Thursday, April 9, 2020

Battle Report: Legions of Nagash vs Maggotkin of Nurgle

With everyone cooped up inside and being unable to play any regular games of Warhammer, I figured I'd try a solo battle report. My forces of Nurgle face off against the Legions of Nagash in Shyish in a 1,000 point battle. I wanted to give it a narrative flair and follow a lot of the ideas utilized in White Dwarf battle reports. Read on to find out who comes out triumphant in the Realm of Death.

Welcome to the first Mengel Miniatures solo battle report! Mengel versus, well, Mengel. I decided to go for a 1,000 point structure for a few reasons. It let me use some armies I don't have a full force of yet, it goes a bit faster, and it would be easier for me to do on my first try. I chose to play Starstrike, with a slightly modified map to fit the Vanguard size of games. While I'm using a Matched Play battleplan, the game was definitely played in a narrative sense. I report on each turn with a narrative flair. I even named each unit! At the end of each turn I have a map as well as a more technical breakdown of what happened. Now, onto the forces!


For the Maggotkin I wanted to use what was going to be my team army at Adepticon. I had painted all these models for it anyway. The idea is the Festus has gathered together a small force of warriors to help him in his mysterious mission. Unbeknownst to them, he seeks to harvest seeds from a previously planted Gnarlmaw that is feeding off of the Death energies of Shyish. These seeds will burst from the ground upon the roots of the Gnarlmaw, but where this will happen is unknown, hence the Starstrike mission. Kurdloth Cankerhelm leads the mortal faction, while Festidex Festermaw leads the demonic, with Festus acting as the broker who binds them together. I hope to use the Plaguebearers to hold objectives and tie up any enemy troops that get in the way, while using the mortals as the main attack force. Festus will provide support, and the Beast of Nurgle should just be fun.

The Grand Host of Nagash force is led by the Wight King Baron Varclav von Stohl who has been tasked with safeguarding this region of Shyish. With him he brings the Eastwatch and the Northwatch, two units of skeleton warriors, as well as the necromantic brothers Malvolen and Ornest Creel, the latter of whom rides a Corpse Cart. They have aligned themselves with Valenulana Tsarlachta and Kelreik Blacksoul, who have dragged forth the tormented souls of the Red Handed. As in, they were caught red handed. They don't know why the Maggotkin are here or what they hope to accomplish, but they do know whatever it is, they must stop it. The Skeleton Warriors are the core of this army and will do the majority of the fighting and objective holding. With the Spirit Hosts being a bit faster I plan to use them to go where I need, as well as sit on objectives since they're so durable. The Corpse Cart will stay near the Necromancer to give him +1 to cast while the Lord Executioner will try and go hero hunting.


The Gnarlkin gave a merry laugh as they pushed their way to the front, close behind their trusted leader, Kurdloth Cankerhelm. To their right the more morose Rankborn clambered through some burnt out ruins, their tattered cloaks trailing behind them in the deathly winds of Shyish. Bursting forth from the parched land before them was the object of their quest, a bountiful new Gnarlmaw. Its twisted roots feeding off the unnumbered corpses that lay beneath the soil, disturbing the slumber of the restless dead.

"Right as I said it would be," rumbled a jolly voice as the Leechlord himself approached. Festus hobbled his way towards the group, his various vials of feculent liquid clinking and sloshing about him. "Now all we have to do is find the fruit as it ripens and we'll be on our merry way." Cankerhelm inclined his head towards the doctor, his featureless helmet revealing none of the mirth that lay beneath. As he turned back towards the burgeoning garden something caught the sight of his rheumy eyes. Out beyond the Gnarlmaw, amongst a forlorn cemetery something stirred. Through the darkness skeletal shapes began to manifest.

"It appears our presence has not gone unnoticed," said the Lord of Plagues. A phalanx of skeletal warriors marched forth led by one of their own armored in a particularly impressive panoply of war. Behind them a black cloaked figure shuffled forward, followed by a creaking cart filled to the brim with rotten corpses. Two ghostly figures drifted through the night on the flanks, one of them stopping to pull forth the souls of the damned from their rest in the graveyard. Spectral shapes burst forth from the mausoleums in a howl of anguish.

"It is of no matter. We have our own allies," Festus said as he motioned to the droning Plaguebearers on their left flank. "Festermaw and I have struck a bargain, and he assures me he will fulfill his end of it. Come, let us begin our labors before the hour grows any later." The Leechlord clucked his tongue as he waddled off and an enthusiastic Beast of Nurgle bounded after him, knocking several of the Gnarlkin to the ground. Cankerhelm smiled as he hefted his massive ax, "You heard him lads, there's work to be done."

The Nurgle forces won the roll off to deploy first. They centered the majority of their forces in the middle, with the Warriors off to one side to potentially capture any objective that fell over there. The Beast of Nurgle went on the other side to just generally be a nuisance. The Legions of Nagash followed a similar plan, with the Skeletons going in the middle, ready to capture the central objective when it appeared. The realmscape feature was Haunted Realm, which makes every piece of scenery Sinister as well as whatever else it is.

Turn 1

Sensing that whatever foul ritual the forces of Nurgle were hoping to enact was coming to fruition, Malvolen Creel attempted to bind the forces of death to his will. The ground heaved as screaming faces pushed forth in a Suffocating Gravetide only for it to be unbound in an explosion of wiggling maggots after a phlegm coated utterance from Festus. Taking his cue from the Necromancer's urgency, Baron Varclav von Stohl ordered the Eastwatch forward. Boney feet marched in unison as the undead phalanx advanced toward the Gnarlmaw. The Wight King turned his undead gaze upon the swordsmen once more, imparting them with extra impetus as a Lord of Bones. On the flanks the Red Handed drifted forward in a swarm of howling anguish with Valenulana close behind. Kelreik Blacksoul set his judgement upon the Leechlord and swiftly floated forward, his executioner's ax in hand.

Kurdloth Cankerhelm gave the Gnarlkin Blightlords a jolly slap on the back as he began to race forwards, their jubilant cheers close behind him. On their right flank the Rankborn advanced stoically towards the phantasms of the Red Handed, trusting in the magical wards in their Chaos shields to keep them safe. The demonic allies hung back, protecting Festus and acting as a rearguard. Squelch could not be contained however, and the Beast of Nurgle bounded forward in gleeful hops, searching for a new playmate.

Kurdloth singled out the Wight King, leveling his massive ax at the undead monarch. If one thing was true about the undead, it was that if you took off the head of the force, the body followed. Though several of his blows landed, von Stohl's armor held firm. Following their leader's example, the Blightkings thundered into the Eastwatch and were met with a thicket of swords. Empowered by their nearby lord, the skeletons hacked into the Gnarlkin, felling three of their number while only losing a handful in return. The Chaos Warriors of the Rankborn managed to drag down one of the Spirit Hosts through sheer tenacity, its grip on the corporeal world slipping. Unfazed, the Red Handed exploded in a storm of shrieking terror, their hands passing right through the magical wards of the Warrior's shields and dragging their souls from their bodies. Their leader emerged unscathed, but sensing a lost cause he fled into the night as the spirits toyed with the tormented souls of his fellow comrades. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Squelch bounded into Kelreik, embracing the ghost in a bear hug so hard that he exploded into a shower of ectoplasm.

Death was given the first turn and advanced most of their units towards the center, ready for the first objective. The unit of spearmen hung back and spread out in order to cover as much space on the back end as possible. The Nurgle forces followed a similar plan, with only the Plaguebearers, Festus, and the Scrivener hanging back. Every Nurgle unit that advanced completed their charges. The Lord of Plagues and Wight King did nothing to each other. The Skeleton Warriors killed three of the Blightkings with 64 attacks thanks to all of their buffs. While the Chaos Warriors had the best protection against the mortal wounds of the Spirit Hosts, they were unable to roll enough saves after the ghosts rolled 10 mortal wounds. The Lord Executioner wasn't able to land a single wound. The Beast of Nurgle had no problem with this though and managed to inflict just enough wounds to kill the ghost. In the battleshock phase the remaining Chaos Warrior fled.

Victory Points: Death 0 Nurgle 0

Turn 2

As the battle raged, one of the Gnarlmaw's roots finally burst forth from the ground, dragging a rotting corpse ripe with Nurgle's gifts with it. Unfortunately for the forces of Nurgle this occurred right amidst the swirling mass of the Spirit Hosts far from their grasp. Continuing with their momentum, the forces of Death continued to push back against the Maggotkin. Harnessing their necromantic might, Malvolen and von Stohl replenished the ranks of the Eastwatch, knitting the bones of the fallen warriors back together. The Necromancer further flexed his magical might, casting a pall of dread on the embattled Blightkings while the Wight King once again imparted his will upon his warriors. Before the Blightkings even had a chance to swing their rusted blades again, Valenulana drifted towards them, unleashing a series of ear piercing shrieks which burst the Gnarlkin's brains within their skulls. With their former enemy dead, the Eastwatch turned their attention upon the Lord of Plagues, adding their swords to that of von Stohls. Together they brought Kurdloth to the brink of death, bleeding from numerous wounds, yet his Nurgle given fortitude allowed him to hang onto life for now. In return he finally managed to slip past the Wight King's defenses and scored a deep groove into his bones.

The might of Nurgle waxed across the battlefield, striking several of the leaders of the undead host with a debilitating sickness. Though boils sprouted across their bodies, none fell. Cankerhelm pulled his helmet away, letting out a stream of acidic vomit onto von Stohl, searing his bones. Seeing the first of their prizes appear, Festus imbued the Tallymen with magical might and sent them off towards the Spirit Hosts. The lantern light from Ornest's Corpse Cart caught Squelch's eye and the Beast bounded towards it. In his wake five more Plaguebearers appeared, tearing through the fabric of reality as Nurgle's garden started to gain a foothold in Shyish. Kurdoth Cankerhelm, slowed from his wounds, failed to hurt the Wight King who stood imperiously by as his skeletal minions finished the job, dragging the Lord of Plagues down with their numbers. Undaunted by the phantasms before them, the Plaguebearers charged into the Red Handed with a droning tally. Though they were unable to overwhelm the ghosts, they were able to push them back far enough to gain control of the Gnarlmaw's protruding root. On the other side of the battlefield Squelch barreled into the Corpse Cart, nearly flipping it over in his exuberance.

The first objective appeared right beneath where the Spirit Hosts were. Death won the roll off for the turn on a tie. The Necromancer and Wight King brought back the few skeletons who were killed, followed by the Necromancer casting Overwhelming Dread on the Blightkings. The Tomb Banshee then moved forward and used her own scream attack, plus the scream attack from her artifact to kill the remaining Blightkings. In the Nurgle turn Festus cast Blades of Purification on the Plaguebearers who then headed towards the objective and the Spirit Hosts. The Lord of Plagues used Grandfather's Gift on the Wight King and did 1 mortal wound. The Beast of Nurgle started moving towards the back corner in hopes that the Death objective would end up there next turn and 5 more Plaguebeaerers were summoned nearby to help reinforce. In the combat phase the Plaguebearers charged in and caused a few wounds, losing 3 of their own in return. Though they didn't cause much damage they now outnumbered the Death models and claimed the objective. The Beast made his charge into the Corpse Car and caused 4 wounds, suffering nothing in return. In the combat phase the Lord of Plagues was finally killed by the Skeleton Warriors.

Victory Points: Death 2 Nurgle 2

Turn 3

As the roots of the Gnarlmaw dug deeper and further, two more sprouted forth carrying their diseased fruits. One broke through in the graveyard, while they other flowered right near Festus, who knelt down and breathed in its intoxicating aroma with a contented sigh. Festermaw, sensing that his demonic troops were in trouble, rushed towards the Gnarlmaw, ready to intervene where needed. Drawing on the power of his god, the Scrivener opened a rift into the Garden of Nurgle, bringing forth five more Plaguebearers to further protect Festus. On the other side of the battlefield, something shiny on the Northwatch caught Squelch's attention and he abandoned the Corpse Cart, dissolving it in his acidic slime trail. Slamming into the skeleton warriors, Squelch crushed one beneath his bulk before having a spear rammed through his gut in return. Seeing that the Eastwatch would be an issue, Festermaw waded into battle, biting off the heads of two skeletons with his distended maw. In the swirling melee in the middle of the battlefield several more Plaguebearers fell to spectral hands.

Malvolen and von Stohl reknit the bones of the fallen skeletons before the Necromancer cast a magical invocation on the Eastwatch. Sensing the importance of the Gnarlmaw roots, von Stohl ordered the Northwatch to retreat into the graveyard to guard it while the Wight King went to go deal with the Beast of Nurgle himself. Squelch attempted to play with his new friend, but von Stohl fended off his affections. Unable to overcome the numerous blades of the skeletons, Festermaw dissolved back into the Realm of Chaos.

The final two objectives appeared, one in the bottom left corner, the other in the top right. Nurgle finally won an initiative roll. The Beast of Nurgle retreated from the Corpse Cart, killing it in the process by doing 3 mortal wounds. The Scrivener moved towards the middle, hoping to tie up the skeletons. 5 more Plaguebearers were summoned in near the lower left objective, while the 5 from the previous turn moved to reinforce them. The Beast charged into the skeletons near the back, killing one while taking a wound in return. The Scrivener charged the skeletons in the middle, killing 2 and took 2 wounds in return. In the middle the Spirit Hosts and Plaguebearers continued to chip away at each other. In Death's turn the slain skeletons were returned and Vanhel's was cast on the swordsman. The spearmen retreated from the Beast onto the objective while the Wight King went to go tie up the beast. In the combat phase that pair did nothing to each other, while the Scrivener had to make 16 saving rolls and was killed.
Victory Points: Death 5 Nurgle 8

Turn 4

Seeing the forces of Nurgle reeling, von Stohl pressed his advantage, ordering the Eastwatch into the Tallymen. In the ensuing melee Valenulana finally fell to the demons' poisoned blades before they were completely wiped out by the combined might of the skeleton warriors and Spirit Hosts. Knowing that victory was slipping away, Festus ordered some of the newly summoned Plaguebearers towards the Spirit Hosts and summons in another five to support them. All of the demonic troops made it into melee, losing seven of their number to the melee. Squelch once again saw something shiny on the Northwatch and fled from combat with von Stohl, crushing the Wight King in his enthusiasm to play with new friends.

Death won the initiative and once again cast Vanhel's on the skeletons in the middle. The Wight King also put Lord of Bones on them. In the combat phase the Tomb Banshee was killed followed by the death of all of the Plaguebearers. Both the Beast and King failed to do anything to each other. In Nurgle's turn Festus attempted to reset the wheel of contagion, but failed. 5 of the summoned Plaguebearers then advanced towards the Spirit Hosts and another 5 were summoned in near them. Both units made their charge, only killing 2 skeletons before 7 are killed themselves. The Beast of Nurgle fled combat from the Wight King, killing him with a mortal wound on the way out, before charging into the spearmen. Both the skeletons and Beast did nothing to each other.

Victory Points: Death 13 Nurgle 12

Turn 5

Now in complete control Malvolen sought to crush the forces of Nurgle. The Red Handed tore through the remaining Plaguebearers, destroying what passed for their souls, while the Northwatch held the Beast at bay, losing two of their number. Seeing the field was lost Festus scooped up the seeds from the Gnarlmaw root nearby, planting one more of the rotten trees before waddling away singing a merry tune. The remaining Plaguebearers stayed, covering his retreat, mindlessly counting the numerous plagues blooming across the once barren land. The Leechlord let out a loud whistle as he passed by the burnt our ruins, calling Squelch to his side.

Death wins the initiative and heals some of the wounds on the Spirit Hosts. The Necromancer attempts to cast Arcane Bolt but fails. In combat the remaining Plaguebearers were killed, while the Beast of Nurgle killed 2 spearmen. In Nurgle's turn Festus failed to reset the wheel. The Beast retreats to 3" away from the spearmen, but failed to do any mortal wound. It then promptly rolled a 2" charge and failed to get back into combat, ending the game. 

Victory Points: Death 18 Nurgle 17

Malvolen Creel pulled his cloak tighter about him as the deathly winds whipped across the battlefield. In the distance he could see the bloated figure of the Rotbringer sorcerer waddling away, the exuberant slug creature following close behind. The rotten tree sprouting from their graveyard must have been their goal, but for what purpose he could not guess. Scouring the battlefield he found his brother, Ornest, attempting to direct his mindless deadwalkers in gathering the remnants of his cart while von Stohl dragged his skeletal form towards the graveyard, his legs a melted mess of bone and slime. When his gaze fell on the tree once more he saw more roots beginning to push their way through the dried earth. Bloated corpses ripe with disease were pulled forth, entangled in the grasping roots.

"Burn the tree. Tear it out root and stem," he instructed. The skeleton warriors went about the task with a single minded purpose. "We shall see what these foul nurglites were up to," he muttered to himself. In the distance a merry tune carried on a fetid breeze.

Post-Battle Thoughts

This was an interesting game to play for sure for a few reasons. Playing a game against yourself is always a bit of a challenge since you know what you're going to do, but I tried my best to not favor either side. It's been awhile since I've played with a mass of Skeletons and I forgot how much damage they can do. I honestly didn't expect the Blightkings to fair so poorly against them. Being buffed by the unit size, the Lord of Bones command ability, the Lord of Nagashizzar command trait, and being near a death hero really made them into a bit of a blender. I'd say either them or the Wight King were my unit of the match for Death. While the Wight King didn't do much himself, his buffs were key. The combat where the Spirit Hosts rolled 10 mortal wounds on the Chaos Warriors was pretty crazy. I only wish I could roll like that when I'm using my Spirit Hosts in normal games of AoS. On the Nurgle side I think the Beast of Nurgle was my favorite unit. Killing the Lord Executioner, then killing both the Corpse Cart and Wight King with his retreat special rule was amazing. Squelch is just such a happy little Nurgle puppy. I feel like the demons definitely out performed the mortals. That may be because I normally play mostly demons, so I know how to use them more effectively. I do wish the Lord of Plagues had faired better. If he had been able to kill the Wight King and get rid of at least some of the buffs then the Blightkings might have lived longer.

I hope you enjoyed the first battle report! It was definitely a learning curve, but if it proves popular I'll do more. I have idea for continuing this thread, maybe with an increasing game size, or maybe doing something completely different with different armies. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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