Coach's Corner: Monster Mash vs Witch Cults Recap
Monster Mash vs Witch Cults Recap:
What happens when a bunch of Greater Daemons face off against a bunch of +1 to wound, poison wielding Witch Cults? Well, watch the video above first, because we are going to break down exactly what happened… so Spoilers!
Caught up? Alright. Let's break this down, turn by turn, decision by decision.
Initial thoughts going in:
The Greater Daemon list usually has the right tools to beat the Dark Eldar, especially after the latest point changes. However, some clever list building and excellent play can give the dark kin some serious advantages against monsters and vehicles. I expect these to be used a lot with all DE lists, as it's amazing in 9th.
Specifically, it is the +1 to wound against monsters and vehicles that is very, very effective against the Monster Mash list. The speed the DE possesses allows them to play to the mission quite well, and lets them respond effectively to the high pressure that the Greater Daemon list is trying to exert, and counter our objective holders.
DE also have no psychers, which opens up perhaps the easiest secondary in the game to score when your opponent is bringing a lot of psychic units - Abhor the Witch (I hope we see a similar rule to 8th ed ITC where you cannot double score secondaries off of a model kill, and have to choose).
The advantages for the GD list is lethality, speed, threat density, and board control. Unfortunately, as we will see, the Witch Cult list has the tools to stop the GD game plan.
If I want to win this game I need to stick to a gameplan of holding the mid table, exerting pressure, and be flawless on my positioning. The combination of the +1w and fly of the DE list can capitalize very quickly and effectively on any movement mistakes.
Ultimately, the ball is in my court to play to the mission and make the DE fight on my terms.
Mission and Table:
We used a table setup from the proposed WTC pack, which has since been deleted because it was for the book missions (which we can see doesn’t work great for this mission). This table setup combined with the mission The Scouring (#23) created some interesting problems:
- The table setup puts ruins on the edges of the board, and the scouring mission deployment is 8 inches away from both edges.
- This means that you only have a forest to hide your army. This is really bad for how the GD list wants to set up, especially vs an army touting a lot of +1 wound shooting. This is really bad for anyone against a gun line in general.
- (this issue is fixed in the new map pack, which makes forests obscuring!)
- Objectives are very much out in the open, which makes it easy to kill nurglings once they are in place (again, helped by obscuring forests).
- 4 large forests will slow down the big Daemon charge
- The buildings being on the edge means the GD bases can’t go around the buildings, which reduces their charge ranges to obsec units by a lot.
Looking back at my deployment, there is one major thing I would like to have done differently: Start with Magnus on the board. The DE army has good shooting, but likely not enough to kill Magnus in one turn, and it would force them to come into charge distance. More and more I want to never deep strike Magnus.
Turn 1 - Greedy Plays Get Punished
Alright, we win the roll off and get to go first. I hesitate here because my list loves going second. However, that is predicated on being able to hide my GD behind cover, and having some spots to tuck nurglings away before they move out. Going second from a concealed position lets me utilize the speed of the list to hammer on any midboard presence. The deployment and table layout means that I don’t have that option, and the DE bird units will very quickly road bump me if I don’t go first.
The turn was looking pretty good - I had a plan to move the GD behind and onto forests and use my 6 inch heroic daemon to lock down an objective. But here is perhaps the biggest mistake of the game, right off the hop: I roll a 6 to advance with my fast KoS and see red. That KoS had no business going and attacking the venom. This is usually a play that is fine against slower armies, but a list that has so much 12 inch movement and lethality on all of its guns (including pistols), there is no benefit to slamming in the KoS to pistol range turn 1.
Ideally, turn one should have been a keeper in each forest and the 6 inch heroic KoS in the middle with the LoC/Syl’Sekke, and 2 units of nurglings. This would have guaranteed me 15 secondary points on turn two and forced him to move closer to use his pistols.
There was a consensus in 8th that the game was won or lost in the movement phase, and 9th being so objective focus only amplifies it. Right here is where I start to lose the game. I throw away a valuable asset and forfeit the primary.
This is also why it is so important to reflect on your games! I joke on video about my dice rolls, and they were absolutely horrific, but it wasn’t the dice that made these movement decisions. It was these decisions that made those dice rolls necessary to dig myself out of the mistake I made, which is never a position you want to be in.
Skari being the excellent player he is, he capitalizes on this beautifully, he moves out, creates the road blocks I didn’t want to deal with, murders some objective holders, and thus forces me to have to deal with throw away units.
Now here is another learning moment: I lose my KoS that is -1 to range wound rolls, has a FnP and 4++ invuln, and it dies to pistols and venoms. He rolled hot and I rolled awful. Those moments where the dice math goes sideways can be very tilting. These are the moments where you should put it on your time and take a breather. A mistake had put me in this position, bad dice made it worse, and now my board control and pressure was gone and his fire power is going at max value.
Unfortunately I didn’t take time to process and ended up making things worse turn 2.
Turn 2 - Playing Tilted
Board control is slipping away and the Reaper is starting to hammer away at my key assets. I have to get my value out of my key units now.
I reinforce the center objective, but not enough. I plan to break through on the right side, but don’t put enough there to guarantee the success of removing the screen. Magnus comes down, but I leave the Daemonnettes in reserve (they should have come down to back up Syl’Sekke). I move the furies into charge and hopefully surround the back of Syl’Sekke, but I should have either moved up the nurglings or brought down the Daemmonettes to protect his back. I had a plan if the charges worked and screens died, but failed to create a contingency to protect a very important asset if the charges failed/screens lived.
I start my psychic phase and start smiting first with the wrong units. I really needed to start with Syl and the KoS, so that the birds take max damage. Instead I start with the LoC and Magnus, wasting their +2 to cast on easy smites - and making the smites I really need harder and they fail. My smite dmg in general is poor, but Magnus is buffed up and ready to go.
Shooting phase: The KoS and Syl fail to finish off the birds, and are still stuck behind the speed bump. This is not good.
Charging phase: Syl fails his charge, and is stuck without adequate protection, and I make a huge mistake with my furies not charging the birds and surrounding him. They will both die needlessly because of my mistake, which was caused because I was playing tilted trying to dig myself out of hole rather than playing to the mission and keeping my assets safe.
Magnus also fails his charge, and the plane is still alive because my smites underperformed. So I charge in the thunder chicken, off of the middle objective to kill the plane. In hindsight Magnus really needed to come down in the middle and hold it, or let go of killing the plane altogether.
Fight Phase: the fight phase goes poorly, and I have to use a CP to put down the plane. This is really not where I want to be, and I am very out of position. The furies tried to pin down the bikes to save Syl’Sekke, but died doing so (and considering the DE strat to act normally, it was a very bad decision).
Skari goes - he moves onto the objectives, the hellions pick up some nurglings and the bikes pick up syl’sekke. I am struggling to make saves as the reaper and venoms bring down the Greater Daemons, and the game at this point is out of my reach.
Turn 3+: Make the Best of It.
It is pretty much all over but the crying. At this point it’s just about getting as many points as possible, and seeing what Magnus can do. He finally comes to play - removing units with big smites and taking out vehicles to help with secondaries. But it is too little to late
Unfortunately the Thunder Chicken is just not making saves or FnP, and is quickly dying. The final Keepers get obliterated by the Reaper, which has been nuclear hot all game. Once they are down it only takes double 1s on Magnus’s saves to see him felled by the Reaper, and the game concludes with a massive Victory for the DE.
Final Thoughts and Takeaways:
It’s cliche, but you will learn more from reflecting on losses than you do from victories. It is really important in the face of bad dice to not let that be your excuse, or your easy way out, for a loss. Put the ego aside and take stock of the mistakes that were made and analyze the good plays from your opponent.
One thing we can always learn from Skari is his mastery of the movement phase. Skari took a lot of time turn one to make sure he set himself up for victory turn 2, while I made a big mistake and went for the venom bait.
Looking back on the game, it is a perfect example of how we need to play and adjust our lists for 9th edition. The focus on mid-field objectives, contesting for primaries, and the importance of precise movement is all on display. Armies that can move fast, put lots of wounds on objectives (like transports, birds, or nurglings), and remove opposing objective holders will do well this edition.
For myself, the key takeaways are:
- Spend more time in the movement phase planning, and don’t get sucked into a charge just because you can make it. 9th is about maxing that primary.
- Take a break if the game is going sidewise. Playing tilted is worse than playing with less time.
- Start playing 9th and stop playing 8th. The new terrain rules are quite good for the Greater Daemons, as is the new board size and objective positioning. Use it!
- No more casting in any order, make sure to cast with the right units first!
- Beware Hellions, they put nurglings in the ground lol.
Some possible list adjustments:
- The revision to the fallback rule means the Epitome is a very strong option, replacing Syl.
- You can also run the Syl spot with either a Blood thirster or a 2nd LoC. The fly can help with the screens.
- 3 5 model squads of nurglings: helps abuse the stratagem more and they can absorb a bit more firepower.
If you made it this far, thank you! Hope you enjoyed the batrep, and see you next time.