Lumineth Realm-Lords Battletome Review – Warhammer Age of Sigmar
It’s finally arrived! After a delay that made the long wait of the Sylvaneth Spring feel like a short April shower I have to admit I’m over the “Celennar, Spirit of Hysh’s Moon” to finally have the brand new Lumineth Realm-Lords Battletome (and all the extra goodies from the launch box) in my hands for our in depth review and tactica of the latest Warhammer Age of Sigmar Battletome!
Matt has done an excellent unboxing video of the the new Army Set here so go there if you want to see some up close shots of the new sprues, dice and gaming accessories…but then make sure you come right back here as I go through the new Battletome and “shine a light” on all the great content inside.
When you look back on the last five years of Age of Sigmar you may be quite surprised to see just how many different Aelven factions have featured so far. We have rules and models for the Wanderers and Phoenix Guard in Cities of Sigmar. Daughters of Khaine received new kits and rules in their own Battletome some years a go and we’ve even seen a brand new Aelven faction in the form of the Idoneth Deepkin. In spite of this strong Aelven representation in both the game and universe I, like many people, have continued to long for the return of that classic High Elven faction. I’ve read through the new Battletome cover to cover now and I can tell you that whilst it does not contain everything you may have longed for, there is enough here to satisfy the most discerning of High Elven fans.
The first 40 pages of the Battletome are devoted to the lore and background for this new race. There is a lot of new material here and whilst there are sections concerning events covered elsewhere (such as the Age of Chaos and the Necroquake) even these are told from a new perspective. The end result is that this is a must read for fans of the Age of Sigmar universe, offering both new background and fresh insights on previously explored narrative events.
We begin by learning of Tyrion’s awakening in the Realm of Hysh following the destruction of the World Before Time. We follow Tyrion as he wanders through the Realm of Light alone. I almost felt like I was walking alongside Tyrion as he looked upon the fantastic and miraculous landmarks and sights of the Ten Paradises for the first time in his search for his twin brother Teclis.
We learn of how his very eyes melted in their sockets as he beheld the raw Light of Hysh at the Realm’s Edge and how the Lord of Lumination first communed with the elemental Spirit of Light and found common cause. After a long search Tyrion is finally reunited with is twin brother Teclis, but as one search ends another begins, and both brothers set out in search of their people.
During that search, the Twin-Gods meet others of their kind – Sigmar, Malerion and Morathi. The focus switches to the relationship between the Aelven members of the Pantheon of Order and we learn more of the capture of Slanesh and the great work of extracting those Aelven souls consumed by the Chaos God, of which the greatest became the Lumineth.
The Battletome then goes into a lot detail describing the rise and fall of Lumineth people as they first build a civilisation of enlightenment, knowledge and power to rival any in the Mortal Realms and then suffer a cataclysm brought about by there own hubris and arrogance.
For it is in the nature of light to cast a shadow, and where it shines brightest darkness can fester and grow strong.
Whilst reading of the rise and subsequent fall of the first Lumineth civilisation I was reminded strongly of the Eldar in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. There are lots of similarities between the Fall of the Eldar and the Toppling of the Spires that befell the first Lumineth. Both races laid low by their own arrogance and the machinations of She who thirsts. In fact the subsequent rebuilding of the Lumineth civilisation, The Reinvention, also bears a close similarity to the Path of the Eldar. I’m a big fan of the Eldar and their history and myths so I really enjoyed reading about the fall of the Lumineth.
The character of the Lumineth Aelves also bears resemblance to that of the capricious and arrogant Eldar. There are lots of short stories or one-liners spread throughout the book which gives insight into the Lumineth psyche. They definitely see themselves as superior beings and there is an element of arrogance in the way they deal with other races of the Mortal Realms.
The she-lion does not ask her cubs for permission to slay the wolf. Stay out of our way, human, and trust your elders and betters to do what is right.
Whilst seemingly inspired by events in the Warhammer 40,000 setting there are still lots of original ideas and themes to give the Lumineth a unique and distinct history. For example I really enjoyed reading about aetherquartz, the process of how it was discovered and harnessed by Teclis and then later exploited by the Lumineth Aelves – first for the betterment of their society but then later almost to their destruction.
I was keen to find out more about the different elements that form a strong part of the Lumineth identity and I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed by the quantity and quality of information on this subject. We’re told of how Teclis was taught to commune with the spirits of Hysh itself and as a result was able to save the Lumineth race from itself. There are lots of detail about the different elemental spirits, from names and descriptions, to clues as to their forms (and potential future model releases).
The Slicing Gale itself takes form just as the Tzeentchian daemons fly towards the Well of Epiphanies; though the fox-faced spirit has borne the direst of agony, it will not allow that site to be profaned. On a spiralling weave of ribbons, the spirit rises, drawing back its bowstring and loosing a single deadly shaft that darts this way and that.
We’re also given lots of information about the different temples devoted to each of these spirits and the trials a Lumineth Aelf must endure before a spirit deems them worthy and bestows upon them a measure of their power.
The Battletome has a great section covering the different nations that make up Hysh and the Ten Paradises, including some good information on those from the Tyrionic aligned half of Hysh. There are some excellent maps of the entire realm and a more detailed map of Ymetrica, a nation from the Teclian aligned half of Hysh. Whilst this book definetly has a focus on the Teclian aligned elements of the Lumineth Realm-Lords (most evident in the Warscrolls selection) I was pleasantly surprised to see so much written about Tyrion and the more martial elements of the Lumineth – it’s apparent Tyrion is just as much a Lumineth Realm-Lord as his brother Teclis and I’m sure we will see the faction expanded in future.
Amongst their ranks are phalanxes of archers, spearmen, charioteers, knights, artillery specialists and scouts who fight in expert synchrony.
The book does go into some detail on each of the four Teclian nations and there are lots of interesting details concerning magical clones, arcane super weapons and Duardin humiliation at the hands of Aelven craftsmen from Syar – There is even a great bit featuring Da Badmoon!
Finally there is a section covering each of the different units that you can field in a Lumineth Realm-Lords army with a page or two devoted to each of the Vanari and Alarith aspected units in addition to each of the characters. I especially liked the background for Teclis and the Light of Eltharian, both of which contained nods to the old Warhammer Fantasy universe.
Complementing the amazing background is a raft of new artwork depicting the Lumineth Realm-Lords and Realm of Hysh meaning I’d recommend this book even to those with no intention of starting a Lumineth-Realmlord army.
For those that do intend to start an army though, well I think you’ll really appreciate the 8 pages of painting guides!!!! Covering everything from armour, weapons, horses, faces and bases (and more) – it’s a really great resource for collectors and painters and I’m really impressed with the quality.
There are several Allegiance Abilities for the this faction. Some apply to every unit, others apply to the individual Vanari and Alarith units.
Aetherquartz Reserves is a battle trait that applies to all units in the army and acts in a similar manner to the Kharadron Overlord’s Aethergold mechanic. Each unit starts with a single aetherquartz reserve that they can use at different points in the battle to provide one of four bonuses, namely :-
- Add 1 to save rolls until the end of a phase (used when unit is chosen as target)
- Add 1 to hit rolls until the end of a phase (used when unit is chosen to attack with)
- Add 1 to cast rolls OR re-roll the casting roll (used after the initial casting roll)
- Cast 1 additional spell
There are additional rules on the use of aetherquartz – only a single unit can make use of the aetherquartz reserves rule per phase and the unit that does so takes a -1 penalty to their Bravery characteristic for the remainder of the game (note there are some exceptions to these rules which we’ll come onto shortly).
This is a great rule that provides surprising flexibility during a battle. The fact that you can decide to activate some of the bonuses after you’ve rolled your dice is very useful. As you will see, a lot of the strength of the Lumineth Realm-Lords comes from the large range of complimentary bonuses they can apply to a unit during a phase and the aetherquartz reserves rule is a key part of this mechanic.
This ability allows a single Cathallar unit to redirect the -1 penalty to the Bravery characteristic resulting from the use of aetherquartz reserves rule described above to an enemy unit within range. The unit using the aetherquartz must be wholly within 18″ of the Cathallar and the enemy unit who will receive the bravery debuff must be within 18″ of the Cathallar.
The first of several ‘core rule’ breaking mechanics that the Lumineth Realm-lords army has access to, this rule allows you to pick two units to fight in the combat phase rather than one when it is your turn to pick and those units fight one after the other. This is an incredibly strong ability and can really put a dent in your opponent’s combat capability, allowing the Lumineth player to gang up on opposing elite units before they get to fight back and also allowing a Lumineth player to soften the blow of multiple enemy units charging this turn.
This rule applies to the VANARI units in your army, the Warden, Sentinel and Dawnrider units. After setting up the unit, if each model is touching at least two others the unit benefits from a -1 to hit bonus. The unit loses this bonus if they end a movement phase with at least one model no longer touching at least two others. In addition the unit cannot run or charge whilst it has this bonus and can only pile in 1″
This is a great bonus that can offer some defence against turn 1 charges. For a unit such as the Vanari Sentinel archers it’s quite possible you can remain in this formation for the entire game providing defence against enemy missile fire should the unit find themselves in the open. It’s less useful on the Vanari Dawnriders cavalry unit but I guess it still offers that alpha strike protection. If you are able to move the spear wielding Vanari Wardens onto an objective you’ll have yourself a very tough unit for your opponent to shift, especially when you start layering on the other other buffs from spells, aetherquartz and battalion bonuses. A unit of Wardens could be -2 to hit, with a 3+ save, re-rolling 1’s and a ‘5+ after the save’ save. The only problem is getting the unit onto the objective in the first place as it can’t run, although there is a spell that can help there too!
Enduring As Rock
This rule applies to the ALARITH units in your army, the Stonemage, Stoneguard and Spirit of the Mountain units and basically amounts to a ‘rend resistance’ bonus that allows means attacks targeting the unit with ‘rend of -1’ count instead as ‘-‘. This is a simple defensive buff but can be combined with aetherquartz, spells and battalion bonuses to provide a re-rollable 3+ save that treat ‘rend -1’ as ‘-‘. If your army has the YMETRICA keyword, this ‘rend resistance’ is further improved to ignoring ‘rend -2’! What’s great is that this rule also applies to the large behemoth units, who can improve their save to 2+ using aetherquartz.
This rule also applies to the ALARITH units in your army, at the end of each combat phase you can select an enemy unit with 1″ of a friendly ALARITH unit (you can only pick a single enemy unit once). Your opponent must move that unit 2″, ensuring they end that move more that 1″ away from any ALARITH units. After this move, any ALARITH units with 3″ of any enemy units may make a 1″ pile in move. To be honest I am not sure how useful this ability is – I guess it could be used to push an enemy unit away from an objective, or to free up a supporting unit and allow them to disengage safely from combat in the subsequent movement phase perhaps?
A large model with the MONSTER, HERO and WIZARD keywork and a 660 point price tag. ARCHMAGE TECLIS boasts a strong 18″ ranged attack hitting and wounding on a 2+ -3 rend D6 damage which is unaffected by the number of wounds suffered. His combat profile is not fantastic, but you don’t want ARCHMAGE TECLIS in combat anyway. He has a number of special rules which synergise with most other LUMINETH REALM-LORDS units which mean he can place an important role in many army lists (unlike other similarly costed models which you can sometimes have a hard time justifying fitting in a list).
ARCHMAGE TECLIS knows all spells from both of the spell lores in this book and has a unique spell casting mechanic. In your Hero Phase you can choose to cast 1, 2 or up to 4 spells. If you choose to cast 1 spell, it is automatically cast and cannot be unbound! If you choose to cast 2 spells, these are automatically cast with a casting value of 12. If you choose to cast up to 4 spells, these are automatically cast with a casting value of 10. A lot of the strength of this army is drawn from the application of multiple targeted buffs and debuffs at specific points in the battle – the ability for Teclis to almost guarantee that that a key spell can be cast at the right time is very powerful indeed. Teclis also grants a +1 bonus to casting, dispelling and unbinding attempts for friendly LUMINETH REALM-LORDS units within 18″ (the range reduces with wounds suffered). This can again ensure that friendly wizards can get that key buffing spell off and help ensure that ‘buff layering’ strategy is successful.
In addition to his formidable casting ability ARCHMAGE TECLIS automatically dispell an Endless Spell in his Hero Phase and automatically unbind one spell in his opponent’s Hero Phase. In addition, ARCHMAGE TECLIS can attempt an unlimited number on unbind attempts in his opponent’s Hero Phase. On his own ARCHMAGE TECLIS can put a real dent in the magical capabilities of the opposing army, but we’re not finished here. ARCHMAGE TECLIS also has an aura ability which starts at 18″ and reduces with wounds suffered. All LUMINETH REALM-LORDS units wholly within range of this aura ignore the effects of enemy spells and endless spells on a 4+. In addition, if the aforementioned effects are successfully ignored, an enemy unit within 18″ suffers D3 mortal wounds.
In addition to knowing all spells from both of the Lumineth spell lores, ARCHMAGE TECLIS has two great spells on his warscroll. The first is a straight forward defensive spell that grants a 5+ ‘after the save’ save to all friendly units wholly within 18″. It has a casting value of 10 (but who cares about that :)) and what is interesting is that it can target ‘all’ friendly units, not just those with the LUMINETH REALM-LORDS keyword – worth keeping in mind if you intend on taking some Idoneth Deepkin allies. Again this is a key spell that can be used to ‘layer’ a number of buffs on your units, combined with buffs from aetherquartz, battalions and battle traits you can really create some problems for opposing armies.
His second spell is an offensive spell which can deal a large amount of mortal wounds to all enemy units within 18″. For each enemy unit in range you roll a dice, on a 2-4 you inflict D3 mortal wounds, on a 5+ you inflict D6 mortal wounds.
The Light of Eltharion
I’m a bit torn when it comes to this warscroll. It’s a solid warscroll, THE LIGHT OF ELTHARION is an excellent combat oriented character with strong melee, ranged and defensive abilities. He can do reliable mortal wounds at range 18″ with his Searing Darts of Light, and can inflict an impressive amount of damage in melee with his Fangsword, especially if he gets the charge off against an enemy HERO. That said I feel THE LIGHT OF ELTHARION stands apart from the rest of the army. He offers no buffs to nearby units and so cannot contribute to the ‘buff layering’ strategy so you’ll be looking to include additional heroes alongside him in your lists. In addition to this, a lot of your own ‘buffing’ capabilities are wasted on him. He ignores negative to hit modifiers, all save modifiers and he can’t cast spells – so most of the aetherquartz reserves bonuses are redundant.
He does have a good Command Ability which can help limit the impact of a generally low Bravery characteristic across this army (made lower with the use of aetherquartz reserves of course). I can see him providing most use in a Warden heavy list, ensuring your big blocks of spear elves stand firm and adding a strong counter attacking piece whilst enemy units are locked in combat.
An important unit for those wanting to build a Vanari heavy army. The SCINARI CATHALLAR (like most units in this army) is a WIZARD. In addition to the spell on her warscroll, this unit knows one additional spell from the Lore of Hysh. She can cast and unbind 1 spell. This unit is a real disruption piece that can really throw a spanner in the works for your opponent. Her warscroll spell allows you to target an enemy unit with 18″ and force them to roll 2D6 before they attempt to move, shoot, charge or fight. If the roll is higher than the target unit’s Bravery characteristic that unit cannot perform the actions that phase. You can use this spell in conjunction with the Absorb Despair rule above and the Voice of the Mountain spell from the Lore of the High Peaks to first lower the target unit’s bravery and then limit their actions.
In addition to limiting the actions of opposing units, the SCINARI CATHALLAR has a rule which allows her to redirect the battleshock modifiers affecting a friendly LUMINETH REALM-LORD onto a enemy unit with range! This is a strong rule and can allow you to play mind games with your opponent and make them reluctant to risk inflicting heavy casualties on your units for fear of you redirecting the battleshock modifiers onto their own elite units. What is interesting is that you can redirect the battleshock modifiers to any enemy unit within range (as long as they are taking a battleshock test that turn of course), not just the unit that inflicted the casualties in the first place.
I can see the SCINARI CATHALLAR finding a place in almost every Lumineth Realm-Lords list purely for the difficulties it can inflict on the opposing player’s plans during the game.
One of the weakness of this army is it’s lack of mobility. There are no ‘deepstrike’ or ‘teleporting’ mechanics and a lot of the special rules that the Lumineth Realm-Lords do have require you to either forfeit your run (Shining Company), limit your pile-in (Tectonic Force) or receive the charge (All but Immovable – ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN). This, combined with the fact the ‘layered bonuses’ strategy requires units to stay within range of auras and other units, can mean your army can be susceptible to outflanking and could struggle to control the board and claim objectives. The VANARI DAWNRIDERS can provide some much needed mobility with a 14″ move on their profile ( there is a spell in the Lore of Hysh which can double this move!). This mobility on it’s own is enough to secure a place for at least one unit in most lists I think.
The VANARI DAWNRIDERS have some interesting rules on their warscroll (some are common to all VANARI units and I’ll cover these below). With rules such as Deadly Furrows and Lances of the Dawn, this is a unit that is at it’s best charging into large units of single wound models. If you can get multiple buffs on this unit (+1 to hit using aetherquartz reserves, extra attacks from Deadly Furrows) a small unit of 5 can rack up a surprising amount of damage on a unit of single wound models.
In addition, the unit has a rule called Sunmetal Weapons (another unit common to all VANARI units) which means they inflict a mortal wound on an unmodified hit roll of 6+. This can be buffed to 5+ via the Power of Hysh spell (see below).
In addition, it’s worth pointing out at this stage that the Champion model of all VANARI units are WIZARDS so long as the unit has a certain amount of models (3 for VANARI DAWNRIDERS). All VANARI units know the Power of Hysh spell (covered later) in addition to a single spell from the Lore of Hysh. This is a strong rule, allowing you to overwhelm your opponents magical defences through weight of casting attempts alone. It also allows you to ‘double’ up on key spells to provide redundancy should you lose a WIZARD. With all the bonuses to casting in this army (aetherquartz reserves, ARCHMAGE TECLIS buffs, Great Nation Traits) you should be able to ensure that you can get the right spells off in the right place at the right time. As VANARI DAWNRIDERS will often find themselves separated from the rest of your army (and therefore auras and buff spells) it’s quite handy that this unit is able to cast a range of buffing spells on itself. The number of spells the unit can cast can be increased via certain Great Nation traits, allowing it to operate even more effectively whilst isolated from the rest of your army.
I think I’d probably try to keep this unit safe and use it to claim objectives myself. There are other units that can be used more effectively to cause damage to the opposing army 🙂
Vanari Auralan Sentinels
Reminiscent of the old High Elves archers, the VANARI AURALAN SENTINELS will be giving your opponents headaches from the get go. Each model (except the Champion) gets a single ranged attack, hitting on a 3+ and wounding on a 4+ with Rend -1 and 1 Damage at 18″. Alternatively, the unit can shoot at a target 30″ away but will hit on a 4+ instead with no Rend. The unit has the Sunmetal Weapons rule, meaning that to hit rolls of 6+ are inflicting mortal wounds. In addition, this unit treats one enemy unit within 30″ as visible, regardless of whether or not they have line of sight. They have an impressive range and pose quite the threat to enemy characters that might be trying to stay out of line of sight.
Now is a good time to talk about the Power of Hysh spell that appears on all VANARI warsrcolls. This has a 5+ casting value, and can be cast by any number of WIZARDS a turn. If successfully cast, the Sunmetal Weapons rule now triggers on a 5+ to hit instead of 6+.
Again, the ‘buff layering’ strategy can really increase the effectiveness of your. You could use aetherquartz reserves to add +1 to hit rolls, increasing the number of shots you landing. Cast Power of Hysh to increase the mortal wound output. Cast Lambent Light on the target unit to re-roll all hits and look for additional 5+ rolls for those mortal wounds.
Vanari Auralan Wardens
To be fair, the basic warscroll is pretty impressive. Each VANARI AURALAN WARDEN model has 1 wound and 4+ save. They have 2 attacks each at 3″ range, hitting on a 3+ wounding on a 4+, no rend and 1 damage. They get the Sunmetal Weapons and Power of Hysh spell, so a unit of 10 can score an impressive amount of damage on an enemy unit with just mortal wounds.
On the charge the unit adds +1 to wound rolls and an additional -1 to the Rend characteristic of their Pike attacks.
But lets get back to that ‘buff layering’ tactic. Using a combination of aetherquartz, spells, battalion bonuses and Great Nation Traits you can turn this already strong unit into solid combat unit, able to hold it’s ground against large numbers of high rend attacks and even mortal wounds. Coming up against some Ossiarch Stalkers, make sure you cast Mystic Shield, Ethereal Blessing and either Protection of Hysh/Protection of Teclis to secure a 4+ save re-rolling 1’s that cannot be modified with a 5+ ‘after the save’ save. Perhaps if rend is not an issue you could use your aetherquartz to increase you save to 3+ instead. Remember if the unit still has their Shining Company bonus, they are also -1 to hit. Keep them in range of an ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN and they’re -2 to hit.
VANARI AURALAN WARDENS are the only basic Battleine option when you’re building your army, however for each unit you take you can take a unit of VANARI AURALAN SENTINELS as Battleline too.
I really like the idea of pairing this unit alongside the SCINARI CATHALLAR and ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN. If you get lucky with the disruption mechanics offered by the SCINARI CATHALLAR you might find yourself in the position where you can counter charge an out of position enemy unit and inflict some damage.
This unit is another WIZARD but you’re really looking to include him in an ALARITH heavy army due to the bonuses he grants those units. His Stonemage Stance aura ability improves the rend characteristic of himself and nearby ALARITH STONEGUARD units by 1 (at the cost of those units only being able to pile in 1″).
If you’re thinking of including some ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN units then you can keep the ALARITH STONEMAGE nearby to negate the wounds suffered penalty to the ALARAITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN abilities.
Outside of ARCHMAGE TECLIS, this unit is your only access to the Lore of the High Peaks spell lore so it might be worth including him even if you are not including any other ALARITH units. He can cast and unbind one spell, but remember he has access to aetherquartz so you could squeeze 2nd (or 3rd depending on the Great Nation you have chosen) spell cast if required.
A slow moving (especially when you factor in all the pile-in penalties that will be applied as a result of other bonues), the ALARITH STONEGUARD are a relatively cheap elite melee unit, with a focus more on defensive staying power rather than pure offence. They each have 2 wounds and a 4+ save, ignoring rend -1 due to the ALARITH battle trait. You can apply a number of buffs to this unit to make them quite resilient (3+ rerollable save ignoring rend -2 with a -1 to hit and a 5+ ‘after the save’ save). They are also quite cheap at 100 points for 5 models.
They have a choice of two weapons. Both have the same 2 x 3+ 3+ -1 D1 profile, but one inflicts mortal wounds on a 6+ to hit and the other adds 1 damage on a 6+ to hit instead. You have access to a lot of mortal wound output in this army, from spells and Sunmetal Weapons so I think I’d be tempted to opt for the extra damage myself. Especially as you can increase the rend to -2 with a nearby ALARITH STONEMAGE and increase the number of attacks to 3 with a nearby ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN.
I think this unit really needs the other ALARITH units in the same army if they are to be effective, so if you’re not including those I would think VANARI AURALAN WARDENS would be a better alternative. In a YMETRICA army with ALARITH support though, I think these are a solid choice. Keep in mind they are not WIZARDS though.
Alarith Spirit of the Mountain
The first of the ALARITH behemoths. Quite expensive at 340 points but he has a good profile with reliable high rend damage output (especially if paired with an ALARITH STONEMAGE who can keep him fighting on the top profile regardless of wounds suffered. He also has a nice shooting attack with a respectable range of 30″ at his top bracket.
If this unit is charged, it get’s an additional attack with it’s main weapon which is a nice deterent for opposing players who might be considering a charge against the unit.
Being ALARITH he benefits from the ALARITH battle trait, so his 3+ save ignore rend -1. You can make use of aetherquartz to improve this save to a 2+, and in YMETRICA armies he ignore rend -2. Each shooting and combat phase he can choose an enemy unit within 12″ and inflict a -1 to hit debuff on them…which is useful if you have a bunch of Shining Company VANARI AURALAN WARDENS about to take some hits.
Interestingly he also has a Command Ability, allowing you to grant +1 attacks to a nearby ALARITH AELF unit.
Speaking of Command Abilities, the ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN can allow a nearby LUMINETH REALM-LORDS AELF HERO to use a Command Ability in the following Hero Phase for free…the only issue is there is only one LUMINETH REALM-LORDS AELF HERO in the book, and thats the THE LIGHT OF ELTHARION so you may not see much benefit of this rule just yet (maybe when future units are added to the Battletome)
For an additional 20 points over the ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN you can get a ‘beefed’ up version, with 2 extra wounds, an improved -1 to hit aura that affects all enemy units in range and an improved version of the Command Ability that affects D3 ARALITH AELF units, not just 1.
The AVALENOR gets more attacks than it’s non-hero counterpart but only at rend -1 (as opposed to rend -2) however each unmodified hit roll of 6+ does inflict 1 mortal wound in addition to the normal flat 5 damage.
Overall I think I prefer this version of the behemoth, mainly down to the improved -1 to hit aura and the addition of the HERO keyword which can give you more options during some battleplans. The AVALENOR makes a solid unit to anchor a line of VANARI AURALAN WARDENS, granting a additional -1 to hit aura and providing some serious damage to compliment the spear aelves.
As you can see from the warscroll review above, there are only two generic heroes that you can include in your army list that would be eligible to receive a Command Trait. Both the SCINARI CATHALLAR and ALARITH STONEMAGE if chosen to be your General can choose a Command Trait from a selection of three Scinari and Alarith options respectively.
For the SCINARI CATHALLAR you can choose to either generate command points on a 4+ at the beginning of every Hero Phase – however the limited number of Command Abilities available to a Lumineth Realm-Lords player makes this feel a bit unnecessary (unless you’re using the Iliatha Great Nation). Instead I’d opt for either the ‘re-roll 1 failed casting attempt’ or ‘knows 1 extra spell from Lore of Hysh‘ traits instead.
On the ALARITH STONEMAGE side you have access to useful Command Trait which adds 1 to the Bravery characteristic of friendly LUMINETH REALM-LORDS units wholly within 12″ and reduces enemy unit’s Bravery characteristic by 1 whilst they are within 18″. I really like this trait, it can help mitigate some of the bravery hits you take from the aetherquartz reserves rule and can also increase the effectiveness of the SCINARI CATHALLARS warscroll spell. This was my favourite trait but you could always opt to know an additional spell from the Lore of the High Peaks or add 3 additional wounds to the General.
In addition to Command Traits, the SCINARI CATHALLAR and ALARITH STONEMAGE both have access to a choice of three Scinari and Alarith artifacts.
There are a couple of interesting picks, the Phoenix Stone for example allows you to roll a dice every time a friendly LUMINETH REALM-LORDS HERO is slain with 12″ of the bearer, on a 6 they return to life with their full wounds restored and all unresolved damage negated. Imagine your AVALENOR or ARCHMAGE TECLIS (or both) returning to battle! On the ALARITH side I quite like the Magmic Hammer which adds 1 to the number of mortal wounds the bearer inflicts as a result of Arcane Bolt.
There are two spell lores in the battletome. The Lore of Hysh contains six spells that can be cast by ARCHMAGE TECLIS, VANARI and CATHALLAR WIZARDS (it also states THE LIGHT OF ELTHARION too but this unit does not have the WIZARD keyword on its warscroll). The second lore is called The Lore of the High Peaks and contains six spells that can be cast by ARCHMAGE TECLIS and ALARITH WIZARDS.
Both spell lores are packed with excellent utility, offensive and defensive spells. It’s a good job you can include so many casters in your army because you’ll probably want to include most of these spells.
There are multiple spells here to improve the defences of your units, Ethereal Blessing can be used to make a friendly LUMINETH REALM-LORDS ignore save modifiers and Protection of Hysh can be used to give nearby friendly units a 5- ‘after the save’ save.
If you need to deal some damage then you’ll probably want to be casting spells such as Solar Flare or Assault of Stone which have the potential to do a large number of mortal wounds depending on the number of models in the unit.
And then there are some very strong utility spells. I’ve already mentioned Speed of Hysh which doubles the Movement characteristic of a friendly LUMINETH REALM-LORDS unity and Voice of the Mountains which debuffs the Bravery characteristic of all enemy units on the board.
There are other, perhaps stronger spells still. Lambent Light can be cast on an enemy unit, allowing all shooting attacks to be rerolled against that unit – multiple VANARI AURALAN SENTINEL units can benefit from this spell at the same time to help ensure you get as many Sunmetal Weapon mortal wounds as possible. Total Eclipse is a very strong spell that forces your opponent to use an additional Command Point each time they would spend one – this is incredibly strong and can help prevent opposing players from triggering their own combos and power plays.
I’m really impressed with the spell lores. The high number of casters you can include in your army coupled with clever use of the aetherquartz reserves rule mean that you can adapt you spell casting strategy on the fly, game to game, turn to turn, ensuring you can make use of the right set of tools at the right time to help swing the game in your favour.
There are three reasonably priced Endless Spells available to the Lumineth Realm-Lords. The SANCTUM OF AMYNTOK is set up around the caster and provides a small defensive buff to the caster (-1 to hit and +1 save). I feel there are already quite a few options in the Battletome for buffing defense but maybe this could be used to help a caster defend an objective.
The HYSHIAN TWINSTONES is a fantastic spell that can be summoned in the middle of all your casters. Every time a spell is successfully cast and not unbound within 12″ of this model you increase a count. A friendly WIZARD can consume this count in order to add it’s value to the caster’s casting attempt. The count is then reset to 1. With the number of cast attempts you’ll be making, and the importance of ensuring key spells go off at the right time this particular Endless Spell could prove invaluable. For only 30 points I think it will find a place in many lists.
Finally we have the RUNE OF PETRIFICATION, another tool you have access to that can disrupt the opponents game plan. It has a chance to cause an enemy unit to take mortal wounds if they start and end a move within range. Useful for trying to control the movement of enemy units in key areas of the battlefield.
Just like Stormcast Eternal Stormhosts, you can opt to have your Lumineth Realm-Lords army hail from one of the four Great Nations. If you do so, you gain some additional rules for your army, a unique Command Ability and a Command Trait and Artefact that you must select. In most cases I find the Artefact to be a bit redundant as I don’t feel like you can get the full benefit with the limited hero choices you have.
A great pick if you’re leaning heavily into the ALARITH units. Their inherent rend resistance is increased to -2, and ALARITH STONEGUARD units are unlocked as battleline.
Their unique Command Ability allows you to use the TECTONIC FORCE battle trait a second time and their Command Trait grants a nice little mortal wound effect for the General in combat. The Artefact itself is very nice, granting extra damage, defence and spell protection to it’s bearer, but I think you’ll struggle to find a suitable character to use it on to be honest.
The biggest strength of this Great Nation is related to the bonuses to the aetherquartz mechanic for your army. Each unit starts with 2 aetherquartz reserves and you’re able to use two of the bonuses per phase instead of one via the unique Command Ability.
This just gives you an amazing degree of flexibility and can ensure you always have the right buffs applied to the right units as often as possible. I really think you want to be taking a VANARI heavy list with this Great Nation and a couple of SCINARI CATHALLARS and perhaps THE LIGHT OF ELTHARION to mitigate the impact on your unit’s bravery.
At first glance, this Great Nation appears to be one of the weak choices. Your VANARI and AELEMENTARI (basically the Aelf Alarith units) gain +2 Bravery – which is quite useful considering their relatively low bravery and the impact of aetherquartz. In addition, whenever an ILIATHA VANARI unit use a Command Ability you can pick another unit within 3″ and use a Command Ability for free. This coupled with the unique Command Ability allows you to apply a re-roll 1’s buff to mutiple VANARI units at a cost of only a single Command Point. A couple of units of VANARI AURALAN SENTINELS hitting on 3’s thanks to aetherquartz and re-rolling 1’s for a single Command Point is quite a nice little trick. In this case the unique Artefact is quite useful, allowing the bearer to return to life after being slain on a dice roll of 4+. In addition, there is no compulsory Command Trait for this Great Nation, meaning you’re free to make use of the some of the generic ones, like the Warmaster trait which generates additional Command Points on a 4+.
This is the Great Nation to choose if you want to increase your already formidable magical prowess. Their unique rules enables all your WIZARDS to know one additional spell and buffs their first casting, dispelling and unbinding attempt per Hero Phase. Their unique Command Trait improves the General’s dispelling effectiveness, allowing you to unbind an additional spell and even re-use dice rolls on subsequent attempts. Another useful Artefact that grants a 6+ ‘after the save’ save, increasing to 4+ if ARCHMAGE TECLIS is on the battlefield. In addition, you get access to a unique spell which every ZAITREC WIZARD knows that can target an enemy unit within 24″, its movement characteristic is halved and every time that unit wants to move it must roll a D6 and roll under their save characteristic or take D3 mortal wounds.
There are four Battalions in the battletome. The Teclian Vanguard is comprised of multiple selections of the three smaller Battalions and grants an army wide 6+ ‘save after the save’ bonus whilst the unit is in your territory. In addition to this you get a Battalion option focusing on the AURALAN, DAWNRIDER and ALARITH units.
I think each Battalion is worth considering, although the DAWNRIDER one may be a bit on the expensive side (120 + two units of VANARI DAWNRIDERS) to justify its bonus of re-roll hits of 1 on the charge.
The Alarith Temple allows you take a ALARITH SPIRIT OF THE MOUNTAIN or AVALENOR unit, a ALARITH STONEMAGE and 1-3 units of ALARITH STONEGUARD with the latter being able to active a re-roll save bonus if they are wholly within 12″ of a HERO from the Battalion at the start of the Combat Phase at the expense of reducing their pile-in move to 1″ (which it probably already is due to Stonemage Stance anyway. Overall a solid buff for the ALARITH STONEGUARD that can be layered on top of the other buffs available to them to increase their defensive capability.
The Auralan Legion Battalion has an unusual composition, requiring you to a single SCINARI CATHALLAR and 2-4 units of VANARI AURALAN SENTINELS and an equal number of VANARI AURALAN WARDENS. For this you get to re-roll saves of 1 for units from this Battalion that are within 3″ of each other. I’ve already discussed how you can stack the buffs on a unit of VANARI AURALAN WARDENS to create a very capable unit and this just enhances that strategy further. I can see this Battalion being very popular in ILIATHA lists, where you’re already going to be investing heavily in VANARI units and the additional Command Point will come in handy.
Overall I’m really excited to start building and using the Lumineth Realm-Lords army. They will most likely be outnumbered on the battlefield but have the tools to really mess with the opponents strategies and allow their units to stack the odds in their favour at the right time and place. Often it is claimed that when playing with the elven factions (including the Eldar in Warhammer 40000) the key to victory is in exploiting the synergy between the different elements at your command. More so than other armies you really need to think carefully about how your units are supporting one another. A unit of Vanari Wardens isolated and alone may find it tough against an opponent of equal points value whereas that same unit supported by various spells and abilities should be able to go toe to toe with even the most elite units from other Battletomes. I really excited to get some games in with this army and master the Lumineth Realm-Lord’s way of war!