Death Guard

The Death Guard are foulness made manifest. They are a vision of unnatural corruption, of nobility, courage and strength perverted into nightmarish foulness and diseased might. Cities, worlds, even entire systems rot at their touch, the power of Nurgle spreading inexorably wherever the Death Guard raise their flyblown banners.

Books

BookKindEditionVersionLast update
  Death Guard
  Death GuardIndex10January 2024
  Balance Dataslate
  Balance DataslateRulebook10January 2024January 2024
  Munitorum Field Manual
  Munitorum Field ManualExpansion101.6January 2024
  Legends Field Manual
  Legends Field ManualExpansion101.1October 2023
  Legends: Death Guard
  Legends: Death GuardDatasheet10July 2023
  Legends: Heretic Astartes
  Legends: Heretic AstartesDatasheet10July 2023
  Horus Heresy Legends: Heretic Astartes
  Horus Heresy Legends: Heretic AstartesDatasheet10June 2023
  Horus Heresy Legends: Adeptus Astartes
  Horus Heresy Legends: Adeptus AstartesDatasheet10June 2023

Army Rules

Nurgle’s Gift (Aura)

The Death Guard are carriers of countless infections and contagions, each a gift from Nurgle. Whenever they march to war, they contaminate all around them, overwhelming their victims’ immune systems and undoing metallic bonds, alien psychic materials and all manner of other components, rendering even armoured vehicles vulnerable.

If your Army Faction is DEATH GUARD, while an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, subtract 1 from the Toughness characteristic of models in that enemy unit. Contagion Range changes over the course of the battle, as shown below.

CONTAGION RANGE



Plague Company

Detachment Rule

If your Army Faction is DEATH GUARD, you can use this Plague Company Detachment rule.

Spread the Sickness

To the Death Guard, spreading Nurgle’s gifts goes beyond the beings they fight – even the landscapes they tread upon they seek to corrupt, cultivating Nurgle’s garden as widely as possible.

During the Declare Battle Formations step, select one of the Sicknesses below. Until the end of the battle, all units from your army with the Nurgle’s Gift ability gain the selected Sickness.
  • Skullsquirm Blight (Aura): While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, worsen the Ballistic Skill and Weapon Skill characteristics of weapons equipped by models in that enemy unit by 1.
  • Rattlejoint Ague (Aura): While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, worsen the Save characteristic of models in that enemy unit by 1.
  • Scabrous Soulrot (Aura): While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, worsen the Leadership and Objective Control characteristics of models in that enemy unit by 1 (to a minimum of 1).

If you control an objective marker at the end of your Command phase and a DEATH GUARD unit from your army is within range of that objective marker, that objective marker is said to be Infected and remains under your control even if you have no models within range of it, until your opponent controls it at the start or end of any turn. In addition, while an objective marker is Infected and under your control, it has the Nurgle’s Gift ability as if it were a unit from your army (so enemy units within Contagion Range of it will have their characteristics modified).

Stratagems

If you are using the Plague Company Detachment rule, you can use these Plague Company Stratagems.

FERRIC BLIGHT
1CP
Plague Company – Battle Tactic Stratagem
The spreading rust of the Ferric Blight can reduce armour of all kinds to nothing.
WHEN: Your Shooting phase or the Fight phase.

TARGET: One DEATH GUARD unit from your army that has not been selected to shoot or fight this phase.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time a model in your unit makes an attack, improve the Armour Penetration characteristic of that attack by 1. If the target of that attack is within Contagion Range of an Infected objective marker you control and a Critical Wound is scored for that attack, improve the Armour Penetration characteristic of that attack by 2 instead.
SANGUOUS FLUX
1CP
Plague Company – Battle Tactic Stratagem
Bleeding sores erupt all over enemies afflicted by the Sanguous Flux, the wounds never clotting or healing.
WHEN: Fight phase.

TARGET: One DEATH GUARD unit from your army that has not been selected to fight this phase.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, weapons equipped by models in your unit have the [SUSTAINED HITS 1] ability. While your unit is within range of an Infected objective marker you control, those weapons have the [SUSTAINED HITS 2] ability instead.
DISGUSTINGLY RESILIENT
2CP
Plague Company – Battle Tactic Stratagem
Those favoured by Nurgle are inured to pain, their rotting bodies shrugging off all but the most traumatic damage with ease.
WHEN: Fight phase, just after an enemy unit has selected its targets.

TARGET: One DEATH GUARD unit from your army that was selected as the target of one or more of that enemy unit’s attacks.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time an attack is allocated to a model in your unit, subtract 1 from the Damage characteristic of that attack.
GIFTS OF DECAY
1CP
Plague Company – Epic Deed Stratagem
Nurgle is a generous god, and through worship and devotion his followers can gain mighty rewards as they spread sickness in his name.
WHEN: Your Command phase.

TARGET: One DEATH GUARD model from your army.

EFFECT: Your model regains up to D3 lost wounds. If your model’s unit is within Contagion Range of an Infected objective marker you control, your model regains up to 3 lost wounds instead.
BOILBLIGHT
1CP
Plague Company – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
The strange lumps that form on victims of Boilblight – also known as Nurgle’s Fruit, Lumpen Splatter or the Crawling Pustulence – are easy to spot at a distance for the Death Guard.
WHEN: Your Shooting phase.

TARGET: One DEATH GUARD unit from your army, and one enemy unit within Contagion Range of that unit.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time a weapon equipped by a DEATH GUARD model from your army targets that enemy unit, that weapon has the [HEAVY] and [IGNORES COVER] abilities.
CLOUD OF FLIES
1CP
Plague Company – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
With a thrumming roar, a thick cloud of daemon flies whirls around the Death Guard and obscures them from the enemy’s sight.
WHEN: Your opponent’s Shooting phase, just after an enemy unit has selected its targets.

TARGET: One DEATH GUARD unit from your army that was selected as the target of one or more of that enemy unit’s attacks.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, your unit has the Stealth ability.

Enhancements

If you are using the Plague Company Detachment rule, you can use these Plague Company Enhancements.

  • Living Plague 20 pts

Saturated as he is with Nurgle’s contagious blessings, merely to stand before this warlord is to be assailed by an oppressive aura of plague.

DEATH GUARD model only. Add 3" to the range of the bearer’s Aura abilities (including Nurgle’s Gift).

  • The Droning (Aura) 10 pts

This warrior is surrounded by a cloud of dreaded plague flies that harass the Death Guard’s enemies and feed on their sanity.

DEATH GUARD model only. While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of the bearer, each time that unit fails a Battle-shock test, roll one D6: on a 2-5, that unit suffers 1 mortal wound; on a 6, that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

  • Deadly Pathogen 15 pts

When this pathogen finds a victim – whether organic or machine – it rapidly replicates, causing horrific damage before burning out.

DEATH GUARD model only. Add 1 to the Strength and Attacks characteristics of the bearer’s melee weapons. While the bearer is within range of an Infected objective marker you control, add 2 to the Strength and Attacks characteristics of the bearer’s melee weapons instead.

  • Shamblerot 25 pts

The strains of the zombie virus carried by the Death Guard slowly but surely break mortals around them, sapping their strength and dexterity before consuming them utterly.

DEATH GUARD model only. Each time the bearer’s unit is selected as a target of an enemy unit’s charge, until the end of the phase, subtract 2 from Charge rolls made for that enemy unit.


Objective Markers
Objective markers represent objects of tactical or strategic import that both sides are attempting to secure, such as valuable artefacts, vital supplies or communications nodes. If a mission uses objective markers, it will state where they are located on the battlefield. These can be represented using any suitable marker, but we recommend using round markers that are 40mm in diameter.

When setting objective markers up on the battlefield, place them so they are centred on the point specified by the mission. When measuring distances to and from objective markers, measure to and from the closest part of them. Models can move over objective markers as if they were not there, but they cannot end a move on top of an objective marker.

At the start of the battle, each objective marker on the battlefield is said to be contested, and so is not controlled by either player. To control an objective marker, a player will first need to move models within range of it. A model is within range of an objective marker if it is within 3" horizontally and 5" vertically of that objective marker.

Every model has an Objective Control (OC) characteristic listed on its datasheet. To determine a player’s Level of Control over an objective marker, add together the OC characteristics of all the models from that player’s army that are within range of that objective marker. A player will control an objective marker at the end of any phase or turn if their Level of Control over it is greater than their opponent’s. If both players have the same Level of Control over an objective marker, that objective marker is contested.

  • A model is within range of an objective marker if within 3" horizontally and 5" vertically.
  • Level of Control: Add together the OC characteristics of all of a player’s models within range of the objective marker.
  • An objective marker is controlled by the player with the highest Level of Control over it (in a tie, it is contested).
  • Models cannot end a move on top of an objective marker.
Nurgle’s Gift (Aura)

The Death Guard are carriers of countless infections and contagions, each a gift from Nurgle. Whenever they march to war, they contaminate all around them, overwhelming their victims’ immune systems and undoing metallic bonds, alien psychic materials and all manner of other components, rendering even armoured vehicles vulnerable.

If your Army Faction is DEATH GUARD, while an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, subtract 1 from the Toughness characteristic of models in that enemy unit. Contagion Range changes over the course of the battle, as shown below.

CONTAGION RANGE



Spread the Sickness
Plague Company Detachment

To the Death Guard, spreading Nurgle’s gifts goes beyond the beings they fight – even the landscapes they tread upon they seek to corrupt, cultivating Nurgle’s garden as widely as possible.

During the Declare Battle Formations step, select one of the Sicknesses below. Until the end of the battle, all units from your army with the Nurgle’s Gift ability gain the selected Sickness.
  • Skullsquirm Blight (Aura): While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, worsen the Ballistic Skill and Weapon Skill characteristics of weapons equipped by models in that enemy unit by 1.
  • Rattlejoint Ague (Aura): While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, worsen the Save characteristic of models in that enemy unit by 1.
  • Scabrous Soulrot (Aura): While an enemy unit is within Contagion Range of this unit, worsen the Leadership and Objective Control characteristics of models in that enemy unit by 1 (to a minimum of 1).

If you control an objective marker at the end of your Command phase and a DEATH GUARD unit from your army is within range of that objective marker, that objective marker is said to be Infected and remains under your control even if you have no models within range of it, until your opponent controls it at the start or end of any turn. In addition, while an objective marker is Infected and under your control, it has the Nurgle’s Gift ability as if it were a unit from your army (so enemy units within Contagion Range of it will have their characteristics modified).
Wound Roll
Each time an attack scores a hit against a target unit, make a Wound roll for that attack by rolling one D6 to see if that attack successfully wounds the target unit. The result required is determined by comparing the attack’s Strength (S) characteristic with the target’s Toughness (T) characteristic, as shown below.

WOUND ROLL
ATTACK’S STRENGTH VS TARGET’S TOUGHNESSD6 RESULT REQUIRED
Strength is TWICE (or more than twice) the Toughness.
+
Strength is GREATER than the Toughness.
+
Strength is EQUAL to the Toughness.
+
Strength is LESS than the Toughness.
+
Strength is HALF (or less than half) the Toughness.
+

If the result of the Wound roll is greater than or equal to the required number shown in the table above, then that Wound roll is successful and scores one wound against the target unit. Otherwise, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends.

An unmodified Wound roll of 6 is called a Critical Wound and is always successful. An unmodified Wound roll of 1 always fails. A Wound roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.

  • Critical Wound: Unmodified Wound roll of 6. Always successful.
  • An unmodified Wound roll of 1 always fails.
  • A Wound roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.
Sustained Hits

Some weapons strike in a flurry of blows, tearing the foe apart with relentless ferocity.

Weapons with [SUSTAINED HITS X] in their profile are known as Sustained Hits weapons. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, if a Critical Hit is rolled, that attack scores a number of additional hits on the target as denoted by ‘x’.

Example: A model makes an attack with a melee weapon with the [SUSTAINED HITS 2] ability. If the Hit roll is an unmodified 6 (a Critical Hit), then that attack scores a total of 3 hits on the target (1 from the successful Hit roll of 6, and 2 from the [SUSTAINED HITS 2] ability).

  • [SUSTAINED HITS X]: Each Critical Hit scores ‘x’ additional hits on the target.
Heavy

Heavy weapons are amongst the biggest guns on the battlefield, but require bracing to fire at full effect and are unwieldy to bring to bear at close quarters.

Weapons with [HEAVY] in their profile are known as Heavy weapons. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, if the attacking model’s unit Remained Stationary this turn, add 1 to that attack’s Hit roll.

  • Add 1 to Hit rolls if the bearer’s unit Remained Stationary this turn.
Ignores Cover

Some weapons are designed to root enemy formations out of entrenched positions.

Weapons with [IGNORES COVER] in their profile are known as Ignores Cover weapons. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, the target cannot have the Benefit of Cover against that attack.
Hit Roll
When a model makes an attack, make one Hit roll for that attack by rolling one D6. If the result of the Hit roll is greater than or equal to the attack’s Ballistic Skill (BS) characteristic (if the attack is being made with a ranged weapon) or its Weapon Skill (WS) characteristic (if the attack is being made with a melee weapon), then that Hit roll is successful and scores one hit against the target unit. Otherwise, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends.

An unmodified Hit roll of 6 is called a Critical Hit and is always successful. An unmodified Hit roll of 1 always fails. A Hit roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.

  • Hit Roll (Ranged Attack): A hit is scored if the D6 result equals or exceeds that attack’s BS.
  • Hit Roll (Melee Attack): A hit is scored if the D6 result equals or exceeds that attack’s WS.
  • Critical Hit: Unmodified Hit roll of 6. Always successful.
  • An unmodified Hit roll of 1 always fails.
  • A Hit roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.
STEALTH

Some warriors are masters of disguise and concealment.

If every model in a unit has this ability, then each time a ranged attack is made against it, subtract 1 from that attack’s Hit roll.
Aura Abilities
Some abilities affect multiple models or units in a given range. These are known as Aura abilities and are tagged with the word ‘Aura’. A model with an Aura ability is always within range of its own Aura ability. A unit can be affected by more than one Aura ability at a time, but if a unit is within range of the same Aura ability more than once, that Aura ability only applies to that unit once.
2. Battle-shock
In this step, you must take a Battle-shock test for each of your units on the battlefield that is Below Half-strength. To do so, roll 2D6: if the result is greater than or equal to the best Leadership characteristic in that unit, the test is passed; otherwise, the test is failed and, until the start of your next Command phase, that unit is Battle-shocked.

While a unit is Battle-shocked:

Once you have taken Battle-shock tests for all of your units that require them, your Command phase ends and you progress to your Movement phase.

  • Take a Battle-shock test for each unit from your army on the battlefield that is Below Half-strength.
  • Roll 2D6: if the result is greater than or equal to the unit’s Leadership, the test is passed. Otherwise, the unit is Battle-shocked until the start of your next Command phase.
  • Battle-shocked units have an OC of 0 and their controlling player cannot use Stratagems to affect them.
  • Battle-shocked units must take Desperate Escape tests if they Fall Back.
Mortal Wounds

Some attacks are so powerful that no armour or force field can withstand their fury.

Some attacks inflict mortal wounds. Each mortal wound inflicts one point of damage on the target unit, and they are always applied one at a time. Do not make a Wound roll or saving throw (including invulnerable saving throws) against a mortal wound – just allocate it as you would any other attack and inflict damage to a model in the target unit as described below.

Unlike damage inflicted by normal attacks, excess damage from mortal wounds is not lost if the damage can be allocated to another model. Instead, keep allocating damage to another model in the target unit until either all the damage has been allocated or the target unit is destroyed.

If, when a unit is selected to shoot or fight, one or more of its attacks can inflict mortal wounds on the target, resolve any normal damage inflicted by the attacking unit’s attacks on that target before inflicting any mortal wounds on that target. If an attack inflicts mortal wounds in addition to any normal damage, but the normal damage is subsequently saved, the target unit still suffers those mortal wounds, as described above.

  • Each mortal wound inflicted on a unit causes one model in that unit to lose one wound.
  • No saving throws can be made against mortal wounds.
  • Mortal wounds inflicted by attacks always apply after any normal damage, even if that damage was saved.
Charging with a Unit
Once you have selected an eligible unit to declare a charge, you must select one or more enemy units within 12" of it as the targets of that charge. The targets of a charge do not need to be visible to the charging unit.

You then make a Charge roll for the charging unit by rolling 2D6. The result is the maximum number of inches each model in that unit can be moved if a Charge move is possible. For a Charge move to be possible, the Charge roll must be sufficient to enable the charging unit to end that move:
  • Within Engagement Range of every unit that you selected as a target of the charge.
  • Without moving within Engagement Range of any enemy units that were not a target of the charge.
  • In Unit Coherency.
If any of these conditions cannot be met, the charge fails and no models in the charging unit move this phase. Otherwise, the charge is successful and the models in the charging unit make a Charge move – move each model a distance in inches up to the result of the Charge roll. When doing so, each model in the charging unit must end its Charge move closer to one of the units selected as a target of its charge. If you can also move a charging model so that it ends its Charge move in base-to-base contact with one or more enemy models while still enabling the charging unit to end its move satisfying all of the conditions above, you must do so. The controlling player chooses the order in which to move their models.

  • Charge Roll: 2D6".
  • Targets of a charge must be within 12" but do not need to be visible.
  • If the distance rolled is insufficient to move within Engagement Range of all targets while maintaining Unit Coherency, the charge fails.
  • Cannot move within Engagement Range of any unit that was not a target of the charge.
  • If the charge is successful, each model makes a Charge move less than or equal to the Charge roll, and must move into base-to-base contact with an enemy model if possible.

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