You may have seen plenty of lists out there that are built to make the best out of Grand Alliance Order and you may have rejoiced at the magnificence of their synergy. Well I say Silence Fool! For you have not welcomed the Grand Alliance Chaos into your heart. When you do, you will understand the power that is just a painting project away. The beauty of this list is the multiple strands of synergy that it contains, all linked to Archaon and his brilliant command ability. The list has great board control and is difficult to remove from objectives. What is not to like?
The Chaos Allegiance Ability can be very fickle yet rewarding when it manifests itself during a game of AOS. The Battle Trait Unbridled Malice means that when a Chaos unit is chosen to fight, you roll a dice if the unit is within 12” of your general or 3” of a friendly hero. On a 6+ add +1 to Hit for that unit. More on this later!
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
As a named character Archaon graces the tabletop with a host of abilities and they are:
The Eye of (Ed) Sheerian. This allows you to roll a die in the hero phase, you are really looking for a 4+ here, as when the opposing player rolls to hit Archaon and rolls the same result that you did, you can make them reroll the attack.
The Slayer of Kings. If Archaon directs all his attacks at the same hero or monster and rolls two or more sixes to wound the target is instantly slain. Being unworthy, this is something that I have never achieved.
The Armour of Morkarr. I love this, any roll of a six to save a wound causes a mortal wound on the attacking unit and guess what, it applies in the shooting phase as well!
Chaos Runeshield. Any Mortal wound inflicted upon Archaon is negated on a roll of 5+
The Crown of Domination. This can buff your units or de-buff enemy units, really solid. Pick a unit that is about to take a Battleshock Test within 10” of Archaon, you can adjust the result of the dice roll up or down by two.
The Everchosen. This negates the effect of an opponent’s spell on Archaon on a 4+
Triple Headed Monstrosity. Archaon rides into battle on the chaos dragon Dorghar. This creature of chaos as a few abilities ss well as having some great combat potential. The main one for me is the ability to cause D3 mortal wounds on an enemy unit within 7” when the three heads attack and slay at least one enemy model.
Magic. Archaon is a wizard and can cast and dispel two spells a turn, now that is not to shoddy is it!
Warlord Without Equal. This is the crux of the list, Archaon being the general of the army can spend a command point and in doing so unlocks all the command abilities of other units within your list.
To get the best out Archaon’s Warlord Without Equal Ability you need to select characters that have their own Command Ability. Mine come in the form of a Harbinger of Decay and two, yes two Lords of Blights.
All three are key pieces and their survivability depends on clever placement on the tabletop. They are all durable with a 4+ save and seven wounds, but switched on opponents will seek their demise, understanding that the removal of these characters will ultimately lead to you losing the game.
Onto specifics: The Harbinger’s command ability is entitled Morbid Vigour and this grants a 5+ save for any wound or mortal wound inflicted on a unit with the Nurgle key word that is within seven inches of the Harbinger. The Harbinger is also given the Chaos artifact Crown of Conquest which makes units with the Chaos key word immune to battle shock when within six inches of the Harbinger.
The Lord of Blights’ command ability is entitled Plague of Flies and this allows you to pick a unit with the Nurgle keyword within 21 inches of the Lord of Blights. Subtract 1 from all rolls to hit against the selected unit in the shooting phase and if the unit contains 20 or more models subtract 2 from shooting attacks and 1 from rolls to hit in the combat phase. Excellent right! And you have two of them!
To get the best out of the characters in the list there needs to be a recognition that most of the units selected must have a large number of warriors available to them and they need to be able to have the Nurgle keyword. Chaos Marauders fit the bill nicely and the list has two units of 40 and one unit of 20.
Each unit has a Damned Icon and a Tribal Banner. The Damned Icon allows the unit to re-roll hit rolls of 1 and the Tribal Banner adds one to the unit’s Bravery. The units are equipped with Barbarian Axes and Darkwood Shields and given the mark of Nurgle. The axes hit on a 4+ and wound on a 4+ which appears poor but, there is a bit of subtle brutality here as Marauders have an ability named Barbarian Hordes. This allows you to roll a die when a unit of Marauders piles in and on a 4+ you get +1 to hit and on a 6+ you get +1 to hit and wound. This is further amplified by the ability, if you have 20 or more models in the unit you can add +1 to the original die roll, this means that the effect actually triggers on a 3+/5+. So, what is the result of all that? well it means that you could be hitting and wounding on 3+. Well, that is not quite true, remember the list’s allegiance ability? That’s right the Battle Trait Unbridled Malice, this allows you to roll a die when you choose a chaos unit within 12 inches of your general or 3 inches of a hero, and on a 6+ the unit gets a further +1 to hit. As a result, you could actually be hitting on a 2+ (rerolling 1’s) and wounding on a 3+. When this happens, it can be brutal. Finally, the Marauder’s shields provide them with a 5+ save.
The list is rounded out with a unit of 5 Blight Kings and 10 Ungors. I will not dwell on the special rules for these units as they are secondary to the marauders. But, more on that later.
All the characters and units in the list, apart from the Ungor are chosen within the Everchosen battalion Plaguetouched Warband. This battalion brings with it two abilities and they are Grandfather’s Favour and Life Abundant.
The former allows you to deploy your larger marauder units with 35 models rather than 40, 35 being a multiple of Nurgle’s sacred number 7. Losing five models gains the following: – in the combat phase any wounding hit of 6+ caused on the unit results in a mortal wound to the attacking unit. Furthermore, when the leader of the unit attacks, roll a die and on a 4+ the leader vomits a mortal wound onto the opposing unit.
Life Abundant synergises well with the Lord of Blights’ command ability as all units within the Plaguetouched Warband are -1 to hit in the combat phase.
There are some guiding principles with this list, and they are as follows: – You are a two drop list so, you should get the choice to go first or second, go first almost always. Trigger all you buffs and move onto the objective/s with your Marauders as soon as you can.
Keep ALL your characters safe to maximise synergy and use your Blight Kings and Ungor to spoil your opponents’ line of attack; what I mean by that is that your opponent will want to get to grips with your Marauder units asap. You can prevent them from doing so by using the Blight Kings and Ungor to slow them down.
Under normal circumstances create ‘tails’ with your Marauder units back to the Harbinger thus allowing them an extra save and immunity from battleshock. Use the command ability of your Lord of Blights to make the larger Marauder units very resilient as they will be -2 to hit in the shooting phase and -2 to hit in the combat phase.
The weakness in the list is its inability to cause a massive amount of damage to your opponent’s army, you have to be lucky to achieve a lot of VP’s but this is just one negative set against a lot of positives.
If you play against a ‘one drop’ list do not worry, deploy in a manner that limits your opponent’s ability to cause damage to your units. Ask your opponent their maximum first turn charge range and make sure you are out of that range for example.
To sum up this list is a ‘brick’ and what I mean by that is that it is designed to switch the power of your opponent’s list off. Some may think that this approach is just ‘not cricket’, I disagree when designing lists players should be selecting their units to deal with lists like this, if they don’t then that is their bad and not yours.