I got to play my first game in months. My buddy Steve and I decided on 4000 points, Skaven vs. Empire. At that size, a Steam Tank was inevitable, and I needed to make sure I had something to deal with it.
Jezzails have a 50% chance of wounding it but they're notoriously inaccurate and, even though I have 30 of them, getting them all aligned against a single target can prove difficult on a board with dense terrain.
The Warp Lightning Cannons and Doom Wheels can potentially throw out Strength 10 shots that inflict multiple wounds. But they have just as much chance to fire at Strength 2 or misfire and explode.
Enter: The Fell Blade. This magic sword makes the wielder strike at Strength 10, which is strong enough to allow no armor save, and each wound inflicted multiplies into D6 wounds. I didn't want my general going anywhere near a Steam Tank so, the night before the battle, I painted the Spinetail miniature. He's the first model out of my Skaven project queue: The Clan Pestilens Warlord Skabsis.
The battle was fought at Steve's house, on his Empire-themed battlefield. His army, The Roving Province of Sigmarheim squared off against the Lightning Engineer Cult. (This battle is outside the campaign we're involved in, which is still underway. I'll have an update in the near future.) I wasn't about to do a full, in-depth battle report. The time required to document everything turn-by-turn is just too much and Steve and I just wanted to get together, push models around and throw some dice. Here are some highlights from our game:
We fought a standard pitched battle. His Steam Tank was on my right flank (at the far end of the table in this shot) and his battery of artillery was on my left (at the closer end of the table). I made sure to deploy Lord Skabsis in a unit of Clanrats opposite the Steam Tank. So far, my plan was working perfectly.
Steve took the first turn, moved his battle line forward, and began measuring for his spells and shooting.
Here is Steve's Grey Wizard, moments before a miscast sent him screaming into the realm of Chaos. (I told him to say 'hi' to Marduk for me.)
His cannon fire eliminated one of my Doom Wheels before I even had a chance to move it. I brought my forces forward, in an effort to get the Rat Ogres into combat before they could absorb too many cannonballs.
Steve obliged me by charging with his knights and Free Company. Skweel Gnawtooth didn't survive the first round of combat, but the Ogres themselves held.
Over on the right flank, the Steam Tank was engaged with my rat swarms. I didn't have room to fit Warlord Skabsis in the fight, so I needed to wait before charging him in. Steve's Death Wizard cast Purple Sun of Xereus, which ripped through my rat swarms. The spell dissipated once my assassin, hidden behind the building, put a few Warp Stone Throwing Stars in the wizard's back.
The battle with the Rat Ogres was grinding away at them, and once Steve's Greatswords joined the fight it looked like I'd lost. But the Rat Ogres, with the aid of Warlord Skreekits' inspiring presence and the army's battle flag, continued to hold their ground.
Once the rat swarms were finished, I had my opportunity– Skabsis charged out of his unit and swung the fell blade at the Steam Tank. He landed two hits which multiplied into 11 wounds! The vehicle exploded spectacularly... and Skabsis was promptly shot to pieces by Steve's Handgunners. A weapon that powerful doesn't leave any room for magical armor or protective talismans. It was worth it for the look on Steve's face when the warlord cut his tank in half, even though Skabsis didn't survive the battle. I'm sure the Master Moulders can piece him back together.
At about this time, my Doom Wheel had gotten close enough to start zapping Steve's artillery. I took out his cannon and Helblaster and (because the Doom Wheel's warp lightning doesn't distinguish between friend and foe) one of my own Warlock Engineers in the process!
I brought a unit of Clanrats in to help the The Rat Ogres, but the combat was lost anyway. The remaining Ogres and Clanrats broke.
My Stormvermin, led by Warlord Skreekits received the knights' charge, and managed to drive them off.
I had broken through Steve's line, but suffered some serious casualties in the process. The game had gone so long and we still had the dreaded cleanup ahead of us, so we didn't bother counting up victory points. We were content to call it a draw.
My plan with the Fell Blade worked beautifully. I just need to figure out a way to keep Skabsis alive once he's delivered his killing blow. And maybe I'll have the Hell Pit Abomination finished for the next game.