Steel City returns with the latest warband review, and this time I’ll be wading through pus, gunge and all thinks gross and gloopy to review the Wurmspat. Nurgle’s long awaited foray into the Underworlds has arrived at last, and the reveal has left many feeling decidedly nauseous. Never fear, for I hope to demonstrate how the sickly squad could be more contagious than they may first appear.
This whole article will be full of disease puns. I am not sorry. All puns were, in fact, intended.
So the first and most obvious thing to note about our warty warriors is that we have ourselves the first three fighter warband with magic since Stormsire’s Cursebreakers (and weren’t they a barrel of laughs). This comes with certain inherent advantages and disadvantages.
Lets start with the positives. Having 3 fecund fighters means inherently each one is tougher. This in turn means aggro opponents with objectives based on killing you will struggle to do so straight away. Skaeth can easily impale a ghoul turn 1, but he will struggle to one shot a Putrid Blightking out of the gate. Three fighters also means you don’t fill even half of your potential spawn hexes, which allows you to create distance between you and your opponent, if that is your plan. Alternatively, you can pack the entire warband at the front of your board, ready to get stuck in. Do you like to draw cards? There are only 3 models to worry about activating in this warband, so unless someone’s getting turned on twice (looking at Sepsimus’ model, who could blame you), you’ll always have an activation spare to draw without reducing the efficiency of your warband.
It’s not all boils and pustules for our 3 fighter band however. Whilst they get an activation spare to draw a card, they can quickly start to run out of things to do in a turn if no enemy fighters are in range. This gets even worse if a fighter gets picked off, and you might find yourself drawing simply because you have nothing better to do. Additionally, full-on objective play is incredibly risky for a three fighter warband and is something I would never recommend. Cards like Supremacy and Sacred Tri-lobe are dead the second one of your fighters bites the plague-ridden dust. To score them you need the objectives on your side, all your fighters alive AND more pushes than your opponent so that you don’t get nudged off them. Given we’re living in a world with 2 distraction effects within the neutral card pool, running hold 3 objective cards with a 3 fighter warband is going to require a lot of luck to ever be successful.
So there’s a lot to sink our teeth into just looking at the number of fighters in the band. We know these malignant malingerers will be primarily control or aggro based, potentially flexing into a small amount of objective play depending on the cards (but staying WELL clear of Supremacy).
Before we dive into the fighters however, it’s worth talking about some features shared by the entire warband.:
- Movement: A movement characteristic of 3 is what was expected for our ever-advancing plague machines. Even so, this comes with distinct disadvantages. The Wurmspat are easier to avoid than faster warbands, and so going on the aggressive with them will be difficult. Wurmspat will naturally suffer into control, and even objective warbands if they choose to offset the boards and sacrifice and objective token. This is worth being aware of when building your deck.
- Inspiration: The Wurmspat inspire when the sum total of enemy wounded and out of action fighters is 3. Given your warband is slow, an aggressive inspire condition is somewhat counter-intuitive to how you might think you want to play. Given that getting to your opponent (even before rolling dice to hit them) is going to be difficult, you will need to decide whether you want to include cards to help ping damage onto opponents from across the board. Alternatively, you have no obligation to attempt to inspire (see Ylthari’s Guardians), and you could quite happily build to ignore it.
- Damage Reduction: You can’t hurt disease with an axe, otherwise coronavirus wouldn’t be a thing. The same goes for our poxy posse here. Reducing incoming damage by 1 whenever a block (NOT A CRIT) is rolled is huge, as you can easily leave enemy aggro fighters out of position following a charge. You can deny kills even when attack actions are incredibly odds on to take a fighter out of action. Extra wound upgrades are extra effective on this warband, bloat your way to victory!
Fecula starts the game as a comparable fighter to Averon Stormsire. Fecula’s stats are almost identical to Stormsire’s. She loses one range on her non-magical attack, but she has the warbands innate ability to reduce any incoming damage by 1 should she roll a block. Delicious.
Also Feculas spell attack range helps massively to negate the warbands biggest weakness – their low move characteristic. With the added range Fecula can attempt to ping damage onto enemies hiding in faraway corners of the board – hopefully trapping them in the process.
Additionally Fecula starts as a level two wizard, this means cards like Sphere of Ghur, Sphere of Aqshy and our favourite spells from our boy Abasoth are viable to include.
When inspired, Fecula in the first wizard we have seen to have a spell attack action hitting on channels printed on the fighter card. This means innate and spell dice manipulation upgrades will make this attack incredibly accurate. Unfortunately, the damage remains at one, so Stormsire remains the harder hitting of the two mages. Fecula also rolls only one defence dice when inspired. Once powered up Stormsire might just edge out the best wizard competition, but the wildcard factor of the damage reduction Fecula has access to makes her a difficult witch to take down.
Sepsimus “The Prolapse”, Plaguesworn is one of your two bash bros. Uninspired he is your pokey fighter as opposed to your accurate one. His 2 ranged attack is a welcome addition to help reach and then trap opponents. It also helps Sepsimus make multiple attack actions in a turn should he find himself already positioned well.
Inspired Sepsimus is rolling in additional power. He gains a damage on the spear attack, an accurate 2 damage scything attack (“The Prolapse Pirouette”) and an extra block. The extra block means Sepsimus can reduce incoming damage by 2 – so even if you manage to get through the two block defence, you might still end up not even scratching the blotchy beast!
Once inspired Sepsimus is the best aggro fighter in the warband, look after this one.
Gulgoch the Butcher
Gulgoch rounds out the warband with a solid profile including the Abscess Avatars most accurate attack. A 3 smash 2 damage attack is the bane of horde warbands, but only one range ensures that Gulgoch more so than the other fighters really struggles with his movement characteristic.
Inspired Gulgoch gains an extra block and cleave. The cleave is nice, but the extra defense dice that synergises so nicely with the warbands damage reduction mechanic is the biggest boost.
This warband is tanky in a different way to models like Mollog and Hrothgorn. They have some decent ranged attacks but are slow and certainly require investment to reliably inspire. So far we’re about breaking even I think, lets have a look at the cards the feverish fanatics bring to the table.
For this review I am only rating the cards I think are viable or interesting. I’ll be sticking with our tried and true Steel City patented rating system. A score from 1-5!! What genius came up with this revolutionary idea?!
- 5 – Best in class effects that should go in basically every deck that can take them (Calculated Risk, Temporary Victory)
- 4 – Powerful or versatile effects that are extremely strong in a particular archetype or pretty good in any deck (Tome of Offerings, Great Strength, Potion of Rage)
- 3 – Solid effects that will find a place in many decks (Great Fortitude, Supremacy, Sidestep)
- 2 – Limited effects that might be useful in some specialised decks (Imbue with Life, Regal Vision)
- 1 – Just plain bad cards (Headlong Charge, Our Powers Combined)
A lot of cards I would rate 1 I just haven’t included. There are quite a number of cards that haven’t been included.
As a prelude to this section, objective cards will ultimately define how a warband plays. Nurgle’s fighter stats lend themselves towards a control style, and therefore passive scoring is ideally the way they want to go to bolster that. Magic based objectives also fill the brief. Nurgle’s biggest issue will be engaging with the enemy, so they need to be rewarded for either making the long approach to the enemy, or for staying back – so the enemy has to come to them. If we don’t have these objectives, enemies will simply be able to hide from the Wurmspat, and they will struggle to score.
This card rewards our infected insurgents for shrugging off big attacks. Good, that’s what they do best. It’s important to note that the damage characteristic of the attack needs to be 3. If you reduce the damage by rolling a block, you would still score this card.
The problem is this card relies not only on dice (your opponent has to succeed the attack and you have to survive) it also relies on that attack being made while this card is in your hand. Against aggro warbands this card is passable, but most objective warbands will happily ignore you and crack on scoring their objective glory while this card bricks in your hand.
It will feel great to score this, but at the end of the day, (short of offering up a fighter on a platter and crossing your fingers) there is nothing you can do to make sure that you get this glory.
Rating – 2
Cycle of Decay
Play two gambits and get a glory! Seems simple enough, but I don’t particularly rate this card. The cycles are of varying power levels, and only two I think are worth including. Unnatural Vitality and Fecund Vigor. To score this card, you need to have it in your hand at the same tie as those cycle cards. If you only include two you CANNOT PLAY A CYCLE UNTIL YOU GET THE OBJECTIVE. So now we must ram our deck full of cycles we didn’t really want just to score this card. We also possibly have to end cycles prematurely without getting the full benefit, just so we can get through two. I’d give this one a miss, despite the passive nature of this card being potentially exactly what this warband needs.
Rating – 1
As the warband inspires at the same time, this card is essentially an end phase objective for achieving your inspire condition. Fortunately there is no restriction on the number of fighters that need to be alive, so even two of your models have secreted the last of their pustulent ooze, one remaining inspired fighter will score this. Given that cards like Blazing Soul and Maddening Cackle exist, Fired Up is still a more reliable objective, however there’s no rule saying you cannot include both cards. This card, depending on the gambit deck you bring, can support cautiously aggressive play rather than pure control. Make Papa Nurgle proud.
Rating – 3
Fell the Faithless
An aggressive surge objective for killing the enemy leader, this card is interesting as a faction specific card. In warbands like Rippas Snarlfangs, Godsworn Hunt, or even Skaeths Wild Hunt, this objective would be a brilliant inclusion. The Wurmspat however (as I keep mentioning) are very slow, meaning your chances of assassinating a leader playing defensively early game are very slim. You also don’t have access to any 3 damage attacks early, which makes slaying what are predominantly 4 wound fighters a challenge.
Still, with an aggressive power deck this card is achievable, especially once Sepsimus is inspired and ready to make holes in people/centaurs/cats. Its alos a boon that the leader can be taken out of action in any possible way. Lethal hexes, gambits and stray paper aeroplane missiles will all score this card, so long as the leader is taken out of action. You can even score this if Stormsire miscasts himself to death!
If you’re playing into a leader that’s coming towards you this card goes up in priority significantly. Whichever way you slice this one though, this card still requires a decent investment to score reliably early, therefore is much better to draw later on.
Rating – 3
Want a tasty passive objective you can score on the way to your opponents? Rotbringers (being a clone of Magical Supremacy) fits the bill perfectly. If you include a couple of Gambit Spells in your deck and manage to land your spell attack action, you’ll have this in the bag. Just be wary that you will have to build around this card and look after Fecula until you score it.
Rating – 3
A clone of steadfast defender, this card is another that seems on the surface to reward what our gross guardians want to do, take a big old hit in the face and stay right where they are. I personally have a few reservations about this, for the same reason I struggle with Blessed Endurance. You cannot control when you score this card. Equally, you’ll struggle to score Seeping Rot and Blessed Endurance at the same time, as the latter requires the attack to be successful. I’d rank Seeping Rot higher up however, as there are plenty of cards that prevent knockback AND you have decent defensive stats once inspired anyway.
If you’re objective is scored based on your opponent’s decisions AND a dice roll, it can very easily brick in your hand. Cards like these do feel great when you score them however, mainly because you let your opponent do all the hard work. You can take this if you enjoy cackling madly at your opposition. Cackle twice as madly if you score Steadfast Defender at the same time.
Rating – 2
Spread his Blessings
This card is a solid end phase scorer, as it doesn’t require a specific fighter to be holding an objective. In addition, Fecula and Sepsimus can charge onto an objective and still hit distant opposition. This card could combo well with Seeping Rot, assuming your opponent isn’t wise to your tricks and packing push cards.
Rating – 3
Gambits – Cycles
Get your waddle on lads. Turbo boost your welt-wearing warriors so they can get stuck into the fray. If you are aiming for a more aggressive approach to the Wurmspat, this card is definitely worth considering. Going up to 4 move on all your fighters, especially with the ranged attacks Nurgle’s warband possesses, will make you much more difficult to avoid.
Rating – 2
For those of a more defensive disposition, reducing the accuracy of your opponents is a boon to be grateful for. -1 Dice is a huge disadvantage for opponents, especially if you have accessed your double block defense. Just be aware this only works on adjacent fighters, Mollog will have no qualms about bopping you from 2 hexes away.
Rating – 2
Gambits – Ploys
Sidestep is good, double sidestep is better! Reposition two models to get them into attack range of your opponents or jump them onto an objective. This is an auto-include in any Wurmspat deck.
Rating – 4
Fancy turning Fecula into an AoE monster? Run this card alongside Rend the Earth and blow apart ay hordes that stand in your way! Potentially inspire entirely in the power step!
A fun card, and certainly not a bad one. However, given Feculas low movement characteristic and the 2-channel requirement to cast this spell, its probably not one we’ll see a lot of.
Rating – 2
Gift of Contagion
Gift of Contagion is a slighty altered version of the Godsworn Hunt spell Enfeeble. Whilst Gift of Contagion is easier to cast, it only persists until the end of the round. Whilst -1 damage is a nice effect, I think this is a gambit you may struggle to fit in a power deck that already has so many demands of it. Potentially a fun 10th gambit, but personally I’d give this one a miss.
Rating – 2
I really like the design of this upgrade; I like cards than have a cost beyond a glory that can be used to make them more powerful. Unfortunately, the cost for this upgrade is very high. First off, going to two move on Gulgoch basically means if you’re not already in a fight you just aren’t ever going to get there. The real killer though is the fighter restriction. Sepsimus and Fecula are your ranged fighters, and are likely going to be your go to aggro threats. This will probably leave Gulgoch lurking somewhere further back on your board when you deploy. This upgrade further limits his ability to get stuck in. If you are playing into aggro and fighters offer themselves up on a plate to your bloated bash bro’s, then Hulking Physique can make you feel unstoppable. Even in that matchup, I think most opponents will simply try to charge other fighters and stay 3 hexes away from Gulgoch once this card is played. When you equip this, you really need to make sure your opponent has no choice but to try and take down your blepharitic behemoth. Or you include ways to boost him into the fray, because once you’re their it is very much clobberin’ time.
Also note the range 1 restriction, don’t go kitting Gulgoch out with spears and expecting this to work!
Rating – 2
I’m mainly including this card in the review because of the flavour text.
That is enough reason to take it.
Don’t take it though, it’s just a funny picture.
Rating – 1
This is a copy of Arcane Familiar with the added bonus of making Fecula immune to backlash damage. Having said that, the fact that this card allows you to change a result to a channel means you are already very close to immune to backlash anyway. The main advantage here is if you roll 2 crits on a spell attack you can keep them and not worry about taking a pesky damage.
Rating – 3
Re-rolls are nice. Anything that makes you less likely to whiff one of your precious attack actions is worth popping in the deck.
Rating – 3
Duellist speed is a commonly used upgrade to allow ranged fighters to surf around the board whilst making attack actions. Unstoppable tread gives you the push after any activation. Go on guard and push yourself one hex onto an objective with Cryptic companion equipped. Poke away with Sepsimus as you hope between Crypt Ghouls. The uses for this upgrade are many and varied, helping with whatever style you choose to play. Pushes are good.
Rating – 4
Pestilent Deliverer and Stolid Bulk
These cards are both half-decent effects, but ones I think people will struggle to find space for given the number of cards that you need to squeeze into an upgrade deck. Preventing knockback is good for some of e Wurmspats surge objectives, but Survival Instincts does it better. Cleave on charges is good, but wasted against some warbands. Just take Virulent Blades and Potion of Rage instead. These aren’t strictly bad cards, just other cards do the job better.
Rating – 2
Decks and Playstyles
After a lengthy trawl through the varied tools Papa Nurgle has retched into the underworlds, I’ve found that Nurgle needs to benefit from a lengthy trawl across the board. Whether you decide to march your pestilence across the Underworlds or concentrate your contamination in your own territory, the Wurmspat need a plan for scoring in case the enemy is out of reach.
The Wurmspats fighter cards alone may prove counter enough to aggressive warbands following their inspiration, but pre-inspire one block is still very punishable. Plenty of warbands can boost their damage and accuracy to pick off your 4 wound models wound one, and you only have 3 to play with. Nurgle demands time, and you will need to find a way to give it to him and score some glory while you are at it.
So the choice that our contagious comrades are presented with is as follows
- Lean into their anti-aggro strengths – load up on wounds and defensive stats and watch the enemy bounce off of your zombie Kung-Fu Panda belly.
- Shore up the warbands innate weaknesses – pack some mobility and accuracy and make sure you can go after warbands that seek to hide from the Wurmspats infectious influence.
To that end, here are two potential decklists for you to consider, with a bit of analysis of each. Thanks to Johnathan Davis (aka Wiggle) of Well of Power fame for his feedback on the decklists!
The Firmspat have arrived to sit down and start an epidemic. This deck revolves primarily around what Nurgle does best, get hit in the bubbly chubbly belly and loving it. Ping your enemies from afar with an abundance of damaging gambits in order to get the inspire, and sit down on an objective while you’re at it. When your opponent comes to hit you off, make sure you either have Survival Instincts equipped, Buried Instinct in hand, or you just happen to be on guard. That way Seeping Rot and Steadfast Fighter become a lot more reliable. Aggressive warbands will have to cut through wounds aplenty to take you down. If they try to ignore your objective bound fighter, bash Cryptic Companion onto them to make sure you still churn out glory. Just be wary of enemy pushes that can knock you off of your perch!
The deck is rounded out with pushes and some anti-objective tech, as well as Faneway Crystal in case you absolutely have to get someone across the board to deliver some dengue fever up close and personal.
Rotbringers can be tricky if you can’t attack with Fecula, alternatives include Spread His Blessings, United, or even potentially Path to Victory. There’s definitely room for experimentation here but I think this serves as a good starting point.
I worry that this deck struggles against hardcore spellcast that can ping damage across your fighters, ignoring your defensive stats whilst scoring glory. Also an objective warband that surges their way to victory could prove problematic. However once inspired, you’re fighter card stats do allow you to take the fight to anyone, provided you can reach them in the first place. Just hope your opponent doesn’t push you off your objectives before hitting you, or your surge cards will brick horribly.
If you prefer to deliver your deities disease-ridden delights to your opposition, then the Wurmsplat will help you forcibly inoculate the opposition. The magic aspect of this deck is their to help ensure surges can be scored on the way to the opposition. The deck includes 4 ways to score Rising Power with Feculas spell attack action. Push her into range and get casting to rack up glory, then let Sepsimus and Gulgoch cut down your opposition. The gambit deck includes mobility and ping damage and can be customised depending on preference. Cards like Desperate Gambit and Two Steps Forward could make their way in. You could include more gambit spells or cut that aspect of the deck out entirely. Well of Power could come out for Tome of Offerings, and Arcane Arrest could be slotted into the deck for Rising Power. There are a lot of options depending on your playstyle, so make sure you consider how you want to splat with your Wurms.
This build does leave you vulnerable early, and inspiring quickly for the extra defensive stats should be a priority. In addition Fecula needs to stay alive to score some surges, and an enemy that targets her as a priority can easily shut down a portion of this build. Stay safe out there.
After a couple of games, this is where I landed. There’s still lots of iterations of a Nurgle deck that could have success, but I think this plays to their strengths. Sit on key points and give your opponent a reason to attack. Bait fighters in with Tome of Glories and Cryptic Companion, and prevent knockback with Survival Instincts or a cheeky Buried Instinct.
I’ve steered away from magic just because i find it too inconsistent a scorer. Fecula is your squishiest fighter, and Bold Conquest is too tasty an objective to ignore for me. She’s gonna get in the thick of the fighting at some point, and she’s not really the fighter you’re going to find holding up to an assault.
It’s a fun deck, but it’s not going to be an easy run to the top of a tournament. Have a play about and come up with something better please.
Things Nurgle does well
- Get hit in the face
- Hit back post-inspire
This means aggro dislikes the Wurmspat.
Things Nurgle struggles with
- Getting to enemy faces in order to hit them
- Convincing the enemy to help them score surge objectives
Control and objective players don’t mind the Wurmspat as much.
Essentially, the strength of the Wurmspat is very dependant on your opponents plans. Anyone wanting to master this warband will have to have a carefully thought out deck and be able to adapt on the fly to what their opponents are doing.
The Wurmspat’s solid fighter cards mean that the warbands strength will wax and wane depending on available cards. Currently options are a little thin on the ground, you can go for variations on my suggested builds, or something completely different. You could try double Supremacy and hope you draw them and no one dies and you can get on objectives and no one has pushes and you win the lottery and only ever roll crits, but that does seem a little ballsy (so don’t do this). You could run a full control lost pages build, but you might struggle to generate the glory to equip everything. I’m interested to see what builds emerge to take advantage of what are very strong fighter cards, especially once inspired.
If you love pretty prolapses and bellies that you can see through, then the Wurmspat can certainly deliver both aesthetically and on the board. You just have to find a good deck to do it with.
Spread His Blessings!!!
PS: The damage reduction not working on crits will hurt you…be ready
UPDATE: FINAL DECK
After a month of Nurgle play this is the deck I have landed on. The objective deck is built to score consistently without relying on kills. The gambit deck is built to hold position and counter attack whilst pinging damage onto the opponent. The upgrades are built to bulk up Sepsimus for a round 3 rampage!
Focus on using pushes and ping damage along with considered charges to deny your opponent whilst scoring consistent glory. Once an inspired Sepsimus has Great Strength, Virulent Blade and Unstoppable Tread he can surf through your opponents models like Skritch of old, just tankier!
Check out Battle for Salvation’s latest Podcast to here me rant further about Nurgle and this deck specifically. Also here the first (of hopefully many) Underworlds parody song!
Stay safe and stay at home!