Batrep #2: The Reaper Cometh

(Art by Sharpwriter at Deviantart)

 

The shelling had finally ceased. Clambering back onto the roof of the ruined administratum building that served as her command post, Canoness Lucia Trevalyne surveyed the damage: the hive sector, already a battered skeleton after weeks of fighting, had been reduced further by the bombardment, its ruins bleached white with fungal rot and its streets scoured to the granite by viral-bomb impacts. Nothing remained alive in this sector– nothing, that was, except she and her Sisters.

Her gas mask hissed as it filtered out the numerous contaminants that now shrouded the city sector in a bilious green fog. At her command, her forces wheeled into position: even as heavy weapon teams set up in elevated positions around her, below, in the city streets, tanks rumbled forwards– Rhinos, Immolators, Repressors and Exorcists, all in the same noble blue and white colours of the Order of the Blessed Damsel. She had wisely kept her forces back, out of range of the Death Guard’s mortars, and now her Sisters stood more than ready to repel the heretic assault.

Taking up a pair of magnoculars, Lucia watched the distant hive outskirts for any sign of the Death Guard approach. So thick was the toxic smog from that last bombardment that a fine, sickly mist surrounded them for miles on end. She had been hearing scattered, fragmented reports from Imperial Guard units in the neighbouring sectors– most of them hasty, panicked reports of positions being overrun by heretic infantry and armour, and of the enemy using massed chemical and biological weapons. A lot of the reports, however, had been…unusual, to say the least. Reports of vast clouds of flies blotting out the sun, of the dead rising to walk again…and of a vast, terrible angel of pestilence swooping down and visiting death and ruin to all in its path.

The thoughts made her unconsciously clutch her rosarius and mouth the Incantation of Purity. Let the heretics come and bring with them all the monsters of the Cicatrix, she thought to herself. They were the Sisters of Battle, the warriors of the Ecclesiarchy, and there was no foe that could stand against faith.

No sooner had she made this thought, however, when the first of those abominations arrived.

Lucia almost jumped when a silhouette became visible in the green fog, before it came staggering out into view. It wore the tattered coveralls of a lower hive factorum-worker, and was lurching with a painful gait. At first, Lucia thought the newcomer must be another refugee fleeing from the heretic vanguard…until she noticed that the figure was missing an arm. A bony stump jutted out from its torn shoulder, and bone protruded at odd angles from its knee and shin where its leg had been crushed. But it wasn’t just the figure’s disfigurements that Lucia noticed: bony spines stabbed outwards from its shoulders, in blatant mockery of the purity of the human form. Colonies of boils and tumours massed along its greying flash. But perhaps worst of all, its mouth was practically split from ear to ear in a hideous, rictus grin. The freakish thing seemed to be smiling at them as it dragged itself across the open ground of the ruined intersection towards the Sororitas lines.

Behind it, another silhouette formed in the fog, followed by another. And another. And another. Almost in an instant, a horde of the shuffling, grinning mutants shambled out into the open, more and more arriving with each passing second. They walked with a slow, lethargic gait, and moved silently saved for the dry shuffling of dozens of feet.

“To arms!” she shouted into the vox. “Armoured units, move into attack positions! All support units, fire at will!”

No sooner had she given this order when her position was hit by what felt like a powerful gust of wind. An overwhelming smell of rot, leprous decay, and foul chemical toxicity wafted over her and her Retributors, and despite her respirator, Lucia could feel it flooding her nostrils and mouth and invading her lungs. She doubled over, almost wanting to tear her mask off as she coughed and gagged. One of her Sisters shook her by the shoulder, and she looked up over the wall of the roof to see where her Sister was pointing.

In the distance, another silhouette was forming– a monstrously tall shape, almost as big as the building they stood upon, with vast, tattered wings spreading outward like some immense insect about to take flight…

This game was played a few months ago at one of my LGS. It was my third or fourth game of 8th ed, and the details are hazy at this point in time, so unfortunately this report is going to be extremely light on details. From what I do remember, it was a 2000 point game, between my Sisters of Battle and Death Guard.

My list was as follows:

ADEPTUS MINISTORUM BATTALION DETACHMENT

Saint Celestine- 2 Geminae Superiae, Legendary Fighter
Canoness- bolt pistol, eviscerator
5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
9 Arco Flagellants
-Rhino
Ministorum Priest- eviscerator
Imagifer
5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns
-Repressor- 2 heavy flamers
5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns
-Repressor- 2 heavy flamers
6 Retributors- 4 heavy bolters
Exorcist
Exorcist

Note that while this game was played just after Chapter Approved, my opponent hadn’t gotten it yet, and so I agreed not to use any of the stuff from it. Also I was trying to keep things WYSWIG as much as possible, but even so, I was proxying a lot of my storm bolters and both of my Repressors. Also, Uriah Jacobus was standing in for an Imagifier, since I forgotten to bring her with me.

 

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My opponent’s list:

DEATH GUARD BATTALION DETACHMENT:

Typhus- Gift of Contagion, Miasma of Pestilence
Malignant Plaguecaster- The Suppurating Plate, Miasma of Pestilence, Putrescent Vitality
5 Plague Marines- blight launcher
20 Poxwalkers
20 Poxwalkers
Helbrute- twin lascannon, missile launcher
Noxious Blightbringer
Foetid Bloat-Drone- 2 plaguespitters, plague probe
Foetid Bloat-Drone- 2 plaguespitters, plague probe
Chaos Land Raider- combi-flamer

SUPER-HEAVY AUXILIARY DETACHMENT
Mortarion- Blades of Putrefaction, Miasma of Pestilence, Putrescent Vitality

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An overview of the battle. We were playing Cleanse and Capture, diagonal deployment, and it was only my 3rd game of the current edition to date against an army I was unfamiliar with, led by a Daemon Primarch. No pressure.

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The Big Guy, plus bloaty friend.

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Things were a bit crammed in my deployment zone.

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Canoness, Retributors and Imagifier hole up in a ruined administratum building, ready to rain death on the heretics below. Imagifier played by Uriah Jacobus: Intergalactic Man of Mystery.

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Repressors scout up. The plan, at least originally, is to bring meltaguns to bear on his Bloat Drones as early as possible.

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Turn 1, and I initiate a general advance, trying to grab objectives and bring as many weapons to bear on his Bloat Drones and Helbrute as possible. I’m resolving to ignore Morty for now.

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Repressor + Dominions advance to grab objective 1.

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Despite my best efforts, my Exorcists, Dominions…and, well, almost everything else that was in range did minimal damage to the Death Guard vehicles. Uh oh.

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Blurry battlefield ahoy

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Mortarion approaches…

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The Poxwalkers advance, and are promplty buffed to strength and toughness 5 by combined spells and Typhus’ bubble effect. Also, Miasma went up, forcing -1 to hit them. Bloat Drones, meanwhile, zoom out to be annoying.

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An Immolator takes some damage….

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….and the Helbrute uses its crazy “shoot twice” Stratagem to blow up my leftmost Repressor, leaving the Dominions stranded! Further shooting would reduce them to one girl. Thankfully, she narrowly avoids being charged by a Bloat Drone.

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My turn, and Celestine faith-jumps up to say hi to Typhus and friends. I’m pretty much hoping to have Celestine assassinate his characters.

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The Order maintains its general advance, looking to grab objectives and lay down heavy firepower wherever possible.

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With Mortarion right in front of the Dominions, it would be rude not to open fire…which they do, knocking something like 4 wounds off of him! The rest of my shooting is dismal, though, with my shots again bouncing off of Death Guard vehicles. Even more embarassingly, my Immolation flamers only manage to singe a couple of Poxwalkers here and there (those that are in range, anyway)

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Celestine charges in…and immediately gets hit by the area-affect mortal wounds power from both Typhus and Mortarion! Both Geminae get sick and die before they can even swing, leaving Celestine on her own!

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The fight goes badly, with Celestine fluffing her attacks and only doing a couple of wounds to Typhus. Embarassingly, not only does Typhus knock a lot of wounds off of her, but the Noxious Blightbringer does 2 unsaved wounds of his own! I actually have to spend a command point to keep Celestine from dying to morale! At this point, after using way too many CPs, I’m down to one.

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Overview of the battlefield. Note the Arco-Flagellants’ Rhino is positioned at the back, its cargo waiting for the right moment to counter-attack…

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Plaguemarines and their Plaguecaster buddy disembark to fling some spells.

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Another Immolator is blowed up. All of my tanks at this point are starting to take damage.

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Mortarion charges the Repressor, wrecking it.

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Poxwalkers charge the Arco-Flagellants’ Rhino, and almost manage to surround it. Almost. I learned my lesson from last time.

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A Bloat Drone charges an Immolator to tie it up and keep it from shooting.

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After taking several Smites in a row (I find it ridiculous that that power can target units in combat), Celestine resurrects, narrowly avoiding being charged yet again by the Poxwalkers.

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Their ride wrecked, the Dominions stare down Morty.

Start of my turn, my Sisters disembark wherever possible to fire into the Death Guard. The Arco-Flagellants disembark to deal witht he Poxwalkers, and Celestine goes after the badly-damaged Helbrute.

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Mortarion is down to 9 wounds at this point, and I am determined to end him. This time, sadly, all of my combined firepower fails to so much as scratch him or his Bloat Drone buddy. Come on, Emperor, I could really use some help here…

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Celestine charges the Helbrute, which is sitting pretty on 4 wounds…and whiffs horribly, leaving it still standing on 2 wounds! Aaargh!

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Do the Poxwalker shuffle! It involves shambling a lot and being quarantined by the CDC.

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My lone Dominions from the uppermost squad had been hiding and claiming objective 4 all this time. That is, until a Bloat Drone came her way…

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Arco-Flagellants charge in and destroy all but 1 Poxwalker. Unfortunately, this denied me Blood and Guts.

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Try as I might, I can’t kill Morty. Now that he has closed in, it has become quite difficult to avoid his area effect.

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After a good advance and charge roll thanks to the Blighbtinger, Typhus and Poxwalkers manage to charge Celestine again.

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A squad of disembarked Sisters takes heavy damage, leaving one lone Sister who is then probed to death by a Bloat Drone.

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Morty, meanwhile, mortifies my tanks.

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It’s not all bad, though. After dismantling the last Poxwalker they were fighting, the Arco Flagellants lose a few to firepower and Smitiing. Enough of them still remain, however, to charge the Plague Marines, ripping apart three of them for no loss.

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To my utter frustration, Celestine AGAIN whiffs against Typhus, and AGAIN falls to his Manreaper!

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Overview of the battle.

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The Plaguecaster and his buddies wisely fall back from the Arco Flagellants, pumping more firepower into them as they go.

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Having destroyed most fo the Sororitas units sent after him and shrugging off almost everythign I could fire, Mortarion goes after my firebase.

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The remaining Arco Flagellants and Priest continue to go after the heretics. In the end, the Plague Marines are wiped out and a wounded Plaguecaster is left surrounded.

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Charging in, Mortarion wipes out the Retributors, then the Imagifier. In a last act of defiance, my Canoness revs up her eviscerator and charges Mortarion…and fails to even wound him, before falling to Silence.

Sisters lose by a few points to lots.

Honestly, my luck was terrible this game, but also, I think I just got way too obsessed with killing Mortarion– amazingly, I echoed my mistake from the Sisters vs Orks game by obsessing over killing his big, nasty Lord of War instead of dealing with his other stuff. I was actually content to ignore him at first, but after I took off almost half his wounds in one round of shooting, I believed that I could actually finish the big guy off. Unfortunately, once he started getting his toughness buff and to hit modifier up, it became all but impossible to hurt Mortarion, nor slow him down. I guess the best thing I could have done was try locking Morty in combat with my Rhinos, and even then, that only would have worked for so long.

That being said, I was also way too reckless with Celestine, and ended up having her getting mobbed and torn down twice in a row when I really should have been using her to deal with Bloat Drones. Speaking of which, I think I may need more meltaguns in my army, because it got annoying trying to take down Bloat Drones, Mortarion etc with nought but bolters and flamers.

Lessons learned: bring more meltas, use the Living Saint a little more sensibly, and try not to get distracted by the enemy’s biggest, scariest unit. Hopefully, I will manage to actually win with Sisters in 8th edition at some point.

Mortarion watched as the impaled body of the Sororitas leader slid down the blade of Silence, her body putrefying and decaying rapidly even as her once pristine armour flaked and disintegrated with rust. Casually, he flicked his scythe outwards and flung the body aside as he surveyed the battlefield. Of the Sororitas who had opposed the Death Guard, none remained alive– the city square was strewn with the burning wrecks of vehicles, and scores of power-armoured bodies. Bodies which, even now, jerked upright and shambled into twitching unlife to join the thronging Poxwalkers, rictus grins twisting across their mutating faces.

It was another victory over the crumbling house of cards that his Father called an Imperium. Another host of blind fanatics sundered on the battlefield, justly rewarded for their misguided faith. Another world, slowly but surely succumbing to the inevitability of entropy.

“A fine victory, my Primarch.” Mortarion turned in the direction of the voice. Even with the fluids gushing in his throat and the horrendous damage that centuries of rot had done to his esophagus, there was no disguising the hint of mockery in Typhus’ tone as his wayward son strode towards him, his scythe dragging lazily on the cobblestones behind him with a grate of rust on rust. “The Grandfather will no doubt be pleased by today’s offering.”

Mortarion exhaled, the sound in his ancient rebreather sounding closer to a growl than a hiss. “Marshal our warriors back to the ships, Calas,” he rumbled, intentionally using the name Typhus had abandoned ages ago. “We are leaving.”

Typhus halted in his tracks. Even with his heavy faceplate, Mortarion could imagine the look of incredulity on Typhus’ face. “You cannot be serious!” Typhus spat, all pretense of respect for his gene-father gone. “The rest of this hive remains unconquered! It MUST fall to decay and degradation! We MUST complete what we have begun! Or are you so high and mighty that you would deny Nurgle his prize?”

Slowly, Mortarion rounded on his former First Captain, letting his tremendous shadow fall across Typhus as he glowered down at him. “Even after all that has happened, Calas, I am still master of this legion,” he growled. To emphasize the message, his grip on his scythe noticeably tightened as his wings spread. “Never forget that.”

Favoured as he was by Nurgle, Typhus was not so foolish as to challenge his Primarch, and he bowed in quick, craven deference. “Your will shall be done,” he muttered, “but where shall we go? Are you desirious of a rematch against your brother Guilleman?”

“No.” The Daemon Primarch’s gaze turned upwards towards the polluted sky. “Not yet, at any rate. For now, there is another of my brothers who shall need to be dealt with. For good or for ill…there will soon be a reckoning to be had with Magnus…”

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