I'm back to show you the shiny new product GW has sent us for review, the Chaos Battletome: Maggotkin of Nurgle!
So I'll just share my initial thoughts on the book as a whole before I get into the review.
Well in a nutshell I think this battletome is excellent, it has a wealth of options in both models to play with and rules to use alongside them. It does feel as though they have cut back on some of the narrative or open play scenarios but for a me as a player I don't mind that at all. The rules more than make up for it in the cinematic feeling I think they will give games. In particular an encroaching tide of rot that spreads across the battlefield as the game goes on through the use of the Feculent Gnarlmaws and the contagen points. Spells also play a part in this and there brilliant descriptions thoughout the book which talk of the skies being split open like the swollen belly of a corpse, raining a glorious shower of boiling filth on your foes!
Just a bit disgusting! Which you'd expect from Grandfather Nurgle of course!
So lets get into the book with the background on Nurgle first and then we'll have look at some of the models, finishing with the hefty rules section.
As you can see from the contents above we have a large background section, I particularly enjoyed the sections on Grandfather Nurgle and how his power can grow and recede with the level of plague and disease in the realms. It also mentions how when disease is at its highest in the realms Nurgle eclipses the other gods.
It also talks about his relationship with the Horned Rat, which I think is very interesting. Although you'd see them as natural allies they have different long term goals in mind, with Nurgle bringing life and the Horned Rat bringing simply destruction to the realms.
If you are into reading the background for Nurgle then I won't spoil much but as you can see from the contents there are sections describing all of Nurgles daemons and mortal warriors.
I have to say there is fantastic artwork in the book, I do love the idea of these huge carnivorous snails in the Garden of Nurgle and the brilliant illustration of each snail chasing its next meal at the bottom of the picture above.
Again just fantastic artwork of Nurgle defending his garden from Bloodletters. I do want the chaos daemon fluff and artwork to be dark and menacing, so its great to see this image in here. I am not a big fan of the jovial side of Nurgle. Just keeping it to the Nurglings is good for me!
So onto the models we've had released! I do think it was a brilliant release and there were only a few models that I disliked. Not the Great Unclean One obviously as that is a beautiful model.
My favourite model of the Nurgle range is Horticulus Slimux, I think the model has such a great amount of character to it, I may have paint him the next time I want to challenge myself with a paint brush.
I can't say the same for the Beasts of Nurgle as I think their faces needed to be more gruesome, like a fearsome daemon should look. The one on the right is better though but I also think they would have been far better with alternative bodies as in bigger groups they'll look very similar.
Now I do love the look of Pusgoyle Blightlords. Brilliant designs but its just a shame you would have to buy an extra box to field the Lord of Afflictions as the Pusgoyle Blightlords are fielded in groups of two or more.
So as always there is a nice little painting section for the Nurgle models, with another page to the one below that looks at painting rusty weapons, skin and some other minor details. As much as I do like the layout of these pages squeezing in another page with a few more guides on it would be great.
If you are looking for more Nurgle paint guides they are some more in this months White Dwarf!
So on to the hefty rules section of the book!
As I have said before I do think the rules writing and play testing team have done a great job of creating some really interesting rules for this book which starts with the allegiance abilities.
So if you play with an army including the Nurgle Keyword you get the benefit of using the Cycle of Corruption. This is a fantastic idea which again brings a cinematic feel to the game as Nurgles influence grows.
Below is the diagram which you will have probably seen already from the Blightwar boxset.
To use this you roll a D6 at the start of the first battle round and whatever number you roll gives you an ability to use, the cycle moves clockwise one space in the next one.
If combining number 2 with other movement buffs, which we'll get to soon Nurgle can be a very fast army!
The next little faction wide ability involves the Feculent Gnarlmaw!
A great model which will be a must for any Nurgle player.
So the Garden of Nurgle rule allows a Nurgle army to set up a Gnarlmaw anywhere on the board after terrain has been set up. It does have to be one inch away from any terrain feature.
This makes Horticulous an interesting character to include as he also allows an additional Gnarlmaw to be set up too. Therefore this means any Nurgle units within 7 inches can run and charge in the same turn. Another movement buff!
Next its on to Contagion points!
When you build up enough Contagion points you can use these to summon Daemons of Nurgle from the list below.
This format is now the new way you can summon Nurgle daemons and I think it is a great idea. Again it adds to the cinematic feeling of Nurgles power growing on the battlefield.
You are given three points for having any friendly units in your own deployment zone and then an additional three for having any unit in your opponents territory.
This can now be achieved nicely with hidden infestations of Nurglings in your opponents territory!
You also receive an extra point for there being no enemy models within the same territory as Nurgle models and then D3 for each Feculent Gnarlmaw with no enemies within three inches.
So in the right circumstances and with Horticulous giving you an extra Gnarlmaw you could gain a total of 10 in the first turn summoning an extra Gnarlmaw and then a potential 16 in the second. Summoning a group of plaguebearers if everything went your way on dice rolls. The summoned units do have to be summoned up near to Gnarlmaws or Heros.
You do have to pay points for summoned units in matched play and it does look like the contagion points do accumulate between turns.
I wanted to explain this process as well as possible as I think its a really enticing mechanic for anyone thinking of playing the army!
Command Traits and Artefacts
Now there are so much to these next few sections that I will only be able to give you an overview and a few rules I really like the look of. There are some really powerful and also fun options so I can see players taking a battalion for the extra artefact and the chance to have fewer drops so they can take the first turn.
So the Command Traits are split into three groups Rotbringer, Daemons and Mortal. With six in each section. This is another feature I love as it really opens up the opportunity for themed and again cinematic armies.
You do get this trait for each faction, which I think is quite powerful depending on where you are on the cycle. If you're getting the increased move again that can be very useful in the first and second turn if you're running an aggressive list.
As for Artefacts of Power, there are again six to choose from for each of the factions.
One of the deadliest artefacts is called the Rustfang, with this you get to pick an enemy unit within three inches and subtract one from their save rolls! Very powerful.
First of all what a great description.
Its also my favourite and is in Daemonic Boons. At the start of your hero phase you pick an enemy model and roll a dice. If the roll is greater than its number of wounds then it is slain, if that model has four or more wounds then before the model is removed you can add a Beast of Nurgle to your army one inch away from it!
A really cool rule, although I am not sure how it would work in matched play, as to whether or not you would have to have a Beast of Nurgle in your summoning pool.
The Lores of Nurgle
In this section there is again three sets of spells for each faction with three spells in each. Another brilliant part of the book.
An incredibly good spell and potentially too powerful in my opinion as it can be combined with Rustfang to take two away from a units armour save!
The army also has a lot of capability to dish out mortal wounds as well as the spell above, so we will have to hope the army isn't too powerful in comparison to the rest of field. However, it is of course too early to tell if that will be a problem.
There is another spell that allows you to pick whatever stage you like on the Cycle of Corruption table! Again very useful, making models that can cast spells very attractive.
Path to Glory
As with the other newer books there is a great path to glory section for Rotbringers and Daemons.
Also just the one battleplan.
Not many big changes to the existing warscrolls although I haven't managed to read through them all properly yet.
I have noticed an extra wound for the Blightkings
Plague Drones gained an extra attack for each of their weapons when close to a Hero. They also lost their ability to regain D3 drones on a battleshock test of a 1. It has now been reduced to just one model being regained. A good change in my opinion and I still think they will be very powerful when buffed up.
Some very interesting battalions in the book, the best revolving around the lord of afflictions for a huge move buff and another around Horticulous who can plant a Gnarlmaw in each of your hero phases.
The battalion below does look very good though especially with the beautiful Great Unclean One models. It is just probably difficult to field in matched play unless it is with just Plague Bearers to fill the battleline slots, but it is still definitely playable. Adding in some Plague Drones as well would make it into a good list.
You would just have to fork out the £255 for the GUO models alone!
So this battalion is just the three Great Unclean Ones and costs 160 points to field. It is powerful too as if the Plague Wind spell is cast within 7 inches of another GUO then the mortal wound output goes from D3 to 2 D3 and to 3 D3 if the other GUO is within 7 inches.
This is the cheapest battalion points wise, as the others mostly come in at around 220. Probably the right price to me when you factor in the very good artefacts and the ability to drop in one go.
A great segue into the points section, always an interesting part of the book for me.
I do obviously have to be careful with what points information I can include here, but I think an interesting change is to the Plague Bearers.
They have increased to 120 for 10 now and I think that is fair when you compare them to for example the Longbeards. As they do have three abilities and can also add D6 models back into the unit.
Only a 40 point saving if you take them as a massive regiment too.
I do still believe they will be a staple of any Nurgle army. A unit of 30 with other units of Blightkings as battleline seems like a solid option. Especially with them dropping by 20 points.
Some other interesting changes see Beasts of Nurgle increase by 40 points and Nurglings by 20. However, once you see the new rule additions, I think people will find them to be accurate.
As for the rest of the points it seems like the army has been well pointed. So hopefully the points will even out the power I see in the book.
In conclusion, I think this a brilliant book and is a must buy for anyone thinking of playing a Nurgle army in Age of Sigmar. There are some excellent rules features within the book and it really does feel like it will create a cinematic feel in games for both the Nurgle player and their opponent.
It also really seems like every character and unit is a viable choice to include in a matched play army. This is excellent when there is a model you really love the look of or if you have an army wide theme in mind. It also extends to the factions within the book as they all seem equally potent and when it comes to options there is just so many to choose from we should see a wide variety of armies on the table top!
However, my only reservation is that the book seems very powerful and I just hope it doesn't start to leave the other races like my Dispossessed or Ironjawz behind. The Nurgle forces have a huge capacity for dealing out mortal wounds, like the Tzeentch and Stormcast factions. In contrast, armies that are not well supported could really suffer if there is a power creep in the books being released this year.
With this in mind I have always thought that the greatest aspect of Age of Sigmar is its matched play and its balance between its different armies, so hopefully once we get a feel for how good the book is it will fall inline with the others. The forces in this book do look well pointed so hopefully the power of the book will have been tamed by the points and the play testing team which I'm sure have done a great job. We will have to wait and see though as we all start to explore the book and its possibilities.
Also if you're looking for a more in depth review, definitely check out the Facehammer Podcast. They always do great reviews from a gaming point of view and it looks like they have just released a new episode on this book. Definitely worth a listen.
Thanks for reading,