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!

Allure of the New

I had a bit of a personal victory today, and I thought I’d share it with you all!

As you no doubt know, a couple of weeks ago, the Gloomspite Gitz were released, and seemed to take the world by storm. The kits look amazing, and it felt a bit like everybody was suddenly playing grots. I got quite excited as well, mainly being attracted by the large scenery piece that reminded me so much of a Lego set from back in the day, and I did indeed consider starting to collect little green goblins. Then I spent some time watching the painting tutorial for the Dankhold Troggoth, and I thought I was sold:

As an aside here, how good are the Warhammer TV tutorials? The full ones, I mean – I like the little tips and stuff, don’t get me wrong, but I still enjoy sitting down with a cuppa and watching how they produce the various effects and whatnot. I don’t know if it’s because of the fact they’re the “official” paint guides, or what, but I do like these longer tutorials. Anyway!

I was on the cusp of buying my own, but I managed to resist. For possibly the first time ever, I’d been on the cusp of buying something, but had a moment of clarity where I just couldn’t see the need for this model among the rest of my collection, so left it there on the shelf.

This is perhaps particularly important as we approach the release weekend for the new Genestealer Cults stuff, and I feel my wallet already having little tremors of uncertainty at how much of this stuff I want to buy! As it happens, I’ve only pre-ordered the Codex, and two of the character models: the Nexos, and the Clamavus. I really fancy that Locus model, too, but I really want to see how the army looks once I have the book in my hands before I go down the route of buying new stuff. I want to think about my list, to think about the models that I already have, and how the new stuff might fit alongside that. Of course, I’ve been aware of the youtube reviews already doing the rounds, and spent a couple of hours the other day listening to my usual go-to Striking Scorpion 82 and his review, but nothing quite beats having the book to look through yourself, I feel!

I mean, I’m sure I’ll get some bikers, and I do want to get the new Ridgerunner, but I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm, because all too often in the past, I’ve found myself throwing money at a project to then get burnt out by it.

Most recently, this has happened with the Deepkin stuff. While hardly new, it was still a new project for me, and I’d thrown quite a bit of money at it over the last couple of months, but ultimately I’ve just found it really difficult to put together an actual army list that I would want to play, after spending a long time looking through the battletome. I’ve never really experienced something quite as disappointing as that in the hobby before – the miniatures are incredible, and I really wanted to get painting up some wet elves, but when it came to it, my lack of enthusiasm for the army’s rules really just put me off painting them.

I suppose actually having played some Age of Sigmar has helped, as I can appreciate that, actually, I enjoy playing Nighthaunt now, and I’m looking forward to building more on that side of things. Unlike with 40k, where I’m finding the variety of armies quite refreshing, and often find myself spurred on by having so many varied projects on the go, with AoS it’s a different matter, and I only really want one army.

Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true, as the arrival of the Skaven on the scene has prompted me to return to a plan from a long time ago, and actually get round to painting some of the little rat-men. For a long time now, I’ve been thinking about getting myself an “old world” army that I could use in AoS. Back in September, I thought that would be the Beastmen, but in the five months since that initial flurry, I’ve only built up ten Bestigors and have failed to anything with them. Time for a change? I think so. There’s just something about the Skaven, though, that I quite like. While I did find them a little annoying in Rise of the Horned Rat – the only Warhammer novel that I’ve read that featured them – I do actually think of that book as one of the most enjoyable that I’ve read, and have been thinking a lot about re-reading it. While I don’t particularly relish the thought of painting a horde army, I do have Thanquol and Boneripper somewhere, having picked them up during the End Times, and I could see myself building up an army of these chaps centred around the larger behemoth models. I think that could be a good starting point, at least!

So I’m trying my best to reduce my piles of plastic, as I’m currently selling off a bunch of Tau and Idoneth Deepkin models, and thinking more tactically about my purchases, and trying to plan those that I really want to get. Of course, there’s bound to be the odd mis-step in the future, but I’m hopeful that these will be fewer and fewer…

Army Plans

Hey everybody!
So yesterday, I was talking about some of my thoughts around some new army builds that I’ve had going round in my mind for the last few days. There have been a lot of such thoughts, so it’s been a busy process!

To begin, I want to talk about my plans for a Legions of Nagash army. This has pretty much evolved out of the desire to build up Arkhan the Black – I’ve loved this model since he came out, and have wanted to do something with it despite having bought and sold it twice! When I first had it, I was leaning towards Neferata, though now that I’m thinking more in terms of the rules and how I want the model to work within the wider context of an army, I think Arkhan would work well with the magic emphasis and so on.

Wanting the model to go alongside my existing Nighthaunt project, it seems like I need to go with Legions of Nagash and then ally the majority of the Nighthaunt in – luckily, everything from the Soul Wars box can be put into the army, so it’s not too much to faff about with.

legions of nagash

I love the Spirit Hosts, as well, so I wanted to use a lot of them – and luckily they’re already in the battletome, so no need for this allies stuff! I’m currently splitting the battleline units between the Chainrasps and the Skeleton Warriors, the usual battleline units for the undead.

I really enjoy the Legions of Nagash battletome, and I was quite impressed at the number of options available when first flicking through it. However, when it came time to actually go through the rules for everything, I felt a little bit underwhelmed. I’ve gone for the Legion of Sacrament because of the fact that Arkhan is in the list, but it was really surprisingly difficult to come up with the organisation of it all. I’ve given Arkhan the command trait Dark Acolyte, which basically allows him to know one more spell. Being a wizard, of course, he knows all of the spells of Death Wizards within 18″ of him, so he can also benefit from the Guardian of Souls, so I’ve gone for a couple of quite offensive spells to help keep the enemy at bay. Well, we’ll see!

I’m still going with the Nighthaunt for now, of course, but I’m really looking forward to adding some more skeletons to the ghosts in time! And maybe one day…

Nagash

Moving on!

Along with the ghosts, I’m wanting to get myself moving with the Idoneth Deepkin that I started building up late last year. Much like with planning the Legions of Nagash, I’ve been finding it quite difficult to come up with an actual army list. Some things really felt quite natural to go together, such as the Namarti Thralls along with the Soulrender. But it has proven quite difficult to get something more of a cohesive army that I would like to play with. I mean, I like the sorts of armies that have a lot of variety in the units – just look at the Legions of Nagash army above! – but the Deepkin feel like the sort of force that would quite happily be made up of massive amounts of the same sort of unit, be that Thralls or Guard.

I’ve chosen the Mor’phann Enclave, more because I like the colour scheme of blues and purples, but it also adds a buff to the Soulrender bringing Namarti models back. Again, I found it difficult to pick artefacts and command traits to ascribe to the units, so I have just gone a bit generic for the time being, while I build up the army and attempt to get some games in to try to get the hang of what they all want to do.

More so than any other Age of Sigmar army that I’ve come across so far, I feel the Deepkin might benefit from having allies within the force, especially Sylvaneth. Daughters of Khaine would be a wonderful excuse to start getting myself some snake ladies, of course, but I can see myself getting some Kurnoth Hunters sooner or later to pepper into the force.

It’s been really interesting to me, getting back into Age of Sigmar after all this time. If you remember, I was really into it back when the system first launched, despite so much negativity being leveled at it across the internet. Painting up a massive amount of Stormcast Eternals was quite a joy, now that I look back, though I never really got into the actual gaming side of things before 40k took over my life. I think this is in part due to the fact that the fantasy scene at my local GW is highly competitive, with most of the players regularly taking part in all manner of tournaments and whatnot. The opportunity to have small-scale games just for fun were very few and far between, and I would get quite nervous even thinking about playing. So I think it’s been really nice that I’ve been able to find at least a couple of people locally who are now getting into it all at the same time, and have smaller-scale, casual games where it’s not too dramatic as we’re only playing for the fun of it, and all that.

I suppose it’s an aspect of the hobby that I don’t always talk about, but I do get quite nervous when meeting new people to play games with, as I think part of me is concerned whether they’ll be taking it too seriously, and whether I’ll just annoy them with my casual attitude, etc. But I do tend to over-think some things like this!!

Going back to re-discovering the game, I think AoS 2.0 is a lot better than the first iteration of the game, just because of the depth gained from Allegiance Abilities and so forth. They’re basically Chapter Tactics for the fantasy world, of course, but I love the richness that we’ve gained from seeing these things, and while I have made a few comments up above about both Legions of Nagash and Idoneth Deepkin being a bit of a let-down in this regard, I do strongly feel this is more due to my lack of experience with both the game and each army, rather than any true reflection of things.

I’ve also been enjoying painting something different. 40k has been with me for so long now that I feel a bit of a release painting the ghosts, especially because they have such a fantastical feel to them. While of course there is always creative licence in these matters, I feel much more freedom when painting the fantasy minis to when I’m painting those for 40k. It’s been really quite fun so far, and I’m hoping that continues for a long time to come!

Nighthaunt Updates!

Hey everybody!
Well, it’s only been a week since the start of the year, and all my grandiose plans for what I’d like to do hobby-wise in 2019, but I’m quite pleased to announce that I’ve already been making some great progress with a couple of these plans! I had my first game of the year earlier today, with my New Year/New Army project, and it was Age of Sigmar, to boot! Nighthaunt vs Maggotkin, just a 500-point game to get into the swing of things, as it were, but it was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to getting more fantasy games under my belt as the year goes on!

I’ve been trying to get some Nighthaunt painted up for roughly a week, using the game to try and spur me on a bit. I’ve made some good progress, and there are some models that are coming along really nicely, I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I still have quite a ways to go, given that there will be a lot of Chainwrasps to paint before I’m done with the army, but the models are so beautiful that I really want to try to take my time with them, and while I had been rushing a bit to get them futher along for the game, I feel like I want to try and take some time to do a better job now. Even so, the basic troops unit for the army, the Chainwrasps, can look pretty decent with a fairly simple colourscheme:

I primed the models with Corax White – never a fun thing to do, but between a lot of shaking, and warming it on the radiator first, I managed to escape having the dreaded powdery coating! Everything has then been shaded either with Nighthaunt Gloom, Drakenhof Nightshade, or Coelia Greenshade, to try and achieve a variation of spooky looks across the army. Some models I had painted the cloaks either Ionrach Skin or Celestra Grey, which gives a slightly different finish to the shade than simply shading the primer. There is quite a random look to them, which I do quite like – I don’t want to have a uniform look to my ghosts! I then drybrushed them mostly with Ulthuan Grey, though some were also drybrushed with Deepkin Flesh. I’ve tried to go over most of the “skin” with Drakenhof Nightshade, to give a bit of unity with the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband that I had painted up last year, though I’ve also just left them as they are.

The texture of the models is really quite wonderful for drybrushing, and it has resulted in some quite decent-looking tabletop miniatures already. Last night I then went in and painted all of the rocks with Mechanicus Standard Grey, and some of the bases had been done with Astrogranite. I’ve then shaded the rocks with Nuln Oil, and I’ll probably go back in with Dawnstone as a drybrush to finish that off when I’ve done all of the basing. I’ve then tried to focus my attention on doing the metalwork on a couple of the models, painting it all with Leadbelcher (and then picking out a few bits with Retributor Armour) before shading everything with Agrax Earthshade. I chose the brown wash mainly because I’d misplaced the Nuln Oil, but I think it actually looks pretty good for them – the weapons, certainly, need to look dirty and stuff! So I quite like how that has turned out.

I’m hoping to continue to plug away with these for a while, anyway – I really want to make sure I get the battleline troops painted up alongside the heroes, rather than focusing my attention on the single-models and then finding myself losing interest in the main troops. I’m not 100% sure yet how I’m going to paint the Knight of Shrouds, as I do want to make him something of a centrepiece (until I get Nagash!) but I feel that the fairly simplistic scheme that I’ve been using for the Chainwrasps would also do quite well for this chap, as well! I’ll continue to ponder while I paint the others, anyway, and we’ll see from there!

Army Building Thoughts
So I’ve started really small, with just 500 points, although that is already 23 models! But I’m building up to a much larger list – as I have a lot of Nighthaunt models already, I’m thinking that I might as well build up towards 2000 points, plan out that list, and then focus on painting it up in sections like this. However, list-building in Age of Sigmar is a bit different to how I’m used to, with different considerations to keep in mind!

For those of you who don’t know, there is a Command Point system in AoS similar to that of 40k, in that you can spend your points to grant different effects, although it’s a much more pared-back version of the 40k system. I think pretty much the majority of Hero models in an army will have a Command Ability, although there are three generic Abilities that can be used by any Hero if he is your General. Each costs 1 Command Point to use, and you can use the same Ability in each round if you have the points to do so. You gain Command Points at the start of your Hero Phase, and in addition you start the battle with 1 Command Point per Warscroll Battalion that you include within your list.

So there’s an incentive to build your list around a collection of Battalions. Unlike in 40k, there are unique Battalions available to each army, which are included in your Battletome and they grant you specific abilities if you meet the requirements for them – not only do you have to field the right amount and type of models, but they also cost points to include in your force. So, for example, in the Nighthaunt Battletome there is a Battalion called Deathriders, which requires 1 or 2 units of Dreadblade Harrows, 2 units of Hexwraiths, and 1 Black Coach. These models cost, at a minimum, 700 points (800 points if you go for the 2 Harrows), but you need to pay an additional 130 points to put them into the Battalion itself, which grants the ability to add 1 to charge rolls, and allows models from the Battalion to fight immediately if they make an unmodified charge roll of 9+. It’s basically the Wave of Terror allegiance ability (more in a bit), but will give you access to the ability if you take this Battalion in an allied army.

I’ve built my own army to include two Battalions, which will allow me to start the game with 3 Command Points. Which will be handy, although I don’t actually have that many targets for unique Command Abilities! Let’s look at the list, anyway, and I’ll explain my thoughts a bit more.

Version one has a total of six Leaders and four Battleline units, which meets the list building criteria as laid out in the General’s Handbook. Incidentally, how weird is it that the main rules for Age of Sigmar are laid out across two separate books? I mean, I kinda get it, in that the General’s Handbook is intended for the more serious gamers, and otherwise you can have a perfectly fun game by just using the core rules alone, but something as basic as list building should really be in the core rules, surely? Hm.

I did really want to get Lady Olynder in this list, but sadly she wouldn’t quite fit. I suppose I could do away with the Spirit Hosts, and then replace the Knight of Shrouds with her, and it would still be a valid Battlehost list, but I think that’s probably for another day. My initial plans for the army actually revolved around Lady Olynder leading a banshee-based list, so I was planning to have Dreadscythe Harridans and Myrnmourn Banshees, with the Briar Queen hanging around as well, but that quickly became overshadowed by the desire to have a more broad Nighthaunt army! I do still want to have the Briar Queen in here at some point, but for now I’m actually planning to use her as the Tomb Banshee model, as I feel that particular model doesn’t really go with the rest of the range now. Same story with the Cairn Wraith really, and why I had been planning to use the Liekoron the Executioner model for him instead. But I digress.

There are two Battalions in here, as I said, but while that does grant me 3 Command Points from the off, I only have the Knight of Shrouds who has a specific Command Ability, so the other heroes would be stuck with using the generic ones. However, you can use the same Ability more than once, if you have the CP to do so, and the Knight of Shrouds grants Nighthaunt units wholly within 18″ of him +1 attack. So I can give out +1 attack to several different units each turn, so the basic Chainwrasps can dish out 3 attacks each, while the Spirit Hosts would each get 7 attacks if they were to be targeted with this Ability! Nice!

While all of that is well and good, of course, I do still feel a little bit like I’ve been forced into it because of the Battalions – the generic Command Abilities are handy, but with only three unique Command Abilities in the entire army, I can definitely see myself dropping at least one of them (possibly the Shroudguard) at some point. I’m not sure what I’d replace it with, as I’m already at my max Leaders for 2000 points. Possibly another unit of Spirit Hosts, and then maybe one of the Endless Spells, as they do seem to be quite fun – I know people seem to decry the Nighthaunt spells online, but having no experience with this, I’m all for trying out something new until I get into the groove with it all!

The fancy stuff
Of course, while the army is always made up of the units and the synergies that arise from them all, Age of Sigmar armies also have a whole host of additional stuff knocking about in the background, along the same lines as Chapter Tactics and their like for 40k armies. This is where things get really interesting, and I must say, it was a confusing part of the game to me for a long time!

First of all, there are the Allegiance Abilities – a suite of six for the Nighthaunt, who do not have any kind of distinct sub-faction within the army. There are some powerful abilities here that are almost duplicated within the Battalions that I’m taking, which is why I’ve been thinking it might be quite easy to just ditch them if I feel I’m using up valuable points. Then there are unique Command Traits that can be given to the General. Remember when I said there were only three characters in the Battletome with their own Command Ability? Well, this will allow me to remedy that by choosing, say, the Guardian of Souls as the recipient of a Command Trait of his own. Importantly, unique characters cannot be the recipients of any of these things, so Reikenor the Grimhailer is out for receiving any further Command Traits or Artefacts of Power.

For the purposes of my list, I’ve actually chosen the Knight of Shrouds as my General – for a long time, I considered nominating the Spirit Torment, but I think the Knight is a much more bellicose figure to lead the troops! While he does already have a Command Ability, there appears to be nothing preventing me from also giving him a Trait, so I’ve gone with Ruler of the Spirit Hosts, which allows him to return D3 slain models to a unit within 9″ of him. So I’ve got recursion from both the Guardian of Souls and the Knight of Shrouds, which is going to be useful! Certainly, the Guardian helped a great deal during my first game today, as I managed to keep one of my Chainwrasp Horde units from dying right up until the final battle round!

I’ve got two Wizards in the army, Reikenor the Grimhailer and the Guardian of Souls. The Guardian has got the Spectral Lure spell that allows him to recur Nighthaunt models within 18″, while Reikenor can deal D3 Mortal Wounds to enemies within 12″ (with the potential for D3 more if the initial salvo slays any models). Both can only cast one spell per turn, and their unique spells are both really good. However, I can also give them an additional spell from the Lore of the Underworlds, so why not, right? I’ve given the Guardian of Souls the Lifestealer spell, which dishes out D3 Mortal Wounds on a unit within 12″, and allows me to heal him by the same number of Wounds dealt – as I need the Guardian ‘alive’ for his recursion spell, I think it’s a good enough gambit for him to take one turn off from doing that in order to heal himself in a pinch. Reikenor also knows Spectral Tether, which allows him to heal Nighthaunt Heroes within 12″ – as the most robust of all the units in the list (with 7 wounds), I figure he can be used to help keep others ‘alive’ as well.

While were on the subject of the Guardian of Souls, there are also three different sorts of Infernal Lantern he can be given, under the Artefacts of Power (basically, Relics). I was using the Wychlight Lantern in today’s game, but kept forgetting about it (it wouldn’t have had any effect, anyway). However, I’ve now decided to give him the Beacon of Nagashizzar, which buffs his Spectral Lure spell to returning D6+3 models/wounds, rather than just D6. So I’m guaranteed to get at least 4 models back, or heal 4 wounds, which is just incredibly powerful when dealing with this many Chainwrasps or pulling a Hero back from the brink.

I have the option of adding one additional Artefact of Power for each Battalion in the list, of course, so I’ve gone for the interesting choice of making the Tomb Banshee a wizard through the Midnight Tome – she knows Spirit Drain, which rolls a D6 equal to the wounds characteristic of an enemy unit within 18″, and deals out a mortal wound for each 6+. Finally, I’ve given the Knight of Shrouds Headsman’s Judgment, adding 1 to hit and to wound for his Sword of Stolen Hours. So that should be quite fun!

So that’s the army plan that I’m working on right now! I’ve got my work cut out, of course – it’s a total of 75 models to paint, and detailed ones at that! I still need to buy some Spirit Hosts, and another box of Chainwrasps, as well as the Bladegheist Revenants. But I’m looking forward to the task, as the models are really quite wonderful to paint, and should look fantastic as an army when they’re finished.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get some more smaller-scale games in as I try to learn more of the intricacies of the game – Age of Sigmar has come a long way since I first tried it out back in 2016, and while many people still seem to think of it as something of a simple game (in my local area, at least), I feel like there is a lot more to it than perhaps I’ve seen so far. Having played one basic game at a very low-cost points level, I’ve only scratched the surface, so I’m looking forward to more!

New Year, New Army! 2019 edition

Well, you knew this was coming, right?!

After reading the post on the Warhammer Community site, and thinking about what I want to get done in the hobby generally this year, I thought it’d be fun to do something similar, and create a series of posts that will regularly check in on how I’m doing with this year’s undertakings!

I’m going to be doing Nighthaunt this year – while I have a lot of projects on the go right now, some of which I can potentially see getting quite significant as time goes on, I think the whole Age of Sigmar thing has gotten me quite excited for the hobby at the minute. It’s pretty much a new game system to me, as I have only played two games of 1st edition back in 2016, and from what I’ve seen of the changes that have been made over the last couple of years, I might as well have been playing a wholly different game!

I currently have a fair few projects on the go for Age of Sigmar – an army in each Grand Alliance, as it happens! But while I am excited to get moving with all of these ideas, I think the Nighthaunt are where I want to start – not only start painting a fantasy army again, but to start learning Age of Sigmar!

I’ve arranged a small, 500-point game for next week (I know you’re not supposed to play at 500 points), so I’m quite excited about that! The list is intended to be quite straightforward, as I want to gain an understanding of the game, and what I need to do in the game, etc. So I’m trying not to go to fancy with magic or anything just yet. I’ve got two units of 10 Chainwrasp Horde, along with a Guardian of Souls, a Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed, and a Cairn Wraith.

I’m thinking there will be enough going on between the Guardian of Souls and the Knight of Shrouds buffing the Chainwrasps, then the Cairn Wraith is just hanging out doing his own thing. Importantly, though, I don’t want to use the old Cairn Wraith model, so I’ve got my eye on the named Lord Executioner, who should fit the bill quite nicely.

I’ve also been considering getting some Glaivewraith Stalkers in the list instead, which are the same points cost – it just comes down to the fact that I already have a lot of models in this list that need painting, so I was looking for an easier option!

I like the idea of starting a full army this year, along the lines of taking a Start Collecting box, and then each month adding in other stuff. I’ve talked several times about following the Tale of Four Warlords idea like this, but have never seemed to follow through on things. Well, there isn’t a Start Collecting box for the Nighthaunt (yet!), but the Soul Wars box set sure provides a pretty good starting point! I’ve been doing some research, though, and I think that each of the AoS Start Collecting boxes is roughly around the 500-point mark – there are some, like the Daemons boxes, which are below 400 points, whereas Slaves to Darkness and Fyreslayers are almost 600 points. So I think I’m on the right track, anyway!

This is a very exciting project for me, at any rate, and I’m very keen to see how my force progresses! I’ve painted up the Thorns of the Briar Queen of course, but I’m looking forward to getting a bigger army underway!

Grot invasion!

The Gloomspite Gitz have been fully previewed for Age of Sigmar, and it’s a glorious time to be alive! I really don’t know what I would do with a full army of these gits, as I’ve already got Age of Sigmar armies coming out of my ears, but my goodness is this difficult to resist!

I was first attracted to the grots army with the last warband for Nightvault, and while I’ve got them built up and primed, I still need to get moving with actually painting these chaps up! Of course, it’s only natural with projects like these that I’ve been considering the idea of a wider army, especially as GW provide rules for using the warband alongside a full force, but I’d managed to resist – preferring to focus on the Nighthaunt. That is, until now!

I mean, look at these chaps! They’re hilarious! There’s just something about squigs that I find wonderful, and I can’t help but feel the need for these in my life…

The preview article that went up on the community site yesterday is full of the hilariousness that is the grots, and looking at it again now, I can feel my resolve shaking… Maybe I’ll just buy the one box of miniatures… one box won’t hurt, after all…

I love the new terrain piece in particular, as it reminds me of the sort of Lego sets I used to love as a child. I suppose a lot of my love of the Warhammer hobby is somehow traced back to my childhood love of building stuff with Lego, but this kit in particular has really captured my imagination there!

Speaking of the Underworlds warband, the new Troggoth models coming are utterly amazing, and I think it’s these models that I want more than the actual grots themselves when it comes to this release – primarily because of the fact I’ve been enraptured by the upcoming Mollog’s Mob band that I’m hoping will be coming out shortly!

There are a whole load of interesting bits on these models, and while I invariably find 40k miniatures such as the Death Guard to be really too busy, the same is rarely true for these new fantasy offerings, and instead I just marvel at the wealth of detail captured on each one!

The massive Dankhold Troggoth is definitely an exciting option, though I’m really very taken with the new, plastic Mangler Squig, and I’m feeling the need to pick this kit up perhaps sooner than I’d have liked!! Well, I mean, look at it!

I’m definitely going to need to re-evaluate my options for Warhammer armies in 2019, but I think it would be remiss of me not to go for at least some of the insanity that is the Gloomspite Gitz!

Slaanesh

Hey everybody!
Wrath & Rapture goes on pre-order today, so I think there’s no better time than to start rambling about a subject that is fairly close to my heart, being a long-time fan of the Dark Prince: let’s talk about the youngest of the Chaos gods, and perhaps the most problematic of them – Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure.

I’ve been a fan of the youngest of the Chaos gods pretty much since I learnt about the wonders of Warhammer. I’m sure you all think I’m some kind of pervert, after making that statement! But there has always been something quite interesting to me when you see the followers of Slaanesh in comparison with those of the other Chaos gods. They aren’t always brutal, half-mad killers, or putrid and disgusting rot-bringers. They can be quite elegant, with their slight and subtle mutations hidden beneath silks and velvets. I think this perhaps sums up a lot of the ideas behind Slaanesh pleasure cults in the Old World:

Warhammer Fantasy did a lot to form my opinion of Slaanesh, and while a lot of the emphasis there was on the debauchery and degeneracy, the basic idea of Slaanesh being the god of excess has been there all the way through. Cultists of Slaanesh may look pretty normal, save for a forked tongue, but the idea of something daemonic being hidden behind the glamour is definitely a powerful factor in the image of Slaanesh and what he represents.

Let’s talk for a moment about BDSM, though, and the overly-sexualised way Slaanesh has been portrayed in the past. Slaanesh is forever linked with the pain/pleasure principle, it seems, and I don’t think GW will ever remove themselves from it entirely. What was initially intended as something of a 1980s punk-style Chaos god has matured over the years, GW are definitely trying to play down the sexual nature of Slaanesh – presumably to make the range more palatable to their target market. I think this is a pretty sensible move, if I’m honest, as I think the hobby in general does struggle with an image problem a lot of the time, and having mostly-naked miniatures to play with does absolutely nothing to improve that image. I don’t want to be pushing around miniatures of naked women, as I kinda feel like it’s inappropriate and a bit too teen-angst-y for me. I mean, I’m 34 on Tuesday, so I don’t want people thinking I’m still in the mindset of a 14 year old. Of course, I’m not trying to tell anybody how to have their own kind of fun, but for me, things like the Juan Diaz Daemonettes or Seekers are just silly and childish, and I’m really glad GW have dressed the Daemonettes a little since then.

“Boobs for the Boob God”, I hear you all cry…

I’m not trying to get all SJW here, and I’m aware that there are plenty of arguments for allowing artistic representation the freedom it needs. If you enjoy the sort of overly-sexualised miniatures such as these, or the current stuff being made by companies such as Raging Heroes, then that’s fine – you like what you like, and that’s all there is to it. Personally, I don’t like it, and I don’t really want to be associated with it. There is a very definite problem, to my mind, with female representation in a lot of geekdom and, without getting into that debate here, I think anything that GW can do to tone things down is a step in the right direction.

In recent years – particularly since the re-launch of Warhammer Fantasy as Age of Sigmar – GW have gone down the route of having Slaanesh be more about the allure, and temptation, rather than anything overtly sexual. Slaanesh is supposed to be about Excess, which can be represented by more than just sex. The ‘sergeant’ for the Daemonettes is called an Alluress, for example, and there are references to Slaanesh daemons enticing their foes closer before they slash them apart. It’s an interesting move, for sure, as allure is pretty much all about the tease, the promise of more to come.

Slaanesh is now mostly about speed, with rules in 40k and AoS that allow models to advance (run) and charge, and gain additional attacks for charging, etc. In 40k, there are rules that allow you to adversely affect your opponent’s characteristics while nearby Slaanesh units, reflecting the beguiling nature these daemons possess. They’ve become the Sirens of the Warhammer universe in a classical Greek way, and I have to say, I really prefer that!

I’m also quite pleased to see a more standard approach to Slaanesh as an entity too – for years, there were references to a male and female half, as represented by the models having a female right-side and a male left-side of the chest, for instance. The “problem” was compounded by the fact Slaanesh was named the Dark Prince, but also called She Who Thirsts by the Eldar of Warhammer 40k. In some of the artwork there are still visual cues of androgyny, but overall it seems that GW have adopted the masculine pronoun for referring to the deity now, which, I feel, further helps to bring the line away from sexuality and more about simple lethality.

I would love a model of a Slaanesh sorcerer like this guy, though.

So far as the models go, I do love the current range for just how weird they all are. While Khorne models are all pretty much classic devils, Nurgle are all disgusting, and Tzeentch are just weird, there is a much more subtle wrong-ness about Slaanesh that I think is particularly impressive overall. They do tend to be very spikey, and there are several shared design cues such as the crab-claws and the reverse-articulated legs, but I think that GW have managed to hit the nail on the head when it comes to what these things represent. Daemonettes in particular are supposedly beautiful maidens who seduce folks into getting too close before eviscerating them. I think the idea of the beguiling daemon using a glamour to lure people in, then revealing the much more daemonic face beneath, is really strong here – from a distance, we see the half-naked daemon women and get a completely different idea of what they actually look like.

The steeds of Slaanesh are interesting for their undulating shapes, which is just the right side of suggestive, but the chariots they pull are all spikey meat-grinders – indeed, the Hellflayer is basically a threshing machine designed to carve up all sorts of folk on the battlefield!

Slaanesh Hellflayer

It’s this spikey-ness that is another important aspect of the look of Slaanesh, for me. Bloodletters look like classic devils from common folklore, and we’re inherently averse to them because of that fact. Slaanesh daemons, however, have that lithe sensuality that makes us think they’ll be a lot less vicious – in-game, Daemonettes have a stat line similar to what is basically the standard human, and most weapons will be wounding them on 3s. But they are fast, and they have 2 attacks each at WS3, and their basic claws are AP-1 – these things are vicious!

There’s just something quite dangerous about the look of Slaanesh models.

For all that Slaanesh has been moving away from the boobs-out look of the past, however, I find myself a bit confused by the new Fiends of Slaanesh models that are in the Wrath & Rapture box, as they once again have the suggestion of sexuality about them that I thought we’d put behind us.

They’re good looking models, for sure, but it is a little bit dismaying to see an emphasis placed on Slaanesh being all about the boobs. The models are otherwise fantastic, and definitely an improvement on the older Fiend, which was one of the earliest models I’d attempted to paint!

Fiend of Slaanesh

Which I suppose brings me on to the Keeper of Secrets.

All of the four Chaos gods have almost identical basic structures in terms of how their model ranges run – the lesser daemons as troops, a chariot, an elite choice, a cavalry choice, heralds and a greater daemon centrepiece model. Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch have each now got their plastic greater daemon model in the shape of the Bloodthirster, the Great Unclean One, and the Lord of Change. For Slaanesh, we’re waiting for a Keeper of Secrets that is better than, well, this one:

The Keeper of Secrets as an iconic image is actually not too far removed from the new Fiends, as it happens. The reverse-articulated legs, the skin being held up with hooks, the whip-like tongue… I wouldn’t be surprised if many people first saw these than thought we might be in for the big bad itself.

I don’t want to sound like I’m getting too negative though, as I do really like the Slaanesh range for just how weird it all is, and I’m pleased to see new models finally arrive for it – something I never thought I’d see again, if truth be told! Daemons of Slaanesh are some of my favourite miniatures, and I think it would be a load of fun to try and build a force once again out of these bizarre snake-horses and crab-ladies. I’ve been looking at the Start Collecting box as a good place to start, as I’ve always wanted to try and put together that Exalted Chariot.

I’m hoping that the range will continue to be fleshed out, now that GW seem to have lost their aversion to even acknowledging the fourth Chaos god. Early efforts in Age of Sigmar to sideline Slaanesh in favour of the Horned Rat seem to have disappeared, and I think this new box set means that Slaanesh has very definitely not gone anywhere. I do enjoy the efforts with the lore to keep the idea of Slaanesh as an absent god still a part of the universe, however, though I think perhaps now that we’re seeing new plastic miniatures for the range, we might actually be on the verge of a new Battletome for the Hosts of Slaanesh within Age of Sigmar?

Here’s hoping, as I think the Hosts idea is really quite interesting and worthwhile exploring through their own book. Age of Sigmar definitely has more ideas for Slaanesh than 40k, mainly due to the fact that we have additional units that can be taken in the fantasy setting in the shape of the Hellstriders.

These chaps are almost the epitome of Slaanesh as the Lord of Excess – muscular warriors who are driven forth in their desire to cause as much pain and torment as possible. The fact that their wargear is quite perfect, their bodies muscled to perfection – it just screams what Slaanesh is all about, the pursuit of something to excess. They exemplify that unique aspect of Slaanesh as a Chaos god – each of the four is disturbing in his own way, for sure, but there is something a lot more pristine about Slaanesh, and while you can of course model your Daemonettes bathed in blood and reveling in gore, I do enjoy the idea of an unsullied host of daemons as opposed to anything else.

It’s a shame we can’t get these in 40k as some kind of human-style cultists of Slaanesh. Though I would still like to see something like the classic berserker-cultist of Slaanesh realised in model form:

I’ve been rambling for quite some time now about the miniatures line for Slaanesh, but let’s get round to talking about some of my efforts with the army!

I’ve tried to build an army of Slaanesh models a few times over the years, but have never been very good at getting the look right. Most recently, two years ago I’d built up some Daemonettes, a Seeker Chariot, and a Herald, and was trying to get going with some Hellstriders, but sadly abandoned that project shortly after moving house. Well, I think it might have been a case of overloading myself with miniatures to paint, as I have been a bit all over the place with my projects lately, even if I so say so myself! It’s time to cut back a little bit, and try to plan out exactly what I want to be using in games before going all gung-ho and buying loads of stuff that I have no real ideas for… It’s the easiest thing in the world to go to the games store and pick some stuff up, but actually building it and painting it was becoming quite the chore. So I’ve been trying to be a bit more strategic with what I’m picking up, in the hope that I’ll be better at the hobby overall.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about approaching a Daemons army once again, this time with a bit more sense behind it, so you’ll have to stay tuned to see whether I actually get somewhere this time!