Age Of Sigmar: Nurgle 1st Gameplay Impressions – Viruses Be Viral

Hey there, all you warmongers and wargamers! I recently got to play a game of Age of Sigmar, one of Games Workshop's primary wargames, to bring you a gameplay review for the Maggotkin of Nurgle, an army in the game that recently got an entire rules overhaul. If you wish to read our review of the products added to the line, you can check out our review here, or if you have any questions about rules, in theory, you can click here to read some of the biggest questions about the Maggotkin of Nurgle answered.

As you'll soon come to recognize, it's been a fair while since my first few games using the Maggotkin of 2nd Edition Age of Sigmar. It's interesting – Maggotkin was arguably one of the toughest and one of the grossest armies in the edition, I figured I'd have the rules down-pat for the edition by now, back then… But then, in March of 2020, something kind of disgusting went viral, and, well, here I am, nearly two years into a global pandemic, playing my first refresher game of AoS, which could just as easily amount to a first game overall. However, a very wise, and very patient opponent was more than willing to take four hours out of his day to teach me the ropes once more.

Art attributed to Games Workshop for their fantasy wargame, Age of Sigmar, wherein the Maggotkin of Nurgle are facing off against some Stormcast Eternals.
Art attributed to Games Workshop for their fantasy wargame, Age of Sigmar, wherein the Maggotkin of Nurgle are facing off against some Stormcast Eternals.

All of the tabletop gaming brain-fog from the time isolating against the tide of COVID-19 aside, my re-education went quite smoothly. I did my research for my army and the core rules before the game, as one should, and then… Well, because the game took so long to get underway, we only really had three of those four hours to play. However, although we did get a good four battle rounds in, we did have to call it for time because we thought it would take a bit less time.

This was partly due to the armies involved. I was playing a new ruleset for the Maggotkin, with a limited scope of how intricate the rules of the game are, so I had a few misconceptions on how some interactions worked. Additionally, my opponent was a remarkably experienced (and I use that term as intently as I can!) player… for one of the fastest glass cannons in the game, I'm told: The Hedonites of Slaanesh. Unfortunately, the Hedonites aren't quite as strong as people would believe. They're fast, and they do have the capacity to overwhelm foes, but hold a match to them and they melt like butter, as I soon found out.

My army configuration, with the Blessed Sons subfaction, was as such:

  • Harbinger of Decay
    • General
    • Overpowering Stench
    • Muttergrub
  • The Glottkin
    • Rancid Visitations
  • 30x Plaguebearers
  • 5x Putrid Blightkings
  • 5x Putrid Blightkings
  • Lord of Blights

I did have my terrain feature, the Feculent Gnarlmaw, which throughout this game generated 9 Contagion Points, good for summoning some low-efficacy things, or things I didn't have in my arsenal yet. I also had an Endless Spell (Chronomantic Cogs), but that didn't factor greatly into the game as I learned for myself the hard way that my army is slow as molasses.

The end of the first battle round for the game between the Maggotkin of Nurgle and the Hedonites of Slaanesh in Age of Sigmar, a wargame by Games Workshop. Photo credit: Josh Nelson
The end of the first battle round for the game between the Maggotkin of Nurgle and the Hedonites of Slaanesh in Age of Sigmar, a wargame by Games Workshop. Photo credit: Josh Nelson

In practice, beyond the daunting set-up period and the fully-painted army ahead of mine, the Maggotkin did quite well. My opponent had two Endless Spells that did wreak some havoc upon the army, but when it came to sheer beat-em-up strength in a scenario that was literally "beat them up", Maggotkin of Nurgle absolutely will pull through. None of my opponent's models did all that much to my own, thanks to the way the Diseased mechanic functions as a strong force of keep-away, so to speak. When the Hedonites got up close, they got sick. Come on, Slaanesh! Did the rules of social distancing from the last two years mean nothing to you?!?

The end of the first battle round for the game between the Maggotkin of Nurgle and the Hedonites of Slaanesh in Age of Sigmar, a wargame by Games Workshop. Photo credit: Josh Nelson
The end of the first battle round for the game between the Maggotkin of Nurgle and the Hedonites of Slaanesh in Age of Sigmar, a wargame by Games Workshop. Photo credit: Josh Nelson

The one big issue that I ran into in the game was this: When I destroyed the entire unit of Daemonettes that coalesced on the front-right of my army at the top of the battle, my opponent had amassed enough Depravity Points to summon an entire block of 20 more and run them right in front of my Glottkin model. The Glottkin was the bigger threat here, having properly dispatched my opponent's Keeper of Secrets and having done a number on some other mounted models, but it folded quick to a block of those infantrymen (or infantry-Daemons, as it were).

In the end, as we called it for time, there were maybe a couple of models left on the board overall. The harpist the opponent had was relatively untouched, but I still even had put a disease point on that one. We did not call a winner, but I got a good refresher on the rules in the context of the new edition.

Some things I noticed about Maggotkin of Nurgle here:

  1. Plaguebearers are roadblocks, but that's it. They will be a proper "anvil", but they have virtually no offensive power. This was true before, but now they're better to summon in the end. Don't hire these unless you know you'll need to buy time.
  2. Putrid Blightkings, even without their "exploding 6's", are amazing. With offense to make up the lack brought on by Plaguebearers as well as the Diseased Weapons rule, you'll be doing massive amounts of damage each turn and hammering away at smaller units easily. You might want to keep them at arm's length from single-model units if you are worried that the combat won't be enough to subdue them.
  3. The heroes I hired (The Glottkin, Harbinger of Decay, and Lord of Blights) all shone in this game in some way or another. Gaining extra Command Points on the first battle round from the Harbinger wasn't useless as my opponent was eager to rumble early on, The Glottkin decimated the Keeper of Secrets that had me worried at first, and the Lord of Blights did great staving off that initial block of Daemonettes. They are specialists, and as such you will need to know when you'll want to take them. However, that requires you to practice with them in and outside of seemingly optimal situations.
  4. Diseased as a mechanic is much stronger than people originally gave it credit for. It was responsible for finishing off opposing forces, and that's before any Battleshock tests were to be conducted by my opponent. Give it some play. It is very powerful.

Next time I play Age of Sigmar, I plan to make the most of my models with a summoning-focused list, and also make the most of a mask given the local game store's new COVID mandates enforced across my state (but it's not my fault! It's a game, folks). Ideally, this will be before Games Workshop potentially gives errata to the Feculent Gnarlmaw, which currently gives a Contagion Point per uncontested Gnarlmaw per round, per Gnarlmaw. It is strong and needs clarification as many people are debating this across social media. In the meantime, what do you think about the Maggotkin of Nurgle? Does this army look fun to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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