This review was written with a preview copy of the Battleome provided for free by Games Workshop.
After an extremely long wait, Deepkin finally get an up to date Battletome. Their first battletome was released at the very end of 1st edition, one of the last books before the massive paradigm shift that Soul Wars brought. Then for most of second edition it laid pretty fallow. They got some warscroll updates in the first Broken Realms book but that was about it for them. They did quite well in the tournament scene despite it, with eel spam being a solid strategy throughout much of 2nd edition. Once Broken Realms hit, it transitioned to Shark spam. In both cases, the strategy relied on consistent use of a powerful unit to engage in hit and run charge attacks that would shred through the opposition.
Now, finally we get the ground up rewrite that the army really needed. It’s time to see if Teclis’s abandoned offspring get the opportunity to shine like they always deserved.
Why Play Idoneth Deepkin?
In the lore, Idoneth were a sort of “first draft” for Teclis when creating Aelves for the new Mortal Realms, before he settled on the Lumineth. This early experiment didn’t go so well, creating horrific soulless abominations. Teclis could not bear to look at them and attempted to exterminate them all, but they fled into the depths of the boundless oceans of the Realms and hid. Teclis stayed his hands and left, and the Idoneth became deep sea raiders who swim to the shoes of unsuspecting villages and steal away innocents to harvest their souls. As the Idoneth have no souls, most who see them and survive do not remember the encounter, only recalling a faint shimmering outline.
Deepkin are one of the armies that were created whole cloth for Age of Sigmar and as a result the models are overwhelmingly gorgeous. The nautical theme seeps into every corner of them, giving them a very unique feel without any ugly resin metals stinking it up. They’re absolutely packed with detail for an expert painter and leave a lot of room for interpretation.
As you probably have expected from an elf army, Deepkin are glass cannons. They don’t take a hit well but hit hard. Deepkin in particular strongly embody a cavalry flavor, even if their mounts are not of the traditional sort. They ride eels, sharks and turtles in their quest to raid and return to the sea before they are discovered.
Where is Path to Glory?
As usual, we will cover it next week, in a seperate article, as there’s a lot to cover here.
What’s in the Book?
- Lore for the Idoneth Deepkin, their history and their society.
- Rules for constructing an Idoneth Deepkin force, including 6 Kingdoms for them to fight under.
- Faction rules for tides that hand out buffs across the whole army and change each turn, and rituals that grant a super buff on one turn of the game.
- Crusade rules, including rules for harvesting souls to spend on minor buffs on the post-battle phase.
- The usual artefacts, command trait, battle tactics and grand strategies you’ve come to expect from 3rd edition battletomes.
- All the warscrolls for Idoneth Deepkin, including the brand new Akhellian Thrallmaster
Five Best Things about the Book
- Huge glow up – There’s just no better way to put this. One of the less popular books in Age of Sigmar and neglected through most of 2nd edition is now back with a vengeance. This book is just really good all around and has few obvious shortcomings without feeling gross or imbalanced.
- Maintain their core feel – The strength of Idoneth has been their hit and run tactics. The army excels at several rapid strikes from glass cannon units, and then taking off to do it again. This feeling has been maintained, and strengthened.
- Many units have been improved – One of the biggest weaknesses of the original book is how most of the units were not very good. You’d rely on the standouts of the army to perform by spamming as many as possible. This gradually improved over time, but there are a lot more solid units now.
- Hit your peak on the turn you want – Rituals have been changed to now be a once a game ability used on a specific turn of the game, allowing you to put all your energy into the turn you want to dominate in.
- Rituals Retooled – Rather than a bunch of really hard to cast spells/prayers, these are abilities that you can use during the appropriate Tides of Death to grant potent passive abilities to your whole army.
Completely unchanged, Idoneth units cannot be shot at unless they are the closest eligible unit. In the current shooting meta this is huge, as you can obscure delicate heroes behind lines of chaff to aid in their push up the field.
Tides of Death
Tides of Death returns intact, and largely remains the same, but every change has been for the better. Each round a new buff is handed out to your entire army, not counting allies of course. It follows a linear track of Low Tide, Flood Tide, High Tide and Ebb Tide. After which it resets back to Low Tide and the cycle repeats, but in all standard matched play scenarios, the game has 5 rounds so functionally it ends here.
There are a few ways to manipulate them, or grant bonuses “out of turn” such as Ionrach allowing you to hand out the effects of Flood Tide or Ebb Tide, or the King granting High Tide. For the most part, however the goal is to understand what bonuses you’ll see in each of the upcoming phases and plan your turn to take the most advantage of them.
- Low Tide – Your units all count as being in cover. This pairs well with Forgotten Nightmares, while Deepkin have some pretty gnarly ranged damage available to it most of your damage is from hit and run strikes, and most of the army has some pretty mediocre saves so you’ll want the help to getting your units up the field. Wont help much against mortal wound spam but against normal strikes with rend, you’ll be glad it’s there.
- Flood Tide – All your units can run and shoot or charge, which is unchanged from their previous book. The only real down side is due to the smaller board being able to run and charge isn’t as impactful on turn 2, as by then much of combat has started to begin. This does give you some leeway to start further back, and to make up for lost ground on the second turn.
- High Tide – Alright this is the big one. Everything in your army gets strike first! This is the time to get everything into melee and hit hard, which most of your army is tuned for. This makes turn 3 a turning point, especially since most missions have you pulling an objective which can tip the scales of power.
- Ebb Tide – If there’s anything on the enemy side that survived round 3, you can now fall back and shoot or charge. Like Flood Tide you originally had to pick one or the other, but now you can do both, an appreciated change. Many of your stuff has powerful abilities that hit on impact, so it plays with nice when you can fall back and plink a few more mortals on anything that survived the first run, or change targets if it didnt go how you wanted.
The mechanic has mostly been unchanged, which is fine. It’s a defining trait of the faction and no use messing with what works.
Previously, these were a sort of prototype prayer, a list of abilities you could activate with an Isharann model by rolling a 10+ on a 2D6 for some minor benefit like enemies not being able to receive cover or stopping enemy models from flying. Generally too minor to be useful and too difficult to roll for, they’ve been reworked entirely.
Now they’re once per game rituals that take effect when affected by a specific tide of death, and to their credit they allow you to choose which one you have after set up, so you can choose the one that works best gain what army you are facing. You do need an Isharann model in your army, which you most likely will.
The first, Ritual of the Creeping Mist is going to be an almost auto take if you find yourself up against a heavy shooting such as Lumineth or Longstroke Stormcast. Your units cannot be targeted in Low Tide while more than 12″ away, which absolutely will disrupt a lot of the early volleys your opponent tries to throw at you. With a little luck you’ll be in combat before they get a chance to reload. By default it’s also the one that will come around a second time which does help its value gain a bit.
Second is the Ritual of the Surging Stream which grants +1 to run and charge during Flood Tide, for those keeping track that’s the one that lets you run and charge in the same turn. Simple and straightforward, it synergizes perfectly for getting that charge in that most of your units want. I think this will be the default pick as it plays into the army’s
Ritual of the Deep-sight grants a 5+ ward on High Tide to Namarti units, when most of the carnage is going to happen. I find this is a bit counter-intuitive as its also the turn you’ll get Always Strike First on everything so ideally you’ll kill most things first, but if anything survives or you go second you’ll be prepared. While being limited to just Namarti is a shame, these are typically the units that would benefit from it most anyway. It’ll be particularly important on things that do a lot of mortal wounds, which are currently cluttering up much of the meta.
Finally we have the Ritual of Spiteful Ripetide for, naturally, the Ebb tide. When you retreat, you do D3 Mortals on a 4+. Not really feeling this one, because it’s going to come in when the game’s basically over and a 4+ chance to make do some mortals feels egregious at that point. You could still fall back and charge, but it just feels hollow compared to some of the earlier ones.
One other interesting thing to note is the rules only work when affected by a specific tide of death, so if you have any abilities that manipulate the tides or grant their bonus to units it’s possible to gain the benefits on “off” turns as well.
Overwhelmingly, this change is great. While only affecting one round of the game the effect is army wide and most of them are incredibly powerful. Adding in the effect that they cannot fail is a major shift from the way they worked, all in a good way.
While all of the Enclaves printed in the original book have returned, some have had their abilities tweaked or changed completely. Much of the factions (except for Ionrach and Briomdar) are aimed at one very specific unit in mind, which sort of keeps the Idoneth playstyle of spamming lots of units.
Ionrach: the leaders and main subfaction of the Deepkin return. While they lose the ability to extend army benefits to allies, their new heroic action means that you can pick a unit within 12″ and grant them the abilities of the Flood Tide or Ebb Tide in addition to any other abilities they’re currently getting. Notably this will also turn on your Ritual if you’ve chosen the appropriate one. There are a lot of potentially powerful plays with this subfaction, including teleporting your heroes around the board with a spell to spring this ability on a surprise unit. Of all the options this is the best “all rounder”. it benefits every unit type to some degree and is the most flexible buff in any given situation.
Nautilar: Everyone’s (or at least someone’s) favorite turtle riders return, this time granting a friendly Leviadon a Monstrous Rampage that gives their Fins and Jaws attack Rend -3 for when you truly want to make sure that something dies. It also makes Leviadons battleline, so you can rock up to 3 of them if you want to go all Monsters.
Mor’phann: The first of two Thrall-boosting factions, goth bois keep their ability to boost the number of Namarti units returned by a Soulrender (or the Underworlds hero, if you’re packing those). Thralls have gotten a bump with this book so this could be fairly useful.
Fuethan: If you’re going all in on sharks, this is where you want to be. Their ability allows you to take 3 units of Alloplexes together as a group called a “Bloodthirsty Shiver”. They are still individual units, you just have to take 3 or nothing. Fortunately their points do not go up. Once per combat phase one of these Alloplex count an unmodified 6 on the attack roll as 2 hits, or 3 hits if they’re all within 3″ of each other.
This is very similar to the Rotbringer Coven from the Nurgle book, but much more useful. While you likely will never want 3 Rotbringer sorcerers outside of a gimmick build, 3 Sharks is not a hard sell if you plan on bringing them anyway, and it’s basically a pure upgrade in that case. As this is (and continues to be) a very viable build I think we’ll see this subfaction used a lot.
Dhom-Hain: This is a very wordy ability that grants your Namarti units the ability to Charge and Fight again if they manage to wipe out an enemy unit. This only triggers if you’re going first in the combat round; if you are going second then your Redeploy order can target 3 units instead of one. This has the potential to be extremely powerful, especially if you’re benefitting from High Tides in round 3!
If you want to break tradition and field a lot of foot troops I think this will be a go-to, as it basically lets you do Mighty Destroyers from Ironjawz, with a smaller unit pool.
Briomdar: The Briomdar ability benefits the Soulscryer (and the stuff accompanying them), allowing you to set up additional units in reserve and giving them more space to move around in. This is the other “all-rounder” faction as the units you bring into reserve are not limited. Want to bring in some sharks? Eels? Turtles? Do what you want, get them into charge range and lock up the enemy before they even move.
As has become the standard in newer books, there’s an attempt to pare down the number traits and artefacts in the book to replace quantity with quality. There are still an impressive number here, with 3 for 3 different types of heroes: Akhelians, Isharanns and Eidolons.
The Akhelians are your king and the new Thrallmaster, in short your ounchy melee dudes. Born from Agony lets them heal all damage taken, but only on a 6. A lifesaver when it goes off but do you really want to bank on that when you’re almost down and out? Lord of Storm and Sea lets you avoid battleshock within 12″, which has some dubious use as most of your army has pretty good bravery and only the Thralls will be kept in numbers big enough to be a concern. A real stand out is Unstoppable Fury, which gives the general +1 to attacks with melee weapons during High Tide. On a King this is a lot, with 7 attacks from a greatsword you can very quickly grind an enemy into dust, and this is during High Tide, so you’re hitting them first too! This will likely be a popular pick for the more martial orientated player who wants their own Smash King.
For your more magic focused counterparts, the Isharann have Hunter of Souls which lets them do D3 mortal wounds to an enemy Hero or Champion in combat on a 3+. Isharann’s are solid Warrior-Wizards, packing a decent 4+ save and some ok melee weapons but you probably wont want them to get too close unless you feel confident in finishing a unit off. Similarly, there is Merciless Raider which allows you to auto wound on a 6 (notably these aren’t mortals, they just let you bypass the wound roll). This has similar problems to Hunter of Souls but at least it applies to ranged attacks, which means it may have some possible synergy with the Soulscryer’s ranged attack, letting you bypass a few 4+ wound rolls for some missle hits. The actually interesting trait is Teachings of the Turscoll which lets you reverse the Tides of Death. You don’t have to do this, if you decide the regular arrangement works for you but I think there’s some potential there. You’d get High Tide a turn earlier by using this and with the smaller game map its much easier to be getting into combat by turn 2. The downside is you start with Ebb Tide, and falling back and charging/shooting doesnt do you much good on turn 1 so it may require some experimentation.
We do have some questions on Hunters of Souls, which will surely require an FAQ is if the wounds will spill over if the champion dies. We haven’t encountered an ability like this, and my gut instinct says no, as it says it’s only targetting the champion. Further, how does this work on units that are tankier, like say Blightkings where the champion can easily tank the hit. Now they potentially have 2 models with wounds allocated, where do they go now? Not sure this was well considered.
Finally your big wave cape boys, the Eidolons. You get one for both and one for each aspect. The generic one Ancient Pride makes it so all enemy attacks that hit on a 1 or 2 fail. This has more utility than it seems as with the dawn of All Out Attack and similar abilities, 2+ to hit are frightfully more common than usual. This can cut out a couple of attacks and keep you alive that much longer. Aspect of the Storm get Nightmare Legacy which lets them use Monstrous Rampages as if a monster, but none of the other benefits. A cute trick, especially in an army with only one (very expensive) monster you might like to have the Roar on hand. Aspect of the Sea gets Endless Sea Storm which lets them cast a second spell if they rolled at least a 7 on a casting check and it wasnt unbound. 7 is certainly reasonable and if you got below that there’s a good chance it’ll be unbound anyway. If you take an Aspect of the Sea this is probably going to be high up on the usability list.
Overall the command traits are solid. Each block has at least one really good one worth taking which grants a lot more flexibility in army builds, especially in one with so many Heroes. Regardless of which hero you prefer there’s something here for you.
Just like Command Traits we got 3 artefacts for the 3 major classifications of Heroes.
First of, Akhelian. The Disharmony Stones are an odd one, once per game you get to pick 2 enemy Heroes within 3 inches and pick one of three options: Either deal 1 mortal wound on a 3+, D3 Mortals on a 5+ or guarantee D3 but also deal D3 to yourself on a 4+. I think in most cases the last one will be preferrable as you’ll not want to waste it, and unless your guy is on the ropes he can heal it back in short order. Potion of Hateful Frenzy is a once per game potion to add +1 to hit, wound, attacks, run and charge rolls for one turn. Definitely high up on the recommendations. Combined with the Unstoppable Fury trait you can have a blistering number of attacks hitting on 2+/2+. You don’t even need to wait for high tide thanks to their warscroll ability, which we will get to. The final option, Armour of Cythal is also highly valuable, cancelling all “Unmodified 6s” abilities like mortal wounds or explosions. If you’re worried about facing too many Mortal Wounds on 6s at range, (and who isn’t?) this is highly important in the current meta and is an extremely good take.
Next, Isharanns get the Dritchleech which reduces all spell rolls by 1 within 18″ for enemy wizards. It doesn’t work on an opposing Idoneth, but that’s not likely to come up too often. Pretty solid choice, as 18″ is a generous range and wizards can be a huge lynchpin in an opponent’s army. For those who need more terrain on the board the Rune of the Surging Gloomtide lets you summon another shipwreck 12″ from the caster. Good for getting one further up the board on turn 1 or 2 to shield your dudes. Finally the Brain Barnacle is a very interesting one. Measure from the bearer to another Hero and roll 2D6, if you can meet or beat that distance they get -1 to hit and to wound the whole game. This is potentially devasting on many beatstick Heroes like Morathi or Gotrek, even if you want to get close to make sure it doesn’t fail. How close you need to get is going to depend on your comfort level but generally 7″ or less is best (like charges). Big fan of this, weird but powerful.
The Eidolons are packed with once per battle abilities. The Bio-shock Shell asks you to beat an enemy’s bravery on a 3D6 (Average roll of 10.5, so will almost always work) to apply strike last. Not bad, particularly on turns you cant get Strike First in. The Whorlshell makes all attacks fail on a 1+ or a 2+, like Ancient Pride but only once per game, a bit of a lazy choice. Finally the Kraken Tooth if highly worth considering. It’s a once per game shooting attack of 12″ that does D3 Mortals on a 2-5, or completely obliterates a model with 9 or fewer wounds on a 6! It does 2D6 on a model with 10 or more, and does D3 to the bearer on a 1, but the times it goes off could be game changing. I don’t think it’s quite as good as many of the other options here, but could be fun in a more casual game.
There are 4 spells in the Lore of the Deeps, shared amongst all your wizards. Up first is Steed of Tides, your very own, weaker, Relocation. You choose a Hero that is not a monster and place it anywhere more than 9″ from all enemy units. While it can’t move that turn, you can use this to surprise reposition auras. A King could be shot across the board to unexpectedly grant a few units the effects of High Tide, or even attempt a charge himself! Counter-Current halves run and charge rolls for an enemy unit. With a generous range of 18″ it can grant you the breathing room you need to get to High Tide when you can fight on your terms. Pressure of the Deep lets you roll a d6 and if the result is greater than a chosen model’s Wounds characteristic they are slain. While you could use it on a weaker Hero, that 1 out of 6 may not be the best use for it. The best use is targetting unit champions or bannerbearers to weaken a unit or in some cases break coherency! Finally Arcane Corrasion worsens the rend of enemies by 1. There’s only a 12″ range, which does sort of mess with its effectiveness for ranged attacks but you mostly want to be able to preserve your glass cannons in melee, and cast on a high rend unit can make a difference.
Like artefacts, Mounts get divided into groups: Deepmare and Leviadon, with 3 a piece. First, Deepmare mounts can choose Swift-finned Impaler to upgrade their Deepmare Horn ability to D6 (instead of D3) mortals when they roll a 6, add 1 to the Attacks of both of their attacks with Savage Ferocity, or Void Chill Darkness to subtract 1 from hit rolls of attacks that target this unit in combat. All 3 are incredibly solid picks, especially for a unit that’s going to see combat a lot. I think Savage Ferocity wins out a bit more in consistency, with Void Chill Darkness being a solid pick for those afraid of dying too soon.
Now Leviadons can change Rend -1 to – with Ancient. With the proliferation of rend, not terrible but many of the stuff that’s going to fight Monsters is going to have tougher Rend than that, to which it will do nothing. Denizen of the Darkest Depths is similarly a defensive pick, granting -1 to wound against attacks that do 1 damage. Chip damage is a thing, but not your primary concern. I think the winner here is going to be Reverberating Carapace which expands the Void Drum from 12″ to 15″. If you do bring a Leviadon, the Void Drum buff is an important cornerstone of your army and having that extra flexibility of range matters a lot.
Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics
Like previous battletomes this edition, Idoneth get 4 new Grand Strats and 6 new Battle Tactics that work in tandom with the ones in the General’s Handbook.
First, Akhelian Pursuit which requires 3 Akhellian units wholly within Enemy Territory at games end. Super easy to pull off with shark spam lists and probably a legitimate consideration for that kind of list. The Creeping Gloomtide requires a ship survive and have no enemies within 3″, kinda dicey, especially if an enemy Monster were to destroy it ruining all your work. I’d probably pass on this one for a GT but easy enough in a casual game where you think you can defend it. Dominion of the Deep Ones is a dicey one, requiring only friendly Leviadons be on the field. Again, if your opponent has no monsters you can win this handidly, but if you end up in a game with say, Sons of Behemat you’re in deep trouble. Rounding it off you get Namarti Assault which requires the only Battleline units on the field be Namarti or 2 or more end the game within combat. Also a bit dicey as it can be hard to hash out what your opponent’s list is going to look like and if they can wipe out most of your Namarti. In a Namarti heavy list this might work though.
Overall, solid strats. I think Akhelian Pursuit could see tournament play while the rest are a bit dicey, but not unreasonable to pull off.
As always battle tactics we can be more permissive about, since you can simply not use them if the chance doesn’t come up. Assassins of the High Tide requires you destroy 2+ enemy units during High Tide, and frankly if you can’t do this you probably lost (or are fighting all Monsters like Sons of Behemat) so I expect this to see a lot of play. Predators of the Deep has you pick an enemy unit with an 8 or higher wound characteristic and no wounds on it. If you can kill it with an Allopexe, two points. On an Allopex heavy list, a shoe-in. Revenge of the Namarti is like Bring it Down but requires you use a Namarti to kill a Hero or Monster, find a Hero that is on death’s door and finish them off with your beefed up infantry. Deny Trespassers asks you to pick a Gloomtide Shipwreck with an enemy unit within 12″ of it and remove all enemy units. Use it as you think you can, if a weak enough unit drifts too close, annihilate it. Trapped in the Undercurrents is a candidate for use in every game, if 3 units fall back and charge you pull this off, and it’s easy to wait for Ebb Tide or grant it to enough units to pull this off. Finally, Isharann Defiance is going to matter very heavily on game mode, as it requires picking an objective wholly within enemy territory and capturing it with an Isharann unit. Bring in a Soulscryer and grab it when the chance opens up and this can be easy or it can be impossible.
Overall, these are good. Nothing is too easy nor too hard. If the opportunity presents itself you can nab points but can always fall back on the generic ones as you need to.
Overall what I do want to stress here is how almost everything is good. This is not the sort of book we can point you to a few units and say “take these, win game”. It’s a book with just a lot of really good stuff that synergizes well and asks you to pick units you like and support them properly with heroes that align with that goal. If you want to do a mixed fire list you can do that, just as you can spam the same thing over and over. The potential depth of this book’s unit selection is incredible and it’s going to be wonderful to see how people get clever with it.
The Deepkin book is notoriously Hero heavy, the number of Heroes is more than double everything else combined. Most Heroes retained their general “vibe” even if a few abilities were tweaked here and there. Many units also got a ward, which massively helps their survivability.
Eidolons of Mathlann
Eidolons come in two flavors, Aspect of the Storm, the Martial Variant and Aspect of the Sea the magic variant.
Aspect of the storm has changed very little, aside from the odd choice to rename some weapons, Fuathar is now just the Spear of Repressed Fury and the Stormshoal is just “Sharp Fangs”, odd. The 5+ ward has remained, as has healing D3 wounds when charging. The abilities to reroll hits and wounds has been replaced with +1 to attacks and +1 to damage after charging and +1 to wounds for units within 12″. Pulled into the Depths has been made more offensive, substituting -1 to hit against the Eidolon to +1 to hit and wound to an enemy Hero at the start of the combat phase. It has some dubious use given you already get +1 to wound already but overall it makes a decent combat engine. If it wasn’t for the Akhelian King I’d practically consider it an auto include.
While aspect of the Storm has mostly stayed the same, Aspect of the Sea Eidolon sees a much bigger improvement. Instead of rerolling casting rolls for your first spell, you can reroll all spell rolls, which is a notable change. Their spell Cloying Sea Mists has remained the same, letting you choose any model and either heal D3 or deal D3 mortals depending on if they’re in your army or not. Tsunami of Terror is completely different. Previously it let you pick D6 units and subtract 1 from Hit rolls and bravery and now has you pick up to D3 enemy units and subtract 1 from save rolls for attacks made with melee weapons only. Since most of your damage comes from the charge, it’s a reliable ability anyway.
The only thing holding these guys back is the cost. Both remain north of 300 which is an awful high price to pay and while most everything in this book has gone up that can be a bit much to pay when other Heroes fill the same role, but cheaper.
Volturnos and the Akhelian King
As Volturnos is just a named version of the king, we’ll group them together. Volturnos is basically what you expect from a named character, he trades being “better” at his job in exchange for being locked into a specific subfaction (in this case, Ionrach) and not being able to take command traits or artefacts. he has fewer, but more potent attacks from his sword, his +1 to hit Aura is slightly bigger (12″ instead of 9″ of the generic) and gets to ignore spells on a 3+. Both versions do impact wounds of D3 on a 2+.
Their unique abilities act completely differently, Lord of Tides on the Generic version lets you grant High Tide to D3 units (Granting them Always Strike First) while Volturnos’s Supreme Lord of Tides grants +1 attack to those who are already affected by High Tide. Both are solid, but the generic’ sability to grant Always Strike First on an “off turn” is probably more clutch.
Even in Ionrach, I think the generic King is probably the better pick, because you can get some insane combos going. With Potion of Hateful Frenzy and Unstoppable Fury you’re looking at Always Strike First, x7 Polearm attacks (at Damage 3 -3 Rend) and x7 Falchion attacks at +2/+2, and thats from the rider alone. That’s not the full extent of buffs you could cast, either! This is easily going the centerpiece of many lists as both a strong smash Hero and a solid support unit with its free +1 to hit within 9″.
A more modestly priced caster than the Eidolon, and you’ll probably want to include at least one, if only to get the Isharann Rituals, as bringing a Tidecaster lets you pick two rituals. Tidecasters also have access to a unique spell. Riptide remains unchanged and deals D3 mortals to a unit and makes them subtract 1 from hit rolls for all attacks.
Lotann of the Soul Ledgers
Lotann is a weird utility character, first Catalogue of Souls has changed from +1 bravery and Rerolling hits for Namarti units to +1 to wound rolls for all Deepkin units within 12″. Much cheaper than the Eidolon of the Storm to get the same benefit. A bit confusing is the Fount of Willpower which lets you grant the effect of a ritual to a single unit once per battle. As written it seems like you would need to still be in the correct Tides of Death phase, which doesn’t make it totally useless but a bit mild compared to the Tidecaster granting 2 rituals.
The Soulscryer returns basically exactly as he was, letting you outflank 2 units (3 under Briomdar) and that’s what he’s good for. His ranged attack is a fair bit better, letting you do some chip damage while everyone else charges in. If you can fit him in, probably worth taking at least one to get in behind your opponent and tie things up.
The Soulrender also returns mostly intact. He heals D3 Namarti models, with a set 3 (instead of D3+1) if he killed something that turn. Hangman’s Knot has been weakened a bit, requiring you to instead roll 2D6 and beat the wound characteristic of the enemy Hero to remove it. You can’t use it on mounts anymore, the Hero must have 7 or fewer wounds and most damning it’s once per game. With Thralls now being more viable I think this guy might actually have more of a role than he did before, to keep your thralls alive.
Elathainn Ill-Fated and Elathain’s Soulraid
The Underworlds Warband and it basically shares the same fate as other of its ilk. Elathainn is a named Soulrender that’s slightly overcosted and his only unique trait is that he does Mortals on unmodified 6s to hit. His warband is otherwise an unimpressive collection of odds and ends, attacks with no rend doing minimal damage. Hard pass.
Poor crab 🙁
We saw this guy in Fury of the Deep and he, not so surprisingly, hasn’t changed. He can do a little jig and make Namarti within 12″ fight better. He can either let them reroll hit rolls of 1, 6s do exploding hits or make attacks against Namarti -1 to wound. You’ll likely take the last 2, depending on whether you need to do damage or hold your ground. The reroll 1s is a bit baffling (the odds of rolling a 1 and a 6 are the same, but 6 gives you an extra attack where as 1 only gives you a chance to try again).
If you go Thrall heavy, bring at least one of these guys, you’ll need them.
The Battleline section is a touch thin (as the book has provisional battleline for basically everthing) with only Namarti Thralls and Reavers occupying this slot. We got a sneak peak already through the Fursy of the Deep box set and they have been gradually improved on their warscroll. Thralls now get a 2″ range, a huge improvement with their 32″ bases, and their Sweeping Blows ability now does additional damage on a model with 3 wounds instead of 4, lowering the barrier for entry. Reavers had their attacks compressed to one consistent profile that does 2 attacks at 18″, but has a +1 if within 9″.
These infantry options, previously rather maligned are looking a lot better now. While at worst you’ll still want to field a few just to have shields for your more valuable units ( your opponent can’t shoot anything but what’s closest, after all) with some work you can make them actually good. They can be buffed by a Thrallmaster, or played in Dhom-Hainn they’re no longer just “pretty good” and can actually become a threat when brought en masse.
The Eels and Sharks are the occupier this slot, but both can become battleline under the right circumstances. The Akhelian Ishlaen Guard and Akhelian Morrsarr Guard are battleline with an Akhelian King General instead of just by default in Idoneth now. Otherwise are not too different from before, as their abilities function almost exactly the same. The banner bearer and musician now add +1 to their respective rolls instead of rerolls. A downgrade, but consistent with the games attempt to cut down on rerolls.
Curiously there are two minor changes here, one bad and one good. The Ishlaen keep their ignoring of rend, but they ignore all modifiers now. A curious change, and a bit of a downside though ignoring rend probably still makes up for it. Morrsarr still do Mortals once per game as before (1 die for each model in a unit, 4+ does a mortal, 6+s do D3) but you now get to add +1 to the roll if theres more models in the enemy unit. Since you probably are spamming packs of 3 of these, that’s almost always going to happen, and that 6 to do mortals? That’s not unmodified. These are going to shred through hordes something fierce and they didn’t even go up in cost!
The other entry is of course the Akhelian Allopexes, Battleline in Fuethan now and the current meta darlings of the faction since their update late last year. For those who didn’t see the update in the Fury of the Deep box, they can be run in groups of 3 and there is a rule for Champions now, +1 to hit with melee weapons. Not a bad deal to run them in groups. At only a 20 point increase they still remain very competitive. These guys are notable for being nasty on the charge, generally hitting hard for a low cost, and their notorious nets allow them to block pile-ins, a nasty effect for basically any army to contend with.
Only the Akhelian Leviadon here, of course. Despite getting an update in Broken Realms: Morathi which made them competitively viable, they got a small update here. Their weapons are more impressive, the ranged Harpoon Launchers now doing D3 instead of just 1 and the melee Harpoons getting some rend. The Crushing Charge unfortunately now just augments Stomp, instead of being a seperate action. This presents an issue if you’re playing Nautilar, as you have to choose between the -3 rend Monstrous action or the Mortals instead of both but since they become Battleline you’ll probably have 2 or 3.
The big hit here is the cost, a whopping 500 points just for one, you probably won’t field more than 1 if at all. It’s going to be tough to justify, I think you can make it work but they will become the center of your army and you will need to build around it.
The defensible aspect of the terrain returns (5 models if you keep them smaller and seperate and 10 if you keep them together). Predators of the Ethersea, the ability to do mortals to enemy units who get too close is gone, unfortunately. However the Ward save returns from its original incarnation, and this time it’s a 5+! The downside is it does nothing if a unit that doesn’t have the Idoneth Deepkin keyword gets within 3″. Which is a bit curious, as it does mean your own allies can make the effect not work and it will still works when an enemy Idoneth army is close.
Unless you really need the 10 man Garrison you’re probably going to keep them seperated, as that 5+ ward is going to be huge to keeping your guys alive as they push up the field. Depending on the deployment you may even be able to cover near the center, where the action is.
Mixed Fire List
Allegiance: Idoneth Deepkin
– Enclave: Ionrach
– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs: Inspired
Akhelian King (250) *
– Bladed Polearm
– Command Trait: Unstoppable Fury
– Artefact: Potion of Hateful Frenzy
– Mount Trait: Savage Ferocity
Isharann Tidecaster (150) *
– Lore of the Deeps: Steed of Tides
Akhelian Thrallmaster (110) *
10 x Namarti Thralls (130) *
10 x Namarti Thralls (130) *
10 x Namarti Thralls (130) *
3 x Akhelian Morrsarr Guard (195) **
3 x Akhelian Morrsarr Guard (195) **
1 x Akhelian Allopexes (165) **
– Razorshell Harpoon
Akhelian Leviadon (500) *
Total: 1955 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Since Idoneth spent so much of the game being confined to a strict playstyle, I wanted to try a list where I could put a bit of everything in there. The Thralls are the front line infantry, able to weather shots from ranged attacks while other stuff moves up the field. The Morrsarr Guard and Allopex can charge in alongside their king and the Leviadon.
In general it’s a nice mixed fire list that lets you toy around with a lot of the different stuff this army can do, and you can play around with it to taste.
JoeK: The new deepkin update has had a few people on pins and needles, wondering: Will it be viable? Will we get more play from “non-eels” ? Will the eels still be playable? How many sharks/turtles can I take? Will we get a second wave of models like lumineth did? And while basically all of those answers are “yes”, (except for the new models part… no crabs or deep sea monsters this time around.) That “yes” answer will come in waves. The skill crest of this army is enormous. Whether you want raging currents of thralls, Schools of bloodthirsty shivers, or those who just want to go with the flow with Crush, Little dude and blastoise. Just about any army you want to make with this army will be playable. easily 3/2. and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them 4/1-5/0 often. I really feel this battletome is the first since Soulblight Gravelords to have incredible internal balance, but with the added bonus of also having incredible external balance. You can take a bunch of little packages of cute tricks, or hyper focus into one skew build and you wont really feel like either build is missing out.
RagnarokAngel: I’m not sure I’m quite that optimistic but I still think they knocked this out of the park. The book has always been maligned as very “spam heavy”, requiring you to drop several hundred of your local currency just to put down multiples of the same unit (First eels, then a bit of variety with Sharks and turtles, but most sharks). Everything in this book just feels good as like Joe said it really feels like you can make a viable build out of both spamming the same unit or running mixed fire. Current Idoneth players are going to be super happy and those who have been sitting on the fence should jump in already because it’s never been a better time!
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