Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Blesses the Devotees of Grandfather Nurgle

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Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Blesses the Devotees of Grandfather Nurgle

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus brings us some interesting rules – but not everyone is happy about the changes.

Another day, another showcase of new Faction rules and unit datasheets for an army releasing with the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k. Yesterday we took a look at the Aeldari, and today, Games Workshop have shown us the favourite little monsters of Nurgle, the Death Guard. They are still here to spread the sickness with some durable units – but fans are a bit worried that not every key mechanic has been showcased, fearing that they will be lost when the new edition drops.

Faction Rules showed in the Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus

The Death Guard’s new Army Rule is really thematic and fluffy for a force that wants nothing more than to spread the “gifts” of the Grandfather. Nurgle’s Gift gives an aura for every Death Guard unit in your army, which weakens all enemy units around them, subtracting 1 from their Toughness characteristic as they receive the blessings of the Plague God (and start suffocating in the toxic fumes of the zombie marines). The Gift gets stronger as the game progresses, as Death Guard units weaken their adversaries if they are within 3” in the first Battle Round, 6” in the second Battle Round, and 9” in the third Battle Round and each turn after. This should help the Death Guard get through the toughest opponents – which will not be rare as almost every faction’s showcased units will have an increased Toughness compared to 9th Edition.

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Nurgle's Gift Army Rule

Alongside Nurgle’s Gift, we got the Detachment Rule for the Plague Company Detachment, called Spread the Sickness. This gives the whole army the sticky objective ability, as if a Death Guard unit controls an Objective Marker at the end of the DG player’s Command phase, that Objective remains under the Death Guard’s control until an enemy unit takes it away from them. In addition, the Objective Marker gains the Nurgle’s Gift ability as if it were a Death Guard unit, weakening the Toughness of enemy units around it, which can make counter-fire that much devastating.

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Spread the Sickness Detachment Rule

Unit Spotlights of the Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus

The Faction Focus wouldn’t be a true showcase of the power of the Death Guard unless Games Workshop showed us the Blightlord Terminators, the most iconic infantry unit of the Servants of Nurgle. They retained their array of ranged weapons, such as the Blight launcher, the Plague spewer, the Combi-weapons and the Reaper autocannon, most of which got some new keyword which will be released in the 10th Edition, such as Sustained hits or Lethal hits, which should make them more deadly than before.

They also kept their Flail of Corruption, but the Bubotic Axe and the Balesword will be merged into the Bubotic blade. While the Blightlord Terminators kept their 2+ Save and 4+ Invulnerable Saves, they lost a pip of their Move characteristic, so now they can only move 4” per Movement phase – which is thematic to a bunch of armoured superzombies, but the community is not happy about it. Even though Games Workshop tried to compensate with an extra pip of Toughness, the 4” Movement is a bit short – hopefully the Blightlord Terminators can get into range for their charges, and will be useful outside of Deep Strikes.

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Blightlord Terminators datasheet

They also received an ability called Blistering Fusillade, which is the old Plague Weapon keyword attached to the Termies themselves: this let’s Blightlord Terminators reroll a Wound roll of 1 – but now with the restriction that they have to aim at the closest enemy unit in order to access this skill.

The other unit showcased was the Malignant Plaguecaster, a Leader for the hordes of Death Guard and Poxwalkers. The Plaguecaster have kept his pistol and Corrupted staff, and gained a new ranged weapon in the revised Plague Wind ability, which lets him deal out a devastating number of wounds.

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Malignant Plaguecaster Datasheet

The Malignant Plaguecaster also has 2 new abilities. The Gift of Contagion is a double edged sword, as it can deal damage to the Plaguecaster or the unit that he’s leading – but if he successfully casts the ability, the target enemy unit will have a -1 to Wound in melee, making the Plaguecaster a formidable Leader to the Terminators, which are great in close quarters combat. He also has the Pestilent Fallout Psychic power, which makes the Plague Wind ability even better: if you manage to wound an enemy infantry unit with the spell-turned-ranged weapon, you take away 2 pips of their Move characteristic, while also worsening the Advance and Charge rolls of the enemy unit by two. This can make it really difficult to reach the Plaguecaster with stronger melee units, which could make quick work of the Sorcerer of Nurgle.

Weapon Spotlight of the Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus

The only weapon showed in the Faction Focus of the Sons of Mortarion was one of the most iconic artillery weapons of the entirety of Warhammer 40k, the Plagueburst Mortar of the Plagueburst Crawler. It still has a whopping 48” Range, but now has D6+3 shots instead of the currently used Heavy D6, meaning that 4 shots are guaranteed, making the gun much better – but in exchange it lost a pip of Armour Penetration, while its Strength and Damage remained the same. It also has the Indirect Fire and Lethal Hits ability to make it easier to score wounds against enemy units.

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Plagueburst mortar parameters
The Plagueburst Mortar will remain a menace on the Battlefield

The Plagueburst Mortar has a unique ability as well: it forces enemy Infantry to take Battle-shock tests if they are hit by the mortar, which helps the Death Guard flip the control of objectives or storm crucial chokepoints, as Battle-shocked units cannot use Stratagems and have a hard time escaping from Engagement.

Stratagem Spotlight of the Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus

The Warlord Trait of the current Poxmongers Plague Company, Sanguous Flux will turn into a Stratagem in the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k. The new Sanguous Flux will cost 1 CP, and will grant a Death Guard unit’s melee weapons the Sustained Hits 1 ability, meaning they score extra hits on unmodified Hit rolls of 6. Better yet, if the unit using this Stratagem is in range of an Infected Objective Marker, they gain Sustained Hits 2, and the volume of attacks can overwhelm basically any enemy bar from Primarchs and other Epic Heroes with not one, but two extra hits on Critical Rolls.

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Sanguous Flux  Stratagem

Overall, I believe the Death Guard Faction Focus shouldn’t have received the backlash it did from the community. While it might not showcase such good rules as the Sisters of Battle or Aeldari Focuses, it stays on the theme of the Death Guard, while shifting their playstyle just a bit. While the 4” Move of Blightlord Terminators is a bit harsh, we have not seen the whole ruleset of the Sons of Mortarion, so for the doomsayers that fear that the Chosen of Nurgle will be tabled by turn 3 without the 9th Edition ability, Disgustingly Resilient are a bit quick to judge (maybe they should play the Leagues of Votann with this mindset?) The 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k releases at the end of June, and we should all wait and see all the Core and Faction rules before deciding to sell our most beloved factions.

Stay tuned to ESTNN for the latest new in the grim dark future of the 41st Millenium!

Warhammer 40k Death Guard Faction Focus Blesses the Devotees of Grandfather Nurgle
Bence Loksa
Bence "Atreus" Loksa is a freelance journalist and League of Legends shoutcaster, covering all things esports and gaming, also yelling loudly at big plays happening on the Summoner's Rift. While his main focus is Riot Games' hit MOBA, he also dabbles in Call of Duty, VALORANT, and as of recent, the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 - where he looks to make some grudges with his Leagues of Votann army.