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.
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
Flesh Hounds x 10 (two units of 5)
Bloodcrushers x 6
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!
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!).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The battle had opened with outright savagery, but both armies were only just getting started.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joined by Karanack and the Skullmaster, the Daemon Prince was the embodiment of savagery, hammering every Brute it could reach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!