First Game, Final List?

This really was the first game with what I believe will be my final army list. The only way I'd change things is if I got another fifty points. There is a fifty point difference between Canadian tournaments and American tournaments. Although I have my army finished. I'm not sure which tournament I'll actually enter. Rob asked me about Vancouver, and Vancouver is indeed the easiest to enter but Las Vegas has its appeal. It is too bad Seattle lost their Grand Tournament. So many people from Washington State seem to come to Vancouver...

My army list

The big change between this list and the one I used in the last game was selling back six plaguemarines and in return I got a free champion, a squad of seven nurglings, and points towards wargear/rewards to use as I saw fit.

Rob's Imperial Guard Army

Just like always I'm playing Rob. Although he was tempted to change his army list, and he is working on painting additional models, in the end he opted for the exact same army he took the time before. This includes two rhinos, a chimera, two leman russes, and a leman russ demolisher. All those tanks are difficult for me to kill and would prove my undoing.

Although my ultimate goal is of an all-infantry army, I decided to use the same list as last time (vehicle heavy- one could argue that it is tailored for fighting MEQ armies) as I have been having lot's of fun with it. It's quite competitive with lot's of shooting, some units capable of pouncing on objectives and some counter-assault. It is vehicle heavy and rather light on infantry which makes it a bit difficult for Muskie's heavy weapons-light Plague Marines. Next time I think I'll bring an army with a stronger Daemonhunters theme just for a change.

Pre-game

Some new additions to the Diseased Sons

Although it seems I haven't done anything 40K related in weeks and in truth I haven't. I managed to find the drive to strip literally an army's worth of models, some of which may eventually be repainted as Chaos undivided troops for some future non-Nurgle army I may never find the drive to start let alone finish. I also assembled, converted and primed the final models I need to finish my 1000 points of goblins and my Diseased Sons army off forever.

Old models being stripped using diluted Pinesol

These battle reports are getting harder to write. I had to stop working on this one to deal with our family cat who wouldn't stop bleeding. As always I set up the terrain prior to Rob's arrival. I got to use the new modular cliff/ridge I built along with some rocky outcroppings. I had planned on making some craters but I always take on these big terrain projects that burn me out. Plus I had to get everything finished before the holidays.

Models post soaking and a lot of scrubbing

I also showed Rob my new miniature case which is a bit bigger than I need and I already had to modify, but as long as I don't have to put it under a plane should be fine. Actually one model fell out of its little foam cocoon, I may label some of the slots as I've cut the foam to fit the icon bearers and terminators especially. I may write something more substantial on my miniature case and terrain making endeavours, even my paint stripping. I did take pictures.

Deployment

I insisted we play an Alpha level mission. This was something I thought of and remembered after our last game. The reason I wanted to play Alpha level is I don't think an army list is very good if it can't function without some of its special rules. My army has both infiltrating and deep striking troops but it isn't overly reliant on either option. The terminators in particular will most likely not Deep Strike.

The terrain as set up prior to the game

I haven't played in a tournament under the 4th Edition rules but I did play in tournaments under 2nd and 3rd Edition and generally you have some games with no special rules, some with some special rules, and some with special rules you've never used before. If you get to know the missions before hand and you can convert and paint in a hurry you could tailor your army to the missions. More likely it will take considerably more effort than you estimated to convert and paint a nice grand tournament army. You should practice though. I never practised enough before my last two GTs. This time I've play the Guard several times but no other armies at 1700 points.

The exact center of the battlefield

We rolled up the same mission as last time, Take and Hold. The center of the board was in the middle of the river, so I put an objective marker there and we rolled for sides. Rob took 'the away side'. I never set up the terrain to make one side terribly better than the other, I try to anticipate corner deployments too, which seem to happen all the time in tournaments but never when Rob and I play.

Another thing Rob and I discussed was missions where you started with just two troop choices on the board and had to roll to get anything else to arrive. I told him about one notable such game I had against Steve Mansfield at GT Calgary. I try to have my squads be self-sufficient, in case they have to fight all by themselves for a few turns. My extra large plaguemarine squad which was a disadvantage in this mission is an advantage in only two troops start on the board missions.

Rob deploying his final few Rough Riders

I didn't put too much thought into my deployment. I'm going to have to give more thought to that as I did prior to GT Vancouver. I put my heavy support in some cover. I put the biggest plaguemarine squad on the left. I put one plaguemarine squad along the ridgeline. I put the terminators on the extreme right flank and the nurglings directly in front of the objective. The Rhino was also deployed so it could deploy troops on to the objective. One thing about Alpha missions is it is exactly six turns. I think I was too eager to get scoring units onto the objective.

With Muskie's new terrain, I had to think a little with where I was going to deploy as the massive ridge would block LOS for many units. With an army that relies on range like mine, that could be a detriment. I opted for a "castle" deployment with a Leman Russ on either side of the ridge and my HQ and Infantry platoon and Armoured Fist squad hunkered down on and around the base of the ridge. After Muskie plunked his Predator down on my left flank I put the bulk of my army on the right as the ridge would block the Predator's LOS to the majority of my vehicles. One of the last units Muskie deployed was his terminators on my far left flank; I think that may have been a mistake. They would only be able to target three units for the whole game, one of them not until the 6th. turn. With such an arrangement my plan was to thin the ranks of the enemy for 4 turns before advancing my Infantry Platoon and Inquisitional Stormtroopers on the centre of the table in the final two turns. As I was going second I thought that would work pretty good for me.

Turn One: Advance my minions

I won the roll to determine who went first and even though in hindsight going second might have been better given the mission. I was so eager to get to shoot before Rob I took first turn. Blastmarker Billy did not go crazy and killed a couple guardsmen. The reaper autocannon armed terminators may have also killed a guardsmen or two. Both my tanks moved 12 inches and used their smoke launchers.

Battlefield at the end of turn one

Rob shot a lot of lascannons, autocannons, and battlecannons but did not kill a single model in the first turn.

Turn Two: Open Fire

Once again Blastmarker Billy managed to keep himself under control. I failed my summoning roll which would be an ongoing theme. I continued to advance all my foot sloggers. The terminators got to shoot their Reaper autocannons and a few more guardsmen died. I left the rhino and initially forgot to move both the squad and the transport after that, but Rob let me correct that oversight. My predator opened fire with all its guns at the Leman Russ opposite and managed to immobilize it. That would be the most damage I would do to a Leman Russ all game.

Halfway through turn two

Rob's three battle cannons started to find their mark. One Nurgling stand was partially under the template and Rob made his 4+ roll. He then said I took double wounds and wanted me to have to remove two stands. I argued that only one stand was under the template, how could two die. The rule says Nurglings take double wounds from template, ordnance, and blastmarker weapons but die instantly from strength six or greater. I didn't really care about an extra Nurgling stand so I let Rob kill two, but we need clarification on this and whether the Havoc Missile Launcher counts as a weapon or vehicle upgrade in terms of letting Blastmarker Billy shoot it while moving.

Turn Three: Explosions Rock the Battlefield

Rob always complains about his shooting but eventually his mass of autocannons, lascannons, and battlecannons begin to whittle my army down. With the exception of the terminators which can move and fire none of my foot sloggers were in range to do much. The Nurglings continue to run along beside the river. I snuck a squad along the ridgeline. Blastmarker Billy and the Predator both shot, but the pred never managed to destroy the Leman Russ and then proceed over the ridge... Despite that I was winning on the right third of the battlefield but I had a disproportionate amount of my heavy weapons on that side.

Turn three and things begin to die

I now had scoring units in position to occupy the center of the table. The Nurglings were always going to march on past because they can't hold objectives. My cunning plan was to hide a squad in the rocks basically out of sight but within twelve inches of the center. I had also hoped to bring in the plaguebearers around the objective as I anticipated hand to hand in the center eventually, what with the Rough Riders right in front of the Nurglings, neither of those squads are known for their shooting.

The big things that happened in the shooting phase was my plasma guns in syphilis squad destroying one of the Stormtrooper rhinos and several Stormtroopers. Blastmarker Billy met his demise in turn three and at some point I successfully repaired a destroyed lascannon sponson on my possessed predator. Of course the fact I never managed to destroy the leman russ or even destroy a single weapon, I did shake it or something again, but my inability to damaged the Russes ultimately cost me the game.

Turn Four: Cavalry Charge

I don't seem to have every photo I would like. Which is too bad because the Rough Riders made their charge and killed a single plaguemarine, possibly at the end of turn three. My plaguemarine squad closest to the center got shot up badly, I even sacrificed the champ Bob the Necessary Evil to keep the icon bearer alive as a summoning point. Syphilis squad also took a lot of incoming fire and was reduced to four models in the shooting phase, then down to three in the assault phase. It is possible a terminator or two died. At the end of the game two were dead. Turn four wasn't a good turn for me, but I kept telling Rob he was about to enter a world of pain.

He'd never seen the Big Lebowski so I lent him my copy. Eventually I lent him Mallrats as well because I also quoted that movie during the game.

I finally got to summon my Plaguebearers, they deviated back and to the left. I'd rolled my second one in a row, but Rob ruled that with my +1 due to being favoured they arrived. I was worried that GW's a one always fails would prevent their arrival.

The Biggest H2H Combat

After taking Rob's vaunted Rough Rider charge and losing a single model I killed all the horse riders either in H2H or possibly a single one died from Nurgle's Rot first. Nurgle's Rot also killed a stormtrooper. Between charges and carefully choosing my targets I killed pretty much every stormtrooper by the end of the battle. They didn't do much but they contributed to the weakening of Syphilis Squad.

Casualties mount on both sides

Although the close combat and massed firing on the left flank involving the Rough Riders, two Stormtrooper Squads, several tanks, the remnants of two plaguemarine squads and the Neatherworldly Mathematicians involved the most dice rolling. The Nurglings also charged some guardsmen and were doing well but ultimately the command squad with its power weapon and power glove did them in.

I'm not sure when everything died, but by the start of turn five there wasn't many living troops on the left flank. The transports also were not faring well, Rob's Chimera spent must of the game immobilized again.

Turn Five: Demolisher Survives a scare

After repeatedly goading Rob and warning him of his impending demise, I had succeeded in getting the only scoring unit near the objective and destroying many of his infantry units. I started using my plaguebearers as a human shield to protect the last two members of syphilis as they had a plasma gun and mealta bombs. Although I was able to get around to the rear of Rob's Demolisher or so I thought through a combination of bad luck and bad planning it survived it's scare.

Repositioned Demolisher

Rob then carefully repositioned it by gunning the engine and parking it near the center of the board. I chided him, but my failure to kill or immobilize his Leman Russes combined with his 11-7 advantage in scoring units won him the game.

I had destroyed all the troops on the right flank, but the terminators and predator never destroyed the Leman Russ and eventually the terminators walked passed it to try and kill/immobilize the other one. I failed. The Nurglings also died allowing Rob's HQ which did count as a scoring unit to advance on the center of the board.

Turn Six: Defeat

I had failed with my final attempts to kill the Leman Russ Demolisher and reduce his command squad so I conceded. Rob had two scoring units already near the center to my one, and in all likelihood he could have killed enough Plaguemarines with the Demolisher to further secure his victory.

The center when I conceded

You may have noticed the lack of mention of my commanding officer. I had set him on his own so he could train his gun on the center of the board since he couldn't actually capture it. I think he may be best deployed with the terminators, though originally I had planned to put him with Syphilis. The problem is, I keep playing Rob who can out-shoot my army forcing me to close rapidly not to mention our mission selection. My general also wanted to avoid any lascannons so spent part of the game behind a rock but with Rob moving less than rapidly towards the center he had to climb down from his perch. He basically did nothing. I think I need to use him more boldly, especially in a mission with no victory points.

Post-game

This was a disappointing loss. I didn't play great but my army seemed to be covering a lot of ground on the smaller table but their inability to destroy or at least immobilize the three heavy tanks cost me the game. It wasn't like I'm not used to the autocannons, lascannons, and battle cannons, but my insistence on playing an Alpha level mission, it didn't manage how many guardsmen I killed, six loyalists and a functioning tank were all Rob needed to win.

To be fair to Rob he had far more left at the end of the game than just a single tank and his command squad, but I did joke that if he was only necrons he'd be warping out. I don't know how many guardsmen survived the battle, but I know I eliminated the Rough Riders, storm troopers, and reduced all but a single squad to non-scoring status. I think I'd do better at missions where you have to hold a specific object rather than pile models into a 12" radius. I seem to recall winning the Princess mission as Rob called it.

We've often talked of arranging a game where I fight someone other than the Imperial Guard. My dream opponent is the Tyranids. I never fought them in third edition, but I had considerable success against them in second edition. I just want to fight an army that advances headlong on my battle lines for a change. In addition to the horde armies I'm a little worried about the Eldar and Tau. Dark Eldar would be a welcome opponent. I've fought so many power armoured armies I think my army will hold its own against most of them.

Rob was surprised I didn't have a powerfist or a chainfist in my terminator squad. I used to have only models from 1st edition which were almost all armed with powerfists and chainfists. I do have a combi-mealta which I think is more useful. It is not often you get within six inches of a tank and under the new rules you have to actually roll to hit most times in H2H. I'm a confirmed mealta gun fan and if I'd had another mealta gun instead of say two flamers I never even fired, the game could have turned out differently. As much as I fear tank heavy armies, sometimes I actually do roll well and they crumble, but I've also fought 200 model horde armies in tournaments so I keep the flamers around. They are particularly useful in city fight situations. Based on the last tournament I attended I'd wager at least one and possibly two games will be fought under city fight rules. I'll have to remember to add that book to my miniature case.

Although I can change my army as much as I like, I don't intend to alter it just yet. It is an army built with extra enforced limitations. However there is a possibility I may get fifty extra points. One thing I've often had to sacrifice is veteran skills, the terminators could use tank hunters, the extra point of armor penetration might have enabled me to destroy the first leman russ and then bring five heavy weapons to bear on the center of the board. That was always the plan, the guardsmen hiding in the river made a few cover saves but it was my inability to hurt the Leman Russ with autocannons especially from the front which may have ultimately cost me the game. I probably should have just backed up my Predator and left the immobilized Leman Russ on the wrong side of the ridge, but I seem to recall being temporarily immobilized myself once.

I also have to find a way to make my general worthwhile. I don't need him for leadership, he used to be a lot cheaper, I boosted him to a Lord and bought him a Daemonic Aura which thanks to my newly built rocks went unused. Almost any other army but Rob's is likely to have characters more enthusiastic to get into H2H, I hope to fight them with my plaguemarines and plaguebearers, but my lord does have three attacks and my highest initiative. I gave him the Kai Gun for style points but I also keep him from rushing headlong across the board. If I had fifty more points I'd be tempted to give him infiltration, then he could operate more like a sniper. I may have to get out a calculator, but short of nurglings I have no models I can sell back because I enjoy the free champions. Maybe Rob and I will have to play a 1750 point game.

Rob's final thoughts

Well, that went according to plan...more or less. Despite the first turn's shooting, the dice treated me very nicely. As the Infantry Platoon was key to my victory plans I had to get rid of Blast Marker Billy (4 blast markers a turn=bad news for guardsmen!). Early on a I figured that I could ignore the Terminators which I pretty much did; only one lascannon fired at them with any regularity (I think I killed two the entire game). Being deployed so far away from the objective and on the opposite side of the ridge they were unlikely to make an impact. As far as I could see Muskie only had three unit that could really vie for the centre of the table: the two units of Plague Marines and the Elite unit (are they veterans? Chosen?) so I put as much firepower into them as possible. Although my original plan was to use the Inquisitional Stormtroopers to secure the objective on turn 5 or 6 their orders got changed when I decided to send them in after the large squad of Plague Marines on my right flank Unfortunately, it was the Stormtroopers that got finished off. One benefit was that the Plague Bearers were drawn away from the centre of the table to rescue their mortal counterparts and didn't have the movement to get back within the magical 12" radius.

With both units of Stormtroopers gone I had to find someone else to make for the centre of the table. Unfortunately, the Infantry Platoon was lost thanks to the Terminators and the combined efforts of the Nurglings and Blast Marker Billy so that meant I had to rely on my Senior Officer and his staff (or, more specifically, his staff) and the Demolisher to do the job. On top of that, I still had another three units that could get the job done if necessary, I just would have needed one more turn.

Mistakes to be corrected

Well anyone reading down this far, knows I'm an idiot, but at least I can tell the difference between a daemon weapon and an autocannon, plus I know how to use a spell checker. My deployment wasn't very good, Rob is critical of my positioning of the terminators, perhaps I should have put them right behind the Nurglings and marched straight up the center of the board. I think they would have died to massed battlecannon and lascannon fire.

I'm too used to the old rules. I still think in third and sometimes even second edition. I played Orks in the Rogue Trader days so I don't have too many flashbacks to temporal distort and vehicle malfunction cards. This shows in my position of troops inside a squad and in my removing of casualties. I still think using the old screening rules. I often don't have my champion and special weapon troopers in the key position when I need them. I'm used to having to remove the closest target so I keep my more valuable guys shielded. I may put a token guy in the lead followed by the champ, icon bearer, and special troopers.

Blastmarker Billy is also problematic. He is so good at killing infantry but what I really need is to eliminate armor. Target prioritization is something I used to be good at. I need to identify the biggest threat in an opponent's army, deploy accordingly, and neutralize it. This can be difficult in a tournament as you play unfamiliar opponents and armies, but certain generalizations hold, battlecannons are bad. I wish I had one more heavy support choice, having three heavy support choices is an advantage during deployment. Both mine are so valuable I deploy them cautiously. I force myself to have only two and furthermore I made sure I have over 50% of my points in basic troopers. One thing I could do is turn one of my regular plaguemarine squads into havocs, it would allow me to take more special weapons, but it wouldn't really cost me many points. I could also cheapen my lord, he doesn't have to have three wounds and an invulnerable save, but I've played missions where killing the enemy commander is the mission...

Another option that was in early versions of the Nurgle 3.0 list was obliterators, even a single model can be a squad and they can shoot over twenty four inches, unfortunately they don't have the mark of Nurgle, but they are legal in an all Nurgle army. On one hand I don't want to change my army list as I slaved over painting it, but on the other hand you don't want to lose every game badly. Losing isn't bad as long as you have a chance to win. I've played games in tournaments I had no chance to win. It is no fun.

In future I will deploy this army in the following order with the following objectives:

  1. Blastmarker Billy: Set up behind cover and as much fun as it is killing foot sloggers for the first turn or two of shooting put a krak missile and plasmacannon shot into opposing armor.
  2. Shambling Wreck: this is the most important unit in my army, Billy is just for looks and fun, my predator Must eliminate enemy armor with the lascannon sponsons. Ideally I'd like a twin linked lascannon turreted predator and I was going to build one, but I'm tired of painting and converting. I think a souped up Predator is better than a landraider, I have to be bolder.
  3. Nurglings: Always deploy them first just to draw out more valuable enemy units, put them the maximum distance forward either on one flank or exactly in front of any objective.
  4. Syphilis Squad: This squad was built for the two troop mission games and to hold objectives through weight of numbers. Ideally they can stay put and rabid fire but I seem to be forced to move them too often. They should be the center of my battle line in most situations.
  5. Rhino Squad: They are my most manoeuvrable element, they should be positioned to race ahead, ideally on a flank to seize an objective or just plain valuable terrain.
  6. Infiltrators: Assuming they don't get to infiltrate I will set them up last, in two troop unit games I'm tempted to start with them on the board as the Nurglings are unlikely to do a thing. When infiltrating they can assault lightly armed troops with their two flamers or more heavily armoured targets with their powerglove.
  7. Terminators: Unless I find the points to buy them tank hunters, which I might, they should be used to seize and hold objectives and or kill enemy infantry with massed autocannon and bolter fire. In a pinch they can shoot at tanks but they really need to be on the side, one thing I learned from this game is the advantage of getting around to the side of enemy armor.
  8. Lord: My new motto is "Be bold and fear not". My lord can move and still fire 24 inches he may therefore join the terminators regularly. Against opponents who I'm confident will advance he may deploy with Syphilis squad, he may find himself demoted to Lieutenant or lose his invulnerable save.
  9. Plaguebearers: This is my counter assault unit. Their unpredictable arrival makes for some added nail-biting at times, but 21 strength 4 attacks on the charge wins a lot of close combats.

I can't add another squad or even more models to the squads I have due to the advantages of maintaining Nurgle's sacred number. I can sell wargear. I could easily sell back 15 or 25 points worth of wargear. That would buy me another special weapon and possibly a veteran skill for one squad. I'm also thinking of having one flamer and one mealta in each green squad, I think I already have the models painted to do this. The question is do I want to make my squads more specialized or more generalized?

My infiltrating squad already has a powerglove to take out armor if needed, but given my legendary inability to destroy tanks, giving tank hunters to the terminators might be wise, how much does it cost? 21 points, just as I thought. That requires selling back two pieces of wargear, one worth 15 points and one worth 10 points. I think I'll leave my army exactly as is for now, but if I continue to have difficulties with enemy heavy armor I may have to invest in Tank Hunters or more Mealta Guns. One advantage of the flamer is, cost. It is the cheapest special weapon.

You can't choose your opponent or tailor your army in a tournament. I made a lot of decisions literally years ago when the rules were different, not every army is going to have six tanks. I have two lascannons, two reaper autocannons, one regular autocannon, one plasma cannon, one missile launcher, mealta guns, mealta bombs, even a frickin' powerglove. I should be able to penetrate armor values greater than 10 or 12. Heck even a plasma gun can be used against a vehicle in a pinch, even massed bolter fire can defeat armor value ten.

Army List Tweaks

Although I said I wouldn't I've adjusted my army list. I sold 40 points worth of stuff and bought 40 points worth of new stuff. I made my Lord a Lieutenant and took away his Daemonic Aura but gave him infiltration and moved the teleport homer to him too. I sold my spikey bitz on one champ and bought tank hunters for the terminators, I then had four points left which I spent on wargear for one of my aspiring champions. I'm eager to play another game, even if I have to play Rob again, but I also might finally organize a game against someone other than Imperial Guard.

I gave some more thought to Obliterators. I could add three more heavy weapons to my army but at the cost of 210 points. I could add three heavy weapons with a single predator at considerably less than 210 points. Even the all the lascannon predator is only five points more than two obliterators. Both are tough, but small arms can hurt Obliterators, but the Predator is immune to lasguns and other strength three weapons.

Obliterators are very popular though at twenty five dollars Canadian per model... I think their popularity stems from them being even tougher than terminators, like little dreadnoughts. People who max out on heavy support can add more heavy weapons through Obliterators, especially Iron Warrior players. At seventy points each I could easily add one by dropping my Nurglings. It could be argued that even a single Obliterator would kill more than seven stands of Nurglings, but Nurglings are more thematic and with 21 wounds has more staying power than even a mighty Obliterators. Of course if I had more points, but I recall that my first GT was originally supposed to be 1500 points but looking back the army list ended up being 1700 points, it did have the highest model count though.

There is more to read if ye be brave or foolhardy...

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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