Battle Report – Gathering Bloodstorm

We are going to be trying out the second of the new Battleplans in Battletome: Blades of Khorne, this time seeing what the weight of a daemonic legion makes of the Ironjawz.

 

The Story So Far

The forces of Khorne had been trying to wrest Ghyran from the dominance of Nurgle for decades and, after the successes of the Stormcasts had shaken the Rotbringers hold, the Blood God had started seeing some gains. However, a new power had arrived in the Jade Kingdoms, a mighty Orruk horde inspired by the Fist of Gork himself, Gordrakk.

Many Megabosses led their warbands into the Realm of Life, smashing aside Sylvaneth, Rotbringer and Bloodbound alike. Khorne could not stand to let primitive creatures like the Orruks disrupt his plans and so he unleashed the Helfire Legion, a daemonic force that swept through the forces of the Orruks, tearing apart Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz alike.

While the daemons of Khorne advanced, a raging Bloodstorm churned in the skies overhead, fuelling bloodlust and murder in any who saw it. As the Helfire Legion approached the warband of Kraga Daemonbasher, the Megaboss grinned as he waved his own boys forward.

As far as the Ironjawz were concerned, this was shaping up to be a good fight.

 

The Forces

We want this battle to be a truly memorable clash, and so we have gone for mid-sized forces that nonetheless have some serious power behind them.

Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage
Exalted Daemon Prince
Bloodmaster
Skullmaster
Bloodthrone
Karanak
Flesh Hounds x 10 (two units of 5)
Bloodcrushers x 6
Skull Cannon
Bloodletters x 40 (two units of 20)

We are using a very large (Forge World) model for the Daemon Prince, and so will be ‘exalting’ him by doubling his wounds. In addition, all the units are arranged into a Blood host of Khorne led by the Bloodthirster, makes several units close to him very angry indeed!

Ironjawz
Megaboss
Weirdnob Shaman
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Ardboys x 52 (two units of 20, one unit of 12)

All the basic parts of an Ironjawz force are here, with the Brutes arranged into a Brutefist (tough Big Boss, and a chance to charge in the hero phase while dishing out mortal wounds), and the Gore-Gruntas and Ardboys in Weirdfist (allowing the Weirdnob to really suck up the magical power of his boyz!).

 

The Battleplan

In this fight, the Daemons of Khorne have a new command ability, Glory to Khorne! This allows the general (Bloodthirster or Daemon Prince) to immediately pile in and fight, and if he deals out 8 or more wounds, he earns a Blood Tithe point. The Ironjawz get their own ability, Fight Fire with Fire, allows one unit close to the Megaboss to re-roll all failed hits.

A mighty Bloodstorm is raging above the battlefield, which has two effects – first off, no Battleshock tests are taken for this battle and, second, every turn, players count how many enemy units they wiped out, and multiply that by the battle round number. This becomes their Bloodstorm point total, and the player with the highest at the end of the fifth round wins!

 

Deployment

The two armies threaded their way through the Skull Keep complex, lining up to face their foes. As Bloodletters hissed malevolently, the Ardboyz and Brutes jeered and bashed their weapons together, taking energy from the swirling bloodstorm overhead as they were driven into a frenzy of destruction.

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Megaboss Kraga Daemonbasher was unusually subdued though, for he had every expectation that the wrathful Bloodthirster opposite would be making a beeline for him as soon as hostilities commenced.

 

Battle Round One

Galvanised by the Bloodstorm in the sky, the daemons of Khorne acted first, running towards the Orruks with all speed. Behind them, more daemons arrived, in the form of a Bloodthrone, Karanak and a truly massive Daemon Prince.

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With a boom that echoed across the battlefield, the Skull Cannon blasted a flaming skull clear through an unlucky Ardboy.

Not that the Orruks were put off by this display – they charged, bellowing as they went, promising maximum violence to any daemon they caught. The Ardboyz clashed with the daemons first, piling into forty Bloodletters with no thought to their own safety.

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Hellblades and crude axes were swung, and great gouges were torn out of both sides but this only served to drive daemon and Orruk to ever greater heights of savagery. Further along the line, more Ardboyz crashed into the Bloodcrushers, grinding one of them into the dirt.

Not to be outdone, two units of Gore-Gruntas arrived ion the battlefield, waved on by the Megaboss who had taken cover in the Sylvaneth Woods.

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The battle had opened with outright savagery, but both armies were only just getting started.

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Battle Round Two

Roaring with anger, the Bloodthirster took to the sky, crashing down in front of the Brutefist as it drove the Flesh Hounds forward with a crack of its whip.

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Barging the Skullmaster aside, the Bloodthirster piled into the nearest Brutes but the Orruks had been watching its approached and scattered as the Axe of Khorne bisected a single Brute. Seeing the Bloodthirster recovering from its swing, the Brutes counterattacked, hacking through the daemon’s greaves and causing it to bellow in pain.

Close by, the Flesh Hounds savaged a Brute but half a dozen of them were dispatched back to the Realm of Chaos by the return attacks.

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Further down the line, the Bloodthrone drove into a unit of Ardboyz who were preparing to add their weight against the Bloodcrushers, but only a single Ardboy fell under its wheels. Another Bloodcrusher was torn apart but reality blinked and all the Bloodcrushers’ losses were reversed.

Sighing, the Ardboyz picked up their weapons and began their attacks afresh upon the Juggernaut riders.

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The Brutes fighting the Bloodthirster were having the time of their lives, for here was an enemy truly worth fighting. They were not selfish either, as they beckoned another unit of Brutes in to join them. Together, they started to hammer the Bloodthirster as one of the Bosses leapt up to snare the Bloodthirster by the throat with his Klaw before bashing it round the head with his Brute Smasha.

The Bloodthirster reeled from these rude attacks.

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A mighty battle was forming quickly in the centre of the battlefield as the Gore-Gruntas reached the fray and charged, effectively linking the three Ardboyz units, Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers, and Bloodthrone into one vicious brawl. Many Orruks were felled, while many daemons were banished, and the Bloodthrone was quickly being taken apart by Ardboyz, despite the Herald’s best efforts to keep them at bay with its Hellblade.

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The Bloodthirster was badly wounded, while the Orruks’ own general had yet to enter the fight. However, the battle stood on the edge of a knife, with neither daemon nor Orruk willing to give ground.

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Battle Round Three

Despite the Bloodthrister’s wounds, the land itself still rebelled against the daemon’ presence, and the Brutes yelped in confusion as massive cracks opened between their feet. One was too slow, and fell screaming into the abyss.

However, even the furious Bloodthirster could see this was not enough and with a mighty sweep of its wings, the greater daemon soared away from the Brutes.

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The Orruks jeered at this cowardice, only falling silent when they saw the Bloodthirster’s plan unfold – a great Daemon Prince now loped towards them.

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Joined by Karanack and the Skullmaster, the Daemon Prince was the embodiment of savagery, hammering every Brute it could reach.

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Meanwhile, the Bloodcrushers had suddenly surged forward, catching a group of Ardboyz by surprise and stampeding three of the Orruks into the ground. However, now the Megaboss and Gore-Gruntas had joined the fray, the Bloodcrushers were being steadily whittled down and a great many Bloodletters were banished from the battle.

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Watching the battlefield, Khorne himself instilled a terrible and divine Murderlust in his Bloodthirster, then raged with impotent fury as he watched the Bloodthirster take this rare power and used it to hide within the Crucible. However, the Gore-Gruntas were watching and they goaded their hungry mounts onwards in pursuit. They caught the Bloodthirster just as it reached the Crucible, riding the greater daemon down as it wailed, knowing full well the fate that now awaited it at the foot of the Skull Throne.

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As Ardboyz tore apart the Bloodthrone on one side of the battlefield, the Weirdnob Shaman on the other gathered the mighty energies of the Waaagh! from every Orruk close to him and hurled an empowered Arcane Bolt at the Skullmaster, immolating the Herald in a single blast.

 

Battle Round Four

Feeling the momentum of the battle begin to build behind them, the Ironjawz redoubled their attacks. Karanak unbound another Arcane Bolt, much to the chagrin of the Weirdnob Shaman, but the Flesh Hound was already badly battered by the Brutes it faced, and even the great Daemon Prince was beginning to look unsteady from the multiple deep wounds it had sustained.

By now, the Bloodcrushers had been reduced to a single Juggernaut, fending off attacks from the Ardboyz and Gore-Gruntas that surrounded it.

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However, the Bloodletter riding the Juggernaut was as spiteful as a Khornate daemon could be, and it stabbed forward with its Hellblade, straight into the heart of the Megaboss.

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The rest of the Ironjawz barely noticed the loss of their general as they were now chanting war songs as they happily bashed in the heads of daemons, banishing them with every swipe. In quick succession, Karanak was dispatched back to the Realm of Chaos, followed by the last of the Bloodletters and the Bloodcrusher.

Though many Brutes had been killed by the enemies they faced, they remained undaunted, slaying the Daemon Prince and breaking the back of the Khorne force.

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Battle Round Five

Only the Skull Cannon remained intact among the Khornate daemons, and it fired defiantly from within the Crucible, killing a Gore-Grunta and then a Brute. The Ironjawz tried to rally for one final assault, but they were exhausted. Congratulating themselves on a battle well fought, they retired from the battlefield, happy but tired.

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Conclusion

That was, predictably, a bloody battle!

That said, no units were destroyed (and thus no victory points were earned) until the third round when one of the Bloodletter units was finally wiped out. Things picked up quickly from there though, with the Ironjawz leading 18 points to 6 at the end of the third round, going up to 34 to 10 in the fourth round!

Once the Ironjawz got going, there seemed to be nothing that could stop them, though the Daemons of Khorne clawed back a lot of points at the end, leaving the score at 34 to 20 in favour of the Ironjawz – the Orruks may have won, but it will be a while before they can build their strength back up again!

 

The Story Continues…

In the wake of the Realmgate Wars, Sigmar built many cities across the Mortal Realms – and not everyone is happy about that. The Orruks have gathered their forces into one mighty horde in Ghyran, and only a thin line of Hallowed Knights stand in between them and the Free Peoples.

This is going to be a truly immense battle (well over 6,000 points on each side!) so we have to set a day to fight it – but it is going to be a truly memorable battle, so keep an eye out for it!

The Realmgate Wars – A Retrospective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that was the end of the Realmgate Wars!

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

We are really quite proud of ourselves!

So, what is next for us?

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

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

 

 

 

Battle Report – Skulls for the Skull Throne

The new Battletome: Blades of Khorne added lots of new goodies for Khorne armies of all stripes, along with two new Battleplans. While the temptation is always there to always add lots of ‘cool’ and powerful models to an army, we thought we might go in the other direction for one of these Battleplans, and field two forces of the ‘average’ infantryman…

 

The Story So Far

The Godbeasts campaign had left a powerful mark upon the Realm of Fire. The Land of the Chained Sun had been scorched into a blasted ruin by the Fyreslayers who once lived there, and the balance of power in Orb Infernia had been irrevocably altered by Lord Khul. The great and the powerful had moved on from this fiery land, to wage war and fight battles across the Mortal Realms – but some still lived and fought here.

The Devoted of Sigmar had successfully beaten back the Bloodscorch Bulltribe from their homes in the Tauroi Archipelago but while many of the Devoted had followed the Stormcast Eternals to fight for Sigmar and claim a place in his great cities, a few remained. Pledging to defend their homes and continue the fight against Chaos, they were a hardy bunch led by the most devout of Warrior Priests.

Many of the greatest champions of Khorne’s Bloodbound had also departed, following war and strife wherever it led them. Some, however, remained. Whether it was a desire to fight for territory, an eagerness to finally defeat the Devoted of Sigmar, or simply a blood-filled fury that drove them to fight the closest enemy, the reasons varied between each Bloodreaver and Blood Warrior.

The wastelands of the Tauroi Archipelago would soon see another great confrontation between Bloodbound and Devoted, as the minor champions who led both sought to defeat their age-old enemies once and for all.

 

The Forces

We are keeping things low key in this battle – a fair few models will be on the table but under no circumstances will any of them actually be any good!

Khorne Bloodbound
Exalted Deathbringer (Blood Drinker)
Aspiring Deathbringer (Gorecleaver)
Slaughterpriest (Collar of Khorne)
Bloodstoker (Talisman of Burning)
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 10

The Blood Warriors are fulfilling their role in this force as elite troops, but we have deliberately not put a Bloodsecrator in. If the Bloodbound want skulls for the skull throne, they will have to work for it!

Devoted of Sigmar
Warrior Priests x 4 (Phoenix Stone, Obstinate Blade, Relic Blade, Talisman of Blinding Light)
Flagellants x 60 (three units of 20)

Like the Bloodbound, the Devoted of Sigmar have not got any real ‘choice’ units here, having to rely on just Flagellants and Warrior Priests (a War Altar of Sigmar would have been too powerful!), and lots of both!

 

The Battleplan

This Battleplan is all about collecting worthy skulls. Each army has four Heroes, each of whom can choose an Artefact of Power from their allegiance list. After both armies have been deployed, each player randomly determines which enemy Hero he needs to slay to gain a worthy skull.

When they have got that Hero’s skull, they randomly determine the next target, and if they run out of Heroes, they start on unit leaders.

The battle lasts for five rounds, and victory goes to the force that has claimed the most worthy skulls!

We will, of course, be using the Blades of Khorne Battle Traits, for lots of Blood Tithe goodness.

 

Deployment

As the Bloodbound moved into enemy territory, the Devoted of Sigmar gathered to meet them, chanting prayers and devotions as they made themselves ready around the ruins of a once proud civilisation.

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Both forces had already identified which enemy Heroes needed to be brought low. The Devoted of Sigmar saw the Slaughterpriest was responsible for holding the Bloodbound together, while the worshippers of Khorne had decided that the skull of the leading Warrior Priest was the most worthy to claim for the throne of their god.

 

Battle Round One

As chanting Warrior Priests blessed the Devoted with prayers of shielding and the power of the God-King himself, the flagellants tore forward, screaming bloody murder as they flailed about with their weapons.

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They tore past the Ophidan Archway, desperate to bring Sigmar’s Justice to the heathen.

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Across the battlefield, the Bloodstoker raised his whip and cracked it across the backs of Bloodreavers, galvanising the entire warband to action.

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Battle Round Two

The prayers of the Warrior Priests became steadier in their devotions, and the whole leading line of Devoted were both protected and strengthened by the presence of Sigmar. With the Bloodbound now so close, they increased their pace, their fires burning bright and promising terrible retribution.

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With a mix of cries and screams, the first Flagellants reached the Bloodbound, piling into Bloodreavers and Blood Warriors.

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Undaunted by the massive brute forms of the Blood Warriors, the Flagellants flung themselves at Khorne’s elite, grabbing limbs and bashing with clubs as they reached a peak of religious fervour. The Blood Warriors were unprepared for this kind of attack and though they felled half a dozen Flagellants with their axes, two were torn apart and a third, to his immense shame, fled the battlefield.

On the other side of the line, the Flagellants took fewer losses and smashed or burnt the life out of six Bloodreavers, and here too another of Khorne’s faithful fled before Sigmar’s vengeance.

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The Bloodbound had been forced onto the back foot, but they had no intention of staying there. As the Bloodstoker whipped Bloodreavers into a fury, the Slaughterpriest raised his axe in prayer and boiled the blood of five Flagellants, steam coming out of their eyes and mouths as they collapsed onto the ground.

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Bloodreavers rushed in to support the Blood Warriors, much to the latter’s chagrin, but the though nearly half a dozen more Flagellants were killed in the counterattack, they remained firm and brought another Blood Warrior down.

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The Gorechosen then emerged from the woods, and together they surveyed the battlefield.

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It did not take them long to find a suitable enemy – not a prized skull by any means but, as the Exalted Deathbringer was oft heard to say, he would do. Together, they rushed a lone Warrior Priest who had been running to join the Flagellants.

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The Warrior Priest fought bravely, and it took all three of the Khorne Heroes to defeat him. However, the end was inevitable.

Just a little behind that fight, Bloodreavers and Flagellants battered one another with the crudest of weapons. The Bloodreavers were steadily gaining the upper hand, but just as it seemed the Flagellants would be driven back, they would hurl themselves onto the blades of their enemies in an effort to kill in the name of Sigmar.

Soon, there was but one Flagellant left facing the Bloodreavers.

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Battle Round Three

The Aspiring Deathbringer snarled in pain as he was whipped by the Bloodstoker as they prepared to assault the Ophidian Archway which remained in the hands of the Devoted.

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Sighting the worthiest skull amongst his enemies, the Slaughterpriest raised his axe again to boil the blood of the Warrior Priest Lord, and was elated as the man collapsed to the ground, red steam arising from his body. The Slaughterpriest made a note to claim his skull later, and cast a disparaging look at the nearby Blood Warriors, who were still fighting Flagellants. Eventually, they dispatched the last, but it had taken too long – there were more skulls to be found and they would not claim themselves…

The Gorechosen rushed the Ophidian Archway, and the Flagellants guarding it ran to meet them.

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The Aspiring Deathbringer and Bloodstoker relished the fight as they slew seven Flagellants between them, but both were wounded in return.

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The Exalted Deathbringer, however, had vaulted past the Flagellants to climb the archway, where he found a Warrior Priest.

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The Warrior Priest was forced to give ground as the Deathbringer landed a solid blow, but he remained steady and fought back, badly wounding the Khorne Hero in return.

Meanwhile, a lone Flagellant, the sole survivor of the first attack wave, was incredibly still alive and fighting Bloodreavers. The God-King must surely have been watching his faithful servant, as the Flagellant killed a Bloodreaver while the weapons of his enemies seemed to strike only thin air.

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With the Bloodbound amongst them and more Bloodreavers about to strike their line, the surviving Warrior Priests raised their voice to the Celestial Realm, praying for Sigmar’s healing hand… however, the God-King’s attention had now left this battlefield, and their devotions went unanswered.

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However, Khorne was most certainly watching, and the Blood God filled his servants with a true Murderlust. Bloodreavers surged across the battlefield, much to the surprise of a Warrior Priest whom they quickly surrounded. Recovering, he started to fight back but the press of bodies around him was too tight, and he was quickly wounded by several sharp knives and axes.

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The lone Flagellant battling Bloodreavers killed another one of his enemies, but was finally slain by an axe that thudded through his back – truly, Sigmar’s gaze had moved away from the Devoted.

As the Exalted Deathbringer continue his duel with the Warrior Priest guarding the Ophidian Archway, the other two members of the Gorechosen continued to tear through the last Flagellants on the battlefield.

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The Devoted of Sigmar became crazed the closer they got to defeat, and they hurled themselves at the Gorechosen, careless of their own lives. The Bloodstoker was taken aback as the Flagellants all but relinquished their own lives, and his blood streamed from dozens of wounds.

Finally, though, only two Warrior Priests remained on the battlefield.

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Battle Round Four

One Warrior Priest was surrounded by Bloodreavers and beyond hope. Though he had the God-King’s name on his lips, he was quickly overwhelmed and hacked into ever smaller pieces by his rabid foes.

On the Ophidian Archway, however, the last Warrior Priest fought on, refusing to give in to the inevitable. With a great cry, he rushed the Exalted Deathbringer and hurled his enemy to the ground.

Cursing his superior for cowardice and stupidity, the Aspiring Deathbringer climbed the Archway. The Warrior Priest greeted his new foe by twirling his hammers and crouching, ready for the charge.

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However brave he was, however, the Warrior Priest had been just too badly wounded in his last duel, and the Aspiring Deathbringer smashed his cruel axe through the priest’s breastplate, glad that he had succeeded where the Exalted Deathbringer had failed, and claimed a worthy skull for Khorne…

 

 

Conclusion

The Devoted of Sigmar had fought bravely but in the end… they were completely outclassed!

We certainly had some decent last stands (which is all I really expect from these guys, to be honest!), first with the lone Flagellant who would just not die, and then with the Warrior Priest on the Ophidian Archway.

The Devoted might have done better if they had managed to get more prayers off – after the first two rounds (and the first was not great, with only two prayers active) Sigmar barely paid them a blind bit of attention, which really stuffed them up towards the end. Both Warrior Priests could have significantly benefitted from a little healing and, without it, the Bloodbound could simply steam over them.

Which was a shame, as while the Bloodbound retained the upper hand all the way through the fight, the Devoted had stalled the Bloodreavers on the right, smashed the Blood Warriors into insignificance, and slain the toughest Hero. With a bit of healing, maybe (just maybe) they could have beaten the last of the Gorechosen, leaving only one unit of Bloodreavers and the Slaughterpriest to face.

That would probably still not have been a fight they could win, but it would have seemed more convincing!

 

The Story Continues…

We are going to stick with the forces of Khorne in the next battle, to try out the next Battleplan in the new book. This will feature a veritable horde of Khornate daemons against some rather angry Ironjawz!

Battle Report – Imprisoned in Ice

The Beastclaw Raiders are trotting out for one last battle (for the meantime, you can sure they will be back soon enough), fighting against the might of Khorne’s own daemons.

 

The Story So Far

Frostlord Braggoth had been on a roll, defeating the Cold-Iron King and then turning to the Realm of Beasts to smash the forces of countless Chaos Lords. In doing so, he gained the ire of the Blood God, who sent a daemonic army to claim the skull of the Frostlord.

Led by Urgor’eth, a Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage, a legion of Khorne’s daemons followed the trail of destruction the Ogors had left in their wake. As they gained ground, they smashed the ruins of the Tydewall Dreadfort and were drawn to the smoke of the Drownfel fort in the distance. Bloodletters licked their blades while Flesh Hounds bayed and snarled for the battle to begin. The legion headed out onto the floodplain where the ocean rose to cover a stretch of a land bridge, and water steamed as it came into contact with the daemons.

That was when Frostlord Braggoth sprang his trap. A freezing gale erupted around the daemons and, within moments, the chill coiled around them. Too late did Urgor’eth realise the danger as ice clawed its way up his daemons, freezing them in place. With the daemons unable to fight back, the Beastclaw Raiders charged…

 

The Forces

As this is the last of the Beastclaw Raiders battles we will be fighting for a while, we are bringing quite large forces to bear – the daemons have the numbers, while the Ogors have the heavyweights.

Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (Urgor’eth)
Bloodmaster x 2
Bloodthrone x 2
Skullmaster
Flesh Hounds x 10
Bloodletters x 50 (five units of 10)
Bloodcrushers x 6
Skull Cannon

This is a suitably heavy force, with lots of mortal wound-dishing Bloodletters, plenty of daemonic Heroes, fast-movers like the Bloodcrushers and Flesh Hounds, all led by a Bloodthirster. Maybe even the Beastclaw Raiders will be slowed down by this little lot!

Beastclaw Raiders
Frostlord on Stonehorn (Braggoth)
Huskard on Stonehorn
Stonehorn Beastriders
Mournfang Riders x 6 (two units of 3)
Thundertusk Beastriders
Icebrow Hunter
Frost Sabres x 6
Yhetees x 6 (two units of 3)

But the Beastclaw Raiders are not messing around either, bringing four of their massive monsters, and two Battalions, the Jorlbad, and Skal (both of which we used in the last battle). However, to keep things fresh, we are also using the Yhetees for the first time!

 

The Battleplan

This is the Imprisoned in Ice Battleplan that sees the daemons start frozen in ice (except the Bloodthirster). Until they thaw out (rolled for in each of their hero phases), they cannot move and suffer mortal wounds. On the plus side, they cannot be otherwise attacked while frozen, and they do not take battleshock tests at any time during the battle.

The Beastclaw Raiders move onto the battlefield in their first turn (when only the Bloodthirster is unfrozen, so he will have to be careful!), though the Yhetees will arrive a little later.

This is a fight to the death, with frozen models counting towards the dead pool until they thaw out!

No Time of War sheets will be used, but both forces will be using their Battle Traits, so expect some Everwinter and Tithe of Khorne goodness!

 

Deployment

With his legion frozen in place, the Bloodthirster Urgor’eth could only rage impotently as the Beastclaw Raiders approached from the west.

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The Stonehorns, led by Frostlord Braggoth, massed on one flank while the Icebrow Hunter and his Frost Sabres anchored the other. Mournfang Riders and the Thundertusks formed the centre, preparing to charge straight through the daemons as they thawed.

 

Battle Round One

The Beastclaw Raiders trundled forward, a little suspicious of the effects of the Everwinter – had it really frozen an entire legion of daemons? Even the Blood Vulture was confused, swooping through the still forms of Bloodletters.

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As the Bloodthirster continued to rage, some of the Khornate daemons thawed out and stirred – Flesh Hounds, a Blood Throne, the Bloodcrushers, a unit of Bloodletters, and the Skullmaster. However, the grasp of the Everwinter grew tighter around others. A handful of Bloodletters perished from the cold and the limbs of a Bloodmaster started to turn to ice.

The few unfrozen daemons saw the Ogors approaching and leapt to attack.

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The Bloodthrone crashed into the Huskard but his Stonehorn simply ground it into the ice. Bloodletters reached Mournfang Riders and though their Hellblades pierced the thick hides of the beasts, the Ogor counterattack was horrific, slaying eight of the daemons and causing another to evaporate.

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Battle Round Two

More daemons started to thaw, as the Skull Cannon and three units of Bloodletters shook off the last of the ice that had held them, and moved to claim the skulls of the Beastclaw Raiders. However, the Everwinter continued to freeze others, killing a Bloodmaster and injuring two more.

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Flesh Hounds bayed with bloodlust as they raced for the Frost Sabres, Bloodthirster Urgor’eth close behind.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the daemons raced towards the main part of the Beastclaw Raiders’ force, though they were hampered by icy outcroppings and daemons still held by ice. The Bloodletters of the Skull Cannon saw the Ogors were by now very close and they reversed their daemonic engine, putting more distance between them and their prey.

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The Frost Sabres sprang at the Flesh Hounds as they raced ahead of the Bloodthirster, bringing one down, but they paid a heavy price as the Flesh Hounds began to savage them.

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Within seconds, four Frost Sabres had had their throats torn out by the Flesh Hounds and even the efforts of the Icebrow Hunter were not enough to turn their attack.

However, the Bloodletters fared less well, their Hellblades slaying one Mournfang, but the Thundertusk advanced and trampled many of them, shattering their unit.

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Bloodthirster Urgor’eth bellowed as he saw the Icebrow Hunter, and knew he was about to claim his first worthy skull of the battle. However, the Everwinter blew and out of the swirling snow came the forms of three Yhetees.

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They took Urgor’eth completely by surprise, landing several telling blows as he tried to fend them off, his own efforts merely wounding one.

On the right flank, Frostlord Braggoth led his Stonehorns in a concentrated attack against Bloodletters and Bloodcrushers.

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Even the thick brass plating of the Juggernauts was no match for the crushing weight of two Stonehorns and one was instantly flattened. The Frostlord roared  as he thrust with his spear and his Stonehorn gouged Bloodcrushers. By the time his Huskard had joined him, all six Bloodcrushers had been banished back to the Realm of Chaos.

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Another Frost Sabre fell to the Flesh Hounds, but they were quickly reinforced by nearby Mournfang Riders, who thundered into the rear of the dogs and started smashing them apart with their clubs.

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Battle Round Three

The ground around Bloodthirster Urgor’eth started to crumble as the very earth rebelled against his presence, but both Yhetees and Mournfang Riders managed to get out of the way as cracks raced towards them.

Then, it started to rain.

Crimson droplets fell from the overcast sky, sizzling wherever they struck the ice. However, every daemon they touched was invigorated with the power of the Blood God, and wounds started to knit and heal.

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A Bloodmaster and Bloodthrone burned with rage as they freed themselves from the ice, but another Bloodletter was completely frozen.

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Pinned in place by the Yhetees, Bloodthirster Urgor’eth wrapped his whip around the neck of one, neatly decapitating it with a violent tug. A short distance away, the Skull Cannon roared, and a flaming skull blasted the chest of another.

The Skullmaster urged its Juggernaut forward to help Bloodletters trying to hold back a Stonehorn and its Beastriders, and the monster staggered as it barrelled into it. Flying into a fury, the Skullmaster lashed out with its Hellblade as the Juggernaut continued to drive forward, forcing the Stonehorn back.

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However, the Stonehorn quickly recovered and the Skullmaster’s attacks were halted as it was gouged by massive horns.

As the Mournfang Riders finished off the last of the Flesh Hounds, Bloodthirster Urgor’eth vented fury at the Yhetees, but though seriously battered, the last Yhetee survived.

The Everwinter began to gather its strength and a terrible blizzard descended onto the battlefield. The Ogors braced themselves to weather its worst effects, but two Bloodletters succumbed to the cold, their frozen forms collapsing to the snow-covered ground.

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The Beastclaw Raiders dug their heels in to their mounts, driving them forward to run down the rest of the daemons. As the Mournfang Rider rode past the Bloodthirster, their Skalg levelled his pistol for a ride-by shooting, and Urgor’eth roared in pain and anger as the shot buried itself deep into his shoulder.

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Seeing the Bloodthirster was on the back foot, the Skalg barked an order and, as one the Mournfang Riders swung round to charge the greater daemon.

Still distracted by the last Yhetee, Urgor’eth did not notice that the Mournfang Riders had turned and charged until it was too late. Knocked off his feet, the Bloodthirster hit the icy ground hard and before he could rise again, a Mournfang’s hoof had crushed his skull.

 

Battle Round Four

The feeling that the wind was well and truly behind the Ogors in this battle now was no illusion, for the Everwinter blew a freezing tailwind that drove them forward.

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More Yhetees appeared out of the snow, moving to engage the nearest Bloodletters.

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However, Frostlord Braggoth beat them to it, as his Stonehorn thundered into the Bloodletters. Most were crushed under the hooves of the Stonehorn or skewered by the Frostspear, leaving only a handful for the hungry Yhetees to finish off.

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Behind them, Mournfang Riders tore apart a Bloodthrone and smashed into the Skull Cannon, leaving it rickety and unstable. It lashed out at the Ogors, and blasted a flaming skull at them, but the burning missile merely bounced off the metal belly plate of the Skalg.

The last unit of Bloodletters could not shake off the grip of the ice, and another two were frozen where they continued to stand. Seeing only a lone Bloodmaster to support them, the crew of the Skull Cannon turned and sped away as fast as their daemonic machine could take them.

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The Bloodmaster leapt out of the hollow crater it had been lurking within, and leapt at a Yhetee with its Hellblade.

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Startled, the Yhetee swung its icy club at the Bloodmaster, but was not quick enough. The Bloodmaster cackled as its Hellblade pierced the Yhetee’s heart, but looked up in dismay as a Mournfang Rider oiled-in to avenge the Yhetee, stomping the Bloodmaster flat.

 

Battle Round Five

More Bloodletters froze under the ice that held them, and the Bloodmaster gave up on any hope of them being freed.

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The Skull Cannon was the first to run, straining to climb the rocky hill in an effort to put as much distance between it and the Beastclaw Raiders. The Bloodmaster, too, fled from inevitable destruction, but was far slower.

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The Mournfang Riders regrouped and began their charge to finish off the Bloodmaster, but before they reached the daemon, the Icebrow Hunter yelled as he ran at top speed, brandishing a great spear. Putting all his weight into the throw, he hurled the spear, and it arced gracefully through the sky. The Bloodmaster had just enough time to look up as the spear descended and impaled the daemon with killing force.

Desperate now, the Skull Cannon crew urged their daemonic machine to scramble up the rocks, even as a Blood Vulture circled above them.

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One of the Stonehorn Beastriders levelled his massive harpoon launcher at the battered machine, but his shot went wide as the Skull Cannon drove itself over the rocks and out of sight.

The daemonic forces of Khorne had not been completely wiped out, as Frostlord Braggoth had planned… But they had suffered a serious setback.

 

Conclusion

One daemon of Khorne survived the battle, earning the Blood God a minor victory – but he cannot be proud of that win!

The daemons were off balance right from the start of the battle (not their fault, they had been frozen in ice), and they never really recovered, the slight wounds they did to the Beastclaw Raiders (one Mournfang was killed, and one Stonehorn had lost half of its wounds) not enough to halt the advance. And, as we saw in the last battle, you just cannot let an unwounded Frostlord roam free across a battlefield.

In the daemons’ place, I might have used the Blood Tithe (there was enough of it!) to summon a second Bloodthirster, but more effort was put into the Crimson Rain to heal the first Bloodthirster. That stalled the Yhetees (the Bloodthirster really should have won that fight!) but, in the end, they managed to pin him in place long enough for the Mournfang Riders to finish him off.

Overall, the daemons did not have a great deal of luck in that battle (one unit of Bloodletters was still frozen by the end!), and the Beastclaw Raiders are the type of army that can easily take advantage of that.

 

The Story Continues…

Well, that is all the Battleplans from Battletome: Beastclaw Raiders complete! We are now going to turn to the Battleplans in Battletome: Blades of Khorne, starting off with one I have been looking forward to, ever since I twigged what forces would be great for it!

Battle Report – Ensnared

The Beastclaw Raiders are giving the Mortal Realms a real shaking, and we are not going to stop them – this time we are going to see what the forces of Death make of them!

Grab yourself a coffee as you go through this battle report as it is, as they say, a good ‘un…

 

The Story So Far

The Bloodbound warhorde of Lord Kargor flooded into the valleys of the Hallowhoar, eager to claim skulls for Khorne but unaware they were being stalked by Ragnir, an Icebrow Hunter who was tracking them for his Alfrostun. Unfortunately for the Ogors, the Bloodbound were utterly destroyed by the deathless armies of the Cold-Iron King. However, Frostlord Braggoth would not be denied his prize, and he ordered the Alfrostun to attack before the Bloodbound corpses could be rendered into more undead.

In his arrogance, the Cold-Iron King opened the gates of his tomb-city when he saw the Alfrostun approach, confident his skeletal legions would annihilate the Ogors. However, while arrogant, the Cold-Iron King was no fool, and he summoned his Nighthaunt allies and Morghast Archai, a gift from Arkhan himself.

Frostlord Braggoth was not daunted by the array of undead before him, for he had destroyed countless armies in his life, and he split the Alfrostun, with the Jorlbad and Eurlbad taking different flanks, even as Ragnir disappeared with his Frost Sabres to ambush the undead at an opportune time…

 

The Forces

The forces of Death are certainly not going to get an easy run in this battle, with the Beastclaw Raiders fielding a total of 5 Stonehorns and a Thundertusk!

Beastclaw Raiders
Frostlord on Stonehorn (Braggoth)
Huskards on Stonehorns x 2
Stonehorn Beastriders x 2
Mournfang Riders x 8 (four units of 2)
Thundertusk Beastriders
Icebrow Hunter (Ragnir)
Frost Sabres x 6

The Beastclaw Raiders are no longer sending out a raiding party here and there – this is a full on Alfrostun (in fact, we are only missing a Torrbad!), with three Battalions: Jorlbad (can run and charge, as well as re-roll battleshock tests), Eurlbad (dishes out mortal wounds while the Huskard does more damage), and a Skal (the Icebrow Hunter and Frost Sabres can ambush the enemy).

Deathrattlers
Mounted Wight King (the Cold-Iron King)
Wight King
Grave Guard x 30
Black Knights x 10
Skeleton Warriors x 60 (two units of 30)
Spirit Hosts (two units of 3)
Cairn Wraiths x 4
Morghast Archai (two units of 2)
Mourngul

Against any other force, the presence of the Grave Guard, Morghast Archai and Mourngul might give an enemy pause, but the Deathrattlers are going to have to work very hard just to keep pace with the Beastclaw Raiders, especially as they have no models capable of summoning replacements!

 

The Battleplan

This is a straight fight to the death, with the last army standing gaining victory. The Deathrattlers deploy their army first, followed by the Beastclaw Raiders who place their Jorlbad on one flank, the Eurlbad on the other, and keep the Skal to one side (the Icebrow Hunter and his Frost Sabres will launch a surprise attack in the second battle round).

The Everwinter rules are being used of course, but they have an additional effect in this battle, gradually slowing down the enemy’s run and charge rolls. In return, however, the Deathrattlers are fighting on their home turf, territory that is infused with a network of death magicks – so long as the Cold-Iron King survives, every unit heals D3 wounds in their hero phase.

 

Deployment

The Cold-Iron King assembled his forces on the battlefield. He could see the Beastclaw Raiders were approaching from both flanks, and ordered the bulk of his force to face the Eurlbad.

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The Beastclaw Raiders closed quickly with the forces of the Cold-Iron King, Frostlord Braggoth leading his Eurlbad on the left flank while the Jorlbad took the right. Somewhere, the Skal lurked, its Icebrow Hunter and his Frost Sabres ready to pounce on an unsuspecting enemy.

 

Battle Round One

Frostlord Braggoth immediately saw that the Cold-Iron King was planning to utterly destroy his Eurlbad before turning on the rest of his Ogors, and he called a halt to the advance, instead waving the Jorlbad to hit the right flank alone. He hoped that by baiting the Cold-Iron King on the left and smashing him on the right, he could split the undead legion into its component parts and destroy them piecemeal.

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The Huskard of the Jorlbad dutifully followed his Frostlord’s orders, and Stonehorns and Mournfangs lumbered forward past the woods. At a cry from the Huskard, they charged, smashing into the Spirit Hosts who swarmed close by.

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Under the full weight of a Stonehorn charge, the Spirit Hosts simply dissipated into nothingness, while a Cairn Wraith was clubbed to oblivion by Mournfang Riders.

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The Cold-Iron King reacted quickly, sending a full column of Skeleton Warriors to face the Jorlbad, along with every Morghast he possessed… and the Mourngul.

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Brandishing their spears and empowered by the presence of the Cold-Iron King himself, the Skeleton Warriors swarmed over the Jorlbad, bringing down a Mournfang Rider and badly wounding a Stonehorn carrying Beastriders into battle. Reeling from this attack, the Jorlbad was completely disorganised and had no answer for the Morghast Harbingers who tore apart the Stonehorn apart and savaged its riders.

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Frostlord Braggoth gritted his teeth, cursing the Cold-Iron King. He could see the Jorlbad was in real trouble, but the rest of the undead legion had not moved, simply waiting patiently for the Ogor’s own move.

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Battle Round Two

The assault on the Jorlbad continued with no sign of the undead allowing the Ogors to flee the attack. The Skeleton Warriors continued their relentless advance, now swarming over the Thundertusk, bringing the great beast down with a multitude of spear thrusts, while the Morghasts and Mourngul concentrated on the last of the Mournfang Riders and Huskard.

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Within moments, a wounded Huskard was all that was left of the Jorlbad. Fearing he had left it too late to enact his plan, Frostlord Braggoth made his move, even as the Everwinter swirled around him with a fortifying hoarfrost that coated the hides of the Ogors and their beasts.

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The Frostlord barked an order to one of the Mournfang Riders below him, and a clear, strong note from a horn sounded across the battlefield. At this signal, the Skal appeared, the Icebrow Hunter and a pack of Frost Sabres racing to the aid of the Jorlbad’s Huskard.

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Then, the Eurlbad went into battle.

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The ground shaking as they galloped forwards, three Stonehorns moved straight for the bulk of the Cold-Iron King’s legion, aiming for the elite Grave Guard as Mournfang Riders moved round the flank.

As the Stonehorns struck the undead line, bones and rusted armour were ground into the earth or tossed through the air with merciless abandon.

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Eight Grave Guard simply disappeared beneath the hooves of the three Stonehorns as they all but ignored the sword and axe blows of the dead soldiers. Then Frostlord Braggoth moved to the fore, his Stonehorn and Frostspear sweeping a dozen Grave Guard out of his path, closely followed by the Stonehorn Beastriders who destroyed the rest.

Freed from entanglement from the Grave Guard, the Huskard turned his Stonehorn around to start smashing Skeleton Warriors. Nine of them fell to his blows while more crumbled as the magical energy animating them was disrupted and failed.

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Things were not going so well for the Beastclaw Raiders on the right flank, as the Frost Sabres of the Skal charged in to save the Huskard of the Jorlbad.

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Their sudden appearance had surprised the Morghast Harbingers, but they responded quickly and the Frost Sabres were only able to rip apart one of them, leaving the second to attack the Huskard directly.

The Huskard fought bravely, but he was no match for the skill of the Morghast, which sliced the Ogor’s head off with ease.

 

Battle Round Three

The Cold-Iron King might have felt a touch of doubt at this point, had he been capable of feeling. While the Jorlbad had now been completely destroyed and the Skal posed little threat, the Eurlbad and Frostlord had crushed nearly three score of his warriors in a single rush. A response had to be made immediately.

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Sending his Black Knights around the Arcane Ruins, the Cold-Iron King sought to block the flanking move of the Mournfang Riders and stop them from rampaging through his rear lines.

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Meanwhile, the Skeleton Warriors and Morghast Archai assembled themselves to finish off the Skal with one swift and brutal attack.

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However, the freezing cold of the Everwinter was starting to have a telling effect upon the undead as their joints started to literally freeze in place. The steeds of the Black Knights stumbled as leg bones locked into position.

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However, the Morghasts and Skeleton Warriors were close enough to their prey that they were able to push through the freeze. The Frost Sabres put up a brave defence, tearing apart several Skeleton Warriors before their hearts were pierced by cruel spears, while the Icebrow Hunter was lucky to survive the attack from Morghast Archai and he stumbled away, badly hurt.

Two more Morghast Archai flew to halt the advance of the Eurlbad but though they battered the Stonehorn Huskard, the Beastriders close by destroyed the last of the Skeleton Warriors they faced, freeing up the Frostlord to pile into the Morghasts. With powerful thrusts of his Frostspear and sweeping attacks by the Stonehorn, the Morghasts were smashed apart.

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The Everwinter continued to blow cold, and now a freezing tailwind drove the Beastclaw Raiders on. Frostlord Braggoth bellowed to his Eurlbad, exciting them to maximum violence.

The Mournfang Riders were the first to respond, and they ploughed into the Black Knights before the undead could form a proper charge against them.

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The much larger Mournfangs broke through the Black Knight line, crushing eight of them, while another collapsed to the ground as the magicks supporting it fell away.

As the Icebrow Hunter, bereft of his Frost Sabres, ran for his life from the Morghast Archai, Frostlord Braggoth steeled himself for a task he had known he would have to attend to before the battle had started. With the Jorlbad destroyed, the Mourngul was now free to roam the battlefield, and it now headed towards the Eurlbad with all speed. Joined by his Huskard, Braggoth urged his Stonehorn forward, hoping to destroy the dreadful creature before it could do much damage.

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Even the Mourngul, the Cold-Iron King’s prized servant, reeled under the sheer weight of the Stonehorns and their riders but, when the dust had settled, Frostlord Braggoth was dismayed to see the Mourngul was still fighting and had badly wounded his Huskard.

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Battle Round Four

Frostlord Braggoth felt a touch of fear as he saw the Cold-Iron King was feeding power into the Mourngul, and it was already starting to get stronger after the punishment it had sustained from the Stonehorns.

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To make matter worse, the rest undead legion was now free of both the Skal and Jorlbad, and was now heading back to destroy the Eurlbad.

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The only saving grace Frostlord Braggoth had was that the effects of the Everwinter were growing ever more severe, with even Morghast Harbingers forced to the ground as their wings grew heavy with ice. Only a single Cairn Wraith was able to reach the Stonehorns battling the Mourngul, but the Ogors completely ignored it as they faced the far more terrible foe.

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The Huskard’s Stonehorn was now bleeding from many deep wounds, and it could barely keep to its feet as the Mourngul continued to score several telling hits. However, this was all the distraction that Braggoth needed and as his own Stonehorn gouged the creature, he thrust his Frostspear deep into the Mourngul’s heart. With a piercing screech that pained even the Frostlord, the Mourngul vanished into mist that then dispersed in the winds blown by the Everwinter.

As the Everwinter deposited another fortifying hoarfrost on the few surviving Beastclaw Raiders, Frostlord Braggoth heard the desperate cries of his Icebrow Hunter being pursued by Morghast Archai, and he resolved to rescue his minion.

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Two Morghast Harbingers stood in his way, trying to shake the ice off their wings so they could get airborne. With a thundering of hooves, Braggoth’s Stonehorn barrelled into them, grinding both into the ground before they could raise their weapons.

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Behind him, the Stonehorn Beastriders were now atop a badly wounded beast and were being hard pressed by two Cairn Wraiths and a mounted Wight King. The Mournfang Riders, having dispatched the last of the Black Knights, swung round the Arcane Ruins to slay the Wight King and one of the Wraiths, greatly relieving the pressure on the Beastriders.

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Unfortunately, no such help was available to the Huskard of the Eurlbad, and as his Stonehorn collapsed from its wounds, another Cairn Wraith neatly took his head with its scythe.

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Battle Round Five

Seeing the fate of their Huskard, the Beastriders urged their Stonehorn to break away from the last Cairn Wraith they faced, leaving it to the unhurt Mournfang Riders. Across the battlefield, the Icebrow Hunter ran as fast as he could from the Morghast Archai, believing himself a dead Ogor. However, in the distance, he could see Frostlord Braggoth charging towards him. There was just the slightest chance of help…

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Frostlord Braggoth ploughed into the Skeleton Warriors, heedless of the carnage they had caused to his Jorlbad earlier. Spears splintered and shields shattered under the charge of his Stonehorn, and the Frostlord leaned low in his saddle to swipe at more. The few Skeleton Warriors that remained intact after the charge simply fell into a pile of bones as they were released from servitude.

The rest of the Eurlbad started to follow their Frostlord, who was already far ahead of them and alone.

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Two Mournfangs were still tied up battling a Cairn Wraith, but the Skalg used his pistol in a ride-by shooting that blasted the spirit into nothingness.

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The Cold-Iron King could barely believe what he was seeing, as the Beastclaw Raiders started to surge forward from what had appeared certain defeat. However, he knew he still had his Morghast Archai to serve him, and he retreated to the Ophidian Archway.

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From this vantage point, he could not only see the whole battlefield, but could take advantage of the spirits that lurked within the stones of the ruin.

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The Morghast Archai finally managed to reach the Icebrow Hunter and though Frostlord Braggoth was now close by, their glaives easily tore the heart out of the hunter before he could strike back.

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Battle Round Six

A lone Morghast Harbinger and Cairn Wraith still roamed the centre of the battlefield and, weighed down by ice, they slowly moved to face the Eurlbad.

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Mournfang Riders tore into the Morghast and bludgeoned it apart with their clubs, while the Stonehorn Beastriders simply ride over the Cairn Wraith as if it were not there.

Meanwhile, Frostlord Braggoth, angry that he had not been able to reach the Icebrow Hunter in time, vented his fury upon the Morghast Archai who had done the killing, smashing one apart with his Stonehorn and vanquishing the spirits of the other with his Frostspear.

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Battle Round Seven

With his greatest servants suddenly destroyed, the Cold-Iron King drew his Spirit Hosts closer around him as the Beastclaw Raiders started to circle the Ophidian Archway, searching for the best route to attack.

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The Cold-Iron King could hardly believe what he was seeing – centuries of rule destroyed in moments by primitive Ogors. As Mournfang Riders worked hard to dissipate the Spirit Hosts with their Gargant Hackers, Frostlord Braggoth kicked his Stonehorn forward.

The massive creature thundered into the Ophidian Archway, toppling the ruin in a shower of dust and rubble. Clambering out of the debris, the Cold-Iron King fixed the Braggoth with a baleful glare before his dark unbeating heart was pierced by the Frostspear.

Frostlord Braggoth gave a sigh of relief. His casualties had been great and he had thought not to survive the fight, but he finally stood the victor over this battlefield.

 

Conclusion

Now, that was an interesting battle. Three players were involved, with Andy taking command of the Cold-Iron King’s legion, James on the Jorlbad, Thundertusk and Skal, and I took the Eurlbad and Frostlord.

As we deployed, I could see what Andy was thinking – give one of the pincers (mine!) a right smacking by concentrating most of his forces against it. A good move, as you can lean on a smaller part of your enemy’s force with the greater part of your own. Upon seeing this, I persuaded James’ Jorlbad to dive in while holding back the Eurlbad myself, thinking to disrupt Andy’s plan and force him to face both of us on a more even keel. However, he responded by holding position against me and then sending every Morghast and the Mourngul against James.

This meant that while James enjoyed a very early success against Andy’s outermost forces, he received a right kicking in the first turn that immediately put him on the defensive and, by turn two, the back of his force had been broken.

My Eurlbad did better, completely smashing the Grave Guard and half of Andy’s Skeleton Warriors in good order, but that still left the Morghasts and Mourngul to deal with – by using them in such weight against James, they were still more or less intact.

The one good weapon I still had in my pocket by that time was the Frostlord – while the two other Stonehorns had been seriously wounded (down to just one or two wounds!), the Frostlord was completely untouched, meaning he still had his massive range of attacks. When combined with the mortal wounds a Stonehorn dishes out on the charge and retaining the initiative so he could charge every round, the Frostlord was able to take out each of Andy’s nasty units one by one, ending with the Cold-Iron King himself being beaten while taking refuge in the Ophidian Archway.

This was a great battle – we had some worries right at the start that the undead were simply going to roll over the Ogors, and I am not sure how James feels about being the decoy force (!) but in the end, it came right down to the wire with the Beastclaw Raiders finally pulling out a victory right at the end!

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, we see the Everwinter reach its full potential as it locks an entire legion of daemons in its icy grip!

Battle Report – A Feast of Plenty

The Everwinter has come to the Realm of Life, spearheaded by a Jorlbad of Beastclaw Raiders. Will the Sylvaneth be able to halt their advance and stop them ravaging sacred ground?

 

The Story So Far

Hidden in the heart of the Balefens, the Sylvaneth had nurtured the Glydmir Enclave and coaxed life from lands reclaimed from the ravages of Nurgle. The Beastclaw Raiders ploughed into this territory, spearheading a billowing gale of ice and snow.

The first to feel their insatiable hunger were the Clawood Gargant tribe, who were picked off one by one until the Beastclaw Raiders were weighed down by joints of meat and bone. The surviving Gargants fled deeper into the swampy Balefen and the Beastclaw Raiders pursued, led by a Jorlbad.

They ran straight into the Sylvaneth who had dispassionately watched the destruction of the Clawood Gargants but were now forced to take action as the Ogors moved deeper into their land. Trees died from the supernatural cold of the Everwinter and the Forest Folk rallied to launch a series of ambushes on the invaders, to little avail. Eventually, the Jorlbad reached an enchanted orchard where they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of soulpods in the shape of ripened fruit – a feast for the taking.

Roused from a deep slumber, the Treelord Ancient Kurothos saw his kin fall beneath the advance of the Everwinter, and now moved to annihilate the Ogors.

 

The Forces

We are starting to loosen the reigns on the Beastclaw Raiders, slowly building up the size of their forces as we get used to them in action.

Beastclaw Raiders
Huskard on Stonehorn
Stonehorn Beastriders
Thundertusk Beastriders
Mournfangs x 4 (two units of 2)

We have a full Jorlbad here, with supporting Thundertusk, which means the Beastclaw Raiders will be extremely fast moving (they are also resilient to battleshock tests but, with the small units of Mournfangs involved, that will not be a factor in this battle).

Sylvaneth
Treelord Ancient (Kurothos)
Branchwraith
Kurnoth Hunters (two units of 3)
Dryads x 30 (three units of 10)
Tree-Revenants x 20 (two units of 10)

The Sylvaneth have arrived in great number, but they have few of their really tough units and comprise mainly Forest Folk. Will they be able to stall the Beastclaw Raider advance?

 

The Battleplan

This battle takes place in a clearing filled with shrines dedicated to the growing of soulpods. The Beastclaw Raiders will gain a major victory if they can wipe out the Sylvaneth in five battle rounds. If they fail, then victory will be determined by the number of soulpod shrines they have managed to munch their way through – if the Sylvaneth can stop them devouring the contents of less than four soulpod shrines, a major victory will be theirs.

With only five battle rounds and the entire length of the table to cross, the Beastclaw Raiders will have to be quick – but then again, that has never really been a problem with them, so it is up to the Sylvaneth to block their advance and not be destroyed as they do so.

Sylvaneth defending a shrine have a chance to ignore wounds, but Beastclaw Raider models that consume a shrine will be healed.

For this battle, we will be using the full set of Battle Traits for Beastclaw Raiders; both their Beastclaw Stampede rule, and the Everwinter’s Blessing. The latter allows the Beastclaw Raiders to roll a dice at the start of their turns to see what effect the Everwinter has on the battle. This can range from a Fortifying Hoarfrost that allows them to re-roll saves of 1, to a Raging Blizzard that dishes out mortal wounds to nearby enemy units.

 

Deployment

Within the Balefens, everything seemed still but keen eyes could pick the slightest of movement from within the Wyldwoods. The Sylvaneth were stirring to action…

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Battle Round One

The Jorlbad thundered into the grove at the head of a fortifying hoarfrost that coated the Stonehorns and Thundertusk with ice. The outer trees were undefended, and the Beastclaw Raiders quickly gorged themselves on soulpods the Sylvaneth had known they would have to sacrifice before the Ogors had even arrived.

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A Blood Vulture flew high into the sky, only to plummet down upon an unsuspecting Dryad, but this was the only casualty the Sylvaneth suffered as the Ogor’s great bolts all went wide.

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Deeper within the grove, Treelord Ancient Kurothos summoned the power of the Wyldwood to his bidding, and the vegetation reshaped itself into a Throne of Vines upon which he sat.

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Meanwhile, the Branchwraith further fortified the Wyldwoods by throwing a Mystic Shield upon its Dryads, even as Kurnoth Hunters loosed massive arrows that scored several telling hits upon the approaching Thundertusk.

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Battle Round Two

The Mystic Shield was maintained on the Dryads, and now Treelord Ancient Kurothos lent his magical weight to the defence, adding his own shield to the defenders. As the Thundertusk approached, the Kurnoth Hunters loosed another volley, this time causing the beast to stumble as it bled from several deep wounds.

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The Everwinter had by now entered the grove proper, and a freezing tailwind seemed to drive the Beastclaw Raiders even further forward. Once more, a Blood Vulture took to the sky, but its attacks upon Dryads were thwarted by the trees of the Wyldwoods themselves, sweeping their branches to drive it back.

By now, the Beastclaw Raiders were in position to attack, and Stonehorns and Mournfangs thundered forward to assault the Dryads in the outermost Wyldwoods.

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The trees proved no obstacle to these massive monsters, and half a dozen Dryads were crushed under the weight of their hooves before they could react. A fierce, but very brief, battle ensued but while the Dryads managed to score light wounds on the Ogors, they were completely outmatched. The few Dryads who survived this assault quickly ran, using the spiritways to flee the battlefield.

The Thundertusk had been too injured to launch its own charge, but it summoned enough strength to loose a chill breath upon the Branchwraith, who screeched in pain as the ice started to freeze her limbs.

Yet more soulpods were consumed by the Ogors, this time the Mournfang Riders eating their fill.

 

Battle Round Three

The Sylvaneth had known the Beastclaw Raiders would be unstoppable at first but now they had consumed half of the soulpods of the grove, they had to be halted before they moved deeper into the woods.

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Shaking the ice from her limbs, the Branchwraith hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Thundertusk, causing the beats to shy away from the brilliant sorcerous light, before she turned and ran for the safety of another Wyldwood.

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Meanwhile, a deep bass voice rolled over the grove, invigorating every Sylvaneth who heard it – Treelord Ancient Kurothos had begun his Spirit Song.

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The Kurnoth Hunters sustained their withering fire, with one group finishing off the wounded Thundertusk, while a second group joined the Kurothos and his Doom Tendril Staff in striking at the approaching Huskard and his Stonehorn.

The Everwinter infused the Beatsclaw Raiders with a chilling effect and a deadly frostbite radiated from their advance, but fortunately for the Sylvaneth, no one was close enough to suffer from it.

With another Wyldwood about to fall into the hands of the Huskard, the others urged their mounts forward to strike at the last two bastions of the Sylvaneth that still stood.

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Others saw the Branchwraith fleeing the Wyldwoods, and gave pursuit. Two massive bolts flew past her head, followed by the shot of a pistol, but the Ogor’s aim was very poor, and the Branchwraith very swift.

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The soaring Blood Vulture fared no better, as it was again beaten back away from the last Dryads by the branches of the Wyldwood their hid within.

The Huskard bellowed as his Stonehorn crashed through trees to reach the Kurnoth Hunters who had slain the Thundertusk. One was crushed instantly underfoot, while the other two were gouged by the Stonehorn. The Mournfang Riders who had been following the Huskard took advantage of this sudden opening in the Sylvaneth defence to throw themselves straight at Treelord Ancient Kurothos. Caught offguard, Kurothos was wounded in their rush, but recovered quickly to flatten one Ogor with a single sweep of his staff.

Close by, another Stonehorn was making an impact, this time against the Tree-Revenants supporting Kurothos.

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Nimbly dodging the worst of the Stonehorn’s lumbering attacks, they darted out of the woods to defend their leader against both the Stonehorn and Mournfang Rider.

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Another Wyldwood had now fallen into the hands of the Beastclaw Raiders, and now it was the turn of the Huskard to enjoy the sweet taste of Sylvaneth soulpods.

 

Battle Round Four

By now, only two Wyldwoods remained in Sylvaneth hands, but each resolved to keep the Ogors back.

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As Kurothos threw a Mystic Shield over himself, the Branchwraith hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Huskard, and then retreated deeper into the Wyldwood.

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The fighting now intensified, and the Huskard was further wounded by Kurothos’ Doom Tendril Staff, even as the Tree-Revenants scored a series of deep cuts against the Stonehorn on the other side of the Wyldwood. However, they could not halt its advance and the last of the Kurnoth Hunters were smashed into the trees by its great horns.

However, Treelord Ancient Kurothos held firm, with the powerful blows of the Mournfang Rider he faced simply bouncing off his Mystic Shield as he fought from within the Wyldwood.

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Once more, the Everwinter blew a freezing tailwind as the Beastclaw Raiders closed in for one final attack. The Huskard dove into the Wyldwood, searching for the Branchwraith even as he struck at the Treelord Ancient. The Branchwraith successfully evaded his wild blows, but Kurothos was hit badly, staggering under the sheer weight of the Stonehorn. However, even as rivers of sap ran down his trunk, Kurothos refused to budge from the Throne of Vines he had created.

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The second Wyldwood still held by the Sylvaneth was assaulted by two brave Mournfang Riders.

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The Dryads started to retreat deeper into  the Wyldwood, and the Mournfang Riders followed, cutting three of the Forest Folk down. It took them a few moments to realise the trap the Dryads had led them into. Spurred on by the plight of the Forest Folk, Tree-Revenants swarmed forward, leaving the protection of the Wyldwood to surround the Mournfang Riders. Very quickly, the Mournfang Riders realised they had a real fight on their hands as they strove to defend themselves from Sylvaneth mystic blades.

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Battle Round Five

The Mournfang Skalg, desperately trying to find a chink in the defences of the Treelord Ancient, caught a glimpse of the Branchwraith between Kurothos’ legs, and he hastily raised his pistol to snapfire at her. The shot was true, and the Branchwraith’s head exploded in a shower of sap and leaves.

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A freezing tailwind from the Everwinter helped the Stonehorn Beastriders turn their mount around to aid the Mournfang Riders who had been ambushed by the Tree-Revenants, even as their Blood Vulture dove down to savage a Dryad.

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The battle for the Wyldwood was short, as the Dryads were mercilessly ridden down by the Stonehorn, before it plunged into the Tree-Revenants. They managed to bring down one of the Mournfangs before they too were crushed. Though the battle still raged close by, this Wyldwood had now been claimed by the Beastclaw Raiders and the Beastriders gorged themselves on soulpods.

Kurothos was now battling the Mournfang Skalg and his Huskard alone, for all other Sylvaneth had either been slain or had fled the grove. Knowing he could not flee, the Treelord Ancient used all his skill and deep knowledge of the Wyldwoods to fight, blocking every attack thrown at him.

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The Huskard raged at his own impotence for, despite being very badly wounded, the Treelord Ancient was not only surviving, he managed to deal some very strong blows upon the Stonehorn.

Maintaining both his Mystic Shield and Spirit-Song, Kurothos felt the power of Alarielle flow through him as he continued to fight. Once again, he battled the Stonehorn and this time forced it backwards, out of the Wyldwood.

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Cursing the Treelord Ancient, the Huskard declined to charge back into the woods, and signalled the retreat. The Beastclaw Raiders had ravaged the grove and while they had not claimed it completely, their stomachs were full enough for them to be satisfied with a draw.

 

Conclusion

It is not often we see a draw – and it was all down to the Treelord Ancient, who had been reduced to a single wound! The combination of a Mystic Shield with cover was enough to bring his save down to 1+ but while that served him well against the Mournfang, it is not so comforting against a Stonehorn who has multiple Rend -2, Damage 3 attacks. However, the Huskard could just not land that last telling blow!

The Sylvaneth fought purely defensively but while the Beastclaw Raiders were certainly formidable, the Sylvaneth were still able to prove they were not invulnerable. The Thundertusk went down pretty quickly and while the Beastclaw Raiders were only to lose two Mournfang Riders on top of that, they also dealt significant damage to the Stonehorns, who were not only halving all incoming damage, but healing as they consumed soulpods!

The Huskard had been reduced to enough wounds that a single blow from the Treelord Ancient’s staff, followed by a good impale attack, could have finished him off – alas, the Treelord Ancient was no luckier in that than the Huskard was in attacking him.

A good, solid battle overall, and we are looking forward to the next one involving the Beastclaw Raiders!

 

The Story Continues…

We are going to carry on following the path of the Beastclaw Raiders a little while yet, and next time they will be travelling to the Realm of Death, bringing the Everwinter with them.

Battle Report – Endless Battle

Last time, we tried out the Gutbuster Ogors and snuck one of the Beastclaw Raiders in to lead them. Now, we are going with a much larger force of Beastclaw Raiders, accompanied by Spiderfang slaves/allies, against Baudrax the Hunter and his Red Butchers once more.

 

The Story So Far

After his victory over the Ogor champion Skargut, Baudrax the Hunter sought to return with his warband to the Realm of Fire. However, the fickle gods and Gorehammer Realmgates had other ideas.

Baudrax emerged with his Red Butchers into a vast arena of bones, with two other Realmgates spread along its edges, each sparking with sorcerous energies. As the Red Butchers advanced, the Realmgates flared into life, disgorging a new army into the Gorehammer Arena.

A new Ogor champion emerged from a Realmgate, Gurguk Facegouger, riding atop a mighty Thundertusk. He was joined by more Beastclaw Raiders, and a slave tribe of Spiderfang Grots.

As the two forces charged towards one another, Baudrax was aware that the Realmgate were still very much active, and he wondered whether he could begin using them to his advantage…

 

The Forces

The Beastclaw Raiders are still fairly new to us, so we are keeping the forces small, but the addition of the slave Spiderfang Grots means the Bloodbound are still able to bring a fairly weighty force to the battle.

Beastclaw Raiders
Beastriders on Thundertusk (Gurguk Facegouger)
Mournfang Riders x 4
Ironblaster

Just a small force of Beastclaw Raiders (but then, they tend to be very potent!), and they have pinched an Ironblaster from some Gutbuster friends to give them some ranged support.

Spiderfang Grots
Arachnarok Spider
Spider Riders x 30 (three units of 10)

The Spiderfang Grots would likely prefer to be anywhere else, but their Beastclaw overlords are not giving them much choice. The Spider Riders can be thrown into battle to absorb charges from the Brass Stampede, but the Arachnarok Spider will be a foe most worthy of the Bloodbound.

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

Once again, the Bloodbound have brought their most mobile elements to battle, with a full Brass Stampede supported by Chaos Knights and a Gorebeast Chariot.

 

The Battleplan

Drawn from Battletome: Dominions of Chaos, the Endless Battle Battleplan features an arena, around which three Realmgates are placed. Victory will go to the side that manages to either wipe out its enemy or at least slays more enemy models than it started with.

Baudrax has the Slay the Champion command ability, which allows him to double his damage on any wound roll of a 6 against enemy Heroes. The Beastclaw Raiders instead can channel an Apocalyptic Fury, which allows their general to gain an extra attack whenever he rolls a hit of 6 or more.

However, the main theme of this battle will rest with the Realmgates. Units can use them to bounce around the table as normal, but where they appear is random – it is possible for a unit to disappear for more than one round and, if it takes longer to come back, they have a chance of bringing a brand new unit with them!

As the Beastclaw Raiders have been taken out of their normal environment, we will not be using the Everwinter’s Blessing Battle Trait, but it seems right that they should still get the bonus from the Beastclaw Stampede (re-roll wound rolls of 1 when charging).

 

Deployment

As soon as the two forces saw one another, they charged forward, eager to get to grips with the enemy and claim first blood.

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The entire arena shuddered under the brass-shod hooves of the Skullcrushers, and the Beastclaw Raiders allowed their Spiderfang allies to range ahead, in place to absorb the charges of the Bloodbound.

 

Battle Round One

Ogors and Grots spread out, looking for any gap that would allow them to flank the Bloodbound or take advantage of the three Realmgates that formed the points of the arena.

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The Ironblaster bellowed, hurling a rain of metal at the Gorebeast Chariot, but the shot went wide, thrown off kilter by the rapid motion of the Rhinox.

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As the Bloodbound thundered onwards, five Chaos Knights reined their mounts in and turned about, leaping into the Realmgate behind them. Almost instantly, they reappeared behind the Ogor force, urging their mounts onwards as soon as they saw Spider Riders in front of them, completely unaware of the danger they were now in.

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With a loud crack that echoed around the arena, the lead elements of the Bloodbound smashed into the advancing Ogors and Grots. Chaos Knights were now fighting Spider Riders in both the front and back of the Ogor line, but immediately found themselves bogged down by surprisingly vicious spiders. A handful of Spiderfang Grots were killed in these charges, but not before they pulled down two Chaos Knights.

However, though most of the Spiderfang Grots held their line, a handful more decided the wrath of their Ogor overlords was far more preferable than the fury of the Bloodbound, and they urged their spiders to flee the arena.

Skullcrushers slammed into the Mournfang Riders, toppling one and crushing it underfoot as they barrelled in, but the Ogors quickly recovered, slaying one Skullcrusher and leaving the Juggernaut of another badly battered.

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Battle Round Two

Though both forces were now heavily committed to battle, their sheer toughness had resulted in few casualties beyond the Spiderfang Grots, whom neither side cared about.

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Now, however, the second wave of Skullcrushers, led by the Gorebeast Chariot and Baudrax the Hunter himself, lumbered into position.

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As Baudrax declared a Blood Stampede that set Skullcrushers and Gorebeast alike to a frenzy, the remainder of the Bloodbound charged. The largest unit of Skullcrushers moved far to the right flank to catch a group of Spiderfang Grots who had been hoping to reach a Realmgate unscathed.

Completely outmatched, the Grots cowered behind their shields which, unbelievably held firm against the axes of the Skullcrushers. Three Spider Riders were crushed underfoot by the Juggernauts, but the survivors counted themselves fortunate that they had survived this attack.

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Closer to the centre of the arena, Spider Riders were slain by Chaos Knights before the Gorebeast Chariot and Baudrax could reach them, so the Chariot’s crew concentrated their fury on the Mournfang Riders. Unfortunately, this change of mind hindered their charge and the Mournfang Riders ignored the Chariot as they decapitated another Skullcrusher with a swing of a Gargant Hacker.

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More Skullcrushers flanked the Ogor force, only to find their way blocked by a huge Arachnarok Spider. A little daunted by the size of the monster, they nevertheless charged, but the spider reared up and they quailed under its shadow, their charge completely disrupted.

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Across the arena, Spider Riders fled the carnage, leaving only two to fight on alongside their Ogor masters. As they fled before the swords and axes of the Chaos Knights, the Ironblaster pulled back slightly and lined up on the cavalry, blasting one knight clean off his mount.

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It was at this point that Gurguk Facegouger entered the battle on his Thundertusk. Lumbering forward, the great beast opened its maw and let loose a chilling breath that froze Baudrax the Hunter to his Juggernaut. Baudrax shook himself free of the chill, dislodging ice from his armour, but he had been badly wounded by the Thundertusk and knew he had to defeat the beast – and quickly.

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Seeing Baudrax reeling in his saddle, Gurguk Facegouger urged his Thundertusk onwards to finish the Lord of Khorne off, but was blocked by Chaos Knights. One knight was instantly crushed by the Thundertusk’s horns and another was badly injured, but together they managed to score some deep wounds on Gurguk’s mount.

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Across the battlefield, Bloodbound continued to fight Beastclaw Raider, but neither side was willing to yield and there were only a couple of warriors were slain.

 

Battle Round Three

The Ironblaster lined up on the Gorebeast Chariot, but its Ogor crewman was dismayed to see the shot bounce off the chariot’s metal frame. Gurguk Facegouger was fuming too as Baudrax ducked low in his saddle as the Thundertusk breathed a chill air at him once more, and completely avoided its reach.

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Close by, the Skalg leading the Mournfang Riders was crushed to death by a Juggernaut, but his standard bearer broke the Gorebeast Chariot in two as his mount gored the crew before they could recover.

Baudrax shook off the lingering effects of the Thundertusk’s breath and surveyed the battlefield. Grinning savagely to himself, he saw the time was right and he unfolded the next stage in his plan. Bellowing loudly, he ordered a new Blood Stampede, driving his Skullcrushers into a frenzy as they swung around the Beastclaw Raiders force.

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Consumed by Murderlust, the largest group of Skullcrushers picked up speed, and then charged into the heart of the Beastclaw Raiders, their sudden appearance catching everyone offguard.

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The combined weight of so many Juggernauts was simply unstoppable, and they smashed into the Thundertusk, Spider Riders and Arachnarok Spider, brass-shod hooves grinding their enemies into the arena floor. The Ironblaster and Mournfang were caught in the charge as well, and their reeled under the sudden impact.

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However, there was no time to recover as the Skullcrushers’ axes set to work, quickly taking the skulls of the last two Ogors.

Baudrax the Hunter raised his own axe to the sky and bellowed praise to Khorne. Once again, the Blood God had favoured him with victory.

 

Conclusion

That last charge of the Skullcrushers was perfectly timed and, with a large (and untouched) unit of 6 of them, it dished out D6 mortal wounds to every enemy close by – enough to finish off the Thundertusk and Arachnarok Spider completely, which gutted the remaining Beastclaw Raider force.

Something to watch out for if you end up fighting them!

Otherwise, the battle had been fairly even up to that point – the Spider Riders were mostly dead, but taking blows is what the Ogors had brought them for, and Baudrax himself was on his last legs, after getting hit by the automatic 6 mortal wounds of the Thundertusk’s breath (nasty!).

Full credit to the Bloodbound though – that was a perfect charge at the end.

 

The Story Continues…

The Everwinter is truly upon us now, and next time we will see the Beastclaw Raiders ride through the Sylvaneth on their own turf.