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.

 

Armies

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
Chaplain
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…

 

Deployment

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Conclusion

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…

Fate of Konor: Invasion!

We are a bit behind the curve on our Fate of Konor games, but we figured we would weigh in as the Death Guard invade Ultramar. Astaramis is being defended by the Marines Errant as Plague Marines, Poxwalkers, and Cultists all crash down upon their lines, ably assisted by a few Daemons of Nurgle.

 

Armies

We  just used small 60-point forces (Power Ratings, heresy!) for a short afternoon’s worth of play, and I decided to forgo the most powerful units to take a small horde-ish ‘comedy’ force.

Army of Nurgle (Battalion)
Lord of Contagion (Tenacious)
Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Gift of Contagion)
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma of Pestilence)
Plague Marines x 7 (Power Fist, Plasma Gun)
Poxwalkers x 20
Chaos Cultists x 20
Plaguebearers x 20 (Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos)
Nurglings
Foetid Bloat-Drone

We are going with a fair horde here, with 70 models racing across the battlefield to invade Astaramis. The Plaguecaster and Herald will be using Miasma of Pestilence during the advance to keep the Plaguebearers who will be at a -2 to be hit!) and something else relatively safe, which the Bloat-Drone will be buzzing about because I know how much the Marines Errant player likes to see it in an army (!).

Marines Errant
Chaplain
Tactical Squad
Tactical Squad
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)
Assault Squad (Sergeant with Lightning Claws)
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)

With the ability to use cover all round, this looks like the perfect defensive force for the Marines Errant.

 

Mission: Invasion!

We are using the Invasion! mission from the Fate of Konor campaign which sees the Death Guard pounding towards the Marines Errant who have deployed in defensive positions. Victory is based on victory points – the Marines Errant get a point for every unit they destroy, while the Death Guard gain one for every unit in the defender’s deployment zone at the end of the battle. Both sides get a point for the enemy Warlord.

The mission itself has two new Stratagems – the Death Guard can charge with a unit that advanced (that will certainly get used!), while the Marines Errant can use Suppressing Fire for more accurate Overwatch that also slows attackers down.

The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Inspired Tactics) that increases a Warlord’s aura abilities by 3″.

 

Deployment

The bulk of the Death Guard advanced towards the ruins occupied by the Marines Errant through forests already starting to wilt from the pestilence of the invaders. Ever wary of Astartes trickery, the leaders of the Death Guard stayed close to their minions, a careful eye on the sky to watch for sudden attacks by Assault Marines.

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For their part, the Marines Errant hunkered down in any ruin or behind any barricade they could find, the Devastator and two Tactical Squads looking pitifully small compared to the advancing horde.

 

Round One

The Marines Errant were expecting the Death Guard attack and reacted immediately as soon as they detected movement in front of them. The Tactical Squads repositioned themselves slightly to tighten their defence and unleashed a hail of bolter fire into the stumbling Poxwalkers, knocking down six of them as the Devastator Squad, positioned high within a ruined building, ravaged the swamp in front of them, annihilating the Nurglings there with frag missiles.

This did not deter the Death Guard in the slightest. The Herald of Nurgle manifested a Miasma of Corruption around the Plaguebearers, creating a thick swirl of flies and filth around the daemons that made them almost impossible to see. The Plaguecaster followed suit to shield the Bloat-Drone, then unleashed a powerful bolt of energy that blasted through the power armour of three Tactical Marines huddled behind the closest barricade.

Encouraged by the jocular demands of the Lord of Corruption, every unit except the Plague Marines ran forward, eager to get to grips with the Marines Errant.

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The Plague Marines provided covering fire from the safety of a wood, keeping the heads of the Tactical Squad down long enough for the Poxwalkers to surge forward under the command of their Lord. A single Poxwalker fell to the hurried overwatch fire of the Marines Errant but as the Poxwalkers railed against the barricade, one marine was dragged into the horde and pulled apart, only to rise again as another plague zombie.

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The Chaplain started to chant a battle hymn that galvanised the Tactical Squad and they lashed out with knife, boot and fist, smashing another four Poxwalkers into the ground.

Despite their losses, the Tactical Squad continue to hold the line against the Poxwalker assault.

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Round Two

Not wanting to get bogged down by the Poxwalkers, the Tactical Squad retreated under the direction of the Chaplain. Practicing well-rehearsed bolter drills, the Tactical Squad continued to fire into the Poxwalkers with their bolters, supported by the second Tactical Squad in the building above them. The sheer weight of fire began to have an effect, and another eight Poxwalkers dropped to the ground.

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Descending from the sky on pillars of fire, the Assault Squad entered the battle, dropping right behind the Plaguebearers and Plague Marines, threatening the Lord of Contagion.

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Meanwhile, across the battlefield, the Assault Terminators teleported into the fight, deploying on their left flank to halt the Death Guard advance that had, up to now, been completely unopposed.

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The Terminators sighted the Bloat-Drone, but it was moving too quick for them to intercept, and many of the krak missiles launched at it by the Devastator Squad went wild, their guidance systems fouled by the Miasma that surrounded the daemonic machine. However, one missile flew true, and the Bloat-Drone shuddered as its armour was cracked open.

The Assault Squad quickly got their bearings and unleashed a flurry of fire into the Plaguebearers but, once again, the Miasma and cloud of flies kept Nurgle’s children safe. Seeing that they could not reach the Lord of Contagion, the Assault Marines gunned their jump packs and launched themselves into the Plague Marines lurking within the woods.

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With war cries amplified by their helmet’s voxcasters, the Marines Errant smashed into the Plague Marines, only to find their chainswords and lightning claws skidding off thick power armour and getting lodged uselessly in the diseased and bloated bodies of their enemies. Unimpressed, the Plague Marines cut two Assault Marines down with their Plague Knives, while their leader crushed another with his Power Fist.

The Cultists of Nurgle and Bloat-Drone had no wish to tarry with the Terminators, and so they continued their advance towards the centre of the Marines Errant line, anchored by the two Tactical Squads.

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They were soon joined by the Plaguebearers and, urged on by the Herald, began to climb over the barricades the Marines Errant had been hoping would hold them back. Flies filled the air with their bloated, buzzing bodies, all but completely obscuring the Plaguebearers as the Herald maintained his Miasma upon them.

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The Lord of Contagion found himself torn. On the one hand, he knew he had to advance and his Cataphractii Terminator Armour was not built for running. On the other, their were some Assault Marines very close to him who were just desperate to have their heads sneaked off with his axe. Humming cheerfully to himself, the Lord turned round and closed in on the Assault Squad.

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Though the Assault Squad could see the Lord of Contagion coming, there was little they could do but attempt a solid defence. It was to no avail; the Lord’s axe cleaved through three marines in short order, while the Plague Marines claimed another, effectively shattering the Assault Squad.

The Tactical Squads and Chaplain found themselves coming under serious pressure as well, two of them succumbing to the fountains of filth spewed by the Bloat-Drone.

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This was but a precursor to the assault, as the Plaguebearers clambered over the barricades and stumbled into the Tactical Squad, energised by the close proximity of their Herald.

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Three marines were cut down by their Plague Swords, though the Sergeant managed to dispatch one daemon in return – however, it was too late, as the Sergeant was now the only surviving member of his squad. Seeing the Sergeant waver, the Chaplain dove into the melee, bashing the heads of two Plaguebearers with his Crozius, and intimidating another into fleeing.

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Round Three

Forced to withdraw once again, the Tactical Sergeant ran for the second line of barricades alongside his Chaplain, hoping they could halt the Plaguebearers before they advanced even closer.

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The Chaplain hurled a frag grenade into the mob of Plaguebearers, but blasted apart only a single daemon, while the Tactical Squad on the roof  of a small Administratum building close by unloaded everything they could into the Plaguebearers before they started assaulting their position – unfortunately, even at point blank range, not a single bolter shell found its mark through the Miasma the Herald had conjured.

The Devastator Squad added their weight to stopping the Plaguebearers, but when the smoke from their frag missiles had cleared, only two more daemons had been slain. Things were beginning to look desperate for the Marines Errant.

Hoping to relieve the pressure on the remaining Tactical Marines, the Assault Terminators finally caught up to the Bloat-Drone and charged, but the daemonic machine whirled round and blasted them with both Plaguespitters, the insidious liquid finding its way even through Terminator Armour to melt the flesh of two marines.

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Despite reaching their prey, their Lightning Claws proved inadequate to breach the Bloat-Drones armour, and they were left flailing helplessly as it started to float out of their reach.

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Now it was the turn of the Cultists to clamber over the barricade, unloading a hail of mostly inaccurate fire at the approaching Terminators as they went. The Terminators shrugged off most of the small calibre shells, but one round did make it through their thick armour, and one marine started to limp as he continued to intercept the Nurgle horde.

Seeing this, the Plaguecaster summoned a bolt of energy that finished off the wounded Terminator but he tried to harness the power of the Warp a little too eagerly, and seriously injured himself as a Daemon of Tzeentch momentarily appeared to swipe at him.

As the last of the Assault marines succumbed to Nurgle’s Rot, the Plague Marines tried to support the advance of the Cultists by training their weapons on the Terminators. However, their bolter rounds simply ricocheted off the inches thick armour, and the overcharged Plasma Gun in the squad boiled its wielder.

As the Bloat-Drone smothered one Tactical Marine in the Administratum building with its Plaguespitters, the Plaguebearers shambled forward to attack the Tactical Sergeant and Chaplain.

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Though the two marines managed to hold the Plaguebearers back and dispatched another two, the Chaplain was wounded in the fight.

 

Round Four

Seeing the Plaguebearers beginning to surround them, with Cultists close behind, the Chaplain and Sergeant leapt over the barricade to confront the Herald of Nurgle, even as the last two Terminators moved to face the Cultists.

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Knowing the back of the Nurgle force had to be broken or they would fall, the Marines Errant maintained their constant fire. As the Cultists turned to face the Terminators, the Tactical Squad raked their ranks with bolter fire, killing three.

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The Chaplain hurled another frag grenade, killing the last of the Poxwalkers, while the Devastator Squad split its fire. Four krak missiles unerringly homed in on the Bloat-Drone, blasting it from the sky, while the other marines trained their bolters and frag grenades on the Plaguebearers who were now too close for comfort. The daemons moaned mournfully as they were pummelled by accurate fire, the last of them dissolving into nothing as the energy binding it to the material world faded.

The Assault Terminators feinted at the Cultists, then turned to rush the Plague Marines. Once again, the Plague Marines put up a solid defence, ignoring the flashing Lightning Claws as their leader crushed a Terminator with his Power Fist, leaving only the Sergeant still fighting.

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The Marines Errant now only had two intact squads, the Tactical Squad in the Administratum building and the Devastators in the taller ruins, and while they had managed to counter the Plaguebearers and Poxwalkers, there were still too many Death Guard forces roaming the battlefield to be safe.

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As the Plaguecaster through a Miasma around the Lord of Contagion the Cultists trotted to the Administratum building, intent on dislodging the Tactical Marines taking cover there.

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Their autoguns and autopistols bounced uselessly off the building and the marines’ power armour but, undaunted, they continued their advance , ignoring the two of their number who fell to overwatch fire from the Marines Errant. With a cry to Grandfather Nurgle, they clambered up the ruined building to face the marines.

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Surprised at the speed of the Cultists, two marines were quickly dragged down, but then the their training took over. Two Cultists were pummelled to death, causing another three to run in terror. However, the Tactical Squad had been seriously reduced in number and its position had been made untenable by the marauding Cultists.

With a grumbling moan, the Herald of Nurgle challenged the Chaplain to single combat, but neither was able to land a telling blow.

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Further away, amidst the woods, the last Marines Errant Terminator was smashed apart by the Power Fist-wielding Plague Marine.

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Round Five

Surrounded by Cultists, the three surviving Tactical Marines leapt off the roof of the Administratum building, their Sergeant throwing a frag grenade behind him to blast three of their attackers.

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Meanwhile, the Devastators continued their withering fire, this time using krak missiles against the Plague Marines. Though having weathered everything the Marines Errant had thrown at them up to now, even Plague Marines could not withstand sustained anti-tank fire, and three of their number exploded as they raced for cover.

In the centre of the battlefield, the Chaplain was aided by his Sergeant and, together, they managed to force the Herald of Nurgle on the back foot, wounding the daemon. However, the Herald recovered quickly and dealt the Chaplain a savage blow with its Plague Sword, sending the marine reeling.

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Seeing what the Devastators did to their beloved Plague Marines, the Cultists withdrew from the Administratum building, taking cover in its shadow. They were immediately confronted by the Tactical Marines they had been battling on its rooftop, but their pitiful autogun fire simply rattled off power armour.

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The Herald of Nurgle, already wounded, was hard-pressed fighting both a marine Sergeant and a Chaplain, steadily giving ground as they traded blows. The marines did not notice the heavy footsteps of the Lord of Contagion until it was too late.

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Rushing forward as fast as his Cataphractii Terminator armour would allow, the Lord of Contagion hefted his axe and bisected the Chaplain with a single, solid blow.

Round Six

Where once the sounds of bolter fire and missiles had raged over the battlefield, an eerie quiet now descended, broken only by the occasional snap shot – both armies had suffered greatly and the survivors began taking a great deal more care.

The Devastator Squad still commanded a view over the entire battlefield, their missile launchers promising death to any who stayed in their sights for too long.

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Seeing his Chaplain’s body fall to the ground, the Sergeant retreated from the Lord of Contagion, hurling a frag grenade as he went that blasted the Herald of Nurgle apart in a  shower of filth. On the other side of the Administratum building, the three survivors of the Tactical Squad charged the Plaguecaster, catching the psyker offguard. Weakened by the Perils of the Warp earlier, the Plaguecaster soon fell to their blows.

The Death Guard now had few units standing, but the Lord of Contagion was still intent on making the Marines Errant pay for stalling his advance. As the Plague Marines took shelter in a ruined tower, the Lord advanced upon the Administratum building, keen to wipe out any Marines Errant who lurked nearby.

Round Seven

Under the watchful eyes of the Devastator Squad close by, all the action of the battle was now to take place around the Administratum building where the remnants of the Marines Errant faced the Lord of Contagion.

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The Tactical Squad quickly gunned down the Cultists lurking behind them, finally putting an end to the chatter of autopistols and shotguns, while the Tactical Sergeant rushed the Lord of Contagion, swearing an oath to avenge his Chaplain. With one contemptuous swing of his axe, the Lord broke that promise.

Seeing that the Devastator Squad was too far away, the Lord of Contagion lumbered around the front of the Administratum building, catching the Tactical Squad unawares. With deft swipes of his axe, all three Tactical Marines hit the ground, dismembered and disemboweled.

Both armies had been shattered, but the Marines Errant had managed to hold the line against the Death Guard. Elsewhere on the world of Astaramis, Imperial forces had triumphed, stalling the Nurgle assault – now the fight would move to Konor itself…

 

Conclusion

That was a close battle – both forces had just one intact unit each at the end (the Devastators and Lord of Contagion), with the Plague Marines hiding out of sight in a tall tower!

And speaking of the Plague Marines, they have to be the Men of the Match – first they were jumped by an Assault Squad, who just bounced off them and were dispatched with only a little help from the Lord of Contagion. Then they faced off a Terminator Assault Squad, again with no losses. In fact, up to that point, the only casualty they had sustained had come from an exploding Plasma Gun. It took anti-tank missiles to start knocking them down!

The final score was 7-3 to the Marines Errant, which may seem a bit lop-sided – there has been some criticism on various forums of this mission (and the second in the Konor campaign) that the forces of the Imperium are somewhat… favoured. I am not sure that is intentional or not on the part of GW (conspiracy!) but going into this battle I had figured it would be easier to destroy more units than it would be to keep them alive, and the single point for the Warlord is never going to be enough to tip that balance.

However, this was a decent showcase for the Death Guard, and we had a lot of fun with the armies. The Plague Marines were simply awesome and, once he gets in among the pigeons (as it were), the Lord of Contagion is all but unstoppable.

The Miasma psychic power is also a very good tool in the Death Guard’s arsenal, but not always in the way you might think. People hate having negative modifiers on their to hit rolls, and will often avoid a unit with a negative modifier altogether (unless there is really nothing to shoot at). So, if you put Miasma on a unit, do not get despondent if the enemy does not shoot at it – it is not wasted (not getting shot at all is way better than the negative modifier!), and you can begin using that to influence the opposing player into shooting the things you want him to shoot at.

And stacking Miasma on a large Plaguebearer unit that already has a negative modifier to be hit is just plain rude. Not that they do much once they get to grips with the enemy…

I am looking forward to expanding the Death Guard with the new releases. More Plague Marines, certainly, plus some heavy support in the form of tanks and Terminators will be greatly appreciated.

 

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!

 

The Realmgate Wars – A Retrospective

Well, it has been a long, long tale, spanning more than eighteen months and nearly 90 battles – but we have finally finished the Realmgate Wars saga from the Age of Sigmar!

This stemmed from a mad, desperate idea way back in the latter half of 2015, whereby we would play through every Battleplan in the Age of Sigmar storyline, collecting and painting every model needed to do every one of them justice.

There is a very strong storyline running through the Age of Sigmar, so I thought it might be fun to look back, going right to the humble beginnings of the crusade, and see just how long this path has been.

Grab a coffee and settle yourself down, as this is a long tale!

Lightning Strikes & Reclaim the Fallen
We started off with the Lightning Strikes Battleplan in Battletome: Stormcast Eternals (the original one), that basically combines all the scenarios in the starter set into one big fight. The Stormcast Eternals arrived on the Brimstone Peninsula in the Realm of Fire, fighting to knock the Bloodbound back long enough to open a Realmgate to Azyr and thus bring in the main portion of Sigmar’s force. We met Lord-Celestant Vandus Hammerhand for the first time, along with his nemesis, Lord Khul. Vandus laid Lord Khul low in this first clash, forcing Bloodsecrator Threx to lead an attack to try to reclaim the wounded Lord Khul.

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The Watchtower
Unfortunately, for Threx, this attack failed. While the Stormcasts had their own problems with a rogue Lord-Celestant pushing far too far forward into Bloodbound territory to stake his own claim to glory (Battleplan: Hold or Die), Lord Khul finally picked himself up, dusted himself off, and started a long, lonely march to the Gate of Wrath. Bloodsecrator Threx was too old and too wise to face the anger of his lord, so he took command of one of the Skull Keeps surrounding the Gate of Wrath, at what he felt was a safe distance from the furious Lord Khul.

Unfortunately for him, this Skull Keep was the target of the Stormcasts’ next attack. Despite Lord Khul enacting a bloody ritual that summoned waves of Khornate Daemons to keep the Skull Keep out of Sigmar’s hands, Bloodsecrator Threx fell in the battle.

The Ritual
The Stormcasts kept the pressure on the Bloodbound, forcing their way up the Brimstone Peninsula until they breached the ring of Skull Keeps and launched an attack on the Gate of Wrath, a Realmgate that Lord Khul was using to bring countless daemons in from the Realm of Chaos. Lord Khul was hoping to enact his final rite to transcend into daemonhood and while the Stormcasts were successful in smashing the Bloodbound, they failed to do so in time to stop Lord Khul’s ascension.

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With a furious roar of victory, Lord Khul unfolded his new wings and took to the skies, out of the reach of Vandus Hammerhand.

The Trap & Raze to the Ground
With the war going strong for Sigmar in the Realm of Fire, the God-King sent more Stormcast Eternals into the Realm of Life, with the dual aim of shaking the hold of Nurgle on the Jade Kingdoms, and seeking out the Goddess of Life, Alarielle, for an alliance.

The Sylvaneth felt the arrival of the Stormcasts and knew this was a chance to drive out the Rotbringer forces that had occupied their lands for centuries. Ambushes erupted across the Jade Kingdoms (reflected by Battleplan: The Trap), and many Rotbringer fortresses were destroyed (giving us our first chance to use the new Chaos Dreadhold).

Man the Gates
The Stormcasts were not slow in their attacks on Nurgle-held strongholds, and a force attacked the Rotfane, a fortress under the command of Blightmage Slaugoth, whose open gates spewed a constant pestilent wind. Repulsed in their initial attacks by strong defenders of Nurgle, the Stormcasts had no time to muster a second assault and were force to move on as the Sylvaneth continued to die from the diseases blasted out of the Rotfane.

Breakthrough
The first strategic target for the Stormcasts was the Gates of Dawn, an important Realmgate that would allow the Storncasts to bring reinforcements into the Jade Kingdoms, while undercutting Nurgle’s ability to bolster the Rotbringers. However, the Rotbringers knew the Stormcasts were coming, and threw up an armoured ring around the Gates of Dawn. Gathering momentum, the Stormcasts punched through the line, and regrouped to begin their main attack.

Pre-Emptive Strike
Despite having seized the Gates of Dawn, the Stormcasts were unprepared for Nurgle’s cunning ploy. The Gates of Dawn shook, before Bolathrax, a Great Unclean One, emerged from the Realmgate ahead a horde of daemons.

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Worse, a Verminlord Corruptor, Vermalanx, was searching for the Goddess of Life himself, and he believed the Stormcasts could lead him to her. Gathering the Clans Pestilens, he lent his weight to the attack.

The Stormcasts drove the combined Nurgle force off, but only at great cost – Lord-Celestant Gardus paid for the destruction of the Gates of Dawn by being dragged into Nurgle’s own garden within the Realm of Chaos…

Sudden Assault
While the war raged in the Realms of Fire and Life, Sigmar also dispatched armies to the Realm of Metal, where the forces of Tzeentch held sway. At first, the realm seemed deserted of any life, but soon enough the Stormcasts found themselves under attack from the Bleak Horde, dedicated followers of Tzeentch.

Storm the Walls
The Bleak Horde was led by a Sorcerer Lord called Ephyrx, and he was nothing if not cunning. He drew the Stormcasts to his place of power the Eldritch Fortress, where he planned to use their own magical energies to fuel a mighty spell.

The Stormcasts managed to take the outer walls of the Eldritch Fortress before Ephryx unleashed an enchantment that blasted their entire force away from the castle. However, the Lord-Celestant had gained a brief glimpse of something extremely powerful within the Eldritch Fortress – Sigmar’s own hammer, Ghal Maraz…

Spellbreakers
By now, things were hotting up in the Realm of Life. The Gates of Dawn had been taken by the Stormcasts, but were subsequently utterly corrupted by Nurgle, and now Gutrot Spume and his Blightkings had taken command of a Brayherd tribe who possessed the Dirgehorn, a powerful magical artefact that sowed discord and bleakness whenever it was blown. Though the Stormcasts tried to end this reign of terror, they were beaten back by the combined force of Gors and Blightkings, but now had a new mandate – find the hiding place of Alarielle, Goddess of Life, and form an alliance.

Out of the Mist
The Verminlord Vermalanx was still pursuing the Stormcasts and Sylvaneth, hoping they would eventually reveal the whereabouts of Alarielle. He concocted a plan whereby a Plague Furnace would spew out a poisonous fog so deadly, the Sylvaneth would have no choice but to attack – he would then grab an important looking one, and question it until Alarielle’s hiding place was revealed.

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During the battle, a nearby Realmgate stirred, and from it appeared Lord-Celestant Gardus. Having survived Nurgle’s garden, Gardus had received a vision that gave him information critical to winning the war in the Realm of Life. Though the Sylvaneth were beaten back from the Plague Furnace, Gardus managed to escape and carry his vital news back to the Hallowed Knights.

Kill the Beast
Gardus told the Hallowed Knights that Alarielle’s hiding place was close by – if they could just get to the Oak of Ages Past, they had a good chance of finding her. However, the path was blocked by Pupa Grotesse, a Great Unclean One who was polluting the River Vitalis, turning it into the Gelid Gush. This was the Battle of Rotwater Blight, and would see Nurgle mass his most powerful forces yet, led by the Glottkin.

The Stormcasts were roundly defeated by the army of Nurgle, but Lord-Celestant Gardus led his army past the Great Unclean One, and found a hidden portal beneath the Gelid Gush. Descending under the putrid waters, the Stormcasts discovered the Athelwyrd, Alarielle’s secret glade…

War of Storms
Unfortunately, Nurgle’s eyes were watching closely, and the Stormcasts had inadvertently led the entire Grand Congregation of Nurgle straight to the Goddess of Life – a combined force of Rotbringers, Nurgle Daemons, Clans Pestilens Skaven, and Brayherds. In a mighty clash, the Sylvaneth and Stormcasts quickly formed an alliance to hold back the Nurgle advance long enough for Alarielle to escape.

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The Grand Congregation of Nurgle, led by the Glottkin, was unstoppable, and the Athelwyrd was lost. However, a last ditch defence by the Stormcasts of the Hallowed Knights allowed Alarielle to escape.

The Tables Turned
Alarielle had been found, but the armies of Nurgle were irresistible in the Realm of Life – but the Stormcasts were about to get help from an unexpected quarter in the Realm of Fire.

Khorne Lord Kaelgor had ruled the Obsidia Isle and surrounding areas with an iron fist for centuries, but the Stormcasts were determined to drive him out. They launched an attack upon his main stronghold, the Fortress of Embers, but while initially successful, a massed charge by the Bloodbound forced them back. Soon surrounded, the Stormcasts prepared to sell their lives dearly – and then, a massive comet smashed into the battlefield, opening up lava-filled chasms that swallowed Bloodbound units whole.

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Emerging from the comet came the Seraphon, new defenders of Order who tore into the surviving Bloodbound to bring Sigmar a great victory.

Purge the Corruption
The Seraphon struck Chaos forces across the Mortal Realms, hammering their age-old foes with a series of lightning strikes that delivered crippling damage to the schemes of the Ruinous Powers.

They next turned their eyes to Ghyran, targeting the Runnel Pits the Clans Pestilens had been using to make offerings to Nurgle. Though the Skaven would recover, this attack set back their plans greatly.

The Cursed City
Sigmar launched a new wave of attacks in Chamon, intent on recovering his ancient weapon, Ghal Maraz. However, upon returning to the Eldritch Fortress, the Stormcasts found it was… gone! Some power of Tzeentch had scooped the Dreadhold out of the ground and relocated it. The Stormcasts set off in pursuit, searching for information to track it down, and in so doing they came to Elixia, the Shattered City. Within the narrow streets, the Bleak Horde attacked, but the Stormcasts were aided by Celemnis, the Silvermaiden, a weaponsmith tortured and killed by worshippers of Tzeentch. Once the Bleak Horde had been defeated, Celemnis pointed the Stormcasts to where they should look next.

Death at the Dais
Celemnis had directed the Stormcasts to a Dragonfate Dais within a shattered hamlet near the Argent Falls. While trying to divine the key to unlock the power of the dais, the Stormcasts were ambushed by Skaven whom the Tzeentch Lord Ephryx had dispatched to slow Sigmar’s warriors down. The Skaven inflicted savage losses with their Stormvermin and Stormfiends, but were eventually repulsed, and the Stormcasts used the Dragonfate Dais to commune with the great drake Dracothion, who told them to look to the floating Great Crucible, from which the Argent Falls flowed.

Battle Against Time
Harnessing the power of Dracothion, the Stormcasts persuaded the Great Drake to do battle with the Godbeast Argentine, the Silver Wyrm, in the skies over the Great Crucible as they fought through the many layered defences of the Bleak Horde to reach the new resting place of the Eldritch Fortress. However, Argentine fought off Dracothion and turned his powerful breath to melt the silver sea the Stormcasts were crossing…

Retrieve the Relic
Finally, the Stormcasts reached the Eldritch Fortress and immediately made their assault against its walls. However, the Sorcerer Lord Ephryx had positioned the fortress under the Shardgate, a Realmgate that led straight to Tzeentch’s own kingdom in the Realm of Chaos, and a Daemongale was blowing, casting hordes of daemons onto the battlefield. Under such numbers, the unthinkable happened, and the Stormcasts were repulsed.

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Cast Adrift
The Stormcasts mustered another attack on the Eldritch Fortress in a desperate bid to reclaim Ghal Maraz, but Ephryx had another trick up his sleeve – enacting a great enchantment, he caused the Eldritch Fortress to rise into the air, towards the Shardgate. If he succeeded, the whole fortress would be relocated in the Realm of Chaos, along with Ghal Maraz! The Stormcasts fought doggedly and, this time, they breached the walls and seized Sigmar’s holy weapon.

On Tainted Ground
Though Ghal Maraz had been returned to its rightful owner, the forces of Order could not pause in their assault against Chaos. The Stormcasts of the Hallowed Knights had to move quickly to lend aid to the Sylvaneth as Skaven of Clans Pestilens tried to drive them from the Mossgleam Glade.

Martial Contest
With Ghal Maraz back in Azyr, Sigmar was able to awaken his greatest champion – the Celestant-Prime. One of the champion’s earliest battles was atop the Anvil Mountain in Chamon, against the forces of the Bloodthirster Khrul’Sath the Slaughterer.

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At the Threshold
Despite being buried deep within their lodges, the Fyreslayers could not escape the predations of Chaos and, in the Realm of Fire, under the Furios Peak, they defended their stronghold against the Bloodbound of Lord Bruul.

Fortresses of Death
Sigmar was determined to keep up the pressure on the forces of Chaos, and his next target was the Bloodbrass Bridge, connecting the Realms of Fire and Metal through a Realmgate. Each side of the bridge had a fortress protecting the route – one held by the forces of Tzeentch, the other by the Stormcasts. Launching an attack, they tried to claim this important strategic point.

On Thin Ice
Not everything was going the way of Order though, and having been forced out of her hiding place in the Athelwyrd, Alarielle had become dormant and was now in the hands of the Lady of Vines, the Sylvaneth making a desperate exodus from the Rotbringers who pursued them.

The Hidden Artefact
The Rotbringers moved ever closer to the small band of Sylvaneth and Stormcasts who were racing to escape them. On the frozen Sea of Serpents, the forces of Nurgle caught the escapees, and threatened to cut them off.

Consumed
In the Realm of Fire, the Skaven of the Clans Verminus rose from the depths to launch a devastating attack on the Fyreslayers of Vostarg Lodge, capturing one of the Runesons before they were beaten back. The Fyreslayers launched a desperate bid to reclaim him before the Runeson could be sacrificed in a Verminlord’s cruel rites, setting into motion events that would shake all the Mortal Realms.

Uneasy Alliances
As well as losing their Runeson, the Fyreslayers had lost most of their vaults to the Skaven, so when the Stormcasts proposed an alliance that would see the Fyreslayers become rich again, they had no choice but to agree. However, the Stormcasts wanted great service from the Fyreslayers, starting with aid in attacking a fortress of Khorne. Along the way, the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers were ambushed by a combine force of Bloodbound and Skaven.

Raging Fury
Meanwhile, Khorne had been eyeing Nurgle’s progress in the Realm of Life with envy, and saw his brother was close to capturing Alarielle. He could not allow Nurgle such an easy victory, and so hurled Skarbrand at the Sylvaneth. However, Alarielle had conjured an enchanted shield that caused the angry Bloodthirster to be thrown off course – straight into the the trap the Seraphon had laid for him.

The Dilemma
Back in the Realm of Fire, the Stormcasts revealed the full extent of their plans to the Fyreslayers – they intended to enter the Bloodkeep, where Skarbrand was imprisoned, and steal the Brass Chain that held him. This would give control of the Bloodthirster to Sigmar, effectively taking one of Khorne’s greatest weapons out of the war and, as luck would have it, Skarbrand himself did not appear to be home. However, as Stormcast and Fyreslayer emerged inside the fortress, they were unaware that Skarbrand was returning. Skarbrand beat the forces of Order back and forced them to retreat from the fortress – however, they had disturbed a rune that began to float through the Mortal Realms, unerringly towards an unknown destination…

Breach the Line
The Sylvaneth had broken free of the Rotbringers and now turned their thoughts to planting Alarielle’s soulpod so the goddess could be reborn into her war aspect. They had found the perfect place to do so but, upon arriving, discovered that the Rotbringers had beaten them to it – the Sylvaneth and their Stormcast allies had to break through the Rotbringer line in order for Alarielle to be reborn.

Home Ground
In the Realm of Death, dark things began to stir as the forces of Chaos launched their own offensives to bring the children of Nagash under their dominion. In Nulahmia, Neferata, the Mortarch of Blood, was forced to quickly rally her armies to fend off the Slaaneshi host that had found her.

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Path of Retreat
In ages past, Tzeentch had bound his greatest Lord of Change, Kiathanus, breaking the daemon’s true name into nine fragments and scattering them across the Mortal Realms. The Watcher King, one of the Gaunt Summoners, had schemed to free Kiathanus, and thus claim enough power to topple the Everchosen. It was at this point that Archaon appeared, and demanded to know exactly what the Gaunt Summoner thought he was up to. The Watcher King had no option but to run for his life – but he did not run far.

Never Give Up
The Stormcast Eternals had fought hard to keep Kiathanus imprisoned, but Archaon had merely used this as bait and, as the Stormcasts advanced, the Everchosen led a massive army to crush them entirely. In doing so, he dealt Sigmar the greatest defeat yet in the Realmgate Wars. Just two Prosecutors managed to escape the trap to take news of the loss to the God King.

Sorcerous Duel
Archaon was far from finished with the forces of Order, and his next attack was against the Seraphon. As a (loyal) Gaunt Summoner kept the Slann Starmaster occupied, the army of the Everchosen dealt a crippling defeat to the Seraphon.

Ambush at the Cursed Temple
However, the Seraphon had earned their own victories too. A small Slaaneshi Host had managed to penetrate the Celestial Realm, and were hunting old temples for clues as to the whereabouts of their God. Feeling they were getting a little too close, Starmaster Kuoteq arranged an ambush in an abandoned temple, driving them out of the Celestial Realm.

At Search’s End
The power struggle between Sigmar and Archaon provided many opportunities for other forces in the Mortal Realms, and Verminlord Corruptor Sepskrik was fast to take advantage. He had found the location of the Serpentstone, an important artefact that would allow him to unleash the Undulant Scourge across the Mortal Realms, one of the Thirteen Great Plagues. Fortunately, Starmaster X’loc X’hul arrived to put paid to these plans, at least temporarily.

The Putrid Bog
The Plague Monks of Clan Rotclaw were similarly boisterous, and their foul plans had upset the balance of power in the Jade Kingdoms by raising a Warpstone monolith within Withertree Bog. Those living closest to them raised enough gold to hire the Fyreslayers of Baeldrag Lodge to pull the monolith down.

The Verdigris Plains
Within the Realm of Metal, two Realmgates stood close to one another – one controlled by Skaven, the other by the undead of Lord Helmut von Drakenspyre. Both coveted the Realmgate of the other, and with the disruption caused by the wars of the Stormcasts against the armies of Tzeentch, both felt it was time to stake a claim. In this first clash, the forces of Death simply rolled over unprepared Skaven, immediately putting the ratkin on the back foot.

Revenge at Blackblood Weald
The Skaven were forced to retreat from the overwhelming undead hordes, and they put up a desperate rearguard. However, though they deployed some of their most powerful weapons, von Drakenspyre had sent his personal harem on board their Coven Throne to defeat the Skaven.

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Into the Realm of Fire
Taking the Realmgate from the Skaven, the forces of Death, led by Lord Drakenspyre himself, moved into the Realm of Fire to finish off the Skaven and stop any reprisals. However, on their homeground, the Skaven proved devastating, and they forced the undead back into the Realm of Metal, to re-establish the status quo that had existed before either army had marched.

The Chamber Unleashed
Sigmar had recovered from his defeat against Archaon in the Realm of Metal, and now he had a brand new weapon – the Chamber Extremis. His first target for the Dracoth riding Stormcasts was the old city of Vellixia, once a monument to the God King and now in the hands of Khorne. In a series of lightning fast attacks, the Chamber Extremis defeated the daemonic hordes within and delivered the city to Sigmar.

Relentless Assault
The Realm of Death was the territory of Nagash, but the forces of Chaos had pressed upon it hard for centuries. A roving warband of the Bloodbound encountered the forces of Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night, and they quickly moved forward to claim skulls. Mannfred was defeated in this battle and forced to flee, only to run into more Bloodbound and be captured…

Clash of Fates
Archaon was preparing a new offensive against the forces of Sigmar, but the battle of Chaos against Order did not cease. Atop a volcano in Aqshy, the Sorcerer Lord Xergon Ninefates was enacting a ritual a gateway to the Realm of Chaos and thereby gain the attention of Tzeentch himself. However, Slann Starmaster Azqualta had other ideas…

Bloody Escalation
In Ghyran, the Skaven were on the move, to attack the Eventide Grove, a place truly sacred to the Sylvaneth. As Warpfire Throwers torched the trees surrounding the Realmgate, the Forest Folk raced to halt the encroaching Skaven. A bloody battle erupted in the grove and while the Skaven were eventually beaten back, too many Sylvaneth had been killed to ensure they could hold onto their place of power.

Extermination
Archaon’s plans were falling into place, but the Everchosen needed access to the underways beneath the Howling Cities of the Beastplains in Ghur. These were dominated by tribes of Spiderfang Grots and their Gargant slaves. After seeing his forces repulsed time and again from the tunnels, Archaon led an attack himself, designed to smash the power of the Spiderfang tribes. Leading his Chaos Warriors into the heart of Grot territory, he attacked their breeding grounds, smashing huge stores of spider eggs and gutting the power of the tribes.

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The Sacred Glade
The Rotbringers kept the Sylvaneth under pressure in the Jade Kingdoms, marching on the glade in the Greatstump, long coveted by Nurgle. Led by Treelord Ancient Haaldhorm, the Sylvaneth quickly rallied when they realised they were under attack, with Kurnoth Hunters appearing for the first time. However, the Rotbringers were determined, and yet another glade sacred to the Sylvaneth fell to the forces of decay.

Site of Power
A Lord-Relictor of the Hallowed Knights led a small force of Stormcast Eternals through the Arch of Bones into the Realm of Death, to recover the remains of several War-Priests who had perished in the Dragonfate Chamber. However, their presence alerted the Ghoul King Marrowthirst, who quickly gathered his forces and wiped out the Stormcast expedition.

The Fiend’s Lair
The Realm of Death was beginning to stir, and not always to forces of Nagash’s liking. The Gloom Tribes had long been dominated by the Vampire Queen Cyssandra and they hired the Fyreslayers of Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir to end her reign. The Duardin entered her subterranean lair, and dragged the vampire queen out of her fortress before dispatching her.

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Fury Overcomes
Archaon launched his next great effort to defeat Sigmar, beginning the Godbeasts campaign – a plan to enslave the greatest creatures of the Mortal Realms, turning them into an unstoppable force that would batter down the very doors of the Celestial Realm. The Stormcast Eternals were spreading throughout the Realm of Fire, but the Blood God now drew a line in the fiery ground, dispatching his consort, the Daemon Queen Valkia the Bloody to fight alongside the Bloodbound of Lord Khul. Unfortunately, their first battle saw a great defeat that allowed the Stormcasts to push right through them.

Beneath Warring Storms
Nurgle saw the Blood God’s weakness in the Realm of Fire, and he sent Maggoth Lord Bloab Rotspawned to unleash a powerful disease that would lay low the forces of both Sigmar and Khorne, allowing the Lord of All Things to begin dominating Aqshy. However, Sigmar was ready for Nurgle’s ploy, and he dispatched the Hallowed Hunt, led by the Celestant-Prime himself, to break the back of the Bloodbound and defeat Nurgle’s champion.

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Against the Horde
High above these battlefields lay Orb Infernia, a shattered world ruled by four warring Daemon Princes. For centuries, the Seraphon had probed and prodded the Daemon Princes, causing them to constantly declare war against one another. This ended when Archaon dispatched an agent who told the Daemon Princes just how the Seraphon had used them and then immediately formed an alliance that caught the badly outnumbered Seraphon offguard, almost annihilating their army.

Pincer Attack
Forced to retreat, the Seraphon fell back to the ruins of a Numinous Occulum. The daemonic forces were quick to react, and they fell upon the Seraphon from two sides, launching wave after wave of attacks. Though many Seraphon were dispatched back to Azyr and their Slann Starmaster badly wounded, they managed to hold the line, frustrating the efforts of the Daemon Princes.

Bringing Down the Mountain/Twist of Fate
Below Orb Infernia, the battle between Stormcast and Bloodbound, both afflicted by Nurgle’s powerful enervating disease, continued to rage. Khorne had unleashed Skarbrand, and this gave the Lord-Relictor of the Stormcasts an idea – he would bring a mountainside down upon the Bloodthirster, and channel the daemon’s rage into burning the disease from the land. This he managed and, luckily, the mountain fell upon the Bloodscorch beasts, a mighty Warherd of Bullgors and Ghorgons that had been marching upon the last faithful pocket of the Devoted of Sigmar to wipe them out.

Storming the Gates
It was here that Archaon revealed the first part of his grand plan, the binding of the Godbeast Ignax, a dragon so large that the Fyreslayers who lived below had thought it a sun. Ignax had been bound to the Land of the Chained Sun by mighty chains that anchored the continent to the Godbeast. The Fyreslayers swore they would rather scour the land clean than allow Archaon a victory, and they planned to capture the great chains and retract them, pulling the continent into the Godbeast and burning all life from it. Sigmar unleashed his Extremis Chamber to aid them, attacking the Ironwarp Citadel that tethered one of the chains. In response, Archaon summoned the daemons of Orb Infernia and a great battle erupted that saw the Stormcasts breach the outer walls of the citadel

Securing a Foothold
Once inside the Ironwarp Citadel, the Stormcasts were joined by a large army of Fyreslayers, but both were quickly surrounded by the Bloodbound defenders. Despite the Bloodbound unleashing the mightiest of their forces, the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers held their ground long enough for reinforcements to begin pouring through the breach.

To Kill a King
With a massive army behind them, the Stormcasts assaulted the great keep of the Ironwarp Citadel. Seeing the danger, Archaon himself descended onto the battlefield, and a long protracted fight was waged for the inner walls. The Bloodbound threw themselves at their attackers, while Bloodletters and a Bloodthirster were summoned to hold the line. Finally, the Celestant-Prime arrived in a blinding flash of lightning to beat Archaon back and force him to abandon the citadel. The Stormcasts had captured the Ironwarp Citadel, but Archaon still held the balance of power on the Land of the Chained Sun.

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Noble Sacrifice
Though the Ironwarp Citadel had been lost, Archaon was otherwise unstoppable. The Fyreslayers began to enact their plan to burn the Land of the Chained Sun clean of all life, using the massive chains attached to it to haul it into the Godbeast Ignax’s fiery body. Archaon threw everything he had at them, disrupting their efforts long enough to enact a ritual that bound Ignax to his will. However, though Archaon had his first Godbeast, the Fyreslayers had managed to hammer an ancient rune into Ignax’s burning hide…

Death in the Darkness
The Stormcasts had launched a major offensive in the Scabrous Sprawl in the Realm of Life, determined to free the land from the attentions of the Clans Pestilens and their massive Parasite Engines. However, little did they know that this would be the scene for Archaon’s attempt to gain control of a second Godbeast, and the Everchosen had warned the Skaven that the Stormcasts were coming. The Stormcasts’ surprise attack was quickly countered by a combined Pestilens and Skryre force, making a quick victory impossible.

The Shattering
The Stormcasts became mired in the Scabrous Sprawl and what should have been a short war dragged into weeks and then months. Billions of Skaven were killed, but those were numbers they could easily sustain. Under the direction of Archaon, the Skaven had been working to corrupt geomantic nodes that bound the World Titan Behemat, a Godbeast Star Gargant of massive proportions, beneath the ground. As Behemat began to wake, so the ground quaked with his movements, disrupting the Stormcasts as they tried to bring the Skaven to battle.

Stem the Tide/Fleeting Fealty
High above the Scabrous Sprawl hung the Great Green Torc, a massive ring comprising the soulstuff of a dozen seasons. Archaon needed control of the Torc to bind the Godbeast Behemat. Two battles erupted at each end of the Great Umbilicus, the Realmgate that connected the Torc to the Scabrous Sprawl, with the Stormcasts facing the Rotbringers of Bloab Rotspawned below and Brayherds above. Only the appearance of a Gargant tribe saved the Stormcasts and allowed them to sever the connection to the Great Green Torc.

Hammer and Anvil
On the Great Green Torc, the battle of Order versus Chaos still raged as the Stormcasts tried to cleanse the land of Rotbringer and Brayherd. This time, they had unlikely allies in the form of Spiderfang Grots who had been constantly oppressed by the forces of Chaos and now saw their chance to gain freedom. However, despite being caught between these two forces, the Rotbringers drew their army in tight and weathered constant attacks, ensuring they would be present upon the Great Green Torc for many years to come.

To Bind the Storm
Despite the constant meddling from the Stormcasts, Archaon was ready to fully awaken his second Godbeast, Behemat the World Titan. Sigmar was left with no choice, and he dispatched a massive army of Stormcasts to kill the Godbeast before Archaon could gain it. Unleashing the Brotherhood of the Great Bolts, the Stormcasts broke through the Chaos line and slew the World Titan as it rose from the ground.

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Archaon had been defeated in the Realm of Life, but he still had one Godbeast under his control and he now began planning the next phase of the Realmgate Wars.

Stirring the Nest
Elsewhere on the Mortal Realms, Stormcast Eternals were being dispatched to secure more Realmgates, which were allowing them to strike at the heart of the forces of Chaos. One expedition was sent to the Voldyr Keep in the Realm of Fire. However, the Realmgate that lay within was guarded by the Ghoul King Marrowthirst, and his minions easily repulsed the Stormcasts as they arrived, striking from the shadows in a constant wave of Crypt Ghoul, Horror, and Flayer.

Two Became Three
Deep in Chamon, the Realm of Metal, Fyreslayers and Skaven had battled for decades aboard the lumbering Wyrd-Engine for control of the massive machine. Both had built their forces and both planned to finish their age-old enemy in one final push – however, as they launched their attacks, a third force arrived to contest the Wyrd-Engine, the deathly minions of a Flesh-Eater Court. The Skaven tried to run while the Fyreslayers battled the Ghoul King and his followers, but it was to no avail – the Crypt Ghouls overran both forces to claim the Wyrd-Engine for their monarch.

Headlong Onslaught
The Skybashas tribe of Ironjawz had been having a lot of fun, rampaging through one side of the Realm of Life to the other – however, they had been halted by the World Chasm, the rift between Ghyran and Aqshy. The Seraphon had been hoping that, deprived of any more Sylvaneth to bash, the Ironjawz would turn upon themselves. Unfortunately, the Skybashas discovered the Silverglade Citadel, a massive tree-city that spanned the chasm, and so the Seraphon were forced to position an army to halt them. The Ironjawz did not care – they simply ploughed through the celestial line, barely slowing down…

Awaken the Land
With the bulk of the Skybashas tribe now moving into the Realm of Fire, the Sylvaneth took the opportunity to retake the island at the heart of Sorrowmere Lake, a place of great import to them. Led by Drycha and her Outcasts, the Sylvaneth dealt the Ironjawz a cruel defeat and were able to reclaim their territory.

Over the Abyss
The Stormcasts, too, were interested in retaking lost ground, and now they focussed their attention on the Black Chasm Bridge, a mighty structure at the end of which lay the Emberport Realmgate – now held by the Helfire Legion, an army of Khornate Daemons. The Celestant-Prime himself was sent to lead the attack, but was hurled back to Azyr by the Bloodthirster general.

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The Wild Hunt
The Mortal Realms shook as a goddess emerged – Alarielle, the Radiant Queen, had been reborn in her war aspect. And she was angry. The first to feel her wrath were the Bloodbound who had been using a Realmgate to raid the Realm of Life from Aqshy. Alarielle gathered a great force of Sylvaneth and invaded Khorne’s own ground, burning through two Bloodthirsters as she smashed their warbands.

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Tornado of Destruction
Alarielle was not the only one flexing her muscles, for a great Ironjawz tribe had been rampaging through the Realm of Death and had chanced upon the city of Crookback, dominated by Aylessa, Consort to the Blood Queen and sister to Cyssandra. The vampire was forced to flee her lands as the Ironjawz tore through her city and razed it to the ground in an orgy of destruction.

Dead Cunning
In their quest to link ever more Realmgates, the Stormcasts launched an assault upon the Growling Gates in Ghur. However, the Fist of Gork himself, Gordrakk, had twigged that they would be coming, and he laid a series of traps for Sigmar’s warriors. The ensuing battle was brutal and both sides sustained massive casualties. In the end, the Ironjawz were forced to retreat but the Storncasts had too few men left to hold onto the Growling Gates.

A Deadly Hunt
Unwilling to allow Archaon to unleash his captured Godbeast, the God-King Sigmar stole the strategic initiative and launched his own offensive – this would be the All-Gates campaign, the last phase of the Realmgate Wars. Hos plan was to capture all the Realmgates, one in each Mortal Realm, that led to the Varanspire, a nexus of Realmgates guarded by Archaon’s own fortress. With the All-Gates in his possession, Sigmar would be able to strike at any Chaos force, anywhere in the Mortal Realms and begin forcing them back to the Realm of Chaos. He began with the Realm of Life and an alliance with Alarielle, and both started seeking the All-Gate deep in Nurgle’s territory – the Genesis Gate. However, Nurgle’s hold on this land was strong, and many Stormcast Eternals perished in the search.

Frontal Assault
The Genesis Gate was finally located within the heart of the Ring of Corruption, a complex of seven fortresses commanded by the Glottkin. Stormcast and Sylvaneth launched a joint attack on them, with the greatest battle being fought at the Hornspire. Alarielle herself took to the battlefield alongside the Celestant-Prime and, together, they broke the Rotbringers’ defence and took the walls of the fortress.

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The Key to Victory
Battle raged all over the Ring of Corruption, but Alarielle was getting frustrated. Gathering the Sylvaneth closest to her, she made a beeline for the Genesis Gate. The Glottkin were caught offguard and desperately tried to rally enough forces to stop her, but the goddess’ wrath was irresistible. Sweeping Rotbringers aside, Alarielle reached the Genesis Gate and cleansed it, smashing the hold Nurgle had over her realm.

Subterranean Attack
One of the All-Gates was now in the hands of Sigmar, and he had already launched attacks on the others. In Chamon, the Mercurial Gate lay within the Ironholds, a massive complex of constantly shifting walls and towers. The armies of Tzeentch made the Ironholds impregnable, so the Stormcasts enlisted the aid of Fyreslayers to tunnel into it. Popping up in one of the courtyards, they created a beachhead to allow reinforcements to flood the Ironholds.

Across the Deadly Span
The Stormcasts and Fyreslayers were now within reach of the Mercurial Gate, needing to cross just one long bridge to reach the Citadel of the Ironholds. Unfortunately, as they approached the citadel, the gates swung open to reveal Archaon himself, flanked by his Varanguard. Charging forward, the Everchosen smashed the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, ending any chance for Sigmar to capture the Mercurial Gate. The first chink had formed in the God-Kings plans.

Beast Run
In Ghur, the Realm of Beasts, the Stormcasts had launched an attack on the Mawgate – however, the Orruks of Ghur noticed the battles and decided they just had to get involved. They first clashed with the Bloodbound, drawing one warband away from the battles to chase them into a narrow gorge inhabited by a tribe of Gargants. The Bloodbound were torn apart as they and the Ironjawz ran the Gargant gauntlet.

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The Dreadhold
The Stormcasts’ attack on the Chaos forts surrounding the Mawgate was beginning to get bogged down, but now the Ironjawz arrived on the scene. Led by a great Megaboss, they swept over one of the forts, annihilating a combined Slaanesh and Khorne force inside who had been forced to work together in a vain attempt to halt the green tide.

Right of Conquest
The Mawgate was now within reach of the Stormcasts, but the combined forces of Chaos still maintained a tight grip on it, and now Gordrakk, Fist of Gork, appeared at the head of a massive horde of Ironjawz, intent on claiming the whole realm for his own. A three-way battle erupted around the Mawgate.

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Gordrakk proved unstoppable, smashing through both Stormcast and Chaos Warrior to claim the Mawgate. Sigmar had failed to take another All-Gate, but it had also been denied to Archaon.

Elsewhere, in the Realm of Death, treachery from Nagash denied the Stormcasts the All-Gate there, and forces dispatched to the Realms of Light and Shadow simply disappeared without trace. The balance of the All-Gates campaign now rested on the Brimfire Gate in Aqshy, the Realm of Fire.

Unleash the Beast
The Brimfire Gate lay within the Brass Mountains, within a ring of eight ever larger fortresses. In their centre, guarding the gate, Khorne had chained Skarbrand. A small strike force of Prosecutors flew to the Brimfire Gate and released Skarbrand, who immediately turned upon the Bloodbound close by, before rampaging in fury throughout the rest of the fortresses.

Ultimate Siege Weapon
Joined by a large army of Fyreslayers, the Stormcasts began breaking through the walls of successive fortresses in an effort to reach the Brimfire Gate. They quickly ran into a seemingly insurmountable problem, as Archaon had into the fight, the massive dragon wrapping itself around several towers as it breathed an inferno into the ranks of the Stormcasts. One Runefather managed to activate the ancient rune that had been hammered into Ignax, at the cost of his own life, briefly taking control of the Godbeast and forcing it to immolate the Bloodbound defenders before it was released to escape to a far corner of Aqshy.

Through the Breach
The armies of Sigmar and Khorne had fought one another over eight fortresses, and now just a final push remained to reach the Brimfire Gate. The Extremis Chamber led the way, followed by Warrior Chambers and Fyreslayers. Matched against them were both mortals and daemons of Khorne, including Skarbrand, whose fury now drove this final conflict into new levels of bloodlust.

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The Bloodbound and daemons held the Extremis Chamber, containing them within the breach, until Retributors finally felled Skarbrand and a gap was opened. Though many tough fights claimed Stormcast and Fyreslayer alike, Sigmar’s army finally broke through and broke the back of the defenders, leaving the Brimfire Gate in the hands of the God-King.

And that was the end of the Realmgate Wars!

Quite a journey – more than 2,000 miniatures were painted for this campaign, used in nearly 90 battles, over eighteen months.

We are really quite proud of ourselves!

So, what is next for us?

Well, we have already started playing the ‘between wars’ Battleplans of the Battletomes that have been released since the end of the Realmgate Wars, and we are eagerly awaiting the next great installment in Age of Sigmar. We are also (re)fighting the Badab War campaign in 40k, and I have a hankering to play through the Prospero campaign in the Horus Heresy.

Whichever way we turn next, we’ll be detailing the entire campaign right here, battle-by-battle, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

Badab War: Two Fronts

The fight for Bellerophon’s Fall in the Badab War campaign we are going through at the moment continues. We got through a few games this weekend, with both the Salamanders and Marines Errant making an appearance as they try to bust out of their landing zones and force the Mantis Warriors off the industrial moon.

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The Salamanders had been suffering from their initial landings, with the quick-striking Mantis Warriors harrying them at every turn. The Loyalists had seen their supply dumps pillaged by fast-moving Mantis Warriors strike forces, and now had no choice but try to force their way into enemy territory to extend their perimeter.

Unfortunately, the Mantis Warriors were watching and staged a classic ambush as the Salamanders column advanced – straight into the sights of three Vindicators.

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The Salamanders broke out of the ambush but sustained very heavy losses, before their Captain engaged his counterpart in the Mantis Warriors, and badly wounded him, finally forcing the Secessionists to withdraw.

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The Marines Errant were having an altogether happier time as they pushed forward out of their landing zones and forced the Mantis Warriors into a fighting withdrawal through a disused refinery complex.

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Three Librarians of the Mantis Warriors and a Deredo Dreadnought formed the anchor of the defenders, and they succeeded in stalling the Marines Errant for several crucial minutes.

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Needing to budge the Mantis Warriors without any further delay, the Marines Errant teleported a Terminator Assault Squad and then dropped an Assault Squad into the Mantis Warriors’ rear line, causing a great deal of disruption at the cost of their own lives.

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The Mantis Warriors made a last stand in the shattered shell of one of the refinery buildings, a Tactical Squad and Librarian weathering the constant pounding from a far-off Devastator Squad as a Venerable Dreadnought and more Marines Errant advanced under withering fire. In the end though, the position was untenable and the Mantis Warriors were forced to fall back further.

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Back around the Salamanders’ landing zones, the Loyalist advance had almost completely stalled, leaving them ripe for a counterattack by the elite strike forces of the Mantis Warriors. A single Tactical Squad baited the Salamanders to advance forwards, before they were caught in a pincer between Mantis Warriors Attack Bikes, Landspeeders, and a well-armed Stormraven.

The Salamanders’ Stormtalon bravely tried to fight off the Stormraven, which made continual strafing runs on its ground forces, who were completely disrupted by the appearance of a teleporting Terminator Squad led by a Mantis Warriors’ Librarian.

The two forces fought one another to a standstill and while the Salamanders were able to beat the Mantis Warriors back, their own force cohesion had been shattered.

While the Marines Errant were driving the Mantis Warriors back to prepared defensive positions, the Salamanders had no choice but to fall back to their landing zone and weather the Mantis Warriors’ last push. If they could hold out long enough, there was a chance that the Marines Errant would create enough breathing space to finish the landings and start the assault to take Bellerophon’s Fall.

 

Coming Next

Well, the battles, with two victories and one draw to the Loyalists. The Mantis Warriors have done sufficient damage to the Salamanders to force them onto the defensive, but have been put on the defensive themselves by the Marines Errant. In both cases, we will be seeing how Space Marines function against properly fortified positions in the very near future.

As mentioned before, all the battles in this part of the Badab War campaign have been drawn from the old Battle Missions book, with some slight conversion to the new edition. We are using the Imperial Armour volumes as a source for the Badab War itself, though we are in the process of making some changes, again because of the arrival of the new edition.

We have also started taking a good look at the battle of the Karthan Convoy, which will involve a lot of boarding actions and the odd dogfight in the depths of space!

 

Battle Report – Implacable Advance

As we continue our re-fighting of the Badab War, the Salamanders have had mixed results in their clashes with the Mantis Warriors around their landing zone and are in danger of getting pushed right back to their drop ships. However, the Marines Errant, arriving later in the invasion of Bellerophon’s Fall, have enjoyed many successes, forcing the Mantis Warriors to give ground at nearly every step.

With such momentum behind them, the Marines Errant ploughed through the Cygnus Valley to the first wilderness outpost of the Mantis Warriors. With little time to prepare, the Mantis Warriors deployed an elite force to stall the Marines Errant long enough to reinforce their defences.

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The Marines Errant advanced down the valley on foot, but the Mantis Warriors were not fooled, having seen these slow-but-relentless tactics before. Their Captain held his ground alongside a Dreadnought and Attack Bike, as a Stormraven roared overhead to strafe the Marines Errant squads. However, the Marines Errant had their own ideas, as a Terminator and Assault Squad dropped into the Mantis Warrior’s rear position, destroying the Attack Bike before it could get its engine running, and putting the Captain on the back foot.

Responding in kind, the Mantis Warriors teleported a Terminator Assault Squad behind the Marines Errant Tactical and Devastator Squads, led by a Librarian. They immediately set about disrupting one Tactical Squad, and forced the Marines Errant Chaplain to retreat before their Thunder Hammers and Librarian’s powerful abilities. Things went from bad to worse as the Stormraven swooped in to drop off another Dreadnought, then took to the skies again to trade missiles with the Devastator Squad.

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A pitched battle erupted around the old comms array as the two forces clashed. The Mantis Warriors’ Terminators started to take casualties but the Marines Errant were unprepared for a Librarian and Dreadnought in their midst, and their losses started to mount.

Further away, the Marines Errant Terminators were crushed by a Dreadnought which, in turn, was wrecked by the Assault Squad who also knocked the Mantis Warriors’ Captain to the ground.

Firing their jump packs, the Assault Squad tried to aid the Tactical Squads, but it was too late. The Stormraven of the Mantis Warriors dropped into a hover and used its weapons to support the Dreadnought, Librarian and last Thunder Hammer-armed Terminator around the comms array. In a hail of Storm Bolter fire, the last members of the Assault Squad were shot down, leaving an eerie quiet over the battlefield.

The Mantis Warriors had been successful in stalling the Marines Errant, but it was only a temporary reprieve, for the main force of the Loyalists was close by and already moving in. However, time had been purchased, albeit at great cost, which the Mantis Warriors intended to use in preparing a solid defence against the Marines Errant inevitable assault.