After painting the Noxious Blightbringer I found myself wondering just how many points worth of Death Guard I now have at my command. As someone who really isn’t a gamer by any stretch of the imagination I tend not to keep track of these things too closely and I’ve no idea what points costs are current having not seen the most recent codex, but I put the models I have into the “Combat Roster” tool on the Warhammer Community website and was surprised to discover that I now have exactly 50 power. I know the more passionate gamers out there have strong feelings as to how well “power” compares to “points” as a means of totalling up the value of the models from a gaming point of view, and I’m sure that competitive players would be concerned about tallying up exactly how many extras they could squeeze into a list, but I don’t really give a damn about any of that. I am however familiar with the idea that 50 power roughly (very roughly) equates to 1000 points, or half an army. You see back in the days of yore when I was more interested and involved in the gaming side of Warhammer 40k we usually aimed for armies of 2000 points, so when you got to 1000 you were halfway there.
I know I’m probably loosing half my audience with this boring, technical talk about gaming, and loosing the other half of my audience through my general ignorance of said gaming side of the hobby. Suffice to say, although an army is never finished (there’s always room on the shelf for another unit after all) in my mind it’s “done” when it reaches 2000 points, and anything that’s added after that is a bonus. Ergo, if I have 50 power I have roughly 1000 points, and the project is roughly half way along the trajectory that takes it from being “a few Death Guard models” to being “a Death Guard army”. And yes, I know the word “roughly” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence!
Anyway, let’s take a look at what my half-army looks like (as usual clicking on the pictures will let you see them full size).
For a while, in the wake of the release of Warhammer 40k’s Eighth Edition, and all the nice new Nurgle-worshipping, plague-infested horrors that came with it, I was quite excited about the Death Guard and the army grew quite nicely. To shoehorn in a disease-related metaphor for these disease-loving scoundrels, this was the first wave! However by the time I’d converted and painted 40 poxwalkers I was getting a little burned out and in need of a break. Then along came Covid-19 in the real world and suddenly you couldn’t hold a conversation or look at the news without plague taking centre stage. In the end I decided I wasn’t enjoying the outbreak spreading into my hobby time as well and put the army on hold for a while to concentrate on other things. As a result I never did manage to get much done with the actual plague marines themselves, which should really make up the meat of a Death Guard army. I do however have plenty of them waiting for paint so expect to see them appearing as part of the inevitable second wave.
In the meantime let’s remind ourselves of what I have managed to paint. The core of the army is built around a swarm of 40 poxwalkers (or plague zombies as they used to be known). Each one has been converted to be entirely unique and if you don’t mind risking infection you can take a look at them all here.
The other major part of the army are these 20 plaguebearers – the lesser daemons of Nurgle. These were mostly painted years ago but I finally got around to painting the last two back in August.
Now some people might say “Well actually…” because apparently you can’t take Nurgle daemons as part of a Death Guard army in 9th edition 40k (even though back in 8th edition this was fine). To which I would respond that I don’t really give a toss. For one thing I’m not trying to get to the top tables at a Grand Tournament, in fact I’d be surprised if this army sees the tabletop at all before 10th, 11th or 110th edition rolls around, by which time Games Workshop will have changed things again. If and when some dice do get rolled however I can’t imagine I’ll be playing against someone who’s going to be finicky about these things either. Armies that mix daemons, mortals, power armour and beastmen – all worshipping a single god – look cool. Mixed daemon armies on the other hand look, to my eye at least, like “soup” (which is hip modern young person slag for “a big old mix of models that don’t really belong together or look consistent, usually to take advantage of some rule or other” – which makes you wonder what kind of soup they’re eating). The Chaos gods hate each other, Nurgle daemons fighting alongside Slaaneshi daemons, without a Word Bearers diabolist physically restraining them from turning on each other, has never looked good to me. Nurgle daemons belong in a Nurgle army with Nurgle-worshipping mortals and that’s my last word on the matter!
The remainder of the army is made up of the Daemon Prince who leads them, the aforementioned Noxious Blightbringer, a Foetid Bloat-drone and a Hellbrute. Oh, and some Nurglings which I forgot to take a group shot of, and which are also apparently not allowed in a 9th Edition Death Guard army.
To be honest I don’t know how soon I’ll get around to painting the second half of this army – that being the half with most of the actual members of the Death Guard in it! – at the moment there are a lot of other projects which are demanding my attention. However it’s safe to say that no treatment protocol has yet been invented which would put me off from painting Plague Marines forever so expect to see plenty of filthy power-armour showing up around here sooner or later!
November 13th, 2021 at 7:48 am
I love your half-army mate – it has a proper oldschool Realm of Chaos vibe that I adore. Most pleasing is seeing Plaguebearers that aren’t a sea of snotty green!!!
November 13th, 2021 at 10:39 am
Cheers mate – as ever Realm of Chaos remains the inspiration behind pretty much everything I do! 😀
November 13th, 2021 at 8:44 am
Must be the rustiest army, sorry, half-army, I’ve ever seen! 🙂 Impressive nonetheless! 🙂
November 13th, 2021 at 10:41 am
Thank you – they really don’t take proper care of their gear do they! 🙂
November 13th, 2021 at 9:31 am
A gorgeous army (half or otherwise); I love how it strides the line between using varied colour palettes and being really gross that many Nurgle forces seem to fall on one side of! And good news: the rule excluding you from building a detachment around the Chaos keyword is only for Matched Play, and from what you’ve said I doubt you’d ever be touching that anyway. Even then I don’t *think* there’d be anything stopping you from using the Nurgle keyword – you’d just lose access to Death Guard exclusive bonuses (whiiiich would now require you to have more squads of Astartes than of Poxwalkers 😬)
November 13th, 2021 at 10:57 am
Thank you – that clarifies things a lot. I do find all the rules around list building in 40k hellish confusing these days (is this modern 40k or am I getting older/rustier/dafter?). Mostly I just want to paint models, and perhaps roll a few dice from time to time – although as my gaming mates have all drifted away from 40k I’ve not really had much drive to keep up to date with the rules.
November 13th, 2021 at 5:56 pm
Not just you: 9th is about as inaccessible as I’ve seen 40k, because now not only is it as complicated as it’s ever been but it’s all becoming so verbose as well. You’d think something would have clicked at GW HQ when it started taking the rules team an entire ten-paragraph page to explain the keyword interactions for when you play a successor chapter (read: ‘it counts as a Blood Angel, idiot’ ad nauseam), but I guess they’re just so keen for competitive legitimacy that they’ll strive for it at the expense of those of us who just want to roll a few dice from time to time. Ah well, good thing the minis are sick eh!
November 15th, 2021 at 5:30 pm
I’m glad to hear you say that, I thought it was just me! I’ve seen so many people bemoaning the lack of precision in 40k rules. Fair enough if you’re splitting hairs on the top table of a tournament I suppose but most of us just want to enjoy ourselves with our mates pushing little soldiers around – can we not be trusted with a little common sense! 😋
November 13th, 2021 at 9:47 am
I do love me some Death Guard, and these fellas look fantastic. Nicely done!
November 13th, 2021 at 10:57 am
Cheers! I must admit all this positive feedback is getting me more enthused about painting some more Death Guard than I have been in a while. 🙂
November 13th, 2021 at 12:00 pm
It looks awesome :). I really like the Helbrute, which predates my return to the hobby so I haven’t seen it before. Great work.
In 9th Edition, and in 8th, you can have a detachment of “Death Guard” and a detachment of “Nurgle Daemons” in the same army. In both 8th and 9th you’ll get things like “Objective Secured” and unlock your stratagems. In 9th you’ll also unlock the Plague Company bonuses too if you follow those rules.
So so far 8th is the same as 9th.
The thing that’s different, and new, in 9th Edition is the “Contagion” that lowers your enemy’s toughness by 1. You’ll only get that if your entire army list is “Death Guard”. Is it worth giving up the contagion in order to bring in some Nurglings and/or Plaguebearers? Quite possibly, I’m really giving that a lot of thought right now.
So it’s not that you can’t mix Nurgle Daemons and Death Guard in 9th, but there’s now a consequence, not a huge one perhaps, but something to consider.
November 13th, 2021 at 6:15 pm
Thank you – that makes complete sense, and thank you for the plain english explanation as well. I often find the language around 40k rules to be really dense (both in the official rules and in discussions amongst fans). I don’t know what it is about my brain but I often find I struggle to comprehend game rules without multiple careful readings (dunno why, I’ve read plenty of scientific literature in my life so you would think if I can batter through a biologist’s wordy method statement I could handle a few wargaming rules without ending up with my head in my hands. Alas this turns out not to be the case!). It really helps to have someone just give a straightforward explanation of what it’s all about. 🙂
November 13th, 2021 at 2:58 pm
looking good, i love a nurgle army and i’ve got a small death guard army myself – the 8th ed Death Guard, plus some plaguebearers, plus some nurglised cultists, some plaguebearers and an old unclean one, and the betrayal at calth word bearers badly painted as 30k dg. i’ve also got so much stuff to add to it that is sitting there in the pile of sh- potential. one day it might be a 2000pt force 😀
November 13th, 2021 at 6:19 pm
Thank you! I’d like to kitbash some Nurgle cultists at some point, I really wish there were some smaller infantry in the AoS range to work with there. The blightkings are great but they’re more of a size with plague marines (which is very handy in itself but not so good for making cultists out of). I really want to mix up some plaguebearer parts with chaos marines to make Nurgle possessed as well. First of all though I really ought to paint up all the stuff I’ve already built…
November 13th, 2021 at 2:59 pm
That’s a really cool collection! My favorite kind of army, thematically speaking, has always been a huge horde of poxwalkers and a small squad of plague marines as “overlords”. The same with word bearers and cultists. A lot of cannon fodder and a squad of elites to look imposing! Rules-wise it’s probably not an option, but like you, I’m a painter and modeler first.
November 15th, 2021 at 5:22 pm
Thank you! 🙂 I always think that the traitor legions have been fighting for ten thousand years without any significant sources of reinforcement. For a Chaos commander softening up the enemy with a few waves of cultists and keeping back his valuable marines for key fights makes sense – and more importantly looks awesome!
I love the idea of building a Word Bearers army as well with lots of possessed marines and a horde of crazy cultists. Someday…
November 13th, 2021 at 2:59 pm
Great looking mob of horrors sir! I love seeing deamkns rubbing shoulders with Chaos spacemarines, to me it’s what a warhost of traitors and warp horrors should be! As has been said above the whole Realm of Chaos vibe is exactly on point and makes me very happy 😊 to hell with the hair splitting of later editions! 🤟
November 13th, 2021 at 3:00 pm
That should be be deamons not deamkns, whatever they are 😆
November 15th, 2021 at 5:25 pm
Oh every army should include a few deamkns, never leave home without one I say!
November 15th, 2021 at 9:26 pm
November 15th, 2021 at 5:24 pm
Thanks man! I think I’m always trying to channel Realm of Chaos. It really shaped a lot of my initial interest in 40k and if I can tap into that aesthetic then I’m happy. 🙂
November 13th, 2021 at 9:56 pm
Cracking work. I agree 100% with your army ethos. Chaos armies should combine all the ghastly, on-theme units for a glorious riot on the tabletop, and rules be damned. For what it’s worth, I think Power Level is the best thing that’s happened to 40k so far in this young century. Hope you get a chance to plop this lot down in the table soon!
November 15th, 2021 at 5:40 pm
Cheers! Power level is fantastic for just eyeballing the size of an army isn’t it? I’m still rooted in the past enough that I translate it roughly into points in my head but list building in 40k is complicated enough these days. Plus I tend to think (and at this point many serious gamers will want me shot at dawn) that points are too precise to be entirely accurate. 40k has too many moving parts to assign an exact value to any given unit, it’ll always end up as an approximation so why not just lean into it.
November 13th, 2021 at 9:59 pm
I don’t know if they still do it in White Dwarf but they used to have an article from time-to-time where someone walked through their army and explained why they chose what they did. Those were always a fun read and this article reminded me of those. Not only is your army impressive but I thought Death Guard were more of an “elite” army with armored space marines (and high armor saves!) and I think its cool your army has plenty of numbers in it. It also means you didn’t take any shortcuts painting it by picking expensive models to save you time which is impressive 🙂
November 15th, 2021 at 5:42 pm
Thank you, I always really enjoyed those articles myself now you mention it so they probably had some unconscious influence on me as I was writing this. Because I’m not a gamer I’m not in any hurry to get this army “done” and onto the tabletop so it never crossed my mind to look for shortcuts. I just thought “I want lots and lots of poxwalkers” and got on with making them. Mind you, maybe this is why I never get any armies finished… :-p
November 13th, 2021 at 11:00 pm
As you know I’m no gamer so the points issues and concerns don’t enter my thinking. The way I see it just keep painting and adding to whatever army you are working on and that takes your fancy at that time. It’s all just great eye candy to me. 🤗
November 16th, 2021 at 8:00 pm
Thank you! I’m very much of the same mindset really, I’m not much of a gamer (not quite to the same degree as yourself perhaps but still, I play very rarely). However when I first got into the hobby gaming made up a much bigger part of it and I’ve never quite shaken off that mindset, when I put together a collection of miniatures I tend to think of it in gaming terms, even if it never actually sees a single dice rolled in its name. Anyway, it’s safe to say I’ll keep on adding things to this – and all my other armies – so expect plenty more of these horrible disease-ridden scoundrels in the future! 😀
November 14th, 2021 at 1:11 am
Mate weather it’s half an army or a full army doesn’t matter, they look nasty as F#%* and very bloody cool. I love those Podwalkers! You should be proud and I’m looking forward to seeing more.
November 16th, 2021 at 8:08 pm
Cheers mate – I thought you’d enjoy these horrible, disease-infested bastards! I’m really proud of the poxwalkers myself, them or the daemon prince are probably my favourite models so far, although I’m looking forward to getting to grips with plenty of manky-looking plague marines sooner or later.
November 16th, 2021 at 8:49 pm
Random question, do you weight down your plastic minis? It’s something I’ve been considering for aaaaaages but have yet to do it. It’d be a big boring job to go back and weight everything down though haha.
November 16th, 2021 at 9:00 pm
Almost never, but occasionally. If I think the model will fall over all the time otherwise then I do, so models like the Ork Stormboys or anyone waving a banner for example. Mostly though I don’t bother, I’d say it’s rarely necessary.
November 17th, 2021 at 6:00 am
I think I like the weight of the metal minis so I feel like I should weight down all of the others
November 18th, 2021 at 9:49 am
Aye, there’s something really pleasing about the weight of metal miniatures isn’t there? Maybe try weighting a few of them and see how you feel, might be worth doing the ones you handle regularly but not the rest?
November 14th, 2021 at 11:04 am
I think you can take daemons just by putting them in a second detachment, besides you can always buy them and invoke in the psychic phase
November 14th, 2021 at 12:09 pm
Good point, I’d not really thought about summoning daemons (doh!). Yeah, I’ve got loads of Nurgle daemons kicking around, plenty there to make a detachment, so I reckon I’ll just paint everything up and then take the rules as they come when it’s done. 🙂
November 15th, 2021 at 12:11 am
Looks fantastic- I’d much prefer to see single god armies rather than ‘soup’ ones too.
November 16th, 2021 at 8:13 pm
Cheers! Yeah, they just look so much better to me. I don’t mind it so much amongst the Chaos Marines if there’s a good reason for it (various warbands coming together to fight a bigger army, or something like the Black Legion where followers of various gods gather under a single banner) but it almost never looks right for daemons.
December 2nd, 2021 at 12:37 pm
What a gorgeous army!
Really love all the different tone variations in the deamons and plague walkers, makes them much more realistic, while still keeping an army theme.
December 5th, 2021 at 1:38 pm
Thank you! That was very much my intention! 🙂
December 3rd, 2021 at 9:52 pm
[…] The Death Guard At 50 (Power) @ Convert or Die – 50 power is a pretty good point to be at with an army, making it usable in Crusade play. There’s a lot in here that appeals to me. First of all, the horde of Poxwalkers. When I get around to my own Deathguard (next on the slate once I finally clear away the last of the Necrons), I intend to be very heavy on these chaps. Next up is the Daemon prince. I love Plague Drones, and clearly, I like using them for conversions. I intend to add a Lord of Afflictions to my Maggotkin of Nurgle at some point, and this post has rather answered the question of what to do with the leftover drone from the set. […]