Battle Report Quickie: Ultramarines Vs. Death Guard

 game yesterday vs. the dreaded Death Guard. My opponent is not new to 40K but Death Guard are a recent acquisition to him.

For history, I had played my White Scars against this list, but I think it was a very narrow loss. 

I believed that my UM would have a better shot. The scary thing is his list is comprised of mostly stuff he owns. (No Mort right now.)

My list included mostly units I consider pretty potent for Ultra’s with only one truly experimental unit; the Lascannon Gladiator.



Calgar, Tiggy, Chappy,

Infiltrators, Intercessors, Intercessors (x10)

Aggressors (x6 flamers), Macroplasma Redemptor, Chief Apothecary, Victrix Guard, Primaris Ancient with Relic Inviolate of Ultramar Banner (+1 attack and +1 to hit)

Eradicators x2, Gladiator Valiant.

DG: (By memory)

Lord, Plaguecaster, Fight last dude with flame cannon.

2-3 larger 10 man squads of Plague marines (Some for CC some for shooting)

2 larger Poxwalker units

2 PBCs

3 Foetid Bloat Drones (1 with mower attachment)

3 Darkshroud (?) Terminators

1 of these Auto Cannon batteries from Forgeworld. SUPER annoying. Every wound kills a primaris.

The Game Breakdown:

I don’t have a ton of time but I do have some pictures I uploaded. We played (I think) Scorched Earth and the deployment was the old Dawn of War style (10″ long edge).

Death Guard went first. I made the Redemptor -1 to hit with Tiggy’s Prescience. 

Most of the DG’s turn was moving up. Very few shots coming from both PBC’s BUT they managed to bracket the Redemptor putting it at 6 wounds. 

The DG put a squad of Poxwalkers and the Plaguecaster in Reserves for 1 CP (in all of 9th I actually did not know you could combine units and do this! I’ve been paying a CP per unit even if combined it comes in under the lowest tier of reserve cost.)

This is a really annoying tactic! I say this because with Primaris, even the Infiltrators it becomes very hard to block everything out. 

Early game deployment from my side looked like this:

– Ultra turn I got off my Litanies (+1 to wound in shooting and assault on my 10 man intercessor squad) – Fortress went off, and the Redemptor got Might of Heroes.

– My shooting was not great. I struggled mightily as usual against DG to do any real wounds. The Aggressors flamed about 45 hits, and after all is said and done I think he loses 1 marine because of pipes giving him a 2+ save. I maybe did 5 wounds anyway, and that T5 helps a lot.

– I decided to go hard into the Foetid bloat drone on my right side, this is because I had the LItanies on that 10 man Intercessor squad and I had to shoot twice to do it! But I killed it giving me a point for Oath of Moment.

Here’s how it started to look:

In turn 2 I could not protect this flank even with the Infiltrators. My Tank did squat this whole game. 24″ I thought would be more than enough but against Death Guard you don’t want to get close….. I had extreme trouble taking down the PBC’s. In the mean time I knew I was going to lose the left flank. His Plague caster gets off the first of three psychic actions in my zone from coming in with the Poxwalkers. He’s also scoring the quarters secondary, while spreading contagion on 2 markers so far.

He has me pretty much surrounded. I couldn’t clear near as many poxwalkers off of the ruins that my Infirtrators are in (as shown above) This was a disaster… the blightspawn flamered most of the squad to death with the remaining picked off by the Plaguemarines. By Turn 3 I had lost the whole left flank and would never be able to score more than 5 points on primary (This was a 6 objective mission meaning I needed 3 to score 10 points).

As you can see from the DG side of the table he already has the mid point of the board. I needed time to burn down the garbage coming at me, plus there was a mower drone coming in hot on my Aggressors…..

With the DG pressing forward, the Drones led the way. I had one down so far, and this one was doing a fairly short charge and I did not want to get stuck in with it. I would lose 2 Aggressors to PBC’s and Plaguemarine special weapons! So my Apothecary could bring one back, but I was down to 4 by the time he charged, so I took a leap of faith here…

I spend 3 CP on combined overwatch. I intentionally kept my Gladiator 6″ away from the Aggressors, I kept a 5 man Intercessor squad also 6″ away… I combined it all and BARELY killed the darn thing! Even with full hits from Aggressors. Incredible. In the end the Poxwalkers made the charge in. Even with all my extra attacks, my 4 Agggressors could not get rid of the bloody Poxwalkers… 2 remained. This gave him full points for quarters.


Now at mid game, things have really gone to hell on the left side. I’m pulling the Gladiator tank in to the center, and trying my best to push out to mid table to get 2 points for Oath. Trying to re-create a firebase at mid table.

The Infiltrated Poxwalkers are having their way with the Intercessors. I can’t clear them out. I’m stuck in.

The Gladiator once again puts full shots into a PBC and finally it is down to half wounds.

The key here is he had his Deathshroud termies in and they were on an objective in front of my 10 man Intercessors on the right flank. I put EVERYTHING I could to buff that Intercessor squad and they fired twice at AP-2, full rerolls, +1 to wound! AND fired twice. I killed 1 Deathshroud! So my 3 Eradicators that also came in that side (I had put them in reserves) had to finish the job… no go. I killed one more with 6 meltarifle shots.

I can’t believe how hard it is to kill anything. The DG feel super anti-marine. Even this pedestrian list is forcing me into a corner and I can’t clear out.

With the left side lost, and the right side in jeopardy, the failed 10 man intercessor squad (now 8 men) prepares to be assaulted. (I wanted to force him to move off the objective towards me.) He still has a lord there and about 5 Plague marines as well. 

I think the ongoing battle on the right side forced my hand. He would inevitably charge in with the DeathShroud and his Lord and that would kill all but 2 marines. I used my Banner aura to prevent a test. I kept ONE guy with Obsec alive on the marker.

My Eradicators were killed by a damaged PBC and that forgeworld artillery.

In my turn I made as good a push as I could, extending many units to get the job done….

– Last stand and mid. Overcharging the Redemptor over and  over to kill Plague Marines was probably the most successful unit I had for doing damage while the Aggressors prevented him from outright owning the whole table since I killed the Foetid drones off he didn’t have a hard target to charge into me with.

– The Redptor would stay at 6 wounds, I always put -1 to hit on him and the PBC’s that hit him hard in T1 wouldn’t be able to damage him (also always put Might of Heroes on him which helped).

– I never got in his back field for more than a second (the short lived attack by Eradicators).

– I buff Calgar up… he has the rare job where he has to almost clear out the Lord and the last Deathshroud Termie. The Chaplain would go in too, and I had 2 marines still alive. Ironically this may sound like a LOT for 2 models but the resilience factor is stupid here….

Not only do I send Calgar and the Chappy in, I also send the Victrix Guard on a mission (through the ruins unseen in the picture below) They are scaling up the terrain to hit that bloody Forgeworld Artillery autocannon unit and need to shut it down.

– So since Calgar is buffed… I send him in and the Chappy but I swing first with the chappy. I have only 1 CP left, and I know the DG can interrupt. The Chappy is more vulnerable so he goes first, swings full tilt at the remaining Deathshroud…. and I can’t take one wound off of him! 

– DG interrupt and the lord goes for the sweep type swing for lots more attacks….4 wounds come through (I’m only T4 in this case because of DG fart aura). I can’t believe it…. but Calgar saves all 4 wounds on a 4+ (Something had to go my way!)

– Calgar winds up the fists of Ultramar and punches the lord back to the stink hole he came from. (At least some vindication!)

– The Victrix…. what about them? Sent on a mission on their own deep in the heart of the enemy….

Well the Victrix did not disappoint! They valiantly swung in… I think 10 attacks and I just got really, really lucky even with their old school power swords, and did a lot of wounds and this Forgeworld cannon is the only unit in his list that finally does NOT reduce damage so I just killed the darn thing!


Unfortunately that would be the best of it.

The Death Guard still had an overwhelming hold on the table. I lost too many points on the Primary alone and never scored more than 5 points a turn on the primary. I also lost a ‘banner’ I had planted to the Poxwalkers while he walked around corrupting markers at will.

His Primary was (as usual) a very strong point. He started with 5 and ramped up to 10, then 15. This was the game ender. I could perhaps tie him in secondaries, but he had an insurmountable lead on Primaries so we called it there.


End Game Thoughts:

– My White Scars had a narrow loss. A first for them in dozens of games (literally). I had thought the Ultra’s would do better, however I was definitely wrong. The problem is my Ultra’s in particular are not as mobile, and not as assault oriented as my Ultra’s. So I think that means we are in a situation here where I want to widdle down as much as I can before breaking the halfway point of the map. This problem with this scenario is I can’t do the damage.

Over several turns I marveled at the lack of damage I could do. T5 is one thing, but the -1 damage is truly back breaking for both my UM and my White Scars. 

– The scary thing here is aside from my gladiator fun tank, I believe my list is very potent. The Death Guard? That was a very mid tier list for that codex. He doesn’t even take the Plague Company that halves movement, and no Mortarion and he’s waiting to get the dreaded Blightlord Terminators! Once those are in play I think my chances go from ‘long shot’ to ‘no chance’.

Right now I don’t have to deal with going last in every combat (no relic), losing my rerolls (mort) and being stuck in CC with Poxwalkers (half movement). Even with all of that off of the table, I struggle too much to damage anything. Once the basic units are in cover, you really have to access to a wide array of S5-S6 weapons with 3 Damage a shot, and a minimum AP-1.

I believe it takes those kinds of weapons to even make the DG player start rolling dice. Until you get those kinds of stats, you aren’t even making the DG player make saves and that’s where you’ll lose every game. 

That said I enjoy playing against this army. It’s such a hard match up. And as far as my Ultramarines… I still prefer the playstyle of the White Scars. I enjoy the movement, and I still believe it plays to the Ultramarines strengths to play in a mid-shooty block formation and try to dominate the mid table for Oath Secondary.

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