- "Mighty Nurgle! Festering Grandfather of Plagues! Hear your servant's prayer! Look upon the devastation I have wrought, the diseases I have spread, the unbelievers I have infested with your suppurating truth. I beg of you your favour and your boon, that I might strive all the harder to spread your blessings across the stars."
- — Vulguthrot, Lord of Contagion
A Death Guard Lord is a type of Chaos Lord who exists exclusively within the ranks of the Death Guard Traitor Legion and takes on command positions within its various formations. These Chaos Lords have earned the right to rule through their mighty deeds of destruction, corruption and endurance. In accordance with their Daemon Primarch Mortarion's proscribed Mantles of Corruption, even his most gifted sons are expected to choose the path that best suits their Nurgle-given talents, and assume one of several Mantles that will allow them to receive the blessings of the Plague God, and thus, raise them up higher along their path to glory.
These Mantles include the roles of a Lord of Contagion, a Lord of Poxes or the Lord of Virulence. There are several other Mantles that are only taken up rarely, though it is rumoured that one Mantle exists which none have ever been worthy of, and that it would transform its bearer into a being of pure, malefic entropy.
Many and varied are the diseased Chaos Champions who lead the Death Guard to war. From single colonies, through vectoriums and sepsis cohorts, right up to the Plague Companies and the warships of the Plague Fleets, it is the Death Guard Lords who hold positions of command throughout the Traitor Legion's ranks. As with all aspects of the Death Guard, Mortarion has retained an iron grip upon the doctrines and dispositions of his champions. He expects even his most gifted sons to choose the path that best suits their talents, and then to cleave to it. In this way Mortarion ensures that even as the Lords of the Death Guard win the favour of Nurgle and progress along the path to glory, they still integrate with the pragmatic, infantry-based tactics of their fellow warriors.
Mantles of Corruption
In accordance with this philosophy, Mortarion created the Mantles of Corruption, which have become redolent with power and menace over the millennia. The strategies and armaments of each are as instantly recognisable as the revolting symptoms of Nurgle's greatest plagues:
- Lord of Contagion - The most aggressive and belligerent Lords of the Death Guard take up the Mantle of Contagion. Lords of Contagion lumber into battle in filth-smeared Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour, wielding either snarl-toothed axes taller than a man or two-handed scythes that sweep aside the foe. They tend towards direct strategies with little in the way of cunning or subtlety, and are pugnacious commanders, supremely confident in their followers' ability to absorb the worst the enemy can throw at them and still prevail. They embody the swift-spreading plague that tears through a crowd, killing indiscriminately and leaving mounds of bodies in its wake.
- Lord of Poxes - Lords of Poxes favour the spreading of airborne miasmas and the merciless, attritional erosion of the enemy.
- Lord of Virulence - Lords of Virulence are masters of massed bombardment, hammering their enemies with heavy firepower and decimating their ranks in the manner of a lethal infection laying its victim low.
- Other Mantles - Some Mantles of Corruption are taken up only rarely, and by the most unusually gifted individuals. The Mantles of Parasitism, Withering and Flux are among such infrequently bestowed rewards.
Death Guard Lord
- Corrupted Terminator Armour (Any Pattern)
- Bolt Pistol
- Blight Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Plasma Pistol (Optional replacement for Bolt Pistol)
- Combi-weapon (Combi-Flamer, Combi-Melta or Combi-Plasma as optional replacement for Bolt Pistol)
- Balesword, Chainfist, Lightning Claw, Power Axe, Power Fist, Power Sword or Power Maul (Optional replacement for Bolt Pistol or Chainsword)
Death Guard Lord in Terminator Armour
- Corrupted Terminator Armour (Any Pattern)
- Power Sword
- A Death Guard Lord may replace his Combi-Bolter with a different Combi-weapon (Combi-Flamer, Combi-Melta or Combi-Plasma) or utilise a different Terminator melee weapon (Balesword, Chainfist, Lightning Claw, Power Axe, Power Fist, or Power Maul) in lieu of a Power Sword.
Lord of Contagion
- Corrupted Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour
- Plaguereaper - A Power Scythe infected by the corruption of Nurgle, revolting toxins and infectious slime weeps from this weapon in a ceaseless stream. Even shallow cuts or glancing blows will leave the enemy's flesh seething with incurable diseases.
- Manreaper (Optional Replacement for the Plaguereaper)
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Death Guard (8th Edition), pp. 21, 30, 71-72
- Warhammer 40,000 - Index: Chaos (8th Edition), pg. 58