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[edit]

For the first time in 40k's history, Grandfather Nurgle's favorite pus-sacks have gotten 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[edit]

  • Can fire Assault and Heavy weapons with none of the normal penalties when footslogging and Rapid Fire weapons can double tap from 3/4 (18") max range instead of the usual half range. This makes them the best shooting army for Chaos until Iron Warriors, The Fallen and Dark Mechanicus get actual rules.
  • 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 can be buffed), giving you a 1/3 chance to ignore every unsaved wound, even a mortal one!
  • 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 the coming changes to bump all your Marines up by 1 Wound gives you some pretty serious staying power. When you take an objective, expect to hold it until your opponent brings their heavy weapons to bear.
  • Gained Hateful Assault granting you +1 Attack when charging, being charged, or intervening, same as our loyalist brethren
  • 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.
  • Thanks to Grandfather, your auras have a greater size compared to nearly all other armies (7” compared to 6”), which is obviously very useful (and fluffy!)

Cons[edit]

  • 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, and the Terminators are stuck with Cataphractii armor so they'll move even slower.
  • 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.
  • While they did gain some new daemon engines in the bloat drone, blight-hauler and crawler, they also lost access to the maulerfiend, forgefiend and heldrake.
  • Some lazy ports of standard chaos units.
  • Elites slot is rather crowded. Not much of an issue since a Battalion detachment has tons of Elite slots to accommodate all those Characters, but you might fill them out to capacity.
  • Many of the units that made up the core of a Death Guard army in 7E Traitor Legions are no longer accessible to the new Death Guard. This includes absolutely crucial fire support such as Havocs and Obliterators, as well as Bikers and pretty much anything that went fast in previous editions. Nurgle armies looking for those will need to use vanilla CSM rules and detachments.
  • 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.
  • Several of your more important characters (eg noxious blightbringer) are not available separately
  • 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[edit]

  • You should imagine playing a DG army as a slow-growing but potentially lethal tumor. 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[edit]

  • Inexorable Advance: If your army is Battle-forged, all Death Guard Infantry and Helbrute units (not Daemon Princes or Cavalry, though) in Death Guard detachments gain this ability. Such units do not suffer a penalty for moving and firing Heavy weapons, or for Advancing and firing Assault weapons. In addition, a unit with this ability can fire twice with Rapid Fire weapons at a range of 18", instead of only being able to fire twice with them up to half the weapon's maximum range. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. Also gives us the best cultists until GW updates our data sheets.
    • While this ability IS extremely good bear in mind its limitations.
      • The bonus that will get the most mileage is the extra Rapid Fire range as this affects Bolters, Autoguns, Plasma Guns and Combi-guns of all sorts for Infantry.
      • The bonus to Assault weapons affects Blight Launchers, which are 24 inch range and thus usually never need to advance, and Meltaguns, which love the bonus.
      • The bonus for Heavy Weapons only affects your Blightlord Terminators with a Reaper Autocannon and Heavy Stubber Chaos Cultists, since they're the only things with a heavy weapon, and supports you running a Melee+Ranged build so you can advance while still shooting or a pure ranged so you can reposition with no penalty.
  • Disgustingly Resilient: Not exclusive to the Death Guard, but most of your units have it. 'Feel No Pain' on a 5+.
  • Plague Host: Objective Secured, Death Guard edition (if Battle-forged), to all TROOPS, no matter how many fewer than the enemy.
  • Plague Weapon: A weapon that rerolls to-wound rolls of 1. Incidentally, a lot of your weapons are these.
  • Daemonic Ritual: Same as vanilla CSM, but locked to NURGLE DAEMON.
  • Death to the False Emperor: Just like vanilla CSMs, rolling a 6 to hit in close combat against units with the Keyword IMPERIUM, lets you perform a bonus attack using the same weapon, CODEX: DEATHGUARD Update Ver 1.4 states you may use a different profile for the weapon e.g. Mortarion using Silence. People usually tend to forget this one but seriously, this little friend could change a loss into a win.
  • Malicious Volleys: We 2nd Edition now. 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 (Inexorable Advance makes this 18" inches rather than half range)
    • if the model didn't move during the previous Movement Phase
    • if the model is a Terminator, Biker, or Helbrute.
  • Hateful Assault: +1A if you charge, are charged or perform a heroic intervention. Features in the CSM ‘dex but affects all Heretic Astartes Death Guard except for poxwalkers and cultists, so yay for us! Morty and Deathshroud will ADORE this.

Warlord Traits[edit]

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

  1. Revoltingly Resilient: When using Disgustingly Resilient to resist a non-mortal wound, add +1 to the roll. Consider having your designated sawbones (Plague Surgeon) nearby, to boost this even further.
    • Better than Constitution against 1-damage attacks, but worse against multi-damage ones. It always depends on what army you'll be facing.
  2. Living Plague: Any unit within 3" of the Warlord at the start of any Fight phase takes a mortal wound on a 4+. Typhus comes stock with this one.
    • Not terrifying on its own, but it allows you to dish out YET more mortal wounds, on top of Typhus' innate ability and a potential Nurgle's Rot stratagem. Works very well on death stars. Makes MSU armies wilt but won't so much as tickle a horde army.
  3. Tainted Regeneration: Recover a wound at the start of each player's turn.
    • Very good if fighting against jack-of-all-trades armies, but not as good as Revoltingly Resilient against armies that like to annihilate one unit at a time with focus fire (looking at you, weeaboos).
  4. Hulking Physique: +1 to Toughness.
    • Generally bad compared to Revoltingly Resilient and terrible compared to Rotten Constitution, although it can be useful on a T5 model if you're trying to wade through S3 spam, such as lasguns on a conscript-spamming list, or a T7 model such as Mamon when you’re taking on Marines.
  5. Rotten Constitution: Reduce all damage taken by 1, to a minimum of 1. Less damage taken means fewer chances for Disgustingly Resilient to fail, so it's an even bigger boost than it might look. As mortal wounds are inflicted one at a time, it won’t help versus those. Compared to revoltingly resilient this trait is better vs 2d and 3d weapons, equally good vs 4d and worse against all other. If you are in range of a plague surgeon or has a maxed epidemius buff on a daemon Prince, it is virtually identical on D3 weapons as well (1.22 vs 1.25 D taken per hit), so the choice isn’t obvious.
  6. Arch-Contaminator: Re-roll all failed wound rolls made with a Plague Weapon within 7" of your Warlord. Mortarion comes with this.
    • Blatantly the best of the bunch if you want your Warlord to be a force multiplier. Just sit a Chaos Lord (or Mortarion at that matter) with this trait on top of some Blight Launcher Plague Marines and Plagueburst Crawlers and watch the fireworks. Also makes almost every special close combat weapon (including bubotic axes which are hugely available across the codex) into lightning claws for free. In addition, does the same to blight grenades, meaning that this trait is essential for anyone planning to run a Biologis Putrifier. Add the appropriate relic to boost this to 10" and make Salamanders cry over how many more re-rolls you get than them.
    • This is awful on Mortarion as he will either outrun his support units that are buffed by this ability, or get shot to hell turn 1/2 because he has more than 9 wounds, gifting your opponent Slay the Warlord and robbing said support units of this buff anyway. Never make Mortarion your warlord - always pick a Lord of Contagion or normal Termie Lord and deep strike them with some Deathshroud if you want to give your warlord this trait.

Stratagems[edit]

Of course there are 14 (7x2) of them!

  • Blasphemous Machines (1 CP): Use before a vehicle attacks in the shooting phase. Until the end of the phase, that vehicle can ignore the penalties for moving and firing heavy weapons or for advancing and firing. Identical to CSM version.
  • Blight Bombardment (1 CP): Use before a friendly DEATH GUARD unit shoots or fires Overwatch; instead of only one model being able to use its Blight Grenades as usual, the whole unit can throw them at once. Hilarious when paired with the Foul Blightspawn and the Biologis Putrefier since they both buff blight grenades even further.
  • Chaos Boon (1 CP): The infamous boon table returns from the CSM codex, now on 2d6 and triggered after a non-Daemon Prince CHARACTER kills any CHARACTER, VEHICLE, or MONSTER in the Fight phase. A single CHARACTER can benefit from it multiple times, and duplicates turn into 7. Interestingly, Matched Play explicitly does not interfere with your Character transforming; the only restriction is that the transformed unit has to keep the Mark it started with (and since Death Guard can only use the Mark of Nurgle that won't be an issue). Since you can pick and choose who activates this, this is far better than what it used to be. It is also hilarious in friendly games, and this player uses it as often as possible to see how many buffs Typhus gets before Grandfather turns him into a Spawn.
    • 2: Spawndom. Replace your character with one of the gribbly things, set up within 6" of his former position. Incredibly, this also gives your opponent the victory points for Slay the Warlord if your warlord gets ‘gifted’ this or Daemonhood due to your character being explicitly stated to have been slain, not transformed.
    • 3: All of the character's ranged weapons get a 6" range boost.
    • 4: +3 M
    • 5: +1 S
    • 6: +1 A
    • 7: Pick any result other than Spawndom or Daemonhood.
    • 8: Enemies targeting this character in the fight phase get -1 to hit rolls.
    • 9: +1 to all saving throws. Arguably the pick of the bunch when on a Terminator character like Typhus as it gives him a 1+ save (though remember that all rolls of 1 still fail, you're essentially just subtracting 1 from all AP characteristics) and a 3+ invuln. Make all AP -1 weapons cry. Sadly, doesn't affect Disgustingly Resilient as it's an 'ignore' instead of a 'save' rule (if it did though, you could combine it with the Revoltingly Resilient WT to get T5 1+/3++/3+++ for all your immortality needs - incidentally, blatantly unfair cheesemongering bullshit like this is exactly why GW don't allow DR to be affected).
    • 10: +1 T
    • 11: +1 W
    • 12: Daemonhood. As Spawndom, but replace the character with a Daemon Prince instead. Note any bonuses from previous Boon Table uses are lost as your character is explicitly stated to be slain and then a separate DP is set up.
  • Chaos Familiar of Nurgle (1CP): Use at the start of your Psychic Phase; a DEATH GUARD PSYKER can swap one power known for another from the Contagion discipline. Very situational, but it can be useful. As written, this allows you to swap Smite for an extra Contagion power.
  • Cloud of Flies (1 CP): During your movement phase, select a DEATH GUARD INFANTRY unit. Until your next turn, it cannot be the target of ranged attacks unless they're the closest unit to the foe. This essentially gives your footsloggers the old 8th ed CHARACTER rules, making them immune to shooting attacks. Also protects important characters from sniper weapons. In a FAQ This can't be used on units coming from reserves at the end of the phase like terminators. 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.
  • Fire Frenzy (1 CP): Use on a Helbrute unit that did not move this turn. It may fire all its weapons twice but can only target the nearest visible enemy unit. Another CSM Stratagem and quite good. Consider a Helbrute with two gun arms to take advantage of this.
  • Gifts of Decay (1 or 3 CP): Use before the start of the battle. You can have a second Relic of Decay for 1 CP, or 2 extra for 3 CP. All the Relics have to be different, and all have to go to different Characters.
  • Grandfather's Blessing (2CP): Select a DEATH GUARD INFANTRY unit. One model heals d3 wounds. If there are no wounded models in the unit, a single model that was slain earlier in the battle is returned to the unit with 1 wound. You guessed it, another CSM copypaste. The nice part about this one is that you choose which model gets resurrected. Champion blew himself sky-high with his Plasma Gun? Give 'im a second chance.
  • Killshot (1 CP): Use in the shooting phase if you have a Chaos Predator (Hellforged ones don't count) within 6" of 2 other Predators. Add 1 to the wound rolls and damage for all of its attacks against Monsters and Vehicles. Again, the same as CSMs and regular Space Marines by extension.
  • Nurgle's Rot (3 CP): Use in the shooting phase, but only once per battle. Select a DEATH GUARD CHARACTER unit and roll a d6 for each enemy unit within 7" of them. On a 4+, the non NURGLE units being rolled for suffers d3 mortal wounds. Don't use it in mirror matches or against Nurgle Daemons. If the enemy makes the error of bunching up his units then you can punish them pretty hard with this mini nurgly nuke.
  • Plague Pact (1 CP): Use this stratagem when a DEATH GUARD CHARACTER attempts to summon a unit of NURGLE DAEMONS to the battlefield using a daemonic ritual. The summoning roll uses 4 dice instead of 3, and your character will not suffer any mortal wounds for rolling doubles or triples (quadruples are safe because they didn't bother). Considering how much cheaper Daemons have gotten, this makes summoning a lot more viable.
  • Putrid Detonation (1 CP): Select a vehicle that's lost its last wound; it explodes with no need to roll for it. Useful for one last "fuck you" to the guy who destroyed your Land Raider with his Assault Terminators.
  • The Dead Walk Again (1 CP): Use at the start of the movement phase. Pick a unit of Poxwalkers and change their Curse of the Walking Pox to the following: "Each time an Infantry (Non-Poxwalker units) model, friend or foe, is slain within 7″ of this unit, add one model to the unit." Pair up with a cultist blob to recycle your tarpit with ease.
    • RAW, this stratagem allows a dead model to be raised as a poxwalker in multiple different units, for example, if a poxwalker kills a model, another unit (with stratagem), 7" away, can also gain that model. Note, however, the same stratagem can only be used once per phase, so you would not encounter a situation in which two units both had curse of the walking pox active.
  • Veteran of the Long War (1 CP): Select a DEATH GUARD INFANTRY unit. They add 1 to all their to wound rolls for the rest of the phase. Same as CSMs but still useful- especially when paired with Blades of Putrefaction.

The following Stratagems can be found in Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider. They are roughly divided between 7 general stratagems and 14 unit-specific ones.

General

  • Plaguechosen (1 CP): Praise Nurgle, a way to get additional warlord traits for as many CP as your willing to spend. No duplicates.
  • Relentless Volleys (1/2 CP): Use in the Shooting phase. Select one Death Guard Infantry unit to shoot. Until the end of that phase, boltguns and boltgun profiles of combi-weapons become Rapid Fire 2. Combi-bolters become Rapid Fire 3. Costs 2 CP for units of 6 or more models. otherwise, it costs 1 CP.
  • 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 poxwakers for a surprising amount of AP
  • Noxious Rupture (1 CP): Use when the last model in a friendly Death Guard unit is destroyed. Select one enemy within 3" of that model. until the end of your opponents next turn, that unit suffers a -1 to its hit rolls.
  • Overwhelming Generosity (1 CP): +6 range to nonmelee Plague Weapons for one non-poxwalker or cultist unit until end of turn.
  • Life-Eater (1 CP): Use in the fight phase. Select a Death Guard Unit. Plague weapons in that unit auto-hit and wound on a unmodified hit roll of 6.
    • There is almost no reason to use this over Creeping Blight. You still have the same AP as the base attack, they still get to save, and it only works with plague weapons. So unless you have low strength, high AP, a plague weapon, and against a model without a invuln you are much better off using Creeping Blight.
  • Contaminated Monstrosity (1/2 CP): Use before the battle begin. Select one Death Guard unit (excluding Cultists, Possessed, and Titanic). Until the end of the battle, the unit gains the Disgustingly Resilient ability, if it did not already have it. If the unit has a wounds characteristic of 12 or less, the stratagem costs 1 CP. For 13 or more, it costs 2. There is currently no restriction on how many times it can be used pre-game.

Unit Specific

  • Harbringer of Nurgle (1 CP): Lord of Contagion pre-game buff. Gives him the same aura as a Chaos Lord.
    • While this is nice if autism prevents you from fielding a T4 model in a Death Guard army, the sad fact is a Chaos Lord is still cheaper and has better weapon options than a Lord of Contagion.
    • Typhus has the LORD OF CONTAGION keyword, so feel free to spend a command point to give the first captain a rule he should have had all along.
  • Virulent Rounds (1 CP): Plague Marine Only. Use in the shooting phase. All bolters in the unit become Plague Weapons. In addition, unmodified wound rolls of 6 improve the AP to -4. The later effect only applies against infantry.
  • Putrid Fecundity (2/3 CP): Plague Marine Only. Use during your enemy's shooting or fight phase. +1 to disgusting resilient rolls. Costs 2 CP for units of 10 or fewer models. Otherwise, it costs 3 CP.
  • 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.
  • Miasmal Afflictions (2 CP): Plague Marine only. -1 toughness to enemy units within 1" of the unit. Does not stack with Mortarion's aura.
  • Soul Harvest (1 CP): Daemon Prince with a Daemonic Axe or Hellforged Sword Only. Add 3 to the model's attacks, but they can only target infantry.
    • Note: Currently this strat RAW does not work if the daemon prince is equiped with The Epidemicyst Blade relic as it isnt actually a Hellforged Blade itself.
  • Foulgush (1 CP): Foul Blightspawn Only. Use during the shooting phase to enhance its plague sprayer. Roll one additional D6 and discard one of the dice when you are determining the number of attacks and strength of the weapon.
    • The plague sprayer is a horrifying weapon, and making it more consistent is often worth it. Statistically, this takes you from an average of 3.5 hits and S7 to 4.5 hits and strength 8, enough to one-shot a Dreadnought.
  • Warp Toll (1 CP): Noxious Blightbringer Only. Enemy units within 7" add 1 to morale tests and two models flee for each failed attrition test.
  • Hypertoxic Tinctures (1 CP): Plague Surgeon pre-game buff. The model gains a reroll wound aura. Death Guard units within 6" of the Plague Surgeon may re-roll wound rolls 1 or 2 for attacks made with plague weapons.
    • Only even close to worth it if you've already given a model Arch-contaminator and your strategy requires a second re-roll bubble.
  • Eruption of Filth (1 CP): Death Guard Terminator only. Use when a model in the unit is destroyed. roll one D6 for each non-Nurgle unit within 7". on a 4+, that unit suffers 1 mortal wound. Bad, just bad.
  • 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 Blade Guard Vet but otherwise Creeping Blight is better for most targets as it will be just as effective without risking your own models.
  • Fire Fever (1 CP): Helbrute Only. Use in the shooting phase on a Helbrute with two ranged weapons. You can reroll all hit rolls. All ranged weapons must target the same unit and be in range.
  • Parasitic Fumes (1 CP): Myphitic Blight-haulers only. Use at the end of the movement phase to give your little demon engines an AP boosting aura. For the rest of the turn, attacks allocated to enemy models within 7" of the blight-haulers have their AP improved by 1.
    • Note that this is all attacks, shooting and melee, plague weapon or not, and can affect multiple enemy units. For 1CP this is an absolute steal.
  • Accelerated Entropy (1 CP): Plagueburst Crawler only. Use pre-battle to give it a permanent aura. Entropy cannons it is equipped with, as well as those on other Plagueburst Crawlers within 7", gain the Plague weapon rule and treat damage rolls of 1 or 2 as a 3 instead.
    • How useful this is will depend heavily on how you play your crawlers. On a single unsupported crawler it's a small buff, but if you're running 3 next to an arch-contaminator it's will double the entropy cannons' damage against a Knight.

Tactical Objectives[edit]

11 - Death March
1 VP if at least 3 Death Guard INFANTRY units are in your opponent's half of the board.
12 - Disgusting Devotions
1 VP if you passed at least 7 Disgustingly Resilient rolls this turn.
13 - Grandfather's Gift
1 VP if at least one enemy unit was destroyed, with the last model in the unit being slain by a Plague Weapon. Given how many of your best weapons are Plague Weapons, this should be trivial.
14 - Spread Contagion
Pick a CHARACTER. If he survives until the end of the game, you get 1 VP. Obviously, this should be your toughest character to ensure that he doesn't snuff it.
15 - Symbol of the Fly Lord
d3 VP if you control exactly 3 objectives by the end of the turn. No more, no less.
16 - Death Begets Life
Score 1 VP if you killed 7 models this turn, scoring an extra VP for every 7 models you kill after that. A maximum of 7 VP can be scored from this Tactical Objective in this way (from a total of 49 models killed in a turn). Almost certain to make you win if you're fighting a horde army.

Secondaries[edit]

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[edit]

Ranged Weapons[edit]

  • Autogun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S3 AP0. (18 inch rapid with Inexorable Advance. Deathguard cultists still use the Deathguard codex datasheet, not the Chaos Marine one).
  • Boltgun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP0. As mentioned above, that extra 6" of Rapid Fire range is a bigger difference than it looks for Plague Marines.
  • 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 D d3 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 - 9" Assault D6 S4 AP0 D1. Standard flamer but with 3" less range and the plague weapon special rule. Used to have greater range than a basic flamer but now that all weapons shared by Space Marines got updated we got left behind.
  • 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. Remember that you can also fire it twice if you are within 18".
  • 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[edit]

  • Plague Knife - A basic CCW with the 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+1 AP-2 D1, old power axe but with the Plague Weapon special rule.
  • Balesword - S: User, AP-3 D1, so a old 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 - The new hotness. Up to 2 Plague Marines per squad and 1 in 5 Blightlord Terminators can take these babies. D3 hit rolls per attack, S+2, AP-2, D2, Plague Weapon, and any excess damage it causes rolls over between targets, a tasty morsel of crunch very few units can get, so it has the best of all worlds: Lots of attacks, high AP and damage, and it's not a waste to use against single-wound models. Practically auto-include on anything that wants into melee, really. Pretty sad that characters cannot take it but whatever, perfection is Slaanesh's thing anyway.
    • Designed for fucking over GEQs. S+2 means you're S6 (wounding on 2s), AP-2 means they don't get a Save and the Damage carrying over means that W1 doesn't mean shit.
    • A very good reason to remember Death To The False Emperor, as every 6 on your first wave of hit rolls against Imperium armies generates an extra attack, each of which gives you D3 more hit rolls.
  • 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 single attack 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 out put. 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 - For a reasonable price we got a S+3 AP-3 Dd3 Plague weapon. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.
  • Plaguereaper - S+2 AP-3 D3 plague weapon, only Lord of Contagion can have it. 5pts more then the Manreaper to be constantly better at killing multi-wound terminators and Primaris.

Relics of Decay[edit]

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.

  • Plaguebringer: Replaces a plague knife, plaguesword, or balesword. SUser, AP-2, D3, Plague Weapon, and a 6+ to wound causes an extra mortal wound. Actually has worse AP than the balesword it could possibly replace, but 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 termi 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.
  • The Suppurating Plate: Grants a 2+ armor save, and in the Fight phase, if the bearer passes a save, the unit that caused the saved wound takes a mortal wound on a 4+. GW has noted that against melee tarpits such as Ork Boyz, this leads to an amusing game of "quit hitting yourself" that combos very nicely with a Daemon Prince's T6, 8 wounds, and Disgustingly Resilient. Also, remember that the wearer of the plate deals mortal wounds on any successful save, including invulnerable ones, which is going to ruin hordes and tarpits when combined with the "quit hitting yourself" effect. Just remember, only saves trigger it - the higher your toughness, the less often it will go off, because fewer wounds will reach your save.
  • The Pandemic Staff: Psykers only. Adds +1 to Psychic tests to manifest Smite. A flat buff that lets you inflict more mortal wounds, especially on a Malignant Plaguecaster, since it makes it easier to get that 7+.
    • Takes the wielder's average output from 1.79 mortal wounds to 2.08, on top of making him harder to Deny and triggering the Malignant Plaguecaster's special rule more frequently.
  • The Dolorous Knell: Noxious Blightbringer only. At the start of the morale phase, roll a d6 for every enemy unit within 7"; on a 6, that unit takes a mortal wound. Additionally, when taking morale tests within that range, the opponent must roll 2d6 and discard the lowest. Perfect for when you need just one little push to make a squad break.
  • 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.
    • Consider combining this with the Living Plague warlord trait, as it will double said trait's range.
  • Plague Skull of Glothila: A 7" Grenade 1 weapon that can only be used once per battle. If it hits, roll a d6 for each model in the unit that was hit, re-rolling 1s - on a 6, the unit takes a mortal wound, for each 6 rolled. Effectively a single-use Plague Wind that doesn't need a psychic test and is more likely to cause mortal wounds, thanks to that built-in re-roll, so use it on that 50-man conscript blob and watch it melt into disgusting goo.
    • It goes without saying this should only go on a BS2+ model, preferably that re-rolls 1s/misses, as you really, really need this weapon to hit the one time you throw it, if you're going to use it. Assuming it's a Chaos Lord or Daemon Prince throwing this thing, its expected output against that 50-man conscript blob is 9.45 mortal wounds, which gets worse as the target unit's model count goes down, so use judiciously.

The following relics can be found in Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider

  • The Ague Stone: Lord of Contagion Only. Enemy models within 3" of the bearer subtract 1 from their strength characteristic. It's pretty bad unless you are getting smacked by S3, S5, or S6 melee weapons as any other value wounds exactly the same.
  • Allwyther: Replaces a balesword. Strength +1, AP -3 D 2. It counts as a plague weapon and invulnerable saves cannot be made against its damage. Great against MEQS and TEQS but anything stronger you probably shouldnt be fighting.
  • The Daemon's Toll: Noxious Blightbringer only. Friendly Death Guard Units, within 7" of the bearer gain a 5+ invulnerable save. Does not apply to cultists and poxwalkers.
    • Good on marines as anything higher than AP-3 will hit the invuln and will have stats (+1T) of loyalist terminators if they are in light cover.
    • Combine this with the Contaminated Monstrosity Stratagem to create the Daemonic Land Raider you know that GW should have given you.
  • The Epidemicyst Blade: Demon Prince only. Replaces a Hellforged Sword. You gain +1 strength, the plague weapon rule, and Unmodified hits of 6 scores 1 additional hit. Greatly improves the damage output of a sword Daemon Prince against both single targets and groups even with Soul Harvest considered, but if groups are your target 2X Talons are better.
  • The Putrid Periapt: PSYKER only. The bearer knows one additional psychic power. Once in each of your psychic phase, after a psychic power is resolved that was manifest by a model with this relic, the bearer can regain up to D3 wounds. Not bad on a Daemon Prince making them both more flexible and durable.
  • Wormspitter: Replaces a bolt pistol with a Pistol 1 15" AP-2 D1. While it has decent range and AP for a pistol, its main draw is its special rule. A unit hit by the pistol becomes "corroded" for the rest of the turn. Any Death Guard unit (including vehicles) that target a corroded unit with attacks gain the benefit of the plague weapon rule. This applies to both melee and ranged weapons.
    • Biggest drawback is that its only 15"

Psychic Powers[edit]

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

Contagion Discipline[edit]

  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 7. Select a visible enemy unit within 18" and debuff them with either -1 Attack, Strength, or Toughness (randomly rolled for.) Since you can't pick and choose which of these happens, this isn't as impressive as it could be. That said, if you plan on going into melee with the target unit anyway, any result is going to be useful to some extent.
  3. Plague Wind - Warp Charge 5. Select an enemy unit within 18" and roll a die for each model in the unit; 6s cause mortal wounds. 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. Blades of Putrefaction - Warp Charge 5. Oh my, this thing. Choose a visible friendly DEATH GUARD unit within 18" and add 1 to all wound rolls it makes in the fight phase. Rolls of 7+ using melee plague weapons inflict a mortal wound. Stab that Land Raider with a rusty knife! It is probably the most synergistic power in the entire codex, since nearly every cool weapon we have is also a plague weapon.
  5. Putrescent Vitality- Warp Charge 6. 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?)
  6. Curse of the Leper- Warp Charge 7. If manifested, roll 7d6. The closest enemy unit within 14" 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 Gift of Contagion or Mortarion's aura. Generally speaking, only better than Smite against T3 or below; if the caster is carrying the Pandemic Staff, only better against T2 or below (after debuffs, of course).

The Seven Plague Companies[edit]

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, a relic, and two stratagems. Note that you can only take the relic if your warlord is from the same plague company as the relic.

The Harbingers[edit]

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: When the warlord kills an enemy Infantry model with a melee weapon, add one model to a friendly Harbingers Poxwalkers unit within 7". If you raise the unit count above its starting strength, you have to pay reinforcement points.
  • Relic- Rotskull Bomb: Can only be taken by a model with a blight grenade. 6" grenade 2D3, S 5, AP -2, D 2. In addition, it auto hits and counts as a plague weapon.
  • Stratagems
    • From the Carrion Heaps (1/3 CP): Use before the battle. One unit (1 CP) or 2 units (3 CP) of Harbingers Poxwalkers can arrive via deepstrike (within 9" of any table edge, and more than 9" away from enemy models). There are no size restrictions on how many models arrive. Can only be used once per battle.
      • Possibly better than the default Strategic Reserves. This strat gives you 3 more inches and from any board edge but requires a Company and one more CP, Where Reserves won't let you deploy them from the opponent's board edge or in their deploy zone but allows you to deploy into combat if within your own deploy zone.
    • Life Beyond Death (1 CP): Use in the fight phase when the last model in a Harbingers unit is destroyed as the result of an attack. The unit containing the model that made the attack suffers D3 mortal wounds.

The Inexorable[edit]

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: Enemy vehicles within 7" of the Warlord become vulnerable as plague-rust eats at their hulls. Attacks made by friendly Inexorable models against said vehicle improve their AP by 1.
  • Relic The Leechspore Casket: When a model is destroyed as a result of an attack made with a melee weapon by a model in your army with this relic, one friendly Inexorable Vehicle model within 18" regains up to one lost wound. Max of 3 wounds per turn as a result of this ability.
  • Stratagems
    • Unholy Essence (1 CP): Select up to three Inexorable Vehicle units from your army. They gain the Inexorable Advance ability.
      • Sounds great, but it's actually pretty garbage. After 9th gave every vehicle Big Guns Never Tire, a third of this is does nothing. There are actually no rapid-fire weapons on Death Guard vehicles aside from combi weapons and the assault weapons are covered by Blasphmous Machines from the Codex. Written with 9th in mind indeed.
    • Ferric Miasma (1 CP): Use in your opponent's charge phase when an Inexorable unit becomes the target of a charge by an infantry unit. Subtract 2 from the opponents charge roll.

Mortarion's Anvil[edit]

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: Enemies can only wound your warlord on wound rolls of 4+
Relic
Tollkeeper: Tallyman only, unmodified 6's on hit rolls from melee attacks from friendly units within 7" of the bearer generate an additional hit.
Stratagems
Futility Made Flesh (2/3cp)
In opponent's shooting phase, when a Mortarion's Anvil terminator unit is targeted, reduce damage by 1 until end of phase. Costs 2 cp for 5 or fewer models, 3 for 6+ models. Your blightlord termies can now laugh off overcharged plasma.
Relaptic Assault (1cp)
Use in opponent's charge phase, 1 infantry unit can heroically intervene.


The Wretched[edit]

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: When an enemy model is destroyed as a result of an attack made with a melee weapon by the Warlord, they regain one lost wound, to a maximum of 3 per phase.
  • 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 7" suffers D3 mortal wounds instead.
  • Stratagems
    • The Rotted Veil (1 CP): A Wretched Character that has not performed a Daemonic Ritual can perform one, even if they moved or arrived from reinforcements this turn. In addition, for the purpose of performing the ritual, only roll one D6 for the summoning roll and add 7 to the result.
    • Sevenfold Blessings (1 CP): Use before the battle. One use per battle. Select one Wretched Psyker. For the rest of the battle, that psyker can re-roll one of the dice when taking psychic tests.

The Poxmongers[edit]

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 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: The Warlord and friendly Poxmonger units within 7" of the Warlord improve the armor penetration of their melee weapons when attack enemy infantry units.
  • Relic Ironclot Furnace: Poxmongers Daemon Engine units from your army have a 4+ invulnerable save whilst their unit is within 7" of a friendly model with this relic.
  • Stratagems
    • Bilous Bloodrush (1 CP) Poxmongers Daemon Engine unit can shoot in a turn in which it Fell back.
    • The Flux Abated (1 CP) Use in the fight phase when an enemy model is destroyed by a friendly Poxmongers Daemon Engine Unit. One model in that unit can regain up to D3 lost wounds.

The Ferrymen[edit]

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 Enemy units within 12" of this warlord add 2 to morale tests.
  • Relic Ferryman's Scythe: Plaguereaper with S8 and unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional 1 mortal wound each.
  • Stratagems
    • Vermid Whispers - (1cp) When a unit of Ferrymen blightlord terminators shoots, +1 to the hit rolls.
    • On Droning wings - (2cp) At start of movement phase, select a Ferrymen unit. Increase that uni-t's aura abilities by 7" until the end of the turn. Since most of your aura's affect things your opponent does (ie Foul Blightspawn), you should probably use it in your opponent's movement phase. On the other hand, good at spreading out Arch-Contaminator or Biologus Putrifier's grenades.

Mortarion's Chosen Sons[edit]

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, while also bringing more reliable plague surgeons.

  • Warlord Trait- Crawling Pustulance - -1 to hit warlord in melee. Also, when enemy unit within 3" falls back, roll a d6. On a 2+, they take d3 mortal wounds.
  • Relic - Vomitryx - Replaces the Foul Blightspawn's firehose for one that is 7 shots, S7, AP-3, 2D
  • Stratagems
    • Alembical Narthecium (1cp) - Pre-battle upgrade for a Plague Surgeon. Buffs his DR rerolls aura for 1's and 2's
    • Plague Brewers (1cp) - When shooting with a unit with plague belchers, plaguespurt guantlets, or plague spewers, increase damage of those weapons to 2.

Unit Analysis[edit]

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.

  • Forge as shown a preview for new keywords like Bubonic Astartes and <Plague Company>
  • 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[edit]

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.

  • Daemon Prince - Note the difference from the Daemon Prince of Nurgle, below; the name change does not matter, because the Daemon Prince is an Index model that is overridden by Codex:Chaos Space Marines and Codex:Thousand Sons datasheets. However, to get a Daemon Prince with the Dark Hereticus powers you can run one from the aforementioned codices. Compared to the Nurgle version, hasn't got Disgustingly Resilient, but can take a Warp Bolter (which is where it will come up that he won't get Inexorable Advance - Death Guard are the only Legion who don't share their trait with their Demon Princes).
  • Daemon Prince of Nurgle - Buffs himself, Death Guard, and Nurgle Daemons 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 Disgustingly Resilient. The FAQ specified that it can take wings for 24 pts. Can now bring a Plague Spewer (if using a sword and one claw), which makes up for not having a Warp Bolter, but still doesn't get Inexorable Advance, because Death Guard are bad at trait sharing; because the weapon automatically hits, this doesn't actually matter, but it's still massive derp. Must also follow the Contagion discipline (which is great when you want to cast the -1 to hit spell on him). Remember that this unit is Death Guard specific.
  • Chaos Lord

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.

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.

Has a 12" move and FLY. Still legal, but has to use Legends costs for all wargear.

Lord on a chair with less weapon options but because it is CAVALRY, it won't get Inexorable Advance.

  • Sorcerer

Your baseline caster that can cast two Contagion powers a turn and deny one.

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 cant cut anything else.

Has a 12" move and FLY. Still legal, but has to use Contagion and Legends costs.

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 yeet 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 work 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.
  • Lord of Contagion - Your generic Nurgle-blessed Chaos Lord in Cataphractii armor, with a Plaguereaper/Manreaper, Disgustingly Resilient, but no ranged weapons or the re-roll aura(without spending a CP). Like Typhus, he has the Nurgle's Gift aura, which allows all Death Guard models within 7" to cause 1 mortal wound to units they are in melee with on a 4+. Basically a Typhus light for 45/50 fewer points if you only want a melee terminator lord.
    • Since Nurgle's Gift triggers at the start of your turn, it is best suited to counter units who charged the previous turn. Put this guy near a Blightspawn if you absolutely don't want a certain unit to be charged.
    • the choice between a Manreapers and a Plaguereapers is, 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.
  • Lord of Virulence: the new death guard character of the ninth edition comes with a double heavy flamer and a power fist, on top of Terminator (possibly Cataphractii because every nurglish DG terminator unit has it) armor and deep strike. Waiting for the codex for the price in points.

Special Characters[edit]

  • Typhus - Grossest living mortal being in the galaxy. Incredibly tanky with a 2+/4++ (with Cataphractii armor, which halves his Advance rolls), the Disgustingly Resilient rule, and six wounds. He gives all Poxwalkers within 7" of him Strength 4 and Toughness 4, as well as blessing any Death Guard models within 7" of him with the ability to cause mortal wounds to units they are in combat with on a 4+, which conveniently stacks with his own Living Plague Warlord Trait. His Destroyer Hive is now a Pistol 2d6 weapon with S4 and AP-3 that always hits on a 5+ (even on Overwatch!), 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 putting 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.
    • 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*cought*) 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.

Forge World[edit]

  • Necrosius the Undying(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[edit]

  • 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, and friendly Death Guard models in the same radius roll 2d6 and pick the highest when Advancing (which is the reason to take him). 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 9" Assault 1d6 S2d6 AP-3 D3 Plague Weapon that autohits like a flamer, which means that with a good enough roll for its S and number of shots it can trash anything from 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 - 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 -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.
FW[edit]

Note: In their infinite wisdom, almost all the FW units are currently unavailable to be taken by Death Guard, even as legends. Thanks GW you cunts.

Troops[edit]

  • Cultists - The proof that Grandfather Nurgle loves everyone equally, the humble Cultists are a solid investment in a Death Guard list. What weapon they should take depends on your play style and what else is in your list. "Inexorable Advance" makes Autogun & Heavy Stubbers equipped cultists a pretty nice shooty unit for their cost. On the other hand, a big blob of melee-equipped cultists is a premium target for a "Blade of Putrefaction" psychic power as they'll force a lot of armor saves on whatever they're swarming due to sheer volume of attacks. Keep a Myphitic Blight-hauler in their general area for free cover, and they're pretty decent for their points. Received a points increase (1 point per model) in Chapter Approved 2018, and went back down to 4 in CA 2019.
    • With 9th edition rolling around, these guys are now pretty much useless, as they received a points increase of 50% (up to 6 points per model), 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, who charge 1 extra point for disgustingly resilient and fearless.
  • Plague Marines - 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 a 5+ save-after-the-save makes them shrug off a good portion of the wounds that do come through, unless your opponent points multi-damage weapons at them. 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.
    • If you want to really kit the squad out for close combat, yet two more guys can take Maces of Contagion paired with Bubotic Axes, and everyone else can drop the bolter for a second plague knife or a Bubotic Axe, getting an extra attack for the hussle.
    • 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 distribute axes and spare knives to the rest of the squad, 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 Blades of Putrefaction, a warlord with Arch-Contaminator or a tallyman, and provide a nice platform for the Blight Bombardment stratagem. You can also bring a Biologus Putrifier 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.
    • The Index equipment remains legal to this day via Legends, giving the squad Champion access to the typical CSM Champion/Marine sarge loadout, with a bonus Plague Knife and ability to take a Power Fist paired with a Plasma Gun to account for the Easy-to-Build models. This can give you some curious opportunities to explore (ex. take a fist and drop the ranged weapon for a chainsword to benefit from any cc buffs you can bring a bit more), but generally the codex version already includes the best choices for your Champ (power fist for choppy, plasma gun for shooty, bolter/pistol for a budget loadout)The plague sword is free for the champion so you should always equip it.
    • 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 Disgustingly Resilient saves. 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 as of the previews, 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.
  • Poxwalkers - They're Plague Zombies with a trademarkable name. They are completely immune to morale tests thanks to being mindless, and have the "Disgustingly Resilient" rule to ignore wounds on a 5+. 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 moral 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[edit]

  • 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 obective 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[edit]

  • 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. 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.
  • 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 A3/2/1 AP-2 D3 will kill some SM). That is, unless if you have its new Fleshmower weapon, which makes it absolutely terrifying in close quarters: S+2 AP-2 D2 is powerful in itself, but as an added bonus it adds a whopping 6 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 4+ 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 back line 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. Which you will always do since it boosts them to BS/WS 3+. 8 Wounds 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, and a plague weapon), and a gnashing maw (S User, AP-2, plague weapon). As it ignores the normal penalties for moving and shooting heavy weaponry, it's good at quickly shuttling anti-armor weapons to where they need to be- and more importantly, it acts like cover to any DEATH GUARD INFANTRY units entirely within 7" of it, allowing to buff your troops and unleash its dakka simultaneously. As one more bonus, all to hit rolls against it in the fight phase are made with a -1 penalty. A squad of 3 is pretty much all the anti-tank you will need in a TAC list.
    • Chapter Approved 20182019 made literally everything about these little guys cheaper, and they now clock in at just 117102 points each. Taking 3 has never been easier.
    • 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.
  • 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[edit]

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 130 points (As of CA2019) with twin helstorm cannons (Heavy 2 S6 AP-2 D3 and wound rolls of a 6 cause an additional mortal wound), with a 3+/5++ and Hard to Hit plus a +1 to hit against other units with FLY. Can swap its two Helstorm cannons for two Lascannons. With a 18"-60" movement that doesn't degrade as you take damage and a funky rule that allows it to pivot up to 90 degrees at the beginning AND end of each movement phase, you will be hunting enemy flyers in style. Since it's AIRBORNE, possibilities exist for you to use its move base to block movement of enemy models and when they get sick of it and blow it up, spend a CP to make it explode with Putrid Detonation.
  • Hell Talon:Forge World Very expensive at 240 (CA2019) points, but considerably tougher than its baby brother the Hell Blade with 12 wounds and T7 as well as its 3+/5++. In addition to the mandatory Helstorm cannon and twin Lascannon, you can choose between three (free) sets of bombs, all used at the end of the movement phase (see below). This is a flying Predator spending 70 extra points to get FLY, Hard to Hit, 20"-60" move, 5++, no penalty to move & fire Heavy weapons and a bomb that will likely do some Mortal Wounds to a unit you fly over.
    • Pyrax incendiary bombs: The anti-infantry option. Once per battle, pick a unit you flew over and roll a d6 for each model in the unit up to a maximum of 20d6. Each 5+ (or 4+ if targeting infantry) causes a mortal wound.
    • Warp-pulse bombs: Pick a unit you flew over and roll 3d6 for each vehicle or monster in said unit, or 1d6 for each other model, up to a maximum of 9d6. Results of a 5+ cause mortal wounds. In addition, the unit targeted is at -1 to hit and -1 leadership until the start of their next turn.
    • Baletalon shatter charges: The demolition option. Pick a unit you flew over and roll 6d6 for each vehicle, building, or monster in said unit, or 1d6 for each other model, up to a maximum of 6d6. Results of 3+ cause mortal wounds. Pick this one.
  • 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[edit]

  • Chaos Predator - Same as CSM codex. Everything there applies here, though it should be mentioned that the Death Guard do not have Havocs, so the Predator is our prime heavy weapons caddie. And boy, those Lascannons sure fill a niche in this army.
  • Chaos Land Raider - Same as CSM codex. Good if you want to get your Blightlords or Deathshroud somewhere fast, but also a horrendously expensive way to do it.
  • 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 stratgem for defilers with DR and laugh as you realise 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 it's 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 effected 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, it 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.
  • Hellforged Sicaran VenatorForge World: The Venator trades the regular Sicaran's quantity of anti-skimmer shots for vehicle annihilation; it has a Malignatas Beam Laser, which is AP-5, Damage 2D6 and you roll 3d6 vs the target's Ld to wound. It has Undying Hatred, which lets it roll a 4th dice (discarding the lowest) to the Malignatas wound roll if it kills any model.
  • 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[edit]

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. He has the best (at the moment) anti-horde weapon in the game, his huge scythe Silence. It can dish out Ax3 (18 base!!!) S:U 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 S:x2 AP:-4 D:1d6 Plague Weapon. His 'command aura' affects every enemy unit standing within 7" of him, giving them -1 toughness and they will receive 1d3 mortal wounds on a roll of 4+ (scaling down as he takes wounds, alas). 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 has two other auras that either weaken or damage his enemies 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 son's 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.
    • Don’t forget his Primarch of the Death Guard rule! Re-rolling 1s is always useful. Also remember that Mortarion benefits from this, so you’re mathematically auto-hitting with his attacks hitting 97% of the time.
    • It's worth noting that because Mortarion is considered a daemon of Nurgle, he can be targeted by the Nurgle daemon psychic spells. 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).
    • Special Note on Psychic Powers: Give him Blades of Putrefication and any other Psychic power. Ally with a Chaos Space Marine Patrol Detachment. During your first turn spend 1 CP on Chaos Familiar to swap out the second power for WARPTIME. Congratulations, you now have a flying deathmachine who can travel 24 a turn assuming your opponent doesn't stop his Warptime.
      • Blades of Putrification here is especially good for the added fun of using it on himself and abusing it with his Reaper Swings for 18 Strength 8 ap-2 D1 attacks that have +1 to wound and cause Mortal Wounds on a 7+. This goes to 21 Strength 10 attacks if you can get Diabolic Strength on him. Virulent Blessing from Daemons gives you +1 to wound and 7+ Wound rolls do double damage. The final statline is 21 s10 attacks with +2 to wound and on a 7+ doing a mortal wound and double damage
        • Maths says that this should generate 7.72 Mortal Wounds and 19.84 Wounds doing 27.56 damage. (97.2% chance to hit accounting for re-rolls he gives himself, 97.2% chance to wound anything in the game accounting for Plague Weapon re-rolls, 38% proc Mortal Wounds accounting for Plague Weapon re-rolls)
          • Don't forget the Nurglings! Mortarion ALSO has d6 additional attacks at S2 and no AP, but they'll also benefit from Blades of Purtrefication and 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
          • Pay attention to the Death Guard FAQ. Mortarion may switch the profile for his DTTFE attacks against Imperium units. Use the 3x hit rolls from Sweeping Strikes to generate some 6s against Knights, and use those 6s to attack with d6 damage Reaping Blows. Prescience is more your friend here, and let your imagination run wild. When surrounded by 3 Smash Captains, split them 6, 6, and 6, and let DTTFE carry the day as 6 hit rolls apiece turns into 9,12, or 24 (Yahtzee, motherfucker). They'll never charge him again. They'll be dead.
          • 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. Warptime them up so that they can keep up with him, and run them through cover. 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[edit]

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.


Notable Strategies[edit]

Play it 30k[edit]

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.

ZOMBIE HARVEST[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.