View Full Version : New Daemons: Miasma of Pestilence Important Question

17-05-2008, 22:19
Hello again everyone.

I want to re-iterate a gaming question that has come up with my primary opponent. It involves the Miasma of Pestilence spell (the first one in the Daemon Lore of Nurgle) which Lvl-1 Wizard Herald's of Nurgle may take as their "default" spell when rolling for their spells at the start of the game.

I will simply describe the situation we were having and allow the rules experts here to analyze again. I described the situation in an earlier thread, but I had told my opponent I would start a fresh one that he could check in on to see the replies by the veteran gamers on here (many of them tourney regulars).

I had also described the situation in my previous thread using the enemy as 25-mm models, just for example's sake and because I had forgotten at the time, that my opponent's models are only 20-mm ones (Vampire Counts).

That introduction aside, here was the situation that arose:


My Herald of Nurgle, with the Miasma of Pestilence spell active on him, was mounted on a Palanquin, the new mount option for Nurgle characters, which is a 50-mm base cavalry mount for game purposes (just like the thing the new Special Character Epdemius is riding on top of).

I had put that Herald in a unit of Plaguebearers, which was arranged as follows:

P= Plaguebearer

H= Herald of Nurgle on Palanquin


As you can see, the Herald is in the front/middle of the formation with two Plaguebearers to his left and two to his right (The Standard Bearer and Unit Champion were to his immediate left and right, respectively).


This was during my turn, and I announced a Charge with this unit against my opponents unit of Grave Guards with Full Command options (Musician, Standard Bearer, Champion).

The enemy (remember they are only 20-mm bases) had his guys arranged in a standard 5 wide by 4 back formation as seen here:


G= Grave Guards

Now...as I charged in, we lined up the front ranks to maximize models in base to base. Because of the 50-mm base of my Herald, versus the smaller 20-mm base size of the Grave Guards, only 3 of them were in base-to-base contact with the Herald. I will try to show the formations ranked up face-to-face as they were in the game below:

- = just a spacing character I'm typing in to show the units away from the left side of the text box on here, as if I don't include this, they will be all flush against the side and it's harder for you all to see what formation we were actually in, who was in base-to-base, etc.

G = Grave Guards

H = Herald on Palanquin

P = Plaguebearers




As you can see (I had to bold the text to get it to show the proper distinction between the 20-mm Grave Guards and the 25-mm Plaguebearers and 50-mm Herald on Palanquin)....the Herald on Palanquin is in base-to-base contact with 3 enemy Grave Guards.


We then moved to my Magic Phase where I was able to successfully cast the Miasma of Pestilence spell from my Herald.

I will quote exactly from the book as to the spell's description/effects:

"Until the start of the caster's next Magic Phase, all enemy models in base contact with the caster reduce their WS, S, T, I, and A to 1."


Now, with that effect being active from the cast spell, we moved to the Close Combat phase.

As I had charged, all of my models would be striking first.

Going off Initiative Order, my Palanquin with Init-3 would be the first to attack. Rolling its 6-Poisoned Attacks against the Grave Guard, I was under the impression that all those attacks would be made as if the Grave Guards were WS-1, STR-1, Tough-1, etc. - per the active effects of the Miasma spell.

I ended up causing 3 Wounds with the Palanquin (hits on 2+, Wounds on 2+ thanks to the spell !).

At this point we had our disagreement.

I then was about to continue making the attack rolls for the Herald of Nurgle mounted atop the Palanquin (Init-2). He has 3 Attacks at WS-5, STR-5 himself.

I was preparing to roll with the assumption that my attacks would (still) be against WS-1, STR-1, Tough-1, etc. Grave Guards ...and thus I would still be hitting on 3+ and Wounding on 2+.

My opponent asked that I pause a moment and we discuss.

His claim was (and still is) that the only models that should be affected by the Miasma spell are those that are in Base-to-Base Contact with the Herald/Palanquin at the START of the Combat Round. In this case, that would be only 3 Grave Guards. He argues that after those initial 3 Grave Guards are slain (at the Lower statline as a result of the Miasma spell), all future attacks should be resolved against "normal statline" Grave Guards, as they were not in base-to-base contact with the Herald/Palanquin at the start of the Combat Round and thus should not be affected by his spell that only affects enemy models in base-to-base contact with him.

He also argues, from a "does it make sense" perspective, that Miasma would be seemingly VERY powerful (too-powerful) if you were able to kill as many models as you had attacks at that reduced statline. In my case, since the Herald with 3 Attacks, the Palanquin with 6 Attacks, the Champion with 2 Attacks, and the Standard Bearer with 1 Attack were all in contact with models that were in-contact with the Herald/Palanquin at the start of the Combat Round, if we play it that ALL those models get to make their attacks against the reduced statline Grave Guards, I could cause a maximum of 12 Wounds (12 Attacks, all hitting on 3+ and Wounding on 2+) very easily.

He feels that is just too strong to be interpreted that way.

On my side, I have presented the wording on Pages 31, 32, and 36 of the main Warhammer Rulebook. The relevant section from Page-31 says:

(under CASUALTIES section on the left side of the page)

"Although casualties would really fall amongst the front rank, for the purposes of game play remove models from the rear rank of the unit. This keeps the formation neat and represents rear rankers stepping forward to cover gaps in the line."


Additionally, on Page-32, it says:


"Models can fight if they are in base contact with an enemy model when it is their chance to attack, even if the bases only touch at the corner."

Now, lastly, on Page-36 we have the following sections and rules:


"Close combat casualties are removed in the same way as shooting casualties. Although casualties fall amongst the rank that is fighting, models in the rear ranks will step forward to fill any gaps that appear. Casualties will therefore be removed straight from a unit's rear rank."

(further down in that paragraph)

"Also models that are removed before they have had a chance to attack may not do so, and models that are stepping forward from rear ranks to replace them can't attack that turn."

(lastly, under EXCESS CASUALTIES)

"It can sometimes happen that a model causes more casualties than there are enemy models in base contact with it. When this happens, the excess casualties are removed as normal. This represents the attackers springing forward and following up their assault by striking over the fallen bodies of their foes. Such is the ferocity of their attack, and the surprise caused by their success, that the excess casualties are struck down where they stand and have no chance to attack back."


Thus, with all that considered, I am arguing that as the Herald or other units near him which are also touching models he is touching (like the Standard Bearer and Plaguebearer Champion in our situation) are causing their casualties against the reduced statline enemy, "new enemy" are "stepping up" and putting themselves in base-to-base contact with the Herald and his Miasma effect continues to "kick in" on them, thus allowing any remaining attacks for my models to continue to be directed against that weaker statline.

(this would exclude the two Plaguebearers on the far ends of my formation though, because they are not touching any models that are touching my Herald on Palanquin, and thus their attacks would be against the normal Grave Guard statline: WS-3, Tough-4, etc.)


So my position is that a MAX of 12 wounds (3 Attacks from Herald, 6 from Palanquin, 2 from Champion, and 1 from Standard Bearer) could possibly be caused against the unit while using their reduced statline, while my opponent is claiming that only the original 3 that were in Base-to-Base with the Herald/Palanquin at the start of the Round are eligible to be slain at the reduced Statline.

What do you all think ? How do you think it is resolved ? We await your opinions and if you happened to comment in the other thread (on either side of the argument), please consider posting again in this thread as I had told my opponent I would try to lay out everything in a fair and balanced way here so all commentary can be in one single thread for him and I to review collectively. Thanks much to anyone who can assist !

Solid State
17-05-2008, 23:13
Your argument is correct.

There is no provision in the spell, for the models to be only affected at the start of the close combat phase.

18-05-2008, 17:34
Additional commentary from anyone would be helpful. Even if you posted in the other thread (Gazak or T10/Atrahasis/Festus/etc. - or any of the veteran Forum members and rules-experts), please feel free to express your view in this thread. We are looking to see a large number of responses so we can gauge "okay this many people agree with you...this many people agree with me" -etc. Though not "scientific", strictly speaking, this shows us if one or the other of us is on the right track if 20 people reply, and they ALL say it should be one particular way...then we would have a good idea that, yep, that's how we should be playing it.

So more replies - along with your opinion as to which way is the correct way to play it - would be helpful !

Thanks !

18-05-2008, 19:11
Base contact is base contact. Unless it specifically mentions that the base contact has to be made at a specific point during the turn then it works for anyone anytime. I can think of a number of things that sort of only work at the beginning of the combat phase and they all specifically mention it, for example chariot impact hits, netters, counting rank bonus and declaring challenges.

18-05-2008, 19:17
Those in base contact suffer the effects.
Model slain are replaced by new models who dont get to attack that phase...but the new models are still in base contact.

You'll have great dificulty in causing a large number of kills with the spell though....as you'll need to be supporting a great unclean one or have a herald in a unit manage to cast that spell....and he can throw a maximum of 2 dice at it as he can only be level 1.
Not that difficult to stop really.

18-05-2008, 19:41
Surely this was already resolved with almost complete agreement that it would effect all those in base contact, even those not originally in contact at the begining of the turn. Wasn't spear armed elves and the order of ASF mentioned too?

18-05-2008, 20:40
All your heralds attacks would be against the reduced stat GG as everything he attacks he is also in base contact with. Its the same as the amber pendant (all models in base contact strike last). Even if my WE lord kills the 3 guys in b2b with him, the ones that "replace" them also strike last, as the only requirement is that they be in base contact.

The miasma is not a one time effect against the models in b2b. It is more of an aura around the caster that effects enemy models. You could cast it on your turn when not in combat, and when charged on your opponents turn, the miasma would still effect him.

Also, the two plaguebearers beside your herald can also attack models with reduced stats from the spell, since they are also in b2b contact with enemy models effected by the miasma.

Now, I do agree that sounds OP for a baseline spell. It essentially makes your herald impossible to be wounded by close combat (assuming he is toughness 5). Even if he is T3 or T4, you would still need 5's to hit and 6's to wound him.

18-05-2008, 22:21
Yes...he IS Toughness-5...which is part of the insanity...lol...even if the enemy magically survived all those attacks by him and flanking Plaguebearers to his immediate left and right, they would be STR-1 (barring Great weapons or other special weapon rules/effects) and would thus be unable to even cause a Wound to a T-5 model.

Part of my opponents "No way...it can't be like that !" - reaction (I am guessing) is predicated around the sheer crazyness the spell can potentially have on any combat in the game if it is played as I had presented and argued for above (and as it seems most people are agreeing it SHOULD be played).

U-Being made the best point though - just dispel it ! Make it a priority Dispel every turn where you see a Nurgle Herald in combat with your key units and you don't have to worry too much about it. As U-Being said, the most Dice a Herald of Nurgle can toss at it is 2...(Level-1 Wizard's, Max).


Keep up the replies everyone ! The more opinions on this, the better indicator it is that one or the other of our positions is the accurate one and we will then be able to play it like that (the consensus opinion) in our future games.


(Lastly - to xragg - how about those PENGUINS !!! :D :p :) ! I'm a huge Pens fan and I see you are from Pittsburgh - off topic I know, but we are going to the Stanley Cup Finals ! This is a first-in-my-time-as-a-fan occurence, so pardon my momentary jubilation !)

. . . okay...back to Warhammer :angel:

18-05-2008, 22:33
Miasma states explicitly that the effects are continuous until the beginning of the Caster's next magic phase, so any models if BtB contact with the Caster within that expanse suffer the effects - it is relatively clear-cut, but it is also powerful, making people want it another way.

19-05-2008, 19:38
I think you are correct (that people are wanting it to be another way, because it CAN have such a powerful effect).

As I said on Herdstone, if the spell had specified, "models in base to base contact with the Daemon AT THE START OF THE COMBAT ROUND..." THEN, I would agree with my opponent. But it does NOT have that restriction.

Because it does not, and because of the way the book says to remove casualties from the back ranks of a unit when you are killing models, there are always going to be SOME models that are still in base-to-base contact with the Herald, so they will keep getting their stats reduced by the Miasma spell, and thus be easier to kill with the rest of the attacks from the Herald or the Plaguebearers (Champion and Standard Bearer)to his immediate left and right, as I showed in my diagram in the first post of this thread.

My opponent basically has to be convinced that you remove casualties, as they happen, from the back of a unit...and that because of that, you will never have a time (unless the unit is down to 1-2 models left due to losses), where there are not models touching the Herald of Nurgle on Palanquin....and thus as long as the Herald has attacks left, he should be able to keep directing them at the reduced-statline enemies.

* this is also not as bad a spell if it is only on a GUO or a Herald on his own for some reason - it's just that when he's on the Palanquin, with that many attacks plus the attacks from the guys next to him, that it seems O-T-T, potentially. It IS only a 3+ spell though so it's not like it's going to be THAT hard to dispel (Level-1 Wizard is the max a Herald of Nurgle can be), even if it is cast successfully. I think it's not an unrealistic effect when you consider all that has to go into getting it to work like this, or the fact the opponent can dispel it with 1-die if he wanted to, or just scroll it if it was a Critical-Dispel need *

Continued Thoughts are appreciated ! Festus ? T10 ? Atrahasis ? Forum Seers ? ;)

19-05-2008, 19:56
Well, after reading that essay you've written my stance has not changed so I shall just quote what I said last time for the sake of your friend.

Technically models are removed from the fighting rank but models step up to fill the gaps "immediately". These models may not attack (unless they had spears or pikes), but may still be attacked.

In addition, as soon as they step up, they will be in base contact with the Herald and thus subject to Miasma. The fact that this was already assumed beforehand (i.e., rolling all the Herald's attacks against WS1, T1) does not stop the fact that they do suffer from it.

May I also point out that regardless of how you interpret the rules, your friend's argument is wrong.

The only two possible options are
a) The Palanquin resolves all of its attacks against WS1, T1, etc enemy, and may kill as many enemy as it has attacks, or
b) The Palanquin resolves all of its attacks against WS1, T1, etc enemy, and may only kill as many enemy as were in base contact at the start of the phase.

There is no middle ground. Why? Because you may not attack an enemy that you are not in base contact with. Since Miasma only affects models in base contact, the Palanquin may therefore never attack a model that is not under the effect of Miasma.

Now, with your friend's "Miasma is too powerful" argument, I would suggest that playing Miasma the only other possible way would make it incredibly weak, as you would be capped at a maximum of 4 kills when Miasma is in effect, regardless of how many attacks you have.

19-05-2008, 20:23
In this instance, no matter how many models are slain, as long as they are in base to base contact with the caster they suffer the consequences of the spell. It is an ongoing effect spell, cast on the wizard himself: think of it as an aura; one that lasts until your next magic phase - not one that vanishes after it has been cast.

As the models that were initially within it are cut down, others replace them - and doom themselves by moving into the aura.