My first massacre?

My second 1700 point practice game in as many days was suppose to be against Thor's Necrons but he actually brought his custom everything Speedfreaks army. It isn't finished, he's been working on it for as long as I've been working on my Nurgle 3.0 army. The riders/drivers were not available as they are still in Vancouver, and he had actually never tried it out on the table. Thor is like me in that he builds and paints stuff just because it would be cool, no need to playtest first, and he'd rather not field an incomplete army.

Thor's army unpacked and looking dangerous

An exception was made for this game, because Thor's Speedfreaks had sat in a box for two years largely untouched while he works on his Nurgle Legion of the Damned and his ever growing Necron horde. He has traded away another Marine army that I previously playtested against. He is already talking about getting rid of his Speedfreaks which he calls "an expensive experiment" after losing one game. I told him to at least finish it and take some pictures. Thor and Nathan often work on projects together and Nate Dog painted the orks while Thor built and painted the vehicles.

Speedfreaks Army List

Terrain and Mission

Both armies deployed

I set up the terrain before Thor arrived, I always set up the train so it looks good and seems natural. I put the cliff faces in one corner and a big forest diagonally opposite it. This was neither great for my army but combined with the river which had no bridge was a problem for the Speedfreaks. I don't think anyone crossed the river all game, I moved through some trees, but Thor split his forces out of necessity and I was able to deal with one flank with a single squad of Plaguemarines, the Nurglings and supporting fire from my center. I was originally worried about all the big shootas but with ork accuracy and my toughness five and power armour these worries seemed unfounded.

After eliminating some missions we rolled amongst the remainders and ended up with Mission 8: Head Hunting.

Preliminary Barrage

Thor's army included a preliminary barrage which apparently cost 30 points. He rolled a one which meant the Ork Fighta bombas blasted every unit in both armies. Only one Ork unit was hit and two bikes died. Three or more of my units were hit, the Nurglings, the terminators, and Syphilis. I rolled double ones for my terminators' armour saves, losing two 50+ point models more than paying for the barrage, I also lost some members of Syphilis. Why doesn't every ork army have a preliminary barrage, or is it a Speedfreaks thing?

The Nurgle battle lines

Turn One: Seize the Initiative

After Thor got to deploy first I won the role to determine who went first and even though I knew I'd only get to shoot my heavy weapons, I need to shoot my heavy weapons before they get eliminated. So I elected to go first, Billy didn't go crazy and by not moving my Predator I was able to fire one autocannon, two lascannons, one heavy plasma gun, one missile launcher, and two reaper autocannons and I decided to shoot bikers. I also measured from Syphilis to Thor's lines and even with the funny deployment zones there is still 24 inches between you and the enemy so I didn't get to make a single shot with them, as usual.

Thor gunned the engines and roared most things forward at break neck speed. He unleashed a lot of dice, re-rolling many of them due to orky accuracy and twin-linked guns. He shot at a variety of units but didn't manage to kill that much in turn one.

Turn Two: Return Salvo

Thor's biker boys with there twin-linked big shootas which was worrying me before the game have only range 18 inches meaning that in order to fire on Syphilis, the Right Hard Posse, he had to close into bolter range. I stood still and rapid fired. I too got to roll a lot of dice. I also got to use my heavy weapons, even my Kai Gun. After two turns of shooting I'd killed a lot of bikes and wartracks.

My forces holding my left flank

On my left flank the Nurglings and the Infiltrators shot then charged and eliminated the remainder of a bike squad, Thor's headlong dash across the board was even bringing models into boltpistol and flamer range. Thor's army had a lot of burners, both in his one mob in the Battlewagon but also on the Wartraks and War Buggies.

Two turns of ork casualties

A lot of people talk about getting into H2H on the first turn, Thor's biker boys can get there pretty quick and they get to use their Big Shootas when they charge. However Nurgle can take a beating and once the bikes are in H2H they can be held there negating both their speed and their fire power.

Turn Three: Hand to Hand is joined

Bikers charge my squads on the left flank

Although there was some H2H on the left flank when I charged the most forward squad of bikers with two of my units. In turn three I got out of my stunned Rhino and using my terminators and predator to help out my left flank I knew I was going to face the Waaarggh charge this turn. My green squad was the most forward so they not only had to fight off twenty Skarboyz plus a Nob, Warboss and Big Mek they also had to eat a whole bunch of scorcher shots.

Bikers charge my largest Plaguemarine Squad

But before that happened I whittled away at some of the bike squads. Thor has four Zapp guns in his army which unlike the Rockets and Shootas have no trouble hitting. Thor had some bad rolls but Zapp guns ultimately took out some Terminators and Blastmarker Billy over the course of the game. I think the Rhino was damaged by a Zapp gun.

The big mob charges one of my Plaguemarine squads

My shooting wasn't as devastating in turn two but it was still nice to be able to shoot my bolters, bolt pistols, and combi bolters.

Turn Four: The tide has turned

Two plaguemarines surrounded by Orks

Despite the Waaarggh, four or five burners, an attack squig, my green Plaguemarine squad held. The champ died before getting to strike but being Fearless they weren't going anywhere. I thought Billy if he could ever get to move again, could be used as support. Syphilis was still fighting a single warbike, but after consolidation I was confident in that battle. My daemons picked a good turn to arrive and buried amongst the orks was an icon bearer so they were able to arrive where they were needed. Their twenty one attacks at initiative four would prove useful.

Shooting was still going well, as long as I didn't try to hurt the Battlewagon. I concentrated on the Gun Truks as I was worried about their Zapp guns having lost a terminator the turn before. Most of the War Bike squads were in H2H which I'm not sure is where they should be. I ultimately killed every single bike by the end of the game twenty in all.

Billy was destroyed by a Zapp gun but he blew up with a six inch radius which engulfed a lot of models. My power armour saved me but Thor's War Boss and several of his Boyz died when hit by debris.

Less and less Orks

Turn Five: Mopping Up

Thor was running out of vehicles and his Boyz despite the presence of the Warboss were losing in H2H. Syphilis and the terminators tried to kill off the last of the War Traks, I think the predator fired at them as I was able to wipe out the Gun Trukks with massed bolt pistol fire into the rear of the last one.

The one plaguebearer that was fighting the Warboss killed him and the last Plaguemarine managed to survive though no Skarboyz did.

Aftermath

I got 250 bonus points for killing Thor's boss. At the end of the game he had very few models on the table. I lost Billy, the Rhino and all but one of that squad. I lost three terminators so not half the squad and I had a single Nurgling left. Even Syphilis was above 50% casualties so Thor scored only around 300 points. It was my best victory with this army list by a large margin.

My victorious Nurgle 3.0 army

Just like after every loss there is some bad luck, after every win there is some good luck. Thor tried to blame the terrain either the river or the large forest, but I don't think his army list was as strong as it could be. He had no power weapon on either his nob or Big Mek or War Boss. He did have plenty of burners but he opted to shoot them, when he perhaps should have used them as power weapons. I expected to lose to the Waaarggh charge. The arrival of the plaguebearers really helped my cause. Thor may have forgotten to take advantage of some of the Ork rules, he normally plays marines or necrons.

The initiative two, more than the ballistic two helped me win. Orks have always been bad shots, but with all the re-rolls Thor got quite a few hits. However with my toughness five and power armour Big Shootas aren't that fearsome a threat. Thor thinks he would do better against Tau or Imperial Guard. Although I'm now famous for playing Nurgle online, I used to play Orks back in first and second edition. I think he should have used his speed to overwhelm one flank and even though he can shoot the bikes' guns in the first round of combat getting them into H2H as quickly as possible isn't in Thor's best interest.

A few more Nobz or power weapons would help the Orks in H2H. Thor also has a looted Hellhound and some Deathcoptas which he didn't field today. I've learned to fear Hellhounds.

Although it may seem like every thing worked in this game: I completed the missions, I suffered few casualties, I inflicted many, I won in H2H, I got to rapid fire my bolters and plasma guns. However from my many losses to Rob I've learned that my big unit has rarely done much, but I'm unlikly to change it though I may alter the wargear that the aspiring champions have. My two green squads never seem to be able to shoot. I have them armed mostly with bolt pistols. The infiltrators have two flamers but I'm really thinking a mealta gun would be more useful. Their champ has a powerfist to deal with tanks but a Mealta gun has six inches of greater range and doesn't need to roll a six to hit a moving vehicle.

I could fit a second special weapon into the Rhino squad, their champ has lost some of his wargear and not fared well in recent games. Daemonic mutation is definitely better than Spikey Bitz and costs the exact same amount. I'm thinking of adding a plasma pistol to this squad. Although I've resisted it, I always end up dropping a few Nurgling squads as there is no advantage to having seven and they never do much, certainly not as much as a Mealta gun or a Plasma pistol. Looking at the models I have painted I may have to change some knee pads or use models which have no squad markings.

You can read about the tweaks I ended up working on. I'll even have to break out my paint brushes.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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