The Fate of Konor campaign continues, and now it is the turn of the world of Nethamus that bears the brunt of the Nurgle invasion. Once the bread basket of many systems, the forces of Nurgle have turned the great crop oceans into blackened sludge – however, the great factory-crawlers are still present, their cargo holds packed with enough grain to feed all of Konor. The Death Guard are now targeting the factory-crawlers, and the Marines Errant are the only forces who can stop them.
We are using 90 point forces for this battle and as we are still lacking in some of the really big things for both forces (they are on their way), expect to see fairly large forces.
Death Guard (Battalion)
Lord of Contagion (Tenacious)
Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Gift of Contagion)
Poxwalkers x 20
Plague Marines x 7 (Power Fist, Plasma Gun)
Helbrute (Twin Lascannon, Thunder Hammer)
Plaguebearers x 20 (Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos)
Daemons of Nurgle (Outriders)
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma of Pestilence)
Greater Blight Drone
Greater Blight Drone
Greater Blight Drone
The Marines Errant player (James) just loves to see the Foetid Bloat-Drone in my army (it comes from an incident where it was loosed upon a Tactical Squad and all but annihilated them in one shot), so it is with great pleasure that I present a force to him that not only includes the Bloat-Drone but also three (count ’em!) Greater Blight Drones…
Chaplain with Jump Pack
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)
Once again, the Marines Errant have gone infantry heavy, and so should be able to close off most avenues of the Death Guard’s advance.
Mission: Hold the Line
In Hold the Line, the Death Guard are attempting to push their way to a factory-crawler while the Marines Errant try to hold them back. Victory Points for the Death Guard are earned for exiting units off the Marines Errant table edge (double points if the unit is a vehicle), while the Marines Errant gain points for destroying units (double points if the attacking unit is a vehicle). Killing the enemy Warlord gains a point as usual.
The mission itself has two new Stratagems for the Marines Errant – All Power to the Guns allows a vehicle to shoot twice in a turn, albeit at a penalty, while Resurgent Machine Spirit allows a vehicle to act in a fully operational manner even if it is heavily damaged. The Death Guard can use Armoured Assault, which allows a vehicle to shoot normally even if it advanced.
The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Legacy of Konor) that allows a vehicle to regain lost wounds.
The Marines Errant assembled on the battlefield, spreading out to block the advancing Death Guard from reaching the nearby factory-crawler. Knowing they would need to counter quick thrusts from the drones, they kept their Assault Squad and all three Terminator Squads in reserve, ready to deploy exactly where they were needed.
For their part, the Death Guard concentrated their own infantry near the centre, the Lord of Contagion and Plaguecaster supporting the Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers as they stumbled towards the Marines Errant. The Drones and Helbrute deployed on the flanks, quickly seeking the weak point in the Imperial line.
Wasting no time, the Death Guard marched ahead, the four Drones buzzing through the air to begin flanking the Tactical Squad taking cover in the craters.
The Bloat and Blight Drones opened fire at range, causing the Tactical Squads to hunker down as plague-ridden projectiles whizzed overhead. Two Marines were too slow and were blasted apart in an explosion of pus and filth.
As the Tactical Squads began to slowly retreat, they trained their fire on the approaching Death Guard but only a single Poxwalker fell to Bolter fire. On the far flank, the Devastator Squad aimed at marauding Blight Drones, but the Herald’s Miasma covered them well and only a single missile scored a glancing blow.
Now within striking distance, the Death Guard forces surged forward to swarm the Marines Errant. Two Blight Drones quickly crossed the remaining distance to the Devastator Squad and began to pound the Marines with a weight of diseased fire, even as the damage done to them began to repair itself.
Combined with Lascannon fire from the approaching Helbrute, Devastator Marines began to fall, and the Drones swooped in to finish them off.
However, the Devastator Marines fought bravely and only one was impaled upon the probes of the drones.
Around the craters, the Plaguecaster threw a Miasma over the Lord of Contagion, then inflicted Muscular Atrophy upon the closest Tactical Squad. Seeing their chance, the Plaguebearers and Bloat-Drone ran up the sloping sides of the crater to assault the Marines.
A single Marine fell to the swords of the Plaguebearers but, in return, two daemons were banished and another two dissolved into thin air.
Having little choice, the surviving Devastators pulled back from the Drones, but help was at hand – with a flash of light, a Terminator Squad teleported close by and immediately set about training their Storm Bolters on the Drones in an effort to drive them away.
More flashes dotted the battlefield as two more Terminator squads arrived, one close to the Plague Marines and the other blocking off the advance of a Blight Drone on the opposite flank. A Thunderhawk tore the skies overhead and, from its hatches, an Assault Squad dropped behind the entire Death Guard force.
One flanking Drone was cornered by a Terminator Squad, but its daemonic reflexes proved equal to the threat as its cannon boiled away two of the Marines before they could reach it. As they neared, the Drone elevated on its mighty ducted fans, leaving them flailing helplessly with their Power Fists.
On the ridge, the retreating Devastator Marines launched a hurriedly aimed Krak Missile that penetrated the armour of the lead Drone attacking them, leaving it trailing smoke. The Terminator Squad that had teleported in to aid them then charged, tearing the Drone apart with their Power Fists. One of them hit its internal reactor, and the Drone exploded, showering shrapnel, debris and filth over everyone close by. Two Devastator Marines were killed in the blast, along with a single Terminator.
The battle was well and truly underway now as the Death Guard began to apply pressure on the Marines Errant in an effort to make them break. One Blight Drone soared over the heads of the Terminators attacking it, heading straight for the factory-crawler in the distance. The other Drones began to heal the damage they had sustained as the rest of the Death Guard advanced further.
Hurling bolts of dark energy, the Plaguecaster immolated two Tactical Marines within the crater while the Herald of Nurgle cast a Miasma over the running Helbrute. Loosing an unusually well-aimed shot from its twin Lascannon, the Helbrute howled in fury as it watched the Rosarius of a Chaplain who had dropped from the Thunderhawk to support the Devastator Squad flash as it deflected the attack.
Enraged, the Helbrute rushed forward to the gully leading up to the ridge, and found its path blocked by the Terminator Squad. Its howl now turning to a bellow of joy, it did not hesitate and charged.
Terminator armour proved no defence against the massive hammer the Helbrute was swinging, and three Terminator Marines were crushed to a pulp in seconds. With just the Chaplain, a single Terminator and a handful of Devastators left on the ridge, the Marines Errant’s position there was looking decidedly shaky.
In the centre, the Poxwalkers had completely surrounded one of the Tactical Squads, and the Marines were desperately fighting to drive them back. Two Poxwalkers were struck down, but there were still too many for the Marines to retreat.
By now, the Lord of Contagion had pushed his way through the Plaguebearers, but could only reach a single Marine, whom he decapitated with a gleeful chortle. However, the Marines themselves were too busy fending off the daemons, aided by another Chaplain.
Seeing their line beginning to give, the Tactical Marines left the cover of their crater, training their fire on the advancing Lord of Contagion as they fled. Trusting to his Cataphractii Terminator Armour, the Lord hummed merrily to himself as Bolter fire and Krak Grenades pattered off his metal skin.
On the ridge, the presence of the Helbrute was beginning to cause panic. The Devastator Marines retreated further, followed by the last Terminator, but were dismayed to watch their Krak Missiles simply bounce off the Helbrute’s armour. The Chaplain realised he could do little to stop the beast and ignited his jump pack to land directly in front of the Herald who had been covering the Helbrute with a Miasma. Swinging his Crozius, the Chaplain sent the Herald reeling, but the daemon quickly recovered.
The Marines Errant were having better luck on the opposite flank, as the Terminator Assault Squad cornered the Plague Marines within a crater. Rushing in, their Lightning Claws tore apart five Plague Marines in short order for no loss of their own.
The Marines Errant watched helplessly as another Blight Drone gunned its fans and left the battlefield, soaring towards the factory-crawler which had already started to emit clouds of dark smoke from the attacks of the first Drone to reach it.
The Chaplain leading the Tactical Squads was proving effective at holding up the advance of the Death Guard, and had thus gained the ire of the Plaguecaster. More bolts of dark energy flashed into existence, and the Chaplain fell to the ground, pustules and growths bursting through his armour.
Ignoring the last Terminator on the ridge, the Helbrute instead advanced towards the last two Devastator Marines. Scattering, they managed to avoid its attentions. The Herald of Nurgle spat in the face of the Chaplain attacking it, following the insult with a blast of diseased bolts that caused the Marine to falter before he buried his Crozius into the Herald’s shoulder. Both heroes were now wounded, but neither was willing to give ground to the other.
One Tactical Squad managed to break free of the Poxwalkers, while the other continued to flee from the Lord of Contagion who was still marching towards them, humming a little ditty as he playfully swung his axe.
Just behind him, the Assault Squad had finally caught up with the Death Guard, and they now charged into the Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers, effectively pinning them in place and halting the advance to the factory-crawler.
As the Assault Terminators ran down the last of the Plague Marines, the remains of another Terminator Squad charged the Lord of Contagion – and quickly regretted it. Their Power Fists made no impact upon his armour, and the Lord’s axe whittled out to carve through two of the Marines.
On the ridge, the last Terminator saw the plight of the two Devastator Marines and, with a prayer to his Primarch, charged the Helbrute. With a casual back swing of its hammer, the Helbrute pulped the Terminator before he could attack.
The buzzing that had enveloped the battlefield faded away as the last Drone flew to join the others assaulting the factory-crawler. The giant machine was sustaining heavy damage, but if the Marines Errant could drive the rest of the Death Guard back quickly, they would still be in a position to defend the factory-crawler and defeat the Drones.
The Assault Squad had discharged their duty well against the Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers, shattering both units and forcing the survivors to flee. Unfortunately, they were running towards the factory-crawler, forcing the Assault Squad to give pursuit.
As the Lord of Contagion casually dispatched the last Terminator he was facing, the Plaguecaster through a Miasma over him, then watched as the Lord sauntered over to the Assault Squad to see if they would be any more fun than the Marines he had killed thus far.
On the ridge, the Helbrute finally tracked down the last of the Devastators and hammered them flat, leaving almost the entire flank in the hands of the Death Guard. However, the mighty duel between the Chaplain and Herald of Nurgle was still in full swing.
The Herald summoned the force of another Smite, which blasted plates of armour off the Chaplain. Both combatants were now heavily wounded, limping, and barely able to stand, but both refused to go down under the blows of the other. The Herald ducked the Chaplain’s Crozius, then thrust forward with his Plaguesword, cleaving both of the Marine’s hearts.
Giving chase, the Marines Errant were desperate to annihilate what remained of the Death Guard – they now held the balance of power on the battlefield, but knew that if the Death Guard could send any more units towards the factory-crawler, then all would be lost.
As Tactical and Terminator Assault Marines rushed the Plaguecaster and Plaguebearers, the Assault Squad surrounded the Lord of Contagion. Not even his Cataphractii Armour could withstand that flurry of blows, and the Lord’s mood soured somewhat as chainswords began to slice into his flesh.
Badly hurt and barely holding onto his presence in the material world, the Herald ran for the ridge, but the Helbrute was already ahead of him. Having spied the factory-crawler in the distance, the Helbrute had made the decision to ignore the plight of its Lord and instead go for a far meatier target.
The last Poxwalker, somehow avoiding a hail of fire from the Marines Errant, and the remaining Plaguebearers continued to stumble towards the factory-crawler, thwarting the plans of the Marines to dispatch them quickly. The Lord of Contagion, realising he might now be in actual trouble, swung his axe in huge arcs, sending Assault Marines flying as their own blows simply rained off his armour.
Seeing they were outmatched, the Assault Squad fired their jump packs and fled from the Lord, opening the way for the Assault Terminators. Cutting through the Cataphractii Armour like it was butter, their Lightning Claws put an end to the Lord of Contagion.
The last Poxwalker was finally gunned down by Tactical Marines, but the last Plaguebearer proved to be astonishingly resilient as it continued its march.
The Helbrute departed the battlefield, its long strides quickly closing range to the factory-crawler. Seeing this, the Marines Errant realised that they would have to destroy every remaining warrior of Nurgle, daemonic and mortal, if they were to protect the factory-crawler – and they would have to do it quickly.
The last Plaguebearer was run down by the Assault Squad, while a hastily aimed Krak Missile flew across the battlefield and blasted apart the Herald before he could reach the safety of the ridge.
Seeing he was clearly next, the Plaguecaster blasted a Terminator apart with a bolt of filth, then surrounded himself with a Miasma. Soon enough, the Assault Terminators crested the lip of the crater he was skulking in, and charged.
Lightning Claws pierced the Plaguecaster’s armour, but he lashed out with his staff and crushed the helmet of another Terminator. Looking over their heads, the Plaguecaster could see the factory-crawler being torn apart and, judging his mission to be successful, used the power of the Warp to teleport himself away to safety.
Another close battle!
The final scores were 9-7 in favour of the Death Guard – that Helbrute leaving towards the end sealed the fate of the Marines Errant, but they worked hard to try to level the scores in the last round.
The new Greater Blight Drones are… okay. Maybe a bit more hardy than the smaller Bloat-Drone, but you really miss the Disgustingly Resilient (here’s hoping for an FAQ on that!). Their weapons are much longer ranged and… okay. Not too hot against Marines in cover, but they hit hard enough once they breach armour.
The multi-layered defences of the Lord of Contagion proved exceptionally tough in this battle, and it was just one really unlucky roll that caused him to take four points of damage from the Assault Squad. Without that, he would have been fighting right to the end!
The Marines Errant biggest issue was probably that they had been stretched too thin trying to cover all bases (the Drones really did not help there, as they are fast!). A single Predator or Land Raider right in the centre of their back line might have really helped (that would be a little hint for James).
However, we are continuing with the Konor campaign, and have something a bit different planned for the next battle!