Welcome back to my first strategy series on one of my favorite games, Chaos in the Old World. It’s cute that I say that as though there are people actually paying attention to this. For our first go-around, we talked about Khorne, loved and hated in equal measure by all. Following Khorne in the turn order (and there’s no amount of Chaos that will persuade me to take them out of order) is Nurgle.
One of the things that I love most about this game is the asymmetry of the Ruinous Powers. Even though there are parallels to be drawn between the playstyles of Nurgle, Tzeentch and Slaanesh, they each have a very unique feel to them, and you can’t just play one like you would play another and expect to be successful. For example, Khorne and Tzeentch are all about movement. Nurgle is about…well, not. No one is better than Nurgle when it comes to hunkering down somewhere and refusing to be moved. Trying to dig Nurgle out of somewhere he’s decided to be is as about as effective as punching Jello. That’s probably a fairly accurate assessment of what the actual experience would be like too.
Let’s discuss the oozing virulent sores (strengths) and full recoveries (weaknesses) of Grandfather Nurgle
The good news: You’re every bit as direct as Khorne. He wins almost exclusively by dial via facepunching, and you win almost exclusively by VP by way of your cheap figures assisting in Dominations and your Chaos cards that manipulate and/or place Corruption Tokens.
The not-as-good news: It’s a really good thing Nurgle’s so good at getting VP, because a Nurgle Threat Dial Win is about as easy to achieve as doing absolutely anything at Diablo 3’s Inferno Difficulty. I’ve never seen a Nurgle Dial win, I’ve never even heard of a Nurgle Dial win. I suppose it’s possible, if everyone leaves you completely alone and never tries to contest you for a double spin, but that would be the worst game I’ve ever heard of. And that includes this.
The good news: Knowing that victory via Threat Dial is not a truly sound option for you, you can not waste time or energy specifically trying to compete for multiple Threat Dial spins. This advantage is compounded by the fact that the areas you are most interested in (the Populous regions) have the highest conquest values.
The not-as-good news: Threat Dial spins are fun. They’re neat, and give you access to cool things that add additional flavor to your particular god, like Upgrades. Additionally, Threat Dial wins take precedence over the Victory Point wins. Nurgle is left out in the cold on both of these. Suck it up, buttercup. Make peace with the notion that while the Threat Dial is icing, Points are Nurgle’s cake. Trying too hard to compete for dial spins will cost you point scoring opportunities, and in the end, you’ll have neither victory condition made. Focus.
The good news: Remember what I said about you having cheap figures? You have them in droves. Nurgle’s Warriors, while having a flimsy 1 Defense, have a mighty (annoying) 1 Attack and cost all of 1 Power. This is good for a LOT of reasons. A) More cheap guys equals more Domination. Domination is points B) A fair number of those cheap guys don’t drop Corruption tokens, which may sound like a bad thing, but it’s not. If you are consistently dominating, you can milk an extra turn or two of points from a region which is a big deal, especially when talking about somewhere like The Empire. C) Your cheap Warriors annoy everyone. You’re likely to have them out for your dominating purposes, so when Khorne comes in to collect his Skull Tax, he’s more likely to feel a backlash from you than anyone else. And you regenerate at a much more efficient rate than anyone else. While Slaanesh and Tzeentch are not there to punch you in the face, they will be trying to speed up the Ruination of your regions both to stop your rapid point scoring and to secure some points for themselves. If there happens to be a Noble or Warpstone there, they can get some Threat Dial love too. Not on your watch. Make them pay. Nick off their Cultists with your Warriors and let them know: ass, cash or grass (or you know, the Old World equivalents thereof) no one rides for free.
The not-as-good news: Tzeentch is a slippery annoying bastard that Khorne will have trouble murdering. Even the most bloodthirsty of Khorne’s troops often find their battlelust mysteriously silenced by decadent…uh…”distractions” when hanging out in Slaanesh territory. Nurgle? Ruh-roh. You don’t have Teleport. You don’t have Change of Ways or Temporal Stasis. You don’t have Fields of Ecstasy or things that turn their troops against them. What you DO have is ripe, juicy and most importantly, low hanging fruit for Khorne. Expect that you may get a bit more attention from The Blood God because he doesn’t have to work as hard for the opportunity to punch you in the face. Fight back as you can, throw Warriors to their imminent demise and hope that Khorne quickly realizes that a war of attrition against Nurgle is almost universally a losing prospect.
The good news: You have (in my estimation, your mileage may vary) the single best Upgrade card in the game, Provender of Ruin. Completely passive, it scores you 3 Victory Points whenever a region is ruined. Which sounds like “meh” if you’re a complete idiot. Gotten early enough, this single card is worth 15 Victory Points. That’s a full THIRTY PERCENT of your victory in ONE card that you didn’t have to work all *that* hard to get. LIKE A BOSS. It doesn’t give you cool neat things like the other gods’ upgrades, it gives you WINS.
The not-as-good news: That’s likely the only upgrade you’re ever likely to see. You might get another one, you might not. Good thing it’s so awesome.
The good news: You know what really pisses off the people of the Old World? Mass murder. Decadence and vice. Weird magicky shit. You know what doesn’t? Pandemic virulent outbreaks. Go figure. More often than not, you’ll have the lowest threat value (because you’re not fighting for the dial) so you’ll have a greater degree of control over the choices the Old World deck adds to the game. This is admittedly a stretch as far as listing benefits. It can be useful, but failing very unique circumstances, I don’t see this perk being a game decider.
The not-so-good news: You have more control over the Old World deck than you do your Chaos deck. Nurgle doesn’t draw cards anywhere outside of the Draw Phase, so every game you will be faced with limited options from your deck. Every god has cards that are only situationally useful, and as you don’t get to see a lot of your cards, you could be stuck with them without the requisite situations. Tzeentch’s Meddling of Skaven straight up costs you a turn’s worth of cards with no way to recoup the loss. Fortunately, he’s more likely to needle Khorne with it than you.
The not-so-good news: Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a good news first? Sorry Charlie. Did you like The Lord of the Rings movies? Of course you did, you’re reading this site. Which means that on some level, you’re okay with a lot of walking. That’s good. Because that’s the only way you’re getting around. No tricksy movement for Nurgle. Just slowly creeping death. This is at least somewhat mitigated by the notion that if you’re playing smart, you’ll be centrally located and the places out of your reach are places you probably don’t care about. This is both blessing and curse. A blurse, if you will. Tzeentch can move around Warpstones and not only provides a lot of Magic Symbols for himself but can piggyback on yours. Slaanesh is getting bonus points from his Nobles and when one region falls, those Nobles will follow him to the next party spot. Khorne doesn’t care where he is as long as he’s in a lot of places and those places have faces to punch. Nurgle though…Nurgle cares. Everyone knows where you’re going to go. Where you’re always going to go. No surprises from Nurgle.
Next time: Nurgle’s Chaos Deck and some pointers on how to make Leprosy the dance sensation that’s sweeping the nation.