With the new Charadron Book of Fire out and the upcoming Tournaments Joe and I have got at the end of July we’re looking to test out our Tournament lists and get a feel for what we’ll be playing.
Typhus -- Gift of Contagion, Gift of Plagues
Malignant Plaguecaster -- Putrescent Vitality, Miasma of Pestilence
10x Blightlord Terminators -- 2x Blight Launcher, 2x Flail of Corruption
3x3 Deathshroud Terminators
Foul Blightspawn -- Revolting Stench-Vats, Gloaming Bloat
Tallyman -- Tollkeeper, Arch Contaminator
Foetid Bloat Drone -- Lawnmower of Nurgle
Foetid Bloat Drone -- Heavy Blight Launcher
Plagueburst Crawler -- 2x Entropy Cannons
Plagueburst Crawler -- 2x Entropy Cannons
James's Adeptus Mechanicus - 2000 pts - Lucius
Veteran Skitarii Cohort
Tech Priest Dominus (Logi) - Warlord Trait, Luminsicent Blessing
Tech Priest Manipulus - (Artisans), Relic Sonic Reaper
Skitarii Marshall - (Relic) Exemplar’s Eternity, (Warlord) Calculate Without Diversion
20 Skitarii Vanguard
20 Skitarii Rangers - Warlord Trait, Fire Point Telememtry Cache
20 Skitarii Rangers
5 Sicarian Infiltrators
10 Sicarian Ruststalkers - Relic, Temporcopia
3 Sydonian Dragoons
3 Ironstrider Ballistarii
3 Serberus Raiders
Archaeopter Fusilave - Command Uplink
The mission and board
Grand Tournament 2021
22. The Scouring
Lengthways deployment is both good and bad for me… Bad for me that it doesn’t give me much maneuverability, I more or less have to run into James’ gunline. I set the big 10 man Blightlord blob out of sight, and a unit of Deathshroud on either side. I know going into this game that it’s going to be a steeply uphill battle, and if I don’t go first I’m going to lose a lot before it gets a chance to do much.
So the primary aim here is to make sure the Ironstriders are as much out of sight as possible. This wasn't too hard as I have a lot of drops so I ended up placing them just after both the Plagueburst Crawlers went down.
I also have half my Skitarii units in line of sight and the other half out. This is so if Joe does try focus one unit down he'll run out units that can see them before he downs the whole unit. Unfortunately, there wasn't a great spot for the Dragoons so I've put them on the other flank, their -1 to hit and Bulwark Doctrina might save them but it wont be hard for Joe to focus them if he wants to.
Joe's Death Guard
James's Ad Mech
I’ve used my pregame move to push my Ranger units and Serberys Raiders up the board. I’m pretty confident Joe’s going to try down the Archaeopter in his first turn so these should be relatively safe being a bit further up the board.
Well, I got first turn, so that puts me in a decent position. Normally as Deathguard, I actually want to go second to aim for the big turn 5 swing I can reliably get, but against Ad Mech? A turn to act before they shoot, is always nice. Predictably, James puts on the Bulwark Doctrina and hunkers down for my first turn.
I push most of my things forward. The plan is to get a unit on the middle for Strangehold in the form of my drone, whilst I push as many Poxwalkers in front of my Terminators as I can. One unit Spreads the Sickness on my left flank, and the terminators push forward a little.
Psychic phase, I put Gift of Plagues onto the drone to increase it’s aura to a 9’’ aura of -1 toughness. Miasma of Pestilence and Putrescent Vitality both go onto the terminator blob. The plan is to protect them with Cloud of Flies, but I have no doubt James will melt through 40 Poxwalkers in one turn with change left over to shoot at them once they’re no longer protected.
Shooting phase, and I level my entire army (Really 2 Plagueburst and a Heavy Blight Launcer Drone) into the flier… And don’t really do much. With it having a 2+ save, getting +1 to saves against 1 damage weapons, and being -1 to hit, I manage to only put about 2 wounds on it.
So in total for my first turn, I’ve scored Strangehold and Spread the Sickness, time to see what James’ clap-back is going to look like.
As suspected Joe went hard on trying to down the Fusilave and thankfully due to some crazy rolling from my end and poor hit rolls from Joe - it survived! He also killed a Dragoon and injured a 2nd.
I put all the buffs onto my front unit of Vanguard. Luminescent Blessing, Firepoint Telemetry Cache, the ignore -2 AP from the Logi and the Galvanic Fields from the Manipulus who also begins to advance into the Artisans Enhanced part.
So starting the movement phase I fly him across the other board and drop his Bomb Rack onto the Blightlord Terminator and get six 4+’s which instantly takes two off the board. The rest of the army pushes up to get a couple of fields of sight past the “woods” in the middle. My two ranger units can't see his Blightlord Terminators so it’s going to be hard to put pressure on them. I almost use the Seismic Bomb stratagem on them before Joe reminds me that Death Guard ignore all penalties to movement, advance rolls and charge rolls thanks to Inexorable Advance.
Finally my Infiltrators raise a banner on the home objective.
So straight into the shooting phase and Joe activates the Cloud of Flies onto his Blightlord Terminators. This means I won't be able to shoot them with any of the units I’ve set up to shoot them. So it's time to clear Poxwalkers instead and between the Vanguard and Rangers that can see I do take out 20 of them. I don't bother spending the CP on either Galvanic Volley or Enriched Rounds, these are only Poxwalkers so it's not worth it. My Ballistari turned and fired all 6 cannons at the Crawler and put it down instantly. A pretty successful shooting turn, it would have been great to start wearing those Terminators down but picking up a Crawler early is always excellent.
Into the charge phase and my Dragoons head straight into his Plague Drone. I use the Chain-Taser Protocol stratagem but barely scratch him thanks for rolling six 2’s to wound combined with the -1 damage from the Death Guard Disgustingly Resilient. In return my rolling gets even worse and I fail every save causing me to lose the whole unit!
Fortunately my Raiders are still alive and do prevent Joe from scoring Hold More in his Turn 2. I do get my Uncharted Sequencing points and Grind Them Down.
Well, that went better than I thought it would. The bloody bomb-rack on that plane is horrible, and if it weren’t for Inexorable Advance, it would probably have lost me the game then and there. As it stands, I got lucky in the centre which is a big swing as it means my drone is free to cause havoc this turn. In the command phase, I pop Flash Outbreak on him, to give the Gloaming Bloat and make his auras 6’’. From there, it zooms itself forward up the board, positioning itself centrally to cover as much of the board as possible in it’s aura of -1 toughness and no overwatch/rerolls. My Terminators push up hard, although staring down that many Skitarii I am not sure they’re long for this world. Elsewhere I push the flanks with my surviving Poxwalkers and a unit of Deathshroud, whilst my Foul Blightspawn positions himself to spray liquid death at the flier behind my lines.
Finally my unit of Deathshroud in reserve come down, completely forgetting James can Auspex Scan and I lose one model and take 1 wound on another -- not terrible all things considered.
Into the psychic phase and Typhus throws Gift of Plagues onto the Drone, making it’s contagions 12’’ -- tasty. In the backline, my Plaguecaster throws a smite and casts Miasma of Pestilence on the terminator blob. Both of which roll above a 7+ so the flier takes 4 mortal wounds in total. I really like this guy, just cheap, reliable damage output.
Shooting rolls around and I open with the easy stuff first. My Foul Blightspawn hoses down the plane and watches it explode into sloppy goodness. From there, my targets become a little more difficult. All the usual tools I would have at my disposal, for the most part simply don’t work against Skitarii. I put the Terminators into the unit of Skitarii who don’t have Transhuman and use Virulent Rounds to make them plague weapons. Unfortunately, they’re sitting on a 2+ save for the ones in cover, and a 3+ for those that aren’t. I roll decently and manage to kill 15 of the 20, thanks to some lucky rolling on my exploding 6’s relic. Elsewhere, my remaining Plagueburst Crawler points it’s guns at the horses in front of it… And doesn’t kill a single one, due to James’ outrageous 5++ rolling.
Into the charge phase, and my drone runs into the Skitarii in front of him, also into the Raiders because I needed to, in order to get closer to the objective. Unfortunately, I thought they had removed the “Retreat when you’re charged" strategem, and James simply used it to get onto the middle objective with more models. To compound failure with failure, I then proceeded to fail the charge on my Blightlords into those same horses, which would have gotten them into cover, and took the middle objective for me. My deepstriking Deathshroud then also failed their charge, meaning the fight phase would at least be quick.
The Drone fought and buzzed it’s way through 5 Skitarii… Not the big swing I needed really, but at least on the hit-back he didn’t take any wounds.
At the end of my turn 2, I more or less know this game has completely slipped out of my control. Due to failing too many charges my lines are now overstretched and full of easily isolatable units. To compound that, even though I’ve killed what feels like a decent amount (30ish Skitarii, 3 Dragoons and a Plane), James still has massive amounts of point and delete units both on the board, and in reserve. Still I've got a lot of Terminators left so its not over yet.
So it's my first time running Lucius and I can see what the fuss is about. A lot of Joe's shooting and combat bounced that turn. It makes those Skitarii ridiculously resilient. Joe's shot his Terminators at a blob of 20 before and with his stratagems usually wipes one and due to Lucius (as opposed to the Mars lists I've been running) I still have a handful left alive. This is crucial as it keeps my banner alive on that point and nets me my 5 Primary points for Holding Two.
Straight into my movement phase and with the Protector Doctrina active this is my turn to really punish the Death Guard. I move backwards with my main force. I figure if I can stay away from the middle until Turns 4 and 5 and keep Joe and at an arm's length I should be able to shoot him off the board before his Terminators get amongst my troops. My Termite Drill comes down in my deployment zone but keeps its cargo on board.
With this in mind when it comes into my shooting phase, I activate the Galvanic Field buffed Vanguard, Enriched Rounds are deployed and they shoot into the Blightlord Terminators killing 6 of them outright. The Ironstrider Ballistarii fire their Cognis Lascannons into them and with the additional strength from the Artisans Enhanced buff they finish the remaining two off. Elsewhere there isn't much left to shoot, my Manipulus does manage to down the Bloat Drone with his Sonic Reaper and Joe passes all 3 of the saves my Melta-Array does on his Deathshroud.
With no charges we’re straight back into Joe’s turn 3 after I’ve scored my 3 Points on Uncharted Sequencing and Grind Them Down.
Welp, that went about as I expected! This is my first time playing into Lucius Ad Mech and I can certainly see what people mean when they say they’re a little bit overtuned. With my Terminators and Drone dead having not really achieved much, my plan is to now just treat this like a tournament loss, and score as many points as possible. My best chance of doing that is to score Strangehold, try and take down James’ Banners and just generally scrape out wherever I can.
My now unprotected characters push forward, towards the middle objective to nab it off of the horses. I’m confident that where the Plagueburst failed, Typhus the Traveller will succeed. My exceptionally tanky Deathshroud march onto James’ right objective and get ready to charge the Skitarii. He’s blown a lot of his buffs now, so even with just the two of them, with some CP injection I’m confident they can wipe the remaining Skitarii.
The Psychic phase passes without incident, I can’t afford to kill the horses and make my charge longer for Typhus.
Shooting, and the Plagueburst shoots into the Ballistarii at the back. Thankfully, at last I have some decent luck and manage to kill one, and wound another! My Bloat Drone on the flank fires his blight launcher into some Skitarii and chips down a few more.
Into the charge phase, and my Deathshroud rush into the Skitarii horde, ready to smash them aside. Typhus and the Foul Blightspawn charge the horses. Luckily I get a decent roll, and as long as Typhus manages to kill all 3 horses in one shot, he should be in range to give the Deathshroud his rerolls.
Fight phase comes up, and Typhus manages to do just that, smashing the horses apart and piling forward to die gloriously next turn. The Deathshroud then fight and I spent 2cp for Haze of Corruption and Vermid Whispers, meaning they can use their smash and still hit on 2’s, as well as having each wound kill two Skitarii -- whilst giving them a 5++ rather than the 3+ they would have against the sweep attack. They open up with their 9 attacks… And thanks to Skitarii having a 5++ now, only manage to kill 8 (4 wounds going through).
Again another turn where I didn’t kill anywhere near enough, and I hand back over to James.
So with the Blightlord Terminators dealt with I’m feeling a lot more confident on returning back to the mid board. My Uncharted Sequencing is on the Middle Objective so I need to make a push for that anyway. I decide not to activate a Doctrina this turn, I could do with my shooting hitting on normal BS skill and I don't want to lose the point of save either so none of the remaining two make sense this turn.
I jump the Ruststalkers out of their Termite so they are ready to get into Typhus and the remaining Deathshroud. The rest of the force moves up, the Infiltrators get ready to charge into the Bloat Drone, if nothing just try and hold him up and stop him killing my Ranger that remains on the objective.
My shooting phase I manage to get the 2nd Blight Crawler down with my two remaining Ironstriders and the Termite Drill, one Ironstrider also fires up field at his Tallyman to down him too and with a lucky roll of a 5 I manage just that. The Manipulus strikes again and kills Joe’s Foul Blightspawn. My Vanguard put their shots into the Deathshroud and do manage to kill two of them
Into the charge phase, my Ruststalkers go into both Typhus and the Deathshroud and Skitarii Vanguard make a brave charge into Joe’s remaining Deathshroud, he’s only 1 wound so they should be able to do it right… right?
Thanks to some awful to-wound rolls and no source of re-rolls and despite the additional attack from the Assassin Constructs stratagem my Ruststalkers completely bounce off the Deathshroud. They do however, just manage to destroy Typhus. Luckily I don't take many casualties in return from the Deathshrouds swing back. My Vanguard also fail and don't do a single wound to the lone Deathshroud. He doesn't manage to kill many back either though. With the amount of buffs stacked on this unit they're pretty tough to shift. That Luminescent Blessing is very powerful.
James’ turn 3 attack back has cleaved through most of what I had left, leaving me with nothing to really contest the game state. I continue to sit on objectives and push up my Poxwalkers to try and contest the Vanguard who are trapping my poor Deathshroud. Elsewhere my remaining drone shoots the Infiltrators he is in combat with, but thanks to their Neurostatic Aura he only manages to kill one.
The Poxwalkers make their charge into the Rangers and with both them, and the remaining Deathshroud , I manage to kill all but three of them, and get onto the middle objective. Unfortunately I don’t score any secondary this turn, as I just don’t have enough left.
Amazingly my lone Ranger survived! He took a whole round of attacks from the Bloat drone and with some fortuitous 5++ Invun saves I still hold this objective. My other depleted Ranger unit raises a banner on the bottom objective. My 3rd depleted Skitarii unit - the Vanguard fall back onto the top right objective, this should secure me the 4th set of Uncharted Sequencing. With Joe’s shooting threats now gone I now push out hard with the Ironstriders with my Characters in tow behind them. With the Conqueror Doctrina active this turn I am a bit concerned my shooting might not be that successful.
My shooting doesn't go amazingly and I end up having to put everything I have into trying to kill the Poxwalkers and Foetid Bloat Drone. This leaves the Bloat Drone with 2 wounds and one Poxwalker remaining… looks like I’ll have to charge them! In go the Ironstriders into the last Poxwalker in the middle.. But they fail the charge… Both the Tech Priests charge into the Bloat Drone.
WIth my Ruststalkers fighting first, they effortlessly dispatch the bottom unit of Poxwalkers and my Ironstrides My Tech Priests JUST managed to get the Bloat Drone, Disgustingly Resilient really making it come down to the wire.
The last turn is pretty swift, especially with the Aggressor Doctrina in play, Joes not got much left, he’s used The Dead Walk Again to get back some of his Poxwalkers and they are now trying to get my Marshall to join them in their undeath. Other than that it's just downing 4 remaining Deathshroud, clearing out these Poxwalkers, raising another 2 Banners and tallying up the scores.
Which is exactly what happens. With the end of the turn the Ruststalkers score the last 3 points for Unchartered Sequencing, Grind Them Down is just scored with my 3 kills to Joe’s 1 with a final 4 points for Raise the Banners it makes it 79:27 to the Ad Mech.
Well, that was rough. Playing an army who is meant to be slow but incredibly resilient, and playing into Ad Mech it just feels like… Well, you’re not. Not only does James have multiple units in his army that can point and click my units to death thanks to overlapping buffs, but in that first turn when it really matters, most of his army is sitting on a 2+ or a 3+. The army has incredible resilience and firepower, and I can certainly understand why people are saying it’s a bit much. That’s not to say James didn’t play the list well, as we’ve played Ad Mech games a few times since the codex, and I definitely feel like he has finally clicked on how to play the army.
I don’t think the terrain helped much either, with giant firing lines straight down the middle of the board that I didn’t have much choice but to march inexorably into!
In the future against Ad Mech, I certainly won’t be taking To The Last, instead focusing on things like Stranglehold, Secondaries that I can score at the end of my turn and not give my opponent a chance to interfere with!
We thought the “woods” in the middle was a good idea, but turned out to be a bit of a bad idea in the end. They gave a lot of cover turn 1 but as soon as you wanted to get on that objective it opened it up to all the shooting which definitely didn't go Joe’s way. Its definitely made us re-evaluate how to set tables up going forward.
However, as my first run out with Lucius… it’s definitely a bit much even for a competitive game. Its heavy handed resilience means that any of the traditional ways to kill a large blob of 20 Toughness 3 models just doesn't work. As an Ad Mech player it's very exciting to have a strong Codex but, this definitely feels over-tuned. When a unit of troops can look at a Blightlord Terminator unit and remove ⅔ of it effortlessly, something is a little wrong.
I think Joe played as well as he could but my instinct is that Death Guard struggle to go into Ad Mech. Sometimes competitive games go this way and it was good to get some practise in before our Tournaments at the end of the month, I know this game has given both Joe and I some stuff to think on.