Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Death Guard (9E)

From 1d4chan

This is the current 9th Edition's Death Guard tactics. 8th Edition Tactics are here.

Why Play Death Guard

Grandfather Nurgle's favorite pus-sacks have their own Codex, and it's a solid mix of the fluffy and crunchy. You might not exactly be zipping across the board, but if you want a footslogging army that can shrug off almost anything the opponent can throw at them and retaliate with punishing short-range attacks (and have an obsession with the number 7), the Death Guard is the army for you.

Pros

  • Plague weapons make wound rolls reliable with easy access to re-rolling 1s, and can be buffed in several different ways.
  • Excellent Toughness on average, and most of your army, including some of your vehicles, have Disgustingly Resilient, which is minus 1 to damage received to a minimum of 1
  • Lots of debuffing auras to discourage choppy armies from getting too close to you.
  • Your basic troops are T5 - which in this edition is a serious boon, as all but the most lethal of weaponry will still only wound them on 3s. You need a Demolisher Cannon to hurt them on 2s! All this combined with 2 wounds gives you have some pretty serious staying power. When you take an objective, expect to hold it until your opponent brings their heavy weapons to bear.
  • Many of your units have ways of dealing mortal wounds, letting them bypass those annoying invulnerable saves.
  • They have access to a Primarch.
  • As the other army in the starter set and the Conquest magazine, alongside the Primaris Marines, it'll be easy to start up a collection.
  • They are one of the most up-to-date lines of Chaos models.

Cons

  • Lack of Anti Armour capabilities at range.
  • The infantry that makes up the bulk of your army is SLOW. Most units have 5" of movement at most.
  • Practically no designated long-range fire units outside of vehicles.
  • A slight lack of rerolls; only 4 units have access to them (5 if you count the Termie Lord apart from the normal Lord). This is a much bigger problem in the infantry-heavy Death Guard with high numbers of troops and several back-sitting long-range fire support options in the codex.
  • Some lazy ports of standard chaos units.
  • Most of the mortal wounds you deal out require you to be very close if not in melee range, putting your units at risk against fast, shooty armies like the Eldar as well as flyers in general.
  • Low model reusability. In spite of the fact that they're still technically Death Guard, you're probably not going to find much use for your old Plague Marine minis now unless you can kitbash their new weapon options on. Even if you previously had a DG army, if you want to run DG using THIS codex, you're probably going to have to start from scratch as all the actually good units are new, or equipped with new gear. Just like the Thousand Sons before them.
  • You'll eventually get tired of the coronavirus jokes.

How to handle these cons

  • You should imagine playing a DG army as slow-growing but potentially lethal. Sure, we are slow, but we can utilize Spawn, Possessed, Tanks or flying DPs to move ahead of the main wave and cause dissent before the rest catches up into mid-range to cause maximum damage.
  • If you had Bikers, Helturkeys, and Obliterators in 7E and want to use them in a DG army, you still can, but they must be restricted to a separate detachment of vanilla CSM (if you want your DG to keep Inexorable Advance and Plague Host). In addition, nothing stops you from painting your Bikers in DG colors and running them with rules for regular CSM Bikers, so get creative! It's all about your dudes!
  • Transports can help our slow-moving troops to get across the board, but most of them don't have Disgustingly Resilient. Metal Boxes are not as good as they used to be. Taking transports has always been a tactical choice, but now more than ever. This subject is a bit of a skub depending on who you ask and on the kind of terrain you usually play on. I suggest experimenting with having more troops, but no transports OR 2-3 transports, but less troops. There is always a sweet spot in balance that Papa Nurgle would approve. If you have a LoW slot to spare and can afford Forge World, the Hellforged Spartan Assault Tank is a perfect solution to the transport issue.
  • Opinion on transports. Put a plague marine squad (7 if you're feeling fluffy) and characters to fill the rest of its capacity. Counts as 1 unit drop during deployment while deploying as many as 4 units inside. This can help you move up the board and fire what long range weapons you can. Start the game on your own terms.
  • An option for a slightly less expensive long range anti tank than predators (as long as you don’t mind taking an allied detachment or two) to take some R&H Disciple/Command squads with las cannons or missile launchers. A second much less expensive option is renegade heavy weapon squads with las cannons, they’re cheap but they will miss more often than not.
  • Consider taking a Sorcerer on a Palanquin (Legend) or an Index Daemon Prince (totally not a Legend), or alternatively allying with a CSM sorcerer, with warptime and 1 other power (Prescience is a good pick). Dark Hereticus powers affect Heretic Astartes, rather than [Legion] models, so it will buff your Death Guard. The ability to move an appropriately killy unit twice in an army as slow as DG can make a huge difference in getting your guys where they need to be, when they need to be there.
  • Battle maps are now smaller in 9th making our short range anti tank better

Special Rules

  • Diseased Minions: You can't take more Poxwalker or Plague Follower units than you have Bubonic Astartes core infantry units in a detachment. Pretty much there to stop small games where you have a plague lord and one pack of plague marines while your troops are cultists/zombies.
  • Infernal Jealousy: The khayoss equivalent to Chapter Command. You can only take one Lord of the Death Guard or Daemon Prince in a detachment. Prince already has Lord keyword so the prince part is to spite That Rule Haggler Guy.
  • Foetid Virion: Chapter command part two. You can take up to three Foetid Virion units (Plague Surgeon, Tallyman, Noxious Blightbringer, Putrid Foulspawn and Biologus Putrefier) units in a single Elites slot as long as they all have different datasheets. This lets you essentially run as many as you want in a single Detachment, which is pretty great.
  • Inexorable Advance: If your army is Battle-forged, all Death Guard units in Death Guard detachments gain this ability. They count a Stationary when shooting if they did not Fall back or advance; Vehicles Don't suffer penalties for firing while in engagement range; and Infantry ignore modifiers to move characteristics, advance rolls and charge rolls.
  • Disgustingly Resilient: Gone is the FnP of 8E, now it reduces the damage of all attacks by 1 to a minimum of 1. Plasma and heavy weapons are now less effective on you, but it'll still mean squat for walls of any rapid-fire weapons.
  • Objective Secured: Only Poxwalkers and Plague Marines now have Objective Secured in a battle-forged detachment, meaning that Cultists are now left out of the equation despite (or perhaps because of) being the least plague-infested members of the legion.
  • Plague Weapon: A weapon that rerolls to-wound rolls of 1. Incidentally, a lot of your weapons are these.
  • Daemonic Ritual: 9th's codex update doesn't have daemon datasheets but as they are on the daemon units themselves, they are the Same as vanilla CSM, but locked to NURGLE DAEMON.
  • Malicious Volleys: Astartes and Heretic Astartes models using a Rapid Fire bolt weapon can take double the normal attacks (2 for bolters, 4 for storm bolters, etc) if at least one of the following is true:
    • target is in half range
    • if the model didn't move during the previous Movement Phase (so practically always at your full range if battle-forged)
    • if the model is a Terminator
  • Remorseless: You can ignore any or all combat attrition modifiers. Not only are you a pain to fight in a straight up battle, you also can laugh off attempts to weaken your morale. Note that the wording means that positive modifiers still work just fine.
  • Contagions of Nurgle: A special aura effect. Its range starts out at a miserable 1", but slowly expands up to 9" as the battle continues. They're not classified as auras despite working similarly, so stratagems that suppress auras won't work on them.
    • Nurgle's Gift (Contagion): Reduces Toughness of enemies in range by 1. Those Space Marines aren't looking so hardy anymore. As a bonus, this Contagion applies to your whole army as long as they all have the Death Guard keyword. Have fun with that.

Warlord Traits

Can be chosen freely, but if you have decision anxiety, roll a d6.

You'll notice that Mortarion has THREE WTs open to him on top of the Plague Company's WT. We'll discuss it later, but it's making him quite the terrifying threat to go against.

  1. Revoltingly Resilient: Get old Disgustingly Resilient, Gets 5+++ to ignore wounds. One of Mortarion's traits.
  2. Living Plague: Enemy units within 3" of the Warlord are unaffected by any Aura ability that is not from Psychic powers. Your pick of choice if you plan on shutting off any annoying HQs like the space marines. Another Mortarion Trait.
  3. Hulking Physique: +1 to Wound and unmodified wound roll of 1-3 against him always fails regardless of the attacking model's rules. Definitely an appealing take when facing off against high-strength weapons like plasma.
  4. Arch-Contaminator: <Plague Company> Core units within 6" of your Warlord can Re-roll all wound rolls made with a melee Plague Weapons and also Ranged Plague Weapons if the target is within 12" of the Warlord. Mortarion's third trait.
  5. Rotten Constitution: +1 to Toughness and ignores AP on -1 & -2 attacks. Congratulations, chainswords and bolters are now as effective as sticks and stones to you. Just beware that you're still open to anti-tank weaponry.
  6. Foul Effluents: Enemy units with 6" take 1 MW at the end of your movement phase on a 4+.

Stratagems

  • Trench-Fighters (1 CP): Plague Marine Only. Use in the fight phase. Models equipped with a plague knife may make one additional attack it.
    • More often than not this is of little benefit on its own, as your units will be too small for the number of free attacks to matter.
  • Creeping Blight (1 CP): Use in the fight phase. Select one Death Guard unit. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to any damage roll made for their attacks, and an unmodified wound roll of 6 becomes AP -4. You can use this on a full unit of Plague Marines with Flails of Corruption, which shouldn't happen ever is fucking badass, this can be terrifying and since most melee characters already have a AP of -3 this should be used on a big melee-based unit with low AP if you ever use this stratagem.
    • Note: this doesn't have a plague weapon restriction so throw this on a blob of cultists or poxwalkers for a surprising amount of AP
  • Fire Fever (1 CP): Helbrute Only. When this brute is used in the shooting phase it can only target one enemy unit, but those shots all have +1 to hit and wound rolls. Not quite as drastic as a re-roll, but definitely still helpful if you grabbed two guns for it.
  • Vermid Whispers (1 CP): Use in the shooting or fight phase. Select one Death Guard Terminator unit. Until the end of the turn, they add +1 to any hit rolls they make, same as the Loyalist's Fury of the First stratagem.
  • Haze of Corruption (2 CP): Select one Death Guard Core unit during the fight phase. Any time they kill a model in combat, any overkill damage they make will spill over and hit another model without needing to make any rolls. This will make throwing things like power fists or plagues even more painful for a mob.
    • Sadly it’s core restricted, as otherwise daemon prince with sword would cut guardsmen and orks like there is no tomorrow, BUT it’s also great other way around - having this on D2 attacks vs 3W targets (say deathshroud vs gravis) means you need to inflict 3 wounds, instead of 4, to kill 2 models. It’s all about efficiency, though for 2CP you won’t be using it that often...One funny thing to do is take Plague Marines kitted out for CC with flails, Cleavers, and Maces, and the amount of excess damage will paste entire large squads.
  • Eternal Hatred (2 CP): Select a Bubonic Astartes Infantry unit during the fight or shooting phase. They add 1 to all their to wound rolls for the rest of the phase. Always useful.
  • Mutant Strain (1 CP): Poxwalkers only. Use in the fight phase. Unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict 1 mortal wound on the enemy, but unmodified hit rolls of 1 cause the poxwalkers to suffer 1 mortal wound.
    • Similar issue with Life-Eater but has it's uses unlike Life-Eater. Effective against high save units with an invuln like a Terminator or Bladeguard Vets but otherwise Creeping Blight is better for most targets as it will be just as effective without risking your own models.
  • Diseased Effluents (1 CP): Use during the Command phase. Select one Death Guard Character (who isn't a Daemon) who is engaged with an enemy unit. For the price of one mortal wound, you can roll a d6 and deal 2d3 mortal wounds (d3 if the enemy was a Character) on the enemy unless the enemy was a Vehicle.
  • Unclean Machine Spirit (1 CP): The heretical version of Power of the Machine Spirit. Select one Death Guard Machine Spirit unit during the command phase, this unit is now counts as if they're at max wounds for the rest of the turn.
  • Befouled Incubators (1 CP): Select one Death Guard Character during the Fight phase. Every time this model kills an enemy model during this attack, the enemy unit suffers an additional mortal wound (to a max of 3). Honestly not quite as potent as Haze of Corruption but it is cheaper.
  • Release the Toxins (2 CP): Once per Battle. Select one Death Guard Character with a Relic of Decay during the Command phase. Roll a d6 for every enemy unit within 7", on a 2-5 they suffer a mortal wound, on a 6, they take d3.
  • Eruption of Filth (1 CP): Use when a Death Guard Character is killed in the Fight phase. Instead of any other self-destruct abilities the model may have, they now a d6 for every unit within 3" without the Nurgle keyword. On a 2-5, they suffer a mortal wound, on a 6 they take d3.
  • Champion of Disease (1 CP): Before the start of the battle, select one Bubonic Astartes Infantry with a champion included. That champion now gets one of the following relics: Reaper of Glorious Entropy, Plague Skull of Glothila, Plaguebringer or Suppurating plate. Like the one for Sergeants in the Loyalist army, this is used once in a Combat Patrol, twice in a Strike Force or three times in an Onslaught.
  • Gifts of Decay (1 CP): Use before the start of the battle. You can have a second Relic of Decay for 1 CP. Like the one for Loyalists, this is used once in a Combat Patrol, twice in a Strike Force or three times in an Onslaught.
  • Plaguechosen (1 CP): Praise Nurgle, a way to get an additional warlord trait, with no duplicates. Like the one for Loyalists, this is used once in a Combat Patrol, twice in a Strike Force or three times in an Onslaught.
  • Grandfatherly Influence (1 or 2 CP): When mustering a Chaos Spawn unit, you can trigger this to grant the unit +1 Toughness and Disgustingly Resilient. This costs 2 CP if the unit has more than three models.
  • Sickly Corrosion (2 CP): During the fight or shooting phase, select one Death Guard that scores a hit with a plague weapon. Until the end of the turn, any attacks this unit makes can re-roll a wound roll of 1.
  • Belching Fumes (1 or 2 CP): During an enemy shooting phase, select a Myphitic Blight-Haulers unit. During the rest of the phase, all shooting attacks against them lose one shot outright to a minimum of 1 shot. This costs 2 CP for a unit of three or more models.
    • So what is this useful for? Really, it's for assault cannons and blast weapons like the Leman Russ cannon. For any high-AP units, the stratagem's likely to go to waste. (Well, it’s kinda great against multi meltas or heavy laser destroyers and twin lascannons on repex - reducing number of attacks by half! Take one blight hauler add on him 4++ from poxmongers relic, and laugh as full squad of sisters retributors with meltas struggle to even touch this thing, while it happily continue to spread sickness and -T to nearby unit. Maybe not pro-gamer-move, but it can really mess your opponents offensive capabilities. And is fun.)
  • Blight Bombardment (2 or 3 CP): During a Command phase where you have a Death Guard Warlord, you can place a marker anywhere on the board. On the next command phase, the bomb hits and you roll a d6 for every unit within 6" of the marker, adding 1 if the unit was Infantry and subtracting 1 if the unit was a Character. On a 2-6, the unit takes d3 mortal wounds, upped to a d6 on a 7+. This costs 3 CP unless you have that fancy new Lord of Virulence, in which case it's down to 2 CP.
  • The Dead Walk Again (1 CP): Use at the start of the Command phase, and can only be used once per qualifying unit. Pick a unit of Poxwalkers and roll 7d6 - On a 3+, a zombie rises again with a single wound and can be thrown into engagement range right away. While not quite as flavorful as raising the corpses of fallen foes, this is a good bit easier to weaponize.
  • Cloud of Flies (2 CP or 4 CP): During an enemy shooting phase, select a Bubonic Astartes INFANTRY unit. Until the end of that phase, it cannot be the target of ranged attacks unless they're the closest unit to the foe. This costs 4 CP if used on a {W40Kkeyword|Terminator}} unit.
    • This essentially gives your footsloggers the old 8th ed CHARACTER rules, making them immune to shooting attacks. Also protects important characters from sniper weapons. It pairs remarkably well with a unit or two of Nurglings, who can use their Mischief Makers ability to get right up close before the battle even begins. Possessed also love this, considering how vulnerable they are to ranged attacks.
  • Break their Spirits (1 CP): When a Death Guard Terminator unit kills an enemy model with the Infantry/Swarm/Beast keyword in the fight phase, the rest of the unit suffers -4 Ld. Quite crushing for mobs even if you don't flat-out eradicate them with Deathshrouds.
  • Dark Cravings (1 CP): During an enemy Charge phase, a Foetid Bloat-Drone can perform a Heroic Intervention if the enemy model is within 6" horizontally and 5" vertically of it. This is quite surprising to pull off since nobody'd expect this, but you can totally mow down a unit with a good roll.
  • Daemonic Gluttony (1 CP): Use on a Death Guard Daemon Engine during the Fight phase. Any models this engine kills lets it regain a wound to a max of 3.
  • Flash Outbreak (2 CP): During the Command phase select one <Plague Company> unit. Until your next command phase, they can count as having one contagion from another unit from the same <Plauge Company>. The range for your contagions also now count as if they were one round higher, enabling a wider spread.
  • Putrid Detonation (1 or 2 CP): When a Death Guard Vehicle dies, it can automatically explode. It costs 2 CP if the vehicle has more than 9 wounds.
  • Foul Smokescreen (1 CP): Use during an enemy Shooting phase. When a Death Guard Smokescreen is attacked, then all shots targeting it will suffer -1 to hit until the end of the phase. Definitely helpful considering how likely they will be under fire.
  • The Blightening (1 CP): During the Shooting phase, up to three Death Guard units with Grenade plague weapons lose the Blast ability and instead become Pistol 6 weapons that automatically hit. The point of this stratagem is pretty clear: Throw your plague marines into the thick of it, pop grenades and see the enemy wither under short-range explosives.
  • Overwhelming Generosity (1 CP): During the Shooting phase, a Death Guard unit that is firing a plague weapon adds 6" to the range of any plague weapons they're using for that phase.
  • Virulent Rounds (1 CP): During the Shooting phase, you can make a Death Guard Core unit firing bolt weapons count as plague weapons as well.
  • Disgusting Force (1 CP): Use on a Plagueburst Crawler during your Shooting phase. Their mortar now deals a flat 3 damage and after shooting, anyone within 3" of a target hurt by the mortar (and lacking the Nurgle keyword) must roll a d6, taking a mortal wound on a 4+.

Secondaries

Purge the Enemy

- Assassinate

While you're more than capable of ripping plenty of enemy characters to pieces if you can get into melee with them, the trick is getting into melee. To get to the enemy characters you'll need to spend a turn at least chewing up their screens, and the thing you're trying to get to and beat to death is almost certainly faster than you.

- Bring it Down

Death Guard are very good at killing tougher infantry, and average at killing vehicles. If you decide to go for this, bring plenty of lascannons, multi-meltas, missiles, and blight launchers.

- Titan Slayers

You thought it was tricky trying to kill tanks, now you want to try to kill a Knight? Good luck, you'll need it. As of War of the Spider it’s actually fairly simple to down a Knight using blight grenades and an assault drill.

- Slay the Warlord

See Assassinate. If he's dumb enough to fight you in melee, a free 6 points! But not worth relying on when we're better at so many other things.
Warpcraft

-Mental Interrogation

Depends entirely on how much you think you need your casts. Death Guard do bring a surprising number of sorcerers, but you have to question how badly you want that extra smite or buff for your troops.

-Psychic Ritual

Potentially one of our better choices. Our casters are tougher than usual and can also summon their own screens of plaguebearers if you don't want to march up some to protect him while he does his work.

-Abhor the Witch

Flavorful, considering Morty's own view on psykers, but you aren't likely to take it, as you'll want to bring psykers of your own.
No Mercy, No Respite

- Thin their Ranks

Good if you're up against a melee horde army like orks or nids. Between our vomit flamers and those flails we totally didn't steal from clan pestilens, mulching hordes and even tougher infantry is something we are very, very good at.

- Attrition

It isn't literally the secondary with your name on it, but it may as well be. You don't have to kill many to make your points on this one, so long as you manage your troops wisely.

- While We Stand, We Fight

Another excellent choice for the disgustingly resilient servants of Nurgle. Considering our big expensive tanks and daemon engines are also exceedingly hard to put down (particularly with the Poxmongers) and this can also turn into "keep Mortarion alive, the secondary" and if you were bringing Morty, you were building your army around him already.

- First Strike

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA... no.
Battlefield Supremacy

- Engage on All Fronts

An interesting choice if you decide you want to cover the field in zombies like it's the walking dead. However, this does spread your forces out, which can lead to them being systematically annihilated one at a time (and then the ground under them getting scorched, just to make sure)

- Linebreaker

This is one we're halfway suited for. Halfway because if you can get something back there, your opponent is going to have one hell of a time getting you out. The problem lies in getting your forces back there. Nurglings can be useful for this thanks to their ability to deploy outside the zone, and they're obnoxious enough to kill that your opponent is going to have to dedicate more firepower than he thinks to removing them.

- Domination

A bread and butter secondary for this army, doubling down on what they're good at: Standing on an objective and daring anyone to come and get them off it.
Shadow Operations

- Raise the Banners High

Much like Domination, this should be a bread and butter secondary for most Death Guard armies. Since all it requires is infantry, you can have your useless tarpits like poxwalkers or plaguebearers perform the action, giving time for your marines to let fly downtable.

-Investigate Sites

This one combos well with Psychic Ritual, giving something for the plaguebearers and poxwalkers to do other than get shot at instead of your sorcerer. It might also work with a Mortarion deathstar if you leave something minor behind to handle the action after Morty kills everything within 6" of the center (including Typhus if he happens to be there)

- Repair Teleportation Homer

Sadly you cannot use Nurglings to repair sophisticated equipment, who knew? Much like linebreaker, if you can get your infantry back there, they can handle the job quite well, the trick is simply getting them back there.

Wargear

Ranged Weapons

  • Autogun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S3 AP0.
  • Boltgun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP0.
  • Blight grenade - Frag Grenade (6" Grenade 1d6 S3 AP0 D1 Blast) that rerolls 1s To Wound. Just about every unit in your army that would normally take Frag Grenades gets these instead, and they can be buffed from a surprising variety of sources.
  • Krak grenade - 6" Grenade 1 S6 AP-1 D d3, always better than the bolt pistol/gun shot it replaces.
  • Blight launcher - 24" Assault 2 S6 AP-2 D2 plague weapon. A hard-hitting anti-infantry weapon that's also good against light vehicles. It can very well substitute plasma weapons if you want some more range in exchange with AP. It also has some really nice combo with Arch Contaminator.
  • Plague Belcher - 12" Assault D6 S4 AP0 D1. Standard flamer with plague weapon special rule.
  • Plague Spewer - Same as the Plague Belcher but with heavy D6 S5 and AP-1. The plague equivalent of the heavy flamer. Stronger, but keep in mind that you still can't shoot it after advancing, which is pretty important given your slow movement.
  • Plasma Gun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S7 AP-3 D1 or S8 AP-3 D2 and you die if you roll a natural 1. You know it, you love it. Say goodbye to anything but the toughest units. The decision here is whether you want the launcher, to rip apart infantry units, or plasma for those pesky tanks and TEQ's.
  • Meltagun - 12" Assault 1 S8 AP-4 D d6. If you're within half range, flat +2 damage. One of the very few options the Death Guard have in dealing with large, tough units. Their pitiful range is somewhat mitigated by your ability to run and shoot them every turn with no penalty. Consider packing a model or two with a Great Plague Cleaver or Mace of Contagion, as you must be in charge range to use them anyway. Rhino delivery system optional, but recommended.

Melee Weapons

  • Plague Knife - A basic CCW with the Ap-1 and Plague Weapon special rule. It’s free, so shut up and take it.
  • Plaguesword - A straight upgrade for your Plague Champions, stolen Gifted from a Plaguebearer. Like a Plague Knife, but rerolls all failed To Wound rolls instead. It's free at least...?
  • Bubotic Axe - S+2 AP-2 D1, old power axe but with the Plague Weapon special rule.
  • Balesword - S+1, AP-3 D1, so a power sword, but, you guessed it, with Plague Weapon special rule. Note that this is the only plague weapon that the standard Chaos Lord can have.
  • Power Weapons: Each type of Power Weapon has its own profile now, so pick the right one for the situation. Unless you have the option for a Lightning Claw, then you should always take that instead. All Power Weapons have a damage value of 1:
    • Power Axe: S+2 AP-2. Offers a compromise between the Power Maul's brute force and the Power Sword's armour penetration.
    • Power Maul: S+3, AP-1. This is the one you want to use against lightly armoured units that rely on toughness to shrug off hits. The Lance is identical to the Maul because of reasons.
    • Power Sword: S+1 AP-3. Best against targets that rely on armour saves over toughness to shrug off hits. Except against frail things with good invulns like Crusaders, who ignore AP anyway.
  • Power Fist - You know it, you love it. -1 To Hit, but doubles your Strength, has AP-3 and deals 2 damage. Your Plague Champions seem to have a fetish for them, but a Chaos Lord can use them, too.
  • Flail of Corruption - Up to 1 in 5 Plague Marines and Blightlord Terminators can take these babies. 2 hit rolls per attack, S+1, AP-1, D2, Plague Weapon.
    • Not as powerful as it was before but on a blightlord it still puts out 6 attacks with a pretty nice anti infantry profile.
  • Great Plague Cleaver - A Power Fist but with Plague Weapon and D6 damage. The main reasons not to take it are its horrendous points cost and the fact that only Plague Marines with their paltry two attacks can take one. Best skip this, though cleaving a tank in two could be fun. It would be better if Champions had a fetish for this weapon instead of the Power Fist.
    • Alternate Take: The Death Guard don't really have any other options for dealing with close-range melee juggernaut units like Dreadnoughts or Monstrous Creatures outside of the very expensive Deathshroud. While Meltaguns can do alright, they don't really work if the squad gets locked in melee (and considering how slow your units are, you will get locked in melee). The Great Plague Cleaver can actually do fantastic work against these kinds of units, provided it's properly supported with a Tallyman or Lord. Combined with a Power Fist and some Plague Knife dudes to eat wounds, your Cleavers can work wonders as a counter-charge unit, dealing with those hard-hitting single units with ease. Combine it with Blades of Putrefaction or Veterans of the Long War and laugh as you smash chunks of wounds off of these units with a unit that costs a fraction of the price.
    • Blades and trench fighters can deal more wounds to tanks due to mortal wound output. If you need anti-tank melee just take a power fist on your champion.
  • Mace of Contagion - A flat 3 damage, S and AP buffs and, since it comes paired with a Bubotic Axe, also bestows a second attack. The downside is the -1 To Hit, but when hit rolls are that important, you just use the Axe instead. A bit expensive to swing both around, though.
  • Manreaper - now gets two modes, Cleave: -1 hit S+3 AP-3 D2 Plague weapon for amped power fisting, or Scythe: S+1 AP-1 D1 Plague weapon and double hit rolls made for horde clearing. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.
  • Plaguereaper - S+2 AP-3 D3 plague weapon, only Lord of Contagion can have it. 5pts more than the Manreaper to be constantly better at killing multi-wound terminators and Primaris.

Relics of Decay

You get a single free relic per army (if it is battleforged), and can pay CP to get 1-2 more. However, you can't put more than one relic on one guy. Also, because they mostly replace weapons, you can't give most of them to Daemon Princes.

  • Reaper of Glorious Entropy: Replaces a manreaper or plaguereaper. This particular beast is a Sx2 AP-3 D3 plague weapon, but lacking any penalties to hit like the plaguereaper and deals an additional MW on a nat 6 to wound. If you're keen on making your Lord of Contagion a major contender in melee, then you've got a decent tool in your hands. Alas it does not get the scythe profile so no anti horde mode.
  • Plague Skull of Glothila: A not-quite grenade that can only be used once per battle at the end of the movement phase. When triggered, target an enemy unit within 6" and roll 7d6: The unit suffers a MW on a 4-5, and d3 MW on a 6. While it's nice that it's no longer a weapon, it's been replaced with something considerably less reliable and now just wipes off a fraction of a mob of conscripts than the whole deal. Really, this is made for denting solo models like heroes or vehicles.
  • The Daemon's Toll: Noxious Blightbringer only. Once per game during an enemy Move phase, you can trigger this. One unlucky unit within 6" now rolls 1d6 whenever it tries to fall back and will stay in place on a 2+. If you're particularly intent on trapping them in an unfavorable battle (say, where the warlord is cornered), then you'll be enjoying this.
  • Fugaris' Helm: Improves the range of aura-based abilities including warlord traits by 3". As most of your auras are 7", this will boost them to an impressive 10", while it will effectively double the auras of most of your Elites slot characters. Also covers your plague ridden face, making you feel pretty.
    • Sadly, this is one of those instances where Contagions and Auras being different hurts you - This won't do anything for a contagion.
  • The Putrid Periapt: Malignant Plaguecaster and Termie Sorcerer only. The bearer knows one additional psychic power. In addition, once per game the model can regain d3 wounds once it successfully casts a spell. Sadly, this loses a good bit of versatility by gating off the daemon prince.
  • Tollkeeper: Tallyman only. This provides a new aura that that lets any <Plague Company> Core unit that rolls a nat 6 to hit with a gun deal an additional hit. Pretty helpful, especially if you team up with a lord of virulence for additional evil.
  • Revolting Stench-Vats: Foul Blightspawn only. This robs any enemies within 6" of rules that allow them to fight first, even if it was because of a charge. This can be absolutely hilarious for crushing a surprise assault or just for asserting your dominance over the enemy.
  • The Suppurating Plate: Grants a 2+ armor save, and in the Fight phase, if the bearer loses any wounds, the enemy that inflicted it takes a mortal wound on a 2+. This has sadly been nerfed quite considerably. Since it now deals only 1 MW regardless of how many wounds you lost, it's more of a deterrent/kamikaze measure than any measure of a "Stop Hitting Yourself" game.
  • Plaguebringer: Replaces a balesword, daemonic plague blade, plague knife or power sword. S+2, AP-3, D2, Plague Weapon, and a 6+ to wound causes an extra mortal wound. If you want to improve the melee capability of a Biologis Putrifier, it's a flat upgrade over the free plague knife you could already take. Not so great in other situations, but of particular note when combined with the Blades of Putrefaction power (a termie sorcerer can wield this by replacing a power sword, or you can always buff the wielder with a separate caster); in that case, it will deal 1 mortal wound when you roll a 5 on the die, and 2 when you roll a 6.

Deadly Pathogens

Upgrades a single non-Grenade or Relic Plague weapon on a Death Guard characters or a Bubonic Astares unit champion by paying points and increases the unit power rating by +1, giving it S+1 and one other additional ability.

  • Acid Malady: 20pts. +1 to weapon's Ap.
  • Explosive Outbreak: 20pts. Deals an additional hit on an unmodified hit roll of 6.
  • Virulent Fever: 20pts. Deals a MW on an unmodified Wound roll of 6 inflicts.
  • Befouling Runoff: 10pts. Ignores target's cover.
  • Unstable Sickness: 15pts. Each kill generates an additional MW to the enemy unit on a 4+.
  • Corrosive Filth: 20pts. +1 damage against Vehicles
  • Viscous Death: 10pts. Reroll number of attacks for this weapon. Ideal for Plague Spewers, Plague belchers, and the Foul Blightspawn.

Psychic Powers

Keep in mind that you may choose or roll on the tables below!

Contagion Discipline

  1. Miasma of Pestilence - Warp Charge 6. Select a visible friendly DEATH GUARD unit within 18". Any attack that targets that unit is at -1 to hit. Note that overwatch hit rolls cannot be modified in any way, so you can't become immune to Tau shenanigans. Unfortunately, this doesn't make plasma explode on 2's anymore, and to-hit modifiers don't stack beyond -1, but sticking it on a squad of Plague Marines will still make them a pain to kill.
  2. Gift of Contagion - Warp Charge 5. Select a visible enemy unit within 18" and debuff them with -1 Strength, stacking -1 attack as well if you roll over an 8+ on the manifest check. This change makes this power way more reliable in turning a battle to your favor.
  3. Plague Wind - Warp Charge 6. Select an enemy unit within 18" and roll a die for each model in the unit; 6s cause mortal wounds. If you scored a 9+ on the manifest check, you instead deal a MW on a 5+. Effectively, this won't ever do much, but as it is one of the very, VERY few things left that scale with target unit size, you should take this if you are seeing tarpits on the other side of the table. And hey, what other Warp Charge 5 power can kill 8 Conscripts (assuming a 48-50 man blob) on average?
  4. Putrescent Vitality- Warp Charge 7. A visible friendly DEATH GUARD INFANTRY unit gains +1S and +1T. Unlike other buff spells, this one affects units and not models, so use it on those Poxwalkers and make them undying. (You did bring Typhus, didn't you?)
  5. Curse of the Leper- Warp Charge 6. If manifested, roll 7d6. The closest enemy unit within 18" takes a mortal wound for each roll that exceeds its toughness characteristic. It might not have the potential to cause more mortal wounds than Plague Wind (and won't work at all on units with T6 or higher for obvious reasons), but it's more reliable against units with lower toughness. Like, just as an arbitrary example, the ones that have been debuffed by the Contagion aura. Generally speaking, only better than Smite against T3 or below wich includes space marines if you manage to get them in the aura.
  6. Gift of Plagues - Warp Charge 6. "So wtf is this spell and where's my Blades of Putrefaction?" You ask. Sadly, that power is done for, may it rest in peace. Instead, this power boosts the range of any contagion of a DEATH GUARD unit within 18" by 6" (maxing out at a 12" range).

The Seven Plague Companies

Following the template applied to the Thousand Sons in Psychic Awakening: Ritual of the Damned, Death Guard got their own version in Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider. These new rules allow you to dedicate your detachments to one of seven plague companies, with certain models gaining an associated keyword. Each company gets a warlord trait (Each of which grants a new contagion), a relic, and a stratagem. Note that you can only take the relic if your warlord is from the same plague company as the relic.

The Harbingers

The 1st Plague Company is led by Typhus the Traveler. They are accompanied by vast hordes of plague zombies, and maintain hundreds of strains of zombie plagues.

Thematically, they are the classic zombie horde. Massive swarms of shambling corpses led by Death guard are pushed into your opponent's lines, while others rise from beneath the ground to strangle their foes.

Mechanically, they are slightly different from the others. Both Typhus and Poxwalkers gain the Harbinger keyword if included in this detachment, and their rules emphasize taking large hordes of the latter.

  • Warlord Trait - Shamblerot (Contagion): When non-vehicle units are within contagion range at the start of their movement phase, roll a d6 for each unit, subtracting 1 for any Characters. On a 4+ they suffer a MW, upped to d3 MW on a 6. Now these guys are built to intimidate enemies from coming closer, lest they open themselves to getting chipped away each turn.
  • Relic - Infected Remains: Once per battle, the bearer can drop this on an objective at the end of the movement phase. So long as the bearer remains on the board, this objective now counts as having the same contagion as the bearer.
  • Stratagems - The Wrathful Dead (1 CP): Use in the fight phase when a Harbingers Poxwalkers unit attacks. The unit now re-rolls any hit rolls.

The Inexorable

The 2nd Plague Company are known as the Inexorable for the favored tactics; they crush their foes beneath lumbering battle tanks and mechanized assaults. Their signature disease is the Ferris Blight, which coats both power armor and vehicles in crawling rust.

Thematically, they hearken back to the good old days of the Horus Heresy, when vast waves of slow-moving tanks crushed loyalists under their treads.

Mechanically, The Inexorable use infantry to support and screen their vehicles as they advance on their targets.

  • Warlord Trait - Ferric Blight (Contagion): Any attacks against enemies within contagion range improve their AP by 1. Note that this is now effective on EVERYTHING, so feel free to shank battlesuits with chainswords and tanks with power swords.
  • Relic The Leechspore Casket: When a model is destroyed as a result of an attack made with a melee weapon by the bearer, one friendly Inorexable Vehicle model within 18" regains up to one lost wound, maxing out at 3 wounds per turn.
  • Stratagem - Ferric Miasma (1 CP): Use in your opponent's charge phase when an Inorexable unit becomes the target of a charge by an infantry unit. Subtract 2 from the opponents charge roll.

Mortarion's Anvil

The 3rd Plague Company are known as Mortarion's Anvil, and they maintain the Death Guard's long standing preference for trench warfare. They dig in and let opponents batter themselves to death against their defenses. Their signature disease is Gloaming Bloat. Symptoms include fever, sweating, speaking with a wet gurgle, and bloating like a week-dead drowned corpse.

Thematically, this Plague Company emphasizes durability and close quarters melee combat.

Mechanically, their warlord trait and first stratagem, Futility made Flesh, help make durable units like terminators and Lords of Contagion even more so. Their relic and second stratagem help out in melee.

  • Warlord Trait - Gloaming Bloat (Contagion): Enemies within contagion range can no longer fire Overwatch or set to defend. On top of this, they can't re-roll any hit or wound rolls they make, shutting down a lot of HQs. This contagion is made just to overrun everything without looking at the resistance.
  • Relic - Warp Insect Hive: The bearer re-rolls all hit and wound rolls in melee, making them far more reliable in an age where HQs no longer benefit from their own auras.
  • Stratagem - Relaptic Assault (1 CP): Use in opponent's charge phase, One Mortarion's Anvil INFANTRY unit within 3" of the enemy can heroically intervene.

The Wretched

The 4th Plague Company are disliked for their high numbers of sorcerers and summoning rituals. Known as The Wretched, they are ruled by a gestalt Daemon known as the Eater of Lives, and their signature disease, the Eater Plague, reduces the corpses of enemies into a slimy gruel.

Thematically, they are a company of psykers, witches, and warp-dabblers in a Legion renowned for hating that sort of thing.

Mechanically, the Wretched favor Malignant Plaguecasters, Daemon Princes, and Sorcerers.

  • Warlord Trait - Eater Plague (Contagion): Any attacks made against enemies within Contagion range automatically wound on a nat 6 to hit.
  • Relic - The Daemon's Favor: Malignant Plaguecaster only. The bearer replaces their Pestilential Fallout ability with "Torrent of Putrefaction". Every time the bearer resolves a psychic power with a roll of 6 or less, they deal a mortal wound to the nearest enemy unit within 7" of the bearer. If the roll was 7 or more, a selected unit within 12" suffers D3 mortal wounds instead.
  • Stratagems - Sevenfold Blessings (1 CP): Use before the battle. One use per battle. Select one Wretched Psyker. For the rest of the battle, that psyker knows one additional power and can re-roll one psychic test per psychic phase.

The Poxmongers

The 5th Plague Company are known as the Poxmongers, and they make extensive use of Daemon Engines. They signature disease, the Sanguous Flux, causes endless, half-clotted bleeding and leaves foul red-black trails.

Thematically, they bring the Bloody Stream Sanguous Flux wherever they go, leaving red trails in the tread of their mighty demon engines.

Mechanically, they buff up Daemon engines, giving them better survivability and making them better at mulching enemy infantry.

  • Warlord Trait - Sanguous Flux (Contagion): Enemies within contagion range suffer -1 to Leadership and -1 to Attrition checks.
  • Relic - Ironclot Furnace: During the command phase, select one Poxmongers Daemon Engine unit within 6". Until the start of your next Command Phase, that unit has a 4++ Invuln, quite the gift.
  • Stratagems - Bilous Bloodrush (1 CP): A Poxmongers Daemon Engine unit can shoot Blast weapons while within engagement range and any ranged attacks against enemies within engagement range add +1 to hit rolls. Your engines can now blast things they're face-to-face with.


The Ferrymen

The Ferrymen are the 6th Plague Company. Also known as the Brethren of the Fly, they maintain plague fleets and acquire new ships to add to Mortarion's armada. Instead of a signature disease, they are riddled with parasitic plague insects collectively known as the Droning.

Thematically, they focus on obtaining new ships for the plague fleets and fielding large numbers of Blightlord Terminators.

Mechanically, they focus on buffing blightlords and increasing your army's auras, as well as making your warlord a scary bugger in melee.

  • Warlord Trait - The Droning (Contagion): Enemy units within Contagion range have their movement halved during their movement phase.
  • Relic - Ferryman's Scythe: Replaces a Maneaper with another Manreaper with unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional 1 mortal wound each.
  • Stratagems - On Droning Wings (2 CP): At the start of your Command phase, select a Ferrymen Foetid Virion unit. One of their auras now add +6" to their range. This trick is pretty decent, as each one model carries a powerful aura, even if it isn't a chaos lord's.

Mortarion's Chosen Sons

Mortarion's Chosen Sons are the 7th Plague Company and the closest to their primarch's favor. They include numerous alchemists and plague surgeons. The company's signature disease is Crawling Pustulance, also known as boilblight, lumpen splatter, and Nurgle's Fruit, and it causes the bearer to form pustules corrosive fluid across their body.

Thematically, they are Mortarion's personal boys, a company of dark alchemists and plague brewers in the manner of their patron deity.

Mechanically, they buff plague spewers and similar weapons.

  • Warlord Trait - Nurgle's Fruit (Contagion): All attacks against enemies within contagion range ignore cover. How utterly dastardly.
  • Relic - Vomitryx - Replaces the plague sprayer for one that is 7 shots, S7, AP-3, 2D
  • Stratagems - Plague Brewers (1 CP): When shooting with a unit with plague belchers, plaguespurt gauntlets, or plague spewers, increase damage of those weapons to 2.

Unit Analysis

All units without rules that are listed here can be assumed to use the equivalent Chaos Space Marines rules, with Death Guard replacing the <LEGION> keyword and NURGLE as its <MARK OF CHAOS>, as well as any special rules applicable to the Death Guard replacing the Legion Trait. In addition, you now have <Plague Company> to denote the various subfactions.

Bubonic Astartes is essentially a fancy way of denoting all the CSM units. Similearly, Plague Followers is a fancy Nurgle-coated keyword for cultists.

  • Important Note on Psykers!: While you're generally better off taking Codex versions of the Daemon Prince and the various non-Plaguecaster Sorcerers, there is one very specific circumstance where you might want the index one instead--they use the Dark Hereticus Discipline, while even the otherwise copy-paste entries in the Codex use Contagion. While most of the Contagion powers are probably better for the Death Guard, certain Dark Hereticus powers (coughWarptimecough) can be VERY helpful. It's also worth noting that when the CSM codex was released, GW specifically said that Psykers from Index: Chaos can use the expanded Dark Hereticus list from Codex: CSM (Magnus was listed as an example) just in case you wanted to be That Guy and cast Diabolic Strength on Mortarion.
  • Legends Models - Questionably legal for play in matched as they will no longer be receiving ANY changes. Ask your opponent or TO before you show up to a tournament with your Hereticus casting, Nurgling driving, Sorcerers.

HQ

See this ruling for an explanation, but you use Codex datasheets with Index points values when both datasheets exist but you're using wargear only available from the Index, and Index datasheets when the Codex datasheet doesn't exist, with Codex points values for wargear when available. This is relevant to multiple HQ choices who lost options when the Codex came out.

  • Death Guard Daemon Prince - Buffs all <Plague Company> Core units the same way a Chaos Lord buffs their Legion. Also a seriously powerful melee character who, thanks to his Wound count, can still hide behind your dudes. Same as the CSM version, but with all the Death Guard goodies and wings cost +2 PL/35 points. Can now bring a Plague Spewer (if using a sword and one claw), which makes up for not having a Warp Bolter and then some since it automatically hits and qualifies for Inorexable Advance. That said, the fact that this gun is the ONLY non-relic plague weapon that the prince can carry is a big load of derp. Must also follow the Contagion discipline (which is great when you want to cast the -1 to hit spell on him).
    • Because the various perks the legion has (Inorexable Advance, Contagions, the buff aura targeting a specific keyword that normally wouldn't be covered by CSM) compared to the base CSM, it's become a bit of a hassle to bring in a CSM or Daemons DP instead, which is inconvenient because your daemon princes no longer have access to the Dark Maleficus discipline. You could bring in an allied detachment of generic Nurgle CSM, but they're going to be playing considerably differently compared to your sluggish tanks spreading all sorts of fuckery in the air.
  • Death Guard Chaos Lord: Changes have made them like Space marine captains, only one per detachment and competes with including a Daemon Prince since it has Lord of the Death Guard. Now comes in line and gets all that Death Guard goodness plus the captain rerolls

Your "basic bitch" with a "reroll 1s To Hit"-aura that especially your plasma guns like. Same stats as CSM version, but replaces frag grenades with blight grenades. Interestingly he can take a Balesword, but none of the other Nurgle-only melee weapons. However, the best melee weapon for him would probably be the Lightning Claw with +1A and reroll all wounds will make up for the reduced AP unless you are using Arch-Contaminator.

Legends (arguably) allows this guy to pick up a jump pack, but that's a can of worms for your opponent to settle because it hasn't been updated for the new codex (and may never be updated).

Same as a standard Chaos Lord, but with -1" M, +1 W and +1 Sv. He can do a pretty good thing that his little brother can't: deep strike. Blightlords are going to thank you, especially if you give him Arch-Contaminator as well. A Lightning Claw is pretty good on this guy too for the same reasons as the normal lord.

Lord on a chair with fewer weapon options but because it is CAVALRY, it won't get Inexorable Advance. It also lacks a bunch of the new rules available to the chaos lord, mostly on virtue of it not being updated for the 9E codex - unless GW shows us mercy, this may be permanent.

Your generic Nurgle-blessed Chaos Lord in Cataphractii armor, with a Plaguereaper/Manreaper+Orb of Desiccation, Disgustingly Resilient, but no real ranged weapons. This guy's particular knack is that he boosts the ranges of contagions by 3", making him quite the obstacle in later turns.

  • The choice between a Manreapers and a Plaguereapers: While Manreapers will cause more wounds against T6 and T7, Plaguereapers will demolish multi-wound heavy infantry (like Tyranid Warriors or Terminators) as the flat 3 Damage means that every wound that gets through will kill something.
    • Note that dropping from S7 to S6 only makes a difference against T6, T7, T12, and T13, plus you can buff strength pretty easily using Putrescent Vitality.
    • The orb, while looking like a big boom, is a once per game deal, so you're pretty much only going to use it against hordes or very persistent mobs, as it's only S4 AP-1. If it hits, it's guaranteed to nail some marines, but you're gonna need some luck for that.

The new Death Guard character that's been teased since the advent the ninth edition comes with a double heavy flamer and a power fist (both counting as plague weapons, yay!), on top of Cataphractii armor that makes him stupidly hard to kill and deep strike. The reason you want this guy carries a second aura: All <Plague Company> Core models within 6" of him that shoot plague weapons and roll a natural 6 up their AP by 1. Also he has the regular reroll 1s aura of the chaos lord making him a very good candidate for accompanying blightlord teminators. Also if you take him against a very bunched up enemy you should absolutely consider lobbing a blight bombardment on their stupid loyalist heads since he makes it cost only 2 CPs. A very solid warlord choice all in all.

  • Sorcerer: These guys have also been rejiggered, with the generic Sorcerer now being shunted to Legends. Fortunately these guys aren't subject to the restrictions given to Chaos Lords and Daemon Princes, but you're still likely to skip since they don't support your army in the same way as the other HQs. If you do need to take one over a lord, you'll be needing a Foetid Virion to help support the frontlines.

Your baseline caster that can cast two Contagion powers a turn and deny one. Can buy a jump pack for a 12" move and FLY. Still legal, but has to use Contagion and Legends costs and lacks any of the new goodies.

Vastly inferior to what Typhus can bring to the table. Typhus is tougher, stronger in melee, a better Psyker, and buffs your units more. Yeah. Take only if you already have Typhus and for some reason don't want a Daemon Prince but really can't cut anything else.

Same story as the lord.

  • Malignant Plaguecaster Nurgle-themed Sorcerer with a corrupted staff (force staff), blight grenades, and Disgustingly Resilient. Every time he rolls a 7+ on his psychic test, the closest enemy unit within 7" takes a mortal wound, which makes him fantastic in short-ranged firefights, same as the Plague Marines. Keep him in Grenade range and he can unleash a Blight Grenade, Smite, either a buff, debuff, or yet more Mortal Wounds, and then 2 Mortal Wounds from his ability for casting twice. That's quite a lot of dakka, most of which also works in melee.
    • Remember the Pestilential Fallout occurs after the power is resolved. Don't Smite the enemy within 7" and go denying yourself a "free" Mortal Wound.



Special Characters

  • Typhus - Grossest living mortal being in the galaxy. Incredibly tanky with a 2+/4++, the Disgustingly Resilient rule, and six wounds. He gives all Poxwalkers within 6" of him Strength 4 alongside his typical Chaos Lord aura. His Destroyer Hive now attacks on the command phase, dealing a MW to an enemy within 6" on a 2+ (upping to d3 MW on a 6), and he knows Smite and two Contagion powers in addition to his S+3 AP-3 D3 MASTER CRAFTED MANRAPER. He can also teleport. He is quite versatile, allowing you to put him on foot along with poxwalkers and plague marines for a huge blob of nasty space AIDS or send him deepstriking along with blight lords and every good thing you can think. You can also pair him with a chaos lord in terminator armor or a Lord of Contagion and give them the role of general and Arch Contaminator, making Typhus even more killy.
    • Note that while he can join any Death Guard army regardless of plague company and let them take their particular contagion, he'll never be able to benefit from their contagions without spending a stratagem unless the army's from the Harbingers. And really, Shamblerot's just the Destroyer Hive but with a variable range and ineffective on tanks.
    • Though it may be slightly unfluffy, he pairs exceedingly well with Necrosius.
    • Typhus' Manreaper gives him D3, something that should never be overlooked. Have a friendly allied sorcerer (or Typhus himself with the CSM Familiar Strategem) cast Diabolic Strength on him for that tasty +2S and +1A, then have him cast Blades of Putrefaction on himself. This gives Typhus 6 attacks against a T8 opponent (*cough*Knights*cough*) in the first turn, hitting on 2s, wounding on 2s (re-rolling fails) and doing additional mortal wounds on 6s. This makes him a fairly reasonable platform for doing high damage to tough targets. He is not invincible, but with his T5, 2+/4++/5+++, it is not impossible for him to tank a fair number of hits from even a very strong opponent in retaliation. Don't forget the mortal wounds he puts out every turn from his WT and LoC aura.
      • The changes to Typhus in the upcoming codex has increased his number of attacks from four to SIX. This drastically increases his melee potential. Combine this with the default Blessings of Nurgle contagion and Typhus can take on pretty much any other infantry character in the game, and that’s without including the two psyker powers he’ll still be able to cast.
  • Necrosius the Undying(FW legends) - Necrosius lost his Plague Zombies in favor of Poxwalkers which is not super surprising. T5 W5 A5 Ld8 and a 3+/4++ save. Is essentially a fatter Plaguecaster but with better weapons and respawns D3 Poxwalkers on each successful cast in addition. However unfluffy and abhorrent, combining this with Typhus's +1S/+1T to Poxwalkers buff would be a very interesting combination. He can cast two powers a turn, can attempt to deny 1 psychic power in each enemy phase and knows two psychic powers from the Contagion discipline.

Elites

  • Noxious Blightbringer - A debuff machine with a plasma pistol, Disgustingly Resilient, a cursed plague bell (D2 poisoned close combat weapon), and blight grenades. Units within 7" of him are at -1 Leadership. Would not be surprising to see this model proxied as a Plaguecaster, as it looks magnificent. Being Elite, the Blightbringer also doesn't eat into your HQ budget. That said, being Elite he also doesn't help you fill HQ slots.
  • Foul Blightspawn - 85 points, 5″, WS/BS 3+, Strength 4, Toughness 5, 3 Attacks, 4 wounds, Leadership 8, 3+ save. His weapon, the Plaguesprayer, is a 12" Assault 1d6 S7 AP-3 2D Plague Weapon that autohits like a flamer, which means that it's good enough to deal with MEQs to vehicles. The Unholy Death's Head grenade he carries can be used by him (or another friendly DEATH GUARD Character within 3" of him) to upgrade their Blight Grenade/Hyper Blight Grenade to Grenade 2d6 once per game. He's no slouch in assault either, due to his ability Revolting Stench (yep his power is stinking). It causes enemy units within 7" of him to lose the ability to fight first in the Fight phase, even if they charged or have rules that would otherwise allow them to fight first. For glass cannon melee units that rely on being the first to strike in the Fight phase to compensate for their poor durability (like Daemonettes, Howling Banshees, and Emperor's Children Chaos Space Marines), this can leave them defenseless at the worst possible time. This also doubles as a bit of cross-god synergy: send a Blightspawn in with some Slaaneshi daemons or Emperor's Children marines, and you'll ensure that they ALWAYS Fight First, for real this time.
    • If you want to go hunt monsters and tanks with him to make the most of his Plaguesprayer's high damage, I'd recommend putting him near a Warlord with the Arch-Contaminator trait. You've got a 40% chance with T7 and a 68% chance with T8 to wound on 5s. Otherwise he's best suited to take care of medium-to-low toughness units with multiple wounds, like Characters or Terminators.
    • Here is a table showing the overall to-wound chance of the Plaguesprayer vs. various toughness values. Note that as a plague weapon it rerolls wound rolls of 1, and in range of the Arch-Contaminator aura it rerolls all failed wound rolls. This is important to keep in mind whether you are fielding this model yourself or playing against someone who is; the random 2d6 Strength characteristic obfuscates how hard this thing hits. At the tabletop, think of it as somewhere between a Plasma and a Melta weapon.
Plaguesprayer To-Wound Chance
Toughness 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 16
Regular 95.1% 89.7% 80.5% 71.8% 63.2% 56.7% 49.2% 44.3% 38.3% 24.8%
Arch-Contaminator 96.1% 93.2% 87.7% 82.5% 75.8% 70.6% 63.3% 59.1% 53.0% 37.5%
  • Biologus Putrifier - Same stats as the Foul Blightspawn. He's only got a plague knife for melee, and his shooting leaves much to be desired- sure, his Injector Pistol is S4 AP-1 D6 damage (1 against vehicles), but it has a pathetic 3" range. It's his grenades that make him worth it: his Hyper Blight Grenades are S4 instead of S3, deal 2 damage, and inflict an extra mortal wound on a wound roll of 6- and any other friendly Death Guard units within 3" get their blight grenades upgraded in the same way. As an added bonus, when killed he explodes like a vehicle on a 4+, inflicting a mortal wound on any non-NURGLE units within 7" of him.
    • It doesn't take a genius to figure out that pairing his Hyper Blight Grenades with the Foul Blightspawn's Unholy Death's Head is a combo that's highly effective for its cost. The combination is also strongly supported by the fluff for good measure.
    • This also goes very well with the Stratagem that lets you throw an ass-load of blight grenades in one shooting attack.
      • Also, while the "ass load of grenades" stratagem is great, you don't necessarily have to do this all the time. Each unit can throw one grenade and the dozens of HQ characters and mini Elite slot characters that DG armies will no doubt end up running, can each throw a blight grenade. So the bulk of your army may well be able to throw half a dozen grenades in a single shooting phase without even using a stratagem.
  • Plague Surgeon - Dr. pimple popper. It's ironic that out of all the Traitor Legions, it was the Death Guard of all people that kept their Apothecaries. Like their Loyalist counterparts, they're mainly intended for support, but instead of reviving dead units, they allow re-rolling 1s for Disgustingly Resilient rolls for Infantry units within 3" of them. This may seem underwhelming, but since the benefit is per unit he can buff an entire Poxwalker blob if he's near only one model of them. He also adds 1 to all his hit and wound rolls when targeting ADEPTUS ASTARTES Infantry and Bikers in the fight phase; while it may seem like a bad idea to get him stuck in, he carries a Balesword (a Plague Weapon equivalent of a Power Sword), so he can actually hold his own in close combat with the right support (like that Poxwalker blob he's buffing, for example). It is needed to point out however that his bonus is not as big as it could sound, increasing a 33.333% probability to shake off a wound to a 38%.
  • Tallyman - The mortal version of a Spoilpox Scrivener and Epidemius. A cheap (62 points (55 as of CA 2018)) Dark Apostle-like unit that allows friendly Death Guard within 7" of him to reroll failed hit rolls in the fight phase, but since he only has a plasma pistol and grenades he should probably be kept out of melee himself. His other, odder gimmick is called Seven-fold Chant- every time you use a Death Guard-specific Stratagem with a Tallyman in your Battle-Forged army, roll 2d6; on a 7, you don't spend the CP used for the Stratagem. While this is a nice bonus, you shouldn't count on it actually triggering all that often since it only activates on a specific number - specifically, your odds of this happening are 1 in 6. Still, he's cheap enough to be worth using even with the unreliability of Seven-fold Chant. Just think of him as a more cost effective Dark Apostle (since he's cheaper, his reroll radius is 1" wider, and you really don't need the Leadership buff on your Fearless Poxwalkers anyway) and he's worth it even without the Chant.
  • Deathshroud Terminators - A returning favorite from the Death Guard's 30k version, and still a potent bodyguard after 10,000 years. Even more sluggish than the rest of the Death Guard due to their Cataphractii Terminator Armor reducing them to 4" of movement and cutting Advance rolls in half, but they can deep strike to make up for it. Between their 2+/4++, their ability to intercept hits for Death Guard Characters within 3" (hits not wounds, meaning they still can take their 2+/4++ and Disgustingly Resilient saves), Disgustingly Resilient, having three wounds in 9e, and adding an extra attack to any nearby Death Guard Characters (except for Mortarion), they're practically a requirement for keeping your Warlord as indestructible as possible. In battle, they're no slouches themselves, thanks to their Manreapers and Plaguespurt Gauntlets (a Hand Flamer, but Pistol 1d6, not 1d3). They used to cost a lot (67 ppm), but as of CA2019 they are a more reasonable 42.
    • A good way to get these guys into combat is deep strike them with a unit in-between them and their target, use Cloud of Flies and move + charge next turn. No longer an option since the spring FAQ; Cloud of Flies can only be used during the own movement phase. Deep strike happens at the end of the movement phase.
    • Or if you don't mind using a chaos list add a detachment with a regular old chaos sorcerer and drop a warptime on them. No longer an option since the spring FAQ; deep striking units cannot move for any reason, including via warptime.
    • Deathshrouds may be incredibly expensive, but it does pay to look at what you're getting with these. The Manreapers are effectively Power Fists without a To-Hit penalty, striking at S8 re-rolling 1s, AP-3, and D3. These things will cleave through any tank you point them at, never mind what they'll do to Primaris Marines and other tough multi-wound infantry. And unlike, say, Custodes, who easily get bogged down in numbers, their Plaguespurt Gauntlets provide an answer to that problem. Also, like flamers, they have now 12".
      • To put these guys in perspective, a squad of 6 of them can easily kill Girlyman in a single turn, delivering 9 wounds. Alternatively, with a bit of psychic support from a Malignant Plaguecaster (Blades of Putrefaction + Putrescent Vitality on the Deathshroud), they can down a Knight in 1 turn, dealing 24 wounds. Prescience them for a 2+ to-hit with DTTFE triggering on 5's. Now the train runs on whole-grain imported from Lordaeron.
  • Blightlord Terminators: - While the Deathshroud is best suited to acting as a bodyguard, the Blightlords act more like classic Chaos Terminators with a few Nurglite twists. Like the Deathshroud, they've got Cataphractii armor with all the benefits and drawbacks that brings them, but instead of buffing Characters, they treat their melee attacks as having -1AP on a 6 to wound (e.g. AP-2 becomes AP-3). While they don't get Manreapers, they can equip just about anything else a Plague Marine can use, as well as Reaper Autocannons, allowing them to fill any kind of niche. Also interesting is that they can take Combi-Weapons, including Combi-Plasma. And there is something to be said for a full squad of Combi-Plasma that can double-tap from 18" away, or with the recent buff to flamers, a nice 5D6 shots.
    • something to note, with the use of Veterans of the Long War or Blades of Putrefaction their Aura of Rust gives these guys bonus AP on a 5+ and are causing bonus mortal wounds on a 6+.
  • Possessed: CORE - You might be tempted to skip past these blokes, but not so fast. Thanks to their two wounds and Daemon save, they are actually about as tough as normal Plague Marines, even though they lack the Disgustingly Resilient rule both the plague marine hosting the daemon and the daemon itself have to make the Possessed. D3 attacks have now been replaced by a flat 4 attacks, and as an added bonus they now count as having a Plague Weapon. In this comparison, the Possessed are cheaper and faster, deal almost as much damage, and can be affected by a Herald of Nurgle if you're willing to include one. Small units of them are both cheap and effective, both as melee units and as distractions, and every round they take is not directed at your Blight Launchers.
  • Helbrute: CORE -You know it, you love it. These are your Dreadnought equivalents and you can kit them to just about anything, but between inexorable advance and their weapon options, you're probably going to go ranged. 7 Power Level because of course we needed another number 7. By default, it comes with a fist and a multi melta. The melta can be swapped for a variety of ranged weapons including twin heavy bolters for horde munching, reaper autocannons for threatening tougher stuff at a distance, plasma cannons that are always overcharged, and for long-range anti-tank, it's your best source of lascannons and missile launchers. Alternately the gun arm can become a second fist arm, adding 1 to the number of attacks it can make (note: due to all units being "equipped" with their unarmed attack per the core rules, this fist is unnecessary according to RAW) and comes with an underslung combi bolter that you can upgrade to a heavy flamer. Meanwhile the fist arm can be swapped for a missile launcher or a mix of melee weapons including a hammer which, compared to the fist loses its underslung gun and takes a -1 to hit penalty, but has 1 more AP and rolls D6 for damage, but since it has the same strength you shouldn't bother, the fists will be more consistent. Another melee option is the power scourge which makes three attacks on its own even if you make all your other attacks with a different weapon and hits like an overcharged plasma with 1 less AP. While Helbrutes can be nasty in melee, you're really going to want to kit them for range because lascannons and missile launchers are some of the longest range weapons this army has, and the Helbrute can have both for less than 150 points. In case Helbrutes weren't great enough to take just with their wargear, they also can fire on the move without penalty, have a stratagem that lets them double tap if they don't move, and every phase in which they take damage they roll a D6 and on a 6 they get a free round of shooting attacks if they're not in combat, or melee attacks if they are. Never leave home without one, and consider taking more. As of CA2019, they cost 12 points less and have gained Hateful Assault, gaining +1A if charging, charged or on interventions, and they have still not fixed the rule that makes the second fist unnecessary.
    • Alternate opinion: Even though it seems to be great, you might want to not take them after all. Twin lascannon and missile launcher are good anti-tank weapons, but not for us, we are not gunline army. 3 shots hitting everything on 3s and wounding most of enemy vehicles on 3+ isn't that great after all, and you can't really modify the outcome in any reliable way. You might get lucky and shoot down a Leman Russ in 1 turn, or you might not do anything at all for the entire game (or those 2 rounds that Helbrute lasts for). Not having Disgustingly Resilient and an invulnerable save makes you very fragile, and this is exactly what you shouldn't be as Death Guard.


  • Decimator:Forge World: The Decimator has essentially become an oddball Helbrute, It's weaker in melee against everything T5 and above (despite the extra attack) while better against everything T4 and lower, it's sort of better at range in that it has fantastic options. As a Daemon Engine, it can spend to CP to re-roll it's to hits and wounds. Meanwhile, the Soulburner petard is a downright fantastic anti-everything weapon, and even the Mortal Wounds it causes to the Decimator aren't a concern since it can just naturally heal those off. You can even take two since you can only hurt yourself once per gun. The Butcher Cannons meant more for offensive lists as debuffing an enemy unit before engaging in them Melee can be much more valuable than just shooting them again. With a 5++ it should live long enough to affect the later turns of a game. Recommended that you skip the C-beam cannon though as the arm slot is better spent on another weapon. In short, take Decimators if you need Mortal Wounds, and durability without Warpsmiths/Hellwrights following them around, get Helbrutes for everything else. Can also theoretically benefit from the 2 Melee Weapons equipped ruling as per the 'Everyone has a Close Combat Weapon' if you decide to go Siege-Claw/Gun mode.
  • Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought:Forge World [Martial Legacy]: The Contemptor remains as good as it ever was. It has a huge amount of options and can be kitted out to whatever role you want without much issue especially since lets it swap both fists for ranged weapons. The Twin Heavy Bolter remains cost-effective, however, the Kheres Assault Cannons may be a better choice overall when facing tougher elite infantry such as Custodes. Melee wise take the ChainFist over the combat weapon and a Shooting weapon.
  • Chaos Deredeo Dreadnought [Forge World] [Martial Legacy]: Chaos finally got the Dorito Dreadnought! A lot of people have wanted this for a while and rightfully so, it kicks ass. is A copy and past of the marine version with the inclusion benefiting from Chaos markets and legion bonuses.
  • Chaos Leviathan Dreadnought [Forge World] [Martial Legacy]: Whatever was sacrificed in the name of Chaos to make these available... it was worth it. This super-dreadnought is a monster and priced very well for what it does. Since all FW Dreadnoughts received the 'Dreadnought' keyword this bad boy can be buffed by your legion traits - Emperor's Children always fights first comes to mind. As for valid weapon options, all are nasty and downright deadly in the right circumstances but are very expensive on an already expensive model. Often the Leviathan Dread is a brilliant distraction unit, but unless you have a foolproof way of getting it into combat quickly he's unlikely to really make his points back. Place him at the front of your army in the middle and use him to make your opponent sweat whilst havocs and obliterators pop heavier targets.

Troops

  • Cultists - The humble Cultists are a poor investment in a Death Guard list, and outshone by poxwalkers. What weapon they should take depends on your play style and what else is in your list, though the lack of both inexorable advance and objective secured hurts their viability.
    • These guys are far less useful, and cheap troops are no longer as important due to the decline of battalion spamming. The only use is really screening from deepstrike and charges against value targets, which is done much better by Poxwalkers. The only saving grace they may have is as a cheap, action performing unit for Deploying Scramblers.
  • Plague Marines CORE - Very versatile, reasonably priced and extremely durable troops, going from 5 up to 20 bodies per squad. T5 makes it so that everything short of Dreadnought/Knight cc weapons has to wound you on 3+ at best, and Disgustingly Resilient makes plasma weapons and other high-damage weapons less effective. They come with the standard marine bolter, but drop the stock bolt pistol and frag grenades for Plague Knives and Blight Grenades, which are equivalents with the plague weapon rule. They are also one of, if not the, most customizable troop squads currently in the game:
    • Two guys in a squad can carry Special Weapons, choosing from a Plasma Gun, Meltagun, Plague Belcher (plague flamer), Plague Spewer (heavy plague flamer) and Blight Launcher, the last of which tends to be your mvp against any infantry.
    • Two other guys get to be your melee specialists and arm themselves with a tank-busting Plague Cleaver or infantry-cleaving Flail of Corruption. See the weapons section above for input on what you should pick.
    • You can force one guy to stick with their bolter and buy either an Icon of Despair (Chance to deal a MW to engaged enemies during the Morale phase) or Sigil of Decay (A nat 6 to hit with a bolter instantly wounds), which again helps you with specializing into a certain role if taken.
    • With all this, the unit is extremely flexible, able to be geared to be choppy, shooty or specialized against a particular enemy:
      • An all-rounder anti-infantry unit with 2 Blight Launchers and 2 Flails will absolutely demolish GEQ/scions and mulch MEQ/TEQ in equal measure.
      • If you really want to fuck up some armor, take 3 Plasma Guns (one on the Champion), 2 Cleavers and get your nasty boys a ride to the nearest enemy Land Raider.
      • If hordes are giving you trouble, 2 Plague Belchers and 2 Flails will get you 2d6 auto-hitting shots and 4d3 attacks on charge, each rerolling wounds and rolling over excess damage between models, meaning you will shred an average 10 T3 5+ models per turn on the low end.
      • Feel like getting a more durable version of Khornate berzerkers? Grab some flails and you'll get a highly durable cc squad that the opponent *really* won't like engaging. Admittedly, poxwalkers or cultists make for a better melee screen/tarpit due to cost and sheer numbers, but marines are way more killy by baseline and can be buffed to even killier levels with the right contagion, a warlord with Arch-Contaminator/a tallyman, and provide a nice platform for the Blight Bombardment stratagem. You can also bring a Biologus Putrefier to capitalize on the last part, but doing so will make it obvious to your opponent what shenanigans you're up to.
    • If you're maxing out on expensive weapon options, don't forget to include a couple cheap bodies for the ablative wounds. Plague Marines specifically benefit from those more than their counterparts from other Legions, both due to their innate resilience and higher value that their special weapons have.
    • These guys are an ideal partner for Fabius Bile. 8th edition sees him willing to farm out his wares to gullible volunteers, with the only small caveat that it may cost you your life. A squad of 10 plague marines will take 1 or 2 casualties as a result of his experiments, which can be partly mitigated through their bonus wounds. In return you will get a 1/3 chance (or 55% if you are wiling to use a command re-roll) of gaining +1A which will bump your flails to terrifying 6d3 attacks from just the two in a squad. Even before you start counting the 4 attacks the rest of the guys bring, that is enough to destroy an MSU marine squad in a single round of combat. Alternatively, give them T6 and render them utterly unkillable by basic lasguns and other S3 weaponry, as well as considerably dropping the threat that heavy bolters and flamers pose to you.
    • Plague marines have two wounds and two attacks now, meaning that 10 Loyalist marines in rapid fire range take 2-3 turns on average to kill a single Plague marine with the extra wound while being able to throw out twice the pain. Put 10 of these guys on an objective and laugh as they shrug off all small arms fire pointed at them, add miasma of pestilence and now even heavy weapon fire with struggle to put them down. Couple that with extra bolt gun range and you have probably the best objective holder in the game, albeit a very expensive one.
  • Champions: Daemonic Plague Blades are exclusive to the champion, but they give you a flat +1 to your knife. Not too bad, and you can always buy a power fist if you want something to punch tanks with.
  • Plague Knife: The default weapon, your CCW has AP-1 and Plague Weapon, making them decently effective against marines and smaller units. You can get one guy per five another knife in place of their bolter, but the cost of plague marines makes using this (and the stratagem that rides off of dual-knife mayhem) poor.
  • Bubotic Axe: A pretty hefty plague weapon with S+2 AP-2 D1. Edges you over marines now.
  • Mace of Contagion: S+2 AP-1 D3 is way stronger against high-toughness enemies like Terminators and Gravis, but it has a -1 to hit and has to be paired with a bubotic axe. The lucky bloke with these pretty much has all the needs to rip apart anything, but it's going to be very costly.
  • Flail of Corruption: Doubles your attack output with S+1 AP-2 D2, pretty much the best melee weapons you can grab. Sure you have harder-hitting weapons, but these give you the output necessary to keep up with more dedicated melee players.
  • Great Plague Cleaver: The power fist for the basic plague marine, with Sx2 AP-3 D1d6 but a -1 to hit. That said, the random damage does kill the viability since it means you're not reliable downing marines.
  • Blight Launcher: Effectively a short-range blaster with 26" Assault 2 S6 AP-2 D2 and Plague Weapon, meaning you can fire in any circumstance and it can blow out anything MEQ.
  • Plague Belcher: A flamer with Plague Weapon. If you want to demolish hordes or scare away charges, you'll do quite well with this. Otherwise, you also have it's bigger brother.
  • Plasma Gun: Remains stronger on most accounts compared to the blight launcher. However, the changes to Gets Hot alongside the lack of Plague Weapon does hurt the odds of ever taking this unless you absolutely need to overpower marines.
  • Meltagun: The fact that you are one of the slowest troops out there means that melta isn't something to take lightly. However, this has become your sole anti-tank weapon.
  • Plague Spewer: The Heavy Flamer of to the Plague Belcher's Flamer. The issue here is that it's not gaining anything from Inorexable Advance since it auto-hits and it won't fire if you advance. If you're just plodding your plagueboys along, then you're all set there.
  • Poxwalkers - They're Plague Zombies with a trademarkable name. They are completely immune to morale tests thanks to being mindless, and have the old Disgustingly Resilient ability to ignore wounds on a 6+. Good thing, as they have a 7+ save, meaning they only can get regular saves if in cover. Though their statline is unimpressive, they are cheap, and make great tarpits, thanks to their resiliency rules. In addition, every time they kill an enemy infantry model, they can add an additional Poxwalker to the unit. Though this might seem difficult to do, in units of 10+ they get WS4+ to help them create self-reinforcing tarpits. Basically, against light infantry, you use them to shred through stuff like Conscripts while being damn near invincible, and against anything tougher, you hold them in place until your next turn, then Fall Back and have your Plague Marines unleash Plasma against them. Because their only regular save is the Disgustingly Resilient, they're vulnerable to weapons with more than 1 damage, since a wound from a D2 weapon causes two Disgustingly Resilient rolls, either of which could kill the model. Be aware that, despite their appearance, they are not a screening unit. With only melee attacks and a 4" movement, they are a slow, lumbering mass for attrition. If you are looking for chaff to take up space on the board quickly, Cultists will be both better and cheaper. (Although Poxwalkers are now down to 5 points as of Chapter Approved 2019)
    • Opinion - If you want a murder squad of poxwalkers, take Typhus with Putrescent Vitality along with an allied CSM patrol detachment with 2 squads of cultists (recommended minimum size of 20) and a vanilla sorcerer with Prescience and Diabolic Strength (Diabolic strength only affects one model, not unit, Putrescent vitality from the contagion discipline will give +1 strength and Toughness.) Use your cultists as a poxwalker battery for The Dead Walk Again, followed by a casting of both Prescience from the Chaos Sorcerer and Putrescent Vitality and blades of putrefaction from Typhus. Now you have a gargantuan squad of S5 T5 zombies of death that are hitting on 3+ with +1 to wound. See that Land Raider? Now you don't. This strategy (as of October 2017) costs 406 points with 2 squads of 20 cultists and a squad of 20 poxwalkers.
      • For added fun, add a CSM marine detachment with Fabius Bile (a supreme command detachment with Fabius Bile, Lucius and Abaddon (who shares the Chaos, Heretic Astartes and Slaanesh Keywords, so can be taken alongside Luscious Lucius and Fabulous Bill in the same detachment) works very well). Over the course of 2 turns, Bile will buff your beautiful zombies by either an additional S, T or A. With all of these buffs combined, you are looking at potentially having T6 poxwalkers. Neat!
        • While the above is neat and can work, be aware of a savvy opponent watching for something like this. Remember that you're committing Typhus, a Sorcerer, and 40 cultists to hold one part of the board, which end up only being 4" + advance fast. A simple counter play will be to simply shoot the cultists down enough to force a bunch of morale casualties, then just ignore your giant plodding walker unit (or feed it chaff all game). Sometimes your Pox Walkers will not be doing any work and it's far better to be down just the 120 points for them and get their support staff into the battle. With the restriction of the table, however, this can be good, just watch out for Blast weapons.
    • The only reason you would ever take them over plague bearers is morale immunity and life eater, and only if they are taken in a Harbinger detachment with Typhus, don’t take these for screening use them to output damage with their 2 attacks and hateful assault combined with life eater.

Dedicated Transports

  • Chaos Rhino- It's a Rhino. It does everything you'd expect it to do, and can receive Corrupted Monstrosity for a nice Feel No Pain that will help to keep it alive a little longer. As transports are generally quite useful for ninth generally, and specifically for the slow Plague Marines these could be quite handy to get on an objective and score Primaries in the next command phase. Once they've delivered their passengers who will be used to score primaries the following turn, use to move block or repurpose into a suicide bomb thanks to Putrid Detonation.
  • Terrax Pattern Assault Drill:Forge World subterranean assault transport (set up anywhere 9" away from enemy models at the end of your movement phase) with a terrifying melee weapon (if it hits). Transports 12 Infantry but no Terminators. Expensive, though. Note: this thing explodes for a nasty D6 mortal wounds (2D3 for psykers) to everything in a whopping 2D6”, and you can force it with Putrid Detonation. Field these things as deepstriking nukes for a bargain 106 points apiece. note - This costs 136pts and only explodes 6" for D3 wounds
    • Throw ten plague marines and a putrefier into it and now you have a reliable way to do around 14 wounds to anything on the table. After nuking unit/tank/knight you still have 10 plague marines and an angry drill to do what ever you want with.

Fast Attack

  • The Thing That Shall Not Be Named We don't talk about these things, but when we do, we say that they aren't terrible, but they aren't as good as the other "Fast" Attack options that the death guard have available to them. Take another bloat drone instead. That said, if, for detachment requirements, you need a Fast Attack slot filled, a little 33 25 point Chaos Spawn nonononoNEEEAAAARGHOFHAFHURJG ...a little 25 point monster is a quick way to get it done. Remember though that their main use of keeping up with fast HQs is basically limited to only the winged Daemon Prince. Additionally, thanks to their melee attacks being AP-2 and D2, they actually hit pretty hard for their cost (in addition a one of 3 random but strong mutations each turn). Also of note is the fact that they impose a -1 Ld penalty on enemy units, which pairs fantastically with all the other Ld modifiers in the army.
    • Not only has the update turned "it" into a cheap and consistently strong melee threat, but Grandfatherly Influence strategies not only turn "it" super tanky, now being a pack of 4 wound monsters that shrugs off small-arms fire on 2+ and takes less damage from anti-MEU like other Death Guard.
  • Foetid Bloat-drone - Close-range and fast (always advance) anti-infantry vehicle with two plaguespitters and a plague probe. With T7, Disgustingly Resilient, and a 5++ daemon save, it's quite tanky. Slightly more likely to explode than other vehicles, too. Always Fall Back and shoot as the Drone's melee is nothing to write home about (it's not that bad A4 AP-2 D1 will kill some SM). That is, unless if you have its new Fleshmower weapon, which makes it absolutely terrifying in close quarters: S7 AP-2 D2 is powerful in itself, but as an added bonus it adds a whopping 12 attacks! It can also swap out a plaguespitter for a Heavy Blight Launcher, which is basically three normal Blight Launchers with 12" more range; remember that is a vehicle with a 3+ to hit.
    • On Heavy Blight Launchers: At first glance, this seems like an option that you'd never really have any good reason to take. In practice, it is actually a lot better than you'd think. 8th edition has many, many fast-moving assault armies and plenty of units that can charge out of deepstrike to be on top of your fire support elements in the blink of an eye. Plagueburst Crawlers are awesome, but not when a unit of Assault Marines is sitting on top of them. That's not even accounting for things like Helldrakes and Hive Tyrants, that can move so quickly that they're almost assured to be on your backline by turn 1 or 2 depending on the deployment. A Plagueburst Crawler, Myphitic Blight-Hauler, or squad of shooty Marines isn't worth a pile of rotting dicks if they can't fire. Enter the Bloat Drone. The Plaguespitters are great, but if you need some long-range fire support that can't get tied up by enemy assaults, the Heavy Blight Launcher has you covered. It can fly, its (important) stats don't go down as it takes damage, it's tough as nails for its cost, and it can play keep-away with assault elements in the enemy army without sacrificing its usefulness. I find it to be especially useful floating around your backfield grabbing objectives so that your slower, shorter ranged dudes can march forward without giving up valuable victory points. If your meta is thick on the ground with Space Wolves, World Eaters, Tyranids, and Genestealer Cults, you definitely want to lean more on the Blight Launcher Drones than Crawlers or Haulers.
  • Myphitic Blight-Hauler - A speedy (10" movement, lightning-quick by Nurgle's standards) tank that can be taken in squads of 3. 9 Wounds and gives them solid durability without subjecting them to a damage table, and with 3+/5++ paired with Disgustingly Resilient, they'll be sure to stick around. Weapons-wise, they come with a missile launcher, a multi-melta, a bile spurt (a 12" Assault d3 with S6 AP-1, plague weapon that has blast but can still be used in melee), and a gnashing maw (S User, AP-2, plague weapon). It's good at quickly shuttling anti-armor weapons to where they need to be. They are no longer mobile cover for other units in 9th, focusing down on being the most durable fun-sized tank with having -1 penalty to be hit with melee weapon and a specific stratagem subtract 1 shot from each gun shooting at them. A squad of 3 is pretty much all the anti-tank you will need in a TAC list.
    • With the new Great Unclean One, these things might have gone from a cool buff unit to something that is legitimately terrifying. They are your only daemon engine that can be taken in squads. Stick them next to a Great Unclean One with a Doomsday Bell, and you can replenish a lost Blight Hauler to the squad on a 4+, at full health. The GUO can also heal them with Psychic powers, and use Shriveling Pox to lower the toughness of T8/T9 targets to something more manageable. An expensive combo, but one that packs a huge amount of punch and absolutely will not die.
    • A nearby CSM sorcerer will make these guys legitimately terrifying to armour. Add prescience (they are Heretic Astartes after all) to a unit of 3 to have 3 multi-meltas and 3 missile launchers hitting on 2s, EVEN AFTER MOVING 10!" In an army which can lack both speed and long ranged firepower, this is definitely worth considering.
    • Since first being release, MBH have been buffed continually, whilst also being ignored by many in the competitive community. 3 of them can now be described as a remarkably versatile killy unit. With 3 missile launchers/bile spurts, they are no slouches against infantry, with 3 missile launchers/multi-meltas they can kill tanks, and in combat, a squad of 3 will get 12 attacks on the charge, hitting on 4s, at S6, re-rolling 1s to wound and -2AP. Very often the versatility of these can catch opponents off guard, especially opponents who assume they can simply deal with them by tagging them, only to then find a squad of infantry eaten by their gnasher maws. A squad of 3, despite their high price tag, should be seriously considered if you are in need of a hardy jack-of-all-trades Swiss army knife unit.
    • has been buffed and now these guys can chew vehicles like never before; also you can legittimately charge a powerful enemy vehicle with plenty of blast weapons and watch the opponent cry as the next round your blight haulers will shoot their multimeltas in his face/hull while its gun isn't doing anything because blast weapons can't be shot in melee; also they are not INFANTRY so a TITANIC unit can't fall back and still shoot.
    Besides, they’re so damn adorable, if you don’t field them, Papa Nurgle will be personally offended. He made them so you’d have a puppy. A plague filled, disease-carrying, loyal, loving, manhunting, sick puppy. Pay your respects to his benevolence.
  • Death Guard Greater Blight Drone: Forge World For a 125pts armed with alternative weapon. This beast comes stock with a bile maw (18" S7 Plaguespitter) and Plaguereaper Cannon (36" Heavy 4 S7 AP-2 D1 plague weapon).
    • holding out for 9th codex to see if worth it over normal Bloat-drones.

Flyers

Remember that while the Death Guard are stated to look down on the use of flyers, nowhere does it say that they don't actually use them (because what's the point in specialising in attrition warfare if you have no air superiority and just get bombed and/or strafed all the time?). So, when that guy tries to tell you why you can't field three Fire Raptors in a Death Guard army because its not fluffy, you can give him the proverbial finger.

  • Hell Blade:Forge World Courtesy of the Dark Mechanicus's warped minds comes one of the better anti-flyer units in the game. Only 135 points (As of FW index 2020) with 2 twin autocannons or Lacannons, with a 3+/5++ and Hard to Hit. With an 20"-60" movement that doesn't degrade as you take damage.
  • Hell Talon:Forge World Very expensive at 210 (FW index 2020) points, but considerably tougher than its baby brother the Hell Blade with 14 wounds and T7 as well as its 3+/5++. In addition to the mandatory autocannon and twin Lascannon, then the extra 70pts also pays for two bombs that can be dropped over a spot you move over to deal potentially D3 or D6 MW to each unit within 6" of selected location.
  • Chaos Fire Raptor Assault Gunship:Forge World Not much different than the loyalist scum variant. With T7, 16 wounds and 3+ SV it's almost as tough as a Land Raider. The average bolt cannon now packs 10 shots at S6 AP-2 2D, enough to drop a whole Primaris squad if you're lucky. In addition, each quad bolter packs 12 heavy bolter shots. Hellstrike missiles are no longer one use only and you can, in fact, fire 2 missiles at S8 AP-3 3D a turn now. It may replace the Hellstrike missiles for the cheap Balefire missiles or it can take 2 double lascannons instead of the missiles for +1S and the chance to deal more than 3 points (D6) of damage per shot. It can also move and shoot heavy weapons without penalty. You can also swap the heavy bolters for reaper autocannons if you wish for more S but only a half of the shots. Got a small net price decrease (10 points before wargear) in the latest round of FAQs, so is even more of a very viable option if you want some airborne support!
  • Chaos Storm Eagle Assault Gunship:Forge World Your flying Land Raider if you will. This flyer can transport 20 infantry models or half of that in terminators. Doesn't have as many guns as the Fire Raptor but can take hellstrike missiles or two twin lascannons for more shots and S instead, or alternatively the cheap Balefire missiles if you save on points.
  • Chaos Xiphon Interceptor:Forge World Faster than anything in your army has a right to be, the interceptor is zippy and hard-hitting. Slightly more durable this edition (corrugated cardboard), it's best suited to hard blitzes against enemy aircraft. Unfortunately, your army favors infantry, making it somewhat hard to buff or support and turning it into a single-use missile.

Heavy Support

  • Chaos Predator Annihilator and Destructor: take a Predator but also has the Contagion Aura so greatly softens those GEU and Jumpack tarpits within point plank heavy bolter range. unit is divided by Annihilator with the twin lascannon and Destructor with the Preditor autocannon. And boy, those Annihilator Lascannons sure fill a niche in this army.
  • Chaos Land Raider: The mass transport and massive tank of the Firstborn. With the Vehicle changes, in addition to ignoring the heavy weapon penalty, it now also a horrible idea to try to tarpit them as they can still shoot. All Land Raiders can carry Blightlords and Deathshroud (two transport slots). They can all be equipped with a storm bolter and hunter-killer missile, and all but the Helios can take an additional multi-melta.

Carrie ten models. An effective all-rounder with anti-vehicle capability, the 8th edition introducing unlimited splitfire benefitted this Land Raider the most. Capable of using its lascannons to pop a vehicle and then following up with the heavy bolters to wipe out a MEQ squad. While its transport capacity is still rather small compared to the other Land Raider variants, it still has just enough room to drop a 5-man squad of Blightlords. With T8, 16 wounds, and a 2+ armour save it'll be a tough nut to crack even with anti-armour weaponry.

The Proteus has two sponson twin lascannons like the vanilla LR, but it can choose to take a multi-melta or twin heavy flamer instead of a twin heavy bolter option (there's also an option for a single heavy bolter, but why would you even use that). But its main draw is the Explorator Augury Web; taking it reduces the Proteus' transport capacity to 6, but it prevents anyone from deep striking within 12" of the Proteus. Conveniently enough, that happens to be melta range for the multi-melta so suicide melta squads won't be able to get near it. For a more aggressively inclined Proteus, you can take the Heavy Armour instead to give it a 5+ invulnerable save.

  • A Proteus with twin heavy bolters is 285pts, the exact same as the vanilla LR. However, the Proteus costs 1CP to take due to Martial Legacy, so get the most out of it and grab one of the two unique wargear items.

The rage-inducing and expensive Achilles is back in a big way in 9th ed. A low cost of 320pts with volkite and 360pts with melta, T8, W16, Sv2+/5++ for good measure makes this model insanely tough. The Achilles is armed with a hull-mounted quad launcher with two ammo types; shatter shells (24", heavy 4, S8, AP-2, D3) and thunderfire shells (60", heavy 4d3, S4, AP0, D1, blast and does not require line of sight). Sponson options are two twin volkite culverins (45", heavy 8, S6, AP0, D2, wound rolls of unmodified 6 inflict an additional MW) or two twin multi-meltas. Both sponsons are frankly solid options and do quite well against their desired targets. You have the option for a storm bolter and a hunter-killer missile but NOT the single multi-melta like most other LR's get access to. The only area it lacks is its transport capacity of 6, with Jump Pack and Terminator models taking up two spaces. Centurion and Wulfen models are mentioned, but no unit with those keywords is small enough to fit in, and Primaris isn't allowed as per usual. Good for a Character and an MSU Infantry unit, but don't expect much more.

  • Defiler - Also the same as the Chaos Space Marine version. Not quite as reliable at shooting as the Helbrutes since it lacks Inexorable Advance, but it's got good enough range and hits hard in close combat. Add in the new monstrosity stratagem for defilers with DR and laugh as you realize how tough they become.
    • Comboing Nurgle daemons and poxmongers allows this guy to regenerate an average of 5 wounds a turn as long as you kill a model in melee. For only 140 points that’s very tough, especially considering it can kill a knight in a turn.
  • Plagueburst Crawler - It is quite tough with T8 and 12W coupled with 3+/5++ and Disgustingly Resilient. It can move 9" but moving will drop its BS down to 5+. The mortar is Heavy D6, S8, AP-2, Dd3 and can shoot at targets 12"-48" away, even if it cannot see them and it's also a Plague Weapon. It is additionally equipped with the same plaguespitters the Bloat Drone has (9", Assault d6 auto-hits, S user, AP-1, D1 Plague Weapon). They can be switched for entropy cannons (Heavy 1, 36", S8, AP-4, Dd6) effectively making it a short lascannon if you want AT instead of anti-horde. It also has a hull-mounted heavy slugger (Heavy 4, 36", S5, AP-1, D1) that can be replaced with a rothail volley cannon (Heavy 3, 24", S6, AP-2, D1) if you want to exchange range and shots for a more reliable chance to wound. Given how badly movement affects it's BS, the best option would probably be to load up on ranged weapons and keep it static behind cover if you can.
    • Alternate Take: The Plagueburst Crawler is not very good at sitting back and shooting. Its mediocre BS and low volume of fire makes it an unreliable damage source at best. However, it almost moves as fast as a Blight Drone, while being significantly tougher and much, much bulkier. Their Plaguespitters are stronger and significantly less affected by movement (i.e., not at all, including advancing) than its other options. The Plagueburst Mortar and Slugger/Volley Gun are some nice bonus firepower to throw downrange, but the Plagueburst Crawler is a much more aggressive tank than something like a Predator or Basilisk. Use its large profile to provide cover for your advancing Marines and force your enemy to shoot at the giant, ridiculously tough brick bearing down on them before your softer, squishier infantry. Great for holding midfield objectives like a big, armored frog with the Plaguespitters and throwing firepower around with the hull gun and mortar.
  • Chaos Vindicator Laser Destroyer (Deimos Pattern Vindicator Laser Destroyer)Forge World: Use the Deimos Pattern Vindicator Laser Destroyer datasheet on page 8 of Imperial Armour Index: Forces of the Adeptus Astartes. It gains the Hellforged keyword and must replace all of its Faction keywords with the following: Chaos, Heretic Astartes, MARK OF CHAOS, LEGION. In addition, it gains the following ability: ‘Machina Malefica: At the end of each Fight phase, roll a number of D6 for this model equal to the number of models that were slain by it during this phase; for each dice that scores a 5+, this model regains one lost wound. This model cannot regain lost wounds by any other means.’
  • Hellforged Deredeo DreadnoughtForge World: Chaos finally got the Dorito Dreadnought! A lot of people have wanted this for a while and rightfully so, it kicks ass. The Butcher Cannon Array is a fantastic weapons platform with 36" Heavy 8 S8 AP-1 D2, -2 LD to any unit that takes casualties from it. The Ectoplasma Battery is less impressive, 24" Heavy 5, S8 AP-3 D3 and causes a mortal wound to the dreadnought on the roll of a 1 (booooo). A third option called Dual Malignatas Saker is 48", Heavy 2 S* AP-5 D6, Roll 3d6 vs enemy LD, if it total equals or exceeds enemy L than the target model is wounded. E.G. choose Butcher Cannon Array. Greater Havoc Launcher is awesome at 48" 3D3 S6 AP-1 D1 that does not need LoS to shoot (heck yes!). Battle it out, then hide behind a rock when you have low wounds to stay relevant. Can eat things in melee combat on a 5+ to get a wound back. Has a 5++ against shooting/overwatch and a 4++ in melee. All friendly units within 5" have a 5++ save (If you chose the hellfire veil over the Havoc launcher that is!) (mmmmmm), and a Helical Targeting Array which can be activated at the start of a turn, stopping you from moving, advancing or charging but adds 1 to its hit rolls against things with FLY. Has the Containment Breach rule, which punishes regular units with 2d3 mortal wounds within 6" and Psykers within 6" with D6 mortal wounds instead. And most of all remember, the cool ranch upgrade is better than the nacho cheese one. Has the Helbrute keyword. Who's up for firing Butcher Cannons on the move with full BS?
    • Consider taking the hellfire veil on a DG Deredeo. The inexorable advance will mean it can move without a penalty to your shooting anyway, and if you put it near your poxwalkers, then grandpappy Nurgle's favorite gribblies get a 5+ invulnerable save, to go with their 5+ disgustingly resilient save. This means that against any D1 weapon, you have a 55% chance of survival; significantly better than your normal 33% chance. Your opponent will need to remove the Deredeo to get at your squishy poxwalkers, giving you a good reason to use miasma of pestilence on it.
  • Hellforged Leviathan DreadnoughtForge World: Whatever was sacrificed in the name of Chaos to make these available... it was worth it. This superdreadnought is a monster and priced very well for what it does. T8 W14 A4 2+ comes with Siege claw (fist) and Siege drill (chain), Hellflamer (8", Heavy d6, S5 AP-1 D2 which autohit), Butcher Cannon Array is a fantastic weapons platform with 36" Heavy 8 S8 AP-1 D2, -2 LD to any unit that takes casualties from it. Soulburner Ribaudkin is another arm option at 18", Heavy 2d3 S- AP0 D1 which inflicts mortal wounds, Grav-Flux Bombard is your third option at 18", Heavy D3, S9 AP-5 D2 which actually does D5 wounds against Vehicles, Monster, and Titanic while adding D3 attacks if the enemy target has 5+ models. It can eat people in melee and on a 5+ it gets a wound, it has a 5++ against shooting/overwatch and a 4++ in melee and gains +1 attack if you keep both arms as CCWs. Has the Containment Breach rule, which punishes regular units with 2d3 mortal wounds within 6" and Psykers within 6" with D6 mortal wounds instead. Has the Helbrute keyword, which means you can comfortably run the 1 gun, 1 CC weapon variant, and footslog to your target while laying down some deadly firepower. Take the Butcher Cannon array for anti-infantry or anti-light vehicle duties, although in that case, you might be better off with the Hellforged Deredeo. The Soulburner Ribaudkin will make Storm Shield units cry with its 2D3 Mortal Wounds. Finally, the Grav Bombard is the (interestingly) take all comers option, which can do work against both blobs and heavy targets.
    • Moreso than any other faction that can take them, Death Guard Leviathans should seriously consider mixing melee and ranged weapons. Moving to close the distance does not negatively impact your firepower at all. Miasma of Pestilence mitigates lascannons, meltaguns, and other potent single-shot anti-tank weapons. Hellflamers are amazing up close, and they're kinda wasted on a shooty Leviathan, and the Siege Claw or Siege Drill let it gobble up enemies in melee to heal itself. You have a lot of options that benefit a flexible Leviathan. If you want pure shooting, a Deredeo is generally better. If you go pure melee, you miss out on Inexorable Advance. It's definitely something worth looking at. Or screen them, you doof.
    • Also, use Contaminated Monstrosity on this thing. Worth the 2 CP.
  • Hellforged Land Raider AchillesForge World: Your land raider on steroids with 2 twin multi-meltas and a massive soulburner bombard that has a range of 48" with 2D3 shots. Not only is it capable of dealing massive damage and mortal wounds, but it also has an inbuilt 4++ and t8 making it the most durable vehicle death guard can field. Slap Contaminated Monstrosity and Miasma of Pestilence on it and enjoy your opponent's rage as it refuses to die. The only downsides are its increased cost and very limited transport capacity (6 infantry models). Put Plague Marines in it rocking plasma spam, or plague weapons, and send them off to kill heavier infantry while you deal with vehicles/whatever survives them (meltas for vehicles, soulburner for survivors or just eat them to heal). Death Guard have anti-armor problems? Bullshit.
  • Hellforged Land Raider ProteusForge World: For a bit more points you get a LR with some fantastic additional abilities. Standard loadout but it can eat enemy units in combat to regain a wound on a 5+. You can choose to take an upgrade called Accursed Phylactery which lowers the transport size to 6 but gives you -1 ld to all enemy units within 9" as well as any unit Deep Striking within 12" must roll a D6 and on a 1 or a 2 suffers D3 mortal wounds. Interesting for sure. Has the Containment Breach rule, which punishes regular units with 2d3 mortal wounds within 6" and Psykers within 6" with D6 mortal wounds instead.
  • Hellforged ScorpiusForge World: Chaos finally gets a Whirlwind! Scorpius Multi-Launcher is going to do work at 48" Heavy 3D3 S6 AP-2 D2, shoot targets you cannot see. Can also get a Havoc Launcher, but you aren't going to do that since you want it hiding all game and shooting. Can eat people in melee on a 5+ to regain a wound, may fire twice in the next shooting phase if it did not move!!! This is going to be a Chaos MVP for sure. Has the Containment Breach rule, which punishes regular units with 2d3 mortal wounds within 6" and Psykers within 6" with D6 mortal wounds instead.
    • Alternate Take: Why would you spend more than twice the points for less range, less shots, and less Strength? Rocket Barrage is nice, but it's not the Whirlwind it's trying to be, especially not at the point-value it's been offered at. You have better sources of indirect fire, that either earn their point-value or are just plain cheaper.
  • Chaos Sicaran Battle Tank (FW): A series of Relic tanks, having an improved rhino chassis with W14 and Sv2+. The downside is they have a Martial Legacy, so they cost 1CP to even bring. In addition to its main gun and a single Heavy Bolter, you can grab 2 sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters or 2 Lascannons, a hunter-killer missile, and a pintle-mounted Storm Bolter, if you crave more dakka.

The Sicaran has transitioned smoothly into 8th and 9th ed. It's armed with a nasty accelerator autocannon (48, assault 8, S7, AP-2, D3) but unfortunately lost its ability to ignore hit modifiers. Make good use of the assault weapon on its main gun by zipping around and firing while advancing.

The Venator trades the regular Sicaran's quantity of consistent shots for vehicle annihilation; 48", heavy 3, S12, AP-3, Dd6, rising to D6 if the tank remained stationary. finish off whatever survives with the hunter-killer or the sponson lascannons.

The Punisher says "fuck GEQ's"; 36", heavy 18, S6, AP-1, D1. Enjoy making Orks and Tyranids and Tau and Guard and Eldar cry.

  • Plague Hulk of NurgleForge World + legends : Want a better and tougher Defiler who doesn't heal himself? You found him! T8, 14W, 5++ and 5+ Disgusting Resilience. With S8 and "Rusting Curse" which lowers Vehicles saves within 1" by -1, he's going to punch the crap out of enemy armor. It can also be summoned, but with 12 PR it's not going to happen reliably. Rot Cannon is largely unchanged but with new stats, 36" Heavy D6, S6 AP-3 D2, and all wound against Infantry are rerolled (cool). Its vomit has morphed into something else altogether, 7" range, Pistol D6, S5 AP-2 D1 where all shots auto-hit... very cool! The Iron Claw remains largely unchanged, Sx2 AP-3 D6 (not -1 to hit rolls) with the Warp Sword being potentially good now with User S, AP-3, and flat D3 damage which also allows you rerolls to hit (much better than the last edition for sure!)...I still see most people taking the claw though. All around, the Plague Hulk is a great 8E choice.

Lords of War

I have returned...
  • Mortarion - Tremble, mortals, the Rotten Angel cometh! After a long teasing campaign by GW, Mortarion is finally here and is probably going to be the centerpiece of many Death Guard or even regular CSM armies. Standing at 18 wounds, a 4++ save, and Grandaddy's trademark Disgustingly Resilient he will prove quite hard to bring down, his survivability can be boosted further with Nurgle's stratagems and FOUR Warlord Traits (yes, one of them is a Plague Company WT, and he can pick whichever one he wants without breaking anything so long as you're not duplicating WTs), one of them boosting his defenses even further. He has the best (at the moment) anti-horde weapon in the game, his huge scythe Silence. It can dish out Ax3 (18 base!!!) SUer AP-2 D1 Plague Weapon attacks per phase of combat, which will annihilate tarpits like there's no tomorrow. To deal with anything requiring more killing, Silence has a second profile being Sx2 AP-4 D1d3+3 Plague Weapon. He still carries his old Lantern pistol that can cause quite a bit of damage to lined units for it hits automatically every unit in a straight line between him and the one he aims for, but only once per shot. He still carries nice phosphex bombs that deal 2D6 S5 AP-1 hits (They're not Plague Weapons, though). Cherry on top, he's now a psyker. (Yeah, the very thing he hated back in the days but, hush. No more tears, only Nurgle's happiness now!) He knows 3 powers from the Contagion discipline, he's able to cast two and deny three every turn. All this is in addition to the fact that he is the fastest piece in the army, moving 12" with FLY, meaning he can hit things like Stormravens and Thunderhawks in CC. Just go away and think about that for a second. Anyway, all in all he’s a really, REALLY strong big daddy. Use him whenever you can.
    • Like Magnus, Mortarion's command aura only grants reroll 1's to hit. However he can give a single Death Guard Core/Character unit a re-roll on all hit rolls each Command phase and he pick whatever Contagion from the Legions and always uses them at max range, so there's no reason whatsoever to hold him back since you can achieve a reroll 1's aura with a regular chaos lord, Morty is at his best being in close combat with his enemies while his sons support him through units like the deathshroud soaking wounds for him. Do note however that while he's tanky he's far from invulnerable and always keep in mind that he is a massive fire magnet. Just like in 30k, you'll need supporting units and a plan to get the most of ole Morty. That said, if he does somehow go down he explodes like a vehicle for a few parting mortal wounds.
    • It's worth noting that because Mortarion is considered a daemon of Nurgle, he can be targeted by the Nurgle daemon powers. So if you think that having an ensemble of deathshroud and Miasma of pestilence to protect Morty isn't enough, then ally in a Great Unclean One or Herald of Nurgle and give them fleshy abundance to keep Morty topped off on wounds and even more difficult to kill. Or give him Virulent blessing and watch him shred through armor and infantry alike even faster.
    • He also loves you (except you Typhus, fuck you).
          • Don't forget the Nurglings! Mortarion ALSO has d6 additional attacks at S2 and no AP, but they'll also benefit from Virulent Blessing, and are Plague Weapons to boot, for potentially even MORE mortal wounds!
          • Hilariously, for being a huge daemon primarch, Mortarion is exceptional at dealing with infantry. 2 attacks with a blades of putrefaction will inflict 10.7 wounds to Guard meaning mortarion with diabolic strength can kill 4 full squads of guard! Sweeping blows are nearly always better. With blades of putrefaction Mortarion will wound anything T8 or lower on a 2+ with the sweeping blows if he has diabolic strength this extends to anything T10 or lower. While the increased damage and ap on the strikes would be helpful having 3x as many attacks. If this is an Imperial all the better since each 6 gives you 3 extra attacks. Over 40 wounds inflicted average before saves but some of them are mortal
          • Always run the Deathshrouds with Mortarion. 155 points to save his ass from being punked turn 1 is worth its weight in gold. 4-5 means that he can kick around for 1-2 turns before absolutely murderizing your enemies. Their armor save is better than his, and when taking 6 or 2d6 or 4d3 damage from a failed save would make even Morty balk, the Deathshrouds dgaf about biting it for the Lord of Silence.


Forge World

All of the following units are well beyond the realm of being reasonably priced, most of them getting 200 point (or more, in the case of Scabby) increases on top of their already ridiculous points costs. As such, they should not be taken in competitive play, even some of the better units (Fellblade, Scabby) as Death Guard probably have a lite version of that unit for less than half of the cost (Morty or Mamon for Scabby, Land Raider or 3 Myphitic Blight Haulers for the Fellblade).

  • Scabeiathrax the Bloated - My oh-my is this guy one tough son of a bitch. At T9 with 22 wounds (which can be healed with the Nurgle Discipline), a 4+ Invulnerable save for being a Daemon Lord, and the Disgustingly Resilient special rule, you will need a crap ton of heavy firepower to put him down. And if he dies, on a 4+ a unit within D6" suffers D6 mortal wounds. His close combat abilities are not to sneeze at either. He has Horrific Vomit, which is a 2d6 flamer at S6 AP-2 with Damage D3 that can be fired into close combat. Then, he has the Blade of Decay, a S+2 AP-4 sword that does a flat 6 damage. To round it all out, he gets D6 additional nurgling attacks at S2 AP0. He can cast 3 powers and deny three powers and knows Smite plus two Nurgle powers. Finally, he lets Nurgle Daemons use his leadership within 6" of him. Oh, did I forget to mention he forces a -1 to hit modifier on all friendly Nurgle Daemon units within 6"? Yeah, you want this guy. The only thing stopping you from taking him in every game is he's 777 points, and he's a LoW.
    • Annoyingly, despite his sword having 'Decay' in the name, it is not a plague weapon, and neither is the vomit. So no Blades of Putrefaction mega-bonus for you :(
  • Chaos Sokar Pattern Stormbird Gunship: Pretty much the largest flyer/transport/model Forge World offers next to titans. Damn expensive in points and tangible money alike, it can ferry the entire army onto the battlefield. Has like 8 lascannons, a host of various missiles and bombs, void shields, and a few heavy bolters here and there for flavor. The void shields can extend and overlap nearby troops 8" away that jumped out if it has hovered. Has 40 wounds, T9, a 5++ after the void shields. Its insane points cost (2321 for the default, which is more than a warhound Titan) completely prices it out as you won’t be able to fill its transport slots short of a 3000 point game.
  • Chaos Thunderhawk Assault Gunship: Baby’s first Stormbird, costs 1400 points so is more widely useful than its big bro (which, admittedly, isn’t hard at all) but still dies alarmingly fast for such an expensive unit - it has 3+/5++/5+ VS (deg). Its best weapon for survival is its toughness and -12” to the range of weapons shooting at it. Also puts out a surprisingly small amount of hurt - the same number of Heavy Bolter shots as a fire raptor (which is nearly FOUR TIMES CHEAPER) and either a turbo laser destructor (to evaporate vehicles) or the Thunderhawk cannon (generally inferior due to unreliable shot output). It does start off at BS2+ however, so consider keeping a barebones chaos lord in it throughout the game to get those lovely reroll wound (no idea how a plane would feel sufficiently inspired by a 10000-year-old man with horns riding inside it to magically be better at shooting but hey welcome to 8th). The bombs are a nice touch at least, and it’s still very fast.
  • Hellforged Mastodon: Have you ever wanted to transport 40 Marines at once while trashing flyers and generally being nigh-indestructible? Then the Mastodon is the LoW for you! With 30 wounds and a 5+ void shield, the Mastodon is a fucking tough nut to crack, made even more so if it somehow gets into the 6" range for its siege melta array's rerolls to kick in. Good thing too, being 1060 fucking points for a single unit!
  • Hellforged Spartan Assault Tank - THIS IS SPARTA(N)! The Death Guards true answer to its slow speed. The Spartan is a beast! With 8 lascannons (Which can be exchanged for 2 Laser destroyers) and a twin heavy bolter (Can be exchanged for a Twin heavy flamer), plus capacity for a Havoc launcher or the standard pintle weapons. This beast also rocks a transport capacity of a whopping 25! That's 5 Death Shrouds, 5 Blight lords, A Lord of Contagion, a Malignant plaguecaster, Biologius putrifier, Tallyman and Foul Blightspawn. All in one simple sweet package! The only downside is that it is expensive (Still better value than a Land Raider) and that it is a Lord of War choice. Still awesome!
  • Hellforged Cerberus Heavy Destroyer - Jesus, this thing is expensive but nasty. So on top of the rules, we've seen for the other Hellforged tanks, this beast sports T9, 22 wounds, a 2+ save and can always shoot or charge even when falling back. It also hits at S8 from its infernal hunger and rolls D6 for its containment breach mortal wounds (2D3 against psykers). It can take two heavy bolters or lascannons for sponsons and havoc launcher or combi-weapon for the pintle blah blah blah - let's talk about that FUCKHUEG gun sticking out of the front of it. It slings 4 shots down a 6-foot range with AP-6 and dealing an eye-watering 5-10D per shot (aka, 4+D6). The fun part, however, is how it wounds - it doesn't have a strength characteristic but instead, you roll 3D6 and compare against your target's leadership; if you equal or exceed that value, the target is wounded. This means that on average, you will wound ANYTHING in the game, which then takes an average 7 damage at -6 to their armor. Oh hey, if you kill anything with this tank in the previous turn with any of your guns, you get to roll 4D6 and choose the highest 3. Obviously, wipe something weak and then focus fire on trouble spots. EDIT: don't forget, it's also BS 2+...so it really works well against flyers.
    • For countering this beast, the Warlord trait in the basic rules which adds +1 leadership in a 6" bubble (Inspiring Leader) is pretty impressive against this thing, as do other abilities which increase the leadership stat. Invulnerable saves work just fine against it. And lastly, it really can only target one enemy per turn (with 4 shots) so it won't be effective against opponents without elite targets (against grots, it will kill 4 grots per turn). Defensively, this (thanks to chapter approved) very expensive tank has no invulnerable save, so will die quickly to traditional anti-tank weapons.
  • Hellforged Typhon Heavy Siege Tank - Your tank for when you absolutely need 1 unit dead. It comes stock with the infamous Dreadhammer Siege Cannon that dishes out 2d6 S10 AP -5 shots that each do 3 wounds on a failed saves, starting at 2+ to hit. The randomness of the number of shots makes it ok at best for dealing with squads that are 10 man or more, but that shouldn't be your priority with this thing. You want to be shooting and those special prize units of 5 or fewer models or rival tanks. This brings us to our next point, wargear. It may also bring Heavy Bolter or Lascannon sponsons and you can give it a Havoc Launcher (if you have the points, just take the Lascannons). Its no slouch defensively either T9, 22 wounds, and a 2+ save will keep it on the board far longer than your enemy will be comfortable with. Oh and it regenerates wounds from Close Combat.
  • Hellforged Fellblade - Incredibly expensive, even more so due to the Chapter Approved points hike it got (897 points for the default loadout), but still the Baneblade's exponentially meaner cousin and the king of the 1500-2000 point game. It comes with a twin heavy bolter, two quad lascannons (that's 8 lascannons, people!), a demolisher cannon, and the Fellblade Accelerator Cannon, which is all kinds of rape. The FAC fires shells in 2 flavour: AE (Anti-Everything), which fires 2 shots at Strength 14, AP -4 and a flat rate of 6 damage per wound - whatever you hit with this shell will die, or be damged so bad it will become irrelevant thanks to degrading stats. HE (High Explosive) is anti-GEQ/anti-MEQ with 2d6 shots strength 8 ap -3 D1, making it absolutely perfect for killing MEQs (S8 and Ap-3 also make it decent against TEQs as you're wounding on 2s and dropping them to their 5++, but the D1 will halve the number of kills you get out), and you can also reroll the number of shots fired against units with 5 or more models in. The HE shells also suffer less than the AE shells as the tank takes damage and loses accuracy thanks to its higher rate of fire (so target vehicles early in the game, while you still have accuracy with AE shooting) The 8 lascannons are arguably the most deadly part of the loadout as rate of fire is king in 8E and you're putting out 8 S9 AP-3 Dd6 shots, making this an excellent knight killer. For dealing with T9 or above superheavies, the lascannons can be replaced for laser destroyers, which are 36" Heavy 1 S12 Ap-4 Dd6. You also roll a d6 every time an unsaved wound is dealt against this weapon, and on a 3-5 the damage is changed to 2d6, and on a 6 the damage is changed to 3d6. A pair of these are also cheaper by 40 points than a pair of qaud lascannons, but their usefulness takes a much greater hit than the lascannons as the tanks takes damage. It also has a demolisher cannon (24" Heavy d3 S10 AP-3 Dd6 (which becomes Heavy d6 against units with 5 or more models), and a twin heavy bolter (which can be swapped for a twin heavy flamer) to round the arsenal out (not including your choice of combi-weapon or havoc launcher goodness). All-in-all, keep this beast at around 24-48" range to get the most use out of its weapons, but watch out for high ap weapons as it doesn't have an invuln. To make up for this, feel free to stay at 100" and snipe the units with high ap weapons with AE shells. It's an insanely good take for non-apocalypse games, and only gets better as the points limit drops towards 1000 as there becomes less and less that can hurt it and less and less targets (allowing you to focus fire). Just don't expect to be having the room for any other expensive units (or just any units at all if you're playing 1000 points).
  • Hellforged Falchion - Insanely expensive (well over 1000 points), but excellent for deleting titanic targets (seriously, Stompas don’t even get armor saves against this thing, not to mention them being wounded on a 2+. Sit there and laugh as your enemy’s 40-wound beat stick is destroyed before turn 2). 2d6 strength 16 shots, -5 AP, 2d6 damage. It'll wound anything T8 or lower on 2's, and the few T9 targets out there on 3's. Keep a lord/DP around to re-roll 1's to make the target's death all but a foregone conclusion. 2 quad lascannons (or two laser destroyers if you really want to wreck superheavies) plus a hull twin heavy bolter add to its already impressive firepower.



Fortifications

  • Miasmic Malignifier - A massive, plague-choked factory, spewing smoke and disease for all to see. It's pretty beefy, with 12 wounds at T8 and a 3+ save, but that's all it has defensively if you don't count the self-destruct that hits anything within 6" that's non-Nurglite with d3 Mortal Wounds. Offensively, it's relying on a short-ranged stench, a 6" Heavy 2d6 S4 AP-1 D1 flamer-type gun - Not much in the grand scheme of things. The real reason you're bringing this thing is because of it's non-combative benefits: It spreads a contagion at max range, it has a 6" aura that gives your Death Guard Infantry soft cover (or just robs the enemy of -1 to hit if already in soft cover) and it comes with a Pox Furnace (a separate piece of terrain with Light Cover, Heavy Cover, Unstable Position, Difficult Ground) that has to be within 6" of it and within 12" of any enemies.

Notable Strategies

Play it 30k

Gimmicks are fine for starting play, but higher levels of play will require looking at what makes an army good. Death Guard have access to the absolute hardest to kill Terminators in the game, and they come in two flavors. They have one of the toughest tanks in the Plagueburst Crawler. Their Hellforged Dreadnoughts (Leviathan, Contemptor, Deredeo) all benefit from the Legion trait. Mortarion absolutely needs his bodyguard to survive Repulsor Executioners and Knights, and is worth the attention he lifts from the rest of your army, but he's not gonna hang around to dish out his buffs. Use an Index Daemon Prince to Warptime him up the table if something juicy is there T1, otherwise Warptime his bodyguard to hang out for just one or two more turns (depending on how much shooting they toss out). Roll those tanks onto objectives, and start hammering your enemies with your dreadnoughts (I prefer Leviathans, that 2+ armor and T8 is too good). Drop in with Blightlords, and vanish the screen before throwing Mortarion up their guts. Morty dead? Drop the Blightlords in cover, walk, and be dumb hard to kill while they have to decide to put tank-busting weapons into your Leviathans or Terminators. Try taking a Plaguebringer Jump Pack Lord to be Mini-Mort for when the big man bites it (if only you can find jump-pack wargear in Codex).

ZOMBIE HARVEST

Get a big blob of Poxwalkers and Cultists. Move the Cultists in front of the Poxwalkers, then use Cloud of Flies and The Dead Walk Again stratagems on the Poxwalkers. Now your opponent can only shoot the squishy Cultists, and your Poxwalkers become an even bigger tarpit with every Cultist that dies near them on top of any nearby enemy infantry that get killed by the Poxwalkers or the Cultists. Remember the Cultists don't necessarily have to be DG, so you can use Tide of Traitors for EVEN MORE bodies and increase the size of the Poxwalker blob to utterly ridiculous levels. This basically creates a reverse Distraction Carnifex, something that you literally can't respond to unless you deal with other units first. All smiles motherfucker! Expensive in CP, though. In Matched Play, Poxwalkers that exceed unit starting strength cost reinforcement points now. Bye bye Harvest.

Another option is if you have a "the purge" detachment, tie up an enemy unit with poxwalkers then pop the "Dead walk again" stratagem and follow up with "all life is Worthless" on a havok/obliterator unit to fire into the fight. Any losses from friendly fire should be recuperated with interest right away.

A Quick and fairly cheap deepstrike deathball build is to grab two large blobs of poxwalkers, Typhus, and a Plaguecaster/Lord, and if you feel frisky a Tallyman. Give the caster/lord the Wormspitter relic and the Arch-Contaminator WL trait. Dump the caster/lord and the poxwalkers into Reserves (if you use the Harbengers strategem you wont be able to show up with your caster/lord until turn 3) and Typhus in teleportarium. Show up turn 2 or 3 move into their deploy zone and camp for the Repair Teleport Homer/Linebreaker secondaries. Shoot any possible threats with the wormspitter, buffing poxwalkers with Putrescent Vitality, Blades of Putrefaction, and or Miasma of Pestilance. Then beating whatever dares gets close enough to assault you with tons of S5, +1 to wound, full wound reroll, and Mortals on 7+, 2A models. The goal of this isnt to outright kill anything, but to stay in the backline to score while being an unideal target to assault but can't ignore.

Grenade Storm

Get a Biologis Putrifier, as many Plague Marines as you can, and use the Blight Bombardment stratagem for an impressive amount of shots, up to 20d6 if the squad is full size. This will decimate hoards because of blast, and when combined with Veterans of the Long War to get Mortal Wounds on a 5+ you can even take down heavy vehicles using only grenades. For extra fun, deep strike a Lord of Contagion with the Arch-Contaminator warlord trait. Since you can take Plague Marines in 7 man squads, one possible delivery method is a Rhino containing seven Plague Marines, a Biologis Putrifier, and two more characters, like a Foul Blightspawn for 2d6 extra grenades or a Tallyman for a follow-up charge.

  • The major weakness of this strategy is that the grenades are 6 inch range and everyone and their mother will see it coming. However, with the addition of the new Overwelming Generosity stratagem, you can DOUBLE the range of grenades (to 12"), since they are Plague Weapons. Trying to line up the shot is very difficult without the aid of something like Warptime or a Dreadclaw. It feels like this would be a great backup strategy rather than a main battle plan.
    • As a huge fan of grenades, I've spent a lot of time trying to make this work. I find it is most effective as a backup option for your shooty marines. Having a Biologus hanging out in the back might seem kinda expensive, until your opponent deep strikes a Dreadnought on top of you or their Hive Tyrant comes to play. Unload on them with your plasma guns and blight launchers, but rather than wasting all those bolter shots on a tough target, you can get a squad and a bunch of supporting characters to all chuck grenades. With an Arch-Contaminator nearby, and VotLW, you can decimate an expensive deep striker unit with minimal risk of return fire. I've dropped everything from Terminators to Mawlocs in a single shooting phase with a 7 man squad and 2-3 characters. 1d6 shots, 2 damage, and bonus mortal wounds add up fast.
  • Tactic's viable now thanks to War of the Spider. Enjoy adding another 6" to your grenades for 1CP while you delete smurfs.

Nurgle Daemonkin

Mortarion and the Daemon Engines have the NURGLE and DAEMON keywords, allowing them to benefit from the buffs of Poxbringers and Epidemius' Tally of Pestilence. With this, Mortarion can be buffed to an S9 T8 21 Attacks monster, and that's without any psyker shenanigans! You can also get S8 Plaguespitters on your Bloat Drones in case you wanted anti-tank flamers. Blades of Putrefaction and Virulent Blessing can also make a nasty combo if applied to Mortarion or a Fleshmower Bloat Drone, and Fleshy Abundance is always useful. Since you can organize an army around the NURGLE keyword, you can have an Outrider Detachment based on Bloat-Drones and Blight-Haulers (who won't mourn for the loss of Inexorable Advance seeing as they never benefited from it) lead by Epidemius and/or a Poxbringer. Horticulus Slimux can help out further by providing healing (via Cultists dying near him) and planting Feculent Gnarlmaws which provide cover (For infantry), more buffs(Charging after Advancing/Falling Back), aid in summoning, and mortal wounds to non-Nurgle things all at the same time.

  • Seriously, never overlook the Gnarlmaws. They're a pain in the ass piece of terrain for your opponents. Also, as noted, Mortarion is a Nurgle Daemon so Gnarlmaws will let him charge after advancing. If you can figure out how to buff him with Warptime, he'll be in your opponent's lines and melting face faaaar quicker than they likely anticipated with an average total movement of 34" at full health. Even if you're not running a Daemon Detachment, consider a Fortification Network for these nasty trees.
  • Another way to use Nurgle Daemons is to get a Supreme Command Detachment and fill out the rest with Nurgle Chaos Daemons not Death Guard ones. Locus of Virulence will cause any wound rolls of 6 for your Daemon Engines to deal 1 additional damage if they're near a character from this detachment.
  • Yet another alternative is to rely on summoning: with Plague Pact (CP 1) summoning most of these are trivial, since 4d6 has an average roll of 14 - which lets you summons basically *any* creature from Codex: Chaos Daemons, including all these mentioned above. Epidemius himself has such a low PR that 2d6 is already reliable enough. Just remember to keep points in reserve - which you might want to do anyway if you're using Typhus and Poxwalkers.
  • Nurglings and Daemon princes best your best synergies. Nurglings are very good board control units, their high wounds and forward deployment allows you to pick up objectives early and hold them long enough for your main forces to arrive. Demon princes from the daemons codex can use fleshy abundance to heal your daemon engines and be an overall monster in melee.

Tides of Deathvomit

When building an army list, it's often better to think of it in terms of move speed and attack range. What you want is to hit your opponent in waves, forcing them to react to your moves rather than letting them do what they do best. First waves are usually fast moving units like Mortarion, Bloat Drones, Plague Drones and Daemon Princes, since they have ridonkulous movement range. Second waves are usually deep strikes and marines popping out of rhinos to deliver faceful of grenades, deep frying with plague flamers, or melee Helbrutes leaping into the fray. Final waves are usually Typhus and his zombie mosh pits. The downside to this strategy is that you'll be absolutely shit when it comes to holding territory. Then again you're a filthy heretic, who cares about defending?

The Harvest

Get a Tallyman and a Malignant Plaguecaster, give the Tallyman the Fugaris' Helm relic for the extra 3" range for re-rolls in the fight phase. Give the Malignant Plaguecaster 'Blades of Putrefaction' for +1 to wound in the fight phase as well mortal wounds on 7+ with plague weapons, and 'Putrescent Vitality' for +1 Strength, and +1 Toughness, and finally the Daemon's Favor relic so you can stick in some more mortal wounds while buffing. Stick them in a 'Rhino' or a drill with a unit of your choice. Get a squad or squads of 'Deathshroud Terminators', put the terminators in reserve. Ride the Rhino to the enemy line. Deploy when available to do so. Deep strike the Deathshroud Terminators as close as possible to the enemy but stay within the range of the Tallyman, and the Malignant Plaguecaster. Target the Deathshroud with the psychic powers. Keep in mind the modified 10" of the 'Tallymans' Re-roll range for the fight phase. Charge. Fast forward to fight phase. Deathshroud are hitting on 3+, re-rollable misses, wounding anything Toughness 9 on 3+, rerolling 1s, and mortal wounds go off on 6+ in addition to damage. Very good at killing anything tanky like Land Raiders or Knights. Not a bad point cost for a death star. You basically have 'Mortarion', but doesn't die first turn.

  • A massive con for this strategy is the vulnerability of the Deathshroud after screwing up your charge. I hope you remembered the marines that were accompanying the Plaguecaster, and the Tallyman. Put them between the Deathshroud and the enemy. Use Cloud of Flies on the terminators, so the enemy can't target them. Charge your marines in, just so the enemy can't overwatch you.
  • Another con is the time it takes for this to work. You have to be a couple of turns in to be able to get the characters out the 'Rhino'. Heavily relies on deployment and enemy placement. Typically a lot of factors can make this strategy not work, but on paper it works great.

Plague Marine Deathball

With the new update to DG, plague marines are looking real tasty. This strategy takes a good amount of CP to work, but with 9th here, everyone has more CP, so no worries about that. Essentially, this list focuses on one big blob of Plague Marines that walk up the board while shooting their bolters. This can get pretty nasty quickly with all of the synergies out there available to us now. Cloud of Flies is an obvious strat to use to keep them safe every turn. If you don't get first turn, just hide in some ruins out of sight if you can, but after that turn, you can hide them easily. Then you use Virulent Rounds as they move up the board to shoot at infantry units and rerolling wounds with Arch-Contaminator because you're always going to take that trait. If you really want to focus fire something down, use Relentless Volley and VOTLW strat to increase output and if you have some blighthaulers, you can use Parasitic Fumes to give those bolters -1 AP, but then that costs a lot CP. Finally, once you get into close combat, plague knives will do just fine now with the amount of mortal wounds that can be pumped out. You can use Trenchfighters to give every PM 3 attacks with hateful assault (if you give 2 plauge knives or a plauge knife and a Bubotic Axe/Mace of Contagion you can get them to 4 attacks, as result of their vectors of death and disease rule), then use Blades of Putrefaction or VOTLW (since hit and wound modifiers are capped at +1/-1 in 9th edition, unless the target has something that reduces you wound roll by -1 don't bother using both). This gives all of those attacks rerolling to wound with Arch-contaminator and mortal wounds on 6s, and wounding most Toughness 7 or lower units on 4s after rerolls. If you're facing a real tough nut, use Miasmal Afflictions to make a knight Toughness 7, but again, this is a lot of CP. Essentially this list focuses on Marines moving up and shooting, and then getting into combat and murdering there if they need to. You can protect them with other support units easily, and screen them with tough daemon engines as they walk up the board. This used to mainly be used as strategy with all close combat marines, but simple bolter marines have play now after the update and it's pretty cheap to run points-wise.

Morty loves to flank

V9 is a huge boon for Mortarion, as he becomes totally playable in standard lists. If you put him in flank reserve, it means that you are assured than he will be able to try at least on 9" charge range before focus, a cast of -1 to hit spell on him... And that some deathshroud near him will be in position to also have more impact than only being ablative wounds for him! So go put him in flank, and add some Deatshroud with him (2 units of nine or one unit of 5 with Mortarion's Anvil seem to be a good choice). Note that having a Psyker prevents you from taking the Abhor the Witch secondary, which makes denial less common. Have fun with Miasma of Pestilence and Blades of Putrefaction. With a -1 to hit him and 10-20 ablative wounds on him, even if his first charge fails, you will totally be able to have a full life Mortarion in the enemy line turn 3. Scary indeed.

  • Just be wary of where to place yourself turn 2: Morty himself has enough mobility, but the surviving deathshroud can easily be made useless by a crafty opponent... And they are too expensive for that. This little trick is not free either, costing a whopping 6CP unless Morty is your warlord and you are taking him in a Supreme Command Detachment (then it's only 3) and depending on your game size a quarter or more of your army in points.