Batrep: Genestealer Cult vs. Nurgle Demons (2000 pts)

I haven’t gotten many games in this year.

Ok, that statement has a superfluous “M” in it.  It should ready: I haven’t gotten any games in this year.  We’ve been pretty regular as a gaming group, but most of the time we’ve been playing board games.  In particular, we’re playing campaigns of Star Wars Imperial Assault and of Silver Tower.  So, basically when the guys show up in any quantity, we generally play those instead of 40k.

That’s fine, but I do have to get my 12 games in per year, and I’ve been making a lot of progress on my cult, so I wanted to dust them off.

Actually, I was supposed to get two games in this particular day, as I had the day off and had scheduled another game in advance–but things didn’t work out and my first game had to cancel due to illness.  But at least I got this one in, right?

My Genestealer Cult:

  • Command:
    • The First Curse (20x Genestealers & Patriarch – 4+ Armor save (Mass Hypnosis, Telepathic Summons, & Mental Onslaught)
  • Core:
    • batrepcultvmitch-1Neophyte Cavalcade
      • 10x Neophytes w/ Grenade Launcher & Autocannon in Chimera w/ Heavy Stubber
      • 10x Neophytes w/ Grenade Launcher & Autocannon in Chimera w/ Heavy Stubber
      • 1x Leman Russ
      • 1x Scout Sentinel w/ Lascannon
  • Axillary:
    • Subterranean Uprising
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Acolyte Hybrids
      • 5x Acolyte Hybrids
    • Subterranean Uprising
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Acolyte Hybrids
      • 5x Acolyte Hybrids
    • Subterranean Uprising
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Hybrid Metamorphs w/ claws
      • 5x Acolyte Hybrids
      • 5x Acolyte Hybrids
    • Shadow Skulkers:
      • 5x Genestealers
      • 5x Genestealers
      • 5x Genestealers
      • 5x Genestealers
      • 5x Genestealers
      • 5x Genestealers
      • 5x Genestealers

Mitch doesn’t have a great win/loss record, so this list is clearly too powerful to play against him.  I knew that going into it.  I justified it because I have all of these newly painted models that I’m itching to have see the table and because he did say that his list was pretty powerful.  I also justified it by leaving about 60 unused points on my list (because that wasn’t enough to throw another squad of genestealers in, so I had no idea what I’d do to fill those points).

This is really just an evolution of the only other game I played with my cult, wherein I used nothing but the required minimums and some patriarchs (cheating) and as many genestealers as I could squeeze in the list.

In hindsight, this list is too nasty for casual games (though I specifically bought/made/painted all of those metamorphs for this purpose, so they’re sure to see the table again).  I also would’ve liked to have replaced the core formation for other option, but I don’t have a banner bearer painted up, so that’s something I should likely be working on–along with the other characters, and getting some real paint on those tanks…

Mitch’s Daemons of Nurgle:

  • HQ:
    • batrepcultvmitch-38Herald of Nurgle w Greater Reward, Lesser Reward, Greater Locus of Fecundity, Palanquin of Nurgle, Level 2 Psyker
    • Herald of Nurgle w Greater Reward, Lesser Reward,  Palanquin of Nurgle, Level 2 Psyker
    • Great Unclean One w/ Greater Reward, 2x Lesser Reward, Level 3 Psyker
  • Troops:
    • 15x Plaguebearers of Nurgle w/ Plague Banner Icon & Plagueridden w/ Greater Reward
    • 15x Plaguebearers of Nurgle w/ Plague Banner Icon
  • Fast Attack:
    • 5x Plague Drones w/ Death’s Heads & Rot Proboscis
  • Lord of war:
    • Scabeiathrax the Bloated

Before I made my list, I checked with Mitch to see how nasty his list was (I just took him at his word).  He told me that it wasn’t so bad, but he also told someone else previously that it was pretty ridonkulous.  He actually tried to explain it to me before I made my list and before we actually started playing.  He read me the entire page on Scabby, which went in one ear and out the other.  Honestly, I just heard: he’s pretty tough, but he’s 800 points, so you can basically just swamp him with genestealers and that should do it.

Maybe I should’ve taken better notes…

Mission & Deployment

batrepcultvmitch-35For mission, I let Mitch make whatever decisions he wanted.  He rolled up the mission where you start with six objectives and it decreases each turn.  It had diagonal deployment as the default, but he made a command decision not to use that because “he hated that.”  Frankly, I can sympathize.  While I don’t have any particular feelings one way or the other about that particular deployment, I have in the past found myself loathing a particular mission or style of play based upon a recent history at the time of playing it a number of consecutive times.

Not that it mattered a helluva lot anyway–I had cult, so nearly everything I had was going to infiltrate anyway, and I expected that his demons would be deepstriking as well.

For warlord traits, I got the option where I got to pick what my Warlord rolls when he deploys (which would, of course, always been “deploy wherever you want and opt for a first turn charge.”

I opted to deploy first because I wanted to get a first turn charge (did you know that Scabby has a apocalyptic flamer template?  Yeah, I couldn’t let that go off before I got my little gribblies into combat.  He failed to seize the initiative and I took the first turn…

Turn 1: Genestealer Cult

batrepcultvmitch-34I had rolled fairly badly on my initial “from the shadows” rolls, meaning that I had only gotten 3 first-turn charges in 23 attempts.  Sure, that’s less than what you would call an average, but it’s not statistically abnormal.  The real problem was that I had forgotten that everyone in the subterranean assault could re-roll failed dice rolls, so they should’ve done much better.

Alas, I had forgotten, and instead opted to try to take out one squad altogether by charging it with two units of ‘stealers, tie up the plague drones with a unit of acolytes, and threw my HQ directly at the Lord of War.  After all, how tough could he be?

Oh my… oh my… this game would prove to be a lesson to me on what level of insanity that model really is.

For starters, he’s toughness 9, so the only things in my army that could hurt it were multi-lasers, autocannons and the lone lascannon, plus a bunch of rending claws.  The downside is that he was in combat starting on the first turn, so I likely wouldn’t get a chance to shoot at him much, but the upside is that my list contained a crap-ton of rending claws.  In fact, on the first turn alone, he was facing down 20 ‘stealers and a Patriarch–none of which had to charge through cover so I got to go first.

But he has defensive grenades (in fact, it appears that most of his army had defensive grenades), so I lost 21 attacks on the charge.  No biggie, right?  I still had 60 attacks from the stealers plus a half a dozen from the patriarch (including his little rending buddies).  66 attacks at weapon skill 6 (or greater) ain’t so bad.

But Scabby is somehow WS9!?!

batrepcultvmitch-31So, my genestealers that are used to hitting on 3’s are now hitting on 4’s.  At toughness 9 though, I’m counting on rends to do any damage.

But that’s when I found out that he has a 3++ save, and a 4+ FNP on top of it.  Egads!  That guy is a defensive powerhouse.

Needless to say that combat didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped, and I’d resigned myself at that point to whittling him down throughout the entire game–figuring I might even have to supplement with another squad of ‘stealers at that point.

The other units of ‘stealers did better, killing off fifteen plague bearers on the charge and sticking thick into the champion on the palanquin.  The acolytes did worse, dying to the plague drones entirely (but actually causing a couple of wounds, so that wasn’t so bad).

At the end of the first turn I scored points for holding objectives 3, 4, & 6, and three more for holding twice as many objectives as him, plus had earned first blood for killing off a unit of plague bearers.  Can’t complain about starting a game with 7 points, right?

Score: Cult 6+1 vs. Chaos 0

Turn 1: Chaos Daemons

Though Scabby actually got to attack back in the previous round, I figured I’d wait until this round to talk about the amount of damage output he has.  In addition to the crazy Apoc Flamer (which I was working diligently to ensure he would never fire), he has:

  • 5 Base attacks (at STR8)
  • D6+3 Nurgling attacks (at STR3)
  • D3 Stomps (which prove to be rather effective when you surround the model with 20+ genestealers.
  • Maggotspore

batrepcultvmitch-30I knew that he was going to be hard to kill, and that he had a reasonable amount of damage output from the previous round, but at the start of Mitch’s turn, I also learned about Maggotspore.  That’s a special rule that he has that forces all non-Nurgle marked demons within 6″ of him to take a Toughness test or take a wound.  Essentially, that should kill about 20% of the genestealers around him per turn–including those that aren’t even in combat.

The first turn was definitely the bloodiest, but after that, I learned to give that guy a wide berth.

He drew No Prisoners, which required him to kill units on his turn.  For one unit he’d get 1 point, for 3+ units he’d get D3, and he pushed the attack.  The plague drones killed off one unit in shooting, while the full unit of plague bearers killed off two units in assault.  I’m pretty sure he picked up another unit or two in the psychic phase as well (practically speaking, he dominated that phase with more dice and better rolls–as I never successfully manifested a psychic power).  He kept pushing to kill more units though, but I wasn’t sure why (Well, other than trying to win the game).

Come to find out, that objective card also has another rider that I’ve been completely oblivious to: if you kill more than five units in a turn, you get D3+3.

Luckily, he didn’t get those points–but he did muster one for manifesting a power.

Score: Cult 6+1 vs. Chaos 3

Turn 2: Genestealer Cult

A number of my units that were out of position slinked back into the shadows to come out on a later turn.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to do this with all of my “good” units (aka Genestealers) because some of them I had mistakenly dedicated to holding objectives, and I wanted to instead have them hold those objectives should they come up this turn.

batrepcultvmitch-25Otherwise, my moves were pretty obvious for the turn: charge everything as it was all pretty much already surrounded.  Two units of ‘stealers and two of metamorphs were more than enough to handle the plague drones (even without the extra dice on the charge), and the ten remaining genestealers made short work of the lone plague champion.  On the other side of the board, I charged a genestealer unit into the other unit of plague bearers (they were all I had in range, because he had managed to kill off or multi-charge every other unit I had on that side of the table), and I did a reasonable amount of damage, but wasn’t going to kill it off.

Scabby had earned my respect, and I knew at this point the right answer was to keep smallish units of ‘stealers nearby (outside of 6″) and then charge them into him as he started to whittle down his opponents.  Though possible, it seemed highly unlikely that he would kill off 10+ models per turn–given their invulnerable save–so that would likely win me the game.

But I wasn’t out for that.  By this point, I had committed to killing that model off, and I started throwing units at him to take off those wounds.  I scored points for using cult ambush and destroying a unit (no prisoners is not nearly as incredible when your opponent’s list only consists of seven units total–and several of those were either already dead by that point, or hadn’t yet showed up).

Score: Cult 9+1 vs. Chaos 3

Turn 2: Chaos Daemons

batrepcultvmitch-22His great unclean one failed to show, and every other unit he had was already locked in combat.  He wound up tossing out a few psychic powers and killing off several models (if not small units), and we moved onto assault, where his plaguebearers had died to man, leaving him with two models on the table.

The champion wasn’t doing well, but he would prove to do a good job tanking my models for a few turns.

Scabeiathrax was just devastating.  Maybe I wasn’t doing math right, but I think it was just a combination of my dice getting cold and his getting hot.  Sure, the right strategy wasn’t to pile them all in, but I was all-in on this one.  I would do 60+ attacks and manage only a handful of wounds, and he kept managing to save most (if not all) of them.

He managed to kill everything around him (including my warlord, and stretch out to hold objective #3.  Plus, he was able to cause a couple of failed morale/pinning tests to earn a second point.

Score: Cult 9+1 vs. Chaos 5+1

Turn 3: Genestealer Cult

While Scabby was clearly going to be a problem, he would likely prove to be manageable at this point, and with only two models left on the table, this should be in the bag for me, right?

Well, it didn’t help that I wasn’t getting any objectives at this point that involved holding a specific spot on the table.  In fact, I was holding a couple of objectives that weren’t particularly helpful for me.  I had to:

  • batrepcultvmitch-21Take an objective away from the enemy player (not previously achievable, but doable now that Scabby was on Objective #3)
  • Hold Objective #3 (hey!  symbiosis!)
  • Destroy a Lord of War (or monstrous creature)
  • Some other objective I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish (This would be thrown away at the end of my turn)

My mission was clear though: don’t toy with the beast: put it down once and for all.  And frankly, that shouldn’t be so bad since he was down to just a couple of wounds left and I managed to get four units lined up to charge him this turn.

I did four total wounds and he, of course, saved them all, and then annihilated everything around him.  Those that didn’t die, failed the inevitable morale test and ran away, leaving me with no points scored for a turn…

Score: Cult 9+1 vs. Chaos 5+1

Turn 3: Chaos Daemons

batrepcultvmitch-18No longer locked in combat, Scabby came out and spewed vomit on what seemed like half of the board, killing off three more units, and then proceeded to charge a sentinel to earn a point for “big game hunter.”

As an aside, “big game hunter” should not be earned for killing off a 35 point model.  I’m fine with him scoring the point, but this is one of those cases where that name no longer fits the card.

Anywho, by this time, his Great Unclean one came down and started wreaking a little havoc in my backfield (I had steered him away from my tanks by deploying heavily in that area to discourage deep striking) because I knew what mission cards he had–but I had left one tank unprotected on the far side of the board.  Luckily, he wasn’t able to destroy that with psychics or shooting, but Scabby still earned him that point in assault as described earlier.

In total, he got that point and another for being “behind enemy lines.”

Score: Cult 9+1 vs. Chaos 7+1

Turn 4: Genestealer Cult

batrepcultvmitch-5How is it that a Great Unclean One has initiative 4?  Pshaw, that can’t be right–can Nurgle demons really be that much better than I remember?

In combat, I did a fair number of wounds to him (still not managing to kill him), and put a few more on the Lord of War.  By this time, the champion had already died, so Mitch was down to two models again–but they just happened to be two really tough models.

Based upon my objectives, I scored a single point for objective three (thanks to Scabby for moving off of it), but no other points for the round.

I did charge into Scabs to prevent him from spewing on me again, and through some miracle, one genestealer stayed locked in combat to tie him up for his next shooting phase…


Score: Cult 10+1 vs. Chaos 7+1

Turn 4: Chaos Daemons

batrepcultvmitch-12This was a really quick turn, as Scabs killed off the Genestealer and the Great Unclean One fell to several other units.  To make things interesting, he rolled up with Kingslayer, earning him three more victory points and tying things up as far as cards were concerned, but also gave up “Slay the Warlord” when his second to last demon fell.

Though we do document points scored, we don’t generally keep a running tally at this point.  So, while I was ahead, I wasn’t aware of this.  What I was aware of was that I had a strong start, and then several turns in a row when I earned nothing, and sat by and watched him get objectives that he could complete.  I wasn’t drawing the “hold objective XYZ” cards which was hurting me, and he wasn’t drawing them either, which turned out to be a boon for him with so few models.

Score: Cult 10+2 vs. Chaos 10+1

Turn 5: Genestealer Cult

In what would be the final turn of the game, I managed to take out Scabby with a mere eight models doing a couple of unsaved wounds.

Score: Cult 11+3 vs. Chaos 10+1

The Aftermath:

I haven’t really extolled at length on how many wounds I was doing that he was saving per turn, but it was a lot.  Frankly, a beast with a 3++/4++ is going to be able to shrug off some hits.

batrepcultvmitch-10But to be able to do that many wounds, I had to pile unit after unit into him, and between his damage output and the fact that my units weren’t fearless, they would just charge in, and die, only to regroup and repeat the process (after a short delay) in a following turn.

I earned one point for killing the lord of war, and also had a chance to earn another for running onto an objective, but the game ended before I could make it over there (and my only two reserve units opted to come on outflanking that turn).

I should also mention that I’m really bad at adding.  We came up with two different totals at the end of the game.  The first time I counted, I had won the game by a single point, then we recounted, and it was a tie, and then we added in first blood, and I was ahead by one again.

This result says that I won by two points, so I’m thinking that he scored another objective and we just didn’t give him credit for it.  What I actually suspect is that he was giving himself credit for card #16, which he drew on the first turn.  That one said that at the end of each turn, roll a die, and if it shows the same number as the number of objectives you currently hold, you score that many points–but I don’t think it gives you a point to start with, nor do I believe he ever rolled it successfully during the game.

What I Learned:

  1. Subterranean Uprising allows rerolls.   This shouldn’t be something to learn, as it’s likely the main reason to take this formation, but I never re-rolled anything (and rolled fairly poorly throughout).  Rerolls would’ve been a good idea.
  2. Not having fearless is a big difference.  I’m used to Tyranids where my units don’t habitually break and run.  Granted, in most of the combats, I put out enough damage for this not to be an issue, but when fighting against scabby, nobody can put out enough damage to win that combat.
  3. Scabeiathrax is tough as nails.  I was warned time and time again, but I just didn’t listen.  Five attacks?  Yup, no problem.  Of course, I seemed completely oblivious to all of the Nurgling attacks and the 6″ bubble of toughness tests each turn.  This guy plowed through unit after unit of mine.  This game really seemed to be me against this one model, and he practically took the title single-handedly.  Don’t underestimate this dude.
  4. Mitch has stepped up his game.  He understands the rules and is better nuanced on how things work.  He’s really put some commitment into things and had to correct me a time or two.
  5. Deployment order matters.  When using the shadows rules, I should be deploying the little gribblies (like acolytes) first.  That way, if  they roll poorly, they can be deployed on objectives.  While I was technically doing that, I also wasn’t making good use of this.  Essentially, if they can’t get a first turn charge, they should be dedicated to some sort of objective.  Instead, I stranded several squads of ‘stealers on objectives, when they should’ve clearly been pushing the front lines.


3 comments on “Batrep: Genestealer Cult vs. Nurgle Demons (2000 pts)

  1. Good report! GSC are, imo, pretty top tier – and your list is very powerful. I’m glad I wouldn’t have to play against that at an event.

    i know that you get more chances to get into assault with all the little units, but having some larger ones might be good to take advantage of the detachment benefits might be worthwhile.

    The armies look really good too!

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