Faction Focus: Death Guard

GW brings us info on how the Deathguard play in 9th ed 40k!

Earlier this week, we introduced how the Chaos Space Marines would be looking in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000, yet the Death Guard and Thousand Sons were noticeably absent. Well, that’s because they’re each getting their own Faction Focus, starting with today’s instalment on the Death Guard! This time around, we’re joined by playtester and Death Guard aficionado Sam Lucidi, who will be giving us his insider knowledge on Mortarion’s Legion.

Who Are They?

Like their fellow Traitor Legions, the Death Guard were once stoic and loyal followers of the Emperor until ill fate saw them corrupted – both in mind and body – by the Plague God, Nurgle. They are now his greatest mortal champions, and their Primarch, the Death Lord Mortarion, is among the most revered Daemon Princes of Nurgle. The Death Guard march inexorably into battle, their rotten, swollen bodies enabling them to shrug off injuries that would slay any other warrior outright.

How They Play in the New Edition

Here’s where we hand you over to Sam Lucidi, who’ll be giving his thoughts on the future of the Death Guard. As well as championing the use of ‘pure’ Death Guard armies, uncorrupted by the ‘clean taint’ of allies, Sam is a well established tournament organiser and a regular on the top tables and podiums of events across the USA. 

Sam: My favorite change of the new edition is how many more Command points the servants of the Plague God have at their disposal. My Death Guard army usually didn’t have more than 8 or 9 Command points, most of which I’d spend to use the Cloud of Flies Stratagem to shield an important unit each round. Now, not only will my army start the game with more Command points, but I’ll gain a bonus Command point in each of my turns. That bonus means I can activate Cloud of Flies every single round and still have 12 Command points left in a Strike Force game for other powerful Stratagems.

With the new edition’s matched play missions, it’s more important than ever to keep sight of your objectives. When my Death Guard army takes to the field, I plan to be patient and play the long game – the Death Guard’s superior durability means that my opponents will struggle to kill my scoring units while I focus on playing the mission. My Daemon Engines, Terminators and Characters will confidently hold the center of the battlefield while I grind down the enemy in a battle of attrition, leaving my Poxwalkers and Plague Marines free to take advantage of the terrain to advance and claim objectives.

Key Units

Sam’s not done yet – he’s also got some handy advice on which Death Guard units (and one combination in particular) will be great options around which to form your army.

Plagueburst Crawlers

Sam: The Death Guard get a lot of value out of the new rules for Vehicles. I’ve always loved to use Plagueburst Crawlers to engage the enemy with their plaguespitters while the rest of my army advanced behind them, but canny opponents knew how to lock the Crawlers in combat to shut down their guns. Under the new rules, my Plagueburst Crawlers are just as deadly with their plaguespitters even while locked in combat. Not only that, but now my Crawlers can fire their nasty plagueburst mortars (which are now Blast weapons too) on the move without suffering a hit penalty!

Deathshroud Terminators

Sam: The Death Guard have lots of great Characters, and I use quite a lot of them in my army. But in the new rules,* Characters are much more vulnerable to shooting, since they’re only protected if they’re near another unit. This is a great opportunity for Deathshroud Terminators to shine, as they make excellent bodyguards for Death Guard Characters, not only absorbing hits for them but also increasing their Attacks. And they’re no slouches in combat to boot!

Blightlord Terminators and Foul Blightspawn

Sam: An already great pairing of units made even better by the new rules is a big unit of Blightlord Terminators backed up by a Foul Blightspawn. Since the player who isn’t taking their turn gets to choose the first non-charging unit to fight with, the Foul Blightspawn’s Revolting Stench ensures that the Blightlords will fight first against any enemy units that dare charge them. Blightlords are already brutal in combat and incredibly durable, and this combo makes them even harder for your opponent to deal with. I know I’ll be making these units a central component of my army.

Thanks, Sam! Are you looking forward to leading the Death Guard into battle in the new edition? Let us know which units you’re looking to dominate the battlefields of the 41st Millennium with on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook pageInstagram and on Twitter using #New40K.

* In fact, you can see a sneak preview of the new Look Out, Sir rules in our Adepta Sororitas faction focus.

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One Response to “Faction Focus: Death Guard”

  1. Mathieu June 21, 2020 9:28 am #

    Curious how there’s no comment in there regarding the subtle change about order for close quarter combat.
    Passive player choosing which unit that didn’t charge strike first in combat is a very welcome change as it removes the “double activation” durable units could get by tanking your charge, and it’s an incentive to bring counter-attack units. It’s making “always fight first” type of ability really good too.

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