Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Post-Retribution Thoughts on Death Guard List

So what are my thoughts on the Death Guard after six games?

Well first of all, the codex is showing its age a little bit. I certainly think that there has clearly been a more distinguishable power creep in 40k than there currently is in Fantasy (Compare oldest 6 codexes – Necron, Witchhunter, Chaos, Eldar, Tau, Black Templar - versus newest 6 – Grey Knights, Dark Eldar, Blood Angels, Tyranids, Space Wolves, Imperial Guard). When it came out the Chaos book was a bland reflection of the 3rd/4th Edition book and it has slipped down the power rankings since then.

Second, for those of us that try to stick to mono-god and in particular Traitor Legion, there is little real variability in the list. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, the underlying Plague marines are a solid choice.

My list had one very real weakness; an inability to reach out and hurt somebody. Any shooting over 24” was restricted to the four Obliterators I had. Defensively these are now a lot weaker having lost the T4(5) of the previous edition – however this really only becomes an issue when they are in combat, which if they are well, you’re doing something wrong.

This lack of long range firepower is very reminiscent of the Death Guard army at the time of the Index Astartes article (WD266 - 2001) prior to the release of the 3rd Edn codex. It struggled to engage the enemy as they had little or no reason to move inside 24” range. As a result the army struggled for big wins. And that really is the problem with the set up I have now. It lacks the mobility and reach to force somebody to engage if they don’t want to.

On the weekend both the Dark Eldar and Grey Knights could afford to play an avoidance game if it suited their objectives as the Death Guard lacked the tools to force them in close. Even then both those armies had work arounds on the Death Guard’s greatest strength FNP – power weapons in the GK case, poison for the DE.

Looking ahead I think I would look to drop a Troop squad and introduce a Defiler into the army for greater “reach”. The alternative would be to go what seems to be the current favoured Chaos route and add in more Oblits. I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet.

Roll on Codex:Traitor Legions!!!


  1. A defiler, whilst looking cool, is not going to add much of what you are after. Against vehicles, its a single s8 shot, yay ordanance, but boo, single shot per turn pretty much.
    Against infantry, its sketchy at best, especially when cover is thrown into the mix, which it ALWAYS is.

    What it does well is provide a heap of DCCW attacks up close, which is great to have, but the opposite of what you find yourself lacking currently.

    It will also vanish very quickly, with the only other targets of concern to some hungry anti tank being a bunch of unscary rhinos.

    Sadly, the oblits really would be the best choice :<

  2. Oh and I agree, ROLLLLLLLLL ONNNNNNNNN new chaos codex, for the love of god, pleaaaaaase!

    It's just wrong for the chaos codex to feel more bland than an ultramarine army.

  3. When you mention DE having poison as a response to FNP, what do you mean?

  4. I think he's referring to it negating the plague marines higher toughness, rather than negating their feel no pain.

    The FnP obviously still makes them twice as survivable against poison shots, but the match up in general should still struggle as a decent dark eldar list produces between 20 and 30 s8 ap2 shots a turn.

  5. Yes sorry, I meant the T5 of the Plague Marines.....

  6. Gotcha. I was scrambling last night trying to find something in the DE book or main rules about poison negating FNP somehow. Finally just assumed you were referring to the heroic number of shots that they could generate and just wearing them down through dint of fire.
    Faced a 2000 DE list with 3 Raiders, Asdrubael Vect and 5 venoms full of witches at the Alamo GT in San Antonio, Texas earlier this month. Was truly heinous how much shooting occurred.

  7. Sorry for the confusion. The volume of fire that the DE can potentially put out is phenomenal. I understand the current armee de jour in the UK at the moment is 9 Venoms and 3 Ravagers (ok until you hit Mech Guard). It would shred my list as soon as they got out of rhinos.

    I suspect that you are right Charlie re the Oblits vs. Defiler. The Oblits have the versatility, duality etc that the list is missing. In the "second" game against the Grey Knights I decided that it was worth sacrificing 150 points of Olits to take out a Rifleman so deep struck behind it. Dual multimelta took it out. That Deep Strike ability is great in a list that lacks range and mobility.

    Then got lucky and same unit took out a CC Dread and his GK Master in close combat :-)

  8. Pete, I have had good success with CSM's over the last few years, ignoring my result at FoB last year ;)

    I think a Defiler is a good way to go. When he is there, combined with the Oblits, it makes an effective choice. I have been running minimum 2 x 2 Oblits and a Defiler in 1500+ games for a while now and its a staple.

    Another great value option I have seen offer more punch when needed late in the game is the Greater Summoned Daemon. Seeing as he can't be targeted until he pops out, and you have the speed of Rhino's to get him into enemy lines, he is a bargain for what he costs. Doesnt solve your long range shooting, but adds alot to the list I feel. I never leave home these days without the 2 x MC's.

    Still, I am lost to think about what the hell I am going to do about Grey Knights... if you get into the effective engagement zone for Death Guard you encounter nearly the best 0-24" shooting an opposition army can put out... and then with units like Psybot's, the GK's can usually hassle your Defiler/Oblits enough to force you to engage... I think the Chaos Codex REALLY showed its age when Grey Knights came out... before that, they were still competitive by just enough.