Dawnbringers: Book V – Shadow of the Crone Army Rules Review

The last time I wrote a Dawnbringers review, for the Mad King, I had assumed that was the last one. I was clearly foolish. We’re back with a fifth book. Maybe this is the last one? A thank you to Games Workshop for supplying us with a copy to review. 

This morning (afternoon, night, whatever, time zones are weird) we are reviewing all of the contents in the latest Dawnbringers book: Shadow of the Crone. You’ll be able to find reviews of Lore, a new Matched Play Battlepack, and Narrative rules in other articles; here I’m delving into the army rules presented and for Krethusa the Croneseer herself.

credit: Keewa

Krethusa the Croneseer

The newest hero-addition via Dawnbringers is a winged Daughter of Khaine priest who I really do believe we’ll be seeing a lot of on the table. Coming in at only 170 points, she’s fast at 14″ but relatively squishy with only 6 wounds and a 5+ save; the 4+ ward is doing a lot of work in keeping her alive. There is the “tax” of taking a Cauldron of Blood (or more than 1) in your army to really use all of her rules, though, and she has a very full warscroll card.

Her prayer Murder of Crows is one of the few ranged damage-dealing prayers in the game. Answered on a 4+ with an 18″ range the effected unit suffers D3 mortal wounds and you roll a D6 after. If you roll equal or higher than the wounds characteristic of the affected unit they suffer a -1 to hit for all attacks for the rest of the game. Insanely good. On larger meatier units like Troggs you have a 50% chance to make them -1 to hit for the whole game, and on elite units like Hearthguard Berzerkers or Chaos Chosen an even better shot at it. With a solid range and using one of the below abilities for hero-phase movement you can easily use this turn 1.

Burnt Offerings

In each hero phase Krethusa can commune with Morai-Heg if a Cauldron of Blood is nearby. If she does then you pick a Daughters of Khaine unit close to her, pick an ability from the list, and on a 2+ roll apply the effect. You are not allowed to pick a Scathborn, Medusae, Melusai, Shadow Queen, or Morathi-Khaine unit for the effect. That’s a good thing since these units really don’t need to be affected by more buffs. What you can give to another unit though is one of the following:

  • Prophecy of Silence – Enemies within 3″ of the unit cannot receive commands until end of turn. Incredibly powerful to turn off All Out Defence,
  • Prophecy of Dark Wings – The unit immediately makes a Normal move if it hasn’t already made a Normal move, Retreated, or been Set Up on the table this turn. Remember this is during the Hero phase and it’s not restricting you to move later. Extra movement for what’s already a glass-cannon army is huge and should not be overlooked.
  • Prophecy of Reclamation – While the unit is contesting (doesn’t need to be controlling) only enemy units that are Heroes or Monsters are able to contest. The most situational of the three but incredibly impactful! Taking away the power of horde units to contest can literally win you games.

The Croneseer’s Pariahs

Naturally a new hero gets a new Army of Renown, as well. This is the only army of renown in the book so if you were a faction yet to get one: too bad, it’s not here. As they have been it is equally restrictive. You do not get any of the normal Daughters of Khaine rules, just the Warscrolls from the army. Also not allowed: any units with the Scathborn, Medusae, Melusai, Shadow Queen, or Morathi-Khaine keywords. That’s a pretty heavy restriction since most DoK armies rely on nearly all of them to perform. So what do you get?

Battle Traits

Since you don’t get to use the Daughters of Khaine ones, you get this set of traits instead.

Guided by Morai-Heg

All of your army’s unmodified hits of 6 automatically wound and the Rend of that hit is improved by 1. Since the type of units you’re getting to take here spam out high volume of otherwise low-quality attacks it’s a great benefit.

Laden with Prophecy

They’re really big on the whole seeress/prophecy thing here. Very cool. The Cauldrons of Blood in your army gain a new ability and are considered to be empty or full at any given time. They start the game empty; there’s not enough blood at the barracks I suppose. If an enemy within 3″ of a Cauldron is killed by the Cauldron, then it becomes full. While a Cauldron is full it gains a 4+ ward against shooting attacks and gives off an 18″ aura to friendly units making them -1 to be hit from all attacks. Both are great abilities! Drive that Cauldron straight towards a low-wound unit, kill something, and get the buff up ASAP. Use Kethua’s Hero-phase move to get it up quick if need be. The downside of course is that it starts the game without any buffs so is very prone to getting one-shot off the board before it gets the chance to fill up.

Bloodthirsty Haruspicies

Krethusa can, at the start of any phase, empty a Cauldron of Blood within 6″ of her to immediately use her Burnt Offerings ability above. The timing of this is very powerful allowing you to adapt to situations as they arise so long as you’re keeping all your ranges and auras tight! Being able to move a unit, turn off enemies contesting objectives, or remove commands from enemies for the turn can flip a game in your favour when timed right. Losing the buffs of the Cauldron is costly, though, so be mindful when using this.

Skilled Skirmishers

Once per turn after an enemy charges within 3″ of a unit of Doomfire Warlocks they can roll a dice for a 3+ to immediately retreat 2D6″. Being able to bait out charges is powerful but you’re relying on rolling a 3+ then also retreating far enough to be out of combat as well. Remember that the enemy unit did complete a charge and will get a 3″ pile in so depending on placement and weapon ranges they’ll have to move relatively far to be safe. This ability is fine but it’s not going to be the reason you take Doomfire Warlocks if you weren’t already planning to.

Accepted Outcasts

That said, Doomfire Warlocks do become battleline units in the army and at only 120 points and no real need to reinforce them they’re a cheap unit to fill that third battleline slot.

Fanatical Faith

All of your units gain a 6+ ward. All the time. This is nice and simple at helping your squishy units be slightly less easy to kill, like a Death army.

Heroic Action

Despite the silhouette being Krethusa, this can be used by any hero in your army. The hero has to be within 9″ of an empty Cauldron of Blood and within 3″ of another friendly unit. That unit suffers D6 mortal wounds which cannot be negated and on a 4+ the Cauldron fills up. This is far too much cost-to-reward. If the roll was a 2+ or automatic, or you only suffered a single mortal wound this would be fine and good but the chance of losing up to 6 wounds on a unit and then still not fill the Cauldron? Bad. Love the fluff side of this but it weighs too heavily against you to use. The only upside here could be using it on a cheap sacrificial unit of Witch Aelves you don’t reinforce and keep back and then immediately Rally if you do kill a lot of them? Since both are “start of Hero phase” you can do that, which is your best option here.

Daughters of Khaine Hag Queen
Daughters of Khaine Hag Queen. Credit: Corrode


Unfortunately these are not accessible to Krethusa like some of the Army of Renown enhancements have been; that would have been nice to see. Then again, her own prayer is so good you probably don’t need these.

  • Augury of Battle (4) – Give a unit a 5+ ward. Very nice and simple increase from the 6+ ward your army already has.
  • Auspicious Strike (4) – This targets one of your own units. When enemy units attack this unit with melee weapons and roll a 1 to hit the attacking unit suffers mortal wounds equal to the damage characteristic of their weapon. That’s insane. Throw them into units like Chaos Chosen and watch as they just…remove themselves (as well as your own unit, but still). It’s not going to really save your unit unless this fully just stops enemies from even charging in, which is a win in itself in the right spot.
  • Wings of the Crone Goddess (3) – Pick a unit within 14″ and make a normal move, gaining the Fly keyword until the end of the phase. Just solid. Being able to surprise-move over walls or units is very solid and extra movement is great! You can even use this after Krethua’s move ability, too. Lined up right that’s a very fast unit!

Artefact of Power

Just one here for you to choose. Still not available to Krethua either since she’s unique, and really that’s fine.

Tools of Prophecy is a once per game ability that lets you use succeed the roll to fill a Cauldron of Blood on a 3+ instead of 4+ when using the above heroic action. Just take another artefact of power, this is awful and you’re straight up better off with Arcane Tome or really anything else! If it was a constant effect it’d be fine, or if it made you auto-succeed the roll, or not suffer as many mortals, or really anything better this would have been a nice artefact to take.

Command Trait

Also not available to Unique, so to take make sure you have a non-Krethusa hero as your General.

It’s a solid one, too, actually. Named Blessings of the Crone enemy units within 12″ of your General receiving commands have to use a second command point on 5+ or else the command is not received and the original command point spent is lost. Since most armies are usually playing with 2-3 command points at any given time just the chance of this happening will be enough to stop units from attempting commands.

Battle Tactics

Moving swiftly into the Matched Play section of traits here we have 3 battle tactics to attempt.

  • Murder the Unbeliever – Pick an enemy unit within 3″ of a Cauldron of Blood and kill it. Real simple and you can kill it by any means, of course you’ll want to try and kill a model with the Cauldron itself too if not already full.
  • Purge the Flock – Pick an objective controlled by your opponent, control it, and have no enemies contesting it. Mix this with Krethusa’s ability to turn off what enemy units are able to contest an objective and it becomes very easy to score without having to fully murder everything on a point.
  • Proclamations of Morai-Heg – Use more commands than your opponent this turn. A fantastic tactic to use when you’re going second and have more command points than your opponent. Easy.

Daughters of Khaine have some of the easiest battle tactics normally too so it’s at least nice that you’re not losing that when taking this army of renown with three incredibly easy tactics you’ll score most games.

Grand Strategy

Hasten the Inevitable is also just very easy to score. You just need to end the game with 1 or more of your units in enemy territory within 6″ of any board edge and more than 6″ from your own territory. With the amount of out-of-sequence this army can produce at a whim you’ll only be struggling to score it if you’ve gone heavy into the middle of the table, or if you’ve been tabled.

credit: Warhammer Community

Saviours of Cinderfall

Moving swiftly away from the Daughters of Khaine and Krethusa we have a Cities of Sigmar Regiment of Renown. Keeping with normal form, this is not available to Cities of Sigmar armies but instead any other Order army. If you include this ally then you can’t take any other ally and the other normal Regiments of Renown restrictions. You get:

  • Callis and Toll
  • Toll’s Companions

All new models here these are heroes straight from a Black Library novel come to plastic. These units are taken as a set and cost you 350 points for all 5 models, whether they’re in your Cities of Sigmar army or in another army as the Regiment of Renown. Callis and Toll are a single unit and Toll’s Companions are a second, separate, unit.

When they are running in a non-Cities army as the Regiment of Renown they gain Duty Bound giving them +1 to their save and ward rolls while wholly within 6″ of an objective and Sentenced to Death: pick an enemy unit start of game, all melee attacks with both units in this regiment of renown hit on a 2+ regardless of any other modifiers. Solid. The Companions are already tough and stacking up a better save is delightful.

Callis and Toll

The few times we get heroes as a unit always feels a little odd, and this is no exception. They are bedecked with pistols, blades, keywords, and a slew of special rules. They have a normal human hero profile with 5″ move, 5 wounds each, and a 4+ save with a nice 5+ ward to help keep them alive out of pure Grim Determination. Each makes 3 shots with their pistol and 4 attacks each with their blades; at damage 1 and 2 respectively these attacks are fine at rend -1 but nothing that immediately stands out. All of these attacks double in damage against Daemons and Wizards, which is cool but situational.

What’s also cool is that after they fight Toll is able to go full-vampire-hunter and plunge a stake through the heart of an enemy model. The model targeted doesn’t need to be a vampire for this to work, but it’s so much cooler when it is, right? You roll 2D6 and if it’s greater than the Wounds Characteristic of the enemy it is slain. Similar abilities use a single D6 so being able to actually reliably remove foot heroes with an average roll of 7 is so good. Lastly after they do charge in Toll’s Companions, if nearby, can re-roll charges as well.

Toll’s Companions

Who better to hang around Callis and Toll than their very own band of merry travelers? Merry is probably not the best word to use here but they sure do have a mix of weapons and even more rules than their leaders.

Each one has their own unique weapon which is super fun to keep track of and play with! All in all as a unit you get in melee: 10 attacks (split unevenly between two of them) at rend -1 damage 1, 1 attack rend -2 damage 3, and 4 more attacks from the cat with no rend damage 1. One is also armed with a Cane Gun which is maybe the coolest weapon in this book and makes a couple of shots that might plink a wound off something at some point in time; as a gamer it’s very important that you keep track of how many models this kills because it’s cool.

They’ve got 3 wounds a piece with a 4+ save but Valius has 5 wounds instead for a total of 11 wounds in the unit. While Valius is alive they also ignore all negative modifiers to save which is real cool, gets them to an easy 3+ save ignoring all rend and other negatives that could be thrown their way. With Verentia alive each time an enemy within 12″ receives a command on a 5+ you gain a command point; the enemy still gets their command but you’re now have more too. The third companion doesn’t do anything for you while they’re alive so can just die first.

One of the better parts of the unit is they get a quasi-deepstrike and take Callis and Toll along with them when they do. They have to be setup within 3″ of a terrain feature and more than 9″ away from enemies which is a bit restrictive as to where they can go but can make it easier to hit something they actually want to attack by coming in mid-game. They also get to be set up in the same garrison if you want, which is cool? I can probably count on one hand the number of times that my opponent and I decided to actually use garrisons that were on the table that wasn’t Towers in the Tundra.

Rounding It Out

Krethusa is fantastic and I think we can expect to see her in normal Daughters of Khaine army builds, potentially even leaving Morathi home sometimes for a bit of a shake-up?? However her Army of Renown follows most others in that it’s fun and fine but not something to rock up to tournaments with. I’ll keep saying it too: that’s exactly the right place for Armies of Renown to exist in.

Callis, Toll, and company are a fun little warband to add in to an Order army but as with any kind of ally you need to ask yourself if you can’t simply spend those points better with your own book anyways. It’s a shame these are only as a Regiment of Renown as they’d be very cool in a Cities of Sigmar army!

Do check out the other reviews we have up for this book; the Strongholds especially is something that looks like a lot of fun to play.

Are you using Armies of Renown? Will you be adding Krethusa to your Daughters of Khaine army? Do you have any other questions, complaints, or comments to make? Send us an email to contact@goonhammer.com or leave a comment below.