This build is predicated around an unconventional ‘flip-tides’ build using two max blocks of reavers to put out a huge amount of damage from ‘weight of dice’, operating at the back of your lines behind extremely defensive units such as Ishlaen Guard, a Leviadon and an Eidolon of the Storm . The reavers put out damage from both mid (18″) and short (9″) range; with damage output significantly increasing at short range; making the most of the new Unleash Hell command ability.
Forgotten Nightmares allegiance ability is a key, unique strength of Idoneth Deepkin armies:
“Missile weapons can only be used to target an IDONETH DEEPKIN unit with this battle trait if it is the closest visible enemy unit”.
It allows the deepkin player to effectively control which of their units can be shot in any turn, and is especially strong against shooting heavy armies from deployment; as the deepkin player can either essentially sacrifice cheap, expendable units by deploying them closest to the enemy, with their more valuable units behind, safe from shooting attacks (or until all of the closer units have been removed from play).
With access to ally in cheap, fast, throwaway units such as Aetherwings, or to take extremely durable units such as Ishlaen Guard which can be on a 2+ save in combat, or 3+ against shooting and always ignore rend, or a Leviadon with a base save of 2+ and 16 wounds, it becomes very easy for Idoneth Deepkin players to severely hamper the effectiveness of shooting armies.
Tides of Death allegiance ability gives all IDONETH DEEPKIN units a series of changing benefits in each battleround as follows:
Low Tide (Cover), Flood Tide (run and shoot or charge), High Tide (Strike First effect), Ebb Tide (Retreat and shoot or charge), Low Tide (Cover).
These abilities are very strong and affect the entire army, excluding allies (Unless taken in Ionrach enclave with Emissary of the Deep Places command trait, which allows allied units to use the Tides of Death as well – most commonly taken when including Gotrek in the army, as he benefits massively from these abilities and is incredibly strong in AOS3)
Enclave – Fuethan
Revel in Slaughter:
In a normal Fuethan build, this would mean the army would be running and shooting or charging in in T2 and T4 and rerolling 1’s to hit in these turns. However in this ‘flip-tides’ build, we are gaining Flood Tide 3 times (T1, T3 and T5) and therefore receive these brilliant army-wide buffs for the majority of the entire game.
It is quite easy to have many of the attacks in this army hitting on 2s, and therefore reolling 1’s makes the army extremely reliable.
Fiercest of Creatures:
In the combat phase, re-roll wound rolls of 1 for Fuethan mounts.
Mount attacks in this army are the tails and bites of the eels ridden by Ishlaen Guard, and the jaw and fin attacks made by the Leviadon; all of these attacks are often wounding on 2s (thanks to the Eidlon’s 18″ +1 to wound aura) and therefore are incredibly reliable thanks to this rule.
Combined with the Revel in Slaughter ability above, it is very easy to achieve 2s rr 1s, by 2s rr 1s for the eel and leviadon mount attacks, with a lot of additional attacks in the army also being 2s rr 1s, by 2s. This level of reliability in to hit and to wound rolls is rarely seen across so much of an army.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Command Trait – Master of magic – One of the new generic command traits, it lets the Tidecaster general reroll her casts, unbinds and dispels – with Mystic Shield being such a strong spell now, the ability to reroll not only to cast this herself, but also to reroll unbinding attempts of the enemy mystic shield is really strong and the usefulness of this should not be underestimated.
Artefact – Arcane Tome – One of the new universal artefacts, I put this on the Eidolon of the Storm to make him a wizard, allowing him to cast Mystic Shield (5+) (and arcane bolt, though this is rarely a priority, as well as giving him a universal spell; Flaming Weapon (4+) (but again this is rarely a priority) and finally the ability to cast the generic spell from the Ghur Realm, Metamorphosis (5+), turning him (or another Hero wholly within 12″ into a MONSTER until your next hero phase). While he has no casting buffs, all of the spells you want to cast with him have very low casting values, and are therefore pretty easy to cast, so success/ failure comes down to your opponent’s unbinds most of the time.
The Eidolon is considerably faster, survivable and hits a lot harder than either of your other heroes, and with his inbuilt ability to retreat and charge, healing when he does and gaining an additional attack and pip of damage on his spear, he performs best as a ‘lone agent’, where he can go where he wants without moving outside of range of buffs from other units, typically these are spells (either mystic shield or Metamorphosis) and therefore the ability for him to self-apply these buffs by casting the spells himself is great for him. Finally, he also comes with an innate 5+ ward save and therefore doesn’t require the extremely common Amulet of Destiny artefact.
Alternate pick – Cloud of Midnight – This is the old staple Deepkin artefact that was selected in 99% of AOS2 lists; it has the incredibly powerful ability to prevent the bearer from being selected as the target of spells, attacks or abilities in any phase; however, this is limited to once per game, and the bearer themselves is unable to attack or use any spells or abilities in the chosen phase. It was slightly nerfed in AOS3 FAQs to mean that it no longer counted as the closest Deepkin unit for the purposes of Forgotten Nightmares allegiance ability during the shooting phase if the Cloud was used, and as this was typically what the artefact had been used to do (to effectively shut down all enemy shooting for a turn) I think the artefact has lost utility and I now favour the Arcane Tome for the flexibility it provides, as explained above. However it is still a very powerful artefact and can essentially shut down a very powerful enemy unit in a combat phase which may win ‘Hero capture’ missions due to making it impossible for the biggest, baddest Heroes in the game from killing him on a crucial turn. As the game evolves, and depending on preferred playstyle, this could be a very worthwhile choice for Artefact and worth considering still.
Tidecaster – General
The Wide Ethersea:
“If this model if the general of your army, at the start of the first battle round you can declare that the Tides of Death table will be reversed. If you do so, the Ebb Tide ability is used in the first battle round, the High Tide ability is used in the second battle round, the Flood Tide ability is used in the third battle round, and the Low Tide ability is used in the fourth battle round. Then the four Tides of Death steps are repeated in reverse order, starting with Ebb Tide.”
This is the ability we use to ‘flip’ the tides as mentioned in the Allegiance Abilities section and therefore requires us to take a Tidecaster as our general. Previously in AOS2, this was considered suboptimal, as most builds used a large amount of Eels, Ishlaen or Morrsarr, which required an Akhelian King/ Volturnos to be the General to unlock them as battleline. However with the changes to unit composition in AOS3 (unit sizes being determined by reinforcement points), it is a large benefit to have an ISHARANN hero as the general now as this unlocks Namarti Reavers (our key unit in this list) as battleline, which allows us to reinforce these units up to 2 times, giving us units of 30, something that was previously not possible as they had a max size of 20 until AOS3.
Also a wizard, I take the Deepkin spell Abyssal Darkness (5+) which provides a 9″ bubble of Cover, +1 save bubble for all those reavers, I’ll take it. Though I’m usually casting either Mystic Shield or Metamorphosis, depending which of the two spells the Eidolon is casting that turn.
Isharann Soulscryer – PRIEST.
Seeker of Souls
The Soulscryer has always been a very popular hero choice for Deepkin due to his very strong ability of granting +3″ to charge rolls for ALL deepkin units within 12″ of a target enemy unit chosen at the start of the charge phase, within 24″ and visible to the Soulscryer. A very powerful buff, giving you effectively minimum charges of 5″ with any units gaining the buff, and often allowing charges of 10+ helping you jump screens, get into weaker units in the back lines, key heroes etc. whilst also keeping the space in the front of enemy units free for your other units meaning you can get more models into combat range of a single unit. There is one BIG downside to this ability though which I have seen many, many players get wrong, so you should be aware of it. If you use this ability, ALL Deepkin units within 12″ of the chosen unit MUST end their charge within 0.5″ otherwise their charge will fail. This means you are not allowed to charge at all with these units if you don’t end up within 0.5″ of the target unit, you do not get to choose to just not use the +3″ to charge if you want to charge something else and don’t need the charge bonus. So you have to be careful with your positioning of units in your movement phase, planning ahead which units you want to charge into which enemy units, deciding ahead of time whether you want to use the +3″ charge bonus, or not using it which makes your charges less useful but allows greater flexibility in which units you are able to charge; generally the pros outweigh the cons, and I always plan on using the +3″ each turn, so just make sure you don’t accidentally leave one of your units just within 12″ of a unit you don’t want to have to charge that turn if there’s something else you want to charge!
PRIEST – Curse
Stocks in the PRIEST keyword have gone up significantly in AOS3, they get a Dispel attempt at Endless spells (remember, this happens in BOTH hero phases now) and they get access to generic Prayers, 2 that all priests always know (Bless 6+ Ward and Smite (1 to D3 mortals to an enemy priest BIG 48″ range), and the big one which I think you will see taken 99% of the time, Curse.
Curse – 4+ 9″ range. If answered, pick 1 enemy unit within range and visible to the chanter. Until your next hero phase, if the unmodified hit roll for an attack that targets that unit is 6, that unit suffers 1 mortal wound in addition to any normal damage.
The answer value of 4 and short range are both downsides to this prayer, but this is massively offset by the huge buff it grants. As you pick an enemy unit rather than a friendly one, your entire army gets the buff against the target unit.
This build puts out an insane amount of attacks from the reavers (up to 180 shots a turn), and having rerolls to hit of 1 in 3/5 battlerounds, if you get curse off onto a key unit and still have a decent number of reavers on the board and in range (likely, given how the army works and where the reavers and soulscryer will be) you WILL kill that unit, even if it’s Archaon or Nagash with 2+ rerollable saves and 4+/5+ Ward saves, they will die to 180 attacks doing mortal wounds in addition on 6s to hit. That’s 30 mortals, rerolling 30 on T1, 3 or 5, giving you another 5 mortals on average (Nagash with 16 wounds and 4+ ward, is DEAD. Archaon with 20 wounds and a 5+ ward is DEAD).
Finally, the last Hero in the list is the Eidolon, aspect of the Storm. I’ve already gone into detail about what makes this guy great in the Artefacts section, but to flesh that out, he comes with 12 wounds, a 3+ save and a 5+ ward with a flying move of 12″as base for 330 points. He’s not a monster unfortunately, though Metamorphosis can make him one, helping you perform more Monstrous Rampages (Roar, always Roar), counting as 5 models and scoring you the odd additional battle tactic point.
His damage output is decent, on the charge he has 5 attacks, 3/2 rend 2 Damage 3 from his spear, another 4 attacks 3/2 rend 1 Damage 1, and then 2D6 attacks from his shoal of fish, these aren’t much to talk about, but they get the occasional extra wound or 2 through so don’t forget them.
Against Heroes of 8 or less wounds he can automatically get +1 to hit, making him 2s and 2s on his 2 main weapons without needing to use All out Attack freeing it up to use on another unit, and keeping him free to use All out Defense to make sure he stays alive, ready to take advantage of his ability to heal D3 wounds when he charges (with built in retreat and charge he should be doing this almost every single turn) and then combined with Heroic Recovery, he can reliably heal 2D3 wounds a turn, fantastic on a model with an inbuilt 5+ ward and great save.
The real power of the army, 2x 30 Reavers makes up the core, but only costs 690 points! Given the points for most units went UP in AOS 3, Reavers going DOWN is Bigggg. They used to cost 120 for 10, now they cost 115 for 10. 10 models that can put out 30 shots a turn and potentially in your opponent’s turn too if they charge within 9″ of them. That’s GREAT value.
Their base stats at a glance bely their real strength. 4s and 4s with no rend and damage 1 is not great, BUT in this army they are pretty much always 3s and 3s thanks to either the Leviadon’s +1 to hit buff against enemy units within 12/15″ of the Leviadon, or All out Attack, and the +1 to wound coming from being wholly within 18″ of the Eidolon. In T1, T3 and T5 they are also rerolling 1’s to hit, starting to look better right? Even with just 30 shots, for 345 points, at 18″ range that’s not bad.
When they really start getting good is when you add in the fact that they can run and shoot on T1, T3 and T5 and they naturally reroll run rolls on their warscroll, but wait there’s more, they naturally move 8″! No that wasn’t a typo, 8″ for foot troops is insanely fast, most aelves on foot move 6″, 8″ is HASTY.
So now we’re looking at an average move T1 of 12″ (4+ run roll) with a shooting range of 18″ for a T1 average threat of 30″, max threat of 32″ for 30 shots, or a threat of 21″ for 90 shots…. With the smaller board sizes, this covers pretty much anything in the mid field objectives, letting you get most, if not all, of those 90 shots from T1. On 3’s rr 1s by 3s, the average number of save rolls this forces is 45. This is where the math comes in, and we’re talking averages here, so as always, actual rolls will deviate, but you should always use averages when math-hammering…. So here we go! A 3+ save means you save 2/3rds of all save rolls , therefore if you have to take 45 save rolls you should fail 15. So what this means, is any unit that has a 4+ base save should take 15 wounds from a single unit of reavers shooting it IF they use All out defense to increase their save to a 3+, that’s one CP drawn out. If they don’t, they take 22/23 wounds. To put that another way, you kill a unit of Goregruntas, or Brutes, or Kurnoth Hunters, or Morrsarr, Lots of Heroes/ weaker monsters in a single volley, with 1 unit. We have 2 units…..and your opponent can only use All out Defense once per phase. Playing stormcast against a bunch of vindictors and a Stardrake for example, say they’ve gone first and pushed up to the middle/ dropped from the sky onto objectives, shoot the Vindictors first with their lower save and as you’re counting out your 90 dice, your opponent is probably going to say “All out Defense” now you smile…His now 3+ save still makes him lose 7-8 Vindictors, then you pick up your dice again for the second unit and declare the Stardrake is your target, your opponent will have thought nothing about putting his 16 wound 3+ monster in the middle of the board 18″ or so inches away from your reavers towards the back of your deployment, now you shoot the hell out of that stardrake and he can’t put it on a 2+ save so takes 15 of its 16 wounds….it only takes a little deviation in either your to hit and wound rolls or their save rolls to make that Stardrake take more than 15 wounds and flat out die. But even if it’s alive with a few wounds left, it CAN’T charge you if your opponent wins priority because Unleash hell with those reavers will finish it off, AND it’s T2, because of our Flip-tides build, our whole army, including our reavers is now fighting first, oh boy are those Vindictors and Stardrake dead!
I know most people reading this are very familiar and comfortable with probabilities of dice rolls etc. but even seasoned players can become very surprised by how much damage they are taking when you apply weight of dice to those probabilities so I think it is helpful to actually walk this through in practical examples. You typically think of 16 wound monsters with 3+ base saves as very survivable, especially against no rend, this is compounded in AOS3 with All of Defense making people almost always factor in their save as being 1 better than it actually is, but this thinking is flawed, you will not actually always be able to get +1 save, any builds that split fire are going to force hard decisions as you effectively choose which of your units to ‘save’. Additionally unleash hell is in the charge phase, therefore your opponent cannot use All out Defense against those shots, admittedly your hit rolls will go to a 4 (or 5 if not in range of the Leviadon) and on T2 you will not be rerolling 1s to hit in this build, so your average output in that situation drops significantly to 20 save rolls instead of 45, but against a 3+ base save this is still approx. 7 wounds taken by the charging unit, that’s almost half a stardrake when you’re hitting on 5’s with no rerolls, from a single 345 point unit, IN YOUR OPPONENT’S TURN…. Against a 4+ save that’s 10 wounds, or 2 gore-gruntas for example, dead before they attack you. I cannot fully express how good Reavers are in AOS3.
This list only uses 1 unit of 10 and a lot of the time they will be a throwaway unit deployed on the front lines to die for the greater good and protect my Reavers from enemy shooting. However let your opponent underestimate these 10 guys and gals at their peril. With move 6″, run and charge, often with +3″ thanks to Mr Pointy finger (Soulscryer) in the first turn, they will often make a T1 charge into anything on the objectives in the mid board and when they get there they HIT. Despite what a lot of people think with the new coherency rules, units of 10 with 32mm bases and only 1″ reach can all fight, regularly, just stagger/offset the bases by half an inch or so and they get in nicely. Now these guys are 3/3s with rend 1 naturally, and either get 3 attacks per model (4 for icon bearers) against models with 3 or less wounds, or 2 attacks (3 for IB) each but Damage 2 against anything with 4 or more wounds, this means they are actually better against elite things than non-elite (as their max damage is 42 (21A x 2) vs (31A x 1), but as essentially slightly better than standard battleline (10 wound, 5+ save for 120) they are MUCH more fighty against their equivalents in other armies. As NAMARTI units they innatly get +1 to hit against enemies within range of the Leviadon’s Void Drum ability, making them 2’s to hit, T1 they are rerolling 1’s don’t forget thanks to Flood Tide in Fuethan ‘flip-tides’ and then with the eidolon being wholly within 18″ they are wounding on 2s with rend. So that’s either 31 attacks 2s rr 1s by 2s for 1 damage, or 21 attacks on the same stats for 2 damage. They wreck stuff. Again with the stardrake example, say it goes all out defense because you failed your Roar or something, its 2+ save goes to 3+ with your rend, then 21 attacks at Damage 2 on a slightly under average roll from you is 16 save rolls, your opponent fails 5 and takes 10 wounds, on average. If your roar does go off, or your opponent didn’t have any CP left thanks to you forcing them to use them already in the shooting phase, saving them for battleshock etc. then they’re on a 4+ save and taking 16 wounds, i.e. they’re DEAD, from full health, to dead from 10 Thralls, on T1…. Yea so maybe you’ll start seeing more of these guys too……
Commonly known as Defensive Eels. These guys innately ignore rend. Not modifiers which would prevent them from adding to their save, rend. AMAZING. For 155 for 12 wounds on a base 4+ ignoring rend, they are still GREAT value.
They innately reroll both charges and battleshock thanks to their musicians and icon bearers respectively, also GREAT. They have a base flying move of 14″, again GREAT.
With the changes to the Leviadon’s Void Drum from Broken Realms: Morathi, whilst wholly within 12/15″ of the Leviadon they always have +1 save, so now they’re 3+ unrendable, SWEEET.
Now where things start to get really crazy is that when Ishlaen make a charge move, their save characteristic changes to a 3+….Did that sink in? They don’t simply get +1 to their save which would be pointless given they’ve likely already got it from the Leviadon, the characteristic changes. This is HUGE. It means that although our base save is a 4+, meaning units in the game with this can never save on better than a 3+ on the dice as we talked about earlier, when they charge their save changes to a 3+, meaning when we add +1 save from our Leviadon (or All out defense, or mystic shield if the turtle had another job to do that turn elsewhere) we can have a 2+ save, which is unrendable, and we can still pass saves on dice rolls of 2+, so we’re only failing 1 in 6 rolls. With 4 wounds an eel, this essentially means it takes 24 successful wound rolls to kill a single eel (assuming Damage 1 attacks), in other words, your opponent needs to put through 72 successful wound rolls to kill a unit of just 3 eels. Or 36 at damage 2, or 24 at damage 3… There’s not a lot of units in the game with that output.
BEWARE MORTAL WOUNDS. While Ishlaen are incredibly resilient against regular damage, they are very swiftly dealt with by Mortal wounds as they, like most of the army, have no protection against them. So try to think what units your opponent has in their army that deal mortal wounds, and try not to put these guys in range of them because you’ll be wasting their key strength, which is ‘tarpitting’ enemy units/ armies, especially shooting ones as if you’ve positioned correctly, these guys should be the furthest thing from the rest of your army, you want to spearhead these guys right into the middle of your opponent’s army and make them the closest unit for as much of your opponent’s army as possible. Forcing enemy shooting to have to all go into your 3+ unrendable save (remember the 2+ is combat only, and only on your turn when you charge) is still huge, and gives you an effective 36 wound sink from 12 wounds of models, but it is also incredibly strong against combat armies as you pin them in, only units that can fly can retreat over your eels, everything else will have to walk around them. Just a few units of these guys can hold up entire armies for multiple turns in the right circumstances. If you’re facing an enemy army with a few decent sources of mortal wounds (such as small enemy wizards with multiple D6 mortal wound spells – looking at you Tzeentch….) perhaps prioritise shooting your reavers and Leviadon at those wizards in your first turn so that you can send in the Ishlaen more safely to tank the rest of the normal attacks for longer, then use the reavers to shoot the rest of the army in subsequent turns as the opponent has to shoot/ attack the ishlaen that they are either closer to, or already in combat with and therefore can’t target your reavers with conventional attacks.
The turtle. Finally, after being an awesome model with underwhelming rules and an overly expensive points cost for too long, this guy finally found his rightful place on the table after the Broken Realms: Morathi updates. He got A LOT better.
In AOS3 his points went up a decent chunk, 40, from 340, not insubstantial, but also by no means too much. He is still, in my opinion, an auto-take for any Deepkin list, here’s why:
First off, he’s a MONSTER, our only MONSTER in fact, after sharks had this taken off their warscroll (thoughts and prayers sharks, thoughts and prayers). In AOS3, you want MONSTERS, at least 1 anyway, I would suggest 2 is preferable and probably the sweet spot for giving you enough use of Monstrous Rampages (Roar, again, always Roar) and ability to score extra points from certain battle tactics, without potentially giving up lots of additional VPs to your opponent for killing them.
So what makes this guy so great? Well for starters he comes with a base 2+ (say what?!!) save with 16 wounds, and although the save degrades as he takes wounds, he doesn’t bracket the first time until he’s taken a whopping 9 wounds! In terms of monsters and bracketing, this guy is one of the best, it’s hard to crack that shell! Starting on a base 2+ is just so so good. Mystic shield or all out defense let him essentially ignore rend 1, and even then against rend 2 you’re still saving 2/3rds of all save rolls. Just great, and can’t be overstated enough.
The above aside, the main reason for taking the Leviadon, particularly in this build is for it’s Void Drum ability. This grants +1 save to all IDONETH DEEPKIN units wholly within 12/15″ of the Leviadon that have 8 or less wounds, that’s everything other than the Leviadon itself and Eidolons. Everything else in the army is 8 or less wounds and therefore gets +1 save for being wholly within 12/15″ of one of these! But wait, that’s not all, it has a secondary effect also, in that all NAMARTI units get +1 to hit against enemy units wholly within 12/15″ of the Leviadon! This +1 to hit is for both shooting and combat and doesn’t require a CP or anything to activate, it is essentially ‘always on’, if an enemy unit is wholly within range ALL of you NAMARTI units get +1 to hit against those units, AMAZING.
Throughout this rundown I’ve referenced the Void Drum ability as wholly within 12/15″, the reason for this is that the base ability range is 12″, however there is a mount trait (Reverberating Carapace) for the Leviadon which increases the range of the ability to 15″ and I think this is the best of the 3 trait options; the second most popular (Ancient) being reduce rend of attacks against the Leviadon by 1 which is also great, however I think the army benefits more from the additional 3″ on the Leviadon’s Void Drum aura, as it allows your army to receive these great buffs across a larger surface area of the battlefield.
Lastly, the damage output, it’s actually quite fighty now especially in this flip tides Fuethan build as it receives rerolls of 1 to hit in 3/5 battlerounds on both it’s shooting and combat profiles and gets to reroll 1’s to wound on both of it’s main attack profiles as they are both Mount attacks from the Leviadon itself rather than crew. It has 2 bite attacks which are 2s and 2s, so in T1/3/5 these are 2s rr 1s to hit and wound, fantastic. They are rend 2 and flat 3 damage, a great profile for dealing with most foot heroes in one go, consistently. As an added bonus if these attacks hit on an unmodified 6, they do a flat 3 mortal wounds instead (not additionally), however against MONSTERS this changes to a flat 6 mortal wounds! If you roll box cars (2 6’s) you do 12 mortal wounds to a MONSTER; I’ve already done this twice in 8 games, its GREAT!
The second attack profile for the Leviadon is it’s scything fins, it has 4 attacks, 3s and 3s rend 1 Damage 4! While these degrade as it takes damage, like most MONSTERS, I’ve already explained that the Leviadon brackets better than almost any other MONSTER in the game, so these attacks stay consistent and add up, with All out Attack and an Eidolon within 18″ these attacks are 2s and 2s rerolling 1s to hit in T1/3/5 and always rerolling 1s to wound thanks to Fuethan. So again, very reliable, against 4+/ 5+ save units, it will regularly do 12-16 damage from these attacks.
It has 6 crew attacks also which are 3s and 3s with no rend, so these can often add another 3 or so wounds.
Lastly it also has a decent shooting profile, 8 shots at 24″ range, 3s and 3s rend 1 for 1 damage. Again, you could do All out attack in the shooting phase to make it hit on 2s, the eidolon will make it wound on 2s also, and in T1/3/5 it can reroll those hits of 1 again, so again, it’s actually pretty reliable at taking out, or nearly taking out low armoured 5 wound heroes (Tzeentch wizards say hi!), from a long way away just with it’s shooting profile. In this build you’re likely not doing all our attack on the Leviadon as you’re probabaly putting it on a unit of reavers that wants to shoot something that isn’t in range of the Void Drum, but it’s always an option, and having options is only ever a good thing.
Battle Regiment – This whole army consists of 1 Commander, 2 sub-commanders, 5 units and a monster, and can therefore all fit into the new AOS3 1-drop Battle Regiment battalion, this is amazing as you’re deployment is usually very similar and often doesn’t need to change significantly based on what your opponent has in their army, other than a few changes in potentially which units are your front lines (to take the shooting in the first round), and how far apart you want your units to be from your opponent’s deployment line in order to protect certain pieces from T1 non-shooting threats, such as spells through an Umbral Spell portal for example. But again, this doesn’t actually require exact knowledge of where certain enemy units will be deployed on the table, if you always just work from the closest point they could possibly be, you can plan around that when you deploy; perhaps even ‘make a mistake’ on deployment and deploy a key unit a little too far forward so that they put a key wizard/ unit on their front lines thinking you are going to give them T1, and then you can decide to take T1 instead and kill that out of place unit.
But the main reason for wanting to be 1-drop above all other possibilities, is that in 99% of games, this will give you choice over who takes 1st turn, which for this army, is huge. Typically this army wants to go second, almost always, and then give away/ not need priority in T2, so in the early game you can make easier T1 charges against units your enemy has placed in the mid-board to score objectives on their first turn, and also know that if you lose T2 priority, you’re not being double-turned (something Deepkin HATE as it can seriously hamper the army’s ability to neuter shooting output to non-key targets), and also particularly in this flip tides build, your whole army is fighting first in the second battleround, so against combat armies, they won’t want to charge you in their turn.
The one thing this army didn’t have was a teleport, but fortunately for us our Sylvaneth allies have a cheap unit that can teleport every turn anywhere on the board (with the usual 9″ away from enemy models restriction) and they only cost 80 points for 5 models, because they didn’t go up in AOS3! WIN.
Keep these guys in your back field, zoning out enemy teleports, until your opponent leaves one of their objectives, or doesn’t have any bodies left because you’ve shot them all off and go grab it!
Sea-Revs for the win!
As mentioned in the sections above, this list typically wants to go second, forcing opponent’s to put units in the mid board allowing the majority of your army to charge/ shoot to maximum effect from T1 and doesn’t ever want to be double-turned.
The army is very happy playing an ‘old school’ you go, I go, game, whereby you always want to go second in a battleround and never take or face a double turn. At most points in the game, if you do win a priority roll (usually from T2 in my experience so far) the game will be pretty much over if you decide to take it as your T1 is usually so strong, the opponent is already on the back foot. Be aware the game can flip if you ever get double turned, so if you do decide to take the double early, and don’t cripple all of the serious threats in your opponent’s army in that double turn, you might face trouble later if they then double you back. Typically I have found the army does not need the double, and often doesn’t want it as you can do a significant amount of damage to your opponent in their turn in T2 anyway with the combination of Unleash Hell and Fighting First. Perhaps one of the few exceptions I can think of at the moment would be if you have pushed in hard to kill all of an opponent’s screens in an army that has a lot of ranged mortal wounds from weak units sitting behind those screens; if taking the early double means you can kill all/most of those second-wave threats, it likely won’t matter if you then get double turned by the 1 or 2 spells/ mortal wound abilities they have left. A lot of the time you can likely still afford to lose the Ishlaen, and probably the Leviadon also if it means the rest of your army is untouched after two of your opponent’s turns as you likely will have already killed a significant amount of their army in your first turn and their combat phase. The armies that might cause problems are tzeentch where you were not able to kill many of their casters in the first turn and they have a very high spell count and are able to put new, replacement units of pink horrors onto the table that you will have to deal with before you can get to their characters again; though pink horrors will die VERY fast to this army, it can still make it a more challenging game, as even just 2 spells are capable of killing a Leviadon from full health to dead in one go and the army struggles if key defensive pieces are taken out with minimal resources from your opponent.
The typical set up will be Ishlaen on the front lines with the Leviadon and Eidolon behind and slightly to the sides with the Soulscryer sitting 3-4″ back from the centre Eel and one unit of 30 reavers in a big blob behind and between the Eels, Leviadon and Eidolon, this means it is very hard for enemy units to hit your Squishy reavers (they can’t shoot anything but the Ishlaen, Leviadon or Eidolon depending on the direction they comes from as they are closer and can all be 3+ unrendable, 1+ or 2+ saves respectively with an All out Defense) and therefore hard to shift. All of those units are then faster than the reavers and able to push out deep into your opponent’s lines, aiming to ideally make charges against their back field units (remember if you run 6 with Ishlaen and point with a Soulscryer the minimum effective charge your Ishlaen can make T1 is 25″… and that’s on a double 1 to charge, which they can innately reroll thanks to their musician, the average T1 charge with them is therefore 30″ (if they run 6), which you can guarantee with a CP if you need to, though I usually save this for the Leviadon as it is the slowest of the 3 at 10″ base move and this then also guarantee’s a minimum T1 charge range of 21″, that’s huge! The 15″ buff range on the Leviadon and 18″ on the Eidolon are then both usually big enough to cover most units on left or right objectives as well as central ones if played centrally (which they usually should be, especially with the smaller board size), meaning your reavers and thralls can run up into mid board and deal with any units your opponent moved up to take middle objectives. If you play the reavers aggressively, keeping them as close as possible to your other units, it becomes very hard for you opponent to charge anything in your army without triggering Unleash Hell from one of the 2 units. The game should play out with you ending each turn with the Ishlaen, Leviadon and Eidlon pinning key shooting threats within 3″ to stop fire being aimed at the reavers, while usually being able to tank most threats, leaving the reavers free to keep moving closer and closer to get as many within 9″ of something each turn, if you can shoot 3 shots instead of 1, you always should, splitting fire with this army is not a bad thing, you’ll likely find the game is relatively over by T2, it has been in my experience thus far anyway, if you try out the list and find any particularly hard counters please let me know, I’d be very curious to know what they were!
Hope you’ve found this informative, now get reaving ya salty cur!