Thursday, 19 March 2015

Marauder Dawn: Warriors of Chaos vs Empire


Salaga contemplated the gold coins in his hand. "The Burgomeister is worried," he concluded. "He's never paid us in advance before."

The paymaster was busying himself among the mercenary regiments, freely distributing stipends and promising more if they fought hard. They'd marched a long way through the Border Princes to take this job, and it seemed their leader had doubts that they'd be marching back.

"He values our talents," Mechika looked up from slowly whetting his ceremonial knife to answer his fellow acolyte. "He pays out of respect for our master."

Salaga scowled, biting back his response. Mechika's words never revealed anything, no more than his face did. In all their travels, that cold snake had never let his mask slip, never questioned the motives of their Hierophant master. But Salaga was not deceived: both apprentices had been sent on this dangerous mission so that one might prove himself, and the other might die.

And Salaga would ensure that he alone triumphed. Once this renegade daemon had been banished back to the void, he would ensure that Mechika would follow close behind.


Mechika eyed his fellow acolyte, so hot with temper it might singe his topknot. Salaga had little control over his emotions; it made him powerful. And vulnerable. He would have to look after him in the coming battle, for the deamon Phlothos was not to be underestimated. If even half the stories were to be believed, this unclean one was indestructible, surviving a string of bloody encounters to emerge stronger every time.

Now Phlothos had corrupted a village of farmers and peasants. Even at this distance, Mechika could see the massive horde brandishing their wood axes and scythes, like a pack of beastmen bearing down upon them. These were indeed dark days, and it was the duty of every pupil to cast his own light against it.

"To battle, then." he nodded at Salaga and took his place among the crossbowmen.

"To battle." Salaga strode off to join the other unit of Tileans. At least they had been spared fighting in the front rank. Here, on this hill, they would be afforded some protection.

He would do his duty. And yet Mechika wondered why they had been sent here, to such a remote corner, to confront a daemon who was already leaving their lands.

And then it occurred to him that perhaps their master, wise as ever, had devised a means of ridding himself of two ambitious apprentices at one stroke.

Let All Wrongs be put Right!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

As the Warhammer World is pitched into the writers' bin at GW, the epic journey of Phlothos is almost at its shattering conclusion! Tonight, having ascended to Daemonhood but lost his entire warband in the process, he's up against the stalwart steel of the Empire. Can he reach his final goal and extract vengeance on the dwarves? Or will these puny mortals thwart his schemes?

I alone, Kraken, shall chronicle Phlothos's deeds...

And I, Stylus, will once again captain the revolving-door of opposing armies - this time it's The Empire! (in the guise of greedy Dogs of War, bless 'em)

We're playing another of our variant magic phase rules, this time using standard 8th Ed magic rules but with End Times spell selection - so everybody knows everything, but has much less power to cast it with.


The Cult of Plague

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Phlothos Orduromeister, a Daemon Prince of Nurgle - Daemon Flight, Daemon of Nurgle, Chaos Armour, Charmed Shield, Dragonbane Gem, Sword of Striking, Scaled Skin, Flaming Breath, Soul Feeder
Bleich Ormfount, Chaos Sorcerer Lord of Nurgle - Mark of Nurgle, Lvl 3 Lore of Nurgle, Dispel Scroll
Ushi Pewk, Exalted Hero of Nurgle - BSB, Mark of Nurgle, Shield, Additional Hand Weapon, Banner of Discipline
The Cult of Plague, 48 Marauders - Full Command, Mark of Nurgle, Great Weapons
The Red Heralds, 5 Marauder Horsemen - Shields, Javelins
The Black Barge, a Warshrine - Mark of Nurgle

If you're going to put all your eggs in one basket, make it a sodding big basket, I reckon. With that goal in mind, I took two baskets to this fight.

Phlothos himself is going to be ground zero for whatever gun line the Empire bring. A high armour save can't stop cannon balls, but a charmed shield might at least catch one. And if I can survive a round, Flight ought to get him into combat, where he thrives. 1+ armour for any crossbow or gun units (and massed spears), fire resistance to take the sting out of the Lore of Light's signature spell and fire breathing (probably corrosive vomit) for fun.

And then the largest marauder unit I can muster for my points. I've never had much luck with marauders in general, but against puny humans, they ought to shine. Nurgle and Greatweapons means that they'll hit very hard and in ghastly number in combat, and a block that size has a good chance of making it across the field.

After that - a BSB for the Ld problem, Sorcerer scroll caddy for Nurgle buffs and blitzes and a warshrine for even more buffery. And some very throwaway marauder horse, just in case there are light cav to deal with (and so that I'm fielding enough units).

Secret Boast - With only one special unit in my list, I go with Surgical Strike. I need to take out more Special and Rare enemies than I lose - so if I keep the Warshrine at the back and use Phlothos to eat up warmachines, I should do okay.

Hysh Money

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.
Army pictured from behind (they run away a lot).

The Burgomeister, an Arch Lector - Heavy Armour, Shield, White Cloak of Ulric
Captain Fagiolo, a Captain of the Empire - BSB, Dawnstone, Heavy Armour, Shield
Proctor 'Deadeye' Jones, a Witch Hunter - Pistol, Heavy Armour, Van Horstmann's Speculum
Salaga Doola, A Light Wizard - Lvl 2, Dispel Scroll
Mechika Boola, Another Light Wizard - Lvl 2, Feedback Scroll
The Viadaza Toreadors - 39 Spearmen with Full Command
The Oculus Tauri - 10 Crossbows
The Tettoverdi Greenjackets - 10 Crossbows
An Angry Mob - 19 Flagellants
The Schiltrons of Tarano - 16 Greatswords with Full Command
Mittman's #37 Spitfire - A Volley Gun

How to solve a problem like a Daemon Prince? Well, I had artillery and I had Light Wizards, but taking them both didn't seem very sporting. Not did fielding a full Light Council, as we'd already agreed about the augmented magic rules. In the end I left the Lv4 at home and settled with a pair of lowly Hysh casters, as I've yet to give these models a proper run-out.

Thinking I ought to take at least one war machine, I picked the Volley Gun. It didn't cover itself in glory when I last used it at WoffBoot VI so this was its chance at redemption.

Elsewhere, my choices were the standard infantry blocks (hardly optimal for Empire, but I'm quite fond of them). To the Spearmen, Greatswords and Crossbows, I've added Flagellants (having rebranded my mixed militia as an Angry Mob ... there seems a lot of anger in the Warhammer world these days).

I took an Arch Lector to lead them, a BSB to hold the line, and a Witch Hunter for a lark. Even with Van Horstmann's Speculum, I didn't think he'd match his first glorious outing, but he might hold up some damage in a challenge.

My plan was simple: pound them with magic and artillery on the way in, and hope I was able to grind down whatever made it through.

Secret Boast - so secret, I forgot to make one. I'm not a boastful man.


A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Phlothos had, by all accounts, been ransacking villages to replenish his warband, so that's the set-up I went with: three central buildings (conveniently 250mm apart) linked with low walls, a tower/grain silo behind them and a scattering of hills and forests on either side.

Not a snowy bog in sight. What is the world coming to?


A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Secret deployment, before you even know your opponent's list, is both a horror and a joy. Expecting row upon row of cannon, Phlothos bravely decided to lurk behind a nice strong tower. The Marauder horde and the warshrine took centre stage, aiming for a gap in the farmsteads, so they could swing to wherever they were needed.

The Horsemen had my right flank, and Vanguarded out to the middle. Either I'd get first turn, and they'd have a slim hope of nipping round the enemy, or they'd die in a shower of missile fire in the first turn. Both, quite possibly, but I had no great expectations of the wee riders.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

I got the side with the hill, so I settled in to make myself cosy. I did think about dashing forward to garrison the buildings, but knowing my luck with getting the first turn, I'd never make it,

Three infantry blocks in front, two missile troops behind, and the short-range warmachine plonked in the front line. If I got lucky, I could tarpit with the spearmen, I could smash the flagellants and greatswords from the flanks.

Imagine my surprise when I saw Mr Refused Flank himself coming straight up the centre with a tsunami of mad marauders. I didn't get the first turn either.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

"The Master moves," said the man next to Ushi, pointing.

From the shadows under the eaves of the wood, a shambling mound strode. The ground quivered under four hoof treads, then a creaking pair of battish wings smote the air and the flabby beast took flight.

Phlothos, their Master. There was something goatish about him, something reeking and mad. Cancers blossomed in his wake like a rotten springtime. Follow or die, the whispers in the night said.

Ushi followed.

He hefted his banner, little more than a gnarled length of wood with a tattered fleece nailed to it. Carrion maggots swarmed in the ancient wool, briefly forming dripping letters before shifting to other, less-recognisable shapes. All around him, men shook axes and billhooks, coughing or retching.

But they moved forward, trailing the Master.

"We march for Phlothos!" Ushi shouted. "We take his anger to the mountains! Let no-one stand in his way! Kill!"

Ahead, a small group of riders galloped. Farmboys, harbingers of Phlothos's message. They rode to spread the black words of dread ahead of the legion. Instead of pamphlets, they carried poxes and agues. Proof of the Master's favour.

There were men ahead. Men no more than they were themselves, but lacking that favour. Their armour was polished, their weapons clean and made for war. Not the tools that the followers of Phlothos carried. But what did they fight for? Hope? Gold? Both meant nothing. They would die.

The village priest had joined them last night. He wore a butcher's apron over his cleric's smock, both riddled with algal blooms in a triple-lobed pattern. Ormfount he called himself now, although Ushi doubted that was his real name. He had some kind of shaking palsy, he stammered badly as he chanted. But his chants could be deadly nonetheless. Even now, he chanted a psalm of leprous fervour, one that echoed in the very flesh of the cultists, toughening their resolve.

Answering Ormfount's song, sonorous chimes rang out from the barge behind them. The man on Ushi's left, once the chief forester of these woods, yelped as his body shuddered and thickened, a mass of tough bulges sprouting from his chest like bracket fungus. The priest

A flash of light from the hill caught Ushi's eye. One of the white-robed wizards there, using some kind of scroll. The tremulous priest screamed, one of his eyes turned blood red and his left arm twisted up uselessly into his shoulder. Some kind of magical feedback, Ushi deduced, but nothing fatal.

As he finished his shivering gesture, the first men began dying - fanatics of the Empire cult, maddened by their fear of what was to come.

Rightly so.

Empire Turn 1

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

The Burgomeister scratched under his tunic, chasing away a couple of fleas. He should have known that Ulrican's cloak would be infested, but it had been too cheap to refuse.

Their payday was advancing through the abandoned village, that great flying monster at the fore. Not the first time, The Burgomeister wondered if taking this job had been a wise move. But with all the fighting happening up north, chasing away a lone daemon and his entourage amounted to comparably light duties.

While the Angry Mob gnashed their teeth impatiently, the Schiltrons and Spearmen coolly shuffled around to get a better angle. "Ignore those horsemen," the Burgomeister waved at the mangy nags that had galloped up to their flank. "Crossbows can deal with them. One volley only, bolts are expensive."

The Tilean crossbows sang, felling three of the riders. To his disappointment, the surviving two didn't seem frightened by this show of force. In fact, they seemed to be swearing eternal vengeance upon them.

The other unit of Crossbows loosed at the Marauder horde, killing almost half a dozen. That was only a few leaves in a ledger, but better than their wizards had managed. The duo of Heirophants, after their initial success in wounding the enemy sorcerer, had failed to hold the barbarians in a magical net, and were already exchanging recriminations.

The war machine crew cranked up Mittman's #37 Spitfire and took aim. There was an ominous clicking sound, the crew were showered in sparks and every barrel coughed out thick black smoke. The Burgomeister shook his head as the crew scrambled to clear the blockage. Now he knew why Mittman had been offering discount hire rates.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Ushi could not say he led the charge any longer. Now he merely rode a wave of men and women as it crashed forwards unstoppably. They were out of what had once been a hamlet, now left deserted by war or the fear of it. Perhaps the previous tenants now fought on one side or the other. It made no difference, all would die.

The last horsemen rose tall in their saddles as they rode against the back ranks of the mercenaries. Two of the crossbow men were spitted on spears before they could draw swords, then the rest scrambled round to contain the charge.

The blighted mound of Phlothos thumped to the ground ahead, scurf flaking from its wings in the morning sun. Cries of dismay mingled with furious shouts for order from the enemy army. The gun operators worked cranks desperately, trying to free the jam. The angry mob screamed and howled.

Beside Ushi, the shivering priest mumbled and trembled, but to no more effect than the futile cries of the doomed men they faced.

Empire Turn 2

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Their flanks were already encircled, their ranged weapons were inactive, and that horde was not slowing down. Taking a quick risk assessment, the Burgomeister ordered a general charge.

The Angry Mob didn't need to be told twice, and flung themselves upon the enemy ranks. Under the leadership of Captain Fagiolo, the Spearmen calmly advanced into combat. But as the Schiltrons ran forward, the Burgomeister felt a twinge in his calf muscle and ordered them to slow down. They could always catch up later, it's not like they were going to run out of Marauders any time soon.

Turning to face the flying daemon, Salaga's crossbows bodyguard cranked their windlasses in preparation. Salaga himself had no such patience, and called down a Banishment that struck the daemon with all possible force. Alas, even that was not sufficient to penetrate the monster's diseased armour and the daemon escaped unscathed.

The other wizard, Mechika, though still assaulted by cavalry, was more pragmatic, and cast a blessing of protection upon the Spearmen, who looked as if they would need it.

It was the last thing Mechika would contribute to the battle. Taken aback by the two horsemen, and heedless of the Burgomeister's shouts, the crossbowmen turned and fled, dragging the wizard with them. The enemy riders scattered the survivors with ease, before slamming into the rear of the other crossbow unit that had so obligingly turned their backs on them.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

In the thick press of the assault, the Angry Mob swung furiously while the Spearman jabbed uselessly at the enemy standard bearer. Encumbered by their heavy weapons, the Marauders struck last, but no less effectively, chopping down an equal number of foes in spite of their protection. Worse still, Fagiolo himself fell to their combined blows, and the spear regiment suddenly seemed less durable.

Even from back here, the Burgomeister could hear Deadeye Jones, the Witch Hunter, shouting a challenge at the enemy leaders. He knew that Jones had picked up a magical trinket that would turn the tables on the mightiest warrior. Unfortunately, the challenge was answered by a feeble champion and Jones found himself actually weakened by his trick. The Burgomeister rolled his eyes: he hoped Jones had kept the receipt.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Spears slashed and jabbed at Ushi. They couldn't harm him. The plates of horned metal he bore, a personal gift from Phlothos himself, were thicker than the weak-willed mercenaries could handle.

"See!" Ushi called to the white-faced weaklings. "See how my Master's favour delivers me! See and perish!"

The two remaining horsemen continued to spread panic and death along the back ranks of the enemy. What if there were but two of them? Nothing living would stop them. They served Phlothos now. To defy it was death.

Phlothos himself leapt up, then swooped down on the rear of the spearmen like a rancid thundercloud.

The priest's twitching and singing suddenly stopped.

Ormfount's eyes rolled up in his head. His body stiffened, his mouth open wide as a barrel's. And then he sang his last.

A visible chorus, a thick black song whose notes were spores of plague. So dire was it, even the favoured died in droves where the song touched. Tumours billowed from flesh where the smoky music stroked. Eyes clouded in horror. Brains ran free through noses, curdled to spit and mucus. Ushi's lungs burned, his vision shadowed.

But he lived.

The other cult survivors were stronger, gifted with a dreadful, feverish vigor. But there were not so many of them. Nor of their foe - the last remaining flagellants whipped themselves to death, the fate of their compatriots clear evidence that their doomcalling was justified. A short silence fell as the living tried to take the tally of the dead.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.
Calamitous Detonation

At the back of the spearmen, Phlothos stood.

He coughed once, twice, then on the third cough a great streak of burning phlegm jetted from his caprine maw, searing flesh where it stuck. On this signal, the slaughter began again. Spears clattered, axes chopped.

Ushi slew his way through a pair of men. He found the chief forester behind them, exultantly hewing the flesh of the fallen witch hunter even as his own skin darkened and curled like rotten bark. Yes, Ushi felt it in his bones. Death was here. This was death's day.

Empire Turn 3

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

That sorcerer had crippled his own side, the Burgomeister gloated. He had always known: magic-users often prove to be more liability than asset. The Marauder numbers had been halved by the magical torrent, and it was time to bring them to account. The Schiltrons charged into their flank, lending aid to the beleaguered Spearmen.

Before anyone could strike a blow, they were blinded by a dazzling white light behind them. Salaga's crossbow unit had been engulfed in a brilliant explosion that blasted all but three of them into nothing but shadows and dragged the arrogant wizard off into the void. The two Marauder horsemen, who had also been at the epicentre, were somehow untouched.

That damn hierophant had crippled his own side, the Burgomeister scowled. Why had no-one warned him that magic-users often prove to be more liability than asset? At least the Spitfyre was back in action, belching out a show of lead pellets and cracked and splintered the hull of that monstrous ship.

Revelling in their newfound indestructibility, the Marauder horsemen kicked down two more of the crossbowmen, leaving a lone, terrified archer to fend off their attacks.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Crashing into the Marauder flank, the Schiltrons vented their employer's frustration and tore down the diseased foes, just as the deamon prince cut a swathe through the Spearmen's ranks. Deadeye Jones finally succumbed to his opponent's blows, and fell cursing the man who had sold him this Speculum.

Nonetheless, the impetus of the charge had turned the combat back into the mercenaries' favour. The surviving Marauders wavered, but under the rheumy eye of their master, held fast.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

More men! Why would they persist in such a doomed endeavour? Ushi slaughtered another three spearmen, ignoring the myriad needlepricks of their spears. He fought towards his Master, whose mace swings flung broken men aside like emptied wineskins.

The chief forester still fought in single combat with the armoured champion, their huge blades swinging and falling in an endless deadly pattern. But there were still so many enemies, so many fools willing to ignore the warnings. Where a host of cultists once stood, a handful now remained. Still fighting, still dauntless, but much fewer now. Ushi saw the forester's head fall at the champion's last blow, knew that the end was near.

The last spearman fell, crushed under the smothering wings of Phlothos. Far behind on the hill, the lone crossbowman was trampled under the horses' hooves.

Death. Death! All would die!

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Empire Turn 4

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

The Spearmen had been pounded into gristle, but at least that meant the deamon prince had run out of mortals to trample, at least for the moment. In these desperate times, the Burgomeister would take that as a bargain.

Back in action, the Spitfyre opened up on the monster, peppering it with shot, but only wounding it twice. As the Marauders chopped down twice as many Schiltrons as they themselves lost, the Burgomeister's heart sank at what had surely been their last chance to stop this monster. Now all that remained was to face their enemy and sell their lives dearly.

Or sell his men's lives dearly, at least. For himself, the Burgomeister was hoping for a refund.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 5

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

The twin horsemen thundered down the hill, spreading their message of doom to the men who crewed the gun. None would escape the Heralds.

And now, on Ushi's flank, came the Black Barge, timbers moaning as its bearers carried it into the line of battle. Phlothos surged overhead, thick flakes of decayed hide shedding from his creaking wings, although he did not choose to return to the fray yet. We are being tested, Ushi thought. We must fight harder, earn the Master's love.

"You!" he called. "Phlothos will see how you fight! Face me!"

The enemy leader. Wrapped in a white cloak so pure it singed the senses, his spotless armour heavy under the glowing wrap. But a fool, all the same, for only a fool would accept such a challenge.

They swapped blows. No longer spotless, the general's armour was soon buckled and spotted with blood. He wasn't going to die easily, though. A worthy foe. A generous gift from Phlothos. Ushi would prove himself good enough to claim it.

Empire Turn 5

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

The Spitfyre was getting chopped up and its crew slaughtered, which was surely going to affect its warranty. His bodyguard of Schiltrons was down to a handful, which meant a lot of widow's pensions to pay out. And now this murderous brute with the banner pole was insisting on making him fight.

It was time for extreme measures. "Cook the books!" With that warcry, the Burgomeister kicked open the paychest and smashed a small phial of combustible liquid that he always carried in case of a sudden tax audit. The dry papers went up like a furnace, creeping under the Chaos Warrior's armour and crisping him up like a cauterized wound.

Standing back-to-back with the last two Schiltrons as the host of Chaos closed in around them, the Burgomeister wept at the thought of what this would do to the next quarterly forecast.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 6

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

There were few left now.

Phlothos smiled lazily. It was interesting, watching these men fight. Simple souls, not quite the match of his old warband. But certainly enthusiastic enough. They'd smashed through the enemy lines with surprising speed. It was impressive that their leader, the warpriest, had kept order for so long in the face of such an onslaught.

A man in polished armour ran towards him, one of the few survivors. A martial champion of some description, it seemed from his ribbons and medals. Some veteran of a dozen fights, bearing a lethal-looking greatsword with every show of skill. Phlothos casually knocked him away with his mace.

Ushi, the man Phlothos had chosen to lead his new army, had disappointed. If he couldn't kill a humble warpriest, how could he be expected to face down a dwarf lord in a fight? No, someone else would have to be found.

As the Red Heralds galloped into the flank of the remaining few soldiers, their will to fight finally broke. The horsemen easily butchered them as they fled, the heavily armoured footmen unable to outpace the steeds.

Yes, Phlothos thought. They were a rabble, right enough. But they would suffice.

A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between Empire and Warriors of Chaos.

Result: 16:4 to the Warriors of Chaos

(1,950 : 1,050 in old money)


There was only one of them left. 

An ignorant peasant, his mind addled with the slow-building fever that spread ahead of Phlothos wherever he went. His axe was blunt from hacking through the mercenaries' elites, his breathing was laboured. No great warrior, merely a woodsman driven to the madness of battle by despair. 

Phlothos loomed over him, a mountain of diseased flesh. 

"Look at you, little man," he said. "I was like you, once. Or well, almost like you. Would you believe that? That I was once a humble worker?"

He knelt down, bringing his shaggy, horned head level with the forester's. 

"It hurts," the man whispered. "The fever, I can't... my wife? Where?"

"All gone now, little one," Phlothos said soothingly, laying a taloned hand on the man's brow. "I understand. The pain never goes. I had a wife, once. Children too. They died, in the way of such things. 

"It was a plague, you see. We broke through into a gallery the ratmen left for us, deep in the night. Our picks struck empty air, of a sudden, but foul air. My family, they had made food for the work team that night. They shouldn't have been there at all. But life is like that. A little bad luck, and that's that. 

"King Helgvist himself ordered our shaft sealed, once they saw that there was plague. They buried us deep. The other dwarves, they took their fate well. Not I. I was like you. I fought it. When they sang their last songs and lay down to await the end, I took my pick and dug. Graves for the others first, then a tunnel to freedom. 

"Freedom and revenge. You are my child now. We go to the mountains, you and I. I shall not let you die, not now or ever. You will bring my revenge to the King of Clan Garn, and you will be well rewarded for it. What is your name, child?"

"Egil," the forester said. 

"You are my champion," Phlothos said, and kissed him.

WIP! But I felt it would be unsporting not to get him at least semi-painted for the fight.


Well, no surprises there. My standard tabling waaaaaaiiiit a minute! The tables have somehow turned!

This list worked as intended. I was very lucky, all the same - the volley gun misfire, the remarkable survival and subsequent performance of the Marauder Horsemen (MVP for all time after this), several very strong rounds of combat rolls for the Cult of Plague. 

Okay, the explosive demise of the sorcerer was expensive. But every time Stylus and I play, there's at least one dimensional cascade, so I should have seen it coming. Otherwise, I couldn't have been happier - at last, the Day of the Marauder has dawned!

Empire and Skaven are probably the opponents Marauders are most use against, I think (maybe goblins too). Warriors get outnumbered or whittled away too readily, especially when shot at. Marauders are much cheaper, so you can take the numbers you need. And against the weaker stats of such troopers, they can even shine in close combat.

All the same - neither Stylus nor I tend to play particularly optimised lists, which means we're usually well matched. I don't reckon I'd have done as well against a more competitive (less interesting) list.

All the same, I was worried going in, very worried! Too few baskets for so many points - the Light Wizards were weighing heavily on my mind, but not as much as the Witch Hunter. The Marauder Chieftan was another lucky streaker. If Phlothos had run into that, I'd have been sweating. 

Well that was big and bloody - who needs End Times rules for no-holds-barred carnage? Despite that complete drubbing, I quite enjoyed myself and when I next dust down the Empire, I'll probably stick with the massed infantry approach (rather that, say, have Mittman invent me a Steam Tank).

One weakness these poor mortals have is actually hitting anything - exacerbated of course by the Nurgle slime. Even with elite regiments like the Greatswords, I couldn't do any damage because I couldn't get anything through. So one upgrade I might look at is a War Altar for the Arch Lector - I could use spreading that Hatred around, as well as keeping him out of the front line (although he didn't do too badly - I especially liked the tactic of frying the Chaos BSB with holy fire).

I enjoyed the Lore of Light - for what brief time I had to use it - although I am a bit disappointed that Banishment - my sure-fire daemon-killer - not only cast, but rolled three sixes for the number of hits, and then failed to do any damage. Once that happened, I knew I'd missed my chance (although I was lucky to get - and miss - another, with the Volley Gun).

In fact, rolling sixes became quite a theme for me. The triple-six was followed by a double-six for the Crossbowmen's break test, then another double-six when I cast a wee spell on two dice. There was at least one other improbably break test, thanks to my knack for ill-timed sixes, but it would probably have just delayed the inevitable.

Learning from the battle, it was my mistake to try and take the Marauders head-on - that was really playing the game that Kraken wanted. I could have used my unbreakable Flagellants to drag them out of position, then hit them with some nice flank and rear charges. In my defence, if the Greatswords had made their first charge (and I only needed a seven - no sixes to be seen that time), I could have done some real damage. But in truth, I was only able to last six rounds because of a fortuitous Calamitous Detonation.

The other reason I did that was because I got over-excited, as I often do once battle begins. That's the same excuse for challenging with my Witch Hunter, when a wiser general would have sat back and let the Chaos player issue the challenge, then decide how to react.

Still, a damn fine game. And I'm glad Phlothos made it all the way to the finale!


  1. How did you fail to do a wound with 18 Strength 5 hits? His armour saving must have been impressive.

    1. The Daemon Prince had 1+ armour, but most of the credit must go to my incompetent dice rolling.

      (I now remember that we even forgot to apply a discounted hit for the Charmed Shield ... not that he needed it).

    2. I had a very impressively lucky night all round. The snake eyes to save the horsemen from the dimensional cascade, the seven 3+ armour saves against the Banishment, getting the first turn... Not like me at all. I expect I'll pay for it in time.