For the other articles in this series, check the following links:
- Death Guard HQ's Pt 1
- Death Guard HQ's Pt 2
- Death Guard HQ's Pt 3
- Death Guard Elites
- Death Guard Troops
- Death Guard Heavy Support Pt. 1
- Death Guard Heavy Support Pt. 2
Next up in our review of the Death Guard, we have the Fast Attack section. This is an odd one for the average death guard player, the death guard did not specialize between assault and tactical marines, instead carrying a ccw as well as a bolt pistol and bolter. Jump packs and bikes were uncommon, but there were some in use at the time of the destroyer plague. While the idea of T6 bikes is tempting, it doesn't really mesh with the original legion, so if I ever include them I paint them in my Red Corsairs scheme. Mark of Nurgle is honestly too expensive to take on raptors, the same goes for warptalons. So that leaves us with:
The Heldrake is an impressive choice in this book, and taking two of them is considered mandatory in a lot of people's minds when it comes to the CSM book. Here's the thing though, they are expensive, and you do have to justify their presence in a fluffy list. This is achievable, because though the Death Guard prefered footslogged tactics, they would never cede an air advantage to their enemies. Mortarion's combat doctrine is nothing if not responsive to conditions. It would follow that Death Guard warbands would endeavor to bring air forces when facing air power in their opponents (ie 6th edition). They do, after all, use the blight drone, another daemon engine flyer.
How to equip your Heldrake? This is a good question, and it depends on the rest of your list. If you are bringing one heldrake as your anti-flyer kit, you need the Hades Autocannon. If you have multiple heldrakes and likely another flyer (or flying monstrous creature) you can stick to the fluffier (remember, death guard love flame and gas weapons) Baleflamer
A unit that benefits greatly from Mark of Nurgle, the only downside of spawn is you don't have an HQ that can ride with them. Well, they also don't have a save of any kind, so keep them IN COVER at all times. Even a single turn in the open and you'll have wasted a squad (although if they draw enough fire it might be worth it). Spawn are a nice speed bump, they have a lot of wounds and with a high tougness, so they are only subject to instant death when faced with a weapon that has it as a special rule. Add in D6 attacks (plus 2 on the charge) and you have a recipe for a problem on your opponents turn. And of course, don't forget, this is one of the fluffiest choices you can take in a CSM army, these are the mutated freaks that failed papa nurgle and thus are thrown to the enemy guns as fodder. Oh, and did I mention they are Beasts and thus can move 12" in the movement phase? Yeah. A unit of these pairs nicely with 2 flyers in your other FA slots. Run them in cover as a panic/distraction unit to give more protection to your advancing troops and vehicles.
Bonus: Blight Drone
I would recommend doing a 6" flying stand if you don't want your opponents kvetching
I haven't dealt with Forge World up till now in this review, but here we are. Simply put, prior to the new codex Death Guard players basically wrote off the FA slot. That is, unless they had some money burning a hole in their pockets. Forge World put out the Blight Drone a few years ago, and it is easily one of my favorite models in the game. What's more, due to the addition of flyer rules, the Blight Drone has been upgrade from skimmer to flyer. Now they are tough as nails, FA12, Side 11 and Rear 10, the only downside is that with Imperial Armor Aeronautica they were dropped to 2 hull points from the 3 provided in the GW FAQ for Seige of Vraks. That FAQ is still up mind you, and so multiple versions of the rules exist. These are primarily an anti-infantry unit, sporting a Mawcannon similar to a Sould Grinder that can be fired as either a S6 AP 4 Template or a S8 AP 3 Large Blast. The Blight Drone DOES have a Reaper Autocannon, and so could theoretically shoot at other flyers, the only problem is that its a single reaper autocannon fired at BS2. The only thing going for it is that it is twin linked, so you have at least another roll to hit when you consistently fail to the the 5's you need. You can take a squadron, so it is worth considering taking 2 in one slot and a heldrake in the other, giving you similar shooting (4 autocannon shots, albeit t/l S7 instead of just S8) at a much higher (250 points) price tag, but with a lot of anti-infantry firepower and more hull points. Its a hard call, honestly I wish FW had been a bit more generous, either by adding a better autocannon or reducing the costs a bit. Frankly, comparing this to a Vendetta's 130 points and 3 BS3 t/l lascannons makes you wonder what the fool who priced it at 125 was smoking. Still, nothing can be done, its an option at least, and it can also be taken as a FA choice in the Daemons book, which lacks its own vehicle flyer outside of this choice.