The forces of Chaos guarding the Mawgate may have made a bit of a faux pas, as they have provoked the Ironjawz in the area – and Orruks are always up for a bash.
The Story So Far
The Stormcasts arrived in force around the Deffgorge, ready to begin their assault upon the Mawgate and wrest it from the Chaos hordes defending it. Mighty battles between the forces of Chaos and Sigmar erupted around the Crawlerforts surrounding the Mawgate as the fate of the Mortal Realms continued to be decided.
But the Ironjawz did not care.
The Orruks had been driven into the shadow of the gigadroth skeleton that lay nearby but now the Stormcasts arrived, the Lords of Chaos concentrated their attacks upon Sigmar’s followers – the Ironjawz were now free to resume their assault upon the Crawlerforts. They struck the forces of Khorne first, and the madness of the Blood God seeped into their tiny brains, driving them to ever greater levels of frenzy.
The Bloodtoof warclan gave Doggrok’s Choppas a good shoeing for running away earlier, the Fists of Drakka tried to ‘sort out’ who their new Megaboss was going to be, while the Ironsunz simply duffed up anyone who looked like could use a good beating.
The Stormcast attack on the Crawlerforts had ground to a halt as the forces of Chaos strengthened and then repelled them. However, the storm of Sigmar that had raged over the Mawgate and heralded the coming of the Stormcasts began to change. Great, green, leering faces appeared in the clouds, while thunderheads the shape of massive fists rolled overhead. Neither Chaos Lord nor Stormcast knew what this meant.
But the Ironjawz were sure. As one, and with bellows of Waaagh!, the Ironjawz surged forward to the Crawlerforts. The first one in their path was the Flayed Fort, commanded by the Slaaneshi Daemon Prince Synlesha, who had mustered a combined force of Slaaneshi and Khorne followers, along with a Tzeentchian Sorcerer.
The Ironjawz struck the walls of the Flayed Fort like a hammer…
This is an interesting battle, as it sees a rare combination of Khorne and Slaaneshi followers. These two normally hate one another with a passion, but when you have a bunch of Ironjawz coming your way the finer points of a religious dispute give way to a common goal!
Blood Warriors x 10
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Daemon Prince of Slaanesh (Synlesha)
Sorcerer Lord of Slaanesh
Daemonettes of Slaanesh x 10
Chaos Warriors x 20 (two units of 10)
The defenders have mostly mortal units, but there is the odd daemon present, from the Daemonettes and Skull Cannon, to the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. The Ironjawz may be a little surprised by the Chaos army actually having a shooting attack (the Skull Cannon), but it remains to be seen whether this will slow them down any.
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Ardboyz x 40 (two units of 20)
Aside from the Maw-Krusha, the main strength of this Ironjawz force may be, funnily enough, the Ardboyz. There are quite a few of them in this army though thick walls are always a troublesome obstacle…
This is a straight assault upon a fortress (actually a Magebane Wall, which will be disconcerting for the Weirdnob Shaman). To win, the Ironjawz must wipe out the defenders, though the battle will end if the forces of Chaos can wipe out two thirds of the Orruks before that happens.
The Ironjawz have a choice – either attack immediately (meaning the battle will last for five rounds), or conduct a special siege phase first (which will result in the battle lasting four rounds). If they choose to conduct the siege, they must choose whether they want to Starev the defenders, Batter the walls, or Undermine. The Chaos defenders in turn choose to Gather Supplies, Rebuild the fortress, or Counter-Mine.
These choices are then cross-referenced on a special matrix to determine the results – this could lead to the Ironjawz popping up in the courtyard, breaching the walls, or suffering mortal wounds before the battle starts!
The forces of Chaos were busy inside the Flayed Fort, shoring up the walls and making certain their defences were strong as the Sorcerers of Slaanesh and Tzeentch double checked the wards that ran along the length of the Dreadhold. However, the Ironjawz were content to wait the defenders out, and instead harried the few units delegated to forage for supplies from nearby forts. This caused a great deal of hardship within the Flayed Fort as the Slaaneshi and Khorne warriors began to prey upon one another.
However, as soon as the Ironjawz warband appeared, the combined Slaaneshi and Khorne forces rallied to the walls, desperate to put forward a strong appearance to stall the Orruk advance.
The Megaboss’ plan was simple. The Ardboys would run straight at the two gates, using their overwhelming weight to force them open, allowing the Brutes and Gore-Gruntas to rampage inside.
Battle Round One
Bellowing at the top of his lungs, the Megaboss urged his Orruks forward, and they broke into a run to reach the Dreadhold as quickly as possible.
The walls were steep though, and only the Gore-hacka armed Gore-Gruntas had the reach to skewer the defenders high up on the ramparts.
As the Ironjawz approached, the gargoyles either side of the gates screamed terrible curses, but the Brutes and Ardboys were completely unphased by the empty threats.
Standing atop the centre wall section, the Magister made a Defiant Proclamation, infuriating the gore-Gruntas but the Orruks could not reach the Tzeentch wizard just yet.
High up in his Skull Keep, the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh invoked the power of the Dreadhold, and a Ruby Ray of Death lanced out of the tower to strike the Maw-Krusha. The Sorcerer Lord of Slaanesh joined in the attack with an Arcane Bolt, but the Megaboss brushed both aside, and ducked as the Skull Cannon blasted a bloody projectile at him.
Close by, one of the Gore-Gruntas managed to impale a Blood Warrior and hooked him over the wall so he crashed onto the ground. Before he could stand, one of the Gore-Gruntas’ mounts started feasting on him.
Battle Round Two
The Ironjawz ring around the Dreadhold was growing ever tighter as they continued to run as fast as their bulky armour would allow.
On both sides of the Dreadhold, Ardboys reached the gates, and a loud metallic thump resounded across the battlefield as they put their shoulders into pushing the gates wide open.
On the other side of both, Bloodreavers desperately pushed back to keep the gates closed.
Incensed at the threats the Magister had made at his prized Gore-Gruntas, the Megaboss made his Maw-Krusha rear up and deliver a deafening bellow. Waves of sound pounded the Magister, blasting him off the walls to fall into the courtyard, breaking his neck as he hit the ground.
Seeing the fate of his Tzeentchian colleague, the Sorcerer Lord of Slaanesh tried to keep a low profile as he gathered his arcane energies to blanket the Blood Warriors with an Mystic Shield. Immediately, he felt the presence of another wizard, and he caught sight of the Weirdnob Shaman outside the Dreadhold, dancing as it gathered its own energy to unbind the spell. The Sorcerer Lord called his Familiar to his side, and the creature’s affinity wit the arcane allowed the spell to slip through unmolested.
In the Skull Keep, the Daemon Prince once again attempted to harness the magical power of the Dreadhold, but this time the Blood God was watching and asserted his command over the Chaos forces. The Daemon Prince felt the touch of Khorne as his form twisted inside out to leave a Chaos Spawn in his place.
Battle Round Three
Once again the Sorcerer Lord engaged in a magical duel with the Weirdnob Shaman and, once again, his Familiar was enough to give him the edge as another Mystic Shield was layered over the Blood Warriors.
Dodging another blast from the Skull Cannon, the Megaboss took a deep breath and unleashed an almighty Waaagh! that energised every Ironjaw close to him. As the Warchanter started up a percussive rhythm that galvanised the Gore-Gruntas, the Weirdnob Shaman felt this was his moment, and he summoned an irresistible Arcane Blast that would force the closest gate open.
However, the Sorcerer Lord inside had been waiting for the Weirdnob to do just this and, once more using his Familiar, unbound the spell so it became nothing more than a light breeze. The Ardboys continued to strain at the gates but, without the Weirdnob’s spell, they could not shift them an inch.
Seeing the effect the Sorcerer Lord was having on his Weirdnob, the Megaboss directed his Maw-Krusha’s bellow at the wizard, and in an instant the Slaaneshi Sorcerer had joined the dead Magister in the courtyard.
All along the walls, powerful wards discharged, catching an Ardboy in their blast.
Battle Round Four
Within the Dreadhold, the combined forces of Chaos took their losses lightly and hunkered down behind their defences. With a roar, the Skull Cannon hurled a blast at the Megaboss, but the skulls it fired simply bounced off the hide of the Maw-Krusha.
Feeling the momentum of the assault beginning to flag, the Megaboss unleashed another mighty Waaagh! Taking this as his cue, the Weirdnob Shaman flung another Arcane Blast, but still the huge metal gates held firm.
The Ardboys on the other side of the Dreadhold were faring no better, as Bloodreavers were holding their gate closed as well.
Battle Round Five
As more wards placed around the walls blasted a Brute and an Ardboy, the Megaboss shouted at his Weirdnob Shaman, going into some detail as to what he would do if the gates remained closed. Concentrating hard, the Weirdnob closed his eyes as green sparks flew out of his ears. He felt the weight of a new Arcane Blast and hurled it forwards…
…and this time the gates flew open with a massive clang, crushing a dozen Bloodreavers and a few Chaos Warriors who had been straining to hold them closed.
Bellowing at the top of their voices, the Ardboys flooded into the courtyard, eagerly searching for someone to duff up as Brutes and Gore-Gruntas assembled behind them to form a second wave assault.
They did not have to look far for a target, and with yells of unrestrained joy, they rushed forward to attack the Skull Keep and the Chaos Spawn inside. The Spawn lashed about in confusion as it was surrounded by bloodthirsty Orruks, but could not defend itself against so many. The few remaining Bloodreavers around the open gate ran in terror as they tried to escape the fury of the Ironjawz.
Now inside the Dreadhold, the Ardboys could not hear the Maw-Krushas roar of pain as the Skull Cannon finally found its mark, hammering the beast and critically wounding it.
However, the other gate still held, keeping the other half of the Ironjawz warband out of the Dreadhold.
Battle Round Six
Inside the Dreadhold, panic started to set in. The Ironjawz were in the courtyard, and the Daemon Prince general was dead, along with all the wizards.
Feeling his moment had come, the Aspiring Deathbringer stood forward to lead the defence, directing the Chaos Warriors of Slaanesh to block the advance of the Ardboys. With no leaders of their own, the Chaos Warriors accepted the orders, and two units of them caught the Ardboys in a pincer outside the Skull Keep.
However, they could not be supported, as the Aspiring Deathbringer dared not pull his Bloodreavers away from the last gate or the battle would be over quickly. The Chaos Warriors and Ardboys threw themselves at one another, but their thick armour and the tight pathway around the Skull Keep meant few solid blows could be landed and casualties were light on both sides.
The wards along the walls continued to blast Ironjawz still on the outside but now the Brutes were beginning to enter the Dreadhold. One of their Bosses scrambled up the wall to slay the last Blood Warrior, but the Skull Cannon rattled away out of his reach.
The Megaboss looked on approvingly as he heard the slaughter coming from within the Dreadhold, ignoring the whimpering of his badly wounded Maw-Krusha.
Battle Round Seven
Feeling they could not count on the dubious accuracy of the Khornate Skull Cannon, the Daemonettes of Slaanesh leapt off the wall, sallying out to attack the Megaboss.
With blinding speed, the Daemonettes surrounded the Maw-Krusha before the Megaboss could react, their razor-sharp pincers outstretched.
The wounded Maw-Krusha could not turn round in time as the Daemonettes leapt over its clumsy swings, and they savaged the brute, the Alluress leading them slicing through the throat of the Megaboss as he tumbled off his dying mount.
If the Daemonettes were hoping for a cry of victory from the walls, they were badly mistaken as the rest of the defenders had other things on their mind. The Ardboys in the courtyard had, with help from the Brutes and Gore-Gruntas, finished off one unit of Chaos Warriors and were now starting to gather their forces to finish off the others, even as the Brute Boss grabbed the Skull Cannon in his Klaw and smashed it apart.
The lack of defenders on the walls was now beginning to tell, and Brutes prowled the defences on either side of the remaining closed gate, seeking for a weakness. However, the Bloodreavers were still present to ward them off.
The Gore-Gruntas, seeing the courtyard was too closely packed with Ardboys to properly ride their mounts, spied an easier target outside the Dreadhold – the Daemonettes were still finishing off the mortally wounded Maw-Krusha. A unit of Brutes saw them as well, and the two Ironjawz units were on the Daemonettes before they fully realised they were under attack.
The Daemonettes proved they had lightning reflexes though, neatly snipping through the armour of two Brutes, but it was to no avail. The charging Gore-Gruntas rode half of them down, while the last Brute finished off the rest.
Inside, more Brutes had gained the central wall, and they ran across it without meeting any resistance. Plunging into the Bloodreavers still holding the gate against the Ardboys outside, utter carnage broke out as the two sides threw themselves into battle.
Nearly a dozen Bloodreavers were slaughtered in the first few seconds, despite the Aspiring Deathbringer piling in to aid them. Seven more ran, desperate to escape the fury of the Ironjawz.
Battle Round Eight
The result of this was inevitable. With just two Bloodreavers holding the gate now, the Ardboyz pushed the gates aside, crushing the last Bloodreavers and the Aspiring Deathbringer as they streamed into the courtyard.
A great green, spectral foot appeared in the sky above the Dreadhold as the Weirdnob Shaman summoned the Foot of Gork. He giggled insanely as he brought it down first upon the Familiar on the walls, and then on a Chaos Warrior in the courtyard.
The Ardboys now had the last Chaos Warriors in a pincer of their own, and the fight lasted for just a few seconds.
The Ironjawz had succeeded in taking the Flayed Fort.
A decisive victory for the Ironjawz, and a battle that started slow but ended up truly exciting, with heroes and villains popping up all over the place!
Also, note that the Ironjawz managed to (finally) get two gates open, making this just the second and third time we have achieved this since Age of Sigmar came out! Make no mistake, a buttoned up Dreadhold is a very, very tough nut to crack, especially when you ave only one wizard (the Weirdnob Shaman) and one ranged attack (the bellow of the Maw-Krusha). In fact, if the Chaos wizards had not been killed, allowing the Weirdnob to use the Arcane Blast to force open the first gate, the Ironjawz might still be outside the Dreadhold, trying to get in!
Once again, I have to implore you, gentle reader to get yourself a Dreadhold. The rules are dead simple but do everything they need – and these games really are a lot of fun…
The Story Continues…
Well, the Ironjawz have made good account of themselves so far, but now a new face will be appearing in the war – Gordrakk, the Fist of Gork himself, is arriving, and he wants a word with both Chaos and Stormcast…