My proposed GT army takes the field

After years of planning, not to mention a lot of converting and painting. I finally get a chance to field my envisioned 1700 point Grand Tournament army. This would be the third army of Diseased Sons to make an appearence at an official Games Workshop tournament. Of course I may never get a chance to enter this army in a tournament. Things tend to not work out in my life, see my recent MBA degree...

Anyway... if I were to enter a grand tournament or the rebranded Conflicts tomorrow or the next week, this is the army I would take. It isn't an optimal army. I could select a better one using my painted miniature collection. It doesn't max out on heavy support, or elites, or HQ, or even special weapons. Hopefully it is unique and memorable, well painted, and fun to play with and against. Rob seemed to enjoy our latest game.

My Army

Almost my entire 1700 point
	Nurgle army.

I've spent so much time and energy thinking about what I would do next time... I've also spent even more time painting and converting and re-painting and fixing models and touching up and regluing... I have a hard time believing I'll ever get my Nurgle army finished. Yet I may be a half dozen or so models from being done my entire Diseased Sons army, not just this 1700 point force. We'll see if I can get those last few models converted and painted and then never ever ever paint another Diseased Son again.

Here is the short version of my proposed 1700 point Nurgle 3.0 army:

Rob's Army

Rob has also been doing some painting. He also has either bought some new models or finally assembled them and brought them to Deep Bay. I think he needs some wacky Forge World piece, they are expensive and a lot of work to paint, but they look cool and give the Guard some cachet. Regardless here is the short version of his 1700 point army list:

My pre-game thoughts

I spend a lot of time alone and thinking. Usually I'm not thinking about 40K, but over the years I've given 40K and using a Nurgle army a lot of thought, as this website testifies too. Rob said he was bringing some tanks, but I don't believe in tailoring my army too much. I brought the same squads I'd been bringing maybe with slightly different special weapons or aspiring champions. The biggest additions to my army were my Kai Gun toting general and my one of a kind Forgeworld Dreadnought.

I set up the terrain and I made damn sure the river flowed differently. I also built a fire base and a killing field. I put lots of cover both hard and soft on the edges so the person without the defensive trench could try to assault either flank. I did all this before picking my army or learning of the mission. When I won the roll to choose sides I took the trench. The trench was made for Syphilis squad, literally. I also won the roll and opted to go last since there was no random game length. I deployed my vehicles out of sight, my general in plain sight and infiltrated on the side opposite of the vast, vast majority of Rob's army.

Rob's pre-game thoughts

Time for our semi-annual IG vs. Chaos match-up. At the time of our last battle, I was striving towards an all-infantry force made up of my Light Infantry platoons and a strong (as in 30 strong) contingent of Rough Riders. Well... I got distracted by all the tanks I had laying around and I got started on an Armoured Column (it's about half way done). Last time I introduced some Inquisitional elements, but for this battle I dropped the Grey Knights and the Inquisitor and his retinue to take advantage of some the tanks I have been working on for the Armoured Column. They were in the form of a second Leman Russ and my new Demolisher made it's second appearance since it recieved it's final coat of Purity Seal. I expect big things from the Demolisher as it survived it's debut the previous night (my newly painted units have a tendency to seriously underperform and they usually meet an ignomious end in their first games). I kept the Inquisitional Stormtroopers and their trusty Rhinos as I have had fun with them performing drive-by-shooting duty on nasty assault squads that get too close or Teminators that like to teleport onto the front porch. I also returned a unit of Rough Riders to the army; I had removed them from the list for the last battle to make way for the Daemonhunter allies. I had toyed with the idea of using my newly painted Helhound but as I hadn't used the Rough Riders in a while I stuck with them.

Muskie had already set up the terrain before I arrived and it had the look of a Bunker Assault type mission: a trench and bunker on one side of the board and groves of trees around the edges leaving a killing zone in the middle. Very realistic but the lack of cover in the middle had me a little nervous. When we rolled the Take and Hold mission I figured it could be a tough slog- but I always think that...


The two armies deployed

Rob deployed one Leman Russ on one flank and after I placed my predator on that flank set every single other model in his army, including his infiltrators on the opposite flank. I chose a more balanced deployment. Syphilis and my HQ in the center in the trench. One heavy support unit on each side. I put the seven man squad in the Rhino on my far right flank and my infiltrators on my left. Even my reserves came on to the table balanced, Terminators on the left, Plaguebearers on the right.

Rob on the deployment of the forces

I had the "guest edge" (the table edge along the balcony, it faces the TV so you can watch the hockey highlights while your host moves his models) as per usual which meant that there were a lot of trees on my left flank and some trees on my right. I placed the first tank on the left and then everything else on the left. My plan was to shoot the living snot out of anything that wandered out of the fortifications for the first three turns and then move the Demolisher and the Inquisitional Stormtroopers in an arc towards the centre.

Opening Barrage

For some armies getting to shoot first is a big deal. It allows them deal a lot of damage before their opponent has even gotten to move or fire. For my Nurgle Army it is no big deal and for this mission I decided to last turn was where it's at, so I let Rob open fire.

Rob's army actually outguns mine about three or four to one. My entire army had seven heavy weapons which is actually quite a lot for me. Rob got to shoot several times in the first turn most every shot was directed at the purple squad in the trench and I think five died in total. Two battle cannons hit home, though it could have been worse I made some cover saves.

Returning Fire

Blastmarker Billy races ahead to his death.

I moved my predator and my dread and am all set to open fire, when I remember to test for my dreadnoughts mental state. I roll a one and Blastmarker Billy instead of firing his multiple heavy weapons at the entire guard force in front of him, runs six inches into the river. The predator got to fire one lascannon as it moved and failed to do any damage at all to the Leman Russ. I think one member of Syphilis was still within 24 inches or Rob's army so they got off one paltry shot. I also advance my forces on both flanks.

Bye Bye Billy

Of course Rob opens a can of whoop ass on Blastmarker Billy reducing him to slag. He also kills one or two more purple plague marines and repositions his forces on each flank. The difficult terrain bogs down some of Rob's forces and possibly immobilizes a vehicle or two. By the end of the game there are several immobile but otherwise undamaged tanks scattered around the board.

Terminators Arrive

End of turn number two.

Although I would have preferred to delay their arrival or perhaps risk teleporting them further from my homer the terminators arrive in turn two. They of course do nothing and ultimately end up killing a single guardsmen despite marching for many turns and carrying two of my precious heavy weapons. Even more unfortunate I also roll a one and have my Predator, it becomes immobilized never to fire another shot. Heavy weapons used to have longer ranges but the best I can do is 48" with this army. Many heavy weapons used to shoot 60 or 72 inches. I guess my thinking is still stuck in previous editions of the game sometimes.

As the army list clearly states my predator had parasitic possession. I knew this, Rob knew this, but neither of us clued in and I never rolled to get un-immobilized. I bought it so I could repair my heavy weapons. I knew it could also fix un-immobolizes, or I should have. I even commented how it was funny not one Rhino got stuck when they were the vehicles that could get un-stuck. I also told Rob how I'm better at planning than I am at playing. Hopefully if I can manage to play a little more often than once every six months or so and if I just stick to this exact army list I'll remember the rules. Not using my parasitic possession was both dumb and robbed me of my most powerful heavy weapons. I had intended to drive the predator towards Rob's main force once the lone Leman Russ on the left was dealt with. Of course if Rob had actually left cover and advanced on the mission objective I would have got to shoot at something.

I do well on missions where it is all or nothing. Apparently these are Alpha missions in the 4th Edition, however this is often the case in tournaments which have special missions. When it is just about killing my army isn't usually as vicious as most. I tend to optimize for looks, uniqueness, theme and versatility. I never clued in about forgetting I could un-immobolized my predator with parasitic possession until 24 hours later when I was reading my Chaos Codex during the power outage.

Rob destroys my Rhino

My Rhino had been slowly making its way through the river. Not much could see it through all the trees so I decided to hold off on my smoke grenades for one more turn. Needless to say Rob's Rhino drives up and two Stormtroopers with melta guns get out and destroy the Rhino. Worse my troops become entangle so spend a turn huddling in the wreckage and the river bed. Three members of the squad eventually live to see hand to hand combat.

Huddling in the wreckage

Plague Marines assault Leman Russ

My right flank fell apart. I was also unsuccessful in summoning my daemonic reinforcements. On the left I send my power glove armed aspiring champion after the Leman Russ and just manage to get into H2H with it and just manage to penetrate its armour, rendering it immobile and unable to shoot for a turn.

Advancing and Killing

Wrecked Rhino overrun by Storm Troopers

Rob moves up more storm troopers and his rough riders and continues to shoot at my largest squad of Plague Marines. I've had to move them closer to Rob but I generally get off two or three shots for every 5 or 6 Rob takes. His are usually heavy weapons too, mine are not. I think I had exactly ten survivors at the start of my half of turn four in my formerly twenty model strong squad.

Counter Attack on the right flank

Storm Troopers route

My daemons arrive but scatter back up the river nine inches, never to get into H2H. The surviving plague marines route the storm troopers. They also consolidate into them but all that really insures is that they die to the Rough Rider charger rather than massed hellgun fire. I believe I killed the Leman Russ with my power glove around this time. That squad was the only one to accomplish its mission and do so in a timely manner with an acceptable number of casualties.

Demons arrive but too far away to do anything.

Note: despite taking pictures I never realize one of my blue plaguebearers is still in one of my miniature cases. You can clearly see I only deploy six. I also may have forgotten about the plus one to my summoning roll for being in the favoured unit size. I should really make myself a crib sheet of the key rules needed for this army.

Rough Rider Charge

No more plague marines on the right flank.

Ten power weapon wielding Rough Riders charge and kill my three surviving plague marines. The second squad of storm troopers are also moving through the trees. This means a lot of hellguns trained first on my daemons and then possibly on Syphilis but ultimately in the last turn on my Chaos Lieutenant who in his enthusiasm for getting closer to the enemy strays a little to far from his friends.

Difficult Terrain proves Difficult

My plaguebearers don't move fast enough to get into hand to hand. And the terminators don't roll very high either. These subpar difficult terrain tests cost me dearly, but even if I had rolled slightly better I would have tied the game at best.

Terminators slowly advance on the river

Die Demon Scum!

Rob eviscerates the plaguebearers, kills more plague marines in the center. Also in the final turn Rob has no trouble training more than enough guns on my Lieutenant who was really looking lonely before he died.

Nurgle Lieutenant alone on the right flank.

Running Out of Time and Troops

My force is basically eliminated on my right flank, the center holds but is below 50% and the terminators roll a two on their difficult terrain test which leaves the last member of the squad one inch too far from the center of the table. Even if I would have managed to roll the average of 3.5 the extra points wouldn't have won me the game. Losing Billy in the first turn was unfortunate and lead to the loss of the right flank. Having my predator immobilized on another unfortunate roll of a one meant it was also a waste of points. That was over 300 points that didn't kill a thing and my 350 point terminator squad killed a single guardsman. Basically it was my power armoured plague marines versus Rob's entire army.

An inch short from taking the objective

Rob's First Victory

Well, that went pretty well. I was thrilled when Muskie deployed his Predator with his only lascannon in his army on my right flank opposite my first Leman Russ. I was even more thrilled when it became immobilised near it's original postion too far away from the rest of my vehicles to make use of that lascannon. My plan to swing my Stormtroopers out into the middle of the table on turns 4 through 6 ended up by the wayside when they got distracted by disembarking and shooting and then temporarily getting tied up in assault. It doesn't really matter as that would have put them in range of Muskies Terminators and bolter range of his remaining marines, the combined fire of which certainly would have put them below 50%. As it was they were able to finish off his Lieutenant netting roughly the same amount of victory points.

It seemed to me that Muskie was plagued by bad luck through-out the game. His beautifully painted Dreadnought (in it's debut, I might add) became so crazed that it wandered out of cover right out in front of my entire army. I, on the other hand, had splendid die rolling (contrary to my usual luck at Muskie's house): I had three direct hits with the scatter die from one of my tanks and only once did it scatter so that at no models were under the template. My infantry borne heavy weapons hit nearly every time, I was making excellent Fleet rolls for my Rough Riders and my Stormtroopers performed admirably. The only less than spectacular luck I had was when I failed two out of the three Difficult Terrain tests I had to make for vehicles resulting in both the Demolisher and Chimera being Immobilised too far out of range to even get a chance to fire for the entire game. The most significant failing of Muskie's dice came in turn 6 when he attempted to get his Terminators across the creek that would give him victory points for having a scoring unit within 12" of the centre of the table. Another inch and those VP's would have made the game a draw.

The final shot of the battlefield

My first 1700 pt game, a loss

I wasn't surprised I lost. I wasn't even surprised my freshly painted dreadnought, which still needs hours of fine detail work, died horribly without taking a shot. The game designers have seen fit to limit the ranged fire power of a Nurgle army and its movement in exchange for an extra point of toughness (which doesn't save them from instant death) improved proficiency wielding a bolter, a few wargear items, and of course Nurglings. Is it possible to field Nurglings in a Wordbearer army? They can use any daemons but in order to field Nurglings you need a 'champion of Nurgle' or a squad of Plague Marines and Wordbearers are limited to the Mark of Chaos Undivided...

If you want to play Nurgle, or you are stuck playing Nurgle you have two choices. One you can field an army the way the game designers want you to, with lots of foot sloggers armed with bolters or you can message the rules to increase your ranged fire power and movement as much as possible.

I showed Rob some figures in my miniature case and told him of some wargear combinations that people can used to increase Nurgle's ranged fire power and mobility. I've written extensively on army selection. To increase fire power you can max out on heavy support, a defiler or two predators probably would put a little more fear into your opponent. The third heavy weapon slot can also be used for Plague Marine Havocs say with three or four plasma guns. Even more terminators could be taken or regular chosen armed with a lot of plasma guns or meltas. To increase mobility you can use your Fast Attack slots and just build a Rhino Rush army. Chosen or Possessed marines in power armor can be given Daemonic Flight. You can use a lot of infiltrators including infiltrating a Lord or Lieutenant. A popular option is to give your characters Daemonic Speed and of course the Man Reaper.

I'd have to convert some flying possessed Plague Marines. It is something I've thought of, they would look cool, but be very expensive points-wise. Most everything else I already have in my miniature collection. I'm tempted to try an infiltrating character and then bringing down a rain of Plaguebearers. But I haven't even finished this army let alone used it thoroughly. I'll probably move on to Chaos Undivided assuming I keep playing 40K, all the tactics above plus even more options are available to Black Legion or Wordbearer force.

Although I don't need to change my army list I probably will make one change that I've been going to make for several games. My twenty man plague marine squad is too big, I never get to shoot 20 bolters, I don't even think I've gotten to shoot ten. If I drop down to 14 which was how many I wanted to take to Vancouver last time I get a free champion, but mostly I get a less unwieldly sized squad. I also get some more points to play with which works out to another wound for my general and some additional wargear. Leaving every other squad exactly the same I also have enough points to buy a squad of seven Nurglings. They don't have any ranged attacks at all, but they do have 21 wounds and more importantly give me another troop choice which is disposeable. They can't screen a more valuable squad which doesn't bother me, what does bother me is they can't hold an objective or table quarter. However by the definition in the 4th Edition of the rule book they do count as a scoring unit. It doesn't say they can't be used to deny an objective or quarter edge...

		Johnson is the right flank secure?
		Affirmative sir.
		Rogers is the left flank secure?
		Mostly sir.
		All traitor space marine have been killed sir.
		Excellent proceed to rendezvous point gamma five with your platoon to meet up with bravo company.
		Is there a problem Rogers?
		Well sir, there are some reports of small critters being seen amongst the rubble.
		Sir yes sir!
		How large are these "critters" Rogers?
		They aren't very large sir, they don't even come up to your knee.
		Ignore them and rendezvous with bravo company as planned.
		Sir I'm not sure that is wise.
		Rogers you never made Lieutenant because of your wisdom, proceed immediately with your platoon to rendezvous point gamma five now!
		Yes sir!  And the critters?
		Ignore them and proceed to the rendezvous point.
		Sir? They are advancing on my platoon and they already ate the Ratlings sir.
		They ate your Ratling Sniper Squadron Rogers?
		Sir yes sir!
		Yes Sir?
		Kill the critters!
		Sir yes sir!

The Future

I plan to finish painting my Forgeworld Dreadnought, hopefully before Christmas. There are still some old models I'd like to touch up and I have several set aside to be stripped and eventually repainted as Chaos Undivided troops. I also could paint fantasy Orks and Goblins but assuming I can get the Dreadnought done I'll probably pack up my painting table until after the holidays. Instead of painting more miniatures I may build terrain. I would love a whole cityfight table but that is a lot of work, instead I plan to make some craters and rocky outcropings plus some cliff faces. I may even make one or two 2X4 pieces to further minimize the effect the river has on our games.

My life is so very unsettled.

I never got to really use Blastmarker Billy but I'm confident if I can avoid going into a Blood Rage his armament will kill a lot of models. My army does best against armies that advance. In theory I can shoot 24 inches but in actuality I need to close to 18 inches or less and quickly if I'm to do well. I need to deploy the big unit with an eye to where I want it to be on turn three. It is twenty strong and fearless so I shouldn't worry about setting it up in cover. My other plague marine squads and the terminators and daemons have much more mobility though there is randomness involved. I had intended the Lieutenant to stay with Syphilis Squad but his Kai Gun is Assault 2 so he can fire on the move at 24" range. Like I told Rob as soon as the game ended, I want a re-match. I'd also like to play something other than Rob's Guard, ideally Tyranids. My army has historically done well against Tyranids. I should also be more aggressive when teleporting my terminators or not teleport them at all. I think you should be able to determine what turn to bring them in, rather than being forced to teleport them in against your will. They are the elite of the elite. In the fluff they always teleport for the final push or at an opportune moment.

I've also decided I need another custom miniature case. I need one that can hold two tanks, a dreadnought, a squad of terminators and 40 or so man-sized models. I would prefer a single case and I may have to make one. I have seen a new case from GW online along with another company that seems to specialize in miniature cases. After putting so much work into this 1700 point army, it would be nice if it all fit in one box. Right now I have to get out three cases to field this army. It is going on my Christmas list, but once again the power is out in Deep Bay due to a storm and I'm using what little battery life I have to type for the amusement of anonymous ungrateful denizens of the 'Net or something.

I've since driven to Nanaimo and seen GW's new case including the one that is designed to hold four tanks and 90 man-sized models. I've found with GWs previous case that some of my Chaos marines didn't fit in one slot. Terminators, but also some power armoured troops, Nurglings are also a no go in the standard GW case slot. It is 130 dollars retail and is available at Drop Zone games in Nanaimo.

My bookmark no longer worked but I did some Googling and found these cases:

Another possibility is to just order the foam inserts. I've seen them forsale in Imperial Hobbies in Richmond.

I've since re-read the 4th Edition 40K rules because basically I don't know them. I've also added little stickies to my Chaos Codex so I can quickly find the key rules I always need to look up. Many of them are on the summary sheet on page 64, but not all. Notably missing are the rules for the Plasma Cannon, Havoc Missile Launcher, demon summoning, dreadnought Fire Frenzy, demon weapons, and Nurgle's rot. All of these are needed for my current army. I even made myself a little crib sheet. Victory is assured!

I eventually did finish painting Blastmarker Billy and here is how I did it.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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