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Death Guard Stratagems, Relics and Warlord Traits Explained!

Starting with full disclosure on this one, I obviously don't have the Death Guard code yet. Warhammer Community has unleashed the hype train and given us a few scraps of information to go on, and I'd like to make some observations on what I see.

Apologies for the click baity title, but "Some Stratagems a Relic or two and a Warlord trait explained but in the context of not having a full codex so there are going to be some synergies and tricks that cannot be explained now" is too long a title.

So, what have the Death Guard got that warrants them joining the Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Space Wolves in the ranks of legions with their own codex.

The Nurgle's Gardeners set to trimming their bubonic hedges

All of the following quotes are taken from Warhammer Community.

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.

So right off the bat you know what the Death Guard are all about. Attrition and slow, but sure damage output.

Typically the ability to put out high alpha damage is key to any successful tourney army, which is why drop podding grav-devastators and centurions were a thing. Being tanky is all well and good, but if you can't output the wounds then you'll still loose out to glass canons. What the Death Guard bring to the table is a tremendous tank backed up with very sure damage output. Plague weapons and mortal wounds ensure a steady flow of damage, even if it is on the low side

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.

Somewhat true, the Death Guard present a surprisingly versatile force. With the tough Plague marines being one of the most flexible Troops choices you can get, with the only downside being their relative slowness, they have a great anchor to work from.

Poxwalker swarms aren't really a favourite of mine, but they can be moved surprisingly quickly. They don't have guns, so advancing all the time is certainly viable. They don't have brains, so the enemy needs to kill them to the last walker, and can't rely on morale check attrition.

The Foetid Bloat Drone is unbelievable. Ridiculous Toughness 7 on a model that has an invulnerable save and Feel No Pain, massive numbers of wounds, really quick and armed with guns that can't miss. It's dirt cheap for what it does... and you can certainly field a mini-swarm of them!

 So this is what you do... park your expensive units next to Poxwalkers. Instant zombie shield.

You can even use this to dilute focus fire. If you have a tough unit which is not crippled but battered, you can pop this on them and force enemy fire onto the fresh unit next to them. Since all Death Guard units are reasonably tough, you can get all of them to arrive at the enemy lines in more or less one piece.

An Un-Holy hand grenade! I don't really like this, as it takes up quite a few Command Points, but I really like the wording. That last little sting on the end is just the kind of sacrilegious treatment of rules that makes table top gaming worthwile!

I really like this... parking your dreadnoughts, bloat drones or tanks in combat now runs some serious risks for melee tank hunters. Not only would it take them an age to break a Death Guard machine to pieces, but then it will explode all over them.

Something which may need to be FAQ'd though; does this mean that vehicles without Explodes! can explode? Because if it does, that would be just swell.

On to the warlord traits, and while I think they're a nice bonus to have on characters to make them special, I wouldn't be looking here for game breaking combos.

This is very good, and means you get some extra punch out of your Plague weapons. I'm a little curious though, as I think I saw that Plague Swords could re-roll wounds anyway. It certainly works well with other plague weapons, so I wonder why that is the example. 

Combine with Nurgle's Rot to make a small bubble of pain on your enemies front lines. A good buff to your commander, but realistically 3-inches just means the unit they're in combat with already. Even more realistically, you'll need to get your war lord there to begin with. Pop this on a deep-striker, such as a terminator lord with cataphractii armour.

Um. So I mentioned no game breaking combos... Put this on a terminator lord, and cackle with glee as fully half the damage that manages to get through your armour and high toughness gets effectively cut in half.

Wargear now, and remember that these will cost you command points to unlock. You can get some really good combos here.

A better version of the Icon of Tzeentch in that it can knock of a mortal wound if you're luck. Again, thinking about practical usage this is only going to be 1 or 2 mortal wounds a game on average. The real benefit here by far is that morale debuff on the enemy. Rolling two and getting the highest is going to cause massive headaches, and if you can match with other morale reducing abilities you'll really get good mileage out of the bell.

Caveat here; this gives units like bonded T'au who auto-pass morale on a roll of 6 a 1-in-3 chance of getting their best result. Not an auto-pick, but nifty against the right enemy.

Yep, take this. Not only will it help trigger Pestilential Fallout, but it will also give you a higher chance of getting the d6 damage band of Smite.

I had a friend that played a Retribution Paladin in World of Warcraft, and would run into fights screaming "Hurt me!!". This item is my friend. With a two plus save you'll be making a great many saving throws, allowing you to get off those mortal wound chances with great regularity. I also can't think of any better way to make your opponent scared of taking on your already tough and resilient Warlord in combat!

The above are actually all very strong, and I can't think of a dud amongst them. If you can stomach the Nurgle grotty and sick theme, then you'll have a rather fun time with the Death Guard.

Okay, I'm in full ramble mode at this point. The boys are all back in house now and I've been on my feet and active for the last 19 hours. Time for bed. Apologies for the spelling mistakes!

Until next time!

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  1. Tricked by the title, but glad I clicked anyway. Great article!

    I personally would have prefaced the title with "WarComm Preview - "

    1. Thanks for commenting, and thanks for the tip too! I'll start running these articles under Preview Explained.


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