Batrep: Nurgle Daemons vs. Genestealer Cult (51 power)

Not to be confused with my recent 50 point battles against Mitch’s Chaos models, I played yet another smallish game against the forces of Darkness.  In this instance, I wound up playing against Albert, who fielded a bunch of Nurgle units instead of Khorne, so I got to see how other things functioned.  It was his first game of 8th, so we went through things as slow and methodically as possible.  Technically, it was also a 50 point game, but he didn’t have the right models with him to field exactly that many, so I let him squirt over the top a little.

I also wound up mixing things up a little bit and fielded a cult army…

Forces of Nurgle:

  • HQ:
    • Great Unclean One (Virulent Blessing & Fleshy Abundance)
  • Troops:
    • 10x Plaguebearers w/ Icon & Instrument
    • 10x Plaguebearers w/ Icon & Instrument
    • 10x Plaguebearers w/ Icon & Instrument
    • 6x Nurglings
  • Fast Attack:
    • 2x Beasts of Nurgle (?)
    • 6x Plague Drons w/ Icon & Instrument

No surprise, Albert threw down a bunch of Nurgle demons on the table–pretty much one of every available option (short of Scabeithrax–thank god).

The question marks by the Beasts isn’t because I’m unsure of whether he had them or not, but rather because I’m not quite certain if they’re elites or fast attack.  Probably the latter, but I’m throwing them into the fast attack slot for this battle report.

Genestealer Cult:

  • HQ:
    • Patriarch (Might From Beyond)
  • Elites:
    • 10x Purestrain Genestealers
    • 10x Purestrain Genestealers
  • Troops:
    • 10x Acolyte Hybrids w/ Hand Flamers & Rending Claws
  • Fast Attack:
    • 1x Sentinel w/ Lascannon
    • 1x Sentinel w/ Lascannon
    • 1x Sentinel w/ Lascannon
  • Heavy Support:
    • Leman Russ w/ Battlecannon, Plasma Sponsons, & Hull Mounted H.Flamer

My genestealer cult still suffer from the same list building restrictions as they did in 7th edition: namely that I haven’t painted up any characters still, so I’m forced to lean on my Tyranid units for that.  I also haven’t painted up any heavy weapons, or vehicles (though the latter works because I have a bunch of pre-painted tanks laying around.

I’m pretty convinced that MSU (multiple small units) is still the way to go in this edition.  Sure, it means that I basically never get first turn (which isn’t really something you particularly want with an assault based army), but there are numerous advantages with smaller units.  To test the theory, I figured I’d run my squads bigger this game.

I threw in the lascannons as last minute adds because I didn’t want to run more acolytes and metamorphs (which are practically identical when I read through them).  Plus, it gave me some shooting units that I so sorely lacked when I had faced Mitch earlier.

Mission & Deployment:

I got lazy when setting up terrain and just grabbed models from a nearby table and made it into a kind of tank graveyard.  That way, I didn’t have to go up and fetch my buildings and other terrain–though it didn’t look half bad as a finished board.

Alas, it really didn’t give us much official terrain to speak of, so there wasn’t much in the way of additional cover saves.  On the plus side, we didn’t have all that many guns either.

For the mission, we rolled up Big Guns Never Tire, and I started deploying units first.  I held back two sentinels in ambush, along with a squad of genestealers and the patriarch.  He opted not to hold anything back (which might have been the right answer for me too–I just wanted to see what the table was like).

I failed to seize the initiative, so we started playing…

<Insert Record Scratching Sound Here>

But no, that’s not what happened at all.  Though I failed to seize the initiative, I did manage to spend a CP to re-roll, and actually seize for the first turn.  Muahhaha!  First turn is mine!!!!!

Turn 1: Genestealer Cult

I started off rolling all of my units on the ambush table, and when I failed to do anything spectacular with the Patriarch, I re-rolled and got another mediocre answer.  I wound up deploying everything back near my army, hoping to put on some shooting pressure against his forces and make him come to me (though I’m not sure that was in his best interest, as three out of the four objectives were in his deployment zone).

The only interesting roll I got on the ambush table allowed one of my sentinels to shoot an extra time the first turn, but he failed to do any wounds, so I basically just sat tight and peppered the plague drones with a little fire before they could make it to my side of the table.

Score: Cult 0 vs. Demons 0

Turn 1: Nurgle Demons

Having no real shooting to speak of, Albert opted to advance with most of his units and forwent any real chance of charging/doing damage to me.  Instead, he spent the turn repositioning his units for a second turn charge….

Score: Cult 0 vs. Demons 0

Turn 2: Genestealer Cult

I unloaded all of my guns into the plague drones and beasts as they were surely going to be the first things to hit my line.  I managed to do a few wounds, but between that 5+ invulnerable save and their demonic ability to shrug off wounds on a 5+ (what is effectively Feel No Pain), they took a lot more damage than I was expecting them to.

I did manage to charge the flies with two units of ‘genestealers and my patriarch, and splattered them pretty handily.  I won’t lie, rolling 60 attacks with genestealers that hit on 2+ felt pretty good.  That earned me first blood…

Score: Cult 0+1 vs. Demons 0

Turn 2: Nurgle Demons

The Great Unclean One still sat in the background, holding an objective, and thereby limiting his effectiveness in the battle, but he was at least able to heal the nearby beasts and grant them additional damage potential in the psychic phase.

That eventually led to the forces of Nurgle finally being able to throw some weight around when the beasts managed to charge my nearby unit of acolyte hybrids.  Sadly, my squad of ten flamers didn’t do as much damage as I had hoped, despite the fact that they had auto-hit.  In retrospect, I should only get about 15 hits, which comes to 5 wounds, and some amount of those being saved, so it’s not as amazing as I’d thought.  I really felt like they were going to be neigh-invulnerable when they were charged, but S3 flamers aren’t all that impressive.  They didn’t do much to the beast either, and would eventually shrink away from the fight…

Score: Cult 0+1 vs. Demons 0

Turn 3: Genestealer Cult

On the other flank, my Patriarch and his brethren continued carving up demons as they progressed upfield.  This turn, ten plague bearers proved to be no match for 60+ attacks, finished off neatly by my HQ.

When I consolidated, I wound up pushing the broodlord closer.  And, because consolidation happens at the end of a unit’s actions in combat–not at the end of the combat phase, he was the only one that really that got to react.

That lead to me making him the closest unit, which would allow him to be picked out against shooting armies (luckily, Albert didn’t have much shooting to speak of) but would also leave him exposed to psychic attacks that I hadn’t considered…

As stated earlier, my acolytes on the other side of the table recoiled from the beast so as to get more overwatch shots and allow my lascannons to potentially take him out (spoiler alert: they whiffed completely).

Score: Cult 0+1 vs. Demons 0

Turn 3: Nurgle Demons

Failing to kill the lone remaining beast, he was healed again by the Great Unclean One, and charged back into the fray–this time supported by six bases of nurglings as well.  Frankly, I figured my cultists were a write-off at this point, as there was no practical way they could live through this.

My pessimism was unfounded though, as I only lost a couple of models.  Those surviving members struck back at the beast again (knowing there was no reasonable way to reduce the damage output of those nurglings), but again did little, and would eventually have to fall back again.

The greater demon of Nurgle finally spurred into action and advanced towards my genestealers.  That meant he forwent the chance to charge, but he would’ve needed a 10+ anyway, so he opted for better positioning instead…

Score: Cult 0+1 vs. Demons 0

Turn 4: Genestealer Cult

Well, I thought him advancing was merely a tactical blunder.  Pushing him forward merely increased the odds of me succeeding on more charges, and all three units wound up crashing into the mass of quivering bloat.  In total, they managed to do an impressive lot of damage, taking the foul beast down to just 2 remaining wounds.

Alas, in the combat, my Patriarch did not manage to see the end of the battle.  Albert focused all of the attacks on him, and each attack did multiple wounds.  When coupled with the extra wounds done from smite, he just couldn’t stand up to that amount of damage.  Sure, I could’ve tried to “look out sir” the wounds with unquestioning loyalty, but that required a 4+ and I would’ve had to have made multiple to have a chance to keep him alive.  Instead, I opted to take them all so as not to reduce the number of remaining ‘stealers in the combat.

Score: Cult 0+1 vs. Demons 0+1

Turn 4: Nurgle Demons

And then the bastard goes and heals himself.  With no regard to how difficult it is to put wounds on a T9 critter with what amounts to multiple 5+ invulnerable saves, he just goes and heals himself up again.  To make matters worse, he bumped himself up from the bottom tier of his statline (where he did very little damage) to the middle tier as well.

To further complicate matters, two units of plague bearers poured out from the surrounding terrain and crashed into either side of my genestealers.  What had looked like easy pickings to me suddenly started to get me worried.  I was no longer confident that I could win that fight.

The demons really thinned out both units and reduced my combat effectiveness, so I opted to throw all of the attacks at their leader.  It proved to be a little overkill, but I certainly didn’t need him healing–plus he gave me additional point for “slay the warlord.”

Score: Cult 0+2 vs. Demons 0+1

Turn 5: Genestealer Cult

By this time, most of my units had committed to assaults, so there weren’t a lot of choices for me.  I had a leman russ and a single sentinel outside of combat, plus three or four remaining cultists.

At the end of the turn, there was a real possibility that the game would be over, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  If the dice weren’t in my favor, I was going to lose this turn.

But then again, there was also a possibility that the game continued, and I had to play for the eventuality.  With that in mind, my guns tried to plink off the nurglings, but proved woefully ineffective.  I failed to hit and wound too much throughout the game, and Albert seemed to roll well on his demonic saves (granted, he had two chances with virtually every model in his force).  On top of that, when I did manage too sneak in a wound, I always seemed to roll a 1 for the total damage (even with lascannons).

My genestealers somehow managed to hold their own, and didn’t even have to take morale tests (they did the turn prior, but managed to roll reasonably well and lost only a couple of models to the test).

Score: Cult 0+2 vs. Demons 0+1

Turn 5: Nurgle Demons

Knowing that the victory was his if he broke from my ‘stealers in combat, he pushed all of his units out of assault and moved them towards he nearest objectives.  Two of them made it to their destination, which was enough to give him an extra three points over me, which offset the fact that I’d gotten first blood (and would’ve also gotten linebreaker).

Unfortunately for him, the game did not end at that point, and we pushed into turn 6…

Score: Cult 0+2 vs. Demons 0+1

Turn 6: Genestealer Cult

Happy to have my second chance at the game, I pursued the fleeing nurgle demons with my ‘stealers.  On the left flank, I was able to supplement them with my remaining cult members against a smaller squad, and faired well.

On the right side, I had fewer ‘stealers, so I opted to charge in with my leman russ to help out.  Charging with a tank is humorous, but proved to be largely ineffective.  I had hoped to thin them out with shooting before going in, but I completely whiffed, so I charged in, and actually managed to kill one off (which is impressive because it requires 6’s to hit).

Score: Cult 0+2 vs. Demons 0+1

Turn 6: Nurgle Demons

With everything in combat, he basically just started rolling attacks.  The exception was that his Nurglings opted to disengage from my sentinels (who were basically just trying to harass him and slow him from getting to the next objective).

My ‘stealers and cultists were able to take out the last remaining plague bearer on the left side, but my unit on the right side was not fairing better.  They were down to just two models left–plus the tank.

Score: Cult 0+2 vs. Demons 0+1

Turn 7: Genestealer Cult

This is the point where I questioned my charge with my tank.  Had I not charged, I would’ve been able to disengage with the stealers and then pumped all of that shooting into the plague bearers.  Then again, that would’ve also meant that I wouldn’t have had the tank there to absorb some of the attacks from that unit, and it would’ve increased the odds of my little guys dying.

Ultimately, it proved to be the right answer, but not for the reasons I originally planned.  Since we were playing “big guns never tire,” heavy support units automatically hold objectives no matter how many enemy models are near them–effectively earning “objective secured.”  Since it was unlikely that he was going to kill it off an objective, it was the right move.  Sadly, I hadn’t considered that when I charged.  In fact, I didn’t even recognize it until after we had totaled up all of the victory points:  “Hey wait.. what was the mission again?”

Technically we spilled into the bottom of turn 7, but we quickly realized that there wasn’t really much left to do.  Albert moved in to snag my backfield objective with his Nurglings, but I had held the three other objectives (my remaining ‘stealers from the left side of the board spent two turns scurrying over to hold the last one).

Score: Cult 9+2 vs. Demons 3+1

What I Learned:

  1. Consolidation happens after you attack.  Previously it happened at the end of the phase, but each unit now gets a chance to consolidate after they attack.  This is something I often forget because it doesn’t seem natural to me.  It means that you can’t consolidate away from the combat until all of the existing opponents there are dead.
  2. Nurgle Daemons are tough.  A 5+ invulnerable followed by what was effectively a 5+ FNP for everything in the army made for a really tough list to kill.  Small arms fire is likely the best way to deal with them (or tons of rending claws works pretty well too–but scything talons would’ve actually been better in this instance).
  3. 10x Hand flamers aren’t as scary as they might sound.  30 automatically hitting attacks is alluring, but it’s really 10d3 attacks, and they’re only S3.  It’s not bad, but I’m not sure that they’d be worth it in raw points.  Maybe if they were truly cheap.
  4. Pay attention to mission rules.  I knew my objective was to hold other objectives, but I didn’t realize that I got bonus credit for holding them with heavy supports.  Know your rules–that’s how you win!


3 comments on “Batrep: Nurgle Daemons vs. Genestealer Cult (51 power)

  1. Hi, fun battle report! I just want to ask something-when you rolled the “fnp” did you roll for each point of damage linflicted? I.E. if a nurgling fails its invulnerable save against a lascannon, and the lascannon rolls a 6 for damage, you are suppose to roll 6 dice and each 5+ negates a point of damage. So if you roll 2 5+ in the previous example you lose only 4 of the 6 damage from the lascannon. It makes a huge difference when fighting against multi-damage attacks. Either way good report 🙂

    • Yessir, that’s how we played it. Over the long term, I don’t see how it averages out any different though. You’re still mitigating 33% of the damage. It smooths things out though, so you don’t take huge spikes when 6 wounds from one attack slip through.

      On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 7:41 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


      • It most matters for low wound models like infantry. Its harder for them to survive a lascannon shot.

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