This is one of the titanic clashes of the Realmgate Wars – the Battle of the Brimfire Gate. In fact, it is so large, we are going to need two Battleplans to cover it, so get strapped in for the exciting first part!
The Story So Far
With the path cleared by the Strike-Teams, the full weight of Stormcast Eternal Brotherhoods could be unleashed. Elements from more than a hundred different Stormhosts were flung into battle, and lightning strikes deposited retinues and whole battalions upon walls, towers and courtyards.
As the Khornate defenders rose to meet the advancing Stormcasts, the first fortress, the Pyrevault Redoubt, shook and began to glow before magma burst from the ground in a shower of flaming death. From tunnels, the Fyreslayers arrived, marching alongside the Stormcasts for the final assault upon the Brimfire Gate.
Across all eight fortresses that ringed the Brimfire Gate, a cataclysmic battle raged, and through the centre of all gore and bloodshed waded Skarbrand, blunting the assault of the Extremis Chambers. However, a far greater threat began to emerge.
The molten coils that had wrapped themselves around the Bloodcombe and Great Skullhold began to twist and writhe as a monstrous shape climbed into the sky, a massive serpent.
Ignax, the Solar Serpent and greatest of the Godbeasts, had entered the battle.
Raising her head over Vulkstroya Keep, Ignax breathed a furnace blasts, killing thousands in an instant. Runefather Borr-Grimnir, last of the Fyreslayers of the Chained Sun, saw the Godbeast, and the rune that had been hammered into its flank by Duardin brothers who had died trying to give him this one chance to exert control over Ignax. If the Fyreslayers could just reach that rune, the tide of the battle could be turned.
This is a fight for the All-Gate in the heart of Khorne’s territory, a realm he controls with a bloody iron fist. The armies are therefore suitably large and epic.
Bloodbound and Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (Skrathax)
Mighty Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut
Aspiring Deatbringer x 2
Slaughterpriest x 2
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Bloodletters x 50 (five units of 10)
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Bloodcrushers x 6
Mighty Skullcrushers x 12 (two units of 3, one unit of 6)
Skullreapers x 5
Wrathmongers x 5
Flesh Hounds x 10
Chaos Warriors x 12
If it was red, we grabbed it from the cabinet and out it on the table! This is a major Khornate force, a mixture of mortals and daemons, joined by a full Brass Stampede and topped by a Bloodthirster! They will also have the use of a Skull Keep, Overlord Bastion, and Ironskull Bastion (the latter from Battletome: Chaos Dreadholds).
Runefather on Magmadroth
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10
Auric Hearthguard x 5
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (one unit of 20, one unit of 10)
Lord-Celestant on Dracoth
Lord-Celestant on Stardrake
Fulminators x 6
Tempestors x 6
Concussors x 6
Desolators x 6
Liberators x 15 (three units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Prosecutors x 6 (two units of 3)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
The combined forces of the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers may yet be up to the challenge, as the Extremis Chamber has been called upon (using both the Lightning and Thunder Echelons), and a Hammerstrike Force has been deployed, allowing the Stormcasts to put their Retributors exactly where they need them.
A big battle needs a big Battleplan (two, actually, but more of that next time!), and we have just the ticket here.
Ignax has wrapped herself around three fortifications on this battlefield, but one of them (known only to the Khorne player) marks the position of the rune that the forces of Order must reach. If they can get a Hero within 3″ of that fortification, he will gain control of Ignax for that round.
What does Ignax do? Well, whoever controls her can unleash her furnace breath, which dishes out mortal wounds in a 10″ radius (!).
In addition, Ignax brings a brand new Time of War sheet to the table, covering the Battle for the Brimfire Gate specifically. This adds the following:
- All Dreadhold models confer immunity to spells (not an issue for this Order force) and do not allow the in-game deployment of models within 24″ of them (which will be a pain for the Hammerstrike Force).
- However, this can be skirted by the use of Stormcaller Javelins carried by Prosecutors.
- Skarbrand’s fury is magnified and affects everyone, which can summon daemons, force charges, or cause Heroes to explode!
- All Stormcast Heroes and Primes are carrying Lightning-blessed weapons. Once per shooting or combat phase, they can add +1 to the Damage of their weapons.
- Once per battle, the Fyreslayer Runefather can attempt to permanently bind Ignax. This may cause his death, due to the tremendous energies involved, but he can get Ignax to truly scour a massive section of the table until this happens.
There are no turn limits, and this is a fight to the death!
The Stormcasts formed a wedge with their Dracothian Guard, determined to smash through the Khornate defenders and reach the fortifications in good order. Their Fyreslayer allies kept to the flanks, allowing the Stormcasts the glory of first strike.
The forces of Khorne occupied their strongholds with Blood Warriors and Bloodreavers, but everyone else was eager to get to grips with their enemy.
Battle Round One
Not wanting to give the Khorne defenders the slightest chance to manoeuvre, the Lords-Celestant held their hammers high and ordered their army forward, the leading Dracoths breaking out into a gallop to keep the Daemons of Khorne pinned in place.
Towering above the battlefield, the Godbeast Ignax breathed a terrible inferno down upon the Fyreslayers on the right flank. The Runefather weathered the blast on the back of his Magmadroth, but ten Vulkite Berzerkers and one Prosecutor were instantly annihilated by the Godbeast.
Undaunted, Tempestors and Judicators unleashed volleys from their crossbows, bringing down a few Bloodletters but, high in the sky, above even Ignax, bright flashes in the clouds signified the coming of a hail or meteors. They smacked down among the ranks of the Khornate defenders amidst panicked cries, exploding in showers of Azyrite rock. Bloodreavers were shaken inside their Ironskull Bastion, but a Slaughterpriest walked out onto the balcony of his Overlord Bastion at precisely the wrong time, and was killed by two unerringly guided meteors.
In a prepared position behind the Ironskull Bastion, the Bloodsecrator thrust his Portal of Skulls into the ground and opened a gateway to Khorne’s own kingdom in the Realm of Chaos, driving his Wrathmonger bodyguard to heights of unimaginable fury.
Them with a bellow, Skrathax, the Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage gave the order to attack, and the followers of Khorne charged forward, led by Bloodcrushers, Bloodletters and Flesh Hounds.
From the ramparts of the Ironskull Bastion, the Skull Cannon belched a bloody projectile which arced across the battlefield to strike a Fulminator square in the chest. The rest of hi retinue had no time to grieve, for Skrathax was on them immediately, hewing with his mighty axe.
Though caught by surprise, the Fulminators fought bravely and, despite one of their Dracoths receiving a punishing swipe that left it limping, they forced the Bloodthirster to check its advance and adopt a more measured attack to avoid being spitted on their glaives.
Across the line, daemon fought Stormcast, but the warriors of Sigmar held firm with few falling to the Hellblades of the Bloodletters. In return, Bloodletters and Bloodcrushers both were savaged by the weapons of the Dracothian Guard, with entire units of both disappearing fast as they made contact.
Battle Round Two
Ignax reared up, casting a deep shadow over the battlefield that was instantly dispelled by the searing light of another inferno. This time, the Runesmiter was the target and while, once again, the Fyreslayer Hero endured the intense heat, it consumed many Vulkite Berzerkers and Auric Hearthguard nearby. Undaunted, the Fyreslayers prepared to confront the Daemons of Khorne who were racing towards them.
As the Skull Cannon fired once again at the Fulminators, this time bouncing off a raised shield, a huge, swirling general melee erupted outside the Overlord and Ironskull Bastions as the forces of Khorne tried to halt the advance of the Dracothian Guard.
Skrathax hacked apart the Fulminators who had stalled him, even as Bloodletters, Blood Warriors and Skullcrushers flowed around his feet to launch further assaults against the Stormcasts and, at last, the line began to buckle. The Bloodthirster then raised his axe above his head and unleashed a terrifying roar that focussed its rage into a palpable force that exploded the heads of several Stormcasts who had ventured too close.
A counterattack by Vulkite Berzerkers, Concussors and Desolators managed to plug up the gap, but the Stormcasts now had no reserves to call upon, having thrown everything into the fight.
This combined response stopped the Skullcrushers dead in their tracks as the hammers of the Concussors sent the Juggernauts reeling and the Vulkite Berzerkers hacked at their riders.
On the other flank, more Skullcrushers charged in, supported by a large pack of Flesh Hounds, aiming to tear apart the Fyreslayers who were still recovering from the breath of Ignax.
The pitifully few Vulkite Berzerkers proved no obstacle, and the Fyreslayers were quickly ridden down by the Juggernauts, but the Flesh Hounds had veered too close to a retinue of Concussors. With a series of mighty cracks, the hammers of the Concussors swung down, smashing the unnatural life from the Flesh Hounds, and they were quickly joined by the vengeful Auric Hearthguard. When the dust settled, not a single Flesh Hound was whole and able to attack.
More importantly, a vital crack had opened in the Khornate line, and a path to the strongholds was now evident.
Seeing that the Stormcasts close to him were preparing to advance, leaving his Fyreslayers alone to deal with the Skullcrushers, the Runesmiter goaded his Magmadroth on, and the beast spat a glob of lava that immolated a Skullcrusher, its rider screaming as molten rock consumed him. Taking his lead, the remaining Auric Hearthguard levelled their Magmapikes, and destroyed another.
Then the Stormcasts opened fire.
All along the line, Dracoths opened their jaws and unleashed a torrent of lightning that crackled across daemon and mortal follower of Khorne alike, while Tempestors and Judicators kept up their own steady rate of fire.
This opened up the line further, and a retinue of Concussors rushed forward to the Skull Keep, crying out in triumphant as they realised that a rune of control was present and, with the right approach, could be used to control Ignax and turn the Godbeast against the forces of Chaos.
However, the Stormcasts needed to get one of the leaders to the Skull Keep, and they all had a serious fight on their hands. Aside from the Concussors, the whole Stormcast advance had been stalled and the Dracothian Guard were desperately trying to hack their way through daemons to reach the strongholds.
As the Hearthguard charged the Skullcrushers, forcing those they did not slay to retreat from the battlefield, two Desolators took advantage of the confusion and forced their Dracoths on to leap over the fallen corpses of Juggernauts to reach the Bloodthirster Skrathax.
Despite finding their massive axes unwieldy against a lone daemon, the Desolators ducked as the Bloodthirster’s own weapon scythed through the air at head height, and then swung they own blades in response. The axes bit deep into Skrathax’s legs, bringing the daemon crashing to the ground with an impact that shook the battlefield. The Dracoths then reared up and tore the throat out of Skrathax, sending him back to the Brass Throne in ignominy.
The Magmadroth of the Runefather spat lava at Skullreapers who had ventured too close, incinerating one of them, before it lumbered on to swipe at the others. The Magmadroth was badly wounded by the Skullreapers, but the Daemonblade of one of them turned upon its owner, consuming his soul as he shrieked in terror, and the Runefather’s Latchkey Grandaxe decapitated the rest in a series of long, slow, but extremely powerful blows.
Battle Round Three
Ignax breathed once more, this time sending down sheets of flame around the Lord-Celestant and his Stardrake, immolating five other Stormcasts and one Fyreslayer who were caught in the flames. However, the vanquishing of Skrathax and the Skullcrushers had opened up another hole in the Khornate line, and both Stormcasts and Fyreslayers were quick to take advantage of it as they raced forwards for the strongholds.
They were soon overtaken by the Dracothian Guard and Stardrakes who, despite having taken savage losses, now sensed the balance of the battle had turned in their favour.
As meteors summoned by the Lord-Celestant and Drakesworn Templar smashed into the ramparts of the Ironskull Bastion, leaving deep dents in the metalwork of the Skull Cannon, Stormcast and Fyreslayer were forced to deal with pockets of Khornate resistance across the battlefield. On the right, a Skullgrinder and Deathbringer prepared to sell their lives dearly as enemies swept past them.
The Skullgrinder went down quickly, unable to raise his anvil in time to ward off a charge from the Lord-Celestant atop a Dracoth, and Vulkite Berzerkers hurled their Slingshields into the Deathbringer, delivering several deep cuts.
Meanwhile, the Drakesworn Templar had reached the Ironskull Bastion and was preparing to clear it of defenders, thus removing the strongest fortification the Khornate defenders possessed.
This was exactly what the Bloodreavers inside had been waiting for.
Channeling the vast reserves of anger and hate from the Bloodsecrator’s Portal of Skulls and the Wrathmongers close by, the Bloodreavers hurled themselves at the Stardrake with no thought of their own safety, seeking only to bury their Meatripper Axes deep into the flanks of the Stardrake.
Though a veteran of many battles against the Bloodbound, the Drakesworn Templar had never witnessed such savagery, and he was completely overwhelmed by the Bloodreavers, who only howled in fury as they realised the departing spirits of Stormcast and Stardrake would leave them neither skulls nor blood to claim as trophies. Bellowing in anger, they sought out another worthy opponent.
The Concussors at the Skull Keep were battling furiously against both Blood Warriors and the Slaughterpriest who led them, but their great mounts and huge hammers were proving a hindrance in battling enemies within a fortification, and found themselves deadlocked against the defenders inside.
Just a short distance away, the last Skullcrushers were still putting up a fight, encouraged by the presence of their Lord of Khorne, also mounted atop a Juggernaut.
They had dispatched a retinue of Prosecutors and forced the Runesmiter to retreat on his critically injured Magmadroth, but two depleted retinues of Liberators had held firm, and even started to turn the fight against them.
Seeing the forces of Order start to move against the Skull Keep that retained control of the Godbeast Ignax, the Bloodbound in the other fortifications moved to intercept and delay their enemies. The Blood Warriors in the Overlord Bastion were the first to move, leaping out to race towards Fyreslayers and Prosecutors.
However, despite surprising the Hearthguard and Stormcasts, the attack of the Blood Warriors was disorganised, and casualties were light.
The Chaos Warriors leaping down from the walls of the Ironskull Bastion in the centre were more successful, hacking apart a Tempestor and forcing the two Desolators who had defeated Skrathax to stop their advance and deal with them.
Battle Round Four
The Lord-Celestant on the Stardrake joined the Concussors at the Skull Keep, even as the Slaughterpriest directed the Godbeast to burn the life out of the Runesmiter and one of the Dracothian Guard. In response, the Lord-Celestant raised his Celestine Hammer and pointed it at the Slaughterpriest. Sneering in response, the Slaughterpriest realised too late that the Lord-Celestant was directing a hail of meteors to the Skull Keep, their impacts destroying the Slaughterpriest and balcony he was standing on.
Another cry of victory went up, this time from the other side of the battlefield – the Runefather had finally unleashed the full power of the Master Rune Auriakh, gaining control of its brother rune that had been hammered into the flank of Ignax at the Battle of the Land of the Chained Sun and, by extension, control of the Godbeast as well.
Ignax reared up high into the sky once more, but this time the Godbeast had been focussed on the forces of Khorne. A great torrent of searing flame bathed the Skull Keep, cooking four of the Blood Warriors inside, immolating one of the Dracothian Guard, and wounding the Lord-Celestant.
The Stormcasts bore their losses lightly, as the turning of Ignax signalled the battle would soon be theirs.
With smoke pouring out of the Skull Keep and the aroma of baked Blood Warrior thick on the air, it was a simple matter for the Lord-Celestant to clear out the survivors within.
Elsewhere, defences continued to crumble, as the Lord-Celestant on the Dracoth joined the Desolators battling the Chaos Warriors outside the Ironskull Bastion. The Chaos Warriors resisted the first charge only by sustaining many casualties, a d they could not hope to continue battling the Dracoth riders after that.
As Blood Warrior and Vulkite Berzerker fought one another to the last men on the right flank, the rest of the forces of Order prepared to assault the Ironskull Bastion, mindful that its defenders had already claimed the Drakesworn Templar and his Stardrake.
Battle Round Five
Every defender within the Ironskull Bastion knew this would going to be their last stand, a pitched defence against the implacable forces of Order. So, naturally, they attacked!
Nearly two score Bloodreavers poured out of the bastion, eager to tear apart the remainder of the Dracothian Guard, a wave of blood-fuelled hatred.
Galvanised by both the Bloodsecrator’s Portal of Skulls and Wrathmongers, the Bloodreavers were truly dangerous and heedless of their own casualties. The Lord-Celestant was pulled from his Dracoth in seconds, and butchered with Reaver Blades as he was thrown onto his back. He was soon joined by the last Tempestor, but then the hammers and axes of the Concussors and Desolators went to work and the Bloodreavers were beaten back for an instant.
Snarling, they hefted their blades and axes and threw themselves at the Dracoths once more – just as Ignax breathed once again, this time enveloping the Ironskull Bastion in an inferno.
Though their Dracoths hissed in pain, the Dracothian Guard weathered the flames, but every one of the Bloodreavers were instantly burned to a crisp.
Only the Wrathmongers and Bloodsecrator were left to defend the Ironskull Bastion, but the Stormcasts had faced Wrathmongers too many times to charge in heedlessly. Reforming their lines, they bathed the ramparts of the bastion with lightning.
Battle Round Six
Forced to hunker down behind the walls, the Wrathmonngers gradually succumbed to the lightning of the Stormcasts, one by one. Seeing the rest of his cult dying around him, the Wrathmaster decided to hurl himself over the walls to claim at least one Stormcast life, but a meteor from the heavens, directed by the Lord-Celestant, blasted him apart before he could take two steps.
A further meteor clipped the Bloodsecrator, who quickly decided he was no longer needed on the battlefield. Clutching his Portal of Skulls, he fled, leaving the Stormcasts to their victory.
That was a decisive victory for the forces of Order – but take a look at that last photo and see how many models survived to the end of that battle. Not a lot! In fact, three quarters of the Dracothian Guard were sent back to Azyr, the heaviest losses they have taken so far in the Realmgate Wars.
Unfortunately for the Stormcasts, while they were able to remove Ignax from Archaon’s control, they are not going to be able to keep the Godbeast, as the Runefather will very soon succumb to the rigours of the Master Rune, setting Ignax free.
There is just one more battle to go in the Realmgate Wars saga and, despite both sides being seriously battered in this fight, they will be scraping together every warrior they can in an effort to claim final victory!
The Story Continues…
The Godbeast Ignax may be finally free now and unable to aid Archaon against the Stormcasts, but the Brimfire Gate is still contested. Stay tuned for the second and concluding part of the Battle of the Brimfire Gate…