Kings of War Faction Introduction: The Evil

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Welcome back to our coverage of Kings of War. In last week’s article we talked about the Neutral factions of the game. If you missed it, consider checking it out here. Our introduction to the Good factions, published two weeks ago, can be found here.

This is the third of three articles introducing the vast array of armies to choose from in the ‘rank and flank’ tabletop wargame Kings of War. While more exhaustive descriptions of each individual army can be found, we hoped to provide a laidback overview peppered with a few memes for your viewing pleasure. For each of the armies we have chosen some ‘standout units’ that really typify what the army represents. These units aren’t necessarily standouts from a competitive view, but rather units we feel embody the fluff or theme of the army, or present great hobby opportunities.

Model disclaimer: Mantic Games has a different completeness of model ranges for each of the armies, ranging from nonexistent to complete. Thankfully the Kings of War community and ruleset encourages you to use whatever miniatures you like, however in this article we will be focusing on Mantic miniatures.

Abyssal Dwarfs

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Abyssal Dwarfs are the evil counterparts to the aforementioned Dwarfs, driven to dominate all by an insatiable greed and lust for power. They were once a colony of miners in the far north, but the Wicked One known as the Father of Lies took the greed inherent to all Dwarfs and amplified it to the point of wild addiction. From this one colony has grown the kingdom of Tragar, and the Abyssal Dwarfs are a major threat to all the free races of Pannithor.

The armies of the Abyssal Dwarfs are only partially made up of actual Dwarfs; the lucky ones. The rest of the army is made up of legions of slave orcs and mutated monstrosities that go beyond ethics and reason. The fate of a slave orc is to die in the hope that it might tire out the enemy. The mutated monstrosities are somehow even worse off – bio-daemonic fusions of unfortunate dwarf and abyssal. This is done without pain relief or even a care that the disparate body systems even work – all that matters is you’ve got an angry super-dwarf that you can point at the enemy.

What truly makes the Abyssal Dwarfs terrifying is their daemonic artillery. Mortars, rocket launchers, magma cannons and flamethrowers all harness the essence of the Abyssals. The result is an excruciating death for any unlucky enough to be in range, all whilst being vehemently teased by the imprisoned daemon currently devouring your soul. 

Why play them?

If the Dwarfs are the Chads then the Abyssal Dwarfs are the Goth Chads that somehow managed to out-Dwarf the Dwarfs. If you just enjoy being simultaneously the toughest, shootiest and most annoying army in the land, then these guys are the army for you!

How do they play?

If you just want to play “Dwarfs, but evil”, you can bring a solid mixed army, or a heavy shooting army, as there is a fair amount of unit-role overlap. You have dwarfs – but evil. Earth elementals – but evil. Cannons – but they can talk back (ie. sentient evil).

What makes Abyssal Dwarfs more unique is their access to cheap slave orc units, and their halfbreed units. Slave orcs let you build more of a horde list. The halfbreed units are tough, regenerating cavalry or dragon-style monsters, allowing you to have some real speed, something uncommon in the Dwarf list. They also have access to gargoyles (see Forces of the Abyss), which means that they have some of the most annoying chaff in the game.

Standout units

  • Overmaster on Ancient Winged Halfbreed
    An Abyssal Dwarf hero riding a monstrous dragon-type abomination. I’ve personally had the (dis)pleasure of trying to stop one going through the flanks of my army and seen how much damage these guys can do first hand. As an abomination, it can also regenerate, so you need to put a lot of damage into one to make it stay down. Also, a great centrepiece model for an army.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Decimators
    Evil dwarfs armed with blunderbusses, what’s not to love? Though these guys have short range, walking into that range is a very bad idea. Great for carrying objectives so that the enemy has to come to you.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Abyssal Halfbreeds
    One of the abominations mentioned above. These guys hit very hard on the charge, and have the speed to make sure they are the ones getting that charge. If they do get shot at and take a few wounds on the way in, their regeneration ability will help them recover and stick around for an extra turn or two. Keep in mind though, if your opponent takes them off in one turn, there’s no regenerating back from that.

Credit: Mantic Games

 

The Empire of Dust

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

Once the great empire of Ahmun, now vast ruins amidst the shifting dunes of the Ophidian Wastes, yet these ruins are not unoccupied. Brought about by their own necromantic machinications, the Empire of Dust has endured for centuries beyond the last Ahmunite breathed their last breath. The Pharoah and his kings have awoken and command their armies as they did in life, yet now these forces are numberless as every citizen in death is pressed into military service for eternity.

The Empire of Dust is the undead army that does undead but with style. Any necromancer can summon skeletons, but only the High Priests of Ahmun can have them looking so good, wearing all the armour and garb that the former living legions did. Each piece of artillery is a work of art, and the enslaved guardians are literally walking sculptures of perfection. The grubby necromancer or desperate vampire (see below) pales in comparison to the glorious works of the High Priests and Pharaohs. 

Why play them?

Do you enjoy commanding legions of Egyptian skele-bois in a certain Total War game? Perhaps you have an army of Tomb Kings gathering so much dust that a team of archeologists will be required to uncover it? Or maybe you’re just looking for that fantasy counterpart to your Necron forces… either way, the Empire of Dust might be for you.

 

How do they play?

The Empire of Dust is one of the best armies for building a grindy list. There’s lots of cheap, fearless infantry to hold the line, and stronger, fearless infantry to punch a hole. If you can’t punch through, there’s monsters and chariots to go around the sides, while your great access to inbuilt and magical healing keeps your lines from crumbling.

Surge: The big gimmick of all undead lists is Surge, a spell that lets you move most undead units in the ranged phase. This is a tricky thing to get your head around as a new player, both as the one playing it and facing off against it. In a game all about movement, it is extremely powerful. Often it results in units getting into combat in ways that didn’t seem possible!

Standout units

  • Mummies
    The archetypal undead in any Egyption-y themed army in any game system, how could we miss putting them here? These guys are resilient, and they regenerate in all kinds of ways (ie. they literally regenerate + they gain health when they deal damage). The fact they can crush most armour is just a bonus, and like all surge-able units, these can often hit your opponent where they least expect it.  

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Enslaved Guardians
    Our pick for the thematically coolest units in the army, the Enslaved Guardians are djinn forcibly bound into magical armour. In game, Guardians can come with two handed weapons, to be your armour crackers, or crossbows, to fill a more utility roll. Either way, they look great.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Monolith
    One of the more unique units in the games (literally), the Monolith exists solely to cast Surge on your units, and it does it’s job very well. It doesn’t need line of sight, and casts it at double the usual range, so it should always be able to surge something wherever you need it.

Credit: Yan Zhi Lai

 

Forces of the Abyss

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Wicked Ones are the evil facets of the original gods, the Celestians, which formed when the Celestians were split apart. These infernal beings started the God War which only ended when they were banished to the open scar in the far north of the world known as the Abyss. It is from here that the daemonic Forces of the Abyss march out to bring ruin to the world of mortals.

The Abyssals, as they are collectively referred to, are vastly varied in their forms and thus their ways of war. Diminutive Imps dodge between the lumbering steps of the ogre-like Molochs. Legions of armed and armoured daemonic infantry are accompanied by all manner of large, or even gigantic daemons, all of which employ infernal sorcery as well as their immense strength in the obliteration of their foes.

Why play them?

Do you find yourself roleplaying as Tiefling in your games of DnD? Do you enjoy corrupting those around you and watching the flames dance, cackling maniacally all the while? Ignoring the easy innuendos referencing the horned nature of the army’s constituents, we can heartily recommend the Forces of the Abyss.

How do they play?

The diversity present within the army list enables multiple playstyles. The almost army-wide distribution of the special rule regeneration means that units are more durable than you might think, hence both grindy lists and mixed arms will work well. All the monsters to choose from – namely the Archiends and Fiends of the Abyss – mean that a monster mash list is a lot of fun, if less competitive. 

Standout units

  • Abyssal Fiend
    This beast of a daemon brings a lot of punch AND a double punchy fireball. Chuck him in the heart of your lines to not only inspire your troops, but also make your opponent think twice about getting within Fireball range. Win-win.

This is the Archfiend. For standard Fiend, please remove wings prior to unleashing on your opponent. Credit: Mantic Games

  • Abyssal Warlock
    The wizard for every occasion – want a cheap source of inspiring for the nearby soldiers? Done. Want to buff your troops? Easy! But wait, he comes with a neat ranged attack for free? Yes, all this and more with your next order of Abyssal Warlock – while stocks last.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Gargoyles
    Arguably these are the most annoying units in the game – they fly, they can regenerate, and they are moderately good in close combat! Thankfully for your opponent, they tend to fall over in the face of moderate gusts so no one will complain too much, but these are great for just getting in the way of your opponent!

Credit: Mantic Games

 

Goblins

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Goblins are like a persistent rash on the world of Pannithor; no one knows how they got it, but it’s as annoying as all hell. These diminutive, yet ingeniously cruel creatures can live everywhere, from wandering tribes across wastelands to shanty slums on the outskirts of a city. While they are often dismissed as a nuisance, when they amass in large numbers, there is little that can survive their onslaught.

The inherently cowardly nature of the Goblin means they will only engage in battle if they feel they have an advantage. This is most often in numbers, but their inventive minds find additional ways to ‘level the playing field’. The Goblin Mincer resembles a crude combine harvester, while the War Trombone is literally a blunderbuss on wheels. The peak of goblin engineering are the ramshackle planes referred to as Winggits, defying logic and reason as they fly/plummet through the air. The Goblins also manage to bring along some muscle in the form of the large, resilient Trolls, and the larger Giants. They follow the promise of regular meals – either the enemy or the goblins. Hence when the goblins come to the battlefield, you can never be sure what surprises they have in store.

Why play them?

Do you find everything in life funny, never taking anything too seriously? Or perhaps you enjoy fielding the biggest army around; guaranteed to fill up half of the table. Or maybe you find joy in being the underdog. If so, the Goblins might be the army for you.

How do they play?

Goblin units are cheap, hence nearly all Goblin armies bring an overwhelming amount of units. You will have no problem spreading out to get objectives or taking board space. In addition, Goblins can bring some very good shooting, with a huge smattering of artillery and ranged units to choose from, many of which can be enhanced by the Winggit (see below). If instead you would rather a more close combat centric army, then the Trolls and the Mincers are both durable and hit hard, leaving your goblins to run around and cause a ruckus.

Standout units

  • Rabble
    The most basic goblin soldiers in your army but they’ll be with you until the very end because you’ll just have so many of them since they are so cheap! The new kit from Mantic is also amazing, so it’s a joy to bring more.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Mincer
    This ramshackle oversized lawnmower is defensive, offensive (both physically and verbally) and cheap. Yet your opponent cannot afford to ignore them as they will plough through most units.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Winggit
    This physics-ignorant Goblin fighter jet is already great just for the annoying amount of damage it can do in all the wrong places. Add to that the ability to spy targets for your artillery and improve their shooting, and it’s just straight up amazing!

Credit: Mantic Games

 

Nightstalkers

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Conclave of Heaven was a group of elven scholars always searching for new knowledge and power. Under the tutelage of the Celestian Oskan, they were experimenting in planes walking, traveling outside the mundane world (see where this is going?). During one of these experiments, the Celestians were shattered in two, and the magical backlash rent the Conclave on every level, destroying everything for miles, and tossing the souls of all living things caught in it across countless dimensions. These souls merged with those already in the darker planes, those of horrors and nightmares, children of ancient star-gods locked in darker universes and dimensions. Upon the formation of the Abyss during the God War, the veil between realities became yet thinner, and in some places, torn. It is through these rents that the Nightstalkers emerge.

The Nightstalkers feed off the very psyche of the world, manifesting themselves as their victims’ fears. It all starts with the relatively benign-looking Scarecrows and Bloodworms – nothing a few men with some swords couldn’t handle! But before you know it, the multi-limbed reapers (think Necromorphs from Dead Space) are ripping through the front lines, and suddenly a titanic giant made of sharp-toothed mouths is making a smorgasbord of the griffons. Get the idea?

Why play them?

Are you drawn to the things that go bump in the night? Do you praise the almighty Cthulhu and all things cosmic horror? Perhaps you just want an army that makes any Dwarfen gunline quail in fear? If so, prostrate yourself before this introduction to the Nightstalkers.

How do they play?

Nightstalkers, fittingly, are quite unlike the other armies of Kings of War. Due to their nightmarish forms, they are harder to hit at range thanks to Stealthy, so every unit is more durable than it first appears. Secondly, the special rule Mindthirst enables them to leech Inspiring (reroll failed nerve checks) auras off the enemy, at the cost of not having any Inspiring of their own. Hence the Nightstalkers want to rush the enemy in order to get their Mindthirst working and solidify their foothold in reality. with no real ranged units, any damage you want to do at a distance will have to come from spells. This combination of factors leads to most Nightstalkers armies being all about smashing face up-close, and/or blasting with magic. 

Standout units

  • Doppelgangers
    Doppelgangers are a unique unit for a unique army. They come in reasonably cheap with OK baseline stats, but they copy the melee profile of whoever they fight! So line them up against your opponent’s biggest and baddest unit and watch them dance around trying not to touch them. They’re also a great hobby opportunity. Are you always playing the same opponent? Grab a box of his best guys and set them up against them! 

Credit: WizKids

  • Mind-screech
    A giant flying, tentacled brain, the Mind-screech model rocks. These guys are your spellcasting monsters, flying around shooting Lightning bolts at whatever they want. Because they are monsters, they aren’t bad in melee, especially in a flank, and they can score objectives, so keep them around for spells in the early game, then zoom off to score at the end.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Shadow-Hulk
    Another great Mantic model here; a terrifying cyclopean giant with a mouth on his hand. Personally, we think he’s one of the better “Giant-type” monsters in the game, hitting on 3’s and being fearless makes him stand out. That, plus all the extra mouths.

Credit: Mantic Games

 

Orcs

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Orcs were created to tip the balance in the Wicked Ones’ favour. The brutal, cruel and war-like aspects of every race were poured into the making of the Orcs. Although the God War ended, the Orcs lived on to become a scourge of the world. They are filled with un-ending rage and they will fight anyone and anything, even each other. The only reason they form tribes is in the hope that this will lead to grander fighting than might otherwise be achieved alone.

In Kings of War the Orcs are a blend of the inherently evil Tolkein Orcs and the destructive and brawny Warhammer Fantasy Orcs. This means that although they seek to destroy all by smashing it multiple times in the face, they have the capacity to go about it in a bit more of a tactical way. They also don’t go about it alone, and attract all manner of creatures that relish the fighting as much as they do; trolls, giants and giant boars (called gores) add even more crushing power.

Why play them?

Are you the kind of person that gets into team sports just to have the chance to get a punch on? Did you worship Gork (or possibly Mork), but found the animosity special rule infuriating? Or perhaps you just like a simple army that does simple things? Simple, violent things. If yes, then please read on about the Orcs.

How do they play?

It will come as no surprise to learn that orcs truly excel at getting into combat and hitting hard, but what truly makes the orcs excel is their staying power. Nearly all units of Orcs are remarkably tough, and so can often withstand an enemy charge. Add to this the multiple ways to heal your units of their wounds and one quickly realizes why they just won’t die. Unfortunately, there are not many ranged units to choose from among Orcs, but if you want shooty greenskins, then go Goblins! Instead you have the choice of various types of infantry from the standard Ax hordes to the ultra-choppy Morax (charming names). Yet, if you find these too slow there’s Gore Chariots, Gore Riders, and Fight Wagons, to hit both hard and fast!

Standout units

  • Fight Wagons
    What’s more Orcy than piling a bunch of Orcs on a spike covered wagon and driving them straight towards the enemy at top speed, eschewing all semblance of tactics to just hit really hard and hope for the best? Paint it red and it might even go faster.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Godspeaker
    The Orc wizard that you want sitting right in the middle of the army because the more lads he has around him, the better he casts his spells! This is one source of healing that will help your army stick around longer than it truly should.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Longax
    Orc engineering has finally peaked in the ability to make a longer axe so more lads can get chopping at once. This block of pointy iron-laden orcs ticks all the boxes; defensive, anti-cavalry and it still hits hard!

Credit: Mantic Games

Undead

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Undead plague every part of the world of Pannithor, yet they cannot exist without the art of necromancy. Necromancers often begin their morbid careers in secret, only launching their vast, tireless armies when at the height of their powers. Through their necromantic mastery, they also seek to become immortal, yet so hated are necromancers throughout Pannithor that their demise is often earlier than they would prefer.

Vampires are also adept in the arts of undeath, thanks to their blood lineage to the Wicked One Akshun’arha. However, unlike necromancers, there are those who seek out vampires in order to acquire the Blood Gift and join their powerful ranks. The most powerful vampire lords and ladies are often seen leading terrible armies of the dead. Many lesser vampire nobles band together as Soul Reavers, forming an elite fighting unit that takes sustenance in the blood of their foes. In any case, they are always the best dressed/armoured.

Necromancy at its most basic level involves simply raising the dead – zombies, skeletons, undead beasts and trolls. These often make up the bulk of the army, and are driven purely at the whim of their masters. The true masterpieces of a necromancer’s work are the Wights, Revenants and Wraiths who retain their evil sentience and willingly fight. More magnificent still are the undead dragons and flying wyrms. Nothing is immune to the touch of undeath (well, except for Abyssals and Nightstalkers but they’re not really living in the first place).

Why play them?

Vampires, ghouls, and zombies, oh my! Your home of the classic undead, rotting corpses, those that eat the corpses, and the things that used to inhabit the corpses; they all find a home in the undead. If you’re looking at Games Workshop’s new Soulblight stuff, or have zombies and skeletons from any other mini manufacturer, this is a great army to start. 

How do they play?

The undead are the most versatile army in Kings of War as of writing. They can do any type of list except war engine spam, and even the one war engine they’ve got is pretty solid.

They have lots of access to cheap filler units like skeletons and zombies if you want to play a horde list. They have vampires (both Soul Reavers and Vampire Lords), werewolves and other monsters if you just want to hammer through your opponent, and enough good wizards to help support any other playstyle you choose. The Undead are the other biggest user of Surge in the game, so all the tricks that the Empire of Dust can do, the Undead can do as well.

*Note: There is also a unique hero that when taken, changes the undead alignment from Evil to Good. His name is Jarvis. He’s cool, too.

Standout units

  • Wraiths
    They’re incredibly tough, flying, terrain-ignoring phantoms that are a staple of many a competitive Undead army list. While the Mantic models are pretty cool, this is also the easiest unit convert. Grab some infantry and paint them spooky!

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Soul Reaver Cavalry
    Vampire knights. Fast, strong, they heal themselves when they damage other units, and believe me, they will damage other units. If you remember Warhammer Fantasy’s Blood Knights, this is them. These guys can definitely be a centerpiece unit in an army.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Zombies
    Of course, where would a list of good undead troops be without zombies? Cheap, fearless bodies to put on the table and clog up your opponents plans. Great for holding objectives and taking bullets, but will really struggle to hit back at anything, but that’s not why you take them. Brains…?

Credit: Mantic Games

 

Ratkin

*Found in the Uncharted Empires expansion

Credit: Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Ratkin are one of the latest creations of the Abyssal Dwarfs; a source of endless slaves/soldiers. Unfortunately for them, they did too well and the Ratkin erupted from their confines. Vast tunnels created by thousands of gnawing teeth saw the new evil escape and spread throughout the under-realm of Pannithor. 

The Ratkin are as diverse in form as they are numerous. Swarms of tiny (well… regular-sized) rats scurry at the feet of the more humanoid Ratkin that form the bulk of the fighting forces. Above these tower the Brutes, made massive by infusions of steroids and growth hormones by the decidedly un-motherly Brood Mothers. Their pseudo-scientific machinations don’t stop there, for the Mutant Rat-fiends make all other creations pale in comparison – it is literally a walking womb, giving birth to fresh Ratkin mid-battle (gross, huh?).

As if the flesh-horror of the Ratkin wasn’t bad enough, they, like the Goblins, are great tinkerers and producers of crazy contraptions. Learning from the Abyssal Dwarfs, they take great delight in making all manner of volatile explosives, deadly ranged weaponry, and ridiculous Death Engines. How any of these work is better left unknown as most involve whole or bits of rat in their making.

Why play them?

Do you bite your nails while planning revenge on your overlords (ie. management and HR)? Are you a mad scientist at heart with the urge to create all manner of mechanically- and/or genetically-enhanced monsters? If so, the safest way (for all) to live out your dreams are to rule over the Ratkin.

How do they play?

Your basic Ratkin troops can form a surprisingly solid core. They are not as bad as one might expect from other games (*cough* clanrats *cough*). Regardless, you want a lot of rats in your army to unlock the rest of your extremely cool choices, and to do the boring stuff like hold objectives. Those cool choices can be any and all of sniper teams, Mawbeast riders, power drill wielding giant rats, Death Engines, war machines and more.    

Standout units

  • Death Engine Impaler
    Basically a smaller pre-industrial tank with a car crusher attached. It is fearless, relatively cheap and can bring the pain. Mantic already makes a great model for this,  but in the fluff, no two Ratkin war engines are the same, so it’s also a spot to flex your hobby skills and build whatever janky death machine you like.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Mutant Rat-fiend
    Another stunning model here, the rat-fiend rocks. Able to regenerate wounds, heal your other Vermin (basically rat swarms), buff all your other Ratkin, and still be a beast in combat, we’d definitely be taking at least one of these.

Credit: Mantic Games

  • Brood Mother
    Another great buffing character for the units you care about. Has a very cool unique rule, Eat the Weak, which allows you to literally feed your Ratkin to any friendly target. This means you can heal something you actually care about, like your Rat-fiend, by sacrificing some cheap little unit you don’t care about.

Credit: Mantic Games

 

Ratkin Slaves

*Found in the Uncharted Empires expansion, Ratkin Slaves are a theme list for Abyssal Dwarfs 

Who are they?

These are the Ratkin who didn’t get away and remain under the rule of the Abyssal Dwarfs doing what they were always meant to do – overwhelm the enemy whilst the Abyssal Dwarfs can pick off the choice targets at their leisure. Unlike their free cousins, the Ratkin Slaves are kept scrawny and malnourished in order to guarantee their subservience. 

Why play them?

This is the only army we think Mantic have missed on, I’m not actually sure why anyone would want to play them. Ratkin Slaves are, thematically, Ratkin enslaved by Abyssal Dwarfs, and can bring Ratkin units backed up by Abyssal Dwarfs.

One could achieve the same effect by bringing Ratkin with Abyssal Dwarf Allies (or vice-versa), and there’s not enough synergy between the two in the Slaves list to functionally differentiate this list from just bringing allies.

How do they play?

There’s not a whole lot to talk about here, the Ratkin Slaves play as you probably would expect from combining the two armies. Some big blocks of cheap Ratkin to take all your hits and protect most of the good stuff from the Abyssal Dwarfs, who should then be in a position to hit back strongly. You do however lose out on some of the better choices from each individual list. 

If this is the theme you want to go for, more power to you, but it is not an army we would recommend to beginners.  

Standout units

  • Golekh Skinflayer
    The only unit in the army not found in the other lists. He is quite cool though. A dwarven slavemaster chariot that inspires all Slave keyword units and gives them extra health. If you’re going to play Ratkin Slaves, you have to bring him along.

 

Twilight Kin

*Found in the Uncharted Empires expansion, the Twilight Kin are a theme list for Elves

Who are they?

The Twilight Kin are the twisted remnants of the once great elven metropolis known as Ileureleith. As mentioned above, it was here that the Conclave of Heaven conducted it’s experiments into divinity and walking the planes, and it was here that the ultimate soul-sucking explosion occurred (seriously, elves can’t help themselves). Out of envy, hatred and bitterness, the survivors known thereafter as the Twilight Kin transitioned from enlightened elves to cruel and spiteful monsters.

If standard Elves are considered arrogant, then the Twilight Kin must be arrogant in the extreme for they considered themselves masters of all by right, and so beseeched the Wicked Ones of the Abyss to help restore them to power. The Abyss happily obliged. Now, they bolster their forces with summoned monstrosities from the Abyss and darker dimensions. They march forth to enslave the lesser species and use them as experimental fodder in the hopes they might reverse the effects of their ancestor’s destruction.     

Why play them?

Do you like the idea of elves, but find them a bit too high-and-mighty? Or find the Sylvan Kin a bit too peace-and-love? Perhaps you are pure Dark Eldar/Dark Elf through-and-through and just want an army that reflects your murderous nature. Well, put on your best leather and spikes, blare some My Chemical Romance and come on down to The Pit of Despair (it’s actually called that). 

How do they play?

Mantic’s version of the dark elf trope, these guys are the descendants of Elves that never finished their goth phase, the Twilight Kin bring a different dimension to the Elves. They give up all of the “good aligned” Elven choices, like dragons and the forest units, but can instead summon the Forces of the Abyss and the Nightstalkers.

Given their essential nature as a mixed list of Elves, Forces of the Abyss and Nightstalkers, a Twilight Kin list should be made up of all three, otherwise, why not just pick a list and main that, maybe with some allies?

Thematically, the elven population is on the decline, and the summoned monsters should be the ones taking the hits. More practically, elven infantry and archers will be the main battleline units, the ones taking the first hit. Instead the monsters work best in the flanks or countering the first wave, meaning you’re really playing a hammer and anvil style army.

Standout units

  • Summoner Crone
    The thematic core between the Elf and the Abyssal parts of the list. These are the elf wizards summoning the monstrosities of the Abyss and commanding them in battle. The crone is Inspiring to all of the summoned monsters and daemons, and has boosted spell range when healing these units, making them a must have if you’re bringing your gribblies, and, let’s face it, if you’re not, why are you playing Twilight Kin?

Credit: Games Workshop

  • Twilight Assassin
    A  nice little assassin unit, great for hunting down enemy wizards or war machines. While he won’t be able to do much damage to large units, one model is much easier to slip into any gaps between lines and throw off your opponents plans, and that can be very valuable, even if he never does any damage.

Credit: Games Workshop

  • Cronebound units
    A group of units here, rather than just the one. Cronebound units are the non-elf part of the list. They are units from the Forces of the Abyss or Nightstalkers list, given a name change eg. Cronebound Abyssal Horsemen, and the Cronebound keyword.  This change of list allows a different type of support for these units, potentially something they didn’t have in their original list, like ranged support for the Nightstalkers, or healing for an Archfiend.

Credit: Mantic Games

 

Varangur

*Found in the Uncharted Empires expansion, the Varangur are a theme list for The Northern Alliance 

Who are they?

Denizens of the frozen lands of the north, these men stood bravely in the face of the Age of Ice, not retreating from their lands as the men of the south did. Instead, they mastered the tundra and glaciers. However, this left them isolated and disconnected, and so when the rest of the world went on to worship the Celestians, the Varanguar found an older and darker god – Korgaan. 

As Korgann’s influence grew, the clansmen became more like him; prideful, quick to anger and ambitious. Following the will of their newfound god, the Varangur set out on great raiding expeditions, hitting the coastal settlements of all the great empires, and bringing vast amounts of wealth and power back to the north. 

Korgaan is not to be confused with the Wicked Ones of the Abyss, in fact he thinks upstart Abyssals beneath him and his Varangur actively pursues the daemons wherever they might be found. This contempt is similarly shown to the Celestians, and so the Varangur seek to show the world that only Korgaan is worthy of worship.

Why play them?

Evil warrior clansmen of the frozen north, these guys are the not-friendly version of the human clansmen found in the Northern Alliance list. If you like playing barbarian warriors from the frozen north bent on conquest, these guys might be for you!

How do they play?

As Varangur are a theme list for the Northern Alliance, they can play pretty similarly. However, Varanguar lose access to all the non-human “normal” races, the Ice elementals and Queens, and instead get a necromancy/returned fallen heroes theme. 

These changes make Varangur a great hammer and anvil army. Draugr (ice zombies; Skyrim, anyone?) exist solely to take the charge and tie up the enemy before they die, unleashing your berserking Reavers. Meanwhile, the wide array of cavalry and monsters can hit the flanks. 

As a theme list, you have access to the Frostfang Cavalry of the Northern Alliance, as well as your own knights, the Mounted Sons of Korgaan. As for monsters, you’ve got the mighty Frost Giant, the horrible Cavern Dweller and the ever-hungry Jabberwock, so a monster-mash list is also viable. 

Note: If you like bringing Allies, the Varangur cannot ally with Abyssal Dwarfs, Forces of the Abyss or Twilight Kin. Hail Korgaan.

Standout units

  • Draugr
    On par with zombies from Undead as one of the best damaging soaking units in the game. Cheap and fearless, they can even absorb some injuries from friendly units with a Magus (wizard) nearby.

Credit: Modiphius Entertainment

  • The Fallen
    Ancient warriors brought back to life through foul magic, the Fallen are especially fast infantry that ignore terrain penalties. A great flanking unit that can put some speed in an all infantry force, if that’s the way you want to go.

Credit: Games Workshop

  • Jabberwock

The Jabberwock is a rather unique monster that doesn’t fit with many of the other archetypes in Kings of War. It functions as a great monster for hunting already damaged units, as its feeding frenzy rule gives it additional attacks equal to the damage already on the enemy unit. Along with its speed and agility, this gives you an almost guaranteed way to kill off highly damaged units, barring the dreaded double ones.

Credit: Warlord Games

Wrapping Up

Clearly there are a lot of good reasons to be evil, and of the three alignments, Evil has the most diversity in army types to choose from. It is also among the Evil factions that the most recent sculpts from Mantic have been produced – namely the Goblins and Ratkin, making these particular armies a true delight to put together and paint.

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the different factions in a rather nonchalant manner. For our next article, he hope to show how you might turn a non-Mantic collection of fantasy miniatures into a Kings of War force, with particular focus on Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Age of Sigmar. That way if you want to try out this amazing game, you can get started right away with models you already own. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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