Total War Warhammer/Tactics/Nurgle
This is the general tactics page on how to play Nurgle in Total War: WARHAMMER.
Why Play Nurgle?
- Because you've always wanted to take a cannon to the gut and say "I'm sorry, did something hit me?"
- You will be a tanky menace. Burning through you is going to be a massive pain in the face for most factions.
- Because you want to worship Chaos but not be a COMPLETE asshole.
- Saying you worship Nurgle is the perfect cover for your horrible B.O. (No it isn't take a fucking shower.)
- You enjoy the irony of playing the God of Disease during a certain global pandemic. Bonus points if you actually had it. Double bonus if you were asymptomatic like a true favored one.
- Durability: You are one of the tankiest factions in the entire game. With high health, defense and regeneration on most of your units you will be a monstrous pain in the ass for most faction to cut through. Plus lore of Nurgle can heal and make your army even tankier.
- Healing: Speaking of healing, you have some of the best health regen abilities outside of the Vampires. Not only do you have heals in your spells but your army ability Fecund allows you to bring your units back to a healthy state when injured.
- Morale: Nurgle is about toughing it out even when you're a walking mass of pustules and tumors, all of your units have high leadership if not outright unbreakability.
- Poison Aplenty: It'd be a sin if Poison wasn't common in your roster, helping you carve through enemies and make it even harder to take you out.
- Debuffs: The mark of Nurgle gave a reduced chance to hit on the table top, which translates to some nurgle units giving reduced melee attack to units they're in contact with. As such the enemy units will rarely be fighting at full strength. Your plagues can also provide plenty of debuffs, speaking of which...
- Plagues: It is Nurgle, the god of disease, and despair. He can spread plagues better than the Skaven can, allowing you to spread corruption very fast, and soften up enemies and settlements before you pick them off the map like ripe rotting fruit from Nurgle's garden. For the cultists that understand Grandfather Nurgle's love, expect powerful boosts instead from receiving a plague.
- Balanced Roster: Unlike most of the other vanilla rosters, your army roster is flexible and can adjust to do anything; maybe not as much as Undivided, but still a lot better than the other 3 Gods. You've got artillery in the form of a Soul Grinder or Kugath, and rotflies as fast fliers.
- Doomstacks: patch 1.2 gave greater demons bound spells instead of being crappy spell casters, now all the monogod factions except khorne can get up to 2 uses of their entire respective demonic spell lore as bounds spells for each greater demon they bring, this has made bringing 17-19 of these in a doomstack by far the most overpowered army comp in campaign, Every single greater demon now provides like a hundred extra WOM worth of spells for free. Once you can afford a pure stack of them there is basically no reason to use any other unit anymore. You can easily wipe 2-3 full enemy stacks and cheese your way through the endgame. Ironically this means that in campaign Bloodthirsters went from being probably the best greater demon to the worst overnight. This applies equally to slaanesh, nurgle, and tzeentch but not khorne or legions of chaos.
- Slow: Don't expect to be going anywhere fast. Most factions are going to have you beat when it comes to mobility so try and get into the meatgrinder as fast as you can. You can move faster than your average Dwarf but that's about it. Champions of Chaos did at least give you actual cavalry, but it's still pretty slow by cav standards.
- Weakness to Fire: With all that Regen and healing comes a weakness to fire, so any faction that has plentiful access to it is going to be your bane. High Elves, Dwarfs, Cathay, Tzeentch, and really any faction with Lore of Fire may be a rough time.
- Lack of Ranged: I mean, Tzeentch aside Chaos isn't known for being strong in the ranged department, but unlike you they at least have options. Your only units dedicated to ranged combat is the Soul Grinder and Marauder Horsemen. Some units have Death Heads as a precursor attack, but good luck out shooting Elves with only that.
- No Anti Large: You have literally 0 units that come with an anti large modifier. Combine that with a lack of dedicated missiles and big single entity monsters could be a big issue for you to get rid off. Your best hope is to throw your own monsters at them, and even then the big boys on the enemy roster aren't going to be dying fast.
- No Anti-charge: The other monogods get marauders and/or chaos warriors with spears or halberds to ward off enemy charges. You don't. Needless to say, you really don't appreciate enemies who specialize in cycle charging cavalry and ramming chariots through your ranked infantry.
- Lack of Offense: Sure the enemy won't be killing you quickly, but you aren't going to be killing them that much faster. Melee Attack and charge will likely be low for your units. Debuffs are there to make up for it, but expect to either have to rely on monster or magic to delete enemies or prepare yourself for the grind.
- Give papa Nurgle a hug! I promise it's not contagious!: Very few factions are willing to align themselves with the literal personification of plague. Besides the Skaven who also personify it, The ogres who are stupid enough to consider working with you, and your mortal followers in the Beastmen, Norsca, and Warriors, you are unlikely to have too many diplomatic options.
- DLC: Call it a safe bet. Every core race before you had units cut for DLC and you will be no exception. You have the fewest mortal units of all the Monogods, and the two you do have are straight up recolors, so expect Blightkings, Bile Trolls and others in the future.
- Cloud of Flies: A trait shared by all of your Daemon Units. As your Daemons stay in melee combat, they actively gain Melee Defense, encouraging you to let them grind it out against the enemy. You're the tanky Daemon faction, you're supposed to stay in and outlast the enemy as opposed to outfight them. This doesn't mean you need to be completely passive, but it does mean that you don't really need to do any complex maneuvers. Not exactly the most nuanced faction passive in the entire game, but one that does fit the playstyle that Nurgle wants to go for.
- Daemonic: Undead with extra steps, really. Once your daemonic units lose enough leadership, they'll begin to lose health and fade back into the Warp in the same vein that undead units crumble away. The good news is that even if your daemons are doomed to evaporate, they'll at least stick in and fight to the last model.
- Army Abilities: Like the other Chaos gods Nurgle's armies get a special meter that fills up on the right hand side of the screen, unlocking three army abilities as it fills up. We don't have an exact name for Nurgle's mechanic yet, but we do know a few details. One, his meter fills up based on how much damage your units are taking, rewarding you for prolonging battle into endless grindfests. Two, all of his army abilities have the "Chain" property, which means that they all target a single unit at first but can jump to other units nearby. None of them are Area of Effect, meaning while they have the potential to affect a huge part of the battlefield you have less control over exactly which units are affected.
- Curse of the Slug: Your first army ability is a slow that will spread from the targeted enemy unit to other ones nearby, but the duration isn't very long.
- Fecundity: A heal that you cast on a friendly unit and will then spread to other nearby friendly units. Excellent for keeping a blob of infantry in the fight or sustaining a melee death star.
- Rot, Glorious Rot: A plague that infects the first unit you use it on, dealing substantial damage over time, and spreading to other enemy units nearby. This will absolutely decimate blobs of infantry. The tool tip also implies the victims of this disease fill up with smegma, which is possibly one of the most disgusting things Nurgle has done in recent memory.
- Ku'gath Plaguefather: The one and only. He's a spellcaster of Nurgle (duh) and also works as artillery here like on tabletop. Big Ku'gath has 14,800 HP(!), but is expectantly VERY slow. Like 28 speed slow, Hierotitans can outpace this guy. His slow speed combined with only 70 armour means, that he will actually be rather susceptible to skirmish fire. While this may sound bad, again, mother fucker has 14k HP and ranged attacks, so he should be able to weather the storm and pelt any skirmishers that come his way. Can also summon a unit of Nurglings that have a suicide explosion ability. His artillery ranged attack makes him far superior to a normal Great Unclean One, because he can't be safely picked apart by ranged attacks.
- Festus the Leechlord (DLC, Multiplayer only): Lore of Nurgle, a healing/mortis engine aura, and above average HP makes him your best lord if you want a low profile support caster to hang around melee mosh pits. But his mediocre stats and non-existent mobility means you should go for a different pick if you want your lord to be able to do anything else. Consider escorting him with single entity monsters or an exalted hero if you're up against a faction that can bring flying goon squads like Tzeentch and Brettonia.
- Exalted Great Unclean One: The generic lord equivalent of the standard Great Unclean One. This blubber butt is a massive regenerating wall of slime with access to poison attacks and the Lores of Nurgle and Death. Wields a giant bell mace in one hand and a plagueflail in the other. It's slow. Like, I'm talking Hierotitan and Giant levels of slow. I mean if you want to out run your opponent why the hell are you playing Nurgle? Combine that and the low armor and this is a unit you want to keep away from factions with strong missiles. This thing is a tanky monstrosity that will hold out against almost anything, with nightmarish special abilities, including a Mortis Engine effect and debuffs to enemy leadership and melee defense. It needs healing to operate at its best, so either it or a hero need to bring Lore of Nurgle.
- Herald of Nurgle: Nurgle's secondary generic lord option, also a caster with Lore of Nurgle or Lore of Death. Unlike Exalted GUO he has a bit more mobility, being able to ride both a Palanquin and a much faster Rot Fly. Durable, but nothing compared to the EGUO. Works better vs ranged heavy factions like Vampire Coast/Cathay who can easily shoot a EGUO to pieces. In MP he has one Locus ability, the Locus of Fecundity, which is a bound AoE heal that he can use three times. The Locus alone is a good reason to bring the Herald, as it makes him much better at keeping your army alive than the EGUO. If you want the EGUO as your lord in campaign you're going to have to upgrade one of these guys at a certain level, so get used to seeing them.
- Chaos Sorcerer Lord of Nurgle (DLC): A Lore of Death and Lore of Nurgle caster lord similar to heralds of Nurgle. Can passively heal nearby units similar to heralds, but his regeneration aura isn't as strong. However, he can bring a corrosive mace which inflicts a contagious armor sundering effect on up to five enemy units. Comes with a chaos steed mount if you want a mobile + groundbound caster lord or a chaos warshrine mount if you want to stack passive regeneration auras.
- Daemon Prince of Nurgle (DLC): Notable for being Nurgle's best offensive lord. Very fast on his feet with 80 speed and flying but he costs almost as much as Ku'gath, so make sure you know what you're doing if you bring him. Has a pretty good mixed lore of Death and Nurgle, with some of the best spells from each.
- Plagueridden: The hero version of the Herald so you can have it if you want the Great Unclean One as your leader. Has a AoE buff to melee attack and weapon damage so he's a good hero choice if you want to win a little faster in the melee grind. Can ride on a Rot Fly or a Palanquin of Nurgle.
- Cultist of Nurgle: Your mortal Hero with a one-off Plaguebearer summon. He has several other useful abilities including Armor Sundering and an AoE poison hex that gets stronger over time, affecting the offensive stats of both melee and missile troops. Overall he's built to debuff the enemy in contrast to the Plagueridden, who buffs your own troops. A good pick if you're worried about taking a lot of missile fire, but he has basically no armor so be careful he doesn't get sniped. Can mount a Chaos Steed.
- Exalted Hero of Nurgle (DLC): the melee beatstick hero nurgle has bean missing this whole time, they offer offensive power and mobillity to a faction that sometimes lacks both, they also have some good unique skills to add extra healing or debuff enemies. Unfortunately their mount options are only a horse or chariot, but they are a solid and useful combat hero.
- Marauders of Nurgle (DLC): Basically the same as WoC marauders, just a teeny bit slower and a teeny bit tankier. These are nice in campaign because they give Nurgle something even cheaper than Nurglings for your early game, and given how much Nurgle struggles with income this can be a real blessing.
- Marauders of Nurgle (Great Weapons) (DLC): Your cheap can openers, use against factions like dwarfs when you want to spread AP across your frontline instead of putting all your eggs into one expensive basket. actually pretty solid, Ap, poison, and plentiful healing to support them, means they can swing above their weight class reasonably well.
- Plaguebearers: The bread and butter of your armies. As slow as zombies and minimally armored, but decent melee stats, regeneration/poison, and a fuckheug HP pool means they'll hold for ages and grind most basic infantry to dust through attrition.
- Forsaken: Basically the same as Forsaken in other armies. They are faster, have frenzy, cause fear and are immune to psychology, but are much more fragile compared to the Plaguebearers. In multiplayer, they're the best frontline infantry against factions with good ranged options. In campaign, they're best used as a hammer until you can replace them with Spawn. No, wait, i only said half their naarghohmygodithurtsrrrrargl.
- The Daemonspew Slightly upgraded Nurgle forsaken with a swarm of flies ability which decreases melee attack for all enemies around it.
- Chaos Warriors of Nurgle (DLC): The good news is chaos warriors works incredibly well with Nurgle's many sources of healing. The bad news is you only get basic + great weapon variants, no halberds means you're going to have to find another source for anti-large. still given similar cost and role you may choose to largely replace plaguebearers with these, though both have their uses.
- Chosen of Nurgle (DLC): The ultimate tanky knightmare, or give them greatweapons to make them tanky can openers. Notably, the greatweapon variant is one of if not the strongest melee infantry unit in the game, surpassing its Undivided greatweapon counterpart. Testing has shown that it can beat any other non RoR infantry unit in the game in a one-on-one fight, although it's a VERY close thing vs Exalted Bloodthirsters.
- Exalted Plaguebearers: Aside from being a standard upgrade, they have the ability to throw a smaller versions of the Plague Drone’s Death’s Heads at foes as they approach, similar to Dwarf Miners and Chameleon Stalkers.
- Festering Stooges Exalted Plaguebearers that come with terror and regen in melee. And by "Regen" I don't mean you get passive healing but are weak to fire, I mean you get a fuck ton of passive healing that can bring back models. These guys are stupidly tanky against melee troops but need to be in melee to get their healing, so missiles will hard counter them.
- Marauder Horsemen (Throwing Axes) (DLC): Speedy, low range skirmishers that can chuck poisoned throwing axes at your enemy. Will probably become a staple of multiplayer matches since marauder horsemen are very cost effective plus poison will make them difficult to catch.
- Chaos Warhounds (Poison) (DLC): Finally, immortal empires gives Nurgle the cheap, fast, skirmishy, harasser they desperately needed. Identical to their Warriors of Chaos and Beastmen counterparts, use them the exact same way. or you could just use rotflies which are flying and actually have AP, at least in campaign where the price difference matters much less.
- Plague Toads: A surprising addition from the Forge World Throne of Chaos book, but a cool one none the less. Much slower than other cavalry, being giant amphibians and all, but have a very high charge bonus and do well against infantry.
- Plague Drone: An oddity for this faction, being not only fast fliers, but have armour piercing as well. Comes in two variants, standard melee (essentially an upgrade of rot flies) and a ranged version that tosses Death’s Heads at their foes. Like standard Rotflies, their mass makes them considerably more dangerous on walls, allowing them to knock enemy melee infantry off the walls thus both disrupting them and killing models.
- Pox Rider: Essentially just an upgrade to the Plague Toads, only with Plaguebearers on top of them instead.
- Barons of the Bog: This RoR is a substantial upgrade on regular Pox Riders with greatly increased armour and two passive abilities. One restores vigour to nearby allies, the other debuffs the weapon strength (including AP) and mass of nearby enemies. These froggies will toss the enemy around while being nearly impossible to kill. The armour will help them withstand focused range fire a little better, which is good because as soon as your enemy notices them they're going to have a giant target on their backs.
- Chaos Knights of Nurgle (DLC): Your best cavalry unit. Slightly slower than other chaos knights but comes with poison attacks to debuff enemies and make it harder for them to escape once they're engaged. The real MVP of the campaign, they can be recruited from minor settlements so you can actually mass recruit them. They also have melee stats comparable to chosen with way better speed.
- Chaos Chariots of Nurgle (DLC): Heavily armored chariot with poisoned attacks and slightly less speed than other chaos chariots.
- Chaos Furies (Nurgle): Same as normal Furies with poison attacks, which makes make them the best furies in prolonged combat. One of the fastest units in your army and pair well with Nurglings for Vanguard shenanigans. In sieges they can make surprisingly good tower killers if you're willing to cycle charge them a bunch.
- Chaos Spawn (Nurgle): Faster and killier than most troops in your army and tankier than their other monogod cousins. Since you're the only chaos faction without charge defense spears/halberds, you'll want to mix these guys with your infantry to bodyblock chariots and cavalry charges.
- Beasts of Nurgle: A big adorable puppy of a single entity unit. Able to slow down units behind and in contact with it while also bringing good AP to the table. They have regen, which helps make them extra durable but comes with the usual weakness to fire damage.
- This might sound really sad, but this thing is currently your most cost effective monster killer. It's cheap, tanky, a rare source of AP and honestly a decent damage dealer for its price. Now obviously if you throw it one on one against a Bloodthirster it'll get bullied for its lunch money but for every one Bloodthirster you can bring 2 of these things. If you're in multiplayer and are fighting a faction that brings big monsters, dedicate funds to a couple of these things to double team it. Is it the the best anti large option? No, but it's the best you have right now.
- Chaos Warshrine of Nurgle: Support monster with a regen aura that gets better as units die around it. Make your tanky blobs even tankier. Of all the warshrines, Nurgle's synergizes best with his own faction since it plays directly into their playstyle and since Nurgle armies will be completely unbothered by the fuckslow movement speed.
- Rotflies: Riderless Rotflies. Melee only, using their flight speed and armour piercing to harass enemy back lines. Use them as a replacement for Furies. Their high mass means they're very strong on walls where they can send melee infantry plummeting to their death.
- Soul Grinder of Nurgle: Looks and acts like a 40K Plague Hulk, only replace the sword with a claw. Essentially the only other artillery the faction has aside from Ku’gath, and definitely the only long-ranged unit you can get more than one of. very good anti-infantry artillery with great speed and durability. One of the fastest Nurgle units. Good choice for a doomstack, similar to a vampire coast necrofex stack.
- Great Unclean One: Nurgle's big bulbous boys of mass and rot capable of taking the blast from a hell cannon and shrugging it off. These jolly green giants want nothing more than to spread Papa's love and the massive swords they wield can shear through armour. They can cast two bound spells from the Lore of Nurgle - Stream of Corruption and Miasma of Pestilence. Campaign techs can grant more spells. Good for a tanky goon squad alongside an Exalted Great Unclean One. With their massive health pool a few overcast Fleshy Abundance spells can keep them both in the fight for a long time. Due to their speed you probably want to either plop them on an objective point where they can stay forever, or keep them in the frontline brawl. Patch 1.2 changed their inherent spell casting to bound spells and with campaign techs can get up 2 uses of every Nurgle spell per match, this gives them a good mixture of unit and single entity killing power, a strong damage reflection buff and some free single target healing. Definitly worth using alongside of Soul grinders in campaign now, especially once you've tech'd them out. That said, as slow big targets they do have a weakness to focus firing.
- Uncle Furuncle: This jolly guy is a GUO with Miasma of Pestilence swapped out for Spirit Leech and a special ability that gives him a temporary Mortis Engine aura while simultaneously healing him. However, he loses the Lore of Nurgle passive. An ideal offensive counterpart to the more defensive qualities of the normal GUO.
- Bilious Thunderguff: (RoR) (DLC) An upgraded giant sworn to Nurgle. Surprisingly competitive with great unclean ones with better HP, weapon strength, and similar bound AOE spells to crap all over surrounding infantry.
None to speak of, other than Ku'Gath lobbing Nurglings at people and soul grinders. Though admittedly Soul Grinders are actually very solid artillery.
Starts nearby at war with some dwarfs and with Fateweaver relatively nearby.
You should learn quickly how your wird building cycle, coordinating them up to give you units and bonuses when you expect you needed.
Dwarves, Fateweaver, and likely Skarbrand, later on, will be a tough fight. Your plagues are not a faction addon, Its a requirement for Nurgle. Building an army or recovering from a fight, use a plague to boost replenishment. About to attack a settlement, use the hero you get at the start to place a plague on them.
Your unique recruitment mechanic makes getting large amounts of high tier units difficult, your best and easiest to recruit campaign units are Chaos Knight's of Nurgle (which are comparably to chosen but much easier to recruit) and Beasts of Nurgle (which can be ridiculously tanky) because both of these can be generated from minor settlements. Great unclean ones are also extremely strong once they get all the free bound spell techs but they recruit painfully slowly. Generally the Nurgle demon units are much weaker than the warriors of chaos options, chaos warriors are generally better than plaguebearers in many match ups and the high armor of the warriors of chaos units mean they auto resolve much better. Realm of Chaos
Poxbearers of Nurgle (Ku'gath): Ku'gath has found himself in a really, really uncomfortable spot. Although his west and northern fronts are somewhat safe, everywhere that is not those two directions are not fun. A clan of dwarves is to your east, along with some Tzeench armies to your north. South of you is yet even more dwarves, and the ordertide that is Kislev. You are going to want to take this very slowly, and carefully. First, deal with the ogre's that are harassing you. Once you got your first province secure, deal with the dwarves, they will not stop until you have been scrubbed from the map entirely. South of you, Kraka Drak has little more to do besides sending their armies to come piss you off. Try to ally the local norscan clans to keep them busy. North of you, a Tzeench faction is busy planning to bring your end. If possible, try to stay on your good side, as pushing north will attract the attention of Kairos and Cathay.
Poxbearers of Nurgle (Ku'gath): Ku'gath evicted Malus Darkblade and is now starting in the Dragon Isles. The map has also been reworked so you can access the mainland via a stepping stone land bridge. This is both good and bad news for you. The good news is you're nestled up against a map edge and won't need to worry about rear attacks. The bad news is you start next to Imrik, Thorek, and Greasus, all of which are difficult matchups for Nurgle. Try to make nice with Greasus and expand west to Skarbrand. The Southlands is increasingly looking like the new Lustriabowl with 3(!) Chaos factions, Volkmar, and Teclis moving there from ME and you do NOT want the place to turn into another ordertide snowball.
You are designed to pretty much out last everyone you fight against, as your Nurglings and Plaguebearers hold the line so your monsters and army abilities give the enemy a slow death. Poison and debuffs are aplenty in your army as you drown the enemies in their own sickness. However, you had best pray your enemies are Anti Vaxxers because if they practice social distancing, it'll be hard for you to do your job. The fastest thing in your army are toad monsters and fat bugs, so yeah you're not exactly a speed demon. Combine that with your lack of ranged units and kiting builds in particular are a big problem for you. Still, if you are able to get into melee, expect the plagues to slowly melt them down. Now go out there and make Papa Nurgle proud!
- Beastmen: Beastmen are lousy in a war of attrition, which is where you excel. They rely on getting off their strong charge bonus and overwhelming you before their low leadership and armor causes them to buckle. Bring the Lore of Death and its leadership debuffs to help speed up their collapse. Big blobs of Plaguebearers and Nurglings will probably outlast their infantry. The main thing you need to worry about are their big monsters, especially Jabberslythes.
- Bretonnia: Bretonnia struggles against large monsters and you've got plenty of those. You won't need much to win the infantry fight, so bring a bunch of nurglings and back them up with Beasts of Nurgle, Soul Grinders, Chaos Spawn, ore maybe even Great Unclean ones. Maybe grab a couple of Furies to swamp their archers as well. Watch as the knights charge into you again and again and you just heal the damage right back up. Eventually you'll wipe the floor with their peasants and then it's just a question of who outlasts who -- exactly the kind of engagement you like.
- Chaos Dwarfs: Be prepared for a world of hurt. They are tanky, long range and have no shortage of fire based weapons to ruin your day with.
- Warriors of Chaos: The good thing is that you can easily swarm and drag down the Chaos Warriors and Chosen and send the Marauders packing off the field. The bad thing is that Dragon Ogres and Shaggoths are very hard for you to counter and the Hellcannon is extremely difficult to shut down because its crew is only there for show and the unit itself is unbreakable. The other bad thing is that they have access to the Lore of Fire. However, Chaos Warriors are bad at range and while they do have Chaos Dragon mounts for their lords as well as feral manticores; your plague drones and rotflies can still win the skies and set up rear attacks against them. Dragon Ogres and Shaggoths are doubtlessly a huge problem for you, but they are very expensive and prime targets for the lore of death. A Chaos Sorcerer Lord of Fire on a Chaos Dragon mount is quite the conundrum for you to deal with and you're the rare army where that would be a decent pick. Archaon is also an extremely nasty enemy for you to deal with as he brings tons of flaming damage and you don't have anything that can safely target him, try to cripple him with debuffs and don't give him good targets for his big damage spells.
- Dark Elves: Dark Elves are another army that relies of winning the fight quickly. If their Murderous Prowess wears off before they've won a definitive advantage their low model count and slightly sub-par defensive stats will cause them trouble. This is perfect for you since you're the army for just wearing the other guy down. Another major advantage you have is your lack of armor. Many Dark Elf units are heavily specialized to deal AP damage, a metric utterly wasted on your army of bubbling, rotting flesh. The biggest thing you probably have to worry about are Hydras and the Lore of Fire. Hydras mulch infantry and fire damage of any kind will do extra damage to your regenerating units while debuffing any healing. Be sure to bring some Furies or Rot Flies to flank and take out their bolt throwers and crossbows. Scourgerunner Chariots and Dark Riders are going to be a big pain, try to just keep them occupied while you reduce the rest of their army to a pile of goo.
- Dwarfs: Ku'gath's traditional nemesis and for good reason. They might be as slow as you are but they have a ton of range and easy access to fire damage. Make good use of your Rotflies, Furies, Pox Riders, and Forsaken because you need to close the distance as fast as possible, otherwise Dwarf cannons will turn your army into bubbling puddles of green paste. Do not under any circumstances, take Great Unclean Ones to this match up. They will die faster than you can blink between Slayers and the sheer ranged firepower of the bearded manlets.
- Empire: If you can reach the Empire's main lines you will roll over their infantry in good time and make use of your general air superiority to bully their artillery. The problem is getting there and the fact that you are very vulnerable to the lore of Fire and Light, and to a lesser degree Heavens. While on their own Imperial infantry are no match for yours, with proper magical and lord and hero support they can be shockingly sticky and even outright defeat yours; especially with good magic or priests behind them. The Artillery is very unpleasant to deal with, particularly the Hellstorm rockets which love your unarmoured slow moving blobs and the Hammer of Witches whose magic damage projectiles will make your Great Unclean Ones regret existing; but you should be able to use Nurglings and Rotflies to silence them long enough to meet the grind. That being said, the cavalry is one of your greatest conCerns. Demigryphs with Halberds and Knights of the Blazing Sun are particularly bad news for you and need to be focused down as fast as possible; preferably with slowing debuffs, because if allowed to run riot you will regret it. Huntsmen archers are also basically made to punish you, as your poorly armoured monsters are literally their ideal target. Grenade Outriders are also a huge pain fo you to deal with due to lacking anything to reliably catch them and with a flaming sword of rhuin will absolutely spoil your entire day.
- Grand Cathay: Everything you hate about the dwarfs except they have actual cavalry, fliers, more mobile lords, monsters, and flaming cannons. Also their scary melee legendary lords are much too fast for you to disengage from. Them lacking the lore of fire per se is cold comfort when the Lore of Yang does everything you hate about the lore of Fire and Long Ma will shred any of your fliers with ease (nevermind Miao Ying or worse; Zhao Ming), leaving Sky Junks free to rain point blank rockets down on your troops. To have a chance of coming out on top you're going to have to play in a rather Un-nurgle way. Which is to say you're going to be relying on Plague Toads, Rotfliers, Furies, Chaos Spawn and variants thereof and leave the plaguebearers, nurglings, and unclean ones at home. Anything that doesn't have a speed of at least 50 is artillery fodder and is honestly not worth taking. Trying to out-grind Cathay is while doable, very much not-optimal because they are built to last long enough for their heavy hitters to land the killing blow and you simply cannot break them fast enough; you need to blitz them.
- Greenskins: Finally, someone without fire damage out the ass and whose mechanics encourage getting stuck in. The main things to watch out for are the Greenskins' own monsters who can be difficult to deal with, especially Rogue Idols who you can only excruciatingly slowly chip away at, as well as Greenskin skirmishing and artillery. Do not underestimate Greenskin artillery, take out doomdivers as soon as you see them and take full advantage of your air superiority. Greenskins generally have leadership issues, so the best way to win the infantry shoving contest without waiting to see if your Debuffs can out-last their endless WAAAGHs is to quickly bring in fliers and cavalry to break them. Anything that causes terror in particular is useful and since you lack armour; Black Orcs are thankfully somewhat wasted on you (though still more than enough to kill literally any of your infantry handily). This is a match-up you have many good advantages in and is generally in your favour, but the Greenskin roster is enormous and full of all kinds of tricks; underestimate the Waaagh at your own peril.
- High Elves: Ugh. You might as well forfeit this one. High elves excel in everything you hate. The most cost efficient archers in the game. Plentiful access to flaming attacks. Mobile mages that can root your fliers, root your few fast movers, or torch them with burning head depending on exactly how your opponent wants to ruin your day. Leave the bigbois at home and go heavy on nurglings and plague toads. You need someone capable of running down archers to keep your 20 movement speed army from getting shot to death and rotflies will just get snared + swatted out of the skies by Alarielle and her flying goon squad of dragons/phoenixes. A Soul Grinder is a must bring as that is the best answer in your army to archers. That'll probably just be delaying the inevitable though, Soul Grinders give you the ability to respond at range but they're not going to outshoot an entire high elf ranged line by themselves. Pray that the chaos gods give you a better matchup next time.
- Khorne: Khorne is one of your easier matchups since Hellblade demands that his forces get into prolonged mosh pits if they want to function at their best and his shooting is okay at best while surprisingly for a god associated with fire; has little access to flaming damage. Khornate lists can still pulverise you if you take it too easy, but they have few ways to not play your game. You should definitely avoid Nurglings as Khorne's mechanics absolutely will punish you for bringing fodder. While if you just let it play out you absolutely will lose the infantry grind, you have the means to intervene in that grind to break apart the Khornate line of battle while Khorne's magic-hating ass has limited options beyond just fighting harder. The units to watch out for are skull cannons, blood/skullcrushers, khornbull minotaurs, and of course bloodthirsters. Skull Cannons at least have very limited ammo before they have to get into melee to get more, and you're quite good at stopping them from pulling out back to gun range, but they can do flaming damage and are able to do sizeable damage to your shambling lords and heroes; Plague Drones or Toads are best suited here. Blood/Skullcrushers and Minotaurs need to be prevented from getting proper charges at any cost, so quickly gumming them up with Vanguard units and slowing debuffs is a must. Bloodthirsters and especially Skarbrand though, are an absolute nightmare to deal with.
- Kislev: "Surely the ice faction doesn't have fire damage!" you say like the fool you are while Ra-Ra-Rasputin dances on your burnt corpse. And you will learn to absolutely hate the frostbite effect as Kislev makes you go from slow to more or less stationary, and your lack of armour makes you hideously vulnerable to Kislev's various AoE spells as well as the humble kossar. Catching Kislevite horse archers or war sleds is an exercise in futility and its much more efficient to just try and ignore the damage and focus on winning the fight. And Kislev's units are surprisingly sticky due to By our Blood as well as some of the best average leadership of any of the human factions. And with their combination of ranged firepower and superior speed as well as innumerable ways to slow you down, Kislev can keep on pulling out of unfavourable engagements and whittle you down with more and more firepower. And what's worse is that basically all of Kislev's ranged units can handle themselves in melee so you'll need something meatier than Nurglings or Furies to genuinely slow them down. This is another match-up where you don't want to bring Great Unclean Ones unless you want to give Streltsi and Ice Guard target practice. As for War-Bear riders; I'm sorry to inform you that you don't really have any good options against those. Just pray the polar bears have a stomach ache after eating you or something.
- Lizardmen: This matchup is going to suck. Your complete lack of anti-large becomes painfully obvious when the dinosaurs are unleashed and you will never be able to catch Skink Skirmishers as they dance around you at nearly twice your movement speed. Saurus are just as immovable in a grind fest as you are and they have access to plentiful healing courtesy of Life Slann, Skink Oracles (who will eviscerate your large entities) and Revivification Bastilodons. Then there's the fire. Solar Engines Bastilodons, Salamander Hunting Packs, Ancient Salamanders, Fireleech Bolas Terradon Riders and Fire Slann can incinerate vast swathes of your forces well before you can make it to the grind fest. The best thing you can do is to get some Plague Toads and Plague Drones to eek out an advantage in the infantry fight. Nurglings can be vanguard deployed to buy you some time to get the rest of your army as far up field as possible. Lastly, a Soul Grinder or two wouldn't hurt as aside their skirmishers and artillery, Lizardmen have a relative dearth of ranged options. Otherwise, buckle up. It's gonna be a rough one.
- Norsca: Most diseases don't survive well in cold environments, and the Norscans are out to prove it. This is a deceptively difficult matchup for you. The good thing is that Norscan infantry relies on the berserk ability to be surprisingly tanky, and then using their speed to break away while it's on cooldown. However, you can grind their infantry all day long and berserk is basically worthless because you're a daemon faction that deals magic damage. Plus, your physical resist is going to be super useful here, since Norsca has pretty limited sources of magic damage. What you'll have to worry about though is their monsters and anti-large. Plague drones and furies can be useful to zone out any javelins (although to be honest, you probably don't have a prayer of catching marauder horsemen), but skin wolves and ice wolves with their anti-large and terrific speed will spell doom for your big monsters like plague toads and Great Unclean Ones. However, it's the monsters that will really be a headache. Mammoths have the mass to push through your infantry formations easily, so tarpitting them is difficult. Plus, your army has never even heard the word "anti-large" before, so you're basically reduced to sniping them out with magic and trying to take advantage of their relatively lower leadership to cause a quick route, which is definitely not the ideal way to deal with them. And to top it all off, Norsca has access to the lore of fire, which means you can't deal with them like you would with similar factions (i.e. beastmen) by just blobbing and watching everything die around you. Soul Grinders might be ok to apply some pressure at range, but to be honest, it's going to take some good micro to keep the Norscans from getting their hands (or claws, or tentacles or whatever) into the cookie jar with their fast movers.
- Nurgle: Are you a Slaanesh worshipper? Because you have to be into some kind of masochism if you got THIS mirror match and didn't immediately back out of the game. There are two ways you can handle this, one being an EGUO Mortis build. Surround your lord with Exalted Plaguebearers and chaff and head right into the meatgrinder to drain your enemy's health. The problem is your enemy is probably going to do the exact same thing, so ultimately this fight would come down who's fat green asshole comes out on top. The harder, but more unexpected and fun way to earn grandpa's attention is, believe it or not, a mobility build. Get Poxriders, Toads and Rotflies to outmaneuver your enemy, pick apart stragglers and run circles around him. Yes, these units are still pretty damn slow but come on, you're in a Nurgle mirror match, at the worst he will only be able to match your speed. It's certainly way more interesting than going with the first option and pray that RNGesus blesses you.
- Ogre Kingdoms: Presently the single worst match-up you've got in TW:WH3 until immortal empires comes out. You are bad at dealing with large units, Ogres are basically all large. You don't like enemies that can shoot and scoot away from you, all Ogre shooting is on fast moving platforms and most of it hits like a truck. You don't like fire damage, Firebellies are one of the best lore of fire casting heroes in the game, a lot of your damaging spells are best used against large blobs of infantry; there are precisely two units in the entire ogre roster that fill this role and neither of them are terribly important for the ogres, you hate high impact charge that can bowl through your lines; Ogres are basically the juggernaut when it comes to stopping their charges. You really need to do something to prevent them from setting up charges and to keep their shooting units from hitting you for as long as possible. Ogres don't like being bogged down; but they're extremely slippery and surprisingly one of the fastest armies in the entire game on average. Nurglings won't last long, but through dying for the grandfather they can buy you the time you need to pull off a win and plague drones are your best hope of silencing the Ogors' guns just long enough to get to grips with them. Great Unclean Ones are probably not worth it in this matchup as Ironblasters and Leadbelchers are extremely proficient at outright deleting them off the map and if they don't; Ogres are very proficient monster killers in melee anyway. And those two units deserve particularly special mention as they absolutely will decide the entire battle if you're not able to shut them down. Crushers and Mournfangs with great weapons are also units that your nightmares are made out of.
- Skaven: Another particularly shitty matchup. Skaven have guns and artillery for days. Ratling Guns in particular will make you begin to pray for a quick end due to the suppressing effect they have further slowing down your already trudging forces while Death Globe Bombadiers and Warpfire Throwers will utterly end whatever they're pointed at. Though it kinda sounds like a broken record at this point, but vanguard deploy some Nurglings to distract the Skaven for as long as possible. Plague Toads will be your best bet to deal with any infantry they have while Rotflies and Plague Drones will give you a decent means to tie down the Skaven Missile units... if they aren't well and truly shot out of the air before they make it in. You'll need to keep an eye out for any Halberd Stormvermin or Moulder Monsters. If your main army can manage to make it into and pin down the Skaven army, you should win the grind. But when your army is so slow that Ratling Gunners and Warplock Jezzails effectively become skirmishers, you know it's not a matchup in your favor.
- Slaanesh: The fastest army in the game versus the slowest. Finally, something that is ironically in your favor! Slaanesh has even fewer ranged options compared to you and as such will be forced to commit to a grind fest. Considering their specialization against AP, so long as you stay clear from your few armored units, this should not be a problem.
- Tomb Kings: Hey a faction that hates fire damage as much as you do! Unfortunately for you the Tomb Kings are also much better at shooting than you and have much more dangerous monsters. A Necrosphinx will feed a Great Unclean One its own ass in moments while Sepulchral Stalkers can delete any large units you felt like bringing. Your slow, bunched up hordes also give Caskets of Souls dry orgasms as they rain down magic death on their heads. You absolutely need to take down the Tomb King Lord because you can't outgrind the Tomb Kings fast enough to not be crushed by their monsters and chariots or shot to pieces by their numerous and scary means of poking holes in you. While they at least don't have the lore of fire, they have the Lore of Light which you hate only mildly less between it being able to make any given unit fight to the bitter end whenever the caster wants, crank up the speed dial for large sections of the army, zap single entities off the map with Shem's Burning Gaze, root your few precious mobile units in place with the Net of Amyntok, or delete whole sections of your army with banishment.
- Tzeentch: It's a safe bet that this will be a very unpleasant matchup for you. Tzeentch will control the skies, your fliers are no match for his even if he doesn't bring a flying lord of change. The plodding movement of most of your army means you won't be able to chase down Tzeentch's speedier units and keep them from abusing barrier regeneration with hit + run attacks. Worst of all, your enemy has access to an absurd amount of fire damage, so kiss goodbye to regeneration. Best advice is to suicide screen your army with nurglings and bring plague toads/pox riders to trap cycle chargers. Minimize losses by blocking with fodder, spreading out to reduce units hit by breath/vortex spells, camping in forests, and spamming fleshy abundance heals from the Lore of Nurgle. Winds of magic are a finite resource and Tzeentch's ranged units don't have much ammo so eventually he will have to close to melee and fight you in your element. You should have the game in the bag if you keep enough of your army alive.
- Vampire Coast: The good news is that you do have tools against blobbed up infantry. The bad news is that you are target practice for the largest pile of guns you've ever seen and your unarmoured and agonizingly slow hordes will have the zombies manning Queen Bess salivating. You'll probably win the grind against the Zombies barring dumping a ton of magic or them hitting you with one of their big AoE spells, but this doesn't matter at all unless you win fast enough to get to the gunlines which is a huge ask for Nurgle. The Vampire Coast also has extremely powerful monsters and you are terrible at dealing with monsters and the only reason you might not see the RoR Necrofex in this match up is that the points limit is too small to fit both it and the Queen Bess. If you do see both, you are going to suffer. And the Coast sadly has enough of an airgame as well as sufficient dakka to pound your own fliers out of the sky. Like their landlubber counterparts, you have to watch out closely for Wind and Vortex spells; especially the Wind of Death which can instantly decide a melee fight and you're too slow to dodge reliably. Harkon on his pet bat are an absolute pain in the ass and you don't really have any answers to him.
- Vampire Counts: Ah, a faction with fewer ranged options than you! A majority of their units exist to bog you down, something you're not entirely opposed to humoring them on. Just don't clump up for their casters to lay down a Winds of Death. This is generally a match up revolving around who can make better use of their hammer units in armies mostly comprised of anvils and who has better sense for when to use healing effects. Mortis engines and corpse carts should generally be your priority, as the Undead can come back from being knocked down and their ability to spread healing and buffs for their troops and cripple yours is nothing to scoff at. Ganking the Vampire Lord is generally a big ask due to lacking strong enough fliers to take on a zombie dragon or the terrorgheists and vargheists that usually accompany them, but it isn't impossible if you have the winds to spare for spirit leeches although this is probably a waste of WoMs. Don't even try to gank the Red Duke or a Blood Dragon lord though, your air units will only die tired. This is a match-up where the Great Unclean Ones come in handy due to the lack of reliable anti-large from the vampires and their lack of shooting.
- Wood Elves: Yeah... good luck ever catching these guys. Kite builds counter Nurgle hard and this is the best kiting army in the game. Nurglings might actually be a must bring in this match up as their vanguard will allow them to ambush any archer unit and tie them up for Furies to finish them off. Rot Flies and Plague Drones may prove useful as their speed will let them catch up to any running units, though they will be an easy target for missiles. Another must bring might be the Soul Grinder, as Waywatchers get shut down by artillery and it will be able to defend itself against any cavalry that might come its way. Plague Toads are another potential option, but they'll have trouble catching the more slippery elf units since they run slower than heavy cav with 59 speed. This might end up being one of those "Avoid at all costs" match ups.
|Total War: Warhammer Tactics Articles|
|Total War: Warhammer|
|Total War: Warhammer 2|
|Total War: Warhammer 3|