Stupid 40K Tricks: The Morty Swap

Taking Mortarion up to 11.

Everyone loves Mortarion. Every since he came out in 8th Edtion The Death Lord has been making a splash. Not only does he have one of the bonkers amazing models in the game but he got a powerful set of rules to back it up. Of course the Patriarch of Plagues is not without weakness. He is in general a short ranged model, wanting to get as close to the enemy as possible. Even with a solid 12″ move it will take him time to close, giving the enemy a key turn or two to shoot him down. But what if he could get to the enemy faster? What if he could avoid getting shot? Lets take a lot at how people get Morty across the board and the stupid trick that really makes him crazy.

The Fix

Every hero needs a sidekick. 

It took players all of a about 2 minutes look at Codex: Death Guard to figure out that what the Primarch of Pestilence really needed was access to Warptime. If one move isn’t enough to get old Morty across the table, then two should do it. Of course Warptime isn’t on the Contagion discipline that Morty gets access too. However, even if he can’t take it there is a simple fix, and simply take a Chaos Sorcerer from an “allied” CSM detachment and have him cast it on Morty. Or better yet, take Magnus, and have the brothers pal around.

While powerful this fix does have its own weakness. The main one is that Warptime only has a 3″ inch range. While its pretty easy to be in the range one turn one, its much harder to be within 3″ in later turns when Morty has buzzed-fluttered off on his attack run. In addition it forces your to clump your army up. Lastly some people might feel that spending 100+ points just to Warptime Mortarion is a little much. So is there was a better way to do it?

The Morty Swap

Well folks, I’m here today to tell you that there is in fact a better way!

You see it’s all thanks to a little CSM stratagem called Chaos Familiar. Chaos Familiar as you can see lets you swap out some psychic powers.

Now you can use this stratagem to improve you army in just 3 easy steps:

  1. Take a Chaos Space Marines Detachment in your army. This can be a simple patrol with two units, or a nice force of allied Alpha Legion Noise Marines/Cultists. This will give you access to the CSM Stratagems.
  2. At the start of your first Psychic phase use Chaos Familiar. As you can see below the Sultan of Slime has both the required Heretic Astartes and Pysker key words meaning you can target him with the familiar. 
  3. Since Chaos Familiar specifically lets you swap a power for one form the Dark Herecticus discipline Morty can drop any of his powers and learn Warptime.
  4. Profit.

Evil Morty

This seems like a good time for a drink and a cold calculated speech with sinister overtones. 

Armed with his newly gained power Mortarion is now unshackled. No longer does he need a Rick, I mean Magnus, to hold his hand and propel him forward. The Papa of Pus can fly off as his own engine of destruction, totally self sufficient. No longer is he simply Morty, but know at his his full potential he has become a new, and Evil, Morty. Each turn he can double move, putting him and his Host of Plagues right where you want them. In addition if you wanted to, you could in subsequent use Chaos Familiar again to swap out other powers, maybe giving him the ability to cast Diabolic Strength on himself. Between Chaos Familiar and Chaos Familiar of Nurgle Morty has accesses to 13 powers at will, making him extremity versatile.

Final Thoughts

Just Ricks Killing Mortys

Letting Morty take Warptime may not be the most broken thing in the game. The army had accesses to it before by using Chaos Sorcerers. However the use of Chaos familiar to cut out the middle man does make Morty better. Access to a ton of power and the ability to Warptime himself only make the Fly Lord more powerful. Morty is already one of the apex predators of the current meta and really doesn’t need the help. At the rate we are going we will pretty soon see Mortys killing Mortys at the top tables. Anyway, for better or worse, there you have it, the perfect way to take a regular Morty and turn him into an Evil Morty with a simple Morty Swap.

Let us know what you think about “the Morty Swap” down in the comments! 



  • James Regan

    I think this is probably operating entirely as intended- any problems caused by such a switch would more be proof of warptime being too strong/useful, rather than a rules trick, as paying a command point to replace a psychic power with a psychic power on the first turn doesn’t give you any advantage inherently.

    That stratagem is likely supposed to allow you to pull a clutch play with a power you don’t already have, switching in what you need at the expense of a command point and one of your current powers, taking an opponent off guard. Playing it turn 1, especially if you go first, loses you a command point for what is theoretically a like for like trade. Warptime is, however, maybe too inexpensive to cast, if a command point, a psychic power, and and taking an entire CSM detatchment are considered a good trade just to have it in the first place (I say inexpensive to cast, because this is more ‘clearly warped internal balance’ than a problem with the external effects of the power)

    • Simon Chatterley

      The issue is that it’s usually an Alpha Legion patrol that unlocks it and the 2 units of cultists are cheap and can also be used as board denial. Plus when they die in certain builds they then become poxwalkers so no negligible downsides.

      Funny how a guy uses this in a recent tournament and suddenly it’s hot news. We’ve known about it since the DG Errata…

      • James Regan

        maybe the issue is that Mortarion is just really bad at vetting his cultists?
        Typhus: “but these new guys are all well washed and have really visible hydra tatoos, sire!”
        Mortarion: “who cares, just run ’em in front and let them die. I’ve yet to see a plague zombie capable of pronouncing ‘alpharius'”

    • Deacon Ix

      You are correct that it is easy to cast but on the same side of the coin if you get it off with a low roll it is easy to nullify –
      not a justification, just an observation (happened to me in my last game) and the 3″ range does limit it quite a lot.

  • Heinz Fiction

    Well, the psychic power has still to be sucessfully cast and not denied so it won’t work everytime. Other armies have access to 1st turn charges that are 100% reliable…

    • James Regan

      they don’t have mortarion making said charges though, and if you have death guard for any reason other than power gaming based on 1st turn melee charges (e.g. you like death guard, or you think death guard operate competitively anyway, but think a 1st turn charge with morty would be better than the same army without said 1st turn charge, or your current death guard army isn’t really based on melee much anyway, so being able to 1st turn charge with units in different armies is irrelevant to a shooting based force)

  • Simon Chatterley

    None of this would be an issue if the Deathguard FAQ said no to the question about using CSM stratagems.

    GW have made this issue because the CSM book clearly states that 1K Sons and DG can’t use what follows. Sharing keywords shouldn’t matter.

    But as soon as Gw gave this sort of thing the green light it’s simply a case of finding shared keywords and not exactly rocket science. Morty using the chaos familiar has been a thing since that Errata.

    • Muninwing

      ahh, the “keyword” system either backfiring like crazy or working as intended and creating the powerbuilds that so many people hoped 8th would fix…

      and nobody is surprised.

  • AkulaK

    Even in this kinda of article the “Meta” word has been used !

  • 00supra00

    “Lastly some people might feel that spending 100+ points just to Warptime Mortarion is a little much.” The suggested solution to run a patrol CSM detachment also requires a HQ….

    • Muninwing

      shhhh! he thinks this is genius!

      this is just like how some people overspend because there’s a sale… they see how much they are saving so they spend way more than they intended to, since they are actually “saving money” in their minds.