Fury of the Deep: Unit Updates

With the new box set on pre-order today from Games Workshop both the Fyreslayers and Idoneth have seen Warscroll changes to units in the box set as well as new heroes for these two armies. Points have also been adjusted for many of these units to go along with their new warscrolls. These changes have come out without Battletome updates yet and are still be used alongside their current tomes. It’s worth remembering that perceived nerfs could be different, depending on how those new Tomes end up working mechanically


Credit: instagram Slotracer1976

Auric Flamekeeper 

This is the new hero for Fyreslayers…who is another foot hero for the army, bringing that total to 8 Heroes (6 of them Leaders). He is the first Fyreslayer to not also be armed with throwing axes, I suppose he forgot them at home. 

Unlike many players thought, he is not a Priest. Instead, he has the Totem keyword like Battlesmiths which allows him to issue orders at 18” range. He is a little better in combat than them, coming in with 4 attacks with rend -1 and damage 2. Decent, but not something you’re going to be trying to throw into combat eagerly. 

The real reason you’re taking him is because he’s a cheap hero at 80 points for your Hearthguard Berzerker Ward rolls and for his unique ability which Warhammer Community previewed this past week below:

credit: Warhammer Community

Of course, this requires your units to start falling apart before being able to buff them but does mean that as your units start to die, the ones that are still around can hit a bit harder or be where you want them to be more often. In my opinion, the biggest buff is being able to charge at the top of the enemy charge phase. It creates interesting issues for your opponents for placement of their own units, especially on and around objectives, creating bubbles of area denial for weaker units. 

The other buffs are nice too, Vengeance raises Hearthguard Berzerkers up to Damage 3, which is never a bad thing and giving a block of Vulkites a 6+ ward to help them survive on an objective could make a difference as well. 

Overall I’m a little surprised and disappointed that the Flamekeeper is not a Priest, it would have been an easy swap to get him into lists but slayers really do rely on prayers often for their units. The only saving grace is his cheap points cost at 80, the same as a Runeson. 

Warscroll Changes

In addition to the new hero, there’s a fair few changes to the included warscrolls. Since the box contains all 3 units Fyreslayers have access to that aren’t heroes it’s a compartively large overhaul for the army. The only change that they share is that throwing axes now hit and wound on a 4+ instead of a 5+ which is a cool little buff to all these units, but pretty minor. 

Vulkite Berzerkers

This unit has been split down to two warscrolls, which we’ve seen happen with other units in the past. Both units have the same throwing axes with the change mentioned above, the same bravery of 7 and movement of 4” with 2 wounds. They keep Berzerk Fury to fight when they die which needs to be activated at the start of the combat phase once per game and their musician still adds 1 to charge rolls.

What’s different? If you arm them with twin fyrestells handaxes then they retain 2 attacks base but no longer re-roll hit rolls when attacking and gain an extra attack when they charge in instead. They still have a save of 5+ and this is still a pretty underwhelming unit at 160 points for 10 models. 

If they have a slingshield they cost you 170 points per 10 and have a base save of 4+ which means they can now be buffed to be rolling a 3+ save through Battlesmiths and All Out Defence, making them a little tankier than before. They do lose an attack, going down to only 1 attack per model with either a handaxe or war-pick which hit/wound/rend/damage stats have not changed. They do also deal mortal wounds on the charge, rolling 1 dice per model in your unit and each 6 is a mortal wound to a unit within 1”. The upside is they get to do this and still have their better save but overall this unit has increased 10 points to lose half of its attacks and become slightly tankier

Between the two, the double axes will be the better pick, with more attacks they might be able to put out a little hurt before going down and paired with the Flamekeeper it’s a unit that you want to die to be able to buff your other units anyways. 

Auric Hearthguard

The shooty Fyreslayer unit. Their ranged magmapike attack has not changed in stats but has changed significantly in abilities. The shots are done at 18” range with 4+ hit 3+ wound rend -1 and damage 1. These used to double to damage 2 against Monsters but no longer. Instead of rolling a dice if a Monster was wounded and halving its move, now each time you roll a 6 to hit against any enemy unit then you subtract 1” from its move characteristic until the end of the opponent’s next turn. This makes the attack useable against more targets, with 21 shots from a unit of 10 models you’re averaging 3.5 rolls of 6 subtracting normally 3 or 4” from an enemy unit’s move depending which way you roll. The decrease can’t take them below half their move but being able to slow down hard hitting cavalry or monsters could make a difference as well as enemy foot units that are trying to take objectives.

Aurics have also lost their bodyguard ability. They don’t take wounds for friendly non-Magmadroth Fyreslayer heroes any more and it hasn’t been replaced by anything. Disappointing to see the only way of keeping our foot heroes alive a little longer in a game of “just shoot the heroes” is now gone. 

They are now Battleline though if your General is any kind of Fyreslayer priest, not just a Runemaster, so Lofnir lists taking Runesmiters on Magmadroths can pick these up as battleline and skip the Vulkites still. Also they have gone down in cost 5 points to being 120 per 5. With how many rules they lost it would have been nice to see that go down a little further but it’s what we have. 

Hearthguard Berzerkers

The core of just about every Fyreslayer army. Hearthguard Berzerkres have always been taken for their damage output coupled with insane toughness. Their attacks have not been changed at all: still 2” range and 2 attacks with either weapon option, with broadaxes hitting at rend -1 and damage 2 while the poleaxes are still no rend and damage 1 but with 6’s to hit causing 2 mortal wounds in addition. 

Their tankiness sees a decline though, no longer having a 6+ ward built in and now only having a 4+ ward while a Fyreslayer hero is wholly within 9” meaning they’ll have to be closer together to keep that buff going. You need to take as many heroes as you can to keep this ward buff going because it’s the only way that they are worth their increased points of 135 per 5. 

These added together definitely make this a weaker unit that’s now much easier to kill and much harder to keep wards on them especially when making charges. Aside from the slight throwing axe buff this unit has gone up in cost and lost effectiveness. 

Credit: instagram Slotracer1976

Final Thoughts

I am dearly hoping that the impending battletome takes these changes and makes them make a little more sense over all like we saw between Maggotkin Warscrolls and Allegiance Abilities. If the Flamekeeper didn’t hand out a 6+ ward ability I would have hope for an army wide 6+ ward to make some of this make a bit more sense. Competitively speaking this brings Fyreslayers down a couple pegs, an army which was already not competing without allying in Stormdrake Guard for the most part. Auric Hearthguard no longer protecting heroes and doing half their damage now to Monsters takes away one of the best tools the army had for facing Mega Gargants and is sad to see go. 

It’s impossible to say what a new tome will bring and when that will even happen, so in the meantime we have these changes with old rules. 

Idoneth Deepkin Warscrolls

Silks Deepkin Army Closeup
Credit: Silks

New Hero: Akhelian Thrallmaster

Something that the Idoneth were actually kind of missing – an Akhelian hero on foot built around combat. This guy packs in 5 attacks with Rend -1 and 2 damage each, plus 2 extra minor attacks from the sea creature that accompanies him. He buffs nearby Namarti units wholly within 12″ in each combat phase applying 1 buff of your choice automatically, no need to roll or spend a command point:

  • Re-roll hits of 1 with melee weapons
  • Unmodified hit rolls of 6 cause 2 hits with both wound rolls rolled separately
  • Subtract 1 from wound rolls that target affected units

These buffs only effect Namarti Thralls and Namarti Reavers, but you’re not trying to get Reavers into combat so really they’re only effecting the Thralls. They’ve also seen an update for the better, so being able to hit harder is definitely welcome.

The first two buffs are baffling. Statistically the odds of rolling a 1 or a 6 is the same, about 16%. So would you rather get a shot at two attacks or just reroll 1? Baffling. However, the -1 to wound buff is great. You can huddle onto objectives and be harder to remove. There aren’t many +1 to wound buffs in the game so it’s not something easy to counter. He comes in at 110 points so is easy enough to slot in to lists.

Warscroll Changes

The two Namarti units see changes to go along with their new hero as well as the Allopex which saw a recent warscroll change in the Broken Realms: Morathi book. A little odd to change it again so soon without a battletome, but hopefully that’s just following along shortly with these profiles.

Akhelian Allopex

The net is unaffected entirely, keeping the no-pile-in ability if a unit is hit by it, but the harpoon sees a drastic increase in damage. It retains its 24″ range with 4 shots but buffed up to D3 damage instead of just 1. Depending on the rest of your army the net is an incredible choice, keeping units from piling in more models onto objectives and into combat range but the harpoon feels like more of a choice now. With it, you can skirmish around and put on some hurt at range. If you reinforce the unit to include two allopexes then one becomes a unit champion which gains +1 to all hit rolls with melee weapons but also unlocks issuing orders to its own unit as well. If the unit has 2 models then it has a coherency of 3″ instead of the normal 1″, allowing them to spread out a little bit. That said they have seen a hefty points increase up to 165 per model (was 125) and you’re going to be needing to take a unit of 2 to get the most out of them.

Namarti Thralls

The unit which the new hero is primarily buffing – the combat Namarti unit. These guys come on 32mm bases. This made it more difficult to get all of the unit in combat all of the time with 1″ weapons, so thankfully they now have a 2″ reach on their assortment of fish hooks and blades but the profile is otherwise identical. Strangely now only 1 model in the whole unit can be an icon bearer instead of 1 in 10 and no longer gives re-roll battleshock tests for the unit either, just +1 attack for that one model. They do still have their rule for an extra attack when targeting 1 wound units but get +1 Damage against 3+ wound targets instead of 4+ wounds. This opens up damage 2 attacks against many more enemies now such as: Orruk Brutes, Kavalos Deathriders, Blood Knights, Stormcast Annihilators and a few others. Combined with the Thrallmaster these could be a decent murder machine. At 130 points for 10 you can do worse, probably.

Namarti Reavers

The other Namarti unit, but with bows instead of blades. Their bow now only has 1 ranged profile instead of 2 but it’s just better so it’s a good thing. Now it is always firing at 18″ with 2 shots 3+ hit 3+ wound rend -1 and 1 damage. They do get +1 to hit at enemies within 9″ which is nice if enemies stray a little too close or if they get bogged down in combat. With an 8″ move they can more easily choose when they take that bonus or when they move away as well but at 170 points now for 10 models instead of 115 I’m not sure if that ranged buff is worth it. For reference they now cost the same as Lumineth Sentinels which fire at nearly twice the range, out of line of sight, and dealing mortal wounds on some hits. Also the same cost as Blissbarb archers, and they’re probably at least better than Blissbarb archers. Also important to note that they’re now Battleline all of the time.

Namarti Thralls
Namarti Thralls. Credit: Raf Cordero

Final Thoughts

Overall some nice changes for Idoneth as opposed to the Fyreslayer half which doesn’t seem to make as much sense at the moment. If you were making use of Allopexes or Reavers before then you’re going to have to make some cuts somewhere in your list to make these fit. Hopefully both of these armies see new battletomes sooner rather than later. If you’re more competitively minded we looked at what competitive armies and lists were doing leading up to Dec and Idoneth weren’t exactly top of the charts and none of this really helps them move into that space either. It’ll be good to see what a real 3rd edition battletome brings them.

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