The Road to NOVA, Part 5: Ah, Shit

Ah, hell. I was really hoping I wouldn’t be crunching this bad going into NOVA this year but a mix of work and uh, managing and creating content for Goonhammer has now left me scrambling to wrap everything up. Also, I may have changed my army around a little bit. Not a lot, but enough to require that I paint five more Khorne Berserkers.

Since my last update, I’ve made some progress, though. For starters, I finished the Kytan Daemon Engine:

Credit: TheChirurgeon

I’m pretty happy with how the big idiot turned out, and he matches up well with the Berserkers in the army. He also painted up a little faster than I expected, which is good.  The early results on using this guy in practice games have been real promising. I don’t know if taking him instead of a Knight is quite worth it yet, but I’m already way over-committed to this dumbass idea to back down now.

The other models I finished where the Dark Apostle and his two disciples:

Credit: TheChirurgeon

In particular, I’m very happy with how the Apostle himself turned out. The flames are a newer strategy I started testing when I first painted up Abaddon (back in Part 4). They’re done with Citadel Grey Seer and then painted up with contrast paint, starting with Iyanden Yellow, then mixing that with Blood Angels Red and working up to a bit of Flesh Tearers Red. Overall I think it works well.


Credit: TheChirurgeon

Credit: TheChirurgeon

With these guys down, that just leaves the Lord Discordant and five Berserkers. Fortunately I should have some time this weekend and early next week to work on those.


More Practice Games

Game 1: Vs. TheKingsl4yer’s Space Wolves

In the meantime, I also got in two more practice games. In the first, against TheKingsl4yer, I went up against his Space Wolves fielding a pair of Repulsor Executioners. He’s playing in the Narrative and Necromunda events at NOVA. In all, he had the two Executioners, plus a storm cannon Leviathan, three squads of Intercessors, a Rune Priest, a squad of thunder hammer + storm shield Wulfen, a Wolf lord, a Lieutenant, a squad of Reivers, and a Captain in Phobos armor.

Two Repulsors, a Leviathan, and some deep striking jerkasses

I decided to try progressive scoring in this game and my other practice game (more on that in a moment), and as secondaries I took Strike the Rank and File, Shoot the Big Ones, and Engineers, figuring I might be able to wipe out all three squads of Intercessors. Shoot the Big Ones was a mistake, though – I could only score three points off it, and I’d have been better of taking Marked for Death instead and picking the three vehicles plus one other unit. I lost the roll-off to go first, and so dropped Prepared Positions on my army to get that sweet cover bonus. It helped a bit, since I was able to make it through turn 1 without losing a unit — only one Executioner could see the Kytan, and it whiffed on half its shots owing to the Benediction of Darkness on the Kytan.

The plan this game was to run the Kytan up-table, have it kill the Wulfen and Leviathan, and then get it to the Repulsors. Unfortunately, storm shield Wulfen are a massive pain in the ass and my wound rolls with the Kytan were ass, ensuring that I got stuck in with them for two turns and by the time I did finally kill them, they were able to hammer my Kytan to death. Kingsl4yer also rolled like every save with the Leviathan, leaving me watching as it fell back from my Kytan and Lord Discordant with half its wounds left.

God fuck those Wulfen

The Lord Discordant proved to be amazingly tough to kill this game. At one point, Kingsl4yer got my Lord Discordant down to 4 wounds shooting at him with the Leviathan and an Executioner, then charged him with a squad of Intercessors, but left him with a single wound remaining. He then regained a wound the following turn, fell back, got healed by the Warpsmith, and was back up to 5. He still died the following turn to an Executioner’s Laser Destroyer, but making Kingsl4yer work for it was good stuff!

On turn 2 I managed to take out the Leviathan with my Berserkers, only to have them get wrecked by Executioners as well. Those things can put out an insane amount of anti-infantry fire. Holy shit. At that point, I wasn’t sure I could deal with them effectively – I’d lost the three main hitters in my army (and realized I might need to swap some things out for a Lieutenant-equivalent), and only gotten one Executioner down to half its wounds. I debated ignoring them and just holding objectives, but decided to press forward with my Sorcerer and Warpsmith, where they combined to do another 6 mortal wounds to it over the following two turns before the Warpsmith finally hit and wounded and killed it with his melta gun.

On the other side of the table I used Tide of Traitors to try and press the Intercessors, and did… basically nothing. I kept sweeping up with Huron and the Red Corsairs, and used the ruins to charge the Aggressors through the wall, taking them out with his power fist and holding the Wolf Lord and Lieutenant in place for Abaddon. The big turning point was when Kingsl4yer let his other Executioner get too close to Abaddon, and he mulched the thing in one turn of combat. By the end, I was able to table Kingsl4yer, though it was pretty close leading into turn 3. Final score: 33-10.


Game 2

The second game was against my friend Brandon, who plays Chaos Daemons and graciously agreed to pilot the Thousand Sons + Nurgle Daemons list that’s been making the rounds, taking Ahriman and a bunch of Daemon Princes, plus two blobs of 30 Plaguebearers, some Horrors, some Bloodletters, and a twin C-Beam Contemptor. We did NOVA mission 2 for this one, playing Hammer and Anvil, and I won the roll to go first. This was a weird game because, with Brandon having no real shooting save the Contemptor, I could swap out Benediction of Darkness for something else. I chose the litany that forces the opponent to roll 2D6 and drop the lowest when doing morale checks, hoping to mess up one of his attempts to regain daemons. I changed up the list a bit, dropping some Cultists and a Berserker to fit in an Exalted Champion with Mark of Khorne to accompany the Berserkers.

For objectives, I chose Progressive Scoring, Engineers (making two squads of Cultists my engineers), Shoot the Big Ones (for the DPs), and Cull the Hordes. By the end of the game I had killed something like 70 Plague bearers, and my opponent only had 60 to start with, so that was a good pick.

This game went well for me. I was able to hide the Kytan by deploying the Rhino separately to the Berserkers and forcing him to deploy the Contemptor early. Turns out that not having to worry about losing Berserkers to shooting is incredibly freeing, and the Rhino was free to hold the back line and prevent Warp Incursion Daemons from coming in where i didn’t want them while the Berserkers gleefully ran right into a bunch of Plaguebearers.



A lot of this game came down to turn 2, where Brandon had just a disastrous run on the psychic powers front. He whiffed multiple smite casts and re-rolls, and essentially cleared the way for the Berserkers to crash into his Plaguebearers unmolested. Meanwhile the Kytan was able to pop the Khorne Daemon prince in one turn, then spent another 3 tarpitted by the Plaguebearers. Brandon’s Contemptor put in some work though, wiping out whole squads early on and taking out half of my engineers on the first turn. Lesson learned: Do not make the Cultists engineers.

Abaddon was able to make it into combat with the Berserkers and over the course of two turns, they wiped out the Plaguebearers, Ahriman, a herald of Nurgle, and a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch. Once they weren’t at a -2 to be hit, the Plaguebearers folded incredibly quickly and while the Daemon Prince was able to take 4 wounds off Abaddon, it wasn’t nearly enough.

Eat shit, warp spawn

While I tore through the Plaguebearers and Daemon Princes, Brandon used the Horrors to sweep my backfield. He made a critical mistake dropping his Bloodletters up front, hoping to use them to kill my Berserkers (and failing), but was able to successfully clean out a lot of Cultists, the Rhino, a Sorcerer, and some Chaos Marines with his 25-Horror blob and Sorcerer in Terminator Armor.

That’s a lot of Horrors


In the end, it wasn’t enough and I was able to secure a win, taking Abaddon up through the Contemptor and clearing out his back lines. Final score: 27-10. While Brandon may not have been the best pilot of the list (it was his first game with it and he was doing me a very cool and good favor), it was still very informative. There were a lot of tricks I wasn’t aware of, and I think that ultimately switching up from a Cultist horde to an Exalted Champion to help the Berserkers is going to be the right call. Or at least, a better bad call, possibly. With every other Chaos Space Marine model about to get Hateful Assault, I think this is likely the last we’ll see of Cultists on the tabletop for some time. I’ll have more thoughts on how Chaos Space Marines can work in a future article, but for now let’s just say I’m glad that the GT isn’t incorporating the new Space Marine Codexes.

Thoughts Heading Into the Final Sprint

Games-wise, I’m as prepped as I can be, I think. There are still some lists I’d have liked to play, but I have enough familiarity against Knights and Eldar already and I’ve run into Tau in my local game group. The only thing left is to make sure I have all my lists and materials printed and my models painted. Of those, the Lord Discordant is going to need the most attention, but I’m already working on that bad boy and hoping to clear him through the weekend so I just have Berserkers left during the week. With a little luck and a lot of work, I should be done well before I have to drive down.