Nurgle has always been Warhammer’s clearest nod to the gross-out phase that peaked in the 1980s, when the conventional wisdom seemed to be that any show or line of toys could be improved by adding slime. Total War: Warhammer III’s rendition of Nurgle’s forces is true to the source material, and will add plenty of slime, stink, and suppurating sores to the strategy game.
The overarching theme for Nurgle is life giving way to rot, which in turn produces new, frequently disgusting, life. That’s an idea present in the Nurgle campaign mechanics, and it’ll be present on the battlefield as well. Nurgle’s units aren’t as cruel or obviously malevolent as their daemonic cousins in the employ of Tzeentch or Khorne, they just understand the phrase “eat, pray, love” a little differently than most of us do.
The basic building block of a Nurgle army is the nurgling, a small daemon born in some kind of cyst that forms in the organs of a Great Unclean One. Nurglings serve a variety of roles in Nurgle’s armies, from bearing up legendary lord Ku’gath Plaguefather’s palanquin to acting as ersatz gas grenades. They can also be fielded as infantry units with vanguard deployments, although they’re weak on their own and should ideally be paired with Nurgle’s flying chaos furies.
Nurgle’s more threatening infantry comes in the form of plaguebearers and forsaken, both of which are former mortals who’ve fallen to the Chaos god’s pestilence. Plaguebearers are slow but threatening infantry units, with the exalted plaguebearers capable of hurling a few mini-Death’s Head projectiles before entering melee.
The beast of Nurgle is reminiscent of Jabba the Hutt, with an added mane of tentacles on its head and a gaping maw splitting its prodigious belly. Nurgle players can also recruit plague toads, which can either leap merrily toward enemy units on their own, or serve as mounts for plaguebearers, forming units of pox riders of Nurgle. In addition to Chaos furies, Nurgle also has the loathsome rotflies as fast flying units, which helps make up for the rest of the army’s slower pace.
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At the largest and most bloated end of the spectrum are the Great Unclean Ones themselves, as well as Nurgle’s own version of the mechanised Soul Grinder. Nurgle armies can be led by the Exalted Great Unclean Ones, which can access the disgusting Lore of Nurgle and summon explosive nurglings at will.