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The Original Minions

Nurglings have always been one of the most whimsical and silly units in the game. They have a fun fluff and epitomize the nature of Nurgle. Now they have wonderful new models to showcase their disease ridden bounty. As for rules, Nurglings have nothing really special to stand out from other Swarms. 

Nurglings have gone through a few tweaks between 6th and 5th edition, here is a side by side look on how they compare.

(Click to Enlarge)

Nurglings Rules 2013

Nurglings Rules 2008



Compare &  Contrast

  • Point increase 13 to 15 each
  • Gained Infiltrate
  • Increased Weapon Skill from 2 to 3
  • Increased Wounds from 3 to 4
  • Increased Attacks and Initiative

--Cost of Living Adjustment--

Nurglings surprisingly got a little more expensive. The reasons are obvious if you look at the across the board stat increases, but by removing Eternal Warrior should have meant a 5 point decrease. The always important Troops slot also doesn't help either; when you have to choose between scoring and not scoring.

--Getting close and dirty--

Infiltrate is important because Nurglings are now Slow & Purposeful. Swarms are always perform best as a harassing unit and to have Infiltrate means Nurglings will at least see some combat before popping from instability.

--More Skilled Contagion--

This little boost means Nurglings might actually hit their prey. Too bad that won't help much when you can be easily be instant killed.

--More Puss for the Pushin--

GW answer to Daemons losing Eternal Warrior is pretty consistent: add more wounds. Well adding more wounds doesn't mean anything when you are easily doubled out by any Strength 6 weapon in the universe. God forbid it is a Strength 6 blast as well.

--Getting way more feisty--

It is obvious that Nurglings pack more punch than ever before, but it really doesn't make any difference because Nurglings were never a real threat anyway. I gladly have a unit with 1 in everyone offensive stat if it meant I could stay in assault longer than two player turns.

As for rules, Nurglings have nothing really special to stand out from other Swarms.


Putting it all Together...

It is a real shame that Nurglings have become pretty useless. The biggest problem doesn't actually have to do with losing Eternal Warrior, more importantly its about how the Swarm rule has changed for the worse. Not that Swarms ever scored, but now that cannot even deny an objective.

Not being able to deny an objective has Nurglings with nothing to do, except intercepting a unit before it gets to an objective . With the point increase a large squad of Nurglings costs as much as average troop with way more utility.  Daemonic InstabilityA unit with this special rule cannot be joined by a model without this special rule. Units with this special rule automatically pass Fear, Pinning, and Morale tests. A unit that loses an assault must make a Daemonic Instability test. On Double 1s Al Wounds suffered by the unit in that assault phase are returned. On Double 6s remove the entire unit from play as casualties. Otherwise compare the dice roll to the Daemons Leadership value, along with modifiers and for each point the unit fails by remove a model with no saves of any kind allowed. Nurglings quickly evaporate from any table top as well. What made Nurglings special was Eternal Warrior as they were the ultimate tarpit, to replace GW has thrown token stat increases that do every little overtime.

Nurglings also take a precious Troop slot. What possible case can you make for taking Nurglings, when you can take 90 point Plaguebearer unit instead? Nurglings cannot even hurt vehicles unlike their Nurgle brothers. Sure they have Infiltrate, something that only hastens their deaths. Being a  Daemon of NurgleDaemons of Nurgle have Daemon, Hatred Daemons of Tzeentch, Shrouded, Slow and Purposeful, and defensive grenades isn't that helpful either. Nurglings can hide pretty well, but when denying objectives is out the question what is the point? All honesty opponents can simply ignore Nurglings in most cases.

Nurglings can still cause Fear. One of the best Nurgling survival paths is striking Tau, Imperial Guard, or Eldar units. When Nurglings have a chance to win combats they still fail because they cannot Sweeping Advance,  making easy targets once exposed. One possible use is if you still have the old metal models. Interestingly enough Nurglings now have a Ballistic Skill. That means you can take your old Nurglings and have them man a Quad-Gun. Hiding behind an Aegis line with a 2+ cover save most of the time, that is if your opponent can even see them.

Another possible use for Nurglings is their ability to provide cover for intervening models. This is where not caring about Nurglings isn't detrimental. Using the new models Nurglings can obscure more important units or vehicles. This is where the large bases come in handy, a large Nurgling unit can spread out across table easily to protect your entire army. This is also where Infiltrating works well too. Nurglings can stand far ahead of your faster units providing important Turn 1 cover without risking much.

Another missed opportunity is taking Nurglings with Herald of Nurgle. Once again any potential is foiled by the inability to have Nurgling pass along Infiltrate. Now, the Herald of Nurgle Locus can boost Nurglings, but then again you are dropping points into a well of little hope.

The finesse required to make Nurglings worthwhile is problematic. Even as screening units they are a few strength 6 hits away from cover lines being opened up. It is always disappointing when a unique unit is completely gutted. You wonder if the design team was handicapped by the other choices they made in the codex.


A Word about Allies

You could do a lot worse than Nurglings for an ally force. Protecting your tanks and vehicles with obscuring Nurglings isn't a bad idea. Since vehicles can shoot over a Nurgling wall they don't have to worry about giving cover to their opponent.

Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.

Final Thoughts...

Overall, Nurglings are only for those true Nurgle lovers. If you plan on making a themed army having Nurglings running interference ahead of you slow Nurgle forces is your best bet. The sad truth is, the best use for those new models is making Palanquins for your Nurgle Heralds to ride.


It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.