Welcome, reader, to the deepest, darkest, least sensible regions of my mind. When I’m not painting an unending stream of Orks, Deathwatch, or Flesh-Eater Courts, army lists brew in perpetuity in the cauldron of my damnable skull. Not the netlists we’ve come to love/hate seeing grace the wargaming tables of the world. But dubious lists; lists focused on a singular element of an army’s mechanics or lore that borders on absurdity.
Here’s just one of those lists left to fester in my veins, a force build upon some of the more esoteric elements available to the Death Guard.
An army consisting of Daemon-Engines and nothing else, lead into battle by a fiendish entity crafted of the same warpstuff it commands. It should be noted that the contents herein abide by the limits that have become standard across the gaming community: no more than 100 Power Level, at or below 1750 points, and adhering to the Rule of Three.
Daemon Prince of Nurgle with a Plague Spewer
Foetid Bloat-Drone with Fleshmower
Foetid Bloat-Drone with Fleshmower
Foetid Bloat-Drone with Heavy Blight Launcher
3 Myphitic Blight-Haulers
3 Myphitic Blight-Haulers
Plagueburst Crawler with Plaguespitters and Rothail Volleygun
Plagueburst Crawler with Plaguespitters and Rothail Volleygun
Now you understand why this article holds the title of Dubious Army List. No Plague Marines? No Poxwalkers? Not even a Blightlord Terminator? Have I taken complete leave of my senses?
Undeniably, but let’s take a look at this anyway.
First, we’ll inspect the units here, beginning with everybody’s favourite little Daemon-Engine that could, the Myphitic Blight-Hauler. An oft-forgotten tiny tank, the Myphitic Blight-Hauler is a fast moving (for Death Guard) heavy weapons platform. In normal circumstances, they provide cover to any Death Guard infantry within a 7” radius. Great, if you wanted infantry. This army doesn’t, though. It eschews the notion of footslogging in favour of tracks, propellers, and rusted spinning wheels.
What these blighters bring to the Death Guard Daemon-Engine army list are somewhat cheap sources of high-powered dakka. Each hefts a Multi-Melta and a Missile-Launcher with both Krak and Frag options. They’re the meat of the army, a meat capable of splattering enemy tanks or heavy infantry from two feet away. With the added mobility their Tri-tracked ability confers, allowed them to fire without detriment to their 3+ Ballistic Skill, Myphitic Blight-Haulers are the anti-armour powerhouse of the Death Guard vehicles.
Wait, did I say 3+? Yes. Yes I did. Putting three in a unit together improves their chance to hit.
They’re rather less awesome in close combat, however. With only 3 attacks, don’t expect their Gnashing Maws to dish out much murder even when you consider that they are strength 6 AP-1 a swing. On the plus side, incoming melee attacks are at -1 to hit and, should a Myphitic Blight-Hauler die up close and personal with a foe, it’ll explode on a 4+ rather than a 6 to cause 1 automatic Mortal Wound on anything within 7”.
Suicidal daemon-engine last stand, anybody?
Two three-strong groups of these cuties burning tearing around the field is enough to give anyone pause.
Staying on the ground for now, turn your attention to the Plagueburst Crawler. I’ve included two of these in the list for particularly malicious reasons.
It’s easy to look at a Plagueburst Crawler and condemn it to a life as artillery. When your eyes wander to its main armament, the Plagueburst Mortar, it’s clear to see why. D6 heavy shots able to hit anything 12-48” away at Strength 8(?!), regardless of line of sight? Yes. Please. Give one two Entropy Cannons and Space Marine Predators weep at your potential damage output.
And the Plagueburst Crawler weeps for you.
See, the Plagueburst Crawler is an odd beast. It should bunker down away from the foe raining horrible death into their heads. And it can. It’s good at that. But my is it a random soul. Heavy D6 shots means as many single shots as it does a handful. Factor in it also causing D3 damage and your fat-mouthed daemon-engine is just as likely to match a meltagun for killing power as leave a smouldering, pus-ridden crater on the battlefield.
Consider them instead as brute-force trauma with a blubbery sting in the tail. What this questionable army idea lacks is staying power. True, everything in it has an armour save of 3+ with a 5+ invulnerable and Disgustingly Resilient, not to mention Toughness 7 almost across the board (only the Daemon Prince lets this down, selfish fool). But under concerted fire, those Myphitic Blight-Haulers will fold like cheap synskin.
If there’s one thing Plagueburst Crawlers are, it’s deceptively fast at Movement 9. Line them up at the front of your deployment zone in turn one and push them both onto an objective you and your foe are likely to contest early on, advancing all the way. You gave up one turn of shooting, yes, but you also parked 24 T7 wounds with invulnerable saves AND Disgustingly Resilient in the middle of the board carrying mortars to pummel approaching heavier foes, short range guns to discourage mid-range shooters, and two pairs of auto-hit heavy plague weapons to keep would-be melee murderers at bay.
Think of them as an anvil ready to deter all-comers or hold them on its near-impenetrable flat.
Note that they can still function well as long-range support. They will, however, cost substantially more. If you prefer to leave them at the back, throw on a few Entropy Cannons and consider changing some elements of the Foetid Bloat-Drones.
So that’s the anvil and the groups of skittering security guards done. What about the hammer? What smashes the enemy into an oozing mess while your own oozing messes wither the enemy at range?
Is it a bird? Is it a Thunderhawk? No, it’s a pair of tri-engined Foetid Bloat-Drones carrying… wait. Is that a lawnmower?
Nearly. It’s a Fleshmower. We’ll get to them. The Foetid Bloat-Drone is a monster of a malign machination and one of the standout units in the Death Guard Codex in my eyes. Hard as nails, faster than a speeding sneeze, and just weird enough-looking to raise many an eyebrow. What two these bring to this army list is a combined harvest deserving of the goriest body horror this side of Grape Escape. Their common armament Plaguespitters is nothing to sniff at. But the Fleshmowers… What kind of Nurgling out there doesn’t giggle at the mere thought. Nine attacks at Strength 8 (before the Bloat-Drone takes damage) with AP-2 and 2 Damage per attack? Yes please.
It’s these plague-ridden hornets join in the list to mulch anything brave, foolish, or plain unfortunate enough to get in range. Some fast maths for you here. Charge two Foetid Bloat-Mowers into 10 Primaris Intercessors. Eighteen attacks, hitting on 4s, wounding on 2s, reducing those precious Power Armour saves to 5+… On average. A twin assault from them will leave your opponent scraping roughly 5 of Cawl’s pet project marines into their deadpile. Do the same to Terminators and 60% of a typical 5-man Terminator unit takes Imperial Retirement.
Though it’s more likely to strike back with a vengeance. Ever met someone who survived a gut punch from a Power Fist? Didn’t think so…
Throw them into anything with a 5+ or 6+ save and you can cackle as nine fleshy/orky/aeldari-y foes are reduced to smoothies. Okay… that’s not so great. This is where the cards come tumbling down. Being damage two makes Fleshmowers perfect for clearing away tough or heavy infantry. The lighter stuff… not so much. And while you can rely on the Plagueburst Crawlers to dent those numbers some with their Plaguespitters, it may not be enough.
Medium-size hordes you can sting. Larger ones… cross your fingers I guess?
I did, however, leave a third Foetid Bloat-Drone in the mix. That daemonic fella (should that be a della? I don’t know) is your support gunner. Foetid Bloat-Drones with twin Plague spitters are nice and all, and they can fly away from combat if caught, but I would be remiss to not at least propose that you leave that aside in favour of a Heavy Blight-Launcher.
What a Heavy Blight-Launcher on a Foetid Bloat-Drone gives you is something much-like the Myphitic Blight-Hauler; a mobile gun platform. Though, that platform can fly, and it can cause horrible damage to almost anything on the table and, potentially, obliterate threats landing in your backfield in a single swoop. With 36” range on top of the Foetid Bloat-Drone’s 10” unwounded movement, not much is safe from this weapon unless it’s hiding in the deepest cover.
Perfect targets for those Plagueburst Crawlers, wouldn’t you say?
A key thing about the Heavy Blight Launcher I’ve added in this army list is its firing mode. Assault. The Foetid Bloat-Drone can buzz around the field without a care in the world safe knowing it’s Ballistic Skill of 4+ won’t be hindered outside advancing. Oh and did I mention it fires 6 shots? Oh yeah. That’s a mobile killing machine which hits three times on average any time it fires at near as makes no difference anything on the board it doesn’t like. Each one of these shots is Strength 6. Nice in its own right. Nicer when you remember it’s a Plague Weapon, allowing for rerolls of 1 to wound. It also inflicts D3 (so on average 2) damage.
Tempestus Scions threatening to take an objective out of reach of your other daemon-engines? Send this disgusting roach of a flier in their direction and turn a handful into bubbling goop. To me, in theory, this loadout gives your otherwise dogged daemon-engine army a reactive means to meet new threats with a splodge of nasty long-distance killing. Of course ro you, the twin Plague Spitters might be more your speed. Either works, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
I’m just a sucker for a big, warty gun with propellers on it.
All of this can slip with comfortable ease into an Outrider Detachment to give you a battleforged Death Guard army. All it needs now is a HQ. What better choice for this than a Daemon Prince of Nurgle? It sure fits with the army’s overall look and feel, not to mention keeping a firm, feculent grasp on its global invulnerable saves.
The question, as always with Daemon Princes, lies in how to kit out your Suppurating Scion of Sloughing Skin; wings, Plague Spewer, or nothing extra? I will say that the list presented above, if you want to play Organised or Matched Play at 1750 points, leaves you no real room to move. I went for the Plague Spewer based on the Daemon Prince of Nurgle moving up with the Plagueburst Crawlers to stand between or behind them. The logic in that decision rests on the notion of it creating a spear of sorts. It’s a risk for sure. You would be more reliant on Advance rolls than you might like. But the Daemon Prince of Nurgle only falls 1” behind the Plagueburst in movement.
With this idea, the Daemon Prince remains safe near the juicier tank targets and, in return, the tanks enjoy the benefit of his reroll 1s to hit and the added deterrent of a Daemon Prince counterpunch should anything dare charge them. Why the Plague Spewer? Because it’s unique to Daemon Princes of Nurgle in Death Guard armies and, again, is a tasty anti-assault deterrent.
If a flying Daemon Prince of Nurgle is more your thing, remove the Plague Spewer and switch out the Rothail Volleygun on a Plagueburst Crawler for a Heavy Slugger and you’re good. Increased mobility and ignoring terrain are clear benefits for mobility if you need it to support the Myphitic Blight-Hauler swarms or the Foetid Bloat-Mowers. One could make arguments for either. I only landed on the Plague Spewer for the Daemon Prince of Nurgle because it’s unique to this brand of daemonic leader. You do you. It’ll all likely work out the same in the end.
What about Traits and Relics? Arch-Contaminator is a given. Almost every unit in this army either possess a Plague Weapon as its main weapon or as its secondary for close combat, where your Daemon Prince is likely to be. And he won’t likely be alone either seeing as there’s plenty of high-speed plague throughout the force. Living Plague is also worth a look if you plan to put the Daemon Prince into melee. Add in the Fugaris’ Helm relic if you want to have fun with Auras. You’ll both increase his reroll 1s to hit aura AND dish out Mortal Wounds to any nastiness within 6” of your Daemon Prince.
My money for Relics though is on the Suppurating Plate. Nudge that Daemon Prince from a 3+ to a 2+ save. Not bad. It gets better. Any successful save also, on a 4+, causes a Mortal Wound back at whatever caused the save. Under normal circumstances, you smack the Daemon Prince supporting the army the first chance you get. Suppurating Plate changes that, leaving your opponent with a choice between punching a tank that won’t die, hitting a Daemon Prince who is more likely than normal to survive and attack then throw that damage back at its foe, or just not fight at all.
Psychological warfare at its finest.
You’ll have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Psychic Powers until now. Notice no longer, because it’s time to talk about them. A Daemon Prince of Nurgle from the Death Guard Codex has access to the ever-faithful Smite and one power of the Contagion Discipline. Which one do you take?
There’s something to be said for casting Miasma of Pestilence on a unit of Myphitic Blight-Haulers or a Plagueburst Crawler you expect to take a bucketload of plasma fire (have fun firing at -1 to hit with that. Blow up a Plasma Gun in the face of whatever fires it on a 1 OR a 2? Snazzy). But let’s be real.
Blades of Putrefaction. Blades of Putrefaction all the way to disease-ridden hell and back. Put the Daemon Prince within 18” of anything with a Plague Weapon, cast it on an uninjured Foetid Bloat-Drone with a Fleshmower, and watch in delight as it not only wounds pretty much everything it hits (rerolling 1s anyway) AND inflicts Mortal Wounds on a 7 (roll of a 6 with the +1 to wound). Who ordered the minced Tervigon?
Oh I almost forgot Command Points. Easy to forget blighters they are, especially when this dubious army has a grand total of 4 at its disposal. There aren’t many that shine as useful for this force either. Other than the basic reroll a roll everybody uses, only two make any sense. Luckily, both cost a single Command Point and can somewhat elevate your daemon-engines to something approaching usefulness.
Putrid Detonation speaks for itself. Everything this army, less that pesky Daemon Prince of Nurgle, explodes on a 4+ anyway,. Why bother wasting a command point on this? Because it’s a guaranteed blast, that’s why! Nothing more needs to be said. Okay it does but let’s be brutally honest here, Command Points and this army aren’t exactly friends.
Oh. Unless you remember the Plagueburst Crawlers. Earlier I mentioned that thrusting two of them forward front… shovel…ram…thing first gives you a beachhead seldom few armies can shift, at the expense of shooting for a turn. A fair cost you might say and I’d find it hard pressed to disagree.
Although… there is the Blasphemous Machines stratagem. That changes things. Use it on a Plagueburst Crawler before it fires in the shooting phase and it ignores any penalties for moving and firing with its heavy weapons. Advance and it’ll be useless. But if you’re repositioning the Crawlers to wall off an objective before the enemy arrives or lucked out and placed your beachhead close to your own lines, advancing is no longer necessary. Your opponent’s face is sure to sink when they spring a dish of T’au Stealth Suits near your lines only to watch the Plagueburst Crawler rumble out of range and dish out horrific damage regardless.
So that’s it. That’s the army. Or at least, that’s the army as I envision it. Would I play with this army? Without question. Yes. It suits me down to the bone and shows those pesky Astra Militarum Tank Commanders or speed-obsessed Orks they aren’t the only ones who can dominate the field with fast-moving armour.
You may disagree. That’s cool and absolutely fine. Each to their own. There is a good reason I dubbed this feature Dubious Army Lists. It isn’t standard at all. If anything, it will struggle in more places than succeed. Armies of massed infantry, fast movers, intense gunlines and forces focused around deepstriking or Lords of War (yes Knight players I mean you) will laugh at you.
Okay. Maybe not the Knights. Myphitic Blight-Haulers can give them something to think about. It’s a shame the Knights’ massive weapons have just as much chance to blow them apart before they get a look-in. Poor Blight-Haulers. They’re adorable; the kittens of Warhammer 40,000.
Anything approaching board control will never be yours outside of the Plagueburst stronghold. Watch on with tears in your eyes as infantry units or faster armies than yours like Aeldari or White Scars encircle you faster than you can remember how to spell encircle right.
But don’t discount it as outright weak. You’re packing enough anti-armour to obliterate enemy transports with reckless abandon. Elite forces of Adeptus Custodes or Deathwing will have a daemon of a time tackling your robust vehicle force before it dismantles them piece by melta-scorched piece.
This daemon-engine disaster list revolves around one core tenet; uniqueness. It’s likely you’ve never played with an army like this before, and it’s just as likely the same for your opponent. In that, any game played against this army list will be a memorable one. Not only because of how downright strange it is, but thanks to the unique challenges anybody playing it or playing against it is likely to face. Your own decisions concerning what goes to which objective are presumably mirrored in your opponent’s mind as they work out just how to stand against something like this army. If you’re playing Warhammer 40,000 to win, this may not be for you. If you want to put a smile on the face of anyone you’re playing with and yourself, not to mention attract the eye of everybody walking past and staring.
You know, when they aren’t wondering what in Nurgle’s Garden you’re doing with that many Myphitic Blight-Haulers.
Would you run this army? Let me know on Twitter or down in that comments section.
Final note: This is an idea and format I’m testing out. If you like it, or don’t, or think there are elements missing, please be sure to let me know.