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★ Death Guard

Even before the Horus Heresy, the Death Guard did not manoeuvre fancifully, or concern themselves with confusing their opponents; they picked the best ground upon which to fight, then smashed their foes after they had broken themselves against the Death Guard line. There was no environment which Mortarion, their Primarch, or the Death Guard feared. Thanks to their superhuman ability to resist poison and disease, no toxic smog or corrupted atmosphere deterred their course. What Mortarion and his adepts could not devise means to compensate for, the Death Guard overcame through sheer resilience. The Warmaster Horus above all others recognised the value of the Death Guard; he would often place Mortarion and his Legion in the centre of his battle line, counting on the enemy’s inability to oust them so that he could either lever his advance from the rock of Mortarion’s immovable position, or use it as the anvil upon which his hammerblow assault would break the foe.

How This Supplement Works

On this page you will find special rules unique to armies from the Death Guard that reflect their tactics on the battlefield. You will also find Warlord Traits, Chaos Artefacts and Tactical Objectives that you can use when fielding your Death Guard army in games of Warhammer 40,000, and an exclusive Detachment – the Vectorium.


BookKindEditionVersionLast update
► Traitor LegionsCodex Supplement71.0January 2017


Traitor Legions

 Q: Alpha Legion have the ability to bring Cultists back on a 4+ in their Insurgency Force, but the only way to take Cultists is in the Lost and the Damned Formation which already has the rule. How do these interact?
These rules do not interact in any stackable way.

Death Guard Special Rules

Any Detachment with the Chaos Space Marines Faction can be from one of the nine Traitor Legions. A Death Guard Detachment retains the Chaos Space Marines Faction and is treated in all ways as a Chaos Space Marines Detachment, with the following modifications:
All units in a Death Guard Detachment or Formation gain the following special rules:

Gifts of Nurgle

Units that have the Veterans of the Long War special rule have the Fearless and Feel No Pain special rules, but reduce their Initiative characteristic by 1. Typhus and units of Plague Marines are unaffected.

Inexorable Advance

Units that have the Veterans of the Long War special rule have the Relentless special rule.

Lords of the Plague Host

Units of Plague Marines are Troops choices instead of Elites choices.

Tactical Objectives

11Death March 
12Pain is for the Weak 
13Nurgle’s Gift 
14Spread Plague and Contagion 
15Symbol of the Fly-Lord 
16Death Begets Life 

Presented below are six Tactical Objectives to use in your games of Warhammer 40,000, which are exclusive to Death Guard players and reflect the foetid and utterly relentless nature of the Death Guard in battle.

If your Warlord is from a Death Guard Detachment or Formation, you may replace the Capture & Control Tactical Objectives (numbers 11-16) described in Warhammer 40,000: The Rules with the Tactical Objectives on this page.

If a Warhammer 40,000 mission has the Tactical Objectives special rule, players use the normal rules for using Tactical Objectives with the following exception: when a Death Guard player using these Tactical Objectives generates a Capture & Control objective (numbers 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16), they instead generate the corresponding Death Guard Tactical Objective, as shown in the table to the right. Other Tactical Objectives (numbers 21-66) are generated normally.

The slow, inexorable advance of the Death Guard has been the death knell of worlds beyond count.
Score 1 Victory Point at the end of your turn if at least 3 of your units are within your opponent’s table half.
Nurgle despises physical frailty and blesses his followers with bloated bodies filled with decay that they may forever forgo its touch.
This Tactical Objective is achieved if you make at least 7 Feel No Pain rolls in any single phase. You immediately score 1 Victory Point.
Nurgle enjoys little more than watching his followers spread his diseases upon the mortal races.
Score 1 Victory Point at the end of your turn if at least one enemy unit was completely destroyed by a weapon or psychic power that had the Poisoned special rule during that turn.
The lords of the Death Guard have survived for countless centuries, enduring to spread disease to every world they invade.
When this Tactical Objective is generated, nominate one of your Death Guard characters. Score 1 Victory Point at the end of the game if this character is still alive and on the table.
The symbolism of the three-eyed fly holds great meaning to the worshippers of the Plague God.
Score D3 Victory Points at the end of your turn if you control exactly three Objective Markers – no more, no less.
To the followers of Nurgle, the endless cycle of sowing death that new life may bloom is nothing less than a sacred act.
Score 1 Victory Point at the end of your turn if at least 7 enemy models were slain during your turn. If at least 14 enemy models were slain during your turn, score D3 Victory Points instead, and score D3+3 Victory Points if at least 21 enemy models were slain during your turn.

Warlord Traits

When generating his Warlord Traits, a Warlord from a Death Guard Detachment or Formation may choose to roll on the table below instead of those found in Warhammer 40,000: The Rules or Codex: Chaos Space Marines.

D6Warlord Traits
1Insensate to Pain
So vast and bloated has this Warlord become that he is all but immune to the pain of injury.
Add 1 to your Warlord’s Feel No Pain rolls. 
2Tainted Regeneration
So blessed is this Warlord with Nurgle’s foetid restorative powers that his body heals itself as fast as his enemies can harm him.
Your Warlord has the It Will Not Die special rule. 
3Lord of Contagion
Saturated as he is with Nurgle’s contagious blessings, merely to stand before this Warlord and his closest warriors is to be assailed by an oppressive aura of plague.
Your Warlord and all friendly units from a Death Guard Formation or Detachment that are within 7" of your Warlord at the start of the Fight sub-phase are infected with a contagious plague until the end of the phase. All enemy units that are locked in combat with any units infected in this manner suffer D6 Strength 1 AP 4 hits with the Poisoned (4+) special rule (distributed randomly) at the Initiative 10 step
4Hulking Physique
This Warlord’s body has become swollen with Nurgle’s divine blessings, and stands all but inviolate as a veritable behemoth of rancid flesh.
Add 1 to your Warlord’s Wounds characteristic. 
5Rotten Constitution
Nurgle’s favour takes many forms, and this Warlord’s flesh has become so rot-infested that vast chunks of it can be torn free without risk of lasting harm.
Your Warlord has the Eternal Warrior special rule. 
Such are this Warlord’s virulent emanations that his very presence is enough to make even the most lethal toxins and venoms deadlier still.
The effect of the Poisoned special rule on any weapons wielded by your Warlord and any models in his unit is improved by 1, to a maximum of 2+. For example, if your Warlord joined a unit of Plague Marines, their plague knives would have the Poisoned (3+) special rule instead of Poisoned (4+). 


Death Guard Vectorium

The Vectorium allows you to represent the typical structure of a Death Guard army on the battlefield. Whether you wish to bring death and destruction with the full might of a Chaos invasion force, or field an elite warband tasked with some dark purpose, the choices below offer a great way to pick your army.

A Vectorium is a special type of Detachment that can be included in any Battle-forged army. Unlike the Detachments shown in Warhammer 40,000: The Rules, it has a Force Organisation Chart whose slots are a combination of specific Formations and Army List Entries instead of Battlefield Roles. However, it still has compulsory and optional elements, as well as Restrictions and Command Benefits, just like any other Detachment.

Although units cannot normally belong to more than one Detachment, units from a Formation that is part of a Vectorium are an exception. They count as part of both their Formation and the Detachment, and have all associated Command Benefits and special rules. If your Warlord is part of a Formation or an Army List Entry that makes up part of a Vectorium, the entire Vectorium is your Primary Detachment.


 • 1 of the following:
  - Chaos Lord
  - Sorcerer
  - Dark Apostle
  - Daemon Prince

 • 1 Chaos Lord
 • 0-1 Sorcerer
 • 1-3 units chosen in any combination from the following list:
  - Chosen
  - Chaos Terminators
  - Possessed
 • 2-6 units of Chaos Space Marines
 • 1-3 units chosen in any combination from the following list:
  - Raptors
  - Warp Talons
  - Chaos Bikers
 • 1-3 units chosen in any combination from the following list:
  - Havocs
  - Helbrute
 • 1 Chaos Lord or Typhus
 • 3-7 units of Plague Marines

 • 1 Dark Apostle
 • 4-9 units of Chaos Cultists

 • 2-4 Heldrakes

 • 1-3 Warpsmiths
 • 3-5 units chosen in any combination
from the following list:
  - Obliterators
  - Mutilators

 • 1 Chaos Lord
 • 3-5 units chosen in any combination from the following list:
  - Raptors
  - Warp Talons

 • 1 Daemon Prince
 • 3-5 units of Possessed
 • 1 Warpsmith
 • 3-5 units chosen in any combination from the following list:
  - Helbrute
  - Maulerfiend
  - Forgefiend
  - Defiler

 • 1 Warpsmith
 • 3-5 units chosen in any combination from the following list:
  - Chaos Predators
  - Chaos Vindicators
  - Chaos Land Raider

 • 1 Chaos Lord or Sorcerer
 • 3-5 units of Chaos Terminators

 • 1-3 units of Chaos Spawn

This Detachment must include at least one Core choice and one Auxiliary choice. It may include up to four Command choices and any number of additional Core or Auxiliary choices, in any combination. Only the datasheets listed here can be included in this Detachment and all units must have the Chaos Space Marines Faction.

Cloud of Flies: If an enemy unit targets a unit from this Detachment that is 18" or more away, the target unit has the Stealth special rule while that attack is resolved.

Disgustingly Resilient: Units from this Detachment can re-roll Feel No Pain rolls of 1.

Plague Lord: If this Detachment is your Primary Detachment, you can re-roll the result when rolling on the Death Guard Warlord Traits table.


Plague Colony

 • 1 Chaos Lord or Typhus
 • 3-7 units of Plague Marines
This is a Death Guard Detachment.
 • Fear

Enervating Pestilential Aura: Enemy models within 7" of any Plague Colony units at the start of the Fight sub-phase must reduce their Initiative and Weapon Skill by 1 for the duration of the phase. If this Formation includes the maximum number of units at the start of the battle, then enemy models within 7" of any Plague Colony unit at the start of the Fight sub-phase must also reduce their Toughness by 1 for the duration of the phase.

Chaos Artefacts of the Death Guard

Nurgle’s putrescent blessing hangs heavy in the air about the Death Guard’s most sacred relics, and proximity alone is often enough to infect those who breathe deep of their noxious foulness. Only one of each of the following items may be chosen per army, and only one may be chosen per model.

Units in a Death Guard Detachment or Formation that can normally take Chaos Artefacts in Codex: Chaos Space Marines can choose to take items from the Chaos Artefacts of the Death Guard list below at the points cost shown instead.

Puscleaver 10 pts
Plague Skull of Glothila 15 pts
Poxwalker Hive 20 pts
Dolorous Knell 25 pts
The Pandemic Staff 30 pts
Plaguebringer 35 pts

Dolorous Knell

The clangour of this giant bell is painful to the ear, almost intrusive as its foul sounds push their sickening notes into the minds of those nearby. Each toll registers as a dull clank on the data-harvest of recording devices such as vid-thief skulls, but to hear it in person is quite another matter. Bravery is undone and certainty ebbed away as the shambling horde of the Death Guard closes in, rendered as looming behemoths by the peals of the deathly knell.
All friendly Death Guard units within 14" of the bearer at the start of the Fight sub-phase have the Fear special rule for the duration of the phase. In addition, enemy units taking a Fear test against an affected unit must do so on 3D6 instead of 2D6.

Plague Skull of Glothila

This oversized death’s head was once the skull of the Chaos Lord Glothila, whose dying wish was to become a weapon of purest evil.
Once per game, instead of firing his weapon, the bearer of the Plague Skull of Glothila can choose to make a shooting attack that uses the profile below:

Range S AP Type
8" 1 - Assault 1, Large Blast, One use only, Poisoned (2+)


The hooked blade Plaguebringer once bore the souls of a trio of Beasts of Nurgle. Once the sword sprayed the virulent, infected spittle of these overexcitable Daemons with every swing. However, those entities were trapped so long in the rusted artefact’s confines that their lethally potent enthusiasm has drained away, replaced with something even worse. After a long period of sulking, the blade’s inhabitants became something else entirely; it now contains the malignant souls of three Rot Flies that take every chance to inflict a terrible wasting disease on those around them.
Replaces one of the bearer’s Melee weapons.

Range S AP Type
- User 3 Melee, Daemon Weapon, Poisoned (4+)

Poxwalker Hive

Daemon insects spill from the tubular, chimney-like structures of the Poxwalker Hive. The incessant droning chatter of these tiny creatures acts as an infection in its own right, and those who willingly listen to it are at grave risk of contracting the poxwalker’s curse. Should they succumb, they will devolve into shambling, mutant monstrosities, murmuring and babbling in the same flyblown tongue as the hive itself.
At the start of each of your turns, pick a friendly unit of Chaos Cultists within 7" to infect with the poxwalker virus. For the rest of the game, that unit of Chaos Cultists cannot Run or make shooting attacks, but they gain the Fearless and Feel No Pain special rules. In addition, at the start of each of your following turns, return D3 slain models to every friendly unit of infected Chaos Cultists that are within 7" of the bearer. Any models returned in this manner that cannot be placed within unit coherency are lost.


Appearing as a particularly large plague knife, more like a machete than the traditional side weapon of the Death Guard Legion, the Puscleaver bears the infamous Gurgling Doom contagion. One struck by the blade has not only to contend with part of their anatomy being hacked away, for its edge remains punishingly sharp, but also a wound so infected it balloons into a swollen mess in seconds. The afflicted individual keels over a moment later, gurgling phlegm as he finally realises the glory of Nurgle’s generosity.
Replaces one of the bearer’s Melee weapons.

Range S AP Type
- User - Melee, Poisoned (2+)

The Pandemic Staff

This rune-engraved artefact is long and pitted, mouldering with a visible miasma of plague and entropy. Every one of its odd dents and holes harbours a deadly strain of contagion, one of Nurgle’s old favourites, tried and proven. Collectively, the grotesque diseases that riddle the Pandemic Staff have seen trillions of lives ebb away to nothing, reduced to little more than fodder for the Grandfather’s Garden. When waved expansively, the staff can conjure forth a tide of hypertoxic fluids that could bring low even a rampaging pestigor.
Replaces one of the bearer’s Melee weapons. The bearer can also use the Pandemic Staff in the Shooting phase instead of firing another weapon.

Range S AP Type
- +2 4 Melee, Concussive, Poisoned (2+)
Template 1 5 Assault 1, Poisoned (2+)