New Battletome Nighthaunt 2022 Review – Warhammer Age of Sigmar
The spectral forces of the great Necromancer go to war, twisted shades of their previous lives forged into a weapon of terror to strike fear into the hearts of Nagash’s enemies. As packs of howling banshees and wailing ghosts flood over the battlefield, we take a look at the brand new battletome for the Nighthaunt (up for pre order today) in our full review!
Massive thanks as ever to Games workshop who sent us a free copy of the Nighthaunt battletome for us to review – if you would like to support the site then why not order your copy through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself some money too!
We also have a full video review to go alongside this article if you would rather watch than read, and you can check it out below or over on YouTube!
Still with us? Then stand brave and prepare to face the ethereal horrors of the Nighthaunt…
Death Battletome Nighthaunt (2022) Review
The Nighthaunt are one of the coolest model ranges in Age of Sigmar, however it is fair to say that in the 3rd Edition of the game they didn’t fare too well. The Nighthaunt burst onto the scene in the 2nd Edition Soul Wars starter box with an amazing new model range to support the brand new army – however one of the side effects to being the first book in a new edition is that naturally as the edition moves on the design style of the later books evolves and adapts to an always changing ecosystem, leaving those older books being a little. However, with the release of the new Battletome Nighthaunt our favourite spooks have caught up with the big players in Age of Sigmar and will once again be a formidable force to reckon with!
Before we dive into the review proper I also just wanted to call out that included with the book is a sheet of tokens that makes some of their new mechanics a little easier to track! As you will soon see, you’ll be using these Wave of Terror tokens as one of your main army abilities, and by having both the name and effect listed on them it reduces any book keeping here!
You wait a lifetime for a cool allegiance ability and a whole spectral host of them comes along at once!
Firstly, the Nighthaunt now have 4 sub factions as part of their core rules – while they later got access to these through supplements, this is now baked into the army itself. And we get some fun stuff here!
The Grieving Legion favours armies with with a core of reinforced units that get to pin enemy units in place through the ability to stop any enemy units from retreating while within 3″ of units with 10 or more models.
The Emerald Host is Lady Olynder’s personal faction and use the Emerald Curse to punish their foes. In game terms they get to pick D3 +1 different units and on a 2+ at the start of each battleround cause them to take D3 mortal wounds. This is a great way of keeping pressure on both support heroes and elite heavily armoured units who will really feel the pain of a steady stream of mortals!
The Scarlet Doom favours Bladegheist Revenants as it causes them to do “impact hits” on a unit they charge, again giving the Nighthaunt a good source of focussed mortal wounds. This also unlocks Bladegheists as battleline.
The Quicksilver Dead favours Dreadscythe Harridans by making them ignore ward saves! While they may not have much rend, pure weight of attacks can cause these to put some pressure on high value targets! They also get unlocked as battleline in this subfaction.
Ghosts are spooky – and we finally see that in game terms with the Aura of Dread rule that stops units within 3″ of Nighthaunt from issuing or receiving the Inspiring Presence command – this is big news as your opponent can no longer rely on just passing a battleshock test!
The Nighthaunt still ignore save modifiers, but this has also been given a substantial upgrade in that they now get an army wide 6+ ward save that can be boosted to 5+ with a new army Command Ability “Discorporate” – and there are actually some sneaky ways to use this on multiple units too with Dreadblade Harrows too.
Another massive upgrade for the Nighthaunt is the fact that any unmodified hit of 6 by a Nighthaunt unit automatically wounds it’s target! This makes even our battleline with on average a wound value of 4 much more dangerous than they would other be.
Finally we get Wave of Terror – essentially this causes various debuffs to be applied to a target based on the distance of the charge. We get 3 here – Shriek which subtracts 1 from hit rolls, Stun with subtracts 1 from saves and Petrify that causes the unit to strike last. While a unit can have only one of each, you are allowed to trade down to a lower result on the charge if you want – so for example if you made 10″ charges with 3 different units against an enemy target then you could opt to give that unit all 3 of the Wave of Terror tokens. On top of this Nighthaunt are now able to retreat and charge meaning they can keep hitting targets with these effects each turn!
We get 6 Command Traits that are pretty good – the most useful is probably Lingering Spirit which gives the general a 4+ ward against mortal wounds (Combined with their unmodifiable save this makes a tooled up Nighthaunt hero very tough to chew through). We also get options to extend the range of Aura of Dread to 6″, the ability to resummon a destroyed unit at half strength, be able to reroll all hits and wounds against non Death targets, returning suffered wounds as splash mortal wounds or make it impossible to target the general with more than 1 unit.
Artefacts of Power
The Nighthaunt get access to an impressive 11 artefacts – we get a range of things here, including the ability to automatically cast an Endless Spell that cannot be unbound, or how about 6’s to wound causing D3 mortal wounds? Or my favourite, heal up D6 wounds if the bearer slays a target in the combat phase!
Lore of the Underworlds
In the new Nighthaunt Battletome we also get an updated Lore of the Underworlds – while a lot of this is similar to the lore in the previous book there are a couple of changes here!
Soul Cage gives a target strike-last
Spirit drain lets you roll a dice for each model in the target unit, with each 6 causing a mortal wound
Lifestealer causes D3 mortal wounds to a target and heals the caster for damage done
Seal of Shyish gives a Nighthaunt unit a 5+ ward save
Shademist makes a unit -1 to wound from enemy units
Spectral Tether allows the caster to go anywhere on the battlefield outside of 9″ of enemy units.
Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics
The Nighthaunt get access to 4 unique Grand Strategies that they can pick from in addition to any in the battlepack you are playing – A Soul to Claim and Dismantle the Brave are both very similar where you have to slay target with the highest wounds characteristic with a Summonable unit, or slay the target with the highest bravery while your general survives. both of these should be achievable with the new tools on offer to the Nighthaunt!
Fright or Flight is claimed if there are no enemy units within 6″ of any Nighthaunt that are contesting objectives, and Feed on Terror which you get if the enemy has at least 1 terrified unit – by going second in the final turn you should be able to get this one by simply throwing a unit into combat against something that cannot kill you.
There are also some Nighthaunt battle tactics that seem pretty achievable such as getting 2 units within 1/2″ of the same target, killing a hero or monster with Chainrasps or Spirit Hosts, or hitting a target unit with all three Wave of terror tokens in a single turn.
Interestingly, the Nighthaunt do not get any of their own Core battalions
The majority of the Warscrolls in the new battletome have been updated in some way, which is great news for Nighthaunt players as this really brings them up to date with recent Warscrolls from other armies! One thing that has happened across the board is that most Nighthaunt have had their base movement increased from 6 to 8, making them a lot quicker. Let’s take a look at what’s changed across the profiles.
Nagash is added to the Nightahaunt Battletome boasting his profile from the latest update on Warhammer Community. At 955 points he is expensive, however with his Invocation of Nagash and magical potency he can be a decent addition to an army – the tough thing is there is a lot of cool stuff you want to take into a Nighthaunt army, and he eats up half of those points!
Lady Olynder has had some massive updates that make her possibly our best hero in the book. Firstly she now sports a 4+ ward save in addition to her 4+ save meaning she can tank quite a lot of damage, and is very easy to heal with her Lifting the Veil ability which essentially causes D6 mortal wounds to a target unit and heals her for D3 wounds if any models are slain. She’s not just limited to healing herself however as once per game she can return D6 slain models to each Summonable unit on the board – and yes, thats models not wounds! Big units of Spirit hosts and hexwraiths become very good when you can give them a little pick me up and potentially return to full strength in the last half of the game. Finally she also gets something as frustrating as Total Eclipse with her causing units within 12″ to spend command points but not get the effect on a dice roll of 5+ while they are near her!
Kurdos Valentian has lost the majority of his special rules, however still retains his ability to steal command points, making him nice to combo with Olynder to bleed your opponent dry of CP
Awlrach the Drowner is a new addition to the book who can cause mortal wounds when he charges a target and has a command point that can teleport both him and a target unit across the battlefield, making him great at hopping on to objectives!
Reiknor has not changed too much but now has attacks and -2 rend, plus is +1 to hit and wound against Priests and Wizards
Scriptor Mortis actually causes less damage in combat now! Other than that he is much the same, potential to do lots of mortal wounds to a hero, but not the most reliable at doing it! Amazing when it goes off but I feel there are more reliable options in the book sadly
Knight of Shrouds / Knight of Shrouds on steed – These have had some tweaks in that they get to issue a free command ability each battle round – for the on foot version it’s Redeploy or Unleash Hell, while the mounted version can issue All out Attack for free – both can also pick themselves plus another friendly unit to fight one after another in combat
Krulghast Cruciator is now a supporting unit reducing 1 from the damage characteristic of any against any Nighthaunt within 12″ while he is within 12″ of a terrified target
Dreadblade Harrows are an amazing pick who can issue a command given by the general again for a second time without a command point being spent – Have a Knight of Shrouds on Steed as your general and 2 of these to give All out Attack to 3 units without spending a single command point!
Lord Executioner has been given a stat increase now boasting 5 attacks and damage 2, while his debuff is now -1 to wound rather than hit
Guardian of Souls sees the option for the maul drop but now gets damage 2 on its blade!
Spirit Torment and Chainghasts keep their profiles from the recent battlebox
Tomb Banshees have had an interesting change in that they can now cause commands issued to a target unit to cost double! This is super frustrating and a great way of controlling your opponents command point spend.
Cairn Wraiths are now specialists against hordes of small based targets as their attack equals the number of models within 3″
Grimghast Reapers get a little boost with an extra attack each if attacking targets with 5 or more models
Chainrasps also see improvements getting +1 to wound when they charge, upping their hitting power a little!
Bladegheists and Craventhrone Guard retain their profiles from the battle box, so anyone expecting massive changes to these will be disapointed.
Glaivewraith Stalkers are an odd one – they get +3 to charge against a target unit, but don’t really have the damage output to worry anyone
Spirit hosts are really good now, with them being much more effective in combat with a to hit score of 4+ rather than 5+ and they can take wounds for nearby heroes on a 3+ making our heroes quite survivable
Myremourn Banshees are still a contender for one of the best units in the book with their ability to “eat” spells by simply rolling over the base cast value on 2D6 – I can see a lot of lists including a couple of these for magic defence
Dreadscythe Harridans now get 4 attacks each and get +1 to hit and wound when attacking a wounded target – I can see them being quite scary in the faction that ignores ward saves just through weight of fire.
The Black Coach has improved considerably with attacks no longer degrading and consistent flat damage rather than D3, evocation of death has also improved now granting a 4+ ward on 5 models killed or slain, and the ability to unleash 3D3 mortal wounds once you reach 6 models killed – it should be fairly easy to unleash this most turns!
Hexwraiths are now the quickest unit in the book with the ability to move 24 inches in a turn! They also now do impact hits on the charge.
The Endless spells are much the same, however the Vault of Souls now only needs to cause 10 wounds before it can unleash it’s soul eruption, making it a little more reliable.
Path to Glory
One of our favourite things about the new edition of Age of Sigmar is Path to Glory! If you have every played Crusade for 40k then this is a similar concept in that you slowly build up your army over a series of games and earn special rewards and bonuses based on each armies unique mechanic.
With the Nighthaunt being ghosts then this is clearly some spooky hauntings going on!
At the start of the battle instead of deploying up to three units you get to declare that they are secretly haunting a piece of terrain on the board! You write this down and at the end of any movement or charge phase you can have them pop out of the haunted terrain further than 3 inches from enemy units. This is really cool with situations as having a load of ghosts hop out of a creepy haunted wood at the end of the enemy movement phase to intercept a charge – or even try and jump an objective by getting them into position at the end of the charge phase freeing them to do whatever they want the following turn!
We also see an addition of “Haunted Territories” – Over the course of a Path to Glory you can obtain territories that give you different advantages that can be later upgraded, however Nighthaunt can choose to go on a special quest in order to get a unique haunted location that give you some very powerful bonuses, but can also be exorcised by your opponent in order to turn it back into its non-haunted form! Really fun and fitting for the Nighthaunt!
So what do I think of the new Nighthaunt battletome? Well, we needed a shot in the arm and we certainly got it with this book! I can see the Nighthaunt being very good now with lots of powerful abilities that will let them dictate the flow of the battle and even hinder some of the powerful units we have seen creep up over the edition so far!
The Nighthaunt have an amazing model range and I’m so happy to see them being powerful and competitive on the table top again, and I can see them doing very very well in the hands of a good player.
Anyone who managed to put together a cheap Nighthaunt army through Mortal Realms magazine will be very happy to now have all the building blocks for a great army!
Battletome Nighthaunt is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 21st May
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews with a free copy for review purposes