The Book of Decay Pt. 4, Heavy Support and Daemons

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BOOK of DECAY - Part 4, Heavy Support and Daemons
For the Nurgle player, Heavy Support is the essential third part of the triad.  While the Heavy Support options available to Nurgle players are slightly limited in terms of appropriateness, they are vital in terms of strategy as they often include the only long ranged support available to us.

Vehicle Upgrades
Chaos vehicles have access to several upgrades which they share.  So we'll review these below then explain how each vehicle might want to utilize these upgrades in each entry.

Daemonic Possession
Daemonic Possession presents players with a double-edged sword.  Vindicators, Predators, and Land Raiders may all be possessed (Defilers are automatically).  Possession allows a vehicle to shrug off anything less than 3 on the Damage Table.  This ends up being quite a few results in 5th edition.  The fact that Possession doesn't "protect" the passengers is more or less irrelevant in 5th edition.  The biggest disadvantage to Possession is the fact that the vehicle's BS Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skillis reduced to 3.  This can hurt a vehicle's ability to hit targets considerably.  This effect is slightly less painful with twin-linked weapons.

Dirge Caster
If anyone can give me a reason to spend the points on Dirge Caster, I'd appreciate it.  Getting a slight bonus to making troops run away from you when you Tank Shock is nice...but it's not really that great.  Certainly, Death or Glory can ruin your day.  But this is another one of those situations where you can save points by avoiding something in the game.  If you don't want infantry to use Death or Glory on you...don't Tank Shock them.  It's that simple.

Dozer Blade
The new rules for vehicles moving through difficult terrain mean that Dozer Blade has become less valuable than in 4th Edition.  In most cases, this isn't really an issue as you can just move around dangerous terrain.  However, if you plan on moving through dangerous terrain often, then it would probably be a good idea to spend the points on this. 

Extra Armor
If you are not taking Daemonic Possession on your vehicle, I would strongly recommend taking Extra Armor.  For the points, Extra Armor is a steal because it allows you to keep moving when taking Stunned results.  As mentioned previously, the number of 1-2 results on the damage table has gone up in 5th Edition.  Keeping your vehicles moving goes a long way to making your points up efficiently.

Havoc Launcher
Initially, I had overlooked this vehicle due to the new vehicle weapon firing rules.  I imagined that, for the points, I would not be firing my Havoc Launchers very often.  However, after some consideration, I realized that the new vehicle rules actually encourage Havoc Launchers.  For example, with Land Raiders or Predators, you are going to be inclined to remain stationary to unload both your turret-mounted and sponson-mounted weapons.  If you are stationary, you'll be able to utilize your Havoc Launcher as well. 

Pintle-Mounted Weapons
The special rules of the Pintle-Mounted Combi-Weapons and Twin-Linked Bolters are actually very nice.  For the points, a Havoc Launcher would most likely suit you better.  However, for the tank commander on a budget, the Pintle-Mounted weapons are useful.  Be sure to consider the efficiency of your set up before going with one.  For example, a Combi-Flamer would not be very useful with a Predator because you should be keeping range to fire.  Likewise, a Combi-Plasma or Bolter could be very useful on a Vindicator as the weapons are conducive to the Demolisher Cannon's Range

The Vindicator is an incredible weapon.  By all accounts, anything touched by the Demolisher Cannon blast is almost as good as dead.  That said, Vindicators create a 24" range of terror around them which coincides perfectly with the range of the Plague Marines' favored weapon.  The main disadvantage to the Vindicator are the new rules for firing Ordinance weapons.  As always, Vindicators are best used in a static, defensive role.

Vindicators, as close infantry support vehicle, provide a 4/5 for appropriateness.  Having a fairly durable vehicle hurling huge shells of death towards enemies at a very short range is simply delightful to the Nurgle infantryman who can watch the enemy and their formations decimated.  Likewise, this support is tactically valuable to Nurgle armies giving Vindicators a 5/5 tactical score.

Land Raider
Land Raiders, as far as tanks go, are, in my opinion, delightfully Nurgle.  In spite of the fact that Land Raiders are tanks and big tanks, they offer Nurgle players two very important advantages: durability and direct infantry support.  Land Raiders are powerful and shooty.  They offer a great amount of firepower and durability simultaneously.  I simply cannot say enough about these tanks.  They are insanely durable and insanely deadly.  A well-played Land Raider can easily counter some of the fundamental problems facing Nurgle armies: mobility and ranged fire; without sacrificing in terms of fluff.

My recommended upgrades for Land Raiders are, quite simply, Daemonic Possession and Havoc Launcher.  Possession doesn't hurt Land Raiders as much as it might hurt other vehicles.  Your to-hit percentage drops to 75% from 89%.  Likewise, the Havoc Launcher stuffs even more firepower into this mobile fortress.

Land Raiders earn a 4/5 for appropriateness.  While they are vehicles, they are a fundamentally infantry oriented vehicle and share the Nurgle theme of durability.  Land Raiders, tactically, are a 5/5.  They are invaluable to Nurgle players as a fire support base and a transport.

Unfortunately, Predators are very non-compliant with the overall themes of Nurgle armies.  Predators make great ranged support units.  The variety of weapons available to Predators are valuable and lethal.  Nurgle forces, however, tend to focus on infantry over armor and flesh over steel.  Still, there would be no fault in selecting a Predator to provide fire support for those infantry.

Overall, a Predator scores a 3/5 for appropriateness.  However, as Predators offer a great amount of firepower, they score a 5/5 for tactical capacity.

Twin-Linked Lascannon
Twin-linked Lascannons are much more valuable for Predators when firing at vehicles.  However, Autocannons are superior against most infantry with the exception of, perhaps 2+ saves.  The price for the Lascannon upgrade is fairly high, so I would suggest it only in restricted instances.

Side-sponson Heavy Bolters
Side-sponson weapons for Predators are fairly important.  The price for a "naked" Predator is low enough that it can be valuable.  However, the price for the upgrade, considering that you get two weapons is very reasonable.  Heavy Bolters are, of course, more valuable against infantry than Lascannons.  In truth, Nurgle armies most likely benefit from Heavy Bolters more than Lascannons as Nurgle armies will typically find themselves outnumbered and struggle the most against swarm armies.

Side-sponson Lascannons
Side-sponson Lascannons can be valuable in their own right.  As a tank-buster, the Lascannons can quickly level the playing field against vehicle-heavy armies which can also give Nurgle armies a hard time. 

Huge, hulking daemonically possessed walkers stomping across your foes while blasting them with a massive battle-cannon is very appealing to the Nurgle player.  Defilers are almost indisputably powerful.  The Battle Cannon is one of only two ordinance weapons available to Chaos Marine players and sports a much greater range than the Demolisher cannon.  Defilers also sport some great support weapon options like Havoc Launchers, Reaper Autocannons, or Heavy Bolters. All of these options allow for Defilers to play a valuable anti-infantry role.  Finally, Defilers have Daemonic Possession and Fleet as a rule.  The Possession means that your weapons are, for the most part, a little less accurate but also means that Defilers are very durable.  Fleet means that you can get your Defiler into close combat if needed. 

My main problems with the Defiler are, firstly, that it combines combat roles: melee & shooting; typically this is a problem for me as you can't do both in the same turn.  My second problem with the Defiler is that it is not really conducive with the overall themes of a Nurgle list.  It is Daemonic for sure, but it does not quite seem right to me.

I've given the Defiler of 3/5 for appropriateness as it fits better according to fluff in a Black Legion or Iron Warriors army.  Tactically, it is redeemed with a 4/5 due to its superior firepower capacity and its overall versatility .

Close Combat Arm
One of the unique vehicle upgrades available to Defilers is their Close Combat arm which enables them to add up to two more attacks at the cost of ranged weapon options.  While giving your Defiler up to 6 attacks on the charge may seem like a good idea on paper, remember that they have a relatively lousy WS and I scores which can mean that they might get destroyed before they even get to attack.

Obliterator Cult
Obliterators go with Nurgle armies like maggots with a carcass.  Obliterators are durable, slow and pack a devastating amount of both medium and long ranged firepower.  They can very quickly make up for the lack of ranged anti-tank and anti-MEQ firepower so inherent to most Nurgle lists.  When using Obliterators, players should make use of their Slow and Purposeful rules and their ability to Deep Strike to get shots off at unsuspecting enemy units.  Dropping Obliterators with Terminators or even Daemons can quickly form a bubble of resistance.

I'd give Obliterators a 4/5 for appropriateness.  While these units cannot take the Mark of Nurgle or T5 and, traditionally, are unmarked according to fluff; there is the "Obliterator Virus" thread which can quickly validate this unit.  For tactical capacity, I rate them as a 5/5.  They provide much needed ranged fire to the Nurgle lists

Lesser Daemons
Phew, some easy ones.  Lesser Daemons have no upgrades or options so there is no need to review them.  Instead, consider the tactical benefits for Lesser Daemons.  1) They may Deep Strike in but do not scatter.  2) They may assault on their arrival.  3) They sport a decent Invulnerable Save and Toughness.

I can say from my experience fighting Daemons that their Invulnerable Saves are very annoying.  As most lists are tooled for taking down Armor Saves not Invulnerable Saves, Daemons enjoy an unnatural longevity and durability in most games. 

Lesser Daemons are no exception.  For a price lower than Chaos Space Marines, you get their stat line with the Daemon save and invisible assaulting.  This is quite a bargain to me.  As meat shields, daemon bombs or simply objective contesters, Lesser Daemons have quite a bit of potential.

Furthermore, consider that Lesser Daemons offer the opportunity to take more bodies without filling FOC slots - especially those valuable Troops slots.  I'm of the opinion that Lesser Daemons never count as scoring units (see page 90 of the core rules), but, of course, this could be disputed, I suppose.

Remember to take some Icons for summoning - particularly in units which operate close to enemy lines.  Likewise, strive to get and keep your Daemons in close combat as soon as possible for as long as possible.

Lesser Daemons score a 3/5 for appropriateness.  With the generalization of our Daemons, no longer can Daemons be tweaked to a specific god.  Still, the idea of Chaos Marines using Daemons is still fairly appropriate for us.  Tactically, I'm going to give Lesser Daemons a 3/5 as well.  They provide a limited amount of tactical cohesiveness in that they can provide cover or assault and tie-down enemy units.  However, Nurgle armies tend to focus on shooting, not assaulting.  So while Lesser Daemons can assault well, they don't fit entirely with our model.

Greater Daemon
Greater Daemons are beasts - besting even Daemon Princes for close combat potential.  The drawback is the way they enter the game.  For most Nurgle Champions, you are going to sell a lot of points for this guy.  This is disconcerting to many players.  But in the few games I've used one, the trade off was well worth it.  Again, you want to bring a Greater Daemon into play near enemy lines (preferably where you can assault) and get him into close combat as quickly as possible.  Don't be afraid to bring your Greater Daemon into play with your Lesser Daemons as they two types of forces work very well together.  However, be sure to try to keep your Icon Bearers alive as long as possible or simply roll for your Lesser Daemons first.  Remember also, the Greater Daemons allow you to essentially field a third HQ choice and bulk up the elite sections of your army.

Greater Daemons, like Lesser Daemons, will receive a 3/5 for their appropriate ness for much the same reasons.  Tactically, they are slightly more valuable simply because they can be game winners if they turn up in the right place at the right time.  I cannot say enough about their ability in close combat.  The only limitation which regulates them to a 4 and not a 5 is that it is often costly to Nurgle players who are normally paying close to 50 points for a champion model.

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