Oi oi. This list is built to be fun, fast, straight forward, good for learning and hopefully can still put up a fight against the best of them.
Personally, I am a huge fan of Nighthaunt and the new Dolorous Guard battalion was a delightful answer to some swirling thoughts around speed, a simple combo and efficient fighting / surviving.
In short the play style I’m going for here is fast, high movement (though not necessarily an alpha list), finesse-ie, hard hitting with durability, where tactical thinking will be the key to some satisfying victories.
Disclaimer: while I have played and won with this list, I am a wanna-be tournament gamer who has more time to think about lists and less time to play in competitive events. One can only dream.
Let me show you were I’m at…
While all the allegiance abilities are hopefully utilised throughout any game with this list, this roster hasn’t been crafted around any ability in particular rather uses them flexibly as required.
Some honorable mentions:
From the underworlds: Ok, so maybe this is kind of the basis of the key combo in the list however it’s not the end of the world when you get dealt ‘Total commitment’ and can’t set up reserves, but let me set up some thoughts around the key combo. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have had this thought but I use to hate putting a Guardian of Souls in the underworlds as when you decide to drop him, the hero phase has gone and you feel like your not getting your value by missing a casting opportunity near a combat and now he is a potential sitting target. However, I realised he is still a very valuable buff peace in the combat phase, and how do you make him more useful? Pack him with his Light shard of the harvest moon! Maybe now a bit of a forgotten relic, but I love that you can drop him 9’ away from a combat and guarantee some major buffing. Check the ‘In-game guide’ for the full combo idea.
In general, having 10 hexwraiths in the sky is a mental worry for your opponent so I like starting that way to complicate their decision making for as long as is beneficial.
Spectral Summons: Just a really good way to bait and switch. Because the army is so fast, I like the idea of deploying misleadingly, then calling across backup to your general to overpower and clear one side of the battlefield then still being fast enough to get back to where you need to go a couple of turns later. Classic surprise window wiping.
Just a great ability to use as needed. Pulling support hero’s around or repositioning bodies on objectives with your retreating general etc.
Wave of terror: While many argue this is the strongest ability of the book, I don’t like building the list around something so chancy. I understand the MSU idea (employed by far wiser players than me so don’t mind this ramble), but for me I don’t love how that style dictates game play, over commuting units just cause they got the 10’ or taking small units that will die off when looked at. Just going for something different here. Also doesn’t benefit from any of the good buffs in this list in the charge phase, no extra Dolorous attack, no extra Knight of shroud command attack, and no light-shard of harvest moon re-rolls.
So in short, it’s nice when it goes off for sure, but not built around here.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Pendent of the fell wind: This is the reason you can hunt so hard. Even if it’s mainly just on your Knight of Shrouds on steed general and 1 unit of hexwraiths, the extra 3’ means you can really maneuver and set up your combo, as well as window wipe so effectively. Base 15” move, what a treat.
The key efficiencies of this list come from the +1 attack from the Knight of Shrouds command ability and the Ruler Of the spirit hosts command trait, all tucked into the Dolorous Guard battalion. Hexwraiths doing 4 attacks on the charge, not to even mention those over performing hooves attacks, is really nice. And when your general palms wounds to your hexwraiths, but is then staying alive to actually use ruler of the spirit hosts to rez your D3 hexwraiths back, wasn’t everyone excited?
Light-shard of the harvest moon: We’ll try really join the dots later, but re-rolls to hit on hexwraiths doing 8 attacks each with potential for mortals,… I think you can see what’s happening. Also the only combat phase In the game your ok that the Hexwraith scythes hit on 4’s.
Reiknores Candles: it was recently brought to my attention that Reiknore’s candle snuffing ability snipes models. At least that’s something to help against your pink horror splitting and your Mortek guard re-rolls. Also his potential plus 3 to cast helps almost guarantee some crucial soul-cage casts against any activation war enthusiasts.
Knight of Shrouds on steed: As mentioned in the command traits/abilities section, this guy as the general in the Dolorous Guard is super efficient and really makes your hexwraiths do work. His buffing speed with the pendent just helps to be in all the right places.
Reikenore the Grimhailer: is mainly a fun flex piece to try guarantee a soul-cage cast, snipe special models in a unit, or charge around with 14’ move bringing some mortal wound or deathless save potential to nearby units.
Guardian of souls: 2 in the list with specific roles however both have a good chance to bring back hexwraiths with their spectral lure spell, the +1 to wound buff helps a lot in any nearby combat, and the extra unbinds are always appreciated.
We’ve talked about the Guardian with the shard, the buffing boy. The other is really to babysit the unit of chainrasps to lock down an objective plus all the other mentioned potential ways to be useful.
Hexwraiths: these guys become good in Dolorous Guard. Their mortal wound potential is important as well as the rest of their attack output, however the movement is what really makes the list possible and also what makes it fun.
Chainrasps: are mainly there to defend an objective, even if it’s just to be a speed bump for long enough until help arrives.
Blackcoach: Another great flex peace, good for a distraction, helpful to bring back hexwraiths with its ‘return d3 models’, extra mortal wound potential and great for a backfield hunt with its high movement + run and charge potential.
Dolorous Guard: nough said… As has been pointed at, this really is what brings the list together and what the list is written around. The extra hits and the boost in survivability of the general… seriously, I’m a fan.
Nighthaunt. Always and forever.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
Soul-cage: again, good to help in activation wars. Amazing if you can get it of to combo with multiple units of charging hexwraiths.
Spectral lure: I love the extra healing potential to hexwraiths, doesn’t always work because of the dicki wording if you get a Hexwraith left on one wound. But still strong. Also good on that surviving chainrasp unit.
Shademist: a nice extra protection spell you can send off your hexwraiths with turn 1 then help to keep your chainrasps alive later.
Spectral tether: a bit of a flex spell incase any wounds are sneaking through on your general or Riekenore has been snuffing himself about too much.
Ultimate list Combo: so it’s basically already all been said but here’s what I was thinking. Your looking for that enemy unit that will really make your opponents game hard if you kill it. Even if you first have to clear some chaff, line up at least 1 nearly full Hexwraith unit with your Knight of Shrouds with all that 15’ of movement to secure a charge on that key unit. Drop down your Guardian with his shard 9’ away, being sure to get a good amount of enemy frontage within 12’ of your guardian for your buffs. Charge your hexwraiths into the key unit. At a minimum your doing 4 attacks each (Dolorous charge and Knight of Shrouds +1 buff) 6’s are mortals, 4+ with re-rolls to retry for those mortals, wounding on 2’s (thanks again Guardian) -1 rend. Then 4 hoove attacks each, 4+ with a reroll, then 4’s to hit. Stuff dies.
And that’s all really possible to set up. Not relying on big 9’+ charges or the general and all 30 hexwraiths to make it around 1 model with a required soul cage. All that extra stuff is just gravy if it happens.
In general I like setting up a bit of a defense with the 2nd Guardian and the chainrasps, setting the 1st Guardian and some utility hexwraiths in the underworld, then overpowering a particular flank then flying around where required toward the endgame.
Healing: there is plenty of healing available to you, I reckon it’s undervalued in Nighthaunt because of classic MSU builds where units arnt always around long enough to heal. But in this list your opponent will find it hard chopping through a full unit of hexwraiths, so maybe keep your coach around at the start to add that extra heal value (assuming the coach is at level 1)
Note: While I did buy an extra command, the Aetherquartz brooch doesn’t fit so command point attrition is important to think about. Fortunately because of the movement, there will be less need to re-roll charges than normal.
I think the list is really fun with its focus on maneuverability and tactical decision making. Stuff stays alive for us, which I like, but we can still pack a good punch to the kidneys.
I also like the minimal war scrolls in this list. It makes for an even better learning army with not so many things to remember. A small, pretty reliable combo in there as well and your growing as a general or utilizing your already honed skills.
Really thematic and diverse model set and it’s ticking all the right hobby boxes for me as well.
Hope someone gets some fun out of this write up, one way or another.