Competitive Innovations in 9th: Over the Top GT

The thunder from down under shows no signs of abating, and this week we’re zooming in on New Zealand’s north island to take a look at the results of the Over the Top GT. After a modest start last week with only a single list in the field (narrowly missing out on a top four spot), this week the Death Guard were out in spectacular, disgusting force, with four “pure” lists in the 28-player field and readers – they have delivered. After the smoke had cleared from the results, Death Guard lists secured an impressive 3/4 of the top slots, and so this edition is a must read for anyone who’s getting ready to join the inexorable legions of the plague god, or wants to know what they’re likely to be up against when they next hit the tables.

We’ll get into that in just a second, before that, this is your regularly scheduled reminder that if you have any events coming up you want us to know about, especially if they’re in a region that’s less badly affected by Covid, do let me know at contact@goonhammer.com. Next week looks a little quiet – there’s a four round event in Australia that we’ll be looking at pretty much whatever happens, and a couple of other things where it’s not entirely clear whether they’re still on or not, so I’m actively on the hunt right now!

With that out the way, on to the lists. Start charging up those plague bongs.

All the lists from this event are available in Down Under Pairings. Note that with 28 players, only the top four finished on 4-1 or better, so there’s no “best of the rest” section this week.

Jamie Beaton – Death Guard – 1st Place

Credit: Zuul the Cat

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

Death guard Supreme Command – Mortarion’s Anvil

Mortarion- Warlord, Gloaming Bloat, Putrescence Vitality, Miasma of Pestilence, Gifts of Plague 490

Death guard Vanguard- The Ferrymen

HQ

Lord of contagion- plague reaper, extra warlord trait- the droning 120

Troops

18 pox walkers 90

10 pox walkers 50

10 pox walkers 50

Elites

3 Deathshroud Terminators – 150

5x Blightlord Terminators, Flail, Blight-Launcher – 210

5x Blightlord Terminators, Flail, Blight-Launcher – 210

Foul blight spawn- revolting stench vats (free relic) 75

Tallyman, Tollkeeper (extra relic) – 70

Fast Attack

Foetid Bloat-Drone – Fleshmower – 135

Heavy Support

Plague burst crawler, 2x Entropy Cannon – 175

Plague burst crawler, 2x Entropy Cannon – 175

Total: 2000 points

7 Command Points

The Standout Features

  • Mortarion leads the charge of the Ferrymen for the winning list.
  • Poxwalkers and Terminators make up the main mid-board threats, with new and improved Plagueburst Crawlers providing shooting backup.
  • A Foetid Bloat Drone can act as a one-shot Droning missile.
  • The incredibly improved Tallyman makes an immediate impact.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

As a first winning Death Guard list goes, in many ways this one isn’t hugely surprising. A lot of the tool that appeared to be strongest out of the codex do, in fact, appear to be extremely strong when put on the table. Mortarion picked up a lot of the hype out of the book, but the Terminators weren’t miles behind in terms of how excited people were, and sure enough here they are, forming an incredibly tough brick that many opponents are going to struggle to crack. Backing them up, you’ve got a couple of Plagueburst Crawlers for shooting (and these are much better independent operators now), some poxwalkers for ObSec pressure, two of standout Virion characters and a lone Bloat Drone. All of these are tools we were expecting to see out and about – so how are they being used?

Let’s start out with the plagues. This list has gone straight for the two that looked strongest on paper in Gloaming Bloat and The Droning. Mortarion can vary his plague game to game, but the Bloat being written down on the army list makes me strongly suspect that’s the pick in all but some extremely unusual circumstances. Switching off opposing re-rolls in a massive area obviously doubles down the exceptional resilience that Death Guard already have, and combining that with the presence of the Revolting Stench Vats on the Blightspawn means that it’s going to be extremely difficult to get a good hit in on the Terminators when this list doesn’t want you to. The Droning hammers that home even further – this list packs a lone Bloat Drone that can be combined with Flash Outbreak to drop a one use mobility debuff bomb on your opponent’s army, paralysing them at a crucial juncture and allowing the rest of the list to roll over them.

All that comes together to make it incredibly difficult to push this army off the table, and that gives it a very strong secondary plan. I had a chat with the event organiser, and this list was regularly slamming Despoiled Ground and While We Stand We Fight, because against anything other than the limited crop of spike shooting builds in the metagame (mostly Sisters) this army can be very confident it’ll still have a substantial board presence as the game wraps up. With the attrition that the Plaguebursts will inflict on opponents adding up as well, that puts them under severe pressure to try and take a swing at this army’s strongest units to break down some of that “locked-in” scoring, which is an extremely high risk move. Forcing your opponent down dangerous roads with a powerful plan in hand is always a great place to be, and early indications seem to be that that’s how you want to play this army.

The last thing worth highlighting is the Tallyman – these are so good now, especially because the current wording on their CP gain ability has you roll on both turns, meaning you get an average of 4CP per game. Adding on access to the Tollkeeper relic to increase the rate of shooting attrition from your terminators makes them even juicier, and if you don’t already have one of these, get one ASAP.

And…that’s kind of it. As I said at the start, this list isn’t a massive surprise but it’s clear that stacking up the best tools Death Guard have access to you gives you an exceptionally strong list, and if this is any indication, they’ll be carving out a real place in the metagame going forward. Congratulations to Jamie for opening up Nurgle’s despicable festivities.

Courtney Thomson – Death Guard – 2nd Place

Plagueburst Crawler – Credit Beanith

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Supreme Command Detachment +3CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [25 PL, 3CP, 490pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Inexorable

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander +

Mortarion [25 PL, 490pts]: 3. Plague Wind, 5. Curse of the Leper, 6. Gift of Plagues, Warlord

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [80 PL, 5CP, 1,510pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Inexorable

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay [-1CP]: Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Lord of Contagion [7 PL, -1CP, 140pts]: Ferric Blight, Manreaper and orb of dessication, Plaguechosen, Unstable Sickness

Malignant Plaguecaster [5 PL, 95pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 4. Putrescent Vitality, Plague Skull of Glothila

+ Troops +

Plague Marines [6 PL, 105pts]

. Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife

. 4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Blight grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak grenades, 4x Plague knife

Plague Marines [6 PL, 105pts]

. Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife

. 4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Blight grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak grenades, 4x Plague knife

Poxwalkers [5 PL, 100pts]

. 20x Poxwalker: 20x Improvised weapon

+ Elites +

Blightlord Terminators [10 PL, -1CP, 205pts]

. Blightlord Champion: Balesword, Champion of Disease, Combi-bolter, Plaguebringer

. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter

. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter

. Blightlord Terminator: Flail of corruption

. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter

Deathshroud Terminators [8 PL, 155pts]

. Deathshroud Champion: 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

. 2x Deathshroud Terminator: 2x Manreaper, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Foetid Virions [5 PL, 85pts]

. Foul Blightspawn: Revolting Stench-vats, Viscous Death

+ Heavy Support +

Chaos Whirlwind Scorpius [10 PL, -1CP, 170pts]

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

++ Total: [105 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Mortarion, Terminators and PBCs return for round two, but with some different backup.
  • The Inexorable help the list to tear down enemy vehicles via Ferric Blight and make deep strike charges very dicey.
  • Whirlwind Scorpius provides a potent Bubonic Astartes backfield unit.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

So, the first thing you want to see out of a new Codex is that at least one top tier build exists. The second is depth – you ideally want there to be multiple ways you can approach listbuilding, as that shores the faction up against the metagame going hostile, and gives dedicated fans more scope to experiment. The good news is that all three Death Guard lists show off some unique tools. The third list we’ll be looking at is definitely the most different, but there’s still some innovative stuff going on here.

First up – Plague Marines! Rather than going all-in on Poxwalkers and Terminators, this list splits the difference, and adding in a Malignant Plaguecaster and Whirlwind Scorpius as well gives this army some very strong board coverage with BUBONIC ASTARTES units for Despoiled Ground. I had a chat to Courtney and that was the plan for the first three rounds (scoring 15, 8, 15) though later on they switched to Domination instead. That’s another mission this list plays especially well, because the Plague Marines give you some slightly crunchier ObSec models to play with, and wider coverage overall. Being able to cheaply chuck a unit in Reserves is also pretty powerful, giving you some reactive objective grabbers in an emergency that can be trusted not to just get melted if they miss their initial charge, especially as you can blow Cloud of Flies in an emergency.

The next thing that stands out is the Plague Company – rather than pack the Ferrymen, this list goes for the Inexorable, giving them a stronger ability to answer vehicles via the Ferric Blight, and hampering the opponent’s ability to counter the objective plan with deep strike units via the distance sapping Ferric Miasma. It does mean the list loses the Droning gut punch that the winning build had (unless Morty picks it) but because it has a somewhat better plan to cover the board anyway, and can ward off enemy reserves, it feels like it matters a bit less.

The other new thing on show here are more of the exciting toys out of the book. Two different Deadly Pathogens are on show, the extremely unsurprising Viscous Death for the Blightspawn (which you should basically be buying whenever you have the point) and the Unstable Sickness buff on the Lord of Contagion. This makes them extremely mean at scything through enemy hordes, helping the list avoid getting overwhelmed by any armies that can flood the table with ObSec bodies. Plaguebringer on the Terminator Champion helps with that as well, and toy-wise things are rounded out by the Plague Skull of Glothila on the Malignant Plaguecaster. This thing is surprisingly nasty – GW tried to make one-use Mortal Wound bombs a thing several times in 8th and never quite managed it, but at an average of 4.67 Mortals when you let this one fly, you’re genuinely in the range where you can just randomly punk out a character in the midst of battle (and rack up good damage in a mirror match more generally). Certainly a far more attractive pick than you might think on a first pass.

Two PBCs round things out here, sitting alongside the Scorpius to ensure this list has some real ranged punch to work with, and means opponents won’t be able to afford to just play keep-away. However they approach things, the grim forces of the Inexorable stand ready to grind them down and corrupt the table, and Coutney has given us another strong build for Death Guard fans to iterate from.

James Wardle – Harlequins – 3rd Place

A Harlequins Shadowseer
A Harlequins Shadowseer. Credit: Corrode

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

+ Harlequin 2000 (Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition) [107 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] +++

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [107 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Masque Form: The Frozen Stars: Hysterical Fury
. Categories: Configuration, Faction: Harlequins

+ Stratagems +

Enigmas of the Black Library (1 Relic) [-1CP] . Categories: Stratagems

+ HQ +

Shadowseer [6 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: 6: Player of the Twilight, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion, Veil of Tears, Warlord
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Aeldari, Character, HQ, Faction: Harlequins, Infantry, Psyker, Shadowseer, Warlord

Shadowseer [6 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: Agent of Bedlam, Domino Shroud, Fog of Dreams, Shards of light, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Aeldari, Character, HQ, Faction: Harlequins, Infantry, Psyker, Shadowseer

Troupe Master [4 PL, -1CP, 65pts]: Choreographer of War, Darkness’ Bite, Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, The Twilight Fang
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Aeldari, Character, HQ, Faction: Harlequins, Infantry, Troupe Master

+ Troops +

Troupe [9 PL, 174pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [9 PL, 174pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [9 PL, 161pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [9 PL, 161pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Embrace, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 70pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 70pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Shuriken Pistol

+ Elites +

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Humbling Cruelty
. Categories: Faction: , Faction: Aeldari, Character, Faction: Harlequins, Infantry, Elites, Death Jester

+ Fast Attack +

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Faction: Harlequins, Biker, Fly, Fast Attack, Skyweavers
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [10 PL, 220pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Faction: Harlequins, Biker, Fly, Fast Attack, Skyweavers
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [5 PL, 110pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: , Faction: Harlequins, Biker, Fly, Fast Attack, Skyweavers
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

+ Dedicated Transport +

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts] . Categories: Faction: , Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts] . Categories: Faction: , Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts] . Categories: Faction: , Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

The Standout Features

  • Frozen Stars Harlequins eschew fusion weapons for maximum punching.
  • High volume caress and embrace attacks look extremely strong in a Death Guard world.
  • Extreme Shadowseer shenanigans via the Domino Shroud.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

So, the first thing to know about this list is that it has the distinction of being the only non-Death Guard army to take a win off one of the three DG lists on show here (the other loss being picked up in a mirror match). That feels very well deserved, because this list is actually a reasonable divergence from conventional clown wisdom, and the things that make it stand out feel especially well suited to dealing with Death Guard (and soon, Dark Angels).

While we’ve seen Frozen Stars and 10-model foot squads before, this list goes very hard on them, going so far as to bring zero fusion pistols in favour of four big punch mobs and a second Shadowseer to ensure constant coverage of Shield from Harm (plus some shenanigans we’ll cover shortly). When what you need is the ability to cut down squads of T5 terminators with -1D through (sometimes) a no re-roll bubble, being able to put down a Hysterical Frenzy-boosted number of caress or embrace attacks that sometimes have +1 to wound from Malicious Frenzy is going to give you a massively better chance of actually achieving something than relying on kisses or alarmingly small numbers of fusion shots would. It’s also not like there’s really anything it’s bad against, because in most other cases your wound re-rolls switch on and you can pop Murderous Entrance to dumpster almost anything (and re-rolling embraces is exactly what you want for Dark Angel hunting).

A particularly cunning piece of tech helps ensure that this army has that much more staying power to grind a melee slugfest out too. We’ve seen the Domino Shroud used on a Shadowseer before, in that case to allow a list to move the Veil of Illusion bubble around in response to an opponent’s movement. Shooting is on a bit of a downward ebb in the metagame right now, but melee is extremely popular, and in that context being able to teleport the Agent of Bedlam aura into the middle of melee on a key turn, sapping 1A from all surrounding enemy units and ensuring all of yours are in a -1 to wound aura, is going to be absolutely fantastic. That’s true against pretty much anything, but once again the kind of grindy games these Death Guard lists want to play feels like one of the places it’ll be especially strong, allowing you to actually risk a strike into the opposing castle or blunt a countercharge and grab the reins of the game by disrupting their scoring plans.

It helps, of course, that a couple of boat-mounted objective squads and the always great Skyweavers round things out, ensuring this army can pressure any part of the board at any time, and giving it a strong counter to Plagueburst Crawlers (who deeply dislike being blasted with mortals and tagged in melee). That ensures this list always has proactive scoring plans of its own, and combined with how well suited this army is for tackling some of the new meta heavyweights, I expect to see James’s list be a bit of a trendsetter over the next few months.

Ashley Reid – Death Guard – 4th Place

Nurgle Plague Marine
Nurgle Plague Marine. Credits: That Gobbo

The List

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [100 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Plague Company: The Inexorable

+ Stratagems +

Gifts of Decay [-2CP]: 2x Additional Relics

+ HQ +

Lord of Virulence [7 PL, 140pts]: Ferric Blight, Fugaris’ Helm, Virulent Fever, Warlord

Malignant Plaguecaster [5 PL, 95pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 6. Gift of Plagues

Malignant Plaguecaster [5 PL, 95pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 4. Putrescent Vitality

+ Troops +

Plague Marines [12 PL, 260pts] . Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife, Power fist
. 2x Plague Marine w/ blight launcher: 2x Blight grenades, 2x Blight launcher, 2x Krak grenades, 2x Plague knife
. 5x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 5x Blight grenades, 5x Boltgun, 5x Krak grenades, 5x Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ flail: Flail of corruption
. Plague Marine w/ sigil: Sigil of decay

Plague Marines [12 PL, 250pts] . Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife, Power fist
. 2x Plague Marine w/ blight launcher: 2x Blight grenades, 2x Blight launcher, 2x Krak grenades, 2x Plague knife
. 6x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 6x Blight grenades, 6x Boltgun, 6x Krak grenades, 6x Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ flail: Flail of corruption

Plague Marines [12 PL, 250pts] . Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife, Power fist
. 2x Plague Marine w/ blight launcher: 2x Blight grenades, 2x Blight launcher, 2x Krak grenades, 2x Plague knife
. 6x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 6x Blight grenades, 6x Boltgun, 6x Krak grenades, 6x Plague knife
. Plague Marine w/ flail: Flail of corruption

+ Elites +

Blightlord Terminators [20 PL, 420pts] . Blightlord Champion: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Bubotic Axe, Combi-bolter
. Blightlord Terminator: Flail of corruption
. Blightlord Terminator: Blight launcher, Bubotic Axe
. Blightlord Terminator: Flail of corruption
. Blightlord Terminator: Blight launcher, Bubotic Axe

Deathshroud Terminators [14 PL, 270pts] . Deathshroud Champion: Chimes of contagion, 2x Plaguespurt gauntlet
. 4x Deathshroud Terminator: 4x Manreaper, 4x Plaguespurt gauntlet

Foetid Virions [13 PL, -1CP, 220pts] . Biologus Putrifier: 4. Arch-Contaminator, Plaguechosen
. Foul Blightspawn: Revolting Stench-vats, Viscous Death
. Tallyman: Tollkeeper

++ Total: [100 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • …just in case you thought the army was only good because of Mortarion, The Inexorable do it for themselves.
  • Basically just a giant brick wall of Terminators and Plague Marines.
  • Fully operational Blightlord and Deathshroud bombs sighted.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Yeah that’s right. I see you typing that comment about OP Morty carrying the faction.  Backspace key is that way.

We already talked about the importance of depth, so seeing a completely different Death Guard list round out our trio is very encouraging. No Mortarion, no Plagueburst Crawlers, no problem.

Admittedly it is still heavy on Terminators, with a full unit of each flavour, but the big story here is how heavy it goes on Plague Marines. Three full units, armed to the teeth with special weapons, present an enormous wall of power armoured wounds to chew through, and thanks to the array of buffs the list brings alongside them, they’re no slouches on the offence either. The Ferric Blight once again billows out from this army, allowing all those bolt weapons and blight launchers to grind through vehicles at a reasonable pace, and various auras further amplify that. The powerful Lord of Virulence gets a first outing here, with his Master of Destruction aura amping up the launchers, while Tollkeeper returns for another round too. Once the enemy are at closer range, Virulent Rounds combines with Arch-Contaminator to allow for an extremely unpleasant volley out of the Terminators or one of the Plague Marine units, and thanks to presence of a Biologis Putrifier, The Blightening can be unleashed at point blank range for massive damage (or even in melee), and when the Deathshrouds charge Foul Infusion is going to mean they hit like a garbage truck. It’s easy to look at this list and assume it’s just a tank build, but the sheer number of force multipliers it can stack up on its attacks means it can throw down horrific damage if you let it, and it needs to be treated with extreme care.

As with the other builds, of course, there’s a degree to which doing that plays into this list’s hands. Unless you can clear out the Terminator blocks and the flag waving marine unit, it’s very likely that the army is banking a high score on Despoiled Ground and While We Stand. Bringing a spare Plageucaster also gives it an additional angle that was less readily available to the other two lists, which is taking Psychic Ritual (which Ashley did in one of the games), something that’s going to be very tough to stop for a lot of armies. Add in the difficulty of leveraging melee against the omnipresent Stench Vats and Ferric Miasma and you’ve got another build that’s a huge headache to deal with – which seems to be the theme for Death Guard as a whole. Great job to Ashley for stunting on everyone who’s been calling this Codex: Mortarion.

Wrap Up

I think we can all agree that this event was a hell of an outing for Codex Death Guard, and I can’t wait to see how the lists from this new book and those from players trying to beat it evolve over the next few weeks. We’ll also have the looming threat of the Dark Angels to contend with, and we’ll hopefully find out soon enough if they live up to the hype. The metagame never sleeps, so make sure to check back in over the next few weeks as we keep an eye on these trends, and any comments, questions, suggestions or event tips to contact@goonhammer.com as normal.