The Adepticon Reveal 2019

What a way to wake up! Games Workshop has announced a whole slew of new stuff coming out while they’re at Adepticon 2019, and it looks just fantastic! I don’t even know where to begin…

Well, here is as good a place as any. Forbidden Power is very much a Malign Sorcery 2.0, a box of new Endless Spells to use in games of Age of Sigmar. Some of these spells do look incredible, but while I’m firmly back into playing the game, I’m unsure about getting a copy of this. Mainly because I don’t tend to use a lot of these things, and it feels like too much of an extravagance to get it. Even if they are amazing looking models:

We also know the next battletome will be for Fyreslayers, and there is something called Looncurse coming, which I’m guessing will be a battle box of Sylvaneth vs Gloomspite Gitz. Flowers vs Fungus? Not sure what else it could mean. But anyway, we’ll see what’s in store there!

The next warband for Warhammer Underworlds has been shown off as the Kharadron Overlords, at which point I’m not sure if there are any more to be seen in this season of the game? After all, that teaser from a while back which seemed to show off the line-up for the year, the sky-dwarves were the last on the list, but there could be more surprises, of course! Between these and the Sylvaneth warband we’ve also seen now, though, I suppose that could well take us to a third box coming out for the autumn period?

The first big bit of news for me in the announcement was more info on Warcry. I’m really looking forward to this game, even if my bank balance isn’t, because I love the look of the new Chaos models we’ve been seeing!

The Iron Golems are a fascinating look at Chaos in all its myriad forms, with some truly awesome looking miniatures that I can’t wait to get my hands on and start painting! I mean, this huge dude with the weapon-arms looks splendid! And I love the guy slinging the chain-thing in the trailer above!

There will be 9 non-Chaos warbands to play in the game, which will hopefully alleviate some of the naysayers online who have been making their opinions known. I’m really looking forward to this, because it looks like we’ll be able to play some really eclectic forces from the looks of these new minis alone. Looking forward to the summer for this one, definitely!

40k now, and we’re going huge with a new rules system for Apocalypse games. Looks like GW have come a long way since they included the rules for this back in Chapter Approved 2017! I’ve only ever been tangentially interested in games that take an entire day (takes me back to playing during 7th edition, when 1000-point games took me several hours). However, if it’s what people want, then it should be great to see huge battles once again!

There wasn’t a great deal of 40k news, though under the alarming heading “the future of 40k” we have an idea of where we’re going next – basically, it looks like campaign systems like the current Vigilus one will become the norm, moving to different planets and seeing what’s going on there. Seems like new model releases like Marneus Calgar and Abaddon will be made in the context of this new campaign system, and I think it’s not only a bit obvious, but also could lead to some really great stuff, so I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for us here!

Glossing over the 50 Shades of Grey skit and event-exclusive models (the latter makes me sad, because I can never seem to get to events), the next big community survey will take place from 15 April and we can potentially win a new Sisters of Battle army. But then, at the end of the article, there’s this:

Yes, that’s right – Slaanesh is not buried and forgotten by GW! It may seem inevitable now, but there were some dark days during 2015/16 when we thought Slaanesh might be quietly removed from the Chaos pantheon in an effort to make the model range more PG13 friendly. Well, forget about that, and feast your eyes on this new Keeper of Secrets, baby!

This thing looks incredible, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I must be honest here, I’ve recently been waning again with my ideas of a multifarious Chaos army, and instead going down the Khorne route. However, I think a part of me will always be devoted to the Dark Prince, and I will most assuredly be getting my act together with painting some of these things when the time comes!

I mean, this thing looks amazing! Naturally, it’s a new Battletome for the Prince of Pleasure, and so we’re also getting a new terrain piece and new Endless Spells, which looks suitably weird and wonderful!

But that’s not all, as we’re also getting two new Leader units – a new (plastic!) Masque of Slaanesh, and a new named character, Syll’Esske, something that has a lot in common with Fabius Bile, if you ask me…

I’m also hoping we’ll be getting the Slaanesh side of Wrath and Rapture released separately as well, as I want that harpist herald!

What a glorious time to be alive!

There is a lot for Age of Sigmar here, isn’t there? I suppose the new Chaos Space Marines release, and all the shenanigans around Vigilus we’ve been experiencing since well before Christmas have perhaps taken a toll, and it’s high time we did return to the Mortal Realms for a bit. Of course, the Slaanesh stuff will be equally usable on both sides of the fence, but there was a part of me that was a little bit concerned as to whether we’d be seeing a drop-off of 40k stuff this year until the Sisters release. Well, I suppose I could stand to save up a little bit, after all, so I can’t really complain!

Between the new miniatures for Warcry, and the new plastic Slaanesh stuff, we’re really living in a fantastic time for model design and implementation, and it just gets better year after year.

Blood for the Blood God!

Well folks, putting aside the Shadowspear hype, this weekend sees a slew of models on pre-order for Khorne, and I’m finding it really hard to resist selling my soul to the Blood God – though I suppose he’d more prefer my skull than my soul, but anyway.

I’ve been considering what I actually want to do about my Chaos Daemons army idea for a few weeks now, alongside how I want to play it with the Chaos stuff coming from Shadowspear. I must admit to be leaning really quite heavily towards the Khornate aspect of Chaos a lot more, recently, and now that we have these beautiful Judgements of Khorne on the way, I think they could very well be enough to seal the deal for me!

I mean, floating skulls weeping rivers of blood! These Hexgorger Skulls are what has really attracted me to the army, and got me thinking about getting some brutal violence and slaughter in my life!

While I did actually sell off the Khorne side of the starter set back when Age of Sigmar first unleashed itself upon us, I have since been thinking about getting some of the models to build and paint, almost simply because I want to just have them as a painting project. However, since playing (and enjoying) Age of Sigmar, I think this could be the second army that I’ve been looking for!

I really shouldn’t be looking at branching out so often with my army choices, I know. There are so many unpainted models in my pile of shame, it’s just unreal, but I think it’s good to keep the variety to ensure things don’t go stale. I’ve talked before about being a follower of Chaos in games such as Warhammer Invasion, and I think this project could well scratch that itch for wanting an army that harkens back to the old Fantasy, while also being a force where I can use a lot of the models in 40k as well.

There is a lot to enjoy about Chaos at the minute, between these new models for the Blades of Khorne, and the upcoming Warcry skirmish game, which seems to have a very Khorne-y feel to some of those fighters. I think it could be a good time to get started with some daemonic forces of Chaos, after all!

Can’t wait to get started with all this stuff!

The Big Kopinski

“I’m basically still doing what I was doing aged five, drawing spacemen, bikers, superheroes and monsters, so here’s a book full of them!”

Karl Kopinski

The Big Kopinski is the first volume in a series collecting sketches by the artist Karl Kopinski, who you will likely know from his work on the card game Magic the Gathering. I mean, that’s certainly from where I was familiar with the guy! Among so many other iconic images for that game, he also produced the wonderfully evocative artwork of Liliana that was used as both box art and playmat art for the Innistrad set, and is without a doubt a classic rendering of the infamous Planeswalker.

I started to play Magic seriously around the time of Origins, and learned the basics of the game from watching Spellslingers season 2, as well as playing via the Android app. The app uses a number of cards from M15 and earlier, and playing a black/red deck, I became familiar with Kopinski’s style though a lot of these cards. That Goblin token in particular is one that I feel should be on my Christmas card list, I am so used to it by now!

Karl Kopinski MTG cards

There is definitely something evocative about his work, particularly seen in the Temple of Silence art, but also the lighting in both Gatekeeper of Malakir and the Rakdos Drake – the use of light to create an imposing shadow is particularly striking, don’t you think? There are elements within the Rakdos Drake art, but perhaps moreso in the Blood Cultist art, that show a kinship with the grim darkness of the Warhammer universe (and, of course, that of Warhammer 40,000) – unsurprising, given that Karl has also worked for Games Workshop over the years. His style is definitely more veiled than that of the archetypal Warhammer artist, John Blanche, but it still lends itself perfectly to the setting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he numbers artwork for Chaos among his work in that franchise, although is not averse to drawing the defenders of humanity, too:

But let’s look at the book itself.

Karl Kopinski

Like I said, it is principally a book of sketches that range from the fantastical and the futuristic to the more mundane and the realistic. It’s a fascinating collection of drawings that is an utter delight to leaf through. Even if you aren’t familiar with the man’s work, it’s a really nice book that is a treat for the senses, one that you can lose yourself in as you study the worlds created on the pages. I was really taken by that guy dragging the demon-head, shown above, imagining all kinds of scenarios it could be illustrating!

(As a side note, they are also lovely pages, with a very nice, soft feel to them – just in case you’re interested in that sort of thing!)

Karl Kopinski

There are a lot of fantastical, sci-fi bikers in the book that look a lot like they have strong design elements of the Izzet League from MtG. And there are also superheroes, including the humerous older Batman shown above! But the most arresting image, to my mind, has got to be this hulking goblin character:

Karl Kopinski

This is truly a fantastic piece of artwork, whether you think it unfinished or not. That face! The textures Karl uses on the skin feel so real, and the detail just brings this piece to life off the page. I couldn’t help but gaze intently at this dude, again, imagining all manner of worlds and situations he could inhabit. It’s just fabulous, and a really great example of the hundreds of others across these pages.

Now, I’m not an art student, but if you’d like to learn more about Karl’s work with a focus on the MtG stuff, you won’t go far wrong by checking out this video from The Magic Man Sam:

You can see more samples of his work (and purchase any you like the look of!) from his website, here.

I am very grateful to the publisher of this book, editions caurette, for sending me a copy to review here on my blog. All of the sketches used to illustrate this blog were taken from the book, as was the quote at the top of the page. You can pick up a copy of The Big Kopinski direct from the publisher, here.

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…


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!