Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Chaos Daemons First Glances: Nurgle

Old School here to add my thoughts to the storm of delight and gnashing teeth that is the Internet's knee jerk reaction to the release of any new codex. This time, Daemons are in the hopper and for me, as with any CSM player, I am happy to see my battle brothers receive an update. Now it's no secret around these parts that OST loves some Nurgle! With that in mind (and while everyone is excited about Slaanesh, as they should be) I am going to first look at Nurgle through the eyes of a CSM player primarily but I will also do a little armchair action on Nurgle Daemons proper.

Daemons, You Complete Me ...

Let's face it there are a lot of Pus-Heads (Nurgle fanboys) out there who have always wanted to run a serious Death Guard force and while the last dex let you mess around with lesser and greater Daemons, they never let you really get the whole deal. The allies chart let you add in daemons and it felt great, but adding already expensive stuff to a codex that has expensive stuff (CSM) doesn't really ever leave you feeling complete when making a good list. What the new book has opened up is the chance to flood the field with all manner of things Plague and Death Guardish, including Plaguebearers, zombies, plague marines, Great Unclean Ones (GUOs) and much more and do so with numbers and survivability.

Nurgle Daemons Are About Denial ...

While Khorne kills in combat, Slaanesh kills with combat plus shenanigans, Tzeentch shoots and buffs, what Nurgle does best is deny the enemy the kill by being shrouded with the ability to go to ground in many cases. Additionally, the Heralds, Great Unclean One and DPs have access to the Nurgle Powers (AP3 flamer, Nova T test ect) and also Biomancy, which has its own potentially outstanding benefits. What this amounts to is an army that can laugh off most shooting, while also being able to handle most non-dedicated close combat units in CC ... or at tarpit most things.

Form and Function of the Nurgle Allied Daemons at a Glance

When it comes to Chaos Space Marines, I think the cheap new price tag on plague bearers makes for welcome allies in a Nurgle themed list. On a board where there are ruins, or behind an aegis, Plague Bearers can post up on objectives and take 2+ cover all day and either through proper support or through massive numbers (huge squads), they can be pretty much guaranteed objectives. When it comes to objectives on your side of the board, I think bearers will function a lot like zombies or cultists, in a sense that they will be ignored in the early turns, but with the exception that they are more survivable than either, thanks to being able to go to ground (in the case of zombie comparison) and higher T (in the case of cultists). Keep in mind that they can also deep strike and that things like comm relays can help you make sure they come in when needed.

As an ally, I think the GUO is pretty good, being a High toughness MC with access to Mastery Level 3 and gifts, he can be a one-man death star, capable of deep striking into the back field and shaking off all but the most deadly fire and combat. He can use Nurgle powers to buff himself or debuff the opponent through biomancy OR use the Nurgle powers, which give him access to flamers and a Horde-destroying toughness-test Nova. This guy is the first batter up in my allied Nurgle list for testing. Beyond that you can grab a DP, which I will not cover because he isn't too attractive to me, or you can grab a Herald with gifts and FNP so you can add some defense/ offense to a big squad of bearers and call it a day.

Other units that are available for the allies lists are Soul Grinders, which are pretty beefy, though I think the anti-air autocannon is a lot like the flakk missile in the sense it really isn't too hot, but a AV13 deep striking walker with shrouding isn't too shabby. When I look at it as a potential opponent, I can see ANY grinder held in reserve as a potential counter to my Hell drakes, being able to DS in after the drake has hit the table and autocannon my back armor, which is situational, but still a valid threat.

Beasts of Nurgle are expensive and while I am inclined to say no to them as an ally, I can't help but wonder about them as they offer some potential charge defense to protect my back field units.

Plague Drones are another expensive unit, but they can help position units that I want to arrive from reserves through Icon use combined with their speed. They are also nice for hunting or tarpitting weaker shooting units that I need to silence to help out my CSM units.

How do My CSM Work with the Nurgle Daemons?

When it comes to the CSM side of a potential list, there is always Typhus (who may be a tad expensive for the GOU combination, though further testing will tell). There is always the Nurgle Biker Lord with the Black Mace, who in combination with Bikers or Spawn offers the list a durable unit that can reach out and touch someone. I will likely try both out. There are also Nurgle Sorcs or even plain sorcs if you want to break theme. Either one can offer utility to a list.

Zombies (for typhus) and Cultists are cheap troops that can basically hide in reserves to add scoring while freeing up points for big nasty stuff, while big squads can be used as Lord delivery systems, though I am still not quite sure about adding that stuff to a lord's price tag in terms of efficiency.

Plague Marines are always a nice choice and can certainly add a tough, scoring unit with good shooting potential.

I think Heldrakes are an obvious choice for any CSM list, but I think fit particularly well in a list that wants to hold objectives and deny them to opponents as they can really flame out troops choices easily, which combined with the ability of the rest of your army to hold objectives well, can win games.

Bikers, as mentioned above are great as are spawn. Both are good Lord delivery systems and Spawn are great for hunting down and crushing weaker units.

Nurgle Oblits are another great choice for a list that doesn't have much shooting as they offer flexibility in terms of deployment and weapons loadouts. They are also a good counter assault unit in a pinch.

Those are pretty much my wavetops, though I would overlook the Maulerfiend as a unit that adds close combat support and target saturation to the GUO, Havoks, who can lay down consistent firepower or terminators, who can also answer close combat support and close range shooting situations.

Straight Nurgle Daemons at a Glance

I think Nurgle Daemons are capable of functioning as a Mono-god list and in fact, I think they should hold up pretty well. Obvious threats will come from Dark Eldar, Guard cover denial shooting and double to triple Heldrake lists from CSM, though other flyer-spam armies will have a hard time killing enough to do much to the Nurgle armies. I can tell you for certain that Nurgle lists will be hard for many Necron lists, flyers or not, to deal with.

I think Heralds will go a long way toward helping Plaguebearers contribute in a meaningful way while increasing their survivability, while the GUO provides a big killy boss unit. Shooting support can come from Soulgrinders, while Drones can help plug gaps, add cover support (basically sit in front of GUOs and such to increase cover saves) or even help slingshot tooled-up heralds into combat. Psyker support in the form of biomancy and Nurgle Powers will help in different situations, adding killing power or buff to units.

I will also say that CSM allies will help greatly and any of the choices above are great, including the Heldrake (especially) and shooting units like the Oblits.

If you want to step off the reservation a little and mix up gods, the Daemons have a great number of ways to support Nurgle Daemons that should not be overlooked, whether it is by adding fast killy units from Slaanesh or support from Tzeentch units ect, but that is a little further down the rabbit hole than I want to go in this post and at a time, where the codex hasn't really been explored in depth.

This is way beyond the word count I set out for, so I now turn it over to you. What are your first thoughts and ideas on Nurgle Daemons? What do you think some good allied combos would be? Myself, and our other readers would love to hear what you think.


  1. It's funny, we seem to have parallel thinking regarding the above. I even run my DG similarly.

    I am mulling over Epi in reserves with a fairly big unit of Plaguebearers or Nurglings. I would have 3 Soulgrinders with MoN and Phlegm behind and Aegis with Comms. This would allow me not only a crazy resilient way to protect the Soulgrinders, but a way to rack up the Tally for Epi's arrival and decent anti air. Drones would mark the spot for Epi and more Plaguebearers to arrive via Deep Strike.

    Just my initial idea, I still need to pore over the book.

    1. You wont be able to claim cover for a Soul Grinder behind an Aegis Defence Lince since it's a vehicle it needs at least 25% of facing to be obscured to claim cover.

  2. I wrote an entire post on Monday outline an all Nurgle CSM/Daemon 1750pts army.

    I felt that CSM should be the primary detachment for several reasons. First they allow the Daemon side to ignore the fickle winds of chaos table. Two they allow me to take Plague Marines as Troops and third it would allow me to field both Heldrakes and CSM Bikers. I use Daemons as my ally to take advantage of 6th editions liking to hordes and for a durable but cheap troop choice. I delve deeper into the nurgling hole by giving my army two AP3 torrent templates (Heldrake and Nurgle Lord with Burning Brand of Skalathrax), 1 AP3 template (Herald with Primaris Power) and 1 AP3 pie plate (SOuld Grinder). All this adds up to a hammer and anvil strategy that is kills MEQs and GEQs alike.

    1. HotPanda, played against rainbowish Daemons at a tourney and have to say that the Warpstorm Table really didn't do much at all to either side. With that being said, he neither rolled an 11 or a 2, but he did get +1 to his invuls at one point. The needing 6's to activate the effects of the random god damage is really an equalizer with barely anything happening.

      Now that being said, I will try out both CSM main and Daemon main and bring back the science behind it. I think there are strengths to running daemons as the main (more fast critters, bigger monsters ect), but I will miss double Heldrakes, haha.

  3. Oh and from one Nurgle infested gamer to another great post.