Nighthaunt in Warcry 2.0

The new edition of Warcry is with us and being a Nighthaunt player in Age of Sigmar I naturally wanted to take a look at their compendium rules to see which units I would be fielding in my games. However, with a whopping fifteen hero options, ten regular options and the two thralls (and the two monsters), I found it all very daunting and not really knowing where to start I took to the old reliable route (SPREADSHEETS!) to try and give me some insight into the faction.

What I have here is essentially the entirety of my findings from that analysis along with some interesting ideas that I have picked up along the way so hopefully other Nighthaunt players such as myself don't find themselves so lost. For ease of use, I've also ranked each and every unit  (yay tierlists) available from a damage output per point standpoint so you can easily get a grasp of what I think are good and not so hot units this edition. Luckily, Games Workshop has standardised the Nighthaunt statline this time around with all units essentially having the same Toughness and largely the same movement of 6". Given that the base movement of the warband is so high we are actually in a good spot to be able to compare units just based on their damage output with only a couple of exceptions for units whose runemarks give them some sort of additional utlility, such as the very good Dreadblade Harrow redeploy triple.

Because there are so many units, and because most of them aren't all that good, I'll be going over my highlights from the data. Games Workshop has also been good enough to offer the Nighthaunt warband rules free as part of their Death compendium documents. To find their rules and more, head on over to the Warhammer Community site downloads section.



Initially when I looked at the list I totally glossed over the humble Dreadwarden. On closer inspection though we can see that it actually has the same damage profile (2/4) as our more traditional heavy hitters such as the popular Knight of Shrouds with tradeoffs in number of attacks, strength and number of wounds. However, what the unit has got going for it is the fact that it's a whole 65 points cheaper then the Knight and also has the minion runemark on a body that is not all that much more expensive then our premium non-hero units. It's the minion runemark combined with the ability to now take up to three heroes in your lists which pushes the Dreadwarden right to the top of my analysis. Minion allows it to use the Chilling Horde double ability for plus one strength and attack as long as there is another Minion in within 3". However whereas you wouldn't really want to take Chainwrasp (the only other unit with Minion) over the much better Dire Wolves and Fellbats that we will see later, taking two Dreadwardens is actually not so much of a terrible idea. They are relatively cheap at 125 points each and can run around as a pair supporting eachother with Chilling Horde to put out some very respectable damage and if one of them dies, the other can bring it back with Nighthaunt's Spectral Summon triple ability. As a cheap hero package the two of them do almost everything that you would want.

Slasher Crone

It's often said that in Warcry number of attacks is king as for the most part you will be fishing for crits with your weaker units. The Slasher Crone embodies this philosophy completely, with damage equaling again the Knight of Shrouds but trading a point of strength for a whopping two additional attacks. It's also one of the cheapest characters available at only 165 points. I don't see the lack of wounds as a real downside for Nighthaunt characters because there is always the option to resurrect them with Spectral Summon so the tradeoff on wounds vs damage is something that I am generally happy to make. In terms of efficiency, the Slasher Crone has the highest unsupported damage output in terms of number of points invested, only beaten out by the Chilling Horde Dreadwarden in the hero department. If you didn't want to take the double Dreadwarden package in your games then a Slasher Crone is a pretty safe bet.

Dreadblade Harrow

The Dreadblade Harrow is thoroughly in the middle of the pack in terms of damage output and efficiency. The reason that I am mentioning it is because it does something wholly unique within the Nighthaunt list in it's triple ability; Phantasmal Discorporation. All Nighthaunt are fast but this maneuverability is what sets the Dreadblade apart from the rest with the ability to jump onto objectives and secure treasure with ease. I would recommend at least one of these in most lists for that ability alone.

Extoller of Shyish

An honorable mention here goes to the Extoller of Shyish. In effect it is a slightly more tanky Dread Warden having 3 more wounds and range of 2" for 10 points. If you aren't taking two Dreadwardens or need a cheaper option for your second or third hero slot that isn't a Slasher Crone, you could do far worse then the bell boy.

Overall I feel like the old standby Knight of Shrouds has had his day just by virtue of being expensive for what he brings to the table. The rest of the hero lineup isn't all that inspiring; the Guardian of Souls only defining feature being that it can heal D3 wounds to everyone in range and the rest don't put out enough damage for their points to warrant taking in my opinion. In most of my lists I'll probably be looking to run either a pair of Dreadblade Harrows or a single Dreadblade and two Dreadwardens for the utility.

Non-Hero Units

Dreadscythe Harridan

Like their bigger cousin the Slasher Crone, Dreadscythe Harridans have one thing going for them; raw number of attacks. The five attacks with a crit damage of 3 gives very good chances of landing at least one crit on the attack and being relatively cheap at 105 points really helps push up those numbers along with a triple ability that may actually see some use. Due to there being largely no other reason to take your basic guys aside from damage potential and cost for swarm ability it's likely that Harridans will be the only other Nighthaunt native non-hero unit in most warbands. One thing to mention is that like the Slasher Crone, the Dreadscythe Harridan has access to the Harrowing Shriek triple ability for the off chance that you need to emergency stop a unit from moving (perhaps a big monster if your opponent is playing an 'all eggs in one basket' type of warband).

Dire Wolves and Fellbats

I mentioned Nighthaunt native non-hero units in the above about Dreadscythe Harridans because under the new rules you can now take up to three thralls as part of your general list building. Aside from Chainwrasps (which only get decent with their double Chilling Horde ability), Dire Wolves are the cheapest unit available to Nighthaunt and come with relatively good damage, speed and abilities. Slavering Charge makes them faster then most other units in the game and Necromantic Bonds allows them to jump into fights with free movement and attack actions. All in all, they are probably what allow Nighthaunt to even think about putting 8+ man warbands onto the field and make up for alot of the deficiencies in the list. There is an argument to be made for taking Chainwrasp instead of Dire Wolves if you are going my route of two Dreadwardens but overall I feel like Wolves bring more to the table for the 85 point investment.

Similarly to the Dire Wolves, Fellbats make up a very important option for Nighthaunt lists; namely a source of fast moving and relatively cheap 2/4 damage. If you get lucky with your first attack and score 5 damage you can make your Scent of Gore triple for a further bonus attack action and then potentially attack again for on average 12-15 damage against a toughness three or four opponent out of a single activation. I would say that they are probably less important then dire wolves due to the 130 point cost, and are beaten out largely in the damage department at a lower price point but they still are a solid pick for a faster then average option.

Spirit Hosts

I wanted to mention Spirit Hosts specifically simply because of their Frightful Touch triple ability. By themselves, Spirit Hosts are fairly tanky with toughness four and twenty eight wounds to fall back on along with their six attacks with average damage. They actually compare favourably to both Dire Wolves and Fellbats putting a similar amount of damage on the table for the same points expenditure though at the cost of an extra activation in the case of the Wolves. Where they shine however is when Frightful Touch is active. They become the single most damaging unit in the whole list with 6 attacks at a set 3 damage a piece. Wounding on a 4+ nets 9 wounds on each attack action and 6 wounds when wounding on a 5+. That being said, the Nighthaunt warband is very triple intensive, requiring three similar dice for a Spectral Summon and emergency Harrowing Shriek so perhaps there is an argument to be made for saving some of those wild dice for a 'double triple' turn for when you want to bring something back and absolutely need something killed by your Spirit Host at the same time.

As with the rest of the heroes, the remainder of the Nighthaunt units are largely there to just fill space and in my opinion none of them are either cheap enough to take as a swarm unit or do enough damage to take as a dedicated fighter especially when compared to those at the top of the list.

All the Data and Summary

Based on all of this, I am pretty sure that we are likely to see two kinds of Nighthaunt list; one that is heavy in Dreadblade Harrows to take advantage of their movement, toughness and teleport ability; Either two or three Dreadblade Harrows backed up by Dreadscythe Harridans for damage and Wolves for expendable chaff (2x Harrows and 5x Harridans makes for a very formidable force at 1000 points with 7 members) or the route that I am likely to take which takes a more conservative approach with Dreadwarden tricks (I am looking specifically at a Dreadblade Harrow, 2x Dreadwardens, 3x Dreadscythe Harridans and a Spirit Host at 1000 points which gives a good mix of damage, tankyness and speed). Personally I find it a shame that not enough of the units available to the faction were unique enough in terms of their niche in the warband but again, there are so many that there were bound to be some units stepping on eachother's toes.

For completeness, here is all of my data arranged on a damage per point scale so that you can see where every unit sits in terms of my idea of efficiency:

And also the rest of my data showing the average wounds inflicted on each toughness level as well as some other metrics on the units:

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