A unit review seems like a good place to start. This has already been covered here by Arch Squeaker @AIdenNicol444, a superior player with a superior blog. But many months have passed since and, in that time, we have seen points increases, meta changes, Skull Cannons selling out, people trying to sell their 9 Skull Cannons, not to mention the release of Age of Sigmar 3.0: Daddy's got a Brand New Activation. So I think it is worth briefly revisiting Clan Pestilens units in this brave new world.
Because Clan Pestilens has been folded into the Skaventide faction since the release of this year's battletome, it might be worth laying some ground rules as to what actually constitutes a Pestilens army nowadays. After absolutely no deliberation, I am going to say a Clan Pestilens army is one in which Plague Monks and Plague Censer Bearers are battleline. Clanrats can go to hell, but no way am I closing the door on using a Warpseer in the near future. These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others. So without further ado, let's have a look at what's in the box, the box for Clan Pestilens players:
Like all the other Verminlords, this dude hit the gym and beefed up something ferocious. Our only caster has a welcome 5++ save now, and a spell that just won't quit. Watch him tear hordes to shreds with a flick of a crusty finger. 280pts is pretty reasonable too, and his love affair with the Sword of Judgement just got more intense. 10 attacks, with a command point reroll on misses and hits doing D6+1 mortal wounds on a 6+ means that he will rip all but the most durable or Keeper-of-Secretsy heroes in half. His command ability is only really of any use to himself, unless you're one of those "stave" people who I rank up there with members of the Hitler Youth in a list of history's most misguided. An auto-include for many in a Clan Pestilens list, but not quite for me.
Plague Priest on Furnace:
Our most-improved player packs a serious wallop with his Great Plague Censer and rusty wheels, as well as taking advantage of the Lead from the Back Skaventide rule, giving him the Look Out, Sir! rule in combat. Add in a 13" battleshock immunity bubble, some solid prayers and the fact that he's mandatory in any of our half-decent battalions mean that this guy most assuredly is an auto-include. Give him Liber Bubonicus for two more offence prayers or a Gryph Feather Charm for stacking hit-modifier shenanigans and we're squeaking, He needs 9 other Skaventide models nearby to actually make him move, which is a bit of an issue, but let's operate under the assumption that we'll have a few rats to spare in any given list.
What GW giveth, they taketh away. A 5-wound, 80 point model with no buffs or force multiplying abilities leaves us with a pathetic shadow of once-great unit. If I was to claw for something good to say about him, his Pestilence-Pestilence! prayer can be potentially good in high doses, and great plagues can be gamechanger when they go off. The kind of unit you take 5 of for a laugh, or not at all.
Our mouldy bread and curdled butter, Plague Monks somehow came out of the tome better than they ever were before. This would, of course, have consequences, as they were rightly slapped with a points increase when people started showing up with jumbo-sized buckets of them at competitive tournaments. For a time there, in gaming halls around the world, you truly were never more than 6 inches away from a rat. They still hit like a truck and die like people getting hit by trucks, Rolling out their combat phase is still condemning your future self to chronic back pain. They are still the unit I kiss goodnight and gently tuck into bed on the eve of a CRUSHING.
Plague Censer Bearers:
The ginger stepchild of Pestilens, these guys have, and always will, live in a long, Plague Monk-shaped shadow. Will I ever mention them again in this blog? No.
Ultimately overpriced utility pieces, they might be put to good use taking out troublesome back-table heroes, but it's hard to justify their points cost. At their best when dovetailing with the Foulrain Congregation and Architect of Death command trait, they are still swingy as hell even when used optimally. I want them to work, I really do, but they cost the same as 20 Plague Monks. A unit for games of the casual and novelty variety.
Battallions: Battalion-wise, the Congregation of Filth remains the staple of a healthy Clan Pestilens list. Consisting of both your must-have units, the 6++ save Plague Monks get is a pleasant enough bonus on top of your real reason for taking it: The CP, the artefact, and the potential to run a rare low-drop Skaventide list. If you simply must take Plagueclaws, make sure to take the Foulrain Congregation, which is mercifully cheap and somewhat softens the blow of having three peashooters in an age of megacannons.
If you've made it this far, thank you, I know it can't have been easy. Next week, I'm going to have a look at allies and Masterclan generals and see if we can add some more flavour to our CRUSH soup. RRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEE