Thousand Sons Vs. Death Guard Battle Report

I’ll try to get some quick descriptions in here and keep it brief, but it was such a good, close game, I’m sure to miss some details.


We ended up playing Surround and Destroy from the 2021 Chapter Approved mission pack.

I was playing the Thousand Sons as usual with a single Duplicity Battalion, and my opponent was trying something a little different with is Death Guard using the Harbingers.

My Secondaries were:

  • Retreive Ocatarius data/ Wrath of Magnus/ Engage on All Fronts

Death Guard secondaries:

  • To the Last/ Spread the Sickness/ Engage on All Fronts


Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do full list break downs but here are the basics:

Death Guard:

Typhus, a Sorc for HQ’s

A few large squads of Poxwalkers, 2 mid sized squads of Plague Marines.

He had a 10 man Blightlord Termie squad (which I find just incredibly difficult to deal with.) and a 3 man body guard of Deathshroud Termies in reserves!

He also had 2 of those mower Drones which are nasty and surprised me a bit.

His staple of 2 Entropy Cannon armed Plagueburst crawlers.

Does trickery beat stinkery? We’ll find out…

Thousand Sons: (Basic list with some notes)

Ahriman on Disk, Exalted Sorc (Dilettante) on Disk, Infernal Master, Sorcerer (free slot).

(The idea of putting my beloved Daemon Prince away was something I had to force myself to do. The new toys afforded to Exalted Sorcs and the ‘free’ slot HQ was just too tempting.)

10 Tzaangors. (I just needed cheap crap. I found in my last games I had too many holes in the foot print)

Rubrics: 2 x 5 Flamers. (One Aspiring had a hand flamer, the other was given the relic flamer with the upgrade)

Rubrics: 2 x 5 with Soul Reaper Cannon. (One squad had an Icon for juicy Cabal Points).

Scarab Occult: 5 Termies, SRC, Missles

Helbrute: Multimelta

Helbrute: Plasma Cannon

Contemptor: Twin Volkites

Forgefiend 3x Ectoplasma

Rhino: Combi-melta/combi-bolter

Spawn x 2.

Notes: The idea with my list which was something I was building on with Cult of Knowledge was to use Egleighen’s Orrery for stopping all the modifiers on the game. I put this on my Exalted Sorc, and that’s why you see so many “core” shooty units in my list. While they aren’t game winners on their own, the idea was to get more proficiency out of them while letting the Flame-brics do their thing!

The Game:

I took Defender, and the Death Guard got to go first. This was fine by me… our deployment looked like this:

Most of the army starts behind Obscurring terrain.

This is the right half of the board. The red circles are as follows from left to right: Warlord Exalted Sorc, Ahriman, Infernal Master, and Sorc.

Note: Risen Rubricae on Objective 3.

Here is the left side of the board from the TS side. My Exalted Egleighen’s Orrery (EO for short) is set to give 2 dreads, and the Scarab Occult some hopefully great shots at the Blightlords.

You can see above I use 2 CP on Risen Rubricae. I put a flamer squad there because I know I MUST deal with the Blightlords. They stink, and are a pain in the Prospero. They win games on their own, but they are shielded by 20 Poxwalkers.

The Death Guard got to go first, so I must use my Warlord Trait to re-deploy them safely in my own zone. I had pondered leaving them out to die, but to coax the Poxwalkers and Blightlords out of cover, however the odds were against me there and I thought better of it.

Death Guard Opening Turn:

To my surprise the Poxwalkers juggle around, but aside from passing gas, they really don’t move much and an even bigger surprise is the Blightlords just decide to shoot bolters and some assault weapons.

Here comes the play though I was expecting: Cloud of Flies is put on the Blightlords in my turn. I know this is coming. I’ve seen it before, it’s just such a pain the arse. On his turn the -1 to hit (Miasma) is put on the Poxwalkers as well. Fine… that’s what EO is here for!

The rest of the turn is more or less comprised of two major events: On both sides of the board, he advances his Mower Drones. These guys are fast, they are WAY out in front of his army, and I’m shocked the Blightlords stay put. Secondly, the Plague Burst cannons roar. Man I hate these things. They always seem to do so much damage to me. I take a lot of partial damage on a few units.

Thousand Sons:

The Thousand Sons turn is far less eventful than a home planet being burned to the ground, nevertheless, here’s the short version:

I can’t use Duplicity yet to jump around. It’s packed with stinky Poxwalkers in his back lines, however I do ‘advance’ a squad of Flame-brics on my right flank to start burning Poxwalkers. And do so.

Best power of this psychic phase for me: I take my Exalted Sorc out to get in range of the Blightlords and use “Baleful Devolution”. This is finally a fantastic target for it. Even with mediocre results, I flat out kill 2 Blightlord terminators! The Death Guard player poops his pants at tricker, but we couldn’t smell it because… Death Guard.

I decide to poke out my Scarabs, and therefore the Exalted Sorc put “EO” on the Blightlords…. to reiterate this is when my opponent plays Cloud of Flies! Arrggh. The frustration of once again having to kill 20 Poxwalkers in ruins…

No problem though… I got this right? I don’t want to waste all my firepower on Poxwalkers though so I widdle away with the following units:

Twin Volkie Contemptor, Scarab Occult with strats adding shots and DOUBLING the Soul Reaper (20 men). The Plasma Dread, shots from a 5 man Rubric squad with Soulreaper and guess what???! I kill 19 Poxwalkers, and the last one is behind the wall in way that I cannot target it, thus I cannot target the Blightlords! Oh what I would have done for some indirect fire!

The turn ends with a feeling of “I screwed this up”. However, I do take a slight lead in scoring: I plant my first Ocatarius Data, score Wrath of Magnus, and my advancing flame-brics net me Engage on All fronts.

Turn 2/Mid Game:

This is where I got caught a bit… remember that Exalted Sorc loaded with relics? Well if you recall I got him out to use Baleful Devolution on the Blightlords, and it was glorious and I KNEW his Bloat Drone was right there, but who cares? His Termies were afraid of me and I had a trick up my sleeve….. Here’s how that plays out:

In his turn he makes some moves, but it’s the mower drones that do the heavy lifting. Again the Plagueburst crawlers are just packing on the wounds, and I can’t seem to save a 5++.

Eventually he charges that Exalted Sorc. The Spawns are gone, and the Plaguburst Crawler almost killed the Contemptor dread with ease!

I still am quite confident, as the drone can only put half its attacks on the Exalted sorc as his second relic is Conniving Plate! See, I’ve thought of everything!!!

So the drone comes in, and I tell my opponent that I have a Strat that I will play…. that old Yoked Automata (old name for it) where I can have my Rubrics or SoT Heroically intervene 2D6. Yes, I am so clever. I set this up beautifully! What a waste of a mower drone…. (insert twirl handlebar mustache here) HAHAHAHA.

Well here’s that earlier shot again. I have to confess I forgot to upload the actual moment, but you get the craziness of what’s about to happen here. In front of the above ruin, the Drone puts half of its attacks on my Exalted Sorc, and I save JUST ENOUGH to have a wound left. The Contemptor flat out dies. My “heroic” Scarab Occult Kill the drone! and… the DRONE EXPLODES killing my warlord and a terminator.

Wow. I had to take a moment here to just absorb how badly I screwed myself with my ‘elaborate’ plans that did not account for this.

I had to laugh. What could you do? Could it get worse? Oh wait… there’s another drone on the other side of the table….

Watch out everybody! There’s stinky drones everywhere!

So my Infernal Master is in the building to the left with Tzaangors. But what happened hear is so insane, I didn’t take a ‘before’ picture. The mower drone above jumps over the mechanicus terrain, lands in front of Ahriman AND my Multimelta Helbrute. Here I interrupt for 2 CP. Probably not a wise decision but I have to try with Ahrimans 3 D staff….

I fail to kill the Drone, the drone flat out smoke Ahriman into the ground. My Helbrute takes enough damage to put him on 1 wound. But he kills the Drone, and… this DRONE EXPLODES! And kills the Helbrute. Oh Tzeentch…. you really slay me with your sense of humour.

So I have to go into the bottom of turn 2 having lost: Exalted HQ on Disk with Egleighen’s Orrery, Conniving Plate, and Ahriman, a Helbrute, and my Contemptor Dread.

Not to make light of my opponent’s hygiene issues, but this stinks to terra and back. I’ve not only LOST my best HQ’s, I’ve also lost 6 Cabal Points!!!

Here’s where my opponent says he thinks my Daemon Prince would have been better. And I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s worth noting as I am now utterly on my back foot.

Thousand Sons (minus my best HQ’s and a hit to the ego that only the Changer of Ways could appreciate!)

I start to change my strategy immensely. I decide I have to score big in the opening here, and hide out for a win. I need to make some sacrifices first though in order to quite the Plagueburst crawlers which are rolling hot.

I pull off a Duplicity Façade, and hop to his back line for two reasons: 1 I’m going to get more for Engage on All Fronts, and try to also charge his Plagueburst crawlers and as a bonus perhaps get him to turn some resources back towards me.

Shazam! Flame-brics appear in the back corner.

Yes, it’s suicide but I gotta tell you only one squad can really flame efficiently with Pyric Flux. Wounding on 5’s sucks.

Anyway, the plan works, I jump here, and flame out the rest of his Poxwalkers, and assault 1 of the Plagueburst Crawlers. He will eventually turn those nasty Deathshroud around to get me (and he still goes forward with Typhus and the Plaguemarines).

In his turn he would end up charging Plaguemarines into my OTHER squad of Flame-brics that had Pyric Flux running and the overwatch would wipe the squad! That was a nice win and I needed it because now IF Typhus wants to assault those Flame-brics, he would come in alone.

Elsewhere back on the left flank the scene of the crime: My dead HQ, and Contemptor and Spawn have left a mark. The Scarab Occult need to grab an objective and coax the Sorc and Blightlords out of hiding. I just could not get a Scarab Occult back this game which is unusual.

This flank is in bad shape on my side, I also have an injured Plasma Helbrute that contiues to roll 1’s for number of shots AND 1’s to hit. Incredible. He’s damaged himself down to 2-3 wounds and done nothing all game. (he’s out of the picture more on my side on an objective).

Turn 2 ends with the Thousand Sons scoring desperate points in: Wrath of Magnus, Engage (full points), and a second Octarius Data.

Meanwhile the Deathguard still sit pretty with full “To the Last” and finally get 2 on Engage, and a second Spread the Sickness. It’s very close, but I have more objectives. This is huge as I get 10 points on primary to his 5.

Mid-Late Game:

I knew Round 3 would be a huge determining factor. His Poxwalkers were depleted. He was still very conservative with the Blightlords and I had one Plagueburst crawler locked up. But he still had far more damage than I did, and his -1 damage and T5 across the board really made my shooting lethargic.

But as I hoped, this turn, he scored zero on the Primary thanks in part to my Duplicity jumping Flame-brics on his Plagueburst crawler/objective.

Sure enough, as I mentioned his marines die in overwatch to my secondary Pyric Flux buffed Flame-bric squad, but Typhus does make the charge and completely unloads on the squad. Wow he’s slow, but hits like a truck (full of poop).

The Deathguard would kill the unit stuck in with the Plagueburst crawler and FINALLY the Blightlords come out a bit to play, now I can enact my other plan for board control….

Without scoring any primary, the DG only get points for scoring Engage.

The Thousand Sons turn has some more trickery. I am truly on my last leg here, and I will definitely die out before he will, so I’m pushing for points.

Here I prepare the on again/off again Forgfiend to take on Typhus just in case. I use the Sorc here with Doombolt, and a smite (super smite!) to kill off Typhus. My opponent would reflect on that psychic phase and call it the game changing moment. I didn’t see it that way with the Infernal Master and Forgefiend so close by. What this did do though is allow my Forgefiend to open up on the Blightlords. With the damage reduction, it really sucked, BUT at least with Blast, he always got 9 shots off on them.

With Typhus dead from Psykery, I decided to try again to jump my Terminators via Facade.

Follow the smell of poop and we shall have victory!

So the Facade goes off, I shoot up all but one of his last Plague Marines on that spot. I remind him the SoT are indeed Obsec, so I will steal this from him.

In his turn, he rejuvenates a full squad of Poxwalkers, but I make the assault in the ruins, and trail my dudes back in a line to still hold the objective, not engage the Poxwalkers, but keep the Plagueburst Crawler engaged.

End Game:

His Deathshroud on the right flank finally hit my Rhino, and evne though he only had one and a half left, he easily took out the rhino, but it did blow up and take a Deathshroud with it! So they no longer held my objective.

Incredibly, it was so close I had to knock down his Blightlords. I knew I could not kill either Plagueburst crawler at any point during the game, but maybe the Blightlords… (all three units comprised his To the Last score of 15 points.)

So this is what I try to do…. I use my Rubrics here to get in position. The crappy Plasma Brute will do a wound or two to a Blightlord, and you can barely see my Ectoplasma Forgefiend poke out. Between all that shooting, and the Sorc with Doombolt/Smite and Infernal Master smite + D3 extra mortals from Cabal Points I kill the Blightlords to the man! This reduces his score by 5 and puts me firmly in the lead.

This is the beginning of the big point gain on my part since I score last in T5 I charge all my units, remaining Tzaangors pull my last Octarius Data (total of 8points) and manage to score 10 on the primary.

This gives me the final lead I needed to win by 20 points. I know this sounds big, but it was only in the last 2 turns, the 0 primary for DG in Turn 4, and the -5 points for To the Last that all added up to a big point swing.

“That oughta learn you to not include me in your lists!”

That is the way the game would end. We both had next to nothing. The way turn 2 started with my underestimating the dual Mower drones was an eye watering experience!

That being said… I totally got caught with Ahriman, and I completely underestimated the drone attack even with my Automata Intervention. Would the Daemon Prince have faired better? Maybe, but having -1 toughness really stinks. So maybe not.

Duplicity was huge. I hate how important it feels in a game this close. I keep experimenting, and Cult of Knowledge is all around ‘good’ but you have to build for it. This is just always useful. Cult of Time is always good, but it makes me play Scarab heavy and this was fun to try all of the extra units.

It was a crazy game. I thought I was doomed after that turn 2, and I really think my opponent’s reluctance to get the Blightlords in the game MAY have been the difference in this one.

At any rate, thanks for checking out the batrep.


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