Written by Jonathan Wojcik
A RETURN TO
On account of Warhammer continuing to exist and all, a number of new things have been added to Nurgle's roster in the span of those four years, and I have to say, he's just kept on outdoing himself! Courtesy official model images from games-workshop.com, we can easily round up and review a selection of my favorite new monsters, which even happens to be the majority of new additions! In fact, over these past four years, the game has possibly added more characters and creatures that appeal to me than in their decades of previous content put together, so let's have a look!
We discussed the Beasts in the original Nurgle review, and how they've got the personalities of overly affectionate, slobbery puppy dogs who regrettably don't know either their own strength or their own biohazardousness. My personal favorite design for these beasts is still their very earliest incarnation, but their latest designs are definitely a step up from how they looked in the interim.
NEW BEASTS OF NURGLE
That version feels like they were trying a little too hard to avoid anything "cute," but these latest beasts embrace a goofier, more innocent charm that fits their canonical personalities much better. I like how this example's tentacle hair is also modeled a little like a mass of earthworms, complete with clitellums, whil the rest of the face is just a funny, toothless sac with oblivious little eyes.
Best of all, there are actually three different beasts offered with three entirely different faces in all, capturing the same spirit in their own unique ways. One is more of a puffy, fungusy cyclops, if you interpret that central black nodule as an eye, though that would have to mean the other scattered nodules are a bunch of additional eyes, or the one we see as a cyclops eye is just one of many black blisters on an eyeless creature.
The other face is too humanlike to be "cute," exactly, but it's still lovably comical, and the idea of this oafish man-faced blob happily licking you to death is definitely a type of horror I wasn't ready for. It's basically a big, bloated, mutated Slimer.
We're getting the most "ordinary" new models out of the way first, with Rotigus here just being a particularly special Nurgle Daemon, one of his Great Unclean Ones. His design is fairly conventional for his kind, but I love the tattered hood over his head and the maggots just cascading down out of his mouth. It's really an amazing sculpt! Rotigus apparently "doesn't feel the need" to use any weapons, only waving around a diseased "gnarlrod" that continuously rots away and regenerates, generating a perpetual rainstorm of diseased gunk overhead!
The Rotigus model kit apparently also doubles as a standard Unclean One kit, if you'd rather make one of those, which has two possible alternate designs. I like this one in particular because the single eye, fishy ear, and demon-headed tongue all feel kind of like throwbacks to Warhammer's cheesier 80's and 90's models.
"Wherever the servants of Nurgle gather in large numbers and the blessed rot begins to set in, Feculent Gnarlmaws push their up through the blighted soil."
THE FECULENT GNARLMAW
Apparently where Rotigus woud have gotten his staff, this presumably carnivorous tree is just a "terrain piece" rather than a "unit" per se, but it's a functional one whose "entropic chimes" give a boost to nearby Nurgle units while its "sickness blossoms" can mortally damage non-Nurgle entities who get too close. Personally I like the three gigantic, yellow pustules wrapped in iron to signify the triple-circle insignia of Nurgle himself, and monstrous trees are always cool. Always!
Festus is basically a Nurgle Medic, a "jovial" fellow who loves to conduct alchemical experiments on the battlefield and even counts as a "wizard" for gameplay purposes. His main ability is known as "Delightful Brews, Splendid Restoratives" and can either heal friends or damage enemies.
FESTUS THE LEECHLORD
Festus himself is an alright design, but of course I'm most drawn to the beautiful giant leech actually holding his staff for him, and that delightful one-eyed Nurgling working as his cute little assistant. It's too bad a character with LEECHLORD in his name and literal leeches all over the place has no especially leech-related abilities or lore, though leeches don't exactly suit Nurgle all that well; they don't generally carry disease at all!
How can you not fall in love with that name alone?! They're diving headlong into whimsy once again here, with a face that looks downright warm-hearted for a decomposing demon and a Nurgling friend who just CANNOT contain its sheer delight at everything going on here.
THE SLOPPITY BILEPIPER
The lore, of course, gets a little darker than that. The Sloppity Bilepiper is a former Plaguebearer, normally a grim and serious demon whose job is to tally up and record the thousands of diseases that constantly evolve and mutate under Nurgle's influence. This one, however, carries a disease called "Chortling Murrain," which gives anyone infected a literally contagious and literally side-splitting sense of humor. Sadly, while the Bilepiper loves to caper around telling terrible jokes, it knows and must accept that it will eventually be chopped up and turned into a new set of "pestilent gutpipes" for its own successor.
Speaking of the paper-pushing plaguebearers, this one is basically their asshole supervisor whose job is to monitor and enforce their productivity. It loves to catch one making a mistake, too, and if a plaguebearer screws up enough times, they get demoted to none other than a Sloppity Bilepiper!
THE SPOILPOX SCRIVENER
I really like how much they changed up the usual demon anatomy for this jerkhole, giving it a huge, mutant mouth on the end of a trunk that coils around it like an organic tuba, and I'd like to think sounds just a little bit like one to boot. They even gave it a pose and expression like it's about to write somebody up right now - and glaring directly at them as it does so.
This special champion unit actually represents three sibling characters; Otto Glott the warrior, Ethrac Glott the sorcerer, and their gigantic brother Ghurk Glott! Apparently they seldom need to come down off their biggest bro's shoulders, and most enemies are just scooped up into the "lamprey maw" that constitutes his right arm. Nice to see such a healthy, happy brotherly relationship! The fine little details on this model are all pretty impressive, and if you look closely, Ethrac has extra arms protruding from a big, lumpy, tumorous hump on his back!
Loving the name "Bloab," and it really suits what this character actually represents; a sentient swarm of flies and maggots puppeting an empty skin. You can hardly see the flies from here, but a mass of them are modeled erupting from their puppet body's back, and a cloud of thousands more are represented more abstractly by the automatic damage rolls inflicted upon every enemy within a minimum range.
Being one gigantic, sentient infestation apparently just isn't enough for Bloab, though, because he also rides that giant, barfing, worm-headed demon beast, and that is called a Maggoth. I do wish, however, that "maggot" monsters in this game - and pretty much any given game where they appear - would bother to have those more walrus-like faces of the real thing. I guess close-up shots of maggots were once hard enough to come by that nobody knew exactly what their mouths looked like, and popular culture just kind of assumed it was a mouth like a "leech," or a perfect circle of fangs, though that isn't the mouth a leech actually has either.
These guys are actually part of a 40k spin-of game, Kill Team, a faster-paced battle between smaller squads of warriors, but I'd like to call your attention to that guy whose right arm is an entire fly monster. An absolutely lovely looking fly monster, too, that I really wish existed as a Nurgle creature all its own. The guy with all the tentacles - and a dead fish hanging off of his thigh? - isn't too bad either, but really, you DON'T top having a whole bug for an arm. You just don't.
THE GELLERPOX INFECTED
The Gellerpox Kill Team includes a whole selection of mutated Nurgle "vermin" to overwhelm the opponent, and despite not even playing this game, I am pretty disappointed that they're not officially compatible with actual 40k. I realize the game allows for a lot of customization and you could just use these models for something in your official Nurgle Army, like a stand-in for Nurglings, but it's the principle of the thing!
THE GELLERPOX SLUDGE GRUBS
I share this variety first because, while I certainly love giant maggots and grubs, I believe I've already voiced my disappointment with their feeding orifices.
We also get some lovely mutated "flies," though some have the appropriate single pair of wings and others are four-winged. I'm glad they generally get very dipteran-looking heads, though, and my favorite one might be at the very top here, with the body that's still more maggot-like than that of an adult insect. Shouldn't these models have come with BLOAB, though?!
THE GELLERPOX EYE STINGERS
OH MAN! NO WAY! My FAVORITE ectoparasitic arthropods in the whole wide world get the Nurgle treatment!? And they're anatomically recognizable!? These are only slightly dramatized from real fleas, complete with the mouth barbs that always look so much like a ridiculous, monstrous overbite, and they threw in some retractable tentacle tongues for good measure. Now I'm even sadder these are just an accessory to a side game, but again, you could probably find a place for them in the main game. Maybe you could have Nurglings riding around on their backs!
THE GELLERPOX CURSE MITES
Fleas are classically associated with plague, and it's surprising they don't appear much more often in settings like this. This was SO long overdue!
At least some of those lovely flies are included as decoration with this bio-organic war machine, including that maggot-bodied kinda fly I pointed out! It's in the upper right!
THE FOETID BLOAT DRONE
The Bloat Drone is kind of treated like a "vehicle" for game purposes but I think we can place it pretty squarely in the Monster column. This version's got a whole exposed, monstrous face, and another option gives it fleshy, muscly arms:
...Fleshy, muscly arms, and a weapon called the "flesh mower." Beautiful! The Bloat Drone is pretty much a giant, flying monster head in a gas mask, when you get right down to it.
The last thing we're reviewing is also, in my opinion, the #1 singular best thing ever in this game, though I guess I'm technically just referring to what Horticulous is riding, a truly adorable multi-legged caterpillar-snail that honestly could have just been their new Beast design, and his name is just Mulch! The official bio page assures us that the Nurgling, used as bait to keep Mulch crawling along, finds its own precarious situation "hilarious," if you couldn't tell from the look on its face.
Horticulous himself is a serious, "no-nonsense" Nurgle gardener, or as serious and no-nonsense as you can be when your job is planting Extra Horrible flowers and you love your giant snail that you named Mulch. I love the sort of Bad Boy pose he's got going on, chewing a bone and hefting his oversized Death Metal looking pruning shears. He's even got a carnivorous plant with him! AND an evil tree!
The lighter, funnier direction all this Nurgle stuff has taken is honestly so refreshing in a franchise I have so long laughed at for its edginess. It was kind of always meant to be tongue-in-cheek, if you believe Games Workshop itself, but they're really loosening up here, and this is further demonstrated by their recent move to produce content for younger children, which I support wholeheartedly. I remember BEING a young child when this game started to go quasi-mainstream, and I'd have loved if they had books or comics or a cartoon show more accessible to me at the time.
The kind of fan who gets outright angry at this kind of development, and you know there are plenty of them, it the kind of fan nobody needs anyway. I might even BECOME an active fan of this setting if it gets any more fanciful.
...Still not enough to pay that kind of money for miniatures, though. Call me when they're just selling pre-painted rubber versions in Wal Mart's toy aisle. They might see some REAL income then, and some of it might even be from me!
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