Nurglings are Warhammer 40k’s little bundles of joy – if you have a penchant for pestilence and disease, that is. Whenever Nurgle’s forces are around, you’re sure to see Nurglings dancing across the battlefield, spreading their own special brand of joy to all and sundry.
If you don’t know what a Nurgling is, or want to get more info on these small rotten friends, let us take you on a journey to meet these pestilential pals.
What are Warhammer’s Nurglings?
It’s not known if Nurglings are direct creations of their Chaos god or if they’re simply a byproduct, but they all come from the same source: the rotting guts of Great Unclean Ones. These colossal daemons are the pinnacle of Nurgle’s creatures, and Nurglings begin life as lumps of filth on their grimy bodies. The Nurglings feed off their greater daemon parents like an infant, becoming larger from the diseased nutrients they suckle out of their colossal counterparts.
Eventually, Nurglings grow large enough to gnaw their way out. When fully formed, they stand roughly one foot tall, and, like their Great Unclean One parents, they resemble Nurgle almost entirely. Round, jolly, and full of pestilence, they are the ever-present court jesters in the kingdom of the diseased. Even when birthed they will tend to stay close to their ‘fathers’, tending to them and even using them as mobile homes as they burrow back into their flesh to feed and rest amongst rotten entrails.
If you should encounter a Great Unclean One, you’ll often be swamped by their Nurgling attendants. However, anywhere Nurgle holds sway will contain multitudes of these cavorting figures. They are as ubiquitous to Nurgle’s influence as pestilence and disease, always present and full of pure, twisted joy.
Like their Grandfather Nurgle and their greater daemon parents, Nurglings are a jolly sort. If you imagine a child, albeit one the colour of snot and covered with suppurating pustules, then you’re not far off what a Nurgling is. Both annoyance and delight, they are treated much as a child would be – given basic tasks but nothing too serious, as they are prone to forgetting their orders to run off and cause mischief.
Nurglings on the Battlefield
Though Nurglings are tiny and do not pack much of a punch, on the battlefield they can play pivotal roles that grant them potentially huge importance. They’re most commonly found in Nurgling swarms, where their diminutive size doesn’t stop them from ganging up on opponents. A single Nurgling can’t do too much damage, but the hits soon build up when they band together, scratching their way through flesh with diseased claws and teeth.
In addition, they’re gifted with the resilience bestowed upon all Nurgle’s children. This means they can avoid losing wounds when the dice are on their side. And this means Nurglings are always on the battlefield for longer than their enemies would like them to be, popping up in awkward places and making melee mischief. If you’re facing Nurglings, you’ll want them off the tabletop as soon as possible. If you’re deploying them, simply enjoy the curses from your opponent as they fail to remove them.
The other role Nurglings fill is as transport. Some particularly favoured champions of Nurgle may get to use a Palanquin of Nurgle – a simple throne held aloft by a rolling tide of Nurglings. It may not seem the most efficient form of transport, but it feels thematically appropriate for the cheerful minions of the diseased god. Plus, whoever’s riding it can use all those Nurgling claws and teeth to score some melee damage.