The Death Guard FAQ Hot Take

There’s a new Death Guard FAQ today and while the document is shorter than we’d like – this seems to be an ongoing trend for the new FAQs – what it does have are some very important rules adjustments and clarifications for the faction that significantly change how the Death Guard play. In case you’re not up on the faction or were wondering what the impacts of this FAQ are, we’ve got you covered. You can find the FAQ here.

ERRATA: Flash Outbreak Can Only Affect <PLAGUE COMPANY> Units with the Contagions of Nurgle Ability

This was a change we were kind of expecting – The Flash Outbreak Stratagem now requires you pick a unit that already had the Contagions of Nurgle ability, meaning it can’t be used to give a contagion like the Droning or Gloaming Bloat to one of the Forge World units in Imperial Armour: Compendium (hilariously, this is true for the Greater Bloat Drone, which doesn’t have Contagions but instead has Gift of Nurgle hard-coded into its datasheet). After some play I don’t believe that a Hellblade with the Droning or Ferric Blight going on a suicide mission into the enemy deployment zone T1 was particularly strong, but it certainly felt like an odd corner case that deserved to be toned down. Note that Death Guard units retain the Contagions of Nurgle ability even when they’re part of a soup list – they just don’t gain the Gift of Nurgle ability that normally comes with it to give enemy units -1 Toughness. This means you can still use Flash Outbreak if you’re running soup lists as a way to spread your Warlord’s Plague Company contagion to another unit for a turn.

ERRATA: The Death Guard Daemon Prince loses the “LORD OF THE DEATH GUARD” Keyword

This change was entirely unexpected, not particularly fluffy, but extremely welcome. One of the oddest parts about the new Death Guard Codex was its tight restrictions around HQ choices, which effectively locked you into taking a Malignant Plaguecaster or Terminator Sorcerer if you wanted to field a Battalion detachment. With the Daemon Prince losing the LORD OF THE DEATH GUARD keyword, he’s now an option along side a Lord of Virulence or Lord of Contagion in a detachment, and while he’s expensive as an add-on, this opens up a lot of options for the army if you don’t want to field a pair of patrol detachments.

FAQ/Clarification: Inexorable Advance Doesn’t Work on Difficult Ground

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: This sucks. Yes, it was technically always true, as Vre’kais pointed out in his Ruleshammer article on Death Guard (that guy’s pretty sharp), but I was really hoping to see errata here that said something like “oh yeah we messed up this totally also lets you ignore difficult terrain.” This is a major (but by no means insurmountable) blow to the Death Guard on maps that run heavy on difficult terrain, and means that Inexorable Advance is basically irrelevant in the vast majority of games, since it only interacts with a few corner-case rules in 9th edition and several of those are Stratagems your opponent could just choose to not use. Sadly, there is one likely common place this could come up in competitive play and even with this clarification there are still some key points of confusion with Inexorable Advance: The Adeptus Custodes Tanglefoot Grenade Stratagem, for example, reduces your Movement Characteristic by D6″ – which Inexorable Advance will Ignore – but also reduces your “charge distance” by that amount, which is not defined in 9th edition. In 8th edition the term was used to refer to the result of the charge roll but with 9th edition wording things are a bit more ambiguous. My general take is that Tanglefoot Grenades shouldn’t affect Inexorable Advance charges but this is definitely an area where the wording for Tanglefoot Grenades needs to be brought in line with 9th edition standards. Ask your TO, kids.

What’s Not In Here

With a document this short there are bound to be some things that didn’t get addressed, and here are some of the biggest ones:

  • The Tallyman still rolls for CP generation in your opponent’s Command Phase. We thought for sure this would get errata’d, but here we are. The Tallyman is about as reliable a CP generation engine as the game has since your chances of rolling a 7+ with two opportunities per Battle Round are insanely high.
  • Anything about deploying the Miasmic Malignifier. Something else we touched on in the Death Guard Ruleshammer is that it’s not clear whether the Malignifier can be deployed within 3″ of other terrain features. We’ve argued that it can due to the specific wording of these rules, but it’s definitely an area with some real ambiguity and it would have been great to get some clarification on this since it is literally the crux upon which the model’s playability turns. Sadly, GW appear to have punted on this one. We think the Malignifier should be deployable closer than 3″ to a terrain feature because of when it’s set up (and thus playable), but ask your TO before going ahead on this one.
  • Anything about Summoning and Contagions. Games Workshop appear to have forgotten Summoning with Daemonic Ritual, think it doesn’t work for Death Guard, or just don’t care about this particular quirk laid out in Codex: Chaos Daemons. It’s pretty important to know whether summoning Epidemius or other units will affect Contagions and while we’ve suggested that past rulings indicate that summoning will cause you to lose Contagions, it’s another area where GW really should have made a ruling.
  • Nothing about Typhus. As written, Typhus’ Herald of Nurgle ability only has wording to allow other Plague Company models in his detachment to get their company’s special contagion; it says nothing about actually being able to put him in a non-Harbingers Plague Company detachment in a Battle-forged army, which makes the ability worthless in Matched Play. Most TOs and players simply ignore this obvious oversight, but it would be great for GW to actually close the gap here and make sure the rules align with expectations.


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