40K: Death Guard Psychic Powers

Mortarion might hate psykers but that doesn’t mean his tactics ignore their potential! Let’s talk Death Guard Psychic Powers.

We been putting the Death Guard Codex through the wringer this week on out Twitch Channel. In doing so we’ve seen some of the nasty things this book is capable of and one of the many tools in the arsenal of the Death Guard are their custom Psychic Powers. Much like the CSM, Space Marine, and Grey Knight books before, the Death Guard have their own unique set of Psychic Powers and we’re going to talk about each one.

The Contagion Discipline

Miasma of Pestilence

This power is a really solid defensive ability. Only needing a Warp charge of 6, it grants one friendly Death Guard unit some much appreciated “cover” by subtracting 1 from all opponent’s hit rolls that target the “blessed” unit. Keep in mind that there is no restriction on shooting or fight phase – it lasts until the start of your next psychic phase! We seen this used to great effect to keep Poxwalkers charging forward into the guns of the enemy. We’ve also seen Mortarion use it on himself to go toe-to-toe with units in close combat and laugh as attacks whiff. Good times.

Gift of Contagion

This one is for all you fans of random charts out there. It requires a 7 to go off – however your results may vary. You target a visible enemy unit with 18″ and they get either -1 to their Attacks, Strength, or Toughness. Note: this cannot reduce that stat to less than 1. You can see how this one could be very hit or miss. Are you in close combat with a unit? -1 one to their attacks sounds good – unless they only have 1 to begin with. Or -1 Strength? Well if you’re a Plague Marine most stuff is already wounding you on 5 or 6’s – I guess it could be nice to drop a unit from Strength 3 down to 2. Now, nailing a unit with -1 Toughness is good across the spectrum vs most Infantry. Going from Tough 4 to Tough 3 can be a game changer. And going from 3 to 2 is downright deadly. Overall, this power just doesn’t seem to be that reliable unfortunately. If it was just a straight -1 Toughness however…

Plague Wind

Are you having an issue with a horde of troops? Well the Plague Wind has your back. For only needing a 5 on the old Warp Charge Meter, you could potentially cause quite a bit of damage to a horde unit. Every model in the unit has a 1-in-6 chance of taking a mortal wound. Obviously, your odds go up the bigger the unit is. Against a unit of 30 Ork boys, for example, on average you should get 5 mortal wounds. That might not sound like much, but that’s better than a regular Smite, and you could always get really lucky…

Blades of Putrefaction

Does +1 to wound in the Fight Phase sound good? Because that’s what this power does! On top of that if the unit is using Plague Weapons any wound rolls of 7+ also generate a mortal wound in addition to any other damage. So that means all of your 6s to wound get bumped up to 7s and that equals “free” mortal wounds! There is a nice Stratagem called Veterans of the Long War that can add an additional +1 to all your wound rolls in the fight phase, too. Oh and don’t forget Plague Weapons re-roll wound rolls of 1…With a unit of Plague Marines I’ll take those odds all day!

Putrescent Vitality

Manipulating Toughness is a theme of the Death Guard Army and for the low price of a 6 Warp Charge, you’ll be able to buff a friendly Death Guard unit with both +1 Toughness AND Strength. Stacking this on a unit of Poxwalkers with Typhus around can make them very resilient – not to mention downright deadly! Or for added fun toss this on a Character or Plague Marines – as long as they are Infantry they can benefit from this one.

Curse of the Leper

This power stacks really well with all that Toughness stat manipulation. If you can get a target unit’s Toughness down, you could generate up to 7 mortal wounds pretty easily. Combine this with Mortarion’s Toxic Presence ability and now you’re nailing marines on a 4+ vs a 5+ or you’re killing T3 (down to T2) on a 3+. Just remember that the roll has to EXCEED their Toughness.


That’s all the Powers in the Contagion Discipline – which ones do you consider your “go-to” powers?

  • Calgar

    Correct me if im wrong, but doesn’t the +1 to wound mean that the Plague Marines can never roll a 1 to wound and get the rerroll?

    • Jared van Kell

      No because rolling a 1 to wound is a flat fail regardless of modifiers so re-rolling that initial 1 is a good thing to have.

      • Andrew O’Brien

        Yea, re-rolls are always before modifiers. In some cases (when it subtracts from your to hit) this is obnoxious, however in this case it is beneficial.

  • mgdavey

    “Every model in the unit has a 1-in-6 chance of taking a mortal wound. Obviously, your odds go up the bigger the unit is.”

    Nope. Odds don’t work like that.

    • Spacefrisian

      I make the odds in my favor.

    • Ish

      The probability of one of several independent events occurring is the sum of their individual probabilities. The probability of at least one six on Nd6 is 1-(5/6)^n…

      So for one die: 1-(5/6)^1 = 16.667%
      And for thirty dice: 1-(5/6)^30 = 99.579%

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Really just no, this is primary school statistics

        No matter how many times you roll a die, the probability that a 6 will come up on a certain roll is ALWAYS 1/6. This is because every roll of the die is exactly the same. The rolls that came before do not change the rolls that will come in the future. Said another way, the outcome of each roll has nothing to do with the outcomes of the other rolls. In probability language, the rolls are said to be independent. Even if you roll it 100 times, the probability of getting a 6 is still 1/6.

        You “calculation” is the odds of at least one of the 30 dice coming up with a 6. Which is a different thing all together, and of course you roll more dice then the odds of getting the number you’re after do up.

        • Ish

          “You “calculation” is the odds of at least one of the 30 dice coming up with a 6. Which is a different thing all together…”

          It’s not a different thing. It’s exactly the thing I was calculating. The author is comparing this power to Smite and how it has a greater probability of doing equal or better damage against enemy units the more models are in that unit. He used the colloquial “odds” instead of more precise language.

          • mgdavey

            You are correct that the odds of throwing at least one six go up the more dice you throw. But that’s not what the author said. The author said that each model has a 1-in-6 chance of taking a hit, with the odds going up the bigger the unit is. The odds FOR EACH MODEL (ie FOR EACH DIE) stay the same.

          • Ish

            What the original author originally wrote was:

            “Every model in the unit has a 1-in-6 chance of taking a mortal wound. Obviously, your odds go up the bigger the unit is. Against a unit of 30 Ork boys, for example, on average you should get 5 mortal wounds.”

            You’re being overly precise in your reading of his sentence. His use of language is imprecise and a strictly literal reading of his words make you correct… However, his intent is clearly to illustrate that the probability of causing multiple Mortal Wounds increases as the size of the targeted unit increases.

            If you roll thirty dice, you will average five sixes. The expected number of a particular outcome, is the total number of trials (each roll is a ‘trial’) multiplied by the probability of that outcome occurring:

            30 x (1/6) = 5

    • GravesDisease

      Glad you wrote this, was just about to say the same thing myself. I think author missed out a few choice words :
      “Obviously, the likelihood of getting some wounds increase the bigger the unit is.”

      Whilst this may seem like a woolly statement i guess his intention is to addendum that 1/6 of wound doesn’t seem all that great a power.

  • Jared van Kell

    I can see Putrescent Vitality being nasty on a unit of close combat Plaguemarines.

  • KingAceNumber1

    Although he doesn’t get the +2 like Magnus, Morty can really push himself through the roof with psychic powers. Roll up to a unit and apply the -1 toughness aura before using Curse of the Leper to inflict 3-4 mortals, then cast Blades of Putrefaction on himself. Charge and pop veterans of the long war, and you are swinging 18 attacks that hit on 2’s and wound on 2’s, both of which are rerolling 1’s, and additionally all 5’s and 6’s to wound cause an extra mortal wound. Don’t forget Morty’s auto-smite as well. He’s a big goofball.