Ever take a look at the Bravery characteristic and wonder how much you can MESS with this? Does the idea of a literal -11 Bravery penalty seem like a good idea? Do you want to kill 1 model and have an entire unit flee?
This is the list for you.
Why Anvilgard? Simple, “Fell Gaze” is simply amazing to throw on the Kharibdys (Bringing him to a -3 Bravery aura within 12″) and the access to Hidden Agents for +D3 CP at the beginning of the game helps offset the lack of the first turn CP you give away for taking mercenaries.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
The choice is up to you here. I much prefer the Drakescale cloak on my Shyish battlemage to keep him alive chucking out those sweet sweet -2 bravery debuffs. You don’t really use your heroes to do any damage so offensive picks are kind of moot. If you want to be a bit more mobile pick up the Thermalrider Cloak for one of your wizards to be able to zip around and get close enough to drop Vitriolic spray.
The Blackark Fleetmaster is there to make the Kharidbys and Corsairs count as battle line
The rest of the selection is a strong magic phase selection. You have the sorceress to go with the darkshards for the run and shoot and so she can eat them for +2 to cast to reliably drop either the -1 to hit words of pain or the -2 Bravery aura Horrorgast
The Shyish battlemage is your lists MVP with his own -2 Bravery spell. Keep him safe and screened and let him blast that thing on whatever is near the Kharibdys and Horrorghast auras.
The other two battlemages are personal preference. I like taking the Fireball spell and Chain Lightning spell to put a few MW onto units as once they lose a single model they have to make a battleshock test and with this list that’s a BIG deal. When you’re throwing out double digit debuffs even demons drop to bravery 0 and will be losing D6+1 models if even a single guy dies. Hit a unit of things like Ungor who start at bravery 4 and you can push them well into the negatives so a single dead model could mean 12 or more flee in addition.
This is a Battleshock/Bravery nuking list and these are the big players and their role:
ARMY MVP: CRYPT FLAYERS
The Crypt flayers are why this list works. Each model has a shriek which is 2d6 – enemy bravery mortal wounds. With -9 potential debuff during the shooting phase (the 2 from the decimators is specifically in battleshock phase) these guys just SPEW mortal wounds. Lets say you’ve got 3 models screaming at say Nagash. You’ve layered on say -8 of your potential debuffs (easy to do, honest) those three are each doing 2d6-2 MW each. That’s an AVERAGE of 15 MW. How am I getting that number? Bravery 10 gets debuffed to Bravery 2. Then you roll 2d6 and every point above 2 is a MW. That average roll of 7 is 5 damage. You can do upwards of 30 MW from that 3 man unit in this case. If you hit something NOT bravery 10 to start this number skyrockets as you drop their bravery into the negatives.
How we get there:
Shyish Battlemage (-2 bravery to one target)
Dark Riders (-1 bravery to all targets in 12″)
Kharibdys (-3 bravery to all targets in 12″)
Horrorgast (-1 bravery to all targets in 12″, -2 if within 6″)
Suffocating Gravetide (-1 bravery to what it hit and does a few MW and can be used to trigger checks)
Decimators (-2 bravery in 6″ ONLY IN THE BATTLESHOCK PHASE)
Darkshards: They’re there to splitfire and put 1 or 2 dead models onto multiple units within the aura ranges and trigger battleshock tests. They cant inspiring presence everything every round but they CAN inspiring presence ONE unit every round so don’t focus fire. Secondary role is to NUKE things like star drakes, Nagash, Arkhan, Bloodthirsters, etc that you’ve managed to tag with Vitriolic spray.
Corsairs: They’re cheap bodies to keep your general alive, hold objectives, and with a CP can become 4 attacks per model when you need to ginsu something big you tagged with vitriolic spray.
Mercenaries – The Tenebrous Court
Say hello to the dumbest broken idea that ever existed. Being able to take units of banshee screaming Crypt Flayers in an army that can DRASTICALLY increase their effectiveness by tanking the target number they need to roll over with their Death Shriek.
The person in charge of game design that decided to let you take models from entirely different grand alliances should have been fired. This rule is dumb, and people get super salty when you use this list against them. That said, its a LOT of fun.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
Magic Phase Goals:
You have a LOT of casts per turn and a lot of dispel attempts and being cities of Sigmar your endless spells are always empowered and being Anvilgard you have access to one of the most rage inducing debuffs in the game: Vitriolic spray.
Here are your priorities:
#1 Get horrorghast up and going tagging as many as possible and try to get it within 6″ of preferably 2 units but make sure its in range of at LEAST one threat.
#2 Get Pall of Doom off on whatever your Crypt Flayer squad wants to scream at. Preferably something near Horrorgast and /or your Kharibdyss/Dark Rider bomb.
#3 Vitriolic Spray whatever big bad got too close to your wizards. If something is in range try this first to bait out the enemy unbinds so you can safely drop your higher priority spells. If you CAN do this form your sorceress whos eaten a crossbowman for the +2. Dropping a stardrakes save to “-” then nuking it in a single turn with 80 pt chaff or crossbow volume of shots is funny.
#4 Get Gravetide up and in the face of enemy units you want to keep at bay. It still counts as a model so your opponent has to go around it. Put it in the right place and its a fast moving wall to block their advances while also contributing to the bravery debuff train and triggering a check if it kills a model.
#5 Use Sap Strength / Word of Pain to cripple enemy units. Use the -1 to hit penalty to turn off “6+” abilities or drop them both on something scary and turn “hitting on 4’s” into “hitting on 6’s” Makes Gristlegore Terrorgeists hit like wet noodles.
#6 Last and Least is damage. Chain Lightning, Fireball, Arcane bolt can all be used to do a small amount of damage to multiple units as needed to trigger tests. Splitfire these where possible.
Deploy your Kharibdys, one unit of Dark riders, and your Shyish wizard in a deathball opposite whatever big block your opponent has that you want to panic off the board. Deploy your Crypt flayers on flanks behind cover. Stop the enemy from shooting them and don’t forget they fly so you can zip up into screaming range from behind a wall where needed. Your Ballistae should be on terrain where possible while also offering wide firing angles so you can tag objectives. Dark shards and Sorceress should get dropped DIRECTLY opposite something with a low armor save so you can run and shoot them with a CP and get to midboard and delete something with your 40 shots hitting on 3’s while hopefully sitting on an objective. Your corsairs and general should be somewhere they can advance up to an objective from behind cover and are there to act as a screening unit and ablaitive wounds for your general to throw out sap strength. The rest is just careful planning on where you’re gonna need spell impact and debuff auras or counterplay models.
Dark Riders have a 12″ aura and are fast. They have a lot of shots and are scary but don’t generally do much damage. Use them to run up flanks and threaten backfield objectives and force your opponent to keep something on their in-deployment objectives. You want to keep at least 1 model alive for the debuff so don’t get them into combat unless you have to.
Your endgame is making a layered area of debuffs on/around objectives that your opponent has to come into to contest points. Entering these points is then a risk that they just panic off the board to inferior troops. I have had a unit of 6 leftover corsairs after getting charged by a block of 6 Bullgor kill a single model and have 5 bullgor run away.
Play keepaway with your Kharibdys. While its a big scary model it does NOT hit very hard even with the 1 CP for +1 to each attack. Its there to deal with light chaff units and provide its -3 bravery aura. DO NOT engage elite units with it. Keep it out of combat and don’t be afraid to retreat with it if it gets charged. Yes you lose a round of attacks, yes it means it wont heal, that doesn’t matter it also wont take another round of wounds in combat and will be on the table longer for its debuff. Let your fear and wizards and crypt flayers and ballistae kill stuff for you.
Secret Bonus Objective:
Make your opponent cry. I have gone 8 wins 0 losses with this list now against skilled opponents and tournament quality lists. Seeing a Stardrake get 1 turn KO’s by Vitriolic spray and corsairs is infuriating. Seeing a unit of 20 sequitors get annihilated by a few debuffs and a single unit of crypt flayer screaming at it is demoralizing. Killing a single model out of a unit of Bullgor and having 20 wounds worth of beef just walk away is rage inducing. This list? Every. Damn. Turn. Is. Torture.
Side note: This WILL get errata’d if it ever goes to a major event. I 100% guarantee you. This list breaks a core game design element and feels entirely like an exploit. You cant really out shoot it (as its got the ballistae, 20 dark shards, and a bunch of wizards, and crypt flayers) you cant approach it (as then you’re in debuff range and even the slightest breeze will delete whole units) and you cant out run it (crypt flayers fly, dark riders are fast, and it can trap you with gravetide)
ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS