Batrep: Deathguard vs. Hive Fleet Proteus (1500 pts)

This week’s battle report brought to you by the new Death Guard codex…

Mitch’s Deathguard

  • HQ:
    • Terminator Lord w/ Balesword & Combi-bolter
    • Typhus
  • Elites:
    • Foul Blightspawn
    • 6x Deathshroud Terminators w/ Manreapers & Plaguespitters
  • Troops:
    • 9x Plague Marines w/ 2x Blight Launchers, Flail of Corruption, & Bubonic Axe
    • 20x Pox Walkers
  • Fast Attack:
    • 3x Blight Haulers w/ Bilespurt, Multi-meltas, & Missle Launchers
  • Transports:
    • Rhino w/ Combi-bolter

Mitch has been a chaos player since he started the game. He wound up getting most of his demons stolen from him (tough break, I know–I’ve been through that myself), but the recent resurge in Nurgle based units inspired him to get back in. Not only did he purchase a bunch of the new stuff, but he worked hard on painting the stuff up so it could look good for the blog.

I didn’t know what any of this stuff did, so I wasn’t really scared of anything until he started reading me the rules for the Blight Haulers. They just kept having more and more positive rules. Clearly, they were a big target priority…

Hive Fleet Proteus (Gorgon)

  • HQ:
    • Flyrant w/ Rending Claws & Venom Cannon (Psychic Scream & The Horror)
    • 1x Malanthrope
  • Elites:
    • 3x Zoanthropes (Catalyst)
  • Troops:
    • 18x Hormagaunts
    • 18x Hormagaunts
    • 3x Warriors w/ Rending Claws & Deathspitters inc. Venom Cannon
  • Fast Attack:
    • 6x Raveners w/ Rending Claws & Deathspitters
    • 20x Gargoyles
    • Hive Crone
  • Heavy Support:
    • Toxicrene
    • Carnifex w/ Bioplasma, 2x Scything Talons, Thresher Scythe, Spore Cysts, Chitin Thorns
    • 1x Biovore

My list didn’t have much in the way of planning going on. I originally discovered that the Trygon Prime was a character (and could therefore use a relic and be given a warlord trait), but somehow he got completely dropped by the final list. I wanted to try a new hive fleet, and went with Gorgon–which predicated an assault heavy list, so that’s where I came up with this.

I didn’t want to over-use units that I typically field (genestealers for one), or those that were overly powerful (exocrines, etc.) and threw this list together. The idea is that: if I bothered to buy and paint all of these units, I should field them all every once in a while.

Mission & Deployment:

We let Brandon, our resident spectator and referee for the game, pick our mission and he picked the Eternal War mission “Roving Patrol” out of the Chapter Approved 2017 book. Each of us was required to split our armies into three equal units and then dice off to see which we got. I broke my army up as follows:

  • Group 1: Flyrant, 2x Hormagaunt Units, & 6x Raveners
  • Group 2: Malanthrope, Hive Crone, & Carnifex
  • Group 3: 3x Zoanthropes, 3x Warriors, 20x Gargoyles, & Biovore

My hope would be to get the first group, or maybe even the third group. Of course, that meant I got the second group. Conversely, he put all of his eggs in one basket, and his first group consisted of his Terminator Lord, Typhus, and the Deathshroud–which he got.

We misunderstood the mission though, as all of the other units got to come onto the board turn 1 on a roll of a 3+, so it wasn’t that bad. Practically speaking, having deep-strikers or fast units in reserve was probably a good thing…

Our board deployment was the weird pointy one using our small board edges.  He opted to deploy as far forward as possible, while I opted to try to stay out of range from him and leave me with some clear lines of sight for shooting.

I won the dice roll for first turn and wound up giving it to my opponent. This is because the mission design was such that the person with more objectives at the end of the game won–so it benefits the person who goes last (as I could potentially shoot or assault him off an objective).

Turn 1: Deathguard

Of his reserves, he rolled everything on, except the poxwalkers (who, we know would be automatically arriving on turn 2).  His deathstar pushed forward to take the center of the table, and he learned an underlying issue of using characters in 8th edition.

Now I don’t really run characters (largely because my army doesn’t have many of them), and the ones that I do, don’t seem to suffer the same issues as other armies I’ve faced.  That is to say, that characters generally want the protection of the unit, so they want to be completely bubble wrapped by them; however, this provides an issue with movement, since the character doesn’t get to move at the same time as the unit.  This is fine in an open territory, as the unit can move in a giant C shape, and leave room for the character to move inside of them after they’ve moved.  Once terrain starts playing a factor, it complicates things.

Further complicating things, his units all have an effectively random move distance.  They’re slower than anything else in the game (move:4) and they can always run and fire their weapons, but they only run d3 inches.  So their move is effectively betwen 5-7″.  That further complicates trying to get characters to move around within them.

As  a result, he pushed them forward and one of the characters (his warlord) didn’t manage to make it inside the protective bubble…

His Blight Haulers showed up on his board edge and took pot shots at my Carnifex, stripping off all but one wound before I’d had a chance to go.  A little demoralizing, yeah, but what are you gonna do?   At least he didn’t get first blood.

Score: Deathguard: 0 – Tyranids: 0

Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus

Speaking of first blood, I was going to try to grab it this turn.  I’d considered playing a sheepish game, but my army just wasn’t going to be able to do that.  The blight haulers put out more firepower than my entire army did at range, and they were far too tough for me to seriously consider being able to take out (well, maybe with a large multi-assault–but I’d have to whether running across the table and a turn of overwatch too).

No, my plan was definitely to bring the battle to him.

As it turned out, I also got all of my reserves excepting one unit of trash fodder (hormagaunts).  I felt like this mission hurt me worse than him though, as his reserve units had more mobility than mine (And also guns…).

So, I took what I could and deep struck them into the enemy line to exploit the fact that his warlord was exposed.  My Flyrant and Gargoyles plopped down and opened fire on them.  The raveners could not also get in position, so they shimmied over and opened up on the terminators (which, in hindsight, was likely a tactical misplay as they put out more damage than the gargoyles did).

I can’t judge myself too harshly because I eventually accomplished my goal.  I had forgotten that Mitch was very clear before the battle and let me know that his terminators were able to shrug off wounds for nearby deathguard characters on a 2+, so it took all of my shooting, and assault to pull it off.

I’m not exaggerating.  I had to unload everything, and then charge him with my Hive Crone to kill him off.  Not only did I have to do that, I also expended all of my command points to do so.  I used:

  • Scorch Bugs (to do extra wounds with my gargoyles–zero wounds total)
  • Command-Re-Roll (gotta get those wounds in)
  • Adrenaline Surge (to fight twice with my Crone–who managed to take damage, but not so much as to reduce her combat effectiveness)
  • Implant Attack (to do the final wound as a mortal wound)

Sure, I spent all six of my command points on my first turn (which is odd, because I often hoard them until the end), but I did pull off both “first blood” and “slay the warlord,” plus really thinned out those deathguard terminators…

Score: Deathguard: 0 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 2: Deathguard

Brandon and Mitch talked strategy while I went and got pizza, so I don’t really recall what transpired here (or rather, why what went down went down).  He wound up firing the blight haulers (and the terminators) at my Hive Crone, with one or two shots skittering off at my warlord.   The Crone somehow managed to whether all of the shooting until the very last shots from Typhus.

The flyrant was luckier–suffering no ill effects due to her improved invulnerable save and higher toughness.  The invulnerable save was just improved in the 8th edition codex, but her toughness went up to 8 because of the Gorgon relic: hyper-adaptive technology.  That only takes effect when I take a wound–but I managed to do that on my first turn when she failed to cast one of her psychic powers and periled.

His pox walkers showed up and managed to charge my gargoyles, but due to GW’s “buy more” strategy and the fact that he didn’t have any spare pox walkers, he was unable to grow the size of the unit.

Horse-pucky.  I gave him a fistfull of plague zombies and let him fill out his ranks.  The gargoyles were ineffective in assaulting back (their blinding venom now has to actually do a wound to have any effect–and they have to strike first).  Luckily, the plague marines failed their charge, but they did pepper fire into the gargoyles to thin them out as well.

Score: Deathguard: 0 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus

At this point, I had the game.  With first blood, the advantage was mine–I just needed to keep my stuff alive for long enough to contest the objectives during the final turn, so there was no need to be overly aggressive at this point.  I hopped my Flyrant back into range of the Malanthrope, and brought the gargoyles in as close as I could.

I unleashed the combined might of all of my firepower at his army and did little more than absolutely nothing.  Seriously, I had an atrocious round of shooting, coupled with some decent armor saves by my opponent, and that made for a bit of a wasted turn.

On the plus side, I was able to advance my armor forward.  Granted, nothing was in charge range at this point, but they would never be if they didn’t keep moving forward…

Score: Deathguard: 0 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 3: Deathguard

The blight-haulers moved forward enough to pluck my warlord out of the sky with the perfect amount of damage to kill her outright.  No sense in wasting any extra damage on her, right?

The terminators and pox-walkers tried to charge the gargoyles, though the walkers failed.  His terminators made it though and made short work of all but one of the gargoyles (who was also not long for this world).  This got him “slay the warlord” and also took my biggest threat off the table.

In hinsight, I had designed her for close combat and ran away from a fight.  This was because Foul Blightspawn was in his unit of marines and he had told me that I would strike last, and I simply overestimated how much damage the marines would be able to do.  When I later saw how largely ineffectively they were in combat, I reconsidered my decision.  Was it right after all?

Score: Deathguard: 0+1 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 3: Hive Fleet Proteus

With the center of my army crushed, I had nothing else to do than to push forward.  Clearly, the biggest threat to my army were those demon engines.  Left unchecked, they could fairly reliably take out a unit of mine each turn until I had nothing left.

My hopes lied within a multi-assault from the Raveners (who would suck up the overwatch) and my Carnifex (who would hopefully cause the damage).  I threw catalyst on the raveners and charged in–with no casualties.  The carnifex also made his charge, but it was then that I realized that he would have to roll 5’s to hit (-1 to hit them in both shooting and assault).

Have I mentioned the blight haulers are good?

As luck would have it, he only missed one shot, and between him and the raveners, I managed to take out one of the models completely, suffering little damage to my raveners in return.

Score: Deathguard: 0+1 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 4: Deathguard

I felt good about the game again.  The demon engines that had been wreaking havoc were not going to be able to shoot me again as they were tied up in combat.  I also had proven that my damage output was far better than his, so I was going to wind up taking them out unless things changed.

That’s when Typhus and the remaining terminators charged in to help out.  Doing three damage per swing, hitting on 2+ and wounding on 2+ was not exactly good for my raveners–and they all died before getting a chance to swing.  On the plus side, the demon engines opted to push forward into my carnifex, so I didn’t have to hope to whether another round of overwatch (he was still down to just one wound).

Quickly I was losing all of my army.  And, though I was hurting him as well, he just didn’t seem as crippled as I was at this point.

His plague marines in the backfield jumped into his rhino and sped off towards my board edge to end his turn.

Score: Deathguard: 0+1 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 4: Hive Fleet Proteus

After three turns of footslogging, my reinforcements finally made it to the fight.  The Toxicrene joined the Carnifex and together took out another demon engine, while my first squad of hormagaunts swarmed over Typhus (Aided by my Malanthrope–who would not live to see the end of the phase).  With the help of a stray spore mine (and they were all stray spore mines, as my Biovore failed to hit any targets for the entire game), they managed to take Typhus down to one remaining wound.

And that’s basically all I could do.  Again, the battle looked like it was in my favor–but would it last?

Score: Deathguard: 0+1 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 5: Deathguard

At the beginning of the turn, Typhus slung his pestilence to nearby units and the Blight Hauler used it to finish off the Carnifex.

The plague marines in the rhino bailed out and opened fire on a nearby unit of gaunts before charging into the other unit of hormagaunts in an attempt to rescue typhus and pile enough bodies on the objective to make it difficult for me to knock them off.  Together they made short work of the gribblies and I did little damage in return.


Score: Deathguard: 0+1 – Tyranids: 0+2

Turn 5: Hive Fleet Proteus

If the game were to end this turn, I would lose here.  So, instead of letting that happen, I did the only thing I could.  Those few units I had remaining with guns shot at the plague marines and everything I had left charged into them.  This included my zoanthropes and a severely weakened unit of ‘gaunts.  I did rather well in combat against them, but sadly, so did he.

When the smoke cleared from that battle, I had killed seven of the plague marines this turn, whereas he had killed off 17 of my gaunts (through a combination of shooting and two turns of assault).

We rolled off for random game length and the game ended.  When we counted up models in range, he had his four deathguard and I had…

4 models as well.  Two more of my models were just outside of the range (including a Zoanthrope in back who really should’ve consolidated forward).

Score: Deathguard: 2+2 – Tyranids: 2+2

The Aftermath

A tie!

Sometimes people are unhappy with ties, but it worked out well for Mitch and I.  Mitch doesn’t win a lot of games–especially against me, so I think he was happy to walk out of a game without a loss.  From my perspective, I think his list was just better than mine, and I did make several mistakes, so I think I was lucky to walk away with a tie.

Certainly, had the game pushed another turn, I don’t think I could’ve pulled out a tie.  Of course, it’s a game of random die rolls, so there’s always a chance–it just didn’t seem likely.

What I Learned:

Blight Haulers are good.  At the start of the game, we compared them to dreadnoughts and thought they were just better.  After the game, we’d seen them in combat and they’re certainly durable, but they don’t have the damage output a dreadnought does.  Still, they’re more mobile and more shooty–plus they grant a -1 “to hit” for all friendly models nearby.  Their utility alone makes them a great buy and a tough opponent.

I probably should’ve charged.  With my Hive Tyrant that is.  She was designed for combat, but I played sheepish and was afraid.  As a result, she never saw combat.  Then again, maybe she would’ve died to the plague marines?  Certainly that would’ve meant that the blight haulers would’ve picked on someone else that turn.

Remove casualities the right way.  During my last turn, when the plague marines shot me, I should’ve been paying more attention.  When the bolters did wounds, I could’ve taken those wounds from the front to stop his blight launchers and Foulspawn’s gun from doing extra damage.  Those really decimated that unit and, one could argue, cost me the game.  Had I just pulled one model from the front, both of those would’ve been out of range and I would’ve had far more models to deal with them during that last assault.

One comment on “Batrep: Deathguard vs. Hive Fleet Proteus (1500 pts)

  1. Full disclosure, I did cheat this game. The Chaos Lord had just gotten a price reduction and I (being n00bish) took it instead of the Chaos *Terminator* Lord. It didn’t make much difference but is worth mentioning for the sake of fairness.

    I count this draw as a win, sometimes I have a hard time playing Rob or Sam as the skill gap is evident, and that can be frustrating, but I genuinely enjoyed this game. There were a number of moments where there was a nice competitive tension while still carrying an enjoyable, friendly atmosphere. I didn’t feel like I was handed a win, nor was I crushed beneath the boot of AGE and experience.

    I look forward to our next game and, as always, nice job on the blog.

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