We are carrying on with the Fate of Konor campaign, and upping the ante a bit with larger forces. The Death Guard have spread throughout the worlds of the Imperium and have made a convincing grab for the main world of the system, the Capital World of Konor itself. After bombarding the cities, the Death Guard have moved in but now the Marines Errant are going to try to throw them off the planet.
We are using 80 point forces for this battle, so some of the larger units are starting to appear.
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)
Chaos Cultists x 10 (Heavy Stubber)
Helbrute (Twin Lascannon, Thunder Hammer)
Daemons of Nurgle (Patrol)
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma of Pestilence)
Plaguebearers x 20 (Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos)
Soul Grinder (Mark of Nurgle)
Well, the forces of Nurgle have not been mucking about on Konor – they have clearly been using the manufactorums to build a Soul Grinder and get a couple of rickety old Helbrutes fully functional. They will be going into battle with a primarily defensive mindset, though they are expecting to contend with teleporting Terminators and Assault Marines dropping from the sky, and the Helbrutes and Soul Grinder will be tasked with going after the inevitable Devastator Squads.
Chaplain with Jump Pack
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher, Flamer)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Venerable Dreadnought (Twin Lascannon, Power Fist)
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)
Assault Squad (Sergeant with Lightning Claws)
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)
The Marines Errant are going infantry heavy, with just the Venerable Dreadnought for heavy armour. However, they also have an awful lot of missile launchers, and so carry a big punch!
Mission: Seek and Destroy
In Seek and Destroy, the Death Guard are the defenders and will see the Marines Errant advance upon their positions within a shattered city. Victory Points are earned for destroying enemy units (double points if the attacking unit has an unmodified save of 2+ or 3+) and the enemy Warlord. In addition, the Death Guard get a bonus point if they have any models in their deployment zone at the end of the battle.
The mission itself has two new Stratagems for the Marines Errant – Tighten the Noose allows them to move reserve units on from any table edge, while Unstoppable Assault grants a unit a +1 bonus to both charge rolls and saves. The Death Guard can Hunker Down, which gives a unit the benefit of cover even if they are out in the open.
The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Ablative Painting) that allows an infantry unit to ignore unsaved wounds on a 5+. Which, for Death Guard who already have Disgustingly Resilient, is funny…
The Death Guard took up firing positions within the ruins they had captured, the Cultists holding far back in a dilapidated Sanctum while Plaguebearers stumbled forward in full view, unworried due to the clouds of flies shielding them from view. Everyone one deployed within the ruined Manufactorum with the exception of the Helbrutes and Soul Grinder who were further back, taking advantage of their long-ranged weaponry.
The Marines Errant had scant cover but the Devastator Squad took full advantage of a nearby building while the three Tactical Squads, under the watchful eyes of a Chaplain, began their advance towards the Death Guard. Just behind them, in a ruined shrine, the Venerable Dreadnought began picking out targets. It seemed a small force to retake the Manufactorum, and the Lord of Contagion warned his Plague Marines to keep on the look out for Thunderhawks dropping Assault Squads directly into battle, as well as teleporting Terminators.
Seeing movement in the ruins of the Manufactorum, the Marines Errant came to a complete halt and, as one, raised their weapons. At the command of the Chaplain, a hail of fire blow chunks of masonry off the ruins as Bolters and Missile Launchers created a tempest of destruction.
When the smoke cleared, only a single Plague Marine had fallen to the ground, while the Venerable Dreadnought had scored a glancing hit on the Bloat-Drone with its Lascannon. The Marines Errant Chaplain felt a moment of dismay as he realised the poor effect of the co-ordinated fire – then the forces of Nurgle began flooding out of the ruins towards the marines.
Shuffling their way forward, the hordes were spearheaded by the Plaguebearers, while a large unit of Poxwalkers began the slow march to flank the Marines Errant. A Miasma of filth began to swirl around the Plaguebearers and Soul Grinder as the Plaguecaster and Herald of Nurgle clothed them in the diseased power of the Warp, though the Plaguecaster found himself beating off the attentions of a Daemonette that followed his manipulation of the aether.
The return fire of the Death Guard was no more impressive than that of the Marines Errant, as Devastator Squad hunkered down under the bombardment of the Soul Grinder while the shrine proved more than adequate cover to disrupt the Lascannon of the Helbrute as it tried to target Venerable Dreadnought
The Tactical Squads jogged forward, bringing the Plaguebearers into short range while, with a scream of engines, a Thunderhawk flew overhead. In its wake, an Assault Squad dropped to the battlefield, right in the path of the Poxwalkers. Bolt Pistols blazing, the Assault Marines dropped four of the plague zombies to the ground but were too far away to follow up with a determined charge.
The Tactical Squads massed their firepower and poured bolter shells into the Plaguebearers but the combination of clouds of flies and the Miasma meant few rounds found their targets, and even with 30 Marines working together, only three Plaguebearers were sent back to the Warp.
The Miasma surrounding the Soul Grinder was having a similar effect on the Devastator Squad, and only a single missile impacted the daemonic machine, barely scratching it.
Sensing an opportunity, the forces of Nurgle raced for the Tactical Squads, the Bloat-Drone floating over the roof of the Manufactorum to support the Plaguebearers, even as the Poxwalkers stumbled towards the Assault Squad.
Long ranged fire from the Plague Marines still taking cover within the Manufactorum accounted for a couple of Tactical Marines, while the Plaguecaster and Herald maintained the coverage of Miasma upon the Plaguebearers and Soul Grinder.
The Marines Errant intensified their fire as the Plaguebearers loomed nearer, but even as the first Plague Sword was swung, no more daemons were destroyed. Putting on a sudden burst of speed, one of the Helbrutes crashed into the side of a Tactical Squad, and the Chaplain knew his Marines were in trouble.
Four Tactical Marines were crushed in an instant by the maddened Helbrute, and another was gutted by a Plaguebearer. The Tactical Marines fought hard, dispatching four daemons with combat knives and fists, but the Helbrute threatened to overwhelm them and their whole line began to break.
Further away, the Poxwalkers reached the Assault Squad and, though completely outclassed, they managed to drag two Marines to the ground. Infected by a hist of Nurgle’s diseases, those Marines began to climb back onto their feet, reaching out to swipe at their former brothers, but the Assault Squad ruthlessly cut them down, and more Poxwalkers besides.
Surveying the battlefield, the Chaplain knew his Marines had killed not nearly enough of the Death Guard to guarantee victory, and he was all too aware that the Lord of Contagion lurked in the ruins…
The Chaplain barked an order and, in a well-practised drill, the Tactical Squads broke contact with the Plaguebearers, Bloat-Drone and Helbrute, and retreated a few paces before raising their weapons.
Another four Plaguebearers fell to their Bolters, but hurriedly aimed missiles simply bounced off the Helbrute’s thick armour, and it was not until the Devastator Squad trained their warheads on it that it began to take noticeable damage. Though grateful for the support, the Tactical Marines cursed as reality shifted just a fraction, and three Plaguebearers popped back into existence.
While the Assault Squad was halting the advance of the Poxwalkers, there was nothing holding the opposite flank, dominated as it was by the Soul Grinder and a second Helbrute. A teleporting Terminator Squad flashed into existence to remedy this, led by another Chaplain.
The Chaplain was disorientated by the sudden teleport, but the Assault Terminators took it in their stride, sighted the nearest Helbrute, and charged.
Their Lightning Claws proved superior to the Helbrute’s armour, and they ripped several armour plates from the mechanised beast, exposing critical systems to further attack. Taken by surprise, the Helbrute reeled under the assault, flailing with its massive hammer to catch one Terminator with a glancing blow.
Meanwhile, the Assault Squad had recovered from the initial attacks of the Poxwalkers and set about ruthlessly dispatching them with Chainswords and Bolt Pistols. Diseased flesh flew in all directions, until there was just a single Poxwalker left.
The Plague Marines kept up their fire, their Plasma Gun boiling another Tactical Marine within his power armour. Enacting another practised drill, the Tactical Squads took a defensive stance as the Helbrute was joined by the Lord of Contagion. Constantly giving ground, they nevertheless managed to save all but two Tactical Marines from the terrible assault.
Further down the street, the Soul Grinder bellowed as it saw an easy target in the puny Terminators swiping chunks out of the second Helbrute.
The Terminators reacted to the massive machine quickly, with only one being two slow to avoid the gargantuan Warp Sword, but they were driven into the waiting hammer of the Helbrute who crushed two more flat.
The Marines Errant had sustained serious casualties but all of their squads, so far, remained intact. If they could just deliver a series of telling blows, they might stand a chance of breaking the Death Guard attack. once more, the Tactical Squads fell back, trading ground for the chance to keep shooting.
A missile from one of the Tactical Squads found a weak point in the Helbrute’s armour and the crazed machine detonated, a dark mushroom cloud rising into the sky to mark its last position. The Marines then turned their attention to the Lord of Contagion, and black smoke billowed around the Chaos champion as missiles, Bolters and grenades were all hurled at him. The Devastator Squad joined in the attack, Bolters supporting the four Missile Launchers that had switched to Krak warheads.
When the firing ceased, the Marines Errant were dismayed to see the Lord of Contagion still striding purposefully towards them, completely unhurt. Crying out a prayer to the Emperor, the Chaplain raised his Corzius and led one of the Tactical Squads in a charge, intent on decapitating the leadership of the Death Guard.
Try as they might, the Tactical Marines could not breach the Cataphractii Terminator Armour of the Lord of Contagion, and even the Chaplian’s Crozius bounced harmlessly off it. Grinning behind his helmet, the Lord of Contagion hefted his mighty axe and split the Chaplain in two.
The second Chaplain, seeing the Soul Grinder and Helbrute were more than capable of defeating the Terminators and taking their flank, ignited his jump pack to reach the Lord of Contagion, but he was far too late to save his brother Marine.
Having slain the first Chaplain, the Lord of Contagion started to hum a merry tune as he turned his attention to the Tactical Squad, quickly reaping two of them in the name of Grandfather Nurgle.
Having finished off the Terminators, the Helbrute and Soul Grinder resumed their advance down the main street in front of the Manufactorum, their weapons booming as they strode.
Its six mechanical legs skittering, leaving deep scars in the rockcrete of the road, the Soul Grinder moved with unholy speed, easily catching up to the last Chaplain as he tried to escape to the Marines Errant main line. Once more, the Warpsword was swung, and there was a blinding flash of light as the energy field of the Chaplain’s Rosarius burned off the energy of the attack. However, it could do nothing for the inertia of the Soul Grinder, and the Chaplain was knocked flying.
Closer to the Manufactorum, the Assault Squad had taken cover, hoping to surprise the Plague Marines inside – however, they had already been spotted.
The Plague Marines piled out of the ruins, gunning two Assault Marines down as the Plaguecaster used the power of Smite to destroy another. Following up this attack with a charge, the leader of the Plague Marines crushed another with his Power Fist, for the loss of only one of his men.
The Marines Errant had fought well and dealt a great deal of damage to the Death Guard, but the army of Nurgle still had its most powerful units fully functional, and the Marines were beginning to run out of chances.
Across the Marines Errant line, squads were running. The Assault Squad gunned their jump packs and leapt towards the Tactical Squads, seeking support, while the Chaplain led the controlled rout from the Soul Grinder and Lord of Contagion.
The Tactical Squads once again massed their fire against the Lord of Contagion and, once again, he grinned happily as Bolter shells ricocheted harmlessly off his armour and flames washed over him. Then a krak missile found its mark, detonating between plates in the Lord’s armour and badly wounded him. He was not grinning any longer and, hefting his axe, he prepared to make the Tactical Squads pay for their temerity.
Seeing the Soul Grinder getting far too close for comfort, the Devastator Squad trained their missiles at it, but cursed as it brushed past every exploding warhead.
Seeing their talents needed nearer the crumbling line of the Marines Errant, the Plaguecaster and Herald of Nurgle both left the cover of the Manufactorum to support the attack. Combining their power, they hurled bolts of enervating energy at the surviving members of the Assault Squad, killing them instantly.
The Soul Grinder rumbled forward towards the ruined building the Devastator Squad had taken shelter in and, reaching up with its massive claw, plucked two Marines out of cover before crushing them. Behind it, the Helbrute rushed into a Tactical Squad, killing another two Marines, while the Lord of Contagion saw the Chaplain directing the Marines Errant – and charged.
The Chaplain fought bravely, and once again his Rosarius flashed as it diverted the axe, but Lord of Contagion quickly reversed his swing and dealt the Chaplain a terrible wound. Fighting the pain as his blood drenched the street, the Chaplain swung his Crosius with all the strength he could muster and the Marines Errant cheered as the Lord of Contagion crashed to the ground.
Once again, the Marines Errant were forced to pull back, the Devastator Squad retreating further into their ruins in an effort to escape the attention of the Soul Grinder. One Tactical Squad let loose a missile that destroyed the last Helbrute, but the fire of the others simply bounced off the Soul Grinder.
Combining their power once again, the Herald and Plaguecaster drained the life out of four Tactical Marines, before the Plague Marines shot another two. Turning its attention away from the skulking Devastators, the Soul Grinder vented its rage upon the Chaplain and two surviving Marines from one of the Tactical Squads, but the Marines were quick and ducked under its blows. Only when it strode forward to pin one of them to the road with a leg did a Marine fall.
Though they had shattered the Death Guard force, the Marines Errant were far from safe and, once again, they were forced to pull back. The walls of the ruined Shrine were shattered as the Venerable Dreadnought strode out into the street trailing dust and crumbling masonry as marched towards the Plague Marines.
The remaining Tactical Marines concentrated their fire on the Plague Marines, but their armour and natural resilience kept them safe from Bolters, grenades, missiles, and even the heavy weapons of the Dreadnought.
The Chaplain had taken cover in the same ruins as the Devastator Squad, directing them to destroy the Soul Grinder. A series of krak missiles buried themselves into the machine’s torso before detonating, blasting the Soul Grinder apart. Secondary explosions from its daemonic power source ignited, and a might detonation tore across the street and blasted the ruins. The Tactical Sergeant facing the Soul Grinder stood no chance, and the Chaplain was buried under tons of rubble as the Devastator Squad scrambled for firm footing.
The Plaguecaster and Herald turned their attentions to the last Tactical Squads, but their energy was waning and only a couple of Tactical Marines were robbed of life.
The leader of the Plague Marines continued to battle against Tactical Marines and the Venerable Dreadnought, but the fight was done and he had no support. The few survivors of the Death Guard retreated from the battlefield, but the Marines Errant had barely enough Marines left to hold the ground they had taken. Forced to wait for reinforcements before moving into the Manufactorum, they could only watch as the Death Guard escaped.
The Death Guard just run out of puff at the end! The final score of 19-11 makes for a convincing victory for the Marines Errant, but it could so easily have gone the other way Going into the last couple of rounds, there was just a four point gap between them and if the Smite barrage had done more damage, and if the Soul Grinder had managed to flatten a couple of units before returning to the Devastators… if, if if….
Though I should point out that, with the Cultists who had stayed within the Sanctum for the entire battle, the Death Guard did actually outnumber the Marines Errant at the end!
The Death Guard might have done better if they had holed up in their deployment zone and brought the Marines Errant forward, but they had to do something about those Missile Launchers (they were bound to hit something at some point…), and the Plaguebearers were always going to form a nice ‘bridge’ to tie up the Tactical Squads, allowing the Lord of Contagion and Helbrutes to follow up with few distractions.
Still, the Death Guard should have some decent supporting units before the fight for the Konor system is over, so stay tuned…