Warhammer Warhammer 40k

Into 9th Edition: Death Guard

With the new edition of Warhammer 40000 coming later this month, I decided to take a look at the current state of each of my armies at the end of 8th edition and what I’m looking forward to for them in 9th edition.

I started collecting Death Guard with the Dark Imperium box when 8th edition launched about 3 years ago. From that core force, I expanded the army to 1500 points by picking up the models from the range that I liked the most.

Army Overview

For HQ choices, I have Typhus, a Lord of Contagion, and a Malignant Plaguecaster available. For a 1500 point game in 8th edition, I was generally taking either Typhus or the Lord of Contagion as my Warlord and then filling the second HQ slot with the Plaguecaster. When I use the Lord of Contagion rather than Typhus, I like to give him Tainted Regeneration and the Suppurating Plate.

For Troops, I have three units of Plague Marines and twenty Poxwalkers. Two of the Plague Marine squads are fairly standard units of 5. They both have three marines with boltguns, a special weapon, and a champion with power fist. One of the squads has a blight launcher while the other has a plasma gun. These are nice durable squads that are great for holding objectives. My third squad was built to be different. It is a squad of seven marines with a focus on close combat. The squad has a flail of corruption, two marines with axe and mace, an icon of despair, a plaguespewer, a meltagun, and a champion with a power fist. This squad hits hard when it makes it close, so I use it to march forward against enemy positions. The Poxwalkers can be run as a big unit of twenty or two units of ten. Personally, I like the unit of twenty because it makes stratagems and psychic powers that target them more efficient. If I’m playing with Typhus, then he’ll be surrounded by the Poxwalkers which gives them a nice boost to Strength and Toughness. Then a Tallyman improves their accuracy and the Putrescent Vitality psychic power can further boost their Strength and Toughness.

For Elites, I have two support characters – a Tallyman and a Noxious Blightbringer – and a squad of Blightlord Terminators. I like to use the Tallyman to support my Poxwalkers since they have rather poor WS compared to the rest of the army and need to land hits in order to have a chance at regenerating lost models. The Noxious Blightbringer is a good companion for my melee-focused Plague Marines to help them advance into threat range. I have used Dolorous Knell as a relic on the Blightbringer when using Typhus as my Warlord, but I think I would switch it out for the new Daemon’s Toll from War of the Spider to make that melee Plague Marine unit more durable. I always deploy the Blightlord Terminators in their teleportarium so that they can teleport in and threaten wherever on the board I need them mid-game. I equipped that squad with a mix of combi-weapons, a flail of corruption, and a reaper autocannon so that they can be decently effective with shooting when they teleport in even if they don’t make their 9″ charge.

For Fast Attack, I have a pair of daemon engines. My Foetid Bloat-drone is the model from Dark Imperium with a pair of plaguespitters. It is surprisingly durable and the plaguespitters are great for taking out enemy infantry. The other fast attack daemon engine is a Myphitic Blight-hauler that I got mostly to act as a quasi-transport by using its cover-granting ability to support my melee-focused Plague Marines as they move across the battlefield.

The last unit I have for the army is a Plagueburst Crawler for Heavy Support. In addition to its primary mortar, I outfitted mine with plaguespitters and a rothail volley gun. Rather than sitting in the back as artillery, I like to have it at the forefront of my army to force my opponent to either deal with it or have the pair of plaguespitters start eating into their units. While doing that I normally have used the Blasphemous Machines stratagem to fire the mortar without penalty on whichever unit I want to soften up. While getting locked up in melee is a risk, overwatch with the plaguespitters was a pretty decent deterrent.

I haven’t had a chance to play with the War of the Spider updates yet, so the first time I get to use them will probably be with the new edition. When using Typhus, I’ll choose The Harbingers as my plague company choice to be story-appropriate, but I’ll probably experiment with other choices when I don’t bring Typhus to the battle.

Into the New Edition

I think my Death Guard is well positioned to move into 9th edition. They fit nicely into a single battalion detachment to maximize their command points, and I’m not particularly worried about any rules changes really hurting them. I will need to watch out for blast weapons when running large mobs of Poxwalkers though.

The rules change I’m most excited for is that the Plagueburst Crawler will get even better at how I like to use it. I won’t need to feed it stratagems anymore to keep the mortar efficient while it moves and it will be able to fire the plaguespitters in melee to break out. Shooting in melee will also help the army’s Bloat-drone so that it will stay efficient even if it is charged.

Expansion Possibilities

Before seeing the new army-building rules for 9th edition, I had been thinking about expanding my Death Guard army by adding a detachment of Nurgle Daemons. Detachments now costing command points rather than granting them makes that less appealing. I think I will still pick up a unit of Plaguebearers that could be summoned, but I’m not likely to add a whole detachment to the army now.

If I do decide to expand the army, I’ll instead be getting more units that can fit into a Death Guard battalion. To help lean into the Harbingers theme, I’d like to get another big unit of Poxwalkers. This would open up using one mob as a bodyguard for Typhus while the second one makes use of the From the Carrion Heaps stratagem to let me drop them wherever they’re needed mid-game to bolster my forces or target a key objective. I’d also like to get a second Foetid Bloat-drone that I can equip with a fleshmower to maniacally charge into enemy infantry units. Finally, I’m interested in picking up a Daemon Prince of Nurgle as an alternate Warlord option.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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