Plague monks; dont get too attached and DONT name them. Everyone hates them and for good reason, lets find out why…
Everyone expects plague monks, they once were a niche choice, but now with the new nurgle and skaven books theyre everywhere. In short theyre a lot of damage spread across a (usually) 40 wound unit, so what they lack in defence, they make up in numbers and damage output.
The best and worst thing about this unit is the amount of rules for them. Its about a whole A4 page full of them, and before you take them to a tournament you should be familiar with them (for you and your opponents sanity). When rolling for a big unit, you may want to consider putting all the 6s to hit in a different pile, and resolving them after the normal hits, this speeds the process up. If you and you’re opponent are ok with using dice apps, this is a good use for them.
On a turn when you charge, add one to attacks with melee weapons.
Musicians and Banners:
For every 20 models, you can bring a banner and musician out of the following options. These are all great options and id recommend taking a unit size of 40 if you can.
Icon of Pestilence: Any unmodified wound roll of a 6 with a melee weapon add 1 damage.
Contagion Banner: Whenever a plague monk dies in the combat phase from a melee weapon, on a 6+ your opponents takes a mortal wound. This does more damage than youd think, especially in a big unit.
Doom Gong: +1 run and +1 charge.
Bale-chime: Whenever you roll a natural 6 hit, you get an improved rend of 1 for that attack.
Book of Woes:
In the hero phase, pick an enemy unit within 13″ of this model, it suffers a mortal wound on a 4+, and D3 of a 6+.
Twin Foetid Blades:
1” 2x 4+ 4+ 0r 1dmg
You can reroll hits.
One Foetid Blade, one Woe-stave:
1” 2x 4+ 4+ 0r 1dmg
2” 1x 4+ 5+ 0r 1dmg
Generally if you can increase the amount of attacks of the unit, id recommend woe staffs as you increase them by 2 each time as opposed to 1. Otherwise twin blades are your go to. I’m sticking with twin blades as I cannot be bothered to remodel and paint 120 of the little blighters.
Units That Synergise With It
ESSENTIAL if you’re playing with a LOT of plague monks. Praying to the horned rat on a 3+ you can either:
Filth-Filth! : reroll wounds to a pesilens unit
Rabid-Rabid! : add 1 attack to the unit.
The furnace will also provide pestilens units with battleshock immunity whilst they are WHOLLY within 13″.
A great centerpiece to a mixed skaven army. Whilst it may not be attuned to pestilens units specifically, it can still provide some great buffs.
Death Frenzy: Ill go into this later, but this is an essential spell for use with plague monks.
The bell also provides skaventide units with battleshock immunity whilst they are WHOLLY within 13″.
The pestilens flavoured verminlord.
Reroll hits of pestilens units WHOLLY within 13″. Only worthwhile if youre equiping your unit with woe staves, as they get hit rerolls with twin blades innately.
Has the empowered death frenzy spell, meaning you can choose D3 units to benefit from death frenzy. And yes:
- you can use the spell lore version of death frenzy in addition in your list
- yes these two spells stack, but you know… (your wrist and opponent will thank you)
+1 attack to all NURGLE units within 14”. This can stack with the verminlord ability. WOOF.
-1 hit on shooting attacks on a unit, whenever the unit has 20 or more models, it gets -2 hit on shooting and -1 hit on melee. WOOF.
Take D3 mortal wounds (who cares on a unit of 40), then this unit gets +1 attack until the next hero phase. Bonkers good on either weapon choice, but extra good on woe staves.
Adds 1 to hit and charge until next hero phase (where you take D3 mortal wounds). Good in most situations, especially good when theyre travelling through gnawholes or accross a bridge, as it’ll have +2 charge.
The daddy of monk synergy.
Allow models in a pestilens unit to pile in and attack AFTER its been slain in the combat phase
Good use of Death Frenzy is key to using plague monks and is typically used in 2 ways.
If you are using them a screen. FIRST see if you get the spell off, then buff them up through other sources, line up the plague monks in a line and taunt your opponent mercilessly. Death Frenzy and the Contagion Banner will allow you to deal damage before the monks bite the dust, and unless they’re rocking a particularly good armour save, they’ll do more damage than your opponent will be expecting. Look at your opponents face as they realise their mistake and cherish it.
Using them on a charging unit allows you to pile in and attack AFTER you’ve made your attacks, essentially allowing 2 pile ins, (this is assuming that your opponent survives, attacks and kills your models in their attack phase.) They will get the extra attack from Frenzied Assault, on both sets of attacks.
Blades of Putrefaction:
On a 6+ hit, cause a mortal wound in addition to any other damage. This is great on a warscroll with lots of attacks like this. WOOF WOOF.
See Plague Furnace.
Congregation of Filth: This gives the plague monks a 6+ ward save whenever theyre within 18″ of the battalions plague furnace. If you need another artifact or want your plague monk heavy list to have a low number of drops by all means take it, but Ive never considered it worth its points.
Gnawhole: For a plague monk, this allows them to “pop up” 9″ away from an enemy and within 6″ of the gnawhole at the start of the movement phase. This allows a turn 1 charge (often at a bad angle), but with other spells and buffs (along with the innate +1 charge) makes this a real possibility, and something that your opponent should at least prepare for. The only problem, is that its hard to fit 40 monks around a gnawhole subtly, it’ll probably be very obvious what youre doing, i suggest distracting your opponent with rhythmic dance moves to hide what youre really doing.
How to Use the Unit in Game
This massively depends on the size of the unit. I’d suggest running them as 40 to get the most out of them (and for the points discount), but running them in smaller groups can be viable.
10 models in a unit at 1″ apart is still a decent screen, and with death frenzy, is still a problem for your opponent. Additionally getting charged by 10 monks is still at least 30 attacks with rerolls and god knows what else. If you’re running a monk heavy list consider using the smaller units to screen the larger ones.
These can be the big damage dealers to your army, and a big headache for your opponent. They’ll have to reduce your units numbers by 20-30 before its no longer as big a threat, and thats not easy. If you’re up against a combat heavy army, putting 40 monks with death frenzy up the board is a real pain for them to deal with, although in all cases youre going to want to be the one charging.