All posts by Brett Martin

Vanguard: Nighthaunt – Beginners 1,000 Point Army

Nighthaunt – the true children of Nagash

Have you felt the chill of the grave rising through a faint mist? You enjoy painting pale figures stalking out of the horizon and falling on your enemy like the tide? Or have you read the lore and know that Nagash is the true inheritor of the World that Was and you want to join the right team? Have you decided it is time to up your miniature storage game?

Even before the release of the new battle tome we were seeing a small resurgence including a top 10 at LVO for the Nighthaunt. A faithful band of followers, leavened with new recruits, has kept the faction alive in the competitive scene. With a new tome, and the move to smaller hero based armies, it’s perhaps one of the best times to start Nighthaunt.

When they were first introduced the Nighthaunt were competitive but they faded a little with the arrival of the Elves (Daughters of Khaine, Idoneth and finally Lumineth). As an army they reward considered play and take a little bit to get the best from. Nighthaunt suits a player that is willing to take their time and wants to make the most of their opponents’ mistakes.

AoS 3.0 and the new battle tome sees a major change in their play style but they retain their mobility which is one of the best reasons to play them. They also have access to and strong synergy with possibly, at least in my opinion, the most interesting model in the game – Nagash.

The Nighthaunt Vanguard set makes it easy to get into the army and gives you a reasonable starting position.

Let’s look at building a 1000 point list from the Vanguard:Nighthaunt set.

The List

Allegiance: Nighthaunt

– Procession: Emerald Host

– Mortal Realm: Ghur

– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line

Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Knight of Shrouds (135)*

– General

– Command Trait: Ruler of the Spirit Hosts

– Artefact: Pendant of the Fell Wind

Reikenor the Grimhailer (190)*

– Lore of the Underworlds: Shademist

20 x Chainrasps (220)*

– Reinforced x 1

10 x Grimghast Reapers (165)*

10 x Grimghast Reapers (165)*

3 x Spirit Hosts (125)*

*Battle Regiment

Total: 1000 / 1000

Reinforced Units: 1 / 2

Allies: 0 / 200

Wounds: 61

Drops: 1

The Cost

SETGBP £USD $EUR €AUD $
Vanguard:Nighthaunt£80$130€105$190
Reiknor the Grimhailer£26$42€34$55
Grimghast Reapers£60$100€80$77
Battletome: Nighthaunt£32.50$55€42.50$84
Total£198.50$327€261.50AUD$406

With typical game store discounts (15% to 20%) this would reduce to between AUD$338 to AUD$353.

Key Units

I’ve used the full Vanguard box including the Knight of Shrouds. This creates some issues with the choice of small heroes, for a 1000 point list I would normally prefer to use a Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed and a Guardian of Souls. Instead I’ve used Reiknor to provide some mobile threat and casting with the Knight of Shrouds.

The first key unit though isn’t a unit, the Procession, Emerald Host, will get a lot of work done for us through the Emerald Curse

The Emerald Curse

After armies have been set up but before the first battle round you can pick D3+1 units on the battlefield. At the end of each battle round you roll a dice for each unit you picked, on a 2+ it suffers D3 mortal wounds (D3+1 for monsters)

That’s at least 8 free wounds per game (on average) and potentially many more. The curse could easily clear a battleline unit per game.

Knight of Shrouds

Our General in life and now in death, chosen today because Reiknor can’t take a command trait and for Nighthaunt one trait is very important – Ruler of the Spirit Hosts. This brings half of a destroyed unit back once per game which can be helpful with the 4+ save (and 6+ ward) most of your 1 wound units have. Unfortunately while he’s effective in combat his warscroll abilities are not useful in our list. The Spectral Overseer ability allows a unit to Redeploy or Unleash Hell without using a command point. We have one shooting unit and it’s not in this list. He does have an ability to allow successive activation in the fight phase which can be useful. Otherwise he brings 5 attacks hitting and wounding on 3s with -1 rend and 2 damage. 

WeaponNo. of AttacksAvg HitsAvg WoundsAvg Damage 
Sword of Stolen Hours53.3333.05*6.11
*Includes auto-wound on 6 effects

Reiknor the Grimhailer

With lots of choices for heroes I’ve used Reiknor, who is a bit expensive at 190 points, because he gives some mobility and is a wizard with combat capability. To get value from him you will need to use him in combat but with only 7 wounds and a 4+ save he can be pretty squishy even with a 6+ ward. He needs to be accompanied by the Spirit Host for their “bodyguard” ability which restricts him to an 8” move. So what does he bring? His combat skills first:

WeaponNo. of AttacksAvg HitsAvg WoundsAvg Damage 
Fellreaper53.3333.05*6.11
*Includes auto-wound on 6 effects

As a wizard he may cast one spell and deny one spell. I’ve given him Shademist which has a casting value (CV) of 6 and allows him to grant a friendly unit within 12” -1 to incoming wound rolls. He can place this on himself. He also brings special ability to improve his casting (Corpse Candle) and a warscroll spell (Wraithstorm).

Corpse Candle

In your hero phase, before this unit attempts to cast a spell, you can say that you will snuff out a corpse candle. If you do so, pick either this unit or 1 enemy unit within 12” of this unit. The unit you picked suffers 1 MW. If the MW was suffered by an enemy unit, add 1 to the casting rol. If the MW was suffered by this unit, add 3 to the casting spell.

Wraithstorm

A spell with a casting value of 7 and a range of 12”. If successfully cast, pick 11 enemy unit within range and visible to the caster. That unit suffers D3 MW, if any models are slain that unit immediately suffers an additional D3 MW.

Corpse candle is extremely useful, easily reducing Shademist to a CV of 5 (>60% success rate) as well as inflicting a MW. The other profile is more situational but if you used Corpse Candle and then Wraithstorm, Wraithstorm would go off on a 4 (>75% success). Wraithstorm is situational though but a good way of chipping a hero or potentially clearing a small screen. To get both damage rolls the best targets are single wound models but a single D3 is still stronger than Arcane Bolt.

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Units

Chainrasps

Our big block of ghosts with attitude, there is nothing subtle or amazing here. They all have 1 wound, a 5+ Save (and 6+ Ward), hit on 4s, wound on 4s and do one damage. But they can also be brought back to life by our heroes. On the charge they add one to wound rolls. What does this all mean (if they can all hit the same target). And they autowound on 6s.

WeaponNo. of AttacksAvg HitsAvg WoundsAvg Damage 
Malignant Weapon* 4122.772222
*With all-out attack and a charge, +1 to hit and +1 to wound.

You might not get the whole block of 20 into the same target but they are capable of overwhelming a lot of threats. The autowound on 6s means more than 6 wounds on average which increases the number of wounds significantly. The Nighthaunt Ethereal ability (that grants the 6+ ward) lets them fall back and charge every turn. It’s easy to make them wound on a 3+.

The downside is that they have no save against -2 Rend or better, realistically a charging Fulminator could remove the unit in one round.

Grimghast Reapers

Our hammer units in this list with their Rend – 1 weapons and their 3 attacks so long as there are more than 5 models in each unit. Run here as smaller 10 model units to give operational flexibility, it is always worthwhile to have the Death Knell in the unit.

WeaponNo. of AttacksAvg HitsAvg WoundsAvg Damage (pre-saves)
Slasher Scythe and Death Knell3012.513.3314

The Death Knell would be a lot better with flat damage rather than D3 but it still contributes reasonable damage. Against a 2+ save (-1 Rend makes this 3+) the unit will still do 4.66 damage and are threatening against a lot of armies. Unfortunately they can be removed if they are left exposed without Shademist or All out Defence.

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Spirit Hosts

They have an incredible 6 attacks each, in this list they are here mostly to hold backline objectives or, when required to act as bodyguards (their new ability lets them take a wound for a hero within 3” on a 3+ in place of the heroes ward save). The downside is no rend and only one damage per wound but they still autowound on 6s.

WeaponNo. of AttacksAvg HitsAvg WoundsAvg Damage (pre-saves)
Spectral Claws and Daggers187.53.75+36.75

Concept of Operations

This list is meant to be straightforward and adaptable. Everything is in a battle regiment to give control of priority, however there is an option to place 3 of the battle line infantry into Expert Conquerors and the remainder into a Battle Regiment. Expert Conquerors makes the infantry count as 3 models on objectives – the Chainrasp would count as 60 models. Our Preference is to go second to make your opponent come to you (keep out of line of sight if they have shooting) and hopefully get the double turn. You can also redeploy up to 3 units via Vanishing Phantasms into reserve before the start of combat and then set them up in ambush (9” from the enemy). 

Then buff the Chainrasps and use them to dominate the centre of the field (or anywhere else).. I mean grant them All out Attack, with a CP, from the Knight of Shrouds and make sure they charge or fallback and charge each turn. In activation, from the second round onwards start fighting with your Knight of Shrouds to take advantage of the double activation (your Knight fights and then one of other units immediately – normally the Chainrasps). If you have Grimghast Reapers in range they are a better recipient of AoA and the immediate activation.

Within this list the Spirit Hosts are mostly intended to provide a Bodyguard role to Reiknor but they are also available to take objectives in the rear. This list is vulnerable to shooting (a weakness of nighthaunt) especially Vanguard-Raptors. If they are present try to make sure that at least some of the Chainrasps are not visible and then remove the visible models first. This way you can still return models with the Spirit and Guardian.

In summary this is just a sample of what you could do, from the Vanguard: Nighthaunt box set. I would prefer to replace the HQs with a Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed and a Guardian of Souls for their warscroll abilities and bringing our Triumph into play (975 of a 1000 points). The biggest advantage of the Guardian is his ability to return models which transforms this list into a very frustrating defensive list with bite.

Next Steps

The easiest way to bring this list to 2000 points is to add Nagash, God of the Unquiet Dead. This takes the list to 1955 but you do lose the one drop Battle Regiment. Ideally you’d remove the Spirit Torment (it’s roll is replaced by Nagash) and either have 2 units of 20 Chaingasts and add some Craventhrone Guard or Hexwraiths. You could reinforce the Spirit Hosts into a unit of 6 then.

Alternatively play into the small heroes and bring in Lady Olynder and the Krulghast Cruciator along with the Black Coach for some more punch. I would still look to move to 2 units of Chainrasp and a unit of 6 Spirit Hosts to meet battleline requirements. Myrmourn Banshees and Bladeghast Revenants have done well in the new book and can be useful additions.

Bonus List – Arena of Shades

I started writing using the Arena of Shades box set but I wasn’t happy with the list but I’ve since found synergies that make could make it work really well so as a bonus for anyone still reading I’ve included the list: 

Allegiance: Nighthaunt

– Procession: Scarlet Doom

– Mortal Realm: Ghur

– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line

Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Scriptor Mortis (155)*

Spirit Torment (115)*

Guardian of Souls (150)*

General

Command Trait: Ruler of the Spirit Hosts

Artefact: Cloak of the Waxing Moon

Lore of the Underworlds: Shademist

10 x Bladegheist Revenants (175)*

10 x Bladegheist Revenants (175)*

5 x Craventhrone Guard (115)*

4 x Myrmourn Banshees (105)*

*Battle Regiment

Total: 990 / 1000

Reinforced Units: 0 / 2

Allies: 0 / 200

Wounds: 45

Drops: 1

The Cost

SETGW PRICE
Arena of Shades$320
Guardian of Souls*$35+10
Bladegheist Revenants$77
Battletome: Nighthaunt$84
Total$526

As always, look for discounts.

This list is a lot more fragile but also a lot more aggressive. The Scriptor Mortis is a very interesting model with the ability to make life very difficult for smaller support heroes or even monsters by stripping wounds in every round. Scarlet Doom applies mortal wounds on the charge, and you can fall back and charge every round. You can have one unit of Bladegheist hitting and wounding on 2+ with 3 attacks each. The Craventhorne Guard’s shooting might seem a bit underwhelming until you remember that they may be put in reserve and return in an ambush position within 9” of an enemy and they may shoot through cover. That is you can put them in an obscured position and fire away.

As always I’d love to see how you plan to use Nighthaunt, will you be grabbing some of the new models (Awlach or the Scriptor) or building lists from what you already have. 

Vanguard: Nighthaunt – Is it Worth it?

Nighthaunt: Vanguard – First Impressions Review

On the weekend Games Workshop finally announced new Vanguard sets, 3 in total, Skaven, Daughters of Khaine and Nighthaunt. Ahead of the weekend pre-orders, we at Woehammer thought reviewing it would be a good idea and spent some time deciding if it offered a good way to begin a Nighthaunt army.

What’s in the box?

SlotUnit
LeaderKnight of Shrouds
Battleline20 x Chainrasps
Battleline10 x Grimghast Reapers
Battleline3 x Spirit Hosts
Vanguard: Nighthaunt

34 Miniatures with one small Hero (HQ), and 33 melee troops all of which are battleline coming to a total of 645 points.

Purchased individually these models would be AUD$320 without discount, and all indications are that it will be priced at AUD$190, which makes it great value.

SetGBP £USD $EUR €AUD $
Knight of Shrouds£21$35€27$55
Chainrasps£52$84€68$140
Grimghast Reapers£30$50€40$77
Spirit Hosts£18$32€23$48
Total£121$201€158$320
Vanguard: Nighthaunt£80$130€105$190

This set has the battlelines to meet requirements for 750, 1000 or 2000 point games (not recommended) and best of all you could buy multiple copies. Except for the Knight of Shrouds these are staple units you would see in many competitive lists.

With the Chainrasps to act as anvil and the Grimghast to provide the hammer the 2 work well together and also compliment the Knight of Shrouds ability to allow sequential activation. Combined with Nighthaunt’s allegiance ability to fall back and charge every turn it’s very easy to supercharge the Grimghast with a 3rd attack creating a serious threat.

The Spirit Host offer good value through their number of attacks, 6s autowound for Nighthaunt giving 3 autowounds per attack on average. They also serve as a bodyguard granting a hero within 3” a 3+ ward with the Spirit Hosts taking the damage. This is essential if you are going to use the Knight of Shrouds ability

The choice of hero for the box is the biggest issue. The Knight of Shrouds abilities don’t really work well with the other units, his warscroll includes free Redeploy and Unleash Hell. For an army with almost no ranged damage. Nighthaunt live and die with their wizards and the Guardian of Souls would have been a better choice. His mounted brother, the Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed, is superior; granting an All out Attack for free. Compared to the Grey Seer included in the Vanguard:Skaven set it seems like a weaker choice.

Other criticism are minor, the units are more old school Nighthaunt and really only work well in 2 processions (Sub factions) – Emerald Host and Grieving Legion. Bladegheist Revenants would have had more options than the Grimghast. None of the new scuplts (Craventhrone Guard, Scriptor Mortis or Awlach the Drowner) are included and as a direct match up, it is weaker than the other Vanguard boxes released on the same schedule. That said this box is more of an option for multiple copies than the other 2 (although 2 Warpfire Cannons might not be terrible).

Overall this is a solid basis for a Nighthaunt Army. All it needs is your choice of heroes and it’s time to assert Nagash’s claim to the realm.

Stormcast Eternals – Beginners 1000 Point Army

Are you a long time 40k Space Marine pilot looking for a new, but familiar, challenge or someone that likes being good at everything but not spectacular? Do you long to be the bedrock on which a new world is built?

If the answer is yes then I have the solution for you. And it involves a lot of gold.

Stormcast Eternals (SCE)

These returning heroes have everything, stalwart infantry, Heroes that not only buff but also slap pretty hard, mortal wound shooting and if you want cavalry then they do it right – with dragons.

I am going to run you through a few options to get started in the faction and give you a solid base for a competitive army. SCE start collecting boxes are out of print now, they were the SCE half of the starter kits in 1st and then 2nd edition. But they are one half of the current AoS Starter sets and we will be looking at a list built from the Extremis or Harbinger Starter Sets. These lists are intended to be competitive but might not quite reach the top table. I won’t be featuring Vanguard Raptors, Fulminators or Storm Drakes. Or not yet (read to the end).

There are a lot of avenues to collect SCE models, they have been one half of the starter sets for all three (3) editions of Age of Sigmar (AoS) and featured in the Moral Realm magazine. They have the largest model range in AoS and can be allied into all order armies or take allies from all order armies.

Warhammer AoS Extremis or Harbinger Starter Sets

The Harbringer Set

The current AoS starter sets offer 2 armies, SCE and Kruleboyz Orcs as well as a core rule book and a special campaign book. The Extremis set adds some useful Terrain pieces. For SCE the set provides:

SlotUnit
LeaderLord Imperitant with Gryph hound
Battleline5 x Vindictors
Praetors3 x Praetors
Extremis/Harbinger Stormcast Eternals

The List

Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals
Stormhost: Hammers of Sigmar (Scions of the Storm)
– Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs:

LEADERS
Lord-Castellant (155)*
Lord-Imperatant (175)*
General
– Command Trait: Shock and Awe
– Artefact: Arcane Tome
– Spell: Celestial Blades

UNITS
5 x Vindictors (130)*
5 x Vindictors (130)**
3 x Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers (240)**
3 x Praetors (165)*

CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment
**Hunters of the Heartlands

The Cost

To create this list I’ll start with the Harbinger set and a Warcry: Thunderstrike Stormcast Eternals. This great value box provides both a second set of Vindicators and our Annihilators. You’ll also need a Battletome. The prices by region are shown below;

SETRRP AUD $RRP
USD $
RRP EUR € RRP GBP £
Harbinger Starter Set$120$99€80£65
Lord Castellant$65$38€31.50£24
Warcry: Thunderstrike Stormcast Eternals$98$60€50£37.50
Battletome: Stormcast Eternals$84$55€42.50£32.50
Total$367$252€204£159

As always third party stores offer between 15% and 20% discount, which could reduce this to about $306 AUD.

(If you’re in the UK you could sign up to SCN Hobby World’s mailing list and receive 25% off the RRP – Peter)

Key Units

Lord Imperatant

Source: Games Workshop

Say hello to our General, the Lord Imperatant. While no slouch in combat he isn’t here for his combat ability so we’ve given him the Arcane Tome making him a wizard able to cast one spell and unbind an opponent’s spell. We’ve given him the spell Celestial Blades which casts on a 5 and gives a unit of your choice within 18” +1 to wound rolls. This means he can make Praetors or Vindictors hit on a 2+. But his best trick is his warscroll ability, Guided by Lighting

Guided by Lightning

Once per turn, at the end of your movement phase, pick 1 friendly STORMCAST ETERNALS THUNDERSTRIKE unit with a Wounds characteristic of 3 or less that is in reserve. When you use the Scions of the Storm ability they may be set up more than 7” rather than 9” from enemy models.

Your whole list, other than the Lord Castellant, are Thunderstrike.

He can also issue a command without using a command point once per battle on top of a handy little shooting attack and his companion animal.

Lord Castellant

Source: Games Workshop

Our second in command, he brings significant combat prowess (and a friendly gryph hound) but mostly he’s here for his Lantern. 

Warding Lantern

In your hero phase either pick one STORMCAST ETERNALS unit wholly within 18” granting them a +1 to save rolls; or an enemy unity wholly within 18”, if you pick an enemy unit roll a dice, on a 2+ the target suffers D3 mortal wounds.

Drop him behind your Annihilators and they will be very annoying with a 2+ save.

Vindictors (Battleline)

Source: Games Workshop

Your basic 2 wound troop with a nifty spear giving them a 2” range and a 3+ save. They’ll lurk at the back or can be dropped in close to an enemy thanks to the Guided by Lightning. They have 2 attacks each, 3 for the sergeant (Prime), doing a Mortal Wound on an unmodified roll of 6. On average then you can expect:

WeaponNo. of AttacksAvg HitsAvg WoundsAvg Damage (pre-saves)
Stormspear115.5
(+1.8 MW)
3.6
(+1.8 MW)
5.4

With Celestial Blades this increases to 4 wounds plus the mortal wounds. This is equivalent to 2 ardboyz after saves. 

Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers

Source: Games Workshop

Finally our hammer unit, these beasts cause mortal wounds when they land, charge and even die. And they hit very hard. WIth the Lord Imperatant on the Field you can place them just over 7” from an enemy unit and they can reroll the charge giving them an almost ⅔ chance of making the charge.

With the Lord Castellant to support them you can improve their Save to 2+ with 3 wounds making them much harder to remove. Shock and Awe also gives them +1 to their hit rolls when on the turn they arrive in and they are -2 rend. So if they make the charge:

WeaponNo. of AttacksAvg HitsAvg WoundsAvg Damage (pre-saves)
Meteoric Grandhammer108.36.920.8

With their arrival and charge contributing another 5 Mortal Wounds.

Used carefully this is something your opponent is going to have to play around. They can potentially delete a Mawcrusha in a round.

Praetors 

Source: Games Workshop

Probably my favourite model of the new Thunderstrike line these are meant to be a bodyguard unit but it is a unique version of bodyguard. At the start of the battle you nominate a unit that they will protect. Everytime a wound would be taken by the unit they are protecting you roll a dice, on a 1 or 2 the wound goes through to the Hero they are protecting, 3 or 4 to the Praetors and on a 5 or 6 it is negated.

They are no slouches in combat either with a combined 10 attacks hitting and wounding on 3s and doing 2 wounds for a successful attack.

Concept of Operations

Our list is not an alpha strike monster, instead it allows you to control the board and make your opponent play to your strengths. There are 3 key feature that make the list harder to deal with and you need to keep in mind.

  • Hammers of Sigmar have a 6+ Ward save if they are near an objective
  • Scions of the Storm lets you place units in reserve and bring them on to the table at the end of any of your movement phases (so Turn 1).
  • Thunderstrike units inflict mortal wounds on death – for every wound killed in that Turn they roll a dice, on a 6+ that inflicts a mortal wound – a real kill me and I’ll hurt you.

For Scions of the Storm you need to have one unit on the field for every unit you put into reserve. And the Lord Imperatant must be on the field for Guided by Lightning to work. The ideal set up then is to start with one unit of Vindicators, Praetors and the Lord Imperatant on the field. The Annihilators, Lord Castellan and other Vindicators are deployed in reserves.

Set the units on the field up in cover and play to go second, your ideal start would see your opponent look to engage you and let you choose a unit to drop the Annihilators near and destroy. The Lord Castellan is there to give the Annihilators a +1 save just in case. You then have the 2nd Vindictors to drop in another round, they can’t reroll but they can still start just outside 7” from an enemy. Don’t drop them too early though – the value of the Annihilators and Vindictors increases the longer the game goes.

I would use the Lord Imperatant and the Praetors to cover one objective with the Praetors covering the Lord and the Vindictors another depending on the mission. If it was a 3 or 4 objective mission I would put all of them on the home objective. 

Overall this is a flexible list that lets you get to the table with an effective force while you only need to build 18 models.

Next Steps

SCE are in a good place at the moment so you have a few options to build your list into a solid 2000 point. Another Warcry kit combined with vanguard raptors and a Knight Relictor gives you a straight forward 1985 list build on this base. But taking those same Vanguard Raptors and adding some Stormdrakes (2) or Fulminators (4) gives you a lot of mobility. If you are worried about the extra VP from the Fulminators then run them as Desolators.   Lastly, there is a potentially cheaper option. AoS 3.0 was introduced with the Dominion Battlebox, this set included the same units as the Starter Sets we’ve looked at with more heroes, Vindicators and Annihilators. All up this box has 1415 points. If you look carefully you should be able to find an unsold kit or at the very least a Stormcast half and it offers a very affordable way to begin.