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Dead things dreaming in the darkness. Nothing stirred in the utter blackness of the Deepknell Depths. Nothing living remained in the vast catacombs and narrow tunnels to make a sound. The last incidental collapse of rock, or old bones finally falling apart to clatter across the coarse ground, had happened decades ago. No noise sounded in a place where nothing happened, and nothing ever happened down in the dark. So they had accepted a long time ago, that it was better to simply try to stop existing at all than to wrack and rage at the injustice of their fate. The people above had chosen to spend their lives as coin, and discard them when it suited them. Cold and forgotten. Those people had long since passed into the dirt, their progeny and their progeny after them living quiet and comfortable high above the erstwhile crypt. So quiet not even the slightest sound carried down into the dark. A peaceful life built on the suffering of thousands, ironically mounted above their very tomb. No passage down to the Depths existed, no crack for air to pass through or natural current of water. Noxious gasses were commonplace in the tighter tunnels, but they were oddly repellent to flame rather than conductive - early attempts at clearing the Depths of it's vermin infestation had involved the hurling braziers of flame both natural and otherwise down, achieving nothing more than the odd short-lived fire and scorched whisker, par for the course with the Skaven regardless. Choking throats long-since rotted away. When it became clear that the only solution was to confront the beasts in their own tunnels, hard choices needed to be made. The people of Deepknell Rock were largely peaceful, and were forced to petition the Stormcast Eternals, newfound defenders of Aqshy, to assist them lest their city and the Realmgate within fall to the insidious corruption of the Skaven. When the lightning-men arrived however they were not greeted by the familiar colors and heraldry of the Hammers of Sigmar, but the stark white and sky-blue of the Knights Excelsior. The Knights were a very different breed to their golden armored brethren, and immediately set to work. Forbidden from leveling the whole mountain, caverns and all, due to the presence of the Deepknell Realmgate, they came up with an elegant solution. The city had long housed an impressive prison complex, serving as the jailing quarters for the whole region. The prisoners within were offered a choice by the Knight's leader Cerrus Sentanus, they could die in their cells or take up arms and head into the caverns to redeem themselves and, if they emerged, win their freedom. A choice between death and worse is no choice at all. The people of the city had cheered as they marched into the Breach, and despite their situation the First Penal Legion of Deepknell felt themselves swell with pride. They had been dealt a hard hand, but one they had aided in drawing themselves, and those that lived through this would be welcomed back into a grateful city. They lit their lanterns, straightened their backs, and marched down into the dark. Warp-lightning flashes searing cavern walls. The Skaven are a perfidious race, and deep in the Depths they'd had nothing but time to prepare. Blasts of acidic green lit the caverns as engines of death lanced hellish energy through the ranks of the Penal Legion, with every strike claiming half a dozen lives. Neither force was well trained in the arts of war, and in that dank and dark battleground they fell to disorder, fighting as back-alley cutthroats in the dying light as the lanterns faded and the warp-lightning engines fell to the flaws of their own design. The last light to go out in the dark was the only natural source, the light filtering in from the Deepknell Breach entrance. There was no longer a way out. A prison, traded unknowingly for a grave. The bitter irony was not lost on the former prisoners. Sentanus would keep his word, freedom awaited any of the men that emerged from the caverns. It seemed he had simply ensured that promise could not backfire. Runes of sealing had been inscribed into the now-sealed entrance, a potent force that would ensure the Skaven Gnawholes present in the structure offered them no escape. Sentanus had cleared house effectively, dealing with both the Skaven infestation and the criminals his Stormhost harbored such contempt for. With the natural airflow cut off entirely by the enchantments of the Knights Excelsior the damned criminals and Skaven alike died by degrees as their own panic rapidly consumed the available oxygen. Within hours, every soul under the mountain lay dead, their throats clawed to bitter ruin by their own hand. The rope would have been cleaner. Within weeks the people of Deepknell Rock had stopped mentioning the prison that now stood empty at the edge of the city. An axe would have been kinder. Within years the last insect had died, having gorged itself on the last remaining flesh of the last corpse. The price paid by the guilty forgotten by the innocent. Within decades the First Penal Legion was forgotten. The Knights Excelsior had moved on to less remote climes, and the people of Deepknell Rock had used the breaking of Sigmar's Tempest as an opportunity to build a bustling hub at the edge of the realm. Aqshy was not hospitable by definition, but they had made a life among the geysers of boiling steam and hissing rocks. And far beneath them, the dead granted a mausoleum of their own by the cruelty of the Stormcast, had slipped into languid dreams to cope with the passage of eternity in the dark. Until, on an unusually quiet night both above and below the rock after a season of dark tribulations unprecedented in the fiery realm, a bow-wave of amethystine energy rippled through the world and set hot skin to cold sweat. He calls. A thousand pairs of blue eyes lit up in the dark, the first light the cavern walls had known in decades. Scraps of bone swathed in ethereal blue mist seemingly pulled from the wave of energy itself lifted from the ground, dark animus hoisting the ruined corpses like marionettes on strings of cast-iron chain. As one they looked to their warden, the only soul beneath the mountain who had not come from a cell. Silent as the grave, as soft as the breeze who's touch they had forgotten, he pointed up through the rock to where a sleepy city was coming awake in surprise. We answer.
Details Date: 27th October 2019 Army: Legions of Grief with Grimghast buff-train focus Opponent: Regan O'Halloran - Legion of Night with Nightfall Pack Game Type: Matched Play 2000pts Scenario: Border War (rolled at random) Few pictures were taken for this report as at the time I wasn't planning on spontaneously starting a hobby blog, the future ones will be LITTERED with them. Setup Regan and I were both playing an allegiance that utilizes Gravesites, and despite my army not being from Legions of Nagash technically it still allows Regan to use mine just as much as he allows me to use his. Naturally there was a lot of umming and ahhing about how to place these without helping the opponent too much, but with us both being relatively inexperienced we largely placed them around areas we wanted to make plays happen. The table scenery was absolutely LITTERED with Inspiring and Damned, with a single piece of Commanding terrain on Regan's side (he explicitly chose to deploy on it despite being less reliant on CP, knowing how desperate my army is for extra CP and denying me it would be a good path to victory). With neither of us having clunky terrain pieces we moved into deployment. Regan was easily able to outdrop me (most armies can) and deployed all of forces on the table except 6 Vargheists, who opted to lay in ambush. I deployed the majority of my army, performing my now staple "stashing Myrmourn in a Gravesite" mindgame. Thoroughly outdropping me, Regan elected to take first. Battle Round 1 - Drop Claws on 'Em Regan began his hero phase by promptly summoning a Balewind Vortex and making use of his Necromancer's artefact of power, Morbheg's Claw. This little diamond in the rough allows the bearer to declare they won't move in exchange for giving all friendly wizards within 12" +2 to cast. He then cast up a storm of buffs and moved forward very conservatively, just enough to take the two side objectives. Content, he passed the turn to me. I began by attempting to cast Vanhel's Dance Macabre and failing, an ominous sign. Deciding to not try anything too fancy, I moved up gently enough to take the two side objectives back off Regan and score myself 5 points to equalize the score. My army was kept tight enough that in the event Regan got the priority I would be able to make use of my wholly within start of combat phase abilities, and ended my turn. I won the priority, and elected to take the turn. Battle Round 2 - The Part Where it All Went Terribly Wrong I opened by not bothering to cast Vanhel's and instead summoned a Prismatic Palisade near Regan's 3 Vargheists and min unit of Skeletons to make the right-hand objective a pillow fight. My Dreadblade Harrow general warped forward towards the right-hand objective (remember this, it's important) and then pushed my Chainrasp units forward to tangle his army up before it could move freely. My army abandoned my board edge largely, moving forward aggressively and leaving the support heroes up the back with open board behind them, and confident in my choices and assured I was the tactical mastermind the voices tell me I am, I magnanimously handed over to Regan's turn. Regan promptly shored up all the buffs under the sun and ambushed my arrogant ass immediately. A unit of 6 Vargheists swooped in from the table edge and immediately made a charge into my back line of Grimghast Reapers while another unit of 3 used their flying move to vault directly over my Chainrasp Horde and throw themselves into the now horribly exposed Dreadblade Harrow. Meanwhile on the left-hand side of the table, a unit of Grave Guard sitting roughly around Super Saiyan Level 4 slammed into 40 Chainrasps. I wasn't terribly concerned as my Chainrasps have survived worse. Battle round 2 ended with a Dreadblade Harrow barely clinging to life and surrounded by monstrous vampire creatures, half of my Reapers torn to shreds by another unit of beasts. The Reapers retaliated and slaughtered 4 of the 6 monsters but they had done their job. The Reapers were tied to them and unable to head forward to assist my army, and the Dreadblade was sitting on 1 wound with any number of heroes able to Arcane Bolt him the moment Regan's next turn began. The 40 Chainrasps were basically turned to mist instantly by the Grave Guard. Summed up, going into priority roll 2, things could have been going better for me. I won the roll, saving the game from an early end. I opted to go first obviously. Battle Round 3 - How the Turntables Turn Beaten, battered, and wondering whether it was too late to cancel the sale of my Slaanesh army, i began rebuilding my defenses. The Grimghast Reapers managed to receive the benefit of no less than 5 Gravesites and a Deathly Invocation, restoring the unit to fighting strength. The Dreadblade, denied his warping ability due to being in combat, opted to simply flee as far as possible to the other side of the table from the bat monsters. The Grimghasts received Vanhel's, while the Myrmourn emerged and began advancing towards the enemy ranks as kites and to stop the enemy Necromancer having free reign of his board side, while the Dreadscythe Harridans moved up to clear out the skeleton chaff denying me objective control. The combat phase was one for me, with only the Myrmourn under-performing against the Grave Guard. The Vargheists were swept aside by scythes and the Grimghast were now free to move in their next turn. Bringing the score closer to equal, I passed the turn back to Regan. Regan behaved unexpectedly, matching my wanton aggression with EVEN MORE AGGRESSION. Mannfred von Carstein grew bored of watching from the sidelines and heeled Ashigaroth forward to flank my Grimghast Reapers on their left side, simultaneously baiting me, supporting his nascent Grave Guard and genuinely threatening my Reapers all at once. Mannfred destroyed the Dreadblade Harrow with contemptuous ease, taking away my ability to return destroyed units. Keeping away from the Reapers, Mannfred as ever made sure there would be minimal consequences for maximum dickery. I won another priority roll, clinging on for dear life. Battle Round 4 - Go Not Gentle into that Good Night Regan, having considerately relived me of my casting heroes and general, streamlined my turn rather effectively. With no spells to sling, speeches to give or gotcha moments to pull out, I kept things simple. I moved forward with everything, and made one hell of a charge. The Dreadscythes swamped the Vampire Lord hiding in cover in Regan's back line while the Reapers got 15 into reach of the skeleton bomb defending his home objective, and 8 within range of Mannfred. Scythes started swinging and hook hands a-slashing, and when the dust cleared i had evened the odds across the table. Mannfred was bloodied and bruised, and the Skeletons standing between me and my chance at clawing victory from defeat where obliterated. Sadly Regan promptly reminded me that while Mannfred is known as a traitor, a schemer and unlikely to win beauty competitions, he's also a pretty good Necromancer. The Skeletons I had swept aside like corn reemerged and swamped the rear objective, while Mannfred simply tagged my Reapers to keep them locked in place. With a lead of several points, Regan ended his turn. Regan won the priority roll, whereupon we called the game as all he needed to do was pass his turn. Conclusion - What went well Dreadscythes are really good and I need two run two units Grimghast Reapers are gross, and don't need much support to do well Dreadblade teleportation is amazing when done right What went poorly Dreadblade teleportation is awful if you behave aggressively against things that will just one-shot him Be mindful of blocking off board edges for ambush units Ethereal Saves aren't actually a free pass and anything with enough attacks will slice through them Over all i was pleased with the army itself, if not the outcome. Everything that went badly on my end was due to me misplaying or making bad judgement calls, rather than inherit weaknesses in the army. It didn't help that Regan is a strong opponent and also knows me well enough to know when I'm getting too cocky. Looking forward to seeing his army when it's fully painted as he's also the Valley's resident commission painter and he does great work. Regan's twitter: @PaintPyrow My Twitter: @ThreeTwoPrince