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Warhammer 40K: The Verdict on Codex Death Guard

4 Minute Read
Jan 22 2021

Adam here to see how the new Death Guard codex stacks up now that we have seen it.

Right now the big topic seems to be the new Death Guard codex. There has been some debate as to the power of the codex in various groups and pages. Although we have yet to see how the army performs in a tournament, you can find online a few battle reports and videos of the new codex in action. With that in mind, we will look at some of the pros and cons that have been mentioned and how I think the codex will do once it hits the gaming tables.

Death Guard Pros

Probably the biggest change we saw was the change to Disgustingly Resilient. This has caused a bit of a commotion for a lot of players. The change to just -1 damage is a bit of a boon as it is a guaranteed reduction in damage. Sure, you don’t get to negate damage from one damage weapons but being able to reduce the incoming damage to the point where your opponent has to spend more firepower in order to destroy a unit can be extremely helpful.


Another aspect that I think will really help the army is the increase in weapon and ballistic skills for their daemon engines. The better skill allows for the daemon engines to be more effective and probably see more use. Sure the Plagueburst Crawler is even better and we will still see it on the tabletop but now some of the other daemon engines may see some playtime now. Even Poxwalkers got better, and I really mean tougher and are a better option than cultists, who are no longer objective secured. Then there is the big guy himself, Mortarion. The toughness boost, extra warlord traits, and the ability to turn off auras should easily make him a staple in almost every Death guard army. Is there really any downside to this army?

Death Guard Cons

Well, actually there are a few downsides to the army. First off the army is a bit slow, although this is something of a trait for Death Guard. Sure vehicles can give them some speed or you can put them in strategic reserve, but they sometimes still need to plod along once they drop in. I did mention that Poxwalkers got a boost but they also are very limited on how many squads you can take. You cannot have more Poxwalkers than Bubonic Astartes core units so that could be an issue if you wanted to really build a Poxwalker heavy army. I know I just mentioned how much of a beast Mortarion is but he is now more difficult to hide and putting him in strategic reserves reduces his effectiveness in the game as a whole. I think there will still be instances where he will be killed in one turn just not as often, hopefully.

Lastly, although I did mention this as a “Pro”, there will be times where the -1 damage is a negative, although I think this will only last until people are used to it. There have been times when the old Disgustingly Resilient proved way more effective than it probably should be. I remember seeing players shrug off 3 or 4 wounds from a single attack because of it. A lot of players initially will be feeling the pain of surprising their opponent by making rolls like that and will have to learn how to deal with the pain of actually taking more than one wound.

Codex Initial Verdict

So what does it all mean? Granted, this is just my initial thoughts as we haven’t seen it in action but it is always fun to speculate, right? Even with the negatives that I listed, I think that the Death Guard will have a strong tournament showing and will be high in the placings. Now it may not be in the same strata as some space marine armies but it can certainly hang in there. I know that some may say that they will do well initially because they are a new codex. Usually, with a new codex people may not know what to do, or that their old tactics may not work on the new codex. And even though I feel positive about the codex, in order for current Death Guard players to do well with the new codex I think they need to change their thinking about how parts of the army works. Previous builds, from what I can see, don’t seem to be as powerful as in the old codex. Players will need to rethink their armies and that should bring about some new builds that will hopefully bring victories and please Grandfather Nurgle.


~That’s all for this week. I hope you enjoyed the article. Let me know what you think, and what ideas you have for your Death guard army, in the comments section below.

Author: Adam Solis
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