Friday, 9 October 2015

Hoppity Goes to Town: Moonclan Grots vs Chaos Mortals


Hopslat da Bold looked up at the pink sun that washed the Realm of Chaos, counted the hours on his fingers, and wished he knew how to tell the time from looking at the sun. Or how to count, for that matter.

"We iz running late," he guessed, and clambered back on top of his Giant Cave Squig, an affectionate beast who already already devoured two herders, three lesser squigs and answered to the name of 'Bouncing' Betty.

The rest of the Moonclan raid bustled past him, a dozen grots trying to corral more than twice their number of squiggly beasts, including a couple of massive Manglers, who were being sedated with the last of their Nightcap Mushrooms.

"Humies in da treeline!" Da Knights of Shiitake, who had been hopping ahead as scouts, now hopped back to call warning. Panic rippled through the grots as they fumbled for weapons among forage bags bulging with their freshly-stolen shrooms.

It had been a little cheeky, Hopslat had to admit, to go scrumping mushrooms in the backyard of Chaos, but they were almost home free. Get through the forest at the far end of this field and their shaman would be waiting to zap them back home.

"Get yer 'eads down!" Hopsplat ordered. "An' stampede!"

Prod Its Back And Hold On Tight!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

After a brief summer hiatus, the battle reports return, and with it, the Age of Sigmar. I, Stylus, shall be as Grotty as plain text can manage.

And I, Kraken, veteran of a thousand some write-ups, shall boldly write in bold!

Scenarios are, by all accounts, the way to go in AoS, and with a stampede of squigs to contend with, the 'Breakthrough' scenario seemed a good fit.

Essentially, my 'Invading' force has to get off the opposite end of the board, with a victory spectrum that ranges from one-third (major victory to me) to none (major victory to the 'Blocking' force).

Each commander has a special heroic ability that can speed up, or slow down, the invading forces, and the game is a random length, starting from the end of Turn 5 (and definitely ending by Turn 7).

Can the Forces of Chaos stop the terrible Squigalaunche? Read on!


Moonclan Grots

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
  • Hopsplat, Night Goblin Warboss on Giant Cave Squig - Night Stabba, Git Shield, Fang-filled Gob
  • Da Stumpy Puffballs, 14 x Cave Squigs - Massive Gob Full of Teeth
  • Da Wranglers, 10 x Squig Herders - Noisemaker (2), Squig Prodder (8)
  • Da Knights of Shiitake, 6 x Squig Hoppers - Slitta, Massive Gob Full of Teeth
  • Porcini, 1 x Mangler Squig - Massive Fangs, Balls and Chains, Night Goblins’ Bashin’ Sticks
  • Chanterelle, 1 x Mangler Squig - Massive Fangs, Balls and Chains, Night Goblins’ Bashin’ Sticks
- 33 models, 76 wounds
It's probably not difficult to detect my criteria for this list: squigs all the way! Squigarama! Squignado! Syrup of Squigs!

Looking at Kraken's list (we pre-agreed in advance), I don't reckon my army stands my hope against the Chaos Mortals in pitched battle. Lucky we're playing a scenario, where even the lowliest Squig Herder is worth as much, victory-wise, as a Mangler Squig.

My Squig Herd is my best hope for a scoring unit (or two units, as Cave Squigs and Squig Herders are now two distinct, and very complimentary, units) - if I can even get half of it off the board, I'll win. Unfortunately, it's also the squishiest, so I plan to send forward my Mangler Squigs first, and let them soak up wounds, while the rest of my army scrums down and pushes for the tryline.

(yeah, I used a rubgy metaphor - 25:28 and don't you forget it, boyo)

Chaos Mortals

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
  • Matt Bastardson, Exalted Champion of Chaos with Battle Standard - Darksteel Axe, Chaos Runeshield:
  • Tentacled Jak Vermillion, Tzeentch Sorcerer Lord - Tzeentchian Runestaff, Warpsteel Sword
  • Jack's Boys, 20 x Marauders of Chaos - Damned Icon, Tribal Banner, Darkwood Shields
  • The Roan Rangers, 5 x Marauder Horsemen - Icon of Chaos, Javelins, Darkwood Shields, Hornblower
  • The Rawhide Riders, 5 x Chaos Knights - Ensorcelled Weapons, Standard Bearer
  • Covered Dragon, a Gorebeast Chariot - Exalted Charioteer, Chaos Greatblade
  • Big Blue, a Mutalith Vortex Beast
- 34 models, 75 wounds

My initial plan was to go for MSU. That's Multiple Small Units, for those not in the know - lots of fairly small but fairly hard-hitting groups. Mobility would be key if I wanted to plug gaps, so the vague theme for the army was some Chaos Cowboys - riders on the wasted ranges, bringing the squiggy bacon home for mom to smoke.

Squigs used to be very hard hitting, but pretty fragile. If I could thwack them with some hard charges, I reckoned I could obliterate the Cave Squigs in short order. Take out the herders after that, and Stylus wouldn't have the numbers he needed for a victory! So I took an exalted Banner Bearer, noting his ability that lets you reroll nearby charge dice. 

The Mangler Squigs, though, they were going to be a problem. I didn't think I had much that would stop them, and any time spent slowing them down would be extra time for the big mobs to escape in. A thorny conundrum, and one I decided to ignore until it was time to actually deal with, i.e. in the post-match chat.


Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
Welcome to the Valley of the Damned Squigs!

Stylus was hosting, and set out this splendid spread of abandoned buildings. With some terrain rolls, we found that the hills and hamlet were damned (a damlet, if you will), whereas the ruins in the middle were Mystic and the woods were Arcane. I got pick of sides, and took the North - my sorcerer could sit in the trees and boost his rolls. His unopposed rolls, I noted!


Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

Stylus went first, and I generally tried to follow his lead, setting roughly equivalent units opposite whatever he laid out. 

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

Turn 1 - Chaos Mortals

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

"Yep, they's squigs alright," drawled Matt Bastardson, squinting into the oncoming dust cloud. 

"Dang," said Tentacled Jak Vermillion, his sorcerous commander, and spat. Something blue and writhing hit the dust and borrowed into the ground. "Guess we gotta round 'em up. Slaaneshi Oakley ain't gonna want them stealin' any more o' her crop."

"Ayep," Bastardson said. With a grunt, he pulled a tattered banner up from the dirt and shook it aloft. "A'right, you sorry sons o' darkness," he hollered. "We got grots to collar! Saddle up and form a line, boss don't want no squigs gettin' past!"

The warband kicked out their campfires, jumped on their horses and flexed their tentacles. Wicked grins split mutation-ravaged faces. This was going to easier than branding a well-tied steer. 

Turn 1 - Moonclan Grots

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

"Da enemy iz parallel wiv fear!" Hopsplat shrieked in his fiercest war-cry. The Moonclan Boss dug heels into his mount. "Tally Ho!"

At his command, a half-dozen Squig Hoppers surged forward on their bouncing steeds, occupying the mystic ruins. The Stumpy Puffball Squig Herd trotted along to his left, goaded at a safe distance by goblin handlers.

To the extreme right, the Mangler Squig Porcini gambolled forward, goaded on at the prospect of playing with such imposing monsters and war machines. To his left, Mangler Squig Chanterelle scurried into the ruins, burying her head in the crumbling rock.

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
Stampede, in the gorge!
(Simba's down there!)

If those funny humies weren't even going to move, Hopsplat reckoned, this would be easier than stealing spores from a snotling.

Turn 2 - Chaos Mortals

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

The red, round and robust frames of the squigs could clearly be seen now. Close enough, Bastardson reckoned. The ancient leather thongs of his banner whipped and cracked as he swung it round his head. 

"Okay, boys, ride 'em down!" 

The heavy chaos steeds thundered into impressive life, charging straight into the teeth of the oncoming squig pack. Corpulent red bodies popped and burst under the impact, but two of the Rawhide Riders tumbled to ruin as squigs snapped off the legs of their mounts. Even so, the incoming red tide was checked - several more of the little horrors broke away from the pack, charging off in random directions despite the ruckus from their handlers. 

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
You can't win against Squigs. If you strike them down, they shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

On the other flank, Big Blue shivered and wobbled like a mirage. Crawling tendrils of fluctuating energy engulfed the squig riders in the centre of the ruins. As the haze cleared, one now resembled a plate of crushed beans, and the other two were inseparably joined by the forehead and jaw, rapidly clawing each other to death in a terrified frenzy. Spurred on by this, the Roan Rangers flung a couple of volleys of javelins at the survivors. Those who weren't skewered by this abrupt shower turned and ran headlong. 

Yep, the squigs were going to be easy pickings.

Turn 2 - Moonclan Grots

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

"Unleash the Manglers!" Hopslat popped up from behind his steed's git shield long enough to bellow the order.

What had just happened? The Squig Hoppers were dead or fled, and now those armoured humies and their horses had ploughed through the better part of the Squig Herd. The Moonclan needed something drastic to happen.

Unfortunately, 'Bouncing' Betty seemed to share than sentiment. The Giant Cave Squig soared out of cover, taking the unfortunate Hopslat right into combat with the knights.

As the rest of the Cave Squigs and Herders piled in around them, the knights reserved all their attacks for Hopslat himself, who managed to escape with only a few wounds to his mount. To pay for their inattention, the humies were dragged down by the squigs, leaving only their leader badly-wounded.

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
Here come the jabby sticks (that do absolutely nothing).

Skipping with delight, Porcini bounded over to the chariot in a couple of good hops. She continued to bounce up and down until the chariot was reduced to scrap metal and the beast pulling it was a mere gravy stain on the dry grass.

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
Mangler Squig: before

Meanwhile, Chanterelle rattled forward and smashed into the big mob of marauding humies, In a red mist of balls, chains and fangs, all but three of the humies were brought down before the rest of them fled, having merely pricked the bashful squig a few times.

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
... and after.
(Good luck with that Battleshock Test)

"Dat's more like it!" Hopsplat cheered from his new fighting position underneath the squig's belly.

Turn 3 - Moonclan Grots

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

They had the upper hand, Hopslat had to admit, but that wouldn't matter if they couldn't escape in time.

"Cheese it!" he yelled to the Squig Herd. "I'll fight 'im off."

The remaining squigs and herders had scurried away before Hopsplat could realise he had inadvertently volunteered to do something very brave. Out of sheer embarrassment, he rammed his Night Stabba into the eyeslit of the cavalryman's helmet, finishing him off.

On the far side of the ruins, the two Mangler Squigs were conducting what might be interpreted as a pincer movement, assuming you thought their controllers had any say about where they went.

With pieces of marauder still caught between her teeth, Chanterelle dived headlong into the javelin-armed horsemen, smashing all five of them in one bound.

While Porcini used the ruins of the chariot to springboard herself into the hideous monster on the backline. The creature was torn apart, as much as Hopslat could tell, but still managed to regrow enough pieces to remain standing on its tentacles.

Hopsplat reared up his steed in triumph. He'd show those humies who had the biggest tentacles in this match!

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
Mangler Sandwich
(possibly cheese-flavoured, sorry about that)

Turn 3 - Chaos Mortals

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

"Round 'em up!" shouted Bastardson, charging forward. "Rip 'em down! Run about! Roar! Hide!" He was getting confused in the excitement that overtook him every time he fought in melee. 

Tentacled Jak squirmed along beside him, muttering as he went. Then he stopped short and flung out a coruscating jet of sparks that cascaded into the squig handlers. One of them exploded in a grisly shower of entrails. A second one exploded also, but the writhing offal that erupted took on a life of its own, sprouting a head and fangs before enthusiastically turning on its fellows. 

A deep and terrible moan resounded from the other side of the ruins. Big Blue managed to slash and tear some nasty gouges in the rumbunctous squig it faced, but the leering creature responded by sinking its oversized fangs deep into Blue's putative neck anatomy. With a couple of vigorous shakes, the Mutalith went limp and stopped twitching. 

Bastardson laid about him with vigour, chopping at the jumpy menaces with his axe. One went down, then another bit straight through the axehead, a third clamped its jaws round his groin and a fourth bit his head clean off in mid-bound. 

Things were going south.

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
... or north, if you're the tide of cave squigs.

Turn 4 - Chaos Mortals

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

Jak shifted his chewing warpbacco wad into his other cheek. Well, if Bastardson was going to lie down on the job, he'd just have to pick up the extra load. 

Another scintillating spurt of raw magic sprayed over the cackling goblins. Both of those caught in the spray changed hideously. One swelled into something resembling a massive rotten apple with slavering jaws, the other twisted into a knotted creature of spines and sinew whose savage limbs thrashed around like flails. 

With a cry, Jak slew another goblin with a gout from his warpstaff, and then piled into the fray. 

His newly created spawn were more than a match for the goblins. Or at least they could have been, if the little runts played fair. As cunning as they were wicked, the goblins hid behind their bouncing charges, springing out from under them only to jab a stick in an exposed eye or a snapping maw. And for every wound the spawn inflicted, they lost one in return to the savage bites dealt by the squigs. 

Snarling in frustration, Jak suddenly found the clamour of the goblins' cymbals and shrieks drowned out by something bigger. A heavy bass thump, like a mighty drum. 

And it was coming this way.

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
In tonight's performance, the role of the Chaos Spawn will be played by Snotling bases.

Turn 4 - Moonclan Grots

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

This time, the squig herd didn't need telling. The scattered remains of cave squigs and herders had already rushed away from the fight with these spawned creatures, before any more of their number were zapped into mutation. They were closing in on the trees, although Hopsplat could feel the unholy will of the enemy wizard was holding them back, making them move slower than normal.

In answer to that, Porcini spun on one leg and bounced back towards them. She landed face-first on the sorcerer, who immediately disappeared down her open maw.

Not to be outdone, Chanterelle displayed an incredible burst of speed to bounce halfway across their field in a single bound and mash up the nearest spawn with her flailing chains.

It was all very well ... expect Hosplat had somehow found himself in the rearguard again, and slobbering tentacles ripped aside the plate armour of his faithful squig.

They had so very nearly broken through ... but the portal would not wait for them. Time could be their greatest foe - the only enemy that couldn't be countered with a Mangler Squig to the gob.

Turn 5 - Moonclan Grots

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

Porcini and Chanterelle were still hungry, despite everything they had already consumed, they jumped the short distance into the last two spawn creatures. Hopslat took that as his opportunity to leap away from the combat, although the ripping, smashing, guzzling sounds told him that he needn't have worried about the outcome.

Over by the treeline, the three remaining cave squigs had reached the shaman's rescue party and were being shepherded back through the escape portal. That was a start, but the herders were puffing along behind them, and the Manglers were nowhere close.

With all their foes does, they might still end up trapped in this Realm.

Turn 5 - Chaos Mortals

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

There was nothing left. The stampeding squigs left nothing but battered armour, half-eaten horses and weird pink dung in their wake. The two massive Mangler Squigs burped coyly as they fought over the still-shifting remains of a chaos spawn. 

From deep inside one of the Manglers, Jak's dying thoughts turned to an old piece of wisdom he'd received whilst out riding the Chaos Ranges. 

Never wrestle a squig, the old man told him. You both get dirty, and the squig likes it.

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.
On Turn 5, the game ends on a 1-2.
On Turn 6, the game ends on a 1-4
On Turn 7, the game ends.
Fly, my pretties!

Turn 6 & 7 - Moonclan Grots

Age of Sigmar battle report between Moonclan Grots and Chaos Mortals.

The herders were away, but the Manglers looked like their efforts were finally catching up with them. Both monsters could only stagger towards the treeline. They were close, but not quite there.

Well, Hopslat wasn't about to wait - he bounded through the forest and into safety. He could cheer the Manglers on from the other side of the portal.

By the dying rays of sunlight, he saw the two Manglers bundle through the trees and get away. The raid was over, and they would celebrate with the best fungus brew in the realm!

Result: Major Victory to the Moonclan Grots!

11 x Moonclan Grots escaped - exactly one-third of the starting number.


The Moonclan Grots were cheering wildly, at least, the few who had managed to escape were. Hopsplat gave a brief pause for the two-dozen squigs and herders they had left in the wake of their raid. Never mind, he thought as he picked a stolen mushroom from the forage bag, plenty more where they came from.

The shaman in charge of the portal, Dipstik, clapped him on the back, stealing a handful of shrooms in the process. "Well done, boss. You clobbered dem humies, innit?"

"Yeah, I did," Hopsplat agreed, then remembered that great leaders are generous in victory. "Course, it wasn't just me, Dere was also da ... Mangler ... Squigs..."

His voice trailed off as he looked again at the two gigantic beasts. Freshly-arrived through the portal, they were looking angry at their injuries, blinded with battle-fury and had somehow managed to shake off their handlers during the trip. They looked hungry and, from his perspective, a lot bigger than usual.

"Don't worry," Dipstik saw his concern. "Da herders will keep 'em controlled." He gave another look around the scattered survivors.

"Ere - where did all your herders go?"


Jeepers. Those Mangler Squigs pack a punch like a chipotle enema. I was right, I really didn't have an answer for them! 

Well, maybe I should have set the Mutalith and the Gorebeast on one of them in my second turn. The reason I didn't was that I wanted the Chaos Knights to have first crack in the combat phase, and if I'd have engaged elsewhere, then the Mangler would probably have hit me before I had a chance to hit it. As I saw later, Manglers hit pretty hard - the Gorebeast died in an instant, and the Mutalith only survived an extra turn thanks to regeneration and a ton of wounds. 

Even so, it was a close game! The initiative was always key, and I was lucky to steal it at some crucial junctures. Without it, I'd have been flattened all the faster. Even so, it's the second time I've been mauled by a squig-heavy army (the last time was back in 8th Ed), and I find myself in increasing dread of the spring red buggers. 

Okay ... it's possible that I underestimated to potency of Mangler Squigs. These things are no longer the 50pt fire-and-forget disposables of 8th Ed (although they could be pretty damn good there, see above). They're proper monsters, that can absorb punishment, choose where to go and - this is the fun part - dish out truckloads of damage.

Although in their defence, half the reason they were able to hit so hard is because Kraken choose (correctly, in my view) to prioritise combats against the squig herd. Both monsters were down to half wounds by the end of the battle, so they weren't unkillable (it seems nothing is - a big plus in favour of AoS). If this were a pitched battle, I'm sure they would have been the main focus of enemy attention, with possible a different result.

Which brings me to another plus point: scenarios really do make for some interesting games. Despite me tabling all of the chaos forces, I only won by the narrowest of margins, and could easily have lost if I hadn't been fortunate for the the game to run the full seven turns.

I liked the synergy (and theme) of an all-squig army. I never actually used the General's special ability in this scenario, because his 'Extra Boingy' ability made the army even faster. The complimentary abilities of Squigs and Herders is nothing game-breaking, but a really nice touch.

Cracking game - and my first win in Age of Sigmar! Courtesy of the little gentlemen in the rugged red waistcoats!


  1. As with the previous Squigs vs Chaos game, I think I just happen to bring the rock to your scissors. In a contest of damage output, the Squigs have the edge. If they had to contend with anything that played avoidance or ranged attacks, I'd be in trouble.

    Cracking game though, I always enjoy the Night Goblins.

  2. The thing with mangler squigs in AoS is that they deteriorate very quickly when they take damage. The Chaos player should have put more priority on damaging them, with some shooting, some magic and tossing a vortex beast into one and giving it first dibs in the combat phase.

    1. Aye, true enough - I did waste the Vortex beast a bit. Thing was that this game was going to be won by stopping the enemy models leaving, and his win condition depended entirely on the number of models leaving. Any time concentrating on whittling down the Manglers was time away from killing his victory-crucial other stuff. Even one more death would have started tipping the game - four more was a victory for me, I think!