Episode 50: Well That Was Tilting (Chaos vs. Death Korps 2000 Points)

Today I got in another game with my newly minted Chaos army against my Ladder League opponent, Rusty. I've played Rusty once before in the last League with my Tau, he was using Tyranids and the game was very one-sided. This time he told me he'd be taking a lot of Forge World stuff with IG and usually that's a recipe for trouble. However I want to put my list through its paces to I was looking forward to it.

Unfortunately I showed late as I had a scheduling miscommunication but Rusty was willing to play anyways which was kind of him. I unpacked as quick as I could, rolled the mission, and we already had a table set. I was ready to go and feeling good...until I saw the IG List and the Mission.


Chaos

Abaddon the Despoiler (Warlord w/ Unholy Fortitude)
Sorcerer w/ Combi-Bolter, Prescience and Delightful Agonies (MoS)

10 Cultists (MoS)
40 Cultists (MoS)
40 Cultists (MoS)

Chaos Lord w/ Jump Pack and Axe of Blind Firy (MoK)
Sorcerer w/ Jump Pack, Prescience, and Warptime

8 Terminators w/ Combi-Plasma and Power Swords (MoS)

10 Brimstone Horrors
10 Brimstone Horrors
10 Brimstone Horrors

Magnus the Red
The Changeling
Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord


Death Korps

Company Commander
Primaris Psyker
Primaris Psyker

Master of Ordnance
Platoon Commander
Platoon Commander
Platoon Commander
5 Ratlings

Infantry Squad w/ Flamer
Infantry Squad w/ Flamer
Infantry Squad w/ Flamer
Infantry Squad w/ Flamer
Infantry Squad w/ Flamer
Infantry Squad w/ Flamer

Hellhound
Hellhound
Sentinel w/ Multilaser and Chainsaw

Basilisk
Wyvern
Manticore
Leman Russ w/ Punisher Cannon, Lascannon, 2x Heavy Bolter
2x Heavy Quad Launcher Battery
Rapier Laser Destroyer

Macharius Vulcan


Scenario and Deployment
The Scouring (ITC Variant) | Search & Destroy






So I'm against a mass artillery army. On Table Quarters. Where half the Maelstrom Objectives are just to kill stuff. Awesome. This is why the one thing that I don't like about the ITC Missions is the Destroy a Unit option, I'd prefer they all focus on movement because it makes for less static armies and more interesting games. But that's my opinion.

I pushed up as far as I could since basically this game entirely comes down to Magnus. He needs to kill so many things and attract so much attention that it's not even funny. Rusty did an awesome job of denying any possible Deep Strike or Warptime landing zones which is exactly what he has to do in this matchup. My job is to tank shooting, clear out the Infantry Squads, and then tie up the Tanks to win the game.

I put two of my Brimstone Horror units on Objectives, this may have been a mistake as I can use them to tie stuff up but I wanted to be better on Maelstrom. It's actually hard for Rusty to score in the early game as I don't have many Destroy a Unit options on Turns 1-2 so I figured if I can get a lead I can give myself an out should the game go sideways.

Mercifully I won the First Turn and Rusty wasn't able to Seize, this means I can kill some stuff and most importantly get Magnus his buff. I did deploy him in range of The Changeling but I think he would have taken a beating.

Also, so sorry for the huge amount of proxies. This army will be all Skaven Themed once it's built but right now I'm in limbo. Here's a key:

Ork Unit - Brimstones
Drones - Brimstones
Clan Rats - Cultists
Fire Warriors - Cultists
Empty Bases - Terminators
Nob - Sorcerer w/ Jump Pack
Plague Priest - Changeling
Arch-Warlock - Sorcerer
Enginseers - Malefic Lords
Terminators - Abaddon/Chaos Lord
Verminlord - Magnus


Chaos Turn 1

Movement Phase
My Objectives were Hold Objective 1, which I have Brimstones on that are unlikely to get shot at, and Destroy a Unit.

Most of my army Advances although Magnus just moves up. Black Legion lets me Advance and shoot with Rapid Fire guns and honestly that's a much better ability than I gave it credit for. Generally I'm moving towards the right but also just going up the middle. Terrain doesn't help me since so much in Rusty's army ignores LoS so it's just a bum rush. I left two Brimstone units on the Objectives, I think I should have moved them up and only left 1 model in range so that I could do more with them so we'll call that a mistake.

Lastly I bring the Terminators in on the extreme right. I only have 4 models in Rapid Fire range on the Vulcan and overall this was a gigantic mistake. The play was to Tide of Traitors one unit and gun down the two Death Korp Infantry Squads while just bringing in the Lord/Sorcerer to give them buffs. This would have opened up a huge hole on the flank that Rusty could not fill and if he moves the Vulcan it shoots far less effective (half the shots and hitting on 5's!) but if it stays there I kill it for free next turn.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
The Psychic Phase is a very mixed bag. I fail to cast two Smites, including Magnus', and also fail Boon of Tzeentch. Prescience also fails on the Terminators as does Warptime due to a Deny the Witch, I could have put the Sorcerer back a few inches and been out of range but I didn't measure it which is an idiotic mistake. Overall I got Delightful Agonies on the Cultists who are up the table and a few Smites into an Infantry Squad. Magnus was also able to use Weaver of Fates which is the most important thing.

Shooting wipes out the unit of Death Korps in front of Magnus and I put 12 Wounds on the Vulcan with Overcharges, losing no models, thanks to Veterans of the Long War and Endless Cacophony. Due to some poor positioning from Rusty I'm able to snipe out his Primaris Psyker with Abaddon and the Sorcerer.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
My Charge takes Magnus into the Punisher and an Officer, both of which he kills. I tried a Charge into the Infantry Squads in front of the Terminators but failed the raw 9" and it wasn't worth fishing for the re-roll. Magnus Consolidated into the Hellhound just to deny some more shooting.








Death Korps Turn 1

Movement Phase
Rusty rolls Hold Objective 2 and Destroy a Unit. He has an Infantry unit on Objective 2 but can't really reinforce it so I'm hoping I can run him off and get an early lead.

There's not much movement from the Guard, mostly just Infantry Squads surrounding Magnus and trying to plug the holes. But the artillery is static so overall the army isn't moving. The Hellhound does Fall Back from Magnus and just drive into Abaddon and my Cultists, attempting to block them. I thought this was a good move since they have amazing Overwatch and have good odds at blowing up which is an annoying combination.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
A Smite tries to go into Magnus from the surviving Primaris Psyker but I'm able to stop it. Then we commence pretty much the whole army shooting into Magnus. Two Infantry Squads and the Vulkan go into the Terminators which kills 6 of them and wounds another. Magnus takes 9 Wounds but blocks some crucial things like the Laser Destroyer. Overall I just rolled a lot of 2's which was a little annoying but Magnus is still up so I can't complain.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
There's no Charges from Rusty and he's ignoring my Cultists, who are immune to Morale anyways, so we pass back over to me.




Chaos Turn 2

Movement Phase
Scoring both my Objectives gives me a 2-0 Lead and I roll Hold Objective 2 and Destroy a Unit. Again I advance my Cultists since it's so hard to get them in range right now, Abaddon and the Sorcerer also move up. On the right my Terminators and pals move up, the Lord and Sorcerer are each eyeing an Infantry unit to tie more stuff up and just chew through.

Magnus moves up but he's still being blocked by an Infantry Squad. My hope it remove that and then get into the Laser Destroyer as well as the Vulkan, if I can take those out the game is pretty much done since there won't be enough firepower to take Magnus down.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
This time the Psychic Phase goes better. Magnus Smites 9 Death Korps, buffs his Invulnerable, and puts Prescience on the Cultist unit that's more forward. I drop some other Smites into the Hellhound, bringing it down to 6 Wounds as I only do 1 Wound with each. Finally on the right I Smite a few more Infantry but fail to cast Warptime.

Shooting puts another few wounds on the Vulkan and I shoot another two Infantry off on the right. I pick off the last Death Korp in the center and kill some others from the center, also putting a few wounds on the Sentinel for lack of targets.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Abaddon and the Sorcerer Charge the Hellhound with me taking 4 Wounds on Abaddon, I should have not Advanced the Cultists and used them to absorb the Overwatch but I didn't know the Hellhound profile at the moment which is a mistake for not asking.

Crucially Magnus fails his Charge, rolling 2" when I need 3-4" to get into something. I blew a re-roll to save Magnus a hit from the Vulkan which is maybe the right call since I needed such a low roll but since it was kind of game changing it was probably another mistake. My Terminators and pals gets into the Infantry Squads and the Officer.

My Brimstones Charged the Sentinel and got a creative Pile In on the other Hellhound. This put a Wound on the Sentinel but I took a loss back as well.

The Lord leaves the Officer with one Wound and kills three Infantry while the Terminators and Sorcerer contribute for a few more. It's kind of an irrelevant battle since there's nothing to be gained on the right although if I eat through I can get the Jump Packs into the backline.

I fail to kill the Hellhound, leaving it on 3 Wounds. Fortunately it was boxed in so it can't retreat which keeps me a bit safe and prevents another Overwatch.






Death Korps Turn 2

Movement Phase
Rusty only scored one Objective so I got my wish of a 2-1 lead thanks to Smiting the front unit off the Objective. He rolls hold Objective 1 which is in his bunker and Destroy a Unit.

Again not much moves, everyone is where they need to be around Magnus. I think the Infantry Squads should have fallen back, just for attrition, but they didn't. The Hellhound pulls away from the Brimstones and again goes to block Abaddon and the Cultists.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Smite again tries to go on Magnus but I stop it with a re-roll, at this point I'm pretty all in on keeping Magnus alive if I can.

Again most of the army shoots into Magnus and he goes down, leaving only a Quad Cannon left which doesn't do anything. I honestly got salty which is rare for me, I was just rolling so many 2's and had to burn a re-roll on the Laser Destroyer. In all honesty he probably shouldn't have went down but it was just an opportunity that shouldn't have even existed if I hadn't screwed the Charge up on my turn.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
I finish off the Infantry Squads on the right as well as the Officer but my Brimstones got Charged by an Infantry Squad. I managed to drag one down but lost 3 Horrors. The Terminators and Sorcerer Consolidate into the Vulkan.








Chaos Turn 3

Movement Phase
Again I got both my Objectives for a 4-1 lead, rolling Hold Objective 1 and Destroy a Unit. Again I have a Brimstone unit on the Objective so it shouldn't be hard to hold although Rusty's army is now freed up with Magnus dead.

Again I Advance the Cultists when I should have left one unit to eat the Hellhound Overwatch. I don't have much Movement to do besides that but I do Fall Back with the Brimstones.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Smites go into the Hellhound, putting it down a bit. I was hoping to Smite the Vulkan but I couldn't get the range from the Hellhound. Delightful Agonies goes on the Cultists again but the Sorcerer on the right fails again and isn't adding anything.

Shooting finishes the Sentinel, the last full Infantry Squad, and drops the other to three. I shoot my Pistols into the Vulkan but don't hurt it.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
A Charge goes from the Sorcerer into the Hellhound but it dies from full. I then Charge with a Malefic Lord who only takes 2 Wounds and then Abaddon can get in safely.

My Lord Charges the Manticore and the Vulkan, which is me trying to bait a missile but I'd also take the Charge if it worked. Rusty fires the missile, doing 2 Wounds, and I only make the Charge into the Vulkan.

In Combat I drop the Hellhound which does Explode, leaving Abaddon with 1 Wound after a re-roll from me, the Malefic Lord also dies but the Cultists make their FNP. I also kill the Vulkan, finally, with the Lord using VotLW and finished by the Sorcerer. Luckily it doesn't Explode.




Death Korps Turn 3

Movement Phase
Rusty got both of his Objectives so he's keeping it close at 4-3. He gets a repeat of his Objectives which is unlucky for me since he'll be able to Destroy a Unit easily and I can't get into his bunker yet to steal the Objective.

The Officer in the center and the Primaris Psyker retreat to the bunker but everyone else holds.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Lacking LoS the Psyker improves the Armor Save on the Laser Destroyer which I fail to stop.

Shooting puts the last Manticore shot into the Terminators, killing them both. The Basilisk and Wyvern finish off the Lord while Abaddon dies to the Ratlings thanks to a re-roll Wound doing a Mortal. That was disappointing since I don't think he could be harmed after this turn but it happens. I also lose some Cultists to the Quad Cannons.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
There's no Charges and I lose 4 Cultists from Morale. Things are definitely speeding up now and I feel like I don't have much left but I think it might be enough.




Chaos Turn 4

Movement Phase
Again I scored both my Maelstrom so I'm up to 6-3 and roll Destroy a Unit and Hold Objective 2 which I have Brimstones on. Even though the shooting is opening up I don't think Rusty can afford to try and get my Brimstones off an Objective in totality so I feel safe about it.

I move up both Cultists units but don't Advance them, the Sorcerer also moves up behind the crates. My intention is to Charge the Master of Ordnance, kill him, and then Consolidate into both the Basilisk and Wyvern which should end the game.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Smites put 4 Wounds into the Laser Destroyer which is doing a good job soaking. Shooting kills all the Ratlings, finishes off the last few Infantry Squad models but fails to do anything else as I'm out of good targets.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
A Charge gets my Cultists into the Laser Destroyer and my Sorcerer gets in as well. Unfortunately I roll 1's on both d3 Damage including after a re-roll, leaving me with only 1 Command Point and a failed plan. At this point I'm pretty on tilt from a combination of mistakes and things just going so badly for me in terms of dice.

I do nothing to the Laser Destroyer, as expected, but take no damage back.




Remaining Turns

On Rusty's next turn he Falls Back with the Master and kills the Sorcerer. I also lose all but 3 Cultists from the smaller unit, after Morale, and the Death Korps pull back more into the bunker.

On my turn I Charge both Quad Cannons through the Ruins, not going through the walls since you don't need LoS for Melee in 8th Edition.This locks me up with models that cannot move, so they can't Fall Back, and they can't fight. Rusty also doesn't have enough models to fight me off these and since I have Objective Secured I'm going to win the main Mission.

At the end of Turn 5 we were tied on Maelstrom but I was likely to pull ahead if the game kept going. However Rusty conceded after trying to kill the Malefic Lord with a Company Commander and Officer but having one of them killed off instead.




Victory for Chaos!


Post Game Thoughts

This game was a nightmare and just so sloppy from me. In all honesty I should have blown Rusty out, not because his army is a joke or anything but I just make so many mistakes and they were compounding on themselves over and over.

As I said, bringing the Terminators in was a huge misstep. If' I'd waited I could have killed the Vulkan for free and left Rusty with too many threats to handle. Instead I got very little from them, I guess they absorbed some of the Vulkan shooting but it's overall probably not worth. Either way Rusty played really well, I think he could have split the tanks more since if two get tagged it's game over but his infantry positioning was on point.

I also just made idiotic mental errors with the Hellhounds, there was zero reason to lose Abaddon to those and having him around would have won the game as he'll walk through the bunker laughing. And then of course not being able to get Magnus in Combat is bad, even if the Vulkan was open it does an average of 2 Wounds to him in shooting, which is nothing, and if I'd gotten him into the bunker on Turn 2 it would be all over. Charge the Laser Destroyer, cut that in half, Consolidate, game over.

I got honestly salty because I was playing so bad and just the bad dice at so many turns. Rusty was rolling bad to in places so it wasn't a one-sided thing but it seemed like every time I had a maneuver to really pull ahead it just failed. I did apologize after the game for some dice whining, that's not usually my style.

Overall I like the list a lot, it is reliant on Magnus and the Terminators though. I have some other powerful stuff, a good amount of Smite and Abaddon, but I really have to get work out of the Termie Bomb and Magnus. In this game I didn't get as much from them as I needed, although Magnus was a sponge. That being said it was cool to see the army able to roll with the punches of my own bad play, generally when you can come through that it means you have a good list. I continue to love the Cultists, having Abaddon with them is just so good. If only Chaos had a Lieutenant!

Rusty's list is very much what people are playing right now. It shoots extremely well, although you could do a lot of optimization on it like turn the vehicles into the gun emplacement versions. It's probably worth replacing about four of the Infantry Squads with two Conscript blobs as well but those aren't the most earth-shattering changes. As I felt at the start it's going to struggle on Scenario because it's so static and I think armies with good Deep Strike like Tyranids, Chaos, other IG, Grey Knights, and Orks can give it some trouble if they can get into the parking lot. Overall it's definitely a powerful list, I'm not the biggest fan of the Laser Destroyer though. To be really cheesy the who army would be better off as Catachans to abuse Harker but obviously Rusty is buying up Death Korps and they're awesome models.

Episode 49: Kind of a Battle Report But Mostly Me Talking About My Cool Army List (Chaos vs. Nurgle Demons 2000 Points)

Going with a spoken word only this time since the game was very short (spoilers!) but I have a lot to say about the army. Me, a lot to say? A shocking turn of events.


Episode 48.6: Army Update and Discussion Topic - How Good Is Mortarion? Is He Good At All? (Discussion)

Hello, hello, hello. It's time for another personal puff piece and discussion topic that I may get one reply to. But it's fun to work things out in my own head.

Recently I sold my Age of Sigmar army, my list was unfortunately gutted by the General's Handbook 2017 which would force an almost complete rebuild. Since the game is all but dead in my state I decided to cut the losses and sell it off, although I did retain my Weirdboys in the form of Savage Orruk Standard Bearers. With the proceeds I wanted to build a new 40K army since I am loving that game but feel a bit stagnant in my lists right now.

For Orks I am just in a holding pattern until the Codex drops, maybe Chapter Approved. I feel I've done the most for the army that can be done with existing options and found lists that work in different metas. Unfortunately the Squiggoth list just isn't that fun to play, in my opinion, and Green Tide is very hard to use in a tournament. My hope is other units will become competitively viable and I can diversify the army a bit which would speed up the games. Orks are certainly my go-to fun army though.

Tau are also in a weird state where their competitive build is very fun to play, again in my opinion, but is extremely R/P/S. Having no Psychic Defense and no ability to remove screens that works in a practical environment, combined with heavy Deep Strike reliance, means you usually blow someone out or get blown out. While this could be remedied by diversifying some Commander builds it ultimately weakens the list. I'll certainly keep playing Tau but again, really looking forward to that Codex or Chapter Approved (Come on 6pt Fire Warriors!)

With that in mind I wanted to start an army that fits my style. I like Infantry, I like defensive play, and I like flexibility. You can probably see this in my army lists, although less in Tau because they just have no options for some things. Initially I considered Tyranids, they have a Codex coming and I like playing Xenos since it adds a lot of diversity to the local scene. However I dislike mixed arms and if the existing Codexes are anything to go by (they are) the army won't change much. I'd love a gribbly horde but that just doesn't work well in the game right now and all the Tyranid monsters are frankly uninteresting.

After that I ran through the Xenos. Dark Eldar are the opposite of what I like to play, as are Eldar. Genestealer Cults are....bad and not super interesting with their current randomness. Necrons would be an option but frankly there's not much gold to be mined there and they also need a Codex badly. Lastly I'm avoiding anything with the Imperium Keyword since that is a never-ending black hole of Forge World and Soup armies if you want to min/max. Which I do...

So, enter Chaos. The Death Guard book dropped on Saturday (at time of writing) and I actually really liked it. They can run an Infantry army, they're super defensive, and they have a lot of options both within their own army and from Chaos in general. Not as many of Imperium and most of the mixing isn't as broken as Imperium since Death Guard don't buff Thousand Sons and so on. This puts less pressure on me to buy more stuff, which is something I usually succumb to.....

Luckily Death Guard stuff is super easy to find because of the Dark Imperium sets and I'm going to get half my army for less than $100, win! I should have a report this weekend with the list, which is as follows for those interested.

Chaos Undivided v0.2
This List Has Been Revised Since Time Of Posting
I'm Leaving It As Is For Learning Purposes - 9/22/17

Necrosius
Demon Prince of Nurgle w/ Wings and 2x Malefic Talons

Putrifier
Foul Blightspawn

20 Plague Marines
10 Cultists
10 Cultists


Demon Prince w/ Wings, 2x Malefic Talons, Mark of Slaanesh, Intoxicating Elixir, Cold and Bitter
Exalted Champion w/ Power Axe

10 Cultists
10 Cultists
40 Cultists


Magnus

Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord
The Changeling

2000 Points | 10 Command Points

It's pretty rare that I'm excited to play a list, but this would be it in 8th Edition. Let's break this mother down.

First package if the Death Guard portion, conveniently bundled into a Battalion. Actually each Detachment is pretty self-contained which is cool although unimportant. This is my "anvil", the Plague Marines are very resilient of course and get even better with Cloud of Flies. Their main purpose is a mid-range Infantry killer thanks to 18" Rapid Fire and re-roll 1's from the Demon Prince, as well as the popular Blight Grenade bomb. Should they get in Combat they can be buffed in many ways and I have a plethora of counter-attack options to free them up. Having access to so many Mortal Wounds also turns off a lot of big models like Mortarion and Magnus. Necrosius is a 10pt upgrade over a Blightcaster, you do lose the Mortal Wound proc but you pick up two Deny the Witch, and extra power, and some better melee/survivability. Seemed good.

Second is the Iron Warriors. I have loved the idea of this since I saw the Chaos Codex, 40 Cultists who are immune to Morale and can be recycled AND can use Endless Cacophony. These will butcher Infantry with the Demon Prince giving them re-roll 1's and access to Veterans of the Long War. Usually I will try to get Endless Agony on them as soon as possible for survivability and there's always LoS tricks to keep some of them alive for recycling. The Exalted Champion is a cheap HQ to fill out the Battalion as it must be Iron Warriors or I do not get access to the Strategems for Chaos. He's a good counter-attack and can get some surprising punch out of the Cultists when there's a lot of them.

Lastly we have the Supreme Command Detachment. Malefic Lords are OP but I mostly just needed cheap HQs to fill out and I'll take the Smite. Changeling is just to make Magnus a monster, his weakness is being alpha struck off the table but -1 to Hit stops that cold for many armies. He's also a cute counter-attacker and a real threat in a Charge to some Characters. Lastly we have Magnus, the big threat. I think he's so much better than Mortarion that it's not funny and he's 55 less points. But we'll get to that. While there's no gun on the Demon Primarch he has a potent Smite and is a great toolbox piece. Chaos has, thus far, the best Psychic Powers and getting more reliability on Warp Time and Death Hex is awesome. He's also nearly unkillable once he gets rolling with a 3+ Invulnerable, re-rolling 1's, and -1 to Hit thanks to his pal Changeling.

This list can handle everything with a chip and a chair to quote Muse on Minis which is what you want from a competitive list. It's not as abusive as some Chaos armies can be but it's super powerful and probably more fun to play. Flier Spam can be a small issue but depending on what else they have on the board there's risk of losing the game per the FAQ. Magnus and the Demon Princes can also wreck a Flier and keep up with Warp Time, even a full strength Cultist unit can chip in for ~6 Wounds with Strategems and re-rolls.

My favorite thing is just all the toolbox options. Blightspawn helps shut down mass Combat armies, I have screens, I can recycle a unit, I can make a unit immune to shooting, I have crazy threat ranges and can disrupt a gameplan by stripping Invulnerables or adding a lot of pressure in the Psychic Phase. There's Mortal Wounds for big threats and heck I even have a lot of ObSec! Obviously I'm gushing a bit and plenty of armies can still give this list a hard time or shut it down but man does it seem fun to play.

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Now that I'm done being self-indulgent I have been thinking about this while making my Chaos army: Is Mortarion Good? Originally I had versions of this list with him in it but I took him out for Magnus. That's what got me thinking on if he was a good inclusion, so allow me to break down the Primarch of the Death Guard.

Let's start with the stats. Pretty standard fair for a centerpiece model, Toughness 7 to avoid being absurdly resilient but a potent melee profile with WS 2, re-roll 1's, and S8 or S16 depending on need with 6 Attacks. Combined with Silence at either AP 4, d6 Damage or AP 2 1 Damage on the horde killer he can easily chop up a Knight or as many Space Marines as needed. Of course Silence is a Plague Weapon which means nearly 100% wound throughput on many common targets.

He's as fast as Magnus and has Fly, also his Pistol is not to be underestimated. With a decent range on top of his speed it can shoot into the back and hopefully clip other multi-Wound models, even picking out Characters with careful positioning. Hello Commissar! The fact he can shoot this in Combat is cute but of course misses out on the awesome extra ability of the gun and unfortunately Mortarion wants to be in melee so this will probably only get a few shots a game that matter.

The Abilities are the main selling point though. He gives the standard re-roll to Death Guard, a bit boring since Abaddon does more for Black Legion and Magnus has a more interesting ability for Thousand Sons. It does effect himself though which is good as Morty is a lone agent. He also saps -1 Toughness from everything within 7" which is great for hitting breakpoints. Bolters wounding on 3's is a good way to win a shooting war, or maybe 2's if you're against Toughness 3. This also makes Morty a slayer as he still wounds Toughness 5 on 2's. There's some other cute applications with S7-8 guns against Tanks/Monsters but those are a bit more situational, if your Primarch is that close the target is likely dead anyways.

Moving on he has a 4+ Invulnerable, nothing to write home about, and the standard Nurgle 5+ Mortal Wound Save. On offense Morty can do d3 Mortal Wounds to every target within 7" during each Fight Phase, however this only works on a 4+ and degrades with his profile. I find this to be underwhelming as d3 is only a lot against elite armies and it's not too hard to evacuate 7", plus there's only a 50% chance it goes off at best. Obviously this can do some work against gunlines but those armies often have screens that you'll need to eat through and many are running Vehicles now which shrug off minor amounts of wounds.

Finally there's his Psychic Ability. Casting two Powers is nothing special although Denying three is good and makes sense given the defensive and anti-psyker nature of the armies lore. Mortarion makes excellent use of Miasma of Pestilence although the others don't do much for him so he's probably better off with Plague Wind/Curse of the Leper.

So what does Mortarion do? Well he's a bully. You are nearly required to bring Warp Time for him to threaten his presence anytime, anywhere. That's not really a drawback though since if you're playing competitive Chaos and don't have Warp Time something has usually gone seriously wrong. He loves to be in melee or at least close range and within the glut of the enemy army to try and spread it plagues, although that's situational. This means he does nothing for his army except kill and they do nothing for him. Mortarion is the anti-Guilliman as he wants to be all by himself and poke people with his scythe.

Unfortunately this is a big part of what I see as his problem. At 470pts Mortarion is just shy of 1/4 of an army but he's defeated by conventional tactics. Screens are a nightmare for the Primarch as he has better things to do then cut down light Infantry but if he waits for his army to thin the ranks it's likely he'll take punishment. With only a 4++ and 5+ FNP he's not as resilient as he looks and really wants the -1 to Hit power to stay safe. This means Mortarion is very vulnerable to Alpha Strike armies which are extremely popular right now and often packing screens to boot.

My position with the Death Guard Primarch is he's one-dimensional, putting all his eggs into being one of the best combat models in the game. Guilliman is the best Buff Bot in the game but also a potent fighter and bringing extra Command Points to boot. Magnus is also a great fighter but very flexible in his Psychic Powers and also very difficult to kill once he powers up. Morty isn't easy to kill but he's not hard either and most competitive armies can feed him a unit, Fall Back, and claim their prize. This runs counter to his Warp Time in and wreck face playstyle, often he'll have to sit back until Turn 2, possibly Turn 3, until he can get a bead on what he really wants. To commit him prematurely risks Rapid Fire and counter-attack from serious brawlers.

It could be argued this is where he, and the other Primarchs should be. Awe inspiring to the more casual player but easily overcome to the veteran. I can easily see Mortarion amassing a bloody toll in more casual games as players lack either the tools or the experience to deal with him which is fine with me as that's cinematically appealing. However I'd be surprised to see him at many top tables outside of a weird skew ala Magnus and three Knights.

While I have not had table time with him in the games I've seen/read it seems as though the opposing player focused everything on Mortarion while he did some damage and then died. Eventually the rest of the army wins the game as it arrives unmolested. This marks Morty as a high cost Distraction Carnifex, which is not known to be a winning tournament strategy. The current meta is also a nightmare for high cost melee models since the combination of screens and Smite is a popular one, even screens and Plasma/Melta are likely to do the job.

I would have loved to see Mortarion with a rule like The Grim Reaper: Units may not Fall Back while within 1" of Mortarion. This would give him some game against guns, be thematic, and very powerful which befits his role. Maybe too good, I'm not a designer, but it feels like he's missing an extra something. So what do you think about Mortarion oh 20 views this post will get? I'd love to know.

Episode 48: Sometimes You Get Got (Tau vs. Raven Guard 2000 Points)

Another day, another game. I'm happy to be getting back into my more regular rotation of 2-3 games a week, that probably seems like a lot to some people but I'm fortunate to live close to three very active stores and in a good meta. Also I pretty much just have the one hobby. :P

This time I was against someone I'd never played before, Matthew, and his Raven Guard. I get the impression Matthew was still getting into 8th Edition, although I didn't know what when we were setting up the game and he seemed receptive to me bringing a competitive list. To that end I grabbed my Tau as they haven't been taken out for a bit and I didn't want to bring the proxy heavy Ork list I've been testing into a game with someone unfamiliar to me.

I have made some revisions to the Tau list and this is the full competitive version that I'm likely to take out at whatever the next event I go to is. Unfortunately that might not be for awhile since the only thing I know of is a two day GT coming up that I can't make due to work. Apparently there will be a store re-opening event in October so I have have my eyes set on that.

Tau
Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blaster (Warlord w/ +1 Attack on the Charge)
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters and Advanced Targeting System
2 Shield Drones

Cadre Fireblade
2 Gun Drones

Cadre Fireblade
2 Gun Drones

5 Firewarriors w/ Markerlight
1 Gun Drone

5 Firewarriors w/ Markerlight
2 Gun Drone

5 Firewarriors w/ Markerlight
2 Gun Drone

5 Firewarriors w/ Markerlight
2 Gun Drone

5 Firewarriors w/ Markerlight
2 Gun Drone

4 Kroot Hounds

4 Kroot Hounds

4 Kroot Hounds


Raven Guard
Captain w/ Bolter (Warlord w/ +1 Wound and 6+ FNP)

Lieutenant w/ Bolter

Techmarine w/ Boltgun
Techmarine w/ Boltgun

3 Centurion Assault Marines w/ Hurricane Bolters

4 Company Veterans w/ 3 Plasma Guns (Sergeant w/ Combi-Plasma)
4 Company Veterans w/ 3 Plasma Guns (Sergeant w/ Combi-Plasma)
4 Company Veterans w/ 3 Plasma Guns (Sergeant w/ Combi-Plasma)

5 Scouts w/ Bolt Pistols and Combat Blades (Sergeant w/ Power Axe)

5 Scouts w/ Bolters

5 Scouts w/ Shotguns

5 Scouts w/ Camo-Cloaks and Sniper Rifles
5 Scouts w/ Camo-Cloaks and Sniper Rifles
5 Scouts w/ Camo-Cloaks and Sniper Rifles

Razorback w/ Twin Lascannon
Razorback w/ Twin Lascannon
Razorback w/ Twin Lascannon

5 Devastators w/ 4 Missile Launchers
5 Devastators w/ 4 Missile Launchers
5 Devastators w/ 4 Missile Launchers


Scenario & Deployment
Secure & Control (ITC Variant) | Spearhead Assault








In general Spearhead Assault isn't so great for my Tau build since it puts a lot of distance between where the Commanders want to be and where the rest of my army is. This means I have to split the Commanders to bail out my Fire Warriors and Cadres if an opponent brings the heat and then I can have some downtime getting back into position.

Matthew is running a pretty unorthodox Raven Guard list and has some things that are quite good against me. Scouts are monsters against Deep Strike, which is my whole army, and he has a lot of Missile Launchers which are great against me since they can do Frag into Shield Drones and then Krak into the Commanders. On the other hand Devastators are fragile and static, the Raven Guard also don't have much in the way of Bolters to chew through my Drones which means more powerful guns will have to do the job.

Each Honor Guard unit went into a Razorback and these spread out a bit, a Techmarine on each flank. Matthew created a firebase on the left flank with all the Devs and the buff Characters while I was mostly just hiding my army as best I could. We did not use the ITC Ruins rule this game, since Matthew was new to the ITC Missions I didn't want to throw too much at him. He also used the Raven Guard Strategem to Deep Strike the Assault Centurions, however we played this incorrectly and did not put them on the field prior to the First Turn. This actually would have massively benefited Matthew but I didn't know the Strategem wording so I thought it was just Deep Strike as he said. Oh well.

I lost the roll to go first, as is tradition, and failed to Seize. Looking at the board I had few landing zones but I didn't want to start measuring and tip Matthew off. Instead I'll just have to see what's available and maybe shoot some of the Scouts off with my army and a few Commanders.


Raven Guard Turn 1

Movement Phase
Objectives for the Turn are Hold Objectives 1 & 2, both of which Matthew has Scout units on.

Very little moves as Matthew is trying to keep me out of Deep Strike and also doesn't want to come barreling at me with his mostly shooting army. The Scouts with Bolt Pistols move up to secure an Objective closer to my side of the board and the Assault Centurions come on in my backfield. Again this was a misplay on our part and it would have been better for Matthew to use the Strategem as intended since he could then move and use the Flamers he had, as well as Charge more easily.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
As I did a good job of hiding my models shooting is pretty minimal. I lose 2 Gun Drones to Missile Launchers and the Assault Centurions drop an entire Fire Warrior unit with the Hurricane Bolters. Again, I should have lost at least 3 units from Flamers and a followup Charge.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Matthew declined to try a Charge, needing about 10", although I think a try was worth it as I have very little chance of messing with T5, 2+ Save during Overwatch and the rewards are pretty big. But with nothing else we go over to me.






Tau Turn 1

Movement Phase
Objectives for the Turn are Destroy a Unit and have 3 Friendly Units in my Deployment Zone along with no enemies.

Most of my army moves as I want to drop the Scouts on my left flank, they're an easy target and an obvious unit to remove for getting models out of my Deployment Zone. It's then time to bring the Commanders in and I drop 3 in my backfield with the left on the left flank in two clumps. I do make a positional mistake by putting the Fusion Commander forward without Drones, I should have been more careful with my measurements and used the Drones to screen more.

Two units of Kroot Hounds on the right are also eyeing the Scouts there, if I can clear them out and make Matthew commit a little more over to that side then that's a win for me.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Starting in the back I put a Markerlight on the Centurions and Scouts since those are close by, the 36" on Markerlights is definitely a problem right now. My backline Commanders all Overcharge into the Centurions but only kill 2 as I roll pretty badly for wounding. I then shift gears to the Scouts and kill them with the Gun Drones and one Fire Warrior unit. My last shots on the left go into the Centurions and manage to kill the last as Matthew rolls three 1's on five Armor Saves.

Closer to the front lines I put the Fusion into the Razorback but only do 7 Damage even with a re-roll. I then kill two of three Devastator Squads as I continue rolling very bad wounds, usually on the low end I'd kill some of the third unit with good odds at claiming all three. This leaves me a bit exposed due to my bad positioning and Matthew still having the required bodies to punch through Drones and then use the Plasma/Lascannons to good effect.

I only manage to kill 1 Scout on the right flank thanks to the Raven Guard Tactic and continued poor dice from me.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
One Commander goes for a Charge on the close Sniper Scouts, needing 10", but fails and loses a Wound for his trouble to Overwatch. Both Kroot Hound units get into the Scouts but I fail to kill any and Matthew uses Counter-Attack, killing 4, and my other unit also fails to do anything. I lose nothing from Morale.








Raven Guard Turn 2

Movement Phase
Having easily achieved his Objectives Matthew goes up 2-0 and rolls Hold Objective 1 and have 3 Friendly and No Enemy Units in his Deployment Zone. The only other option was getting into my Deployment Zone which is no longer possible.

The Scouts in Combat Fall Back and the Veterans on the left disembark, a few models on the left also shift to let the Captain and Lieutenant get in range of the Veterans after their move. Meanwhile the Techmarine goes to repair the Razorback.

On the right the Razorback Advances and pops smoke, something I have not seen done in this edition before this game. The Bolter Scouts move up to help their brethren but all the Snipers hold positions.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Matthew makes some sequencing/decision errors here. First the Missile Launchers shoot Frag into my Fusion Commander, Matthew reasoning it will be more difficult for me to shunt wounds this way. However this ends up doing 1 Wound which I just take. He then starts shooting the Drones and kill 2 with Snipers before moving onto the Plasma which is not Overcharged. This does 5 Wounds which I eat 2 of and put 3 onto Drones, losing all three.

Lascannons from the left Razorback also go into the Fusion Commander but I shunt to my last Drone within range who lives. The center Razorback shoots into Drones, doing nothing, and finally some miscellaneous Bolters try to finish off the Commander but leave him with 1 Wound.

I also lose 2 Kroot Hounds on the right from Bolters but that flank is pretty much just a distraction at this point so I can draw things in for the Commanders to kill as they move up the board.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
A Charge from the Veterans gets into the Fusion Commander and another of his ilk but I manage to kill one model in Overwatch. The Bolter Scouts also get into my Kroot Hounds, which Matthew starts with and kills all but two.

I Counter-Attack with the Fusion Commander but do nothing, however I also take no damage as I make the one Armor Save inflicted. I then whiff my other Commander's Attacks from Heroic Intervention. Finally one Kroot Hound runs.








Tau Turn 2

Movement Phase
Since I also achieved my Objectives the score is now 2-2, I roll Destroy a Unit and hold Objective 2 which is near my lines on the left flank and in perfect position for the last Kroot Hound unit to go grab, although they will be exposed.

I start by having the Hounds do just that and then Fall Back from Combat deeper into the Raven Guard lines. My other Commanders all Advance with their Drones but are out of range of any targets. The rest of my army continues moving forward to bait Charges or get into Rapid Fire range. I move one Commander up a ruins to tie up a Sniper Scout unit later. My last Kroot Hound on the right Falls Back as well.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Shooting starts with two Fusion shots into the Lieutenant and Razorback which kills the former but fails to wound the latter. I finish off the Devastators and just manage to kill the Captain along with the remaining Veterans, I'm still rolling poorly to wound and lack of Markerlights has me a bit gun shy on Overcharging. On the right I kill one Scout, again I'm still eating the -1 to Hit and Matthew is making his Armor Saves very well.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
I charge one Commander into the Razorback and Techmarine, losing a Drone to the Lascannon Overwatch. My split off Commander also Charges the Scouts and take no damage.

In Combat I kill two Scouts and don't take any damage in return as the Techmarine whiffs his Powerfist attack.









At this point Matthew concedes the game which I accept. It feels a bit premature in some ways but he has very little left and one Veteran unit is out of position. As is there's only two Sniper units available to strip Drones, which they do poorly, otherwise I'm going to absorb the shooting and then finish off two Razorbacks and another Veteran unit. The Razorback on the right also has to back up or the three Commanders there will eat it and if it does so the Scouts die and flank collapses which means Maelstrom is gone.

Victory for the Tau!


Post Game Thoughts

So this is a textbook example of a learning game and I talked about it at length with Matthew afterward. While his list is not optimized yet he did have the tools to make things hard on me, Scouts are maybe the best unit in the game at Deep Strike denial and he had so many of them.

What should have happened is the Scouts should have built a shield mid-field where I cannot Deep Strike behind them, this is extremely easy to do on the deployment we used and Matthew should have also employed a bunker deployment. There's no benefit to spreading out against me except I can't catch the Razorbacks easily, however their output is minimal when on the move with no Auras and they also had Veterans which need to do some damage.

If done correctly this would have forced me to attack the Scouts first and then eat a round of shooting. I think my army could have absorbed that although the Missile Launchers make things interesting. There's also a possibility of pushing me way back into my own territory because of all the Scouts and the narrow board but I'd have to lay that out before I can say how well it works.

Matthew also made some serious shooting errors on Turn 2 that cost him. When playing against Tau with a lot of Battle Suits / Commanders you have to strip the Drones away with light shooting and then put the big guns into the Suits. This is why I will typically target anti-Infantry guns with my Commanders, they're usually easy to kill and it keeps my Drones around which is a requirement of the list. In this case I went for the Missile Launchers since sending 1-2 Frags into a pair of Shield Drones is decent odds to kill them, although there's a lot of variability in there.

On my side of things I made a serious positional error with the Drones and the Fusion Commander for no benefit, it was just a straight misplay. I also had trouble getting any work out of my non-Commanders although a lot of that was because of the Deployment and not using the ITC Ruin rules as this forced me back way further. In reality I should have lost nearly everything to the Assault Centurions since getting them in my backfield is just a nightmare. If that had happened I would have just abandoned my Deployment Zone and went for full attrition since some of the Scout units and the Centurions would play zero further role in the game.

Matthew did ask for some recommendations for improving the army so here are my thoughts. Scouts work best as cheap bodies so giving them Bolters or Shotguns is the most they should get. The math on Sniper Rifles just isn't good unless you have volume or buffs but if the Scouts go back with the army then the list is too static and one-dimensional. Instead I'd go down to three units and keep them bare bones, this way they can block Deep Strike, grab Objectives, and run interference as needed.

Originally I thought Assault Centurions were crap with the Raven Guard Strategem but then after I read the real wording they're amazing with it. Going second is a problem but you get that information before you put them down. Company Veterans are cute and seem quite good, not sure why I don't see more of those since Special Weapons are all that matters right now. That being said Razorbacks want to stay back and aren't hard to pop which is why you usually see 5 Man Tactical Squads and I think that's a better way to go here. It saves the points and makes up the Troop slots for two Battalions while providing some throwaway guys for the enemy to handle. Also the Razorbacks want Assault Cannons.

Finally upgrading to a Chapter Master seems very good for this list since it has so much long-range shooting and is pretty static. The Tech Marines can go since repair isn't as good as it looks on paper and they don't contribute much. Instead the list could use a melee unit or something fast, whatever that is comes down to the points but even with all the Deep Strike/Scouts it can be hard to take and cover ground once the game begins.

While the game was very one-sided I think a lot more could have been done to keep it competitive and I hope I was able to illustrate that. Against Commander Spam you really have to leverage your chaff to keep the Beta Strike at bay, that's one of the reasons I like ITC Missions since if you do this it comes at a cost, as it should.