Dawnbringers Book 4: The Mad King Rises – Army Rules The Goonhammer Review

This review was completed using a free review copy of Dawnbringers: The Mad King Rises provided to us by Games Workshop. Continuing right along we take a look at a new warscroll, army of renown, and a whopping six Regiments of Renown. 

Sekhar – Fang of Nulahmia

She gets a nice chunk of lore, sure, but she also gets a warscroll fit for a Vampire. She’s Legion of Blood, unsurprisingly, and clocks in at 160 points; at time of writing that’s 10 more than a normal Vampire Lord. At 7 wounds but only a 4+ save she’s both tougher and easier to wound than a Vampire Lord and doesn’t have The Hunger to heal either; she’s only ever hit on a 5+ though. She is a 2 cast/unbind wizard with a unique spell that can make herself and nearby units un-targetable from one enemy unit’s spells, prayers, abilities, or shooting attacks. Her companion snake, Ouboroth, adds a couple melee attacks and a once per game AoE ability that does mortal wounds in a short range but once used is hit normally by attacks instead of only on 5+. Timing that ability will be key to both keeping her alive and there’s likely enough games where you just never even use it.

Sekhar, Fang of Nulahmia
Sekhar, Fang of Nulahmia. Credit: Wings

Armies of Renown

Just one this time. It has same restrictions as with any other: you don’t get anything from your main battletome. Just the Warscrolls and the rules from the Army of Renown.

Scions of Nulahmia

So this is weird and maybe, probably, hopefully, getting an FAQ soon. Nulahmia is the capital city in Neferatia where Neferata has rulership and Sekhar is Chief Lieutenant. It may surprise you then that neither can be taken in this army of renown. The units you’re allowed are: Dire Wolves, Fell Bats, and Vampire heroes that do not already have a subfaction keyword or more than 12 wounds. This leaves you with just Vampire Lords, Vengorian Lords, Coven Thrones and Cado Ezechiar. Weird. Your Vampire Heroes gain Battleline.

At least all your units re-gain their 6+ ward and you get some healing on Summonable units from Vampires like you’d expect to. You also get a new spell that all of yours just get to know automatically which adds D3 models to a Summonable unit and allows it to go past its starting size.

The coolest thing here though are Plots. In your own Hero Phase you can choose a Plot for one of your units to attempt in that turn and if they succeed then gain a permanent buff. These range from simply casting 2 spells and adding +1 to casts for the rest of the game to killing a Hero or Monster for +1 save. You’ll be able to attempt at least one of these every turn pretty easily. Good thing too since this army’s Grand Strategy is to do jus that!

Your General’s Command trait adds further recursion by bringing back a dead summonable unit in your movement phase, an artefact of power for 5+ ward in a small bubble for your units, and 3 battle tactics that look reasonably scorable too.

Over all if you didn’t want Neferata or Sekhar anyways and like the theme of just Dire Wolves and Fell Bats for your actual units this could be a lot of fun and not terrible, either.

Regiments of Renown

As with any other Regiment of Renown these are not usable if your army is already the same faction. You can’t take a Soulblight Regiment of Renown in a Soulblight army.

Nagash has had a fun time collecting Mortarchs, 6 of them now in total, and each gets their own little regiment to go with and ally in to your Death armies. I’m also only going to type this out once: each regiment gets a 6+ ward that they normally get in their home army. Thankfully that part is consistent!

These aren’t cheap, either, all clocking in between 600-750 points.

Neferata’s Royal Echelon

Credit: Joe

This is where she is, maybe she’s out on tour instead of hunkering down in Neferatia and that’s why she can’t be in her own Army of Renown…? You get her, 5 Black Knights, and two units of 10 Skeletons each. You get:

  • Once per game replace your battle tactic with a different one in your Battleshock phase
  • Neferata gains a 12″ ability to remove an enemy’s Ward for attacks from this regiment of renown

Removing a ward is very strong but then only making use of it from some skeletons and black knights isn’t doing that much. Neferata hasn OK melee profile but this is something you’ll use more situationally than trying to make use of every turn. The real strength here is changing your battle tactic and I cannot overstate how incredibly powerful that is. There’s an included note too that says you can even change to a battle tactic that you chose, but failed, earlier in the game. Being able to attempt a niche, difficult, battle tactic and then change out for an easy one as-needed gives you incredible flexibility.

The Summerking’s Entourage

If you’re playing a Death faction that isn’t Flesh Eater Courts but think Ushoran and some of the new models are really cool then here you go, you can take them in your Soulblight or Nighthaunt army. The regiment comrises 10 Cryptguard, 3 Morbheg Knights, and Ushoran himself. They get:

  • +1 attack near Ushoran
  • bring the Cryptguard and Knights units back after being killed

Overall this is actually really solid. Nighthaunt may make good use of it adding in some heavy hitters to their otherwise lighter army list. Not needing to keep track of Noble Deed points is the real winner here, though.

The Sternieste Garrison

Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night. Credit: Mike ‘Ellarr’ Chadderton

It’s Mannfred’s turn showing up with 10 Grave Guard and two units of 3 Fell Bats each. Grave Guard have a solid little attack profile, Mannfred can put on the hurt well, and Fell Bats are…really annoying for your opponent usually.

Every single one of your hero phases you get to pick one of these units, remove it, and set it up that it’s more than 6″ from all enemies. That’s absurd. An automatic 6″ charge with the unit of your choice that also gains +1 attack when they make this teleport is nuts. That unit of Grave Guard jump up to 31 attacks with mortal wounds on 6’s. Very good.

The Liche’s Hand

Arkhan the Black – Credit Scops

The last of the three original Mortarchs, Arkhan the Black gets the most elite set by far: 2 Morghast Archai and 2 Morghast Harbingers. That’s it. Just 5 models in this one and very solid units. Arkhan is one of the best casters in the game with a potentially very strong warscroll spell riding along with very strong, good, units of Morghast.

The effect of the regiment is simple: if any of them would ever be effected by a spell on a 2+ they just aren’t. They don’t have to keep a certain range to each other either they just have this ability. I can’t think of a Death army that wouldn’t want to have this.

Scions of the Necropolis

Katakros – Credit Scops

Normally I would say that most of Ossiarch’s power comes from their insane number of command points and very strong commands to spend them on. You don’t get those here but you do get Katakros and two units of 3 Immortis Guard. Fortunately Immortis Guard’s command comes on their warscroll so you do still get to use that with each unit for a second round of attacks.

However the regiment’s ability is incredibly strong: enemies within 6″ of any unit with a Wounds characteristic of 3 or less cannot contest objectives. At all. A similar rule has cropped up in the past but normally effecting 1 wound models which are not as common. Effecting models with up to 3 wounds? Incredibly strong as that’s removing the majority of army’s scoring capability. Immortis Guard and Katakros aren’t exactly easy to kill, either!

The Sorrowmourn Choir

Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief. Credit: Rich Nutter

Last up we get Lady Olynder, 10 Dreadscythe Harridans, and two units of 4 Myrmourn Banshees. These units all get to retreat and charge and still ignore modifiers on saves; glad they remembered to keep this for the ghosts! They also all get a single 8+ charge roll ability which applies Strikes Last on effected enemy units.

The other part of this regiment is turning off commands for units within 3″ during the battleshock phase. Removing Inspiring Presence after an effective turn of witting down an otherwise tough or large unit is always strong.

Go Forth and Conquer?

That’s all of the new rules whether you’re playing narratively or in matched-play games I think we can expect to see Mortarchs of Death on more tables in the coming months.

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