James' Alpha Legion - 2000 Points
Chaos Lord - Warlord (I Are Alpharius), Relic (Drakescale Plate), Jump Pack, Lightning Claw, Mark of Khorne
Daemon Prince - Mark of Slaanesh, Delightful Agonies, Malefic Talons, Relic (The Rapacious Talons)
Master of Possession - Cursed Earth and Infernal Power, Mark of Tzeentch
5x Chaos Space Marines - Meltagun, Chainswords, Power Axe, Mark of Slaanesh,
5x Chaos Space Marines - Autocannon, Mark of Slaanesh
5x Chaos Space Marines - Autocannon, Mark of Slaanesh
5x Chaos Terminators - Combi-Plasma and Power Axe’s, Mark of Slaanesh
Lord Discordant - Warlord Trait (We Are Alpharius - Master of Diversion), Baleflamer, Hydra’s Wail, Mark of Slaanesh
Sorcerer - Death Hex and Warptime, Mark of Tzeentch
5x Chaos Space Marines - Plasma Gun, Chainswords, Mark of Slaanesh
Maulerfiend - Lasher Tendrils, Mark of Slaanesh
Maulerfiend - Lasher Tendrils, Mark of Slaanesh
Maulerfiend - Lasher Tendrils, Mark of Slaanesh
Venomcrawler, Mark of Slaanesh
Venomcrawler, Mark of Slaanesh
Tallyman - Tollkeeper,
Foul Blightspawn - Vomitryx, Living Plague, Warlord
10x Blightlord Terminators - 2x Blight Launcher, 2x Flail
3x3 Deathshroud Terminators
1x2 Chaos Spawn - Grandfathers Influence
1x Foetid Bloat-Drone w/ Grandfathers Lawnmower
2x - Plagueburst Crawler w/ Entropy Cannon
The Mission and Board
21: Surround and Destroy
James' Alpha Legion
Joe's Death Guard
Having watched Liam play his beautiful World Eaters recently it's reminded me of my own devotion to the Chaos Gods! Therefore, I've dusted off the Chaos Marines, borrowed a couple of Maulerfiends and brought out the Alpha Legion.
It's been a long time since I've played Chaos and even longer since I’ve played my Alpha Legion. It feels great having them out on the table again, but I’m a bit nervous as I know Chaos Space Marines are not in a good spot. That being said, Alpha Legion have got some really cool tricks. Their new (not really) Warlord Traits and Stratagems are very good. The Master of Diversion Warlord Trait I've taken lets me re-deploy 3 units before the game starts. The Drakescale Plate is just a solid Relic that gives an Infantry Character a 2+ 5+++. Finally the Conceal Stratagem can allow one of my infantry units to not be targeted if they're not the closest visible target. This will let my Obliterators start on the board and should help me hit Joe a bit harder in the first turn then perhaps I usually can.
I’ve taken Engage On All Fronts, my Daemon Engines want to be up in Joe’s face and my Chaos Space Marine Squads are going to be in my back-line so it seemed like an obvious choice. Raise The Banners too seemed like a good one with 2 objectives in my deployment zone. Finally I've opted for Warp Ritual. It might be a bit risky with Joe also having Psychic too but I’m hoping I can rush up with the Daemon Engines whilst my Daemon Prince and Terminators or Obliterators hold the middle whilst being un-targetable (thanks to the Conceal Stratagem) and hopefully gain me my Warp Ritual points.
What with the plague year, it has been awhile since I played against CSM that wasn’t Liam’s World Eaters, leaving me utterly unprepared for pretty much anything. I barely know what’s in their Psychic Awakening, but here goes nothing I guess? Although I do know they’re not in a great place, so I chose to run the non-meta plague company of Mortarion’s Chosen Sons, with the Vomitryx relic on the Foul Blightspawn. It’s a shame that Stench-Vats is such a key relic, as I actually really like this!
I decided to just play the game out like I would any other, going with secondaries I was reasonably comfortable with. Spread The Sickness is a pretty standard Deathguard secondary at this point, that rewards their style of play creeping up the board. To The Last is also good for me, as it’s my ten man unit of terminators and the two plague-burst crawlers and I doubt James will kill 2 of them let alone all 3. Finally, I rounded things out with Strangehold. With six objectives up for grabs, this should be relatively easy to score and rewards you for… Well, playing the game.
I’ve deployed pretty central hoping Joe would leave his flanks pretty undefended. Dawn of War makes it a little easier to outmaneuver with my fast daemon engines and I am worried about getting caught up in the middle of the board against those Blightlord Terminators. It also gives me a chance to use Master of Diversion and throw my Maulerfiends to the flanks and pressure him on the side of the board rather than the middle. If it can draw his Blight Lords away, even better.
I have also made sure to deploy my Obliterators right in the middle, the Conceal stratagem will force Joe from not being able to target them and if they roll well they can do some serious work to his Terminators (here's hoping)
James doesn’t have a great deal of long range shooting, bar the obliterators who can be rather swingy, and against DG are doing 1 damage 66% of the time. For that reason I deployed aggressively, the terminators using the terrain for better saves and the pox-walkers ready to march up the board. The bloat-drone is hanging around on the flank, ready to try and cause some havoc. On the other flank the Chaos Spawn are ready to do… Something?
Right before the Turn begins I activate my Warlord Trait Master of Diversion and shift one of my Maulerfiends to the far flank and push my Daemon Prince and Lord Discordant forward a few more inches so they're on the line. With me having the first turn I shouldn't have any worry Joe will get through my Venom Crawlers and snipe my Daemon Prince straight away.
I start my movement phase by moving all three Maulerfiends right up but mostly out of charge range from Joe’s hammer units. I’ve ensured both my Venom Crawlers and Lord Discordant are within range of my Master of Possession (who hopefully gets both of his powers off.) The idea with this movement phase is to saturate the board with as many threats as I have. If I lose a Venom Crawler and/or a Maulerfiend it's not that critical as I’ll have another 3 left.
First Psychic test on my Master of Possession… double 1… I use a CP on the Command Re-roll and manage to pass Cursed Earth. The Second test for Infernal Power… double 1… He only suffers 1 wound for his insolence but clearly the Chaos Gods are not pleased with him... I then cast Delightful Agonies from the Daemon Prince onto the front Venom Crawler
My shooting phase is pretty limited but I do manage to take down half a unit of Poxwalkers…
That ends my turn, nothing for Engage as I didn't quite manage to make it over the line with any of the Maulerfiends Advance rolls.
With the chance to react to James’ pushes up the board, I know that with Strangehold I’m really going to need to put my foot on the gas… Which is hard to do when most of your army has a 4 or 5 inch move… But move forward I do. One of my Deathshroud units prepares itself to charge a Maulerfiend, and the drone whizzes up the flank to charge another. With cursed earth up, I’m expecting most of my damage to come from melee this turn, to also gum up the middle of the board with hard to kill bodies.
Psychic comes and goes without much of interest. Gift of Plagues onto the forward marching Deathshroud to try and spread contagion range around, but aside from that, nothing of note.
Shooting comes up and I only really have one target. Of the two Venom Crawlers in the midboard, one has Delightful Agonies so the other is the target. With some good rolls from the Plagueburst Crawlers, I manage to blow it off the board even with the 4++ from Cursed Earth. With the remainder of my fire, I put some chip-shots into the other Venomcrawler and I think knock off one wound…
The all important charge phase comes up and I get lucky, both the Deathshroud and the Drone make it into combat without issue. The problem is that they’re both facing down big targets that can pretty reliably kill them with a use of Demonforge. In the end, I elect to go with the drone first, relying on the 4++ of the Deathshroud to keep them alive through an interrupt. My drone does less than I would have liked and knocks the Maulerfiend down to 6 wounds. James interrupts with the Counter-offensive Strat and amazingly, even with Demonforge, fails to kill any of the Deathshroud, only getting one fist through that was reduced to 2 damage, leaving him on one. This would be the beginning of what we would come to call outrageous rolling, on my part.
Sitting on 4 objectives, I score Strangehold and Spread the Sickness.
So I lost about what I expected too in Turn 1. The Conceal Stratagem onto the Obliterators helped stave any potential shots their way from the Plague Bursts too. However, my Maulerfiends rolled poorly on their attacks back and barely scratched the Deathshroud or Bloat Drone.
So in my Turn 2 I fall back with both of them. There’s little need in forcing a bad fight here and if Joe has to dictate more shots next turn to try and kill them as opposed to killing them in combat in my turn, the better for me. I launch my remaining Venom Crawler forward and move my Chaos Marines with Chainswords on the left side into range of a long-ish charge to Joe’s Poxwalkers. I drop my Terminators in just in front of my Daemon Prince ready to block / protect the Daemon Prince. My middle Maulerfiend gallops? Leaps? Forwards to try for a long charge onto Joe’s back Plagueburst Crawler. If he doesn't make it he’ll still score me my Engage on All Fronts.
Into my Psychic Phase, I start with Warp Ritual, Joe’s got both his Denies within Range and I know he’s saving one for it. I roll my test and get a 4… this isn't great, a 4 is easy to beat so I use a Command Reroll and roll a 7. Unfortunately Joe easily dispels it with Typhus and my tally hasn't begun yet for the Warp Ritual. Next up is the Master of Possession, Cursed Earth goes off without a hitch and he starts to channel his Infernal Power spell… rolls a double 1. This guy is cursed.
My shooting phase again is targeted at his Poxwalkers, I only manage to remove 9/10 of one squad… painful to say the least. The Obliterators fire into the Deathshroud but with some poor rolling (2’s on everything - but with Death Guard you really need a 3 on Damage) they only manage 2 wounds. The Chaos Terminators do manage to kill a couple of Blight Lords but that -1 damage from Disgustingly Resilient really hamper’s their chances at doing anything more.
Into the Charge Phase, my Maulerfiend makes it into the Crawler. The Chaos Marines behind him however, aren't quite as eager as they fail their charge on that Poxwalker. I decide I need to charge my Venom Crawler in and despite also having to charge the Blight Lords… maybe I get lucky and can kill that Poxwalker. I probably lose him this turn but it's a worthy sacrifice. I can’t afford Joe using the Dead Walk Again stratagem and chaining out his Poxwalkers into my board half. On the other side of the board the Chaos Marines, Lord Discordant and Obilterators all attempt charges but the Obliterators fail.
This is a pretty critical fight phase. Joe’s got a lot of juicy targets he can interrupt with. I start with the Lord Discordant who only cleaves 1 and half Deathshroud apart thanks to Disgustingly Resilient. Joe then attacks with his Blight Lord Terminators as my Venom Crawler has been made to fight last thanks to the Putrefying Stink ability of his Foul Blightspawn. What happens next surprises me to say the least. After all of his attacks… I've got a Venom Crawler with 2 wounds left! He makes all of his attacks and JUST kills the Poxwalker with a single wound made.
My Maulerfiend up in the top left makes his attacks onto the Poxwalkers - there’s no point going into the Plagueburst Crawler without the Daemonforge Stratagem, and even with it, it's doubtful I do enough damage with Disgusting Resilient and a 5++ Save at T8. Better to chop through more of Joe’s objective secured units.
I end the turn with 2 points on Engage On All Fronts and 2 Points for Raise the Banners. I’ve got his Blight Lords tapped with my Venom Crawler and a Maulerfiend in his lines. This sets me up really well for a Conceal onto the Terminators so I can rinse and repeat with a Warp Ritual next turn.
James’ second turn was a bit more of an issue, and I’m starting to look pretty thin on the ground in terms of objective secured troops. It’s the one issue I have with the terminator heavy list for Deathguard -- it can very quickly start looking a little weak when it can’t keep enough models on the board to hold objectives.
My big problems to deal with are the Maulerfiend in my deployment, and the Venomcrawler bad-touching my terminators to stop them from shooting. Luckily, I have the tools for both and so I’m more or less falling into success here.
In my movement phase, both units of remaining Deathshroud and Typhus begin to surge forward. This is going to be big and I need to now overwhelm the pressure James’ placed in the midfield. I’ve also managed to luck out and my Blightspawn is within 18’’ of his dropped down terminators, putting him in range to flame them despite being moved blocked by the terminators. At the end of the movement phase, the Plague Skull of Glothilla goes flying into the Venomcrawler and destroys it, removing the bad-touch stopping my terminators from shooting or acting this turn. The newly free to act drone on the flank pushes up, hoping to threaten one of James’ home objectives.
Into the psychic phase and I put Miasma of Pestilence on the terminators, and a Smite on the Maulerfiend. With both going off on a 7+, the Maulerfiend ended up taking 5 mortal wounds from Pestilential Fallout combined with smite!
Into the shooting phase and I popped Overwhelming Generosity on the Blightspawn to put him in flamer range with his Vomitryx relic. 7 auto-hits, all wound… And James fails 6 5++’s and the terminators are just instantly melted… Bit of an oof that… Leaving the demon prince exposed and to be shortly gunned down by the Blightlords after they popped Virulent Rounds to reroll 1’s to wound. In my deployment the Plagueburst Crawler fired and cleared the last wound off the Maulerfiend, clearing out my deployment for the time being. In combat the remaining Deathshroud fired their Spewers and did… Nothing.
In the charge phase, I pushed some Poxwalkers in to reinforce the flagging Deathshroud. On the backfield, my drone runs into James’ objective camping marines, ready to mow the lawn with their blood.
Into the fight phase and I go with my Poxwalkers first, to scoot more into objective range. Their attacks do absolutely nothing, and James chooses not to interrupt as his Lord Discordant will be fighting before my Deathshroud anyway. On the other flank, my lawnmower revs up and manages to kill 4 of the 5 chaos marines… Not quite the spike I had hoped for, just got to hope James fails morale. The fight in the ruin rages on, and as expected his discordant chews through my Deathshroud, although the Poxwalker reinforcements mean I still hold the objective… For now at least.
End of the turn, and I’ve now Spread the Sickness on both my home objectives, and Strangehold’d for another turn.
Well never mind what I said at the end of my Turn 2. Joe dealt a massive blow to me this turn. His Plague Skull of Glothia is used at the end of the MOVEMENT phase - Despite being a Grenade it actually isn't a shooting weapon… So he throws it into the Venom Crawler and kills it without having had to fall back or fight his way out. With that so ends my Venom Crawler and my plan for Turn 3. I suspected my Maulerfiend would die to the Plague Burst Crawlers shooting into combat, thanks to their Inexorable Advance ability but I had completely forgotten the Relic Plague Skull could be done into combat.
Having lost the Venomcrawler and knowing I’ll probably lose the Maulerfiend, I decide it's not worth spending the 2CP in Joe’s shooting phase to “Conceal” the Terminators. Thankfully I didn’t, as I suspected the Plague Burst Crawler makes quick work of the Maulerfiend and Joe’s Foul Blightspawn points his Vomitryx Relic at my Terminators and annihilates all 5 in one sweep. This lets the Blight Lords - who remember didn't fall back - destroy my Daemon Prince.
So at the start of my Turn 3 I was feeling pretty bad. However, not one to shy against an opportunity to “pull it out of the bag.” I work out if I charge both my melee Chaos Marines and Chaos Lord into Joe’s two remaining Poxwalker Units I can take both Joe’s backfield objectives and stop him from scoring any Primary and potentially a Stranglehold at that too. This would be a big swing and is about my last ditch effort to keep in this game.
The Psychic phase comes and goes, with a third Perils from my Master of Possession (fortunately I am able to get a re-roll into a success this time.) He gets both his Cursed Earth and Infernal Power off. I have thrust my Sorcerer into the middle of the board on his own. He stands with his hands aloft and begins the Warp Ritual! (Don’t tell him he’ll be dead soon.) My shooting goes about as expected and does very little.
Both my Maulerfiend and Obilterators make their respective charges and I make both charges from the Chaos Marines into the Poxwalkers but my Lord does fail. I chain my marines back so they can still benefit from his reroll 1’s aura but I'm worried my chances here are slim now. The right unit takes down a handful with their combined shooting and fighting but not nearly enough to contest the objective, the Poxwalkers do however, do very little in return. With one flank failing, I decide I need every edge here and use Veterans Of The Long War to add +1 to the wound roll. When all the dice have finished rolling Joe has 4 Poxwalkers left… they really don't like dying these guys. My Maulerfiend, the saving grace of this fight phase does kill the Bloat Drone.
Meanwhile my Lord Discordant is still wailing at the Poxwalkers, with the help from the Obliterators I do manage to finally take them down. But I fear neither of these units are long for this world with Typhus and his Deathshroud coming. I get my 3 Engage Points, 2 Banners and 3 for the first Warp Ritual tally.
James’ turn three went well for me. My forces managed to do what they did best, and died slowly gumming up James’ plans with the fruit of Nurgle’s blessings. From here my target continues to be a slow slog up the board…
Everything shifts forward further, my deathshroud and Typhus getting ready to continue the grinding slaughter on the objective. On the other side, James’ chaos lord has run forward and failed his charge, making him an easy slingshot onto the objective for the final unit of Deathshroud.
Into the psychic phase and nothing of note happens here.
Shooting phase is a little more important. The Plagueburst Crawlers continue to do chip damage and knock out the injured Maulerfiend on the flank. My terminator blob pours boltguns into the sorcerer in the centre and he finds himself killed in short order as well.
Into charging and my Deathshroud continue the grind. Unfortunately the combat doesn’t go well for them as they pop Vermid Whispers and even then, fail to kill the Lord Discordant! Fortunately, due to some good rolling on my part, his attacks back only see one of them killed and the other taking a wound!
This turn, I’ve Spread the Sickness on the left centre objective, but don’t score Strangehold due to James threatening my home objective with units that have slipped round and through my frontline.
So not a terrible turn for me in terms of losses this time. Joe’s Deathshroud failing to kill my Lord Discordant really helped here. With the movement phase I push my last Maulerfiend up, fail back with the top left Chaos Marine and move my bottom left Marine into line of sight of the two remaining Poxwalkers. I leave my Master of Possession JUST in range of all three Daemon units for his buffs. This turn he actually manages to not roll a peril!
The Chaos Autocannon marine swings his gun round and downs both the Poxwalkers leaving me holding the objective. The Maulerfiend, Obiltetors and Lord Discordant clear out the last of the Deathshroud on this flank and I’m starting to feel like I might manage this. My main concern is Joe’s going to score a massive 30 points in the last turn, so no lead I have now looks big enough to stop him claiming the game by the end. However, with some key saving rolls I may manage it.
I know that this game is going to be tight, and I’m mostly playing for the turn 5 swing which often comes with the way I play this list, especially when going second. I shift around in my backfield to clear out the marines and then my Terminator blob pushes up, ready for a long charge into the back of the Discordant.
Shooting and psychic passes without much incident, cleaning up the remnants of James’ remaining marines scattered around the map, making a Strangehold this turn, easy.
The charge phase comes which is the only important part of this turn… And they manage it! The Blightlords barrelling into the back of the Lord Discordant. Unfortunately, due to the ruin only a few of them get to fight and he gets left on one wound, meaning they have to weather a fight back which they do well.
Joe’s Blight Lords leave my Lord Discordant on 1 wound remaining! Unfortunately this wasn't the saving rolls I was talking about as all my Chaos Marines are gone outside of the 5 within my starting ruin.
With this we walk through the rest of the game quite quickly, my Obliterators try a shoot and charge but don't manage to take down the Plague Burst Crawler and my Marines come out and take Typhus down (for honour more than anything else!) With failing to take down the Plague Burst Crawler Joe will get his 30 points for To The Last and maxed Primary Points in his Turn 5 and that’ll clench him the game.
Well that went… probably better than expected. I came out with only a 12 point differential which really comes down to the secondary picks. If I’d squeezed another couple of out Engage and Warp Ritual, the game could have been an Alpha Legion Victory. It looked a lot more even right until that last turn where Joe scored 30 points - 15 for To The Last and 15 for his Primaries. I think I could have edged out a win if my Chaos Marines had managed to take out both units of Poxwalkers and taken him off those objectives in turn 3, It would have stopped him scoring Primary Points and It could have helped me score that final turn of Engage On All Fronts. Either way a close game!
It sometimes goes this way and Joe put up a great fight. Those Deathguard are incredibly resilient and if their codex is anything to go by I know all four of us here at Toys Of Mass Destruction will be very excited for the Thousand Sons and Heretic Astartes Codexes.
In hindsight, I probably should have gone for Mental Interrogation or a non-psychic secondary. With Joe being able to deny them quite consistently (basically a 50/50 roll off each time) it was probably a bit too much of a gamble. My poor Terminators though, losing all 5 to one Foul Blightspawn and his flamer really hurt and that was a major pivot in my plan to score my Warp Ritual Secondary.
I got pretty lucky to win this. Chaos Marines simply put don’t put out enough damage to clear through Poxwalkers and Terminators well, which meant I could always outlast him at key moments, scoring points as I went. Combine that with the ludicrous amount of melee damage my trading units could put out, and I felt like I was consistently trading up into James’ forces.
I can echo what James wrote above, that if his secondaries had been different, he quite easily could have clinched this game off me. My list is designed for that big To the Last spike, which I was relying on in this game thanks to some mispositioning earlier which nearly cost me with the marines leaking through my screen to threaten the backfield objectives.