Death Guard vs Tyranids (1000 points)

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This was a small friendly game against a younger gamer, we were both trying to work out how to best play Tyranids.

List Theory

I wanted to use all of the four squads of Plague Marines that I have, so I did.  This was going to be a fun game for me so I didn’t want to over think it and left out some of the units I consider really good out.  To act as a screen for the Marines I also took all the Cultists that I have, 30 of them, to act as a screen.  I filled up the list with a Rhino for the Melee Marines, a Chaos Lord for re-rolls and a Malignant Plaguecaster to buff the Melee Marines.

Set Up

We played the supply drop mission from Chapter Approved 2017 (I guess I had better get used to adding in the year, the new one will drop in a few weeks).  There were 6 objectives on the table which would later be reduced to two, each of those would be worth 3 points at the end of the game

I set up my three units of shooting Marines as close to the edge of the table as I could and then put the Cultists in front of them with as much gap in between as I could.  The plan would be that the Cultists would act as a brake on the Stealers and stop the Marines being engaged in combat in the first turn.  Any that survived the initial melee would be a bonus and would withdraw from the combat allowing the Marines to hopefully rapid fire at the Tyranid horde.  The melee equipped Plague Marines and the Plaguecaster would hop into a Rhino and be ready to race for an objective or to take on something in the backline of the Tyranids.

I was strongly encouraging the Tyranid player to hurl his Genestealers at me as fast as he can and to be aggressive.  I love and fear Genestealers, so they are a priority target for me.  Any that aren’t in combat are going to get shot at and aren’t earning their points.  The Tyranids set up as close to me as they could, 24″ away, and were ready to come at me.

The Game

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I had the first turn, I pushed my screen forwards and held my Marines back.  The Cultists opened fire on the Stealers and did a fair bit of damage even with the cover stratagem the player going second can now use.

On the Tyranids turn they fired at them with a horde of Dakka Bugs and then charged them with the Stealers.  Kraken Genestealers can move really long distances and with the “Opportunistic Advance” stratagem can double the number rolled.  So with the holes punched in my screen by the Dakka Bugs, some really good advance rolls, equally good charge rolls and clever use of the Fight Phase the turn ended with one of my Plague Marine units in melee combat after the Cultists had all be wiped out.

On my turn the engaged Marines back away while the rest fired their Blightlaunchers at the Carnifex and the Bolters blazed away at the Stealers.  I was incredibly lucky and most of the launchers hit and I maxed out my damage rolls and blew the Carnifex away.  My Melee Marines jumped out of their Rhino and hurled themselves at the Dakka bugs, I misplayed the “Cloud of Flies” stratagem here, more on that later.  They did really rather well and took out a lot of the bugs.

The few Stealers that were left now killed a few more Marines but weren’t making much of an impact.  The Gargoyles dropped out of the sky, I thought they would be pretty good at tying another Marine unit up in melee but they weren’t.  They took a battering through lucky overwatch and then the Marines proved surprisingly good at killing them in hand to hand.  What survived that would die in the morale phase.  The Broodlord charged the Melee Marines and wiped them out, then it consolidated into the Plaguecaster (who was also more Warlord) and used the fight again stratagem Tyranids have to kill him.

On the third turn we cancelled down to the two objectives, one was close to me but one was a way away, and that really settled the game.  The Tyranids had one Dakkabug left and that took the objective.  My Marines were too far away to shoot for some of the time and too slow to get there to get the objective.  We ended on one objective each but with the Tyranids two points up due to First Blood and Slay the Warlord.

Post Game Thoughts

This was a casual fun game that was focussed on encourage a Tyranid player and on working out how that army should play.  So my lessons were few.

  • “Cloud of Flies”…  I believe that this can be used to protect against Overwatch.  So I put my Plaguecaster in front of my Melee Plague Marines in order to stop the overwatch.  But the stratagem protects on a model by model basis.  So some Dakka Bugs were closer to the Marines than to the Plaguecaster and so weren’t protected by the stratagem.  You have to position really carefully to use this and accept the risk of a slightly longer charge.
  • Slow Plague Marines…  I knew that taking slow Marines would leave me with an uphill struggle when trying to take objectives and boy was I right.
  • Lots of Plague Marines!  I think that the army looked great on the table and it was a lot of fun having so many Marines.  They can put out an awesome amount of Dakka, especially within 18″ when the Death Guard can rapid fire.  A serious list would really need to think about having some speedy units though to back up the slow moving Marines.
  • The Fight Phase is really important and really powerful.  The combination of charging, piling in and consolidating is great and the latter two are entirely within your control and are not random.  If two units charge an enemy unit and the first wipes it out then the second gets a “free” 6″ move on towards the nearest enemy unit.  With a big charge a unit of Stealer got right around the back of my Cultist Screen and then when they fought after all the Cultists had been killed they got to move 6″ towards my Marines and just reached one of them, locking the unit in Melee.  Great stuff!

The List

Battalion Detachment +5CP [67 PL, 962pts]

HQ [11 PL, 186pts]

  • Chaos Lord [5 PL, 76pts]: Chainsword, Combi-bolter [2pts]
  • Malignant Plaguecaster [6 PL, 110pts]: 5. Putrescent Vitality, 6. Arch-Contaminator, 6. Curse of the Leper, Warlord

Troops [52 PL, 702pts]

  • Chaos Cultists [12 PL, 124pts]: 30x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [120pts]
    Cultist Champion [4pts]: Autogun
  • Plague Marines [10 PL, 139pts]
    Plague Champion [17pts]
    Codex: Boltgun, Plague knife
    4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [68pts]
    Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon [27pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon [27pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
  • Plague Marines [10 PL, 139pts]
    Plague Champion [17pts]
    Codex: Boltgun, Plague knife
    4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [68pts]
    Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon [27pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon [27pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
  • Plague Marines [10 PL, 139pts]
    Plague Champion [17pts]
    Codex: Boltgun, Plague knife
    4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [68pts]
    Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon [27pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon [27pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
  • Plague Marines [10 PL, 161pts]
    Plague Champion [29pts]
    Codex [12pts]: Boltgun, Plague knife, Power fist [12pts]
    Plague Marine w/ melee weapons [27pts]: Flail of Corruption [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ melee weapons [27pts]: Flail of Corruption [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ melee weapons [22pts]: Bubotic Axe [5pts]
    Plague Marine w/ melee weapons [22pts]: Bubotic Axe [5pts]
    Plague Marine w/ melee weapons [17pts]: 2nd Plague knife
    Plague Marine w/ melee weapons [17pts]: 2nd Plague knife

Dedicated Transport [4 PL, 74pts]

  • Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 74pts]: Combi-bolter [2pts], Combi-bolter [2pts]

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