Start Competing: Nighthaunts

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Welcome again boos and ghouls to Start Competing, this week we’re going to look at the ghastly ghosts and spooky specters of the Nighthaunts! Originally debuting with the 2nd edition starter set Soul Wars the Nighthaunts are the ghostly soldiers of Nagash’s Legion of Grief, lead by the Mortarch of Grief herself, Lady Olynder. These have found their ways into the hands of many beginner and experienced Age of Sigmar players who are wondering “What the heck do I do these guys?”. Well read on, apprentice of apparitions and see what Lady Olynder and her forces can do to lead you to victory.

Faction Overview

Strengths

  • Numbers – Nighthaunts are a bit of a horde army, you can field large units with your 10 bravery and cheap units. Many of your units have the SUMMONABLE keyword which allows many powers and spells to heal and restore dead models.
  • Immune to Rend – All of your units ignore modifiers to saves, positive or negative making high rend opposition useless.
  • Access to high rend – Many of your units have access to rend, shredding your opponent into ribbons.
  • Mobility – Your units are fast and can fly over terrain.
  • Many Character Options – This book has a lot of characters which can drastically influence your army composition.
  • Bravery Shenanigans – As is approriate for spooky ghosts, you can manipulate bravery in your favor.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of Unit Options – While you have a lot of character options, you don’t have a ton of actual unit choices leaving large openings in your line.
  • No Subfactions –  In a rather baffling decision, Nighthaunts don’t have subfactions like other books. It was a launch battletome so it’s likely they did not know at the time those would be so important.
  • Poor Army Traits/Artefacts – As a launch battletome Nighthaunts have really mediocre army traits and artefacts.
  • Lack of Ranged Options – Most of your army is melee, while they can be quick to close the gap you are in a weak position until you do so.

Competitive Rating

Low. Nighthaunts have been through an interesting up and down. They used to do reasonably well, then faced a decline that they haven’t really recovered from. You’ll see the occasional list appear on tournaments but not as often as one would like. It suffers from early battletome syndrome and it’s just very hard for them to make up the lost ground of having inferior army traits to newer, fresher books.

Nighthaunts vs. Legion of Grief

Nighthaunts were the original battletome that debuted with the second edition and was the book you had to use. With the release of the Forbidden Power endless spell expansion. The expansion is largely forgotten save for one very important boon for you: the Legion of Grief. The Legion of Grief is a weird mish-mash of kind of a Legion of Nagash but also not. It gets access to a lot of the same army traits and their own command traits, artefacts and spells but do not get access to anything else from the Legions of Nagash battletome. It’s a half measure that has a lot of nice buffs for you and gives you more flexibility in options.

In short, Nighthaunts are currently a better pick. For a while Legion of Grief was the new hotness but Nighthaunts have made a bit of a turnaround and show up more often. They’re still not doing great mind you but at least for now it’s the better option. We will cover Legion of Grief in a future article, hopefully if and when Legions of Nagash gets a new battletome we can examine them closer as they currently occupy this weird in-between of a Legion of Nagash subfaction and yet not getting all of its tools.

Chainrasp Credit:Skails

Army Traits

Aura of Dread

All enemy units suffer -1 Bravery within 6″ of a Nighthaunt unit. Your units are mostly melee based so you’ll be in melee range most of the time, nice little buff that will help get a few extra models but it wont change the game by itself.

Deathless Spirits

All Death armies have a 6+ Feel No Pain save when wholly within 12″ of a friendly Hero. This is yours.

From the Underworlds They Come

Deep strike power. You can set up to half your army aside at the start of the game and bring them in at the end of your movement phase, more than 9″ from the enemy. For slower units or units you want to protect from ranged attacks, keep them hidden until the time comes to strike.

Feed on Terror

If an enemy fails a battleshock test within 6″ of one of your Heroes, they gain a wound back. This probably wont help you as much as you’d like but it pairs well with Aura of Dread and other Bravery reducing abilities to make your Heroes last longer.

Wave of Terror

If a unit makes an unmodified charge of 10 or more, that unit gets to make an immediate attack and still attack as normal in the attack phase. Makes your already solid melee game even better if you get lucky, good enough to try and fish for 10s if you’re close enough you’ll succeed anyway but don’t throw away a needed CP on a risk. It’s always better to use those on a sure thing.

Spectral Summon

A bonus command ability, you can pull a unit that’s already on the field over to your General and place that unit within 12″ of them and more than 9″ from the enemy. It’s not a great “oh shit” ability to protect your general since you can rarely place them between you and the enemy, but it’s good for emergency relocation if you want to capture a neglected objective or get them out of a tough fight.

Command Traits

The Nighthaunt book is pretty dry on Command traits. There aren’t a few different tables for each type of commander, it’s just one with 6. They’re pretty mediocre, so many will choose to run Lady Olynder as a General due to her special ability rather than getting a command trait, we’ll discuss what that does in her unit entry but it is pretty competitive.

  • Hatred of the Living – Reroll all hit rolls for attacks from melee weapons by the general unless the target has the DEATH keyword. Solid choice against most opponents, complete wash if you get paired with a Death opponent, so I’d avoid this. C
  • Terrifying Entity – At the start of your enemy’s movement phase, roll a single die for each enemy unit within 3″ of this General. If it rolls higher than the unit’s bravery characteristic they must make a retreat action that turn. Potentially good but requires luck and setup. A low bravery army like Gitz can be doable but most armies you will need to stack several bravery debuffs and roll decently on the die. Against Death or Daemons you can just forget it. D
  • Lingering Spirit – General gains an extra wound. Meh. C-
  • Spiteful Spirit – Any time your general is hit with a melee weapon, roll a die. On a 5+ deal a mortal wound in retaliation. Your generals aren’t usually very tough so you won’t get to send many wounds back at them. C
  • Cloaked in Shadow – -1 to hit with ranged attacks, stacks with Look Out, Sir. Solid all around pick making them difficult to pull out of a crowd and even better since realm artefacts were abolished, making this more valuable. B+
  • Ruler of the Spirit Hosts – Choose a unit with the SUMMONABLE keyword within 12″ of the General and restore D3 models. Really good with spirit hosts, a drop in the bucket for most of your units. B-

Artefacts

Much more diversity in artefacts here, 3 tables with 6 weapons, 6 relics and 3 lanterns which are exclusively used by Guardian of Souls.

Weapons of the Damned

  • Shadow’s Edge – Choose a melee weapon, on an unmodified 6 deal D3 Mortal wounds instead of a normal wound. Strap this to a D1 weapon otherwise you risk doing less damage. Otherwise its fine. B
  • Reaper of Sorrows – Choose a melee weapon and then before attacking with it, roll 2D6 and if you roll higher than the target units bravery increase the rend to -3. If the stars align, ouch! In most cases it’s going to be difficult to get this to reliably be useful C
  • Balefire Blade – Add 1 to the damage characteristic of a bearer’s melee weapon. Solid all around weapon choice. B
  • Slitter – Before piling in, nominate a model within 1″ of the bearer and roll a die. If it is higher than the unit’s wound characteristic then it is slain. Good for a guaranteed extra killed model, and might occasionally tap a Hero too.  B+
  • Headsman’s Judgement – Pick a melee weapon and add 1 to hit and wound rolls. Another solid pick. B+
  • Shrieking Blade – -1 to hit the bearer with melee weapons. Good protection as while your Heroes aren’t affected by rend you cant improve their save either, so you need to find other ways to protect them B+

Relics of the Underworld

Much better choices than your weapons, 2 go-tos for most tournament lists are here the Pendant of the Fell Wind and Midnight Tome.

  • Cloak of the Waxing Moon – Makes the bearers feel no pain a 5+ instead of a 6+. Decent though you get better artefacts. B
  • Pendant of the Fell Wind – Add 3″ to normal moves of the bearer and all units within 12″. This is the good stuff, Nighthaunts already have above average move and 3″ is no small increase. You want your units to move into melee as quickly as possible and this will get a huge swarm into place fast. A
  • Dreadbolt Ring – If the bearer successfully deals a wound with a melee weapon that turn you can inflict D3 mortal wounds to a unit within 3″. It doesn’t have to be the same unit you wounded which is good if you killed them already, or would rather tap a juicier target. B
  • Mirror of Screaming Souls – A weaker version of Lady Olynder’s ranged attack, in your shooting phase you can target every unit within 8″ and roll 2D6. If you beat their bravery characteristic, deal a mortal wound. Too finnicky to be reliable and 8″ is much too close even if it targets everything. C
  • Midnight Tome – Another winner, turns the bearer into a Wizard who gets the standard arcane bolt and mystic shield spell and gets to pick a spell from the Lore of the Underworlds! If they’re already a wizard they can cast another spell but dont waste it on that. A-
  • Covetous Familiar – At the start of the combat phase, roll a die for each unit within 3″. On a 2+ deal a mortal wound. Pretty reliable especially if you get surrounded. Would be a better pick if it wasn’t surrounded by so many good options. B+

Infernal Lanterns

These are equipped on Guardian of Souls only. They’re pretty niche and rarely taken but you will likely bring Guardian of Souls in many lists so it’s not entirely without merit.

  • Lightshard of the Harvest Moon – Pop this once per game. Once you do every unit within 12″ can reroll failed hits. Crazy good with the right timing, but you need to manage the aura around the Guardian of Souls. B+
  • Wychlight Lantern – Add 1 to casting rolls for the bearer. Safe pick but the guardian of souls warscroll spell, which you will usually use, has a fairly low casting roll of 6 B
  • Beacon of Nagashizzar  The Guardian of Souls comes with a spell, spectral Lure which normally heals D6 wounds (or restores models with that many wounds). This makes it a D6+3. Spectral Lure is pretty much why you even have it so this is worth considering. B+

Spells

Only one school here, and as usual each Wizard gets to pick one spell off the list. Nighthaunts have a solid school in Lore of the Underworlds and a lot of casters to pick from.

Lore of the Underworlds

  • Soul Cage – Casting Value 6. Pick an enemy within 12″ of the caster, that unit cannot attack unless all other units in combat have gone and they cannot retreat. Solid pick and keeps combat on your terms. Nighthaunts are good in melee but not not always great so you want to dictate when and how combat happens especially against melee powerhouses like Khorne. A
  • Spirit Drain – Casting Value 4. Pick a model within 18″ and roll a number of dice equal to the model’s wound characteristic. For each 6+, deal a mortal wound. A twist on the “roll a die for each model in the unit” this is more aimed at Heroes or units with models with multiple wounds. It’s a decent way to finish off a Hero hanging on by a wound or two. B
  • Lifestealer – Casting Value 7. Pick an enemy unit within 12″ of the caster and deal D3 wounds, then the caster heals that many. Not bad, casting difficulty is a bit higher than usual and you have other more surefire healing spells. C
  • Reaping Scythe – Casting Value 4. Supercharge the caster, letting them reroll all hits and wounds with melee weapons. Use this on a Knight of Shrouds with the Midnight Tome or Reikenor. B
  • Shademist – Casting Value 6. Pick a friendly unit within 12″, that unit has -1 to wound them. -1 to wound is a pretty rare buff and since you cant boost your saves, this is a great spell to keep around. A
  • Spectral tether – Casting Value 6. Heal a friendly Hero within 12″ for D3 wounds. You have access to a better healing spell through the Guardian of Souls, while this spell isn’t atrocious you do have better ways to heal. C+

Endless Spells

  • Shyish Reaper – Casting Value 7. A predatory spell that moves 8″ (12″ in Shyish), the controlling player can pivot it before moving it and for every model it passes over, roll a die, if the die rolls higher than their save characteristic, deal 1 mortal wound. Like Aethervoid pendulum but with more control, which kind of goes against why you’d take that spell (To keep an opponent from using it on you). Don’t bother.
  • Vault of Souls – Casting Value 6. A predatory spell that moves 6″ (9″ in Shyish), after the model is set up or after moving, roll a die for each model within 6″. On a 6+, deal a mortal wound. Track the wounds dealt because if it hits 20, the spell explodes and all units within 6″ take D6 mortal wounds. Sadly, as fun as it sounds you probably will not ever hit 20 wounds before your opponent removes it anyway. Skip.
  • Mortalis Terminexus – Casting Value 6. Predatory endless spell that moves 8″. After moving the model the controlling player chooses to reverse time (Heal D3 wounds for all units within 6″) or advance time (Deal D3 wounds in 6″). In Shyish the range is increased to 12. Actually decent utility and could see use.
Nighthaunt Banshee

Nighthaunt Banshee Credit: That Gobbo

Battalions

The core book came with a lot of Battalions and so by sheer number a few manage to actually succeed and see use in competitive play.

Nighthaunt Procession

  • 1 Shroudguard
  • 6 warscroll battalions chosen in any combination from the following list:
    • The Condemned
    • Chainguard
    • Execution Horde
    • Deathriders
    • Death Stalkers
    • Shrieker Host

Slightly changes the wording of Deathless Spirits to cover every model within 12″ of a Hero rather than units wholly within. Mostly useless in a practical sense, both in terms of the ability and actually fielding this in a game like most super battalions.

Shroudguard

  • 1 Knight of Shrouds or Reikenor the Grimhailer
  • 2 units of Bladegheist Revenants

Turns Deathless Spirits instead of a 5+ instead of a 6+ if within 12″ of Knight of Shrouds or Reikenor. A really solid take if you intend to bring these models anyway, as it will vastly improve survivability

Deathriders

  • 1-2 Dreadblade Harrows
  • 2 units of Hexwraith
  • 1 Black Coach

Add 1 to charge rolls, and you can utilize the Wave of Terror ability on a 9+ instead of a 10+. Would be more useful without the Black Coach but if you intend to bring these units anyway the battalion is a good investment.

The Condemned

  • 1 Spirit Torment
  • 1 unit of Chainghasts
  • 2 Chainrasp Hordes (Each Chainrasp Horde must contain at least 20 models.)

Reroll all failed hit rolls for Chainrasps within 15″ of spirit torment or Chainghasts. This would be awesome if Spirit Torments and Chainghasts were just a bit better, as it stands the tax is just too high.

Chainguard

  • 1 Guardian of Souls
  • 2 Chainrasp Hordes (Each Chainrasp Horde must contain at least 20 models.)

Anytime the Chainrasps are affected by Spectural Lure or Temporal Translocation, spells that let you return dead models you can return an additional D6 dead models. If you’re bringing 2 large squads of Chainrasps, which is certainly viable, this battalion makes them a huge pain in the ass.

Execution Horde

  • 1 Lord Executioner
  • 3 units of Spirit Hosts

Add 1 to hits for the Lord Executioner and -1 to hit him. This would be…fine if the Lord Executioner wasn’t the focus as the Spirit Hosts are and will remain the star of the show.

Death Stalkers

  • 1 Cairn Wraith
  • 2 units of Grimghast Reapers
  • 2 units of Glaivewraith Stalkers

After setup, pick an enemy unit to be soulmarked. All of the units in this battalion can add ones to hit and wound that unit. Bit of a soup here, the Grimghast Reapers are awesome, the Cairn Wrath is cheap enough to justify but the Glaivewraiths are a bit of a no go. I’d like it more if it had better unit selection, as it stands the unit tax is too much.

Shrieker Host

  • 1 Tomb Banshee
  • 2 units of Dreadscythe Harridans
  • 2 units of Myrmourn Banshees

Reroll battleshock tests of 1 for all enemy units within 6″ of a unit from this battalion. Another soup of Banshee units, none of these units are really worth taking making the battalion overly expensive for what might otherwise be a useful battalion ability within the way that nighthaunts work.

The Forgotten Scions (White Dwarf December 2019)

  • 1 Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed
  • 2 Dreadblade Harrows

Add one to the attacks characteristics on the Knight of Shrouds sword of stolen hours and use their command ability once per turn without using a CP. The extra Dreadblade harrow might be overkill but this is actually decently useable, the perks are very powerful and if youre willing to pay the tax I’d look at it.

The Dolorous Guard (White Dwarf December 2019)

  • 2-4 Units of Hexwraiths

Add one to attack characteristics for melee weapons for units on the turn they charged and they can absorb wounds and mortal wounds from the General if he is within 3″ on a 2+. Really good if you want to focus on hexwraiths, it’s certainly a viable strategy.

Beanith’s Myrmourn Banshee – Fini

Units

Leaders

The book is packed with leaders, more than you could hope to include. This gives you a lot of flexibility in list building and decide where you want to focus the strength of your Nighthaunts.

Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief

The leader of the Nighthaunts, Lady Olynder is one of the best all around characters you have access to. Starting off with her casting potential, her unique spell is powerful, allowing you to pick a unit within 18″ and force them to take a -1 to their own hit rolls while you gain a +1 to hit them. She has a lot of healing potential to keep herself and her allies alive, between her ranged attack Lifting the Veil and Grave-sands of Time. If she is your General she gets access to the No Rest For the Wicked command ability which lets her restore D3 wounds (or equivalent models) for all Summonable units within 12″. Finally her staff and handmaidens aren’t bad in combat, but you want to avoid that. At a 4+ save with only 7 wounds she can be worn down quite easily if she gets locked into combat.

A solid all around caster pick, you will almost always want to include her in your lists.

Kurdross Valentian, The Craven King

Poor Kurdross. I want to like him more than I do, as If I Cannot Rule, None Shall Rule! is a great ability lets you thief a command point on a 5+ no matter where he is, which is decent enough odds to be worth the attempt. He’s a solid melee hero, getting 5 attacks with -2 Rend and D3 damage (D6 on a 6+) with Suffer No Rival! granting rerolls to hit on an Enemy General. What’s bad? Well at a 4+ save (Which again, cannot be improved) and 7 wounds he’s a bit too delicate for his own good. He costs too much when you have a ton of much cheaper and equally brutal melee Heroes to choose from, and if he’s not at the front line crushing heads he’s not going to be worth the cost to steal a CP a third of the time.

Reikenor the Grimhailer

Your hybrid caster-warrior. Reikenor has an interesting mechanic where, before casting, he can snuff out a corpse candle dealing a mortal wound to either an enemy unit within 12″ or himself. If he uses the candle on an opponent, he gains 1 to his casting roll, if he used it on himself he gains 3. Generally stick to sniping an opponent’s unit, not only is it basically a free unbindable Arcane Bolt, nothing in the army is too difficult to cast so a +3 to casting is redundant unless youre up against a really strong caster who may attempt to unbind your spell. His unique spell is decent, dealing D3 mortal wounds to a unit within 12″, and another D3 if it killed a model.

In melee he’s pretty scary against mobs. His scythe operates like the Cairn Wrath, gaining full rerolls against units of 5 or more. Like Olynder and Kurdross though he has a 4+ save and 7 wounds, so don’t get too cocky. Make sure if you charge in it’s a fight you can win.

Knight of Shrouds

Your no-frills melee Hero meant to hunt other Heroes. This guys got a decent melee profile, 4 attacks at -1 rend and 2 damage a piece he likely won’t kill much on his own, but each hit against a Hero does heals him for one wound possibly allowing him to outlast his opponent, and his command ability allows him to add +1 to hit for a friendly unit within 12″.

Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed

Knight of Shrouds but on a horse. The mounted version is a bit hardier, and has more attacks in the form of his mount. His command ability is similar, giving +1 attack instead of +1 to hit. This probably makes the mounted version the better pick in most situations. Take the unmounted version if you’re hard up for points but an extra attack per model for a unit of Chainghasts or Grimghast Reapers will do far more damage.

Guardian of Souls

Your generic caster and buff bot, you’ll almost always want one of these around. Before even getting into spells, their Nightmare Lantern guarantees a +1 to wound to all friendly units in 12″, no command points or casting required! His spell, Spectral Lure, is also really solid, allowing you to heal a SUMMONABLE unit for D6 wounds (or models with wounds equal to what you roll). This can be tricky to use just right because you have to pick a unit first, so while it may be tempting to use it on an uninjured Spirit Host who is down one model, its useless if you don’t roll a 3. So plan wisely.

Spirit Torment

An odd duck. First the good, they have a similar buff to Guardian of Souls, Nagash’s Bidding, grants a +1 to hit for all units within 12″. Not as good, but with no cost like the Guardian of Souls it’s still appreciated. The other ability, Captured Soul Energy has a lot of extra steps, if at the start of the battleshock test 3 models were slain that turn you can heal a unit within 6″ of the Spirit Torment D3 wounds or restore models equal to that many wounds. If it was 3 Stormcast Eternals that died, just make it an automatic 3. Since this is at the beginning of the morale phase you can potentially alleviate a difficult battleshock check before it happens. But you have access to healing from a lot of places and not many leader slots to go around.

Dreadblade Harrow

Another mounted hero, this guy is a companion piece to the Knight of Shrouds. He can warp around the field for free, following usual deepstrike rules. His Dreadblade gains an extra +1 to Damage on the charge similar to many mounted Heroes but on subsequent rounds it is replaced with +1 attack, making him able to remain in a protracted fight longer if he doesn’t kill them on the first go. This guy is a companion to the Knight of Shrouds due to Curse of Loyalty letting him reroll wound rolls of 1 if he is within 9″ of a friendly knight of shrouds. At only 90 points this guy is worth considering if you have a mounted Knight of Shrouds, so they can stay together.

Lord Executioner

A quirky but cheap melee hero. This guy has a solid weapon profile, with 3 attacks at -2 Rend and 1 damage (Though it does 3 on a 6 to hit). He also sports a 5+ Feel no pain instead of a 6 and his opponent has -1 to hit, giving him an advantage. He’s cheap but not the best melee hero you got.

Tomb Banshee

I’m not sure what role she serves here. She has a Bravery based ranged attack, a similar but weaker than Lady Olynders and thats basically it. At only one attack with D3 damage, she’s too variable to be good and isn’t even a caster. Even at 80 points, pass.

Cairn Wrath

Your cheapest Hero and certainly worth it if you need to kill 60 points. He only gets 3 attacks but at -1 rend, 2 damage and reroll all hits against units of 5 or more he will likely get through with most of them. You have much tougher melee heroes so don’t make him your first pick but if you have leftover space, Cairn Wrath isn’t the worst you can do.

Briar Queen and the Thorns of the Briar Queen

Warhammer Underworlds Warband. As can be expected the same story is true here, due to requiring they come with the warband, the point cost is inflated to a point that makes the Hero themselves worthless. If you can even get one at this point, as they were in the second edition of Warhammer Underworlds which has since gone out of print.

Battleline

Nighthaunts, for all their shortcomings have a battleline to make other armies blush. Almost everything here has some value or role in the army and it can be hard to narrow down which you want to bring, compared to many armies who may be chosing which they hate the least in order to fill their required slots.

Chainrasp Horde

Cheap, fast and summonable the Chainrasps are everything people want in a Battleline. While they may not be terribly strong on their own, you have other units to do that sort of heavy lifting. The reason Chainrasps are loved is because they’re one of the more points efficient “large blobs” in the game. With their low cost and high bravery it’s almost expected you bring a squad of 40. They’ll do decent damage with sheer number of attacks and if nothing else bog the enemy down long enough to let the heavy hitters do the real work.

Grimghast Reapers

Cheap source of mass attacks with rend, you likely won’t need full squads of 30 for Grimghast Reapers but bringing a squad of 10 or 20 is a really good idea. Their melee profile is just really good, 2 attacks per model with -1 rend and rerolling all hits on units with 5 or more models these guys will clean up hordes. The leader can bring a scythe like the rest of his squad, or a Death Knell, which only gets one attack but is slightly more accurate and deals 2 damage instead of 1. If he hits, you deal an extra mortal wound to a unit within 3″. Basically, if you hit you’ll deal more damage, but if you miss thats it. In general I prefer to bring it.

Hexwraiths

Ghost horses. Like most cavalry you bring these guys because you want a fast moving unit able to secure objectives. In addition to the 12″ move speed and flying, if you fly over a unit you get to drop bombs on them and roll a die for each model in the unit, and dealing a mortal wound on a 5+. These guys can be a nightmare to deal with with a 4+ unrendable save and 2 wounds per model. They’re not bad in combat too, sporting 2 attacks per model, -1 rend and a mortal wound on a 6. Thanks to a recent price reduction these guys got a lot more competitive with other battlelines.

Spirit Hosts

Oh baby. These guys are something else. The fact they’re a battleline is surprising and you’ll always want to bring a few squads. They don’t have many fancy tricks, just a staggering 6 attacks per model in a squad of 3 that deal mortal wounds on an unmodified 6 (as a side note this is why the Heroes often have this ability, the spirits with them are spirit hosts!) At 3 wounds a piece and a 4+ save they’re a very points efficient option. Most lists will bring as many of these as they can squeeze in.

Other

Chainghasts

Your only true missile weapon outside the black coach, it’s a good one. Your melee attack profile is good if the enemy closes the gap, letting you roll for every model within 2″ rather than a set attack. It’s 80 points for 2 models which is not a great model per point ratio for something not a Hero, but definitely a niche you otherwise don’t have.

Glaivewraith Stalkers

Hard to recommend as their role in your army isn’t terribly clear. They don’t get the size of Chainrasp Hordes, the rend of Grimghast Reapers or the speed of Hexwraiths. They get to reroll all hits if they charge or were charge but have a mediocre (For Nighthaunts) 6″ movement. You can likely substitute anything with a more specialized role and do better.

Bladegheist Revenants

These have seen a surge in popularity lately. They function like a more elite Grimghast Reaper, you want to run them in fairly large groups. The Fearful Frenzy ability lets them reroll all hits if they’re within 12″ of Spirit Torments or Chainrasp, so keep them close to one of those. They have a similar melee profile to Grimghasts, 2 attacks, -1 rend and 1 damage but gain an extra attack on the charge and they can fallback and charge in the same turn! It’s definitely worth building around these guys, bringing a few decent sized squads if you want to have a list of them.

Mymourn Banshees

A niche utility unit that doesn’t see much play. They can attempt to unbind a spell as a wizard does, gaining +1 to the unbind roll for every 4 models. And that’s it. You likely won’t have enough models to get more than +1 to unbinding without paying more points than they’re really worth. While they can also eat an endless spell, it comes at the cost of the unit taking D3 mortal wounds, something you cannot afford on a unit of one wound models. You have plenty of casters, let them do the heavy lifting.

Dreadscythe Harridans

I don’t know what to make of these ladies. Point for point they seem like less of a value than Grimghast reapers, where the only benefit they have over them is an extra attack (but not the reroll on large units). Enemies will have -1 to hit them, if their bravery is less than 6 which is a bit of an iffy prospect. Just stick with other, similar units who do the job better. Even with the recent points reduction I don’t see much purpose to them.

Behemoth

Black Coach

Back from the dead and looking better than ever. The Black Coach does a lot.

First its attack profile, the Black Coach has a lot of different attacks to track. The mount gets a whopping 8 attacks, even if its a mediocre 4+/4+ with no rend and D1, a few hits will get in. The usual spirit hosts hovering around it get mortal wounds on the 6s. The coach driver can have a scythe or soulreach. The scythe is more reliable in melee with its Reaped like Corn but its soulreach also gives of the only missile attacks in the army. Neither is a bad pick, just how you want to use it.

Finally the Black Coach has an escalating power level, every turn you roll 3 dice and for each 4+ you gain a new ability, which is cumulative with all the others. These start with healing D3 wounds for SUMMONABLE units within 12″ and escalates to other useful abilites like a Reroll 1s to hit and falling back and charging for the coach. All in all not a bad deal but it is expensive and you really need to consider if you want to point down this many points for it.

Beaniths Plaguebearer Chainrasps

List Building

Anthony Poole’s Shroudguard List

Allegiance: Nighthaunt

Leaders
Dreadblade Harrow (90)
- General
- Trait: Cloaked in Shadow
Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief (200)
- Lore of the Underworlds: Shademist
Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed (120)
- Artefact: Pendant of the Fell Wind
Spirit Torment (120)
- Artefact: Midnight Tome - Shademist
Guardian of Souls with Nightmare Lantern (130)
- Lore of the Underworlds: Spirit Drain

Battleline
10 x Chainrasp Horde (80)
10 x Chainrasp Horde (80)
30 x Grimghast Reapers (420)

Units
20 x Bladegheist Revenants (320)
20 x Bladegheist Revenants (320)

Battalions
Shroudguard (110)

Total: 1990 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 1
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 118

This gives a fairly typical idea of what a Nighthaunt list looks like. This uses fewer Chainrasps than I’d normally like but makes it up with a full unit of Grimghast Reapers and two 20 man Bladegheist Revanants. Most Nighthaunt lists will mess with the exact configuration of units a bit but follow a similar script. You want to use your casters and Heroes to buff the bigger units to “bomb” your opponent with overwhelming attacks, and this list avoids putting all their eggs in one basket by spreading the carnage around. This was an admirable effort for the Nighthaunts, placing 13th at Descent of the Faithful in February 2020 of the UK.

David Grimmer’s Dolorous Guard

Allegiance: Nighthaunt
Mortal Realm: Hysh

Leaders
Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief (200)
- General
- Lore of the Underworlds: Reaping Scythe
Reikenor the Grimhailer (160)
- Lore of the Underworlds: Soul Cage
Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed (120)
- Artefact: Pendant of the Fell Wind
Dreadblade Harrow (90)
- Artefact: Slitter
Knight of Shrouds (100)

Battleline
5 x Hexwraiths (130)
5 x Hexwraiths (130)
5 x Hexwraiths (130)
3 x Spirit Hosts (120)
3 x Spirit Hosts (120)
3 x Spirit Hosts (120)
40 x Chainrasp Horde (280)

Battalions
The Dolorous Guard (120)

Endless Spells / Terrain / CPs
Extra Command Point (50)
Emerald Lifeswarm (50)
Chronomantic Cogs (80)

Total: 2000 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 2
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 127

I like this list for how unusual it is. Dolorous Guard was overlooked due to being in a White Dwarf article so I liked to see it put into play. This is especially useful because since this list was used in February, General’s Handbook 2020 shaved 10 points off of Hexwraiths and Reikenor, refunding 40 points. This list is mixed with a lot of the usual suspects in Nighthaunts. Chainsrasp Bomb? Check, tons of Spirit hosts? Oh yeah. This list looks like a twist on a familiar classic and it did rather well, placing 9th at the Realm of Geddon in Sweden.

Due to the point refund I added Emerald Lifeswarm to give the list some more survivability. He also used the Aetherquartz Brooch which no longer exists in the game anymore, so I substituted the slitter.

Conclusion

Well we got through that one alive somehow! The Nighthaunts are an army struggling to succeed at the moment, suffering from lack of an early battletome and a lack of support that has left them feeling like they’ve fallen behind other armies. They have a lot of fans, whether by those who just like spooky ghosts or those who started Age of Sigmar with the Soul Wars box set. Hopefully they see more support in the future as it is my personal feeling that a book with such gorgeous models should not go neglected forever. Go forth and serve Nagash, make him and Lady Olynder proud!

If you’re a Nighthaunts player we’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite models? How have you played the game? Let us know at Contact@goonhammer.com or on social media!

 

 

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