Category Archives: Xander Bennett

Vanguard: Idoneth Deepkin – Beginner’s 1,000 Point Army

Everybody Do The Wave

Have you heard the call of the Ethersea? Do you steal the souls of sentient creatures to prolong your own life? Do you like to move fast and hit hard while looking fishy and fabulous? Then Idoneth Deepkin is the faction for you!

The obvious place to start collecting an army of watery aelves is the Vanguard: Idoneth Deepkin box, available from Games Workshop or your favorite local game store.

The box is great value. Here’s what you get:

  • 10 Namarti Thralls. The backbone of virtually any Idoneth Deepkin army, these Battleline units hit like a truck but are relatively fragile. The kit has only one weapon option with a few different visual choices.
  • 3 Akhelian Guard. These ultra-fast flying cavalry can be built as either Morsarr Guard (spears) or Ishlaen Guard (swords). I highly recommend building them as Morsarr Guard, as the offense-oriented eels are more widely usable in a variety of different lists.
  • 1 Akhelian Allopex. Think of it as a flying gun platform that can also bite people. Very fast and decent at both shooting and melee. Comes with a choice of harpoon launcher or net launcher. Build your first shark with the harpoon, as the net is more situational.
  • 1 Isharran Soulscryer. The Deepkin’s only Priest character. While he’s nobody’s first choice of hero, “Mister Pointy” still has his uses, especially in the 2022 Matched Play season.

Alternative Starting Points

If you can find it, the old Start Collecting: Idoneth Deepkin box is a little cheaper but still provides good value. You’ll get the same 10 Thralls and 3 Akhelian Guard, but you’ll miss out on the Allopex. In place of the Soulscryer you get the Isharran Soulrender, arguably a much better hero. If you’re starting out with the Soulrender, consider choosing the Mor’phann sub-faction to get the most out of him.

If you can find the 2022 dual-faction box Fury of the Deep, the Idoneth Deepkin half comes with 10 Thralls, 10 Namarti Reavers (mobile ranged battleline) and one Akhelian Thrallmaster (a buffing hero that improves Thralls). This might be a good option if you’re splitting the box with a Fyreslayers player, or if you plan to focus on Namarti and avoid the eels and sharks.

Fyreslayers face the fury of Idoneth Deepkin
Fire, meet water

Your First 1000 Point List

Here’s how to build your first 1000 point Idoneth Deepkin list:

Allegiance: Idoneth Deepkin
– Enclave: Dhom-Hain
– Grand Strategy: The Creeping Gloomtide
– Triumphs: Inspired

Isharann Soulscryer (150)*
 Artefact: Dritchleech
 Universal Prayer Scripture: Curse
Isharann Tidecaster (150)*
 Command Trait: Teachings of the Turscoll
 Lore of the Deeps: Counter-current

10 x Namarti Thralls (130)*
10 x Namarti Reavers (170)*

1 x Akhelian Allopexes (165)*
 Razorshell Harpoon
3 x Akhelian Morrsarr Guard (195)*

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment

Total: 960 / 1000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 2
Allies: 0 / 200
Wounds: 50
Drops: 1

This list can do something in every phase of the game. While fragile, it has access to two Isharran rituals (Creeping Mist during Low Tide and Deepsight during High Tide) that can keep you safe from shooting and protect your Namarti, respectively.

We’ve chosen Dhom-Hain for our enclave as it will allow us to get a bit more out of our two Namarti units, and maybe even pull off a cheeky double attack with the Namarti Thralls.

A typical deployment would be to set up defensively behind your Gloomtide Shipwreck and keep the Soulscryer off the board, accompanied by the Reavers, the Allopex or even both. With your one-drop battalion, you’ll usually want to give away first turn to force your opponent to come closer (allowing you to hopefully grab the double turn). Based on your opponent’s army and deployment, decide whether to use Teachings of the Turscoll to reverse the order of the tides to your benefit.

The game plan is to whittle down your opponent with shooting before charging in with your eels, shark and Thralls. Deep-strike the Soulscryer and friends in at an opportune time to grab an objective or harass the opponent’s backline. Use his Curse prayer along with Namarti shooting and melee to hopefully break even the largest enemy unit.

If you want to embody an Idoneth general, start practicing your satisfied smirk

Want more infantry? For an alternative list, lose the Tidecaster and add 10 more Thralls, bringing that block up to 20. You’ll have more bodies and more presence on the board, but you’ll be missing any form of magic.

Looking for something that’s high risk/high reward? Lose the Soulscryer and Tidecaster and add an Akhelian King. You’ll have no magic (unless you give him Arcane Tome and Flaming Weapon, which you absolutely should), no rituals, and you’ll be spending a quarter of your points on one very fragile hero. On the other hand, he’s extremely deadly and he buffs your Akhelian units. While amazing in a larger game, he may not be the best choice when you’re just starting out.


Pricing It Out

So how much will this list cost you?

Vanguard: Idoneth Deepkin$130£80€105$190
Namarti Reavers$55£32.50€42.50$84
Isharran Tidecaster$32£18€23$40
Gloomtide Shipwreck$60£35€45$84
Battletome: Idoneth Deepkin$55£32.50€42.50$84
Purchasing from eBay or your local game store can drop these price by 15-20%

Let’s talk about the ur-kraken in the room: The Gloomtide Shipwreck. It’s currently out of stock on Games Workshop’s website and very expensive on eBay. Your best bet is to scour local game stores in search of one.

This is an important model for your army, but you can make do without one if you’ll be playing casually at first. My advice is to use a template or proxy model until you find one or they come back in stock online.

Next Steps

So you’ve played a few games at 1000 points and you want to expand your army. What’s next?

First things first: grab yourself an Akhelian King. The Slap-King, as he’s known, is a fantastic finesse piece which can reliably delete the enemy’s biggest threats and almost guarantee you the This One’s Mine! battle tactic. Just be careful with your positioning and watch out for Unleash Hell and Stomp.

I strongly recommend at least another 10 Namarti Thralls. They may be eye-less but they’re not harmless, as their 2″ reach and surprising damage output can chew through most enemy units.

To support your Thralls and Reavers, you could consider investing in heroes such as the Isharran Soulrender, Lotann or the Akhelian Thrallmaster. The Soulrender is a particularly good choice, as he unlocks the popular Mor’phann enclave.

Waving to his fans

Now we’re getting into the big centerpiece models. The Eidolon of Mathlann is a huge support hero that comes in either Sea (spellcasting) or Storm (combat) flavors. The Eidolon of the Sea is currently your best bet for a reliable spellcaster in the entire faction, and it also brings along a massive bravery buff and an excellent warscroll spell. Definitely a worthwhile investment.

Finally, the Akhelian Leviadon is a hefty model with a hefty points cost (and price tag), but as the faction’s only monster he doesn’t disappoint. The titanic turtle is a shooting, fighting, tanky monster that protects and buffs your Namarti. If you happen to choose the Nautilar enclave, the Leviadon’s attacks become truly terrifying against heavily armored targets.

Good luck harvesting the souls of your enemies! If you have any questions or want to share your ideas for starting an Idoneth army, dive into the comments section below.

My First Grand Tournament

On May 14, I attended my first ever Warhammer grand tournament. This is the story of how I won two games, almost won a third, and had a damn good time meeting a lot of really cool people.

The place? Detroit, Michigan. The field? 34 players. The event? Motor City Mayhem. The battleground? A faded Best Western hotel just off the highway, where the lobby floor was always wet but the staff were always accommodating.

I arrived a day early in order to take in the sights of Detroit. While I won’t go into too much detail, if you ever find yourself in that part of the world make sure to check out Belle Isle Aquarium (America’s oldest aquarium!) and John K. King Books (America’s second-largest bookstore!). And for the love of god, try the local rectangular pizza.


Then Saturday rolled around and it was time for the games to begin.

The List

Now here’s where I admit something embarrassing: I had only played two games with my army list prior to this. Why would I do something so stupid? Well, I have a small toddler who dictates what I do with my free time. Also, I thought I was playing a different list until a week before the tournament.

Long story short: I submitted a list that centered around a Krondspine Incarnate. Then the tournament organizers updated the event packet to disallow a certain unit. I’ll give you one guess what that unit was.

So the Incarnate was out. But as the Girl Scouts say: improvise, adapt, overcome. I peered inside my Ikea Detolfs to see what other models were painted and ready to go. Here’s what I came up with:

Quite the mixed bag. You’ve got two flavors of eels, two styles of Namarti, a couple of sharks, two support heroes, an Eidolon of the Sea and a fully tricked-out Akhelian King (a.k.a. the Slap-King).

Why Dhom-Hain for my enclave?

I thought their ability for Namarti Thralls to charge and fight again after killing an enemy unity sounded extremely cool… if I could pull it off. (Spoiler alert: I did not pull it off once during the entire weekend.)

Why these battleline troops?

I was curious to see how the eels performed. The Thralls and Reavers, however, were a calculated decision. The new Idoneth Deepkin battletome relies on a strong core of Namarti, and I had identified the block of 20 Thralls as one of my biggest sources of reliable damage.

Why these heroes?

Well, it’s hard to say no to the Slap-King. While a little tricky to use, he’s more than capable of earning double his points back with a well-timed charge. How does 7 attacks, hitting on 2s, wounding on 2s, rend -3 and damage 4 sound to you? And that’s just his first weapon (he has four).

The Eidolon of the Sea (hereafter to be known as the “Seadolon”) is a major winner from the new battletome. While useless at melee and shooting, he’s a wildly efficient spellcaster and unbinder of enemy spells. One of his warscroll spells, Tsunami of Terror, can strip the armor from your opponent’s toughest units, and with his surprising durability (12 wounds, a 5+ ward and reliable self-healing) he can even be used as a sacrificial lamb to tie up an enemy unit or absorb an Unleash Hell.

The Idoneth prepare for battle

Day 1

Match 1 versus Maggotkin of Nurgle – Drowned Men

Opponent’s list: Great Unclean One, Horticulus Slimux, Orghotts Daemonspew, Beasts of Nurgle, Plaguebearers

They say battles are won or lost in the mind before a single shot is ever fired. They might be onto something there.

My first opponent of the tournament, Jeremy, was playing a Maggotkin list. I’d never played against Maggotkin but I’d heard rumors about the new battletome – specifically about all the tournaments they’ve been winning. I was keen to see how my fishy aelves would fare against them.

That’s a lot of 5+ ward saves

I out-dropped my opponent and gave him the first turn, hoping he’d move into a position where I could charge with my King and eels – and even, fingers crossed, take a double turn.

He simply moved everything onto the mid-board and ended his turn, daring me to come closer. I took the bait, charging with my eels, King, sharks and Thralls. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very clean or well-positioned charge, as I could only get my King onto his Great Unclean One and not the eels.

Meanwhile, I had misplaced my Thralls so the only thing they were able to charge was the Plaguebearers. Turns out, Plaguebearers are tanky. I thought my Thralls could chew through them but it didn’t work out that way.

On the other side of the board, my Slap-King did a mighty 20 damage to the GUO. However, he rolled an improbable amount of ward saves and stayed standing. My eels and sharks managed to kill a few Beasts of Nurgle, but his center held.

My opponent then took a double turn and used it to go on a rampage with Orghotts and the GUO. After that, what was left of my army was worn down by the weight of Disease points.

In the end, I think I may have been a little intimidated by facing Nurgle for the first time, causing me to under-think my deployment. If I’d placed a few units differently, my first turn would have been much more effective and the game might have been a lot closer.

RESULT: Loss, 12-39

Match 2 versus Sylvaneth – Gnarlroot

Opponent’s list: Warsong Revenant, Treelord Ancient, Spirit of Durthu, Arch-revenant, Branchwraith, Tree-revenants, Kurnoth Hunters with bows, Dryads

Ah, the classic Warsong Bomb list. Soon to be replaced by the new Sylvaneth battletome, the Warsong Bomb – in which a Warsong Revenant powers up their spellcasting while unleashing magic blasts through an Umbral Spellportal – was one of the only competitive lists available to Sylvaneth in third edition.

Unfortunately, it only works if you cast your spells. This would prove to be a major problem for my opponent, Matt, as my Seadolon just would not stop unbinding his spells. Matt, however, was very nice about this. His enthusiasm and positive attitude made for a really fun match.

The Slap-King about to do his thing

I gave Matt turn one. He split his forces and moved up to the mid-board. In my counter-attack, I was able to completely take out one flank of Dryads and a Treelord Ancient with my King, while pinning the other flank (Durthu and the Kurnoth Hunters) in place with the Ishlaen Guard.

Although Durthu hits hard (he wiped out all 20 Thralls in a single round!), my King was able to cut him down. With the Warsong Revenant having failed to set up his spell-bomb, I went on to clean up the board.

The result wasn’t close, but this game was a blast thanks to Matt being a really fun opponent.

RESULT: Victory, 31-13

Match 3 versus Soulblight Gravelords – Kastelai Dynasty

Opponent’s list: 20 Blood Knights, Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon, Necromancer, Coven Throne, Dire Wolves

My opponent in this game, Austin, seemed a bit unsure of his army going into this match. And there was a good reason for that: The battleplan was Tooth and Nail, a weird scenario which you don’t often see at tournaments.

In Tooth and Nail, you can’t set up any units in reserve. Which sucked for Austin, because setting up Blood Knights in reserve and then bringing them on from the board edge is the entire gimmick of Kastelai Dynasty. His summoned units also couldn’t charge after summoning, which is another blow for a Soulblight army.

To make matters worse, the board for our game was covered in large pieces of blocking terrain. Most of my units could simply fly over it, but his knights would have to go around. This would allow me to pick my battles and take out his units of five knights one at a time.

Those are some chonky terrain pieces

After setting up, he gave me first turn and waited for my army to come to him. I moved up but stayed just out of engagement range. Once it was my turn again, the Slap-King was able to assassinate the Vampire Lord on zombie dragon before it could really do anything.

Realizing he was out of position, Austin actually gave away a double turn on Turn 3 (never seen anyone do that before!) so that he could pull back his army and remove one of my objectives.

But it wasn’t enough, and the Slap-King continued on to remove the Coven Throne and Necromancer, handing me the game.

RESULT: Victory, 24-9

Day 2

Match 4 versus Daughters of Khaine – Khailebron

Opponent’s list: Morathi-Khaine, Bloodwrack Medusa, 15 Bow-snakes, 10 Spear-snakes, Witch Aelves, Shadowstalkers

My opponent for this match, Paul, was a younger guy who was at the tournament with his dad. Which is adorable, and total Parenting Goals. Paul was also an awesome opponent who basically apologized for taking the classic “Morathi and the Bow Snakes” meme list. He told me he was looking forward to the new Daughters of Khaine battletome so he could run literally anything else.

After winning priority, Paul gave me first turn. From here on out, we would trade double turns back and forth for almost the entire match!

My Reavers shot apart a unit of Witch Aelves, killing all but one (that lone aelf would come back to haunt me later). He then got the double turn and pushed up the left flank with the Shadow Queen. My plan was to pull back and try to ignore her while pushing the other flank where his bow-snakes and support characters were hanging out.

That plan did not go so well. The Shadow Queen ate every single one of my Reavers and Thralls, while the bow-snakes rained down fire on my other flank, almost killing both my sharks. Things looked bad. But I wasn’t down and out just yet.

Taking a double turn, I rolled my Slap-King and eels through a screen of Witch Aelves and right into his bow-snakes, wiping them out. My King went on to kill his General, the Medusa, and get stuck into Morathi herself.

On Turn 4, he wheeled the Shadow Queen around and aimed her at my remaining units. She killed my eels, but my King was able to finally slay the rampaging god.

Pretty metal 🤘

At the end of all five rounds, we were completely even on points. We had both taken Hold the Line as our Grand Strategy, and all my battleline units were dead. So were his… except for that one pesky Witch Aelf that was hiding in the corner of the battlefield! This gave him an extra three points and the victory.

In the end, this game was an absolute blast, full of twists and turns and high drama. It was probably the highlight of the entire weekend. My opponent played a great game and fully deserved the win, even though I can’t help but wishing I’d rolled one more hit on that unit of Witch Aelves!

RESULT: Loss, 21-24

Match 5 versus Soulblight Gravelords – Vyrkos Dynasty 

Opponent’s list: 60 Zombies, Prince Vhordrai, Lauka Vai, Necromancer, Vampire Lord, Dire Wolves, Skeletons, Corpse Carts

I’ll be completely honest: This wasn’t a fun game. After two straight days of Warhammer, I was getting tired and losing focus. And after the thrills and spills of the previous game against Daughters of Khaine, facing 60 zombies felt like a brutal slog.

Zombies, man. They have so much going on. Double piling in, returning slain units, buffing auras, piling in different directions until they’re stretched across the board like a weird misshapen Katamari of bodies. Zombies are a lot.

It didn’t help that my opponent, Rob, played a slow game, with his double turns feeling like an eternity. I don’t blame him for this. He was micro-managing his tiny dead dudes and explaining his army mechanics as he did so, as any good opponent should. It just took soooo loooong.

You know, maybe this says more about me and my own impatience. I may have to do some soul-searching here.

The Gruesome Twosome

Anyway, I flubbed this match. I deployed my Gloomtide Shipwreck and Namarti units completely wrong. Then I decided to send my King and eels after his support characters in the back, when I should have tried to end the double threat of Vhordrai and Lauka early in the game. The final result was an ignominous defeat, but at least now I know how zombies work (and I know to ask for a chess clock next time).

RESULT: Loss, 12-32

Final Thoughts

If you’re just starting your Warhammer journey and thinking of taking the plunge into events, I am here to tell you: competitive Age of Sigmar is incredibly fun. It was a pleasure to play against passionate, experienced opponents at a well-organized event. Everyone should try going to a GT at least once, if only for the wealth of knowledge you can glean from your fellow players.

Plus, I got to meet Tyler Mengel and he complimented my painting. That was almost worth the entry fee alone.

What’s next? I’m working on an article about list-building using the new Idoneth Deepkin battletome, to help you get the most out of your own Slap-King and friends. And I can’t wait to attend my next GT, probably with a different list this time. Although the Incarnate is tempting, chatting with fellow Deepkin players at the event has convinced me I need to paint up an Akhelian Leviadon…

Have you recently attended your first GT? Planning to go to one? Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think.

Introduction: Xander Bennett

Hello Woehammer readers (Woe-bros?), I’m Xander and I’m excited to be here!

I’m a competitive Age of Sigmar player, a narrative Warcry player and an average-at-best painter. My forces include Idoneth Deepkin, Gloomspite Gitz, Stormcast Eternals and Slaves to Darkness, with many other unfinished armies lurking on plastic sprues in my Hobby Closet of Shame. (On a related note, I’ve asked my day job if they can just send my pay check directly to Games Workshop every two weeks, as it would save everyone a lot of time.)

My goal here on Woehammer is to help new and aspiring players get into the game, and maybe give experienced players a few new ideas as well. The Warhammer hobby is deeply rewarding, but it’s also vast and difficult to wrap your head around. I want to help you cut through the confusion, get your pretty models on the table and start rolling some dice.

Like many Warhammer geeks, I became hooked on the hobby at a young age. I have fond memories of my brothers and I painting Warhammer Fantasy Lizardmen and Dark Elves in our parents’ garage, sweating in the summer heat as we hunched over lead-based pewter models that were, in all likelihood, slowly poisoning us.

When Age of Sigmar launched, I didn’t immediately jump on board. But I was intrigued. Blowing up the Old World? Golden-armored Stormcast fighting semi-naked dwarves inside volcanoes? Clearly something awesome was happening. But it wasn’t until the Idoneth Deepkin that I, ahem, took the plunge.

Left: The first AoS model I ever painted. Right: The same model I painted last week.

Once I saw those beautiful sea-aelves, I was hooked (sorry, I swear that’s the last fish pun). Since then it’s been a wild ride through Age of Sigmar, Warcry and even the Soulbound roleplaying game. With the launch of AoS third edition, I made a commitment to really learn the game and get into the competitive scene.

My first one-day event was last month. My first grand tournament is this weekend. And I’m taking Idoneth Deepkin.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it. In the meantime, check out this gallery of my Warhammer escapades.