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.
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?
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.
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
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!
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