Sunday, 16 September 2018
Death Battletome: Nighthaunt Review
Firstly, apologies for the delay with this review, I've had a family illness recently which has delayed me finishing the review for sometime now, with some normality restored I will be hopefully doing more reviews soon starting with the malign sorcery release.
Now I am sure a lot of people already have the book in their hands by now, but I'm just going to share my thoughts on the book with you as I have done with most of the other battletomes.
First of all if you haven't seen the models then they are stunning and up there as one of my favourite AoS releases so far.
Lets have a look at the background and artwork first though.
Background & Artwork
There is again some beautiful artwork in this book so if you're someone who collects the books for this reason or for the background, then I think this is probably the best battletome they've done to date.
I do really like GW's take on the Nighthaunts, they are definitely now portrayed as a dark faction. This is of course how they should be seen, but it's good to see this realised in the background and artwork.
The paragraph above really caught my eye as it's Nighthaunt in a nutshell!
Another excellent piece of artwork, which again really brings the dark and gritty image of the Nighthaunt to life.
Scary stuff for my Dispossessed to face!
The first four paragraphs of this page are very cool to read through. It explains how those doors creaking open, those eerie noises at night or those spectral lights shining across the swamp are all just the residual will of evil spirits left to haunt the places they resided. Nothing compared to the power of the actual spirits themselves though!
Finally after the background on how the Nighthaunt came to be, there is the usual history of the faction in a timeline.
I think the models in the new range are spectacular, the image below gives a good overview of some of the best.
I really wasn't expecting GW to extend the range as much as they have done, but i'm not complaining!
Lady Olynder is just a brilliant centre piece model, the way she has been sculpted to look as though she is flying is excellent.
I'm sure we'll be finding a use for her in our campaign, which will feature the Nighthaunt quite heavily.
Next the Bladeghiest Revenants have to be my favourite elite models. The poses are dynamic and individualistic so really stand out for me.
Finally the Black Coach... What an incredible model!
Definitely one of the best models we've had in recent years and one I'd like to have a go at painting well one day. Alas I still need to finish my Dispossessed army!
The only downside I think is the length of the model in comparison to the base, as it definitely extends off of the front and rear of the base! So from a gaming point of view this could be an issue.
So with that segue we'll head straight into the gaming part of this review...
Although I have not played with or against this army yet, from reading through the book I can safely say this is a very good faction and can compete in pretty much every area other than perhaps shooting. Which as always with Death comes mostly from their magic or screams from banshees and terrorgeists.
Nighthaunt definitely seem to be an army with a key emphasis on support characters and summoning which I will try demonstrate as we go through the way the army works.
First of all, the army has a lot of battle traits at its disposal which are abilities that effect the whole army and there's five in total!
There are of course the ones we have already been used to seeing before this book such as the traits above.
However, there is also Feed on Terror which allows a Hero to heal a wound if an enemy unit fails a battleshock test and another ability which means an unmodified charge roll of 10+ will allow your unit to attack immediately after charging!
This will not affect it fighting in the following combat phase either. It is situational but definitely an ability which could swing the fight in your favour if you pull it off.
As far as faction command abilities go, I think this one is very good.
The deployment problems you can cause your opponent with this one is great. By setting up a menacing unit on one side of the board you could cause your opponent to redeploy in order to face the threat, only to use this and teleport them across the board!
It also fits the theme for a ghost based army.
Now for the abilities you can give your general.
Being able to minus one from hit rolls of missle attacks against your general would definitely be a good option, as one of the Nighthaunt weaknesses is not having many tough characters with a lot of wounds.
Also making him more of a summoning support character could also be very useful, returning D3 models means you're guaranteed to bring one spirit host base back. Powerful if you roll that five or six!
With a whole host of spells available now, multiple spell casting heroes are a must in a Nighthaunt army.
Shademist would be very useful if you're using a unit to defend an objective. Having a 4+ unmodified save and subracting 1 from enemy wound rolls would make a unit pretty tough to break down in numbers.
Also healing wounds on Heroes that all have quite low wounds characteristics could prove pivotal in some games.
I think the Nighthaunt spells are not the most powerful spells we have seen but they certainly fit the support character and area of effect theme to the army.
Artefacts of Power
Now for the most interesting section as there is some strong items in here. I would be looking at taking a battalion in the army in order to have access to two artefacts.
Weapons Of The Damned
In the right situation Slitter could be very effective. Being able to effectively snipe a particular model in a unit, like a banner bearer, unit champion or a star soul mace wielding Stormcast could be amazing.
It wouldn't be difficult to roll above a two to kill a 2 wound model for example.
I believe I am also right in saying that with the new rules regarding model coherency, that if a unit of 8 models were strung out in a line, killing the middle model would then leave four on one side and three on the other. Therefore if the three models are out of coherency with the four models then the three models would be slain!
This would definitely make people think twice about spreading units out in long lines, something I personally don't really like to see, although I understand why it is done competitively.
Relics Of The Underworlds
There are also some alternative artefacts, which again have rules in which you could build your armies strategies around.
The Pendant of the Fell Wind could be great for adding movement to a highly mobile force, where as the Dreadbolt Ring helps increase the mortal wound output of a Hero and could make the difference when you need to just inflict a few extra wounds. Tie that into an army that focuses on forcing battle shock tests will mean this artefact could see a lot of use.
The Midnight Tome also should be popular as it can turn hero into a wizard too.
There seem to be some great battalions for the Nighthaunt. One that particularly caught my eye was the Chainguard Battalion.
At 120 points its pretty cheap, uses battleline choices and with only taking up three units its quite flexible to fit into a list.
Chainrasps are an excellent battleline unit and I think an auto include in any Nighthaunt army. Using the artefacts we talked about earlier you can create quite a defensive unit. With a 4+ unmodifiable save, a 6+ Deathless Spirit save and then -1 to enemy wound rolls, they won't be the easy to kill. Especially with this battalion giving you the chance to return D6 models to the unit.
But we'll talk a bit more about Chainrasps in the warscroll section next...
In an effort to reduce the amount of photos on here I'll just talk about why I really like the Chainrasps. Their warscroll is of course available on the app.
With a two attacks on 4's and 4's and rerolling wound rolls of one if there are more than 10 of them in a unit, the Chainrasps have to be the best battleline unit in the game at just 80 points per 10 models.
Don't forget they're also bravery 10, summonable and have that ignoring rend save roll to top it all off!
I'd expect to see them go up in points for next years generals handbook.
So if that's not enough there's also some great character options.
Lady Olynder has to be my favourite mortarch, she has a beautiful model and she's no slouch in the game too!
As you can see, she is on the weak side in terms of wounds but her Grave Sands ability is excellent and can heal D6 wounds once per battle! If that is not needed then she can also use it to kill off a stubborn 6 wound hero!
Also you can see how good that block of chainrasps is getting now with the effects from the artefacts above, her Grieve Stricken spell and her command ability No Rest For The Wicked.
She's an excellent support character if you can keep her safe!
With that in mind there are two other support characters that also stand out for me.
The Spirit Torment who grants rerolls to hit of one if they are wholly within 12 inches of this model and the Guardian of Souls who is a wizard but also allows you to add one to wound rolls within 12!
We'll attempt to pull all of the support character shenanigans together in the conclusion.
Next the Black Coach...
As you can see it has a fair amount of attacks with not only great rend but also good damage too. At a 14 inch move and 12 wounds its pretty tough and fast.
With its abilities ramping up in possibly two turns you've got some great options for bringing more summonable units back from your dead pile or inflicting a lot of mortal wounds!
Points wise I think the Nighthaunt are looking good at the moment. With such a cheap battleline option I think you can get a lot of bang for your buck with this army.
Hero wise Lady Olynder seems very affordable at 240 and the black coach at 280 seems pretty good too.
I think the Spirit Torment at 120 and the Guardian of Souls at 140 are both great options for adding in a few extra heroes. Especially the Guardian of souls as he doubles up as a wizard.
So it is with out a doubt a great book and a beautiful range of models, which has possibly been my favourite so far other than the Ironjawz models. I do think they'll have a specific play style with low point battleline and a few elite units benefiting from the huge amount of buffs available from a vast array of hero options.
Battleline units of Chainrasps and Spirit Hosts seem like the ideal choice as they can be buffed so heavily.
I think its just easier to list all of these possible buffs!
- The spell - Shademist can subtract 1 to wound rolls made against a selected unit.
- The relic - Pendent of the Fell Wind can add 3 inches to move characteristics of units within 12 inches.
- The battalion - Chainguard can return D6 slain models to a unit of Chainrasps if the Spectural Lure spell has already been successfully cast upon them. That's two D6 of slain models returning to the unit! Powerful!
For buffs that can effect a Chainrasp units offensive abilities you have...
- The Chainrasp ability - Chilling Horde allows you to re roll wound rolls of one for a unit with 10 or more models.
- The Spirit of Torments - Nagash's Binding - Allows you to re roll hit rolls of one while within 12"
- The Guardian of Souls - Nightmare Lantern - Then allows you to add 1 to wound rolls while within 12"
I'm sure I have missed bits as well!
So for me two units of 30 or even 40 Chainrasps at just 240 or 280 seems a like an absolute bargain. Especially when the summoning is factored in, they make terrific offensive/defensive objective holders. I'd have a unit of 6 Spirit Hosts to round of the battleline.
The only thing they lack is rend, which is where the beautiful looking Bladegheist Revenants and Myrmourn Banshees come into play with their -1 and -2 rend.
Overall this army will have a lot of finesse to it, using the buffs effectively and keeping valuable heroes safe will be key. Although there's always a Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon that could be allied in for something tough and durable hero wise.
Nighthaunt are now defintiely a competitive army that will get a tonne of support like the Stormcast and Khorne did, but as always my one negative is the growing gap between older and newer armies. Although there is hope for the Dispossessed as the Beasts of Chaos Battletome has now been announced! Something like this combined battletome for the Dispossessed and Free peoples please GW!
Thanks again for reading,