Battle Report – Clash of Heroes

It has not just been the Bonesplitterz roused to fight after the Realmgate Wars, as our previous battles might indicate – the Gutbuster Ogors are raging as well (some might say because the weather is about to turn for the colder…).

 

The Story So Far

Lord Baudrax the Hunter, leader of the Red Butchers, had carved a swath through Aqshy, pledging to lead his warhorde on a great hunt in Khorne’s honour, piling skulls as they went. In answer, Khorne sent Baudrax a powerful vision of a mighty huntsman named Skargut, the prophet of another god known as the Ravenous One.

Baudrax swore a furious oath that he would slay this false prophet and take his skull.

Plunging through a Realmgate known as the Ragged Maw, the Red Butchers voyaged to the Realm of Beasts to seek this Skargut out. For days, they battled the Spiderfang tribes of the ancient Kraggengorst ruins, then ranged out onto the Savage Steppes, matching themselves against screaming dust-wraiths, sudden squalls of amber hail, and baking, brutal heat. After many weeks slaughtering every monstrous beast and primitive tribe they came across, the Red Butchers finally came to a place of gargantuan onyx crags, many carved in the likeness of a titanic club-wielding Ogor.

As they approached, vast horns sounded from the largest of the crags and from caves surged Gutbuster Ogors, led by a Beastclaw Hunter atop a gigantic Stonehorn.

Baudrax was pleased. Now there would be blood by the gallon!

 

The Forces

This is the first time we are using the Gutbuster Ogors, so their force is relatively small – however, the Bloodbound will have to bring a fairly decent-sized army just to keep pace!

Bloodbound
Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut (Baudrax the Hunter)
Bloodsecrator
Slaughterpriest
Skullgrinder
Wrathmongers x 5
Mighty Skullcrushers x 12 (one unit of 6, two units of 3)
Khorgorath
Blood Warriors x 20 (two units of 10)
Skullreapers x 5

This is a solid Bloodbound force, built around a Brass Stampede. The Skullreapers and Wrathmongers are both hard-hitting units, and with a score of Blood Warriors to soak up damage, Khorne stands a good chance of victory on this day!

Gutbuster Ogors
Huskard on Stonehorn (Skargut)
Ogors x 13 (one unit of 7, one unit of 6)
Leadbelchers x 8
Ironguts x 8
Ironblaster

Whether it is up close and personal or by blasting huge chunks of metal at the enemy, this force has things covered. The combination of Leadbelchers and an Ironblaster will have the potential to seriously tear up the Bloodbound, while a charge of Ironguts, led by the Stonehorn, could give even their Brass Stampede pause.

 

The Battleplan

To claim victory in this battle, a player must slay the enemy general – a mighty victory is awarded if at least half of their starting models are still alive, a minor victory otherwise. If neither player has done this by the end of the sixth battle round, a player can claim a minor victory if he has at least half his starting models still on the battlefield and his opponent does not. Otherwise, it will be a draw (though you have to think it is still a win for Khorne, with that many dead…).

Baudrax has a new command ability for this battle, Irrefutable Challenge, which stops lesser models charging either general. Skargut has Righteous Fury, which allows him to re-roll missed hits against enemy Heroes (ouch!).

In addition, the gods are watching this battle, and will be mightily displeased if their champion tries to avoid battle. If a general ends up further away from the enemy in their move phase, fissures may open up to swallow his army as punishment. Priests may also be able to take advantage of their god’s interest, subtly influencing the outcome of the battle.

Finally, a general slain by any model other than the enemy general is likely to be saved by his god and returned to the battle, fully healed!

 

Deployment

The Ogors flooded out of their caves and took to the battlefield, their Huskard overseeing their advance.

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Baudrax was well pleased by their appearance, and he ordered his own warband to push forward in a broad line, his Skullcrushers to the flanks. His own eyes, however, were fixed firmly upon Skargut, sitting high atop a Stonehorn. Khorne would indeed be pleased by the Ogor’s skull.

 

Battle Round One

Content to let the Khorne invaders come to him, Skargut bellowed an order that halted his Ogors. Baudrax roared as he held his axe high in the air, and his Brass Stampede led the charge forward.

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Ogors trotted across their battleline, as much to get out of the way of Skargut’s Stonehorn as give their Leadbelchers some cover from charging Blood Warriors. Skargut released his Blood Vulture, which immediately spied Baudrax and dived down to scratch at the Lord of Khorne with its cruel talons. On the other side of the Numinous Occulum, the Ironblaster thundered and hurled a dozen heavy projectiles into a group of Blood Warriors, tearing apart two of them.

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Meanwhile, the Ironguts rushed forward, having sighted what was probably the most powerful unit in the Khorne force – an over-sized unit of Skullcrushers.

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Taking full advantage of their massive inertia, they crashed into the Skullcrushers before the Juggernauts could reach a full gallop. Their mighty clubs and swords easily smashed through the armour of the Skullcrushers, knocking three of them sprawling and out of action for the loss of only two Ogors.

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Battle Round Two

The Slaughterpriest offered a prayer of Resanguination to Khorne, and Baudrax was healed of his minor wounds caused by the Blood Vulture. However, he then pushed his luck, as he tried to Blood Bind the Ogors near the woods, and Khorne punished the Slaughterpriest for his temerity, forcing him to double over in pain as his own blood burned.

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Climbing to the top of the Arcane Ruins, the Bloodsecrator found he had a commanding view of the battlefield, and planted his Portal of Skulls, causing a dull red light to shine around him as a gate was opened directly to the Realm of Chaos.

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Baudrax decided the Ironblaster could present a problem to his war band, and his Juggernaut thundered out of the Sylvaneth Wood in an effort to cut it off. However, it proved to be just a little too far out of reach.

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Spurred on by the Portal of Skulls and driven to rabid levels of frenzy, the Khorne warband rapidly closed the remaining distance to the Ogors.

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One unit of Skullcrushers swept far along the Ogor’s left flank, and fearlessly dove into the woods, ignoring the threat of the Sylvaneth spirits within. Trees swayed violently as Ogor and Juggernaut thundered within them, and blood was soon raining into their roots as one Skullcrusher and two Ogors fell. This kind of close quarters fighting was not to the liking of one Skullcrusher, and he turned his Juggernaut around to flee the battlefield, the jeers of another unit of Skullcrushers following him as he galloped away.

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Another arboreal fight erupted close by as Blood Warriors, Skullreapers and the Khorgorath engaged more Ogors and the Leadbelchers.

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The Leadbelchers held their ground and crushed one Blood Warrior, even as Sylvaneth spirits impaled another on their branches. However, the Ogors, caught outside the wood, suffered greatly, with the Blood Warriors and Skullreapers bringing three of the beasts down between them. As the Khorgorath waded into the melee, it tore the head off another, a sight that convinced the survivors that they would be far better off if they fled from the battlefield.

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Skargut cajoled his Stonehorn forward, not wanting to leave all the slaughter to his minions. He released the Blood Vulture once more, and it dove down onto the Skullgrinder, who was forced to fend it off with his anvil.

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The Ironblaster roared again, killing another Blood Warrior and convincing another to flee, softening the unit up nicely for Skargut, his Stonehorn lumbering forward.

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However, the Blood Warriors were eager to get to grips with such a powerful foe and while one was gouged by the horns of Skargut’s beast, the others managed to inflict a series of savage wounds upon the Stonehorn.

A fierce battle was well underway in the Sylvaneth woods. On one side, the Leadbelchers continued to hold their position against Blood Warriors and Skullreapers, but at a terrible cost. Three were quickly slain and another four fled the fury of Khorne’s soldiers, leaving a single Leadbelcher fighting.

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The Ogors in the other wood fared better, and their clubs battered the last Skullcrusher they faced, leaving them triumphant under the cover of the trees.

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Battle Round Three

Seeing yet another unit of Skullcrushers approaching, the Ogors retreated further into the Sylvaneth Wood, knowing the spirits around them would exact a heavy price upon any Chaos invaders who tried to enter their domain. The Ironguts, meanwhile, entered one of the Sylvaneth Woods themselves, hoping to skirt past Baudrax the Hunter and keep Skargut free of Khorne minions so he could focus his attention on the Lord of Khorne.

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However, Skargut was already bogged down by Blood Warriors, and he waved his Ironblaster forward, knowing he needed more time before he could face Baudrax on terms he was happy with. The Ironblaster roared, but the shot was hurried and it went wide. The Ogor on the back of the Ironblaster goaded his Rhinox on, and together they smashed into Baudrax.

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This was exactly what Baudrax had been waiting for. His Juggernaut danced to one side with an agility belied by its massive, powerful frame, and Baudrax’s axe hammered into the Rhinox, leaving it badly wounded. Skargut’s Stonehorn crushed three more Blood Warriors, but one still remained, completely undaunted by the monster he was fighting. The Ironblaster had indeed bought the Huskard time, but still he needed more before he could face Baudrax.

In the Sylvaneth Woods, the battle was beginning to go the way of Khorne, as the last of the Leadbelchers was killed and the Blood Warriors began to close in upon the last Ogors.

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Baudrax raised his axe to the sky and bellowed praise to his Lord Khorne. The sky darkened as clouds swept over the battlefield, and a Blood Rain fell upon every combatant, healing every devotee to Khorne as it fell.

Spurred by this manifestation of his god’s power, the Slaughterpriest offered his own praise as he tried to Blood Boil Skargut’s Stonehorn, but Khorne took offence at such a weak offering from a puny servant and once more the Slaughterpriest was crippled by pain.

Baudrax’s warband began to sense blood and, led by the staggering Slaughterpriest, they began to run to the Ironguts.

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However, the Slaughterpriest was in too much pain to engage them in combat, and his reticence confused the Wrathmongers, who stayed in place as their continued to whirl their chains. Baudrax saw this happen, and he swore to the Blood God that Skargut’s skull would not be the only one offered that day.

Blood Warriors and Skullcrushers rushed the Ogors within the Sylvaneth Woods from two sides, trapping they prey between the trees. However, the Sylvaneth spirits had been biding their time, and two Skullcrushers disappeared as the trees swarmed and crushed them.

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The Ogors fought all the harder as they saw the advantage swing back to them, wounding the last Skullcrusher and smashing a Blood Warrior to a sticky pulp.

Unable to reach the Ironguts, the Skullreapers and Khorgorath instead threw themselves into the flank of Skargut’s Stonehorn.

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Driven into a truly psychotic rage by the combined effects of the Bloodsecrator’;s Portal of Skulls and the nearby Wrathmongers, they unleashed a devastating series of blows that brought the Stonehorn to its knees. Skargut tumbled from his saddle and was gutted by the Khorgorath.

However, Gorkamorka was watching, and his favoured champion would not be brought so low, so easily.

A giant, spectral green hand reached down through the blood-laden clouds to scoop Skargut up and place him back in the saddle of a completely restored Stonehorn. Skargut grinned down at the warriors of Khorne who had attacked him, and prepared to strike back, even as Baudrax casually dispatched the Ironblaster.

 

Battle Round Four

Now filled with a Righteous Fury, Skargut bellowed at his Ironguts, and they lumbered forward, once again building momentum as they crashed into the Wrathmongers and Slaughterpriest.

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As one Wrathmonger has hammered flat into the ground, a powerful rage descended upon one of the Ironguts, and he lashed out at one of his comrades, only to be frustrated by the thick armour they all wore. This armour also defeated the efforts of the Wrathmongers themselves, but they soon parted as the Skullgrinder piled into the fight, killing two Ironguts with wide, fast swings of his anvil, even as the Slaughterpriest hacked down another.

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This was too much for the two surviving Ironguts, and they turned and ran from Khorne’s fury.

Within the Sylvaneth Woods, battle still raged, with four Blood Warriors smashed apart by the clubs of the Ogors and thrust of their Ironfists. However, they were few in number, and the Blood Warriors rallied alongside the last Skullcrusher, finally finishing the Ogors off.

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Khorne has won the Battle of the Woods, but only a single Blood Warrior and lone wounded Skullcrusher emerged from the trees. Much blood had been spilled under their branches.

All eyes were now drawn to Skargut – he stood alone before Baudrax’s warband, but Gorkamorka was with him and his Stonehorn lashed out left and right, crushing a Skullreaper and impaling the Khorgorath on its great horns.

A dreadful Murderlust descended upon the Skullgrinder, and the weaponsmith raced forward, determined to take Skargut’s skull and thus be elevated past Baudrax in the eyes of Khorne.

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However, Baudrax reached Skargut first, barrelling into the Stonehorn at full tilt.

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Skargut stood high in his saddle, raining down blows on the forces surrounding him as Skullreapers, Wrathmongers and a Blood Warrior delivered a dozen small cuts that began to split the hide of the Stonehorn.

Baudrax the Hunter roared, getting the attention of the Ogor, and Skargut swung his Stonehorn around to face his enemy. However, the Lord of Khorne was quicker. A flurry of blows from his mighty axe took out the knees of the Stonehorn, causing the beast to pitch forward into the hard earth, tumbling Skargut onto the ground. Baudrax’s Juggernaut reared up and ploughed a hoof straight through the Ogor’s chest, silencing him immediately.

Smiling savagely to himself, Baudrax leaned over Skargut’s corpse and grabbed his long beard before swinging his axe, severing the Ogor’s head from his body in one blow.

The Blood God would indeed be satisfied by this offered skull…

 

Conclusion

Now, that was a suitably bloody battle.

Baudrax the Hunter managed to get his worthy skull, though only with a minor victory as he lost too many units in the process – not that I think either he or Khorne minds. After all, it matters not whence the blood flows…

This was the first appearance of the Ogors for us, and there is certainly much to be impressed about. Certainly, there are few units in the game that could comfortably take down three Skullcrushers in a single round, then finish off the others in the next. #

That said, Ogors are few in number and weak of armour, and if an enemy can overwhelm them while weathering the (pretty nasty) hits, then they remain eminently defeatable.

Frankly, we can’t wait to see what full-blown Beastclaw Raiders will be like!

 

The Story Continues…

The Everwinter is coming – in the next battle, Baudrax the Hunter takes on the full might of the Beastclaw Raiders, along with a few of their allies, in an arena created by the gods.

Battle Report – Horns of the Beast

We have been having some fun with the Bonesplitterz, but now they have drawn their entire Warclan together, as they are hunting that most difficult of prey – Stardrakes within a full formation of Stormcast Eternals!

 

The Story So Far

High above the Clawspine Expanse in the Realm of Beasts, the Stormcasts of the Hallowed Knights Extremis Chamber marched along a magical path of stardust created by the wizards of Azyrheim, a feat that required no little bargaining with the Collegiate Arcane. The Orruks below were completely unaware of the Stormcasts crossing the sky – all except the Wurrgog Prophet. He wanted to slay their starbeasts and, puzzling how to get to the Stormcasts, the Prophet finally settled on a plan.

He would ask Gorkamorka to blow up the sky.

As the Stormcasts began passing over a huge volcano within the Clawspine Expanse, the Wurrgog Prophet called out a mighty ‘waaagh!’ to the spirit of the mountain. The volcano erupted violently, hurling lurid emerald flames and burning boulders into the heavens. The star road was bombarded, and began to drift to the ground.

Masses of bellowing Orruks were waiting for the Stormcasts as they descended, all eager to claim a starbeast for themselves.

 

The Forces

As far as the Bonesplitterz are concerned, we are (literally) putting everything on the table for this one – every Bonesplitterz Orruk in the collection, using every Battalion they qualify for.

Bonesplitterz
Wurgog Prophet
Big Boss x 2
Wardokk x 2
Maniak Weirdnobs x 4
Boarboys x 10
Savage Orruks x 40 (two units of 20)
Arrowboys x 20
Big Stabbas x 2
Morboys x 20
Boarboy Maniaks x 20 (two units of 10)

The Warclan has truly come out in force, with no less than six Battalions being fielded! The Extremis Chamber is always a very, very powerful enemy to face, but the Bonesplitterz are massing in force, and have just the right tools to deal with the Stradrakes. Could this be the first defeat of the Stormcast Extremis?

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant on Stardrake
Drakesworn Templar
Fulminators x 4 (two units of 2)
Tempestors x 4 (two units of 2)
Concussors x 4 (two units of 2)
Desolators x 4 (two units of 2)

The full Lightning and Thunder Echelons are being used in this force, making it mightily potent. However, the actual unit sizes are small, and if the Bonesplitterz can isolate units and finish them off quickly, they stand a good chance of claiming a Stardrake! However, if things go a little pear-shaped for the Stormcasts, they can take advantage of Sigmar’s Aid, and bring some Liberators, Judicators and Paladins down in the latter stage of the battle.

 

The Battleplan

This is a huge mash up, with the Orruks wanting to bag themselves every Stardrake and Dracoth they can see, and the Stormcasts having no choice but to defend themselves. So, this will be a fight to the death, ending with the total destruction of one army or the other (or until it becomes obvious that one cannot win).

As always, there are issues.

The Bonesplitterz Snaga Rukk does not have to be set up at the start of the battle, and can march round the left or right side of the battlefield to arrive in the second round.

In addition, the Bonesplitterz are trying to hold the Stormcasts in place, and so those near the Wurrgog Prophet do not have to take battleshock tests and can re-roll charges in the first round, while the Stormcasts can re-roll charges and hit rolls close to their general, again in the first round.

 

Deployment

The Bonesplitterz deployed in a long line, stretching across almost the entire battlefield. For their part, the Stormcasts deployed in a much tighter formation, the better to concentrate their attacks on a single point, though the Drakesworn Templar led half of the Thunder Echelon in a diversionary attack that the Lord-Celestant would hope stop the Orruks from simply closing around his much smaller force.

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He was also very much aware that the Snaga Rukk had already departed the battlefield and was already making great strides across his right flank.

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Battle Round One

The Wardokks capered around the rear lines of the Bonesplitterz, their dances greatly accelerating the magic flowing around the Weirdnob Maniaks and Wurrgog Prophet. At the bidding of the Prophet, a spectral image of Gorkamorka shimmered into existence over the Bonesplitterz, drawing gasps of awe from the Orruks. He reached down with one hand and scooped up the Boarboys, depositing them within striking distance of the diversionary component of the Thunder Echelon.

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Then with his other hand, Gorkamorka picked up a unit of Savage Orruks and carried them over the Sylvaneth Woods, to drop them in front of the rest of the Stormcasts.

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The rest of the Bonesplitterz ran as fast as they could, dismayed that Gorkamorka had not chosen them to lead the attack.

At the urging of the Wurrgog Prophet, the Arrow Boys skipped forward and showered the Tempestors with a volley of arrows that temporarily blocked the sunlight. However, the ever vigilant Fulminators of the Lightning Echelon were close by, and their glaives spun in bright circles that deflected all but a single arrow.

With a bellow, the Savage Orruks and Boarboys ploughed into the closest Stormcasts, determined to forge a path to the Stradrakes in a single gutsy attack.

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The Boarboys managed to land a few light blows on the scales of the Dracoths, but otherwise proved a poor match for the Stormcasts.

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A little further away, the Savage Orruks leapt into battle against the Lightning Echelon and fared even worse. No Dracoths, nor their riders, were killed, and over a dozen Orruks lay dead within seconds. This proved too much for some of them, and five more ran from the battlefield, desperate to find safety.

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Satisfied that the Bonesplitterz initial attack was now held in check, the Lord-Celestant ordered the rest of his forces forwards, hoping to deliver a crippling blow before the maddened Snaga Rukk arrived in the battlefield. Meteors rained down upon the Orruks from the heavens, crushing one careless Wardokk.

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As Concussors finished off the Boarboys and Fulminators skewered the Savage Orruks who had engaged them, the Drakesworn Templar goaded his Stardrake on towards the Bonesplitterz main line. However, despite many attempts, he could not persuade the Stardrake to charge into their ranks. It took him a few seconds to spot what had spooked his mount – the Bonesplitterz had positioned Big Stabbas behind Savage Orruks, and they had already marked the Stardrake as their first target.

 

Battle Round Two

The initiative the Bonesplitterz had gained earlier on had been completely robbed by their stalled assault, and the Stormcasts quickly took advantage of it. As the Dracoths advanced, they opened their maws to release a crackling wave of lightning that fried some of the Arrow Boys, even as meteors continued to rain down from the sky, this time badly wounding a Big Boss.

Then, as one, the Dracothian Guard advanced at a trot, aiming to ride down every Orruk they could reach.

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Though the Big Stabbas still lurked behind the Savage Orruks, the Drakesworn Templar was too close and too committed to retreat. Ordering Concussors to follow him, he ploughed into the Savage Orruks, hoping to finish them off and reach the Big Stabbas before the Bonesplitterz could react.

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Seeing the danger, the Lord-Celestant cursed his Drakesworn Templar, and dove in, pushing the other Stardrake to one side. This caused the Templar to miss with his Stormlance, and the Lord-Celestant only clobbered two Orruks with his Celestine Hammer. However, the Stardrakes and Dracoths were decidedly hungry, and they swallowed or simply tore apart nine Orruks between them, gouging a huge hole in the Bonesplitterz line.

However, it was not enough and two Big Stabba teams were close enough to rush forward, even as the surviving Savage Orruks streamed passed them in an effort to escape the Stormcasts.

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The Templar’s Stardrake roared in pain as their Big Teef punched through its chestplate with ease, dealing two deep wounds.

On the other side of the Numinous Occulum, Desolators joined Fulminators as they rode into the mass of Arrow Boys in front of them.

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The Arrowboys had been watching the Fulminators since the beginning of the battle, and they were ready to receive the charge. The Fulminators were quickly bogged down in their assault, but the Orruks had not spotted the Desolators also closing in, and their big axes hewed heads from shoulders as Dracoths tore apart what was left. The Arrow Boys could not withstand that assault and they too broke from the battle and ran.

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Casting his eye across the battlefield, the Wurrgog Prophet could see that he had lost four units of his boys, but he did not overly care – he could see the Stardrakes had been pulled into the perfect position and the Big Stabbas were ready to strike.

Organising his Wardokks and Weirdnob Maniaks, the Prophet ordered them to pool their magic. Arcane Bolts flew at the Drakesworn Templar in volleys, each one finding its mark, even as a Weirdnob Maniak began to break the bones of the beast.

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From the corner of his eye, however, the Wurrgog Prophet could see the rest of the Dracothian Guard, and the Hand of Gork appeared once more, this time to scoop up the Prophet and deposit him nearer the Big Stabbas.

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The Teef Rukk was now close enough to hear his commands, and the Prophet ordered them to bring down the Stardrake of the Drakesworn Templar. The first Big Stabba team rushed in, but bounced off its chestplate.

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However, further threats from the Prophet saw the Big Stabbas recover, and they once again hurled themselves at the Stardrake, this time wounding it badly.

A great chorus of bellows shook the battlefield then, as the Snaga Rukk arrived, covering the last portion of their rush forward by the cover of Sylvaneth Woods.

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Heedless of the spirits of the woods, the Snaga Rukk ploughed onwards, quickly finding the Tempestors and Fulminators of the Lightning Echelon. With a maniak fury, they piled in, overwhelming two Fulminators and a Tempestor, for the loss of only a couple of pigs.

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The Big Stabbas rallied once more and rammed their Big Teef home, driving their weapons deep into the heart of the Templar’s Stardrake. The great beast roared in pain, and then burst into starlight that shot up towards the Celestial Realm. Though cheated of their bones, this feat energised the entire Bonesplitterz force, even as it dealt the Stormcasts a terrible blow to their morale.

Invigorated by the escaping spirit of the Stardrake, the Big Boss leapt forward, determined to claim a Dracoth by himself.

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The Concussors were having none of his heroics, however, and a single swing of their hammers knocked the Big Boss to the ground, where he lay still. Seeing the Lord-Celestant would be the next target of the Big Stabbas, the Concussors then performed they well-trained Ruinous Assault, leaping the short distance to the Big Stabbas, braining each Orruk.

However, Bonesplitterz are tougher than the average Orruk and, as they died, they hurled their Big Teef in high arcs to pierce the scales of the Lord-Celestant’s Stardrake.

 

Battle Round Three

The Bonesplitterz could sense weakness now, and they scrambled to claim the advantage. One Stardrake had already been killed, halving the number of monsters the Stormcasts had within their force, and the Stardrake of the Lord-Celestant was already wounded. Further more, the Snaga Rukk had performed well, and was threatening to completely collapse the Stormcast’s right flank.

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The Lord-Celestant reared up in the back of his Stardrake, and once again the Wurrgog Prophet directed his wizards to focus their energies on the beast. A Weirdnob Maniak and Wardokk both hurled Arcane Bolts that struck home, but every other Orruk wizard were too excited at the prospect of felling another monster that they fumbled their castings.

Undaunted, the Prophet bellowed at the nearby Morboys, and they redoubled their efforts against the Fulminators who had helped see off the Arrow Boys, pulling the Stormcasts off their Dracoths.

The Snaga Rukk had built up a huge momentum, and they continued rolling up the Stormcasts’ right flank, hammering the Tempestors before Desolators reigned their Dracoths in and counterattacked, felling four of the Boarboy Maniaks.

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Overcome with giddiness from the slaying of the first Stardrake, a Weirdnob Maniak wove through Orruk and Stormcast to charge into the Lord-Celestant. So unnerved was his Stardrake at this furious attack, it reared up and tried to avoid the staff and boar of the Weirdnob, who repeatedly battered away at the beast.

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The battle stood on a knife edge, and the Lord-Celestant cursed as he was forced to retreat from the Weirdnob Maniak’s frenzied attacks, knowing his battered and bruised Stardrake could not stand much more punishment. However, he yelled orders to his Dracothian Guard, and they manouevred to engage the remaining Bonesplitterz – one last push could break the back of the warclan, so long as they could keep their own formations intact.

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By now, Concussors had reached the Snaga Rukk and, alongside the surviving Tempestors and Desolators, their hammers made short work of the Boarboy Maniaks, smashing aside Orruk and boar alike.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the Thunder Echelon moved on the Morboys, catching them in a well-timed pincer.

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Under the heavy axes and hammers of the Dracothian Guard, the Morboys had few chances, and the small number of survivors ran as fast as they could to get away from the Dracoths.

Their leaders, led by the Wurrgog Prophet himself, had already seen what was happening and they led the retreat from the battlefield.

The Stormcast Eternals had won the battle, but the Bonesplitterz had inflicted heavy losses, with one Stardrake and almost all of the Lightning Echelon sent back to Azyr.

 

Conclusion

That was a hell of a battle, and not one that the Stormcasts could claim was easy. The Bonesplitterz made serious account of themselves – they not only killed the Stardrake of the Drakesworn Templar, but also reduced the Stardrake of the Lord-Celestant to a single wound (which was why he ran so fast from the lone Weirdnob Maniak. Too much to risk!).

However, the Extremis Chamber continues to prove their worth when unleashed. The Bonesplitterz may have diverted them from their mission, but the Orruks certainly paid the price for that.

 

The Story Continues…

We have introduced the Bonesplitterz to the Mortal Realms, and next time we will be showcasing yet another new force – hold onto your boots, for these guys of Destruction have a much heavier footfall than mere Orruks!

Battle Report – Slay the Prophet

The Bonesplitterz have well and truly burst into the Mortal Realms. They had a bash at the Seraphon last time, and now they are going to have a go against the Bloodbound…

 

The Story So Far

While chasing herds of Gruntas, Wurrgg Prophet Gurkak Weirdteef and his warclan stormed through the Gnarlgate and into the Realm of Life. However, they had been followed…

Baudrax the Hunter, leader of a Brass Stampede of Khorne, had been chasing the Bonesplitterz, intending to exact vengeance upon them for poaching the lives of beasts that belonged to the Blood God. As the Brass Stampede thundered towards him, Gurkak Weirdteef panicked somewhat and desperately tried to reopen the Gnarlgate so more of his warclan could get through and reinforce those who had followed him. However, the arrival of Baudrax and the blessings of the Blood God ensured the Realmgate remained still.

The Brass Stampede began to ride over the Bonesplitterz, and Baudrax saw his chance. If he could reach the Wurrgog Prophet before more Orruks arrived, he would claim a worthy skull indeed for his master.

 

The Forces

As the Bonesplitterz are still a fairly new army for us, we are keeping things small and tight (don’t worry, that will change in the next battle, and we have some truly stonking Orruk-based battles planned for the near future!) on both sides. Both armies have strong cavalry themes, so expect a lot of movement in this fight!

Bloodbound
Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut (Baudrax the Hunter)
Mighty Skullcrushers x 12 (one unit of 6, two units of 3)
Chaos Knights x 10 (two units of 5)
Chaos Chariot

The Khorne force has a full Brass Stampede in this army, ably assisted by two units of Chaos Knights. Should be fast and fun! On top of that, we have just got hold of the new Blades of Khorne book, so we will be giving those rules a whirl too.

Bonesplitterz
Wurgog Prophet (Gurkak Weirdteef)
Wardokk x 2
Maniak Weirdnobs x 4
Morboys x 20
Boarboy Maniaks x 20 (two units of 10)

We are continuing with using the Bonesplitterz Battalions, with two types we have not yet tried. These are the Kop Rukk (Wardokks and Savage Morboys, who get bonuses to wound rolls and increased chances of casting spells) and two Snaga Rukks (Boarboy Maniaks led by Maniak Weirdnobs, who can charge in the hero phase, and can dish out mortal wounds when they do). Together, these Battalions will be able to kick out a lot of magic against the Bloodbound.

 

The Battleplan

In this Battleplan (Slay the Prophet), the Bonesplitterz are set up first in the centre of the battlefield, with just the Wurrgog Prophet and two units, in a place of power. The Bloodbound then deploy with three of their units.

So long as the Wurrgog Prophet stays in his place of power, he cannot be attacked at a range further than 6″ (not an issue for Bloodbound) and he may also have attacks safely diverted away from him by Gorkamorka.

Both armies will receive reinforcements throughout the battle, the Bloodbound getting three units every round (we will be allowing destroyed units to be recycled), while the the Bonesplitterz receive one unit on their first round, two on their second, and so on.

The Bonesplitterz gain a major victory if they ever have more than twice the number of units on the battlefield than the Bloodbound. The Bloodbound gain a major victory if they managed to slay the Wurrgog Prophet.

In addition, both armies pick one unit in their force for a special rule. The Bonesplitterz have a bodyguard unit for the Wurrgog Prophet, who can take wounds in place of him, while the Bloodbound pick a unit to assassinate the Wurrgog Prophet, gaining +1 to wound rolls made against him.

Both units automatically pass battleshock trests.

 

Deployment

Wurrgg Prophet Gurkak Weirdteef knew he was in trouble immediately. Only a group of Morboys and Boarboy Maniaks were close to hand, and the Skullcrushers of Baudrax the Hunter were already thundering towards him. Sticking close to the Realmgate, he fervently hoped the rest of his boys would arrive soon.

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Battle Round One

It was about to get worse. Baudrax rode forward, the Skullcrushers either side of him causing the ground to shake with their iron hooves and, behind them, more Skullcrushers arrived, flanked by Khornate Chaos Knights.

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Seeing their prey huddled around the Realmgate, the Skullcrushers did not hesitate and, led by Baudrax, they crashed into the Morboys thronging around their Wurrgog Prophet.

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As promised by Gurkak Weirdteef, the warpaint the Morboys had covered themselves with before the battle proved sufficient protection against the Juggernauts, and only two Orruks were mercilessly ridden down by the Skullcrushers. However, the warpaint proved less effective against the glaives of the Skullcrushers and Baudrax’s axe, and more than a dozen were hacked down as they barely scratched the Juggernauts. The few remaining Morboys broke, and ran, leaving their Prophet to his fate.

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Preparing himself for a real fight, Gurkak Weirdteef opened his mouth to unleash a mighty warcry, fuelled by the power of Gorkamorka himself, but something went wrong and nothing more than a pathetic mewling left his lips. With some chagrin, the Prophet instead opted to throw a Mystic Shield over himself.

The Boarboy Maniaks were made of stronger stuff than the Morboys, and they whooped with glee as they urged their mounts onwards, surrounding one of the Skullcrusher units.

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One Skullcrusher went down to their initial attack, and though they managed to slay one Boarboy Maniak and his pig, they were completely unprepared for the boars to surge forward again, wiping the Skullcrushers out.

As more Boarboy Maniaks arrived on the battlefield, Gurkak Weirdteef dared to hope he might yet be saved from the axe of Baudrax the Hunter.

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Battle Round Two

However, Baudrax had not become the leader of a Brass Stampede by being fooled by simple Orruks. He ordered the closest unit of Skullcrushers to loop round the Realmgate, and cut the Prophet off from the newly arrived Boarboy Maniaks.

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By now, the second wave of Brass Stampede had advanced and was now ready to launch itself into the fight.

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As more Skullcrushers and a Gorebeast Chariot arrived, Baudrax turned his Juggernaut around and retreated, to the jeers of Gurkak Weirdteef. However, the Khorne Lord had a plan, and he did not intend to lower himself to the catcalls of a Bonesplitter.

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With a gesture of his axe, Baudrax gave the order to close in around the Bonesplitterz, and his Skullcrushers and Knights obeyed with a precision that would have impressed a Stormcast Eternal. The Bonesplitterz near the Realmgate were now almost completely surrounded and becoming rapidly fewer in number.

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The Boarboy Maniaks bore the brunt of the attack, with three of them crushed by the initial charge of the Skullcrushers alone. The rest put up a brave fight, but were completely outmatched, and were slaughtered by gleeful Chaos Knights. Gurkak Weirdteef survived, with just a scratch from the glaive of a Skullcrusher.

Though he was now alone, Gurkak Weirdteef smiled to himself, for he had seen a way out. The noose Baudrax had thrown around him was not complete, and if he could reach his reinforcements, he could skulk in the nearby Sylvaneth Woods until the rest of his warclan turned up.

However, Baudrax the Hunter was not done.

Calling upon the power of Khorne, Baudrax offered a Blood Tithe, and was rewarded with his Chaos Knights being filled with a Murderlust. Enraged by the power of the Blood God, the Chaos Knights pushed their steeds hard, and closed off the Prophet’s escape route.

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Gurkak Weirdteef was now in real trouble. He tried to unleash another Warcry at the Chaos Knights, but Gorkamorka was not granting that power this day. The Prophet instead hastily threw a Mystic Shield around himself… and ran.

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The Chaos Knights had left the tiniest of gaps in their line, and Gurkak Weirdteef took advantage of it. However, this route took him straight past Baudrax the Hunter, and he desperately hoped the Lord of Khorne had not seen him.

More Boarboy Maniaks arrived, but though they raced as fast as their boars could carry them, they were far from their Prophet.

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Seeing that they could not reach Gurkak Weirdteef, the closest unit of Boarboy Maniaks ploughed into the Chaos Knights, tying up both them and the largest group of Skullcrushers in the hope that they could at least buy their Prophet more time.

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Three Boarboy Maniaks were slain in the swords and axes of the Chaos Knights, but they managed to get one of Khorne’s warriors in return. More importantly, the Chaos Knights were now fixated on them, and not the Prophet.

 

Battle Round Three

Gurkak Weirdteef was now running for his life, and Baudrax the Hunter now revealed himself for the cunning tactician he was. Though all his men were engaged with the Bonesplitterz, his earlier retreat now pout him in the perfect position to chase down the Prophet.

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The Lord of Khorne rode forwards, his Juggernaut knocking the Wurrgog Prophet to the ground.

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Gurkak Weirdteef had just enough time to look upwards as he lay on his back, to see Baudrax’s axe descending upon his neck.

A worthy skull indeed had been claimed in Khorne’s name this day.

 

Conclusion

Now, that was an interesting battle – and, in the end, it all came down to the new Blood Tithe rules in the Blades of Khorne book (this battle was played a week too late for the Bonesplitterz!).

This was always going to be a tough battle for the Orruks, as they have to cede ground while holding up Khorne units (and Juggernauts at that!), making sure the Prophet is safe. And that was exactly what was happening, right up to the point that a Blood Tithe was declared in the Bonesplitterz own hero phase, and Murderlust allowed a unit of Chaos Knights to rush forward and cut the Prophet off from his reinforcements. Had they not done that, the Prophet could have run back towards his Boarboy Maniaks, who would then advance and cut off any approach (they would die, but the Bonesplitterz get more and more reinforcements every round, so they could afford that loss).

There was a second chance for the Prophet to make a break, if only the Bonesplitterz had won first turn in the third round but, again, it was not to be.

However, it was a great battle and a worthy victory for Khorne!

 

The Story Continues…

As we are now up to speed on the Bonesplitterz, we are next going to try a battle that involves the whole warclan – against the best the Stormcasts can muster!

Battle Report – The Beast Hunt

Though the Realmgate War has been fought and (sort of) won, fighting does not stop in the Mortal Realms. We are in a kind of interbellum period at the moment as we wait for the new campaign books to drop, advancing the storyline further, but in the 50-odd years between those and the Realmgate War, there is plenty going on.

This time round, we are going to take a look at a brand new army for us, the Bonesplitterz, and see just what they have been up to.

 

The Story So Far

Bonesplitter Orruks believe that the power of their god, Gorkamorka, literally resides in the bones of the greatest monsters that roam the Mortal Realms. So, they spend their time following the directions of their Wurrgog Prophets, who promise to lead them to the biggest beasts within reach. However, the Seraphon have always provided a certain fascination for the Bonesplitterz, as their monsters simply vanish into starlight when slain. This has not stopped the Bonesplitterz from repeatedly trying to get at their bones though…

Within the Realm of Fire lay the Dragon’s Gullet, a winding valley so mountainous that the sides curled back on themselves so peaks hung overhead. Here, the Bloodbound had built the Gorefane, a great fortress that sucked in magic and breathed out fire. Starmaster Koatok had selected this fortress for destruction, and his Seraphon slaughtered the defenders and took apart the Gorefane piece by piece.

Then, the Bonesplitterz arrived, carried across the Scorched Seas on ships of living stone. Wurrgog Prophet Gurkak Weirdteef had been following the signs (that only he could see) of great beasts coming from the stars. Sighting the Seraphon’s great beasts, the Bonesplitterz leapt from their ships and started thundering forwards.

Starmaster Koatok had not foreseen this, and cursed the unpredictability of the Orruks. However, he was well versed in warfare, and the Seraphon were soon deployed to meet the new threat.

 

The Forces

The background of the Bonesplitterz very much suggests they are arranged around their Battalions, as opposed to their Battalions representing specialised formations or just cool things to try out. So, I have been building my Bonesplitterz with this in mind and, as this is the first outing for them, we are just trying three simple Battalions.

Bonesplitterz
Wurgog Prophet (Gurkak Weirdteef)
Big Boss x 2
Wardokk
Boarboyz x 10
Savage Orruks x 40 (two units of 20)
Arrowboys x 20
Big Stabbas x 4

These are arranged in a Brutal Rukk (faster when they run), a Kunnin’ Rukk (which will be familiar to many on the tournament circuit, though we have toned down the units within it – one of the Savage Orruk units and the Arrowboys basically get a ‘free’ action in the hero phase), and a Teef Rukk (all the Big Stabbas, allowing them to get free attacks against specific monsters).

Seraphon
Slann Starmaster (Koatok)
Oldblood on Carnosaur
Saurus Warriors x 40
Skinks x 20
Chameleon Skinks x 5
Saurus Knights x 10 (two units of 5)
Saurus Guard x 15
Bastiladon
Stegadon

The Seraphon have come loaded for bear and, to the joy of the Bonesplitterz, they have three monsters among them (Carnosaur, Bastiladon and Stegadon). We don’t really know how the Bonesplitterz are going to perform (and being our first game with them, they are unlikely to be played in an optimum manner), so we have avoided taking any Battalions for the Seraphon. Let’s just assume the Starmaster is very confident about handling a bunch of green-skinned savages…

 

The Battleplan

In this Battleplan (The Beast Hunt), the Bonesplitterz have completely surrounded the Seraphon and are so pumped up with the thrill of the hunt that they will automatically pass all Battleshock tests.

For their part, the Seraphon brought some particularly vicious beasts to deal with the Gorefane and they are still around to face the Bonesplitterz. All Seraphon Monsters add +1 to all their hit rolls (that is going to be savage!).

Victory conditions are simple – if all three of the Seraphon monsters are killed, the Bonesplitterz earn a major victory. The Seraphon gain a major victory if they can wipe the Bonesplitterz out…

 

Deployment

It was with no little surprise that Starmaster Koatok looked up from his contemplations to see eighty fist-throwing Orruks racing towards him, bellowing as they ran. The Seraphon reformed their lines in a disciplined manner, ensuring a barrier of Saurus Knights, Warriors or Guard would face the Bonesplitterz from every direction. High above the battlefield hung the constellation of the Great Drake, a good omen, the Starmaster knew.

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For their part, the Bonesplitterz were running to battle within their Rukks, the Brutal Rukk from the east, while the Kunnin’ and Teef Rukks approached from the north. The Brutal Rukk had further to run, but comprised the fastest Orruks.

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Battle Round One

The Kunnin’ Rukk was well named, for the Arrow Boys launched a sneak attack at the Stegadon who had ventured just a little too far forward among the other Seraphon, and a wave of arrows arced through the air. Some penetrated the Stegadon’s thick scales, causing the beast to bellow in pain.

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Not to be outdone, the Savage Orruks accompanying the Arrow Boys tore forward, eager to claim the bones of the beast. Behind them, Wurrgog Prophet Weirdteef danced and capered, until a massive spectral fist appeared above the Skinks. It slammed down, and six Skinks burst into starlight instantly, before the fist opened and scooped up the Savage Orruks, depositing them within yards of the Stegadon.

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The Brutal Rukk had already promised themselves they would not be left behind by the sneak Kunnin’ Rukk, and they raced forwards as their Wardokk performed a ju-ju dance behind them.

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The Arrow Boys loosed another volley at the Stegadon, and what they lacked in accuracy they more than made up for with volume of fire. This time many more arrows struck the Stegadon, and it started to limp as it turned to face the Savage Orruks, who crashed into the beast with an impact that reverberated around the battlefield.

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The carnage they inflicted would have impressed even the toughest Orruk of the Brutal Rukk, and the Arrow Boys were hot on their heels, slamming into the side of the Saurus Knights.

The Stegadon was simply overwhelmed by the rush of the Savage Orruks, and the beast moaned as it faded into starlight. Cheated of any bones, the Orruks yelled in frustration, and immediately started to find more prey. They did not have long to wait as the Oldblood piled into them on the back of a Carnosaur, the Saurus Guard flowing around the Bastiladon to support him. All of a sudden, the Savage Orruks had a real fight on their hands.

Then it was the turn of the Brutal Rukk, as the Boar Boys galloped to reach the Saurus Warriors. Neither unit was in a position to overwhelm its enemy, but both sides started to suffer casualties.

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The sheer ferocity of the Bonesplitterz unnerved some of the Seraphon, and a handful of Skinks and Saurus Knights fled the battlefield. Starmaster Koatok paid them scant attention, for he knew he had to act quickly if he were to stop the Bonesplitterz from completely overwhelming his force.

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Harnessing the arcane power of the Numinous Occulum, the Slann Starmaster threw a Mystic Shield over the Oldblood and Carnosaur, before hurling an Arcane Bolt at the Wurrgog Prophet. However, the mad capering of the Prophet created a complex weave of mystical energies that the Starmaster just could not penetrate, and the spell went awry before it came close to the Orruk.

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With a silent command from the Starmaster, a small group of Chameleon Skinks scampered out of a rock cluster, and raised their blowpipes – the Wurrgog Prophet was in their sights, and they had a chance to decapitate the Bonesplitterz before their attack could gather strength.

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Unfortunately, their aim proved to be less than legendary, and Weirdteef barely noticed the darts that thudded into his flesh.

The Oldblood started getting into his old rhythm as he and his Carnosaur tore apart the Savage Orruks. They tried to avoid the Carnosaur and instead launched an attack on the Bastiladon, but its thick shell protected it from all but the heaviest of their blows, and as the beast turned about, a massive swing of its tail knocked the last of the Savage Orruks flying.

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On the other side of the Numinous Occulum, the Brutal Rukk was beginning to get bogged down by the horde of Saurus Warriors, and the fight was beginning to dissolve into a confusing melee – just how the Boar Boys liked it!

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Battle Round Two

The momentum of the battle was firmly with the Bonesplitterz, and Wurrgog Prophet Weirdteef was quick to take advantage of it.

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The Arrow Boys loosed a thick volley at the Bastiladon, but were disappointed as most of their arrows simply bounced off its shell. Cursing their ineptitude, Weirdteef decided to show them how things should be done, creating a great spectral Fist of Gork that crashed down among the Saurus Guard, flattening four of them. However, as he prepared to hurl an Arcane Bolt at the Bastiladon, the Slann Starmaster picked apart the spell as if it had been cast by an infant.

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However, the Wurrgog Prophet had another trick up his sleeve…

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With bellows that were equal part aggression and pure joy, the Big Stabbas of the Teef Rukk ran in, slamming into the Carnosaur and burying a Gork Took deep into the beast’s flank. The Prophet Weirdteef proved he indeed had the power of the Waaagh! with him as he urged the Big Stabbas onwards – they pulled their Gork Toof free and then charged again, driving their weapons deep into the Carnosaur until it burst in a rain of starlight.

They, too, were disappointed to see the creature simply disappear before their eyes, but they were still elated – the Bonesplitterz had now accounted for two of the three beasts the Seraphon had in their ranks. Now, only the Bastiladon remained.

As one, the Arrow Boys and more Big Stabbas started to converge on the Bastiladon, keen not to let other Orruks have all the fun.

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Just a short distance away, the Orruks of the Brutal Rukk were perturbed that the Kunnin’ Rukk was claiming all the beasts, and so they tried an old trick. As their own Savage Orruks neared the Seraphon, the Boar Boys retreated, leaving the Saurus Warriors wide open…

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…before returning with a new charge alongside the Savage Orruks.

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The Saurus Warriors buckled under this fresh attack, but continued to hold firm.

Seeing the rest of this tribe approach the Bastiladon, Wurrgog Prophet Weirdteef was keen to help, but he saw the Chameleon Skinks closing in on his position, so he instead opted to heroically relocate to somewhere safer.

The fighting began to intensify as the Bonesplitterz concentrated their efforts on the Bastiladon, but the beast was proving tough. Missiles form the Arrow Boys continued to bounce off its thick shell like rain. However, the Stabba Boys were close. Barely missing a step after they had slain the Carnosaur, they raced in with their Gork Teef.

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Even the Bastiladon’s mighty armour was no match for the power of the Big Stabbas, and armour plates were shattered and split as the Gork Teef were driven in at full speed. Gasping once, the Bastiladon dissolved into nothingness.

Seeing all his beasts destroyed, Slann Starmaster Koatok had no choice but to withdraw back to Azyr, the sound of excited, chanting Orrusk ringing in his ears as he departed.

 

Conclusion

As it turns out, Bonesplitterz are very, very good at killing monsters!

Those Big Stabbas are just brutal against anything large and, when combined with their Battalions and the Wurrgog Prophet, can deliver an amount of attacks that, frankly, even Archaon would have a problem with.

The Bonesplitterz are an exciting little force, capable of punching far above their own weight. Their basic foot troops (Savage Orruks) are ‘okay’ – they are durable enough, but don’t expect them to work miracles. They might be best used to hold up the enemy while the more specialised units do their work but, at the end of the day, this is just our first battle with them.

The Wurrgog Prophet is a good leader and wizard but the stars of the battle, without any doubt, were the Big Stabbas. Just a single unit was responsible for the Carnosaur and Bastiladon and, if they had had a crack at the Stegadon, I have little doubt they could have claimed three beasts in that fight!

 

The Story Continues…

Well, the Bonesplitterz have certainly made their impact upon the Mortal Realms, and we will be sticking with them next time as a full Brass Stampede of Khorne has isolated a Wurrgog Prophet and seeks to crush him into the ground before the rest of his tribe can arrive…

Battle Report – Through the Breach

This is it, the final and concluding part of not only the All-Gates book, but the Realmgate Wars saga as a whole. Stand by for a truly titanic clash as the forces of Order try to push their way towards the Brimfire Gate…

 

The Story So Far

Under clouds of fire, the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers advanced ever closer to the blazing arc of the Brimfire Gate. The Godbeast Ignax had been wrested from the control of Archaon, though the attempt had greatly weakened Runefather Borr-Grimnir, and had smashed the Bloodskull Fastness, allowing the forces of Order to bypass that fortress as they plunged forwards towards the seventh castle that ringed the Realmgate – Bloodcombe.

Built by the Children of Hashut, the Bloodcombe’s walls were impossibly thick, and reputed to be unbreachable by any mortal means. Under the thrall of Runefather Borr-Grimnir, Ignax railed against the walls three times, and it was only on the third blast of the serpent’s inferno that a breach was formed. Into the breach strode the last of the Chaos defenders, filling the gap with their own bodies and daring any to pass.

The Runefather felt his control of Ignax slip away, and finally the Godbeast was truly free, flying away to find peace and warmth far from the war that had shaken the Mortal Realms. The great serpent was last seen burrowing under the volcanic Infernus Mountain range.

Now, the Battle of Hell Breach had begun and, spearheaded by Liberators, the forces of Order advanced. The campaign for the eight castles around the Brimfire Gate now came down to a single assault.

The first Liberators were run through by Hellblades, but they were quickly replaced by Paladins. The Juggernaut-riding Crimson Guard, led by Lord Khar and supported by Slaughterpriests, threw the Paladins back, only for the Fyreslayers to throw themselves into the breach. Wave after wave of Vulkite Berzerkers forced their way into the breach, only to be repulsed by the Crimson Guard.

Then the Stardrakes arrived.

Sending forth a nova surge, a gleaming front of celestial energy, the Stardrakes felled the Crimson Guard by the hundred, finally forging a passage through the walls.

With a great roar, surviving Stormcast and Fyreslayer piled forward into the fortress, only to be met by a great bow wave of hatred. Skarbrand had arrived and though he had already spilled an ocean of blood, it was not enough.

The two armies had battered one another across the eight castles, but there was one final push to be made that would seal the fate of the Mortal Realms.

 

The Forces

The two armies in this battle are large, but not massive. They have ground away at one another and now only the toughest warriors remain.

Bloodbound and Daemons of Khorne
Mighty Lord of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury
Skarbrand
Aspiring Deathbringer
Bloodsecrator
Slaughterpriest x 2
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Bloodletters x 50 (five units of 10)
Bloodcrushers x 6
Chaos Warriors x 12
Skullreapers x 5

The likes of Bloodreavers were slaughtered long ago, the last being boiled away by Ignax. What is left are elite warriors, Heroes, and plenty of daemons, all led by two Bloodthirsters – one of which is Skarbrand!

Fyreslayers
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (one unit of 20, one unit of 10)

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant on Dracoth
Lord-Celestant on Stardrake
Drakesworn Templar
Knight-Heraldor
Fulminators x 6
Concussors x 6
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Protectors x 5
Decimators x 5
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)

The forces of Order have suffered their own losses, and even the Extremis Chamber can muster but a couple of (albeit strong) units. However, the Paladins are also out in force, supported by Liberators and Vulkite Berzerkers.

 

The Battleplan

This is another Battleplan that is simple at heart. To win, the forces of Order just need to get three of their units, wholly or partially, into Khorne territory within six rounds. I they fail, the Khorne player earns a major victory.

There are, of course, some issues to be addressed first though. First off, the attackers are fatigued, and while they add 1 to their Bravery, their Movement is reduced by an inch, and they cannot run. So, they will have to slog their way to Khorne territory. In addition, they have a small deployment area and will have several units starting in reserve which, naturally, will have to walk even further.

On top of that, the Khorne defenders are not giving ground easily, and can re-roll all hit rolls of a 1.

We are using the Brimfire Gate Time of War sheet, which gives the Stormcasts blessed weapons (more damage for Heroes), but also means Skarbrand’s wave of fury  will affect the battle, which can bring in more daemons or even cause Heroes to explode with anger!

The Brimfire Gate rules for Ignax will not be used, as she was freed in the last battle!

 

Deployment

The forces of Order were hemmed in by the width of the breach and were limited as to who would be first through the gap. Casualties were expected to be high in the initial assault and while the Lord-Celestant on the Stardrake felt it was important to be among them, the rest of the Dracothian Guard were kept back for later waves to make a breakthrough at a weak point.

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Liberators took position at the front to receive the worst Khorne could throw at them, while the Vulkite Berzerkers mobbed on the left flank.

The Khornate defenders had mustered a strong line to hold the forces of Order back, with daemons to the centre and mortals to the flanks. A Bloodthirster towered among the daemons but, worse, Skarbrand had taken position just a short distance away.

 

Battle Round One

Though weary from previous battles, the Lord-Celestant knew that waves of daemons and Bloodbound could easily bog his force down, so immediate progress had to be made. Giving the order, he drove his Stormcasts forward to gain ground.

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However, he was painfully aware of how slow that progress was. In part to rally the tired spirits of fellow Stormcasts, the Knight-Heraldor raised his trumpet to his lips and blew hard, targeting the nearby Skull Keep. The whole structure rattled and shook, until great lumps of masonry and metal broke free to tumble onto the Chaos Warriors and Bloodletters below.

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The Lord-Celestant added his own weight to this barrage, summoning a hail of meteors from the heavens, which crashed down all over the battlefield, wounding the Bloodsecrator and Mighty Lord of Khorne.

The response from the Bloodbound and Daemons of Khorne was quick in coming, and everyone felt a pressure wave of hate sweep over them as Skarbrand unleashed an almighty roar of pure rage. This attracted more daemons from all over the fortresses, and a pack of Flesh Hounds appeared in front of the Fyreslayers, eager to engage in their own bloodletting.

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The Bloodsecrator, hidden behind the Skull Keep, realised the Stormcasts would not be able to advance far and that the bulk of the fighting would be happening close by. He planted his Portal of Skulls and opened up a doorway to the Realm of Chaos, infusing all Khornate followers with the Blood God’s own fury.

Then, as one, the forces of Khorne advanced, racing one another to be the first to claim the life of a Stormcast. On the Stormcasts’ right flank, Skarbrand thundered forward, leading a small force of mortals and Bloodletters.

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In the centre, Slaughterpriests bound a retinue of Liberators by blood, enraging them and forcing them to race forward, beyond the support of their Stormhost – straight into the path of Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers and a Bloodthirster.

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A terrible crack resounded across the battlefield as, all along the line, Bloodbound and daemon crashed into the Sigmarite shields of Liberators.

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It was Skarbrand who drew first blood though, his axes Slaughter and Carnage making short work of the two retinues of Liberators he had charged. One Liberator-Prime fought bravely with his lightning-blessed hammers, scoring several telling hits, but the fury of Skarbrand’s assault proved too much in the end, and the few surviving Stormcasts were forced to retreat back to the breach.

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In the centre, the Bloodthirster howled with pure anger as the Bloodcrushers simply rode over the Liberators who had raced forwards, clearing the way to the Paladins advancing behind them.

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To their left, the Flesh Hounds had leaped into the crowd of Vulkite Berzerkers, and were already tearing the Fyreslayers apart, though a few of the daemonic beasts were also returned to Khorne.

 

Battle Round Two

With the momentum purely on the side of the daemons and Bloodbound, the Lord of Khorne raised his axe and bellowed for the advance to continue. The Stormcasts had already been forced onto the backfoot, and the Lord intended to drive them all the way back to the breach.

Skarbrand’s rage continued to act as a magnet for daemons, and Bloodletters appeared on the battlefield, further demoralising the Stormcasts.

The Bloodthirster took to the skies briefly with slow, powerful beats of its wings, until it crashed down hard in front of the line of Paladins, the impact causing the Stardrake of the Lord-Celestant to stumble. Without missing a beat, the Bloodthirster piled forward with the Bloodcrushers to meet the first retinue of Paladins – the Decimators.

Though their axes were unsuited to the work of hacking apart beasts as large as Juggernauts, the Decimators nevertheless made good account of themselves, and were joined by the Knight-Heraldor as they all but slaughtered the Bloodcrushers.

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Furious at this display of defiance, the Bloodthirster lashed the Knight-Heraldor with his whip, but it simply skidded off the Stormcast’s armour. The Lord-Celestant forced his Stardrake back to its feet and then it piled in tot he melee before them, snatching one Bloodcrusher with its great maw before swallowing it whole, then finishing the last with a powerful lash of its tail.

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The Lord of Khorne had joined his Flesh Hounds in breaking the Vulkie Berzerkers, and the Fyreslayers started dying in greater number. Though they made good account of themselves against the Flesh Hounds, the attack was too much for five of them, and they turned and ran for the breach, leaving less than a handful of the most crazed Duardin to hold the line.

Only minutes into the battle, and both sides had received powerful blows from their enemy. However, as more Flesh Hounds appeared near a ruined temple, the Lord-Celestant realised that he needed to make a decisive action to break the deadlock, as a battle of attrition favoured only Khorne.

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Standing high on the back of his Stardrake, the Lord-Celestant bade the Knight-Heraldor to make a signal, and a clear trumpet note sounded. It was quickly followed by the thunder of heavy claws over rubble as the first of the Stormcast reinforcements arrived through the breach – a Lord-Celestant on the back of a Dracoth led a Drakesworn Templar and a retinue of Fulminators into battle.

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The Fulminators wasted no time and, as meteors rained down upon the Bloodsecrator, smashing the Portal of Skulls that had been driving the forces of Khorne into a frenzy, their Dracoths unleashed crackling lightning upon Skullreapers, before charging, their glaives levelled at the hearts of the enemy.

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Unable to get out of the way in time, the Skullreapers were simply ridden down.

The Drakesworn Templar, meanwhile, had already spotted his target – the Lord of Khorne who had almost broken through the thin, ragged line of Fyreslayers. Urging his Stardrake on, the Templar lowered his Stormlance…

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… and impaled the Lord of Khorne before he could scramble out of the way.

A series of mighty cracks deafened every warrior on the battlefield, a signal that the two retinues of Retributors had reached the battleline. One retinue unleashed the lightning of their hammers to blast the life out of a unit of Chaos Warriors, while the other repeated the exercise on Skarbrand, catching the daemon completely off-balance and hammering him into nothingness. However, all eyes were soon turning to the centre, where the Bloodthirster and Lord-Celestant on his Stardrake had been drawn to within striking distance of one another.

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The Decimators caught between them were completely outmatched and quickly fell to the wide sweeps of the Bloodthirster’s axe, incensing the Lord-Celestant. He raced forwards, too late to save the Paladins, but the Bloodthirster was rocked backwards by the impact of the Stardrake and a well-wielded Celestine Hammer.

It snarled back at the Lord-Celestant with hatred, but one wing hung limply, bones shattered.

 

Battle Round Three

The Stormcasts had made good account of themselves thus far but the Lord-Celestant could see it had been for naught. Despite having repelled the first wave of attacking daemons and forcing Skarbrand to return to his master, the Stormcasts had not advanced an inch, and another wave of daemons and Bloodbound were poised to strike them – and this time, there were no Liberators with locked shields to hold the attackers back.

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Both daemon and Bloodbound sensed this weakness too, and they eagerly threw themselves back into the fray. The Slaughterpriests enacted their foul rituals and the Stardrake of the Lord-Celestant bellowed in pain as its blood was boiled to intolerable levels.

The Fulminators, too, found themselves at a disadvantage, as the Skullreapers had broken their momentum, and now Bloodletters and Blood Warriors moved in to finish them off.

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Paladins and one lone surviving Liberator drew close to the Fulminators for mutual support, but all this did was provide daemon and Bloodbound with a single target they could overwhelm, and a huge, sprawling melee erupted across the Stormcasts’ right flank.

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The Fulminators, desperate to break free so they could use their glaives to full effect, fought hard against their attackers, and their Dracoths attacked with a frenzy, wiping out every Bloodletter within reach in seconds. The Dracothian Guard shouted jubilantly at their victory but knew, in truth, the mortal Bloodbound might prove far tougher to fight.

On the opposite flank, the Stormcast line was being propped up only by a retinue of Retributors and the Drakesworn Templar, and a unit of Blood Warriors rushed in alongside more Bloodletters, keen to take advantage of this weakness.

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However, their attacks were resoundingly rebuffed, with four Blood Warriors and two Flesh Hounds paying the price.

At the centre, the Bloodthirster and Lord-Celestant with his Stardrake fought tooth and nail, each scoring several deep wounds in the flesh of the other. Neither was willing to relent or retreat; the Lord-Celestant because he knew Sigmar’s plans for the whole Realm of Fire depended upon what he did in this battle, the Bloodthirster because it was simply in its nature to destroy all enemies.

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While every Stormcast was engaged in a pitched battle for his life, they could feel the power of Khorne beginning to slip. None felt this more than the Liberator-Prime, the last Liberator still fighting on the battlefield. He had been singled out by a Aspiring Deathbringer and, fighting with the stuff of legends behind him, the Liberator-Prime was going toe-to-toe with with one of Khorne’s favoured heroes… and was winning.

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The Lord-Celestant rode forward on his Dracoth, which opened its jaws and unleashed a torrent of lightning upon the Bloodthirster. Crippled by its wounds from the Stardrake, the Bloodthirster was consumed as celestial lightning crackled up and down its body, turning the greater daemon into a crisped corpse that collapsed to the ground with a shattering thud, before turning to dust.

The Bloodbound moaned audibly as they saw their great daemon defeated, and the Fulminators took advantage of the lull, bidding their own Dracoths to unleash a wave of lightning that fried several Blood Warriors.

Then, the Lord-Celestants both stood in their saddles and waved their hammers high, giving the signal to advance. As one, the Stormcasts surged forward and drove over the last of the Khornate defenders. Unable to resist, the last few Blood Warriors turned… and ran.

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Sigmar’s soldiers had claimed the Brimfire Gate.

 

Conclusion

It all fell apart for the Chaos defenders in the third round! Up to that point, they had been suffering badly, but dealing out equal misery to the Stormcasts (and annihilating the Fyreslayers). The Dracothion Guard had been worn down, and had become reliant on the Concussors coming on as reinforcements (which, as three units were needed to get into Khorne territory, was far from a guarantee of success), the Lord-Celestant’s Stardrake had just six wounds left, and the Drakesworn Templar had started to suffer damage too. The Liberators had been wiped out, and the Paladins were starting to lose steam – everything was standing on the edge of a knife.

And then, come third round, all the successes the Khornate force had been enjoying just fell apart, and the Stormcasts could do no wrong! This created a setback that Chaos could never recover from, and the weight of the Stormcasts pushed through.

Which, really, is how it should be in a great tale!

Units we had never really seen perform well started to out-do themselves early in the battle, with the Bloodcrushers leading the charge and crushing the Stormcasts’ front line, and Bloodletters kicking out a significant number of mortal wounds.

The one big mistake made by Chaos (and the player admitted this afterwards) was delaying Skarbrand in combat – he was hoping the Stormcasts would chip away at the Bloodthirster, leaving him on just a few wounds which is, of course, where Skarbrand really starts performing. However, a few scratches earlier in the battle meant the Retributors were well positioned to finish him off in a single blow of their hammers. Once Skarbrand was gone, the Stormcasts’ right flank still had work to do, but the pressure was significantly reduced.

All that said, until the third round, the Khorne forces had done exactly what they needed to do – advance and then hold the Stormcasts. Casualties did not matter (until they veered towards total), as the Stormcasts were crippled in their movement because of the fatigue rules, and if they could not advance (and they didn’t, really), they would simply run out of time in the Battleplan, giving victory to Chaos.

So close, and yet so far!

 

The Story Continues…

So, the Realmgates War has ended, and now we await the next chapter in the Age of Sigmar.

Sigmar’s bid to possess all the All-Gates and from there launch an assault upon the Varanspire of Archaon has cost the forces of Order dear and not been entirely successful – but then, the forces of Chaos have also suffered greatly. As things stand, possession of the All-Gates looks like this:

  • Realm of Fire: In Sigmar’s hands and closed, dealing a major defeat to Khorne.
  • Realm of Life: The Genesis Gate has also been closed, and now Alarielle is unleashing her Campaigns of Cleansing, undercutting the power of Nurgle.
  • Realm of Death: Nagash has turned his back on Sigmar, and the All-Gate here remains in the hands of Archaon.
  • Realm of Light: Strange things have happened here, and there is no word whether they have brought victory or defeat…
  • Realm of Beasts: The Mawgate is in the hands of neither Sigmar nor Archaon, for a new power has arisen here.
  • Realm of Metal: Safely in the hands of Archaon after he took a personal hand in its defence.
  • Realm of Shadow: A complete mystery, for every warrior sent to fight for this All-Gate, on both sides, has disappeared.

So, what now? Well, just because a major campaign among the great powers is over, that doesn’t mean the fighting stops, and we’ll be seeing what the Bonesplitterz and Beastclaw Raiders are up to during this lull. However, there is a strong feeling that great Change is coming and we will also be looking up to the skies…

Battle Report – Ultimate Siege Weapon

This is one of the titanic clashes of the Realmgate Wars – the Battle of the Brimfire Gate. In fact, it is so large, we are going to need two Battleplans to cover it, so get strapped in for the exciting first part!

 

The Story So Far

With the path cleared by the Strike-Teams, the full weight of Stormcast Eternal Brotherhoods could be unleashed. Elements from more than a hundred different Stormhosts were flung into battle, and lightning strikes deposited retinues and whole battalions upon walls, towers and courtyards.

As the Khornate defenders rose to meet the advancing Stormcasts, the first fortress, the Pyrevault Redoubt, shook and began to glow before magma burst from the ground in a shower of flaming death. From tunnels, the Fyreslayers arrived, marching alongside the Stormcasts for the final assault upon the Brimfire Gate.

Across all eight fortresses that ringed the Brimfire Gate, a cataclysmic battle raged, and through the centre of all gore and bloodshed waded Skarbrand, blunting the assault of the Extremis Chambers. However, a far greater threat began to emerge.

The molten coils that had wrapped themselves around the Bloodcombe and Great Skullhold began to twist and writhe as a monstrous shape climbed into the sky, a massive serpent.

Ignax, the Solar Serpent and greatest of the Godbeasts, had entered the battle.

Raising her head over Vulkstroya Keep, Ignax breathed a furnace blasts, killing thousands in an instant. Runefather Borr-Grimnir, last of the Fyreslayers of the Chained Sun, saw the Godbeast, and the rune that had been hammered into its flank by Duardin brothers who had died trying to give him this one chance to exert control over Ignax. If the Fyreslayers could just reach that rune, the tide of the battle could be turned.

 

The Forces

This is a fight for the All-Gate in the heart of Khorne’s territory, a realm he controls with a bloody iron fist. The armies are therefore suitably large and epic.

Bloodbound and Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (Skrathax)
Skarbrand
Mighty Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut
Exalted Deathbringer
Aspiring Deatbringer x 2
Bloodsecrator
Slaughterpriest x 2
Skullgrinder
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Bloodletters x 50 (five units of 10)
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Skull Cannon
Khorgorath
Bloodcrushers x 6
Mighty Skullcrushers x 12 (two units of 3, one unit of 6)
Skullreapers x 5
Wrathmongers x 5
Flesh Hounds x 10
Chaos Warriors x 12

If it was red, we grabbed it from the cabinet and out it on the table! This is a major Khornate force, a mixture of mortals and daemons, joined by a full Brass Stampede and topped by a Bloodthirster! They will also have the use of a Skull Keep, Overlord Bastion, and Ironskull Bastion (the latter from Battletome: Chaos Dreadholds).

Fyreslayers
Runefather on Magmadroth
Runesmiter on Magmadroth
Grimwrath Berzerker
Runemaster
Battlesmiter
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10
Auric Hearthguard x 5
Vulkite Berzerkers x 30 (one unit of 20, one unit of 10)

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant on Dracoth
Lord-Celestant on Stardrake
Drakesworn Templar
Fulminators x 6
Tempestors x 6
Concussors x 6
Desolators x 6
Liberators x 15 (three units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Prosecutors x 6 (two units of 3)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)

The combined forces of the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers may yet be up to the challenge, as the Extremis Chamber has been called upon (using both the Lightning and Thunder Echelons), and a Hammerstrike Force has been deployed, allowing the Stormcasts to put their Retributors exactly where they need them.

 

The Battleplan

A big battle needs a big Battleplan (two, actually, but more of that next time!), and we have just the ticket here.

Ignax has wrapped herself around three fortifications on this battlefield, but one of them (known only to the Khorne player) marks the position of the rune that the forces of Order must reach. If they can get a Hero within 3″ of that fortification, he will gain control of Ignax for that round.

What does Ignax do? Well, whoever controls her can unleash her furnace breath, which dishes out mortal wounds in a 10″ radius (!).

In addition, Ignax brings a brand new Time of War sheet to the table, covering the Battle for the Brimfire Gate specifically. This adds the following:

  • All Dreadhold models confer immunity to spells (not an issue for this Order force) and do not allow the in-game deployment of models within 24″ of them (which will be a pain for the Hammerstrike Force).
  • However, this can be skirted by the use of Stormcaller Javelins carried by Prosecutors.
  • Skarbrand’s fury is magnified and affects everyone, which can summon daemons, force charges, or cause Heroes to explode!
  • All Stormcast Heroes and Primes are carrying Lightning-blessed weapons. Once per shooting or combat phase, they can add +1 to the Damage of their weapons.
  • Once per battle, the Fyreslayer Runefather can attempt to permanently bind Ignax. This may cause his death, due to the tremendous energies involved, but he can get Ignax to truly scour a massive section of the table until this happens.

There are no turn limits, and this is a fight to the death!

 

Deployment

The Stormcasts formed a wedge with their Dracothian Guard, determined to smash through the Khornate defenders and reach the fortifications in good order. Their Fyreslayer allies kept to the flanks, allowing the Stormcasts the glory of first strike.

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The forces of Khorne occupied their strongholds with Blood Warriors and Bloodreavers, but everyone else was eager to get to grips with their enemy.

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Battle Round One

Not wanting to give the Khorne defenders the slightest chance to manoeuvre, the Lords-Celestant held their hammers high and ordered their army forward, the leading Dracoths breaking out into a gallop to keep the Daemons of Khorne pinned in place.

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Towering above the battlefield, the Godbeast Ignax breathed a terrible inferno down upon the Fyreslayers on the right flank. The Runefather weathered the blast on the back of his Magmadroth, but ten Vulkite Berzerkers and one Prosecutor were instantly annihilated by the Godbeast.

Undaunted, Tempestors and Judicators unleashed volleys from their crossbows, bringing down a few Bloodletters but, high in the sky, above even Ignax, bright flashes in the clouds signified the coming of a hail or meteors. They smacked down among the ranks of the Khornate defenders amidst panicked cries, exploding in showers of Azyrite rock. Bloodreavers were shaken inside their Ironskull Bastion, but a Slaughterpriest walked out onto the balcony of his Overlord Bastion at precisely the wrong time, and was killed by two unerringly guided meteors.

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In a prepared position behind the Ironskull Bastion, the Bloodsecrator thrust his Portal of Skulls into the ground and opened a gateway to Khorne’s own kingdom in the Realm of Chaos, driving his Wrathmonger bodyguard to heights of unimaginable fury.

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Them with a bellow, Skrathax, the Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage gave the order to attack, and the followers of Khorne charged forward, led by Bloodcrushers, Bloodletters and Flesh Hounds.

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From the ramparts of the Ironskull Bastion, the Skull Cannon belched a bloody projectile which arced across the battlefield to strike a Fulminator square in the chest. The rest of hi retinue had no time to grieve, for Skrathax was on them immediately, hewing with his mighty axe.

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Though caught by surprise, the Fulminators fought bravely and, despite one of their Dracoths receiving a punishing swipe that left it limping, they forced the Bloodthirster to check its advance and adopt a more measured attack to avoid being spitted on their glaives.

Across the line, daemon fought Stormcast, but the warriors of Sigmar held firm with few falling to the Hellblades of the Bloodletters. In return, Bloodletters and Bloodcrushers both were savaged by the weapons of the Dracothian Guard, with entire units of both disappearing fast as they made contact.

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Battle Round Two

Ignax reared up, casting a deep shadow over the battlefield that was instantly dispelled by the searing light of another inferno. This time, the Runesmiter was the target and while, once again, the Fyreslayer Hero endured the intense heat, it consumed many Vulkite Berzerkers and Auric Hearthguard nearby. Undaunted, the Fyreslayers prepared to confront the Daemons of Khorne who were racing towards them.

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As the Skull Cannon fired once again at the Fulminators, this time bouncing off a raised shield, a huge, swirling general melee erupted outside the Overlord and Ironskull Bastions as the forces of Khorne tried to halt the advance of the Dracothian Guard.

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Skrathax hacked apart the Fulminators who had stalled him, even as Bloodletters, Blood Warriors and Skullcrushers flowed around his feet to launch further assaults against the Stormcasts and, at last, the line began to buckle. The Bloodthirster then raised his axe above his head and unleashed a terrifying roar that focussed its rage into a palpable force that exploded the heads of several Stormcasts who had ventured too close.

A counterattack by Vulkite Berzerkers, Concussors and Desolators managed to plug up the gap, but the Stormcasts now had no reserves to call upon, having thrown everything into the fight.

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This combined response stopped the Skullcrushers dead in their tracks as the hammers of the Concussors sent the Juggernauts reeling and the Vulkite Berzerkers hacked at their riders.

On the other flank, more Skullcrushers charged in, supported by a large pack of Flesh Hounds, aiming to tear apart the Fyreslayers who were still recovering from the breath of Ignax.

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The pitifully few Vulkite Berzerkers proved no obstacle, and the Fyreslayers were quickly ridden down by the Juggernauts, but the Flesh Hounds had veered too close to a retinue of Concussors. With a series of mighty cracks, the hammers of the Concussors swung down, smashing the unnatural life from the Flesh Hounds, and they were quickly joined by the vengeful Auric Hearthguard. When the dust settled, not a single Flesh Hound was whole and able to attack.

More importantly, a vital crack had opened in the Khornate line, and a path to the strongholds was now evident.

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Seeing that the Stormcasts close to him were preparing to advance, leaving his Fyreslayers alone to deal with the Skullcrushers, the Runesmiter goaded his Magmadroth on, and the beast spat a glob of lava that immolated a Skullcrusher, its rider screaming as molten rock consumed him. Taking his lead, the remaining Auric Hearthguard levelled their Magmapikes, and destroyed another.

Then the Stormcasts opened fire.

All along the line, Dracoths opened their jaws and unleashed a torrent of lightning that crackled across daemon and mortal follower of Khorne alike, while Tempestors and Judicators kept up their own steady rate of fire.

This opened up the line further, and a retinue of Concussors rushed forward to the Skull Keep, crying out in triumphant as they realised that a rune of control was present and, with the right approach, could be used to control Ignax and turn the Godbeast against the forces of Chaos.

However, the Stormcasts needed to get one of the leaders to the Skull Keep, and they all had a serious fight on their hands. Aside from the Concussors, the whole Stormcast advance had been stalled and the Dracothian Guard were desperately trying to hack their way through daemons to reach the strongholds.

As the Hearthguard charged the Skullcrushers, forcing those they did not slay to retreat from the battlefield, two Desolators took advantage of the confusion and forced their Dracoths on to leap over the fallen corpses of Juggernauts to reach the Bloodthirster Skrathax.

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Despite finding their massive axes unwieldy against a lone daemon, the Desolators ducked as the Bloodthirster’s own weapon scythed through the air at head height, and then swung they own blades in response. The axes bit deep into Skrathax’s legs, bringing the daemon crashing to the ground with an impact that shook the battlefield. The Dracoths then reared up and tore the throat out of Skrathax, sending him back to the Brass Throne in ignominy.

The Magmadroth of the Runefather spat lava at Skullreapers who had ventured too close, incinerating one of them, before it lumbered on to swipe at the others. The Magmadroth was badly wounded by the Skullreapers, but the Daemonblade of one of them turned upon its owner, consuming his soul as he shrieked in terror, and the Runefather’s Latchkey Grandaxe decapitated the rest in a series of long, slow, but extremely powerful blows.

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Battle Round Three

Ignax breathed once more, this time sending down sheets of flame around the Lord-Celestant and his Stardrake, immolating five other Stormcasts and one Fyreslayer who were caught in the flames. However, the vanquishing of Skrathax and the Skullcrushers had opened up another hole in the Khornate line, and both Stormcasts and Fyreslayers were quick to take advantage of it as they raced forwards for the strongholds.

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They were soon overtaken by the Dracothian Guard and Stardrakes who, despite having taken savage losses, now sensed the balance of the battle had turned in their favour.

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As meteors summoned by the Lord-Celestant and Drakesworn Templar smashed into the ramparts of the Ironskull Bastion, leaving deep dents in the metalwork of the Skull Cannon, Stormcast and Fyreslayer were forced to deal with pockets of Khornate resistance across the battlefield. On the right, a Skullgrinder and Deathbringer prepared to sell their lives dearly as enemies swept past them.

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The Skullgrinder went down quickly, unable to raise his anvil in time to ward off a charge from the Lord-Celestant atop a Dracoth, and Vulkite Berzerkers hurled their Slingshields into the Deathbringer, delivering several deep cuts.

Meanwhile, the Drakesworn Templar had reached the Ironskull Bastion and was preparing to clear it of defenders, thus removing the strongest fortification the Khornate defenders possessed.

This was exactly what the Bloodreavers inside had been waiting for.

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Channeling the vast reserves of anger and hate from the Bloodsecrator’s Portal of Skulls and the Wrathmongers close by, the Bloodreavers hurled themselves at the Stardrake with no thought of their own safety, seeking only to bury their Meatripper Axes deep into the flanks of the Stardrake.

Though a veteran of many battles against the Bloodbound, the Drakesworn Templar had never witnessed such savagery, and he was completely overwhelmed by the Bloodreavers, who only howled in fury as they realised the departing spirits of Stormcast and Stardrake would leave them neither skulls nor blood to claim as trophies. Bellowing in anger, they sought out another worthy opponent.

The Concussors at the Skull Keep were battling furiously against both Blood Warriors and the Slaughterpriest who led them, but their great mounts and huge hammers were proving a hindrance in battling enemies within a fortification, and found themselves deadlocked against the defenders inside.

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Just a short distance away, the last Skullcrushers were still putting up a fight, encouraged by the presence of their Lord of Khorne, also mounted atop a Juggernaut.

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They had dispatched a retinue of Prosecutors and forced the Runesmiter to retreat on his critically injured Magmadroth, but two depleted retinues of Liberators had held firm, and even started to turn the fight against them.

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Seeing the forces of Order start to move against the Skull Keep that retained control of the Godbeast Ignax, the Bloodbound in the other fortifications moved to intercept and delay their enemies. The Blood Warriors in the Overlord Bastion were the first to move, leaping out to race towards Fyreslayers and Prosecutors.

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However, despite surprising the Hearthguard and Stormcasts, the attack of the Blood Warriors was disorganised, and casualties were light.

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The Chaos Warriors leaping down from the walls of the Ironskull Bastion in the centre were more successful, hacking apart a Tempestor and forcing the two Desolators who had defeated Skrathax to stop their advance and deal with them.

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Battle Round Four

The Lord-Celestant on the Stardrake joined the Concussors at the Skull Keep, even as the Slaughterpriest directed the Godbeast to burn the life out of the Runesmiter and one of the Dracothian Guard. In response, the Lord-Celestant raised his Celestine Hammer and pointed it at the Slaughterpriest. Sneering in response, the Slaughterpriest realised too late that the Lord-Celestant was directing a hail of meteors to the Skull Keep, their impacts destroying the Slaughterpriest and balcony he was standing on.

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Another cry of victory went up, this time from the other side of the battlefield – the Runefather had finally unleashed the full power of the Master Rune Auriakh, gaining control of its brother rune that had been hammered into the flank of Ignax at the Battle of the Land of the Chained Sun and, by extension, control of the Godbeast as well.

Ignax reared up high into the sky once more, but this time the Godbeast had been focussed on the forces of Khorne. A great torrent of searing flame bathed the Skull Keep, cooking four of the Blood Warriors inside, immolating one of the Dracothian Guard, and wounding the Lord-Celestant.

The Stormcasts bore their losses lightly, as the turning of Ignax signalled the battle would soon be theirs.

With smoke pouring out of the Skull Keep and the aroma of baked Blood Warrior thick on the air, it was a simple matter for the Lord-Celestant to clear out the survivors within.

Elsewhere, defences continued to crumble, as the Lord-Celestant on the Dracoth joined the Desolators battling the Chaos Warriors outside the Ironskull Bastion. The Chaos Warriors resisted the first charge only by sustaining many casualties, a d they could not hope to continue battling the Dracoth riders after that.

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As Blood Warrior and Vulkite Berzerker fought one another to the last men on the right flank, the rest of the forces of Order prepared to assault the Ironskull Bastion, mindful that its defenders had already claimed the Drakesworn Templar and his Stardrake.

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Battle Round Five

Every defender within the Ironskull Bastion knew this would going to be their last stand, a pitched defence against the implacable forces of Order. So, naturally, they attacked!

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Nearly two score Bloodreavers poured out of the bastion, eager to tear apart the remainder of the Dracothian Guard, a wave of blood-fuelled hatred.

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Galvanised by both the Bloodsecrator’s Portal of Skulls and Wrathmongers, the Bloodreavers were truly dangerous and heedless of their own casualties. The Lord-Celestant was pulled from his Dracoth in seconds, and butchered with Reaver Blades as he was thrown onto his back. He was soon joined by the last Tempestor, but then the hammers and axes of the Concussors and Desolators went to work and the Bloodreavers were beaten back for an instant.

Snarling, they hefted their blades and axes and threw themselves at the Dracoths once more – just as Ignax breathed once again, this time enveloping the Ironskull Bastion in an inferno.

Though their Dracoths hissed in pain, the Dracothian Guard weathered the flames, but every one of the Bloodreavers were instantly burned to a crisp.

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Only the Wrathmongers and Bloodsecrator were left to defend the Ironskull Bastion, but the Stormcasts had faced Wrathmongers too many times to charge in heedlessly. Reforming their lines, they bathed the ramparts of the bastion with lightning.

 

Battle Round Six

Forced to hunker down behind the walls, the Wrathmonngers gradually succumbed to the lightning of the Stormcasts, one by one. Seeing the rest of his cult dying around him, the Wrathmaster decided to hurl himself over the walls to claim at least one Stormcast life, but a meteor from the heavens, directed by the Lord-Celestant, blasted him apart before he could take two steps.

A further meteor clipped the Bloodsecrator, who quickly decided he was no longer needed on the battlefield. Clutching his Portal of Skulls, he fled, leaving the Stormcasts to their victory.

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Conclusion

That was a decisive victory for the forces of Order – but take a look at that last photo and see how many models survived to the end of that battle. Not a lot! In fact, three quarters of the Dracothian Guard were sent back to Azyr, the heaviest losses they have taken so far in the Realmgate Wars.

Unfortunately for the Stormcasts, while they were able to remove Ignax from Archaon’s control, they are not going to be able to keep the Godbeast, as the Runefather will very soon succumb to the rigours of the Master Rune, setting Ignax free.

There is just one more battle to go in the Realmgate Wars saga and, despite both sides being seriously battered in this fight, they will be scraping together every warrior they can in an effort to claim final victory!

Stay tuned!

 

The Story Continues…

The Godbeast Ignax may be finally free now and unable to aid Archaon against the Stormcasts, but the Brimfire Gate is still contested. Stay tuned for the second and concluding part of the Battle of the Brimfire Gate…

Battle Report – Unleash the Beast

As the All-Gates campaign thunders to a close, Sigmar launches a desperate last strike in the Realm of Fire, but Archaon was expecting this and already has a plan…

 

The Story So Far

If the Realm of Fire could be closed off from the Allpoints, Sigmar would deliver a powerful blow to the Blood God. The Brimfire Gate lay in the daemon-haunted wastelands of the Fellbarrens, a ruined land plagued by constant war and marked with blazing skullpyres as far as the eye could see. Khorne himself had raised the Brass Mountains to encircle the All-Gate then cleaved a chasm through them with his sword, creating the bottomless Black Abyss spanned by a single bridge that led to the Pyrevault Redoubt. Sigmar had sent his armies to claim the Brimfire Gate many times before, but had failed in every instance.

Since then, the defences of the Brimfire Gate had increased, becoming a succession of castles nested within one another. An army breaching the walls of the Pyrevault Redoubt would merely find themselves facing the much higher walls of the Keep of Skrathax. Breach those, and they would face another, yet higher, wall of another castle. And at the centre of them all, the monolithic arch of fire that was the Brimfire Gate.

While Sigmar could hurl his warriors into battle in any Mortal Realm on bolts of lightning, the fortresses around the Brimfire Gate were studded with brass skulls, magebane wards and the blessing of Khorne himself, making them resistant to this ploy. Instead, waves of Prosecutor Strike-Teams were dispatched to take the outermost defences and open the way through them.

Sweeping in attack waves, and at great cost, the Strike-Teams made a path through the defences of seven fortresses, only stopping when they reached the last and mightiest – the Great Skullhold. However, while the Brimfire Gate was in sight, there was a major problem.

Skarbrand had been bound beneath the flaming arc.

 

The Forces

Who needs a huge army, when you have Skarbrand to guard your most valuable possession?  Despite being backed up by a handful of Bloodbound and Flesh Hounds, the Stormcasts have taken many casualties in their assault upon the fortresses, and must rely on Prosecutors to get the mission done.

Forces of Khorne
Skarbrand
Exalted Deathbringer
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Flesh Hounds x 10

Faced with lightweight Prosecutors, even the Bloodreavers must be fancying their chances in this battle. So long as Skarbrand remains bound by his chains of course. It would be awful if he broke loose…

Stormcast Eternals
Knight-Azyros
Knight-Venator
Prosecutors x 18 (six units of 3)

For once, the Stormcasts are not going into battle loaded for bear, and must rely on two Strike-Teams. They are extremely fast and agile, but that may be of little account if they find themselves going toe-to-toe with Skarbrand himself.

 

The Battleplan

Victory for the Stormcasts is simple in this battle – get a model next to the Realmgate at the end of any round (or wipe out the Khorne force, but I’ll leave the jokes to others…). If they cannot do that within six rounds, Khorne gets a major victory (or a minor one if Skarbrand is a casualty).

There are, of course, some complications for both sides.

For a start, Skarbrand is really upset right now, and re-rolls all failed hits. On top of that, while he remains bound by his chains, he ignores all wounds on a dice roll of 5 or 6.

While he remains bound? Well, to begin with, Skarbrand is held by chains that limit his movement to an 18″ radius from the centre of the table. However, the Prosecutors can duck into Skarbrand’s reach (a risky prospect!) and try to break those chains. If they succeed, Skarbrand breaks free and is then controlled by the Stormcast player, much to the chagrin (and pain) of the remaining Khorne forces.

 

Deployment

The Prosecutors fanned out as they approached the Brimfire Gate, the Hallowed Knights taking one flank and the Stark Hammers taking the other.

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Undaunted by Skarbrand’s raw rage, Bloodreavers and Flesh Hounds bounded forward to meet the Stormcasts, led by the Exalted Deathbringer. One unit of Bloodreavers hung back around the Brimfire Gate, under no illusion of what would happen to them should a single Stormcast get past them.

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Battle Round One

The forces of Khorne continued their headlong rush, joined by Skarbrand as they raced to be the first to send a Stormcast back to Azyr.

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The Knights-Venator and -Azyros barked orders to their Prosecutors, who executed them with grace as they began to manoeuvre to strike the chains from Skarbrand while holding back the worst of what the Blood God could throw at them.

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Swooping down, the Prosecutors unleashed a torrent of javelins and hammers, but the smoke billowing out of the Brimfire Gate made the picking of targets difficult, and many missiles missed their targets.

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As they touched down, the Prosecutors began attacking the brass chains that held Skarbrand in check, Grandhammers smashing great chunks of metal. Though the chains held, they had sustained noticeable damage.

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Battle Round Two

Taking advantage of their speed, the Prosecutors adjusted their formations, with some leaping ahead to harass and confuse the Khornate force, while others continued to smash Skarbrand’s chains.

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A handful of Bloodreavers and Flesh Hounds fell to the ground as hammers and javelins began to find their mark but, other than those casualties, the Khornate warriors and daemons were untouched and now the Stormcasts were within easy reach.

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Then, raising his massive Grandhammer over his head, a Prosecutor-Prime of the Stark Hammers brought his weapon down upon the brass chains in a blow that sent lightning crackling for yards in every direction. This was quickly followed by a terrible raw of pure fury – Skarbrand had been released.

Perhaps not realising that Skarbrand was now free, Bloodreavers continued to race forward, and their let loose savage warcries as they ploughed into the nearest Prosecutors, out-paced only by the Exalted Deathbringer.

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Two Prosecutors were torn from the sky as they tried to gain altitude to escape, the last too overwhelmed by the raging Bloodreavers to land any blows in return. Two more Prosecutors fell to the Exalted Deathbringers axe, but he in turn fell prey to the twin Celestial Hammers of the Prosecutor-Prime.

On the other side of the battlefield, the Flesh Hounds had caught up to the Prosecutors of the Stark Hammers, but these Stormcasts were better trained in the art of brutal melee.

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Two Flesh Hounds were killed by quick thinking Prosecutors, and their shields protected them from the slavering jaws and talons of the attacking packs.

 

Battle Round Three

The Stormcasts were now engaged with the Bloodreavers and Flesh Hounds, but the Knight-Azyros knew they could not tarry for long – they had to keep pushing for the Brimfire Gate.

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At the sound of his order, Prosecutors from both Stormhosts executed a well-practiced manoeuvre, taking to the sky while leaving their enemies confused and unable to retaliate. Soaring onwards, they flew to the Realmgate, hoping to put as much distance between themselves and the Chaos force as possible.

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Three Prosecutors of the Hallowed Knights gained a great burst of speed from the thermals around the Brimfire Gate, and were able to translate that into speed, reaching the Bloodreavers protecting it faster than anyone else. They immediately set about spearing the Bloodreavers with their javelins and trident, but the Khornate defenders put up a solid defence.

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Other Bloodreavers had begun to realise something was wrong, and they caught sight of Skarbrand thundering towards them. There was not mistaking the rage in his eye, and they raced back to the Brimfire Gate, suddenly believing the Blood God wanted them to hold it at all costs.

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The Stark Hammers had suffered losses in battling the Flesh Hounds, but they had now dispatched one pack and left the other snorting in the dust left by their wings beating to carry them away and towards the Realmgate.

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The few remaining Bloodreavers and Flesh Hounds had by now turned to give chase to the Stormcasts and, ever mindful of the raging Skarbrand just metres behind them, caught up to the slowest Prosecutors.

The first they reached was the Prosecutor-Prime who had defeated their Exalted Deathbringer, but despite their need for bloody vengeance, they could not land a solid blow. The Prosecutor-Prime brained a Bloodreaver with his Celestial Hammers for their trouble, and this was sufficient to force another to flee the battlefield.

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The last two Flesh Hounds had raced after the Stark Hammers they had been fighting, but the Prosecutors were ready, and killed one of the hounds before it could leap up to drag them to the ground.

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At the Brimfire Gate, Bloodreaver fought hard against Prosecutor, but neither side could deliver a telling blow and force the other to retreat.

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Battle Round Four

Bloodreavers finally gutted the Prosecutor-Prime who had killed their Exalted Deathbringer, even as the Stark Hammers dispatched the last Flesh Hound.

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The battle now hung in the balance, and casualties began to fall to the ground on both sides as the Bloodreavers and Prosecutors at the Brimfire Gate fought ever harder in an effort to defeat their enemies.

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Flying just behind the Prosecutors, the Knight-Azyros saw more Bloodreavers were about to join those at the Realmgate. Despite having suffered many casualties in the battle so far, the Knight-Azyros knew they might still be enough to swing the fight in Khorne’s favour.

Dropping down to the ground, he opened his Celestial Beacon, and a ray of pure light lanced out to burn the Bloodreavers. They clawed at their own faces as they were burned were they stood, utterly destroyed by the purity of the God-King’s power.

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Now, though, the Prosecutors of the Stark Hammers reached the Bloodreavers at the Brimfire Gate, and their presence immediately relieved the pressure on the surviving Hallowed Knights.

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Skilled in exactly this kind of fight, they laid about the Bloodreavers with twin Celestial Hammers, while the Prosecutor-Prime swung his mighty Grandhammer. In seconds, half a dozen Bloodreavers lay on the floor, broken and bleeding, and the nerve broke among the others.

The pitifully few surviving Bloodreavers turned and ran, desperate to get away from the Stormcasts and find some dark corner of the fortress to hide within.

The combined force of Hallowed Knights and Stark Hammers had won the day and broken through the last of the great defences surrounding the All-Gate. Leaving Skarbrand to rage impotently below them as he was driven to find something – anything – to kill, the Prosecutors departed to enact the next chapter of Sigmar’s great plan for the Brimfire Gate.

 

Conclusion

This was a nice, short battle – plenty going on, but not too long to play!

At one point, I thought the Stormcasts were in real trouble, as the dared not get bogged down in close combat and their shooting was proving utterly miserable. On top of that, Skarbrand had not been released!

As it turned out, they managed to yank the iron out of the fire, but they sustained very high casualties in this attack.

And just my luck – I finally get to play with the absolute monster that is Skarbrand, and he never gets into combat! He had one chance to charge Bloodreavers (okay, that would have been a massive overkill, but still), and I fluffed the charge roll

* Sigh *

I bet I never get another chance to play him again in this campaign…

Still, the Stormcasts did manage to yank victory out of the jaws of (self-inflicted) defeat, and we are ready for the next battle in the Realmgate Wars!

 

The Story Continues…

The action really hots up next, as the Battle of the Brimfire Gate is about to begin…