Chaos Daemons – Nurgle Overview

An overview of the Chaos Daemons loyal to The Lord of Decay: Nurgle! Read on my intrepid friends. Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

Scout Telmarious and his insertion squad waded through the muck that filled the cavernous sewers of Hive City Helmanus IV. Reports of unusual sounds and mutated figures escaping into the sewers after flash raids had brought Telmarious and his strike squad of Salamanders to this planet. The people were on edge, the lower echelons of the city were ravaged with diseases that sprang up overnight. Telmarious had his suspicions, as did the rest of his squad, but they moved forward, deeper into the sewers anyway.

They came to a connection point, a vast domed structure with hundreds of land raider sized pipes leading off in every direction. The pool in front of them was filled with a green brackish water, impossible to see through. Their scans showed no signs of life. They spread out upon the shoulder of the pool, his Heavy Bolter scout taking up position to his left while the rest raised their bolters at the ready. Something didn’t feel right.

Bubbles formed at the center of the pool, all the scouts prepared, but what rose from the center was beyond their imaginations. A hulking bulk of flesh wielding a great bell burst from the mire with surprising speed and bellowed a war cry that would have turned a normal man to dust. Telmarious and his squad opened fire, blasting fleshy bits of the beast as it came their way through the pool of muck, splashing all around it as it swung its mighty bell in an arc that caught Telmarious square in the chest and sent him flying into another pipe and down down down into the dark.

Telmarious snapped awake, the light from his coms aiding his already heightened eyesight to a horror of tiny blobous creactures, all eyes and smiles of teeth. He reached for his bolt pistol and they laughed, cackling as they fell upon him by the dozens, sinking their mouths into his flesh and tearing him apart bit by bit, an offering to Nurgle and lunch all in one.


Who is Nurgle

Papa Nurgle, the Lord of Decay, is the third of the gods born from the warp. Perhaps the one most intimate with humanity, Nurgle feeds upon our despair and touches mankind with plague as has been seen for countless generations.

The power of Nurgle wanes and expands with the death and destruction that befalls man. At times, he is the most powerful of all the chaos gods, at others he lays low, a mere shadow of himself as the health of humanity ebbs and flows. Nurgle is the god that touches all in his caress, from birth to grave.

Faction Strengths

One of the biggest things that Nurgle is known for is durability. The main rule that Nurgle has at its disposal is Disgustingly Resilent, giving most units a 5+ to shrug off any wound, even mortal. Taken after regular saves if applicable, this can make Nurgle forces a pain to move off an objective or from a part of the battlefield.

Another great thing Nurgle has going for them is their aura buffs. Their loci gives plus one damage on 6’s to wound. Many characters have buffs like Sloppity Bilepiper, who allows units with icons the ability to roll 2d6 for morale and to discard the highest. This is a great way to hunt for that 1 to get back d6 slain models in the unit. Great Unclean Ones get to return slain models to any Nurgle unit within 7” at the start of your turn as well as allowing them the use of his leadership for morale tests. Spoilpox gives bonuses to Plaguebearers movement and attacks with +1 to hit and 7+ to hit gives an extra attack. The list goes on. You will be able to tailor your list around many of these and their supporting units for a very potent combos. Not even to mention Epidemius who gives army wide bonuses for the number of units they kill. There are some great combos there.

Another great thing with all these bonuses is the damage output they can get up to. The simple Plaguebearer can get up to 4 damage each! Beasts can get up to 5 damage and a lot of these spill over to Daemon Princes and Great Unclean Ones with the Loci they have. If you get the ball rolling, they can tear through units, even large ones left and right.

The Nurgle Loci is also a pretty good one, giving +1 damage to wound rolls of 6 when within 6″ of a character with the Loci. You’ll want key placement of this character on the unit that needs it most as Gants don’t care about your two damage. One kills them straight away!

In addition to this, Nurgle has many ways to cause mortal wounds. Charging GUO’s get to do mortal wounds after the charge, and your warlord can spill over mortal wounds from wounds taken or just by being next to another unit. Also two of their psychic powers do mortal wounds as well. Beasts of Nurgle can cause mortal wounds to fleeing enemies and Rotigus can also cause mortal wounds when he casts psychic powers.

Faction Weaknesses

Speed is one thing that Nurgle suffers from. Most units only move 5” and even the fast attack Plague Drones only move 10”. You will be able to overcome this with units like Sloppity Bilepiper who allows Great Unclean Ones and Nurglings to advance and charge, as well as the Feculent Gnarlmaw, which allows any Nurgle Deamon to either shoot or charge after falling back or advancing.

Another thing that Nurgle suffers from is their lack of shooting. There are very few units that can shoot and most of it isn’t super effective. The best is the Great Unclean Ones’ plague flail whose damage spills over to multiple models.

One thing that most units in the Nurgle faction lack is a high AP value. You get to reroll wounds with many weapons and can buff up your damage characteristics, but most are still AP0. This can be challenging against high toughness or high wound count models who just can’t fail their 3+ save.

Key Units

  • Characters – Probably too long to go through each one, the Nurgle charcters that are available to the general  are quite beefy in number. Each one has a special role for the army with some impacting troops, others impacting GUO’s, and one impacting the whole army. You will have a lot to choose from and will need to take multiple detachments to get them all.
  • Nurglings – Perhaps one of the best units in the Daemon book hands down. Why do I say this? They are the daemon equivalent of Space Marine Scouts. Nurglings deploy outside of your deployment zone 9” away from the enemy deployment zone and from other enemies. With how many armies rely on deepstriking (daemons being one of them) Nurglings allow you to create deep strike zones for yourself and to disallow deep strikers from impacting your lines. They also allow you to more easily score board control secondaries like recon, putting them in hard to reach places. They are also very durable to most forms of 1 damage fire and can really take a beating at 4 wounds a piece.
  • Plaguebearers – This troop choice is a great one and in large blocks can be very difficult to remove with their 5++ invul save combined with their 5+ resilient save. As stated before, their damage output can be wonky with the right bonuses and they can tear through large wound count models.
  • Feculent Gnarlmaws – These beauties add a lot to your Nurgle force. They have a ton of bonuses, and cannot be removed as they become terrain once deployed. For 50 points you get a 4+ cover save to all units within 7”. The tree also does potential mortal wounds to units within 3” and gives bonuses to summoning when within 7”. The big thing they do is allow you to charge or shoot even when a unit advances or falls back when they start within 7” of the tree. This is great, especially for Obliterators and Warp Talons from the Chaos Space Marine book or with their regular units like Plague Drones and Plaguebearers to keep from getting locked down.


  • Revolting Regeneration – Regains d3 wounds to a model. Great for multiple wound units like Plague Toads, Plague Drones, or Nurglings as well as larger models like the Great Unclean one or Daemon Princes. Solid strategem.
  • Plague Banner – For one unit of Plaguebearers, once per game, it increases the damage for each plaguesword by 1. Great if you see a lot of multiple wound units. Not so useful against swarms of Gants.
  • Locus of Fecundity – Reroll 1’s of Disgustingly Resilient. Great for when you face the first turn and your centralled character is within all units, giving them a boost. Not crazy powerful but could be helpful.

Warlord Traits

  • Blessed with Corpulence – Adds 1 to your wound characteristic. Kinda meh.
  • Acidic Ichor – Roll a dice each time your warlord loses a wound in the fhight phase. On a 4+ the attacking unit takes a mortal wound. Good for large wound models like the GUO who could be dealing out a lot of extra wounds.
  • Plaguefly Hive – Subtract 1 from all hit rolls within 7”. This would be so great if it was just -1. Not terrible, but not great.
  • Virulent Touch – Add 1 to all wound rolls in the fight phase but does not work against vehicles. Good for large attack models like Daemon Princes and GUO’s.
  • Impenetrable Hide – 4+ save. Great for a warlord next to a Feculant Gnarlmaw. 2+ save!
  • Pestilent Miasma – Each enemy within 1” gets a mortal wound on 4+. Nice for that added mortal wound output. I think this would be good on a fast unit like the Daemon Prince for the most effect.


  • Horn of Nurgle’s Rot – When this character kills a model in the fight phase within 7” of a plaguebearer unit, on a 4+ that unit gains a plaguebearer. Nice addition to keep your units up.
  • The Entropic Knell – Minus 1 leadership when within 7”. Decent to add to their morale losses.
  • Corruption – Great sword that does D3 damage, is +2 strength, and has -3 AP. Also rerolls failed wounds.

Psychic Powers

  • Stream of Corruption – Affects a unit within 7”. 10 or less it does d3. 10 or more it does d6. The low range will be the challenging part.
  • Fleshy Abundance – One model within 18” regains d3 wounds. Same as the stratagem. Great for keeping that nurgling unit in the fray or just keeping a character alive.
  • Nurgle’s Rot – Every unit within 7” takes d3 mortal wounds on a 4+. You’d need the right character like a Daemon Prince with wings, but this could be super damaging to a fire base style army.
  • Shrivelling Pox – Subtract 1 from the targets toughness. Great for those pesky large models or large units. Getting that unit easier to wound can be key.
  • Virulent Blessing – Adds 1 to wound rolls and wound rolls of 7+ do double damage. Great for those large Plaguebearer units or when the bowling ball of the tally gets going, a unit of Pox Riders or Plague Drones can do some work.
  • Miasma of Pestilence – Minus 1 to hit. Great overall power. Not so much against Eldar, but good nonetheless.


One of the great things about Nurgle is that you have a lot of options for styles of lists with your buff characters. You can go plaguebearer heavy with Scrivener, or Nurgling and GUO heavy with Sloppity. If you like Beasts you can with Horticulus who can also plant Feculent Gnarlmaws if you have the points. You have a lot of options to work with.

One of the most common units you will see in a Nurgle army will be Epidemius. The more you kill the better your army gets! He’s a great buff character that can sit in the back, nestled in the arms of your hard to chew through units and get your bowling ball rolling to crush your enemy.

To shore up the AP weakness, consider taking Chaos Space Marines allies that are Daemons and with Mark of Nurgle. Daemon Princes, Obliterators, Warp Talons, Possessed, and even a Defiler can benefit from the blessings of Nurgle. Obliterators are especially great next to a Feculent Gnarlmaw as they have a 0 save (effectively) to shooting, and can fall back and shoot or advance and charge. The ability to fall back and shoot is huge for them as unless they get locked in combat you can just step out and shoot. Their save also makes it great against Dark Reapers as they still retain their 2+ save against their shooting. Deep strike the tree, then drop the oblits around it to and if they want to blow command points to intercept them you should be fine.

One thing you are going to need to work on and master is your aura buffs and keeping them as active as possible. You don’t want that Plaguebearer unit out of the range of GUO or Sloppity if they are locked in combat, as you can add slain models and regenerate them when rolling a 1 from their icon. There are a lot of auras to keep track of and you will need to master those circles to get the most effect.

Potential List

Rot Blossom – 1930 Pts

Daemons Battalion – Nurgle

  • Great Unclean One – Bell/Horn of Nurgles Rot
  • Sloppity Bilepiper
  • Epidemius (Warlord)
  • 30 Plaguebearers – Icon/Instrument
  • 3 Nurglings
  • 3 Nurglings
  • 3 Nurglings
  • 5 Plague Drones

CSM Spearhead

  • Daemon Prince with Wings – Mark of Nurgle/Maelfific Talons
  • 3 Obliterators – Mark of Nurgle
  • 3 Obliterators – Mark of Nurgle
  • 3 Obliterators – Mark of Nurgle

Daemon Fortification

  • 2 Feculent Gnarlmaws

One tree stays in deployment while the other deep strikes with the Obliterators. The tree takes Oblits to a whole nutha level as they shore up some of their weaknesses. They get a 2+ to cover so an effective zero save, and get to fall back and shoot. Huge! The rest of the force plods forward, using the Oblits to bring up the tally to turn the rest of the force into the wrecking ball. You could hold the Plague Drones in reserve as well until you get the tally up. Keep your GUO and Sloppity in aura range to buff the Plaguebearers. With the GUO and the bell/horn you can bring back multiple models each turn to keep them in the fight. You are also down 70 points to summon Paguebearers, Nurglings, or even a Poxbringer as needed. This list is also pretty solid in most ITC secondary categories save Kinglsayer and Headhunter. Its very durable and hard hitting at the same time.


I’ve felt since the book dropped that Nurgle may be the best mono faction out there. They have a lot of new toys that allow them to design lists around certain units and be able to get the most out of them in game. Their resilience alone and protection against mortal wounds gives them something to shout about. I am thoroughly enjoying my Nurgle force and like their durability and flexibility. What do you think? What is the best Nurgle has in life? Post your thoughts below.

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



About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

8 Responses to “Chaos Daemons – Nurgle Overview”

  1. Dakkath March 13, 2018 3:11 am #

    I’m just gonna say it, “Sloppity Bilepiper” is a stupid name that sounds like a 4 year old thought it up.

    • CWDub March 13, 2018 6:30 am #

      Actually, it sounds like a sex move.

      And is the most amazing name GW has ever conceived for a model.

      It beats Bloody Blood Blood Strike Blood Missiles and Wolfy Wolf Wolves any day.

      • abusepuppy March 13, 2018 7:22 am #

        It’s really just more of the same, though. Every Nurgle unit is “Adjective Nounverber” of some sort, usually with some uncreative use of to add an obscure word in.

  2. Clem March 13, 2018 6:24 am #

    How does the tree deepstrike? I am guessing maybe use the Daemon Strat?

    • abusepuppy March 13, 2018 7:22 am #

      Yeah, Daemon strat lets it deep strike, since it doesn’t cease to be a unit until it is placed on the table.

    • Blight1 March 13, 2018 7:25 am #

      Yeah you use the stratagem to do it. The tree only Jas the stipulation that it can’t move after it is deployed and it has the daemon keyword.

  3. WestRider March 13, 2018 10:06 am #

    Didn’t Telmarious get killed off by the Slaanesh Daemons in the last article?

  4. AUBigmouth March 15, 2018 4:16 am #

    Do you have to pay points for the plaguebearers unit when you use the Horn of Nurgles Rot ability?

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