Why Play Maggotkin of Nurgle?
In short, you want to play an army of tanks. Arguably the toughest army in the game, Nurgle may not always go for the big damage hits but it will take even the strongest attacks in the game on the chin and usually survive, grinding out the opponent over the course of 5 rounds and win on objectives.
- Tough – What more is there to say? Between some solid saves and a 5+ Ward army-wide, Nurgle has a pretty good argument for being the toughest army in Age of Sigmar. While not invincible, your opponent will basically need to stack every buff and debuff in their favor and some of your big stuff will still require you to roll poorly on saves and wards to actually kill it. Add in some consistent healing and you basically get to undo a lot of that work it took to hurt you.
- Summoning – Like all the other mono-god chaos armies, you get summoning points for doing things. Nurgle’s is a bit more esoteric than the other 3 gods, but relatively easy to generate points for. They mostly involve board control, and will create even more headaches for your opponent as they decide whether or not to split their damage to deal with a problem.
- Forgiving to beginners – Although it has a lot of abilities to remember, Nurgle can be very forgiving for beginners. The generally straight forward playstyle, low model count and resilient units (without needing to finagle with auras from heroes or anything like that) makes it easy to pick up and play.
- Strong Damage over Time – This one can be a bit tricky to wrap your head around at first, because most Nurgle units don’t do a ton of damage up front – although you do have some impressive bruisers. Cumulatively however, they will continue to do damage over turns, and are generally able to do more damage with disease than they can hope to do to you over the course of 2-3 battle rounds.
- Slow – Mostly. There are a few exceptions, and you do have some ways to play around it, but for the most part your army is very slow and has to hoof it across the board. This can make missions that don’t involve 3 objectives down the middle very difficult for you.
- Expensive – Your stuff costs a lot of points. It’s tough as nails but you will feel the losses when they do happen.
- Poor ranged options – Your ranged output sucks. You don’t have a ton of ranged attacks or direct damage spells, and what you do have is extremely close range. Nurgle really needs to get in his opponent’s grill and gunk up the board.
- Lack of Unit Variety – Especially daemons, while you’re awash in Hero options there’s not a ton of infantry you get to field. So if you want to try a bunch of different units this may not be for you.
Competitive Rating – High
While not quite the terror it was for a few months after release, Nurgle still has a solid running for winning many events. Even some of the best players can struggle to deal with the tankiness and mortal wound output of a good Nurgle list. Nurgle has a really high percentage of competitively viable units, and depending on how you skew your list and the missions you end up going up against, going 4-1 or even 5-0 is very realistic.
Probably your most complicated but notorious ability. At its most simplistic, Nurgle doesn’t do as many mortal wounds as some armies, not directly. Instead you get Disease Points, which have a chance of dealing some mortal wounds at the end of each turn.
There are 3 situations where an enemy unit will generally get disease points:
- End a movement phase in combat with one of your units. This only counts once, an enemy unit being in combat with 2 of your units doesn’t grant 2 disease points.
- End a combat phase in combat with one of your units. Like the first bullet point, this is only one disease point regardless of how many units are in combat with the enemy unit.
- Any unmodified 6s to hit add a disease point.
There are other ways to accumulate them, such as spells or other unique abilities, but these are the 3 situations you’ll most likely run into. Disease points always cap at 7, no exceptions. After combat (but before battleshock) you roll a die for each disease point on a unit and for each 4+, you deal a a mortal.
Since it’s a 4+, you’ll on average do between 3-4 Mortals if you got all your disease points, but this can spike wildly in both directions. Since this is before Battleshock you’ll often chip off another model or two before they have to make their roll (or make the losses so bad they are forced to burn a Command Point for Inspiring Presence). After which, the counter resets to 1, meaning they will always have at least one disease point on them unless they have access to healing. Healing allows the opponent to remove a disease point instead of healing a point of damage (and an FAQ clarified they can do both if they would heal multiple wounds). Not all armies have healing, and those that do may not want to expend resources to do it. Disease points are not guaranteed mortals but are just annoying enough to be a concern.
What this means is while it may not sound like a lot, these do add up. Your goal is to grind the enemy down over a few turns of combat and this ability will sometimes force your opponent to retreat or take a lot more losses than they meant to trying to put you down.
5+ Ward across the army. Simple and efficient, it’s what makes your army so tanky. Your units have above-average saves and wounds for similar units of other armies, but even your weaker units can handle a few rounds of combat thanks to this.
Additionally, every Maggotkin of Nurgle unit heals a wound at the start of your Hero phase. The Locus of Fecundity ability makes this a D3 if a unit is within 14″ of:
- a Great Unclean One
- Horticulous Slimex
- The Glotkin
- Festus the Leechlord.
Your list may not have any of these models, and the ability isn’t good enough to build around it, but if you have them anyway it’s a nice little boon. The ability is within 14″ rather than wholly, which does make it easier to pull off.
Summon Daemons of Nurgle
Like the other mono-god factions, you have your own summoning mechanic. In short, based on who controls the territories at the start of your Hero phase you generate Contagion Points. Infuriatingly, the book abbreviates this as CP, so do not confuse it with Command Points. These are the situations you’ll most commonly generate points:
- 1 for each Feculant Gnarlmaw that doesn’t have an enemy unit within 3″ of it.
- 3 if there is a Maggotkin of Nurgle unit wholly within your territory
- 3 if you have a Nurgle unit in wholly within your opponent’s territory.
- 1 additional point if there are no enemy models in your territory or your opponents (you get one for each territory).
Basically, Nurgle is about board control. You want to keep something back in your home turf, and get something into their territory. You can’t always control where your opponent goes, but you want something in their territory ASAP. The point from the tree is basically a guarantee, so 7-8 points per turn is pretty reliable.
While that Great Unclean One might seem tempting, don’t hold out for it. On Average that’s not going to come out till round 4 or even 5. Even if you go full tilt, it’s just not worth it. Your best purchases are Sloppity Bilepiper for 7, Nurglings for 8 or Plague Bearers for 14.
Sloppity is a great support piece, but due to the high cost of your models you might not have room to put him in your list. He can be summoned in on the first round, before most combats really even start. Nurglings and Plague Bearers make excellent screens or objective holders when your units start to thin out.
Cycle of Corruption
Basically, you get a wheel of buffs that are army wide and cycle through each one. You roll to see where you start on the wheel before the deciding who goes first on round 1, and then rotate to the next stage of the wheel on each subsequent round.
Unlike the 1st edition book, you don’t have nearly as means to manipulate the wheel so once you start on the path you’re probably stuck with whatever happens. The good news is most of the buffs are good, ranging from stuff like boosting your ward to a 4+ and stopping pile-ins for the enemy (but not you).
Legions of Chaos
Like the other Chaos armies, you have access to this rule that helps smooth over some of the weirdness of allying in chaos units from other armies within the grand alliance by making them coalition units instead.
- 2 in 4 units can be Slaves to Darkness units with the Mark of Chaos keyword, they automatically gain the Nurgle keyword.
- 1 in 4 units can be a Beast of Chaos unit. They cannot have the Tzeentch keyword, which actually does have a real impact on this army, since Beasts of Chaos has a lot of Tzaangor units, all with the Tzeentch keyword. Would be nice to have these, but can’t win em all.
- Unique to Nurgle, 1 in 4 can also be from Skaven if they have the Clan Pestilens keyword.
What does this mean? Not…a lot. Not for you, anyway. Unlike 2nd edition, all your faction abilities require the Maggotkin of Nurgle keyword. Chaos Warriors with a Mark of Nurgle aren’t getting your 5+ ward, which means most anything you take will be less resilient than you are.
Furies from Slaves to Darkness and Plague Monks from Skaven can be some OK screens if you have leftover points, but understand they exist to die while your main army does the work. Some older Nurgle lists used to use Plague Monks to great effect, but given you need a lot of buffs from Skaven Heroes to get Plague Monks to be really killy, it’s throwing a lot of good money after bad.
You got 9 traits, 6 for mortals and 3 for Daemons.
I’ll be frank with you. In 99% of cases you will want to take Overwhelming Stench on a Mortal hero. Ideally a Lord of Afflictions, to be able to position it easier. If you’re going with a fluffy Daemon-only army and don’t have any Mortals, Nurgling Infestation isn’t bad, especially on a Great Unclean One.
Lord of the Rotbringers (Mortal Heroes)
Grandfather’s Blessing – Once per game you can shift the wheel forward in the Hero phase. There’s potential here, almost all the buffs on the wheel are good but sometimes you really want some more than others. It only being once per game is a bit of a setback, however C
Avalanche of Rotten Flesh – After a charge roll, roll a number of dice equal to the charge roll and for each 6 do a mortal and a disease point. Not bad on a Lord of Afflictions, who generally does want to try to charge in for impact wounds, and this just adds more on top of that. C+
Infernal Conduit – At the start of your hero phase, roll a die. On a 1 nothing happens, on a 2-5 get 1 Contagion Point and on a 6 get D3. Contagion points are nice, but this generates them too slowly to be worth the effort. D
Bloated with Corruption – A 6+ on your ward saves will kick a disease point back to the one who dealt damage to you. It isn’t going to generate enough points to be worth it, and you’re capped at 7 per unit anyway. D
Living Plague – At the start of your hero phase, roll a die for enemy each unit within 7″. For each 2+ give that unit a disease point and yourself a contagion point. This will likely generate you more contagion points than Infernal Conduit will, unless your opponent has a seriously low drop army. C+
Overpowering Stench – The good stuff, completely outclassing everything else on this list. Almost any ability that shuts off command abilities is good, and this one isn’t even limited to specific phases. The wording can be a bit tricky, so be aware: Enemy units within 7″ cannot issue orders and enemy units wholly within cannot receive them. Which means a unit with its pinky toe outside of 7″ can still get commands from a unit outside of range, so keep that in mind when positioning. Generally best on a Lord of Afflictions for the decent movement speed and Fly, letting you move him exactly where he needs for proper coverage. A
Avatars of Corruption (Daemon Heroes)
Gift of Febrile Frenzy – Once per battle, you can release the disease and all Maggotkin of Nurgle units wholly within 7″ of the General get +1 to their attacks. Potentially good, but tricky to use, due to its rather short area of affect. Put it on a Great Unclean One to get the biggest size you can. C+
Nurgling Infestation – -1 to hit the general and +1 to hit on Nurgling Swarms attacks. The +1 to hit is whatever, the attack only comes on Great Unclean Ones and Rotigus and it’s really not a good attack. You’re more relying on it to do some disease points, which requires unmodified 6s. The -1 to be hit, however, is nice. As stated above, put it on a GUO to make him even harder to kill and his Nurgling Swarms will benefit from his own buff. B
Pestilent Breath – Gives the bearer a shooting attack that lets you roll a number of dice equal to each model in a unit that is 7″ away from the General. Each 5+ does a mortal. Requires you to get uncomfortably close, but you can often risk getting close and it is a good horde killer does some direct damage instead of laundering it through Disease Points like many of your abilities. B-
8 Artefacts for Mortals, 5 for Daemons. Like command traits, your best option is pretty much spoken for. The Splithorn Helm for heroes is incredible. The daemon artefacts largely kinda suck, but if that’s what you have to take then The Witherstave is probably the best option especially on a Great Unclean One to make its aura real big.
Artefacts of Contagion (Mortal Heroes)
The Eye of Nurgle – Once per battle, if any enemy units are within 14″ that have disease points, you can roll 2D6 and if you get a 7, kill the closest model. I probably don’t even need to explain how bad this. It’s definitely designed to be fluffy, but the odds of rolling exactly a 7 are approximately 17%, so you will only see this work in roughly 1 out of 6 games – and even then you can’t guarantee it’s the model you want to slay. F
The Foetid Shroud – At the start of the Hero phase, the bearer may pick one Hero (who is not a Monster) they are within combat with and the bearer gains +1 to hit against them, and the enemy hero has -1 to hit the bearer. Not a bad buff, but the not a Monster buff is a bummer. It’s rare you’ll have Hero on Hero fights, but the Splithorn Helm will protect you better in those scenarios anyway. B-
The Shield of Growths – Whenever rolling saves, if you roll equal to or below the number of wounds suffered, you may reroll. This does mean after 3 or 4 wounds you effectively can reroll all saves, but since you need to take some damage first it takes a bit to get the full effect. Splithorn Helm will stop damage more consistently and deflect mortal wounds. C+
The Flesh Peeler – In the Hero phase, hand out a disease point to enemy units within 7″ on a 4+. In most cases you probably won’t struggle to hit max disease on stuff you really want to lay into, so this has diminishing returns. The 4+ just doesn’t make it reliable enough to be worth it D
Splithorn Helm – Your defacto choice unless you just lack a Mortal hero. A 4+ Ward pushes a lot of Heroes into the territory where they basically cannot be killed without expending far more effort than it is worth. Combined with the Overwhelming Stench command trait, you can position yourself for the most ideal position with little concern of getting murdered in the process. A
The Fecund Flask – A fun one. Once per game in the hero phase you can say the bearer will drink from the flask. If you do, the bearer heals all wounds on a 2+. On a 1 they immediately transform into a Beast of Nurgle. The kind of artefact you take for fun with the chaos it’ll bring, healing all damage is not a bad thing at all, and Beasts of Nurgle are still pretty solid even if you roll a 1. But really do you wanna risk a Hero for that? C
Muttergrub – Gain the Gift of Disease spell for free, whether or not they’re a Wizard, and gain +1 to casting it if they’re already a wizard. The steps to jump through casting a spell for a single disease point frankly aren’t worth the effort here. D
Rustfang – Once per battle, pick an enemy hero the hero is in combat with and you can stick it in them, forcing a -1 to saves for the rest of the battle. Not bad at all honestly, especially if you can tag a Monster hero to make the effect last longer. B
Daemonic Boons of Nurgle (Daemon Heroes)
The Bountiful Swarm – Once per game at the start of the Hero phase you may pick an enemy model within 3″ of the bearer and roll a die. If you roll above their wound characteristic, they are immediately slain. If the wound characteristic was a 4 or better, you get to pop a Beast of Nurgle right on top of them. More of a “fun” artefact because the amount of stuff you’ll be able to use this one is kinda limited. You can pop the champion or standard bearer of a unit, or even try and kill a 5 wound hero if you feel real lucky, but it will rarely get you a Beast of Nurgle. C
The Endless Gift – The bearer counts as always within 14″ of a Locus of Fecundity so they can heal D3 wounds each Hero phase instead of 1. A solid mid-tier buff. C+
Noxious Nexus – Ignore what the book says, it’s wrong. As written it does nothing, but an FAQ changed it so any time you’d hand out a disease point at the end of the Movement or Combat phase you hand out 2. Not awful but it will not really generate enough over the course of a game to justify it over other choices, especially since you always cap at 7. C
Nurgle’s Nail – Hand out Disease Points on 5s or 6s to hit. It’s fine. Not much more to say. C
Tome of a Thousand Poxes – Same as the Muttergrub above, but for Daemons. Really doesn’t help you out here as almost every daemon is already a wizard and this spell isn’t worth going out of your way for. D
The Witherstave – Add +1 to Disease rolls for enemy units within 7″ of the bearer. Really good on a Great Unclean one, since the aura gets a massive boost in size and they can afford to stay in combat for a long time. Overall a really good artefact, increasing the average mortal wound output of a full 7 disease tokens from 3.5 to 4.2. And that adds up over time, over multiple units. B
Your get 2 spell lores, with 6 spells for mortals and 3 for daemons. The overriding problem that comes up is most of the good Mortal heroes aren’t wizards, while most Daemon heroes are. Many of the good spells are in the mortal lore, so you have to do some finagling to get to use them, whether it be by taking a Rotbringer Sorcerer or Bloab.
Lore of Malignance (Mortals)
Magnificent Buboes – Casting Value 7 and a range of 21″. Target an enemy hero and subtract 1 from hits and chanting, casting, dispelling and unbinding rolls for that hero. Honestly, a really good spell. -1 to Hit for neutering fighting heroes, and -1 to cast/chant for casting Heroes plus a 21″ range makes it very flexible for dealing with anything. A-
Plague Squall – Casting Value 7. Roll 7 dice and for each 7 pick a different enemy unit and give them a plague point. It’s an ok way to put plague points on early with its unlimited range, before you’ve had time to get into combat but its use drops off pretty fast. C
Cloying Quagmire – Casting Value 5, range of 14″. Cast it on an enemy unit in range and roll a die, if it meets or beats their armor value, halve movement and subtract 2 from runs charges. Very matchup dependent, almost useless against something like Daughters with their 5+ saves across the board, but absolutely devastating against Stormcast or Slaves to Darkness. B-
Blades of Putrefaction – Casting Value of 7, range of 14″. Pick a friendly unit in range and all attacks grant disease points on 5s and 6s. Genuinely a solid spell, since it affects ranged attacks too, cast it right before a bunch of attacks. B+
Gift of Disease – Casting value 6, Range of 21″. Pick an enemy unit in range and all other enemy units within 7″. Particularly early on, opponents will try and “Castle Up”, so with the very generous range on this spell you can get disease points spread early. B+
Rancid Visitations – Casting Value 6, Range of 7″. Choose a unit within range and roll a die for each model within range and on a 2+ deal a mortal. Absolutely gnarly horde clearer, even if it needs you to get uncomfortably close. Bloab is tough enough to get that close and risk it. B
Lore of Virulence (Daemons)
Favoured Poxes – Casting Value 7, Range of 14″. Choose an enemy target in range and until the caster does basically anything (move, attack, cast another spell) the target has -1 to hit, wound and save rolls. It’s a solid spell to cast on something you don’t expect to need to move for a while, like a GUO already holding down the center point. B+
Fleshy Abundance – Casting Value 7, range of 14″. Adds +1 to wound characteristic of a Daemon unit until your next hero phase. A great spell somewhat held back by the lack of really good things to cast it on. One wound on a Hero is rarely going to make a difference, especially when you can still die once it wears off. It can have some great returns on Plaguebringers, making them a unit of 3 wound infantry and even harder to knock off, but probably not worth much beyond that C
Stream of Corruption – Casting Value 6, range of 7″ (by default). Basically when you cast this you get a shotgun or rifle version. Either cast it on a target within 7″ and roll a die for each model in the target unit, and each 5+ does a mortal, or do the same deal within 14″ and each 6+ instead. Pretty standard horde-clearer, aside from the ability to extend the range. Often good to have, and a solid source of mortal wounds. B
Plague Legions (Subfactions)
Munificent Wanderers – Deal 2 Disease points instead of 1 at the end of Movement and Combat Phases when within 3″ of an enemy unit, but only for units with 10 or more. This means it’s basically worthless outside of Plaguebearers reinforced Blightkings, which you may have but the bonus isn’t really worth it when you’ll probably hit 7 just through combat. D
Befouling Host – If you have a Daemon general you get 2 Feculant Gnarlmaws instead of 1, within your territory and more than 7″ apart. The Daemon General is a strange rider, and can cause problems since it’s going to keep you from getting Overwhelming Stench, but the effect gives you another Contagion point per turn to help get the summoning going earlier. B-
Droning Guard – For the first round, -1 to hit against any Plague Drones. I think this is a bit of a sleeper hit, Plague Drones aren’t as flashy as Pusgoyle Blightlords, but they do get a lot of attacks to accrue disease points quickly and it’ll help save them from some early shooting. C+
Blessed Sons – If a friendly mortal unit dies, roll a number of dice equal to the wound characteristic of the model and for each 6 do a disease point. It’s like a worse version of Stormcast’s mortal wounds on death but they get that for free and you don’t. D
Drowned Men – All your Lord of Afflictions and Pusgoyle Blightlords get a free 8″ move before the game. For a long time this was the de facto choice and it’s still a strong one. For a substantial period of time, the meta option was to spam as many Pusgoyle Blightlords as possible. Now, they’re still very good even if you can’t run as many. Obviously, this wont affect any in deep strike, but it helps the ones you didn’t deep strike get up on turn 1 for a potential alpha charge. A-
Filthbringers – Lets you bring the powerful Rotbringer Coven, which is basically a unit of 3 Rotbringer Sorcerers that become more powerful when they stick close to each other. We’ll break them down in the units section but short version is this is very good if you’re willing to build around it and in the current season a few extra Galetian Champions wont go unwanted. B
Thricefold Befoulment – 3 Great Unclean Ones? Forget it, that’s almost 75% your list! Great Unclean Ones can be good, but they cost so much you really only want to invest in one and stop there. There’s far cheaper ways to get Magnificent.
Rotbringer Cyst – 1-3 Mortal heroes, 3-6 Mortal units that are not Leaders, Behemoths or Artillery all as a one drop. This one is actually good, particularly if you want to run a lot of Pusgoyles or Blightkings. Not as appealing as it was, but still potentially useful in many mortal lists.
Corrupt Arcane Nexus – Get a Wizard within 3″ of the center of the battlefield and no enemy units within 6″ of it. The first part, easy enough, a lot of your heroes are wizards. The second part…not so much. You’re not so good at killing quickly and an opponent can make a mad dash on round 5 to shut you down So I’d skip this one. C
Spread Rampant Disease – End the game with every enemy unit on the battlefield having a disease point. Sounds ok on paper but there’s a few problems. First, a simple Heroic Recovery on round 5 can deny this for you even if you did tag everything. Second, the FAQs have ruled that for any rules that say “Every unit on the battlefield” there must be at least one. So if you somehow table your opponent, you will be punished for that. C
Tend the Garden – You accomplish this if you have a Feculant Gnarlmaw within enemy territory and no enemy units within 3″ of any Gnarlmaw. Pretty achievable, Gnarlmaws don’t cost that much to summon but it is taking away points probably better spent on summoning actual units. B-
Blessed Desecration – Only possible with a Mortal General. Pick a terrain piece wholly within enemy territory. If no such option exists, you can choose any terrain piece. End the game controlling it. Probably the most viable on this list, but Take What’s Theirs is quite similar and remains just a bit easier to do, especially since your model count is generally going to be pretty low. B
It’s not really worth it to rate battle tactics individually, as you simply pick them in the situation they seem achievable. That said Nurgle has a really good set of tactics to supplement the generics in each season.
Feed the Maggots – Complete if 7 models are slain by disease rolls this turn. As you play the army more you’ll get a feel for how many disease points you’ll be able to hand out this turn, but that can be hard to gauge at first. Of course, the dice can also betray you but hey, that’s the game. Best against opponents with lots of different 1 wound hordes so you can stack 7 disease points on as many separate units as possible.
Nurture the Gnarlmaw – Complete if theres enemy units within 12″ of a Gnarlmaw at the start of the turn and by the end there aren’t. You’ll probably know quite easily if you can do this. Usually you’re going to tuck your Gnarlmaw into a back corner where the opponent cannot easily get within range to shut off the CP generation. If your opponent has a teleport they may try and do just that, this is a good way to bait them out so you can get this battle tactic pretty easily.
Gifts of Nurgle – Complete if 3 or more units are within range of a single enemy unit by the end of the turn. Extremely easy with a few caveats. Since it has to be the end of the turn, it has to be a unit you won’t kill in one go, so unless the unit is very resilient then maybe don’t go this route, because your opponent will pull models in an attempt to keep at least one of your units more than 3″ away. Also don’t forget the ill timed 6″ redeploy that may make your 3″ charges a whole lot harder. So in short, only do this if you feel confident in the above factors.
Glory to the Grandfather! – Arguably the one you’ll use most on this list. Kill more enemy units than they kill yours. Time it right to pick off a weak unit and that’s all you have to do to stay up in score.
The Droning – Get a unit with a fly mount in each of the 4 quadrants. This can be a pretty solid opener for Fly spam lists to deep strike in 2 quadrants and simply move up onto the other 2.
Sudden Domination – Summon a Great Unclean One this turn and have it within 3″ of an objective you control in your opponent’s territory. The summoning the GUO is basically a dealbreaker right there, it’s rare you’re going to bank that many points. You might eek this out round 5, but by then the games probably won.
Rotigus is a named Great Unclean One who doesn’t quite get there as a side grade. He has a pretty great Warscroll spell, which can do direct Mortal wounds to units anywhere on the field. He gets to reroll casting rolls but only for that spell. His combat ability is fine but the stock Great Unclean One can be equipped to be better at combat or even a better wizard with 3 casts instead of locked to 2 and it can equip artefacts and command traits to improve their utility
Overall just not worth it, if you want a GUO, just use the stock one.
Great Unclean One
The iconic Unit of the Army and he very much can hold a place. Like the other non-Bloodthirster greater daemons, he’s a capable Warrior-Wizard who basically exists to be the most frustrating road block possible (And if it weren’t for the glottkin he could probably succeed). He has a lot of equip options, but generally you want to go for Sword and Bileblade for an extra spell each turn (1 wound is nothing, you’ll generate it back) or Sword and Flail to maximize damage output. Whichever one you think is more important. If you want to use the bell it’s not bad, it’s got a few attacks to help generate disease but on average it likely won’t generate enough contagion points to be worth it.
Overall the damage output of the Great Unclean One isn’t great but it’s just enough to make opponent’s rethink engaging it. The 15 host of Nurgling Attacks (that are otherwise terrible but help you roll a lot of 6s) on top of whatever else you equipped it with, the fact that the enemy is engaged with it and that it does a Disease Point on a 6 to ward rolls means that 7 Disease points is basically guaranteed. They absolutely need to send a powerful hammer at this guy and even then it’ll likely take 2-3 turns of combat to bring it down with 18 wounds and 5+ ward. Generally a smart opponent will just avoid it, so put it somewhere that’s not an option.
The one downside is this guy is almost a quarter of your army, and he is very slow at 4″. So while he can work he has to really be built around, tie the enemy up in chaff so he can charge in next round, whatever it takes.
Awful. In theory he’s meant to work with your Plaguebearers, but all he offers them is one after the other fighting and a spell that only works on an enemy unit within 3″ of a Plaguebearer unit. If you want someone to support your Plaguebearers, bring Spoilpox Scrivener. If you want a cheap wizard, bring a Rotbringer Sorcerer.
Epidemius, Tallyman of Nurgle
This guy is in the pile of stuff that’s not good enough to make it on most tournament lists, but good enough to rock up for some casual games. His hideous old model probably has not helped his case.
At the start of your Hero phase you get to roll a handful of dice based on your units.
- Great Unclean Ones are worth 3 dice.
- 2 for units of 10 or more, and each feculant Gnarlmaw
- 1 for each other unit.
For each 5+, keep a tally and when you reach 7 you receive a reroll you can bank to spend on a Ward Save, Casting Roll, Dispelling Roll or Unbinding Roll. You can save these over successive turns. Overall the problem is it’s a lot of work for an underwhelming boon. If you want effectively unlimited casting or unbinding rerolls just bring the Chronomatic Cogs. Ward saves are less of a given but its rare a single point of damage will save you. His attack profile is…fine but he’s slow and offers no buffs for your army. As stated above, fun for a casual game, probably won’t win you any tournaments.
A support piece purely for Plaguebearers. He can choose one of 3 buffs to hand out (+1 Attack, -1 Rend or +1 to saves) at the start of combat. You’ll almost always want to take +1 attack if you expect you’ll get to fight first, or +1 to save if you intend to hold out as a tarpit.
The problem is plaguebearers just aren’t great and aren’t intended to be. If you take any it’s as a tarpit or distraction and dumping another 100 points on top for a chaff unit isnt worth it, unless you want to basically fill the board up with them. In which case hey, go nuts. This guy isn’t Unique.
This guy is great. His only trait is his songs, but they’re all worth looking at. They affect all Daemon units within 14″. The songs grant either:
- +1 to Wound.
- 6s to hit do Mortal wounds
- All enemy units in combat with Daemons within 14″ of him cannot pile-in.
The big issue with him is lack of good units for him to buff. Only Plaguebearers get some serious benefit (or Beasts of Nurgle, if he can keep up), so if you bring 20 Plaguebearers, he’s a pretty cheap summon early on to make sure they keep ticking. No Pile-ins drags out to the fight to the point where it’s often not even worth it for the enemy to remain engaged with them. It often catches inexperienced players off guard.
This guy is only good if you wanna spam Beasts of Nurgle, and the good news is those are great so you can do that. He grants reroll charges to all Beasts within 14″, and +1 to their hit. You’re generally bringing the beasts for the Impact mortals, but damage is damage. He also comes with a free Feculant Gnarlmaw you can drop in your Hero Phase, perfect for saving points on better summons.
He costs a bit too much at 220 for such an edge case, but if you really want to spam Beasts then consider him.
This guy (almost) does it all. He’s a 2 cast wizard (and a mortal, so he gets the good lore), has a solid attack profile and is tanky at 20 wounds (and thats before his 5+ Ward). He’s got his own Monstrous Rampage, Mountain of Loathsome Flesh which is basically a better Stomp, doing 5 flat mortal wounds on a 2+ and even when it degrades it only stops at 2 wounds, which is still probably more reliable than Stomp potentially only doing 1. Horrific Opponent is a nice perk that forces opponents to retreat on a Bravery check. Not essential, but useful if they tried to block you with Chaff that they’d rather stay in combat (or worse, one of the things that could actually hurt it).
His one big weakness is getting there, he is slow, very slow. 5″ of movement slow. This is helped a bit by the wonderfully named Blightkrieg which is a command ability to allow him and a friendly unit within 12″ of an enemy unit attempt a charge at the end of the enemy movement phase if an enemy unit is within 12″. It’s important to know how this works, because the friendly unit doesn’t need to charge the same unit, as the Glottkin is a Warmaster, so as long as a friendly unit wholly within 18″ of him is within 12″ of a unit, it can charge, even if its not charging the same unit the Glottkin is.
The trick with this is it often only works once, if your opponent knows how this works, they will treat 12″ around the Glottkin as a no-go zone, and he will often struggle to get where he needs to go. At 650 points that’s almost a third of your army, so if he’s not doing anything you’re fighting your opponent with far fewer points. He can work, but you need to have a plan where you want him to go and commit to it, making sure he is in the nexus of everything so he’s impossible to avoid. Don’t worry, he can usually take the hit.
Orghotts is the middle child of the Maggoth Lord, but arguably can take first billing depending on your list and taste in units. He’s a bruiser with an impressive combat profile of 5 Rend -2 Damage 3 hits and seven Rend -1 Damage 2 hits. He also issues a free command each turn, which is good since he is a Warmaster, so he always gets max range out of it.
An all around solid bruiser and command center for your bunker, it’s not uncommon to see him and Bloab together in lists.
If you have an ubuilt Maggoth Lord kicking around and aren’t sure how to build him, this probably should be your first pick. Bloab is great, he’s one of the few Mortal casters you have so you can grab something from their excellent Lore. He gets +1 to cast, causes -1 to cast to enemy Wizards within a generous 14″ Aura, and his warscroll spell is excellent as one of your few sources of direct Mortal Wounds without needing to finagle with Disease.
In combat he’s pretty solid. Not quite as good as the other Maggoth Lords of course but he’ll handle most chaff or mid-tier hammers pretty well. His mount has some pretty gnarly -2 Rend D3 attacks and he’s -1 to hit in close combat. He’s a great choice for most lists, the only thing holding him back is his cost. North of 300 points he has to do his fair share, but as a Monster he can cast, fight and hold objectives well. Heavily worth considering.
And finally the last forgotten child of the Maggoth Lords, but it has more to do with his brothers just being a cut above. While Orghotts is a fighter and Bloab a Wizard, Morbidex is more of a tank. He has a combat profile almost as good as Orghotts but he heals half his damage taken at the end of the Battleshock phase which is still pretty damned impressive – it’s hard to take him out in one run. He also restores a model to a Nurgling unit within 7″, not worth even talking about. The problem is he’s gaining these at the expense of a free command point each turn or being one of the best casters in your army. It really makes him hard to recommend over the other 2. Unless you love Nurglings.
Lord of Afflictions
This guy rocks. If you want to run any flies (and you probably should) then this guy is basically mandatory. Even if you don’t, he’s still highly worth considering.
The de facto choice for General, with the Splithorn Helm and Overwhelming Stench combo he has just enough speed (and Fly) to be able to maneuver where you need to be to maximize the use of the command ability. With Splithorn Helm he is resilient enough that most opponents just won’t even bother trying to kill him – they simply can’t do the damage necessary, especially when they can’t use command abilities!
This guys a Hero hunter. Fine attack profile but we don’t care about that. What we care about is Master of the Slime Fleet which lets you put Gutrot into Deep Strike and then take up to 3 Mortal units along for the ride, dropping them in within 12″ of Gutrot, within 6″ of the Battlefield edge and more than 9″ from the enemy. Very useful for getting slow units like the Glottkin in (he is a mortal) and for sneak attacking with Rotmire Creed.
Lord of Blights
The two foot Lords are comparable, but help Blightking models in different ways. Only the foot ones, so these guys are basically worthless outside of helping them. The Lord of Blights gets a shooting attack, and also hands off the same shooting attack to a Blightking model within 7″ (Not wholly, interestingly enough).
It’s not a bad shooting attack either, the Thrice-ripened Death’s Head is a horde clearer and with your very limited shooting option it ends up feeling a lot better. It’ll probably kill 1-2 models, and then another Blightking unit also shoots it. Decent for softening them up before the charge. They also get to fight one after the other in tandem with a Blightkings unit with Lord of the Blightkings and he has a slightly better attack profile than the Lord of Plagues, since he’s a flat Damage 2.
Festus the Leechlord
An interesting support hero, a Wizard who can either heal a unit within 1″ for D3 wounds or do D3 mortals to an enemy unit within 1″ (Don’t let the latter get there, he’s terrible in combat).
His spell’s also not bad, granting a permanent -1 to saves for an enemy unit. You can’t stack it but you probably won’t need to. Overall? He’s fine, he’s just competing for a competitive slot.
Harbinger of Decay
How the mighty have fallen. Originally the way to get your 5+ Ward with a generous aura, he was a mandatory auto take in any 1st or 2nd edition list. He had to find a new job now that it’s just a thing your army can do. Sadly his new job just isn’t in demand.
He gives D3 Command Points on the first battle round if he starts within 7″ of the general. Not bad but you rarely need that many on round 1, and the ability doesn’t carry over to subsequent rounds. He shuts off command abilities for units he’s in combat with, but he’s not very good at combat. Maybe the new model will bring some fresh new rules this guy badly needs, but for now put your 140 points elsewhere.
Nurgle has a bit of a dilemma. They have some excellent spells, but they’re mostly in the mortal lore and there aren’t actually many Mortal Wizards. This is your economic choice for getting access to that spell lore.
On his own, his Warscroll isn’t that impressive. Stream of Corruption is basically a freebie spell and it’s a fine damage spell. Tainted Endless Spell, which allows Endless Spells to also grant Disease as if they were a unit, is little more than a novelty. So overall you’re taking him because he’s cheap access to the mortal spell lore.
Unless you dip into Filthbringer Coven subfaction, then we’re talking. You can take 3 Rotbringer Sorcerers as a unit and you choose one to receive the bonus of +1 to cast and unbind. For each other sorcerer in the unit within 3″ of them, that bonus increases by another +1, to a maximum of +3. As Tzeentch and Seraphon become more common in the meta it’s a valid strategy, if you don’t want to go the Fly spam route.
Lord of Plagues
The Lord of Plagues differs from the Blights by not having a shooting attack but he does grant +1 attack to a unit of Blightkings, which I think actually lets him edge out the Lord of Blights ever so much. Shooting is nice, but Blightkings are combat threshers. He also gets Lord of the Blightkings but his attack profile is a bit worse at D3 damage instead of the flat 2.
He’s also 20 points cheaper, so if you bring a unit or two of blightkings, I recommend one of these two, but not both. Personal preference applies here.
Fecula Flyblown and the Wurmspat
The Warhammer Underworlds models so we’ll review them as a set. Fecula herself is basically just a Rotbringer Sorcerer who can cast an extra spell once per game, and her companions are 2 Blightkings that can bodyguard her on a 4+.
Toward the end of third, attempts have been made to make Underworlds Warbands more dynamic and interesting. This isn’t one of them. Just bring a Rotbinger Sorcerer (or a coven if you can).
Your rank and file battleline chaff. A bit costly at 150 points but not undeserved, they do their job as a tarpit. Their attacks are awful and they have a 6+ save, but at 2 wounds a piece and a 5+ Ward they actually take a fair amount of work to put down. The -1 to hit with Ranged weapons means your opponent will probably need to engage them in combat, which means more Disease points, and less time they’re fighting things that matter.
Usually worth bringing at least one 10 or 20 man unit to hold an objective or as screens, and you definitely want to hold on to a few for summoning.
Your elite infantry. They cost a lot at 250 for 5 but they absolutely make their points back with 4 wounds, 4+ save and 5 attacks per model. They’re also one of the rare sources of direct mortal wound output, allowing them to pretty reliably chip off 4-5 one wound infantry at the end of combat.
The downsides are that if reinforced they are difficult to manuever in combat without something like the Galetian Veteran battalion, and that they are very slow and may struggle to get where they need to go. This is why people generally take the Pusgoyle Blightlords instead and Blightkings function better as a backline or for holding the middle.
Beasts of Nurgle
Seemingly underwhelming on their own, these guys do work when you bring a ton of them. Their attack profile isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. Their power comes from being able to charge into the enemy for D3 mortal wounds, retreat (giving a disease point) and slam into them again. They’re resilient enough to usually survive combat for a round or two, and at 110 points you can easily just slam entire waves of them into the enemy and finish them off before combat even starts. Entire lists have been made with pretty much just these guys but even just a handful will pay off if they work in tandem, or with other strong attackers.
These guys occupy a unique role in the army, and they’re cheap enough it’s worth trying to bring at least one. Their special rule allows them to deep strike in close to a terrain piece at the end of your first movement phase (So don’t forget to bring them in!). The general goal here is to drop them in your enemy’s deployment as far from the opponent as possible. This lets them generate Contagion Points for having a unit in your enemy’s deployment, gain control of a terrain piece for Desecrate Their Lands and forces the opponent to go deal with them.
They have a poor 6+ save, but 4 wounds a piece and any wounds suffered are removed at the end of Battleshock. Their attacks are awful but you get a lot of them, so they generate a fair amount of Disease Points. They teeter on this line where they are just resilient enough to survive many MSUs trying to put them down, forcing your opponent to dedicate some resources to removing them (lest you keep getting those 3 Contagion Points a turn) and that’s fewer resources spent trying to combat your actual force. Even if they do kill them, they probably expended more points to go kill it than you did paying for these guys. Great add when coming down to your last few hundred points.
Battleline in Droning Guard. These guys aren’t quite as impressive as Pusgoyle Blightlords but you shouldn’t sleep on them either. They get a short range shooting attack which gets a number of shots equal to the number of models in the unit. It’s capped at 7, but you have 3 models so that’s usually 21 shots if you fire into a horde. If neccesary they can charge in and get a decent number of attacks to cap off disease points, and are generally pretty hardy.
Overall Pusgoyle Blightlords are the better flies but if you need to save a few points and have some strong Daemon buffs, these can be a suitable alternative.
Battleline in Drowned Men or with a Lord of Afflictions as long as it is not (single). Once upon a time this was the meta unit and you know what? Still pretty good! You can’t spam as many as you once could, but people get by lists that just contain these guys.
They have an OK attack profile, more notable for the number of attacks it grants for extra disease rather than the damage, but it cant do some suitable chip damage. They deal D3 mortals on the charge on a 4+ (and one in every 2 models does it on a 2+!) and then get to deal mortals again at the end of combat if they roll above the enemy’s wound characteristic. Throw enough flies into the problem, and put disease points on top, and this is actually a lot of mortal wounds. They’re also very durable at 8 wounds a model, so often they can pin enemies in their deployment zone and leave them unable to push up. By the time they die, your opponent is already trailing behind in points.
Battleline in Blessed Sons. One of your only dedicated shooting units, these guys are great. The shooting profile might not look too impressive, but everytime they get a disease point every enemy unit within 3″ also gets a disease point. Frequently, your opponent is going to want to bunch up. They want to keep their foot heroes within 3″ of a friendly unit for Look Out Sir (or in these season, keep them from being targeted entirely) and make charges more difficult so you have to charge multiple units. Punish them for this, and just fire a bomb to hit multiple targets at once with disease. Even if they don’t do that, you almost certainly made them deploy in a way they didn’t want to.
I’m almost willing to say these guys are an auto include. You probably won’t bother with more than one, since they did errata the warscroll so the ability doesn’t stack multiple times a turn, but one unit is still worth it.
It’s a terrain piece, so you’re gonna bring it. This thing gives you an extra contagion point, as long as an enemy unit isn’t within 3″ of it and functions as a summoning node. Even if they try and camp out there, it still counts as diseased for purposes of dealing with mortal wounds, so itll likely, eventually, take care of weak chaff on its own. They better bring a monster who can kick it over if they wanna stop you for good. If they do do that, they certainly committed more resources to do it than was useful to them.
It’s good to have 2 or 3 on hand, since you can summon more in. Generally don’t bother doing this, as the return on investment isn’t good enough (it’s 9 points to summon one, you will at most get 3-4 points out of it) but it is crucial to fulfilling the Grand Strategy Tend the Garden or the Battle Tactic Nurture the Gnarlmaw.
Jarrah Both – 5th Place War in the North 3, March 2023
Jarrah's List - Click to Expand
– Army Faction: Maggotkin of Nurgle
– Subfaction: Drowned Men
– Grand Strategy: Blessed Desecration
– Triumph: Bloodthirsty
Lord of Afflictions (230)**
– Command Traits: Overpowering Stench
– Dolorous Tocsin
– Artefacts of Power: The Splithorn Helm
Rotbringer Sorcerer (140)**
– Spells: Gift of Disease
– Aspects of the Champion: Tunnel Master
Lord of Blights (150)**
– Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome
– Spells: Blades of Putrefaction
Putrid Blightkings (500)*
– 2 x Icon Bearer
– 2 x Sonorous Tocsin Bearer
Pusgoyle Blightlords (250)**
– Dolorous Tocsin
Pusgoyle Blightlords (250)**
– Dolorous Tocsin
Plague Drones (200)
– Icon Bearer
– Bell Toller
Rotmire Creed (130)*
Rotmire Creed (130)*
TOTAL POINTS: 1980/2000
Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App
This is a nice mixed list, able to touch on all the nurgle good stuff. The start while the Lord of Blights and Rotbringer Sorcerer support them (running double duty as the lists Galetian Champions). The Lord of Afflictions bring in the two Blightlords with deep strike, or use the subfaction ability to start 8″ ahead – whichever is better for the current battle plan. Meanwhile, the plague drones and Rotmire creed can do some harassment shooting from afar.
Idar Moss – Norsehammer Open, March 2023
Idar's List - Click to Expand
– Subfaction: Befouling Host
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumphs: Indomitable
Bloab Rotspawned (320)*
– Lore of Malignance: Gift of Disease
Lord of Plagues (140)*
– Artefact: Tuskhelm (Galletian Champion)
Rotbringer Sorcerer (140)***
– Lore of Malignance: Cloying Quagmire
– Aspect of the Champion: Tunnel Master
Spoilpox Scrivener, Herald of Nurgle (100)*
– Command Trait: Master of Magic
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Lore of Virulence: Fleshy Abundance
20 x Plaguebearers (300)**
– Reinforced x 1
10 x Putrid Blightkings (500)**
– Reinforced x 1
1 x Beasts of Nurgle (110)***
1 x Beasts of Nurgle (110)***
1 x Beasts of Nurgle (110)***
3 x Nurglings (100)*
Endless Spells & Invocations
Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws (70)
Total: 2000 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 2 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Another nice mixed arms list. The Plaguebearers function as a tarpit, particulary when supported by Spoilpox. The Blightkings and Lord of Plagues make a solid hammer, alongside 3 Beasts of Nurgle smashing in impact wounds.
Rotbringer Sorcerer and Bloab offer powerful spellcasting support, especially with the Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaw, giving the hard to find direct mortal wounds the army so badly need (plus Disease if cast by the Sorcerer!). Finally the mischievous Nurglings can pop out on their opponent’s side of the field to generate some early Contagion Points.
Maggotkin of Nurgle isn’t quite the terror it once was, but it can still hold its own as one of the most resilient Anvils in the game. Most armies simply cannot deal the damage necessary and hate sitting in combat with them. If you love camping objectives and T posing, with some fairly impressive Mortal Wounds to charge this is your army.
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