Episode 65: Dawn of a New Day (Chaos vs. Salamanders)

Once again I've successfully snapped another "No Battle Report" streak and I'm actually very happy to have this one as a write-up. As I've mentioned on my last few Battle Reports I've stopped doing write ups and/or videos for every game I play as not every game is entertaining or worthy of highlighting. In the last week or so I played a very one-sided game against Dark Eldar, the list was not optimized and I nearly tabled my opponent in two Turns. Another was with my Orks which I was looking forward to even though I've lost almost all enthusiasm for the army, unfortuantely I got neary tabled in two Turns as the army I went up against had 9 Inceptors, 3 Riflemen Dreadnoughts, and tons of Bolters.

This time around I played another game against Kevin, a local Salamanders Player who has been improving a lot and who I've played many times. There was a larger RTT I'd planned on attending but with the new Demon Codex dropping and some changes being confirmed I've lost the desire to play my old list, similar to my feelings when it was confirmed Malefic Lords were changed. I just don't see the point in playing a list that will be invalidated in a week or getting any reps with it.

To that end I pieced together a new army that is similar to my old list, which you might be familiar with if you've checked out my older Battle Reports. In light of The Changeling now being useless (Games Workshop do like their atomic bomb nerfs don't they?) I decided to swap the Obliterators to Nurgle and try something new. Please keep in mind this list has quite a few proxies and I am not using the correct base sizes, I did clear that with my opponent beforehand. I also do not know the point value of one of the models but made an educated guess so this list is subject to change.


Battalion Detachment
Horticulous Slimux
Poxbringer (Fleshy Abundance)

3 Nurglings
3 Nurglings
3 Nurglings

Battalion Detachment (Iron Warriors)
Chaos Lord w/ MoN, Cold and Bitter
Sorcerer w/ MoS (Delightful Agonies, Warptime)

10 Cultists w/ Autoguns
40 Cultists w/ Autoguns
40 Cultists w/ Autoguns

Spearhead Detachment (Alpha Legion)
Chaos Lord w/ Jump Pack, MoN, The Hydra Blade

3 Obliterators w/ MoN
3 Obliterators w/ MoN
3 Obliterators w/ MoN
3 Obliterators w/ MoN
3 Obliterators w/ MoN

[50 Points in Reserves - Feculent Gnarlmaw]

I will do a bigger writeup for this list when I have the Demon Codex in my hands but I've budgeted 130 for the Horticulous Slimux which seems about right based on what I know of his profile and abilities. Poxbringers are supposed to be unchanged in terms of point value and Nurglings are a known quantity along with the Feculent Gnarlmaw.

The basic purpose of the army is to parlay my lack of -2 to Hit into a 0+ Armor Save for Obliterators, a popular combination that's been around online. I also benefit from a Demon Detachment which gives me the Locus of Virulence, +1 Damage on the Obliterators when they roll 6's to Wound near my Demon Characters, and several extremely good Strategems such as making Perils of the Warp more punishing and bumping up Invulnerable Saves for an Obliterator unit. I would love to get the Warpsmith back into this list for the wombo-combo of the World Eaters Relic and the improved Perils Strategem but tweaks will happen soon enough.


Battalion Detachment
Primaris Captain w/ Master-crafted Stalker Bolt Rifle, Storm of Fire, The Salamander's Mantle
Lieutenant w/ Master-crafted Boltgun

7 Scouts w/ Bolters, Sergeant w/ Stormbolter
7 Scouts w/ Bolters, Sergeant w/ Stormbolter
7 Scouts w/ Bolters, 1 Heavy Bolter
7 Scouts w/ Bolters, 1 Heavy Bolter

3 Inceptors
3 Inceptors

Vanguard Detachment
Techmarine w/ Combi-Melta

Relic Deredo Dreadnought w/ Anvillus Autocannon Battery, Twin Heavy Bolter, Atomantic Pavaise
Ironclad Dreadnought w/ Seismic Hammer, Hurricane Bolter, Ironclad Assault Launchers, Meltagun
Ironclad Dreadnought w/ Seismic Hammer, Hurricane Bolter, Ironclad Assault Launchers, Meltagun

Spearhead Detachment
Primaris Librarian (Psychic Fortress, Veil of Time)

Thunderfire Cannon & Techmarine Gunner
8 Devastators w/ Armorium Cherub and 4 Lascannons
8 Devastators w/ Armorium Cherub and 4 Lascannons

This is a list I've been helping Kevin refine for awhile, it's certainly not top tier competitive but he's trying to get to the best place he can using Salamanders and some of his own flair. The army uses Scouts to keep the shooting elements nice and safe while also grabbing Objectives and has a mid-field element with the Dreadnoughts. Ironclads with a 5++ can be tough to crack and the army also has repairs for them. Finally the backfield is the more gunline units with a Captain and Lieutenant combination for support.


 Nexus Control (ITC Champion's Mission #3) 

 Hammer and Anvil

Chaos Secondaries
Old School, Headhunter, Kingslayer (Primaris Captain)

Salamanders Secondaries
Old School, Recon, The Reaper

Kevin won the roll-off for Deployment Zone although both sides were fairly symmetrical. For this game we had a bit of a mish-mash of Terrain and even mats, as I said there was a good sized RTT going on so I had to make due with what was available. For this game we played it as Forests block LoS and are infinitely tall unless you're in them, then you can treat LoS as normal.

Nurglings and Scouts had a nice back and forth in Deployment as I attempted to get a foothold and Kevin tried to keep me out. I did manage to get a bubble on the right side which would allow my Obliterators to Deep Strike much closer than they normally would, this is a big reason the Nurglings are in the list. Continuing on all of Kevin's army was placed within range of the Captain/Lieutenant, Devastators hid behind the trees with Scouts wrapping up the flanks and rear. Both Ironclads went aggressively in the middle with the Deredo a bit behind and the Thunderfire Cannon holding the rear middle.

I deployed refused flank as my army often does, doubling down on control over the right side. The smaller unit of Cultists went behind a Forest although I knew they'd likely die to the Thunderfire Cannon, however they'd likely make it through Turn 1 which would deny Old School. In hindsight I should have put my other Nurgling units on Objectives since I couldn't get far forward and threaten a Turn 1 Charge into anything meaningful, instead they're kind of just out in the semi-open. My thought was I could use them to tie up an Ironclad for a Turn in case of emergencies but really the Cultists are much better at that.

I won the roll for First Turn and decided to take it, my hope was to blow the Ironclads away along with most of or all the Scouts which would really hurt Kevin's ability to get going in Scenario and thereby nullify the second turn advantage. However Kevin managed to Seize the Initiative, so that plan quickly went out the window.

My overall plan then became to hold the right flank at all costs and weather the Lascannon storm with Devastators hitting on 5's (moving + Alpha Legion) and my 3+ Armor Save thanks to the Feculent Gnarlmaw, then work on clearing some Devastators out and win the attrition game.

Salamanders Turn 1

The Salamanders kept a fairly conservative approach as the Devastators remained behind their forests along with the flank Scouts and support elements. Both Ironclads Advanced and popped smoke but the Deredo didn't move with them, denying them their 5++ Save. Both forward Scout units moved up a bit to wall me out as best they could but did not Advance. At the end of Movement both Inceptor units came down in my backfield, eyeing the ten Cultists I had hiding.

Shooting removed all the Cultists I had in the back with one unit of Inceptors and the Thunderfire Cannon, giving Kevin his first point for Old School, while the other Inceptors killed a few of the brown Cultists. Two Nurglings died to Bolter fire from the Scouts as I failed all my saves and the Deredo killed a few more Cultists.

The forward Scouts elected not to charge the Nurglings I had hidden behind the center forest and with that the turn ended.

5-0 for Salamanders (3/12 Secondaries Scored)

Turn From My Perspective
I think Kevin made a few mistakes this turn which I didn't notice during the game. Advancing the Scouts on my right would have pushed my Obliterators back a bit more which would have been helpful, I believe he also should have charged just to tag that unit in combat and prevent me from getting anything done with them. One of the Inceptor units also should have been put back more with his army, or even used to deny me further Deep Strike options.

Chaos Turn 1

Well I have a lot of work to do now compared to if I'd gone first. The Inceptors have to be dealt with before they start mulching my big Cultist units and those Ironclads are looking like they'd love to tear my Obliterators apart. Both Cultist units moved up with the partially shot unit trying to stay behind the forest, I was pretty convinced they'd make it through Kevin's Turn 2 even if I didn't do much damage so I didn't want to use Tide of Traitors just yet. My one remaining Nurgling moved back to help hold my right Objective and the other two units stayed fairly centered, in hindsight I should have strung them out as a screen.

At the end of my Movement Phase I placed the Feculent Gnarlmaw with my Horticulous Slimux, unfortunately the model isn't out yet so I just used a terrain piece laying around. I also brough all the Obliterators and the Chaos Lord down with three units going up front and two dropping in the back to handle the Inceptors. This essentially meant they'd be out of the game until Turn 3 but I had no other choice, especially since the Inceptors have a similar range but are far faster than me.

In the Psychic Phase I Warptime'd the full strength Cultists to get better shots on the Scouts and put Delightful Agonies on the damaged Cultists, just to be safe. Unfortunately my Sorcerer ate two Wounds from a Perils but I opted not to re-roll it as he was in no immediate danger. Shooting went very strangely, both Obliterator units in the back rolled a 1 for Damage, even through a re-roll, leaving each Inceptor unit with one model. On the other side of the coin the front Obliterators all rolled excellent AP and Damage which allowed me to kill both Ironclads, even through the Smoke Launchers. I also removed both Scout units on the right, ensuring my dominance on that side of the table and securing my Objective.

I tried a charge with one unit of Obliterators into one of the remaining Inceptors and actually made it, taking a wound for my trouble. Thanks to Strength 5 and Death to the False Emperor I was able to bring that unit down but declined to Consolidate as the other Inceptor would then get to fight and fly away at no penalty. Unfortunately this left me without a unit on my back Objective as I stupidly didn't toe a Cutlst onto it, meaning Kevin held two to my one.

6-4 for Salamanders (1/12 Secondaries Scored)

Salamander's Turn 2

With the important targets in my army down Kevin began moving his army in earnest. Both Devastators units walked into the forest to get a bead on my Obliterators and the Deredo shuffled a bit to do the same. On the left the Scouts holding an Objective strung out to get better LoS and threaten a charge. The Inceptor also decided to try his best and survive, moving to the other side of the forest.

The Librarian managed to put Veil of Time and Psychic Fortress on the Scouts, anticipating they'd be a target for some Smites. Shooting then went about as well as both of us expected, both Cherubs got used on the Lascannon the Devastator Sergeant gave +1 to Hit to. Two Obliterators went down and two Wounds went on another unit although I did use a re-roll to pass an Armor Save and keep one alive, denying Kevin the ability to kill a unit would really help me on Scenario.

The Deredo attempted to finish off the lone Obliterator but AP1 wasn't good enough and the penalties to Hit took a nasty tole although he did finish off the last Nurgling with the Heavy Bolter. Bolter shots from the Scouts went into the untouched Nurglings but only did a single Wound.

Combat saw the same Scouts charge into the Nurglings they just shot, doing no damage but taking a loss in return.

9-4 for Salamanders (4/12 Secondaries Scored)

Turn From My Perspective
I was hoping to take less damage than I did but Kevin had some very good Lascannon rolls and got mileage out of the Captain and Chapter Tactic. I think the Techmarine and/or Librarian could get a bit more aggressive by getting behind the central forest, that does put them at risk but it feels like the game was swinging my way, I'm likely to remove a Devastator unit and the remainder of the Scouts which will start applying a lot of Scenario pressure.

Chaos Turn 2

Both units of Obliterators in my backfield began the long march forward but didn't Advance, a mistake on my part as they only had a Scout unit in range and Kevin is unlikely to move much forward. The Nurglings Fell Back from the Scouts while I pushed forward as far as I could on the right with the Cultists and Obliterators, making sure to keep my +2 Cover Save going. I kept the other Cultists out of LoS but did not put them back on the Objective, just a very sloppy play by me to not notice that.

My Psychic Phase goes well as the Herald kills four Scouts with an 11 on a Smite Casting roll, the Sorcerer finishes the unit with another Smite. I then put Delightful Agonies on the bigger Cultist unit, I'd put the Sorcerer too far to try for a Warptime on the other unit to get back on my Objective.

Shooting has the forward Obliterators remove all but one of the Devastators with some bad AP rolls from me but my Cultists finished the last Lascannon off. The Deredo Dreadnought also died to a maxed out Obliterator profile but didn't explode. The last Inceptor also met his end from the shooting in my backfield.

9-7 for Salamanders (1/12 Secondaries Scored)

Salamanders Turn 3

With not much left to play with Kevin Advanced his remaining Scouts to try and get the left Objective back, the Librarian and Techmarine also moved up to try and run interference as my Cultists were closing in on the far Objective.

Psychic Fortress went on the Librarian, as did Veil of Time, the Librarian only needing an 8" charge or so. Shooting went very well for the Salamanders as I lost three Obliterators, one previously wounded, and Tremor Shells went on the left side Obilterators in my backfield. Humorously a Cultist survived a Meltagun shot from the Techmarine although a few others went down to miscellaneous Bolter fire.

The Librarian was able to make his charge into the Cultists and Nurglings but the Techmarine failed and took a wound from Overwatch. In combat the Librarian flexed some muscle, hitting and wounding with every attack while I failed every Invulnerable Save which lost the unit of Nurglings and gave Kevin a Victory Point.

12-7 for Salamanders (5/12 Secondaries Scored)

Turn From My Perspective
Definitely a disappointing turn for me, I lost much more than I thought I would and gave up a Victory Point I didn't plan on, the Librarian not only killed a unit but barely scored Recon again. On the bright side I forced some Characters to come up which means Secondaries are within reach. Kevin didn't move his Devastators but should have pulled the Bolter Marines back a bit, they're not going to play a role in the game at this point but they will allow me to get some extra shots with my Devastators.

Chaos Turn 3

My army continues the never ending march toward the Salamander Deployment Zone as only the Nurglings and Cultists Fall Back, reclaiming my home Objective. All of my Characters except the Warlord move towards the Librarian, I would have liked to split some off to the Techmarine but that would put them in danger of being shot.

Off the bat I'm able to melt the Librarian with two Smites and then decline to cast any other powers as there's nothing worth risking a Perils for. Shooting puts another wound on the Techmarine and kills the remaining Bolters from the Devastators, all the Lascannons and Sergeant are still around though. Lastly I remove the last of the Scouts except for the Sergeant with a unit of Nurglings waiting to try and finish him off. I use Endless Cacophony and Veterans of the Long War on my Cultists to try and trim some Lascannons down but roll poorly and don't get the job done as well as incorrectly not putting Veterans of the Long War on the unit for their initial volley.

The Nurglings are able to charge the Scout Sergeant and get within range of the Objective but can't bring him down, taking a wound from the chainsword.

12-12 Tied (2/12 Secondaries Scored)

Remaining Turns

From here the game picked up speed dramatically. Tremor Shells again go on my far Obliterators to keep them out of the game and I lose another two Obliterators from the Lascannons, Kevin isn't able to score an Objective as I have one ObSec model on the left Objective and he can't get anyone back to the middle. The Scout Sergeant then gets dragged down for his trouble.

On my Turn 4 I finish off the Devastators and Techmarine as I continue moving up the table, abandoning the Gnarlmaw to put my remaining Obliterators in regular cover.

Turn 5 gets Kevin back on his Objective,  almost certainly sacrificing the Lieutenant as the Salamanders are unable to do anything but fire one last Tremor Shell. I followup by killing the Thunderfire Cannon and Captain, netting me all my Kingslayer points and nearly maxing Headhunter as well.

On the final turn the Lieutenant and Techmarine Gunner make a list stand and kill a lot of Cultists as they were out of range for my Lord in exchange for getting a lot of Rapid Fire on the Captain. They both then get wiped out as the Obliterators and Smite kick in, resulting in a tabling.

Final Score
34-14 for Chaos

Post Game

As most 8th Edition games go this was a bit tight in the beginning but opened up late. I definitely noticed some rust having not gotten to play much this week, this list also has a bit less Objective coverage than my past armies and that cost me a denial of a point to Kevin and stopped me from getting 1-2 Bonus Points on the last turn. That's certainly something I'll want to tighten up as I continue playing with this list.

I thought Kevin played well for the most part, we both had some positional mistakes but the highlights were there. We talked about his list afterwards and I recommended adding a second Captain to move with the Dreadnoughts, keeping the 5++ with the Ironclads could have turned the game. I also continue to push running Scouts barebones, minimum size, which Kevin agreed with. Getting rid of those, the Combi-Melta on the Techmarine and some miscellaneous upgrades opens up some Devastator bodies and shifting the Stormbolters to Characters which is the far better location for them. Overall I think that Salamanders list is very good within the confines it has set (pure Space Marines, Salamanders Chapter), shifting the Spearhead to Raven Guard would also probably be an improvement but it's not my army.

Looking at my side of things I really like this list and I'm happy to see The Changeling get nerfed. Minus To Hit stacking needs to be reigned back in, I'd like to see Eldar Vehicles not get the Craftworld Trait and the Alaitoc Strategem not work on Vehicles either. Obliterators are arguably better now, as people realized it was really hard to kill them they started getting tied up more and more which the Gnarlmaw stops completely. +2 Cover also nearly invalidates units like Dark Reapers. Being able to place Cover is insanely powerful, usually I'd have to plan where to drop everything in and make sure I had support there which was based on the board, now I make my own board.

Nurglings are also super effective for their cost, I knew they would be based on seeing them in other games but after just one game I'll never play without at least 1-2 units. So much of the game is anti-Deep Strike right now and Nurglings shut that down for barely more points than Scouts cost, although they're not nearly as useful offensively. A lot of my army depends on how much the Horticulous Slimux costs, I'm hoping for low 100's but I'm fearing mid-100's ala a Demon Prince. I'm also strongly considering dumping the Sorcerer to put the Warpsmith back in, Brass Collar of Borghaster combined with the Demon Strategem that makes an enemy take 2d3 Mortal Wounds for Perils would be the nail in the coffin of my Eldar problems. I usually only use the Sorcerer for Warptime and Death Hex, however both of those powers are niche in my army and Death Hex is unreliable. The best target to strip an Invulnerable Save from has always been Magnus but the World Eaters Strategem stops his power on a 4+ anyways and with Thousand Sons dropping soon I smell a points increase for Big Red.

Overall I'm very excited for the Demon Codex although I do not think they will work as a standalone army. Tzeentch has good Troop blobs, as does Nurgle, but they lack hitting power outside of melee and the Tzeentch Lore is largely a joke, especially hurtful with the Beta Rule change to Smite. Khorne has no delivery system beyond Deep Strike and Slaanesh doesn't seem to do anything. Time will tell but having almost the entire Codex spoiled has not set off any bells for a complete Demons army, they just seem like great additions to that delicious Chaos Soup.

That's all for this week, I hope to get some more games this week as I'm running yet another League at my FLGS. I'll probably continue with this build until the Codex drops, which is very soon, and then we'll go from there!

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