40K: Codex Death Guard: Special Rules & Psychic Powers

Nurgle’s Rot is creeping ever closer and Games Workshop is back with a new round of teasers for the Death Guard Codex!

We got a look at a few of the Stratagems, Warlord Traits, and Relics of the Death Guard earlier this week. Now, Games Workshop has a new batch of gifts from Nurgle. Check these out – but you might want to wash your hands afterwards…

via Warhammer Community

Inexorable Advance is basically their Chapter Tactic/Legion Trait from the Marine or CSM Codex. For the Death Guard’s Infantry and Helbrute units, it’s going to be a powerful boon to their shooting. Moving and firing Heavy weapons doesn’t incur a penalty and neither does Advancing and firing Assault weapons! But that’s not all – Rapid fire weapons can double tap at up to 18″ vs their normal “half the weapon’s maximum range.” YIKES!

Death Guard units are going to me able to move and shoot with the same deadly accuracy at range as if they were standing still. That should help them get in close to trigger all those 7″ Mortal Wound Aura Abilities we took note of…

Speaking of Mortal Wounds, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to save those? Well guess what – pretty much the entire army is going to have Disgustingly Resilient as well:

“While it’s not an army special rule as such, it’s worth noting that nearly every new Death Guard unit has Disgustingly Resilient. This includes all the new Daemon Engines serving alongside the Death Guard, as well as both their unique Terminator units (rest assured we’ll be taking a closer look at these soon!). Disgustingly Resilient is an incredibly useful ability, helping your units cope with high AP weapons and even Mortal Wounds that can be deadly for heavily armoured infantry. Older units like Possessed and Helbrutes lack Disgustingly Resilient but will benefit from your Stratagems significantly, meaning they still very much have a role to play in your army.”

Well there is a hint that the Death Guard Stratagems are also going to help keep stuff alive – truly Grandfather Nurgle’s Gifts are open to all! But Helbrutes and Possessed aren’t the only “old” units that will be in the Codex. Here’s a quick list from GW:

The Death Guard will be keeping access to everything they could use in Index: Chaos – so Chaos Lords, Sorcerers, Chaos Cultists, Helbrutes, Possessed, Chaos Spawn, Chaos Land Raiders, Defilers, Chaos Predators and Chaos Rhinos. In addition, there are 9 completely new units in the codex, datasheets for the 4 new units from Dark Imperium, and an updated datasheet for Plague Marines that gives them some powerful new options

  • Chaos Lords
  • Sorcerers
  • Chaos Cultists
  • Helbrutes
  • Possessed
  • Chaos Spawn
  • Chaos Land Raiders
  • Defilers
  • Chaos Predators
  • Chaos Rhinos

The four new units from Dark Imperium and the Plague Marines will also be included but the big news was that there will also be 9 COMPLETELY NEW units in the codex. Anyone want to take a stab at those? I’ll start the list off:

  • Mortarion
  • Plagueburst Crawler

Seven more to go…

Oh and that doesn’t include the Nurgle Daemons like Nurglings. GW also confirmed “the codex also contains rules for a range of Nurgle Daemons” – that sounds like those Daemons are in addition to the 9 new units. Now which Nurlge Daemons besides the Nurglings? Based on the CSM book – probably at least Plaguebearers and Plague Drones. But who knows what else might be in the book…

Psychic Powers

We’ve already seen a few of these floating around, but here are two more powers that you can count on in your arsenal of Nurgle:

Blades of Putrefaction – First off, you get to add 1 to all Wound Rolls made by a friendly unit in the fight phase. Causing more wounds is always good, right? On top of that each roll of a  7+ inflicts a MORTAL WOUND in addition to any other damage! Yeah – you read that right, suddenly dice rolls of a 6 are causing Mortal Wounds plus regular damage. Note: You can save vs the regular attack, but the Mortal Wounds are still applied because it’s “in addition to any other damage.” OUCH.

Putrescent Vitality – Hey, would you like to be harder to hurt AND hit harder as well? Well Nurgle has a “Gift” for you! Putrescent Vitality will at +1 Strength and Toughness to a friendly Death Guard Infantry unit with 18″ – sounds like a winner to me!


Get ready folks, the Death Guard are looking pretty darn mean! The book is slated to go up for Pre-Order this weekend.


I hope you bought some hand sanitizer.

  • Ronin

    Why 18″ rapid fire? Wouldn’t 14 be divisible by 7?

    Anyways, my grey knights weep at seeing these rules and feeling like wet noodles lol.

    • Volcifar

      Yeah if they had even put half the effort into the GK Codex it would have been amazing. Here is hoping they do more for the Adeptus Mechanicus, but I am not holding my breath.

      • MightyOrang

        But they want you to buy new PM models. Get with the program and you’ll get the good codexes.

        It has ever been thus.

    • Ian Chisholm

      Most rapid fire weapons are 24″. 18″ sits halfway between max range and RF range.

      • Ronin

        I think a better question is do death guard honestly need such a buff when they got plenty of other ones already?

        • Fergie0044

          I would assume that Disgustingly Resilient is included in the units cost. So this is just a legion tactic, same as the others.

          • LankTank

            Agreed on the DR. Plague Marines will be 19pts a Pop and Poxwalkers are more expensive than cultists due to that ability. However that Legion Trait is probably the best so far. Just having the no modifier to heavy or assault should have been enough. The RF ability, just over the top. And I PLAY Deathguard/Apostles of Contagion! I just can’t help think how downtrodden my WE mate is going to be

          • Fergie0044

            It’ll help helbrutes, but what other DG units have heavy weapons? There is no havocs and we haven’t seen what the terminators are armed with. Plus their natural slow movement offsets the assault bonus. Which now that I think about it doesn’t really make sense…
            Anyway, is the RF ability that will be the most useful. The others are more situational. (Like having squads will ALL assault weapons)

          • GrenAcid

            Plague Marines have heavy weapons….and lotsa assault ones.

          • Fergie0044

            Lots of assault ones sure, but to use them (and advance) then your regular bolter ones won’t be shooting.
            What heavy weapons do they have?

          • LankTank

            Oh wow did not click no Havocs!
            Do you think it’s possible the Plague Marines may get new weapon options again?

  • Joseph Mancone

    So do Plasma Guns always rapid fire no matter the range based on this rule? It doesn’t specify bolters.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Yes. The rules applies to any and all weapons with “Rapid Fire”

    • YetAnotherFacelessMan

      “always rapid fire no matter the range” is misleading. Let’s say that plasma guns get an extra 6″ on their rapidfire range. ^_^

  • Tommy Walker

    Ah, yes. And the overpowering begins with each new codex.

    • Philip Estabrook

      I’m not too worried. The army will have a hard time spamming the long range anti vehicle threats many armies need. They will be a great close to mid range army, but they aren’t going to survive against a top shelf melee army.

  • Tom Smo

    Terminators v1
    Terminators v2

    5 more to go

    • Matt Razincka

      Plague Tank/Bombard

      3 left!

  • I_am_Alpharius

    Hmmm 9 units you say…
    1. Mortarion
    2. Plague Burst Crawler
    3. Alternative build for Plague Burst Crawler
    4. Deathshroud Terminators
    5. Plague Marine Terminators
    6. Tallyman dude
    7. Alternative build for Foetid Bloat Drone
    8. Plague Medic type dude from video (0.45s)
    9. Whoever this dude is, looks like some sort of keyholder?:


    • Antonello Ceci

      i think this dude is just an iconbearer

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Yeah could well be. I was struggling to think of ninth from what we’ve seen. It could be, what appears to be, that alternative HQ sculpt

    • Tom Smo

      Typhus instead of alternative Drone? I mean there will be new weapon choices for drones but I doubt that counts as new model.

      • I_am_Alpharius

        He’s a new model, but not a “new” unit. True with the Bloat Drone, however 99% of the time Vehicle kits make two units now.

        • Tom Smo

          Aye, makes sense with the new unit/model distinction. We shall see then, maybe there is something they haven’t spoiled yet at all.

        • LankTank

          Lol yup. The Deff Rolla Foetid Bloat Drone will be called a Doofa Doofa Bloat Drone instead so it would be a “new unit” or some nonsense.
          Your list seems pretty solid

    • Dooms Day

      Urmm the plagueburst crawler and the Foetid bloat drone would count as just 1 unit and plague marines shouldn’t be included in that list either. Youve also missed 2 of the new confirmed characters

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Read not plague marines – Plague Marine Terminators, I believe they’re know as Grave Wardens in the HH.

        Which confirmed characters?

        • Dooms Day

          You mentioned a plague marine guy he wouldn’t be up there , his parts look like just reguular Plague marine parts we’ve seen before

          The confirmed chararacters are the Foul Blightspawn and Biologus Putrifier, bothwere in the latest white dwarf

          • I_am_Alpharius

            So I guess the Biologus Putrifer is the my number 8 and Blightspawn will supplant number 9. I shall amend.

          • Dooms Day

            7(unless its a typo) of the new units are characters (this has been confirmed by GW in the white dwarf) So the vehicle kits cant build different units.

            So your list cant be correct. I feel like they meant 6 of the new units are characters though, unless the deathsthroud is a unit of characters.

          • I_am_Alpharius

            I was assuming the 7 new include the ones from Dark Imperium. Yeah they’re not new in the sense they’ve been out two months; however they are new to the army.

          • Dooms Day

            I wouldn’t include the dark imperium units in that. They aren’t new. They’ve been in the army for 2 months so they cant be described as that. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I still doubt different weapon options for the vehicles are different units. its not like that for many other armies. and so far we’ve only seen 1 main gun type on the tank with the small weapon being 2 different ones.

          • I_am_Alpharius

            Could go either way. 24hrs or so once pre-orders go live in New Zealand we’ll get the listing blurb etc…

          • LankTank

            You in NZ?

          • I_am_Alpharius

            Nope. If I’m up I ogle the new releases when they go live at 11pm* GMT time (best to check around 10min past so they’re all loaded).

            *this time shift depending on whether is UK daylight saving or not; Time moves to midnight.

    • A.P.

      who is this hiding in the back? or is it some some sort of pox walker? looks too big for a pox walker, thinking something larger more sinister, fingers crossed.

    • euansmith

      Is there a dedicated Nurgle Helbrute model? It specifically mentions Helbrutes in “Inexorable Advance”.

      • Fergie0044

        Naw, they can just use the normal chaos one. Forgeworld used to have a DG dread, but I thinks that’s OOP now.

    • Dooms Day

      well we now know the full list of units. The 9 new units are: Foul Blightspawn, Biologus putrifer, Plague Surgeon, Tallyman, Deathshroud terminators, Blightlord Terminators, Myphitic Blight-Hauler, Plague Crawler and Morty. I told you an alternative build wouldn’t be its own units :P. Although that Blight Hauler may just be bloat drone, but I still doubt it.

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Yeah just seen. I give my list a 5/10. Supprised by the Plague Crawler though.

        • Dooms Day

          Not surprised at all. There aren’t that many vehicles that make 2 or more variants (actually im wrong, just had a look through the kits and there are some more. But usually there big changes like melee focus to ranged focus or in the case of land raiders just random stuff).The plague crawler does have some different options however

  • Heinz Fiction

    Inexorable Advance puts Battle Trance to shame. Guess the lightning fast and highly agile Nurgle Marines are the better Eldar these days…

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Doesn’t exactly make them any faster in any way. So no.

      • Heinz Fiction

        It makes them faster if they want to remain at full accuracy. Although an Eldar with a heavy weapon is able to move 7″ he wants to move 0″.

        • I_am_Alpharius

          Sure more accurate on the move, yet not physically “faster”. Pretty sure Aldari will still be able to run circles around them.

        • YetAnotherFacelessMan

          I’m not sure why you’re complaining about the Death Guard, when the Imperial Guard are hands down the fastest infantry in the game.

          6″ move and d6″ advance, 9.5 inches of movement on average.

          Then, in the shooting phase you issue the order “Move, Move, Move!”, it lets them move and advance again.

          That’s 19″ of average movement.

          • Heinz Fiction

            Yeah and an Ork unit can teleport anywhere in the psycic phase. Thats not the point. The point is that this rule is a better version of the faction defining Eldar special rule.

          • Michał Koczorowski

            But look at it this way, Eldar have yet to have a proper codex.
            Maybe they will be buffed as well?

          • Heinz Fiction

            Probably. I’m just a little sarcastic here…

          • YetAnotherFacelessMan

            I disagree. I think that, in practice this rule will do three things:

            1. Let daemon princes advance and fire their warp bolters without penalty.
            2. Let hellbrutes move (but not advance) and fire their heavy weapons without penalty.
            3. Let plague marines move (but not advance) and shoot their bolters with one extra shot in the 12-18″ range band.

            In terms of shooting after advancing, it doesn’t let the plague marines fire their bolters, and the flamer-like weapons automatically hit anyways, so it doesn’t change anything there.

            As such, I don’t feel like this makes the plague marines any faster. The bolter ones will just keep walking regularly and the flamer ones will just keep advancing with no change. I feel like it makes them more accurate overall, but they don’t have the assault guns to really take advantage of it in the same way the Eldar do.

          • KingAceNumber1

            Blight Launchers are a pretty solid choice, s6 ap-2 d3 damage a shot, assault 2 24″. I’m thinking of running two 5-man squads in each rhino, 2 with Blight Launchers, 2 bolter wound-soakers, and the sarge… although the flail of contagion is such a tempting choice that I might want to run melee squads with those as well.

          • YetAnotherFacelessMan

            Absolutely. I love Blight Launchers and will happily run them in my squads, since they are better anti-infantry weapons. I probably won’t advance with a squad that has them, though. I might, if the enemy if 30-32ish inches away from my unit, but most of the time the 24 inch range of the launcher will be plenty. It doesn’t get any stronger any closer, and if you advance with it you’d lose out on the bolters.

            I suppose I could run the launchers together with some melee guys that don’t care about losing their shooting, but that pulls me back towards the “flamer” weapons, since I’m trying to get into short range anyways.

            But yes, you are correct. The Blight Launchers are great. I didn’t mean to give the impression that the plague marines didn’t have any good assault weapons, it’s just that the plague marines’ assault weapons fill a different sort of role in the unit than a dire avenger squad’s shuriken catapults or a fire dragon’s fusion gun.

          • Muninwing

            “faction defining”

            also, new.

            what was the faction before?

  • Bran D

    So RAW…Inexorable Advance says you no longer get to double fire rapid fire at half range and must be at 18″ exactly to fire double? I know thats not RAI but the way its worded you double fire “at a range of 18 inches”.

    • Bozak

      er what?

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Yeah my sentiments. Talk about reading what you want to read from a passage…

    • YetAnotherFacelessMan

      I agree, the sentence could have used an “up to” before the 18 inches, but not even the most aggressive RAW player can argue the intent of the rule…

      Then again, we’re here. I’m typing this now.

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Doesn’t need the phrase “up to” placed in there. It wouldn’t do any harm, per sae; but it would be superfluous to the sentence when read in conjunction with, and in context of, the final sentence.

        As so often with these kind of “rule-bending” people (not directed at you) don’t comprehend a passage as a whole but each part in isolation; which is not how prose writing works 🙂

    • Koonitz

      Well dang. Guess that means my 48″ range lascannon is only going to be able to shoot something that is exactly 48″ away.

      I swear…. (Well, I would try, but then BoLS wouldn’t let the post go through)

    • Rayna M. McCowan

      As written it is saying “you may double tap at 18 inches instead of half range” this is a modifier changing only the maximum range you may double tap at, it says nothing about the minimum range or anything under 18 inches. So, no, Rules as Written and Rules as Intended are the same in this case.

    • Dr.Clock

      A) the ‘range of a weapon’ is and has always been the ‘maximum range’; ‘range’ doesn’t mean ‘only this specific value’ in this context.

      B) You are right that it’s worded pretty awkwardly… better would have been ‘units with this rule can fire rapid fire weapons twice with a range of 18″ rather than at the usual half range’.

      … the ‘only’ in the rule as presented is also misplaced, which makes my inner editor squirm no end – grammatically it implies that units with rapid fire weapons ONLY EVER shoot twice at half range : P

  • Fergie0044

    No death guard oblits. no death guard bikes. no death guard vindicator. no death guard raptors. its a sad sad day for my current army.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Well Deathguard aren’t particularly known for their speed, so that justifies no bikers and raptors. Obliterators are likely not included because of the whole ‘techno-virus’ thing; I suppose Nurgle doesn’t like the idea of techno driven viruses. The Vindicators a little surprising, yet DG are getting the Crawler; which appears to fill the same role – maybe they are even converted vindicators background wise. So all in all makes sense. You can still use the stuff in an allied CSM force.

      • Fergie0044

        I was least surprised by vindicators, due to the new tank seeming to be similar. Shame about oblits though – I always thought they looked nice and nurglely!
        Yea, just need to buy a second codex. 🙁 I suppose I no longer need a deamon one though.

        • Muninwing

          i’m a little surprised by the bikes, but only because it’s a definite slight to the players who struggled to find any viable way to field a chaos army in 4th-5th, with that terrible bland book.

    • LankTank

      Feel you man. My converted Heldrake, My 3 converted Oblits, My 7 Chaos Bikers, My Nurgle Biker Lord. All now Renegades!
      But in all honesty, we both know that those units are not DG fluff. We just loved the +1T days lol. I am going to be fielding a DG detachment, and a Rengegade detachment of Move/ADvance/Charge bikers and Spawn =p

      • Fergie0044

        Agree with the bikers, plus the codex includes daemons so the drones can fill their role now. But why no oblits? Slow and hulking, I thought they suited the nurgle look well! 🙁

        • LankTank

          I know! Killed me. I made mine out of Plague Ogryns and Forgefiend weapons. I think as someone earlier stated that it maybe due to the Mechanical nature of them? But I think it’s more just to keep some differences between CSM and DG

  • Le_smee

    Pretty sure all 9 can be accounted for.

  • Christie Bryden

    so as well as the new units in the index 9 more brand new ones, looking good for thousand sons

  • dakota5X5

    there may be some sort of jump-pack model too. in some of the shots of mortarion there’s a unit with the new curved plastic stands that the interceptors have up on the walkway on the left. the resolution is pretty poor, but it looked like they had pack with turbo fans similar to the blight drone. it’s on the back cover of this month’s white dwarf

    • KingAceNumber1

      I think those are just inceptors getting killed.

  • Tushan

    So codex creep starts anew. I shudder at the thought of the future eldar and tau..

    • Muninwing

      does it count as codex creep when they are still nowhere near the power of guard or Space Marines?

      isn’t that just balance?

      and i’m not talking about getting more than marines get, nor the foolish notion (or, usually, misinterpretation) that true balance requires the top to become the bottom. i literally just mean that finally maybe there’s a better equality in the game by buffing a poorly-performing army.

      applying this to other armies is a slippery slope fallacy, though. GW has shown many times that not every book gets a buff. there’s no pattern nor consistency as to who gets an increase, either.

      • Tushan

        IG is broken atm due to too many units that perform above their point costs such as mortars and conscripts, hqs etc. These will be nerfed.

        As for death guard being less powrful then sm..we dont know as the DG codex point costs are not known yet.

        All hinges on point cost, if DG get too cheap we will see the first true codex creep book in 8th.

        I for one like the “intended” game mechanics with a little mortal wounds added here and there and NOT some kind of mortal would creep with some armies getting fistfull of the stuff thrown around like candy.
        True, GK would qualify nicely here wasnt it for the fact that they are not point efficient enough with some units being flat out overcosted.

        If geedub only spent a fraction of the effort given to death guard (seemingly) when the GK codex was made or if the poor deathwatch could get the same kind of attention but we all know that will never happen.

        As for fallacy, I dont agree. We have simple empiricals to show otherwise in pretty much all prior editions. Thus my genuine worries about what might happen when eldar and tau hit the books in the upcoming future.

      • Tushan

        Are they nowhere near guard or SM?
        If so, why is that?

        If this is because rule bugs that are in the pipe to be adjusted then the comparison is null and void.

        If we look at guard then this is more likely then not since guard is not OP because of the broken guardsman and his lasgun but some select units and aura rules.

        I have nothing against buffing under performing armies, on the contrary, it would be nice to see competitive deathwatch (as if that will ever happen, lol) or SoB but transforming former underperforming armies to broken powerhouses is also not the way to go.

        Again, I use geedubs own primary balancing logic in comparing everything to their baseline, not to mention most protected seller, the SM.

        If we start to see for example death guard getting free mortal wounds sprinkled all over, better flamers for the same points and cheaper wargear that do the same with NO comparing nerfs else were then we do have a case for arguing codex creep and also a case to be wary of the upcoming traditional game killers, eldar and tau based on “empiricals” relating to what usually goes wrong when a clueless geedub retard-in-playtester tries to buff his favorite army, a well tried geedub tradition going all the way back to Heines and his IW absurdity.

        Then again based on how geedub recently shaped up realizing that good tournament balance is directly related to positive earnings statistic and stock P/E maybe, just maaaybe we could actually get fun versions of said armies in the future that are in parity with “non bugged” guard.

        As for gw buffinf or not buffing upcoming books I dont know but I do know that I predicted every single change towards the cheeper from the 8th startup index to the real codex SM despite frontlines zealous denials claiming that everything is soooo good.
        Guess there is something right with my logic after all.

        Taking death guard and what I know so far we have an army heavily buffed in the footslogging infantry department, that is all well and fluffy BUT said army has no drawbacks in the mechanized department which makes me wonder about the balance if fluff only goes one way.