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Not the Golgothan!

Heralds of Nurgle, or the head librarians have always intrigued, but were hardly played in 5th edition. Epidemius instead took all the glory for the Heralds of Nurgle, with this Tally of Pestilence leading the early Daemon meta.

Now the Herald of Nurgle has a new lease on life; thanks to a few changes in the rules, Heralds of Nurgle have more options than ever before. Now, if only Games Workshop actually made a new Palanquin model Daemon players have been clamoring for.

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Herald of Nurgle Rules 2013


Herald of Nurgle Rules 2008

Compare &  Contrast

  • Point Decrease from 50 to 45 points
  • Increases Stats
  • Increased Palanquin cost from 15 to 40 points
  • Gifts replaced by Daemonic Rewards
  • Daemonic Loci

--A few less tricks for Nurgle--

The Herald of Nurgle got a minor point reduction, but you lost Feel No Pain in the process-- a big deal. Once you are finally done buying all the new goodies you will find your Nurgle Herald at higher totals than before, but way more playable.

--Better Disease Delivery--

The Herald of Nurgle got an across the board profile boost. Getting I4 and S5 is a great combo even with just the Plaguesword, as you will swing at the same time as most units, and re-roll wounds as well. These advantages make up for removal of innate Feel No Pain.

--Paying more for a Pimp Mobile--

Going up a staggering 25 points the Palanquin of Nurgle upgrade might seem a bit too much, but being 2+ wounds instead of 1+ is well worth the increase. All Heralds have a problem being only two wounds base, but the Palanquin of Nurgle takes care of that problem easily.

--No Longer Drug Resistant--

A few of the old gifts were auto takes for Heralds, but now with Noxious Touch rolled into a Loci and Cloud of Flies part of being a Daemon of Nurgle, makes having access to the Daemonic Rewards really sweet. You can roll the dice for some Greater Rewards that should make any Herald more effective, or play it safe and take the Etherblade for AP2 action.

--Focusing the Children--

One of the best design decisions in the Chaos Daemons codex is the addition of Daemonic Loci. It gives something for most the Heralds to do, making them infinitely more playable. In the case of the Herald of Nurgle taking something like the Greater Locus of Fecundity is no brainer. The addition save, including Mark of Nurgle makes any Nurgle unit a bitch to remove. As for the rest, they are more assault orientated, and only reliable in the largest units of Plaguebearers.


Thanks to a few changes in the rules, Heralds of Nurgle have more options than ever before.

Putting it all Together...

The Herald of Nurgle rarely saw the light of day in 5th edition, but now things have changed. Profile increases and access to good Daemoinc Loci make Heralds of Nurgle useful. There are still some major downsides to playing a Herald of Nurgle, but we can get to that later. The Herald of Nurgle primary job is as Plaguebearer leader, Heralds of Nurgle change the dynamics of any Plaguebearer unit from sit back and hide, to at least charge forward and hide.

The first thing players gravitate towards, is using the Herald of Nurgle as Feel No Pain caddy. This is fine approach to using your Herald, but it can often sell them really short. It isn't worth investing 70 points extra unit into a 10-man Plaguebearer unit, when you just plan on sitting in cover the entire game. Now if you go large, having Feel No Pain really shines. Herald of Nurgle leading a unit of 20 Plaguebearers across the table, is a tarpit from hell even with Daemonic Instability. Especially, when you consider the heavy Monstrous Creature meta having tons of Poision attacks can change your opponents strategy.

The other two Loci do have some utility, but you must be really aggressive. The Lesser Locus of Virulence is a minor investment for some security, the only downfall with taking this one, is your Heralds of Nurgle are limited by the amount attacks that can potential be delivered. This makes taking the Exalted Locus of Contagion for the same price as the Greater Locus of Fecundity not a bad buy. If you roll hot, it gives the Herald of Nurgle's unit extra attacks they otherwise lack by being Nurgle. Those extra attacks, as well, are still poison. Greater Locus of Fecundity will still be the go to Loci in most situations.

If you plan on using the Herald of Nurgle defensively, going without the Palanquin of Nurgle is ok. The Palanquin of Nurgle is a must if you plan on playing Heralds of Nurgle for mid-field control or as a Deep Striking threat. Having a T5, W4, A4 poison unit, usually with Feel No Pain is a big deal for most armies to deal with. The important thing, is avoiding challenges against units that cause Instant Death, otherwise Challenge away, killing or keeping most Characters locked.

Taking multiple Heralds of Nurgle isn't a bad idea either, on Palanquins of Nurgle you can have up to 16 wounds between four characters, all hard to kill. Mixing up Greater Rewards and Magical Weapons only add to the damage output. This is even more devastating coupled with some psychic powers. Luckily, Heralds of Nurgle get access to Biomancy so Iron Arm, Endurance, or Warp Speed are always in the mix. If only one can get Iron Arm you will have a character to tank any Instant Death dealers around. As for the Plague powers, it is all about what you plan on doing, besides Miasma of Pestilence everything is Witchfire and good Witchfire at that.

Taking cheap Heralds, with one level in Plague, and dropping them in someones backfield can cause a whole host of problems. No matter what, you can get Stream of Corruption and kill almost any scoring unit easily with just a few templates. The biggest problem with the Heralds of Nurgle is the lack of any speed. It would've been very unfluffy, and asking a lot to have the Palanquin of Nurgle change Heralds to cavalry. GW though made a mistake by not considering giving Heralds access to Plague Flies.

As it is having only a 6" movement makes Heralds of Nurgle impractical for joining any other unit, but Plaguebearers. The only way around this is by stringing out a Herald with a large unit of Plague Drones. The large bases of both a Palanquin and Drones make it possible. You can keep them attached temporary just for Feel No Pain as your Plague Drones or Beasts of Nurgle get into position. Making things worse is also being Slow & Purposeful to boot, unless you plan on Deep Striking. It makes it very hard for any Herald to get across the board, especially against a dedicated shooty army.

-- Herald of Nurgle Sample Lists--

Herald of Nurgle Sample List 1

Herald of Nurgle Sample List 2

Herald of Nurgle Sample List 3

Herald of Nurgle Sample List 4

A Word about Allies

The Herald of Nurgle doesn't make a good HQ choice for any ally force. You just don't get any nifty tricks, unless you get lucky with psychic powers. Heralds are generally limited, because you can only get one per Ally detachment, but the Herald of Nurgle more so, because of the primary defense nature it has.

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

Final Thoughts...

Overall, Heralds of Nurgle are a great addition to any Nurgle army, their versatility through Loci make them a good solid choice. They are held back by a lack of speed and thus few expanded play options. They are best left defending Plaguebearers if nothing else or dropping templates on unsuspecting foes. It bears repeating, when will GW get around designing a Palanquin every pestilence filled player dreams about!


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