If you want a faction that deals damage through sheer stench and by vomiting on things then you’ve come to the right place!
The FAQ basically just brought the army in line with 3.0 rules and terminology with one key change in how the army is constructed. Previously you could include any NURGLE unit even if it wasn’t in the book, and the new system for all the mono-god armies cleans this up a bit to make it a bit clearer. You can include 2 Slaves to Darkness units, 1 Beast of Chaos unit and 1 Clan Pestilens for every 4 units (meaning you can actually, in theory, skip the books warscrolls altogether!). This doesn’t make it too different from how the book used to work but the bonus Nurgle keyword for Beasts of Chaos unit is certainly a boon. Otherwise it’s just small wording changes effectively to bring the army in line with 3.0.
There’s a lot of synergy in the book, as well as the sub-factions that you can choose from in the Wrath of the Everchosen supplement, since the book was written before these were really a thing outside of being Warscroll Battalions. Of these 4 subfactions, 2 benefit Daemons and 2 benefit the Mortal side of the tome, however largely speaking the daemon subfaction main buffs of worsening rend of enemy units in combat is better than dealing a mortal wound on a 2+ each time a Blightlord dies (if this worked on units with 1 wound like Marauders it would be a lot better).
The Glottkin is a Hero that hasn’t seen a whole lot of use previously, but now with the addition of Heroic and Monstrous actions, as well as counting as 5 models for objectives, and its built-in command being an Aura effect, probably worth considering. Giving off a massive aura of +1 attacks with all weapons to your own army when those units can still be further commanded is definitely good.
Basically a must-take in any mortal list, Harbinger of Decay is as important as he’s ever been, again with a command aura handing out 5+ Ward rolls to units like Blightkings, Chaos Knights, Varanguard, and even the Glottkin this hero helps keep your units alive longer. Probably a good choice for the Arcane Tome artefact too, adding another wizard to the army.
Festus Leechlord is the last mortal hero I’ll talk about, another must-take to help with the army’s lack of rend, his in-built spell causes the affected enemy unit (14” range) to suffer a -1 to their save rolls for the rest of the game. Not just until your next Hero phase, the entire game. This can’t stack with itself, but can stack with the Rustfang weapon relic which does the exact same thing to an enemy unit within 3” of the bearer at the beginning of every combat phase.
Some outsider units worth looking at are Chaos Warriors and Chaos Knights. With the Nurgle keyword these fairly tough boys become an absolute shield wall. Knights give you more maneuverability for your slow army. Chaos Sorcerer Lords (on and off Manticores) have increadibly powerful warscroll spells and are decent Warrior Wizards to throw Flaming Weapon on. Finally the Untamed Beasts are an odd pick, being fairly delicate but they are fast. They can run and charge in the same turn and Nurgle has no shortage of ways to hand them Wards, making their 6+ save a bit more manageable.
As for units, both Pusgoyle Blightlords and Putrid Blightkings put out a lot of attacks, with 6’s to hit becoming even more. Pusgoyles however benefit from the mount’s attacks and having a built-in Ward as well as having the Daemon keyword which interacts with even more buffs from Daemon heroes.
On the Daemon side of things, you’ll frequently want to be taking Great Unclean Ones. One of the best casters you have access to you can give him a +1 to casting for suffering a mortal wound (which lets face it, you’re getting back anyway). His command ability Grandfather’s Joy gives a +1 to attacks for a Nurgle Daemon unit and he’s just plain nasty in combat. While maybe not the most damaging he can do a serviceable job and if nothing else he will refuse to die, keeping your opponent busy for a while. Take the bell option and can boost the move speed of your units by 3” which are usually incredibly slow.
Plaguebearers are an easy choice. They’re batteline, they’re not too expensive to take, come in 10’s, have a 5+ Ward, and are -1 to hit (both shooting and melee now post FAQ) while at least 10 models are in the unit. They’re not doing much in the way of damage without significant buffs from spells/command abilities, but they can hunker down on an objective and be difficult to shift.
How to Play
You have a couple of tools at your disposal to assist with the outdated nature of your warscrolls. First of all, and easy to forget for new players is your Cycle of Corruption. A wheel of 7 different buffs that starts in a random spot at the beginning and then ticks over to the next each round. On its own this tool has limited use, because if you don’t roll a good start you won’t gain the maximum benefit from it. Thankfully you get some level of control over it, thanks largely to the spell Foul Regenesis or Grandfather’s Blessing command trait which lets you reset to any phase you choose. Certain phases worth paying attention to are Fecund Vigour which gives a nice little oomph to your damage, while Nauseous Revulsion gives you yet another way to frustrate enemies who dare try and damage you.
Generally speaking you’ll be taking a bunch of heroes so that they can then buff up your units, regardless of choosing the Mortal or Daemon route (or a mix of both). Your rend, in general sucks so your main damage output will come from simple weight of dice. You have many different ways of boosting attack values on units, units with exploding hits on 6s and mortal wounds via direct damage spells and Blades of Putrefaction, buffing a unit to cause mortal wounds on a 6+ to hit (which means you can use All Out Attack to make that go off on 5+).
Proper placement of the Feculant Gnarlmaw is key since it lets you run and charge when within 7″. You’re a lot faster than you look, take advantage of that. Just take note that your summoning points are largely focused on board control and one factor is keeping enemy units away from the Gnarlmaw. So don’t put it too far up.
A useful utility spells to keep in mind are Glorious Afflictions which halves movement and run/charge rolls. Far more useful than you’d think, combined with redeploy you’ll basically constantly keep your guys out of combats you don’t want. Your pokey guys won’t seem so slow when your opponent’s dangerous blob can’t move more than an inch or two.
A final useful little trick to watch out for: Due to the age of your battletome, “Wholly within” isn’t in your vocabulary. This means you can push your units out a little bit further than most armies can get away with, as long as one model is touch the aura range, it counts. Abuse this for all its worth cause it’s probably not gonna last forever when a new tome comes around
Here’s a sample list to consider, I’m taking primarily Daemon units here but also using some Coalition rules for the Sorcere Lord on Manticore and the Gors, the latter being a great cheap unit to sit near the back and block off a bit more of the board from units that can set up behind your lines while the Plaguebearers can do their jobs being annoying hunkering down objectives.
The cogs are there to give extra casts to your wizards, because actually you’re wanting to get off numerous spells per turn with each anyways: Mystic Shield, Foul Regenesis, as well as their own warscroll spells.
Allegiance: Nurgle - Host of Chaos: Munificent Wanderers - Mortal Realm: Ghyran - Grand Strategy: Hold the Line - Triumphs: Inspired Leaders Lord of Afflictions (180)* -General -Command Trait: One Last Gift -Artefact: Rustfang Great Unclean One (350)* -Bile Blade & Doomsday Bell -Artefact: Mucktalon -Lore of Virulence: Glorious Afflictions Sloppity Bilepiper Herald of Nurgle (130)* Festus the Leechlord (140)** Chaos Sorcerer Lord on Manticore (270)** Battleline 20 x Plaguebearers (220)* -Reinforced x 1 20 x Plaguebearers (220)** -Reinforced x 1 4 x Pusgoyle Blightlords (370)** -Reinforced x 1 Units 10 x Gors (75)** -Gor-Blades & Beastshields Endless Spells & Invocations Chronomantic Cogs (45) Core Battalions *Warlord **Battle Regiment Additional Enhancements Artefact Total: 2000 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 3 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 125 Drops: 8