Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Battle Report: Stagnation and Change

Cats and Dogs, Apples and Oranges, Tzeentch and Nurgle. In the Mortal Realms the pair are one of the most iconic rivalries, and last week my friend Adam and I took the rivalry to the tabletop. When the plague legions of Nurgle are up against the disciples of the Great Schemer, who comes out on top?

I've always been a big fan of battle reports. They were one of my favorite things to read in White Dwarf back when I was first getting into the hobby, and they remain a staple of it to this day. Back when I was reacquainting myself with Warhammer Fantasy in 8th edition I would often read a bunch of fan made battle reports on the Tomb Kings forum to get a handle on possible tactics and army builds. If I had the time I would put out a battle report of my own at least once a month, yet sadly I can't (or forget to take pictures and record my battle while playing). Whenever I can manage it though I jump at the chance, so today I bring you my latest battle report, a 1,000 point Vanguard game against my buddy's Tzeentch army. We decided to use the Open War cards, since outside of a tournament back around when they came out I hadn't used them yet. I had recently finished painting up 10 more Plaguebearers for my eventual 2,000 point army, so decided to change up the list I used at Adepticon.

Maggotkin of Nurgle

- Great Unclean One with Sword and Knife, General (GUO)
Grandfather's Blessing, Endless Gift, Sumptuous Pestilence
 - 20 Plaguebearers (PB2)
- 10 Plaguebearers (PB1)
- 3 Plague Drones (PD)
- 3 Nurglings (N)

Disciples of Tzeentch

- Lord of Change, General (LOC)
Nexus of Fate, Tzeentch's Firestorm
- Tzaangor Shaman (TS)
Aura of Mutability, Bolt of Tzeentch
- 10 Marauders with axe and shield and Mark of Tzeentch (M2)
- 10 Marauders with Flails and Mark of Tzeentch (M1)
- 3 Skyfires (SF1)
- 3 Skyfires (SF2)

The Scenario

Like I said, we used the Open War cards to determine the scenarios and got what you see above. The deployment had us split the table diagonaly with only 12 inches between our armies. The objective was placed in the center of the board, and once captured by a unit could be moved around. If the unit carrying it was slain then the objective was dropped and could be picked up by another unit. Whichever army held the objective at the end of turn five won. The twist had us add one attack to the weapon profile of all melee weapons. I was really excited about this with my drones, but as I would learn, it definitely benefited both of our armies. Since we were playing a Vanguard game we used a 4' by 4' table.


Unsurprisingly, we both deployed more or less along the edge of our deployment zones. I had placed my first Feculent Gnarlmaw right in the center of the table near the objective. Since the play area was so small, and the objective was centralized I deployed my army in a blob around my Great Unclean One who anchored the center. The Plaguebearers went to either side of him, with the idea of using them as a shield once my Great Unclean One grabbed the objective. The Plague Drones went on the left side with the lord of Change clearly in their sights. 

Adam deployed a Maraurder screen with his Lord of Change sitting near some Arcane terrain, and his flock of Skyfires and the Shaman off to the side and back a bit. For his Destiny Dice he rolled one six, a bunch of fours, and a few other numbers. Nothing to horrible. I finished deploying first so I opted to take the first turn.

Turn 1

In my hero phase I put the Great Unclean One's command ability on the Plague Drones, giving them +1 attack. I attempted to cast Mystic Shield and Arcane Bolt, but unsurprisingly they were both dispelled. Everything ran forward, making sure to stay within 7" of the Gnarlmaw so I could still charge, except for the Great Unclean One, which waddled forward at a slower pace to nab the objective. My Nurglings also popped up this round, but the only terrain feature they could go in were the trees that my Plaguebearers were already in. They promptly sat there and did nothing else this game. In the shooting phase I could only shoot with my general, who took out a few Marauders for his efforts.

In the charge phase I rolled a lower number for my Drones, meaning they wouldn't be able to reach the Lord of Change. They could get the Marauders though, with the leading Drone ending his charge at the Marauder closest to the Lord of Change, meaning he could pile into the greater demon since he would still be touching the closest model, the Marauder. In an effort to show up their mounted brethren, the small unit of Plaguebearers rolled a 12 for their charge, but could only move forward into the unit in front of them. The Great Unclean One lumbered into the other unit, while the larger unit of Plaguebearers failed to reach anything. While it may have been smarter to keep my Great Unclean One out of combat I was fairly confident that he could handle himself, and with how slow he is and how fast the Tzeentch units are, I knew there was no chance of outrunning him.

In the combat phase the Plague Drone puts a few wounds on the Lord of Change. They each had +3 attacks to each of their melee weapons thanks to the Twist, the command ability, and their Locus for being within 7" of a Nurgle Hero. Unfortunately only one Drone was close enough to strike at the Greater Demon and I didn't roll as well for his stinger as I would have hoped. The other one attacked the Marauders though and rolled much better, taking the unit. The Plaguebearers piled into the Lord of Change, not doing much, while my Great Unclean One wiped out the second unit of Marauders. In return the Lord of Change killed one Plague Drone, which I failed to bring back with my banner.

In his turn, Adam swung his Skyfires around the back os his army, and between magic and their shooting, they managed to kill the other two Plague Drones. His Lord of Change was already locked into combat with my smaller unit of Plaguebearers from the previous round, so he attempted to charge his Skyfires. Only one unit made it, but with the +1 attack to their Discs of Tzeentch it was enough to wipe that unit off the board.

Turn 2

I won the roll for initiative and promptly took it. In my hero phase I used my command ability on the Great Unclean One, boosting his attacks, and once again didn't have any luck with spells. My shooting didn't do much so onto the charge phase. 

I charged the Great Unclean One into his Lord of Change, and tried my best to keep him as far away from his Skyfires as I could. The large unit of 20 Plaguebearers went for the disc riding Tzaangors with the hopes of bogging them down.

In the combat phase my Great Unclean One managed to take out his Lord of Change, while my Plaguebearers were mowed through by the Skyfires. 

In his turn he focused all his shooting on the Plaguebearers and then managed to finish them off in combat while only losing one of his models.

Turn 3

This time Adam won the roll and moved his Skyfires to surround my Great Unclean One. With his magic and shooting he managed to chip a few wounds off of the Greater Demon, but not a whole lot. 

He charged in with all of his remaining models, and even though my Great Unclean One was on all of his wounds at the start of the turn, he managed to take him down in one round of combat while only losing one Skyfire. Those bonus attacks from The Twist really helped out his discs. I was really hoping to make it through with at least one wound then heal a bunch of them back with The Endless Gift and his own healing in the hero phase, but it wasn't to be.

Victory: Disciples of Tzeentch

This was a very quick and brutal game, and looking back on it there are a few things I would have done differently. I don't know if I would have changed my deployment because I really needed to get that objective turn one. If any of his fast units had gotten it that would have been game over for me, since there is no way my army can keep up with his. When I normally play Tzeentch it is against Rhellion's Changehost, so I think I put too much emphasis on the Lord of Change. In a Changehost they're key and taking them out is a top priority, but in this game I really should have focused on the Skyfires. I would have been better off sending my Plague Drones after them turn one. I don't think they would have won, but they would have diminished their strength enough to hopefully let my Great Unclean One survive later on in the game. I was a little to cocky with how durable Nurgle units are and thought they could survive against them. Their shooting really didn't do much, it was mostly their discs in combat. Another thing I could have done would be to not charge my Great Unclean One in turn one and start retreating him while blocking with the rest of my army, but that would have been a really boring game. The Open War cards are interesting and I think the deployment we got was going to make for a quick game any way it went with how close we were. Now I just need to get more of my Nurgle stuff painted so I can have a rematch at a full 2,000 points.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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