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?
Knight of Shrouds
20 x Chainrasps
10 x Grimghast Reapers
3 x Spirit Hosts
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.
Knight of Shrouds
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.
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 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:
Lord Imperitant with Gryph hound
5 x Vindictors
3 x Praetors
Extremis/Harbinger Stormcast Eternals
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
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;
RRP AUD $
RRP USD $
RRP EUR €
RRP GBP £
Harbinger Starter Set
Warcry: Thunderstrike Stormcast Eternals
Battletome: Stormcast Eternals
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)
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.
Our second in command, he brings significant combat prowess (and a friendly gryph hound) but mostly he’s here for his 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.
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:
No. of Attacks
Avg Damage (pre-saves)
5.5 (+1.8 MW)
3.6 (+1.8 MW)
With Celestial Blades this increases to 4 wounds plus the mortal wounds. This is equivalent to 2 ardboyz after saves.
Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers
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:
No. of Attacks
Avg Damage (pre-saves)
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.
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.
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.