Warhammer 40,000/9th Edition Tactics/Death Guard

From 1d4chan

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

Why Play Death Guard[edit]

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


  • Plague weapons make wound rolls reliable with easy access to re-rolling 1s, and can be buffed in several different ways.
  • Excellent Toughness on average, and most of your army, including some of your vehicles, have Disgustingly Resilient, which is minus 1 to damage received to a minimum of 1
  • Lots of debuffing auras to discourage choppy armies from getting too close to you.
  • Your basic troops are T5 - which in this edition is a serious boon, as all but the most lethal of weaponry will still only wound them on 3s. You need a Demolisher Cannon to hurt them on 2s! All this combined with 2 wounds gives you have some pretty serious staying power. When you take an objective, expect to hold it until your opponent brings their heavy weapons to bear.
  • Many of your units have ways of dealing mortal wounds, letting them bypass those annoying invulnerable saves.
  • Mortarion is hilariously broken. Have fun.
  • 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.
  • Pretty much your entire army has a bubble of -1 toughness which means you will be wounding most things in the game on at least a 5+ but usually on 3's and 4's.


  • Lack of ranged anti-armor on your infantry (cleaver with 3A S8 AP -3 1d6 damage is ok in melee and deathshroud are great now); your only viable anti-armor options come in the form of expensive daemon engines and a handful of vehicles.
  • The infantry that makes up the bulk of your army is SLOW. Most units have 5" of movement at most. And since rhinos and land raiders do not have disgustingly resilient, they will be focused with all manner of damage 2 weapons.
  • Practically no designated long-range fire units outside of vehicles (except the plague burst crawler, which is now a nice tool in this category).
  • 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... Even more now that you are limited to one Lord of the Death Guard by detachment.
  • Disgustingly Resilient was changed to reduce the damage of all weapons by 1. While this is a pro against high-damage weaponry, this also means you lose a 5+++ Feel No Pain from any wound you take from 8E. This means your army is more vulnerable to Mortal Wounds, and the few FNP options you have are a 6+++ from a Plague Surgeon, Poxwalkers, or a 5+++ Warlord Trait that Mortarion has.
  • 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.
  • A slim codex means few options, you're obviously not taking cultists over poxwalkers which leaves you with just Plague Marines and Poxwalkers as your troops. You have some options in the other slots but realistically you know which models you're taking. Most people aren't going to take a predator over a plagueburst crawler and they'll leave the land raider on the shelf.
  • You are "That Guy" for taking Mortarion.

Geedubs recently (winter 2022) decided to nerf our few truly good units without dropping prices on Plague Marines. (Summer 2022) Poxwalker are back at 5 pts model and you can take a free special weapon per squad of Plague Marines.

How to handle these cons[edit]

  • You should imagine playing a DG army as 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! Bear in mind that this is forbidden in Tournament play.
  • 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 fewer 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.
  • Another opinion about transports. First of all, without disgustingly resilient, they will be focused with 2 damage weapons, you can see them as functionally 5HP in death guard.
    • But at the same time, even a destroyed rhino is useful: when you disembark, you have gain 3' move for what's inside. It seems pointless... But it's actually huge: with this and the 5+1d6' move of your plague marines, you are now sure to reach a middle field objective. And you win or lose by objectives. Question is: are you ready to pay ~90points for 5HP T7 3+ armor and the certitude to be able to reach T1 the middle board?
  • 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]

  • Armour of Contempt: So the Q2 2022 Balance Dataslate rang in just to show us all how much GW fucking LOVES Space Marines, and the Death Guard in particular have plenty to love about it. This reduces the AP of any damage they take by 1 unless they take shields (which you can't) or some other AP mitigation power. Now, since Disgustingly Resilient only mitigates damage, this makes your army even harder to shift as even the usual counter of plasma guns are now even less likely to damage you. REMOVED AS OF THE Q1 2023 DATASLATE.
  • Diseased Minions: You can't take more Poxwalker or Plague Follower units than you have Bubonic Astartes core infantry units in a detachment. Pretty much there to stop small games where you have a plague lord and one pack of plague marines while all your troops are cultists/zombies.
  • Infernal Jealousy: The khayoss equivalent to Chapter Command. You can only take one Lord of the Death Guard and one Daemon Prince in a detachment.
    • This means if you take a detachment requiring two or more HQs, you absolutely have to take a psyker.
  • Foetid Virion: Chapter command part two. You can take up to three Foetid Virion units (Plague Surgeon, Tallyman, Noxious Blightbringer, Putrid Foulspawn, and Biologus Putrefier) units in a single Elites slot as long as they all have different datasheets. This lets you essentially run as many as you want in a single Detachment, which is pretty great.
  • Inexorable Advance: If your army is Battle-forged, all Bubonic Astartes units in Death Guard detachments gain this ability, which is actually multiple abilities:
    • They count as stationary if they didn't fall back or advance in your previous Movement phase, which every bolter armed unit in your army benefits thanks to Malicious Volleys giving double shots with bolt weapons since you count as not moving.
      • Plague Marines and non-Termi Chaos Lords can move and shoot their bolters and combi-bolters, respectively, at 24".
      • Blightlord Terminators can move (including deep strike) and shoot their reaper autocannons without penalty.
    • Vehicles don't suffer penalties for firing Heavy weapons while engaged.
      • It is important to note that none of the daemon engines benefit from this rule as none of them have Bubonic Astartes and rhinos/land raiders still can't dump their load after moving.
      • This means your Rhinos get literally no benefit even though they get the ability - they don't have Malicious Volleys, so their bolt weapons don't benefit from the first ability they get, and their only Heavy weapon has Blast, so they don't benefit from the second ability they get. Your Helbrutes, Land Raiders, and Predators will benefit on some of their Heavy weapons if they end up shooting while engaged.
    • Infantry ignore modifiers to move characteristics, advance rolls, and charge rolls.
      • This lets your infantry ignore difficult ground - Craters, Barricades and Fuel Pipes, and Woods, in general. That makes them good at getting into cover - Crates and Barricades provide Light Cover, while Woods provide Dense Cover.
  • Disgustingly Resilient: Gone is the FnP of 8E, now it reduces the damage of all attacks by 1 to a minimum of 1. Plasma and heavy weapons are now less effective on you, but it'll still mean squat for walls of most other rapid fire weapons.
  • With more armies gain similar abitilies, this ability becomes less and less impressive as more opponents will just show up with very high damaging attacks, like D3+3, or vast quantity of one damage attacks.
  • Objective Secured: Only Poxwalkers and Plague Marines now have Objective Secured in a battle-forged detachment, meaning that Cultists are now left out of the equation despite (or perhaps because of) being the least plague-infested members of the legion.
    • The Q2 2022 Dataslate adds the Blightlord and Deathshroud Termies to the list, giving you even more immovable objective-takers.
  • Plague Weapon: A weapon that re-rolls to-wound rolls of 1. Incidentally, a lot of your weapons are these.
  • Malicious Volleys: Models with this rule 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 (normal rapid fire).
    • Shooter's entire unit didn't move during the previous Movement Phase (so practically always at your full range if battle-forged).
    • Shooter is a Terminator.
  • Remorseless: You can ignore any or all combat attrition modifiers. Not only are you a pain to fight in a straight up battle, you also can laugh off most attempts to weaken your morale. Note that the wording means that positive modifiers still work just fine.
  • Contagions of Nurgle: A special non-aura effect that acts like an aura in every way except that rules that apply to auras don't apply to it. Its range depends on the battle round. First battle you have a meager 1", second it's 3", third it's 6", and finally, from the fourth battle round onward it's 9". They're not classified as auras despite working similarly, so stratagems that suppress auras won't work on them.
    • Nurgle's Gift (Contagion): Reduces Toughness of enemies in range by 1. Those Space Marines aren't looking so hardy anymore. As a bonus, this Contagion applies to your whole army as long as they all have the Death Guard keyword. Have fun with that.

Common Keywords[edit]

  • Faction
    • Your entire army has Chaos, Nurgle, and Death Guard
    • Everything except for Cultists and Mortarion has <Plague Company> or, as e.g. with Typhus, a specific Plague Company pre-assigned.
    • Everything except for Cultists and Poxwalkers has Heretic Astartes.
  • Non-Faction
    • Everything except for Cultists, Poxwalkers, and Chaos Spawn (which have neither) has exactly one of either Bubonic Astartes and Daemon Engine, never both.
      • Remember, Bubonic Astartes is necessary for Inexorable Advance.
    • These units have Core - all of have them have Bubonic Astartes as well.
      • Plague Marines
      • Blightlord Terminators
      • Death Guard Possessed
      • Deathshroud Terminators
      • Helbrute
      • Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought
    • These units have Daemon (and hence have at least a 5++). Since all Daemon Engines are in this category, each is labeled with the other keyword it must have between that and Bubonic Astartes.
      • Death Guard Daemon Prince (Bubonic Astartes)
      • Death Guard Possessed (Bubonic Astartes)
      • Decimator (Daemon Engine)
      • Foetid Bloat-drone (Daemon Engine)
      • Myphitic Blight-haulers (Daemon Engine)
      • Death Guard Greater Blight Drone (Daemon Engine)
      • Defiler (Daemon Engine)
      • Plagueburst Crawler (Daemon Engine)
      • Mortarion (Bubonic Astartes)
    • These units have (Lord of the Death Guard and hence interact with Infernal Jealousy.
      • Death Guard Chaos Lord
      • Death Guard Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour
      • Lord of Contagion
      • Lord of Virulence
      • Typhus
    • These units have (Foetid Virion and hence interact with the Foetid Virion special rule (each set of 1-3 with different datasheets can occupy 1 Elites slot instead of 1-3).
      • Biologus Putrifier
      • Foul Blightspawn
      • Noxious Blightbringer
      • Plague Surgeon
      • Tallyman

Warlord Traits[edit]

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

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

You can put these on up to 3 characters in a normal 2k list. These can go on HQs or Elite characters. Take every advantage of this.

  1. Revoltingly Resilient: Get old Disgustingly Resilient, 5+++ to ignore wounds. One of Mortarion's traits.
  2. Living Plague (Aura): Enemy units within 3" of the Warlord are unaffected by any enemy Aura that is not from Psychic powers. Your pick of choice if you plan on shutting off any annoying HQs like the space marines have. Another Mortarion trait. This one is bonkers if you put it on a Foetid Virion character alongside the Fugaris Helm relic and then use the Ferryman strat On Droning Wings. 12" bubble of "your rules mean nothing to me".
  3. Hulking Physique: +1 to Wounds characteristic and unmodified wound rolls of 2-3 against him always fails regardless of the attacking model's rules.
    • Despite the name, this is better the lower the Warlord's T, because it only protects against weapons with S above your T (and against Poison).
    • Definitely an appealing take when facing off against high-strength weapons like plasma. Not a bad pick to put on a support character like a Plaguecaster.
  4. Arch-Contaminator (Aura): <Plague Company> Core units within 6" of your Warlord can re-roll all wound rolls made with Plague Weapons if the target is within 12" of the attacking unit. Mortarion's third trait, tho sadly will not benefit from it himself. Not as crazy as before, but still definitely a solid pick.
  5. Rotten Constitution: +1T and AP -1 & -2 becomes AP0. Congratulations, chainswords and bolters are now as effective as sticks and stones to you. Just beware that you're still open to anti-tank weaponry.
    • Best on a model with 2+/4++ and T4-5 (so 5, in practice) - don't bother putting this on a Daemon Prince unless you have a specific reason to (like in a Terminus Est army), as going from T6 to T7 is almost never meaningful.
  6. Foul Effluents (Aura): Enemy units within 6" take 1 MW at the end of your movement phase on a 4+. Inexplicably not a contagion. Cute. We had to get at least one stinker of a trait, so I guess it could be worse. Garbage replacement for Tainted Regeneration...


  • Trench-Fighters (1 CP): Plague Marine Only. Use in the fight phase. Models equipped with a plague knife may make one additional attack with it. Be aware that if you replace your Champion's plague knife with a Daemonic plague blade he won't get an extra attack with it.
    • Encourages taking big units of 10 Plague Marines to get the most out of it.
    • This is amazing. Plague Marines already have 2 attacks base and Plague Knives are -1AP. Even just five marines put out 15 attacks with this and its great to counter attack or punish people who think your Marines are gonna be easy to deal with in melee. Combos well with other boosts to Plague Weapons.
  • Creeping Blight (1 CP): Use in the fight phase. Select one Death Guard unit. Until the end of the phase, an unmodified wound roll of 6 with a plague weapon 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 an AP of -3 this should be used on a big melee-based unit with low AP if you ever use this stratagem. If you pair this with the Inexorable Warlord trait, their knives are now Ap -5.
  • Fire Fever (1 CP): Helbrute Only. When this brute is used in the shooting phase it can only target one enemy unit, but those shots all have +1 to hit and wound rolls. Not quite as drastic as a re-roll, but definitely still helpful if you grabbed two guns for it.
  • Vermid Whispers (1 CP): Use in the shooting or fight phase. Select one Death Guard Terminator unit. Until the end of the phase, they add +1 to any hit rolls they make, same as the Loyalist's Fury of the First stratagem.
  • Haze of Corruption (2 CP): Select one Death Guard Core unit during the fight phase. Any time they kill a model in combat, any overkill damage they make will spill over and hit another model without needing to make any rolls. This will make throwing things like power fists or plagues even more painful for a mob.
    • Sadly it’s core restricted, as otherwise daemon prince with sword would cut guardsmen and orks like there is no tomorrow, BUT it’s also great other way around - having this on D2 attacks vs 3W targets (say deathshroud vs gravis) means you need to inflict 3 wounds, instead of 4, to kill 2 models. It’s all about efficiency, though for 2CP you won’t be using it that often...One funny thing to do is take Plague Marines kitted out for CC with flails, Cleavers, and Maces, and the amount of excess damage will paste entire large squads.
  • Eternal Hatred (2 CP): Select a Bubonic Astartes Infantry unit during the fight or shooting phase. They add 1 to all their to wound rolls for the rest of the phase. This is where Veterans of the Long War went and it will always be useful.
  • Mutant Strain (1 CP): Poxwalkers only. Use in the fight phase. Unmodified hit rolls of 6 inflict 1 mortal wound on the enemy in addition to normal damage, but unmodified hit rolls of 1 cause the poxwalkers to suffer 1 mortal wound after the fight is resolved.
    • This is really good with the Harbingers Plague Company The Wrathful Dead strat. For another CP, you get roughly 40 attacks rerolling all hit rolls and getting mortals on unmodified 6s to hit. Once you roll the first time, pick out the 6s and then pick up all of the other dice and roll again to "go fishing" for mortals if they're against a tough target or keep all of the 4+ hits and roll the rest. Sure you might get some mortals back, but this is a good way to make The Harbingers surprisingly scary against terminators that think they can just weather the small attacks.
  • Befouled Incubators (1 CP): Select one Death Guard Character during the Fight phase. Every time this model kills an enemy model during this attack roll a d6 and on a 3+, the enemy unit suffers an additional mortal wound (to a max of 3). Honestly not quite as potent as Haze of Corruption but it is cheaper.
  • Release the Toxins (2 CP): Once per Battle. Select one Death Guard Character with a Relic of Decay during the Command phase. Roll a d6 for each enemy unit within 7"; on a 2-5 it suffers a mortal wound, but on a 6, it takes 1d3.
  • Diseased Effluents (1 CP): Use during the Command phase. Select one Death Guard Character (who isn't a Daemon) who is engaged with an enemy unit. For the price of one mortal wound your dude suffers, you can roll a d6 and on a 2+ one enemy unit engaged with the character suffers 2d3 mortal wounds unless it's a Vehicle or Character, which reduces it to 1d3.
    • Ridiculous on Typhus since he can do this, then do his destroyer hive, then smite, then curse of the leper. Anything left standing after that still has a serious dent in it and half of it can't be blocked by deny the witch. Combine this with the Plague Skull of Glothila on another character and people will remember why they don't get close to Death Guard.
  • Eruption of Filth (1 CP): Use when a Death Guard Character is killed in any phase. Instead of any other self-destruct abilities the model may have, they now a d6 for every unit within 3" without the Nurgle keyword. On a 2-5, they suffer a mortal wound, but on a 6 they take 1d3.
  • Unclean Machine Spirit (1 CP): The heretical version of Power of the Machine Spirit. Select one Death Guard Machine Spirit unit during the command phase, this unit is now counted as if they're at max wounds for the rest of the turn.
    • Extremely situational, unless you are running some forge world stuff, as only the Land Raider has that keyword in the core codex.
  • Champion of Disease (1 CP): Before the start of the battle, select one Bubonic Astartes Infantry with a champion included. That champion now gets one of the following relics: Reaper of Glorious Entropy, Plague Skull of Glothila, Plaguebringer or Suppurating plate. Like the one for Sergeants in the Loyalist army, this is used once in a Combat Patrol, twice in a Strike Force or three times in an Onslaught.
  • Gifts of Decay (1 CP): Use before the start of the battle. You can have a second Relic of Decay for 1 CP. Like the one for Loyalists, this is used once in a Combat Patrol, twice in a Strike Force or three times in an Onslaught.
    • In combination with Champion of Disease, in a 2k point game you can get up to 5 relics.
  • Plaguechosen (1 CP): Praise Nurgle, a way to get an additional warlord trait, with no duplicates. Like the one for Loyalists, this is used once in a Combat Patrol, twice in a Strike Force or three times in an Onslaught.
  • Grandfatherly Influence (1 or 2 CP): When mustering a Chaos Spawn unit, you can trigger this to grant the unit +1 Toughness and Disgustingly Resilient. This costs 2 CP if the unit has more than three models.
  • Sickly Corrosion (2 CP): During the fight or shooting phase, after a Death Guard model scores a hit with a plague weapon. Until the end of the turn, any attacks against that hit that unit can re-roll a wound roll of 1.
    • This is great because it is on a model basis. If you have a squad of PMs and one has a blight launcher, use this strat to hit the target with the blight launcher first, and then the rest of the bolters get to reroll ones to wound for them and other squads that decide to shoot at the target. Kind of like putting the Virulent Rounds strat on multiple units and not just on bolters.
  • Belching Fumes (1 or 2 CP): During an enemy shooting phase, select a Myphitic Blight-Haulers unit. During the rest of the phase, all shooting attacks against them lose one shot outright to a minimum of 1 shot. This costs 2 CP for a unit of three models.
    • So what is this useful for? Really, it's low shot count but high damage/strength weapons. Maybe not pro-gamer-move, but it can really mess your opponent's offensive capabilities. And is fun. One thing to note, that Space Marine Eradicators don't reduce their shots by half due to this, as they fire a single one shot weapon twice if they all targe this unit.)
  • Blight Bombardment (2 or 3 CP): During a Command phase where you have a Death Guard Warlord, you can place a marker anywhere on the board. On the next command phase, the bomb hits and you roll a d6 for every unit within 6" of the marker, adding 1 if the unit was Infantry and subtracting 1 if the unit was a Character. On a 2-6, the unit takes d3 mortal wounds, upped to a d6 on a 7+. This costs 3 CP unless you have that fancy new Lord of Virulence, in which case it's down to 2 CP.
    • Hilarious (Though not necessarily effective.) when combined with The Droning or Daemon’s Toll. Laugh as your opponent struggles to run away as your suicidal unit gleefully holds them in place.
    • Can be surprisingly effective as a screening tool. Many units have trouble crossing a 12” bubble in one turn, meaning you can simply use the threat of the bombardment to block a flank for a turn.
  • The Dead Walk Again (1 CP): Use at the start of the Command phase, and can only be used once per qualifying unit. Pick a unit of Poxwalkers and roll 7d6 - On each 3+, a zombie rises again with a single wound and can be thrown into engagement range right away. While not quite as flavorful as raising the corpses of fallen foes, this is a good bit easier to weaponize.
  • Cloud of Flies (2 CP or 4 CP): During an enemy shooting phase, select a Bubonic Astartes INFANTRY unit. Until the end of that phase, it cannot be the target of ranged attacks unless they're the closest unit or within 12" of the attacking foe. This costs 4 CP if used on a Death Guard Terminator unit.
    • This essentially gives your footsloggers the old 8th ed CHARACTER rules, making them immune to shooting attacks. Also protects important characters from sniper weapons. It pairs remarkably well with a unit or two of Nurglings, who can use their Mischief Makers ability to get right up close before the battle even begins. Possessed also love this, considering how vulnerable they are to ranged attacks.
    • While 4 CP is a heavy cost for Terminators, we are realistically getting a lot of CP per turn with the Tallyman, and watching the opponent move all of their tanks to get line of sight on your terminators that dropped in and are now holding an objective and then declaring at the start of the shooting phase that they can't be shot now is a wonderful feeling. It can really make the difference between winning and losing the primary objective.
  • Break their Spirits (1 CP): When a Death Guard Terminator unit kills an enemy model with the Infantry/Swarm/Beast keyword in the fight phase, the rest of the unit suffers -4 Ld. Quite crushing for mobs even if you don't flat-out eradicate them with Deathshrouds.
    • This can be good in various ways, but there are so many enemies that flat out ignore Morale, or if they fail, they ignore modifiers like Marines and rarely flee in general. Hopefully this will change as new codices come out, but if you really want to make it work this could potentially pair well with the Sanguous Flux warlord trait, the Plaguebringer relic, and a Blightbringer supporting.
    • One good strategy with this would be to bait your opponent into using their 2 cp Insane Bravery strat. You spend 1 cp, the opponent panics and uses their once a game strat, and now they've lost that tool and spent 2 cp to do it.
  • Dark Cravings (1 CP): During an enemy Charge phase, a Foetid Bloat-Drone can perform a Heroic Intervention if the enemy model is within 6" horizontally and 5" vertically of it. This is quite surprising to pull off since nobody'd expect this, but you can totally mow down a unit with a good roll.
  • Daemonic Gluttony (1 CP): Use on a Death Guard Daemon Engine during the Fight phase. Any models this engine kills lets it regain a wound to a max of 3. This is super nice when you want to have a Bloat Drone stay longer than it's welcome
  • Flash Outbreak (2 CP): During the Command phase select one <Plague Company> unit. Until your next command phase, they can count as having one contagion from another unit from the same <Plauge Company>. The range for your contagions also now count as if they were one round higher, enabling a wider spread.
    • Unfortunately Mortarion doesn't have the <Plauge Company> keyword, so you will need someone else with a contagion.
    • This is one has a lot of strategic implications based on which Plague Company you are using. If you are playing as Ferrymen and you have a drone up in the enemy lines just Fleshmowing them in CC and they have 5-6 units around it, use Flash Outbreak and now all of those units are half movement. This is important for objective games. You can do the same with Inexorable Ferric Blight for better AP in cc for the drone and all of those units now being easier to kill for your shooting units. Maybe you have some Deathshroud on the other side of the board away from the Warlord they need some extra AP in cc. Now their Scythe profile is -4 or -2 depending on which profile you go with.
  • Putrid Detonation (1 or 2 CP): When a Death Guard Vehicle dies, it can automatically explode. It costs 2 CP if the vehicle has more than 9 wounds. The smaller vehicles do just one mortal wound, but it doesn't affect our own units anymore, however the larger ones will. This strat is still quite good when you need to pick away some wounds or a single wound from a nearby character.
  • Disgusting Force (1 CP): Use on a Plagueburst Crawler during your Shooting phase. Their mortar now deals a flat 3 damage and after shooting, anyone within 3" of a target hurt by the mortar (and lacking the Nurgle keyword) must roll a d6, taking a mortal wound on a 4+.
    • Keep in mind that you draw 3 inches from the UNIT and not a model. If you target a big blob of Ork boyz or a 10 man intercessor squad that happens to be by 10 other units and characters, that's a lot of potential mortal wounds. A blob of Ork Boyz alone could be within 3 inches of the entire army since orks bunch up quite a lot in their deployment zone.
  • The Blightening (1 CP): During the Shooting phase, up to three Death Guard models' Grenade plague weapons lose the Blast ability and instead become Pistol 6 weapons that automatically hit targets within engagement range. The point of this stratagem is pretty clear: Throw your plague marines into the thick of it, pop grenades and see the enemy wither under short-range explosives.
    • If you have the Tollkeeper relic, this can be really good outside of engagement range too since now you get exploding 6s to hit and you can make the marines 2+ meaning they are basically autohitting already.
    • Combine with Overwhelming Generosity for 12" pistols (and grenades - put this on 3 models in the same unit and that unit can fire 3 grenade pistols plus 1 regular grenade at 12").
  • Foul Smokescreen (1 CP): Use during an enemy Shooting phase. When a Death Guard Smokescreen is attacked, then all shots targeting it will suffer -1 to hit until the end of the phase. Definitely helpful considering how likely they will be under fire.
  • Overwhelming Generosity (1 CP): During the Shooting phase, a Death Guard unit that is firing a plague weapon adds 6" to the range of any plague weapons they're using for that phase.
  • Virulent Rounds (1 CP): During the Shooting phase, you can make a Death Guard Core unit count their bolt weapons as plague weapons.


As will all new codices, Death Guard receive unique Secondary Objectives. These require every model in the army to have the DEATH GUARD or UNALIGNED keywords. In addition, you may only take 1 faction specific Secondary, so choose carefully.

Attrition/Grind them Down
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.
First Strike
Fleeing Vectors
Death Guard only. Score 3 victory points at the end of the battle round if any enemy units failed Morale tests this battle round that had one or more models destroyed by attacks made with plague weapons this battle round. Death Guard have lots of plague weapons and ways to debuff morale, but you need to ensure you are forcing failed morale tests each turn to max this out, and some armies either don't have enough vulnerable units or are immune to morale.
The maximum victory points for this is much lower than it appears if you are going against any competent opponent. More than likely you will fail to get this secondary for at least 2 turns. Death Guard don't have the range or speed to reliably get it first turn and can at least once be countered by Insane Bravery unless you are specifically building to be better Night Lords.
Thin Their Ranks/No Prisoners
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.
While We Stand, We Fight/To The Last
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.
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. With contagion aura being a thing now, DG can wound almost everything in the game on 5s or better, so fly that drone up in range of their vehicles and hit them with your Entropy cannons now wounding on 3s.
Titan Slayers/Hunter
Same as above: all knights are now toughness 7 in contagion range. Have fun wounding those knights much easier now and watching them melt to even plague knives.
Slay the Warlord
See Assassinate. If he's dumb enough to fight you in melee, free points! But not worth relying on when we're better at so many other things.
  • 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.
  • Despoiled Ground:
    • Death Guard only. A complicated end game objective that rewards controlling multiple quarters and objectives with Bubonic Astartes (ie. everything but poxwalkers, daemon engines, or cultists).
      • Score 4 VP if you have at least 1 unit in each deployment zone with the Bubonic Astartes keyword.
      • Score 4 VP if you have at least 1 Bubonic Astartes unit wholly within 3 table quarters and outside of 6 inches of the center of the table. Score 6 VP if you are in all 4 instead.
      • Score 4 VP if you control more than half of the objectives with Bubonic Astartes units.
      • Score 4 VP if every objective marker is within the Contagion Range of Contagion abilities that units in your army possess.
    • Usually just worse than Engage on all Fronts as this only counts points at endgame whereas EoaF is progressive and you won't lose progress because of a few bad saves on the last turn.
    • This is probably our best faction specific secondary given to us because of how easy it is to achieve even some of the points. So long as you are not tabled, which is tough to do to DG, you should get 8 or more points. You will want to run 1-2 squads of 3 deathshroud to deepstrike in and just be annoying by the enemy deployment zone, and then rush them in for the last turn. That alone is worth 8 points for having them in the deployment zone and having units in 3 table quarters or 4 quarters if you get that 2nd squad in. But how do you keep them alive on that last turn? Cloud of Flies or hide them behind terrain.
    • Note that only bubonic astartes can do it, which means that this one is heavily dependent on your list. A plague marine+deathshroud MSU is totally playable and is your best option here.
  • 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 cultists 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 cultists 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/Deploy Scramblers:
    • 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.
  • Spread the Sickness:
    • Death Guard only. Another End game objective, but this one can be performed by Poxwalkers and is basically a better Banners. At the end of your movement phase one and only one Death Guard Infantry unit can perform this action if they are within 3″ of an objective that is not already Contaminated and no enemy units (excluding aircraft) are within 3″ of that objective. The action is completed at the end of your turn. You can then choose either for the unit performing the action to take d3 mortal wounds, or to roll a d6. If you chose the wound option OR roll a 4+ on the d6 option, the objective is permanently contaminated. At the end of the battle you get 3VP for each objective you have contaminated.
    • Probably the best unique one we got. Should be attempted by Poxwalkers or Cultists as taking d3 Mortals on anything more elite costs more and a 50% chance of wasting a unit's turn and flat out missing 3VP just isn't smart.
    • Always compare it to raise the banner. If you can keep 2 objectives all game, raise the banner gives 10 points flat, and easily more. But if there are a lot of points that are contested, spread the sickness is better: you just need to keep the objective one turn. It means that for 4 objectives with 2 in the middle or 6 with 2 in the middle, spread the sickness is better... but for 5 objectives with 2 in your space and 1 in the middle, raise the banner is better.
  • 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 or have to take psykers of your own.
  • 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.
  • Pierce the Veil:
    • Mostly a matter of getting a caster back there. Can easily be done with a Termy Sorcerer, unless you really want to waste Morty's psychic phases (you dont).
  • 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.

These are listed under their categories as well, but you can only take 1 of these and hence are collected here so you can see them at a glance.

  • Despoiled Ground (Battlefield Supremacy, End Game)
  • Fleeing Vectors (No Mercy, No Respite, Progressive
  • Spread the Sickness (Shadow Operations, End Game)


  • Autogun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S3 AP0 D1. Basic garbage, not lasgun, gear that cultist get.
  • Autopistol - 12" Pistol 1 S3 AP0 D1. Pairs with Brutal Assault Weapons
  • Shotgun - 18" Assault 2 S3 AP0 D1. Cultist Champ "upgrade".
  • Boltgun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP0 D1. Standard MEQ issue, got to cough up Command Points to make them plague.
  • Blight grenade - Better Frag Grenade (6" Grenade 1d6 S4 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 Dd3. If in range you lose nothing by throwing one and is probably better than the 2 bolter shots it replaces.
  • Orb of desiccation - 6" Grenade 3d3 S4 AP-1 D2, Blast, Plague Weapon, but only once per game.
  • Blight launcher - 24" Assault 2 S6 AP-2 D2 plague weapon. A hard-hitting anti-infantry weapon that's also good against light vehicles. It can very well substitute plasma weapons if you want some more range in exchange with AP. It also has some really nice combo with Arch Contaminator and Sickly Corrosion.
    • Keep in mind it is capable of punching decent holes in tanks if the target is affected by a Contaigon.
  • Plague Belcher - 12" Assault D6 S4 AP0 D1. Standard flamer with plague weapon special rule. Speaking of which...
  • Flamer - only cultist get these.
  • Plague Spewer - Same as the Plague Belcher but with heavy D6 S5 and AP-1. The plague equivalent of the heavy flamer. Stronger, but keep in mind that you still can't shoot it after advancing, which is pretty important given your slow movement.
  • Plasma Gun - 24" Rapid Fire 1 S7 AP-3 D1 or S8 AP-3 D2 and you die if you roll a natural 1. You know it, you love it. Say goodbye to anything but the toughest units. The decision here is whether you want the launcher, to rip apart infantry units, or plasma for those pesky tanks and TEQ's.
  • Meltagun - 12" Assault 1 S8 AP-4 D d6. If you're within half range, flat +2 damage. One of the very few options the Death Guard have in dealing with large, tough units. Their pitiful range is somewhat mitigated by your ability to run and shoot them every turn but with a penalty to hit rolls. 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.
  • Plague Knife - A basic CCW with the Ap-1 and Plague Weapon special rule. It’s free, so shut up and take it.
  • Daemonic Plague Blade - A straight upgrade for your Plague Champions, stolen Gifted from a Plaguebearer. Like a Plague Knife, but +1S. It's free at least...?
  • Bubotic Axe - S+2 AP-2 D1, power axe but with the Plague Weapon special rule. You want this over a Balesword in most cases because you'll wound Space Marines on a 2+ when they're reduced to T3 from Contagions of Nurgle.
  • Balesword - S+1, AP-3 D1, so a power sword, but, you guessed it, with Plague Weapon special rule. Note that this is the only plague weapon that the standard Chaos Lord can have.
  • Power Weapons: Each type of Power Weapon has its own profile now, so pick the right one for the situation. Unless you have the option for a Lightning Claw, then you should always take that instead. All Power Weapons have a damage value of 1:
    • Power Axe: S+2 AP-2. Offers a compromise between the Power Maul's brute force and the Power Sword's armour penetration.
    • Power Maul: S+3, AP-1. This is the one you want to use against lightly armoured units that rely on toughness to shrug off hits. The Lance is identical to the Maul because of reasons.
    • Power Sword: S+1 AP-3. Best against targets that rely on armour saves over toughness to shrug off hits. Except against frail things with good invulns like Crusaders, who ignore AP anyway.
  • Power Fist - You know it, you love it. -1 To Hit, but doubles your Strength, has AP-3 and deals 2 damage. Your Plague Champions seem to have a fetish for them, but a Chaos Lord can use them, too.
  • Flail of Corruption - Up to 1 in 5 Plague Marines and Blightlord Terminators can take these babies. 2 hit rolls per attack, S+1, AP-2, D2, Plague Weapon.
    • Not as powerful as it was before but on a blightlord it still puts out 6 attacks with a pretty nice anti infantry profile.
  • Great Plague Cleaver - A Power Fist but with Plague Weapon and D6 damage. The main reasons not to take it are its horrendous points cost and minus to hit. 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. *alternate opinion* We now have access to a stratagem that allows our melee damage to spill over... a fully kitted melee squad with a pair of these will shred infantry like no one else.
  • Mace of Contagion - A flat 3 damage, S and AP buffs, and comes with a Bubotic Axe for flexibility. The downside is the -1 To Hit, but when hit rolls are that important, you just use the Axe instead. A bit expensive to swing both around, though.
  • Manreaper - now gets two modes, Cleave: -1 hit S+3 AP-3 D2 Plague weapon for amped power fisting, or Scythe: S+1 AP-1 D1 Plague weapon and double hit rolls made for horde clearing. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.
  • Plaguereaper - S+2 AP-3 D3 plague weapon, only Lord of Contagion can have it. Now 5pts *less* than the Manreaper (because Orb of Desiccation is mandatory with the Manreaper on the LoC) to be constantly better at killing multi-wound terminators and Primaris.

Relics of Decay[edit]

You get a single relic for 1 CP 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, you can't give most of them to Daemon Princes. That being said, Death Guard have some very good relics and a lot of slots to take them with 5 (3 for any character, 2 on champions) if you have 4 cp, which you should as your tallyman will refund these over the course of the game.

  • Daemon's Toll: Noxious Blightbringer only. Once per game during an enemy Move phase, you can trigger this. One unlucky unit within 6" now rolls 1d6 whenever it tries to fall back and will stay in place on a 2+. If you're particularly intent on trapping them in an unfavorable battle (say, where the warlord is cornered), then you'll be enjoying this.
    • While this is could be good the fact that foul blight spawn are kinda bad combined with the fact it takes up a relic slot.
  • Fugaris' Helm: Improves the range of aura-based abilities by 3". Helpful considering the number of auras your Elites slot characters have. Also covers your plague ridden face, making you feel pretty.
    • Sadly, this is one of those instances where Contagions and Auras being different hurts you - this won't do anything for a contagion.
    • Combines well with Arch-Contaminator.
  • Putrid Periapt: Malignant Plaguecaster and Termie Sorcerer only. The bearer knows one additional psychic power. In addition, once per game the model can regain d3 wounds once it successfully casts a spell. Sadly, this loses a good bit of versatility by gating off the daemon prince.
  • Revolting Stench-Vats: Foul Blightspawn only. This robs any enemies within 6" of rules that allow them to fight first, even if it was because of a charge. This can be absolutely hilarious for crushing a surprise assault or just for asserting your dominance over the enemy.
    • This is a must-pick if you take a blightspawn. Not only does this combo with his already powerful ability to shut down charges, but it also combos exceptionally well with all your objective holders (blightlords, plague marines, and pox walkers) who all hit like trucks in melee.
  • Tollkeeper: Tallyman only. This provides a new aura that that lets any <Plague Company> Core unit within 6" that rolls a nat 6 to hit with a gun deal an additional hit (which is like +1 to hit but it scales with both full re-rolls to hit and Overwatch).
    • Does absolutely nothing for guns that automatically hit, and remember the additional hit doesn't roll anything, so any abilities you have that trigger on 6 to hit (including this one) can't trigger off of them, leading to a lack of synergy.
      • For example, if you have a unit of Plague Marines with bolters and Sigil of Decay near a Tallyman with Tollkeeper that targets them with Malicious Calculation, each shooter does this:
        • 1 to hit: Miss.
        • 2-5 to hit: Roll to wound normally.
        • 6 to hit: 1 auto-wound and 1 roll to wound normally.
    • This does not specify infantry only, just as the Tallyman's basic buff doesn't, so this allows contemptors and helbrutes to get exploding 6s to hit which means DG Dreads are back on the menu, boys.
    • A very strong relic in most lists due to its combo potential. As the tallyman already buffs CORE units, this relic just doubles down on that (in every way - a unit with BS3+ goes from 4/6 hits per attack to 5/6 with either buff and to 6/6 with both). While you can take this to support MSU plague marines with 2 plasma guns and a blight launcher or MSU Blightlords with all 3 special combis and a blight launcher, neither is very efficient (particularly since the latter wants to deep strike and the tallyman can't). Instead, strap this to your Contemptors to ensure those guns you paid those CPs for hit as often as possible.

These are the relics you can hand out to any Bubonic Astartes Champion model using the Champion of Disease stratagem.

  • Plaguebringer: Replaces a balesword, daemonic plague blade, plague knife, or power sword. S+2 (6) AP-3 D2, Plague Weapon, and any models slain count as 2 for the purposes of morale tests. 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.
    • Spend 1 command point to give this to a Blightlord Champion. They have a respectable 4 attacks and are tanky enough see a return on your investment.
    • Something else to note is that this weapon does not count as a modifier since it only increases the models slain so RAW space marines have no defense against this.
  • Plague Skull of Glothila: A not-quite grenade that can only be used once per battle at the end of the movement phase (meaning it can be "thrown" in melee). When triggered, target an enemy unit within 6" and roll 7d6: the unit suffers a MW on a 4-5, and 1d3 MW on a 6, so you inflict 0 to 21 mortal wounds with it. Statistically, you get 14/3 (4.67) mortal wounds on average - you have a 68% chance of at least 4 mortals, and a 10% chance of at least 8 mortals. While it's nice that it's no longer a weapon, it's been replaced with something considerably less reliable and now just wipes off a fraction of a mob of conscripts rather than the whole deal. Really, this is made for denting solo models like heroes or vehicles.
    • Alternative Opinion: Since this no longer counts as a shooting attack, you can target characters and ignore Look Out, Sir! Use this to "snipe" a character you don't want to deal with otherwise!
      • Odds of dealing at least X mortal wounds, if you're trying to kill a character:
        1. 99%
        2. 95%
        3. 84%
        4. 68%
        5. 50% (actually negligibly less - the odds are against you succeeding by a tiny margin)
    • Alternative Alternative Opinion:This is also importantly done in the movement phase, and unreliably helps you kill off C'tan and Ghaz in one turn since you will smite after this and then shoot/charge, finishing them off.
    • Note: This can be put on a champion as a good deterrent for fast melee monsters like demon princes or deepstrikers as you will most likely live to the next round to walk up and chuck this.
  • Reaper of Glorious Entropy: Replaces a manreaper or plaguereaper, making it Lord of Contagion or Deathshroud Champion only. It's a Plaguereaper (Sx2 (8) AP-3 D3, Plague Weapon) without the -1 to hit penalty, and on an unmodified 6 to wound, you deal +1 mortal wound. If you're keen on making your Lord of Contagion a major contender in melee, then you've got a decent tool in your hands.
  • Suppurating Plate: Grants a 2+ armor save, and in the Fight phase, if the bearer loses any wounds, the enemy that inflicted it takes a mortal wound on a 2+. This has sadly been nerfed quite considerably. Since it now deals only 1 MW regardless of how many wounds you lost, it's more of a deterrent/kamikaze measure than any measure of a "Stop Hitting Yourself" game.
    • Combines very poorly with Rotten Constitution, since you need to lose a wound to trigger the ability. Combines very well with a Plague Surgeon, including on a Plague Surgeon, since you can heal the wounds you lose.

These relics are Plague Company specific - you can check the individual Plague Company entries for more detail; this is just a brief summary all in one place, to help you pick your Plague Company.

  • Harbingers - Infected Remains: Once per battle, the bearer can drop this on an objective within 3" at the end of the movement phase. So long as the bearer remains on the board, this objective now counts as having the same contagions as the bearer.
    • Terminus Est - Canker: A permanently super-charged plasma pistol. It's got 18" range, S9 AP-4 D3, and suffers no overcharge, but most importantly it's also a Plague Weapon!
    • Terminus Est - Filth Censers: Psykers only. Adds 6" to the first listed range for any powers your psyker casts.
    • Terminus Est - Mark of the Terminus Est: The bearer adds +1 to his Strength, any wound rolls against him can't be re-rolled (to the irritation to all lieutenants), and once per game you can just flat-out ignore one failed save and auto-pass it instead.
    • Terminus Est - Raiment of Atrophy: Any contagions the bearer has count the current turn as one higher, which doesn't stack with any similar rule.
    • Terminus Est - Reaper of Misery: Replaces a plaguereaper or manreaper. S+2 AP-3 D1, Plague Weapon, and double attacks, meaning what you have is a manreaper that scythes at +1S -2AP but can't cleave.
    • Terminus Est - Rotgrip: Replaces a power fist or plague claw with a plague claw at Sx3 (12) and no penalty to hit.
    • Terminus Est - Vomix's Virulent Blight: Select a plague weapon. When a unit loses wounds by this weapon, the unit will now be permanently be subject to a contagion borne by the unit (pick any one if you have multiple). This is a horribly potent curse when using the basic Nurgle's Gift contagion, though it's still a pain when using Shamblerot.
  • The Inexorable - The Leechspore Casket: When a model is destroyed as a result of an attack made with a melee weapon by the bearer, one friendly Inexorable Vehicle model within 18" regains up to one lost wound, maxing out at 3 wounds per turn.
  • Mortarion's Anvil - Warp Insect Hive: The bearer re-rolls all hit and wound rolls in melee.
  • The Wretched - The Daemon's Favor: Malignant Plaguecaster only. The bearer replaces their Pestilential Fallout ability with "Torrent of Putrefaction". Instead of 1 mortal wound dealt on a 7 or more to cast, the bearer deals 1 mortal wound on any successful cast out to 6", increasing to 1d3 and 12" on a 7+.
  • The Poxmongers - Ironclot Furnace: During the command phase, select one Poxmongers Daemon Engine unit within 6" of the bearer. Until the start of your next Command Phase, that unit has a 4++ Invuln, quite the gift.
  • The Ferrymen - Ferryman's Scythe: Replaces a Manreaper with another Manreaper that gets 3 attacks per Scything attack instead of 2.
  • Mortation's Chosen Sons - Vomitryx: Replaces a plague sprayer (so Blightspawn only) with a 7-shot one, doubling its output.

Deadly Pathogens[edit]

Upgrades a single non-Grenade, non-Relic Plague weapon on a Death Guard character or a Bubonic Astartes unit champion by paying points and increases the unit's power rating by +1, giving the weapon S+1 and one other additional ability. S+1's utility changes a lot if Arch-Contaminator is applying, and also if Nurgle's Gift is applying - both of them make it more and more important to select a low-S weapon for this. To give you an idea, if you pick an S3 weapon and then both abilities apply, and you attack a T8 target, you go from wounding 11/36 of the time to wounding 20/36 of the time.

  • Acidic Malady: 15pts. -1 to the weapon's AP. A genuine waste of your time - Virulent Fever behaves like this but better on everything you can take it on.
  • Befouling Runoff: 5pts. Ignores cover. Generally garbage, since the best weapons you can pick for this hit automatically, so ignoring Dense Cover is irrelevant, and ignoring Light Cover is worse than Acidic Malady's flat improvement to AP. Hard pass.
  • Corrosive Filth: 15pts. +1 damage against Vehicles.
    • Against a Vehicle, naturally the best thing you can take - but worthless against infantry, bikes, swarms, monsters, etc.
  • Explosive Outbreak: 15pts. Deals an additional hit on an unmodified hit roll of 6, which is equivalent to +1 to hit only with proper stacking with full re-rolls to hit, and it works on WS2+ (bringing your expected hits per attack to 1 base). Best on a plaguereaper, if you're going to take it. Since this doesn't work at all with weapons that hit automatically, many of your ranged options are just off the table with this.
    • Attached to a WS3+ model (including a natively WS2+ one with -1 to hit), this is a 25% increase in murder - on a WS2+ model, it's worth +20%.
  • Unstable Sickness: 10pts. Each kill inflicts an additional MW on the enemy unit on a 4+ with a hard cap of 3MWs, and you can't use the Befouled Incubators strat on the bearer.
    • The opposite of Virulent Fever - the better the weapon is at murder, the more mortals it inflicts, assuming you're targeting a multi-model unit so there's something left to suffer the excess. Against a 1-model unit, of course, this ability does nothing at all.
    • That means you generally can't be bothered with this, because it helps you most when murdering things you need the least help murdering.
  • Virulent Fever: 15pts. Deals a MW on an unmodified Wound roll of 6. The better the weapon is at wounding, penetrating saves, or damaging, the worse this ability is - low-damage, poor-AP weapons will notice it the most. As a result, this is generally your best bet on a Lord of Virulence's Twin Plague Spewer.
    • Stacks with a Biologis Purifier's Foul Infusion, which has diminishing returns - going from 0 mortals on a 6 to wound to 1 is less of a step than from 1 to 2.
  • Viscous Death: 5pts. Re-roll the number of attacks for this weapon. Ideal for a Foul Blightspawn's Plague Sprayer, but since rolling more dice makes this ability worse - you have to re-roll the whole roll, you can't only re-roll poor dice - not nearly as good for a Lord of Virulence. Genuinely makes a Blightspawn killier.

Numbers speak for themselves: the only options that are actually real upgrades in killiness per point are virulent fever, viscous death, corrosive filth (which is highly situational), and explosive outbreak (once you're in melee). Weigh them against the cost of an extra Poxwalker. All in all, these are fun options that will not weaken your army if you don’t go overboard with them.

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 Blessing. 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 2s anymore, and to-hit modifiers don't stack beyond -1, but sticking it on a squad of Deathshroud or Poxwalkers or Mortarion will still make them a pain to kill.
  2. Gift of Contagion - Warp Charge 5 Malediction. Select a visible enemy unit within 18" and debuff them with -1S, stacking -1A as well if you roll an 8+ on the psychic test.
    • This power is bad, there's no really good way to sugarcoat that - Dark Angels (Aversion), Deathwatch (Neural Void), and Thousand Sons (Dysmanifestation) are all examples of other Space Marines with access to this power but better, because -1S is such an incredibly weak effect. Unless your psyker can re-roll the cast (e.g. from the Sevenfold Blessings strat the Wretched have), you can just assume you won't manage the -1A rider (which goes off only 27.78% of the time). To give you an example of how weak -1S is, if you try to protect T5 plague marines from a mixed squad of loyalist Marines attacking with Thunder Hammers and Chainswords, -1S will do absolutely nothing - S4->S3 has no impact on T5, and neither does T7 (your modifier applies after multiplication for the same reason a +1 modifier makes a Thunder Hammer S9 in 9E, not S10). The power is incredibly reliable in terms of the base effect, mind - you'll manage to debuff the target's Strength a full 5/6 (83.33%) of the time - it's just that you have to pick your powers before you know what you'll be fighting, and a lot of the time -1S is useless.
    • Unless you chose a particularly useless company contagion - looking at you, Chosen Sons - odds are incredibly good you're better off with Gift of Plagues, in terms of using a psychic power to debuff the enemy. If nothing else, Nurgle's Gift for -1T is a good deal more useful as a debuff than -1S.
  3. Plague Wind - Warp Charge 6 Witchfire. Select an enemy unit within 18" and roll a die for each model in the unit; 6s cause mortal wounds. If you scored a 9+ on the manifest check, you instead deal a MW on a 5+.
    • Effectively, this won't ever do much, but as it is one of the very, very few things left that scale with target unit size; you should take this if you are seeing huge tarpits on the other side of the table. And hey, what other Warp Charge 6 power can kill 8 Conscripts (assuming a 48-50 man blob) on average?
    • WC6 means the expected mw per model is 1/6 after accounting for the casting check, which means the power beats Smite against any unit of size 11+.
  4. Putrescent Vitality- Warp Charge 7 Blessing. A visible friendly DEATH GUARD INFANTRY unit gains +1S and +1T.
    • Like your other buff spells, this one affects units and not models, so use it on those Poxwalkers and make them undying. (Particularly useless with Typhus in that his Poxwalkers are already S4, and thanks to Nurgle's Gift going up to S5 isn't a big deal.)
  5. Curse of the Leper- Warp Charge 6 Witchfire. If manifested, roll 7d6. The closest enemy unit within 18" takes a mortal wound for each roll that exceeds its toughness characteristic.
    • It might not have the potential to cause more mortal wounds than Plague Wind (and won't work at all on units with T6 or higher for obvious reasons), but it's more reliable against units with lower toughness. Like, just as an arbitrary example, the ones that have been debuffed by your contagion. Generally speaking, only better than Smite against T3 or below, which includes space marines if you manage to get them in range of Nurgle's Gift. As a corollary, excellent synergy with Gift of Plagues (or if you're playing Terminus Est, Gift of Infection).
  6. Gift of Plagues - Warp Charge 6 Blessing. "So wtf is this spell and where's my Blades of Putrefaction?" You ask. Sadly, that power is done for, may it rest in peace. Instead, this power boosts the range of any contagion of a DEATH GUARD unit within 18" by 6" (maxing out at 12"). Considering you can use it on Mortarion for a 12" bubble of whatever extra contagion you gave him, or you can combo it with Flash Outbreak to get a forward-punching unit to spread your warlord's contagion, this seems really strong if played correctly. Halving all movement or shutting down re-rolls to hit/wound with an extra 6" is a game-changer.

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 (each of which grants a new contagion), a relic, and a stratagem. Note that you can only take the relic if your warlord is from the same plague company as the relic.

The Harbingers[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 (Contagion): When non-vehicle units are within contagion range at the start of their movement phase, roll a d6 for each unit, subtracting 1 for any Characters. On a 4+ they suffer a MW, upped to 1d3 MW on a 6.
    • On average, that's 2/3 of a mortal wound for a non-character non-vehicle, and 1/3 of a character non-vehicle.
    • Since it triggers at the start of enemy movement, the way it will come up the most is adding output to your warlord's charges, as almost no enemies will have a way to escape contagion range after getting charged but before their movement phase. Don't count on it too much for persuading the enemy to stay away, as once they've entered their own movement phase, they have both the rest of their turn and all of yours before they have to worry about the mortal wound coming up - e.g. if your Warlord is charged, he'll have to at least stay close through two fight phases before it comes up.
  • Relic - Infected Remains: Once per battle, the bearer can drop this on an objective within 3" at the end of the movement phase. So long as the bearer remains on the board, this objective now counts as having the same contagions as the bearer.
  • Stratagems - The Wrathful Dead (1 CP): Use in the fight phase when a Harbingers Poxwalkers unit attacks. The unit now re-rolls any hit rolls. Pair this with the Mutant Strain Strat, and now even lowly zombies are killing terminators.

The Inexorable[edit]

The 2nd Plague Company are known as the Inexorable for their favored tactics; they crush their foes beneath lumbering battle tanks and mechanized assaults. Their signature disease is the Ferric 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. Is actually really nice for plague marine heavy builds.

  • Warlord Trait - Ferric Blight (Contagion): Any attacks against enemies within contagion range improve their AP by 1. Note that this is now effective on everything, so feel free to shank battlesuits with chainswords and tanks with power swords.
    • Pairs really well with literally everything. Zombies are now a -1, grenades are -2 with the biologius, LOC is -4 with his Plaguereaper, LOV is -2 with Twin Spewer, Plague Knives are -2. The potential is everywhere. The only issue is getting your Warlord close enough.
  • Relic - The Leechspore Casket: When a model is destroyed as a result of an attack made with a melee weapon by the bearer, one friendly Inexorable Vehicle model within 18" regains up to one lost wound, maxing out at 3 wounds per turn.
    • Could be cool if paired with the Demonic Gluttony strat, but this relic is just kind of ok when compared with the generic book ones.
  • Stratagem - Ferric Miasma (1 CP): Use in your opponent's charge phase when an Inorexable unit becomes the target of a charge. Subtract 2 from all the opponent's charge rolls that target that unit.
    • Simple but effective. Your tanks roll up the board and you stop a counter charge by a deepstriking enemy. Can easily ruin someone's battleplan, and then you melt them with better AP weapons.

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 screws with enemies that rely on rerolls and/or overwatch. Their relic and stratagem help out in melee.

  • Warlord Trait - Gloaming Bloat (Contagion): Enemies within contagion range can no longer fire Overwatch or set to defend. On top of this, they can't re-roll any hit or wound rolls they make, shutting down a lot of HQs. This contagion is made just to overrun everything without looking at the resistance. Especially fucks over the blueberries.
  • Relic - Warp Insect Hive: The bearer re-rolls all hit and wound rolls in melee, making them far more reliable in an age where HQs no longer benefit from their own auras.
    • This one seems to be made for a Daemon Prince. Gives him full rerolls and can go toe to toe with most things now.
  • Stratagem - Relaptic Assault (1 CP): Use in opponent's charge phase, Any number of selected Mortarion's Anvil INFANTRY units within 3" of the enemy 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 (Contagion): Any attacks made against enemies within Contagion range automatically wound on a nat 6 to hit. Makes zombies and mass plague marines a little better.
  • Relic - The Daemon's Favor: Malignant Plaguecaster only. The bearer replaces their Pestilential Fallout ability with "Torrent of Putrefaction". Instead of 1 mortal wound dealt on a 7 or more to cast within 12", the bearer deals 1 mortal wound within 6" on any successful cast, increasing to 1d3 on a 7+. Best used with the stratagem 'Sevenfold Blessings' (see below) to increase the chance of rolling a 7 on the psychic test.
  • Stratagems - Sevenfold Blessings (1 CP): Use before the battle. One use per battle. Select one Wretched Psyker. For the rest of the battle, that psyker knows one additional power and can re-roll one psychic test per psychic phase.
    • You could pair this with the Putrid Periapt relic and give your psyker 4 powers, but at the end of the day he can still only cast 2. Still kind of cool if you want to run a campaign or something with a beefy psyker hero. If you go this route, go for the Sorcerer in Terminator armor. You don't want all those eggs in a 4 wound 3+ save basket like a Plaguecaster.

The Poxmongers[edit]

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

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

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

  • Warlord Trait - Sanguous Flux (Contagion): Enemies within contagion range suffer -1 to Leadership and -1 to Attrition checks.
    • Not bad and when it pops off combined with a blightbringer, entire units will run away, but so many armies completely ignore modifiers or are straight up fearless. Honestly, this is one plague company you could get away with taking a generic Warlord trait and being fine.
  • Relic - Ironclot Furnace: During the command phase, select one Poxmongers Daemon Engine unit within 6". Until the start of your next Command Phase, that unit has a 4++ Invuln, quite the gift.
    • This relic is made for a full unit of Blighthaulers. Take 3, give them a 4++, put Miasma on them every turn, and then rush up the board. Even if you get into combat with them, use the next strat to help.
  • Stratagems - Bilous Bloodrush (1 CP): A Poxmongers Daemon Engine unit can shoot Blast weapons while within engagement range and any ranged attacks against enemies within engagement range add +1 to hit rolls. Your engines can now blast things they're face-to-face with. Fun on a Plaguecrawler, crazy on 3 blighthaulers. Haulers go brrrr

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 give tricky tools to buff your auras or slow down enemies.

  • Warlord Trait - The Droning (Contagion): Enemy units within Contagion range have their movement halved during their movement phase.
    • Much harder to use than some of the other contagions, as by the time you get this close your opponent’s speed is less relevant. This makes it harder to impossible for units to meaningfully fall back or escape melee, but most won’t mind (shooting armies will just fire back and melee ones will just counter charge).
    • Best paired with Flash Outbreak and a Bloat Drone. Drive the drone into the heart of the enemy and slow them down for a critical turn.
      • RAW does nothing, as units don't have Move characteristics (and as the Space Wolves and Deathwatch can tell you, it's very possible to have a unit of mixed Move), but presumably this means halve the Move characteristic of each model in the unit.
  • Relic - Ferryman's Scythe: Replaces a Manreaper with another Manreaper that gets 3 attacks per scythe instead of 2.
  • Stratagems - On Droning Wings (1 CP): At the start of your Command phase, select a Ferrymen Foetid Virion unit. One of their auras now add +6" to a max of 12" to their range. This trick is pretty decent, as each one model carries a powerful aura, even if it isn't a chaos lord's. This pairs really well with the Foul Blightspawn relic to negate charges, the Living Plague warlord trait to turn off auras, and many others.

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.

  • Warlord Trait - Nurgle's Fruit (Contagion): All attacks against enemies within contagion range ignore cover. How utterly dastardly. This one seems boring compared to the others (and it is), but thematically it makes your spewer weapons better against units in cover. (Combine this with the stratagem disgusting force on a PBC to clean out eradicators hiding in cover. The boosted damage means each failed save will be enough to destroy a model.)
  • Relic - Vomitryx: Replaces a plague sprayer (so Blightspawn only) with a 7-shot one, doubling its output.
  • Stratagems - Plague Brewers (1 CP): When shooting with a unit with plague belchers, plaguespurt gauntlets, or plague spewers, increase the damage of those weapons to 2.
    • Drop in 6 Deathshroud for 7d6 autohits, drop LOV next to them, LOV contagion range is boosted to 12" with psychic power and arch contaminator on LOV for full re-rolls to wound, LOV aura gives AP-1 on wounds of 6, and each wound does 2 damage. Not the best, but that's a lot of wounds and a big block of terminators t-posing on the enemy army.

Armies of Renown[edit]

The new version of the specialist detachment, introduced in the Book of Rust.

Terminus Est Assault Force[edit]

This is Typhus's personal choice when leading armies. You're running a massive wall of bloated flesh, with nary a vehicle in sight. This makes your army way slower, but they have their own ways of circumventing that with the lack of any transports. If you're wondering why the Harbingers aren't as zombie-focused, then this is your answer.

  • Restrictions: Your army has to be from the same Harbingers Plague Company and can't take Morty, though Typhus is still fair game. You also cannot take any Vehicles. All of your forces gain the Terminus Est Assault Force keyword.
  • Outbreak Assault: All Terminus Est Assault Force detachments have a revised table for how many units can be thrown into reserves; the simple explanation is that everything costs 1 CP more. Why? Because your reserves can all deep strike. Poxwalkers and cultists pop out in front of the enemy! A sudden drop of plague marines to cap a point! This is pretty much your answer to why you have no transports.
  • Warlord Trait: Harbinger of Death: Grants a 3" aura that grants an additional attack against enemies within the aura, and enemies with an Ld score less than 7 lose ObSec and the ability to take actions. Pretty much heavy denial when the warlord's on the field, but it's prone to disruption unlike any of the contagions. If you make Typhus your Warlord, he takes this on top of any other WTs he gets.


  • Canker: A permanently super-charged plasma pistol. It's got 18" range S9 AP-4 and suffers no overheat, but most importantly it's also a Plague Weapon!
  • Filth Censers: Psykers only. Adds 6" to the first listed range for any powers your psyker casts.
  • Mark of the Terminus Est: The bearer adds +1 to his Strength, any wound rolls against him can't be re-rolled (to the irritation to all lieutenants), and once per game you can just flat-out ignore one failed save and auto-pass it instead. Whoever you throw this onto is going to be the tankiest monster up-close, as is proper.
  • Raiment of Atrophy: Any contagions the bearer has are counted as progressing one step further. Pretty nice to grant further control, but it can't stack with any other turn buffs.
  • Reaper of Misery: Replaces a plaguereaper or manreaper. S+2 AP-3 but it gives you a flurry of hits like the manreaper's scythe mode.
  • Rotgrip: A plague claw at Sx3 AP3 D2 and no penalty to hit, and rerolling 1s because it's a Plague Weapon. That's S12, so everything T6 and less is wounded on 2s and rerolling 1s, and when combined with Nurgle's Gift or Gift of Infection (remember, they can't stack), you're almost guaranteed to get to the save-step. That being said, S12+ is overkill against infantry characters, who would've been wounded on 2s anyway due to Nurgle's Gift/Gift of Infection's -1 T, and with only D2, you're probably only blowing up light-to-mid vehicles. The Mark is probably better.
  • Vomix's Virulent Blight: Select a plague weapon. When a unit loses wounds due to this weapon, the unit will now permanently be subject to a contagion given by the unit (pick any one if you have multiple). This is a horribly potent curse when using the basic Nurgle's Gift contagion, though it's still a pain when using Shamblerot.

Fester Discipline[edit]

Why yes, any psykers with the Terminus Est Assault Force can pick up this discipline, including Typhus himself. This is a lot more debuff-focused - the best two spells here are Lungrot and Rotwind, btith debuffs.

  1. Gift of Infection - Warp Charge 7. An enemy unit within 18" takes a -1 to Toughness, but this doesn't stack with any contagions doing the same.
  2. Lungrot - Warp Charge 7. An enemy unit within 18" can no longer advance, can only charge enemies within 6", and cannot re-roll the charge distance. Are you up against a charge-heavy army like Space Marines or Nids? Welcome to the best setup for a firing squad.
  3. Pernicious Dose - Warp Charge 7. A friendly unit within 6" can re-roll to hit with any plague weapons for the turn.
  4. Noxious Discharge - Warp Charge 6. One enemy unit within 12" takes a MW and any other units within 3" of the target (without Nurgle keyword so friendly fire isn't a thing) take a MW of their own. Not quite Smite, but it spreads between units.
  5. Rotwind - Warp Charge 7. Pick one enemy unit within 18". Any attacks that unit makes have their AP increased by 2 to a maximum of 0, which can be very important when dealing with plasma and melta.
  6. Accelerated Entropy - Warp Charge 7. Select an enemy model within 12". You and that enemy must roll a d6 and add your respective model's Toughness score to the roll. If you win, the target's unit suffers 3 MWs, which is upped to d3+3 MW if you roll double or over the enemy's roll.
    • Worse than Curse of the Leper in every context in which you'd actually cast it - the only way to make this better is to target high Toughness, at which point you should be casting something else, like Smite.
    • Most useful on a demon prince with Rotten Constitution; any demon prince that casts this after someone else casts Gift of Infection on the target can actually get above Smite on a T3 target.


    • Rotting Tide (2/3 CP): Select one Terminus Est Assault Force Poxwalkers unit that was either wiped out or at below half strength during the movement phase. That unit can be redeployed at full strength (if you have over 10 models, this costs 3 CP) and placed at a new spot over 6" from a table edge and over 9" from an enemy.
      • Considering how vital these zombies are to your gameplan, you'll absolutely be needing them to stay alive for as long as possible, and what better way than by throwing them at another location?
    • Unleash the Hordes (2 CP): Select one Terminus Est Assault Force Poxwalkers unit during the movement or fight phase. This unit can now move 3" more and can pile in an additional 3" for this turn, adding a bit more mobility to how they can get stuck in. This one is worded in a weird way, but you select one unit of poxwalkers, do this strat, then ALL of your poxwalkers in your army get to move the extra 3 inches. Pretty great and you only need to use this maybe twice a game to give all of your poxwalkers the crazy movement they need. These are 28 Days Later zombies now.
    • Pestilential Drop (2 CP): Can be used when setting up a Terminus Est Assault Force unit using the Outbreak Assault rule or teleporting termies. This unit now counts its contagion range as 12" for this turn, but it can't be buffed any further. You'll be needing it to lock in your foes before smashing them with rotten gunfire.
    • Callous Disregard (2 CP): Select a Terminus Est Assault Force Bubonic Astartes unit during the shooting phase. They can shoot at any units engaged by friendly Poxwalkers or Plague Followers unit, but they take a -1 to hit. If they miss, then they accidentally hit those puny humans instead. Not like you should lament their loss either, as they were going to get flattened by the enemy anyways.

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. In addition, you now have <Plague Company> to denote the various subfactions.

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

  • Important Note on Psykers!: While you're generally better off taking Codex versions of the Daemon Prince and the various non-Plaguecaster Sorcerers, there is one very specific circumstance where you might want the index one instead--they use the Dark Hereticus Discipline, while even the otherwise copy-paste entries in the Codex use Contagion. While most of the Contagion powers are probably better for the Death Guard, certain Dark Hereticus powers (coughWarptimecough) can be VERY helpful. It's also worth noting that when the CSM codex was released, GW specifically said that Psykers from Index: Chaos can use the expanded Dark Hereticus list from Codex: CSM (Magnus was listed as an example) just in case you wanted to be That Guy and cast Diabolic Strength on Mortarion.
  • Legends Models - Technically legal for play in matched, though 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.


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

  • Death Guard Daemon Prince: Buffs all <Plague Company> Core units the same way a Chaos Lord does. Also a seriously powerful melee character who, thanks to his Wound count, can still hide behind your dudes. Same as the CSM version, but with all the Death Guard goodies and wings cost +2 PL/35 points. Because your version has the Nurgle's Gift contagion, the axe is an automatic skip compared to the sword. Can bring a Plague Spewer if using a sword and talons instead of double talons, which makes up for not having a Warp Bolter and then some since it automatically hits, but the Spewer can't be taken if you took Wings, and you probably took Wings. That said, the fact that this gun is the ONLY non-relic plague weapon that the prince can carry is a big load of derp. Must also follow the Contagion discipline (which is great when you want to cast the -1 to hit spell on him). It isn't a Lord of the Death Guard as of the 22/02/2021 FAQ so yay!
    • Because of the various perqs the legion has (Inexorable Advance, Contagions, the buff aura targeting a specific keyword that normally wouldn't be covered by CSM) compared to the base CSM, it's become a bit of a hassle to bring in a CSM or Daemons DP instead, which is inconvenient because your daemon princes no longer have access to the Dark Hereticus or Malefic discipline. You could bring in an allied detachment of generic Nurgle CSM, but they're going to be playing considerably differently compared to your sluggish tanks spreading all sorts of fuckery in the air.
  • Death Guard Chaos Lord: Changes have made them like space marine captains, only one per detachment and does not compete with a Daemon Prince. It has the Lord of the Death Guard. Now comes in line and gets all that Death Guard goodness plus the captain re-roll aura.

Your "basic bitch" with a "re-roll 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 re-roll all wounds, due to the massive synergy with Nurgle's Gift. Can and should take a free combi-bolter for his other weapon, since that puts him on the very short list of your infantry models that actually benefit from Inexorable Advance on their guns.

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

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

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

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

  • The choice between a Manreapers and a Plaguereapers: Always take a Plaguereaper unless you have an excellent reason not to - it's cheaper (because you don't have to buy the god-awful Orb of Desiccation you'll never end up throwing) and hits harder against anything with the W to absorb its D.

The new Death Guard character that's been teased since the advent of ninth edition comes with a twin heavy plague flamer and a plague power fist on top of Cataphractii armour that makes him stupidly hard to kill and lets him deep strike. The reason you want this guy is because it has a lot of firepower for a single model and also carries a second aura: all <Plague Company> Core models within 6" of him that shoot plague weapons and roll a natural 6 to hit improve their AP by 1. This is on top of the regular re-roll 1s aura of the chaos lord, making him a decent candidate for accompanying blightlord terminators. Also, if you take him against a very bunched up enemy you should absolutely consider lobbing a blight bombardment on their stupid loyalist heads since he makes it cost only 2 CP if he's your Warlord. A very poor candidate for Viscous Death, because he rolls 2d6 for his shots, but a very decent candidate for Virulent Fever since he can deep strike, shoot his gun, and then charge. A very solid warlord choice all in all, and a very shooty one.

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

Your baseline caster that can cast two Contagion powers a turn and deny one. Can buy a jump pack for a 12" move and FLY. Truth be told, the Plaguecaster's got more to offer, but this guy's cheaper and has a few more options.

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 or a Daemon Prince but really can't cut anything else.

Same story as the lord. Forget it.

  • Malignant Plaguecaster: Nurgle-themed Sorcerer with a bolt pistol, corrupted staff (force staff), blight grenades, and Disgustingly Resilient. Every time he rolls a 7+ on his psychic test, the closest enemy unit within 12" takes a mortal wound, which makes him fantastic in short-ranged firefights, same as the Plague Marines. Keep him in Grenade range and he can unleash a Blight Grenade, Smite, either a buff, debuff, or yet more Mortal Wounds, and then 2 Mortal Wounds from his ability for casting twice. That's quite a lot of dakka, most of which also works in melee. In 9th is a must because most HQs are capped at 1 and this is the cheapest non-capped, and he's surprisingly useful.
    • Remember the Pestilential Fallout occurs after the power is resolved. Don't Smite the enemy within 12" and go denying yourself a "free" Mortal Wound.

Special Characters[edit]

  • Typhus: Grossest living mortal being in the galaxy. Incredibly tanky with a 2+/4++, the Disgustingly Resilient rule, and six wounds. He gives all Poxwalkers within 6" of him Strength 4 alongside his typical Chaos Lord aura. His Destroyer Hive now attacks on the command phase, dealing d3 mortal wounds to an enemy within 6" on a 2+, and he knows Smite and two Contagion powers in addition to his S+3 AP-3 D3 MASTER CRAFTED MANRAPER. He can also teleport. He is quite versatile, allowing you to put him on foot along with poxwalkers and plague marines for a huge blob of nasty space AIDS or send him deepstriking along with blight lords and every good thing you can think.
    • Note that while he can join any Death Guard army regardless of plague company and let them take their particular contagion, he'll never be able to benefit from their contagions without spending a stratagem for Flash Infection unless the army's from the Harbingers. And really, Shamblerot's just the Destroyer Hive but with a variable range and ineffective on tanks. (Alternately, if you're already going out of the way to proc Destroyer Hive, you might as well proc Shamblerot for the trouble!)
    • Though it may be slightly unfluffy, he pairs exceedingly well with Necrosius.
    • Typhus' Manreaper gives him D3, something that should never be overlooked. He is not invincible, but with his T5, 2+/4++ -1D, 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 his Destroyer Hive.
      • The changes to Typhus in the upcoming codex has increased his number of attacks from four to SIX. This drastically increases his melee potential. Combine this with the default Blessings of Nurgle contagion and Typhus can take on pretty much any other infantry character in the game, and that’s without including the two psyker powers he’ll still be able to cast.
    • With all the recent changes to Poxwalkers limited to a max of 1:1 unit ratio with all of the other infantry CORE units, the good old zombie horde is gone and Typhus is more of a powerhouse than a buffing character. The only downside is that he competes with Daemon princes and (FAQ'd) the basic Chaos Lord's many variants for the lone HQ unit with Lords of the Death Guard, and this is a tough competition.
  • Necrosius the Undying (FW legends) - Necrosius lost his Plague Zombies in favour of Poxwalkers which is not super surprising. T5 W5 A5 Ld8 and a 3+/4++ save and contains all the rules except for contagions (though he does have DttFE like the basic spikey boys). 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 to Poxwalkers buff would be an 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.


Infantry Characters[edit]

  • 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 D1 and deals 1d3 mortal wounds when it wounds Beasts/Cavalry/Infantry, but it has a pathetic 3" range. It's his grenades that make him worth it: his Hyper Blight Grenades are AP-1 and deal 2 damage, and any other friendly Death Guard units within 6" 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. He also buffs your melee: 1/turn at the start of your charge or any fight phase, pick a friendly <plague company> core unit within 6" - until your next command phase, that unit's melee attacks with Plague Weapons deal 1 mortal wound on nat 6s to wound.
    • This also goes very well with the Blightening strat that lets a unit throw 21.5 blight grenade attacks.
      • 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 (3.5 grenade attacks) 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.
    • Because his only aura is his Blight Grenade improver you can have him take actions like Raise the Banners or Spread the Sicknesss without much issue.
  • Foul Blightspawn - 75 points, M5″ A3 S4 WS/BS3+ T5 W4 Sv3+ Ld 8. His weapon, the Plaguesprayer, is a 12" Assault 1d6 S7 AP-3 D2 Plague Weapon that autohits like a flamer, which means that it's good enough to deal with MEQs to vehicles. The Unholy Death's Head grenade is cute and has blast. Maybe if he's close to an 11+ squad he can drop 12 shots on something, but his sprayer is way better in most cases, including against units of size 6=10. He's terrible in assault personally since he has no melee weapon, but you want him in the frontlines by the assaults due to his ability to make a unit within 3" fight last. 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. You will often want to give this guy a Deadly Pathogen, usually Viscous Death (if you're concerned you won't face vehicles) or Corrosive Filth (if you're confident you will).
  • Noxious Blightbringer - A debuff machine with a plasma pistol, Disgustingly Resilient, a cursed plague bell (D2 poisoned close combat weapon), and blight grenades. This guy got the short end of the stick when compared to his other Foetid Virion buddies. He has three abilities but you'll probably only take him for his aura of +1 to move and advance to make your infantry faster. His other auras are nice... if they weren't 6 inch range. A Psyker can just move out of the 6 inch range to avoid the -1 to casting aura and then cast from 7 inches away. Maybe they'll see play in a Ferryman plague company, then use the strat to pick and choose which ability you need. He does have a nice relic that stops units from falling back and can be really good in the right match-up, but then he's competing with other characters and better relics.
  • 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 give a 6+++ to Bubonic Astartes Infantry units within 3" of them, giving back some of the old DR from 8ed, and can pick one such unit to heal for 1d3 wounds, which is great for healing a wounded Chaos Lord who has just finished fighting, or a terminator unit. 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.
    • Keep in mind that his abilities are not tied to Plague Company only, so you can mix and match Plague Companies and let him heal everyone regardless of detachment.
    • Math wise Herr Doktor performs very poorly with basic bitch plague marines, because their wounds are "worth" 10.5 points each and he costs 75, i.e. he breaks even in points when he's prevented 7 and 1/7 wounds from being lost, either from healing (which is hard - the Marines can't be healed at 2 or 0 wounds, so you need to have specifically ended up with 1 injured member, and he can't dish out his total healing, only 1 wound of it) or from his FNP, which alone needs to have 42.86 points of damage come in to break even, on average (so if 43 come in, you should usually block enough to make a negligible points profit). Losing half a full squad of plague marines a turn for four-five turns without losing the whole unit shouldn't ever happen. That being said, it’s a lot easier to get value from healing terminators and characters, making him pretty good in Terminus Est where Outbreak Assault lets you deep strike with said terminators.
      • By the same logic, he needs to have 33.75 damage come at Blightlords or 27 at Deathshrouds to break even.
      • TL;DR: The best use for a plague surgeon is a survival boost for a unit or two of terminators inside a terminus est force.
  • Tallyman - The mortal version of a Spoilpox Scrivener and Epidemius. A cheap (70) Dark Apostle-like unit that allows one friendly <plague company> core within 6" of him to get +1 to hit rolls (both melee and ranged); 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 turn with a Tallyman in your Battle-Forged army, roll 2d6; on a 7+, you get a CP at the beginning of the command phase. Interestingly enough. this works for not only your own phase but your opponent's as well. The more players in a game the more opportunities to get back CP. His relic gives an aura of additional hits on 6+ for shooting to <plague company> core, further discouraging you from ever taking a Sigil of Decay on your plague marines (that's the upgrade where your bolters auto-wound on 6 to hit; if you combine both abilities, on a 6 to hit you get an autohit that needs to wound and a normal hit that autowounds, i.e. the Sigil won't buff the autohits the relic generates).
    • Only the relic gives him an aura, so that’s the only thing you lose if you have him take actions like Raise the Banners or Spread the Sicknesss.

Infantry Squads[edit]

  • Blightlord Terminators: While the Deathshroud are best suited to acting as a bodyguard and heavy melee unit, the Blightlords act more like classic Chaos Terminators with a few Nurglite twists. Like the Deathshroud, they've got Cataphractii armour with all the benefits that brings them. 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. 9th edition brought some changes for these boys: Plague Spewers can now be taken 1 per 5 models in addition to 1 per 5 Blight Launchers or Reaper Autocannons. Combi-weapon spam is now no longer possible, as you can only have up to 1 per 5 of each combi-flamer/melta/plasmas. The positive is that all of the weapon choices are now quite cheap.
  • Bubotic Axe: S+2 Ap-2 D1, Plague Weapon. Courtesy of Nurgle's gift, these will wound almost everything on a 2+ with rerolls of 1. Mathematically identical to the Balesword against MEQ's (gaining +1 to wound at a cost of -1ap) and GEQ's, the axes have an advantage against T7, anything with toughness 4+ and 4+ armour or worse, and anything with a decent invuln.
  • Balesword: S+1 AP-3 D1, Plague Weapon. Identical to the axe against MEQ's and GEQ's, gains an advantage against low toughness, high armour targets (without decent invulns, so many t3 characters are out) like sisters or aspect warriors.
  • Flail of Corruption: Doubles your attack output (and your base A is 3, which is quite scary) with S+1 AP-2 D2, pretty much the best melee weapon you can grab, although it does replace your combi-bolter, unlike the other options, so only take if you know your Blightlords will be in melee. Alas it does not spill excess wounds anymore but we now have a stratagem to put this bad boy to good use . On average dice you're killing an extra 2.5 guardsmen, per flail (max 2), for 2cp. No.
  • Blight Launcher: Effectively a short-range blaster with 24" Assault 2 S6 AP-2 D2 and Plague Weapon, meaning you can fire in any circumstance and it can blow out anything MEQ. Probably just a bit weaker than the reaper autocannon in general but why not take both?
  • Reaper Autocannon:Our longest range infantry weapon. With 36" Heavy 4 S7 AP-2 D1 you will ruin many an infantryman's day and with some luck even shred light vehicles. All things considered, between this and the blight launcher, a foot slogging squad of deathshrouds is not such a bad idea.
  • Plague Spewer: The Heavy Flamer of to the Plague Belcher's Flamer. The issue here is that it's not gaining anything from Inorexable Advance since it auto-hits and it won't fire if you advance. If you mean to deepstrike your blightlords then absolutely grab one of those, you will not regret it.
  • Combi Plasma: Remains stronger on most accounts compared to the blight launcher if you overcharge it. However, the changes to Gets Hot alongside the lack of Plague Weapon does hurt the odds of ever taking this unless you absolutely need to blast marines. If you don't overcharge it then a plague launcher is straight up better most of the time. I would suggest to never fire both profiles at once, it almost never is worth it.
  • Combi Melta: Deepstrike and then say goodbye to that wreckage. What wreckage? *FWAAAAMP* That wreckage. Same thing as the combiplasma regarding the double fire but even more so since you are using this mostly to shoot at big stuff. Alternate take - This wont be at under half range on the turn you Deepstrike, and if you do Deepstrike you'll want to make it into combat ASAP instead of standing around taking potshots with a melta. Reasonable if you've got 5pts spare, but don't expect the world... Or wreckage, unless the opponent runs a lot of 3W vehicles.
  • Combi Flamer Strictly worse than the plague spewer but if you really need more flames then go for it.
  • Combi Bolter last but not exactly least we have the "totally not a storm bolter but for chaos". Can always double-tap and will shred light infantry, but will struggle against anything remotely protected.
  • Deathshroud Terminators: A returning favourite from the Death Guard's 30k version, and still a potent bodyguard after 10,000 years. They can deep strike. Between their 2+/4++, their ability to mask W9 or less Death Guard Characters within 3" from snipers, Disgustingly Resilient, and having three wounds, 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 a plague weapon, and if you take their Chimes of Contagion, once they reach max contagion range, targets will be down a point of toughness). They cost 50 base. Their scythes have either a Power fist profile (S8 AP-3 D2 but -1 to hit) or a more ex-scything one with double attacks but weaker.
    • A Deathshroud champion is an excellent carrier of the Virulent Fever pathogen - put it on one of his plaguespurt gauntlets, then keep him within an Arch-Contaminator aura so you can re-roll all wounds that aren't sixes, even successful ones.
    • Alternative Opinion: Put Virulent Fever on his scythe, and that's 10 attacks in melee (8.33 will hit) looking for mortals instead of the risky d6 (3.5) shots of the gauntlet. The only downside is needing to get into melee first.
  • Possessed: Possessed had a rough time in 8th edition. They were widely seen as unplayable for a long time before the ability to stack multiple buffs led to the inception of the dreaded "possessed bomb," an un-targetable nightmare of a deathstar. Such days are long past, and Death Guard Possessed finally seem to have found something of a middle ground as a fast, CORE, dedicated melee unit. Thanks to their Daemon save, they are slightly tougher than a normal Plague Marine, while enjoying the same range of defensive benefits. No longer burdened by a mediocre D3 attacks, they benefit from a flat 4 attacks at strength 5, ap -2. As an added bonus, they now count as having a Plague Weapon, unlocking many new combos to be explored. Finally, their 7-inch move makes them the fastest infantry unit in a traditionally slow army.
    • Possessed boosted by a Noxious Blightbringer's Sickening Vitality Aura (+1 to movement and advance) can have a surprisingly effective range on the first turn. Being able to move 10-15 inches and get on top of an objective can be worth it in the right circumstances.
    • If Possessed have one major flaw, it is the change to make them have the same transport limitations as Terminators. This prevents them from riding in rhinos and, barring land raiders, means you will likely be footslogging them across the battlefield.
    • Note: while they can still benefit from being near a Herald of Nurgle, doing so will turn off your Contagions of Nurgle ability.
  • Gellerpox Infected: Kill Team Annual 2022 brought back these zombie mutants as a special unit available only to the Death Guard and other Nurgle-aligned marine detachments as not-quite Agents of Chaos. This unit in particular is split between the S4 T4 mutants with frags and AP-1 melee weapons and the three Nightmare Hulks, each toting S5 and 5 wounds and wielding even meaner melee weapons, with one of them also getting an S4 AP-1 gut-flamer as well. This alongside the old 5+ FNP save makes these guys a touch more effective than the poxwalkers, but those zombies are far more numerous. However, the Elites Slot has always been rather overcrowded for Chaos, and the Foetid Virions being Elites does not help in any detachments outside of the Arks of Omen.
    • Mutoid Vermin: The hordes of chittering insects and cyber-Nurglings are their own separate unit, but they won't take up a slot if you also took the Gellerpox. Naturally, these swarms are utterly pathetic and only get a 6+ save and 6+ FNP to protect them, but you can resurrect d3 of the buggers each Command phase, making them more of a hassle to get rid of.


  • 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 add 1 to their hit and wound rolls if they only target a single enemy, 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 lost Hateful Assault in favour of more base attacks, 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 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.They have their own version of DR just by another name and it functions just like DR.
    • Alternate Alternate opinion: With Helbrutes being included in the CORE category they will benefit from our Lord's reroll 1 auras along with a variety of other buffs, including Sickly Corrosion effective turning their whole gun kit into a plague weapon. Their overall synergy both from range and melee has improved with a variety of options to really create a piece that can cover your weaknesses (which is usually firepower).
      • Alternate opinion 3: Another consideration is that the helbrute profile doesn't degrade as he takes wounds. In fact after the 1st wound he gets better at his job. The tallyman relic affects him as he is in the CORE category.
  • Decimator:Forge World: The Decimator has essentially become an oddball Helbrute, It's weaker in melee against everything T5 and above (despite the extra attack) while better against everything T4 and lower, it's sort of better at range in that it has fantastic options. As a Daemon Engine, it can spend CP to re-roll its to hits and wounds. Meanwhile, the Soulburner petard is a downright fantastic anti-everything weapon, and even the Mortal Wounds it causes to the Decimator aren't a concern since it can just naturally heal those off. You can even take two since you can only hurt yourself once per gun. The Butcher Cannons meant more for offensive lists as debuffing an enemy unit before engaging in them Melee can be much more valuable than just shooting them again. With a 5++ it should live long enough to affect the later turns of a game. Recommended that you skip the C-beam cannon though as the arm slot is better spent on another weapon. In short, take Decimators if you need Mortal Wounds, and durability without Warpsmiths/Hellwrights following them around, get Helbrutes for everything else.
  • Chaos Contemptor DreadnoughtForge World [Martial Legacy]: The Contemptor remains as good as it ever was. It has a huge amount of options, most of which are useless; for guns, the missile launcher is an auto-include, and then a pair of Twin Volkite Culverins beats everything else except the Conversion Beam Cannons at 48-72" (which will never come up, because you lack the tools to stay that far away from the enemy) against very heavy targets and Multimeltas against the same targets (including all the way up to 24" - they don't need melta range to beat the Volkites). For melee, the basic DCW is a waste of your time - if it's not going to be a gun, it should be a chainfist, and you have no reason at all to take 2 melee weapons. For the gun mounted in the chainfist, a combi-bolter is a waste of the CP this model cost you, so grab a heavy flamer, graviton blaster, or plasma blaster, depending on how much support you're giving the thing and how risky you want to get - the heavy flamer doesn't roll to hit, so the more hit support you have (Lord of Virulence, Tallyman, etc) the less you want it, while the plasma blaster is of dubious utility over the graviton blaster unless you can re-roll 1s to hit, since without overcharging the graviton blaster is much better.
    • So there's actually a lot of play right now with contemptors because they're CORE. For example, if you take dual Volkite Culverins (and a missile launcher) on the contemptor for 16+(2 or 7) shots and put him by a Tallyman with the Tollkeeper relic, that Tallyman can make the contemptor hit on 2s while getting exploding 6s in a bubble. If you take 3 contemptors, assuming you use the krak profile in our example, that's 36 shots (32 Culverin, 4 Missile) at what amounts to BS2+, so 30 hits, and then 18 more hits (since the two buffs combined on the third contemptor mean that on average, every shot hits), for 48 landed hits - and with a re-roll 1s to hit aura applied, that goes up to 56 hits landed. Unfortunately this costs 1 CP for each contemptor you take but hey, luckily for you, the Tallyman gives you cp every turn.
      • If Mortarion shows up, full re-rolls to hit is best used on the contemptor not getting +1 from the Tallyman. The net effect of full re-rolls + exploding 6s is 40/36 accuracy. The Tallyman's chosen target will have 42/36 accuracy, so the three Contemptors will have 35/36, 40/36, and 42/36 accuracy. If you lose 2 Contemptors, the Tallyman and Mortarion won't usefully stack; fishing for 6s on a functionally BS2+ model by re-rolling 5 and below will get you total accuracy 42/36, the same as if you hadn't bothered.
      • This also works with Multi-Meltas, of course. They're just less efficient until you get to within 12" of the target.
      • If you do this, make sure you take bubble wrap to protect your dakka dreads from getting easily charged. A Blightspawn with the Revolting Stench-vats relic has an aura of removing ASF and inflicts ASL on one unit, so that plus Poxwalkers is very credible charge protection. You'll also need Deathshrouds, most likely, to keep the Tallyman and Blightspawn (and probably Lord of Contagion or Daemon Prince) alive.
  • Chaos Deredeo DreadnoughtForge World [Martial Legacy]: Chaos finally got the Dorito Dreadnought! A lot of people have wanted this for a while and rightfully so, it kicks ass. Is a copy-paste of the marine version with the inclusion benefiting from Chaos marks and legion bonuses.
  • Chaos Leviathan DreadnoughtForge World [Martial Legacy]: Whatever was sacrificed in the name of Chaos to make these available... it was worth it. This super-dreadnought is a monster and priced very well for what it does. Since all FW Dreadnoughts received the 'Dreadnought' keyword this bad boy can be buffed by your legion traits - Emperor's Children always fights first comes to mind. As for valid weapon options, all are nasty and downright deadly in the right circumstances but are very expensive on an already expensive model. Often the Leviathan Dread is a brilliant distraction unit, but unless you have a foolproof way of getting it into combat quickly he's unlikely to really make his points back. Place him at the front of your army in the middle and use him to make your opponent sweat whilst havocs and obliterators pop heavier targets.
  • Chaos Deimos Predator:Legends Forge World: This is the final anti-tank way for the Death Guard. For 140p and -1CP, the Deimos Predator allows you to destroy almost every 12W tank in one shooting phase, with the lascannon and Magna-Melta options. Some tales speak about that Deimos who shot down that emperor-golden-asslicker-Ares-birdo, but that's nothing I have seen yet...


  • Cultists - The humble Cultists are a poor investment in a Death Guard list, and outshone by poxwalkers. What weapon they should take depends on your play style and what else is in your list, though the lack of both inexorable advance and objective secured hurts their viability.
    • These guys are far less useful, and cheap troops are no longer as important due to the decline of battalion spamming. The only use is really screening from deepstrike and charges against value targets, which is done much better by Poxwalkers. The only saving grace they may have is as a cheap, action performing unit for Deploying Scramblers.
  • Plague Marines CORE BUBONIC ASTARTES - Very versatile, reasonably priced and extremely durable troops, available from 5 to 10 bodies per squad. T5 makes it so that everything short of Dreadnought/Knight melee weapons has to wound you on 3+ at best, and Disgustingly Resilient makes plasma weapons and other high-damage weapons less effective. They come with the standard marine bolter, but drop the stock bolt pistol and frag grenades for Plague Knives and Blight Grenades, the first of which makes them more dangerous in melee and the latter of which is a straight upgrade to the base frag grenade (+1S and Plague Weapon).
    • Unlike their other cult-specific cousins, Plague Marines are best used more defensively and sparingly. Poxwalkers can move ahead to contest mid-field objectives and establish board control while the Plague Marines slowly waddle behind them. Even when not embarked on transports, Plague Marines are unlikely to be focused down so long as you give the opponent lots of other targets to shoot at. Plague Marines are very good at the counter-attack, especially when supported with a Foul Blightspawn.
    • They were one of the first units to be affected by the "WYSIWYG from the Box" changes of 9th, retaining a lot of weapon options but no longer able to spam flails like in 8th.
  • The champion can replace his bolter with a bolt pistol, plasma pistol, or plasma gun, he can replace his plague knife with a daemonic plague blade (technically a free upgrade, but be aware you'll lose the +1 attack from the trench fighters stratagem if you do), and he can take a power fist.
  • 1 guy can carry a blight launcher, 1 guy can carry a plague spewer, and if it's a 10 man unit, a third guy can take either, in exchange for the bolter.
  • 1 in 5 can swap out a bolter for a meltagun, plasma gun, or plague belcher.
  • Then there are 5 "1-in-5" melee options, technically allowing a full melee loadout (if you don't mind dice rolling in the fight phase to take all day). Each of these replace your bolter, and they all give +1A courtesy of the Vectors of Death rule. These are the additional plague knife, bubotic axe, mace of contagion AND bubotic axe, flail of corruption and great plague cleaver.
  • 1 plague marine with a bolter can also carry an icon of despair (in your Morale phase, roll 1d6 for every enemy unit in engagement, dealing a mortal wound on a 4+), and another one can also carry a sigil of decay (unmodified bolter hits of 6 automatically wound). Both options require you to keep your bolter, but 1 Marine can carry both; in the unlikely event you want both in the same unit (since one only buffs you at range and one only while engaged), you should always do this, to allow you to keep them in play as long as possible by choosing other squad members to die first.
  • Champions: Daemonic Plague Blades are exclusive to the champion, but they give you a flat +1S to your knife. Not too bad, and you can always buy a power fist if you want something to punch tanks with. The champion is less efficient in melee with or without the fist than a Flail or Cleaver marine, so frankly you're best off with the DPB and using the Champion as a Plasma Gunner.
  • Plague Knife: The default weapon, your CCW has AP-1 and Plague Weapon, making them decently effective against marines and smaller units. One in 5 can replace their bolter with a second knife for the same +1A all these other melee options give, which is a poor choice, but at least it's free.
  • Bubotic Axe: A pretty hefty plague weapon with S+2 AP-2 D1. Hitting at strength 6 means it wounds everything t4 and below on a 2+ with re-rolls (when paired with Nurgle's Gift).
  • Mace of Contagion: S+2 AP-1 D3. Flat D3 is an impressive upgrade to your bubotic axe in exchange for a point of AP. Taken in a pair with the axe, which you can still use against 1W chaff, which also makes the mace incredibly expensive in practice.
  • Flail of Corruption: Doubles your attack output (and your base A is 3 if you have it, don't forget) with S+1 (5) AP-2 D2 Plague Weapon. Mathematically the best melee weapon against almost every target for the price. Shame we can only take 1 per 5.
  • Great Plague Cleaver: The power fist for the basic plague marine, with Sx2 (8) AP-3 Dd6 Plague Weapon but a -1 to hit. Thanks in part to the random damage, this only beats the Flail against the hardiest of targets - usually monsters and vehicles (generally, anything T5+ W6+). Use a Flail and a GPC if you have a unit you plan on getting into melee so you can tangle with anything.
  • Icon of Despair: Almost a melee weapon - has a 4+ chance per unit engaged with the bearer to inflict a mortal on that unit in the Morale phase. Because the bearer gets to keep his bolter, if you assume he gets the chance to shoot (and he should, since you can fire both shots at max range even after moving), this does strictly better than a pair of plague knives (the worst option) per point against even only one other unit (which is usually what you'll be fighting), with the caveat that the icon's mortal necessarily happens after the unit in question has made its attacks.
  • Blight Launcher: Effectively a short-range blaster with 24" Assault 2 S6 AP-2 D2 and Plague Weapon, meaning you can fire in any circumstance and it can blow out anything MEQ.
  • Plague Belcher: A flamer with Plague Weapon. If you want to demolish hordes or scare away charges, you'll do quite well with this. Otherwise, you also have its bigger brother, which is better than it is against almost everything.
  • Plague Spewer: The Heavy Flamer of to the Plague Belcher's Flamer. Don't forget not to Advance if you have these in the unit. Better than a Plague Belcher and worse than a Blight Launcher against just about everything.
  • Plasma Gun: Overcharge remains stronger against most targets compared to the blight launcher. However, the changes to Gets Hot alongside the lack of Plague Weapon does hurt the odds of ever taking this. Also: overcharge is essential to take down marines thanks to the D2, and no more double-tapping at 18". Less potent than in the previous edition but useful even in normal form for the added AP over a blight launcher. Possible to take 3 (and a pair of blight launchers) in a 10-man PM squad.
  • Meltagun: The fact that you are one of the slowest troops out there means that melta isn't something to take lightly (although it has the same range as a belcher or spewer or the double tap range of a plasma gun, so in terms of competition by and large if you've gotten this far you probably have a plan for getting them to within 12"). However, this has become your sole anti-tank weapon.
  • Sigil of Decay: Not a special weapon really but an upgrade to all bolters in the squad, which makes bolters auto-wound on natural 6s to hit. Nice combo with the Tollkeeper relic for exploding auto-wounds attacks; they are bolters, sure, but there are ways to improve AP. Ideal on larger squads, and a must when not taking special weapons (which you should, but in case you won't, this is 10 points, less than half a plague marine). Sadly mathematically less effective point-for-point vs all targets than just giving a guy a blight launcher.
    • Of course, they do stack. If something possesses you to field a full 10-man unit with 2 Blight Launchers and 8 Bolters, the Sigil of Decay will make the unit slightly more efficient at murdering everything in the game. But this will be substantially less efficient even at 24" compared to a 5-man unit with 2 overcharged plasma guns, 1 blight launcher, and 2 bolters.
  • Poxwalkers - They're Plague Zombies with a trademarkable name. They are completely immune to morale tests thanks to being mindless, and have the old Disgustingly Resilient ability (now named Unending Horde) to ignore wounds on a 6+++. Good thing, as they have a 7+ save, meaning they only can get regular saves if in cover. Though their statline is unimpressive, they are cheap, and make great tarpits, thanks to their resiliency rules. In addition, every time they kill an enemy infantry model, they can add an additional Poxwalker to the unit. This might seem difficult to do, but 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. Even against T4, they do alright since they are S3 and have the Contagion rule, so they are wounding on 4s, and that's of course even better with Typhus's buff to their strength. Because their only regular "save" is Unending Horde, 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 of attrition.
    • For added fun, add a CSM detachment with Fabius Bile. 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!
    • Main reason to take these is for cheap screening and the new Secondary Objective Spread the Sickness, and just actions in general. This secondary is only kind of ok, but hey it's fun to spread that sickness with cheap objective secured troops.
    • Bonus points to you if you make zombified versions of different factions' infantry models, so when you kill them in melee and add new models to your zombie hordes, you are adding those new zombie ones instead. Imagine killing ork boyz in melee and then adding zombie boyz to your squad, or zombie termagants. Just make sure you keep them on 25mm bases.

Dedicated Transports[edit]

  • Chaos Rhino- It's a Rhino. It does everything you'd expect it to do. As transports are generally quite useful for ninth generally, and specifically for the slow Plague Marines, these could be quite handy to get on an objective and score primaries in the next command phase. Once they've delivered their passengers who will be used to score primaries the following turn, use to block or repurpose into a suicide bomb thanks to Putrid Detonation.
    • Since the Rhino now carries Contagions, it can give the purpose of a mobile debuffer. Especially once your plague marines have gotten off, you can make the rhino into a mobile roadblock to spread your auras on two fronts.
  • 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 21 point Chaos Spawn nonononoNEEEAAAARGHOFHAFHURJG ...a little 21 point monster is a quick way to get it done. Remember though that their main use of keeping up with fast HQs is basically limited to only the winged Daemon Prince. Additionally, thanks to their melee attacks being AP-2 and D2, they actually hit pretty hard for their cost (in addition a one of 3 random but strong mutations each turn). Also of note is the fact that they impose a -1 Ld penalty on enemy units, which pairs fantastically with all the other Ld modifiers in the army.
    • Not only has the update turned "it" into a cheap and consistently strong melee threat, but Grandfatherly Influence strategies not only turn "it" super tanky, now being a pack of 4 wound monsters that shrugs off small-arms fire and takes less damage from anti-MEU like other Death Guard.
    • Alternate Take: This is our cheapest unit in-codex, and there's something to be said about a 7" movement model for taking early, uncontested objectives. Just be sure to weigh the opportunity cost of another 4-5 Poxwalkers!
  • 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. Preferably use it in the shooting phase unless if you have its new Fleshmower weapon, which makes it absolutely terrifying in close quarters: S7 AP-2 D2 is powerful in itself, but as an added bonus it increases to a whopping 12 attacks! It can also swap out a plaguespitter for a Heavy Blight Launcher, which is basically three normal Blight Launchers with 12" more range; remember this is a vehicle with a 3+ to hit.
    • On Heavy Blight Launchers: 6 shots means on average you'll land 4 hits, which is more than the 3.5 hits each Plaguespitter expects to land. You get 2 Plaguespitters, but they're half the D of the HBL, which means against a target that can suffer the extra damage, the HBL lands more A*D than the 2 Plaguespitters, and because it doesn't cost significantly more, this means it's a more efficient gun against most targets unless you're shooting the guns in melee or you're shooting W1 targets.
    • On Fleshmowers: These are some of your most dangerous melee options right now. The sheer amount of 2 damage attacks is crazy, they're fast, and they have a couple of neat tricks to help out. Move them into position and you can heroically intervene 6" for 1 cp, making them a threat without needing to be right in your opponent's face. On top of this, you can use Flash Outbreak for 2 cp to give them your special contagion. They will draw fire, but even this can be helped by using the Daemonic Gluttony strat for 1 cp to heal 3 wounds from the models they will inevitably kill.
  • 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). A compromise of the Bloat-drone's flamer and long-range option, with both being well suited at melting the normal T4 marines.
    • The huge 14" move is precious for Death Guard, and for only 125 points to boot. It is by far the best contagion spreader possible. With the droning, you can halve the movement of a huge chunk of enemy troops. A bit less killy than the standard drone, though.
    • With the update to the core CSM codex, this beast got a decent buff to survivability. Not only does it get a 5++ Invuln, but it now regenerates a wound each round. In exchange for the Disgustingly Resilient rule offered to the army, you instead get the old 5+ FNP, which works more in your favor considering how many lascannons will be aiming at it.
  • Myphitic Blight-Hauler - A speedy (10" movement, lightning-quick by Nurgle's standards) tank that can be taken in squads of 3. 9 Wounds and gives them solid durability without subjecting them to a damage table, and with 3+/5++ paired with Disgustingly Resilient, they'll be sure to stick around. A squad of 3 may be expensive, but they carry a lot of anti-tank Dakka. Plus, they're not competing with the Plaguebursts since they're in the Fast Attack Slot, and if you're really wanting to lean into Daemon Engines, 3x3 Blight Haulers and 3 Bloat Drones is a legitimate (but uncompetitive) thing you can do with Arks of Omen
    • Weapons-wise, they come with a missile launcher, a multi-melta, a bile spurt (12" Assault 1d3 S6 AP-1, plague weapon, blast, can be fired in melee despite being blast), and a gnashing maw (Melee SU (6) AP-2 D1 plague weapon). They are no longer mobile cover for other units in 9th, focusing down on being the most durable fun-sized tank with having -1 penalty to be hit with melee attacks and a specific stratagem subtract 1 shot from each gun shooting at them to fuck with enemy Melta.
    • Since first being released, MBH have been buffed continually. 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 3s, at S6, re-rolling 1s to wound and -2AP (and of course -1T on the target, due to being in contagion range). Very often the versatility of these can catch opponents off-guard. 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. You can legitimately 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 its face/hull while its gun isn't doing anything because its blast weapons can't be shot in melee; also they are not INFANTRY so a TITANTIC unit can't fall back and still shoot.
    • Besides, they’re so damn adorable and cheap, if you don’t field them, Papa Nurgle will be personally offended. He made them so you’d have a puppy. A plague filled, disease-carrying, loyal, loving, manhunting, sick puppy. Pay your respects to his benevolence.

*Dreadclaw Drop Pod: Forge World Heresy era drop pod variant that "somehow" only traitor marines kept. Unlike classic SM drop pods, this one doesn't just land, it does stuff afterwards. Turn 1-3 arrives on the table and disembarks. Transport for single Hellbrute/contemptor or 10 infantry (5 terms). A foot of movement and FLY. Zoom-zoom! It packs a surprisingly good melee weapon and it can also burn nearby suckers with its jet wash (bombing run variant). Note that unlike a SM drop pod, since this vehicle has FLY, it can ignore terrain when Setting up from deep strike, so even as a basic drop pod, it's much more flexible.


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

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

Heavy Support[edit]

  • Chaos Predator Annihilator and Destructor: A Predator with contagion, so it greatly softens those GEQ and jump pack tarpits within point blank heavy bolter range. The flavors are Annihilator with a twin lascannon and Destructor with a Predator autocannon.
  • Chaos Land Raider: The mass transport and massive tank of the Firstborn. With the Vehicle changes, in addition to ignoring the heavy weapon penalty, it now also a horrible idea to try to tarpit them as they can still shoot. All Land Raiders can carry Blightlords and Deathshroud (two transport slots).

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

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

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

  • A Proteus with twin heavy bolters is 285pts, the exact same as the vanilla LR. However, the Proteus costs 1CP to take due to Martial Legacy, so get the most out of it and grab one of the two unique wargear items.
  • Defiler - Almost the same as the Chaos Space Marine version, but it gains Contagion and has WS/BS 3+. While it lacks DR's -1D, it can still move up and spread contagions. Enjoy moving it up the field and wounding vehicles on 2+ with the scourge. Also, these got a buff to the cannons, doing flat 3D now. Might be worth considering as a target of Flash Outbreak since it's got such a large footprint. Overall, not a bad choice, but they're outshone by Plagueburst Crawlers for artillery and fleshmower Foetid Bloat Drones for melee.
    • 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 170 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" and as of 9th edition the heavy weapon movement penalty only affects infantry, AND the Crawler's base BS is now 3+!!!. The mortar is Heavy D6 S8 AP-2 D2 and can shoot at targets 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 (12" Assault d6 auto-hits, S6 AP-1 D1, Plague Weapon). They can be switched for entropy cannons (36" Heavy 1 S8 AP-4 Dd3+3), effectively making it a short lascannon with the Plague Weapon rule if you want AT instead of anti-horde. It also has a hull-mounted heavy slugger (36" Heavy 4 S5 AP-1 D1) that can be replaced with a rothail volley cannon (24" Rapid Fire 3 S6 AP-1 D1) if you want to exchange range and shots-at-range for a more reliable chance to wound and substantially more shots within 12". The rothail is a good choice if you expect the tank to be in melee because it gives the tank 6 shots rather than 4 (also, the heavy slugger suffers a penalty to hit, because Plagueburst Crawlers don't qualify for Inexorable Advance). Basically, if you're taking spitters, go rothail. If taking entropy cannons, go heavy slugger.
  • Chaos Rapier CarrierForge World: Ignore the Quad Launcher and the Gravity Cannon - the Quad Heavy Bolter is among the most efficient dakka you can field period (but especially anti-GEQ/MEQ/TEQ), while the Laser Destroyer is your most efficient anti-heavy. Field 3 of these with Laser Destroyers and watch your problems literally evaporate. The only problem is keeping them alive, as they're cheap because they're fragile, so don't be afraid to hide them behind terrain - they don't have a lot of M, but they can still peel a corner to shoot.
  • 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 must replace all of its Faction keywords with the following: Chaos, Heretic Astartes, MARK OF CHAOS, LEGION.
  • Chaos Whirlwind ScorpiusForge World: Chaos finally gets a Whirlwind! Scorpius Multi-Launcher is going to do work at 48" Heavy 3D3 S6 AP-2 D2, shoot targets you cannot see. Can also get a Havoc Launcher, but you aren't going to do that since you want it hiding all game and shooting. Can eat people in melee on a 5+ to regain a wound, may fire twice in the next shooting phase if it did not move!!! This is going to be a Chaos MVP for sure. Has the Containment Breach rule, which punishes regular units with 2d3 mortal wounds within 6" and Psykers within 6" with D6 mortal wounds instead.
    • Alternate Take: Why would you spend more than twice the points for less range, less shots, and less Strength? Rocket Barrage is nice, but it's not the Whirlwind it's trying to be, especially not at the point-value it's been offered at. You have better sources of indirect fire, that either earn their point-value or are just plain cheaper.
  • Chaos Sicaran Battle Tank (FW): A series of Relic tanks, having an improved rhino chassis with W14 and Sv2+. The downside is they have a Martial Legacy, so they cost 1CP to even bring. In addition to its main gun and a single Heavy Bolter, you can grab 2 sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters or 2 Lascannons, a hunter-killer missile, and a pintle-mounted Storm Bolter, if you crave more dakka.

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

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

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

  • Plague Hulk of NurgleForge World + legends : Want a better and tougher Defiler who doesn't heal himself? You found him! T8, 14W, 5++ and 5+ Disgusting Resilience. With S8 and "Rusting Curse" which lowers Vehicles saves within 1" by -1, he's going to punch the crap out of enemy armour. 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 languishing in mediocrity all 8th, Mortarion is finally the beefcake he deserves to be and is probably going to be the centerpiece of many Death Guard or even regular CSM armies. Standing at W18 T8 3+/4++ (5+++ if he's your Warlord) and Disgustingly Resilient, Contagions that are 9" from the first turn onward, and four Warlord Traits (more info below) including the FNP one, he will prove quite hard to bring down. He has one of the best anti-horde weapons in the game, his huge scythe Silence. It can dish out Ax3 (21 base!) SU (8) AP-2 D1 Plague Weapon attacks per fight phase, which will annihilate tarpits like there's no tomorrow. To deal with anything heavier, Silence has a second profile' Sx2 (16) AP-4 D1d3+3, Plague Weapon. He still carries his old Lantern pistol that can a decent amount of spread-out damage as it hits every unit in a straight line between him and the one he aims for (including the one he aims for but not himself) up to 12" - he only rolls to hit once, and if he does, each unit is hit exactly once, and it's S8 AP-3 D3. He still carries phosphex bombs that deal out 2D6 S5 AP-1 hits (they're not Plague Weapons, but because their range is less than his Contagion range, targets are always hit at -1T). Cherry on top, he's a psyker (yeah, the very thing he hated back in the day, but hush, no more tears, only Nurgle's happiness now). He knows 3 powers from the Contagion discipline, and 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 melee. Just go and think about that for a second. Anyway, all in all he’s a really, really strong big daddy. Use him whenever you can.
    • Choosing your warlord trait for Host of Plagues: Of the 7 contagions you can pick, 3 rely on a specific company being around (and hence don't do anything for Mortarion personally, instead only making him a vector for the Contagion). Here are the 7 for ease of reference, with the ones Mortarion can benefit from at the top:
      • Shamblerot: Each enemy non-vehicle unit within Contagion Range of this unit at the start of your opponent’s Movement phase suffers an average of 0.67 mortal wounds if a non-character and 0.33 if a character.
        • Functionally speaking this is simply extra output for him in melee - it doesn't happen until after the enemy attacks and won't help morale checks fail, but you can almost always count on something you charge still being within contagion range at the start of its Movement phase.
      • Gloaming Bloat: While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, it cannot fire Overwatch or Set to Defend, and each time a model in it makes an attack, it can't re-roll hit rolls or wound rolls.
        • Since you have no practical way to charge targets from more than 9" away anyway, this is just a straight defensive buff with the caveat that a target that can't or won't Overwatch/Set to Defend and has no re-rolls won't even notice you have this.
      • Sanguous Flux: While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, every model in the unit suffers -1 Ld and -1 to Combat Attrition tests.
        • Provided you're fighting an enemy that can practically suffer Morale losses, this is Shamblerot but better, in terms of the amount of harm you'll inflict - the problem is how hard it is to fight something where Morale losses matter, as opposed to fearless or nearly fearless squads or single-model units.
      • The Droning: While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, at the start of your opponent’s Movement phase, halve that enemy unit’s Move characteristic until the end of the phase.
        • RAW does nothing, as units don't have Move characteristics (and as the Space Wolves and Deathwatch can tell you, it's very possible to have a unit of mixed Move), but presumably this means halve the Move characteristic of each model in the unit. Mortarion has the movement (and contagion range) to deliver this where you need it about as credibly as possible, but to do so you need to fling him all the way forward, which may not be tactically viable. Remember, he's expensive.
      • Ferric Blight: While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, each time an attack is made by a friendly INEXORABLE model against that enemy unit, improve the Armour Penetration characteristic of that attack by 1.
        • Useless for Mortarion, but the best of the three murder-buffs.
      • Eater Plague: While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, each time an attack is made by a friendly WRETCHED model against that enemy unit, an unmodified hit roll of 6 automatically wounds the target.
        • Useless for Mortarion and has particularly poor synergy with the wide variety of to-wound buffs you have in your army.
      • Nurgle’s Fruit: While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, each time an attack is made by a friendly MORTARION’S CHOSEN SONS model against that unit, the target does not receive the benefits of cover against that attack.
        • Useless for Mortarion and almost always strictly worse than Ferric Blight.
    • Like Magnus, Mortarion's command aura only grants re-roll 1s to hit. However, he can give a single Death Guard Core/Character unit (that includes himself) re-rolls on all hit rolls each Command phase. He gets to pick whatever contagion from any company at the start of the game and always uses both of his contagions at max range, although bear in mind he can only personally benefit from some of them - some contagions only benefit their specific company, and Mortarion isn't in one. There's no reason whatsoever to hold him back, since you can achieve a re-roll 1s aura with a regular chaos lord. Morty is at his best being in close combat with his enemies while his sons support him and do objectives. 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 out of ole Morty. That said, if he does somehow go down he explodes like a vehicle for a few parting mortal wounds.
    • Having four warlord traits does have a minor drawback though, you can't double up on any of them for the rest of your army.
    • It's worth noting that because Mortarion has both the Nurgle and Daemon keywords, he can be targeted by the Nurgle daemon powers with a similar story for Heretic Astartes. So if you think that 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 armour and infantry alike even faster.
    • He also loves you (except you, Typhus, fuck you).
      • Don't forget the Nurglings! Mortarion ALSO has d6 additional attacks at S2 and no AP, but they'll also benefit from Virulent Blessing, and are Plague Weapons to boot, for potentially even MORE mortal wounds!
      • Hilariously, for being a huge daemon primarch, Mortarion is exceptional at dealing with infantry. The reaping scythe is nearly always better against anything with more models than wounds or a decent invuln save. With contagions Mortarion will wound anything T8 or lower on a 3+ or better with the reaping scythe and if he has diabolic strength this extends to anything T10 or lower. Bear in mind that the Reaping Scythe profile deals 21 A*D while the Eviscerating Blow profile deals 35 A*D - as soon as you're murdering anything W3 or higher, the Eviscerating Blow profile starts to become more and more compelling, with the usual caveats about potentially wasting damage depending on exact numbers (e.g. against a W4 target his EB only deals 32 A*D, while the RS stays at 21 - the numbers get particularly wonky whenever the target's Wounds aren't a multiple of 6).

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 armour. 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 armour 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.
  • Kharybdis Assault Claw [Forge World]: Another Heresy era drop pod variant that "somehow" only traitor marines kept. This is like a "super" Dreadclaw, featuring slight improvements over the base dreadclaw, in most areas, plus what is basically 5x cyclone missile launchers with an extra -1 AP to both profiles. Melee weapon remains the same, but it gains a bonus melta attack too. Transport capacity increases to 20 infantry (10 terms), but can still only transport a single helbrute/contemptor. +3" movement, but it degrades (T8 with 20 hp). Bombing run variant is improved. Note that unlike a SM drop pod, since this vehicle has FLY, it can ignore terrain when Setting up from deep strike, so even as a basic drop pod, it's much more flexible. Model does have TITANIC.


  • Miasmic Malignifier - A massive, plague-choked factory, spewing smoke and disease for all to see. It's pretty beefy, with 12 wounds at T8 and a 3+ save, but that's all it has defensively if you don't count the self-destruct that hits anything within 6" that's non-Nurglite with d3 Mortal Wounds. Offensively, it's relying on a short-ranged stench, a 6" Heavy 2d6 S4 AP-1 D1 flamer-type gun - Not much in the grand scheme of things. The real reason you're bringing this thing is because of it's non-combative benefits: It spreads a contagion at max range, it has a 6" aura that gives your Death Guard Infantry soft cover (or just robs the enemy of -1 to hit if already in soft cover) and it comes with a Pox Furnace (a separate piece of terrain with Light Cover, Heavy Cover, Unstable Position, Difficult Ground) that has to be within 6" of it and within 12" of any enemies. This is great because that little Pox Furnace gives you that light cover which then triggers the -1 to hit on your unit if they are set up behind the furnace.
    • This thing is surprisingly tanky too because it is T8, comes with Disgustingly Resilient, and it can be given a smokescreen for its own -1 to hit. It also works at full efficiency even with one wound left and it does not hurt your units when it blows up. If the enemy chooses to shoot at this cheap fortification instead of your other tanks, then that's a good trade off right there.


  • Space Marines: Space Marines main advantage tends to be their toughness 4. Thankfully, Death Guard don't care about that noise, due to the contagion aura reducing them to T3. You don't have the sheer killing power that Marines have in melee or shooting, but Plague Weapons mean you don't need 5 flavors of the same character to get rerolls, and your -1 to damage negates a good chunk of the Marine Arsenal. Plagueburst crawlers are your go to battle tank, due to being the best tank in the game period, and able to eat through Marines like Potato chips. Keep an eye on Raven Guard and Salamanders, who have very reliable ways of getting past Mortarion's toughness with +1 to hit and/or wound. Iron Hands also have a 6+++, so mortal wound spam is slighty less effective against them
  • Black Templars: The one exception to your martial supremacy over the Marines. Besides the fact that Templars can tell some of your psykers to fuck off, they are more mobile. You'll also never wound them on anything less than a 3+, due to Uphold the Honor of the Emperor giving them a 5++, so forget about melee Bubotic Axes/Power Fist 2+ to wound, or sniping their vehicles at all. Mortal wounds are an ok, but not perfect way around this problem given the 5+++. Volume of fire/attacks is the best way to defeat the Templars, and killing their support characters will leave them a still absurdly tough, but floundering mess.
  • Dark Angels: Dark Angels are a powerful matchup. While they probably won't defeat you in melee, they have both the ranged firepower to crush you and the mobility to steal objectives and run circles around you. If your opponent brings a pure Deathwing army, you can expect to win through manuever. Against pure Ravenwing, bring Plagueburst Crawlers, and consider some Blight Drones to detonate on units like Ravenwing Knights. Against Greenwing, you'll probably want to kill what you can and hold objectives everywhere else. For this, Chaos Spawn will come in clutch.
  • Adeptus Custodes: With the new Codex, Custodes are an army of Doomslayers. A Blade Champion with the Lockwarden Warlord Trait will tear new fleshy wounds in your diseased boys, and even Mortarion isn't safe. Beware the Sisters of Silence, for they can wound morty on a 4+, something few other models of their caliber can boast. The Psyk-Out Grenades Stratagem is an easy way to force Morty to perils, which is an excellent way to soften him up before a charge. Keep an eye out for the Sisters of Silence, beware the bikes/anything trying to get in melee, and try to spam mortal wounds to break through their invuln saves. Again, Plagueburst Crawlers are clutch here, with the high volume of fire being essential to breaking key Custodes units.
  • Sisters of Battle: Sisters are not nearly as terrifying as you'd imagine, lacking the juicy S9 weaponry most factions need just to do decent damage to your army. They have a universal 6++ that won't really protect them, but you'll want to watch out for sneaky tricks. Ministorum Flamers hit like trucks compared to any other flamers, and the whole army can deny powers on a roll of 5+, and have a few toys for hurting our daemons like Mortarion or our Drones/Plagueburst Crawler. Watch for Seraphim, as they are the most reliable way for Sisters to nuke something big and scary that they would prefer to not exist. Repentia will also thouroughly fuck anything (not in that way), so pepper them with gunfire and destroy the Rhino they're hiding in turn one. Smite, the supparating plate, and other mortal wound tricks won't work on Morvenn Vahl or anyone from the Order of the Valourus Heart, who both have fnp rolls specifically against mortal wounds.

Notable Strategies[edit]

Poxwalkers and Terminators[edit]

Here's an example 2000 point list that leans into some of your best special rules:

  • Battalion
    • Plague Company: The Wretched
    • CP: 7 (12 base - 2 (Gifts of Decay) - 2 (Martial Legacy x2) - 1 (Sevenfold Blessings))
    • HQ
      1. Typhus (you can still pick any Plague Company)
        • Miasma of Pestilence, Putrescent Vitality
      2. Malignant Plaguecaster (Sevenfold Blessings strat, Daemon's Favour relic)
        • Gift of Contagion, Gift of Plagues, Curse of the Leper
    • Troops
      1. Poxwalkers x20
      2. Poxwalkers x20
      3. Poxwalkers x20
    • Elites
      1. Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought (Missile Launcher, 2x Twin Culverins)
      2. Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought (Missile Launcher, 2x Twin Culverins)
      3. Deathshroud Terminators (+1 Plaguespurt Gauntlet on Champion)
      4. Deathshroud Terminators (+1 Plaguespurt Gauntlet on Champion)
      5. Deathshroud Terminators (+1 Plaguespurt Gauntlet on Champion)
      6. Foul Blightspawn
        • Revolting Stench-Vats, Warlord: Arch-Contaminator
      7. Tallyman (doesn't take up an Elites slot due to Blightspawn)
        • Revolting Stench-Vats
    • Fast Attack
      1. Foetid Bload-drone (Fleshmower)
      2. Foetid Bload-drone (Fleshmower)
      3. Foetid Bload-drone (Fleshmower)
    • Heavy Support
      1. Chaos Rapier Carrier (Quad Heavy Bolter)

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. 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.

Grenade Storm[edit]

Get a Biologis Putrifier, a handful of Plague Marines, and use the Blightening stratagem for 18 shots that autohit if engaged. Not the deleting strat that it used to be but can still be a powerful deterrent for hoards. 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.

  • 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 Overwhelming 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.

Nurgle Daemonkin[edit]

As of Chaos Daemon’s 9E codex, the buffs of Poxbringers and Epidemius (amongst others) apply only to Legiones Demonica units, squatting your cross-faction Daemon and Nurgle keyword synergy. All hope is not lost however, as allying in a single detachment (of up to 25% the total PL of your army) now doesn’t interfere with special army-keyword rules. This means one thing: CONTAGIONS ARE BACK ON, BABY!

  • Take a Psyker - your familiar friend the Poxbringer is nice and cheap, or cough up 300 points for your GUO. Either way, give them Shrivelling Pox from the Warprot Discipline. That -1 Toughness stacks with your Death Guard Contagion for -2 total on one enemy unit. Have your DG psyker buff a friendly attacking unit Putrescent Vitality for +1 Strength and maximum cheese.
  • Never overlook the Feculent Gnarlmaw. Whilst they only buff Legiones Demonica units and are now targetable, their harmful aura only targets enemies. This means you needn’t worry about invalid allies, being beholden to the Nurgle immunity. Sadly, these nasty trees now compete with the Miasmic Malignifier for that Fortification Network. The Malignifier actually buffs your dudes and gets Contagions, but the Gnarlmaw may last longer depending on who you’re up against thanks to Daemon Saves.
  • Summoning is gone, but now your allied Daemons have special Deep Strikes. Sadly, none of our Characters have the Warp Locus keyword, because GW forgot about Death Guard when writing the CSM codex (Master of Possession has the keyword, for instance). Still, you can drop Plaguebearer bombs with a sprinkle of Nurglings, spawn swarms of Plague Drones and Beasts, or bring Slimux for terrain soiling (can’t plant Gnarlmaws though), all for the cost of a patrol detachment.
  • As above, CONTAGIONS ARE BACK ON, BABY! Just make sure your allied detachment doesn’t exceed 25% PL of your army’s total Power Level (or you lose Contagions). Read those rules carefully.

Hammer and Anvil[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?

Wow, that's a lot of terminators![edit]

A pair of 5-packs of Blightlords is goddamn terrifying. 2 flails, 2 blight launchers, and melta/plasma added to flavor will take you far. Not only is this unit nigh impossible to put down when backed with miasma of pestilence from a friendly Typhus or other psyker, it makes for a great while we stand we fight secondary pick, not a lot in this game can put them in the ground. A fun strat is to have a 10 man block of Blightlords and a 10 man PM unit backing them up. Keep a Biologus Putrifier nearby. Throw foul infusion on your Blightlord blob, and suddenly they mortal wound on 6's with their axes, flails, and swords. And, you can still throw some blight rack grenades to your plague marine buddies in the back for The Blightening. What's not to love?

  • Blightlords don't do nearly enough for their cost, at range, in melee, defensively, or in any combination. If your plan is melee, as the above clearly is, Deathshrouds are way better.