White Dwarf 477 – Tome Celestial: Flesh-eater Courts

Who loves ghastly cannibalistic fiends hallucinating that they’re noble questing knights protecting all the realms? You love it! I love it! Nagash love – well, maybe Nagash doesn’t love the Flesh-eater Courts, but Games Workshop very well may, since this month we’ve got another Tome Celestial to give them a bit of a boost until they get a new battletome which, going by past Tomes Celestial, isn’t looking like it’ll be any time in the near future.

FEC aren’t… great, right now. They’re looking probably about the bottom of the middle, doing a lot better than some lackluster armies (Hedonites, Gitz, and most of the armies that only got their Battletome recently), but way, waaaay under the top performers which is a category that basically encompases “almost everyone with a book newer than theirs”, which means that matches for FEC either go very well, or very poorly, with little in between. Hopefully this Tome Celestial will help that somewhat!

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Allegiance Abilities

Two big changes for the Charnel Throne here, the only model to get a warscroll update: firstly, the hero using the Summon command abilities must now be garrisoning the Throne, rather than simply within 1” of it, and now instead of a +1 bravery to FEC models within 1” of the throne and -1 bravery to enemy models within 1” of the throne, it’s now an aura where enemy models within 12” of a Charnel Throne cannot be affected by any abilities that allow units to ignore battleshock tests. This is big! We were excited that Nighthaunt denied enemies Inspiring Presence while within 3”, but this is a much larger aura that captures a much greater number of abilities and powers. Our only concern is the wording concerning one specific army: Ossiarch Bonereapers “Do not take battleshock tests” thanks to Ranks Unbroken by Disent, and it isn’t entirely clear whether a Charnel Throne would disregard that. We’re leaning towards this does work, but proooobably not being intended, so check with your TO before getting too excited or concerned.

Muster Reinforcements is the new Heroic Action for FEC, allowing you to roll 6 dice and on every 2+ you can restore one Serfs model to a unit within 10” of that hero, or on a 5+ restore a slain Knights model. Bringing back a Ghoul or two can be enough to take that objective back, while bringing back a Flayer or Horror could just swing that fight back in your direction, so this is incredibly valuable, boosting again FEC’s rampant summoning prowess.

Flesh Eater Courts
Little (blue) green ghouls, buddy! Credit: Fowler

Open Play

Today’s twist is on a 1-3 Slim Pickings, and on a 4-6 Interrupted Court. Slim Pickings shows what happens when a Court hasn’t been fed in a while, and honestly they deal with hunger worse than Ogor Mawtribes but about as well as the Goonhammer Office. One of your units is starving, gaining +2” movement but -1 to wound. If this unit kills any enemy models, it presumably stops for a quick snack and is no longer starving, so this is a neat little movement buff that probably won’t stay around that long. Drawback is that FEC are already not as killy as they could be, so that -1 to wound might just be enough to leave their opponents strong enough to strike them down. Interrupted Court speaks to me on a primordial level as the opposing army interrupts an FEC conference and shouts down the main speaker with Less Of A Question More Of A Comment. During deployment, each player must set up 1 friendly unit outside their territory, within 6” of a battlefield edge and more than 9” from enemy units. This could potentially be catastrophic for the fragile Courts, giving your opponent’s nastiest combat unit basically a free move most of the way up the table. Lifes tough as a ghoul, deal with it.

Flesh-eater Courts Crypt Flayers. Credit: Magos Sockbert
Crypt Flayers. Credit: Magos Sockbert

Matched Play

Your new grand strategy is Royal Delusions, which is funny but probably doesn’t really help you win. You achieve this grand strategy if, at the end of the battle, there are at least 3 friendly FEC units on the battlefield that weren’t in your starting army. Will you summon at least 3 new units during the game? Absolutely. Will they be alive in an incredibly violent game edition with possibly the most fragile army in the game? That’s up to the dice gods to decide.

The battle tactics on the other hand are much more exciting. United Court is a variation of Conquer where you have to capture an enemy objective with at least one Serfs model, one Knights model and one Courtier model. This may seem bad, but it does a couple of neat things. Firstly, you’re probably going to slam this many models down on an objective to try and capture it at least once in the battle, so it isn’t as hard as it looks, and it frees up Conquer to use in another turn.

The Royal Hunt is your standard “murder a monster” pick, which is less interesting in our brave new world of fewer monsters, but still valuable. You have to pick a monster with less than 5 wounds allocated to it, and you score an additional point if it dies at the hands of an Abhorrant. Slam a Ghoul King on Terrogheist into that pour Arachnarok and go to town.

Finally, Screamed to Death. Channeling a Finish black metal concert, you pick one enemy unit and achieve this battle tactic if it is destroyed by missile weapons from Crypt Flayers or any form of Royal Terrorgheist. You’re looking to do this a lot of the time with some of the more meta builds anyway, so this is a fun and safe pick.

Flesh Eater Courts Grymwatch
The Grymwatch. Credit: Fowler

Path to Glory

Growing Delusion is a neat little army-wide bonus where you reduce the cost of adding a new unit by 1 glory point if you summoned one of those units during the battlefield. Cute free little rule that leans into the theme and narrative of the army without being too overpowering or burdensome.

Veteran Abilities

Three veteran abilities here, each which can be used once per battle. King’s Own grants a unit +1 attack if within 6” of your warlord, which could be quiiite a few extra attacks given how tightly you can pack in Crypt Ghouls. This would have been a lot more impactful prior to the Bonds of Battle rule being introduced, but still nothing to sniff at.

Call to Arms is exactly the same as the new Muster Reinforcements heroic action, except you only roll 3 dice. Doing both in the same turn could bring back some kind of silly numbers of models, though it does encourage you to take the Horrors and Flayers, being more valuable on a per-model basis, leaving the poor Ghouls in the dust again.

Finally, Hungry for Flesh is a) a permanent description of Gregbot and b) an amazing ability that means 6s to hit score two hits instead of one. Flesh-eater Courts are famous for their buckets of attacks, and this makes that even more ridiculous. 


As for our quest, your lord has decreed that your force is on a Grand Tournament, giving a quest point each time an enemy unit is destroyed by a Courtier unit. Once you have three points, you complete your quest and one Courtier is chosen to be favoured of the court and gain 10 renown points. Neat!


Pit of Bones is where mordants go to try and look fashionable (no, really), allowing you to pick one unit that took part in the battle and grant them a renown point on a 4+ as they find “the ideal bones to adorn their bodies with in order to impress the court with the latest grotesque fashion”. This Paris Fashion Week knockoff can be upgrades to a Gallery of Bones  for 5GP, meaning you can pick two units instead of one.

You can never have more than one Charnel Den but you probably don’t need to. You can pick a unit in your order of battle and reduce its casualty score by D3 if it took part in the battle, or D6 if it did not. Upgrading for 10GP to Plentiful Feast means you can pick two units for this bonus.

Finally, Dragon Graveyard has no impact until it’s upgraded for 15GP at which point it is Awakened  and you increase your monsters limit by four, and one mount trait is added to your fault.

Cursed City Flesh-eater Courts FEC Vrykos Blood-Born. Credit: Magos Sockbert
Cursed City Vrykos Blood-Born. Credit: Magos Sockbert


White Dwarf described this as a “banquet” of new rules and background and honestly I think they did pretty well. The Charnel Throne got a huge upgrade, and the battle tactics will help you keep those VPs rolling in. This Tome Celestial isn’t going to blow people’s minds like the Beasts of Chaos one did, but a free upgrade is a free upgrade. 

Games Workshop have been pretty conservative with changes to Flesh-eater Courts over the years, probably because it can be really hard to tweak an army that gets so many free models without breaking it one way or the other. 

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