Hello fans of Frontline Gaming and TFGRadio, SaltyJohn here to bring you a review of the new 8th edition Death Guard rules for Poxwalkers! For more reviews, bat reps, tactics discussions, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!
The diseases employed by Nurgle and his devotees are many and varied. They can run the gamut from festering pestilence to mind control to virus’ of a virulent death on a scale that makes the virus bombs of the Imperial Inquisition look like children’s toys. Among the contagions of Nurgle one is feared by the agents of the Imperium more than any other. The Walking Pox is an amalgamation of the worst of Nurgles gifts. Rot, Weeping, Mutterflux, the Slithering, Scourge and many others combine to create a terrible malady that leads to the creation of the Zombie hordes of Poxwalkers. The pox will eventually lead to death but even in death the victim is not relieved, instead the sufferer remains conscious and aware, trapped in their own grinning, reanimated corpse. Utilized as both terror inducing troops and cannon fodder in equal measure the hordes of Poxwalkers are a terrifying danger to the denizens of the 41st Millennium.
Much like their fluff in the Death Guard codex suggests units of Poxwalkers make great meat shields and shock troops in equal measure, filling two separate, but important roles in Death Guard and Chaos Space Marine lists. With special rules and stratagems that allow them to become nearly impossible to shoot at, but at the same time swell their ranks well beyond their starting numbers for no additional points costs the Poxwalkers can be a great tool, or near insurmountable enemy, in your games of Warhammer 40k.
- Improvised Weapon
- Disgustingly Resilient: when this model loses a wound roll a die, on a 5+ the model doesn’t suffer the wound.
- Curse of the Walking Pox: Each time an enemy Infantry model is killed by a Poxwalker in the Fight phase, add one model to the Poxwalker unit.
- Mindless: Never take moral tests.
- Diseased Horde: You can add 1 to all hit rolls for this unit in the fight phase if the unit has more than 10 models.
On their own the Poxwalkers can be a fairly tough meat shield to bubble wrap your army. If you’re unfamiliar with what bubble wrap is let’s break it down quickly before moving on.
Bubble wrapping isn’t anything new to 40k but it has become an almost universal necessity in 8th edition due to the uber Alpha Strike potential of many armies and the power of the first turn. Even if you’re playing the new ITC Champions missions that help boost the 2nd turn potential you need a way to wrap your army to protect it from turn 1 deep strikes and chargers. That’s where the bubble wrap comes in. From massive units of Conscripts, though less prolific with the newest changes tot heir rules, to masses of Cultists, herds of Gaunts, mobs of Boyz, swarms of Brimstone Horrors, and in this case hordes of Poxwalker zombies; the ability to wrap your armies’ most precious elements in a shield of cheap and expendable chaff is important to weathering the First Turn should you not get it yourself.
This being the new paradigm of 8th edition 40k makes a unit that is large, cheap, resilient, and capable of dishing out the pain too a boon to any army able to take it. Poxwalkers fit just that description, especially when two stratagems are used in concert with a large unit of Walkers and a large unit of Cultists.
- The Dead Walk Again: 1CP Use this Stratagem at the beginning of your Movement phase. Select a unit of Poxwalkers. Until the start of your next Movement phase, replace that unit’s Curse of the Walking Pox ability with the following: ‘Each time an infantry model (other than a Poxwalker), friend or foe, is slain within 7″ of this unit, add one model to the unit.’
- Cloud of Flies: 1CP Use this Stratagem during your Movement phase. Select a Death Guard Infantry unit. Until the start of your next Movement phase, enemy models can only shoot this unit if it is the closest visible target.
To make the best of these stratagems with Poxwalkers two large units are necessary. A large blob of cultists, preferably Alpha Legion, and a large blob of Poxwalkers. At only 1 CP each these stratagems are a steal when used together. Be sure to infiltrate the Cultists in front of the Poxwalkers (this is why Alpha Legion cultists would be best so they can infiltrate in using their Stratagem), and surround them with any other Infantry you’ll be using in the list. As your army plods forward Cloud of Flies will protect the Poxwalker unit from being targeted and The Dead Walk Again will insure that any other infantry casualties within 7 inches of the large blob of Poxwalkers will increase the size of the unit. When the unit of Poxwalkers finally hits your opponents lines it could be a veritable horde of zombies in actual size and not just name. In this way you create for your opponents a real problem from the very beginning of the game, they have to figure out a way to deal with the Poxwalkers, without being able to target them directly, and deal with the rest of your army without swelling the ranks of the Poxwalkers so much that the unit becomes too big for them to effectively deal with later in the game when they either can target them or they can assault them.
There’s a few things to note when using a strategy like this with the Poxwalkers. First, you absolutely can grow the unit beyond it’s starting size with the stratagem and you do not have to leave points in your list to pay for these new models. You will need to make sure to design the list to have the necessary CPs to keep the Poxwalkers invisible and growing.
If you want your Poxwalkers to have a bit more staying power, and perhaps a bit more punch consider adding the following to pal around with them: Typhus, Chaos Lord, Sorcerer. Each of these units can buff the Poxwalkers in a beneficial ways. Typhus, and the Sorcerer through Putrescent Vitality, can boos the Toughness of the Poxwalkers. The Sorcerer can also increase their strength characteristic. Using Typhus in conjunction with a Sorcerer will provide and even bigger boost to the Poxwalkers. The boost to their stats from the two characters stacks, making them even more difficult to destroy in combat, or through shooting if Cloud of Flies isn’t turned on, when combined with their never having to take moral checks. A Chaos Lord would let the Poxwalkers re-roll to hit rolls of one, which will be useful when you eventually get the Poxwalkers into your opponent’s lines.
There’s ultimately many ways to run a large blob of resilient chaff in a 40k army, but having a large blob of resilient chaff that can be made far more effective through use of stratagems and characters can truly take a list to the next level.
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