Saturday, 13 December 2014

Viral: Legions of Chaos vs Legions of Chaos

Head for the Heights!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

I hereby declare myself, Kraken, to be of sound body and normal font.

Bold as ever, I too am here! - Kas

Tonight brings you a foray into the relatively recent End Times, as we pitch a pair of Legions of Chaos against one another. Also featuring the hilarious Chaos Ascendant rules! Expect rains of fire, unexpected demons and more...

[We got a bit held up finishing this report, which is why it's a little vague about some details like army lists and why I've written up some of Kas's bits. I'd apologise, but it wasn't as though you were all waiting desperately in suspense for it, so I won't.]


Kraken's Legions of Chaos

I had an instant theme for my army. I knew what I wanted, the ultimate powers of the mixed list were open to me and I would not be denied.

I would have a shooting phase!

The Ruinous Rover, a.k.a. Gutrot Spume on a Nurgley Warshrine
Three Eye the Sailorman, a Sorceror Lord - lvl. 4 Lore of Metal, Skull of Katam, Charmed Shield, Obsidian Amulet
Searing Doom, Final Transformation, Glittering Robe, Gehenna's Golden Hounds
10 Chaos Warriors - shields and Banner of Swiftness, full command
10 Chaos Warriors - shields and Banner of Discipline, full command
A Chaos Chariot - because I don't leave home without one
10 Ungor Raiders - full command (which for them excludes a banner) and Shortbows! Yes!
10 Ungor Raiders - ditto

5 Putrid Blightkings - full command and Banner of Eternal Flame

Forces of Chaos, bow to me!
Knowing I'd be up against more Chaos and playing a hunch that there would be Demons involved somewhere, I decided I'd go for the Chaos equivalent of Multiple Small Units. This usually means 'about three tiny ones', but the additional chaff of beastmen skirmishers would help pad. I could hope for an ambush and the element of surprise more than any actual bow-related casualties from them. Anyone playing against WoC and losing even a single model in the shooting phase is probably going to die of shock, let's face it.

The Non-Spume Boat and Blightkings were auditioning more than anything. I rather like the idea of larger than standard infantry, and I like the models. Try before you buy, I reckon, and seeing as pretty much everything would be proxied I decided not to get hung up on my usual stern standards.

Yes I could not believe when you were going to impose on yourself that you could not summon daemons because you did not have the models! Kind, and seeing as you did it twice and also a prince, I wonder if I should have taken you up on that offer!

Kasfunatu's Legion of Chaos

Level 1 Bray Shaman with that magic-item killing-magic item.
A Sorceror Lord of Tzeentch on a Warshrine (level 4 Lore of Metal) with some combo of armour and helms that added up to a 1+ Armour Save and +4 ward
30 Nurgle-marked Chaos Warriors
2 Beasts of Nurgle

I wanted to try the mega-horde after seeing Epidimus in a daemon army. Having him boosting a pack of warriors had potential! But for Epidimus loci to kick in the unit had to have poison. Step forward Festus. 

Hmm, I probably need a dispel scroll: who is the cheapest level 1: Bray shaman, okay you can join the party too.

So sorceror lord on warshrine, behind the horde with three characters in and two single beasts... it's an odd formation!

Other forces of Chaos, bow to him!


A road across the swamps today. The statue in the middle was the familiar combo of Arcane Ruin and Angry Shooty Statue, which nobody ended up using. The big hill had dangerous scree slopes on three sides, the wood was mysterious. And the swamps were frozen!

Frozen Swamp
The slippery ice is thick enough to support the weight of a man, although care must be taken. 
Infantry cannot march over a Frozen Swamp, but are otherwise unaffected. The swamps count as standard swamps to other unit types, so warmachines (for a pertinent example) will still test and fail on a 1 or 2.

As ever, the Battle Chronicler maps aren't massively accurate in showing you what the genuine positioning on the field is. As you can see, the swamps and hills are rather different shapes, but it's not far off.

Kas selected the Southern side, getting free choice as I'd designed the field. We did blind deployment again, and chose our secret boasts. No more on those until after the fight, though!


My plan was to try and use the terrain as a barrier, but also keep the option of a pincer. Having seen the HordeBus (TM) heading my way, I knew I was only going to beat it by out manouvering it, I didn't have the straight-up hitting power to take it head on.

I reserved one unit of Raiders for ambush purposes, then went for a staggered line along the middle, unsure of where I'd need to get to. I could fill the tower with deadly snipers Ungors tidily enough, then hope to use the swamps to pin my opponent for the purposes of flanking. I just wasn't sure who'd get the dubious pleasure of being the pin...

Plan was romp forward, I would ignore the raiders and concentrate on breaking into the centre of line. My horde could take on his units and the beasts could flank/redirect as needed. Nothing elegant, but I had focussed on that one unit, so not much choice.

As the Tactical Gloves came off, we discovered we were deployed like this!

Or in real life, like this!

Upside down compared to the map above

Kas was obviously keen to have Nurgle as our Ascendant God. Which meant I was keen for someone else, so we rolled for it.

Nurgle it was, and then Kas got first go as well. I could see how this might shape up.

Although I "won" the roll; and it was good to try, I am glad this rule is only optional and designed for campaign and not normal games...

Kasfunatu Turn 1

The horde moves up the swamp, hoping to use the terrain a little defensively, and the beasts move to pincing positions. 

With final transformation in my arsenal I wanted a big target, but had to console myself for the unit of warriors with the sorceror in, hoping for a lucky 6 before he turned his magic on me... The spell was cast (check), miscast (doh), killing a couple of warriors (but not enough for panic) and not the lord (shame) and now I have lost the spell after forgetting it from miscast. Could have been worse.

Kraken Turn 1

Not having used ambush rules before, we weren't sure when to start rolling for them. So we just got on with it - even if this is wrong, I'm going to shock you all by revealing the utter irrelevance of my Ungor Raiders in the fight to come. Still, I got a unit on the West side in the first turn, so that was nice! Too far off to hit anything and right in the middle of an incredibly aggressive wood, as it turned out. Super.

Everyone else stuck to the plan, which was to occupy the tower, block the route over the swamps with infantry and keep a few units in reserve until I felt sure I knew where that horde was going.

The magic phase was kind to me. The lovely Apocalypse Roll was a double, so I got to plonk a unit of Plaguebearers down behind Kas's line. Plaguebearers are pretty duff, but at least they might get in something's way for a while.

Not content with this, I wanted to try out the summoning spell. But Kas shut this down hard, so no more demons for me. This got rid of all his dispel dice though, and I got the Giver of Glory off from the Warshrine.

Triple six for one of the Chaos Warrior champions, which seemed demonically appropriate. That'll be a Demon Prince of Khorne to head up the army, then. Forgive me, Kas, I had no choice.

Kasfunatu Turn 2

The horde charge the daemon prince, but fail to make it. The beasts reposition to take out the new annoyance that's arrived and the warshrine moves up to help boost.

Magic results in a small unit of plaguebearers turning up in the back of Kraken's lines, Festus took off a couple more pesky warriors through rancid visitations, although it was not such a lingering disease that they didn't shrug it off.

Kraken Turn 2

Khorne doesn't like people who fail charges, and his newest prince was up for enforcement of this bias. Supported by the chariot, in he went. On the opposite side of the field, the Plaguebearers charged the nearest beast.

Everyone else shuffled up behind, with the Blightkings starting out over the swamp with the idea of getting in the flank eventually.

Because I'd looked out my Pink Horrors, I was determined that they should see use. Luckily, I managed to get a unit of ten plus champion and banner out with the mid-level summoning spell, so I wouldn't have to waste any more power dice trying for this later. A failed snipe attempt with Gehenna's Hounds on the enemy Sorceror, and then the meat and drink of all good Chaos fights - close combat. And it was only turn two!

The Nurgle Fest at the back was ridiculous. The Beast (which was a lot better at fighting than I'd realised, like an empowered Chaos Spawn) beat the leaden plaguebearers. But thanks to our rules, all the Demons were Unbreakable and all the Nurgle ones no longer unstable. Tarpit City, population 2.

Chaos vs Chaos is a challenge fest. The Prince opted in, and got a meagre champion to fight against. I duly embarrassed myself in the combat, failing to wound the bugger at all and then getting a wound stabbed off my foot for my troubles. Luckily I remembered Thunderstomp for a change. Two wounds wasn't massive, but it worked.

The chariot put a very mild crimp in the foe. Although I got the maximum impact hits, their combined armour and regen saves (thanks, Festus) meant it didn't really do much. And all those halberds certainly took my paint off, half of it to be exact. At least one of the freakishly strong Chaos horses kicked a wound off the Brayshaman.

Overall, I lost the combat, but the DP wasn't going anywhere and the chariot stayed in anyway thanks to Spume's Captain Karkan's excellent Ld.

Kasfunatu Turn 3

The Sorceror on his warshine romped into the Plaguebearer tarpit along with the other Beast. Although Kas's fighters still outclassed the hapless one-eyes massively, the lack of resolution meant nobody was going home until the entire sorry mess was cleaned up.

In the magic phase, Festus managed to throw a decent vomit template over the horrors, killing a couple. The Tzeentchian threw Golden Hounds back at me and ripped a healthy two wounds off the general, which was bad news. And then I used my dispel scroll to shut down some hideous attempt to magically buff the horde.

And then he really ran into trouble - the warrior horde had to issue a challenge, and Festus was deemed more expendable than Epidemius. Mind you, he made a good account of himself, force feeding the Daemon one of his poisonous potions and nearly scraping another wound off with attacks. Then I whiffed my attacks as usual, but once again managed to pull back on Thunderstomps. Phew.

Elsewhere in the same fight, the chariot went down under a mass of Warrior attacks. But it took the Bray Shaman out before it went. Overall, the fight was still favouring the horde, but like the Beasts behind them, they were hooked on an unbreakable enemy.

Behind all this, Kas's plaguebearers attacked my warriors. They did very badly indeed, being reduced to a single model in short order. Heh.

Kraken Turn 3

In went the Blightkings! In went my General, plugging the gap the chariot left! In went flight after flight of destructive Beastmen arrows, devastating the... no, they just plonked about in the woods and tower.

(The map doesn't show it, because I forgot about them when I was doing it, but the ambush raiders actually moved south towards Kas's deployment zone. For No Reason At All. )

Magic was a low-key washout, with my attempted Golden Hounds failing to go off. I got some warshrine buffs to various characters by way of consolation, but no more Demon Princes. As the Nurgle demons continued to hug each other gently in the back ranks, the main action continued unabated.

Karkan declared a challenge, and got taken up on it by Epidemius. Who knocked him out of the saddle easily enough, what with already being wounded, so I was down the boss. Bugger. Also, after eating a couple more warriors, the novice Demon Prince got halberded apart. That's a real verb, too. Ah well, easy come, easy go.

Luckily, giving the Blightkings two-handed weapons paid off. With Epidemius blocking the corner, locked in challenge with the Warshrine, there was only one enemy warrior who could get to grips with them. Okay, there was only one Blightking who could do much gripping back, but his grip was that much stronger.

This round of combat was mine, thanks to the flank, but the horde wasn't shifting. And Epidemius was starting to boost like mad...

Kasfunatu Turn 4

There was no movement phase, something of a triumph for any WoC army as it generally means everyone is in combat, where they should be. It was a short magic phase too, low on dice and heavy on dispels.

Epidemius was still locked in challenge with Karkan's mount, and the Warshrine did its usual splended job of sitting about uselessly whilst blocking most attempts to damage it.

As the tarpit rolled gently on, no end in sight, the Warrior Horde finally broke. The Blightkings did enough damage that their resolution failed them, and they fled. The Blightkings didn't catch them, and the Warshrine shouldn't have tried - it lost more wounds when it ended up in middle of the frozen swamps.

Kraken Turn 4

With a four inch gap separating the Horde and the Blightkings, the rotting fatties would need to equal their flight roll and no more.

Which they did, and I felt jolly smug about it. Also: extremely relieved.

Just to punish this, the dice blessed my sorceror's attempt to cast Glittering Robe with a huge miscast. It took out half the remaining warriors, so they all panicked and ran. Phew! Good job I still had the Horrors and their totally useless Gleaning spell that can't be cast into combat, otherwise I'd have lost my magic phase at this point.

Finally, the enemy Nurgle demons ate the last of the plaguebearers. They all reformed, ready for revenge.

Kasfunatu Turn 5

Both Beasts shambled forward on the Warshrine, easily slamming it in resolution (despite no wounds), overrunning it and hitting the Horror unit on the hill.

The Tzeentchian Warshrine charged the back of the Blightkings, and the resulting Champion vs Sorceror Lord challenge immediately resulted in a second tarpit! I elected to give the big bloater sword and shield. Having already got a boosted Ward Save from a previous Warshine spell, he proved very hard to hit or hurt. Not that he did much better against the tremendous amounts of armour the Sorceror was wearing, which he'd just further boosted with Glittering Robe.

If the Sorceror won on resolution, it didn't help him much. I still had a rank and therefore Steadfast, and the Blightkings held.

Kraken Turn 5

My remaining Warriors charged the non-flank of the Beast, and took two casualties as they clambered up the scree slope. The Beast seemed to quite enjoy this extra attention, and even though the Warrior champion was on boosted strength from a previous Warshrine boost, ignored his attempts to kill it before paralysing him. The warriors duly fled, taking more wounds on the scree and leaving the Beast to eat Horrors.

The Blightkings reformed, then all stood about as their champion continued to bash the Warshrine about ineffectually. At least the Sorceror Lord was just as useless, and I won on resolution this time thanks to my banner. The enemy Shrine fled, but I couldn't catch it.

Nobody would be catching my Sorceror Lord either! Because he'd fled off the table. Magically, that meant the phase was a non-starter, except that I got another 13 Plaguebearers joining my team. How Kas laughed.

Kasfunatu Turn 6

The unengaged Beast jumped after the fleeing Warriors and chased them clean off the board (not shown on the map here for some reason). The other one stomped all over the Horrors, mopping them up.

Meanwhile, the Sorceror Lord rallied. Hurling the Golden Hounds at his second big fat Nurgle dude of the day, he knocked him down to a lone wound. Not good.

Kraken Turn 6

The Blightkings charged in one last time, their champion issuing the regulation challenge. Better at fighting than a Chaos Sorceror he might well have been (he'd also got two pips of ward and an extra point of WS from the Shrining earlier on), but he wasn't getting past a -2 armour save in a hurry.

Luckily, he didn't have to. The charge and banner carried the otherwise drawn combat, and this time when he broke, the lard buckets ran the enemy sorceror down.

The Ungors finally relaxed, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't need to explore the full extent of their uselessness in this game.


1765 vs 1425 to Kraken's Legions of Chaos! That's 13-7 in metric. 

The Boasts were both upheld, with Kas getting his Assassination and me getting my Hold Out. Only because that Beast had overrun off the table, mind you, so lucky that. 


Straight off the bat, we both agreed we didn't enjoy the Chaos Ascendant rules much.

In fairness, the rulebook does say they're really for specific scenarios in the End Times chronology. There may be a place for them outside of that, but a random friendly isn't it. The ascendant god bonus of not being unstable is such a massive boon, and it's not one you want either taken from you or granted to an opponent on a random roll at the start of the game.

Or even both having.

Same for having random demon units appear with relative frequency, it's a nasty game changer. I'd think very carefully indeed before agreeing to that in a game, or at least insist very firmly on the use of WYSIWYG models.

Thankfully that summon spell, and the change to the Reign of Chaos rules about doubles only apply in Chaos Ascendant games.

Not so much bothered with the summoning spell, mind you - it's expensive enough to cast that you need to commit quite strongly to it to get much of use, and even then your opponent will get a spare round to react to them. I know that's true of the random chaps too, but they're free rather than an expenditure of power dice.

That said, random demons won me the game!

Not much wrong with my tactics, I think, they worked as intended. But without a free Demon Prince and the unbreakable Plaguebearers, everyone would likely have been run over by the Horde or lapped up by flanking Beasts, and it would have been a much shorter, sorrier fight.

My points spent on the hilariously useless Raiders were a total waste, who were really only pretending to be Breaking Through Kas's lines. Not that he'd have bothered with them anyway, I suspect.

Putrid Blightkings have made the grade as far as I'm concerned. In a game this size (where I personally think a horde of normal infantry is too much of a liability - expensive and hard to manouver into place), a gang of five is a very competent combat unit as well as an excellent place to hide characters, I reckon. Plus the champion is comparable to a cheap Exalted Hero. Roll on, Christmas.


Having played a couple of Warrior on Warrior games recently, I was very much struck by how fun they were. I have an inkling this was due to the balance such a match has.

Okay, this one wasn't strictly just Warriors. And one of the joys of Warhammer is the lopsided nature of the armies involved. I do find myself wishing it was a better written, better balanced game - faster and neater in terms of rules, and playtested a great deal more before the rules are published. Maybe just that I'm getting old and inflexible, mind.

But particularly when you see GW mashing together great swathes of rules without any real attempt to streamline or adapt existing rules, you really feel the brunt of playing a game made by a company who don't focus primarily on making games.

Single list matches still give you a mass of options, but with a much lower risk of (for example) the horrors of a Wood Elf v Chaos Foot Troops match, which tends to be one of the less entertaining battles you might play. For the Chaos Troops, obviously, the Welves have a blast!

Anyway, I don't know quite what my point is here, other than some standard Oldbeard grumping about the modern game. Just that balanced games are more fun, generally, and I think Warhammer is some way away from being well balanced. There you go, there's your topic. 2000 words, discuss. 


  1. I suspect the enjoyment largely depends on the outlook of the players involved: a WoC list filled with Hellcannons, Skullcrushers and other assorted 'power' choices would still be from the same book, but could result in a wildly unbalanced game. (and the same could be true for any army book: a fluffy Forest Spirit army would get shredded by a trueflight/Wild Rider tournament list)

    In rare defence of GW, I think they've put together a pretty solid and balanced package of 8th Ed and 12 x army books (with a few aberrations) - and it's always something to fall back to if the next version stinks.

    Not that I'm too pessimistic about 9th - some of the End Times rules do feel rushed and untested, but I'm viewing them as campaign exceptions (which they state they are) - along the lines of 'hey, just this once, why don't we put ALL the models on the table!' - rather than certainties for the next ruleset.

  2. Well, that's very true. But that's what I mean about WFB (even in the very enjoyable 8th ed) not being balanced, I suppose, that if you want a nice close battle you're quite reliant on playing against someone who's picked out a compatible list!

    The flip side is the flexibility, the options and detail that you get with the game. I don't know how you could do one without the other or even if I'd really want to. Maybe it's a points balance thing, even.

    But the End Times is very liberating! Here are some fun rules, try them out, they seem to say. I do like that, even if they're cheerfully broken in places.

  3. Nice report. Highly amusing too (as a lot of your batreps are).