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About Me

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  1. First, let me get some disclaimers out of the way: I play Nighthaunt and Legion of Grief exclusively. I love my ghosts and rather find novel ways of playing them than chasing the meta. I have not competed in any tournaments. I have been in the game for about a year. This blog, and anything else I post, is my opinion and is only backed up by my own experiences. If you want to hear about how a noob has kept his love of the Nighthaunt alive and has won more than they have lost in their local games, then please keep reading. Welcome fellow Shepherds of the Damned I'm not going to stand here, beside you, and gesture to the war-torn battlefields after your conquest as though anything I have told you here today was why you won your battle. How you win with your processions of murderers, necromancers, and healers who drew the ire of Nagash is ultimately up to you. I will, however, tell you what I know and point you in a direction. And, hopefully, that direction is onward, ever forward, to inevitable victory. First, What the Nighthaunt Are and What They Are Not The Nighthaunt are not titans on the battlefield. We are not unkillable elites. We will never push up the middle of the battlefield and lay waste to everything in our path, nor will we ever hold territory against an unmitigated onslaught. What we are is a tactical strike force. Nighthaunt asks of you to know your opponent. They will know their own strengths; it's easy enough for any army to be fielded and do what it says on the warscroll cards. It is much harder to win against an opponent who is intent on outplaying those strengths. Sometimes it will be a clear counter; we are faster, we hit harder, or we can resist their damage. But, in most cases, it will come down to playing the objectives and keeping your opponent on the back foot. The key to winning as Nighthaunt is to know your opponent's pressure points and how to apply enough pressure, while not over-exposing your own. General Tactica Play the objectives: There are very few battleplans that require you to take on the big bad across the table directly, and those that do often have a more fair way to gain those points other than total annihilation. We are a superior army when it comes to objective claiming and defending with our quick units, teleportation, and From the Underworlds. By default, the rule to claim an objective is to simply have more of your models within 6" of the center of it at the end of your turn than your opponent does, and it remains yours so long as your opponent can't beat that count at the end of their turn, even if your models are no longer there. A battleplan has to specifically alter these rules if they require anything else --and some do-- so always be sure you are up on the objective capture requirements being used. And then be ready to abuse them. Know your tricks: Use the rules as written to your advantage. For example, most battleplans don't require you to hold an objective, just to claim it and then deny your opponent from claiming it by keeping them out of range. That could be as simple as zoning in on the objectives on turn one with From the Underworlds and then charging with everything at the enemy just to deny them getting close enough to flip the claim in the turns limit. Further, abilities like From the Underworlds and Spectral Summons exhaust movement, but aren't moves themselves, meaning you can exploit some battleplan objective rules and a few enemy movement lockdown abilities. Expand your tactics: Most Age of Sigmar armies could be classified as "Hammer and Anvil" style armies, or you will see a lot of common tactical advice given out that fall along these lines. This really isn't our style. Nighthaunt is all about tactical styles that expose and hunt for weaknesses. I will go into more detail for three styles of tactics in the Writs of the Mortarch section at the bottom of this guide. Take battalions: One or two, given points being played. In our army battalions are synonymous with specializing or equipment load-outs. They allow you to counter an enemy by choosing from a variety of benefits that usually exploit specific enemies. Does your opponent love close combat? Shroudguard is a solid counter. So is Chainguard. Does your opponent have high saves? Dolorous Guard can bring some Mortal Wounds. Battalions also have a few passive benefits to keep in mind as well; each one grants your army another Command Point at the start of the game, another artefact you can equip on a hero and the choice of placing all units within that battalion at the same time otherwise known as a "one-drop." Note that this one-drop feature does not know distance or boundary, so you can certainly split that one-drop across the battlefield and From the Underworlds all at once if you wanted. πŸ˜‰ Target weaknesses: Most other armies depend on their heroes the same as we do. Units will often have banner carriers, musicians, or icon bearers. Some armies are powerful but slow, and some are fast but relatively weak. Some can lock an opponent in place. And we can exploit all of it. With our flying, we can move over and retreat through the front lines to attack a hero or general or claim an objective. We have artefacts, like Slitter, than can halve a unit under the right conditions or can target specific models. Reikenor can use his Corpse Candles on particular models to remove buffs from a unit. Spectral Summons can be used to not only pull a unit back after taking too much damage but can be used to reposition after units move and change the points of battle, or get a unit out of a lock. The point here is to know what your opponent plans on bringing, knowing what their army is known for, and being ready by bringing tools that can remove what they need working for them to win. Don't forget your own buffs: Our most essential buffs come in two forms: our heroes and our battalions. Though some units, like the Bladegheist Revenants, have built-in buffs or special effects when a specific other model is nearby, the majority of your power will come from choosing the right hero to support a unit, or the right battalion to give a benefit. I will get into more detail in what those buffs are below, but the takeaway here is that by leveraging what a hero or combination of heroes can give you will help set up your threat units. ABW12: Always be within 12 inches. If you can't do anything else, at least make sure that your units are always within 12" of your heroes. You don't really want them in combat if you can help it, but you have to keep them close. Oftentimes this means your hero will be running more than anything else, and running into position ahead of your charging units. This will put pressure on yourself to make those charge rolls, lest you leave your hero hanging in the open, but you will want --need-- your heroes giving out their Deathless saves at all times. So bring a ruler and use it religiously, and be prepared to spend that Command Point on rerolling that charge. Tools of Terror Let's get into things a bit deeper. Let's talk about what we can do. I won't get into everything, but I'll list what I think are our most useful abilities and tactics that use them. From the Underworlds They Come: Half of the units we bring to a battle can go into the Underworlds and can sit there for up to 3 turns, and brought out anywhere on the board more than 9" from an enemy. I cannot overstate how useful this is. Depending on the kind of list you want to build, you will want to either place your objective takers or threat units into the Underworlds. The very act of putting something in the Underworlds means your opponent will have to mind their own deployments lest they open up a window for you to exploit a vulnerable edge or backline. For more about this, check out Writs of the Mortarch at the bottom of this guide. Wave of Terror: This is arguably our second most crucial ability, and it alone can win you the battle or turn the tide of a losing war. Unfortunately, this sliver of Nagash's power is as fickle as he is, and if you're unlucky enough never to see it in a fight, it could cost you the game. Each time you charge, should you roll a natural 10 or higher, you trigger the ability to pile in and fight as though it was the combat phase. It's not the combat phase, however, which means that your opponent gets no counter-attack. That natural 10 is a bit of RNG, only having a 16.67% chance of occurring per throw and is not in our favor. This is why we like to build our lists with a lot of smaller units, affectionately called "MSUs" or multiple-small-units (though we will still rarely run minimums, just smaller than maxed). You will want to strike a balance between the number of chances you get to throw those dice on a charge, the amount of heroes you will want to have around to cover those units that charged and potentially spend CP to re-roll a charge, and the models you could lose in a counter before needing to return models or risk losing the unit. Deathless Spirits: As long as a hero is present, that hero and any nearby units get a save-after-save to ignore a wound on a 6. This is important since it is our only method, other than model-return mechanics, to mitigate mortal wounds and damage that gets past our unmodifiable 4+ save. As with Wave of Terror above, this ability both allows you and requires you to make choices about unit sizes. A larger unit can charge in without a hero and get by on a large model count to keep their effectiveness up, but medium-to-small sized units are going to rely on Deathless Spirits to not evaporate too quickly. You might find a tactical advantage of letting a unit or two advance without this protection, but if you are not shoring up the difference elsewhere, you will feel the loss all too soon. Flying: Flying is more than just ignoring terrain. It's also ignoring models. Nothing can get in your way when you're moving, which means that you can spend your moves getting into optimal positions despite your opponent's best efforts to screen you out. You still have to follow the basic rules of movement, can't end a move closer than 3" to an enemy, for example, but now that bubble of protection no longer forces your units to have to skirt around them to get to the other side. Just fly over. Where this ability shines the most is when retreating. Retreating is a normal move with a few caveats attached to it; you give up your shooting and charge, and you have to end outside 3" of all enemies. But that doesn't mean "away," so you can retreat right over the top of an advancing enemy line to set yourself up in their backfield or claim an objective. A couple of our units, Bladegheist Revenants and Glaivewraith Stalkers, can retreat and charge in the same turn, making them powerful users of this ability. Spectral Summons: As long as your general is alive and on the field, for a Command Point, they can pluck any unit, hero or otherwise, from anywhere on the battlefield and drop them wholly within 12" of the general and more than 9" from any enemy. The apparent use of this ability is to pull back a unit that's on the verge of being lost and heal them up from our various sources. But, it can also allow a particularly fast general, like a Dreadblade Harrows, to pop in at any open space and reposition a threat unit or objective holder. The Undying Dead We don't have an overabundance of ways to dig into the grave to grab new recruits in the heat of battle. If there was ever an argument to play Legion of Grief over Nighthaunt, this is it. But, we are not without our tricks when it comes to keeping our units full of death dealers, and when effectively used, this little bit can go a long, long way. Below I will list our sources of healing starting with the most models that can be returned, then abilities that require managing wounds, then those that only heal wounds. Ruler of the Spirit Hosts: Command Trait - D3 models to a unit within 9" of general, at the start of the hero phase. Our number 1 most selected Command Trait and for a good reason; it's free, it can't be interrupted, and it brings back full models regardless of how many wounds a model in that unit might have to heal. This is extremely powerful when used on units with multiple wounds, like Hexwraiths and Spirit Hosts, but don't let that stop you from using this to bring back a few more Chainrasps if you need to. No Rest for the Wicked: Olynder's Command Ability - 1 model to each unit within 12" per Command Point, during the hero phase. Our Lady, if she's our general, can bring back 1 model to all units that happen to be within --not wholly within-- her for a CP. This has a real trade-off: on the one hand, if she's surrounded by friendly units in the thick of battle that 1 CP can bring back a potential ton of ethereal flesh. On the other hand, if Olynder is your general and you are not running the Dolorous Guard to beef up her potential wounds, you run the risk of losing her before she could have her moment in the emerald light. And, it costs CP, which is a premium and arguably better spent on a Spectral Summons or a charge re-roll. Nimbus of Power: Black Coach - D3 models to one unit wholly within 12", at the start of the hero phase. Exactly the same as Ruler of the Spirit Hosts, but with a larger range (mind the "wholly") and from a non-hero (also non-summonable 😠) model that can change up its role from support to attack when needed. The Black Coach is already a beautiful and useful model that should appear in almost every list, but as a support piece, you can keep your units healthy in the early-to-mid game before you charge the Coach into the face of that unsuspecting guy across the field once it hits level 3+. Captured Soul Energy: Spirit Torment - D3 (or 3 if Stormcast) worth of models returned to a unit within 6" if 3 enemy models died anywhere on the field when the combat phase transitions to the battleshock phase. Or, you can opt to heal this many wounds to any 1 target, including heroes. This is one versatile ability and might merit bringing as many Spirit Torments you are comfortable with. The only drawback here is that if you want to bring back Hexwraiths or Spirit Hosts, this is the first of the healing abilities that you would need to roll a 3+ or a 5+, respectively, just to bring back one model. But, the trade-off is that you can target heroes (or other non-summonable units) for that heal, including himself. This is where things change for us. Everything above returned models without requiring you to heal the targeted unit first. For 1-wound units, the below won't be an issue, but if you plan on putting any of these supports near multi-wound units, you're going to have your hand forced. Deathly Invocation: Vampire Lord (ally) - D3 wounds must be healed if possible, otherwise worth of models returned to up to 3 units within 12" at the start of the hero phase. Why would you ever want to spend points bringing in an ally that isn't ethereal, doesn't benefit from or offer Deathless Spirits, and takes a leader slot? Because Deathly Invocation can target 3! separate units to get D3 models back. Sure, if one of those units needs to be healed first, you're doing that, but when you have two more units to target, it's not a hard choice to make. And the Command Ability: Blood Feast to add +1 attacks to a unit for an entire round helps. Spectral Lure: Guardian of Soul's unique spell - D6 wounds must be healed if possible, otherwise worth of models returned to any unit wholly within 24". Probably the very definition of risk-vs-reward for us you have here the potential of returning a full 6 models to a 1-wound unit, or even up to 2 Spirit Hosts, to a unit allllll the way over there, but on a spell that requires a 6 to cast, can be unbound, and only one attempt to cast it no matter how many GoS's you have. This would be downright amazing if it could cast on a 4, especially when comparing it to everything else listed here, but the best you will be able to do about that is spending an artefact slot on Wychlight Lantern to get a +1. As an aside, the other Guardian of Souls artefact, Beacon of Nagashizzar, can add +3 to the models/wounds returned to a unit. Still, if you're going to give the GoS any artefact the Wychlight is statistically more sound (+25% more likely to be successful after an unbind attempt vs. +3 models). Beyond this are the rest of our healing abilities. They will not return models, but they still have their purposes. Spectral Tether: Spell Lore - D3 wounds only to heroes only within 12". Lifestealer: Spell Lore - Deal D3 wounds within 12", caster heals that much. Feed on Terror: Heal 1 wound to a hero within 6" of an enemy unit that fails battleshock. An unfortunately rare occurrence nowadays, but worth keeping in mind. Harbingers of Grief They don't have any choice but to heed Our Lady's commands, but that doesn't mean we don't have a few stand out heroes that put in the extra effort in the field. Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed: Needed for the Forgotten Scions battalion, and one of the leader options for the Shroudguard battalion. He can spend a Command Point to grant a unit +1 attacks. This ability can only be used in the combat phase, but it can be yours or theirs, meaning you can pump up a few units for a counter-attack your opponent might not be expecting. In terms of firepower, this is the best buff you can bring in most cases. It will have the most impact on units with low to-hit/to-wound attack profiles. Even more so with units with double-digit model counts. Knight of Shrouds (on foot): Also one of the leader options for Shroudguard. He can spend CPs to give every unit in a bubble around him +1 to hit. This is stackable, so 2 CP is +2 to hit within that bubble. A great hero to pal around with Dreadscythe Harridans or Myrmourn Banshees to get their enhanced damage profiles through. Reikenor the Grimhailer: The last of the options for Shroudguard and one of the best wizards in the game. We don't have great spells, but there are a few you'd want his ability to get either a +1 or +3 to cast on, like his Wraithstorm spell, Lifestealer, or the endless spell Chronomantic Cogs. More importantly, his Corpse Candles target specific models, so you can spot-remove a banner carrier and rob an opponent's unit of their buff. Guardian of Souls: Necessary for the Chainguard battalion and is a wizard that comes with the only model-return spell we've got, Spectral Lure. Give him Spectral Tether, and you've got a dedicated healer. Too bad there's unbinding likely, and unless you give the GoS the Wychlight Lantern artefact there won't be much to ensure the cast. He's got a passive +1 to Wound bubble, though. That's... helpful. Dreadblade Harrows: You get two of these in a box, which is great for the Forgotten Scions, but unless you run that battalion, you'll only need one. He makes a great general thanks to his teleportation ability, so he can stay safe, show up to use a command trait like Ruler of the Spirit Host, cast a spell if he has the Midnight Tome artefact, or use the Command Ability: Spectral Summons to teleport units to him. He breaks the game in terms of mobility and objective capture, especially combined with From the Underworlds They Come. Spirit Torment: This pretty much rounds out any of the "must-have" heroes. Necessary, along with Chainghasts, for The Condemned battalion, Mr. Torment also brings a passive re-roll 1's to hit for any units within range of his 12" bubble with Nagash's Bidding. This might not seem like much at first, but any units swinging with high attack profiles, like Spirit Hosts with their 5+/4+, will get more benefit from this buff--which is free and always on--than they would from an extra attack that costs CP. Even more so for any unit that wants more 6's. Bladegheists get it even better, getting a re-roll misses buff with him nearby. Additionally, he brings Captured Soul Energy, which is one of the few healing or model-return abilities we have that can't be interrupted (the others being Ruler of the Spirit Hosts, the Black Coach, and Olynder). It triggers if at least 3 enemy models were killed in a round by the time a battleshock phase starts, and if so, heals either D3 (or 3 if those enemies were Stormcast) wounds or models to a unit within 6" of the Spirit Torment. Very versatile, as you get to choose if you want to heal or return models even if they're damaged, or you can opt to heal heroes, and the whole bit works whenever three enemies are killed, so even in your opponent's turn. Note that it can only trigger once per turn per Spirit Torment, so if you want more than D3 models returned this way, bring another ST and kill another 3 enemy models. All the rest of the heroes, including Olynder, are situational at best and filler on the shelf at worst. The Lady herself can dish out a fair amount of mortals at a short range consistently, and her shooting is an ability so it can be still used after a run. Kurdoss Valentian is a beat stick, just in case you need hero support while directly targeting the enemy general, and his ability to steal CP is minimal. Lord Executioner is hard to kill, Tomb Banshee can scream at low Bravery targets, and the Cairn Wraith is so cheap he can just be there to make sure your out-of-pocket units can have Command Abilities options and their Deathless Spirits save. Those Who Are Tormented Let's briefly touch on each of the units that have notable roles in our army. Battlelines Chainrasp Hordes: The two primary purposes of these little guys are to hold objectives and to swarm enemy units. On their own, their large unit sizes can mean that they are a lot to chew through and can buy time even with no hero support. In smaller numbers and with hero support, they can easily put out good damage. They have a built-in buff to reroll Wound rolls of a 1 if there are more than 10 in a unit, and that alone is reason never to bring less than 20. Grimghast Reapers: The Reapers primary purpose is to target enemy hordes, getting free re-rolls against 5 or more models. But, thanks to their long-range weapons and easily fighting in two ranks they are great against even elite units, provided you can max your potential attacks using that range. They are expensive, though, putting less wounds on the table for the points than Chainrasps. But they are also faster and deadlier. Spirit Hosts: These multi-wound ghosts have three primary purposes, balancing their risk and reward options. Their high attacks count and Frightful Touch mean they can reliably damage targets with high save values more so than standard attacks; 2+ enemy saves mean nothing with a lot of 6s. Their large base sizes make them for an excellent hero screen. If you are willing to pile 6 of these guys together, then you also have an objective camper not likely to give up its spot anytime soon. With any of the model-return abilities available to us that don't rely on wounds, you can make a big enough blob of these immortal. Hexwraiths: Until recently, our calvary battleline was nothing to look at. Effectively a quarter of a Spirit Host in every way except speed, you would be forgiven thinking these guys are best left in the stables. They see new purpose within the Dolorous Guard, however, as the battalion abilities grant extra health for a general on a very reliable 2+ roll, and boost their wound and mortal wound potential on a charge. With their two wounds each and packs of 5, they are great for quick objective grabs and holds or hero hunting while waiting for support to arrive. Others Bladegheist Revenants: Your baseline threat unit who can do amazing damage, retreat and charge in the same turn, and who's built-in buffs might just be overkill. This unit doesn't need any buffs to perform well (other than charging), but any hero can only help them do better. It's good to keep in mind that they could have some Chainghasts nearby for the buff without a Spirit Torment even on the board, but if you're going to invest in any elites for the support I'd go with a hero to grant Deathless Spirits. Dreadscythe Harridans: With a little support, these ladies can do more damage than the Bladegeists, but require at least +1 to hit from a Knight of Shrouds (on foot) to match them. This makes them carry an intrinsic cost: 1 CP and a KoS to match Bladegheists, 2CP and a KoS or 1CP and a Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed to outperform them. If you have CPs to spare, then Dreadscythes can pack a surprising punch. Their debuff of -1 to hit for all enemy units within 3" seems great, but when you factor in that it only works on enemies with a natural Bravery of 6 or lower, it won't find much use. Myrmourn Banshees: A threat unit that is the epitome of risk vs. reward. They can unbind or dispel as though they were wizards, with a +1 to the unbind for every four models in a unit. It's short-ranged, though, only working within 18" for the unbind and 6" for the dispel, but if either is successful, the Banshees buff themselves +1 attacks (the dispel does D3 damage to the unit, so without healing you'll lose models). In terms of damage potential, 12 of these ladies can outperform 20 Bladegheists with just that self-buff alone. This scales quickly with any more buffs you can toss their way. Chainghasts: I talk up some Hexwraiths, but wait until now to even mention Chainghasts? You'd think that as our only non-hero ranged unit, you might want as many of these guys as you could, right? Especially considering our only other units with range are Lady Olynder, the Black Coach, and Tomb Banshee? Well, not exactly. You're not going to pack more than 4 of these to a single unit, and unless they become much cheaper, you're probably not going to try to bring more than what's required for The Condemned battalion. In the ranged department you're looking at 15" and wildly swingy D3 attacks each. However, they do have a trick up their sleeves with in melee: they get 1 attack per model within 2" when they are activated. What do you do with that? Well, if you charge these guys into a horde pack and determine you've got some 10-15 attacks, why not use that 2" reach and slam them all into the hero standing next to them? Still, without some assistance to their ranged I feel these guys are a bit one-trick and easy to snipe. Another Link in the Chain is great for when you want some Spirit Torment buffing but can't fit another one into your list, so that's something to consider. Glaivewraith Stalkers: You've got, like, 30 of these, right? Sorry about that. They shoved handfuls of these in Storm Strike, Tempest of Souls, and Soul Wars starter sets, so most players will have an abundance of these guys. I won't harp on them and say they're literal trash, they can be converted into Reapers after all, but they aren't great. They do have some redeeming qualities to keep in mind; they are cheap, come in units as small as 4, have 2" range that can add up if you have a lot of them, they can retreat and charge in the same turn, and re-roll failed hits if they've charged or been charged. Despite this, they will do a massive 50% less damage than Bladegheists if the gheists charged that turn. Worse, this gap only lessens to 30% if Bladegheists didn't charge. Their battalion, Death Stalkers, doesn't help this situation much either, buffing that 50% deficit to 30% of charging Bladegheists (or breaking even if the 'gheists didn't charge), but only to one enemy unit for the entire game. You really might want to convert these or wait for them to get a Dolorous Guard of their own. Battery-Powered Curse Hearse Does the Black Coach deserve its own section? You bet your sweet Necromancer and/or Vampire that's bound, gagged, and chained in the back it does! This beautiful, ornate, gloriously gothic centerpiece is what the Nighthaunt are! I mean, look at it! Name a more gorgeous thing. I dare you. I'll wait... Nothing, right? And it's a great unit on top of that. The Black Coach Aesthetics aside, what you have here is an excellent support piece that can transition into several roles as you see fit, giving you some proper dynamic choices through the course of a battle. It's not a hero, so it won't be giving out any Deathless Spirits saves, nor is it "summonable," which is the keyword all our troop units have that allow our healing-mechanics to work. So, its healing is going to have to come from itself or a Spirit Torment (see how versatile they are?). Thankfully, it can do just that. Evocation of Death is the primary ability that powers the rest of its set. Roll 3 dice at the start of each battle round, no matter who's going first, and look at the results. Each 4+ is a level gained for Evocation of Death, and each turn, you have three more chances to add additional levels. Nimbus of Power is the first level and instantly sets itself as another Ruler of the Spirit Hosts as well as a self-healer. This is already amazing, but wait, there's more. Unholy Vigour, second, which allows re-rolls of 1 for all its melee weapons (all of them, horses too), and it can now run and charge in the same turn. Spectral Scythes is the level you will want to wait for before you put this thing into combat. This level empowers the Coach to let you pick a unit within 1" after it charges and roll a die and on a 2+ deal D3 mortal wounds to it. Insubstantial Form, fourth. Now it can retreat and charge, which it absolutely should. Witch-fire is fifth. Just start burning everything within 3" of this thing every hero phase by rolling a dice for each enemy unit in range and on a 4+ deal D3 mortal wounds. This is a lot, and combined with its other abilities like Frightful Touch on the Reaper Scythe and Relic Bearer's Spectral Claws, and Reaped Like Corn (which is only on the Scythe), and the option to bring the Soulreach Grasp, you might be asking just what are you supposed to use this thing for? Behemoth in Battle The Black Coach has three primary uses, any two of which you will choose for its life in the game; Corpse Cart and either Soul Sniper or Reaper on Wheels. Corpse Cart: In the early phases of the game, the Black Coach supplies you with another D3 of uninterrupted model-return. If you intend on layering this with other model-return abilities, you've got a strong support structure to keep behind your front lines while not risking putting your general in harm's way. There's too much firepower building up to keep the Black Coach behind forever, but don't begrudge the effectiveness of using it to zone-out flanking attacks, shepherding units as they push forward, and providing a target to shoot at that's not your other threat units. Soul Sniper: Going this route means you elected to take the Soulreach Grasp instead of the Reaper Scythe, which will give you a ranged option for the shooting phase. It's only 10" and a single attack, but it has -3 rend and D3 damage. Not bad since you get to use this twice (shooting and combat phases) even if engaged, but not likely to mean much without a buffing hero nearby. This can be the better setup if some high-save enemy units are advancing on you thanks to that -3 rend, but unless you can reliably land those Grasp attacks you'll want to keep the Coach at range and keep healing, which unfortunately means losing out on the rest of the Coach abilities. Reaper on Wheels: This route means leaning heavily on the Reaper Scythe and the collection of other abilities to do a ton of damage before the poor thing gets inevitably blown from the field. Almost all of the Coach's powers are melee-centric; the Reaper Scythe being the only weapon choice to benefit from Frightful Touch and Reaped Like Corn, and the rest of the kit wanting to hug enemy units. Knowing the Coach can eventually run and charge, moving anywhere between 15" to 20" if not too damaged, then you simply hold it back until level three, and then bring it into combat. Level three will take two turns, on average, which is plenty of time to see where things are lining up on the field. At that point, target that ranged squad in the back, the melee unit that's punishing your threat unit, or an exposed hero and snap the reigns. If possible, keep it within a friendly hero for Deathless Spirits, or a friendly unit for Nimbus of Power. Which is better? When comparing the Soulreach Grasp vs. the Reaper Scythe you're only talking about a single wound in favor of the Scythe on average, assuming you're attacking twice with the Grasp and the only buffs come from Unholy Vigour and Frightful Touch. The gap increases to 2 wounds if Reaped Like Corn can be used. What this means is that it's a matter of time. The Grasp has a chance to do less damage over time, but at range, while the Scythe will do more damage but only in direct combat. The break seems to be about 3 rounds. Any less and the Grasp wins assuming you got at least 1 wound at range. More than 3 and the Scythe wins. All To Come Within the Fold So we've covered all the units that could be considered Nighthaunt Proper that's wholly within the battletome, but for those wanting to shine their Nightmare Lantern's alluring light into other "realms," you can call upon a few more lost souls. From Forge World, you can snag the Mourngul. From Warhammer: Underworlds, you can recruit the Briar Queen and her Thorns. Forge World Mourngul: From GW's resin model store Forge World you can grab this guy. It has rules and points, so it's a legal model, but there are some tradeoffs for not coming from GW's mainline. First among them are the points; this tall boi is the most expensive single model you could put on the table, even more than the Black Coach. Second, for all those points, you're getting a warscroll card that has seen a rewrite to nerf it in a pretty substantial way. Lastly, to offset the power the Mourngul previously had, it's a Monster and not a hero. A few armies have abilities and attacks that get buffed when targeting a monster, and not being a hero means no Deathless save and no potential artefact. This means that despite its strengths, you are either throwing it away as an expensive distraction or supporting it with a hero, or in the very least, Shademist or Mystic Shield. Monsters also can't benefit from cover, but Nighthaunt can't do that anyway, so that's not a loss. But, what this model can do, in addition to becoming the de-facto damage magnet as soon as it's on the table, is bring sweet, sweet bloody carnage. It's fast starting at 12", has a 2-Mortal Wound Frightful Touch, starting with eight attacks with which you could get those MWs, and the second-best natural attack profile we have to back it up when you don't score those MWs. Oh, and it can heal itself D3 wounds if it killed anything via Devourer of Flesh and Souls to try to stay at its top profile, and has a passive -1 to hit rolls for all enemy models within 6" with Ghastly Apparition. Note that this last bit is models, not units. Ghastly Apparition will shroud any friendly units you have palling around with the Mourngul too, so long as they originate within that 6" bubble. Drop the Mourngul with From the Underworlds on some unfortunate unsuspecting target, nail that charge, and revel in piling bodies, especially so if that target is already engaged in a fight. Underworlds The Briar Queen: From GW's sister game Underworlds, you can pick up the warband Thorns of the Briar Queen and use those models on the table with rules that aren't too bad. The Queen and her six unique Thorns come as a set, meaning that for the slightly inflated cost of a hero, you get a free screen as well. The Briar Queen herself is a wizard and comes with the spell Howling Vortex which is a tactical choice of a spell to be sure. With a casting value of 7, 18" range that targets a spot on the table, and 6" area of effect from that spot, you can splash any number of enemy units in that radius with this spell. You then have to roll 2d6 and either beat each enemy unit's movement characteristic or roll a double, and if so, they suffer 1 mortal wound and have their movement cut in half. If you can pull this off, half movement can be a nice way to buy some time on a unit or several units that are more than 12" out, but this quickly loses its usefulness once the threshold for a reasonable charge roll is crossed. She can back up her spell with three ranged attacks at 10" on 3's and 3's with 3 rend (one damage each, ha), and whip in melee once at 3", on 3's, 2 rend, but D3 damage. All in all, there's a lot to the Queen that can be useful, but you'll be hard-pressed fitting her in anywhere that another hero wouldn't be more helpful. The added tax for her Thorns doesn't help this, either, as though they provide a useful screen, they are just Chainrasps that retain their rerolling wound rolls of 1 if two of the six are still around. This doesn't make her terrible, though, just tactically challenging. If she can slow even one fast unit down with her spell or hide behind a durable screen for a couple of shooting/combat phases, she could easily be worth bringing. Processions, the Jailed Forced to March We have a total of 9 battalions and 2 super-battalions. That's...a lot. But, as I have been stating throughout this guide, our battalions are less army-wide buffs as they are configurations that allow you to build up specific tactical advantages for several units of our army. I won't get into all the battalions here, but I will highlight a few of my favorites. Also, remember that any battalion you take is also another Command Point at the start of the game, as well as an artefact you can equip on a hero. The Dolorous Guard: One of the three new battalions the December White Dwarf magazine gave us, this battalion delivers two utilities for the price of one. The first thing it does is allow your general, whoever it may be, to enjoy a pseudo-wound pool of +20 at the minimum. It does this by allowing you to redirect wounds your general takes to any of the Hexwraith units this battalion requires. The requirements are simple; at least 2 units of Hexwraiths, at least one of them 3" or closer to the general when it takes any damage, and a 2+ roll right after a failed save. Suddenly Lady Olynder can be a centerpiece threat unit again, carrying within her retinue 27 wounds at a minimum that she could heal up with a Command Point. Other generals would make great use of this, as well, like the Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed, but I'll get into that at the end of this guide. The second thing this battalion does is give those Hexwraith units a buff on the charge, granting +1 attacks to both the scythes and the horses. At first, this might seem lackluster, but statistically, this makes a pack of 5 Hexwraiths just over half the effectiveness of Spirit Hosts with their Frightful Touch, but with much more movement. Combined with the right general, that effectiveness skyrockets past Spirit Hosts and can make for a terrifying offensive line. This mega-wound general and all the mortal wounds you could want make this battalion great against heroes and high save elite units. The Forgotten Scions: The other regular battalion from the December White Dwarf requires you invest in a Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed (which you should be taking anyway) and two Dreadblade Harrows. At first blush, this might feel like a hefty tax having to take an extra DH that you wouldn't dare put into combat, but I challenge you to look into the utility of this battalion instead of its threat. First off, this battalion grants that KoSoES a passive +1 attacks to his sword, and it also allows free use of his Command Ability once per round. This increases his damage output significantly, and potentially his healing as well thanks to Sword of Stolen Hours, and also the damage of the units around him. But, this entire battalion can be one of the most versatile utility battalions we've got. Slap a couple of key artefacts on those Dreadblades, and you have spot support magic (Midnight Tome and Shademist), movement buffs (Pendant of the Fel Winds), or an artefact carrier that you can keep out the danger of battle (Aetherquartz Brooch much?). The Emerald Host: The only super-battalion I'll get into detail here, this is the third of the offerings from White Dwarf. I only want to point this out because it's cheap, and requires no more than the taking of both battalions above to unlock it. What it does is give an enemy hero of your choice a permanent -1 save from all attacks that target that hero. This can be devastating on the right target, bringing some enemy's +2 save up to a +3 and netting a whole 50% more potential damage on it. Also note that this debuff comes from all sources that are "attacks," not just from your army. In most cases, that might not make much of a difference, but in a team or multiplayer game, you just brought a powerful debuff everyone benefits from. And, though I'm not aware of any abilities acting this way if your enemy can damage themselves for a buff and that counts as an attack, well that's debuffed as well. This, a CP, artefact, and one-drop option on the other two battalions above? Not bad. Not bad at all. Shroudguard: For such a simple battalion, the net benefit of it cannot be understated. Two units of Bladegheists, our baseline threat units, get a Frenzied Fervor save of 5+ instead of a Deathless Spirits 6+. What does that mean? It means your 16.67% chance to ignore damage doubles to 33%. In a game of dice and random numbers, giving two of some of your best units a 33% chance to just totally ignoring incoming damage is nothing to scoff at. It's no wonder you see this battalion everywhere. It does have some drawbacks to note, however. It's still a Deathless save, so you still need a hero nearby to grant it, and you need the hero you chose to include in this battalion to see the Frenzied save. A hero that, by the way, doesn't benefit from that tasty save he's handing out. Despite that, this battalion is excellent for some good ole' fashioned warmongering and tieing up some enemy threat units. Deathriders: I'll mention this one only briefly because it sees some competitive play, though I expect that to change a bit with the Emerald Host. With this battalion, your Black Coach, two units of Hexwraiths, and a Dreadblade Harrow or two all now get to nail Wave of Terror on a natural 9 instead of a 10 on a charge roll. This buffs the chances of WoT triggering up to 27.78%. Oh, and they all get a +1 to charge rolls. I mean, when you absolutely, have to, gotta, need to slam that Black Coach into someone's kneecaps from across the board, this battalion can't be beaten, but I'll argue you'll have a better offensive chance and output with an MSU army and spending those Dreadblade points in Forgotten Scions. The Condemned: Now, have you ever looked at your two packs of 20 to 40 Chainrasps and thought to yourself, "I think these need to kill more?" Ever wondered what would happen if you could shove all of them into a wide enemy front line and then grab all your dice, and all your opponent's dice, just so you could roll all the attacks? Then this is the battalion for you! The buff this battalion gives is simple; Chainrasps can now reroll all failed hits if wholly within 15" of a Spirit Torment or Chainghasts. That, combined with the Chainrasps built-in buff to reroll Wound rolls of 1, and you got yourself one of the best damage dealing battlelines out there. Use this battalion to target armies that bring very big bad units, but not a lot of individual units. You can potentially tar up a couple of enemy units with one large blob of these guys, and since you're required to take two, you might tie up an entire army advancing line. This battalion loses its effectiveness if your opponent brings a lot of units to the table, though, and even more so if they are fast. If that's the case, you're better off with a maxed Reaper unit. Chainguard: Personally, I have found the utility of this battalion to dwindle as of late, but I'll mention it here because it still serves a purpose. Like The Condemned, it requires two units of Chainrasps with anywhere from 20 to 40 models in them. And, you're taking a Guardian of Souls (and, if you're listening to me, giving him the Wychlight Lantern). Now, any time the GoS's Spectral Lure spell goes off on one of the Chainrasp units, an additional D6 models return. This sounds great for plopping down on an objective, or as a thicket of brambles to choke an enemy into a bottleneck, but it suffers from the same issues the GoS himself does. Namely, this entire battalion requires you to not only be able to get a casting value 6 spell off (I wonder what could help that?) but that it's also not unbound. I suppose if that all works out, you have 2D6 Chainrasps coming back, but only to one of the units. Even if you brought multiple GoS's that spell can only be attempted once a turn. My point here is that you don't want to play a game of attrition as Nighthaunt, we're not equipped for that. As shock troops, you need to get in there, steal your objectives, and deal damage to key targets. This battalion does none of that. The rest of the battalions are situational at best. The Execution Horde helps the already hard-to-kill Lord Executioner be even more hard to kill, which is great if you need to hold the line but falls short unless you're pairing it with any of the whole-model-return abilities (not worth-of-models) and effectively taking them away from where they might be more useful. Death Stalkers grant an enemy unit a debuff of +1 to hit and wound against them, but only from the Cairn Wraith, Reapers, and Stalkers in this battalion. And Shrieker Host forces enemy battleshock rolls of 1 to be re-rolled and prevents Inspiring Presence. If the majority of our enemies didn't already have either a great Bravery characteristic or battleshock immunity abilities, this might be more competitive, but as it is, I don't think it's worth taking when we have so many better choices above. Lastly, the grand super-battalion Nighthaunt Procession reeks of the old age of this battletome, but it didn't age as well as the rest of it. All it does is turn Deathless Spirits into Bound Beneath Indomitable Will, which sounds cool as hell, but only drops "wholly" from the save range. I suppose that's powerful enough on its own, if very outdated when compared to recent armies, but by the time you could field a Nighthaunt Procession, you're likely going to have the hero cover you'd need for Deathless anyway. As a reminder, you are tailoring your battalion choices to your opponent's weaknesses. My quick impressions on them here are only surface level. Know your battalions backward and forwards, and you will find yourself selecting the perfect counter. I might have put down a few battalions here as worthless, but they really aren't if they exploit an enemy. I've seen a Shrieker Host dominate, once. Just once. But you get the idea. Spells in the Wake of the Necroquake When it comes to spellcasting, Nighthaunt could stand to have a few more options. While we have a few stand-out Spell Lores we can choose from, our Endless Spells belong on the shelf and far to the back. I'll go over our wizards, their casting options, our spells, and some generic Endless Spells that you might want to consider. Wizards Reikenor the Grimhailer: If you're going to invest in a spellcaster, Reikenor might be at the top of your list. He's no slouch with his Fellreaper if you need to swing it at an enemy unit with 5 or more models in it, but it will be his Corpse Candles that will seal his seat on the court. Corpse Candles allows him to deal 1 mortal wound to either any specific model within 12" of Reikenor or to himself, and if that wound ends up allocated either gain a temporary casting bonus of +1 or +3, respectively. The immediate caveat of this ability is that the damage must take, so if your opponent can shrug the damage or Reikenor himself makes the Deathless Spirits save that he has to attempt, then there's no bonus. But, the hidden power of this ability is in the selection of enemy models; you can select a unit's icon bearer or musician and snuff them right out of the pack, taking their buffs with them. Reikenor also brings his own unique spell Wraithstorm, which on a 7 will do D3 mortal wounds to a unit within 12", and if it kills a model will trigger another D3 mortal wound one more time. Lady Olynder: Of course, Our Lady is on the list. She's a level 2 wizard, which means that she can cast and unbind twice. Olynder also comes with her own unique spell Grief-stricken, which on a 7 will make an enemy unit within 18" have to subtract 1 from all their hit rolls, while also granting +1 to all melee weapons that target them. Unfortunately, Olynder does not have access to access to any casting bonuses, so even her own spell is a hard cast with a high chance of failure. Still, her other abilities can more than make up for this slap in Our Lady's face, provided you can keep her safe enough to use them. Guardian of Souls: The last of our allegiant wizards, this is also our only unnamed one and means that you can assign an artefact to him that neither Reikenor or Olynder can have. The GoS has access to a set of artefacts that are unique to him: Lightshard of the Harvest Moon, Wychlight Lantern, and Beacon of Nagashizzar. If you have been following my hints elsewhere in this guide, then you know that I think that Wychlight is the only real option, and maybe now you see why. Casting bonuses come very rarely to us, and an extra digit on the die roll can make all the difference. Vampire Lord (ally): It's worth mentioning the Vampire Lord. Since he sees a lot of play as a Nighthaunt ally, it's fair to point out he's a wizard, too. Though he does not have access to any of our Spell Lores, he could attempt a generic Endless Spell if he wanted, but more importantly, Mystic Shield will always be in his spellbook. Spell Lores Soul Cage: A tactical spell if there ever was one with two effects baked in, Soul Cage can be a nasty bit of magic in the right spot. For a casting value of 6, a unit within 12" loses its ability to retreat and must now wait until the end of the combat phase before it can fight. Going "at the end" means it's likely that the unit you're targeting won't be able to fight back until after the two or more units you just shoved in its face have had a swing. But this spell can also buy time, which sometimes is all you need. You could breach an enemy's 3" bubble in some way, like via model-return, and then lock that unit down with this spell. Spirit Drain: What Spirit Drain is, is easy to cast. On a 4, within 18", roll a die for every Wound characteristic your target has, and for each 6 give out a mortal wound. Considering that's only a 16.67% chance, per die, to do damage, you won't see this spell taken very often. Still, feel it out if anyone tends to bring a double-digit Wounds hero to the table. Lifestealer: With a casting value of 7, you'll probably find it's the best on Reikenor. It's just a D3 of mortals within 12", but it returns that much to the caster. Snuffing those candles on himself doesn't seem so bad of an idea anymore. Nailing the cast and preventing the unbind with his bonuses make this almost his sure-pick spell. Reaping Scythe: Now, this is an underestimated spell. Casting value of 4, so really reliable, and it gives any single weapon the caster's holding re-roll both hits and wounds until the next hero phase. Mitigated by the fact that it only targets the wizard who cast it, the only native wizard who'd benefit from it is Lady Olynder, and oh does she ever. Re-rerolling fails on her Staff of Midnight, when combined with the rest of her damaging abilities, makes her into a curb-stomping Queen. With the Midnight Tome, there are a few other heroes who might like this spell, too; Knight of Shrouds (either one), Spirit Torment, or even Dreadblade Harrow. Shademist: Since, as an army, we will want to focus on staying alive, and in the fight, Shademist is likely the superior spell for any wizard who's not Reikenor or Lady Olynder. Maybe even if they are. Casting on a 6, a Nighthaunt unit wholly within 12" gains a buff of -1 to wound rolls for all attacks that target that unit. Not a lot of abilities buff wound rolls out there, so this tends to be a harder counter to taking damage than -hit effects. And, having it doesn't preclude Mystic Shield or All-Out Defense from also being used for extra protection. To give you an idea of how powerful this is, a reduction of 1-to-wound is about 25% less damage on average coming in. Spectral Tether: If it weren't the only spell that we have that can heal heroes, I'd say this was a hard pass. Casting value of 6, 12" range, and D3 wounds, it's not a lot of healing when compared to the myriad other ways we can put wounds back into a unit. But, since this can only work on heroes, and our heroes lack sources of healing, this becomes a spell to factor. I would bring a Spirit Torment, instead, unless this spell were going to a Guardian of Souls. Captured Soul Energy can't be interrupted, after all. Endless Spells First, a word of advice: If an Endless Spell has a casting value of 6 or less, it's fair game, though you may want a Guardian of Souls with a Wychlight attempting it. However, if you're looking at a 7 or higher, save that for Reikenor. There are a few reasons for this; you want an initial casting roll that's good enough to cast the spell, you want an unbind that's more likely to be higher than your opponent can roll, and if they are spending casting slot on dispelling it that's one less spell they can cast that phase. Chronomantic Cogs: Well, of course! Why? It's so much utility in an itty-bitty, casting value 7, package. In fast mode, everyone gets +2" to movement and +2 to charge rolls. Yes, your opponent, too. But, this allows our already fast units to get down the battlefield that much faster. On average, our units will move 10", and is arguably more bang for the spell than your opponent will get seeing as how you'd use it on your turn first. The charge roll bonus also allows any of those units you just dropped in From the Underworlds now make contact on a 7. In slow mode, this allows your wizard to cast an additional spell and re-roll saves. Don't repeat a common mistake, though; wait until you're ready to move up the field, drop from Underworlds, or have a lot of charging you need to make before setting up the Cogs. The longer it's out, and speeding up time, the longer your opponent can use it, too. Prismatic Palisade: Wait, hear me out. Cheap, 5 on the casting roll, and it's a big ole bright wall you can put between you and their ranged units. It's complete cover if a 1mm line from the center of any of their bases passes through the Palisade on the way to the center of yours. Sure, they'll move around it on their way to get to you, but more importantly, they'll have to. And maybe get blinded in the process. There's a lot of ranged units out there, at least make them work for their shots. Aethervoid Pendulum: Yeah, I'm upset Shyish Reaper is as bad as it is. Know what isn't? This. Sure, it costs more, but it's slightly easier to cast on a 6, does more wounds, and is much less likely to get in your way. It just moves the direction you set it unless it doesn't. Emerald Lifeswarm: Want another source of model-return? For a casting value of 6, you can set this down in the thick of your army and watch it return D3 models to one unit within 1" of it. It's predatory, so unless you want to see it start fluttering toward your opponent, you'll probably want to go second once you get it out, but that's not such a bad thing if you're combining a lot of other model-return abilities along with it. Better, you can also park it in your backfield and use Spectral Summons to pull units back to heal up. Either way, this allows us to be a bit more resilient if you think it's worth the cost. Geminids of Uhl-Gysh: This one might be a sleeper hit. Little tricky to set it up with it's 18" range and requirement to be tethered to each bit no further than 6", but if you can manage it, each one will do D3 wounds to whatever they pass through. But, even better, one of the Geminids will debuff the unit -1 attacks, and the other -1 to hit, and can provide a considerable survivability buff to friendlies in the area. It's a casting value of 7, so it may be best to attempt it with Reikenor, just in front of a screen of soon-to-be charging ghosties. Balewind Vortex: Imagine how funny it is to see Reikenor sitting on top of one of these. You and your opponent will be laughing. He'll stop laughing, though, when your Wraithstorm now has an 18" range. Or maybe you cast Balewind and then with the extra spell cast it gives you, cast Geminids at 24," and that wipes the smile off their face. Soul Cage, Lifestealer, or Shademist all at 20"? With a casting value of 6, you can let anyone try to cast it, but as always, Reikenor is your best bet. This Endless Spell grants the wizard atop of it an additional spell attempt and +6" range to whatever they cast, and +1 to Saves. You're not taking this why? Oh, because it's an instant kill for your wizard if you don't adequately protect him and we're ethereal so that Save bonus means nothing. Relics Primed for Corruption I have a few artefacts that have become favorites, each with a utility that I think benefits a Nighthaunt army in some novel and meaningful ways. As an army, you can choose whatever your home realm is and gain access to that realm's artefacts in addition to any that come with Nighthaunt. You also gain access to any artefacts that exist in the realm you fight in, should you and your opponent decide to fight in one. This can potentially give you two realms of artefacts to choose from and can compliment Nighthaunt artefacts nicely. Nighthaunt Only Shadow's Edge: Frightful Touch on a 6, but D3 mortal wounds instead. On any hero you can pump up the number of swings on; this can toss some excellent saveless damage. Slitter: After picking this weapon's carrier to fight, but before they pile in, select an enemy model within 1" and roll a dice. If higher than the model's Wound characteristic, that model dies. Use this after the enemy unit has attacked so that they can no longer move for the rest of that phase. If the model killed breaks up the unit more than 1", it is out of cohesion, and additional models have to be removed until it is back in cohesion. Play this smartly and slice units in half. Be aware that abilities or effects that modify the characteristic count toward the total, but damage does not. Headsman's Judgement: +1 to hit and wound rolls for one of the bearer's weapons. Simple yet effective. Midnight Tome: Turns the bearer into a Wizard granting one spell/unbind, and a spell from Nighthaunt Spell Lore. The unbind alone can be worth it, but a well-placed Shademist is even better. Pendant of the Fel Wind: The bearer of this artefact grants +3" of normal movement to all Nighthaunt units wholly within 12" at the start of their move. This means you can move the units that are near the bearer first and give them the extra movement, and then the move the bearer closer to another set of units, and they can then be moved with the extra movement as well. We're already fast, but with this, we're dogs after a bone. Excellent when combined with Flying and getting over those screens. Realm Artefacts Aetherquartz Brooch - Hysh: Whenever you spend a Command Point roll a dice. On a 5+, you get another new Command Point. In an army that starves for CPs, this is an auto-pick for me. Lens of Refraction - Hysh: A powerful defensive artefact that benefits more than just the bearer. Whomever you give this to now has a 6" bubble that will reduce the mortal wounds enemy wizards dish out with spells. Each time mortal wounds would be suffered, roll a D3 and reduce the amount by that result. Spells that deal 1 mortal wound will always be negated, while up to 3 is possible for each instance of a spell. Combined with "within" and not "wholly within" this can give you a leg up against spell-heavy opponents. Coming from Hysh is a boon here, since you will have access to it and the Aetherquartz Brooch above for coming from, or fighting in, the same realm. Gryph-feather Charm - Ghur: -1 to be hit, +1 movement. Taken more for the reduced hit chance than the movement, it can help a needed hero or general stay alive. Gildenbane - Chamon: All other artefacts within 3" are depowered. Shut down an enemy artefact? I can think of a hero or two that could make use of this. Miasmatic Blade - Shyish: -1 to be hit. Same as the Gryph-feather Charm but without the movement. Same reason to take it if you find yourself on Shyish. Sword of Judgement - Ulgu: A modified hit roll of 6 grants D6 mortal wounds, but only against heroes or monsters. Pair with a Knight of Shrouds on foot, and for every CP spent, this range increases by 1. 3 CP would mean a 3+ on a roll is D6 mortal wounds. If you've got the CP to spare and need that monster dead, why not? Talisman of the Watcher - Ulgu: Another defensive artefact that can help out more than just the bearer. This one grants a free Mystic Shield-like effect to any 1 unit within 9" of the bearer at the start of the combat phase, so long as the bearer is not within 3" of an enemy at that time. You only get the one selection, though, so while you can choose this in every combat phase (yours and your opponent's), you will need to either select a unit your hero is supporting, or the hero itself, but not both. This can save you some much needed Command Points either way. Architectures of Torture Next, let me touch on a few things I'd want you to keep in mind as you tackle the challenges of enemy armies and tactics. These are a few guiding principles that have seen me to victory more often than not, and I hope they do the same for you. Always do this: Use From the Underworlds for at least one unit: You never know when an opportunity might show up, and just having something in reserve can save a bad game or keep an opponent too worried to commit fully. Build your list with a focused goal: We are often not considered competitive or tournament-level because we suffer from the "one list does not fit all" problem other armies with above 50% win-rates don't have. Don't try to do too much with a single list. Instead, focus on a clear goal, like objective claiming/holding, and hone your list to support that goal. Moreover, having a clear plan means that when things go wrong, you still have sight of your goal and can more easily get back on track. Mystic Shield: Cast this whenever you aren't casting Shademist or another spell. Mystic Shield is very powerful for us, and it helps it's easy to cast. All-Out Defense: An excellent substitute for casting Mystic Shield if you can spare the Command Points. Consider Some Tricks: All-Out Attack: If you have the Command Points, re-rolling 1s to hit can be a snap damage boost. This is best when used on units with high attack profiles, or any units that'd like to see more 6's. Underworlds Chainrasps: A standard strategy is to put one or two units of Chainrasps into the Underworlds to drop on an objective right away. Careful with this, because if your units are too small or not supported with a hero, you might have thrown away your units for not much gain. Harrow Hopping: Another classic strategy is to use the Dreadblade Harrows to teleport to a position and, if he's your general, spend a Command Point to Spectral Summons a unit onto it. Great for holding objectives. With the Forgotten Scions battalion, you can update this strategy to use both DHs to claim a couple of objectives until danger gets too close, and then drop some Chainrasps or other units out of Underworlds. DHs are also great if carrying support artefacts like the Pendant of the Fel Wind and Midnight Tome, to hop in for some support wherever it may be needed. Cheap Hero Hunting: Two 5-man Bladegheist squads with either a Spirit Torment or a Chainghasts unit can be a cheap set to drop from Underworlds. If you can set this up twice, you can snipe an enemy backline. Vicious Spell Eaters: A pack of Myrmourn Banshees can dispel an Endless Spell at the start of the hero phase (Designers’ Commentary, July 2019) as if they were wizards, but will suffer D3 mortal wounds for doing so. The buff they receive from this, +1 attacks, is not contingent on taking the damage or losing models, so if you pair them with a model-return mechanic that operates before the combat phase you can get those models back with the buff, since it's the unit receiving the buff and not the individual models within it. This means you could dispel an Endless Spell, even your own from the previous turn if you had to, and shrug the wounds or reverse the damage via any of our model return abilities, and then attack in the combat phase with a full unit of +1 attacks. You can even use this to your advantage "moving" your screamy sisters closer to an enemy unit or up the board by returning the models in any configuration that supports both the ability used and unit cohesion. Olynderbomb: (600+ points at the time of this writing) Expensive and requires Lady Olynder to be your general, but combining her with the Dolorous Guard is an efficient way to put a threat on the field. You can either set this down on an objective and challenge your opponent to remove you, or you can drop her from the Underworlds to wreak havoc on dangerous targets. Knightbomb: (520 to 840+ points at the time of this writing) Starts out less expensive than an Olynderbomb, but can balloon if you want to invest in it, and leaves your general with a better Command Trait. Take a Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed as your general, give him Shadow's Edge for mortal wounds or Headsman's Judgement for normal wounds, and Dolorous Guard for health and mortal wounds. This will save you a few points but net a similar, close-range experience to an Olynderbomb. If you take Forgotten Scions to give the Knight an extra attack and to spend his free ability on himself, as well as spend a CP on either Hexwraith unit, you have a mortal wound nuclear bomb that funds itself. Reikenor the Unending: Grab Reikenor, Balewind Vortex, Chronomantic Cogs, and Lifestealer. Snuff a candle on Reikenor use the bonus to get up on the Vortex. Snuff another on himself and cast Lifestealer at 20". On the next turn, snuff another candle on Reikenor and put down the Cogs. Turn them slow. Snuff another candle on himself and cast Wraithstorm at 18". Follow up with another snuffed-on-himself Lifestealer at 20". At worst, Reikenor will have 3 wounds on him, but more likely less. Now from turn 3 on, you'll have 3 spells to cast, one of which should be Wraithstorm, the other Mystic Shield at 24" on something, and the third Lifestealer. Measure things out carefully to stay out of danger, and balance the Corpse Candles not to kill him. And then, when ready, turn the Cogs fast and land your charges. Artefact Shutdown: For a nice distraction, a Lord Executioner with his own 5+ Disembodied Skulls, in addition to the 6+ Deathless Spirits, can be hard to remove. Give him Gildenbane from Chamon and shut down an enemy artefact for as many rounds as it takes to kill him. Vortex Bounce: There is an initial extra boost to spell range when you cast Balewind Vortex. You cast it 1" away from you and add the huge base of that thing because it is now treated as your casting model. That's an additional 5" you can sneak out of it on top of the innate 6". Also, when it gets dispelled, you set up a whooping 6" away from it. Because it's a set-up and not a move, you do not count as having retreated. A great way to get your caster out of a fight they can't win and still be able to charge to where they can. Bonus points if you let your Myrmourn Banshees do the dispelling. (credit to The_Dudemeister for this one) Writs of the Mortarch Lastly, a few list-building tips and strategies with examples that I hope will help you firmly set your position as a Mortarch of your own sect of Nighthaunt. How to build a Nighthaunt List Step One - Goals: Start any list-building venture by first thinking about what you want to accomplish. This is by far the most critical step because if you are not clear on what it is you want to do with your list, you will find yourself making sub-optimal choices to fill in gaps and rushing to create lists that don't really accomplish anything. Setting a clear goal not only means having a sharp idea of what you want to do with your list, but it also challenges you to evaluate each choice you make for their individual merits, as well as their contribution to obtaining your goal. You might think that your goal is obvious: to win. But that's not going to be good enough for our kind of army. Your opponent is going to want to win, as well, and will be bringing tools to the table to do just that for themselves. Instead, your goals need to be more precise than that. Here are a few examples: Capture Two Objectives on Turn 1, Hold Two Objectives for at Least Three Turns, Take an Opponent's Objective, Eliminate a Certain Enemy Hero, Eliminate a Certain Enemy Unit, Eliminate the Enemy General, Defend Two Heroes for at Least Three Turns. A good source of goal ideas are Hidden Agendas, too. Whether or not you actually use them in a game, they can be great guiding ideas to shape your army around. Your games are going to be a combination of at least two of these goals; primary and secondary. All of your goals should absolutely be your driving force in the game, so don't discount the "secondary" as any less important. Calling one primary and other secondary does have a benefit, though. Your primary goal is going to be your direct tactic while your secondary is going to be your indirect tactic. When you build your list, your primary direct tactic is what you are going to be spending your game achieving while your indirect tactic is going to be what you use to assist your primary. In terms of the kinds of units that translates into, if your primary direct tactic concerns objectives, build most of your list to allow you to take them and keep them. If your primary direct tactic is to hurt enemy units, take more units that can deal damage and meet the enemy on your terms. The rest of your list should support your indirect tactic. Your goals are also going to be informed by your available models, the points limit of the game, your tactical prowess, and your opponent--any of which may or may not be known to you before showing up to play. More importantly, by selecting your goals first, you will already start making choices about how you are going to build to achieve them and know what to do when you encounter your opposition and setbacks. Step Two - Tactical Structures: There are many styles of tactical play available to Age of Sigmar armies. Hammer and Anvil, for example, is a very popular choice for most armies given its real-world historical significance and ease-of-use. Though there is no wrong choice in tactics if you are having fun playing, there are certain styles that work better for us than others. Let's detail three of these styles and how they pertain to Nighthaunt. Hammer and Anvil: This tactic gets all the fame and glory. It is the most basic and straightforward of the army-style tactics, can be deadly offensively, and can dominate the field defensively. It's also the most adaptable tactic to the large swath of army types available to play. If you are paring up against an opponent who knows their stuff, chances are you will see a variation of H&A. The concept is simple; the bulk of your force is comprised of either a lot of wounds or a lot of armor, a thick shield of toughness that acts as a solid platform--an anvil. The rest of your army is comprised of a highly mobile--or ranged capable--hammer. The anvil serves as a stationary or slowly mobile fixed force that ties up enemy movement through combat. Once engaged, the hammer comes sweeping in to slam upon the opponent from the other side. The opponent, then, is caught between the two forces and is left with a bad situation. It cannot run because of the anvil, and it cannot stay and fight because of the hammer. However, this technique has a downside that Nighthaunt makes evident either using it or playing against it: Hammer and Anvil tactics rely on some kind of overwhelming power. You either need to greatly outnumber your opponent and tie them down or greatly out-fight them while you've got them. Anything less and you will have a crippled army trying to defend a losing position. As Nighthaunt we simply lack a sturdy enough of an anvil to make great use of this tactic; our best saves are 4+, our most wounds are Chainrasps, and our best fences, Spirit Hosts, are just too expensive. But, for our opponents that happen to use H&A, our creative uses of Fly, Underworlds, and Spectral Summons can render an anvil useless giving us a huge advantage against it. Envelopment: The Macedonians created H&A and then the Romans perfected it. But then Carthage comes along and decimates it with this tactic. Envelopment doesn't rely on anything overwhelming at all to get its job done. Instead, this tactic focuses on exposing weaknesses in an opponent's army, and targeting in a more direct way their lifelines and advantages. It works by first identifying your opponent's likely strengths--such as their their H&A tactic--and avoiding them altogether. Envelopment is synonymous with "flanking" and opts to ignore the more heavily-guarded or deadly front or advancing side of an army and sweeping around the side to strike at the meaty sides and rear. This is generally done with a H&A-style deployment, but the anvil in this case is purely a diversionary device. It gets the attention of your opponent long enough for you to drop or maneuver your more killy units around the side. The advantages of this tactic are that it requires far less of a body count to be effective, you usually have clear lines of retreat or regrouping should you need it, and a confused or off-put opponent who now needs to hurriedly plan their next move. However, a high degree of coordination is required to make this tactic work, which means more extensive planning and forethought. Also, if you are unable to establish an element of surprise in your opponent, you could be setting up your threat units to get wiped from the board. Pincer: If H&A is considered to be a brute force tactic, and Envelopment might be considered dirty trickery, then Pincer should be considered elegance in motion. Older than both the tactics I described above, this tactic was first outlined by Sun Tzu. You know, the guy who wrote The Art of War in 500 B.C.? You might have heard of it. "When your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to." "What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy." Sun Tzu wrote the definitive structure of war for any army who does not want to, or cannot, strike from a position of ultimate power. Sun Tzu wrote a book about tactics that are tailor made for Nighthaunt. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that when Nighthaunt were designed The Art of War might have been the inspiration. As such, I believe tactics such as Pincer are our superior mode of choice. Fundamentally, Pincer is a lot like Envelopment, but instead uses two or more maneuvering elements. Instead of sweeping around to one side or another, you move your units in from both sides, or all angles, to encapsulate your opponent's resources or threats. This works perfectly with Underworlds and Spectral Summons, allowing us to stage our mobile and bloodthirsty units in out-of-the-way locations, if even on the table, until they are needed. You can lean on the diversionary tactic of Envelopment to try to set your opponent off-foot but you don't rely on it, needing it only to pull your opponent out of formation and exposing one or two angles of vulnerability. This means you can set up your pseudo-anvils or posture like you are using Envelopment, and if your opponent catches on and neutralizes them your true Pincer tactic comes into play to make them pay for it. The simplest way to engineer this strategy is to place your diversionary units or mobile screens on the field while you place your threat units into reserves. You then push forward with your fielded units, knowing full well they are temporary, before summoning in your reserves to deal out the devastating damage a bit later. The advantages of this tactic are that it is quick to set up, is flexible enough to adapt to most situations, and can provide an effective and damaging response to any pain points. The disadvantages, however, are that this will require planning several steps ahead of your opponent, careful coordination of all your units, and the potential of over-committing units to a lost cause. I have a clear favorite here, but all three tactics are certainly viable for use on the table. Selecting one early and adapting it to your goals will allow you to make better decisions about the following steps. Step Three - Troops: The backbone of any good team is not the leaders that lead them, but the team members who put in the effort. An army is no different. Now that you have a clear goal in mind, your troop choices become much more manageable. If, for example, your goals were to take a couple objectives by the end of turn 1 and then hold them for as long as possible, you might already be looking at large blobs of Chainrasp Hordes and Spirit Hosts to put in the Underworlds, or Hexwraiths to move and run up the board. If your goals are to fight for objectives and defend the objective holders, then you might lean more toward Grimghast Reapers and Bladegheist Revenants as damage dealers and Glaivewraith Stalkers as cheap objective holders. Your troop choices need to reflect your goals. Reject anything that doesn't fit. Step Four - Heroes: Heroes are our linchpins, but not so much so that you should be building your list around them. There will be scenarios in which you will design hero-centric lists--an Olynderbomb being a good example--but in a competitive sense, your heroes are best thought of as your support structure and not your primary focus. They are the bones underneath the muscle. They should come fourth in your decision-making process. You need heroes for Deathless Spirits saves, a few bring buffs to enhance units, and they are your only source of healing and model-return mechanics. But, except in the rarest of cases, none of them will be the unit that wins the game. It will be the troops they are supporting that do that. So, make choices that compliment the troops instead of the other way around. Spirit Torments are great with Bladegheists, other heroes, and the Black Coach. Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed is great for anything that wants to have more attacks. Knight of Shrouds on foot is great for anyone not already swinging at 3+ or better. Guardian of Souls for clutch casting or his +1 to wound rolls. Depending on your point limit, you will have a hard cap on how many heroes you can bring, and my rule of thumb is to take that limit and subtract 25%. That means for a Vanguard (1,000+) match aim for 3 heroes, and for a Battlehost (2,000+), aim for 4. This allows for some room for customization without running too few heroes. If, after your 3 or 4 Nighthaunt heroes, you want to grab a Vampire Lord, go for it. If you wish, you can spend those points on a battalion. Or slot in another hero. Step Five - Enhancements: By now, you should have a firm idea of what your list is going to do. You have your goals, the units that will achieve those goals, and the heroes who will back them up. Now, it's time to think about enhancing them. Battalions, although important, fall into this step. So do Endless Spells, terrain items, and supplemental unit choices. None of the options at this step should be the decision that makes or breaks your army. Instead, they should be the kinds of choices akin to sharpening your weapons or reinforcing your shields. Your game shouldn't hinge upon if you took Shroudguard, or if The Condemned vs. Chainguard was the better use of Chainrasps. Dolorous Guard might be your key to keeping your general alive, but your list can't depend on the DG to succeed unless that was your primary goal. These enhancement choices should give an already formidable list an edge that's needed to secure a win. Final Step - From the Underworlds: Finally, you've got a list of ghostly delights, and it's time to think about how you are going to use them. You aren't done building an army until you consider the pre-game and early-game tactics you will employ utilizing that army. A good deployment can just as easily win you the game as a bad deployment can lose it, and you could have crafted the perfect list only to see it swallowed whole by a wrong decision you made on turn 1. From the Underworlds is going to be the most reliable tactic, hands down, you can use to protect yourself from a bad start and take an advantage in the early game, and this final step is going to try to teach you how to use it properly. Final Step A - What's Going into the Underworlds: You get to put half of your units into the Underworlds, but you're going to want to select which ones and how many do so carefully. Again, refer back to your goals. The units that support your secondary goal are likely going to be the ones you're going to want to put into the Underworlds. For example, if your primary goal is to eliminate at least two enemy units and your secondary goal is to cap objectives by the end of turn 1, you will want to put the objective takers into the Underworlds for a quick drop while your threat units engage and tie up the units you're targeting. If your goals are the reverse of this, then put your threat units into the Underworlds to drop down and distract your opponent while you march your objective takers up the field. Refer to Step One - Goals section again to decide which goals to focus on and how to build a list to support them. Final Step B - When To Deploy from the Underworlds: You have until the end of your movement phase in the third turn to drop units you put in the Underworlds. This gives you plenty of time. Once again, your goals are going to dictate when you're going to drop the units you put in reserve. Objective takers, for example, you'll likely drop turn 1. Defenders, attackers, strike units, or an Olynderbomb, might wait all the way until turn 3, or whenever the timing was right. Underworlds is a tactical choice, and so will require both planning and patience. If you are unused to From the Underworlds and tend to feel exposed, practice with objective holding or light skirmish units until you feel comfortable enough to place high-value units there, and adjust your goals and lists to support that. Sample Lists and their Goals And now for the section that everyone's been waiting for; just what does all this fancy-talk of building lists actually look like. I'll include a few examples here, each that I consider to be of a competitive level. This means that I've played the list more than once and it won the majority of the time. This also means that these examples are snapshots in time; they worked for me and my local meta and at the points they currently are. If and when points change, or the meta changes, this section will fall out of date and may not be as valid. I will try to keep it updated. Woe to Those Afar Our Lady of Grief (Olynderbomb) The Emerald Host (Knightbomb) Pressing on the Pain (Pincer tactic) Portraits of Grief As a bonus, if you ever wondered what this pontificating Mortarch might model and paint their army, catch the gallery below. πŸ’€β˜ οΈβš°οΈ
  2. I've done a few homebrew Warbands that I'm pretty happy with at this point, and given feedback on a bunch more – and while costs and characteristics can be tweaked, it's the Warband abilities that often seem to trip people up on a fundamental level. With that in mind, I've put together some thoughts, comments, and guidelines for Warcry Abilities that readers might find useful. Let me know if you think I've missed anything, or got the wrong end of the stick!! Number of Abilities Ability Timing Universal Abilities Ability Duration Bonus Actions Ability Restrictions Value vs Flat Ability Costs and Guidelines Number of Abilities Aside from universal abilities, everyone gets six warband-specific abilities. The divide is normally 3x [Double], 2x [Triple], 1x [Quad], though some warbands trade a [Double] for another [Triple]. This ensures you'll always have a decent spread of abilities available to you, and each ability dice fills a different role. [Doubles] cover abilities that you should basically always have as an option – either because it's a universal ability that's core to your warband's tactics, or because it's part of the expected role for a specific fighter. [Triples] are for powerful, usually fighter-specific abilities that you might need wild dice to reliably trigger. [Quads] cover awesome, explosive abilities that most fighters can use and that will be useful at pretty much any point, because it's hard to control when you'll actually get them. Ability Timing To recap some oft-forgotten basics – fighters use abilities during their activation, once per activation, either before or after any action. Think of it like a special bonus action. This means you can't use an ability "during" another action – there are no abilities that you use mid-attack. It also means you can't use an ability if it's not your activation – there are no abilities that you use in response to an opponent's actions. If you want a defensive ability, it has to be used on your activation – i.e. before you get hit, in anticipation, or after you get hit, to heal. Universal Abilities Check out the universal abilities, first thing you do. Rush is +1M for your activation on a [Double], Onslaught is +1A (in melee) for your activation on a [Double], Respite heals (value) damage points if you're not within 1" of an enemy on a [Triple], Inspiring Presence lets you skip to another friendly fighter's activation on a [Triple], and Rampage lets you make a bonus move and a bonus attack on a [Quad]. These are your absolute baseline, available to everyone – if an ability is worse than this, there's no point to it. On the other hand, most warband-specific abilities aren't straightforwardly better than this, either. The majority of warband-specific abilities can framed as upgraded versions of these abilities, which offer an extra buff under certain conditions – for example, Daughters of Khaine, Legions of Nagash, Nighthaunt, and Gloomspite Gitz all have [Double] abilities that amount to "Onslaught, but you get +1S under certain circumstances". Those circumstances – the situations in which a warband is better than the baseline – shape how they play. Ability Duration Most abilities are buffs of one kind or another, so it's important to understand the key differences between the duration of each. Buffs that last for one action (e.g. one attack action, one move action) are good for a single explosive burst. Buffs that last for one activation can enhance both your actions in that activation, so they're best if you want to do that one specific action twice. Buffs that last for a whole battle round are mostly the same as the activation buff, so they're used for abilities that buff other fighters – but if you have some way of giving bonus attacks to the buffed fighter after its initial activation, a battle round buff will remain in place, too. Note that a longer duration isn't necessarily better. Let's use The Untamed Beasts as an example – their basic [Double] ability, Savage Fury, adds 1 to your Move characteristic for your next move and 1 to your Attacks characteristic for your next attack. Clearly, this is worse than Onslaught or Rush, both of which last for your whole activation, right? Well, no – Rush gives you +1M for your whole activation, so that's potentially +2" of movement across two move actions. Onslaught gives you +1A for your whole activation, so that's potentially +2A across two attack actions. But if you need to move in and then attack, that second action is "wasted" – it doesn't get the buff. Untamed Beasts can bypass that problem, thanks to Savage Fury. Let's make a direct comparison using a Preytaker with Fanged Axe. He has M4 and A3, so... Preytaker moves twice: 8" move, 0 attacks. 10" with Rush, or 9" with Savage Fury. Preytaker attacks twice: 0" move, 6 attacks. 8 attacks with Onslaught, or 7 with Savage Fury. Preytaker moves once and attacks once: 4" move, 3 attacks. 5" move, 3 attacks with Rush, or 4" move, 4 attacks with Onslaught, or 5" move, 4 attacks with Savage Fury. What's the result? Untamed Beasts have an ability that specifically makes them better than anyone else at charging in and attacking on the same activation (or killing a weak enemy and moving on). Let's take that Rush comparison further. Rush gives you +1M for an activation, which means you get +1M total if you move once or +2M total if you move twice. Untamed Beasts' Savage Fury gives you +1M for an action, which means it's just as good as Rush if you only move once – but it also comes with an entirely separate benefit, which means it's actually better than Rush if you only move once. Stormcast Eternals have Tireless Hunters, which gives you +(value/2)M for an action. That's a flat +1-3M total regardless of how many move actions you make – which means it's better than Rush if you're making only one move action, because you're cramming that extra movement into a single action, leaving you with another free to attack. That's the explosive power of a single-action buff. Bonus Actions Legions of Nagash have a very similar ability to Stormcast, called Shambling Horde – it also gives you an extra (value/2) burst of movement, but it comes with an additional restriction – it requires that your Leader be within 6". This is because it's not a buff to your move action, it's a bonus move action. This makes it more flexible, because it doesn't use up one of your standard actions. A skeleton who uses Shambling Horde and then takes one or two move actions is getting the same "extra" movement as a Stormcast who uses Tireless Hunters and then takes one or two move actions – but the skeleton doesn't have to take a move action. It can move and attack twice, or attack twice and move, or disengage then move into range of another enemy and attack once. Or if you're planning to move twice anyway and you don't have a (value) of 3+, you can just use Rush and lose nothing. This is what makes bonus actions so powerful, and is why they're normally gated behind [Triples], Runemarks, and other restrictions – they open up your options tremendously. A M4 fighter with a bonus move action can move 12", move into range to make two attacks against an enemy within 5", or move twice and then attack. An ability that gives +3A to a 3A fighter's next attack might seem identical to a bonus attack – they both give +3A, right? Except the bonus attack can be used even if you need to spend two move actions getting into range, or if you want to kill a weak enemy and then refocus on another target, or if you want to attack twice and then disengage. The bonus attack also benefits from other buffs – if you've got a Leader generating a +1A or +1S aura, such as through the Gloomspite Gitz Stab 'Em Good ability, that bonus attack isn't +3A – it's +4A. Ability Restrictions As we've just seen, the majority of abilities come with restrictions on their use – or on their optimal use. Some of these are indirect – for example, an AOE ability gets more powerful the more valid targets are in range, while an activation-long attack buff gets more powerful if you started your activation within 1" of an enemy. Others are more explicit, such as the ability of Gloomspite Gitz to get extra Strength only if they gang up on enemy model. These are important to designers because they guide the play style for each warband. If a player's abilities are at their best (or only usable at all) in specific situations, they'll learn to play in a way that creates those situations. For example, imagine a Chaos Warrior warband with an ability that gives +1A, but also gives +1S if there are no friendly models within 6". Immediately, the player knows that they'll have an easier time of things if they spread their models out, each of them a lone warrior looking to win glory on their own – which is the play style you wanted to encourage. It also creates an interesting dilemma for players – do I go for that +1S buff, or do I keep these guys together just in case they need support? A narrower but stronger ability is usually a better fit for Warcry than a more "generic" and somewhat weaker ability, just because the former does more to guide play. Runemarks also fall under this banner, albeit at the roster-building level rather than immediate play. They tie an ability directly to a specific set of characteristics and capabilities, and can therefore make a weaker model worthwhile, or make two powerful-but-identical models play very differently. A Leader ability is always going to be available to a warband, for example, but can only ever be used by one model in that warband. That makes it a good spot for buff auras, or more powerful abilities than you'd normally see elsewhere. It's worth pointing out that there are two ways to use Runemarks to restrict ability use. The first is to slap the Runemark on the ability – the second is to say that the ability can only be used within X" of another model with that Runemark. The difference lies in who you want to use the ability, and when you want it to be used. For example, Shambling Horde is a "universal" ability that nevertheless relies on the Leader runemark being nearby – it could just be a Leader ability, but then you'd be limited to using it once per battle round, during your Leader's activation. Conversely, the Beastmaster ability has the Agile runemark, and lets you affect a Beast fighter within 4" – it could be a Beast runemark ability that only works within 4" of an Agile fighter, but then it would occupy the Beast's activation, so it wouldn't be able to use Onslaught or Pounce on the same turn. A note for homebrewers – the only purpose for Runemarks is to restrict abilities. If you don't want/need to do that, don't use a Runemark. Sure, Ironguts are "elites", but unless you've got an Irongut-specific Ability in mind for your Ogor warband, don't bother giving them the Elite Runemark. Similarly, Troggoths are definitely "brutes", but if your entire Troggoth warband is made up of "brutes" you can just ditch the Runemark entirely. Value vs Flat One item worth considering – (value) based abilities vs flat bonuses. You always know what the (value) of an ability is before you use it, but there's no way to modify that value once you have it, even by spending Wild Dice. Therefore, you ideally want a decent mix of flat/value abilities, to avoid crippling a warband when it rolls a [Triple] 1 and a [Triple] 2. Use the average value (2 for half/value, 3.5 for value) as a guideline, and be aware that players can just "skip" using a value-based ability on a low roll. It's not such a problem for a Value 1 ability to be worse than a generic equivalent, because the player can just use the generic equivalent – and the fact that it could potentially be worse isn't a reason to make it significantly more powerful, because the players will just use it when it's powerful and skip it when it's not. Ability Costs and Guidelines This is the big one – thanks for sticking with us this far. Finally, let's lay down the guidelines for what various levels of ability can do for your warband, in general terms. Note that these are context sensitive, and depend at least in part on the capabilities of your warband. For example, part of the reason Nighthaunt underperform is because their abilities don't work very well with their actual fighters – their core defensive ability is to slap a -1 Strength penalty on an enemy model, but most of their fighters are already Toughness 5, so Aura of Dread simply won't have an effect on anyone but the strongest enemy fighters in the game. Here we go: [Double] – +1A total with an extra benefit, +2A total with an extra benefit and a restriction, +3A total with a restriction. Examples: Onslaught gives +1-2A total, but requires a second attack action to reach +2A. Untamed Savagery gives +1A total, but also gives +1A total. Backstabbing Mob, Chilling Horde, Bathe in Blood, and Chosen Champion give +1-2A total and +1S, but require a second attack action to reach +2A and a second circumstance (friend within 1", Minion within 3", enemy already damaged, within 6" of your Leader) to get +1S. Duff Up Da Big Thing and Chosen of the King give +2-4A total, but only for a specific expensive elite fighter, and come with an additional restriction (only within 6" of the Leader, only against W15+ models). Poisoned Weapon isn't a direct example, but fits best here for comparison's sake – since your fighters are S3-S4, against T4+ opponents it'll take you from hitting on 4s or 5s to hitting on 3s, which is a +33-100% increase in non-crit damage. That "non-crit" caveat is important – basically, it's worse than or equal to Onslaught on anyone except a fighter with D2/4 who'd otherwise be wounding on 5s. Then it's better. Aelf Venombloods, eat your heart out. Note that Warcry (mostly) values long-ranged attacks much more heavily than close-range attacks. Onslaught doesn't work on ranged attacks (i.e. more than 3"), so Idoneth get +1-2A total on ranged attacks with Storm Fire. [Double] – +1M total with an extra benefit, +2M total with an extra benefit and a restriction, +3M total with a restriction. Examples: Rush gives +1-2M total, but requires a second move action to reach +2M. Untamed Savagery is +1M total, but also gives +1A total. Tireless Hunters is +2M total and only requires a single move action, but relies on (value). Shambling Horde is +1-3M total and is a bonus action, but relies on (value) and a nearby Leader. Charge is +3-4M total and is a bonus action, but requires that you are within 6" of an enemy fighter. Low Tide is +1-6M total and is a bonus action, but relies on (value) and only works on the first battle round. Swift Climb is +XM total, where X = the distance you climb vertically. Acrobatic Leap gives you +XM total, where X is the distance you save by flying over enemy models and onto raised platforms. [Double] – Prevent an enemy model at short range from disengaging/moving, with a minor restriction or odds of failure. Examples: Harrying Raven prevents an enemy model within 20" from disengaging, but cannot affect movement and is specific to one, relatively weak fighter. Ensnaring Net prevents an enemy model within 3" from disengaging or moving, but is specific to your Leader. Nightmarish Visage prevents move/disengage actions out to 3" and is universal, but works only on a 3+. Barbed Net prevents move/disengage actions out to 3" and is universal, but works only on a 3+ and is specific to one, relatively weak model. Skewering Strike prevents an enemy within 1" from disengaging/moving, and also adds +1S to your next attack – but it's specific to an expensive kind of fighter, requires an attack action, and only works on a critical hit with that attack (the same or better odds as 3+, really – FEC have a lot of relatively quite powerful abilities). [Double] – Allocate roughly 1.5-2 average damage points, depending on value, to an enemy model at short range, ignoring Toughness. Examples: Fanged Buckler and Toof Shiv are 1.5 average (0.66-2.33, depending on value) within 1". Raven Dart is weaker, but longer range and universal. Turned to Crystal is stronger (1-2.66 average, depending on value) with a longer range, but is restricted to an expensive model. Throwing Stars and Chakrams and Throw Bolas are both unrestricted versions of Turned to Crystal, but in warbands with no ranged options (and slow Move, for Iron Golems). Chain Garotte is slightly weaker than Turned to Crystal... and is in a warband with no ranged options, sasuga Unmade. Shield Bash does by far the least damage of any example of this ability in the game, is restricted to a specific model, and comes with an additional, major restriction (you need to move into 1" on your turn) – I have genuinely no idea why it exists, and there is no reason to ever use it. Cursed Weapon is a weird one – it doesn't trigger off value, and does rely partly on Toughness, but it ultimately fits here – it should average 1-2.66 extra damage at 1" range, in exchange for needing an attack action. [Double] – Allocate roughly 0.5-1 average damage points, depending on value, to all enemy fighters within 2", ignoring Toughness. Examples: Sweeping Blow and Low Sweeping Blow. Pretty straightforward. Worse than the single-target examples against 1 model, comparable against 2 models, better against 3 models. Helpfully, these warbands are fast enough to make it work. [Double] – Add +1T to friendly fighters within 6". Examples: Righteous Aura does this as a Leader ability in a warband that's almost entirely T5 – useful against Ironjawz and Gloomspite, I suppose? Beast Spirit Ju-Ju is much more useful, since all your guys are T3-T4, so you're getting that precious -25-33% non-crit damage against almost every model in the game. Aura of Dread is effectively this, but only affects a single enemy model, has a 1-6" range, and is also in a warband that's almost entirely T5. It is very bad, as a result. Stand Defiant is this, but a [Triple], in a warband of T4-T5 models. It's just awful. [Double] – Do something like a [Triple], but with a major restriction, or a [Quad] with a major restriction and only on a Leader. Examples: Feeding Frenzy is just Respite, but it requires that you kill an enemy model on that activation. Lead With Strength and All-Out Attack are just Rampage, but only on a Leader and require that you kill an enemy model on that activation. Vessel of Torment is identical to Lead With Strength and All-Out Attack, but is also a [Triple] because a) the Unmade Leader is stronger than the Iron Golems or Untamed Leaders, b) the Unmade just don't deserve nice things. [Triple] – Add +1A or +(value)M to all friendly fighters within 6" – must be on a Leader, to avoid multi-stacking and keep its range limited. Examples: Grisly Trophy and Stab 'Em Good both add +1A. High Tide adds +1A and +1S, but only functions on the third battle round. Sacrifice to Khaine adds +1A, but requires a kill in that activation first, which is unusual but hardly a deal-breaker. Waaagh! and Bringer of Death adds +(value)M. Shattered Gloom Globe is just the debuff evil twin of +1A. Note the math on "auras" depends on your placement – if there's no-one within range, they're just a pricier Onslaught/Rush. If there's one extra model in range, they're twice as good. Two models, three times as good, etc. Note also that the +1A aura is constant – if you're within 6" and you attack, you get +1A. That means it's good if you're surrounded by targets, even if your friends are currently out of range. The +M aura, on the other hand, triggers when activated – you can (but must) use it to buff your friends before you move away from them. [Triple] – Revive a deceased fighter with (value) damage points removed. Leader-only. Examples: Summon Undead and Spectral Summon. Fairly straightforward – think of it as Respite that works even if they're dead and lets you bring them within 6" of your Leader, but it eats your Leader's ability use. [Triple] – Do something like a [Double], but 2-3 times as good and with one or more extra restrictions. Examples: Flaying Frenzy is the [Double] AOE, but twice as good, and limited to a single specific elite fighter. Death Scream is the [Double] AOE, but with twice the range, and limited to a single specific elite fighter. Boing! Boing! Boing!, Pounce, and Living Battering Ram are the [Double] single-target damage allocation, but three times as good (on average), and require you move within 1" of your target in your activation. Heartseekers is the [Double] single-target damage alloction, but with a 20" range. Snake Charmer is the [Double] Attack boost, but three times as good (+5 bonus instead of +2), and requires a specific expensive fighter to be within 4" of a specific other model that is within 1" of an enemy. Da Grab an' Bash is the [Double] move/disengage prevention, but also allows a bonus attack on a roll of 6 (not the best, but the principle is there). Rapid Fire is the [Double] Attack boost, but 2-3 times as good if you're already using one action to move or disengage. [Triple] – A bonus move and bonus attack (or other [Quad]-equivalent), but with a major restriction. Examples: Swooping Attack is just Rampage, but on a specific, expensive model, and requires that you move down 3" to get the bonus attack (and eat fall damage). Harpoon Snag is just Rampage, but on a specific, expensive model, and makes your opponent move toward you instead of letting you move wherever you like. Darting Attack is just Rampage, but on a specific fighter, requires that you start within 1", and gives you a disengage instead of a move. Relentless Killer gives you a bonus attack if you kill someone, which is iffy. It's basically a [Double] ability with no Leader restriction – fair enough – tied a different specific fighter – still fine – and no bonus move – not great. It's solid if you're within 1" of two or more enemies at the start of your turn, but that's more situational than you'd want. In general, [Triple] is where you get bonus actions – they're much more rare or limited at [Doubles], and even at [Triples] mostly come as package deals tied to a specific model and situation. [Quad] – Make a bonus move and a bonus attack, with a minor boost to one of those actions based on circumstances. Examples: Rampage is the baseline. Death from Above is Rampage, but adds +1S if you moved 3" vertically down. Death on the Wind is Rampage, but adds +1S if you moved 6" in any direction. Royal Hunt is Rampage, but adds +1A if you're within 1" of a friendly (+1A is better than +1S, and the restriction is pretty simple too – that makes it strong). Spinning Somersault Strike is Rampage, but it lets you fly. Sneaky Stab is Rampage, but adds +(value) damage to the total damage of the bonus attack (not to each hit, I swear to god this needs commentary) if you're making a melee attack. Gift of Agony would be too strong as a [Triple], but it's a pretty lacklustre [Quad]. It's better than Rampage if you're already damaged and you started your turn within 1" of an enemy model and you didn't kill that enemy model with your regular attack actions. Pretty narrow. Otherwise, pass. Unleash the Beast is in the same boat. It's a [Quad], but it's basically just Onslaught x2-3 with a Strength buff. When Rampage is giving you the flexibility of two bonus actions, +2-6A and a Strength boost just doesn't cut it. It's better than Rampage if I start within 1" of an enemy, and my target is T4 or T5, and the ability has a value of 3-6. In any other situation, Rampage is equal or better. [Quad] – A [Triple], but 2-3 times better and/or lacking any restrictions. Examples: Aimed Strike is just [Triple] Heartseekers, but 2-3 times more likely to trigger. Reaped Like Corn, Biovoltaic Blast and Whirlwind of Death are just the [Triple] AOE damage allocation, but guaranteed to trigger in full and therefore about 3 times better on average. Vanhel's Danse Macabre is just all the [Triple] stuff that gives a single bonus move or attack, but with no restrictions, more flexibility, and targeting (value) friendlies within 6". [Quad] – Roughly a [Triple] plus roughly [Double]. Important, since you can't otherwise use two distinct abilities at once. Examples: Paralysing Venom is a [Triple] Heartseekers with a half-as-good [Double] move/disengage prevention baked in, and though it's limited to melee it's also universal and applies to twice as many attack actions. Rampaging Destroyer is a [Double] Onslaught, plus the various [Triple] bonus move abilities... but also requires a model taken down for each move, and is therefore on the weaker end. Miscellaneous Weirdness: Slaughter's Strength adds +(value) Strength to your attacks, making it a [Triple] that's weaker than basic [Doubles]. Spine-Crushing Blow is a [Double] that does the same thing, but is limited to one attack, and is therefore even more awful. In general, if an ability seems overly specific or limited, I try to look for the situation where it shines and let that guide the playstyle – but these just don't have one. They feel like leftovers from a draft where Strength worked differently – I advise you to ignore them for balance purposes. Poisoned Weapon is much more acceptable, at least in a warband with multiple D2+ attackers. Beastmaster is a [Double] that's identical to the [Triple] Snake Charmer. I guess the logic is that the Rocktusk is three times as expensive as the Serpents (albeit three times tougher, and notably faster and more damaging) while the Beast Speaker is less formidable than the Serpent Caller, but it's still a potent difference. God knows Serpents don't need to be made any better, but it's not like the Untamed Beasts were in need of help. I have no idea what Go Dat Way is for. It's +4M total as a bonus action, and requires a specific (otherwise useless) fighter to be within 4" of another specific fighter. It'd rate as a slightly-too-strong [Double], normally. Granted, Squigs are hilariously good, but you could get a Squig Hopper for 15pts more than a Squig + Herder and it'd be significantly faster even without spending a [Triple] on this.
  3. Hi there folks! I want to ask a question that, is simple to many, but not to me 🀣 How to do layering well? I started painting minis in the early 2000s with Confrontation wargame. Then I had some chaos stuff for my Hordes of Chaos (6th ed of WFB), then some Necrons for 40k, and then minis for Hordes and Warmachine games. I wasn't a good painter honestly but recently (at the beginning of this year) I improved a lot. Some of my minis to give you an idea (Lord of Chaos, three Skeletons from Shadespire, a Glaivewraith Stalker and a Vampire Lord on a Nightmare steed): I am satisfied with them but I think I could learn something about layering and by doing so, improve my painting skills. Can you guys help me somehow? Do you know an article, a blog post or an online video tutorial that shows in a very detailed way how to do layers well?
  4. Hi everyone, I'm hoping the community can help me out a bit here. I got an airbrush for Christmas, and I'd like to start using it, but I'm a bit nervous about getting started. Can anyone recommend some resources for someone looking to learn airbrushing? Mainly looking for beginner resources, but really any resources are appreciated.
  5. Howdy, folks! This is a guide to show you how to get the most out of your Start Collecting: Seraphon box. I believe the ideal number of these boxes to purchase is 2, in order to minimize the number of unusable models (following Matched Play unit composition rules) from the Knights and Warriors units. However, if your opponents dont mind you paying points-per-model, instead of the increments listed in the General's Handbook, you'll likely be perfectly fine with a single box. With two boxes, you get a solid mix of different units to build, which you can mix and match for 1000 point games. When I use the phrase "full command," it refers to having three models in a unit representing a single leader (Alpha), standard-bearer (Stardrake Icon), and musician (Wardrums). This terminology comes from Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Sprue Breakdown ...for one Start Collecting: Seraphon box. Carnosaur/Troglodon 1 Carnosaur/Troglodon sprue, which is used to assemble the majority of the Carnosaur or Troglodon. 1 Carnosaur/Trogolodon "Riders" sprue, which contains bits for the Saurus Oldblood, Saurus Scar-Veteran, and Skink Oracle. It comes with an additional set of legs for the Saurus Rider to be assembled "on foot". You can find parts of the Troglodon's collar and the back spines on the sprue as well. There are several weapons options and decorations on this sprue, some of which are for units that no longer exist in Age of Sigmar. There are lots of good bits on this sprue for decorating and conversions. If you use the sprues to build a Saurus Oldblood or Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur, you will have leftover bits with which to convert a Skink Hero of some kind. I recommend a Skink Starpriest, as I think he's very useful with the units you will have from Start Collecting: Seraphon. You can also magnetize the Saurus rider to switch between the Saurus Oldblood and Scar-Veteran. I recommend modeling the Saurus rider with armor. If you use the sprues to build a Troglodon, you will have leftover bits with which to create a Saurus Hero on foot. I found this handy guide which explains how to create a Saurus Hero on Foot. With the amazing power of magnets, this Saurus Hero can represent either a Saurus Oldblood or Saurus Sunblood. Saurus Warriors 3 Saurus Warriors Club sprues, which have the bodies, legs, club-wielding arms, shield arms, and shields. 3 Saurus Warriors Spears & Command sprues, which has the heads, spear-wielding arms, banner-wielding arm, two banners toppers, arm holding a drum, arms holding mallets,s. With the bits provided, for each 4 Saurus Warriors you assemble, one model may be assembled as an Alpha Talon, one model may be assembled to carry a Stardrake Icon, and one model may be assembled to carry Wardrums. If the minimum size of a unit of Saurus Warriors was 4 models, you could build three 4-model units, each with full command, from a single Start Collecting: Seraphon box. You are not forced to assemble any Saurus Warrior as a Alpha Talon, Stardrake Icon-bearer, or Wardrummer. As an alternative to Saurus Warriors, you can convert their weapons into polearms by snipping the heads off of the spears, and attaching the heads of the clubs. Tell your opponents they are Saurus Guard. Only 3 of the clubs resemble the polearms from Saurus Guard, so you may look to other bits for an appropriate polearm head. I recommend painting converted Saurus Guard with faded scales/skin to look older and more weathered than Saurus Warriors or Saurus Knights. For Matched Play, these sprues provide enough parts to assemble a 10-model unit of Saurus Warriors with full command. Two Saurus Warriors will be left over. If you make the Saurus Guard conversion, you can assemble two 5-model units of Saurus Guard with full commands, or one 10-model unit of Saurus Guard with full command. Two Saurus "Guard" will be left over. Saurus Knights 2 Saurus Knights Lance sprues, which have lance-wielding arms, the banner-wielding arm, banner accessories (including toppers), shield-carrying arms, wardrums, some club-wielding arms, an alternative head for the Alpha Knight's mount, and some decorations. 2 Saurus Knights body sprues, which contain the Saurus bodies, remaining club-wielding arms, Saurus heads, including an additional head with which to indicate the Alpha Knight, and some decorations. 8 Cold One sprues, each of which contains all the bits to assemble a complete Cold One mount. With the bits provided, for each 4 Saurus Knights you assemble, one model may be assembled as an Alpha Knight, one model may be assembled to carry a Stardrake Icon, and one model may be assembled to carry Wardrums. If the minimum size of a unit of Saurus Knights was 4 models, you could build two 4-model units, each with full command, from a single Start Collecting: Seraphon box. You are not forced to assemble any Saurus Knight as an Alpha Knight, Stardrake Icon-bearer, or Wardrummer. For Matched Play, these sprues provide enough parts to assemble a 5-model unit of Saurus Knights with full command. Three Saurus Knights will be left over.
  6. Hey everyone, I haven't been doing a lot of painting lately, mainly just frustrated from hitting my head against the wall with my last job owing me money and some family worries, and organising travelling back to the UK, and fighting a shop who I think are a scam (a geeky shop, hence my WordPressblog post to warn anyone who might like their products, to be careful. My WordPress blog is for Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40K, but it can also be for all types of geekiness (but there is one rule with my models, I will only post models that are complete; regardless of a lil update or tweak later on). Anyhow the point of this post.. Before I even knew about Age of Sigmar, my boyfriend was introducing me to Warhammer 40K (Dark Eldar 'drools'), and he was suggesting to me some great models to start building an army. One thing that put me off Warhammer 40K to really dig my heels into itz was always having to juggle points (it has pro's and con's),. You can't 'just' have a model from that group that you like and use them, you have to really think about it. Plus you have to calculate the weapons etc. on the model, which is difficult to know potentially a decent weapon to a ****** one, and (something I see being a problem personally when) choosing between a great weapon, but the one you prefer isnt the better option etc. (all of this probably sounds worse from memory, it probably isn't that much of a big deal). Following from there, there is something that I forgot how much I enjoyed doing (and keeps me very quiet and focused)... Organising lists. For example I bravely took a note book, and began making a (as perfect as possible) layout for a quick reference of my models, to get to them easily, rather than sifting through a huge book (or app, which the layout isn't quite to my tastes but great for when your on the go, like if your on the bus and want to explore some new models that might be great to have in your Khorne., Chaos etc. army. To be honest, I am probably not the first to make quick lil charts (I'll let mine be available for all. But currently I'm making them with my army in mind, but I'm going to try and make my charts, and quick lists for as many models, rules and so on, as possible, and for Warhammer 40K). I really like the idea (as my memory Is TERRIBLE) of being able to print an interchangeable booklet (folder + plastic wallets = perfect BUT something a bit smaller preferably). The idea (and again books are difficult for me, because of hating how the neatness might be ruined because of changing my mind of the styles, and layouts) of having a reference book that has the models you are going to USE in a game specifically (rather than ALL of them) seems more practical, its neat, practical and aesthetically pleasing, easier from for your eyes to jump faster to the information you want, without scanning past the information that's uneccessary, so all in all it seems like a great idea to make an organised list. I think my main bit of pain, is if you want to reorder/ add/ change the page order. I personally like them in their groups. Having an order of priority of which units are closer to the front page and being able to change it later. Especially if your new (or again having a bad memory like me) for remembering rules, and abilities, as it can be a bit annoying fiddling with the app or going through a huge book. I bookmarked all the pages of the models I have and that I use to play for my Chaos book but (those books are too nice to use any type of adhesive to stick them on), I would lose the bookmarks etc. Plus doing a nice handwritten notebook, and a version I can modify easily and add to, on the computer as well, can be wonderful creatively. It helps you to see what models you need, if you have any weaknesses, whilst I also find that it helps to see the abilities or spells that you (definitely ME, ME, ME!) might be forgetting, that could be detrimental to the final results of a game. I'm looking forward to showing you whats soon to come, if it helps than fantastic! ToΓ±a x
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