This review was completed using a free review copy of Dawnbringers: The Long Hunt provided to us by Games Workshop
Armies of Renown are a thematic army that ignores every part of the base army’s battletome; replacing them with new abilities and artefacts etc. This is still the case but for Fyreslayers the unit choice isn’t actually restricted, you’re just not allowed to take the Chosen Axes or Bael Grimnir (that named guy from White Dwarf that you can’t use in Matched Play). This is fine considering the army’s roster to begin with is only 4 units and 14 different heroes, there’s not exactly a lot of variety to begin with.
I want to be very clear: this is not a good army to take. You’re not getting some sort of new meta Fyreslayer build out of this. It’s a different way to play with the army and if your main thing is playing matched play or anything even nearing competitive gaming then you won’t be using this. A big reason is simply because of how actively bad the Flameseeker unit is, if they were better then this might be a wholly different article! But they’re not.
We know already that Armies of Renown removes all Allegiance Abilities, artefacts, mount traits, prayer scripture, spell book, command traits, and anything else the army has locked up the allegiance abilities. What does this mean for Fyreslayers then? What exactly are you losing?
The big one here is losing Runes. Say goodbye to extra rend, extra movement, army wide bonuses to hit, potential extra attacks, and easy mortal wounds. They’re not here and you don’t have access to them. You also lose Fierce Counter Attack so you can’t Strike First with any units when they get charged. Amusingly Grimwrath Oaths are also tied up to Allegiance Abilities so don’t bother taking a Grimwrath Berzerker since it won’t be able to run and charge or gain an easy Ward in combat. And then of course the loss of very important artefacts like the Nullsidian Icon, Volatile Brazier, and Master Rune of Unbreakable Resolve. Lastly you won’t get any of your prayers, just the ones on your hero’s warscrolls. Runesmiters still have a solid one but not being able to use Prayer or Ash or Ember Storm is a big loss for the army.
So what do you actually get?
To start, Flameseeker units are battleline and each one you take unlocks a Runeson on Magmadroth to be Battleline as well. So you can just run 2 units of Flameseekers and one Runeson Magmadroth for your 3 minimum in a 2k game and while next to a magmadroth gain a 5+ ward giving them a bit of survivability. The magmadroths still don’t have a ward so expect them to be targeted down and removed quickly. If you happen to have 2 or more units of Flameseekers in melee with an enemy monster then it gains the strike-last effect; a great effect to be able to apply to normally hard-hitting units, Sons of Behemat will be quaking in their sandals. However, lining up two units of Flameseekers with an enemy monster is a lot easier said than done on a unit with 4″ move. The best way to do this on your own terms will be for your Flameseekers to hitch a lift on a Magmadroth, being able to move with it in your movement phase to chuck them down the table 12″ (or a little more depending on how you line up those wholly-within 6″ bubbles). Only one unit of Flameseekers fits on the back of a magmadroth, confirming that a magamdroth’s carry capacity is exactly 9 duardin and 1 baby droth. To get two units charging into a monster then you’ll have to carry them up the board with two separate magmadroths and to that you’ll have to take a mount trait since you’re normally only allowed one taxi-droth each turn.
Also 3 of your magmadroths can take a mount trait instead of the usual 1, Lofnir players will be used to having this but keep in mind you do not get to use the normal traits. Instead you get 3 entirely different ones.
Speaking of those mount traits there’s only three and you’re going to be taking all of them every single time, the only question is going to be which one goes on which kind of magmadroth.
- Packdroth – Calling back up to the above, this is the trait that lets you carry a second unit of Flameseekers with a magmadroth. This magamdroth cannot carry two units, it just allows you to use the ability a second time each turn.
- Red-hot Fury – If this droth is not already in combat then right before your opponent carries out any monstrous rampages it can charge. This is great! But it has to end within 3″ of a Flameseeker’s Kindledroth (that’s the little baby magmadroth model) when it does. This is to represent its protection over the young, which is nice and thematic but would have been fine and nice if it didn’t have that part attached and could simply charge. It is nice though that the specific timing is called out here so there’s no question as to “end of charge phase” timing.
- Scalding Steam-breath – When I read this I assumed it would be a buff to its shooting attack but it is not, when attacking an enemy monster the Blazing Maw profile becomes flat damage 3 instead of the normal D3. A nice buff in damage for those few attacks that you’ll want on a Runefather so that you’re getting that extra attack once per game on this profile for 4 damage 3 attacks with the only solid rend attack you’re getting in this army.
Magmadroths don’t normally have any special rampages to use so these are all-new and when you’re going to be running 3-4 magmadroths in this list great to have a few more options on top of the normal Stomp, Roar, etc.
- Rearing Punches – Pick an enemy within 3″ and roll two dice, each 5+ results in D3 mortal wounds. It procs on a 3+ instead if you’re targeting a Monster and being able to do an easy few mortal wounds to a monster before attacking can make the difference between killing it or not. Since stomp doesn’t work on monsters it’s a nice option to have.
- Magma-fuelled Grasp – Pick a monster within 3″ on a 3+ the Rend of all your units that attack it is increased by 1 in the combat phase. You’ll need that rend to take down some of the tougher ones, especially so that Flameseekers actually have a bit of rend on their attacks.
- Eruption of Ferocity – Pick any kind of enemy within 3″ on a 2+ they can’t make ward rolls for that combat phase. This is situationally huge, against targets like Rockguts, Gotrek, Hearthguard Berzerkers, or anything Nurgle that relies on a good ward to stay alive you’ll just carve right through them. This is for all attacks too against that enemy, from all of your units.
Just one of each here to be able to take here like with others, so your choices are between these or the basic core rule ones, that’s all.
- Revered Flamemaster – If it wasn’t clear from the name, this is the command trait. It’s a little involved too: your non-magamdroth units that are wholly within 9″ gain an additional point of rend, only with melee weapons, when targeting monsters only. Line it up correctly for some nice rend -2 Hearthguard Berzerkers or to actually have some rend on your Flamekeepers.
- Grimnir’s Gift – An artefact that drastically reduces enemy monster’s ability to contest objectives. While this hero is on an objective then enemy monsters only count as 2 for the objective instead of whatever they would count as. Sons of Behemat counting as 20 or more? Nope, just 2 thanks! Pretty solid if you can position the hero right to be on the objective and not dead.
Battle Tactics and Grand Strategy
Fyreslayers are renowned for having the easiest Grand Strategy in the game normally: cast a magmic invocation and have it there at the end of the game. That’s it. Most armies can’t even interact with it. And you also don’t get to use it in an Army of Renown instead you get:
- Clear the Corral: Don’t let any enemy monsters be in your territory at the end of the game. Also reasonably easy, actually. If you’re not able to kill all enemy monsters then forcing an enemy one to possibly run out of the position it wants to be in at the end isn’t terrible. This is fine, especially when you’re not playing against any monsters.
As far as Battle Tactics go, fyreslayers normally have 2-3 very scorable ones from their own book and thankfully these are also actually pretty easy to score.
- Circle the Magmadroths – You’ll be able to score this turn one most times pretty easily, mostly because you’ll likely be made to go first. You just need to have a unit wholly within 6″ of the board and also a unit in each quarter of the table. Easy.
- Sulphur Seam – Pick an objective and a terrain piece at least a little bit in enemy territory and control both end of turn. The terrain piece can’t be within 6″ of the objective, cause that would be a little too easy, but even still this is very straightforward and lets you keep doing what you’re wanting to: move towards enemy and score primary objectives.
- Igneous Wranglers – Pick two objectives, one within enemy territory and one anywhere else and control both with Flameseekers at the end of the turn. Thanks to the magmadroth taxi service this is also very straightforward and simple to accomplish in the mid-game.
Corralling it all together
It’s very thematic, I’ll give it that. Not quite what I was hoping for or expecting from a beast-tamer army of renown, would have liked to see a bit more to do with buffing the army’s magmadroths instead of debuffing enemy heroes. It requires far too much for your opponent to bring monsters in the first place and generally speaking: I prefer army buffs as opposed to causing debuffs. Buffing up your own stuff to be better feels great and debuffs can normally be very lopsided and dependent on what your opponent actually has on the table.
I’d definitely like to see people trying this and showing me I’m wrong about all of this but the basics are: a normal Fyreslayer army hunts and kills monsters more effectively to begin with and normal Lofnir runs massed Magamdroths better as well. There’s some fun little bits here that I would love to see grouped into Fyreslayers in their next tome, that’d be great!