Short Daemon Tactica: Bloodcrushers of Khorne

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Bloodcrushers of Khorne are pretty deadly, even though they have been somewhat downgraded since last edition, and are still a prime assault unit of any Daemon force.  There are even a few ways to overcome the units’ new problem with 2+ armour saves. Plus, it also gives me an excuse to break out a  MegaDeth song.

Ok, lets start from the beginning, because it colours a lot of people’s perceptions about the usability of Bloodcrushers. It will also explain why, depending on where you play, Daemon players are likely to throttle you if you try to bring up the unit in a conversation.

Bloodcrushers useful
A typical reaction to “I still think Bloodcrushers are useful”

Now, last edition the unit were god level good. They had a one point higher toughness, a 3+ save and power weapons still ignored all saves completely instead of just being AP3 Hellblades like they are now – so naturally every Daemon force had a unit or two.  But instead of screaming ‘Worst.Unit. Ever!’ like some parts of the internet, I’ll be explaining how to use them best, despite their diminished status. Call it an act of spite for having to wade through a year of forum after forum saying Phil Kelly is the worst human alive [I thought it was The Cruddace? – Ed]

For a start, Bloodcrushers are now Cavalry, making them able to cross the board by Turn 2 instead of being late game challengers as they were in the past. This increased speed somewhat makes up for a diminished survivability and means that the unit is now able to do flanking attacks or surprise a unit or two (not to mention they can pick and choose their targets more readily to avoid those pesky 2+ saves). Combine this with the ability to strip a unit of cover from the Bloodcannon and they can still kick a lot of arse.

Bloodcrusher model by Games Workshop
Bloodcrusher model by Games Workshop

Now, whilst their use is mostly limited to killing 3+ save units (of which there are many), the addition of a unit champion or Heralds gives you access to AP2 weaponry. The Axe of Khorne is one of the few god specific weapons I would consider trading the humble Etherblade for, as it has the same stats and swaps Master-Crafted for Instant Death on a 6 to
wound. What your play style is will determine which upgrade you choose I think.

One big change to Bloodcrushers is that I would now consider Deep Striking them, or at the very least hugging cover. That increased vulnerability, paired with their reputation from the last codex, means they will attract a lot of firepower – especially in Space Marine or Necron armies where AP3 close combat weapons are a scary prospect.

All in all, Bloodcrushers aren’t the strongest of units you can have in a mono Khorne force. But use them well as they will still eat a few units before their demise and draw a lot of firepower. For that, and the awesome models, they are worth trying.

So what are you waiting for? Its time to crush ’em!

Bloodcrushers are available from Firestorm Games, priced £30.15.

Short Daemon Tactica: Fleshhounds of Khorne

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Flesh Hounds offer a Khorne player many things. Speed, power, resilience (and used to have hair Fabio would be proud of). But most importantly- a Turn 2 assault anywhere on the board. In this lies the units power. That and their hair.

Khorne_Flesh_Hounds
Seriously, check out those luscious locks. 

There’s something you’ll notice upon looking at the stats of Flesh Hounds- these guys are pretty brutal. Strength 6 and a decent number of Attacks gives you the ability to hurt almost everything in the game. An uncharacteristic Weapon Skill 5 (these are Beasts after all) means you will be able to deliver on that threat in combat and being Beasts means you can get there in time, before the unit gets worn down by these newfangled “ranged weapon” things I hear all the kids in the 40k universe are playing with these days.

Lord of Khorne's armies Fabio spits on you sir!
Lord of Khorne’s armies Fabio spits on you and your cowardly ways sir!

Then there’s the wonderful Scout rule the unit has. Sure, you can’t get a first Turn charge like you could in the days of old, but a free 12″ redeployment before the game starts isn’t too shabby. What’s more, as it’s a redeployment instead of a move, you can start in difficult terrain for the cover saves, confident it won’t be too much of a hindrance.

I would use Flesh Hounds as as smallish units of interceptors, picking off Heavy Weapon toting squads that can cause major pain to the rest of your army. They can mix it up with most units but assault specialists are probably beyond their capabilities most of the time.

Now available with fins!
Now available with fins!

Which brings us to the units only possible ‘upgrade’, in the form of Karanak, who can be purchased as a HQ choice and added to the unit. Though by ‘upgrade’ I mean ‘He costs HOW MUCH?!’

Coming in at just over the cost of 7 regular Flesh Hounds, he’s a little too pricey for me, even if by adding him in gives the unit Rage, re-rolls for himself against one enemy unit and his extra resistance to psychic powers.

Looking at the stats yourself, you may feel the model is worth those points, in which case bulk up the unit size wise and just make the most of it. Including Karanak changes the units focus to more of a character hunter, so use them as such, lest you miss out on the investment you made in getting him. It will turn the unit into a prime target though, which I’m not sure they will be well disposed to cope with – hence the need to increase the unit size.

All in all, Flesh Hounds offer a Khorne Daemon army flexibility and disruption abilities, getting up close and personal and locking down those which may hurt your army most.

Whilst they got unfairly overlooked in the past, now that Blood Crushers are no longer an auto include in every Daemon army you should try them out. Khorne is the god of all types of war after all.

Next Daemon Tactica, its Blood Crusher time.

Flesh Hounds of Khorne are available from Games Workshop, priced £30.

Short Daemon Tactica: Bloodletters

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Khorne units seem deceptively easy to use. Blunt, simple and direct, but there’s more nuance to them than first meets the eye.

The first thing you will probably notice about a unit of Bloodletters is that Strength 4 and Weapon Skill 5 they’re packing. Combined with Furious Charge and a close combat weapon with AP3 leaves no doubt as to how they are intended to be used in the game. It goes some way towards explaining why the unit will cost more at base than other Troop choices in a Chaos Daemon army too.

But regardless of this, they have some fundamental weaknesses and redundancies that make me unsure if they are the combat powerhouses people take them for. Make no mistake, they’re very awesome for a troops choice. But they are only good at one type of combat alone, so I would hesitate to say they are as good as something like Daemonettes, which stand a better chance in all sorts of combat situations.

Bloodletters, painted by the MyTraitorGuard blog

Regardless though, the unit still has a darn impressive stat line – even if Toughness 3 is something that means that Imperial Guard stand a good chance against them in combat with sufficient numbers. Still, with Ballistic Skill 5 you can be assured that any daemon army that needs some protection from fliers can look no further. Khorne cares not where the blood flows from after all, even if it takes a while for it to fall from 50,000 feet.

I’m tempted to take the unit in large numbers to not only terrify your opponent, but to also soak up the losses that having a Toughness 3 and only a 5+ Invulnerable save brings. It also means that if the unit encounters something with a 2+ save, there’s more wounds to soak up the damage whilst the mandatory champion upgrade with the Etherblade upgrade hacks through them.

It’s either that or Deepstriking smaller units in, letting faster units like Bloodcrushers with icons create precision strikes.

Converted Bloodletters, by Alex Kolodotschko on Dakka Dakka.

When it comes to including a Herald in the unit, whereas other Heralds add different dimensions or utilities, the Khorne Herald just makes then better at killing things. The Greater Locus of Fury never seems to bring enough of a benefit to outweigh its negatives and whilst the Exalted Locus of Wrath is fun, I would be tempted, if going for a mostly infantry force, to stick him on a Blood Throne of Khorne instead. Whereas the cheap and cheerful Lesser Locus of Abjuration can make a large section of your army pretty resistant to Daemonic Instability.

In the end, Bloodletters can be seen as a specialised troops choice for taking out medium to heavy infantry units. They will suffer against anything too hard due to their low toughness, high cost per model, and AP3 in combat – but will give everything else a run for their money. They’re a unit that needs other things to work alongside them to let them fulfill their role well.

But when you manage to pull something off with them, your opponent won’t forget in a hurry.

Bloodletter artwork used by Games Workshop for the Daemons Codex.

Next time I’ll be taking Flesh Hounds of Khorne

*Lets not talk about the token 6+ save wooo, Bloodletters are safe if one day Imperial Guard rifle butts negate invulnerable saves.

Bloodletters are available from Firestorm Games priced £16.20.

Short Daemon Tactica: Building Slannesh Lists

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It’s time to break out the bondage gear, zip up the gimp masks, and think on the kinds of  Slaaneshi lists one could construct.

Overall when you go for mono Slaaneshi lists, it’s not a case of if you can build a fast army, it’s just asking yourself how fast you want it to be. Because make no mistake, Slaaneshi units are some of the fastest units a daemon player can field and an entire army of them will be across the board in three turns at most. But with that comes vulnerability, namely a low Toughness stat across the board for all of its aligned units.

So around this thought comes my first potential list. As per my Nurgle list article, all of them will be 1500 points.

The Fast and the Furious

Superbly painted models, posted by gonzosbignose on Warseer

Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. Wings, Psyker level 2, exalted reward

Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. Wings, Psyker level 2, exalted reward

3 Fiends of Slaanesh

3 Fiends of Slaanesh

10 Daemonettes. Instrument of Chaos. Alluress, lesser reward

10 Daemonettes. Instrument of Chaos. Alluress, lesser reward

10 Daemonettes. Instrument of Chaos. Alluress, lesser reward

6 Seekers of Slaanesh. Heartseeker, lesser reward

6 Seekers of Slaanesh. Heartseeker, lesser reward

 6 Seekers of Slaanesh. Heartseeker, lesser reward

Seeker Cavalcade. 3 Seeker Chariots

Total: 1486 points

Fragile but deadly and almost entirely mounted, the idea of this army is for it to smash into your opponents army before they have a chance to take advantage of this lists fragility.

The Daemonette units with Instruments of Chaos are to help with not only Deep Striking, but to reduce the effects of a bad roll on the Warp Storm table, which will affect this type of army more than most.

The inclusion of chariots is a bit of a hypothetical at the moment as I’ve not gotten the chance to using them in a game – I hope to remedy that soon!

Death by 1000 Cuts

Herald of Slaanesh. Greater reward, Exalted Locus of Beguilement

Herald of Slaanesh. Greater reward, Exalted Locus of Beguilement

Herald of Slaanesh. Greater reward, Exalted Locus of Beguilement, Steel of Slaanesh

18 Daemonettes. Alluress, lesser reward

18 Daemonettes. Alluress, lesser reward

18 Daemonettes. Alluress, lesser reward

18 Daemonettes. Alluress, lesser reward

18 Daemonettes. Alluress, lesser reward

15 Daemonettes. Alluress, lesser reward

6 Seekers of Slaanesh. Heartseeker, lesser reward

6 Seekers of Slaanesh. Heartseeker, lesser reward

Total: 1500 points

This army is very much the hoard, relying on cheap Deamonettes to do most of the work. Throw in the odd Herald or tougher unit like Seekers to deal with or delay any tough units the army encounters and the jobs a good’un.

Killer Queen(s)

Keeper of Secrets. Greater reward, level 3 psyker

Keeper of Secrets. Greater reward, level 3 psyker

12 Daemonettes. Instrument of Chaos

12 Daemonettes. Instrument of Chaos

12 Daemonettes. Instrument of Chaos

Soul Grinder. Mark of Slaanesh. Warp Gaze

Soul Grinder. Mark of Slaanesh. Warp Gaze

Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. Wings, Psyker level 2, exalted reward, Warp-forged armour

Total: 1499 points

If you will forgive the slightly ludicrous title, this is a Monstrous Creature heavy list. A small few units of Deamonettes are around to act as objective holders whilst the heavies do their job and scare the bejezus out of your opponent!

Bringing it all together…

A balanced Slaanesh force painted by ArbitorIan from Dakka Dakka

Keeper of Secrets. Greater reward, level 3 psyker- 250 poin

Herald of Slaanesh. Greater reward, Exalted Locus of Beguilement

Herald of Slaanesh. Greater reward, Exalted Locus of Beguilement, Steel of Slaanesh

12 Daemonettes.Icon of Chaos. Alluress, minor reward

12 Daemonettes. Icon of Chaos. Alluress, minor reward

12 Daemonettes. Icon of Chaos. Alluress, minor reward

6 Seekers of Slaanesh. Heartseeker, lesser reward

3 Fiends of Slaanesh

Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. Wings, Psyker level 2, exalted reward

Total: 1496 points

Soul Grinder. Mark of Slaanesh. Warp Gaze

Having a more balanced force has its advantages. By combining the many different elements, you can get the hard-hitting and staying power of Monstrous Creatures and the speed of Seekers of Slaanesh. The only problem is fitting it all in  a 1500 point limit!

And with that, I’m done with Slaanesh for now. Come back next week when I will start (finally!) talking about Khorne. He’s already angry he’s been waiting his turn this long, so it will have to be a good one – or else!

The Slaanesh range from Games Workshop, along with many alternative models,  is available from Firestorm Games for a minimum of 10% off!

Short Deamon Tactica: Seekers of Slaanesh

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My lord, what a stunning unit. Lithe, fast and very, very deadly. If you wanted a killer unit, you could go a lot worse. A canny opponent knows it too.

I’m taking a ride, with my best friends…

Do you like Daemonettes, but just get annoyed that they don’t move fast enough? Say hello to the Seekers of Slannesh. Daemonettes with an 18″ move, they WILL be assaulting your opponents units turn two, something really bad happens. Now admittedly terrain is still a bugbear, as you have no grenades and treat all difficult terrain as dangerous.But considering you are getting Actue Senses, Outflank, Cavalry movement and an extra attack for only 3 points more (on top of the very respectable Daemonette stats and abilities), its something that can be overlooked.

For the points, its mighty tempting to take a unit of 20, which will cost you just over 200 point and net you 120 attacks with Rending a turn. Thats painful for anything in the game and even units with 2+ saves are statistically likely to lose a large number of their squads. Throwing in a Rapturous Standard and Heartseeker almost seems like overkill.

A Pain That I’m Used To

After all the advertising of how good they are, it may come as no suprise that as soon as you plonk them down on the table, a smart opponent will make them priority number one. Even in a unit of 5-10 models, they can cause carnage, so the last thing they will want is a unit of two getting their uninjured. This is why you need to start getting tricksy.

The metal Julian Diaz Seekers of Slannesh, painted by LadyCassandra

For a start, unless you are over 2000pts, have several smaller units. If you are going to be running a mono Slaanesh force, its not as if you have anything else to fill Fast Attack with anyway. Outflank at least one unit with a Herald- it will allow for a multi wave approach and keep your opponent guessing what table edge you will be attacking from. With Acute Senses, whatever hole in their defences your opponent reveals, you should be able to exploit it.

Now talking of Heralds, like Daemonettes, they can have an important role to play in making the unit just so much better. Mounted on a Steel with the Locus of Beguilement probably enhances the units potential most, with a Herald and Heartseeker probably being able to rip the heart out of a combat focused squad whilst the Seekers (probably hitting on 3+’s re-rolled) mop up the rest.

Due to the squads speed, I’m even tempted to give them Pyschic Powers, as there are powers from both the Excess and Telepathy disciplines that rock. You are more likely to get something usable out of the Excess powers, but Telepathy makes up for it with some really powerful powers (Invisibility to name one) that synergise with a Seeker and Herald squad, should you be lucky enough to roll them.

Whatever you do, use terrain to your advantage and try to lock down an opponents movement before they can get into some and use it to negate your advantages. Seekers are still squishy and S3, so you need to use your speed to channel enemy units and more importantly, attack where you can do the most damage.

Daemonettes on Seekers by slaanesh-goddess

My next article will focus on the few models that break the S3/T3 barrier for Slaaneshii models- Fiends of Slannesh.

Seekers of Slannesh are available from Firestorm Games for only £15.75 . 

Short Daemon Tactica: Daemonettes

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Where else to start with Slaaneshi Daemons but their most iconic unit? Nimble and deadly, these beautiful horrors can cut a swathe through an army without even breaking a sweat. That’s if they can get there first though.

Graceful yet Deadly.

I really love Daemonettes. These fast but very effective killers are probably the armies best troops unit, due to just how good they are in the assault phase. Coming with Weapon Skill 5, Initiative 5 ,two attacks and rending for just 9 points a model really is a steal, when you consider how all of their downsides (poor save, low leadership, low toughness) tend to be shared with the other troop choices of the army.

Now by themselves they are a pretty effective troops killer – I find it hard to believe that anything that has Toughness 3 will have much of a chance of standing up to them, or running away from their either. Attack +3″ to the units run move, that can then be re-rolled thanks to Fleet is something not to be underestimated and it means units will positively fly up the table.

I’ve seen games where players have managed to pull off a two wave effect, with a few units deep striking in to cause havoc, leaving an opponent to decide if they need to deal with the units about to assault them this turn, of the units that will assault them the next one. It’s a great psychological tactic and one that’s only so effective due to how fast the unit can move.

Metal Daemonette models, painted by Redbeard of Dakka Dakka.

Excess or restraint?

Now I recommend taking them in large numbers, or else having lots of small units. First of all, their base cost is so good, it would be a waste not to – a unit of 20 with a champion and a banner is just over 200 points, which is a steal.  Secondly, with only T3 and a 5+ Invulnerable Save, you will be losing a fair few models before you get to combat, so its best you either split an opponents fire with multiple small units, or have large units able to soak up that firepower.

As with Plaguebearers, I recommend the ‘less is more’ trend for what to give your Alluress. A single Lesser Reward roll is all you will usually need to give her some extra combat kick, if you even decide to get one at all due to the unit being so great at combat to start with. I suppose it may be useful to draw any hard-hitting characters into a challenge, where they will be denied inflicting damage on the unit for a turn- more often than not there’s a good chance you may be striking at the same time due to the champions great Initiative stat!

Now whilst their base stats are nothing to be sniffed at, to reach their full potential of nightmare inducing hellions, they need the addition of a Herald.

Converted Daemonettes and Fiends, by isotope99 of Warseer.

Masters of pain.

Where to start? Shall I lead with the amazing stats, the Locuses that give them so much flexibility, a pretty great set of psychic powers, or that all of this is available for 45 points base?!

Okay, okay, I’ll calm down. Exciting as all of the options you have for your Herald of Slaanesh, it’s also the main weakness of them, as you can easily find yourself adding more and more rewards until have a 150+ points monster…that still has only Toughness 3 and a 5+ save.

So its finding the best way to compliment the unit you are adding the Herald to and deciding what role you want the model to fulfil and sticking to it rigidly. For me, that means you should probably stay clear of the Psychic powers as they will slow down the unit and focus on having the Locus.

The Games Workshop Herald of Slaanesh model.

Again, theres no clear winner here, but if you want a cheap unit upgrade that helps with them getting to combat, you can’t go wrong with the Lesser Locus of Grace. Giving the unit they join Move Through Cover, means terrain is no longer a hindrance and you can safely shelter behind it, knowing that next turn you can comfortable walk through it and assault the following turn. The Greater Locus of Swiftness isn’t as useful because of their natural Initiative 5 (Initiative 7 for the Herald), but then if you feel like being able to strike in combat before almost everything else in the game, you couldn’t go worse than this.

Now onto the last Locus, the Exalted Locus of Beguilment. This is a good one, letting you choose your challenge opponents (which cannot be refused) and giving the Herald and the unit it joins re-rolls to hit in combat. It’s probably the best of the lot, but coming in at two thirds of the base cost of the Herald, it’s only worth taking if you have a large unit, to spread the cost of the upgrade out.

In the end, if you are thinking of taking a Mono Slaanesh army, well you lucked out with one of the best troop choices in the game.

If you can avoid cover as the unit have no grenades, a full unit of Deamonettes should have very little to fear except excessive firepower. I’ve seen these lovelys kill everything from Greater Daemons to those pesky Storm Shield Terminators. No go forth and enjoy!

Daemonettes are available from Firestorm Games, for only £16.20

Short Daemon Tactica: Building Nurgle Lists

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Before I head onto the Prince of Pleasure, lets talk mono Nurgle Lists. Due to the troops you have available in you choose to stick with just the god of pestilence, you won’t be able to make massive variations to your force. But you can have some mini themes regardless, that will still allow for quite a bit of variance in play style and tactics required.

All the lists will be 1,500 points, because that’s what the Throne of Skulls in the UK uses and I don’t see too many tournaments in the UK using a higher points limit.

Monstrous Hoard

A Monstrous Creature heavy army, from the NurgleonBass blog.

Theres nothing of subtlety here. Just walk forward and crush anything that gets too close. Use the Daemon princes with wings to lock down your opponents movement options.

Great Unclean One. Level 3 Psyker. 240 points

Great Unclean One. Level 3 Psyker 240 points

12 Plaguebearers. 108 points

12 Plaguebearers. 108 points

5 Nurgling bases 75 points

Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Wings, Warp Forged Armour. 1 Exalted Reward. Level 2 Pysker. 300 points

Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Wings, Warp Forged Armour. 1 Exalted Reward 250 points

Soul Grinder of Nurgle. Warp Gaze. 175 points

Total: 1496 points

The Pestilent Hoard

Weight of numbers and survivability is the name of the game here, with some armoured support to help crack tough nuts. Bog down your opponent and wear them down by simply being able to outlast them, along with a few surprises.

Herald of Nurgle. Lesser Reward. Greater Locus of Fecundity. 80 points

Herald of Nurgle. Lesser Reward. Greater Locus of Fecundity. 80 points

Herald of Nurgle. Lesser Reward. Greater Locus of Fecundity. 80 points

Herald of Nurgle. Lesser Reward. Lesser Locus of Virulence. 65 points

20 Plaguebearers. Icon and Instrument of Chaos. Plagueridden with Lesser Reward 215 points

20 Plaguebearers. Icon and Instrument of Chaos. Plagueridden with Lesser Reward 215 points

15 Plaguebearers. Icon and Instrument of Chaos. Plagueridden with Lesser Reward 170 points

4 Plague Drones. Plaguebringer with Lesser Reward. 183 points

Soul Grinder of Nurgle.  Warp Gaze, Phlegm Bombardment. 205 points

Soul Grinder of Nurgle.  Warp Gaze, Phlegm Bombardment. 205 points

Total: 1498 points

Now thats a Hoard! Models painted by the This – is – PAINT! Blog

Creeping Death

It’s not as if you will ever have a lightning fast force using Nurgle only models. But by emphasising the faster elements of the force, hopefully you can lock down an opponents powerful units, allowing Troops to Deep Strike in late to the game for some sneaky objective claiming.

Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Wings, Warp Forged Armour. 1 Exalted Reward 250 points

Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Wings, Warp Forged Armour. 1 Exalted Reward 250 points

10 Plaguebearers 90 points

10 Plaguebearers 90 points

10 Plaguebearers 90 points

3 Beasts of Nurgle 156 points

3 Beasts of Nurgle 156 points

4 Plague Drones. Death’s Heads. Plaguebringer with Lesser Reward. 203 points

4 Plague Drones. Death’s Heads. Plaguebringer with Lesser Reward. 203 points

Total: 1488 points

Bringing it all together…

A bit more of a balanced force than any other of the forces, this utilizes fast and hard-hitting elements to support a solid defensive troops section that can defend objectives.

After all, its objectives that win a game in most scenarios.

Great Unclean One. Level 3 Psyker. 240 points

Herald of Nurgle. Lesser Reward. Greater Locus of Fecundity. 80 points

Herald of Nurgle. Lesser Reward. Greater Locus of Fecundity. 80 points

10 Plaguebearers.  Icon and Instrument of Chaos. Plagueridden with Lesser Reward. 125 points

10 Plaguebearers.  Icon and Instrument of Chaos. Plagueridden with Lesser Reward. 125 points

10 Plaguebearers.  Icon and Instrument of Chaos. Plagueridden with Lesser Reward. 125 points

6 Plague Drones. Plague Banner. Plagueridden, 1 Lessser Reward. 307 points

Soul Grinder of Nurgle. Warp Gaze. 175 points

Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Wings and Armour of Damnation. 1 Greater Reward.

Total: 1497pts

A great Nurgle themed army, first displayed on the Spikey Bits site

So there you have it- some list ideas to go with my prior Nurgle Tacticas. Combine the two and get gaming already!

Short Daemon Tactica: Beasts of Nurgle

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My continuing look at Codex Daemons focuses on Beasts of Nurgle. A mass of contradictory special rules, how on earth can you use this very odd unit? Truth is, I’m not exactly sure myself.

The current Games Workshop model. Not brilliant in my opinion.

So let’s get into this. What makes Beasts of Nurgle such a hard choice to justify is how they almost seem to fulfill the same role as Plague Drones, yet do it far less elegantly. Being cavalry does give them some advantages, and compared to most of your force they will seem to dash across the board in the blink of an eye. By other armies standards though, that’s still a little on the slow side.

It also seems counter productive for them to have that speed when you consider their special rule Attention Seeker, which allows them an out of turn sequence activation to charge any enemy unit that has charged one of your own within 12″. It’s a nifty little rule that will allow for some much-needed line defence of your force, which otherwise may occupy units with more important tasks like  Plague Drones or Greater Daemons.

Combine this with the It Will Not Die special rule and 4 wounds and you have the potential be a thorn in a units side due to them being immune to instant death from anything but Strength 10 weaponry and, sadly, force weapons. But then why the speed that will move them out ahead of the rest of the force? I can only assume its to help positioning and maybe if you want to use them as a flanking unit to your main battle force, slipping around to catch opponents squads in lovely no retreat scenarios.

The original Shaggoth like model, painted by Utan on Dakka Dakka

But then you take a look at the cost and well… a single Beast of Nurgle is not worth more than a Plague Drone. Not at all. Especially as they have no upgrades, what you are left with is a big lumbering beast that can take a hit whilst dishing out a random number of poisoned attacks. At least its D6+1, but even then, spending over 450 points for a full squad and a bad dice roll giving you only 18  poisoned attacks…well its not great. So what can you use Beasts of Nurgle for then?

Distraction and delays mostly, along with some defensive play.

A Beasts of Nurgle converted from Reaper purple worms by deathsalvo. Amazing!

Using the speed of the unit, you can race ahead of the main force, or else Deep Strike in and distract an opponents firepower for a turn or two. Either way, there’s a good chance you will survive most shooting short of a Railgun or Demolisher shell (and if your opponent is using them on you, it’s win win for the rest of your force), panicking your opponent. No-one wants a unit that can’t be easily killed holding up their key combat units or assaulting a firebase. Even if they don’t do much, they should comfortably be able to hold up terminators for a few turns, neutering their effectiveness, or else taking down a low initiative Monstrous Creature or two.

If at all possible, you could even Deep Strike behind or into cover, which will increase your existing cover save provided by Shrouded, all ready for a next turn assault to add to an opponents woe even more! 

Then there’s the idea that you can use them to just support your line, acting as a deterrent against enemy units assaulting yours units. You will get defensive grenades anyway regardless due to Slime Trail, so even if an opponent then counter charges the Beasts of Nurgle, they won’t get any bonuses for charging, taking the bite out of many assault units.

Still, it’s really hard to recommend Beasts of Nurgle, especially as you can spend the points on things like Plague Drones or Daemon Princes instead. Perhaps proxy them first and see if you can find a role for them in your force.

In the end, their Attacks characteristic sums them up all too well. On a good turn, a full squad can munch through anything (64 poisoned attacks at turn!) whilst being a great road block to your opponent. On a bad day, it’s just a 450 point lump you throw at your opponent so they can’t get to the good stuff.

So that’s it for my exploration of Nurgle units! Next week I will be talking Mono Nurgle Lists and Tactics. The week after that it will be Slannesh – just in time for New Year!

Beasts of Nurgle currently aren’t available even from Games Workshop! Go ebay the lovely old models instead.

Short Daemon Tactica: Nurgle Characters

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As its the Christmas season, lets catch up with those characters in a Daemon army that are just like a cuddly Santa Claus. Except for the decay and pestilence. Nurgle’s made that his own.

A festive Greater Daemon of Nurgle in the GW Battle Bunker in Maryland, USA

Great Unclean One: Greater Daemon of Nurgle

So, what else needs to be said? One of the most powerful units of the entire game and one of the toughest too, his only downside is that he’s hampered by being Slow and Purposeful. However, a lack of wings means he does come in considerably cheaper than other greater demons, and when you consider he can Deep  Strike…well there’s very little reason not to, unless you plan on using his bulk to intimidate an opponent as he waddles up the battlefield.

His other great advantage is Psychic Powers. Whilst it is tempting to spend all your points on Daemonic Reward rolls, as all Nurgle Psycher’s have access to Biomancy, you could end up having a pretty much unstoppable model with a few luck rolls. Toughness 10, Strength 9 (all the better for those poison re-rolls against other Monstrous Creatures), 8 Attacks, Initiative 7 and Feel No Pain! All for under the base starting cost of a Bloodthirster!

Again, he’s a slow model, so depending on what Psychic Powers you roll, he may just be useful as a line-breaker for the the rest of your forces, creeping slowly on but almost impossible to put down. In the end, he’s so versatile I can’t imagine not taking him in games over 1500 points. 200-300 points is an investment, and if you want a faster but more fragile option its better to stick with a Daemon Prince, but I’m pretty sure the models is capable of earning the investment back. Even if its just to keep the rest of your force alive long enough to get close enough for combat. It’s a purchase that’s pretty much mandatory.

Greater Daemon Character: Ku’Gath Plaguefather

This guy though, I’m not too convinced on. He’s a little too pricey for what is being offered in his special rules. Overall, whilst he is cheaper and has some stat increases over a basic Great Unclean One, the general downgrading of his abilities (and him being merely a level 1 Psyker) means that for 260 points, he’s probably not worth it unless you are dead set on a theme that includes him. In almost all respects, even with his ranged weapon, the basic Great Unclean One is better. That Ku’Gath doesn’t have his own model yet just seals the deal for me.

Daemon Princes of Nurgle

Daemon Prince model by Forgeworld

Now, onto the last big scary beastie you can field in a mono Nurgle force. Along with Heralds, Daemon Princes are probably one of the most customizable units in the entire list. With the wings he can be given, it’s tempting to just zoom him up the board casting psychic powers before leaping into combat. This does leave him pretty vulnerable and a priority target, but I’m convinced that if advanced in concert with some Plague Drones or a few Deep Striking units, well, your opponent will have a much harder time deciding what he needs to take care of first.

As, if he takes wings, he becomes one of the most manoeuvrable units in your army, I would be tempted to give him an roll on the Exalted Rewards table. He’s a big enough being to not need a special close combat weapon, and the Exalted Rewards table gives him access to Hellforged Artefacts, with the very tempting PortalGlyph or Eternal Blade. It comes down to preference, but I quite like the ability to get an extra small unit of Plaguebearers a turn for free.

Otherwise, without wings (or with them for that matter) grab the armour upgrade, as a 3+ save will go a long way towards keeping him safe from small arms fire like bolters when combined with Shrouded and an Invulnerable Save. Whatever your choice, he will be pricey, which means that that unless you making an army of mostly Monstrous Creatures or having a game at 2000 points or above, you really only have room for him or a Great Unclean One, not both.

Herald of Nurgle

Games Workshops Champion of Nurgle, as painted by Mengel Miniatures

My choice of go to guys for a Nurgle list, Heralds are the workhorse characters, accomplishing things that their Monstrous Creature counterparts couldn’t dream of. Versatile, cheap and deployed in 4s as a single HQ slot. I’ve already covered most of their uses in an earlier piece I wrote. To avoid repeating myself, it’s best I just link you to it here.

It is worth noting in addition though, that unlike the other gods Heralds, the ‘mount’ (does it even count as that?) that Heralds can take doesn’t really add much in the way of movement or added value, so they are best off staying in Plaguebearer units where they can be best utilized.

Herald Character: Epidermis

A sort of ‘Super Herald’ this character was a lot of players model of choice in the last codex because of just how broken he was and how loose rule wording meant you could end up having apocalypse games where all your Nurgle models (even from other lists that weren’t Chaos Daemons) had Feel no Pain and power weapons that wounded on a 2+. The models rules have been understandably toned down since then, to a 12″ radius with very reduced bonuses. In the end though, it means that now he’s not broken, and he’s not worth taking really!

Costing about 2 and a half times the cost of a normal Herald may have been excusable when he had the abilities to match, but now he’s very much a situational character, dependent on getting the kills in and being able to get close enough to the enemy for the effects to be useful.

Perhaps worth taking him in fun lists, as your opponent still won’t like it when his Hive Tyrant gets taken down by Nurglings if he’s at full steam. But his lack of mobility means that your opponent, if he’s careful, will be able to just engage units in combat outside of Epidermis’s 12″ range, negating any advantages.

Nurgle forces are slow enough as it is- the last thing you want is to be clumping up so you can be destroyed by blast weaponry.

So that’s it for my exploration of Nurgle units! Next week I will be talking Mono Nurgle Lists and Tactics. The week after that it will be Slannesh – just in time for New Year!

Firestorm games have most of the Nurgle range for sale on their site- all at a minimum of 10% off.

Short Daemons Tactica: Plague Drones

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Buboes, phlegm, blood and guts! Boils, bogeys, rot and pus! Blisters, fevers, weeping sores! From your wounds the fester pours.

My look at units from the Daemons codex continues with Nurgle Plague drones. A hefty price tag comes with these flying carriers of death, but its worth it due to the speed and flexibility they can bring to an otherwise pretty slow force.

The big surprise starts with the stats. Though they come with the standard low Initiative, Weapon and Ballistic Skill of most Nurgle Daemons, Toughness 5 with multiple wounds and attacks more than makes up for it. Along with this, they are Jetpack Cavalry, which means that nothing will be slowing them down and if they choose to Deepstrike in, they can avoid being pie plated to death by using their free assault move.

Plague Drones painted by DeathShadowSun from DeviantArt.

Having a few attacks each and actual delivery system means their plagueswords can be used to target units that they can be used effectively against, rather than hoping for the best and taking it as it comes like you would with Plaguebearers. Take a Plaguebringer with a cheap Etherblade and equip one of the unit with a Plague Banner and watch your opponent do a double take as you cause 4, AP2 attacks wounding on a 2+ along with a bunch more poisoned attacks to follow! It’s perfect for an assassination run on an Independent Character or Monstrous Creature, as the wounds and toughness of the unit champion should allow you to shrug off most attacks.

Alternatively, you can take Death’s Heads, which give them a nice ranged poisoned attack that you can use to weaken more powerful units before moving in for the kill.

One word of caution though. Despite their seemingly impressive toughness and wound characteristic, with only a daemonic invulnerable save and Shrouded to protect them, don’t expect them to last long against really tough or numerous units. They are the definition of a glass hammer, being able to dish out the hurt for a turn or two before losses make them pretty ineffective. Advance carefully up the battlefield (or if you can, deep strike them behind cover then can jump over the following turn) and pick your target well.

Larger games you can afford to have massive units of them, but in a smaller game of 1,000-1,500 points, a unit of 6 is going to be well into the 250 points range, so its a big investment and you will have to think long and hard about how to use them effectively. 

All in all, Plague Drones provide a Nurgle force with something it really needs, which is speed, flexibility and a nasty combat bite against heavy infantry and power armoured opponents in a pinch. For that, they are sure to be your opponents top priority. With good reason too – once your opponent experiences what Plague Drones can do, it won’t be an experience they will be happy to repeat.

Artwork by Les Edwards

Plague Drones are available from Firestore Games for £31.50