Battle Report: Death Guard vs Adeptus Mechanicus

By Matt Lewis

Hello Art of War 40k fans and patrons! Welcome back to another battle report. Today we examine how Nick Nanavati’s new Death Guard fare against the shooting power of Richard Siegler’s Mars-based Adeptus Mechanicus. Will the sons of Mortarion live up to their famed (disgusting) resilience? Let’s dig in and find out!

Nick’s List

The Inexorable Vanguard

Lord of Contagion – Plague Reaper, extra WL Trait: Ferric Blight 120

10 Pox Walkers 50

10 Pox Walkers 50 

10 Blightlord Terminators- 2 plague flails 410

3 Death Shroud Terminators- extra flamer 155

Tallyman- Extra WL Trait: Arch Contaminator, Extra Relic: Toll Keeper 70

Contemptor Dreadnought- 2 Volkite Blasters 150

Bloat Drone- Flamers 130

Plague Burst Crawler- entropy cannons 175 

Plague Burst Crawler- entropy cannons 175   

Ferrymen Patrol

Malignant Plague Caster- Gift of Contagion, Misama of Pestillence WL: Living Plague, Fugaris Helm 95

10 Pox Walkers

Foul Blight Spawn- Extra Relic: Rotten Stench Vats 75

3 Death Shroud Terminators 150  

Bloat drone- flesh mower 135

Nick: “I’m trying, what I think to be, a more consistent style of approach… just because I think Mortarion is a little all-in”

Richard’s List

Admech Mars Battalion

Belisarius Cawl, -1 cp: Ststic Psalm Code 200

Manipulus, Torsion Cannon, Warlord: Divinations of the Magos, relic: Audocaduseus of Arkhanland 70

5 Rangers, 2x Transuranic Arquebus, Omnispex 70

5 Vanguard 45

5 Vanguard 45

10 Fulgurite electro priests 170

10 Corpuscarii Priests 140

10 Corpuscarii Priests 140

5 Ironstriders, Cognis Lascannons 375

3 Serberys Raiders 48

3 Serberys Raiders 48

Skorpius disintegrator, Ferrumite Cannon 155

Skorpius disintegrator, Ferrumite Cannon 155

Skorpius disintegrator, Ferrumite Cannon 155

Terrax pattern termite, 2x heavy flamer 180

Richard: “Mars is back! Stygies, I played a lot with it, but I don’t think it’s great in a Death Guard meta, so we’re bringing back all the firepower this time…I’m gonna be shooting all these Death Guard nasties off the board as soon as possible.”


Mission: Priority Target

Nick Nanavati | Death Guard

Command Points: 4

Secondary Objectives: (1) Priority Targets; (2) Spread the Sickness; (3) Domination

Richard Siegler | Adeptus Mechanicus

Command Points: 9

Secondary Objectives: (1) Priority Targets; (2) Engage on All Fronts; (3) While We Stand, We Fight


This is the mission where players move their designated priority objectives. In this case, both players have moved objectives so that each has an objective in their backfield, while the other three objectives are closely dispersed over the midfield.

Nick’s Deployment: 

Nick deploys most of his army, terminators included, in a tight castle behind his major L-ruin and hides two Bloat Drones behind corner ruins. He reserves two squads of Poxwalkers off the board for screening later. 

Richard’s Deployment: 

Richard: “I am deployed with my Serberys Raiders up front, ready to pre-game move forward to get me Engage on All Fronts points if I go first. Otherwise, they’re going to move behind these ruins and be as safe as possible.”

A squad of Skitarii Rangers will hold the home objective, while Cawl, the three Skorpius tanks, Manipulus, the drill (holding 10 Fulgurite Priests) and the Ironstriders deploy in their own ruin-protected castle. Siegler keeps two units of Skitarii Vanguard and one of Corpuscarii Priests in reserve.

Richard: “I think this is a matchup where we both want to go second.”

The players roll for first turn and each roll a six.

Nick: “We’re both trying to lose this roll off here, why is that a thing?!”

Siegler rolls another six to Nick’s one and so will take the first turn.

Battle Round 1

Richard rolls Shroudsalm and Mars-specific* (*because who wants to write, read, or say “Panegyric Procession??) for his canticles, giving his army light cover and +1 strength to heavy weapons for the turn. With Cawl’s canticle roll manipulations, Richard will be able to select these two canticles nearly every turn this game. 

Before the turn starts, Richard moves one squad of Serberys Raiders to Objective 2. The second squad stays protected behind his ruin. Not counting on the first squad to live long enough to hold the objective, he then pushes them into the nearby forest during his movement phase, to instead score two points from Engage on All Fronts. The rest of Siegler’s movement phase consists of conservative repositioning. The Raiders make first contact, killing a few Poxwalkers. The rest of the army remains hidden, presumably throwing taunts over the wall like a certain Monty Python Frenchman. 

Warhammer 40k Tech Priest - I blow my olfactory organ at you I expel gas in your general direction
I’m sure those Blightlords are terrified.

Nick starts his turn gaining an additional CP from the Tallyman (and later remembers the Tallyman rolls for this in both players’ Command Phases). The Tallyman buffs Nick’s Contemptor with his Malicious Calculation rule for +1 to hit, while nearby CORE units will get exploding sixes from the Tallyman’s Tollkeeper relic.

A poor (1”) advance roll for Nick’s Blightlord terminators barely gets them into the midfield; Nick judges it is not worth a Command Reroll.

Nick: “I have a lot of CP to spend later in the game on damage and increasing my auras and manipulating that kind of stuff, so I’m trying to maintain some CP discipline right now while I can.”

Richard: “So is this the case where you draw me out with the Blightlords and keep the anti-tank behind?”

Nick: “Yep, so I’m trying to basically get Siegs to expose his firepower,”

Richard: “Because those terminators will hold two objectives the next turn if I don’t do anything about them.”

In sum, Nick responds to Richard’s null-turn with one of his own. Both players want the other to expose his key assets first. 

In trying to spread the sickness onto his home objective, Nick opts to roll – needing a 4+ – instead of taking D3 mortal wounds on a Poxwalker squad. He fails the roll but judges he will have enough time to make it up. Nick’s Psychic Phase fails to generate any powers this turn.

Nick starts shooting with his Contemptor, whose twin volkite culverin kills one pony in the forest and wounds another.

His first Plagueburst Crawler (PBC) targets its direct-fire weapons at the Raiders, and its mortar at the Ironstriders behind the ruins. This finishes off one Raider and does two wounds to an Ironstrider. The second PBC lacks line of sight to the Raiders but manages to finish off the Ironstrider.

Richard: “I could have gone for a 5+ reroll just to keep the chicken alive and then heal it back, but I think my CP are better spent on doing absolutely as much damage as possible.”

Battle Round 2

-Top of Round 2 Score Check-

*10 points included for battle-ready armies


Command Points: 11

Primary Objective Points: 5 

Priority Targets: 3

Engage on All Fronts: 2

While We Stand: 0

Total Victory Points: 20


Command Points: 6

Primary Objective Points: 0

Priority Targets: 3

Spread the Sickness: 0

Domination: 0

Total Victory Points:  13

Siegler starts his second turn by moving his Cawl-castle to the firing lane above his ruin to start shooting into the Death Guard terminators. A unit of Corpuscarii Priests joins from reserves on the southern board edge, positioned to score points for Engage on All Fronts.

Richard chooses to sacrifice good angles for his tanks to keep them within Cawl’s bubble, intending to whittle down the terminators that are exposed while maximizing his own protection.

Leveraging Mars’ Canticle, Cawl’s full rerolls, the Wrath of Mars stratagem, and exploding sixes from Divinations of the Magos WLT, Richard’s Ironstriders and Skorpius tanks do the Omnissiah’s work against Nick’s terminators, killing five. He spends a CP on Electrostatic Overcharge to make his Priests attack at AP-2 and drops Nick’s Bloat Drone to two wounds. 

Nick spends 2CP to autopass morale for his terminators. He again buffs his Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought with the Tallyman for +1 to hit. His Poxwalkers join from reserves at the top of the board, while his terminators advance into the midfield. His PBCs maneuver to line up direct-fire shots for their entropy cannons and heavy sluggers. The Foul Blightspawn takes one mortal wound (on D3) as Nick spreads the sickness on his home objective.

Nick focuses all the fire from his Chaos Contemptor (benefiting from the Tollkeeper relic) and two PBCs to eradicate Richard’s Ironstrider squad.

Nick’s Bloat Drones charge and destroy the Corpuscarii Priests near Objective 4, then consolidate onto the objective.

-End of Round 2 Score Check-


Command Points: 6

Primary Objective Points: 5

Priority Targets: 6

Engage on All Fronts: 5

While We Stand: 0

Total Victory Points: 26


Command Points: 3

Primary Objective Points: 5

Priority Targets: 3

Spread the Sickness: 0

Domination: 0

Total Victory Points: 18

Battle Round 3

Siegler considers where to bring in his last Corpuscarii from reserves and opts to send them behind the Bloat Drone near Objective 4.

Richard: “I think that’s the better play here, just pull Nick apart in multiple directions, ‘cause he really doesn’t want to send things back into these areas.”

The Cawl Castle withdraws to a more defensive posture behind the ruin, singed by Nick’s brutal shooting last turn. Two Vanguard squads arrive from reserves in the top left and right corners of the board.

Siegler: “There’s no point in contesting the middle; they’re just going to instantly die. But now Nick has to either dedicate firepower or think about sending resources back there.”

The Corpuscarii finish off the wounded Bloat Drone on Objective 4. Two Skorpii reduce a PBC to its last wound. A Transuranic Ranger squad and the other Skorpius destroy the second Bloat Drone.

Although Nick’s flanking Bloat Drones are gone, he continues to dominate the center of the board. After confirming that the wounded PBC is not eligible for Unclean Machine Spirit (Chaos Land Raiders are the only codex unit with the [MACHINE SPIRIT] keyword), it limps back four inches to reduce its exposure.

As he continues to flood the midfield, Nick’s Lord of Contagion spreads the sickness to Objective 4, taking one mortal wound in the process.

Apparently aiming for MVP of the game, Nick’s Chaos Contemptor wipes the unit of Corpuscarii Priests at the bottom of the board. Here’s a quick reminder of what this dakka dread is throwing downrange with its twin volkite culverins (including the Tallyman’s +1 to hit buff): BS2+, 16 shots (exploding 6s), S6 AP0, 2D, and unmodified 6s to wound cause an additional mortal wound. Not bad.

Despite being degraded, the wounded PBC’s entropy cannons nearly destroy one Skorpius. The other PBC’s mortar finishes it.

-End of Round 3 Score Check-


Command Points: 6

Primary Objective Points: 10

Priority Targets: 9

Engage on All Fronts: 8

While We Stand: 0

Total Victory Points: 37


Command Points: 5

Primary Objective Points: 20

Priority Targets: 9

Spread the Sickness: 6

Domination: 6

Total Victory Points: 51

Battle Round 4

Richard’s fourth turn involves just enough maneuvering that his Skorpii and Termite Drill can come into play – the combined shooting from both is enough to destroy one unit of Deathshroud terminators. He brings his Serberys Raiders out for a hail-mary attempt at sniping the Tallyman, but the dice don’t cooperate. 

Nick responds by doubling down on the board’s center with his terminators and Chaos Contemptor. This will be a tough (albeit rotten) nut to crack for Richard, as Nick begins to run away with the primary objectives.

With The Dead Walk Again Nick resurrects five Poxwalkers. Taking notes from Siegler’s reanimation tricks for Necron Warriors, Nick strings them out so they tag Objective 2 (and score for it) in the Command Phase. They can then Spread the Sickness at the end of Movement. 

The ponies never had a chance. 

It’s a pretty straightforward turn for Nick, who at this point only needs to continue existing in order to win.  

Battle Round 5

Richard’s final round sees him fully commit the Drill, its Priests, and his two remaining tanks. They destroy the Chaos Contemptor but fail to finish off the Lord of Contagion. His Priests charge the Poxwalkers on Objective 2, but don’t count as charging because of the Foul Blightspawn’s 12” aura from Revolting Stench (buffed by On Droning Wings). A few priests die, but they take the objective. His outflanked Vanguard charge the PBC on Objective 5 but die in melee to the daemon engine on Nick’s turn, solidifying his control of the objective and ensuring a full 15 points on primaries at the end of his last turn. 

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

-Final score-


Command Points: 3

Primary Objective Points: 45

Priority Targets: 15

Spread the Sickness: 12

Domination: 12

Total Victory Points: 94


Command Points: 5

Primary Objective Points: 20

Priority Targets: 15

Engage on All Fronts: 12

While We Stand: 10

Total Victory Points: 67

Final Thoughts 

Richard: “I think AdMech really struggle into Death Guard, frankly. 

Nick: “On turn two when those las-chickens came out, they killed five Blightlords right off the bat and two Deathshrouds. That’s not nothing, but I think the Death Guard need to build to be able to shoot back, so I don’t have to take that firepower turn after turn after turn. And that’s what you saw, I was able to kill a Skorpius and five chickens at range. And that really lets me play this I’m-sitting-in-the-middle-of-the-board game.”

Richard: “AdMech just doesn’t have the mission playing tools. If I took Breachers here, you would have obliterated them in the center of the board…I think the Drills are quite good into Death Guard, the last two turns it actually did quite a bit of damage.”

Nick and Richard discuss the challenges AdMech face with some of the missions, especially relative to some of the new codexes. The lack of durability and high AP seem to be holding them back from being able to get stuck in and dominate the primary mission, while the prevalence of two damage weapons is wasted on Death Guard. Times may be lean for the disciples of the Omnissiah, but Grandfather Nurgle is bounteous in his blessings for the XIV Legion!

Thanks for joining us! Until next time, go forth and spread joyous plagues – er, I mean, don’t forget to share your thoughts and feedback. 


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