Welcome to Start Competing: Idoneth Deepkin, the dampest Aelves in the Mortal Realms. Do you want to strike terror into cowardly shooting armies across the Mortal Realms? Do you like to strike fast, and strike hard? Perhaps you just want to fight with your entire army before your opponent can hit back. Then this very unique army might just be for you.
Idoneth Deepkin have spent most of their history being an infamous one-unit spam army, totally reliant on their cavalry. The late AoS2 update to their creaking Battletome in Broken Realms: Morathi was a huge shot in the arm for the faction and really opened up their list building. The AoS3 Battletome kept going in the same direction and whilst there are a few suspect warscrolls, the army is blessed with unusually good internal balance.
- High speed, low drag.
- Hard hitting units across the army.
- Powerful Allegiance Abilities that will allow you to define when and how engagements happen.
- An all killer, no filler roster makes screening difficult, as every unit is costed to contribute and your army will be small.
- With a handful of exceptions the army is fragile, especially to mortal wounds.
- The combination of these two means that if it all starts to go wrong, it can go catastrophically wrong, very quickly.
The AoS3 Deepkin tome launched to a lot of fanfare about Namarti buffs and ‘double high tide’, but this never quite materialised into a top tier performance. As we’ve moved into the new season in Gallet, the book remains popular but looks to be struggling to perform, and is currently sitting at a 48% win rate and no 5-0 results. This is probably a combination of the Namarti build having natural predators in this GHB environment, and some very poor matchups into Nighthaunt, Seraphon and Sylvaneth.
An iconic Deepkin ability, Forgotten Nightmares means that you can only target a Deepkin unit with a shooting attack if they’re the closest eligible target. This is on a per model basis for the attacking unit. Note that this is also a hard block on being able to target the Deepkin unit, not see, so this gets around anything that ignores line of sight.
This is obviously extremely strong in matchups reliant on delivering damage to key targets via shooting, and not very strong at all outside of that. Note that whilst only Deepkin units can benefit from Forgotten Nightmares, you can use allied units to block shooting into Deepkin units.
This ability has taken a minor knock in AoS3 in that shooting armies can now use Unleash Hell to get damage into your units, so the matchup isn’t always as cripplingly bad as it could be previously.
Tides of Death
This is the only other ‘always on’ Allegiance Ability but it’s another good one. Tides of Death are abilities that apply in specific battle rounds, they don’t stack as the battle progresses like Daughters of Khaine but the army does have a few ways to manipulate them. By default, you start at Low Tide on round 1, cycle through them in order, and then come back to Low Tide on round 5.
- Low Tide – All Deepkin units count as being in cover. A simple and effective boost to your durability during that pivotal first round, though note that your Eidolons and Leviadons gain no benefit due to having too many wounds. Also remember that the cover bonus to your armour save applies even in melee if you didn’t charge, so this works against melee alpha strikes as well.
- Flood Tide – Run and charge or shoot. Run and charge is one of the best rules in the game, Deepkin are already very fast, this is lovely stuff. A bit worse on the dual purpose units like Allopexes, where you’re forced to choose between shooting or charging, so do keep that in mind when planning your moves during Flood Tide.
- High Tide – All Deepkin units get the strike-first effect. This is the other game warping Deepkin ability, the one you’ll practically base your entire victory around. Your whole army fighting before your opponent even gets to activate has pretty obvious offensive benefits, but because it applies for the entire battle round it also has the defensive benefit of discouraging your opponent from engaging you in melee in their own turn. If your opponent knows this is coming, they will often play cagily around this, and you can use that to your advantage.
- Ebb Tide – All Deepkin units get to retreat and charge or shoot. This is another great ability to have, especially on your units that get some form of bonus for charging, like Morrsarr Guard. If an issue exists with Ebb Tide, it’s the timing. You’ll have it either battle round 1 where it’s less useful or 4 where the game might already be meaningfully over.
You get these if your army has any Isharann heroes, which it probably will, but not always. Rituals are an extra rule you get to pick that will apply during a specific Tide.
The timing of these is interesting. It is one of the very rare abilities not recorded on your roster. Instead, you get to pick the ritual that will apply in the first battle round before the start of the first turn. The abilities themselves are somewhat mild, but having essentially perfect information to pick them is very handy.
- Ritual of the Creep Mist – Low Tide, this makes your units untargetable by shooting attacks made from more than 12” away. This basically lets you punish the matchup vs shooting armies even more, denying them shots or forcing them close enough for you to easily engage them in response.
- Ritual of the Surging Storm – Flood Tide, +1 to run and charge. Simple and effective, this is almost always useful.
- Ritual of Deep-Sight – High Tide, Namarti have a ward of 5+. Kind of an odd ability, as you’d hope that High Tide is the turn for you to murder things before they can respond, but it does apply for the full battle round so provides that ward protection into your opponent’s turn.
- Ritual of the Spiteful Riptide – Ebb Tide, before a Deepkin unit retreats, roll a dice for each enemy unit within 3” and do d3 mortal wounds to them on a 4+. Probably the one you’ll use the least. Arrives late enough that those d3 mortal wounds could be tipping point levels of damage, but also late enough that you might not have much army left. Being the only ability here that requires a dice roll to trigger also hurts it.
A very interesting subfaction, granting you an extra heroic action usable by Akhelian heroes. This lets you put a friendly Akhelian unit wholly within 12” into either Flood or Ebb Tide. This is super useful, and having access to retreat and charge on tap is very handy if you’re running Morrsarr Guard as getting stuck on a target is a weakness of that unit. Even better, this ability doesn’t overwrite the Tide that your army is in on that unit, so they can enjoy the benefits of both.
Gives you access to Battleline Leviadons. You probably don’t want to be doing a Leviadon ‘spam’ army unless you’re deeply committed to a particular bit, but having one fulfil Battleline is very useful when they’re so expensive.
In addition, Nautilar gives you a new monstrous rampage for Leviadons which changes their fin and jaw attacks to rend -3. Fins are rend -1 by default so this is a very real upgrade in lethality, though do note that because it’s a monstrous rampage it means you’ll be giving up your stomps and roars.
Soulrenders add 3 to the number of Namarti that are brought back into a unit, for a total of d3+3 or flat 6 if the Soulrender managed to kill any models itself. Soulrenders are a very common take, and this is just a good upgrade to their utility even if you’ve only got the one.
You get Battleline Allopexes, a great unit and probably worth the price of entry by itself. In addition, you gain access to “Bloodthirsty Shivers”, which are sets of three single Allopexes. For this somewhat unusual setup one of the Allopexes in the Bloodthirsty Shiver gets exploding 6s with its bite attacks if it’s within 3” of another Allopex in the same Shiver. If it’s within 3” of both other Allopexes, the exploding 6s give you two extra hits. This is a bit fiddly to use, and the bite has between 3 and 4 attacks, so you’re fishing for 6s with a limited pool but you’ll be thankful for it when it comes up.
The wordiest subfaction in AoS3? This is another kind of fiddly one, giving you a different rule depending on if you have first or second turn in a battle round.
If you have the first turn of the round, your Namarti gain the ability to attempt a charge after they’ve fought for the first time in the combat phase, provided there are no enemy models within 3”. If the charge gets them within ½” of an enemy, they become eligible to fight again – though not immediately.
If you have the second turn of the round your heroes can issue the Redeploy command to Namarti three times per phase, paying the CP cost for just the first.
This is the second Namarti focussed subfaction after Mor’phann so it’s up to how much value you think you’ll get out of these various abilities vs the extra model resurrection. You’ll probably find that bringing back large numbers of models is more consistently good in the long run.
Your Soulscryers get to bring 3 units with them when they do their board edge set-up, and have a 12” bubble to set them up in rather than 9”. You really need to have a good plan to be taking Soulscryers in the first place, and that plan needs an even more specific set of circumstances to make this worthwhile.
Deepkin artefacts are perhaps not the best with lots of choices that are very situational, have drawbacks or only function once with poor effects. An army with Isharann heroes will probably default to the Rune of the Surging Gloomtide or dip into the generic artefacts for Arcane Tome (unless GW decide to FAQ the flaming weapon king again).
- Disharmony Stones – A classic once per game roll a dice artefact with the twist that your opponent gets to set the odds. You pick two enemy heroes within 12” and your opponent decides on either: A) doing one mortal wound to each on a 3+; B) doing d3 mortals on a 5+; or C) doing d3 mortal to each and then d3 to the bearer of the artefact on a 4+. Terrible.
- Potion of Hateful Frenzy – A very weird artefact. Once per game the bearer can chug the potion at the start of your hero phase. You get +1 to run, charge, hit, wound and an extra attack on your melee weapons. Then in your next hero phase the bearer takes d3 mortal wounds and can’t pile in for the turn. Some of these bonuses are a bit… wasted? You’re probably taking this on a smash King, who will almost certainly already be hitting and wounds on a 2+ with their polearm, so those bonuses are more mitigating against enemy debuffs than anything else. That being said, the smash King hits so hard that just the extra attack alone can be worth it.
- Armour of the Cythai – The bearer gets to ignore any effect on it caused by an enemy model rolling an unmodified 6 to hit. Quite nice, but situational, it’s easy to have a run of opponents where this never comes up. That being said, outside of Allies this is the best anti-unleash hell tech the faction has to switch off units reliant on doing mortals on 6s.
- Dritchleech – Enemy non-Deepkin wizards within 18” take -1 to cast, unbind and dispel. The current meta does have armies reliant on big casters getting out important spells, and tipping the odds in your favour is great but this is still fairly situational and the range means it’ll likely not be impacting the game in the crucial early turns.
- Rune of the Surging Gloomtide – Once per battle you get to summon a Gloomtide Shipwreck at the end of your movement phase wholly within 12” of the bearer and with the usual restrictions on where you can place terrain. If you’re running Namarti, shipwrecks are amazing but just being able to throw out a large piece of impassable terrain is very strong by itself.
- Brain Barnacles – Another once per battle artefact, at the start of your hero phase you pick an enemy hero within 12” and roll 2d6, if the roll is equal or more than the number of inches between the two heroes they suffer -1 to hit and wound for the rest of the battle. It’s a really nice effect but the start of hero phase timing, range and dice roll give you a meaningful risk of achieving nothing with your artefact selection.
You’ll never ever take these.
- Bio-shock Shell – Once per battle you can pick an enemy within 9” at the start of the combat phase and if 3d6 beats their bravery they get strike-last. This needed to be either once-per or a dice roll and then we might be talking.
- Whorlshell – Once per battle at the start of the combat phase you can make it so the bearer is automatically missed by any hit roll of 1-2. If you really want this effect, there’s a command trait that does this all the time.
- Kraken Tooth – Once per battle in your shooting phase, pick an enemy within 12” and roll a dice. On a 1 you take d3 mortals, 2-5 the targets takes d3 mortals and on a 6 kill one model out of the target unit if it has a wounds characteristic of less than 10, if they have 10 or more wounds then you do 2d6 mortals. The 6 is the only interesting effect here, and it probably won’t happen.
Again a bit of a mixed bag here, with some pretty obvious standouts.
Traits of the Akhelians
- Born From Agony – Roll a dice at the end of the Battleshock phase and if you get a 6, heal all of your wounds. A hard pass.
- Lord of Storm and Sea – Deepkin units wholly within 12” of the general don’t take battleshock tests. If you’re running very Namarti heavy, this is a pretty compelling reason to take a Thrallmaster as battleshock can be a problem, and it does combine nicely with a Soulrender. The problem is competition from Teachings and just fitting the Thrallmaster into an army where points are tight.
- Unstoppable Fury – This is the trait that gets the infamous smash king rolling. While your general is in High Tide it gets +2 attacks to its melee weapons for each enemy unit within 3”. Given that the king is packing a rend -3 damage 3 weapon on the charge, even just adding the baseline two attacks is a huge upgrade but this can quickly get very scary. Charge a full Kharadron Overloads boat for hijinks. Note that the King has an ability to trigger a limited High Tide that can include itself, you can get more than one round of combat with this buff up.
Traits of the Isharann
- Hunter of Souls – If your general is within 3” of a hero or unit champion at the start of the combat phase they take d3 mortal wounds on a 3+. Your plan probably isn’t to have a hero that can take this in combat that often.
- Merciless Raider – Unmodified hit rolls of 6 by this general automatically wound. Bafflingly rubbish in context of being Isharann.
- Teachings of the Túscoll – At the start of the first battle round you can choose to reverse the order that the Tides of Death table will progress. A lot to unpack here but immediately obviously this trades out the defence of Low Tide for the aggression of getting High Tide on battle round 2. The flexibility is the money here, as reversing the table is generally worse for you beyond that second battle round of fighting first. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend this trait as you’re learning the army as you want that first turn durability, but as you get more confident you will likely want to bring this often, if not exclusively. The bulk of major combat happens around turn 2 and being able to force the issue on your terms is invaluable.
Traits of the Eidolons
- Ancient Pride – Unmodified melee hit rolls of 1 or 2 always miss. This is OK defensive tech, largely this will stop your opponents spending CP on All-out Attack when in combat with your Eidolon. Eidolons as generals is a cool concept, but they net you nothing for being the general beyond these command traits, so this is too mild an upgrade to be worth it.
- Nightmare Legacy – Aspect of the Storm only, this lets it carry out a Monstrous Rampage despite not being one. Again this is nice to have but not a compelling reason to have an Aspect of the Storm as your general. Or indeed in your army at all.
- Endless Sea Storm – Aspect of the Sea only, if you cast a spell on a 7+ that isn’t unbound, you can attempt to cast another spell. This one you might actually take. There’s no inherent casting bonus, but the Aspect of the Sea does get to reroll its casts, so there’s a reasonable chance of it becoming a triple caster, and chances are you will have 3 spells that you’ll want to cast in any given turn.
Mount traits get split down the middle between the Deepmares of the Akhelian King and the Akhelian Leviadon, and there’s some great choices.
- Swift-finned Impaler – Deepmare, if your roll to activate impact hits is a 6, you do d6 mortal wounds instead of d3. They’re not all great choices.
- Savage Ferocity – Deepmare, +1 attack to its melee weapons. The Deepmare has two melee profiles and they’re decent. If you’re going for the maximum possible smash, here are more attacks.
- Voidchill Darkness – Deepmare, enemy units within 3” get -1 to hit. Tagging whole units with this, and having it work even if they don’t target the king, is a spicy mount trait to have on a unit that already wants to be in combat.
- Ancient – Leviadon, rend -1 attacks targeting the Leviadon are in fact rend nothing. Leviadons have a degrading save that starts on a 2+ and most rend in the game is -1, so this is a really meaningful increase in survivability and lets you hold an All-out Defence for another unit.
- Denizen of the Darkest Depths – Leviadon Only, melee weapons with a damage characteristic of 1 targeting this model are -1 to wound. This is a generally less applicable defensive boost than Ancient, and you’ll find that Leviadons are a big enough threat that your opponent will likely be going all-in to kill them with something big, rather than trying to chip them down.
- Reverberating Carapace – Leviadon Only, the range of its Void Drum ability increases from 12” to 15”. Less ‘obvious’ than Ancient but arguably the more powerful ability, as Void Drum is a serious aura and 15″ from the Leviadon’s large base is a massive amount of board to cover. You will almost always take this.
Lore of the Deeps
- Steed of Tides – CV5, pick a friendly hero that isn’t a monster within 6” then set them up again with the usual more than 9” from enemy models requirement. The target isn’t keyword locked to Deepkin so this could be an ally, if that floats your boat. Deepkin are generally quite fast but this is still a very useful ability to have in your back pocket.
- Counter-current – CV6, pick an enemy unit within 18” and half their run and charge rolls. Reducing charge rolls is typically the best version of this kind of movement debuff, Deepkin want to control engagements and forcing your opponent to roll a 6 on a 3” charge is a big change to the odds. The issue here is the 18” range requires you to be starting your turn relatively close to the enemy, if you’re casting this you are presumably close enough to be charging them. If you’re running 90 Reavers then hey, this is great.
- Pressure of the Deep – CV7, pick an enemy model within 12” and roll a dice, if you beat its wounds characteristic you kill it. It’s nice to be able to pick out champions, or have a cheeky punt at a small hero, but the high casting value in a faction without static bonuses, the low range and then the dice roll make it a hard sell.
- Arcane Corrasion – CV6, pick an enemy unit within 12” and worsen their melee rend by 1. Getting this off and a Mystic Shield/All-out Defence on yourself is a very welcome swing in your defensive odds. Range is probably less of an issue here, as you’ll be casting it when you want to be engaging.
Bar maybe Isharann Defiance, all of the Deepkin battle tactics are ‘active’, meaning scoring them requires you to interact with your opponent and roll dice. Active battle tactics are always inherently riskier to achieve than passive ones, so you’ll likely find yourself sticking to generic Battle Tactics unless the particular board state favours one of these.
- Assassins of the High Tide – Kill two or more enemy units in High Tide. You want to be killing units in High Tide anyway, so this is eminently doable as far as mid-game Battle Tactics go, though is matchup dependent.
- Predators of the Deep – Pick an enemy unit with a wounds characteristic of 8 or more that hasn’t taken any damage and kill it with Allopexes. Allopexes are great and have the ability to destroy models in multiple phases. This is a situational one for sure, just try to remember it exists for when the situation presents itself. Relatively weak units with a medium wounds count like a Mindstealer Sphiranx are perfect targets for this.
- Revenge of the Namarti – Kill an enemy hero or monster with Namarti. Again, doesn’t specify with shooting or melee and Namarti are very good at killing things if you’re taking them. See above comment about being situational but good.
- Deny Trespassers – If you’ve got a Gloomtide Shipwreck with any enemy models within 12” of it, you can score this if there are no enemies within 12” of it at the end of the turn. Might be a worthwhile late game pick if you’re struggling for easy ones, especially if you’re taking the Grand Strategy that is asking you to remove enemy models from near your Shipwreck. 12” is quite a big bubble around a large terrain piece mind.
- Trapped in the Undercurrents – You get this if at least 3 Deepkin units retreat and charge. Basically a question of if you have 3 units engaged in melee when you hit Ebb tide.
- Isharann Defiance – Pick an objective wholly within enemy territory. If you control it and an Isharann hero is standing on it, you score this. Note that you don’t have to have taken control of it that turn to score this, just be controlling it. Your Isharann heroes tend to not want to be charging off into enemy territory but sometimes you kill someone’s army so early you hurt for Battle Tactics and here’s a free one in that scenario. Otherwise, this is a cheeky but risky Steed of Tides play.
- Akhelian Pursuit – Finish the game with 3 or more Akhelian units wholly within enemy territory. A twist on Take What’s Theirs. You’d only want to do this with a pure Akhelian army, which is a legitimate build. Deepkin are still quite squishy and the 3 unit stipulation here probably renders this a bit of a win-more grand strat.
- The Creeping Gloomtide – You score this if there are no enemy models within 3” of any Gloomtide Shipwrecks (you have to have one on the battlefield) when the game ends. Probably the generically best Deepkin Grand Strategy, though be aware that if you summon a shipwreck with the Rune, that will count for the no enemies within 3” requirement as well.
- Dominion of the Deep Ones – When the battle ends if the only monsters left alive are friendly Leviadons you score this one. Dicey, if your opponent doesn’t have any Monsters you just won the game, but if they do they may play cagey with it to deny you, and you just won’t know until the game starts. One for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle army enjoyers.
- Namarti Assault – You score this if the battle ends with at least two Namarti units within 3” of an enemy model, or if Namarti are the only battleline left. I appreciate the either/or requirements here in case you smash your opponent but realistically Namarti are too squishy for this to be a reliable Grand Strat, especially if your meta is full of Bounty Hunters. As with the others, if you build for it this can be workable.
Akhelian Kings are very interesting units, being a traditional buff piece but also a very fast and dangerous melee threat. You pay a lot for this combination, 250 points for a 7 wound model with a 3+ save and no other inherent defensive tech is risky and they can just die if you misplay or get particularly unlucky. A 14” flying move is about as good as it gets in AoS and means it can keep up with your other Akhelian units.
We mentioned the smash king earlier: Take this guy, give him the Potion of Hateful Frenzy artefact, the Unstoppable Fury command trait and either the Savage Ferocity or Voidchill Darkness Mount Trait. Having both high quality attacks from the bladed polearm and then volume of attacks from the Deepmare is a nice bit of dual threat and the model can do work even without investing in the full smash build, you’ll just be more limited in targets.
Buff wise you’ve got two to work with, which is great. Firstly there’s an always on wholly within 9” aura of +1 to hit rolls for Akhelian units. However, this bonus excludes the mounts. Because the good attacks on Allopexes and Leviadons are the mounts, we’re mostly talking about boosting up the Akhelian Guard. Even then, the mount attacks on those units are great, and you’ll feel annoyed at spending CP to All-out Attack if you need to boost the whole profile. Note this aura affects the king, so the bladed polearm hits and wounds on a 2+.
Finally the king comes with Lord of Tides, its ability your opponent will be most worried about. Once per battle at the end of your charge phase, the king gets to pick d3 Deepkin units wholly within 12” and puts them into High Tide. This is obviously a brutally powerful ability, and will help your Akhelian builds that can’t flip the tides to get the fights first train rolling a turn earlier. You are at the mercy of a d3 roll here though, so putting too many units into combat and relying on this can still come back to bite you.
A unique Akhelian King, Volturnos occupies a strange space where he’s almost certainly not going to be the first King you take in an army but can be very useful in a double King situation. For a 40 point premium over the vanilla version, Volty has an extra wound and a slightly different melee profile with The Astra Solus packing 4 attacks at rend -2 and damage 3.
Volturnos also keeps the +1 to hit for Akhelian riders aura, but extends the range out to 12”. He also gets a special shield that gives you a 3+ spell or endless spell ignore, always very handy in keeping a model like this on the board with Deepkin.
The reason you probably won’t see Volturnos solo very much is he trades out the excellent High Tide ability for instead handing out +1 attack to 3 Deepkin units that are affected by High Tide, once per game. This is still a very good ability, obviously, but doesn’t give you the same kind of protection that an extra High Tide gives you.
The lovely new model has some interesting ideas on the scroll, but doesn’t feel like it’s quite gotten there. You get a fine enough melee profile for your 110 points, with five attacks at Damage 2. In addition the Thrallmaster hands out buffs to itself and Namarti wholly within 12” by picking a stance at the start of the combat phase that lasts until the end of that phase.
- Way of the Depths – Re-roll hits rolls of 1. Not bad in a vacuum, but observe the next choice.
- Way of the Ripetide – Unmodified 6s to hit do 2 hits. You’ll notice that the Depths is a ⅙ chance to maybe get another hit and this is a ⅙ to guaranteed get another hit. Deepkin don’t have any other ways to use those unmodified 6s, unless you’ve got a curse thing going on, so a bit of a no-brainer on which is better here. Pick this if you’re fighting before the enemy.
- Way of the Vortex – Enemy units get -1 to wound. There are a few ways to make Namarti surprisingly difficult to shift, so being able to stack them all together is pretty good. Pick this if you’re going second.
These are fine buffs to have on tap, the problem is that as an Akhelian hero the Thrallmaster isn’t unlocking anything else for your army beyond what’s on its scroll and the brutal reality is that for the most part, you’re better off finding those extra 20 points for another unit of Thralls. If you’re super committed to big blocks of Namarti this can be a value add, but probably after you take an Isharann hero or two.
Eidolon of Mathlann, Aspect of the Sea
It’s a Deepkin Verminlord! 5+ ward, double casting, 2 damage attacks and all. The Aspect of the Sea is the best caster Deepkin get, having an inbuilt re-roll on its casts, dispells and unbinds. You also get two warscroll spells: a mediocre d3 wound nuke/heal with a 12” range and the very spicy Tsunami of Terror which for CV7 lets you pick d3 enemy units within 12” and subtract 1 from their save rolls vs melee weapons. Because of FAQs, you can pick the same unit multiple times with that d3, letting you crack the armour even on the big save stackers that still exist. Deepkin generally cap out at rend -2, which is good but can mean rubber lancing off of units like Archaon that can still really stack those rerollable saves. Making those effectively rend -2+d3 really ups your odds in those matchups.
You also get a massive 18” wholly within aura of Bravery 10, which is very handy. The Aspect of the Sea isn’t quite a Verminlord in damage output, with just 3 attacks on it’s main Damage 2 weapon and d3 attacks on it’s shooting, this is a profile with a large possibility to disappoint if you rely on it. For 325 points this is quite competitively priced, though if the meta continues to see a preponderance of big static bonus spell casters like Thanquol the value of this unit goes down as you’ll struggle to force your spells through.
Eidolon of Mathlann, Aspect of the Storm
A very frustrating unit, theoretically a combat hero that provides a powerful buff aura, the Aspect of the Storm is a warscroll that’s a victim of its previous success. For 355 points you get a combat profile that very mildly out damages an Akhelian King (and is wildly outclassed by a smash king) and provides an aura of +1 to wound in melee, whilst being decently durable.
The problem arises with that buff aura. Because the Eidolon traits and artefacts are so underwhelming, and the Storm’s combat profile is just slightly undercooked, this is what we’re looking at for the value add to your army. It’s a great buff, getting a bonus to the wound roll is typically hard to do outside of a triumph, but for some reason the Aspect of the Storm gets slapped with the same “(excluding mounts)” wording as the Akhelian King, massively the reducing the number of viable targets for the buff. The nail in the coffin here is Lotann, who provides exactly the same buff, but without the clause excluding mounts, and so is massively more useful at a much lower price.
The model isn’t terrible, not much in the book is, but the Aspect of the Storm feels a little lost in its current incarnation, and you can usually get what it is trying to offer in a better way.
If you’re taking really any decent number of Namarti in your army at all, you’re probably going to have a good reason to not take a Soulrender. At 120 points they’re the second cheapest Isharann hero, so give you cheap access to Rituals, and being able to bring back d3 models into your Namarti units is extremely useful since it isn’t bound to being out of combat or using a command point like Rally (but of course you can combine them!)
Namarti are high value targets to be brought back to the battlefield, and the ability triggering in the battleshock phase means you don’t have to wait around to use it, or be at the whim of enemy double turns like similar abilities that happen in your hero phase. Soulrenders also have a chunky enough melee profile that you can throw them into combat and have them contribute some reasonable damage in a pinch.
The ever popular pointing Aelf took a bit of a glow down in the new tome and now exists to provide the faction’s only access to setting models up in reserve. A Soulscryer and up to 2 units can be set up in the ethersea and deploy wholly within 6” of a board edge and the standard more than 9” from enemy models at the end of your movement phase.
For this, the Soulscryer is the joint most expensive Isharann hero. If you have a plan around using this deployment; like pulling a large shooting threat deep onto the board, protecting a key piece from an alpha strike, or getting into your opponent’s back lines then you take the Soulscryer because you have to. Otherwise, Deepkin are fast enough and points are tight enough that you’ll skip this.
It’s worth pointing out that the Soulscryer is also Deepkin’s only Priest. Deepkin don’t get any of their own prayers, so you’re restricted to the generic list. The army does have access to volume of attacks, and doesn’t have much other use for 6s to hit, so you could go for a curse strategy but the range of curse does fight against the way the Soulscyer deploys.
The Soulscryer does also have an extremely funny 8 attack fish gun.
Your smol wizard, being a standard single cast and deny with no bonuses. Their warscroll spell is good, d3 mortals and -1 to hit on an enemy unit with a good range of 18” but being CV7 means that quite often you simply will fail the cast.
The second ability here is that a Tidecaster lets you pick two Isharann rituals instead of one. That’s fine but you’re looking at a 150 point price tag for an otherwise very mediocre wizard, and quite often you’ll find that a Ritual is nice to have, rather than essential. If you’re running a lot of Namarti the double Rituals can have a bigger effect, but it’s a hard sell.
Lotann, Warden of the Soul Ledgers
Lotann’s gone from being the biggest joke in the Mortal Realms to a seriously useful support hero. He’s your cheapest Isharann hero at 115 points and has pinched the very powerful +1 to wound aura from the Aspect of the Storm, but a version that plays nicely with the good mount profiles on Allopexes and Akhelian Guard.
If that wasn’t enough you also get a once per game ability to apply a ritual to one unit wholly within 12” in your turn, even if you’re not in the relevant Tide of Death. This isn’t huge as ideally you’d like to be able to reactively pop a Creeping Mist, but it still certainly has good use-cases.
Elathain is a unique Soulrender with a once per game gimmick 2d6 roll to try and kill a model, and a terrible little retinue, for a 90 point premium. Make your underworlds warband scrolls bad, sure, but at least don’t make them boring as well.
Reavers got a colossal warscroll glow up in the AoS3 Deepkin tome and now sit as one of the best archers in the game. For 170 points you get 10 bodies with an 8” move, shooting two 18” shots that hit and wound on 3s, with rend. This unit really pumps out the dakka, and a cheeky extra rule for a free +1 to hit targets within 9” means you get to freely ignore the downside of Unleash Hell with them. You’ll see MSU of these, you’ll see blocks of 30 of these, both have good uses.
There are downsides to Reavers, 10 wounds with a 5+ save is awfully vulnerable for 170 points and whilst there is defensive tech in-faction any serious firepower directed their way will wipe them out. This unit also brings us back to the problem of screening mentioned in the Deepkin weaknesses, and if this is your Battleline filler you are going to end up having to screen off melee alpha strikes with horribly expensive units.
The cheapest non-hero unit Deepkin has access to is the Thrall, the melee cousin to the Namarti Reaver. Lugging around big heavy swords means their movement drops to 6” despite the same defensive profile. Those lanmari blades do pack the ‘standard’ AoS heavy infantry weapon profile, though instead of 6s to hit doing mortal wounds Thralls get a rule where they get +1 Attack vs enemy units with a wounds characteristic of 1 or +1 damage vs enemy units with a wounds characteristic of 3 or more.
This makes them surprisingly effective for their cost vs big scary units and pretty decent horde sweepers, though note that they get nothing against units with 2 wounds which are increasingly common. These were incredibly popular when the book launched, as there are a whole host of ways to buff this unit. It’s very easy to get to 2+ to hit and wound, to get a 5+ ward and to bring back dead models. They’re still great, and the fightiest Galletian Veterans that Deepkin have to offer, but this does come at the cost of being very vulnerable to the Bounty Hunters battalion, and we’re seeing their usage en masse drop off.
Everybody’s favourite shark is a great all-rounder model, easy to drop into armies and able to operate independently quite happily. For 165 points you get 8 wounds, which is on the vulnerable side but does mean you fit into the Leviadon save bonus bubble.
You also get a choice of ranged weapons: either a four shot gun with rend and d3 damage or a single shot 3 damage weapon that stops enemy units from piling in when you hit with it. There’s applications for this latter weapon for sure, but the output of the former generally wins out and almost every Deepkin army packing sharks will be using the razorshell harpoon launcher.
Alongside its ranged output, Allopexes also have a decent melee profile with the mount having rend -2 damage 2 attacks, and bonus attacks for being within 6” of an enemy that’s taken damage.
Allopexes aren’t single, so you can reinforce them. This leaves you open to their very annoying Bravery 6, but gives you a Champion allowing the unit to command itself, and makes them a fine target for your command points.
Whilst they’re not incredibly efficient (spare yourself and don’t compare a reinforced unit to Stormdrake Guard) you’ll find them in most Deepkin armies just due to how easy they are to use and how flexible they are on the battlefield.
Akhelian Ishlaen Guard
AKA the defensive eels. These are Battleline if your general is an Akhelian King and set you back an eye watering 195 points. The standout ability here is these have an unmodifiable 4+ armour save, like Nighthaunt, but on the charge this save changes to a 3+. The care you have to take here is that because you can’t make their save any better, they’re worse off than Morrsarr Guard vs rend 0 and Deepkin have a few ways of handing out +1 save to even things out vs rend -1. So again, these aren’t the most fantastic screen.
The save going to 3+ on the charge does give these a nifty role in pinning low volume of high quality attack models, letting the rest of your army skirt around and engage at your leisure. On the sly these are also decent blenders, putting out 6 attacks at rend -1 across rider and mount, with half of those being d3 damage. It’s a bit dubious as to whether these are worth their steep price tag, especially given Morrsarr are the exact same points now, but you do see units of 3 pop up occasionally.
Akhelian Morrsarr Guard
AKA the offensive eels, you might remember these from: all of AoS2. When the book came out a lot of discussion centred around the ‘death’ of Morsarr. Friends, the reports of their death were greatly exaggerated. Losing 1” of range from their melee weapons hurts in the new world of coherency when you really want to be running these reinforced, it’s true. I will admit that it sucks to have eels be the one unit type without specific subfaction representation.
But look, point for point Morrsarr guard are still the hardest hitting unit in the book. If you can get the charge, they will quite happily out-damage a similar points investment of sharks – even factoring in the shark’s shooting. The damage output, surprising durability (hey, not every cavalry unit has 4 wounds a model), speed and inherent charge bonus mean they’re still an incredible threat. The new book wasn’t even all doom and gloom for them, with the mount attacks themselves also becoming a good source of damage. If you own a load of Morrsarr from the past, you can still make that army work.
Elathain’s bad retinue. One day they will work out that with these junk underworlds units it is actually preferable to not have to deal with a different melee profile for every single model in the unit. Here we have 5 different weapon profiles that all have to be rolled separately because they’re mildly different. Does anyone enjoy this?
Deepkin’s only option for a Monster, and a very unique one. The Leviadon is decently fast, very tough, shoots, fights and throws down a big buff. A true centrepiece, you really pay for these capabilities, a Leviadon will set you back a cool 500 points, putting it just behind the Gatebreaker Mega-gargant in the ‘most expensive generic monster’ stakes.
Defensively, 16 wounds and a 2+ save (that does degrade once you hit 9 damage taken) is very strong against the right opponent. There’s no ward save at all here, so this will just melt if your opponent can get mortal wounds into it, I’ve lost one to a single volley of buffed up Boltboyz. Offensively, you’re looking at the ranged output of two Allopexes and a few high damage but middling rend melee attacks.
In terms of abilities the Leviadon has an upgrade to the Stomp monstrous rampage where it does d6 mortal wounds vs enemies with a wounds characteristic of 1, which is OK but realistically you’re quite likely to be running this in Nautilar and using the monstrous rampage from that subfaction. It also gets to do mortal wounds on a 6 to hit with its jaws, which goes up to a cheeky 6 mortals vs other monsters.
Finally, the Void Drum gives you a nice 12” aura (though you can upgrade that via mount traits) of flat +1 save to Deepkin units with 8 or fewer wounds – AKA everything else in the army bar Eidolons. This is uncomplicatedly great, and for good measure stacks with the free cover your army gets in Low Tide. As an added bonus, Namarti get +1 to hit enemy units that are within 12” of the Leviadon.
Ultimately, a model this expensive has to justify itself, and you absolutely can’t just throw a Leviadon into every list. 500 points feels like it was costed for the rend -3 Nautilar melee attacks, but you can leverage enough out of the Leviadon to justify it if that’s a route you want to go down.
Your faction terrain. You deploy one, which can either be one large ship or two small half ships. This is defensible terrain so can be very useful for blocking movement, especially if, say, you could summon a free one once the battle had started. It’s garrisonable as well, for models without mounts and 5 wounds or less (so, Namarti and your Isharann heroes). 5 models in a small ship, 10 in a big one so you’ll need to deploy one large ship to garrison your Namarti.
On top of this, mountless Deepkin wholly within 6” get a 5+ ward, though if your opponent can get a unit within 3” of the terrain feature they do turn this ward off. A unit of Reavers sat inside one of these has a large footprint to shoot all 20 shots from and will be sat on a 5+ ward, +1 save and be -1 to hit, which is a hefty boost to your survivability. Do note that getting out of a garrison is slower than the unit can actually move, which is important to bear in mind.
Almost too many to count here given the incredibly deep pool of warscrolls GA: Order has to draw on. Stormdrake Guard were popular pre-nerf as essentially a free swap for a reinforced Allopex unit and frankly that is still mostly an upgrade. Aetherwings are cheap, fast and give you a fantastic screen. If they survive into the mid to late game, they make great pressure pieces onto objectives your opponent doesn’t want to defend. Tree-revenants dial the objective threat up to 11, and can happily backboard edge until the right time to pounce. Gotrek isn’t the unholy terror he was at the start of the edition, but in the right matchup he can still be the kind of distraction Deepkin lack. Though maybe wait for a meta without Drakkfoot before bringing Gotrek out again.
Krondspine Incarnate of Ghur
It’s just generically very good. By no means required for Deepkin, it does give you access to a competitive combat monster at a cool hundred points less than a Leviadon. Deepkin also possess a good ability to protect the hero that it’s bound to. If you’re running Ionrach, especially with Morrsarr, you probably do not want to bother with the Incarnate of Ghur as not being allowed to retreat kind of messes with your whole deal.
Hazel Moon’s Ionrach
3rd place, Warhammer World Age of Sigmar Matched Play Event
Repping the much maligned Morrsarr, Hazel recently put up the best Deepkin result for a while. Taking advantage of GW reversing their controversial +1 damage FAQ, the Unstoppable Fury, Flaming Weapon King returns to slap damage 4 attacks into unsuspecting targets. 6 Bounty Hunter Morrsarr are a brutal melee sledgehammer that can travel with the King, and both will get to fight before the enemy even if the King rolls a 1 on their High Tide d3. Rounding the list out are the requisite 30 Reavers and two reinforced units of sharks provide punishing firepower.
[txpand title=“Hazel’s List“]Allegiance: Idoneth Deepkin
– Enclave: Ionrach
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumphs: Inspired
Isharann Soulscryer (150)
– Universal Prayer Scripture: Curse
Akhelian King (250)
– Bladed Polearm
– Command Trait: Unstoppable Fury
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Mount Trait: Voidchill Darkness
– Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
6 x Akhelian Morrsarr Guard (390)**
– Reinforced x 1
20 x Namarti Reavers (340)
– Reinforced x 1
10 x Namarti Reavers (170)
2 x Akhelian Allopexes (330)**
– Razorshell Harpoon
– Reinforced x 1
2 x Akhelian Allopexes (330)
– Razorshell Harpoon
– Reinforced x 1
Total: 1960 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 4 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
That’s a wrap, thanks for sticking through and I hope this wet your appetite for one of the Mortal Realms most unique armies. As ever if you have any feedback or spot any errors why not leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.