Top Three Aos Lists for Small Town Throwdown: Smoke on the Water

Tournament that took place in the USA on 25th and 26th February. It involved 30 players vying to be crowned champion in a 5-game tournament.

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Small Town Throwdown: Smoke on the Water (US) – 30 Players

Army Faction: Orruk Warclans
Army Type: Big Waaagh!
– Grand Strategy: Waaagh!
– Triumph: Bloodthirsty

Orruk Warchanter (120)*
– General
– Command Traits: Master of Magic
– Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome
– Spells: Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork
– Warbeats: Fixin’ Beat
Orruk Warchanter (120)*
Warbeats: Get ’Em Beat
Skragrott, the Loonking (160)*
Orruk Megaboss (140)**
Wurrgog Prophet (170)**
Artefacts of Power: Glowin’ Tattooz
– Spells: Gorkamorka’s War Cry
Wurrgog Prophet (170)**
Artefacts of Power: Gryph-feather Charm
– Spells: Gorkamorka’s War Cry
– Aspects of the Champion: Abhorrant Ghoul King

Moonclan Stabbas (125)*
Moonclan Boss
– Bad Moon Icon Bearer
– Gong Basher
– Stabba
– 3 Barbed Nets
Orruk Ardboys (80)**
Orruk Ardboys (240)***
Ardboy Boss
– 3 x Gorkamorka Glyph Bearer
– 3 x Waaagh! Drummer
– 6 x Orruk-forged Shield
Orruk Brutes (450)***
Brute Boss
– Jagged Gore-hacka
Orruk Brutes (150)***
Brute Boss
– Jagged Gore-hacka

1 x Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws (70)

***Galletian Veterans

TOTAL POINTS: 1995/2000

Big Waaagh have been taking a bit of a back seat recently, with not many people playing it; but it’s great to see Gregory still repping it and grabbing the elusive 5-0 here. Big Waaagh is great, and often taken by people with Ironjawz armies who want to run a Wurgogg Prophet… and what has Gregory done? He’s taken 2! Great work here.

He’s also taken Skragrott which is interesting as he loses his access to the Gloomspite magic lore, and his Warmaster ability. However his spell (Fangs of Da Bad Moon) still has the potential to cause damage. I wouldn’t have considered it myself… but its an interesting shout.

The rest of the army is an Ironjawz core, with 15 Ardboyz and 15 Orruk Brutes as the reinforced units. They hit hard and the Brutes can cause great damage with the +1/+1 to hit/wound and extra damage from the Orruk Warchanter. Interestingly there’s no MawKrusha here, but that’s likely because of Galletian Champions – its good to see a GHB make some changes to army selection.


Allegiance: Khorne
Slaughterhost: Reapers of Vengeance
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumphs: Charge

Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage (280)*
Artefact: Armour of Scorn
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury (300)***
– Command Trait: Mage Eater
– Artefact: Skullshard Mantle
Skarbrand (390)
Slaughterpriest (100)*
Prayer: Blood Sacrifice
Skarr Bloodwrath (110)*
Slaughterpriest (100)**
Prayer: +1 to hit
– Aspect of the Champion: Tunnel Master

5 x Flesh Hounds (100)***
5 x Flesh Hounds (100)***
5 x Flesh Hounds (100)**

9 x The Unmade (80)*

Cygor (210)***

Endless Spells & Invocations
Wrath-Axe (70)
Skulls (50)

Core Battalions
***Battle Regiment

Additional Enhancements

Total: 1990 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Drops: 8

Peter: We’re lucky that for such a small site, we’re followed by some of the competitive players in the US and UK. As such, Gareth agree to share how his list worked for the event (though remember, this won’t apply for long with the release of the new book imminently).

Gareth: I’ve been running the same variation of this list for a few years now. I don’t play many tournaments and don’t have the brain power to change lists too much, so I just tinker around the edges. This latest iteration was a change from the list I was running last season. I removed a Khorne Daemon Prince and an Incarnate, and put in a Cygor, a second Slaughterpriest, Skarr, the Unmade, and the incantations.

The list is built primarily around the idea of giving your opponent headaches and making them doubt every move they make. Khorne has possibly more tricks than any other army right now, and this list is built to take advantage of all of them.

First let’s start with the anti-magic element, which, as with any Khorne army, is extremely strong. First off, the list has 8 unbinds; 1 from each Slaughterpriest, 1 from each unit of Flesh Hounds, 2 from the Cygor, and 1 from the Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury wearing the Skullshard Mantle. Although none of these unbinds have any bonuses to unbind the Skullshard Mantle does have the neat little rule that an unmodified roll of an 8 automatically unbinds the spell, and the caster suffers D6 MW. If you save that unbind for a wizard who has one or two wounds left, it can throw doubt into your opponent over whether they want to chance it. Rolling an 8 is only a 14% chance, but in their mind, it is much higher.

Secondly, we have the Skull Altar, which causes any miscast to do D6 MW instead of D3 MW to the caster. Came in particularly handy this weekend in one of my games: a Master of Magic rerolled a miscast into a miscast, and then promptly died!

Thirdly, we have the use of 2 blood tithe points to auto stop a spell. Note that this is not an unbind, so even if the caster has a rule that says their cast can not be unbound, we can still use 2 blood tithe to say NO!

Fourthly, we have the Hexgorger Skulls. A handy incantation that has two nice rules – wizards within 12” get a -2 to cast debuff, plus if they’re within 8” and they roll an unmodified 8 to cast, the spell is unsuccessful, the caster, and any other wizards within 12” suffer D6 MW, and the wizard can no longer cast that spell for the rest of the game! Again, that 8 is only 14%, but in their mind, it is much larger.

Fifth, we have the ignore-magic on a 6. Any time any of your units are affected by a spell or endless spell, you can ignore its effects on a 6 (and you gain a blood tithe!). In one famous game against a Teclis-Sentinel list a few months back, Teclis managed to put Searing White Light through a portal to cause D3/D6 MW to my whole army during turn 1. I rolled well, and he caused a total of 4 MW across my whole army, and I gained 5 blood tithe. Thanks!

Finally, there is the Cygor’s ability. Any time a spell is successfully cast by a wizard within 30” of the Cygor, that wizard suffers 1 MW. Now that isn’t going to dent a huge monster-hero-wizard like, say Teclis, but I faced both Gitz and Skaven this weekend, and both had 5 wound wizards with two casts a turn. Quite a few times, I was willing to not even attempt an unbind, preferring to chip off 20% of their health for free. Again, it puts doubt into your opponent’s mind – “How much do I really need to cast this spell?”

The next trick we have is the use of blood tithe. Prior to this GHB, I almost exclusively used blood tithe for hero phase move and hero phase fight. That’s changed a little now that Galletian Champions are important – our ability to summon one for just 2 blood tithe is pretty great, so I’ve been doing that a lot.
Before going into detail on blood tithe, let’s talk about Skarr. He’s in the list for one reason and one reason only – to die. He has an amazing ability that once he is dead, at the end of any movement phase (including your opponents) you can roll two dice and, on an 8,+ he comes back alive, anywhere on the board, 9” away from enemy units. That’s an amazing tech piece. I try to kill him as early as possible, and then during each of my opponent’s movement phases just take out my 9” stick and start measuring things, just to put doubt into their mind about where they can or cannot move safely.

Of course, to make sure he dies early, you need ways to kill him. That’s where he ties into blood tithe. One of my Slaughterpriests has the Blood Sacrifice prayer, which allows you to target a friendly BoK unit and cause them D3 MW in return for a blood tithe point. I was lucky that in four of my five games over the weekend, I had mystical in my deployment zone.

I placed the Skull Altar (which allows priests to re-roll prayers) within 8” of the mystical terrain, placed Skarr inside the Altar, and the Priest on the mystical. Turn 1 sacrifice Skarr, gain a tithe, and give him D3 MW. Then, since he is in the Skull Altar he can chant to bring out the Wrath-Axe, I use the Axe to cause another D3 MW on Skarr, and possibly another D3 with its secondary damage ability. Generally, this killsthis kills him, meaning I get 2 blood tithe (1 from his death, 1 from the sacrifice) in my first hero phase.

The blood tithe are then used later in the game as either a threat – using 3 to move the Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage or Skarbrand in my hero phase, giving them a much larger threat range, or, more commonly, to deny battle tactics. In your opponent’s hero phase they declare a battle tactic that involves killing something , and so you counter that by moving the thing they need to kill, out of range or behind a screen. Or, if you’re in combat in their hero phase, you spend 4 blood tithe to fight and generally cause carnage to their carefully laid out plans.
Finally, there’s the summoning aspect. Many of the new GHB battleplans or battle tactics require GCs to be on an objective for extra points or to score the tactic. Rarely are they “starting army” GCs. The ability to just summon one onto an objective for just 2 blood tithe (a Blood Master) is fantastic. Particularly if you pair it with Skarr’s revival. End of your movement phase, you revive him on to one objective, and then use him to summon a GC on to either the same objective or sometimes a second one!

Now let’s talk about the actual units that do stuff during the game. The Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury is there for one reason and one reason only – his command ability. At the start of the combat phase he can issue his command and all friendly BoK daemon units can pile-in 6”, and it’s the good 6” pile-in, meaning they can do it even if they’re outside of 3”. Note that this is an aura, but since the book is so old, none of the affected daemon units count as receiving a command ability, so are able to use other abilities at the same time. This is huge. Having, essentially, your whole army able to pile-in 6” is bonkers good. I very rarely charge any of my daemons during a game. Just move them to 3.1” away from their target unit, and then pile-in 6”.
This has multiple benefits. First if you’re going against a monster, they cannot roar you (although the reverse is also true – you cannot perform a monstrous rampage). Second, you avoid any unleash hell. Third you can play activation games – although you’re going to fight with every single one of your units, your opponent is only able to activate their units which are within 3”, which is very often none (you activate first, put in a Bloodthirster, it kills the unit, it’s your opponent’s activation, they have nothing within 3”, so then you activate with your next 6” pile-in, and so on).

The 6” pile-in also interacts with the other tech piece in a Reapers of Vengeance list – all daemons have the start-of-combat-phase command ability to fight twice, and it’s an immediate fight twice. Note this command ability can only be used if you are within 3” of an enemy. The general idea is that you pile-in 6” with a Rage thirster or Skarbrand into two units, kill a bunch of stuff in one unit on the first fight, and then activate a second time, again going 6” to kill another unit. That second 6” pile-in often allows you to jump over a screen to target something more juicy.
The Fury thirster is not that great in combat itself, typically doing only 5 or so wounds. But it does have a neat shooting attack – 4 attacks 3s/3s/-1/D3dmg that can kill a solo support hero or chip off some wounds from a screen etc.

Skarbrand is there to kill big monsters/heroes. It is relatively easy to keep Skarbrand at maximum rage for rounds 2-5. When at maximum rage, he does a guaranteed 8 MW per activation with his Carnage axe, and then has 9 attacks with Slaughter that are 4s/3s/-2/3dmg. That 4s to hit is horrible, even with the Locus of Fury ability that allows re-rolls of 1s to hit. We can mitigate that somewhat with either an All-Out-Attack (with the 6” pile-in he won’t have been roared), or earlier in the turn by using the Killing Frenzy prayer on him to give him +1 to hit. Skarbrand generally kills most heroes or does enough damage to seriously wound. If you’re going against multiple units, or a tough monster, you can use the double activate ability on him to cause a guaranteed 16 MW (with the potential of 24 or 32), and have 18 attacks.

Most seasoned Khorne players are surprised to see I don’t have a Bloodsecrator or Wrathmongers in my list. Either of these units give Skarbrand an extra attack, which works on Carnage, causing him to do a guaranteed 16 MW per activation instead of 8. That’s obviously a very nice buff, but I find Skarbrand generally kills everything he touches anyway, or is scary enough that people avoid him. Plus I hate the aesthetic of Khorne Mortals, so try to have as few mortals in my list as possible. Even my priests and Skarr are converted to look more daemon-like!

The Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage is the real scary piece in the army. His job is to clear hordes and support heroes. Particularly useful in this season where both are common. His basic attack profile is 5 attacks, 4s/2s/-2/D6dmg. That D6 damage is painful, as is the 4s to hit. But, he has this one little rule that changes everything. Any 6s to wound cause 4 MW (at top bracket) to all enemy units within 8” of him. That’s bonkers. If you roll two 6s, you’re doing 8 MW. That’s enough to kill most support heroes. And 8” with a largeish base is a big area. Couple it with the 6” pile-in and a double activation, and you can wreak havoc. I tend to use Killing Frenzy (+1 to hit prayer) and the double activation on him more than on Skarbrand. 3s to hit RR1s is actually fairly consistent to get enough hits through to then get one or two 6s to wound per activation.
In my first game this weekend I faced the dreaded squig heavy Gitz list. Gitz have lots of over-lapping buffs, so tend to want to castle. They also have lots of support heroes. My Rage thirster killed 60 models in one combat phase.

Next is the Cygor. Although I’ve already spoken about his great anti-magic potential, he’s also a pretty handy monster. I tend to like monster-mash lists, so when I knew I had to include more GC in my list this season, I was looking for a non-leader monster to throw in. Cygor is the perfect match. 16 wounds means he’s tanky (even with the 5+ save). His flat 5dmg shooting attack is pretty good at finishing off a unit or solo support hero. He’s also decent in combat. For magic heavy armies he’s a good distraction. He usually is the first thing to die in my army (other than Skarr), but that means that my ‘Thirsters are not being targeted, which is fine by me!
The Unmade are included for their debuff aura. Any enemy units within 12” (which is a crazy range for a unit of 9 models) can not redeploy or rally. Redeploy is the bane of the 6” pile-in. If you run your Bloodthirsters up the table, counting on the 6” pile-in to get into combat, a 4” redeploy kills you. Unmade for 80 points is a bargain to stop that. Also, with so many 4+ rallies in the game now, stopping that is handy, too!

The only remaining piece to describe is the Wrath-Axe. As well as being there to potentially first turn kill Skarr, it is handy to just have around all game doing chip damage and move blocking. Although incantations can be moved through as if they aren’t there, you still can not end a move on top of them. The Wrath-Axe has a large base, and being able to put it on one side of your army to prevent anyone charging from that side is pretty handy.

My choice of 2nd artefact is probably worth some discussion. Many Khorne players swear by Ar’gath, the King of Blades, as the artefact of choice on a Rage Thirster. This weapon gives changes the to-hit profile on the Rage Thirster from 4s to hit to 2s to hit. But only when targeting heroes. Since I generally use Skarbrand to hit big heroes and use Rage to target hordes (hoping to kill support heroes with the booms), I don’t like this choice.
Harvester of Skulls is another choice – increase the number of attacks from 5 to 6 per activation. That’s a decent choice. An extra attack means more chances to get that 6 to wound. There’s also The Crimson Crown. This army is very command point dependent, so being able to use a command for free once per round is very useful. I can definitely see the attraction of that on the Fury Thirster. But I go for Armour of Scorn on my Rage. This gives him a 6+ ward, but 4+ wards against magic MW. I want my Rage thirster to live, and that 6+ ward is the nice little extra toughness to keep him alive a little longer. I’m very sympathetic to those who prefer Crimson Crown or Harvester of Skulls though.I’m pretty happy with this list at the moment, although with a new book on the horizon I think last weekend was probably my last competitive outing with it. Across two RTTs and the GT, I’m 10-1 with the list, which is pretty decent!


Allegiance: Idoneth Deepkin
Enclave: Nautilar
– Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Grand Strategy: The Creeping Gloomtide
– Triumphs: Inspired

Akhelian King (250)*
– Bladed Polearm
– Command Trait: Unstoppable Fury
– Artefact: Potion of Hateful Frenzy
– Mount Trait: Voidchill Darkness
Lotann, Warden of the Soul Ledgers (110)*
Battlemage (100)*
Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Universal Spell Lore: Ghost-mist
– Aspect of the Champion: Stubborn as a Rhinox
– Allies

6 x Akhelian Morrsarr Guard (360)*
Reinforced x 1
20 x Namarti Reavers (340)**
Reinforced x 1
10 x Namarti Reavers (170)**
10 x Namarti Reavers (170)**
Akhelian Leviadon (460)*
Mount Trait: Ancient

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment
**Galletian Sharpshooters

Total: 1960 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 2 / 4
Allies: 100 / 400
Wounds: 97
Drops: 4

Lotann + Leviadon + Big Namarti Parties are the soup of the day for Idoneth. The combination is a great way to improve the Namarti (Reavers or Thralls) in both offense and defense. The Leviadon provides an aura giving Namarti +1 to hit so long as the target is within 12″ of the Leviadon. With the Leviadon’s large base size, that 12″ is generous. He also provides a +1 to save aura in the same zone, meaning that the Namarti may be able to hold back and reap the benefits of the save and hit bonuses from the turtle while enjoying a bonus to wound from Lotann. Ultimately, a squad of 20 will be firing 40 arrows hitting on 2s, wounding on 2s, with rend -1 and 1 damage.

The King and Morsarr Guard are here to do King and Morsarr Guard things. Both like to move fast to get in their opponents’ faces. Both like to hit insanely hard for their cost. Both like to die if you sneeze near them while unsupported. a 6-strong unit of Morsarr can blend large blobs of chaff units using their once-per-game mortal wound bomb, and the king is one of the best duellists in the game. Careful positioning can lead to a blistering number of attacks, and on-demand strike first is nothing to sniff at.


Army Faction: Slaves to Darkness
Army Subfaction: Legion of the First Prince
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumphs: Inspired

1 x Centaurion Marshal (145)*
– Artefacts: The Conqueror’s Crown
1 x Chaos Sorcerer Lord (120)*
– Command Traits: Master of Magic
– Artefacts: Arcane Tome
– Spells: Chaotic Conduit
– Aspects of the Champion: Fuelled by Ghurish Rage
– Mark of Chaos: Slaanesh
1 x Eternus, Blade of the First Prince (235)*
1 x Be’lakor (355)***
Spells: Daemonic Speed

24 x Chaos Legionnaires (330)**
6 x Furies (90)**
6 x Furies (90)***

1 x Chaos Warshrine (185)***
– Prayers: Curse
– Mark of Chaos: Slaanesh

1 x Cockatrice (105)*
3 x Gorebeast Chariots (345)***
Exalted Charioteer
– 3 x Chaos Greatblade and Lashing Whip
– Mark of Chaos: Undivided

**Galletian Veterans
***Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: (2000/2000)

Legion of the First prince is starting to establish itself as ‘the third way’, after Cabalists and KOTET, and for good reason – it’s a much harder and more subtle sub-faction to get your head around. It does some offer some baked in synergy – and Kyle here (for the first time in this column that I’ve seen) has leant all the way into the fluffy, synergistic version.

The core fluff of a Legion list is the overlapping benefits to taking Be’Lakor, the Centaurion, Eternus, Legionnaires (double reinforced in this instance) and plenty of furies. The synergies are thus: Legionnaires gain +1 to wound while near Be’Lakor (making them a pretty respectable sub-hammer while relatively durable for their points); Eternus gets +1 to his ‘comes back from the dead’ roll while Be’lakor is still alive – and he gains a free CP while near either Legionnaires or Furies – the latter being more likely to keep up with him while Legionnaires guard Be’lakor; lastly, the Marshal allows the big blob of Legionnaires to rally on a 5+.

The rest of the list is worth commenting on to – it’s an early example of allying in the Cockatrice from the new Beasts book, for ability on a 4+ after one of its shots connects to make the enemy unit hit on 6s – which as you can imagine, could wildly swing the outcome of a key engagement – and at only 105 pts, it’s not a hugely risky gamble.

Ths list lost only to a no-doubt more traditional Slaves list, and again to Khorne – who love lists like this without ranged threats – with the most notable win being the on-form Sylvaneth for a 3-2, which is a good result with both a highly thematic and off-meta list. Gratz Kyle!

One thought on “Top Three Aos Lists for Small Town Throwdown: Smoke on the Water”

  1. A point of clarification for the Idoneth Deepkin list: Lotann’s ability only applies a +1 to wound on melee weapons not shooting. The triumph will help with shooting at 2+ to wound for one unit but his Warscroll ability doesn’t help Reavers in shooting.

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