Filthy Casual Battle Report: KHORNE vs. NURGLE – RUMBLE IN THE GRUMBLES

In our Battle Reports, we cover interesting games we’ve played, talking about the plans we made, the tactics we employed, the mistakes that rendered those plans worthless, and the memorable moments that are the reasons we play the game. In this inaugural edition of the column, Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones is covering a game from his ongoing campaign, The Astradus Campaign.

The Background

While the forces of Chaos laying siege to the Astradus System had, to this point, avoided open conflict with one another, acting as a unified front, there came a natural point where the capricious whims of competing Gods were at odds. The Sorcerer Lord Kaervek, of the Black Legion’s Sons of the Cyclops cabal, has forseen the need to capture several relics of sorcerous import. Little did he know however that the dread Nurgle forces of Danzig, Herald of Nurgle, had also been given orders to seek out those relics. His main forces disposed elsewhere, Kaervek dispatched a force of World Eaters to wipe out their pestilent foes.

The Mission

For the mission, we randomly selected one of the Chapter Approved 2019 Eternal War missions, which you may recall my colleague One_Wing talking about as part of his Chapter Approved 2019 Missions Review. The mission we pulled was Lockdown. Lockdown is interesting. It uses Progressive Scoring at the end of each player turn, plus an added point for Hold More at the end of each battle round. Players start by alternating placement of objective markers, then one player picks a marker to be labeled “1” and the other “6.” At the start of each battle round after the first, you’ll remove the objective marker corresponding to the current round, until only two objectives (1 and 6) remain. This is an interesting change-up, and something that played a major role in the game’s strategy and outcome.

The mission also uses the Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker, and First Strike secondary objectives, and has the Variable Battle Length and Acceptable Casualties rules.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Armies

The World Eater forces were being led by Kharn the Betrayer, though Kaervek’s second-in-command, a powerful Chaos Lord of Khorne formerly from the World Eaters named Trosk Varren, was keeping a close eye on the operation.  The army is heavy on Berzerkers as troops, and I get an extra helping from my Terminators, who I’ve windmill-slammed the Red Butchers Stratagem onto to turn them into Berzerkers as well.

My World Eaters - Click to Expand

+++World Eaters Battalion (1,056 Points, 3 CP)+++

HQ: Dark Apostle w/MoK, Soultearer Portent
HQ: Kharn the Betrayer, Warlord

Troops: Berzerkers x9 w/Chainaxe + Pistol, Icon of Wrath, Champion has Power Fist
Troops: Berzerkers x9 w/Chainaxe + Pistol, Icon of Wrath, Champion has Power Fist
Troops: Berzerkers x10 w/Chainaxe + Pistol, Icon of Wrath, Champion has Chainaxe

Elites: 5x Terminators w/MoK, 3x Lightning Claws, 1x Power Axe + Combi Bolter, Champion has Power Axe + Combi Bolter, Icon of Wrath, Stratagem: Red Butchers (-2 CP)

DT: Chaos Rhino w/MoK
DT: Chaos Rhino w/MoK
DT: Chaos Rhino w/MoK

+++World Eaters Outrider Detachment (943 Points, -1 CP)+++
Specialist Detachment: Host Raptorial (-1 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord with Jump Pack, Power Axe, MoK, Field Commander (-1 CP): Tip of the Spear

FA: Bikers x8 w/MoK, 2x Meltagun, Icon of Wrath
FA: Chaos Spawn
FA: Warp Talons x5 w/MoK

Elites: Helbrute w/2x CCW

HS: Land Raider w/MoK

Flyer: Heldrake w/Baleflamer, MoK

+++1,999 Points, 6 CP+++


Brandon’s army – led by Nurgle’s most deranged frontman, Danzig – was a mix of Nurgle Daemons and Death Guard, aiming to clog up the middle of the board with an unmovable horde of plaguebearers while his Plagueburst crawlers sat back and shelled the World Eaters forces into oblivion.

Brandon's Chaos - Click to Expand

+++Chaos Daemons Battalion Detachment (+5 CP)+++

HQ: Danzig (Campaign Warmaster, a souped-up Herald of Nurgle)
HQ: Sloppity Bilepiper

Troops: Plaguebearers x30 w/Banner, Instrument
Troops: Nurglings x3
Troops: Nurglings x3

Elites: Hellforged Contemptor w/Butcher Cannon, CCW

+++Death Guard Outrider Detachment (+1 CP)+++

HQ: Daemon Prince of Nurgle w/Suppurating Plate, Malefic Talons

FA: Foetid Blight Drone w/2x Plaguespitters
FA: Foetid Blight Drone w/2x Plaguespitters
FA: Foetid Blight Drone w/Fleshmower

HS: Plagueburst Crawler
HS: Plagueburst Crawler

+++Chaos Daemons Supreme Command Detachment (+1 CP)+++

HQ: Herald of Nurgle
HQ: Winged Daemon Prince of Nurgle w/Malefic Talons
HQ: Daemon Prince of Nurgle

+++2,000ish points, 10 CP+++



We place 6 markers without numbers, then each pick one to stick around all game and the rest are randomly determined. I put all of my markers in the middle of the table, hoping to press forward during the game. That was just fine with Brandon, who put his in his deployment zone. Then he won the roll-off, and chose Dawn of War as the deployment map for the mission. This meant I had to deploy first, but that I’d get first turn, barring a Seize.

Probably the most common map players use, Dawn of War uses the long table edges with a 12″ deployment zone on a standard 4×6′ table. I’m Player B in this case.

 All three of my Berzerker Squads went into Rhinos, while the Terminators sat in their Land Raider, ready to rumble up the table. My goal was to get in some first- and second-turn charges if I could, and hopefully whittle down the Plaguebearers before confronting them head-on.

Brandon deployed more centrally, putting Nurglings on Objectives in his deployment zone and one at midfield. His goal was to score points early and often, then outlast me in later rounds as objective scoring became more scarce.

Turn One

Turn 1 starts with me charging up the table. The Heldrake flies into combat with one of the Plagueburst Crawlers, taking two wounds to Overwatch fire, then locking the PBC up. Otherwise the turn is mostly a wash, with only 4 Plaguebearers dying to bolter fire. At the end of the turn, I’m holding Objectives 1, 2, and 4, scoring me 3 Victory points.

Brandon takes advantage by chargingg with his Plaguebearers. He casts Miasma of Pestilence on them and it works, despite my spending 2 CP to try and deny it with Scorn of Sorcery, which I then tried to CP Re-roll, failing both times. He charges the bikes with them and kills 3, but can’t do much to the Rhinos. On the other side of the table, the PBC falls back and the Bloat Drones charge forward, destroying the Rhino with Kharn and killing two Berzerkers in the ensuing destruction. This scores Brandon First Strike, plus he’s holding Objectives 6, 5, 3, and, because my Bikes are Fast Attack and his Plaguebearers are Troops, 2 as well. This gives him a total of 6 points for the turn, making the score 6-3 in his favor.

Turn Two

Turn 2 and it’s time to start scoring. Objective Marker 2 comes off the table but I wasn’t gonna score it again anyways with 30 Plaguebearers around. My Berzerkers pile out of their Rhinos and prepare to charge, while on the other side of the battlefield, my Warp Talons, Terminators, Kharn, and the remaining Berzerkers take on Brandon’s three Foetid Bloat-Drones. At the end of the turn I’m only holding two objectives, 1 and 4, and that scores me 2 VPs.

KEY MOMENT: The Grand Melee

The two squads of Berzerkers let out a fearsome yell and charge forward, ripping through the Plaguebeareers. In two rounds of fighting each, they pour out nearly 200 attacks into the Plaguebearers using Chainaxes and Power Fists to get 3+ and 2+ to Wound.

Despite only hitting the Plaguebearers on a 5+ thanks to their numbers and Miasma of Pestilence, the Berzerkers still managed to do some real damage, killing 20 of them and forcing Brandon to spend 2 CP to keep them on the table.

KEY MOMENT: The Drone Massacre

Using the ruins in the middle of the table to stay out of LOS and avoid Overwatch, the Terminators charge through the wall and are able to reach all three Drones. This clears the way for the Helbrute, Kharn, and the Berzerkers to charge. The drones die, but it’s a painful process: The Fleshmower interrupts, killing 2 terminators, and each drone explodes, dealing 1 mortal wound to every unit within 7″. This kills a number of Warp Talons and Berzerkers, and leaving Kharn with only 2 wounds as he consolidates into the Nurglings.

On his turn, Brandon turns his gaze to his open flanks, hoping to staunch the bleeding. He uses his Suppurating Plate Daemon Prince to wipe out a squad of Berzerkers using a mix of Smites and melee attacks (my Berzerkers helplfully kill themselves trying to break through his armor), then uses his Winged Prince to try and take out Kharn, while his Plagueburst Crawlers take out my Chaos Spawn that had been holding a key rear objective for me (#4), which reduces my ability to keep up significantly – I’ll have to drop back a unit to hold that one for a turn. He’s got more objective markers than me, so he scores another 4 points, making the score 9-5 in Brandon’s favor.

Turn Three

Objective Marker 3 comes off the table before I can claim any points off it. I regroup with my bikers and the remaining berzerkers. The Land Raider was incredibly useless all game, only killing a squad of Nurglings too late to mater, but with a mix of the Meltaguns on the bikers and the remaining Berzerker attacks I was able to take a big chunk off the Daemon Prince. I can’t really get on another objective this turn; I’ve got the middle with my Land Raider but nothing I have left can reach Objective #4 right now and #5 and #6 are both in Brandon’s control. The Rhino charges the Contemptor to tie it up, but gets obliterated in melee. The Helbrute makes short work of one of Brandon’s Plagueburst Crawlers. I score 1 measly point for objectives. Not good!

The tables turn as Danzig and the wounded Daemon prince are able to smash through the remaining Berzerkers, leaving only a group of Bikes and the Dark Apostle chasing them. They give as good as they get, but it isn’t enough to stop Brandon’s Warlord and a key asset from falling back out of range, and it helps them keep holding Objective #6 another turn. At the end of the turn, Brandon’s holding Objectives 5 and 6, and scores 3 points for the turn. Now it’s 15-9, Brandon.

Key Moment: Kharn Survives!

Smelling blood, the Winged Daemon Prince descends upon Kharn and his Berzerker cohorts and proceeds to lay into the wounded Warrior of Chaos with vicious Malefic Talons. The Daemon Prince scores four wounds but Kharn makes 3 of his 4++ saves and I use my final CP to re-roll the fourth save… a 4! Kharn survives the assault unscathed, and immediately tears the Daemon Prince apart in a spray of pus and viscera using Gorechild.

Turn Four

The plot thickens… but Brandon’s army is thinning. I’m still not scoring the Hold More objective points, but I’m keeping better pace now. Marker 4 comes off the board and Brandon’s still holding 2 but I can kill his Nurglings and deny him the points for holding #5 at least. My Helbrute continues to rip through targets, killing the other Plagueburst Crawler and, when he made the mistake of charging it, Brandon’s final Daemon Prince. I take the Nurglings off their objective, making this turn a 1-point scorer for each of us. I’ve gotta pick things up on my next turn.

Turn Five

As the game winds down, I’m racing against the clock. The other Plagueburst Crawler goes down, I take out Brandon’s Hellforged Contemptor, and we roll to get the game to turn 6, when I’m able to kill Danzig after some chasing and table Brandon. We talk it through and roll and turn 7 happens, but it’s just not enough for me to catch up at this point. Brandon has scored 15 points off holding objectives to my 12, plus 1 for First Strike, and even with Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker factored in, he still wins 16-14 thanks to Acceptable Casualties.

Final Result: Brandon Wins, 16-14

This game was a total blast, and I loved how the mission played out. There was a great tension all through the game for me to catch up to Brandon on points, and even as I tore through his Plaguebearers and tanks, Brandon was able to hold onto the objectives he needed. The stealth play of the game is using his Plagueburst Crawlers to kill my Chaos Spawn on Objective #4, which ended up creating a 2-point swing that ultimately cost me the game. Playing Brandon is always a fun time, and I’m looking forward to my next game against him.

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