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Unit of the Week: Plagueburst Crawlers

- - - - - Death Guard Unit of the Week Death Guard Unit of the Week Tactica Plagueburst Crawler

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#1
McElMcNinja

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gallery_26_14909_15.gif Death Guard Unit of the Week - Plagueburst Crawlergallery_26_14909_15.gif 

 

I have run many lists including 1-3 of these and have found (for me) 3 is the number. Over many games 1 is not even worth bringing, 2 isn’t that bad, but 3 seems to get the job done. The law of averages makes 3 almost OP. I do tend to run more dakka then most, I just think in the current meta it’s needed. With 3 I average about 8 wounding hits with the mortar, killing a good 5 models. Around 4 with the entropy cannons, knocking out a vehicle or two. The heavy slugger doing some chip wounds, but still worth it depending on the target.
I also run 2-3 Volk-Contemptors and do quite well (w/tallyman) clearing objectives (or units that can reach objectives) especially if I go first.

 

So my question(s) is how are others running them and how do you find yourself taking them? Is 2 enough or is 3 an auto included to make them worth taking?


Edited by Xenith, 06 October 2021 - 07:06 AM.

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#2
Wolf Lord Loki

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This seems like a good topic for Unit of the Week!

I have 2 but I haven't used them since 9th edition came out. Not because they were bad but because I wanted to use stuff I'd built and painted over the pandemic.

My first thought are they are one of our best access to anti-tank weapons. We only have Meltas in infantry and multimelta on the Blight Haulers so the Entropy cannons are the closest we have to lascannons to attack high toughness models from afar

I magnetised the sponson mounts so I can chose between weapons and generally I think I would put the plague spitters on if I thought I was facing prominently infantry. Or stuff with transhuman as that might benefit from wound saturation

Entropy cannons for knights, battle suits and vehicle types.

It used to be in 8th that the Mortar was almost a secondary weapon. What are people's thoughts these days?
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Battle Tracker for my White Scars (Swindon 2008): Games this year 5 - Wins 2, Losses 2, Draws 1

Opponents:
Grey Knights 0/ 1/ 0 Imperial Guard 1/ 0/ 0
Eldar - 0/ 1/ 0 Crimson Fists 0/ 0/ 1
Tau 1/ 0/ 0

#3
Xenith

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This seems like a good topic for Unit of the Week!

 

Indeed it does! Thanks McElMcNinja for the topic - i hope you don't mind but I've taken the liberty of editing the title and tags to make it into a unit of the week post - we were due one here anyway, so why not Plagueburst Crawlers! 

 

As the Death Guard Unit of the Week Series (DGUotWS) has been a bit sporadic, Wolf Lord Loki has offered to post UotW topics regularly to start building a good resource for all our plague ridden chums. 

 

----------------------------------------------

 

PBC's. Man these are horrible. Am I right in thinking that the Disgusting Force strat (flat 3Dam, splash mortals onto units within 3") only affects a single PBC per turn? Last game I played an opponent with two, who in T1 played the strat then had it apply to both...needless to say it wasn't pleasant, my squish sorceres that need to stay within 3" of units were getting splash mortaled to death. 

 

I think the Entropy cannons are great weapons, maybe some of the best available to power armour, bumping damage a whole 1.5 points higher than a lascannon's D6, with a guaranteed minimum, then swapping a point of Strength for AP. They're maybe not great v T8, but anything with multiple wounds you're wounding on 3+/2+ is in for a world of pain.


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#4
Putrid Choir

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I love everything about the PBC. Fairly pointed. Has anti tank options and anti infantry. A blast mortar that doesn't need line of sight. Has 5++ and -1 damage at T8 (would rather have 5+++ but that is a whole other discussion). Plague weapon on everything but their little gun. And just visually the model looks amazing, one of my favorite. Looks more like a tank than a Daemon engine. I'm in the party that still loves treads on tanks.

Coming from 8th alot has changed with them. Entropy cannons were pretty bad pre PA and with the old 4+BS statline. Cannons going to 3+d3 damage with Plague weapon and hitting on 3's is awesome. The spitters have lost some of their luster for me. They don't benefit from Daemon engines going 3+ and they went from strength user (7 at the top bracket) to flat 6. But other than that the only reason I don't bring spitters is I rather have the cannons, which better complement the ranged mortars. I have much better luck with the spitters on the flying drones when I know I'm playing a T3 army (guard, sisters, admech etc...).

In a 2000pts game (which is all I play, not big on smaller skirmishes) I always bring 2-3. Strength in numbers. For thematic reasons I only use DG specific units that have DR. So no Predators, defilers or land raiders. So my only heavy support slot I can take is the PBC. And I'm perfectly fine with that because they are definitely one of our best performing and best looking models.
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#5
Karhedron

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It used to be in 8th that the Mortar was almost a secondary weapon. What are people's thoughts these days?


I think the Mortar is much more important in 9th, particularly when fielded in multiples. Given the importance of Objectives, many armies bring small units (often ObjSec) and hide them out of LOS to claim Objectives or table quarters while their Elites do the "heavy lifting". 3 Mortars can wipe a 5-man Marine squad off an Objective in a single turn, even with slightly sub-par rolling.

Given that Death Guard are not the most mobile army, the ability to reach out splat stuff at long range and out of LOS is golden. With hordes of Orks starting to appear in the meta, S8 and Blast is going to be handy there too. It can even do reasonable duty against vehicles at a pinch. It's profile is good for making a mess of Drukhari vehicles.
Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.

#6
Kobrakei

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I love them, they're just a consistent, solid threat that takes dedicated work to remove from the board. They're great choices for To The Last as well as they can be hidden and still provide support, and can also be left on a backfield objective which can reliably be held then for a good while.


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#7
Marshal Loss

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PBCs are amazing and every Death Guard player should own three.

  • They're uniquely resilient for their points in an edition where tanks mostly suck
  • The mortar allows us to take out annoying little units doing actions behind cover where we can't reach them with our generally short-ranged guns, and we have Disgusting Force available for when units are packed together or there are 3W models we need killed
  • Entropy cannons are our only real source of reliable long-ranged AT in the codex
  • They're a great way to make To The Last a core part of a list
  • The models look awesome, are easily magnetised, and are small enough to be quite maneuverable on a terrain heavy table

My regular opponents despise them. I love them with all my plague-ridden heart.


Edited by Marshal Loss, 06 October 2021 - 10:16 AM.

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#8
Karhedron

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PBC's. Man these are horrible. Am I right in thinking that the Disgusting Force strat (flat 3Dam, splash mortals onto units within 3") only affects a single PBC per turn? Last game I played an opponent with two, who in T1 played the strat then had it apply to both...needless to say it wasn't pleasant, my squish sorceres that need to stay within 3" of units were getting splash mortaled to death.


Yes, only one PBC per turn. I am afraid your opponent needs to read the wording more carefully.
 

DISGUSTING FORCE 1CP
Death Guard – Wargear Stratagem

Plagueburst Crawlers can fire rounds with additional potency and force that are overloaded with flesh-melting diseases and armour rusting poxes.

Use this Stratagem in your Shooting phase, when a PLAGUEBURST CRAWLER model from your army is selected to shoot. Until the end of the phase:
  • Each time that model makes an attack with a Plagueburst mortar, that attack has a Damage characteristic of 3.
  • After that model has shot, select one enemy unit that was hit by one or more attacks made with a Plagueburst mortar by that model this turn. Roll one D6 for each other unit within 3" (excluding NURGLEunits) of the selected unit: on a 4+, that unit suffers 1 mortal wound.

 

I have put the important bit in red. The stratagem only affects the targeted model and all stratagems are once per phase only.


Edited by Xenith, 06 October 2021 - 12:42 PM.
changed text colour.

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Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.

#9
Xenith

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PBC's. Man these are horrible. Am I right in thinking that the Disgusting Force strat (flat 3Dam, splash mortals onto units within 3") only affects a single PBC per turn? Last game I played an opponent with two, who in T1 played the strat then had it apply to both...needless to say it wasn't pleasant, my squish sorceres that need to stay within 3" of units were getting splash mortaled to death.


Yes, only one PBC per turn. I am afraid your opponent needs to read the wording more carefully.

 

Yea, after turn 1 I asked to see the rule and came to that conclusion also, however they were pretty sure it affected all of them. If there was a full stop instead of a comma after 'use this stratagem in your shooting phase', then I think it would be totally different. 


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Xenos XX\


#10
Relentless

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My only gripe is that there's no way to give them re rolls, which means you need to bring at least 2 (really 3) to have some kind of consistency with the entropy cannons. None of our anti-tank is core, except hellbrutes, but no one takes those because we also cant give invuln saves like space marines can.  When you're rolling is on point and your opponent cant make their saves, they're great, but I've gone plenty of games where I only manage 1-2 wounds actually getting thru with multiple PBCs.  Every game I find myself struggling to decide where to use a CP re-roll, on the hit roll? Wound roll? Number of shots? 

 

Still a good unit, just not as consistent as I'd like for being our only real ant-tank threat


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#11
Tokugawa

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Disgusting force should be consider as costing 2CP in player's mind: if you spent 1CP and roll bad on the number of attacks,…

#12
Karhedron

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Disgusting force should be consider as costing 2CP in player's mind: if you spent 1CP and roll bad on the number of attacks,…

 

That is the thing, it only affects the Mortar and is swingy. 1CP is fine IMHO as it is situational and can only buff one vehicle. Basically it is an extra D6 wounds but only against the right targets.


Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.

#13
Putrid Choir

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I think he was referring the second command point being used for a command reroll incase you roll 1 shot for the mortar while using the strategem.
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#14
Kobrakei

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Yep, you just know if you drop Disgusting Force you'll roll a 1 for your number of shots, it's pretty much a given!

 

This thread got me thinking about having more crawlers in my tourney list, so dropped a unit of Deathshroud and slotted a third PBC in. I think it's the right choice, but we'll see!


'For nine days and nine nights I hung from the spines of that great tree, my blood awash with toxins, my mind awash with visions. Where brothers died, I was reborn. This is what it is to be a warrior of the Thorn Wreath'  - Jor Yestine, I Company, Crimson Shrikes Adeptus Astartes

 

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#15
dice4thedicegod

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Everyone swears by these but they look so swingy (kinda like a necron doomstalker).

I just think it would be hard to fit these in, rather than more terminators!

#16
Karhedron

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They are a bit swingy but also quite powerful. That is why fielding multiples is a good idea. 3D6 will more reliably get closer to the average than 1D6.

The entropy cannons balance it out a bit. Plus they take a lot of dedicated effort to kill.
Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.

#17
Putrid Choir

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My PBCs get mileage. My terminators can't make a charge roll to save a nurgling.
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#18
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My PBCs get mileage. My terminators can't make a charge roll to save a nurgling.


I hear you!

Do you deep strike? I’ve just been waddling up the table :)

#19
MCB82

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Not surprised by all the PBC love, it’s a great offensive unit and fills a vital roll in our army for which we do not have many options. If I may play Devils (or should I say Deamon’s) Advocate, I have a serious issue with the PBC; its keywords.

 

The PBC is a Deamon Engine.  However, unlike all other Chaos legion Deamon Engines, including our own, it does not have a melee weapon or improved WS.  In this regard, the PBC a Ranged only threat, whereas all other Deamon Engines are multi-threat.

 

It lacks the Machine Spirit keyword.  Every 9th edition army has a stratagem to overcome degrading BS on their heavy vehicles.  The Death guard strat does not work on the PBC.

 

No Smokescreen, almost every 9th army has a way to give a vehicle -1 to hit.  The Death Guard strat does not work on the PBC.

 

No Bubonic Astartes keyword.  Unlike the Thousand Sons who’s legion traits affect TS Units, the PBC lacks the Bubonic Astartes keyword and therefore doesn’t benefit from the Death Guard’s Inexorable Advance, nor does it help score Despoiled Ground, despite being an excellent unit for holding our home objectives (and consistent with the fluff, ie PBC’s holding the rear while our infantry advance).

 

To recap, the PBC is a hybrid Deamon Engine / Tank.  It gains the 5++ save and disgustingly resilient, but doesn’t gain any melee capability.  Despite being a tank, It doesn’t benefit from any of the common stratagems to ignore degrading BS or add a -1 to hit smokescreen buff that (to the best of my knowledge) is available to every other 9th edition army. 

 

When out codex first came out, I assumed the lack of these keywords was a balancing edit, as they felt the PBC was already very strong with DR and a 5++ save.  However as more 9th edition codex’s drop that give out -1 damage and 5++ saves like its Christmas, I am less confident that the lack of these keywords was a purposeful decision rather than just poor design. 

 


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#20
Putrid Choir

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The lack of the bubonic astartes keyword is absolutely stupid and a poor job on GW's behalf. Space marines get their chapter traits and bonuses to all of their vehicles, kind of stupid we don't for ours. Similar issue with MBHs and Drones.
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#21
Tokugawa

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You can ask players of other chaos factions, whether they glad to trade their daemon engines in their books, for PBCs. 99.9% chance there would be a "yes".
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#22
Putrid Choir

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You can ask players of other chaos factions, whether they glad to trade their daemon engines in their books, for PBCs. 99.9% chance there would be a "yes".


Haha that's not saying much. You can also ask those same chaos space marines players whether they would trade their current rules for better 2 part legion traits that apply to EVERY unit, a mono bonus like doctrines, super doctrines and 2W marines. 99.9% chance there would be a "yes".
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#23
Iron Sage

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It used to be in 8th that the Mortar was almost a secondary weapon. What are people's thoughts these days?


I think the Mortar is much more important in 9th, particularly when fielded in multiples. Given the importance of Objectives, many armies bring small units (often ObjSec) and hide them out of LOS to claim Objectives or table quarters while their Elites do the "heavy lifting". 3 Mortars can wipe a 5-man Marine squad off an Objective in a single turn, even with slightly sub-par rolling.

Given that Death Guard are not the most mobile army, the ability to reach out splat stuff at long range and out of LOS is golden. With hordes of Orks starting to appear in the meta, S8 and Blast is going to be handy there too. It can even do reasonable duty against vehicles at a pinch. It's profile is good for making a mess of Drukhari vehicles.

 

This is the most minor point ever, and therefore I almost feel like excusing myself when quoting you. However, STR 8 while fantastic; no longer wounds Orcs on 2+ due to their new T 5 status.

 

Edited for punctuation and grammar.


Edited by Iron Sage, 06 November 2021 - 02:22 AM.


#24
Putrid Choir

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3 Mortars can wipe a 5-man Marine squad off an Objective in a single turn, even with slightly sub-par rolling.


That's not true, they need above par rolling. 3 (PBC's) x 3.5 (average number of shots per d6) x .67 (ballistic skill) x .97 (wounding on 2's rerolling 1's) x .67 (-2ap against a marine 3+ armor save, and that is assuming they are not in cover) is only 4.57 dead marines.

#25
Karhedron

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That's not true, they need above par rolling. 3 (PBC's) x 3.5 (average number of shots per d6) x .67 (ballistic skill) x .97 (wounding on 2's rerolling 1's) x .67 (-2ap against a marine 3+ armor save, and that is assuming they are not in cover) is only 4.57 dead marines.


Thanks for correcting my maths.

STR 8 while fantastic; no longer wounds Orcs on 2+ due to their new T 5 status.


That is true but it is still very good against Ork armies as it bypasses the "Ramshackle" rule on their vehicles allowing you to trash them much more efficiently.
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Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.





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