Death Guard vs Space Wolves (1,000 pts) – Battle Report

This was my first game of 9th Edition.  I was somewhat “lost” when I started to prepare for this game.  9th is so different and yet, at the same time, so similar to 8th Edition.  With 8th I feel like I got to know it all quite well, I knew how my army worked, how it interacted with the rules, how it interacted with missions and how it interacted with some opponents.  With 9th it’s a clean slate, so I had to start somewhere, and this is it.

List Theory


I am still digesting the new rules for the Death Guard in War of the Spider and so picking a few more things from that seemed like a good idea to kick me off into 9th.

So my starting points were the following things:

  • Wormspitter, Relic of Decay.  This is a 15″ pistol that will, if it hits a target, turn all subsequent attacks against the unit into Plague Weapon attacks.
  • Relentless Volleys, 1 or 2CP stratagem.  This turns bolters from Rapid 1 into Rapid 2 weapons doubling their output.
  • Overwhelming Generosity, 1CP stratagem.  Add 6″ to the range of Plague Weapons.

So what I wanted to do was to take a blob of ten Plague Marines and then use those stratagems and the relic to buff them.  I took a Biologis Putrifier and a Chaos Lord with the Arch Contaminator trait to do the following:

  • Use the Blight Bombardment stratagem to allow all ten Marines to throw a Blight Grenade.
  • Use the Biologis Putrifier to turn all Blight Grenades into Hyper Blight Grenades (S4, D2 and causing mortal wounds on wound rolls of 6+).
  • Use Overwhelming Generosity to throw the Grenades out to 12″
  • Use the Chaos Lord to re-roll 1s to hit.
  • Use the Chaos Lord’s Warlord trait to re-roll all failed wound rolls.
  • Use the Veterans of the Long War stratagem to add 1 to wound rolls causing more wounds and making 1 in 3 cause a mortal.

That’s a lot of stratagems, which is a point I’ll come to again later.

Aside from the Grenade plan I’d hopefully also have the Bolters as Plague Weapons a lot of the time due to the Wormspitter relic.

With that plan in place the rest of the list fell around it.  I took two squads of ten Poxwalkers to act as board control or screens and then I took a fast moving Daemon Prince and two Bloat Drones to give me some speed to grab things or threaten the enemy.

The Game

The Setup


We rolled the Resupply mission from the Grand Tournament 2020 book.  This gives as a primary objective controlling objectives at the end of your Command phase, it cannot be scored in the first round.  We then move on to secondaries, oh boy, this was a lot to take in.  I selected the following secondary objectives.

  • Secure Landing Sites – Mission specific secondary, score points for each of the objectives that were between our deployment zones.  You get more points the longer the game goes on.
  • Linebreaker – Score points at the end of your turn if your have two or more units wholly within the enemy deployment zone.  I hoped my Daemon Prince and Drones would get this.
  • Investigate Sites – This is an action that if completed at the end of your turn scores points.  You need to be within 6″ of the centre of the table and have no enemies there.  I hoped my Poxwalkers would get this.  Things like shooting will cause the action to fail, and my Poxwalkers will just be sitting there.

We both deployed pretty far forward seemingly both intent on grabbing those central objectives.  I wanted to push my Poxwalkers forward to act as a screen to slow the Space Wolves down and to prevent my Marines from getting dragged into melee combat.  The Prince would then push ahead to start to kill the enemy from behind while the Poxwalkers would withdraw to give the Marines targets to shoot at, hopefully targets within 12″ so they could grenade them.

The Death Guard would go first.

Battle Round 1

I push forward with my Prince and then open fire.  And I proceed to spend a lot of CP doing the following…

  • Virulent Rounds, 1CP – Turns bolters into Plague Weapons with wound rolls of 6 becoming AP-4.
  • Relentless Volleys, 2CP – Turns the bolters into Rapid Fire 2 doubling their output.
  • Veterans of the Long War, 1CP – Adds 1 to wound rolls, after spending 3CP it seemed sensible to try to give myself as many wounds as possible.

But I’ve just blown 4CP out of the 6 I started with.  Oh boy.  And it did not go well.  I think that I only added one shot for the Rapid Fire and didn’t double it, so 3 shots per Marine and not 4, and I also forgot the AP-4 thing.  And not a lot of stuff died.  I think I picked away maybe two Assault Intercessors.  That would normally be bad, after 4CP it’s terrible.  My drones didn’t do much better with their shooting and then my Daemon Prince was poor in combat.  A perfect storm of inadequacy, expensive inadequacy at that.  The only positive was that in the fighting back the Daemon Prince only lost a single wound.

The Marines push forwards and begin to charge things.  Overwatch now costing 1CP and being limited to once per turn hurts my drones who love their auto hitting weaponry in overwatch.  One drone falls, another is mangled.  The Daemon Prince also goes down this round.  I’ve lost a lost of stuff, and worrying that’s my mobile stuff.

Neither of us are able to score any points this round, but even working that out was pretty complicated.  This will get easier in time but it’s a lot to take on from a clean start.

Battle Round 2

I finally get to try my Grenade trick, but I’ve not got enough CP to also apply Veterans of the Long War.  So the thing I wanted to do I can’t because of how much I spent in Battle Round 1.  So only 1 in 6 of the wounds will trigger a mortal instead of 1 in 3.  And after hurling my Grenades there’s still far too much alive.

I charge in with one unit of Poxwalkers, which was a bad decision, as it allows the Marines to kill them my turn and then on their turn to charge into my Plague Marines.  My second unit of Poxwalkers I send off sideways to grab an objective.  That was another bad call, they should have remained behind to screen my Marines.

With one unit of Poxwalkers wiped out on my turn and the other’s out of the way the Marines are clear to charge into my Plague Marines.  They wipe them all out.  Oh boy.  At this point with nothing to protect my Warlord we call the came, a decisive victory for the Imperium.

Post Game Thoughts

  • I built my list around a “trick”, the Grenade plan.  This trick meant my army was pretty rigid, that I would need a lot of CP to trigger if (3CP for all the stratagems) and if it failed I would be in trouble.  I went through a phase in 8th of trying to do “trick” lists an they can be fun but they’re risky and liable to failure, 9th seems to be the same.  The high number of CPs needed to trigger this was also a problem in incursion level missions where you only get 6CP (but do earn 1CP per round).  I think this can be an awesome plan, I’ve killed Knights before with 6″ Grenade bombardments, as a part of a bigger 2,000 point list.  But as something to build a 1,000 point list around I think it’s questionable.
  • The new secondary objectives are complicated.  They score at different times and have different requirements.  Which are the the best to choose will depend on your opponent and your mission.  There’s an awful lot more to consider during the mission set up stage than there was in 8th.
  • My Poxwalkers should have been protecting my Marines, my only unit with the potential to cause serious damage to the enemy, and not racing after objectives.  Once the Marines were in combat they were out of the game.  Even if they had survived in the next round they would have had to withdraw and so not be shooting.
  • I think that I tried too hard in this game to get a hold on every aspect of 9th.  I was trying to understand the rules changes, how my army worked now, how the enemy army worked, how the mission was meant to be played and how secondaries worked.  It was just too much and it all fell through my fingers.  I think that for my next game I need to focus on less things.  I might well lose that game too but I’ll have a better hold on how some aspects of the game now work.  The rest will come in time, it’s not a race.
  • The smaller table is a big thing.  Our deployment zones were only 18″ apart, and with units that can advance and charge first turn charges become a real thing.
  • 9th is very similar to 8th, but it’s also very different, and that cane make it hard to pick up when you’re moving over from an old edition.  But, on the whole, it all seems to hang together nicely.  The game was fun and I can clearly see aspects of my game where I dropped the ball and lost.  I could have done things better, and I will.  It’s nice to see Assault Armies working well, even though they ate me.
  • New things from War of the Spider:
    • Even though I spent an enormous amount of CP in Battle Round 1 triggering Virulent Rounds and Relentless Volleys I don’t know how I’d rate them.  They didn’t perform well in this game, but I think I rolled badly, chose targets poorly and I forgot the -4AP bonus as well.
    • The relic Wormspitter, this might be promising but I had little that could take advantage of it because in the first round the targets were out of its 15″ range and in the second I was throwing Blight Grenades which were Plague Weapons anyway.  I think I’ll try this again at some point.  This might work better with multiple units of Marines who could benefit from its effects.  Remember it is a Plague Weapon itself and so would benefit from the extra 6″ of range that Overwhelming Generosity would offer.

The List

Total: 53 PL, 5CP, 1,000pts

Battalion (Death Guard) [53 PL, 5CP, 1,000pts]

Configuration [6CP]

  • Plague Company: The Poxmongers
  • Gifts of Decay (1 Relic) [-1CP]

HQ [14 PL, 285pts]

  • Chaos Lord [5 PL, 85pts]: 6. Arch-Contaminator, Balesword [5pts], Bolt pistol, Warlord, Wormspitter
  • Daemon Prince of Nurgle [9 PL, 200pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, Ironclot Furnace, Malefic talon [15pts], Wings [1 PL, 35pts]

Troops [19 PL, 340pts]

  • Plague Marines [13 PL, 200pts]
    Plague Champion [18pts]: Boltgun, Plague knife
    7x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [126pts]: 7x Blight Grenades, 7x Boltgun, 7x Krak Grenades, 7x Plague knife
    Plague Marine w/ special weapon [28pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ special weapon [28pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
  • Poxwalkers [3 PL, 70pts]
    10x Poxwalker [70pts]: 10x Improvised weapon
  • Poxwalkers [3 PL, 70pts]
    10x Poxwalker [70pts]: 10x Improvised weapon

Elites [4 PL, 65pts]

  • Biologus Putrifier [4 PL, 65pts]

Fast Attack [16 PL, 310pts]

  • Foetid Bloat-drone [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Plaguespitter [40pts]
  • Foetid Bloat-drone [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Plaguespitter [40pts]

2 thoughts on “Death Guard vs Space Wolves (1,000 pts) – Battle Report

  1. Pingback: Death Guard vs Astra Militarum (1,000 pts) – Battle Report – Plague Gardening

  2. Pingback: Incursion Astra Militarum vs Death Guard - 1,000 Points

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