perjantai 8. joulukuuta 2017

Catching Up

Hi there!

For the past several weeks all I've covered here in the blog has been my Path to Glory campaign in the local game store, and little else. Now the campaign has drawn to a close and my Aelves did not rank that well; they didn't even reach either of the campaign's two victory conditions! Oh well...
I actually missed the last round due to busy personal life, but to finish the story I began for Lord Sundamar Blazeborn and his loyal followers I'll find someone to play the league's final scenario with. This story must have an ending!

Speaking of endings, now that the PtG-league is over I have many things planned for the future of this blog. What exactly do I have in mind?

  • The Iron Grudge campaign will be continued, meaning new narrative battle reports and war overviews as my Kazad-Zul Duardin advance into the enemy territory in search of Big Bossy Warboss Urgokh da Choppa.
  • A Firestorm campaign is on the horizon. Using the rules and contents of the Season of War: Firestorm -box, I and three other warlords shall pit our armies against each other for the dominance of the Flamescar Plateau as the year 2018 kicks in. Narrative battle reports, campaign overviews and pics of beautiful armies shall come in abundance!
  • Army projects: My Freeguild have soon all been rebased and they're hungry for battle, not to mention a fledgling Fyreslayers Lodge or the soon-to-be-famous Sunsplitterz Warclan!
  • Instagram activity is a regular thing for ExtraBushyBeards already. Every few days I'll bombard the feed with painted models and WIPs so you have something hobby-themed to browse when commuting or waiting at the dentist's.

To sum it up: there'll be plenty of epic war stories to read and many pics and projects to see —  a firm return to the blog's origins as the place of narratives and casual fun after a couple of months of relative competitiveness.

I did mention the ExtraBushyBeards Instagram account, didn't I? With over a hundred followers already, we have established an aspiring duardin colony in the mountains that'll hopefully grow into a prospering Karak some day. As I go through my collection of painted models I photograph some chosen pieces in my Lightbox Studio to be uploaded there for easy reference and some on-the-go eyecandy.

Here are the 50 Freeguild Guard Militia I began working on back in Regimental Rebasing. 30 of them are already done and I'm currently working on the next batch of 10, leaving only the last few undercoated buggers before I paint their 25mm round bases and call them done. I ordered some 200 bases from Kromlech just for this army project, the old Empire needs to be renewed in order to stand up to the challenges they'll face in the upcoming Fir...

Oops, I've said too much.

Some Empire Knights rebased as Knights of Order. Only usable in Order allegiance armies nowadays but hey, they make a nice addition to any narrative games even though they might not fit into my more structured Freeguild lists! 

Their bases were done in a very quick&dirty way similar to the bases of my Freeguild infantry: Abaddon Black, Dawnstone, Nuln Oil, done. Didn't bother making any drains or mosaic this time as I doubt these fellows will see much action in the upcoming battles.

That's all for catching up on things, next up I'll try to get that PtG-story on Sundamar to a conclusion. Until then!

maanantai 27. marraskuuta 2017

Path to Glory: Signs of Corruption


The fourth part of my local Path to Glory campaign is finally here, this time centered around the battleplan Beast's Lair in which both players had a chance to control a powerful monster in the middle of the battlefield by rolling off at the beginning of each battleround. Whichever side had any models in the table centre (without any enemies nearby) when the monster was slain would be victorious. We used a Treelord as the Beast of the Lair.

I played against a Blades of Khorne warband which was quite daemon-heavy. Actually it was all daemons through and through. Interesting!

"By Asuryan... Look at this place," Loremaster Aerelian sighed as they stood on a hill overlooking a blackening valley full of leafless trees and infertile ground.
"This is the work of the minions of the Dark Gods. The corruption is spreading rapidly throughout the region and it seems to originate from somewhere around here."
"A morbid sight indeed," Sundamar replied, sitting in the back of A'undtur who had fallen deathly silent since they had entered the dying valley.
"We must locate the source of this desolation to put an end to it. I say we search this valley thoroughly now that we have enough warriors for the task," he said, nodding back over his shoulder towards the lines of aelven troops snaking up the hill to accompany their leaders.

The rest of the reinforcements from home had arrived shortly after the battle at the Altars of Damnation, swelling the ranks of Sundamar's expedition with fresh citizen militia skilled in the usage of bow and spear. With these new warriors he was confident he could find and destroy the source of this foul corruption in no-time.

"There was a dedicated warden for this valley once, a mighty lord of the forest," A'undtur mind-sang suddenly, startling Sundamar.
"I wonder what has become of him."
"Sylvaneth, you mean? I bet those forest spirits have been driven away from here ages ago, they wouldn't let their lands be despoiled in this way," the aelf noble replied, eyeing their surroundings nervously as their party began descending into the valley.

They hadn't traveled far before they spotted disturbing movement in a patch of forest ahead of them.
"I believe we have found the valley's guardian... or something that used to be him. And we're not the only ones making this discovery, either. Draw your blade, Little One..." A'undtur sang as a black-barked Sylvaneth Treelord burst out from amidst a collection of dead trees, bloodcurdling howls of daemons echoing in the background. Lord Sundamar's mouth was too dry to form a reply.

Here's what my Aelf warband House Blazeborn Expedition looks like now. A Dragonlord, a Loremaster, 5 Dragon Blades, 10 White Lions, 5 Reavers and (the latest addition) 10 Spireguard.

The Spireguard were the only non-elite choice I could add to my warband at this point, as I do not want to waste any more Glory Points in another unit of Reavers. They were also already painted, conveniently enough, so I could just swoop sweep them into my bag to be taken along with a minute's notice. I don't expect much of them, but I hope their bows will prove handy when harassing the opposition and thinning down their ranks before the inevitable brutality of melee.

10 Bloodletters, 10 Bloodletters, a Bloodthrone, a Bloodhthirster (behind the rock), a Skullmaster (behind the rock) and 3 Bloodcrushers
I deployed my forces into the corner with less Mysterious terrain around it (I roll terribly when those are nearby) and my opponent's warband naturally set up on the opposite corner. Both forces started a bit bunched-up, with the intention of running into the mid-field Beast's Lair to bathe in blood, but I was confident in my missile capabilities and their might against his all-melee horde of slavering daemons.

The first turn of the first battleround went to the Aelves, as well as the control of the Treelord for this round. I moved my forces cautiously towards the middle in order to unleash a hail of arrows at the daemons in the second round, letting them slither out of their deployment area into the daylight. The Treelord walked out of its lair and shot its Strangleroots at the Bloodcrushers, but failed to inflict any damage. Its subsequent charge also failed and the turn switched over to the Blades of Khorne.

The Beast's Lair in the middle was Deadly terrain, which is why the Dragon Blades are so oddly positioned.
Completely ignoring the Treelord, the daemons circled around it to get closer to the Beast's Lair in the middle of the field. The Bloodcrushers and the Skullmaster began some sort of flanking maneuver on the right, riding closer upon the backs of their juggernauts.

The Aelves got to begin the second battleround (and gained the control of the Treelord once more), so I lined my warriors up for the shooting phase. My Dragon Blades and Reavers got close enough to the Lair to claim it for the Aelves should the Treelord perish any time soon. The Loremaster cast Hand of Glory on my Dragonlord, who then flew next to the hill on the right in order to halt the flanking enemy cavalry.

The Reavers managed to take down 4 Bloodletters with their 15 arrows, thinning down the closest enemy infantry unit quite nicely. The Dragonlord spat fire over the hill to burn a single Bloodcrusher to crisp. The Dragon Blades failed their charge into the Bloodthrone looming in the distance. The Treelord, however, did make its charge and managed to reach the great Bloodthirster himself!

After Strangleroot shots and a number of melee attacks the Bloodthirster stood on 5 Wounds, but it managed to get back at the sentient twig by carving it down to 4 Wounds in return!

A true clash of the titans.

My opponent moved up his forces within charge distance, leaving only one unit of Bloodletters to see if their Champion could handle the Treelord with or without some help from its minions. The Bloodcrushers along with the Skullmaster on the right advanced just a bit, maintaining a disturbing presence in my dragon-guarded flank while his other units charged in.

The Bloodthrone charged my Dragon Blades, suffering 1 Wound in the melee while the aelven knights took as much in return. The 6 Bloodletters of the arrowfire-weakened unit came at my Reavers, cutting down two of the poor cavalry before suffering two casualties in return as the Spireguard ran in to aid their mates.

The Combat between a Greater Daemon and a Treelord was going horribly. The Bloodthirster dealt out three wounds while only taking one himself, leaving its adversary at a single Wound!

The third battleround began with the Aelves, but the control of the Treelord switched over to the Khornates. The Dragonlord received Hand of Glory from the Loremaster and climbed to the nearby hill, blasting one more Bloodcrusher from this reality with a healthy gout of dragonfire before charging in. The Spireguard fired at the turncoat Treelord, seeking to take out its last Wound with a rain of shafts. All shots bounced off or missed altogether, but one lucky shot went through and slew the Beast of the Lair!

The White Lions charged the Bloodletters in the middle to lend some aid to the Reavers and the Spireguard, making short work of the remaining daemon infantry with their axes. The Dragon Blades managed to put two more wounds into the Bloodthrone but lost one of their own in the fight, while the Dragonlord ate up the last remaining Bloodcrusher.

The Bloodletters and the Bloodcrushers at the back (around the rock spire) are casualties, not unholy reinforcements.
My opponent's third turn saw the Bloodthirster advance into the middle with its minions hot on its heels. The daemons sought to swarm the centre and push me out, for now that the monster was dead the victor would be determined as soon as all enemies had been cleared from the Lair. Funnily enough, the Greater Daemon of Khorne failed its Deadly terrain test when charging across the middle forest and was removed from the field!

The Dragon Blades slew 2 Bloodletters in the combat phase but suffered 5 wounds in return, killing two knights and leaving one on 1 Wound. The Bloodthrone survived this round unscathed and managed to heal 2 Wounds with its Gorefeast ability. I wonder what the flesh of aelven nobles taste like...

The fourth battleround began with the Aelves. The Loremaster tried to cast Arcane Bolt at the Bloodletters but got automatically unbound by the Khornates' Blood Tithe Battle Trait. The Dragonlord climbed to the edge of the hill and slew one daemon with dragonfire, while the Reavers repositioned themselves and loosed 9 shots at the Bloodthrone, taking it from 5 Wounds down to just 2.

Both the White Lions and the Spireguard charged the Bloodletters through the Deadly forest, forming two layers around the daemons: tough White Lions in the first rank, spear-armed Spireguard in the second, with only a small gap left to get the Spireguard unit champion into contact with the foe. One Lion and two Spireguard met their demise charging through the woods, but the daemons were quickly dispatched under the aelven onslaught.

In the Blades of Khorne turn four, the Bloodthrone charged the Spireguard and managed to kill 6 of them in one go! The lonely Skullmaster on the right also charged my Dragonlord but got minced before getting a chance to attack my Champion.

The Bloodthrone was the only enemy model on the field at this point, yet it still stood within the boundaries of the Lair and thus still denied me victory. So I activated my White Lions next and piled them in...

A handful of dice, 3+/3+/-1/1 and the daemonic slaughter-chariot was gone.

A major victory for the Aelves!

The last of the daemons crawled out of the wreckage of the Bloodthrone, clawing its way onward amidst the corpses with its mangled legs trailing numbly behind it. A ranger walked up to it and pressed the abomination flat on the ground with a dirty boot, bringing a great axe down on the daemon's head with a splat. The warriors began spreading out to examine the battlefield, checking fallen comrades and skewering lingering foes. All around the corpse-strewn valley the corporeal forms of the slain daemons began slowly dissipating as their hosts had been banished back into the Realm of Chaos, leaving only dead mortals to dot the landscape.

Sundamar was breathing heavily. The corrupted warden had fought the daemons with admirable ferocity, but there had been something sinister about the Treelord all along. The Loremaster had advised everyone to keep their distance and remain vigilant, for the warden surely couldn't tell a friend from foe anymore. It had clashed with a greater daemon with some measure of success before it had turned on the aelves. Aerelian had immediately ordered the Spireguard to loose a volley at the wooden giant, finally bringing the grievously wounded behemoth down with one lucky shaft.

Young Lord Blazeborn was even now staring at the blackened Treelord that laid flat on the ground, its bark split and torn, with several arrows protruding from its battered form.
"There still is a chance to save it. Its life essence hasn't completely left the husk yet, and I might be able to spark it once more," Loremaster Aerelian stated as he walked up to his liege.
"It might be grateful enough afterwards to join our little adventure. I'm quite convinced it has a score or two to settle with whoever is spreading this corruption."
"Do it," Sundamar replied after a moment's thought.
"We need all the help we can get. How much time do you need, master Aerelian?"
"I'd say three days, but I'll make it two. The restoration ritual is exhausting and it'll take our friend here a while to recover its full strength, but we'll get there. I think I'd better start recalling my lessons on the tongue of the ancients..."

As an additional reward for this victory the Treelord now joins my warband with D6 Wounds, recovering and additional D6 Wounds at the start of each subsequent scenario as it gains back its strength. A handy addition if you ask me! That monster packs a punch which is always welcome in Aelven warbands while also bringing some serious durability into my ranks, too. I believe I now stand at 6 Glory Points in this league, which is not that good as there are already players competing for victory with either 5 added units or 10 collected Glory Points. Oh well, I've had a blast and there are still scenarios to come, so the challenges haven't ended yet for Sundamar Blazeborn and his followers! I'm thinking of taking a Reward for my White Lions instead of a new unit, just to try how that mechanic plays out.

My opponent's Blades of Khorne were a joy to meet on the field, the black-and-red colour scheme topped with weapons of bleached bone looks absolutely stunning! The warband was also played really well, and I have to admit I feel a bit embarrassed to fall for such an obvious bait. A bunch of cavalry hanging on my flanks doing nothing? Had I done nothing the bastards would've struck my Loremaster and Reavers in the back, but as a pretty poor tactical choice I sent my Dragonlord after them. Yes. I sent a damn dragon to chase flankers while my footmen died in droves in the mid-field. The Dragon Blades could've done the same and I would've had my main killing machine free to meet the foe where it mattered!

Agh, what is done is done. I was lucky to have the Treelord on my side for so long, it pretty much saved the day by smashing the Bloodthirster down to its last Wounds before dying itself. I also have to pat my Spireguard and White Lions in the back. They held the middle even though their lord and master was off chasing daemon-riders.

We'll see what the next game brings about. Until then!

perjantai 17. marraskuuta 2017

Path to Glory: At the Altars of Damnation


In the third game of the local Path to Glory league I got paired against Khorne Bloodbound in a scenario called Altar of the Gods. The aim was to control three out of four altars on the table by being the only player having models within 3" of them. Pretty straightforward, but as an interesting twist each warband's Champion had a chance to pray at a nearby altar in their own hero phase, either suffering mortal wounds or gaining powerful bonuses for their efforts.

The reinforcements from home arrived in mere days after the encounter with the Ghoul King. A band of Reavers appeared in Lord Blazeborn's encampment late in the night, carrying supplies and promises of even more troops on their way to assist the young noble. The duel with the King of Ghouls had left its marks on Sundamar, who even now sat upon a mossy rock chewing a restoring herb his mother had sent along with the cavalry.
"We're getting close, my lord," Loremaster Aerelian stated as he stood on a tree branch several feet above his liege.
"According to the ancient scripts in the temple there should be a cluster of altars nearby. Dedicated to the Dark Gods, they said. Leveling them should at least slow down the spread of corruption..."
"Don't get carried away, master Aerelian. We might be reinforced with skilled warriors from home but I do not intend to lose them straight away," Sundamar replied, grimacing as he forced himself up from the rock.
"The longer we wait the harder it is to combat this darkness gripping the region," the Loremaster shot back from the heights along with a determined gaze. With a simple motion of his pale hand the warrior mage descended to the ground, carried by a magical gale of wind.
"There's bound to be a gathering of worshipers guarding these constructions. If we strike now we might catch them unawares, otherwise they'll spot us first and call for their friends to join the party."
Lord Sundamar Blazeborn looked long and hard into the bright blue eyes of the Loremaster before giving his reply.
"Gather the warriors, we move out at dawn."

Bloodbound: 20 Bloodreavers, Khorgorath, Slaughterpriest, Bloodsecrator, Mighty Lord of Khorne, 5 Blood Warriors, 3 Mighty Skullcrushers and 3 Plague Drones
Aelves: 5 Dragon Blades, 10 White Lions, Loremaster, 5 Reavers and a Dragonlord
As you can see, my latest addition to the warband was a unit of 5 Reavers. I had planned on adding them to the warband as early as possible, but I didn't remember that they're an Elite choice in Path to Glory. In the previous scenario I scored 2 Glory Points which brought me up to a total of 5, but taking an Elite Follower unit is costly and I had to pay the price for adding them. Now I stand at 4 Glory Points with a unit of missile cavalry at my side.

I could only hope that they'd pay themselves back in this game, as my only way of winning this league now is through collecting the required 10 GP (missing one of the games left me a unit short of everyone else, so victory through 5 added units isn't really an option anymore).

On with the game!

I took the first turn of the first battleround partly by mistake. I rolled higher so I had the option to choose either myself or my opponent to go first, which would've been wise against a melee-heavy faction like the Bloodbound. I could've let my opponent approach me without them getting into charge distance, then counter-strike in my own turn and hope for a double turn in the 2nd battleround, which would've given me plenty of time to whittle down his forces.

What I did instead: I took the first turn myself, realized the error and stood my ground. I merely re-positioned my units and rode my Reavers on top of the middle hill. They released 15 arrows at the Plague Drones, failed to inflict any wounds (due to Disgustingly Resilient) and retreated back behind the hill using their handy Aelven Purebreeds ability.

My opponent used his turn running towards me with everything he had, leaving only the Bloodsecrator in the woods in his deployment zone to hold up his skully banner. The Khorgorath and the Blood Warriors captured both of the altars on his table edge, just as I had done on my own.

Aelves got to take the first turn of the second battleround too, giving me more than enough time to position my units. I wanted to take on his ferocious assault as best as I could, with each of my (weakish) units supporting one another. I had to survive long enough to mount a counter-attack into his side of the table later in the game.

My Reavers galloped up the hill once more, raining 15 arrows at the Bloodreavers which I deemed a softer target than the Plague Drones. For once my Parthian tactics proved effective; 8 Bloodreavers disappeared from the table before my Reavers ran back into the safety of the hill (and their lord's dragon).

The Bloodbound closed the gap in their turn, charging their Bloodreavers into my White Lions and the Plague Drones into my Dragonlord. The Plague Drones also tossed some virulent Death's Heads at my Reavers, inflicting 1 Wound.

The combat between the Bloodreavers and the White Lions proved brutal. 4 White Lions went down under the amount of attacks unleashed upon them (3 Attacks / Bloodreaver), but they managed to inflict 8 casualties on their assailants in return.

The Plague Drones tried and and failed in inflicting wounds on my Dragonlord, who in exchange slew one of the buzzing multi-Wound bastards. My Reavers also piled in to lend a hand hoof, but didn't do much with their 4+/4+ Rendless attacks.

So far I had taken the enemy charges well and without losing any significant amount of troops. I still had two combats going on which could still go either way, especially with the Skullcrushers sitting by one of the altars on the right.

I began the third battleround and moved my Dragon Blades to the middle hill. I wanted to advance into my opponent's territory soon, but I still felt like keeping them around should anything go wrong in the two ongoing combats.

The White Lions made short work of the 4 remaining Bloodreavers, losing only one of their own in the fight, while my Dragonlord ate away the unit of Plague Drones in one go. My opponent still had his Skullcrushers nearby and I wanted to remain in control of the altar, so my Loremaster (who up to this point and beyond merely kept casting Hand of Glory upon my Dragonlord) moved up to stand within 3" of the objective.

In my opponent's turn he left his Slaughterpriest to guard the altar in the top left corner, which freed his Khorgorath for more aggressive use. The hulking monster began stomping its way towards my depleted White Lions, but it luckily failed its 12" charge. The Skullcrushers didn't fail their charge though, and soon I found my Loremaster under brutal assault by these peculiar demonriders. A round of combat slew my wizard and saw the destruction of the Skullcrushers in the jaws of the Dragonlord, and soon it was time to roll for initiative of the 4th battleround...

Once more I got to begin the battleround. The Dragon Blades rode towards the top right altar, guarded by 5 Blood Warriors. The White Lions retreated back to the nearby altar, while my Dragonlord re-positioned himself to for later advance into enemy territory. The Dragon Blades failed their charge and my plan of storming the altar fell apart, passing the turn to my opponent.

The Bloodbound sent their Mighty Lord of Khorne to halt the advance of my Dragon Blades, slaughtering three of them in the combat phase in a storm of gore! The Khorgorath rumbled towards the White Lions, picked one off with Bone Tentacles and charged in...

...and bashed the living daylight out of the rest. The battleround ended with my opponent holding three of the altars and a happy Khorgorath eating away at aelven corpses.

A Major Victory for the Bloodbound!

To their credit the aelves retreated in some resemblance of order. That was the only thing Sundamar was even remotely thankful for, apart from the fact that so many of his own were even alive in the first place. This attack had been a disaster.
His Household Knights had suffered heavy casualties, he had lost yet another band of rangers and Loremaster Aerelian was grievously wounded. The damned altars had to be left behind along with the dead, for they were overrun with ferocious followers of Khorne.

Sundamar knew he had made the enemy pay a hefty price for their victory. He had even personally avenged the fall of the Loremaster by slaughtering the enemy cavalry together with A'undtur. Yet something gnawed at him in the back of his mind as he clung to the dragon's back in the heights of the clouds, his followers running in full retreat beneath him.
"Tell me, little one..." the soothing voice of the dragon sang inside his head.
"What did you discuss with the entity of the Altar of Doom? I felt you tap into the powers of that dark and unholy construction..."
"I... I asked for its help. When Aerelian fell under the charge of the enemy cavalry and his spells wore off... I needed help in exacting revenge upon the servants of the Dark Gods. I received a surge of power that lent me the strength to kill them..." the aelf lord replied inside his weary mind.
"Fool... Do you have any idea of what the entity might have demanded in return? No? Doesn't matter, I have a feeling we may find out soon enough," A'undtur mind-sang in a melancholic tone as they glided towards the sun setting in the horizon.

I admire the way my opponent handled this match. Despite the apparent lack of strategy at the start, where the majority of his forces just rushed towards me, he masterfully directed his diminishing forces to claim a clear victory. He didn't batter my warband into submission with brute force. He didn't make use of any cheesy faction tricks. He merely threw some units at me, waited for my reaction, denied my counter-attack and then sent out one Khorgorath to seal the deal. A truly skilled tactician!

He either had this masterful plan hidden away all along, or he just adapted to the changing tides of battle very fast and seamlessly. It was refreshing to see a pretty straightforward faction being played in a not-so-straightforward way. Now I stand at 5 Glory Points, halfway to the goal and eagerly waiting for the next scenario, the Beast's Lair. The unit I'll add to my warband now will be 10 Spireguard. I desperately need more ranged firepower and infantry to be able to hold my own in the next game!

torstai 9. marraskuuta 2017

Path to Glory: In the Hall of the King of Ghouls


So I started playing in this Path to Glory -campaign some time ago and totally managed to miss the second round. Well played, me. Luckily I got back on track in time for the third and fourth rounds, both of which have now been played and no clear victor has emerged as of yet. Me and my aelves might still have a chance!

Although this report will be marked as Part 2 in the Campaign menu, it's actually the third scenario of the league. I obviously didn't receive any Glory or new units for the missed game, so my warband still consists of only four units and my points total still stands at 3 GP.

This time I got paired with a Flesh-Eater Courts warband, a faction I've never faced on the battlefield before.

"I do not like this," Loremaster Aerelian said, letting his gaze sweep across the autumnal landscape. Lord Sundamar shifted his weight from his left leg to his right, having waited for the Loremaster's evaluation for a good hour by now. He and his warband had found Aerelian the Sage from a ruined temple in the Zendorn Foothills, lost in his studies of the dark rites that had apparently taken place there. The Loremaster had agreed to join them after A'undtur helped in translating the ancient scripts, directing them through the foothills on their quest to track down the source of the corruption spreading in the region.

"Dark magic? I can faintly sense it in the air myself," Sundamar stated while petting the long scaly neck of A'undtur.
"Yes, magic of the undead. You can tell by the dusty reek of it," the Loremaster replied.
"I believe I have fairly proficient evidence to back up my claim that we may have entered the sacred halls of the King of Ghouls."
"So you're saying we just walked into his or her chamber without knocking?" Sundamar Blazeborn asked. A silent nod from the Sage was all the reply he needed to realize the severity of the situtation.
"Sound the alarm and gather the group!"

My warband, left to right: Dragonlord, 10 White Lions, Loremaster, 5 Dragon Blades
My opponent's warband: 10 Ghouls, Ghoul King on Terrorgheist, Vargulf Courtier, 3 Crypt Horrors, 10 Ghouls
I was one unit behind my opponent because of the missed game, so I prepared myself for a tiring uphill battle. The scenario was Vendetta, in which both players secretly pick a unit in their army. The chosen units are then revealed at the start of the game and gain +1 To Hit and To Wound for when attacking each other. The side that managed to slay the chosen enemy unit would be declared a victor immediately.

Both of us picked our Champions, a Dragonlord and a Ghoul King. A battle of the titans was about to begin!

My opponent begun the first battleround and formed a protective circle around his heroes. The Ghoul King cast Unholy Vitality on the Ghouls to the left, strengthening his flank while sending the Crypt Horrors around the hill on the right to make me feel uncomfortable.

I didn't see the approaching Ghouls as a threat, but the King himself along with his Courtiers and Horrors gave me the chills. I would have to focus down his units one at a time and each in one go, otherwise they'd just keep coming back until my feeble forces would wither away under the pressure.

In my turn the Loremaster cast Hand of Glory over the Dragonlord, who then flew ahead to land on the altar in the middle. The White Lions followed suit, having been buffed with Inspiring Presence from their liege lord. The Dragon Blades remained fairly still, hanging back as a reserve and waiting for the enemy Crypt Horrors to make their next move.

I wanted to approach this battle with extreme caution. I had one less unit than my opponent and the Aelves are not exactly known for their resilience in the brutal cut-and-thrust of close combat, after all.

The Dragonlord spat fire over the Ghouls and the White Lions charged in, collectively taking down 6 enemies while losing only 1 of their own number. To my disappointment the Ghouls didn't disappear in the battleshock phase, and two of the bastards were still left when we rolled to see who got to take the first turn of the second battleround.

I managed to take the first turn and set about taking down his units. The White Lions received Inspiring Presence once more and made short work of the remaining Ghouls, wiping the unit off the table. My Dragon Blades moved up to support the Lions, as I was expecting a counterattack on the middle, and my Dragonlord (buffed with Hand of Glory) swooped across the field to assail the Crypt Horrors.

A gout of dragonfire and a round of combat proved insufficient in wiping out the three buggers, and two were still standing by the end of it. Fortunately they didn't manage to take any Wounds off my Champion.

As I had predicted, my failure to destroy the Crypt Horrors in one go resulted in the slain model coming back as reinforcements. My Dragonlord was now locked in combat with a full unit of 3 Horrors and flanked by the Ghoul King and the Vargulf who both smelt an opportunity to end the game before it had even properly begun.

My opponent also took his remaining unit of 10 Ghouls from the flank and brought them to the middle to deal with my victorious White Lions. We now had an even number of units on the table and the scales of battle hung in the balance.

The Ghouls charged in, taking down 4 White Lions in exchange for their own 5 fallen. The Crypt Horrors only managed to inflict a single Wound on my Dragonlord, who in return slew one Horror and wounded another badly.

The initiative of the third battleround would decide a whole bunch of things. If my opponent won the roll-off he would get his Crypt Horrors back to full strength once more, and my Champion would be in the perfect place for him to descend upon and tear apart. Should I get the first turn, however, I would have the chance to wipe his Horrors off the table and bring up some units to support my Dragonlord.

And so the dice rolled...

The Aelves won the initiative and my Dragon Blades charged in to fight alongside the White Lions while the Loremaster cast Hand of Glory upon my Champion.

Dragonfire managed to take a couple of Wounds off the Ghoul King, weakening the enemy hero for the inevitable final encounter. I began the combat phase by taking down the remaining 2 Crypt Horrors with my Dragonlord for good, wiping another enemy unit off the table. The Ghouls in the middle activated next, taking out 2 White Lions before getting trampled to the ground by the aelven cavalry.

My Champion was still stuck in the teeth of the enemy, but at least the two heroes in the temple ruins were the only units my opponent had left. I still had all my units at my disposal, although the White Lions had already been severely depleted.

My opponent began his third turn.

Both enemy heroes crawled from their nest to prepare for a charge at my Champion. The Ghoul King on Terrorgheist released Death Shriek upon my White Lions, destroying the unit completely with more than enough mortal wounds before charging in.

My Dragonlord used his Quicksilver Potion to try and take the oncoming enemies by surprise, but he gloriously failed to inflict more than a couple on wounds on the Ghoul King and took 9 wounds himself from the combined efforts of the two Death heroes.

The fourth battleround was just around the corner and my Champion still stood surrounded by enemies. Initiative for the Flesh-Eater Courts would mean very harsh times for the Aelves: my Dragonlord only had 4 Wounds left and he was in dire need of help from the rest of the warband if I desired to survive this encounter.

Once again I managed to win the initiative and the fourth battleround began with Aelves. My Dragon Blades charged the Ghoul King to support their liege, while the Loremaster cast Hand of Glory over him to boost the attacks of both the lord and the dragon.

I picked up a handful of dice and set about rolling the Dragonlord's attacks, hoping to play towards the objective by directing all the attacks against the Ghoul King. All I needed was to take him down before my own Champion succumbed to his injuries!

Fortune smiled upon me as my lord's blade and dragon's claws lowered the enemy Champion to its last few Wounds. The three dice I rolled for my dragon's jaw-attacks were successful, and my opponent scooped up some dice to roll for his saves. The Ghoul King had something along the lines of three separate saves (sources of which I unfortunately do not recall) and many of my attacks were negated, but in the end I managed to deal just enough to take out the enemy Champion for good.

A major victory for the Aelves!

The lonely Vargulf Courtier scattered away into the woods as soon as the Ghoul King's severed head rolled on the bloody grass. The Blazeborn Household Knights rode up to their liege lord through the corpse-strewn field in haste as they realized the severity of their lord's injuries. Sundamar hung in his sadle with an empty gaze in his eyes and a bloody longsword barely hanging from a numb hand, while A'undtur's whole form was covered in bloody cuts and vicious bite-marks.
"Are you alright, my liege?" one of the knights called up to him as he forcefully straightened his back in the presence of his followers.
"I'm quite fine, thank you. Would you be so kind as to find our Loremaster so we can be on our way once more?" Sundamar called back at the knights, who rode off to carry out the command without a second thought.
"We may need to call for reinforcements from my father, I'm not sure we can keep on this pace with our current escort," he mind-sang to his dragon, his thoughts clouded by grief for the loss of yet another band of rangers. A'undtur's reply was as unsettling as always.
"Do what you will, little one. Whatever makes you think you're safe from the challenges of our journey..."

A very interesting and tight match for which I had no real expectations (I was missing a unit, after all). The Flesh-Eater Courts are a peculiar faction to play against, and despite suffering from the same lack of ranged options they seem to be a fresh take on Death as a Grand Alliance. Fighting them is pretty much like fighting other undead; focus down units one at a time and take them out with the first try, otherwise they'll simply come back. Unlike Skeletons or Zombies though, the Flesh-Eaters replenish their ranks without spells of summoning. This makes it more difficult and annoying to try and stem the endless reinforcements as you cannot simply unbind the some spells and be done with it.

My opponent's warband was gorgeously painted and I really loved the autumn forest look our battlefield had. Now I stand at 5 Glory Points (one of which I'm going to use to acquire some Reavers for my warband) which almost takes me halfway up to the final scenario. I have no realistic expectations for any great rankings in this league, but I'm having a blast and that's all that matters in the end. And I can always try again!

The next scenario (already played, currently in writing) will be some kind of altar-hunting and sacrifices. Interesting. Until then!