Army Review: Twilight Kin

I am very pleased to share the first in a series of 26 army reviews – that’s right I’m doing them all!

While I am a big fan of the traditional army review format, they usually only show the opinion of one person playing in one particular meta. Even within the same gaming group, there is often a lot of disagreement over which units are top tier and which leave a lot to be desired. So I’ve decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

Each review will be made up of the opinions of four different players; either players who know the army well or regularly plays against it. I’m going to try and ensure that the players who review each army come from a wide variety of different gaming backgrounds and different parts of the world.

A massive thank you to Grant, Marc and Thomarsar for their help with this review.

The ‘Expert’ Panel

Marc
Hello, world!  I’m Marc Taylor, a player based out of Chicago, IL (USA) and member of the Tabletop Titans, and reigning champ of doing pretty well early and then losing in dumb ways mid-event only to circle back up to the upper ranks of events. However, in June 2020, I ran Twilight Kin against 36 players in the Bugeater GT and ran the gamut against strong lists and strong players (Keith Randall, your KOM list still haunts me despite my victory) to take first place.  Twilight Kin called to me for a number of reasons, chief of which is that I’m a special snowflake who is drawn to armies not being played much.  But it was also because I was wanting to paint/build certain units for a physical army I was (and still am…) building, and the unit profiles for Twilight Kin most closely matched the models I was using.  But then the more I played with the list, the more I enjoyed it and toyed around with various interesting builds.  Sadly, not many of them really ever clicked, but now my losses and insight are your gain! 

Elliot
Its my blog and I love Twilight Kin, so of course I was going to jump on the chance to do the the review for this army – don’t worry I wont be contributing to all the reviews. I’ve been playing Twilight Kin for almost a year now and absolutely love them, they fit my playstyle really well and I feel that I’ve been able to get a good range of competitive lists out of them. Thanks to COVID I’ve only been able to take them to one ‘real’ event but managed to come 3rd with them on their first outing at the GT in Cologne.

Grant Alexander
I’ve been playing since 2nd edition, as a Warhammer refugee. I did get the 1st edition signed Kickstarter rulebook although never played that edition as the game didn’t quite grab me and I was quite involved in the Warhammer tournament scene (had a podcast and everything). After the company that should not be named blew up the fantasy world, I went looking for a new rank and flank game. Signed up for my first event and learnt to rules from watching battle reports and a tutorial game from a mate down the gaming club (Bexley Reapers). My first event I took Twilight Kin and surprisingly managed to take out the event. Since then I’ve used Twilight Kin on and off. I’ve taken them to 2 of the Shroud of the Reaper events (tournament I co-host with Mark “Giant Farmer” Cunningham) and managed to somehow come in 3rd at the first event and 2nd at the latest. I’ve painted up a lot of models for the army over the last year and am looking forward to trying to hang on to the Twilight Kin ‘best in race’ icon till the end of the season (doubtful, just nice to have a goal).

Thomarsar
Refugee from the 2015 warhammer exodus. Usually close to the top, but rarely 1st. Played mostly dwarfs and Brotherhood in 2nd, started with TK in erly 3rd and stuck with it. Mixed arms with focus on alpha strike is my favourite playstyle and I’ve made a TK list to match. What drew me to TK was that I really wanted to test Treeherder + forest shamblers, but both main lists for them didn’t interest me and when I got to TK and Mikayel especially I was hooked by the idea for my army. Also as I got a TK army box and the possibility to make my first all Mantic army.

The Rating System

Each unit in the army is given a rating /10 using the scale below.

Note that the score given is how the unit compares to all other units in the game, not just compared to other units in the army. However, each unit should be considered in the context of this particular army e.g. Silverbreeze cavalry in Twilight Kin may be rated differently to Silverbreeze cavalry in Elves.


Impalers

Marc – 7/10
Probably my favourite unit in the army, and yet one of the most frustrating.  They define the general playstyle of the army as a whole, functioning as one of the sturdier glass hammers.  The first thing most players see is the average defensive stats; de4+ and a nerve of 14/16 is admittedly not the best, but it’s far from terrible.  However, their offensive profile more than makes up for that.  Elite on only 15 attacks doesn’t mathematically add too many additional hits (1.25, on average), but it does prevent the amount of missed charges.  Put Brew of Strength or Vicious on them and have a source of Bane Chant nearby, and they can reliably do 8 to 10 wounds per regiment.

…but that’s why I only rank them only a 7.  It will become a familiar refrain throughout this army review, but when enabled, Impalers do amazing work.  The issue is that you can only have so many support pieces in a list, and they can’t support everything.  Impalers require being a second-wave unit (or at least shielded by chaff) and greatly benefit from items and Bane Chant.  They function fine without items, but they absolutely cannot be the unit at the forefront of your deployment.  For me to give a unit an 8 or above, I feel like you need to have a reason not to take it; units like the Soul Snare or Mhorgoth or whatever (which I realize is an unfair comparison, but still).  Impalers require enough additional support that there are very strong and valid Twilight Kin lists that don’t feature them at all.

I personally only take regiments, as troops feel considerably too fragile and if I wanted that profile I’d pay +20pts for a troop of blade dancers.  It’s also worth noting that I’m not a fan of the screamshard option.  I’ve tried it out a lot on the regiments, but more often than not I never get a chance to use it.  If something is punching them, the Imps are either going to get wavered, routed, or it’s chaff that maybe does a wound or two.  I never got my money’s worth out of the scream shard when comparing those 10pts to items.  Still, if you’ve got 10pts left at the end of list construction and have nothing else to spend them on, slap it on there I guess.  Just don’t expect it to meaningfully do much.

Recommended items:  staying stone, dwarven ale, chalice of wrath, mead of madness, chant of hate, brew of haste, brew of strength

Photo credit: Kevin McCusker

Elliot – 6/10
Impalers are…fine. They’re a perfectly decent unit that have a good damage output for an infantry regiment. I know other people really like them, but I’ve never really been very enamoured with them. For me they’re still just a little bit too fragile for their cost, Def4 and 14/16 is just a little bit too easy to waver in my experience. I’d recommend not taking the Screamshard on these guys as they rarely tend to be in a position to use it. I find that Impalers are either fully fresh or dead in one hit, they dont have much in between.

I think if you build your entire list around delivering these guys to the front lines safely and then support them with Bane Chant or Drain Life then they are a decent unit – but for me I find that a little too much investment to make them work.

Grant – 7/10
Solid unit with good amount of Crushing Strength attacks. Held back due to no horde option.

Thomarsar – 6/10
 Decent hitting power, but costy for def/nerve.


Blade Dancers

Marc – 6/10
If lightning bolt wasn’t nearly as prevalent in the game right now, this unit would be an easy 8.  However, there is enough casual LB10+ and all our healing is limited to 6” drain life that it means they either get picked off long before they engage or they’re stuck being screened by units that do their role just as well (horsemen or fiends).  Given that concern, my numerical score for the troop is probably closer to a 5; de3+ and -/12 is really, really easy to casually break.  Fearless is great and it’s what’s keeping their score so relatively high for me, but it’s just not enough in the current meta.

It’s worth noting, however, that when the Dancers are allowed to do their job, they REALLY do their job.  On average, unhindered, 20 elite attacks on 3s will get 15.6 hits, one less than the average 16.6 hits from a 25 attack me3+ unit.  When fully enabled, they’re essentially as damaging as a Soul Reaver regiment, but you need to work hard to let them do it.  A dedicated chaff unit, a summoner crone with veil of shadows, several items to help them get the jump on other units are all great options, but it means you can’t just take this unit as a standalone unit and hope for it to perform.

Photo credit: Kevin McCusker

Recommended items: maccwar’s potion of the caterpillar, sir jesse’s boots of striding, brew of haste, mead of madness, chant of hate, brew of haste, hammer of measured force, brew of strength

Elliot – 7/10
Speed 7 on this unit is very powerful and it’s what separates them from other Berserker style units – but man are they fragile for how much they cost. This is a unit that I’ve found to be a bit all or nothing; taking just one or two regiments makes them an easy shooting target. Taking 4-5 regiments means that something will always get through and when it does, it’s going to do a decent amount of damage.

Grant – 6/10
Lots of attacks but you still pay through the nose, even after the Clash of Kings ’21 points drop. Should have hero type that boosts them. Low defence means they suffer Vs similar units. 

Thomarsar – -/10


Kindred Tallspears

Marc – 8/10
Sadly, being an unlocking infantry horde is justification enough for this score in TKin, it just also happens to be a legitimately amazing unit.  I cannot imagine ever building a strong TKin list without at least one horde, but never more than two.  I would also always put the hammer of measured force on the first horde, and brew of strength on the second and you’ll be able to take a hit and hit back strong.  On average the horde gets 17.5 hits, so any amount of bonus to wound is going to go far.  Beyond that, de4+ 21/23 with phalanx is far from unkillable, but even one source of drain life makes them stay in the fight far longer than it seems that they should.

It might be because it’s our only unlocking horde option, but I personally would only ever take this unit as a horde.  The regiment is 20pts cheaper than an Impalers regiment, and a unit with phalanx isn’t really comparable to a unit with cs(1), but I would still prefer the Impaler regiment.  A de4+ phalanx unit with 14/16 nerve is still very unlikely to survive against anything you’d want charging it (i.e. any sort of cav) especially if that regiment takes 2-4 wounds on the way in.

Recommended items:  hann’s sanguinary scripture, aegis of the elohi, hammer of measured force, maccwar’s potion of the caterpillar, chant of hate, brew of strength, brew of sharpness.

Elliot – 8/10
I love Tallspears, they’re a hammer and anvil unit rolled into one. They can take a charge from almost anything in the game and they can hit back with damage output similar to cavalry regiments. For me the Brew of Strength is a must take on this unit. With it their average damage per round vs Def5 goes up to 8.8 – that’s enough to threaten to kill any large infantry or cavalry unit in one hit. Add in the fact that they’re speed 6 and their threat projection on the board is a beautiful sight to behold. I never leave home without two hordes of Tallspears. The only reason I haven’t scored these higher than an 8 is the fact that I feel they need expensive items attached to them to come up to their full potential. 270 points (the cost of the horde with Brew of Strength) is a big chunk of change to drop on a unit, but its always been worth it for me so far. 

Grant – 7/10
Solid unit. They like both the Brew of Strength or Hammer of Measured Force. Good nerve so are useful as central tarpit unit that can dish out some damage. 

Thomarsar – 5/10
They are all right, but I rarely get positive surprises. 


Kindred Archers

Marc – 5/10
Elf archers have been dissected to death since the drop of 3rd edition, and I don’t have a lot to add to that discussion.  They’re only 120pts for the regiment, so they can act as a higher-priced chaff unit that can walk forward and shoot while being a 14/16 blocking unit or staying back acting as objective holders.  They’re far from terrible (I feel most people rate them at a 3 or 4), but they also rarely make it into my lists.  Still, I don’t hate 1 or 2 regiments of them in a list, but they’d be high on the list of units to cut if I’m looking to make more room.

Recommended items:  none

Elliot – 4/10
If you look at them purely for their ability to shoot things, then they’re a terrible unit. However, speed 6, Def4 and 14/16 are all excellent stats for a unit that only comes in at 120 points. Take them as regiments or not at all in my opinion. 

The best role for these units is to sit back on an objective all game and take the odd pot shot whenever they can. What is frustrating is that they sit on an objective just as a well as a Zombie regiment does, but they cost 50 points more.

Grant – 4/10
Hitting on 5s as a base sucks. Even with elite. If they gave them Steady Aim it would be thematic and match the rest of the list.

Thomarsar – 8/10
Good objective holder, unlocks, cheap enough to be chaff in a pinch.


Kindred Gladestalkers

Marc – 6/10
They’re archers, but better!  But also so, SO much more fragile.  Having scout and pathfinder means they can scout forward into a forest and into cover before turn 1 which helps, but at de3+ and 10/12 nerve for the troop and 14/16 nerve for the regiment, they can get quickly shredded if anything even casually looks at them.  They are one of only a handful of units in the army with terrain mitigation built-in (pathfinder), which is often very relevant.  They’re also notably one of the only units in the list that have full elite, and not just elite(melee) or elite(ranged).  On paper they have a lot going for them, but even when you live the dream and let them charge a flank they don’t really do a ton.  Even the regiment against the flank of a de5+ unit (which, IMO, is pretty close to the standard profile in the game) only does 3, probably 4 wounds.  Granted, those wounds CAN be pretty critical if you’re also doing 10 wounds in the front from an Impaler regiment, but also it’s also very challenging to orchestrate that scenario against even a casually experienced player.

It’s worth noting that as of Clash21 they unlock now, which definitely helps them have a place in most lists. However, at 175pts for a regiment, they’re still a little too pricey for me to include too many of them in a list.  I would also only ever consider regiments of them, as 130pts for a troop is the same cost as a troop of Silverbreeze Cavalry.  Those cav have better speed, defense, nerve, and also have nimble.  All of that more than makes up for the one less attack, especially for that low amount of attacks.

Recommended items:  none

Elliot – 5/10
Becoming regular was a nice buff for them and definitely opened up some more options in an army like Twilight Kin that is so often starved of unlocks. But Gladestalkers are an example of a unit that pays for so many competing special rules that it’s unlikely to ever make its points back.

Steady Aim is made somewhat irrelevant by Scout and 24” range. If you’re using your Elite in melee, it means that you’re not utilising all those points they pay for their shooting attacks. All this adds up to a unit that is fairly costed, but just a little too expensive for my taste. 

Grant – 7/10
Good unit for long range harassment. They work better on boards with a good amount of difficult terrain, else they struggle to make back their points.

Thomarsar – 4/10
Way better damage than archers, but too costly, especially due to low survival.


Therennian Seaguard

Marc – 6/10
This unit really feels like a horse designed by committee.  The points reduction from the Clash21 adjustments certainly helps, but without steady aim their bows are unlikely to ever be overly useful.  If the horde survives to turn 5 or 6, I can see them being very useful though.  However, my single biggest issue is that Twilight Kin are SO unlock starved that I have a hard time justifying this unit over a spear unit.  I realize it doesn’t need to be either/or, but if you’re putting in a horde of each then I still feel like you’re missing out on the unlock potential of two regular hordes.  

Even though they’re most often lambasted for not having either steady aim or that they’re limited to only elite(melee), I still think they’re not a bad option.  If they were an unlocking unit they would probably replace spear hordes entirely for me, and if you wanted to play a list that focuses much more on the Elven units then they aren’t out of place.  Likewise, if you’re wanting to build more of a gunline, I don’t hate them being present either.  However, I feel like they are outshone by many other similar units in the army.

Recommended items:  chant of hate, dragonshard shield, hammer of measured force, brew of strength

Elliot – 6/10
With their updated price point, Seaguard are a unit that I think people need to pay closer attention to. They’re a unit that can take part in every turn of the game, but unlike Gladestalkers they don’t pay so much for their ranged attacks, as to make it a waste when they get into combat.

I like taking these as regiments. They’re a nice solid unit to hold down a flank or an objective. They’ll never set the world on fire, but they’re pretty good now. 

Grant – 6/10
I prefer these over archers as at least they can defend themselves a bit. The price drop helped them massively.

Thomarsar – 4/10
This unit tries do two things at once and is a bit meh at both.


Cronebound Gargoyles

Marc – 8/10
What’s left to say about gargoyles that hasn’t already been said?  They’re up there with best chaff in the game.  The only reason they’re not 10/10 is because of the previously mentioned LB proliferation and how quickly they can get surprise routed long before they’re useful.  

It’s important to note that gargoyles shouldn’t just be seen as a speedbump.  Speed 10 nimble fly is definitely great for blocking LoS and charge lanes as highly mobile chaff should do, but that can just as easily be used to run around a flank to get flank/rear charges, and with 10 attacks hitting on 4s, flank and rear charges can be really punishing if you also have any bane chant available.  For example, if you were to rear charge a de5+ unit, that’s an extra 5 wounds even without any bane chant.  Acting as a flanking charger is still definitely not their primary purpose, but don’t lock your thinking into them only being great throwaway chaff.

Recommended items:  lol no 

Photo credit: Kevin McCusker

Elliot – 10/10
Gargoyles are too good. Plain and simple. Not because of their stats, but because they’re so cheap. I debated for a long time about whether Gargoyles should be a 9 or a 10, but I settled on 10 because there will never ever be a list that doesn’t benefit from taking at least two troops of gargoyles. 

I would still take them is they didn’t have any unit strength.
I would still take them if they didn’t have any attacks.
I would still take them is they were 100 points.

They will AWAYS be worth taking for 85 points, in any list, in any build, in any scenario. I think that has to make them a 10/10.

Grant – 9/10
Almost every list will have 2 units. The only reason I’ve not rated them a 10 is due to the nerve hit they took in 3rd Edition so you can easily kill them with one good round of shooting from a single unit. 

Thomarsar – 8/10
Great chaff piece that can also easily be a worrysome flanker. However they’re very vulnerable to Mind Fog/ Lightning Bolt and puts them down a bit.


Cronebound Butchers

Marc – 8/10
The original thicc chaff.  If you don’t know how great the unit is by now, then you’re probably new to the game, in which case: they’re great.  Butchers are worth taking as regiments for that sweet sweet thicc chaff or as hordes as a great anvil.  They’re also one of the only units in the army that comes with at least two points of damage modifier (crushing strength (2)), which gives them a solid spot in any army.  Do keep in mind that hitting on 4s means that they can do some reliable and meaningful damage, but they won’t act as a primary hammer (unless you invest a lot into them).  

Recommended items:  player’s choice

Elliot – 8/10
I personally don’t tend to use Butchers that often, preferring my Cronebound units to be a little faster and harder hitting. But I totally recognise how good they are. This is a unit that works both as regiments or hordes, although both fulfil quite different roles in the army. 

Losing Fearless in CoK21 was definitely the right way to go for them, as it is they’re still unbelievably good value and fill a role in the Twilight Kin list.

Grant – 7.5/10
Straddles the border between a 7 and an 8 due to losing Fearless in CoK21. Also, this is a unit that you would happily pay the extra 5pts to have Mindthirst. 

Thomarsar – 8/10
Great in regiments and hordes as thick chaff/damage dealers.


Cronebound Shadowhounds

Marc – -/10
I’ve never played with them or against them.  They seem like you could build a good list with them, but without actual experience I’d hate to theorize.

Elliot – 4/10
In a Nightstalker review, I would rate Shadowhounds higher but I think of all the Nightstalker units brought into the Twilight Kin list, Shadowhounds are the ones that suffer the most from losing Mindthirst, as their natural habitat is out on the flanks harassing enemy units. Twilight Kin will never have the spare Inspiring available to baby sit them.

For me, I will always find the extra points to upgrade them to Horsemen. Or save the points and ‘downgrade’ them to Gargoyles.

Grant – 6/10
Overpriced and kind of lack a role in the list that isn’t performed better elsewhere. 

Thomarsar – -/10


Cronebound Abyssal Horsemen

Marc – 7/10
…and Crone Bound Fiends. I can’t discuss one of these units without directly referencing and comparing to the other.  To me, you pick one of these two units, but never both.  At their core, both units are sp8 cavalry that average 12 hits on a front charge when unhindered with at least crushing strength (1).  The Horsemen are an unlocking unit, which can be a huge point in their favor, but are 30 points more for the full-sized unit (regiment of Horsemen vs a horde of Fiends).  When it comes to offensive potential they are essentially tied although the Fiends have a higher potential given their 6 more attacks compared to the Horsemen, but I personally rank vicious on the Fiends higher than the thunderous charge (1) of the Horsemen.  It is also critically worth mentioning that, when using standard terrain, Fiends can see (and be seen) over hills, though with that cutting both ways that’s possibly a net neutral difference.  

The biggest difference is in their defensive profile, and this is where it comes to what your meta is.  Horsemen have higher defense, regen, and fury, but have two less nerve and no stealthy.  In my experience, de5+ and nerve 14/16 is unfortunately easy to break.  But honestly, I mostly value the stealthy of the Fiends, as most of my opponents seem to want to bring at least two war engines, and sometimes up to five.  That amount of firepower evaporates units, but cutting their accuracy from hitting on 5s to hitting on 6s trivializes all of those points.  And being height 4 guarantees that you will block line of sight to the rest of your army.  As you can tell, I prefer Fiends, but that does not mean that Horsemen are any worse of a pick.  It all depends on what ancillary benefit you need from your cavalry hammer.  

One last thing I want to note is when taking more than one regiment/horde of Horsemen/Fiends: all too often I see people putting maccwar’s on one and the jboots on the other.  To me, this is overkill and entirely unnecessary.  With even a little foresight, it should be more than possible to deploy the non-terrain mitigating unit free of terrain such that they shouldn’t ever be at risk of being hindered.  Therefore, one should absolutely get maccwar’s or jboots, and the other should get some other item.
Recommended items:  maccwar’s potion of the caterpillar or sir jesse’s boots of striding, mead of madness, blessing of the gods, chant of hate, brew of haste, wine of elvenkind (Horsemen only), brew of sharpness (IMO Fiends only, but some like it on the Horsemen too)

Elliot – 8/10
Probably my favourite unit in the list, I absolutely love these guys. Solid damage dealers with a high number of CS/TC attacks, but what really makes these guys shine is the combination of Def5, Fury, Regen and Drain Life from the Summoner Crones. These rules in tandem make then an incredible point efficient unit that’ll hang around for longer than they have any right to. Add in the fact that they can take regiment level artefacts and you have a very powerful unit. 

I’ve only rated them an 8 because I feel like they have two things that keeps them from being a totally top tier unit. The nerve of 14/16 does put them in a slightly vulnerable position to be taken off in one shot by a determined unit (these guys hate being shot at by war engines). The second thing is that they’re pricey. I think the cost on them is perfectly fair, but to stretch to a 9 or a 10 I’d say a unit would need to be a little cheaper than a fully kitted out regiment of Abyssal Horsemen.

Grant – 8/10
Great unit even if a tad pricey. Most armies will have at least 1 unit. 

Thomarsar – 7/10
Cavalry that unlocks, surprisingly fragile if hit by hammers, performs well against trickle damage and a good alpha strike unit.


Silverbreeze Cavalry

Marc – 5/10 or 8/10 (I’ve gone with 8/10 for the average score – Elliot)
So I guess this conversation goes here: I hate ranged attacks without piercing.  When you’re reliably able to hit de4+ or lower units, they can do some serious work, but if you’re going into a wall of de5+ or de6+ then those shots feel almost entirely useless.  That’s what makes it hard for me to give a reliable rating for this unit, because it entirely depends on what they’re up against.  If they’re able to work (de4+ and below) they become an easy 8/10, maybe 9/10, but if they’re up against de5+/de6+ then they dip to 5/10.  Especially considering that the meta largely seems to be de5+ with wound removal being not uncommon, doing 2-3 wounds per SB unit (average wounds vs de5 when hitting on 4’s = 2.72 wounds) never feels worth the points to me especially when that can sometimes be casually removed from low amounts of Heal or Radiance of Life or Regeneration or Life Leech.  Even focusing fire, two regiments do 4.5 wounds, which against even a 14/16 unit is still unlikely to even waver them.  Over two turns that’s 9 wounds dealt, so that’s not bad, but that’s also 400pts for your two regiments to half kill one def5 regiment by the time the lines start to clash.  

Image may contain: outdoor
Photo credit: Kevin McCusker

I do need to mention though, that against those high defense builds, the SB should instead be flanking chargers.  But I’ve found that even then, it makes them feel ‘not worthless’ and not ‘still valuable’.  Assuming an unhindered flank charge, that regiment averages 4.67 wounds on a de5 unit.  That’s not bad!  But would I rather those 200pts plus 10pts of other random stuff instead be another Fiend horde…?  In that situation, very much yes.  

If you use troops as your mobile chaff, that’s still points decently spent, but then you’re talking 130pts per troop, and you’re going to want probably at least 3 troops… so that’s 390pts for chaff and 21 total elite(ranged) attacks.  That *can* be worth it, but that’s a very meaningful investment compared to three gargoyle troops (255pts).  Now, the SB troops are considerably more resilient (de4 11/13 vs de3 8/10) and also have those bows, but still.  I, personally, if I was going to include any SB in a list, would take two regiments or possibly one regiment and two troops.  I would never take just the one regiment, and I would need to have a very solid plan for more than two regiments.

So, to summarize, I don’t think people are ever wrong in taking Silverbreeze.  When they can target even medium defense units they can feel almost overwhelmingly punishing.  But if you’re playing in a five-round tournament and you’re spending 400pts of your 2,000pt army (or 20%) on units that will decreased to only being maybe not entirely useless in at least two of your games (which in my experience, you’ll face easily at least three if not four all de5/de6 armies)… I find it hard to fully recommend them in a competitive build.  They can definitely be in a competitive list, but IMO you want reliably always useful units for a truly competitive list, and given their variance they just barely get pushed out of it for me.

Recommended items:  chant of hate (regiment only)

Elliot – 6/10
A unit that I haven’t experimented much with, but that I can definitely see the potential of. They don’t tend to fit in with how I personally play Twilight Kin, but I can see they’re a good unit. For me I’d stick to the troops in Twilight Kin, because if you’re dropping 200 points on a non-Cronebound unit, you need it to be regular.

Grant – 7/10
These are great if you build a list around the hit and move tactic.

Thomarsar – -/10


Cronebound Fiends

Marc – 7/10
See Cronebound Abyssal Horsemen.

Elliot – 7/10
I love these guys in regiments and my current list has three regiments as a fast, relatively hard hitting front line that can chaff and hold units in place whilst the rest of my army moves forward. They’re also wonderful at finding unexpected flanks as they criss-cross across the board. 

I’m not as big a fan of the hordes as I find them just a little bit too squishy for the amount of points that you need to invest in them, but I know that other Twilight Kin players swear by them.

Grant – 7/10
These are a unit that requires a lot of investment as without items or Bane Chant these guys are so hit and miss with 4+ to hit. 

Thomarsar – 5/10
Ok, but nothing special other than peeking above hills.


Cronebound Needle-fangs

Marc – 7/10
Pretty good chaff, but so long as you can also take gargoyles there’s no reason to take needlefangs instead. In a world where we don’t get gargoyles, needlefangs would absolutely dominate our chaff game.

Recommended items:  none

Elliot – 5/10
They’re a decent enough unit for their cost but I rarely find myself taking them. As regiments, I find that Gargoyles fill in the chaff role far better. As hordes, they’re actually quite a nice little unit and can add some much needed cheap bodies to a usually very small and elite army. Nothing wrong with them, but other stuff in the list tends to do the job better.

Grant – 4/10
Gargoyles just do it better.

Thomarsar – -/10


Bolt Thrower

Marc – 6/10
It’s hard to hate bolt throwers, really.  For 90pts, they’re not terrible at all, but even hitting on 4’s with elite(ranged) base they’ve never really done a lot for me.  Often you’re going to be hitting on 5’s from cover which still means you should reliably hit once for blast d(3), but… eh?  In the end, is that really worth 90pts?  Even taking a battery of two or three of them… I dunno.  I’m personally not impressed, but I don’t hate the idea of dropping some in if you feel strongly about them.

Elliot – 6/10
I think that Bolt Throwers are under rated as a War Engine as two Ra4 shots with Elite is really quite reliable damage. The big issue here is unlocks. Twilight Kin struggle for unlocks and if you have to choose between a War Engine and a Monster, the Monster is almost always going to win.

Photo credit: Kevin McCusker

Grant – 6/10
Good solid ranged option.

Thomarsar – -/10


Dragon Breath

Marc – 7/10
If Twilight Kin had more unlock slots for heroes/monsters/war engines, at least two Dragon Breath would be the first thing I would slot into my lists.  I feel like people really sleep on them, but 90pts for 12 elite shots is pretty alright especially as a chaff clearing.  Yes, it’s only sp 6 range 12”, but that’s still a walking threat of 18”.  The main reason I value these so high is because Twilight Kin can struggle with having a high volume of attacks from units that aren’t from high-cost units, and these provide just that.  As I insinuated though, I rarely find myself having the unlocks due to a high reliance on regiments to provide unlocks and how great our heroes and monsters are, but these are definitely worth considering.

Elliot – 5/10
Exact same issue regarding unlocks as the Bolt Thrower. Plus I find that the old breath attack style War Engines have taken a serious hit in V3 as they can now take multiple penalties to hit. Shooting at a Stealthy, Individual in Cover seriously dampens the potential of these units.

Grant – 5/10
Use to be better in 2nd edition, but with the change from Breath attacks to Ra4 Steady Aim, its now probably not worth the points.

Thomarsar – -/10


Cronebound Mind-screech

Marc – 8/10
If you’ve never played against three of these things putting out a reliable gunline, then you probably don’t fully understand how annoying these can be.  I would never take just one of them; if you’re taking a Mindscreech then you need to take as many as you possibly can.  A simple tactic is, with the Mindscreech being height 5, you can park them immediately behind a height 2 unit (like a spear horde) and fire over them without suffering cover penalties.  They’re also great to hang back on objectives while the rest of your force marches forward.  Only other thing really to note is that windblast and mindfog should not be forgotten; often on turns 5 and 6 these are much more valuable than lightning bolt.

Elliot – 9/10
What can I say? It’s stupidly good and we all know it. 

The excellent combination of spells combined with height 5 would make it a top tier unit in its own right. But then add in to the equation that it has decent Defence, Nerve and is Stealthy. And then add in the fact that it has Unit Strength 1, Fly, Nimble and Pathfinder. Oh and it’s only 150 points…

The only (and I mean only) issue with them in a Twilight Kin list is that they can be tricky to unlock, often limiting the number you can take.

Grant – 9/10
Expect to see at least 1 in every list.

Thomarsar – 10/10
 For the insane versatility.


Cronebound Shadow Hulk

Marc – 7/10
If you’re wanting a solid tank, look no further.  The Shadow Hulk falls into a similar category as the Mindscreech in that you never take just one of them; if you’re going to take any, take two.  Run them side by side (as most people can possibly alpha-strike to kill one giant; they cannot kill two) with Impalers behind them and you have a small fortress of destruction.  Plus taking two makes their offensive potential more reliable, as 2d6 has an expected value whereas 1d6 is true random.

Elliot – 7/10
Super tough block of high defence, Fearless nerve in a relatively compact footprint. They’re no slouch in combat either and they pair really nicely with the 18″ heal from the Summoner Crone’s Drain Life.

The only reason they’re not higher on my list is the fact that they’re competing with the Mindscreech for the monster unlock slot and 220 is just a little on the expensive side.

Grant – 7/10
Statistically one of the best giants in the game.

Thomarsar – 7/10
Good damage soaker and damage dealer.


Cronebound Banshee

Marc – 6/10
Banshees really aren’t bad at all.  If you’re going with triple Mindscreeches, I could see maybe taking one or two of them if you really wanted to try and go full gunline/windblast annoyance.  However, you’re going to run into the same issue we had with the Dragon Breath, in that your non-troop unlock slots get filled very fast, and it becomes very hard very fast to justify taking them over other options.  Still, I don’t hate them, but unless you’re somehow swimming in hero slots I end up avoiding them.
Recommended items:  boots of levitation, boots of the seven leagues

Elliot – 4/10
Another unit that I would rate far higher in a Nightstalker list than in a Twilight Kin one. As it is I find the Banshee just too expensive an option for a unit that doesn’t Inspire and is taking up one of my precious unlock slots. If I had the spare points, didn’t need Inspiring and had a free unlock slot… I’d just find 10 more points and take another Mindscreech.

Grant – 6/10
I can only see a use for her in very specifically built lists.

Thomarsar – -/10


Cronebound Archfiend

Marc – 5/10
 Man… I really, really want to like the Archfiend.  I have two of them and would love to put them on the table, but they consistently disappoint.  

I mean, look at this.  I know it’s not fair to compare units between armies, but still:

If I was given that choice, I would take the Overmaster every single time.  Yes, you lose brutal, fury, and fireball, but you gain regen(5+) and +1/+1 nerve, and let me tell you just how much the Archfiend loves to die.  Spoilers: it’s a lot.  One thing I will give it that is a common complaint is that it only has 9 attacks instead of the ‘standard’ 10 of other dragon-types.  Brutal, on average, essentially offsets the loss of that attack on average, even if you’re charging something in the rear.  That one attack hitting on a 3 and wounding on a 2 equals 0.55 wounds.  On an unhindered flank charge, brutal is still effectively equal and it’s not until you get to an unhindered rear charge that the 1 less base attack is potentially mathematically relevant.

Let’s talk about its fireball attack now.  Despite my love for the Dragon Breath, the fireball on the Archfiend largely feels like a waste.  Maybe possibly I wouldn’t hate it as much if the Archfiend was full vicious and not just vicious (melee)?  Requiring your dragon to park itself 12” away from its target will almost always put it in charge range of something, even if it’s something trivial.  But even gargoyles charging a dragon in the front are likely to do at least one wound, disorder/grounding it.  ”So then just put it even further out on a flank” you say?  Sure, I agree that helps keep it safe, but now one of your few sources of inspiring has run away.  And sure, you could take two Archfiends to run around being jerks and two Standard Bearers to give you inspiring coverage, but now that’s four unlocks of your probably 5 to 6 unlocks, so you’re going to lose out on your great monster/titans.  If ever Twilight Kin gets cheap(er) unlocking hordes then it becomes much easier to justify the hero slots, but as is… it’s a huge sacrifice.

Now, one thing that’s critical to mention that I haven’t yet is the Summoner Crone’s “Wicked Miasma” ability; being able to apply the wound removal aspect of drain life up to 18 inches away on units with the cronebound keyword is definitely a part of this conversation.  But that requires more heroes to support your heroes in an army that cannot casually add heroes, and even trying to couple two Archfiends with two or three Crones might mean the Archfiends survive longer, but at a noticeable drop in army-efficiency as a whole.  Even for a single Archfiend/double Crone package, with no additional options, that’s 500pts invested for drain life (12) and the Archfiend; best case we’re talking 25% of the army on a dragon-type unit and keeping it alive (for longer, I’m not convinced it doesn’t still die quicker than you can heal).

Despite all of my complaints and frustrations, it’s truly not unusable but I definitely don’t view it as a competitive option.  I love the models I have for them and my complaints likely won’t stop me from bashing my head against that wall trying to make the Archfiend actually work, but I’m truly not seeing the build that’s actually competitive featuring any of them.  It’s probably better than I’m rating it, but the ‘right’ build needs to be found to really make them work.

Recommended items:  staying stone, healing brew, blade of slashing, hann’s sanguinary scripture, mead of madness, trickster’s wand, brew of haste, crystal pendant of retribution

Elliot – 7/10
As Dragon equivalents go, the Archfiend is probably one of the less popular choices, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a good unit. Used well, an Archfiend can control an entire flank of the table. Its one of those units that doesn’t ever need to charge to make its points back, the distraction factor alone can be huge. Being Cronebound is a nice touch, letting a Summoner Crone keep it healthy even when its off harassing a flank or behind the lines.

Grant – 7/10
A lot of points for what is Twilight Kin’s only ‘dragon’ type unit. I really miss having the two dragon types from second edition…

Thomarsar – 4/10
Not tested, but seems too expensive.


Twilight Assassin

Marc – 5/10
If they had inspire(self) they would easily be a 7/10.  As-is, they’re far too fragile and easily routed, especially in a lightning bolt-rich meta.  When your opponent doesn’t have even a small amount of LB and the Assassin can run around freely it can be a constant thorn in your opponent’s foot, but almost every (competitive) list will have a tool to deal with them long before you get your value out of them.  I’d love for them have some form of inspiring, or fearless, or even a horse option, but alas here we are.  They also fall into the same trap as the Archfiend where you don’t get nearly enough unlock slots to really warrant spending them on a unit like this.

Recommended items:  blade of the beast slayer, inspiring talisman, boots of levitation, wings of honeymaze

Elliot – 6/10
I’m a big fan of the Assassins and I really want them to be good. What is really good about them is that they can realistically be doing damage for all 7 turns of the making them very point efficient – they’re excellent at chipping away at key targets. Sadly once again though, they’re competing for very in demand hero unlock slots and as they don’t Inspire, you’re having to give up quite a lot to fit an Assassin into your list.

Grant – 4/10
Overpriced. A wasted opportunity which is a shame as its a unit that had heaps of potential.

Thomarsar – 6/10
Fun to play with, can both be MVP and a major let down.


Soulbane

Marc – 8/10
With the loss of/change to the Scepter of Shadows on the Summoner Crone, the Soulbane becomes my hands down favorite hero in Twilight Kin.  The mount is almost mandatory to this unit, purely because it pushes them to sp9.  I don’t know how much experience you have with speed 9 units, but in a game that most frequently has speed 5/6, speed 8, and speed 10, having a disrupting unit that’s faster than most of those is incredibly valuable.  

Photo credit: Kevin McCusker

They’re also one of the few units in the list that I feel like can work perfectly fine without items, though having some doesn’t hurt.  I rarely invest more than 15pts in items on one, but the crystal pendant can be very annoying and effective.  The crystal pendant is typically more a mental deterrent than anything, as no player wants to charge it with their soul reavers or tyrants and take those 2d6 hits when you’ve got plenty of units behind that to finish off whatever gets caught in the explosion.  I’m not saying I strongly recommend the crystal at all, but it’s definitely something to consider.

In terms of use, they make amazing backline hunters, dragon hunters, and pseudo-chaff, and at de5 and 13/15 it’s typically unlikely that anything you’d use it to chaff against (i.e. cav units) will rout it on the countercharge.  Almost critically, being a highly mobile source of dread is a close second in the list of reasons to take one.  It may not be able to solo/one-round kill much, but it will absolutely excel in a hit-and-run style disrupting unit.  

My one major complaint is that they absolutely love to get wavered.  They very rarely get killed in one charge, but it seems like almost every time they manage to get charged they get wavered.  So make sure you have a plan for if, and likely when, that happens.  Try and think not just what you want to charge/disrupt with it this turn, but both what retreat lane it will take if wavered but also where and what it will charge into next. Its mobility is its strength, and to stay entrenched for too long typically means death.

It’s worth noting that it is commonly compared to Mikayel as they are very similar units.  That discussion is under Mikayel’s section, but the TLDR is that my preference is to take two mounted Soulbanes rather than Mikayel.

Recommended items:  blade of slashing, mace of crushing, staying stone, chalice of wrath, dwarven ale, mead of madness, sir jesse’s boots of striding, brew of haste, mournful blade, blade of the beast slayer, crystal pendant of retribution

Elliot – 8/10
Excellent unit that acts as a force multiplier. Mounted on a horse, the Soulbane can throw himself in wherever he is needed, bringing some reliable damage, Inspiring and Dread. I take mine with the Mace of Crushing to help keep him reliable, but I’ve also used him in the past with the Mournful Blade and the Blade of the Beast Slayer.

The reason I’ve not scored the Soulbane any higher than an 8 is actually the exact same as the horsemen. It’s fairly costed and it’s nerve is just one point too low to make it truly survivable.

Grant – 9/10
A great character that can consistently add damage to a fight.

Thomarsar – 5/10
He’s ok.


Summoner Crone

Marc – 7/10
Well here it is, the singular unit I feel that Twilight Kin as an army list are balanced and built around… and it honestly disappoints me.  Please don’t read that as I think it’s bad; it’s really not.  It does, however, feel that it isn’t impactful enough for what role I feel like the army list assumes it will do.  

The Crone has the Wicked Miasma ability, which allows it to heal any keyword cronebound unit within 18” rather than 6” when removing wounds from drain life.  With the change in Clash21, if you take the Scepter of Shadows [1] upgrade then Wicked Miasma lets you remove wounds on any friendly unit within 18”.  In addition, Crones have inspiring(cronebound only).  On paper, that sounds really great, and honestly it’s really not bad at all.  But you still only have drain life (6) per Crone.  I am not recommending this, but taking max (three) Crones is 285pts for max 18 drain life which, assuming you can cast them all in a turn against de4+, will deal/heal 6 wounds, and only 4 or 5 total against de5+.  Not bad, honestly, but also… eh?  It’s more than 300 points after the invariable item(s) added, and three of your hero slots, and you’re currently only inspiring cronebound units.  It’s worth mentioning possibly that the only unlocking cronebound unit are Horsemen, so chances are good that you’ve got a lot of core units that don’t currently have any sources of inspiring. 

To be clear (again), I do not hate Crones and I’m not asking for them to be buffed up to Mhorgoth levels of power.  I do feel, however, that Twilight Kin as a list was constructed with the idea that Crones will act as the core, and honestly they’re just kinda… not?  I mean, they can be, but they’re nowhere near impactful enough to be a highly rated unit.  They are definitely useful, and I don’t hate having one or two of them in a list, but I’m also not going to negatively judge a player for building a list with no Crones in it.  I would play them a lot more if they had elite or vicious on their spells (like the Magus in Varangur) or even if they could take weakness, but that isn’t to say they’re not worth including currently as-is.

I do want to discuss their spell options briefly as well.  With how much CS(1) Twilight Kin have, it’s very tempting to add bane chant to their spell list and I’m here to tell you that’s a mistake.  If you are close/engaged enough that you would want to cast bane chant, you’re almost always better off doing a few extra wounds/healing from drain life instead.  If you’re in a war engine or ranged attack heavy meta, I really don’t hate Veil of Shadows but only if you’re giving the crone a horse, levitation, or the wings so that it can keep up with the units it needs to protect while they run and the Crone is stuck just advancing.

Recommended items:  summoner’s staff, piercing arrow, boots of levitation, wings of honeymaze

Elliot – 8/10
A really good Wizard with a very strong default spell, a decent selection of additional spells, Inspiring to Cronebound units and a truly fantastic special rule that can help an otherwise small and elite army seem much more durable than it otherwise might.

I’ve rated them an 8 because for Summoner Crones to work well you need to invest heavily into them. This also means that they limit your other army choices – if you’re paying lots of points into Summoner Crones, you pretty much need to also be taking lots of Cronebound units. My annoyance with the Summoner Crone is less based around her stats, and more the fact that when you take one you’re pretty much forcing your list down a very specific funnel. I explore this more in my first impressions article about Twilight Kin.

Grant – 9/10
Expensive but almost essential in every single list.

Thomarsar – 9/10
Must have for most lists, Drain Life (6) is very good, coupled with “free” Inspiring on many units in the army.


Elven Prince

Marc – 5/10
The prince suffers the same fate as the Assassin, sadly.  If we had plentiful hero unlocks then I could see taking a couple of them as cheap disruptors, but there’s just too much demand on those hero slots.  Still, if you ever do take them, absolutely take the mount upgrade and nothing else.
Recommended items:  none

Elliot – 4/10
My score of a 4 is probably a bit harsh. The unit itself isn’t awful, it’s more that I don’t think it’ll ever find a place in a Twilight Kin list. Twilight Kin are an army where every unlock counts, they’re also an army that can struggle for Inspiring sources.

All the Prince does in my opinion is take up a valuable unlock slot without bringing much needed Inspiring to the table. Just upgrade him to a Soul Bane or spend the points on Gargoyles.

Grant – 4/10
The Soulbane or the Army Standard Bearer just does the same roles, but better.

Thomarsar – -/10


Army Standard Bearer

Marc – 7/10
It’s a standard bearer, not much else to say.  I don’t hate the heal or lightning bolt items, but it’s far from a primary option.  

Recommended items:  lute of insatiable darkness, shroud of the saint, the boomstick, 

Elliot – 7/10
It’s a cheap Inspiring source with decent enough nerve and speed 6 to get it where it needs to be. Plus having Me4 and Elite (melee) is just funny and has been used to sit a dragon down on two occasions so far.

Grant – 9/10
“Cheap” inspiration. Fairly standard…

Thomarsar – 6/10
 Does what ASB does, ME 4 and Elite is slightly better than other ASBs.


Mikayel, Lord of Nightmares

Marc – 8/10
I’m expecting my opinion to be slightly contentious, especially given my rating: Mikayel is good, but I don’t ever take him.  Objectively, he does a lot of work; he’s a super-juiced mounted Soulbane that gains an attack, one nerve, fearless, iron resolve, and bumps up to CS(2), but also doubles his attacks when charging heroes, monsters, and titans.  It’s hard to hate that at all, and I really don’t… except.   Then there’s the matter of his price.  For the price of one Mikayel (260pts), you can instead get two mounted Soulbanes (310pts).  Yes, that difference of 50pts is very meaningful, but IMO being able to get two activations and two different sources of inspiring and dread makes up for that.  

Photo credit: Grant Alexander

It can be argued that I’m comparing apples and oranges in that they don’t function the same, and I don’t entirely disagree.  The Soulbane can only ever hope to ground a dragon to hold it up for a turn while a real unit positions to knock it out the turn after while Mikayel most likely wins the solo fight against a dragon, especially if he gets the first charge.  So to a point it depends on what you want your melee solo to do.  My style of play is to not have so many points wrapped up in a single individual and I would much rather set up a one-two punch with a Soulbane than hope that I don’t flub one round of attacks with Mikayel and have him die before he can take out the opposing dragon.

And then there’s the quasi-valid concern of what happens if you’re facing a list without any monsters or titans, are you wasting points on a power you’re not using, but I really don’t put much stock in that.  Yes, that could be true and not uncommon to face lists without monsters/titans, but they’re almost always going to have heroes (mayyyyybe Nightstalkers won’t take a hero? maybe?), but it does turn him into an overpriced Soulbane with duelist.

So again, he is objectionably powerful, but for how I build lists and play my games, he never gets table time.  But if that’s your jam, have at it!

Elliot – 5/10
Oh Mikayel… I want to love you, I really do. On paper Mikayel is an absolute beast with a fantastic stat line and a really cool special rule that makes Dragons sit up and pay attention to him. But he’s 105 points more expensive than a mounted Soulbane. 105!

Every time I think about taking him, I decide that a mounted Soulbane could fill the same role almost as well and I invest those 105 points somewhere else. Shame because he’s such a cool unit.

Grant – 8/10
My personal favourite character in the game. At the substantial price you pay he needs to be in the right place vs correct enemy. He can be star player if allowed to shine. 

Thomarsar – 9/10
Very expensive, but worth every penny.


Summary

Overall Average Rating /10 – 6.5/10

Most agreed upon unit(s)- Shadowhulk, Bolt Thrower (all four players agreed)

Least agreed upon unit(s) – Soulbane, Kindred Archers, Mikayel (4 points of difference between the top and bottom ratings)


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Elliot’s Beer Fund

If you’ve enjoyed the blog and you’re feeling generous, you can buy me a pint. Please dont feel any obligation to do so, I’ve started this blog because it’s fun, not to make any money. Any money received will go towards hosting costs. Or my beer fund… ok mainly my beer fund.

£3.00

6 thoughts on “Army Review: Twilight Kin”

  1. Good review! I really liked the fact that you had multiple people giving their thoughts and reviews of the units.

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  2. Thank you for this! I really appreciate this attempt. Calling other players to tell their opinion is a very good idea and I am already looking forward to the next army reviews.

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    1. Thanks for the positive comments 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing what other people come up with myself. The plan is release one review a week for the next 26 weeks (there really are a lot of armies…)

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  3. I got good dice (very good dice) and took a Tree Herder out in one crazy attack with Mikayel once. Speed 9 on a foot individual is awesome in that it’s reminiscent of your speed 10 flying individual or speed 8 or 9 cav individual, but doesn’t care about phalanx. Might not come up much, but I like it. The price is high, but it’s easy to imagine Mikayel making up those points in murdered heroes and/or monsters and/or titans. The possibility of 12 attacks on 3s with crush 2 being able to ping around as a speed 9 individual is nuts, and something you won’t get anywhere else. I like 2 soul banes as well! Played a couple of games with all 3! Overkill, I admit, but I enjoyed it!

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