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Hello, This year my FLGS is having a "Year of War" slow-grow Path to Glory campaign and painting/modeling contest for each month that culminates in a top-prize for the year in December 2018. Each unit has to be purchased/ordered from there, and is graded on originality, conversions, paintjob, uniformity, and basing. For the first month, we have to pick our General and paint it up, and I have chosen Darkling Covens. I'm going to update this over time.
So finally got my hands on the GHB 2017 and got to see exactly what Command Traits and Artifacts Darkling Coven get. The first thing that struck me is the 'Master of the Sorcerous Arts' Command Trait. It adds 1 to casting and unbinding rolls for your general, and if your general is not a wizard, it makes them one. Except that...the only heroes that Darkling Covens have are sorceresses, on foot or on black dragon, who are all wizards. So why would it need wording that makes a general a wizard? Apart from that, the command traits are cool but not terribly exciting. Merciless is good, but only if you expect your opponent to fail battleshock tests. Arrogant Prowess wants your sorceress to be hitting stuff in melee, which I'm not sure is a good idea. Sustained by Misery could be really good on the other hand, especially if your sorceress general is riding a dragon. Impossibly Swift seems useful for turning off abilities that trigger on a 6+ hit roll. I'm not sure if Effortless Grace is needed when we have Impossibly Swift. The artifacts are quite good, but again, some of them seem to expect her to be hitting stuff in close combat. I guess if she's on a black dragon with Sustained By Misery, this could work? The best stuff we get are the Battle Traits - the ability to team up multiple Bleaksword/Dreadspear/Darkshard units are great, and the new command abilities are cool too. As for allies, a Knight-Azyros seems like it would be helpful to Darkshards. Possibly some Liberators, Retributors or Sisters of Slaughter will help with our squishiness? I'm not sure if 5 Liberators would actually be any less squishy than 10 Bleakswords (4+ save rerolling 1s VS 5+ save rerolling 1s and 2s).
Aloha! With GHB2 on the horizon and Daughters of Khaine having been confirmed to have allegiance abilities, it suggests they aren't getting any love anytime soon, or that they likely won't be involved in the new Aelves release whenever that is. So let's instead try to look at what we have, and see where we can go with it. I have a metric ducktonne of various DoK-models from my old Dark Elves that I look to put to use, and with this book, it might just be the reason we need to pick up our old girls. Unit by unit, we're still pretty limited, though we're ahrdly worse off than for example the Ironjawz. Let's look at what we currently have; Cauldron of Blood: Offers Bloodshield and a very strong command ability, but suffers from having to choose between combat prowess and Witchbrew. A decent buff machine at a very reasonable price, and very powerful in that it has monster stats but not the monster keyword. Death Hags: Extremely cost-efficient, and offers the possibility of creating large areas of increased bravery for units with banners. The potentian for multiple Witchbrews allows your cauldrons to take the sword option. One of your very few sources of mortal wounds with her prayers. Witch Aelves: Your bread and butter. Units of 30 of these have a buffer for casualties before combat, and the amount of potential buffs and rerolls make the sheer amount of saves you're able to force intimidating. Look out for a points decrease in GHB2 if skirmish values are anything to go by, Bloodwrack Shrine/Medusae: You give up a bit of speed for 8 extra wounds when you take the shrine compared to the singular Medusae. At only 20 points extra (currently), the added survivability and damage potential (through crew and Aura of Agony) of the shrine is a no-brainer unless you really need the extra few inches in the early game. Another source of mortal wounds. Sisters of Slaughter: Significantly more expensive than the Witches, but perform a largely different role. With their added defence and mortal wound retaliation, these girls are perfect elite hunters to go up against enemy heavy infantry. Doomfire Warlocks: Your primary and most reliable source of mortal wounds, and the best objective claimer you have. They don't get a banner, however, and is very susceptible to battleshock. Bloodwrack Sisterhood (battallion): It's cheap, and it offers a potential Kunnin Rukk effect... but it's also extremely situational, and sadly only allows a single Death Hag to be taken, making it far less valuable as a one-drop. The plus side is that it affects all your units, as DoK is not an MSU army and you rarely use more than six units. Worth it, but far from mandatory. Potential allies: Executioners are an obvious choice, adding armour and reliable mortal wounds to the army, as well as the lore connection between them and the Witches in the old world. An Archmage offers an added layer of protection, similar to Death's current allegiance ability. Shadow Warriors offers a ranged threat, as well as an option for screens and early charges to allow your girls safer passage. A Celestial Hurricanum provides target saturation for the Cauldron and Shrine, as well as a potential ranged threat and buffs to the girls. A Durthu is just flat out a monster, that demands attention and will keep a lot of damage off your girls. Strenghts: Fast, massive numbers, solid bravery, can output insane amounts of damage, large models without monster keyword. Weaknesses: Dies fast and easy, damage output considerably lowered when losing buffs, no significant ranged threat, lack of mortal wounds, bad combat heroes. Overall verdict: DoK are currently in a really bad state, and until we see the new rules, they're not even remotely competitive. With certain points adjustments, however, and allegiance abilities that cover some of the weaknesses, rather than enhance the strengths, I think they can be an interesting choice for a mid-tier army, giving some much needed love back to the druchii. I for one am massively excited to see where they end up, and if they are viable enough to invest time in re-basing and re-building my old models into a coherent new AoS force. So, what would we like to see for the DoK? Which abilities, which units getting points adjusted? Discuss.