Kraggoth could not explain how old he was, nor when the madness of Chaos took him or how long it had been since. His recollections of the past were mingled with the future and the roiling maelstrom of the world - purposeless, inevitable, wild - obscured much which mortal men considered sane. He did remember this place, though - this mountaintop, this chill wind, these twisted creatures levitating around a depthless pool in the shape of a great burning eye. He had been here before. Had studied at their feet, seeking secrets that, at long last, he had unlocked to his dismay.
"So you understand at last," said the closest of the Tzaangors to him, as though continuing a conversation ended decades before.
"Yes," Kraggoth said. "I understand."
It had taken weeks of tracking the ley lines from the old witch's hovel to this mountain. The climb had been brutal, treacherous. With every step, though, it had grown more familiar. They had told him he would return, but at the time he had cackled in mad terror, even as his body twisted and horns pierced his scalp for the first time. How could he ever have returned? Why would he ask the same questions twice?
"You need a measure of our help," the shaman said. "The Bone Empire's foothold in these lands solidifies like mud beneath a glacier. The sky vessels of the duardin harry your herd and loot what is yours. The warherds of Maygog are mighty, true, but are insufficient. You need true power. Our power."
There was little point in denying it. "What must I do?"
"There is a troublesome spirit - a human knight, restless and spiteful. Once a lord fearful of his betters, he betrayed them to us in return for power, but as is the way with betrayers, he betrayed us in time as well. And so he died." The shaman croaked a laugh. "But he did not stay that way. After you lead him into his destruction, we will provide what you ask."
It wasn't a request, Kraggoth realized - it was simply a description of events to come. He would do as they ask and they would bind themselves to him. "It seems too easy."
The shaman gestured to six of his fellows, who descended from their levitating perch to stand on the edge of the pool, their spears burning in the half-light of dusk. "It seems that way, yes," he said.
And with that, Kraggoth knew his audience was at an end. He didn't like the sound of that, but he had no choice. He had never had, in fact.
Got in a game against our group's Nighthaunt player the other day. He's brand new to the hobby (and to wargaming overall), and so it was a small game with a lot of advice freely offered. Here were our lists:Allherd Battle Regiment
Great Bray Shaman (General: Twistfray Cursebeast, Brayblast Trumpet, Spell: Wild Rampage)
10 Ungors w/Spears
10 Ungors w/Spears
6 Tzaangor Enlightened
Doomblast DirgehornNighthaunt Battle Regiment
Knight of Shrouds (General: Spiteful Spirit, Pendant of the Fell Wind)
10 Grimghast Reapers
3 Spirit HostsMission, Terrain, and Deployment
We played an Open Play mission and rolled War of Attrition, which was victory just by point value of things killed. The mission twist was that battleshock tests could be re-rolled. Both of these things worked more in my favor than it did for the Nighthaunt, since my army is more points efficient, but I knew the ghosts had the potential to kick out some mean damage if I let them get the chance.
The board featured buildings in each quadrant and a few ruined features. One of them, in the south board center, had the Arcane rule, which I would need to achieve my quest (Hunt the Endless Spell), so I needed to keep my Shaman alive to be near that at the end of the game.
I won the roll-off at chose to be the defender, meaning I'd have the second turn. My opponent chose to deploy in the north, putting one group of chainrasps and the Reapers in board center and the other group of rasps in the west screening the Spirit Hosts and the Knight of Shrouds.
Deploying second, I sought to refuse his flank a bit by deploying more on the eastern side of my DZ, with both units of ungors screening the cockatrice and the shaman around the Herdstone (for all the good the Herdstone would do me this battle, what with the Nighthaunt ignoring Rend). The Enlightened went into ambush.
At the end of deployment, my opponent used the Vanishing Phantasms rule to pull the Spirit Hosts and the Knight off the board to drop in later.
DeploymentThe ghosts deploy!The Beasts cluster upTurn 1
The Nighthaunt were up first. Given that there were no objectives for this mission, they just swept in towards my lines. I'd deployed pretty far back, though, meaning they couldn't get off a first turn charge. Still, the combination of flight + run + their high basic movement meant they were very close at the end of the turn. The Knight of Shrouds reappeared, as well, with his retinue of Spirit Hosts, using a bunch of chainrasps as a screen.
Top of Turn 1Speedy fellows!The desolate village - long abandoned by anyone alive - shuddered and moaned with the cries of the unquiet dead. Kraggoth kept his Ungors close, knowing they would run if they saw the opportunity. Kraggoth's pet cockatrice snapped at their heels, though, and made certain nobody shirked their duty. They were the bait in the trap, as always. Kraggoth raised the ancient trumpet to his lips and blew.
The trap was about to spring.
In my half of the turn, I sprung my ambush. The ungors, cockatrice, and Shaman moved forward while the Englightened emerged on the east flank and the brayblast trumpet summoned a pack of gors behind the Spirit hosts--I surrounded him on three sides. I also got off the Doomblast Dirgehorn, which was placed such that it would affect his forward units (the chainrasps, basically).
One group of ungors and the Cockatrice charged the chainrasps, the Enlightened charged the chainrasps and the Knight of Shrouds, and the gors charged the spirit hosts, bowling them over with their Gor Stampede and giving them Strikes Last. The attacks rained down, but my opponent rolled very
well on his armor saves. I killed 6 of the forward chainraps (and took a few wounds to the cockatrice and ungors), the gors did basically nothing (but also took minimal casualties), and the Enlightened would have totally slaughtered the Knight but for some crazy good saves. As it stood, I did 3 wounds to the Knight and 3 wounds were soaked by the Spirit Hosts on his behalf. The Knight, who had been petrified by the Cockatrice's gaze, wiffed on his attacks. However, then Spiteful Spirit kicked in and the ghost general proceeded to do 4 mortal wounds to every unit I had engaged in combat (AHHH!) Fortunately, I had had the foresight to use my Shaman's ritual of ruin to give the ungors and the Cockatrice a 6+ ward, but even still I lost a bunch of guys, including 1 Enlightened. Most of those losses were recouped by the Allherd special rule, allowing my gors and ungors to replenish their numbers every battleshock phase. Not a brilliant round for me, but the damage was mostly mitigated.
Bottom of Turn 1We've got them surrounded!Look! Behind you!The Enlightened Stalk their preyA mighty battle!Turn 2
The priority roll goes to the Nighthaunt, so no double turn for me. Everything he has that is engaged in combat falls back, since the Nighthaunt can just charge again
and apply all their Terrify bonuses. Of note, I learned an important lesson here: the Nighthaunt can also fly, which means his chainrasps and his Knight of Shrouds fell back through
my front lines and were able to charge my now-defenseless Bray Shaman, who was struck down by the Knight of Shrouds with ruthless efficiency.
Things did not go as well for him elsewhere. The other group of chainrasps charged my Gors along with the Spirit Hosts, but neither side did much damage (killing maybe 2 or 3?) and the Gors hit back well above their weight class, killing a Spirit Host and about 4 Chainrasps.
The Reapers also got in on the game, charging my cockatrice and the Ungors. All attacks focused on the Cockatrice and it was very, very dead. However, the reapers were close enough for the Enlightened to pile in, and pile in they did. Their pile of attacks then wiped out the Reapers in one turn (it was brutal).
Top of Turn 2ACK! My FACE!Kraggoth kept his distance from the fighting, as he often did, watching the ephemeral forms of the ghosts dissipate before the fury of his followers' onslaught. They were winning!
An icy chill ran up his spine. Kraggoth whirled - the ghostly knight loomed before him, his wretched retainers in his wake. "YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD ESCAPE ME?" the creature cried in a voice that chilled Kraggoth's blood. He raised his staff to utter a terrible curse, but it was too late. The specter's blade flashed and Kraggoth felt its cold bite deep inside his soul. He cried out in agony and darkness fell.
The last he heard before his lost consciousness was a mad, cackling laugh. Not from the ghost, no. But who? With his last thought, Kraggoth recognized the voice - that of the Tzaangor Shaman who had sent him here. Sent him to die.
Well, I obviously can't let the defeat of my general stand! In my next turn, I send the Enlightened and both groups of Ungors down to lay waste to the Nighthaunt general and his chainrasps. They did so, the Tzaangors executing the general easily and the ungors accounting for the last of the rasps without any casualties of their own.
In the north, the gors continued their rampage, killing off the remaining Spirit Hosts and knocking the chainrasps down to 1 guy without any substantial losses suffered.
Bottom of Turn 2Payback's a be-atch!
With only one model left on the board, my opponent concedes the game. Final Score
Beasts of Chaos: 490
Nighthaunt: 220Kraggoth awoke with a blaze of fiery pain. He was on his back in the dust, convulsing, his blood caked in his beard, in his uneven, matted fur. Over him stood the shaman, floating atop his Tzeentchian disc. "You are restored, Kraggoth the Seer, Great Bray Shaman of the Allherd."
Kraggoth sat up and felt for his wounds - they had been fatal, he was sure of it. He had felt his soul being sucked out through that cursed deathblade. "H-how? How?"
The shaman extended a taloned hand. In it floated a crystal bauble and, within that, sparked something dark and fiery. Kraggoth need only glimpse it to know what it was - his own soul. "What? Return it! Return it at once!" He lunged for it, but he was spent from the battle and the Shaman was too quick. The bauble vanished into the folds of his cape.
"Now, now, now, Kraggoth - payment I deserve for saving your life, do I not? I have returned enough of your soul for you to live, but methinks I shall retain the rest, as is just reward for one as altruistic as I."
Kraggoth glared up at the creature, all smug and satisfied atop its twisting, mutated disc. "This was your game all along! Let me amass a great herd and then hold my own soul hostage - control me, and through me, all my army's power!"
"Come, now," the Shaman chuckled. "Your legions are not so great as all that. But yes, call your soul a debt you owe for the saving of your life. And whilst it is in our possession, good Kraggoth, we intend for you to earn it back."
Kraggoth could think of a dozen curses he might lay upon the arrogant tzaangor above him, but none so swift that his life would not be forfeit in exchange. No, the shaman had won today - he and his twisted Master - but Kraggoth could be patient. One day, when this fool thought him well and truly cowed, then - then he would have his vengeance. Just as it had been with Maygog, so it would be with this fool.
He need only wait.Post-Mortem
Given that my opponent was only playing with the stuff out of the Nigthhaunt starter set, it was a largely foregone conclusion that I'd win this one - he had nothing whatsoever that could combat my Tzaangor Enlightened, and it showed. That said, I learned some painful lessons today. First, that Spiteful Spirit + Knight of Shrouds is a very nasty combination, especially since his wounds value increases steadily. Him + Spirit Hosts = deadly combination. Likewise, it is best to remember that screens don't actually work very well against an opponent that can fly and
fall back and charge in the same turn - there is no keeping the Nighthaunt out of your backfield, and my wizards had best remember this.
As for what worked well, the Enlightened are magnificent hammers who have earned a steady place in my lists and the Dirgehorn endless spell (what we call the "Vuvuzela of Doom") is exceptionally useful defensively. I kept units on the board thanks to that thing. The other thing was the Allherd "Bestial Might" rule, which returns gors or ungors to units every Battleshock phase, meant I kept all my units more-or-less topped off in numbers even though I was losing 2-3 every combat phase. They just came right back, even if I failed Battleshock! This is always a huge advantage and paid off well today.
My opponent has plans to get a Guardian of Souls and a unit of Bladegheist Revenants, soon, so hopefully his army will improve. I do think he should leverage part of his battleplan around the Knight of Shrouds, though - what a good HQ!
Anyway, that's the batrep. I had fun playing, as did hopefully my opponent. Thanks for reading!