Prot’s 2018 ITC GT Run Down with Death Guard: Part 2

So Day 2 is here, and if you haven’t read the first part of this even coverage, I encourage you to do so now so that you read things in order: Prot’s 2018 ITC GT Run Down with Death Guard: Part 1

If you’re still with me, let’s just re-cap by saying I know I set myself up for a tough Day 2. I had already faced a real nemesis of my Death Guard at the end of Day 1 and saw gunline armies are still really doing extraordinary in 8th edition. The Tau, Dark Eldar, and of course Astra Militarum were way at the top. (Astra leading the way).

Would my decision to take Mortarion, and the loss of “Warp Time” make me regret my decision? Well I didn’t come thinking I’d win anyway, so I don’t really give a crap, but at the same time I was hoping for fun challenges.

Let’s get into Game 4: What’s Yours is Mine Vs. Tau

  • So there is some confusion, some players drop, some players are late…typical day 2 stuff. I end up playing Tau and it’s going to help here that I actually have this scenario because our deployment is Front Line Assault.
  • I do not go first, and my opponent has a great back field of a lot of fish tanks. Longstrike included, and a battle suit commander, only 1 Riptide though and of course the super heavy Stormsurge.
  • Right away I look at this and I’m thinking score Primaries and go home with my tail between my legs. Luckily we count the center piece as “ruins” and therefore they block LOS and it gives me a tiny bit of breathing space vs what will obviously be a brutal exchange of firepower… well more like from him, with me receiving it!
Game 4 DG vs Tau 1

Death Guard stinking up a forest near you.

  • Note: the Nurglings above are under the roof, in the ‘ruins’ for transparency. They hold my objective and are essentially going to try and get me “Recon” secondary scoring as long as their little turd like consistency will hold out!
  • I put Mortarion off to the side. I have lead with him most of the tournament but some of the Tau stuff is actually 36″ so perhaps he will move? Nope, not taking the bait at this point in the tournament. He is fine shooting Plagueburst Crawlers.
Game 4 DG vs Tau 2

The Tau Deployment is per usual, as far away from me as humanely (er non-humanely?) possible.

  • I do not get first turn and I end up seeing a shift in his forces, and fire power starts. He doesn’t get caught up in “Mort-mania” as I’ve nicknamed it (the process in which all you do is focus fire Mortarion because, ‘Hey, free 4 point secondary!’
  • My opponent is awesome. He knows his army, and is extremely gracious in being patient with my movement, and model movement which is all over the place, because quite frankly I’m doing all the advancing, and pressuring. He’s super good at letting me know what does what to whom, and how often.
    Game 4 DG vs Tau 3

    With One Plagueburst Crawler and Mort down, I have to press hard before it’s too late.


  • I lose one Plagueburst crawler in turn 1 which is actually fortunate for me thanks to some good Daemon saves. The Longstrike and other fishtanks with him are amazing. The army is also re-rolling all to hits in a bubble thanks to some clever female fish essentially leading the school. (Sorry I am going to get a lot of Tau names wrong, they all look the same to me.)
  • I keep the Nurglings scoring me Recon while I once again advance the Rhino. The Psychic phase in my Turn 1 is strong I get Miasma off on Mortarion, but the rest isn’t really doing damage. And Miasma is nearly wasted because I he gets so many Marker lights, he looks like a giant rotting Christmas Tree.
  • Needless to say Mortarion ends up getting shot to death and unceremoniously crashes to the ground once again in T2 before reaching anything. I now have only one Plagueburst crawler, and my Daemon Prince for primary damage dealers.
  • This turn has to be crazy good for me or I’m in big trouble again. I’m fairly depleted already and I need to make significant close combats. The Plagueburst crawler does a lot of flaming, and some mediocre damage on Longstrike.
  • Huge Charge Phase here, as I declare multiples with my Plagueburst crawler to soak up some overwatch. My opponent is smart though, and holds back on some overwatch to see what I do with the Daemon Prince.
  • I go all out; the Daemon Prince declares against the Riptide, and his HQ which is allowing the re-rolls. I take overwatch in spades and make it into close combat with hardly anything left in the tank. (It was a gamble because I needed a large charge number for this to work anyway.)
Game 4 DG vs Tau 4

Half my army is on fire, the other half is just laying doodies in the forest.

  • So I limp into close combat, even get a Rhino up there on the edge. He agrees that my Plagueburst crawler is on the lip of the ruins, but the most important part is the Daemon Prince. He rips into the HQ, and something else (can’t remember). I take down most of a Fishwarrior squad. Now he’s lost his re-rolls but I have NO cover for my Warlord Daemon Prince, and it’s pretty much hanging out in the wind now.
  • The Riptide blows up my Daemon Prince, and I lose my second Crawler.
  • The Rhino blows up, but the contents are all okay.
  • The Plaguemarines fling poo via the Putrifier and Vets of the Long War and take out the Riptide (who has been nearly unstoppable with a 3++). Also I learned that every time I get closer to the Stormsurge, it is stronger, and it just obliterates a good pile of stuff (including Mortarion the preceding turn.)
  • I still get full Recon, manage to keep both objectives for “What’s Yours is Mine” bonus, and get some points for Head Hunter along the way and the Riptide gives me Big Game Hunter.
  • He has Longstrike on 2 wounds. I couldn’t believe it this felt like a moment where I could win…. I had two Poxbringers. They both Smite, realizing they are dead next turn, and one fails. I hit the Longstrike with only ONE successful Smite for ONE wound! Wow. I then proceed to charge with the unharmed Poxbringer to try for Longstrike’s last wound, I fail the charge, even with a re-roll. Then I charge the second (damaged) Poxbringer and he dies to overwatch. That. Was. Brutal.
  • After 6 turns I’m basically doing everything I can to not get tabled. The marines are gone, and all I have left now is some Nurglings, and a Poxbringer.
  • We tally the score and somehow I pull it off with a 3 point victory over the Tau!
  • Crazy game JUST like the last game where every turn felt like I was going to pull it off, then next turn I felt like I was going to lose big time.

Game 5:  Crucible of Champions vs. Dark Eldar


  • Quite frankly another horrible match up for me. In my testing vs ITC styled Dark Eldar, I got completely and utterly smoked. I knew with my win record I was looking at more Dark Eldar, or Astra Militarum which are both nearly auto-loss for this army. Still I am doing far better than I thought and my opponent was an extremely good player. He knew his army backwards and forwards and is obviously highly competitive (travels to ITC events in Canada/US.)
  • Anyway his list throws me a curve ball. I guess so many Dark Eldar builds work in 8th and this was something I’d read about, but not actually played. He had multiple squads of Grotesques bulking up his front line. He had 3 Raiders and a Venom. Quite a few units, and special characters removing my ability to fight first, or denying my psychic tests, and a few 2++ bubble saves. He had a fair number of special weapons on his boats and a good number of Witches, and Blasters on top of his mobility. Honestly it -felt- like he had 2,000 points on the table. Sure it’s fragile mostly, but hits like a truck.
  • Our map is actually perfect for both of us, but it doesn’t give me a ton of hope. Search And Destroy gives us quarters with a 18″ center no man’s land bubble.
  • I apologize but I forgot to take a picture of deployment.
  • I win First Turn, and he fails to seize.
  • The following picture of our first turn should give you a good idea of how aggressive and intense first turn was.
Game 5 DG vs DE 1

Why are Piggies surrounding my Rhino? I thought I was the smelly one?

  • So things go really bad for me on Turn 1. My opponent is very seasoned but fair. He’s letting me know what his stuff does, and he has as many special rules as I do so our first turn is a long, but super explosive one!
  • Things get so ugly here for the Death Guard.  I start by absorbing a lot of overwatch to Mortarion by charging my Rhino in easily. Mortarion fails a first turn charge of a mere 5-6 inches by rolling a 1 and a 2. I totally forgot about a mechanism that I could have used to make it in close combat, instead I use a Command Point Re-roll…. wait for it…. the Dark Eldar player spends 3 command points and prevents me from doing so with his Strategem. He has 3 Battalions so he’s got tons of points. That has to be the strongest Strategem in the game right now.
  • So I get primary scoring and a lot of shooting happened. The bulk of Turn one is a complicate retaliation on the Dark Eldar’s part. I end up getting bombarded in retaliation with his firepower. Mine was good, but his is clearly better. He’s all over the board quickly, and while I can easily score Recon, so can he. We both have lots of Characters so the bonus to Crucible of Champions is easy for both of us.
  • He obviously plans to surround the Rhino and kill most of its contents, perhaps 2 characters can stand around it once it explodes?  I also now have Mort standing in the wind, totally exposed, after his super fail charge moment, and canceled Stratagem.
  • So much happened in this first turn I could burn a lot of time re-living it, but this other moment (aside from his failed charge) was huge… He surrounds the Rhino as expected, and blows it up. We discuss order of operation and I tell him I want to blow the vehicle up with a Stratagem which he lets me do, and the wounds are viscous at the exact right time. This kind of makes up for the failed Mortarion thing (none of this would have happened otherwise).
  • Shockingly the Rhino explosion actually takes out 1-2 characters (?) a fair chunk of models, including finishing off some models that were blocking the one side of the Rhino allowing the squad to disembark!
  • Our first turn had tons of close combats. The Dark Eldar player was very good about making sure we had an understanding of the exchanges happening here because this was quite a bit more complex than any game previous as we were both loaded in special rules and already knee deep in Close Combat by bottom of T1. As a result our first turn took somewhere over an hour!
Game 5 DG vs DE 2

Death Guard go from Surrounded to having a tiny bit of breathing space.

  • Mortarion still quite healthy, and the plaguemarines give me a huge chance. But he cancels my Nurgles’ Rot Strategem, and then my darn Blight Grenade Strat. (Not in the same turn/phase). That is just such an amazingly potent ability to neuter someone’s strategy when the Dark Eldar have 3 Battalions! Anyway, well played by my opponent.
  • I have to start killing boats, and getting more guys on foot. I finally remember Mort’s aura and it starts to widdle stuff down, he owns one quarter now and my Poxwalkers are slowly getting pelted so I throw “Cloud of Flies” on them so he has to move to them.
Game 5 DG vs DE 3

Mortarion leads the (dwindling) charge.

  • Mortarion downs a Raider, the occupants disembark and the Toilet Cannon dude flames another one (with the assistance of some other firepower). This gets me some over due  Big Game Hunter. Thanks to the crazy amount of activity we are both scoring well, but I think Mortarion still being alive is something that surprised me and my opponent.
  • My Disgustingly Resilient saves are stacking with my Daemon Saves at just the right time. The Dark Eldar are clobbering my stuff where they can, and I have one Plagueburst Crawler hanging on by a thread.  I throw the Plaguecrawler into a 3 way combat multi assault to try and tie stuff up (I keep forgetting he has a strat that allows him to get out of combat and charge.)
Game 5 DG vs DE 4

Mortarion tries to hold what’s left of the Death Guard together.

  • My opponent knows he has to make a last ditch effort here. He unloads a crazy amount of firepower into Mortarion.  I get a good number of Invuln saves here and that may sound great but he puts a gob of poison rounds into Mortarion and he gets him very low, basically dropping him from 13 to 3 or so. I just was not making any DR saves at that point, thankfully the Invulns staved off the blasters, etc or I’m sure he’d be dead.
  • Time was running, there was no way we could get Turn 4 in. In my opinion our game was fairly determined turn 1. A crazy pile of events made that first turn the most colossal smash up I’ve seen in some time. We both scored high in the secondaries but I would pull out a 7 point win.
  • Some things to take away from this game is I rushed a lot. I know my opponent did too, but he plays a ton of ITC, knew his army very well, and he even missed some stuff, but I missed way too much because I was trying to get more time in for my opponent. Small stuff like… where I could have moved a poxwalker 1 inch over the course of a game to make it sure I was unquestionably in Recon position. Stuff like that. I forgot to heal Mortarion every turn. I rushed to cast stuff because my opponent did not have a Psychic phase and I screwed up my Smite order in the game a lot. I did some really stupid things too, not realizing that I’m rushing to appease my opponent.  You feel this pressure perhaps a bit more when someone is basically playing the ITC circuit and is looking for national rankings where I really couldn’t give a Nurgle doodie about the whole thing. (I respect his desire to do well with his Faction scoring, etc.)

Tuck your entrails in, and pack up the Toilet Cannon boys. Mortarion is buying burgers tonight!

Conclusion and Parting Thoughts

  • So the final Tally there is 4 wins and 1 loss. I finished 6th overall, and now I realize how silly I was to rush stuff when I see I was 7 Points out of 4th place, and 22 points out of 3rd Place! Easy for me to say now, but it is all good because I never thought I’d win more than one or two games, and I went for a hobby score. Which I never got! I don’t think it helped having an army in an unlit row of tables during voting, but whatever. Thankfully people on Ebay have reinforced what I do, and how I do it by paying me quite fairly for my efforts. Plus at the end of the day we do this for ourselves, right?
  • The gaming side of it is interesting. Astra Militarum, unsurprisingly is top banana and second place. I had one loss, and only one player went undefeated and he won the whole thing with a very typical gunline we see so much of in 8th.  It is definitely strong.
  • I feel I got very, very lucky in some key moments. I could have easily been in the bottom third of the tournament standings. What does change though is the mood, and energy of every game the more you win. I can’t say I’m a fan of it specifically.  I don’t know why I do so well with Death Guard. Perhaps my low expectations and the odd ridiculous Disgustingly Resilient roll? I don’t know, but it’s a fun, but very complicated army to play. You’re well aware of your moves to some degree a turn or two well in advance because you’re inherently slower than your opponents, and/or massively outgunned. Every phase truly has to count for you. There’s a fun challenge in that.
  • There were some exceptional players at the event. I learned a lot from them, and gained quite a bit from the experience of the tournament.
  • If you’ve read this far, thank you very much. I’m pretty exhausted trying to get this all typed up and pictures edited. I hope to have one more post on the event with some of my favorite pictures. Thank you again!

One comment

  • Congratz again on a great tournament showing. And thank YOU for all your time and effort to give us these reports.

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