Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Mean Streets: Chaos vs Destruction


"Glory you shall have! Glory and skulls aplenty! The least of you will ride on the mighty steeds of our lord Tzeentch, flecked with silver and horn!"

The host cried raucously, shaking their weapons. Proving that their daemonic lord wasn't just spinning wild tales, a pair of disc-riding lords orbited round him. Weird lights flickered round their helmed heads. 

"Will you earn these prizes? Will you be my champions?" the daemon prince Tzcharazang asked. 

Oh yes, yes they would. By the thousand names of Tzeentch, the mortal fools would do whatever he bid. Their screamed affirmatives were just window dressing, he knew he had their loyalty. 

"Then all I ask is that you take the Ark of Alternatives in your chariots! Take it to the heart of ruined Karendorf!" the prince told them. "Bring the blessings of change to their broken temple, and let the splendour of Tzeentch shine where the hammer god once held court!"

Howling their hearts out, they rode, and the Ark rode with them.

They didn't ride alone. As the hooves of the riders hammered the ancient, frost-blasted streets, thundering towards the heart of the long-abandoned town, other sounds echoed their progress. The beat of savage drums. The blare of crude trumpets. The chanting of a single name, over and over. 

Soaring over his legion on cobalt wings, the daemon prince saw movement in the sidestreets. Soft paws scrabbled on the cobbles, hairy legs crept along the shattered walls. The creak of axles even, as chariots rattled into action. 

Greenskins, then, a score of tribes from their banners. And more than he expected. No matter - he'd promised his tribesmen blood, and the colour was of no concern to them. A clumsy alliance of primitives was no match for his hardened band. They'd probably spend as much time fighting each other for dominance as they would the intruders. 

That name, though. A leader, perhaps? Something must have brought them together, after all. Was Tzeentch sending one last test before the Ark could be activated? 

No, no mere bullying goblin would keep his destiny from being fulfilled. Tzcharazang cawed softly to himself, safe in the knowledge his day had come at last. 

"Grom," the greenskins chanted. "Grom! Grom! Grom!"

At Last We Reunite!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

Roll out!

Has it really been almost a year since our last Age of Sigmar SkypeBoot? Kraken and I resolved to put an end to this shameful situation with a high-octane chase of cavalry and chariots. We may have been a bit too enthused about throwing every mounted model on the table - both sides clock in around 2000pts according to the new system (not that we paid it any heed) - but we have a marvellous new theatre to play in.

Ah, the time flies. In fairness, both of us have been adding to our miniatures collection (the real life, flesh-and-blood pre-painted kind), so big scraps have been lower on the agenda than usual. All the same, good to be back in our respective saddles. 

Without further ado, we bring you a Mad Max inspired scenario. Two mounted warbands clash, one trying to carry a vital cargo through a raider-infested bottleneck!


Gobbo and Krome

  • Grom the Paunch on Wolf Chariot
  • Ghazal Kahn on Giant Wolf
  • Oglah Kahn on Giant Wolf
  • 12 x Goblin Wolf Riders
  • 1 x Goblin Wolf Chariot

  • Bonesplitta Warboss on Boar
  • Bonesplitta Shaman on Boar
  • 13 x Bonesplitta Boarboyz
The proxying got pretty ugly, surprise surprise. Guess I blew all the budget on the set. 

  • Orruk Warboss on Wyvern
  • 1 x Orruk Boar Chariot
  • 1 x Orruk Boar Chariot
  • Spiderfang Warboss on Gigantic Spider
  • 12 x Spiderfang Spider Riders
  • Moonclan Warboss on Giant Cave Squig
  • 6 x Squig Hoppers, 
And this wasn't even the bottom of the proxy barrel.

- 57 models
The reason I've divided up the army into its respective subfactions is because it will affect their deployment. We agreed that only Grom (the general, naturally) and his Gitmob would start on the table. The rest of the factions would only appear on a 3+ and at a random location (marked 1-6 on the map).

They'd follow similar rules to reinforcements in the Pre-Emptive Strike scenario: 9" from enemy and deployment counts as their move. Just so I'd have something on the table, we also agreed that I'd get a minimum of one deployment a turn. And to give Chaos some incentive to keep moving, if a subfaction was wiped out, it would go back into the pool and could return as fresh reinforcements.

Without knowing what I'd have to play with, I wasn't going to have much in the way of a detailed plan. I reckoned my best hope was to clog up the choke-points with a) multi-wound blockers or b) a mass of expendable cavalry. Ultimately, Kraken was going to have to grind through my troops for victory, so I'd just have to hope for some favourable drops.

Mad Marks of Chaos

  • Tzeentchian Daemon Prince with Sellforged Sword
  • Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount
  • Tzeentch Chaos Lord on Disc
  • Tzeentch Chaos Lord on Disc
  • 1 x Warshrine of Tzeentch
  • 1 x Chaos Chariot with Greatblade
  • 1 x Gorebeast Chariot with Warflail
  • 15 x Marauder Horse with Javelins and Darkwood shields
  • 5 x Chaos Knights with Ensorcelled Weapons
  • 3 x Chaos Spawn
  • 4 x Chaos Ogres
- 34 models

My first thought on seeing the sheer bulk of models Stylus was bringing was that I was doomed. Both of us were pretty much just putting all our cavalry and chariots out, and it was luck more than skill that meant they were roughly equivalent in terms of points. 

All the same, heavily armoured chaos elites are heavy hitters. If anything could drive through the mass of goblins and orcs ahead of me, it was the lethal lords and horsemen of chaos. 

My task is to get as many of my chariots and warshrines off the other side as I can. One of them contains the vital cargo, the Ark of Alternatives, but even I'm not sure which. It's a long haul ahead, and I can expect constant ambushes and flank attacks as I go. 

So, I've got some very manouverable leadership in the form of the two disc riding Lords, the Lord on Daemon Mount and the winged Daemon Prince. The knights and horsemen will be escorts, with the spawn and ogres protecting the rear. If it comes to it, the cargo trucks are no pushover in a fight either, especially if I can get a charge in, but I'll need to keep them moving if I want to escape in time. 


I've been busy with terrain over the last two years, gradually accruing a selection of snowy ruins. The Kraken Mat helps tie it all together, and this is a first outing for these freezing streets. 

We're playing down the length of the mat, with my chaos army trying to get chariots or the warshrine off the far end. Neither of us know exactly which of these has the scoring payload on board, we'll roll at the end to find out. 

Our ruling is that only the actual streets are free ground. Everything else, marked off inside the city block areas, is Deadly terrain, killing models that move through it on a roll of 1. On top of that, it's also impassable to models with wheels! This makes it a tight network of choke points. Unless you can fly or happen to be a spider...


View of the Chaos right flank from the centre

Our rules for this house scenario are pretty simple. I need to get as many of my truckers (warshrine and two chariots) off the far end as I can, and at the end of the battle we'll roll to see which of the three has the game-winning piece on board. I win if it escapes, Stylus wins if he's nobbled it. Anything else will be settled by the amount of blood spilt. 

The big red numbered areas are the Greenskin ambush areas, where reinforcements will show up randomly every turn. 

My deployment sees my big cavalry units sticking to the streets, with their bodyguards currently in the central alleys, ready to move to whichever side they need to reach first. 

Turn 1 - Destruction

Kraken won the initiative roll, and forced the first turn onto me. I got lucky with my reinforcements: the Spiderfangs turning up at the very top of the board, and the Bonesplittas appearing within charging distance of the Chaos Knights.

Oglah Kahn led the Wolf Boys into the central square, the Wolf Chariot took the western alleyway, backed up by Ghazak Kahn. Grom parked his chariot centrally, so he could keep an eye on things while he made a started on his packed lunch.

The Bonesplitta Boarboyz went for the Chaos Knights and made it in (although I lost one when he ambitiously tried to vault some deadly terrain). They did pretty well in the combat phase too - knocking off one Chaos Knight for the loss of three Boarboyz. More importantly, they had succeeded in jamming up the eastern advance, which included two of the precious chariots.

Turn 1 - Chaos

Well, they didn't take long to turn up, did they? Already, my advance is blocked by a ferocious pack of savage orcs, backed by their leaders. Still, they're a long way from any help, and much too close to the bulk of my heavy-hitting heroes. 

As the Warshrine advances at a run, the Horsemen sweep ahead of it. All the chaos lords move to clear the boarboyz out of the way. The spawn get generally terrible rolls, evolving a bunch of suckers instead of feet, and don't go far, and the ogres take up the rear. 

One disc rider shoots right out ahead to take on the Savage Orc Boss, scoring several wounds in exchange for a mere scratch - just as they were in 8th Ed, a Disc Riding Tzeentch Lord is a bugger to wound, getting a bonus to his saves unless his opponent can fly too. 

The Bonesplittaz nearly manage to duff up a third chaos knight, but the glory of their initial charge is already behind them. The chaos leadership manages to wipe them out in fairly short order, and the streets are once again clear!

Turn 2  - Chaos

I manage to get the initiative again, and keep on trucking. 

Up the main street run the horsemen, although this proves to be a mistake - I've misremembered their special rules, thinking they could run, shoot and charge all at once. This leaves them rushing straight for the wolf riders without a thought for their own safety. Good.

The other disc rider and the Daemon Prince move ahead of the Chaos Chariot, aiming to take out the boar riders as quickly as possible. The knights stay in formation, protecting the chariot from potential ambushes.

The Gorebeast Chariot moves towards the centre, as the Warshrine moves up and buffs the Horsemen with the blessings of Tzeentch. They're going to need all the saves they can get, I suspect. 

Combat falls pretty much as I expected. The orc boss goes down in a welter of Tzeentchian swordwork, while the Daemon Prince one-shots the shaman. 


Turn 2 - Destruction

I may have been on the ropes after that double-turn, but you can't keep a good Orruk down. to demonstrate this, fresh Bonesplittas appear in a perfect position to extract some vengeance on the Chaos wing that bulldozed their painted comrades.

Elsewhere, the Spiderfangs scuttled off-road and occupied a nearby graveyard, the Wolf Chariot rattled down the alley, but fell just short of hitting the nearest Chaos Spawn. The Wolf Riders unleashed a volley of arrows, followed up by a Grom-inspired charge that accounted for three Marauders and two more from battleshock, losing only one of their own.

Back a Field HQ, Grom finished off his pasties and started on the jam tarts.

Turn 3 - Chaos

Having misread the Horsemen's special rules earlier, I know how to use them properly now. Feigned retreat time! They duck out of combat, safe in the knowledge they can now shoot and charge again later on. The injured Disclord swoops over to help them. The combination of shooting and combat definitely falls in my favour, and a mere three wolfriders survive. 

Didn't we just kill you guys?

The Daemon Prince flies on to tie up the new lot of boarboyz. This goes very badly. Not only does his Tzeentchian fire go all pink and sputtery at the wrong time, but the crazed porkers are willing to pitch in by leaping into the dangerous terrain around the alley! The DP is quickly reduced to a single wound. 

The spawn on the left flank amble mindlessly along, although one manages to lurch all the way into combat, ramming the wolf chariot in a dark alley. The two paw and slap at each other in a fairly ineffectual exchange.

Yes - Wolf Chariots, I'm learning, are absolutely rubbish in AoS. They offer a minor buff to other Wolf Goblins, but other than that, they're no more than a 4-wound blocker. They don't even get impact hits!

And elsewhere, the chaos trucks are still rolling, but just not fast enough for my taste. Half way through the game, and I'm nowhere near the half-way mark with green tide rising ahead! 

Turn 3 - Destruction

On the western road, the Moonclan squigs bounced into view, but there was still no sign of the Orruks (a Wyvern Warboss and two Boar Chariots - there were some really helpful units that were taking their sweet time to appear).

With the Wolf Riders flagging, the Spider Riders scuttled into the courtyard, ready to take their place. Their arrows took out another Marauder, but it wasn't enough to stop the Wolf Riders getting wiped out.

Sensing victory over the Daemon Prince, the Boarboyz were going nowhere (although the Shaman tried to end it quickly with an Arcane Bolt, and failed miserably). With a series of magnificent saves, the Daemon Prince weathered the barrage of their stone axes, not noticing the boar's tusk thrusting upwards until it was too late...

Too far away to flank the Marauders, Ghazak Kahn rode to the aid of the Wolf Chariot, and chopped the Chaos Spawn to pieces.

Oglah Kahn rode to the side of Grom, who was now spooning out the sherry trifle.

Turn 4 - Chaos

I threw everything I could at the greenskins at this point, including the Warshrine. The knights went to avenge their fallen Daemon Prince, two more spawn lolled into thrashing range against the wolf chariot. The disc riders tried to move so they could both block the Bonesplitta bosses and kill some boarboyz in the process. 

But these damned narrow streets - neither chariot could reach anything, nor could the ogres or the Chaos Lord. No space for a good charge, that was the trouble!

The Knights whacked a reasonable number of boarboyz off their pigs, aided by a Disclord. The spawn did nothing other than get knocked about, and although the Horsemen did their best, there were still plenty of Spider Riders left intact. 

At least the enemy ranks were thinning slightly. With a few good charge rolls, there was still a chance I could get within spitting distance of somebody escaping!

Turn 4 - Destruction

The blue creature in the centre is a Wyvern. The Boar Chariots are represented by a toy goat and Sven from Frozen.

At last - the Orruks arrive! And in the most convenient place too: right in the escape route of the Chaos vehicles. Smelling victory, Grom ordered the Spider Riders to clear the way and they obediently scuttled back to the buildings, leaving a path for Grom himself to thunder forward, accompanied by Oglah Kahn, the Bonesplitta Warboss and the Spiderfang Warboss.

The Moonclan Grots bounced their best, but fell short of actually reaching any foes.

The Bonesplitta Shaman began proceedings with an Arcane Bolt that chipped away at the Warshrine.

The combined efforts of Grom and the Warbosses managed to get it down to half wounds, thanks to some good saves and its general durability.

The Bonesplitta Boarboyz downed another Chaos Knight, losing two more of their own in the process. The whiffing contest between the Wolf Chariot and the Chaos Spawn finally resolved when one of the Spawn finally got its tentacles sufficiently coordinated to tear the contraption apart.

Finally Oglah Kahn charged into what remained of the Marauder vanguard, slaying one and sending the other fleeing.

With the light failing, and strong Orruk reinforcements blocking the escape route, the forces of Chaos decided that the day would not be theirs. Both sides withdrew their battered forced to count the cost...

Result: Minor Victory to the Forces of Destruction!
41% Destruction forces destroyed vs 43% Chaos forces destroyed.


And so we dun stopped dere journey norf to safety, dem sneaky Chaos gits. Among uz 'ad risen a new leader - the gob who came from the past: the Fat Charioteer. And just as Gork (or possibly Mork) 'ad planned, we properly duffed up dose men on machines. Da teef, da precious teef, stayed safely hidden in da city.

As for me, I grew to grothood, and in da fullness of time, I stabbed da boss when 'ee wasn't looking and became da Boss of da Great Northern Waaagh!

And the Fat Charioteer? Dat was the last we ever saw of 'im... until teatime, when 'ee ate all da biscuits. Da git.


Well, that was just as big a smackdown as I've come to expect from Age of Sigmar. And I rack up (barely) my second victory too (again with greenskins - maybe a big collection is a useful asset).

In hindsight, 6' was a long distance for Kraken to traverse, especially across a board filled with choke-points. I got lucky when my strongest unit deployed on the first turn, in the perfect place to clog up one wing of the advance.

I think round about turn two I started to realise just how lucky I'd have to be to get anything to the other side. But after seeing the fate of the boarboyz, I also felt there was a reasonable chance I could just murder my way across instead!

I also think it was fortunate that Kraken chose to back-to-back his turns 1&2 - it resulted in wiping out the boarboys, which allowed me to bring them back in my next turn (curious that the 'pitched battle' mentality of 8th Ed work against you here).

Losing that first turn of chariot movement made me feel backfooted for the rest of the game. In hindsight, I should have taken the first turn and rushed forwards. Then, I'd have been so close to the area where the boarboyz turned up, I'd have blocked their entry area! This happened later on, when the squig hoppers tried to arrive at entry area 6 while it was still full of Disclords. There was nowhere they could actually deploy, so they got a reroll instead. 

Likewise, the traditional tactic of sending light cavalry ahead may also not have been the best move here - the Marauder Horsemen seemed to be holding up the advance with their numbers, and couldn't generate the hitting power of say, two Disclords (who remain nigh-unkillable, consistent across editions) to clear the road.

Yeah, that's a good point. In fact, I think I should have been sending the chariots and warshrine ahead wherever possible, they're all good blenders on the charge. The horsemen, disclords and DP could have hit stuff with ranged and rear strikes, I reckon, and I'd probably have made better progress. 

Either way. a good match, and excellent to see the mat and terrain work together to actually have an impact upon the game.

Yeah, good to finally see it all in action! Although it also makes me deeply aware of that one great lack in my collection - a painted opposing army to put out there. Well, I suppose none of us have managed to collect Bretonnians yet...

1 comment:

  1. Neeeeat, this is the first time of actually seeing someone managed to describe this in a way that could actually get me excited :-)