Thursday 27 January 2022

Crusade Battle Report - Death Guard vs Orks


Back with another Death Guard game, this time as part of my warband's Crusade! The Desiccated, led by Lord of Virulence Najax the Generous have made planetfall on the embattled world of Silex, at the Cathedral-City of Eramis. They have been busily setting up a shrine to Nurgle, hidden from Imperial forces by warp-tech obscuration engines, when who should show up, but those Deathskulls they defeated on the volcanic world. Time for the Death Guard to defend their shrine and the generators!

So as with the first game of the campaign, the Orks were piloted by Tony from the Narrative Wargamer Podcast (and he also took a good chunk of the pics I'm using here) - looking for revenge! We decided to play using the War-Torn Shrine World Theatre of War from Psychic Awakening: Pariah, and played the Weaken the Defences mission from one of the Crusade mission packs - Amidst the Ashes? Essentially points = to power level killed, plus the defender gets to go first and has light cover on their entire deployment zone - so long as the attacker doesn't turn off any of the generators at the three central objectives. The attacker also gets points as the game goes on for each generator that remains switched off. We were playing at 75 power level - or about 1500 points.

Najax the Generous lead a mixed force of Death Guard from the Mortarion's Anvil Plague Company. Two Blightlord Terminator squads and two units of Plague Marines made up the bulk of the infantry, with a unit each of Cultists and Poxwalkers to support. A host of characters were assisting; a Malignant Plaguecaster, Noxious Blightbringer, Plague Surgeon and Foul Blightspawn. Vehicle support came from a couple of daemon engines; a Foetid Bloat-Drone and a Plague Burst Crawler. Only Najax had so far been upgraded, with a warlord trait and relic (Arch-Contaminator and Fulgaris' Helm) and as a blessing from Nurgle, Clawed Feet for extra movement.

My agendas were Honour the Patron (every unit that kills 7+ models gets xp), Cull the Hordes (xp for killing 6+ models in a single phase) and Machine Vendetta (xp for vehicle kills by a vehicle, the amount rewarded depending on the wounds of the target). So pretty much just kill stuff, since that was what I was going to be doing anyway.

The Deathskulls were led by Warboss Zaggdreg Ironhide in his newly painted Mega Armour. He brought along a Weirdboy and a Big Mek, and three mobs of 20 Boyz, all of which were veterans of previous battles. They were supported by Meganobz in a Gunwagon armed with Da Boomer, a Wazbom Blastajet and the Megatrakk Scrapjet that was still showing the scars from when it got blasted to bits by my AdMech.

Their agendas were Machine Vendetta, Master of the Warp (xp to a psyker for doing psychic powers) and Krumpin Spree (xp for the Warboss killing characters and big stuff).

Deployment: Pretty simple stuff for me, a big blob of Terminators and characters in the middle, packed up by the Plague Burst Crawler, with Plague Marines on the flanks to contest objectives. The Orks hid most of their units behind buildings but had some Boyz ready to run up the centre. Aside from the Meganobz and Warboss in the Gunwagon, everything was on the board. As per the scenario rules, I went first.

A very Death Guard slow progression up the board. Nothing was in range to charge and I didn't have many things that could shoot - the PBC fired at the Gunwagon for minimal damage and the front unit of Terminators killed a few Boyz.

Orks turn one, and a bit of cagey movement from the Boyz, getting into positions for a turn two charge while being far enough away to make any of my charges difficult. The vehicles all lined up some shots though - the Bloat-drone took a chunk of damage but the Blightlords absorbed a load of punishment for no effect.

In turn two, the Terminators moved up once again, with Cultists advancing onto the central objective to try and be a bit of a screen. I also launched a Blight Bombardment into the Ork lines to at least get them to think about their movement. Shooting from all the bolters and the stratagem-extended range of Najax' Plague Spewers cut down a bunch of the Orks opposite them, with morale doing the rest of the work to reduce the unit down to four models. The Plagueburst Crawler had an excellent turn, blasting wounds off the plane with the Entropy Cannons and destroying the rickety old Scrapjet with it's Mortar - due to it's battlescar it takes mortal wounds every time it's hit by a high strength weapon, and the mortar hit four times.

The heavily damaged Drone decided it was hungry, and plowed into some Boyz using the Daemonic Gluttony stratagem to regain three wounds after killing eight of them! They then responded with a Tankbusta Bomb and a load of choppas to reduce it right back down to one wound!

The Ork forces lines up for a potential killing blow, while largely avoiding the blast from the incoming bombardment. Zaggdreg called a WAAAGH!!! and led his Meganobz out of their wagon into the Death Guard lines, while the remaining full strength Boyz squad pincered around to try and engage a bunch of my characters. The plane and the wagon moved to get more shots, which unsurprisingly blasted my Bloat-drone back to the warp (though not before it exploded) and once again bounced off the Blightlords - they were in an obstinate mood apparently. Elsewhere a remnant Boyz unit did turn off one of the generators.

Then the Meganobz, Warboss and Boyz charged in. Zaggdreg swung in, powered up with the Fists of Gork, and managed to do... two wounds to a Blightlord. They promptly interrupted, powered up with stratagems, and battered the Meganobz!

When the dust settled, the Meganobz were dead, the Termiantors were still alive, but the Boyz had killed the cultists and gummed up all my characters. It was though not at all the desired result for the Orks.

In my turn three it was mostly a case of reclaiming my lines. One squad of Blightlords charged out to go switch a generator back on, destroying the Boyz guarding it in the process. In the middle there wasn't much movement, but the Foul Blightspawn dropped his death's head grenade at his feet to kill four boyz. The PBC continued with it's good work, blasting the Blastajet out of the sky. Then in melee the combination of my characters killed off pretty much all the boyz remaining. With that the Orks were blunted and it was just a case of scrapping out for a bit of glory.

Zaggdreg consistently failed to cut through the Terminators over the last couple of turns, eventually falling himself to shooting, along with his surviving characters. In the last turn the PBC killed the Gunwagon (which had rammed into the Blightlords, doing more damage than the Warboss), which then exploded to finally take out the last of the Terminator squad and salvage a bit of pride for the Deathskulls.

With the Orks vanquished, it was another victory for The Desiccated!

Fun game, if a little one sided - it seems our Death Guard vs Orks games go that way, two convincing Crusade victories to me, but a pretty strong showing for the Orks last time we played in a matched play game. We think it's probably down to the amount of damage the Orks can put out - in the Crusade list it's a lot of two damage stuff for the most part, which is not ideal for the DG.

In any case, I came away with a whole load of XP across the board, both Terminator units went up a level and gained a shooting related buff (one of them is getting +1 to hit and the other ignores cover at half range) but the star of the show was the Plagueburst Crawler 'The Oasis of Filth' - it's now got 6 unit kills over two games and shot up almost to the second rank! As a reward I rolled on the Death Guard Daemon Engine table and it has now sprouted Spider Limbs, allowing it to move through terrain and models, which is hilarious. I also spent my Virulence Point from the last game to reroll part of my personal plague - I now have Haemorrhaging, Pox-ridden Sores. This means if the warlord gets close enough he can infect enemy units to make them half their advance and charge rolls. 

Hopefully you all enjoyed this write up - I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I'm really enjoying Crusade at the moment, so hopefully I can play a bit more soon! Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!

Monday 17 January 2022

Battle Report - Death Guard vs Astra Militarum


First report of the year, back to visiting JP (who I've borrowed some pics from) for some Garagehammer with 2000 points of my Death Guard warband taking on the Cadian Guardsmen and their Baneblade! We decided to play with the Open War cards for this one - I think it's become my default for 'normal' 40k games, that aren't either tournament style or narrative scenarios. 

My collection of 'dry' Death Guard, known as The Desiccated, brought a Mortarion's Anvil battalion, led by a Lord of Contagion with both the plague company warlord trait and relic. He was accompanied by a Malignant Plaguecaster, a Foul Blightspawn, a couple of units of Plague Marines, a couple of possessed squads, some Poxwalkers and a spawn, and a big brick of ten Blightlord Terminators. Assorted armoured support came from a Blight-Hauler, Bloat-drone, Plagueburst Crawler, a Rhino and a new edition, a Helbrute.

The Cadians brought with them a bunch of infantry squads, including two units of mortar teams and two riding in Chimeras, a couple of Bullgryn units in Valkyries, a Basilisk and the aforementioned Baneblade. They were led by a gaggle of officers, including a Primaris Psyker and a Tank Commander with the relic battlecannon.

Here's the mission. Six objectives scored in the command phase, the arrowhead vs corners deployment, and for a laugh we drew two twists - plus one attack and -1 leadership and combat attrition. Probably to my benefit with all those squishy, scared guardsmen.

Deployment - Guard in the corners, Chaos up the middle, with some support units hiding on the flanks. The big unit of Terminators and the Lord of Contagion waiting in the warp to drop in later. The Baneblade deployed on the left flank, but the PBC and Rhino, loaded up with Possessed, were both behind an obscuring building so would be safe for a bit at least.

We rolled off, and the Cadians got first turn. JP had a bit of a think about it, but chose to go first (still a choice in open play) since he did have a lot of big guns and I didn't.

Guard turn one, the Valkyries zoomed up, Chimeras and Guardsmen moved onto objectives, and the Baneblade rounded the corner to get a firing lane. Valkyries opened up with rocket pods to clear the Poxwalkers after the mortar squads had taken a chunk out of them, the Bassie and the Tank Commander took aim at a Plague Marine squad, but managed to leave the champion alive. The Baneblade spoke last, splitting between the Blight-Hauler and the Helbrute. The Hauler ate the big cannon, blasting it apart, and the rest stripped the 'brute down to three wounds. Could have gone better, could have gone worse.

Death Guard turn, and we were in a target rich environment. Sadly not much gun! The Plagueburst Crawler did a good job degrading the Basilisk with a mortar shot, but most of the other shooting missed the Valkyries - though the Plaguecaster had damaged one with mortal wounds and the Blightspawn took some wounds off the other with his gross hosepipe. Then the charge phase, Possessed and their Rhino went into a Chimera, thankfully not killing it and disgorging an infantry squad onto an objective. 

The damaged Helbrute and the lone Plague Marine Champion charged a central guard squad on an objective, killing enough that with morale only the sergeant survived, denying that point as well.

Finally the Bloat-drone floated into a Valkyrie with it's Flesh mower. Thanks to the Rage twist it had 15 attacks to tear the flyer out of the sky - causing it to explode and drop the Foul Blightspawn to a single wound!

Onto Guard turn two, they picked up two points for objectives in the large ruin and on the right flank, then opened fire! Mortars stripped a wound of the Plague Marine champion, but he survived firepower from the remaining Valkyrie (which dropped it's Bullgryns on a central objective) with a CP reroll, forcing the Tank Commander to split fire and pepper him with heavy bolters. Sadly that didn't save the Helbrute who got battle cannoned. 

The Baneblade had a bit of a whiff in shooting, killing one Possessed marine and failing to kill the drone with it's big cannon. It performed better in melee however, grinding the Possessed beneath it's tracks and securing an objective with it's armoured bulk.

Bullgryns from the exploded Valkyrie decided to charge the Drone and the Blightspawn, which went pretty badly for them. Two of them melted from overwatch, the last one failed to kill the one wound character, and then promptly failed morale and ran away - or possibly he was just too stupid to get out of the puddle of toxic goo where his friends had melted.

Death Guard turn two - I picked up a point for one objective, though I'd been pushed off the others and the Militarum's aggressive movement meant the Terminators had to drop in fairly far back. I had originally intended to ignore the Baneblade and try to kill everything else, but it had pushed forward and was on an objective, so it was the only realistic target for much of my force. Shooting and psychic took some wounds off it, but it would mostly have to be done in melee. Elsewhere the single remaining sergeant that survived the Helbrute assault died to combi bolters, and the Fleshmower mowed through the rest of the Bullgryns.

The second Possessed squad charged one end, while Plague Marines went in the other, and the Lord of Contagion made his deep strike charge to pile into the side of the metal beast. Thanks to the Warp Insect Hive he managed to make all his hits and wounds to finish it off...

Big boom! A few marines died here and there, and the Lord took five mortal wounds, leaving him on one left! The Chimera also ended up on one wound, importantly not quite enough to let it's obsec cargo fall out onto the objective.

Losing assets fast, the Militarum picked up another two for the same couple of objectives at the start of turn three. Firepower cleared most of my remaining Plague Marines and the Tank Commander finished off the Bloat-drone. Some cheeky Guardsmen got out of the Chimeras to run up and control two objectives and deny me points again.

Just the one point once more for the Death Guard. Time to push the guard off once and for all! I got lucky with the PBC's shooting this turn and the Entropy cannons rolled maximum for 12 damage on the Tank Commander, destroying it and leaving an objective unattended. Then, disaster! The Terminator blob failed a charge into Guardsmen on an objective, and the Lord of Contagion failed the charge into the big ruin!

The Foul Blightspawn and Chaos Spawn did a good job on the Guardsmen in the shadow of the hovering Valkyrie, but they were unable to push them off. This mean in turn four the Cadians picked up a further three points, giving them a commanding lead. A Chimera made a long advance to go onto the objective previously held by the Tank Commander, and the artillery shooting finished off my Possessed (after they had killed the one wound Chimera and suffered a casualty from it's explosion!)

Going into Death Guard turn four I was on two objectives, so the score was 7-4. We did a bit of working out, at this stage it would be possible for me to secure a draw if everything went perfectly...

Sadly, it did not go perfectly! The PBC couldn't repeat it's feat and clear the Chimera off it's objective, and the Terminators once again failed their charge, this time into the ruin to take the objective there. The Lord of Contagion continued in good form however, getting in and killing or scaring away all the Guard in there, though on his own unable to outnumber the Basilisk. He did survive it's firepower at point blank in turn five however, so that was something!

Cadians picked up another couple of objectives to finish on 9 points, to 6 points for the Death Guard with all the objectives counted. A hard fought win for the Astra Militarum, after losing their prized Baneblade. The Terminators were untouched but were unable to get where they needed to for victory.

A great fun and great looking game as always - a good way to start the year! We were initially a bit worried that all the guns on the Guard would make it a bit of a non-event, but the DG are disgusting, and resilient, and they hung in there well. In hindsight, I probably should have deployed the Terminators right up centre in the first place instead of the Poxwalkers - maybe they could have gone into reserve so as not to present such a good target for the mortars. Regardless, I'm still having fun with the Death Guard, so we should see them again before too long.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and stay safe out there.

Monday 10 January 2022

'Sponge Nid' Project Part Two - Medium Bugs


Continuing on from the purple and green 'sponge' Tyranid project, last time I painted a big wave of 'gants, 'gaunts and 'stealers - this time it's Warriors and and other assorted 'medium' things. Though I will be stretching the definition of 'medium' to it's limits!

First up, the aforementioned Tyranid Warriors:

We've got  mix of the newer kit and the older 3rd edition one with converted boneswords here. The boneswords got painted bone, as you might imagine, with a bit of blood splatter to add some extra colour. You might notice there's a little bit of extra depth to the green on these Nids - I used Plaguebearer contrast to cover some of the larger areas (leaving the most exposed bone sponged areas alone) to make them pop just a little bit more. I think this is most noticable on the Warrior's backs and on the head carapace of our next brood...

Zoanthropes, big old floaty alien brains. I gave them some yellow veins on their brains to make them a bit more colourful, but otherwise they are pretty much just a normal Nid scheme with the green areas almost all being the carapace. They were supplied to me without the rows of side chimney bits on the back carapace, so I used some green stuff to smooth out the gaps a bit - I think it's done the trick.

Next, the Lictor. Though they have been seeing use competitively as secondary spammers recently in 40k they have a sad history of being pretty rubbish at their actual job of assassination and disruption (though I've heard horror stories of their antics in second edition!) That said, they are exceptionally cool models, so I was glad to get to paint one. This one got a bit of a textured effect for his tendrils and some mud and swampy paint coming up his legs to represent his chameleonic scales.

So I guess these are technically medium sized models, but they are really tiny bugs! The Forge World Ripper Swarm bases look fantastic, and they took to the sponge well - but it is a pain to pick out all those claws, teeth, tongues and eyes!

Again, not really medium bugs, though Gargoyles do take up a lot of space wherever you put them. They came to me with the flight stands glued on, so they got painted, and after the fact I think I prefer that look to my clear ones. Perhaps one day I might go and apply some texture paint and grass to mine! I also have to admit they are a lot less annoying to move about when their flight stands don't fall off every time you pick them up!

Oh yes, also there are twenty of them!

Lastly (for this update), the Broodlord brothers! This pair ended up looking pretty cool I think, a nice mix of the purple and green and a bit of an excuse to build up some more mud and swampy stuff around the protruding Nid bits on their bases. I gave them slightly different markings as well to tell them apart a bit better, most notably one has purple secondary claw hands and around his teeth, while the other has green hands and face.

Next time we'll be looking at some bigger bugs! There might be a step by step guide as well. Hope you like them, and enjoyed reading. Stay safe!