The forces of the Imperium are strained trying to contain the invading armies, and the Walking Pox is running amok amidst the dwindling population of Drenthal. Imperial High Command has therefore taken the decision to overcharge the fusion core of Terebral Station Sigma – all loyalist forces must fight their way to the starport or perish in the destruction of the entire planet…
In the rush to get off planet, armies are hardly cohesive, so we are taking this opportunity to use smaller forces, at 60 points.
Death Guard (Battalion)
Daemon Prince of Nurgle (Tainted Regeneration, Suppurating Plate, Miasma of Pestilence)
Malignant Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Blades of Putrefaction)
Poxwalkers x 20
Plague Marines x 7 (Power Fist, Plasma Gun)
Cultists x 20
Daemons of Nurgle (Patrol)
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma of Pestilence)
Plaguebearers x 30
Nurglings x 6
The forces of Nurgle are starting to find their pace now – still don’t have enough Plague Marines (I foresee a big block of 20 in the near future, tooled up for close combat…), but the Plaguebearers are now 30-strong, we have the Daemon Prince in there and… we now have access to the new Codex – hello, Tainted Regeneration, Suppurating Plate and Blades of Putrefaction!
Captain (Chapter Master)
Venerable Dreadnought (Assault Cannon)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher, Flamer)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)
The Marines Errant are bringing one of the big guns for this fight, as their Chapter Master desperately leads the retreat, advised by his Librarian.
Mission: Countdown to Destruction
At the end of this battle (random game length), the Marines Errant will count up the Power Level of all units leaving the battlefield by the Death Guard’s table edge (not counting Flyers). If this totals 20 or more, then gain a major victory – any other result is a major victory for the Death Guard.
To complicate things, the Marines Errant will find that the ground disappears up to 6″ from their own table edge every round, and anything standing there will fall into the planet’s core, ensuring they are being driven forward at a fair pace!
To make things even more exciting (and to avoid easy wins) we are also not going to allow Reinforcements to teleport/drop onto the table.
The mission itself has two new Stratagems for the Death Guard – Aerial Dominance allows them to recycle destroyed Flyers, while Delaying Tactics allows the Death Guard to try to stop the Marines Errant from falling back (the cowards!). For their part, the Marines Errant can use Forced March, which allows them to roll three dice when Advancing, picking the best result.
The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Fighter Ace) allowing a single Flyer to gain a +1 bonus to hit rolls for the whole battle.
The forces of Nurgle skulked around the ruins as the world literally tore itself apart, with a huge horde of Plaguebearers holding the centre, supported on the flanks by Poxwalkers and Cultists. The Plague Marines, Plaguecaster and Daemon Prince took position just a little further back, ready to plug any gaps.
For their part, the Marines Errant lined up in the centre, determined to punch their way through before the ground fell from their feet.
The Marines Errant wasted no time, and jogged forward, aware that behind them the apocalypse was happening. They were immediately confronted by waves of Nurglings who fell over one another as they giggled and reached out to the Marines.
Working together, the Tactical Squads gunned down the Nurglings as their Librarian created a Null Zone that robbed the daemons of their vitality. Nurglings burst apart in a spray of pus and filth as Bolter rounds detonated around them.
Taking advantage of their momentum, one Tactical Squad swept round the ruined Shrine of the Aquila to confront the Poxwalkers lurching towards them. Supporting fire from the Venerable Dreadnought ripped into the Poxwalkers before the Tactical Marines drew their Combat Knives and set about driving the zombies back with devastating efficiency.
The Marines Errant had worse luck in the centre as a Tactical Squad crashed into the Plaguebearers alongside an Assault Squad. Clouds of flies obscured their vision and clogged their breather masks, but they managed to banish four daemons and watched as another three faded from view, their hold on the material world broken.
Another Tactical Squad burst through the door of the Shrine of the Aquila, but halted as they saw a squad of Plague Marines waiting for them.
By now, all the Marines Errant were engaged, with just the Chapter Master and Librarian holding back, waiting for their moment as the Venerable Dreadnought continued to unleash supporting fire with its Assault Cannon.
Seeing the Assault Marines held in place by the Plaguebearers, the Cult Leader ordered his devotees to pull back, ready to guard against a breakout by the Marines Errant.
The Daemon Prince, however, had more forthright ideas. Striding forward, he ignored the Tactical Squad fighting the Poxwalkers and turned the corner of the Shrine of the Aquila to find not only a Venerable Dreadnought, but the Librarian and Chapter Master too.
Ignoring the Dreadnought, the Daemon Prince hurled a bolt of pestilent energy at the Chapter Master, but found his psychic energy drained by the Librarian’s Null Zone. As the Malignant Plaguecaster threw a Miasma of Pestilence over him, the Daemon Prince lumbered forward to knock the Librarian flying with one sweep of his Hellforged Sword.
Inside the Shrine, the Plague Marines advanced on the Tactical Squad who had intruded upon them, gunning down two Marines, then cutting down another three with their Plague Knives, This was too much for one Marine who, under the influence of the Blightbringer’s Tocsin of Misery, turned and ran for cover.
Not far away, the Plague Swords of the Plaguebearers started to drip with rotting filth as the Plaguecaster gifted them with Blades of Putrefaction. The daemons were quick to capitalise on this as they hacked down four more Assault Marines.
Behind the Marines Errant, the world was in turmoil as a massive section of the earth fell into the core of the planet. The Chapter Master gave a wary look behind him and knew time was running out. Barking orders, he commanded his Marines to make a general retreat, breaking out towards the starport where they could and holding the enemy if that was impossible.
The three surviving Assault Marines needed no encouragement as they gunned their jump packs and leapt high over the heads of the Plaguebearers. However, the Cultists had been waiting for just such a move and were already on their way to cut the Assault Squad off.
At the front of the Shrine of the Aquila, the Chapter Master summoned the two closest Tactical Squads and he directed their fire against the Daemon Prince who seemed all but invulnerable.
When the smoke had cleared from their Bolters, Flamers, grenades, and Krak Missiles, the Daemon Prince was still standing, leering at the Librarian and Chapter Master. Then, the Venerable Dreadnought charged him from behind.
The Daemon Prince was nearly knocked off his feet by the Dreadnought’s mighty Power Fist, and he stumbled against the steps of the Shrine before he could recover.
Undaunted, the Daemon Prince regained his feet and grinned at his foes as the wounds he had sustained began to knit and heal before their eyes. Waving a great hand, he then cast a Miasma of Pestilence about himself, but was too arrogant in this display of power and was savaged by a Predator of the Warp before he managed to banish the errant daemon.
However, the balance of the fight had now been reversed and as the Venerable Dreadnought flailed helplessly against the Daemon Prince’s layered defences, the Hellforged Sword started hacking huge slices of armour plating. The Tactical Squads supporting the Chapter Master and Dreadnought quickly found themselves sandwiched between the Daemon Prince and the Plaguebearers who marched forward to engage them.
Across the battlefield, a Tactical Squad had fought its way past the Poxwalkers and was now sprinting for the starport – however, they had not done so unnoticed…
Despite the range, the Plague Marines laid down terribly accurate fire with their Bolters and Plasma Gun, and two Marines fell to the ground. Another two were immolated within their armour as the Plaguecaster summoned the energy of the Warp to stop them.
The Assault Squad, too, was within sight of the starport, but the Cultists were hot on their heels, gunning down two Marines with their auto-weapons, leaving just the Sergeant standing. Screaming prayers to Grandfather Nurgle, they rushed in, but Lightning Claws were their only reward as three were cut down in seconds.
As the grounds continued to plummet into the core of the planet, the Venerable Dreadnought staggered away from the Daemon Prince. The Librarian tried to summon destructive energies from the Warp to finish off the Daemon Prince but found his talent suppressed by a gleeful Plaguecaster. At the entrance to the Shrine, a Tactical Squad unleashed every weapon they had, doing little damage, but distracting the Daemon Prince long enough for the Venerable Dreadnought to turn around and blast the creature apart with a burst of its Assault Cannon.
However, the Plaguebearers were now in position to use their full weight against the Marines Errant and a bitter fight erupted as both daemon and Marine fell.
Seeing no chance to help his brothers, the Assault Sergeant fired up his jump pack once more, and raced to the starport.
The Death Guard had stalled the main advance of the Marines Errant, but small units were beginning to slip through the gaps – and so the chase to the starport began.
Furious at having let the Assault Sergeant slip through their fingers, the Cultists ran for the Shrine of the Aquila, eager to prove themselves by facing the Venerable Dreadnought as it marched forward. The Plague Marines, joined by the Plaguecaster and Blightbringer, were far more pragmatic, and they jogged forward after the Tactical Squad that was also nearing the starport.
Long-ranged Bolter and Plasma fire claimed two of the Tactical Marines, but the Plaguecaster was the only one close enough to reach them. Charging in, he blocked their path, but they dodged the swings of his Corrupted Staff.
A massive quake shook the entire battlefield as the ground fell away, taking three Plaguebearers tumbling with it.
The Chapter Master and Librarian now had their backs to a fiery death while the hordes of Nurgle lay between them and safety – nodding to one another, they turned and ran for the starport, hoping to find some way through.
Further ahead, the three surviving Tactical Marines worked together bowling over the Plaguecaster as they raced for the starport, catching the last gunship before it took off.
As the gunship fired its engines and rocketed into orbit, the world below them collapsed in upon itself.
Short but intense! The Marines Errant claimed victory by getting to the starport but, with just four Marines making it to the waiting gunship, they could not have been proud.
The big question, of course… how did the new Death Guard Codex work?
Overall, well! The Daemon Prince bit way more off than he could chew, but he successfully tied up the Venerable Dreadnought and two characters while he fought, and the rest of the Marines Errant were blocked solidly by the Death Guard and Nurgle daemons. Only the Assault Sergeant, who used his speed (and was really very lucky not to be mobbed by those Cultists) and the Tactical Squad, who threw caution to the wind and just legged it, managed to reach safety.
Everyone else probably died on that battlefield!
One lesson is clear – you need a lot of Command Points for the Death Guard, as there is always a Stratagem you will want to employ (to the extent that using them for re-rolls seems a waste). For mid-sized games, a Battalion and an Outrider/Vanguard/Spearhead detachment might be the way to go and, if you can squeeze everything in, two Battalions.
However, the final analysis has to be that the Death Guard were tough to kill before, and they are even tougher now!