Wizard keyword.

Well..’ it just got a lot tougher. First off, the summoning has not been reduced in the slightest and, in fact, with the likes of the new Lord of Change, it has gotten a lot deadlier. Add to that, Pink Horrors now split into Blue Horrors and then Brimstone Horrors. So, you can wipe out that unit of 10 Pink Horrors in a single turn, great – you are now facing 20 Blue Horrors. Kill them, and you still have 20 Brimstone Horrors to deal with.

Now look at the Multitudinous Host in the picture above. It adds (not heals or replaces) D6 Pink or Blue Horrors to every unit in every round. Even Brimstone Horrors get D3 new models. Every. Round.

You will find that while this is happening, Arcanites are cheerfully turning your models into more Tzaangors, making Tzeentch forces possibly the most durable in the game under Narrative/Open Play, possibly even more resilient than your typical Nurgle army.

Under Matched Play… well, you will have less to worry about (though the sheer amount of magic this force has, along with the Destiny Dice, makes it a serious contender – expect to see Tzeentch forces at the GTs this year). However, if that is the only way you play, I think it might be a shame that you will never get to see Tzeentch Unleashed, as it were.

Personally, I am looking forward to defending a Sigmar city against that force!

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After the Warscrolls comes the 4 page ruleset, as per normal – but it is not the last thing in this book.

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All the Pitched Battle Profiles are included for all Tzeentch forces (the single Slaves to Darkness entry is for a Tzeentch Chaos Spawn – no different to vanilla ones aside from keyword – included among the other Warscrolls). So, you have all your Battlefield Riles and points costs from the get go.

 

Conclusion

Well, it is a good book. Tzeentch forces are now definitely born again hard, even with summoning toned down by Matched Play. And the new models are gorgeous.

As for this ‘new style’ of Battletome… please, please, please GW, make it be that those shortened Battleplans appeared because lack of space, not because of lack of interest in the story elements of Age of Sigmar. I promise I will paint up all the models needed!

The Ground Shakes…

I haven’t been posting much thus far this year – lots of things happening right now, mainly with work, plus I got a little stalled on the painting, and we haven’t really got back into the swing of things with the Realmgate Wars campaign yet. But, all that is to change!

I have managed to snaggle an early copy of the new Tzeentch Battletome, which I will try to do a review of tomorrow, and we have our first Realmgate Wars battle coming up too (Alarielle is making her first appearance!). Plus, I managed to (finally) finish off the Gutbuster Ogors I had pegged for the Christmas Project.

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Not a full tribe as such, but enough for the single campaign battle they appear in thus far (from Battletome: Khorne Bloodbound, so quite an old one!). You will also notice they have no leader as such, as in the battle they are being led by Thundertusk Beastriders.

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A solid unit of 13 Ogors form the core of this little force, and they really are dead easy to paint (really should not have taken me as long as it did…). Do the skin, do their trousers, do the metal bits… and that is an Ogor 90% complete! A few detailing bits on bone and wood, and you are all sorted.

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I also added some ‘elites’ in the form of eight Ironguts, and I know from experience just how nasty these guys can be when they get into battle. Eight might be overkill in most circumstances, but given how small this force is, I think they will probably work well!

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Ranged attacks are always useful, so Leadbelchers make an appearance. The flames on their lighters make for a nice touch, I Thought, nicely picked out from the drab colours I stuck to for the rest of the force. And if they are not enough for ranged support…

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… an Ironblaster should do the trick!

I have another Ironblaster tucked away, and I could really use some characters in this force (especially a Tyrant), but I think I will leave those aside for now, until the Gutbusters make a proper entrance into the campaign, rather than just a little side battle. As it is, they are going to make a healthy addition to the growing forces of Destruction.

On the painting table right now is the last of the Christmas Project models, two Stonehorns and a Thundertusk that are pretty much complete (will certainly be polished off over the weekend). After that, I have some unaligned Chaos Warriors to attend to (one unit of Warriors, one of Knights, a Lord on Daemonic Steed, and a War Shrine) to bulk out the army of the Everchosen.

Beyond those… well, I have a choice. I have a couple of Beastman bits and pieces ready to go (a Tuskgor Chariot and some Centigors), there are the new Tzeentch models on the way… or perhaps I will have a little break and delve into some Blood Bowl…

Christmas Project – The Results

First, the latest minis – last week, I finished the cavalry division of the Khorne Bloodbound, comprising Skullcrushers, Knights and a Chariot.

Oh, and another milestone passed… One of these models is my 2000th (!) painted for Age of Sigmar since it came out in 2015. No idea which model was the 2000th. Let’s call it the chariot.

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I was fairly afearing about how long these would take to do but, in the end, they took up only two and a half days. I thought I might get bogged down with the Skullcrushers but once the Juggernauts themselves were done, the riders were quickly dealt with.

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The Chaos Knights took a little longer, but only because there were ten of them being tackled at the same time. Came out quite nicely though.

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Finally, the Gorebeast Chariot (the 2000th model!). The chieftain riding in it is actually from the Chaos Warrior range from way, way back.

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I picked it up on eBay as this was one of the first miniatures I ever owned, but its size does not really let it compete as a Hero these days, and the styling is too different from regular Chaos Warriors. However, I think he looks just right riding a chariot!

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So, how well did I do with the Christmas Project over all?

I failed!

To be fair, I did well, and I was not over confident going into it. I have managed to net 40 Bonesplitterz, 24 Boarboayz, 10 Tree-Revenants, 4 (4!) Thundertusks/Stonehorns, 8 Mournfang Cavalry, 6 Yhetees, 6 Frost Sabres and a Hunter.

Can’t really call that bad going!

I can also say that the last items on the Christmas Project list (30-odd Gutbuster Ogors, an Ironblaster, and another 3 Thundertusks/Stonehorns) are on the painting table right now, and I have already built/prepped the next batch (more Chaos Warriors & Knights, along with a Warshrine for the Everchosen horde).

Now, I really should have finished the Ogors, but in the last weekend of the Christmas break I got a little distracted by Blood Bowl II on the XBox One, as I had just discovered the Nurgle team (which is just hilarious in play, much more so than those serious Wood Elves).

Did get me thinking that perhaps after the Chaos Warriors I could take a little break from Age of Sigmar and get the new Blood Bowl miniatures done.

But I have just seen the new Lord of Change…

The Alfrostun Grows (with some trees)

The Christmas Project continues and it is… going okay, I guess. I have lost a couple of days from the original plan, and doing everything planned is looking… tight. Still, progress is being made and if I can get the current lot on the painting table done over the next few days (a whole bunch of Khornate cavalry), I might still be on track.

Yesterday, however, I managed to polish off three great big Stonehorns for the Beastclaw Raiders, making this army look a lot more convincing.

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I a getting used to this model now, so they were a bit faster than the single Thundertusk I did last week. Got two more Stonehorns to do in order to ‘finish’ the Beastclaw Raiders, along with another Thundertusk, but I am having a little break before I tackle them, putting them at the end of the Christmas Project line.

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The really important model here is the Frostlord, as leader of the whole army, and suitably imposing he looks too.

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Along with a Huskard, to lead those battles that do not quite need the big boss coming along (this guy will also lead other Destruction armies, such as a bunch of Gutbuster Ogors that are on the way).

You will notice the Ice Vulture on his wrist – I decided to stick with the snowy theme for this bird, using the same scheme as the Frost Sabres and Stonehorn itself, just adding a dark blue beak.

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Some Beastriders were added too – funny to think that, alongside the Mournfang cavalry I did last week, these guys are the ‘basic’ troops of this army…

Finally, I polished off the extra Tree-Revenants I had been promising myself, making my Sylvaneth army look a little less dominated by Dryads.

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So, what is left?

Well, on the painting table right now I have ten Khornate Chaos Knights, six Skullcrushers, and a Gorebeast Chariot (also for Khorne). They all have their base colours done now, but I had to pop into work today so I am losing some time there. Really need to crack on with those and get them finished tomorrow because…

… if I stick with the Christmas Project schedule, I have a whole Gutbuster army to do, along with three more Stonehorns/Thundertusks and if I stick with original schedule, they get done somewhere in the middle of next week. Which is not too good.

So, I have started to wonder whether I should not just have a ‘mega-batch’ of models painted at once, and get the Beastclaw Raiders done at the same time as the other Ogors.

Will it work? You’ll find out in the next update, likely next week!