Thursday, May 18, 2017

NICON 2017 - Grand Alliance: Order List Overview

As is tradition, it's time to look at the army list overview for the upcoming NICON event in a few weeks time. For previous events, players have enjoyed these little write-ups. They also serve a useful function for newer players, or those without all the Battletomes.

Sometimes it's hard just by looking at a model list to determine exactly what you are in for. There are so many rules that interact with each other in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar though synergies, or extra allegiance abilities, that it is useful to unpack each list a little bit. I am by no means as skilled as the Dark and Mysterious 'Jim', but hopefully I can help out in some way. I only have time to do this in phases, so I'm going to start with Order and cover the other Grand Alliances in the coming weeks.

So, here is the NICON 2017 List Guide!






The Tournament Metagame

The first thing to appreciate about this Matched Play event is that it uses five out of the six battleplans out of the General's Handbook, randomly determined before each round. This means that win conditions are objectives based, with slight variations in how they are captured, held and scored on depending on the battleplan. Hardened veterans will be familiar with the subtleties and will have optimised their armies to take advantage of this - high movement, plenty of scoring units, durability, and high damage output all do well. If you need to brush up on your win conditions, I have prepared a document to assist you. Read carefully so that you aren't surprised on the day!
Other army elements that you often see are 'chaff' units, to stop first turn charge or alpha strike armies, fast armies to counter gunlines, gunlines to counter chaff. A mix of all the above is where we are headed. Magic is going to be a strong element at NICON, as are mortal wound damage (which ignore armour).

Newer armies such as Kharadron Overlords, Blades of Khorne and Tzeentch Arcanites are worth looking into due to the new allegiance abilities that can surprise you on the table if you are not ready to face them.

So, now to the individual lists!



Grand Alliance: Order



Alex C - Sylvaneth

The General
Treelord Ancient - the command ability for this guy is OK, allowing re-rolls of 1 for Sylvaneth units within 10". This will work nicely with the Dryads, who end up with very decent armour saves in numbers. His spell will let Alex set up his Wyldwoods quickly.

The Battalions
  • Household - This one contains the Treelord Ancient, Branchwych and some of the Tree Revenants. Enemy units within 3" of these guys cannot retreat! This gives them some fantastic crowd-control, and stops objective jumping once in combat. These units also gain Bravery when they are near enemies.
  • Free Spirits - Contains the Spirit of Durthu and three units of Kurnoth Hunters. Allows these units to make an extra move in the Hero phase towards a chosen unit.
  • Gnarlroot Wargrove - This requires the Household battalion, and includes all the remaining units. It allows one of her spellcasters to cast an extra spell, and give them access to a spell that brings back models to units.

The Army
First of many Sylvaneth lists! The strategies will be similar, involving teleporting between summoned Sylvaneth Wyldwood. This will give them mobility to move between objectives at crucial times and to get to key targets. This list is very much a 'mixed arms' approach, always a good choice for dealing with a changing metagame.


Amy B - Sylvaneth

The General
Alarielle the Everqueen, the Realm-god of Ghyran herself - her Command Ability allows all Sylvaneth on the table to re-roll wound rolls. Luckily, she can only do this once per battle!

The Battalions
  • Household - This one contains the Treelord Ancient, Branchwych and some of the Tree Revenants. Enemy units within 3" of these guys cannot retreat! This gives them some fantastic crowd-control, and stops objective jumping once in combat. These units also gain Bravery when they are near enemies.
  • Gnarlroot Wargrove - This requires the Household battalion, and includes all the remaining units. It allows one of the spellcasters (other than Alarielle) to cast an extra spell, and give them access to a spell that brings back models to units.

The Army
The Gnarlroot Wargrove spell works well in tandem with Alarielle's spell, which also focuses on healing. Dryads and Tree-revenants are the melee troops, and the latter can teleport to Sylvaneth Wylwoods or a table edge with their Waypipes. Nine Kurnoth Hunters add some decent durable ranged damage. There are Four Wyldwoods on the list, enough for up to 12 Citadel Wood bases - more than enough to overgrow the battlefield, which can slow armies down, and provide teleportation for most of the troops onto objectives.

A very well crafted army for the metagame, and I am absolutely delighted at seeing Alarielle on the table. She is a hefty chunk of points, and needs to make it back by keeping units alive and kicking ass, but it's one of the great things about games this size - seeing all the big toys!


Brook F - Sylvaneth

The General
Treelord Ancient - the command ability for this guy is OK, allowing re-rolls of 1 for Sylvaneth units within 10". This will work nicely with the Dryads, who end up with very decent armour saves in numbers. 

The Battalions
  • Forest Folk - Consists of a Branchwraith and three units of Dryads. It allows the battalion to teleport to near any Wyldwood in his territory (9" from enemy). Another good one to move between objectives to attack or defend, and for getting out of trouble.

The Army
Brook's army focuses on the melee capabilities of the Treelords, Kurnoth Hunters, and some good old fashioned Tree Kin! Some durable units in there with one or two spell tricks up her sleeve. Delighted to have Brook along to join us with her dad for a weekend of gaming!


Craig T - Aelves

The General
Anointed - This Phoenix Temple leader has a command ability that allows fellow Phoenix Temple units within 8" to re-roll failed wound rolls in the combat phase. This will apply to the Phoenix Guard unit and to the two other Anointed flying around on Flamespyre Phoenixes.

The Battalions
  • N/A
The Army
Craig's army has a mix of different aelf units - Darkshards, Executioners, Phonenix Guard, Glade Guard,and Wildwood Rangers. The last few units benefit from the Glade Guard battle standard hero, which gives them a wound ignore on a 4+ if they are near. The Phoneixes will be a handful, with a 4+ universal save, and the ability to come back to life with full wounds! And before you ask, this has not been FAQ'd to cost Reinforcement Points (yet) so they get to come back for free. Wiley opponents will find ways to "not-quite-kill" them to avoid them being resurrected onto objectives. definitely the units to watch out for. Some other decent mixed arms capability in the infantry.


Dan S - Sylvaneth

The General
Treelord Ancient - the command ability for this guy is OK, allowing re-rolls of 1 for Sylvaneth units within 10". This will work nicely with the Dryads, who end up with very decent armour saves in numbers. His spell will let Dan set up his Wyldwoods quickly.

The Battalions
  • Forest Folk - Consists of a Branchwraith and four units of Dryads (they get an extra due to the Winterleaf battalion). It allows the battalion to teleport to near any Wyldwood in his territory (9" from enemy). Another good one to move between objectives to attack or defend, and for getting out of trouble.
  • Winterleaf Wargrove - This requires the Forest Folk battalion, and includes all the remaining units. It allows special deployment around Ophidian Archways, which will not come in to play at NICON, as we are not using terrain warscrolls. Dryads make an additional attack when they roll a 6+ to hit. Best of all, all Sylvaneth units can re-roll hit and wound rolls against Chaos units. Thhis battalion also allows Dan to take a non-Sylvaneth Order unit, which will gain the Sylvaneth allegiance. Dan has chosen a Celestial Battlemage on Hurricuanum...

The Army
The inclusion of the Hurricanum is a major set piece. This is going to be a huge force multiplier, as it adds +1 to hit for units up to 10" away (decreases as it takes damage). This makes his Dryad's extra attack trigger on a 5+, or less when combined with any other abilities.

A total of 12 Kurnoth Hunters with Greatbows will be potent ranged support for the Dryads, and are going to lay out a lot of pain. Dan will make good use of allegiance abilities and spells, so also expect some movement shenanigans, and to get through anywhere between 6 and 18 Citadel Wood bases to slow you down!


David C - Duardin (Fyreslayers and Kharadron Overlords)

The General
Auric Runesmiter on Magmadroth - no special command ability, but some other neat abilities. The usual Magmadroth magma attacks, and a Runic Empowerment of a nearby Fyreslayer unit, allowing re-rolls to hit and wound. There is also a once-per-battle ability that grants re-rolls to wound rolls to all Fyreslayers within 10".

The Battalions
  • Forge Bretheren - Contains the general and three units of Auric Hearthguard. Wound rolls for these units increase in rend when they roll a six. The Hearthguard nearby can grant an extra armour save for nearby units.
  • Iron Sky Squadron - Contains the two Frigates and three Arkanaut Companies. Allows the Akanauts to re-roll run and charge rolls when they disembark. Duardin with mobility! The Frigates get an extra attack for all their missile weapons in the first battle round.
The Army
An addition to the above, David has Endrinriggers and Thunderers, an Aether-Khemist for extra buffs, and some Fyreslayer footsloggers. I love the theme, and the mixed arms flexibility of the list.



James C - Wanderers

The General
Wayfinder - the command ability allows Wanderers within 18" to use his Bravery (8). Much more usefully, if those units roll a 1 on Battleshock tests, they can immediately shoot. Though hopefully there are enough models left to do something decent. The downside is that this ability will never work on heroes.

The Battalions
  • Waystone Pathfinders - Consists of everything in the army except Orion. It allows the battalion to deploy in their first Movement Phase (which unfortunately means missing Command Abilities and spells). They can deploy along any table edge (9" from enemies). additionally, one enemy unit within 12" of the Nomad Prince in the Hero Phase can be shot by all units in the battalion as if it was the shooting phase. This could potentially delete units, so be careful about being close to the Nomad Prince!
The Army
A good mix of ranged attacks, melee units and mobility. The risk with range heavy armies is not being able to contest objectives, so if James can balance holding the line with his Glade Guard, Waywatchers and Wild Riders, supported by his ranged units (who can shoot into and out of combat), and canny deployment, it should make for really strategic games.

Orion makes a return to the Mortal Realms, with some abilities that adds reliability to charges. There are several other heroes to add other benefits to the army, including the Spellweaver, who can bring models back to units.

Very satisfying to see players making good use of the 'new' Aelf armies, and I'm hope James' loyalty to the cause will be rewarded with a full army release sometime soon!


James M - Aelves (Wanderers and Order Draconis)

The General
Nomad Prince - the command ability allows Wanderers within 8" to re-roll hit rolls of 1. Could have a good impact over the course of the game given how many shots this could equate to.

The Battalions
  • Waystone Pathfinders - Same deal as James C's above. Good flexible deployment, and the extra round of shooting for the poor target who gets close enough to the Nomad Prince.
  • Dragonlord Host - Consists of the Dragonlord and two units of Dragon Blades. Allows these units to make an extra move once per game in the Hero phase, potentially allowing them to charge during the Hero phase if they are close enough. The Dragonlord may also be able to get an extra shot with the Dragonfire during the Hero phase.
The Army
James M has a great mix of speedy cavarly to contest objectives, a hard-hitting monster, and tons of ranged support. Multiple threats with mobility and the ability to react to his opponents deployment should serve it well. Three Waywatchers boos the shooting and should allow him to deal with moderate amounts of chaff, clearing the road for his knights to charge.


James O - Duardin (Fyreslayers and Kharadron Overlords)

The General
Auric Runefather - allows re-roll of Battleshock tests for Fyrweslayer units within 20". handy for the durability of his rank and file. The Weapon-breaker ability can really upset big units that go after the Runefather. He has a Bravery debuff, and can put out mortal wounds to units around him.

The Battalions
  • Lords of the Lodge - Contains all the Fyreslayer heroes except the Runeson, and includes one unit of Hearthguard Berzerkers. Once per battle, he can add bonuses to the Priority roll equal to the number of heroes in this battalion left on the battlefield. Extremely useful to ensure he gets the initiative when he needs it. Additionally, the Hearthguard can pile and and attack twice each combat phase when they are near a hero.
  • Warrior Kinband - Contains Auric Runeson and three units of Vulkite Berzerkers. It allows the Berzerkers to shoot twice with their axes when they are near the Runeson. Additionally, they can pile in an extra D3 inches when they are near each other. 
The Army
The Fyreslayers have become much more competitive due to a points drop earlier this year. James is supplementing them with some of the brand new Kharadron Overlords, which will no doubt increase his ability to contest objectives, and give him some much needed ranged support. He is bringing along a Frigate and an Ironclad to help transport them around. Absolutely delighted to see these on the table. The only downside is that as he is taking a mixed army, he will have to default to the Grand Alliance: Order allegiance abilities instead of the extra toys available in a Pure Kharadron force. Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing how these guys play!


Jared P - Stormcast Eternals

The General
Lord Celestant on Dracoth - grants immunity to battleshock within a whopping 24". There is now a whole lot of customising Jared can do with allegiance abilities now, but I will imagine this guy will be a combat beast.

The Battalions
  • N/A
The Army
Jared's Stormcast army has a heavy melee focus, but there are two units of Judicators to plug away at chaff and chip away wounds. Watch out for the Fulminators, who will wreck almost anything they hit, and the Retributors, who dish out mortal wounds. There is a Drakesworn Templar on Stardrake giving him a nice big assault unit, a Lord-relictor for a range of buffs, a Heraldor for some damage (good use against Sylvaneth), and the Vexillor, who can teleport one of his units. I love the Vexillor in tournament play for the objective contest, but also for assassination if needed.


Jarrod B - Seraphon

The General
Saurus Oldblood on Carnosaur - command ability allows a Saurus Hero within 20" to add 2 to its attacks for the combat phase. This could also be applied to the Carnosaur itself, whose jaws do 3 damage each... The other notable ability is the Bloodroar, which can cause models to flee from battleshock, whether they fail or not - devastating for multi-wound models.

The Battalions
  • Shadowstrike Starhost - Contains Skink Starpriest, Chameleon Skinks and Ripperdactyl Riders. Allows them to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1 against a specified unit. Additionally, the Ripperdactyls can swoop onto the table during the game up to 3" of the enemy, giving them a combat bonus in the next combat phase.
  • Bloodclaw Starhost - Contains the general and mounted Saurus heroes, as well as the Saurus Knights and infantry. Allows all these units to make an additional attack with their Jaws and Shields - drastically increasing the combat prowess. Additionally, all the Heroes get to use their Command Abilities! 
The Army
A relatively slow-moving army core, but a very capable melee force. This army has some really nice mobile units and some tank-like Bastiladons. The Saurus ave well armoured too, so the hope is they can assault and hold objectives while picking off key targets. Great to see an Oldblood Army!


Marlin F - Fyreslayers

Note - it has been brough to my attention that the Hearthguard units are not battleline because the army does not have the Fyreslayer allegiance. Marlin is in the process of revising this list.

The General
Auric Runemaster - no command ability, but turns his Hearthguard units into battleline. He has some cool abilities based around seeking gold, which will give a minor buff to a unit of his opponent, but makes all his units much more effective against that unit. 

The Battalions
  • Lords of the Lodge - Contains all the Fyreslayer heroes, and includes one unit of Hearthguard Berzerkers. Once per battle, he can add bonuses to the Priority roll equal to the number of heroes in this battalion left on the battlefield. Extremely useful to ensure he gets the initiative when he needs it. Additionally, the Hearthguard can pile and and attack twice each combat phase when they are near a hero.
  • Warrior Kinband - Contains Auric Runeson and three units of Vulkite Berzerkers. It allows the Berzerkers to shoot twice with their axes when they are near the Runeson. Additionally, they can pile in an extra D3 inches when they are near each other. 
The Army
Another army that has benefitted form the points drop, and Marlin has supplemented them with some Irondrakes for some ranged support, and some air support from the Ironweld Arsenal. The sheer amount of heroes will post a big problem for his opponents in some battleplans - the Grimwrath Twins will surely forge some legends at NICON!


Nick J - Mixed Order (Darkling Coven, Scourge Privateers and their Slaves!)

The General
Black Ark Fleetmaster - an inexpensive choice points-wise, his Command Ability will allow one Privateer unit to re-roll all their failed hit rolls. This will be the Scourgerunner Chatiots.

The Battalions
  • Thrall Warhost - Contains the Sorceresses and all the infantry units. Nick will pick one of the Socerecess to be the Warhost master for each game, likely the one on the Black Dragon due to her mobility. In each Hero phase, one of those infantry units within 12" of the master can charge and then pile in and attack. In the Hero phase. This doesn't stop them charging or attacking later in the turn either. So watch out for this on the Black Guard and Executioners, as they could very quickly roll up a battle line.
The Army
Nick has a good number of bodies on the table to set up decent board control. The Helstorm Rocket Battery will combo with the Celestial Hurricuanum to make it more reliable. the Grimwrath Berzerker will be a tank like normal. A nice balanced list, with fast elements, shooting support, and force multipliers. I expect Nick will surprise some with his artillery support and Thrall abilities!


Rex F - Sylvaneth

The General
Treelord Ancient - As per the comments from Dan's list - the command ability for this guy is OK, allowing re-rolls of 1 for Sylvaneth units within 10". This will work nicely with the Dryads, who end up with very decent armour saves in numbers. His spell will help set up Wyldwoods quickly.

The Battalions
  • Household - This one contains the Treelord Ancient, Branchwych and some of the Tree Revenants. Enemy units within 3" of these guys cannot retreat! This gives them some fantastic crowd-control, and stops objective jumping once in combat. These units also gain Bravery when they are near enemies.
  • Free Spirits - Contains the Spirit of Durthu and three units of Kurnoth Hunters. Allows these units to make an extra move in the Hero phase towards a chosen unit.
  • Gnarlroot Wargrove - This requires the Household and Free Spirits battalions, and includes all the remaining units. It allows one of her spellcasters to cast an extra spell, and give them access to a spell that brings back models to units.
The Army
Similar to Amy's army, but with a Spirit of Durthu to add some combat punch, and some extra movement abilities. Rex has opted to include a Loremaster as his Order unit option, which gives him access to a spell that allows a model to re-roll all failed hit and wound rolls - this will be brutal on the Spirit of Durthu! Rex has armed some of his Kurnoth Hunters with melee weapons, so he will have a stronger combat focus that the other Sylvaneth lists. Movement shenanigans and summoning woods are taken as granted!


Shalom W - Sylvaneth

The General
Treelord Ancient - As per the others - the command ability for this guy is OK, allowing re-rolls of 1 for Sylvaneth units within 10". 

The Battalions
  • Free Spirits - Contains the Spirit of Durthu and three units of Kurnoth Hunters. Allows these units to make an extra move in the Hero phase towards a chosen unit.
The Army
Similar to Amy's army, but with a Spirit of Durthu to add some combat punch, and some extra movement abilities. Expect a lot of trees being summoned, some durable support from the Hunters, and of course, heaps of healing! Watch for the Spirit of Durthu's ability to shield Alarielle from harm, giving her more turns to make her presence felt.


Shaun B - Stormcast Eternals

The General
Lord Celestant on Dracoth - As per Jared's list. This guy will be a beast! His command ability is really nice for his multi-wound infantry.

The Battalions
  • Lords of the Storm - Contains all the heroes. Gives all his units 1 Bravery when near one of the heroes. There is also a special mortal wound attack against a nearby enemy unit when three heroes are near each other. Situational but could come in handy!
  • Hallowed Knights Warrior Chamber - Contains all units in the army. Gives them an extra save against magic spell effects (5+). They add 1" to run and charge rolls. And lastly, when a Hero dies, they can get a round of combat in before they are removed.
The Army
This is a full toolbelt. Very good mixed arms selection with solid, fast melee units (Fulminators and Palladors), Liberators to hold objectives, and Raptors for mobile strike team. The heroes add a lot, with TWO Heraldors, the long range Venator, and some top-notch defence buffs from the two Castellants. Shaun has shown he knows how to play to the objectives, so this is a threat list!


Stefan M - Stormcast Eternals

The General
Lord Celestant on Dracoth - As per the other SCE lists!

The Battalions
  • Hammerstrike Force - Contains two of the Paladin units (probably Retributors?) and the big unit of Prosecutors. The Paladins will deploy form the Celestial Realm during a movement phase, 6" away from the Prosecutors. This can place them quite close to enemy units! If you manage to kill the Prosecutors first, they can only set up 9" away from the enemy. the Paladins also get +1 to wound when they land 12" away from Prosecutors.
  • Celestial Vindicators Warrior Chamber - Contains all the units. It allows them to re-roll hit rolls of 1 if their unit loses any models. Certain weapons can re-roll all hit rolls. There is also an additional command ability available for the Lord Celestant, adding 1 attack to specific unit weapons.
The Army
Another great mixed arms list. There is a focus on missile attacks, and Stefan has brought along the mighty Celestant Prime, which is a mid-late game clean up tool. 15 Paladins will form the bulk of the melee punch.


Thomas L - Seraphon

The General
Slann Starmaster - command ability gives units within 10" the ability to fly and re-roll failed save rolls in the shooting phase. The Slann also has a selection of buffs to macig or movement or combat.

The Battalions
  • Eternal Starhost - Contains the Eternity Warden and Saurus Guard. Gives the Saurus extra save near the warden. If they don't move, their polearms gain D3 damage in the combat phase!
The Army
This army has Kroak, who will become the center of Thomas' plans. The guy has amazing spells which can do a ton of damage anywhere on the board. Armies who can reach him or pour enough shooting into him early will do well. An Engine of the Gods will provide some other up front damage, with some sneaky Skinks and Chameleons to get some board control. Magical aspects of the list will come in handy against the magic metagame. Thomas also has a decent sized reinforcement pool, and could summon heroes or units to help with objective play or as needed to secure his battleline.

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