The Freeguild Goes to War!

Of late, I have had a bit of a slow down on the old painting – but this weekend, it looks like I got my mojo back! A fair horde of miniatures were completed, which I’ll showcase this week, but we’ll start off with an important milestone… the Freeguild are now complete, as I finished a fair shed load over the past couple of days…

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As you may recall, I had already done a unit of 24 Handgunners, a couple of Battle Wizards, and a General to lead them all – I now have 30 Guard, 10 Greatswords, and the starting of the Ironweld Arsenal. Not a massive army, by any stretch, but a good base to build on and more than enough to get playing.

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The Guard were always going to be the biggest unit and, in a ‘proper’ army, I would probably need at least one more unit of this size. However, they form the core around which all the ‘special’ units will work.

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The Greatswords add some punch, and I thought that (despite there only being ten of them) they would prove to be a bit of a bear to paint with all their frilly bits. However, if you use shading for their ‘ribbed’ sleeves rather than actually trying to paint the under layer (which will send you mad), they are actually easier than even the Guard, as their armour takes a large portion of their bodies and they carry less junk into battle.

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And what is a Freeguild army without some truly heavy support from the Ironweld Arsenal, eh? I wanted them to be a slightly different colour to the Freeguild itself, so switched the green for blue, as I had already chosen that for the Cogsmith I painted up for Warhammer Quest (and no doubt he will join them in battle someday).

I had an open choice for artillery, but went with the Helblaster Volley Gun because, well, boom.

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And if you have the Ironweld Arsenal, you just have to have a Steam Tank. It is sort of mandatory.

Again, this is another model that you might expect to be a pain, but is actually quick and simple to paint up. The shields and crewman match the colours of the other Ironweld models, and the greatest time-sink was probably all the gold detailing but, in truth, it was no hassle at all.

So, those are all the models I had planned to do for the Freeguild, at least for the time being, and I can now focus on other projects. Next up for Age of Sigmar is probably the Kharadron Overlords but, before I get to them, I have some models who want to sort a Heresy out…

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Review – Codex: Space Marines & Datacards

I’ve got the new Codex: Space Marines and you haven’t!

Ahem.

So, the 8th edition Codex: Space Marines has plopped onto my desk and, as we have done so many times before, we must ask ourselves the deep, moral question – is it any good?

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First things first – this book is jam-packed full of stuff. Jam-packed. Rules, datasheets, background… you name it, they probably squeezed it in.

Second, the artwork is continuing in GW’s current rise in quality and is fairly fantastic.

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So, this Codex: Space Marines covers all the ‘general’ chapters (Ultramarines and their successors), along with some of the more esoteric ones, including the White Scars, Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists, Black Templars, Salamanders, Raven Guard, and Iron Hands – and their successors. If you are a die-hard Dark Angels Blood Angels, or Space Woofs player, I am afraid you are going to have to wait your turn, but there is still plenty of new things to get your teeth into (which we will get to soon enough!

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This book assumes only base-level knowledge, so you have an introduction to the Space Marines themselves, how they are built (with differences for the new Primaris guys),  chapter organisation, and the Indomitus Crusade.

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Take a closer look at the Ultramarines 2nd company above – at first glance, it is the same organisation as we have seen before, but on closer inspection, you can see the Primaris Marines are riddling the company, and there are now 12 squads.

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The Ultramarines get a fair few pages to themselves (of course), but the other chapters get a whack at the Grot too, with squad markings, banners, major battles, and successors.

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There is even a section for ‘other’. It is good to see the Mentor Legion back and representing (yes, I am old enough to remember when they first appeared in White Dwarf), though there is no mention of their special gear (I have a feeling GW does not really know what to do with them yet – there were discussions about revisiting them during the Paul Sawyer-era of White Dwarf, but nothing came of it then either).

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As is usual for Codexes (and Battletomes, for that matter), each unit gets its own write up to place it within the context of the army, starting with heroes, and going through to squads and vehicles. You will notice that squads are now grouped together, such as with the Close Support squads above – Inceptors, Reivers, Assault, Centurion Assault, Bikers, Attack Bikes, Land Speeders, and Land Speeder Storms… all Close Support now. Other squads are divided into Battleline, Fire Support, and Veteran.

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All the special characters are also covered, from Mr Guillman himself to Chaplain Grimaldus, who proceeds the Black Templars specific Emperor’s Champion and Crusader Squads.

IMG_9180There are plenty of photographs of Space Marines in the ‘hobby’ section, as you would expect and while I have not yet gone over all of them with a magnifying glass to spot new models, there are some that leap to the eye, such as the Primaris Chaplain and Apothecary.

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You will also notice some new equipment fits as you flick… OMG, Inceptors with Plasma Exterminators, Inceptors with frigging plasma weapons!!!

Ahem. Do excuse me. But I think I have spotted a new favourite unit for some people…

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All those goodies aside, it is the rules you want to know about, eh? Just what does the army list have that is new and exciting?

Well, for a start, little has changed in the ‘core’ army rules. And They Shall Know No Fear is the same as the Index, and Black Templars don’t get psykers. Of course.

Once again, I have not gone through the Datasheets yet with a fine toothcomb but, oh my, some things have already leapt out at me.

Aggressors and Reivers get lots of new options. Of course they do, the three-pack of Reivers was only ever going to be representative of the unit. The Flamestorm option on the Aggressors could be a lot of fun, though I suspect the Auto Boltsorm Gauntlets and Fragstorm Grenade Launcher (sorry, they are not Krak Missiles!) combo will be the preferred option. Unless you play Salamanders.

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The Redemptor Dreadnought is looking sweet, with the Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon (Heavy 12) or the Macro Plasma Incinerator (Heavy D6 and can be supercharged) leading the way for me at the moment.

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Inceptors, as we saw earlier, can be equipped with dual (two of ’em!) Plasma Exterminators, each Assault D3 with normal plasma damage which can, naturally, be supercharged.

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And the Hellblasters are not forgotten either, and they very much retain the plasma theme – you have seen the Plasma Incinerator already, but has Sir considered the merits of the Assault Plasma Incinerator? Not enough oomph for Sir? Then might I suggest the Heavy Plasma Incinerator? For the entire squad?

Suits you.

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And there is what may soon become everyone’s favourite new tank, the Repulsor, which is… just bedecked with weapons. It is a fairly short-ranged attack and, once you move beyond the twin-Lascannon, the longest ranged weapon is only 36″ and that is a heavy stubber designed to take down flyers. You’ll be closer and more personal with this tank which, considering it deducts from enemy charge rolls against it, may not be a huge issue (it has the same Wounds as a Land Raider anyway).

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Beyond the Datasheets, we have the reference section, which includes all weapon stats, and Stratagems unique to Space Marines and a few for specific chapters. White Scars, for example, can spend 1 CP for Born in the Saddle, which lets a Biker unit shoot and charge in the turn. Minor things, but very characterful, and way better than formation rules hat kick in all the time.

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Relics are back, again with some chapter-specific choices, to be given to any Space Marine Warlord.

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A nice surprise was an expanded Librarius Discipline, now bumped up to six powers. You get the three from the Index, plus Psychic Scourge (roll off against an enemy unit to deal mortal wounds), Fury of the Ancients (mortals wounds to every enemy unit in a straight line), and Psychic Fortress (auto pass Morale tests, and save against mortal wounds from psychic sources).

 

Conclusion

At the start of this review, I asked whether the book was any good. In a sense, that is irrelevant, because if you play 40k and have Space Marines, you are going to buy this book anyway (I presume you are only here to get a peek at it before it appears on shop shelves proper). This is one of the easiest sells GW has on their hands.

However, ignoring any rules issues that will need some games on the table to unearth, my opinion is a good one. The art and layout is top notch, the background comprehensive, and there were enough surprise ‘goodies’ to get the attention of even a hoary old veteran like myself.

If I absolutely had to level a criticism or two… well, all the points values are separated from the unit entries as they are in the Index. However, a) this is not an issue for me as I am one of those freaks using Power Levels (!) and b) I would be amazed if GW did not change this format in Codexes down the road – they have been very responsive to this kind of thing with the Age of Sigmar Battletomes, which now look very different from their first appearance, though I think the four already-announced Codexes will all follow the current pattern.

Second, there is no real hobby section, which is a shame. They have gradually been adding hobbiest bits and pieces to the Battletomes, and the latest (Kharadron Overlords) had full painting guides and even a little conversion section. It would have been nice to see that here but, on the other hand, they did have a lot of ground to cover with this book.

 

Datacards

So, I picked up the new Datacards as well.

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First impressions – this is a very ‘deep’ box, meaning it has a lot of cards inside. Second, while the box itself is not as durable as the (frankly bullet-proof) sets we had in the last edition, the ‘cigarette packet’ format somehow feels a bit more upmarket. Your mileage may vary on that one.

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Inside, there are three types of cards – the Tactical Objectives (which I never use – never really got round to that style of play), Stratagems (useful, because they are just the thing that can be forgotten during a game), and all six of the new psychic powers, plus Smite.

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Overall assessment – there is nothing wrong with these cards which, for a game accessory like this, is going to be all you can ask for. They are not going to shake your games to their foundations, just make playing a little bit easier.

Job accomplished on that one.

Now… where is my Codex: Death Guard, eh?

 

New Battalions: Fyreslayers/Beastclaw Raiders

There are new Start Collecting sets for Age of Sigmar out this week, including two that players have been waiting a fair while for – the Fyreslayers and Beastclaw Raiders. Both represent good value and I think will become the standard go-to for anyone beginning a new army.

Each also comes with a new Battalion that uses all the models in the set.

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The Beastclaw Raiders get Loshar’s Frost Guard, for which you need just a Frostlord on a Stonehorn and a Mournfang Pack (potentially just two Mournfangs, though four is a better number on the table and it fits in with the brief lore behind the Battalion).

It allows the Mournfangs to charge enemies close to the Frostlord in the hero phase – which is nice enough, until you realise it can also do this in the enemy’s hero phase.

That is pretty sweet…

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Hajkarl’s Sons of Fortune come from the Fyreslayers set, and requires a bunch of Vulkite Berzerkers (ten will do, though they work better in twenties), a Runesmiter, Runeson, and a Runefather on the back of a Magmadroth.

Once you have all those painted, once per battle you can have every unit in the Battalion move 4″ towards an enemy unit. Not spectacular on the face of it, but the Fyreslayers need everything they can get when it comes to movement, and this will allow you to converge on a single enemy – remember, that last part of a charge is 4″, so this could make or break a combat!

Eleven of the Thousand Sons

A short while ago, I posted pictures of my first Horus Heresy-era Space Woofs – and now the Thousand Sons have joined them!

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For some reason that is still not quite clear to me, I decided to do their armour in the ‘cherry red/lacquered’ scheme, as opposed to the flat Mephiston Red base recommended in the Prospero Painting Guide. As it turns out… it is not amazingly difficult.

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You kick off with an overall coat of Iron Hands Steel, available from the Forge World Airbrush range (and no, I am not using an airbrush with these models, everything was done with a brush). I am not convinced that you could not just use Leadbelcher instead, but people smarter than me use Iron Hands, so that is what I went for.

You then splosh the entire model with Angron Red (Clear), also from Forge World. This is the first time-consuming part, as you will need four, probably five, coats to get the effect you see in the photographs. This is actually dead easy, and the time is taken up by drying – if you do these coats in-between other models, you won’t even notice the time they take, and you will have some nice red-lacquered models at the end of the process, a nice motivation to carry on.

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After that, they are basically normal marines. Do the gold next (Retributor/Reikland/Liberator), metal (normal Leadbelcher/Nuln/Runefang), weapon casings and any other white bits (Celestra Grey/Nuln Oil in the cracks – the only fiddly bit on these models – White Scar), and then the eyes (Runefang Silver/Waystone Green).

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So, why did I do two supporting squads and a leader first, before any Tactical Squads? Well, a Tactical Squad was put together and had one dousing of Angron Red – but I ran out of paint, as these eleven models pretty much took the contents of one pot of Angron Red!

Expect to see the first Tactical Squad soon though…

So, what next for the Thousand Sons, and Space Woofs, for that matter?

Well, I have (had) this idea that I would build up the forces for a proper Prospero campaign, as outlined in the Horus Heresy book, Inferno. So, I started making lists of all the models I was after (got a Recon Squad on its way for the Space Woofs, and one of those cute Contemptors specific to the Thousand Sons, as well as the contents of the Prospero box set to work my way through). However, reading through Inferno and noting the units used, I came across the Canis Vertex.

The Canis Vertex is a Warlord Titan. It appears in quite a notable battle.

And, it turns out, the Warlord is not the biggest bad in 40k. That would belong to the Sinister-pattern Warlord Battle Psi-Titan. So, that would be two Warlords…

Not sure I am quite ready for that. Going to be plonking around with, you know, the more normal units before I start thinking in terms quite that large…

Review – Path to Glory

Path to Glory has just plopped onto my desk, a revision of the quickfire-and-easy-to-organise campaign system for Age of Sigmar.

So, is it any good?

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If you have read through or played the Path to Glory campaign in the General’s Handbook, you pretty know what to expect. Things have been kept much the same, with the odd tweak here and there, but what has been added is scope and context.

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The first section of the book begins with the Rise of Gulgaz, a Bonesplitterz Bigboss who leads his warband on a rampage, getting stronger as they encounter various enemies – the inference here being that his warband was built using the Path to Glory system, and then various battles were played.

There are no great revelations of Age of Sigmar lore in this story, but it is fun enough to read, and you begin to see how a Path to Glory campaign can fit together on a narrative level. In a nutshell, because no points are involved in building forces, you might as well construct background behind your force – and a bunch of Orruks rampaging through the realms works as well as anything else!

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There are six pages of photographs covering various warbands, with the caption text tying them into the story of Gulgaz in some way. Not too much to say here; the photography is excellent and you may get some good ideas for putting your own warband together.

Then we get to the meat of the book – the Path to Glory campaign rules.

If you are not familiar with them, the idea is dead simple. First, pick a Grand Alliance allegiance, then a champion (leader) for your warband based on that allegiance.

The champion you pick will determine how many units of followers your warband begins the campaign with. So, for example, if you had chosen Grand Alliance Chaos and wanted a Khorne theme to your warband, you might pick something humble, such as an Exalted Deathbringer to lead your warband, who will let you have four units of followers – or you could go right to the other end of the scale and pick a Bloodthirster, who will only let you start with two followers.

This is the first ‘balancing’ mechanism used to put warbands within spitting distance of each other (don’t expect hard and fast points with these rules – they are not used, and not necessary for Path to Glory).

Once you have worked out how many follower units you have, you simply pick a Follower table for your Grand Alliance (no need to stick with the theme your opted for your champion) and roll. So, your Exalted Deathbringer could roll on the Khorne Retinue Followers table, select the Bloodbound Followers column (as opposed to daemons), and then roll up 20 Bloodreavers, 5 Blood Warriors, 3 Mighty Skullcrushers, or a Khorgorath.

Alternatively, you could roll on the Khorne Elite Followers table, which takes up 2 of your followers rolls and, selecting Bloodbound again, and get either 10 Blood Warriors, 5 Wrathmongers, or 5 Skullreapers.

However, you can also ‘branch out’ and roll on the followers tables for other Chaos factions, such as Beasts of Chaos, Skaven, Pestilens, or Slaves to Darkness – the elite follower table for the latter would give you the chance of, for example, 10 Chaos Warriors, a Warshrine, 5 Chaos Chosen, or 5 Chaos Knights, all of which you can (of course) give the Khorne keyword to bind them tightly into your existing force.

Basically, whatever Grand Alliance you choose, you are going to get plenty of options to create a wide and varied force that by no means needs to look like the force of someone else in the same Grand Alliance.

You can also use one roll to give your champion (or a unit of followers) a reward before the campaign starts – for our Exalted Deathbringer, this could be Daemonic Armour (re-roll failed saves), Molten Blood (dish out mortal wounds when hit), an Enscorcelled weapon (better Rend), or any one of nearly a dozen options in total.

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Playing the campaign is even simpler – pick an opponent (‘oi, you, stitch this!’), play a game with an agreed Battleplan, and see who wins. The winner gets D3 Glory points, the loser 1. The first warband to total 10 Glory points (or gains 5 additional units of followers) fights one more battle and, if they triumph, wins the campaign!

After each battle, your warband gets rewards, which can be upgrades to your champion or followers, or could be more followers. If you get the latter, you have the choice to burn a Glory point to roll on the aforementioned elite followers table, so you have to make the choice between a better warband or a quicker win.

There are seven Battleplans provided in Path to Glory though, frankly, you can use any of the hundred or so Battleplans already published for Age of Sigmar. Some of those in this book you may have seen before, while others are brand new, and they tend to tie into the Path to Glory campaign – perhaps granting bonus Glory points for achieving certain goals,, or adding a ‘free’ monster to a warband. There is even provision made for battles involving more than two warbands at once.

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The photograph above shows the basic layout of warbands, this one showcasing Tzeentch. As you can see, you have a wide variety of champions to kick off your force, from the ever so humble Magisters and Heralds, right up to Ogroid Thamaturges and Lords of Change (!). The followers tables are broken down into retinues (units), heroes, and elites, with each of those tables split between mortals and daemons. The reward tables for champions and followers come after.

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The champion rewards table for chaos warbands allows for Dark Patronage, gifts directly given by the warband’s god, which can be anything from the odd re-roll to increased damage or extra spells.

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While there are warband tables for every ‘current’ faction in Age of Sigmar, happily there are also ‘general’ Grand Alliance tables which allow the use of older miniatures and further increase the scope of what is possible when building a warband. The Destruction tables, for example, allow you to use an Orruk Warboss or Shaman as a champion, or an Ogor Tyrant, Moonclan/Gitmob/Spiderfang Warbosses, or (very funny) an Arachnarok Spider.

So, just because your Ogors (for example) do not have their very own warband table, you can still field an all Ogor force in Path to Glory, and the same applies to Aelfs, Duardin, Freeguilds, and undead.

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The very last chapter introduces Start Collecting Warbands – instead of going through the warband creation system, simply grab a Start Collecting box and use the forces from that! This is, of course, ideal for someone just beginning Age of Sigmar or just starting a new army, particularly if there is a group ‘Tale of Four Gamers’ thing going on, where players add a new unit every couple of weeks or so.

Not all Start Collecting sets are created equally, of course, so some must achieve tougher goals in the campaign, while others get a free reward.

Very nicely done, and in just four pages too.

 

Conclusion

The Path to Glory campaign was always something I had meant to get running, but never quite got round to. The additions and tweaks made to it with this book has just bumped the campaign up in priority (expect to see a report soon!).

For just £20, you get a ‘new’ way to play Age of Sigmar (get yourself out of the matched play rut!) and a campaign system that you can probably play through and determine a winner in a single day – certainly through a weekend.

This is a nice little addition to the Age of Sigmar line, and I think I will be recommending it!

Battle Report – Gathering Bloodstorm

We are going to be trying out the second of the new Battleplans in Battletome: Blades of Khorne, this time seeing what the weight of a daemonic legion makes of the Ironjawz.

 

The Story So Far

The forces of Khorne had been trying to wrest Ghyran from the dominance of Nurgle for decades and, after the successes of the Stormcasts had shaken the Rotbringers hold, the Blood God had started seeing some gains. However, a new power had arrived in the Jade Kingdoms, a mighty Orruk horde inspired by the Fist of Gork himself, Gordrakk.

Many Megabosses led their warbands into the Realm of Life, smashing aside Sylvaneth, Rotbringer and Bloodbound alike. Khorne could not stand to let primitive creatures like the Orruks disrupt his plans and so he unleashed the Helfire Legion, a daemonic force that swept through the forces of the Orruks, tearing apart Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz alike.

While the daemons of Khorne advanced, a raging Bloodstorm churned in the skies overhead, fuelling bloodlust and murder in any who saw it. As the Helfire Legion approached the warband of Kraga Daemonbasher, the Megaboss grinned as he waved his own boys forward.

As far as the Ironjawz were concerned, this was shaping up to be a good fight.

 

The Forces

We want this battle to be a truly memorable clash, and so we have gone for mid-sized forces that nonetheless have some serious power behind them.

Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage
Exalted Daemon Prince
Bloodmaster
Skullmaster
Bloodthrone
Karanak
Flesh Hounds x 10 (two units of 5)
Bloodcrushers x 6
Skull Cannon
Bloodletters x 40 (two units of 20)

We are using a very large (Forge World) model for the Daemon Prince, and so will be ‘exalting’ him by doubling his wounds. In addition, all the units are arranged into a Blood host of Khorne led by the Bloodthirster, makes several units close to him very angry indeed!

Ironjawz
Megaboss
Weirdnob Shaman
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Ardboys x 52 (two units of 20, one unit of 12)

All the basic parts of an Ironjawz force are here, with the Brutes arranged into a Brutefist (tough Big Boss, and a chance to charge in the hero phase while dishing out mortal wounds), and the Gore-Gruntas and Ardboys in Weirdfist (allowing the Weirdnob to really suck up the magical power of his boyz!).

 

The Battleplan

In this fight, the Daemons of Khorne have a new command ability, Glory to Khorne! This allows the general (Bloodthirster or Daemon Prince) to immediately pile in and fight, and if he deals out 8 or more wounds, he earns a Blood Tithe point. The Ironjawz get their own ability, Fight Fire with Fire, allows one unit close to the Megaboss to re-roll all failed hits.

A mighty Bloodstorm is raging above the battlefield, which has two effects – first off, no Battleshock tests are taken for this battle and, second, every turn, players count how many enemy units they wiped out, and multiply that by the battle round number. This becomes their Bloodstorm point total, and the player with the highest at the end of the fifth round wins!

 

Deployment

The two armies threaded their way through the Skull Keep complex, lining up to face their foes. As Bloodletters hissed malevolently, the Ardboyz and Brutes jeered and bashed their weapons together, taking energy from the swirling bloodstorm overhead as they were driven into a frenzy of destruction.

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Megaboss Kraga Daemonbasher was unusually subdued though, for he had every expectation that the wrathful Bloodthirster opposite would be making a beeline for him as soon as hostilities commenced.

 

Battle Round One

Galvanised by the Bloodstorm in the sky, the daemons of Khorne acted first, running towards the Orruks with all speed. Behind them, more daemons arrived, in the form of a Bloodthrone, Karanak and a truly massive Daemon Prince.

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With a boom that echoed across the battlefield, the Skull Cannon blasted a flaming skull clear through an unlucky Ardboy.

Not that the Orruks were put off by this display – they charged, bellowing as they went, promising maximum violence to any daemon they caught. The Ardboyz clashed with the daemons first, piling into forty Bloodletters with no thought to their own safety.

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Hellblades and crude axes were swung, and great gouges were torn out of both sides but this only served to drive daemon and Orruk to ever greater heights of savagery. Further along the line, more Ardboyz crashed into the Bloodcrushers, grinding one of them into the dirt.

Not to be outdone, two units of Gore-Gruntas arrived ion the battlefield, waved on by the Megaboss who had taken cover in the Sylvaneth Woods.

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The battle had opened with outright savagery, but both armies were only just getting started.

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Battle Round Two

Roaring with anger, the Bloodthirster took to the sky, crashing down in front of the Brutefist as it drove the Flesh Hounds forward with a crack of its whip.

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Barging the Skullmaster aside, the Bloodthirster piled into the nearest Brutes but the Orruks had been watching its approached and scattered as the Axe of Khorne bisected a single Brute. Seeing the Bloodthirster recovering from its swing, the Brutes counterattacked, hacking through the daemon’s greaves and causing it to bellow in pain.

Close by, the Flesh Hounds savaged a Brute but half a dozen of them were dispatched back to the Realm of Chaos by the return attacks.

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Further down the line, the Bloodthrone drove into a unit of Ardboyz who were preparing to add their weight against the Bloodcrushers, but only a single Ardboy fell under its wheels. Another Bloodcrusher was torn apart but reality blinked and all the Bloodcrushers’ losses were reversed.

Sighing, the Ardboyz picked up their weapons and began their attacks afresh upon the Juggernaut riders.

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The Brutes fighting the Bloodthirster were having the time of their lives, for here was an enemy truly worth fighting. They were not selfish either, as they beckoned another unit of Brutes in to join them. Together, they started to hammer the Bloodthirster as one of the Bosses leapt up to snare the Bloodthirster by the throat with his Klaw before bashing it round the head with his Brute Smasha.

The Bloodthirster reeled from these rude attacks.

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A mighty battle was forming quickly in the centre of the battlefield as the Gore-Gruntas reached the fray and charged, effectively linking the three Ardboyz units, Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers, and Bloodthrone into one vicious brawl. Many Orruks were felled, while many daemons were banished, and the Bloodthrone was quickly being taken apart by Ardboyz, despite the Herald’s best efforts to keep them at bay with its Hellblade.

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The Bloodthirster was badly wounded, while the Orruks’ own general had yet to enter the fight. However, the battle stood on the edge of a knife, with neither daemon nor Orruk willing to give ground.

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Battle Round Three

Despite the Bloodthrister’s wounds, the land itself still rebelled against the daemon’ presence, and the Brutes yelped in confusion as massive cracks opened between their feet. One was too slow, and fell screaming into the abyss.

However, even the furious Bloodthirster could see this was not enough and with a mighty sweep of its wings, the greater daemon soared away from the Brutes.

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The Orruks jeered at this cowardice, only falling silent when they saw the Bloodthirster’s plan unfold – a great Daemon Prince now loped towards them.

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Joined by Karanack and the Skullmaster, the Daemon Prince was the embodiment of savagery, hammering every Brute it could reach.

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Meanwhile, the Bloodcrushers had suddenly surged forward, catching a group of Ardboyz by surprise and stampeding three of the Orruks into the ground. However, now the Megaboss and Gore-Gruntas had joined the fray, the Bloodcrushers were being steadily whittled down and a great many Bloodletters were banished from the battle.

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Watching the battlefield, Khorne himself instilled a terrible and divine Murderlust in his Bloodthirster, then raged with impotent fury as he watched the Bloodthirster take this rare power and used it to hide within the Crucible. However, the Gore-Gruntas were watching and they goaded their hungry mounts onwards in pursuit. They caught the Bloodthirster just as it reached the Crucible, riding the greater daemon down as it wailed, knowing full well the fate that now awaited it at the foot of the Skull Throne.

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As Ardboyz tore apart the Bloodthrone on one side of the battlefield, the Weirdnob Shaman on the other gathered the mighty energies of the Waaagh! from every Orruk close to him and hurled an empowered Arcane Bolt at the Skullmaster, immolating the Herald in a single blast.

 

Battle Round Four

Feeling the momentum of the battle begin to build behind them, the Ironjawz redoubled their attacks. Karanak unbound another Arcane Bolt, much to the chagrin of the Weirdnob Shaman, but the Flesh Hound was already badly battered by the Brutes it faced, and even the great Daemon Prince was beginning to look unsteady from the multiple deep wounds it had sustained.

By now, the Bloodcrushers had been reduced to a single Juggernaut, fending off attacks from the Ardboyz and Gore-Gruntas that surrounded it.

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However, the Bloodletter riding the Juggernaut was as spiteful as a Khornate daemon could be, and it stabbed forward with its Hellblade, straight into the heart of the Megaboss.

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The rest of the Ironjawz barely noticed the loss of their general as they were now chanting war songs as they happily bashed in the heads of daemons, banishing them with every swipe. In quick succession, Karanak was dispatched back to the Realm of Chaos, followed by the last of the Bloodletters and the Bloodcrusher.

Though many Brutes had been killed by the enemies they faced, they remained undaunted, slaying the Daemon Prince and breaking the back of the Khorne force.

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Battle Round Five

Only the Skull Cannon remained intact among the Khornate daemons, and it fired defiantly from within the Crucible, killing a Gore-Grunta and then a Brute. The Ironjawz tried to rally for one final assault, but they were exhausted. Congratulating themselves on a battle well fought, they retired from the battlefield, happy but tired.

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Conclusion

That was, predictably, a bloody battle!

That said, no units were destroyed (and thus no victory points were earned) until the third round when one of the Bloodletter units was finally wiped out. Things picked up quickly from there though, with the Ironjawz leading 18 points to 6 at the end of the third round, going up to 34 to 10 in the fourth round!

Once the Ironjawz got going, there seemed to be nothing that could stop them, though the Daemons of Khorne clawed back a lot of points at the end, leaving the score at 34 to 20 in favour of the Ironjawz – the Orruks may have won, but it will be a while before they can build their strength back up again!

 

The Story Continues…

In the wake of the Realmgate Wars, Sigmar built many cities across the Mortal Realms – and not everyone is happy about that. The Orruks have gathered their forces into one mighty horde in Ghyran, and only a thin line of Hallowed Knights stand in between them and the Free Peoples.

This is going to be a truly immense battle (well over 6,000 points on each side!) so we have to set a day to fight it – but it is going to be a truly memorable battle, so keep an eye out for it!

Badab War: End of the Beginning

This weekend we completed the first part of the first phase of the Badab War as we completed the mini-campaign that made up the initial landings on Bellerophon’s Fall of the Mantis Warriors and Salamanders.

The Salamanders had been forced back to their landing zones and were forced to quickly construct some hasty fortifications, while the Marines Errant had driven forward through the defences of the Mantis Warriors and were laying siege to one of the industrial centres.

For these battles, we used the All-Round Defence mission from the old Battle Missions book, with the Mantis Warriors as the attackers on one table and defenders on the other – to make things more ‘interesting’, we decided these battles would be played simultaneously, side-by-side and turn-by-turn!

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In the industrial centre, the Marines Errant quickly surrounded the Mantis Warriors with Tactical Squads, Terminators and an Assault Squad, while Devastators took the high ground to pound the Mantis Warriors’ bastion with missiles. The Marines Errant stole an early lead by destroying the Mantis Warriors’ Stormraven while it was still on the ground.

Very quickly, the Mantis Warriors were under extreme pressure.

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The Rhinos sacrificed themselves to hold up rampaging Assault Marines and Terminators, giving the Mantis Warriors time to formulate a response. While the Relic Deredo kept the heads of two Tactical Squads down and hunkering within buildings, the Tactical Squads inside the Bastion and Firestorm Redoubt maintained a steady rate of fire on the attackers, until they could be relieved by the Dreadnought and Captain.

The battle hung in the balance for perilously long minutes and things looked lost when the Devastator Squad finally brought the Bastion down in a shower of debris and rubble. However, the Mantis Warriors managed to rally and finally broke the back of the Marines Errant, leaving just a couple of Tactical marines to flee the battlefield.

Around the landing zones of the Salamanders, things were also going well.

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A Land Speeder, Attack Bike Squadron and Dreadnought had been scouting out the landing zone and quickly found a valley in which the Salamanders seemed weakest. Sending comms back to the Librarian leading the attack force, heavy support soon arrived.

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The Salamanders quickly found themselves under severe pressure as a Land Raider Crusader and squadron of Vindicators drove into the valley and began pounding the Bastion. They started taking serious losses and then the worst happened – a direct hit from the Relic Vindicator Laser Destroyer tore through the Bastion, crushing four Tactical Marines under the rubble.

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The Salamanders led a spirited counterattack against the Land Raider Crusader and the Terminators it had disgorged, finally driving the Mantis Warriors away from the landing zone.

 

Coming Next

An exciting weekend of battles! And the moral of the story – bastions are bloody hard to attack!

The Mantis Warriors managed to finally stall the seemingly unstoppable thrust into their territory by the Marines Errant but, in turn, were unable to force the Salamanders off of Bellerophon’s fall. The war for the industrial moon is now going to progress at a slog, as neither Loyalist nor Secessionist have managed to deliver a knockout blow yet.

For that, we are going to be spending the next few months on a sort of map-based campaign, with the fast-moving Mantis Warriors constantly striking at the Loyalists who are trying to deliver a telling strike. This will be resolved using the ‘rules’ presented for map-based campaigns in Age of Sigmar’s Generals Handbook.

However, that is not all that is going on – very soon we will be launching boarding actions on the Karthan Convoy, with the Mantis Warriors taking over merchant vessels and conducting fighter sweeps.

Stay Tuned!