Death Guard at the Generals of the West GT

Ahkris here bringing you the latest and greatest on my games at the GotW GT that was held last weekend in Amsterdam.

It was an absolutely awesome venue with awesome players and we ended up with 44 people! Just a couple shy of getting it to a major. Every single table had an awesome gaming mat, painted terrain and a couple of large LoS blocking pieces. That combined with the usual dutch standard of having every army fully painted made for some visually stunning and great games of Warhammer.

With the start of 8th edition I decided for myself: “new edition, new army!” and this was a great opportunity to put it to the test. My list was quite dependant both on what i had painted up in the short time between the models releasing and the GT happening as well as the army comp rules. The GotW GT comp stated no forgeworld and no more than 3 duplicates of any dataslate (unless that was troops or dedicated transport, then max four). So right out the gate that barred me from using all my cool FW toys such as my redemptor as well as stopping me from spamming six drones. I do feel like those rules did a lot of good however to keep the lists interesting fun and varied. Here is what i ended up with at 2000 points:

Detachment 1: Super-Heavy Auxiliary (Death Guard)

  • LoW   Mortarion

Detachment 2: Outrider Detachment (Death Guard)

  • HQ Daemon Prince with Wings & Daemonic Axe, Suppurating Plate. Warlord trait: Rotten Constitution
  • Elite Blightlord Terminators with Combi Plasmas, Axes & 1 Reaper Autocannon
  • Fast Foetid Bloat-drone with Spitters
  • Fast Foetid Bloat-drone with Spitters
  • Fast Foetid Bloat-drone with Spitters
  • Heavy Plagueburst Crawler with Spitters

Detachment 3: Battalion Detachment (Chaos Space Marines – Alpha Legion)

  • HQ Daemon Prince with Talons
  • HQ Sorcerer with Jump Pack
  • Troops 14 Chaos Cultists with Autoguns
  • Troops 14 Chaos Cultists with Autoguns
  • Troops 10 Chaos Cultists with Autoguns


Going into this I pretty much figured Mortarion would be a liability. Sure he is very tough and great for the points, but a few good las cannon rolls or a few bad saves or missed warp times and he can go down fast. It is worth bearing in mind when bringing Morty what you could be bringing instead of him. In this case I am bringing both Mortarion and the sorcerer to warp time him. That would equate to four bloat drones with plaguespitters or four crawlers or something similarly strong. Mortarion can not split his melee attacks on his scythe so if you just run in three squads of tactical marines he cant really just hit his way through them. Most opponents are not aware of this and do try and focus him very hard, relieving pressure off of the rest of the list. This is also the reason I elected not to make Mortarion my warlord. He gets focussed pretty hard, his warlord trait does not do much for me with this list and killing both mortarion as well as the rotten constitution prince with DR is a very very tough task for most lists indeed.

Speaking of the rest of the list: the Bloat Drones are absolute all stars. I would never ever run them with anything but the double plaguespitter. Clocking in at under 160 points for 10 wounds T7 3+ 3++ 5+ DR, moving 10” with fly and being able to advance and shoot its weaponry without any penalties…. What’s not to love? These guys all advance up the board, pretty much never die and usually do the majority of my damage. The crawler is pretty much the exact same thing but tougher and without the fly. Just ignore all of its weapons as they wont hit anything anyway: its all about the plaguespitters baby!

The Terminators have 18” rapid fire range thanks to being Death Guard so they have a pretty good threat range. Mortarion runs forward, the sorcerer deepstrikes near him to warp time him and then casts prescience on the terminators to keep them from killing themselves with the overcharge plasma. Combine this with the veterans of the long war strategem and you are hitting on 2+ and wounding on 2+ against pretty much everything in the game, including the daemon primarchs.  The cultists serve as anti deepstrike screens and cheap objective holders as the rest of my army tends to go forward fast.

Before I go into detail about the five games I should give a quick little tidbit about the mission structure: we play a primary (eternal war), secondary (maelstrom) and tertiary (linebreaker, warlord, first blood, kill points with a max difference of 8), add up all the points, divide the difference by 2 and then end up on a 20-0 scale. This is pretty much the ETC format.

Game 1: Imperial Guard & Admech Allies

Eternal War: Retrieval, Maelstrom: Contact Lost. Deployment: Dawn of War.

First game I go up against the person and the list I am fearing probably the most at the event. My opponent Ruud is an experienced player with a pretty solid gunline. His list consisted of a conscript blob, three tauroxes, three squads of plasma scions, a bunch of Tempestors Manticores, Wyverns and then some admech with two Dunecrawlers with neutron lasers. He had nine drops in reserve against my three, meaning I pretty much had to set up most of my army before he even started putting units on the board. Once he did start putting down units he alternated between corners until Mortarion was set up and then pretty much set up everything in the opposite corner.

I went first with the Death Guard thanks to a sieze and ran everything up the centre of the board except for Mortarion who went for one of the flanks to kill some Tauroxes as I was afraid he would get focussed down. Some Alpha Legion cultists using the forward operatives strategem shot through a bunch of the conscripts and managed to lock a Taurox in combat. Meanwhile on the other flank Mortarion use the Chaos Space Marine strategem “Chaos Familiar” to drop one of his psychic powers for Warp Time, allowing him to move 24 inches and getting first blood on a Taurox. The terminators deep struck in some ruins that were conveniently exactly 9 inches away from my opponents gunline. They overcharged their plasma with veterans of the long war, taking some wounds off of but not killing one of the Dunecrawlers. IG & Admech first turn some of the drop plasma came down, crippling some of the drones and killing a daemon prince. The Tauroxes killed all the cultists and the Manticores put some wounds on various targets as well. Nothing too major.

From here on out things suddenly went rapidly. The drones did a good job at cleaning up some of the plasma squads but I did not manage to get to the artillery and the Dunecrawlers. Mortarion tried to cast Warp Time which would but him smack bang in the middle of my opponents army but failed, even with a command point reroll. Mortarion then amazingly decided to fail 11 out of 11 4+ invuln saves against a single Manticore, taking 17 wounds in total from one volley. More plasma dropped down and started cleaning up the remaining Death Guard in the centre. Luckily my army is very tough and very mobile, so I ran the Plagueburst Crawler (T8 12W 3+ 5++ 5+DR) and one drone back into my backline and started mopping up some Tempestus squads and Tempestors to get some killpoints. The rest of the army pretty much got wiped off the board. In the end having scored a bunch of killpoints and scoring some of the Eternal War objectives with the crawler kept me on the scoreboard, but the Death Guard start their tournament run on a loss. Hindsight says maybe I should have just charged Mortarion straight up the centre instead of being scared, but who knows how the game would have turned out then. My opponent (Ruud) ended up coming in 3rd in the event.

Game 2: Mortarion versus Typhus

Eternal War: The Scouring, Maelstrom: Cleanse and Capture. Deployment: Vanguard Strike.

After the very unfortunate start in the first round I got paired up against a fellow Death Guard player. His army was absolutely gorgeous with loads of freehands and awesome conversions, and both our armies ended up getting a best painted army nomination. My opponent (David) was a really fun guy and I had an absolute blast playing this match! His army consisted of Typhus with a horde of Poxwalkers, a daemon prince, shooty Hellbrute, some Plague Marines in Rhinos, Alpha Legion Havocs with autocannons, deepstriking Obliterators with a Lord and a couple of spawn.

The deployment this wound was Vanguard Strike, and we both had pretty much close range armies. We blobbed up most of the objectives in the middle of the board and decided to run at each other. I set up my cultists in a conga line in my back line to keep the Obliterators from jumping behind me and shooting anything important and around of of the flanking daemon princes. Normally with the character rule i have to run the daemon prince behind a drone to keep him from getting shot, but now thanks again to forward operatives I set up cultists pretty much everywhere and could run my prince behind the little cultist line. My opponent got first turn running all of his Poxwalkers forward. The Havocs all started shooting at drones and did pretty much nothing. Obliterators came down from deepstrike and shot into a drone as well, again doing nothing. Guess I saved all of my good dice rolls the first game for this one! His daemon prince charged into the crawler, not doing much either. Rhinos with Plague Marines and the spawn all moved up as far as they could.

In my turn the Terminators and Sorcerer came down in my opponent’s backfield, getting warp timed by the Sorcerer onto an objective. The Terminators instantly blowed up the Hellbrute with veterans of the long war overcharged plasma, followed by a charge of some other backfield stuff. Mortarion jumps forward into the spawn and kills them all. The drones start flaming Poxwalkers to get the horde low in numbers before it arrives. The crawler falls back out of combat, forcing the enemy Daemon prince to eat flamer overwatch again if he wants to keep fighting. First blood and a lot of points scored in the maelstrom for (my) Death Guard.

Enemy Death Guard turn 1 the Poxwalkers all run back to where they started and charge into my terminators, killing the entire squad. Typhus tries to catch the jump pack Sorcerer but proves to be too slow. Obliterators, Havocs and plasma from the Plague Marines all keep shooting into the drones, still managing to little to no damage at all.

My second turn my daemon prince charges the enemy daemon prince, killing it. The second daemon prince wipes out a squad of Plague Marines. The drones and crawler flame most of the Obliterators to death and the cultists shoot the last Plague Marine unit off the board. Mortarion goes to town throwing out 18 attacks with blades of putrifaction on him as well, severely cutting down the Poxwalkers from a horde to more of a merry little band. The game was pretty much done at this point and with only typhus and a handfull of other models left my opponent conceded the game. Perhaps a short game, but a very fun one with  David winning a very well deserved best sportsmanship award.

Game 3: Nurgles Rot versus Slaaneshi Decadence

Eternal War: Secure and Control, Maelstrom: Tactical Escalation. Deployment: Search and Destroy

My opponent was running an Emperors Children army containing three Helldrakes, Lucius the Eternal, a dameon prince,  three large squads of Noise Marines, two squads of Obliterators and some Havocs. He was boasting he already killed two primarchs today and that he would easily add a third to the list!

I deploy so that I am pretty far back from the Noise Marines and I am fully bubble wrapped except for some key areas. My opponent takes the bait and charges in his Helldrakes. I immedeately call in heroic interventions with both Princes as well as Mortarion. I dont take much damage and in return I kill two helldrakes. Shooting wise my opponent deploys his Obliterators, shooting them and the Havocs into the crawler and a drone, doing a few wounds but not killing them. On my turn I warp time Mortarion into his daemon prince and kill it. All the drones move up to the enormous blob of noise marines and the daemon princes start fighting some Obliterators. Enemy turn two there is a bunch more shooting, killing one drone.

My second turn the Terminators come down behind the enemy line, blowing up Lucius and the Havocs with a volley of overcharged plasma. Mortarion and the princes continue their murder rampage and the drones flame away the last few noise marines. Pretty one sided game that ends with a tabling on turn two.

Game 4: Ynnari

Eternal War: The Relic, Maelstrom: Spoils of War. Deployment: Frontline Assault.

My opponent was running an Ynnari army with a lot of Harlequins. Two Hemlocks, Yncarne, Shadowseer, Solitaire, bunch of Players with fusion pistols, Skyweavers and Starweavers with Shuriken cannons. This game went… really quick.

I get first turn and warp time Mortarion into enemy lines. I take care to do some mortal wounds with his aura  across most enemy units but not to kill anything. In melee I elect to use his Eviscerating Blow profile as to not kill the unit I am fighting. I do this because I dont want the Yncarne to pop up next to him and bad things to happen. Rest of the army just kinda moves up.

Harlequins turn 1 the Solitaire blitzes onto the relic and starts running with it. A whole bunch of Fusion Pistols get shot into a drone and don’t do anything thanks to some amazing saves. He then charges the drone with a Starweaver which gets blown up by the overwatch. He decides to try again with the other Starweaver… Takes 5 wounds on overwatch and fails the charge. Charges with 5 players… die on overwatch. Other 5 players… Dead on overwatch. After that the Yncarne pops up somewhere and kills a daemon prince and the Hemlocks do some damage. Mortarion then again uses the Chaos Familiar strategem to drop a spell and gain Death hex which he casts on the Yncarne. Death hex removes a units invuln save and with a Mortarion striking a Death Hexed Yncarne for 6 attacks hitting on 2+ rerollable wounding on 2+ rerollable for D6 damage a pop she goes down fast. The rest of the army kills the remaining units, ending the game on Death Guard turn two.

Game 5: Footdar

Eternal War: Big Guns Never Tire, Maelstrom: Deadlock. Deployment: Spearhead Assault.

My opponent Jannis brought a full Eldar brigade detachment. 3x Rangers, 3x Dire Avengers, swooping hawks, warp spiders, Fire Dragons, Wraithguard, Striking Scorpions, A Hemlock,  a Vyper, 3x Fire Prism. A very cool Alaitoc Footdar list! Very unique and certainly very different from the scatbike spam we used to see. Now I know that complaining about dice does not make for the most interesting analasys of a game, but that really was the story here. A combination of my opponent’s dice being straight fire and me not being able to roll anything higher than a three kind of spoiled the game. Things like throwing a 5 and a 1 for Miasma (-1 to hit) on Mortarion, command point rerolling the 1 for another 1. Rerolling a 6 and a 1 on deny the witch on -1 to saves on Mortarion for another 1. My opponent making a solid 20 4+ saves on his warlord when I flamed him with two drones for two turns straight. It was a mess. This combined with the deployment where I had to cross the entire table just made it a huge uphill slugfest.

Alpha legion cultists all rapid fired after infiltrating to kill a Dire Avenger unit for first blood and Mortarion killed some rangers. Other drones move up, Terminators stay in deepstrike because they cant get to any valuable targets. The real story of the first turn remains however that Mortarion failed to cast his buffs (with rerolls), failed to dispel the debuffs (with rerolls) and then got taken down stupidly easily. The game turned into a giant slugfest where the drones were wiping out most foot units and the Fire Prisms and Hemlock putting down the hurt on the drones and the crawler. The daemon prince charged the Wraithguard, and my opponent hit 5 out of 5 wraith cannon shots (those hurt a lot) on a 6+ on overwatch…. What can you do. Terminators finally came in turn three, shot at a Fire Prism with prescience (+1 to hit) and overcharged. For a few command points the Eldar player gave his tank -2 to hit, resulting in a lot of Terminators dropping dead due to overcharged plasma suddenly being a thing once more. We played for six turns and at the end I pretty much had nothing left other than one drone, one Terminator and the Sorcerer with jump pack who warp timed himself way the hell away out of line of sight. The Eldar took pretty heavy losses as well and luckily for me gave me a lot of kill points. My opponent Jannis ended the tournament in 5th place.

The Results!

I ended up 4th out of 44 players with a nomination for Best Painted Army as well. Considering I went into this with a top 8 finish being my main goal I must say I am pretty pleased with my overall performance. The army I brought along with me largely was a product of what I had painted up already, and a few key parts I knew would be very iffy did prove to be so. The 4x combi plasma 1x reaper autocannon Blightlord Terminator squad did not do anything worthwhile at all. They killed about ~300 points of models in 5 games time, and really did not take an extraordinary amount of firepower to put down. Mortarion as well proved to be a huge liability in the games where I struggled, and the games where I breezed through he put in a lot of work but certainly was not the MVP of the match. The real MVP’s to me were the drones with the plague spitters. They just dont die and are insanely fast. The plagueburst crawler comes near, but his movement being a bit slower and him not having fly meant it took quite a bit longer for him to get there. For the 8 points difference I would pretty much always choose the added mobility of the drones over the extra toughness of the crawler. Other all stars were the cultists. They never did anything amazing, but for 40 points you cant expect them to. They kept enemies from deepstriking, they held objectives, they tied up expensive tanks in combat for a turn. Pretty sweet deal.

Overall going to the Generals of the West GT was a great experience. Both days there was an unlimited warm food buffet for lunch, all tables had awesome gaming mats, the judges were on point and easily accessible. Everyone brought awesome painted armies and the venue of “Hotel van der Valk” was great as well. I would definitely recommend any Europeans to fly over to Amsterdam for the weekend for the next one!

Click here for more pictures of the event!


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

  • Rob brown

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this! Well done for your result and for taking both your wins and defeats graciously.

    No one threw the towel in after turn one or for losing first turn… it can be done!

    • Karru

      Meanwhile, 3 out of 5 games ends on turn 2. Tells you a lot about 8th edition, doesn’t it?

      • Sadly I think this is as intended. Fast games. That’s been the mantra of the current crop of players for most of the 2010s that I can recall.

      • Chris G

        Ahkris the original writer of the article here: My army really does well against certain armies and can end up steamrolling, but it is not the norm. mass infantry i will sweep off the board while any vehicles and transports will take me a lot longer. Overall most of the game at the GotW GT lasted 4 or 5 turns.

        • robocod101

          Just a question from reading your amazing tournament recap. Veterans of the long war is +1 to wounding so isnt overcharging your terminators quite dangerous?

          • AkulaK

            With Prescience you also have +1 to hit rolls, so no 1’s possible 😉

          • robocod101

            of course missed that bit so +1 to hits and wounds very nasty

          • AkulaK

            Yup it’s really strong, especially on Slaanesh Oblits/Havocs or on combi-termies.

  • Bri B

    Dude, PLEASE do an article or something about how you painted your Morty’s wings. They’re the best I’ve seen so far.

  • NightForce

    Dude, PLEASE do an article or something about how you painted your Morty’s wings. They’re the best I’ve seen so far.

  • Stephen Henry IV

    Hate to be that guy, but the Chaos Familiar of Nurgle strategem can’t be used to swap out one of Morty’s psychic powers for one from the Chaos codex (namely Death Hex). It specifies for it to swap out one of the bearers powers for one from the Contagion discipline.

    • Ordones

      He is using “Chaos Familiar”, not “Chaos Familiar of Nurgle”. That stratagem from Chaos Space Marine Codex, not DG one. It say’s that you can use it on Heretic Astartes Psyker, and Mortarion is one. He have Alpha Legion, so he can use it. And that stratagem allow us to get Dark Hereticus power (like Death Hex).

      • James Goodwin

        Mortarion can’t be Alpha Legion. His data sheet is listed as Death Guard and there’s no place to change that keyword. He can’t use other disciplines powers.

        • Ordones

          You missing something. To be allow to use Chaos Space Marines stratagem you need to have at least one detachment of legion that is in thier codex. You have it – Alpha Legion. You can use them. Now, when you use stratagam you only check of text of stratagem, and Chaos Familiar say that you need to choose Heretic Asartes Psyker. IT DONT NEED TO BE ALPHA LEGION ANYMORE. Just Heretic Asartes Psyker. Mortarion have Heretic Asartes and a Psyker keywords. So you can use that stratagem on him. Follow rules in books, read them. Don’t guess. You have answer to that even in DG Codex FAQ:

          “Q: Is it possible to use a Stratagem from Codex: Chaos Space Marines to target a unit from Codex: Death Guard? For example, can I use the Tide of Traitors Stratagem on a unit of Cultists from a Death Guard Detachment if I have an Alpha Legion Detachment and a Death Guard Detachment in a single Battle-forged army?
          A: Yes – if you have access to a tratagem because you have an appropriate Detachment, it can be used on any permitted target: they do not need to be from that Detachment. In your example, the Alpha Legion Detachment gives access to the Chaos Space Marine Stratagems, and Tide of Traitors can be used on any Chaos Cultists – this would include any Chaos Cultists from the Death Guard Detachment.”

          • James Goodwin

            The FAQ you quoted only mentions TARGETING a unit. Which means WarpTime can be used ON Morty. Not BY Morty.

            The Codex where says the powers are for Psykers than can use the Dark Hereticus discipline. Each Psykers’ datasheet list which discipline they can use. It doesn’t say in the power that any Heretic Asartes Psyker can use them. In Morty’s data sheet it specifically says use the Contagion disicipline.

            You are definitely misinterpreting the rules. It is very common to include sorcerers from other faction to use WarpTime and target Morty. It is not legal for Morty to actually cast WarpTime.

          • Ordones

            This FAQ quoted mention TARGETING BY STRATAGEM (not a power) a unit that is in legion that dont have access to that stratagem. Like “Chaos Familiar” target Heretic Asartes Psyker. So you can target Mortarion using that stratagem. And that stratagem says that you exchange one his known power with Dark Hereticus power. So you do that.

            Mortarion sheet dont say that he cant only use Contagion, only that you choose which powers from Contagion Discipline he KNOWS. There is nothing in rules that dont allow him use other Disciplines, if he learn powers from them.

            Point by point:
            You have access to stratagems if you have specify detachment. You have Alpha Legion detachment. So you can use stratagems from Chaos Space Marines Codex. You choose to use “Chaos Familiar” and you must target Heretic Astartes Psyker. You target Mortarion, cuz he is one. That stratagem says that you swap one of his known power with power from Dark Hereticus Discipline. So you do that. And since then, you can use that power, cuz there is nothing in rules that dont allow us to do any step i mentioned above.

            There is even article here on Bell about it:


            Section “The Morty Swap”.

            Ofc, including Sorcerer from other Legion is another way, but that mentioned above is allowed to.

            There is no rule anywhere, that says about who can cast what. Only about powers that psyker KNOW at start of game.

          • Chris G

            You may use the Chaos Familiar strategem on pretty much all of your DG units as it targets a HERETIC ASTARTES unit that also has the PSYKER keyword. All death guard happen to have the HERETIC ASTARTES keywords and Mortarion also is a PSYKER. Therefore you can use the CSM chaos familiar power on him as long as you have access to it from having a CSM detachment in your army somewhere.

  • simon

    Dude, PLEASE do an article or something about how you painted your Morty’s wings. They’re the best I’ve seen so far.

  • Ordones

    I’m missing something? Why Mortarion can not split his attacks among few units? If you using Reaping scythe, then you still have 6 attacks that you can split, you just make 3 hit rolls for every attack. So you can make 3 attacks on first unit, 6 attacks on second unit and 9 attacks on third unit. I don’t see any rule that would make that forbidden.

    • Chris G

      My reasoning (and the judges) was the following:

      “If a model has more than one melee weapon, choose which it will use before rolling the dice. If a model has more than one melee weapon and can make several close combat attacks, it can split its attacks between these weapons however you wish – declare how you will divide the attacks before any dice are rolled. The attack sequence for making close combat attacks is identical to that used for shooting attacks (pg 181) except you use the model’s Weapon Skill characteristic instead of its Ballistic Skill to make hit rolls.”

      So you can do the nurgling attendants on one unit and the scythe on a different one, but you cant split the scythe 9 into one and 9 into the other. Same way you can not split a single assault cannon to shoot at different targets.

      But since writing the article some folks over at the Frontline Gaming website have corrected me and told me that in fact Mortarion *can* split his attacks.

      • Ordones

        That text was about having several melee weapons (4. Choose Melee Weapon – pg. 183). Just one paragraph earlier (3. Choose Targets – pg. 182):

        “If a model can make more than one close combat attack, it can split them between eligible target units
        as you wish.”

        This is pretty clear, that even if you have x attacks from one weapon, you can split them how you want. 🙂

        • Chris G

          Which is why i stated that since originally writing my article i have found out i was wrong about that 🙂

  • eMtoN

    Sounds like the ynnari player didn’t know his rules. The yncarne can’t assault during the turn it appears. So if it showed up during the ynnari players turn, it’s not getting into combat.

    Also I have to say it was pretty silly to throw the entire army away assaulting your drones. I’ve gone up against those drones and they are always my primary target – those things are brutal even with the lawnmower attachment.

    • Chris G

      The ynnari player let the Yncarne pop out during my combat phase i believe and then assaulted during his turn. It was a long weekend, im a little hazy on the exact events of that game.

      As for assaulting the drone, he had shot ~10 fusion pistol shots into it and done nothing so far, i believe it was frustration playing a part as well. The guy is a pretty good player and we were ranked 3rd and 4th in the event when we started that game. Just happened that auto hitting strength 6 rerolling 1’s to wound against T3 models is really really really good.

      • eMtoN

        That makes a lot more sense. Obviously I was not there. Thanks

  • AkulaK

    This tournament system (using both Maelstrom and Eternal War + kill points) looks really, i should try it for my community’s games.

    Nice coverage, seems like a good tourney, and very detailed about the armies, we learn a lot.

  • euansmith

    You had me at “fully painted armies and line of sight blocking terrain.”

  • E65

    Great report. Well worth the read.