Army Review: Forces of the Abyss

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. In reality 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 decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Jeff, Jon, Todd and Tom for all their help with this army review.


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. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


The ‘Expert’ Panel

Jeff Traish
I was introduced to Warhammer Fantasy about 20 years ago when I went to help my then 12-year-oldson have his first game. I started Kings of War about 4 years ago.

Forces of Abyss are one of my top 5 armies and my only 90% Mantic Army. My most notable tournament placings with Forces of Abyss have been a 2nd place in 2020 and a 1st place in 2021 at Clash of Kings Australia. I find them a great all-round army with fury, good shooting and decent combat.

Jon Gunns
Hi, My name is Jon and I’m an A …. byssal army player.  Abyssals were my army of choice in 2nd edition but the loss of Despoilers in the mass extinction event at the 2nd/3rd edition boundary made me review my life choices and try out some different armies.  But now I’m over my rage at the loss of Despoilers and don’t dwell on it at all, and I’ve reverted to Abyssals with a different play style, forced on me by the loss of Despoilers, but, as I said, I don’t dwell on that. 

Todd Serpico
Hello, my name is Todd and I’ve been wargaming longer than I can remember, and picked up Kings of War just prior to the release of the 2nd edition, along with many of the other Warhammer refugees. Most of you probably know me, but for any who may be new to the community I was a long time moderator of Fanatics and have been a play tester for the game since very early on in 2nd edition. 

While the Forces of the Abyss weren’t my first army, I did adopt them very early on in 2nd edition, driven by all kinds of big, cool gribbly demon models from Mierce that I wanted to paint up, and I played them consistently throughout, and since. They are probably my most played faction, and I’ve tended to play off-meta builds with them fairly successfully at some of the toughest tournaments around. 

I love the Abyssals, who can play virtually any style of list/game that you want to. It’s a fun, characterful faction, and although none of the mainline units are A+ category that some lists can spam out, there are few below a B either, and you have some wonderful heroes and monsters that can just build lists with incredible symmetry and few or no weaknesses.

Tom Robinson
Hello again, you may remember me from the Elf review where I talked about the army I brought across from the old world to this new one. Well Forces of the Abyss were my first true Mantic based army chosen off the back of the strength of the list and the great modelling prospects with the well-established product line. I loved the look of the new stuff coming out and got a bunch of old deamons from friends to get started on the cheap.

I was attracted by the versatility, the breadth and power of the 2nd ed special character roster (looking at you Basusu and the Well). This is something different from where they are in 3rd ed, they lost a lot, Hellequins, Despoilers, Lurkers are all gone and the special character roster was gutted but in comparison to Elves they gained a lot in many areas and are in a great overall place.


Lower Abyssals

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Jeff – 7/10
Reasonable core unit that unlocks, and with regeneration the horde is decent.
I would rather keep def 4 and use the Hammer of Measured Force if running the horde.

Jon – 6/10
I have frequently played with a horde of these.  They can hold the centre of your line or guard an objective and with a reasonable nerve, Regen and Fury they can even dish out some pain in return, particularly if Bane-Chanted.  The opponent will have to dedicate multiple units to one shot the horde, allowing your cunning counter-stroke to hit them, or could find themselves stuck in a grind as the Abyssals Regen their wounds and hit back.

Todd – 6.5/10
Lowers are a good mainline unit, they fill their role in the army very well. If you need an infantry core, the first decision is usually whether that core will be Ghouls or lowers. The benefit of lowers is that they can punch above the weight of most other similar units and have a good price point.

I’ve been a big fan of running with Sacrificial Imps in the current version of the game. Pairing that with the Regen, and a Well of Souls (and maybe even some Drain Life) and you have a perpetual nerve machine that can be very hard to shift. The upgrade to 2 handed weapons is great, and probably more often seen than not, but both versions have their places, and which is right for your list will really depend on the rest of the list, and what you need your lowers to do. 

Tom – 6/10
A solid main line unit, the big nerve statline really maximises the regeneration along with Fury to keep them in the game and swinging. I don’t see a use for troops, regiments I feel just get replaced by Ghouls, Guard or Succubi because the cost or specialisation is more valuable, or even Flamebearers now they’re regular. So realistically we’re looking at hordes which are good value for the cost. I’d recommend steering away from over investing points wise, they may be the only unit where the Sacrificial Imp is worth it but even then when you’re thinking they could use that, the two hander upgrade and then at that point an item what was a cost effective unit has quickly spiralled into something no longer serves its initial purpose, at that point why not Molochs. A fine line I feel but they’re fine as far as basic line troops go.


Abyssal Guard

Photo credit: Tom Robinson

Jeff – 6/10
Reasonable Defence and nerve with Regeneration. Cost a little too high, prefer others.

Jon – 6/10
I do not use these as they do not fit my play style, but a regiment with Def 5, Fearless 16 nerve and Regen with Unit Strength 3, is a handy objective holder and can also guard your rear area from flying characters.

Todd – 6.5/10
Want Lowers that can hold even longer, or punch even harder? Abyssal Guard are here to fill that role for you. Since the beginning of second, this has been one of the more criminally underrated units in the army. They don’t fit all builds, but when I do use them, I often find that they are my MVPs. Not only in list building advice, but your opponent will also underestimate how good these guys can be. 

As with Lowers, both upgrades have their places, and any combination of those set ups absolutely have their place. There is no right answer, only the decision of what you need the unit to do for your list? 

Tom – 6/10
I used to really like a regiment of these back in 2nd ed days, despite the only change being losing a nerve and becoming Fearless I’ve kind of gone off them. They still make a good enough anvil with Regen and Fearless but they were better at it with 15/17 and Fury. There’s scope for troops as a fighty chaff unit and in the case of both unit sizes the two handed upgrade is viable since Def5 as a base is great and the better melee stat makes better use compared to Lower Abyssals. So solid, a more specialised unit and it’s not hard to find a place for them but I do tend to gravitate away to other options in the cav, Molochs and Flamebearers.


Succubi

Photo credit: Matthew Temple

Jeff – 7/10
Decent unit with Ensnare and lots of attacks. Stealth helps, but Lightning Bolts decimate these units. Can be good in the right match up.

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Jon – 5/10
Again, I do not use these as they do not fit my play style.  I can imagine that some players will be able to make these work, particularly if backed up with Bane-Chanting Seductresses, but they are just a bit too fragile for my taste.

Todd – 7/10
While they are somewhat of a glass hammer, Ensnare and Stealthy makes them sturdier than you might think. The ability to spam out extra terrain mitigation through inclusion of the Lurkers is also great. If you take them naked it’s best to have some bane chant also in the list, but 2 regiments with Brew of Strength and Hammer of Measured Force make a great add to any list. 

Tom – 7/10
Tt 165 points with a competent melee statline and Ensnare/Stealthy/Fury they make a great scalpel unit. Any unit coming against them with more than TC1/CS1 is wasting it and combined with Ensnare and the ability to upgrade to Pathfinder to make use of hindering to stack those modifiers. They’re quick and small base size makes them great support alongside your Molochs/Lower Abyssal hordes as well as better able to keep pace with cav.

A trade off for all this is Def 3 and no Regen makes them very susceptible to Lightning Bolt which is the competitive shooting choice in 3rd ed, additionally at Def 3 even with stealthy you’re not gaining much over Def4 in shooting defence and mathematically it’s identical when the opposition is Ra4. So while it’s a major downside it doesn’t take away the fact that they do things the rest of the roster doesn’t and they’re cool which counts for a lot.

Photo credit: Tom Robinson

Abyssal Ghouls

Photo credit: David Musgrave

Jeff – 8/10
Cheap unlocking unit. High nerve, reasonable defence and Fury make them great for holding objectives or as chaff. Prefer running in regiments.

Jon – 6/10
A regiment with Unit Strength 2 costs 90 points.  Keep a couple of these in the army to hold objectives out of reach of enemy combat troops.  Their nerve of 14/16 should also help to keep them in the game if the enemy tries to shoot them.

Todd – 7/10
Goblin Rabble with better nerve and Fury, for a budget price, which can help unlock the expensive pieces that make Abyssals work? Yes please!! What’s not to love? I was a big lover of fleshlings in 2nd edition, and fought to make sure some form of them remained for this edition.

Forces of Abyss function largely from expensive units, and especially heroes, and at times unlocks can be constrained. The ability to get loads of good, survivable nerve to sit objectives and lock down opposition forces, while cheaply unlocking is something very much needed in the army. I’m glad that more people seem to be starting to see their value. 

The decision to take them will usually come down to do you want to run Ghouls or Lower Abyssal. While you can’t get the offensive output out of these guys, you save points which can be spent elsewhere on more important pieces, and that budget value is a competency of it’s own.

Tom – 7/10
These are a welcome new addition and a surprising one at that. Troops of these are decent cheap chaff which effectively make Imps redundant, regiments are the perfect mix of cheap nerve, unlock and Unit Strength, Def 4 14/16 with Fury is solid at 90pts too. I’d rather run them as a regiment than a horde but there’s scope there too for the cheap price of 150pts. Not much more to say really, they do a job and they’re effective at it for their cost, no complaints here.


Succubi Larvae

Jeff – 7/10
Great unit as an anvil and holding centre of the board. Decent nerve defence and Ensnare. Downside is irregular and can’t hit to save themselves.

Jon – 4/10
I have used a horde of larvae in the past, in a similar role to the Lower Abyssals.  However, their melee stat of 6+ means that they are doing little damage to any enemy that attacks them and so even relatively weak forces will be able to go toe to toe with them in a grind until the enemy can outflank them.  Being irregular they do not unlock, another downside to the unit.  Having said that, I once faced a legion of them at a tournament and it took 3 turns to chew through them.  

Todd – 6.5/10
Not enough people have been running these guys, but they are in a very sweet spot this edition. The addition of Ensnare makes them even harder to shift off of objectives than the Ghouls. While some would point to the Me 6+, they also get 5 extra attacks compared to the Ghouls, which means that the damage output is not that much different. That said, the break point is a little lower, and there is the lower damage output, so in hordes I will tend to stick with Ghouls – that said, if someone wanted to build a centre of real beef, 2 legions are able to just lock down objectives and tarpit enemies forever. 

Tom – 5/10
These are conditional for me. If you have a list for them in mind where they need to do a certain job and you throw the Dragonshard on them then they’re a great tarpit to take up a lot of room on the board for a low cost. My issue is that’s virtually never the case and you’d almost always want to get something on the board that serves multiple roles besides just getting beat on. But the idea of putting two hordes down with a solid combat/firing line with all the Fireball, Firebolt and Lightning that Abyssals can get a hold of has an attraction. So they’re workable, you can find a place but if you’re not building a list around that then drop this score 2 points as they’re not the best.


Gargoyles

Jeff – 9/10
Still a great chaff unit even with the low nerve. Can synergize well with new character Zaz’u’szu sit behind a forest or hill within 6 inches to Regen the wounds back. Can still be used as chaff when needed.

Jon – 8/10
What more can be said about Gargoyles that has not already been said?  Cheap, fast, nimble.  Good at chaffing up the enemy and in securing objectives late game.  Two major downsides:  they take wounds when your opponent sneezes and their nerve means that they are likely to waver even after just a couple of wounds.  They need to be used with care if the enemy has even limited shooting.

Todd – 9/10
This doesn’t take a lot of discussion – still arguably the best chaff in the game; they aren’t auto-include, and won’t be needed in all builds, but they fit with any style of list, and are always a great value. 

Tom – 9/10
We should all know by now that Gargoyles are synonymous with chaff and there’s a good reason for it. Any cheap flying unit is automatically in the running for top tier chaff but there’s a few key differences for this lot. Firstly 8-10 nerve is pretty dire, one damage means an average roll is wavering them so you have to be canny with them, on the flip side the higher chance of them being cleared off the board after doing their job is a good thing situationally as them being wavered can hinder your movement and charge options. Regen means they can recover early game damage and 10 me4 attacks means they can do a nice bit of threat projection and pressure a flank charge.

The main use I tend to employ them for is to screen and support the Abyssal Cav hammers, they’re the same frontage and one less height so they’re perfect in that chaff support roll either to push back fliers as they match the speed or sitting behind the cav so the cav protect the Gargoyles from stray shooting and in turn the gargoyles can dart out to do their job and chaff/die to give a favourable charge for the cavalry.


Flamebearers

Jeff – 9/10
Great unlocking unit with Regeneration and decent shooting. Two of these with an Abyssal Warlock make a great team.

Jon – 5/10
Abyssal players are divided into those who can make Flamebearers work and those who can’t.  I can’t.  I frequently revisit their stats and work them into a list, get out my lovingly painted models and then see them fail on the battlefield.  I still score them 5 because they look good on paper and others can make them work.

Todd – 6/10
Steady Aim, Piercing (1) shooting doesn’t exist a lot in the game, so there is definitely a place for these guys if you want to add a little shooting to your game. They don’t fit my style of play, so I’ve never fielded them personally, but they are definitely worth it in certain builds or play styles. 

Tom – 8/10
Woo! Regular again. I was always a  big fan and now they unlock once more I can go back to my old style list which had three regiments as a solid firing bloc with the Abyssal speciality in fast cav and characters poised to exploit and cover the Flamebearers. They work in both unit sizes but I like to maximise on that Regen and the unlock with the regiment as they can take a decent amount of shifting and are pretty resistant to chip damage.

As a shooting unit Steady Sim 10att Ra4 with Piercing can be really scary. I’ve had regiments spike and do 7 damage and to be honest depending on target that’s not so ridiculous. The 18” range hurts as you’re not getting round one shots at sp5 and you can’t outrange fliers but for the price and the strength of that shooting compared to generic archers you get good bang for your buck. Not really a fit for a gun line army but they’re great as part of a combined arms  list which is just how I like it.


Molochs

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Jeff – 8/10
Good hammer unit with high nerve and Regen. Hitting on 3s and CS2 means these can hurt any unit. Downside is Defence 4 so must be protected. Great as a 2nd line unit.

Photo credit: Matthew Temple

Jon – 8/10
I never used these in 2nd Edition but since the loss of Despoilers (which I don’t dwell on) they now feature in my armies.  Eighteen attacks hitting on 3s with Crushing 2?  – yes please.  The downside of course is the Defence 4 and care is needed with positioning to avoid early wounds from shooting.  I have so far avoided taking the Despoiler Champion and Sacrificial Imp upgrades and have not been caught out, but I can imagine the day when one or more hordes get wavered from some lucky shooting and I curse the omission. 

Photo credit: Jeff Franz

Todd – 7/10
These are one of the pre-eminent hammers in the army. Defence 4, and the damn giant base keeps them from a score any higher. However for mainline damage dealing units in the army, you are going to basically build around these guys, Horsemen, or Succubi generally. For me, this is the unit that inspired me to start the army, and so I have 2 hordes in a large percentage of my lists.

When it comes to the upgrades, I will fight all day that the despoiler champion is an absolutely AWFUL upgrade for the unit. The difference in the baseline fury and fearless is basically nothing (particularly with shooting so light in most metas), which leaves you paying 20 points to add brutal, when you could have bought an artefact to add it for 10.

On the other hand, I will continue my thoughts from above that the sacrificial imps are a great value. They aren’t must-have, and if points are tight they are one of the first things that can be sacrificed, but they synergize so well with the regeneration, and even more so if you are running well of souls (which why wouldn’t you?).

Photo credit: Todd Gledwyne

Tom – 8/10
These guys are your go to combat infantry, they hit hard with a good economy of attacks and have that typical strange Abyssal resilience thanks to Def 4 Regen, Fury and 16/18 nerve meaning they last a whole lot longer than the usual Def5 15/17 stuff in some cases, and equally can be far more susceptible to alpha strikes which bypass that Regen and Fury. But it’s something different to the standard large infantry profile and I like it. Abyssals get a lot of different waver and damage mitigation across the roster and stacking it everywhere means it’ll pay dividends at some point every game. So a great standard unit, upgrade wise I think keeping them cheap is the key, the Imp is a waste of space most of the time and the Despoiler upgrade is points efficient but not always necessary and combining it with an item pushes the Moloch cost a bit too high for me so I usually leave them naked and invest the points on the list’s scalpel stuff. Oh and regiments are a waste of time as is usually the case for large infantry.

Photo credit: Tom Robinson

Tortured Souls

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Jeff – 8/10
Great unit that is no longer Irregular. Not as good as they used to be but still worth the points. Prefer in regiment to help keep units off your shooting units.

Photo credit: Paul Goodwin

Jon – 7/10
A major nerf in this addition means that Tortured Souls have to be used differently now.  In some ways, the horde option is competing for the same role as Abyssal Horsemen but the regiment can undertake satisfactorily a number of different roles.  Fearless helps them significantly.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Todd – 5/10
Unlike others, I was never a fan of the hordes, and ~almost never ran them. That said, 1-2 regiments were in a LOT of my lists. Sadly, I don’t think they have made any lists for me even in that size now.

The regiments do still have a good price point to ability ratio, and can fill a variety of roles. However, the loss of the ability to hold off flyers in third edition means that you have to look at them entirely differently, and they just don’t do anything that I need in my lists.

I can see someone trying to make use of them as a form of flying cav, but without Nimble, and no extra speed compared to regular cav they just don’t do that role well at all. I’m sure that there might be some kitschy build that could developed to use them, but in general they are just underwhelming and devoid of any useful role currently in my opinion. One of the things I would say is distinctive about the army is that there are almost no ~bad~ units, but this is maybe the closest to being one. 

Tom – 6/10
This was the unit that originally got me into Abyssals, it was nearly a 10/10 unit back in the day but nerf creep has been cruel to Tortured Souls and they’re virtually unrecognisable compared to their 2nd ed roots. Firstly sp8 fly without nimble is ok but not a patch on sp10 Nimble/Shambling that they had before so their ability to pressure flanks, project threat and screen are severely hampered. Technically shambling means they’re faster now but in practice it’s worse 9/10 times, Abyssals have other fliers that can do the job of bombing down flanks losing the versatility really hurts. At 120pts they’re still a bargain capable of filling the thick chaff role with Lifeleech 2 and -/14, on the other hand they don’t unlock so the regiments can be a struggle to justify and the hordes are expensive for an admittedly poor offensive statline when compared to your slightly more costly hammer units like the cav or molochs. All that said I think you can justify one unit or two but the old days of the Tortured flying circus are long gone, but rightly so.


Imps

Photo credit: Matthew Temple

Jeff – 6/10
Irregular unit that’s okay for chaff. Prefer others.

Jon – 4/10
Cheap as chips but irregular and only Unit Strength 1 at horde level means that there are better options for most roles that the Imps might undertake.  Too slow for chaff and too fragile to babysit objectives.

Todd – 5/10
Decent chaff, but not slow, not Nimble, nothing special. In a list with the best chaff in the game, they just don’t make my lists. If you were going all in on a infantry/Moloch build, and needed to shave points then they may have a place, but there are better options. 

Tom – 2/10
Abyssal Ghouls are the same price with better Defence and the height to screen infantry so Imps are pretty pointless, at the horde level the ghoul regiment unlocks too. Save your time, it’s a shame as the models are full of character.


Abyssal Horsemen

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Jeff – 7.5/10
Another good hammer unit with decent Defence and Regen, but 14/16 nerve means they can be vulnerable. Bit too high of a cost for my liking but popular in most lists.

Photo credit: Tom Robinson

Jon – 8/10
Cavalry with 18 attacks, Crushing 1 on the profile and Regen? – yes please.  The regiment also benefits from cheaper access to some magic items than hordes of Mollochs do.  The major downside is the nerve of 14/16 although Regen and Fury help once you have got them into combat.

Todd – 7.5/10
A little pricy, and you wish they had 15/17 nerve, but all heavy cav took a hit in 3rd edition, and these are still borderline elite level options, and are a key inclusion for any lists build around speed.

Tom – 8/10
The only thing stopping these been a 9 or 10 is that nerve of 14/16. Def5, Regen 5+ and Fury are all excellent for mitigating or deterring chip damage and offensively they come with 18 Me3 CS1 TC1 attacks, far better than standard knights as the extra attacks and Crushing lets them grind out combats and mitigates terrain/phalanx somewhat. As they’re a regiment you get the cheaper item prices so they’re a great choice for Sharpness, Elite, etc. They make for a really fun unique cavalry unit and while 240pts is expensive for cavalry you have the best chaff and amongst the best support pieces from the Warlocks, Gargoyles and Well of Souls to keep them going. I regularly run two and it’s usually between these and Molochs for my staple combat block but you can’t go wrong running both either.


Hellhounds

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Jeff – 6.5/10
I want to like them with speed 9 and Nimble, but low defence and nerve sees me leave these at home.

Jon – 4/10
Another unit that looks good on paper with its high speed and Nimble characteristics.  But, Defence 4 and low nerve is really painful and I have never found a place for them in my lists.  Still, if you can get a regiment into a flank, 48 attacks hitting on 4s with Thunderous 1 is going to hurt.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Todd – 6.5/10
I love hellhounds, they are super fun, and were a part of all of my early lists. However, with only Thunderous and low nerve they take some skill to get the most out of. If you are using them as chaff then you are wasting points. They are best utilized as regiments, playing a patient game around the edges. Used well they can be MVPs, but a lot of players lack the patience to get the most out of them.  

Tom – 5/10
Hellhounds fall into a difficult spot for me, they’re certainly not bad by any means but their role is very specific and is easily challenged by similar abyssal units. The mixture of manoeuvrable and combat support from a non-unlocking unit means you’re coming across characters which do that job, the Seductress is cheap and flies. If you want a screen then why not save points for Gargoyles? If you want a thicker screen then Tortured Souls are certainly more reliable with Lifeleech 2 and Fearless for a minor hit to combat impact and agility. If you want a harder hitting cav unit then you’ll inevitably be drawn to Abyssal Horsemen. So while Hellhounds can find a place among all those alternatives I think it can be a struggle to find the spot for them when Abyssals have great alternatives.


Chroneas

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Jeff – 7/10
I love Cloak of Death but at 40 points less I prefer the Abyssal Fiend.

Jon – 3/10
I have never used Chroneas but I am not sure that he is that good.  Compared to, for instance, the Goblin Giant, he is 10 points cheaper, has 2 less attacks, lower nerve, lower speed and is only Crushing 3 rather than 4, although this is really only useful against Defence 6 units.  On the plus side, he has Cloak of Death rather than Brutal and can buy the Drain Life spell, although it is difficult to see situations where he will be able to, or want to, cast this multiple times in a game.  He does come however, on a monster base rather than a titan base and so is slightly more manoeuvrable.   Afraid he gets a thumbs down from me.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Todd – 5.5/10
I love the model, it deserves to be on the table. And the profile in a vacuum is a very good profile. The Drain Life is a trap, you are paying for a stompy melee profile, there’s no point to adding a short range spell like that, and if you play him as a backfield Drain Life caster you are paying way over the odds for that role.

I loved Chroneas in 2nd edition, and ran 2-3 of them when people were complaining about the switch to the giant style late in the edition. So why am I marking it so low now, when it has an even better version of the Cloak of Death? Well, it’s about internal balance. Abyssals are an army that work best utilizing a number of expensive pieces, and are starved at times for unlocks; and frankly in 3rd we were given the Abyssal Fiend, who is one of the best values in the list and can fill almost this same role, plus Inspire, at a fraction of the cost.  

Tom – 4/10
Cool in theory, redundant in practice. Cloak of Death is awesome but 215 points can buy you a horde of Molochs and lets face is D6+6 Me4 attacks with the Cloak doesn’t compare. Drain Life (8) seems cool too, but it’s on a monster and 6” range means you’re only getting it off once before you quickly become needed in combat coupled with the fact that if you want Drain Life then the Warlock is your boy. You can get a Warlock and the regiment that unlocks him for that cost but secondly and more importantly the Abyssal Fiend exists and he’s far better.


Abyssal Fiend

Photo credit: Matthew Temple

Jeff – 8.5/10
Great unit bringing Inspiring, Fireball 10 and Brutal without taking a character slot. Decent defence, nerve and speed 7 to round him out.

Photo credit: Paul Goodwin

Jon – 8/10
Good statistics, decent nerve and fury make this a useful addition to most lists.  The Fireball can also help to burn low Defence chaff and to take off damaged units in the late game.  The major downsides are that he only packs Crushing 2, has no Regen and, being a titan rather than a character, he cannot be given any magic items.

Photo credit: Jeff Franz

Todd – 8.5/10
One of the best units in the list currently. A budget monster beater, adds brutal, who also inspires, and can use that fireball to pick up wounded units late game? Simply wonderful. In every list I write in this edition.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Tom – 10/10
Ok, 10 seems like a lot for just some bog standard looking monster but I promise at 175 it is not bog standard at all. Lets take the Beast of Nature as an example with the Attacks and Breath upgrade he’s 180 points with the inferior breath attack compared to Fireball (Height 6 helps too), without Brutal or Fury or Inspiring and in return he gets a smaller base and Pathfinder. Beasts of Nature are epic value and absolute game changers with wings but at 175 points the Fiend does everything, he fights, shoots, Inspires and has a chunk of nerve. Sitting with the battle line it cannot be ignored especially when it threatens flanks sitting snug between your line units and Inspires the line freeing up the characters to range into the back lines. It is probably too cheap or gets one too many good things but manages to sneak under a lot of radars when we talk about OP units. Auto include for at least one for me but I would not begrudge people swapping one out for a warlock.


Abyssal Champion

Jeff – 6.5/10
Has some great upgrades in wings and Lighting Bolt. Too costly for my liking but I know a lot of players like him.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Jon – 8/10
A hero that can be given wings without having to use up the magic item slot for Wings of Honeymaze, with the resultant loss of Defence, is worth his weight in gold, that is if his weight in gold is worth 155 points.  He can be given a magic item upgrade to increase his effectiveness and then sent on a variety of tasks, the difficulty will be deciding which mission to send him on.  I know, take 2 of them.

Todd – 6/10
If considering external balance and looking at the statline, then the 6 I’m giving him is definitely too low, and you could argue he deserves a 7 or even 8. However, it’s another internal balance issue – the Seductress fills the same role just as well for quite a bit cheaper, and if you want the pricy flyer, Mau’ti’bu’su and Ba’su’su both do it better. The champion is not bad, and you can even build some lists spamming flying individuals with them in it – but for most lists you can find better options in the abyssal. 

Tom – 8/10
So these essentially come with wings right? But seriously these got so much cheaper in 3rd ed. They’re resilient, they Inspire and they’re hitty enough to sit down big fliers and threaten support units and war engines. I often push up to 3 flying individuals in my list and early in 3rd had 4 (since swapped for an Efreet more commonly) which is all thanks to the Warlocks and Fiends which can Inspire the line while these versatile pains in the arse project threat and shut down the opponents back lines, the opponent may have the tools to deal with one individual that can fly, but can they deal with 3 of them one of which scouts turn 1? It’s asking hard question like this early game which forces people to make mistakes and break up their battleline. I love these guys.


Abyssal Harbinger

Jeff – 6/10
Decent unit but not really required because of the Abyssal Warlock.

Jon – 4/10
The Harbinger comes in at 65 points while undertaking the same role as a 50 points standard bearer in a Kingdoms of Men army.  For the extra points you get slightly better nerve, one more attack, regen and 2 firebolts.  Personally, I’d prefer the cheaper option.  Probably, only of use if you have few points left to spend and need another source of inspiring, but for 25 points more you can buy an inspiring Warlock.

Todd – 3/10
He’s a cheap Inspiring source, but we have so many other sources of Inspiring that are near auto-includes, that there’s never really a reason to include this guy. 

Tom – 6/10
It’s a standard bearer with an effective enough shooting attack in two Piercing Firebolts. So take the standard bearer average of a 5 and add 1 because it does something else. My only issue is standard bearers are often 50 points so you are paying for it and there are better options such as why not invest a big more and get yourself a Warlock?


Archfiend of the Abyss

Jeff – 6.5/10
Abyssals version of a dragon but with less attacks and less nerve. Prefer others.

Photo credit: Tom Robinson

Jon – 5/10
A dragon that does not look like a dragon.  In comparison to, say, the Orc Krudger on Winged Slasher, he is 25 points more expensive, for which you get one less nerve, one less attack, but Brutal and Vicious more than makes up for this, and Fireball 10.  Not the best dragon out there but he might find a useful place in some lists, depending on your preferred play style.

Photo credit: Ooi Ee Jian

Todd – 7/10
I love big flying monsters, and I’ve been known to run lists with 2-3 of them, but the fact is that the Archfiend is probably the weakest dragon type hero in the game, and always has been. Yes he is Brutal and Vicious, but he loses an attack against other dragon-type heros, and the lower nerve is simply always an issue. I still field them in many lists I run, but for 5 years I’ve looked longingly at other factions’ dragons and wished ours were on par. 

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Tom – 6/10
Ehhhhh, so I loved these back when they had Lightning Bolt it made up for the lower nerve and worse combat ability. Since then the combat ability is marginally improved as CS3 is better than CS2 TC2 but Vicious Lightning is replaced with non-Vicious Fireball and at that point why isn’t it in combat more? Why are you paying so much at 310 points? Why is it worse than the other dragons out there, your Basilian, Abyssal Dwarf, Nightstalker versions which do the super heavy flier job better or cheaper. It got blander and less effective overall which kind of sucks but a super heavy flier will always be a force on the battlefield and they have to be particularly horrific to drop below being inherently strong. I honestly can’t think of one which is below a 6/10 across all the comparable units.


Dispoiler Champion

Jeff – 6/10
Decent nerve, Regen, Brutal and Vicious makes it sounds good, but lack of
Inspiring and speed 6 males me leave this at home.

Jon – 6/10
A survivor from the great race of Despoilers, cruelly cut down at the end of the second edition, but I don’t dwell on that.  Not bad statistics with major plusses for nimble Brutal, Regen, Fearless and Vicious but without Fury.  A bit too slow for my play style, and non-inspiring, but could find a home in some lists.

Todd – 6/10
Very underrated budget hero this edition. Unlocks can be an issue in our faction, so I don’t always have room for him, but when I do have him in the list I never regret it. Nimble, Brutal, Regenerating beater that can just do so much, particularly if you are running an infantry style list. Criminally underplayed by other generals. 

Tom – 4/10
Classic example of looks good on paper, never seen on a tabletop. There’s just better options than a slightly tanky, slightly hitty but not Inspiring character in a list which needs those character slots. It can’t compete with your Flesh Rippers, Dread Fiends, Depth Horror Eternals or Thegns on Frostfangs even and it pretty much all stems from the lack of Inspiring crossed with better character options.


Seductress

Jeff – 7.5/10
Very popular flying individual with Duellist and Ensnare makes a lot of lists. Don’t take the Bane Chant option as you will hardly ever use it.

Photo credit: Matthew Temple

Jon – 5/10
Like the Flamebearers, some people can make the Seductress work and others can’t.  I can’t.  I’ve found the nerve of 11/13 too low so that, even though she is protected with ensnare and stealthy, it is just too easy to waver her, and she has no regen to help her recover.  I can imagine some players making her work, particularly in Succubi- heavy lists.    

Todd – 8/10
A flying duellist, who can bring a cheap Bane Chant is a great thing. She can do a little of everything, and even if the nerve is a little low, stealthy and ensnare means she sticks around longer than your opponents would think.

Tom – 8/10
Flying individual, semi competent combat ability, Stealthy/Ensare, Inspires themselves and 130 points? Oh and Duelist? Sign me up, I’m a big fan of giving one Scout and just bombing up before the game starts into cover for that sweet -3 to shoot at and scaring the opponents back line. I distinctly remember playing Elliot and she charged in turn one on a Standard Bearer after Scouting, Duellist double the attacks, I kill the Standard Bearer, overrun into a Gur Panther troop and without Inspiring I kill that too. Both units were hidden behind knights and the like but for Elliot in turn one he has to deal with no Inspiring, no chaff, no Bane Chant and a flying individual in his back line without a way to stop her. Fun times.

But another great tool is that it forces your opponent to make hard choices with their turn one, if you throw individuals like this forward they cannot ignore them all game, it’s not just one expensive Ba’su’su, 2 flying characters for almost the same cost will effect twice as much board space. 


Abyssal Warlock

Jeff – 9/10
My favourite unit in Abyss. Inspires chaffs, scoring unit, Regeneration and shoots. What’s not to like for only 90 points.

Jon – 7/10
On the face of it, 90 points for a spellcaster level 2 with no spells looks expensive.  But, for that price you get Inspiring and Firebolt 5, as well as access to a range of spells.  The danger will be loading up too many spells on the Warlock and increasing his cost to make him a high priority target for the enemy.  The Warlock is a large infantry model rather than individual which has some advantages: he can see over height 2 infantry to cast spells (but can also be seen), does not offer enemy Duellists double attacks when being attacked and can claim objectives.  If all else fails, you can throw him into combat with his 5 attacks.

Todd – 9/10
Possibly the best unit in the list. Currently most areas don’t have enough shooting to bother with the Veil of Shadows if you are building an all comers list, but it’s there as an option if/when the meta shifts. In the meantime, the Firebolts, Bane Chant, and Drain Life are all great, it’s a US/objective holder, it is a Nimble/speed 6 large infantry hero who will punish a flank from a careless opponent, it Inspires. If you don’t have 2 in your lists, why not?

Tom – 9/10
Such a cool unit, very unique to abyssals and vastly improved from its introduction in 2nd ed. 5 Piercing Ra4 Steady Aim Nimble Firebolt as a platform is class, it’s pretty much Lightning Bolt 5 with reduced range but when you add in the Inspiring, the fact that it scores, the great spell choice and being surprisingly hardy you get great value for money at 90 points. I  lose count of the amount of times these guys have been providing worth for the entire game, shooting from afar, Inspiring when combat kicks in then supporting when it does start, jumping under the bus or a cheeky flank to keep your line units going and then sneaking off to help grab an objective at the end of the game. Just wonderful and it’s nice that such a cool and characterful unit has a place in most lists. My only issue is that it can be a negative experience for your opponent when people stick 3 of these on the board when there’s so many other cool things to use.


Hellequin-Blood-Masque

Jeff – 8/10
Great individual comes mounted, and for 85 points you get Defence 5, Regeneration and 11/13 nerve. Had fun using this guy with the Crystal Pendant.

Jon – 7/10
Not a bad option for 85 points and can be used in a number of ways.  He can replace Gargoyles as chaff, even though not Mighty, as long as he causes a wound, the enemy unit cannot charge through him.  He can hunt war engines.  He can try to ground fliers, his 3 attacks hitting on 3s with crushing 1 and thunderous 1 stand a better than 80% chance of causing a wound on a defence 5 beast, reducing to 70% if the Blood Masque loses his thunderous charge.  Upgrading him with the Blade of Slashing or Mace of Crushing for 5 points will increase his effectiveness.  With fury and regen, he might survive the counter blow from a dragon, particularly if inspired, and live to fight a second round of combat.

Todd – 7/10
Another very underrated unit in many parts. There aren’t many better 85 point heroes in the game. A great addition, especially in any speed lists. 

Tom – 7/10
These days your KoM hero on horse or equivalents are about 70-80 points so for 5-10 points more the Hellequin brings Regen, 11/13 nerve, Fury and TC1 on top. It’s a genuinely good little pest unit and the only reason it doesn’t get a look in for my kind of list is that I tend to prefer investing that little bit more for the fliers or an Efreet and the character roster is one of the main abyssal attraction points so it’s crowded.


Efreet

Photo credit: Matthew Temple

Jeff – 7/10
Still decent but prefer other shooting units.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Jon – 6/10
Not something I use but others use it to good effect.

Todd – 5/10
Not terrible, but lost a lot of lustre in this edition. Fireball overall has taken a hit, and losing shots and Pathfinder just leaves this model a bit underwhelming. There aren’t very many Abyssal units who deserve that description, and it could be a useful tool in some lists. But the reality is there are better uses of points than this, and it’s in need of a buff to bring it back into consideration for competitive lists.

Tom – 7/10
Super cheap, Fireball 15 is  a lot especially on a sp7 individual. It’s a right little pest and a great late game hoover when the battle lines have knocked ten bells out of each other. They tend to attract attention but are hard to pin down especially when boots of levitation keeps you shooting as you wiz around the units hunting you. Combined with the flying individuals you have the tools to keep the Efreet going all game. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone giving them a miss in the packed abyssal roster, but you can build some proper combined arms and multi-level threat between these, Fiends, Seductress’ and the main line regiments of Flamebearers and combat infantry.


Mau’ti-bu-su

Jeff – 8/10
An upgrade to Seductress with one better nerve and Brutal (D3). If you can afford the extra 30 points it’s usually worth it.

Jon – 5/10
Mau’ti-bu-su is competing for the crowded winged hero slot in the Abyssal army.  Some interesting rules but low Defence and low nerve, and the inability to add a magic item, let her down for me.

Todd – 8/10
One of the best budget heroes in the game. Pushed Ba’su’su out of my lists, as the best individual flyer in our list right now. If you are looking for a harassing, multi-purpose flyer Magnilde is the only one in the game who might possibly be a better value. 

Tom – 7/10
An expensive seductress with some nifty special rule, absolutely viable but I like the toolbox of kitting my flying individuals for specific tasks so she will sometimes get a place in the 3rd flier slot. I don’t much care about gaining general Inspiring but you’re paying 30 points for an extra nerve and Terrible Majesty for super brutal, meh.


Ba’su’su the Vile

Jeff – 6.5/10
Still a great Individual but losing Vicious and 210 points makes it less appealing.
Prefer others.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Jon – 8/10
Bas’su’su comes in costing 35 points more than an Abyssal Champion with wings and a 20 point magic item.  For that, you get 2 more attacks, one more Crushing, Mighty and one more nerve, which would seem to represent better value.  She also represents good value in psyching out your opponent as just including her in your list will get their blood boiling.  However, she only inspires Gargoyles and if you are short of Inspiring, the Abyssal Champion may edge her out.

Todd – 7/10
She lost a touch off her shine from last edition. Still an elite option that will rarely disappoint, but Mau’ti’bu’su is almost as good combat wise, with full Inspiring and duellist, at 50 points cheaper. It’s another case of internal balance. 

Most lists in the game wish that they had Ba’su’su and this would be almost auto-include in those lists. But those lists also don’t have MTB, who just does it so much more efficiently. In a speed list including both can do scary things, but if you are playing competitively, and only taking one you probably want to save the 50 points. 

Tom – 6/10
How the mighty have fallen! Outclassed in combat by Vampires, matched by the Exemplar Redeemer (who!?) 210 points is an awful lot for an individual so I’ll find 50 points more and have two seductress or one with an item and an Efreet etc. Two individuals can’t be ignored they’re going to shut down twice as many units. Back in the day of uberbusu that was often the best tactic you could accept one unit being harassed a turn. Still viable, still a threat but Abyssal Champs get Fury and are cheap for a minor combat downgrade, Seductress are cheaper still. I struggle to find an excuse to use him.


The Well of Souls

Photo credit: Todd Gledwyne

Jeff – 7/10
I don’t rate the well as high as some people due to the drop to speed 8 and Lifeleech (3). Still good but prefer to spend points elsewhere.

Jon – 5/10
Another model that does not suit my play style but can be used effectively by other players.  It needs a degree of finesse to use the Well effectively and many players will have developed strategies for neutralising it. 

Todd – 8.5/10
The Well of Souls is not the auto-include that he was last edition. And the loss of speed means he doesn’t hold off flyers in quite the same way. But the addition of Strider makes him even more killy, and he simply is a force multiplier that will work in literally any style of list you are writing.

You can do particularly nasty things in a perpetual damage soaking engine built around infantry with Regen and Sacrificial Imps, the Well soaking up remaining damage, and Drain Life warlocks healing him back to full. I still pretty much never play a list without the big guy, and the new model from Mantic is fantastic.

Tom – 5/10
Another fallen giant! I feel like I’m responsible for this one because I fucking loved this guy in 2nd ed. Forever whipping around the table soaking up the punishment finding flanks and Lifeleech (5) coming in clutch time and again to keep him going through thick and thin. Now though at 25pts more, losing 2 speed, 2 Lifeleech and gaining Strider and dropping Shambling. Colour me unimpressed. More than that it lost the units that its particular skillset supported. Hellequins are gone, Tortured Souls are no longer a hammer, Archfiend less viable. Those 3 units always took early game punishment since they didn’t bring regen and were very capable alpha strike options. Now though Abyssal Horsemen get regen and  you have an issue with activations and movement for you to get the regen in suck the damage off and not compromise your plan but equally why bother with shooting the horsemen? They get regen, shoot the Well, it’s lost 3 lifeleech, it’s slower and projects less threat, its more expensive hell it’s a dragon that fights like a support unit.

All this leaves it in a list where it no longer fits, nerfed (probably out of spite) and with all the interesting edges rounded off then a big price hike.


Manifestation of Ba’el

Jeff – 9/10
Makes nearly all of my lists. It gives you a big flyer with LB7, Brutal, Vicious Regeneration and Stealthy. Must be careful on target priority as 14/16 nerve means he can go down in combat. Stealthy is fantastic on him but I never get to use his special ability.

Jon – 6/10
Three quarters as good as an Archfiend for 85% of the cost but with one trick, that can be very effective once in a game.  Very situational. 

Photo credit: Ooi Ee Jian

Todd – 7/10
Competitive with the Archfiend if you want a big, nasty flyer. You sacrifice some nerve and attacks, but gain Regen, Stealthy, Lightning Bolt (7), and the rarely used (but great when it is) special. It plays different than a normal dragon-type, so you have to decide what you want in your list, but there’s a definite place for this guy and he brings a great tool box to the table.

Tom – 7/10
Lightning 7 is great! A Stealthy flier with decent combat potential and capable of exploiting flanks on top of regen seems really good. Then you see the price point and the nerve stat and you swing the other way, but you think about its ability to be effective all game and you come back a little more. I still don’t really know where I stand with this guy but usually I end up going for an Efreet with Levitation and a Scouting Seductress for a little more cost. The Pit of Hell rule is cool but it’s a parlour trick most games, this thing will Lightning for three to four turns, charge in and either kill something or get bogged down. Very killable, most competent lists build to be able to kill 17 nerve Def5 in one go and Bael is expensive enough to draw that kind of attention which can make all that cost spent on Stealthy and Fury and Regen useless.


Zaz’u’szu the Betrayer

Jon – 5/10
Potentially, lightning bolt 8 for 110 points.  This compares with a Unicorn from the Forces of Nature gaining Lightning Bolt 8 by purchasing the Boomstick for a total of 150 points; although the Unicorn also has Inspiring and better Defence.  Of course, the Betrayer only gains all 8 Lightning Bolts by causing wounds on your own units, so, if you don’t care about your own forces’ welfare, this is the unit for you.   Zaz’u’szu may be competing for a slot in the army with the Warlock that is cheaper, is Inspiring and comes already with Firebolt 5, the poor man’s Lightning Bolt.   Strangely, Zaz’u’szu comes with 7 attacks and might also be a last line of defence.

Todd – 6/10
Ok in a shooting build, but I’m rarely looking to damage my own units, and the Warlocks are already so good. Not a bad choice, but not enticing me to include him in any of my lists either. 

Tom – 3/10
Just buy a Warlock. Me and the other Northern Kings have had long chats about how he can be useful, excusing the Betrayal ability with “ooh we get a lot of Regen, other things have Lifeleech, it’s only effecting back line units etc” but that’s just what we were doing, we were making excuses for it. So often you need your shooting support like this guy moving, shooting, getting stuck in amongst the battlelines and not being a burden, not being singled out for the enemy to kill him and reform to an advantage where a Warlock could sneak in amongst your combat line while also Inspiring it and not worry about if shooting is going to do 4-5 damage to the rest of my units. MIGHT have considered it at 90 points.


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


Summary

Overall average ratings /10: 6.6/10

Most agreed upon unit(s): Abyssal Guard, Abyssal Horsemen (0.5 points of difference between the highest and lowest scores).

Least agreed upon unit(s): Flamebearers, Imps and Chroneas (4 points of difference between highest and lowest scores).

Army Review: Undead

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. In reality 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 decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Luis, Mike, Pat and Tom for all their help with this army review.


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. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


The ‘Expert’ Panel

Luis Serra
Hi, my name is Luis and I am from Spain. I played wargames as a teenager but I quit for several reasons (mainly money hahaha). Then, a few years ago my cousin and a friend told me about a new wargame that was coming out in kickstarter and didn’t had any issues that made me lose interest in the past, and that is how I was hooked into KoW 2nd edition and I have been enjoying the hobby ever since.

I chose undead as my first army and to be fair I am a slow painter, although I enjoy a lot the hobby part of the game. I have been expanding my undead army over the years. I really like the model range of undead and to be honest I prefer to have a vast number of units from one army and be able to make different builds, than to have limited options for two or three armies.

I love the hobby, I love the game and I love the KoW community.

Undead is a great army (hated by many, hahaha). They have a really good variety of units that allows them to play competitive in almost every style you want: they can grind, they can hit you in the face, you can spam many trash units… I really like that, there are other armies that are more one-dimensional, but with undead you can always surprise your friends with totally different types of lists and thanks to that I never get tired of playing them.

Their main strength is Surge and shambling units, on the downside you don´t have much access to shooting

Mike Adkins
I’ve been playing Kings of War for around 4 years, just like all the other Warhammer refugees, and have really come to love all the aspects of the game and community.  I live in Virginia, and you can find me at most events in or near the Mid-Atlantic region (once it’s safe, anyway), or at my own event, the Vanguard GT.  Along with Jake Ciarapica and a few other folks, I help run Dash28 and you also may have seen me on our YouTube channel.

I started playing Undead towards the end of 2nd edition because it was an army that I had consistently had trouble against for years and I was really attracted to all the creepy and gory hobby potential.  I managed to finish in the top half (barely) at the 2020 US Masters with them, and also won 2nd place Army Appearance.  So if you ask me how to paint Undead, I can give you a really good answer, but my tactical advice might be a little iffy.

Pat Zoro Allen
Patrick Zoro Allen here, Kings of War premier Has-Been that people sometimes listen to for some reason. Undead are the reason why I’m an ever-was! I won the first US Masters with an undead list! I’ve also written an article on that style of list building and that particular army on Dash28. Since then my Undead has been mostly sidelined as I’ve moved on to other projects, but I still take them out every now and then just in case people forget that Undead are a top tier army.

Tom Robinson
Hi I’m Tom Robinson, you may remember me from such reviews as the Forces of the Abyss and Elves! I also technically own an Undead army, mainly consisting of 6 regiments of Zombies and Flying Wyrms (back when they had 2 broken varieties of Flying Wyrms) which I used in 2nd ed to win the UK Masters by a landslide – it was supposed to be a joke list showing how ridiculously cost effective Undead were (and they still are). I like to wheel Undead out to run silly gimmick lists without having to be afraid of being seriously hamstrung because Undead can do literally anything as well as anyone else and often better. I’ve run them a lot on UB and played against them exhaustively at top levels so I reckon I have a good grasp of them. I regard them as the top tier faction in KoW so it’s the roster to remember when thinking about building competitively. 


Skeleton Warriors

Photo credit: Steven Henry

Luis – 6/10
Skellies!!! They are probably one of the reasons that people want to build Undead armies in every fantasy wargame.

In KoW they are an expendable unit.  A unit that is useless in killing things but they are cheap. I never regret including several of them as they can be so useful: guarding flanks, chaffing, blocking, scoring objectives…

Sooo they hit on 5s, they are slow, have decent survivability for their points and are a very cheap unlock unit. The only reason I didn’t rate them higher is a redundance issue, Zombies have the exact same role, but they are cheaper. That said, that def4 can sometimes prevent late game casualties and also skellie troops are great, they can be rated as 8/10 perfectly, cheapest scoring unit in the game and the perfect chaff for your shambling line.

You don´t want to put items on them or pay for the giant rats upgrade, as you want them as cheap as possible.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Mike – 3/10
The Undead list is an embarrassment of riches.  There are simply so many good options that plain old Skeletons just never make the cut.  I suppose some people might find a 55 point Fearless troop appealing for some lists, but it doesn’t really work for me.

Pat – 5/10
A lot of people talk about Shambling being more benefit than negatives. I think that’s true for higher speed units and smaller footprint units, but its absolutely not true for Sp5 infantry that’s not in a horde footprint. The troops are still incredibly cheap and great chaff for other shamblers if you need that. The regiment is completely out-shined by zombies, unless you live in a meta with lots of arrows. The horde can compete against the zombie horde as the defence matters a lot more when the nerve is that good. I would only buy the Undead Rats upgrade on the hordes personally, and even then there’s often better use of the points. 

Tom – 7/10
Skeleton Warriors are absolutely fine. They’re a super solid, cheap infantry unit. Any line infantry that is rocking Fearless, Life Leech and are Def4 at 85 points for a regiment is good. But you never see them and the problem there is that Zombies are cheaper and Revenants do the job better. Comparing them to Shield Wall in KoM and they’re 25 points cheaper but do the key jobs far better.


Zombies

Photo credit: Andrew Hawley

Luis – 9/10
They are as cheap as hell and they unlock. Everything said about Skeleton Warriors can be applied here, but they are cheaper. Many times, it won´t really matter if they are def2 as many damage sources come with piercing/crushing strength. Probably nerve is too good for their points or should be irregular (shut up Luis, RC are listening…).

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Regiments are brilliant utility pieces and hordes are a good chunk of nerve. The only size I don’t really get is the legion. For almost the same points you can get a horde plus a regiment and they are way better in every sense.

Photo credit: Arndt Arndt

I use them mainly in two ways: keep them back safe from danger and play the scenario while the rest of the army does the job, or screen, chaff and guard flanks.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Mike – 8/10
Zombie regiments will get you all the unlocks you need at a great price.  I liked the legion in 2nd edition, but I think the regiment size is really where they shine in 3rd.  They can sit on objectives,  they can chaff, they can tarpit; just don’t expect damage output from them and you’ll never be disappointed.

Photo credit: Mathew Sellick

Pat – 8/10
Regiment 10/10, Horde 8/10, Legion 6/10. Elliot should probably average that score to an 8.

The zombie regiment is amazing. The cheapest unlock in the game by 5 points (rabble at 75) they also boast -/15 nerve which is just enough that the enemy could potentially bounce even with their hammers. The horde is a solid bucket of nerve for only 115, the legion is good but outshined by the other options and doesn’t give enough benefits. I would only buy the Undead Rats upgrade on the legion personally. 

Photo credit: Justin Gisby-Clark

Tom – 8/10
Unreasonably cheap! Yeah Def2 is crap and they’re vulnerable to light shooting but they’re the best cheap unlocking Unit Strength in the game and you still get the Undead benefit of Fearless and Lifeleech to keep them valid and to be honest you can kill things with them too! I honestly can’t count the amount of times I’ve surged a regiment into a flank or rear to add in a chunk of damage or kill stuff. Hell for a unit that’s expected to sit on an objective while the mincer character/ uber caster they unlock does stuff they don’t half carry their weight.

Remember, inside every zombie there’s also a skeleton, that’s two for the price of one, great value!

Photo credit: David Musgrave
Photo credit: Ray Weiandt

Skeleton Spearmen

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Luis – 4/10
Ok so as I see it there are 5 infantry units very similar in the Undead rooster, speed 5 shambling not very punchy units: Zombies, Skellies, Spearmen, Revenants and Mummies. Each of them being more expensive than the one before them with some profile bonus.

Skellie Spearmen are in the middle of that list. For 20 points (on regiment level) you get +3 attacks (which I really don’t care), +1 US (nice), and Phalanx which I don´t see to be very useful on a def4 unit unless a flyer/cavalry heavy meta.

The problem is that you want skeleton to be cheap and I prefer to spend extra points somewhere else. And if you want an elite version, I think revenants are a better choice. I never field them but I guess the more viable size will be the horde to protect a flank against cav/fly units.

Photo credit: Justin Gisby-Clark

Mike – 4/10
 I guess if you really really really want Phalanx, and you really really really want to play Undead…

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Pat – 6/10
The bump in points makes the spearmen cross the threshold into US3 territory for regiments which is great. 105pts for a -/15 phalanx regiment is solid and a great way to get unlocks and US into a list. The horde pairs great with Undead Rats and either Aegis of Elohi or Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture as an alternative to a Revenant horde.

Photo credit: Arndt Arndt

Tom – 5/10
The only really poorish unit in the infantry roster. For 30 points more Revenants are a better option. Standard Warriors are cheaper by a margin too and who really cares about the couple of extra attacks, it’s nice but it’s not enough and is too dear a cost. Also Phalanx, you’re paying for it and honestly whose going to throw cavalry and stuff at these when the rest of the Undead list won’t have Phalanx? You’ll struggle to force the Phalanx I reckon and at that point just go for Revenants.


Revenants

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Luis – 8/10
Oh boy! These are so great.  Def5, great nerve and cheap. Great value for the points in all three-unit levels.

The obvious choice is the horde level. One of the greatest anvils in the game. -/24, def5 and Lifeleech is a nightmare to rout. Their size also makes them able to hold 2 objectives in scenarios like pillage. They are perfectly fine naked, but is the only unit I consider paying the giant rats upgrade, magic items are also good on them.

Ok troops, -/13 def5 for 80 points? I think they are a great screen for shambling lines. Your enemies will really have to commit resources to eliminate them, and hitting on 4s means that they will win the chaff battle. Regiments are also great value for their points. A de5 -/17 for 125 points is also a good choice.

Photo credit: Mathew Sellick

Pat – 7/10
The only thing keeping them from an 8 is speed 5 shambling is very slow. This unit can take a lot of punishment and keep going. I would always buy Undead Rats for both the regiments and hordes. The hordes are good for other items, but if I do put an item on them I would keep it cheap. Hammer of Measured Force would be the only offensive item I’d consider, but any of the defensive items is great. Since they lost the ability to take 2-handed weapons I don’t really like troops all that much, for a similar cost I’d prefer a Zombie or Skeleton regiment.

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Mike – 7/10
 Solid defence and solid nerve at a good price.  I prefer them in hordes to really take advantage of their survivability, and with a Bane Chant caster nearby they can deliver a decent counter punch.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Tom – 8/10
The last word in anvils. For a relatively cheap price -/24, Def 5 with Lifeleech in a roster with the best support characters in the game how can you go wrong? They can fight reasonably well, Brew of Strength and some Drain Life is a serious threat and when the list has an abundance of built in Crushing among the hammers it’s easy to target a Bane Chant too. I often run two Lich Kings and a Necro, they’re horrific supporting Rev cav hordes, no reason they can’t do the same for the infantry versions.


Ghouls

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Luis – 7/10
There are only two non-shambling cheap units in the army and this is one of them. They are extremely fragile, fast and cheap. I almost only consider the troop level, as the regiment quickly escalates in points value and the horde will have difficulties moving at the double or getting unhindered charges.

Troops are great chaff. Don’t get fooled by their low point value or lack of Crushing Strength. They have a decent number of attacks and people tend to forget they have Wild Charge (D3). You will be surprised how many times you manage to get juicy flank charges with some Banechant or hill bonus.

Photo credit: Jesse Bilbija

Mike – 6/10
I’ve tried using Ghoul troops as chaff, and had more than one game go poorly because they wavered.  There are just too many Fearless chaff choices in the list for me to keep trying them at this point.  Larger units of them also don’t appeal to me.  Speed 6 light infantry with Wild Charge (D3) probably works for someone, but it’s not the Undead army I want to play.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Pat – 8/10
Say “troop of ghouls” 6 times and you’ll know how I start any competitive Undead list. 70 points gets you a unit that can march right up to the centre line to capture loot tokens and threaten to charge anybody up to 2.99” deep into the enemy deployment zone. They are just about the perfect cheap offensive infantry unit as the only defensive tech they get is LIfeleech (1). Every other stat is geared towards cheap offense.

The Regiments are good unlocks if you want to stay away from shamblers. The Hordes do have a bucket of attacks, personally I’d only take one with Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar as I find that Pathfinder pairs well with a giant base like that both in the movement and combat phases.

Photo credit: Jose Vega

Tom – 6/10
Bit of a missed trick I think, they’re good, but being the only non-shambling  base infantry unit kind of makes them feel the odd one out. They get an advantage in attacks alongside sp6 and Wild Charge that makes them surprisingly speedy. The drop in shooting might make them more viable but I think they serve best as chaff troops and that’s it really, maybe a cheeky speedy horde could have some legs.

Photo credit: Arndt Arndt

Wraiths

Photo credit: Sam Sowden Garcia

Luis – 8/10
Wraiths are a fast very defensive unit. Speed 7 makes them a very fast shambling unit, Defence 6 and Lifeleech 1 is a pain in everyone’s ass, and for their offensive stats they are meh but Strider makes the quite regular. They compete in the same role with Revenant Cavalry.

As troops they are very efficient thick chaff. And as regiments they are brilliant anvils. I prefer the troops naked and health recovery items are very good on the regiments. In any case have a Necromancer with Weakness nearby and they can be so annoying.

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Mike – 8/10
They’re pricey, they’re irregular, but they’re still worth it for what you get.  Fly, Strider, CS1, Def 6, Fearless.  If you take them as troops, it doesn’t even matter that they are irregular.  I’m a big fan of Wraith troops.  They make great chaff and are great at clearing softer chaff.  Defence 6, Fly, and Shamble means that when your opponent whiffs in combat, they will end up in someone’s flank or rear.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Pat – 10/10
Ridiculously cheap for a unit that can literally do it all. Solid, consistent damage, Defence 6, Fly, Nimble and Shambling (Sp 7 fly, Nimble is definitely where its more beneficial than negative) make a unit that’s hard to come to grips with and hard to pin down. Even now that they’re irregular the regiments are still solid buys as an anvil that some units just won’t be able to deal with. The troops are great thicc chaff and one of the premier sources of surgenanigans. The Necromancer is the natural pairing as they provide cheap source of Surge and can get Weakness to really ruin your opponents day.

I wouldn’t take anything more than Blade of Slashing on a troop. The regiments could benefit from Aegis of Elohi, Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture, or Brew of Haste. Ideally I would like to see their points increase in order to bring them out of the ‘too good’ range.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Tom – 8/10
Somewhat reduced in capacity over time as the nerf bat has continued to whack them (deservedly so), Flying, Strider, sp7 and Nimble in an army with the best support in the game will always pose a threat. At the troop level is probably ideal now that they’re irregular but they make for great thicc chaff, a class screen for Wights and against some units they’ll make a solid tarpit. Once battlelines close and you have some surge bouncing around they can jump over those little clipping edges of other units to set up for juicy 1” surges. Hey, 10 CS1 attacks is pretty sweet and adds up in the flank!


Mummies

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Luis – 6/10
Mummies are a solid anvil with decent attack value, but it is another case in in the army where I think there are other units that can perform the same role better.

They come in two flavours, troop and regiment. If I had to choose the troops, I think Wraiths perform better. Wraiths don´t regen and have lower nerve but have higher defence, they also have less crushing but Strider mitigates that, but above all wraiths are Cheaper and are way faster. And for the regiment I prefer Zombie Trolls regiments for the better offensive value

It is a good unit and maybe it is just my personal opinion but I think they are too expensive and their attack value it’s just meh. If you want pure anvils there are cheaper choices and if you want anvils that hit there are better thing to consider.

Mike – 6/10
Mummies look really good.  Really grindy, really hard to kill.  I’ve even got some of the Mantic models, but I’ve yet to actually open the boxes.  Whenever I think about playing a list with Mummies, I end up thinking I should probably play Empire of Dust instead.  It’s probably a sign of how good the entire Undead list is when a unit like Mummies just seems ‘ok’.

Pat – 7/10
They fit better in an Empire of Dust list thanks to the Aura and Casket of the Damned, Mummies are still a great unit to anchor a line. The highest nerve an infantry regiment can have combined with Lifeleech (1) and Regeneration means that they can grind with the best of them. Crushing Strength (2) makes up for its mediocre attack stacks to provide a consistent 2-4 points of damage a turn. Troops are good thicc chaff or 2nd liners for a shambling based list. 

Tom – 7/10
Mummies are a bit out of place in Undead for me, something of a legacy unit that is hard to justify taking off people. Anyway -/18 nerve, Regen 5+ and Lifeleech is tasty, they hold their own in a fight and are great objective players. The smaller footprint is nice too but unfortunately for a little more points Revenant hordes are better tarpits. I think it’s another case of units that are good but are sitting in a list with the apex examples of unit archetypes across KoW as competition.


Soul Reaver Infantry

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Luis – 10/10
Vampires are not that good as you might think…Who am I fooling? They are just awesome hammers!!! 

The best attack value in the game, very resilient, decent speed, small footprint, regiment point value for magic items… Soul Reaver Infantry can one shot almost any unit in the game, don´t die easy and very manoeuvrable due to their small size. Speed 6 means that they will need some support to be able to charge but pair them with Revenant Cavalry or Wraith troops and you will have the perfect delivery system.

Regiments are the way to go with these guys, but I can also see some use in the troop size as 2nd or 3rd line glass cannons.

They are perfectly fine naked, but I find that waver mitigation items are a really good investment on them. You can also go with Blessing of the Gods or Chant of Hate if you like overkill, with these items on and a Banechant nearby they pretty reliably one shot any unit in the game.

Photo credit: Dan Zarembski

Mike – 9/10
I know what you are wondering.  Why didn’t I make them a 10?  Well…  I don’t think they are overpowered for their price or in need of a nerf.  They are definitely top tier but it’s not because they have some weird special rules or gimmicks, they just have the stats to murder everything they touch.  They are simply everything you want in an infantry hammer unit, with only the slight drawback that they can waver.  So put some waver mitigation items on them and go to work.  Regardless of how well balanced the game is, there will always be a ‘best’ unit in each category.  Fluff-wise, it makes perfect sense to me that that unit is a bunch of heavily armed and armoured Vampires.

Photo credit: Jose Vega

Pat – 10/10
25 attacks at Crushing Strength (2) is bonkers. Able to deal 10-11 damage to a defence 5 unit without any support on a tiny infantry regiment base is incredible. Good nerve and LIfeleech (2) means they’re a pain to shoot off the board. Their biggest downside is lack of waver mitigation which is easily remedied by a choice of 3 different magical artefacts. Their “biggest downside” is that if you’re taking a waver mitigation item you’re not taking a ridiculously cost-effective Blessing of the Gods or Chant of Hate. Ideally I would like to see their attacks go down to 15/20 along with a points decrease as well in order to bring them back down.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Tom – 8/10
The minciest mincers to have ever minced. 25 attacks, CS2 and me3 is a horrific amount of damage output. Those 5 extra attacks are what tip this unit from worrying Def5 15/17 to an almost guarantee of a waiver/kill especially with the aforementioned support pieces throwing out reliable Bane Chants or Drain Life. At a base average they’re doing 11 damage and the extra 2-3 you need to push to an average double 1 is easy to find with all the fighty chaff screens you can pick from. Their major downside is only being 15/17 themselves and you’re going to invest in waiver mitigation yourself to make sure that weight of attacks stays relevant. Being so expensive, middling speed and vulnerable to waiver unlike most of the rest of the list marks them out as the prime shooting target so while you have to invest in the. Saying that much everything in the Undead roster is a bit too cheap so you can afford to!

Photo credit: Keegan Cross

Skeleton Archers

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Luis – 2/10
For me skeleton archers have them same role as Zombies but they have a ranged attack. The problem is than the ranged attack is quite bad and will just do a couple of wounds in the whole game, you don’t have many shooting options to synergize with either, they really suck at combat (zombies suck, but these guys really suck), they are way more expensive and on top of all that are irregular (why in hell are these guys irregular, if they were regular I would consider chucking a couple regiments).

So, you have a unit that is very similar too another, with a minor advantage but lots of drawbacks. I never find a way too include these guys in my lists and I think I never will (unless they become regular). If you want light shooting units, just use allies.

Mike – 4/10
I guess if you really really really want archers, and you really really really want to play Undead….

Pat – 4/10
Solid archer unit. Undead can actually make a pretty nasty shooting list with Balefires, lLghtning Bolt, and archers to provide a little bit of meat. Irregular isn’t as big a hindrance since Skeletons and Zombies are cheap enough to provide some unlocks. Since they’re irregular, I’d only ever take them in troops or hordes. Their Melee of 6 is a bit of a wet fart, but consistent with other evil armies bowmen.

Tom – 4/10
They just don’t fit in the Undead list for me. You can certainly use some surge shenanigans to get shots off without the move penalty which is cool but Ra based shooting took too much of a hit overall so outside the prolific Balefire set up you’re relying on Liche Lightning and siege engines for shooting, failing that pack 40 surge into a list and fire Zombie Trolls instead of arrows, far more fun.


Deathpack

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Luis – 7/10
These guys are very similar to ghouls, but they still have some flavour that makes you consider including them instead of them or even combining both.

So as Ghouls they are great chaff/loot token grabbers. They don’t hit as good as them but they are Nimble and Stealthy. Stealthy helps them not to be shot off the board but that nimble is great it helps them to move at the double and pivot to get loot tokens and also, if they get waver and are screening units, it allows them to pivot and fallback getting out of the way and letting charge units that are behind them.

Regiment is my way to go with this unit, specially because hordes are same unit strength and I don’t care for extra attacks or nerve for Deathpack. 

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Mike – 6/10
I want to like Deathpack.  They’re another unit that struggles to make the cut because the rest of the list is so good.  I feel like they could be decent chaff for Wights, since they don’t Shamble and are Nimble.  But I always end up taking Wraith troops for that instead, and other folks tend to use Revenant Cavalry troops instead.  

Pat – 8/10
A great alternative to ghouls. If I’m only taking 4 troops of ghouls I’ll also be taking 2 regiments of death pack. Speed 6 Nimble is good enough to get in the way, Stealthy provides some safety from small arms fire. Their lower height means that they won’t block line of sight to anything which can be good (if you’re chaffing for Soul Reaver Infantry and want to charge) or bad (you can’t screen those Soul Reaver infantry from Ignore Cover shots at all).

Tom – 6/10
They’re good chaff! Nimble and Stealthy with good nerve, let down by being sp6 and more importantly in a roster with Ghoul troops, Zombie regiments and all manner of budget options that do this or that with a better impact on your list so unless you have a very specific list in mind leave them at home, it’s not that they’re bad, it’s that other things do it better.


Revenant Cavalry

Photo credit: Justin Gisby-Clark

Luis – 9/10
As resilient as their foot version, but higher speed and TC2. They come in 3 sizes (troop, regiment, Horde), each one having a very different role in the army.

Troops are the real good stuff and the reason I rated this unit with a 9. They are the perfect thick chaff: resilient, fast and cheap. With -/14 def5 stats they are a tough unit to deal with and the enemy will have to commit resources to deal with them. Speed 8 makes them able to screen even non-shambling units as SRI (maybe not Werewolves) not only because they can keep up the pace but also it allows them to sidestep and let the unit behind them to charge, also height 3 will able to block sight and keep units safe from war engines and so, it also provides a great threat range. Attack value is not great and you will not out grind other thick chaff, but they will do couple of injuries. And they are cheap enough to be expendable. You probably don’t want to stick any item to keep them cheap.

Regiments is the size I see less viable. Same goodness as the troops but with higher nerve, double attacks and pricier. They are a good mobile anvil or support combat unit. The bad point is that their attack value is mediocre when TC is on, and quite bad when Hindered, Phalanx or Disordered. They also pair very good with any magic item like: terrain mitigation, combat buff or the Wine of the Elvenkind for Nimble/Surge shenanigans. My problem with them is that for that points they will lose one to one combats to almost anything of similar points, and if you want a mobile anvil Wraiths are way better.

Hordes are great also, pricy but great. They have similar same defensive stats than the foot revenant horde but gain: TC2, +3 speed and more attacks, for 100 more points. They are a mobile anvil that will one shot almost any unit on an unhindered charge. They are great but they are a big investment in points, as they need support to be efficient (chaff, surge or other spells) and probably you want to give them either Sir Jesses Boot’s of striding or the Brew of Strength, so you kind of have to build your list towards them. Still a great unit.

Photo credit: Jesse Bilbija

Mike – 8/10
Even with the CoK 2021 price increase, they are still really solid.  The troops are, of course, widely used as thicc chaff and are great in that role.  People also make good use of the hordes, you just have to think of them as a Speed 8 anvil rather than a hammer. 

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Pat – 7/10
Best way to look at them is a mobile thicc chaff/anvil. The troops are a lot of Undead generals go too source for screeners and chaff and its easy to see why. Cheap source of defence 5, -/14 combined with speed 8 means that if you get a full move on top of turn 1, any advancement of the enemy will be put into charge range.

Regiments are a great source of unlocks and can provide a couple points of damage while keeping the enemy in place for 1-3 turns. The horde has an amazing threat range and is nearly impossible for a single unit to kill. The horde is probably the only unit I’d consider items on. Aegis of Elohi, Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture, Brew of Strength or Brew of Sharpness are all solid additions.

Arndt Arndt

Tom – 8/10
So before the deserved price hike they were a 10, absolutely horrific. Now they’re a 8 and still excellent. They are one of, if not the only cavalry unit in the game that works at all three unit sizes. Def5, -/14, -/17, -/24 nerve is great for a cut price cavalry unit and there’s a reason they alongside Butchers were the go to thicc chaff. I used to run two hordes, 2 regiments and 3 troops with a shit ton of Surge and just roll across the board like the Rohirim. The amount of angles you can free up for sneaky surge tricks, the ability to grind like heavy infantry, the wealth of perfectly tuned support casters. God they were a blast and so much scope for finesse play that you wouldn’t expect from a mass of knights. Maximising the Me4 TC2 can be tricky but so worthwhile. With some surge I’ve had hordes of these charging first turn which is hilarious, for most Undead builds after sp7 anything with shambling is actually a bonus compared to not having it I’ve found.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Soul Reaver Cavalry

Mike – 8/10
They aren’t Defence 6 any more, but they are still an excellent cavalry unit.  The only real problem they have is that Wights and Soul Reaver Infantry are both more effective as hammers.  But I think they are better than Werewolves, so they are still my preferred fast hammer unit.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Pat – 8/10
No longer the auto-take, Soul Reaver Cavalry are still really good. That such a unit can be outshined in a list speaks to the sheer variety that Undead has to offer. Even with its premium cost, I still prefer Wine of Elvenkind over any other item. But Blessing of the Gods and Chant of Hate or even Brew of Sharpness are all solid options that take advantage of its regiment status. I would rely on their speed and chaff to protect them from wavers so I would not take any of the waver mitigation items on them personally.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Tom – 8/10
So these guys are awesome heavy cav. Slap Nimble, Pathfinder, Wrath etc on them and they will work wonders. Not really much to say about them they’re a rock solid option sacrificing a bit of shooting survivability compared to say abyssal horsemen but coming in at the top end of the attack stat with 20. My feeling has always been that since they match or outstrip the chaff options you may as well take the infantry version for better combat ability and then the chaff options are more viable. Still, how can you look at that stat line and not be impressed?

Photo credit: Keegan Cross

Werewolves

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Luis – 7/10
I really like Werewolves, I really do, is one of those units that gives this game its tactical depth, but… (I will develop later).

Werewolves are a finesse hammer. Awesome mobility (speed 9 and Nimble) great defensive stats and good offensive stats but they are expensive. Their strength relies on out manoeuvre your opponent as you will not be able to rout many units in one go. Their problem is that the army lacks the support units that will make them shine, if this was a minor issue with SRC, it is a big deal with these guys. The cheapest unit that can keep speed with them and block units is the Lykanis, and he is expensive enough to care about sacrificing him. The unit doesn’t have any gargoyle type unit, and most of that type of units are irregular and you can´t ally them.

Still a viable unit, and I tend to field them quite often. I like to give them the Pathfinder item, to take profit of their mobility. My second option is Brew of Strength for extra punchiness but that makes them a very expensive unit. I always pair them with Lykanis, Vampire on Pegasus and any other fast unit in the army or allies (Tortured souls are my favourites).

I mainly use them as Hordes, but I can see value in regiment as flank harassers.

Mike – 6/10
It’s kinda like with Mummies, except when I think of playing a Werewolf list I end up thinking I should play Herd instead.  There’s nothing exactly wrong with them, but for basically the same price I’d rather have Wights.

Pat – 8/10
A rating of 9/10 for the first unit with Brew of Strength. A rating of 7/10 for any unit without Brew of Strength, so probably an 8 overall. The Undead variant is my favourite of the nimble large infantry archetypes. They’re high defence means you need serious attention to shoot them off compared to Lycans. Their height and speed allow for better positioning and more nimble shenanigans than Fallen. With Brew of Strength you can take more frontal charges. Without it, its best to be patient and wait for a flank. For a second unit I’d prefer Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar, Staying Stone, or Blessings of the Gods. I wouldn’t take regiments at all due their cost and footprint size. 

Tom – 7/10
Super fast, nimble with a competent attacking stat line, again what’s not to like? Don’t see much of them these days but the only thing that’s really changed is a minor hit to item costs and choice. I reckon the rub comes from Soul Reaver cavalry being nearly as quick with better item cost as a regiment and so if you go Strength on werewolves you’re actually paying more than Nimble Soul Reavers which are slightly better. Additionally Wights with Haste are another excellent competitive choice where that surge shenanigans can really play its part. This unit acts as a scalpel in a list full of top tier hammers that can through magic or items do the same job often cheaper. Again it’s not because they’re bad, they’re great, but everything else is better and cheaper.


Zombie Trolls

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Luis – 8/10
I love Zombie Trolls. I just love them. It maybe just that I love their aesthetic but I play them really often.

They are a mid-range point value unit with: great defensive stats, good offensive value, average speed, reasonable small footprint. They are a great addition to any slow shambling line. One of their best qualities is that they synergize very good with Necromancers’ Vicious aura and other units with the zombie keyword. They are very resilient and maybe don’t seem a very good hammer but with the aura and a Banechant nearby they put 9 dmg on average which is amazing for their points.

They really shine when things get close and personal, as if properly positioned they will get many flank-surge charges opportunities. I prefer them in hordes and I tend to take more than one paired with at least one Necromancer and some screening units. They really need screening units as they will be almost always out charged and they also need protection from shooting. I don’t usually give magic items, but I sometimes give them: Pipes of Terror, Healing Brew, Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture or Brew of Sharpness.

I also see value on the regiment size as screening units or thick chaff, but there are many competitors in the army and I usually pick other units for that role.

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Mike – 7/10
I’m a fan of Zombie Trolls.  Their stats are solid enough at a decent price to make for a good battle line unit.  I usually put a Necromancer with the Vicious Aura and Inspiring Talisman behind a couple of hordes of them along with a Goreblight for a solid battle group.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Pat – 8/10
Solid and dependable. The ability to gain Vicious from Necromancers can make the Zombie Troll a great all-rounder. If I was investing in shamblers and surge, I’d be hard-pressed not to include two hordes of these guys to anchor a portion of the battlefield. 

Tom – 8/10
God are these cheap. A great mix of points efficient offense and defence. 18, CS2 Me4 is enough of a hammer to make it stick when they attack and -/17 with Lifeleech is right on the line for what can be considered a resilient unit. There’s some great (as we all know by now) support options available, the super cheap Necromancer sporting the Vicious aura combines solidly with the innate surge and cheap Bane Chant. The roster is tailored to get the best out of every Undead unit and with the cheap cost I think people miss these in favour of Wights etc. You can build a solid line with three hordes of these and a Necro, at that point the trolls are almost matching Werewolves and Soul Reaver cav, that Necro is almost free!


Wights

Photo credit: Mathew Sellick

Luis – 9/10
Wights are amazing, but to be honest I don’t play Wights because I don’t have models for them, hahaha….

Wights are premium Zombie Trolls. For 70 more points you get, +1 to hit, Brutal, +1 movement, and Fly, Woow. The only downsides they are irregular and they don’t synergize with the Necro aura (who cares). They have Ogre Siege-breaker offensive stats, which is awesome and great resilience. Movement 7 means they can outcharge almost every infantry or large infantry units, and Fly means that they can sit behind a cheap height 2 unit and be able to charge pass them when needed, or just charge pass enemy’s chaff. They are also eligible for surge shenanigans which is scary with that attack power.

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Horde size is the most preferred one for obvious reason, but I really like regiment too. They are a good support unit that will add 4 dmg average + Brutal to any combat, and it is a good unit to field separate from your army to hold a distant objective as your opponent will have to commit resources to deal will it due to their US 2 and good defence/offence stats. Their Fly combined with the narrow footprint also allows some juicy fly charges.

My favourite item for both sizes is Mace of Crushing as it gives a nice attack boost for ridiculous 5 points. Damage recovery items or Brew of Haste are also good choices.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Mike – 9/10
Wights, the other top tier Undead hammer.  CS2, Fearless, and Brutal makes them more consistent in combat than Werewolves.  Speed 7 and Fly makes them faster and more manoeuvrable than most large infantry.  Their only drawback is that they are irregular, but Undead don’t really struggle for unlocks so I’ve never found it to be a problem.

Photo credit: Greg Harris

Pat – 9/10
Another flavour of hammer, and a good one too. Brutal, Crushing Strength (2) and Melee 3 are all great on a Flying, speed 7, large infantry profile. Shambling allows some great surge tricks. They’re appropriately costed, but also everything you want in a hammer unit.

Photo credit: Justin Gisby-Clark

Tom – 9/10
The only thing holding these back from a 10/10 is sp7 and irregular. They often just struggle against comparative hammers being outpaced and while Undead get an absolute abundance of unlocks it stops Undead just throwing three hordes of these things every game. Again, the perfect roster of support characters are what make these so infamous. That perfect offensive stat line doesn’t really need the item support freeing you up for haste items or just naked as is as they don’t really need anything, they have everything a hammer needs in a statline. I think they’re still too good, too much of the star unit in the Undead list looks like they were given everything they wanted, priced appropriately and then had a discount thrown in for good measure.

Photo credit: Jose Vega



Balefire Catapult

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Luis – 7/10
One of the best war engines in the game. Indirect, piercing 2 and 48” range is very good but unholy flames are amazing. Almost every hit will become damage.

If you are planning on taking them you want to take three of them. They are also the only real range threat in the army. Taking them means the opponent will feel the rush to come to you and maybe you can take advantage on that.

That said I am not very fond of war machines in 3rd (except maybe Organ Guns) because they don’t score, they are kind of swingy but specially because there is a very popular army called Nightstakers on which EVERYTHING is Stealthy and you will feel crippled playing against them with Balefires.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 7/10
I feel like they lost a little something with the change to cover in Cok 2021 but are still a good option if you want long range shooting.  The trick is to get as much value out of them as you can during deployment, so it doesn’t matter as much whether they hit anything or not.  Either drop them first to dissuade your opponent from deploying in their line of sight, or hold them until the very end so your opponent worries about where to put every unit.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Pat – 8/10
Often ignored because most undead generals tend to focus on combat. However they can compete with the best warmachines due to the consistency that Unholy Flames adds. In an army that can have a lot of shamblers and surge you can use them to tip any combat in your favour with some proper planning.

Tom – 8/10
So compare these to the KoM equivalent and they get Fearless which is great for counterbattery. They lose a Piercing which the Unholy Flames ability more than makes up for. So they’re straight up better all round. Only rock thrower equivalent that beat these out is the Angkor in the Abyssal Dwarf roster and probably better overall after that got nerfed. Oh and you can Surge and shoot these so while situationally there’s some early game plays to take a hill or wood which nobody else gets to do, but also Fearless -/11 is just plain better than everyone else when it comes to counterbattery.


Goreblight

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Luis – 6/10
I really want to love this guy, I field him quite often and never really disappoints me but every time I think he is a little bit expensive for what he does.

The idea of an Undead Shambling monster with squared base really shock me when 3rd edition came out as undead never had something similar before, also the idea of an undead monstrosity is very cool too.

So, he has the keyword zombie and has a very similar profile of a zombie troll horde. Same defence stats, almost half the attacks on average, 1/3 US, smaller footprint and the amazing Cloak of Death.

Photo credit: Keegan Cross

He synergizes perfectly with Zombie Trolls and Necros. But I always think…Wouldn’t be better just pay 15 more points and field a Zombie Troll horde instead? I mean you get double attacks and 3 times US. Even if you can get flank charges easier doesn’t matter because the horde has double attacks. The only reasons against that thought are Cloak of Death and that he can charge into narrow places or get easier multi-charges where the horde can’t.

I think he is not great but he is a viable little chap and you can have very cool models to represent him.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Mike 7/10
It’s a baby giant on a 50mm base with Cloak of Death that you can Surge into flanks, plus its got the Zombie keyword so it can get Vicious from the Necromancer aura.  What’s not to like?  It’s not like there’s a lot of competition for monster/titan slots in the Undead list.

Photo credit: Ray Weiandt

Pat – 7/10
Great mini-giant. Shambling and a 50x50mm base always pairs very well together. He really shines when pair with a Necromancer to provide the Surge and the Vicious aura. Lack of Strider is easily made up by his amazing Cloak of Death ability.

Photo credit: Andrew Hawley

Tom – 7/10
I think these are another much maligned choice. Cloak of Death is horrific and a 50mm monster in a surge army is able to project a lot of threat, able to fit snuggly in battle lines, hard enough in a grind like a horde of Zombie Trolls. 175pts is a bit of a steal and goes a long way to make up for the inconsistency the Goreblight has on the attack. Imagine without Cloak this unit would be about 150pts, that’s mad.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Ghoul Ghast

Photo credit: Ghoul Ghast

Luis – 7.5 (6/10, or 9/10 with wings – averaged to 7.5/10)
The Ghoul hero, a great 3rd edition addition to the rooster. He inspires Ghouls, which I often don’t care about because I use Ghouls as troops and Inspired troops have more possibilities to get wavered (better dead than wavered for those guys). But he has reasonable speed and good offence value for a cheap combat hero. Also 12/14 nerve is not to be undervalued as it is very tough to crack in one go for low attack units (Even a dragon will not have great chances to one-shot him).

The good stuff comes when you give Wings of the Honeymaze to him. Then his charge range becomes 21-23 and you have a cheap, war machine hunter, hero disruptor…and many more roles, for just 135 points.

Mike – 7/10
The big selling point for the Ghoul Ghast is his 6 attacks.  A lot of sub-100 point characters will let you down when you need them to do that all important 1 wound to disorder an enemy unit.  6 attacks with Melee 3 and CS 1 is a pretty safe bet, so if you want a hero to fill that role then the Ghoul Gast if your best choice.  Put Wings on it, and it’s one of the best war engine hunters in the game.

Pat – 6/10
Not quite as hardy as other army’s berserker hero thanks to the lack of Fearless. He does however get Lifeleech (2) to make up for it. Stock, he’s a great way to add some damage to a combat. With Wings of Honeymaze he’s amazing at sitting down flyers and shutting down war machines since he still retains his Wild Charge (D3). He’s very susceptible to Lightning Bolt however. 

Tom – 6/10
With Wings of Honeymaze (because otherwise there’s no point) this is a great little backfield botherer. I’ve had a Duke on Aralez in a standstill fight with one of these because its 12/14 for some reason and gets an extra Lifeleech for some reason and gets a shed load of attacks, like a budget vampire really. They’re a 4-5 without Honeymaze because pretty much all on foot melee characters are really. Fly 20+d3 is great threat though.

The wealth of other character choices tend to crow these out.


Vampire on Undead Pegasus

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Luis – 9/10
He is a baby dragon type of unit, and I love baby dragons on third edition. Amazing mobility, small footprint and both good offence and defence. Lifeleech 2 is also very good and height 4 means that not many units (or hills) can block his line of sight.

He is an autonomous flank harasser. His value is not only the units he can kill, but the way your opponent has to change his battleplan in order to deal with him. He comes with spell options which I don’t consider, except for Lightning Bolt. Give him Lightning Bolt and the Boomstick and you will have the Undead version of Bael. Also, it is a good spell to use the first turns as you position properly. My favourite objects for him are Staying Stone, Hann’s Sanguinary or Mead of Madness.

Mike – 8/10
I like the Vamp on Peg for a fast flanking threat.  He’s pretty comparable to other ‘baby dragon’ units like the Beast of Nature, and he Inspires.

Photo credit: Dan Zarembski

Tom – 8/10
Budget dragons! At pretty much the price bracket of a Beast of Nature these lose Pathfinder and Vicious but gain Lifeleech and Inspiring. You’ve got to kind of ask why because this guy is clearly better overall. We all know the power of the Beast of Nature and what it brings to a board, this guy does it better since you don’t have to worry about that spiky roll to kill him alongside the Lifeleech keeping him in the game longer term and making up for the drop in nerve.

Photo credit: Keegan Cross

Lykanis

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Luis – 7/10
The werewolf hero. He is incredibly fast, resilient and has decent attack power for a hero. He is perfect to go with your Werewolves as he Inspires them and can keep the pace.

Lykanis mobility makes him a great flank harasser and he is a great tool for its points. I really wish he was height 4, so your enemy couldn’t easily block his LOS.

My favourite items for him are Blade of Slashing or Mace of Crushing to minimize the chance of doing 0 dmg on hindered charges, or the Pathfinder item to get full use of his speed.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Mike – 6/10
 I think I would like Lykanis more if I wanted to play a Werewolf list.  He’s not bad as a fast flanking threat, but if I wanted that role in my list I’d find the points to get a Vamp on Peg instead.

Pat – 6/10
Great, shift large infantry character. He’s a bit pricey but can be well worth it if you can use him correctly. Best is to dance around the battlefield until you force the enemy to choose between him in the flank, or a more dangerous unit in the flank. He require patience to be truly effective. 

Tom – 7/10
The only competitive meta unit archetype Undead don’t get access to is that 110-130pt large inf/cav budget monster, the Depth Horror Eternal, Butcher Fleshripper etc. This as close as you get and yeah it’s good, it pairs well with a horde of Werewolves and is a good unit for threatening flanks and tagging on to combats. I just think it’s not cheap enough or you go up a points bracket for the Peg. Actually for my play style I like the Undead character support choices over these because they’re so important to my kind of play style so yeah all the ingredients are there but I think it’s  a bit in limbo when competing in the Undead roster but can definitely find a place in the right list.


Vampire Lord

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Luis – 9/10
As Mike Adkins would say he is “Mr. Fix-it”. Vampire lord is a terrific combat hero. He can practically do anything (except scoring). He is a great: support for your hammers, a terror for enemy’s individuals (either hunting them or keeping them away from him), blocker, chaff dealer…Anything you need him to do, he does well.

He has good attack and defence stats, damage recovery (thanks to Lifeleech 2), great threat range and a 360º radius. You almost always you want him on a horse, but I also like him on foot as a defender. Put one near your Balefires, Lich Kings or Necromancer, and enemy hero hunters will think twice before going near them.

He is perfectly fine without items, but he is pretty cool with many 5-10 points items like: Pipes of Terror, the +1 Lifeleech item, Slashing, Crushing… He is also very good if you give him the scout item or the Wings of the Honeymaze. As the Vampire on Pegasus, I really don’t care about spell options except maybe sometimes Lightning Bolt to give him something to do during the early game.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Mike – 8/10
 I’m a fan of every list having a ‘Mr. Fix-it’ unit, and for me, in the Undead list, that’s the Vampire Lord on horse.  He’s expensive, but provides so much utility for the cost.  When your opponent presents you with a problem and you just need a unit to throw at it, the Vampire Lord on horse is your guy.  He’s an Individual, so he makes for great defence against fliers.  He’s a Duellist, so he can easily take out enemy Individuals.  He’s got 7 attacks at CS 2, so he’s great to throw into any iffy combat to tip the scales in your favour / clear chaff / disorder and hold up a unit / etc.  I’ve never taken one on foot, and if I wanted to I’d just find the points to put him on a horse.

Pat – 7/10
The big baddie of the individual world, he does pay for that title. Great utility character that can survive most unit’s first punch. Without an item to increase his consistency though he only deals ~3 wounds against defence 5 targets. Duellist of course doubles that vs individuals so that’s where he really shines.

Lightning Bolt or Surge are OK spell options if you don’t have another character to carry those spells. Drain Life is a bit pointless as you’d rather he be fighting. 

Tom – 7/10
So thanks to Duellist and a nerf for Basusu, these are actually the foremost character killers in the game. Their price reflects that but honestly I’d prefer one of these on horseback to Basusu any day of the week. You can struggle to find a place sometimes since they lack Unit Strength where the Peg version compensates or because you’d rather get another hammer unit since mounted vamps clock in at 200pts. All that said you can always find a place for them and they sit right in the area where most fliers aren’t going to one shot them and the vamp in return can really leave a mark in return while Lifeleech 2 gets to work or sometimes even better you surge some Wraiths into the fliers flank and the Vamp wanders off to go murder something else.


Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon

Photo credit: Keegan Cross

Luis – 7/10
Good but pricy. He is a good hero on dragon, but as I see it on 3rd edition but I think titans are a little bit overpriced in 3rd and I tend to use more baby dragons as the vampire on Pegasus. Anything I said about the Pegasus version can be applied here except he hits harder, grinds better, but he can’t fit in narrow places as good as the Pegasus version. Also, height 6 makes really hard for him to find cover

Still, he is a scary unit. The Lifeleech 2 is gold on him as he can be many turns in combat if used properly. Lightning bolt 4 for 15 points is a bargain. I like to give him some health recovery/ waver mitigation items, and he is one of the only units I consider giving him blood of the old king, thanks to his Lifeleech ability.

Mike – 5/10
It’s funny.  You put a Vampire on a horse, it’s great.  You put a Vampire on a Pegasus, it’s great.  You put a Vampire on a Dragon, and…. meh.  It’s 5 points more expensive than the Basilean High Paladin on Dragon, who has Headstrong, Iron Resolve, and a slightly better breath weapon.  There are lots of units in the Undead list than are more expensive than similar units in other lists, but you feel ok about it because they are clearly better.   The Vamp on Dragon doesn’t outshine any other dragons, and there are so many superlative choices in the Undead list that I’ve never really given it serious consideration.

Pat – 6/10
Very expensive dragon type, I always feel nervous taking something this pricey without a waver mitigation item. However Blood of the Old Kings is a great substitute if you like the high-risk high-reward playstyle as his Lifeleech will trigger after the item’s damage, healing himself instantly. Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture is also great to increase his Lifeleech to 3.

Her biggest issue is a Brew of Sharpness Revenant King on Flying Wyrm comes in at either 15 points cheaper without the breath attack, or same cost with the breath attack. Thanks to the latest Clash of Kings there’s at least a nerve difference of -/18 vs 17/19 now. 

Tom – 7/10
It’s a dragon, it’s expensive and does dragony things. I don’t think there’s a dragon variant in the game that’s sub 7/10. Lifeleech 2 is great, if you run Blood of the Old King this unit is the only unit in the game where that is not a trap thanks to that. But at that point I’d rather buy a Wight horde AND a Necro – so while it’s never a bad choice you can build stronger Undead builds without the point sink and risk that such a valuable piece presents.


Revenant King

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Luis – 8/10
One of your cheap (not the cheapest) inspiring and surge sources. He is a very cheap combat/inspiring hero who can fit perfect in almost every list.

He is resilient, but he is not Mighty and his combat abilities are mediocre, so you can’t fully rely on him to ground an enemy unit as he will do 0 dmg more often than you think. I almost always give him the Slashing/Crushing items to minimize the chances of 0 damaging, but I also like him with the Lute.

Prefer him mounted but he is also good on foot if going in a shambling line. Always take the surge upgrade, ALWAYS.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Mike – 6/10
The Revenant King is like the ‘Jack of All Trades’ basic hero choice, and he’s definitely not a master of any of them.  If you want a hero to disorder something, the Ghoul Gast is much more reliable for only a few more points.  If want an Inspiring source or a Surge caster, you can get one for less.  I think he can provide utility in some lists if you put him on a horse, but he’s definitely not a go-to choice.

Pat – 6/10
With as much nerve as a troop of revenant cavalry, he’s a great utility character. His low number of attacks does make him risky as a chaff piece, you can still use him as a risky blocker in tighter quarters as long as you block the landing zone of the enemy unit and rely on his high defence and nerve to hold for a turn. Give him surge to be a good all-rounder. Blade of Slashing or Mace of Crushing increases the odds of that critical 1 wound to disorder the enemy.

Tom – 8/10
Another super cheap Inspiring character, cheap Surge access, competent in combat to disorder. BUT more than that, it’s -/14! Everyone else are getting equivalent characters with one or usually two less nerve than this guy and he’s not stuck with conditional Inspiring. 105 points for all that is class. People often say he’s a good chaff choice being the same nerve as the cav troop variant but I think his combat ability is lacking for that, however this guy is easy to justify because he does a lot more than a rev cav troop in other ways able to support the faster units that your casters have surged forward. It’s a safe and cheap choice that you’ll rarely regret taking.


Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm

Photo credit: Ray Weiandt

Luis – 2/10
This guy is the worst, never taken him never, never will (as he is now). Compared to the flying wyrm version, he is -3 speed, not Inspiring, not Fly nor Nimble, not able to surge, but he gains 2 attacks, Brutal and Strider. On the paper doesn’t seems a bad change for 45 points save, but it is the speed 10 Fly and Nimble what gives a sense to the flying wyrm, its mobility.

The Burrowing Wyrm is not very punchy and it is not much resilient as many undead units. For example, if you took a Zombie Troll horde, it will be cheaper, will have similar defence offence stats and don’t take a precious hero slot. Anything you think this guy can do, another unit can do better for the same or less points.

Mike – 4/10
I’ve never really given this guy serious consideration.  He just doesn’t seem like a good fit for any role.  He’s not really fast enough to be a flanking threat, you can’t Surge him, he’s too expensive to be expendable or use to clear chaff, and he only hits on 4s so you can’t rely on him as a combat unit. If you want a mobile anvil, find the points to take the Flying Wyrm.  

Pat – 5/10
He’s solid, but feels underwhelming for his points cost. Inspiring Talisman seems OK if you’re short on inspiring, but that doesn’t help him feel like he’s lacking something. Brew of Sharpness is expensive, but does at least take advantage of his high attacks and Strider.

He’s not a bad Titan, but for his cost I think there are better options.

Tom – 6/10
I mean, it’s not bad, but it’s only there as there needs to be a profile for the model. That said, 12 att, CS3, strider, brutal, 220pts . . . pretty damn tanky and as reliable as you can expect at Me4. I reckon you’d splash out for Wights, Soul Reavers etc or take the utility of the Vamp on Peg. All that said though it’s better than I thought it was at first glance.


Revenant King on Undead Great Flying Wyrm

Photo credit: David Musgrave

Luis – 7/10
A very fast mobile anvil with regular 4-5 dmg output in combat. He used to be very very good but took quite a big nerf on the last CoK update.

He is a dragon type of titan with worse combat skills. I usually use him as mobile anvil, support some combats or threat the enemy in the flanks. He is a good partner for werewolves or soul reavers due to its speed.

I don’t usually buy the upgrades as he is expensive enough. As for items I like him with, Hann’s Sanguinary because if you position properly, he will get often several rounds of combats, I also like Healing Brew or Mace of Crushing. 

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Mike – 7/10
It’s best to think of him as a flying anvil instead of a dragon.  He’s pretty good in that role, and can project a decent amount of threat.

Pat – 8/10
Even with the price increase and Nerve decrease, this unit can be a proper pain in the ass for the opponent. He’s a cheap heavy flyer that can be upgraded to a fearless budget dragon with Brew of Sharpness (and Plagued breath if you really want the dragon feel).

Tom – 8/10
Remember banging Sharpness on these and still being 30+ points cheaper than dragons while also being as good or better? Yeah, well you got a deserved price hike, so you can still do that and this bugger is still better than an Abyssal Archfiend. They’ve shaved the nerve down so it’s no longer better than the vampire version but still, these are nails. I exploited all hell out of the two versions of these in 2nd ed because they were both 30+ points undercosted. I reckon they’re still a tad cheap but it’s the closest they’ve been to balanced since the start of 2nd ed. It’s another dragony thing you know the drill.


Liche King

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Luis – 5/10
The Liche king is an Inspiring elite sorcerer, with access to many spells, but to be honest he is too pricy for me. I know many generals use him very good. But as I see him, he will cost 200 points if you want to give him a spell different to Surge or Heal.

He has very good defence stats, but spellcasters tend to stay out of trouble and he is not mighty and he is not able to block charges from the enemy. If he was mighty, I will consider paying that price for a non-combat support unit. He may be good, but I usually prefer the cheap necromancers as spellcasters.

That said you can pick one or two, Mhorgoth and several Necromancers to get some nasty Drain Life critical dice mass. If you are one of those….hahahaha. And he one of the only sources of Lightning Bolt (or Blizzard) in the army.

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Mike – 5/10
I feel like the Liche King is over-built.   He’s a lot of points for a lot of stuff that you don’t really need.  I mean, it’s cool that he’s Fearless , Defence 5, and has 5+ Regen.  But, if you’re playing Undead, you’re better off learning how to protect your support Heroes than paying for them to be able to take a punch.  Surge 10 is, also, pretty cool.  But if you are playing it safe and only attempting 1 or 2 inch Surges, then you are paying a lot of points for dice you don’t need.  It’s also cool that he’s got a lot of spell options and you can make him deal some damage or heal or both.  But by the time you commit more points to an already expensive Hero, you might as well take Mhorgoth.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Pat – 8/10
Surge 10 or Heal 6 are great base spells to have. He is very pricey both due to those spells and his amazing statline. His other optional spells are all very pricey, but also very good as well. You can kit him out in a number of different ways, I prefer Lightning Bolt or Blizzard personally, as If I’m going for Bane Chant or Drain Life I prefer the more utilitarian Necromancer. 

Tom – 8/10
Probably the best non-Living Legend caster in the game. Stock with Fly, Fearless, Regen, Inspire and Surge 10 with probably the best spell selection in the game. Yeah they’re costly but when they’re so hard that most combat characters can’t defeat the nerve + Regen they tend to get ignored. Issue then is that they’re so reliable at what they do. I usually run two or one with Mhorgoth and one of those has Boots of Levitation just to give it the 14” threat of movement. Yeah, it’s pricey but forcing your opponent to be scared of the ability to create surge flanks, stack Drain Lifes nearly anywhere on the board is invaluable. Even when they do play conservatively in response I lose count of the times I’ve found something somewhere that my opponent hasn’t and suddenly a “safe” unit is about to get flank charged and murdered.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Necromancer

Photo credit: Andrew Hawley

Luis – 9/10
They give sense to the Undead army thematically, a bunch of minions who need these little wizards to keep them up and running.  I always chuck 2 or 3 of these into my lists. Necromancers are very good, because they are cheap. They are the cheapest source of Inspire and Surge (if you give them the Inspiring Talisman), and they can have 2 or 3 spell and stay below the 100 points level. They are cheap, versatile and a great support to your shambling line.

They have access to many spells, I like having one or two spells to use when units are in combat (Surge, Banechant or Drain Life) and one for early game (Heal or Weakness). The aura is mandatory if using Zombie Trolls (or Goreblight). 

Photo credit: Luis Serra

I almost never swap the Surge for Heal, except if they are going with non-shambling units like Soulreavers or I am desperate for points. You can make such good combinations like Surge/Weakness for 65 points, Heal/Banechant for 70….

 I prefer them on foot, but they are also good mounted if they are supporting fast units or you want them to Drain Life.

As for items they are number one suspect to be given the Inspiring Talisman, Conjurer Staff is another good choice as it pairs brilliantly with Bane Chant or Weakness, with Shroud of the Saint they can become a very cheap dedicated Healer, Piercing Arrow is also very good if you give them Drain Life.

They are also not as weak as they seem, as 10/12 nerve is not so easy to rout in one go for light shooting or low attack units.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 8/10
50 points for Surge 6.  Out of the box, he doesn’t do anything else but you aren’t paying for anything else either.  If you want him mobile, a horse is only another 25 points.  If you add the Inspiring Talisman and Bane Chant, Weakness, or Heal; you get a great support caster that’s still cheaper than a basic Liche King.  The Vicious Aura is a good buy as well if you are taking more than 1 unit with the Zombie keyword.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Pat – 9/10
Every list can use a Necromancer. With either Surge (6) or Heal (3) and a choice of Drain Life, Bane Chant, or Weakness he’s the ultimate support caster. Even fully kitted out with 2 spells and a horse he’s usually under 100 points which is amazing. His Aura for Zombies can make a great little battle group and turns pumps Zombie Trolls and Goreblights into killing machines.

Item wise Conjurer’s Staff or Inspiring Talisman are the go-to’s depending on how many other sources of Inspiring you have. Sacred Horn is also a contender if you’re taking the Aura. Running him with just Shroud of the Saint or Tome of Darkness is a great way to get elite Heal/Surge in a budget package. 

Photo credit: David Musgrave

Tom – 8/10
So look at the Druid/Gladewalker Druid then the Necro/Liche King. FoN don’t quite get what they want, Undead get exactly what they want (That’s a bit of an understatement! – Elliot). Surge 6 is spot on, Bane Chant, Inspiring Talisman, bosh, off you go. The Cicious aura is likewise great when you build into it which I have done before to great effect. I’ve said it about 8 times this article but the support characters are perfect in Undead. FoN want another 2 Heal for each caster base or to drop the Heal entirely for a cheaper base buy. Not a problem here though, they pair so well with a Liche King when you have a 1-2” Surge and don’t want to go overkill and waste a Liche, freeing them for the big game plays.


Cursed Pharaoh

Luis – 8/10 (7/10, or 9/10 with the Wings – averaged to 8/10)
The Pharaoh is another great hero in the rooster. He is a Surge and Inspiring source with good combat stats for a hero and a ridiculous anvil with his def6, Regen 5 and Lifeleech, insane. He is slow though.

And if you give him the Wings of the Honeymaze his speed skyrockets and he becomes “Mr. fix-it” vampire-style, and can do so many different things. This is the way I like him better.

Mike – 5/10
A Flying Pharaoh used to be a common choice in 2nd edition.  He made a great flying anvil/roadblock.  But now that the Wings reduce your Defence by 1, it’s just not as attractive an option. So now the Pharaoh struggles to find a role that he fits better than any of the other choices in the list.

(I wonder if we should tell Mike that the Pharaoh went back up to Def6 in V3, effectively making the Pharaoh to only unit in the game not care about the wings Defence hit? Because of course Undead couldn’t have the Wings of the Honeymaze effecting their poor little Pharaohs – Elliot). 

Pat – 7/10
While not Fearless like his Empire of Dust counterpart, he’s still a great character. If you’re playing with a lot of sp5-6 shamblers he’s a fine anchor on foot that can case surge or charge in as needed. With Wings he’s still solid as ever as he can get into and out of trouble at will.

Tom – 8/10
(With wings obviously) used to be the most broken character in the game and a mandatory selection. Now it’s a solid pick, infuriating at times and hardier than it has any rights to be. I think they have scope on foot tbh unlike pretty much every other infantry character in the game but Def6, 14/16, Regen and Lifeleech is nails on top of a competent offensive stat line. 


Undead Army Standard Bearer

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Luis – 6/10
Cheap Inspiring source as in any other army. It is very good supporting non-shambling units as he isn’t shambling and can move at the double now in 3rd edition.

With the Tome of Darkness, he is a very cheap Inspiring/Surge source, but not as versatile as the Necromancer. And he is also very good with the Lute of Insatiable Darkness as any other ASB in the game.

The mounted version goes well with Werewolves or Soul Reaver cavalry as well.

Photo credit: Andrew Hawley

Mike – 6/10
Your basic flag guy at a fair price.  I don’t think I’ve ever taken one because it’s easy enough to put the Inspiring Talisman on a Necromancer, and all the other Heroes already Inspire.  But if you really need another Inspiring source or Lute carrier for cheap, then he’s a good choice.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Pat – 4/10
A standard bearer. But fearless. He’s OK but since so many characters already have Inspiring he’s a bit superfluous. Not quite like nipples on a breastplate, but close.

Tom – 7/10
So every other standard bearer is a 6 right? Well this one’s Fearless so give it an extra point and call it a day. Lute/Tomb of Darkness and move on.


Mhorgoth the Faceless

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Luis – 8/10
He is as good as an elite sorcerer can be. He has great spells, great defence, and awesome mobility. He is also Very Inspiring and Dread source.

He is the ultimate Drain Life caster. The bad thing is that he is very very expensive and he is not able to block charges. Still a solid choice.

Photo credit: Zae Agethor

Mike – 7/10
Pre-nerf, I would have called him a 10.  He’s still solid, but he’s far from the auto-include he was at the beginning of 3rd edition.  His biggest strength before was his speed.  You could get him anywhere you needed him, and then easily get him out of danger.  Now, Speed 7 seems pretty fast, but any mounted Hero can catch him, so you just can’t be as aggressive with him any more.

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Pat – 9/10
Still a great source of a ton of great spells in a very mobile package. Dread is a great rule to have an especially combines well with Cloak of Death from Goreblights, and Drain Life.

Tom – 8/10
 So after another righteous nerf to what was the most powerful individual in the game it now sits at just a very expensive but super utilitarian caster. (It was so broken it was the first time KoW amended the points cost of a unit in an FAQ/Errata) I like the Liche King with Boots, this guy for a minor points bump is still throwing out more betterer spells, Dread, Very Inspiring and 2 more nerve. The Liche King is occasionally going to find a turn with nothing to do, Mhorgoth is always doing something and that multiplies when Very Inspire/Dread get thrown in the mix. Imagine him in a Zombie Troll list with Vicious aura and a Goreblight throwing Cloak of Death out, congrats, Zombie Trolls are now as effective as Enslaved Guardians but also there’s Drain Life, 16 surge, Bane Chants . . . you know, whatever is the perfect choice at that moment in time, just Undead things.


Lady Illona

Photo credit: Luis Serra

Luis – 5/10
So good, so expensive. She is a vampire on steroids but she comes at 280 points. Compared to a vampire on foot she has +1 speed, +1CS, +1 attack and def6 instead of 5.

She may be good but she is too expensive for me as a non-scoring unit. The problem is that she comes with a lot of spells I don’t care about and I always think that I could field 2 vampires on foot for some extra points instead.

Photo credit: Mike Adkins

Mike – 6/10
I liked using her at the end of 2nd edition with the Thirstful Coven formation.  Looking at her now, she just seems too expensive.  I feel like I’m overpaying for a slightly slower, slightly harder hitting Vamp on horse with a bunch of spells that she’s probably never going to cast.

Pat – 5/10
She’s got an amazing set of rules that lends itself especially well to hunting down dragons. The problem is she costs about as much as a dragon. I do think you can build a competitive list with her in it, but she has to be designed around due to her cost.

Tom – 6/10
THE best combat character in the game, oh boy do you pay for it. You’ve seen the stat line and the plethora of meh spells. BUT, the defence is horrific, the offence ludicrous, the special rules are vindictive, the cost exorbitant. I can’t justify the cost to be honest it’s too much, she’s dragon points but not as fast, not quite as killy and not scoring. She’ll be terrifying if you go for her though, I mean you’re playing Undead so you’re 100 points up on everyone else anyway so when you think about it, she’s bought at a discount.


Jarvis

Luis – 8.5/10
Everyone loves the Jarvis, end of story.

Jarvis is a great necromancer. He is quite more expensive but he comes with handy upgrades. As a spell caster he is a swiss army knife with a spell for every situation, Very Inspiring is great as well as the extra 6” range for spells (oooh surge 18”). He is also a great Surge/Inspiring source if you have taken already a Necro with the Inspiring Talisman. Besides you become good and good always wins (and you can ally drakon riders, how fun).

Pat – 8/10
The extra 6” to his spells comes in handy quite often, especially since he’s on foot. He’s got a good selection of spells that’s at the Spellcaster (1) level except that his Surge is fantastic at 8. Very Inspiring means you can skip out on one source of Inspiring as long as you group your units near him.

His biggest boon is he changes the way you build your army. He’s practically meant to be taken with Good allies thanks to his Noble Dead ability. Undead do have a good mix of units already though. If you’re focusing on competition rather than fluff for your allies then Dwarfs, Elves, or Basileans are probably the best bet. Focusing on shooting, or cheaper, non-shambling speed.


Zuinok Iceblood

Luis – 5/10
A very expensive Inspiring/Surge hero, he comes with Fireball too, which you will just occasionally use.

He was designed to boost Skeleton infantry and see more Skeletons on the battlefields. But the fact is that the aura boosts Skeleton melee, and you just don’t care about Skeleton melee. He can become a good choice if you want to build a block with 2 Revenant hordes. Other than that, there are just better heroes to choose.

Mike – 3/10
Who? Isn’t he an Empire of Dust character?

Pat – 2/10
He doesn’t really do anything you want him to do that can’t be done more efficiently in other ways. He’s got decent surge, but two Necromancers have better Surge for cheaper. He can buff Skeleton Infantry with Elite which is meh. Since his Elite in only Melee he doesn’t get elite spells so his Fireball feels like a let down (speaking as a Salamanders player).

Bane Chant would obviously be a great addition but also feels like the boring answer. Now that Revenant Cavalry have been adjusted to closer to their true value I think you could drop the Infantry caveat for his aura. But I’d prefer if it was Aura (Elite – Skeleton Infantry only) so that he could benefit from the elite on his Surge and Fireball and also buff Skeleton Archers as well.

Tom – 6/10
Good character, a solid effort to introduce a character to buff the skeleton contingent which doesn’t get to sit at the apex of cost efficiency that the wetter Zombies or harder Revenants do. I think he helps Revenants too tbh as if they need it. He’s pretty meh but you can build him in to make those lists better. If he had made all skeleton infantry Me4 or something I’d be impressed, as is he’s ok and works for a two Revenant horde list. So his contribution is good and it’s a cool character but as is the way with Undead there’s always something better available.


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


Summary

Overall average ratings /10: 6.9/10

Most agreed upon unit(s): Soul Reaver Cavalry, Wights (all reviewers scored the same).

Least agreed upon unit(s): Skeleton Warriors, Revenant on Undead Burrowing Wyrm, Zuinok Iceblood (4 points of difference between highest and lowest scores).

Army Review: Ratkin Slaves

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. In reality 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 decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Mark, Mike, Robert and Travis for all their help with this army review.


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. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


The ‘Expert’ Panel

Mark Cunningham
Wargammed for a while back in the 80s and 90s, then got married and had kids and sort of grown up and respectable. Then rejected the pretence of respectability and emerged myself back into Wargaming.

I co host Shroud of the Reaper tournaments in the South East of England, am part of the Herts community and the South East rep on the Masters Committee. I also on occasion accidently blow myself up on a live podcast. I chose to play Ratkin Slaves as it seemed no other bugger was, and I wanted to find out if there was a “winning list”.

Mike Smith
I’ve been playing tabletop wargames for nearly 20 years now. I consider myself and my Skaven hordes to be Old World refugees and KoW has now become my most frequently played game in the last couple of years. Having played large 6000 point plus battles against my brothers throughout all of second edition I decided that with the inception of third edition I would try the tournament scene. Fast forward to one competition two weeks before lockdown started. However since then I have managed to find other local players in addition to playing in as many Universal Battle tournaments as possible. 

Having noticed that Ratkin Slaves were pretty much completely unplayed I decided that I’d give them a try as I like a challenge. If I lose a game I can blame the army list being arguably the weakest in the game, but if I win it just makes that victory all the more sweeter. I had always liked evil dwarfs so jumped the perfect opportunity to pick up some of the amazing new Mantic sculpts and now am the proud owner of three hordes of Abyssal Dwarf Decimators. Blamo! 

Robert Alexander
I first got into Kings of War and Warpath back when the basic rules lists were being posted on warseer. Before discovering Universal Battle a few years ago, I probably only had about 20 games of KoW in (not including solo games) as I could never find opponents.

Since then, I’ve been getting more and more games in online, and some of the Call To Arms regulars might recognise me as the only Irish stat in Elliot’s stat corner.

I came into Kings of War with an Undead Knights themed army, and a Ratkin army already in my collection. The first has become Empire of Dust, while the latter almost became a Ratkin Slave army… until I saw how absolutely terrible I am at playing Ratkin Slaves. This is important information to keep in mind while you read this review.

Travis Timm
I am the US Masters co-chair for the Mountain region. I have been playing Kings of War since the exit from Warhammer Fantasy days. I have played in 4 years of the US Masters. I play all armies in Kings of War but Goblins are my main competitive tournament go to. I played Ratkin Slaves for about a year now.


Slave Wretches

Photo credit: Page Neo

Mark – 7/10
Available in Hordes and Legions only, these are flimsy chaff, at defence 2 they are excellent at absorbing Crushing Strength and Thunderous Charge, as they just don’t care.

With Last Breath they can become a good risk/reward unit, as opponents will pause on hitting them in melee. Being irregular they need unlocking and do not provide unlocks, also they have lower Unit Strength. Last Breath is OK but not great, it could do with a minor tweek so it has a tiny bit more punch.

Photo credit: Alex Kus

Mike – 8/10
This is why you take Ratkin Slaves, for access to the Last Breath upgrade. Hordes of super cheap Slaves. Charge them in, maybe do a couple of damage, do a couple more when your unit is destroyed and then follow up with your hammer units. Sixty percent of the time it works every time. 

Sadly defence 2 means you’ll have a bad time against any army with more than a handful of shooting units, but if you come across that Brock Rider army you’re in the money. I have never used the Legion before as it just seems that little bit too expensive for my taste. Maybe the extra nerve might help you live an extra turn but in my experience Ratkin life is cheap. 

Photo credit: Steve Hildrew

Robert – 8/10
Along with Slave Warriors, this is basically why you’re here right? Between the two units you’re going to take some of them. The question is which of the two units, and how many? They work well, but you always need to be prepared for a waver out of them. I started out taking Last Breath every time, but it isn’t completely necessary. When considering Last Breath I think as much about the psychological impact, as the damage impact. If you know that a single tough unit is likely to take this unit on alone (say Earth Elementals), then Last Breath is only there for psychology, don’t expect damage.

The legion is too unwieldy for anything I’d want to do with this unit though.

Travis – 8/10
Second chaff unit for sure in the list. Last Breath is cool but kind of pricey for the damage output in my mind. I like to keep things cheap. But 115 points for 18/21 nerve is great to hold down objectives. Legion isn’t bad for points either with better nerve but only 5 more attacks is kind of rough for what you pay.


Slave Warriors

Photo credit: Alex Kus

Mark – 8/10
Available in Regiments and Hordes only, at Defence 4, they are sturdier units than the Wretches. With Last Breath they can become a good risk/reward unit, as opponents will pause on hitting them in melee.

Being irregular they need unlocking and do not provide unlocks, also they have lower Unit Strength. If going to try and capitalise on Last Breath, then Slave Warrior Regiments are the cheapest way to maximise the units with Last Breath at 100pts a pop, compared to Wretches Horde at 130pts.

Photo credit: Eddie Bar

Mike – 7/10
These so called ‘Warriors’ have the same damage output as their Slave counterparts but have slightly higher defence. Again if you’re taking warriors you’ll always want to be taking the Last Breath upgrade. 

The Regiment is useful if you don’t quite have the points to fit in a horde of Slave Wretches, or if you just need a unit with a smaller footprint to cover a flank. I think if you were to take a Horde you’d be better off with a Horde of Slave Wretches though.

Photo credit: David Beal

Robert – 8/10
Wretches versus Warriors is really about your play style, and what other units you are taking. I think both are great, with a slight edge to Warriors, as they have very usable unit sizes. They also have the benefit of multiple smaller exploding units, which can put other MSU armies on edge.

I tend not to mix the two unit types, as I would rather one Def stat across the board for these units. I don’t want my opponent to have a chance to pick and choose between the two defence ratings in my slaves.

Travis – 8/10
Third unit of chaff. Last Breath is cool but kind of pricey for the damage output in my mind. I like to keep things cheap. Like this unit in both regiments and Hordes for the price. Better defence means they take more to kill compared to slaves but you pay a bit more for it. 


Blacksouls

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 8/10
The basic Abyssal Dwarf, cracking for unlocks, esp the hordes that will unlock 4 Last Breath units. Benefits from toys like Brew of Strength, Blessing of the Gods, Hammer of Measured force.

Mike – 6/10
The Regiment is your cheapest dwarf unlocking unit and that’s the only reason I would ever take one. Dwarfs are so slow at speed 4, and after a lifetime of playing with Skaven I cannot deal with short stubby legs. If you’re taking loads of Dwarf combat infantry why are you not just taking a regular Abyssal Dwarf list?

For me, the hordes are too slow and unwieldy to get good results from. Maybe there could be a good build with MSU of troops with Mastiff upgrades but it’s not for me as at Troop level I’d rather take some Vermintide and have 10 points left over. Give them Crush, or keep them Defence 5 I can see merits for both depending on your list.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Robert – 7/10
Hordes and regiments are some of our cheapest unlocking units, and are a useful all comers unit. You’ll find most players go for the horde options to increase unlocks, and to put some real hitting power behind their masses of slaves.

For hordes the Crushing Strength version works best in this list, especially if items are involved. If you are going to park them behind a slave unit, take the Throwing Mastiffs.

Def 5 version could take Hammer of Measured force. I know some players consider it a useless/controversial choice, but most Ratkin Slave lists have a serious lack of Crushing/Piercing damage. This item is well worth the risk. Crushing 1 version can take anything you feel you need to increase damage or endurance.

Travis – 7/10
I like this unit in troops and horde. I am not a fan of the points jump between troop and regiment for 2 attacks and 3 US. Hordes are main stay type units that if positioned right will be hard to kill. Troops I like as tougher to kill chaff that shooting and other chaff would have trouble killing alone. Not a fan of lowering defence for units but in some cases and how you use it I could warrant it. Throwing mastiffs are great in my opinion.


Abyssal Berserkers

Mark – 6/10
I want to love these guys, IF they get in on combat they rip the opponent a new one, IF they get in. Speed 5 with D3 Wild Charge stuntie, they have a good threat range, but lack a good defence so prone to being shot off the table.

Mike – 7/10
Now here’s a Dwarf infantry unit I can get behind. Speed 5 is good enough to nearly keep up with the ratty elements of the army and Wild Charge is a great asset. The regiment is so much more useful as it also unlocks.

Robert – 7/10
With all the Crushing zero units in your army, you might think Beserkers are not necessary. I think they are worthwhile, unless you already have plenty of consistent mid range damage from Blacksouls. The troops in particular can fit into gaps if you are taking a large block army, and can put pressure where you need it. I’m less keen on the regiments, but but they do unlock, which can be really important in this army.

Travis – 5/10
Not a fan of this unit as you can get Blacksouls for cheaper and close to same output. The speed generally isn’t a big factor as 5 is slow even with Wild Charge (D3). But the low defence is worry some even with decent nerve.


Immortal Guard

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mark – 7/10
Troops – forget em, why even bother in this faction. These are not bad as reg, unlocks the irregular units, Def5 and regen, these guys can hang about.

Shove the Throwing Mastiff for on em, always, as that’s just fun and nasty. Brew of Strength or Hammer of measured force works well on these guys. The only unit apart from the War Engine in the whole army that can benefit from the Iron-caster’s Heal and Inspiring.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 5/10
Not the unit for me. Again speed 4 is an instant turn off. Sure they are Fearless and hit on 3s but without any Crush I just don’t see the appeal. They are the only unit in the army that the one Dwarf spellcaster can Heal (other than himself).

Robert – 5/10
I must confess to never having taken Immortal Guard. My main issue with them is that if you are playing Ratkin Slaves, you probably already have lots of cheap low defence units that do low damage to act as anvils. If you take an expensive high defence Regen unit to act as an anvil, I feel like you are just giving your opponent options.

Travis – 6/10
Troops of Immortals aren’t bad to run as you get a decent number of attacks for the stats and points all in one. Regiment provide better survivability with the Ne but you pay a lot for it.


Decimators

Mark – 9/10
Hordes are really the only real option for these guys, they are beasts, but are irregular. 25 attacks in Melee or Range, 16″ shooting threat. They can be avoided quite easily, but are one of the best area of denial units in the game.

The one shot Mobile Katsuchan, is not worth it especially with Reload.

Mark – 8/10
To me this is what the Ratkin Slave list needs. Run a line of Last Breath units at the enemy. Wait for them to explode. Blow anything that is left standing away with Decimators and Nightmares. The Horde is insane. 25 attacks with Steady Aim and Piercing is enough to make anything think twice about coming into range. Yes they are speed 4 like other Dwarfs but they have a 16 inch threat bubble with their movement and then a shooting attack.

Take whichever unit footprint you like. I’ve found that playing 3 hordes can be funny, but a little unwieldy. I’m now partial to 2 hordes and a regiment. The only reason these guys are not rated higher is because they are Irregular. 

Robert – 8/10
Whatever you think about these in an Abyssal Dwarf list, add a point to them for the Slaves list. I think that troops and hordes both have a place in this army. I think its important to think of these units from the get go, and whether you plan on building your list using them or not (whether it is 3 hordes, or just a small troop or two to help in flanks). I don’t think its useful to add these in to your list just because you have spare points and unlocks. You need a plan for what they will be doing in their attack wing.

Travis – 8/10
Main stay for most people’s army. If you can get the targets you want these units can do a lot of damage. I like troops for the points and ability to have smaller foot print within the army. Regiments have better nerve but once again for the points and only 2 Atk increase seems hardly worth it to me. Hordes are where most like to go due to the high Atk and Ne. But with the bigger foot print you lose manoeuvrability and are more likely to be multicharged. 


Abyssal Halfbreeds

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 6/10
Sort of competing with the Tunnel Runners for fast attacks, without the benefits from Rally support. Not shit, but not wow either. Again why bother with Troops, you need those unlocks for either Last breath units or Decimators.

Photo credit: Mike Smith

Mike – 7/10
An acceptable alternative to Tunnel Runners. Lower defence but Regeneration has its pros and cons. Give a regiment Blessing of the Gods and they have a very similar damage output to a Tunnel Runner regiment with Sharpness and are both similarly priced in points. 

The Regiments have a role they can play although I have yet to field them in Troops but can see the appeal.

Photo credit: Ben Rantall

Robert – 8/10
The comparison to Tunnel Runners must be made. These are very much the grindy counterpart to the Tunnel Runners. Which you go for will depend on your play style, in part. If you can keep them alive, you’ll find the Melee 3 keeps them near par damage wise with the Tunnel Runners. I strongly recommend trying out the regiments at least once. I also recommend pretending the troops don’t exist.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Travis – 7/10
Not a fan with the other choices in the army. Low defence and average nerve is a tough sale. They have good speed and with CS1 and TC1 with decent number of attacks they could really hurt some things. But they will not survive the counter attack.


Slave Nightmares

Mark – 7/10
Direct copy of the Ratkin Nightmares, except hordes are 5pts cheaper and they lose the Rally 1 (which not sure Rally 1 would only cost 5pts), they also have the Slave keyword, so can benefit from some hero’s that affect Slave only.

Mike – 8/10
I used to think that Nightmares were terrible since the loss of Brutes from the Ratkin list between second and third edition. However after giving them a try I am now a convert. Defence 5, possible Rallying is great. Obviously they excel in combat far more than at range but combine that shooting attack with some Decimators and it all adds up. If you’ve got a few points spare I’d recommend giving these guys Fury as I’ve had mine Wavered too many times. 

Unlike their Ratkin counterparts Slave Nightmares do not gain access to Rally, and for a drop of only 5 points. I’d really expect these guys to be about 10 points cheaper than they currently are. Despite this I still think they are a great unit. Again, using Regiments I don’t think is viable in Ratkin Slaves as they don’t unlock and you need all the unlocking units you can get. 

Robert – 6/10
This unit is a large part of why I wanted to try Ratkin slaves. A short range shooting unit that can unlock, hit in combat and shoot over hordes of cheap chaff. It seems like a dream. Sadly, this unit is called Nightmares, and that is what usually happens when I try to make them the centre-piece of my army.

This unit needs synergies, and plonking them down behind Wretch or Warrior units is not it. That job is for Decimators. These are at their most useful when they get into combat because of CS1 and Vicious (Melee). This means that if your plan doesn’t involve getting some shots off with them AND getting them into more than one combat phase, they aren’t really worth their points. Keeping them near a Slavedriver helps, but I personally feel that the synergies they are missing are in the Ratkin list. In that list you have Rally 1 from their horde size; healing which allows you to reduce their chaff /protection needs; and powerful manoeuvrable/ranged shooting which can work in tandem with a unit like the Nightmares.

The reality is that if Nightmares didn’t unlock most people would take Decimators instead, no matter how cool your converted Nightmare unit looks. And the regiments don’t unlock so…

Travis – 6/10
Solid large infantry unit. Kind of pricey if used wrong and don’t rely on the Blight Cannons as they won’t do much. I would rather see CS2 and no Blight Cannons. Being wavered is an issue as well with the lower nerve.


Katsuchan Rocket Launcher

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mark – 5/10
Abyssal Dwarfs have loads of War Engines, but they only trust those that command the Rats with one! One!

Of the War Engines the Abyssal Dwarfs have, this is the meh one, but as the only War Engine this faction can take…. The change to the ignore cover rules hurt this a lot, with Piercing 1 it is OK but not great, as with almost all war engines, singularly they are crap, but 2 or 3 and they average out.

With a suicide squad list, the war engines are used also for the final mop up on wounded units.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 4/10
Not as good as the Heavy Mortar but still an O.K. war machine, and that’s all it ever will be. Indirect and only Piercing 1 don’t make it great.

Robert – 6/10
I’m not a huge fan of long range war machines. Out of the 6 warmachines between the Abyssal and Ratkin lists, I think this is one of the weakest. It has consistency but not greatness.

Travis – 5/10
Long range artillery for an army with minimal shooting options. Not a fan of artillery that hit on 5s with all the new rules to cover and Stealthy. Low piercing makes this unit worse than other similar artillery pieces across Mantica.


Vermintide

Mark – 3/10
Almost a direct copy from the Ratkin List, except only available in Regiments and Hordes, chaff unit competing for chaff spot, where a Reg of Slave Warriors can perform similar role, with a better threat.

Being Irregular, taking up a troop slot for me in this faction, a pass.

Mike – 7/10
Vermintide are your standard chaff piece. Nimble and Wild Charge D3 gives them an impressive threat range to get in the way of something coming towards your front lines. Vicious is also extremely useful for just putting that one pip of damage onto some Flyers or Cavalry to take away their Thunderous Charge. I always try and take a couple of Regiments of Vermintide and would rate them an 8/10 in a normal Ratkin list as they could benefit from Rally. I’d never ever take a Horde as exploding Warriors would be a better choice in my opinion. 

Normal Ratkin get access to a Legion of Vermintide. I am unsure why Ratkin Slaves do not, and whilst I would never use a Legion I am still extremely jealous of their ability to do so. 

Robert – 6/10
Despite appearances, Slaves might not be the only chaff you need in this army. Vermintide special rules and the price of a regiment mean they are serious contenders for your chaff slot. Put them in front of Decimators and you can shoot anything. Put them on far flanks to pull enemy out of position, then redeploy them in a way Slave units just can’t. Or if they don’t rise to the bait, bring them for a nimble flank charge. There is little benefit in a horde at all, as far as I can see.

Travis – 7/10
Love using regiments as chaff units. Being Nimble and decent speed lets them get around places and with Wild Charge (D3) they can charge out of the way and into your opponents’ way. Decent number of attacks and Vicious allow for some damage output on other chaff and low defence units. Hordes aren’t bad due to doubling attacks and for not much more in points.


Slave Tunnel Runners

Photo credit: Alex Kus

Mark – 7/10
Direct copy of the Ratkin Tunnel Runners, except have the Slave keyword, so can benefit from some hero’s that affect Slave only.

The fast cav of the faction. Although Troops are more nimble, they are using one of the Troops slots that are better used for Decimators/Last Breath units.

Photo credit: Si Brand

Mike – 8/10
Never. Leave. Home. Without. These.

Take a Regiment of Tunnel Runners and whack the Brew of Sharpness on them for the lower price of 35 points. 24 attacks on 3s with Crush 1 and Thunderous Charge 1 will put a dent in most things. However they rarely wipe out any substantial unit in one by themselves. They’ll need support or to hit enemy units that are already damaged (such as by a Last Breath attack). 

Defence 5 and the ability to be Rallied means that they can often survive a few pot shots coming their way and with Speed 8 they can usually hang back away from immediate threats until they need to charge in. If you’re taking more than one Regiments of these (and why wouldn’t you) they’d probably do well from having Potion of the Caterpillar or Sir Jesse’s Boots as 24 attacks on 5s with no Thunderous is naff. 

Stay away from Tunnel Runner troops. They do not unlock and in Ratkin Slaves you’re starved enough for unlocks as it is. 

Photo credit: Ben Bowers

Robert – 9/10
This is where I should mention that my ratings are based on this army, not its performance in the meta. I love this unit in regiments. They bring so much of what this list lacks to the table, including the ability to unlock.

Better players might say that you should run this unit without items to improve your skill, and that they are good enough already. You’re playing Ratkin Slaves. You’ve already shot yourself in the foot once. Give them all the items you ever dreamed of. Brew of Sharpness is at the top of my list, with Jesse’s boots and Potion of Caterpillar coming in as runner ups. Brew of Haste is situational, but can be very useful if you know you’re going to be facing a lot of speed 8, and need to be able to put pressure on. So many other items are worth trying on these.

I usually run two regiments alongside Golekh Skinflayer. The Rally 2 with Dread make this a fantastic attack wing. I would rather a Death Engine over Troops.

Travis – 8/10
Love this unit and you will learn why should you play me. This is my main stay for Ratkin Slave units. Regiments have a ton of attacks and with a few magic items you can stretch those attacks to there max potential. With CS1 and TC1 you can if utilized right break some high defence units on the charge with the faster speed 8. Nerve is roughly downside to the unit due to only 14/16 but paired with some Rally later on you can mitigate the nerve problems some. Love that these chariots are defence 5 which you will hear later on me complain about defence of some chariots.


Slave Death Engine Impaler

Mark – 4/10
Direct copy of the Ratkin Death Engine Impaler, except have the Slave keyword, so can benefit from some hero’s that affect Slave only. Each time I try and add this to my lists, there is always something better to use the points on.

Mike – 5/10
The only Monster in the list and it’s not a great one. Like Tunnel Runners and Nightmares defence 5 and Rally-able it’s solid at staying put when couple with Fearless. However I do not think it is points efficient as it has 7-13 attacks on 4s without Strider. I’ve run them a couple of times. They are okay. I’d much rather have the Death Engine Spewer in the lists I run. 

Robert – 6/10
By the time I’ve managed to get enough unlocking units to get the troops, irregular units and character units I want, there is rarely enough points left over for a Death Engine. However I think they synergise really well with a Tunnel Runner/Golekh attack wing. If I have spare unlocks, but am over in points, I could remove a Tunnel regiment and add this in. An important thing to keep in mind is that this unit does not suffer from taking a charge to the face, like Tunnel Runners do. With -/18 from Golekh, it can survive a lot and it might be worth using this as your bait in the Cavalry dance we often see in games.

Travis – 7/10
Like this unit its possibility of high damage output and speed. Fearless is great and with defence 5 and ability to Rally up to -/18 the unit could be around for a while.


Slavedriver

Photo credit: Eddie Bar

Mark – 6/10
Too slow to keep up with the Slaves to have the Rally effective when needed. Cheap Inspiring source and Def5 cannot be sniffed at, but no punch either.

Bistög’ravy Guzzler – Photo credit: Mike Smith

Mike – 8/10
Your standard (get it) standard bearer. However he also gives Rally to all those Slave units you should be taking. That’s all the rats in the list with the exception of the Vermintide – apparently they don’t have any fear of a Slave Driver whipping them into a frenzy. Normally I’d take two of these so I could give a Slave unit maximum rally if I wanted to.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Robert – 7/10
The usual BSB with a bonus for Slave units.

Travis – 7/10
Cheap BSB who can put some rally out for slave units. Lute pairs well due to low points


Overmaster

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 9/10
Only thing stopping this unit from being an auto include, is that the Infernal Advance only affects Infantry (not Large Inf).

But as the Rat Slave faction is Inf heavy, this is a diamond unit for this faction. Without the Infernal Advance, it is still a Def 6 mini beast. Love this unit for this faction.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 5/10
Typical combat hero on foot. I’ve seen people giving him Wings of the Honeymaze and having him hunt down characters or war machines but I think that can be done better with a Halfbreed Champion. The Strider aura is a nice upgrade you can give him. Having him coupled with some Berserkers in some trees is super legit. 

Robert – 7/10
If you are going to rely on damage from blocks of infantry this lady is a top choice with Infernal Advance. She can even be thrown in to some combats, or act as a roadblock for enemy chaff. Outside of that army build she doesn’t bring enough for her points cost.

Travis – 5/10
Not bad lead character for the Defence and good nerve. Being Mighty he can lead inside the lines with other stout dwarf units or run with chaff to slow down the enemy. Offensively he is decent and can put out some wounds but he is slow so prepare to be charged. 


Iron-caster

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 2/10
I want to like this unit, but its horseshit.

Inspiring for Hellforged only, Heal for Hellforged only. The only Hellforged in the list are Immortal Guards and the Katsuchan Rocket Launcher. Too pricy just for the Fireball. Even more pricy if using for Bane Chant or Lightening bolts. If not using Immortal Guard, then the heal and inspiring is wasted points, unless you use it to inspire/heal/protect the war engines.

Hard pass.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mike – 3/10
The only spellcaster Ratkin Slaves have access to. I sure do hope you don’t like magic because you’ll never be taking this guy in your lists.

Heal – can only heal himself and Immortal Guard.
Surge – cannot be used at all in the Ratkin Slave list.

Mindfog and Banechant 2 for over 130 points is too expensive, as is Lightning Bolt. Fireball is the only really useful spell here. Stick him with your Decimators and Nightmares to add an extra pip of damage or two. If he’s doing that I’d probably give him the Inspiring Talisman. Magic is just something Ratkin Slaves don’t do much of, which is fine and not a critique. I played in the Halpi’s Rift campaign and was forced back into using normal Ratkin for Lightning Bolt goodness.

Robert – 1/10
If the last season of Game of Thrones was a unit, it would be the Iron-caster. Out of place (Hellforged only), expensive and disappointing.

Travis – 5/10
Kind of a wasted unit in my mind but can run with the Immortals to Heal and Inspire or the Rocket Launcher haha. But with Fireball 10 and a decent defence he has some damage output. Bane Chant is about the only upgrade I would ever think to give him if taken and surge is useless in Ratkin Slave list.


Taskmaster on Chariot

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 6/10
Speedy Inspiring unit at 110 points, give it Rally at 125 and it can help the Slaves.

Works better with Tunnel Runners/Nightmares as can be screened, with infantry it is poking its head over to be shot off.

Mike – 6/10
An interesting hero option. Useful if you are running lots of chariots or cavalry so you can keep up with them. I’d recommend giving Pipes of Terror or Lute of Insatiable Darkness to these guys. Obviously you’ll be taking the Rally upgrade but then he starts to get pricey, and if he ever performs a hindered charge expect him to do nothing.

Robert – 6/10
Diet Gohlekh. You can take Rallying (1) and an item. Speed 8 and Nimble gives a lot of utility, but with 5 attacks hitting on 4, really think before you charge. Think of him as a fast Slavedriver that can score objectives.

Travis – 7/10
Solid unit to run around and give Rally where needed. Use as chaff or added cheap damage with TC2 and 5 Atks. Here comes the rant though. Why would a Dwarf on a Chariot only have De 4 where the Slaves on Chariots get De 5? This has to be an oversight or the Dwarf got his shit stolen by the slaves HAHA.


Abyssal Halfbreed Champion

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mark – 8/10
This is a beast of a unit, but is fighting for the same hero slots. Fast self Inspiring hero/war engine hunter. Or run it with the Halfbreeds to give them an Inspiring source that can keep up.

Mike – 10/10
This guy is the first thing I add to any army list. Give him Blade of Slashing. Watch him do 6 damage to an enemy every turn. Laugh. This is your best anti flyer defence. Or stick him in the way of something else, Mighty is such a good rule.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Robert – 10/10
Imagine you are a Ratkin general. Do you want an assassin that is ok at his job, or an assassin that is great at his job, and is also a horse?

If your list is mostly Ratkin, and you aren’t taking this unit, just play Ratkin. I honestly feel that access to this unit is a bigger game changer to this list (coming from Ratkin) than the Last Braeth special rule.
I would say that this unit has clenched victory from the jaws of defeat numerous times for me, but its more like… it has clenched minor loss from the jaws of major loss.

An opponent with individuals or war engines must respond to this unit. Try to keep it hidden from shooting on the first turn, but be careful not to have it move through terrain, as it does not have pathfinder, and it needs its speed advantage to be most effective. Use this unit to counter your opponents support units.

Perhaps indulge yourself by taking two?

Travis – 6/10
Fast individuals are always good to run. Decent number of attacks and with CS2 can combo well with most fast-charging units in the army. But only Inspiring abominations limits some of what you want to run around with. Points wise its not in a bad spot though.


Overmaster on Abyssal Winged Halfbreed

Mark – 8/10
The only flying thing in the faction, it’s a dragon basically and can hit like a truck. With it being able to be wavered and the cost pulls it from an Auto include.

Mike – 7/10
Your big flying dragon unit. You know it. You love it. Now with Regeneration. Give it Aegis of the Elohi for laughs but then watch it get shot off the table in one go. A good pick if you want a big flying beastie in your list but not an auto include for me.

Robert – 8.5/10
Dragon with Regen. It rarely dies, but with just 9 attacks can get stuck if you don’t hit enough in the first round. This might be because I rarely hit with even half of those 9 attacks. I think a score of 8.5 is about right for it, but at the same time I wouldn’t take a 2300 list without one.

Travis – 7/10
Here is the army’s big dragon type unit that costs a ton. But could destroy a ton if used right. Flying with CS3 and 9 Atks he will demand some attention. Put into flanks and watch your enemies die.


Golekh Skinflayer

Mark – 8/10
A Taskmaster on steroids, the only fully unique unit in the list, Very Inspiring to Slaves only, Rally 2 to Slaves only, with Dread, pricy but awesome unit.

The trick is getting in into the zone where its flank are protected, but boosts the Slaves.

Mike – 9/10
Task Master but on steroids. He hits better, damages better, is Fearless, Inspires and Rallies Slaves along with Dread! Nimble and Dread on his large base size has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. Yes the chariot base takes some practice in using and making sure that he doesn’t get stuck somewhere but I consider Mr Skinflayer to be a top-tier unit that needs to be in every army. The only thing that I’m a little miffed that he doesn’t Rally non-slave units but the normal Taskmaster does.

Robert – 7/10
The one true unique unit for this list. He Rallies your slaves, while spreading Dread amongst your enemies. If you plan on taking multiple Tunnel Runners or Death Engines he is a worthwhile investment. Waiting till you can flank with him can help swing combats that last more than one turn, and with rally, your units are likely to last that long.

Probably don’t put him in a large block formation. For the points you’re better off getting a Taskmaster, a Slave driver and some magic items to hold your centre. I love this unit, but as with the list as a whole, he has a fantastic theme and fun design ideas, but ultimately struggles in a competitive environment.

Travis – 4/10
Solid special character for 200pts. With Dread, Very Inspiring to Slaves, and Rally (2) to Slaves this character is very good and fast at bolstering the lines. Does decent in adding a few wounds for combat and surviving counter attacks.


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


Summary

Overall average ratings /10: 6.6/10

Most agreed upon unit(s): Slave Wretches, Slave Warriors, Decimators, Taskmaster on Chariot (1 point of difference between the highest and lowest)

Least agreed upon unit(s): Golekh Skinflayer (5 points of difference between highest and lowest scores)

Army Review: Dwarfs

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. In reality 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 decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Andrew, Eric and Matt for all their help with this army review.

The ‘Expert’ Panel

Andrew Heinrich
Hello!
I started in the hobby during Warhammer 8th edition, and this is the only army I’ve ever played (with the exception of a brief flirtation with Ogres). I swapped to Kings of War when Age of Sigmar dropped, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been to Masters twice, placed top Dwarf one of those years, and have done decently well in the online tournament world (top Dwarf player in CtA 4, I think, not sure what my standing among Dwarf players was for CtA 5). I’m a good player, not great, no GT wins under my belt, so take my opinions with whatever grain of salt you like.

Nothing in the list breaks a 7/10 in my estimation because the Imperial Dwarf army has no specific unit that really measures up to such units in other armies. Internally, we could make some arguments for some units pushing into the 8-9 level, but honestly? No. There are no Huscarls, Soul Reavers, or any other such stellar unit in the army. 

Eric Winter
Dwarfs were my first army. The shooting in V2 was almost unstoppable. I won best general at bayou battles 2019 in Houston, TX with them.

In V3 I saw a huge change in their meta. Shooting is still a viable option , but I finally got to see very impressive all Melee options. Their speed takes a lot of practice to master, but once you learn how to manoeuvre the army, I would say they are a solid 8/10.

Matt Croger
Hello! I’m an avid Kings of War player from Australia and run several tournaments per year including our largest, Clash of Kings Australia. I am also one of the hosts for the Counter Charge podcast.

I have played Dwarfs for most of my Kings of War time which was near the start of Second. I played Elves for about a year and then have been working on my Dwarf army since. I enjoy tournaments but am not an overly competitive player. A little known fact is that it was me that added the glocks, to the rocks and brocks combo of second in the form of 3 organ guns, interestingly it was my least successful list.

Overall I still really like Dwarfs in thirds but I think are a primarily a list of “good” units with very few outstanding. Feel free to dismiss everything I write in my portion.


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. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


Ironclad

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 6/10
Ironclad are cheap, solid workhorse troops. You can take them with Dogs, so they have a little bit of bite. In a horde they present a decent shield wall, troops can sometimes work as blockers or cheap objective holders. Speed 4 makes them hard to really use except as a bulwark against more expensive units. There’s a world in which spamming hordes of these might be good? Not tested yet.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Elliot – 8/10
This is a really good unit. I don’t think I’m giving away too many RC secrets to tell you that every unit is costed based off a generic template, we then apply pluses and minuses based on stat changes and special rules. The really good units in the game tend to be the ones that get good value out of their ‘pluses’ and don’t feel the effects too strongly of their ‘minuses’. Ironclad are one of those unit.

Their weakness is obvious and its one that’s shared by pretty much every unit in the list, they’re slooooow. But on this occasion being slow comes with a pretty serious upside; it lets Ironclad stay cheap. This unit has the defensive profile of an elite infantry unit at a budget pricetag.

Excellent in both regiments and hordes, these guys are a great way of squeezing a tonne of high defence Unit Strength into your list. They also make very good value Throwing Dog delivery systems. The only real criticism I can throw their way is that they’re less specialised then their Ironguard or Shieldbreaker cousins – that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean they might end up getting overlooked in some lists.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Eric – 6/10
This unit is great at sitting on objectives. Def 5 14/16 on a regiment takes some focus to remove. Good at playing anvil in hordes as well.

Matt – 8/10
This is a great unit than can fit the almost any style of play. The fact that they are Def 5 and cheap makes them viable almost at any size. At their points level they are comparable in price to Men at Arms Retainers but can fit a variety of roles. I feel the regiment level is most points efficient at 110 points and whether you add Mastiffs or not will depend on the rest of your list. Spamming these with Mastiffs is one way to get under the skin of your opponents or stick a troop or regiment in the back fields for resilient object claimers. A horde is fantastic anvil to hold up your opponents.


Ironguard

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Andrew – 7/10
Probably the best Dwarf infantry unit available. D6, melee 3+, and with easy access to Bane Chant they can be a real problem for enemies to shift. Speed 4 makes them, again, hard to employ aggressively. You can give them Dogs if you want, and that can give them a little bit of utility. These guys typically only melt against top-tier units, and their counterpunch can be deceptively effective. Great bait for unwary adversaries with access to better units.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Elliot – 8.5/10
15/17 nerve, Headstrong and Defence 6 on a 100x80mm footprint… yes please! These guys are seriously good and three to four regiments form the basis of the majority of my Dwarf lists. Like the Ironguard, their low speed lets them keep such an exceptional stat line at a very affordable 150 points. I tend to use these as my front line, holding the enemy’s hammer units up whilst my shooting softens the rest of their army up.

Me3 and 12 attacks is nothing to sniff at either, but this is a unit that really benefits from having Bane Chant support nearby.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 7/10
While they are still a good unit at Def6, the removal of the CS1 option hurt them in my opinion. Still great for a solid infantry line.

Matt – 6.5/10
Absolutely nothing wrong with these guys but when it comes down to points efficiency, I’m usually taking Ironclad, particularly if adding Mastiffs. I’d be taking this unit if I was spamming Def 6 and wanted to guarantee an anvil for my rocks to surge around. I’ve never taken these at a troop level as a speed 4 troop even with Def 6 still isn’t getting it where you want it and still only needs a few wounds to put it in danger of being popped.


Shieldbreakers

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 7/10
Shieldbreakers are arguably the army’s only “hammer” unit, and then only in a horde. The Horde is solid – good nerve, decent defence, good offence. Again, Dwarfs don’t get to have top-tier units, so these guys will have to do. Regiments are OK with dogs, but their handful of attacks and Speed 4 make them easy to eliminate, isolate, or ignore. Hordes are harder to ignore because of their footprint and Unit Strength.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Elliot – 7/10
I went back and forth a few times on my score for Shield Breakers unable to decide between a 7 or an 8. I love the hordes and they’re an incredibly good value unit; 205 points for that amount of damage output in excellent. They’re also one of those rare infantry units in the game that is perfectly viable at both troop, regiment and horde level.

The only thing that holds them back for me is the amount of other investment required to really get value out of them. Def4 sticks out like a sore thumb in the Dwarf list and these guys are often shooting target #1 – this means that you pretty much always need to be screening them with other units. As the Dwarfs only real infantry hammer, this is also the first unit where I lament going down to Speed 4 even though it does keep them cheap. You’re pretty much always going to take the first charge and even though you’ll most likely get a chance to swing back, the next hit will almost definitely kill you.

I use my Shield Breaker hordes as my second wave behind the Ironguard. Anything that has killed the Ironguard is usually in a fairly diminished state, allowing the Shieldbreakers to sweep in and mop up anything that’s left.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Eric – 7/10
Great unit, but they will need chaff as they are quite squishy. Only source of CS in your regular infantry arsenal. I like to run them with Ironguard as anvils and Mastiffs as chaff.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Matt – 7/10
These buff, bearded lads and ladies have had their role changed significantly in 3rd going from Me4+ CS2 to Me3+ Cs1. I really like them, they’re cheap enough to add Mastiffs and if I had them modelled on regiments I’d consider checker boarding them with Ironclad. In 2nd Ed taking these guys in a horde was like chopping yourself off at the knee on one leg and entering into a sprint, however the changes to charging in 3rd makes it viable. Speed 4 still makes them a problem so I’d consider getting Caterpillar on them so they can get where they need to be. If you’re taking one horde why not take two?


Berserkers

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 4/10
They tried to make these better for 3rd, and they failed. Wild Charge is nice, but the lack of melee offence outside the number of attacks makes them uninspiring. Can they be used? Yes. Should they? Not for the cost.

Elliot – 4/10
They… suck quite frankly. I really hoped that V3 would be their time to shine and so many other Berserker style units in the game are excellent, but the Dwarf versions are overcosted and not killy enough to justify the loss in Defence. Speed 5 and Wild Charge (D3) is fairly decent, but at Me4 they’re so likely to just bounce off their target. To me these feel like a unit struggling to find an identity. Their Vengeance special rule suggests that they’re supposed to tank a hit and then grind back, but at Def4 they aren’t going to take all that much killing. And at Me4 they’re really not a hammer unit either, on average an Iron Guard unit only gets one less hit per turn than a Berserker regiment. Fearless is also a rule that is normally massively sought after, but in an army that is entirely Headstrong anyway it loses some of its shine.

It’s a shame because they’re a style of unit that would bring so much to the Dwarfs… maybe one day they’ll actually be useable but right now just ignore them and move on.

Eric – 1/10
The dreaded score of 1 goes to these awful excuse for Berserker. 

They are pound for pound, the worst berserker in the game. They have to survive a charge to be slightly useful, and a good player will see that and find a way to negate it.

Matt – 3/10
These guys have put all the effort into getting dressed up and doing their hair, run down to a party to be told you can’t come in it’s not fancy dress. Sigh. I want these guys to be good but again, just like they did in 2nd, they need a look. For the points, mounted versions are just better. Vengeance is a tasty little rule but at Def4 at the troop level they’re likely not going to be there to use it next turn and similarly with the regiment. Me3 would make me look at them with more than just a side glance or natural CS with Vengeance giving + 1 but sadly for now I just have to leave the half naked dwarfs sitting on the shelf to gaze at….Oh hellow, how well muscled you are.


Bulwalkers

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 6/10
Giving these guys Big Shield would have put them on par with Ironguard or even better. However, at Def5, their cost doesn’t justify their application on the field. Phalanx is OK, but honestly, everyone you face will be able to pick their battles. They’re never putting cavalry or fliers into this unit unless they’re sure it’s going to pop.

Elliot – 7/10
A perfectly decent unit that just like the Ironguard, Ironclad and Shieldbreakers gets elite level stats at a fairly budget cost. For me personally, I don’t often find the 25 point increase over the Ironclad to be worth it for +3 attacks and Phalanx, but if you play in a meta that has a lot of cavalry and/ or fliers these guys will be your best friends.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 6/10
The large number of attacks on a horde makes them a prime candidate for a top tier magical item. With Sharpness or Strength these guys pack a whallop, and they can get charged and live to tell the tale. 

In troops, they are very stout too.

Matt – 5/10
Reportedly these are the most popular dwarves of the clans as they have the longest spears….. Honestly these guys will be a meta choice. If you’re not regularly running into cav there’s almost no reason to take them when you have Shield Breakers and Ironclad at your disposal for cheaper. If you are however, I’d be taking them in regiments or hordes , channeling the Von Trapp’s and singing goodbye to my opponent as they wail against a Def5 Phalanx wall.


Ironwatch Crossbows

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Andrew – 4/10
OK shooting unit. Meh.

Elliot – 5/10
I’ve rated these a 5/10 on the understanding that you’re only taking a single regiment of them, nothing more!

At 135 points these guys are just on the edge of being cheap enough to be able to sit back on an objective all game and not really get involved in the fight. Their shooting will most likely only do 1-2 points of damage a turn, but that’s plenty when their main job is to stay alive and score on the scenario. For me the horde is far too much of an investment and the troop is the same price as a Sharpshooter troop, which is just plain better in every way. In fact a Sharpshooter troop is probably better than a regiment of Crossbows…

Eric – 3/10
These guys just aren’t worth the points it takes to make them useful.

Matt – 4/10
I have not modelled any shooting regiments in this army other than Rangers because currently, why bother. I could see myself using these at the regiment level as they are not too pricey but the penalty for shooting regiments on their US makes me in other directions. They are victim of the minor little nerfs all adding up on shooting. If they were US 3 they’d become a more strong maybe for me. At the troop level you may as well take Sharpshooters and at the horde levels you may as well take your dollar bills and go stick them in the top of someone’s undies.


Rangers

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5.5/10 (5/10 in a regiment, 6/10 in a troop)
Rangers look great on paper – melee, shooting, movement. And they are good. However, in the Imperial army, there’s not a lot of support to be had. Some players make good use of them (I did in 2nd). And for them, I think this score will probably look a little low. YMMV. I think I’d rather take more Ironguard.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 7/10
I think its worth pointing out that I didn’t play Dwarfs in V2, so I’m looking at Rangers with fresh eyes instead of lamenting what they used to be. Saying that, Rangers are ace! My preferred size is definitely troops, and two of these together can shoot like a V2 Elf archer horde used to. I keep them close to the rest of my lines, meaning that if my opponent want to deal with them they will have the rest of the Dwarfs to answer to afterwards. Or they ignore them at their peril – 10 Ra4 shots a turn adds up very quickly and when these guys manage to get into a flank they’re brilliant.

I would personally steer clear of the regiments unless you’re going down the Free Dwarf route. 185 for an irregular regiment is a fairly hefty pricetag and unlike Heartpiercers or Flamebearer regiments, you don’t need the higher nerve level to make use of Regeneration.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 6/10
Good at spotty damage while waiting for a charge, and mid tier at melee.

Matt – 7/10
These guys are like the lads and lassies at school who not only had killer legs that kept them at the top of sports teams but also trounced you in maths, they do everything reasonably well. I primarily look towards troops to get a couple of threats in but when points get tight I’m happy to take the nerve bump for a regiment. I’m conflicted on the price point of these, on one hand they do things better than some of the other scouting shooting options in other armies such as having CS1, but at the same time they lose Steady Aim. They’re ok at the moment but I’d like to see them come down 5-10 points or get Steady Aim.


Ironwatch Rifles

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Andrew – 5/10
Meh. OK Shooting unit. A little better than crossbows because you can make them Elite if you go with a Warsmith.

Elliot – 3/10
See everything I said about the Ironwatch Crossbows, except the rifles tip over into the “too expensive to sit out the whole game taking pot shots” price bracket. I really don’t see a use for these in any size.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 4/10
While they are better than the crossbows, the cost to make them work is still too high.

Matt – 3/10
These are just about one of the untouchable units for me. You pay a lot for the extra piercing, but you may as well pay less and have things do the job almost as well. Your problem is on the Ra5+ not on the piercing. Maybe if they had extra range but at that point they are sharpshooters. Leave them at home babysitting the kiddy dwarfs.


Sharpshooters

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 6/10
Good shooting unit. Basically, they’re little Lightning Bolt chuckers with unit strength. They are low nerve, however, so deploy them well and have a plan for them.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 9/10
These guys are bloody amazing for their points. I always take at least one troop of them and they’re always my very first drop, effectively giving me a free drop. That’s because in army made up almost entirely of Height 2 infantry, they’re always going to have a shot on something and seeing as they’re Ra4 they don’t really care about being in cover.

These are a reliable 1-2 points of damage every single turn of the game. When you combine that with Organ Guns, Ironwatch Crossbows, Rangers, Throwing Dogs and Steel Juggernauts it adds up to consistently deleted units. What’s even better is that unlike War Engines, these guys have Unit Strength meaning that they excel in scenario play. Keep them at the back on an objective and force your opponent to deal with them.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 6/10
Pesky little buggers. Drop them in the corner with a firing line and watch your opponents get severely annoyed.

Matt – 8/10
Sharpshooters are a tasty little unit, at 100 points they’re relatively cheap and the combination of Ra4+ with 36 inch range means they are more reliable war machines that can actually hold objectives. They can do pip damage just about all game and if you combine them with some other shooting then put out some serious hurt. Insert heart emoji here.


Berserker Brock Riders

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Andrew – 6/10
I said what I said. Maybe a 7? But no better. Brock riders are the only unit we get greater than Speed 6. They are not hammers (they simply are not). They are not anvils (-/18 does not cut it anymore). They are not nimble or anything else cool. They are Vicious. They hit on 4s. They have extra attacks. They are only TC1. They are only D4. You need them because they are the only thing in your army that can move. But compared to other cavalry units, they just don’t cut it. You have to give them a magic item like Pathfinder or Jboots to really use them well, so their “low” cost is a bit of a lie.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 6/10
Controversially for a Dwarf player, I don’t like Brock Riders – I actually think they’re pretty crap. They went from a really tanky unit in V2, to medium cavalry at best in V3. But with a heavy cavalry price tag.

-/18 is a good nerve, but Defence 4 means that they’ll be taking ALOT more damage than other Cavalry units. 26 attacks at Me4 is only 1 more hit on average than 18 attacks at Me3. Except like all the other Cavalry regiments they don’t have TC2 or even better CS1 TC1. This means that when Hindered they hit like a wet fart.

I just find them all round… meh. They’re not terrible, but don’t really do much. The best I can say is that the troops make fairly decent thicc chaff.

I know others will disagree with me (and that’s the whole point of this format!) but I’ve tried and I’ve tried them and I’m consistently underwhelmed. Stick to the awesome infantry choices Dwarfs get and ignore this unit.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Eric – 8/10
 I was upset at the nerf they got in v3 until a local player showed me just how absurd the troops are now. Seriously. . . make an all Brock and Lord on Beast list.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Matt – 7/10
I have seen a few dwarf players stumping around with no teeth recently, most likely from all the gnashing over the touch up these took in the move from 2nd to 3rd. They copped a very significant nerve nerf but also a significant points decrease.

This has seen a big change in how they must be played, no longer can they be pushed forward and survive a round of shooting or an initial charge, instead they must be held back until the opportune moment. I have still been putting two regiments in every list but am becoming more convinced that the best numbers are either 1 or 3. At speed 8 they still need a delivery system in regiment form, but at a troop level they may just be some of the best chaff going around and are far more points efficient. Volume attacks are always good but with only TC 1 they can really wimp their attacks.


Earth Elementals

Andrew – 6/10
As good a unit as any other army’s version, but ours are a touch better simply because of the Stone Priest’s ability to hit them with Surge and Bane Chant. Flexible movement is key in the army, since our army sucks at moving. Elementals can provide a mobile, flexible centre than can support to either side if needs be. I always have two hordes with a Stone Priest, I never give them magic items.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Elliot – 7/10
Defence 6 on a Fearless -/18 unit will just always be good there’s no doubt about it. In a vacuum these are excellent units and I can see why so many Dwarf players gravitate towards them.

I’m not a personal fan but I know that’s more about personal preference than the quality of the unit. I don’t like how when you start taking Elementals you’re pushed so far down a particular list design path… once you take one horde, you need a Stone Priest to take full advantage of them. If you take a Stone Priest you pretty much have to give him Bane Chant or else you’re paying points for special rule you can’t use. By the time you’ve invested so many points into your Stone Priest (who only Inspires Elementals) you really need to take a second horde of Elementals to justify the spending on the Stone Priest. So a single horde doesn’t really cost 220 points, it actually costs 550.

They’re 70 points more expensive than an Ironguard regiment and for those 70 points you get CS1 (12 Me3 attacks =/= 18 Me4 attacks), +1 Nerve, Fearless instead of Headstrong, +1 speed, Pathfinder and Brutal. That’s a fairly decent chunk of additional stuff, but its also a decent amount of points more than Ironguard.

I personally would rather take 3 Ironguard regiments rather than 2 Earth Elemental hordes.

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Eric – 8/10 (with a Stone Priest)
Anvil, hammer, and rock hard abs?! What else could you want in a unit? Def6 and Stone Priest synergy is top notch.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Matt – 7/10
These guys are really going to depend on your specific build, given you don’t need to unlock a lot of monsters you don’t lose anything comparably to an infantry horde. You’re taking this unit if you want the def 6 wall, with Me4+ and CS1 they’re not going to be reliable for you even in a flank on a high def unit so you’ll get more punch out of your infantry hordes. I actually think they’re great value in a regiment but they make unlocks difficult if you take them like this.


Mastiff Hunting Pack

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5/10
Our only chaff. They are not good chaff compared to proper fast-moving, cheap, nimble chaff enjoyed by most other armies. But it’s what we got. Their high nerve means they can sometimes do things other chaff cannot. They can throw dogs for 15 points, but they aren’t headstrong and it’s not hard to waver them and really bork up your lines.

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Elliot – 8/10
They’re super fast! Ok, they’re not. But they’re super fast compared to their little legged masters.

I’ve rated Mastiff Packs so highly simply because their cost/stats ratio is exceptionally good value. There are better chaff units in the game, but for 65 points Mastiff Packs are easily the best value.

I’m constantly amazed by what fails to kill them, their 11/13 nerve and slightly higher than usual defence for a swarm comes into play so often. Plus if you can get one of these into the flank of a cavalry regiment, they hit as hard as an Earth Elemental horde.

I have never taken these without the Throwing Dog upgrade as they’re the perfect delivery system for it. Having an effective 18” range on the Throwing Dogs means that you can reliably use them to pick off your opponent’s chaff before they get close enough to be a problem for you.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 8/10
With Throwing Mastiff, they make amazing chaff.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 8/10
This unit is sensational chaff. A nerve value of 11/13 means they survive more often that you would think so when Inspired can do they job of holding if you don’t want them to pop. Giving them Mastiffs just makes them so good and so bloody annoying! And who doesn’t enjoy the thought of dogs throwing other dogs. Amazing! At speed 6 and cheap they can be chaff for most things in your army but will primarily be your brock delivery system.


Ironbelcher Cannon

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 5/10
Cannons are solid, thought a lot less so since the nerf.

Elliot – 6/10
Cannons can either be incredible or infuriatingly inaccurate. There are games where you’ll swing between thinking they’re a 3/10 or 10/10.

For me the reason I settled on a 6/10 is the fact that you can’t really plan around them. Taking a full battery of 3 does at mean that you ‘should’ get two hits out of six shots, but that’s still not really guaranteed. Plus unlike the Organ Guns your opponent is unlikely to massively change how they play as a result of your cannons. More likely they’ll hope they miss and send a war machine hunter after them.

Theres nothing wrong with cannons, but nothing exceptional either.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Eric – 7/10
Anecdotally, I removed an Idol of Shobik in 1 turn with 3 of these bad boys. Powerhouse of a cannon.

Matt – 6.5/10
I was tempted to score this more highly but the reason I didn’t is because one on it’s own doesn’t really have a role, and 2 in a 2000 point game that meant 11% of points has gone on unreliable non scoring shooting. When they do hit yum yum you’ll be praising the Celestians and quaffing ale, more often than not unless you go for taking 3 I think they’re found wanting.


Flame Belcher

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 4/10
Meh. Flame Belchers used to be cool.

Elliot – 5/10
I like Flame Belchers, they fit really nicely into my play style of holding up the enemy’s big hitters with my Defence 6 units and shooting them to bits in the meantime. 15 Ra4 shots is nothing to sniff at and again combined with all the other shooting the list can generate, these can be used to fairly reliably but 3-4 points of damage on a unit.

However they’re held back by the fact that they’re War Engines. That means no Unit Strength and the fact that they can’t move at the double (or over obstacles at all) – if these were Monsters they’d be 7/10 easily.

Eric – 6/10
Decent at chaff removal when run with an infantry line.

Matt – 7/10
I am in the process of modelling some of these as I think they are really versatile in a list that is primarily infantry/slow paced units. Along with surge and individuals, these really are your only flying defence. The lack of piercing can hurt but with 15 shots, you’re getting 5 hits per turn and sneaking a couple of those to wounds. Good value all rounder.


Jarrun Bombard

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5/10
Longer range makes these nice, but cannons are a little better.

Elliot – 2/10
When was the last time that your Cannon’s didn’t have a single target in range? Not out of line of sight but actually out of your 48” range. Never? Though not.

Ignore these and take a cannon instead.

Eric – 1/10
This unit won’t be reliving its glory days. When stacked up to the Iron Belcher, it is the unwanted step child.

Matt – 2/10
I really don’t see a role for this over the cannon, the “Blast it” shot doesn’t have shattering like the cannon and the “lob it” well who cares about the extra 12 inches when you can cover most of the board with 48 anyway? Leave it at home and take a cannon.


Ironbelcher Organ Gun

Photo credit: Jose Vega

Andrew – 6/10
Other people swear by these. Mine miss all the time and then die. I would have rated these a 5, I think, but they’re being used successfully by other players.

Elliot – 8/10
Now we’re talking! I LOVE Organ Guns, they’re easily the best War Engines in the game simply because no other War Engine has such an impact on how your opponent plays.

They come in three’s or not at all in my opinion and they’re the absolute masters of area denial. Point all three of them at a point where you don’t want your opponent to go and then deploy the rest of your army safe in the knowledge that you’ve got ¼ of the board covered.

For Organ Guns to work best they do need supporting, else they will just get picked up easily by war machine hunters. Steel Juggernauts are absolutely perfect for this as they can angle themselves to charge anything that charges the Organ Guns, whilst adding another 5 Ra5, P2 shots themselves. Don’t forget, despite what everyone seems to think, you can actually move your Organ Guns. Plan ahead, any time that you don’t have a shooting target move the guns to where you anticipate you’ll have the greatest number of targets next turn – or where you don’t want to your opponent to be next turn.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 4/10
Not enough shots to remove units anymore. For the cost, its just underwhelming.

Matt – 7/10
A lot of people don’t rate the Organ Gun in the Dwarf list any more when you have other options and yes I miss the 3 extra attacks they lost and the 5 extra points they now cost but they probably were slightly too good before. Their strength is in area denial and combined with some protection can still eliminate chaff and put some early hurt on anything that drops in front of them. Still love me some glocks… fully licenced and controlled of course


Battle Driller

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Andrew – 3/10
If you have 90 points to spend just about anywhere else, I will.

Elliot – 3/10
In its current guise I don’t see any point in ever bothering to take a Battle Driller. Their stats are fairly decent and if they were 60 points I’d maybe consider it, but at 90 points they’re far too expensive to ever justify adding in.

My biggest issue with them is the fact that because they have the Individual special rule your opponent can over run after killing them, letting them fairly easily take out two of your unit a turn.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 3/10
The cost is a bit too high for its special rules.

Matt – 3/10
Pretty sure King Golloch has haemorrhoids from the anger caused over what has been done to the poor Battle Drillers. Last edition even at their cheap points they still weren’t an auto include so I’m not sure who they drilled the wrong way to get the current treatment because basically you wouldn’t bother taking them now as a non-scoring individual that at best adds slight damage to a combat. Their best rule is Brutal when adding to that combat, but overall they’re not overly effective chaff even due to their slow speed.


Steel Behemoth

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Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 6/10
If this unit had Speed 6, it would be a truly cool unit. Right now it’s too slow to really do the job a big gribbly needs to do. The upgrade is really expensive, and most other armies get flying, fire breathing horror shows for that many points. 

Photo credit: Jose Vega

Elliot – 4/10
Suffering a similar fate to most ‘on foot’ monsters in Kings of War, the Steel Behemoth is just far too expensive for what it does. If you compare it to a Greater Earth Elemental, its effectively paying an addition 30 points for its shooting attack – but if its shooting its not making use of it combat stats that it pays SOOOO much for.

It’s also painfully slow, but unlike other units in the Dwarf list, it doesn’t get the budget price tag that comes along with the slow speed. Golloch’s Fury is laughably overpriced, taking an already overly expensive unit into ludicrous territory.

A horde of Earth Elementals will do pretty much the exact same role, move faster, unlock and are significantly cheaper. I’m looking for a redeeming feature but I haven’t found one yet… the models really nice.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 7/10
I’ve never been a big fan, but I have seen them do solid work in many dwarf lists.

Matt – 6.5 (7.5 with Golloch’s Fury)
I am always very conflicted over such expensive units with only US 1 but the reality is that the  beasts are very unlikely to do die if played well. I actually really like the upgrade to Golloch’s Fury. The Very Inspiring and extra range and piercing is very useful although I find it unusual it loses Steady Aim for the premium you are paying. I think these all go best in a list with combined shooting. I have seen them well used babysitting other warmachines for when the person tries to take them out they get countered by the behemoth.


Greater Earth Elemental

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5/10
Good, like any other G.E.E. in any other army. Doesn’t benefit from the Stone Priest’s special ability by virtue of it’s CS. Speed 6 is nice to have on hand in a Dwarf Army, but you’re probably better off taking another horde of regular elementals.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Elliot – 6/10
Whilst still very expensive, the Greater Earth Elemental is a solid unit. Fearless, Defence 6 and -/19 is an unbelievably hard nut for some lists to crack and I’ve seen tooled up Soul Reaver infantry units bounce off them before being swarmed by Dwarfs (one of the most cathartic sights in wargaming). Having a Speed 6 threat in your lines is big deal for the Dwarfs as it stops your opponent being able to manoeuvre quite as entirely unopposed as they otherwise might do. It’s the additional speed (and the cost) that pushes the Greater Earth Elemental a head and shoulders above the Steel Behemoth in my opinion.

Unlike the Earth Elemental hordes, I think the GEE is a perfectly valid choice in an army that doesn’t include any Surge, although if you happen to already have some in its certainly not a bad thing.

Photo credit : John Blakemore

Eric – 8/10 (with Stone Priest)
Drop this bad boy on the corner of an elemental line and your opponents will regret charging in.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 6/10
I have to admit to not having used one this edition, when it comes down to it I just want the points elsewhere. In a surgeable list could be great though the square base allows some funky charges and he is as tough as the weathered skin on Jon Faulkes’ face. However he is hurt by the size of the titan base when trying to get some sneaky charges and I just feel that despite being tougher and more attacks than he used to be, due to hitting on 4s he’s not going to bring you that love you desperately desire.


Dwarf Lord

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Andrew – 4/10
Expensive, slow-ass line commander. The special horn can be nice in some armies. He’s better with Wings. He’s slow, doesn’t hit hard, but he’s D6. Mostly, he’s boring.

Elliot – 7/10
A really solid little individual that just like many of the infantry units, gets to have a fairly stellar stat line at a budget price. These guys are a steal with the Wings of the Honeymaze as they get all this mitigates all of the weakness of being only Speed 4. I’ve never seen anyone take the Headstrong re-roll aura and I can’t imagine I ever will. It’s nice but seeing as you can’t take it in conjuncture with the Wings, its pure luck whether or not your Headstrong failing units happen to be within 6” of him at the time.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 7/10
The aura makes the army virtually unwaverable. Wings of the Honeymaze make him great at shutting down shooting , which can be key when playing these insanely slow Dwarfs.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 7/10
I love the Lord. With Wings of Honeymaze he is super annoying for your opponents and those extra 5 attacks can’t be ignored. The Horn of Heroes is ok but if you’re taking him with Wings then nah. I can also see multiple of these in an infantry heavy list and at Def6 and Mighty man they are going to be annoying!


Dwarf Lord on Large Beast

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 7/10
This, however, is a good Lord unit. He’s flexible, Nimble, can hit hard, threaten flanks, and provides good range of threat and flexibility. He’s overcosted when you look at what people get over in the realm of the Northern Alliance, but he’s still a solid choice. Haste, Mead of Madness, and other items go well on him. 

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Elliot – 6/10
A decent enough unit, but with the price point to match. Defensively this unit is exactly the same as a regiment as Ironguard which is incredibly good especially as the 50mm base limits the number of units that can get into combat with them at once. I try to limit myself to only taking one, because their damage output is simply ok at best. Taking multiples eats up a huge amount of your points without giving you a whole lot of punch.

I think Dwarf players really overrate this unit, I’m certain that my co-reviewers will have rated it higher than me. But I think that’s because they’re looking at it through Dwarf-tinted glasses and its the only bit of durable speed in the list. Compared to equivalent style units its pretty average and if this unit existed in any other armies it would be thought of as unremarkable at best. I recommend not spending too long comparing these to the Northern Alliance/ Varangur Lord on Frostfang, it’ll just make you sad…

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Eric – 10/10
Herald of the dwarf army. This unit has so much versatility. High Def and nerve, and decent melee stats to go with it.

Matt – 8/10
Probably one of the best changes for this list coming into 3rd. Speed 7 is a bit meh but having a Nimble Def6 on a 50mm base is just ace. He can almost hold a flank on his own if necessary whilst the bulk of your army does the heavy lifting in the middle or another flank. I’ve seen lots of people advocate for 2 but for me I’d have be playing 2300+ for that.

Get this Lord in the flank and sing a death march to your opponent as with almost anything else in the same combat it’s going bye byes.


Berserker Lord

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 7/10
Our only mounted combat individual. He’s inexplicably not Mighty. He is flexible, can pin down fliers, and can hold down units or push a combat over the edge for you. I highly recommend at least one in the army. Give him Duelist or Blade of the Beast Slayer.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Elliot – 7/10
Either mounted on a Brock or with the Wings of the Honeymaze (which let you keep your Wildcharge (D3) for a very tasty 23” charge range) these guys make brilliant little guided missiles, flinging themselves around the battlefield and causing mayhem wherever they’re needed most.

People have a tendency to overinvest in them in my opinion, and seem to gravitate towards the Blade of the Beast Slayer because of the high number of attacks. But once you’ve mounted him on a Brock and given him the Blade he becomes 160 points, making him really quite pricey and meaning that you need to be making sure you get value out of him.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Eric – 7/10
This guy on a mount can reach out and touch shooters, hit casters trying to hide behind infantry, and with the Blade of the Beast Slayer, he makes a great monster hunter.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 7/10
I’d rate the Berserker Lord more highly if all versions were good but you just wouldn’t bother with him on foot. Take him on a brock with Beast Slayer and he will always ground a flier and likely go a round or 2 with them. That is still my favourite fit out but can be good options with Mournful Blade if you need an individual hunter or if you want a warmachine hunter/chaffing individual give him wings and with wild charge D3 is a pain in proverbial.


Stone Priest

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 6/10
Necessary tax for having elementals. Stone Priests have a nice special rule that lets them Bane Chant a unit of elementals they just surged into combat. I typically take Bane Chant and the Staff of Conjuring on mine. 

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 4/10
This is a protest rating. Boo! Stop forcing narrow list design and let people build lists how they want!

The Stone Priest is one dimensional and boring as hell. Have you ever seen one outside of a list with at least two Earth Elemental hordes, or taken without Bane Chant? No I thought not. The Stone Priest is 40 (yes that’s right 40!) points more expensive than an Undead Necromancer and all of those points have clearly gone into the Stoneshaper and conditional Inspiring special rules. Think of all the different permutations that you can get out of a Kingdoms of Men Wizard – now look back at the Stone Priest, yawn and move on.

I guess it’s a perfectly fine unit when you’re doing the cookie cutter thing it’s so clearly designed to do. But seriously, units that are so one dimensional like this are boring and shouldn’t exist.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Eric – 9/10
This guy standing behind elementals will be your armies MVP. Surge those behemoths into a flank and then toss out Bane Chant for a tasty helping of unit-be-gone.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Matt – 5/10
Scoring the Stone Priest is tough because without rocks you just don’t take him due to no natural Inspiring, you now have the Flame Priest instead but if you have rocks he is an auto. You still need a couple of rocks units for him to be worth taking. To see him in more lists I’d like to see some sort of free replacement for surge to make him worth considering.


Warsmith

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Andrew – 4/10
I had hopes the buffs for this guy would make him better. He’s still a waste of points.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 4/10
Giving Elite (ranged) to a whole host of different units could be a truly excellent rule, if those units were themselves worth taking. But they’re not… so it isn’t. Point for point you would always be better off just buying another War Engine.

Sorry Warsmith I want to love you but feel that you need a bit of redesign to ever be worthwhile.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 5/10
He has his uses, but overall, I think the points are better spent elsewhere.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 5/10
I want to love him but the reality is that elite on low volume shooting is not going to yield many rewards, and when everything is tripling attacks on your war machines you’re paying for an Inspiring unit to try and get a snake eyes on the re-roll.

If you had volume of Warsmith and Ironwatch units it’s a maybe but you’d almost want a gunline to make it work.


Dwarf Army Standard Bearer

Andrew – 5/10
He’s every Standard Bearer, complete with requisite Lute.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Elliot – 6/10
Nothing too much to dislike, other than his little legs can mean that it can sometimes be a pain to get Inspiring where you need it. But Def5 and Headstrong is a nice touch.

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Eric – 7/10
Give him the Lute and call it a day.

Matt – 7/10
Cheap Inspiring you can add a lute or shooting attack too depending on your list so why not?


Steel Juggernaut

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Andrew – 6/10
Maybe 6/10 is generous. I used these a lot early on – they’re really great in a couple of ways. Honestly, they need to be a unit on their own. As Inspiring sources of chip damage and decent combat, they can be useful. Especially since they provide Nimble. However, they aren’t *great*, and I’d rather have a regiment of Ironguard for the cost. 

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Elliot – 8/10
Fantastic little unit that comes with everything you could want from a Dwarf Large Infantry hero. He’s sturdy and reliable. The best use for these guys is either babysitting war engines while still being useful because of his shooting attack. Or sat alongside Ironguard/ Ironclad and picking up flank charged once the enemy has engaged.

Eric – 7/10
These guys are just great to have around. Tanky , manoeuvrable, and they shoot?!

Matt – 7.5/10
The MacGyver of the Dwarf list. This unit is useful for about anything. Def6, yum, shooting attack yum, 5 attacks on 3’s CS2 yum, inspiring yum. In the right list take two and it will cover most of your units and still scores. Think tougher ogres that shoot.


Flame Priest

Andrew – 6/10
Nice to have another source of Bane Chant and a Fireball handy. I wish these guys would allow the army to take Fire Elementals. Give one of them an Inspiring Talisman and you have a nice, flexible line commanding character.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

 Elliot – 6/10
These are nice decent little Wizards and after you’ve given the Lute to an Army Standard Bearer, they’re a fairly good value way of getting more Bane Chant into your list. But their choice of spells is fairly limited and Fireball is currently very much second fiddle to Lighting Bolt.

Ok but not great. Still more interesting than the Stone Priest though…

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 6/10
 Good source for Bane Chant when not running elementals.

Matt – 3/10
Fireball 6, who cares. You’d literally take him to get BC as a second source instead of on your Standard Bearer because without Inspiring he is worse.


Rordin the Dwarf

Andrew – 1/10
Why?

Elliot – 6/10
He stacks up quite favourably compared to a basic Dwarf Lord getting Pathfinder, +1 CS and his really quite neat special rule (Now I’m Angry) for a mere 20 points.

The problem is, you don’t tend to take Dwarf Lords on foot you take them with wings. But if you wanted to take a Dwarf Lord ‘on foot’ then Rordin is a very decent and worthwhile upgrade.

Eric – 6/10
He’s fun, but competitively I think you’re better off elsewhere.

Matt – 5/10
In an infantry list where you are taking a Lord you’d consider this guy as you get a bit of bang for the extra 15 points in Pathfinder, + 1 CS and the Now I’m Angry special rule. Can’t see a role for him otherwise.


Garrek Heavyhand

Andrew – 1/10
No seriously, why? The Imperial Dwarfs got straight-up screwed on named characters and Mantic needs to fix it. Both of these guys are useless.

Elliot – 4/10
See above about Dwarf Lords on foot, but for yet another 25 points compared to Rordin. The problem is you’re now up to 45 points more than a basic Dwarf Lord and you still only have 5 attacks. Realistically what is CS3 going to achieve for you that CS1 doesn’t? 1 more damage per round? Regeneration and +1 nerve is nice, but for me Garrek falls very much into the ‘meh’ camp. Also can Dwarfs please get a Living Legend that isn’t just another speed 4 Dwarf Lord with a few extra bells and whistles tied on?

Eric – 7/10
Running this guy with a line of infantry is great. He adds some much needed punch when added to a charge.

Matt – 6/10
For the extra points you get a bit at CS3 and Regen on Def6. That’s a bit drool worthy. However at a 150 points for an individual again you’d want to be infantry heavy as speed 4 is so cruel in this game!


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


Summary

Overall average ratings /10: 5.8/10

Most agreed upon unit(s): Shieldbreakers, Battle Driller, Berserker Lord (All reviewers gave the same rating)

Least agreed upon unit(s): Garrek Heavyhand (5 points of difference between highest and lowest scores)

Army Review: Forces of Basilea

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. In reality 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 decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Jeremy, Jon, Mark and Tom for their help with this review.

The ‘Expert’ Panel

Jeremy Duvall
Hi all!  My name is Jeremy Duvall and I am one of the hosts of the Counter Charge Podcast. I have been playing Basileans on the tournament scene since the middle of the Second Edition.  Basilea is also my main hobby army.  I have been painting them, with parts from companies from around the world, for the last two years.  My philosophy on building lists is to find models you love and then work on trying to make the most competitive list with those models.  The highlight of my tournament season last year with Basileans ended with finishing tied for 4th overall and 10th in battle at the 2020 US Masters.  This year, the Basileans have brought home a third place finish at the Bugeater GT and first place at the Riddle of Steel GT.  Basilea is an army full of interesting backgrounds with a great theme for picking models.  It is a solid army for beginner or veteran alike.

Jon Quayle
UK Number 2 2019, twice in one year (tournament result league table and Masters)! I have played wargames for over 25 years (so far too long) and have worked in miniature games stores in the past. Been playing KoW since the end of 8th edition Warhammer although dabbled in 1st edition (why not just take cavalry, soul reavers have infinite life leech WTF!) for fun. In my advanced years I have slightly lessened my competitive tendencies over the years and really enjoyed painting over the lockdown period. You may also know me from sometimes appearing on the world renowned Counter Charge or scarring your vision on some Dash 28 streamed games, mainly to satisfy my need for fame.
What is your experience with the army? I have played Basilea over most of 2019 and into 2020, having painted an army in a week and nearly killing myself! In that time they have changed quite dramatically, speak to any long time Basiliean players about what they have lost and be prepared for a long night. Personally, I lean towards an alpha strike army every time; full of Elohi, Knights and Panthers with a good chunk of heroes, not taken a more infantry based army option only because I haven painted them, although completing this guide has wet my appetite to get some completed! It is worth noting I will mark the units as a standalone piece but also rationale how they fit in how  I play Basilea, some choice are better than other on paper but don’t fit as part of my alpha strike game plan whereas others will
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Mark Campbell
From New Brunswick, Canada. Been playing tabletop wargames for 20+ years. Migrated to Kings of War in V2 alongside many other Warhammer refugees and came to absolutely love the system.

Played Basilea all through Call to Arms 4 and ended up on the top table in the final round, finishing in the top 10 overall. I joined the NorthEast War Kings (NEWK) in early 2020 after Corona hit and discovered the best thing about Kings of War – the community.

Tom Annis
Longtime Basilean player. I have been on every Countercharge review for the army and wrote the Dash28 review as well. Consistently placed near the top of tournaments with Basileans throughout Second Edition. I fine-tuned the double-formation ‘meta’ Basilean list into something special before the list was killed off with the edition change. Used my Basilean models as Brothermark for the US Masters after months of trying to come up with a great Third Edition Basilean list and failing. Crashed and burned at the event and did a heel-turn by playing Undead pretty much exclusively since then. I have stayed active with the army by playing it in non-tournament games, dispensing advice to the other Dictators out there, and continuously pleading with the RC for equal treatment of the Elohi (if Drakons can unlock and have two levels of wound modifier then so cab the similar unit which is equally important to the flavour and fluff of the Basilean faction). 


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. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


Men-at-Arms Swordsmen

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Photo credit: Jesse Driver

Jeremy – 6/10
Your basic cheap infantry option.  Nothing really special or interesting about these guys.  Good if you want a cheap unit.  However, I think there are more interesting choices for infantry elsewhere in the list.

Jon – 6/10
Low cost, bog standard troop choice. Troops are a cost effective chaff worth the command if you have the points, cheapest unlock in the list at regiment size to act as a good objective taker/chaff and fairly resilient at horde size which benefits the most from the Command Upgrade. Use them for cost effective charge takers in all sizes although there are better options if you have the point. Not worth upgrading with artefacts more than to use spare points.

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Photo Credit: Jonathon Quayle

Mark – 7/10
Solid Unlocking unit. Taken as a regiment, they provide a nice backbone of Unit Strength for a very reasonable cost. Iron Resolve is a nice bonus here as it will really help against ‘chip’ damage and will often mean that your unit(s) stick around for that one extra turn.

Not going to kill much, but that’s not their job.

Tom – 5/10
A Speed 5, Defence 4 melee unit isn’t doing anything for you in terms of board control and even with increased nerve from the Veteran Command upgrade won’t outlast your opponents’ mainline units. But this basic warrior unit is the cheapest unlock in the army and therefore has value despite its pure averageness. Its value bumped down from a 6 to a 5 with Elohi becoming regular, lessening the need for cheap unlocks.


Men-at-Arms Spearmen

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Photo credit: Nic Murray

Jeremy – 7/10
This is a solid infantry horde.  This is my goto unit when I want to get some nerve into the center of my battleline.  If you wanted to run an infantry/grind style list this would be my go to horde for stacking unit strength.  This unit works well In the middle of your battle or holding a flank as a fast hammer defense.  Doing horde multi-bases with infantry allows you to do some cool things design wise.  I tend to go hordes if I want to take regular sized infantry because it allows for more interesting basing. Nothing mind blowing here but a solid choice.

Jon – 6/10
Upgrade on the swordsmen, gaining more attacks and Phalanx. Generally the cost boost is hard to justify, especially at troop and regiment sizes, the damage potential is minimal and Phalanx is situational. But hordes with both command and an artefact like Hammer of Measured Force or waver mitigation are a better anvil than the Swordsmen with some good grind potential, great at holding down areas of the map.

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Photo credit: Daniel Read

Mark – 5/10
Similar to Swordsmen, but more expensive. In an environment where medium cavalry is prevalent, these guys might be ok as a horde, but in most cases they are just more expensive Swordsmen.

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Tom – 6/10
Phalanx is a good defensive ability but only truly shines when paired with another defensive trait like Defence 5 or Ensnare. This unit also lacks an offensive rule which makes the Elf/Twilight Kin versions a nice hybrid unit. But horde-level nerve does have value and I would always pay the 30 points to upgrade a horde from Swordsmen to Spearmen. Multiple hordes might be an effective strategy but not one I have tried.

Photo credit: George Charles
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Photo credit: Jesse Driver

Paladin Foot Guard

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Jeremy – 8/10
This is a great heavy infantry unit.  Works well on its own or with other Paladin Foot Guard units to take advantage of Paladin Defender special rule.  Paladins are a durable unit and if they get into a flank 24 attacks on 3+ is not a small thing.  This is a good unit if you like a checkerboard style infantry deployment. Also, 15/17 with Headstrong and Iron resolve will stick through most first rounds of combat to hold up an enemy unit and allow something juicer to get into a flank.

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Photo credit: Nic Murray

Jon – 6/10
I personally always struggled to justify this unit until recently, it either did not offer enough damage potential with shields or lacked resilience with two handed weapons. I have come around after seeing them utilised on mass or with other infantry regiments. With 15/17 nerve at their points and with the proper support, they can grind very well at regiment size, especially with a unit of Paladin Defenders. Troops struggle to make an appearance only as other troops offer better chaff but could make and appearance as a small additional damage dealer ideally next to a unit with the Defenders upgrade. The Aegis Fragment is a very good choice but can be left behind and artefacts again would possibly be limited to spare point options.

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Photo credit: Page Neo

Mark – 8/10
Fantastic unit! I frequently build units around these guys. They hit reasonably hard with the CS1 upgrade and with good nerve and Headstrong, they tend to stick around. A couple units taken together with a unit of the Defenders (giving Elite aura to the Paladin infantry) makes for a solid line of punchy infantry that can take a hit too.

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Tom – 7/10
The un-thinking man’s choice, every Basilean player has played a few games at least with three regiments with the Paladin Defenders upgrade. Beyond the obvious one, Paladin Foot Guard are a very good unit that benefit from the synergistic combination of Defense 5, Iron Resolve, and Headstrong, which combined with the Heal capabilities of the army make them the best choice if going for a true battleline strategy. They don’t reach the mega-value range for me due to the lack of a horde option and Speed 5, which means there are a lot of uber-hammers out there that are faster and can go through a regiment in one charge.   

Photo credit: Grant Fetter
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Photo credit: Mark Lent

Sisterhood Infantry

Jeremy – 4/10
This unit makes me so sad.  I want to love it.  My whole army theme runs around using female models and female conversations and this unit would fit so well into that theme.  However, this unit comes in at a high price.  I understand not wanting to hand out waiver mitigation like candy, but the fact this unit does not have Headstrong at the least makes no sense.  They are fanatical battle nuns!  This is a missed opportunity Mantic.  If this unit was a little more interesting, and there was an easy way to pick up the Vanguard Sisterhood models, this could be an awesome Mantic model unit in any Basilean army. 

Jon – 5/10
Ah the pious sisters of the Hegemony, ah I lament your woes. Let’s start positive, they do have Crushing (1), Vicious, Wild Charge (D3) and relatively high number of attacks so they do have some potential. But they lost Headstrong from the last edition, making them less reliable than other similar fanatic units, so they aren’t very good so don’t take them.

No wait hang on, looking a again they aren’t half bad, well maybe. The regiments start to compete with the foot guard who are a lot better for an extra 5 points, but troops add a little extra damage and range threat but are VERY fragile. It’s the hordes that do offer some very good potential with an offensive item or waver mitigation. The real issue that they are not a bad choice just the spearmen hordes do a similar thing but safer at less points, higher defence and same attacks/Me/Nv. I tried.

Mark – 5/10
CS1, Vicious and Wild Charge (D3) are all nice with these ladies. The Me4 is offset a bit by the slightly increased attacks at each unit size. Probably best used as a troop, but they have good nerve and they do synergize with some of the other Sisterhood units. If I’m honest, I’m a bit stuck as to exactly how best to employ them, but I think there’s some potential there.

Tom – 3.5/10
A bad middle ground between Berserkers and Polearm Block in Kingdoms of Men, the Sisterhood Infantry have neither the waver mitigation of the former nor the cheapness of the latter. Wild Charge on Speed 5 is the worst. Pass on this unit until it’s changed in a future CoK pack (working on that).


Men-at-Arms Crossbowmen

Jeremy – 4/10
This unit may work in some builds but I am not a fan of Reload style units.  If you want to play a gunline there are a lot of better armies that can do that role and still have a similar model feel.  With so many choices that have 18 P1 shooting with Steady Aim in other armies it is just hard to justify this unit. Most Basilean builds want to be moving forward and this unit can slow down a battle line.  However, I could see this unit coming in at a 5 in the Regiment size.

Jon – 4/10
I really want to say they have a place somewhere, that Piercing (1), unlocks, decent nerve/Def and Iron Resolve will get them through, that 4 regiments, couple of Sisterhood Scouts, 2/3 Arbalests and a some Wizards with Lightning Bolt will form some decent ranged firepower. But each time I do, I realise they are more points than Kindred Archers, any movement ruins any chance of hitting and the points saved by taking Swordsman can be used far more usefully. Ah well.

Mark – 4/10
Not much to say about these guys. Pretty standard crossbow troops that struggle to find good fit into the list as a whole. They aren’t terrible, but there are much more synergistic places to spend your points.

Tom – 3/10
Crossbowmen have never fit with any strategy for the army I have ever come up with. Even with Pot Shot, chasing damage from a Ra 5 Piercing 1 Reload unit isn’t how you win games. The stat profile has some value but if you want a ranged element in Basileans look to other options.


Sisterhood Scouts

Jon – 5/10
Now this is a shooting unit! Scout, Steady Aim, Vicious (ranged) and (drum roll) Iron Resolve, what’s not to like. Buuuut, limited shooting support, irregular and currently high cost to purchase in quantity (come on Mantic, you know what to do!), you tend not to see them regularly. If they were regular (and affordable irl) I would definitely try a couple of regiments, their good all round ability adds flexibility so there is hope! (come on Mantic!).

Mark – 5/10
Ra4 bows with Steady Aim, Vicious (Ranged) and Scout are pretty decent, but as with the other Basilea ranged units, they don’t synergize as well with the rest of the list. These girls are also Irregular. I do think you could find a place for them in certain lists where their mobility could be used to good effect by plinking away at casters.

Tom – 7/10
The elite regimental shooting unit the powers-that-be “want” you to play with if you are taking shooting (never mind that the real shooting power currently is in the incredible ease with which about a third of the armies can get to the magic number of Lightning Bolt 18).  Sisterhood Scouts missed the jailbreak of their counterparts in other lists for some reason but have undiscovered value for the faction. Controlling the center of the board with three regiments shooting safely from the deployment zone while overwatched by Elohi in a chess-style Hypermodern opening is something that would be a legitimate strategy if Elohi ever didn’t suck.


Gur Panthers

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Photo credit: Daniel Read

Jeremy – 8/10
This is probably the best chaff piece in the army.  Fast enough to keep up with any of your speed elements and easy to hide when you need to based on its shorter height.  Tons of great model opportunities for this unit.  My army has a lion theme so I use lions from the old GW White Lion Chariot kit.  The only issue you run into this unit is when it gets wavered when you wish it had just died.  It has a 9/11 nerve so you really need to hide this model from shooting during deployment.

Jon – 8/10
These are strangely one of my favourite unit options and rarely do I go to war without at least one troop. Speed 10 and Pathfinder makes them more flexible than flyers in moving around the battlefield, their low height keeps them out of danger until needed and in the regiment option are a surprisingly good flanker on the right target. Try to resist using them up front or throwing them away without any real gain just because you can, sometimes their growl is enough and saving them for a last turn objective grab is the sweetest release (like everyone, I don’t get out much these days).

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Photo credit: Nic Murray

Mark – 7/10
Good fast chaff. Really nice if you’re taking Paladin Knights. They can also make effective end game units for capping objectives if you aren’t in as much need of chaff for that game.

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Tom – 9/10
Has every element you want in a chaff unit except Fly (even the lack of which has certain advantages)—Speed 10, Nimble, and Pathfinder. Not broken like Harpies (which have all four plus two more attacks for only 5 points more), but two troops should be in every single list. 


Paladin Knights

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Jon – 7/10
Before Elohi became regular (Blessed be the Shining Ones/RC!) and because I have them painted, they had been the mainstay of most of my armies. Although they hit as hard a mid-range knight unit with resilience to grind a little, they are on the pricey side and will need artefacts to make them real killers. Troops can be considered but cost does push them out for panthers (compared to Revenant cavalry troops, they make you sad but that goes for most), Regiments are a solid choice and Hordes are….. fun. Be prepared to work to get the most from them, chaff/great positioning is needed to preserve their Thunderous, correct target choice is needed (see previous reason) and a handy Bane Chant is necessary when you do mess up like forgetting Wild Charge. Elite (god I miss formations, damn you 3rd ed), Strength, Vicious, Sharpness, Boots, Pathfinder artefacts are not going to be wasted on these although they will be competing with the pretty lads. Aegis fragment worth more here than the foot.

Mark – 8/10
Great cavalry unit you can easily build an army around or even just add a unit to any list as a good hammer. They are a bit more expensive than other similar cavalry, but you get what you pay for. Higher nerve and Iron Resolve make for a fairly tough unit. 

Tom – 7/10
Paladin Knights have always been the budget hammer in Basileans. They get their value from the speed and moderate hitting power you get for a moderate price which compliments the true damage dealers in the list (Ogre Palace Guard and Elohi in a future CoK pack). I usually have two units in my lists to reach the critical mass of speed that I have found necessary for an alpha strike playstyle. That said, there is a real reason why TC2 cavalry have never been favored by the top players who either eschew traditional cavalry units altogether or instead take the cavalry with CS1/TC1– just too many natural counters out there (phalanx, flying individuals, etc.).


Sisterhood Panther Lancers

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Photo credit: Jesse Driver

Jeremy – 6/10
I feel a similar way about the rest of the Sisterhood units as I do about Sisterhood Infantry.  Just at Defence 3+ and hitting on  4+ to get value out of this unit you need to utilize the nimble and speed 10.  I could see taking troops for chaff instead of the panthers for a model choice.  However, these guys are just asking to be the target of any light arms fire.  Especially since the rest of the Basilean army does so well at  

Jon – 5/10
A little like the foot versions, they are not a bad choice. Speed 10 and Nimble is good, alright they don’t hit as hard as knights but they make great flankers (starting to sound familiar…). Buuuuut, despite releasing units, they are more than a third more than a unit of Panthers in both sizes and without Pathfinder, the unridden panthers are the safer option. Come on ladies, get our act together, sharpen your nails or pray harder dammit!

Mark – 6/10
Nimble, Sp10(!) with TC1 and Vicious is really nice. De3 and Me4, less so. I do see these girls being great as a regiment (to make easier use of Nimble) to hunt a flank. They can also sit back quite a ways (maybe on a hill to get that extra TC) and wait a couple turns to pick their spots. A 20″ nimble move gives this unit a lot of options.

Just try not to get them shot.

Tom – 7/10
Sisterhood Panther Lancers are undervalued currently – their Defence 3 is mitigated by the higher-than-average nerve which makes casually shooting them off with Lightning Bolt a tall order. Their Speed 10 combos well with the other Speed 10 units in the list. The terrain items work well on them in regiment size. More of an issue with the subparness of the Mantic models than anything else that is holding them back.


Sisterhood Panther Chariot

Jeremy – 5/10
More yawn now just riding chariots.

Jon – 4/10
This is getting a little repetitive, so short version – Errr, yeah I guess. Buuuuuut Knights. Toughen up ladies!

Mark – 4/10
These seem like they punch a bit below their weight. Me4 hurts them here and dropping down to Sp8 hurts them. If they retained Sp10 like their sisters there could be something here, but they don’t hit hard and they take up a lot of space due to their large base size.

I hope they get improved in the future because the modelling opportunities for this unit are endless.

Tom – 5/10
No real reason to take Sisterhood Panther Chariots over Paladin Knights since they are the same Height and equally hurt by Phalanx (both units hit on 4s with no TC against it). Like the Paladin Knights, they do have some value from being a cheap fast unit but not a serious choice, which pains me as someone that has two regiments. I don’t think there is anything to be done for them, they just don’t really have a role that isn’t better performed by something else in the list.


Ogre Palace Guard

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Photo credit: Daniel Read

Jeremy – 9/10
One the most reliable hammer units in the army.  With the addition of Iron Resolve these Ogres pack all the punch of a heavy infantry unit with some extra survivability.  However, in a list that has so much 15/17. Or -/17 when talking Elohi, having no deep nerve pools can be frustrating when you get bad dice variance on nerve rolls.  But when this unit can stick around it will kill most anything in the game still stuck in combat with these bad boys and girls.  Also, Mantic makes some great models for this unit.  Tons of other great model options and conversion potential for these guys if having something more unique is your bag. 

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Photo credit: Nic Murray

Jon – 8/10
I don’t use them.

Not because they aren’t good because they are, really it’s because they suit a grindey infantry style army. I also feel they get over hyped too much but this is maybe as I have been tainted by using better versions in other armies like Enslaved Guardians, although should feel privileged as not all armies have a similar option. Their low nerve compared to other anvils and because they are inevitably targets, waver mitigation would be a good artefact choice as their damage potential is high already. 

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Mark – 9/10
So much to like here. CS2 Me3+ and Def5 with 15/17 nerve, Iron Resolve and Brutal. Nothing is wasted in this profile. Every Basilean list I’ve made has had 2 hordes of these fellas – and for good reason. For an infantry based Basilean list, these will be your main hammers. Good items for these guys are Jesse’s Boots of Striding and Chalice of Wrath. You want them hitting hard and reliably.

The models are also fantastic.

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Photo credit: A LS Basaguren

Tom – 9/10
At least two hordes is mandatory for almost every standard Basilean list (taking all infantry regiments to unlock all flyers isn’t standard to me even if it is a popular build variant) since you can’t risk getting your other hammer options blanked when they come up against Phalanx. Plus they are just incredible units, Melee 3+ CS2 is the ideal combination in Third Edition and, like the Paladin Foot Guard, their Defense 5 Iron Resolve matches perfectly with Basilean heals. Their only weakness is an Ogre one—wavering. Luckily we have three well-priced waver mitigation items so they really have no weaknesses. I hate that the best Basilean lists I’ve come up with have three hordes with those items – I play Basileans for the Elohi, not the ogres even if they are a seriously cool Varangian Guard concept that I love having in the list.

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Photo credit: Mark Lent

Elohi

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Photo credit: Nic Murray

Jeremy – 6/10
This one is a tough one.  They are probably better in the regiment than the horde if you want to use them in a combined arms style list.  I know some people are having success playing flying skew and taking Elohi hordes as their main unlocks and picking up the nice flying support pieces. I just don’t see it.  This feels like it should be the stand out unit in the army both as a model (update yours please Mantic!)  and as a unit on the tabletop.

Jon- 8/10
Anyone who knows me will not be surprised. Ok, they are not the 2nd edition death machines of the past, but we all knew they were far too good in the right hands (no piss taking). Start of turn 1, a horde would arrive in your flank able to one shot most things whether you turned to face them or not, giving one or 2 chances to kill them (Inspiring/Fearless is epic) with limited resources was pretty OP. Coming back to the present, losing Nimble was a must, regular went then came back (a must for some but there was ways of coping) but I feel losing their TC(1) is still a bit mean but can understand with the points drop. Hordes still fulfil the same role just one turn behind and need artefacts to make sure they hit as hard as required. I rarely skimp, Sharpness and Strength are top of the list and will only be dropped with great trepidation, although they cannot usually take units by themselves unless in the flank, support is critical. The points drop has also pushed the regiments to the fore, offering an alternative role of jack of all trades, able to do a lot of things well but not overly so. Alongside the hitting power and speed, it must not be forgotten the Fearless, Iron Resolve and Inspiring make them not only tough but independent and help keep other units in the fight, freeing up hero slots needing to Inspire themselves. I think Elohi have only lost a little of their shine, and barring some aberrations elsewhere, fit nicely into the balance of 3rd edition.

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Mark – 8/10
My score of 8 is for the Elohi Regiments. The horde got a bit of a boost with the removal of Irregular, but I think the real gem here is the regiment. 160pts gets you a fantastic ‘thicc chaff’ unit that is also a big threat in the flank. -/14 with Iron Resolve and Inspiring keeps them around for a long time until you are ready to commit them. They are really good at creating traffic jams in your opponent’s lines in a pinch as well if you need them to.

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Photo credit: Jonathon Quayle

Tom – 6/10
I won’t repeat myself as my thoughts on Elohi are well-known and permeate the other entries in this review. The regiment size has good value as slightly expensive but very effective thicc chaff. That’s a great option that didn’t really exist in the Second Edition version of the list since Elohi regiments were 195 points and compared unfavorably with Ur-Elohi at 180 points for a similar role. But for that the horde size’s role as flying hammer was neutered, making the faction lose its halo (pun intended) unit and turning it into some sort of goody-two-shoes Ogre army with flyers. 

Photo credit: Jesse Driver

Seriously though, THEY HAVE A TWO-HANDED GIGANTIC FLAMING SWORD AND SUPERNATURAL STRENGTH, THEY ARE THE LITERAL EMBODIMENT OF THE SHINING ONES HERE ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH, AND THEY HIT LESS HARD THAN SOME PUNKASS HUMAN HUSCARL UNIT. AAAARGGGGHGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

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Photo credit: Mark Lent

Heavy Areblast

Jeremy – 6/10
Pretty standard war machine fair here.  If you wanted to add in some light shooting a couple of War Wizards would net you more points but more effective mobile shooting.  The Sisters at 85 points, the same as a troop of Gur Panthers, it’s hard to think I wont get more value from just another troop of Gur Panthers.  I think if you love shooting there are just better human themed shooting armies in other lists. 

Jon – 6/10
Rarely seen but a nice choice, it doesn’t have competition for war engine slots and both fast and grindey lists would benefit from the odd points of damage on offer. The only concern is the points cost push into competition with the my feline favourites, who are different role entirely but can win a game without relying on shots hitting.

Mark – 4/10
Much the same as with the Crossbowmen. A bit out of place as far as list synergy goes.

Tom – 3/10
Like the Crossbowmen, it doesn’t really have a place in any Basilean army and taking a few random War Engines without investing in other shooting isn’t a winning strategy. One idea I haven’t tested is taking two Arbalests with three Sisterhood Scout regiments. I think that 3/2 formula is a good shooting core for other lists and the same might be true for Basileans.


Phoenix

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Jeremy – 7/10
A solid choice and one where Mantic makes an awesome model.  Also, tons of other great companies make cool models the Storm Raptor from Privateer Press comes to mind.   The only real issue with the phoenix is just how good Samacris is at the same points.  If you wanted to run two Phoenix style units taking one Phoenix and one Samacris would be a smart way to go.  But if you just love the feel of a giant healing fire bird then go with the Phoenix.  I just prefer Samacris but both options are good.  

Jon – 4/10
Now I have heard it on many occasions, why take this when you can take Samacris who is better? I agree, mostly. With Elohi becoming regular, I may be tempted to take one as hero choices get full fast and when going grindey, two healers/radiance could work. It is not a bad unit, the Heal potential is good, especially combined with other but I feel the cost and limited offensive potential make it hard to justify. Make them Crushing Strength (2), extra fireball damage or drop the points to make them a good choice.

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Photo credit: Mark Lent

Mark – 5/10
I’m going to assume you’ve already taken Samacris and you want more healing. The Phoenix is alright, but in almost every respect, it is a worse Samacris. They aren’t bad, but I struggle to find a good use for them while Samacris exists.

Tom – 6/10
You won’t hurt yourself too much by taking a Phoenix over Samacris for the same points but why would you except for modeling reasons? This isn’t a call to nerf Samacris or increase her points – I think she is at the upper limit of fine but the Phoenix has been bastardized into a hybrid support/combat character that just doesn’t bring what you want from that slot. I have always said the perfect Phoenix game is Heal for 2 turns, Fireball for 2 turns, and Fly to objectives/zones for 2 turns. Becoming more expensive for better combat stats that I never want to use anyways makes the Phoenix a middling option to me.


Bearer of the Holy Icon

Photo credit: Jesse Driver

Jeremy – 6/10
If you want a cheaper way than a Priest to get someone with bane chant this is a solid option in the list when you take the lute.  But not a whole lot to say here other than Basilea gets inspiring from so many other sources I have never felt the need to use him.

Jon – 5/10
Flag carrier, all the usual tropes apply when points are tight.

Mark – 4/10
Pretty standard ASB. Basilea isn’t struggling for Inspiring Sources, so you don’t often see these guys on the table. If you are somehow in need of an extra Inspiring source, they get the job done on the cheap.

Tom – 5/10
It’s fine with the Lute but if you are taking one you aren’t optimizing your list correctly. It’s a list building failure of imagination.  


Dictator

Jeremy – 5/10
Another sort of disappointing unit choice with an awesome Mantic model.  I love the model that came out for this guy in the Vanguard release.  Without a mount option Duellist seems sort of a wasted ability.  So this guy could only really work in infantry based lists. 

Jon – 3/10
I want to like him, but he doesn’t do enough. Maybe with wings he could be a harasser/flyer grounder/character hunter, but strangely there is a better sister choice for that role. Really want to use the model as its cool so would appreciate some form of rework to include him.

Mark – 3/10
I wish he could have a horse – though, that might only bump him to a 4 or 5. The Dictator is just trying to be too many things at once. CS2 is nice for some added punch in a combat, and mighty could potentially help in a pinch, but being stuck on foot means he will be hard to get to the right place at the right time to make use of his abilities.

Tom – 1/10
Literally no point in taking the Dictator currently. It needs an aura of some sort to make me think about taking him.


Ur-Elohi

Photo credit: Jonathon Quayle

Jeremy – 8/10
This is a great combat flyer.  At 200 points you get just a rock solid package in a 40 MM base.  The dread is a great tool for adding a cushion to key nerve rolls.  Basilea in general can struggle with bad dice variance so anything you can do to help mitigate that is always great.  Also, great model options here with tons of awesome angel models on the market. 

Jon – 6/10
He’s alright, Dread is a nice touch, a mini dragon I like using in other armies but he is competing with so many good hero choices and an Elohi regiment does a similar role for less points. Also, like the Phoenix, has a daddy you would rather take. Would have liked him to have a TC (1) aura for Elohi, rarely include him unless doing something wacky.

Mark – 9/10
I love this guy so much. He’s a bit pricy, buy you get exactly what you pay for. A solid flying large infantry hero that is no joke in a flank. Inspiring and -/15 with Iron Resolve means he’s not going away easily. Dread on a flying unit is the icing on the cake.

Tom – 8/10
A ‘good’ unit getting Dread is in my top 5 coolest ideas of Third Edition. It just fits so perfectly for the Ur-Elohi. But at 200 points, it’s a real list building question of whether the extra 40 points is worth it over just taking an Elohi regiment. It almost has the opposite problem the comparison had in Second Edition. That said, its Nimble makes it invaluable for scenario purposes and it has the important role of support combat character that drags Paladin Knights and/or the carcass of an Elohi horde from rubber lance/dying fire sword syndrome toward something approaching respectability.


Paladin Chaplain

Jeremy – 6/10
This guy gets you more value than the Dictator.  You can get a mount for him and at def 5 11/13 he can get in front of units and be a surprisingly tough door stop.  No Inspiring but that is not a big issue for Basilean.  At his price point if you like playing cheaper combat individuals as chaff pieces this is the cheap option in that category with the High Paladin the more expensive option. 

Jon – 4/10
I have never taken him although his role would fit amazingly in other armies I take, don’t tend to have an Orc army without at least one mounted Krusher. As mentioned above, heroes are a competitive slot for Basileans (although I have not got to the good choices yet!), with Elohi the fact they don’t inspire is not a huge issue and the Heal options does add an interesting opportunities buuuuuut there is a better Sister choice for their role (feels weird to keep saying that!).

Mark – 4/10
Pretty standard disruptive hero. Give him a horse if you take him and he could go bother Wizards or Warmachines. Can be useful in cavalry lists.

Tom – 5/10
An interesting alternative chaff piece in place of or in addition to Gur Panther troops. This isn’t a bad version of the 3 attack Melee 3+/CS1 unit which proliferates in Third Edition. It’s lack of Inspiring prevents it from entry through the gates of Valuetown though; if it had that, I would probably take at least one with Shroud of the Saint in the same kind of support/occasional combat role I have for Revenant Kings with Surge.    


Priest

Jeremy – 8/10
With the addition of inspiration to this guy in Third Edition he went from good to great.  Its nice now to be forced into taking Inspiring Talisman on this guy if want a Bane Chant / Heal caster with inspiring.  My favourite item to run on this guy is the Conjurer’s Staff and kit him out with Heal and Bane Chant both.  Conjurer’s Staff is one of my favourite items in the whole game.

Jon – 7/10
One of the first units that start to compete in this tough category. Consummate healers, they are great choices for the Shroud/Conjurers Staff artefact and their Cleanse rule helping to get you out of tough positions with key units, Martyrs Prayer is there if you take two. Bane chant is also a must for me, as well as a horse to keep touch with the knights/Elohi but could be dropped depending on role. Bastion is a trap, the Inspiring is useful when you get carried away with your Elohi!

Photo credit: Jesse Driver

Mark – 7/10
A lot to like here. You can build this guy a lot of ways and all of them are good. My personal favourite is to have him with BC2 and Heal 3 with the Conjurer’s Staff. He stays cheap and can fairly reliably get Bane Chant off and Heal a few wounds / cleanse weakness.

Can’t go wrong with a straight healer with Martyr’s Prayer either.

Tom – 8/10
One of the best support characters in the game, a Priest with Bane Chant and Heal plus the Conjurer’s Staff is an amazing option that finds its way into a lot of my lists. It’s an 8 not a 9 because Bastion (1) is probably the most pointless spell in the game – every unit with Bastion needs to have at least two dice for anyone that has played more than five games to consider it.


High Paladin

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Daniel Read

Jeremy – 6/10
The more expensive option of the mounted durable combat characters.  A little bit better combat and nerve than the Chaplin.  I tend to like the cheaper Chaplin but this guy is a good option if you want a defensive fast character.  If you are wanting a more offensive mounted character threat to hunt down warmachines or other characters I think the mounted Abbess is the way to go.

Jon – 6/10
A tough cookie, great as a harasser/flyer grounder/character hunter but also a unit stopper. Great on a horse buuuuuut again finds himself muscled out a by a girl for cost, damage potential and speed but it is very close.

Mark – 4/10
See Dictator. At least he gets a horse.

Tom – 5/10
It’s okay but you aren’t winning tournaments because you took a High Paladin. It just doesn’t have anything that makes you want to take it over other options in the list.


Abbess on Panther Chariot

Jeremy – 5/10
I loved this unit in Second Edition when it was def 5.  It is an affordable killy hero option but I think Gnaeus is worth the extra points for his stronger defensive abilities in comparison.  Also, this unit has the same weird feel of being able to wavered.  However, since there is no real reason to take an Abbess on foot you could use the amazing, probably my favourite Mantic model in their whole range, Vanguard Abbess and mount it on a chariot. 

Jon – 6/10
Great choice as costs effective, slightly quick, slightly tough, slightly hard hitting scoring unit. Sister only Inspiring is not too hindering and at least keeps her in the game, although do miss the Headstrong. Have not used myself because (say it with me ……) competitive slot, a still faster Sister option but also there is no Mantic model option.

Mark – 6/10
Definitely better than her her ranked cousins. For the same cost as a troop of Chariots, you gain: CS1, Me3, Nimble and Inspiring(Sisterhood), but drop by one TC (perfectly acceptable trade off).

I can see this hero being taken in a sisterhood army or separate from one. Have her hunt a flank and she could be a nice support piece.

Tom – 4/10
Give it 8 attacks and I’ll consider running one as a loner disruption unit. Until then, it just doesn’t do anything other than support units you aren’t taking anyways.


Abbess

Jeremy – 7/10 (when mounted only)
Mounted this is a pretty sexy option to hunt down warmachines and heroes.  She has a high amount of attacks that with Duelist can take down most individuals in one round of combat.  The mount option is so good though there is no real reason to take this character on foot which again is a bummer since the model is so amazing.

Jon – 8/10
Rarely fight without her, with a fast army needing to dictate charges and benefit from additional damage to push for a rout, and ideal choice. Mounted on a panther, she is a fantastic multi tool, add in Blade of the Beastslayer, Mournful Blade, Seven League Boots or speed boosts, she is downright vicious. Can be fragile but more than worth it by the dictating play, grinding units, flying into spaces where she cannot be touched threatening half the opposing army can be priceless. Not sure you would need more than one but never tried!

Mark – 5/10
Put her on a panther and hunt characters or warmachines.

She’s pretty expensive for the job, but it’s one she does well.

Tom – 7/10
The mounted version is the only option unless/until the foot version gets an aura and Sisterhood Infantry are made better. The mounted version is just ever so overcosted because it gets stuck with the Wild Charge points of the foot version without benefiting from it when placed on a Gur Panther. A Speed 10 combat individual with a healthy amount of attacks would be auto-include in a lot of other lists but its value is just slightly downgraded by the numerous flyers the army possesses. One of my favourite units in the list—Blade of the Beastslayer or Mournful Blade are perfect if you are taking just one.


War Wizard

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Daniel Read

Jeremy – 8/10
I am a big fan of this unit.  I ran two of them in my Masters list, one with the Boomstick and one with the Conjurer’s Staff. The two together make a really effective shooting duo late game to take units off the board holding objects.  Just ask Tom Annis ;). This is another unit where you good take advantage of some of the great Vanguard sculpts.  I have run the Abbess and Dictator model both before as War Wizards.

Jon – 7/10
Last version, I ran 2 of these mounted every game as they were 75 points, each had higher nerve and although could not switch for Lightning Bolt for free, they could chaff as there were no yielding rule. Now we have moved on, they are still a viable choice but for different reasons, access to Lightning Bolt as a free swap now makes them a good option to snipe chaff in pairs and access to Bane Chant is a great boost for huge raft of Basilean units. Tend to like the mount for flexibility and keep up with the rest of the army but does make them pricey and would love to test the windblast option but always chicken out. The potential for early game chaff denial, messing with enemy chargers or late game shenanigans is great but never feel I can justify the points for a spell I may never use. Good artefacts are the Boomstick, Conjurers Staff or Inspiring Talisman if you are pushed in that regard.

Mark – 7/10
Pretty good source of Lightning Bolt. Swap out Fireball and take the Boomstick for some nice ‘chip’ damage. Especially nice if you can keep him alive in the back half of the game. LB 7 is great for cleaning up those damaged units and chaff.

Tom – 7/10
Just missing a few dice to take three (one with Boomstick) and reach the magical number of Lightning Bolt (18), but one or two War-Wizards are not a bad option for magical support. I was initially enamored with the ability to freely swap to Lightning Bolt, but recently I’ve been thinking more about how to get value from the Fireball (10) and Wind-Blast (6).


Ogre Palace Guard Captain

Jeremy – 6/10
I have never used this guy in a list so it’s hard to comment.  I just think there are so many more interesting options taking up the Hero slot in the list that it is difficult for this unit to compete. The Hero and Hero Monster clots are really the best units in the Basilean army so these unlocks come at a premium.

Jon – 8/10
Again not used this chap as he is a bit too slow but can see his potential. At such a low points cost, makes an amazing option for so many roles, maybe will try to squeeze him in somewhere. Don’t need to necessarily take Palace Guard with him, he is good as one big swiss army knife, adding his combat potential, slowing down units and grabbing objectives. Does well with a cheap artefact to boost in combat, speed, waver mitigation or tricky stuff.

Mark – 6/10
He’s pretty OK. Tough to fit into the list because of all the great choices the Basileans have. Being Nimble is a huge feather in his cap and you could make nice use of him alongside your Palace Guard units.

He’s just cheap enough that you could get him in pairs if you really wanted.

Tom – 8/10
A quintessential Large Infantry hero with all the advantages those units possess, it’s just a step down from the truly broken units like Butcher Fleshrippers from the Ogre Palace Guard Captain’s lack of waver mitigation. 


High Paladin on Dragon

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Nic Murray

Jeremy – 9/10
Prior to the recent change from -/19 to 17/19 Headstrong this was our only real “S Teir” unit.  After the needed adjustment the Dragon is still an amazing choice.  Probably the most durable of all the Dragons.  You can load this guy up with an Aegis Fragment and Life Leech to double down on defence, like I do, or give him a cheap combat helper like Blade of Slashing.  Also, I love having a Dragon or big Flying Monster in all my armies to work as a hobby centrepiece.

Jon – 8/10
An average dragon with Headstrong and Iron Resolve does not seem that good on paper but it does make for a tough cookie. He did lose Fearless recently but it isn’t much of a drop in prowess, he can make a decent flying anvil at a push, opening up options for your alpha units, in this role additional Iron Resolve or Life Leech work well. I tend to use him this way, stuck behind or in a piece of terrain to hinder opponents charges if in charge range, threatening them into making decisions about who to sacrifice, while others waiting in the wings (tee hee!) to capitalise. With or without some artefact support, he can dish out some damage but not by himself frontally. It is usually (more than you may think) better to combine with others even in the flank if possible, although adding Blessing of the Gods or even Sharpness will give him a good shot against most if flanking. With the loss of Nimble on your Elohi, he does make a faster alternative flying down a flank with a little support. Other more tricky options like Pathfinder to help with tricky charges but also being able to at the double into difficult terrain can apply pressure and surprise. Low cost items work almost as well in some cases, so good in a pinch, the Aegis Fragment is great if not using the Aegis item and the heal option I rarely see the need as he can choose to breath fire if at the double is not required.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Daniel Read

Mark – 9/10
Ok, so he lost -/19. He’s still amazing. One of, if not the best dragon out there. Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture or the Aegis of the Elohi are great on these guys.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Jeremy Duvall

Tom – 9/10
I advocated for the Cok21 nerf to remove Fearless from this unit, which brings it down from a 10 to a 9. It’s still a top 3 dragon in the game because of its ability to recover wounds easily through Iron Resolve and an Aegis Fragment, plus maybe even an item like Aegis of the Elohi if you really feel like being ‘that guy.’ It saddens me greatly that the High Paladin on Dragon has replaced the Elohi horde in the list. To all the Dictators out there taking three dragons, I see you and respect your clear-eyed and right-thinking ruthlessness, but count me out if that’s what we have to do to stay in the upper echelons.


Gnaeus Sallustis

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Nic Murray

Jeremy – 9/10
Gnaeus at first looks like a typical baby or mini dragon combat boss.  However, the real magic of him is nimble and rock hard defensive stats.  He has the same nerve and defence as a Knight regiment.  I found using him as a flanking threat dancing around for a turn or two and if you get a flank great and if not you just run him into something and watch it bounce off him for two turns.  Also, in an army that uses a lion theme how could I not take a dude riding a Lion?!

Jon – 6/10
The first of the living legends, a mainstay in the previous edition to why should I bother in 3rd for me. His main reason for being taken, giving Elite to two knight regiments was great but now he sits in a similar place to the Ur Elohi, why take him when you can have a Elohi Regiment for the same role, not use a hero slot and cheaper. Not flying and nimble are a bonus I guess in flanking situations and where you are wanting to escape after a charge but it’s not enough for me.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Jesse Driver

Mark – 8/10
Pretty solid large cav hero. Sp9 with Nimble is solid and if you can get a flank, he’s no joke. Probably want to skip taking Heal since he’ll likely be doing nimble things away from the main line.

Tom – 9/10
Just a perfect character. Gnaeus has everything you could want in a profile like his. His Height 4 is sneaky important for the list. Good to support Paladin Knights or as a loner in a slower infantry based list, it’s hard to better spend 180 points in the list. He has always been and remains my favorite character in the game. He is the number one thing I have missed from playing the army less often this year.  


Samacris, Mother of Phoenixes

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Photo credit: Daniel Read

Jeremy – 9/10
I absolutely love Samacris.  I don’t think there is an archetype build you could make where she would not make your army better.  Perfectly balanced and pointed.  You could go angel or bird motif here I think.    She is amazing in scenario play with her US and ability to pick off units sitting on objectives at the end of the game with her P1 shooting.

Jon – 7/10
An alternative phoenix as her name suggests, she does all the things a phoenix but better (tougher, better at hiding, better Fireball) and Inspires for the same points….. Great inclusion for healing in infantry based armies, the occasional Fireball and dash towards the objectives late game, I don’t tend to use her as the Priest fits the healing role as well for less with my army being spread out mostly. One thing that I always find and this includes when using the Phoenix, is I become tempted to throw them in the way to satisfy other objectives, this does affect my scoring but better generals may be able to resist.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Richard Luke

Mark – 10/10
After the Palace Guard, this is always the third unit I take. She’s so good. 195pts is probably a bit too cheap for everything she can do (please don’t change her…). Early game, she keeps your list together with Radiance of Life and Heal 5. Mid-late game she can take units off with her Piercing 1 Fireball (8) or she can fly off to an objective.

She’s a very versatile unit.

Tom – 9/10
I think Samacris is made to look better by the very favourable comparison with the Phoenix, but I think that’s more of an issue with the Phoenix than her. That said, yes, every time, almost every list, yes. She sometimes gets replaced by a cheaper option like the Priest with BC/Heal in some of my lists if I need the points, but yeah she’s amazing.


Danor the Wizard

Jeremy – 6/10
Danor is a pretty interesting toolbox wizard.  His special ability of being able to cast multiple spells has some fun flavor to it.  Also, he comes in at a pretty cheap cost actually when you look at the variety of spells he has.  He does not blow my skirt up but he’s a solid choice if you want access to all these spells, albeit in less power dice numbers.

Jon – 7/10
Now you may have guessed, Danor has never made my cut but he is really good in the right situation. Worth the cost for the Heal and Bane Chant every turn, with a bonus Lightning Bolt, Windblast and Fireball every turn is awesome. Would work well alongside War Wizards/healers and would need a lot thought into how to make the best use of the right spells each turn, like the Ogre Palace Guard Captain, he can fulfil multiple roles, sometimes a the same time!

Mark – 7/10
Nifty alternative to the War Wizard. His versatility of having several useful spells can be fun. If you can keep him around till the end game, his quantity of spellcasting can really add up.

Tom – 7/10
A very good and delightfully unique character. Bane-chant 2 makes him a real option. He doesn’t fit into most of my lists but he never disappoints when he does.


Jullius, Dragon of Heaven

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Photo credit: Richard Luke

Jeremy – 8/10
I know a lot of people love Julius.  At Defence 6 he is an amazingly survivable hard hitting flyer.  The one thing to keep in mind with this guy is large infantry.  He can’t see, or be seen, like a Dragon or big monster.  I think in general, with these sorts of flyers the larger height of traditional monsters is an advantage.

Jon – 10/10
Wowsers, I mean what a beast! Dragon +++++, the stats speak for themselves, he does lose 3 nerve to a dragon but the Def 6 makes up for it until you get to crush/pierce 3 or higher. Elite makes up for the loss of 2 attacks and Dread adds extra usefulness in combo with other units as well as his own fights. Smaller base size allows him to fit in some tight spaces but does cause sight issues with lower height. He has been in the majority of lists and I run him the same way as a dragon but with some better options in most circumstances. He epitomises the way I like to use alpha strike, pricey but full of potential in the right hands. For all the praises I throw his way, you cannot afford to misuse him, like any big shiny character don’t throw him away to die (may have done that once or twice) or be tied down unable to affect the fight chasing small fry too far from the objective or tied down in grind.

Mark – 9/10
Do you like Dragons? Do you like Def6? The dude’s a beast. If you want a tough, flying beatstick then look no further. Just keep him away from pikes and he’ll make you proud.

Tom – 9/10
His only downsides are (1) his dangerous points cost to nerve ratio, which means a bad nerve spike against that -/16 nerve can be game-ending, and (2) the comparison with the High Paladin on Dragon, which is the same offensively with a lot more nerve. Jullius’s shorter height and smaller base size are serious advantages that makes it a tough choice between the two.


Tollivar, the Seer

Jeremy – 7/10
This guy is interesting.  Now that Elohi are regular the meta is seeing more people start to play flying skew again.  So Tollivar’s may become a popular choice in that build.  I think he is solid but I am still on the fence.  If you have a lot of units to take advantage of his special magic rules he is a good choice.  With Bastion only on two dice and the fact that you need to cast that successfully before you can then cast  his other spells this could be a pricey choice that ends of not casting anything for maybe half the game.

Jon – 7/10
Added in Halpis Rift, Tollivar is a nice alternative to a Priest or Wizard. His spells can benefit any combination of army, not being able to take a mount will be offset by the extra range for the Bane Chant and Bastion on the Elohi. That said, unless you have troops to protect him, he may get caught out and his ability to cast both spells is predicated on successful casting of Bastion first which can be risky, decision has to be made whether you need both or if it is better to cast the more reliable Bane Chant (which is not a bad thing, Bane Chant (3) is rare and pretty reliable). I have not used him yet as he lacks the Heal or useful Lightning Bolt, as well as the lack of steed but am sorely tempted as the spells really help the Elohi out.

Mark – 4/10
Kinda neat for thematic reasons. Being on foot, I can see it being tough to make the most use of his special rules though. 150pts is probably on the high end. I think you can make a more effective wizard with our other choices for fewer points.

Tom – 3/10
A sop to the Elohi complaints, but I could have looked past that if not for Tollivar’s value being torpedoed by the requirement that Bastion (2) be cast first instead of Bane Chant (3) in order to trigger his cast-twice ability. Switch that up and you have a character that might be worth the hefty 150-point cost.


Summary

Overall average ratings /10: 6.4/10

Most agreed upon unit(s): Me-at-Arms Crossbows, Paladin Knights, Sisterhood Panther Chariots, Ogre Palace Guard, Priest, War Wizard, High Paladin on Dragon, Danor the Wizard (1 point of difference between highest and lowest scores)

Least agreed upon unit(s): Dictator, Tollivar the Seer (4 points of difference between highest and lowest scores)

Army Review: Order of the Green Lady


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. In reality 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 decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Kevin, Page and Sam for all their help with this army review.


The ‘Expert’ Panel

Kevin Spear
I’m a wargamer of nearly 20 years who has maintained a focus on knight-themed armies (e.g. Bretonnia and Brotherhood) throughout his time in the hobby.  I’m mostly known for my above average sportsmanship and painting scores (to which I fully put on the types of armies that I play). I’ve played Brotherhood almost exclusively since their inclusion in 2nd edition.  Their unique, movement-oriented playstyle (which often projects enormous amounts of threat) allowed me to reach the 2019 US Masters where I took Best Sportsman.  In their current iteration as The Order of the Green Lady, I was able to achieve First Overall in the 2020 Best of the Rest Tournament.  I’ve found their blend of hard hitting knights and durable/grindy units from the Forces of Nature, creates a wealth of competitive list builds that we formerly lacked.

Page Neo
I’m a casually serious gamer from Singapore. My first forray ino table top gaming is playing Warhammer fantasy 8th Ed ETC format for 1 year, then I went on to Warmahordes for 3 years, then Kings. I also played Kill Team, God Tear, Warcry, Malifaux 2e, Guildball, Blood bowl, and touched a bit of 40K. I have a KOW Battle Reports YouTube channel called Newbie Dice (which I highly recommend for short, but really in-depth battle reports with a strong emphasis on tactical breakdown- Elliot).

I chose to play Order of the Green Lady since February 2020 because of the cool theme of nature and knights, and the amazing picture on page 38 of Uncharted Empires.

It took a while to get the hang of building an effective list for OotGL because of the unlock constraints, but once I got past that, this is a very strong army. I was top OotGL player in Call to Arms 4 and ended that tournament 10th. Also placed top 10 in Call to Arms 2 and 3.

Sam Sowden
I’ve been playing watery knights ever since the first pre Uncharted Empires beta spreadsheet went public: I saw which way the RC was going for the not-Bretonnia theme and instantly knew that it was the army for me. So I dropped my Mantic elves, stopped rebasing my GW dwarfs and started accumulating Fireforge kits. I’ve now accumulated over 5000 points of the Brotherhood (fortunately only a small part of my army was hoodwinked by the serpent tongued Basileans) and they’re the army I always find my way back to, even as I dally with other forces.

Finding that I had access to Unicorns and Beasts of Nature only increased the attraction!


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. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


Men-at-Arms Retainer

Photo credit: Sam Sowden

Elliot – 7/10
These are a unit that do exactly what you need them to do for their price. The biggest thing they bring to the list is a cheaper unlock in both regiments and horde form. I tend to take two regiments, as they’re cheap enough that they can sit back on an objective all game and not do anything other than be Unit Strength. They’re ok as hordes, but OotGL has other units that perform better as anvils so you’ll mainly be taking them for the unlocks. The horde option is the only time that I think that Sacred Water is worth its points. Combine it with the Healing Brew and your horde can regain D3+D2 worth of damage in a single turn. Mixed in with a Heal and a Radiance of Life and that could potentially be enough to allow the horde to survive an additional round of combat than they otherwise would, not bad for 15 points.

Headstrong on them is an excellent rule for only 5 points compared to Kingdoms of Men Shieldwall. It helps them stay relevant all game and I find I tend to use it quite often to get them out of trouble.

Photo credit: Elliot Morrish

Kevin – 8/10
For me, M@A’s are a must take as they are our only unlocking unit that comes in affordable horde size.  In such a role, they are perfectly suited for the classic “big chunk of nerve” unit that are often found in the centre of battle lines.

Photo credit: Nick Williams

Page – 7.5/10
Our cheapest unlock in both the regiment and horde level. Both regiments and hordes are great for unlocks, and regiments could be cheap Unit Strength, holding objectives and the horde can take a single charge and likely survive.

Headstrong is also an awesome rule for these throwaway units as the regiment at a lower nerve point and will waver easily, and the horde shaking off waver means they can counter charge and not block charge lanes from your 2nd wave units. Thematically it’s also awesome to know the regular foot soldiers are braver than other armies’ rank and file guys.

Sam – 6/10
Absolutely nothing wrong with them as a basic infantry unit. They will do all the jobs expected of regular infantry, from providing Unit Strength and a nerve block, to cheap unlocks if you need them. They are maybe a little less efficient due to the absence of war engines to unlock.

The infantry options in this list are absolutely fine, but to me they beg the question: if you want to play a combined arms infantry force, why are you playing Order of the Green Lady?


Order of the Brotherhood on Foot

Photo credit: Chris Thomas

Elliot – 6/10
A perfectly decent unit that gets a lot of value for its fairly modest point level. My only issue with them is that they don’t tend to fill much of a role in my lists. The only combat infantry units I take in OotGL tend to sit back on an objective all game and not get involved in much fighting. In that regard, Men at Arms can do the exact same job but for much cheaper.  If you have 40 points spare then by all means ‘upgrade’ one of your Men at Arms regiments, but personally I don’t tend to bother.

Photo credit: Stephen DeRose

Kevin – 7/10
Classic Heavy Infantry block.  Although it can’t swap out for two-handers like other armies’ foot knights, it’s a great piece that can either hold the pivot point of your battle line or play weak side to keep your enemy from flanking you.

Page – 5/10
While it’s great that they unlock, not having the 2 handed option restricts their use to defensive purposes. The middle of the road price point is not worth a unit that just takes hits and maybe survives, as armies are often equipped to be able to dispatch Def 5, 15/17 nerve.

Sam – 6/10
Much the same as the Retainers.


Naiad Ensnarers

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Photo credit: Wolfgang Kuwaldt

Elliot – 5/10
I’m going to introduce a word here that I’m going to use a lot in this review; context. Context is king. In a Forces of Nature or Trident Realm army I would rate Ensnarers as an 8/10. The reason that they’ve fallen so low in OotGL is that they’re irregular, something that is particularly an issue in this army where unlocks are often expensive and OotGL has soooo many awesome monsters and heroes that you want to be unlocking.

The troops and regiments are too expensive to be worth taking as you don’t get the value from their Regeneration (you can’t regenerate if you’re dead), so if you are going to take them stick with the horde. If you find yourself in a position where you’re flush with unlocks and you want an anvil in your army, the Ensnarers are definitely a decent option.

Kevin – 6/10
A great infantry block if you can afford it.  I’ve seen these give premier offensive units fits when they are charged either in a forest or behind a wall.  Unfortunately, its irregular status makes it difficult to include when this army has so many amazing unlocks. 

Page – 4/10
Biggest issue is that they are irregular in an army that is craving unlocks, especially when you buy them in hordes to take advantage of Ensnare.

Sam – 4/10
All the nice things that the guys said in the Trident Realms review about these guys still apply here. But they’re irregular in this list, and that makes them quite difficult to include in a list that has quite a few expensive things to unlock.


Naiad Heartpiercers

Photo credit: Elliot Morrish

Elliot – 8.5/10
Context is king. Heartpierecers are good in any army that can take them, but I honestly feel that they shine the brightest in Order of the Green Lady. The reason for that is how well they synergise with the rest of the army; their 18” range allows you to set the tempo for the game. If your opponent wants to sit just outside of your cavalry’s 16” charge range, then fine you’re going to get shot to bits by harpoons. Want to advance in to kill those pesky Heartpiercers that are shooting you from a distance? No problem but you’re going to get flanked by Beasts of Nature, Exemplar Redeemers and cavalry. For me regiments are the superior size as they allow you to get the maximum value from your Regeneration. 9/11 can easily be killed by a single Lightning Bolt, but 13/15 take a good amount of investment to kill, investment that can easily be counteracted by one good Regeneration roll. Plus they unlock now, which is fantastic (see Ensnarers above).

I take three regiments for a total of 30 Ra4 Piercing (1) shots per turn. On average, that’s 7.5 damage per turn to a Def5 unit. If that spikes just a little over average they can easily take out a large infantry horde in one round of shooting. I deploy the three regiments together in the middle of the board, with fast hard hitting units watching over them and daring my opponent to go after them.

Photo credit: Chris Thomas

Kevin – 7/10
This is an excellent unit but only comes into its own when you take multiples of them.  If you do, you’ll find the “shoot and scoot” method combined with other units that have large threat projects (e.g. Beasts of Nature) protecting them puts extreme pressure on your opponent to find away out of their Ra 4+ Piercing 1 . 

Photo credit: Elliot Morrish

Page – 8/10
A shooting unit in our army and one of the best too, 4+ regen is great and forces people to take them out in one go or see their efforts getting regenerated back. Great to hold objectives backfield, and Steady Aim means they can keep moving every round, to be chaff or charge things that expose their flank and rear to them in late game as they have to face bigger threats. You can take one unit to be able to clear chaff and chip some damage, or bring more to really threaten some damage, synergizing with Lightning Bolts from your Druid/Unicorn.

Naiad Heartpiercers being unlocking since CoK21 also opens up list building options which is very welcome in this army.

Sam – 7/10
These are nice, I like them. Along with Unicorns, Order of the Green Lady can actually put out some very nasty shooting, and has the fast hitting power to punish the enemy who try to get close.


Order of the Brotherhood

Photo credit: Tyler Schultz

Elliot – 7/10
For me this unit is the epitome of a 7/10. A good solid unit that is fairly costed and does the job it is designed to do.

They’re good in both regiments and hordes, but both sizes play quite differently. There are others who can go into the detail of how to use a cavalry horde better than I can, but the general gist is that you should just think of it as a super infantry horde that happens to have Speed 8. Accept that it’s going to get bogged down, but it will kill pretty much anything it touches whether it is disordered or not.

Photo credit: Stephen DeRose

The Banner of the Green Lady is a decent upgrade as Pathfinder is most people’s go-to item of choice for cavalry regiments anyway and this way the regiment can get it for 5 points cheaper. I know that it also means that you can stack another item on top of the Pathfinder but I would advise caution here. The unit can get very expensive very quickly and when you’re adding Pathfinder and Brew of Strength – you need to be very sure that you’re going to be able to get the value out of the unit. 

Photo credit: Elliot Morrish

Kevin – 9/10
An excellent unit but I’ve found that it has diminishing returns the more regiments you take (my sweet spot is 2).  I cannot imagine a list without at least one as the combination of the Banner of the Green Lady plus other artefacts gives you huge tactical flexibility.  When building an army list, I like to wait until the end to choose the artefact as I can tailor this unit to fit a role that I need it to fill.

Photo credit: Nick Williams

Page – 7/10
A run of the mill cavalry unit with a Pathfinder option that is 5 points cheaper, and doesn’t take an item slot. Allows you to customize your regiments on top of taking the mandatory Pathfinder with other armies’ cavalry, and they also unlock! I’m not a fan of running them in hordes but if you do you can choose to give them Pathfinder and another item as well. Lastly, you save the Caterpillar Potion for another unit, if you need it elsewhere.

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Photo credit: Jose Vega

Sam – 7.5/10
Horde 8/10, Regiment 7/10. (I’ve split the difference for the averages – Elliot)
The horde is awesome. Being able to give it Pathfinder in addition to another item the Brew of Strength makes this unit a force to be reckoned with, albeit at a whopping cost of 400 points. But a horde of knights charging out of a forest crushing everything in its path is the entire rationale for playing this army isn’t it?

The regiment is nice (especially with the 15 point Pathfinder upgrade), but I struggle to get it in, since I usually find that its single unlock is insufficient, and I gravitate to the Water Elementals instead for this reason, especially since I will always want to include the next unit in the list.

Photo credit: Sam Sowden

Order of Redemption

Photo credit: Nick Williams

Elliot – 8.5/10
Such a good unit. The Order of Redemption really are the poster boys for Order of the Green Lady, I love the idea that each one of them is the equivalent of a hero in most other armies (or at least that’s my head-canon for why they have so many attacks and Inspiring). The fact that they’re Inspiring seriously helps out OotGL who can sometimes struggle to fit in enough Inspiring sources to properly cover the army. One of the key strengths of this unit is the ability to stay relevant and dangerous at all points of the game. A standard hammer unit will often have picked up enough damage by turn 5 or 6 that they’re just one more tap away from breaking. Or your Inspiring sources have been killed or are needed elsewhere. This isn’t an issue for the Order of Redemption.

This is a unit that is absolutely worth investing heavily into artefacts, as their 20 attacks means that they’re getting proportionately more bang for their buck than any other cavalry regiment in the game. The Brew of Sharpness is an absolute must for me.

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Photo credit: Chris Thomas

So with all that said why I have I only rated them an 8.5/10? Two reasons. One, Thunderous charge. If these guys had CS1 TC1 then they would be a 10/10, but with only TC2 their effectiveness can be really hampered if your opponent has the right tools. Phalanx or a flying individual to disorder them can really ruin their day.

The second is the fact that they’re not only irregular, but they’re such a key part of your battle line and irregular. This unit is one of the main reasons that every other irregular unit in the list has been rated so poorly. In order to afford enough unlocking units to get the much needed heroes and monsters into your list, you can usually only afford to be spending big point on one irregular unit. If you can only afford one irregular unit, is it going to be Order of Redemption or Naiad Ensnarers?

Photo credit: Nick Williams

Kevin – 8/10
Another excellent choice.  I find I take these most often in 2000 pt lists when hero unlocks are hard to come by and I need that Inspiring bubble.  However, they need to be used with finesse (read as “know when to charge!”) as they are still only 15/17 knights with no Crushing Strength.  Play them with a specific battlefield role and they are hard to beat. 

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Photo credit: Alfred Eisenmann

Page – 9/10
They are irregular, but have Inspiring, so they save a hero slot to make up for them not unlocking. Also, if you add the cost of Inspiring flag bearer and a Knight regiment, You will realise you’re getting the 20 attacks and Regen 5+ for free. Downside is their high cost for the same Def 5 15/17 nerve. You would hope that they survive the opponent’s counter attack after your initial charge so that regeneration can do its magic and win the grind game. I’ll recommend Brew of Strength or Sharpness for them for the grind game, or Elite/Vicious if you’re short on points. Pathfinder/Strider is also viable I suppose.

Photo credit: Thimo Plack

Sam – 8.5/10
This is one of my favourite units in the game, it gets so much for the extra 50 points over the regular knight regiment. It’s not getting a 9 because it is rather pricy. But it gets so much for the extra 50 points over the regular knight regiment – Regen, Inspiring and 4 more attacks. 20 attack regiments in general I’m very fond of, since they allow you to get the most out of combat upgrades like Sharpness or Strength. They bring their own Inspiring, which partly offsets them not providing unlocks, and can grind with the best of them. I think the Brew of Strength is the best item for them, unfortunately this will usually be taken by the horde in my lists.

Photo credit: Tyler Schultz

Water Elementals

Photo credit: Sam Sowden

Elliot – 7/10
Another unit that for me personifies a 7/10. The best of the Elementals and one that fits really nicely into the Order of the Green Lady list. Their Speed 7 helps them keep up with all of the cavalry and flyers, allowing your entire army to project overlapping threats from all angles. Having a surgeable unit in the list also lets you remain flexible and can help if an enemy flyer does manage to get behind your lines.

Def5, Regeneration and Fearless is a really sturdy combination that will survive a lot of punishment. They’re not all that impressive offensively however; I tend to find that if you go into each combat expecting them to do absolutely no damage, you can only be pleasantly surprised.

Don’t overlook the regiments either. These are some of the best thicc chaff (© Ashley Mowat) in the game, -/14 and Regen 5+ means that your opponent has to really commit to killing them.

Photo credit: Neil Hubbard

Kevin – 8/10
Excellent all around choices.  Consider them your “Jack-of-all-trades” unit.  They are manoeuvrable (Strider!), tanky, and can give an okay punch.  Although I lean towards hordes (especially for the unlocks), they are useful in either form.

Photo credit: Elliot Morrish

Page – 8/10
Speed 7 Elementals to keep up with your cavalry. Regiments work as thicc chaff, while hordes make good unlocks. Having Surge in your army will keep enemies on their toes as well. Regen once again is great for the grind. They will often find themselves in lists as one of the horde unlock options.

Photo credit: Tyler Schultz

Sam – 8/10
Hordes are mobile anvils that are an important source of unlocks, and, importantly in a list that relies on Thunderous charge for a lot of its damage, doesn’t care in the least about terrain or Phalanx. Me4 is a weakness, as with all elemental type units. Regiments are decent Thicc Chaff.

Photo credit: Nick Williams

Earth Elementals

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Photo credit: Andreas Ørlyng

Elliot – 5/10
Context is king. Once again in a Dwarf list I would rate Earth elementals an 8/10. In the Order of the Green Lady I just find them a bit of a burden, at least in the style I play. For me OotGL works best when it is projecting threat from every angle at once, applying constant pressure to your opponent to force them to play on your terms. Earth Elementals are just far too slow to contribute to that.

That being said, in as of themselves Earth Elementals are a solid unit. I just feel that you would always be better off taking Water Elementals in OotGL.

Photo credit: Elliot Morrish

Kevin – 6/10
Contrary to other armies, hordes of Earth Elementals just don’t make the cut.  Their speed is just too slow for how incredibly manoeuvrable this army is.  But, regiments are cost effective anvils that (if correctly deployed) play absolute havoc on opposing battle lines. 

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Photo credit: Alfred Eisenmann

Page – 6/10
Problem with them is that they struggle to keep up with the rest of the army. Not only are they speed 5, but they are also Shambling which means no moving on the double on turn 1. While the Water Elementals are shambling too, spd 7 means they threaten 21” by turn 2, while Earth Elementals are usually not in position till turn 3 or 4. Still I appreciate them for providing unlocking Def6 units in our army which can be useful in the right situation.

Sam – 6/10
Very tough, but are perhaps a bit slow in a cavalry centric army


Order of the Forsaken

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Photo credit: Tyler Schulz

Elliot – 6/10
Another very iconic, cool unit.

The big strength of this unit is threat projection. A 20” range extending out from a 150mm frontage covers a significant chunk of the board in one go.

However they do have a couple of downsides. They are a horde which means that despite having all of the same combat potential and defensive ability of cavalry regiments, they pay horde costs for items. They also have a very big foot print which can limit the amount of cheeky flank charges they can pull off, and it limits their ability to reform in a way that puts them out of arc/LoS of enemy units.

These are a unit that is perfectly good and probably fairly costed, but once again they’re competing with the Order of Redemption as the ‘bloody expensive irregular’ choice. More often than not the Redemption win.

Photo credit: Maurice Vasquez

Kevin – 7/10
I love this unit.  In an army that is becoming known for projecting threat, this is one of our best.  Place them about a 1/3rd the way into your deployment zone to have them dominant 2/3rds of the board space.  What will put many off from including them, however, is their high cost (they really need to take the Brew of Str. to make them a hammer) and their Irregular tag. 

Photo credit: Stephen DeRose

Page – 6.5/10
While having TC2 is not ideal for an expensive hammer unit, the Forsaken Knights is the only unit in the army that fulfil the role of speed 10 hammer, which I sometimes find important to have in an alpha strike army. It is sad to bring a cavalry alpha strike army only to be faced with a flying speed 10 alpha strike army on the opponent’s side. Sadly, you can often expect them to do little after the initial charge, so I take mine with JBoots to make sure they do their job in the alpha charge.

Sam – 5/10
Shouldn’t compare with units in other armies, but it’s impossible to look at these side by side with Elf Drakon Riders and not feel really quite hard done by… Especially given that Drakons aren’t even irregular anymore.  I painted a couple of regiments, don’t see myself including them unless I’m playing a huge 3000+ point game.


Woodland Critters

Photo credit: Tyler Schultz

Elliot – 6.5/10
I’m not a fan of them as a regiment, as 9/11 nerve is just so easy to waver and because they have Fly, they also lose Nimble when wavered meaning that they can’t pivot before backing away. This means that they’re almost as likely to get in your own way then the enemies.

In hordes however, they’re a surprisingly vicious (get it?) little package. 24 attacks is still 24 attacks no matter how you look at it. They play nicely into the OotGL ethos of putting continuous pressure on your opponent from multiple angles. They’re cheap enough to throw out there on their own and threaten a flank, but if your opponent ignores them in place of facing down something scarier like a knight horde, they can do serious damage if they get in a flank or rear.

Photo credit: Elliot Morrish

Kevin – 6/10
A unit I’m warming up to.  The horde’s sheer volume of vicious attacks makes them an ever-present threat if they can get into the flank.  Regiments work okay as chaff but are outshone by other units (cough…Pegasus… cough!).

Page – 5/10
It’s not great chaff, especially at def2, as that makes them vulnerable to goblin bow fire and other chaff’s attacks. But with our best chaff the Pegasus fighting for a monster slot sometimes you must make do with these critters.

Sam – 6/10
On paper this unit looks quite good, it is excellent chaff. But the Pegasus exists. Painted up a pair of regiments, never used them. The go to chaff unit when Monster slots are full.


Greater Water Elemental

Photo credit: Tyler Schultz

Elliot – 6/10
These are…. Ok.

There isn’t too much negative to say about them, they’re a very study package in a small foot print. They make excellent anvils that can get in the way and be a pain for your opponent, plus they have a decent speed of 7. But with only Me4 and 8 attacks they’re not going to kill all that much, even in flanks.

But I struggle to see the point of them compared to a Beast of Nature. A Beast of Nature without wings is 175 points, the same speed and has a significantly better damage output. In a list where two of your best units (Beasts of Nature and Pegasi) are taking up scarce monster unlock slots, the Greater Water Elemental i