After a quick game of 40k with my son, my wife got off work and we set up for a 1500 point battle of Age of Sigmar. She has everything for death ever and a massive love for the Nighthaunt forces, so that was what she wanted to run. I, of course, brought Ironjaws.
Her army consisted of a battalion that included Hexwraiths and the Black Coach, for mobility, and another detachment with a ton of Chainrasps with some Guardian of Souls magic for support. It didn't look terribly mean, but this force is fast and happens to spam some mortal wounds sometimes. For an elite force like mine, that can end really badly.
My force never changes because I only have 1500 points in Ironjaws. A Megaboss on Mawcrusher (with the artifact that increases his second weapon's damage), a Megaboss on foot, a Warchanter, a Warcaster, some 'Ardboys, a couple of units of Brutes, and a few Gore-gruntas all make up this force and even gets me an extra command point for being so few points. It's elite, but it hits hard! Plus, the army's Allegiance traits are ridiculous, and that helps...
The battleplan was "Gifts from the Heavens". This means that each army gets an objective that randomly appears somewhere in their deployment zone starting their Turn 2. Each turn after that of holding those objectives gets you points and the player with the most points wins. Simple and random.
My army was deployed in a line, with the Maw-crusher holding the center and the Brutes rallied around him. The Gore-gruntas were out on the flank with the plan to scout around and possibly take the objective if it appears on the far side of the battlefield. The 'Ardboyz were deployed on the other flank with the idea to protect it.
Her army deployed with her speed in mind. The Chainrasps held the flank and the cavalry made up the center for a spearhead. Her Black Coach anchored the strong side next to the tower and supported the battalion's riders. More Chainrasps remained in the other realm and the plan was to pressure the Orcs quickly and hold objectives when they appeared.
Battle Round 1
Since the Ironjaws were deployed first, they chose to let the ghostly legion take the initiative in the first round. With that, the army glided forward as much as it could and awaited the enemy's move. The second unit of Chainrasps appeared in front of the 'Ardboyz to tarpit that flank in case the greenskins got brave. Now it was just the waiting game...
|End Nighthaunt Turn 1|
With the all-important priority roll for the second Battle Round, the Nighthaunt were very happy to be able to go first and established an early lead. The objective, er, meteor descended and appeared on her right flank, behind the tower and within reach of some of her cavalry. Unfortunately, the magic wasn't very strong for the ghosts yet and their resurrections were minimal. Despite that, the rest of the Chainrasps positioned themselves to further tarpit the orcs' on that flank, and a second unit of Hexwraiths came in to support their buddies and the Black Coach.
And that charge was devastating. Between mortal wounds and piercing lances, the Mega-boss on Maw-crusher was instantly devastated. The damage caused on the way out was negligible and the center of the line was irrefutably under the control of the undead.
|End Nighthaunt Turn 2|
The Ironjaws weren't easy to intimidate and pressed their attack even harder, even as their meteor objective descended on their right flank. Despite the Megaboss on beast falling, there was still another Megaboss to direct the attack. Brutes were buffed and attacked the Chainrasp horde from the rear, disrupting their cunning plan and allowing the 'Ardboyz to finish the first horde. This opened a direct line to the Guardian of Souls and the orcs were thirsting for exactly that kind of glory.
Strategically, this distraction allowed the Gore-gruntas to sneak around and attack the cavalry holding the objective, causing enough casualties to take control. This also allowed the other unit of Brutes to sneak around, planning to lend support, but they became too frenzied and turned to charge the Black Coach. This would keep the massive vehicle still for long enough to give the rest of the greenskins time to do what they had to do.
|End Ironjaws Turn 2|
Battle Round 3
Gorkamorka was definitely paying attention to this army and gave them the priority. At this crucial point in the game, having back-to-back turns can be the deciding factor, and it certainly looks that way for this battle. The Brutes fighting the coach simply retreated towards the objective and the rear of the cavalry that had just caused enough damage to take their meteoric objective back. They couldn't charge... yet. The Brutes on the other side of the battlefield finished off the Chainrasp horde and took control of that side. Unfortunately, the rest of that line couldn't get to the Guardian of Souls but there was more then enough to guarantee his destruction by this point. The Warcaster maintained control of the orcs' objective, at least keeping them in the lead for now.
|End Ironjaws Turn 3|
The undead were not to be denied. The Guardian of Souls stole the initiative and jumped the Megaboss, hoping to cut the warleader down. The resilience of the Megaboss is amazing and he suffered very little, but the caster didn't suffer much damage in return. Surrounded, the undead general's goal was now to hold up the enemy as long as he could.
Meanwhile, trying to use cunning and sneak around the distracted greenskins, the Hexwraits tried to rush towards the enemy objective. Unfortunately, they caught the attention of the Warchanter, who then tied them up and called for help. This was a key mistake in the Nighthaunt strategy. The Black Coach, appalled at the developments in the battle, was paralyzed and couldn't decide which way to support its forces. This was the key mistake that cost the undead the battle. Unable to score any more points, the Nighthaunt force finished their turn two points behind.
|End Nighthaunt Turn 3|
Battle Round 4
This turn was heavily discussed. Here's the weird part- if she wins the roll for priority, the undead will lose. If she loses priority, there is still a decent chance of pulling out a victory. The reason for this ironic pairing was based on the order of casualties. Is the Ironjaws go first, they have to kill those models they are in contact with and effectively lose their turn, when then the Nighthaunt army gets to react and snatch points. But if the ghosts go first, then they have to retreat and give the orcs the ability to do what they want during their turn, effectively wiping out all the undead forces.
So this was an important roll- And the Ironjaws won! That meant that the game could go on with some hope...
The Ironjaws were already in their favorite position- in combat or about to be. The Ironjaws running from the Black Coach charged the cavalry and immediately slaughtered their way to control, while the Warchanter held up the Hexwraiths and allowed his allies to reposition and guarantee control of the objective. This immediately jumped the Ironjaws ahead by so many points that even a perfect game could only lead to a tie due to lack of forces.
|End Ironjaws Turn 4|
With that, we ended the game with an Ironjaws victory! The scenario is an absolute blast and I still like the size of the battles. But we did come to some conclusions from this game-
1. It's all about the moral victory of killing the Maw-crusher so easily. That scary beast has the ability to wreck entire days and the Nighthaunt proved that they shouldn't be worried about it anymore.
2. The single most powerful rule in Age of Sigmar is the random priority each turn. No matter how many games we play, we find that the winner and loser of that single roll matters more than movement oftentimes.
3. The Nighthaunt army isn't as resilient as the Legions of Nagash. While they have invulnerable saves and the 6+ FNP, they are still less wounds and some units don't even have a good save. Chainrasp hordes only have a 5+ invuln and one wound each. Without the amazing resurrection rules of the Legions, there are so many more models lost and so many less models recovered. However, this army can cause a lot of mortal wounds if built correctly. I think that Nighthaunt might be a glass cannon force.
All that being said- it was a great game! My wife loves AoS and all this game did was fuel her need for revenge and another game. Oh boy...