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The Darkling Covens are a shadowy and mysterious subculture of aelves, existing in walled and remote districts of the free cities. Each coven is lead by a powerful Sorceress, with countless ranks of foot-soldiers bound to her will, fighting with mechanical discipline to pursue the goals of their shadowy masters. While rumours abound on their true intentions, the Darkling Covens fight alongside Order against Chaos, and thus have escaped censure so far.
Weve seen loads of comments by Darkling Covens players about how their faction will fare in the new edition, and weve got good news not only are you keeping your Generals Handbook allegiance abilities, but youre very well placed to take advantage of the new mechanics with your existing units.
The Sorceress on Black Dragon is a really scary spellcaster after all, having a Wizard is one thing, but mounting them on the back of a Monster is just that much better! With her Blood Sacrifice ability, she can boost her casting ability at the cost of the life of one of her underlings. This is great for pulling off a trickier endless spell like Geminids of Uhl-Gysh.
This two-part spell doesnt just deal mortal wounds, it cripples any unit it hits with a wave of penalties, setting them up perfectly to be dragged down by your own elite units. Executioners or Black Guard are perfect for this, boasting great attacks and a respectable drop in points in the new edition.
A bit of light, a bit of darkness, and a lot of deadly sounds very Darkling Covens to us
A fierce and noble tribe of nomads, the Wanderers are heirs to an ancient shame, having abandoned Ghyran to Nurgle during the Age of Chaos and letting the ley lines that link the sacred places of the Mortal Realms be broken. Now, they fight as scouts and guerilla strike forces for the free cities, attacking with stealth and speed, tearing apart their chosen quarry in disciplined volleys of arrows.
There are a few units that are well worth a second look in the Wanderers list in the new edition, thanks to a sweeping series of points cuts plus some mechanic changes thatll really benefit your army. The Waywatcher is a standout of the list thanks to Look Out, Sir!, combined with his Invisible Hunter ability, enemies trying to shoot at these legendary marksmen will usually be suffering a hefty -2 to hit!
The Spellweaver is another standout choice in the army. With unbinding now possible at 30, her ability to automatically pass an unbind roll once a game is incredible sticking one of these in an Order army is a great way to prevent your enemy getting any key endless spells off.
Sisters of the Thorn are already a great option, and one that youll want to consider putting in any Order army. Their Shield of Thorns spell doesnt just give re-rolls to saves, it also inflicts mortal wounds on your attackers when you roll a 6. With the new rules making piling in and attacking mandatory for all units caught in combat, you could force enemies to deal colossal damage to their own models by getting them into combat with something durable like an allied Treelord
Finally, its worth mentioning that the Wanderers will be keeping their Generals Handbook allegiance abilities. With ranged units now forced to fire at the target theyre locked in combat with, the Melt Away allegiance ability which lets Wanderers retreat and shoot is going to be very useful indeed.
The Swifthawk Agents are vital for the continued survival of Order, acting as couriers and messengers between the free cities and Azyr while coordinating grand assaults that can span across realms. Fast, capable, and independent, they will not hesitate to cut down those who would obstruct their duty. At war, they fill a vital role as saboteurs, shattering enemy lines of communication with rapid strikes from on high with Skycutters or lightning-fast assaults with Reavers and Spireguard.
Swifthawk Agents have received a variety of small, but welcome changes. For one, Shadow Warriors now cost fewer points, making it easier to fill out your Battleline slots. For another, the speed of Skycutters is going to make them a great choice in loads of Order lists for catching and occupying ranged units thanks to Fly, and a 16 move, youll quickly be able to dart behind enemy lines and tie up Handgunners, Grundstok Thunderers or any other unit that would prove a threat to your army.
The Order Draconis are a knightly order of aelves who have formed powerful kinships with the drakes and stallions of Azyr, riding down the foes of Order with bravery, speed, and skill. On the ground, great formations of Dragon Blades shatter enemy formations in devastating combined charges, while in the skies, the Dragonlords themselves incinerate enemies in gouts of dragonfire.
Dragonlords, meanwhile, are great candidates for the artefacts of the realms. With a 4+ save, re-rolls to their saving throws from their enchanted shield, and 14 wounds, these guys are pretty durable but vulnerable to foes with a high Rend characteristic. By taking the Ethereal Amulet, a relic of Shyish, youll be able to ward your Dragonlord from harm with ease:
For list-building, the Dragonlord Host a warscroll battalion that gives the units within a free move and charge once per game has seen a considerable points cut. If youre looking to use a pure Order Draconis army, or youre looking for a fun option for a mixed Order army, its well worth a look.
A dark mirror to the Order Draconis, the Order Serpentis are masters of some of the most cruel and savage beasts of the Mortal Realms, training Hydras, Black Dragons and Drakespawn and transforming them into deadly living weapons. Falling upon their foes in a wave of tooth, claw, and dark steel, they leave nothing but terror, confusion, and the dead in their wake.
If youve been using an Order Serpentis army, good news! Nearly everything in your army has had a points reduction. You could spend these on some endless spells for an allied Wizard, or if youve been eyeing up the Idoneth Deepkin, youll be pleased to know that you can now officially take them as allies if youre looking to go HARD, bring an Aspect of the Storm If youd rather stick with drakes than sea-monsters and dead gods, your Dreadlord on Black Dragon has some great picks from the artefacts of the Mortal Realms wed recommend the Miasmatic Blade, a sneaky option thatll make you harder to hit:
Remember just because you fight for Order doesnt mean you have to fight fair
The Ur-Phoenix is a symbol of rebirth and renewal in aelven culture, a tradition kept alive by the monastic warrior order known as the Phoenix Temple. Given supernatural fortitude and courage by magical energies, and battling alongside deathless, supernatural Phoenixes, they march forth now from the free cities particularly the Phoenicium to restore the past glories of the aelves.
Phoenix Temple units have been very popular for matched play in Warhammer Age of Sigmar, with the mixed Order list that won the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Grand Tournament using two Frostheart Phoenixes. These guys are still pretty great in the new edition, and their counterpart, the Flamespyre Phoenix, is also well worth a look. Previously, when using this unit in your army, you could set it up again on a 4+ after it died but in matched play, you had to pay reinforcement points to do so. With reinforcement points a thing of the past, you can now bring your Flamespyre Phoenix back for free! Pretty cool, right?
Heirs to the ancient martial tradition of those aelves who hunted the mountains around Azyrheim in the Age of Myth, the Lion Rangers roam the realms as an itinerant order of warriors. Arriving unbidden to the battlefield, their huge war axes are so sharp they can cut a man in two, while their cloaks turn aside missile fire with ease.
Lion Rangers remain a nice allied choice for Order armies, while White Lion Chariots are particularly handy for tying up enemy shooting units. In the new edition, if youre locked in combat, you can only shoot units directly involved in the combat by using the White Lion Chariots impressive speed, youll be able to quickly engage enemies, while the Lion Cloak ability means youll be able to weather ranged counter-assaults effectively.
The Shadowblades are a secretive, shadowy order of assassins whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Seen by some as a gift from Malerion to Sigmar and others as strange, shadowy creatures of Ulgu, the Shadowblades hunt both tyrants without and traitors within with brutal effectiveness.
Shadowblades are a fun option in a mixed Order army or as allies for another aelven army. Assassins, in particular, really come into their own when combined with the new magical artefacts from Malign Sorcery one really strong pick youll want to try is the Sword of Judgement with six attacks on the Assassin, youve got a pretty decent shot at inflicting a whole lot of mortal wounds on anyone unfortunate enough to earn your ire.
Lets face it if youre going to give a massive magical sword to anyone, it might as well be an Assassin.
Drawn from the very wisest of the Azyrite aelves, the Eldritch Council are a living repository of ancient knowledge, charged by Lord Tyrion and his brother Teclis with keeping the hermetic traditions of the aelves alive. Wielding powerful elemental magics and battling alongside vast serpentine dragons, the Council is responsible both for purging the lands of daemonic taint and defending them from the wicked.
As before, the Eldritch Council can be taken as an army in their own right (our very own Martin has an impressive collection), while several units are great as allied picks and are already standbys in Order lists. For magical defence, the Archmage and Archmage on Dragon providing a +1 bonus to unbind makes them great for shutting down enemy casters, while the Loremaster remains an excellent choice thanks to Hand of Glory a spell that grants re-rolls to hit and to wound on any friendly target.
The Scourge Privateers are raiders, pirates and beast hunters who ply the seas of the Mortal Realms. Masterful sailors, they raid the coastlines and use their talents against Chaos. Hunting sea beasts with their favoured Kharibdyss or pursuing terrestrial foes with chariots and corsairs, they make a brisk trade in monsters both living and dead, selling to unscrupulous merchants, collectors of the exotic, and the fighting pits and arenas of the free cities.
Using the Scourge Privateers in the edition, the first thing youll notice is lower points for several units, as well as the Realm Reavers warscroll battalion a powerful option that lets you nominate a nearby unit to move, shoot or fight every hero phase. Its a great place to start your army, as, like all warscroll battalions, itll grant you an extra command point, artefact (which can be an artefact of the realms) and will let you deploy the included units in a single drop. Taking an extra Black Ark Fleetmaster wouldnt go amiss, either for a mere 40 points, youll be able to grant a unit in your army re-rolls to hit with At Them, You Curs!
While its not necessary, per se, make sure to shake your first and give an appropriately pirate-y scowl every time you use this.
Thats almost all for now from Faction Focus come back tomorrow, when well be taking a look at the Idoneth Deepkin.