Fate of Konor: Countdown to Destruction

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…

 

Armies

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)
Noxious Blightbringer
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!

Marines Errant
Captain (Chapter Master)
Librarian
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.

 

Deployment

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.

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For their part, the Marines Errant lined up in the centre, determined to punch their way through before the ground fell from their feet.

 

Round One

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.

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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.

IMG_9563 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Two

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

 

Round Three

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Four

A massive quake shook the entire battlefield as the ground fell away, taking three Plaguebearers tumbling with it.

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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.

 

Conclusion

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!

 

 

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Fate of Konor: Into the Hellmouth

Things are taking a dark turn in the Fate of Konor campaign: on the world of Vanitor, the skies burn as daemons pour freely from beyond the veil. The planet’s surface has been reduced to a blasted hellscape, but the Marines Errant are on the offensive as they try to sever the warp breaches.

 

Armies

We are using 90 point forces again for this battle, as we wanted a really convincing force of daemons.

Daemons of Nurgle (Battalion)
Cor’bax Utterblight
Herald of Nurgle
Spined Chaos Beast
Pox Riders x 6
Plague Toads x 3
Nurglings x 6
Nurglings x 3
Nurglings x 3

Daemons of Nurgle (Super-Heavy Auxiliary)
Scabeiathrax the Bloated

The forces of Nurgle are not mucking around on this one – a full force of daemons, led by a renowned Daemon Prince and one of the meanest Greater Daemons in the Warp!

Marines Errant
Chaplain with Jump Pack
Chaplain
Tactical Squad (Flamer, Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Assault Squad
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)
Terminator Squad
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)

Once again, the marines Errant have gone infantry heavy, and this time they will be taking full advantage of their ‘deep strike’ capabilities.

 

Mission: Into the Hellmouth

Victory in this mission revolves around three objectives placed by the forces of Nurgle in their deployment zone. Holding an objective at the end of the battle grants three Victory Points, with another point awarded if the enemy Warlord is slain.

To complicate things, the Marines Errant are using the Sustained Assault rules, allowing them to recycle units as they are destroyed.

The mission itself has two new Stratagems for the Marines Errant – Psychic Equilibrium nullifies mortal wounds during Perils of the Warp, while Teleport Strike allows any infantry unit to be teleported into battle like a Terminator. The Daemons of Nurgle can use Empyric Dissonance, which deals mortals wounds to any unit that sets up as Reinforcements or as part of the Sustained Assault.

The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Warp Surge), permitting a psyker to manifest a power twice in a round.

 

Deployment

The teleportarium of the Marines Errant stood ready with two Terminator Squads and a Tactical Squad, with an Assault Squad ready to fly in on board a Stormhawk. This left one Devastator Squad and two Tactical Squads to deploy within a set of shattered ruins. Before them was a scene straight from hell.

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Three great gates stood before them, vomiting daemonic essence over the landscape. Beside them was an entire army of Nurglesque daemons, led by Scabeiathrax the Bloated himself. Around him hopped Plague Toads and Nurglings, while the Daemon Prince Cor’bax Utterblight slobbered as he croaked orders to to a giant Chaos Spined Beast.

 

Round One

Undaunted, the Tactical Squads of the Marines Errant advanced, raking the Nurglings within the closest ruins with Bolter fire, though to little effect. Loosing great jets of smoke, the Devastator Squad sighted the massive form of Scabeiathrax, but the missiles found their guidance fouled by the Exhalations of the Plague Pit that surrounded the demon and the few that managed to strike home were simply absorbed by its great bulk.

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Surveying the oncoming Marines, Scabeiathrax waddled forward, keen to get to grips with them. Dismayed that his Nurglings had come under attack so soon, the daemon cloaked them with a Miasma, then taking advantage of a Warp Surge, did the same for himself. This attracted the attentions of a warp predator, which Scabeiathrax idly swatted, but it quickly turned upon the Herald who had thrown a Miasma over the Pox Riders. Unprepared, the warp predator savaged him before it was driven away.

 

Round Two

Led by a jump pack-equipped Chaplain, the Assault Squad dropped from their gunship over the far left flank and, with a flash of light, they were quickly joined by a squad of Terminators.

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Another flash on the other side of the battlefield heralded the arrival of the Terminator Assault Squad, who immediately prepared to march on the central gate guarded by the Pox Riders.

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The Devastator Squad switched targets, bombarding the Nurglings in the ruins with Frag Missiles, throwing scores of the little daemons into the air, but most of them seemed to enjoy their brief flight. The Tactical Squad, meanwhile, concentrated their fire upon Scabeiathrax, but cursed the daemon as he simply absorbed everything they could through at him.

Using their Bolt Pistols, the Assault Squad fared no better against the three Plague Toads that began eyeing them up hungrily. Undaunted, the Assault Squad led the Terminators in a rush to the closest gate, slaying two of the toads before they could react.

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The Marines Errant had now placed themselves within reach, and the Daemons of Nurgle moved to close their trap.

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Scabeiathrax lumbered around one of the gates to fend off the Marines Errant assault, sad at the loss of two of his prize toads. The Assault Squad and Terminators steadied themselves as they wondered just how they would bring down the immense behemoth. Scabeiathrax did not give them time, as he once again rode a Warp Surge to continually Smite the Assault Squad, killing six marines with dark, diseased energy in quick succession. As the daemon cloaked himself in a Miasma of Corruption, he unleashed a palsy upon the Terminators, slowing them down.

Taking a deep breath, Scabeiathrax then disgorged a tidal wave of vomit over the Terminators, its daemonically fuelled acid burning through their armour with ease. Three Terminators fell to the ground, never to move again.

It seemed like Scabeiathrax might be capable of defending against the assault of the Marines Errant by himself…

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On the other side of the battlefield, the Assault Terminators were intercepted by the Spined Chaos Beast before they could make much headway to the central gate. Hurling one into the air, the beast swallowed a Terminator before it could attack, while the Lightning Claws of the rest failed to penetrate the thick skin of the daemonic beast.

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Round Three

Having seen two of their squads seriously mauled and with no enemy kills greater than a few Nurglings and a couple of toads, the Marines Errant realised that they had to change their tactics, and quickly.

The Nurglings and last Plague Toad had surged forward to engage the Terminators and Assault Squad, but the Marines were all too aware that the hulking presence of Scabeiathrax lumbering passed the gate was a far greater concern.

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Having paused to deliver a salvo of fire, the Tactical Squads resumed their advance, running forward to close distance to the gates, while the Devastator Squad used Frag Missiles to bombard yet more Nurglings who were capering around the gates on the far side of the battlefield.

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Within the large ruins, the Chaplain joined the Terminators and Assault Squad as they tried to put some distance between themselves and the Daemons of Nurgle to take better effect of their weaponry and buy time before Scabeiathrax reached them.

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Together, they concentrated their Bolter fire upon the Nurglings but the little daemons proved surprisingly elusive targets, and only a few fell. Seeing that the only way to slay the daemons was by hand, the Chaplain rushed into the ruins to start smashing Nurglings apart in bursts of filth with his Crozius.

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However, on the other side of the battle, the Spined Chaos Beast consumed another two Assault Terminators, still ignoring the swipes of Lightning Claws.

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With a deep belch, Scabeiathrax signalled a counterattack, and his daemons gleefully fell over themselves to carry out his order. As the Pox Riders bounded forward towards the advancing Tactical Squads, the Herald got a little too excited as he attempted to throw a Miasma over them – the warp predator returned and pulled the Herald through the gate into an unknown region in the Realm of Chaos.

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Scabeiathrax paid this small loss no mind, as he was truly unstoppable. Maintaining the Miasma he had coated his bulk with, the daemon then inflicted a terrible palsy on the Chaplain, having already marked the Marine for death the death of so many Nurglings. The bulk of his vomit had already been expended, but Scabeiathrax regurgitated the balance on the nearby Tactical Squad, killing two Marines.

The ground shook as Scabeiathrax lumbered forward, swinging his huge Blade of Decay at the Terminators, knocking them flying. However, their armour held true, and both Marines stood back up after the horrific attack.

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In front of the central gate, the Pox Riders bounded forward to smash into the Tactical Squad, instantly causing havoc. Three Tactical Marines were either crushed by the bulk of the toads or swallowed whole, but they managed to drag one Plaguebearer off its mount and destroy its toad with their Combat Knives.

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A little further along, the Assault Terminator were swallowed whole by the Spined Chaos Beast, leaving it free to roam the battlefield.

 

Round Four

Behind the line of battle, a Captain of the Marines Errant had seen earlier on the difficulty that would be faced in fighting the Daemons of Nurgle, and reinforcements had already been dispatched. Another squad of Assault Terminators arrived, marching past the Devastator Squad in a race to support the Tactical Squads before the Pox Riders overwhelmed them.

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One Tactical Squad pulled back from the Pox Riders to unleash a hail of Bolter fire, while the other, led by a Chaplain, rushed in. Together, they managed to fell three of the Pox Riders, but the Chaplain was badly injured by Plague Swords.

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Meanwhile, the Marines of the Assault Squad saw things were getting a little too crowded in the ruins, and they saw a chance to reach one of the gates. Firing up their jump packs, they soared out of the ruins to land squarely behind the daemonic counterattack.

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Within the ruins, the situation was becoming dire. The Terminators and Tactical Squad concentrated on Scabeiathrax, Bolters roaring as Krak Missiles and Grenades sailed through the air. When Scabeiathrax emerged from the smoke, the Marines Errant were dismayed to see the daemon had not suffered a single wound. Their Chaplain had dispatched the last of the Nurglings, and looked up as the shadow of Scabeiathrax fell over him…

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Knowing that Scabeiathrax would not want Assault Marines rampaging in their back line, Cor’bax shuffled towards the gate they had landed by, but giggled as he saw another wave of vomit envelope them, eating each Marine within his armour. Unperturbed, Cor’bax slobbered an order at the Spined Chaos Beast and, together, they ploughed into the two Tactical Squads engaged with the Pox Riders, killing half a dozen Marines between them as a Pox Rider’s toad swallowed the nearby Chaplain whole.

It was to become a darker day for the Marines Errant as Scabeiathrax crashed through the ruins to reach the second Chaplain. Already suffering from an ague that Scabeiathrax had infected him with, the Chaplain was simply crushed by the daemon’s massive bulk as masonry tumbled around him.

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Round Five

Seeing the new squad of Assault Terminators running towards them, the Tactical Squads pulled back from the Pox Riders. However, the Tactical Marines and Terminators within the ruins were incensed at the casual way Scabeiathrax had dispatched their Chaplain, and they rushed forwards to avenge him. As the Terminators laid down covering fire, the Tactical Squad rushed in, only to see five of their number bisected by a single sweep of Scabeiathrax’s Blade of Decay.

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All was not lost, however. In concentrating their counterattack on the Marines Errant, the Daemons of Nurgle had left the furthest gate protected by nothing more than a gaggle of giggling Nurglings. An Assault Squad was dispatched to take the gate and weaken the daemonic invasion.

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Knowing he would never be able to catch the Assault Squad, Cor’bax slobbered a command to the Spined Chaos Beast, and it loped across the battlefield at great speed to reach the reinforcements.

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Still within the ruins, Scabeiathrax decided he had had enough playing with the Marines Errant and, drawing upon the power of another Warp Surge, he blasted the Terminators and Tactical Marines who surrounded him with bolts of pestilent energy, destroying them utterly.

The Marines’ Errant flank had fallen, and Cor’bax chuckled as he surveyed just how few Marines were left to attack the central gate.

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Round Six

The Assault Squad quickly closed range to their designated gate, and the Nurglings around it huddled as they awaited the attack. However, the Assault Marines had seen the Spined Chaos Beast bounding towards them, and wondered whether they would get to the gate in time.

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More Tactical Marines and Terminators appeared on the battlefield to support the Marines Errant attack, but even they feared they had arrived too late.

In front of the central gate, the few remaining Tactical Marines managed to launch a Krak Missile into the Pox Riders, exploding one of them with the anti-tank round while, finally, the Assault Terminators reached the daemons, quickly tearing another apart with their Lightning Claws. However, they had now placed themselves between Scabeiathrax and Cor’bax, between Great Unclean One and Daemon Prince.

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Believing his job done, the last of the Pox Riders hopped out of combat, but the long tongue of his toad snaked out to snatch a Tactical Marine Sergeant as it went. The Marine struggled to free himself but the toad opened its great maw and swallowed him whole when it landed.

Scabeiathrax then rounded the corner of the ruins, trailing a Miasma as he waddled.

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Twiddling his fingers, he sent more bolts of warp energy into the surviving Tactical Marines, killing two, even as he belched up another stream of vomit over the Assault Terminators.

Meanwhile, the Spined Chaos Beast had put on a spurt of speed, and bounded over the remaining distance between it and the Assault Squad. Reaching them before they could ignite their jump packs again, the beast tore into the squad, ripping apart four Marines in seconds.

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Round Seven

Knowing they had precious little time remaining, the Assault Marines ignored the cries of their dying, and fired up their jump packs once more, touching down right in front of the gate. They opened fire on the Nurglings surrounding it, but most of their Bolt Pistol shells exploded harmlessly around the little daemons.

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Rushing in with Chainswords drawn and buzzing, they began slaughtering Nurglings, but succeeded in dispatching only a third of the daemons – the gate was still very much contested.

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Seeing that the Spined Chaos Beast was still too close tot he Assault Squad, the Terminators initiated a quick teleport, appearing next to a homer that had been deployed as the battle started.

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They opened fire on the exposed beast and, this time, their Storm Bolter rounds found their mark, riddling the creature and causing it to limp as it turned around to chase the Assault Squad.

The Devastator Squad, too, was enjoying overdue success, as their Krak Missiles impacted into Cor’bax, sending the Daemon Prince reeling from the blasts. However, Cor’bax recovered quickly, and saw the Assault Terminators were heading his way, in equal parts desperate to escape Scabeiathrax and also reach one of the gates.

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The Assault Squad was close to taking their own gate, their Chainswords in danger of getting clogged up with filth as they swiped and kicked at Nurglings. However, the rearmost Marine felt the ground shake as a massive form raced towards them, before pouncing. Despite the injuries inflicted upon it by the newly arrived Terminators, the Spined Chaos Beast had managed to reach the Assault Squad, and it spared no time tearing them apart.

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Marines fell to its claws and great maw, and the survivors had no choice bu to fire up their jump packs once more and escape, leaving the gate in the hands of the Nurglings.

They, at least, would live – the Assault Terminators doggedly tried to advance upon the central gate, but were caught by a joyous Scabeiathrax, who quickly cracked their armour apart.

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The Marines Errant withdrew from the battlefield, having faced a catastrophic loss.

 

Conclusion

That was nasty – a 7-0 victory for Nurgle, the most lop-sided result we have yet seen in the Fate of Konor campaign.

There are a few reasons for this.

First, in my mind, James (the Marines Errant player) has steadfastly refused to  paint up his Predators and Land Raiders, just one of which could have made all the difference in this battle – it is not as if Nurgle Daemons are particularly well equipped to deal with a tank on the back line during a defensive mission.

Second, the combination of Daemonic Invulnerable saves, Disgustingly Resilient and, frankly, obscene dice rolls for both caused the Marines Errant no shortage of issues from the first turn onwards. True, the daemons suffered two Perils of the Warp in the first turn but, after the Marines Errant had unloaded their entire weight of fire, the Perils had dealt more damage to the daemons than the Marines had…

Third… Scabeiathrax was a complete beast in this battle, and it did not help that the Warp Surge stratagem was active, allowing him to manifest four (four!) psychic powers every turn. As it happened, he failed a fair few psychic tests, but was still able to stack up double Smites or Miasmas in most turns.

In addition, his 7″ Aura that reduces enemy hit rolls by -1, when married to Miasma means even Marines will struggle to hit him and the daemons close by. When this is married to the Pox Riders’ natural ability of -1 to be hit if they have six or more models in the unit (Plaguebearers do something similar) for a total of -3 when Scabeiathrax is near, a Nurgle player can effectively decide which of his units will be attacked – no one is going to attack a unit when they are at -3 to hit, unless they really have nothing else to shoot at.

In a nutshell then, everything (more or less) went right for the Daemons of Nurgle, and almost nothing went right for the Marines Errant.

Still, the Marines Errant are not down and out yet – in the next battle, they are going to try to blow up a planet to stop the forces of Nurgle…

 

 

Fate of Konor: Hold the Line

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.

 

Armies

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)
Foetid Bloat-Drone
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…

Marines Errant
Chaplain with Jump Pack
Chaplain
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher)
Assault Squad
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)
Terminator Squad
Terminator Squad
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.

 

Deployment

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.

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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.

 

Round One

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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Two

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.

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Combined with Lascannon fire from the approaching Helbrute, Devastator Marines began to fall, and the Drones swooped in to finish them off.

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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.

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A single Marine fell to the swords of the Plaguebearers but, in return, two daemons were banished and another two dissolved into thin air.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Three

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Four

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Five

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Round Six

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Round Seven

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.

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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.

 

Conclusion

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!

Fate of Konor: Seek and Destroy

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.

 

Armies

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)
Foetid Bloat-Drone
Helbrute (Multi-Melta)
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.

Marines Errant
Chaplain with Jump Pack
Chaplain
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…

 

Deployment

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.

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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.

 

Round One

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.

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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

 

Round Two

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Round Three

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Chaplain was disorientated by the sudden teleport, but the Assault Terminators took it in their stride, sighted the nearest Helbrute, and charged.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Four

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Closer to the Manufactorum, the Assault Squad had taken cover, hoping to surprise the Plague Marines inside – however, they had already been spotted.

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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.

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Round Five

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.

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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.

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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.

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Round Six

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.

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Round Seven

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Conclusion

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…

Fate of Konor: Invasion!

We are a bit behind the curve on our Fate of Konor games, but we figured we would weigh in as the Death Guard invade Ultramar. Astaramis is being defended by the Marines Errant as Plague Marines, Poxwalkers, and Cultists all crash down upon their lines, ably assisted by a few Daemons of Nurgle.

 

Armies

We  just used small 60-point forces (Power Ratings, heresy!) for a short afternoon’s worth of play, and I decided to forgo the most powerful units to take a small horde-ish ‘comedy’ force.

Army of Nurgle (Battalion)
Lord of Contagion (Tenacious)
Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Gift of Contagion)
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma of Pestilence)
Plague Marines x 7 (Power Fist, Plasma Gun)
Poxwalkers x 20
Chaos Cultists x 20
Plaguebearers x 20 (Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos)
Nurglings
Foetid Bloat-Drone

We are going with a fair horde here, with 70 models racing across the battlefield to invade Astaramis. The Plaguecaster and Herald will be using Miasma of Pestilence during the advance to keep the Plaguebearers who will be at a -2 to be hit!) and something else relatively safe, which the Bloat-Drone will be buzzing about because I know how much the Marines Errant player likes to see it in an army (!).

Marines Errant
Chaplain
Tactical Squad
Tactical Squad
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)
Assault Squad (Sergeant with Lightning Claws)
Devastator Squad (Missile Launchers)

With the ability to use cover all round, this looks like the perfect defensive force for the Marines Errant.

 

Mission: Invasion!

We are using the Invasion! mission from the Fate of Konor campaign which sees the Death Guard pounding towards the Marines Errant who have deployed in defensive positions. Victory is based on victory points – the Marines Errant get a point for every unit they destroy, while the Death Guard gain one for every unit in the defender’s deployment zone at the end of the battle. Both sides get a point for the enemy Warlord.

The mission itself has two new Stratagems – the Death Guard can charge with a unit that advanced (that will certainly get used!), while the Marines Errant can use Suppressing Fire for more accurate Overwatch that also slows attackers down.

The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Inspired Tactics) that increases a Warlord’s aura abilities by 3″.

 

Deployment

The bulk of the Death Guard advanced towards the ruins occupied by the Marines Errant through forests already starting to wilt from the pestilence of the invaders. Ever wary of Astartes trickery, the leaders of the Death Guard stayed close to their minions, a careful eye on the sky to watch for sudden attacks by Assault Marines.

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For their part, the Marines Errant hunkered down in any ruin or behind any barricade they could find, the Devastator and two Tactical Squads looking pitifully small compared to the advancing horde.

 

Round One

The Marines Errant were expecting the Death Guard attack and reacted immediately as soon as they detected movement in front of them. The Tactical Squads repositioned themselves slightly to tighten their defence and unleashed a hail of bolter fire into the stumbling Poxwalkers, knocking down six of them as the Devastator Squad, positioned high within a ruined building, ravaged the swamp in front of them, annihilating the Nurglings there with frag missiles.

This did not deter the Death Guard in the slightest. The Herald of Nurgle manifested a Miasma of Corruption around the Plaguebearers, creating a thick swirl of flies and filth around the daemons that made them almost impossible to see. The Plaguecaster followed suit to shield the Bloat-Drone, then unleashed a powerful bolt of energy that blasted through the power armour of three Tactical Marines huddled behind the closest barricade.

Encouraged by the jocular demands of the Lord of Corruption, every unit except the Plague Marines ran forward, eager to get to grips with the Marines Errant.

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The Plague Marines provided covering fire from the safety of a wood, keeping the heads of the Tactical Squad down long enough for the Poxwalkers to surge forward under the command of their Lord. A single Poxwalker fell to the hurried overwatch fire of the Marines Errant but as the Poxwalkers railed against the barricade, one marine was dragged into the horde and pulled apart, only to rise again as another plague zombie.

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The Chaplain started to chant a battle hymn that galvanised the Tactical Squad and they lashed out with knife, boot and fist, smashing another four Poxwalkers into the ground.

Despite their losses, the Tactical Squad continue to hold the line against the Poxwalker assault.

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Round Two

Not wanting to get bogged down by the Poxwalkers, the Tactical Squad retreated under the direction of the Chaplain. Practicing well-rehearsed bolter drills, the Tactical Squad continued to fire into the Poxwalkers with their bolters, supported by the second Tactical Squad in the building above them. The sheer weight of fire began to have an effect, and another eight Poxwalkers dropped to the ground.

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Descending from the sky on pillars of fire, the Assault Squad entered the battle, dropping right behind the Plaguebearers and Plague Marines, threatening the Lord of Contagion.

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Meanwhile, across the battlefield, the Assault Terminators teleported into the fight, deploying on their left flank to halt the Death Guard advance that had, up to now, been completely unopposed.

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The Terminators sighted the Bloat-Drone, but it was moving too quick for them to intercept, and many of the krak missiles launched at it by the Devastator Squad went wild, their guidance systems fouled by the Miasma that surrounded the daemonic machine. However, one missile flew true, and the Bloat-Drone shuddered as its armour was cracked open.

The Assault Squad quickly got their bearings and unleashed a flurry of fire into the Plaguebearers but, once again, the Miasma and cloud of flies kept Nurgle’s children safe. Seeing that they could not reach the Lord of Contagion, the Assault Marines gunned their jump packs and launched themselves into the Plague Marines lurking within the woods.

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With war cries amplified by their helmet’s voxcasters, the Marines Errant smashed into the Plague Marines, only to find their chainswords and lightning claws skidding off thick power armour and getting lodged uselessly in the diseased and bloated bodies of their enemies. Unimpressed, the Plague Marines cut two Assault Marines down with their Plague Knives, while their leader crushed another with his Power Fist.

The Cultists of Nurgle and Bloat-Drone had no wish to tarry with the Terminators, and so they continued their advance towards the centre of the Marines Errant line, anchored by the two Tactical Squads.

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They were soon joined by the Plaguebearers and, urged on by the Herald, began to climb over the barricades the Marines Errant had been hoping would hold them back. Flies filled the air with their bloated, buzzing bodies, all but completely obscuring the Plaguebearers as the Herald maintained his Miasma upon them.

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The Lord of Contagion found himself torn. On the one hand, he knew he had to advance and his Cataphractii Terminator Armour was not built for running. On the other, their were some Assault Marines very close to him who were just desperate to have their heads sneaked off with his axe. Humming cheerfully to himself, the Lord turned round and closed in on the Assault Squad.

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Though the Assault Squad could see the Lord of Contagion coming, there was little they could do but attempt a solid defence. It was to no avail; the Lord’s axe cleaved through three marines in short order, while the Plague Marines claimed another, effectively shattering the Assault Squad.

The Tactical Squads and Chaplain found themselves coming under serious pressure as well, two of them succumbing to the fountains of filth spewed by the Bloat-Drone.

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This was but a precursor to the assault, as the Plaguebearers clambered over the barricades and stumbled into the Tactical Squad, energised by the close proximity of their Herald.

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Three marines were cut down by their Plague Swords, though the Sergeant managed to dispatch one daemon in return – however, it was too late, as the Sergeant was now the only surviving member of his squad. Seeing the Sergeant waver, the Chaplain dove into the melee, bashing the heads of two Plaguebearers with his Crozius, and intimidating another into fleeing.

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Round Three

Forced to withdraw once again, the Tactical Sergeant ran for the second line of barricades alongside his Chaplain, hoping they could halt the Plaguebearers before they advanced even closer.

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The Chaplain hurled a frag grenade into the mob of Plaguebearers, but blasted apart only a single daemon, while the Tactical Squad on the roof  of a small Administratum building close by unloaded everything they could into the Plaguebearers before they started assaulting their position – unfortunately, even at point blank range, not a single bolter shell found its mark through the Miasma the Herald had conjured.

The Devastator Squad added their weight to stopping the Plaguebearers, but when the smoke from their frag missiles had cleared, only two more daemons had been slain. Things were beginning to look desperate for the Marines Errant.

Hoping to relieve the pressure on the remaining Tactical Marines, the Assault Terminators finally caught up to the Bloat-Drone and charged, but the daemonic machine whirled round and blasted them with both Plaguespitters, the insidious liquid finding its way even through Terminator Armour to melt the flesh of two marines.

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Despite reaching their prey, their Lightning Claws proved inadequate to breach the Bloat-Drones armour, and they were left flailing helplessly as it started to float out of their reach.

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Now it was the turn of the Cultists to clamber over the barricade, unloading a hail of mostly inaccurate fire at the approaching Terminators as they went. The Terminators shrugged off most of the small calibre shells, but one round did make it through their thick armour, and one marine started to limp as he continued to intercept the Nurgle horde.

Seeing this, the Plaguecaster summoned a bolt of energy that finished off the wounded Terminator but he tried to harness the power of the Warp a little too eagerly, and seriously injured himself as a Daemon of Tzeentch momentarily appeared to swipe at him.

As the last of the Assault marines succumbed to Nurgle’s Rot, the Plague Marines tried to support the advance of the Cultists by training their weapons on the Terminators. However, their bolter rounds simply ricocheted off the inches thick armour, and the overcharged Plasma Gun in the squad boiled its wielder.

As the Bloat-Drone smothered one Tactical Marine in the Administratum building with its Plaguespitters, the Plaguebearers shambled forward to attack the Tactical Sergeant and Chaplain.

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Though the two marines managed to hold the Plaguebearers back and dispatched another two, the Chaplain was wounded in the fight.

 

Round Four

Seeing the Plaguebearers beginning to surround them, with Cultists close behind, the Chaplain and Sergeant leapt over the barricade to confront the Herald of Nurgle, even as the last two Terminators moved to face the Cultists.

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Knowing the back of the Nurgle force had to be broken or they would fall, the Marines Errant maintained their constant fire. As the Cultists turned to face the Terminators, the Tactical Squad raked their ranks with bolter fire, killing three.

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The Chaplain hurled another frag grenade, killing the last of the Poxwalkers, while the Devastator Squad split its fire. Four krak missiles unerringly homed in on the Bloat-Drone, blasting it from the sky, while the other marines trained their bolters and frag grenades on the Plaguebearers who were now too close for comfort. The daemons moaned mournfully as they were pummelled by accurate fire, the last of them dissolving into nothing as the energy binding it to the material world faded.

The Assault Terminators feinted at the Cultists, then turned to rush the Plague Marines. Once again, the Plague Marines put up a solid defence, ignoring the flashing Lightning Claws as their leader crushed a Terminator with his Power Fist, leaving only the Sergeant still fighting.

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The Marines Errant now only had two intact squads, the Tactical Squad in the Administratum building and the Devastators in the taller ruins, and while they had managed to counter the Plaguebearers and Poxwalkers, there were still too many Death Guard forces roaming the battlefield to be safe.

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As the Plaguecaster through a Miasma around the Lord of Contagion the Cultists trotted to the Administratum building, intent on dislodging the Tactical Marines taking cover there.

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Their autoguns and autopistols bounced uselessly off the building and the marines’ power armour but, undaunted, they continued their advance , ignoring the two of their number who fell to overwatch fire from the Marines Errant. With a cry to Grandfather Nurgle, they clambered up the ruined building to face the marines.

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Surprised at the speed of the Cultists, two marines were quickly dragged down, but then the their training took over. Two Cultists were pummelled to death, causing another three to run in terror. However, the Tactical Squad had been seriously reduced in number and its position had been made untenable by the marauding Cultists.

With a grumbling moan, the Herald of Nurgle challenged the Chaplain to single combat, but neither was able to land a telling blow.

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Further away, amidst the woods, the last Marines Errant Terminator was smashed apart by the Power Fist-wielding Plague Marine.

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Round Five

Surrounded by Cultists, the three surviving Tactical Marines leapt off the roof of the Administratum building, their Sergeant throwing a frag grenade behind him to blast three of their attackers.

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Meanwhile, the Devastators continued their withering fire, this time using krak missiles against the Plague Marines. Though having weathered everything the Marines Errant had thrown at them up to now, even Plague Marines could not withstand sustained anti-tank fire, and three of their number exploded as they raced for cover.

In the centre of the battlefield, the Chaplain was aided by his Sergeant and, together, they managed to force the Herald of Nurgle on the back foot, wounding the daemon. However, the Herald recovered quickly and dealt the Chaplain a savage blow with its Plague Sword, sending the marine reeling.

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Seeing what the Devastators did to their beloved Plague Marines, the Cultists withdrew from the Administratum building, taking cover in its shadow. They were immediately confronted by the Tactical Marines they had been battling on its rooftop, but their pitiful autogun fire simply rattled off power armour.

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The Herald of Nurgle, already wounded, was hard-pressed fighting both a marine Sergeant and a Chaplain, steadily giving ground as they traded blows. The marines did not notice the heavy footsteps of the Lord of Contagion until it was too late.

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Rushing forward as fast as his Cataphractii Terminator armour would allow, the Lord of Contagion hefted his axe and bisected the Chaplain with a single, solid blow.

Round Six

Where once the sounds of bolter fire and missiles had raged over the battlefield, an eerie quiet now descended, broken only by the occasional snap shot – both armies had suffered greatly and the survivors began taking a great deal more care.

The Devastator Squad still commanded a view over the entire battlefield, their missile launchers promising death to any who stayed in their sights for too long.

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Seeing his Chaplain’s body fall to the ground, the Sergeant retreated from the Lord of Contagion, hurling a frag grenade as he went that blasted the Herald of Nurgle apart in a  shower of filth. On the other side of the Administratum building, the three survivors of the Tactical Squad charged the Plaguecaster, catching the psyker offguard. Weakened by the Perils of the Warp earlier, the Plaguecaster soon fell to their blows.

The Death Guard now had few units standing, but the Lord of Contagion was still intent on making the Marines Errant pay for stalling his advance. As the Plague Marines took shelter in a ruined tower, the Lord advanced upon the Administratum building, keen to wipe out any Marines Errant who lurked nearby.

Round Seven

Under the watchful eyes of the Devastator Squad close by, all the action of the battle was now to take place around the Administratum building where the remnants of the Marines Errant faced the Lord of Contagion.

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The Tactical Squad quickly gunned down the Cultists lurking behind them, finally putting an end to the chatter of autopistols and shotguns, while the Tactical Sergeant rushed the Lord of Contagion, swearing an oath to avenge his Chaplain. With one contemptuous swing of his axe, the Lord broke that promise.

Seeing that the Devastator Squad was too far away, the Lord of Contagion lumbered around the front of the Administratum building, catching the Tactical Squad unawares. With deft swipes of his axe, all three Tactical Marines hit the ground, dismembered and disemboweled.

Both armies had been shattered, but the Marines Errant had managed to hold the line against the Death Guard. Elsewhere on the world of Astaramis, Imperial forces had triumphed, stalling the Nurgle assault – now the fight would move to Konor itself…

 

Conclusion

That was a close battle – both forces had just one intact unit each at the end (the Devastators and Lord of Contagion), with the Plague Marines hiding out of sight in a tall tower!

And speaking of the Plague Marines, they have to be the Men of the Match – first they were jumped by an Assault Squad, who just bounced off them and were dispatched with only a little help from the Lord of Contagion. Then they faced off a Terminator Assault Squad, again with no losses. In fact, up to that point, the only casualty they had sustained had come from an exploding Plasma Gun. It took anti-tank missiles to start knocking them down!

The final score was 7-3 to the Marines Errant, which may seem a bit lop-sided – there has been some criticism on various forums of this mission (and the second in the Konor campaign) that the forces of the Imperium are somewhat… favoured. I am not sure that is intentional or not on the part of GW (conspiracy!) but going into this battle I had figured it would be easier to destroy more units than it would be to keep them alive, and the single point for the Warlord is never going to be enough to tip that balance.

However, this was a decent showcase for the Death Guard, and we had a lot of fun with the armies. The Plague Marines were simply awesome and, once he gets in among the pigeons (as it were), the Lord of Contagion is all but unstoppable.

The Miasma psychic power is also a very good tool in the Death Guard’s arsenal, but not always in the way you might think. People hate having negative modifiers on their to hit rolls, and will often avoid a unit with a negative modifier altogether (unless there is really nothing to shoot at). So, if you put Miasma on a unit, do not get despondent if the enemy does not shoot at it – it is not wasted (not getting shot at all is way better than the negative modifier!), and you can begin using that to influence the opposing player into shooting the things you want him to shoot at.

And stacking Miasma on a large Plaguebearer unit that already has a negative modifier to be hit is just plain rude. Not that they do much once they get to grips with the enemy…

I am looking forward to expanding the Death Guard with the new releases. More Plague Marines, certainly, plus some heavy support in the form of tanks and Terminators will be greatly appreciated.

 

Battle Report – Gathering Bloodstorm

We are going to be trying out the second of the new Battleplans in Battletome: Blades of Khorne, this time seeing what the weight of a daemonic legion makes of the Ironjawz.

 

The Story So Far

The forces of Khorne had been trying to wrest Ghyran from the dominance of Nurgle for decades and, after the successes of the Stormcasts had shaken the Rotbringers hold, the Blood God had started seeing some gains. However, a new power had arrived in the Jade Kingdoms, a mighty Orruk horde inspired by the Fist of Gork himself, Gordrakk.

Many Megabosses led their warbands into the Realm of Life, smashing aside Sylvaneth, Rotbringer and Bloodbound alike. Khorne could not stand to let primitive creatures like the Orruks disrupt his plans and so he unleashed the Helfire Legion, a daemonic force that swept through the forces of the Orruks, tearing apart Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz alike.

While the daemons of Khorne advanced, a raging Bloodstorm churned in the skies overhead, fuelling bloodlust and murder in any who saw it. As the Helfire Legion approached the warband of Kraga Daemonbasher, the Megaboss grinned as he waved his own boys forward.

As far as the Ironjawz were concerned, this was shaping up to be a good fight.

 

The Forces

We want this battle to be a truly memorable clash, and so we have gone for mid-sized forces that nonetheless have some serious power behind them.

Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage
Exalted Daemon Prince
Bloodmaster
Skullmaster
Bloodthrone
Karanak
Flesh Hounds x 10 (two units of 5)
Bloodcrushers x 6
Skull Cannon
Bloodletters x 40 (two units of 20)

We are using a very large (Forge World) model for the Daemon Prince, and so will be ‘exalting’ him by doubling his wounds. In addition, all the units are arranged into a Blood host of Khorne led by the Bloodthirster, makes several units close to him very angry indeed!

Ironjawz
Megaboss
Weirdnob Shaman
Brutes x 15 (three units of 5)
Gore-Gruntas x 6 (two units of 3)
Ardboys x 52 (two units of 20, one unit of 12)

All the basic parts of an Ironjawz force are here, with the Brutes arranged into a Brutefist (tough Big Boss, and a chance to charge in the hero phase while dishing out mortal wounds), and the Gore-Gruntas and Ardboys in Weirdfist (allowing the Weirdnob to really suck up the magical power of his boyz!).

 

The Battleplan

In this fight, the Daemons of Khorne have a new command ability, Glory to Khorne! This allows the general (Bloodthirster or Daemon Prince) to immediately pile in and fight, and if he deals out 8 or more wounds, he earns a Blood Tithe point. The Ironjawz get their own ability, Fight Fire with Fire, allows one unit close to the Megaboss to re-roll all failed hits.

A mighty Bloodstorm is raging above the battlefield, which has two effects – first off, no Battleshock tests are taken for this battle and, second, every turn, players count how many enemy units they wiped out, and multiply that by the battle round number. This becomes their Bloodstorm point total, and the player with the highest at the end of the fifth round wins!

 

Deployment

The two armies threaded their way through the Skull Keep complex, lining up to face their foes. As Bloodletters hissed malevolently, the Ardboyz and Brutes jeered and bashed their weapons together, taking energy from the swirling bloodstorm overhead as they were driven into a frenzy of destruction.

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Megaboss Kraga Daemonbasher was unusually subdued though, for he had every expectation that the wrathful Bloodthirster opposite would be making a beeline for him as soon as hostilities commenced.

 

Battle Round One

Galvanised by the Bloodstorm in the sky, the daemons of Khorne acted first, running towards the Orruks with all speed. Behind them, more daemons arrived, in the form of a Bloodthrone, Karanak and a truly massive Daemon Prince.

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With a boom that echoed across the battlefield, the Skull Cannon blasted a flaming skull clear through an unlucky Ardboy.

Not that the Orruks were put off by this display – they charged, bellowing as they went, promising maximum violence to any daemon they caught. The Ardboyz clashed with the daemons first, piling into forty Bloodletters with no thought to their own safety.

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Hellblades and crude axes were swung, and great gouges were torn out of both sides but this only served to drive daemon and Orruk to ever greater heights of savagery. Further along the line, more Ardboyz crashed into the Bloodcrushers, grinding one of them into the dirt.

Not to be outdone, two units of Gore-Gruntas arrived ion the battlefield, waved on by the Megaboss who had taken cover in the Sylvaneth Woods.

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The battle had opened with outright savagery, but both armies were only just getting started.

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Battle Round Two

Roaring with anger, the Bloodthirster took to the sky, crashing down in front of the Brutefist as it drove the Flesh Hounds forward with a crack of its whip.

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Barging the Skullmaster aside, the Bloodthirster piled into the nearest Brutes but the Orruks had been watching its approached and scattered as the Axe of Khorne bisected a single Brute. Seeing the Bloodthirster recovering from its swing, the Brutes counterattacked, hacking through the daemon’s greaves and causing it to bellow in pain.

Close by, the Flesh Hounds savaged a Brute but half a dozen of them were dispatched back to the Realm of Chaos by the return attacks.

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Further down the line, the Bloodthrone drove into a unit of Ardboyz who were preparing to add their weight against the Bloodcrushers, but only a single Ardboy fell under its wheels. Another Bloodcrusher was torn apart but reality blinked and all the Bloodcrushers’ losses were reversed.

Sighing, the Ardboyz picked up their weapons and began their attacks afresh upon the Juggernaut riders.

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The Brutes fighting the Bloodthirster were having the time of their lives, for here was an enemy truly worth fighting. They were not selfish either, as they beckoned another unit of Brutes in to join them. Together, they started to hammer the Bloodthirster as one of the Bosses leapt up to snare the Bloodthirster by the throat with his Klaw before bashing it round the head with his Brute Smasha.

The Bloodthirster reeled from these rude attacks.

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A mighty battle was forming quickly in the centre of the battlefield as the Gore-Gruntas reached the fray and charged, effectively linking the three Ardboyz units, Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers, and Bloodthrone into one vicious brawl. Many Orruks were felled, while many daemons were banished, and the Bloodthrone was quickly being taken apart by Ardboyz, despite the Herald’s best efforts to keep them at bay with its Hellblade.

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The Bloodthirster was badly wounded, while the Orruks’ own general had yet to enter the fight. However, the battle stood on the edge of a knife, with neither daemon nor Orruk willing to give ground.

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Battle Round Three

Despite the Bloodthrister’s wounds, the land itself still rebelled against the daemon’ presence, and the Brutes yelped in confusion as massive cracks opened between their feet. One was too slow, and fell screaming into the abyss.

However, even the furious Bloodthirster could see this was not enough and with a mighty sweep of its wings, the greater daemon soared away from the Brutes.

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The Orruks jeered at this cowardice, only falling silent when they saw the Bloodthirster’s plan unfold – a great Daemon Prince now loped towards them.

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Joined by Karanack and the Skullmaster, the Daemon Prince was the embodiment of savagery, hammering every Brute it could reach.

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Meanwhile, the Bloodcrushers had suddenly surged forward, catching a group of Ardboyz by surprise and stampeding three of the Orruks into the ground. However, now the Megaboss and Gore-Gruntas had joined the fray, the Bloodcrushers were being steadily whittled down and a great many Bloodletters were banished from the battle.

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Watching the battlefield, Khorne himself instilled a terrible and divine Murderlust in his Bloodthirster, then raged with impotent fury as he watched the Bloodthirster take this rare power and used it to hide within the Crucible. However, the Gore-Gruntas were watching and they goaded their hungry mounts onwards in pursuit. They caught the Bloodthirster just as it reached the Crucible, riding the greater daemon down as it wailed, knowing full well the fate that now awaited it at the foot of the Skull Throne.

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As Ardboyz tore apart the Bloodthrone on one side of the battlefield, the Weirdnob Shaman on the other gathered the mighty energies of the Waaagh! from every Orruk close to him and hurled an empowered Arcane Bolt at the Skullmaster, immolating the Herald in a single blast.

 

Battle Round Four

Feeling the momentum of the battle begin to build behind them, the Ironjawz redoubled their attacks. Karanak unbound another Arcane Bolt, much to the chagrin of the Weirdnob Shaman, but the Flesh Hound was already badly battered by the Brutes it faced, and even the great Daemon Prince was beginning to look unsteady from the multiple deep wounds it had sustained.

By now, the Bloodcrushers had been reduced to a single Juggernaut, fending off attacks from the Ardboyz and Gore-Gruntas that surrounded it.

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However, the Bloodletter riding the Juggernaut was as spiteful as a Khornate daemon could be, and it stabbed forward with its Hellblade, straight into the heart of the Megaboss.

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The rest of the Ironjawz barely noticed the loss of their general as they were now chanting war songs as they happily bashed in the heads of daemons, banishing them with every swipe. In quick succession, Karanak was dispatched back to the Realm of Chaos, followed by the last of the Bloodletters and the Bloodcrusher.

Though many Brutes had been killed by the enemies they faced, they remained undaunted, slaying the Daemon Prince and breaking the back of the Khorne force.

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Battle Round Five

Only the Skull Cannon remained intact among the Khornate daemons, and it fired defiantly from within the Crucible, killing a Gore-Grunta and then a Brute. The Ironjawz tried to rally for one final assault, but they were exhausted. Congratulating themselves on a battle well fought, they retired from the battlefield, happy but tired.

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Conclusion

That was, predictably, a bloody battle!

That said, no units were destroyed (and thus no victory points were earned) until the third round when one of the Bloodletter units was finally wiped out. Things picked up quickly from there though, with the Ironjawz leading 18 points to 6 at the end of the third round, going up to 34 to 10 in the fourth round!

Once the Ironjawz got going, there seemed to be nothing that could stop them, though the Daemons of Khorne clawed back a lot of points at the end, leaving the score at 34 to 20 in favour of the Ironjawz – the Orruks may have won, but it will be a while before they can build their strength back up again!

 

The Story Continues…

In the wake of the Realmgate Wars, Sigmar built many cities across the Mortal Realms – and not everyone is happy about that. The Orruks have gathered their forces into one mighty horde in Ghyran, and only a thin line of Hallowed Knights stand in between them and the Free Peoples.

This is going to be a truly immense battle (well over 6,000 points on each side!) so we have to set a day to fight it – but it is going to be a truly memorable battle, so keep an eye out for it!

Badab War: End of the Beginning

This weekend we completed the first part of the first phase of the Badab War as we completed the mini-campaign that made up the initial landings on Bellerophon’s Fall of the Mantis Warriors and Salamanders.

The Salamanders had been forced back to their landing zones and were forced to quickly construct some hasty fortifications, while the Marines Errant had driven forward through the defences of the Mantis Warriors and were laying siege to one of the industrial centres.

For these battles, we used the All-Round Defence mission from the old Battle Missions book, with the Mantis Warriors as the attackers on one table and defenders on the other – to make things more ‘interesting’, we decided these battles would be played simultaneously, side-by-side and turn-by-turn!

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In the industrial centre, the Marines Errant quickly surrounded the Mantis Warriors with Tactical Squads, Terminators and an Assault Squad, while Devastators took the high ground to pound the Mantis Warriors’ bastion with missiles. The Marines Errant stole an early lead by destroying the Mantis Warriors’ Stormraven while it was still on the ground.

Very quickly, the Mantis Warriors were under extreme pressure.

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The Rhinos sacrificed themselves to hold up rampaging Assault Marines and Terminators, giving the Mantis Warriors time to formulate a response. While the Relic Deredo kept the heads of two Tactical Squads down and hunkering within buildings, the Tactical Squads inside the Bastion and Firestorm Redoubt maintained a steady rate of fire on the attackers, until they could be relieved by the Dreadnought and Captain.

The battle hung in the balance for perilously long minutes and things looked lost when the Devastator Squad finally brought the Bastion down in a shower of debris and rubble. However, the Mantis Warriors managed to rally and finally broke the back of the Marines Errant, leaving just a couple of Tactical marines to flee the battlefield.

Around the landing zones of the Salamanders, things were also going well.

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A Land Speeder, Attack Bike Squadron and Dreadnought had been scouting out the landing zone and quickly found a valley in which the Salamanders seemed weakest. Sending comms back to the Librarian leading the attack force, heavy support soon arrived.

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The Salamanders quickly found themselves under severe pressure as a Land Raider Crusader and squadron of Vindicators drove into the valley and began pounding the Bastion. They started taking serious losses and then the worst happened – a direct hit from the Relic Vindicator Laser Destroyer tore through the Bastion, crushing four Tactical Marines under the rubble.

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The Salamanders led a spirited counterattack against the Land Raider Crusader and the Terminators it had disgorged, finally driving the Mantis Warriors away from the landing zone.

 

Coming Next

An exciting weekend of battles! And the moral of the story – bastions are bloody hard to attack!

The Mantis Warriors managed to finally stall the seemingly unstoppable thrust into their territory by the Marines Errant but, in turn, were unable to force the Salamanders off of Bellerophon’s fall. The war for the industrial moon is now going to progress at a slog, as neither Loyalist nor Secessionist have managed to deliver a knockout blow yet.

For that, we are going to be spending the next few months on a sort of map-based campaign, with the fast-moving Mantis Warriors constantly striking at the Loyalists who are trying to deliver a telling strike. This will be resolved using the ‘rules’ presented for map-based campaigns in Age of Sigmar’s Generals Handbook.

However, that is not all that is going on – very soon we will be launching boarding actions on the Karthan Convoy, with the Mantis Warriors taking over merchant vessels and conducting fighter sweeps.

Stay Tuned!