My Tactics pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor a seal pup. I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume to know better than anyone else... unless I must call out ego or pretension.
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Not Fat just Fantastic...
The big fatty, the grand pooh-bah, papa Nurgle, whatever you call it the Great Unclean One is one the most identifiable units in the game. Traversing the battlefield slowly, this beast has always been a tough cookie for anyone to deal with.
The Great Unclean One has gone through quite a few changes since the last time we've seen him. Strangely, the changes to the Great Unclean One are at first glance completely nurfing, but the truth is the quite the opposite.
You will see what I mean, when you take a look at side by side comparison between 2008 and 2013 Daemon Codex.
(Click to Enlarge)
Compare & Contrast
- Stat Increases
- More expensive 160 to 190
- Lost Feel No Pain
- Lost Noxious Touch
- Deamonic Rewards
- Mastery Level One
The Great Unclean One was hit with across the board basic profile boost. The two biggest improvements has to be T7 and five wounds, these improve survivability and lethality, as the Great Unclean One is completely immune to S3 attacks. Speaking of lethal, having I4 and five attacks is a welcome surprise, the Great Unclean One goes at the same time as most units and before anything Unwieldy.
The Great Unclean One has always been on the cheap side for a Greater Deamons, and at 160 in the old dex was a steal. At 190 points you can see where the points are going to, from profile boosts to psychic powers, but what you need to make the Great Unclean One really disgusting requires more than the base 190 point investment.
--Never a good Feeling--
One of the best assets Daemons of NurgleDaemons of Nurgle have Daemon, Hatred Daemons of Tzeentch, Shrouded, Slow and Purposeful, and defensive grenades had before was Feel No Pain, but it has been taken away and replaced with better cover saves. The problem with losing Feel No Pain on the Great Unclean One is the same for every unit, your opponent will find a way to force too many saves, and having a poor Invulnerable isn't going to save you.
--Barely a Bad Touch--
Previously, the Great Unclean One even with less attacks could be counted on to wound anything with Noxious Touch. Losing Noxious Touch hurts more especially, because of the meta shift to Monstrous Creatures, leaving the Great Unclean One forced to decided between less attacks for Smash attacks or go with weaker bulk attacks.
--Love does have its Rewards--Daemonic RewardsA Character has the option to purchase a certain points' worth of Lesser, Greater, and Exalted Daemonic Rewards in any combination-- the nature of those rewards is randomly determined are the first key to unlocking the potential of the Great Unclean One. A Great Unclean One can replace their Feel No Pain, get an armor save, and boost their Invulnerable, all with Daemonic RewardsA Character has the option to purchase a certain points' worth of Lesser, Greater, and Exalted Daemonic Rewards in any combination-- the nature of those rewards is randomly determined. This all makes the Great Unclean One infinitely more survivable! The only problem, is since you will have to spend the points your Great Unclean One is about to get a lot more expensive.
--Master the Fat--
Then there is psychic powers. The exchange of Deamonic Gifts for psychic powers on the Great Unclean One can be downright broken. The rugged putridness of the Great Unclean One is only enhanced by having access to Biomancy the personal buffing discipline. Only a Daemon Prince could possibly make better use of Biomancy.
The big fatty, the grand pooh-bah, papa Nurgle, whatever you call it the Great Unclean One is one the most identifiable units in the game.
Putting it all Together...
The Great Unclean One for all the expenses is still the best Greater Deamon for most armies. It is the only Monstrous Creature that doesn't feel like it needs flying to survive. Just to reiterate, you will spend the points on a Great Unclean One to make it really nasty, almost breaking 300 points for perfection.
What do you get for those 300 points is worth the price. Granted, you will be throwing typically five random dice between Daemonic RewardsA Character has the option to purchase a certain points' worth of Lesser, Greater, and Exalted Daemonic Rewards in any combination-- the nature of those rewards is randomly determined and psychic powers, the amount of chance makes any player nervous, but luckily chance is mostly in your favor. Let us start with Biomancy where you really only have two powers that aren't so hot in the form of Smite and Haemorrhage, even a power like Life Leech can be critical because it regenerates wounds. The goal though is getting Iron Arm and the ability for T10. Then second comes Endurance and getting Feel No Pain and It Will Not Die, this combination is amazing for a Great Unclean One, and is the only blessing of bunch that can be used on other units.
More importantly, Biomancy has some overlap with Daemonic RewardsA Character has the option to purchase a certain points' worth of Lesser, Greater, and Exalted Daemonic Rewards in any combination-- the nature of those rewards is randomly determined you'll mostly want. CorpulescenceThe Daemon has +1 Wound and It Will Not Die, Deamonic ResilienceThe Daemon has the Feel no Pain 4+, Dark BlessingsThe Daemon re-rols failed invulnerable saves, or Unbreakable HideThe Deamon has an Armour Save of 3+ are the best rewards for a Great Unclean One, and on two rolls you should get at least one, if not two. The best part is the Great Unclean One doesn't need a Yahtzee for success, you can get by with a two of kind. In fact, its kinda fun, as it will slightly change the Great Unclean One play-style at the same time keeping the unit fresh.
Like all Greater Daemons the Great Unclean One is a fire magnet; the problem for your opponent is fatty can handle the fire. The key here is putting your Great Unclean One in position to force an opponent to take a few pot shots he can absorb. If you can make a few saves it goes a long way to really discouraging your opponent from taking more shots. The Great Unclean One works best if you throw a large unit to move with him, so your opponent has to use volume of fire shooting on the mob and not the Great Unclean One. The only danger a Great Unclean One faces is mass fire, so working in concert with other units is important.
The Great Unclean One fits very well with a horde list mentality, because he brings strong muscle to the little cuts the rest of your army should inflict. He also unlocks Nurgle Deamon Princes for Heavy Support, but often you will find just sticking with the points invested on the Great Unclean One enough.
The Great Unclean One does suffer from a few obvious problems.
The first being slow; not having run really hurts. Your opponent if he is smart, will likely ignore your Great Unclean One, and may even bait him away from objectives he should protect. Depending on what powers you get keeping him in the backfield as insurance can often be the way to go. Depending on your opponents deployment and shooting ability, don't be afraid to try Deep Striking. Sure, you could mishap, but the chances are slim for one model if you position it correctly. It creates an instant threat your opponent has to deal with, one if given a full turn will be buffed up from spells.
I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the one puss filled elephant in the room: Poison. Poison namely Sternguard and Dark Eldar are the biggest threat (or a well placed force weapon) a Great Unclean One can face. Against a dedicated Poison unit the choice is clear, go into Reserve.
As for Dark Eldar, you should Deep Striking, and hope you can flank to avoid the bulk of shooting, as the rest of your army deals with them. Still, you will most likely have to hope for some form of Feel No Pain and wound regeneration if you want to survive.
-- Great Unclean One Sample Lists--
A Word about Allies
The Great Unclean One makes a great ally if you have the points to spare. The Great Unclean One complements any Nurgle themed force as he can Deep Strike in for dramatic effect. The Great Unclean One also adds another psyker that for most Deamon allies don't get enough of, and with luck you will get Endurance to enhance allied units.
Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.
Overall, the Great Unclean One is second to none for a Deamon Army built around mass of forces. In world of death stars and flying circuses having a HQ that actually is just one bad mamajamma is refreshing. The Great Unclean One allows players to take balanced Daemon list and still be quite competitive without having to rely on too much of gimmick.
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