TheChirurgeon’s Road Through 2021, Part 7: Painting and Testing a New List

Credit: Robert "TheChirurgeon" Jones

Welcome back, dear reader, to another episode on my journey to near-respectability at competitive 40k. In my last article, I talked about my experiences going 3-3 at the US Goonhammer Open, the struggles I was having on hammer-and-anvil deployment maps, and the changes I wanted to make to my army. Since then, I’ve added a couple of new units to the list and gotten in another practice game with the adjustments in place, so today I’ll be talking about the modeling and painting of those and the game itself, what I learned, and what additional changes I might make.

Last time around, this was the version of the list I’d ended up with:

+++ Death Guard Battalion Detachment (-3 CP, 2,000 points) +++

Plague Company: The Inexorable
Extra Relic (-1 CP)

Extra WL Trait (-1 CP)

HQ: Death Guard Chaos Lord w/Power Sword, Bolt Pistol, WARLORD: Ferric Blight, RELIC: Plaguebringer
HQ: Malignant plaguecaster, POWERS: Miasma of Pestilence, Curse of the Leper

TP: Plague marines x10: 2x flail, Champion: Bolter and Plague Knife
TP: Poxwalkers x10
TP: Poxwalkers x10

EL: Blightlord Terminators x10: 2x flail, 2x reaper autocannon + Combi-bolter, 5x axe + combi-bolter, Champion: Combi-bolter + Bubotic Axe, Plague Skull of Glothila (-1 CP)
EL: Deathshroud Terminators x3
EL: Foul Blightspawn: Relic: Revolting stench-vats, Plaguechosen: Arch-Contaminator
EL: Biologus Putrifier
EL: Tallyman

HS: PBC w/2x entropy cannon
HS: PBC w/2x entropy cannon

FA: Foetid Bloat-Drone w/Fleshmower
FA: Foetid Bloat-Drone w/Heavy Blight Launcher

DT: Chaos Rhino

+++ 2,000 points, 9 CP +++

I removed most of my unit upgrades and swapped out the Daemon Prince for a Chaos Lord and a Heavy Blight Launcher Bloat drone. The bloat-drone gives me added speed and some real stopping power against marines and light vehicles, plus a second target for Flash Outbreak. I’ve also changed up the Plague Company to the Inexorable, which gives me the ability to stymie incoming charges against my PBCs and use Ferric Blight to improve my AP against key targets. The list also does To the Last a bit better now that I’m not throwing a Daemon Prince at my opponents to lose 5 VP every game.

The Bloat-Drone

I’ve still got several bloat drones from Dark Imperium sets lying around, and thanks to buying a single box bloat-drone to make the Fleshmower, I still had all the leftover bits from that kit, including the heavy blight launcher. Fitting a different face plate onto the Dark Imperium Bloat Drone only takes a little bit of cutting, and likewise fitting the HBL onto the kit in place of the plaguespitters takes only a minor amount of adjusting and cutting. So with some minor adjustments I had a heavy blight launcher drone ready to go, and I just painted him up like the rest of my army, using my Death Guard scheme.

Heavy Blight Launcher Bloat-drone Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Chaos Lord

Now we get to the real meat. The Chaos Lord was a little more tricky, owing to the fact that there’s no model for the Death Guard Chaos Lord. There’s not even really a model for Chaos Space Marine Chaos Lords, while we’re on that topic. The closest you can get is the Obsidius Mallex model, who comes with a thunder hammer and plasma pistol, a loadout you basically never want on your Chaos Lord. I was looking for something much more simple on my Chaos Lord – the plan is to basically give him either a chainsword or power sword – and he’d need to be recognizably a Death Guard model.

Remember when I said I had lots of Dark Imperium sets left? Well, I do, and that means I have quite a few Noxious Blightbringers sitting around. After looking at my options, I determined that was the best base for what I wanted to do. This also meant going with a 40mm base, which I think is the correct size here, given Mallex, but I honestly have no idea. It’d either be a 32 or a 40 and a 40 felt more correct.

The first step was getting the arms correct, and that meant putting the right weapons in place. I shaved the tubing and plasma gun off the Blightbringer’s gun hand and replaced it with a bolt pistol from a Chaos Raptor. Death Guard bolt pistols are basically nonexistent, so this would have to do. I ended up losing some of the wrist guard trim in the process, but I fixed that later by adding a thin line of green stuff to replace the missing trim. I’m not great with green stuff but that one’s easy enough to do – roll out the amount you need at the thickness you want and set it into place.

Death Guard Chaos Lord pistol

Next up was the sword. I have a Start Collecting: Maggotkin sitting around I haven’t done much with since I took some wings out of it for my Daemon Prince conversion a while back, and while I considered using one of the Putrid Blightkings as the base for my Chaos Lord, I ultimately decided I wanted to use them for a future AoS army and so went with one my surplus Blightbringers, since they’re terrible enough I’ll never use more than one anyways. The sword convincingly works as a power sword, balesword, relic, or chainsword stand-in, which is exactly what I’m looking for. It also works just fine sitting on the spot where the bell used to be and the handle is perfect.

The Chaos Lord’s sword

Next comes the backpack. The backpack is integrated partially into the Blightbringer body so I wanted to use the same backpack, but I needed to lose the massive bell. Fortunately this is a pretty easy fix as well – I just clipped off the bell and then shaved and sanded the horn down on that side. It’s still got an interesting asymmetrical look, and once it’s painted it’ll look very natural.

Removing the bell

Time for the body. Because of how this guy goes together I need to put on his gun arm before I can start doing some of the other assembly/conversion work, so I drop that into place. I’m going to completely replace his head and front torso, so from here on out we’re going to get a bit more experimental.

Next comes the front torso of a regular Plague Marine. I wanted something a bit less pronounced on my Chaos Lord; he’s important but he needs to read as visually distinct from the Foetid Virion. If I’m doing this right he’ll look like an official model you just haven’t seen before, and stand out in his own way. I trimmed the cloth tabard off the torso armor and filled taps at the bottom with green stuff in order to fit it into place.

I still want the cloth in place there, however – it hides some of the weirdness with the crotch armor and gives the model a more regal feel, helping him stand out as one of the legion’s elite. Many of the characters in the list have similar cloth and coloring and I want to make sure he has a splash of purple or fuschia later. I mostly use plastic glue here with a tiny bit of greenstuff for some extra fills. The whole thing works very well, and cutting off and re-attaching the cloth from the torso armor lets me put it into a better position for the legs.

Now for the head. This part was very tricky – because of how I’d done my torso and the high collar I’d picked, I was limited on the space in the actual well for the head. This meant that most of the helmeted heads I had wouldn’t fit unless I turned them a bit. I wasn’t a huge fan of how they looked but fortunately I had a few of the extra heads sitting around from my Space Marine Heroes series 3 Death Guard, so I used one of those here. It gives him a very unique look since it’s not a bit you see very often.

After that the rest of the model goes together pretty quickly and easily. I put the sword pointing forward to give him a bit of extra menace. I also put in some green stuff on the sides under his arms to fill and smooth over the gaps from where I attached the front torso armor to the back. These aren’t high-visibility areas, so it’s not a ton of work to get something workable in place there. In all, I’m pretty happy with the finished conversion at this point.

The assembled Chaos Lord

Time to paint him. Same scheme as always, and I get him knocked out during one of our Saturday night paint streams. He’s a bit faster than I normally paint my mans, but I’m also not trying to invest a ton of time into him. I may come back and revisit his head at some point but for now I’m very happy with the effect and how he turned out. He’s appropriately menacing and he reads like an official Death Guard model, which is the general goal I aim for when doing conversions most of the time.

Death Guard Chaos Lord. Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

That wraps up the hobby part of the article – I now had my force in place and ready to go. The next step, as always: Practice!

 

Practice Game: Swiftblade’s Drukhari

Regular readers and Goonhammer Patrons on Discord will know that Swiftblade is a regular opponent of mine, a wonderful guy who lives in the area and against whom I game often. He’s going to be the Sundance Kid to my Butch Cassidy at the New Orleans event in a couple of weeks and we’ve been playing practice games all summer to get into fighting shape with our lists. He’s not the best player, but he’s been improving steadily since I first started playing with him and he plays Drukhari and Admech so going up against him is always relevant. This time he’s bringing his Drukhari again.

The Mission: Retrieval Mission

I picked Retrieval Mission for this because I needed to practice playing on a Hammer-and-Anvil deployment map and I was relatively confident it’d show up at New Orleans; I’ll likely do Battle Lines next weekend when I get in more practice games. Retrieval Mission does offer me a bit more of a break over Battle Lines thanks to having the Minimise Losses secondary objective, but also gives me more ground to cover and objectives to hold and I want to practice movement more at this point.

Swiftblade's Drukhari - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [56 PL, 915pts] ++

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 85pts]: Hatred Eternal, Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, The Djin Blade, Warlord
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 135pts] . 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

+ Fast Attack +

Scourges [5 PL, 60pts] . 4x Scourge w/ shardcarbine: 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Shardcarbine
. Solarite: Shardcarbine

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal
Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal
Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal
Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal
Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [42 PL, 795pts, 12CP] ++

Obsession – Custom Coven: Dark Technomancers (All-Consuming)

+ HQ +

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 50pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Ossefactor
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 50pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip
. Wrack w/ Special Weapon: Ossefactor
. 3x Wracks: 3x Wrack Blade

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

+ Heavy Support +

Cronos [12 PL, 235pts] . Cronos: Spirit Probe, Spirit Vortex
. Cronos: Spirit Vortex
. Cronos

Cronos [12 PL, 235pts] . Cronos: Spirit Probe, Spirit Vortex
. Cronos: Spirit Vortex
. Cronos

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [15 PL, 290pts, -4CP] ++

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]
Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Succubus [3 PL, 60pts, -1CP]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Competitive Edge, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive

Succubus [3 PL, 60pts, -1CP]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Dark Lotus Toxin, Precision Blows, Razorflails, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition

+ Troops +

Wyches [6 PL, 120pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Power sword, Splinter Pistol
. 7x Wych: 7x Hekatarii Blade, 7x Plasma Grenades, 7x Splinter Pistol
. Wych w/ Hydra Gauntlets: Hydra Gauntlets
. Wych w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Shardnet and Impaler

Wyches [3 PL, 50pts]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

++ Total: [113 PL, 2,000pts, 8CP] ++

 

Swiftblade: Now is the winter of our discontent. Rob’s reign of terror has gone on too long; his road through 2021 has been paved by crushing victories he has had over me and my fellow Houstonians. But not anymore. Today, I’m gonna pull out all the stops and I’m going to win, and for that I need a mean Drukhari list. So I dropped the Reavers – Rob’s plagueburst would make too short of work of them and they never really made their points back, so I would just end up playing 290 points down after turn 1. Instead, I added three more Cronos to shore up my shooting and toughen up my list, 5 more Incubi for extra combat punch, and 5 Scourges with no upgrades as a way to almost guarantee this list can at least get 3 quarters for Octarius Data, if not the full 4. I’ve thought about how I need to play as well: I need to focus on my objective game, and leverage the fact that Death Guard are much slower than me. If I get stuck too long, I won’t survive. I need to Cobra Kai anything I engage: Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy. I’ve put together the list, I’ve thought about how I want to play it, I’m ready.

You can tell Rob I’m coming, and Hell’s coming with me.

Secondary Objectives

My Secondaries

  • No Mercy, No Respite: Grind Them Down
  • Mission: Minimise Losses
  • Shadow Operations: Spread the Sickness

Swiftblade’s Secondaries

  • Battlefield Supremacy: Herd the Prey
  • No Mercy, No Respite: To the Last (Drazhar, the two squads of Cronos)
  • Shadow Operations: Retrieve Octarius Data

Minimise Losses works well for me here. With my new list I have 15 units which means I can lose seven of them and still earn 10 points from the secondary, and not getting five means I likely got tabled. Drukhari trades are efficient but they’re still trades, and so that means as I cut down his units I can end up in a situation where even on a bad board position I’ve got 8 units left. Likewise, I much prefer Grind Them Down over To the Last against Drukhari since their offensive output means killing a TTL target isn’t too hard but if I can kill two cheap units to their one expensive unit I’m still winning on points. Finally on a six-objective Spread the Sickness map I like my chances of getting 3+ spread objectives. For Swiftblade, Herd is a no-brainer most of the time but particularly against Death Guard, while RoD is pretty easily 8 points with his Scourges. To the Last is a bit odd here – I think the Cronos are tough units, but they want to be up close to me spraying Dark Technomancers guns and that makes them vulnerable. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that TTL is better for units that can sit back and force your opponent to come to them, or are just insanely difficult to kill, and the Cronos are neither.

Deployment

I’m trying my best to mimic the GW terrain here; we’re playing the walls as fully closed off save the top floor. The bits along the table edges are dense terrain. My general plan is to split my forces and walk the Blightlords as a kind of Death Star up the south side of the table while the bloat-drones and plague marines protect the other side. I’ve left my Death Shroud more toward the mid-table in a move I didn’t quite plan, but ended up being pretty shrewd. For his part, Swiftblade is (smartly) uninterested in engaging the Blightlords, and plants his Cronos units and the Raiders with Incubi, Drazhar, the Kabalite Trueborn, and Archon on the other side of the table.

Swiftblade has the first turn

The table heading into my shooting phase on Turn 1

I’m actually OK with this – I think having early movement is better for me but I want to practice going second and I haven’t left him much to work with from a shooting standpoint. The downside here is that he’ll start scoring Herd the Prey before I can move a second time, meaning he’s almost guaranteed to get 4 points off it on turn 2, and he’ll get his Scourges earlier. It’ll also give him a good chance of scoring 15 primary points on turn 3; 15 point turns are a big deal on Retrieval Mission because scoring 40 is relatively trivial (it’s hold 1/hold 2 on a 6-objective map), but getting to 45 is a sight tougher. Swiftblade spends his first turn getting into position but doesn’t have any good shots so I don’t lose anything on turn 1. On my first turn I push forward with the Blightlords and Bloat-drones and wheel the PBCs out of cover to get line of sight on two Raiders full of Wyches and Succubi. I also press my poxwalkers on the north side of the table forward and Spread the Sickness to that objective – I expect this objective to be the most hotly contested one all game and so I need to corrupt it now before he puts units within 3″ of it. I have a not-so-great turn shooting, managing to blow up one Raider and killing a couple of Wyches inside, but the other one escapes with 8 wounds left. Still, one unit is enough to get me Grind Them Down and I do.

 

The Wyches and Cronoses get ready to start some shit

On turn 2 the Wyches and Succubus climb out of that still-intact Raider and press forward along with the two units of Cronos and the Raider. Swiftblade pops my Rhino open with Dark Lances then takes out 6 of the Plague Marines with Cronos fire. His plan at this point is to charge the Raider into the Plague Marines left over and consolidate into my PBC, while the Wyches take out the ObSec Poxwalkers and the Cronos potentially take out the HBL Bloat-Drone. Worried about failing the charge if I use the Inexorable stratagem on the PBC, Swiftblade charges the plague marines only with the Raider; he doesn’t account for the Fleshmower making a 6″ intervention move and soon we have a rumble going.

This rumble just got serious.

At this point Swiftblade has to activate the Wyches first, who split attacks between the Poxwalkers and the Fleshmower. They manage to chip 4 wounds off the Fleshmower and kill all but two Poxwalkers. Then I spend 2 CP for Counter-Offensive to pile in with my Plague Marines, basing the Raider, preventing it from getting any closer to my PBC. That’s huge for me, and they end up actually destroying the Raider anyways with their melee attacks. That’ll do. The Cronos and Succubus meanwhile chip a few wounds off the HBL bloat-drone but it sticks around at 4 remaining, while the Fleshmower eats 7 wyches and regains 3 wounds with Daemonic Gluttony, going back up to 7 wounds, and the Poxwalkers can’t finish them off so they spend 2 CP on Insane Bravery to stick around. My Plague Marines pass their morale test to end the turn and I’m in good position for Grind Them Down with 2 units killed.

On my turn I need to push up the table with my Blightlords and threaten his rear objectives while pulling back with the PBC and Plague Marines, to prevent him from just wiping them. The Poxwalkers get back 4 models with The Dead Walk Again and meanwhile the Fleshmower can zip around and set up to charge the Cronoses. On the other side of the table I realize that I can split my forces much more easily – I send the Deathshrouds up the table toward the Cronoses along with the Biologus Putrifier, the Foul Blightspawn, and the Plaguecaster, who uses Curse of the Leper to kill the remaining wyches while the HBL Bloat-drone will turn turn the Succubus into a fine paste with shooting shortly afterward. Otherwise, the shooting phase doesn’t go so well for me. The PBCs whiff most of their shots and only do a couple damage to one of the remaining raiders, and while the Blightlords kill one squad of Incubi, they completely fail their 7-inch charge – twice – to reach the wyches on the other South-side objective, leaving me hanging for a turn. The result is that Swifblade will score 4 VP for Herd again, plus 15 next turn for Primary – that’s a 9-point swing. I’m unable to kill the Cronoses with my Fleshmower, who also throws out nothing, and Swiftblade nails 5 out of 6 5+ saves with the thing. Booooo!

Ughhhh why couldn’t you make this charge

Top of turn 3. Swiftblade aims to make the most of my misfortune on his turn. He falls back with A Cruel Deception on his Cronos to keep them shooting, then unloads into my Plague Marines and the Fleshmower, killing two of the former and dropping the latter to 1 wound. He drops his Scourges into my deployment zone – in the Southwest corner – to get his third Retrieve Octarius data going, and uses dark lances to blow up the Plagueburst Crawler in the northwest corner and wipes out the remaining plague marines with fire from the Trueborn, while bringing his other unit of Cronos around. On my turn it’s time to retaliate – I need to start killing some of these Cronos units if I want to actually win this game, as right now Swiftblade is leading 63-42 or so. I have two units of Poxwalkers here – I wheel around with the depleted unit up top and then take the other one to a 5″ charge away from the Scourges. 10 Poxwalkers can absolutely mess up some Scourges but I need to play this right – Swiftblade has a pair of full-health Cronos in his unit and if I can’t chip one down, if it survives it can bring back a dead Cronos. To ensure that won’t happen, I bring up my Foul Blightspawn into 3″ from the Cronos in order to force them to fight last, while I also bring up my Death Shroud. I pop two of the remaining three Raiders, killing two trueborn as the archon, Incubi, Trueborn, and Drazhar all pile out. Unfortunately, one of the Raiders explodes, and the explosion kills my fleshmower bloat drone! On top of that, I have nothing left to shoot the Incubi at this point. They’ll have to move over difficult terrain to get to me but they can advance and charge next turn. I’m able to wipe out one unit of Cronos with the Death Shroud thanks to the blessing of the Putrifier and I kill the Scourges with my big unit of Poxwalkers. Meanwhile, the Blightlords do get their charge in this turn, making it to the objective and wiping out the wyches as their Succubus falls back to avoid getting mulched.

The tide turns

This is really where the tide starts to turn. Swiftblade is out of Cronos so he has to make a big play with Drazhar and his Incubi. They bound in and charge my Deathshrouds, who use the Inexorable Stratagem to make the charge harder. As a result, the Incubi make it but Drazhar does not. They eat absolute shit against my units, and are wiped out by the Blightspawn and Deathshrouds before they can even attack. That’s pretty much game at this point, and from here I’ll clean up the rest. Swiftblade does manage to get my Blightspawn with a Shredder the turn after but by this point it’s too late. My Blightlords sweep through his backfield killing his other Succubs and Wracks, I kill Drazhar with Curse of the Leper, and in the ultimate “insult to injury” move, his Archon charges into my remaining two Deathshrouds, only to have them spend 1 CP to overwatch, deailng him 8 wounds. Swiftblade promptly fails the first save with his Shadow Field and then dies before he can make it into combat. I end up getting the full 15 points for Spread the Sickness with the Blightlords on turn 5, and having only lost 7 units I’ll pick up 10 for Minimise Losses, plus I have 15 for Grind Them Down and I’m able to get 15 on primary turn 5 to max my primary score. Swiftblade ends up with 10 for Herd the Prey since it took me 3 turns to get the Blightlords across the mid-table line, plus 8 for Retrieve Octarius Data but 0 for To the Last. He snags 40 for primary, having gone 10-15-10-5.

Eat shit, Archon

Final Score: 95 – 70, Death Guard Win

This was a heck of a game. Swiftblade played it well the first two turns, playing coy and staying away from my Blightlords as he picked his spots. Unfortunately, he got a bit too greedy with his wyches and opened himself up to a 6″ Heroic Intervention from the Fleshmower, which really ruined his plans. He also probably got a bit aggressive with To the Last – Ironically Assassination might have been better here, since he wanted to play aggressively with his Cronos. I’m really happy with the Chaos Lord and HBL Bloat-drone; both did exactly what I expected them to and it’s a lot less of a problem for the Chaos Lord to not get into combat than the Daemon Prince since he costs 100 points fewer. His being Infantry was also valuable, since it meant he could corrupt my fourth Spread the Sickness objective.

The other big thing here was being able to split my army and have the Deathshroud and supporting characters move north to help out the plague marines and bloat-drones. I may look at keeping them all closer next time but this worked out very well and really helped mitigate the fact that Swiftblade could just move around my Blightlords and take them out of the game as a combat threat. The Deathshroud using the Putrifier to get mortals on 6s to wound, then throwing out 26 attacks on the charge means they can really drop some pain and not having 700+ points committed to the Blightlord group makes it much less of a problem when they don’t get involved. I like this setup, and I’ll need to deploy the Deathshrouds and characters with the idea of them branching off in mind.

For those of you keeping track at home, here’s a diagram of general unit movement during the game:

A general diagram of unit movement

Swiftblade: A brutal loss, but even though I lost today, I’m very satisfied with this game. I had Rob on the back foot for a good few turns there, and I played a tight game to boot. Though by turn 4, the momentum I had came to a screaming halt as I lost too much too quickly to prevent Rob from having little issue capping secondary objectives.

Rob and I had a long talk about this after the game, and we both agreed that while Assassination wasn’t a great choice for me as a Secondary, it was probably the right one. To the Last against a list where I was going to have trouble ever having an advantage on attrition against wasn’t the right call, I needed to be highly aggressive with everything to win today – which mixes poorly with To the Last. While Rob normally keeps his characters well hidden and extremely difficult to get to; my mobility and ability to trade up probably meant I could’ve picked off a few of them, and it would have forced Rob to play much more defensively instead of spreading out. I also probably could’ve spent 4 less CP on the Wyches. Re-roll wounds was good, but auto passing their morale and giving them an extra -1 AP on their weapons was probably a waste of resources I could’ve used for more clutch stratagems later on.

Otherwise, I think I kept my eye on the ball for much of the game and really pushed Rob hard here for his win, so I do walk away very proud of that. And of course, thank you so much for the game Rob, and thank you again for letting me put these thoughts together for Goonhammer. The winter of our discontent continues, next game for sure I’ll finally beat Rob!

 

Next Steps: List Adjustments?

So what did we learn from the game? Well, so far I think that the two changes were a big success. The Chaos Lord is much cheaper and easier to keep out of trouble, and while I didn’t really end up needing his Ferric Miasma, it’s easy to picture it having value in the future. His re-rolls for the Blightlords were very useful in helping them chip wounds off the Raiders as my Plagueburst Crawlers struggled to get damage out, and he was a fine body for spreading the sickness later on. The fact that he wasn’t as big or vulnerable a target as the Daemon Prince also helped; he was easier to just leave with the Blightlords, allowing me to more comfortably split my forces. That was key to being able to address Dan’s Cronos when the Blightlords found themselves walking up the table again.

The Heavy Blight Launcher drone was also a rock star – early on it was helpful bringing down a Raider and it gave me a second, relatively tough threat for Swiftblade to have to deal with, taking some heat off the Fleshmower. And while it doesn’t want to be trapped in combat, popping off 6 shots at the unit it’s trapped with is pretty nasty all the same, so while its ability to fight is only so-so – four S6 AP-2, D1 attacks aren’t amazing, they’re not terrible either and after he lives he’s shooting his way out.

So that was pretty much instant gratification on the adjustments I’d made – always good for confirming one’s priors. The next question is: What next? Well, I’ve been following along with Competitive Innovations and my next big concern is Grey Knights and Thousand Sons. Both armies are considerably better-equipped than mine when it comes to psychic powers and now that I’ve dropped down to a single psyker – the Malignant Plaguecaster – there’s a real question as to whether I want to keep him in the army or trade him out for another Foul Blightspawn or a Plague Surgeon, or even more Plague Marines. Let’s review the pros and cons of keeping the Plaguecaster:

Pros

  • Good source of mortal wounds; Curse of the Leper can delete whole squads and units
  • Miasma can really help a unit out, or I could go Gift of Plagues for better Ferric Blight
  • Lets me attempt to deny powers

Cons

  • Is a fifth character
  • Removes access to the Abhor the Witch secondary
  • Will be really bad in matchups against GK/Thousand Sons

At this point the real question is how likely I think I am to end up playing one of the two new psyker armies. Both are rapidly increasing in popularity, and against either I’m at worst giving up an easy 10-15 points for not having Abhor and against Thousand Sons I’m possibly giving up another 15 for Wrath of Magnus and having a psyker at all. Neither of those is a great option and so the next list adjustment might be to remove the psyker altogether. The biggest problem there is that my list is built around a Battalion Detachment, which gives me 6 Elites slots. If I remove the Plaguecaster but don’t replace him with another HQ, I have to drop to a Patrol Detachment, and I’m currently using 3 Elites slots – one for the Blightlords, one for the Deathshroud, and one for the three Foetid Virion. I’d have to completely rework the list to fit everything in a patrol detachment. Not good! I also don’t really need any of the other HQ options, so this is a really tough challenge. More than likely I’d have to drop either the Blightlords or the Deathshroud if I did this, and probably I’d drop the latter and replace them with a second rhino full of plague marines. It’s a big change, however – and not one I’m comfortable making this close to the event.

 

Next Time: More Practice Games

was planning to be at Warzone Houston this weekend, but a combination of the surging cases of COVID in Texas and the event’s bad COVID/masking policy have caused me to stay home. Instead, I’ll be hosting a small group of vaccinated friends at my house next weekend, where we’ll be getting in some practice games for New Orleans and playing a few games of Marvel Crisis Protocol. I’ll write about those games next week as well as my final preparations for New Orleans. Until then, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

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