In this the seventh official week of our 9th Edition Warhammer 40,000 Narrative Campaign will the followers of Nurgle triumph over their hated foes the Ultramarines or will my inability to remember important rules at important times undo my efforts to paint my unique army and forge the narrative? The only way to find out is to read the latest lengthy blog post that I type up much to the amusement of a handful of people online.
It goes without saying that we are still busy at work, while I was playing games and missing Record Store Day, others were working so I don’t know if I’ll get this post completed in a timely manner. I must work tomorrow it has been strongly implied. But despite work I kept painting on the one unpainted model in my campaign force, a vintage Death Guard terminator made with the Forgeworld bits.
It was announced ahead of time we were to play “The Ritual” scenario at 35 PL but somehow at the last minute we changed to 40 PL. I have my entire campaign force in my case, but I have no way to make 40 PL after boosting Syphilis Squad to ten models. Considering how successful they’ve been I don’t think this was a mistake, but I’ll need to requisition another Plague Marine squad but first I’ll requisition another single spawn which in order to give myself a chance to paint, I had to clean and assemble immediately after this week’s game, so here is a picture of Stumpy, Spawn of Chaos.
This model I got in trade with one of the other players in our campaign Devin, then today Alex gave everyone some models he had that were no longer needed according to his master plan. Apparently I traded coke, the liquid sugary kind, for some Poxwalkers. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to painting them, probably quite a while from now, as I must paint Plague Marines, Chaos Spawn, more cultists and some new characters as Maceo is on the Path of Glory so he’ll end up a Daemon Prince or yet another Chaos Spawn, either way I got the model sitting on a shelf behind me.
The Forces of the Diseased Sons
I had carefully picked out my 35 PL force, not knowing I would play Bill or even knowing the mission would be the Ritual, I tend to pick my army list immediately after the game based on what worked, what didn’t, and who got a new battle scar or battle honour. But I have always led my forces this edition with Maceo the Maligned.
- Maceo the Maligned, Chaos Lord 5 PL
- McFly the Malevolent, Malignant Plaguecaster 5 PL
- Syphilis Squad, ten Plague Marines 12 PL
- Boris the Defiler, 9 PL
- Rhino with Havoc Launcher, 4 PL
- The Cancer Cell, ten chaos cultists 3 PL
- Billalexdevin, Spawn of Chaos 1 PL
Both the Cancer Cell and my spawn have Battle Scars, the Cancer Cell is disgraced and can’t use re-rolls or stratagems and Billalexdevin wears the Mark of Shame and can’t benefit form auras. He has an aura so I guess he can’t use that either, but considering how fast these two units usually die, I’m just going to have to live with these little disadvantages. All my other units except the rhino have earned battle honours so I have somehow earned the most crusade points, but Alex is definitely the person to beat and I don’t know if I can build the army to do it, the Ultramarines likely have a better chance against the Eldar than I do.
Setup and Deployment
Bill brought the terrain and set it up, then we realized there was a ruin where the Ritual should occur so we move it to the left. For reasons that were never clearly explained but basically because I was the attacker two weeks ago, I was the defender this week. Having lost two weeks ago, one of my takeaways is my army is probably better at defending. The reason is most of my models can not shoot over 24 inches so having the enemy have to advance towards me is actually more advantageous than going first, this is why, as you will see, I set up with basically units that are going to take the enemy fire to protect more important units.
In addition to the objective representing the ritual site, there are four more objectives on the board, two placed by Bill and two placed by me. Bill put his behind buildings I only put one of mine behind a little ruin, the second one I put where I wanted to go. I had also decided that my Lord who may or may not have had to deploy right next to the Ritual site, it was later ruled he did not, would focus on the mission quite a lot.
These are actually chosen before deployment but revealed after deployment but I have one where I have to kill my enemies most powerful unit and I basically give away I’m going to take it by asking which unit in your army is the most powerful. I will most likely take this agenda often as it will earn me a Virulence point and the regular agendas and missions won’t. For my second agenda I chose Survivor and gave that task again to Syphilis. Ten model Plague Marine squads are hard to kill, especially if you put them in cover.
The Actual Deployment
So having given away that I intended place my warlord Maceo within three inches of a spot bereft of cover, the first unit I place was my rhino. I didn’t even bother pointing it towards the enemy, basically I said I would use rhinos for cover and I did. Bill split the tactical squad that I had to kill into two units, so it was ruled I had to kill all ten, but then we decided for eliminating a unit from the game I got a pip on my campaign card. I probably could have tried a little hard to complete my first agenda, but I lost a close game last week, so this time I was even more focussed on achieving my mission.
I deployed the rhino more than three inches from the Ritual site and in the gap I put the Cancer Cell. Supposedly they are a better screen than the rhino, but they tend to run, so the Heroic Leadership of McFly would be called upon. But first I put down Syphilis, I didn’t put them in cover, but within nine inches of Maceo. His auras are nine inches because of the Fugaris’ Helm. Next I think I deployed my single spawn next to the objective I had in the ruins, basically he would babysit it for as long as he could. McFly is in cover and out of sight, but strategically within 6 inches of my two infantry squads.
The last model I placed was Boris, the Ultramarines had deployed several units in the open so I lined them up in my sights. Then Bill who had an abundance of Command Points redeployed three of his units. He still put a unit out front, but Boris is my fastest model so he can move and line up another shot, but the ability for the enemy to redeploy is something I’m going to have to start planning for as at least two of my opponents can do this with a stratagem.
The other issue with redeployment, is I take a perfectly good picture of the army setup then it changes. So I took another picture, or thought I did, so you can decide if this was a brilliant tactic or a necessity to avoid the Defiler Cannon. If I build another Defiler and I might after the new Chaos Codex comes out, I’d arm it differently, mine was built before there was an official model.
From my records he redeployed his Captain, the Incursors and the Intercessors. They all moved from my left flank to my right flank, but Boris can move and shoot and he has the most long ranged guns so I wasn’t terribly concerned.
Who goes first?
In some missions the attacker goes first, but in this one it was a roll off which Bill won. His agendas were Kingslayer because he also got thirty victory points for killing my warlord and a unique Ultramarine one where he basically gets XP for passing moral tests and boy did I give him lots of opportunities to fulfill that agenda, my shooting is less than overwhelming, but I usually kill a model or two a turn.
Battle Round One
Bill starts his turn with trickery, apparently he can make it the Tactical Doctrine for one squad so after consulting the rules he made it the Tactical Doctrine for the squad in the centre, they have better guns than the squad in the lead on my right flank. I looked on Google Drive and I couldn’t find Bill’s army, but this may have been squad Tration and regardless that squad killed one Plague Marine. I briefly thought about re-rolling one of my failed armour saves but decided it was too early to use CP.
The Titan Slayers is what Bill has dubbed his Devastator squad. We have no Titans in our crusade currently but we do have an Eldar Wraithlord. They have a trick where he can make one weapon hit on a 2+ but his Lascannon rolled a one, so he re-rolled it and rolled another one. I have a bad habit of paying the command re-roll and failing key rolls too and my ability to roll snake eyes amuses Bill to know end.
But even with the laser cannon as Bill calls it doing nothing, the Devastators killed the Rhino anyway. He has two missile launchers and a plasma cannon to back up the “laser cannon”. So next the Ultramarines fire on the Cancer Cell with the tactical squads missile launcher, this results in two dead cultists. I remove ones without autoguns as although I want cultists to be better, they rarely last long enough to get into melee. So I’ll be painting more autoguns and likely a heavy stubber. Supposedly the next Chaos Codex will give cultists more value on the table.
Death Guard Turn One
McFly‘s inspiration was actually not needed as they passed their moral test by themselves. On my turn I moved Boris a little and he killed one model, but then Bill would make his morale test and gain XP. I was in such a hurry to start shooting Bill, I skipped the psychic phase, McFly was also out of sight and thus out of mind, but Bill let me try to cast Miasma of Pestilence anyway on Syphilis. I’ve switched to using that on my best squad rather than trying in vain to save the cultists.
Syphilis remained stationary to increase the range of the Plasma guns and I think I killed a single model with them, but it might have been two. Four cultists also got to fire and they may have done a wound. I have +1 to hit on all my infantry squads, that seems the most obvious battle trait to take given the options in the Death Guard codex for troops.
Battle Round Two
Bill couldn’t score any victory points in the first battle round but I could, so Maceo did score 10 VP, giving me an early lead. Bill had advanced on my left flank and got 20 VP as he had two objectives and I currently held just one. The objectives are hard to see on the Ultramarine side of the board but basically one behind each large building.
I didn’t take as many photos this game which is a shame because we had two completely painted armies much to Bill’s amazement. Apparently in his turn two Bill announced it was “Devastator Time!” So the cultists all died. Bill was worried he wouldn’t be able to kill them but his fear was unfounded as everyone who could but the Titan Slayers fired upon them. If a squad is at least three models, it can protect a character to a degree, but with the Cancer Cell removed Maceo had to take all the fire of the Devastators.
Again Bill used is special shot on the Lascannon but I made my invulnerable save. I think Maceo made all his saves, he definitely survived to worship Chaos again, but the Ritual site was looking very exposed.
Death Guard Turn Two
Boris is actually the fastest model in my army and on the table so he moved forward to shield Maceo. Apparently even if you can see the character you can’t target him standing next to a giant mechanical monstrosity. I moved forward both Syphilis and McFly.
McFly actually failed a psychic test but I re-rolled and got a nine so it became a Super Smite. Syphilis also killed a model or two and I completely forgot to use their banner the Sigil of Decay all game. I wrote a cheat card and every unit has a cue card, but sometimes I just forget rules, it wasn’t like this in the olden days.
I didn’t write the score down, but I got 10 VP at the end of my turn for the ritual so I think it was 20-20.
Battle Round Three
With the game tied and the third battle round starting, Bill declared it was the “Tactical Doctrine!” This was also known as the turn everyone shot at Boris. He has a 5+ invulnerable and he made his save against the lascannon. But he failed his next armour save so of course I used a re-roll and failed again, this despite being armoured in contempt and having grown extra plates as his battle trait. After being wounded by the missile launchers then came the plasma cannon which did another four wounds. Then another krak missile from the tactical squad for which I also failed the armour save. Then Boris took another wound from bolter fire!
None-the-less he survived and it was going to be my turn.
Death Guard Turn Three
The game must have been getting heated as I didn’t remember to take a picture for a while. I also may have forgotten to deduct a command point so I coughed up one more. Boris moved forward, he also regained a wound to have four, this meant he hit on a 4+, this does make a difference. Syphilis and McFly also moved forward and Billalexdevin and Maceo focussed on scoring victory points.
Boris actually rolled a six with the Defiler Cannon at some point but I didn’t write down when, of all his guns, the twin-linked heavy bolters may be the best, I’m a big fan of this weapon in this edition of the game. But before shooting is psychics, I even wrote down “Don’t forget psychic phase”. And much to Bill’s amusement I rolled snake eyes. However I re-rolled and this is when the discussion occurred about how many CP I should have. So since I had lots, around four I paid another, I made my re-roll and McFly did five mortal wounds to the Ultramarines with Plague Wind, take that Goonhammer! Then he did three more mortal wound with Smite.
Boris did manage to kill two models and as a result there was one Ultramarine I think the sergeant of Squad Tration left, so Boris charged them. Again he could only hit on a 4+ but he has a few attacks and they are at strength 16! That was the end of that squad, but the one I need to kill for my agenda was still alive as were the Devastators plus and Ultramarine Captain and a Lieutenant.
Battle Round Four
The score was now 70-30 for the Death Guard as the Ultramarines either abandoned their objectives or were shot off them, whereas the big slow Syphilis Squad kept scoring along with Billalexdevin and Maceo. Bill must have been getting desperate as he played “Martial Precision” and then some other stratagem card to hit Boris automatically and I think increase the armour penetration of the attack.
I immediately played “Cloud of Flies” at the start of the Ultramarine shooting phase, but on Maceo. After reading what this Stratagem did Bill was not impressed, but I had made sure I had at least 2 CP left as I’ve seen too often that Maceo is just not safe, even behind squads and vehicles. Boris died and exploded doing a wound to McFly. Despite all this action I literally have no pictures and no more notes from this battle round and it is now several days later and I just want to finish typing up the battle report.
Immune from shooting Maceo again completed the Ritual and I had two objectives so Battle Round Five will start with the score 90-30 for the Death Guard.
Battle Round Five
As you can see from the picture above I also casted Miasma of Pestilence on Maceo to keep making him hard to hit with shooting. As a result the Lascannon missed Maceo, but the Plasma Cannon wounded Maceo. Before shooting Bill had appeared from the shadows with his Captain in Gravis Armor and the remains of a Tactical combat squad who shot at then charged Syphilis.
McFly who has the Heroic Inspiration battle trait, could intervene six inches and did. I had enough CP still to launch a Counter Offensive and I made Bill aware of that, but instead I decided to go with Trench Fighters as I didn’t think Bill could defeat all my models quickly. Bill had a lot of command points left and he kept playing something on his Gravis Captain to improve his armour save. It should be noted the Gravis Captain is Toughness 8! This is due to upgrades obtained in the campaign but than the contagion of Nurgle weakens him to toughness seven.
After Bill’s chargers all fought, I fought back with Syphilis who had seven members still so twenty two attacks total with plague knifes. I put about half into the Tactical Marines and half into the Captain. Bill strategically died leaving McFly no one to fight.
It was around this time that the peanut gallery had gathered to inform Bill his Gravis Captain wasn’t in fact toughness eight and helpful things like that, then Bill again toppled one of the tall buildings over and it landed on my models, breaking Bagonhead the Unbearable into multiple pieces, this was deemed very funny by everyone but me, but it was insisted I take a picture for the blog.
McFly was no longer in H2H so he could maneuver around to charge anew into the surviving two Tactical Marines. But before hand-to-hand combat is psychics and for the third time in the game I suffered perils of the warp, instead of re-rolling as I did for snake eyes twice, I kept my box cars, this turned my power into a Super Smite so I took a mortal wound.
To start my shooting phase I played The Blightening, Devin enjoys watching me play my stratagems on Bill’s army, he’s got that one memorized, 18 auto hitting pistol attacks, alas they are only strength 4 and AP -1 and the Gravis Captain is Toughness 8 if you’d forgotten. I managed to do one wound.
The Super Smite killed off the Tactical Marines and even though McFly was wounded and likely outmatched, my agenda was Syphilis must survive so I charged the Gravis Captain, this meant McFly got to fight first and he did four hits, then he did four successful rolls to wound and Bill was starting to worry, but with his +1 armor save he saved three of them, but to make him sweat once more I rolled a six doing 3 wounds!
The Gravis Captain then got to fight back, turns out in addition to being toughness eight, he also got eight attacks likely due to it being the assault doctrine and who knows what else. It didn’t matter he could not kill McFly or Syphilis. I played Trench Fighters one more time with my last command point but the Gravis Captain is hard to kill and the game officially ended 100-30 for me. There is some possibility Bill actually scored an additional ten points, but we had three score keeping records and my dice and campaign journal said 100-30, turns out I am a better defender than an attacker.
Not only did I win, Syphilis survived and as the picture clearly shows with more than half their starting strength. I did not succeed in my other agenda, if I had just fired a little bit more or a little bit more accurately. I believe I forgot the benefits of my Sigil of Decay for the entire match, one day I’ll make it through the game without forgetting a clear benefit I carefully selected, but not today.
None of my units that were taken out of action suffered a battle scar. I gave Maceo the man of the match, after all he scored 50 victory points all by himself. Syphilis got four experience points for being my designated survivor so they got their second battle trait. Maceo actually got a free one as he was the warlord of the winning side for the Ritual mission.
Well I worked on Sunday, but on Saturday I did repair Bagonhead and clean, glue, and prime a vintage spawn, so apparently I should post more pictures. Several days past where I was working not blogging or painting. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get some paint on the Chaos Spawn, I plan to use Contrast Paints but I’m not sure what the primary colour will be, maybe I’ll thin the other purple, but he too may end up a riot of colours, after all he is Stumpy Spawn of Chaos.
But before I could paint him I had to do a lot of assembly and cleaning, I even got out my Dremel to drill a whole at an angle into a scenic base I ordered from Poland.
I primed the spawn with Grey Seer and it came out nice. I haven’t painted over grey in a while and never this grey, I’m kinda looking forward to it, but I need work to get less hectic. Maceo now has a battle trait that lets him regain spent command points on a roll of six. Syphilis now hits on overwatch with either a five or a six. I saved my requisition point but I had enough room in my supply depot to recruit a Chaos Spawn.
We will probably play again next weekend, I’ll write even more pre-game notes to try and remember Sigil of Decay and all my new battle traits. I may have to play Alex and the dastardly Eldar, they are clearly the force to beat and I don’t like my chances. I need the enemy to advance into bolter range and why bother if you have guns that shoot over 24 inches? I will have to eventually recruit some more daemon engines and rumour has it the rules are changing again real soon.
I think I’m still stuck in the past using my plasma guns, they can shoot one shot at 24 inches even if I moved, I was playing it that they could only shoot 24 inches if I stood still, what say you Internet?
If you have thoughts on why the Death Guard or me personally is better at defending than attacking or why plasma guns are better than plague flamers or why the Ultramarine just can’t handle the funk, you can leave a comment below.