Plaguebearers are for most Nurgle players the first unit they put in their lists, I know I do, a solid battleline unit that is durable but not particularly offensive, great at holding objectives.
Plaguebearers are great at holding objectives thanks to their in built -1 to hit in combat in units of 20+and their disgustingly resilient rule, they also make for great screening units, while they are not very fast at all they are more suited to holding objectives in your territory depending on your army build.
The Warscroll for Plaguebearers is great and really captures what Plaguebearers are which is slow, resilient and defensive, to start they are move 4” which is not very quick though there are ways to buff that which I explain later, they have a 5+ save as standard which is average but its the disgustingly resilient save that’s a 5++ save that really helps them however get them in cover and they have a 4+ save which thanks to their locus if a daemon hero is near by they get an in built mystic shield for free (re roll saves of a 1), their bravery is 10 which is awesome as you very rarely spend command points on inspiring them.
The command group for these guys is interesting the champion just has +1 A which is standard but still good, the piper makes enemy units within 6” re roll battle shock tests of a 1; great against other daemons units. The best is easily the Icon which when you roll a 1 for battle shock tests instead of losing models you get D6 models back, this can mean that even if you lose a bunch of these guys there’s always a chance that you won’t lose the unit later in the turn to battle shock, I’ve had games where when this has happened ive outnumbered my opponent on objectives really useful.
Their attacks are not great only having 1 A that hits on a 4+ and wounding on 3+ with no rend, basically don’t expect them to kill much unsupported however with some buffs they can be okay in combat, where they excel is board control. Get them where they need to be and they are very difficult to kill thanks to their cloud of flies rule, which basically gives the a -1 to hit vs shooting all the time but if they are 20+ models in the unit they have a -1 to hit in combat and a -2 to hit vs shooting, combined with their disgustingly resilient save makes them very survivable especially for a battleine unit. Points wise 120 for 10 feels a little expensive when compared to Blight kings which are 160 for 5 with double the wounds, however I very rarely take less than 30 in a unit because of all the benefits you get and for 320pts I still think their a bargain.
Units That Synergise With It
There are a lot of heroes that work well with plague bearers firstly is the lord of blights whose command ability basically doubles the bonus of cloud of flies making units of 20+ -2 to hit in combat, trust me if you get this off they do not die, the range of this ability is 21” and its not wholly so he doesn’t even need to be near the unit.
Secondly the Great unclean One works really well with Plaguebearers his command ability is just +1 A on a daemon unit so it gives them bit more of a punch, he’s also a daemon hero so as long as he’s within 7” he give them re roll saves of a 1, but its the doomsday bell that really helps, this cool piece of kit gives Nurgle units within 7” +3 move almost doubling their speed. Like I said if you get Plaguebearers where they need to be they are hard to shift and these two heroes really help.
Nurgle has some cool abilities mostly the cycle of corruption, there’s 2 stages that really work well with Plaguebearers which is +2 move and then the next battle round +1 to wound, so you can get move 9” Plaguebearers with the cycle and then in the following turn they can be wounding on 2+ in combat, all of a sudden they become durable and pretty offensive at the same time.
Theres 2 artefacts that work well depending on how you want to run Plaguebearers the first is the witherstave which makes your opponent re roll 6’s to hit making them more durable and secondly the rustfang can make an enemy unit -1 to save for the rest of the game helping your plague bearers going enemy units down, both are good but I tend to take the wither stave more as the game seems to be going in the direction of unmodified 6’s do something.
Nurgle don’t really have any spells that really buff Plaguebearers I mean blades of purification is good but there’s a lot of modifiers to hit now and its on a 6+ to hit, I really like gift of contagion which debuffs an enemy unit quite a lot, or favoured poxes which does the same but only comes on daemon heroes. My personal fav is glorious affliction which halves the move run and charge of an enemy unit. If the enemy can’t get to your plague bearers it gives you move time to move into position and keeps models alive cos if your to in combat you can’t be attacked.
The only real battalion they come in is the tallyband of Nurgle which I only really take if I want a low drop but most of the time I don’t bother.
Feculent gnarl more is great it allows them to charge even if they ran in the same turn which is great for getting up the board quickly especially if you go second, I like to charge them into an enemy near an objective, survive a turn then retreat and I’m still 7-8” further up the board.
How to Use the Unit in Game
Sit them on objectives or use them to block off heroes depending on scenarios.
Pros & Cons
Very durable for a battle line unit, but require a lot of buffs to make them fast and offensive but if you can buff them they can be pretty good in a grind.