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Caledonian Deathwatch Network

Whats this 8th ed all about? First Down Under event for a year

Hello folks, Sean here. For those of you that don’t know me, I helped start up the Deathwatch podcast originally, and along with other regular Deathwatch contributor Paul, I started up the Stronghold tournament years ago now, initially to help bring the tournament scene to more casual gamers in the the central belt of Scotland. I enjoyed Liam’s recent post about the expanding Scottish tournament scene and general increase in those looking to play 40k fun but hard, and share his opinion that it’s good to see, as there really was not a lot of it back in the day!

Last couple of years I’ve been trolling about Australia and New Zealand, but couldn’t really keep away from the hobby. Picking up some Necron models whilst I was still in Oz, there wasn’t too much of a scene in North Queensland, but after moving to Christchurch in NZ have been able to get much more regular games, and there’s a fair spread of events too. Been super busy with real life stuff impinging on my hobby time (whats that all about!?) in the last year, but recently realised that I hadn’t been to a tournament in a year, and none since 8th dropped, so decided I was ready to mix some shiznit up!

With that in mind I decided to get to the excellent Tempest, which I’d attended the year before. Last year was 1000pts in 7th ed, where I think I came 11th out 40+, which I was happy enough with considering A) soft scores count big here, and my painting is more 4 year old with ADHD than Michelangelo, and B) I was playing footslogger Harlequins in 7th ed, which were considered one of the weakest armies at the time. Ended up, points wise I was top scoring Eldar player of any description, which was a decent showing considering Craftworlders were all the rage at the time.

Tempest generally gets 40+ players, and often has some restrictions to halt some of the real cookie cutter lists, plus it’s also small points levels, this year at 1250. Much like good old Stronghold then!

From January this year I started getting a bit more excited about the hobby, as Codex: Chaos Daemons was getting its glossy new 8th ed reboot. I have always loved Daemons, right up there with my original love of Dark Eldar (that’s right, its Dark Eldar you maggots, none of this Drukhari BS!!) and an all new signing, dancing Daemon book was what I needed to bring me out of my hobby melancholy. Previously, I’ve mostly played Tzeentch stuff for the last few years with daemons – the 6th ed/7th ed codex had several good units, had myriad good builds, but the best units tended to be Fateweaver, a lot of Tzeentch stuff, some Nurgle units and a smattering of Khorne and Slaanesh units. There were builds where you could go balls out on Nurgle and Slaanesh and make it work too, but somehow I’d gravitated towards Tzeentch; likely because it was easier to win with, and who doesn’t like an easy win?
With shiny 8th ed reboot, however, Daemons have followed the GW party line in that Nurgle seems to have become the ascendant god of the pantheon, following on from the awesome Death Guard release. I say this from a combination of factors – fluff, rules and also models. As Liam said on a Deathwatch cast a couple of months ago – whoever is making new Nurgle models isny getting paid enough, as they have been a new level of excellent for the Chaos 40k range. Beasts, new GUO’s, nurglings, the new Plaguebearer characters, the Death Guard stuff: all epic. Rules and gameplay wise have been discussed in many places, as well as on the Deathwatch cast, but in general I think the consensus is that Nurgle is on top, Tzeentch is still decent but requires a bit of craftiness, and suffers from some expensive units, Khorne bombs can be devastating if you play it right or have a less savvy opponent, and Slaanesh stuff is really struggling to have a relevant role IMO. Which is a shame, as Slaanesh for me has the best background etc. However, if Age of Sigmar is any barometer on the matter, GW couldn’t care less about him, he’s lost or kidknapped or something. It shows how little in the codex GW care, as every HQ has a specific name these days, with the exception of just ‘Herald of Slaanesh’….

I’d played a few games with the Tzeentch armies that I had, and won them all (I think.. memory’s not as good as it used to be. It’s all that blood to the head thing, being upside down all the time), but whilst it was fun I felt I needed moar from my Daemons experience. So I decided that if it was ok for the Chaos Gods gifts to be fickle, then it was ok for me to switch allegiance. Those that have known me for years may have been surprised for me to suddenly go full circle and grab myself a Nurgle army, as I’d always professed hatred for the Snot God, but those models are just too nice! And when I’d analysed the book, I felt Nurgle better melee than Khorne, more trickery than Tzeentch, and.. well.. pretty much everything more than .. that other one.. what is it again?

 

The Jedi have amassed a huge army… 

 

So I got to work on my Nurgle force. Like most Chaos players, I’d realised that Poxwalker farm was certainly a solid anchor for any type of infantry heavy force, and as I’d picked up Dark Imperium last year thought I’d start there. But soon realised I’d need more. A lot more! A few days of alfresco painting sessions in the garden, and late nights listening to Duncan’s soothing tones from his excellent Poxwalker painting tutorial were required to get through what I needed (and still struggled to get them finished, really). Also decided to just keep it uniform, and use the Poxwalker guide on the Plaguebearers too, which I think worked out well. The thing that I was really frustrated with myself about on this army was that after a decent conversion – by my standards – on the daemon prince, I then did a 20 minute paintjob on him, as I was running late for the tournament that morning, and I had to get him done. Still, happy I got the army finished!

Typhus propoganda

My 1250 list is included above, with a wee bit of fluff as I’m a big kid. The Poxbringer or Spoilpox had to be the warlord, as the rules pack stated that the warlord had to come from the larger of your two detachments, otherwise Fingers the Death Guard prince would have been warlord, as I really like the Living Plague trait for DG. Remember what I said about the cheap win? Well, Nurgle with its disgustingly resilient and dishing out loads of cheap mortal wounds. Decided on Fugis’ Helm on the Prince, as whilst the Supparating Plate is nice, Fugis’ Helm really benefits a Nurgle horde, with both Death Guard and Daemons units affected by the lovely 9″ bubble. I also like axes on Daemon Princes, as whilst the talons give more attacks, I have a lot of models for killing chaff, but not a lot of high quality attacks, therefore the axe with its nice +1 strength, AP-3 and flat 3 damage, its good for fighting vehicles and other monsters. With his modified jet pack and axe, felt that Fingers was well kitted out.

I had two practice games with this army, and despite the Dead Walk Again and having 100+ models on the table I was pretty much tabled in them both, fantastic! Though, they were against mobile ++ Eldar and Ravenwing, pretty much my worst match ups, and I tried some hyper aggressive tactics that made me spend command points at a rapid rate and lose units, for little return. Plus, each of these games needed more than 5 turns to wipe me out, and I was winning until then, and the games took all evening. That wouldn’t happen at the event.

So, after getting the army sorted, 3 hours sleep and painting the morning of the tournament at my first table whilst waiting for my opponent (!) it was game on.

Game 1 – multi-objective, with players able to deploy up to half way across the board – no no-mans land!

My opponent was a nice guy who I’d never met before from the West Coast, his army was something like the following:

Inquisitor Eisenhorn

Inquisitor Greyfax

Vindicare

Vindicare

Culexus

Strike Squad

Sniper Scouts

Paladin Squad

Jump Packy Grey Knights guys (forget what they’re called) 

Predator, Autobolter

Vindicator

This was quite an elite army, and whilst it had a number of high quality abilities and shooting, it was up against it with the sheer number of models that I could field.

Early Game

The vindicare’s and tanks take pot shots at the plaguebearer hordes but don’t do much damage with the -1 to hit, 5++ and Disgustingly Resilients. I’d managed to hide Typhus, Fingers, Spoilpox and the Poxbringer so as to not get their faces sniped off. In my turn I drop the Dead Walk Again, and advance the poxwalkers and plaguebearers. A Vindicare gets taken down by plaguebearer swarm, and the scouts get smited to death

Mid Game

Plaguebearers cut the Inquisition army into two uneven halves, and a now quite large squad of poxwalkers tags the predator and the vindicator. Paladins arrive and whilst they shoot and kill some plaguebearers they fail their charge.

Late Game

Eisenhorn and Greyfax smite some plagues, the Eversor kills some too before getting chibbed to death with plagueswords. Both Vindicares get overwhelmed. Fingers tires of watching the Poxwalkers ineffectually slapping at the tanks, and shows them how it’s done by flipping the Vindicator, my right flank plaguebearers run away from the Paladins whilst bringing down Eisenhorn.

Result: Big win

Summary: As I said at the start, opponent was up against it here really, especially with the unique deployment. Great guy who laughed throughout the game

Game 2 – 6 objectives, 2 in each deployment zone that can be ‘scorched’ by the opponent, rendering them ungainable. One Player starts in the middle (!) with the opponent taking deployment zones on either long end. 

Playing against a good player in this game that has won some local events, his list was something like this:

Magnus

Ahriman

Sorcerer with helm of extra CP’s

Daemon Prince, wings, talons (warlord)

9 Rubric Marines with loads of flamers

10 Cultists

10 Cultists

This opponent and his army had been destroying folks for a while, and I know he knew what he was about with this force. However, my army is less worried about the vast amount of mortal wound damage this force can put out, even with access to Death Hex. Magnus is a nightmare for a lot of forces, but Nurgle horde isn’t great for him.

Early Game

I epic fail the roll off and get bumped in the middle of the board for deployment, and I’m going second. Magnus and all his friends take just one of the DZ’s. Thinking this is game over already, but Nurgle trumps Tzeentch here as I manage to seize!

With lucky rolls and the benefit of Spoilpox and the instruments on the plaguebearers I get two squads of PB’s into the screen of cultists, and do them. I manage to score and purge one of the objectives in his DZ. But better than that, I manage to pile in to the flamer totting Rubrics that I was worried would do a lot of damage, and also Magnus, which I was hoping for.

Mid Game

The Thousand Sons kick out a lot of magic craziness, and with Death Hex manage to do a decent amount of damage to one plaguebearer squad, but with the Dead Walk Again I’m growing a huge squad of Poxwalkers to spread over the rest of the board. The Sons daemon prince dies to mass plaguebearers and Finger’s axe, and the Rubrics fall back, but end up locked down again with piles in.

Late Game

Both objectives are now scorched in the opponent’s DZ, Magnus has taken the odd wound in combat as well as psychic exploding part of himself with Infernal Gateway, and Plaguebearers haul down the reqular sorcerer and a couple of Rubrics, whilst Magnus and Ahriman are blasting away one of the PB’ hordes almost to the last. In a moment of craziness FIngers thinks he can have a go at Magnus, which ends with Fingers getting bitch slapped!

Opponent concedes end of turn 3 (we were drastically running low on time anyway), though realises he could have killed my poxbringer for warlord. I let him play it out, and Maggie super smites the poxbringer to get him some points.

Result: Big win

Summary: Very lucky to seize, or doubt it would have been such a victory. Shows how importance going 1st is in 8th. If I hadn’t, I still think the Thousand Sons would have found it a slog getting through my force, and it would have been close. The Thousand Sons tabled the rest of their opponents within a couple of turns in the rest of the tournament.

Game 3 – Triangular Deployment across middle of the board. Can’t remember specifics of the mission, think four objectives. Board looks great but a bit of a nightmare to play on and measure distances – an amazing Hoth-Rebel Base style themed board with a spaceport outside an enormous hangar

Opponent was a local dude who I hadn’t played before. His Saim-Hann Eldar were something like this:

Autarch, hawk wings, missile launcher

Farseer, spear, jetbike

Warlock

x 3 Shining Spears

x 3 Shining Spears

x 3 Guardian Jetbikes

20 Guardians, Shurricannon

19 Guardians, Shurricannon

Hemlock

This list has a decent amount of tools in it, but its fairly short ranged which plays to me. Downside is there are a few ‘fly’ keyword units that’ll be able to duck out of combat and shoot away at me.

Early game

It takes an age for both of us to set up on this board, then the first turn took a very long time. In that time, one of the plaguebearer squads got badly mauled, and a lot of poxwalkers died, but I didn’t lose first blood. I managed to chase some bikers away from the middle placed objectives, and try to get close to some of the juicy stuff. Second turn, and the hemlock is doing some serious damage, whilst Fingers does in a whole squad of Shining Spears. Plaguebearers on the left flank get shredded by mass Guardian fire, only to create tonnes of Poxwalkers. Right flank plaguebearers lock down two of the objectives.

And that was it, as we only got to turn 2. This wasn’t too uncommon at the event, as there was only 1 hr 45 to play each round. A very difficult table to set up on, and a bit undecissiveness led to a bit of a stalled game.

Win Primary, Draw Secondary, Win Primary.

Game 4 – Old School draw game, objective a piece. Horseshoe like deployment for player 1, hammer and anvil type deployment for player 2. I got the hammer and anvil deployment.

Eldar again, Alaitoc this time. I’d got horsed by this opponent a week before in one of my only two practice games!

List something like:

Farseer, spear, bike

Warlock

Vyper, double shurricannon

Vyper, double shurricannon

Vyper, double shurricannon

Rangers

6 reapers, exarch with tempest launcher

3 reapers, exarch with tempest launcher

20 Guardians, shurricannon

Swooping Hawks

Swooping Hawks

Shining Spears

Pretty sure there should be another HQ type in there but I don’t remember what it was.

Early Game

I played this smarter than the last time I fought this opponent – last time I’d deep struck a unit of plagues to try get first blood, but found that even 25 plaguebearers are fairly useless without support, as they then didn’t kill a unit, required a reroll to make their charge, then I paid 2 CP’s to keep them in the game when they suffered casualties, resulting in 5 CP’s spent and no first blood! So this time I decided I was going to keep all plaguebearer squads in Spoilpox, poxbringer and Fingers’ bubbles.

Therefore, my plan was to pack out my DZ, leaving no space for webway assaulting guardians to come down and clear out my objective, whilst going for it with all plaguebearers towards his. Simple, but its what I had! Therefore, I just advanced with plagues, poxfarming behind them to pack out the DZ and cultists sucking and living behind LOS blocking terrain in my DZ. Eldar just shoot at me, doing smallish amounts of damage.

Mid Game

I get in smite range of some eldar, and almost kill a vyper. Turns out that’s about all the damage I’d do to my opponent’s force! Eldar keep falling back as they’re unable to really halt the Nurgle advance too much

Late Game

Opponent forgets about his guardians, and they’re destroyed. He did ask if he could put them down and not shoot them, which I don’t agree to. He kills just enough plagues that I wont make his objective by turn 4. We run out of time for a turn 5, where there was a tasty chance I’d get to the objective eventually

Result:

Draw Primary, Loss Secondary (was have more units in neutral territory – sides of the board than your opponent. I was always going to autolose that one), draw tertiary (him first blood, me linebreaker)

This was frustrating, a close loss. With a win on Primary I’d have had a fighting chance of winning the event. I potentially could have kept a plagues squad to deepstrike on turn 2/3 but my buff characters would still not have been in a good position, so the chance of those plagues doing much was not great. Still, considering I’d got tabled the last time I played this opponent with the same forces – certainly progress!

Outcome and analysis

Overall I was 8th from 42, which was not bad. I originally started making a real effort to get the max painting score, which would have really pushed me up, but in the end I’d struggled to base the army well and hadn’t really finished my details as well as I could, so missed out on some crucial points.

Game wise 3 wins, and a very close minor loss. Not bad for an army with minimal psychic and zero shooting eh? I think plaguebearers are a solid horde choice, but they need good support, which Princes, Spoilpox and Poxbringers can bring them. In retrospect, the Death Guard aspect – Fingers aside – did nothing. Poxfarm seemed scary, but they made combat in two games only. What they did do was near completely control one half of the board, which is game winning in itself.

Things I think would have improved my army:

Trees! Nurgle trees are awesome, and would have catapulted me across the board rapido. Sadly, they fill a detachment so this was problematic with the tourney restrictions.

Another poxbringer – Nurgle psychic powers are decent, but just the +1 strength buff is fantastic. It is quite possible to get all three plaguebearer blobs in his bubble, but it takes a lot of messing about and it can ruin movements.

Moaarr Death Guard Princes – love these guys, thinking about 2-3 in my army now. Awesome.

All in, really had fun at my first event in a year, think I did myself proud but more importantly it was very good atmosphere, only very minimal rules disputes that were settled amicably. 1 hr 45 is quite short for 8th ed games I feel, even small points values. Across the event, games were either tablings or not much getting past turn 3.

As much as I enjoyed the Nurgle horde, next project I’m rejoining the forces of the Emperor for the first time in absolutely ages with a Lamenters Space Marines army. Wont be the most competitive marine force, just a bit of rediscovering 40k in kid mode.

Looking forward to getting back home for a bit, playing some of my old nemesis’ and attending a tournament or two in good old Caledonia.

Peace!

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