Welcome back to Every Point Counts.
I’m Freddie Lovebeard and I just got home from a really fun game with a Chaos player. Full disclosure, this isn’t his usual tournament list or anything. A local mono-faction league is starting up so he wanted to try some monofaction daemons, which meant he’d be losing the Thousand Sons and things that he’s used to. Regardless of that, I think we had a really cool and really high-mortality game.
Grey Knights – Battalion and a Vanguard
Brother Captain – Warlord, First to the Fray, Relic Hammer, Psycannon
Lord Kaldor Draigo
3×5-man Strike Teams – 3x Falchion Marines, Justicar w/ Halberd, Psycannon
2×10-man Paladin Squads – Paragons w/ Hammers, 7x Halberds, 2x Warding Staves
Chaos List – 2 Battalions and a Supreme Command
Changecaster – Warlord
3x Demon Prince – 2 Khorne, 1 Tzeentch
3×30-man Plaguebearer units
30-man Bloodletter bomb
30-man Pink Horror bomb
3-man Nurgling Swarm
I knew I’d be mowing through infantry in no time so I chose Reaper, and he would own the table so I took Headhunter, since it was the only other secondary I could reliably score for killing things. After that I took Old School because I like it and it wasn’t a tournament or anything so even if I failed First Strike and lost a potential point it wouldn’t be a huge deal.
My opponent chose Recon, Marked for Death on my Strike Teams and a Paladin unit, and Headhunter.
We rolled up ITC Mission 3, which has 4 objectives with set placements and the bonus point is for holding all of them. After seeing his list I knew I wasn’t about to try to go for that, so the mission ended up not being particularly important in this game.
For deployment we rolled up Frontline Assault, which had us 18″ apart in the center instead of 24″ apart. This was actually a really good deployment for me because there wasn’t too much space behind me to screen out from his deepstrikes, but we still started close enough together that I was able to smite with everything turn 1.
I placed everything on the table. I needed all the output I could get, and since I was against Daemons even the strikes were able to contribute. It helped that he had virtually no shooting to worry about so I could put them on the table safely. The Paladin unit he’d Marked for Death was placed behind the other Paladin squad, with characters and strike marines behind them.
He deepstruck his Pink Horrors and Bloodletters, along with a couple characters, but otherwise just buried everything in Plaguebearers.
After deployment we rolled off to see who’d get to go first and I won.
We got off to a brutal start. I moved up into the mid-table until I could get my back units into range to smite his front unit of Plaguebearers, and started flinging mind bullets. After blowing away 25~ from his front unit I actually put all my shooting into the unit behind them and suffering the -1 to hit so as to not actually kill his front unit. I wanted to force them to run away so he couldn’t use his strategem specifically for fighting Grey Knights that’d let him bring the whole unit back. I think I may have been paying that strategem too much respect. I misunderstood and thought they placed the unit immediately and could move in the next turn instead of placing at the end of their next movement phase, and I really didn’t want to eat a 4″ plaguebringer charge at the bottom of turn 1.
It took 2CP for Psybolt Ammunition, but my shooting killed 18 of the Plaguebearers from his back unit, and he spent 2CP to autopass morale for that unit, but the front unit ran away, giving me a kill for the turn and First Strike.
On his turn he moved up the table and charged me with his reduced Plaguebringer unit and a Daemon Prince with an axe, with which he killed 1 Paladin, and I retaliated by killing his Prince and enough Plaguebringers that after morale they were reduced to 1 model.
I scored Hold, Kill, Kill More, First Strike, Headhunter, and 2 points for Reaper since I’d destroyed 59 models. He scored hold. I was leading 7 – 1 heading into turn 2.
Going into turn 2 actually posed some problems for me. I couldn’t shoot his daemon princes because he had Plaguebearers in the way, but I wouldn’t be able to shoot them without the -1 to hit unless I got rid of 10 in the psychic phase, but I couldn’t smite at all without killing the 1 plaguebearer left right in front of me.
I thought about gating the unit of paladins out of combat and onto a side objective, but splitting my army wasn’t something I really wanted to do. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I needed to just kill the plaguebearer and accept that they’d come back the next turn, so I smited the 1 Plaguebearer to death and gated a strike team onto a side objective. He spent the 2CP to be able to bring the Plaguebearer unit I destroyed back in his next movement, and I kept smiting into his third Plaguebearer unit.
After smiting I shot them, but firing with my strikes and characters brought them down to 3 models and I really didn’t want to deal with 60 Plaguebearers getting back up in the next turn, so I skipped shooting with all of my Paladins (which broke my heart) and tried to charge into his demon princes between his remaining 3 Plaguebearers. I failed the charge with the Paladin unit I’d buffed up with Hammerhand and Sanctuary, but made it with the unit that he’d Marked for Death. I positioned in such a way to get 5 in combat with 1 Daemon Prince, and chain back to get buffs from Draigo and the Ancient, but not force any to fight his Plaguebearers. He rolled really hot on his saves and I failed to kill his Prince, so I spent the 3CP to make sure he’d go down.
His Plaguebearers failed morale and were removed from play.
On his turn he brought down his Bloodletters and Pink Horrors, using the Pinks to shoot at the strike team I’d gated onto an objective and charged the Bloodletters into the Paladin unit that he’d Marked for Death, along with his remaining Khorne Daemon Prince. I screwed up pretty hilariously here and forgot to take wounds on the Warding Staves first, but still only lost 5 Paladins. The Plaguebearers coming back failed the charge into my other Paladin unit that would have gotten them onto a side objective to score hold more, so we both held 1.
My opponent did score a kill, but I scored Kill More. We both scored Hold. I scored 2 more Headhunter points, and my final 2 reaper, and he scored a Marked for Death for killing a Strike Team. At the end of turn 2 I was leading 14 – 4.
I knew exactly what I had to do in turn three. The Plaguebearers didn’t really threaten me, but the Pinks and Bloodletters threw a LOT of dice. I gated another Strike Team onto the side objective and used them to smite the Pink Horrors (if only to start whittling them down below 10 so they wouldn’t get extra shots anymore) and then started smiting everything into the bloodletters. I was wrapped in with my Paladins so I couldn’t fall back, but I killed a LOT of them in the psychic phase, along with the Poxbringer who he’d charged through a wall to get tied up and deny me overwatch in the turn before. After that, I had my free unit of Paladins (which I buffed up with Sanctuary and Hammerhand just in case) shoot across the table into the Pink Horrors accompanied by the characters and strike team from my own objective. After all the shooting I was obligated to fight his Bloodletters, just barely killing them, and he spent 2 CP to bring them back in his turn, but that left him with only 1 CP left and the remainder of his Pink Horror unit ran away.
On his turn he moved up and charged with the Plaguebearers, and brought the Bloodletters back to charge into my Paladins again. This time I remembered to eat the high AP on my staves and he only killed 3 Paladins, at which point he conceded saying that his Bloodletters would all die when I fought back and after that he was basically out of units apart from the Plaguebearers, and his 3 Nurglings and Warlord who he’d moved out to corners to try to score Recon on this turn.
He did score Recon this turn, and Hold, but couldn’t kill anything. I Killed, Killed More, Held, and Held More, which would put the score at 18 – 6, but his conceding would put the score at 33 – 6 for a pretty decisive victory for the Grey Knights.
This game actually went better than I thought it would for me. The strategem to bring units back at full strength isn’t as scary as it sounds when you can just annihilate daemon units as efficiently as Grey Knights do. I think I held back a lot in this game because I was too scared to kill a unit instead of forcing them to flee from morale, and I should have probably just forced him to blow all of his CP bringing things back and kept killing the stuff over and over if it came to that. Choosing not to shoot with 20 storm bolters really sucks.
As far as my opponent’s play I think there were a few things he could definitely think more about in the future. The first (and most important) is probably the old adage, “Shoot what you can kill.”
I know he didn’t actually have any shooting, but he committed a lot to fighting the Paladins when a disproportionate amount of my output was actually coming from the Strike Teams and characters since the 3 damage smites are so SO good at killing Daemonkin. If he’d deepstruck the Pink Horrors and Bloodletters on my table edge on either side of my objective he could have killed all 3 units of strikes pretty easily, and been in a great position to charge my characters the next turn if any of his Bloodletters were left alive (or if they died he could just have brought them back anyway and still charged the characters). Doing 5 wounds to stop 3 mortal wounds is a lot better than having to do 30 wounds on units with a 4++ save, so he could have increased his own survivability by a significant amount if he’d just tried to avoid the paladins and gone straight at characters and strikes. There was also no reason at all to charge a unit of 10 Paladins with a Daemon Prince on turn 1. It’s a bad matchup. I had a single Halberd Paladin kill his last Daemon Prince on his turn 2.
Also though, his deployment against a psyker heavy army was less than ideal. He really wants to be able to keep 20+ models in each of his infantry units, but since he was using movement trays he had one unit in front of another, in front of another. If he’d mixed them up so he could pull the front model and force each successive smite to target another unit I wouldn’t have been able to bring any of his 3 Plaguebearer units down below 20, and it would have suddenly been next to impossible for me to have killed 2 of them in the first turn.
Other than that I think there are some changes he could make to his list. The standard Jim Vesal style Chaos list works because of awesome Thousand Sons characters who can kill a thing with psychic powers while being untargetable because of the Plaguebearers. Having only really three Daemon Princes to do the heavy lifting (and 2 of them being Khorne and having to dive into danger to get anything done) might just not cut it. I’d recommend running 3 Tzeentch Princes instead of 2 Khorne for extra Psychic powers and mortal wound output, just to be a bit more reliable. Other than that I’m not that well versed in Codex Daemons, so I don’t have a lot of suggestions. I do think this list would likely work a lot better against other armies, but there’s always room for improvement.
I hope this was entertaining for all of you, if not enlightening. If anyone wants to see how I play into a particular list or army let me know and I’ll start looking for someone local to play against who runs it. I am open to requests.
I’ll be back soon with more Battle Reports. Until then, go kick some ass and have fun.