Battletome: Nighthaunt – The Goonhammer Review

The long wait is finally over! The ghostly legions of Olynder and Nagash have returned with a brand new battletome, and oh boy have they returned in force. Almost four years since their last book, Nighthaunt were probably the army that needed the biggest glow up. Formerly a fragile army reliant on an intricate web of bonuses from heroes one nasty look away from being removed from the table, the new battletome has completely redesigned how this army plays. Forget the frailties of the old battletome; Nagash has rewarded those with the patience of the dead, and the Mortal Realms will never be the same again…

This review was written with a preview copy of the Battletome provided for free by Games Workshop.

Why play Nighthaunt?

Do you like the undead? Do you like playing a vast wave of unstoppable terror that the blades of their enemies pass through without affect? Do you like justice?

The first edition Nighthaunt book introduced the fascinating idea of Nagash as a god of justice, with cruel and evil deeds in life rewarded (?) by unending servitude and punishment by Nagash in death. Kurdoss Valentian was punished for his ruthless desire to rule and murder of his own brothers with a curse of being fated to never rule and never kill again, a bitter jest of Nagash. Dreadscythe Harridans were once healers and nurturers that denied souls to Nagash through extending their life now cursed with rage against those self-same healers, and Chainrasp Hordes were vicious and irredeemable criminals, how fated to be tortured and imprisoned forever.

Nighthaunt were pretty much a whole new army for Age of Sigmar second edition, with a range of models that really captured the ethereal, inhuman nature of the army, really giving hints that these used to be people, but they’re now twisted into something much less, and much more. The models can be, uh, difficult to transport and fragile, but a well painted army can look truly beautful – just check out Dana Howl’s vaporwave ghosts! They’re also easy to paint, with a basic contrast and a few details picked out leading to probably the fastest to paint army in Age of Sigmar, giving even Necrons in 40k a run for their money.

Finally, Nighthaunt are a tactician’s dream, being all about stacking synergies to supercharge your troops into inhuman terrors on the battlefield. Their battle traits are some of the best and most importantly most interesting we’ve yet seen in the game, and working out exactly how to best apply these is going to be a really interesting challenge for the budding scion of Nagash to explore.

Where is Path to Glory?

As usual, we will cover it next week, in a separate article, as there’s a lot to cover here.

What’s in the Book?

  • Lore for the Nighthaunt, their history and their society.
  • Rules for constructing a Nighthaunt army, including four Processions for them to fight in.
  • Faction rules completely redesign the way the army is played, rewriting Nighthaunt into an incredibly mobile scalpel of an army.
  • Path to Glory rules.
  • A whole host of artifacts, command traits, battle tactics and grand strategies you’ve come to expect from 3rd edition battletomes.
  • All the warscrolls for Nighthaunt, including the new heroes Awlrach the Drowner and the Scriptor Mortis, and the new unit of Craventhrone Guard. Nagash is in here too!
  • Tokens! In a surprising move the Nighthaunt battletome comes with a bunch of tokens to help keep track of your Wave of Terror rules, containing eight carboard tokens for each of the three effects and a useful 9” measuring stick to keep track of where your ghosts can teleport to.

Five things we like about this book

  • Speed Kills – With an universal movement of 8” or more, army wide fly and army wide retreat and charge, Nighthaunt are fast, and you’re never going to pin them down in combat. This is an army that goes wherever it wants, whenever it wants, and Nagash help you if you’re in their way.
  • Huge glow up – Probably more than any other army in the game, Nighthaunt really needed an upgrade, with an old book containing old units and army-wide rules that seemed outdated just as the book was launched. The units are now generally much improved but the battle traits in particular are a lot better.
  • Allegiance abilities everyone else can be jealous of – The Nighthaunt battle traits section reads like someone took an improv class and continually “Yes, and?” their way into a long, looong list of some amazingly powerful abilities. Most other armies in the game would be happy with one or two, but we get all six, providing a real toolbox element that the faction previously lacked.
  • Heroes have a real place in the army – In the old book, Nighthaunt heroes were often a weird mix of both vital to synergies, shockingly easy to remove from the board, and never really being sure what some of them were meant to do. Nighthaunt heroes now all have clear and discrete roles, a big power buff, and the survivability to help them do their job in peace.
  • Pick the units you want – With only a couple of exceptions there isn’t a stinker in this entire book. Fan favorite units like the Black Coach have come roaring to the fore and you now get to use the units you want to use because they’re cool, rather than being forced into combinations with less fun units just to stay competitive.
Credit: PierreTheMime

The Rules


Rest in peace to Reiknor’s Condemned, but hello to three brand new Nighthaunt subfactions!

Grieving Legion: Enemy units cannot retreat while they are within 3” of any Grieving Legion units with 10 or more models. This ties in well with the many rules that tie in to the terrified function of Aura of Dread, but given this army’s fragility we can’t see this being taken as a mainstay – it would have been amazing as a command trait or unit ability, but the other Processions seem much nastier on face value.

This Procession incentivises big blocks of models, and unfortunately the drawback here is that the Wave of Terror mechanic really encourages a ‘multiple small units’ style of gameplay to maximise the number of triggers you get. It’s an interesting and powerful subfaction trait that doesn’t synergise all that well with the rest of the book. Still worth testing out though!

Emerald Host: The subfaction we think most players will be immediately drawn to, an Emerald Host army picks D3+1 units at the start of the battle, inflicting D3 mortal wounds each battle round (D3+1 if its a monster). It’s not subtle, but it is powerful. The ability to potentially just kill off multiple small support heroes in round two while your army is nowhere near them is incredibly useful. On first glance this one is the big winner, but the fact that damage happens at the end of each battle round is a major drawback – most AoS games are determined early, and while 2D3 mortal wounds to key units might be enough going into round three, I wouldn’t risk my army on it.

Scarlet Doom: Bladegheist Revenants become battleline in Scarlet Doom armies, and when a Bladegheist unit charges you can pick an enemy unit it ends within 1” of, rolling 1d6 per Bladegheist and inflicting a mortal wound on a 5+. Our initial thoughts was that this wasn’t really worth it – a few mortal wounds on the charge? Who needs it? But then you remember this army is charging every turn. The insane mobility Nighthaunt have now in allowing them to retreat over enemy units due to fly and then charge back in is a huge boost.

Quicksilver Dead: Quicksilver Dead Dreadscythe Harridans ignore ward saves for their melee attacks, and also become battleline in a Quicksilver Dead army. The Harridans already don’t have any rend, so ignoring ward saves is both really helpful (they need all the help they can get) and less than useful (most of their attacks will already have been saved by armour). We’re leaning to this as our favourite of the four, because it’s an extremely powerful effect on a pretty strong warscroll that, leading to a combination that can do a really nasty job at countering some of the stronger armies in the game right now, like Nurgle, Idoneth Deepkin, Fyreslayers and the mirror match of Nighthaunt. Oh hey, that’s almost all the third edition books!

Battle Traits

Aura of Dread

Previously merely -1 Bravery, Aura of Dread now makes all non-Nighthaunt enemy units within 3” of any Nighthaunt units terrified. Terrified units can’t issue or receive the Inspiring Presence command, and also interacts with a range of other abilities in the army that we’ll get into later. 

No Inspiring Presence can really change the moves your opponent is willing to pull. How much are you willing to risk those Allopexes next to Sinister terrain? Or your Stone Guard after they’ve used their Aetherquartz?

After some playtesting we’re convinced this is one of the more powerful improvements in the whole book. Nighthaunt doesn’t really have the damage output to wipe units, but you don’t have to kill every model in a unit if you’re going to force a battleshock test to wipe out the survivors.

Put a pin in this, it’s more important than it looks.


Given a huge glow up, Ethereal now gives Nighthaunt three benefits:

  • Ignore positive and negative modifiers to save rolls (as it was before);
  • Nighthaunt units gain a 6+ ward save; and
  • Nighthaunt units can retreat and charge.

These are enormous benefits and will really change how the army plays. In the old rules your ghosts only got the 6+ ward save while within 12+ of a Nighthaunt Hero, limiting their ability to spread out over the battlefield. Now it’s just innate; you can use your various movement shenanigans to put your models exactly where they need to be without risking them losing their save.

The retreat and charge is an entirely unexpected icing on the cake. Combined with a general increase in movement to 8” on average, your ghosts are going to be where you want them to be, and none of these pesky screening shenanigans will matter.


A unique command ability that gives a unit a 5+ command ability, rather than 6+, when picked as the target of an attack in the combat or shooting phase. Combined with the Shademist spell that could make that unit -1 to be wounded, and Nagash’s Death Magic Incarnate giving a unit +1 to ward rolls, you could very easily have a very nasty tarpit that’s -1 to be wounded and -1 to be hit with a 4+ unrendable save with a 4+ ward straight after. 

Finally an equivalent for All Out Defense! As we’ve spoken about in Hammer of Math articles before, a 5+ ward is more than twice as good as a 6+ ward, because any saved wound has a higher chance of being saved again. Using this ability at just the right time will be absolutely game winning. We’ve taken to calling this ability All Out Ghost in the Goonhammer office.

Frightful Touch

A few units in the old book (most notably Spirit Hosts and the ghosts swirling around Olynder and Nagash) did mortal wounds on 6s to hit. This has now been replaced with the army wide ability Frightful Touch, which means that 6s to hit automatically wound army wide. We’ll circle back to a Hammer of Math article on Nighthaunt for the statistical details, but this is a huge bonus to the army. Many units in this army don’t have great to wound rolls, so skipping that entire step is amazing.

This is especially impactful on bucket of dice style units like Chainrasps or Dreadscythe Harridans, where the effect is more consistent and really raises their damage profile. It’s not as powerful as mortal wounds on 6s, but getting it army wide more than makes up for that.

Vanishing Phantasms

While before Nighthaunt could ‘deep strike’ using From the Underworld They Come, now at the end of deployment but before determining control of objectives you can choose up to three units and remove them from the battlefield to return to play at the end of any movement phase 9” away from enemy units. This is incredible, because your opponent has presumably deployed in response to how your army has been, but then you completely rewrite the battlefield. It also doesn’t limit how many units can leave the table – if you’re playing a small game with four units, you can hide one and put the other three into reserves before the game begins.

It initially stung to read that no longer could we deep strike half our army, but when you consider everything in this book now has base 8″ movement it’s not nearly as big a deal as it seems, and getting to decide what goes into reserves after deployment is a really nice touch that can really mess with your opponent’s options turn one.

Wave of Terror

After making a charge roll with a Nighthaunt unit, look up the unmodified value you rolled on the Wave of Terror table and apply that effect to an enemy unit within 1”. 

  • 4-7 means the enemy unit is -1 to hit
  • 8-9 means the enemy unit is at -1 to their saves
  • 10+ means they strike after all other eligible units have fought.

You only get one effect per charging ghostly unit, but multiple charging units means multiple effects, and you can pick lower results should you choose. This is incredible, and a pretty good argument for an MSU style army with multiple units charging in. 

There’s a couple of key things to note here. Firstly, there’s no cap on how low you can reduce a unit’s save. With enough rend and Wave of Terror results, you can absolutely strip a unit down to no save whatsoever.

While not fighting immediately in the charge phase on an unmodified 10+ may be a disappointment for those expecting that ability to return, we promise you that this new Wave of Terror is a much smoother gameplay experience. The old version would sometimes only trigger on combats that didn’t matter, or in some games not at all. The new system has a consistent and dependable quality and really gives the feeling of overwhelming your opponent when you charge a big monster with a horde of ghosts to stack a bunch of effects to make them anemic. The new rules really make you feel like you jumped someone in a back alley with a broken bottle, only spooky. Now if only there were some big, armoured, golden boogey man in the Age of Sigmar scene we could use this to bully…

Credit: PierreTheMime


Command traits

Six command traits here for Nighthaunt heroes, of which you have a plethora to choose from. 

  • Lingering Spirits gives you a 4+ ward save against mortal wounds, which is nice but you probably have better things to be doing than probably still failing to keep your general alive against Lumineth Sentinels.
  • Terrifying Entity is the one we’re going to be testing first – with the number of interactions based around terrified, having your general project a 6” Aura of Dread rather than 3” could be quite nasty. It doesn’t give your general any personal bonuses, but Nighthaunt heroes have always been more about buffing their army rather than being blenders themselves.
  • Ruler of the Spectral Hosts lets you bring back half of a destroyed unit on a 4+ once per battle. This is the gambler’s option – a surprise 10 Bladegheist Revenants can hugely swing the battle, but I’m not brave enough with my dice to risk this.
  • Hatred of the Living lets you reroll hits and wounds against non-Death targets, potentially hilarious on a Cairn Wraith, but command traits are generally best served strengthening your army as a whole, rather than an individual model. Still, this lets you bring back the meme of Kevin the Cairn Wraith, so it’s still a good thing.
  • Spiteful Spirit lets you roll a number of dice equal to your general’s Wounds characteristic on any turn they’re injured, inflicting a mortal wound on each enemy unit within 6” on a 4+. Most Nighthaunt generals that see combat aren’t going to be alive there very long, and while it might be cute as a little bomb it still doesn’t meet the mark for us.
  • Finally, we’re torn on Cloaked in Shadow. Some in the Goonhammer office think it’s so close to being incredible, with this general only able to be targeted by one unit per shooting or combat phase. The power of shooting right now (looking at you, uh, most of Order) means that there are enough powerful dedicated shooting units to take out a flimsy hero in a single volley, and most Nighthaunt heroes don’t want to be in a position where two units could blend them anyway. On the other hand, you can create a tonne of interesting gameplay opportunities where you tie up a bunch of enemy units with a hero they just can’t target, especially if they can’t fall back.

Artefacts of Power

Nighthaunt get a whopping eleven artefacts here, split between Weapons of the Damned, Infernal Treasures and Relics of the Underworld. We’re not entirely sure why they’re divided this way, as all three have the same ‘Nighthaunt Hero only’ restriction. We’ll pick out the three we think look most interesting, one from each category.

  • The Midnight Tome in Relics of the Underworld lets a wizard once per battle automatically cast a spell to summon an endless spell with an unmodified 12 that cannot be unbound. While our choice would probably be Emerald Lifeswarm, Nighthaunt endless spells have received major upgrades and are all incredible viable, which we’ll get into just below.
  • Reaper of Sorrows is a Weapons of the Damned item we’re most interested in because combining it with Hatred of the Living on a Cairn Wraith creates a hilarious blender. Before you attack, pick an enemy within 1” and roll 2d6. If you beat the enemy’s bravery, the weapon is now Rend -3, or Rend -4 if the enemy is terrified. The most useful expenditure of an enhancement? Probably not. Funny and effective? Absolutely.
  • Lightshard of the Harvest Moon comes from the Infernal Treasures list and is probably the best of the lot. Once per battle at the start of the combat phase you can add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of all Nighthaunt units wholly within 12” of the bearer until the end of the phase. Giggling maniacally at your potentially four attack Bladegheist Revenants is optional, but highly encouraged.
  • Pendant of the Fell Wind, included because counting is hard and there are too many neat artefacts to limit to just three. This Relic of the Underworld is a 3” aura of -1 to wound in melee, which is a pretty powerful debuff worth considering if you want to get frisky with your general. Normally you’d think ghosts want to avoid this, but Wave of Terror really incentiveses you to get as many things into combat as possible.
  • Finally, Arcane Tome from the core rules is not a bad option, giving you another wizard on a hero you’re likely already taking. Nighthaunt have a fair few nasty spells, and even with Olynder, Reikenor and a Guardian of Souls in the same list (probably unlikely), you’re still probably wanting to cast another spell. Look outside the box that is this excellent battletome, and you might just find some still very useful basic enhancements in the core rules.

Lore of the Underworlds

Restricted to Nagash and Nighthaunt Hero Wizards only, here we see a few changes from the old lore, most notably and regretfully the loss of Reaping Scythe, most commonly seen on Nagash to allow him to reroll hits and wounds with Alakanash. Most of these spells have increased in cast value compared to previous versions, probably to take into account the fact that Nagash is a core part of the army now and casting on a 4 with +3 to cast was a bit silly.

  • Soul Cage returns, now only applying the strike-last effect to an enemy unit for a casting value of 7, losing the ‘cannot retreat’ component which made it so valuable before.
  • Spirit Drain casts on a 7, allowing you to pick an enemy unit within 18” and roll a die for each model in the unit, inflicting a mortal wound on a roll of a 6. This can be nice, but the army is so good at blending hordes already it’s probably not the best use of your spells.
  • Lifestealer returns identically, casting on a 7 and inflicting D3 mortal wounds on an enemy unit within 12”, healing the caster 1 for each wound inflicted. This is a good one to keep in your back pocket to bring your casters back up, but
  • Seal of Shyish is the replacement for Reaping Scythe, and as much as we’ll miss the absurd output Reaping Scythe could offer, Seal is incredibly valuable, granting a 5+ ward to a unit wholly within 12”. Note that this can’t stack with Discorporate, but it’s a great a simple way to grant a 5+ ward to two different units.
  • Shademist also returns, making a Nighthaunt unit wholly within 12” -1 to be wounded on a casting value of 6+. This is a defensive staple you’re going to probably want to carry around near your core combat unit (your biggest block of Bladegheists in Scarlet Doom, for example), and combined with Discorporate can lead to some remarkably solid ghosts.
  • Finally, Spectral Tether no longer heals the chosen unit but instead allows the caster to be removed from the battlefield and set up again anywhere more than 9” away from the enemy, being unable to move in the following movement phase. This is probably best used on Nagash to give him the mobility he lacks from not having access to Vanishing Phantasms, or as a get out of jail free card for Olynder.

Endless Spells

Shyish Reaper

Starting with probably the weakest of the bunch, the Shyish Reaper is a predatory endless spell where the movement gimmick is you pivot the model for free before you make a move, and you then move the Reaper in a straight line. In practice, this means you’re not going to clear too many units a 105mm long base, which is a problem because you’re rolling two dice for each unit you pass over, adding +1 if the unit is terrified. Each roll that beats the victim’s armour save inflicts D3 mortal wounds, which is… a lot of effort to go to, to be honest. If the spell moved a bit faster we’d be much more on board, but the model’s base is just over 4”, meaning you have less than 4” of actual movement, since you can’t end a movement overlapping another model’s base. We may have missed something here, but if you gave me 85 points to spend on an endless spell, either of the other options would do it more for me.

Mortalis Terminexus

Another predatory endless spell, the Terminexus has a neat little trick where it, uh. Explodes. After the spell moves, you can choose to reverse or hasten time (yes, it’s a knock of Chronomantic Cogs, we know). If you reverse time, heal D3 wounds to each unit within 6” of this spell. Be very careful here, as it doesn’t say every Nighthaunt unit, and you probably don’t want to heal up that Akhelian King you spent so long taking down. If you instead hasten time, each unit within 6” of the spell suffers D3 mortal wounds on a 2+. This is superb if you have, say, a 14” flying spellcaster who can get +3 to cast who get to exactly where he needs to be before dropping this little nuke every turn. We’re not as hot on Emerald Host as some of the other Processions, but it does make us giggle at the sheer volume of D3 mortal wounds this army can spit out in a turn.

Vault of Souls

Our third and final endless spell, the Vault has a Soul Eruption effect which requires a little bit of book keeping. After the spell moves, roll a dice for each model within 6”, with +1 if that model is terrified. On a 6+, that unit suffers a mortal wound, and if you’ve inflicted a total of 10 or more by the end of any phase, you can, again, explode. With the Vault, Terminexus and Black Coach, Nighthaunt have a thing for charging up and blowing up, huh. Roll a dice for each unit within 6” once you choose to detonate, again adding +1 if the unit is terrified. On a 2+, that unit suffers a number of mortal wounds equal to the roll, then this unit is dispelled. Your plan here is to drop this in the middle of the enemy, inflicting as many mortal wounds as you can on as many units as you can, before just blowing up. Look, it isn’t a subtle plan, but the ability to do D6+1 mortal wounds on every unit within 6” is a real nasty get. Again, it doesn’t specify that Nighthaunt are immune, so there’s some play here damaging your own ghosts to charge up the spell before moving it away to go boom in safety.

Credit: PierreTheMime

Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics

Nighthaunt gain four grand strategies and six battle tactics, which can generally be described in the immortal words “not great, not terrible”.

Grand Strategies

A Soul to Claim is the kind of strategy that would be really, really good in an event that lets you change grand strategies between games, but might be too much of a gamble otherwise. You choose an enemy unit with the highest wounds characteristic as the target, and complete this strategy if it’s slain by a friendly Summonable unit (which is most of your non-hero units). It’d be worth taking if you saw your opponent’s army and knew their beefiest unit was an 8 wound hero, but if you run into gargants and have a Gatebreaker on one wound left, you’re absolutely going to use whatever you have at your disposal to take that final wound off, rather than letting the beast run rampant hoping you can achieve it next turn. 

Fright of Flight is achieved if there are no enemy units within 6” of Nighthaunt units contesting an objective which is… challenging to achieve if you can’t control who has the final action of the game, and you have no meaningful ranged firepower to push the units away. 

Feed on Terror is probably the most achieveable, only requiring an enemy unit ends the battle terrified, though a helpful Designer’s Note reminds you that you can’t just kill everyone and still achieve this. This is one of those annoying grand strategies that might require you to run away from combats to avoid killing your opponent, while they’re able to charge into combats they know they’ll lose just to deny you this. This could however be excellent in close games where everyone is locked in mortal combat on the final turn, so absolutely worth thinking about.

Finally, Dismantle the Brave is achieved if a chosen unit with the highest Bravery characteristic is slain and your own general has not. Again, amazing if you could see your opponent’s army before hand and pick this if you faced Gitz, but less useful if you were locked in and came up against a high leadership god character.

Overall, the grand strategies offer interesting tactical challenges without setting the world on fire, which is kind of what we want to see – much, much better game design than having an army book full of auto-pick choices.

Battle Tactics

Nighthaunt come out pretty well of the battle tactics game, with a few very viable options. Of these six, Tides of Terror is probably the easiest to achieve, only requiring that two friendly Nighthaunt units are within ½” of the same enemy unit at the end of the turn. Mass Panic is achieved if three or more enemy units are terrified, but like Tides of Terror is only counted at the end of the turn, meaning you could accidentally kill off enough units to make these invalid. Overwhelmed with Dread is neat but requires some lucky dice, requiring an enemy unit to be affected by all three effects of Wave of Terror, meaning you need three units to charge one enemy unit and to roll quite high on at least two charge rolls.

Ceaseless Nightmares is highly situational but quite powerful, requiring two terrified enemies to fail battleshock this turn. Remember, enemy units can’t use Inspiring Presence while terrified, so against the right army you could almost guarntee this. Death by a Thousand Cuts is highly situational, requiring an enemy hero or monster to be destroyed by Chainrasps or Spirit Hosts, neither of whom have come out of this book particularly beefy, but it’s neat to have the option. Finally, One Stop, No Return is objectively the coolest battle tactic, because it requires you to use a Black Coach to take an objective from the enemy. The Coach is in the running for the ‘most improved unit’ award from this book, and while it may not be the most ‘meta’ pick, it’s almost certainly the best model.

These are much more exciting to us than the Grand Strategies, offering a range of tactical choices. We’re expecting at least one of these to be achievable every turn of the game, so all that’s left now is practice how to get the most out of them!

Credit: PierreTheMime


One of the broader trends here is to strip out sources of rerolls wherever they were found and replace them with new effects or simply rewrite the scroll entirely. Despite having a whopping 16 leaders out of 27, many of these leaders have been tweaked and written to have a specific niche, resulting in a selection where you can make an argument to include almost everything here.


A quick note here that every named character other than Nagash is a member of the Grieving Legion subfaction. This doesn’t actually mean anything at this stage outside of narrative, as you can still take them in other Processions, but the Processions don’t actually interact with the named characters at all, so you’re gaining and losing nothing by having multiple subfaction keywords in the same army.

Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead

Nagash isn’t great, moving on. Okay, fine, we’ll take him seriously.

The problem with Nagash is that once you pack over a thousand points of your army in this one model (Umbral Spellportal almost being packaged with him for some Hand of Dust shenanigans), you’re pretty much no longer playing Nighthaunt; you’re playing a Nagash list, and Nagash right now just isn’t very good. The lack of any form of ward save against non-mortal wounds means that any army with decent combat potential will just take him off the board, especially if that damage is delivered at range. With the sheer shooting strength of Idoneth, Daughters of Khaine, Stormcast and even Kruleboyz, most new battletomes have significant ways to take your god down. Because he’s not Nighthaunt, he can’t be removed from the board before the game starts via Vanishing Phantasms, meaning he’s always a target and there’s nothing you can do about it – Spirit Hosts can’t bodyguard him either.

Should he survive, he’s also lost the best spell he ever had (no, Hand of Dust is not reliable damage): Reaping Scythe, which allowed him to re-roll hits and wounds on a rend -3, damage d6 weapon, meaning his attacks with Alakanash were basically just “take 4d6 damage to your favourite unit”.

To his benefit now, the undead god of poetic justice is incredibly mobile, with Spectral Tether allowing him to move to 9” away from enemy units, allowing you to place your big hitter exactly where he needs to go. He’s still going to dominate the magic phase with eight casts and unbinds at +3 while he’s suffered six or fewer wounds (even more so than Teclis, which makes us very happy every time it happens), and he’s got a couple of utility tools that might mean he sees play. Invocation of Nagash heals or resurrects up to 3 wounds to 5 different units, and Supreme Lord of the Undead means every time you determine how many slain models return, return an extra 1. While this might seem hilarious to combo with Olynder and a Guardian of souls, you’re dropping 955 points into this guy and you desperately need bodies to hold objectives and keep him alive, so the fewer ghosts you have the easier it is for those units to be completely removed, becoming unhealable. Death Magic Incarnate is a superb command ability, giving +1 to ward rolls for a Death unit anywhere on the battlefield. Combined with Discorporate or a high native ward save and you’ve got an incredibly tanky unit, but we’re not convinced you’ll have enough of those units to still do well in the game.

We may have been a bit harsh on Nagash all of, uh, three paragraphs ago, but we really don’t think he has competitive viability at the top tables. He’s a model that’s very binary with victory almost decided at the list building step; if your army can solve the problem of him existing, you win, and if you can’t, you lose; there’s not a lot of tactical nuance or gameplay here. Bringing Nagash to a friendly game can lead to some real feels-bad moments when your opponent can’t solve him and you take off half their army, or they kill him round two and you’ve flat out just lost the game. We love Nagash at Goonhammer, but we’d happily see him reduced in power to increase in survivability and fun for everyone at the table. 

On the whole, Nagash is pretty much the same as he ever was, it’s just that everything changed around him. Price rises and changes to rules means that Nighthaunt just aren’t as capable at putting bodies around him anymore and much worse at bringing them back. He’s a fun character with some strong aspects, but he won’t be rocking top tables because he’s not tough enough to win the game himself and bringing him means losing out on so many compelling options. Buy him, paint him up, and be proud of your eternal service to the Great Necromancer.

Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief

The Mortarch of Grief is a solid pick for ‘most improved unit’, with her price tag increase to 340 points being well worth it. A two cast, two unbind wizard, Olynder is now also a warmaster, being treated as a general even if not picked to be one. This isn’t as important as in the last book where the general gave out the 6+ ward aura, but its still a nice to have. She has, of course, gone up to movement 8”, gaining another attack at flat 2 damage to boot. With a 4+ ward save on top of her 4+ ethereal save, she’s going to be sticking around a lot longer than her seven wounds suggest, but we’d still recommend bodyguarding her with a spirit host or three. 

With five unique abilities, Olynder is second only to Nagash in complexity. Lifting the Veil returns almost unmodified, inflicting a number of wounds equal to the dice roll on a 2+ to an enemy unit within 12”. She heals a whopping D3 wounds per enemy model slain with this ability, meaning your opponent really wants to take her down in a single round or just ignore her, and you get +1 to the number of mortal wounds if the target unit is terrified. Her unique spell Grief-stricken makes an enemy unit within 18” -1 to hit and +1 to be hit, letting you bully one key enemy unit every turn on top of all the other bonuses to hit and wound in this army, and with Shademist in play can really gut an opponent’s key unit. Mortarch of Grief ties in well with Kurdoss Valentian’s rules, with a roll of a 5+ every time an enemy unit issues a command meaning the command counts as being issued and the command point lost, but the command is not received. Floating her around with the Craven King can make some command point hungry armies very sad indeed.

Finally, No Rest For the Wicked is a nasty healing ability, resurrecting D6 slain models to each summonable unit in your army. Read that again – models, not wounds. Want to bring back that Hexwraith or Spirit Host unit to full strength, completely negating all the hard work your opponent put in? Want to bring back just enough Chainghasts to string onto an objective, or enough Bladegheist Revenants to really chew through the final tough bit of your opponent’s army? Well now you can, and because its an innate ability, not a command ability, there’s nothing your opponent can do about it. This is one of the most powerful rules in the whole book, and mastering it will really help decide who the best Nighthaunt generals are.

Kurdoss Valentian, the Craven King

Kurdoss has received an odd treatment. He’s much nastier in combat, gaining an extra point of rend and going to flat 3 damage, but he’s lost a full two thirds of his rules. He’s retained his If I cannot Rule, None Shall Rule! ability, stealing an enemy’s command point at the start of each battle round on a 5+ (4+ if he’s within 6” of an enemy hero, but he’s lost Soul-crushing Smite (which you could argue was baked into his increased damage) and Suffer No Rival, a fun little rule that make him re-roll failed hits against enemy generals. He’s been simplified, sure, and is probably just better in combat, but he’s also less interesting, one of the few warscrolls in the book that miss the mark on this. On the whole though, he’s a precious source of rend -3, damage 3 attacks in an army that generally relies on mass chip damage, and he’s made it into many of our early list drafts for that very reason. Mourngul? Never heard of him.

Awlrach the Drowner

A new named character for the army, Boaty McGhostface breaks the mold a little bit by being damage D3 rather than the regular damage 2 for a Nighthaunt hero, but has otherwise the same attack profile, with a 3” range. Thanks to his Scything Ram, if he charges he can inflict D3 mortal wounds, with each model slain by this ability granting an additional attack in the subsequent fight phase. Nifty, but not the reason you take him in an army that’s already full to the brim with ways to shred hordes. That reason is Passage Through the Underworlds, which is a command ability allowing you to pick a friendly Nighthaunt unit within 18” (to receive the command, Awlrach being a totem). Awlrach then teleports to anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” from enemy units, and the chosen Nighthaunt unit is deployed wholly within 12” of Awlrach and 9” from enemy units. We mentioned earlier that this is an incredibly mobile army, and the Drowner could make your opponent weep with your ability to just remove units from the field and plonk them back down wherever you feel like. He’s probably not going to be showing up on too many top tables, but he’ll be in our friendly games from day one.

Reikenor the Grimhailer

One of the best sculpts in the business, Reikenor is a flying wizard that’s somehow also a melee beatstick, with 5 attacks hitting and wounding on 3+, rend -2 and damage 2, before taking into account his ghostly horse. As all cavalry players know, horses do more damage than their riders. Anyway, Reikenor’s gimmick is the ability to inflict a mortal wound to himself or an enemy unit within 12” in your hero phase. If he damages an enemy, he’s at +1 to cast, but if he damages himself he’s at +3 to case. While his unique spell Wraithswarm is okay (functionally 2D3 mortal wounds on an enemy target within 12”), we’re much more interested in flying him somewhere nasty to drop one of the high damage Nighthaunt endless spells. With his speed and melee capability (seriously, in a wizard-only cage fight he’d come out pretty well) he makes an excellent bruiser to bully weaker units off objectives.

The Briar Queen and Thorns of the Briar Queen

Continuing a long and proud tradition of Underworlds warbands being priced to stay right where they are on the shelf, the Thorns of the Briar Queen come in at a package deal of two hundred and eighty points for a one cast wizard and five two-wound Chainghasts. The Thorns have the ability to bodyguard attacks for their Queen on a 3+, but the Briar Queen’s spell is one of the most convoluted pieces of rules writing we’ve seen in a while, and really feels like it was written at a different time by a different author, with a whole bunch of hoops to jump through before you get to a result. If you cast on a 7, pick a point on the battlefield within 18” and within line of sight. Then roll 2D6 for each enemy unit within 6”, then if the roll is greater than the unit’s unmodified Move characteristic or is a double for some reason, the victim unit takes… one mortal wound and its Move characteristic is halved. For two hundred and eighty points. Woo?

Also, entirely arbitrarily, these units only moves 6” a turn, the slowest in the book. Give this one a miss.

Scriptor Mortis

The Scriptor Mortis remains pretty much as he was in Arena of Shades – an 155 point sink that looks amazing but is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on the game.Yes, in theory, you could do 12 mortal wounds on four turns of the game, but in reality you’re spending a lot of points to do seven mortal wounds once per battle to one hero. This is an extremely high ceiling unit whose floor is ‘does nothing’, and Nighthaunt doesn’t have the luxury of including units that could potentially spend the entire game picking their spectral nose when almost every other hero can be a lynchpin of your army.

Knights of Shrouds

Coming out with malign Portents, the Knight of Shrouds on foot is yet another melee beatstick Nighthaunt character, with five meaty damage 2 attacks. Its Stolen Hours ability means that if you slay a model with its sword you heal a wound up and add 1 to its wounds characteristic, with no stated cap. This is really cool, because its one of the few abilities that changes a characteristic rather than just count around it. Its command ability is Spectral Overseer, which is a once per battle round free Redeploy or Unleash Hell command ability, and when you pick the Knight to fight another Nighthaunt summonable unit wholly within 12” also gets to fight immediately, one after the other!

Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed

For twenty more points you gain a spectral horse, which as we all know grants an extra wound, 4” extra movement, and a couple of boring horse attacks. The mounted Knight has the same melee attack profile (both using a Sword of Stolen Hours) and Stolen Hours healing ability, but instead of Spectral Overseer you get Lord of Gheists, which is a free All-out Attack command once per battle round. As with the foot version, whenever you pick this unit to fight you can pick another Nighthaunt unit within 12” to fight at the same time.

There’s good cases to be made for you to include either of these Knights; it really just depends on your battle plan and how you want to play. We’d lean towards the mounted Knight; a free Redeploy is fine, but you’re never going to use Unleash Hell, while the mounted Knight’s free All-out Attack is always going to be useful.

Krulghast Cruciator

The Krulghast Cruciator is one of your few ranged attackers in this army, and it really isn’t a bad one! Four attacks, hitting and wounding on 3+, rend -2 and one damage isn’t going to murder a god or anything, but it could very well inflict a wound or two on a target unit, which might just be enough to, say, trigger the Dreadscythe Harridans’ Murderous Bloodlust ability which grands +1 to hit or wound against units that have been injured or had any models slain that turn. 

Hey, remember how annoying Coalesced Seraphon can be with Scaly Skin, reducing incoming damage by 1? How do you feel about an aura of that on an army with inbuilt unrendable saves and wards? Empowered Through Excrutiation is said aura, where if you’re within 12” of any terrified units, subtract 1 from the damage inflicted by those units against friendly Nighthaunt. What’s that? Dreadscythe Harridans have a -1 to be wounded aura if they’ve made a charge that same phase? What a neat combination! And yes, the buff does stack if you have multiple Cruciators (you probably shouldn’t, there’s no benefit to having more than one unless you’re regularly going up against armies with damage 3). He has the default nasty Nighthaunt hero attack profile, but we’d be keeping him just behind the Harridans to keep him out of harm’s way to allow him to keep doing his job of keeping them out of harm’s way. This is absolutely an auto-include in every army list we’ve yet built.

Dreadblade Harrow

The Dreadblade Harrow has far surpassed their in-lore masters the Knights of Shrouds in capability, retaining their infamous teleport shenanigans from his previous incarnation and got a nice little bump in effectiveness, gaining an extra attack and moving to 2 damage from 1. Our favourite little ghost horse has a rather cool new rule that lets you ‘copy’ a command ability used by your general once per battle round without a command point being spent, meaning you could double up on Discorporate in a given phase, or simply reroll a charge for two different units. He was already good, and has now got even better with a subsequent price bump to go with it. The silliest usage we’ve found is probably buddying him up with Awlrach, teleporting himself and another unit wherever you really feel like, potentially allowing for some truly annoying late game objective thefts.

Lord Executioner

Again with the 3+ to hit and wound, rend -2 damage 2 attack profile, Nighthaunt book? Have you no originality?! Woe is me! Anyway, on top of being a five attack beastick you’re also looking at a model with a 5+ ward (meaning it can’t benefit from Discorporate) but the ability to pick a unit within 3” and give it -1 to wound. This is an ability that appears in a few places in this book, and we’re not sure that a 140 point hero with no other utility is the best way of getting it.

Credit: PierreTheMime

Guardian of Souls

The Guardian of Souls is your only non-named wizard, so we’re expecting to see it floating about in a number of competitive lists. Its unique spell is Spectral Lure, healing or resurrecting D6 wounds worth of models to a unit wholly within 24”. Combining this with Lady Olynder’s No Rest for the Wicked ability is going to cause some real feel bad moments for your opponent, but that’s okay, because they just get to kill your ghosts again! The Guardian also offers its Nightmare Lantern ability, granting a +1 to wound for Nighthaunt units wholly within 12”. Because of the way bonuses to dice are capped in this edition, these kind of buffs are a core reason we think Bladegheist Revenants edge out Dreadscythe Harridans – they’re likely getting their +1 to wound to drop down to 3+ to wound, while a Guardian behind a Bladegheist unit can get down to 2+ to wound. Whoever he’s floating behind, he’s an incredibly valuable piece and, because its always in range of itself, you’ve got a wizard wounding on 2+!

Spirit Torment

As hinted at in Arena of Shades, Spirit Torments now have a purely healing function, entirely losing the hit bonuses and reroll its given out previously. Yes, it does have three range 2” attacks with a 3+/3+/-2/D2 profile, which is pretty tasty, but you’re really taking it for the flat three wound heal/resurrection for friendly Nighthaunt Summonable units wholly within 12”. While the same unit can’t benefit more than once per turn, this now triggers at the end of each combat phase, so you get to heal up your own unit in your turn, and then watch your opponent’s face fall as you undo all their hard work in theirs.

Tomb Banshee

Coming out in Warhammer Fantasy Battles 7th edition, the Tomb Banshee is (we think) the oldest model in this range. Her gimmick used to be that she’d scream at a unit and you’d roll 2D6 against the enemy’s leadership, with them taking wounds equal to the difference between their bravery and their dice roll. This was the rule for over a decade, but Games Workshop has clearly come out against fun and decided that this must go. Instead, you now pick a unit within 12” and roll a D6. On a 4+ (+1 to the roll if the target is terrified), your opponent needs to use an extra command point when issuing commands to that unit. This is highly situational, shall we say, and we’re a little disappointed to see a bit of gaming history fade away.

Cairn Wraith

The Cairn Wraith is amazing, but may not be very good. Let’s explain. With an attack profile of 3+ to hit, 3+ to wound, rend -1 and damage 2, you’re starting from a pretty solid base combat profile. As an Eager Death-dealer, your Wraith has a number of attacks equal to the number of enemy models within 3”, which, if you’ve charged into a block of 25mm infantry, is over twenty. Give your Wraith Reaper of Sorrows, a relic where if you roll higher than an opponent within 1”’s Bravery you’re at rend -3, or -4 if they’re terrified (yes, we know that if you’re in within 1” they’re definitionally terrified, let it go). Lastly, give them the Hatred of the Living command trait where you re-roll hits and wounds against non-Death units. That unit you charged? Yeah, it doesn’t exist anymore. A good use of your time? Probably not, but if you manage to just delete 350 points of some poor elf’s infantry in a single turn it’ll be absolutely hilarious.

Credit: PierreTheMime

Battleline units, including conditional battleline

Right, it’s time to start getting into the meat and potatoes of the faction. The cheaper stuff broadly speaking got more expensive, and the elite units either stayed the same price or saw a mild bump in line with their new fancy allegiance abilities. The good news is that they’re all fairly well internally balanced against one another, which means there’s potential here to build lists with whatever building blocks tickle your fancy. With… one exception.


The humble Chainrasp has seen a price increase to 110, which hurts a little but does make a little more sense when you consider they benefit more than many units from Frightful Touch, which synergises really well with their bucket of attacks approach. Other changes include a downgrade to bravery 8 (meh) and their reroll 1s to wound effect changing to +1 to wound if the unit charged that turn. These are pretty basic adjustments that make them have a lot more play in units of 10, as they can be pretty punchy for reasonably cheap, no longer being relegated to back field objective holders and battleline tax.

Grimghast Reapers

Reapers saw a nice boost in raw power as their reroll hits ability has been replaced by a flat +1 attack (!) if the target unit has 5 or more models. Getting a 50% damage output increase just for throwing them at line infantry is really good, and thanks to the general allegiance ability uplift they should see some significant play as the only battleline with 2” reach, which is a really big deal if you want to run more than MSU.


One of the units that’s probably come out a bit of a loser, Hexwraiths have lost their ‘mortal wound on 6s to hit’ ability and gained the basic ‘D3 MW on a 2+ when charging’ ability many shock cavalry have now. A base profile of 3/3/-1/1 is nice but won’t set the world on fire, but the most interesting thing here is Phantasmal Advance, allowing the unit to double their movement to 24” for a turn if they don’t charge, which is nice for objective play but at 160 points and having lost access to a bodyguard rules from the old Emerald Host means if you’re bringing these guys it’s likely in large amounts to lean into the mortal wound on charge aspect. Bit of a whiff when you consider the glow up other units received.

Spirit Hosts

The other unit that had mortal wounds on 6s to hit, Spirit Hosts lost it and got given a new bodyguard rule, which allows nearby (3”) Nighthaunt heroes (so no Nagash) to pass wounds off onto this unit on a 3+. Nighthaunt have traditionally always fallen apart as soon as their support heroes die, so having a bodyguard unit that both has the summonable keyword so can be replenished and also doesn’t require a subfaction to use is fantastic. Along with the Cruciator these are almost auto include for at least one unit, if only to help stop enemy shooting from messing with your hero hammer too badly.

It’s important to note here that the bodyguard ability happens instead of your hero taking a ward save, and the spirit host doesn’t get to make any kind of save either. Bodyguarding means you’ll take more damage, you just get to allocate where it goes, and that can be vitally important.

Bladegheist Revenants

Unchanged from Arena of Shades, other than their price going to 175. They’ve got a very splid basic statline (2/3/3/-1/1, and gain +1 attack on the charge thanks to the new version of Whirling Death, and given this unit can retreat and charge you’re basically always getting three attacks per model. They’re pricy at 175 points, but get a serious bump from the Scarlet Doom procession, which makes them both battleline and turns them into a mortal wound bomb unit you could build an entire list around (and trust us, we have). Scarlet Doom’s subfaction ability is strong enough that it makes a strong case for their inclusion. It remains to be seen whether these or the Dreadscythe Harridans come out on top.

Craventhrone Guard

We regret to inform you that the beloved Crossboos are pretty much just as bad as they were when we first saw them in Arena of Shades. Two attacks at 4s to hit and wound, rend -1 damage 1 is an abysmal profile for their points, and their gimmick of ignoring line of sight and cover is pretty much meaningless in a game that utilises terrain so little as Age of Sigmar. Their standard bearer gimmick of the Rally command working on a 5+ instead of a 6+ is neat, but also necessary, as you’re paying 230 points for 10 of these fellows – a whopping 55-70 points more than 10 of your core infantry units, while also eating up a precious reinforcement point. Yes, people are coming up with ways to make them viable, but why burn 600 points on trying to make this one niche unit competitive when almost every other unit in this book hits that mark right off the bat? To add insult to injury, the champion gains an extra attack… on his even worse melee profile. Grab the models, paint them up, stick them on the shelf. 

Dreadscythe Harridans

Probably the most changed elite infantry warscroll in the book, the Harridans have lost their innate rend and gained an attack, losing a point of ‘to wound’ and moving to 4+ to hit and wound… so you’d think they suck right? Well if they fight an injured unit they gain +1/+1 to hit and wound, and if they charged this turn they also bestow -1 to wound to all units within 3” of them thanks to Harrowing Shriek, much improved from the -1 to hit from last edition – and, because of Ethereal, they’ll almost always be charging. It’s an interesting set of changes that makes them feel quite weak at first glance, but rapidly rise in strength as you take into account the many, many overlapping buffs this army has. Harridans also benefit by far the most from stacking save penalty effects through Wave of Terror, as they throw out a lot of dice for their footprint and can (if taken with Quicksilver Dead) negate ward saves from their attacks, making them an incredible pick into daemons and other units that derive their toughness through ward saves. Also great in the mirror match for obvious reasons – who cares about rend if you can’t get through Ethereal anyway!

Black Coach
Credit: Mike ‘Ellarr’ Chadderton

Other units

Black Coach

Every time we write the phrase ‘most improved unit’ we know we’re repeating ourselves, but we’re also being completely honest. The Black Coach was garbage in the previous book despite being on of the most gorgeous Age of Sigmar models yet released. Aside from lunatic geniuses in England, Black Coaches never really saw the competitive tabletop, its intense fragility comboing kinda unfortunately with a very lackluster levelling up system and a shockingly high price. The new and improved shiny Coach comes with a range of changes, including no longer having a degrading statline (though being slower at base 10” move). The Coach now has the standard “D3 mortal wounds on a 2+ when charging’ thanks to Runaway Coach, an innate 5+ ward, and the ability to teleport anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” away from enemy units instead of making a normal move or retreat thanks to Nimbus of Power. Most nastily of all is the revision to your ‘leveling up’ ability Evocation of Death. Place a dice next to your Black Coach on a one, increasing the value by one each time an enemy model flees or is slain within 12” of this unit. Given you now have a 12” D3 attack ranged weapon that’s rend -2 damage 2, you could get up to the maximum of level 6 before you ever make contact. If the value of the dice is 5-6, the unit has a 4+ ward save and, once per turn in your shooting phase, if the value is a 6 you can unleash your stored energy, droppin the value back down to a 1. In exchange, pick a unit within 12” and on a 2+ hat unit takes 3D3 mortal wounds. You’re likely getting to use this ability four turns of the game, and the ability to just remove baby support heroes or cripple elite units is something we’re really excited about. Our playtesting suggests that while the scroll might not be the toughest thing in the world, the sheer output and maneuverability is making it an office favourite.


Chainghasts are pretty much as we saw them in Arena of Shades, functioning largely as a +1 to hit aura to Nighthaunt units while a Spirit Torment is on the battlefield. This is… nice, but because it’s dependent on a Spirit Torment floating around, killing that off means the Chainghasts are almost useless. At least you get them for free in the box with your Spirit Torment?

Glaivewraith Stalkers

In contention with Craventhrone Guard for the title of ‘worst warscroll in the book’, Glaivewraith Stalkers have at best stayed the same since their previous iteration. Yes, they’ve gained a point of damage and rent, and now you gain +3 to charge a unit chosen at the start of the game, but you’re losing 1” range and reroll failed hits on the turn you charged your victim while also going up to 105 points, from 65. This is a bad unit with great sculpts. Maybe next time, mari lwyd.

Myrmourn Banshees

Let it never be said that we here at Goonhammer are afraid to change our minds or admit mistakes. A unit of contention in our Arena of Shades review, Myrmourn Banshees are looking like some of the real big winners in this book. With all the benefits of running a tonne of small units, a unit or two of these ladies can put out some serious hurt (rend -3 on a good Wave of Terror charge!) while also helping shut down an enemy magic phase that is likely already struggling with the plethora of excellent wizards you’re likely already taking. Spell-eaters lets you roll 2D6 every time an enemy spell is cast, not unbound and targets a unit within 12”, and if you beat the casting value (adding +1 if your banshees have three or more models) the spell is unbound or dispelled. This is superb, as it really doesn’t matter how many bonuses the enemy has. Nagash and Teclis can both cast with some absurdly high numbers, but these ladies don’t care – your casting value six spell stays at six, doesn’t matter if you rolled a 16 to cast it. A unit or two of these is our third near auto-include unit.

List building and competitive thoughts

The first thing you’ll notice when trying to build a list for your army is that points prices have increased a lot. We’ve seen lists go up hundreds of points, as the only unit that’s come down in points are Bladegheist Revenants down 15 from their last iteration. This is fine. The new battle traits and unit changes we think are very appropriately priced, and while you obviously can’t recreate your old army with this book for the same price, we haven’t been struggling to make new, effective armies with the changes in place.

It’s also worth noting that the March 2022 The Hunt update, which introduced the priority targets and prime hunters rules, won’t apply to this book – the writers of that update cleverly included a caveat that if a battletome or battletome update has a more recent publication date than March 2022, units from that publication may not be designated as either priority targets or prime hunters. Which is… honestly fine! Nighthaunt are in a much, much better spot than they were at the time.

Wave of Terror heavily incentivises a multiple small units approach to stack as many negatives onto a victim unit as possible. This works, but it’s a fine balancing line to ensure your units still have enough models remaining to do the actual work – it’s not much use sending three unit sof Bladegheist into a target if each one only has three models left!

While a lot of armies aim to fit into a Battle Regiment (and indeed our test list below does as well), it’s possible that Nighthaunt don’t care as much about who goes first or second as most armies. Sure, not having the ability to choose who goes second means you’re much less likely to have a double turn, but at the same time thanks to your various teleporting abilities such as Vanishing Phantasms you’re going to be trying a lot of charges at exactly who you want. Yes, those charges are at 9”, but even one or two first turn can seriously mess up an opponent’s battleplan. What we’re tryin to say here is try out other battalions! This book has enough depth that its very feasible that the best builds lie outside what’s generally expected.

Magos Sockbert’s list

Allegiance: Nighthaunt

  • Procession: Scarlet Doom
  • Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
  • Triumphs: Inspired


Lady Olynder    (340)

Krulghast Cruciator    (150)

Guardian of Souls    (150) 

  •   General
  • Terrifying Entity
  • Lightshard of the Harvest Moon



20x Bladegheist Revenants    (350)

10x Bladegheist Revenants    (175)

6x Spirit Hosts    (250)



Black Coach    (355)

8x Myrmourn Banshees    (220)



  • Battle Regiment

Total: 1990/2000

Reinforced units: 1/4

Allies: 0/400

Wounds: 86

Drops: 1


The Guardian of Souls is the General here largely because we think the Krulghast Cruciator is more likely to draw the enemy’s ire, and we don’t want to lose both our general and our damage reduction from Empowered Through Execution at the same time. This list is a bit of a rough one – we’d really like to take another unit of 10 Bladegheist, and we think Myrmourn work best in units of four, but at the same time we just barely don’t have the points to have everything we want and stay in a Battle Regiment. The plan here is simple, and is pretty close to your traditional Space Marine battle pile: buff up your big, nasty unit of Bladegheists, protect them with your Banshees and roll over whoever looks at you funny. A perfect turn with these guys is looking like four attacks per model thanks to the Lightshard, at -1 to be wounded thanks to Shademist from one of your wizards, doing a fair few mortal wounds on the charge against an enemy already disheveled from having a powered up Black Coach ruining their back line. 

Ellarr’s list

Allegiance: Nighthaunt

  • Procession: Quicksilver Dead
  • Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
  • Triumphs: Inspired


Krulghast Cruciator    (150)

  • General
  • Cloaked in Shadow
  • Pendant of the Fell Wind

Kurdoss Valentian    (210) 

Spirit Torment (115)

  • Lightshard of the Harvest Moon

Spirit Torment

  • Arcane Tome (Shademist)

Awlrach the Drowner (175)

Reikenor the Grimhailer (190)

  • Seal of Shyish


20x Chainrasp Horde (220)

20x Chainrasp Horde (220)

10x Dreadscythe Harridans (160)

10x Dreadscythe Harridans (160)



2x Chainghasts (95)


Endless Spells

Emerald Lifeswarm (65)





Hunters of the Heartland


Total: 2000/2000

Reinforced units: 2

Allies: 0/400

Wounds: 101

Drops: 11





2 Chainghasts (95)

Emerald Lifeswarm (65)


I love Magos’ list and decided to put the depth of the book to the test – could I create a list that mostly avoids what his list has, while still putting a compelling army on the table. The answer is I think so! I’ve gone for high drops as I wanted to take advantage of a) the fantastic heroes the book now has and b) artefacts to put on those heroes. Kurdoss and Awlrach are the stars of the show here, roaming the board and slapping whatever they get into fights with. I lack in mortal wound output, but I bring a serious amount of sustain here – two Spirit Torments AND a Lifeswarm mean you’re going to have to outright kill the unit or it’s going to replenish very quickly.

We don’t think either of these lists are perfect, but almost any list you throw together in this book is worth trying!

Wrapping it all up

A lot of players have at least the beginnings of Nighthaunt armies thanks to Soul Wars and the Mortal Realms magazine series, and there’s never been a better time to break out this un-boo-lieveably different army. Nighthaunt have gained a consistent ward save, vastly better battle traits, useful bodyguards, retreat and charge, more speed, more battleline options… It’s hard for us to find something that got worse for this army beyond some modest points increases. Admittedly, the army was in a pretty bad shape, but this book really feels like it’s in a good place in the game overall. Our playtesting against the other books released this edition suggests Nighthaunt are absolutely a podium contender, and with the number of overlapping buffs and unit options in this book we’re sure that generals will be exploring new builds and ideas right up until their next battletome. Looking forward to striking fear into the hearts of all the Mortal Realms? That’s the spirit!

Ellarr: Let it be known that I did not approve of that last pun. Great book.

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