The forces of the Diseased Sons were all set to face off against the Chaos Knights led by Lord Godrick when the tides of the warpstorm rose and receded revealing instead the even more hated Ultramarines glimpsed through a mysterious shroud across the battlefield.
That’s right it was another busy week in the Pariah Nexus or if you prefer the Sentry Box. It is actually the Calgary Stampede and I was supposed to go to a concert, but I’ve become ill, I even took an at home Covid-19 test but tested negative. I’ll retest again, but I wanted to get typing on this battle report as they take a long time and I have a lot of painting to do soon.
Bill has been slacking there has been no narrative text and the missions have been top secret but we did agree to play 30 power through the Astrotelepaths, which for easy math worked out to be a Chaos Lord, two ten man plague marine squads, and a lone Chaos Spawn. As soon as I wrote it out I new it was far from optimal, especially when it appeared I would be playing Chaos Knights. Having no heavy weapons or even melta guns or powerfists is something I would never do in the past, but for the campaign I’m trying to run a more cobbled together and desperate force. Maybe we’re having trouble with our supply lines.
Also the Warhammer 40,000 9th edition campaign rules allow you to add models to your squad before they get their second battle honour so I had just started adding five more models to the Scarlet Fevers so they are kinda out of commission until that is complete. I have basically tried this army list before and it just does not cut it especially in a mission like “The Shroud”.
Aiden was the first to arrive and had set up the battlefields, which was good, but then he really wanted to play the new sexy Chaos Space Marines, aka Devin. But he had to settle for playing either Bill or I as we arrived next, so we rolled up the mission, chose agendas, and we’re just starting to deploy when Devin appeared. So there was a slight change in opponents but it was ruled everyone must play the same mission.
I did not change my army not when I learned the mission or my opponent, but I did change my agenda. I stuck with Turn their Hope to Rot but went with Survivor: Syphilis instead of the Reaper. This mission was complicated, there was a line running down the board which gave you a 5+ invulnerable save, which I remembered, but the actual goal was to run across the other side and occupy the enemy’s deployment zone. You got points for that, killing enemy units once you crossed the Shroud and points for keeping your deployment zone clean of the enemy.
You also had to split your army into three sections. One got to deploy so I went with the Burning Sores as they are my gluten for punishment unit, they really need more special weapons and I think about getting their champion Germie a relic. My second section was Maceo and Billalexdevin as they were the fastest and the plan was they would gumboot it up the battle field and then last to arrive would be Syphilis who would defend my deployment zone.
It wasn’t a bad plan, but it is clear I need stronger faster units for a mission like this. To start the game Bill rolled a six and I of course rolled a one. This is tradition but somehow I got to go first as I won the next rolloff. I forgot a few rules, Contagion until I started putting the dial right on the table not off to the side. I also think I forgot Grizzled on Billalexdevin, maybe my +1 to shoot for a turn, and who knows what else. Those omissions didn’t cost me the game, my inability to make key armour saves even when using the command re-roll probably cost me the game, that along with lack of speed and guns that shoot over 24 inches.
Bill deployed the hated Eradicators. But I was forced to counter with the Burning Sores but we both were out of site of the other, but as soon as I moved, I basically had to choose either to try to run as fast across the battlefield as possible or stay on my side of the shroud and get a 5+ invulnerable save against the mega meltas.
Battle Round One
So I carefully maneuvered my guys five inches or less. We actually forgot that the first wave or reinforcements arrived on turn one but they start so far back we just put them on midway through the first turn. I had nothing to see or shoot so maybe I should have advanced or set up as far as possible from the Eradicators but what I needed was guns that shot further than 24 inches or models that can move more than 5 inches.
In the Ultramarine half of the turn they stepped out of cover, it was the Assault Doctrine and despite remembering my Shroud save I lost two plague marines. Not bad, but this was how the game basically went, I got outshot, outmaneuvered and could not make enough key armour saves. The score was 10-10 and Bill was called away to make a ruling in the other game, apparently Chaos Knights are strong.
Battle Round Two
It was actually part way through Bill’s turn one that I remember reinforcements so we put them on late then I got to advance both Maceo and Billalexdevin and finally deploy Syphilis in my second turn. I decided not to run with the Burning Sores as they could get 8 bolter shots, which I directed at the newly arrived Ultramarines as the Eradicators are also toughness five. It was all for nothing as the Ultramarines made their saves.
I did crucially cross the shroud and giving up my invulnerable save.
All the Ultramarines arrived including the ATV which roared at Maceo firing it’s Onslaught Assault cannon but it did nothing as Bill rolled lots of ones. The smaller gun did better and I failed two armor saves but I used a command re-roll to take a single wound. I probably forgot my Tactical Experience, but I did eventually use it. I need to remember to use it every time I spend a command point.
This turn the mega melta guns killed 4 plague marines. I really do dislike those guys and should either deploy far from them or direct every gun I have at them until they are gone. The Burning Sores were shot even more losing another model as I failed two more likely 3+ armour saves. Then I got charged and my overwatch with my single surviving plague belcher did nothing nor did Germie’s plasma pistol.
Melee was indecisive but I did opt to use my pile of command points to play Insane Bravery on the last Burning Sore which denied Bill victory points and gave me an early 30-10 lead but I’d already lost over a third of my army and I wasn’t sure who else would be able to get across the Shroud.
Battle Round Three
Maceo pressed forward shot his combi-plasma but Captain Snazzy Pants played Transhuman Physiology then Unyielding in the Face of the Foe and finally used a command re-roll. I of course charged with Maceo, he really is trying hard to please the Chaos Gods but he is just not a H2H monster with his magic hat and his aura boosting those around him, especially in this mission where he has no one around him to boost.
My notes were doing well until this part of the battle report. I may have had to use a command re-roll to make the charge I can’t remember. I charged with the Chaos Spawn first but Bill did not or could not overwatch and I rolled big for Billalexdevin. All my charges succeeded.
Maceo hit five times wounding four times but Snazzy Pants saves everything. The Ultramarines then launched a Counter Offensive on my Chaos Spawn and lone plague marine. Germie failed his armour save so I re-rolled, but gets a one and the Burning Sores are no more. My Chaos Spawn killed a marine in return as he got the -4 AP mutations, that seems to be the best.
Snazzy Pants strikes back with 5 attacks but then gets one more then two more after that. Three hits get through initially. I save the first three but then 3 more with the Boltstorm Guantlet. Maceo takes four damage and even using my command re-roll he dies.
So of course he erupts in filth doing two mortal wounds to the Gravis Captain.
In the Ultramarine half of the battle round, my Chaos Spawn is wounded by marines who “fell back” but actually moved forward. A member of Syphilis is killed by an Eradicator but the Captain missed with his shooting.
Several of the Ultramarines have the Mark of Shame so they charge the Chaos Spawn but needed to re-roll to get into melee. Alas they could not complete their Quest of Atonement as a lone Chaos Spawn is not a Monster.
Battle Round Four
Things were not looking good for the Diseased Sons of Mortarion. The score was officially 50-30 for the Death Guard, but I was down to ten models and I didn’t think I could get across the Shroud again, but I had to try so I decided to go towards the weakened Intercessors.
I of course can not advance and shoot but if I ever paint up blight launchers maybe I would advance more as those could still shoot. As it was, I did not roll the best but two plasma guns wounded and five bolters which killed two marines.
Syphilis of course charges rolling an eight for distance, wounding five more marines, killing two.
It was then that Avenge the Fallen was played.
The Ultramarines all shot at Syphilis as I believe my Chaos Spawn had died before now, yes but not being a Monster it did not complete the quest. Two more members of Syphilis squad died and they were charged so I fired overwatch and did one wound.
In melee I used the Trench Fighters stratagem which I’m a big fan of for my large bolter armed squads. This resulted in nine wounds being done to the Ultramarines but it appears to have caused few actual casualties despite all the dice I rolled.
I believe two Ultramarines were cut down in melee at the end of battle round four leaving three left to start the final turn. The score was now tied 50-50 but the reality was the Diseased Sons were surrounded, outnumbered and didn’t have the tricksy hobbit stratagems necessary to pull out the victory. But after Bill quipped that one of my thirty year old plague marine models died, I told him I was fighting the long war.
Battle Round Five
Apparently the Ultramarines and other forces can fall back from hand to hand combat and still shoot or charge, but I don’t think the Death Guard can and anyway why would I retreat when I can use the Blightening!
This turns three of my blight grenades into pistol 6 plague weapons so I get to roll 18 dice which did 13 wounds and killed two more Ultramarines. Alas I needed to kill three as then I could have charged across the Shroud into the Eradicators.
As it was I had to fight melee against the lone Sergeant. Five wounds were done killing the Intercessor.
The Eradicators shoot at Syphilis doing six wounds, but I can take the Shroud save but fail five times leaving just Bagonhead and another squad member alive. The Lieutenant with his fancy gun then kills a plague marine. The Gravis Captain fired next but Bagonhead survived! Finally the Invader ATV killed Bagonhead as I could not make my 3+ armour saves, this also cost me the Survivor agenda.
I managed to not get any fresh battle scars but decided not to make Maceo MVP, if I had marked him for greatness he would have gotten to roll on the Chaos Boon chart and could have become a spawn or a Daemon Prince. I thought if I gave it to Syphilis which were more deserving they’d get a battle honour but when I checked my math at home it was just not so.
Next week I’ll try to do better. It turns out I really miss the smaller plague marine squad. It is half as powerful but in the small games the savings allows me to bring an elite or heavy support choice which bolsters my force more than five more models with bolters. Once I get the Blightlords or Defiler back on the table I should do a bit better, I will buy a Foetid Bloat-drone next but first I will paint plague marines and probably that plague surgeon I already bought, plus one day soon I’ll need to paint a daemon prince or another chaos spawn!
If you have thoughts on how to improve my campaign force or what is the optimal plague marine squad you can leave a comment below.