The Book of Decay Pt. 3, Elites and Others

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BOOK of DECAY - part 3 Elites and others
Nurgle armies have a heavy reliance upon their Elites options and their Cult Troops (Plague Marines).  In fact, the Plague Marines form the second portion of Nurgle triad.  Elites & Cult Troops provide Nurgle armies with their infantry - which are so crucial to a durable and fluffy list. 

Terminators should be so much cooler than they are.  The fact that Plague Marines are more durable versus small arms fire than Nurgle-marked Terminators should be concerning.  Still, Terminators do the Chosen roll better than Chosen by allowing for all members to be upgraded to Champions.  This can make for an extremely powerful, albeit expensive, close combat units.

Terminators break down to two major roles: assault & shooting.  Shooty Terminators are a little weaker overall but also cheaper.  Since Terminators can't Deep Strike and assault, being able to Deep Strike and shoot is a decent runner up.

Assault Terminators can be amazingly powerful with up to 5 power weapon attacks each on the charge.  There is no laughing at that.  The hardest part is actually trying to chose which unit style to use.

Icon of Nurgle
The Icon of Nurgle is the least important to Terminators.  They, of course, benefit from the Toughness bonus.  But they won't be able to utilize the Icon like other units will.  Likewise, a marked unit will run you 300+ points without any other upgrades.  This is fairly expensive considering that an upgraded unit will cost 400+ points.

Close Combat Weapon Alternatives (Lightning Claw, Power Fist, Chainfist, Lightning Claw Pair)
As with other units, the close combat weapon options vary depending on your preferences.  Lightning Claw Pairs, are of course, my favorite choice.  They are affordable and potent.  Power Fists are a bit obsolete due to the Chainfist option and the presence of Lightning Claw Pairs.  Chainfists are good against vehicles and can act as Power Fists in a pinch.  The single Lightning Claw is probably the worst choice of them all.  What it really breaks down to is whether you think its worthwhile to hang on to your Twin-linked Bolter or switch it out for superior close combat power.

Combi Weapon
Combi-weapons, as elsewhere, come in three varieties.  For shooty Terminators, the Combi-Plasma weapon is probably the best choice.  For assault Terminators, Combi-Flamers might be the best choice to counter enemy numbers.  Overall, for the points cost, these might be a little expensive.

Reaper Autocannon
The Reaper Autocannon is a far cry from the Loyalist's Assault Cannon, but it's the best we have.  For shooty Terminators, the Reaper Autocannon is a good choice.  The Autocannon, of course, shines the best against high-toughness targets but can put a dent in infantry units at range.

Heavy Flamer
The Heavy Flamer really works best in assault units.  It is fairly straightforward, combined with a few Combi-Flamers, a unit of Terminators could easily clear out enemy units quickly.

Possessed are a delightfully simple unit to use.  Quite plainly, they are assaulters first and foremost.  How they go about it and who they target is largely determined by their Daemonkin roll.  For rolls of 1 or 3, quickly tie down units capable of putting a hurt on your other units.  For rolls of 2 or 5, go after enemy non-assault units (i.e. Guardsmen or Necron Warriors) and bowl them over or wear them down.  For rolls of 4 or 6, go after enemy elite units like Terminators or Ork Nobz. 

Possessed yield a 4/5 for appropriateness.  In the Horus Heresy novels, we see two separate instances of Nurgle possessions.  So Nurgle Possessed are very viable.  Their reliance on infantry makes them a natural fit.  They also score a 4/5 for tactics.  Possessed are a very assault oriented unit which can compensate for some of a Nurgle army's weaknesses.  Their Daemonkin rules also yield an advantage because they are a wild card - no one, not even their player, know what advantage they will confer.

As the only real upgrade available for Possessed, Champions are a very good option.  They add to the unit's attacks characteristics for a decent cost.  If points need to be shed, however, this is a good place to start.

Icon of Nurgle
The Icon of Nurgle gives Possessed a slight bump in durability but, like elsewhere, its advantage is limited.  However, combined with a result of 5, Possessed can be very durable.  Either way, the Icon can help you get even more Possessed into close combat, which is a very good thing.

I won't reiterate my statements elsewhere.  My feelings on Rhinos are the same as they are with Chaos Space Marines.

Nurgle Dreadnaughts are fairly unfluffy.  Dreadnaughts postpone and, for a time, impede death.  This idea would be particularly abominable to Nurgle followers.  Dreadnaughts cannot take Nurgle Marks or become "Nurgle-fied" in any way.  But Dreadnaughts also offer Chaos players two separate things: long-ranged weapons or close combat power.  Dreadnaughts are temper-mental, but we will discuss how to get around this below.  My preference is for close-combat oriented Dreadnaughts due to their overall reliability .

Dreadnaughts gain only a 3/5 for their appropriateness due to the great offense it must cause Papa Nurgle to have his hand stayed by technology.  However, the amount of destruction they can wrought redeems them to some extent with a 4/5 for their tactical value.

Twin-linked Autocannon
As with Chaos Space Marines, Autocannons are a little tough to use.  They can be handy against a relatively limited number of enemy targets.  Autocannons are effective against Monstrous Creatures, light vehicles and similar units.  But there are better and more specialized weapons available.

Twin-linked Lascannon
If you really need armor-busting weapons, this is an option.  However, it would be much better to utilize anti-armor weapons because of the cost and unreliability of the Dreadnaughts as a rule.

Twin-linked Heavy Bolter
Dreadnaughts excel against infantry so the Heavy Bolter option is a good choice.  Still, I think you're better off avoiding these weapons all together.  But a Twin-linked Heavy Bolter can certainly hand it to infantry-heavy armies and that is good for Nurgle.

Even better than Lascannons, the Multi-melta allows Dreadnaughts to do a bit of tank-hunting.  Again, though, there are better units to hunt tanks and Dreadnaughts aren't always reliable.

Plasma Cannon
Dreadnaughts are the only unit of the Chaos Space Marines who can take Plasma Cannons.  Plasma Cannons are great against infantry - especially MEQ's and TEQ's.  Dreadnaughts are good in close combat against these units as well.  So the match is fairly natural.  Likewise, though, having your Dreadnaught blast your Plague Marines with a Plasma Cannon hurts very bad...even with neural necrosis.

Dreadnaught Close Combat Weapon
Aye, there's the rub.  Here's the reasoning.  If you take a Dreadnaught close combat weapon, you are up to 6 S10 attacks on the charge.  That is nothing to be disappointed with.  Likewise, you are now limited to a 24" range with a relatively unassuming weapon (esp. against Plague Marines).  So this is good.  Likewise, shifting your Dreadnaught to a close combat orientation plays the odds better.  With your Crazed rolls, you have a 17% chance of shooting or assaulting.  Assaulting here is good.  Since your close combat oriented, chances are you'll be closer to the enemy if you get that shooting roll.  Either way, once you're actually in close combat, the Crazed rule becomes irrelevant.

Heavy Flamer
Finally the Heavy Flamer.  Again, looking at the close combat oriented Dreadnaught, a Heavy Flamer is good for lots of reasons.  Firstly, it helps you to kill of enemies before charging.  Secondly, it minimizes friendly casualties due to Crazed rolls (keep your units out of Flamer range).  Thirdly, firing a Flamer twice is awesome...if you are in range.

Plague Marines
Plague Marines are the poster child for Nurgle armies.  They are tough, shooty and infantry based.  I simply cannot say enough about this unit.  They are virtually immune to small arms fire, can use plasma weapons with almost no fear, they can assault, receive assaults, fight in cover, fight in the open, shoot and take shots. 

Let me say a little on where Plague Marines are weak.  Plague Marines don't like swarmy armies.  Orks and Plague Marines don't mix very well.  Plague Marines don't like AP1/2 weapons, power weapons or anything else that robs them of their Feel No Pain.  Plague Marines are also Fearless.  In shooting, this is a huge boon.  In close combat, however, this can be a pain.  Provided that you don't do too poorly, this can be averted by their saves.  But it is still something to take into consideration.

How to use Plague Marines?  Focus on shooting.  Focus on positioning them in a place where they can shoot a lot and can be relatively shielded against enemy assaulters and enemy weapons that can negate FNP.  These units should be your #1 targets in terms of priorities.  Plague Marines make great objective takers / holders and they also make great choices for routing enemy units in cover.  The combination of offensive and defensive grenades and their two close combat weapons means that they can typically take down even Tactical Marines with ease.

Plague Marines, of course, score a 5/5 for appropriate ness for obvious reasons.  They also score a 5/5 for tactics because their combination of durability and strong shooting can easily supplement the standard Nurgle army.

Plague Champion
Plague Marines' Champion allows you to add a few options to your squad.  The Champion allows for the only Power Weapons available to Plague Marines.  Likewise, he can be used to supplement shooting a little.  Personally, I don't see much value to Meltabombs (vs. Krak Grenades or Power Fists), Twin-Linked Bolters (vs. Combi-weapons...especially plasma), or Power Fists (vs. Power Swords).

A Personal Icon would be a decent option if you are using Daemons or Deep Strikers.  A Power Weapon is an option if you plan on using your Marines for assaults.  However, be sure to keep your Champion aligned with his squad in terms of loadout.

Squad Weapons (Plasma Gun, Melta Gun, Flamer, Plasma Pistol)
Any of the squad weapons available to Plague Marines are decent.  Plasma Guns are, by far, my favorite.  They can take down some vehicles, are strong against MEQ's and TEQ's, can drop Monstrous Creatures, and are no worse than Bolters in shooting swarms.  Plague Marines are especially decent at resisting Gets Hot results and will normally come out on top if they get in a pissing match with another unit of enemy shooters. 

That said, the fact that Plague Marines are very durable means that they can get a little closer to make effective use of Melta Guns and Flamers and these weapons shouldn't be overlooked.  For those players who want to utilize their Plague Marines for close combat, Plasma Pistols should, at least, be considered as they can supplement the charge in a pre-assault volley. 

In a word, don't.  Please.  Rhino taxied Plague Marines are so unfluffy it's painful.  Certainly, a mech-Nurgle list is hard to beat.  Combining the Rhino's mobility to the Plague Marine's durability makes for a powerful unit.  But, it's simply not worth selling your soul to Samus over it.

If you do decide to take a Rhino, keep it simple keep it cheap.  Rhinos get cracked open about as often as do eggs at a truck stop.  Your points are really spent better elsewhere.  Otherwise, refer to the Chaos Space Marines section.

Cult Troops
There are several other varieties of Cult Troops which are available to Nurgle players.  Honestly, I don't see the value in discussing them here as they cannot bear the Mark of Nurgle and do not mesh well with the general themes of a Nurgle list.

You may, of course choose to include such a unit in your army for one reason or another.  If you do so, please do the theme the courtesy of at least coming up with a reasonable string of logic for the inclusion.  For example, I am building two units of "Zombie Marines" who will count as Thousand Sons.  These troops will represent Space Marines who have been turned into re-animated automatons by the powers of Nurgle.  They will be led by Sorcerers who channel their dark magic into the corpses to sustain them in their un-death.  The units are surrounded by a swarming cloud of plague flies which provide their Invulnerable Save.  These units will not use Bolt of Change, however, as it is a Tzeentch only power. 

Overall, I'd give these units a 1/5 for appropriate ness (upgradeable to a 3/5 if you have a good story and modeling) and a 2/5 for combat effectivene ss (as 2 of the 3 choices don't really fit with the Nurgle theme).

Chaos Spawn
Wow, Chaos Spawn!  High toughness, lots of wounds and even a fun story about Foulspawn.  What's not to love?  Well, for starters, how about no save of any kind?  Then, moving from there, they have a relatively low WS and I score that prevents them from being overly effective.  This is redeemed only by their ability, at times, to move very fast (due to fleet) which is again countered by their Beast rule being negated by Slow and Purposeful.  Ach, it is a love/hate relationship.  Spawn are nice because, like Daemons, they use up no FOC slots.

Honestly, when it comes down to it, I'd suggest that any player consider keeping 2-3 spawn on hand and using Gift of Chaos as liberally as possible.  It has the potential to be one of the most powerful Chaos combination s as it can simultaneously kills those pesky character models (especially those with Eternal Warrior) and tie down their escorting unit with a decent close combat unit.

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