Ossiarch Bonereapers 2023 Battletome Review – Warhammer Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition
It is time to pay the bone tithe and the bone tithe must be payed…
Thats right the brand new Ossiarch Bonereapers battletome is up for pre-order today and you can pick yours up from Element Games and support us at the same time, you can also check us out on Patreon.
First of thank you to Games Workshop for sending us a free copy of the battletome and Mortisan Ossifector for review purposes.
Ossiarch Bonereapers Battletome Review
Back in 2020 during lockdown I bought myself an Ossiarch Bonereaper army which over the course of several months I painted up, however since finishing that project ( when is a project ever really finished ) I have not had a game with the army simply because I have enjoyed playing my Sons of Behemat soo much that the Ossiarch Bonereapers haven’t seen the table. However with this new battletome and the current Generals Handbook being focused on Galletian Champions I feel now is the time to get my Ossiarch Bonereapers out.
The battle traits have as you would imagine been updated to work with the current edition of the game but the fundamentals are still very much the same.
There are six legions to pick from in the new battletome.
- Mortis Praetorians – Once per turn in the enemy charge phase, after an enemy unit finishes a charge move you can have one of your unengaged units charge.
- Petrifex Elite – Minus 1 damage to attacks that target a friendly Hekatos (Immortis Guard, Necropolis Stalkers and both variants or Morghast’s) or Gothizzar Harvester units.
- Stalliarch Lords – Units with mounts can re-roll charges.
- Ivory Host – Add 1 to the number of hits caused by nadirite weapons that target a unit that you caused any unsaved wounds or mortal wounds earlier in the turn.
- Null Myriad – While Null Myriad units are wholly within 9″ of a friendly Mortisan unit or Arkhan then that unit can ignore a spell that targets them or the effects of an endless spell on a 2+.
- Crematorians – When a friendly Crematorian model dies you can pick an enemy unit within 3″ and roll a number of dice equal to the wounds characteristic of that model and for ever 5+ you do a mortal wound to the enemy unit.
Ranks Unbroken by Dissent
Ossiarch Bonereaper units do not take battleshock tests.
Friendly Ossiarch Bonereaper units have a 6+ ward save.
Unmodified hit rolls of a 6 in melee score an additional hit, unless otherwise noted this battle trait does not apply to mounts.
This is the most streamlined change in the new battletome instead of having relentless discipline points like we did in the previous battletome Ossiarch Bonereaper armies now use command points like everyone else, the new version of this battle trait simply gives us bonus command points depending on how many units are on the battlefield.
- 3 or more units – 1 extra command point.
- 5 or more units – 2 extra command points.
- 7 or more units – 3 extra command points.
The main reason for these extra command points is that Ossiarch Bonereapers now get unique command abilities called Ossiarch Commands in addition to the normal command abilities that everyone else gets from the core rules, the Ossiarch Commands are a little different though in the fact that unlike other command abilities you can use the same Ossiarch Command multiple times in the same phase.
- Re-form Ranks – Gives a unit retreat and charge.
- Unstoppable Advance – Add 3″ to a units move in the movement phase.
- Reknit Construct – Heal D3 wounds to a unit or return a number of models to a unit that have a combined wounds characteristic of D3 or less (the chosen unit must be more than 3″ away from enemy units).
- Counter – Strike – Pick a friendly unit that has been charged by an enemy unit in your opponents charge phase and not within 3″ of another enemy unit and your chosen unit gets +1 to wound rolls in the following combat phase.
- Impenetrable Ranks – Pick a friendly Ossiarch Bonereaper unit when the unit is targeted by an attack and you can add 1 to their ward saves.
- Bludgeon – Add 1 to the rend characteristic of a friendly units melee weapons until the end of the combat phase.
- Unflinching Coordination – You can use this command after a Ossiarch Bonereaper hero has fought for the first time and you can pick a friendly Ossiarch Bonereaper unit wholly within 12″ to fight immediately after that hero.
Some really good commands there and I predict it is going to be very hard to choose what to use your command points on.
- Dark Acolyte – Wizard only, the first spell the general attempts to cast is automatically cast and cannot be unbound.
- Show of Superiority – Before your opponent spends a command point for a command ability on a 5+ they must spend 2 command points instead of 1 in order to use the command ability.
- Mighty Archaeossian – Ignore negative modifiers to save rolls for the general.
- Crafted from Beast Bone – After this general has fought for the first time you gain 1 extra attack at the start of each battle round which is cumulative.
- Aura of Sterility – Subtract 1 from hit rolls and wounds rolls for missile weapons that target friendly Ossiarch Bonereaper units wholly within 12″ of this general.
- Diversionary Tactics – Minus 3 from charge rolls for enemy units that attempt a charge within 12″ of this general.
A bit of a mixed bag in terms of command traits but for me the Show of Superiority stands out as does Diversionary Tactics which has the potential to be really impactful in games.
Artefacts of Power
The artefacts in this battletome are divided into normal Ossiarch Bonereaper hero’s and Mortisans only.
Ossiarch Bonereaper Heroes
- Lode of Saturation – Add 1 to ward rolls for the bearer.
- Marrowpact – Each time the bearer fights for each unsaved wound or mortal wound the bearer causes you can heal that many wounds to the bearer.
- Mindblade – If the bearer causes any wounds to an enemy hero but doesn’t kill that hero, that enemy hero can no longer carry out heroic actions for the rest of the game.
- Helm of Tyranny – Enemy units within 3″ of the bearer cannot receive the inspiring presence command and loose an additional D3 models if they fail a battleshock test.
- Luminscythe – Soulreaper only, -1 to hit and wound rolls for attacks that target the bearer while within 3″ of enemy units.
- Artisans Key – Boneshaper only, on a 3+ you can use the bone shapers ability to heal units twice instead of just once.
- Bones of the Abyss – Soulmason only, each time the bearer casts a spell that is not unbound add 1 to the attacks characteristic of the bearers Ossified Claws.
- Gothizzar Cartouche – Ossifector only, add 1 to wound rolls for friendly Ossiarch Bonereaper units wholly within 9″ of the bearer.
Not the best artefacts by any means the one that really stands out to me is the Gothizzar Cartouche which I think is almost an auto take in any list with a Mortisan Ossifector.
- Empower Nadirite Weapons – The nadirite weapons ability goes off on a 5+ instead of a 6.
- Protection of Nagash – If the bearer takes any wounds from a melee weapon but is not slain you can remove the caster from the battlefield and set them up anywhere on the table more than 9″ from enemy units.
- Reinforce Constructs – Gives a friendly unit a 4+ ward save against mortal wounds.
- Drain Vitality – Pick an enemy unit within 18″ and they are -1 to their to hit rolls and save rolls.
- Mortal Contract – Pick an enemy unit within 18″ and for the rest of the battle if that unit inflicts any damage on a Ossiarch Bonereaper unit on a 3+ that unit takes D3 mortal wounds ( You can’t cast this on the same unit more than once ).
- Soul Release – Enemy reserve units or summoned units cannot be set up within 12″ of the caster and there is a small clarification that the range must be measured from the caster so no weird interactions with the Umbral Spellportal for example.
Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics
Let’s start with the grand strategies and wow.
The more battletomes that come out I start to look at grand strategies and think they are a win more if you are already winning thing, the Ossiarch Bonereapers get four grand strategies which are all very challenging. With grand strategies I now firmly believe that all armies should have access to the same grand strategies to keep the game relatively balanced which at the moment some armies have a very easy grand strategies to complete and others do not, the Ossiarch Bonereapers ones are shown below.
- The Scales Balanced – Have a unit of Mortek Guard or Kavalos Deathriders end the game with the same number of models that they started with.
- A Textbook Conquest – Control all Objectives on the board at the end of the game.
- Creation and Termination – Have more Mortisans on the board than enemy heroes at the end of the game.
- The Pride of Ossia – Complete four of the Ossiarch Bonereaper battle tactics.
Out of those four I like The Scales Balanced the most as you do have access to healing your units but it is still very hard to do.
The battle tactics are frustrating in a list design point of view as 5/6 require specific units in your army to do very specific things which I feel depending on the current generals handbook will be swapped out for some of the generic battle tactics.
- Trample the Defiant – Have a unit of Kavalos Deathriders that starts the turn not within 3″ of an enemy unit make a successful charge which seems very easy to do.
- The Sculptors Entourage – Have a unit of Immortis Guard and a Mortisan contest the same objective wholly outside of your territory.
- Remorseless Bombardment – Kill an enemy unit with Mortek Crawlers.
- The Tithe Demands – Kill a hero or monster with a Gothizzar Harvester.
- The Edge of Obliteration – Have 2 units of Necropolis Stalkers wholly within enemy territory and not be within 9″ of enemy units at the end of the turn.
- Unfeeling Recursion – Heal 3 units with the “Reknit Construct” command ability this turn and do not have those units loose any models this turn.
The main reason I do not like these battle tactics is in order to potentially do them all you have your army list written for you as to get all those units in your army you do not have a lot of points left over and again compared to some other battletomes they are really hard to do.
The Ossiarch Bonereapers get access to one core battalion in this battletome called Ossiarch Cohort which gives you the one drop deployment benefit with the small condition that each unit in the battalion must be deployed within 6″ of at least two other units from the battalion.
The nice thing about this battalion is that you can fit an entire army into this one battalion the downside is if you want a second enhancement you have to look elsewhere.
You have to take at least one Leader model and two units that are not leader, artillery or monsters (troops), with the option to take two sub commanders 3 more troop units as well as two artillery units and two monsters that are not leaders. Which like I said is basically an entire army.
Now for the changes in warscrolls of which there are quite a few that have changed to varies different degrees.
Nagash – Now grants Death units wholly within 12″ a 5+ ward and always has +3 to cast, unbind and dispelling as that bonus is no longer tied to his remaining wounds of which he now has 18 wounds.
Katakros – Katakros’ war scroll has been simplified his attendants no longer “die” so those buffs they give are always on now, he can issue one command for free per turn anywhere on the battlefield and has two very good command abilities, one gives +1 attack while the other gives +1 to hit and save rolls for a unit to every friendly unit within 24″.
Arkhan – Arkhan now has a 3+ save and can cast and unbind 3 spells but other than that hasn’t really changed.
Arch- Kavalos Zandtos – He can now issue a command for free once per turn and gives a +1 to wound buff to friendly Mortis Preatorian units wholly within 12″.
Vokmortian – He knows all the spells in the battletome and can force your opponent to have to spend a command point to attack him on a 3+ and has a pretty good bravery de – buff for enemy units.
Mortisan Ossifector – This new hero model in short can enhance a Gothizzar Harvester, Mortek Crawler or Morghast unit but realistically the only enhancement worth doing is improving the rend of melee weapons by 1, while the model is stunning I’m not sure how often I would take this hero over some of the others unless I was taking a big unit of Morghasts which I do not think I will.
Mortisan Boneshaper – The Boneshaper has had some big buffs, first of he now has 3 attacks that are damage 2 which for a wizard is really good, his spell now does mortal wounds on a 5+ rather than on a 6 (anti – horde spell basically) and he can now resurrect Immortis Guard or Necropolis Stalkers ( 1 model ) on a 3+.
Mortisan Soulmason – I love the Soulmason model it really does feel like a powerful wizard and the new scroll really reinforces this, the Soulmason can still cast two spells and unbind two spells but it now knows all of the spells for Ossiarch Bonereapers. The melee profile for the Soulmason is better than it was with the to hit roll on all its attacks being a 3+ and the Soulmason’s staff now a flat 2 damage rather than D3 and his save is now a 4+ instead of a 5+ now… but the main incentive to take this model is his unique spell.
Soul – Guide is the Soulmason’s unique spell has a range of 24″ a casting value of a 6 and gives a unit of Mortek Guard or Kavalos Deathriders +1 to wound rolls in melee which is a huge buff to your units if you take a couple of blocks of these units, the Mortek Throne for the Soulmason also allows you to cast this spells multiple times depending on a dice roll, this this one spell I can see the Soulmason being a staple choice in lists that contain large numbers of Mortek Guard or Kavalos Deathriders.
Mortisan Soulreaper – Sadly this hero is still a bit bland as there is no real reason to take one, the Soulreaper is a wizard and is better in combat than some of the other wizard heroes but only against units of 5 or more models (it gets 5 attacks if you target a unit of 5 or more models), it’s unique spell is a slightly better arcane bolt and none of these things are a reason to take this hero, if it did something like give out a +1 attack buff to a unit I could see this hero popping up in lists but sadly it does not really do anything that the other Mortisan heroes do.
Mortek Guard – The Mortek Guard have been streamlined with this new battle tome in short the Shieldwall command ability that this unit has now ignores modifiers both positive and negative to save rolls for the unit in the combat phase, other than that the only other change is the great blade is now damage 2 but wounds on a 4+, Mortek Guard are still a super solid battleline choice.
Immortis Guard – I never saw anyone take this unit previously and in the new book I feel that they suffer from being good in a book full of good units, they are simply a bodyguard unit being able to absorbs wounds for a hero within 3″ on a 2+, they are elite and have a unique command ability to fight for a second time but with only 3 attacks each I would rather save the command point. They can be resurrected now if you have a Mortisan Boneshaper in your army but like I said they are a good unit in a battletome that is full of good units.
Necropolis Stalkers – The Necropolis Stalkers are simply a blender unit in the army as they will do the majority of the killing for your army, they are now rend -2 as standard on all of their attacks with the aspect that gave them extra rend now giving them +1 to wound in combat, the other aspects now do not give re-rolls but a standard +1 to the rolls. The falchions are now range 3″ and now hit on 3’s with the spirit blades only being 4 attacks instead of 5 but again are now rend -2. The big change to this unit is they are 5 wounds now making them better at taking objectives. Oh and their unique command ability gives them run and charge now so they will get across the board they quickly.
Leige Kavalos – The Liege Kavalos is now a much better leader than it previously was as his unique command gives a +1 attack to a units melee weapons and can importantly issue a command ability once per turn for free, it’s own attacks are now better with the Liege having a total of 5 damage 2 attacks and 6 attacks from the mount that hit and wound on 3’s, I think you will see the Liege Kavalos in a lot of lists but again it’s a good unit that will be competing with other good heroes in the book.
Kavalos Deathriders – The Kavalos Deathriders are an interesting unit, in combat they are similar to Mortek Guard in terms of their damage output but with the bonus of +1 to wound from a Soulmason’s spell they become scary. The most interesting thing with this unit is their command ability which allows them to move over models with 3 or less wounds when they charge making them good at killing heroes sitting behind a line of infantry. They also have the Ogor charge rule as does the Liege Kavalos which will help them do some damage to a specific target.
Mortek Crawler – In the previous book the Mortek Crawler had a bad reputation for sniping heroes which was a big feel bad for anyone on the receiving end I am happy to say that is no longer the case, the Mortek Crawler now has all 3 different types of shooting attacks ( you pick which one before you shoot) which varies in number of shots, rend and damage but are all good against certain unit types, you then roll a dice for each unit that was targeted by the Mortek Crawler and add 2 to the roll if all the attacks were against the same unit, on a 5+ that unit has the strikes last rule until the end of the turn making the Mortek Crawler a very useful unit to have but unlike the previous book I don’t think we will see 4 of them in a list anymore nor do I think they will kill 5 wound heroes as much.
Gothizzar Harvester – The Gothizzar Harvester is now streamlined with the sickles and bludgeons being made into one profile but having no other special rules (no more extra hits or mortal wounds) the big change is the Gothizzar Harvester no longer has a degrading profile making it a lot better in combat as it takes wounds.
Morghast Archai / Harbingers – These two units have had more re-writes then any other war scroll in the game ( I don’t know if thats true but they have been re-written several times now) and I think they have finally got them right. Both versions are very similar with both units denying enemy units within 3″ the ability to receive commands which in the current game is great and both units now get the strikes first rule if they roll an unmodified 8+ on a charge roll
The difference between the two variants is the Morgahst Archai get a 5+ ward save if they are wholly within 12″ of a friendly Ossiarch Bonereaper Hero which makes them pretty survivable while the Morghast Harbingers can now be set up as a reserve unit anywhere on the table more than 9″ from enemy units making them good at threatening enemy heroes or objectives at the back of the board.
Mir Kainan and Kainan’s Reapers – Underworld warbands in Age of Sigmar seem to be very hit or miss and for me Mir Kainan is a hit, stat wise he is 8 wounds with a 3+ save which is solid but his unique spell makes enemy units have to target him with melee weapons making him a great support piece to other units, the reapers are basically just Mortek Guard with the added bonus of counting as 3 models each for controlling objectives which makes both the character and his entourage worth taking.
Endless Spells – Okay so wow the endless spells are pretty solid all 3 have the predatory rule and are bonded to the caster, the Bone Tithe Shrieker stops enemy units with 12″ from being able to receive the rally or inspiring presence commands while also subtracting 1 from ward rolls which is very powerful in the right matchup. The Soulstealer Carrion stops units with a wounds characteristic of 1 or 2 within 6″ from contesting objectives which again could be very powerful to the point of winning you a game in some match ups while the Nightmare Predator is okay but easily the weakest of the 3 as it only does mortal wounds to units it passes over and potentially does D3 / D6 mortal wounds to a single unit within an 1″.
Bone Tithe Nexus – The terrain piece for the Ossiarch Bonereapers has had some minor changes to the Punishments which now work on a 4+ with you getting +1 to that roll if an enemy model died within 12″ in the previous turn, the punishments are -1 to hit, D3 mortal wounds, -1 to casting or chanting rolls or stopping a unit from running and -3 to charge rolls. My only issue with the terrain piece is the size for me I would only really use the terrain piece for friendly games at home as transporting it is a nightmare.
Path to Glory
The path to glory section for the Ossiarch Bonereapers focuses on collecting bone tithe points which you gain by destroying enemy units, when you kill a unit you roll a number of dice equal to the combined wounds characteristic of the destroyed unit and for each 4+ you gain a tithe point. If the destroyed unit was within 6″ of a Gothizzar Harvester you can add 2 to each dice roll.
These tithe points can be used instead of and in addition to glory points to =
- Upgrade your stronghold.
- Add a barracks to your stronghold.
- Add a new unit to your order of battle.
- Reinforce a unit from your order of battle.
Any tithe points you do not spend at the end of the aftermath sequence are lost. There are four quests which look fun which add more tithe points and give you extra command points in future games if you complete as well as a unique mission to defend a bone tithe nexus which does sounds very cool to play, other than that we get the usual veteran abilities, territories and war scroll battalions all themed around what you would expect from the Ossiarch Bonereapers.
To say I am excited to play Ossiarch Bonereapers now is an understatement. The army has finally been updated for the current edition and I think they are going to be very solid now, the battletome really doesn’t, in my opinion, have any really bad units which is great from a collecting point of view and bad from a list building point of view.
The battle traits are all very solid and look to make the faction both fun to play and powerful on the tabletop, the extra command points that the army gets will easily be spent with all the unique ossiarch commands which really do add a lot to the army. I feel that all the ossiarch commands might make the army very technical to play, the Kavalos Deathriders for example look okay based off their war scroll alone but remembering that they can retreat and charge with an ossiarch command will improve their potential a lot.
Speaking of warscrolls there really isn’t a war scroll in this book that hasn’t changed which is both surprising and encouraging, like I said there isn’t a bad unit in the book with maybe the exception of the Mortisan Soulreaper who doesn’t do anything unique, I can see myself adding a lot of Ossiarch Bonereapers to my existing army in the future and still not have everything I want for the army.
And there we have it that is the new Ossiarch Bonereapers battletome in a nutshell.
Thanks again to Games Workshop for sending us a free copy of the battletome and Mortisan Ossifector to review.
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