TheChirurgeon’s Road Through 2022, Part 1: Look Who’s Come (Plagueburst) Crawling Back

Welcome, Dear Reader, to my new series about my ongoing struggles to achieve some level of competitive respectability in competitive 40k. Or not? I don’t know – 2022 is gonna be a weird year. I’m already looking at some uncertainty around my next event and thinking about where I’m going to be taking things this year – more on that in a bit.

Before I get into things, if you missed my series last year on competitive play, this article is a direct continuation of that one, and you can check out the final article of 2021 – along with links to all the prior articles I wrote – in that one by clicking on this link here.

Previously on…

Following 80-some games of 40k with Death Guard in 2021, I’d grown a bit tired of playing them. Given the release of Thousand Sons and the fact that I owned a lot of them, I was openly mulling over the idea of switching armies and playing some practice games with Thousand Sons.

Hobby Progress

I’ve had a little more time to paint – but not much – over the last couple of weeks, and so took the opportunity to get more done on my Thousand Sons. In addition to functioning as my next 40k army, they’re also going to be my Kill Team Christmas Challenge project (Warpcoven), letting me kill two mutated birds with a single stone. Holidays with a child aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, since the days you’re off work are usually also days when schools are closed, and the result is spending more time trying to entertain a child and prevent them from watching TV all day.

Yeah, that’s a Lord of Virulence in there. I don’t really have a big use for him, but he was already half painted and I wanted to get him off my desk.

Gearing up for some Practice Games

I have a pretty good local group here in Houston of people who are what I’d call “casual competitive.” They’re a mix of chill mid-table competitive players and more casual players who are comfortable playing competitive games and participating in events, even if they’re only likely to win a game or two at them. It makes for a very good group to play with, since our casual games look a lot like tournament practice and expectations of what to bring power-wise are pretty firm. I lined up three games over the last two weeks: Two against my friend Erik and one against Greg on New Year’s Eve.

Practice Game 1: Thousand Sons vs. Iron Hands

We’re back on Thousand Sons. I’ve been slowly making hobby progress on this army, and I’m starting to get a bit better feel on how they might work. I’ve watched a couple of streamed games with them that were… only kind of helpful, to be honest. I’m still struggling with the list and how to get the most out of terminators, how the Rubrics play, and how mobile the army can be. It’s clear that I can’t play them like Death Guard, as the lack of damage -1 native on my units makes them much less durable against things like grav and volkite shooting, and I need to be very careful about getting caught without buffs like Weaver of Fates in place.

The first of my three practice games was a rematch against my friend Erik’s Iron Hands. I’d previously played Erik in my first Thousand Sons practice game and it all went horribly wrong pretty quickly. This time I was running a list of my own devising. It’s measurably worse than my prior list but also I really wanted to play with the Magnus I painted.

My Thousand Sons List

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

My Thousand Sons - click to expand

++ Supreme Command Detachment +3CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [23 PL, 3CP, 4 Cabal Points, 450pts] ++

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander [23 PL, 4 Cabal Points, 450pts] +

Magnus the Red [23 PL, 4 Cabal Points, 450pts]: 1. Arrogance of Aeons, 3. Undying Form, 4. Lord of Forbidden Lore, Warlord

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [78 PL, 8CP, 15 Cabal Points, 1,559pts] ++

Cults of the Legion: Cult of Time

+ HQ [24 PL, -1CP, 9 Cabal Points, 430pts] +

Ahriman [9 PL, 3 Cabal Points, 180pts]: 11. Tzeentch’s Firestorm, 12. Twist of Fate, 21. Temporal Manipulation, Disc of Tzeentch [1 PL, 20pts]

Exalted Sorcerer [8 PL, -1CP, 4 Cabal Points, 135pts]: 2. Seeker After Shadows [1 Cabal Points], 21. Presage, 22. Weaver of Fates, Dilettante [2 PL, 35pts], Egleighen’s Orrery, High Acolytes [-1CP], Inferno Bolt Pistol, Umbralefic Crystal

Sorcerer in Terminator Armour [7 PL, 2 Cabal Points, 115pts]: 12. Glamour of Tzeentch, 23. Temporal Surge, Force stave, Prosperine khopesh

+ Troops [30 PL, 5 Cabal Points, 619pts] +

Rubric Marines [12 PL, 1 Cabal Points, 264pts]
. Aspiring Sorcerer [1 Cabal Points, 21pts]: 32. Pyric Flux, Inferno Bolt Pistol
. 9x Rubric Marine w/ warpflamer [243pts]: 9x Warpflamer [54pts]

Rubric Marines [12 PL, 2 Cabal Points, 230pts]: Icon of Flame [1 Cabal Points, 10pts]
. Aspiring Sorcerer [1 Cabal Points, 21pts]: Inferno Bolt Pistol
. 8x Rubric Marine w/ inferno boltgun [168pts]: 8x Inferno boltgun
. Rubric Marine w/ soulreaper cannon [31pts]: Soulreaper cannon [10pts]

Rubric Marines [6 PL, 2 Cabal Points, 125pts]: Icon of Flame [1 Cabal Points, 10pts]
. Aspiring Sorcerer [1 Cabal Points, 21pts]: Inferno Bolt Pistol
. 3x Rubric Marine w/ inferno boltgun [63pts]: 3x Inferno boltgun
. Rubric Marine w/ soulreaper cannon [31pts]: Soulreaper cannon [10pts]

+ Elites [20 PL, 1 Cabal Points, 430pts] +

Scarab Occult Terminators [20 PL, 1 Cabal Points, 430pts]: 2x Hellfyre missile rack [20pts]
. Scarab Occult Sorcerer [1 Cabal Points, 40pts]: Inferno combi-bolter
. 7x Terminator [280pts]: 7x Inferno combi-bolter, 7x Prosperine khopesh
. Terminator w/ Heavy Weapon [45pts]: Soulreaper cannon [5pts]
. Terminator w/ Heavy Weapon [45pts]: Soulreaper cannon [5pts]

+ Dedicated Transport [4 PL, 80pts] +

Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]

+++ [101 PL, 11CP, 19 Cabal Points, 1,999pts] +++

The general plan is still the same: Use the big Terminator unit to own the middle of the table and rely on the Cult of Time as a means to bring back dead models and keep them around. The Warpflamer unit goes in the Rhino, and the rest can occupy rear objectives as needed. I’m going to yeet Magnus across the table immediately and hope to take out as many dreadnoughts as possible before he’s murdered.

Erik’s Iron Hands Successors List

Erik's list - click to expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Iron Hands) [33 PL, 8CP, 628pts] ++

Chapter Selector: Custom Chapter, Iron Hands Successor, Master Artisans, Whirlwind of Rage

+ HQ +

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, -1CP, 140pts]: 5. Recitation of Focus, 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Litany of Hate, Stratagem: Paragon of Iron, Target Protocols, Warlord, Wise Orator

+ Troops +

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 115pts]: Haywire Mine
. 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades
. Incursor Sergeant

+ Elites +

Company Veterans [3 PL, 48pts]
. Company Veteran: Boltgun, Storm shield
. Company Veteran Sergeant: Boltgun, Storm shield

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought [8 PL, -3CP, 175pts]: Cyclone missile launcher, Merciless Logic, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Stratagem: March of the Ancients, 2x Twin volkite culverin

+ Heavy Support +

Eliminator Squad [5 PL, 75pts]: Bolt sniper rifle
. Eliminator Sergeant: Bolt sniper rifle
. 2x Eliminators: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Camo cloak, 2x Frag & Krak grenades

Eliminator Squad [5 PL, 75pts]: Bolt sniper rifle
. Eliminator Sergeant: Bolt sniper rifle
. 2x Eliminators: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Camo cloak, 2x Frag & Krak grenades

++ Vanguard Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Iron Hands) [67 PL, -4CP, 1,372pts] ++

Chapter Selector: Iron Hands Successor, Master Artisans, Minotaurs, Whirlwind of Rage

+ HQ +

Lieutenants [5 PL, -1CP, 90pts]
. Primaris Lieutenant: Rites of War, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Vox Espiritum
. . Neo-volkite pistol, Master-crafted power sword and Storm Shield: Neo-volkite pistol

+ Elites +

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 185pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Icarus Rocket Pod, Macro Plasma Incinerator, Onslaught Gatling Cannon

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 185pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Icarus Rocket Pod, Macro Plasma Incinerator, Onslaught Gatling Cannon

Vanguard Veteran Squad [7 PL, 159pts]: Jump Pack
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Storm shield, Thunder hammer

Vanguard Veteran Squad [7 PL, 159pts]: Jump Pack
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Storm shield, Thunder hammer

Vanguard Veteran Squad [7 PL, 159pts]: Jump Pack
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Storm shield, Thunder hammer

+ Heavy Support +
Devastator Squad [8 PL, 155pts]: Armorium Cherub
. Devastator Marine Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon

Devastator Squad [8 PL, 155pts]: Armorium Cherub
. Devastator Marine Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon
. Devastator Marine w/Heavy Weapon: Grav-cannon

+ Dedicated Transport +

Drop Pod [4 PL, 70pts]: Storm bolter

Land Speeder Storm [3 PL, 55pts]

++ Total: [100 PL, 4CP, 2,000pts] ++

Erik: This is the same list I played against Rob last time. I haven’t iterated on the Iron Hands at all and it is still strong. I took it to our local RTT and did alright. At the RTT I again failed to play enough like a shooting castle and moved my Van Vets up against Grey Knights which ended up costing me in a squeaker. So in this game I resolved to play more cautiously and let my big guns work.

The Mission: Secure Missing Artefacts

 

For a bit of added fun, we decided to play with Secure Missing Artefacts from the new GT 2022 Missions pack, which is basically the replacement for Priority Targets. This has 4/8/12 point scoring on primaries, plus additional points for holding the priority target objective each round.

My Secondaries:

  • Stranglehold
  • To the Last (Magnus, the Scarabs, the Warpflamers)
  • Mutate Lansdcape

Erik’s Secondaries

  • Abhor the Witch
  • Stranglehold
  • Oaths of Moment

To the Last isn’t my favorite pick here since I expect Magnus to die early, but if I go first this’ll be pretty solid. I’m also planning to keep the Warpflamers and Scarabs safer than last time but who knows if I’ll actually do that. On Erik’s side the center objective makes Oaths and Stranglehold extra good, and Abhor is a no-brainer vs. my Thousand Sons.

I get the First Turn. Oh shit let’s GOOOOOOOOO

 

Deployment. There are a lot of marines you can’t see in that top building, plus a whole drop pod full of Devastators.

Going first is huge here – it lets me put up my buffs on Magnus and the Terminators, and gives me the opportunity to straight-up take some of Erik’s shootier units off the table. With a 16″ move, Magnus is more than capable of shooting the gap and making the 8″ charge he needs to tag something turn 1. And that’s exactly what I do, giving him re-rolls to hit and throwing up Glamour of Tzeentch for -1 to be hit before wiping out the Eliminators with Tzeentch’s Firestorm and hitting the Contemptor for 6 with a Boosted Smite.

After that Magnus got off his 8″ charge to hit the Vanguard Veterans through the ruin wall and wiped them out, consolidating into the Volkite Contemptor. It can’t fall back and charge, so at the very least I’ll stop one more unit from shooting me next turn. This also pins the devastators deep in Erik’s deployment zone, so they won’t be nearly as well positioned to shoot my.

On Erik’s turn he drops the drop pod and the Devastators get out, half multi-melta and half grav. He falls back with the Contemptor and prepares to go to work with the boosted Redemptors. I fire up Magnus’ once-per-game 3+ invulnerable save and we start doing it. And… I get crazy lucky. Erik whiffs quite a few of his 4+ shots and I spike the shit out of my saves, rolling boxcars against the multi-meltas that come through to force saves. Magnus only takes 3 wounds from shooting, then Erik charges and only manages to do another 6 in melee as Magnus shrugs off more damage. Magnus retaliates by interrupting and killing the other Redemptor.

At this point, those of you who are familiar with the rules for Magnus the Red are no doubt screaming at me that this is not how this works – in my haste, I mis-read the rules for Magnus’ third warlord trait, and mistakenly gave him Otherworldly Presence – in fact, Magnus does not have the ability to get a 3+ invulnerable save for a turn. So Magnus likely took less damage than he should have, though I mostly rolled 4+ saves for him, including when he took hits from the Multi-Meltas and the Redemptor (who only got 1 wound through anyways). Magnus would have survived, but probably wouldn’t have been able to kill the Redemptor. At this point, the game isn’t particularly interesting if Magnus is still alive anyways – another turn of Magnus ravaging Erik’s backfield is essentially the game as my units draw in closer, so we just pick Magnus up and play it as if he had died from here. This is more interesting for me to work out as well anyways.

RIP Magnus, you cheating bitch

From here we play a tighter game, with more back-and-forth. My Warpflamers absolutely whiff on their attempts to kill Erik’s Vanguard Vets, but the Rhino is able to charge in and cause some problems by tying up the Drop Pod and Devastators. This is also where I find out that Pyric Flux is like the only power in the game that ends at the end of your turn – that’s lame as hell (I really needed that boost to my Overwatch)! Meanwhile the Redemptor and Contemptor put in work whittling down the Terminators. The Vanguard Veterans crash into my Scarabs in the middle of the table and I manage to hold on in a way that will lead me to wipe them off the next turn, but not before they knock me down to 5 scarabs.

At this point things are running late so we call it. It’s essentially a tie at this point, though I think Erik can pull this one out from here if I have a bad psychic phase. On the whole it’s been a more interesting practice game but not a particularly informative one since I mis-played Magnus, got lucky regardless, and won’t be playing him again anyways.

Rob’s Thoughts: Well, live and learn. I knew there was a reason Magnus doesn’t see any play and the reality is that he just isn’t a model you can keep on the table. I’m glad we pulled him anyways after all that, since it kept me from feeling bad about the mis-play. Also, those things happen and this is why you play the practice games to begin with. The new mission scoring wasn’t really a factor for most of our game, since neither of us was able to stop the other from scoring the priority objective, so it just looked like a pair of 11-point turns vs. a 7 and an 11 instead of 13/8.

I got a little bit more practice playing with the Terminators and Warpflamers this time around, which was helpful, and a slightly better handle on how to move them with the Scarabs, but I still need to be a bit better about keeping them together. Next time I’ll likely to back to two detachments and look at how I can make better use of the Orrery.

Erik’s Thoughts: My plan went well until Magnus charged me and survived 2 redemptors, 2 dev squads and every other piece of shooting I could muster. I also charged him with a double exploding redemptor and a regular one and failed to kill him. At this point the game was well and truly over. Had we applied the rules right who knows how it would have gone but its not impossible that most of those saves were 4++ anyway. So I am glad Rob and I agreed to treat magnus as dead as it lead to the rest of the game being pretty interesting and the shooting castle doing its thing. I again moved a Van Vet squad up incorrectly giving rob a chance to shoot them for no persuasive reason. However, the shooting and melee combo allowed me to pick up a lot of the scarab occult terminators and thus control the center. We had to call the game early for reasons of fatherly responsibility, but the Iron Hands proved themselves once again.

Result: Mostly a draw

Game 2: vs. Erik’s Black Templars

I was supposed to play Russell Tassin for this game, but some complications around life and scheduling made that impossible so instead Erik and I met back up a week later to slam some hams again. This time I gave in and went back to my Death Guard. I’ve been hankering to give the faction a try again with a third plagueburst crawler ever since the Asgard RTT reminded me of how much better it is to have a third one for variance smoothing and so that’s what I did here. It also helps that they’re money against marines.

My Death Guard

My Death Guard - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [101 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

Plague Company: The Inexorable
Gifts of Decay [-1CP]: Additional Relics [-1CP]

+ HQ [10 PL, 185pts] +

Death Guard Chaos Lord [5 PL, 90pts]: Combi-bolter, Ferric Blight, Plaguebringer, Power sword [5pts], Warlord

Malignant Plaguecaster [5 PL, 95pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 5. Curse of the Leper

+ Troops [10 PL, 225pts] +

Plague Marines [6 PL, 125pts]
. Plague Champion [21pts]: Boltgun, Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ blight launcher [31pts]: Blight launcher [10pts]
. 2x Plague Marine w/ boltgun [42pts]: 2x Blight grenades, 2x Boltgun, 2x Krak grenades, 2x Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ flail [31pts]: Flail of corruption [10pts]

Poxwalkers [2 PL, 50pts]
. 10x Poxwalker [50pts]: 10x Improvised weapon

Poxwalkers [2 PL, 50pts]
. 10x Poxwalker [50pts]: 10x Improvised weapon

+ Elites [40 PL, -2CP, 790pts] +

Biologus Putrifier [4 PL, -1CP, 65pts]: 4. Arch-Contaminator, Plaguechosen [-1CP]

Blightlord Terminators [20 PL, -1CP, 420pts]
. Blightlord Champion [-1CP, 40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Champion of Disease [-1CP], Combi-bolter, Plague Skull of Glothila
. Blightlord Terminator [45pts]: Flail of corruption [5pts]
. Blightlord Terminator [45pts]: Flail of corruption [5pts]
. Blightlord Terminator [45pts]: Bubotic Axe, Reaper autocannon [5pts]
. Blightlord Terminator [45pts]: Bubotic Axe, Reaper autocannon [5pts]
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Balesword, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator [40pts]: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter

Deathshroud Terminators [7 PL, 150pts]
. Deathshroud Champion [50pts]: Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 2x Deathshroud Terminator [100pts]: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Foul Blightspawn [5 PL, 85pts]: Revolting Stench-vats, Viscous Death [1 PL, 10pts]

Tallyman [4 PL, 70pts]

+ Fast Attack [14 PL, 275pts] +

Foetid Bloat-drone [7 PL, 135pts]: Fleshmower [5pts]
Foetid Bloat-drone [7 PL, 140pts]: Heavy blight launcher [10pts]

+ Heavy Support [27 PL, 525pts] +

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon [10pts], Heavy slugge
Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon [10pts], Heavy slugger
Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon [10pts], Heavy slugger

Alright the big difference here is that I’ve traded out the Rhino and one 5-model unit of Plague Marines for a third PBC, which helps me shore up the problem of “what happens if both are just kind of blah?” by giving me another fallback. The two 5-model units of Plaguemarines just weren’t doing it for me and really only served to help me do actions on missions where I needed to potentially RoD or do banners and so far that’s come up zero times. The only major change here play-wise is that I need to be a bit better about how I split my non-PBC forces, but with one non-TTL PBC I can afford to play that one a bit more aggressively if I need. I also moved Arch-Contaminator to the Putrifier to spread things out a bit, since the Blightspawn is everyone’s favorite first target.

Erik’s Black Templars

Erik's List - click to expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Black Templars) [64 PL, 10CP, 1,212pts] ++

Chapter Selection: Black Templars
Strategem: Relics of the Chapter [-1CP]: Number of Extra Relics

+ HQ +

Chaplain Grimaldus [7 PL, 140pts]: 1. Litany of Divine Protection, 4. Fires of Devotion, Litany of Hate

High Marshal Helbrecht [8 PL, 160pts]

+ Troops +

Primaris Crusader Squad [20 PL, 247pts]: Bolt Pistol and Astartes Chainsword
. 5x Primaris Initiate w/Chainsword & Heavy Bolt Pistol: 5x Astartes Chainsword, 5x Frag & Krak grenades, 5x Heavy Bolt Pistol
. 8x Primaris Neophytes: 8x Frag & Krak grenades
. Primaris Sword Brother: Heavy Bolt Pistol, Power axe

+ Elites +

Primaris Apothecary [5 PL, 115pts]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, The Aurillian Shroud, Warlord

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Heavy flamer, Macro Plasma Incinerator

+ Fast Attack +

Inceptor Squad [15 PL, -1CP, 375pts]: Plasma Exterminator x2, The Crux Obsidian
. 5x Inceptor
. Inceptor Sergeant: Stratagem: Champion of the Feast

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Black Templars) [47 PL, -2CP, 787pts] ++

Chapter Selection: Black Templars
Detachment Command Cost [-2CP]

+ HQ +

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [6 PL, 115pts]: 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Litany of Hate, The Crusader’s Helm

+ Troops +

Primaris Crusader Squad [20 PL, 247pts]: Bolt Pistol and Astartes Chainsword
. 5x Primaris Initiate w/Chainsword & Heavy Bolt Pistol: 5x Astartes Chainsword, 5x Frag & Krak grenades, 5x Heavy Bolt Pistol
. 8x Primaris Neophytes: 8x Frag & Krak grenades
. Primaris Sword Brother: Heavy Bolt Pistol, Power axe

+ Heavy Support +

Eliminator Squad [6 PL, 100pts]: Holy Orb, Las Fusil
. Eliminator Sergeant: Instigator Bolt Carbine
. 2x Eliminators: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Camo cloak, 2x Frag & Krak grenades

Eradicator Squad [15 PL, 325pts]: Heavy melta rifle, Icon of Heinmann
. 3x Eradicator: 3x Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt
. Eradicator with MM: Multi-melta
. Eradicator with MM: Multi-melta

++ Total: [111 PL, 8CP, 1,999pts] ++

Erik: As regular readers of this column will not doubt not remember, I played and loved the last Black Templar book but have been very down on the new book going so far as to call it crap to any who would listen at the GW open in Austin. Which was of course followed by several excellent performances by very talented Templar players causing me to reconsider and attempt to figure out why I was wrong. In an effort to better understand it I resolved to play some with the most popular Templar builds. This is a pretty close approximation of one such build

The Mission: Battle Lines

Battle Lines isn’t my ideal mission but it’s surprisingly a hell of a lot better when you have three PBCs to shoot across the table with.

My Secondaries

  • Assassination
  • Stranglehold
  • To the Last (Two PBCs and the Blightlords)

Erik’s Secondaries

  • Oaths of Moment
  • Stranglehold
  • Assassination

Assassination is a great pick against Grimaldus, since he immediately counts as three characters. And while I can’t necessarily just pick him off, I have several ways of picking some of them off separately (more on that in a bit). Stranglehold should also work for me if I can split forces, and I like the prospect of using To the Last to force Erik to deal with my Blightlords. I’ll need to play a bit more cagey with the characters to avoid giving up Assassination points to Erik but otherwise I like my odds.

I’m going First.

Going first isn’t critical here but it sure doesn’t hurt. My plan is to advance out on the bottom side with the Blightlords and use the two Fleshmowers to score t1 Stranglehold, which just requires a 3+ advance on the southside one. I get a 2 and CP re-roll it into a 3. Then the Blightlords score a 6 on their advance and just make it anyways. Thanks, fellas. Here’s where my secret weapon comes in: I can use Disgusting Force on the PBC Mortars to potentially splash mortal wounds onto Grimaldus (4+). Each time I do that it’ll kill one of his idiot hangers-on and score me 3 VP. I use this to get VP on turn 1 but he successfully gets the FNP roll to save a servitor on turn 2.

Eric uses his ObSec shenanigans to keep me off my turn 2 primary scoring and he prioritizes killing bloat-drones which, fair. I use the Putride Detonation Stratagem to force the Heavy Blight Launcher drone to auto-explode when he kills it, doing another mortal wound to Grimaldus and scoring me another 3 VP for killing a character. He uses his inceptors to try and take out poxwalkers and ends up killing 9 out of 10, which means that the following turn I’m able to get 5 back. That’s huge since it pushes them forward to where they can threaten the Inceptors. I continue to press forward with my Blightlords and clear out his Eliminators on the south side of the table while on the north side the deathshroud and poxwalkers charge into the Inceptors and Eradicators. The Poxwalkers hold on to survive Eradicator fighting and force them to start having to make decisions about Falling Back. That’s pretty much going to swing the game at this point as taking out the Eradicators will prevent Erik from doing much about my terminators.

On Eric’s turn he presses forward with the Redemptor and Helbrecht (proxied as a regular Dreadnought in the photo above), but thanks to the Foul Blightspawn neither can fight first so my Blightlords interrupt and kill Helbrecht, who gets one by fighting on death while the Redemptor kills two more.  I take out the Redemptor on the following turn and from there the game is pretty much over.

Rob: The PBCs were money this game, doing massive damage to the dreadnoughts while using splash damage and mortars to both score VP off Grimaldus and whittle down Erik’s 20-man squad of sword Brethren. Getting full shots over and over on that unit was awesome. The Blightlords did what they needed, and so far I think my army matches well into Black Templars, but I could be missing something. Splitting the Deathshrouds out to do more work on the other side of the table ended up being the right call.

Erik: I fully acknowledge that death guard with triple PBC may have been a really bad matchup here and that this list probably works way better into the top meta right now. That being said I was not able to discover the secret sauce here. Crusader squads did not feel especially durable when PBCs got max shots for free on them. The inceptors were quite anemic into -1 damage death guard and Grimaldus just gave up all the points to disgusting force PBCs. I know death guard are a nasty matchup for a list that is looking to win a durability fight but the army did not feel even a little bit good in this match-up.

Result: 90-59, Win

Game 3: vs. Greg “Klobasnek” Narro’s Adepta Sororitas

A few days later it was New Year’s Eve and we had a small gathering of vaxxed people at our house – Klobasnek and his wife, plus Erik and his wife – over for some hams, board games, drinking, and ham (we picked up a honey-baked ham and some rolls). Greg’s been interested in picking his Sisters back up, so to make for a bit lighter of a game I decided to swap out my Blightlords (420 points) and my Biologus Putrifier (65 points), plus the gun upgrade on my Blightspawn (10) for Mortarion (490 points).

Greg’s Adepta Sororitas

Credit: Greg Narro

Greg's list - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adepta Sororitas) [98 PL, 8CP, 2,001pts] ++

Order Convictions: Order: Valorous Heart
Stratagem: Open the Reliquaries [-1CP]: Additional Relics of the Ecclesiarchy
Stratagem: Open the Reliquaries [-1CP]: Additional Relics of the Ecclesiarchy

+ No Force Org Slot +

Death Cult Assassins [1 PL, 26pts]
. 2x Death Cult Assassins: 2x Death Cult power blades

+ HQ +

Canoness [4 PL, -1CP, 80pts]: Blessed Blade, Bolt pistol, Relic: Mantle of Ophelia, Stratagem: Saint in the Making, Warlord Trait: Impervious to Pain
. The Emperor’s Grace

Celestine and Geminae Superia [10 PL, 200pts]
. 2x Geminae Superia: 2x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Power sword

Morvenn Vahl [13 PL, 265pts]: Warlord

+ Troops +

Battle Sister Squad [3 PL, 65pts]
. 3x Battle Sister: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Heavy bolter
. Sister Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [3 PL, 65pts]
. 3x Battle Sister: 3x Bolt pistol, 3x Boltgun, 3x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Heavy bolter
. Sister Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun

Battle Sister Squad [12 PL, 275pts]
. 14x Battle Sister: 14x Bolt pistol, 14x Boltgun, 14x Frag & Krak grenades
. Battle Sister w/ Simulacrum: Simulacrum Imperialis
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Battle Sister w/ Special or Heavy Weapon: Multi-melta
. Battle Sister w/ Special Weapon: Ministorum Flamer
. Battle Sister w/ Special Weapon: Ministorum Flamer
. Sister Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun

+ Elites +

Celestian Sacresants [6 PL, 145pts]
. 9x Celestian Sacresant (Anointed Halberd): 9x Anointed Halberd, 9x Bolt pistol, 9x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sacresant Superior: Bolt pistol, Spear of the Faithful

Dogmata [4 PL, 65pts]: 3. Psalm of Righteous Smiting, 4. Litany of Enduring Faith, Relic: The Sigil Ecclesiasticus

Hospitaller [3 PL, -1CP, 50pts]: Relic: Book of St. Lucius, Stratagem: Saint in the Making, Warlord Trait: 5. Indomitable Belief (Aura)

Preacher [2 PL, 30pts]: Zealot’s Vindictor

+ Fast Attack +

Dominion Squad [4 PL, 80pts]
. Dominion Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter
. Dominion w/ Special Weapon: Artificer-crafted storm bolter

Seraphim Squad [4 PL, 90pts]
. 2x Seraphim: 4x Bolt pistol, 2x Frag & Krak grenades
. Seraphim Superior: Bolt pistol, Bolt pistol
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Ministorum Hand Flamers
. Seraphim w/ Special Weapons: 2x Ministorum Hand Flamers

+ Heavy Support +

Penitent Engines [6 PL, 110pts]
. Penitent Engine: 2x Penitent buzz-blades
. Penitent Engine: 2x Penitent buzz-blades

Penitent Engines [6 PL, 110pts]
. Penitent Engine: 2x Penitent buzz-blades
. Penitent Engine: 2x Penitent buzz-blades

Retributor Squad [6 PL, 110pts]: 2x Armourium Cherub
. Retributor Superior
. . Bolt Pistol & Boltgun
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Ministorum Heavy Flamer
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Ministorum Heavy Flamer
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Ministorum Heavy Flamer
. Retributor w/ Heavy Weapon: Ministorum Heavy Flamer

+ Dedicated Transport +

Immolator [7 PL, 150pts]: Twin multi-melta

Sororitas Rhino [4 PL, 85pts]: Hunter-killer missile

++ Total: [98 PL, 8CP, 2,001pts] ++

Greg: Reader, Plan A was to play a New Year’s Eve game of Necromunda vs Swiftblade at Rob’s place. Alas, he couldn’t make it at the last minute due to workplace COVID exposure, so I quickly pulled up a random list out of Battlescribe and tossed it in my car.

I made this list prior to the GW Austin Open to see what I could do with the Sisters models I had and might have been able to paint in time for Austin. Most of my Sisters collection comes from Ye Olden Days of metal models, so I’ve got a lot of Immolators and Exorcists and very few multimelta Retributors or Repentia. The draft version of this list had a second squad of Sacresants, but those aren’t assembled yet so I swapped in the Multimelta Immolator, which explains why I’m a filthy cheater with 2001 points.

There isn’t too much to note with the list; we’ve got the Valorous Heart extremely tanky Canoness, and a big block of Sisters for Holy Trinity, and some Sacresants to pal around with Celestine and Vahl. It wants to stand around in terrain and use Valorous Heart to take 2+ saves against as much shooting as possible. For Austin, I decided this list didn’t have the offense to really compete, so I took Necrons instead and went 4-4. Let’s see if that was the right call.

The Mission: Priority Targets

My Secondaries:

  • Asasssination
  • Stranglehold
  • Priority Target

Greg’s Secondaries:

  • Priority Target
  • Raise the Banners High
  • To the Last (Vahl, Celestine, the 20-model unit of battle sisters)

Like with Grimaldus, the Gemini are a great target for Assassination, essentially guaranteeing me a bonus 6 VP as I got after Celestine, who’s a TTL target anyways. Vahl is tougher to crack but I can manage, and I think I can hold the middle pretty well with my Deathshrouds and character support in lieu of the Blightlords, especially since everything will be shooting Mortarion.

I’m going Second

There’s no use hiding Mortarion on this map since he has 18W and none of the terrain is very tall but what I can do is make sure he’s a half inch back from the deployment line so that it’s impossible for a 12″ moving vehicle to be in D6+2 range with its multi-melta. That said any notions I had about the game being easier for Greg with Morty instead of Blightlords vanished when I realized that he only had four multi-meltas in his list – and two of them were on the Immolator. That’s not good! Greg’s early shooting failed to make a dent, though he was able to Deny Mortarion’s attempt at casting Miasma of Pestilence on turn 1. Mortarion responded by charging across the table and getting off a T1 charge against the sisters in the ruins as the PBCs kill the Immolator, which then explodes and takes out a bunch of sisters.

Moratrion spends turn 1 fighting a bunch of sisters off the objective so I can recapture it, only to watch the Death Cult assassins blow past him to tag the PBC behind him. The Storm bolter sisters fall back and Greg unleashes his best hope: Throwing blessed bolts on the storm bolter sisters and holy trinity on the big squad and powering out as much damage as he can manage – including a 7-damage miracle’d multi-melta shot – at Mortarion. This isn’t too bad a notion – he can get a lot of mortal wounds from Blessed Bolts, and the firepower from the rest of the squad can wear Mortarion down with AP-1, plus it all re-rolls to wound rolls of 1 from Vahl. If he spikes his rolls this can be bad. Unfortunately, Greg ends up only managing 10 damage, then charges Mortarion and gets in 2 more before Mortarion retaliates and kills the Geminae and Celestine. Celestine rolls a 1 to ressurect and that’s basically game.

On my next turn I manage to take down the Sacresants using the mortars on the PBCs, then take out Vahl with the rest and some melee help from Mortarion – I use Curse of the Leper to wipe out the death cult Assassins so the third PBC can shoot freely. The Deathshroud take out the Penitent Engines and from here there isn’t a ton Greg can do with his remaining units. We go through the motions another turn but Mortarion survives and we call it on turn 4.

Rob: This game was over the moment Greg didn’t have the multi-meltas to wipe Mortarion. Sisters can be a real nightmare matchup for vehicle-heavy or mortarion Death Guard because they can use Miracle Dice to push through big damage, but Greg both didn’t have enough MM shooting to do that meaningfully and also rolled kind of blah on his Miracle dice – and didn’t have enough of them anyways. Mortarion getting into combat turn 1 is also a bad time for opponents as well.

Greg: It was, in fact, the right call to not take this list to Austin.

Result: 100-61, Win

 

Next Time: Another Asgard RTT

Well that wraps up my latest escapades. I’ve got another RTT at Asgard (potentially) this weekend, which I’m most likely going to attend since they have a very good masking policy and it’s a small event. I suspect I’ll take Death Guard to the event as well, using the version of the list above, though I may take out the heavy blight launcher for plague marines and a rhino – I’m 50/50 on this since, while I like the Blight Launcher Bloat-drone, it leaves me without many obsec bodies. TBD on that one.

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