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Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Plaguewing vs Mechdar • 2k batrep from ATC

So I have just one batrep to report from my trip to Tennessee to participate in the American Team Championship (ATC) with my team (Prodigy). This was the final round versus my very good friend Al Gleason from the Blade N Bolter team. I've known Al for a long long time and first met him in Chicago at a GW GT back in the day... I was playing my Dark Angels back then versus his Death Guard. Al loves his pointy eared space elves and brought them to the tournament.

I only had one test game with my new Plaguewing list prior to the ATC which is obviously not a good method to prepare for what can easily be considered the most competitive tournament in the country. Many of THE best players from the US attended. Each team is composed of five members and you square off in five one on one games each round. I made a request to play Al the final round and his captain was kind enough to honor my request. Al got to pick the table - it had lots of terrain so I was happy. Note that these tables were sponsored by Secret Wars and they were awesome.

Here is my army list:

Chaos Space Marines - Primary Detachment
Chaos Lord (Blotus) - Mark of Nurgle, blight grenades, bike, Black Mace, power axe, Sigil of Corruption

Sorcerer (Festus) - Mark of Nurgle, blight grenades, bike, force axe, Sigil of Corruption, Level 3 Psyker, Spell Familiar

3x Chaos Space Marine biker - Mark of Nurgle, 2x plasmagun
Champion - power fist

6x Plague Marine - flamer/meltagun
Rhino - Havoc Launcher

6x Plague Marine - flamer/meltagun
Rhino - Havoc Launcher

3x Obliterator - Mark of Nurgle

Chaos Daemons - Allied Detachment
Daemon Prince - Nurgle, wings, 3+ armor, Level 3 Psyker, 2x Greater Reward, Bale Sword

10x Plaguebearer

10x Plaguebearer

4x Plague Drone - Proboscis, Death's Head
Plaguebringer - Ether Blade

So no Heldrake... I wanted to see how good I could do without the perennial favorite choice for Chaos Space Marines. I will definitely be adding a Heldrake to my 2250 point list... It's just too good to leave home. I couldn't squeeze it into this list though. I'm sure my opponents are glad I decided not to bring one - Heh !

Here is Al's Bieltan list to the best of my memory:

Farseer - Level 3 Psyker, Singing Spear

Autarch - jetbike, fusion gun, 4++ save

10x Dire Avenger
Wave Serpent

10x Dire Avenger
Wave Serpent

6x Dire Avenger
Wave Serpent

6x Dire Avenger
Wave Serpent

6x Windrider jetbike - 2x Shuriken cannon

6x Fire Dragon
Wave Serpent

Fire Prism
Fire Prism

Crimson Hunter Exarch

Crusade - 5 objective markers
Emperor's Will - 2 objective markers
Kill Points

Heavy Support counted as scoring units.

Chaos Lord - d3 units can infiltrate
Farseer - I don't remember

Sorcerer - Nurgle's Rot, Endurance, Enfeeble
Daemon Prince - Iron Arm, Enfeeble, Life Leech
Farseer - Prescience, Guide, Fortune

Daemon Prince - 4+ Feel No Pain (FNP), +1 wound & It Will Not Die (IWND)

No Night Fight

Vanguard Strike

The Crusade objective markers were placed such that two were inside on big piece of area terrain with ruins over to my right side of the table. One Crusade objective marker was located behind a hill in the middle of my deployment zone. Another was placed outside of the other big piece of area terrain with ruins over to my left of the table and the last one was placed inside Al's deployment zone.

One of the Emperor's Will objective markers was also placed behind the hill in my deployment zone. The other was placed close by the big piece of area terrain with ruins over to right side of the table.

Al deployed his entire army except for the Autarch attached to the Windriders and his flyer. He deployed two of the six man Dire Avenger squads with the Farseer attached to one in the big piece of area terrain with ruins over to my right side of the table. Al placed his skimmers across the table with lots of good lanes of fire.

I held the following units in reserve:

Plague Drones (Deep Strike)
One squad of Plaguebearers (Deep Strike)
One squad of Plague Marines (normal reserves)
Obliterators (Deep Strike)

I deployed the other squad of Plague Marines embarked in their rhino behind the hill in the middle of my deployment zone. I deployed the other squad of Plaguebearers inside the big piece of area terrain with ruins on my right side of the table close to that Crusader objective marker - note that front of the ruins completely blocked LoS so the eldar would have to move their skimmers far to my left in order to be able to shoot them. I also deployed my Daemon Prince inside that piece of terrain alongside the Plaguebearers.

I then finally infiltrated the Chaos Lord and Sorcerer attached to the bikers behind a high wall close to the big piece of area terrain with ruins over to my right side of the table.

I wanted to keep a significant portion of my army off the table to prevent the eldar shooting them. The Daemon Prince and Plaguebearers inside the one piece of area were well protected by the ruins. The rhino was behind the hill and my bikers were hiding behind the wall.

Mech eldar is a very fast army compared to mine and can dish out a ton of fire power - it is a good choice for players relatively new to the game that want a competitive army. I have some mobility and wanted to use it as much as possible to my advantage. I had already faced off versus another mech eldar list in the second round - the experience I gained would be useful for this game... In particular I finally figured out how to make the best use of my Daemon Prince... For example the Daemon Prince can cast a malediction (Enfeeble), vector strike and use Witchfire (Life Leech) all in the same turn. Basically I wanted to hunker down the first turn and wait for my reserves to arrive before engaging the enemy so I'd need to make some a good amount of decent saves. Hopefully I'd have fair rolls for reserves come the second turn.

Obviously whomever controlled the big piece of area terrain over to my right side with three objective markers would probably win the game so I needed to dedicate a significant portion of my army there while the rest of my forces would have to tough it out which is something that Nurgle can do quite well.

I won the roll for initiative and opted to go second.

1st Turn - Eldar
The two squads of Dire Avengers and Farseer immediately backed away from my biker squad hiding behind the wall while his skimmers repositioned to shoot as much as possible at my bikers and the rhino. Al was able to knock two hull points off the rhino and killed a couple of bikers so not bad at all for me.

1st Turn - Nurgle
I measured the distance from my bikers to the closest squad of Dire Avengers in the building and decided to wait for reserves... Even if they managed to make the charge they would have probably killed the unit then get shot off the table the next turn. The Sorcerer successfully cast Endurance and the Daemon Prince successfully cast Iron Arm - not that he would need it this turn. The Daemon Prince and Plaguebearers over in the other building also held their ground waiting to see what would arrive from the eldar reserve. So not a very exciting first turn but I had weathered the first turn of eldar shooting well.

2nd Turn - Eldar
Only the Crimson Hunter arrived from reserve this turn and it made a beeline straight towards the rhino with easy line of sight to my bikers. The two squads of Dire Avengers and Farseer backed away from my bikers again while the eldar skimmers moved into better angles to shoot at my units on the table. Al managed to destroy the rhino (First Blood to eldar) and killed another biker while stripping one wound each from the Chaos Lord and Sorcerer. The Plague Marines bailed out of the burning wreck hugging the side of the hill to limit shooting from the eldar.. One died in the explosion and another died to shooting. Again not bad for me with lots of successful saves and FNP when I really needed it.

2nd Turn - Nurgle
The second squad of Plague Marines and Plague Drones both arrived from reserve. I deep struck the Drones into the side of the building to my right so they could strafe a squad of Dire Avengers with their Death Heads. The bikers moved into the building as well to over saturate that area. The second rhino pulled up beside the back of the hill to provide a screen for the surviving members from the first squad of Plague Marines. Both the Sorcerer and Daemon Prince both successfully cast their blessings (Endurance and Iron Arm). The Daemon Prince swooped out from the building vector striking the Crimson Hunter and destroyed it and a blaze of gory glory. He then fired Life Leech into a Wave Serpent and managed to strip off one hull point. The Plague Drones targeted the closest squad of Dire Avengers dropping them below half strength but they passed their morale check. This was a good turn for me as I had eliminated the fast threat from the Hunter and had gained a foot hold in the building with the three objective markers.

3rd Turn - Eldar
No reserves arrived this turn - note that the Autarch used his special ability to keep himself and the Windriders in reserve. The pressure was on now as I had made my big moves the last turn... Nurgle was right up in the eldar's grill. If it were me I would have probably used the eldar speed to put some distant between my big nasties and the pointy eared but Al decided to move up and unload as much fire power as possible. The other rhino was wrecked but other than that I did not lose any other units. Nurgle is tough.

3rd Turn - Nurgle
The Obliterators and second squad of Plaguebearers arrived from reserve. I deep struck the Oblits beside the large piece of area terrain housing the Dire Avengers and Farseer. I deep struck the second squad of Plaguebearers into the building. Neither squad scattered. The Plague Drones fanned out around the Dire Avengers while the bikers moved into double tap range. The Plague Marines hunkered down behind the hill sitting on two objective markers. When the smoke cleared from all the shooting the Dire Avengers and Farseer had disappeared.

4th Turn - Eldar
The Autarch and Windriders automatically arrived from reserve this turn. The Autarch split off using the long eldar jetbike turbo boost range to contest an objective while the Windriders lined up to shoot my Plague Drones. The eldar still had plenty of skimmers with fire power to spare and more scoring units. Again the eldar unloaded maximum fire power into my army. Both squads of Plaguebearers took some damage, the first squad of Death Guard was down to its last Marine, only the Chaos Lord and Sorcerer were left from the bikers and I only had one Oblit left with a single wound when it was all over said and done.

4th Turn - Nurgle
Time for some more smack down. The Obliterator advanced towards the Fire Dragons that had disembarked the last turn to torch his mates. The Plague Drones moved into charge range of the two Fire Prisms while the bikers moved into close range to charge Windriders. The Deamon Prince vector struck a Wave Serpent dropping another hull point. By the end of the turn the Autarch, Windriders and both Fire Prisms had vanished. The next turn would be the last so the Bieltan needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

5th Turn - Eldar
Eldar were on their back heel now. I think Al was pitting too much on his speed plus the two Prisms counting as scoring units to pull off a Necron style late game money grab for objective markers to win the game. My rolls for saves were mostly clutch throughout the entire game so at this point I was finally in the driver's seat. I ended up pulling down my first big win for the weekend.

There's not much more to really say in terms of the game. I just wish I had practiced more with my new army list so I would have been better prepared. I feel like I let down my team not doing better. All I can say is next year I will definitely be much better prepared. I thought I knew Nurgle well enough to wing it but at this level of competition you really need to know what your army can do inside out.

Here are some post GT thoughts on building a competitive CSM Nurgle themed army which currently is not easy to do without cheap cultists... And by the way I'm not going to be running any cultists any time soon. Plague Marines and Plaguebearers are both totally worth their weight in gold. You pay for what you get and these two units are platinum plated with diamond studs.

Black Mace
Daemon weapon -> lots of attacks... Weight of attacks are insanely good. Prior to ATC I played one of the top a Tyranid players from my area - my Chaos Lord took down two Flyrants and a Tervigon plus lots of gants due to the Curse.

Fleshbane plus toughness tests that are instant death. Black Mace plus Enfeeble can decimate hordes. It's not always going to work but when it does its really good. Most of the armies I faced off against at ATC were not prone to this exploit. I am planning now to run a CSM Daemon Prince with the Black Mace for the cheap spell familiar... Much more reliable.

Plague Drones are in my opinion really good. Drones have Plague Swords which are great versus high armor and the champion can take an Ether Blade (S5 AP2) that wounds on 3+ with poison. All units from the Chaos Daemon codex that are purely Nurgle have fantastic cover saves. Plague Drones are 3 wounds each at T5 and classed as jet pack calvary... Very fast and can take out an entire enemy flank on their own.

I am planning to add a land raider. I was really surprised at the overall lack of anti AV14 this past weekend.

I will definitely be adding a Heldrake but one is enough for me.

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