Part of why I haven’t been blogging much as of late is because I haven’t been playing 40k. I’ve still been playing games, but for some reason I choose not to blog about board games for the most part. If I had to answer why that is, I think it’s to give me a break. Blogging can be a chore, so I try to keep it to a relevant minimum.
Well, in an effort to get back on the wagon, I scheduled an impromptu game over Memorial Day weekend in the hopes of inspiring myself to play. Mitch showed up with his “as few models as possible” list and we threw down.
Mitchell’s Daemons of Nurgle:
- Daemon Prince of Nurgle w/ Wings
- 3x Nurglings
- Fast Atttack:
- 1x Foetid Bloat-Drone
- 1x Myphitic Blight-Hauler
- Lord of War:
In fairness, he asked if I minded him using Mortarion in a game. I’d never faced him, but had read up on him. I don’t want to face him in any size game, let alone a small game, but the worst that could happen is I’d lose, so why not? It also helps me make an informed decision on a unit’s power level to see it in action, rather than just doing theory-hammer.
The rest of his list I’d seen in practice as well, some on an actual game table.
Hive Fleet Proteus:
- Old One-Eye
- 1x Malanthrope
- 1x Pyrovore
- 20x Termagants w/ Devourers
- 10x Hormagaunts
- 10x Hormagaunts
- 5x Genestealers
- Heavy Support:
- 1x Carnifex w/ Devourers
- 1x Carnifex w/ Devourers
Mitch had expressed an interest in playing Mortarion, but it wasn’t clear that he was going to actually use him. I’m not sure what in my codex effectively deals with a nightmare like that, so I just built a well-rounded list and hoped (in vain) against him showing up. If he did show up, my goal was going to be to spread out and ignore him to the best of my ability, while killing everything else in his army. After all, if I could spread out, he wouldn’t be able to table me.
My list really started off with an Exocrine in it to deal with Morty, but 11 power on a flashy choice just seemed like too much, so he eventually hit the scrapyard. I also wanted to try to work in a drop pod for my gaunts, allowing them some tactical flexibility as well as putting some venom cannons on it to deal with Morty as well–but that too got scrapped.
In the end, I put together a fine list I think, though not one that I’d bring to a tournament.
Then again, I don’t do tournaments anymore…
Mission & Deployment:
For mission, we rolled the one where we could score each others’ objectives if they were “secure” style, and we also rolled up diagnols. He won that roll, choosing the side with all of the objectives on it (drat–that meant I was going to have to move towards him, which I really didn’t want to do). He also purposely put one objective really high in a building so it would be difficult to reach for me (practically impossible for him to reach as well–but his mission was going to be to table me while I tried to scramble for points).
I won the dice roll for first turn and opted to take it. I wasn’t clear whether I should take it or not, but it didn’t matter, because he wound up seizing the initiative anyway, so my decision was effectively made for me.
Turn 1: Forces of Nurgle
His first turn wasn’t terribly eventful. He did wind up infiltrating his nurglings up during deployment so they were well within charge range, but they didn’t bother advancing. That left them within range for shooting, or an easy charge for me, but would also mean that I’d be out of position with that unit and be sacrificing it to Morty.
He scored a single point for holding on to an objective in his deployment area and passed the turn uneventfully. The only thing that happened that was noteworthy was that he did fail a perils test on his demon prince, and used a command point to save him from taking any wounds.
Score: Nurgle: 1 vs. Tyranids 0
Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus
I fired my gaunts into his demon prince (not realizing he was a character of protected size) and managed to reduce him down to a single wound after double-tapping them with a strategem. One of my carnifexes helped to thin out his nurglings, reducing them to two wounds (they would later laugh it off in the morale phase).
Otherwise, my hormagants made a dash for objectives. The closest unit scrambled up into the building to hold objective 5: not because I had to, but because I might need to later–and they’re not going to anything against most of his units anyway. The other unit spent command points to move twice and contest an objective in a far building that he was defending. I figured it was worth sparing them to deal with that–plus, a Blight-Hauler seemed unlikely to be able to deal with 10 gaunts on his own in a reasonable amount of time.
I scored zero points though, which is a downer, but I did seriously hurt two of his units, and was only behind by one point, so it felt like a good turn.
Score: Nurgle: 1 vs. Tyranids 0
Turn 2: Forces of Nurgle
His prince was shaken up by the sheer amount of damage he’d taken, and opted to hang back and babysit Hormagaunts with the Blight-Hauler and Bloat-Drone. Somehow I’d managed to have one model surve to make it to combat–but he couldn’t stand up to a Demon Prince on his own. I found consolation that he wouldn’t have made it through the morale phase anyway.
Holding Morty off for another turn was too much to ask for, though he did flub his charge against both my gaunts and carnifex. He had enough distance to hit the gaunts, but could not quite jump over them without landing at least partially in the crater (which would’ve taken an additional 2″ to charge through). As a result, he was able to hop over and squad the ‘fex alone. It wasn’t a huge win on my part, but at least I got to keep my little gribblies alive for a little longer. As a bonus, I managed to do three wounds to the beast from overwatch.
Maybe this guy is killable after all?
Mitch earned first blood, but scored no other objectives. Heck, this game was shaping up nicely.
Score: Nurgle: 1+1 vs. Tyranids 0
Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus
Ok, so Morty is on my flank and is going to charge something next turn. My goal was to spread out and just let him get one unit. I also pushed away from him hoping to get out of charge range with everything, but everything else went to pot.
One of my objectives required me to get into his deployment zone, and another required me to get out of my own–but I couldn’t seem to do either. The Pyrovore in the backfield was too slow to move out, while the Malanthrope leading the charge consistently was rolling 1’s for his advance move.
I also managed to fail a 5″ charge with my shooty-fex against his blight drone (after two rounds and 48 shots, I had done zero damage in shooting). Even with a re-roll, I couldn’t manage to make it work. He also scored two points for defending an objective, broadening his lead.
So, with my opportunity squandered, I passed the turn slightly dejected.
Score: Nurgle: 3+1 vs. Tyranids 0
Turn 3: Forces of Nurgle
If I was slightly dejected last turn, it went to full dejection here. Flat out, I got outplayed in a turn, and that can’t happen when you’re fighting with a balanced army against Mortarion. During the charge, he declared every one of my units as the charge target. That allowed him to roll the dice and pick where he was going to go.
Normally, that’s a mistake because your unit is weathering an unnecessary amount of shooting. The problem is, Morty can get away with it. In fact, he took zero wounds from overwatch with my entire army firing at him.
But it turned out to be a brilliant stroke. Personally, I would’ve chosen his intended target (Old One Eye) as my charge target, but also chosen the gaunts, because I could always crash into them if I failed my roll. He just exposed himself to a little extra fire by choosing my other units as well, and it really worked out well for him.
He didn’t roll enough to hit Old One Eye, and instead hit the pyrovore. By not going into base-to-base, he was able to use his 3″ pile in move to push around the pyrovore and get within 1″ of my Warlord. This was possible because he just had to end the move closer to the pyrovore, but it says nothing about a direct line. That allowed him to punk both models.
So, moving the pyrovore away was a mistake on my part–I should’ve instead moved him closer to seperate the two and possibly even block the charge to my warlord.
He also killed off my genestealers with all of his other units combined. He had no objectives to score, but did slay my warlord (and broke my heart in the process).
Score: Nurgle: 3+2 vs. Tyranids 0
Turn 3: Hive Fleet Proteus
The game was over at this point, but I’m proud of myself for not even suggesting we stop. Instead, I pushed on trying to envision some way, any way I could come back from this. Frankly, there was none.
He woundup shooting the demon prince to death and then charging into combat with the Bloat-Drone (god, those things are impossibly tough). I made another mistake in play this turn by shooting the nurglings to death instead of charging them. Charging them would’ve put more distance between me and Morty, and also would’ve potentially allowed them to get into his deployment zone to score a point.
On the plus side, I did get a point for no longer being in my deployment zone. Sure, the card was called “advance,” but there’s no rule that says you can’t just let your opponent kill everything that was in your deployment zone instead!
Score: Nurgle: 3+2 vs. Tyranids 1
Turn 4: Forces of Nurgle
Morty flapped over and made short work of the termagants, while everyone else split up their fire between the hormagants and the carnifex. By the end of the turn, I was down to just the Malanthrope and a single Hormagaunt (who stuck around because of Synapse).
Meanwhile, he scored one point for killing something in the shooting phase (my carnifex) and passed the turn over with a 6:1 lead.
If I could only find a way to make a hormagaunt take down a lord of war, I’d still have a chance though…
Score: Nurgle: 4+2 vs. Tyranids 1
Turn 4: Hive Fleet Proteus
That clearly wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I ran my Malanthrope, and as the game went, he rolled another one and failed to make it into my opponent’s deployment zone. I was clearly tabled the next turn, and there was no joy in continuing, so we called it there.
Score: Nurgle: 4+3 vs. Tyranids 2
Wow, that was a solid thrashing. I don’t think Mitch has ever won a game against me before, so to get so solidly whooped was a bit of a surprise. It shouldn’t be though, because he apparently does well in the local tournament scene.
I’m glad that I at least managed to kill a couple of units and score some points. But this was a sound beating. Congrats to you, bird.
It’s true that his list was harder than mine, his dice were hot and mine were cold, but it’s also true that I made some tactical blunders, and that multi-charge of his against my pyrovore showed quite the tactical acumen on his part. There’s no doubt that I got outplayed today.
I did laugh aloud when, after the game, he told me that “You know, Mortarion is too powerful for casual games.” No… really? What makes you say that? I’m glad that he’s coming around though. I think we all figure things out eventually.
Final Score: Tyranids Tabled!!!
What I Learned:
There’s some doozies in here, so let’s start with the easy ones:
- Mortarion is as stupid powerful as I thought. He was rolling in with between 6-18 dice, rolling 2’s to hit and 2’s to wound with re-rolls on both. With -3 to the save, and d6 wounds per hit, there just isn’t anything in my army that can stand against him. Clearly you want to kill him with multi-wound damage shooting, but my list was completely devoid of it. Not that Tyranids do well in that arena at all, but you definitely don’t wan’t to fight him with what I did.
- When facing shrewd opponents with devastating weapons, spread yourself out to avoid charge shenanigans. So many props to him for using it against me. That was a really sharp move.
- I didn’t have the right target priorities. My unstated goal at the beginning was to take out the Demon prince first, then the other little stuff, and ignore morty. I crippled the prince and the nurglings right off the bat, but those are the units that had no shooting and posed no real threat. Meanwhile, the other three units were the ones that were killing me. They were out of range and line of sight, but I could’ve worked harder to prioritize them.
- I didn’t focus fire enough. This is partly because I spent so much fire on turn one on the prince, and then later learned he had the protection of character status. It also didn’t help that whatever I fired at morty or the drones plinked off harmlessly.
- Blight-Haulers and Bloat-Drones are just insanely tough. I couldn’t even scratch them with tons of strength 6 shooting. Granted, some of that was due to his dice being hot and mine being cold, but when I dump 24 s6 shots from a carnifex into you, I should hit with 18, wound with 6, you save with 4 and then have a chance to shrug another off with feel no pain. That’s durability for sure. Mitch made the argument that everything in the codex is that way, but that’s not the case. It’s just that everything he owns is that way. I can’t blame him though, he’s on a limited budget, so why not buy the most powerful stuff? Who wants to use the derpy stuff?
- I should probably not feel bad about using Exocrines. They’re a great unit in the codex, and they’re one of the few ways to issue multi-wound damage at range with some form of armor modifer. They would’ve helped out a lot for this game.
All in all, there were a bunch of take-aways here. I like that I can look back optimistically and see it as more than just a tournament army crushing a casual list, or blaming it on the dice. Granted, it was always going to be a hard battle, but I think it was winnable from the onset. I just didn’t do myself any favors. Better luck next time….