Fate of Konor: Hold the Line

The Fate of Konor campaign continues, and now it is the turn of the world of Nethamus that bears the brunt of the Nurgle invasion. Once the bread basket of many systems, the forces of Nurgle have turned the great crop oceans into blackened sludge – however, the great factory-crawlers are still present, their cargo holds packed with enough grain to feed all of Konor. The Death Guard are now targeting the factory-crawlers, and the Marines Errant are the only forces who can stop them.



We are using 90 point forces for this battle and as we are still lacking in some of the really big things for both forces (they are on their way), expect to see fairly large forces.

Death Guard (Battalion)
Lord of Contagion (Tenacious)
Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Gift of Contagion)
Poxwalkers x 20
Plague Marines x 7 (Power Fist, Plasma Gun)
Helbrute (Twin Lascannon, Thunder Hammer)
Plaguebearers x 20 (Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos)

Daemons of Nurgle (Outriders)
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma of Pestilence)
Foetid Bloat-Drone
Greater Blight Drone
Greater Blight Drone
Greater Blight Drone

The Marines Errant player (James) just loves to see the Foetid Bloat-Drone in my army (it comes from an incident where it was loosed upon a Tactical Squad and all but annihilated them in one shot), so it is with great pleasure that I present a force to him that not only includes the Bloat-Drone but also three (count ’em!) Greater Blight Drones…

Marines Errant
Chaplain with Jump Pack
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Assault Squad
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)
Terminator Squad
Terminator Squad
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)

Once again, the Marines Errant have gone infantry heavy, and so should be able to close off most avenues of the Death Guard’s advance.


Mission: Hold the Line

In Hold the Line, the Death Guard are attempting to push their way to a factory-crawler while the Marines Errant try to hold them back. Victory Points for the Death Guard are earned for exiting units off the Marines Errant table edge (double points if the unit is a vehicle), while the Marines Errant gain points for destroying units (double points if the attacking unit is a vehicle). Killing the enemy Warlord gains a point as usual.

The mission itself has two new Stratagems for the Marines Errant – All Power to the Guns allows a vehicle to shoot twice in a turn, albeit at a penalty, while Resurgent Machine Spirit allows a vehicle to act in a fully operational manner even if it is heavily damaged. The Death Guard can use Armoured Assault, which allows a vehicle to shoot normally even if it advanced.

The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Legacy of Konor) that allows a vehicle to regain lost wounds.



The Marines Errant assembled on the battlefield, spreading out to block the advancing Death Guard from reaching the nearby factory-crawler. Knowing they would need to counter quick thrusts from the drones, they kept their Assault Squad and all three Terminator Squads in reserve, ready to deploy exactly where they were needed.


For their part, the Death Guard concentrated their own infantry near the centre, the Lord of Contagion and Plaguecaster supporting the Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers as they stumbled towards the Marines Errant. The Drones and Helbrute deployed on the flanks, quickly seeking the weak point in the Imperial line.


Round One

Wasting no time, the Death Guard marched ahead, the four Drones buzzing through the air to begin flanking the Tactical Squad taking cover in the craters.


The Bloat and Blight Drones opened fire at range, causing the Tactical Squads to hunker down as plague-ridden projectiles whizzed overhead. Two Marines were too slow and were blasted apart in an explosion of pus and filth.


As the Tactical Squads began to slowly retreat, they trained their fire on the approaching Death Guard but only a single Poxwalker fell to Bolter fire. On the far flank, the Devastator Squad aimed at marauding Blight Drones, but the Herald’s Miasma covered them well and only a single missile scored a glancing blow.


Round Two

Now within striking distance, the Death Guard forces surged forward to swarm the Marines Errant. Two Blight Drones quickly crossed the remaining distance to the Devastator Squad and began to pound the Marines with a weight of diseased fire, even as the damage done to them began to repair itself.


Combined with Lascannon fire from the approaching Helbrute, Devastator Marines began to fall, and the Drones swooped in to finish them off.


However, the Devastator Marines fought bravely and only one was impaled upon the probes of the drones.

Around the craters, the Plaguecaster threw a Miasma over the Lord of Contagion, then inflicted Muscular Atrophy upon the closest Tactical Squad. Seeing their chance, the Plaguebearers and Bloat-Drone ran up the sloping sides of the crater to assault the Marines.


A single Marine fell to the swords of the Plaguebearers but, in return, two daemons were banished and another two dissolved into thin air.


Having little choice, the surviving Devastators pulled back from the Drones, but help was at hand – with a flash of light, a Terminator Squad teleported close by and immediately set about training their Storm Bolters on the Drones in an effort to drive them away.


More flashes dotted the battlefield as two more Terminator squads arrived, one close to the Plague Marines and the other blocking off the advance of a Blight Drone on the opposite flank. A Thunderhawk tore the skies overhead and, from its hatches, an Assault Squad dropped behind the entire Death Guard force.


One flanking Drone was cornered by a Terminator Squad, but its daemonic reflexes proved equal to the threat as its cannon boiled away two of the Marines before they could reach it. As they neared, the Drone elevated on its mighty ducted fans, leaving them flailing helplessly with their Power Fists.


On the ridge, the retreating Devastator Marines launched a hurriedly aimed Krak Missile that penetrated the armour of the lead Drone attacking them, leaving it trailing smoke. The Terminator Squad that had teleported in to aid them then charged, tearing the Drone apart with their Power Fists. One of them hit its internal reactor, and the Drone exploded, showering shrapnel, debris and filth over everyone close by. Two Devastator Marines were killed in the blast, along with a single Terminator.


Round Three

The battle was well and truly underway now as the Death Guard began to apply pressure on the Marines Errant in an effort to make them break. One Blight Drone soared over the heads of the Terminators attacking it, heading straight for the factory-crawler in the distance. The other Drones began to heal the damage they had sustained as the rest of the Death Guard advanced further.


Hurling bolts of dark energy, the Plaguecaster immolated two Tactical Marines within the crater while the Herald of Nurgle cast a Miasma over the running Helbrute. Loosing an unusually well-aimed shot from its twin Lascannon, the Helbrute howled in fury as it watched the Rosarius of a Chaplain who had dropped from the Thunderhawk to support the Devastator Squad flash as it deflected the attack.

Enraged, the Helbrute rushed forward to the gully leading up to the ridge, and found its path blocked by the Terminator Squad. Its howl now turning to a bellow of joy, it did not hesitate and charged.


Terminator armour proved no defence against the massive hammer the Helbrute was swinging, and three Terminator Marines were crushed to a pulp in seconds. With just the Chaplain, a single Terminator and a handful of Devastators left on the ridge, the Marines Errant’s position there was looking decidedly shaky.

In the centre, the Poxwalkers had completely surrounded one of the Tactical Squads, and the Marines were desperately fighting to drive them back. Two Poxwalkers were struck down, but there were still too many for the Marines to retreat.


By now, the Lord of Contagion had pushed his way through the Plaguebearers, but could only reach a single Marine, whom he decapitated with a gleeful chortle. However, the Marines themselves were too busy fending off the daemons, aided by another Chaplain.


Seeing their line beginning to give, the Tactical Marines left the cover of their crater, training their fire on the advancing Lord of Contagion as they fled. Trusting to his Cataphractii Terminator Armour, the Lord hummed merrily to himself as Bolter fire and Krak Grenades pattered off his metal skin.

On the ridge, the presence of the Helbrute was beginning to cause panic. The Devastator Marines retreated further, followed by the last Terminator, but were dismayed to watch their Krak Missiles simply bounce off the Helbrute’s armour. The Chaplain realised he could do little to stop the beast and ignited his jump pack to land directly in front of the Herald who had been covering the Helbrute with a Miasma. Swinging his Crozius, the Chaplain sent the Herald reeling, but the daemon quickly recovered.


The Marines Errant were having better luck on the opposite flank, as the Terminator Assault Squad cornered the Plague Marines within a crater. Rushing in, their Lightning Claws tore apart five Plague Marines in short order for no loss of their own.


Round Four

The Marines Errant watched helplessly as another Blight Drone gunned its fans and left the battlefield, soaring towards the factory-crawler which had already started to emit clouds of dark smoke from the attacks of the first Drone to reach it.


The Chaplain leading the Tactical Squads was proving effective at holding up the advance of the Death Guard, and had thus gained the ire of the Plaguecaster. More bolts of dark energy flashed into existence, and the Chaplain fell to the ground, pustules and growths bursting through his armour.


Ignoring the last Terminator on the ridge, the Helbrute instead advanced towards the last two Devastator Marines. Scattering, they managed to avoid its attentions. The Herald of Nurgle spat in the face of the Chaplain attacking it, following the insult with a blast of diseased bolts that caused the Marine to falter before he buried his Crozius into the Herald’s shoulder. Both heroes were now wounded, but neither was willing to give ground to the other.

One Tactical Squad managed to break free of the Poxwalkers, while the other continued to flee from the Lord of Contagion who was still marching towards them, humming a little ditty as he playfully swung his axe.

Just behind him, the Assault Squad had finally caught up with the Death Guard, and they now charged into the Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers, effectively pinning them in place and halting the advance to the factory-crawler.

As the Assault Terminators ran down the last of the Plague Marines, the remains of another Terminator Squad charged the Lord of Contagion – and quickly regretted it. Their Power Fists made no impact upon his armour, and the Lord’s axe whittled out to carve through two of the Marines.


On the ridge, the last Terminator saw the plight of the two Devastator Marines and, with a prayer to his Primarch, charged the Helbrute. With a casual back swing of its hammer, the Helbrute pulped the Terminator before he could attack.


Round Five

The buzzing that had enveloped the battlefield faded away as the last Drone flew to join the others assaulting the factory-crawler. The giant machine was sustaining heavy damage, but if the Marines Errant could drive the rest of the Death Guard back quickly, they would still be in a position to defend the factory-crawler and defeat the Drones.

The Assault Squad had discharged their duty well against the Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers, shattering both units and forcing the survivors to flee. Unfortunately, they were running towards the factory-crawler, forcing the Assault Squad to give pursuit.


As the Lord of Contagion casually dispatched the last Terminator he was facing, the Plaguecaster through a Miasma over him, then watched as the Lord sauntered over to the Assault Squad to see if they would be any more fun than the Marines he had killed thus far.

On the ridge, the Helbrute finally tracked down the last of the Devastators and hammered them flat, leaving almost the entire flank in the hands of the Death Guard. However, the mighty duel between the Chaplain and Herald of Nurgle was still in full swing.


The Herald summoned the force of another Smite, which blasted plates of armour off the Chaplain. Both combatants were now heavily wounded, limping, and barely able to stand, but both refused to go down under the blows of the other. The Herald ducked the Chaplain’s Crozius, then thrust forward with his Plaguesword, cleaving both of the Marine’s hearts.

Giving chase, the Marines Errant were desperate to annihilate what remained of the Death Guard – they now held the balance of power on the battlefield, but knew that if the Death Guard could send any more units towards the factory-crawler, then all would be lost.


As Tactical and Terminator Assault Marines rushed the Plaguecaster and Plaguebearers, the Assault Squad surrounded the Lord of Contagion. Not even his Cataphractii Armour could withstand that flurry of blows, and the Lord’s mood soured somewhat as chainswords began to slice into his flesh.


Round Six

Badly hurt and barely holding onto his presence in the material world, the Herald ran for the ridge, but the Helbrute was already ahead of him. Having spied the factory-crawler in the distance, the Helbrute had made the decision to ignore the plight of its Lord and instead go for a far meatier target.


The last Poxwalker, somehow avoiding a hail of fire from the Marines Errant, and the remaining Plaguebearers continued to stumble towards the factory-crawler, thwarting the plans of the Marines to dispatch them quickly. The Lord of Contagion, realising he might now be in actual trouble, swung his axe in huge arcs, sending Assault Marines flying as their own blows simply rained off his armour.


Seeing they were outmatched, the Assault Squad fired their jump packs and fled from the Lord, opening the way for the Assault Terminators. Cutting through the Cataphractii Armour like it was butter, their Lightning Claws put an end to the Lord of Contagion.

The last Poxwalker was finally gunned down by Tactical Marines, but the last Plaguebearer proved to be astonishingly resilient as it continued its march.


Round Seven

The Helbrute departed the battlefield, its long strides quickly closing range to the factory-crawler. Seeing this, the Marines Errant realised that they would have to destroy every remaining warrior of Nurgle, daemonic and mortal, if they were to protect the factory-crawler – and they would have to do it quickly.

The last Plaguebearer was run down by the Assault Squad, while a hastily aimed Krak Missile flew across the battlefield and blasted apart the Herald before he could reach the safety of the ridge.


Seeing he was clearly next, the Plaguecaster blasted a Terminator apart with a bolt of filth, then surrounded himself with a Miasma. Soon enough, the Assault Terminators crested the lip of the crater he was skulking in, and charged.

Lightning Claws pierced the Plaguecaster’s armour, but he lashed out with his staff and crushed the helmet of another Terminator. Looking over their heads, the Plaguecaster could see the factory-crawler being torn apart and, judging his mission to be successful, used the power of the Warp to teleport himself away to safety.



Another close battle!

The final scores were 9-7 in favour of the Death Guard – that Helbrute leaving towards the end sealed the fate of the Marines Errant, but they worked hard to try to level the scores in the last round.

The new Greater Blight Drones are… okay. Maybe a bit more hardy than the smaller Bloat-Drone, but you really miss the Disgustingly Resilient (here’s hoping for an FAQ on that!). Their weapons are much longer ranged and… okay. Not too hot against Marines in cover, but they hit hard enough once they breach armour.

The multi-layered defences of the Lord of Contagion proved exceptionally tough in this battle, and it was just one really unlucky roll that caused him to take four points of damage from the Assault Squad. Without that, he would have been fighting right to the end!

The Marines Errant biggest issue was probably that they had been stretched too thin trying to cover all bases (the Drones really did not help there, as they are fast!). A single Predator or Land Raider right in the centre of their back line might have really helped (that would be a little hint for James).

However, we are continuing with the Konor campaign, and have something a bit different planned for the next battle!


Review: Blightwar

After waiting for what seems an age, the next installment of the Age of Sigmar storyline has finally arrived – Blightwar, in a great big box set. So, what secrets does it hold..?


Now, one word of warning – I quite got into the storyline behind the Realmgate Wars, so I come to Blightwar wanting to like it.

That said, the first impression of the box set is that it is… light. It is one of GW’s big £95 box sets and it really lacks the heft of something like Dark Imperium, being more akin in feel to Execution Force and games of that ilk.

You just don’t get the feeling that you need a pack mule to get the thing home, you know?

Still, opening up the box, you can see it is filled to the brim with plastic models.


Split between Stormcasts and Daemons of Nurgle, most of these models you have seen before (not classing that as a bad thing at all, as those Nurgle daemons will be joining my Death Guard this weekend!). However, there are two brand new models, thus far exclusive to this box set. First up is the first female Stormcast we have seen, Neave Blacktalon:


Followed by the snail-riding champion of Nurgle, Horticulous Slimux:


You also get a Cycle of Corruption wheel, which I will come back to in a minute. Please forgive the meaty paw in the photo, but I wanted to get across the size of this wheel – you are not going to lose it in your box of counters and dice!


Finally, the Blightwar book itself – for me, the most important part of this box set, as this is the start of a new cycle in the Age of Sigmar storyline.

First impressions? Well, if you got used to the giant hardbacks that made up the Realmgate Wars series, it feels light. In fact, if you remember the softback you got in the original Age of Sigmar starter, it still feels light.


Blightwar is a 40 page saddle-stitched (stapled) book – however, what is important is content, so we dive in…

The first handful of pages are a general introduction to the Mortal Realms (this is the war, the Realmgate Wars were a thing, these are Stormcasts, etc). This is fair enough, as Blightwar is intended as a starter set of sorts (though you now have a fair selection of starters for Age of Sigmar, and 40k seems to be going that way as well).


You then get the preamble to the Blightwar, starting with how Nurgle fared (not brilliantly, letting Alarielle slip through his fingers) in the Realmgate Wars, and how he decided what he would do next. In a nutshell, Nurgle believes he was way too selfish when he fixated on the Realm of Life – there were beings all over the Mortal Realms just desperate to receive his blessings.


So, summoning his Grand Cultivator (Horticulous Slimux), Nurgle sent his hordes across all the Realms, tainting sites of magical power to bring forth his own Garden.


The two lead characters in this part of the story (Horticulous and Blacktalon) get their own write-ups in the standard ‘unit’ style. It is suggested that Horticulous might be the first daemon Nurgle ever created, and he is the preeminent expert on spreading the Garden of Nurgle.


Neave Blacktalon, on the other hand, is the first of the Knights-Zephyros to appear, assigned to the Vanguard Chambers to basically act as an assassin in battle – they pick a target, then race ahead to destroy it.

Funnily enough, while you get a good sense of who Horticulous is and what he is like, you don’t really get a good feeling of what Neave is like as a person, other than being bloody hard.

There is a two page introduction to the Blightwar itself, depicting Neave and her Vanguard Rangers (the Shadowhammers) chasing down Horticulous across the realms. They finally track him to Ghur (Realm of Beasts) where he seems to be heading to one of Sigmar’s cities, Excelsis.

Cue big fights.

There are three Battleplans that showcase this fight, starting with Rearguard Strike which has the Stormcasts falling upon the trailing host of the Nurgle force, and culminating with The Great Sowing where the Stormcasts finally corner Horticulous in a final showdown.


In the past, such Battleplans were presented on three pages, preceded by 4-6 pages of story that set up the fight. This time round, perhaps because of the limited space in this book, you get one page of story and one for the Battleplan itself. And you know what, GW? If this is indeed the new format for story-based Battleplans… I am okay with it. There is just enough information (once you consider the general overview that comes before) to make the battle mean something rather than just getting a collection of random models to fight.

I quite like it, especially if it means we will see more story-based battles rather than standalone Battleplans.

Oh, and there are no set forces in these Battleplans – while they obviously revolve around the contents of the box set, there is no reason you cannot really go overboard with both Stormcasts and Nurgle daemons if you already have the models.


The latter half of the book is devoted to rules, and the first thing you come across are the Allegiance Abilities of Stormcasts and Nurgle. These just cover the Battle Traits (so no Command Traits or Artefacts), but fans of Nurgle will not be too unhappy as they now get Cycle of Corruption.


If you lose the wheel that comes with this set, it is reprinted in the book, and basically Nurgle forces get a new effect applied every round, ranging from everyone getting healed to bonuses to wound rolls – I don’t think there are any bum notes struck here, and Nurgle generals will be able to predict what is coming next and plan accordingly.


Warscrolls are provided for all units in the box set, along with two new Battalions. Blacktalon’s Stormhammers move a bit faster when they are close to their leader, and gain bonuses to hit rolls when they charge a unit that has already been shot up.

The Fecund Rituculturalists re-roll hits when they are close to Horticulous and can grow new Plaguebearers every round.

Finally, Pitched Battle profiles for all the units in the set, including the two characters and the Battalion.


So, is it all worth it?

I think that will depend on whether you want/need the models. £95 is a lot (too much) if you are just wanting to continue the Sigmar storyline. However, if you want to continue the storyline and want a Nurgle and Stormcast force… yeah, sure. It is not a brilliant set by any means, but it is solid. Even if you are just after one of the forces and are looking to pass on or sell the rest, it remains solid.

I think the best I can say is that, for me personally, I like the story as presented (as short as it may be), will be using Neave and all the Nurgle Daemons in my existing forces, and consider my appetite suitably whetted for the next installment of the Blightwar which, I very much hope, will be a nice juicy hardback I can sink my teeth into.


Space Wolf Recon Squad and Geigor Fellhand

Two small but effective units for the Heresy-era Space Woofs today – Geigor Fellhand from the Prospero box set and a Forge World Recon Squad…


When I started doing the Horus Heresy armies, I figured that (after the two box sets) I would be spending a fair bit of time messing around with resin models, which did not thrill me a great deal. I am quite happy working with resin for larger vehicles and terrain, but for entire squads with lots of fiddly pieces? Not a brilliant time.


However, the Recon guys were okay – though they are just a five man squad, and I have two ten-man squads of Grey Slayers coming up, so perhaps I ought to reserve full judgement until then…

These guys are dead easy to paint, with no gold lining other than around the exposed shoulder pads, and dark cloaks covering a lot of the model. In the Space Woofs colour scheme, they end up looking suitably drab, which is just what you want from a Recon Squad!


For Geigor Fellhand, I pretty much followed the Prospero Painting Guide, and he turned out better than I had thought he would, particularly around the face. I thought his armour might end up a bit messy, due to the very thin gold lining but, again, better than I had expected!

I had hoped to also get a whole bunch of Primaris Marines done and dusted, but they will follow a little later this week, and next up will be a Space Woof Tactical Squad in MkIII armour (which will also mark the completion of all the Heresy plastics from the two box sets). However, this coming weekend is being set aside for the Nurgle daemons from the forthcoming Blightwar box set…

Greater Blight Drones of Nurgle

I actually polished these three models off yesterday, but I held off making this post until now, as I had a battle against James earlier today and intended to use them… and he keeps an eye on my Facebook page. He just loves it when I use the smaller Foetid Bloat-Drone (something to do with it almost wiping out his Tactical Squad with one shot the first time it appeared) and, obviously, him seeing these bigger versions before the actual battle would have ruined his voyage of discovery…


Naturally, just adding one to the Death Guard would not have been sufficient, and would have lacked a certain… impact. So, I did three.

These guys are just a point more than the Bloat-Drone and while their main weapon is probably not quite as good, they are a little tougher and regenerate every round. Which will please James, I have absolutely no doubt.


Painting-wise… despite being a Forge World model, they were a piece of cake, if anything even easier than the smaller plastic Bloat-Drone. Standard Death Guard green and metal all round, a diseased flesh underbody, then a bit of brass. Simples!

Now, while these three guys hitting the battlefield will look all kinds of impressive, I have seen this week that a new Bloat-Drone kit will be coming out. Assuming I pick up a couple of those (and why not, eh?), that is going to be a total of six drones of various stripes roaming the battlefield.

James’ delight will be absolute.

General’s Handbook 2017 & Open War Cards

When the last General’s Handbook hit the shelves it marked a true shift in Age of Sigmar and how the game was played – will the dual release of the General’s Handbook 2017 and the Open War card deck have the same effect again?

It is time for us to see…


I’ll say one thing before kicking off… this book is packed with cool things to do in the Age of Sigmar and if it is any indication of how GW will shake things up on a yearly basis for the game (and for 40k, with their similar Chapter Approved book), then the future is looking very bright for Warhammer players of any ilk.


As expected, the book is divided into the three styles of play; Open, Narrative, and Matched Play. It starts off with Open Play, which most players are just going to skip over – but wait! As well as the general mash-up most players seem to think Open Play is (it really does not need to be that way!), the new GHB introduces some variants that are, in the very least, interesting.

For example, using the Open War cards (scroll down for the review on them), you can construct an Open War campaign with the winner of each battle able to influence the direction the campaign goes in. That might be worth a real look.

There is also ideas for Open War Tournaments – I am less enamoured with that as I am not sure Open Play and tournaments really mix. Still, it is there if you want a swing at it.


Open Play also embraces Triumph & Treachery which, having played at the T&T event at GW HQ, I can thoroughly recommend. More than just a multiplayer game, T&T actively encourages you to make alliances, bribe opponents, and then treacherously turn against them throughout a battle. Get four or five people all doing that round the same table, and you have a real battle on your hands!

This is done through the use of Treachery Points that are accrued through the game and then spent to nobble your opponents through acts like bribing enemy wizards not to cast spells, placing a turncoat in an enemy unit, or placing a booby trap in front of a unit about to charge…


GW then go one step further… Triumph & Treachery campaigns. This plays just like the map campaign of the first GHB but with more treachery. That kind of campaign is going to be chaotic in the extreme, but it has to be a lot of fun, and will suit less serious (more fun!) players nicely.

That concludes the Open War section and then we launch into Narrative Play – and I am all about the Narrative Play, as regular readers will know. There are a few pages on forging a narrative and building themed armies… which is okay, but the first real meat comes in the form of new Time of War sheets that now cover each of the Mortal Realms.


This is useful (I could certainly have used it during the Realmgate Wars), though there is a lot that will be familiar when playing in Aqshy or Ghyran – if you have used Time of War sheets, you have seen many of the rules presented here before. That said, we have our first real look at rules for Shyish, Hysh and Ulgu, which I will certainly be pulling out in forthcoming games.

We then get six Battleplans intended for Narrative Play… and they are all pulled from the Realmgate Wars books. That was disappointing, and I am trying hard not to use the word ‘filler’.  However, we then get a definite plus in the form of siege battles.


Now, don’t expect anything too complicated here – this is Age of Sigmar, and counting up ‘tunnelling points’ as you try to undermine an enemy wall would not have been the way to go. Instead, GW have adopted a system based upon the siege in the Realmgate Wars – however, rather than just lifting the simple matrix system, they have built upon it. You still focus on starving, battering or tunnelling (if you are the attacker), but the effects of each are now more varied, so even if you concentrate you starving your enemy out, you may till have some success on battering down their walls.


Two Battleplans are provided so you can start your siege immediately.

By this time, we are less than half way through the book, and now it turns to Matched Play, the bulk of the General’s Handbook.


There do not seem to be too many changes to the actual core of Matched Play, though there are two new Rules of One (you cannot re-roll or modify the dice roll to determine who starts each battle round – bad news for Seraphon – and no Artefact can be taken twice in an army).

You also have the rules for Allies in your force, which basically allow you to bypass Battlefield roles to take a small detachment within your army – so, if you have always wanted to add a couple of Gargants to your otherwise ‘pure’ Ironjawz, it is now a simple matter. A great move to inject some variety and get new models on the table without having to build a full force around them.


There are also six new Battleplans intended for Matched Play. This I like, having a new set of Battleplans for tournaments every year (that is how they are going to get used, after all), meaning even competitive play will not be static. There are already well over 100 Battleplans for Age of Sigmar and in a few years time, that number will increase to a truly ungodly amount!


The Pitched Battle profiles (the points for units) have all been updated – it looks like just the current range is included (I hear rumours that the old ‘compendium’ forces will still be ‘legal, just removed to a download – which is great, as that leaves more room for everything else in this book), but older ‘direct only’ models are still there, such as the Orruk Warboss on Wyvern.

One brilliant little touch on these pages are those stars next to certain (many!) units. This denotes something has changed since the last GHB and that, frankly, is a mark of genius on the part of the designers (really simple things can be genius because the rest of us miss them…). If you want to know if anything has changed for your favourite unit, there is no need to sit down with both books and cross-reference everything, it has all been done for you.


There is also just one Warscroll update, for the Grundstok Thunderers. This is nice as it goes, but I cannot help thinking that the GHB is not the place for this – think a few years ahead, and these Warscrolls could really start crowding out other material, when they would be far better placed as downloads… like every other Warscroll.

Finally, we get into the new Allegiance stuff. Every Grand Alliance is represented, as before, though there have been some small tweaks (don’t worry, Destruction players, Battle Brew is still there). What is new is that the small alliances are now represented – not all of them (perhaps more will appear in GHB 2018?), but enough to get you going and you do, of course, still have the Grand Alliance to build upon.

For example, Clans Pestilens and Skryre now have their own Allegiance abilities, but Verminus does not.


There is always going to be someone who gets missed out with this approach, but I don’t think there will be too many glum faces, especially as a force like the Free Peoples get attention…

One of my favourites, the Seraphon, have this treatment, and all you lizard guys will not be disappointed – you can now teleport any unit across the table and unbind spells regardless of range… This is on top of Commmand traits, which are specific to Slann, Saurus and Skink, and new Artefacts (the Coronal Shield, which blinds enemy units, has potential, but I think a lot of people will lock firmly on the Prism of Amyntok and take advantage of the D3 mortals it kicks out during movement phases…).


Not enough for you lizard players? Well, have a couple of new Warscroll Battalions as well. Not every allegiance gets these, but there are enough scattered about to keep things interesting. The personalities in the Battalions will be familiar to anyone following the Realmgate Wars storylines and though they take the form of the ‘mega-battalions’ that have appeared in past Battletomes, the required models are not too onerous at all. The Fangs of Sotek is a nice addition to boost a Carnosaur, especially when added to the abilities of the other Starhosts within the Battalion, but the Dracothion’s Tail might be worth a look – if someone can ‘figure’ this Battalion out for tournaments, summoning might be a real thing.


As I said earlier, if GW can keep reinvigorating their games by these yearly books, I think they are onto a winner. Even if they release a ‘bum’ year book, you will only have a few months for things to change again rather than waiting years for a whole new edition. What is even better is that, points aside, this GHB does not really replace the old one, so they can build into a full library of ‘cool things to do in Warhammer’ over the years (that does not apply to Matched Play so much but if you chose to be a competitive only player, well, that is your look out – you are missing out on a lot!).

When GW talk about ‘game changing, again’, they actually mean it. This book is more of an evolution than the last GHB, but it is building on solid foundations and is all the better for it. At £20 for 160 pages, the GHB 2017 gets a big thumbs up.


Open War

The Open War card deck comes in GW’s new style ‘cigarette packet, like those of the recent 40k card decks.


The rules to use them come, predictably, on the first card, but the rules take up four sides – now, it would have been very easy (and, indeed, lazy) for GW to simply print them on two cards but, instead, they made a little ‘gatefold’ card instead. A tiny touch, but a nice one.


When using the cards, you divide them up into five decks; Deployment, Objectives, Twist, Ruses and Sudden Death. Draw a card from the first three decks, and you have a Battleplan all set and ready to go!

You then count up Wounds in your armies. If one player has more, his opponent draws a Ruses card. If he has more than twice the Wounds, his opponent also draws a Sudden Death card.

There is a great deal of variety here – the Objectives cards create the victory conditions, and they can be as obvious as placing objective markers, to King Slayer, which gets players to count out the Wounds they dish out, doubling their score if they nobble the enemy general.


Twists create adverse conditions players must either get around or find someway to use to their benefit. Dead of Night, for example, limits the range of all spells and attacks, while Battle Frenzy boosts all melee attacks.

Ruses are used to boost weaker armies, and basically represent inspired tactics like Outflanking an army or bringing in Reinforcements (recycling a dead unit). If an army is really outclassed, it can used Sudden Death cards to focus all their efforts on a single objective to immediately win the battle – Assassinate allows you to destroy the highest Wound Hero or Monster in order to win, while Endure simply means you need just one model on the table at the end of the fifth round.

Assuming you can avoid the real twits in your group (five Bloodthirster man) who just want to win at all costs, I think this is a great little system for pick up games. There is plenty of variety in this card deck, and there is no reason why any two games should repeat themselves, a hallmark of Age of Sigmar.

GW have avoided printing the text too small (unlike their recent Warscroll cards – grrrr!) and, at just a tenner, I don’t think you can go wrong…

The Thousand Sons Swell

I managed to complete one unit for the Thousand Sons this weekend, plus add another…


The Tactical Squad is a bit of a cheat, as I had already done the first ten – I was going to add another Tactical Squad to the army (making for a total of three) but I had just given the Space Woofs a Caestus so thought it only fair that the Thousand Sons respond by being able to overwhelm enemy squads.


I am getting quite quick at painting these guys and, with two Tactical Squads, the Thousand Sons are now ready to fight, albeit in small battles.


Then there is the Contemptor – the Space Woofs already have one of their own and I could not resist getting hold of one of the Thousand Sons-pattern Contemptors. I was a bit nervous about whether my lacquering method would work on larger flat surfaces without ‘pooling’ but, as it turned out, things went well. The next challenge will be to try it on a ‘proper’ vehicles such as a Predator or Land Raider (though I have a feeling the Thousand Sons will be getting a Xiphon or two to counter the Space Wolfs’ Caestus…).


Next up for the Heresy will be a couple more units for the Space Woofs, which I will hopefully polish off this week – then it is back to the Primaris and Death Guard for a bit…

Fate of Konor: Seek and Destroy

We are carrying on with the Fate of Konor campaign, and upping the ante a bit with larger forces. The Death Guard have spread throughout the worlds of the Imperium and have made a convincing grab for the main world of the system, the Capital World of Konor itself.  After bombarding the cities, the Death Guard have moved in but now the Marines Errant are going to try to throw them off the planet.



We are using 80 point forces for this battle, so some of the larger units are starting to appear.

Death Guard (Battalion)
Lord of Contagion (Tenacious)
Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Gift of Contagion)
Poxwalkers x 20
Plague Marines x 7 (Power Fist, Plasma Gun)
Chaos Cultists x 10 (Heavy Stubber)
Foetid Bloat-Drone
Helbrute (Multi-Melta)
Helbrute (Twin Lascannon, Thunder Hammer)

Daemons of Nurgle (Patrol)
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma of Pestilence)
Plaguebearers x 20 (Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos)
Soul Grinder (Mark of Nurgle)

Well, the forces of Nurgle have not been mucking about on Konor – they have clearly been using the manufactorums to build a Soul Grinder and get a couple of rickety old Helbrutes fully functional. They will be going into battle with a primarily defensive mindset, though they are expecting to contend with teleporting Terminators and Assault Marines dropping from the sky, and the Helbrutes and Soul Grinder will be tasked with going after the inevitable Devastator Squads.

Marines Errant
Chaplain with Jump Pack
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher, Flamer)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Venerable Dreadnought (Twin Lascannon, Power Fist)
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)
Assault Squad (Sergeant with Lightning Claws)
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)

The Marines Errant are going infantry heavy, with just the Venerable Dreadnought for heavy armour. However, they also have an awful lot of missile launchers, and so carry a big punch!


Mission: Seek and Destroy

In Seek and Destroy, the Death Guard are the defenders and will see the Marines Errant advance upon their positions within a shattered city. Victory Points are earned for destroying enemy units (double points if the attacking unit has an unmodified save of 2+ or 3+) and the enemy Warlord. In addition, the Death Guard get a bonus point if they have any models in their deployment zone at the end of the battle.

The mission itself has two new Stratagems for the Marines Errant – Tighten the Noose allows them to move reserve units on from any table edge, while Unstoppable Assault grants a unit a +1 bonus to both charge rolls and saves. The Death Guard can Hunker Down, which gives a unit the benefit of cover even if they are out in the open.

The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Ablative Painting) that allows an infantry unit to ignore unsaved wounds on a 5+. Which, for Death Guard who already have Disgustingly Resilient, is funny…



The Death Guard took up firing positions within the ruins they had captured, the Cultists holding far back in a dilapidated Sanctum while Plaguebearers stumbled forward in full view, unworried due to the clouds of flies shielding them from view. Everyone one deployed within the ruined Manufactorum with the exception of the Helbrutes and Soul Grinder who were further back, taking advantage of their long-ranged weaponry.


The Marines Errant had scant cover but the Devastator Squad took full advantage of a nearby building while the three Tactical Squads, under the watchful eyes of a Chaplain, began their advance towards the Death Guard. Just behind them, in a ruined shrine, the Venerable Dreadnought began picking out targets. It seemed a small force to retake the Manufactorum, and the Lord of Contagion warned his Plague Marines to keep on the look out for Thunderhawks dropping Assault Squads directly into battle, as well as teleporting Terminators.


Round One

Seeing movement in the ruins of the Manufactorum, the Marines Errant came to a complete halt and, as one, raised their weapons. At the command of the Chaplain, a hail of fire blow chunks of masonry off the ruins as Bolters and Missile Launchers created a tempest of destruction.

When the smoke cleared, only a single Plague Marine had fallen to the ground, while the Venerable Dreadnought had scored a glancing hit on the Bloat-Drone with its Lascannon. The Marines Errant Chaplain felt a moment of dismay as he realised the poor effect of the co-ordinated fire – then the forces of Nurgle began flooding out of the ruins towards the marines.


Shuffling their way forward, the hordes were spearheaded by the Plaguebearers, while a large unit of Poxwalkers began the slow march to flank the Marines Errant. A Miasma of filth began to swirl around the Plaguebearers and Soul Grinder as the Plaguecaster and Herald of Nurgle clothed them in the diseased power of the Warp, though the Plaguecaster found himself beating off the attentions of a Daemonette that followed his manipulation of the aether.

The return fire of the Death Guard was no more impressive than that of the Marines Errant, as Devastator Squad hunkered down under the bombardment of the Soul Grinder while the shrine proved more than adequate cover to disrupt the Lascannon of the Helbrute as it tried to target Venerable Dreadnought


Round Two

The Tactical Squads jogged forward, bringing the Plaguebearers into short range while, with a scream of engines, a Thunderhawk flew overhead. In its wake, an Assault Squad dropped to the battlefield, right in the path of the Poxwalkers. Bolt Pistols blazing, the Assault Marines dropped four of the plague zombies to the ground but were too far away to follow up with a determined charge.


The Tactical Squads massed their firepower and poured bolter shells into the Plaguebearers but the combination of clouds of flies and the Miasma meant few rounds found their targets, and even with 30 Marines working together, only three Plaguebearers were sent back to the Warp.

The Miasma surrounding the Soul Grinder was having a similar effect on the Devastator Squad, and only a single missile impacted the daemonic machine, barely scratching it.

Sensing an opportunity, the forces of Nurgle raced for the Tactical Squads, the Bloat-Drone floating over the roof of the Manufactorum to support the Plaguebearers, even as the Poxwalkers stumbled towards the Assault Squad.


Long ranged fire from the Plague Marines still taking cover within the Manufactorum accounted for a couple of Tactical Marines, while the Plaguecaster and Herald maintained the coverage of Miasma upon the Plaguebearers and Soul Grinder.

The Marines Errant intensified their fire as the Plaguebearers loomed nearer, but even as the first Plague Sword was swung, no more daemons were destroyed. Putting on a sudden burst of speed, one of the Helbrutes crashed into the side of a Tactical Squad, and the Chaplain knew his Marines were in trouble.


Four Tactical Marines were crushed in an instant by the maddened Helbrute, and another was gutted by a Plaguebearer. The Tactical Marines fought hard, dispatching four daemons with combat knives and fists, but the Helbrute threatened to overwhelm them and their whole line began to break.

Further away, the Poxwalkers reached the Assault Squad and, though completely outclassed, they managed to drag two Marines to the ground. Infected by a hist of Nurgle’s diseases, those Marines began to climb back onto their feet, reaching out to swipe at their former brothers, but the Assault Squad ruthlessly cut them down, and more Poxwalkers besides.


Surveying the battlefield, the Chaplain knew his Marines had killed not nearly enough of the Death Guard to guarantee victory, and he was all too aware that the Lord of Contagion lurked in the ruins…


Round Three

The Chaplain barked an order and, in a well-practised drill, the Tactical Squads broke contact with the Plaguebearers, Bloat-Drone and Helbrute, and retreated a few paces before raising their weapons.


Another four Plaguebearers fell to their Bolters, but hurriedly aimed missiles simply bounced off the Helbrute’s thick armour, and it was not until the Devastator Squad trained their warheads on it that it began to take noticeable damage. Though grateful for the support, the Tactical Marines cursed as reality shifted just a fraction, and three Plaguebearers popped back into existence.


While the Assault Squad was halting the advance of the Poxwalkers, there was nothing holding the opposite flank, dominated as it was by the Soul Grinder and a second Helbrute. A teleporting Terminator Squad flashed into existence to remedy this, led by another Chaplain.


The Chaplain was disorientated by the sudden teleport, but the Assault Terminators took it in their stride, sighted the nearest Helbrute, and charged.


Their Lightning Claws proved superior to the Helbrute’s armour, and they ripped several armour plates from the mechanised beast, exposing critical systems to further attack. Taken by surprise, the Helbrute reeled under the assault, flailing with its massive hammer to catch one Terminator with a glancing blow.

Meanwhile, the Assault Squad had recovered from the initial attacks of the Poxwalkers and set about ruthlessly dispatching them with Chainswords and Bolt Pistols. Diseased flesh flew in all directions, until there was just a single Poxwalker left.


The Plague Marines kept up their fire, their Plasma Gun boiling another Tactical Marine within his power armour. Enacting another practised drill, the Tactical Squads took a defensive stance as the Helbrute was joined by the Lord of Contagion. Constantly giving ground, they nevertheless managed to save all but two Tactical Marines from the terrible assault.

Further down the street, the Soul Grinder bellowed as it saw an easy target in the puny Terminators swiping chunks out of the second Helbrute.


The Terminators reacted to the massive machine quickly, with only one being two slow to avoid the gargantuan Warp Sword, but they were driven into the waiting hammer of the Helbrute who crushed two more flat.


Round Four

The Marines Errant had sustained serious casualties but all of their squads, so far, remained intact. If they could just deliver a series of telling blows, they might stand a chance of breaking the Death Guard attack. once more, the Tactical Squads fell back, trading ground for the chance to keep shooting.


A missile from one of the Tactical Squads found a weak point in the Helbrute’s armour and the crazed machine detonated, a dark mushroom cloud rising into the sky to mark its last position. The Marines then turned their attention to the Lord of Contagion, and black smoke billowed around the Chaos champion as missiles, Bolters and grenades were all hurled at him. The Devastator Squad joined in the attack, Bolters supporting the four Missile Launchers that had switched to Krak warheads.


When the firing ceased, the Marines Errant were dismayed to see the Lord of Contagion still striding purposefully towards them, completely unhurt. Crying out a prayer to the Emperor, the Chaplain raised his Corzius and led one of the Tactical Squads in a charge, intent on decapitating the leadership of the Death Guard.

Try as they might, the Tactical Marines could not breach the Cataphractii Terminator Armour of the Lord of Contagion, and even the Chaplian’s Crozius bounced harmlessly off it. Grinning behind his helmet, the Lord of Contagion hefted his mighty axe and split the Chaplain in two.

The second Chaplain, seeing the Soul Grinder and Helbrute were more than capable of defeating the Terminators and taking their flank, ignited his jump pack to reach the Lord of Contagion, but he was far too late to save his brother Marine.


Having slain the first Chaplain, the Lord of Contagion started to hum a merry tune as he turned his attention to the Tactical Squad, quickly reaping two of them in the name of Grandfather Nurgle.

Having finished off the Terminators, the Helbrute and Soul Grinder resumed their advance down the main street in front of the Manufactorum, their weapons booming as they strode.


Its six mechanical legs skittering, leaving deep scars in the rockcrete of the road, the Soul Grinder moved with unholy speed, easily catching up to the last Chaplain as he tried to escape to the Marines Errant main line. Once more, the Warpsword was swung, and there was a blinding flash of light as the energy field of the Chaplain’s Rosarius burned off the energy of the attack. However, it could do nothing for the inertia of the Soul Grinder, and the Chaplain was knocked flying.


Closer to the Manufactorum, the Assault Squad had taken cover, hoping to surprise the Plague Marines inside – however, they had already been spotted.


The Plague Marines piled out of the ruins, gunning two Assault Marines down as the Plaguecaster used the power of Smite to destroy another. Following up this attack with a charge, the leader of the Plague Marines crushed another with his Power Fist, for the loss of only one of his men.

The Marines Errant had fought well and dealt a great deal of damage to the Death Guard, but the army of Nurgle still had its most powerful units fully functional, and the Marines were beginning to run out of chances.


Round Five

Across the Marines Errant line, squads were running. The Assault Squad gunned their jump packs and leapt towards the Tactical Squads, seeking support, while the Chaplain led the controlled rout from the Soul Grinder and Lord of Contagion.


The Tactical Squads once again massed their fire against the Lord of Contagion and, once again, he grinned happily as Bolter shells ricocheted harmlessly off his armour and flames washed over him. Then a krak missile found its mark, detonating between plates in the Lord’s armour and badly wounded him. He was not grinning any longer and, hefting his axe, he prepared to make the Tactical Squads pay for their temerity.

Seeing the Soul Grinder getting far too close for comfort, the Devastator Squad trained their missiles at it, but cursed as it brushed past every exploding warhead.

Seeing their talents needed nearer the crumbling line of the Marines Errant, the Plaguecaster and Herald of Nurgle both left the cover of the Manufactorum to support the attack. Combining their power, they hurled bolts of enervating energy at the surviving members of the Assault Squad, killing them instantly.


The Soul Grinder rumbled forward towards the ruined building the Devastator Squad had taken shelter in and, reaching up with its massive claw, plucked two Marines out of cover before crushing them. Behind it, the Helbrute rushed into a Tactical Squad, killing another two Marines, while the Lord of Contagion saw the Chaplain directing the Marines Errant – and charged.

The Chaplain fought bravely, and once again his Rosarius flashed as it diverted the axe, but Lord of Contagion quickly reversed his swing and dealt the Chaplain a terrible wound. Fighting the pain as his blood drenched the street, the Chaplain swung his Crosius with all the strength he could muster and the Marines Errant cheered as the Lord of Contagion crashed to the ground.


Round Six

Once again, the Marines Errant were forced to pull back, the Devastator Squad retreating further into their ruins in an effort to escape the attention of the Soul Grinder. One Tactical Squad let loose a missile that destroyed the last Helbrute, but the fire of the others simply bounced off the Soul Grinder.

Combining their power once again, the Herald and Plaguecaster drained the life out of four Tactical Marines, before the Plague Marines shot another two. Turning its attention away from the skulking Devastators, the Soul Grinder vented its rage upon the Chaplain and two surviving Marines from one of the Tactical Squads, but the Marines were quick and ducked under its blows. Only when it strode forward to pin one of them to the road with a leg did a Marine fall.


Round Seven

Though they had shattered the Death Guard force, the Marines Errant were far from safe and, once again, they were forced to pull back. The walls of the ruined Shrine were shattered as the Venerable Dreadnought strode out into the street trailing dust and crumbling masonry as marched towards the Plague Marines.


The remaining Tactical Marines concentrated their fire on the Plague Marines, but their armour and natural resilience kept them safe from Bolters, grenades, missiles, and even the heavy weapons of the Dreadnought.

The Chaplain had taken cover in the same ruins as the Devastator Squad, directing them to destroy the Soul Grinder. A series of krak missiles buried themselves into the machine’s torso before detonating, blasting the Soul Grinder apart. Secondary explosions from its daemonic power source ignited, and a might detonation tore across the street and blasted the ruins. The Tactical Sergeant facing the Soul Grinder stood no chance, and the Chaplain was buried under tons of rubble as the Devastator Squad scrambled for firm footing.

The Plaguecaster and Herald turned their attentions to the last Tactical Squads, but their energy was waning and only a couple of Tactical Marines were robbed of life.


The leader of the Plague Marines continued to battle against Tactical Marines and the Venerable Dreadnought, but the fight was done and he had no support. The few survivors of the Death Guard retreated from the battlefield, but the Marines Errant had barely enough Marines left to hold the ground they had taken. Forced to wait for reinforcements before moving into the Manufactorum, they could only watch as the Death Guard escaped.



The Death Guard just run out of puff at the end! The final score of 19-11 makes for a convincing victory for the Marines Errant, but it could so easily have gone the other way Going into the last couple of rounds, there was just a four point gap between them and if the Smite barrage had done more damage, and if the Soul Grinder had managed to flatten a couple of units before returning to the Devastators… if, if if….

Though I should point out that, with the Cultists who had stayed within the Sanctum for the entire battle, the Death Guard did actually outnumber the Marines Errant at the end!

The Death Guard might have done better if they had holed up in their deployment zone and brought the Marines Errant forward, but they had to do something about those Missile Launchers (they were bound to hit something at some point…), and the Plaguebearers were always going to form a nice ‘bridge’ to tie up the Tactical Squads, allowing the Lord of Contagion and Helbrutes to follow up with few distractions.

Still, the Death Guard should have some decent supporting units before the fight for the Konor system is over, so stay tuned…