Hobby Happiness: Mortarch of Nagash

Hey everybody!
This past weekend was a little nostalgic for me. I recently moved house, and so was trying to find the best location in which to do my hobby stuff. (For those who are interested, it happens to be the dining table, as the whole room is flooded with natural light and is awesome).

I also spent a good few days building up the amazing Mortarch of Nagash kit, which comes in the Start Collecting Skeleton Horde box, and is the third time I’ve bought this model! Back when the End Times were going on, I picked one up alongside the rest of those releases, but promptly sold it off for one reason or another… I then picked up the Start Collecting box when I had grand plans for a Tomb Kings army, but sold it off when I got rid of all of my Age of Sigmar stuff about two years ago. But having started with Nighthaunt at the beginning of this year, I’ve decided the time was finally right to build up this bad boy and make myself a Legions of Nagash army!

This model brings me immense happiness to finally have it in my collection. Sure, it’s only built, and I still need to paint it – fortunately, Arkhan isn’t actually glued in place, as I feel that would have been a silly thing to do.

The End Times
I first got into the modelling side of Warhammer in the summer of 2014 – in fact, it was five years ago today that I placed my first order on the Games Workshop website. By September of 2014, the End Times had begun, starting with the release of that awesome kit, Nagash:

Of course, I have recently picked up Nagash, as I really fancy having him as an army centrepiece (though at 800 points, I can’t see myself including him very often in an army list!) However, this blog is about the Mortarchs, specifically Arkhan the Black, who will be much simpler to slot into a list.

I just really love these models. I think I’d originally wanted to build up Neferata, because I really love her lore and think the model just looks so incredible and badass, but following my Tomb Kings experiment, I had started to look at Arkhan the Black more as my Mortarch of choice.

While a lot of people didn’t appreciate the End Times for blowing up their world, I suppose I didn’t have that level of hobby investment at the time to feel I had to burn my entire army and post the video up on youtube (well, I didn’t have an army yet, so there is that). Instead, I was kinda bowled over with excitement for how awesome these new models were, and really got quite caught up with the whole thing in a good way. As such, I always look back quite fondly on the End Times, as being the real start of my hobby adventure.

The actual End Times themselves didn’t really culminate until late spring 2015, so I still had the best part of a year to enjoy my time with Warhammer Fantasy, so I do still look back on the Old World with some nostalgia, mainly for the lore rather than the game of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

The Model
Holy buckets, this model is amazing! It was a real joy to build up from start pretty much through to the finish. (Unfortunately, the reins on my model were broken on the sprue, and as this part is so small and delicate anyway, it has left them pretty much unusable. Luckily, I still plan to also have a Neferata model at some stage, so I’m thinking I’ll just use those when I come to it, as the two Mortarchs don’t share those parts).

That’s not to say it wasn’t fiddly, as there were several points during the building where I felt a little bit at sea. Also – Arkhan has a sword in its scabbard on his back, Zefet-kar, the Tomb Blade. The scabbard is part of the cloak, but the grip and pommel are a separate part. And they’re tiny! Well, at least his beard wasn’t a separate part, also.

He looks amazing, though, and the dread abyssal Razarak is actually quite sturdy and able to support its own weight really well, given that it is only held aloft on that skeletal tail-thing. Don’t get me wrong, it does wobble a little bit, but it doesn’t seem like anything is about to collapse!

Painting Plans
Now, I’m probably not about to go down the route of all that non-metallic metal on the armour that the studio has. I do want to do a deep blue scheme though, so have been considering using the new Night Lords Blue colour on his armour. I don’t know what to do about the rest of him though – in all honesty, I’ll most likely just end up following the studio scheme of pale bone and pale turquoise skulls. I do want to try out the contrast paints on him, though, so I think that might be interesting.

There’s a real presence about this model, though, and I am really looking forward to painting him up! I started painting two mortal followers of Khorne at the weekend, really because I wanted to try out the contrast paints again, but also because I want to try to get back into painting properly, and trying to get good at it. With moving house, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to consistently sit down to paint in an effort to get better, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things now, and hopefully get somewhere near “decent”!!

Nighthaunt Progress!

Hey everybody!
I had my third game of Age of Sigmar last Monday, again playing against Jak and his Maggotkin list, but this time we’d scaled up to 1500 points, so could go a lot wider with our choices. I think Age of Sigmar definitely lends itself better to larger-scale games, as I could see a lot of the synergies come further to the fore this time around.

I’ve used Lady Olynder twice now, and I do really like her both as a model and what she can do. I think I still play her slightly cautiously, as she is a model that really needs to be in the thick of things for a lot of her abilities to work, but she needs to choose her targets carefully. I’d also taken a Tomb Banshee (using the Briar Queen model as a proxy, as the aesthetics are much nicer on her, I feel), but I was unimpressed with her performance so doubt I’ll be using her again. I also used Dreadscythe Harridans for the first time, and purposefully sent them in against the Blightkings thinking their -1 to Hit would negate the exploding 6s, but forgot all about the rule for 2 turns and nearly got decimated.

I’d wanted to try out some Spirit Hosts, after having enjoyed the models back when they were first released, but unfortunately found they were really quite poor, being on 5s to Hit. Even with 6 attacks each, they barely did anything all game except die off slowly and painfully! I’d sent them against a horde of Plague Monks, thinking 18 attacks in the first round would be quite decent, but they probably hit no more than three or four times in the entire game. It hasn’t stopped me from buying a second box of them, of course – I’m thinking I’ll just try something else with them next time!

Finally for the “new” units, I was using ten Grimghast Reapers, which were a little uninspiring at first, despite buffs from the Knight of Shrouds and Spirit Torment, but I was really pleased when both the Torment and the Guardian of Souls came through for me, and basically resurrected the entire unit in round 4, allowing me to clinch a victory at the last minute! Very nice.

So I’ve been enjoying the Nighthaunt so far this year, and definitely want to continue on with these ghostly folks as I continue in my Age of Sigmar journey. While I had been branching out a bit with the Idoneth Deepkin and the Beastmen army ideas, I’m now paring everything back, and instead focusing solely on the ghosts. I’ve already sold off the elves, and I will soon be listing the Beastmen on ebay, so that I can instead just focus my energies on building, painting, and then playing games with these to try and really optimise my list and playstyle. Well, that’s the theory, at least!

I think the last time I checked in with you all on this, I was considering branching out into Legions of Nagash, and allying-in the Nighthaunt separately. Well, I’ve switched things around now, so that it’s the other way round. While it would be cool to have a bunch of skeletons in the mix as well, I’m mainly playing Nighthaunt, and allying-in Deathlords in order to bring in one of my all-time favourite models, Arkhan the Black!

The list is 2000 points, and so is very much a sort of version one of the final destination for me. It makes use of the core army that I have been playing so far this year, but adds in a couple of extra bits and pieces, so that I can get a couple of warscroll battalions in there for the additional command points. I’ve previously talked about feeling a little bit forced into shouldering some battalions into the list in order to generate additional CPs, but honestly, I think it might be the best idea to actually play with these things first and see what sort of things I can do, rather than just dismiss them as a trap on paper alone.

So let’s take a look at this list!

I like it, which I suppose is the first main point! The core of what I was looking to build up to back in January is still there, with the Chainguard and the Shroudguard, but I’ve also tweaked some points to both bring in Arkhan and to allow for more interesting (dare I say, competitive) units to be included. I’ve been able to see how several units have performed already, and I can see that things like the Chainrasp Hordes need to be bigger units to properly bog down the opponent in the mire of close combat. Having an army-wide unrendable save is a huge bonus, and big units like this should survive a lot longer, after all! The Chainghasts and Spirit Torments are going to be handy support units for allowing re-rolls of Hit rolls of 1, while the Spirit Torment’s ability to heal units is a nice fall-back if the Guardian of Souls is off elsewhere. I’m also super excited that I managed to get Thorns of the Briar Queen in here, as I was hoping to field them in an actual Age of Sigmar game back when I first started painting them. So that’s exciting!

The Bladegheist Revenants are a new unit for me, as I only actually picked them up last week and have so far built up five of them. Well, I also picked up the 500th Store Anniversary model back in October, which was also a named Bladegheist Revenant, sadly with no rules, but still! They are a bit like a more elite version of the Grimghast Reapers, I think, having similar abilities but a slightly better to Hit stat. Being able to fall back and charge is always a handy thing, of course, and its an ability they share with the Glaivewraith Stalkers, which will be those from the Easy-to-Build line rather than the Soul Wars box – they get the drummer, who grants them the ability. I’ve not used these chaps yet either, so this will be a little bit of a learning curve, but the only reason I included the Stalkers in the list was due to having the points left over!

Artefacts and Command Traits are things I’ve never really bothered with, outside of having the Nightmare Lantern buff for the Guardian of Souls. However, it’s a fun part of the list building that I think I miss from 40k list building, where working out all of the synergies and stuff is part of the enjoyment. It really helped me building this list through the Warscroll Builder on the Community site – other apps are available, of course, but I just wanted to try and get my head around the various moving parts, and this one was really straightforward to use. Having the two battalions in there gives me access to three artefacts, so I could use the Lantern buff while also giving out stuff to the Spirit Torment (dishing out mortal wounds to units within 8″ if a 2D6 roll exceeds the target’s bravery) and Knight of Shrouds (D3 mortal wounds on a target within 3″ if a wound was inflicted through his melee weapon). As the Knight of Shrouds is my General, and isn’t a named character, he can also be given a Command Trait – in this case, I’ve chosen Hatred of the Living, which allows him to re-roll failed Hit rolls with his melee weapons. Hopefully it should be a nice combo with his relic!

Spell lores are interesting things, and the Nighthaunt have a couple of pretty decent ones, I think. I’ve given the Briar Queen a spell that can dish out additional mortal wounds – it’s a similar spell to her unique offering, but for a different situation, so hopefully it should make her a flexible caster. The Guardian of Souls will most likely be doing his thing to revive other units, but the addition of an offensive spell should allow him to do more than just sit around being a waste of points if he never has a target for his unique spell.

But what about the big cheese himself?

Arkhan the Black is just a super cool model, and one that I really can’t wait to include within my army. He should be an amazing centrepiece, as well as having that hilarious Curse of Years spell, which deals out mortal wounds like nobody’s business, he can increase the range of other wizards’ spells by 6″ while they’re within 18″ of him – he also knows all of the spells of other Death wizards within the same range, so he too can attempt to cast Lifestealer or Spirit Drain, or Howling Vortex or Spectral Lure. He also has the Deathly Invocation ability that can hopefully heal a bunch of units if he’s positioned right, so he really goes in nicely with the overall theme of the army, perhaps more so than the other original Mortarchs.

So yeah, overall I’m really excited to be getting closer to this 2000 point build!