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Doomfire Warlocks Strategy Guide


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Doomfire warlocks are a strange unit. Part wizard, part cavalry, with a ranged weapon to boot. With the dawn of second edition and its focus on wizards within the 18 matched play scenarios; the doomfires are in a strange position where, despite costing 320 points for a block of 10, they will likely prove to be very useful under just about any circumstance. The aim of this post is to explain how to get the most out of a block of 10 in game. While Daughters of Khaine players can squeeze the most value out of the warlocks, they make great allies as they are one of few units that can do something in every phase of the game.

Let's start with the main event; the doomfire spell for which they are named. Requires a 6 to cast, and deals a different amount of damage to an enemy unit within 18"  depending on how many doomfires are in the casting unit. If you have less than 5 warlocks in the unit, the spell deals D3; if you have 5-9 warlocks the spell deals D6, but if you have 10 or more the spell deals 6 mortal wounds. This is the real draw of the unit. 6 mortal wounds is just about every infantry hero in the game dead to rights. Yes, many models and allegiances have additional saves, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate dealing the 6 mortal wounds in the first place. The uses of this spell, however, do not end with hero-sniping. The spell is often best used on whatever elite units are being hid behind your opponents bubble wrap. This cripples your opponents ability to retaliate the next turn, and against some units sniping three of them dead can even make another model or two run away! When faced between sniping elites or flat out killing a priest or a wizard; it's important to take into account that most DoK armies don't struggle with hero-hunting; they have Blood Sisters, and access to Hag Queens, who can make rather tremendous assassins if they pray for the rune of khaine and drink their own hagbrew. Point is, enemy elites tend to have a rather nasty snapback against DoK, as our 5+ saves don't leave us very safe if the opponent manages to regain their footing against us.

That said, many battleplans are not a straight up battle; and the utility of a 6 mortal wound spell is huge. As such, positioning is very important. Always deploy them behind your other units, and leave a window for them to get into position when you move your other models. In any scenario that requires a wizard to take an objective, especially if the objective is one of many, rush the doomfires onto it immediately (preferably with hagbrew). Might seem risky, but your opponent needs to deal 20 wounds to get your unit of wizards off the objective. In a Hagg Nar army with blessing of khaine on them this simply isn't happening. If they are all alone on an objective, with the battle happening elsewhere on the board, you may feel that you've been cheated, 320pts just sitting on an objective! Well, you forget that Morathi taught them the ancient art of the conga line; 10 warlocks can stretch up to just under 30" if need be (2 " bases and 1" unit coherency zone), scoring you points while hurling magic at the fringes of the enemy. This is, of course, risky as all hell, but in some match ups (vs summoners) you need to push your advantage and keep the momentum up while you can.

Lastly; what do you do when you lose a model? You lose the +1 to casting and unbinding rolls and you lose the guaranteed 6 mortal wound spell. Is that it for you, game over? No, not at all, honestly warlocks shine in a battle you are losing. Their 2 wounds keeps them alive when others might not, especially in the Hagg Nar temple, and being able to chip in with their crossbows is just extra cheese, but the real kicker is that they can cast mindrazor on themselves. You see, warlocks have more weapons than any other unit in DoK, so doomfires can become just as absurdly buffed up as witches/sisters; except the warlocks can actually buff themselves unlike the aforementioned units, who need hags and medusae to hype them up.

Well, that's all I have for now. I hope this was helpful to at least one prospective DoK general, and maybe even a few other Order players looking for an efficient utility unit!

Edited by Rekmeister
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I think Doomfires need to be considered on several levels for both allied and not allied uses. 

Daughters of Khaine  (DoK) use:

First up this means that you get access to the Shadow Spell Lore to add to the Doomfires native spells (arcane bolt, shield, doomfire). Whilst the most ideal use of Doomfires is as a damage dealing unit with their signature spell, there might well be times when they are not in a good position to use that spell.

Shadow Steed - gives them 2 inches in movement and the ability to fly. To my mind a very useful mobility spell for them as it lets them move over many otherwise movement limiting terrain features. Either on the offence in letting them get close to use their crossbows or close combat weapons or even making a sudden escape from attackers to keep them alive. 

Pit of Shades - probably one of the most situational and weaker spell choices; this is rarely going to beat just using doomfire. If you know you're going up against a very slow army you might consider this spell on a unit of 5 warlocks, but otherwise likely not a good choice for a generalist army list

Mirror Dance - again this is situational and likely only heavy use during early or late game when you've got heroes in isolated positions (the need to have to heroes further than 6 inches from any other unit is a difficult one to ensure in an army that wants its heroes closer for buffs and support auras. If you've got a plan then doomfires might be worth using; its got a low casting value so even a unit of 5 shouldn't have a huge problem casting it. A toolbox spell ideal for smaller units but only if you've got a gameplan for it.

The Withering - on the surface this might not look as impressive as some other spells, however don't forget that whilst doomfires have many attacks they have +4 and +5 to wound rolls. So if you're going to throw them into an enemy unit getting a +1 on all those makes their chance of wounding significantly more likely. 

Mindrazor - as said above this is a very solid spell for throwing onto the doomfires just before charging them into combat. However with a bravery of 6 its important to realise that on Doomfires you are nearly only using this for the rending (which is no slouch with 4 close combat attacks at, after casting, 2 for -2 and 2 for -1 rending).

Shroud of Despair - another spell with a low casting score making it another ideal for smaller groups of Doomfires; likely supporting other attackers. If combined with a second mage unit (of any type) casting Mindrazor as well its a neat combo of two spells. Remembering that such a setup would ideally be a 3 unit combo (one mage with Mindrazor, one with Shroud and then a third unit which is the target of Mindrazor and which will thus perform the attack) 

Note as said in the first post, the ability for them to buff themselves (or debuff an enemy) gives them a touch more autonomy compared to many others Daughters units that want to work in tandem with others to get their best effect. This plays well into their native speed being as they are likely to out-run cauldrons and many other mages. 

That said a lot of Daughter spells work best in combos, the bonus with the Doomfire being that they can hold one of the spellcards and so you only need them and a mage whereas to combo up on most other DoK units you need two mages in range (or those with more than one cast per turn). Doomfire is a great spell on its own and very tempting to use every chance you get for the mortal wounds, especially when the unit is at 10 or more in  model count; however the other spells are very suitable for use and come into their own when the unit is pushing for close combat or undernumbered. 

Another key aspect is planning how to use them, some spells are only of use if you plan to make use of them  and thus deploy and move with those uses in mind; otherwise such spells won't have their best impact. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

The more popular synergy is to run Doomfire with Khailebron Temple. Re-position them using Mistress of Illusion Command Trait to a nearest Arcane Terrain, within 18" of a high value target or out of unbind range and cast Doomfire.

Pit of Shades is a good alternative spell when the Doomfire spell degrades to D3 Mortal Wounds.

The Withering works for your Khinerai units. Once it goes off, drop 10 of them, 3+ (re-roll 1s on turn 3) / 3+ (+1 from Withering) / -1 (-1 from dropping in) is reasonable painful.

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