Battle Report – The Dreadhold

The forces of Chaos guarding the Mawgate may have made a bit of a faux pas, as they have provoked the Ironjawz in the area – and Orruks are always up for a bash.

 

The Story So Far

The Stormcasts arrived in force around the Deffgorge, ready to begin their assault upon the Mawgate and wrest it from the Chaos hordes defending it. Mighty battles between the forces of Chaos and Sigmar erupted around the Crawlerforts surrounding the Mawgate as the fate of the Mortal Realms continued to be decided.

But the Ironjawz did not care.

The Orruks had been driven into the shadow of the gigadroth skeleton that lay nearby but now the Stormcasts arrived, the Lords of Chaos concentrated their attacks upon Sigmar’s followers – the Ironjawz were now free to resume their assault upon the Crawlerforts. They struck the forces of Khorne first, and the madness of the Blood God seeped into their tiny brains, driving them to ever greater levels of frenzy.

The Bloodtoof warclan gave Doggrok’s Choppas a good shoeing for running away earlier, the Fists of Drakka tried to ‘sort out’ who their new Megaboss was going to be, while the Ironsunz simply duffed up anyone who looked like could use a good beating.

The Stormcast attack on the Crawlerforts had ground to a halt as the forces of Chaos strengthened and then repelled them. However, the storm of Sigmar that had raged over the Mawgate and heralded the coming of the Stormcasts began to change. Great, green, leering faces appeared in the clouds, while thunderheads the shape of massive fists rolled overhead. Neither Chaos Lord nor Stormcast knew what this meant.

But the Ironjawz were sure. As one, and with bellows of Waaagh!, the Ironjawz surged forward to the Crawlerforts. The first one in their path was the Flayed Fort, commanded by the Slaaneshi Daemon Prince Synlesha, who had mustered a combined force of Slaaneshi and Khorne followers, along with a Tzeentchian Sorcerer.

The Ironjawz struck the walls of the Flayed Fort like a hammer…

 

The Forces

This is an interesting battle, as it sees a rare combination of Khorne and Slaaneshi followers. These two normally hate one another with a passion, but when you have a bunch of Ironjawz coming your way the finer points of a religious dispute give way to a common goal!

Bloodbound
Aspiring Deathbringer
Magister
Skull Cannon
Blood Warriors x 10
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)

Slaaneshi Host
Daemon Prince of Slaanesh (Synlesha)
Sorcerer Lord of Slaanesh
Chaos Familiar
Daemonettes of Slaanesh x 10
Chaos Warriors x 20 (two units of 10)

The defenders have mostly mortal units, but there is the odd daemon present, from the Daemonettes and Skull Cannon, to the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. The Ironjawz may be a little surprised by the Chaos army actually having a shooting attack (the Skull Cannon), but it remains to be seen whether this will slow them down any.

Ironjawz
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha
Weirdnob Shaman
Warchanter
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Ardboyz x 40 (two units of 20)

Aside from the Maw-Krusha, the main strength of this Ironjawz force may be, funnily enough, the Ardboyz. There are quite a few of them in this army though thick walls are always a troublesome obstacle…

 

The Battleplan

This is a straight assault upon a fortress (actually a Magebane Wall, which will be disconcerting for the Weirdnob Shaman). To win, the Ironjawz must wipe out the defenders, though the battle will end if the forces of Chaos can wipe out two thirds of the Orruks before that happens.

The Ironjawz have a choice – either attack immediately (meaning the battle will last for five rounds), or conduct a special siege phase first (which will result in the battle lasting four rounds). If they choose to conduct the siege, they must choose whether they want to Starev the defenders, Batter the walls, or Undermine. The Chaos defenders in turn choose to Gather Supplies, Rebuild the fortress, or Counter-Mine.

These choices are then cross-referenced on a special matrix to determine the results – this could lead to the Ironjawz popping up in the courtyard, breaching the walls, or suffering mortal wounds before the battle starts!

 

Deployment

The forces of Chaos were busy inside the Flayed Fort, shoring up the walls and making certain their defences were strong as the Sorcerers of Slaanesh and Tzeentch double checked the wards that ran along the length of the Dreadhold. However, the Ironjawz were content to wait the defenders out, and instead harried the few units delegated to forage for supplies from nearby forts. This caused a great deal of hardship within the Flayed Fort as the Slaaneshi and Khorne warriors began to prey upon one another.

However, as soon as the Ironjawz warband appeared, the combined Slaaneshi and Khorne forces rallied to the walls, desperate to put forward a strong appearance to stall the Orruk advance.

img_8051

The Megaboss’ plan was simple. The Ardboys would run straight at the two gates, using their overwhelming weight to force them open, allowing the Brutes and Gore-Gruntas to rampage inside.

img_8052

Battle Round One

Bellowing at the top of his lungs, the Megaboss urged his Orruks forward, and they broke into a run to reach the Dreadhold as quickly as possible.

img_8053

The walls were steep though, and only the Gore-hacka armed Gore-Gruntas had the reach to skewer the defenders high up on the ramparts.

As the Ironjawz approached, the gargoyles either side of the gates screamed terrible curses, but the Brutes and Ardboys were completely unphased by the empty threats.

img_8054

Standing atop the centre wall section, the Magister made a Defiant Proclamation, infuriating the gore-Gruntas but the Orruks could not reach the Tzeentch wizard just yet.

High up in his Skull Keep, the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh invoked the power of the Dreadhold, and a Ruby Ray of Death lanced out of the tower to strike the Maw-Krusha. The Sorcerer Lord of Slaanesh joined in the attack with an Arcane Bolt, but the Megaboss brushed both aside, and ducked as the Skull Cannon blasted a bloody projectile at him.

Close by, one of the Gore-Gruntas managed to impale a Blood Warrior and hooked him over the wall so he crashed onto the ground. Before he could stand, one of the Gore-Gruntas’ mounts started feasting on him.

 

Battle Round Two

The Ironjawz ring around the Dreadhold was growing ever tighter as they continued to run as fast as their bulky armour would allow.

img_8055

On both sides of the Dreadhold, Ardboys reached the gates, and a loud metallic thump resounded across the battlefield as they put their shoulders into pushing the gates wide open.

img_8056

On the other side of both, Bloodreavers desperately pushed back to keep the gates closed.

img_8057

Incensed at the threats the Magister had made at his prized Gore-Gruntas, the Megaboss made his Maw-Krusha rear up and deliver a deafening bellow. Waves of sound pounded the Magister, blasting him off the walls to fall into the courtyard, breaking his neck as he hit the ground.

Seeing the fate of his Tzeentchian colleague, the Sorcerer Lord of Slaanesh tried to keep a low profile as he gathered his arcane energies to blanket the Blood Warriors with an Mystic Shield. Immediately, he felt the presence of another wizard, and he caught sight of the Weirdnob Shaman outside the Dreadhold, dancing as it gathered its own energy to unbind the spell. The Sorcerer Lord called his Familiar to his side, and the creature’s affinity wit the arcane allowed the spell to slip through unmolested.

In the Skull Keep, the Daemon Prince once again attempted to harness the magical power of the Dreadhold, but this time the Blood God was watching and asserted his command over the Chaos forces. The Daemon Prince felt the touch of Khorne as his form twisted inside out to leave a Chaos Spawn in his place.

img_8058

Battle Round Three

Once again the Sorcerer Lord engaged in a magical duel with the Weirdnob Shaman and, once again, his Familiar was enough to give him the edge as another Mystic Shield was layered over the Blood Warriors.

img_8059

Dodging another blast from the Skull Cannon, the Megaboss took a deep breath and unleashed an almighty Waaagh! that energised every Ironjaw close to him. As the Warchanter started up a percussive rhythm that galvanised the Gore-Gruntas, the Weirdnob Shaman felt this was his moment, and he summoned an irresistible Arcane Blast that would force the closest gate open.

img_8060

However, the Sorcerer Lord inside had been waiting for the Weirdnob to do just this and, once more using his Familiar, unbound the spell so it became nothing more than a light breeze. The Ardboys continued to strain at the gates but, without the Weirdnob’s spell, they could not shift them an inch.

Seeing the effect the Sorcerer Lord was having on his Weirdnob, the Megaboss directed his Maw-Krusha’s bellow at the wizard, and in an instant the Slaaneshi Sorcerer had joined the dead Magister in the courtyard.

img_8061

All along the walls, powerful wards discharged, catching an Ardboy in their blast.

 

Battle Round Four

Within the Dreadhold, the combined forces of Chaos took their losses lightly and hunkered down behind their defences. With a roar, the Skull Cannon hurled a blast at the Megaboss, but the skulls it fired simply bounced off the hide of the Maw-Krusha.

img_8062

Feeling the momentum of the assault beginning to flag, the Megaboss unleashed another mighty Waaagh! Taking this as his cue, the Weirdnob Shaman flung another Arcane Blast, but still the huge metal gates held firm.

img_8063

The Ardboys on the other side of the Dreadhold were faring no better, as Bloodreavers were holding their gate closed as well.

img_8064

Battle Round Five

As more wards placed around the walls blasted a Brute and an Ardboy, the Megaboss shouted at his Weirdnob Shaman, going into some detail as to what he would do if the gates remained closed. Concentrating hard, the Weirdnob closed his eyes as green sparks flew out of his ears. He felt the weight of a new Arcane Blast and hurled it forwards…

…and this time the gates flew open with a massive clang, crushing a dozen Bloodreavers and a few Chaos Warriors who had been straining to hold them closed.

img_8065

Bellowing at the top of their voices, the Ardboys flooded into the courtyard, eagerly searching for someone to duff up as Brutes and Gore-Gruntas assembled behind them to form a second wave assault.

img_8066

They did not have to look far for a target, and with yells of unrestrained joy, they rushed forward to attack the Skull Keep and the Chaos Spawn inside. The Spawn lashed about in confusion as it was surrounded by bloodthirsty Orruks, but could not defend itself against so many. The few remaining Bloodreavers around the open gate ran in terror as they tried to escape the fury of the Ironjawz.

img_8068

Now inside the Dreadhold, the Ardboys could not hear the Maw-Krushas roar of pain as the Skull Cannon finally found its mark, hammering the beast and critically wounding it.

img_8069

However, the other gate still held, keeping the other half of the Ironjawz warband out of the Dreadhold.

img_8070

Battle Round Six

Inside the Dreadhold, panic started to set in. The Ironjawz were in the courtyard, and the Daemon Prince general was dead, along with all the wizards.

img_8071

Feeling his moment had come, the Aspiring Deathbringer stood forward to lead the defence, directing the Chaos Warriors of Slaanesh to block the advance of the Ardboys. With no leaders of their own, the Chaos Warriors accepted the orders, and two units of them caught the Ardboys in a pincer outside the Skull Keep.

img_8072

However, they could not be supported, as the Aspiring Deathbringer dared not pull his Bloodreavers away from the last gate or the battle would be over quickly. The Chaos Warriors and Ardboys threw themselves at one another, but their thick armour and the tight pathway around the Skull Keep meant few solid blows could be landed and casualties were light on both sides.

img_8073

The wards along the walls continued to blast Ironjawz still on the outside but now the Brutes were beginning to enter the Dreadhold. One of their Bosses scrambled up the wall to slay the last Blood Warrior, but the Skull Cannon rattled away out of his reach.

img_8074

The Megaboss looked on approvingly as he heard the slaughter coming from within the Dreadhold, ignoring the whimpering of his badly wounded Maw-Krusha.

img_8075

Battle Round Seven

Feeling they could not count on the dubious accuracy of the Khornate Skull Cannon, the Daemonettes of Slaanesh leapt off the wall, sallying out to attack the Megaboss.

img_8076

With blinding speed, the Daemonettes surrounded the Maw-Krusha before the Megaboss could react, their razor-sharp pincers outstretched.

img_8077

The wounded Maw-Krusha could not turn round in time as the Daemonettes leapt over its clumsy swings, and they savaged the brute, the Alluress leading them slicing through the throat of the Megaboss as he tumbled off his dying mount.

If the Daemonettes were hoping for a cry of victory from the walls, they were badly mistaken as the rest of the defenders had other things on their mind. The Ardboys in the courtyard had, with help from the Brutes and Gore-Gruntas, finished off one unit of Chaos Warriors and were now starting to gather their forces to finish off the others, even as the Brute Boss grabbed the Skull Cannon in his Klaw and smashed it apart.

img_8078

The lack of defenders on the walls was now beginning to tell, and Brutes prowled the defences on either side of the remaining closed gate, seeking for a weakness. However, the Bloodreavers were still present to ward them off.

img_8079

The Gore-Gruntas, seeing the courtyard was too closely packed with Ardboys to properly ride their mounts, spied an easier target outside the Dreadhold – the Daemonettes were still finishing off the mortally wounded Maw-Krusha. A unit of Brutes saw them as well, and the two Ironjawz units were on the Daemonettes before they fully realised they were under attack.

img_8080

The Daemonettes proved they had lightning reflexes though, neatly snipping through the armour of two Brutes, but it was to no avail. The charging Gore-Gruntas rode half of them down, while the last Brute finished off the rest.

Inside, more Brutes had gained the central wall, and they ran across it without meeting any resistance. Plunging into the Bloodreavers still holding the gate against the Ardboys outside, utter carnage broke out as the two sides threw themselves into battle.

img_8081

Nearly a dozen Bloodreavers were slaughtered in the first few seconds, despite the Aspiring Deathbringer piling in to aid them. Seven more ran, desperate to escape the fury of the Ironjawz.

 

 

Battle Round Eight

The result of this was inevitable. With just two Bloodreavers holding the gate now, the Ardboyz pushed the gates aside, crushing the last Bloodreavers and the Aspiring Deathbringer as they streamed into the courtyard.

img_8084

A great green, spectral foot appeared in the sky above the Dreadhold as the Weirdnob Shaman summoned the Foot of Gork. He giggled insanely as he brought it down first upon the Familiar on the walls, and then on a Chaos Warrior in the courtyard.

The Ardboys now had the last Chaos Warriors in a pincer of their own, and the fight lasted for just a few seconds.

img_8085

The Ironjawz had succeeded in taking the Flayed Fort.

 

Conclusion

A decisive victory for the Ironjawz, and a battle that started slow but ended up truly exciting, with heroes and villains popping up all over the place!

Also, note that the Ironjawz managed to (finally) get two gates open, making this just the second and third time we have achieved this since Age of Sigmar came out! Make no mistake, a buttoned up Dreadhold is a very, very tough nut to crack, especially when you ave only one wizard (the Weirdnob Shaman) and one ranged attack (the bellow of the Maw-Krusha). In fact, if the Chaos wizards had not been killed, allowing the Weirdnob to use the Arcane Blast to force open the first gate, the Ironjawz might still be outside the Dreadhold, trying to get in!

Once again, I have to implore you, gentle reader to get yourself a Dreadhold. The rules are dead simple but do everything they need – and these games really are a lot of fun…

 

The Story Continues…

Well, the Ironjawz have made good account of themselves so far, but now a new face will be appearing in the war – Gordrakk, the Fist of Gork himself, is arriving, and he wants a word with both Chaos and Stormcast…

Battle Report – Beast Run

The forces of Sigmar and Chaos have claimed one All-Gate each in the campaign so far – now we turn our attention to the Realm of Beasts, but a new rising power looks set to complicate matters greatly.

 

The Story So Far

The fight for the All-Gates spanned all the Mortal Realms, though there was yet to be any news on how the Stormcasts fared in the Realms of Light and Shadow. Within the Realm of Beasts, however, the war had flared to dangerous proportions.

The Mawgate was protected by a fortress, as was every All-Gate. This one, however, was within a living fortress, a megalithic burrowing world-worm known as Fangathrak. It had been subjugated by the forces of Chaos and chained in place by six Crawlerforts, each garrisoned by immense armies of each of the Ruinous Powers. Though it could move, the Mawgate was currently located beside the Deffgorge – the site of covergence of the territory of several Ironjawz warclans.

As Megabosses fought one another over who should have the first crack at attacking Fangathrak, the lords of the Crawlerforts launched their own premptive assault upon the Orruks. Ironjawz mobs were torn apart by the combined weight of Chaos.

Not so Megaboss Dakkbad, who lured the Bloodbound of Lord Hakadron, ruler of the Bane Crawlerfort, into the Deffgorge.

The Deffgorge had always been a rite of passage for the Ironjawz. An Orruk who wanted to prove how ded ‘ard he was would travel to the Deffgorge and, with other Ironjawz watching from the edge, run the Deff-blitz – a gauntlet that involved running from one end of the gorge to the other, avoiding the attentions of the hungry Gargants who lived there.

Megaboss Dakkbad was now planning to do the same thing with the Bloodbound…

 

The Forces

The Ironjawz have managed to ‘encourage’ a relatovely small force of Bloodbound to follow them into the Deffgorge. Both armies are relatively small, but they have brought some of their finest units – however, both will have to contend with the Aleguzzler Gargants who live there. The Ironjawz are a little weaker than the Bloodbound, so they will want to take advantage of the Gargants as much as possible before turning around to fight.

Bloodbound
Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut
Slaughterpriest
Chaos Warriors x 12
Skullcrushers x 6
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)

The Bloodbound have brought a fair bit of chaff with them in the form of Bloodreavers, which may work out very well for them in this battle. If they can keep the bulk of their force intact through the Deffgorge, they may just have enough to defeat the Ironjawz at its end.

Ironjawz
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 5
Ardboys x 20 (two units of 10)

Like the Bloodbound, the Ironjawz have a healthy buffer of weaker units – however, ‘weaker’ for the Ironjawz means Ardboys, who are potent enough on their own!

Aleguzzlers
Gargants x 3

The three Gargants who live in the Deffgorge are on no one’s side – really, they are just hungry and are happy to snatch any morsel that tries to run past them!

 

The Battleplan

On the face of it, this is a simple Battleplan – the winner is the army that annihilates its enemy. Of course, when the Ironjawz are involved, it is unlikely to be that easy.

Throughout the battle, the Gargants will appear, under the control of one player or the other (though they can – and likely will – switch allegiance repeatedly throughout the fight!). The only safe place is on the plains at the far and of the Deffgorge (the Gargants don’t like the bright light).

So, being at a slight disadvantage, the Ironjawz will be aiming to run through the Deffgorge as quickly as possible, hoping the Gargants will cause the Bloodbound a fair amount of stress (and casualties). Once they make it to the plains, they will hope they are in a position to outmatch the Bloodbound and deliver a telling defeat.

 

Deployment

The Ironjawz were already running at great speed when the Bloodbound entered the Deffgorge. The Megaboss turned round on his Maw-Krusha and bellowed an order to the Ardboys, telling them to block the advance of the Bloodbound,. The Ardboys did not mind – they were well up for a ruck.

img_7998

Incensed at the fleeing Orruks, the Bloodbound were in swift pursuit, the quicker moving Skullcrushers on one flank to sweep round the Ardboys.

img_7999

Battle Round One

All the noise generated by the Ironjawz started to awaken the Gargants, and the first appeared at the head of the Deffgorge, just outside the flat plains beyond.

img_8001

The Ironjawz paid it no mind, and ran at full tilt to the plains, shouting insults over their shoulders as they went. The Ardboys backed up slightly, getting ready to receive the first charges.

img_8002

Another Gargant appeared, this time from the other side of the Deffgorge, but they were now in a position to block the Ironjawz retreat,> The Megaboss realised he would have to do something about at least one of them.

img_8003

Seeing the Ardboys begin to shuffle backwards, the Slaughterpriest enacted a terrible Blood Bind rite. This enraged the Orruks, forcing them to run forward in an attempt to get to grips with Khorne’s warriors.

img_8004

With a bloodthirsty howl, the Bloodbound surged forward, each eager to be the first to slay an enemy.

img_8005

The Ardboys quickly had a real fight on their hands – and they were loving every second of it. Chaos Warriors, Skullcrushers and Bloodreavers all rushed towards them, and casualties from both sides fell to the ground. However, the Ardboys held firm, arresting the advance of nearly the entire Bloodbound horde.

img_8006

Battle Round Two

Unfortunately for the Bloodbound, this served to awaken yet another Gargant, and this one came from a crevice in the side of the Deffgorge that was right behind the Bloodbound.

img_8007

Waving his Gore-hacka, the Megaboss directed both his Maw-Krusha and the closest Gore-Gruntas towards the closest Gargant blocking their path. The Maw-Krusha unleashed a mighty below as it lumbered forward, the titanic sound wave staggering the Gargant as it tried to lope towards the Ironjawz.

img_8008

The massive bulk of the Maw-Krusha barrelled into the Gargant, sending it flying. By the time the Gore-Gruntas and Megaboss had finished bashing the fallen Gargant with their Gore-hackas, there was only enough left to feed the Gruntas and Maw-Krusha.

Meanwhile, the Ardboys had started to suffer as the Skullcrushers were able to bring their full weight to bear. Some Ardboys fell to their glaives while others turned to flee from the carnage, but the Bloodreavers also suffered terribly in the clash.

img_8009

Yet another Gargant appeared, this time from within a Sylvaneth Wood right next to another group of Bloodreavers. Even the craziest of them baulked at the sight of the monstrosity now thundering towards them.

img_8010

No one else within the Bloodbound warband gave the fate of the Bloodreavers a second thought as the Skullcrushers had managed to work themselves free of the Ardboys and set off in pursuit of the other Ironjawz. The Chaos Warriors, too, disengaged from the Ardboys and ran after their mounted allies, leaving a pitifully few Bloodreavers to finish the Orruks off.

img_8011

The Skullcrushers soon caught up with the Brutes, who had been lagging behind in the run towards the plains, their Juggernauts running one down before any weapons were raised. The glaives of the Skullcrushers skewered one more, but then the Brutes turned round and gave the Juggernauts a good bashing, felling two of them in quick succession.

img_8014

The last Gargant near the plains bellowed as it lumbered forward, crashing in the side of a group of Gore-Gruntas. One of the Gruntas was badly hurt by a swing of a massive club, but the Gargant was savaged in return.

img_8012

Meanwhile, the Chieftain of the Bloodreavers issued a challenge to his followers, promising the Blood God’s eye would be on them if they could fell the mighty Gargant that had dared cross their path. Suitably incensed, the Bloodreavers bravely charged with a howling warcry.

img_8013

Utter carnage ensued, with the axes of the Bloodreavers chopping the Gargants legs and opening up hideous wounds. Roaring in pain, the Gargant lashed out with club and foot, slaughtering many of the Bloodreavers that milled around below it. The Sylvaneth Wyldwood began to flow with blood.

 

Battle Round Three

Though the Ironjawz had not yet reached the plain, and Gargants were now roaming the Deffgorge, the Megaboss realised the Skullcrushers had run too far ahead of the rest of their force. Grinning to himself, he wheeled his Maw-Krusha round to face them, his Gore-Gruntas following his lead.

img_8015

One Gargant stomped forward past the ruins to grab a Bloodreaver, who he stuffed into his trousers as a snack for later. The other Bloodreavers looked up in horror as its club swept through their ranks, smashing the life out of five of them. The Lord of Khorne began to swing his Juggernaut around to drive the Gargant off, but instead was kicked by a huge foot that broke bones and sent him reeling back in his saddle.

img_8016

Close the the pass, one unit of Gore-Gruntas cackled with delight as their mounts ate a Gargant, while the other skewered a Skullcrusher as they charged in.

img_8017

Battle Round Four

Yet another Gargant appeared from the sides of the Deffgorge, once again appearing behind the Bloodbound. Sniffing the air, it peered around and then started marching towards the Skullcrushers on the other side of a Sylvaneth Wyldwood.

img_8018

Seeing no profit in fooling around with a Gargant, the Lord of Khorne broke from battle to continue the chase of the Ironjawz. Before joining him, the Slaughterpriest showed the merest pity to the Bloodreavers engaged in battle with the other Gargant, boiling its blood before racing after his Lord. However, it was of little avail, as the critically wounded Gargant was still more than a match for the Bloodreavers. The last of them fled in abject terror as the slower ones were ground into the rock.

img_8019

Seeing their Lord approaching, the Skullcrushers disengaged from the Ironjawz they had run down, and reassembled themselves for a final charge.

img_8020

Now finished with the Bloodreavers, the Gargants began to lumber after the Bloodbound, trapping them against the Ironjawz who had now turned back round to fight.

Gore-Gruntas charged in at full speed, using the weight of their mounts to break the line of Chaos Warriors long enough for the Maw-Krusha to dive in and crush the last of them.

img_8021

Things were going no better to the Bloodbound’s rear as the first of the Gargants finally caught up to them. The Lord of Khorne spied another Gargant had entered the Deffgorge and it appeared to be heading towards the Orruks, but this was little comfort as the closest Gargant seized the Lord from his saddle and delivered a powerful head butt that knocked him insensible for a few crucial seconds, even as the last of the Skullcrushers were mauled by Gore-Gruntas.

img_8022

Battle Round Five

By now, the noose was well and truly tightening around the last of the Bloodbound, and only the Lord of Khorne and his Slaughterpriest were still fighting.

img_8023

The Slaughterpriest, his axe now red with Orruk blood, channelled the power of the Khorne and enacted the Blood Boil rite upon one of the Gargants, cooking it in its own skin. However, despite one massive beast falling to the ground, the odds were still against him.

The Maw-Krusha clumsily took to the air and landed heavily to one side of the fight, the Megaboss’ eyes lighting up as he saw both the Slaughterpriest in front of him. Urging his mount forward, the Megaboss bayed with glee as his Maw-Krusha flattened the Slaughterpriest under its great bulk, and could barely stand up straight for laughing so much as he watched the Khorne Lord get battered to the ground by its great fists.

Seeing more Gargants approaching, the Megaboss raised his Gore-hacka and directed his Ironjawz out to the plains. He had one great victory under his belt but was now looking for more…

 

Conclusion

Now, that was about as textbook as it gets for the Ironjawz. Though slightly outmatched at the start of the battle, the sacrifice of the Ardboys gave the rest of the Ironjawz time to deal with Gargants blocking their way without being distracted by the Bloodbound. As the Bloodbound advanced, it became increasingly likely that Gargants would appear next to or behind them, and they were sufficient to cut the Bloodbound to a manageable size.

A well-timed charge from the Gore-Gruntas and Megaboss against the toughest unit in the Bloodbound force (the Skullcrushers, though they had already had a bit of a battering from their engagement with the Ardboys) broke the back of the army, leaving just the Heroes to fight from within a Ironjawz and Gargant sandwich!

This was a fun Battleplan overall, fast-paced and with a tough rogue element (the Gargants) guaranteed to stuff things up for one player or the other!

 

The Story Continues…

Well, the Ironjawz have well and truly arrived in the Realmgate Wars, and they will be sticking around for a bit longer. After all, what self-respecting Megaboss would simply stand aside and watch a huge battle between Chaos and the Stormcasts? Of course he will want to get stuck in!

In the next battle, the Ironjawz will be launching an attack on one of the Crawlerforts that hold the Mawgate in place…

Battle Report – Across the Deadly Span

The forces of Order managed to gain entry to the Ironholds in the last battle, and they are now in position to take the Mercurial Gate. Will the forces of Chaos be able to rally to its defence in time?

 

The Story So Far

The combined forces of Stormcast Eternals and Fyreslayers were now just one long march away from the Mercurial Gate. Fortunately, the moving parts of the Ironholds had configured themselves so a single bridge could carry them the rest of the way, a span of metal so wide a thousand men could march side-by-side. To add to their luck, the bulk of the defenders were still fighting at the outer walls, against the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers Sigmar had sent as a distraction.

Maintaining a great pace, they finally reached the Citadel of the Ironholds in the centre of the Molten Sea, home to the Mercurial Gate. However, as they approached, its gates opened to reveal Archaon himself, at the head of an army of Chaos Warriors and the Varanguard.

Archaon had discovered Sigmar’s plans to take the All-Gates and resolved to halt the Stormcasts at the All-Gate. As he rode forward at the head of his army, the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers prayed they could at least slow the Everchosen down so just a few might reach the Mercurial Gate.

 

The Forces

This is another battle that is crucial to the campaign but in fact only uses small forces – there is not much room for error for either side!

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)

Fyreslayers
Runefather on Magmadroth
Hearthguard Berzerkers x 10

The combined forces of Stormcast Eternals and Fyreslayers have suffered losses just getting into the Ironholds, and their numbers are few. However, they stiull have their hardhitting units, such as the Magmadroth, Lord-Celestant and Retributors.

The Everchosen
Archaon, Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse
Gaunt Summoner
Varanguard x 3
Chaos Warriors x 24 (two units of 12)
Ironskull Bastion
Overlord Bastion
Skull Keep

This is a solid Everchosen force, backed up by the Overlords of Chaos Battalion, which not only allows Archaon to mark an enemy unit for destruction by the Varanguard (re-rolling all hits and wounds), it also means Archaon will know who goes first in each round, meaning he cannot be caught out by the dreaded double turn!

 

The Battleplan

The aim for the forces of Order in this battle is to breach the main gate of the Citadel of the Ironholds within six rounds or, at least, deal significant damage to it. However, while they can run or retreat and still charge in this battle, the Everchosen can recycle destroyed units and their fortress whispers fear and doubt into the minds of the attackers, lowering their Bravery.

In addition, the Mercurial Gate Time of War sheet is also being used, meaning towers can turn in place to crush unfortunate units and Chaos Wizards can hamper enemies with the Whisphered Words spell.

 

Deployment

The Stormcasts formed a solid formation as they approached the Mercurial Gate, Liberators leading while Retributors followed close behind, all under the watchful eyes of the Lord-Celestant. The Fyreslayers, fewer in number spread out far to the left flank, hoping to slip past the forces of the Everchosen.

img_7979

Archaon was eager to meet the forces of Order and scatter them to the furthest reaches of the realm. At the fore of his army, he led the Varanguard and Chaos Warriors onto the bridge to meet the Stormcasts.

img_7980

Battle Round One

Taking advantage of the slow approach of the Stormcasts, the Chaos Warriors garrisoned the Ironskull Bastion and Skull Keep.

img_7981

From here they watched the advance of their enemies in positions they knew to be highly defensible.

img_7982

Archaon had nothing defensive in mind, however. He soared ahead, the Varanguard and Gaunt Summoner racing to keep up. As his disc propelled him forward, the Gaunt Summoner enacted several arcane rituals. As a Mystic Shield enveloped the Everchosen, dark, Chaotic whispers ran threw the heads of the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers, causing them to doubt the righteousness of their cause.

img_7983

The Lord-Celestant was the first to shake off his doubts and in a loud, clear voice, he ordered his forces forward at full tilt. As the Runefather’s Magmadroth spat a high arcing glob of lava that smeared itself across the armour of one of the Varanguard, the Stormcasts caused the bridge to tremor under their feet as they pounded forward. With a cry of ‘Only the Faithful!’ the Retributors and one retinue of Liberators charged into the Everchosen and his Varanguard.

img_7984

The Varanguard had been waiting for this reckless attack and they countercharged, skewering all five of the Retributors who had ran into them upon their glaives before a single hammer could be swung. Archaon, meanwhile, had been surrounded by ten Stormcasts but he casually hacked down at them with the Slayer of Kings while ignoring the few injuries Dorghar sustained in return. Two Retributors were quickly killed, one swallowed by the Nurglesque head of Dorghar, who promptly vomited the corrupted remains back at another. This broke the nerve of one Retributor who, for the first time during the entirety of the Realmgate Wars, turned and ran.

img_7985

Battle Round Two

With a grinding of gears, the Ironskull Bastion turned in place, catching the Liberators off guard and crushing one in its powerful mechanism, and narrowly missing Archaon.

img_7986

The Lord-Celestant and Runefather both saw the danger in the centre of the bridge as the slaying of the Retributors had now left the Varanguard free to roam the battlefield, and they moved to counter the threat. The Hearthguard Berzerkers, meanwhile, ran past the Skull Keep, trusting the nearby retinue of Liberators to tie up the Chaos Warriors within.

img_7987

Lumbering towards the Varanguard, the Magmadroth spat another stream of lava at them before it crashed into their ranks.

img_7989

The Runefather’s Latchkey Axe snaked out and took the head off one, while the Magmadroth’s horns speared another from his mount. Turning clumsily, the Magmadroth swung its horned tail and crushed the life from the third. By the time the Lord-Celestant arrived, there was precious little for him to do.

However, just a few yards away, Archaon dispatched the last Retributor and two Liberators, causing the survivors to flee the battlefield.

img_7990

Feeling the thrill of battle, Archaon quickly threw a Mystic Shield over himself and Dorghar, while the Gaunt Summoner concentrated his arcane powers upon the Runefather. He unleashed a Fractal Mindstorm, which pounded the consciousness of both Duardin and Magmadroth, then hurled an Arcane Bolt, leaving the Runefather reeling and critically wounded.

Before the Runefather could recover, Archaon had urged Dorghar into the air, and the great beast landed heavily behind the two Heroes of Order.

img_7992

As the Gaunt Summoner floated to the side of the Everchosen, Chaos Warriors left the Ironskull Bastion. At an order from Archaon, they charged into the side of the Lord-Celestant and Runefather, before Dorghar’s shadow enveloped them all.

Utterly trapped, the Lord-Celestant and Runefather were quickly killed by Archaon and his warriors.

img_7993

Battle Round Three

While the forces of Order had taken punishing losses, the last Liberators had trapped the Chaos Warriors in the Skull Keep, giving the Hearthguard Berzerkers a free run. Wit the Mercurial Gate in sight, they began to pick up the pace.

img_7994

However, unbeknownst to them, the Chaos Warriors had dispatched the last of the Liberators. They did see a new wave of Varanguard approaching the battlefield, and knew they had to move quickly if they were to complete their mission.

img_7996

Alas, the Fyreslayers did not move quickly enough, for Chaos Warriors and Archaon swept round both sides of the Skull Keep, neatly boxing the Hearthguard in.

img_7997

Dorghar surged forward, and Archaon grinned savagely as he hacked through the Fyreslayers in mere seconds.

The Mercurial Gate remained in the hands of the Everchosen…

 

Conclusion

That was fast – and bloody!

The forces of Order could have fought somewhat harder than they did, and it may well have made all the difference. Between the Retributors and Heroes, Archaon lost more than half of his wounds, and the Hearthguard managed to get to within spitting distance of the gate. If the Retributors had not taken such hideous casualties in the first round, they would have been able to pin the Chaos Warriors in place, and maybe even drive Archaon from the battlefield.

However as it turned out, they just could not recover from those initial hits (especially from the Varanguard!) and while the Heroes and Liberators managed to lock Chaos units in place for a couple of rounds, they lost their steam too quickly, allowing the Hearthguard to be caught.

 

The Story Continues…

A tragedy for Sigmar, and his first real loss in the All-Gates campaign – the Mercurial Gate will remain in the hands of Chaos! However, this is far from the end of the campaign, and there are five other All-Gates to be fought for. Next time, we will travel to the Realm of Beasts to watch the battle for the All-Gate that lies there – however, a new force will be appearing to muck up the plans of both Archaon and Sigmar…

Battle Report – Subterranean Attack

Well, the last battle saw strike one to Sigmar, capturing the Genesis Gate in the Realm of Life. However, there are many more of the All-Gates to go, and now we travel to the Realm of Metal to observe the battle for the Mercurial Gate.

 

The Story So Far

The Mercurial Gate, like all of the All-Gates, was buried inside a mighty fortress, the Ironholds. It was said to be built by Grungni, Mastergod of Smiths, and its defences relied not only on walls but also a sea of molten metal and enourmous gears that could move walls and towers to trap any attacker.

Unfortunately for Sigmar, while Grungni would certainly know how to breach the Ironholds, the Mastergod was missing. However, the Stormcasts had managed to contact the Fyreslayers and Sigmar bade the celestial vaults to be almost emptied of gold in exchange for their services. It was Runefather Hursgar-Grimnir who stepped forward with a plan to get into the Ironholds.

The Ironholds could simply not be breached – but their defences could be bypassed. While massive forces of Stormcast Eternals and Fyreslayers would assault the walls to create a distraction, an underground strike force would be engaged in a tunnelling operation to launch an attack from within, using a combined team of Runesmiters and Runemasters to aid in digging beneath the Molten Sea.

The strike force emerged on one of the Bastion Islands within the Molten Sea, within the courtyard of a fortress that had been drained of it troops by the direct assaults. The only defenders remaining were the mindless Ironguard, led by Sorcerer Lord Trispherix. Fyreslayers and Stormcast Eternals fanned out of the new tunnel, aiming to take the gates and towers of the fortress quickly and so gain a foothold within the Ironholds.

 

The Forces

These are relatively small forces, as most of the fighting is ging on outside the Ironholds – however, this is the important battle.

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)

Fyreslayers
Runefather on Magmadroth
Vulkite Berzerkers x 10

For once, the forces of Order have numbers on their side, and the combination of Retributors and a Magmadroth should ensure at least two towers fall under their attacks. However, they will have to fight a lot harder than that to gain a victory as just two towers will not be enough, and there is a lot of ground between them, so they will have trouble redeploying units to make fresh assaults – in short, the tower each unit opts to assault right at the start of the battle must fall, as reinforcements are unlikely. The Stormcasts are using the Hammer and Anvil Battalion, which allows Judicators to shoot in the hero phase, so long as they are close to Liberators.

Tzeentch Arcanites
Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch
Chaos Warriors x 36 (three units of 12)
Chaos Knights x 5

The Tzeentch army has the reverse problem, as any unit designated to hold a tower is unlikely to gain aid. Fortunately, Chaos Warriors are excellent defensive troops, and the Knights and summoned Pink Horrors (ten of them) might be able to disrupt the forces of Order long enough to gain victory. The Ironguard Battalion is being used by the defenders, which grants additional movement in the hero phase.

 

The Battleplan

The Tzeentch forces start in the four corners of the table, within Skull Keeps and an Overlord Bastion, while the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers begin in the middle of the table, just outside their tunnel. Victory goes to the army that holds the most towers at the end of the fifth round.

As always, however, there are some complications…

The Stormcasts and Fyreslayers are all equipped with demolition charges which can be thrown at any Tzeentch units garrisoning a tower. In return, the Tzeentch army can take advantage of the Mercurial Gate Time of War sheet. This has several effects.

  • The towers and walls attached to them can rotate from time to time, crushing any models unfortunate enough to be in their way.
  • The Sorcerer Lord can attempt to awaken Argentine, the Silver Wyrm of Anvrok, who is currently sleeping within the Molten Sea. If he awakes, he will drench the battlefield with molten metal, inflicting mortal wounds, well, all over the place. Dracothion will then move in to battle Argentine – if Dracothion can defeat the Silver Wyrm, he will launch a meteoric strike upon the battlefield before disappearing.
  • The Sorcerer Lord also has access to the Whispered Words spell, which can hamstrng a unit by inspiring great doubt among its members.

 

Deployment

As the combined Stormcast and Fyreslayer force tunnelled up into the courtyard, they saw only empty ground. Success! However, in the Skull Keeps and Overlord Bastion, the Sorcerer Lord watched the intruders emerge and started issuing orders to his Ironguard.

img_7907

Battle Round One

The forces of Order duly assembled themselves, with the Runefather boasting he and his Vulkite Berzerkers could take a Skull Keep by themselves. The Stormcasts moved into two solid formations, each consisting of Retributors, Judicators and Liberators.

img_7909

Then, a timely reminder that they were in a dangerous place – one of the Skull Keeps rotated ninety degrees, its mechanism obviously capable of crushing anything unfortunate enough to be too close. This would make assaulting the fortifications a lot more difficult.

img_7908

The Runefather made good on his promise as his Magmadroth easily outpaced the Vulkite Berzerkers below, and he charged recklessly into a Skull Keep.

img_7910

His Latchkey Axe snaked out to behead a Chaos Warrior, but the rest proved extremely difficult to root out of the Skull Keep, and their return attacks caused the Magmadroth to start bleeding volcanic blood from a score of wounds.

The Sorcerer Lord felt safe for the time being as he watched the forces of Order split up and attack every tower except his own. Wanting to keep them at bay, he called upon the Changer of Ways for aid, and was rewarded by the appearance of a clutch of giggling Pink Horrors.

img_7911

Then, with a grinding of massive gears, the Overlord Bastion turned in place, its great walls moving at some speed. It was all too clear that it could easily crush an entire retinue of Stormcasts should it begin moving at the wrong time.

img_7912

The fight for the Skull Keep continued, with the Runefather being pushed onto the defensive by the stoic Chaos Warriors. His great axe smashed through the armour of two of them, but his Magmadroth was now panting with effort as a multitude of blows rained down upon it.

 

Battle Round Two

With a thunder of hooves on the metallic ground, a unit of Chaos Knights arrived, and they immediately assembled themselves to cut off one of the Stormcasts’ pushes to the Skull Keeps.

img_7913

The newly arrived Pink Horrors hurled a weak Arcane Bolt at the Retributors closest to the Overlord Bastion, then cackled as their waves of pink fire simply flowed over the Stormcasts’ armour.

Across the battlefield, the Runefather desperately parried blows as he tried to turn his Magmadroth away from the Skull Keep he had assaulted, but the Chaos Warriors had locked him in. Axes and swords continued to chip away at the Magmadroth until its strength gave out entirely and it sank, immobile, to the ground. Deprived of his mount, the Runefather was an easy target for the Chaos Warriors, and his Vulkite Berzekers howled as they saw their leader knocked senseless by the enemy.

With speed that took the Stormcasts by surprise, the Chaos Knights charged, lowering their glaives as they galloped into a retinue of Retributors.

img_7914

With momentum on their side, their weapons skewered two Retributors in an instant, but then the Stormcasts hefted their massive hammers and struck back in a flash of bright lightning. Two Chaos Knights were blasted into their broken mounts but, more importantly, the Retributors had completely stalled their charge.

img_7915

Taking advantage of this, the Lord-Celestant quickly crossed the courtyard, celestial hammers whipping out of his cloak as he gave a steady stream of orders to the Stormcasts closest to him. The glowing hammers flew into the Chaos Knights with a vengeance, smashing one apart before they could react.

As the Retributors worked in unison to drive the Chaos Knights back, the Lord-Celestant charged and, between them, finished the cavalry off with terrible efficiency.

The other retinue of Retributors had reached the Overlord Bastion, but were proving hesitant to get too close to the grinding mechanism that looked as though it could turn the entire tower without warning. As a result, most of the Chaos Warriors inside managed to avoid their deadly blows.

img_7916

Just a short distance away, a retinue of Liberators took the bait the Sorcerer Lord had offered and charged the Pink Horrors who attempted, unsuccessfully, to back away. The daemons put up little fight, and four fell quickly to the blades of the Stormcasts as Judicators supported them with Boltstorm fire.

img_7917

Battle Round Three

Feeling ever more confident, the Sorcerer Lord enacted his most powerful ritual yet, awakening the Godbeast Argentine from beneath the Molten Sea. With a great cry that shook the mountains surrounding the Ironholds, the great serpent rose into the sky, molten silver dropping onto the courtyard from its massive body. Three Pink Horrors, a Judicator and a Chaos Warrior were inadvertently drenched and immolated, before Argentine circled in the sky and delivered a massive blast of Warpflame around one of the Skull Keeps.

Three Chaos Warriors, a Retributor, two Liberators and two Judicators were consumed in the inferno, drastically altering the balance of the fight for the Skull Keep. Indeed, there were now few warriors left on either side to contest the tower.

img_7918

As Argentine swept low over the courtyard and began turning for another pass, the Sorcerer Lord wondered just what he had unleashed, and whether he would be able to control it when the battle had finished. Still, it looked like the Liberators were just about finished with his Pink Horrors, so he hurled an Arcane Bolt at them, which was soon joined by another from the Pink Horrors themselves.

The Chaos Warriors in the Skull Keep that had been struck by Argentine’s Warpflame had been hammered by a Godbeastm, peppered with Skybolt Arrows from Judicators and assaulted by a retinue of Liberators, but they refused to give any ground.

It was not until the Lord-Celestant and the Retributor-Prime both charged the Skull Keep that the last Chaos Warrior finally lost his nerve and ran from the battlefield.

img_7919

Meanwhile, the Vulkite Berzerkers had finally reached their own Skull Keep, and they leapt over the fallen Magmadroth as they hurled themselves at the Chaos Warriors within. Three Chaos Warriors fell quickly to their axes, the Berzerkers own fury keeping them ignorant of any wounds they received in return.

 

Battle Round Four

With a grinding of gears, the Stormcasts’ worst fears were realised as the Overlord Bastion turned in place, crushing the entire retinue of Retributors who had been assaulting it.

The news was not all bleak though for, overhead, another great roar echoed around the Ironholds as Dracothion soared into view. Diving down, the massive dragon smashed into Argentine and the two Godbeasts spun and turned as they tried to snap at one another.

Under this titanic battle, the last Retributor-Prime took a now empty Skull Keep as the Lord-Celestant led a retinue of Judicators to lend aid to the Fyreslayers who were still stalled outside their own tower.

img_7920

On the far side of the battlefield, the retinues of Judicators and Liberators, who had been fighting in close order to support each other up to now, were forced to split their efforts, one heading to the Sorcerer Lord’s Skull Keep, the other to the Overlord Bastion.

img_7921

Both were now weakly defended, for a single Chaos Warrior held the bastion while the Liberators fancied they could finish off the Sorcerer Lord by themselves.

img_7922

However, the Sorcerer Lord proved a canny foe, and though he took several nasty cuts from the Stormcasts’ blades, he managed to retreat far into the depths of the Skull Keep before they could corner him.

In response, the Sorcerer Lord summoned more Pink Horrors to join the fight, hoping to distract the Liberators as he made his escape.

img_7925

However, as the Pink Horrors loosed waves of magical fire, the Liberators turned as one to form a shield wall. Pink fire lapped round the Sigmarite shields but the Stormcasts remained unhurt, until the Sorcerer Lord levelled his malignant staff at one and blasted him with a bolt of arcane energy.

 

Battle Round Five

As the Liberators turned back to face the Sorcerer Lord, they saw him fiddle with a strange machine built into the Skull Keep and, as he pulled a great lever, the Skull Keep began to turn in place. Unable to get out of the way in time, the Liberators were crushed as the Sorcerer Lord laughed.

At the Overlord Bastion, the Judicators had reached the outer walls, but the lone Chaos Warrior inside was proving elusive, ducking back behind the walls as they levelled their Boltstorm Crossbows, then lashing out with his sword before they could recover.

img_7926

Overhead, a terrible screech rattled the walls of the Ironholds as Argentine was forced to retreat from battle with Dracothion. Victorious, Dracothion soared high into the sky before diving down to the courtyard, unleashing a torrent of dragon fire on one of the Skull Keeps. Both Chaos Warriors and Vulkite Berzerkers were immolated in the flames, but it seemed as though the Fyreslayers were beginning to get the better of their enemies.

img_7927

Though badly depleted in number, the Vulkite Berzerkers finally managed to slay the last of the Chaos Warriors, leaving the Skull Keep empty.

The forces of Order had gained their beach head in the Ironholds but it had come at a terrible cost and could in no way be called a victory.

 

Conclusion

Despite wiping out the last Chaos Warriors in the Skull Keep right at the end of the battle, the forces of Order only took a single tower throughout the actual battle, meaning this was a minor victory for Chaos!

This was hardly the lightning strike the Stormcasts had planned, and it remains to be seen what effect this will have on the attack on the Mercurial Gate.

It has to be said, those spinning towers are nasty. Perfectly fine for the defenders but if you are attacking a Dreadhold, you need to do it quickly as it will turn and it will crush your unit – and if it is an elite unit, such as Retributors, that is going to be painful!

And what about Argentine, eh? When the great serpent awoke, it not only dripped molten silver onto the battlefield, it then turned round and absolutely hammered everyone around one of the Skull Keeps! I would say thank Sigmar for Dracothion, but even that ‘friendly’ dragon ended up killing two Fyreslayers.

Overall, this was a short battle involving not too many forces, but it was no less packed with action for that!

 

The Story Continues…

The forces of Order have gained a foothold, of sorts, within the Ironholds. Now they must strike at the Mercurial Gate itself to claim this fortress and add it to the All-Gates Sigmar is acquiring.

Battle Report – The Key to Victory

The Genesis Gate is within reach of the forces of Order – but now the Glottkin have entered the fray and they dare not disappoint Grandfather Nurgle.

 

The Story So Far

Led by Alarielle, the Sylvaneth and Stormcasts were now in sight of the Dripping Fortress and the Genesis Gate.

Some of the Sylvaneth attempted to lead the army away from the greater threats the forces of Nurgle placed before them, but Alarielle’s patience was spent. The goddess marched towards the Genesis Gate by the most direct route, her Wardroth beetle lowering its head to charge every guard tower in its path, hitting them like a living battering ram. Glittering pollen fell in clouds from Alarielle, healing the foetid and foul ground as the army marched. New Sylvaneth rose from the ground to join Alarielle as she neared the Genesis Gate.

Then, the Glottkin appeared, bringing their last reinforcements with them. However, the brothers were dismayed to learn that the Skaven of the Clans Pestilens had finally appeared – not at their side, but in an assault against the Flyblown Castle, a fortress within the Ring of Corruption that was already beleagured by Stormcast Eternals. The Skaven had betrayed their allies for they coveted the Plague Master of the Gadcoven, the seventy-seventh of the Maggot-Mages, and the most powerful, for Verminlord Sepskrik knew the sorcerer possessed knowledge of the most vile of plagues.

With no other choice, the Glottkin thundered onto the battlefield, placing themselves directly in Alarielle’s path. If they could defeat the goddess, the forces of Order would inevitably crumble and the Genesis Gate would remain in their hands.

 

The Forces

This is the climax of the battle for the Genesis Gate, but neither force can call upon its full strength (only five minimum size units are allowed on each side!). Both armies have managed to summon small, elite forces that will fight as their mighty leaders duel for ultimate victory.

Rotbringers
The Glottkin
Blightkings x 10 (two units of 5)
Chaos Warriors x 10
Chaos Knights x 5

As ever, the forces of Nurgle are solid and will be difficult to slay, characteristics embodied by the Blightkings. Leading them are some of Nurgle’s greatest champions, the Glottkin.

Stormcasts and Sylvaneth
Alarielle the Everqueen
Knight-Venator (Tornus the Redeemed)
Kurnoth Hunters x 6 (two units of 3)
Protectors x 5

The forces of Order have a smaller force but are no less powerful for all that. The Knight-Venator will cause trouble for any follower of Nurgle, while the Kurnoth Hunters will rain death from a distance with their massive bows. Then, of course, their is Alarielle, who has quite literally brought the power of a goddess to the battlefield.

 

The Battleplan

To gain a major victory, all Alarielle has to do is march across the battlefield to reach the Genesis Gate. On top of that, the forces of Nurgle will be slow to react, as Alarielle’s push has come very quickly and not all of them are as alert as they should be. This may allow the forces of Order to cross a large part of the battlefield before the alert is sounded (either by one of their units running into a Sylvaneth or Stormcast, by the forces of Order casting a spell, attacking or using a command ability, or automatically at the start of the third round).

However, the forces of Nurgle are able to recycle destroyed units, representing reinforcements from the Dripping Fortress arriving once they realise just where Alarielle is and what she is doing.

 

Deployment

As Chaos Warriors took their ease, garrisoning the Overlord Bastion, Blightkings and Chaos Knights roamed the territory in front of the Genesis Gate. The Glottkin were close by, pondering the reports they had received of the Sylvaneth making a push directly towards the Realmgate. So far, though, they had seen nothing.

Unbeknownst to the three brothers, Alarielle was already on the battlefield, advancing quickly at the head of a small force of Sylvaneth and Stormcasts.

img_7876

Battle Round One

Trying to buy time before being sighted by the Rotbringers, Alarielle withheld her spells and instead quietly urged her force onwards. Flanked by Kurnoth Hunters and Stormcast Protectors, she led them down the left flank of the battlefield as more Kurnoth Hunters crept silently into a Skull Keep. Ascending to its battlements, they could aim their bows at almost any visible target.

img_7877

However, despite several very easy targets being within range, Alarielle waved the Staff of Kurnos in their direction, biding them to wait until she gave the order to attack.

Below, the Chaos Warriors stayed put in the bastion, while the Blightkings wandered with little guidance form the Glottkin. One unit sauntered over to the Chaos Knights to exchange a few jokes about the diseases they intended to infect Alarielle with.

img_7878

Battle Round Two

These jokes soon turned into a serious debate about the respective virulence of the diseases favoured by Blightking and Chaos Knight, and both were concentrated more on the heated argument than any oncoming enemy. However, the Chaos Warriors had thought they had seen something move in the (disgustingly) lush vegetation that had started to overwhelm the Dripping Fortress, and their leader ordered them out of the bastion to investigate.

img_7879

Realising her ploy had been discovered, Alarielle shrieked, ordering the Sylvaneth and Stormcasts to attack.

Reaching into the Soul Amphorae tied to her Wardoth Beetle, Alarielle scattered enchanted pollens high into the air. Drifting to the Skull Keep, the tiny grains suddenly coalesced, revealing the mighty form of a Treelord.

img_7880

Alarielle was far from finished, and she wove complex arcane symbols into the air, unleashing the full power of Ghyran. As a shimmering Mystic Shield enshrouded the goddess, branches and leaves started sprouting from between the joints of the Chaos Warriors’ armour, as Alarielle’s Metamorphosis transformed two of them into shrubbery.

As the cmbined arrows of the Kurnoth Hunters and Tornus the Redeemed brought down a Chaos Knight, Alarielle charged, surging ahead of her Protector bodyguard.

img_7881

Five Chaos Warriors fell to the mighty antlers of her Wardroth but, despite the terrors of the goddess being visited upon them, they held their ground and prepared to fight back.

 

Battle Round Three

Tempering their alarm, the Glottkin bellowed orders, trying to get their own force organised before Alarielle reached the Genesis Gate. Seeing the goddess strike at the Chaos Warriors, Ethrac tried to improve their minions’ chances with Fleshy Abundance, but Alarielle contemptuously unbound the enchantment. Employing more devious means, Ethrac instead managed to slip a Mystic Shield past her notice, giving the Chaos Warriors at least a little protection.

img_7882

One unit of Blightkings were far out of position after having wandered away from the Genesis Gate, and they started waddling and sweating as they tried to make up the distance quickly. Their brothers, breaking from their argument with the Chaos Knights, turned to face the newly arrived Treelord as the Glottkin thundered towards Alarielle herself.

img_7883

More Chaos Warriors fell to Alarielle and her Wardoth, but the last survivors still held their ground, forcing Alarielle to tarry  – but she knew all too well that the longer she fought Chaos Warriors here, the more chance there was that reinforcements would flood to the Dripping Fortress and wear her forces down before she could reach the Genesis Gate.

img_7884

The few scratches the Chaos Warriors had inflicted upon her Wardoth quickly healed. Seeking a way to break the deadlock that was holding her back, Alarielle once more cast Metamorphosis upon the Chaos Warriors and this time, it worked perfectly. The Chaos Warriors screamed in pain and terror as the magic of Life coursed through their bodies, driving disease and infection out as limbs were twisted into branches that arced out across the ground. Within seconds, the Chaos Warriors were gone and a Sylvaneth Wyldwood stood in their place.

img_7885

As the Glottkin started to clear the corner of the Overlord Bastion, Alarielle hurled an Arcane Bolt straight into the face of Ghurek as a warning, then leapt high into the air as her Wardroth burst into a cloud of lesser spites that followed her.

With one bound, Alarielle cleared the Overlord Bastion to land on the other side, the spites reforming into the Wardroth beneath her feet. With one move, the forces of the Glottkin had been completely wrong-footed.

img_7886

Hoping to capitalise on the confusion Alarielle had wrought, Tornus the Redeemed drew the Star-fated Arrow from his quiver, and loosed it straight at the Glottkin.

img_7887

Ghurek looked stupidly down at the burning arrow that had lodged itself in his blubber, then swatted it away. Cursing his luck once again, Tornus was at least mollified as his Star-eagle gouged the eyes out of a Chaos Knight and his mount.

With no fear of the monstrosity that was lumbering towards them, the Protectors hurled themselves at the Glottkin, closing the distance rapidly.

img_7888

They thrust forward with their storm-wreathed glaives, and all three of the Glottkin reeled backwards as the weapons bit deep into foul flesh. Otto was the first to recover, and his long scythe swept down into the Protectors, quickly followed by Ghurek’s lamprey maw. Three Paladins fell to the Glottkin, but the last two were determined to press their attack.

 

Battle Round Four

Distraught that the Stormcasts had hurt his brother so much, Ethrac threw a Mystic Shield over himself and his brothers, then cast about to see where Alarielle had landed. Seeing a unit of Blightkings waddling towards her, Ethrac tried to gift them with a Fleshy Abundance, but once again Alarielle unbound his spell before he had even finished the incantation.

The first reinforcements from outside the Dripping Fortress had now arrived, Chaos Warriors who immediately fanned out to block any path to the Genesis Gate. However, the Realmgate was beginning to react to the presence of its goddess, and crackling Life energies began to pour out of it, wreathing the Chaos Warriors and distracting them from the rest of the battle.

Having been caught out by the sudden appearance of the Stormcasts and Sylvaneth, the Blightkings were delighted at seeing Alarielle touch down right in front of them, and they rushed forward to cut her off.

img_7890

The combined weight of the Blightkings rocked even the mighty Wardroth, and several of its armoured plates were smashed by repeated strikes from their weapons.

Further away, Chaos Knights rode down the Tornus the Redeemed, almost crushing him beneath their hooves. Battered and bloody, the Knight-Venator finally managed to spread his wings and fly out of their reach,.

img_7891

The last Stormcast Protectors made a good stand against the Glottkin, with the Protector-Prime thrusting his glaive deep into Ghurek, causing the big brother to moan in pain as the weapon wreathed him in crackling lightning. However, their assault was short lived, as the Glottkin brothers combined their attacks to send the last Stormcast back to Azyr on a bolt of blue light.

Now the Glottkin were finally free to chase down Alarielle, and Ghurek lumbered around at the behest of his brothers.

As the damage the Blightkings had inflicted began to knit and heal, Alarielle threw more pollen from her Soul Amphorae into the air and, this time, Dryads sprang from the ground wherever the grains fell.

img_7892

Casting a look over her shoulder, Alarielle saw the Glottkin lumber round the other side of the bastion, and snorted with annoyance as the Chaos Lords continued to follow her. She watched as Ethrac gathered magical energies about himself, ready to unbind any spell she sent his way, but the goddess hurled a powerful bolt of energy at the Glottkin – not to hurt them, but to cause Ethrac to frantically unbind it.

As the Chaos Wizard was busy countering her feint, Alarielle once more unleashed her Metamorphosis.

For a moment, nothing happened, and the Glottkin brothers looked at one another. Then Otto clutched his stomach, as Ethrac clamped his hands to his ears, trying to halt the vines that suddenly sprouted out of them. Within seconds, leaves, bark and flowers broke out of every orifice of the Glottkin consuming them in a wave of Life. When the transformation abated, a new Wyldwood stood where the Glottkin had been.

img_7893

Seeing the Genesis Gate almost close enough to touch, Alarielle knew she could not let the Blightkings delay her. Despite going against every one of her instincts to let a creature of Chaos live, Alarielle once again soared high into the air as her Wardroth broke into a million spites, only to reform beneath her as the goddess reached the ground.

img_7894

Now only the confused Chaos Warriors stood in her path.

Though they were outmatched, the Dryads saw the energies of the Genesis Gate had paralysed the Chaos Warriors to inaction, and they rushed forward, branch-like arms outstretched and ready to rend claw and impale their age-old enemies.

img_7895

A single Chaos Warrior was hacked apart by the vengeful Forest Folk, but the Dryads had succeeded in tying them up and holding the path open for Alarielle.

 

Battle Round Five

From her vantage point high up on the Wardroth, Alarielle could see massive reinforcements flooding into the Dripping Fortress, but she smiled as she saw they would not be able to arrive in time.

The Wardroth Beetle surged forward, carrying Alarielle to the Genesis Gate. Reaching out with the Spear of Kurnos, she touched it just once…

A pulse went through the air, and immediately the brown sludge that had poured out of the Dripping Fortress for more than four hundred years flowed clean, carrying an influx of vitality throughout the nearby lands and sweeping the followers of Chaos before it. With more effort, she closed the Genesis Gate, locking the path that led to the Allpoints.

Now, at long last, the tide had changed in the War of Life.

 

Conclusion

This was a good battle – short, tight, full of action… and with big things happening in the story!

As mentioned at the start of the All-Gates campaign, Sigmar needs to take one All-Gate in each Mortal Realm to surround the Allpoints (Varanspire) and give Archaon a good smacking. And, with Alarielle’s help, he already has his first in the Realm of Life!

For her part, Alarielle has most certainly arrived on the scene, and the forces of Chaos will be cowering wherever she strides. The closing of the Genesis Gate is a major blow for Nurgle, and his forces will now be on the backfoot in Ghyran, giving the Sylvaneth some much needed breathing space.

And what of the Glottkin? Are they now destined to spend their time watching squirrels run up and down their boughs while sparrows make nests in their branches?

I doubt it.

Grandfather Nurgle is more forgiving than most Chaos Gods and while the Glottkin have badly let him down in the pursuit of Alarielle, I don’t think he will stay mad at his favoured sons for long. In any case, he might well need them now the forces of Order are ascendant in the Realm of Life…

 

The Story Continues…

Well, the first of the All-Gates that Sigmar wanted is now in his hands – score one for the forces of Order! We will next be taking a look at how the war is going in the Realm of Metal as the battle for the Mercurial Gate gains momentum.

Battle Report – Frontal Assault

The first battle in the All-Gates campaign was but a brief skirmish – now the heat gets turned up with a massive attack on a fortress of Nurgle involving Treelords, monsters, plague daemons… and a goddess.

 

The Story So Far

For four hundred years, the fortresses around the Genesis Gate had been ruled by Nurgle’s most worthy heroes – Daemon Princes, favoured Great Unclean Ones, and the most vaunted of mortal champions. Each had added to the defences, creating what became known as the Ring of Corruption, seven vast strongholds standing over seven vast gates. Inside their walls lay the Dripping Fortress, the central keep floating over the Genesis Gate, ruled by the Glottkin.

The Glottkin had been troubled by premonitions and dreams sent by the Plague God, and they knew trouble was coming. They visited each of the fortresses around the Ring of Corruption, ensuring defences were solid and guardians mustered. However, rivalries were evident among all of the commanders.

The Glottkin blamed the Skaven of Clans Pestilens for their fall from Nurgle’s favour, believing them to be responsible for the escape of Alarielle long ago, and they were right to be suspicious, for Verminlord Sepskirk the Foul had been whispering promises of power into the ears of Plague Pontifex Skroglitch Twistspine that would set the Clans Pestilens against the rest of Nurgle’s followers.

The combined Sylvaneth and Stormcast assault on the walls surrounding the Genesis Gate was soon in coming. All seven fortresses of the Ring of Corruption were attacked simultaneously, Alarielle using her magic to disperse the poisonous air that wreathed their towers.

The greatest battle was at the Hornspire, the largest of the outer fortresses and, as the Sylvaneth and Stormcasts approached, the Glottkin unleashed their reinforcements – however, of the promised Skaven of the Clans Pestilens, there was no sign…

 

The Forces

This is a big battle over a fortress wall (always good for excitement), plus it is the first appearance of Alarielle in the All-Gates campaign!

Rotbringers
Lord of Plagues
Blightmage
Blightkings x 10
Chosen x 10
Chaos Warriors x 36 (three units of 12)
Nurglings x 9 (three units of 3)
Plaguebearers x 30 (three units of 10)
Slaughterbrute
Skull Keep x 3
Dreadhold Wall Sections x 10
Overlord Bastion

The forces of Nurgle have marshalled their best mortal defenders and enjoy not only daemonic support, but a Slaughterbrute as well. But will it be enough to hold back the assault?

Stormcast Eternals
Celestant-Prime
Knight-Venator (Tornus the Redeemed)
Retributors x 5
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)

Sylvaneth
Alarielle, the Everqueen
Treelord Ancient
Son of Durthu
Treelords x 2
Kurnoth Hunters x 12 (four units of 3)
Tree-Revenants x 10

This combined Sylvaneth and Stormcast army has brought together the very best of both forces. Not only is the Celestant-Prime present, but Alarielle herself has entered the battle! This, combined with the monsters and hard-hitting shooting units, will give the forces of Order a decent chance of taking the walls.

 

The Battleplan

In principle, this Battleplan is a simple one – the forces of Nurgle are behind their walls, and victory will go to the army that manages to capture and hold onto the three Skull Keeps in no man’s land.

However, the forces of Nurgle are vast and the Ring of Corruption is packed with reinforcements (except those pesky Skaven – where did they get to, eh?), and units wiped out can be recycled during the battle.

In addition, the poisonous fog from the Great Unclean One Pustrol is still floating around the fortress, and it will begin poisoning Sylvaneth and Stormcast units over the course of the fight, sparing only those closest to Alarielle.

 

Deployment

The forces of Nurgle sighted the advancing Stormcasts and Sylvaneth from a distance, and the garrison was well prepared for the assault as they lined the walls of the Hornspire. Reinforcements had already been called for and, despite the furious battles already happening elsewhere around the Ring of Corruption, the Lord of Plagues at Hornspire was confident his summons would be answered.

img_7839

As Alarielle led her army closer to the walls, his confidence turned to a quiet hope the reinforcements would arrive in time…

img_7837

Battle Round One

The Hornspire was wreathed in a poisonous fog that choked the Stormcasts, but Alarielle gestured with the Spear of Kurnoth, and the worst effects were driven back in a sphere centred upon her. She saw the forces of Nurgle were well ensconced behind their walls, and was reluctant to give them more time to react to the presence of the Sylvaneth. With a loud cry, Alarielle gestured her army forward, keen to take the towers early in the battle.

img_7840

As the army advanced, arrows and bolts from Judicators and Kurnoth Hunters rained towards the defenders, but most missiles simply bounced off the corroded metal wall as the Warriors of Chaos huddled behind them. The Lord of Plagues took a chance and peered down from the ramparts, only to quickly duck back again as he saw Knight-Venator Tornus the Redeemed loose a Star-fated Arrow towards him. The arrow thudded into the wall and exploded, showering the Lord of Plagues and his warriors with chunks of metal.

Cursing the Knight-Venator, the Lord of Plagues saw the Sylvaneth and Stormcasts were intent on taking the Skull Keeps. Raising his axe high above his head, he ordered his force to leave the walls and fight for the towers.

img_7841

A battle quickly erupted around the centre tower as the Slaughterbrute swung down from the wall and bounded into the approaching Treelords. He managed to scratch on but then the Spirit of Durthu strode forward to swing the Guardian Sword in a mighty blow that decapitated the Slaughterbrute.

Chaos Warriors rushed into the fray, picking their way over the corpse of the Slaughterbrute, but their swords and axes proved deadly to the Spirit of Durthu, who roared in pain as the many blades found their mark.

 

Battle Round Two

The poisonous fog billowed over the walls, wrapping around any Stormcast or Sylvaneth who was not in the protective bubble around Alarielle. Two Judicators fell to their knees, clutching at their throats as the poison spread through their bodies.

img_7842

The battle was now becoming truly vicious as the two forces closed in on one another. Alarielle gestured at the Blightkings who had descended form the wall, casting a spell of Metamorphosis. Two of the Blightkings screamed in terrible pain as verdant branches and leaves sprouted out of their skins to create shrubbery that immediately blossomed with vibrant flowers. The Kurnoth Hunters turned their great bows to the Blightkings, adding their weight to the assault, and another Blightking fell to their massive arrows.

The Stormcasts were keeping pace, the Boltstorm-armed Judicators holding their ground to unleash a terrifying torrent of fire into oncoming Plaguebearers as Tree-Revenants moved to block a charge from the daemons.

On the right flank, Sylvaneth fought Chaos Warrior for possession of the tower there, a Treelord leading Great Scythe-armed Kurnoth Hunters in the attack. The scythes were truly lethal, making a mockery of any armour the Chaos Warriors wore, reaping five Chaos Warriors and a Blightking. This was too much for four of the Chaos Warriors, who fled from battle only to be cut down by the cruel Blightkings on the direction of the Lord of Plagues.

img_7843

The battle for the tower on the left flank had also been joined, as a retinue of Retributors smashed into more Chaos Warriors, their great hammers flattening four of their enemies into the ground. However, here the nerve of the Chaos Warriors held, and their axes brought one Retributor to his knees before he was dispatched back to Sigmar.

img_7844

In the centre, the battle tilted heavily to the Sylvaneth as the Spirit of Durthu, a Treelord and a small group of Kurnoth Hunters finished the last of the Chaos Warriors they faced. The way to the central tower now appeared to be open.

img_7845

From deep within the Hornspire, a trumpet sounded and, hidden from the Sylvaneth, the first of Nurgle’s reinforcements arrived. Running flat out for the walls, a unit of Chaos Warriors tried to keep up with another Slaughterbrute.

img_7846

Alone on his section of the wall, a Blightmage peered down at the swirling melee below and saw the greatest threat stagger before him. The Spirit of Durthu had been badly wounded by the Chaos Warriors it had fought, but even now the injuries inflicted were beginning to heal from the benign presence of Alarielle.

Chuckling to himself, the Blightmage raised his staff and sent a powerful Arcane Bolt downwards, the magical energy striking the Spirit of Durthu square in the chest and causing the Treelord to reel under the impact.

img_7847

Seeing an opportunity, a tumbling horde of giggling Nurglings flowed towards the Treelords, but each of the little daemons was intent on bringing the mighty Spirit of Durthu down. While the Treelord Ancient tried to stem the tide, the Nurglings just flowed round him and started to climb the Spirit of Durthu, levering aside broken bark to get inside.

img_7848

Utterly infested with Nurglings, the Spirit of Durthu gave a long, low moan, before crashing into the ground.

Around the tower on the right flank, Plaguebearers had reached the front line of the forces of Order and began hacking at the Tree-Revenants with their Plagueswords, forcing the Boltstorm-armed Judicators to draw their Warblades and support their Sylvaneth allies.

Only one Tree-Revenant fell to the daemons, for the loss of several Plaguebearers – but then reality blinked, and suddenly the Tree-Revenants were facing more daemons of Nurgle than had originally leapt down from the walls.

 

Battle Round Three

The poison fog dispersed momentarily, allowing everyone to see what was happening across the battlefield.

img_7849

The Lord of Plagues clambered down the wall to join the fight, blessing the Blightkings with a dose of Nurgle’s Rot as he went. This infection quickly spread, and a Kurnoth Hunter hissed as its foliage started to blacken and rot.

img_7850

The Retributors of the Hallowed Knights dispatched the last of the Chaos Warriors they had faced, and had hoped they would now have created enough space for the Judicators to take the tower. However, a unit of Plaguebearers leered at them, daring the Stormcasts to leave themselves vulnerable as they entered the tower. Then, with a bellowing roar of challenge, the new Slaughterbrute climbed over the wall, looking down at the Retributors, who readied their hammers for more fighting.

img_7851

No towers had been taken, and Alarielle could feel the chance beginning to slip through her fingers. While the forces of Order had enjoyed several victories on the battlefield, the towers were still out of reach and it was only a matter of time before a tidal wave of reinforcements from within the Ring of Corruption would overwhelm the Stormcasts and Sylvaneth. Raising the Spear of Kurnoth, she channeled Ghyran’s Wrath and every Sylvaneth on the battlefield was infused with the power of a goddess.

img_7852

As Judicators on both flanks concentrated their fire on Plaguebearers, Alarielle could see that the forces of Nurgle were concentrating their reinforcements around the tower on the left flank – this was where the fighting but be at its most fierce. Deciding that she had been a bystander too long in this battle, and knowing the Tree-Revenants would have to take the opposite tower on their own, Alarielle urged her Wardroth Beetle on.

img_7853

Concentrating on the Retributors, the Plaguebearers did not notice the ground shaking under the heavy footsteps of the Wardroth until it was far too late. Its antlers were lowered and they hit with such force that the daemons were instantly liquified, bursting apart in a shower of rotting offal.

Around the central tower, Treelords stamped on the Nurglings that rolled around their feet, knowing that they had to destroy the infestation before the tower could be taken. The Lord of Plagues took advantage of this confusion, and raced towards the Kurnoth Hunters, swinging his disease-ridden axe.

img_7854

Seeing him approach, the Kurnoth Hunters grew great thickets around themselves, blunting the Lord of Plagues’ charge, before sweeping with their massive swords. The Lord of Plagues staggered back with a huge rent in his chest, but he only chuckled to himself and hefted his axe for another attack – the wound was already beginning to heal.

The assault on the tower of the right flank began to stall as reality blinked once more and Plaguebearers began appearing at a rate far faster than the Tree-Revenants and Judicators could destroy.

img_7857

Battle Round Four

Despite having taken extremely heavy losses, the forces of Nurgle had managed to blunt and then stall the assault upon the Hornspire, and they took heart from the warcries of the reinforcements they now heard coming their way.

img_7855

The forces of Order were still too close tot he towers for comfort though, and the Blightkings unleashed another wave of Nurgle’s Rot upon Kurnoth Hunters, even as the Blightmage hurled an Arcane Bolt at them. One of the Kurnoth Hunters reeled under the debilitating attacks, but refused to succumb to magic nor disease.

img_7856

The Retributors remained steady as the Slaughterbrute leapt off the walls to crash among them. Once more, the Stormcasts were driven back from the tower they had been fighting so long for, and they were forced onto the defensive under the Slaughterbrute’s punishing attacks.

img_7858

Time was now running out far too fast for Alarielle, and she knew the tenuous hold the forces of Nurgle had on all three towers had to be shattered – and quickly.

Calling upon the power of Metamorphosis once more, she directed the spell at the Slaughterbrute, which was suddenly wreathed in vines that sprang from the joints in its heavy carapace. The beast stumbled as it tried to force its way past the Retributors to reach the goddess, but Alarielle hurled the Spear of Kurnoth, piercing the Slaughterbrute’s skull and causing it to collapse motionless outside the tower.

img_7859

On the other side of the tower, the Treelord Ancient hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Lord of Plagues, just as the Nurgle champion advanced upon the Kurnoth Hunters once more. The Lord of Plagues was slammed against the side of the tower and looked stupidly downwards as his rotting innards dropped from the open wound to pool at his feet. The last thing he saw was a Kurnoth Hunter’s sword swung hard at his neck.

The Kurnoth Hunters strode over the body of the Lord of Plagues and claimed the central tower in the name of the Goddess of Life.

img_7862

Following the lead of Knight-Venator Tornus the Redeemed, the Kurnoth Hunters concentrated their arrow fire upon the Blightkings and Plaguebearers still battling around the tower on the right flank, seeking to give the Tree-Revenants and Treelord enough space to claim it.

Then, a massive bolt of lightning lanced down from the storm-filled skies to blast the ground just behind the walls of the Hornspire. When smoke and debris cleared, the form of the Celestant-Prime appeared, hovering above the wall.

Sigmar had sent his own herald to ensure the Hornspire fell.

img_7860

This was all the encouragement the Stormcasts needed, and the Boltstorm-armed Judicators redoubled their efforts. Taking a step back, they unleashed the full weight of their firepower on the last of the Plaguebearers around the tower on the right flank, mowing them down in vast numbers.

img_7861

The pitifully few Plaguebearers left could not hold back the fury of the Tree-Revenants who were finally able to sweep the area surrounding the tower free of Nurgle daemons.

 

Battle Round Five

Perhaps at the behest of Grandfather Nurgle himself, the poison fog returned with a vengeance, swirling across the walls of the Hornspire in great gusts that choked and gagged the forces of Order. A Kurnoth Hunter and Tree-Revenant both went down under its touch, their bark flaking off to reveal raw Heartwood before it passed.

Though the towers had begun to fall, the reinforcements from the Ring of Corruption were not about to let the hated Sylvaneth and reviled Stormcasts claim them without a fight, and they ran at full speed to the walls.

img_7863

One unit of Chaos Warriors managed to catch up to the Celestant-Prime, and their swords and axes battered his armour. Then he raised Ghal Maraz, and Sigmar’s own hammer descended in a series of unstoppable blows that cracked armour and smashed bone. Half a dozen Chaos Warriors fell to the Celestant-Prime’s initial attacks alone, and another ran for his life, terrified at the naked and unleashed power of the Godking.

img_7864

On the other side of the wall, more Chaos Warriors threw themselves fearlessly into battle against a Treelord, desperately trying to force the Sylvaneth back away from the tower. The Treelord’s great, sweeping blows knocked many of them off their feet but while many died, the rest were fanatical in their devotion to Nurgle, and refused to run.

img_7865

On the far right flank, the Tree-Revenants occupied the tower they had fought so long for, a well deserved victory that gave them much needed respite from the battle.

img_7867

However, the Chaos Warriors who had jumped down from the wall were dogged in their defence and they refused to yield the last tower, in spite of (or perhaps because of) their dwindling numbers.

img_7866

Hunkering down behind their shields, the Chaos Warriors were hammered by the arrows of Kurnoth Hunters, strangled by the roots of the Treelord, and forced to bear wholesome life from the Metamorphosis of Alarielle. Every time one of them succumbed to the attacks of the Sylvaneth, another stepped forward to take his place, until less than a handful were left.

Time was pressing though, and Alarielle knew she was needed at the Genesis Gate if the All-Gate was to be taken. A large section of the Hornspire walls had been seized and it would be sufficient to allow her army to cross them.

They had done enough.

 

Conclusion

A minor victory for the forces of Order – those pesky Chaos Warriors right at the end just would not die!

Actually, despite the forces of Order having the upper hand throughout this battle (four Treelords and a Goddess of Life are a powerful combination!), they came very close not to winning at all, and it was only in the last two rounds that towers started to be taken. If the odd Nurgle unit here and there had held out just a little longer, the ending might have been very different!

The Spirit of Durthu falling to Nurglings was a bit of an embarrassment, but before that happened he had managed to slay a Slaughterbrute single-handed and finished off a whole unit of Chaos Warriors, so he certainly did his bit on breaking the line. For her part, Alarielle was kept back probably a turn longer than necessary, but I was a bit wary about sending forward into an enemy army after what happened when she last faced a Khorne warband!

As for the forces of Nurgle, their great weakness was that they had to leave their walls to contest the towers and while they had continuous reinforcements, they are not known as having the speediest of units, so the new units had limited effect. They soaked up the initial attacks from the Sylvaneth with Chaos Warriors (who are superb in that role, it cannot be denied) but I cannot help thinking it might have been better to send the Plaguebearers up front – the presence of the Blightmage would mean they could be summoned a lot closer to the battle than recycling them as reinforcements.

Still, the Hornspire (or, at least, a part of it) has fallen, and we will now be moving onto the final objective in the Ring of Corruption.

 

The Story Continues…

The assault upon the Ring of Corruption is now in full swing, but it is a tough fight. Will the forces of Order find the Key to Victory and succeed in capturing the Genesis Gate?

Battle Report – A Deadly Hunt

Well, this is it… We are cracking open the final volume of the Realmgates War campaign, All-Gates. We will finally see whose machinations will prove superior – Archaon’s or Sigmar’s.

 

The Story So Far

The most coveted strategic location among all the Mortal Realms was the Allpoints, a nexus of Realmgates that existed nowhere but was connected to all places. Once, a great city was built around it but when Allpoints fell to Chaos, it was replaced by the Varanspire, Archaon’s own fortress. From there, the Everchosen could strike at any Mortal Realm and dominate them all.

Having gained a foothold in the Mortal Realms, the Godking Sigmar enacted the next phase of his plan to defeat Chaos – retake the Allpoints.

To do this, he planned to simultaneously take each of the Realmgates that led to the Allpoints, one in each Mortal Realm, each protected by a mighty fortress. These were the All-Gates and their capture would place the Allpoints under siege, drainng the power of Chaos and leaving it vulnerable.

The first of these would be the Genesis Gate in the Realm of Life.

The Realm of Ghyran was almost in Nurgle’s complete possession, but the last victory had eluded him time and again – the capture of Alarielle, Queen of the Radiant Wood. However, the days of Alarielle running were now over, for she had been reborn into her war aspect, and a terrible fury consumed her.

Dispatching the Celestant-Prime as his envoy, Sigmar enlisted Alarielle for her aid in besieging the Genesis Gate. It was known to be deep within Nurgle’s territory, on one of the floating islands known as the Landshoals. Sigmar dispatched winged Hunt-teams to find the Genesis Gate and report its location back to Stormcast and Sylvaneth alike.

The islands were enclosed by a fleshy membrane that the Hunt-teams breached, forcing their way through the poisonous atmosphere within and searching the foetid swamps below. Pustrol, one of Nurgle’s favoured Great Unclean Ones, had been tasked with polluting the air to form the first line of defence of the Genesis Gate, and now the Hunt-teams were closing in on his position.

 

The Forces

This is an unusual battle in that both players are actually on the same side! They are both playing Azyrite Hunt-teams trying to bring about the end of Pustrol, a Great Unclean One.

Daemons of Nurgle
Exalted Great Unclean One (Pustrol)
Plaguebearers x 30 (three units of 10)
Nurglings x 9 (three units of 3)

The Exalted Great Unclean One is the target in this battle (and we are using the new Forge World Warscroll for him), while the Plaguebearers and Nurglings are present as his underlings and to cause problems for the Stormcasts.

Hallowed Knights
Knight-Venator (Tornus the Redeemed)
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)

Stark Hammers
Knight-Azyros
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)

Both Stormhosts are arranged into Azyrite Hunt-teams, which move 3D6″ in the hero phase (they are fast!), and can retreat and charge in the same turn. The Hallowed Knights are equipped mainly to deal death from a distance, while the Stark Hammers are tooled up for brutal melee.

 

The Battleplan

The players in this battle each take command of a single Hunt-team (nine Prosecutors and a Hero) charged with hunting down Pustrol, an Exalted Great Unclean One. Whoever lands the killing blow gains a major victory. However, there are some issues to overcome.

To begin with, the poisoned air will begin inflicting mortal wounds on all Stormcast units as the battle progresses. In addition, none of the Nurgle Daemons start on the table – the Stormcasts have to search for them. During combat phases, players can either select one of their own units to fight or one of the Daemon units – if they pick the latter, the Daemons get to shoot, move, charge and pile-in all at once.

 

Battle Round One

The Hallowed Knights were the first to arrive, swooping onto the battlefield in loose formation. Almost immediately, they detected movement in the swamp as Plaguebearers and Nurglings roused themselves to meet the new threat.

img_7815

Without hesitation, Knight-Venator Tornus the Redeemed led the way, loosing a flurry of arrows into the Nurglings as his Star-eagle dived in to tear apart more of the giggling little daemons with its talons. The last of the Nurglings dove for cover as the Prosecutors swept in, hiding amongst the dense foliage of the swamp.

More Prosecutors engaged the Plaguebearers, bringing down two with thrown javelins.

img_7816

Then, the Stark Hammers arrived. Immediately assessing the situation, and keen not to let the Hallowed Knights get too far ahead and steal all the glory, their Knight-Azyros directed his Prosecutors to attack the Nurgle daemons.

img_7817

The Nurglings proved elusive but the Knight-Azyros dove in among the Plaguebearers, dispatching one, but not before the daemons of Nurgle slew a Hallowed Knights Prosecutor. Panicked, another Prosecutor fled.

img_7818

Battle Round Two

The noxious atmosphere within the membrane of the Landshoals began to have a telling effect, with Stormcasts choking on the vile gas. Seeing their chance for notoriety over the Stark Hammers, the Hallowed Knights disengaged from the Nurglings and Plaguebearers, leaving the Knight-Azyros to fight an entire unit of daemons alone. However, they quickly ran into more daemons emerging from the foetid swamp.

img_7824

While the Stark Hammers had been relegated to mopping up daemons, the Stark Hammers had completely bypassed them in their search for the source of the poisonous atmosphere.

img_7825

Their lead units were soon joined by the rest of the Hallowed Knights, with Tornus the Redeemed leading the way.

img_7826

As Hallowed Knight Prosecutors swooped down upon newly emerged Nurglings, scattering them, the Plaguebearers ignored the Prosecutors closest to them and started marching towards the Stark Hammers who were still searching for the last Nurglings within the rotten vegetation.

img_7827

The Stark Hammers were beginning to see a real fight develop on their hands, and they were painfully aware that the Hallowed Knights were far ahead. They unfurled their wings and began to advance at full speed, but one retinue of Prosecutors were forced to divert their flight to aid the Knight-Azyros who was in danger of being over-run by Plaguebearers. Diving in with their Sigmarite hammers, many Plaguebearers felt the wrath of the Godking.

img_7828

Battle Round Three

The poisonous fog abated for a moment, allowing the Stark Hammers to see just how far ahead the Hallowed Knights had flown. Knowing the few Plaguebearers left would be no match for his hammer-wielding Prosecutors, the Knight-Azyros left combat to join the Stark Hammers who were flying in the wake of the Hallowed Knights.

img_7829

Then, a great cry went up – a retinue of Hallowed Knights Prosecutors had found their target, and all Stormcasts felt a little daunted as Pustrol, an Ezalted Great Unclean One, hefted his massive bulk out of the swamp waters to face Sigmar’s soldiers.

img_7830

With no hesitation, the Hallowed Knights swooped in, unleashing every weapon they had against the greater daemon. However, the fight started to go badly almost immediately. The Knight-Venator’s arrows simply bounced off its blubbery hide, while Prosecutors did little more than inflict minor scratches that oozed filth.

img_7831

Swinging his massive, corroded sword, Pustrol swatted two Prosecutors out of the air, their spirits rocketing back up to Azyrheim on bolts of blue lightning.

 

Battle Round Four

Seeing their foolhardy comrades in trouble, the Stark Hammers raced forwards, diving low to gain speed.

img_7832

Hammers and javelins were hurled at Pustrol, for little effect, until the hammer-wielding Prosecutors were close enough to launch an assault. The Grand Hammer swung by the Prosecutor-Prime finally caused Pustrol to roar in pain as it was buried deep in the daemon’s back, while the smaller hammers of the Prosecutors rained a hail of blows upon him.

However, Pustrol managed waddled around to reach the Stark Hammer Prosecutors and, with one swing, tore another two out of the sky. Not yet done, the Great Unclean One then cast an ancient enchantment of Nurgle, and unleashed a Plague Wind that tore through the Knight-Azyros, rotting the flesh from his bones before the Stormcast burst in a flash of blue lightning.

img_7833

It began to dawn on the Hallowed Knights that they had uncovered an enemy they were ill-equipped to fight, and the Prosecutors spread their wings to lift them out of the battle. Tornus the Redeemed hovered further back and plucked his Star-fated Arrow from his quiver, sighting it down his bow and then loosing it directly into Pustrol’s head.

img_7834

Collectively, the Stormcasts moaned as they saw the enchanted arrow simply lodge itself uselessly into Pustrol’s folds of skin. Even as they watched, the wounds the Stark Hammers inflicted started to knit and close as the Great Unclean One lumbered around to face more enemies.

Taking a deep breath, Pustrol opened his mouth wide and spewed a torrent of bile, catching one of the retreating Hallowed Knights Prosecutors before he could get away.

 

Battle Round Five

The bile of the Great Unclean One reacted with the air of the Landshoals and, once again, a terribly poisonous fog descended, blocking sight and choking the Stormcasts. Two Prosecutors succumbed to the poison, falling into the swampy waters.

img_7835

Pustrol vomited more bile to drench the last screaming Hallowed Knight prosecutor, while a swipe of his sword bisected the Stark Hammer Prosecutor-Prime still fighting with his Grand Hammer.

Tornus the Redeemed watched as the Great Unclean One lumbered out of the fog towards him, and he barked an order to the two remaining Stark Hammer Prosecutors still on the battlefield.

The Nurgle daemon had won this battle, but now they knew where he was. Fleeing the battlefield, they would return with the full weight of a Stormhost to destroy it.

 

Conclusion

Now, that was a battle that started very well for the Stormcasts – perhaps a little too well, as it made us incredibly overconfident, and running into that Exalted Great Unclean One was like flying into a brick wall!

This was a fun little Battleplan, and it did not take too long to play. What was utterly apparent was a) an Exalted Great Unclean One is a hell of an enemy for Prosecutors to fight and b) were were completely uncoordinated in our attacks!

Because greater daemons of Nurgle constantly regenerate any damage they sustain, we needed to unload our attacks in a combined fashion, with the javelins and tridents of the Hallowed Knights battering it at range while the hammers of their comrades tear it apart in close combat, as the two Heroes unleash their special abilities.

Unfortunately, Tornus’ Star-fated Arrow was ignored by the daemon, and the Knight-Azyros did not even get a chance to use his lantern!

Not a brilliant start for the forces of Order in the All-Gates campaign, but there is plenty more to do, and many more battles to fight! The best Tornius the Redeemed can say is that he located Pustrol, and now other Stormcast forces will inevitably destroy the Great Unclean One, meaning we can get back to the story…

 

The Story Continues…

With the first line of defence of the Genesis Gate neutralised, the forces of Nurgle now have to ready themselves for the main assault upon the All-Gate…