Tactical Toolbox: Top 7 Tips for Playing Death Guard
The Death Guard are nearly as old as Warhammer 40,000 itself, but the new Death Guard codex is unlike anything players have seen before. With an unusual playstyle focused around grinding the enemy down in a war of attrition and a range of powerful and esoteric new units, we think this army is going to be a common sight on the tabletop in games to come – here are our top 7 (thanks Nurgle!) tips on making the most of them:
1: The Death Guard are durable – but watch out for morale
With the vast majority of Death Guard units possessing Toughness 5 and Disgustingly Resilient, they’re a very hard army to put down. However, apart from Poxwalkers, Death Guard units can’t boost their Leadership or auto-pass morale tests, and additional losses from morale can be VERY costly. Make sure to keep your units small, and watch out for anything that penalises your Leadership.
2: The Death Guard are slow – but relentless
The Death Guard are decidedly a mid-range and melee army, but their 5″ move may throw you at first. However, when you take Inexorable Advance into account (which allows you to move and fire Heavy weapons without penalties, and increases your Rapid Fire range) or throw in a Noxious Blightbringer (who lets you reroll advance rolls), suddenly things aren’t so bad. Just make sure you’ve got a plan to capture objectives in your opponent’s backfield!
3: The Death Guard might not kill you straight away – but they’ll get you in the end.
The Death Guard army lacks “spike” damage units with a high number of special weapons, but the tradeoff is the steady trickle of Mortal Wounds that the army deals out. While your opponent may think they have the upper hand at the start of the game, a few turns of getting hit by psychic powers from your Malignant Plaguecaster or Nurgle’s Gift from your Lord of Contagion should prove otherwise.
4: Count those command points!
Thanks to a versatile Troops slot (featuring the relentless Poxwalkers and the ever-useful Plague Marines), the Death Guard can take advantage of high Command Point detachments like the Battalion without compromising on power or flexibility. Throw in a Tallyman who, thanks to the Sevenfold Chant, gives you even MORE Command Points to play with – and you’ll be able to harness all sorts of Stratagems, from Command Re-rolls to a spiteful Putrid Detonation. Just remember to use them!
5: Daemon Engines (and Primarchs) are still Daemons
The Death Guard army is full of Daemon Engines – Defilers, the Plagueburst Crawler, Foetid Bloat-drones – and other units with the Daemon keyword – like the Daemon Prince of Nurgle, Possessed, and of course, Mortarion himself. All these units benefit from nearby Daemonic characters, like the Herald of Nurgle, as well as powerful Daemonic psychic powers. It’s well worth adding a few Daemons to your list for this reason – or even summoning them mid-battle.
6: Pick the Right Specialists for the job
The Elites slot in the Death Guard army is packed with unusual characters that let you specialise your army. There are, of course, the aforementioned Tallyman and Noxious Blightbringer, who suit a melee army very well. There’s also the Plague Surgeon, who boosts the durability of your nearby units, while the Foul Blightspawn is a dedicated anti-assault unit that can stop charging models in their tracks with his Revolting Stench. If you know in advance who you’ll be playing against, be sure to consider which of these will be most effective against them.
7: Fight the Long War
Thanks to the Heretic Astartes keyword, Chaos Space Marines make great natural allies to a Death Guard army. Abaddon the Despoiler’s Mark of Chaos Ascendant can help your Death Guard overcome any issues with morale, Fabius Bile’s Enhanced Warriors can potentially make some Death Guard infantry even tougher, while a nearby Chaos Sorcerer casting Warptime is capable of propelling Mortarion across the table at terrifying speed.
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