Maggotkin of Nurgle: Battletome – Review

I am completely and totally cognizant of the situation in which I find myself. I’m sat at home, feeling lowly and pathetic – riddled with cold and flu. Thankfully, it’s nothing worse, but it hardly leaves me excited for the weekend. That was until the brand new Maggotkin Battletome landed on my doorstep! Isn’t life humorous? Join us as we take a look through the new book and see what’s changed in the last…four years?

The Maggotkin Battletome was the first to drop back in the early days of Age of Sigmar 2.0. I’m elated to see them getting a new book early on in the latest edition. However, I confess that there’s been some apprehension on my part. The rules and rumours abound throughout the internet have whispered of sweeping changes. Are they all positive? Or is a poetically-just ill-wind blowing for Nurgle players? Let’s jump into the big changes first.

First things first, there are no new units in the book. The Rotbringer Sorcerer got a new model, and it’s great, but something new would have been nice. It’s here that the lack of bespoke Endless Spells is becoming more and more apparent.

Pay the Price

What most units in the book did get is a points increase – and some of them are substantial! Here are but a few…

  • Putrid Blightkings are up nearly 50%
  • Plaguebearers are up more than 33%
  • Rotigus and the Great Unclean One (GUO) are both up over 40%
  • The Glottkin is up a whopping 75%

Now, what do these units get for their price hike? It’s worth highlighting here that everything in this book now has Disgustingly Resilient. This isn’t damage dampening as in Warhammer 40,000. No, this is a straight-up 5+ ward save. Maggotkin Mortals – your time is now! Additionally, this allows each unit to heal 1 wound in each Hero Phase.

Plaguebearers are a strong winner as they have now gained an additional wound. Putrid Blightkings are up to five attacks rather than three. Alas, the Blightkings have lost their exploding 6’s in the new Maggotkin Battletome. Weep not, my foul brothers and sisters, it’s not as bad as it sounds…

Glotty Too Hotty

Going back to the price rises, we have to look at the Glottkin here since such a colossal price rise needs to be appropriately justified. Firstly, they are treated as a General, even if not picked to be your General. They’re casting 2 spells as they used to but can now unbind 2, rather than 1 and is now also up to 20 wounds total. From there, we’ve got changes to his weapon profiles and a host of new abilities. My personal favourite is the “Blightkrieg” command ability.

You can use this command ability at the end of the enemy movement phase if this unit is within 12″ of an enemy unit. The command must be issues by this unit and must be received by another friendly Maggotkin of Nurgle unit that is within 12″ of an enemy unit. This unit and then the unit that received the command can attempt a charge.

Blightkrieg – Glottkin Ability

You’re counter-charging an enemy unit with the biggest thing in your army, whilst counter-charging a different enemy unit with another unit of your own! I’m exceptionally keen to see players make phenomenal use of this.

Not just that, but at the start of the enemy movement phase you roll 2D6 for each enemy unit within 3″. If you equal or exceed their Bravery then they must retreat or suffer D6 wounds. With the Mountain of Loathsome Flesh ability (a unique Monstrous Rampage) you inflict up to five mortal wounds on a mere 2+. These updates alone have me blowing the dust off of my Glottkin, eager for him to start stomping into enemy hordes once again.

The Blightkings may have lost their devastating exploding 6’s in the new Maggotkin Battletome. However, along with their additional attacks and -1 Rend, they’re now a very important unit for the new army-wide Battle Trait – Disease Points.

It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Diseasy

Disease Points are brand new to Nurgle Maggotkin and feel like a thematic and possibly devastating power. Effectively, when within 3″ of an enemy unit at the end of both movement and combat phases, those enemies gain a Disease Point. A unit cannot have more than 7 Disease Points at a time. Unmodified hit rolls of a 6 (for both melee and missile weapons) also rack on Disease Points.

At the start of the Battleshock Phase, each Disease Point that an enemy has incurs a Disease Roll. Roll for each unit and every 4+ causes a Mortal Wound. Then, at the end of Battleshock, reduce the number of Disease Points each enemy unit has to 1. This last part feels very important as it effectively means that every unit is tagged from then onwards. The potential for mortal wounds from this point on could be harrowing. Disease Points can be removed when the enemy player uses an ability to heal a wound – instead, each wound to be healed is reverted to removing a Contagion Point from said unit.

This sounds exceptionally Nurgle and gets me very excited to try it out – to rain Disease Points upon my foes. With this in mind, a squad of five Blightkings can now unleash 25 attacks. Sixes to hit with add Disease Points to the enemy as well as just for being near them! You may not be seeing immense numbers of attacks from Blightkings anymore, but the potential for Mortal Wounds from them via Disease Points is very strong.

My biggest issue with Disease Points is that nothing is provided to help track them. Some tokens would have worked wonders here but, alas, we’ll be relying on our dice to track these.

Fun Fecundity

Another Battle Trait in the new Maggotkin Battletome is the Locus of Fecundity. This feels like a blend of a few abilities that most units had previously but is now army-wide. Essentially, friendly units within 14″ of a GUO, Horticulous, The Glottkin or Festus Leechlord heal D3 wounds each Hero Phase instead of just 1 from Disgustingly Resilient. Considering the size of the Glottkin and GUO alone, this means that most things in your army will be even more difficult to put down.

Contagion Points appear within the Maggotkin Battletome. In this, they are a currency earned via territory possession and can be spent to summon Daemons and/or a Feculent Gnarlaw. It’s a handy element of the book and promotes aggressive play – it even gives Pusgoyle Blightlords more of a purpose this time around.

The Cycle of Corruption is back, too! Though it’s had a complete rework – whilst the process remains, all benefits have changed.

#OldNew
1Add 2″ Move to Nurgle UnitsAll Maggotkin Heroes have a ward of 4+
2Add 1 to the Wound Rolls made by Nurgle Units in combatAll units are treated as being within 14″ of a Locus of Fecundity
3Roll a dice for each unit within 1″ of terrain. Enemy units suffer a Mortal Wound, Nurgle units heal 1 woundAt the start of your Hero Phase roll a number of dice equal to the current battle round. Each 4+ grants 1 Contagion Point
4Re-roll Battleshock tests of a 1 for enemy unitsNon-Nurgle Heroes cannot carry out heroic actions or issue Rally or Inspiring Presence commands
5Re-roll Wound Rolls of a 6 made by enemy units in combatSubtract 1″ from non-Nurgle unit charge rolls. Non-Nurgle units also cannot pile-in closer to Nurgle models.
6Pick D3 enemy units within 12″ of each other. They suffer D3 Mortal WoundsAdd 1 to the Disease Rolls you make
7Nurgle units heal D3 wounds at the start of their Hero PhaseAt the start of your Hero Phase you receive an extra Contagion Point for each friendly Feculent Gnarlmaw on the battlefield

The Cycle of Corruption seems less focused on traditional combat buffs/debuffs. Instead, it leans heavily into the new elements of the Maggotkin Battletome, which makes sense! I imagine it may take some getting used to. I was always ashamedly guilty of forgetting about the Cycle of Corruption!

Tactics and Strategies

Of course, all these cool rules will help you win games, but how do they fold into Battle Tactics and Grand Strategies? The Maggotkin Battletome comes with four Grand Strategies and six Battle Tactics.

The two Grand Strategies that jump out at me are “Spread Rampant Disease” and “Blessed Desecration”. The former is completed at the end of the battle if every enemy unit on the battlefield has at least one Disease Point. This promotes an apt playstyle of spreading yourself across the board like some foul pox.

The latter requires your general to be a Mortal. After deployment, you must pick a terrain feature wholly within enemy territory (if there are none, select any other terrain feature). When the battle ends, you complete this Grand Strategy if you control that terrain feature. This strikes me as being fairly easy to score, especially if you have any Plague Drones or Blightlords.

Both Core Battalions in the book are fairly safe bets, too. The first is our good ol’ friend the Thricefold Befoulment. This is comprised of three units with the Great Unclean One keyword, so Rotigus and two GUO buddies. This battalion permits you one extra enhancement which will help to make a mighty force even mightier.

The Rotbringer Cyst is a Nurgle Mortal gaggle of units, requiring at least one Mortal Leader at less than 10 wounds and at least three Mortal units that are not Leader, Artillery or Behemoth. This is one that will surely see plenty of action, with a Lord of Blights and three units of Blightkings likely being a safe call for most Maggotkin players. This acts as a “One-drop” battalion, too.

May the rot take root

Overall, the new Maggotkin Battletome comes along at a great point in the life cycle of Age of Sigmar 3.0. If it were to come out much later then I’d fear the community would respond negatively considering the age of the previous Maggotkin Battletome.

The new rules themselves all sound and feel thematic and appropriate. At this time, it’s difficult to think where Maggotkin will land competitively. With so many sweeping rule changes and point-hikes, the army is almost turned on its head. Frankly, I’d be over the moon to see the Glottkin on the table more frequently!

Whilst some would complain about the book-keeping aspects of Disease Points, it’s yet another aspect of the Maggotkin Battletome that does make sense considering the lore of Nurgle and his count-keeping. My biggest gripe is that tokens aren’t provided with the book for this, considering it’s such a crucial part of the army. I suspect you’ll need to buy the Warscroll Cards for some reasonable equivalent.

Additionally, the lack of new Warscrolls in the book is a shame, but the range still holds up very well in the Age of Sigmar range. With the Glottkin, Maggoth Lords and Blightkings alone, the army is still oozing with character.

It sounds as though Maggotkin players will have a lot to get used to. The Maggotkin Battletome reinvents a lot of the army. As with illnesses, patience is needed for them to run their cycles and complete their course. If the players of Nurgle’s chosen are willing to give these new rules some time and patience, they could very well achieve some glorious things.

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Article originally written by the author for The Unrelenting Brush blog in affiliation with Boards and Swords Hobbies.

A review sample of the Maggotkin Battletome was provided by Games Workshop for the purpose of this review.

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