Hi guys, I’m Krohn. I ran this list at Cancon 2019, and it did fairly well, getting to top table and going 5-1 in the end. I was even lucky enough to be featured on the stream twice! (day 2, games 1 and 3, if you want to see this list in action)
I’m doing a write up here in hopes it will inspire more KO players to bring the skydwarves to tournaments and prove we can still win!
KO have six different ways to run their Allegiance abilities. I chose Barak Zilfin because I think with so many powerful armies in the meta with flying units, it’s Master the Skies Ability is very useful, and it’s Aetherspheric Endrins give the list the mobility it lacks.
Master the Skies
This ability allows every Kharadron Overlord in the army to reroll 1’s to hit and to wound against any flying unit. This is extremely useful against Nightnaunt, and because so many large monsters have fly (Nagash, Stardrakes, Allariele, Ect…) it really helps Arkanauts.
Don’t Argue with the wind
This ability lets all airships automatically roll a 6 when running. The airships don’t run much, as they want to be shooting as much as possible, but it combo’s well with There’s always a breeze if you look for it.
There’s always a breeze if you look for it.
This is a once-a-game ability that allows you to move an airship in the hero phase. This ability is still a bit of a sore spot for me, as you used to be able to move a ship with it, and then disembark, but as of the latest FAQ they removed this ability. Now it’s best use is to work with Don’t Argue with the wind to get a Frigate to jump 32″ onto an uncontested objective. (10″ move + 6″ run x2)
There’s no trading with some people
Barak-Zilfin allows you to pick one extra footnote, and I always go with this one, in all my lists. It’s another once-per-game ability that allows you to add D3 mortal wounds to any weapon damage you do. it’s the only way for KO to deal offensive mortal wounds, and is sorely needed by the army. It effectively works as a coup de gra on any character you juust didn’t manage to kill. I’ve managed to finish off everything from a Knight of Shrouds to a Stardrake with this!
This is a nice ability that gives your airships a 6+ save against mortal wounds. It helps a little, but isn’t game changing
Unique Artefact – Aetherspheric Endrins
This is the other main reason I chose Barak-Zilfin. Aetherspheric Endrins attaches to an airship and allows it to be held in reserve, coming down at the start of the hero phase anywhere 9″ away from the enemy. any units inside can disembark but must also stay 9″ away, and cannot move after (although they can still charge!). This allows me to deploy the Frigate and Thunderers anywhere on there board where they’ll do the most damage. It adds much needed maneuverability and board control to the list, and I always deploy the Frigate in reserve using it.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
The command trait I chose was Stickler for the code which allows me to generate an extra footnote. I used this to get around Barak-Zilfins inability to take These are just guidelines naturally. These are just guidelines lets me change my main Artycle ability, which in this case was Master the skies.
I chose this so that if I come up against an army that doesn’t have any flying units, I have the chance of changing it to something more useful. However, the Artycle change is random, and for the most part, the other abilities are relatively useless, save for settle the grudges, allowing you to pick an enemy unit and reroll hits and wounds on one against it with your whole army, but its a one in six chance. I would change my command trait if I take this list again, as it was just too situational and random.
I took the Aethershock Earbuster to put on the Khemist in the Frigate. The Aethershock Earbuster is attached to a weapon, and whenever that weapon deals a casualty to a unit, it must take an immediate battleshock test. This is an amazing ability. I shoot it at the same unit the Thunderers shot at, and any casualties suffered by the enemy unit count towards the battleshock. not only that, but because its done in the shooting phase, the opponent cannot benefit from inspiring presence or the bravery boost from 10+ models! this makes it very dangerous against hoards like Goblin Stabbas, Orruks and even large Death units. It also compliments the Thunderers well.
Kharadron Overlords have a few Hero options, however I think only one is really worth it.
The buffs the Khemist dispenses is so integral to a KO army, that I think the entire army should be built around it. the Khemist can select one weapon type in a unit, and give it +1 attack. this is’nt that useful for Volley guns, who already have 6 shots, but for a Light Skyhook, which only comes with one shot, a Khemist can double its output. Thunderers, are also a good target, turning their 2 shot rifle into a 3 shot rifle.
In order to maximise the Khemist buffs, I think every KO unit should be given as much of the same weapon as possible, so avoid mixing and matching Arkanaut special weapons, and just avoid the Thunderer special weapons in general after GHB 2017.
I took two Khemists in my list, one to buff the 40 man Arkanaut squad, and on to buff the Thunderers. I gave the Artifact to the Khemist with the Thunderers because his ranged attack is only 10″, and the Artifact is optimized at destroying hoards, which is what Thunderers want to be doing too. I put the General in the gunline with the 40 Arkanauts so his inspiring presence can reach every unit in the screen, and give the Evocators a guaranteed 6 on their run when they move out late game. As this list doesn’t start with any command points though, you need to be very careful where and when you spend them.
Every KO list needs Arkanauts. They’re our only battleline option, and can actually be really effective if equipped right and supported.
For every 10 models in a unit, Arkanauts can take 3 special weapons, chosen from a list of 3 different types of weapon. Again, to optimize the Khemists buff, it’s better to only pick one type of weapon per squad. The Light Skyhook has 24″ range, 1 shot, hitting on 3+, wounding on 4+, -2, damage D3. the Volley gun has 6 shots at 18″ hitting on 5+, wounding on 4+, -1, damage 1. finally, the Skypike is a 2″ melee weapon with 2 attacks, hitting on 4+, woundng on 4+, -1 damage D3. I think the Skyhook is better en mass, with a Khemist to boost them, as a full 40 Arkanauts with 12 Skyhooks will put out 24 shots. The Volley gun works well by itself, and even in small numbers, due to it’s ridiculous amount of shots. The Skypike needs to be thrown off the Sky-Port and forgotten.
Finally, Arkanauts also have Glory Seekers, which gives them +1 to hit Heroes and Monsters. This is an amazing ability as it effectively negates the look out sir rule heroes get for standing next to a unit, and lets you hit Monsters on 3+ with your skyhooks. once you factor in the Master the skies bonus, you’ll be hitting and wounding big Monsters like Nagash and Allariele on 3+ rerolling 1’s. With all these stacked bonuses, the 40 man Arkanaut squad can kill most targets in a single volley.
I took the two 10 man squads to act as a screen for the 40 man squad, by spreading themselves out they can cover a lot of the board, and stop the opponent from charging it turn one. they also put out 18 volley gun shots each, which can actually threaten smaller supporting characters if they come into range. if they survive into the late game, you want them to push out to harass and whittle down the opponent.
The 40 Arkanuats job is to sit in your rear lines and take out as many large, scary units as possible. rmember that they have a 4″ move and a 24″ range, so their effective threat range is 28″. you need to be precise with your measurements in this army, being just an inch shy of Nagash can cost you the game.
Finally, when removing casualties, always take the special weapons out last. Every other Arkanaut is just an ablative wound for the special weapons.
Thunderers are in an interesting place in the KO book. they used to be so good they where broken, but that changed in the GHB 2017, and now they can only take one of each special weapon per 5. however, they can still all use the standard Aethershot rifle, which has 2 shots at 18″, 3+ to hit, 4+ to wound, -1, damage 1. in larger squads, and especially when buffed by a Khemist, they can put out a lot of relatively accurate shots, which will cut through hoards and 10 man units.
I took an under strength unit of 14 Thunderers so they would fit in the Frigate alongside the Khemist. I take them to drop down in the Frigate, and attack the opponent in the flank or rear, targeting units with a lower armor save. they also act as a secondary threat for the opponent, so they split their forces dealing with the main gunline, and the Thunderers. however, the other use for the Thunderers, is stealing valuable objectives from the opponent, in Scenarios like “Knife to the Heart” and “Better Part of Valour” using…
The Thunderer Slingshot
Thunderers have an ability called Keep your distance, which allows them, like Skinks, to retreat and run out of combat instead of attacking. this is great for getting out of a nasty combat, but it can also be used offensively.
You can purposefully charge an enemy unit and retreat in order to quickly re-position the Thunderers. This is amazingly effective at taking objectives. Using the maneuverability of the Frigate, the Thunderer unit can reach almost anywhere on the board. if your opponent has left a lightly guarded objective, you can land 9″ away, shoot the unit off the objective, then charge a nearby unit, or, if there is no nearby unit, purposefully use less of your rifles to ensure one or two from the guarding unit survive. then, you charge at the enemy unit, using a reroll charge command point from the Khemist if necessary, and then retreat 3″ away, and within 6″ of the objective. I won “Knife to the Heart” and “Focal Points” at Cancon 2019 using this tactic. you just need to keep an eye out for any openings.
Sadly, the coolest looking units in the KO book are also the worst. The airships. They lack the defense and firepower to fight other units in their weight class, and cost far too many points to be fielded in numbers where they can compliment each other. However, they can still transport units, and although even this has been affected by the recent FAQ, dropping down with Aetherspheric Endrins still works as indented.
I use the Frigate to Drop the Thunderers and the Khemist to where they can do the most damage. after that, it mostly shoots at what the Thunderers do, or uses Don’t argue with the wind and There’s always a breeze if you look for it to jump 32″ across the board onto an unguarded objective. Don’t expect much from it, but it does look intimidating, and hopefully your opponent will waste some time trying to kill it.
Evocators are great. they have 3 wounds with a 4+ save. the either have 3 attacks at range 2″ with 3+, 3+, -1, damage 2 or 4 attacks at 1″ with 3+, 3+, -1, damage 1. after they fight, you roll a dice for each Evocator in the unit and fir every 4+ you can deal a mortal wound to an an enemy unit within 3″. And they’re wizards to boot! (although they can’t really cast… but they can dispel!)
I took Evocators for a few reasons;
- they are Wizards, who can dispel, and capture the objective in “Relocation Orb” much easier. this is the primary reason I took two units of 5 instead of 1 unit of 10. to maximise their dispell attempts
- They’re tough. and they don’t need a Khemist to make them good in combat, which is the main reason I took them over Endrinriggers. I love our balloon boys, but they’re just so fragile! I gave up a lot of maneuverability to take the Evocators, but I think the Aetherspheric Endrins make up for that, and having that extra wound and being a wizard is so necessary.
- KO really lack the ability to deal mortal wounds offensivly, and Evocators really fill that role with their lightning strike.
I games, I use the Evocators to aid the 10 man Arkanaut teams in screening the 40 Arkanauts. Then in late game pushing out to pressure objectives.
I equipped them as I did, because I didn’t have much experience with Evocators before, so I wanted to go 50/50 on options, to see what worked, but for my next event, I’d definitely give them all Grandstaves.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
The only magic this list has comes from the Evocators, which is Empower, cast on a 6, it lets an Evocator unit reroll its wounds. use this if you have nothing else to do, but remember it can only be cast once a turn, so put it on the Evocator unit that will need it most. However, the best use of the Evocator magic slot is to dispell endless spells, if there are any.
This army relies on screening and outflanking to win.
this army needs to be used very precisely. you need to pre-measure a lot, and know your opponents threat ranges. the army is 7 drops, so you’ll usually not get to choose to go first, but that’s ok, you want to go second anyway. when deploying, deploy the Frigate with the Thunderers and the Khemist in the sky first, so you can force your opponent to reveal more of his deployment before you start. then, deploy the 2, 10 man Arkanaut teams spread out in a thin line across the deployment, beyond the opponents front units maximum threat range (their move+charge and sometimes +sometimes run aswell), so hopefully they can’t charge you turn one. then deploy the Evocators touching the back of the Arkanauts bases, ready to counterattack. Then place the 40 Arkanauts 4″ behind the front of the Arkanaut screen, to keep them out of any combat. always deploy the Skyhooks at the front and in a group. If your opponent has “deepstriking” units spread the pistol Arkanauts from this squad out in a “conga line” behind your line to make sure there aren’t any 9″ gaps for them to deploy in. Finally, put the General Khemist somewhere inside this blob.
Now, some opponents will still charge you turn one, because they can come in 9″ away from reserve or Teleport units or have ridiculous threat ranges (30″+). If they do, it’s ok. your Volley guns will die, your Evocators will be decimated, but if your skyhooks survive, then you’ll be fine.
After the opponents first turn, start shooting at their army with everything you’ve got! target their supporting characters if theyre in range, and always go for the big kills if possible! (Nagash, Greater Daemons, Ect…) break up their initial charge with the Evocators, Volley guns and Arkanaut pistols, then push out as soon as possible. Get the Evocators into the center-line and start pressuring the enemy. never lose sight of the Scenario Objective.
The outflanking is done by the Thunderers. After the opponents first turn (even if you go first! the Thunderers can wait that long!). put them in a position where they can do the most damage, or threaten a vital objective. make their presence known to your opponent, and force them to pull some of their force assaulting your main gunline away to deal with them. Constantly retreat and harass them, and take any opening you can get! And remember the “Thunderer Slingshot” to take their objectives!
An essential rule to remember is to be flexible. if your opponent is also running a ranged army like Freeguild or Tzeench (or KO), there’s no need for a screen. Be aggressive! push out immediately with the Evocators and Arkanauts, get in range of their vulnerable units and destroy them. Skyhooks have some of the longest range in the game, so they’ll win against most other ranged units.
In scenarios like “Knife to the Heart” its better to wait until the turn 2 or 3 to drop the Frigate, so the opponent can’t retaliate against the Thunderers until it’s too late, or in scenarios like “Places of Power” where objectives can only be captured by heroes, it’s better to hide the Khemist in the frigate. The Thunderers are ok even without his buff, and if your opponent kills him before he takes an objective, you’re in trouble.
Never be rigid with your tactics, and always adapt to what your opponent is doing.
I found this army is awesome at scenarios like “Better Part of Valor” and “Knife to the heart” where you can really concentrate on holing your objectives and steal your enemies from under their nose with the Thunderers. It struggles in “Places of Power” where it does’t have enough durable heroes to take the objectives early, and you really need to focus on killing your opponents heroes first, and “Focal Points” where it doesn’t have enough durable units to hold that much of the board at once, although you can certainly try with the Evocators!
This army does really well against armies with a lot of flying units like Nighthaunt heavy lists and Gloomspite due to Master the skies, and small, elite lists like Stormcast, who they can just shoot off the table. it struggles against lists like Khalibron Daughters, Idoneth and Sylvaneth, who all severely hamper your shooting ability. Against Khalibron, shoot only what you absolutely need to, and focus on the objectives. Against Sylvaneth, wait for them to charge out of their damn forests and into your screen to shoot them, and remember that Alarielle has fly, so she’s not covered by them! Against Idoneth, a lot of their units have fly, so youll get rerolls, but use the Thunderers to outflank and shoot units they’re trying to keep covered.
Well, thanks for reading all that! I hope I can inspire some more KO players to join the competitive scene, we need to show them that shooting is back! If I find any other lists that work well for me, I’ll post them up here, but until then,