Astra Militarum vs Death Guard - All The Artillery - 2,000 points
Battle Reports

Astra Militarum vs Death Guard – All The Artillery – 2,000 points

Let me try and start this year right versus the Death Guard...

Approximate Reading Time: 11 minutes

Today I bring you my first game of Astra Militarum vs Death Guard for 2020 at Boards & Swords and I am taking all my artillery!

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Heavy Mortars ready to rock - Astra Militarum vs Death Guard

Heavy Mortars ready to rock – Astra Militarum vs Death Guard

2,000 points Astra Militarum

This list uses all the in-direct fire artillery I own;

  • 2x Wyverns
  • 2x Basilisk
  • 3x Heavy Mortars from Forgeworld

I am also buffing them as much as I can by using the Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company Detachment and using Harker to give the Heavy Mortars re-roll ones to hit. Mixed in are 90 infantry models, 3 Catachan Cyclops and 4 Chimeras for my Cadians. It should make for an interesting list.

Its main weakness will be melee and deep strikers. Sometimes Mark’s lists use a lot of melee units and a handful of deep strikers – and sometimes he uses none! So we shall see! We do not swap lists or determine the mission ahead of the game. It’s all blind.

I wanted to take Chimeras against after their success in my last game against another Astra Militarum force.

Cadian Battalion Detachment using Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company

  • Company Commander with Lord of Ordnance Trait and Agripinaa Heirloom of Conquest
  • 2x Company Commander
  • Platoon Commander with Grand Strategist and Relic of Lost Cadia – Warlord
  • Platoon Commander with Power Sword, Plasma Pistol and Dagger of Tu’Sakh
  • Plasma Command Squad to come in with the Platoon Commander
  • 4x Infantry Squads
  • 4x Chimeras
  • 2x Basilisks
  • 2x Wyverns

This is using the Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company from Vigilus Defiant to unlock the shooting twice Stratagem for 2CP called Pounding Barrage. It also unlocks the somewhat useful Suppressive Fire Stratagem which stops a unit of mine from firing, but it stops one enemy from Overwatching. I also took the extra Warlord Trait and the extra Heirloom of Conquest on a Company Commander. This gives my Basilisks and Wyverns as extra AP on Wound rolls of 6 and allows one of them to remove the extra cover save from an enemy unit.

This means that for 2CP a Basilisk can shoot twice with Pounding Barrage and then another 1CP to use Vengence for Cadia which gives re-rolls to hit and wound against Chaos units. And any 6s to Wound will be AP-4. Might be decent! Might whiff!

Catachan Battalion Detachment

  • 2x Primaris Psykers with Nightshroud and Psychic Barrier
  • 3x Infantry Squads
  • Sergeant Harker
  • 3x Forgeworld Heavy Mortars

Catachan Battalion Detachment

  • Straken
  • A Primaris Psyker with Psychic Barrier and Emperor’s Gaze
  • 3x Infantry Squads
  • 3x Forgeworld Cyclops Demolition Vehicles

Astra Militarum Gallery

1,750 points Death Guard

  • Rotigus
  • 29x Plague Bearers
  • Spoilpox Scrivener
  • Poxbringer
  • Epidemius
  • 2x Foetid Bloat-drones
  • Flying Demon Prince
  • Chaos Lord
  • 5 units of Plague Marines with some Blight Launchers
  • 2x Plagueburst Crawlers
  • 2 units of 3 Nuglings

The Mission – Ascension from Chapter Approved 2019

We rolled for a Chapter Approved 2019 mission and got Ascension.

This has three objectives, see below and you score a VP per objective that you old at the end of your turn. But, characters come into play. And this set alarm bells off for me.

If a character holds an objective for consecutive turns then the points scored increases. E.g. if a character holds an objective at the end of your turn 1 and then again at the end of your turn 2 then you score 2VP for the objective. This continues to 3VP for 3 consecutive turns, and so on and so on.

Alarm bells because if we compare Guard characters and Death Guard characters – I have Toughness 3, 4 Wound and 5++ characters. The Death Guard have completely different characters – Rotigus is a character and has 18 wounds. A Demon Prine is also very hard to kill as its tough and has less than 10 wounds so cannot be targeted.


We rolled Spearhead Assault (pointy short-edges) and I was the Attacker. I deployed first and would deice who went first.

I deployed all my at the back, three Catachan squads towards the back, three Catachan squads upfront and all my Chimera upfront. Straken went up front and the Cyclops were scattered – two at the back and one up front.

Mark deployed everything in a V ready to pound towards the middle where all the objectives were. The Nurglings forward-deployed onto the two objectives at the edges of the board.

Nurglings forward deployment - Astra Militarum vs Death Guard

Nurglings forward deployment – Astra Militarum vs Death Guard

Astra Militarum vs Death Guard Deployment Gallery

Astra Militarum – Turn 1

I knew that I needed to get up and onto the objectives to give myself any chance. So a lot of Advancing happened and I managed to make it into 3″ of two of the objectives. The Chimera on the top side failed to make an Advance to get it to the topmost objective. One Psyker had disembarked and then ran to the centre objective so I had a character there on turn 1. If he could stay there he would get me 2 VP.

Said Pysker gets Nightshroud off onto one of the Chimeras.

Shooting wise I did OK. I used The Relic of Lost Cadia this turn. I killed both units of Nurglings which meant the Death Guard would not auto get them at the end of their first turn. And it also ensured they were free for me on this turn. It also got me First Strike. This took up all my heavy Mortar shots and the Wyverns. One Wyvern did shoot twice too. The Basilisks killed a Drone.

So OK shooting, the Nurglings take a lot of killing because of their 5+ Invulnerable save.

I took two objectives and First Strike.

Show Score

Astra Militarum: 3VP

Death Guard: 0VP

Death Guard – Turn 1

The Death Guard move forward towards the objectives.

Pysker wise the Demon Prince gets +1 to Wound and Rotigus fails every power.

Shooting wise the Death Guard don’t have a lot, they failed to take First Strike and just kill some Guardsmen. The Chimera in the centre goes down to four wounds.

There were no charges.

The Death Guard took two objectives, the top and centre.

Show Score

Astra Militarum: 3VP

Death Guard: 2VP

Astra Militarum – Turn 2

So into turn two and time to get even more Troops and characters onto the objectives. The Chimera towards the top of the battlefield and one of the bottom Chimeras unload their cargo onto objectives. Two Psykers and a Company Commander also disembark at the bottom to put characters onto that objective.

My Plasma Command Squad and Plasma Pistol wielding Platoon Commander came down in the enemy deployment zone behind Rotigus.

My powers did poorly and I only got Psychic Barrier off on some Catachans.

The enemy now had Plague Marines bearing down on the centre objective so I focused on them. I killed some but 4 or so remained. I had held the objective though by using Move, Move, Move to get some Catachans in there.

I charged a Chimera on 7 wounds at the top of the battlefield into the Plagueburst Crawlers, he made it and survived the Overwatch with two wounds remaining. Sadly he died after the Demon Prine Heroically Intervened. He did explode – dishing a handful of Mortal Wounds here and there.

The failure to take out the Plague Marines was bad, they were Troops and could easily hold the middle. The Heavy Mortars with Harker were doing just OK against the Death Guard.

My Pysker had survived for two turns on the centre objective and I had reclaimed the other two objectives. This was an extra 4VP.

Show Score

Astra Militarum: 7VP

Death Guard: 2VP

Death Guard – Turn 2

The Death Guard now rolled forward into the centre to try and kill my Psyker and take the centre objective. The Plague Bearers arrived.

I lost the Chimera in the centre and its occupants disembarked to try and hold the objective in the centre that the yellow Psyker was still holding. He would net me 3VP if he could stay alive. He did not, once the charges were done and every single Guardsmen and character in the centre was now gone.

A similar story played out where the Plague Bearers came in and Rotigus was. The Plague Bearers were now into all types of madness because of Epidemius. When a Nurgle Demon kills an enemy unit it goes onto a tally for Epidemius. The more that gets killed the more benefits are received ARMY WIDE. There is no bubble, it is for the whole army of Nurgle Demons until Epidemius is dead. They also had other buffs, this was taken from Mark’s input on my Facebook page

  • -1 to be hit
  • S6 (Epidemius and the Poxbringer)
  • A2 (Epidemius)
  • Hitting on a 3+ (Spoilpox)
  • Re-rolling 1s to hit (Epidemius)
  • Rolling extra hits on a 6 (Spoilpox)
  • Re-rolling failed wounds (Plaguebringer)
  • Two damage on a wound roll of 6 (Nurgle’s Locus of Virulence)

And I thought I was being clever by bringing Straken with his +1 Attacks for Catachans. But this is just ridiculous.

I had now lost the centre and the top objective from the Death Guard’s shooting and the bottom side to Plague Bearers.

Show Score

Astra Militarum: 7VP

Death Guard: 4VP

Astra Militarum – Turn 3

I tried to make some last-ditch attempts to take back the middle with my Guardsmen. This included running a Cyclops right up to the Demon Prine. A good hit here would result in a lot of dead things – freeing up the middle for me to take it. I rolled a 1 for the Cyclops detonation range, that misses everything. I use a CP for a re-roll, I get a 1 again.

That is the game lost now. I now have no way of getting the Demon Prine as he is a character with less than ten wounds and I have no Snipers.

I now held no objectives and needed to take out a Demon Prince and Rotigus to take the enemy characters off the objectives.

Show Score

Astra Militarum: 7VP

Death Guard: 4VP

Death Guard – Turn 3

This was the final turn and would see the Death Guard gain 5VP. 2VP for Rotigus on the bottom objective, he was there at the end of turn two and then turn three. And the same for the centre objective with the Demon Prince. The other objective at the top was held my a Plagueburst Crawler for 1VP.

Show Score

Astra Militarum: 7VP

Death Guard: 9VP

Astra Militarum vs Death Guard Summary

I think this game confirms my belief that the only way to defeat the Death Guard is to get my Baneblade done and just throw Leman Russ at them. Maximum firepower is the only way to kill them and its the only way I have done it effectively in the past.

The mission made things very hard for me, I had probably lost as soon as that mission was rolled in hindsight.

How can my charcters take and hold objectives against the Death Guard charcters like a Chaos Lord, Demon Prince, Rotigus, etc?

Perhaps leaving two of the Cyclops Demo Vehicles and 30 Guardsmen back to stop the Plague Bearers from Deep Striking was a mistake. But I am unsure what difference having those units near the middle of the battlefield would have made. Maybe just more buffs for Epidemius?

Had the game continued then the final score at turn five would have been – if we assume I took no objectives back from the already camped Death Guard characters…

Show Score

Astra Militarum: 7VP

Death Guard: 25VP

The Next Game of Astra Militarum vs Death Guard…

As Mark correctly commented on my Common Rules Mistakes in Warhammer 40K article…

… that for Matched Play missions the intent is that the army list is generated once the mission is known.

With this in mind, we generated a mission for our next game. We will build our lists knowing what the mission is. The mission is Maelstrom of War, Disruptive Tactics. Using the new Schemes of War rules. This will see us “build a deck” of Tactical Objectives before the game, based on the mission and the enemy’s list. We will share lists before we create our decks.

Should be fun!