With the Death Guard reviews well underway it is time to have a look at one of the most iconic Death Guard units of them all: Typhus the Traveler. He slices, he dices and he does anything you can expect from your Death Guard HQ choice. As always, for more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner.
“I shall reap a terrible bounty from the death that I sow in your name, Father Nurgle…”
– Typhus the Traveler, Herald of Nurgle
Typhus is a very versatile HQ that brings a lot of utility, aura buffs and durability to a Death Guard army. At 175 points he definitely is not a cheap option and it is worth considering what he brings to the table over bringing a winged Daemon prince for 5 points more or a cheaper HQ such as a Chaos Lord or a Plague Caster. Often this will boil down to if you can use his Host of the Destroyer Hive ability to a decent effect or not. Typhus comes with 6 wounds, T5 and a set of cataphractii armour giving him a 2+sv and 4+ invulnerable. This combined with the staple Death Guard Disgustingly Resillient rule make for a pretty tough character who can certainly hold his own. Combined with 4 attacks at a WS of 2+ makes him a pretty capable duelist. Typhus comes standard with the Living Plague warlord trait which I discuss in more detail in my Death Guard Codex Overview. Overall it is one of the weakest warlord traits and if possible i personally would try to make a different character my warlord who benefits more from the trait.
Typhus is armed with a master-crafted Manreaper, the Destroyer Hive and blight grenades. Typhus’ manreapers benefit over a regular one is the fixed damage over the random die, resulting in Typhus hitting for S7 AP-3 D3. To add to his melee threat the Destroyer Hive is a pistol firing 2d6 shots that always hit on a 5+, allowing for some volume of wounds next to his high Damage attacks.
- Death to the False Emperor: Exploding sixes versus imperium, standard chaos stuff.
- Disgustingly Resilient: Most Death Guard have this and it is awesome. Ignore damage taken on a 5+.
- Cataphractii Armour: You would think this would be wargear but according to Games Workshop you would be wrong! This armour confers Typhus his 2+sv and 4+ invuln, but also cuts his advance moves in half, making him pretty much the slowest thing in the game that i can think of, even slower than a poxwalker.
- Host of the Destroyer Hive: Yes! This is why you bring Typhus. Friendly units of poxwalkers within 7” increase their strength and toughness by 1. This upgrades their durability and damage output significantly, and as long as just one poxwalker of the unit is within range they all get the benefits, meaning you can spread the love quite far.
- Nurgle’s Gift: Enemy units within 1” of Death Guard units at the start of the turn who are within 7” of a LoC take a mortal wound on 4+. Can come in handy occasionally but the low damage, 50/50 chance and it happening at the start of your turn means it certainly isn’t something that comes into play often or will do much.
- Teleport Strike: Allows Typhus to deepstrike. Typhus is very very very slow and this allows for some different tactics. The cookie cutter way to run Typhus would be to grab 2 or 3 squads of 20 poxwalkers, plonk Typhus and perhaps Necrosius or a Noxious Blightbringer down in the middle of them and advance up the board for a long time. Do note that it would take 4 turns for Typhus and poxwalkers to travel 24”, which is the minimum distance from your deployment zone to the enemies deployment zone on many deployment types. Teleport strike lets you circumvent a lot of the slowness by loading up poxwalkers into Rhinos and deepstriking Typhus near them once they arrive.
- Psyker: Typhus is a psyker who can manifest twice and deny the witch once per turn. He can choose his powers from the contagion discipline. I personally think Putrescent Vitality and Blades of Putrefaction are prime candidates for Typhus to carry. This would allow him to buff friendly poxwalkers to Strength 5 Toughness 5 and give them +1 (possibly even +2 with VotLW) to wound.
So with all of the information on what it is that he does, lets take a look at some of the pros and cons of bringing Typhus in your army.
- Buffs poxwalkers, who are some of the best screens in the game
- Pretty tough & decent melee fighter
- Psyker with two powers
- Pretty good pistol damage with solid overwatch
- Extremely slow
- Does not give reroll 1’s like a Chaos Lord or Daemon Prince does.
- Bad warlord trait
- Pretty expensive points wise
- Not very tough when compared to the similarly priced Daemon Prince or Daemon Prince with wings.
- Once deployed by deepstrike he is pretty much stuck in that little area all game.
All in all whether or not Typhus is good depends on how many poxwalkers you are bringing, but do bear in mind that a mere two full sized poxwalker squads plus Typhus will already cost you over 400 points. He makes these poxwalkers quite durable and capable melee fighters but if you are facing any gunline the opponent will just ignore them and kill the rest of your army around them as 400+ points of dead weight take 4 turns to even get to their deployment zone. You could get around this by using the well known poxwalkers in a Rhino + The Dead Walk Again stratagem combo and deepstriking Typhus near them. Another option would be to use a Forgeworld Hellforged Dreadclaw Drop Pod or a Hellforged Kharybdis Assault Claw.
Another idea would be to run one or two blobs of 40 cultists stretched out across the board with a blob of 20 poxwalkers stretched to the max behind that using Cloud of Flies and The Dead Walk Again every turn . Your opponent can then only target the cultists and every one that he kills turns into a poxwalker, netting you a blob of 100 poxwalkers eventually. Then cast Miasma of Pestilence and Putrescent Vitality, add Typhus and tadaa nothing will be able to get your humongous obsec troop spam off the board ever. You could fill this in further by adding more characters who can stand behind the poxwalkers untargetable, perhaps get Warp Time in there somehow as well… It is a bit cheesy but if you want something to work you can make it work. Also: have fun painting those 80 cultists and 100+ poxwalkers haha!
In conclusion if you are running a midfield shooting list with Plague Marines and Myphitic Blight-haulers a Chaos Lord will cost you less and do more for you. If its psychic powers you want many other HQ’s cover this also (Necrosius, Sorcerer, Princes, Plaguecasters, summoned Heralds, Mortarion, etc etc). Typhus combines staying power, hitting power and psychic power in a decent package that i like to think of as “Jack of all trades master of none (but poxwalkers)”.
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