Dissecting a Winner!

I’m sure a lot of people are tired of the incessant Onslaught coverage but deal with it. Countrystan doesn’t get a lot of tournaments so we over analyze the few we get. If you are already tired of it, stop reading. I wanted to take the time and talk about my Demon list, the games I played and things I am taking away to improve my Demons in the future.

The first thing I am going to post is my list and my thoughts going into the tournament.

Great Unclean One
Level 4, Trappings of Nurgle
Herald of Nurgle
BSB, Noxious Vapours, Stream of Bile, Banner of Sundering
Herald of Tzeentch
Spellbreaker, Master of Sorcery (Shadow)
Herald of Khorne
Armour of Khorne, Firestorm Blade
26 Plaguebearers
Full Command, Banner of Seeping Decay
29 Bloodletters
Musician, Standard, Icon of Endless War
3 Nurglings
5 Seekers
Standard, Siren Standard
Fiend of Slaanesh
6 Flamers of Tzeentch

The point of the list was to be present in as many aspects of the game as possible. I have mobility, anti-artillery, magic, magic defense, combat, tarpits and shooting. I was also feeling very confident as I was running the biggest points denier in Warhammer (in my opinion), the Great Unclean One with Trappings of Nurgle. I was fairly confident that I would go all 4 games without having him die as he was built entirely for survival. Armed with this list and absolutely no practice games with it, I went to the tournament!

Game 1:

Game 1 was against Michael Stockdale and his Empire army. The first thing I noticed when setting up for the game was that Michael did not in fact have a Steam Tank. I let out a huge sigh of relief as my army really has nothing which can deal with a Steam Tank. Other than that, he had a well rounded Empire army consisting of strong shooting, infantry and knights.

Everything went right for me. The Great Unclean One tarpitted his Knights + Grand Master and the speed of my combat elements closed the gap a whole turn sooner than he expected. Combine this with PITIFUL shooting from him (2 rounds of shooting = 3 dead demons) and Michael conceded quickly. 7 points.

A lot like this actually

 Game 2:

Game 2 was against Alan Pocock and his Skaven army. I was immediately dreading this game as Alan is probably the best Warhammer player I know and his Skaven army is hard as nails. Combine this with the fact that I have had a lot of issues with Skaven in the past…

Alan’s army was a very typical hard Skaven build. Hellpit Abomination, Doom Wheel, 2 big blocks of Slaves and Plague Monks with a Furnace. He was also VERY character heavy running 6 characters.

Almost immediately, things fell apart. His Warlord with a Fellblade did 6 wounds to my Great Unclean One on the bottom of turn 2. That same combat, thanks to combat resolution and demonic instability, my greater demon popped along with 10 Bloodletters (big mixed combat). At this point, I realized my army was down to my Plaguebearers and my support elements. I immediately started playing a points denial kind of game by running my support elements away from the fight, while subsequently using my Plaguebearers to wrack up VPs. I couldn’t afford to get bogged down by his slaves and used movement to roadblock where possible.

At the end of the day, I was able to make up a lot of ground from my greater demon and Bloodletters evaporating early in the game and pulled a draw. The margin was 60 VPs.

I thought that would be the hardest game all day...

 Game 3:

While walking around between games, there was one army I absolutely did not want to fight. This was the one! I drew Evan Paterson’s Chaos army. For those who don’t know, it was the Throgg deathstar. The army consisted of:

Kholek Suneater
Exalted Hero
BSB, 3+ Ward, Disc, Stuff
Sorceror
Level 2, 3+ Ward, Disc, Stuff
Throgg
17 Chaos Trolls
Hellcannon
Hellcannon

When I was paired for this game, I was sweating bullets. I realized that nothing short of a miracle would allow me to dent that troll horde. This was further hampered by the deployment rules for the scenario. It was a modified Meeting Engagement. So I had to deploy my entire army before my opponent. This allowed him to move his trolls away from my flaming attacks. I was screwed.

I knew I needed a miracle to be successful in this game and I got it. Turn 1, the trolls suffer from stupidity and stand there. That same turn, his level 2 miscasts and becomes a level 0 wizard. On my turn 2 I cast a boosted Pit of Shades (God bless Loremaster!) at the Trolls and scored a direct hit. 10 dead trolls later and I knew I couldn’t lose the game. My Great Unclean One eats it for a second game in a row accomplishing nothing (Thanks Kholek!) and the only thing with a chance of stopping Kholek is…Pit of Shades. By the end of the game, Pit of Shades had killed over 1K points of my opponent’s army.

In the past I have talked about how OP spells like Purple Sun, Pit and Dwellers have the potential to wreck entire armies but it doesn’t actually happen. I take it back. It does happen. It was also the reason I managed to not lose this game. 7 point massacre. Phew!

Game 4:

This game was against Wes Reeson and his Orcs & Goblins. This also marked the third game in a row where I was on top table (assuming the first pairing announced was top table). Wes and I have also played last game on a top table at another Fantasy event where he beat me so soundly I was convinced I was a red headed step child. Needless to say, I was, once again, scared shitless for the third time that day.

My Great Unclean One continued his streak of doing nothing but awarding my opponent 720 easy VPs. This time, he did it himself. The first spell of the game, a throw away to try and pull some Dispel dice, miscasts, dimensional cascades and devours him. Literally, the second dice throw (after Winds of Magic). I immediately assume the worst. I can no longer win. Down 25% of my army on the last game on the top table. Luckily my opponent assumed the same and starting making some downright bizarre decisions.

He started to run units into me piece meal. This isn’t because of failed Animosity checks either. He ran a wounded Arachnarok into my Bloodletters where it was murdered easily. This then allowed me to reform into a position to charge his Warboss on Wyvern. An opportunity I would not have had if he had slow played me. The Bloodletters then killing blowed the Warboss and the Flamers who were tying up the Wyvern in the first place, ran down the Wyvern needing an “11” (Okay, my dice were really good this game as well).

Just like my game against Alan, I needed to use his superior numbers to create roadblocks and play for points. Thanks to his steady diet of 1 on 1 fights (a situation which greatly benefits Demons), I was never overwhelmed and never lost combat by more than a point or two. Keeping my entire army within range of my BSB resulted in me taking a grand total of 1 wound to demonic instability all game.

At the end of this game, I can honestly say I was a single turn away from tabling him. This game played to the bottom of turn 6 so there was no more game available but there was nothing he could have done to alter the outcome. Despite playing the scenario hard and ensuring I earned all possible VPs (none of this fleeing unit on the board BS), I managed to come out on top by a margin of ~1K VPs. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to double my opponent so the game ended in a draw. 4 points.

In terms of secondary objectives, I hit them in all 4 of my games. I earned the table (Game 1), the monster hunter (Game 2), the Wizard killer (Game 3) and the scouting (Game 4).

So what did I learn after 4 games of playing my Demons? I can do really, really well with only 75% of an army.

The useful part of my army is Pacman. The rest is my Great Unclean One.

 Leading into this tournament, I was terrified of losing my greater demon. In fact, I took the Great Unclean One over my smashy friend the Bloodthirster specifically because “You’ll never, ever kill Nurgle.” This is a very good thing because it allows me to build my list in one of two possible directions moving forward:

  1. No Greater Demon at all
  2. Destructive and less survivable Greater Demon

I think my eventual goal with the army is to be able to take option #1.  Since I used every painted Demon model I own to make 2500 at Onslaught, I think it’s not going to happen for a long time. This does leave me with option #2 in the meantime. I am going to take a Greater Demon that hits really hard and has a good chance of being killed. Why? Because the rest of my army is solid enough to deal with the loss of the Greater. Better to do some damage than none at all (Nurgle). This isn’t me benching Nurgle. I just thing I am going to be MUCH more frugal with him. Rather than 620 points, I am going to strip off all wizard levels and run him at 500 points. That way I get more bodies on the table for when he inevitably chokes on his own vomit. Again.

Jimi Hendrix? What are YOU doing here?

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