'There's ur-gold here... I can smell it,' said the Zangrom, peering over the blades of his axe as he stared over at the crumbling ruins just outside of the Hrukvorn encampment.
'Ruadhar wants the area mapped,' replied the Grungondi karl as he polished his magmapike. 'Nothing more, nothing less.'
'Isn't it out duty to reclaim the fragments of Grimnir wherever we know they are? You should know that better than any of us, temple guard.'
'My duty, grimwrath, is to obey the Runemaster of the Hrukvorn lodge,' replied the karl curtly. 'But if you will insist upon charging into unknown territory to sate you gold-lust, what choice will I have but to follow you? Grimnir help us, you are in charge of this mission.'
'Looks like we won't have a choice in the matter,' said Ulli, smiling darkly. 'Looks like my skeletal friend has come to make good on his threat.'
At the fire side of the ruins, the wight king could be seen pointing and shouting orders at his minions, a pitiful zombie shambling along at his side.
'He's got more of those... creatures with him...' said one of the vulkites who had come over to look.
'Creatures or nay, brothers, do you not feel the power of our god coursing through yours veins?' growled Ulli as he turned to address the fyreslayers under his command. 'I do. It cries out for gold! For glory! For the corpses of our foes cast down at our feet, cleaved in twain by the axes of our ancestors!'
The fyreslayers roared and cheered as Ulli paced back and forth before them, thick cords of muscle around his neck tightening as adrenaline and ur-gold intermingled in his blood.
'Who can stand before the cleansing power of fire? We are the anger of earth made manifest! We are Grimnir!
For the second part of our Skirmish series, Josh and myself would be playing Treasure Hunt from the newly published Age of Sigmar supplement. Playing again on a 4' x 4' table, we each deployed our entire force in a 12" x 12" corner of the board diagonally opposite one another. Five tokens were set up in the centre of the board as shown on page 23. Having finished deploying first, Josh decided to go first.
Note - As mentioned in my previous post, I realised upon writing that my own band was overpointed and will endeavour in future to ensure this doesn't happen again. I hope you still enjoy this post as a demonstration of the battleplan and Skirmish as a game mode.
Death: Turn 1
Wasting no time at all, Josh's dire wolves immediately rush towards the centre and top-centre artefacts, whilst the rest of his army slowly advanced behind them.
Josh now had the opportunity to search through two of the hoard piles for an artefact, but was unable to recover anything.
Order: Turn 1
I opted to rush forward with all of my fyreslayers towards the bottom-centre hoard pile, pushing my grimwrath and hearthguard to the fore to allow me to advance on the centre if needed.
I managed to get one hearthguard within 3" of this hoard, allowing me to search for an artefact. I also was unable to find anything this turn!
Josh (Death) won the priority roll for this turn and naturally chose to take the first turn in the next battle round.
Death: Turn 2
Josh continued his push to the centre ground, this time having some of his wolves circle around to the centre-right hoard. Unfortunately, one of his wolves started the turn a bit too close to a realmgate and was zapped for 1 wound.
Josh was able to search 3 hoards this turn, and managed to find 1 artefact in the dead centre of the board!
The rotting canids raked frantically at the ground, scrambling over one another in their desperation to get at whatever it was lay beneath the rancid ground. Running at the head of the fyrd, Ulli gritted his teeth and his knuckles turned white as he envisioned his axe bisecting the creatures before him. His grip slackened and his eyes widened as one of the beasts hauled from below the ground a circlet of gold, the morning sun flashing brilliantly off of its shining surface.
The Zangrom cackled wildly, his eyes ablaze with the power of the duardin warrior god.
'They bring us treasure from Grimnir, warriors of the Hrukvorn!' roared Ulli. 'Let us thank them!'
Order: Turn 2
My fyreslayers continued rushing towards the centre. With the newly revealed artefact, and the choke point between the two ruins either side, I decided to commit my warriors to a full-blown clash in the centre of the battlefield.
I was unable again to find an artefact in the bottom-centre horde, and meanwhile had my auric hearthguard (who I had decided would remain near the bottom-centre horde) pepper the dire wolves with molten rock bolts.
I managed to win the roll-off this time, and took priority.
Order: Turn 3
The grimwrath charged into the dire wolves at the centre, alongside his trusty hearthguard and a few of the vulkites. The grimwrath himself was wholly underwhelming here, failing to kill a single wolf. It is worth noting, however, that the dire wolves were doing phenomenally well with their saves, too.
However, the combined charge of the vulkites and the hearthguard proves too much for the dire wolves to withstand, and they slay the dogs to claim the centre artefact.
Still no artefact found at the bottom-centre hoard.
Death: Turn 3
Josh runs one of his dire wolves over to the centre-left hoard in this turn in a bid to maximise his chances of finding another artefact, taking care to make sure the wolf remains outwith the 3" of the Cursed ruin (which has a chance to inflict mortal wounds on him). Despite having models within range of 3 of the remaining 4 hoards, nothing turns up.
Elsewhere, the wight king and his entourage finally arrive in the centre of the fray. More dire wolves circle around behind the fyreslayers.
Just as Ulli bent down to retrieve the circlet laying in the earth, the hearthguard readied their poleaxes, whirling the braziers and shifting their stances in anticipation. Up ahead, the wight king strode forward, dark energy coalescing about him wherever he went. His hounds ran before him, howling and barking with all the savagery of living hunting hounds. The undead king drew his dark blade with a his and struck it against his shield in challenge.
The wight broke into a charge, rushing straight for Ulli and his fyrd, and Ulli answered in turn.
With a bestial roar, the Zangrom leaped into the air, his axe whirling about him and leaving fiery contrails in the air wherever it went. The wight drew close, and the axe came down. He brought up his shield to block, but underestimated the force of the blow, which knocked the shield down and crashed into the king's shoulder and brought him to his knees. Ulli landed ungracefully on his knees and the wight king stood back to his full height, his armour rent, his shield battered, and his bones broken. With a bass growl, Ulli leapt at the wight king once more with renewed fury, swinging his axe wildly at his foe. With dexterity that belied his appearance, the dead monarch, deftly blocked and parried the Zangrom's blows.
Ulli's breath came in heavy rasps as he sought to recover from the flurry of blows he had delivered. As he heaved his axe up into an attacking stance once more, the wight king brought his black blade down upon the fyreslayer, he quickly blocked the blow with the haft of his weapon. The wight swung his shield around and clattered it off of the Zangrom's body, leaving little more than a bruise where the blow had landed.
The two combatants staggered back to their feet and began circling one another again - the wight king cold and expressionless, the grimwrath grinning maniacally.
The wight king grossly under-performed here and whiffed all of his attacks, much to Josh's dismay (understandable considering how much of a powerhouse he was in the last game). My general managed to inflict a mighty 4 damage upon him, even with his 4+ save after rend and his 6+ death save. Despite managing to do so much damage, and weather so much myself, Josh was firmly in control of the centre ground at this stage with his superior numbers.
Once again, I won the priority roll and seized upon the opportunity to take the first turn of the round.
Order: Turn 4
Here I had the remaining hearthguard and vulkites charge into the centre. The combined shooting of the fyresteel throwing axes and the magmapikes did little damage, but I did manage to pick off at least 1 or 2 wolves. The slingshields managed to pick up a wound here and there too. But it was the combined killing power of the grimwrath and the hearthguard that slew the wight king and the remainder of his minions in the centre.
Having lost their general, the remaining members of the undead warband were reduced to Bravery 5 and were at the mercy of battleshock. 4 models in total were lost to battleshock, leaving 2 models in total in Josh's warband.
Death: Turn 4
In a last ditch effort, Josh had each of his remaining models search a hoard, but to no avail.
Result: Order Major Victory
Ulli spat upon the smoking ruins of the wight king's skull, having sent his soul howling back to Shyish. He returned his attention to the circlet the hounds had dug up, which the hearthguard were admiring amongst themselves, and greedily snatched it from the hands of the karl.
He held it up to the light, giddly watching the rays of the dim sun playing along its contours.
The Zangrom smirked.
'Ur-gold,' he said.
I felt that I was truly able to take advantage of my warband's synergies in this game where I hadn't in Clash at Dawn due to the random deployment. This is one of the single most enjoyable battleplans I've played in Age of Sigmar let alone Skirmish. I really liked the risk-reward dichotomy - not knowing where and when an artefact could appear makes for an interesting game. I was quite fortunate that nothing appeared in Josh's half of the board, and this again underpins to me that I could perhaps use a few cavalry or flying units to extend my reach as and when needed. Treasure Hunt is an excellent battleplan to play if you like having to alter your strategy on the fly. Josh and I have even discussed the possibility of altering it for use in the mega battles we like to organise every so often.
On another note, it was nice to finally see the grimwrath come into his own. I've used him in a few games of varying sizes now and I was always a bit underwhelmed by him. He definitely seems very well suited to skirmish.