Engine War

Psychic Awakening – Engine War – A Nurgle Review

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, the Chaos Factions (Knights and Daemons) are very much the supporting actors in this book.  The Adeptus Mechanicus and Imperial Knights both get 14 new stratagems and some other nice things to play with.  Chaos Knights get one stratagem per house and Deamons get four stratagems per God.  Chaos quite simply doesn’t get as many new tools as the Imperium forces do.  But what about the ones that we do get, are they any good?

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Death Guard Tactics – Poxwalkers

This is another of the units that you get in the Dark Imperium boxset.  So they’ve been a regular part of my army ever since I got back into 40k.

How do I use them?

Death Guard and Nurgle vs Astra Militarum

I think that there are two main ways you can use Poxwalkers, defensively and aggressively.

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Foetid Bloat Drone

Death Guard Tactics – Foetid Bloat Drone

This is one of the models that came in the Dark Imperium boxset, so it was one of my first Death Guard units, and I still think they’re great and continue to use them.

Plaguespitters, fleshmower or heavy blight launcher?

I have three Foetid Bloat Drones, one with each of the weapon types.

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Chaos Lord and Malignant Plaguecaster take an objective

Death Guard Tactics – Chaos Lord

How do I use it?

Death Guard dreadnoughts

This unit is the cheapest HQ option for the Death Guard, so one use is for it to fill out the HQ slots of a battalion.  However it’s main use is because it offers a re-roll for hit rolls of 1 for Death Guard units within 6″.  So you might, for example, have it hanging back with some Dreadnoughts (the Hellforged Contemptor hits on a 2+, re-rolling 1s is wonderful).  Another really good use is to back up Plague Marines equipped with Plague Marines, it gives a bit of safety for when they’re overcharging their fire.   The Chaos Lord is infantry so can move through ruins and keep up with the whatever infantry he might be accompanying.

Should he be the Warlord?

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2019 in Review

A quick post to sum up my year, something to look back on next year.


I managed 39 games and won about 2/3rds of them.  I’m pretty happy with that.  The games I lost were usually one involving super heavies (Knights and Tanks), so I still have a real problem there that I need to work on.  You can see the full list of games here.


I painted up 63 models this year for a total of about 2,391 points.  The Nurgle Daemon Battalion was the biggest single faction I worked on but the Death Guard weren’t far behind.

Death Guard (906 points)

Chaos Knights (314 points)

Chaos Daemons (948 points)

Servants of the Abyss – Blackstone Fortress (223 points)

Aims for 2020

  • I think I’ll aim to continue to grow my Death Guard and Chaos Daemon armies, probably more with quality rather than quantity.  So some more Forge World stuff and armour might appear.
  • Another unit of 30 Plaguebearers is tempting, but they’ve just gone up in points, we’ll see.
  • More Poxwalkers is also tempting, they’ve had a points drop and being small models would easily fit into my carry case.  However getting up to 20 is hard, you can only buy them in groups of six.  However I currently have about 24 of them, so I could buy 18, strip the paint from 2 of them and then paint them all up in a different colour to the rest (green?).
  • Really work on my airbrushing, if I do get more Forge World stuff and armour then that should help get nice smooth paint jobs on them.  I’m still not happy with my Rhinos and Land Raider that were brush painted.
  • Tackle Mortarion?  He’s the one obviously missing part of my Death Guard.  If can crack the airbrush then it might help me make some nicely blended painting for his wings.
  • I still need to work on my problems playing against super heavies such as Knights and Baneblades.  I know that Cadian Shock has one in progress, so I’ll be seeing more of them on the table.
Dark Imperium boxset

800 Days of 8th

800 days ago I bought the Dark Imperium box set and my journey back into tabletop Warhammer 40k began.  Because “reasons” I thought it would be a good idea to step back and look at how that’s gone and to see how far I’ve come.

September 2017

There’s the big box, and the photo that I took that night of the two rule books that I have side by side.  The Dark Imperium box set was a really quite lovely product and presented very nicely.  It would take me a while to get everything assembled but I knew that I was going for the Death Guard as “my” army.  I had never quite stepped away from Warhammer 40,000 having Games Mastered the Dark Heresy RPG and bought the re-release of Space Hulk when it came out a year or two before this.  So I was aware of what Games Workshop were getting up to.  I’d seen the concept art and then the miniatures for the new Death Guard models, I had taken quite a fancy to them.

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Teaching Blood Angels

I had a game against a new player who was learning the Blood Angels.  I knew that he was a new player and built what was, to me, an old fashioned Death Guard list.  I didn’t take any Daemons, vehicles or flyers.  Instead I took a horde of Poxwalkers and two full squads of Plague Marines.

My opponent had some Bolt Rifle equipped Primaris Marines, some Hellblaster Primaris Marines, some characters and two squads of Deep Striking Assault Marines.

Pretty much like the game that I had teaching the Tau I had never really stopped to think how Space Marine armies were meant to work, I’d never faced the Blood Angels before so there was also going to be a whole lot of stuff I’d never seen before.

The player didn’t want to use any stratagems yet so I didn’t use any for my side either.

So, how did it go?  Well he was pretty much wiped out.  Unlike the game against the Tau we didn’t have time for a second match to apply some of the lessons that had come out of the first game, I regret that, it’s nice to see how just learning a few things makes such a difference in how your army performs.

Anyhow a few of the important lessons were:

  • He was playing an army with a few deep striking assault units, really learn the stratagems that can help get them into combat.  Deep striking 9″ away still leaves getting that charge off as a pretty iffy proposition.  As it turned out a quick scan of the book showed that there is a stratagem to help, Descent of Angels.  This then lead to a discussion about the benefits of taking larger units as then the stratagem can get the most value at the cost of flexibility.
  • The importance of spotting your buffs and manoeuvring units so that the buffs can be applied where you want them.  He had one character that could cause units to re-roll 1’s to hit and another that could cause units to re-roll 1’s to wound.  Getting both of those to apply is a considerable boon.
  • Don’t hurl low attack high damage units at single wound models.  When his deep striking assault Marines appeared he took on the Poxwalkers.  Sure they do look scary.  But when the Marines were equipped with thunder hammers or some such that caused 2 or 3 points of damage per wound they’re waster.  3 points of damage kills a Poxwalker no better than 1 point of damage does (Disgustingly Resilient is a whole wrinkle here though).  It’s much better to get that damage applies to big units like the Helbrute.  Work out what a unit is good for and use it for that.



The answer to “What next?”

I appear to have reached an answer to the question “What next?”, I’ve picked up the Chaos Daemons Codex and will be working up a Nurgle Daemon army to fight alongside my Death Guard.


There are a number of reasons for this, reasons that overcame my reluctance to abandon my “mono-codex” stand point.

  • I’d been looking at Forge World Dreadnoughts for a while, and there was even a sale that they were running that gave you one weapon for free.  But I just couldn’t get that excited about them.  The Death Guard Contemptor looked pretty good, and it would add some much needed long range anti-tank to my army, but I just couldn’t gather up much enthusiasm for it.  So it sat in my basket for weeks.
  • Then the first event happened, a full Codex for Chaos Knights was announced, given that I have a pair of Armigers GW have made me a “multi-codex” soup army whether I like it or not.  So the Rubicon was crossed, somewhat by accident.
  • Next the second event, my birthday happened, and I was to be treated with something bigger from GW.  For some reason I found myself looking at the Great Unclean One and he was just so adorably cheerful.  Enthusiasm was rediscovered!  I remember the original Great Unclean One lead miniature from back in the day, and this new one looks so much better.
  • Nurgle Daemons seem like they should work pretty well with Death Guard.  They won’t give me my worried about long range anti-tank capabilities.  But they will give me some horde based melee units that appreciate the fire support from the Death Guard.
  • Nurgle Daemons are obviously fluffily close to the Nurgle worshipping Death Guard.  And they fit nicely under the name of this blog, “Plague Gardening”, so it doesn’t feel like I’m pointlessly broadening myself.
  • I already have some Nurglings so I’ve kind of started my Nurgle Daemons army already.  I can now buy more Nurglings!  Hurrah!  As said enthusiasm!
More Nurglings!

So there we go, Nurgle Daemons it is.  I will probably still grow my Death Guard as well but for now I have a new direction and a new army to get ready for the table.

Re-rolls before modifiers


The rules for re-rolls says that “re-rolls happen before modifiers (if any) are applied).  This has some curious side effects.

The one I’ve met the most is that if you have a -1 to hit something and you can re-roll rolls of 1 to hit then if you overcharge a Plasma weapon it will explode on a 2 and there’s nothing that you can do about it.

But thinking some more this also happens to wound rolls when you have positive modifiers.  For example consider my melee units.  I’ll often try to manifest Blades of Putrefaction on them giving a +1 to wound and then I can also use the Veterans of the Long War stratagem to give them another +1 for +2 in total.  Now complicate it further, as I often will, by having my Warlord nearby with Arch-Contaminator as his Warlord Trait.  This allows me to re-roll all failed wounds for Plague Weapons.  But I have to do that before I add the +2.

So let’s expand the scenario a bit.  The melee unit mentioned above is a squad of Plague Marines armed with a Plague Knives and they’re attacking a squad of regular Space Marines.  So that’ll be a S4 attack against a T4 Marine, I’ll wound on a 4+.  Normally I’d just say “OK, I’m wounding on 4+ with a +2 so I’m looking for 2+ on the dice rolls.”  But that’s wrong.

What I have to do is to roll my wound dice putting any that are 4+ to one side.  Then I grab everything that is under 4, even the 2s and 3s that would eventually have become a wound, and re-roll them (that’s presuming that I’m fast rolling everything).

This will cause my chances to wound to go down, I’m re-rolling dice that would otherwise have caused a wound and there’s a chance that they will now fail to wound.

On the positive side when I’m in this sort of scenario I’m also looking for wound rolls of 7+ to trigger the mortal wounds that Blades of Putrefaction gives me.  So I now get another chance to get the 5s or 6s that would trigger that when I’ve got that +2.

However the simpler scenario of just having Veterans of the Long War will happen more often.  And I’m going to have to remember to do this right in the future.