Blessed Contagions: Exciting Synergies in the New Death Guard Rules

Warhammer Community recently previewed Death Guard’s upcoming bonuses for remaining mono-faction, called Contagions. The Contagion they revealed is called Nurgle’s Gift, and is an increasing aura of -1 Toughness for opposing units near Death Guard units.

Caveat after some feedback: Since we don’t have access to the full codex yet, let’s assume that summoned units don’t break Contagions for the purpose of discussion. Of course, we have to wait and see the full wording in the codex. Considering that Imperial Agents don’t break mono-faction bonuses for Imperial armies like Marine Doctrines or Grey Knight Tides, it would be a cruel blow to Chaos players if summoning breaks Contagion bonuses. We’re all eager to see how summoning changes over the course of 9th Edition, and hopefully GW keeps the interactions between summoning and mono-faction bonuses in mind.

Here’s where WarpHammer readers can take this to the next level: Daemons have several ways to buff and debuff Strength and Toughness. Most importantly, Poxbringers (Nurgle Heralds, for anyone reading this that isn’t familiar with Daemons) have a Psychic Power called Shriveling Pox, which reduces an opposing unit’s Toughness by 1. The key fact to keep in mind is that while Hit and Wound modifiers are capped at 1 in 9th Edition, there is no rule capping Strength and Toughness modifiers.

Poxbringers are Power Level 4 and only 75 points, so you can summon them extremely reliably. Because of how valuable Strength and Toughness modifiers can be at certain breakpoints, stacking the Death Guard’s new rule with Shrivelling Pox creates some hilariously strong synergies:

STWound Roll Wound Roll with -2TPercent Buff
Special Case:

Possessed with +1 Strength

2+ with +1 to Wound
100% or 150%
Special Case:

Possessed with +1 Strength

3+ with +1 to Wound
50% or 100%

For those that don’t like math, let’s translate those numbers into words:

Any matchup where your opponent’s common Toughness is 1 higher than your common Strength (or 2 higher if your Strength is boosted by the Poxbringer), summoning a Poxbringer with Shrivelling Pox is an incredible offensive buff for Death Guard.

The synergies for Possessed are even more incredible with a Poxbringer with Shrivelling Pox, although I have to caveat again that these may change in the new codex. Death Guard Possessed are S5. Because they are Nurgle Daemons, a Poxbringer increases their strength to S6. Knights are T8. The Contagion aura makes them T7, and the the psychic power Shrivelling Pox makes them T6. Add +1 to Wound from Veterans of the Long War/Blades of Putrefaction/Virulent Blessing, and voila! Your Possessed are back to wounding Knights on 3’s, just like the old days before 9th Edition capped Hit and Wound modifiers at +/-1.

Or, let’s take it to the next level. If your opponent is T7 instead of T8, like a Dreadnought, your Possessed are now wounding it on a 2+. This one Herald provides a 150% buff in efficiency for your Possessed against T7 or T8 targets!

Plague Marines seem ironically to be some of the best counters in the entire game to T5 5++/5+++ Beast of Nurgle spam, because they can wound T5 on a 3+ with S4. Nurgle giveth, and Nurgle taketh.

(Artwork Source: Warhammer Community)

We are all eagerly awaiting the full reveals from the Death Guard codex, but from the previewed rules, it seems that summoned Nurgle Daemons could still offer some excellent synergies with Death Guard. Death Guard fans, now would be a great time to grab a Poxbringer and start painting. As always, have fun, stay safe, and may the Dark Gods bless your rolls.

4 thoughts on “Blessed Contagions: Exciting Synergies in the New Death Guard Rules”

  1. I mean good article…. bar the fact the poxbringer isn’t in the deathguard book. Can’t have the DG keyword. Time to delete aritcle and start from scratch

    1. NeatlyTrimmed, thanks for reading. You’re right that it’s all predicated on Death Guard being able to summon and keep their army bonuses. We won’t know this until we have access to the full codex and the initial round of FAQs

      If it turns out not to work, then it was merely a fun little thought experiment

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