Age of Sigmar: ‘Gifts from the Heavens’ Battle Report

Tom and I met up for another battle between his Stormcast and my Daemons of Tzeentch – a rivalry that began hundreds of years ago at the dawn of the Age of Sigmar by which I mean October. We chose to play ‘Gifts from the Heavens’ a matched play scenario where vital objectives ‘land’ on the battlefield at the beginning of each player’s second turn.

A relic-hunting Stormcast cohort has marched deep into the Realm of Death in search of something precious to the god-king: pure Sigmarite, fragments of the Old World that the seers say will fall from the heavens one this day, at this time, in this lonely ruin in the wastes of Shyish.

Unbeknownst to the Lord-Celestant, an old foe – a Gaunt Summoner of Tzeentch known as the Twilight Composer – has come seeking the same bounty for its own ends. As the Stormcast approach, a sandworn Realmgate flares to life and daemons pour forth from the iron plains of Chamon.

The Stormcast adopt a tight formation in the centre of the ruin, with two units of Liberators in front with Judicators supporting from the rear. The Lord-Celestant rides at the head of a phalanx of heroes, including a Lord-Relictor, Knight-Vexillor, and Knight-Heraldor. The Gaunt Summoner's hordes spill through the gateway to Chamon and pivot to face the forces of Order. On one flank a Herald of Tzeentch leads a flock of Screamers, while on the other an Ogroid Thaumaturge stands at the head of a horde of Horrors. The Gaunt Summoner itself holds back with another host of Horrors, while Flamers of Tzeentch occupy the centre.

The Stormcast adopt a tight formation in the centre of the ruin, with two units of Liberators in front and Judicators supporting from the rear. The Lord-Celestant rides at the head of a phalanx of heroes, including a Lord-Relictor, Knight-Vexillor, and Knight-Heraldor. The Gaunt Summoner’s hordes spill through the gateway to Chamon and pivot to face the forces of Order. On one flank a Herald of Tzeentch leads a flock of Screamers, while on the other an Ogroid Thaumaturge stands at the head of a horde of Horrors. The Gaunt Summoner itself holds back with another host of Horrors, while Flamers of Tzeentch occupy the centre.

The Twilight Composer holds its ground at the start of the first round and allows the Stormcast to advance.

The Twilight Composer holds its ground at the start of the first round and allows the Stormcast to advance.

The Liberators and Lord-Relictor run forwards to meet the horde, Judicators following slowly behind. The other Stormcast heroes hold position for the time being. The Judicator's arrows are able to slay a single Flamer in the opening moments of the battle.

The Liberators and Lord-Relictor run forwards to meet the horde, Judicators following slowly behind. The other Stormcast heroes hold position for the time being. The Judicator’s arrows are able to slay a single Flamer in the opening moments of the battle.

The Daemon response is devastating. Rising above the sands on a swirling column of arcane energy, the Composure unleashes tides of warpflame on the Liberators. A barrage of magic from the Herald, Thaumaturge and Horrors slays even more, while the Flamers succeed in killing all but two of the Judicators.

The daemon response is devastating. Rising above the sands on a swirling column of arcane energy, the Composer unleashes tides of warpflame on the Liberators. A barrage of magic from the Herald, Thaumaturge and Horrors slays even more, while the Flamers succeed in killing all but two of the Judicators.

The Composer takes the initiative in round two. The first shard of Sigmarite makes landfall right in the middle of the daemon horde (just as planned). Another cascade of flame surges forth, killing the remaining Liberators, all but one of the Judicators, and the Lord-Relictor. The Stormcast are now badly outnumbered.

The Composer takes the initiative in round two. The first shard of Sigmarite makes landfall right in the middle of the Tzeentchian horde (just as planned). Another cascade of flame surges forth, killing the remaining Liberators, all but one of the Judicators, and the Lord-Relictor. The Stormcast are now badly outnumbered.

The Herald and Screamers move back to protect the Sigmarite, screened on one side by the Horrors and Thaumaturge.

The Herald and Screamers move back to protect the Sigmarite, screened on one side by the Horrors and Thaumaturge.

The second shard of Sigmarite comes to rest right next to the surviving Stormcast, a sign from the god-king that all is not lost. The Vexillor, Heraldor, Judicator-Prime and Lord-Celestant take up a defensive position.

The second shard of Sigmarite comes to rest right next to the surviving Stormcast: a sign from the god-king that all is not lost. The Vexillor, Heraldor, Judicator-Prime and Lord-Celestant take up a defensive position.

Then, with a crack of thunder, a unit of Paladin Retributors descend from Azyr on bolts of lightning. Tzeentchian magic keeps them from making landfall close to the first shard, but they now pose an immediate threat to the Herald.

Then! A unit of Paladin Retributors descend from Azyr on bolts of lightning, crashing to earth in a deafening blast of thunder. Tzeentchian magic keeps them from making landfall close to the first shard, but they now pose an immediate threat to the Herald.

Undeterred, the Retributors succeed in making a last-ditch charge towards the daemon-controlled Sigmarite. They crash into the Herald, who is quickly disintegrated by their devastating Starsoul Maces.

Undeterred, the Retributors succeed in making a last-ditch charge towards the daemon-controlled Sigmarite. They crash into the Herald, who is quickly disintegrated by their devastating Starsoul Maces.

Taking the initiative again in round three, the armies of Tzeentch round on the Retributors. If they can't be eliminated quickly, the Composure risks losing control of the Sigmarite shard. A rain of magic and daemon-flesh falls upon the Stormcast vanguard, and many fall. The Ogroid Thaumaturge charges into their midst, killing two before being slain in turn.

Taking the initiative again in round three, the armies of Tzeentch round on the Retributors. If they can’t be eliminated quickly, the Composer risks losing control of the Sigmarite shard. A rain of magic and daemon-flesh falls upon the Stormcast vanguard, and many fall. The Ogroid Thaumaturge charges into their midst, killing two before being slain in turn.

The Retributors easily hold their own after the death of the Thaumaturge as the Screamers and Horrors struggle to penetrate their thick armour. As another horde of Horrors charges the Stormcast heroes, the Knight-Vexillor summons a whirlwind to lift the Lord-Celestant aloft...

The Retributors easily hold their own after the death of the Thaumaturge as the Screamers and Horrors struggle to penetrate their thick armour. As the other horde of Horrors charges the Stormcast heroes, the Knight-Vexillor summons a whirlwind to lift the Lord-Celestant aloft…

...before bringing him crashing to earth at the foot of the Summoner's vortex. He charges the Horrors, pinning them in with the Retributors. The Stormcast then take the iniative in round four, utterly annihilating the daemons and taking control of the Sigmarite.

…before bringing him crashing to earth at the foot of the Summoner’s vortex. He charges the Horrors, pinning them in with the Retributors. The Stormcast then take the initiative in round four, utterly annihilating the daemons and taking control of the Sigmarite.

On the other flank, the lone Judicator-Prime slays multiple Horrors as they converge on the Stormcast defenders.

On the other flank, the lone Judicator-Prime slays multiple Horrors as they converge on the Stormcast defenders.

The Twilight Composer summons more Horrors and Screamers in an attempt to reclaim the Sigmarite, which is now responding to the presence of Sigmar's chosen. Despite the devastating damage done by the forces of Chaos in the opening moments of the battle, they now risk losing control of the prize. Both units of daemons falter in their charges, however, buying the Stormcast a vital moment of respite.

The Twilight Composer summons more Horrors and Screamers in an attempt to reclaim the Sigmarite, which is now responding to the presence of Sigmar’s chosen. Despite the devastating damage done by the forces of Chaos in the opening moments of the battle, they now risk losing control of the prize. Both units of daemons falter in their charges, however, buying the Stormcast a vital moment of respite.

The Horrors finally clash with the Judicator-Prime and Knight-Heraldor, but only land a few blows before being heavily cut down in return.

The Horrors finally clash with the Judicator-Prime and Knight-Heraldor, but only land a few blows before being heavily cut down in return.

It's an illusion, however. Reality blinks and six Horrors materialise from the ether, forming a line stretching to the second shard - momentarily stopping the Stormcast from controlling it.

It’s an illusion, however. Reality blinks and six Horrors materialise from the ether, forming a line stretching to the second shard – momentarily stopping the Stormcast from controlling it.

The Heraldor, Vexillor and Judicator-Prime slay even more horrors, but reality blinks again: despite their furious defense, the horde is actually growing.

The Heraldor, Vexillor and Judicator-Prime slay even more horrors, but reality blinks again: despite their furious defense, the horde is actually growing.

The fresh Horrors finally reach the Lord-Celestant and the surviving Retributors, but they're unable to dislodge them from the Sigmarite shard. The god-king's power begins to surge across the battlefield as Tzeentch's grip weakens.

The fresh Horrors finally reach the Lord-Celestant and the surviving Retributors, but they’re unable to dislodge them from the Sigmarite shard. The god-king’s power begins to surge across the battlefield as Tzeentch’s grip weakens.

Bolstered for a third and final time, the surging Horrors on the right flank slay the Judicator-Prime as Screamers rush in - but the Vexillor and Heraldor are able to hold their ground around the shard.

Bolstered for a third and final time, the surging Horrors on the right flank slay the Judicator-Prime as Screamers rush in – but the Vexillor and Heraldor are able to hold their ground around the shard.

Despite the seemingly inexhaustible tide of Pink Horrors besieging them, control of the Sigmarite shards remains in Stormcast hands. Unable to sustain the daemonic onslaught in the face of the ascendant might of Sigmar, the Twilight Composer vanishes, its prize abandoned. At great cost, the Stormcast have won the day.

Despite the seemingly inexhaustible tide of Pink Horrors besieging them, control of the Sigmarite shards remains in Stormcast hands. Unable to sustain the daemonic onslaught in the face of the ascendant might of Sigmar, the Twilight Composer vanishes, its prize abandoned. At great cost, the Stormcast have won the day.

This was another really enjoyable battle with a great mid-game twist. I knew that Tom was holding the Retributors in reserve – he had taken the battalion that allowed him to do so – but their arrival was the moment this game turned. I had tried to screen them from ‘my’ Sigmarite shard with the Screamers, but couldn’t cover every angle. When they succeeded in that vital 9″ charge, I had a huge problem on my hands.

It happened at the right time. I did so much damage to the Judicators and Liberators in the first two turns that I thought that the game might simply be over, but this just serves to highlight how vital scenarios and objectives are to Age of Sigmar. What I should have done, in hindsight, is run the Gaunt Summoner over to the shard as soon as it appeared and summon a new Balewind Vortex there – I had the summoning budget to do so, but ended up trapped by the threat posed by the Lord-Celestant and Retributors on the ground. As soon as they got to the shard, I simply couldn’t shift them. Failing my own charges when I summoned that double wave of defenders was a death sentence – Tom ended up winning by a heavy margin, despite his losses.

Yet dice also provided a bunch of other great story moments: like the ever-regenerating horde of Horrors on the right flank, which only happened because I rolled a 1 on three successive battleshock tests and then immediately rolled 5s and 6s when determining how many Horrors to add to the unit.

We came up with our own narrative reason to explain why the battle ended after the scenario-mandated five-round limit, but it felt right. This was a story of Stormcast marching into hell and holding on just long enough for help to arrive at the last possible moment. This kind of cinematic play is why I enjoy the game, and every time we play we’re getting a better sense of who our armies are and what they’re fighting for.

Age of Sigmar: Balewind Vortex

A few steps in to my first proper batch of Heresy-era Thousand Sons I realised that I was feeling a little burned out on batch painting. Advisedly/unadvisedly I decided to start a couple of other projects at once and see what felt right, and this Balewind Vortex is the first thing I finished.

I like how it turned out. This is functionally a mount for my Gaunt Summoner: a swirling column of Space Magic (TM) that’ll hopefully make him a little more competitive. The colour transition on the Vortex itself is intended to transition neatly into the Summoner’s robes – a continuation of the ‘weird genie’ theme that I started thinking about when I originally painted him. I saw Aladdin at a very formative age, I guess?

Age of Sigmar: Tzeentch Daemon Vanguard HQ

I’m heading to my first Age of Sigmar event tomorrow, a 1000-point tournament in Bristol. I’ve got no illusions about winning all (or even any) of my games, but it was a good incentive to get a full force painted. I’ve got another box of Screamers and a Burning Chariot to add to this growing army in the next couple of weeks, but I’m going to be working on the Burning of Prospero models next.

 

Age of Sigmar: Pink Horrors

Another set of models that were half-complete when Tom and I played our first AoS game, I finally had time to finish these off this week. Pretty happy with them: this is the biggest batch of models I’ve done and while I cut a few corners I picked a few details to do to the same standard that I’d hope for in a one-off. The bracers, gemstones, green fire and feathers help tie them into the Silver Tower models.

I was impressed by the models themselves, particularly considering that they’re an older set. The poses are really precarious and dynamic and they must have been a nightmare to assemble into ranks. Quite a few had balance problems, particularly the standard-bearer – that thing’s enormous. I ended up buying some 20mm metal washers and supergluing these to the underside of the bases, which worked well.

Next up: another box of these guys. I’m going to create some variety by mixing up a few of the accent colours: tongue, eyes, feathers, and the deep shading on their faces and hands. They’ll still be pink, though. Obviously.

Age of Sigmar: Screamers of Tzeentch

I did most of the work on these a little while ago, ahead of my first Age of Sigmar game against Tom. They needed a little bit more love, however: first to fully highlight their tusks and spines, and then to base them properly. I considered leaving them on transparent flight stands, X-Wing style, but find that black stems and properly-based stands ties them into my army much better. I’ve also done the same for the Herald’s disc.

These are fun, quick models to paint. I’d like to do a little more work on them, likely when I’ve finished painting up what will eventually be a unit of six: I’d like to add an accent colour to the pink and purple screamers, but I’ll decide on what form that’ll take when the unit as a whole is finished.

It’s been a quiet week, hobby-wise, for a number of reasons. The next step is finishing off my first batch of Pink Horrors, which are a few hours from done. Then I’ve got another box of Pink Horrors to assemble and paint ahead of my first AoS tournament later in the month.

Horus Heresy: Thousand Sons Tactical Marine

The start of a new project! Tom and I have split the Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero box and we’re both painting our respective halves. He’s taken the Space Wolves/Custodes/Sisters of Silence, and I’m doing the Thousand Sons. Tzeentch stuff for the Tzeentch guy, etc etc.

This first Tactical Marine was a test run, and he’s not 100% finished – I still need to apply decals to his shoulderpads, which I’ll do once I’ve had a chance to practice with them. The key thing I wanted to do – and sadly the photos really don’t show this off – was to create a metallic red effect for his armour, as in the old Forge World Thousand Sons reference pictures. Burning of Prospero’s photography show the Sons painted a matte red, not dissimilar to Blood Angels. It looks good, but I really think that a metallic finish suits the Horus Heresy era, and particularly this chapter, better.

As such, this is the first miniature that I’ve painted almost entirely with washes and glazes. The entire model was basecoated gold with Retributor Armour spray, then washed with Reikland Fleshshade and drybrushed with a Liberator Gold highlight. Then I applied two thin coats of Vallejo Transparent Red to the armour, which gives it an Iron Man-style shine. I then shaded the armour first with Carroburg Crimson and then with Nuln Oil in the deep recesses. One great thing about this approach is the gold trim was effectively finished by the time I’d painted all the red, just needing some touch-ups and a highlight with Runefang Steel (which I also used to pick out chips and battle damage elsewhere on the model.)

I’m really happy with how it turned out – when enough of these models are done, I’ll ask Pip to take some proper photos. In the meantime, however, I’ve got a lot more Tzeentch demons to finish ahead of my first Age of Sigmar event later in the month. I’ll be returning to Horus Heresy stuff when that’s done.

Age of Sigmar: ‘Hold Or Die’ Battle Report

My friend Tom and I played our first game of Age of Sigmar today – my first game ever, and his second or third. We chose the scenario ‘Hold Or Die’, where one force (in this case Tom’s Stormcast Eternals) find themselves cut off and surrounded. Only a third of Tom’s forces would begin the game on the board, with the rest arriving at the beginning of the second turn.

My army of Tzeentch is made up of the Silver Tower adversaries along with the beginnings of my demon army – you’ll see a few miniatures here that I’ve not yet finished and properly photographed, including Pink Horrors and Screamers. These photos aren’t great, but they’ll hopefully help illustrate the story as we go. I don’t know if I’ll write up every game I play, but there were enough great moments that I wanted to get this all down before the story slipped my mind.

At the dawn of the Age of Sigmar, a host of Stormcast Eternals is sent deep into Chamon, the Realm of Metal, on a secret charge given to them by the god-king. Believing themselves to be on the cusp of discovering an artifact of great power, the chamber’s Lord-Celestant and Lord-Relictor take a small group of Judicators and forge ahead before becoming lost in a blinding mist rising from pools of molten metal. When the mist suddenly clears, the rest of the Stormcast host is nowhere to be seen – and an army of Tzeentch, overseen by a Gaunt Summoner, is upon them.

Isolated from their chamber, the Lord-Castellant, Lord-Relictor and Judicators take up a defensive position.

Isolated from their comrades, the Lord-Celestant, Lord-Relictor and Judicators take up a defensive position.

A Gaunt Summoner flanked by demonic and mortal servants of Tzeentch faces the Stormcast from the far end of the valley. On the flank, a Herald of Tzeentch and accompanying Screamers swoop down from the cliffside.

A Gaunt Summoner flanked by demonic and mortal servants of Tzeentch faces the Stormcast from the far end of the valley. On the flank, a Herald of Tzeentch and accompanying Screamers swoop down from the cliffside.

Their weapons out of range, the Stormcast hold their positions as the horde moves forward. The Pink Horrors hurl bolts of magical flame at the Lord-Celestant, wounding him. The Screamers and Herald move fast around the side, ready to threaten on the next turn.

Their weapons out of range, the Stormcast hold their positions as the horde moves forward. The Pink Horrors hurl bolts of magical flame at the Lord-Celestant, wounding him. The Screamers and Herald move fast around the side, ready to threaten on the next turn.

The forces of Chaos take the initiative on the second turn. The flying units move up fast and The Herald summons a unit of Flamers of Tzeentch in range of the Stormcast position. The Flamers and Herald lay into the Lord-Celestant with ranged fire, dealing a devastating series of blows and slaying the Stormcast commander in the opening moments of the battle. The Ogroid Thaumaturge charges forward, casting fireblast at the Lord-Relictor, wounding him and summoning horrors that pin him down. The Stormcast are on the ropes.

The forces of Chaos take the initiative on the second turn. The flying units move up fast and The Herald summons a unit of Flamers of Tzeentch in range of the Stormcast position. The Flamers and Herald lay into the Lord-Celestant with ranged fire, dealing a devastating series of blows and slaying the Stormcast commander in the opening moments of the battle. The Ogroid Thaumaturge charges forward, casting fireblast at the Lord-Relictor, wounding him and summoning horrors that pin him down. The Stormcast are on the ropes.

At the beginning of the Stormcast turn, their reinforcements arrive on a side of the board secretly chosen before the battle began.

At the beginning of the Stormcast turn, their reinforcements arrive on a side of the board secretly chosen before the battle began.

A massive unit of Retributors lead by a Knight-Heraldor rushes to the aid of the surviving Stormcast, joined by two units of Liberators and a Knight-Vexillor.

A massive unit of Retributors lead by a Knight-Heraldor rushes to the aid of the surviving Stormcast, joined by two units of Liberators and a Knight-Vexillor.

A blast from the Knight-Heraldor's trumpet allows the otherwise-lumbering Retributors to move, run and charge in a single turn. They thunder out of the ravine and blindside the Ogroid Thaumaturge, who falls quickly.

A blast from the Knight-Heraldor’s trumpet allows the otherwise-lumbering Retributors to move, run and charge in a single turn. They thunder out of the ravine and blindside the Ogroid Thaumaturge, who falls quickly under their hammers.

The Screamers turn to intercept the Retributors as the Herald and Flamers turn on the Judicators. Both units of Liberators roll sixes on their running moves, sprinting into play from the edge of the board.

The Screamers turn to intercept the Retributors as the Herald and Flamers turn on the Judicators. Both units of Liberators roll sixes on their running moves, sprinting into position from the edge of the board.

The Pink Horrors and Screamers take on the Retributors and slay two before being totally wiped out themselves.

The Pink Horrors and Screamers take on the Retributors and slay two before being totally wiped out themselves.

The Tzaangors and Acolytes back off from the onrushing Retributors, screening the Gaunt Summoner.

The Tzaangors and Acolytes back off from the onrushing Retributors, screening the Gaunt Summoner.

Surging forward again, the Retributors slam into the Tzaangors. The beastmen hold their own and kill a Retributor, but their morale breaks and all but one flee at the end of the round.

Surging forward again, the Retributors slam into the Tzaangors. The beastmen hold their own and kill a Retributor, but their morale breaks and all but one flee at the end of the round.

After the last Tzaangor falls, the Gaunt Summoner summons another horde of Pink Horrors, which themselves then summon Screamers on the Retributor's flank. On the other side of the battle, the Flamers and Herald kill the last of the Judicators and start moving back towards the Summoner.

After the last Tzaangor falls, the Gaunt Summoner summons another horde of Pink Horrors, who themselves then summon Screamers on the Retributor’s flank. On the other side of the battle, the Flamers and Herald kill the last of the Judicators and start moving back towards the Summoner.

The Gaunt Summoner retreats onto a hillside as the Screamers and Pink Horrors engage the surviving Retributors. Even though only two remain, all of the Pink Horrors are slain and the Screamers retreat. In the part of the battle that I did not adequately photograph, the Knight-Vexillor summons a celestial meteor that kills one Flamer and wounds the Herald of Tzeentch. Unsatisfied, the Knight-Heraldor then blasts a nearby pit of molten metal with his battle-horn. The resulting tidal wave of burning liquid kills a Flamer, cripples the Herald, and even slays a nearby Liberator.

The Gaunt Summoner retreats onto a hillside as the Screamers and Pink Horrors engage the surviving Retributors. Even though only two remain, all of the Pink Horrors are slain and the Screamers retreat. In the part of the battle that I did not adequately photograph, the Knight-Vexillor summons a celestial meteor that kills one Flamer and wounds the Herald of Tzeentch. Unsatisfied, the Knight-Heraldor then blasts a nearby pit of molten metal with his battle-horn. The resulting tidal wave of burning liquid kills a Flamer, the Herald, and a nearby Liberator.

The remaining Flamer takes down the last Retributor, finally bringing the Stormcast charge to a halt. The surviving Liberators manage to engage the Gaunt Summoner, however, and the battle on the hillside is close fought. The Screamers are able to take the Liberators down and buy time for the Summoner to flee.

The remaining Flamer takes down the last Retributor, finally bringing the Stormcast charge to a halt. The surviving Liberators manage to engage the Gaunt Summoner, however, and the battle on the hillside is close fought. The Screamers are able to take the Liberators down and buy time for the Summoner to flee.

Of the two armies, only four Liberators, three Screamers, a Flamer, the Gaunt Summoner, Knight-Heraldor, and Knight-Vexillor remain. The Liberators struggle to make up ground as the Flamer flies to the Gaunt Summoner's position. But then! The Heraldor aims a thunderblast at the rocky outcrop taken up by the Gaunt Summoner, detonating it and burying the Summoner and final Flamer under the debris. Only the Screamers remain.

Of the two armies, only four Liberators, three Screamers, a Flamer, the Gaunt Summoner, Knight-Heraldor, and Knight-Vexillor remain. The Liberators struggle to make up ground as the Flamer flies to the Gaunt Summoner’s position. But then! The Heraldor aims a thunderblast at the rocky outcrop taken up by the Gaunt Summoner, detonating it and burying the Summoner and final Flamer under the debris. Only the Screamers remain.

The Screamers lay into the Stormcast heroes, but lose one of their own number in each combat. The hated Knight-Heraldor is wounded, but eventually only one Screamer remains.

The Screamers lay into the Stormcast heroes, but lose one of their own number in each combat. The hated Knight-Heraldor is wounded, but eventually only one Screamer remains.

The last Screamer brings the Heraldor down with its final attack before being slain by the Knight-Vexillor. The Stormcast have survived the ambush at the cost of two generals and over 85% of their forces.

The last Screamer brings the Heraldor down with its final attack before being slain by the Knight-Vexillor. The Stormcast have survived the ambush at the cost of two generals and over 85% of their force – but they have survived. This was the Gaunt Summoner’s plan all along, obviously.

A few thoughts, now that I’ve finally played the game. First: this was impressively close. We used the matched play ruleset to try to balance the game (point values and summoning restrictions, chiefly) but approached this as a narrative experience. Even so, this clearly worked. A few strategic decisions by either of us could have swung this, and while dice played a part (particularly when it came to the Retributors’ unstoppable charge rolls) it didn’t feel like the game came entirely down to them. We both walked away thinking about the strategic ramifications of the decisions we made and the armies we’d built.

Secondly, and more importantly, the game was full of memorable moments. The sudden death of the Lord-Celestant (and the dragon he rode in on) set the stakes very high: this wasn’t just a holdout situation, but an immediate dance with death. This set the stage for the arrival of the Retributors, whose Gandalf-at-Helm’s Deep entrance couldn’t have been cooler – down to the fact that they outflanked and annihilated the out-of-position Thaumaturge, swinging the momentum of the battle for the Stormcast and getting revenge for the Lord-Celestant.

Then we had the run-and-summon fight down the centre of the board as the Gaunt Summoner tried to halt the Retributors before they could reach him and only just succeeded, followed by the destructive march of the Knight-Heraldor and his ludicrous horn as he blasted molten metal over the Herald of Tzeentch and blew up the mountain that the Gaunt Summoner was standing on. It felt like a perfect end that he himself was finally taken out by the last demon, leaving only five shellshocked Stormcast models on the board at the end.

We’re going to keep building up a history between these two armies – this was a prologue, of a sort, one built around the idea that Tom’s Lord-Relictor will eventually track my Gaunt Summoner down to the Silver Tower. The structure of the fiction makes this narrative easier to build, too. I’ve read complaints that battles don’t mean anything in Age of Sigmar because nobody really dies – the Stormcast are reforged, demons obey their own laws, and so on.

I understand where that viewpoint comes from, but the fact is that you can’t build a meaningful ongoing story in a battle game if death is permanent – otherwise Tom’s Lord-Celestant is gone, my Gaunt Summoner is gone, all of the characters who could give it meaning. We’d have played ourselves into a corner. As it is, we can imagine what the next encounter between these forces might be like – it could be hundreds of years later – and carry those rivalries forward. His Lord-Celestant, if he returns, will respect Flamers.

My Gaunt Summoner, for his part, will respect dudes with trumpets.

 

Age of Sigmar: Flamers of Tzeentch

Another unit for my Tzeentch army that doubles as a new set of monsters for Silver Tower. Not much to say about painting these, save that doing the gradients was fun and painting dozens of tiny teeth… wasn’t. I added yellow to the now army-spanning green flame to help it stand out a little. Otherwise, a relatively straightforward 200 points of flaming demon binbag.

Age of Sigmar: Herald of Tzeentch on Disc

I’ve spent the last two weeks batch painting the beginnings of a demons of Tzeentch army for Age of Sigmar, using some of my Silver Tower models as a starting point but branching off in new directions too. This Herald of Tzeentch is the first model I’ve actually finished in that time, as well as being the first finecast miniature I’ve assembled and painted.

I can understand why finecast resin has the reputation that it does – it’s a real pain to work with, from having to carve parts of the miniature out of the sprue to cutting and filing away thick mould lines. I never quite managed to straighten out the bend in the Herald’s staff, so it’s a good thing I quite like it. Mutated demonic flesh covers a multitude of sins when it comes to resin – had I been working with a human model, or something with straight lines, I’d have had a much worse time.

Besides that, I’m happy with how this guy turned out. I’ve done a few things to tie him into the rest of the set, from the green flames to the gradient on his bracers to his feathers, which match the Gaunt Summoner and the Silver Tower Pink Horrors. He’ll be leading a unit of Screamers in my first Age of Sigmar game, which is coming up this weekend.

Heralds of Tzeentch can also be used as optional exotic encounters in Silver Tower, but this requires them to be based normally – not riding a disc. I decided to go out of my comfort zone with a drill and some magnets, and I’m quite pleased with the result:

Silver Tower: the first session

Three and a half months after I bought Silver Tower, we finally sat down to play Silver Tower. Me, Pip, and our friends Matt and Tom took on the first trial and won. All of the miniatures pictured are mine with the exception of Tom’s awesome Lord Relictor, which is from his Stormcast army.

The heroes make quick work of the acolytes in the first chamber and Pip's Starpriest opens the portal to the next. It is full of dudes.

The heroes make quick work of the Kairic Acolytes in the first chamber and Pip’s Starpriest opens the portal to the next. It is full of dudes.

Pip's Starpriest would subsequently stab many of these dudes to death.

Pip’s Starpriest would subsequently stab many of these dudes to death.

A chance encounter sees us face down the Gaunt Summoner in a narrow chamber. Matt's Doomseeker and my Knight-Questor managed to repel him in a single turn, before he could act.

A chance encounter sees us face down the Gaunt Summoner in a narrow chamber. Matt’s Doomseeker and my Knight-Questor managed to repel him in a single turn, before he could act.

My Knight-Questor leads the charge into the final chamber. We'd ultimately kill most of the initial wave with deadly magic lasers, but a series of freak destiny rolls by Pip would subsequently see six (!) Kairic Acolytes warp in right on top of us.

My Knight-Questor leads the charge into the final chamber. We’d ultimately kill most of the initial wave with deadly magic lasers, but a series of freak destiny rolls by Pip would subsequently see six (six!) Kairic Acolytes warp in right on top of us.