Sunday, 2 July 2017

For the Greater Gangrene - T'au vs Nurgle Chaos Host

By my depleted leucocytes!
It's All Skype Fight Night!

The lure of 40K is hard upon me. The itch! I must scratch!

Oh no, wait, it's just the symptoms of early onset Nurgle's Rot. Great.

Kraken here, along with Kasfunatu, battling via remote as we bring you a 40K matched play report. As a representative of the Greater Good, I shall be commanding the T'pau sept.


T'Pau Firing Line

Holy cats, these guys get expensive fast.

Tell me about it! Got to learn to not naively just take the table with model points costs as internal indicator.

Yeah, not even close. Some of the prices for T'au guns almost outweigh the tank they're mounted on, which I took to be a promising sign for their efficacy!

I'd written out my wish list and then was working out points cost, which is currently a laborious process of flicking between pages in the index book. The original plan was to take a Battalion for relatively minimal points, then maybe squeeze a secondary detachment in with the Stormsurge.

That sounds like me last week... and to be fair, I had a similar experience with my Chaos list below.

By the time I'd got half way through what I'd thought was a reasonable amount of stuff, I'd run out of points. So the Broadsides, Stormsurge and Pirhanas will have to wait for another time.

Battalion Detachment

  • HQ - A'lfau, a Commander with Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, Shield Generator, Early Warning Override and two gun drones 
  • HQ - Be'tau, a Commander with Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, 2 x Flamer and 2 x shield drones
  • HQ - K'appre, a Cadre Fireblade with Markerlight, pulse rifle, photon grenades, shield drone and gun drone
  • Troops - Strike Team of 6 Fire Warriors w. pulse rifles and photon grenades, inc. Shas'ui with markerlight and 2 shield drone
  • Troops - Strike Team as above but also bringing a DS8 Turret with Smart Missile System 
  • Troops - Breacher Team w. Pulse Blasters, Guardian Drone and Gun Drone 
  • Elite - 4 XV8 Crisis suits and 2 x Gun Drone 
    • A) w. 2 x burst cannon and Autotracking system
    • B) w. 2 x Burst Cannon plus Velocity Tracker, 
    • 2xC) w. Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster, Shield Generator 
  • Elite - Ghostkeel with Fusion Collider, 2 x fusion blasters, target lock and shield generator, 2 x stealth drones 
  • Fast Attack - 6 Pathfinders w. markerlights, plasma carbines, photon grenades, a Shas'ui, a Plasma Accelerator Drone, a Grav Inhibitor Drone and an MB3 Recon Drone w. Burst Cannon 
  • Dedicated Transport - Devilfish with Burst Cannon and 2 gun drones 
  • Heavy Support - Hammerhead Tank with Railgun and two gun drones 

The broad plan (we didn't know the mission yet, as before) is as follows - the strike teams form a firebase, supported by one commander and the cadre, both of whom allow plenty of shooting boosts. They take down enemy troops and free up any objectives they might be trying to take.

The Crisis suits, supported by the other commander, act as a forward assault squad, jumping to take points and wipe out anything that survives the weight of plasma rifle fire from the Strike teams.

The Pathfinder squad lurks out of harm's way, sticking Markerlights on priority targets, while the Hammerhead tries to snipe enemy armour. The Ghostkeel will help with that, getting as close as possible to melt hulls, while the Breacher Team will rush forward in the Devilfish to assault enemy fire support or plug holes where they develop.

Drones everywhere provide what firepower they can, but they're all really there as ablative wounds for the T'au soldiers and suits. Enjoy your free thinking existence, autonomous AIs.

Overall, we win, and dance on the graves of our enemies rejoice as they see the light of the Greater Good.

Chaos Host of Nurgle 

Image result for chaos host of nurgle

I wanted to at least have an implied keyword theme (even if not mechanically), so I took everything I could for the Plaguefather.

I'd started a 1000 pt chaos list last week before opting for T'au. My previous list had been Tzeentch based, but was feeling the love for the green one. My previous list had included a Knight; I had intended to swap out a few troops and then be done. Of course, I was over ambitious.. and so the knight was downgraded to a Defiler. The Daemon Prince just changed his allegiance and was the only stalwart from previous.

Nurglings sounded fun (being able to drop 9" from deployment when deploying) but were going to be in a decent size unit. I had 8 models, so 8 made it in he list. 

Next was a big block of Plaguebearers. It would have been nice to have more, their weight of obnoxiousness only created enough flies to be effective when 20 models, so as soon as someone bought it, then they were easier to hit. It might still give me an extra round of getting across the field though.

Then in a combined Nurgle list, I knew I wanted some shooting. So cracked open the Nurgle flavoured Plague Marines... Wait you say: they're Elite, but you are counting as Troops. Well, in a Death Guard army they are troops. Due to the 'Ravening Hordes' nature of the current indices, there is no bonus for going all Death Guard; and equally no penalty of mix and matching different legions in a Chaos bound list. So give my own Nurgle theme, I took them.

Augmenting the marines with some Havocs for firepower (something the daemon contingent would not have); and my mini-Knight in the Defiler; I added the Heldrake for air superiority. It did not seem the beast it was in 7th; but, like the Defiler, it was going to heal itself and the 30" move (with no minimum) was tactically appealing.

Battalion Detachment

  •               HQ: Daemon Prince of Chaos (Nurgle) w/ Wings, Extra Talons and bolter: 189
  •               HQ: Herald of Nurgle: 70
  •               TROOPS: 8 Nurglings: 160
  •               TROOPS: 7 Plague Marines (2 blightlauncers, 1 plasmagun and powerfist): 208
  •               TROOPS: 20 Plaguebearers w/ Icon: 185
  •               HEAVY: 7 Havocs (1 Missile, 1 Las, 2 Heavy bolter) w/Icon: 171
  •               HEAVY: Defiler (Twin lascanon, Twin flamer, Combi-bolter): 302
  •               FLYER: Heldrake (Baleflamer and Claws): 215

Terrain and Deployment

The green green fields of another planet in the far future to war over. This sprawling hamlet has plenty of pleasant leafy woods to hide in, some attractive faux-medieval towers for vantage and a couple of empty hovels. As delightful a place for two armies with entirely different modes of combat to challenge each other for supremacy as any I have yet encountered. 

Might just need a black sheet. The arcane ruins being are not bad for reuse; but the green grass is a little jarring. 

Here it is again, through the medium of virtual reality.

The mission we roll up this time is Retrieval Mission. There are four useful ammo dumps for us to go and fetch, the red 'Obj' points above which we place before we can select sides or deployment. Because I place the last one, I get to determine these from the selection available, and I go with taking the short ends, 'Hammer and Anvil'. Because then I can take the left hand side, and camp on the two objectives there. 

Oh, should have considered that. So used to playing across the table, I did not consider when laying objectives. Taking that edge was a sensible move. 

My gun line sets up along the objectives, leaving both Commanders way up in the sky and ready to deploy later by drop pod. Ghostkeel and Devilfish on the top end, for a hard push against the Plague Marines, and the Pathfinders advancing ahead of the line into the relative safety of a wood.

The Nurglings crept out of the ground and bounded around the Genestealer in a cupboard. Whereas everything else deployed as far forward as they could.

In the south, the Havocs were close to the building, ready to encamp next turn. The Herald surrounded himself by Plaguebearers and the Plague Marines took cover by the northern pub.

My hard hitting set of Prince, Heldrake and Defiler spanning the gap between my two blocks.

Kas has finished deployment early, so he gets the first go. Unless I steal it on the roll of a six, which I immediately do.

Gah - cost you a command point. But still. This is going to hurt!

I think it was free, actually, I got it without the reroll this time!

T'pau Turn 1

Yay! Shooting!

I do a little bit of movement, tucking the Pathfinder squad into the wood and sending the big Ghostkeel suit and Devilfish hover tank up the top side. Both Commanders drop in, the Warlord amongst the Strike Teams and the spare guy with the Crisis Suits, which are bounding towards the Nurgling swarm.

Shooting takes about half an hour, there's so much of it.

And the rest :)

Also because we're learning the rules and I'm looking up new guns all the time, but even so. I begin to understand why T'au were... unpopular, shall we say, amongst their opponents in the last edition.

We'll get quicker and more familiar though. It's all the flicking that's the delay at the moment.

Using Markerlights, the special T'au tactic of red-dotting your shooting to improve hits, I'm able to split the fire of my army and still keep it ferocious. Almost half the Nurglings die to massed Burst Cannon fire from the Crisis Suits, and the Defiler, whose Battle Cannon I'm extremely nervous about, is left on a pair of wounds (3 actually) after a torrent of Fusion Fire from the Ghostkeel. Even the Demon Prince gets a scratch.

Lesson: deal with the Ghostkeel.

And this is despite whiffing the hits from my chief source of Markerlights, the Pathfinder team, as it turns out standing in a dense wood isn't so great for laser targeting guns.

Mind you, all my other phases are short. No psykers, the T'au don't believe in them. And close combat? I should say not. Don't believe in it either.

Plague Host Turn 1

I needed to stop those pathfinders lighting me up like that, and the Heldrake thrust forward lighting the pilot light on its flamers. The prince swooped forwarding landing by the Ghostkeel.

The nurglings were going to camp on their prize until help could arrive. Which slowly happening. The havocs, unsurprisingly climbed the tower.

Not very many shots, but the fact the flamer automatically hits makes up for that and a gush of putrid fetid flame streaks through the forest. The pathfinders cower behind drones and the Pulse Accelerator drone takes the worst of the damage. That's before the Heldrake lands and grabs two pathfinders in her claws. Easier to reflame and mutate the T'au to a shambling dying mess.

Except I shed these wounds on to drones too. Bless them, they're so eager to die for the cause!

The plague marines blast the ghostkeel before the prince, talons sharpened and dripping with poison, tear into the Ghostkeel; with little retaliation.

This leaves it on four wounds, which is four more than I was expecting, so I'm happy.

Havocs in the tower are able to target the commander as closest unit, but manage to only target and destroy his drone cover; at least that's first blood.

T'pau Turn 2

Hmm. The big flapping metal bird thing will have to go, it's breaking my concentration. The Main Commander decides now is the time to use his special ability, Kau'yon! Which translates from the T'au as 'everyone nearby stand still and really concentrate on hitting shit'. The firing squads freeze in place, but don't need Markerlights to reroll their misses.

Which is good, because the Pathfinders are quite busy running away from the Helldrake, although I didn't quite map it on the image above. You'll see they pop suddenly to a new location in the next one. Similarly, the Ghostkeel disengages from the Demon Prince, who is a little outside his pay grade for close quarters.

Alas, despite focussing the entire gun line's efforts on it, I only manage to shoot three wounds off the Helldrake. T'au fire output is considerable, but it's not great against armour, and the damn thing keeps shrugging off the hits.

Elsewhere we do better. The Defiler explodes in a messy heap as the Ghostkeel and Hammerhead blast it with Fusion Bakers (not their real name, but it'll do) and Railgun rounds. There's but a pair of Nurgling swarms left after the Crisis Suits open up again, and I even somehow manage to pop a Plague Marine with Devilfish shooting.

Hmm. They're starting to get a bit close, those demons. Aim for the... jaundice of their eyes, lads!

Plague Host Turn 2

The plaguebearers are going to continue their assault forward into the crisis suits. They know they may need support, so the prince comes over; and the Herald prays the Papa Nurgle to increase their combat effectiveness. I am hoping that the remaining nurglings can occupy the crisis suits overwatch such that they don't decimate by plaguebearers as they climb up the ruins.

It works. I lose a bunch of nurglings, but a few of the diminutive annoyances get under foot and the plaguebearers advance is covered. The prince jumps in too and the combined augments plagueswords dispatch three of the crisis suits.

The havocs are splitting fire, sending a couple of shots off at the ghostkeel. In hindsight perhaps I should have concentrated more fire, as it survived. It's hard to hit at range!

The heldrake harasses the strike team in the tower and flames then claws at the troop. Killing their drones.

T'pau Turn 3

It's not quite the calm retreat under fire I was hoping for, but what's left of my south wing jumps backwards and opens up on the demon host again, killing the last Nurglings and once again scratching the Demon Prince. The Ghostkeel, somehow still alive, creaks through the woods and tries to kill the massive warlord, but misses entirely.

Again, the firing line concentrates on the Helldrake, and again, I barely touch it. A single wound! That it will regenerate in the next turn anyway! Doesn't help that the Hammerhead manages to miss despite all the big red laser Markerlights telling it to 'shoot here!'

Over on the other side of the board, the Breacher Team bundle out of their tank and open up at short range with their Plasma Blasters. Impressive! Two Plague Marines are melted apart, which given the horrible amount of armour and general indifference to being hurt they have, is quite impressive.

In an attempt to finish the job, the Devilfish then assaults them, which turns out to be overestimating the wee bus a tad. The Plague Marines scorch it with plasma on the way in, and crumple the nose fins with a power fist. But if they want to shoot at all next turn (or if Kas wants to shoot the tank), they'll have to retreat, which is what I'm really after.

Plague Host Turn 3

The marines do indeed fall back, but concentrate on the Breacher team. The devilfish is just one thing and I need to outnumber to claim an objective. Plus the T'au fire warriors are squishier: 4 are blighted out of existence.

Er, two. Thanks, drones. Live the Iain M Banks dream.

The heldrake continues its assault on the men of the North, and to minimise the return fire, she focuses on the Pathfinders. 

With my plaguebearers advancing and my nurglings dead, I was abandoning an objective. The Havocs were ordered to push out of their elevated position to secure it. Throwing large weapons over shoulders and picking up ammo packs they plodded into the field of war.

The plaguebearers charged the remaining crisis suit, whilst the prince charged the commander. Nurgle's will was done and two more T'au were plagueridden.

T'pau Turn 4

Not sure what that big white arrow at the top is from, it's not accurate.

Hmm. My turns are getting much quicker now there's so much left on the table. That accursed Helldrake is ruining everything! And my south flank has collapsed entirely. Not good.

Still, we keep pouring out the shots. I can still cripple enough of these enemies that I can hold two of the objectives, and if I take down the Demon Prince too, we'll be looking at a close result.

Not that I can, of course. Despite markerlighting the target for him, the Hammerhead still fails to connect with the railgun. And massed small arms fire chips the big bloke for a handful of wounds, but when the gunline focusses on the smaller demons, I get less than sterling results.

It's their Disgusting Resilience rule that's really hurting me here. Save after save, so even though I'm hitting and hurting plenty, they can just shrug it off. A meagre three die to something like fifteen wounds. Bleh.

I'm still mowing down Plague Marines, though. Slowly, mind you, but that's not bad. Just two to go, and I can grab the objective and get Linebreaker for being in his deployment zone as well.

Plague Host Turn 4

The heldrake breaks off her assault and swings back to base in an effort to remove the last of the Breacher team. She succeeds.

That bloody bird! It's everywhere at once.

The havocs camp on the objective and split fire (having not learnt from earlier) and the Devilfish survives whilst a few wounds are chipped from the Hammerhead.

Two prayers to Nurgle, a final shot from the warpbolter and the tank was no more. I had planned to charge it with the prince. But it's no longer there and the gunline/commander are a little far out for me to contemplate.

So I hold.

As we prepare to go into, what could be, the final turn of the game, I take stock: two objectives solidly held. One contested and another I am ready to go and flame people from the others.

T'pau Turn 5

Yeesh. Boldly, the remaining T'au stampede towards the Demon Prince. Apart from one squad, who discreetly go the other way to try and hold the one objective I might still dispute, given that the Devilfish is unlikely to live through another round of persecution.

Pew! Pew pew pew pew! Die, Demon Prince, Die! Nope, he just stands in the middle of a hail of plasma fire, scrubbing his awful armpits and chuckling.

Things are actually so bad here, I genuinely consider charging him. At least we'd die a turn quicker. But no, don't give up unless you have to, so we hold and hope he'll run into our guns and die trying.

Plague Host Turn 5

The heldrake zooms back to the line of troops to flame; and the Prince goes to shred those T'au who have tried to claim an objective.

The Devilish is finally put down, as are the terrified T'au cowering in the tower. The Heldrake baleflames several of the remaining T'au.

The T'au commander is untouched.

Well, he's on half wounds, actually. But compared to the rest of his army, it's not worth complaining about.


We don't roll for the final turn as it's midnight/1am and the T'au are down to the commander, a couple of drones and a very hurt fireblade. 

T'au - Zero objectives obtained
Chaos . 4 x Take and Hold, Linebreaker and First Blood for 14 Victory Points total

Major Victory to Chaos!

Locker Room/Morgue

Great game!

It was slower than the last one too. Including deployment, we were just shy of four hours and finished on turn 5. 

That's true - 1000 points is probably going to be the right size for a Skype game until we know the rules better.

A slow swing to the match, as you'd expect - the early game was all mine, dominated by shooting and not looking promising for the Nurgle boys.

Yes, when I saw what happened to the Defiler on your snatched first turn - I was worried.

Once they got into close range, though, the tables very swiftly turned. Upside down, on top of me. Not that anybody should be surprised - both armies worked very much as you'd expect them to, and in the end, the Nurgle guys had swept the field.

Why? Well, I just wasn't using my guns quite right. It started off well, when I could still split the vast weight of fire. Kas's Defiler vanished, the Nurglings dissolved. But I really should have been putting more hurt on the Helldrake, which is my MVP from the enemy team. Tough, fast and dangerous, it ate and burned a great deal of my army whilst always being in the right place to contribute. If Kas had kept the first turn, I rather suspect the Ghostkeel would have been shooting it a lot, and that's probably what I should have done anyway.

And I should made sure I took out the Ghostkeel.

Same with the fire from the Gunline - that should have been whittling away the Plaguebearers, not pattering off the armoured hide of the metal kite. Boosted by their Herald, they turn from pretty average fighters to a big heap of murder.

The plaguebearers fared better in combat than I expected. I imagine that was the target more than anything. I had expected them to be more a survival unit, rather than hard hitting. In this game: they did their job. Combination of DP and Herald and spell did make a difference. 

Great fun all the same! And I'll get you next time, Kas, just you wait. Which you'll have to for a while, I'm off on holiday for a couple of weeks. See y'all when I'm back!

Yes, good fun. Thank you!


  1. Nice battle. Some question from someone with only a passing understanding of the rules: for the Plague Marines to count as 'Death Guard' (and therefore Troops, not Elite) wouldn't everything in the army have to change its keyword to ? (although in that list, only the Daemon Prince and Defiler are eligible to do so, therefore the Death Guard should have been counted just as Elite - Plague Marines)

    So the bonus for being a Death Guard army is a) the Elites = Troops rule and b) access to the Contagion Psychic table?

    1. And Plague Host Turn 3: do the Death Guard have a rule that allows them to shoot after falling back (not normally allowed), or was that an error?

    2. (I'm not just picking on the Chaos Team, but the T'au weren't in 2nd Edition, and are therefore outside the scope of my understanding

    3. I couldn't find ruling for sure one way or another.

      I think it is the lack of real battletomes (and advantages for going mono-sept/cult/legion) and these cut down lists.

      My understanding, albeit a little beardy, if that all things have to share one keyword to be part of batallion; so I still believe legitimate. Very much like the T'au one last week (which was admittedly done through accident and then challenged and later retracted by Kraken).

      I must admit I did try and re-read a few times to see if was doing something illegal; but did not convince myself I was. I'd found a corroborating note (admittedly on 1d4chan):

      when talking about using elements from legion specific lists
      "This isn't much of an issue anyway, since you can use a Chaos detachment and include units from another legion anyway. You lose benefitting from specific auras, which a sorc doesn't benefit much from anyway so having an Exalted Sorceror escort a unit of WE 'zerkers is a pretty good idea, albeit hilariously unfluffy."

      So, in current rules, it seemed valid. I was not getting any other benefit from auras. And I at least took a Nurgle unit to bolster my Nurgle list (no cheesy Tzeentch protection etc).

    4. I think I've got it: because all the units have (at least) the keyword , they can all fit into the same detachment and unlock the Command Points no problem. While clearly open to abuse, that does allow some fluffy combinations like the daemons and marines you did.

      And the keywords for 'special' marines (World Eaters, Thousand Sons, Death Guard) only matter for particular buffs, not army composition.

      I think that was my mistake: in Age of Sigmar, all units *must* share the same faction keyword to unlock that faction's abilities (i.e. it must be all for Brutes to count as Battleline units), but that doesn't seem to apply here (until the new Codexes come out).

    5. That's how I read it too.
      I am sure when new codexes come out that there will be other benefits if you are creating a list that is using a subset of the units with the overarching Chaos keyword.

  2. The Plague Marine shooting was my fault - in the heat of battle, when we were checking rules I failed to read to the end of the relevant paragraph! Also I'd done it myself with the Pathfinders earlier on.

    Many Tau units can fall back and shoot thanks to the Fly keyword (drones, crisis suits, skimmer tanks, etc), but Pathfinders shouldn't. Luckily these errors probably cancel each other out. The plague marines would have taken more fire from the Breachers in the next round, but probably not enough to finish them. And the pathfinders markerlit the defiler, helping it die, but I suspect I'd have brought it down anyway by that point.

    1. Until GW release their army builder, I suspect any list we write will be subject to errors, it's quite the arcane process at the moment. Mine didn't actually specify the Hammerhead when I sent it to Kas, just a railgun and two drones, which shows you how much I value T'au' lives over guns.

    2. Wait - T'au run away and keep shooting you when you charge them. They're Wood Elves in space!

      Which makes Kroot their dryads. I am Kroot!

    3. I've been using BattleScribe. It's clunky but it does the trick.

    4. I've been using my GCSE Maths. Seems to do the trick. :-P

    5. It's not the maths part that is the issue; it's the combinations and upgrade choices (and all the page flicking! - there is enough of that in the game anyway at the moment)

      Tried Battlescribe; found it clunky as you said - especially if experimenting with force org charts. I can see loading in when built basis of list (for validation and unification) but not for experiment and thoughtcrafting.

    6. Agreed. If there isn't the equivalent of the AoS Warscoll Builder in the works, there damn well should be (even for just the Power Rating, if the individual add-ons are too tricky). I bet there's a strong correlation between building lots of experimental lists and spending more money on the hobby.

      And I was fibbing about the maths. I use Excel. Haven't used maths for years.

    7. Wasn't warscroll builder a community thing before being acquired and controlled by GW?

      The 40k community one I had used before was shutdown.... may be there is hope for a similar arrangement (although based on the message he posted, it did not seem like that that was likely). Shame.

  3. Nice batrep. Very exciting. I found my first couple of games took way too long due to constantly checking out stats. You'll speed up in time. Do another one soon!