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Oh, Drone on...
The newest members to Papa Nurgle's family are the Plague Drones of Nurgle. These wonderful new units aren't only a stunning kit, but ain't too bad on the playing field either. Unlike many units in the Daemon Codex, Plague Drones of Nurgle also have some flexibility in playstyle and ability.
To get a better understanding on how Plague Drones operate let us look at their rules and see what makes them tick.
(Click to Enlarge)
- Toughness 5 & Multi-Wounds
- Death's Heads
- Rot Proboscis
- Venom Sting
- Point Cost 42 pts per model
--Nurgle Touch of Love--
The most important component to the effectiveness of Plague Drones is T5 and W3; making them resistant to most weaponry and allows them to survive a hail of bullets. A max size squad is still only 27 wounds and a lot of points, so don't go throwing them headlong without staying near cover.
--Jerry Garcia's Friends--Death's Heads12 inches S User AP - Assault 2 Poisoned 4+ are a interesting idea for a few reasons. It gives something few units in Chaos Daemon book have: shooting! That alone makes it worth considering, but like almost all Daemons you also want to assault. Better make sure any units shot are still in charge range after taking casualties. The biggest bonus though is having poison, so with Monstrous Creatures roaming the battlefield in greater frequency having a unit that can wound them is worthwhile. Before you go paying Death's Heads12 inches S User AP - Assault 2 Poisoned 4+ remember Plague Drones only have BS3.
--A better poison to kill you with--Rot ProboscisClose combat attacks made by a model with a rot proboscis have the Poisoned 3+ special rule is a pretty penny to pay for a minor bonus. With Plague Drones re-rolling wounds most times anyway, having 3+ poison is more about a cost benefit equation. Now if you target high Toughness units something can be said about Rot ProboscisClose combat attacks made by a model with a rot proboscis have the Poisoned 3+ special rule usefulness, but just how situational is that then?
If you take Rot ProboscisClose combat attacks made by a model with a rot proboscis have the Poisoned 3+ special rule and Death's Heads12 inches S User AP - Assault 2 Poisoned 4+ no matter the investment will always do something. Now with Venom StingBefore rolling to Hit, one model Attacks are made with a Venom Sting and roll it separately. This Attack has the Instant Death special rule though not so much, not only does it require dice maintenance, it also requires you facing multi-wound creatures. It is really a half ass upgrade because instead of just saying something like 6s cause Instant Death we have something more convoluted for its own good. So, unless you see a lot of Paladins or other Daemon players steer clear of this pretty useless upgrade.
--That Horse is going to cost Ya--
At 42 points Nurgle Drones are more expensive than a Terminator, but a better comparison is with Beasts of Nurgle. Compared to Beasts of Nurgle, Plague Drones are a steal, you get a reliable number of attacks, but more importantly you can get a Plague BannerA plague banner is an Icon of Chaos. Once per game, the unit can declare it is using the plague banner. If it does Melee weapons have the Poisoned 2+ special rule until the end of the phase. and a champion for challenges. All things consider at 42 points Plague Drones seems just right as long as you avoid S10 shooting and attacks.
Unlike many units in the Daemon Codex, Plague Drones of Nurgle also have some flexibility in playstyle and ability.
Putting it all Together...
Plague Drones of Nurgle are an interesting creature and one worth taking. They are one of the two Nurgle units that can get across the board quickly.
The crowded Fast Attack slot does present its own conundrum, but they provide a tool kit unlike any of the other choices.
Comparison is a good place as any to start to see just how Plague Drones exactly fit. Just keep in mind Plague Drones have a bit of everything.
A true lover of Nurgle
Plague Drones have more wounds than Flesh Hounds and the same amount of attacks as Seekers. Unlike both those units, Plague Drones can take a punch as well can sustain an assault. The reason for such ability is because Plague Drones get PlagueswordsMelee, Poisoned on 4+. Touch of Rust; these lovely pestilence blades in the hands Plaguebearers is nice, but with Plague Drones is amazing. Not only does it mean Plague drones will be re-rolling most wounds, Plague Drones are also able to deal with any Walker or Vehicle easier than any Fast Attack unit.
Unlike many of the Fast Attack choices Plague Drones benefit from a good assortment of upgrades. The best being the Plague BannerA plague banner is an Icon of Chaos. Once per game, the unit can declare it is using the plague banner. If it does Melee weapons have the Poisoned 2+ special rule until the end of the phase., with so many attacks Plague Drones can use the Plague BannerA plague banner is an Icon of Chaos. Once per game, the unit can declare it is using the plague banner. If it does Melee weapons have the Poisoned 2+ special rule until the end of the phase. to make sure a critical charge has an extra advantage. Having a Plaguebringer Character as well means an EtherbladeS User AP 2 Melee, Master-crafted, Specialist Weapon for some AP2 weapon wounding that can take advantage of the Plague BannerA plague banner is an Icon of Chaos. Once per game, the unit can declare it is using the plague banner. If it does Melee weapons have the Poisoned 2+ special rule until the end of the phase. as well. Even without 2+ poison Plague Drones are great for dealing with the current big menace: Monstrous Creatures. As Riptides and Wrathknights abound having a unit that can pile on poison wounds is darn useful.
Plaguebringers especially with a EtherbladeS User AP 2 Melee, Master-crafted, Specialist Weapon can handle most challenges and pose a serious threat to many Independent Characters. What really make Plague Drones shine is being Jetpack Cavalry. As a Jetpack, Plague Drones get around the pesky problems of being a Daemon of Nurgle Daemons of Nurgle have Daemon, Hatred Daemons of Tzeentch, Shrouded, Slow and Purposeful, and defensive grenades. Having 2D6 movement in addition to shooting is great with Death's Heads12 inches S User AP - Assault 2 Poisoned 4+, but it also avoids the Deep Strike deployment death circle. Along with Cavalry you have a fast unit that can engage or retreat from any threat.
Plague Drones are not without drawbacks or dangers. They still have to avoid Force Weapons and S10 units, and 7+ strength mass fire poses a threat. The cost is also a major deterrent for Plague Drones as Flesh Hounds will always outstrip them in cost to wound efficiency. In return, pesky S8 weapons will do nothing. Overloading on upgrades is always tempting, but with the exception of Death's Heads12 inches S User AP - Assault 2 Poisoned 4+ and the Plague BannerA plague banner is an Icon of Chaos. Once per game, the unit can declare it is using the plague banner. If it does Melee weapons have the Poisoned 2+ special rule until the end of the phase. you don't need much more, and running them bare has its own rewards. Plague Drones also cannot really take a Independent Character to join them, as any Herald of Nurgle will only slow down a Plague Drone unit.
42 points per model is a lot to invest and any Plague Drone unit worth its salt is going to hover in the 250-300 range easy. This means your Plague Drones will need to pull their weight for such an investment, making sure more immediate threats for your opponent to deal with is always a good idea. Plague Drones have no problem buzzing around the battlefield causing havoc and drawing fire if it means more important targets don't get prioritize first.
Plague Drones can really handle any situation, but playing smart is important. Plague Drones don't have to be blunt instruments like Seekers or Flesh Hounds instead they can hang back in cover, guard other units, or simply harass. Plague Drones as large models take up a lot of space and with ability to speed across the board, they make some of the best objective contestors in the codex.
The points level you play at will help determine the role for your Plague Drones. Low point games require Plague Drones to be the hammer, but with larger games options open up to have your Drones perform the other roles listed above.
--Ways to play Plague Drones of Nurgle--
Death Star Configuration: 350 pts 7-man unit of Plague Drones with a Plaguebringer, Lesser Reward, Plague Banner
Balanced Configuration: 275 pts 5-man unit of Plague Drones with Death's Heads, Plague Banner
MSU Configuration: 141 pts 3-man unit of Plague Drones with Venom Sting
Horde Configuration: 418 pts 9-man unit of Plague Drones with Plague Banner
A Word about Allies
Plague Drones of Nurgle aren't the worst or best choice for an ally. Since you will likely only have enough points to field one unit you have to judge what role you want them to fill. This is where the shooty option for Plague Drones comes in handy, since Daemon allies don't have access to much poison shooting this gives your army a little Dark Eldar feel that can deal with any non-vehicle threat.
Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.
Overall, Plague Drones of Nurgle are darn nasty. Unlike a lot of Daemon units you will never feel like Plague Drones won't work against certain lists. Plague Drones have it all, a gorgeous model, great stats and customizable options. The only drawbacks for Plague Drones are the cost and no good Independent Character option able to join them. This are minor quibbles for unit that should have no problem seeing the battlefield all the time.
It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.
For tactical articles feel free to email me to continue the discussion or if you discover an inaccurate interpretations of the rules-- edits will be made accordingly.
Also check out other articles in this series...
- Chaos Space Marine Tactica Link Page
- Chaos Daemons Impressions
- Breaking Down Chaos Daemons
- Bloodletters of Khorne Review
- Pink Horrors of Tzeentch Review
- Plaguebearers of Nurgle Review
- Deamonettes of Slaanesh Review
- Bloodcrushers of Khorne Review
- Flamers of Tzeentch Review
- Beasts of Nurgle Review
- Fiends of Slaanesh Review
- Flesh Hounds of Khorne Review
- Screamers of Tzeentch Review
- Plague Drones of Nurgle Review
- Chaos Furies Review
- Seekers of Slannesh Review
- Soul Grinder Review
- Skull Cannon of Khorne Review
- Nurglings Review
- Skarbrand Review
- Kairos Fateweaver Review
- Ku'Gath the Plaguefather Review
- Bloodthirster Review
- Lord of Change Review
- Great Unclean One Review
- Keeper of Secrets Review
- Daemon Prince Review
- Skulltaker Review
- The Changling Review
- The Blue Scribes Review
- Epidemius Review
- The Masque Review
- Herald of Khorne Review
- Herald of Tzeentch Review
- Herald of Nurgle Review
- Herald of Slaanesh Review
- Exalted, Seeker, Hellflayer Chariots of Slaanesh Review
- Burning Chariot of Tzeentch Review
- A Look Back and Final Chaos Codex Daemons Breakdown