Thursday, April 23, 2009

Battle Summary: Mono-Nurgle Daemons vs. Salamanders (1500 pts)

Green, green and more green; without an ork in sight! Today is a battle report between one of my mono-Nurgle daemon army lists and a Salamanders Legionnaire Astartes detachment. The Salamanders chapter seems to be getting popular in the meta-game since the release of the new space marine codex - and why not; they're great and I've always had a soft spot for them! (Much kudos to you Salamanders players out there).

Board: square 6' x 4'
Mission: Capture and Control
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Terrain: Medieval world with a few scattered ruins, a watch tower, and some wooded areas (we played on a table intended for Warhammer...!). There were also a few hedges and walls, but they didn't play a big role, so I've not sketched them on the maps.

Army Lists:
[The letters in square brackets denote the corresponding symbols on the maps. The X's are the objectives.]

Mono-Nurgle Daemons (me):
Epidemius (110 pts) [Epi]
Great Unclean One with cloud of flies and breath of chaos (195) [GUO]
3 beasts of Nurgle (105) [Beasts]
2 lots of 7 plaguebearers with an icon and instrument(2 x 135) [PB1 and PB2]
2 lots of 7 plaguebearers (2 x 105) [PB3 and PB4]
5 bases of nurglings (65) [Nurglings]
2 daemon princes with mark of Nurgle, Daemonic Gaze, and Iron Hide (2 x 160) [DP1 and DP2]
1 daemon prince with mark of Nurgle, Wings, Iron Hide and Aura of Decay (220) [DP3]

(=41 models; 11 killpoints)

First Wave: Epidemius deployed in one of the icon carrying plaguebearers; one of the non-icon plaguebearer squad; Beasts of Nurgle; The 2 Daemon Princes without wings
Second Wave: Great Unclean One; 1 Icon carrying plaguebearer squad; one of the non-icon plaguebearer squads; Nurglings; Daemon prince with wings

Salamanders (opponent):
Vulkan He'Stan. [VH]
5 terminators with thunder hammers and storm shields. [Term]
1 dreadnought with multi-melta and flamer. [D1]
1 dreadnought with an assault cannon. [D2]
2 lots of 10 tactical troops with multi-melta, melta and a power fist sergeant. [S1 and S2]
2 lots of 10 tactical troops with multi-melta and a flamer. [S3 and S4]
1 Vindicator [Vind]

(=49 models; 9 killpoints)

Initial thoughts:
Full marks to my opponent for taking the meltas and flamers. There's only the one dreadnought without a melta or flamer aspect on it. There's 40 troops set up, 5 terminators, Vulkan himself and three things with armour values. This should be a real test for my Epidemius list. My aim to to get the tally up as quickly as possible, so I'm intending to ignore the armoured things and make a bee line for the fleshy troops. I'm also pleased to see a lack of "fast" speeders and the like - I'm hoping that is a good thing as I wouldn't be able to catch them with this army.

My opponent does not reserve a thing. Fair enough really - they want to be taking as many shots as possible at my nasty Nurgle daemons. They set-up along in their deployment zone and park the vindicator directly in front of their "home" objective. One squad of marines is holed up in the watch-tower. Another is in some woodlands on a flank. The rest are in the open. I set up my "home" objective as close as possible (i.e. directly opposite) to my opponents.

My dice are favourable: not only do I get my first wave actually being my first wave (i.e. Epidemius!!!), but I also win first turn. I promptly decline and force my opponent to take the first turn.

Turn 1.
The Salamanders do nothing. They wait and talk amongst themselves. I wonder what words of wisdom the dreadnought might be sharing at this point?

My turn. I intend to fully ignore my home objective for the moment. I'm sure I can deep strike one of my reserve units close by to it when the time is right. Either that, or run some surviving units in its direction.

I choose to deep-strike Epidemius himself first (since there's little worse than him scattering in to my own troops). I'm cautious and deep-strike him a little way off my opponent's line. My scatter die land me closer to the Salamanders' line. That might work out well for aura of decay in subsequent turns, but I fully intend to run Epidemius this turn. I do the daemon princes next who deep strike in (without scatter) nearby Epidemius. Finally, the beasts and the other plaguebearers both scatter about a little bit, but land without any problems.

I choose to run the plaguebearers (including Epidemius) and the beasts a little closer to the Salamanders. The princes are in shooting range. Six shots from daemonic gaze all hit and results in five wounds at AP3 against one of the tactical squads [S2]. That's 5 for the tally already. What does this mean? My plagueswords are already wounding on 3+ from next turn. Here's the situation:
Turn 2.
My opponent politely inquires if there is anything with less than Toughness=5 in my army. Nope. Not at this stage.

The terminators, Vulkan and the first dreadnought move closer to my beasts. Everything else stays put.

In the shooting phase, the Vindicator takes a shot at Epidemius. It misses, but scatters on to the Daemon Prince behind him, causing one wound. Squads 2 and 3 rapid fire on to Epidemius' squad. At this point I'm worried that I haven't placed as many plaguebearers in to his squad as I should have done. Including the meltas, the two squads hit 14 times (out of 15) and wound 5 times. I pass my invulnerable saves against the meltas and one bolter, but suffer two bolter wounds. I then roll for feel no pain on those two bolter wounds and a single plaguebearer is chased back to the Warp. I let out a quiet sigh of relief!

Squad 1 and the first dreadnought let rip on the beasts. That results in 5 wounds, of which two save and one saves with feel no pain. That means that two of my beasts are down to 1 wound each and the third beast is uninjured. Squad 4 misses at long range, as does the second dreadnought.

Vulkan, the terminators and the dreadnought then charge the beasts. They kill two of the beasts and the remaining beast has one wound left. My random poisoned attacks don't hit. Having lost the combat, my singular beast decides he likes his new-found play-mates and stays in the corporeal realm rather than disappearing back to the Immaterium. That suits me - it means I'm tieing up those terminators and dreadnought. But I know I was very lucky - that beast shouldn't be there and won't (shouldn't!) last another combat round.

In my turn, the Great Unclean One and the Nurglings become available. I deep-stike the Nurglings just behind the beasts and they don't scatter. The Great Unclean One uses the icon in Epidemius' squad and positions himself nicely for a breath of chaos that'll hit the Vindicator as well as his squad number 2.

I move Epidemius, the plaguebearers and the daemon princes up. The nurglings run towards the beasts. I wonder if the beasts like nurglings? Cute little play-mates that don't die at their touch?

In my shooting phase, my Great Unclean One glances the vindicator and hits squad 2 behind it. The vindicator's cannon is destroyed! Oh, and two more marines perish. Tally=7.

My two deamon princes target the marines. Out of 6 shots, 4 hit and 3 wound. Three more dead. Tally=10. There's now only 2 marines left in Squad number 2.

Epidemius activates his aura of decay. All of squad 3 are hit. There's one wound caused that doesn't save. Tally=11.

The daemon princes charge, alongside Epidemius and the first plaguebearer squad. The other plaguebearers don't make it in to combat - they're rather slow afterall.
My daemon prince finished squad 2 off easily. Tally=13. My other daemon prince takes down a further 3 marines in squad 3. Tally=16. The marines try targetting the daemon prince (he's already wounded from the vindicator). They score an impressive two wounds, of which one stick. The daemon prince chortles. Epidemius and his plaguebearers finish off the job with their poisoned attacks. Tally=20, which means that it's already got as high as possible. My plan to target the "soft" targets out in the open has worked wonderfully well. I just have to take it easy and think about how to take out the rest of the marines now, whilst protecting Epidemius.

Meanwhile, the remaining beast perishes quickly with a good few thunder hammer whacks. No surprise at all to me. This is what the board looks like now:
Turn 3
The Vindicator, now weaponless, decides to do the only thing available to it and try a tank shock against Epidemius. No effect. Squad 4 and the second dreadnought move closer to my daemons.

Squad 1 opens fire on my wounded daemon prince and kills him!
The dreadnoughts cause 2 wounds on the nurglings. But no base is removed as a consequence. The first dreadnought and the terminators charge the nurglings. That suits me, and is actually what I want them to do anyhow. My Nurglings are wounding on 2+ (with re-rolls) and ignore armour saves. Things go well for the Salamanders though - they remove all but one nurgling base! However, the remaining nurgling base (with 2 wounds left) kills two terminators. The nurglings have lost combat and fail their saves - they're gone!

In my turn, the flying daemon prince comes in to play, along with the plaguebearers without the icon. I deep stike the daemon prince between squad 4 and the terminators. Meanwhile, the plaguebearers deep-strike (with a bit of scatter) close to my "home" objective. They're going to stay there for the rest of the game. I shouldn't need them further -- the can go to ground realistically.

My two movable daemon princes approach squad 1. Its clear only one of them will be charging the marines. The Great Unclean One looks witheringly at the rear of the vindicator, feeling a belch coming up. The third plaguebearer squad approaches the terminators.

In my shooting phase, the Great Unclean One bleches forth his breath of chaos attack, causing a lucky glancing hit which destroys a non-existant second weapon on the vindicator. There's nothing left, so the vehicle is now immobile and weaponless - I'll ignore it from herein! My daemon princes near squad 1 shoot them with daemonic gaze. I score 5 hits and 3 wounds. That's three dead since all my attacks ignore armour saves now.

The second daemon prince charges the marines. The marines go first since they're in cover. They cause one wound on my daemon prince. That's not going to be enough. Five more marines die, leaving two left. They still know no fear and stay put.

My third plaguebearer squad charges the terminators. The terminators hit hard - they cause 6 wounds and inflict 5 casualties. My two remaining plaguebearers inflict their maximum 4 wounds in exhange. Only one terminator makes its invulnerable save, leaving 2 terminators plus Vulkan left. Losing combat has no effect on my plaguebearers as they pass their saves with a 3+ feel no pain.
Turn 4.
The first dreadnought moves toward my home objective. Is my opponent going to try to scratch a draw from this game? I think so! The other dreadnought moves toward the daemon prince with the wings.

In the shooting phase, my winged daemon prince gets rapid fired by squad 4. Three wounds result. It doesn't get hurt by the dreadnought though! (phew!) One wound left. The other dreadnought miraculously kills two plaguebearers guarding my home objective. Darn!

In the combat phase, my daemon prince finishes off squad 1. But the terminators and Vulkan readily deal with the remaining plaguebearers.

My turn.
My last plaguebearer squad comes in to play. I deep strike it near to my home objective and then move the other plaguebearer squad out to meet the dreadnought. Every other squad apart from Epidemius then moves toward the terminators in a slow wall of rolling rot and filth closing in.

In the shooting phase, I use the winged daemon prince's aura firstly. It hits Vulkan and the terminators. One terminator dies. The other two daemon princes kill the remaining terminator and reduces Vulkan down to one wound with their daemonic gaze.

The winged daemon prince charges Vulkan and finishes the job.

At this point, my opponent concedes the game to me, seeing no way to even draw the game from herein. The dreadnoughts haven't had the effect they should have done and the plaguebearers are as good as bloodletters. Epidemius is dug in and going nowhere.

Taking Epidemius in a small squad was a risk, but it paid off. Keeping him out of danger in the second half of the game was essential to the plan. The Salamander's dreadnoughts were dreadfully unlucky with their shots. Meanwhile I was lucky with my beasts surviving more than 1 round. I was lucky to tie up the terminators repeatedly - those terminators are awesome, you lucky space marine players!

If the Salamanders tactical squads were mounted in rhinos, I think I would have had a much, much harder time winning. The fact that they were deployed out in the open opened up doors to me that shouldn't have been there. I need to think about what to do with my Epidemius list so that it can take on mechanized army lists with greater ease. The Salamanders army list was very respectible and I think it would have done very well against many other armies. But Epidemius' survival turned the tide quickly. Epidemius is a character that either works fantastically well (as he did here), or fails miserably. In the latter case, I think the plan is to use the high resilience of my army to try to score a draw by contesting as many other objectives as I can and tieing up dangerous units with beasts and nurglings.


suneokun said...

Great write up! I really enjoy hearing how your Nurgle army does - it looks like a lot of fun trying to wrangle vitory! The deep striking was seemless this time and the Space Marines has no real reply to T5, FNP...

If your opponent had done his homework, he would have realised all the saving throw denying options you have and used cover... also Rhino's would have given you a world of problems...

Dreadnoughts are awesome in a shooting game, but against a close combat opponent their rear armour and initiative sucks and they are simply not fast enough to 'run away'.

Rhino's and Land Speeder would have given you a world of pain.

Oh, and can you spend a little more time on your diagrams ... they're quite hard to follow.

Adam Hunter said...

How many points was this game?

dverning said...

Nice game. Looks like your opponent wasn't very familiar with Daemons and especially not an Epidimus list. His target priorities were all off. Those Termies shouldn't have bothered with the Nurglings and let a Dread squish them instead. Ah well, well played on your part.

I may have read your report wrong... but I did notice an error. You might point out to your opponent that the Vindicator comes with a pintle Storm Bolter as part of the base package. Thus it takes 3x Weapon Destroyed to Immobilize.

Last night I ended up taking my Black Legion up against a Salamander army also. (Seize Ground, ended in a draw because I waited a turn too long to go for his objective and couldn't kill those last 4 marines on it.) It was much more streamlined than the one you faced. If you feel like sharing with him, it was a 1750:
Librarian in Termie w Storm Shield, Null Zone, Quickening
10x Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Termies
2 by 10x Tacs with Plas & Flamer
2 by 3x Multi Melta Bikes
MM Speeder Storm
5 Scouts w BP/CCW (Sgt w Combi-Melta)
5 Scouts w 4 Snipers, ML, Cameleoline
Thunderfire Cannon

Chris said...

Good write up, I enjoyed reading it. I might start a Nurgle Daemon army myself next.

jabberjabber said...

Hi Suneokun:- yeah, Mono-Nurgle daemons are a fun army on the whole. They're probably not tournament winners due to their pace, but that's okay when the aim is fun! Vehicle focussed armies are indeed hard for daemons to face, on the whole (except perhaps Tzeentch). And yes, my diagrams could be much better! :)

Hi Adam:- 1500 points.

Hi Dverning:- you're right, something is erroneous with the vindicator. I suspect one of things: my report is not 100% accurate or both my opponent and I forgot (doh!) Thanks also for sharing the list - it looks pretty solid.

Hi Chris:- thanks mate! Nurgle armies are a lot of fun!

Raptor1313 said...

I agree with Suneokun: had they brought Rhinos, you would've been in more trouble.

As it was, at 1500 and the other guy on foot? Daemons are in good shape, because he can't outrun you.

I think your opponent made mistakes too, with the dreads: dreads on Nurglings = waste. I probably would've deployed those centrally, so they could go forth and deal with whatever. Getting them to brawl with Plaguebearers is about the best thing he could've done with them.

Same goes with the Terminators. TH/SS termies would've been much better off crunching your plaguebearers.

I agree with you that daemons aren't necessarily top-tier in a tourney, though they can be fun. Anyone that brings enough vehicles is going to give you fits, though you still had Daemon Princes alive to deal with the dreads so it was all good.

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