Tournament Report – Ham Fam Gardenhammer with Nighthaunt

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With Third Edition out in the wild it’s time to start getting some games in, and Ellarr is so eager that he made the bold decision to trust the British weather for a mini gardenhammer tournament. Find out how his Nighthaunt got on in his report.

Tournament Details

The playgroup I regularly play with (The Ham Fam) recently decided to have a little Gardenhammer action to celebrate the launch of 3rd edition and shake some of the rust off that many of us have from lockdown. Originally a 9 player event, 2 people had to drop out so it became a 3 round, 7 man affair with a player each round getting a bye. The wonderful James Harrison organised the event, and requested that people not go overboard with optimised lists, as the day was more about getting games in and having fun.

My List

I am a competitive minded player, and have trouble toning down my nature when it comes to making lists and playing games. I wanted to bring an army that I could have fun optimising, without necessarily worrying about having to take my foot off the gas because the list was too strong. In the end I settled on Nighthaunt – they’re an army that’s typically been bottom third of armies in the game in second, and 3rd edition has neither been kind nor unkind to them. I’m playing with Reikenor’s Condemned, as they provide a suite of useful buffs to chain rasps and a nice utility artefact.

My Nighthaunt Forces

The Army

Army list - Click to Expand


Allegiance: Nighthaunt
– Procession: Reikenor’s Condemned
– Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
– Triumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Reikenor the Grimhailer (165) in Warlord
– Lore of the Underworlds: Shademist
Spirit Torment (115) in Vanguard
– Artefact: Midnight Tome – Shademist
Guardian of Souls with Nightmare Lantern (135) in Warlord
– Artefact: Corpse Candle
– Lore of the Underworlds: Soul Cage
Krulghast Cruciator (120) in Battle Regiment
– General
– Command Trait: Ruler of the Spirit Hosts
Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night (380) in Warlord
– Allies

Battleline
30 x Chainrasp Horde (285) in Battle Regiment
– Reinforced x 2
10 x Chainrasp Horde (95) in Warlord
6 x Spirit Hosts (250) in Battle Regiment
– Reinforced x 1

Units
10 x Dreadscythe Harridans (160) in Vanguard

Behemoths
Black Coach (220) in Battle Regiment

Endless Spells & Invocations
Shyish Reaper (70)

Core Battalions
Warlord
Vanguard
Battle Regiment

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 1995 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 3 / 4
Allies: 380 / 400
Wounds: 115

Tactics and Thoughts

Yes that’s Mannfred, and despite not providing any synergies to the rest of the army or even benefiting from a Ward Save he might still be the best unit in the list. The reasoning is fairly straight forward – Mannfred is a Monster/Hero (which Nighthaunt lack entirely outside of an over costed Forge World Model) that can hit hard, score me bonus points over the course of the game *because* he is a monster, and his teleport shenanigans synergise really well with Nighthaunt to stress my opponent’s ability to control the board.

The rest of the list is fairly standard fare, with a few notable choices I felt are worth discussing being the Shyish Reaper – it saw a rework with the faction FAQ, which essentially means I now roll 2 dice for every unit it passes over or ends a move 1″ within. For each dice roll that meets or exceeds the units save characteristic, I deal D3 mortal wounds to that unit. Nighthaunt has crummy access to rend, and in this edition with Mystic Shield and All Out Defence being so prolific, there’s never been a better time to have something that punishes players for bringing high save units. Reikenor’s here to cast Shyish Reaper at +3 to cast (using Corpse Candle), and the rest of my heroes will essentially act as cheerleaders to buff up my ghosts and make them reasonably punchy in a fight.

Finally, the Black Coach is here because it’s a really cool model and I want it so desperately to be good. Please GW, make the Black Coach a good unit.

The Games

Round 1 – Stormcast Eternals

The Competition

Hammers of Sigmar

Army List - Click to expand


Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals
– Stormhost: Hammers of Sigmar
– Grand Strategy: Vendetta
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders
Lord-Arcanum on Celestial Dracoline (225) in Warlord
– Artefact: Amulet of Destiny (Universal Artefact)
– Mount Trait: Pride Leader
– Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Knight-Heraldor (110) in Warlord
Gavriel Sureheart (130) in Warlord
Lord-Ordinator (150) in Grand Battery
– General
– Command Trait: We Cannot Fail
– Artefact: God-forged Blade

Battleline
5 x Liberators (95) in Warlord
– Warhammer & Shield
– 1x Grandhammers
5 x Liberators (95) in Warlord
– Warhammer & Shield
– 1x Grandhammers
5 x Liberators (95) in Hunters of the Heartlands
– Warhammer & Shield
– 1x Grandhammers

Units
10 x Evocators (450) in Hunters of the Heartlands
– 10x Grandstaves
– Spell1: Lore of Invigoration: Speed of Lightning
– Reinforced x 1
3 x Evocators on Dracolines (280) in Hunters of the Heartlands
– 2x Grandstaves
– Spell1: Lore of Invigoration: Terrifying Aspect

Artillery
Celestar Ballista (120) in Grand Battery
Celestar Ballista (120) in Grand Battery
Celestar Ballista (120) in Grand Battery

Core Battalions
Hunters of the Heartlands
Grand Battery
Warlord

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 1990 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 118

The Mission

Apex Predators

His Predators:
– Evocators
– Evocators on Dracolines
– Lord-Arcanum on Celestial Dracoline

My Predators:
– Mannfred
– Spirit Hosts
– Black Coach

The Plan

A fairly balanced list but one that presents two notable threats – the Evocator/Gavriel bomb that will consistently deep strike in and annhiliate whatever it charges, as well as the Ballista, who started the game in reserves with the Ordinator and could deep strike and blow away anything at short range, or do a respectable amount of damage at long range. I knew Mannfred had a giant target painted on his back as it was the only thing in my army that could be affected by Rend, and I wouldn’t be able to hide him from his shooting. I finished deployment first and felt the game hinged on three things:

1. Don’t get double turned, even if it meant not taking a Double Turn myself if presented to me.
2. Play patiently in a castle and react to what he does, as he doesn’t have the numbers to sit back on objectives.
3. Use the Harridans in reserve to counterpunch whatever he tries with the Evocators/Ballista.

I finished deployment first and had priority, but gave him first turn to prevent an early double turn opportunity.

The Summary

He came straight at me turn one, dropping the Ballistas behind his Liberator walls as they moved up to shoot at Mannfred, bringing the Mortarch down to 5 wounds in his first turn of shooting. He deployed defensively in the back corner, and with some poor run rolls was unable to get a unit onto the center point, but managed to take both outside objectives and achieve his battle tactic to score a full five. My turn one I sent the Black Coach up the flank to harass an outside point while the rest of my forces took control of the center while the heavily injured Mannfred limped into my home backfield corner to heal up for later in the game, scoring 5 that turn.

He won priority and took the turn, and dropped his Evocator Bomb on my flank to make an easy charge to my Cruciator Warlord and the Spirit Torment, wiping both of them easily. His Evokitties managed to destroy the Black Coach on his flank. Beyond that however he struggled, as I had 30 rasps set up on one outside point and the 6 spirit hosts holding the center, meaning he fell behind on points because he had lost control of the board. On my turn I threw as many ranged mortal wounds as I could at the Evocators, and sent the Shyish Reaper through the ranks of his hammer, before dropping the Harridans down to charge the now weakened unit. Luckily, I rolled a 10 for my charge and got a Wave of Terror activation to fight twice against the Evocators. Between the Harridans fighting twice and the Shyish Reaper, I managed to kill most of the Evocators, with the rest running to an unlucky battleshock test.

From there I ran away with the game, casting Soul Cage to make his Evokitties fight last before focussing them down with the combined efforts of Reikenor, the Spirit Hosts and my Guardian of Souls. At this point I was keeping pace on Battle Tactics but had a vice grip on the board, with his only remaining punchy units being ranged Ballista, leaving him unable to take back control – he conceded at the end of turn 3.

The Takeaways

Mannfred was surprisingly ineffective, contributing little else but a single cast of his ranged mortal wound spell, before fleeing off into my backboard to deny my opponent a bonus point for killing a monster and heal up. If the game had gone on long he would have likely contributed more, but as it stood my opponent’s misfortune combined with board control meant he was un-needed.

Speaking of board control, the Spirit Hosts were immensely effective, providing a solid wall to control the center and winning me the game just by taking up space.

*Black Coach Score Sheet: One Knight Heraldor turn one, before getting utterly destroyed in turn two.*

Round 2 – Ironjawz

The Competition

Da Soulrippa Clan

Army List - Click to expand


Allegiance: Ironjawz
– Warclan: Ironsunz
– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha (495) in Warlord
– General
– Boss Gore-hacka and Choppa
– Command Trait: Right Fist of Dakkbad
– Artefact: Sunzblessed Armour
– Mount Trait: Mean ‘Un
Orruk Megaboss (160) in Warlord
– Artefact: Metalrippa’s Klaw
Orruk Warchanter (120) in Warlord
– Warbeat: Get ‘Em Beat

Battleline
5 x Orruk Brutes (150) in Hunters of the Heartlands
– Pair of Brute Choppas
– 1x Gore Choppas
5 x Orruk Brutes (150) in Hunters of the Heartlands
– Pair of Brute Choppas
– 1x Gore Choppas
5 x Orruk Brutes (150) in Hunters of the Heartlands
– Pair of Brute Choppas
– 1x Gore Choppas
3 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (170) in Warlord
– Pig-iron Choppas
3 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (170) in Warlord
– Pig-iron Choppas

Behemoths
Rogue Idol (420)

Core Battalions
Warlord
Hunters of the Heartlands

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 1985 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 119

The Mission

Tectonic Interference

The Plan

Well. His stuff would mostly crush me in a straight fight, and I needed to make sure he didn’t just blow me away turn one through multiple Smashing and Bashing activations. I deployed deep in my own deployment zone and kept my juicy center behind a wall of Rasps and Spirit Hosts, and stuck the Black Coach on the flank with the idea being he could run into the backfield and stress his ability to control the board. I wouldn’t survive a double from him, so the plan was again to give him first turn (I finished deployment first), weather the storm of his first turn and then strike back on his vanguard elements that managed to reach my lines.

The Summary

Turn one his Mawcrusha charged on one flank and deleted my Black Coach, tagging the Spirit Hosts into combat in the process, while the Rogue Idol and some Gore Gruntas charged down the other flank with Warchanter support to destroy the unit of 10 chain rasps I had on that flank. The rest of his forces moved up and took control of all three points and scored his battle tactic (Aggressive Expansion). On my turn I gave up my left flank with the Rogue Idol on it and pivoted all my forces rightward to take centre and the other side, reasoning that as long as I kept my heroes away from his hammer units, he would be forced into a war of attrition which Nighthaunt excel at. The combined efforts of the Shyish Reaper, the Spirit Hosts and Mannfred destroyed his Mawcrusha turn 1.

I won priority turn two and took the double, continuing my sweeping manoeuvre to completely clear the right hand side of any threats while solidifying my position in the middle. His Mega Boss was having the time of his life killing chain rasps in the middle, but the rest of the army was dying around him as Mannfred, the Harridans and the Spirit Hosts swept through his flanks. Turn 4 Mannfred charged an incidental unit, then in the combat phase teleported onto the left flank to take control of all three points as only a Warchanter was holding it, putting me firmly in the lead as my opponent was running out of units not tied up in combat to deal with Mannfred.

The Takeaways

Mannfred was every bit the deadly and sneaky Vampire the lore presents him as, destroying a Mawcrusha, some Gore Gruntas and some Brutes over the course of the game before teleporting across the entire board to help solidify my board control. This was a bad matchup for the Ironjaws without a double turn to get past my lines and into my support heroes, and without any ‘Ardboyz he lacked the numbers to win in an attrition war.

*Black Coach Score Sheet: Destroyed turn one before even getting a chance to move.*

Round 3 – Daughters of Khaine

The Competition

Clashing with the forces of Morathi

Army List - Click to expand


Allegiance: Daughters of Khaine
– Temple: Khailebron
– Grand Strategy: Vendetta
– Triumphs: Inspired,Inspired

Leaders
Bloodwrack Medusa (120) in Warlord
– General
– Command Trait: Mistress of Illusion
– Artefact: Whisperdeath
– Lore of Shadows: Mirror Dance
Morathi-Khaine (330) in Warlord
– Lore of Shadows: Mindrazor
The Shadow Queen (330) in Warlord

Battleline
5 x Blood Sisters (140)
5 x Blood Sisters (140)
15 x Blood Stalkers (510) in Warlord
– Reinforced x 2
5 x Blood Sisters (140)

Units
5 x Khinerai Lifetakers (90) in Hunters of the Heartlands
5 x Khinerai Lifetakers (90) in Hunters of the Heartlands
5 x Khinerai Lifetakers (90) in Hunters of the Heartlands

Core Battalions
Warlord
Hunters of the Heartlands

Total: 1980 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 2 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 99

The Mission

The Vice

The Plan

Keep Mannfred alive at all costs, kill the Blood Stalker blob as quickly as possible and wear down Morathi as quickly as I could as she would decimate me if left unchecked. I finished first and gave him the first turn.

The Summary

*Disclaimer: My opponent was recovering from a hospital visit a few weeks prior and this was the third game of the day in the withering heat*

Big Morathi teleported right into my flank and destroyed the Black Coach immediately (because of course), while the Blood Stalkers moved up and shot at the Spirit Hosts largely ineffectually. He had picked ‘Bring it Down’ as his battle tactic, intending to kill Mannfred with shooting, however he had forgotten about Battle Tactics as a mechanic and ignored Mannfred, meaning he only scored 3 for his first turn. Next it was my turn to make some bone headed plays in the heat, dropping the Harridans from reserve with support by Reikenor to charge the Blood Stalkers that were near the center of the board – 7 of the 10 Harridans died to Unleash Hell (which I had forgotten about entirely) and the rest were promptly killed in combat – OUCH! Mannfred put up Mystic Shield and charged Morathi, doing 3 wounds to her. I was up 5 points to 3 going into turn two.

Turn two the Blood Stalkers shot Reikenor off the board as he was out of position, and he moved the rest of his forces towards the center in anticipation of the scrum that would happen turn four. He dropped several units of lifetakers to harass my backlines and try to get to my support heroes, but he was unable to kill the Krulgast Cruciator, who retreated away and kept getting healed by Heroic Recovery/Spectral Lure. The Shyish Reaper and the Spirit Hosts managed to kill Morathi halfway through turn 3, meaning Mannfred was free and clear to tear through the middle and put me in a comfortable position to take over the game turns four and five as he had no more anvils left to hold me back.

The Takeaways

Kudos to my opponent who kept it close despite obviously not being 100%. A sloppy game on both of our parts that I managed to squeak out by ensuring I kept scoring my battle tactics early on while keeping my tarpit units alive long enough to establish control late game. The Kruciator’s warlord trait Ruler of the Spirit Hosts was especially clutch, bringing back at least four Spirit Hosts over the course of the game, letting me gradually wear down my opponent through attrition. Mannfred was once again a menace, putting some wounds on Morathi before sweeping through a flank and killing some Blood Sisters and the Bloodwrack Medusa to score my Slay the Warlord battle tactic turn four.

*Black Coach Score Sheet: Destroyed by an angry god turn one before doing anything.*

Army Thoughts

Final Record: 3-0

I took home the Golden Spoon in a fun day with friends, and was largely impressed by how well the army did. It would be an exaggeration to say that I was going up against highly optimised lists, but I felt worried about my matchup in all three games, because Nighthaunt traditionally don’t have the damage output and had often failed in late second edition to impress me. That said, board control was the name of the game here, and I was able to keep my support pieces alive just long enough to take control of the centre in all three games while Mannfred ran rampant.

Mannfred more like Mannfriend

What Worked?

– Mannfred was running wild after a slow start, giving the army a much needed threat that helped score bonus Monster points, give my opponent a headache with his teleport and go for the throat when needed with his ludicrously fast movement.
– Spirit Hosts quietly impressed, as when combined with ROTSH they were able to take up space and be a difficult unit to shift. They’ve traditionally underperformed for me in the past but they made their case for their ongoing inclusion in future lists.
– Shyish Reaper was great all day long, giving me a much needed answer to high armour units that Nighthaunt lack the rend to deal with effectively.

The Black Coach moments before disaster

What Didn’t Work?

– The Black Coach was largely a liability, acting as a distraction carnifex in every game but being too expensive and too easy to kill to really make me feel comfortable with it’s role in my lists. It badly needs to at least be able to grant itself a ward save, because as it is it just doesn’t do enough to warrant having a hero babysitting it.
– An aggressive playstyle. Each time I was patient and reactive it paid off, and both times I sent units out to be pro-active (the Black Coach game 1 into a fair point unassisted and the Harridans game 3 to try and take out the Blood Stalkers) I found myself throwing away units for little gain. Nighthaunt are at their best when playing the long game, and at times my desire to be aggressive came back to bite me.

So Where Next?

The list is finished to a tabletop standard and I’m largely happy with it – there are some minor adjustments I’d like to make to some of the paint jobs and Mannfred wants another round of highlighting, but by and large the pivot will be about making incremental changes and moving on to another army for a long term hobby project. As for the list, I’ve decided to drop the Black Coach to add some cheap Glaivewraith Stalker units to act as cheap screens and fodder to absorb Unleash Hell activations to ensure my actually threatening units make it to combat unharmed. The unit of 10 Chainrasps gets upgraded to a unit of Grimghast Reapers and the leftover points is just enough to afford a Chronomantic Cogs to amplify my spellcasting potential.

Finally, I’ve consolidated my battalions down to just two and a total of five drops – I found myself really glad to always start with initial priority, and while I managed to get away with 7 drops on the day, going forward I wanted to make sure I’m dictating the state of play more often. I’ve got a total of 4 two day tournaments to prep for over the next six months, so I’ll be working away on my other armies while continuing to refine this list and see if I think it has legs at a two day event going up against more stiff competition.

New Army List


Allegiance: Nighthaunt
– Procession: Reikenor’s Condemned
– Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders
Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night (380) in Warlord
– Allies
Krulghast Cruciator (120) in Warlord
– General
– Command Trait: Ruler of the Spirit Hosts
Spirit Torment (115) in Battle Regiment
– Artefact: Midnight Tome – Shademist
Guardian of Souls with Nightmare Lantern (135) in Battle Regiment
– Artefact: Corpse Candle
– Lore of the Underworlds: Soul Cage
Reikenor the Grimhailer (165) in Warlord
– Lore of the Underworlds: Shademist

Battleline
30 x Chainrasp Horde (285) in Battle Regiment
– Reinforced x 2
10 x Grimghast Reapers (155) in Battle Regiment
6 x Spirit Hosts (250) in Battle Regiment
– Reinforced x 1

Units
4 x Glaivewraith Stalkers (60) in Battle Regiment
4 x Glaivewraith Stalkers (60) in Warlord
10 x Dreadscythe Harridans (160) in Battle Regiment

Endless Spells & Invocations
Chronomantic Cogs (45)
Shyish Reaper (70)

Core Battalions
Warlord
Battle Regiment

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 2000 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 3 / 4
Allies: 380 / 400
Wounds: 111

Wrap Up

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed the walkthrough a rather enjoyable Summer day of friends, food and Warhammer. I’ll be writing reports for my major events over the coming months and may revisit this army in later articles if I feel I have anything particularly insightful to say. If you have any feedback, leave a comment below or ping an email to contact@goonhammer.com! Until next time.

 

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