When most players think of Deepkin, they think of Eels. Deepkin players get to hear it all. Eels are autopilot, broken, unfair, need nerfing and the rest. However to those that pilot Eels, we all know that is far from the truth. We sacrifice magic, bravery, command abilities and numbers in order to play a certain way. This is for those brave brothers and sisters who dare to venture into the deep abyss and smile at those looking up from the Aether Sea.
This list focuses on the enclave Fuethan and utilising the most potent of synergies to maximise the benefits. I do genuinely think enclaves such as Dom Hain and Ionrach are also very competitive but Fuethan matches more my play style and supports the armies most elite unit.
Combining the tide mechanic, the enclave re-rolls and soulscryers delivery mechanic, the list looks to be as flexible as it can be going into any matchup. Depending on the matchup a unit’s role can change drastically. With Fuethan it’s all about controlled aggression. From our time in the depths and the horrors down there, we all know what happens when you pick a fight with the wrong fish.
In a world of Ghosts, Trees that stalk from within the shadows of their woods, Demons, Angels from the sky that crash into the ground to an orchestra of lightning, blood drinking psychopaths and many more, the nightmares we bring are forgotten quickly but happen all the same.
Missile weapons can only be used to target an Idoneth Deepkin unit if it is the closest visible unit.
This is a great protection tool. In the list the Thralls need to be shielded. Blades in hand they will escort their Queen up the board in almost every game. Using the eels or a pesky Soulscryer to come off a board edge to shield them is a huge benefit. The eels can easily absorb a D6 damage shooting attack and players shouldn’t shy away from this. Mobility is the armies key to victory, not damage. The Thralls output and contribution to the game depend on how well you protect them. This is a huge part of that.
Imagine 10 Thralls finally make it into a wild wood, where quivering Winter Leaf Dryads are hiding…
Our other allegiance ability is the Tides of Death. This is the most important aspect of the army. It provides our mobility. With our ears to the air, we listen for the crashing waves of Flood Tide.
Tides of Death
- Low Tide – In this battle round, all units with the Tides of Death battle trait are treated as being in cover.
- Flood Tide – In this battle round, all units with the Tides of Death battle trait that can run still either shoot or charge in the same turn (but not both).
- High Tide – In this battle round, units with the Tides of Death battle trait fight before any other units in the combat phase. Fight with all eligible Idoneth Deepkin units one after the other, and then resolve any fights with any other units.
- Ebb Tide – In this battle round, all units with the Tides of Death battle trait that retreat can still either shoot or charge in the same turn (but not both).
- Repeat the four Tides of Death steps, starting with low tide.
This is our default Tides of Death. However when you take the Fuethan Enclave, you replace Ebb Tide with Flood Tide. When the Queen herself calls for the winds to push High Tide closer to us, flipping the tides, it becomes apparent how our mobility changes:
Fuethan Tides of Death (Flipped)
- Flood Tide
- High Tide
- Flood Tide
- Low Tide
- Flood Tide
We now enter a place where the army is able to run and charge turn 1/3/5 whilst fighting first in every combat throughout the second turn. This tool enables the army to really showcase it’s mobility and take control of the match.
In order to flip the tides the Tidecaster must be the general. Whilst some see this as a tax (3 x 10 Thralls) the army lacks wizards and it’s a great opportunity for the Queen to leave the halls of Fuethan and come on a raid. So before each and every game, you have the choice to play under the Idoneth Tides of Death or the Fuethan Tides. This is a big element of the match and will inform your game plan but more on this later. For now, just imagine when we flip the tides, there is blood in the water.
During the Hero Phase, Lliandra and her Priests can perform a famous Isharann Ritual. This is not a spell.
Rolling 2D6 the aim is to hit a 10+. There are various ways to buff this roll depending on the proximity of there heroes and who is casting it but the with out an Eidolon of Fuethan, there are two options available.
Ritual of Erosion – Until your next hero phase, enemy units do not receive any benefit of cover.
Ritual of Tempest – Until your next hero phase, enemy models cannot fly.
Switching off fly is huge and is something you want to attempt almost every turn. More on the best way to achieve this later but it should be on the forefront of your mind when the Gloomtides of Fuethan wash up on shore.
Predators of the Ethersea – At the start of your hero phase, roll a dice for each unit within 3′ of this terrain feature. On a 4+ you take a mortal wound, on a 6+ the unit takes D3. Idoneth Units are not affected.
Each Deepkin army can take up to two Gloomtide Shipwrecks. They are placed pre-game once territories are known but before any models go down. Depending on the scenario and your opponent these are great tools to deny deployments or routes to objectives.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Born of Agony – Increase the General’s wound characteristic by 2.
Opting for the command trait provides added security in combination with her ability:
Spirit Guardians – The first wound allocated to this model each turn is negated.
I have seen some players say that her role is over once the tides flip but that is shockingly dangerous. She is crucial to winning some of the scenarios and in a realm based world, provides our only access to magic and unbinds.
Doppelgänger Cloak – The bearer cannot be selected as a target of melee attacks until they have fought.
One does not simply attack a King of Fuethan. As a King should, this artefact dictates when the Pole Arm will take a head to be fed to his Nightmare.
I see lists with Etheral Amulet and Cloud of Midnight all the time. I’ve danced in the midnight cloud myself but ultimately magic prevails. Once the King arrives, with both the Amulet and Cloud in hand, magic will eventually get him. It’s very rare that rend attacks him (No one should be allowed to attack the King) and in my experience, you pop the Cloud either before a role off or in desperation leading to his demise the following turn.
The cloak helps provide security turn 1 and 3 when the King will ultimately choose his victim and charge in. You can activate other units in safety or, as he is so brave, the King can attempt to tackle the opposing Cloak wearer and make them miss their attacks, protecting his men.
The artefact has utility the other’s simply don’t. Better players can weight of dice / mortal wound off ethereal or force the cloud to be used. Doppelgänger forces them to have to play around it just by it’s very nature.
Lliandra Soultear, Queen of Fuethan
Spirit Guardians – The first wound allocated to this model each turn is negated.
The Wide Ethersea – If this model is your general, at the start of the first battle round you can declare that the Tides of Death table will be reversed.
The Queen is one of the key components to the army. I see many Deepkin players say that her main role is to flip the tides. This isn’t really true.
‘The Flip’ is dependant on scenario and opponent. High Tide in turn 3 is still a huge asset. Flood Tide still occurs turn 2 and 4, however more on this decision later.
The key role of the Queen is to add realm spells to the army and help provide objective support in scenarios such as Relocation Orb and Three Arcane Places of Power.
Her spell choice, Steed of Tides, essentially allows her to teleport 24′ from her casting location. Her warscroll spell ‘Riptide’ also has a very useful -1 to hit and a delayed D3 mortal wounds. These are all utility options that she can use to best support the Thralls.
She only has access to one unbind but denying another wood being laid or a hand of dust from Nagash can be a game changing moment.
Lyari Syllyn, Royal Priest + Lhoris Enleth, Priest of the Royal Council
Finder of Ways – Instead of setting up this unit on the battlefield, you can place it to one side and say that it is set up traveling the ethersea. If you do so, when you would set up another friendly Idoneth Deepkin unit, you can say that it is joining this model in the ethersea. Up to 2 units can join this model in that way. At the end of any of your movement phases, you can set this model up wholly within 6′ of the edge of the battlefield and more than 9′ away from enemy models, then set up any units that joined the model wholly within 6′ of the edge of the battlefield, wholly within 12′ of this model, and more than 9′ away from enemy models.
Seeker of Souls – Pick a visible unit within 24. If you do so, you must add 3 to charge rolls for friendly Idoneth Deepkin units that are within 12′ of that unit.
The role of both Soul Scryers is to provide a perception threat. The Scryer is able to deploy in the Aether Sea, off the board. When he does this you can place two units with him when you come to deploy them.
Once on the board, the Scryer can point at a unit within 24 and provide a +3 to charge the unit for any units within 12. Essentially he is the delivery mechanic / support piece for an alpha strategy.
Deepmare Horn – Roll a dice if this model ends a charge move within 1′ of any enemy units. On a 2+, the nearest enemy unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.
Akhelian Paragon – Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for friendly Akhelian units while they are within 12 of this model.
Wave Rider – In the combat phase, this model’s bladed pole arm has a damage characteristic of 3 if the model made a charge move in the same turn.
The King, as any King should, makes a big impact on the charge. It gives the army access to mortal wound damage whilst providing re-rolls to any Eels nearby.
He provides the same -2 rend 3 damage as the Eidolon but doesn’t require the 400 point sync. His real plus is he upgrades a unit of 6 Eels to 9 for the same points. He also retains the 14′ mobility allowing him to be anywhere that’s needed. He wants to be bullying fringe units of fighting with Eels. Investing him to an objective only on ones that require heroes.
Namarti Thralls (Battleline)
Sweeping Blows – Plus 1 attack against single wound models. Plus 1 damage against models with 4 or more wounds.
These are the one of the most important aspects of the army. They provide a great battle line remover whilst also possessing the ability to remove monsters. Combined with the Fuethan ability to re-roll 1’s to hit during flood tide they become very reliable at putting wounds on models with rend. These are not to be used to screen. They are not expendable. You need these units to send firm, raise blades and mince road blocks or objective threats. They love doing it, let them live with love.
The secondary aspect to them is they possess a 6′ move and can run and charge 3 turns out of 5. Make sure you set them up to catch units out of position.
Biovoltaic Blast – Once per battle, at the start of the combat phase 1 roll one dice for each Eel in the unit. For each 3+ pick an enemy unit within 3′ of this unit. That unit suffers 1 mortal wound. For each 6+ that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.
Wave Riders – This units voltspears have a rend characteristic of -2 and a damage characteristic of 2 if the unit made a charge move in the same turn.
Morrsarr Guard are the elite unit of the Deepkin. Every army has their unit and this, if the pride of the ethersea. Their mobility of 14′ provides the flexibility to be anywhere they need to be as the battle evolves. Combined with the run and charge aspect of Flood Tide in turns 1/3/5. They often can be a good target for your command points should you need to move 20′ and then charge.
At 4 wounds a piece the unit is surprisingly tanky but can suffer to battleshock at bravery 6. They need to execute the crux of the battle plan. How you use your Eels in combination with your Thralls will inform the end result. Lose them too early and you fold quickly. Attack the wrong targets and you lose to damage. Their role changes depending on the opponent and scenario.
Descend to battle – Deploy in the sky. Come down any turn 9′ away from enemy units.
Death from above – The turn they come down, their javelins count as -2 rend.
This unit provides the army with another perceptional threat. Deploying them in the sky means your opponent has to account for them at all times. It keeps units on objectives and allows the army to fight their opponent piecemeal. They provide a greater threat by not being on the table.
The turn they descend and become -2 rend allows them to chip off. support hero or that last wound. They are awesome and provide Lliandra with the wings she needs to soar above the other enclaves.
Again though, they possess great mobility. Making them a huge asset to the army and a vital ally.
To the surprise of some I’m sure, there is much more to playing Deepkin than simply charging Eels in turn 1.
Whilst each scenario and opponent present different issues these are the key considerations you should be making during all games.
In relation to the mission and the opponents army look to place the boats to help either bottle them up or protect paths to objectives. If your against a horde army and you know they want to utilise the space in their deployment zone, placing boats in there could throw them off.
Each boat should be placed with purpose. They are tools to help inform the early stage of the battle. Use them wisely.
Dead drops give more information on your opponents deployment. Heartrenders in the sky should almost always be your first drop. Followed by two scryers.
When deploying the Scryers, know whether or not switching fly off turn 1 is more important than a charge. If so deploy one next to your Tidecaster, possibly by a boat to help improve your chances of the ritual.
This allows you to see where three units are deployed without giving your strategy away just yet.
Thralls should be placed on home objectives or on paths where you want them to travel. They are not screening units and should not be given up lightly. IF you are to be alpha’d by the tricky trees then make sure you split them up evenly forcing the opponent to choose where to be.
Tidecaster can be a dead drop as you want her central anyway to help dispel and support.
Finally the Eels can either surprise your opponent by being deployed on the table or add them to the sea. However before any Eels go down you must know your strategy for turn 1 and if you are going to have the choice of turn.
Tides of Death Reverse
This is another key tool. Are you going to need to run and charge turn 1? Is turn 2 combat key? Are you going to be putting intense pressure early on your opponent or are you going to wait till they are more spread out before you attack?
These are all careful considerations when deciding. Flipping the tides is not an auto choice but given the combined benefits with Fuethan the mobility provided for those 3 turns can win you the game in itself. All the more reason to make sure they don’t die early.
Realm command abilities and run rolls. The Eels have a built in re-roll and therefore are not in need of it. Think a turn ahead. Do you need a double run in the following Flood Tide? Consider when and where to use them.
The other core use for them is battleshock. Counter charges can happen even with the protection high tide and losing whole models to battleshock simply cannot happen.
There are really two strategies to adopt.
You flip the tides. Sense an opportunity to feed the Eels early and get the nod from Lliandra. Thralls are deployed in the Sea as support and the Eels are set on the edge of deployment ready to run and charge.
This strategy is designed to put your opponent into a reactive state. IF you dictate tempo early they cannot execute their gameplan. There are risks of alpha’ing of course but the reality is some armies grow stronger as the match progresses and for the Deepkin, the best path to victory is to win before then.
However this requires your synergies to be all in range, your target priority to be correct and for the trade off, as you will lose your Eels unsupported, to be match winning.
Know that your rolling heavy before you deploy any Soulscryers. They can even come on and provide charging bonuses without having to take the eels. The Eels can move 20 guaranteed turn one and charge with +6. Be aware of this.
This strategy is one I mostly employ. Take what your opponent gives you. Read the table with every deployment drop. This is harder to do as more goes into this strategy but it is equally as viable.
If they are slow, can’t block board edges or have alpha units. Simply deploy in safety. Never lose sight of the fact the game is a 5 turn game and that the mobility Fuethan affords you provides ample opportunities to recover.
This is controlled aggression waiting for the right moment to strike. Force your opponent to answer your Thralls. Get great value out of them whilst creating enough of a distraction that your opponent simply has to deal with them. High Tide is great protection. They should be in combat during every High Tide when possible. Looking to clear objectives. You need to set this up beforehand and be aware of it.
Finally when everything is said and done, the tide rolls back the souls are claimed. We head home with Lliandra to strengthen the enclave. To all those brave enough to venture into the Ethersea, I’ll see you shore side!