Deneghra1 Vs. Asphyxious2: A grind for the ages

I took my new Deneghra1 list out for a spin yesterday, against Duskerns Asphyxious2 list. The purpose of the game was to evaluate my chances of running the list on the clock, because the number of models is about twice what I’m used to, and it has a recursion mechanic making it even harder.

Warwitch Deneghra
– Deathripper
– Deathripper
Croe’s Cutthroats (Croe and 9 Grunts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
Greygore Boomhowler & Co. (Boomhowler and 9 Grunts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Necrosurgeon (Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls)
Necrosurgeon (Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls)
Lord Rockbottom
Dougal MacNaile
Skarlock Thrall
Warwitch Siren

It has a total of 57 models on the table, and during todays game I reached a grand total of about 80 models because of the massed Mechanithrall units. Duskerns Asphyxious2 list also featured a gazillion models, and because my list was living I would have to be very very careful about getting my army exploded, while trying to grind him down.

Lich Lord Asphyxious
– Helldiver
– Nightwretch
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts)
Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts + UA)
Bile Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and 9 Grunts)
– Satyxis Blood Hag
Bane Lord Tartarus
Machine Wraith
Saxon Orrik

Duskern brought 47 models, making the total number of models on the table in turn one exceed 100, and I think this might be the largest game I’ve ever played. I won the roll and went first, thinking I might need to spread the hell out and get my factories lined up. I then quickly noticed an obvious flaw in my list design, as Duskerns army had stealth on one flank and Incorporeal on the other, and I had few tools to deal with either.

Again half the pictures are blurred, and I keep struggling to figure out what the hell I pushed on my phone to make it so, and how to reverse the process so I can take actual pictures again. Blurred or not, a battle report is more interesting with pictures, so they’re included anyway.

After my setup, before deploying Croes

I run Croes up to just outside the Blood Witches running threat range, in order to force a first turn mini-feat. I would still be unable to actually do anything about them, but at least I could get the mini-feat out of the way so I wouldn’t have to deal with it later. If he didn’t mini-feat I would be able to Bushwack and body-block the Bane Knights with Mechanithralls, and if he did I could always throw some Venoms at him.

I also cautiously advance the Nyss Hunters on my left flank, trying to avoid an early double Excarnate, and because I wanted his Bane Thralls further up before engaging, so I could try luring the Bile Thralls to my right flank where Croes and Boomhowlers would present a more juice target. Assuming I could kill the Hag Boomhowlers would be able to actually survive a bit of purging, and Croes were going to be useless in this game anyway.

Running and mini-feating as he’s supposed to.

Duskern runs at me and mini-feats, putting his Knights up behind them, and cautiously advancing the Bane Thralls on my left flank across from the Nyss and the second unit of Mechanithralls. Some clouds go up, but the problem is my right flank where suddenly inspiration strikes.

Blood Witches are Incorporeal, Deneghra has Ghost Walk, and the Knights are mostly in cover, so why don’t I just charge? No good reason not to, so Croes charge the Bane Knights through the Blood Witches but needing 9+ on 3d6 to actually kill them mean that only four of them actually dies (bummer).

End of my turn two.

I advance the Nyss and kill a single Bane Thrall, and then run the left Mechanithrall unit out to screen them. Mechanithralls are a shitty screen, but the only thing he has over there is Bane Thralls, and with no Ghost Walk I can force him to fight my screen, leaving the Nyss to slowly shift right because the left flag vanished (incursion as always).

Boomhowlers take the middle, and I try some Venoms with Deneghra through the right Deathripper, but the Hag is out of reach spelling doom for the Boomhowlers. I do kill about 4-5 of the Blood Witches, reducing the impact they’ll have in the round, and quite a few of them are stuck if the Bane Knights wiff their Vengeance attacks on the Croes.

Quite a few Bane Knights miss, causing the entire right flank to end up in a massive traffic jam. The Bane Thralls on the left flank fight some Mechanithralls, who all go right back in the pot and will come back next turn. Bane Knights on the right charge and kill a few more Croes, leaving them at four man strong, and Boomhowlers take heavy casualties because of the Hag.

The coin is a Helldiver burrow marker… obviously.

Mechanithralls(L) annihilate the Bane Thralls, but Nyss are still sort of stuck because the Bile Thralls aren’t moving to my right as expected. Mechanithralls(R) and the remaining Boomhowlers plead Deneghra for a feat so they can wipe the Bane Knights, and she agrees. Mechanithralls really pull together and wipe the Bane Knights, leaving him behind on attrition and locked down by the feat.

What I didn’t really consider was the Helldiver, and I accidentally give Duskern a 10+ boosted roll to win the game. If the Helldiver can KD Deneghra, Asphyxious has an almost guaranteed kill with his feat, but luckily for me the roll comes up short and the game continues. I really shouldn’t have given him that option, as I had plenty of models left that could have blocked it.

Ahead by far now!

Since I didn’t die, and most of Duskerns army is either dead or Crippled, I’m way ahead in the game. The left Mechanithrall unit is all but annihilated as Tartarus enters the fray and kills five in one round, also opening up a lane for the remaining Bane Thralls to charge the Necrosurgeon, finally evening the score on the left. There’s still plenty of fighting to be done out there, but the real fight is on the right.

Duskerns messes up with the Bane Riders, using the Ride by attacks to kill some Mechanithralls and Croes, and then moving up try and jam a bit. This ends up turning an easy Excarnate into a hard one, but he hits a Nyss instead and a Bile Thrall clears some models in the middle.

It’s my turn and I move in for a decisive blow. I put Crippling on the Bane Riders and send in the Mechanithralls, reducing the Bane Riders to a single model, and I generally clean house on the board, but my Nyss Hunters fail to kill the last Bile Thrall allowing this to happen!


And gooodbye!

My commanding lead in attrition turned into a pile of sludge, as no less than 15 models melts in a gigantic purge exceeding any I’ve ever managed myself, and for good measure it nukes the Arc Node of my Deathripper. I’m now faced with a whole new game, as Asphyxious still has his feat and I have almost nothing with which to continue the attrition fight.


Boomhowler yells ‘I got this‘ and runs up to Asphyxious who didn’t have Hellbound up. Deneghra hits him in the back with a Scourge and knocks them both down, and then applies Parasite to his face. He’s camping 3 so that equals out with the Parasite, and my right Necrosurgeon is still alive. I pop three new Mechanithralls, and I get four Mechanithralls in on Asphyxious, rolling at dice-1 with combo-strikes, and they finish him for the win.


I ran out of time 3 minutes before the game ended, but we weren’t actually playing on the clock, and Duskern timed out ten minutes earlier (we’re both trying to run massive lists faster, so the clock is just so we know if it’s helping), but with a bit of practice I think I could run this list even with deployment on the clock.

I could have lost the game on two dice rolls, if the Helldiver had landed his head butt, or if I had missed with the Scourge. Those two rolls make the game a spectacular failure on my part, even though I won, as neither of those rolls should have been allowed to happen, and my win was entirely based on luck.

The list needs some tweaks as well, to counter the dependency on luck, a problem with force application, and a CMD issue with the Mechanithralls. The right unit was about 16 members strong at one point, which contributed to the massive losses to the purge, as the tiny CMD bubble forced me to bunch up like crazy.

Warwitch Deneghra
– Deathripper
– Deathripper
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
Greygore Boomhowler & Co. (Boomhowler and 9 Grunts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
– Skarlock Commander
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
– Skarlock Commander
Necrosurgeon (Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls)
Necrosurgeon (Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls)
The Withershadow Combine
Aiakos, Scourge of Meredius
Lord Rockbottom
Dougal MacNaile
Skarlock Thrall
Warwitch Siren

This version gives me some much needed magical attacks, and solves the problem with CMD range on the Mechanithralls as well. In addition I get to play around with Aiakos as a melee solo, which could help out with the force application issues on feat turn, and it doesn’t reduce my number of models or number of ranged attacks significantly. I’m really looking forward to trying out some of our new toys as well, and the Skarlock Commander has a sweet model!



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20 Responses »

  1. Since the Mcthralls are for recursion, have you given thought to running a min unit /w 2 surgeons and playing them much like alexia. Waiting until their numbers have swollen or just keeping the leader forward to create 6 charging thralls each turn. Saves on points, deployment time and early movements. You do lose out on a second activation though. Would free up 8 points. Dropping the other skarlock commander and you can have a leviathan on Aiakos which is just deadly with pdenny.

    • I can’t quite figure out how I would save 8 points by removing a minimum unit of Mechanithralls and two 1 point Commanders?

      • If you’ve misread them as two full units, then the math says 8 points for your suggestion though :)

        I’m going to give the dual unit setup with commanders a go, because two units mean they can be in two places as well.

  2. Yeah the issue with Stealth and Incorporeal is why I’ve gravitated slightly more towards the eDenny gunline build (which you can still run fine with recursion).

    The enhanced board control and various movement abilities also produce some mean results in combination with the feat, enabling stronger turns with positioning and added scenario pressure to force early commitment (a eDenny feat T2 is at least always accounted for, if not expected, by most opponents)

    But I guess that’s because to me, pDenny has much stronger debuffs. And while that is a very good gamestyle to have, I find in the poor matchups, she is also more in trouble with what to do under limitation.

    In general though I really like the list, and in a multi-list format, you can cover those bad matchups (mass Stealth, Incorp, shooting immunity, spell resistance, channeling prevention etc etc.) with the other list anyway so it all works out nicely :)

  3. A minor correction to my list. It was Min Thralls + UA (remember you sprayed the flag with venom from your Siren?). Besides that it’s spot on.

    I made a couple of mistakes as we discussed after the game. That Excarnate fuckup where I accidentally engaged the intended target of said Excarnate ^^ The Machine Wraith visible on the last picture, who should have taken the free strike on your Deathripper to block some of your mcThrall movement.

    I also cautiously advance the Nyss Hunters on my left flank, trying to avoid an early double Excarnate

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by double Excarnate?

    • You could have run up your Arc Node and thrown two excarnates, increasing the number of Bane Thralls or Biles. Unlikely play, but I didn’t see any gain in moving up more at the time.

      Duh about the Bane Thralls… will fix when I’m back on a laptop.

      • I see where your going. But needing 8’s on the attack roll on Nyss Hunters kinda sucks :) Would have had to give one focus to the Nightwretch leaving Asphyxious with only 6. I didn’t even think about it, but I usually try to do clouds in the first turn as it involves no dice and often gains me something in board control.

        • The way more likely play is indeed the clouds (though 2 clouds + Hellbound seems more beneficial as the first round opening).

          • Maybe I should try using hellbound some more. It just seems like I always really want to put out 3 clouds in the first turn but it might be overkill sometimes. As I don’t have the wsc it seems expensive to upkeep it every turn, but it might be worth it. Would have saved his ass in this game ;-) what do you think?

          • Well assuming I made exactly the same plays and mistakes, then yes it would have.

  4. Why don’t you have the WSC – I’m curious?

    Free upkeep – Means you get the full 7 each turn. Thats 2x clouds each turn plus Parasite, Excarnate, a fully loaded jack or a Hellbound recast. Hell, you could even pop a third cloud or Teleport out again and still have 1 left for the jacks or camp. Basically gives you way more mileage from your focus?

    Puppet Strings – Godsend for any Excarnate caster (can save you a boost in some cases. Now we’re looking at 2 focus saved, which is a whole cloud or Teleport…) Also solid gold on landing Parasite, Tartarus, feated Banes, Riders making impacts, blasting with Death Knell etc.

    Upkeep removal – When you have a feat that’s all about the melee, there are a lot of nasty upkeeps worth getting rid of, especially for a caster that lacks a DEF debuff. Plus you get some extra damage into the equation so help pull off assassination if that way inclined.

    And all the usual things that make them good, solid melee, more stealth, decent stats etc. Their spot removal is actually super handy in getting the feat off because they are one of the few ranged options he might have, allowing you to snipe out those irritating intervening models etc.

    But I’m guessing it just comes down to points and wanting more bodies on the table? Or character restrictions.

    • You have some very good points Lazarus :) I love the WSC and you are right about the focus economy aspect and all the other nice things they do for a list. At the moment it’s not really as much about character restrictions, as it’s about finding the points. I would love to have them in there and that wouldn’t be a problem if I took out the Bane Riders. Now I’ve only tried this list a couple of times, but the general idea behind taking the riders is that they are more capable at holding a zone or a flag than the rest of the stuff in a normal Asphyxious2 list.

      The list feels pretty good, but of course it lacks in some departments. I’ll need to run it some more before I know if I really like it or not.

  5. Considering your skarre list and how often you’ve used helldivers I was a little surprised to read about you getting caught out by them and incorporeal units.

    • Getting caught out on Incorporeal was a list design issue I thought I could work around, and the Helldiver was probably a result of my brain melting down due to the extreme number of models on the board :D

  6. Why lord rock bottom? Just for morale checks?

    • Morale checks are a source of unreliability, and unreliability will cost you games. Lord Rockbottom eliminates unreliability from the equation, which is something I’ll happily pay 2 points for :)

      He also happens to be carrying around a flamethrower, and he has actually been using it every now and then, though I think he might currently have killed more friendlies than hostiles (I even flamed a couple of my own Mechanithralls that were out of position, so the Necrosurgeon could rebuild them farther up the field).

      • Figured as much, though the flame throwing mcthralls to move them up sounds interesting… How would this army do if controlled by a not as savy player (ie me)? I have most everything except the howlers and aikos… I figured I would buy the howlers and substitute bokur to help me keep denny alive. Any thoughts on antimenoth tactics? I play against that a lot…

        • It’s a simple list to run once you get the hang of Necrosurgeon placement. It just advances like an unstoppable wave with guns :)

          • Since I have to do a little substitution, I have about 3pts of play… Like I said would probably go with a bokur… But wanted to ask what you think about a brute thrall if I ended up using something that was 2 points… Do you think they are ever worth it (vs just more mcthralls)? Also do you use boom howlers over bane thralls due to tight points or character restrictions or because you prefer them?

          • In this case I use Boomhowlers because they’re a much better fit to the list.

            Boomhowlers have guns, which adds to the lists ability to deal with other ranged lists, and makes it much easier to steal the initiative against melee armies.

            Secondly Boomhowlers are living, which means they turn into Mechanithralls when they die, which Bane Thralls do not.

            There are many other subtle ways Boomhowlers add to the list, but that might be the subject of an article later on, as it would take a while to explain in detail.

            With regard to Brute Thralls then my answer would have to be… I don’t know. In my experience Brute Thralls haven’t been worth it, but on the other hand they haven’t been a liability either, so I guess it’s down to preferences :)

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