The Death Guard have received a pretty substantial rework with some big changes to their rules and playstyles, whilst still remaining recognisable to their previous incarnations. A mid-to-close range force, with a tough but elite main force backed up by potent war engines is typical of a Death Guard force, winning out by attrition and brutal combat.
Death Guard | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- A strong mid to close range army that gets better as the game goes on thanks to their toughness decreasing aura
- Most things are very survivable, having high base toughness, invulnerables and damage reduction
- The selection of Stratagems, Relics and Psychic Powers are all reliable and applicable to many scenarios
- Great selection of Characters that can provide combat punch, army support and opponent debuffs (or all three in the case of Mortarion)
- Ideally suited for 9th edition games with playing the Objectives and outlasting the opponent being key
- BONUS – They make Lawrence get real salty
- Not the fastest of armies, and whilst some elements are a bit quicker than others they can find themselves outmaneuvered
- Barring specific units or wargear, their long range fire support is middling or unreliable
- A strange split with their Vehicles, with some benefiting from their army rules but being less survivable than the Daemon Engines, and vice versa
- Character support is fairly important, so builds and playstyles can become quite homogenised
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so things like Bolt or Melta, which are explained in there, won’t be repeated here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to DEATH GUARD models with the same <PLAGUE COMPANY> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no HARBINGER Auras or powers affecting THE WRETCHED units, for example)
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First turn of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies) and only has DEATH GUARD in it, that Detachment gains the following rules-
- PLAGUE MARINES and POXWALKERS get Objective Secured, which given they are either tough as old boots or numerous and cheap respectively gives you good Objective control.
- Diseased Minions- You can’t have more than one of each PLAGUE FOLLOWER and POXWALKER than DEATH GUARD CORE INFANTRY. Basically you have to have 1 Plague Marine, Blightlord or Deathshroud unit for each Cultist and Poxwalker unit. Given you want those units, this simply prevents egregious Poxwalker and Vehicle spam.
- Infernal Jealousy- Your standard “only 1 of X Character per Detachment” rule, limiting you 1 DAEMON PRINCE per Detachment. Basically makes Triple Princes a thing of the past unless you want to burn CP.
- Foetid Virion – Your Elite Characters only take up 1 slot for 3 of them. Note that this does not mean they must take up only 1 slot, nor does it mean you only get up to 3 per army. I have no idea where people get that from.
- Inexorable Advance- This is for BUBONIC ASTARTES only (so none of your Daemon Engines). Everyone with this can counts as Remaining Stationary when Shooting provided they don’t Advance or Fall Back, INFANTRY get to ignore modifiers to their Mv Characteristic, Advance Rolls and Charge Rolls, and VEHICLES get to shoot with no penalty for Big Guns Never Tire. All fairly niche abilities, but they come up from time to time, and being able to ignore the movement penalty of things like woods, craters and barricades is particularly useful given your general slowness on your Infantry.
Every Detachment must be from one of the 7 Plague Companies, granting you a unique Stratagem, Relic and Warlord Trait. All their Warlord Traits are Contagion Abilities, explained later in the article.
Stratagem- The Wrathful Dead
Reroll hits for a unit of POXWALKERS. It’s ok, your zombies aren’t really here to kill stuff, but it can be useful if you need to remove a weakened unit or single model from an objective or to prevent them scoring a Secondary. Certainly not something to use all the time.
Warlord Trait- Shamblerot
At the start of each of your opponent’s Movement Phases, units within Contagion Range take a Mortal Wound on a 4+, D3 on a 6 (with CHARACTERS subtracting 1 from the roll). It can stack up as your Warlord gets into the thick of the fighting, and as it triggers before they can move away eventually your Warlord can stack up a lot of Mortal Wounds as the game progresses.
Relic- Infected Remains
Once per game the bearer infects an Objective Marker within 3” of them at the end of the Movement Phase. Whilst the bearer remains alive that Objective has the same Contagion Abilities. Obviously combines nicely with the basic Gift, as well as Shamblerot, but the need for the Character to be alive can limit the potential.
Stratagem- Ferric Miasma
-2” from Charge rolls for any enemy unit that charges the selected unit. A great ability especially for those units that want to be in combat but on their terms. Also useful to blunt units that arrive from Reinforcements or would be going over terrain, slowing them further.
Warlord Trait- Ferric Blight
-1 AP on all attacks vs enemy units in Contagion Range. A fantastic ability that makes your shooting more useful and your melee even deadlier. There is no limit on the weapon in question so it can work from Bolters up to Power Fists. The only limitation is the enemy unit must be in the range so make sure to use this on someone who will be close to the action.
Relic- Leechspore Casket
Each model destroyed in melee causes a VEHICLE within 18” to be healed for 1 Wound (to a max of 3). Great to support things like Bloat-drones or a more aggressive Spewer equipped Plagueburst Crawler which are likely to be in the range of the bearer, making them even more obnoxious to kill.
Stratagem- Relaptic Assault
Your basic Heroic Intervention Stratagem, with the exception that it affects multiple units, but only after a completed charge. Not quite as flexible as others, as it has less uses for parking on Objectives and trying to deny units that might come to steal it, but great for punishing units that charge your battleline and suddenly find themselves fighting multiple units.
Warlord Trait- Gloaming Bloat
Enemy units in range cannot fire Overwatch, Set to Defend, reroll hits nor reroll wounds. It’s incredibly strong, being great on offense to minimise your Opponent’s counterplay, and on the defensive to prevent reliably hurting your own units. Get this into your opponent’s lines as soon as possible and reap the benefits of even an even more resilient army.
Relic- Warp Insect Hive
Reroll hit and wound rolls in melee. It’s a decent boost especially given loss of rerolls from their own auras, though remember most of the decent melee weapons are Plague Weapons with a built in reroll 1 to wound anyway. Great on a Prince however, making sure every one of their potent attacks counts.
Stratagem- Sevenfold Blessings
Pregame upgrade for a PSYKER, letting them know (not cast) an additional power, and granting 1 reroll test per turn. It’s a nice upgrade for flexibility and reliability, and the minute you fail one vital test this pays for itself vs a CP Reroll.
Warlord Trait- Eater Plague
6s to hit automatically wound enemy units in Contagion range. A good bit of extra reliability to help ensure damage pushes through as much as possible, and useful for both range and melee, however given Nurgle’s Gift and pretty much everything being Plague Weapons in combat you’re already innately quite reliable, so this can be a bit redundant.
Relic- The Daemon’s Favour
A MALIGNANT PLAGUECASTER gets a better Fallout Ability, doing D3 Mortal Wounds instead of 1 on a 7+ to cast, or a Mortal Wound to the closest unit within 6” otherwise. Means you’ll be doing damage on every cast even if you don’t hit the 7, and the D3 makes it a solid damage dealing upgrade.
Stratagem- Bilious Blood-rush
A DAEMON ENGINE gets +1 to Hit when shooting in Engagement Range (so negating Big Guns Never Tire), and can also fire their Blast Weapons into Engagement as well. Ensures your Crawlers or Defilers can still fire their main weaponry into units that thought they might tag you to absorb it, and makes them more accurate to boot, but don’t neglect this on a unit of Blighthaulers suddenly pointblank melta-ing whatever they’re touching.
Warlord Trait- Sangous Flux
Enemy units in range are -1 Ld and -1 to Combat Attrition. Not the strongest of Contagions compared to the others, but it can stack up given the already high casualties Death Guard can inflict at the close range. Not a bad pick, but by no means essential.
Relic- Ironclot Furnace
A DAEMON ENGINE unit within 6” in your Command Phase gets a 4++ until your next one. A great relic for any of the Engines, but special note to Blight-haulers given they’re a unit and have other defensive abilities making them extremely tough to shift if stacked up.
Stratagem- On Droning Wings
A FOETID VIRION model (ie your Elite Characters) gets one of their Aura’s boosted by +6”, to a max of 12”, until your next Command Phase. Whilst Contagions are not Auras as such (so can’t get the benefit of this), this can apply to any other Auras they might have, not just the ones on their Datasheet. A Relic or Warlord Trait gives you an Aura? It’s fair game. Can lead to some powerful combos like extended Arch-Contaminator across a wide area, or Stench-vats shutting down an entire charging line.
Warlord Trait- The Droning
Enemy units within range at the start of the Movement Phase halve their Movement that turn. Whilst it won’t affect units walking through it, or moving out of sequence, this has the potential to shut down your opponents army. Models might not be able to move far enough to Fall Back, or move onto Objectives. Movement is key in 9th, and this can stack the odds vastly against your opponent.
Relic- Ferryman’s Scythe
A Manreaper that does 3 attacks instead of 2 on it’s Scythe profile. It’s decent if you’re expecting to fight a lot of chaff, but there are better relics.
Stratagem- Plague Brewers
Your Infantry’s flamer esque weapons (Plague Spewers, Belchers and Plagueburst Gauntlets) become Dmg 2 for the phase, which can catch heavier units and vehicles by surprise. Most of these weapons are limited by low numbers or low AP however, so while this sounds great on paper, it’s application is a bit limited.
Warlord Trait- Nurgle’s Fruit
Enemy units in range don’t get cover, so that includes Light, Dense and Heavy. Offsets the occasionally low AP you might have at range, but also helps against those units that are hunkered down behind Barricades and such, allowing you to carve through them with no benefit to your foe.
A Relic Plague Spray (so FOUL BLIGHTSPAWN only), getting a flat 7 shots instead of D6. A decent upgrade, though it could be argued if you wanted a better Sprayer you could use a Deadly Pathogen instead, especially since this would lock you out of the incredibly powerful Stench-vats. Could be safely passed.
In 9th there are now sub-categories of Stratagems, essentially giving them a Keyword that has interactions with certain rules. It won’t come up all that often, just something to look out for.
Death Guard have a great mix of Stratagems, enabling them to pile on Mortal Wounds, improve their combat and ranged punch further, and have a few specific but occasionally vital defensive buffs.
- Trench Fighters- Grants a PLAGUE MARINE unit an extra Plague Knife attack, letting them really tear through what they’re fighting, a bargain at 1CP.
- Creeping Blight- Turn a unit’s melee Plague Weapons into Rending Claws for a turn, giving them AP4 on 6s to wound. Less useful on a Plague Sword or the Cleave of a Manreaper, but great on Knives or the Scythe profile. Of course don’t neglect it on the higher base AP weapons if fighting stuff with very high saves if you desperately need that extra pip.
- Fire Fever- A Helbrute can only target one enemy unit in the Shooting Phase with all of it’s guns, but gets +1 to Hit and Wound for the trouble. Great on a shooty Helbrute of course but even on your mixed ones this can help ensure your shots make their mark felt. No other restrictions outside of the targeting, so this is useful on the move and vs any target that’s suitable.
- Vermid Whispers- A TERMINATOR unit gets +1 to hit for a Shooting or Fight Phase. Great to ensure supreme accuracy, or offset minuses that might apply from things like Reaper weapons.
- Haze of Corruption- For 2CP a CORE unit’s melee weapons can spill over Damage, with no repeated saves after the fact. Whilst the majority have Dmg 1, the special weapons suddenly become very scary vs lighter infantry, and it makes the Cleave profiles of Deathshrouds better than the Scythe in some cases. Can also be done on Helbrutes for when they want to smash apart hordes with their Fists or Scourges. Won’t always be useful but it can turn the proverbial tide.
- Eternal Hatred- +1 to Wound for a Shooting or Fight phase for a BUBONIC ASTARTES INFANTRY unit. You know it, you love it, it’s just 2CP now instead of 1. Useful at any opportunity, though consider the higher cost will burn through your CP quickly if spammed, so save it more for those key moments rather than just because.
- Mutant Strain- A POXWALKER unit does a Mortal Wound for each 6 to wound the enemy, but takes a Mortal Wound after fighting for each 1 they rolled to Hit. Can be useful to punch through a few additional wounds, and you still have a slight chance to shrug off the wounds you yourself may take. One thing to remember is killing a model in the enemy unit revives a Poxwalker before these Mortal Wounds will be inflicted on you, so no you don’t get to kill the enemy, lose a bunch of your guys, then revive them- Has it’s uses, though don’t expect much from it. A unit of 10 Poxwalkers will on average kill 3 of their own to do 1-2 Mortal Wounds. How useful that trade is will depend on the situation.
- Diseased Effluents- A non-DAEMON CHARACTER takes a Mortal Wound in your Command Phase, but then an enemy unit within Engagement Range takes 2D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+ (or D3 if they’re a non-VEHICLE CHARACTER). Provided you will survive the Mortal Wound yourself, this is incredibly punishing to any unit that couldn’t finish off one of your Characters, or even if it would kill you but net some VP in the process it could well be worth it.
- Unclean Machine Spirit- A MACHINE SPIRIT (so Land Raider) gets to act on their top profile. It’s for Land Raiders, which have their own issues, but if you have one this is pretty important to keeping it active and optimal.
- Befouled Incubators- A CHARACTER causes enemy models they kill to explode on a 3+ in the Fight Phase, doing a Mortal Wound to their unit each time (to a max of 3). Useful to help thin the ranks of numerous units, or to help finish off models that might have lingered on 1 wound at the end of a fight.
- Release the Toxins- 2CP but unleashes a 7” bubble of Mortal Wounds from one of your CHARACTERS that is carrying a Relic, doing 1 Mortal Wound on a 2+, or D3 on a 6. Fairly limited as can only be done once per battle per Character, it’s in the Command Phase so you can’t move into favourable positions rather your opponent has to already be there, and is specific for CHARACTERS so no doing it from a Champion that might have a Relic. All told expensive and not going to come up often, though the opportunity may occasionally present itself to let loose a whole swathe of Mortal Wounds, they will usually be few and far between.
- Eruption of Filth- A CHARACTER explodes on in a 3” bubble, doing 1 Mortal Wound on a 2+, or D3 on a 6. Doesn’t hurt Nurgle units so never be afraid to do it, especially if it can help out units that are about to fight, or as an “I’m taking you with me” moment to your slayer. Whilst it would be better to just not die in the first place, this can be handy in a pinch. Can be combined with Diseased Effluents to kill you, doing Mortal Wounds, then exploding with this, to do some more. Expensive in CP, but hilarious nonetheless.
- Champion of Disease- Lets a unit ‘Champion’ have a Relic, specifically Reaper of Glorious Entropy, Plague Skull of Glothila, Plaguebringer or the Suppurating Plate. Whilst some of these are wasted on certain units, or often just better on a Character, this can be useful to sprinkle some extra potency into the army if you’re looking for particularly beefy units. Special mention goes to the Plague Skull as it’s not classed as a ranged weapon and so can be done after Advancing, Falling Back or in melee, and given your Champions will often be pushing the spearhead this can deliver a real nasty surprise to an enemy unit or character that came to deal with them.
- Gifts of Decay- Death Guard have some great Relics, though remember many are exclusive to certain Characters, so this may not be super necessary. Burning too many CP can hurt you in the long run of the game though so don’t go overboard on the pregame expenditure.
- Plague-Chosen- The usual “give another CHARACTER a Warlord Trait.” As with Relics, you can take this more than once depending on game size, though more than twice is probably overkill.
- Grandfatherly Influence- Grants a CHAOS SPAWN unit Disgustingly Resilient and +1 Toughness, costing 2CP more if you have 4+ in the unit. Spawn are cheap and useful to screen and tie up stuff, so this can help them do their job more efficiently by virtue of being harder to shift, but often this can be passed over, if you are using Spawn at all.
- Sickly Corrosion- When you hit an enemy unit with a Plague Weapon, you can spend 2CP on this to mark them, granting every other weapon in your army reroll 1s to wound for the rest of the phase. Obviously not so useful if you do this towards the end of the phase, or if you predominately have Plague Weapons to use in that phase, but it can help things like Lascannons or Multi-meltas from you Vehicles, or assists your Defilers ane Helbrutes to wound what they hit when used in concert with another Plague Weapon toting unit. Expensive, but helps ensure a tough foe is brought down.
- Belching Fumes- A MYPHITIC BLIGHT-HAULER unit reduces the number of shots ranged weapons make against it for the Shooting phase, costing 2CP if it’s a max sized squad. Whilst useless against 1 shot weapons, this will help reduce the effectiveness of Blast type anti-tank weapons, and is fantastic against things like Multi-meltas. A solid defensive ability to keep your little tri-tracked terrors around a bit longer.
- Blight Bombardment- The “Air Strike” Stratagem, launching a mini Virus Bomb on an area of the battlefield. Arriving the turn later does give your foe time to escape so position carefully, but whatever is there will very likely take Mortal Wounds given it goes off on a 2+, with INFANTRY getting a +1 and CHARACTERS getting a -1 (yes they stack so would a 2+ on a foot slogging HQ). In addition, getting a 7+ (so a 6 vs INFANTRY), it does D6 instead of D3 which can be a nasty surprise should your opponent look to tank the damage or can’t get away. A hefty 3CP (or 2 with a LORD OF VIRULENCE as your WARLORD, so rarely), this is certainly not something to use every game or even plan for, but it’s handy to have should you find a ample bunching of units, want to dictate movement, or want to do some area denial on an objective with a weakened unit approaching it.
- The Dead Walk Again- 1CP to, bring back a dead POXWALKER for each roll of a 3+ on 7D6, once per game. On average this equates to about 4 models, which will generally not be worth the CP, unless it is necessary to overtake a unit holding an Objective in that Command Phase (as Primary Objectives are scored at the end of the phase, so after you’ve revived models). Not always relevant, but may occasionally turn a game.
- Cloud of Flies- Makes a BUBONIC ASTARTES INFANTRY unit immune to being shot at unless they are the closest unit, or within 12”. 2CP, or 4CP (!) on TERMINATORS, this can be useful but you need to make sure there is enough of a screen in front. Expensive, and your units are usually tough enough to weather being shot at anyways. If anything this actually can hinder you as your opponent has one less target to choose and so can focus elsewhere. It’s handy to have, but by no means an auto use. Can be very useful on a unit at the rear of the battlefield that has to hold an Objective or is conducting an Action, to ensure their survival.
- Break Their Spirits- Should an enemy INFANTRY, BEASTS or SWARM model be destroyed by a TERMINATOR in the Fight Phase, reduce their Leadership by 4 until the end of the turn. Handy to force Morale checks, especially if there is only a few models left and it will swing an Objective into your favour, cause the last survivor to flee and open up your Terminators to move next turn, or force your opponent to burn Insane Bravery. Niche but handy.
- Dark Cravings- A FOETID BLOAT-DRONE can Heroically Intervene 6”. Nice to make the Bloat-drone have a threat range outside of its turn, able to get to units on Objectives, protect your own Objective better, or support your lines from being charged.
- Daemonic Gluttony- Each enemy model destroyed in the FIght Phase by a DAEMON ENGINE heals that model for a Wound, up to 3 Wounds for the phase. Obviously not so useful for Plagueburst Crawlers, great for the others to keep them around longer and making their innate toughness last longer. Of note for Defilers, should the healing potentially bump you up a bracket, do attacks one at a time so your subsequent attacks are more effective if you get healed.
- Flash Outbreak- 2CP to grant one of your units the Contagion of another unit (so give them a Plague Company Warlord Trait basically), and also count the Round as one higher (so +3” range essentially) for the round. Obviously needs to be the same Plague Company, and the range boost doesn’t help from Turn 4 onwards, but overall this is a great utility tool to have, letting you spread one of the powerful Warlord Contagions to other parts of the battlefield, or catch any enemy with -1 T when they thought they might have been safe.
- Putrid Detonation- A Vehicle auto explodes for 1 CP, or 2CP if they have more than 9 Wounds. Useful to have, though read it as 1CP for 1 MW in an aura (Haulers and Drones) or 2 CP for D3 (everything else), so not the cheapest for it’s output. Given the Drones and Haulers both explode on a 4+ anyways, it may not be worth it, unless it will guarantee a kill on a Character or important unit for example.
- Foul Smokescreen- A SMOKESCREEN unit imposes a -1 to Hit against enemy units that target it for a Shooting Phase. A nice defense buff, though you DAEMON ENGINES can’t use it (outside of the Defiler)
- The Blightening- 3 individual models in your army turn their Plague Weapon Grenades into Pistol 6 with no Blast, that auto hit if you’re in Engagement Range. Can be done on 3 models in the same unit to throw more Grenades or can be done on separate units to ensure the shots. Useful in combat of course, but can still be useful outside of it. Don’t forget pretty much every Infantry unit barring Terminators come with Blight Grenades or better versions of them so this can come up to help one of your support Characters that has been tagged in combat.
- Overwhelming Generosity- All a units Plague Weapons get +6” range for the Shooting Phase. Not so great given Plague Weapons are generally either limited in numbers or potency, but can be useful to get that extra pip on someone who thought they were safe from an Entropy Cannon or Plague Spewer.
- Virulent Rounds- All the Bolt Weapons in a CORE unit become Plague Weapons. Combos decently with the above, though you were always Rapid Firing so doesn’t mean anything for half ranges and they are still only Boltguns with no AP. Helpful to have if you have a stubborn horde that needs to be gunned down, and for 1CP regardless of who uses it is obviously better on Blightlords given they get more shots.
- Disgusting Force- A PLAGUEBURST CRAWLER gets a Dmg3 Mortar for a turn, and also inflicts a bit of splash damage, doing a Mortal Wound to each unit within 3” of the main target on a 4+. The first benefit is the main strength here, letting a Mortar really inflict pain on a tank or heavy elite units, though the second shouldn’t be neglected as can help finish off a wounded unit nearby, whittle away at Characters, and just generally be a nuisance.
For when a normal Plague Weapon just isn’t good enough, any CHARACTER or ‘Champion’ model can pay some points to upgrade one of their non-Grenade/non-Relic Plague Weapons with +1 Strength (which is already quite nice and often worth the price of entry) and an additional effect as well. Some of these are quite potent, others more niche, and they are very weapon dependent. If you have some points spare and nothing to use them on, these can make interesting pseudo Relics to some units, especially as the +1 Strength often puts them into the “magic numbers” of Str 6 or 8, regardless of the other effects.
- Acidic Malady- +1 AP on the Weapon. A simple but effective upgrade. Is it worth 20pts? Depends on the Weapon. On a Plague Knife, not so much. On a Corrupted Staff or Manreaper, absolutely. This is a running trend for all the Pathogens by the way.
- Explosive Outbreak- 6s to hit explode for 20pts. Fantastic on something that can do multiple hit rolls like a Manreaper, though useless for all the ranged Plague Weapons (as they auto hit). You don’t get to stack it with Tollkeeper, cos that would be too much.
- Virulent Fever- Wound rolls of 6 do an additional Mortal Wound. Again great on any weapon with lots of attacks, and works very nicely with the various Plague flamer weapons. Well worth the 20pts.
- Befouling Runoff- A paltry 10pts lets you ignore all cover. Whilst Dense won’t matter to the auto hit weapons, Light will make a difference, and not worrying about Heavy is nice to have. Acidic Malady does effectively the same thing but with the advantage of being better outside of cover, but that’s also why it’s more expensive. If you can afford to take Malady though, it is overall more useful.
- Unstable Sickness- Each model slain by this weapon explodes on a 4+, doing a Mortal Wound to the target’s unit, up to 3 wounds per turn. At 15pts it’s priced quite nicely, helps thin hordes even better or spill over some damage onto other elite units. The bearer can’t double dip on exploding models with the Befouled Incubators Stratagem, but this can be useful to save the CP. Also it’s hilarious when it happens, so that should always be taken into consideration.
- Corrosive Filth- +1 Dmg vs VEHICLES. For 20pts it’s actually a hard ask given it only effects one unit type, and though it can make for some nice anti tank weapons in a pinch it’s often not all that useful, as you have the output at both range and melee to deal with them anyways.
- Viscous Death- Reroll the number of attacks made with the weapon for a measly 10pts. Given only your ranged weapons are rolling for the number of attacks, this is custom made for the Blightspawn, turning his Sprayer into a very reliable Str 8 beast of a gun.
Warlord Traits Back to Contents
- Revoltingly Resilient- A 5+++. A great defensive boost effective vs all sources of damage, this is great on a model that expects to be in the thick of things. Mortarion has this as he is the toughest boy in town.
- Living Plague- A small aura at only 3”, but a very powerful one, preventing any enemy units within it from benefiting from any friendly auras (barring those from Psychic Powers). Reroll 1s? Nah. Making those units ObSec? Not today. Bonuses to their Characteristics? I don’t think so. Whilst short ranged it is incredibly powerful and can completely negate an opponent’s battle plan once in effect. This is Mortarion’s second trait, cos he’s a menace.
- Hulking Physique- +1 Wound and 1-3s to Wound fail. A nice survivability trait, though given the inherent high Toughness of Death Guard units most “normal” weapons will be wounding on 4s or worse anyways, and Revoltingly Resilient will generally grant you more effective wounds over the course of the battle.
- Arch-Contaminator- CORE units within 6” get reroll wounds with melee Plague Weapons, and reroll wounds with all ranged Plague Weapons if within 12” of the target. A fantastic force multiplier that ensures huge reliability, and whilst it no longer effects non-CORE units, and ranged weapons a lot less, it is still a very widely useful trait, especially since melee is almost bound to happen. The last of Mortarion’s base Warlord Traits, making him a force multiplier extraordinaire.
- Rotten Constitution- +1T and ignore AP -1 and -2. Similar to Hulking Physique in that it helps you be wounded a lot less, and most normal weapons will now bounce off, especially if you have a 2+ Save. However again Revoltingly Resilient is generally more useful as the ignoring damage can really add up over time, and offsets weakness to Mortal Wounds.
- Foul Effluents- A 6” aura that does a Mortal Wound to each enemy unit at the end of your Movement Phase on a 4+. Not the flashiest or most powerful effect, but can ramp up quite quickly if you find yourself in combat early, and can spread a decent amount of damage around. Perhaps not the go to trait, but a consideration for a second character that will be marching into the centre.
- Reaper of Glorious Entropy- A super Plaguereaper (that can also replace a Manreaper) which doesn’t have -1 to Hit and also does an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound. A nice upgrade for a Lord of Contagion or Deathshroud Champion who doesn’t mind losing the sweep attack.
- Plague Skull of Glothila- Once per battle three shall be the number thou shalt count you throw this at an enemy unit within 6” at the end of the Movement Phase, rolling 7D6. Each 4+ is a Mortal Wound, and each 6 is D3 instead. Essentially this will average out to around 5 Mortal Wounds, usually enough to one shot a Character or severely hurt an elite unit. Not actually a weapon so can be lobbed after Advancing, Falling Back and even in combat. Useful, if a little unreliable.
- Daemon’s Toll- A NOXIOUS BLIGHTBRINGER can once per game prevent an single enemy unit within 6” from Falling Back on a 2+. It’s nice, though limited given the carrier, range and being once per game.
- Fugaris’ Helm- A simple +3” to all their Auras. This will include any Warlord Traits, though not Contagions (as they aren’t technically Auras). Effective, though not the most exciting, and generally your auras won’t need to spread that far.
- Putrid Periapt- A TERMINATOR SORCEROR or MALIGNANT PLAGUECASTER knows an additional power and can heal themselves for D3 wounds after successfully casting a power once per game. Nice flexibility to have given generally all the powers are useful, though it doesn’t let you cast any more so don’t forget that. The healing aspect is a nice mitigator against Perils, but always handy to have up your sleeve should the caster find themselves under attack.
- Tollkeeper- A TALLYMAN grants exploding 6s for CORE unit’s ranged attacks in a 6” aura. Can grant some extra boltgun hits here and there, and nice on Blight Launchers, but otherwise pretty limited. Could be some play on using these with some Helbrutes with Meltas, but really it’s not netting a huge return for the Relic slot.
- Revolting Stench-vats- A FOULBLIGHTSPAWN gets a 6” aura that makes enemy units never count as charging, and can never use rules that let them fight first. This effectively turns off any rules that work on charging, be it extra attacks or mortal wounds, and makes combats revert to a normal order of operations. A phenomenal defensive benefit that can cripple a melee army’s game plan, prevent out of sequence damage, and save CP on interrupts. Pretty much a must take if you’re using a Blightspawn.
- Suppurating Plate- Grants a 2+ Sv and does a Mortal Wound back to an enemy unit that did any wounds to you in the Fight Phase on a 2+. Useful on Daemon Prince to make them even tougher, though the Mortal Wound component is a cute side effect given it’s only 1 Mortal Wound per unit per Fight Phase (though can be triggered again if they fight twice).
- Plaguebringer- A Power Sword with +1 Str and +1 Dmg that also counts any kills as 2 models for Morale purposes. It’s fine, and has the option to replace a number of sword esque weapons. Can make a nasty surprise on a Champion, and the only real Relic weapon for a basic Chaos Lord if you were so inclined, but overall there are better relics.
The Contagion Discipline has a great spread of powers, be they buffs, debuffs or damage. With relatively low casting costs and potent effects, you’d be some powerful abilities by not taking Psyker, though realistically you’re going to have to take some form of Psyker, given the Lords of the Death Guard rule. Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Miasma of Pestilence* (WC 6)- A friendly unit within 18” is -1 to be Hit. A simple but effective power, and a go to be it on a unit that needs to survive a barrage of shooting, is heading into combat or you otherwise want to enhance the toughness of.
- Gift of Contagion* (WC 5)- An enemy unit within 18” is at -1 Str. If you cast on an 8+ its -1 Attack as well. A great power that goes hand in hand with your inherent melee prowess, making most other melee units wound you on 4s or 5s (going to or below Str 5). The extra attack is a nice bonus, but at that stage will likely be a “win-more” button, and of course cannot be relied on, so presume just the minus strength will be in effect.
- Plague Wind (WC 6)- Roll a D6 for each model in an enemy unit within 18” and visible. Each 6 does a Mortal Wound, unless you cast it on a 9+ in which case it’s each 5+. A nice horde clearer, though Death Guard can do that quite effectively already, however this does let you soften them on your way in, and loses effectiveness rapidly vs smaller units.
- Putrescent Vitality* (WC 7)- The highest casting cost in the discipline but for a mighty +1 Str and +1 Toughness to a friendly INFANTRY unit within 18”, it’s often worth it. However be aware of the brackets for S and T. The difference between T5 and T6 vs Str 4 weapons is zero, but vs Str 5 weapons will see a big drop in effectiveness. Likewise the Str bonus is less useful due to Nurgle’s Gift, however it is useful to push units into those “magic brackets” of Str 6 and 8 depending on the unit’s weapons. Plan accordingly depending on wargear and what they are likely to go fight.
- Curse of the Leper (WC 6)- The closest visible enemy unit in 18” takes a Mortal Wound for each roll on a 7D6 that exceeds their Toughness. Obviously can’t do anything vs T6+ units, though when combined with Nurgle’s Gift this can wreak mayhem on basic infantry and even elite units.
- Gift of Plagues* (WC 6)- A friendly unit within 18” increases their Contagion range by 6”, up to a max of 12”. Great to expand Nurgle’s Gift or any Warlord Traits, enabling your shooting to be more effective or cause further disruption. Less useful for combat, but don’t neglect them for the Warlord Traits that might have been out range otherwise.
The following are available if you have a DEATH GUARD WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions (namely no using two from the same category), and you can only take one Death Guard Secondary per game regardless of its category.
No Mercy, No Respite - Fleeing Vectors
3 VP at the end of a Battle Round if any enemy units failed a Morale Check and lost at least one model to a Plague Weapon this Round. Not the easiest to achieve given the low range or otherwise limited amount of shooting Plague Weapons, and should you overkill a unit in melee they’re dead before they can fail. Not something to rely on, and can be safely skipped.
Battlefield Supremacy - Despoiled Ground
At the end of the Battle, score 4 VP for each following –
- At least one BUBONIC ASTARTES unit is wholly within the enemy Deployment Zone
- At least one BUBONIC ASTARTES unit is wholly within at least 3 different table quarters and 6” away from the centre. Score an additional 2 VP if you have a BUBONIC ASTARTES unit in all four quarters
- If you control more than half of the Objective Markers and there is at least one BUBONIC ASTARTES unit within 3” of each of them
- If every Objective Marker is within Contagion Range
A weird end of game hybrid of Linebreaker, Engage on All Fronts and Domination, with a bonus mission thrown in. Whilst 2 or 3 of them are easy to do, all 4 at once require you to have a large number of units alive and spread throughout the battlefield. Whilst 8 VP is certainly doable, any more needs so many units it will likely have resulted in you dominating the game already that other Secondaries would have racked up consistent progressive points without the chance of losing too many units to do it. Can have a use in certain types of armies but given the elite nature of Death Gurd and the limitation of the Keyword (Poxwalkers or Daemon Engines aren’t eligible for any of the criteria other than the Contagion Range one) this isn’t going to regularly score more than 8 VP – on par with Engage, but with more chances at failure as it isn’t progressive.
Shadow Operations - Spread the Sickness
An INFANTRY unit starts this Action at the end of your Movement Phase when within 3” of an Objective that isn’t already contaminated, and has no enemies within 3”. At the end of the turn the Action completes, and you contaminate the Objective on a 4+, or automatically but you take D3 Mortal Wounds. You score 3 VP for each contaminated Objective. Never roll for this, always take the D3 Mortal Wounds, as nothing worse than wasting your turn to not get the points. Not the strongest as it damages you, or risks failure, and can only be done once per turn. 6 VP is the usual for this Objective and 9 is good to get. Any more than that means you’ve kept the enemy away from Objectives for 4 or 5 turns, meaning they have much bigger issues than you scoring a few VPs via an Action.
These are rules that will be commonly found across multiple, if not all, units in the Death Guard Codex.
Reroll 1s to wound. Pretty much omnipresent on your melee weapons barring a very small amount, and most of your specialist weapons have this as well. Will add up nicely over the course of the game and many other rules and abilities key off of it, so be sure to check for interactions.
Ignore Combat Attrition Modifiers is handy for those errant Morale failures to ensure you aren’t suddenly losing too many more, but depending on how the army is built this will rarely come up.
Chaos flavoured Bolter Discipline, letting your INFANTRY double tap if they Remained Stationary (hint- that means all the time thanks to Inexorable Advance) and your TERMINATORS do it all the time. Makes even the humble Boltgun a decent horde clearer on your way in regardless of moving or range.
Any attack allocated has its Damage reduced by 1. Has no impact on Mortal Wounds, but this stacks up incredibly well over the course of the game. With many “anti marine” weapons and lots of melee weapons becoming Dmg 2, this makes your basic Infantry very tough to shift and your Terminators a nightmare to handle. Also useful for the Vehicles that have it as it makes common anti tank weapons much less effective, and armies that rely on Dmg 2 or 3 weapons will really struggle to deal with your armour.
The “pure” army rule that grants everyone an increasing radius of -1 Toughness. Note that you only lose the -1 Toughness Aura should you soup, so you’d keep any other Contagions you might have (Plague Company Warlord Traits basically). Contagions go from 1” to 3” to 6” to 9” as Battle Rounds progress, meaning that even ranged attacks will benefit as the battle continues. You don’t need to be attacking with a unit in question to impose the debuff, so units causing it will help out ranged attackers elsewhere. Contagions do not have the Aura keyword meaning anything that affects Auras won’t affect Contagions, so no increasing their range, but vice versa no getting them reduced or turned off, making them reliable throughout the game. Allows your units to punch well above their weight in combat, and not even TITANIC units are safe from the Rot.
(Yes you can still summon Daemons)
Your standard arrives from Reinforcements over 9” away from enemy units rule.
Note a lot of these datasheets actually have the Prefix “Death Guard”, or “Chaos” such as “Death Guard Chaos Lord”, or “Chaos Rhino”. This is to differentiate them from the similar units found in other Codexes, which whilst similar will of course be different due to the various stat and rules changes between them. Needless to say, they still count as the same type of Datasheet if you’re looking at souping, and I’m not going to bother typing them out verbatim each time because you’re clearly here looking at Death Guard, who are a Chaos army, and if you’ve gotten this far and still need that spelling out I don’t know how I can help you.
Expensive but the premier beatstick of the HQs. Killy in melee, tough, can Cast and Deny 1, and grants reroll 1s to hit for CORE. Weapon wise the Sword is the best choice thanks to Nurgle’s Gift- the Axes’ Str 9 is wasted against everything barring T9+ models (so nothing you’re ever really going to face) and with AP 2 is just worse. The Spewer is a cheap upgrade but mutually exclusive with the Talon and Wings, though handy vs hordes given the Prince is of course a MONSTER and can use Big Guns. The Wings are a pricey upgrade for +2” Move though FLY is very useful. An all round great choice for both offense and support.
Technically two different Datasheets, one in Power Armour and one in Terminator Armour, both versions are tough with a decent spread of wargear options and the standard reroll 1’s to hit aura, but nowhere near as killy as other characters.
- Power Armour- Given no weapon hits above Dmg 1, unless you’re looking for a Character to support Marines in a Rhino, or are really shaving points and only the reroll 1s is useful to you, spend some points to make him a better version of the Lords.
Terminator Armour- More limited wargear than the Power Armour version, but tougher with more wounds and better save, and at least his options can reach the lofty heights of Dmg 2 or D3. For about 10pts more you can make them one of the below Lords instead which have better synergies and rules.
Lord of Virulence
A Terminator Lord that has a Plague Power Fist and packs a twin Plague Spewer (read Plague Heavy Flamer), he also grants CORE units within 6” an extra AP on 6s to wound with their Ranged Plague Weapons. GIven those are pretty much only special weapons outside of Bolters with the Virulent Rounds Stratagem, the aura is pretty poor, but at 120pts he’s decent in combat, adds some ranged support and the extra ranged AP can occasionally come up.
Lord of Contagion
The Terminator Lord that decided he really likes big chainsaw-axe-scythe things, using either a Plaguereaper (a Plague Power Fist with Dmg 3) or a Manreaper which can Cleave with a -1 to Hit for Str +3 AP-3 Dmg 2, or Scythe for +1 Str -1 Dmg 1 but double attacks. The Manreaper version also comes with a once per game super Blight Grenade (3D3 shots at Str 4 -1 Dmg 2). Either one is a brutal beatstick, though you just need to decide between versatility or raw damage. Any Contagions on him are increased by +3” (up to 12”) making him a good choice for a Company trait to ensure maximum effect.
Comes stock in Terminator Armour making him a little tougher than the Plaguecaster albeit without the Fallout ability. Can be given some alternative wargear, though he’s not a combat character so keep him barebones. The survivability boost is nice in case you have concerns over things like Snipers, and Teleport Strike is handy to have in a pinch though realistically you’ll be on the board to cast those tasty powers of theirs.
Your basic Psyker with Force Stave and the Pestilent Fallout ability, inflicting a Mortal Wound on the closest enemy unit within 12” for each Psychic Test passed on a 7+. Good to support your lines, inflicting some chip damage as you buff up your units. These guys are fairly mandatory given the Lords of the Death Guard rule (unless you run a Lord and a Prince), and the powers are all very good so you’d only really be hampering yourself should you not run them.
A Lord of Contagion with +1 Attack, Dmg 3 on his Manreaper’s Cleave, who also happens to be a Sorcerer, does some Mortal Wounds in your Command Phase and buffs Poxwalkers for fun. He’s 40pts more to be better in combat, boost your zombies and get more psychic power, which is an upgrade worthy of consideration. Can be included in a Detachment with a different PLAGUE COMPANY and doesn’t prevent other units carrying another Plague Company Contagion, though he himself can’t have his own unless its a pure HARBINGER Detachment.
A solid line unit with the good toughness you expect from Death Guard, and with each packing a Plague Knife, surprisingly good in melee thanks to Nurgle’s Gift. Given their Boltguns don’t really have much in the way to boost them outside of some niche Stratagems and combos, they’re more of a melee unit than a shooting one, though don’t neglect to pop off those Boltguns to soften units as you trudge up the field. Can take a number of special ranged and melee weapons, though they’re quite restrictive (1 of each per 5). Whilst you can make them packed to the gills with melee weapons, they’ll all be very different and have different roles making the unit feel spread thin in terms of its role. The Flail is the best melee weapon however and should almost always be included. Either keep them cheap and rely on Boltguns and Knives, leaving heavier stuff to other units, make them a special weapon squad with a couple of ranged weapons, or use them as a mainstay to hold objectives and deal with similar units which you will generally outperform. Flexible and decently costed, you can’t go too wrong with them unless you’re looking to really min max on things like Terminators.
For the same cost as a Poxwalker you lose Objective Secured, a point of toughness, have no shrug, no Contagions, are susceptible to Morale and can’t revive models. It’s a tough sell. Whilst a bit faster, able to do all Actions, and having access to guns, if you’re looking for Objective holders or screening units, go for the Poxwalkers. There is a slight argument to take a unit for things like Banners or Scramblers, but it’s not a great reason. Best to leave at home.
Cheap zombies that don’t do much outside of scratch the enemy and swarm objectives quite slowly. Pretty tough for their cost at T4 and with a 6+++, though they can’t do any Action other than Spread the Sickness. However, being immune to Morale they have to be wiped to a man to get them off an Objective, making them absorb a decent amount of firepower for their cost. Whilst slow, you can just Advance them and use them to screen, contest and hold objectives and herd your enemy. A great pick, though remember you can’t spam them without a Terminator or Plague Marine unit for each one.
Foetid Virion (General Info)
All of the FOETID VIRION share the same profile, with a decent T5 4W and 3+. They aren’t frontline characters with those stats, lack significant melee punch, and their shooting is all short ranged. However the buffs they all bring are significant, and whilst you don’t want them in actual combat, they’ll need to be up there to offer their powerful abilities, so protect them accordingly.
The Bell Boy, giving CORE and other FOETID VIRION units within 6” +1” Mv (unless Falling Back), as well as imposing a -1 to Combat Attrition and a -1 to Cast to enemies in 6”. Decent enough and the cheapest of the five, though that is reflected by his more limited abilities.
The Spray Man, here to ruin a single units day by melting them, or forcing them to fight last. Only 3” on his fight last debuff so he needs to be very close to the combat, but absolutely worth it to give one of your combat units even more of an edge. His Sprayer is potent, able to kill a decent chunk of a unit whilst he stays safe behind his accompanying unit. A serious contender for an auto take unit, especially when combined with the Stench-vats Relic for even more debuffing shenanigans.
The Mad Scientist, he makes all BUBONIC ASTARTES within 6” have +1 AP and +1 Dmg on their Blight Grenades (makes a few Characters near him suddenly quite potent at close range), and can buff a CORE unit with 6s to Wound doing Mortal Wounds in addition in melee. Whilst limited to melee and one unit, this can make your already strong units even scarier in melee, and helps offset their usual downside of low to average damage.
The Math Nerd, here to give a CORE unit +1 to Hit (both melee and ranged, don’t forget it!), as well as incredibly effective CP regeneration, granting you a CP for rolling a 7+ on 2D6 in each Command Phase. Yes even your opponents. Yes it’s stupid, but there we go. There are lots of great Stratagems, so being able to reliably fuel them is great, and the +1 to Hit is great to improve your units overall effectiveness.
The Unlicensed Medic, giving your BUBONIC ASTARTES INFANTRY within 3” a 6+++, and also heals D3 wounds to them at the end of your Movement Phase. Whilst unable to help your Prince (or Mortarion), and cannot revive like his Imperial counterpart, the 6+++ is strong given the base toughness of the Infantry, and healing up a Terminator back to full is always a nice feeling. One of the pricier ones, but there will be times where he pays for himself very quickly, and given the weakness of Death Guard to Mortal Wounds, even a slight layer of defence against them can help out over the course of a game.
Big beefy lads with the T5 you’d expect and a whopping 4++. Combined with Disgustingly Resilient and they are very difficult to get rid of with your usual suspects of weapons. Where they lack however is big hitting damage, with only D1 weapons for the most part at both ranged and melee, though their special weapons can alleviate that somewhat, albeit in limited numbers. However given Nurgle’s Gift and the good Strength and AP of their melee, they can get by just fine, often just drowning their foes in attacks. With regards to Swords vs Axes, it will depend on what else is available to buff the army. With Putrescent VItality on them, Swords will hit the sweet spot of Str 6 and able to make use of their better AP, whilst Axes will suffer a bit more due to their lesser AP but can operate a bit more independently due their natural Str 6 (and Vitality can help them if fighting T7 Vehicles). Likewise if you have Arch-Contaminator nearby the lower Strength of the Swords is less of an issue when you’re rerolling everything. Mostly it will come down to if you want them to run near your buffs or be a bit more self-sufficient. Either way take the Flail, that should go without saying.
For when you just want something to die in melee. With great WS and a huge number of attacks, they can deal with hordes and elites alike, and even Vehicles in a pinch. Their Gauntlets aren’t the strongest but with Plague Weapon can reliably tack on extra wounds, and as Pistols they’re always going to be useful even after you hit combat. Able to protect your CHARACTERS with their Bodyguard rule, they’re a fantastic bully unit and prime target for your various buffs. They are expensive however and a massive threat which will draw lots of fire, so ensure they are protected via buffs or terrain. Units of 6 are a trap however, as you want them spread out when necessary and the limits from coherency can occasionally hurt that, and to limit the effects of Blast, especially those with D3 category that are more inline with tank hunting and thus ideal killers of your Deathshroud.. That and Slaanesh.
With a number of different options Helbrutes can fill a few different roles, be it a combat threat, a shooting platform or a mix of the two. Decently tough albeit slow, and leaving them alive but wounded makes them more reliable thanks to Frenzy granting them reroll 1s to Wound, they aren’t a terrible choice and reasonably cheap. All their Melee weapons are free so it’s up to you whether you want balance with the Fists, raw power with the Hammer or more attacks with the Scourge, and remember Nurgle’s Gift makes them effectively even stronger than they appear on paper. No Invulnerable can hurt them somewhat, and if you’re going for a pure shooting platform the Blight-haulers may be the better choice.
For when you like the idea of foot slogging melee Plague Marines, and are happy to give up a Bolter and ObSec for being faster, stronger, having more Attacks at better AP and with an Invulnerable to boot. They’re priced fairly well in comparison, however lack real Transport options so they’ll have to footslog, making them susceptible to shooting. With no real way to boost or enhance their speed or charge capabilities, they don’t really do much that can’t be done by other units elsewhere for cheaper or better, but they do make a decent distraction/spearhead that you can advance up to threaten turn 2, drawing firepower from other units lest they crash into the enemy.
Cheap little blighters that are quite tough for their cost, though with only a 5+ and no Disgustingly Resilient (outside Grandfatherly Influence) they wont stand up to concentrated firepower. However with decent if random melee punch, they can be used as a fire and forget distraction, used to absorb firepower that might have gone elsewhere. If they die they cost little and protected some other units, if they don’t they can cause some headaches in combat.
Gun platforms that pack a Multi-melta, a Missile Launcher, some minor short range and melee attacks, and a handy -1 to be Hit in melee. With a 5++, being faster and having an extra wound over the Helbrute, they’re well worth the 20pts extra for the identical equipment and extra rules. The downsides is the lack of CORE and BUBONIC ASTARTES Keyword meaning certain abilities and rules won’t synergise with them, but their other strengths outweigh these for the most part.
With an identical statline to the Blight-haulers, the Bloat-drone is just as tough though with FLY much more flexible in where they can threaten, and are perfect for chewing through infantry over the Haulers anti-tank role. Either Mower for Heavy Infantry or Plaguespitters for lighter Infantry, though either one can do the other in a pinch. The Blight Launcher is probably best overlooked however, not really offering much that can’t be done elsewhere, and ideally the Drones should utilise their speed (for a Death Guard unit) to act as primary threat in the early stages rather than hanging back and shooting.
A tough and versatile tank, with a mighty T8 12W and 3+/5++, they can take a good amount of hits and still keep trucking. Hitting hard with a D6 shot Str 8 AP-2 Dmg 2 weapon that ignores line of sight, they can be given Plaguespitters to help clear hordes and offer a modicum of combat deterrent (though you’ll still want to avoid that where possible so as not to lose the use of the Mortar), or Entropy Cannons to give them significant anti tank punch. They aren’t the fastest things however, and their BS degrades as you’d expect so whilst they might stick around a while their effectiveness and board presence can drop quite sharpish. They are cheap for their stats however, and a solid pick to support any Death Guard army.
A highly expensive battle tank/transport hybrid that degrades very badly and dies quicker than it should. Land Raiders need to be transporting something with its average 10/5 Capacity (Infantry/Terminators and Possessed respectively) given you’re paying a large amount of points for the privilege, and indeed if you want your heavier infantry to be carted around this is the only option, but then you get an “all your eggs in one basket” issue. Add to that it’s armaments of Twin Heavy Bolter, 2 Twin Lascannons its a fairly generalist tank which doesn’t bring much to the table that can’t be gotten elsewhere, and it’s protection for you’re already very tough units may very well be overkill. For reference, 1 Land Raider is the same points as 7 Blightlords with a Flail, which will almost certainly be more survivable in the long run, as well as more impactful on the battlefield.
Tough enough at T7 and 11W, but the lack of Invulnerable and Disgustingly Resilient really hurts the Predators, especially when compared the Daemon Engines. This anti-tank version suffers like most anti-tank things in that its low shot and D6 Damage which is unreliable. It can be a semi decent source of anti tank in some lists, but there are just more efficient choices. Can run with no sponsons, 2 Heavy Bolters or 2 more Lascannons, though it’s pricey either way.
The anti-infantry version of the Predator…sort of. Packing a Dmg 3 Autocannon with 2D3 Shots, the Destructor is pretty good against most vehicles and heavy infantry. It won’t be clearing hordes any time soon, and the AP -1 is a downside, but the good amount of shots means it can chip away with that reliable flat 3 damage. Again though it pales in comparison to the Daemon Engines sadly for not much in the way of savings.
Straight from a Heavy Metal Album Cover, the Daemon Spider Tank is in an odd spot. On paper they have a solid profile with good shooting and combat punch, flexible wargear options plus decent survivability with 14W and a 3+/5++ and healing a wound a turn. However given it does a bit of everything, it tends to suffer when compared to its more specialist brethren. Not as shooty as the Plagueburst Crawler, not as cheap or maneuverable as the Bloat-drone, it’s also quite slow, degrades badly, and with it’s massive footprint it is difficult to move around and hide. It’s by no means a bad choice, but similar to the Land Raider, in trying to do a bit of everything it suffers by merely being ok at them all, whilst paying the points to do them all despite being unable to do them all at once. The lack of Disgustingly Resilient is also a massive blow, making them reliant on those all important 5++ saves vs many weapons lest they be brought down quickly.
Affordable ablative protection for your Plague Marines and non-Terminator Infantry Characters, whilst giving them the speed to get up the board. How much they need the protection is debatable, but the speed is useful, as well as the inherent usefulness of it to tag units, hold objectives or block assault lanes. Can’t carry Terminators or Possessed for they are too chunky.
The big stinky boy himself, clocking in at a whopping 490pts, but he brings a ton for those points, being a fantastic beatstick and disruptive tool. 18W does mean he can’t benefit from Obscuring or Dense, but with T8, a 3+/4++, Disgustingly Resilient, and a 5+++ if your Warlord, he can tank a huge amount of firepower. His real strength comes from his denial capabilities, with access to any of the Plague Company Contagions at the start of the first battle round offering him flexibility to tailor an ability to the opponent, his speed and always 9” range on Contagions means he can cause headaches for your foes in that he has to be dealt with, but is tricky to do so. He hits hard in melee, though he is generally better off fighting big things, and his shooting is a cute addition. Alongside your standard Chapter Master-esque abilities, he’s also a Psyker, casting 2 and Denying 3, again putting emphasis on his force multiplier abilities. However at such a high cost, he must be used wisely- his power is in melee and disruption, so keeping him back may not always be the best choice, but likewise don’t throw him away into units that can tarpit him for more than a turn. Hover him around to support your units and cause disruption to opponents, and strike at weak parts of the opponents lines. If he gets shot on the way there, consider that are shots not going for your other stuff, so even that has its uses.
An interesting terrain piece, able to be set up in the midboard to provide cover you can go to and a max range Contagion spread to help for earlier shooting strength. It’s cheap enough should you have some points spare, but it doesn’t really do anything else, and the Malignifier being targettable can work against it, making it an easy(ish) kill for Secondaries, or even as a springboard for your opponent to charge into to get them up the field, so be wary.