Death Guard Review: Fast Attack: Myphitic Blight-hauler

Hey everyone, Ahkris here to discuss another Nurgley daemon engine: the Myphitic Blight-hauler! As always, for more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner.

Overview

Powering into battle on a trio of articulated track units, the Myphitic Blight-hauler is a light Daemon Engine that provides the Death Guard with heavy firepower wherever it is needed. Resembling a Bloat-drone that has been stripped of its turbines, this strange machine has heavy weapons mounted on its carapace, typically a combination of multi-melta and missile launcher for mid-to-close range tank hunting.

So right off the bat the flavour text gives us a fairly accurate description of what the unit is good at: mid range tank hunting. The blight-hauler very often will also serve as support units on the tabletop due to their amazing putrescent fog ability (more on that later). Unlike the other Death Guard daemon engines such as the Foetid Bloat-drone and the Plagueburst Crawler these little guys may be fielded in squads of 1-3, gaining bonuses while the squad is at 3 models. Unlike many other vehicle squads they however do not get to split up once the game starts, meaning you do have to keep them in coherency at all times.

The Blight-hauler clocks in at two points more expensive than a Plagueburst Crawler and is a fair bit less durable, featuring 8 wounds at Toughness 7 with the usual Death Guard Daemon Engine 3+ armor 5++ daemon and a 5+ Disgustingly Resilient save. So what does the Blight-hauler offer?

Wargear

The Blight-hauler does not come with any choices of what you wish to equip it with. Every one of these comes standard with a missile launcher, multi-melta, bile-spurt and a gnashing maw. The multi-melta and the missile launcher should be familiar to most players and offer solid options to threaten some damage on most vehicles. The bile spurt is a Plague Weapon with the Assault D3 profile, shooting at 12” S6 Ap-1 D1. Nothing special but it is nice to add a few wounds while you are within your multi-melta’s half range. The gnashing maw is the lite evrsion of the Bloat-drones plague probe. Its a regular melee attack that adds the plague weapon keyword and comes in at Ap-2. It is better than having nothing but you will usually want to keep these out of melee combat anyway.

Abilities

Here lies the real key to the Blight-hauler and what makes it a worthwhile addition to your army.

Tri-tracked: ignore the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons. I am so glad they have this. Their base ballistic skill is only a 4+ which is bad enough already without going down all the time like the Plagueburst Crawlers. Where the Crawlers BS of 4+ goes down when it gets wounded and goes down if it moves, your Blight-hauler will happily stay at a 4+ all game long.

Tri-lobe: +1 to hit if this unit contains three models, this is both for ranged and melee. It is expensive but taking a unit of three would up your damage output quite a bit and help out in the killpoint department as well. Suddenly these guys moving up with a lord of a prince are hitting on 3+ with reroll 1’s. Solid.

Foul Stench: Enemy units must subtract 1 from hit rolls made against this unit in the fight phase. The blight-hauler does not have the fly keyword or anything else that lets it fire after leaving combat, meaning once you are locked in combat your damage output drops significantly. This purely helps you survive, it does not make you a good melee combattant. You could cast Miasma of Pestilence on your hauler to up this to a -2 and tarpit something if need be.

Putrescent Fog: The haulers signature ability. Death Guard infantry that are entirely within 7” of the hauler gain the benefits of cover. If you field a squad of 3 then this aura does become very large indeed. Your plague marines shoot rapid fire at 18”, can advance and shoot without penalties and with this ability have a 2+sv in the open. Even units such as Blightlord Terminators benefit from this, upping their saves against any Ap-1 and Ap-2 weaponry

Tactics

The Myphitic Blight-hauler is happiest in the mid field supporting friendly DG infantry units. A unit of three of them accompanied by a lot of footslogging Plague Marines carrying plasma guns or Blight Launchers, a Chaos Lord and perhaps a Plague Surgeon would make for a pretty solid mobile gunline. You could also deepstrike a unit of Blightlord Terminators with plasma (and dont forget Veterans of the Long War) near the haulers for some extra staying power and some extra punch. They definitely seem like a unit where you build a large part of your army around them, requiring supporting units and specific units to support. If you just want to add a quick little daemon engine to plug into a list and that can go and do its own thing a Crawler or a Drone would almost always be better.

Overall the footslogging across the board Inexorable Advance kind of Death Guard playstyle might not be a top 8 tournament winning list but i do think it has potential and is pretty solid. And for any such infantry heavy Death Guard army the Myphitic Blight-hauler definitely is the secret sauce to making it work.

So are you going to pick up a Myphitic Blight-hauler once it comes out and if so: how are you going to run it? Are you the guy who can not wait to run a max sized squad of Plague Marines behind a unit of Haulers, using Cloud of Flies every turn to make them untargetable untill you can throw a million grenades for 5 billion mortal wounds? Leave a comment!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About ChrisG

ChrisG (or Ahkris) is an avid tournament player in the Netherlands who also does vlogs, podcasts, battle reports and painting tutorials.

10 Responses to “Death Guard Review: Fast Attack: Myphitic Blight-hauler”

  1. CJ December 9, 2017 4:26 pm
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    I had literally just finished discussing the relative merits of haulers, helbrutes and drones when this came up.
    Concluded that haulers are the best of the 3 for value.. may have to get 3.. 🙂

    • ChrisG
      ChrisG December 9, 2017 4:50 pm
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      The haulers seem rather good for certain playstyles. I personally remain a huge fan of the drone but i do want to start expirimenting with the haulers more once they come out.

  2. WestRider December 9, 2017 7:07 pm
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    I’m grabbing three of them as soon as I can. I liked them from the first blurry leaked pics we got, and have just become more and more of a fan as I’ve learned more. Add in that I really like the classic Death Guard footslogging advance, and there’s no way I’m not all over these guys. My idea theme list would be something like 7 Squads of 7 Plague Marines advancing in the cover of one or more Tri-Lobes, plus a trio or two of Helbrutes, and maybe some Predators in the backfield.

  3. Wayniac December 9, 2017 7:13 pm
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    I have also done a lot of theorycrafting on this, comparing the Helbrute, Blight-Hauler and the Plagueburst Crawler (I didn’t compare the Predator because it’s more expensive or the Forgeworld Dreadnoughts). Here was what I came up with:

    If you only want anti-tank, the Helbrute with TL Lascannon and Missile Launcher is better than the Blight Hauler; longer range and you don’t need to take 3 to get the more reliable shots (although 2-3 would still be nasty). Do note however that the Helbrute dies very easily (well, relative compared to the other options) so you really want threat saturation anyways, so you’re still looking at taking at least 2 and preferably 3 of them. Also note that if you want it to do well in melee, you’ll need to pay around 160ish points for a Lascannon/Fist and get fewer shots, but you still get that tasty stratagem. For 1 point more than the Lascannon/Fist Helbrute you could get a Hellforged Contemptor with dual Butcher Cannons and put out a lot more shots albeit not as good at anti-tank.

    If you want a jack-of-all-trades unit that has versatility, then I think the Blight-Hauler starts to shine; it has anti-tank (slightly less than the Las/ML Helbrute), it’s relatively tanky so will divert enemy fire and it has the cover bonus that is IMHO a cherry on top; you should not try to always have it, but if you can get it then it’s nice. Unfortunately I think being a “jack of all trades” drops its usefulness when talking about “competitive” since you really want to specialize, and it does not, since the Crawler is tankier and the Las/ML Helbrute is more reliable at anti-tank. That’s not to say it’s bad, but it kind of sits in between as a mobile weapons platform that can also absorb shots. The 4+ BS really hurts it here, I think. If it was 3+ (i.e. you didn’t need 3 of them) it might push ahead. However, this is the one I’m most interested in experimenting with because it is so much more resilient than the Helbrute and I think it might be a hidden gem because of that.

    If you want more resilience, then the Crawler shines. The thing with the Crawler is that it seems to be in a weird spot because it has mixed weapon types which is normally a no-no; the mortar doesn’t require LOS so you want to park it behind a building or other terrain piece and bombard the enemy, but the rest of its weapons do and if you move out to take a shot, you’re hitting on 5s. Using it as a main tank still lets you target things that you don’t have LOS to, but it’s not an artillery platform like, say, a Basilisk or Griffon is where you park it in some ruins and it never moves. You want it to have clear shots to targets, and use the LOS ignoring mortar to make it so enemies can’t hide, rather than so you can hide.

    Overall, I think the Blight-Hauler’s biggest downside is that you really want 3 of them, which is a whopping 426 points.

    • ChrisG
      ChrisG December 10, 2017 1:37 am
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      It has been hard for me to use hellbrutes again, i am just so very used to having a five up daemon save with disgustingly resillient that i really really hate how quickly they die to las cannons. A friend of mine told me he runs his with missile launcher and reaper autocannon as they then only cost 112 points each which seems like quite on OK deal.

      I wrote an article on the crawler and drone that was supposed to come out before this but the main gist is that if you run the crawler you should just turn it into a flamer machine and ignore the bombard. The dakka version really just does not work for various reasons.

      • Wayniac December 10, 2017 4:40 am
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        I would like to read that article because I feel the opposite; on the Crawler you always want the cannons, but you want to treat it like a bully and a MBT, not a mortar. The bombard is icing on the cake, the real reason you take it is to put it front and center with good LOS to hard targets, and make your opponent try to remove it.

  4. NinetyNineNo December 10, 2017 8:28 am
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    Plague Roomba!

    • ChrisG
      ChrisG December 10, 2017 9:18 am
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      I think the designs for the new DG stuff is really neat with the Crawler being something straight out of battle bots/robot wars as well haha

  5. Beau December 10, 2017 9:56 am
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    I like the hauler and played last week with a unit of 3 supporting 7 PM with bubonic axes. It was decent, but definitely was mostly there to give the marines a 2+ save. I feel to have been truly useful I would have needed like 20 PM in the unit.

    Unfortunately in my opinion, pox walkers + demon princes + spitterdrones out perform PM blob backed by haulers. The fact that both are viable though means that you can use haulers for alot of fun in a casual game.

  6. KundaliniHero December 12, 2017 1:30 pm
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    A unit of 3 haulers comes in around 426 points, spitterdrones and plaguecrawlers just outperform them in every way. Essentially these guys are the equivalent of venomthropes except they have a bloated rule set which I think makes them just too expensive. I just dont see them as a worthwhile investment for the +1 cover save they confer, I mean you are better off casting Miasma on a unit for alot cheaper with essentially the same effect and you dont have to worry about weapons or armies that ignore cover.