One of the strengths for Nighthaunt is that the army features a really strong group of battleline units. Chainrasps are a great, cheap horde unit. Grimghast Reapers make for a good elite, anti-horde unit. Spirit Hosts are resilient and can surprise an opponent with mortal wounds. Hexwraiths are really fast, and have some play in either battalion that they're featured in (Death Riders and Dolorous Guard).
Still, I would make changes to each unit. If you read my previous post, that won't be a surprise as I would make every unit in the army low bravery in exchange for always having a 6+ DPR. Yet, I would still make more significant changes. The most significant changes I would make though will probably come as a surprise: I would make Bladegheist Revenants battleline and would make Grimghast Reapers and Hexwraiths no longer battleline.
In this post, I'll cover the specific changes I'd make to Chainrasps, Spirit Hosts, Bladegheists, Grimghasts, and Hexwraiths.
This is one of the few units in Nighthaunt that I think work exactly as they should. They're a cheap horde unit. Their lore is that they're some of the worst souls from the mortal realms - and I'm sure there's a lot of those. Still I'd make the following changes:
- Reduce Bravery from 6 to 5.
- Dreadwarden: A unit of Chainrasp Horde may be lead by a Dreadwarden. While a unit features a Dreadwarden, you may re-roll charges for that unit. In addition, that unit has a bravery characteristic of 8 instead of 5.
So the reduction in bravery to the unit overall and to the Dreadwarden is part of making the army a lower bravery army. The re-roll charges ability nicely syncs with Wave of Terror, though I still doubt anyone is going to fear a charge from a regular unit of Chainrasps. The extra attack at that point just seems unnecessary, and the model doesn't look like something that would get an extra attack.
So little has changed for this unit, that I don't see any reason for points changes.
I wasn't a big fan of Spirit Hosts originally - at least rules wise. Their models have always been one of my favorites. However, I've come around on them. Still, their rules don't quite match their lore - they don't play like spectral shock forces. As such, I'd suggest the following rules changes:
- Reduce Bravery from 10 to 4.
- Increase Movement from 6 to 10.
- This unit may re-roll hit rolls if it has charged this turn.
So, these are big changes and turn the unit into a glass cannon, which I think fits their lore. As loosely formed spirits that act as shock troops, I think they should be our second fastest main unit after Hexwraiths. The ability to re-roll hit rolls on a turn when they charge gives them solid potential at doling out mortal wounds that turn. If they manage a Wave of Terror, then their charge is truly something to be feared. The flipside of this is that battleshock tests would be very painful. In my changes, I made it so any hero can use Ruler of the Spirit Hosts for a command point, which would help, though this army has a lot of ways to spend command points.
I'm thinking the points would stay the same for this unit. In playtesting with these rules, the unit can be devastating on a charge, but once it starts taking damage it really starts to fade.
So making these battleline is probably a surprise to most people. But they're a unit that just doesn't work for me rules wise or lore wise. Rules wise, they seem to be the top dog in the army. In reality though, their large bases and 1" range makes it really hard for large units of them to be effective. I've seen them used quite a bit in two units of 20 in the Shroudguard battalion, and they just never do enough to justify their cost. Lore wise, they are spirits that died horrible deaths, and are frenzied as they are trapped in the last moments of their lives. I'm pretty sure that would be a lot of spirits in The Mortal Realms. So, I would make them battleline. And I would change how they work significantly:
- Attacks reduced from 2 to 1
- Reduce Bravery from 10 to 5
- Whirling Death: This unit can run and charge on the same turn. In addition, add 1 to both the Damage and the Attacks characteristics of this unit's Tomb Greatblades if it made a charge move in the same turn. Finally, this unit's Tomb Greatblades have a Rend characteristic of -2 if it made a charge move in the same turn.
So, the unit loses the ability to jump in and out of combat, which seems like a lot to be asking tortured souls to do. Instead, they run full steam ahead and charge. That's a 26" threat range, that can be boosted with Pendant of the Fell Wind and Chronomantic Cogs. They're lethal on the charge, but if they get bogged down in combat they aren't doing much anymore. I'm not sure what points change would be appropriate here. They still suffer from the short reach and big bases and honestly might need their range to jump to 2" to work correctly. But this is what I came up with. Playtesting them, they remind me a bit of Eels from Deepkin with their charge... but otherwise not so much. They're another glass cannon, though losing models doesn't hurt nearly as much as it does with Spirit Hosts.
I'm a huge fan of Grimghast Reapers. So much so, that I even ran the Death Stalkers battalion at local tournaments. But I just don't think this unit should be battleline or that the points are currently justified. The lore of the unit is that they are schemers and plotters - not the type of spirit that would be in abundance IMO. And we all know the points were changed not because of how they played in Nighthaunt, but because of how the played in Legions of Nagash. So I'd do the following:
- No longer batteline
- Extoller of Shyish: A unit of Grimghast Reapers may be led by an Extoller of Shyish, which is armed with a Death Knell instead of a Slasher Scythe. While a unit features an Extoller of Shyish, it may re-roll charges.
- Reaped Like Corn: You can re-roll hit rolls for attacks made with this unit's Slasher Scythes if the target unit has 5 or more models.
- For Whom the Bell Tolls: During the shooting phase, if an enemy unit is within 3" of an Extoller of Shyish, roll 2D6. If the roll for the unit is higher than its bravery, it suffers 1 mortal wound.
- Reduce Bravery from 10 to 6
A lot of changes that don't add up to really changing how the unit plays. Reap Like Corn gets cleaned up, the bravery is reduced, and the Death Knell works slightly differently (similar to one of Lady Olynder's abilities - I'm a big fan of redundancy in rules to make them easier to pick up/remember); however the most important changes are no longer being battleline and having a baked in ability to re-roll charges as long as they feature an Extoller of Shyish, fishing for Wave of Terror. They're a slightly better unit now, so I'd leave them at the same points.
You could leave this as battleline if you want, but most armies don't have a knight type unit as battleline. Either way, I think they need to be made more elite. Here's my changes:
- No longer battleline
- Spectral Scythes now have a range of 2" instead of 1"
- Reaped Like Corn: You can re-roll hit rolls for attacks made with this unit's Spectral Scythes if the target unit has 5 or more models.
- Spectral Hunters: After this unit has successfully charged an enemy, roll a dice for each model in this unit. For each roll of a 5+, the enemy unit suffers a mortal wound.
- Reduce bravery from 10 to 7
This unit now has some offense without being in a battalion. They'll need to go up to 140 or 150 points.
So there you have it, that's how I would change Nighthaunt's battleline. Let me know your thoughts!