Death Guard Rules Preview Part 5: Contagions of Nurgle

The Death Guard codex is on its way early next year, and it features five key changes to their rules which will have an enormous impact on how these putrid servants of Nurgle operate on the battlefield. Over the course of the week, we’ve been looking at each of these new rules in greater detail – you can catch up with our guides to Inexorable Advance, Deadly Pathogens, Remorseless, and Disgustingly Resilient here. 

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Last up, is the Contagions of Nurgle ability that made a mysterious appearance last week on Mortarion’s datasheet.

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Right from the get-go, this powerful ability has a 1″ radius. This may not seem that impressive at first, but it will kick in against any enemies foolish or unfortunate enough to be engaged with your units during the opening round.* 

As the battle unfolds, this debilitating contagion will only become harder for your enemies to avoid. By Turn 4, it’s entirely possible that the Toughness value all of your opponent’s units will be reduced by 1. This really suits the Death Guard style of play – an inexorable advance that the enemy will struggle to repel before they’re eventually overwhelmed by your forces at close-range. 

The key here is that almost all of your attacks will be more effective against enemies that are within range of Nurgle’s Gift. For example, a Toughness 4 Space Marine will be reduced to Toughness 3, meaning your boltgun fire and melee attacks will be wounding them on a 3+ instead of 4+, and Plague Weapons will be even more effective.

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Fast and durable units such as Myphitic Blight-haulers, Foetid Bloat-drones, and even Mortarion himself are great options for making the most of this ability. They can quickly close with the enemy battleline and start spreading the contagion as soon as possible, ensuring any target units near them have an even greater chance of taking damage from your ranged fire.

Another useful means to spread Nurgle’s Gift is to field a Miasmic Malignifier. Not only can it be set up a mere 12″ from your opponent’s deployment zone, but it always counts as the fourth battle round for the purpose of determining the range of its Contagions of Nurgle ability. It’s a subtle but effective means of area denial – while it may not directly harm any units that advance into range, these enemies will be considerably more vulnerable to attacks made by your other units.

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That’s the last of our Death Guard rules previews for now, but you can look forward to more reveals in the build-up to the codex’s release early next year. For now, grab yourself a Myphitic Blight-hauler (or even a tri-lobe of three!) for some brutal anti-tank firepower as well as a swift platform with which to infect the enemy battleline with Nurgle’s Gift!


* Alpha strike the Death Guard at your peril!

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