Death Guard & Nurgle Daemons vs Astra Militarum (1,500 pts) – Battle Report

This is my third time playing Jake from Cadian Shock in 9th Edition. We’re currently tied on one game each, how will the third go?

You can read Jake’s write up of this battle here.

List Theory

My list was an expansion upon the 1,000 point list that I played in my last two games. I added in a Contemptor Dreadnought, a third Plagueburst Crawler, four more Nurglings and another Chaos Lord.

The theory was that I had the dreadnought who could throw out some reasonable anti-armour fire with the butcher cannons (8 shots, S8, AP-1, D2) but could also gun down infantry. The second Chaos Lord could go where his re-rolls were needed. It could go forwards with the Crawlers or hang with the dreadnought. The dreadnought would be buffed with the Contaminated Monstrosity stratagem that would give it Disgustingly Resilient.

I actually had a real hard time building this list. Patrol detachments can’t take three heavy support units, so I needed a battalion, a Spearhead or an Auxiliary. I took the battalion, which meant the extra Chaos Lord was required, so he was in effect a tax I was paying. Maybe I should just have taken the auxiliary and paid the CP tax instead. Things to think about next time anyway.

The Game

Setup

We rolled the Battle Lines mission from the Grand Tournament 2020 book.  This gives us a primary of controlling at least one of the five objectives with increasing points for controlling more. Two of the objectives are along the centre line and we both have one in our deployment zones. We’ll be fighting along the length of the table.

For secondaries I select:

  1. Raise the banners high – Take an action on an objective to claim it for more points.
  2. Vital Ground – Mission specific secondary, extra VPs for controlling the objective in your enemy’s deployment zone or the ones in the centre.
  3. Thin their ranks – Kill things.

The Astra Militarum select:

  1. Bring it down – Kill big things.
  2. Grind them down – Kill more units per turn then your opponent.
  3. Engage all fronts – Get units into all quarters of the board

My initial plan is to ignore the big super heavy tank, a Doomhammer, drop Nurglings onto the central objective and then reinforce them with my Plague Marines. Kill the enemy infantry, so as to deny them the ability to hold objectives, and get a lead on points.

The Astra Militarum would take the first turn.

Battle Round 1

Things start to go wrong immediately. The Doomhammer, buffed by Vengence for Cadia stratagem to re-roll any failed roll, opens fire and backed by the plasma equipped Leman Russ wipes out two of my Plagueburst Crawlers, oh boy. Other than the super heavy, which is carrying guardsmen, the guard mostly hang back.

I now deviate from my plan, having seen the Doomhammer roll forwards I fire everything at it. I chip way a fair few wounds but I don’t kill it. All of this comes the cost of not killing any enemy infantry, which is what I was planning on doing. I’ve switched my goals, and my secondaries will suffer because of this.

Progressive Scores

It’s a low scoring round, the only points gained are by the Astra Militarum for killing more units than I did.

  • Astra Militarum
    • Primary +0 (0 pts)
    • Grind them down +3 (3 pts)
    • Engage all fronts +0 (0 pts)
  • Death Guard & Deamons
    • Primary +0 (0 pts)
    • Raise the banners high +0 (0 pts)
    • Vital ground +0 (0 pts)
    • Thin their tanks +0 (0 pts)

Battle Round 2

The Astra Militarum get into gear now, using orders infantry move twice to get onto both of the objectives along the centre of the table. The fire from the armour continues but, thankfully, I don’t lose too much this round.

I finally kill the super heavy tank, despite originally thinking I didn’t want to. It explodes catastrophically taking out my last Plagueburst Crawler and a number of the enemy too. Not good. I’ve now lost a lot of my punch and there are far too many enemy infantry units left on the table.

Progressive Scores

Another low scoring round, but the Imperials end up in control of many objectives while I’ve lost them. This will hurt next round’s scoring.

  • Astra Militarum
    • Primary +5 (5 pts)
    • Grind them down +0 (3 pts)
    • Engage all fronts +0 (0 pts)
  • Death Guard & Deamons
    • Primary +5 (5 pts)
    • Raise the banners high +1 (1 pts)
    • Vital ground +0 (0 pts)
    • Thin their tanks +0 (0 pts)

Battle Round 3

The Astra Militarum troops hunker down on the objectives and let their remaining armour and artillery do the work. The five man squad of bolter equipped Plague Marines hiding in my deployment zone are wiped out.

On my turn I manage to clear the Astra Militarum infantry off of the objective on the left side of the middle, but they still hold another two, and I started my turn not holding any. I swing my Contemptor Dreadnought back to try and hold on to something, but I know they’re going to face a barrage of fire. I probably should have hurled everything at the other objective and the troops upon it, but I don’t. If not that then I should have advanced onto an objective to try and score it next turn. I do neither, this is not going to help me.

Progressive Scores

The Imperium really begin to build a lead here. They started their turn sitting on three objectives while I was on none.

  • Astra Militarum
    • Primary +15 (20 pts)
    • Grind them down +3 (6 pts)
    • Engage all fronts +0 (0 pts)
  • Death Guard & Deamons
    • Primary +0 (5 pts)
    • Raise the banners high +1 (2 pts)
    • Vital ground +0 (0 pts)
    • Thin their tanks +0 (0 pts)

Battle Round 4

The game picks up speed now, there’s not a lot left on the table. The little mini exploding tank, the artillery and the Leman Russ make short work of the Contemptor dreadnought and the Chaos Lord, I’ve lost another objective.

There’s not much I can do except to hope not to die. I’m close to the objective on the left but I still don’t quite reach it, I’ve no idea what I was thinking, it’s falling apart badly.

Progressive Scores

  • Astra Militarum
    • Primary +10 (30 pts)
    • Grind them down +3 (9 pts)
    • Engage all fronts +0 (0 pts)
  • Death Guard & Deamons
    • Primary +0 (5 pts)
    • Raise the banners high +1 (3 pts)
    • Vital ground +0 (0 pts)

Battle Round 5

The Imperium tries to table my last few models but fails.

On my turn I finally reach the objectives, too late to score it but with just enough time to raise a banner on it which will score me another VP in the end phase.

Progressive Scores

  • Astra Militarum
    • Primary +15 (45 pts)
    • Grind them down +3 (12 pts)
    • Engage all fronts +0 (0 pts)
  • Death Guard & Deamons
    • Primary +0 (5 pts)
    • Raise the banners high +1 (4 pts)
    • Vital ground +0 (0 pts)

Final Scores

It’s a clear win for the Astra Militarum. I scored poorly on all of my objectives, in particular the primary and the mission specific secondary. Meanwhile the Astra Militarum played a focussed game and earned a stack of points. I’ve been clearly outplayed.

  • Astra Militarum – 78 pts
    • Primary +0 (45 pts)
    • Bring it down +11 (11 pts)
    • Grind them down +0 (12 pts)
    • Engage all fronts +0 (0 pts)
    • Battle ready +10 (10 pts)
  • Death Guard & Deamons – 25pts
    • Primary +0 (5 pts)
    • Raise the banners high +2 (6 pts)
    • Vital ground +0 (0 pts)
    • Thin their tanks +4 (4 pts)
    • Battle ready +10 (10 pts)

Post Game Thoughts

Oh my did I play this one badly…

  • I think the issues began when I chose my secondary objectives. At that point I had decided that I would ignore the big super heavy tank and focus on the mission. So I rejected the Titan Hunter secondary objective despite it having the potential to bring in 10VP. However I did then change my mind, went for the tank and none of my secondaries earned me 10VP. I’m not sure if going after the tank was the right thing to do, but at least be consistent and either go for it or don’t.
  • Linked to the above point is that I think I decided to go for the super heavy tank once I realised that it was carrying troops and would be coming forwards rather than sitting at the rear. Had I thought that sooner I might have changed my mind on the secondaries. Be aware of what the key components in your enemy’s army will be getting up to.
  • A general problem was that I think I “fell apart” in this game. I have a “fear” of Super Heavy units going back to when I was getting repeatedly stomped by three Knights and the Loyal 32 back in 8th Edition. So I was somewhat panicking when I made all those important decisions early in the game from choosing my objectives through to those first few turns. Focus.
  • Towards the end of my time getting stomped by Super Heavies in 8th I think that I reached a point where I realised that the Death Guard can’t really take them on toe to toe and that it’s pointless to try, instead take lots of infantry and focus on playing the mission. 9th, with its blast weapons, has made me worry about the practicalities of that. So I ended up focussing on the super heavy again and not on the mission. I need to think about how I should be playing in 9th, Super Heavies are going to happen.
  • The Death Guard benefit, I think, from the smaller table sizes. We’re a slow army that want to be close to things. My games up until this one have been 1,000 points on 44″ by 30″ tables. This game doubles the size, but I don’t have double the bodies on the table. The Astra Militarum benefit from both speed and numbers so they can handle the extra distances involved in a bigger play space. The Death Guard struggle. I think that I might have had an easier time at 2,000 points as I could bring into my army a more diverse spread of units that would also include some fast movers, we do have them, to help get some control of the table.
  • When it came to actually playing the game I clearly did poorly in earning points for myself but I also did poorly in stopping my enemy from earning points. I think that I should have focussed on getting my own infantry forwards and killing the enemy infantry.
  • The Nurglings didn’t do terribly well in this game. The started off on two of the objectives and raised banners on them. But before I could score at the end of my next command phase the enemy infantry had sprinted onto the objectives and taken them from me with weight of numbers. How much of this is coupled to my point that I should have been killing the infantry is a fair question. Would bigger squads of Nurglings work? Sure they’d be move vulnerable to blast weapons but would the numbers pay off? I clearly need to build more Nurglings 🙂
  • Losing two out of the three Plagueburst Crawlers in turn one was a real shock. Even with a 4+ invulnerable and ignoring 1 in 3 points of damage with Disgustingly Resilient they can still fall. Was that unlucky? I think so, bad things do happen.
  • I think I should have used the cover better. The big tank would not have LOS blocked by the obscuring terrain as it had too many wounds. This means that I could have been shooting at it while my own units would have been protected. I completely forgot that.
  • The Vengence for Cadia stratagem is just grotesque when applied to something like a Baneblade variant. For 1CP it can re-roll every failed hit and every failed wound. If you’ve got it you’ve got to use it as it’s just so efficient, but I do hope it gets a nerfing in the next Codex for the Guard. In general I’d be happy to see all stratagems and abilities that target a particular faction taken away, they’re just so variable, but when you can use them they can be awesome.
  • I think that I deployed my plasma equipped Plague Marines too far back, it took them too long to reach anything. Yes they might well have got shot at if they were further forwards but I’m slow and I need them to get somewhere and to start killing things. This is where remembering that the big tank couldn’t see me through the central ruins but I would have been able to see it would have been helpful. Look at the table and think about how to use it.
  • I finished the game with about four CP left, that’s not good, they should have been used for something. I really need to re-read my stratagems and have a think about which ones will be useful. That you now earn 1CP a round does give you more of them to play with and the step up to bigger games gives me a bigger pool too.

The List

Total: 78 PL, 8CP, 1,500pts

Patrol -2CP (Daemons) [12 PL, -2CP, 237pts

Configuration [-2CP] +

  • Chaos Allegiance: Nurgle
  • Detachment CP [-2CP]

HQ [4 PL, 75pts] +

  • Poxbringer [4 PL, 75pts]: Fleshy Abundance

Troops [8 PL, 162pts] +

  • Nurglings [4 PL, 90pts]
    5x Nurgling Swarms [90pts]: 5x Diseased claws and teeth
  • Nurglings [4 PL, 72pts]
    4x Nurgling Swarms [72pts]: 4x Diseased claws and teeth

Battalion 0CP (Death Guard) [66 PL, 10CP, 1,263pts]

Configuration [12CP]

  • Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points) [12CP]
  • Plague Company: The Poxmongers

Stratagems [-1CP]

  • Gifts of Decay (1 Relic) [-1CP]

HQ [10 PL, 163pts]

  • Chaos Lord [5 PL, 80pts]: 6. Arch-Contaminator, Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Warlord, Wormspitter
  • Chaos Lord [5 PL, 83pts]: Chainsword, Combi-bolter [3pts], Ironclot Furnace

Troops [18 PL, 330pts]

  • Plague Marines [6 PL, 120pts]
    Plague Champion [28pts]: Plague knife, Plasma gun [10pts]
    2x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [36pts]: 2x Blight Grenades, 2x Boltgun, 2x Krak Grenades, 2x Plague knife
    Plague Marine w/ special weapon [28pts]: Plasma gun [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ special weapon [28pts]: Plasma gun [10pts]
  • Plague Marines [6 PL, 120pts]
    Plague Champion [28pts]: Plague knife, Plasma gun [10pts]
    2x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [36pts]: 2x Blight Grenades, 2x Boltgun, 2x Krak Grenades, 2x Plague knife
    Plague Marine w/ special weapon [28pts]: Plasma gun [10pts]
    Plague Marine w/ special weapon [28pts]: Plasma gun [10pts]
  • Plague Marines [6 PL, 90pts]
    Plague Champion [18pts]: Boltgun, Plague knife
    4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [72pts]: 4x Blight Grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak Grenades, 4x Plague knife

Elites [14 PL, -1CP, 260pts]

  • Foul Blightspawn [5 PL, 85pts]
  • Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, -1CP, 175pts]: 2x Butcher cannon [70pts], Contaminated Monstrosity [-1CP]

Heavy Support [24 PL, 510pts] +

  • Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 170pts]: 2x Plaguespitter [40pts], Heavy slugger
  • Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 170pts]: 2x Plaguespitter [40pts], Heavy slugger
  • Plagueburst Crawler [8 PL, 170pts]: 2x Plaguespitter [40pts], Heavy slugger

3 thoughts on “Death Guard & Nurgle Daemons vs Astra Militarum (1,500 pts) – Battle Report

  1. Man! What a pickle! I don’t know what to do about those super-heavies with VFC either. I mean, I think that your initial idea of ignoring it was sound, but then between the tank’s insane output and the awesomeness of that strat, you basically can’t ignore it.

    I am willing to bet that when their book is redone VFC will become one of those scaling strats based on PL. 1 CP for that level of power just seems to be outside of what they are doing now.

    I was looking at your list and, with the Plaguespitters mounted on the PBCs, it looks like you had the firepower you needed to clear the infantry. It’s a real bummer the way the Guard list kind of pulled you in two directions. Like, if you hid out and bombarded the super heavy from beyond LOS, then you wouldn’t have the spitters to clear infantry. You might have been able to cripple the tank, but by then it might have been too late to sweep objectives.

    I dunno! Sounds like a crazy battle man! Thanks for sharing! This was a good read. Keep up the good work!

    Like

    1. Consider that the Death Guard have to pay 1CP to use Fire Fever so as to get re-rolls, of hits, from a Helbrute, that is equipped with two ranged weapons and that fires both weapons at the same target. 1CP to reroll every single hit and wound from one unit is just such a bargain. I can’t fault the chap for using it, I would, but it seems quite ridiculous.

      I lost two of the Crawlers before they could even fire, but the one that was left would have chewed up the infantry if it could get them in range, which is helped by the stratagem to give them an extra 6″ of range.

      But there were some tough calls about what to focus on, and I think I made them badly. Next time, next time…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah! There is always next time! I was playing against Space Marines (Raven Guard) recently and I got precious about a Foetid Bloatdrone vs. and Invictor Warsuit. Very nearly cost me the game! But like you said: Next time. I won’t make that mistake again!

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