Battle Report – Ultimate Siege Weapon

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

 

The Story So Far

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Forces

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Battleplan

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Deployment

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

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

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Battle Round One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle Round Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the Stormcasts opened fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle Round Three

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle Round Four

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle Round Five

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Battle Round Six

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

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

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Conclusion

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

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

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

Stay tuned!

 

The Story Continues…

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

Battle Report – Unleash the Beast

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

 

The Story So Far

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

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

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

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

Skarbrand had been bound beneath the flaming arc.

 

The Forces

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Battleplan

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

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

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

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

 

Deployment

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

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

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Battle Round One

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

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

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

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

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Battle Round Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Battle Round Three

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle Round Four

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

* Sigh *

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

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

 

The Story Continues…

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

Battle Report – Right of Conquest

The Ironjawz have had a laugh with the forces of Chaos so far – but now they are getting serious, as Gordrakk has arrived to give both the forces of Chaos and the Stormcasts a good duffin’.

 

The Story So Far

Gordrakk’s Great Waaagh! had been rampaging through the Mortal Realms, growing in size as it went. Aboard great hulking warships, Gordrakk now came over the Gnawing Sea and watched Ironjawz, Chaos, and Stormcasts fighting – the Fist of Gork saw the chance to even a few scores as he led his horde onto the shore.

For their part, the Stormcasts had gradually whittled down the Chaos defenders over days of fighting, and now pushed forward to the Mawgate. It was not until the ground started shaking with the footfall of thousands of Brutes and Ardboyz did the Stormcasts slow down. For the most fleeting of moments, they thought that an alliance had been brokered between Sigmar and Gorkamorka, but these hopes were dashed as the Ironjawz piled into their rear lines.

The Flayed, Brass and Blood Crawlerforts had already fallen to the Ironjawz, and a counterattack by the forces of Chaos distracted the Orruks long enough for the Stormcasts to reach the Mawgate. However, they were not alone, for Gordrakk had led his own force there and the combined armies of Chaos had followed too.

A pitched battle erupted around the fortifications of the Mawgate, even as the World-Worm Fangathrak writhed and twisted against its chains, the powerful Waaagh! energies of the massive Ironjawz army driving it mad.

 

The Forces

This is a three-way battle, all against all, for control of an Infernal Realmgate. Expect serious carnage!

Bloodbound & Slaaneshi Host
Daemon Prince of Slaanesh
Mighty Lord of Khorne
Bloodsecrator
Slaughterpriest
Blood Warriors x 20 (two units of 10)
Bloodreavers x 20
Wrathmongers x 5
Khorgorath
Daemonettes of Slaanesh x 30 (three units of 10)

The forces of Chaos have combined, with both Slaanesh and Khorne bringing strong forces to the battle. There is going to be a lot of close quarters fighting in this battle, an area where Chaos normally excels.

Ironjawz
Gordrakk, Fist of Gork
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)

The Ironjawz, on the other hand, are throwing everything they have at the fortress, sporting two – count them! – two Maw-Krushas, one of which is bringing the Fist of Gork to the fight. Added to that, they are arranged in a Brutefist and Weirdfist, meaning they will be charging an awful lot, and the magic of the Weirdnob Shaman is going to be truly spectacular. They ain’t worried about nuffin’.

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant
Lord-Castellant
Lord-Relictor
Liberators x 25 (five units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)

The Stormcasts have a solid core of Liberators, with a good range of commanders and fifteen Paladins to back them up. So long as they can avoid getting crushed by combined attacks from Chaos and the Ironjawz, they may have a chance for victory.

 

The Battleplan

This Battleplan features a huge Dreadhold in the middle of the table (using the Infernal Realmgate Battalion Warscroll), with each army taking a third of it right at the start. The winner is the army that manages to claim all three sections or, alternatively, the army that has lost the least number of models (expressed as a percentage) once one of the other forces has been wiped out.

Other than that… well, this is an all-against-all battle involving three brutal armies. Casualties are going to be horrific!

 

Deployment

The three armies hastily arranged themselves to face their two foes, but the fighting had already begun in earnest, with Daemonettes and Liberators battling on the ramparts. Other units assembled themselves on the walls, but some were already moving outside the fortress to attack the Skull Keeps their enemies had claimed as temporary headquarters.

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No one dared set foot in the courtyard of the Dreadhold, knowing that to do so was tantamount to suicide.

 

Battle Round One

Gordrakk was the first to act, continuing his headlong plunge into both Chaos and Stormcast forces. He bellowed with the Voice of Gork, a mighty challenge that infused his boyz with the power of the Waaagh! as he followed int he wake of his Gore-Gruntas to hammer the Stormcasts protecting their Skull Keep.

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Together they smashed into a retinue of Retributors, flattening them before a single hammer could be raised.

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On the other side of the Dreadhold, the Megaboss smacked his Weirdnob Shaman around the back of the head, instructing him to do something about the Bloodreavers and Daemonettes that blocked their path to the Chaos-held Skull Keep. Drawing upon the excited energy of the nearby Ardboys, the Weirdnob summoned a giant green spectral foot above the Bloodreavers before bringing it stomping down, grinding half a dozen of them into the dirt. The foot raised itself and then came down again, this time on top of five Daemonettes as the Weirdnob giggled manically to himself.

Then, the Ironjawz charged.

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The combined weight of Ardboys and Maw-Krusha proved overwhelming to the Bloodreavers, who were slaughtered to a man, the Ardboys barely noticing they had struck the unit as they pounded over the bodies.

On the walls of the Dreadhold, the Liberators clashed with Daemonettes, but casualties on both sides were slight, despite the Slaaneshi daemons being infused by the rage-causing Wrathmongers close by.

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The forces of Chaos were the first to react to the charges of the Ironjawz, as the Lord of Khorne activated the power of his Skull Keep to create a ring of vorpal blades that barred entry to the tower.

Outside the Dreadhold, the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh took command of a unit of more Daemonettes, leading them on a flanking sweep to the Stormcasts, intending to keep the pressure upon them and take advantage of any opening that Gordrakk created.

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With blinding speed, they charged into the two retinues of Liberators deployed to block just such as advance, but the Sigmarite shields proved to be unyielding. Only two Liberators were returned to Azyr, while the Daemonettes were utterly destroyed. Now, the Liberators could concentrate upon the Daemon Prince alone.

The Lord of Khorne saw he had a more immediate problem with the advancing Ardboys, and while he felt confident that the Blood Warriors within the Skull Keep would deliver severe punishment to anyone assaulting the tower, he knew that his own casualties might make further defence impossible. Yelling from the top of the Skull Keep down to his minions, he ordered Blood Warriors and the Khorgorath to leap down from the walls to block the Ironjawz.

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They were joined by the Daemonettes who had survived the Foot of Gork, and threw themselves into the enemy.

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The Megaboss was gleeful as he sliced through the Daemonettes, but the thick armour of Ardboys and Blood Warriors proved difficult to breach and casualties were otherwise light. One Ardboy thought he might slink off, away from the battle, but a blow to the head from the unit’s icon bearer changed his mind and he stayed in the fight.

The Slaughterpriest waded into the fight too, determined to earn the skull of the Weirdnob, and his Hackblade tore a chunk out of the Shaman’s arm. However, the Slaughterpriest was surprised to see that, instead of running, the Weirdnob started laughing as it pointed its staff at him. A bolt of green energy slammed into the Slaughterpriest’s chest, staggering him and teaching him a lesson that all Ironjawz should be respected in battle.

Back round the Stormcasts’ Skull Keep, Gordrakk was urging his Gore-Gruntas ever onwards.

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As the Gore-Gruntas slammed into the Liberators, their mounts disappointed to find he could not eat a Stormcast, Gordrakk piled into the Lord-Celestant, who immediately found himself on the defensive.

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Though the Lord-Celestant managed to land a telling blow on the Maw-Krusha, he was no match for the Fist of Gork, and was quickly sent back to Sigmar on a bolt of blue lightning.

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With the Lord-Celestant gone, the Lord-Castellant took over command of the Stormcasts. He surveyed the battle from the Skull Keep and saw the situation was already grim – however, despite the loss of the Retributors and Lord-Celestant, the Stormcasts were still intact as a fighting force and could deliver telling blows to both enemies.

On the walls, the Lord-Relictor raised his Reliquary Staff to the skies and called down a bolt of lightning that struck the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh hard.

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The Lord-Castellant then gave the order to unleash the ambush the Lord-Celestant had planned for the Ironjawz. From the walls of the Dreadhold, Boltstorm-armed Judicators rained fire upon Gordrakk, peppering him with bolts, as Liberators and Decimators dropped down to engage the Gore-Gruntas.

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The axes of the Decimators were unsuited for use against such large targets, but the Paladins made good account of themselves and dispatched one Gore-Grunta, as did the Liberators guarding the Skull Keep.

Gordrakk himself piled on further forwards, attacking both the Judicators and Lord-Castellant. Three Judicators were torn apart by the Fist of Gork’s weapons, Smasha and Kunnin’, causing another’s nerve to break and run, while the Lord-Castellant was battered by the Maw-Krusha. However, their return attacks caused the beast to rear up in pain, blood gushing from several deep wounds.

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Outside the Lord of Khorne’s Skull Keep, the Ardboys and Blood Warriors both started to get past one another’s guard, and bodies on both sides were starting to pile up.

The Megaboss urged his Maw-Krusha forward and together they knocked the Slaughterpriest flying – the Megaboss bellowed that if anyone was going to hit his Weirdnob Shaman, it would be him.

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Battle Round Two

Battle was now raging around the Dreadhold and the Ironjawz advance was beginning to slow down. However, both the Lord-Castellant and Lord of Khorne saw that Gordrakk had yet to commit his Brutefist to the fight – could they deal with the lead elements of the Ironjawz and still be in position to take advantage of any chaos the Brutes caused when they charged?

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Channelling the Waaagh! energies, the Weirdnob Shaman hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Khorgorath that was lumbering towards him, wounding the creature but not slowing its advance, and exploding the head of a nearby Ardboy in the process.

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Meanwhile, Gordrakk cast an eye over his shoulder to see Liberators were beginning to advance on his Skull Keep. Bring both brutal and kunnin’, Gordrakk gave a signal, and the Brutes pushed the Malefic Gate wide open, crushing three Liberators beneath the heavy metal gates.

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Pleased with the crunchy yet squelchy sound the flattened Liberators made, the Brutes jumped down off the walls and entered the courtyard, ready to charge wherever Gordrakk told them to go.

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Though the charge of the Gore-Gruntas had been halted by the Stormcasts, Gordrakk himself was really enjoying himself as he continued to batter away at the defenders of the Skull Keep. The Lord-Castellant was the next to fall to the Fist of Gork, and the last Judicator soon followed.

The Skull Keep previously occupied by the Stormcasts was now empty!

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As the Maw-Krusha of the Megaboss bellowed at the Khorgorath, blasting the unnatural life out of it, the fight for the walls of the Dreadhold was beginning to swing in favour of the Stormcasts.

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Though the Liberators had suffered under the pincers of the Daemonettes, the Liberator-Prime and Retributors dispatched the last of them, and weathered the Wrathmonger counterattack.

However, just below them, the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh slaughtered the last of the Liberators it had been fighting, and was now free to pick a new target – either the Stormcasts on the wall, the Liberators pushing their way to the Chaos-held Skull Keep… or the now empty Skull Keep closer by…

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The Daemon Prince chose the empty Skull Keep, but knew it had to deal with Gordrakk before the tower could be claimed.

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The ground outside the Chaos-held Skull Keep was now looking rather empty, as both Bloodbound and Ironjawz had effectively destroyed one another. Two Ardboyz scrambled over the corpses of their mates and fallen Blood Warriors, and as the Megaboss began turning his Maw-Krusha around to lumber towards the Skull Keep, the Lord of Khorne activated his tower’s gargoyles, sending Ruby Rays of Death lancing through the air to savage and burn the beast.

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On the walls, tragedy struck for the Stormcasts. Whirling their chains, the Wrathmongers spun about the Retributors and Liberator-Prime, the hammers at their ends glancing off Sigmarite armour. However, the mere presence of the Wrathmongers infused the Stormcasts with seething rage, and they struck out blindly, hammering the Wrathmongers into the skull work, before turning on one another in an orgy of pure slaughter.

When the dust settled, no Stormcast or Wrathmonger was left alive…

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Leaning over the walls of the Dreadhold, the Lord-Relictor saw the Decimators had almost finished their fighting with the Gore-Gruntas. Calling upon the power of the God-King, he brought another bolt of lightning down, frying the last one.

The Liberators who had been advancing towards the forces of Chaos saw their chances of success were slim, and were alerted to the danger posed by both the Ironjawz and Daemon Prince behind them. Reversing their course, they marched back to their own Skull Keep.

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Meanwhile, the Liberator-Prime, Decimators and Lord-Relictor both sought to avoid the Brutefist inside the Dreadhold, and make an attempt to claim the Ironjawz Skull Keep, despite it being garrisoned by a full unit of Ardboys.

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Battle Round Three

The Lord of Khorne dared a glance at the remaining Ironjawz outside his Skull Keep, and was rewarded for his curiosity by an Arcane Bolt hastily thrown by a quick-reacting Weirdnob Shaman.

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The Megaboss lumbered towards the Skull Keep on his Maw-Krusha, bellowing at the two Ardboys to follow him – far from being wearied by battle, they were well up for the fight and chased after their boss.

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Within the Dreadhold, the advance of the Stormcasts had not gone unnoticed by the Brutefist, and the first Orruks clambered up the walls to reach the Judicators.

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More poured out of the open gates, racing out to intercept the lone Liberator-Prime.

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However, the Brute Big Boss was a kunnin’ Orruk, and he thought he had figured out the great swirly-thing arch in the centre of the courtyard. Leading his Brutes forward, they leapt through the Realmgate…

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…to appear right next to the Chaos-held Skull Keep.

With barely time to take a breath, they charged forward, joining the Ardboys and Megaboss in the assault on the Skull Keep.

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The level of brutality they brought with them was sickening, even for hardened Blood Warriors. The great bellowing of the Maw-Krusha blasted the Lord of Khorne to death, while the Blood Warriors were quickly defeated by creatures who loved battle even more than they did. Only four Blood Warriors survived, using a secret portal to escape the Skull Keep and flee the battlefield.

On the other side of the Dreadhold, more Brutes had also caught up with the Liberator-Prime, with predictable and devastating results.

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Gordrakk himself was keen to claim his third Stormcast hero of the battle (he is always interested in getting the ‘full set’, as he calls it), and chased down the Lord-Relictor, who had dropped down from the walls to avoid the Brutes inside. Even with a heavily wounded Maw-Krusha, the Lord-Relictor was utterly outclassed by the Fist of Gork.

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Not realising the Skull Keep had already fallen, the Bloodsecrator dropped down from the walls to defend it, placing himself in the path of the Ironjawz.

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Meanwhile, the Daemon Prince of Khorne had a far better plan. As Gordrakk was focussed on battling the Lord-Relictor, it crept up from behind, and then charged before the Maw-Krusha could turn round.

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A series of terrible slices from its great sword slashed through the Maw-Krusha, causing fatal damage. Gordrakk was toppled from his mount and then buried by it as the beast rolled over on top of him. His rage at being pinned in place could be heard from across the battlefield, but the Daemon Prince had other problems to contend with, as the Stormcasts were intent upon exacting their own revenge against it.

As Liberators charged the Daemon Prince, the Boltstorm-armed Judicators on the walls leaned over and tore it to shreds with a flurry of bolts.

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Battle Round Four

Feeling that victory was now in their grasp, the Ironjawz attacked both Chaos and Stormcast forces with renewed vigour.

Chanting and dancing, the Weirdnob Shaman enveloped his Megaboss with a Mystic Shield, then suddenly stopped, with a look of great consternation. In a burst of green light, blood and brains, his head exploded, showering the walls of the Dreadhold with its remains.

Completely unperturbed by this, the Megaboss drove his Maw-Krusha on to the Bloodsecrator, the Brutes not far behind.

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The Bloodsecrator was bowled over by the Maw-Krusha’s massive bulk and, before he could properly get to his feet, the Megaboss had jumped down from his mount and quickly finished off the follower of Khorne.

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Further away, Brutes swept over the few remaining Stormcasts, rolling over them as an inevitable armoured tide.

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It was with some disappointment that the Megaboss realised there was nothing left to kill on the battlefield. Then he heard the angry voice of Gordrakk, promising pain to everyone if they did not get the corpse of his Maw-Krusha off him…

 

Conclusion

Well, I was right – casualties were indeed horrific!

The Ironjawz won the day, and there was plenty done by both the Chaos and Stormcast players that helped that. The Stormcast player (yeah, that would be me) placed his first retinue of Retributors within charge range of Gordrakk and his Gore-Gruntas, meaning there was no heavy support capable of tackling Gordrakk on that side of the table – just one round of attacks from Retributors would have at least cut Gordrakk down to size, allowing the Stormcasts to keep their Skull Keep.

The Wrathmongers were well used against the Retributors on the wall (completely forgot about their ability – the price of running a three-army game while actually playing), but they would likely have been better used on the Megaboss and his Maw-Krusha. The Ardboys and Blood Warriors effectively destroying one another was a good trade for Chaos, if the Megaboss could have been flattened as well. That would have ensured the safety of their Skull Keep (the Blood Warriors inside would have been sufficient to throw back most assaults).

Instead, the Chaos and Stormcast players chose to engage in clashes on the walls and just outside the Dreadhold, which achieved nothing but weakening both their positions, a situation the Ironjawz were more than capable of taking advantage of.

Basically, the Ironjawz acted, and Chaos and Stormcast reacted. Which is never a great strategy in miniatures games.

It is also worth pointing out that the use of the Realmgate by the Brutes in the last turn guaranteed the taking of the Chaos Skull Keep, as that unit was just enough to turn the tide convincingly against the Blood Warriors holed up inside.

Still, a great result for the forces of Destruction, and an All-Gate now out of the hands of both Sigmar and Archaon!

 

The Story Continues…

With Gordrakk reigning supreme over the battlefield, the World-Worm Fangathrak broke free of its chains and tunnelled into the earth, taking the Mawgate with it. Neither Chaos nor Sigmar will claim this All-Gate, as the war drums of the Fist of Gork have smashed all before them.

This is not the only bad news for Sigmar, as an alliance with Nagash has broken down in Shyish. The God of Death had promised his legions to help the Stormcasts take the All-Gate there, but they never appeared – without the support of Nagash, the Stormcasts were slaughtered to a man when they assaulted the mighty walls of Gothizzar.

The All-Gates War is therefore taking a dark turn for Sigmar, for while he has gained the Genesis Gate, he has now lost the All-Gates in the Realms of Metal, Beasts, and Death. There are still more All-Gates to claim, however, and the action now moves to the Realm of Fire. If Sigmar can close the Brimfire Gate, he will have delivered a powerful blow to the forces of Khorne.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Battle Round One

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.