This is the Top Three AoS Lists for the Summer of Sigmar Grand Tournament that took place in Tempe, Arizona, USA on the 6th and 7th of August. It involved 16 players vying to be crowned champion in a 5 game tournament. This was their inagural event and they have a venue that can handle quite a few more. Lets hope we see it grow in coming years.
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The Top Three AoS Lists
Army Faction: Daughters of Khaine – Subfaction: Zainthar Kai – Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs – Triumph: Inspired
LEADERS Morathi-Khaine (680)* The Shadow Queen (680)* Bloodwrack Medusa (130)* – General – Command Traits: Zealous Orator – Artefacts of Power: Shadow Stone – Spells: Mindrazor
Brett: Another army eschewing the archers for the stabby queens reflecting the new battletome. 5 Blood Sister units including a double reinforced group of bounty hunter murder elves, fun. Rounding out the list the Bloodwrack Medusa is the General and Khinerai Heartrender for mobile threat. Ultimately this is a 6 drop list, a reasonable chance that they won’t decide first turn.
The high drops is a facet of having the Blood Sisters split between Bounty Hunters and Expert Conquerors. It’s not clear if the event allowed book traits (which the Khinerai play into really well) or just GHB however the list provides coverage for any outcome. Zainthar Kar is required to make the Blood Sisters battle line and the opportunity for 35 Blood Sisters. Mind Razor and Shadow Stone (+1 to casting) to try to get an additional -1 rend. Ignoring effects from Blood Rites (like +1 to wound) those 15 Blood sisters can expect 38 hits (exploding 6s) and 24 wounds – 48 into Galletian Veterans. With 2 wounds, 5+ save and 6+ (can be 5+) ward you have to devote real resources to shifting blood sisters. Zainthar Kar gives them fight on death, removing the large unit without shooting would be dicey.
Shadow Queen/Morathi are another hard nut, 3 spells across the 6 known to DoK. Those spells read like some of the best across multiple books including increased rend, rebuffs and a teleport. The Melisa only has one cast but 2 dispels. Enough to cause issues for a magic army. And it looks like that’s what’s happened with the army taking all flavours of elf and some star crossed lizards to take the event 5/0
Army Faction: Slaves to Darkness – Army Type: Ravagers – Grand Strategy: Take Whats Theirs – Triumph: Indomitable
LEADERS Chaos Lord (120)*** – General – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch – Command Traits: Eternal Vendetta – Reaperblade and Daemonbound Steel – Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome – Spells: Whispers of Chaos Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135)*** – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch – Command Traits: Bolstered by Hate – Spells: Mask of Darkness Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135)*** – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch – Command Traits: Master of Magic – Artefacts of Power: Blasphemous Cuirass – Spells: Mask of Darkness – Bonding: Krondspine Incarnate of Ghur
BATTLELINE Untamed Beasts (70) – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch Chaos Knights (170)* – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch – Standard Bearer – Hornblower – Doom Knight – Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield Chaos Knights (170)* – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch – Standard Bearer – Hornblower – Doom Knight – Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield Chaos Warriors (400)** – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch – Aspiring Champion – Chaos Hand Weapon and Chaos Runeshield – 2 x Standard Bearer – 2 x Hornblower Chaos Warriors (400)** – Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch – Aspiring Champion – Chaos Hand Weapon and Chaos Runeshield – 2 x Standard Bearer – 2 x Hornblower
Brett: Good to see a Slaves to Darkness army make the podium in a 2 day event particularly as Ravagers. No Archeon, Be’Lakor or even a manticore just Lords, Sorcerors and even a Chaos Warriors. Effective here with a 4/0/1 result, the only loss being to the winner.
Taking Tzeentch as the chaos mark increases resilience with reroll 1s on saves and a 5+ ward against spells. On a 20 strong block of Chaos Warriors (in Eternal Conquerers) that’s a real problem to shift. While in a unit > 10 they have a 3+ save and a 5+ ward (half ward – it’s only against Mortal Wounds) with the shields. That’s 120 effective wounds (Rend 0). Their weaknesses is movement at 5” unless Mask of Darkness is available on a Chaos Sorcerer and both do. They are helped on the run and charge by the Hornblower. The Knights are hammers, they want to charge using their 10″ mobility. They to have +1 to run and charge from the Hornblowers.
The Chaos Lord is a combat hero with reroll wound rolls (and reroll hits against Order) and has a MW spell in leui of a ranged weapon. Lastly there is Krondspine. He’s fast moving and capable of deleting things quickly. Bold move, he costs enough to limit your choices in either troops or heros, Tyler choose to take weaker heroes. Ravagers was a good choice allowing additional traits. After that this list is all about getting those blocks of Warriors onto objectives and keeping them there by using the Knights. Krondspine is about taking down a deathstar or important hero.
Looking his path through the event, the StD list would struggle to deal enough damage to the Warriors, as would most of the other lists. The mobility of the DoK army we just looked at combined with DoK book Battle Tactics (which you can’t interact with well) obviously caused the army to struggle but otherwise this is a really well thought out approach and well deserved result.
Army Faction: Sylvaneth – Subfaction: Gnarlroot – Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs – Triumph: Inspired
LEADERS Warsong Revenant (305)** – General – Command Traits: Spellsinger – Spells: Verdant Blessing, Verdurous Harmony Treelord Ancient (360)** – Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome – Spells: Treesong, Verdant Blessing
OTHER Revenant Seekers (235)* – Seeker Banner Bearer – Seeker Hornblower – Revenant Soulwarden Spiterider Lancers (420)* – Spiterider Scion – 2 x Spiterider Standard Bearer – 2 x Spiterider Hornblower Gossamid Archers (220)** – Flitwing Scion
ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS 1 x Spiteswarm Hive (40) 1 x Purple Sun of Shyish (70)
CORE BATTALIONS *Bounty Hunters **Battle Regiment
TOTAL POINTS: 1970/2000
Brett: An interesting variation of Sylvaneth and a brave move to take all of the new units. With, it has to be said, the Purple Sun. The mobility of Tree-Revenants with the 3 overgrown terrain pieces from the start of the battle, makes them one of if not the best unit in the army at the moment. They are amazing at securing Battle Tactics.
This army has all of the new Sylvaneth units from the Revenant Seekers to Spiterider Lancers and Gossamid Archers. I haven’t seen an army with all of them before and like most of us don’t have a lot of experience with them. The Seekers and Lancers provide a lot of mobility outside of teleports which is something Sylvaneth struggle with a bit. They offer some quality attacks, without buffs I worry about the amount of damage they do but it’s reasonable. The ability to return a model of the Seekers is great in this army – the Lancers and everything else have 5 wounds or less and can be returned. Return 2 Spiteriders in a game and you’ve almost recovered the cost.
The Gossamids are a frustrating unit, they are vunerable to shooting with only a 12″ range. They need to be hidden which doesn’t make sense given their anti combat role (retreat when charged). But they have a role where you teleport them to an objective (or near one) that has a thin force on it. You can even open an objective to a Tree Revenant by pulling a combat unit away. That’s not to forget the Treelord Ancient and Wargsong. With the Arcane Tome they have 4 spells, both are deicated to Awakended Wyldwoods (expect at least another per turn) and then buffing the impact of the woods. As Gnarlwood they also get improved casting near Wyldwoods. Another interesting army from this event.
One of the interesting impacts of this approach is its hard for an army like Ironjawz to identify an alpha strike target. Even if they get the Warsong it’s not going to put you on the back foot too much. Other than the winner’s evil Blood Sister’s list he was unbeaten through the event taking both combat and shooting armies.
Army Faction: Legion of the First Prince – Grand Strategy: Show of Dominance – Triumph: Bloodthirsty
LEADERS Kairos Fateweaver (435) – Spells: The Master’s Command Be’lakor (360)* – Spells: The Master’s Command The Contorted Epitome (245)* – General – Command Traits: Ruinous Aura – Artefacts of Power: Fourfold Blade – Spells: Flaming Weapon, The Master’s Command – Bonding: Krondspine Incarnate of Ghur
ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS 1 x Umbral Spellportal (70) 1 x Purple Sun of Shyish (70)
CORE BATTALIONS *Battle Regiment
TOTAL POINTS: 1990/2000
Brett: I grabbed this one just because we aren’t seeing a lot of Legion of the First Prince armies right now. This is a very interesting take including some heavy hitters (Belakor and Fateweaver) with Krondspine rather than another Deamon Prince/Greater Deamon. I’m a fan of the Contorted Epitome, love to see it in the army. Mobile, lots of casting and so dangerous in combat.
Fateweaver brings a lot, 3 casts, auto dispell of 1 endless spell and the ability to change dice for casting, unbinding or dispell rolls. That’s before gift of change. Plaguebearers are a good choice for objectives, Bloodletters are cheap but fragile. If they charge or are teleported though they can mess up some archers. Belakor and the Krondspine don’t need an introduction nor does the Purple Sun. The Umbral Spellportal is an autotake in a Tzeetch army or if Fateweaver is in the army.
This, to me, is a really fun army. A few small troop units and 4 big, fun models with lots of abilities to toy with your opponent. He lost his last 3 rounds but I bet they were still fun. Hitting a Bastilidon with Belakor and Fateweaver sounds like fun to me, the same about putting an Epitome into small heroes from any factions.
EDIT (07/25/2023): Please note that this was written during GHB ’22-’23 and as such the meta has shifted (and the points). Some of this article remains relevant while other bits have not kept up with the times. Keep that in mind when considering the lists and specific unit discussions.
I’m Kevin Lathers, known Duardin enthusiast. I play Fyreslayers nearly exclusively, with a little bit of SCE and KO on the side. I found the new book to be a significant improvement, even if it upended the “old ways.” I’ll be discussing the faction and how I believe it can notch wins. Keep in mind that every player has their own playstyle, so some of this may sound off to people with radically different styles to my own.
This guide will involve a quick overview of each part of their rule set – though honestly you can find most of that elsewhere – and then a look at tactics I’ve seen and used to good effect. This is being written with regards to GHB2022-23.
Thematically, Fyreslayers are an army about three things: Grimnir, nearly-naked dwarfs with axes, and big fire lizards. If you like any, or all, of these things then this faction will be for you.
Fyreslayers are mercenaries for ur-gold. Ur-gold is alleged to be the pieces of their dead god, Grimnir – and possibly Vulcatrix, whom he died fighting. They believe ur-gold’s use will bring their ancestral god back to the mortal realms. To use ur-gold they pound it into their flesh which imbues them with godly might – but also greed and visions of Grimnir’s battle with vulcatrix. So, they take merc. jobs to acquire more ur-gold. They exist as a faction of religious zealots who live to fight for their god’s resurrection.
Fyreslayers are generally a combat army that can lean into: blocks of slow moving, but hard-hitting, infantry; or multiple faster mean monsters. They can make use of invocations (not endless spells!) to affect battlefield control and punish less-godly armies.
While Fyreslayers have these two main archetypes, within those archetypes exist a variances, so there’s no hard rule to list-building. I personally lean harder into a control playstyle where I want to frustrate my opponent’s gameplans. So this guide is written with that in mind.
What Are Their Rules?
Fierce Counter-Attack: This is a command ability that can be used at the start of the opponent’s combat phase. The combat phase part is important. It can only be used on infantry (i.e. hearthguard and vulkites) when an enemy has finished a charge move within 3” of the unit and no other enemy units which have not made charge moves that turn are within 3” of the unit. Each unit can only be issued the command once.
This ability is VERY useful and will often make your opponents seriously consider a charge into lines of berserkers.
Grimwrath Oaths: This is basically the old warscroll ability for Grimwrath Berserkers which was upgraded a little and put as a battle trait. Very useful if you take Grimwrath Berserkers, but useless otherwise. Still, if you are taking them, then it’s great for its flexibility. Two oaths are quite strong: Run + Charge (best one, really) and the 6++/5++ ward oath. But don’t sleep on the allied unit oath if you’re bringing one.
Ur-Gold Runes: This is the main battle trait. The one that makes the army. This is what your army will succeed or fail on. These runes give army-wide buffs which are further enhanced on a roll of 6. Rune selection is extremely important. Selecting the right rune for the right time is a skill that takes practice as it must consider what runes you will use in later rounds as well as what runes will bring the most effect in the current turn and the opponent’s turn, possibly two turns.
Picking runes to play into a possible double turn can be extremely important. Sometimes a rune might not make a huge difference on your own turn, but if your opponent is going to get two turns, then it could be critical to your choice. Good examples are the Rune of Fury to improve a Fierce Counter-Attack or Fiery Determination to make the army survive.
There’s no set order for rune selection, nor should there be as it would take away from the flexibility of the ability. The three most important runes are: Rune of Awakened Steel; Rune of Searing Heat; and Rune of Relentless Zeal.
Blaze of Fury: Once per game in your hero phase each hero can use a special heroic action which gives them the benefit of the enhanced effect of the activated rune this phase. Sometimes having another additional rend or an additional attack can make or break a hero’s combat phase, this ability is for that.
There are three effective lodges: Vostarg, Greyfyrd, and Lofnir have all seen some good tournament representation. Hermdar, the fourth lodge, has failed to see a lot of play and, to my knowledge, doesn’t have any strong lists.
Greyfyrd: The “foot hero” lodge. All your unmounted heroes gain an additional wound and can take two additional artefacts. Considering the faction’s artefacts are quite good, this is a strong effect.
Vostarg: The Vulkite Berserker lodge. Vulkites gain +1 to hit and wound rolls until the end of turn on a charge. This is extremely powerful when paired with Axe Vulkites and Auric Flamekeepers. On paper, Axe Vulkites don’t seem impressive, but with synergizing buffs they can kill anything in the game.
Lofnir: The magmadroth lodge: Two additional wounds on magmadroth, two additional mount traits (i.e. all 3), and runesons on magmadroths become battleline. The two additional wounds are nice, but DrothSons being battleline is extremely powerful; being able to forgo the usual battleline tax is fantastic. Plus, all three mount traits are great.
Hermdar: By far the worst lodge. If someone has figured out how to make it work then I have not seen it. Hermdar’s ability is that it halves the number of models running from battleshock (rounding up) and Auric Hearthguard become battleline units.
The conditional battleline is only useful if you want to have both Hearthguard types as battleline. But both are low model count elite units with high bravery, the exact opposite of what benefits from the subfaction ability.
Further, no units actually get combat buffs or extra enhancements unlike the other 3 subfactions which get something buffing a unit or hero type.
Hermdar is astoundingly bad in an otherwise well-internally balanced book. For a remedy it would need to include something else, such as buffs to Hearthguard (both Auric and Berserkers). Hearthguard are the only units with no subfaction doing anything for them, so this would be appropriate. I don’t have a list to show for this lodge because there is no list I have seen use it to good effect.
I will be rating these command traits (and artefacts), but it’s not a hard rating. Most things (except the ring) have a use in the army. There’s a place for most things if you want there to be or your local meta calls for it.
Runefather and Runeson can take:
Fury of the Fyreslayers (B): +1 charge is always good in an army that wants into combat. The aura range is large as well. This could be good in basically any subfaction where you have a father as your general. On vulkites this gives them a base +2 charge!
Spirit of Grimnir (B): The normal chance of an enhanced rune is 1 in 6. Making it 1 in 3 is literally doubling your chance. On average this gets you an enhanced rune 1 to 2 times a game instead of 0 to 1. Considering certain enhanced runes – particularly Awakened Steel’s extra rend or Fury’s +1 attack characteristic – can swing games in your favor, this is very nice. Still, it is up to chance, so it’s not an auto-take.
Blood of the Berzerker (A): This lets you build a “death star” magmadroth. Combined with the artefacts discussed later, this can make a Runefather or Runeson on Magmadroth turn into a wrecking ball that can alter the flow of the game by killing nearly anything. Add in the right rune at the right time and this is an important CT to consider.
Leader of the Duardrazhal (D): The Duardin allies Fyreslayers need to fill their holes, such as Irondrakes or Runelords, who really don’t benefit from the runes. Gotrek doesn’t need any but the movement rune. If this gave allies the Fyreslayers keyword it would be a bit better, but it doesn’t.
Priest generals can take:
Ash-Beard (F): Two prayers? Wow, that’s cool, I guess. Honestly, this should allow a priest to chant two prayers. Now that would be useful, even if not top tier. Being able to summon two invocations would be great! But sadly it’s just two prayers, which you could just do with a battalion giving additional enhancements, except that would be to all your priests.
Master Priest (A): You can activate a single rune twice in a game. Amazingly good. This makes the army significantly more flexible. Do you need more rend? Do you need more mortal wounds (against nighthaunt)? Do you need to use that movement rune one more time? The world is your oyster. This is nearly always an instant take if a priest is your general and can be the reason to make a priest your general if they weren’t before.
Avatar of Vulcatrix (D): It’s fun and flavorful. It could have some interesting play as it disincentivizes killing your general. Personally, I used it on a Runesmiter Magmadroth a couple times and it was good fun to just throw them into the fray. But it wasn’t super effective to trade a magmadroth for molten infernoth. Also could be useful on a deepstriking Runesmiter where you could now dump an infernoth in their backlines if they kill him. But losing your general means losing CP and that hurts.
Runefathers and Sons can take:
Master Rune of Unbreakable Resolve (C): A 3+ ward for one phase? Built for magmadroths and it’s pretty amazing against certain armies and units, such as Kragnos or Maw-Krushas. But due to it being just one phase there is too much play around it to make it amazing. There no longer being a “Slay the Warlord” battle tactic also makes it less desirable.
Magnetised Runes (C): +2 to charge. Some interesting play here on both magmadroths and foot heroes. A retinued hero getting left behind by their unit could be deadly, but this can ensure they also make the charge. It also means deepstriking a runeson on magmadroth becomes a real idea. It’s good, but situational.
The Fiery Ring (F): No. Don’t you dare take this piece of trash. Even without a roll it would be bad. But the fact it’s only 6” and requires a roll makes it truly awful. Almost any artefact is better in any situation.
The Axe of Grimnir (A): +1 rend and damage. Uh, yes.
Priests can take:
Ash-Cloud Rune (C): This is an odd one. Once per game it produces a 12” aura where units wholly within are not visible to spells. Note that this is not friendly units, but any units. This means you could block the opponent’s buffing spells, too. Its range makes it situationally good, but the effect is strong. It also isn’t useful against certain armies, but with intelligent use could definitely hurt others: think about blocking a mind razor, ogor butcher cast, or night haunt model revive.
Volatile Brazier (A): Invocations are good. Re-rolling their chanting roll and throwing them double range makes them amazing. This can ensure your fyrewall is going to ruin someone’s day or the molten infernoth is going to kill some support heroes.
Droth-Helm (D): In magmadroth heavy lists it could be nice. But it’s only to the claws’ attack and nothing else. That really limits its utility and damage boost. The damage boost it gives is usually not worth it unless you are getting multiple magmadroths in range of it in combat. Its aura range is low so you have to keep your magmadroths grouped together, limiting flexibility.
Battlesmiths can take:
Nulsidian Icon (A): Ignoring offensive spells/endless spells on a 4+ is so obviously good there isn’t a lot to say. The biggest downside is that if the battlesmith dies, it does as well. In a world of purple suns this is going to be a near auto-take.
Anyone can take:
Draught of Magmalt Ale (A): Did you like blood of the berserker? Well this makes it incredible. Giving a Runefather 8 swings, potentially 9, with his axe is fantastic. Giving him 16-18 is downright crazy. This also can turn a Grimwrath Berserker into a grim reaper that picks one unit to die.
The Daemon Slayer (B): This allows attacks to ignore ward saves. Most armies don’t have great wards, but the ones that do rely heavily on them (e.g. Nurgle) really rely on them. Ignoring wards can break certain units and that can’t be underestimated. Still, it doesn’t actually buff attacks and so sometimes it will just fall flat or see limited usefulness.
Flame-Scale Youngblood (B): Stomps do an additional 3 mortal wounds. Now that Hunters of the Heartland is gone this is fantastic. Nothing better than stomping a warboss to death or stomping a charging blood knight into the dirt.
Lava-Tongue Adult (C): This caps your breath attack lower limit at 5 instead of 1. Not amazing, but it does make it useful against heroes. Getting a few extra wounds on a hero is nice, even if it’s not game changing. If this was always 10 shots instead of 5, it would be top tier.
Coal-Heart Ancient (A): Lower damage dealt by melee attacks by 1. Yep, this is the one you take if not Lofnir. Making your droth live longer is always worth it.
All the prayers are good in their own way. All should be considered depending on time and list.
Prayer of Ash: -1 to wound rolls against a unit. The range is wholly within 18” which isn’t bad, either. This is an amazing prayer.
Prayer of Grimnir’s Fury: An unmounted hero can fight in the hero phase. While not something you use often, it can be devastating. This ability combos well with Runic Empowerment. It is very situational and list dependent, but when it goes off it can be game changing. Limiting it to unmounted heroes is a real kick in the ur-gold by GW, though.
Ember Storm: This lets infantry units run and charge. This prayer often makes or breaks Vostarg lists. Its use with Hearthguard units is limited, but still there. With Hearthguard you can often run both the hero and Hearthguard to keep their ward up, and while the hero can’t charge, the unit can. It also can allow them to keep up with a Magmadroth if that is the “escort” for them. Its use with Vulkite Berserkers is key, where having your threat range increase from 4” + charge to 10” + charge is incredible.
Wrath of Vulcatrix: Another very situational prayer: you need both a magmadroth and the need to keep it at top bracket at the expense of other prayers. Its use in the hero phase does mean your Mamgadroth gets to return to the top bracket on movement and shooting as well, so that’s pretty dang nice.
Runic Empowerment – Runesmiter Warscroll: +1 to wound rolls for a unit. That’s shooting and melee attacks. Hard not to like or find useful. Can make AHG shoot harder and unleash hell harder. It makes your heroes wound on 2s. Makes your Broadaxes more potent. Putting this on a hero frees up their heroic action from finest hour to Blaze of Fury and that’s a very strong combo. For example: with this you can make a Grimwrath Berserker wound on 2s, and the blaze of fury for -4 rend instead of -2. Eight attacks (or 16 or 18) at -4 rend sounds a lot more worrisome to opponents than at -3.
Volcano’s Call – Runemaster Warscroll: It turns a piece of terrain into wyldwood and does mortal wounds to each model within 1” of it. Rarely useful for its damage unless it was used on a garrison. This prayer is situationally useful for blocking line of sight. When you do need it you’ll be glad you have it. It would be much more useful if the damage or range was much higher. Further, the terrain feature has to be wholly within range for the prayer, which is a bit weak for the type of effect it is causing. This reads to me like Games Workshop didn’t want it to be used often and that holds true. Luckily, the Runemaster knows all the prayers, so you’ll rarely rely on this and often find even Bless or Smite are preferable.
All of these are useful and have their own uses. These can be incredibly clutch in the army. The lack of priests in most factions means that it’s rare a fyrewall or flame-spitter will be dispelled. The infernoth being dispelled isn’t really an issue normally as you can just chant for it in your next phase. They are all worth their cost.
Runic Fyrewall: A low chanting roll (3) and it blocks movement, plus can give a ward to nearby units.You can use this to block units like Kragnos and Mega-Gargants (yes, it even blocks their movement). But its size is useful even for blocking large-based flying units like Morathi and Maw-Krushas. The ward is more limited in usefulness. A 6++ is just a nicety to have, but the 4++ is amazing. The better ward just comes at the cost of the wall disappearing and sometimes that means it’s better not to roll at all.
Molten Infernoth: You roll two dice and move it the sum. After its move, roll 12 dice for each unit within 3” and for each 6 it does a mortal wound. If you roll doubles on the move it does d3 mortal wounds on 6’s and then is removed. That can be a ton of damage (2 or 4 mortal wounds on average to each unit). The chanting cost of this prayer is higher (4), but with a Volatile Brazier and the forge that’s a rerollable 3 at double the range (24” from 12”). It can also be used like a poor-man’s Fyrewall to block movement of models by placing it where they want to go. Overall, that’s quite useful and I highly recommend it.
Zarrghrom Flame-Spitter: If there’s a [Fyreslayers] priest within 6” of it (not wholly within), then you can activate this. Select a unit within 24” of it (note: this does not specify it needs line of sight) and roll 12 dice. It does a mortal wound for each 6. If there’s 10 models in the unit then it’s for each 5+, and 20 models make it on 4+. Useful ranged damage that can ping down support heroes, finish off big things, or just thin infantry. Its damage isn’t high but it’s consistent and can spike. Like other invocations, units cannot end a move on it. This means you can position priests such that fast units or deepstrikes may fail charges if they can’t get their base in the right spot.
Settle a Grudge: A book of grudges. Destroy an opposing unit that has killed one of your units. This is similar to Eye for an Eye from the GHB, but not quite the same. It’s a good tactic, though situational, and one where your opponent can often attempt to mitigate the response through things like redeploy, unleash hell, and heroic actions. It’s nice to have.
An Honorable Death: Pick a friendly hero, it must be slain this turn and also slay at least one model. This is difficult to complete because it requires you to kill an opponent’s model, but not enough of them that they can’t kill you. It’s quite good on something like a Grimwrath which fights on death, but even that is a big gamble. The opponent can also do things like choosing not to pile-in in combat to not kill the hero, thus causing you to fail the tactic. This is not an easy tactic in most cases.
Beastslayer: Pick an enemy monster and a friendly hero, that monster must be slain by that hero this turn. Pretty good, though another situational one. Best in Greyfyrd or Lofnir lists which make use of hard-hitting heroes and your opponent has to have a monster to kill.
Seize by Force: If you control fewer objectives than your opponent, you can choose this and complete if you control more at the end of the turn. The easiest tactic by a huge margin. Most games have times where your opponent will get hold one, hold two, hold more, and then on your turn you can flip an objective to your side. When you know this will happen you can complete this one. This is the only “gimme” tactic, I would say. Almost all games will see a time when you can complete this.
Grimnir Knows No Mercy: Have all your vulkites on the battlefield within 3” of an enemy at the end of the turn. Easiest if you have only a couple vulkites, and if they are shields. The difficulty here is the units they are in combat with dying or killing off your last vulkite unit. Generally good in Vostarg lists or other lists running some shield vulkites, but definitely not a guaranteed tactic.
An Ignominious Death: Pick an enemy hero, complete this if it dies to throwing axes. Exceptionally hard to complete, like ridiculously so. Best used in lists with high amounts of throwing axes (Vostarg/Greyfyrd) and on enemy heroes that are already down to 1 or 2 wounds. The fact this doesn’t give an extra point, even if the killing blow is from a hero, is criminal.
Guarded Lineage: Keep one Runefather (and it means ONE, not one or more) and one or more runesons alive. Sure, it’s not super great, but it could happen in some lists.
Oath-Takers and Skull-Breakers: You have to complete 4 battle tactics and all tactics chosen have to be from the faction tactics list here. If you manage to do this then you’ve won Age of Sigmar! Congratulations!
Defend The Lodge: No enemy units wholly within your territory. Battlemap dependent and rather difficult against multiple armies. Not recommended at all, but sure, you can try. It’s a worse version of the GHB2022 tactic, though.
Masters of the Forge: End the game with at least one invocation under your control. Extremely good. Ridiculously so. Few armies have priests and fewer still take multiple priests willing to throw a prayer away to attempt a banish they might fail. This is nearly always an auto-complete in any list with more than one invocation. I’ve been completely tabled but my flamespitter or fyrewall still nabbed me three points.
Fjul-Grimnir & The Chosen Axes: Great proxy models. That’s it.
Auric Runefather: A lynchpin of any foot-hero heavy Greyfyrd list. He hits hard, harder with a draught of magmalt ale or axe of grimnir. His retinue ability means Hearthguard Berserkers or Auric Hearthguard make him go from a squishy target to an absolute tank; the retinue also allows the unit to fight immediately after him making any charge he gets off with his retinue very potent, though it does have some anti-synergy with Fierce Counter-Attack. His once per game ability gives all units wholly within 12” a +1 to attack characteristic in your combat phase. If used at the right time his ability aids in crushing any opponent. Don’t sleep on his 3” reach either. He can hit over multiple lines of infantry or tag a pesky lumineth wind spirit that wants to lock you down completely.
Auric Runeson: The budget runefather. He still includes the retinue. His damage is roughly the same with the war axe option, but he loses the aura and ability to make Hearthguard Berserkers battleline. However, he does mortal wounds to monsters on hit rolls of 6. The javelin has less damage but gets a throw, an additional rend, and a 2” reach. Not a bad tradeoff. After using both I’ve found both weapons to be good. The additional rend of the javelin is hard to discount and while the throw isn’t amazing, it’s nice to fish for 6s on monsters.The increased reach is useful quite often, at least it has been for me. Still, the war axe does more damage so should be taken the majority of the time. If the javelin hit on 3’s it would probably see more use.
Magmadroths in general: The magmadroth mount is the same across all the riders. A relatively fast monster with a mediocre tank, they can be a potent leader or even main battleline. Their breath attacks and tail swip can ping down higher model count units (though, don’t discount tail attacks on heroes), and with buffs can hit far outside their price. For each melee damage dealt to a droth you roll a dice and deal a mortal wound on a 4+. This is absolutely amazing. On average a single magmadroth will bleed back 8-9 mortal wounds. That means if a Maw-krusha kills a magmadroth it will half-health itself before anything else fights back against it. The Heal prayer means you can often get much more out of this ability. The 4+ save however does leave them very susceptible to shooting.
Auric Runefather on Magmadroth: The runefather himself is identical sans retinue. Now he has a magmadroth! Okay, that’s pretty awesome. This increases the range of his auras (Fury of the Fyreslayers and his warscroll ability) due to the increased base size. With blood of the berserker this unit can be a real wrecking ball.
Auric Runeson on Magmadroth: The runeson is the same minus retinue. Sadly, his Vying for Glory ability does not affect magmadroths. In Lofnir he becomes a battleline which really makes the subfaction shine.
Auric Runesmiter: This priest only gets one prayer and its warscroll prayer. He’s very squishy with low wounds. But his warscroll prayer is amazing (outlined above) and he can deep-strike a unit with him. You take him for his ability to deep strike which adds a very useful tool the Fyreslayer toolbox. Deepstriking shield vulkites onto an objective, a runeson on magmadroth with magentised runes, or auric hearthguard are all fantastic choices. But just having him in your list will make opponents consider the deepstrike which is important for deployment mind games.
Auric Runesmiter on Magmadroth: The runesmiter without deepstriking, but with a magmadroth. A great option if you want Master Priest on a tanky priest to add support to other magmadroths or even blocks of units. He can be a tanky curse platform in Vostarg or Runic Empowerment platform for your other magmadroths and auric hearthguard. Don’t discount the mount’s ability to pump out damage, too, it’s still a magmadroth.
Auric Flamekeeeper: A totem that has a dice which counts up to 6 from 1 for each fyreslayer model that dies within 12” of it. Upon it reaching 6 you can give to a unit wholly within 12: a 6+ ward; models fight on death if they have not fought yet in that turn (this can allow a vulkite model that hasn’t fought to fight twice on death); +1 damage to melee attacks; or charge at the start of the combat phase (your opponents as well). This is a must have in any Vostarg list. Oftentimes you will be intentionally getting vulkites thrown into combat to die to feed other vulkites a damage buff. This also means that if vulkites die to impact charges or shooting you can then buff them in combat. The combat charge is actually amazing and can ruin an opponent’s plans. At 90 points he is cheap and quite useful. As an aside, his melee profile isn’t awful and you can often catch an opponent off guard with his 4/3+/3+/-1/2 profile (1 rend off the Grimwrath). Nothing feels better than killing some harpies which thought they would get free reign on your priests.
Auric Runemaster: If he is near (or is selected to be) the general you get an extra CP on your turn, this instantly makes him near auto-take. CP is good, more CP is better. He knows all prayers allowing him to freely take Heal or Curse. He is the ultimate in support-hero technology. He can take a hit occasionally with a 4+ save and 6 wounds (7 in Greyfyrd). He won’t stand up to any focus, but a stray shot or hit won’t always take him down.
Battlesmith: A bit pricey at 150 points (as of writing). But, all units within 12” get a 6+ ward aura that, once per game until your next hero phase, can be a 5+ ward. This makes him extremely important to standing up to a double turn. The smith can also issue the rally command on a 4+ rather than a 6+, which is strong in Vostarg and Greyfyrd lists. But even on Lofnir supporting infantry it can be clutch. The ward is extremely important for weathering alpha-strike armies or a double turn. He’s also the only one who can take the nulsidian icon, which is maybe one of the best artefacts in the army. This hero is extremely useful and should be considered in most lists.
Grimwrath Berserker: A hero, but not a leader, which is something to consider. This means he can go in the Bounty Hunter battalion. As the target of an allegiance ability (battle trait) you would think he would be more important than he is, but he’s mostly relegated to Greyfyrd lists. Still, with a draught of magmalt ale or a daemon slayer he can hit extremely hard. His profile is 4/3+/3+/-2/2, which seems lackluster until you realize he fights a second time on a 2+ or on death. A fully buffed Grimwrath with an oath allowing him to run and charge while carrying a magmalt ale can auto-run 10” with a rerollable charge. He then swings 16 times in combat – with all-out attack and a prayer or finest hour, hitting on 2+ and wounding on 2+, a rend rune adding more rend – makes a missile of a unit. This 105 point unit can put a dent in the tankiest units in the game once you put all the pieces together.
Doomseeker: Did you like the Grimwrath berserker? Well, we made him worse. There’s almost always a better use of points than a doomseeker. At 85 points he is too redundant of a unit. If you need hard hitting speed in a single model, the Grimwrath does it. If you want hard hitting in a cheaper chassis then the runeson can do it while getting a retinue. This model falls between both and ends up being as good as neither. It’s nearly always better to take two invocations instead.
Hearthguard Berzerkers: In AoS 2.0 this was THE unit of the army. However, after substantial price increases and a slight nerf they have fallen quite far. There are two variants: the broadaxe and poleaxe. I won’t get into which is the best beyond: they are both good. They have a 4+ ward if wholly within 9” of a friendly fyreslayers hero. They also can be the target of a retinue ability from the runeson or runefather. This unit can be extremely strong, but with a 5+ save, a 4” move, and being tied to a hero they are quite pricey at 160 points for 5. Still, any opponent will think twice before charging into a line of these with their ward up and counterattack ready. They make extremely good supporting units in a Lofnir army.
Auric Hearthguard: The cheapest batteline option (with priest general) at 125 points for five. These are the shooting units of the army. The shooting seems lackluster on the surface, (2 attacks, 4+/3+/-1/1), but when combined with buffs like Rune of Searing Heat, these can pump out fairly decent damage at range. More importantly, on a 6 to hit they slow an enemy unit by 1” per 6 to a minimum of half their move characteristic. This is incredibly powerful against units like Incarnates or Kragnos who need to get into your lines. These can function as a “control” option in the army to dictate engagements and punish support heroes. They also can function as the much needed scalpel for the army killing opponents’ supporting heroes or ranged options. In either case, their use can be very important to disrupt your opponents.
Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes: The hammer vulkites. When they charge they get an extra attack per model. Three attacks each means the Rune of Searing Heat is likely to get some mortal wounds in. This also pairs well with Vostarg and Auric Flamekeepers to turn a single unit of Handaxes into a terror. With two flamekeeper buffs (3 damage per swing), they can basically kill anything in the game.
Vulkite Berzerkers with Bladed Slingshields: The anvil vulkites. They do mortal wounds on charge (roll dice equal to models in the vulkite unit, 6s do a MW), which is nice, but nothing to write home about. Their main use is screening or holding objectives. The 4+ instead of 5+ save is a lot more extra tank. Their damage isn’t great, but it also shouldn’t be underestimated. With the same buffs as the axes the shields can still tie on some wounds.
Magmic Battleforge: It’s the faction terrain. You’ll very rarely activate its 6+ ward. But hey, +1 to chanting rolls to all priests in 18” is great!
Invocations: See above.
Some allies are more useful than others. I will go over a few of the more useful ones.
Aetheric Navigator is a strong choice. He brings an important unbind to the army. But more importantly he can halve the movement of flying units. For his cost this is very useful. Many of the most important units an opponent will have are flying units.
Gunboat: This can add some great movement the army lacks. This frees you up to accomplish tactics like Desecrate Their Lands as well as put shots on support heroes. Back-capping objectives is always a strong ability on a teleporting unit.
Balloon Boys: They go with the Gunboat. This includes any of ‘em, heroes or infantry. The can tag along with the gunboat to add even more speed to the army.
Arkonauts: Super cheap GV unit. Give them expert conquerors and they can hold some points down for you while maybe occasionally doing a wound here or there. Great screening unit.
Lord Relictor: He has a built in +1 to chanting meaning he can cast Fyreslayer invocations as well as they can. He also is significantly tankier than Fyreslayer priests and has a warscroll prayer that does mortal wounds on top of debuffing an opponent. He’s a great pick, even if he’s a bit pricey.
Knight Incantor: Auto-unbind is nice. He’s got an unbind and can debuff opponents.
Stormdrakes: They are fast, they are monsters, they hit like a ton of bricks. These are a strong pick in any army and bring a lot to Fyreslayers who lack mobility and flying.
Stormstrike Chariot: You can use it to clear screens very nicely with its high impact potential. It’s also relatively quick to keep up with magmadroths at a budget price-point.
Celestant-Prime: A very strong warscroll that can deepstrike himself to wreak havoc. Very useful in any army.
Cities of Sigmar
Irondrakes: Very strong shooting in an army that has mediocre shooting. Add in the Command Trait Leader of the Duardrazhal to make them punch harder.
Runelord: Maybe the best ally for the army. He can still chant for the fyreslayer invocations, but he can also get a +2 to unbind, all in a 95 point package. With Heroic Willpower you can get two unbinds with +2. This will pay for itself the first time you dispel a purple sun or unbind mind razor.
Freeguild Guard: Super cheap GV which can hold a point down when you need it to. They also make a fantastic screen.
Freeguild Crossbowmen: A good screen or a solid inclusion for some long range shooting (24”).
How Does This All Come Together?
Example Lists from others:
I won’t put words in other players’ mouths. So I won’t comment on how these lists play, but they are a good starting point for people looking to build a competitive army. You can find one of each of the three main sub-factions here.
Garth Scannell took this list to a 4-1 and 2nd place finish at the Salt City GT. This list has a Runefather Droth leading two blocks of Hearthguard Berserkers around.
Allegiance: Fyreslayers – Lodge: Greyfyrd – Grand Strategy: Master of the Forge – Triumphs: Inspired
Leaders Auric Runefather on Magmadroth (360)** – General – Command Trait: Blood of the Berzerker – Artefact: Axe of Grimnir – Magmadroth Trait: Coal-heart Ancient Auric Runemaster (125)** – Artefact: Volatile Brazier – Universal Prayer Scripture: Curse Battlesmith (150)** – Artefact: Nulsidian Icon Auric Runesmiter (135)** – Forge Key – Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact) – Universal Spell Lore: Ghost-mist – Prayer: Prayer of Ash
Battleline 15 x Hearthguard Berzerkers (480)* – Broadaxes – Reinforced x 2 15 x Hearthguard Berzerkers (480)* – Broadaxes – Reinforced x 2 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)*
“Kozokus” took this next list to 5-0 in a tournament in Bordeaux. His commentary on it can be found here. It’s vulkites with flamekeepers so it’s hard to go wrong here.
Allegiance: Fyreslayers – Lodge: Vostarg – Mortal Realm: Aqshy – Grand Strategy: Master of the Forge – Triumphs:
Leaders Auric Runefather on Magmadroth (360)** – General – Command Trait: Blood of the Berzerker – Artefact: Master Rune of Unbreakable Resolve – Magmadroth Trait: Coal-heart Ancient Auric Flamekeeper (90)** Auric Flamekeeper (90)** Battlesmith (150)*** – Artefact: Nulsidian Icon Auric Runesmiter (135)*** – Forge Key – Prayer: Ember Storm Auric Runemaster (125)*** – Artefact: Volatile Brazier – Universal Prayer Scripture: Curse
Battleline 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Bladed Slingshields (160)**** 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)**** 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)**** 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)* 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)* 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)*
I will cover two of my lists as examples: A Lofnir list I went 4-1 with at Southern Fried Gaming Expo; and a modification of a Vostarg list I went 4-1 at a local team tournament (our team also went 4-1).
Then I will go into some tactics that Fyreslayers should consider using in general, regardless of the list. It’s impossible to give tactics for every situation, army, and position, but hopefully the ideas presented will give a strong foundation.
Allegiance: Fyreslayers – Lodge: Lofnir – Grand Strategy: Masters of the Forge – Triumphs: Inspired
This list plays as a control-style lofnir list. Knowing your matchup is important as you will be attempting to pick apart their army while stopping them from accomplishing their goals. You must slow and/or stop your opponent’s key units with the Auric Hearthguard and Invocations while pushing forward with your three Magmadroths.
I don’t take many pictures of games, but here are two examples of this denial:
This game shows the use of invocations against flying units and the importance of target selection and drop location for the Auric Hearthguard.
I was given the top turn. It was his choice, so I deployed far back so that he would gain not benefit from going first other than positioning. This means taking first accomplishes little for him and gives the fear of me getting a double turn. Combined with choosing a proving ground and objective activation means he ended up giving me the first turn.
The Shadow Queen can move exceptionally far, but her base is massive. By placing the Runic Fyrewall in the center you can cut her movement significantly back, forcing her to the sides if she wants maximum movement. You can also see the forge was placed in the center with priests behind it, making any attempts at slaying support heroes likely to fail. I then split the Runesons to each side forcing her to choose which she would chase, leaving the Smiterdroth far back to wait. I dropped the Auric Hearthguard to the side and shot the spear snakes to slow them and kill some. Even if I am double turned, his Spear Snakes and Morathi wouldn’t get into combat until his second turn.
Fortuitously, I won priority, which he needed to get any of his units into combat. Instead my magmadroth looped around The Shadow Queen on the right while the others pushed the middle and left, wiping his entire army from the board. It was basically over here. By abusing the AHG slow and the Fyrewall blocking ability, I ensured my safety at the bottom of 1 so that I could punish him hard in my second turn whether I went first or second. The rune of searing heat allows high damage from my Auric Hearthguard and magmadroth breath, and was a very useful rune in this game on turn 1 and 2 (due to Master Priest CT).
This game shows the use of invocations against armies with things such as Maw-krusha or Kragnos. It is also effective against any army with an Incarnate.
I deployed such that only his Maw-Krusha could get into combat if he takes the top of 1. The opponent knows I have lavablood and guesses correctly that his maw-krusha will die if he brings it in alone between blood and having to fight two magmadroths – the droths positioned such that barring extremely careful placement and a very far charge he has to bring two into combat. I put my army off to one side so that his boars can push but they can’t get into combat. He instead gives me the top of 1.
I measure out the distance such that I can drop my AHG directly behind the wall and shoot the Maw-Krusha. Between bracketing it and the slow, it can now only move 6”. I then bookend the AHG with droths and terrain so that any charges require fighting magmadroths after an unleash hell. He has to choose which units he wants to get into combat.
He double moves his Maw-Krusha just to go 12” but fails the charge: the large base requires 10” just to get past the fyrewall (I redeployed after this photo 2” and moved the AHG back a bit). The pigs charge on the right putting some damage into the Magmadroth on the right, and while they do heavy damage to the Magmadroth they die to it.
He gets the double turn, but his Maw-krusha remains controlled and can only charge the left or right, unable to get around the army. His pigs on the far right can and do charge the back, but that’s okay since they have to deal with a Smiterdroth in their quest to maybe kill a battlesmith. The important thing here is that he has to choose either of the Maw-krusha or the pigs on one side, he can’t have both due to the fyrewall and slow from AHG. This is when the power of controlling movement shines: the opponent can’t do what they like because of the AHG and Fyrewall.
The key in both examples, and as a whole, is to punish opponents by forcing them to accomplish nothing until their turn 2. This makes it extremely effective against lists that rely on one big unit getting into combat like Kragnos or Infernoths.
This also highlights the big weakness of this list: extremely hard ranged alpha armies like Skaven Stormfiends and Lumineth Realm Lords. They don’t care about any of the things you do and will pick you apart. Still, the AHG, flamespitter and infernoth do a lot of work to help mitigate this by punishing support heroes and/or ranged units. But you still will find these matchups to be an uphill battle.
This is a slight modification on a list I took 4-1 in the previous GHB2021-22 but have had good success with outside of tournaments in the GHB2022-23.
Allegiance: Fyreslayers – Lodge: Vostarg – Grand Strategy: Master of the Forge – Triumphs: Inspired
Leaders Auric Runesmiter on Magmadroth (340)* – General – Runic Iron – Command Trait: Master Priest – Magmadroth Trait: Coal-heart Ancient – Prayer: Prayer of Ash Auric Runemaster (125)* – Artefact: Volatile Brazier – Universal Prayer Scripture: Heal Auric Runesmiter (135)* – Runic Iron – Prayer: Ember Storm Auric Flamekeeper (90)** Auric Flamekeeper (90)** Battlesmith (150)** – Artefact: Nulsidian Icon
Battleline 20 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (340)**** – Reinforced x 1 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)**** 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)**** 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)*** 10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Bladed Slingshields (160)***
I could not find any pictures of this exact list in play.This list relies on a very important combo: Auric Flamekeepers pumping the 20x Vulkite Axes into a feeding frenzy of death. The Vulkites will do some damage with no buffs, so opponents still always have to worry about them a little, especially with the awakened steel or searing heat runes. Everything else is facilitating this combination in order to A) hold objectives and B) table the opponent.
Generally, you run it reactively: screen your large block of vulkites with your smaller block. Deepstriking a group of shields or axes to either punish an opponent who didn’t deploy correctly to protect support heroes (axes) or hold an objective (shields) is important here. Ember Storm being on 2 different priests means you likely will have the option to chant for it when you need it.
The auric flamekeeper combo will keep opponents who know of it wary and focused on the flamekeepers. For opponents who are not worrying about it, you may wipe them out. The flamekeepers soaking up an opponent’s focus will often leave your vulkites open for free reign on the field. The lists I found this struggling into were ones that could kill all my support heroes in a single turn if I either mess up deployment or the battlemap favors it. Certain Seraphon, Lumineth, and KO lists come to mind.
A key thing with this Vostarg list is positioning of your own units in relation to each other. It’s extremely important that the flamekeepers are receiving the benefit of deaths and able to pass that to the vulkites, even if those vulkites charge. It will be tedious, but ensure you are measuring out ranges ahead of time before making moves or charges. Similarly, maintaining all vulkites within the 12” bubble of a battlesmith for his ward and the 18” bubble for his rally command is incredibly important. The 6+ ward adds up, with the 5+ ward being incredibly handy early on, and the rally command can often win games.
Don’t be afraid to back out of combat with your vulkites and set up for a hero phase rally on the next turn, no matter whose turn it is. Keeping 2 or 3 vulkites in combat isn’t worth it over potentially rallying them back to 6 or 7. On the large vulkite blocks I have had rallies bring it back from 4 remaining to 16. That’s the equivalent of getting back over 170 points in models.
The basic tactics of the Fyreslayers rely heavily on positioning. The army is overall slow, and often not very beefy. Understanding your opponents threat ranges and your own is the most important skill you can learn as a Fyreslayers player. The games will often unfold like a game of chess where you are vying with your opponent for the right position to make your charges. To this end I will say that the movement phase is one of the most important phases for any Fyreslayers army; positioning will make or break your games.
Consider the abilities at your disposal: first strike and fight on death (vulkites, flamekeeper). On the surface these seem great for baiting opponents into charging your lines, but a good opponent will not charge you if they don’t have to. They will not take the bait, and even if they do, they’ll often still wipe the units out.
No, instead these abilities are useful as tactical pieces to force bad decisions after you have already charged an opponent and killed their units or when you can lure them into a trap. With that in mind, we can boil down all the games’ decision making process into positioning with regards to threat ranges. That makes deployment and turn 1 incredibly important.
Deployment and Turn 1
In most of my lists the opponent can choose who takes the top of round 1. Most opponents – excepting Ironjawz and LRL – will choose to let you go first. Seraphon will only usually take the top of 1 if they see they can alpha strike your key pieces immediately, for example. When facing such armies, give them as little as possible to alpha on the top of 1; deployment is the key here. If you can deploy correctly and get the top of two, the win can often be yours, if you don’t you’ll still be in a good spot. The two examples below are armies I see frequently. It’s difficult to give examples based on every single army and every single list, so two will have to suffice.
Example 1: Nighthaunt on Prize of Gallet
Consider playing an opponent on a 22” battleplan, such as Prize of Gallet. You know that your effective range of Magmadroths is 12” + charge. Your vulkites have an effective range of 4” + charge or 10” + charge (with ember storm). The movement rune adds 2” to all threat ranges. You also likely have at least one deepstriking unit.
For exemplary purposes, your opponent is playing nighthaunt in a Scarlet Doom list heavy on Bladegheists. Mostly they have a 8” + charge threat range plus up to three deepstriking units. If you take the top of 1 and move forward it’s very unlikely you will make charges (8” to 10” charges if they are on the line). You will take the objective, certainly, and then you will be charged on the bottom of two. This will likely see your opponent gaining a significant advantage.
Instead it is best to move or deepstrike one unit as far back as possible to tag an objective or run a unit to barely tag one. Put up a combat rune of some type, usually searing heat or fury are good, pop your Battlesmith’s once per game ward, and position such that the only units that can be charged is the one barely touching an objective and any from deepstrikes – which becomes a gamble for the opponent. Fyrewall and Molten Infernoth can block movements to further disrupt any plans they originally had here and can often ensure no one can charge except deepstriking units..
Now, you know that in their first turn they will be accomplishing little except for playing for a double turn. But if they do that and fail to get it they will be in a truly awful position. It becomes very risky for them to play for the double. Further, with a likely 5+ ward aura (battlesmith) and a combat rune up, it’s now even riskier for them to just charge your lines. You should be set up such that only some small number of their units – that are not deepstriking – can even get in to fight. If they get the double and charge your lines, your screens and once per game abilities allow you to weather it and play into a potential double on them. If you get the turn they will be in an awful spot for you to immediately charge their key units with a combat rune up and all of your abilities you can muster. Because of this the opponent now has to make an awful decision: play for the double or hold back and get what they can.
Nighthaunt players can deepstrike units, but often their units work best under the auras of heroes and with getting multiple charged into a single unit. They want to stack their debuffs to wipe you out. If you make them lean into the deepstriked units for this they are likely to fail some or all of their charges leaving them caught out. Still, remember they can do this and position accordingly. Do not leave units like battlesmiths standing alone or unshielded. Remember to always check the 9” bubble around your units.
If they take the top of 1 they will not be able to get any units onto your army effectively which leaves your turn to mop them up. If they play very cautiously then treat your bottom of 1 like it’s a top of 1 unless you really want to bank on the double turn. Even if you do, be sure to screen against their charges as best you can or play with ranges to cause most of their charges to block each other. Your opponent will likely try to abuse threat ranges in a similar manner, but with Auric Hearthguard and Molten Infernoth you can ALWAYS put in some work and position with the assumption they will get the top of 2. If they don’t you have a strong chance of winning with your double.
This is an example of how important measuring ranges and positioning is. By positioning correctly in turn 1 you have set out an entire game path that puts your opponent on their back foot.
Example 2: Seraphon on Head-On Collision
This map begins with an 18” separation. The objectives cannot be controlled in round 1. Your opponent is Seraphon. They are running a “meta” list of Thunderlizards with Bastiladons and Engines. This is an exceptionally difficult matchup for basically everyone judging by Seraphon win rates.
Right away we know Bastiladons have an effective range of 29” (5” +24” range). The stegadon with skink chief has an effective range of 32”. Salamanders have an effective range of 20”. With that in mind, it’s unlikely any one of these can kill a magmadroth or kill an entire unit of Vulkites on a single round of shooting without ample help from spellcasting (e.g. comets call). Thus, we can choose our deployment here to minimize damage from their turn 1. Deploy such that if they take the top of one, at maximum a single bastiladon can only shoot a single unit. The skink chief may get shots in, but that’s generally fine as it means they are pushing within 24” of your front line at minimum.
Seraphon players not being able to capitalize on a top of 1 turn and wanting the double turn more than anything to abuse their over-tuned shooting will give you the top of one. You will need to make the best with what you have here. Firstly, may god have mercy on your soul if you do not have a nulsidian icon. Secondly, you need to spread out, perhaps lightly tagging the objective with a GV, but ensuring shots cannot be focused on any one unit without the Seraphon player leaving the other side open. The only reason to even tag with a GV is in case you are given the bottom of round two you can proving grounds the middle objective if they had not already. This means measuring their ranges carefully and moving just outside them for turn 1. Make them have to move in different directions or split fire. Consider their GV situation and proving grounds usage carefully.
Here, your turn 1 runes should be either the ward rune if you have no openings for combat, or a combat rune if they’ve left something open to be deepstriked by Auric Hearthguard or Vulkites. Your battlesmith is hopefully well hidden out of LoS while still keeping units within a 5+ ward aura. But even if he’s not, he needs to be in a place where he hopefully will be able to be shot by as few units as possible. Abuse that 12” range as much as you can. We will assume the Seraphon player did not place all their important pieces right on the 18” line with no screens right in front of your magmadroths so it’s unlikely a movement rune is useful here.
In these instances invocations and auric hearthguard are absolutely key to disabling opponents. A runic fyrewall can block bastiladon movement, keeping their threat range low. A molten infernoth can accomplish this as well while it puts wounds on opponents; woe unto a Seraphon player letting the infernoth tear into its pyramid garrison. Flamespitter can thin key things on the opponents line: even bracketing a basti only takes 3 wounds, forcing them to use heals or roll on an engine.
Auric Hearthguard can be absolutely clutch here. If your opponent has left openings then you can likely use a Searing Heat rune to kill un-bodyguarded Slann or skink priests; killing a priest can greatly kneecap certain abilities (Seraphon want Run + Shoot). But a key use is reducing movement of things like Skink Chiefs and Bastiladons. A 5” reduction means even a 6” running bastiladon is going 7.5”. With this in mind, Auric Hearthguard and Invocations are not always about pure damage, but about making your opponent fail to accomplish their goals. Killing a skink priest or forcing it to use a prayer to attempt a banish only makes this better.
If your opponent does take the top of 1 then you should be sufficiently spaced that they will inflict minimal damage on your units setting you up for the counterstrike into a possible double turn. They will have to move up to tag objectives and land shots on your front lines. The need to tag objectives will likely bring them within your magmadroth or emberstorm threat ranges, this is when it’s best to punish them either with a combat rune or a movement rune, depending on where they moved. Auric Hearthguard and Invocations can hit key units, softening them for combat. Don’t be afraid to bracket a bastiladon or soften a skink chief for a charge from a droth or vulkite block. If you’re lucky they will have powered up Auric Flamekeepers by shooting vulkites which you can run forward to super power a unit, be sure to measure the ranges carefully here. It does take two flamekeeper buffs to get extra damage on Seraphon monsters, but you can also use Auric Flamekeepers to charge vulkites in the combat phase which allows you to avoid unleash hell or to get an extra fight on death with a unit.
Now when your opponent takes their first turn they should accomplish little, and with good placement of invocations, may even fail to cap the middle objective if they take the bottom of two. If they get the double they will still punish you, they are Seraphon after all, but hopefully it is mitigated significantly. If you get the top of two you should be in a fantastic position to capitalize with more infernoth punishment, more flamespitter rounds, and push up with ember storm or magmadroths to punch them in the face whether you went first or second in round 1. The key was the turn 1 positioning for this setup.
Basic Tactics Round 2+
Things become more difficult to sum up post round 1. The board state has infinite variation and how your opponent reacts to what you’re doing is going to completely change between people, armies, and lists.
But here’s a few tricks to use:
The movement rune can surprise opponents. They will bank on your 4” or 12” moves and not consider the additional range most times. While it can be used in round one occasionally, often these later round uses will allow you to capture objectives opponents considered safe or attack units they had unintentionally left open. Occasionally it allows you to retreat out of a combat you may not have been able to previously.
Retreating is an important tactical decision with Fyreslayers under the 18” bubble of a Battlesmith. While this won’t aid Magmadroths, it can often completely alter the flow of games with infantry. The rally command is issued at the start of the hero phase, any hero phase. This means you can retreat from combat and then rally in the next hero phase, whether that is yours or not. Many times this will allow you to lock down objectives or tie up units much longer than the opponent intended. If you do get the double this can lead to a much more combat-ready unit now charging into an opponent who did not expect this.
Auric Flamekeepers have multiple abilities, not just +1 damage. You can make the most of them in various ways.
Fighting on death with the Auric Flamekeeper allows a unit that does not get to fight to fight twice on death. With two flamekeepers this with +1 damage will often do more than +2 damage and a single fight on death.
Combat charges are extremely potent to enemies which want to retreat out of combat or on opponents who are attempting to hold an objective but not be in combat. It also means you can often bring in a second unit when your opponent only wants to fight one. A rarer use is for it to give you a third chance at a charge roll if you failed the first two (reroll). It sucks to use the dice up this way, but it’s sometimes needed. Also, don’t forget that combat turn charges avoid unleash hell which is very important against things like sentinels or bow snakes.
Their buff range is 12” but charges may take units outside of this. However, you can often finish a charge within a ½” of the opponent, within buff range, receive the benefit, then pile-in outside the 12”. Further, the 12” range on dice count is only within for a model, not wholly within, so pulling from the back is likely to allow the dice to count up. This means you can often have him in a cycle of constant counting up.
Magmadroth breath is strong. Aside from the mount trait allowing it to do more damage to single targets, it can also be used to unleash hell quite effectively to pick off some models on things like Witch Aelves and Nighthaunt. Most Fyreslayers players seldom use unleash hell, but especially under the Rune of Searing Heat it can be quite potent. Keep in mind if you have not shot with the breath then its unleash hell gains the -3 rend.
Throwing Axes do more damage than you think. Keep in mind Auric Hearthguard can throw axes, too, even during unleash hell. While on average the damage from an entire 10-man vulkite unit will be low it’s still important. Make sure you remember to use them at every opportunity and select good targets with them. You never know when the dice will spike (or their rolls will tank) and you’ll slip through more damage than you think.
Invocations block models from landing on them. This means Flamespitter can often be used to block deepstrike charges into your back line units. Combined with a forge and you can often lock off any type of charge your opponent might want from behind, or at the very least, minimize models they can get in. The molten infernoth can also be used to split up an opponent’s lines and movements, destroying some of their plans or aura ranges.
Deepstriking Runesmiters do not need to be adjacent to the unit. The unit just has to be wholly within 12” of the smiter. This means you can often position them to tag multiple things or keep the smiter well outside threat ranges. Deepstriking in general makes opponents deploy differently and move differently. Even if you think there’s no point for it in that game, sometimes that alone will justify putting the smiter in the tunnels.
The Heroic Action, Blaze of Fury, can be used for more than the rend rune, though that is often a great use. Aside from the ward rune, it also can see very good use with the movement rune. Gaining +2 to on the charge, especially if you have fury of the fyreslayers making it +3 and/or magnetised rune making it +4 or +5, can make your magmadroth cover considerable distance. A 14” move into a +2 to +5 charge is very strong and you can often get places your opponent would not have expected.
First Strike requires the use of a command being issued and received. This means you cannot issue All-out Attack to that unit. The Rune of Fury is the perfect remedy to this. This is a key rune to use if you believe your opponent will be charging into you in any phase, giving you the +1 to hit without the need for a command.
Auric Hearthguard are a useful tool in controlling opponents. Their damage with all out attack, +1 to wound (triumph or prayer), and the rune of searing heat is quite nice, but that’s not all they are. Their movement reduction can completely kneecap an opponent’s gameplan; a group of 15 AHG slows a unit by an average 5”. To this end it’s often a good idea to shoot a unit that you may not kill but that is instead important to the opponent’s gameplan. As examples, an opponent’s Kragnos is moving 5” or their zombies are only running 5” maximum rather than 10”. Also, do not underestimate the damage of unleashing hell into first strike with them. If charged, especially if they are buffed, they can often put in a good bit of damage on an opponent before they can even fight. Remember, don’t target units based on what you can kill or based on points every time, focus units that are important to your opponents gameplans. Sometimes this means shooting Gardus to keep his aura in place rather than the big scary dragon.
Terrain is extremely important to Fyreslayers. Aside from cover bonuses for most heroes and units that are not Magmadroths, Wyldwood terrain can hide your heroes. Also, due to their small size, oftentimes heroes can be completely obstructed from LoS against armies like Kruleboyz and Seraphon who otherwise would kill them quickly. If given the chance to set up terrain, ensure you set up “lanes” where you can hide heroes, but also where the Runic Fyrewall can completely shut out opponents. If done right there can be choke points with impassable terrain and the Fyrewall where things like Megagargants cannot stop or where units like Kragnos and Stonehorns have to go the extremely long way around. Consider your terrain placement VERY carefully.
Fyreslayers may get some hate, but they have a strong theme and some strong play. I hope some of these tactics and notes help you in your future list builds and games.