Battle Report – Tornado of Destruction

The Ironjawz have shown up again, this time in the Realm of Death, where they have run straight into the realm of a Vampire Queen.

 

The Story So Far

Megaboss Dakkbad Grotkicker was in a foul mood. A rival, Megaboss Grugek, had stolen his favourite boss choppa (or, at least, he believed that, as one choppa looks pretty much like another…), and Dakkbad was in pursuit with his boyz.

Following the directions of his Weirdnob Shaman, they arrived in the Nightlands, piling out of the Arch of Secrets to find the decaying city of Crookback on the banks of the River of Souls. This was the domain of Aylessa, Consort of the Blood Queen and blood sister to Cyssandra. Not that the Ironjawz cared – they ploughed straight into Crookback and started smashing its skeletal inhabitants as they mindlessly toiled, barely slowing down as the legions of Deathrattle warriors gathered to face them.

Aylessa had spent centuries ruling over the Nightlands in a reign of blood and terror, using her sorcery to attain utter mastery of those who dwelt in her realm, mortal and otherwise. A member of one of Neferata’s bloodmaiden broods, she had been in the midst of responding to a summons from her mistress when the Ironjawz struck. Not about to let Orruks tear apart everything she had built, Alyessa reversed her course and headed back to the Nightlands, summoning all the denizens of undeath along the way – Spirit Hosts, Banshees, Cairn Waiths, Zombies and the mighty Morghast Harbingers…

 

The Forces

We are kicking things up a notch with these forces as we get more used to the Ironjawz and what they are capable of doing on the battlefield, so a few more extra rules are being thrown into the mix!

Ironjawz
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha (Dakkbad Grotkicker)
Weirdnob Shaman
Warchanter
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Ardboyz x 30 (three units of 10)

The Ironjawz will be using the Brutefist Battalion (tougher Big Boss, plus can charge early in the turn and deal mortal wounds as it does so), plus the Ardfist, which allows the recycling of Ardboys.

Soulblight Vampires
Coven Throne (Alyessa)
Necromancers x 2
Skeletons Warriors x 40 (two units of 20)
Zombies x 20
Morghast Harbingers x 4 (two units of 2)
Cairn Wraiths x 4
Spirit Hosts x 6 (two units of 3)
Tomb Banshee

This is a nice broad mix of undead, covering many bases from skeletons and zombies, right up to the elite Morghasts, all led by Vampire Lady Aylessa on board her Coven Throne. They have enough Wizards to constantly cycle destroyed units, though the Ironjawz have that to an extent as well, so expect carnage!

 

The Battleplan

The Ironjawz are invading Aylessa’s domain, vandalising her buildings as they go. If they can vandalise half of the terrain features on the table in five rounds, they gain a major victory – failure means that Alyessa does instead.

To help with the objectives of both forces, Alyessa has A Living Bulwark command ability, which adds to the save and hit rolls of all stationary undead units close to her, as well as restricting the movement of the Ironjawz.

For their part, the Weirdnob Shaman has a new spell, the Gorkamorka Stomp, which will greatly aid in the vandalism of terrain features as a big, green, spectral foot crashes down upon them!

 

Deployment

The Ironjawz wasted little time in gathering their forces. The Ardfist took the centre while the Brutefist occupied the high ground to the right. Gore-Gruntas galloped forward on the flanks, and the Megaboss, Warchanter and Weirdnob Shaman formed a command group just behind the Ardboyz.

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Vampire Queen Alyessa was a little perturbed at the speed by which the Orruks had assembled and quickly gathered her forces in the main street of the Crookback suburbs.

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Aboard her Coven Throne, just outside her skull villa, Alyessa ensured her Morghast Harbingers and Necromancers were close and sent her Skeleton Warriors and Zombies forth to meet the Ironjawz.

 

Battle Round One

The Ironjawz initial tactics were simple, direct, and to the point. Their whole line surged forward, the Weirdnob Shaman pausing just long enough to throw a Mystic Shield over Megaboss Dakkbad. Gore-Gruntas scampered up the difficult terrain to reach the first tower outside the city and began lighting torches.

Within Crookback, Alyessa peered into her cauldron to gain valuable Tactical Insights as her Necromancers dropped a Mystic Shield upon the Skeleton Warriors closest to the Ironjawz and raised more Zombies. The Zombie horde started to swell as the walking dead clawed their way out of the ground and stumbled out of the doors of nearby houses.

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Spirit Hosts shrieked as they swept forward to engage the Gore-Gruntas, but the Orruks were not much impressed by the wispy ghosts and simply ignored them as they fluttered by.

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Battle Round Two

The tower atop the hill burned as the Gore-Gruntas trashed it, grinning as they spied an entire city worth vandalising before them.

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Pumped up by the power of the Waaagh!, the Brutefist sighted their first enemies and completely ignored the city below as they all pushed their way to the Spirit Hosts.

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Not to be outdone, the Ardboyz followed suit, rushing towards the first houses of Crookback. However, they slowed up as they saw the first Zombies emerge from round the buildings, and hesitated when Megaboss Dakkbad ordered them to charge.

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Cursing the Ardboyz’ reluctance to fight, Megabass Dakkbad stamped on his Maw-Krusha’s back, goading the beast forward. He had intended to barrel into the Zombies but his Maw-Krusha was instead distracted by the Tomb Banshee shrieking at the Gore-Gruntas. Thinking one dead person was as good as another, Dakkbad gave his beast free rein and it smashed into the Banshee, its massive bulk sending her reeling. However, she recovered quickly and managed to avoid both the Megaboss’ weapons and the Maw-Krusha’s fists.

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Behind him, the Spirit Hosts let loose an exalted scream as one of the Gore-Gruntas they fought fell to their ethereal blades.

However, the Spirit Hosts had begun to suffer from the attentions of the Gore-Gruntas, and the Necromancers summoned more within Crookback.

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Mindlessly following the wishes of the queen, the Zombies stumbled forward, seeking the living. As they left the streets of Crookback, they sensed the approaching Ardboyz.

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Drawn to beating hearts and flowing blood, they picked up speed until a tidal wave of the dead fell against the Orruk line.

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The Ardboyz reacted first with a collective ‘Yuck!’ but quickly got into the spirit of the fight as they realised that knocking down Zombies was actually a lot of fun. They ignored the two Orruks the Zombies managed to pull to the ground and started to chuckle as Zombies started flying through the air with each sweep of their huge weapons. In less than a minute, every Zombie lay broken and barely moving.

On the left flank, two Morghast Harbingers led Skeleton Warriors to engage the Gore-Gruntas on the hill, stymieing the advance of the Brutefist as they thundered past the now burning tower.

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Much further away, the Tomb Banshee swooped and dove, avoiding the worst Megaboss Dakkbad and his Maw-Krusha could throw at her. Dakkbad was beginning to get angry at the elusive spirit but, no matter how hard he tried, he could not catch the Banshee.

 

Battle Round Three

Within Crookback, the two Necromancers worked together, summoning a mighty horde of Zombies to replace those the Ardboyz had destroyed. Once again, the street was thronged with the walking dead.

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On the hill, below the burning tower, the battle was turning to the Ironjawz but the dead stubbornly refused to give ground. The Brutes had finished off the Skeleton Warriors and Spirit Hosts but a single Morghast remained to slay one of the Gore-Gruntas.

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Once more, the Tomb Banshee ducked and weaved her ethereal form past the weapons of Megaboss Dakkbad, but his Maw-Krusha had had enough. Opening its great mouth, it surged forward to catch the Banshee by surprise, swallowing her whole. Looking disappointed as it tried swallowing the spirit, it lumbered round under the Megaboss’ direction to face the Zombies filling the street.

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As the Ardboyz finally arrived on the outskirts of Crookback, a great, green spectral foot hovered above the battlefield. At the behest of the Weirdnob Shaman, it descended, stomping one of the Spirit Hosts out of existence. Buoyed by this, the Ardboyz increased their pace and reached the first houses.

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As one, the Irojjawz poured into Crookback, the Ardboyz following in the wake of Megaboss Dakkbad. The remaining Spirit Hosts proved no obstacle to the Maw-Krusha at all, and it barely noticed as it barrelled through them to lumber into the newly assembled horde of Zombies.

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By the time the Ardboyz reached the Zombie line, the fight was all but over, and rotting body parts flew in all directions as the Orruks bashed and hacked. The few remaining Zombies, bereft of the magical energies holding them together, simply collapsed to the street.

The Skeleton Warriors close by had advanced to protect one of the houses, and they fared no better. More Ardboyz entered Crookback, smashing bones apart until not a single Skeleton Warrior remained.

Vampire Queen Alyessa now felt the first trace of worry as the Ironjawz entered her city, and she realised her defences were crumbling fast.

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Battle Round Four

Seeing the Orruks draw far too close for comfort, the Necromancers both panicked and ran back to the safety of their Vampire Queen, but they both fumbled the casting of their spells.

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Promising both a long and painful death, Alyessa summoned more Spirit Hosts to block the advance of the Brutefist, and then assembled her remaining minions into solid lines of defence across the street. If she could stall the Ironjawz long enough to summon more reinforcements, as the Morghasts had managed at the tower, Crookback could still be saved.

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By now, the first houses in Crookback were beginning to burn as the Ardboyz tore them apart with whoops of sheer joy. Even the tavern was destroyed, albeit inadvertently, as the Maw-Krusha thundered through its thin walls.

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In the distance, Gore-Gruntas had sighted a second tower and, seeing their Megaboss had the main street well in hand, trotted over to destroy it.

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There was now a rush to Crookback, with the trailing Ardboyz and Brutefist eager to reach the city before the other Orruks had destroyed everything. The line of Cairn Wraiths Alyessa had assemble to protect her proved no obstacle to the Megaboss and Ardboyz who ran along his side, the spirits evaporating under the first blows.

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Battle Round Five

Vampire Queen Alyessa surveyed the burning buildings further up the street, and found it inconceivable that a brutish Orruk could possibly defeat her superior tactical mind. As she summoned more Morghasts to defend her, an idea crossed her mind.

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If she dispatched one unit of Morghasts to defend the tower and then took the others with her to defeat the Megaboss atop his great Maw-Krusha, she could, perhaps, save the rest of her city.

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Alyessa barely noticed as her Necromancers, doubting the efficacy of their queen’s plan, turned and ran as fast as they could from the oncoming Ironjawz. She directed her Coven Throne to surge forward into the Maw-Krusha, intending her Morghasts to hit him in the flank.

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It took Alyessa a few, vital, seconds to realise the Morghasts had disobeyed her instructions, and she saw them watching her malevolently, utterly still, as she stood up on her Coven Throne to fight the Megaboss. Her first thought was that she had somehow disappointed Neferata, or even Nagash, and they had directed the Morghasts to fail her at a critical point as punishment.

Such thoughts quickly fled her mind as Alyessa realised she was now in the fight of her life against an enraged Ironjawz Megaboss.

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Her sharpened stiletto and the poniards of her Hand Maidens quickly found their mark, digging deep between the armour plates of the Megaboss, though Alyessa could not bring herself to give him the Blood Kiss.

The pin pricks from the vampires’ tiny weapons barely registered as pain to Megaboss Dakkbad, and his Maw-Krusha tore into the Coven Throne, throwing it aside before tearing it apart. Alyessa staggered out of the wreckage only to find the Megaboss had leapt off his mount and was swinging his Boss Gore-hacka at her. The Vampire Queen did not have time to scream before the massive blade messily severed her head from her shoulders.

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As the Necromancers fled for their lives, behind them Crookback burned…

Conclusion

A major (and well deserved) victory for the Ironjawz!

This was a fun battle, not least because we discovered some new buildings that had appeared from the local gaming club had removable roofs – which meant we could our flashing smoke markers to signify which buildings had been trashed by the Ironjawz, which led to us seeing a steady progression of fire sweeping its way up the street!

Despite the undead stalling a whole flank of the Ironjawz near the tower, the Vampire Queen could just not get the rest of her force properly organised. The high point was the summoning of a brand new unit of 30 Zombies as soon as the first lot had been destroyed (which is what a Death force should be doing), but it all went downhill from there, with both Necromancers failing in their summoning just when it mattered. This was further compounded by both units of Morghasts failing their charges right at the end, sending Alyessa in to her doom as she faced the Megaboss alone.

That was a last ditch effort, true, but it would have bought the dead another turn.

Still, ’twas not to be!

 

The Story Continues…

We are going to stick with the exploits of the Ironjawz for a bit longer as the Fist of Gork himself, Gordrakk, has just arrived and he is determined to prove to the Stormcasts who is best.

Battle Report – The Wild Hunt

A fairly momentous battle this time – Alarielle the Everqueen has awoken, and she is most vexed by Bloodbound incursions into the Jade Kingdoms. She is therefore taking a trip to the Realm of Fire to sort them out.

 

The Story So Far

When Alarielle was rebirthed, she was not idle – everywhere, the forces of Chaos pushed against her lands and her children, and everywhere she took vengeance upon them.

When the Hellhaze Realmgate atop the Godskull Mesa burst into life, it took the Khorne worshippers camped there by surprise, to say the least. They had often used the Realmgate to conduct raids into the Realm of Life, but no one had ever followed them back to Aqshy – until now.

Alarielle came out of the Realmgate first astride her massive Wardroth beetle, but she was quickly followed by waves of Sylvaneth as they spread out across a fiery landscape of thundering volcanoes and towering brass fortresses.

The Khornate horde rallied quickly to face the Sylvaneth – knights, warriors, and daemons flooded out of the Dreadholds to face them. Alarielle was not dismayed in the least.

She was smiling.

 

The Forces

Up to now, we have always played the Sylvaneth as being on the back foot but, this time, we are unleashing their full power, spearheaded by none other than their own goddess. We just have to hope the forces of Khorne have something to match her…

Khorne Bloodbound
Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage
Slaughterpriest x 2
Skullgrinder
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Bloodreavers x 20
Chaos Warriors x 12
Bloodletters x 40 (two units of 20)
Skull Cannon

This is not your average warband of Bloodbound by any means – the Lord has managed to rally the support of two Bloodthirsters to his cause, and enjoys the presence of two Slaughterpriests and a Skullgrinder. Up to now, they have been ready to face whatever they happened across in Aqshy or Ghyran.

Sylvaneth
Alarielle the Everqueen (Throne of Vines)
Treelord Ancient (Regrowth)
Branchwych (The Reaping)
Branchwraith (Verdant Blessing)
Drycha Hammadreth (Verdant Blessing)
Treelords x 2
Son of Durthu
Kurnoth Hunters x 11 (two units of 3, one unit of 5)
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)
Spite-Revenants x 10
Tree-Revenants x 20 (two units of 10)

Clearly, Alarielle is not mucking about, as she has brought her best and brightest with her. The Sylvaneth have assembled themselves into three Battalions, the Household and Forest Folk, both of which we have seen before, as well as the Free Spirits which allows the Son of Durthu and Kurnoth Hunters a free move in the hero phase, so long as it is towards a designated enemy or terrain feature.

As this battle represents Alarielle unleashed, as it were, we thought it would be both fun and appropriate to add the Sylvaneth Allegiance Abilities to the game.

 

The Battleplan

In this battle, the table is divided into six sections forming 12″ ‘strips’ across the long edges. The Sylvaneth’s territory comprises the first of these strips and increases to the next one so long as there are no enemy models within it (models within 3″ of a Sylvaneth unit do not count as they have already been overrun. If the Sylvaneth can push their territory right across the table by the end of the fifth round, they get a major victory.

If they do not achieve this, the Khorne force either has to wipe out the Sylvaneth to gain a major victory, or a minor victory will be determined (somewhat randomly) based upon how many territories the Sylvaneth did manage to claim.

Alarielle has a command ability that can force enemy units to flee out of a territory, while the Khorne general has an ability to stop them doing that. In addition, any Khorne model in Sylvaneth territory has its Bravery reduced, while Sylvaneth Wyldwoods will pop up throughout the battle as the force of life makes itself felt.

On top of all that, we will be using the Brimstone Peninsula Time of War sheet (minus Blood Geysers) to represent conditions in the Realm of Fire.

Deployment

The forces of Khorne had been caught off guard by the sudden appearance of a bunch of angry foliage, but were disciplined enough to begin forming battle lines. However, they remained on the back foot and only half of their forces were ready to take the full impact of the Sylvaneth.

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Alarielle was keen to bring the wrath of the Sylvaneth to the enemies who had plagued them for so long, and her forces came flooding out of the Realmgate. Tree-Revenants equipped with Waypipes took station on the far flanks, ready to leap forward to distract the Khorne defenders in their rear lines, while Drycha and her Spite-Revenants were instructed to remain far from the main body of the army. Alarielle and her Tree Lords occupied the centre, forming a solid block that she intended to roll over the defenders.

 

Battle Round One

With a keening cry, Alarielle gave the order to advance, her Wardroth Beetle stomping at the ground in eagerness to reach its enemies. Mystic Shields flowed like vines to cover Alarielle and the Spirit of Durthu as Drycha summoned trees that quickly grew out of the ground between her and a horde of Bloodletters.

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As one, the Sylvaneth surged forward, with Alarielle leading the way. Kurnoth Hunters supported the advance, launching huge arrows from their mighty blows into the first Bloodthirster that led the vanguard of the Khorne force, the missiles lodging deep into its thick skin.

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Another horde of Bloodletters scampered at the greater daemon’s feet, and Alarielle glanced contemptuously at them. As the Spirit of Durthu channelled his own life force into his sword, unleashing a mighty blast of living energy into their ranks, Alarielle hurled the Spear of Kurnoth at them. Bodies of more than a dozen Bloodletters spiralled high into the air as explosions erupted around them.

Behind the Sylvaneth attack, the Tree-Revenants used their Waypipes to access the Realmroots, using the shadowy path to emerge near the Dreadholds of Khorne. Their arrival had not gone unnoticed though, and already Blood Warriors and Skullcrushers were turning to face them – exactly the distraction Alarielle had intended…

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Her Wardoth Beetle carrying her far ahead of the rest of the Sylvaneth, Alarielle alone was in position to begin the attack in earnest. With no hesitation, the Goddess threw herself at the greatest threat in the Khorne front line – the Bloodthirster.

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Hapless Bloodreavers were inadvertently caught in the charge of the Wardoth, and five of their number were crushed under its heavy front feet. However, Alarielle’s attention was fixed firmly on the Bloodthirster. The great daemon thundered and roared, its great axe skidding harmlessly off the Wardroth’s thick carapace, even as the beetle’s massive antlers thrust forward to gore the Bloodthirster’s stomach. With Bloodreavers caught between the two battling giants, the fight went back and forth until, finally, Alarielle reached forward with the Talon of Dwindling and snatched the unholy life of the daemon.

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Behind her, the Sylvaneth hissed in victory, as the first greater daemon had been dispatched within seconds of the battle beginning, and vegetation blossomed in the wake of their Goddess.

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Bloodreavers threw themselves at Alarielle in a desperate bid to gain the attention of the Blood God, and the rest of their front line advanced to meet the Sylvaneth head on. Behind them, the Mighty Lord of Khorne turned his Juggernaut around, having spied the Tree-Revenants who had appeared near the Dreadholds. He was followed by his Skullcrushers and, on the other flank, Blood Warriors followed suit while others garrisoned a Skull Keep. Not wanting to be outdone, the Slaughterpriest within the Crucible called upon the power of the Blood God, boiling the sap within one Tree-Revenant before it could run.

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With a blast of the Skullcrusher’s horn, the Juggernauts accelerated into an unstoppable charge. Half a dozen Tree-Revenants were flattened by the initial rush alone and while one Skullcrusher was badly wounded by their blades, the Sylvaneth were quickly wiped out. On the other flank, the Blood Warriors repeated the carnage with the Tree-Revenants they had caught as well.

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As Bloodreavers fought and died fighting Alarielle, the daemonic forces of Khorne raced towards the Sylvaneth, with Bloodletters leading the way. However, Alarielle’s attention was fixed firmly upon the second Bloodthirster which raced towards, bellowing a martial challenge. Its whip flashed forward but its barbs did nothing more than scour the Wardroth’s antlers.

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Such was the fury of its attack, Alarielle was forced to give ground while parrying axe and whip. The Bloodreavers took advantage of the distraction and hacked at the Wardroth with their Meatripper Axes, causing the beast to roar in pain.

Bloodletters raced through the woods Drycha had summoned, quickly finding the Spite-Revenants skulking in their shadows, and dispatching them with daemonic efficiency. Close by, Chaos Warriors routed an entire retinue of Dryads but Blood Warriors on the far flank soon found they had picked the wrong target when they charged a small unit of Kurnoth Hunters. Great scythes swung, easily slicing through thick armour and butchering the Khorne worshippers before they could properly organise their attack. The few that remained ran for their corrupted lives.

 

Battle Round Two

Advancing alongside the Kurnoth Hunters, the Branchwraith called upon the power of Alarielle for a Verdant Blessing, and more trees sprang into existence, this time next to an Ophidian Archway to help shield the advancing Sylvaneth.

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Having absorbed the initial attacks of the Bloodletters, the remaining Forest Folk disappeared in view, following the Realmroots to reappear in this new wood. They had simply bypassed the first Khornate wave and were now in a defensive position, ready to meet the second – Blood Warriors who had moved out of position to chase down the Tree-Revenants. Knowing that Dryads would pay a heavy price in facing Blood Warriors alone, the scythe-wielding Kurnoth Hunters ran forward to support them.

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As the Bloodthirster paused in its assault, seeking a way through the Wardoth’s defences, Alarielle bloomed with life, healing the wounds she had taken, and then reached into her Soul Amphorae to scatter pollen across the battlefield. Everywhere, Sylvaneth rallied and healed as the tiny grains floated past them.

The Spirit of Durthu pounded forwards to aid his Goddess, shimmering with the effects of the Mystic Shield the Treelord Ancient had placed upon him. Drycha, having seen her Spite-Revenants torn apart by the Bloodletters in front of her, also shimmered with magical defences as she prepared her own special form of vengeance.

Behind the Sylvaneth, life blossomed in a wave of vegetation and animal life, but the advance of Alarielle’s blessings were stalled by the nearest Skull Keep and the Slaughterpriest inside who enacted hideous rituals to keep the power of Khorne flowing across the land. Kurnoth Hunters tried to target the Slaughterpriest from across the battlefield, but even the great Spear of Kurnoth, thrown by Alarielle’s own hand, bounced off the thick walls of the keep.

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With a piercing scream, Drycha raised her arms and swarms of Flitterflies flew into the air, descending upon everything that moved. Six Bloodreavers and a Chaos Warrior were torn apart by the tiny spites, but Drycha’s fury could never stop with the blood of Khorne worshippers alone, and the Flitterflies tore great chunks out of Treekin and Kurnoth Hunters before they dispersed.

In the centre of the battlefield, the Spirit of Durthu and a Treelord had joined Alarielle in her fight against the Bloodthirster, and the ground shook as three titans of battle brought war against one another.

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The few remaining Bloodreavers were the first to suffer, stomped into the ground by the battling giants. The last of them fled the battle, leaving his unit’s standard battered and broken upon the rocks. Close by, the Spirit of Durthu casually squashed the Skullgrinder who had thought to lay low a Goddess.

Alarielle allowed her anger to flow freely now and, with a single order, goaded her Wardroth onwards. The mighty beast piled ahead, bullrushing the Bloodthirster and knocking it to the ground. Before the daemon could arise once more, the Wardoth plunged its antlers into the Bloodthirster’s black heart, sending it back to Khorne.

A short distance away, the Khorne Lord felt the first inkling of doubt cross his mind as he saw the last Bloodthirster bound to his service banished by the power of the Goddess.

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Undaunted by the advance of the Sylvaneth, the two Slaughterpriests combined their prayers, promising many worthy skulls to the Blood God if he would but aid them now. Khorne smiled upon their belief and the Spirit of Durthu was caught in the grip of the Blood God, sinking to one knee as his sap boiled with pure fury.

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As the Spirit of Durthu rose to rejoin the battle, the Crucible of Khorne unleashed a torrent of molten metal at him, incinerating his trunk. Blackened and still aflame, the Spirit of Durthu showed no hesitation in continuing his advance.

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However, Khorne was not yet done. The Skull Cannon clattered forward, its Bloodletter crew cackling as they sighted the Spirit of Durthu down their long barrel. With a blast of black powder and blood, fiery skulls rocketed through the air to impact the Spirit of Durthu in the chest. The great Treelord rocked back on his feet, then fell to the ground, never to move again.

Bellowing frantic orders, the Lord of Khorne reorganised his Skullcrushers, and returned to the battle. Across the battlefield, Blood Warriors advanced to the Dryads who had taken cover in the new growing trees, but only a small splinter unit actually reached the Sylvaneth. Several Dryads fell to their axes but their line held.

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Battle Round Three

Directing his great Tendril Staff, theTreelord Ancient awakened the wood the Forest Folk were fighting in, and branches impaled a Blood Warrior before he realised not everything he was battling was a Dryad.

Meanwhile, Alarielle cast a Metamorphosis spell upon the Slaughterpriest within the nearest Skull Keep, and the devout man died screaming as branches and leaves forced their way through his skin. With his foul rites at an end, the force of life flourished, and the Skull Keep began to sprout vines across its black metal walls. For good measure, Alarielle hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Skullcrushers who were assembling in front of her before raising the Spear of Kurnoth high to urge the Sylvaneth forwards.

The Branchwraith brought more trees into existence, close to the Crucible, and the Dryads moved forward under their branches, keeping pace with their Goddess.

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Behind Alarielle, Kurnoth Hunters dispatched the last of the Blood Warriors, even as Drycha tore apart the last of the Bloodletters.

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However, both had been delayed too long by their enemies and were now far away from Alarielle, who now surged forward to smash into the Skullcrushers before their Juggernauts could build up enough speed.

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The Wardroth Beetle possessed far more momentum than even a Juggernaut at full tilt, and three Skull Crushers were gored by its great antlers.

The great guns of the Crucible angled slightly in their mounts, one coming to bear upon Alarielle herself. She sensed the build up of magical energies as the Crucible unleashed an Arcane Onslaught upon her. Raising the Spear of Kurnos, Alarielle absorbed most of the energy from the attack, with just a single gout of liquid metal splashing against the carapace of her Wardoth. Then, the Lord of Khorne charged into the fight, astride his Juggernaut.

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Blindsided by the charge, the Wardroth was knocked a few steps to the right under the impact of the Juggernaut, but then held firm. Alarielle looked down upon the Lord of Khorne with a cold contempt.

 

 

Battle Round Four

With the forces of Khorne on the verge of collapsing, the Sylvaneth advanced under the shadow of their Goddess and the trees that were springing up in her wake, rising miraculously from blasted, volcanic rock.

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Alarielle once again reached into her Soul Amphorae and scattered pollen across the battlefield. This time, the tiny grains coalesced into four Tree-Revenants who dutifully took up position on Alarielle’s flank to guard against the oncoming Skull Cannon.

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However, a Treelord, leading Kurnoth Hunters and Dryads, got there first. The Bloodletter crew were quick to react and they turned the Skull Cannon around to attack the Dryads. The daemonic machine opened its maw and swallowed one whole, before belching its flaming head at Alarielle. Raising their greatswords, the Kurnoth Hunters wrecked the Skull Cannon with two heavy strokes.

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The Mighty Lord of Khorne continued his duel with Alarielle but soon realised that, alone, he could not hope to face the wrath of an angry Goddess. His massive axe did little more scratch the huge Wardroth, while its antlers nearly tore him off his saddle.

Realising he needed to regroup his forces before he could laucnh a successful attack, he gave an order to the hornblower among the few surviving Skullcrushers. As one, the Juggernauts turned and galloped away from Alarielle.

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Battle Round Five

Seeing his Lord flee from battle, the Slaughterpriest within the Crucible cursed the blatant cowardice and knew there would be a reckoning after the battle – there was no way the Lord could lead a warband after that rout, and perhaps now was the time for the Slaughterpriest to take command.

Invoking the power of Khorne, the Slaughterpriest called upon the Blood God’s aid as he activated the Crucible. Molten metal spouted from its guns and, once again, Alarielle raised her spear to block its path. This time, however, the fury of Khorne was behind the torrent and even a Goddess could not stop it all. Her Wardroth hissed in pain as boiling metal sank into its carapace.

As he saw the Wardoth falter in its advance, the Slaughterpriest saw how he could defeat a Goddess. Enacting his most vile rites, he sought to boil the blood of not Alarielle, but her mount. Under the heat of Khorne’s gaze, the Wardroth burst into a million tiny spites, forcing Alarielle  to take to the air and withdraw from the battlefield.

As the last Skullcrushers were hacked apart by the Kurnoth Hunters, the Treelord extended its roots and strangled the Slaughterpriest for the insult he had offered to Alarielle.

Now, just the Mighty Lord of Khorne remained on the battlefield.

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As he saw the angry Sylvaneth advance beneath the eyes of their Goddess who floated high in the sky above them, the Lord of Khorne realised his warband had been utterly destroyed. Turning his Juggernaut, he fled the battlefield as fast as he could.

The Sylvaneth were triumphant.

 

Conclusion

Now, that was a fun battle!

In the end, it was a minor victory for the Sylvaneth, as they only managed to capture four sections in all (that Slaughterpriest in the first Skull Keep seriously held up the advance of their territory), and only a reasonably lucky dice roll in the end meant they managed to win.

That said, while we have been playing with Sylvaneth almost since Age of Sigmar came out, this was the first time we saw them work as a truly potent force. This was in part down to Alarielle (she is lethal, and I am not surprised we have seen her start to appear in tournament lists, despite her points cost), but also because of the Allegiance Abilities and, in particular, the wider range of spells. The Verdant Blessing that allows trees to spring up over the battlefield allows for the effective leapfrogging of units and allowed (for the very first time, despite having taken the Battalion many, many times in the past) the Dryads to do something useful by using the Forest Folk ability to redeploy (and avoid certain death at the hands of those Bloodletters!).

It was a shame that Alarielle was driven from the battlefield in the final act, but she had been a real power house before that point – killing two Bloodthirsters, one after the other! Had the Treelord Ancient (or Captain Useless, as we have started calling him) managed to keep up with her, his Regrowth spell might have kept her going but then… you can never trust a Treelord Ancient…

 

The Story Continues…

In the next battle, we are going back to the Ironjawz, this time visiting the Realm of Death where a Vampire Queen has inadvertently placed herself between the Orruks and where they intend to go.

Battle Report – Over the Abyss

As we continue our tour of the Mortal Realms, we descend to the Realm of Fire where the forces of Khorne are holding an important bridge against repeated attacks from the Stormcasts, using one of the ‘historic’ Battleplans from the General’s Handbook. This time, however, Sigmar is not mucking around – he wants that bridge…

 

The Story So Far

The Emberport Realmgate in Aqshy could only be reached by crossing the Black Chasm Bridge, held by Daemons of Khorne who used the Realmgate to dominate the surrounding rich area of the Sunderflats.

After the capture of the Brimstone Peninsula and the Godbeasts War, Sigmar directed his Stormcasts to take the bridge and the Realmgate that lay at its end.

Eleven times Sigmar sent chamber after chamber to capture the bridge, and eleven times they failed, for the bridge was guarded by the Helfire Legion, its gatekeeper Khaaraks, a Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury.

When Sigmar’s lightning struck the bridge for a twelfth time, no warrior chamber emerged, but the Celestant-Prime and a single retinue of Prosecutors. This seemed a derisory force to send against the Helfire Legion and Khaaraks fumed against the perceived insult. As the Celestant-Prime dived downwards, the Bloodthirster was determined to avenge his martial pride upon this affront.

 

The Forces

Though this battle takes place on a (relatively) narrow bridge, the forces of Khorne have mustered a veritable horde of daemons. The Stormcasts have rather… less in their force.

Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury (Khaaraks)
Bloodmasters x 2
Skullmaster
Blood Thrones x 2
Bloodcrushers x 3
Bloodletters x 80 (eight units of 10)
Flesh Hounds x 5

The Daemons of Khorne have the full spread of units available to them, but they have been battered by fighting in the past and can only field minimum size units. However, this should be enough to overwhelm the Stormcasts, so long as they can bring their forces to bear.

Stormcast Eternals
Celestant-Prime
Prosecutors x 5
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)

The Stormcasts are dreadfully outnumbered, but they have a few things in their favour. First, Ghal Maraz starts the battle pre-charged. Second, the Daemons of Khorne will be coming onto the bridge piecemeal, allowing the Stormcasts to tackle them a little at a time. Finally, they are using the Hammerstrike Force Battalion, allowing the Prosecutors to bring the Retributors into battle exactly where they are needed.

 

The Battleplan

The Stormcasts start with the Celestant-Prime and Prosecutors on one end of the bridge, with the Retributors ready to deploy via the Hammerstrike ability. The Daemons of Khorne begin with their Bloodthirster and the two Bloodmasters (what used to be called Heralds of Khorne), with one new unit from their army appearing every round thereafter. Whoever destroys the enemy army first claims a major victory (minor if their general is dead).

We will be using the Brimstone Peninsula Time of War sheet, and the Daemons of Khorne can roll on the basic Triumph table immediately because they have done so well on the bridge up to now. In addition, anyone getting too close to the edge of the bridge (except flyers and Retributors who stick close to Prosecutors) run the risk of falling off to their dooms!

 

Deployment

As the Celestant-Prime and Prosecutors alighted upon the Black Chasm Bridge, Khaaraks rushed forwards out of the gates, his two Bloodmasters hot on his heels.

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Behind him, the Helfire Legion stirred, all eager to rip the Stormcasts apart.

 

Battle Round One

The Stormcasts floated forward along the span of the bridge, carried aloft by their glowing wings. The Prosecutors hurled javelins at Khaaraks, but the lightning-wreathed weapons simply bounced off the Bloodthirster’s brass armour.

Then the Celestant-Prime pointed his sceptre at the oncoming daemons and the heavens opened, parting to permit the passing of a massive comet that ploughed into the bridge. The deamons staggered under its impact, but though one of the Bloodmasters was now running with a pronounced limp, the missile had done little more than anger Khaaraks.

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Bellowing with rage, Khaaraks rushed forwards, intent only upon tearing the Celestant-Prime limb from limb.

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Khaaraks’ whip snaked out to catch the Celestant-Prime across the chest, but the Stormcast’s armour held firm under the lash. However, the blow still sent him reeling, knocking him to the ground just as Khaaraks charged.

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Desperately, the Celestant-Prime climbed back up, his wings beating furiously to gain altitude, but Khaaraks was much faster. A series of powerful swings from his axe knocked the Celestant-Prime back down, allowing the Bloodthirster to crush him with a single stamp. The Celestant-Prime’s armour burst apart and a bolt of blue lightning raced up back towards Azyr.

 

Battle Round Two

Having seen their champion felled so quickly, and mindful that more daemons were already entering the battle, the Prosecutors resolved to finish the Bloodthirster. Calling upon the power of their God-King, they watched as massive bolts of lightning struck the ground all about the Bloodthirster. When the flashes dissipated, two retinues of Retributors remained, hefting their massive hammers as they prepared to attack Khaaraks.

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As they floated backwards, the Prosecutors once more hurled javelins and tridents at Khaaraks, and this time their aim was true. Bolts of lightning dug into the Bloodthirster’s flesh between his plates of armour, causing the daemon to roar in both pain and fury.

Grim-faced beneath their helmets, the Retributors swung their hammers in unison, bright flashes discharging from the heads of their weapons as the Bloodthirster was methodically pulped into oblivion before the Bloodmasters could get close enough to aid their general.

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Bloodcrushers, led by a Skullmaster, pounded out of the fortress, even as a Skull Cannon appeared behind them. The Skull Cannon was wreathed in black smoke as it launched a hellish projectile at the Retributors, claiming one of them immediately.

Led by the Bloodmasters, the Bloodcrushers charged into the Retributors, their Juggernauts crushing one Stormcast underfoot.

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The speed of the Khorne daemon cavalry staggered the Retributors and one of their retinues was quickly wiped out in the charge. The second retinue moved up to take revenge, crushing two Bloodcrushers flat with their hammers, but then reality blinked and they reappeared right in front of the Stormcasts.

 

Battle Round Three

Gaining altitude and distance, the Prosecutors kept in tight formation.

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They continued to rain javelins and tridents upon the Khornate daemons, claiming a Bloodmaster as its attention was focussed on the Retributors.

Once more, the Retributors concentrated their attacks upon the Bloodcrushers, and once again they slew two of them and badly injured the third. However, the last Juggernaut managed to stomp yet another Stormcast into the bridge.

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As two Bloodthrones emerged from the fortress alongside the Skull Cannon, the Skullmaster spied the Prosecutors raining death upon his daemons and urged his Juggernaut to chase them.

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However, the daemonic beast was far more interested in the closer Retributors and, ignoring the curses of the Skullmaster on its back, it charged.

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The Juggernaut ran down on Retributor, while the Hellblades of the Skullmaster and Bloodmaster claimed two more. For their part, the Retributors finally managed to destroy the last Bloodcrusher and wound the Bloodmaster, but they were now pitifully few in number.

 

Battle Round Four

A horn sounded from the fortress, heralding the arrival of more daemonic reinforcements, and the baying of Flesh Hounds was heard across the bridge.

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Feeling confident, the Bloodthrones and Skull Cannon gained speed, all intent on claiming the lives of the Stormcasts who had the temerity to attack their bridge.

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The Retributor-Prime stood his ground, though he was starting to look seriously outnumbered, and his hammer knocked the Bloodmaster flying. However, the daemon recovered quickly, and its Hellblade sliced through the neck of the Retributor-Prime, sending him back to Sigmar.

The Bloodthrones clattered forward as they bounced over the rough surface of the bridge, but only the Skull Cannon had enough speed to reach the Prosecutors. Having seen it coming from some distance, the Prosecutors took to the air as the Bloodletter crew raged with futility from below, then hurled their javelins and tridents downwards, smashing the daemonic war machine utterly.

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Battle Round Five

Hoping to tempt the Khornate daemons into a foolish rush that would spell disaster, the Prosecutors moved to the very edge of the Black Chasm Bridge, their wings holding them safely above the lethal drop.

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The Skullmaster was the first to reach the Stormcasts, its Juggernaut crushing one under its iron-shod feet as the Skullmaster’s Hellblade claimed another.

The Prosecutors fought hard against the Skullmaster, forcing the daemon back, but they had been distracted from the oncoming Bloodthrones. With shrieks of fury, the daemonic chariots thundered into the Stormcasts.

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Battle Round Six

A desperate fight at the very edge of the Black Chasm Bridge erupted. The Skullmaster leaned forward over his Juggernaut to snatch the life of the Prosecutor-Prime with his black sword, but savage thrusts from the two trident-wielding Prosecutors sent the Skullmaster back to Khorne.

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It was to no avail. The Bloodthrones smashed into the last Prosecutors before they could regain height, and the final bolts of blue lightning rocketed up from the battlefield, carrying the souls of the Stormcasts back to Azyrheim to be reforged anew.

The Black Chasm Bridge was to stay in the hands of the Blood God.

 

Conclusion

Well, that was utter carnage!

The one thing I had been fearing for the Celestant-Prime – being charged by a nasty beastie – finally happened. The Celestant-Prime is a bit of a glass hammer and, so long as you retain the initiative, he normally does okay, laying any foe low with Ghal Maraz. However, if he is caught on the back foot… well, things do not go so well, as Save 3+ and just Wounds 8 means he cannot take a savage attack.

And that is exactly what the Bloodthirster delivers.

Once the Celestant-Prime was out of the picture, the Retributors took over, and they made very, very short work of the Bloodthirster. However, it seems as though they had forgotten to put all of their armour on for this battle, as they made very few saves (the mortal wounds dished out by Bloodletter heroes and charging Juggernauts really did not help either).

With the Retributors gone, it was all down to the Prosecutors and their ranged firing. This might have just worked if the Bloodthrones had not made it so far along the bridge so early. If the Bloodthrones had not appeared (a really big if, they were always going to pop up early), then the Prosecutors might have stood a reasonably chance of whittling down the likes of Flesh Hounds and Bloodletters.

So, the moral of the story? Don’t rush your general in on turn one…

(You would think we would have learned that by now).

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, we have a fairly special battle – Alarielle has awoken and, it turns out, she is quite annoyed. The first target for her wrath will be the Khorne Bloodbound as she leads a force of Sylvaneth into the Realm of Fire to give them a good kicking.

Battle Report – Awaken the Land

The Ironjawz made a dramatic entrance to the Mortal Realms in the last battle, and we are going to see what else they can achieve when a few more models are added – this time against some new additions to the Sylvaneth.

 

The Story So Far

Once, long ago, the island at the heart of Sorrowmere Lake in the centre of Vastclaw Valley was a place of great sanctity to the children of Alarielle. However, during the Age of Chaos, the Sylvaneth were burned alive within the toppled ruins of their shrine, leaving little but ash.

In the centuries that followed, Vastclaw Valley changed hands many times; the barbarian tribes of Lord Hakshadol held it for a while, but were butchered by the Ogors of Mawking Crackmarrow, who were in turn routed by the Ironjawz. The island, surrounded by the Sorrowmere, was highly defensible and the surrounding valley remained bountiful, ensuring someone always wanted possession of it.

The Ironjawz had been busy raising idols to Gorkamorka during the time of Alarielle’s rebirth, and they failed to notice that the Sylvaneth shrine’s realmroots were still leaking the magic of the spirit paths. In time, these grew into a new Realmgate, one the Sylvaneth discovered and were preparing to use.

At the vanguard of the Sylvaneth was Drycha Hammadreth and her Spite-Revenants and while the Ironjawz were caught by surprise, once they realised they were under attack, they were well up for a fight.

 

The Forces

As we have tried the Ironjawz out and already know quite a bit on how the Sylvaneth play, we are starting to ramp up the forces for both – not massive armies by any means, but both are beginning to stretch their legs.

Ironjawz
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha
Weirdnob Shaman
Warchanter
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Ardboys x 30 (two units of 15)

Building on the force we used on the last battle, we are now adding a Warchanter, and putting the Megaboss on his very own Maw-Krusha. They are also using the Brutefist Battalion, which bumps up the Wounds of one of the Brute Big Bosses, and allows them to make charge moves in the hero phase.

Sylvaneth
Treelord Ancient
Drycha Hammadreth
Branchwraith
Branchwych
Spite-Revenants x 10
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)
Tree-Revenants x 10
Kurnoth Hunters x 12 (four units of 3)
Treelord

While we are very familiar with the Sylvaneth, we are taking the opportunity to try out some new units in this battle, namely some more Kurnoth Hunters, Spite-Revenants and the Right Hand of Alarielle herself, Drycha Hammadreth. The Sylvaneth will also be using two Battalions, the Household (increasing the Bravery of the Tree-Revenants and locking enemies in place when fighting them), and the Forest Folk (allowing the Dryads to use spirit paths to redeploy across the battlefield).

 

The Battleplan

The battle lasts for five rounds. If, at any point, the Ironjawz have less than a third of the number of models they started with on the table (less than 18 models), the Sylvaneth gain a major victory. Otherwise, a major victory goes to the Ironjawz.

Drycha and her boys are deployed first as a feint, followed the Ironjawz, and then the rest of the Sylvaneth. The trees on the battlefield are not Sylvaneth Wyldwoods (as they have been cut off from the spirit song) but there is a Place of Power which the Sylvaneth can nominate – if they can get a Wizard or their general close to it, they can unleash its power which deals mortals wounds to Ironjawz and heals Sylvaneth. However, every time this power is used, its range increasing, going from 5″ to 10″, then 20″, 40″, etc…

Which could be bad news for the Ironjawz.

The Sylvaneth have a new command ability, allowing them to awaken spirit paths and treat woodland as if it were a Wyldwood. For their part, the Ironjawz have the Come About command ability which allows them to move in the hero phase and charge after retreating, allowing them to reposition themselves quickly.

We will be using the Places of Power Time of War sheet for this fight, which will allow the land to begin to flourish as the Sylvaneth fight for it.

 

Deployment

The coming of the Sylvaneth was heralded by a stirring among the trees of the Vastclaw Valley, a ripple through their leaves that had the occupying Orruks looking up into their boughs in puzzlement. This distraction was sufficient for Drycha Hammadreth and her Outcasts to advance towards the Ironjawz encampment.

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As the rest of the Sylvaneth marched upon the Ironjawz, the Orruks began to realise they were under attack, and they assembled themselves into a rough battleline as Dryads, Treelords and Tree-Revenants strode out of the wilderness.

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The Brutefist, led by the Megaboss atop his Maw-Krusha, had been the first to arrived and faced the Outcasts, while the rest of the Ironjawz faced the bulk of the Sylvaneth army.

 

Battle Round One

A wave of noise rolled out from the Ironjawz as they bellowed their joy for the upcoming fight. The Megaboss led the way with an almighty Waaagh!, while the Warchanter began a percussive beat on the heads of nearby Ardboyz that got them nicely riled up.

Buoyed by this activity, the Weirdnob Shaman spied a group of Dryads advancing towards him and called upon Gork to bring his massive foot down on top of them. Unfortunately, the Weirdnob was a little too excited and lost control of his chants. The magical feedback whipped around and detonated the head of an Ardboy, much to the amusement of his friends.

Nothing could stop the Ironjawz from getting stuck in though, and they raced forward with the Megaboss leading the charge.

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Further down the line, Ardboyz leapt into the Realmgate they had been protecting, and reappeared right in front of the Tree-Revenants, who had been playing their Waypipes in preparation of travelling across the battlefield to seize their ancient Place of Power.

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Yelling as they charged, the Ardboyz took the Tree-Revenants by complete surprise, slaying all but the Waypipe player. Seeing that their plan had failed, he fled from the battlefield to live another day.

With his Maw-Krusha struggling to gain altitude, the Megaboss flew into the closest woods, the great bulk of his beast smashing down trees as it landed clumsily. He roared in delight as he saw one of the trees move – the Megaboss had found Drycha Hammadreth.

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Drycha was enraged at the destruction the primitive Orruk had wrought upon the Sylvaneth’s sacred ground but the Megaboss had deeper problems. Perhaps spooked by the presence of the Outcasts, perhaps because of a Brute Big Boss seeing a chance to become Megaboss himself, the Maw-Krusha had charged alone, the Brutes behind him delaying their attack.

Barely noticing the betrayal, the Megaboss launched himself at Drycha, his Maw-Krusha smashing into her and sending her reeling as sap drained from multiple gouges in her bark. However, Drycha was by no means finished, and she retaliated with her full fury, knocking the Maw-Krusha senseless and leaving the Megaboss vulnerable.

Gore-Gruntas had run down two units of Dryads, and now the Treelords took action to halt their advance as the Branchwraith hurled an Arcane Bolt at one.

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The Branchwych threw a Mystic Shield over Drycha, already near invisible amongst the trees, while Drycha herself launched a spiteful Arcane Bolt into the Megaboss’ face.

As Kurnoth Hunters trained their great bows upon the Maw-Krusha, weakening it still further, Drycha raised her arms and unleashed a piercing shriek of fury. At her summons, a great cloud of Flitterflies left her honeycombed arms and descended upon everyone fighting nearby. However, Drycha’s fury knew no bounds and while the Flitterflies tore through the Ironjawz and shredded the Megaboss, they also fell upon the Sylvaneth, The Branchwych who had granted Drycha a Mystic Shield gave a terrible wail as she was ripped apart by the Flitterflies.

Drycha cared not.

Kurnoth Hunters moved forward to halt the advance of the Gore-Gruntas and Ardboyz, their large swords easily cutting a swathe through the porcine beasts.

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Battle Round Two

The trees around the battle began to stir with new life as the Sylvaneth advanced though, so far, the Ironjawz had given as good as they had received.

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The Weirdnob Shaman retreated to the Realmgate, hoping to draw upon its power to help fuel his next attempt at summoning the Foot of Gork, but he completely mishandled the magical energies. An explosive pulse of arcane power blasted from the Realmgate, catching the Weirdnob in the explosion. Stumbling and insensible, the Weirdnob tried to regain his bearings as he peered through the evaporating smoke.

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Seeing their Megaboss gone did not shake the Brutes at all (perhaps one of them really did intend to take his place), and they lumbered forward to the Spite-Revenants, their heavy armour clanking as they trotted.

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Hissing, the Spite-Revenants clawed back at the Brutes in terrible fury, but for all their anger, they completely failed to penetrate the thick armour of the Ironjawz. Laughing at their futile attacks, the Brutes rushed in, clobbering the Outcasts wherever they could be found. In seconds, it was all over, and only Drycha remained.

On the far flank, Ardboyz had swept round and were beginning to turn the flank of the Sylvaneth, and only three Kurnoth Hunters stood between the Orruks and disaster. Thickets grew from their feet, impeding the attacks of the Ardboyz who could not fight their way through. Their attack stalled, the Kurnoth Hunters strode in with their greatswords, hacking five Ardboyz apart as the last of the Dryads fled the battlefield.

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The Ironjawz had retained their momentum throughout the battle so far, but now the Sylvaneth moved to enact their own plans.

Becoming embittered at the brutality of the Ironjawz, Drycha threw a Mystic Shield over herself as the Brutes started to advance into her woods. The Treelord Ancient, having impaled a Gore-Grunta as he fought alongside the Treelord, raised his Tendril Staff and a Wyldwood quickly sprang into being just a short distance away.

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The Branchwraith immediately took the opportunity to flee into the Wyldwood, avoiding the attentions of the marauding Ardboyz. The Treelord Ancient noticed the Warchanter skulking among nearby trees, and saw the effect his constant beat was having upon nearby Ironjawz. Striding forward, the Treelord Ancient confronted the Warchanter, much to the surprise of the Orruk.

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Raising a massive foot, the Treelord Ancient crushed the life out of the Warchanter before the Orruk could so much as squeak in terror, while the Treelord behind him impaled the last Gore-Grunta he had been fighting.

As Kurnoth Hunters trained their bows upon the Brutes, another great cloud of Flitterflies flowed from Drycha. Once more, they did not stop at the Ironjawz but went on to consume a Kurnoth Hunter.

Drycha did not even notice.

Cursing the Outcast, the Kurnoth Hunters advanced towards the Brutes, their great scythes cutting through an entire unit in short order.

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On the opposite flank, the Kurnoth Hunters were still holding back the wave of Ardboyz, but they were badly outnumbered.

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Battle Round Three

The Branchwraith’s attempt at using the Wyldwood to slip past the Ironjawz had not gone unnoticed, and the Weirdnob Shaman dispensed with his fancy Foot of Gork spell and instead hurled an Arcane Bolt, badly injuring her.

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Seeing her try to limp away, the Weirdnob excitedly raced into the woods, finally tracking the Branchwraith down and battering her to death with his staff.

Meanwhile, Drycha had finally been cornered by the Brutes. Surrounding her, they battered at her bark with their choppas but the Outcast held firm.

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More Brutes rushed the scythe-armed Kurnoth Hunters but they quickly paid for their haste, with all but one cut down as they tried to fight through the thickets protecting the Sylvaneth.

The Vastclaw Valley seemed to come alive as flowers flourished and new shoots reached for the sky. The Sylvaneth themselves became invigorated by this wave of life, with wounds beginning to heal even as they fought on. The Treelord Ancient gestured once more with his staff, and a new Wyldwood appeared, deep in Ironjawz territory.

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The Treelord Ancient then seemed to disappear into a nearby tree, only to reappear across the battlefield, within the new Wyldwood.

As yet another cloud of Flitterflies arose from Drycha, the Kurnoth Hunter archers began to back away from the Outcast, now understanding that her fury meant she cared little for their well-being. The Flitterflies tore a Brute apart but then spread out to descend upon the Treelord, badly injuring and all but killing him.

Limping away, the Treelord stumbled towards the Weirdnob Shaman, angry at Drycha but determined to avenge the Branchwraith. However, Drycha had inflicted terrible wounds and the Weirdnob Shaman was able to escape.

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The Kurnoth Hunters maintained a steady rain of massive arrows upon both Brute and Ardboy, steadily whittling both down, even as one Brute Boss was cut down by the scythe-armed Hunters.

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Though now badly wounded herself, Drycha now unleashed her full terror upon the Brutes who fought her. She shredded all but the Boss, who promptly decided that he did not need to keep fighting in order to become the new Megaboss.

The Ironjawz began fleeing from the battlefield, led by the Brute Boss, unwilling to face the wrath of the Sylvaneth any longer.

The sacred Vastclaw Valley once more belonged to the children of Alarielle.

 

Conclusion

The Ironjawz proved as nasty as ever, all but cutting through the first line of Sylvaneth in a single round (even though the Brutes failed their charges, leaving the work to just the Ardboyz and Gore-Gruntas). However, the Sylvaneth had (perhaps rather callously) placed Dryads in the front line, meaning all their hard hitting units were untouched and ready for a counterattack.

Drycha… well, what can we say about Drycha. She had an initial good start, slaying the impetuous Megaboss, but her Flitterflies ended up doing more damage to the Sylvaneth than the Ironjawz. Still, she is likely to be content with that – I think she ended up killing more models than anyone else, even if most of them were on her own side…

The Sylvaneth had planned to drop Wyldwoods across the table and make for their Place of Power (the Dragonfate Dais you can see in some shots), but the Ironjawz were just too tough, and the Sylvaneth were forced to face them toe-to-toe, keeping their most valuable units in cover wherever possible.

In the end, this worked, but it could so easily have gone the other way. The flanks were anchored by just two Kurnoth Hunters and Drycha (who had been reduced to just two wounds), and if either had fallen, the Ironjawz would have been free to roll in and catch the Sylvaneth in the centre from two sides. That would have been utter slaughter.

 

The Story Continues…

In the next battle, we will be heading to Aqshy, the Realm of Fire, where the forces of Khorne have managed to hold onto a bridge that Sigmar badly wants. Whole armies have fallen trying to secure it, but now the God-King is sending in just a small, elite force.

Battle Report – Headlong Onslaught

This time round, we are heading to the World Chasm, the dividing line between the Realms of Fire and Life – and we are testing out a brand new army… the Ironjawz have arrived!

 

The Story So Far

The Skybashas had been having fun in the Ream of Life, giving small pockets of Sylvaneth a good beating wherever they were found But now the Orruks came to a dead halt, for they had come across the World Chasm, a huge gaping maw between continents that marked the division between Aqshy and Ghyran.

Slann Starmaster Zectoka had been watching the progress of the Skybashas with growing interest, but had not taken any action. The Slann had thought that, deprived of more Sylvaneth to slaughter, the Orruks would inevitably turn upon themselves. However,  Megaboss Zogbak, their leader, had other plans.

The Silverglade Citadel was a massive tree city that lay across the World Chasm, and the rampaging Ironjawz had found it. Seeing the threat the Ironjawz posed, not just to the citadel but the whole of Aqshy that would lie before them should they cross the World Chasm, Zectoka reluctantly moved to block them. In flashes of cerulean light, Seraphon started to appear on the Silverglade Citadel, ready to oppose the Skybashas.

Megaboss Zogbak did not hesitate – bellowing, he rushed forward at the head of his Brutes, determined to give the Seraphon a good duffin’.

 

The Forces

We have a brand new Ironjawz army painted up, and we can’t wait to get them onto the tabletop and fighting!

Seraphon
Slann Starmaster
Saurus Warriors x 40 (two units of 20)
Skinks x 40 (two units of 20)
Terradons x 3
Saurus Guard x 15
Stegadon x 2
Bastiladon

This is a fairly average Seraphon force, with solid units but no real ‘tricks’ up its sleeve. Saurus Warriors will form the main line, Skinks will roam the flanks, while the Saurus Guard protect the Starmaster. So long as those units all function as they should, the main hitting power will likely reside with the Stegadons and Bastiladon.

Ironjawz
Megaboss
Weirdnob Shaman
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Ardboys x 30 (two units of 15)

The Ironjawz, too, have brought a fairly no-frills force – perfect for our first outing with them.

 

The Battleplan

In this Battleplan, the Ironjawz are attempting to bull their way past the Seraphon defenders – if they can get a quarter of their models (13 Orruks) past the Seraphon, they claim a major victory. However, if at any point they can just get their Megaboss past the Seraphon, they can immediately claim a minor victory (or not, if they decide to go for the major!).

The Seraphon have some problems to deal with, mainly to do with the speed of the Ironjawz’ attack. Only half of the Seraphon’s units can deploy in the path of the Ironjawz and many won’t be able to move in their first turn – a real problem, as the Ironjawz go first and will be on the Seraphon right from the start.

Furthermore, if an Ironjawz unit attacks a Seraphon unit and wipes it out, it can make an extra move to get further towards its objective.

Both sides get bonus army rules. The Seraphon can double run rolls if they are close to their Starmaster, while the Ironjawz get bonuses to their charge rolls if their Megaboss leads the way.

 

Deployment

Despite being taken aback by the sudden appearance of the Ironjawz so close to their lines, the Seraphon deployed as best they could to contain the greenskinz. Skinks took up position on the flanks where they could chip away at the Ironjawz without being slaughtered, while the Stegadons and a thick line of Saurus Warriors anchored the centre. Behind them all were the Saurus Guard and Starmaster. The Starmaster glanced up at the heavens and, seeing the constellation of the Great Drake was ascendant, knew his Seraphon would fight all the harder.

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The Ironjawz took a far simpler approach, simply lining up so the most boyz could reach the Seraphon in the shortest possible time.

 

Battle Round One

The Ironjawz wasted no time and, with a mighty bellow, they rushed forward, weapons ready to tear the Seraphon apart.

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From atop his Stegadon, the Skink Alpha directed the nearby unit of Skinks to sweep forward and bring the charging Gore-Gruntas into range of their javelins. Hurling their weapons, they proved deadly accurate, and one Gore-Grunta crashed into the ground spraying up a fountain of dirt. The Bastiladon behind the Skinks unleashed a powerful searing beam, annihilating a second Gore-Grunta and catching the last in the explosion.

However, while the Skinks were alert, many of the other Seraphon had been caught offguard and were slow to respond to the rush of the Ironjawz. One Stegadon lumbered forward to engage the Ironjawz but the crew of the other had trouble getting their own beast moving.

Alone, the other Stegadon shook the ground as it crashed into the advancing Brutes.

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One brute was gutted by the Stegadon’s massive horns, another was crushed under its feet, and a third turned and ran, unwilling to face the beast in battle. However, the Big Boss was made of sterner stuff and managed to grab the Stegadon by the neck with his Boss Klaw. Holding the Stegadon immobile for just a second, he bashed the beast over the head with his Smasha. The Stegadon reeled under the blow, its skull cracked, before the Brute with the Gore-Choppa carved a terrible wound in its flank.

 

Battle Round Two

Raising his huge Boss Choppa into the air, the Megaboss bellowed a mighty Waaagh!, galvanising his whole army. The Weirdnob Shaman got overexcited by this, and fumbled his casting of the Foot of Gork.

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As one, the entire Ironjawz line surged forward, eager to get to grips with the Seraphon.

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The Skinks were the first to suffer, and the units of both flanks were rushed by Ardboyz.

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One unit of Skinks was utterly destroyed within seconds, their bodies winking out of existence, but the second managed to retreat into nearby woods before the Ardboyz could swing their weapons.

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As the Stegadon fell to the attacks of the Brutes, more Brutes and Gore-Gruntas, led by the Megaboss, ploughed into the Saurus Warriors in the centre.

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The shields of the Saurus Warriors proved little better defence than those of the Skinks as the Brutes cut through more than half of the unit. The rest fell to the wild swings of the Megaboss.

With momentum on their side the Ardboyz, Brutes and Megaboss continued to thunder forwards.

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Seeing the Ironjawz starting to get a little too close for comfort, the Slann Starmaster covered his Saurus Guard with a Mystic Shield as the Terradons flew over the advancing Ardboyz and landed behind them in an effort to distract the Ironjawz. They dropped rocks as they flew, flattening two Ardboyz before the Orruks realised they were under attack.

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Having seen their Skinks wiped out by the Ardboyz, nearby Saurus Warriors charged into the Ardboyz, determined to make them pay for every inch they advanced. However, while three Ardboyz were felled in their assault, forcing another two to run, it was the Saurus Warriors who paid dearly, with many falling to the weapons of the Orruks.

In the centre, the Slann Starmaster summoned a huge block of Saurus Warriors to hold the centre, and then sent his Saurus Guard forward to stymie the Ironjawz advance and, perhaps, kill the Megaboss.

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Joined by the last Stegadon, the Saurus Guard charged into the Megaboss and Brutes supporting him, killing four of the Brutes instantly, though the Stegadon was badly wounded in the charge.

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Battle Round Three

Maintaining his Mystic Shield upon the Saurus Guard, the Slann Starmaster also hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Brute Big Boss holding them up. With him out of the way, the Saurus Guard could now concentrate on the Megaboss alone.

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Though his Boss Choppa dented the shields of the Saurus Guard, the Megaboss was quickly sporting many wounds and his swings became slower and less powerful.

Behind him, the Terradons had spied a likely target, the Weirdnob Shaman, and they swooped in for the kill, hurling javelins as they went.

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The Weirdnob Shaman was badly hurt by these attacks but he flailed back with his staff, inadvertently catching one Terradon and smashing the life out of it.

The Stegadon swung ponderously around to join the Bastiladon as both massive beasts lumbered into the Ardboyz who had been killing Skinks and Saurus Warriors with equal ease. While a handful of Ardboyz were flattened by their attacks, the Stegadon was finally killed by their choppas.

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The Weirdnob Shaman was far too distracted, even terrified, to cast any useful spells and instead ran from the Terradons as quickly as he could, racing for the protection of nearby Brutes.

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However, the Brutes had other ideas than helping a loony Shaman. Seeing that their Megaboss was in trouble, they rushed forward alongside a single Gore-Grunta to save him from the Saurus Guard.

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The Gore-Grunta was badly wounded, and though four of the Saurus Guard were mashed into the dirt by the Brutes, they were too slow to save their Megaboss. The celestial glaives of the Saurus Guard hacked through his armour until he fell to the ground and moved no more.

Just a short distance away, a swirling melee was fast developing between the newly summoned Saurus Warriors and the Ardboyz and Gore-Gruntas who were close to securing the entire left flank.

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While the Saurus Warriors managed to bring down a Gore-Grunta, the weapons of the Ardboyz were telling, with many Seraphon falling in the first few seconds of the fight and the rest fleeing from battle.

Now, the only Seraphon unit holding the left flank were the Skinks hiding in the woods, hurling the occasional javelin at a passing Orruk.

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Battle Round Four

Seeing there was now very little between himself and the oncoming Ironjawz, the Slann Starmaster’s eyes went wide with consternation, and his concentration shattered. The spells he had been preparing dissipated without effect.

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Elsewhere, things were going no better for the Seraphon. The Bastiladon snorted and stamped at the Ardboyz surrounding it as its Skink crew tried to line up its Searing Beam, but only three Ardboyz were killed while its own wounds were beginning to tell.

The Weirdnob Shaman was still bedevilled by the Terradon riders, panicking as he desperately tried to hold them off. Their beaks sneaked forward and pecked the Shaman, leaving him covered in wounds but still alive.

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Blasting one with an Arcane Bolt, the Weirdnob Shaman fled once more, running towards the rest of the Ironjawz who had now advanced far ahead.

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Showing uncharacteristic discipline and tactical nous without the leadership of their Megaboss, the Ironjawz acted as one and broke from their battles with the Seraphon, racing past them at speed. The Slann Starmaster realised just how precarious his position was as the last two Gore-Gruntas galloped towards his hiding spot in the woods.

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The Bastiladon was left completely wrong-footed as the Ardboyz it had been fighting ducked under its massive tail and sprinted past the beast, even as the Saurus Guard and Brutes pounded one another in the centre.

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Battle Round Five

Continuing their headlong onslaught, the Ardboyz joined the Gore-Gruntas rushing past all the remaining defences of the Seraphon. Seeing the battle lost, the Slann Starmaster closed his eyes and disappeared, leaving the Ironjawz to their victory.

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Conclusion

Well, their first outing and the Ironjawz get themselves a solid victory!

So, what did we make of them?

Ironjawz are hard! Their core troops, the Brutes, are extremely effective and the Boss Klaw carried by the Big Boss of the unit is fairly devastating – just that and the Gore-Choppa carried by one of the boyz nearly accounted for Stegadon in a single turn. As for the Gore-Gruntas, it may seem from this battle that they are not entirely awesome but they did not really get a good charge off, and the Skinks were extremely lucky in downing them with their javelins.

The real surprise though was the Ardboy units. These are the ‘little’ guys of the Ironjawz – but they probably killed more Seraphon than anyone else! We used units of 15 in this battle and were planning to put them in units of 20 later on. However, that may be overkill! A unit of 10 will do just fine on the battlefield and there may not be much that can stand up to an assault of 20 Ardboyz, particularly if they have the Megaboss close by to encourage them.

Could the Seraphon have done better? They were fairly spannered in the last couple of turns, with their shooting going completely awry and then the Slann Starmaster failing to cast a single spell – just one more unit of Saurus Warriors might have held up the advancing Ardboyz. The Ironjawz then getting a double turn sealed the fate of the Seraphon.

All in all, a fine start to the battle honours of the Ironjawz, and we are looking forward to seeing what else they can bring to the battlefield.

 

The Story Continues…

Having given the Seraphon a good duffin’, the Ironjawz will be staying in the Realm of Life as they pick a fight with the Sylvaneth in our next battle.

Battle Report – Two Became Three

We are going to be sticking with the Flesh-Eater Courts for our tour of the Mortal Realms. In this fight, Fyreslayers and Skaven are having one of their normal bashes, but a Flesh-Eater Court has now arrived. This is our first three-player, three-army game in an all-against-all, so expect carnage!

 

The Story So Far

On board the massive Wyrd-Engine, lumbering its way over the Iron-Scree Wastes of Chamon, Fyreslayers and Skaven were locked in an ages old battle. Many times had they clashed for control of the Wyrd-Engine, but now the Skaven had a new weapon.

Grey Seer Reeknik had commissioned the construction of a Screaming Bell and when the rats surged up from the depths of the Wyrd-Engine to attack the Fyreslayer’s forge-temple, he was on board his new weapon.

Every time the bell peeled, Fyreslayers fell to the ground, clutching their bleeding ears. Thousands of rats were behind the Grey Seer, and overwhelming wave of Skaven that could only crush the Fyreslayers once and for all.

However, something else stirred in the depths of the Wyrd-Engine, something neither Skaven nor Fyreslayer suspected the existence of. It was Reeknik who first saw something was wrong when his planned reinforcements failed to materialise, but soon he realised just what was happening.

A Flesh-Eater Court had revived itself from a long slumber, and now the Abhorrant Ghoul King leading it was intent on claiming the entire Wyrd-Engine as his own domain.

 

The Forces

This is a relatively small battle, concentrating on the action that takes place where the three armies have converged – there is a lot going on off-camera, but this is where the fight will be decided!

Flesh-Eater Court
Abhorrent Ghoul King on Terrorgheist
Crypt Infernal Courtier
Crypt Ghast Courtier
Crypt Ghouls x 40 (two units of 20)
Crypt Flayers x 6 (two units of 3)

These are just the lead elements of the Flesh-Eater Court, as the rest are already feasting on the vast numbers of Skaven who would otherwise be overwhelming the Fyreslayers. However, they may find the other two armies easy prey after they have been battering one another…

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

The Fyreslayers may have thought they were coming to this battle able to deal with anything the Skaven threw at them but, despite the presence of the Magmadroths, they are going to find themselves under serious pressure from the start.

Clan Verminus
Screaming Bell (Grey Seer Reeknik)
Clanrats x 50 (two units of 25)
Stormvermin x 20

The Skaven have more foot troops than either of the other two armies, but they will have to use them carefully. If the Clanrats (or, the Horned Rat forbid, the Stormvermin) are thrown into the battle carelessly, Grey Seer Reeknik will have nothing to face the Flesh-Eater Court with.

 

The Battleplan

This is a three-way Battleplan, with three armies and three players. There are no special rules as such in this battle (the Flesh-Eater Court can re-roll failed charges, while the other two armies can re-roll wounds of 1 against one another), just the facility for handling three players. Every round effectively has three turns, and models fight in each if they are near an enemy, regardless of whom it is.

On the face of it, the Flesh-Eater Court is likely to sweep the field clear of battle-weary Skaven and Fyreslayers. If either is to triumph, they must (temporarily) unite against the Flesh-Eaters but as their one special rule makes it easier to hurt one another, this might be more difficult than it looks!

The victory conditions are calculated when one player has been wiped out, with major victory going to the survivor who has lost (proportionally) the least in their force. The players involved in this battle are competitive, so expect to see them watching their opponents carefully and counting models on the fly!

 

Deployment

The three forces assembled on the battlefield, with the Skaven and Fyreslayers looking venomously at one another. However, both noted that the Flesh-Eater Court had deployed heavily weighted towards the Fyreslayers, positioning that caused the Grey Seer to lick his lips with glee.

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Having half-expected this, the Fyreslayers had deployed aggressively to face either foe, hoping they would not have to do so simultaneously.

 

Battle Round One

The Screaming Bell tolled, a mournful sound that shook the battlefield. An avalanche of energy flowed from the bell, which the Grey Seer quickly harnessed into a spell. Crack’s Call ripped a chasm across the ground, into which three Vulkite Berzerkers tumbled, screaming as they fell.

Then, the Grey Seer unveiled his master plan. Chittering to his troops from atop his bell, the Grey Seer ordered a steady retreat, pulling his Clanrats even closer to him. His strategy was made clear immediately – he wanted to wait until the Fyreslayers and Flesh-Eater Court had more or less destroyed one another, then swoop in to claim victory!

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The Ghoul King had no such worries about his own safety and took to the air on his Terrorgheist as more Crypt Ghouls sprang out of the shadows to join the growing horde. As one, they advanced across a broad front.

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A unit of Crypt Ghouls and Crypt Flayers pushed their way towards the Skaven, but the bulk of the Flesh-Eater Court was aiming straight for the Fyreslayers.

Seeing this, the Runefather quietly directed his troops to face the threats. Vulkite Berzerkers advanced cautiously towards the Skaven, determined to take advantage of the cover the woods provided but all too aware they would provide no protection against the Grey Seer’s Crack’s Call. The rest of the force rearranged itself to face the Flesh-Eater Court while the Auric Hearthguard began lining up a few long-ranged shots at the Crypt Flayers lurking amongst the trees.

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Battle Round Two

Hearing a command barked from the Runefather, the Fyreslayers halted their advance and readied their weapons. Only the Runemaster paced forward, raising his staff and speaking words of power. Among the trees closest tot he Flesh-Eater Court, magma bubbled up from the ground, spurting to drench the Crypt Flayers and immolate a Crypt Ghoul who had strayed too close.

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The Auric Hearthguard continued the bombardment of flaming rock, training their magmapikes upon the Crypt Flayers. Fire blasted through the trees, felling two of them.

Across the battlefield, the Screaming Bell tolled once more, feeding the Grey Seer yet more magical energy but it was too much for the rat to handle and his Crack’s Call failed this time, much to the relief of the Vulkite Berzerkers.

Then, the Ghoul King stood high atop his mount and gave a hideous shriek that galvanised his court into action. As one, they surged forward, aiming straight for the Fyreslayers.

Two Crypt Ghouls sank into bubbling magma as they rushed carelessly through the woods, but the rest did not even notice their pitiful cries, more dismayed by the Crypt Flayer and Ghoul King himself overtaking them to reach the fresh meat.

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Two of the Auric Hearthguard fell to the ground, clutching bleeding ears as the Terrorgheist unleashed a tremendous scream that boiled their brains, but the others stood firm against the Crypt Flayers who dove into their thin line. One of the Hearthguard fell to the Crypt Flayers’ talons, but Vulkite Berzerkers were quick to respond and piled-in, slaying on of the beasts. Another Crypt Flayer soared above swirling melee to land next to the Runemaster. Drawing his runic iron, they immediately clashed, trading blows and wounds behind the front line.

The Ghoul King had already chosen his target, and aimed his Terrorgheist at the largest enemy he could find, the Runesmiter who had advanced forward on his Magmadroth. The two beasts scratched and raked one another as their riders duelled.

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Quicker on the wing, the Terrorgheist savaged the Magmadroth, causing great gouts of volcanic blood to drench the nearby Crypt Flayers, boiling them as they fought. The Runesmiter backed his badly wounded Magmadroth up slightly, now wary of his enemy.

 

Battle Round Three

Having built up momentum in their charge, the Flesh-Eater Court continued to roll forward over the Fyreslayers.

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The Terrorgheist screamed again, this time at the Magmadroth. Waves of the terrible sound broke across the beast, smashing scales and unleashing its volcanic blood. The Runemaster saw it arcing towards him and sidestepped, allowing the lone Crypt Flayer he was fighting absorb the magma, immolating it completely.

Before the Magmadroth could recover, the Terrorgheist darted forward and snapped it heads off with one bite of its enormous jaws. The Magmadroth fell, spilling the Runesmiter to the ground. Before he could stand, the Ghoul King was on him, ripping the Fyreslayer apart with his bare claws.

The line between the Fyreslayers and Flesh-Eater Court became confused and messy, as Vulkite Berzerkers fought Crypt Flayers and Crypt Ghouls. Many ghouls fell to their axes, but the Auric Hearthguard could not free their weapons from the close tangle and were quickly killed.

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A lone unit of Crypt Ghouls had been quietly advancing across the other side of the battlefield, far from the developing battle with the Fyreslayers. The Skaven finally saw them approaching and started chittering among themselves, alerting the Grey Seer to the threat. Diverting his attention from the Fyreslayers, the Grey Seer directed a Crack’s Call spell at the ghouls, with several falling into the yawning earth.

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Seeing the Crypt Ghouls ignore this warning, the Grey Seer squeaked furiously, goading his Clanrats forward to face the enemy.

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Fifty Clanrats raced forward, the Stormvermin hot on their tails. The Crypt Ghouls were somewhat taken aback by this sudden move and were immediately forced onto the defensive as they were surrounded by Clanrats.

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While the sprawling battle was vicious, with much hissing and squeaking, few actual blows were landed and the result was a desperate tangle of angry Skaven and Crypt Ghouls trying to lash out at one another.

Still, at least the Grey Seer was safe, so he counted that as a win.

The Fyreslayers were facing far more problems. Another wave of Crypt Ghouls raced forward past the Terrorgheist and completely overwhelmed the Vulkite Berkerzers.

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Now, only the Runemaster alone held the Fyreslayer’s flank, and he had already been wounded by the Crypt Flayer he had fought.

The Runefather was well aware of the Perilous position the Flesh-Eater Court had put his force in, but he also spied opportunity now the Skaven had been drawn into the engagement. Roaring a command, he urged his Magmadroth forward towards the rats, the Battlesmith and remaining Vulkite Berzerkers streaming in his wake.

The Grimwrath Berzerker was charged with holding the flank, a suicidal duty he relished. Leading the Hearthguard Berzerkers, he raced for the Ghoul King on the Terrorgheist, legs pumping as fast as they could.

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Leaping over the remains of the Runesmiter’s Magamdroth, the Grimwrath Berzerker bellowed a challenge as he brought his axe down over his head. The Terrorgheist looked up in alarm as its mind slowly began to understand what was happening – far too slowly.

The Grimwrath Berzerker’s axe cracked its skull wide open with a single blow, but the Fyreslayer was not yet done. Jumping up onto its head, he sprang for the Ghoul King and, with one mighty swing, cut the vampire in two.

The Hearthguard Berzerkers were not going to be outdone by this display, and they raced for the Crypt Flayers surrounding the Runemaster. They were not quick enough to save him, but their axes made short work of the Crypt Flayers, felling two and wounding another before they realised what was happening.

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Battle Round Four

Busy squeaking orders to his incompetent Clanrats, the Grey Seer belatedly realised that the remaining Fyreslayers were running towards him, intent on wrecking his Screaming Bell and separating his head from his neck. The Grey Seer chittered a series of confused and contradictory orders, but the Clanrats got the gist of them and they started to flee, running from the Crypt Ghouls as fast as they could while the Stormvermin advanced meaningfully towards them, halberds ready.

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One unit of Clanrats stuck around just long enough to stop the Crypt Ghouls from escaping the Stormvermin – then the elite rats charged.

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Unable to run, the Crypt Ghouls raised their arms in a vain attempt to halt the descending halberds, but they were all butchered to a diseased, degenerate ghoul.

With the Ghoul King killed, the Crypt Infernal Courtier now took command of the Flesh-Eater Court. Raising up on his haunches, he screeched at the sky and was soon rewarded with a flock of Crypt Flayers arriving on the battlefield to bolster his waning force.

Then, to the surprise of both Crypt Flayers and Crypt Ghouls, he ordered the court to disengage from the Fyreslayers and start running for the Skaven. Perhaps he wanted revenge for the slaying of the Crypt Ghouls by the Stormvermin. Maybe he had seen the effectiveness of the Grimwrath Berzerker’s axe and merely wanted to avoid its kiss. No matter, the Fyreslayers were now free to fight the Skaven too…

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This reversal of the intentions of the Flesh-Eater Court had not gone unnoticed by the Runefather, and he was thankful for the relief it gave the Fyreslayers. The Grimwrath Berzerker and Hearthguard, he noted, were chasing after the Crypt Ghouls, helping to shepherd them towards the rats.

As the Battlesmith led the Vulkite Berzerkers into the woods, where they would be in a position to both weather a sudden charge from the Stormvermin and be in range to strike at the Creaming Bell, the Runefather goaded his Magmadroth forward at full speed, aiming straight for the nearest Clanrats.

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The Magmadroth spat a gob of magma at the Stormvermin as it galloped, toasting three of them in a wash of fire and panicked squeaking, but their cries were quickly overwhelmed by those of the Clanrats who suddenly realised who the Magmadroth was bounding towards.

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A spray of rat blood soared into the air as the Magmadroth bounced among them, biting and swiping while the Runefather made long, powerful sweeps with his latchkey axe. Seven Clanrats were killed between the Magamdroth’s claws and the Runefather’s axe, and another were hurled from the battle by sweeps from the beast’s tail. This proved too much for the survivors and another seven scampered for the shadows, alongside two of the Stormvermin.

 

Battle Round Five

The momentum had been firmly seized by the Fyreslayers, and they took every advantage.

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Streaming out of the woods, the Vulkite Berzerkers roared challenges at the Skaven, but it was very clear the Grey Seer was not going to accept as the Screaming Bell trundled as fast as it could away from the fighting.

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The Magmadroth continued to tear apart the few Clanrats who still stood, but most of them were ready to break and run anyway. The creature took enough time to spit another gob of magma at the Stormvermin, causing them to back up and huddle together for protection, but this caused them to miss the oncoming Vulkite Berzerkers.

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The Vulkite Berzerkers smashed into the Stormvermin like a Steamhead train. Flinging their shields as they ran, the razor-edged discs sliced through five of the Stormvermin, while the axes of the Fyreslayers quickly dispatched the rest before the rats could react.

The centre had been torn out of the Skaven force within minutes, much to the consternation of the Grey Seer. His Screaming Bell was now moving much slower now it was not being pushed by his minions, and the only Clanrats left had fled to the far side of the battlefield and there were some very angry Fyreslayers between him and them…

Seeing this turn of events, the Crypt Infernal Courtier reassessed his priorities and, spying the Grimwrath Berzerker and Hearthguard following behind, barked an order to his followers. Responding instantly, they turned to surrounded the Fyreslayers.

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The Hearthguard Berzerkers were quickly beset by a massive horde of Crypt Ghouls. Though nearly a dozen ghouls died to their axes, there were simply too many for the Hearthguard to face, and they were torn apart in a shower of blood, organs and limbs.

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The Grimwrath Berzerker fared better. Having reached the woods, he spat curses at the Crypt Flayers that came for him, deriding their treachery, however expected it had been, Though wounded by their talons, his axe accounted for one of their number, forcing them to be a little more cautious.

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Battle Round Six

By this time, all three armies had taken horrendous casualties, but victory remained possible for all.

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The Fyreslayers were the first to make their move, and the Runefather decided to continue pressing his advantage on the Skaven. While the Vulkite Berzerkers reversed their direction to chase the Screaming Bell, he pursued the Clanrats upon his Magmadroth.

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Seeing this, the Clanrats tried to run even faster, though they knew they could not outpace an angry Magmadroth. The Grey Seer had other ideas though, Fed up of constantly running, he turned the Screaming Bell round, and rolled towards the Vulkite Berzerkers.

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Another Crack’s Call spell opened up the ground, causing several Berzerkers to fall into the earth, while the Screaming Bell itself rolled over more. However, the survivors stood firm, and their axes caused the frame of the Screaming Bell to shudder and creak as several of its timbers crashed to the ground.

Dispatching the wounded Grimwrath Berzerkers, the Crypt Flayers took to the air, searching for new victims. The Crypt Ghouls had already found theirs, and they rushed through the ruins to reach the Runefather, cutting off his pursuit of the Clanrats.

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Their oversized horde flowed across the broken masonry as they reached, claws outstretched, for the Runefather. All they accomplished was the ripping off of a few scales from the Magmadroth. Then the Runefather’s massive axe descended, cutting ten of them in two and forcing more to run.

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While others still remained in combat with the Magmadroth, the great charge of the Crypt Ghouls had clearly been shattered by the Runefather’s staunch defence.

 

Battle Round Seven

The Crypt Ghouls did not know whether to fear the Magmadroth more, or the Crypt Infernal Courtier who they knew lurked in the ruins just behind them. It was the Magmadroth that made the decision for them. Swiping with its claws, most of the ghouls were killed instantly, and the rest promptly bolted for the shadows around the battlefield.

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Further away, the Battlesmith joined in the fight around the Screaming Bell, carving great chunks out of its wooden frame, though a swipe from the Rat Ogre at its rear left him with a savage wound across the back.

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This was a distraction that poorly served the Rat Ogre, as its pulls on the bell became erratic. The Screaming Bell peeled a discordant note that sent tremors through its frame, damaging it further.

The last remaining Clanrats cowered on the far side of the battlefield, hoping no one would notice them. However, they had already been spotted by the circling Crypt Flayers who now dived towards them.

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Badly damaged as it was, the Screaming Bell and its Rat Ogre managed to kill the last of the Vulkite Berzerkers and the Battlesmith who had joined them. Now, it rattled its way towards the Runefather, the Grey Seer hurling Arcane Bolts as it went, determined that the last Fyreslayer, at least, would not walk away from the battle.

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Battle Round Eight

The Clanrats could not flee from the Crypt Flayers, and they squeaked in terrible fear as they were cornered, trying to clamber over one another in a bid not to be the first to die.

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It made little difference to the Crypt Flayers, who soon feasted on rat flesh.

Seeing that the damaged Screaming Bell was in no shape to catch him any time soon, the Runefather turned his Magmadroth and went hunting Flesh-Eaters. He found his first victim climbing out of the ruins, the Crypt Ghast Courtier who had been responsible for building up such a massive horde of Crypt Ghouls throughout the battle. Now caught in the open, the Courtier managed to shriek in true terror before the Runefather’s Latchkey Axe removed its head.

 

Battle Round Nine

However, the battle had been a long and hard one for the Magmadroth, and a constant stream of volcanic blood dripped from its many wounds. It was now not moving as fast as it had been, and the Crypt Infernal Courtier easily reached it with one long glide.

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The fight was short but intense. The Magmadroth managed to gouge a hideous wound in the Courtier, but the Flesh-Eater’s own talons proved more telling. Bounding up the Magmadroth’s flanks, it tore the Runefather from his mount and sank its long teeth into his flesh.

The last Fyreslayer had fallen, and the Grey Seer decided to leave the Wyrd-Engine to the Flesh-Eater Court.

 

Conclusion

Well, that was a battle and a half!

As always, it was very close, and we really had no idea who was going to win, right up until the end of round nine when the Runefather fell (and that fight could so easily have gone the other way!). At first it looked as though the Fyreslayers were going to be knocked out first, then the Skaven, and then the Flesh-Eater Court (the Flesh-Eater Court was not allowed to count newly summoned models as survivors, so they actually only had a few left!).

At the end of the battle, the Fyreslayers had been wiped out, but the Flesh-Eater Court only had 6% of its starting models left on the battlefield, and the Skaven 1.4%! You really cannot get much closer than that!

As far as the Fyreslayers were concerned, the man of the match was probably the Runefather, who led the charge that shattered the Skaven as a fighting force. However, honourable mention should go to the Grimwrath Berzerker who managed to utterly destroy the Ghoul King and his Terrorgheist in a single round of combat!

This is a Battleplan I would wholeheartedly recommend for any group to try (you can find it in Battletome: Flesh-Eater Courts). The rules for three player games are extremely simple and do not put much overhead on a battle, but (as with all good rules in Age of Sigmar), they add a whole new dimension that players must come to grips with – not least that it is very possible to lose models in another player’s turn when that player’s models are not fighting yours (because if you are in battle, you fight, no matter whose turn it is). This means you are getting another lot of close combat in every round, which can be good… or very, very bad…

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, we are taking a trip to the Realm of Life for our first battle featuring the Ironjawz!

Battle Report – Stirring the Nest

Having finished the Godbeasts book in the last battle, we are now taking another tour of the Mortal Realms to see what else has been going on, before diving back into the main storyline with All-Gates. In this battle, a Flesh-Eater Court has caught the Stormcasts in a trap!

 

The Story So Far

Though Archaon had taken the Godbeast Ignax, the forces of the God-King were still hitting the Realm of Fire hard. More Realmgates leading back to Azyr were being captured, strengthening the Stormcast armies and allowing them to strike further into Aqshy.

One such force was headed to liberate a newly discovered Realmgate in Voldyr Keep. However, their approach had been watched by the minions of the abhorrant Marrowthirst, and they quickly scampered back to their lord and master to report the invasion. The Ghoul King ordered the Marquis Retchbile to gather his forces and, as one, the Flesh-Eater Court moved to intercept the Stormcasts.

Marrowthirst allowed the Stormcasts to make it all the way to the ruined Voldyr Keep before unleashing his forces. Dreadfully outnumbered, the Stormcasts quickly realised the magnitude of the army they faced, and they started to retreat, only to find the rest of the Flesh-Eater Court materialising from the shadows behind them.

Faced with no good choices, the Stormcasts abandoned their quest to liberate the Realmgate and attempted to break out of the trap.

 

The Forces

The Stormcasts are quite seriously outnumbered in this fight, and the Flesh-Eater Court is not going to be pulling any punches.

Flesh-Eater Court
Abhorrent Ghoul King on Terrorgheist
Crypt Infernal Courtier
Varghulf Courtier
Crypt Ghast Courtier
Crypt Horrors x 6 (two units of 3)
Crypt Ghouls x 60 (three units of 20)
Crypt Flayers x 12 (four units of 3)

The Flesh-Eater Court has the numbers with its Crypt Ghouls, but has not been shy about bringing the heavier boys along in the form of Crypt Flayers and Horrors. These have been assembled into two battalions, the Deadwatch (Crypt Flayers forming the king’s bodyguard, able to pile in and attack in the hero phase) and the King’s Ghouls (Ghouls and Horrors led by a Ghast Courtier, able to make long-reaching pile-in moves and ignoring battleshock while in their own territory).

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant
Lord-Relictor
Liberators x 35 (seven units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)

The Stormcasts clearly were not expecting trouble with this Realmgate, and a Flesh-Eater Court this size is quite a surprise. The Stormcasts have a fair number of Liberators with them, but they left the Paladins at home for what was supposed to be a routine mission…

 

The Battleplan

This is a fairly easy Battleplan. The Stormcasts set up in the middle of the table, with half the Flesh-Eater Court deploying around them. The rest of the Flesh-Eaters appear at the start of the second round, allowing them to counter any early thrust the Stormcasts make.

To win, the Stormcasts need to exit the table from one of the four corners, the gradient of their victory (or the Flesh-Eaters) based upon how many manage to leave.

As this battle takes place in the Realm of Fire, we will be using the Brimstone Peninsula Time of War sheet, ignoring the Blood Geysers rule.

 

Deployment

The Stormcasts deployed in a standard formation designed to repulse an ambush – Liberators forming a shield line around the sides, with Prosecutors in the middle ready to break out, and Judicators sandwiched between them to provide support.

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The Flesh-Eater Court appeared quickly enough, moving out of the shadows to reveal bloodthirsty Ghouls and Crypt Horrors, led by an Abhorrant Ghoul King atop a massive Terrorgheist.

 

Battle Round One

The Flesh-Eater Court wasted no time as they sprang forward, eager to rip the Stormcasts apart. The Ghoul King proved himself no coward as his Terrorgheist landed right in front of two retinues of Liberators before opening its maw to unleash a deafening screech. Three Prosecutors fell to the ground, clutching their heads before disappearing in a flash of blue light that bolted up to Azyr.

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Then the Flesh-Eater Court charged, with only the Varghulf Courtier too slow to reach a Stormcast. Despite their diminutive size, the Crypt Ghouls held no fear as they leapt up to claw at the Stormcasts over their shields.

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Despite losing one of their number as they rushed the Stormcasts, the Crypt Horrors quickly proved lethal, slaying three Liberators in seconds. However, the Stormcasts facing the Ghoul King knew how to defend themselves against beasts such as the Terrorgheist, and they drew their shields tight, losing only one Liberator to the creature’s claws while a single Prosecutor was wounded by a swipe from the Ghoul King.

Two Liberators were dragged down to the ground by Crypt Ghoul, but their comrades quickly stepped in and started hammering the Ghoul King’s followers.

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As the Lord-Relictor called upon the power of the God-King to blast the Terrorgheist with a bolt of lightning, a retinue of Liberators led the break out as the Stormcasts began to flee to safety.

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On the other side of the battlefield, the Lord-Celestant led a retinue of Liberators out of the trap, Judicators keeping pace as their Skybolt Bows peppered the Ghoul King at range.

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As the Boltstorm Crossbow-armed Judicators shredded Crypt Ghouls, Liberators tried to batter the Ghoul King and his Terrorgheist back, but the beast managed to snap one in two with its wide jaws.

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The Lord-Celestant diverted briefly from his flight, activating his cloak to send a hail of celestial hammers into a Crypt Horror, before charging into their backs. However, the Crypt Horrors sensed his approach and whirled round, tearing the Stormcast commander apart before he could do much more than raise his sword. The nearby Liberators moaned as they saw their leader defeated so easily.

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Battle Round Two

The Stormcasts had suffered losses early in the battle, but they had begun to break out, with several paths open to them.

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Standing high on the back of his Terrorgheist, the Ghoul King called for more of his followers to come out of the shadows, a cry that was quickly taken up by his courtiers. The Stormcasts were dismayed to see the summons answered, first by Crypt Horrors moving to block the retreat of Prosecutors.

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However, they were soon joined by Crypt Flayers moving to cut off fleeing Liberators on opposite sides of the battlefield.

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One pack was led by a Crypt Infernal Courtier, a creature that could not wait for his minions to assemble themselves into a battle formation. Sweeping forward on his wide wings, the Courtier landed within ruins to attack the Liberators making their way through them. Though the Stormcasts reacted quickly and wounded the Courtier, he would not be driven off.

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Meanwhile, the Crypt Ghouls gathered in number, with enough pouring from the surrounding shadows to more than offset the losses the Stormcasts had inflicted upon them. Very soon, the lead Liberators were completely surrounded.

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Terrifying shrieks resounded across the battlefield as the Crypt Flayers and Terrorgheist took their toll on the sanity of the Stormcasts, with both Liberators and Prosecutors falling to the ground as they clutched their helmets in a vain attempt to keep the murderous screeching out of their heads.

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Everywhere, the Stormcasts ran for their lives, Crypt Horrors and Ghouls snapping at their heels. Only the Judicators kept a measured pace of retreat, continually picking off Crypt Horrors and showering the Ghoul King with Skybolts as they went.

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Battle Round Three

The number of minions at the call of the Ghoul King seemed limitless as yet more arrived on the battlefield, hungry to taste Stormcast. The Terrorgheist turned round to unleash another shriek at the nearest Liberators, but the Skybolts of the Judicators had taken a terrible toll, leaving the monster badly wounded. Opening its maw, little more than a pathetic mewl emerged.

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The retinue of Liberators had made it to a nearby woods where they sought protection, but their Prime had a nasty feeling they were simply being shepherded into a killing ground by packs of Crypt Ghouls.

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His fears were confirmed as the Crypt Ghouls gave a collective shriek and scampered forward. The fight in the woods was brief but vicious in the extreme. Not one Liberator would walk out.

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The Lord-Relictor had seen the fate of the Liberators but was frustrated in his attempts to help them as he realised he was being stalked by a pack of Crypt Flayers. Taking cover in the closest ruins, he quickly found himself fighting for his life as the creatures charged him.

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Meanwhile, the Skybolt-armed Judicators and the Liberators they had been tailing were caught in the open by a combined force of Crypt Horrors and Flayers, led by the Varghulf Courtier. Though their Sigmarite armour proved strong, there were simply too many enemies around them and they began to fall.

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Faced with such a bloodthirsty and terrible foe, the nerve of the Stormcasts broke and all across the battlefield, men fled from their retinues in the largest rout yet seen from Sigmar’s warriors.

While those running would likely be caught alone in the dark and torn apart by minions of the Ghoul King, there were now few Stormcasts still fighting on the battlefield and little semblance of order or tactical planning. In desperation, the Lord-Relictor called upon Sigmar to heal himself of the wounds inflicted by the Crypt Horrors in the ruins, and then ran as fast as he could.

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A single Prosecutor-Prime had survived the carnage, and his wings carried him high over the woods. Just one more leap, and he would be out of the Voldyr Keep and safe.

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While the Liberators they had been supporting had fallen, the Judicators were still fighting hard, and their Warblades gutted a Crypt Horror as it lunged forward. Despite being painfully outmatched, the Judicator-Prime gritted his teeth and forbade any of his men to run.

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Battle Round Four

The wounds covering the Terrorgheist of the Ghoul King began to knit and heal as it searched for more prey. The Ghoul King himself surveyed the battlefield and saw the Stormcasts were all but defeated, and he was pleased.

But still more of his minions raced out of the darkness to finish off the last of the defenders.

The flight of the Prosecutor-Prime had not gone unnoticed, and the Crypt Flayers abandoned the Lord-Relictor to pursue the fleeing Stormcast. They raced through the air to reach him, the Prime just having time to turn around before their claws shredded him mid-flight.

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This had not relieved the Lord-Relictor, however. As he watched the Crypt-Flayers chase down his Prosecutor, he became aware of dozens of glowing red eyes watching hm from the darkness. He was surrounded by Crypt Ghouls.

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His end was quick but brutal.

Only the Judicators were left fighting now. Far from safety, they were nevertheless determined to make the Flesh-Eater Court pay for every Stormcast that had been slain on this day.

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However, bravery alone will not triumph in the dark. All too soon, they had been dispatched back to Azyr with their brothers.

This was a dark day for the Stormcast Eternals, for the Ghoul King Marrowthirst had now claimed Voldyr Keep for his own.

 

Conclusion

That was less of a battle and more of a horror story!

You can just imagine how the Stormcasts felt as more and more ghoulish creatures emerged from the darkness, and what the Lord-Relictor must have been thinking as he realised he was being watched by way too many Crypt Ghouls to fight!

The Stormcasts were completely unprepared for a stand up battle, and it showed. While they came close to making actions that would count (the Ghoul King and Terrorgheist were reduced to just a single wound at one point, and had the Prosecutor-Prime managed to make it off the table – just getting a single double turn would have done it – the Flesh-Eater Court would have walked off with just a minor victory), they had no hard-hitting units in this fight. Just a couple of retinues of Retributors would have made all the difference, and Decimators would have had a whale of a time, but Sigmar had not seen fit to dispatch them.

As for the Flesh-Eaters themselves… well, they may not have a huge amount of armour, but they can certainly dish it out! There is a really good feeling of fighting against the clock when facing them, as they will constantly bring more and more models to the battlefield, leaving you only with the options to wipe them out in one good, hard hit… or run!

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, we are going to be seeing what the Flesh-Eater Courts are up to in Chamon, the Realm of Metal!