After we discussed the new Death Guard codex, we said that it was too early to judge its effectiveness at that moment – we needed playtests. Now after some of them, we can share our impressions and say how Death Guard should be played.
It’s important to decide from the outset whether you want to play this codex without any allies, or you’d like to add some CSM. This makes sense in case you take a sorcerer in TDA who will speed up your terminators with warptime spell after the deepstrike and increase their chances for the successful charge. You only need a patrol detachment with 1-2 sorcs and cultists as a troops choice. Sure, you can take something else, but it’s not crucial. It’s really sad that the sorcerers from DG codex can’t use warptime, even though they are much similar to the usual ones.
Why do we need warptime so much? The playtests demonstrated that 4 inches move is dramatically low. Terminators can’t create a sustainable threat since it’s too easy to keep away from them. It’s not critical for the shooting Blightlords but totally ruins the idea of the Deathshrouds. And since we are talking about terminators, their usefulness appeared to be lower than we supposed in the review. The reason is not only 4 inches move, but also weapons they carry. Unfortunately, Blightlords don’t have so many options – they can’t take the cleaver and can take only one flail. Power fists are also not available, so the only thing they can destroy in close combat is infantry. Not really tough infantry. However, they are still one of the most effective units in the book due to their durability and combi-weapons they may carry. One unit is a must. Two – also a good idea, depending on your strategy and points limit.
Unfortunately, Deathshrouds are not so useful. They are deadly in close combat and can destroy almost everything. But they die too quick for their price. Your enemy will surely focus them with fire as soon as they are left unengaged in combat. And considering the 4-inch move, it’s only the matter of time. Transporting them in Landraider will cost you too many points – they won’t ever kill so many. If they got 15 points cheaper or got 1-2 extra wounds, they would be perfect. At this moment they seem useful only for friendly play. However, you can use them as extra wounds for Typhus – he is always great and their combination looks logical.
Speaking about detachments again, this army lets you take Brigade with no struggle. 6 troops choices are not a problem. You have nice cheap Poxwalkers able to attract fire and create some problems to the enemy. And you will definitely have a lot of Plague marines in your roster – this is a working horse for this army. They perfectly interact with almost all stratagems and act effectively both in shooting and in close combat. Useless weapons are «flamers» - 8ed is not for flamers, and cleavers – 1 attack from the model hitting on 4+ is definitely not the thing you can rely on. The other weapons – up to you. Equip them as you wish. You can even use combined squads where 5 are carrying melee weapons, and 2 – blight launchers. Seven models per unit leaves enough space in Rhino for the characters.
Almost all of them proved to be useful in particular situations. We’ve already written about the combination with grenades, but this is not the only example. Also, you can make your enemy disappear in the morale phase using the artifact bell for the Blightbringer. And many other things. You can make a lot of trouble to the enemy by combining the characters. Moreover, they are all cheap. The main thing is transportation. So, classic archetype «Plague marines on the Rhino» is still up to date. You will need about 3 of them, full of marines and characters.
As for the vehicles, not all of them are so useful as terminators and 3+ marines. Drones are fun if you don’t expect much of them. Close combat version is nice against small infantry units if it doesn’t die on the way to them. The drone seems to be quite durable, but if a serious anti-tank squad pays attention to it… Flamer version is also not so bad due to auto-hits after advancing. So you have 19+D6 radius of threat. The only bad thing is that it shoots randomly. Heavy blightlauncher version suffers from low ballistic skill. Considering that it goes down after the movement, you can deliver more successful blightlauncher shots from a single Plague marines unit.
There is a weird thing about the Blight-hauler…Where is the miniature??? The release is over and it’s still gone. No idea how to play it. The couple of them could make cover for advancing Rhinos. But the fact that it explodes in the same range it gives cover, makes you think twice before using it. The mortar is another weird unit. The main cannon is useless and random. And almost-lascannon-weapon makes it way too expensive. So, if you want an effective tank-fighter you still need a Predator. Nevertheless, the mortar miniature looks impressive.
And, finally, Mortarion. He’s really strong and can destroy half of the enemy’s army. If he manages to come to it. Any adequate player will turn all his firepower against him from the first turn. So, by the time, Mortarion could do some damage, he’s either degraded or dead. But he still costs a lot. So, sometimes it’s easier not to take him. His effectiveness strongly depends on the enemy’s firepower. A Far more reliable choice is Typhus with terminators – for the same point cost, they will bring your enemy more trouble.
So, Death Guard proved itself as not so versatile and powerful codex as it seemed. Don’t get it wrong – it’s still a strong and competitive army. However, there are only Plague marines who don’t have any BUTs. So, your effectiveness depends on the thoughtful control and on unit combinations. And there should be a great piece of luck since your success also depends on how you roll 5+ FnP.