Part 1: Stratagems, Relics and Warlord Traits

With the Death Guard codex on pre-order this weekend, we’ve had all sorts of questions about how this army is going to work on the tabletop. While the Death Guard have been a part of Warhammer 40,000 for years, the upcoming codex reinvents the army with new units and new rules. This week, we’ll be previewing what makes this army unique, starting off with a look at the Stratagems, Relics and Warlord Traits and your disposal.

Army Overview

In the game, the Death Guard march inexorably towards the enemy, weathering incoming fire with Disgustingly Resilient and slowly wearing down the foe with hails of fire, an accumulation of mortal wounds and deadly plague magics.

Death Guard armies can be played in loads of ways, but a few of our favourites are swarming your enemies with Poxwalkers supported by Typhus, commanding a deadly armoured column of Daemon Engines, and enhancing Plague Marines with powerful aura abilities from characters like the Tallyman. However you build your army, you’ll want to make use of your unique kit in the codex; with careful choices of Stratagems, Warlord Traits and Relics, you’ll be able to build a powerful Vectorium of your own and dominate the battlefields of the 41st Millenium for the Plague God.

Stratagems

The Death Guard have a range of powerful Stratagems available to their army, all of which complement their relentless way of war. Cloud of Flies, for instance, can be used to shield a key Death Guard Infantry unit from enemy fire:

Meanwhile, Nurgle’s Rot can turn a key Death Guard character into a lethal plague bomb – combined with Mortarion’s Host of Plagues, this has the potential to cripple an army in a single turn, or slay characters like Commissars that try and hide behind their underlings!

Our favourite Death Guard Stratagem is Putrid Detonation. Here at Warhammer Community, a popular (if unreliable) strategy is to spitefully spend a key command re-roll to try and make a tank explode. With the Death Guard, things are much simpler – spend a command point on Putrid Detonation and punish your foes for daring to kill your Land Raider!

Relics

The Relics of Decay owned by the Death Guard have a range of fun (and deadly) in game effects. The Suppurating Plate is particularly deadly on a Death Guard Daemon Prince. A 2+ Save is superb on a Toughness 6 model with 8 Wounds and Disgustingly Resilient, while the secondary effect of the armour is punishing on melee units with a high volume of low AP attacks. A unit of Ork Boyz with 80 Attacks, for example, would only be able to deal 2 Wounds to this Daemon Prince, and would suffer around 5 mortal wounds in return!

The Pandemic Staff is a simple relic that helps your Chaos Sorcerers and Malignant Plaguecasters maximise the effectiveness of Smite. It also increases the chances of triggering Pestilential Fallout, another ability that helps your Malignant Plaguecasters stack up Mortal Wounds on the enemy.

The Dolorous Knell is yet another source of mortal wounds (are you spotting a theme here?) and a great way to rack up additional casualties from failed Morale tests.

Warlord Traits

While Mortarion and Typhus make for great leaders in a Death Guard army, if you’d rather lead your force with a character of your own creation, there are a host of powerful Warlord Traits to help you do so. Living Plague provides EVEN MORE mortal wounds for anyone foolish enough to stand in the presence of your Warlord:

Revoltingly Resilient means that a Death Guard character will ignore half the wounds he receives – combined with a Daemon Prince wearing the Suppurating Plate, or a Lord of Contagion, your characters are going to be all but unstoppable.

Arch Contaminator is a support-focused ability that helps your Death Guard threaten higher Toughness characters with their plague weapons:

The Death Guard are the army for you if you want to take your enemies apart slowly and methodically, forcing them to watch their army dwindle as yours fights on unabated.

If you’re curious and want to know more, come back on Thursday, where we’ll be looking at the Psychic Powers and universal rules available to the Death Guard.

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