“Nighthaunt” is the name of one of the three Death warbands available for Warcry in form of cards. If you already have a Nighthaunt army, chances are you already have enough miniatures to play Warcry: all you need is to buy the card expansion (5£) and join someone with a board, the rules and some scenery.
This warband is characterized by a really powerful ability: flying. In a game where scenery has an important role, being able to ignore it can make the difference, especially on a race to that far off objective. Combine this with a decent toughness and you have a really solid and versatile warband.
This short introduction takes you through the fighters of the warband, their abilities, and a few tips on strategy and painting the models.
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Background and Lore of the Nighthaunt Warband
The Nighthaunt are evil spirits cursed by Nagash to suffer for eternity. The God of Death, in his twisted sense of justice, left them enough memories of their past life to torment them forever, in their constant hatred for the living. Used mostly in vast groups as vanguard of Nagash’s armies, small detachments are extremely useful for delicate tasks thanks to their ethereal status and resistance to damage.
Why are the Nighthaunt at the 8-points and part of Warcry? Lore wise, well it makes okayish sense. Ghosties can be everywhere, right?
Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Nighthaunt Warband
Note: if you haven’t read the basic rules for Warcry before reading this article, it might be helpful to know that the game’s abilities are activated by using 6 dice that you roll at the start of your turn. If two of the dice show the same value, they can be used to activate a Double ability. If three show the same value, they can be used for a Triple ability, and so on. So, when this article refers to an ability being a Double, a Triple or a Quad, it refers to this system. It might sound a bit confusing, but takes no time to get used to when you start playing
Extoller of Shyish: 195 points
The Extoller is probably going to be your first option for a leader. At a decent price for 20 wounds and a toughness of 5 it can be really resilient. Add his ability to fly and a movement of 6” and you have a really versatile leader. On the other hand, it does not hit hard and lacks any special ability apart from resurrecting fallen comrades.
Grimghast Reaper: 135 points
The Reapers share the same base stats as the Extoller with half the wounds, the same 2” range for attacks and a really useful quad ability, Reaped Like Corn, that allows them to hit every surrounding enemy.
If you are short on quads, their double, Soul Marked Prey, allows you to get +1 Strength on any friendly miniature targeting a wounded enemy within 3” of them. They are a solid choice as elite units, and you want to try to fit at least a couple in.
Dreadwarden: 150 points
The leader of the Chainrasps is a cheaper option as a leader and is treated as a minion benefitting from the same double ability, Chilling Horde, where every Chainrasp next to another can get an extra attack per activation.
On the other hand, it is not extremely survivable with only 16 wounds and a toughness of 4. As all Nighthaunt he does not hit hard either (2/4), their strength is in numbers. It is a good option if you are planning a horde warband.
Chainrasp: 80 points
The cheapest unit available in the warband costs more in comparison with other equivalent units in the other warbands thanks to his ability to fly. As the Dreadwarden, they benefit from being in groups as for a double you can get +1 Attack and +1 Strenght as long as there’s at least two of them close to each other. With damage 1 / 2 and strength 3 will however be a long process to put down the tougher opponents. They are probably best suited to grab objectives or slow down the enemy.
Spirit Host: 220 points
They are the most expensive unit available to the Nighthaunt and for a good reason. With 30 wounds and toughness 5 it’s going to be difficult to pull them down.
Normally they wouldn’t hit too hard, but their triple, Frightful Touch, allows every hit to be treated like a critical. If you have a double and use the Grimghast special ability you can raise the Spirit Host strength to 4 and with 6 attacks for activation with every hit doing 4 damage you are assured to hurt badly the toughest units in the game.
Glaivewraith Stalker: 120 points
The last unit is a real pity: a nice model, available in the cheapest box for Nighthaunt (10£ for 4 models), is halfway between a Chainrasp and a Grimghast Reaper.
However, has an attack slightly better than a Chainrasp but no special ability and a much higher cost compared to the Chainrasp. When taking a Grimghast, for 15 points more you get their 2 special abilities, +1” movement and +1 damage on critical making the Stalker a poor option in most scenarios.
Myrmourn Banshee: 145 points
In January 2020 GW added an extra unit to the roster: the Banshee.
She is slightly more expensive than a Grimghast but adds considerable weight to the table with +1 strength (4) and more damage on a normal hit (2, 4 on a critical). They do not have any special ability, however.
Toughness 5 will make them resilient to normal hits, but the 10 wounds are not enough against good critical hits.
Another relatively expensive unit for this warband with some good traits and the ability to return
back if the leader is still alive and you get a good Triple…
Abilities for the Nighthaunt Warband
- Aura of Dread: (Double) subtract 1 to the Strength characteristic (to a minimum of 1) of an enemy fighter within a number of inches equal to the value of this ability until the end of the battleround. Not cumulative.
- Soul-marked Prey: (Double) (Grimghast Reaper only) -1 Strength to a wounded enemy fighter within 3”. Not cumulative.
- Frightful Touch: (Triple) (Spirit Host only) each hit scores critical damage.
- Chilling Horde: (Double) (Dreadwarden and Chainrasp) +1 Attack and +1 Strenght if another friendly miniature with the same runemark (Minion) is within 3”.
- Spectral Summon: (Triple) (Leaders only) set up any fighter taken down again wholly within 3” from the leader and with a number of wounds remaining equal to the value of the ability.
- Reaped Like Corn: (Quad) (Grimghast Reaperr only) damages all visible enemy fighters within 3” for the value of the ability.
Strategy and Tactics for the Nighthaunt Warband
The Nighthaunt as a warband is extremely versatile. They don’t hit hard unless you manage some good combination of synergies like marking a prey with a Grimghast and finishing it off with the 12 attacks at strength 4 and damage 4 of a Spirit Host. It does require to have a Grimghast and a Spirit Host next to your target and the use of a double and a triple, but it is quite cost-effective.
In all other scenarios the warband will fly over the terrain to gather objectives, putting numbers against your opponent when required and returning back into play as long as you have your leader on the table and a triple available.
The units are all well distributed, allowing a mix of more basic units like the Chainrasps with more elite units like the Reapers and the Spirit Hosts for a real fun list building activity.
Decent toughness will allow them to survive most fights, if you have the time on your side. Time-based missions in which you have to kill specific enemies within 3 or 4 battle rounds will be your biggest problem.
In summary, I would recommend this warband as it’s more forgiving than others and quite flexible.
Pros and Cons of the Nighthaunt
+ Versatile and quite forgiving
+ Fly is, in general, an amazing ability
+ Summoning back models is a powerful ability, tactically satisfying and thematically fitting
– Low damage (unless you can get off some abilities)
– Can struggle on some missions
How to buy a Nighthaunt Warband
UPDATE: in January 2020 GW introduced a new Warcry box for Nighthaunt including 4
Myrmourn Banshees, 4 Glaivewraith Stalkers and 5 Grimghast Reapers (one can be built as an
Extoller) giving you quite some miniatures to start the army for only 30£. To this, you could add the
Warhammer Underwolds warband Thorns of the Briar Queen with 6 Chainrasps (one could be a
Dreadwarden) for only 15£. A solid way of starting your warband!
The Nighthaunt army features in the starter sets for Age of Sigmar 2.0, therefore many models are available in those boxes for a good discount. For more information consult the review of those sets, but if you can split the Stormcast Eternals part with a friend, the Tempest Souls box for 50£ provides 4 Grimghast Reapers, the Extoller, 5 Glaivewraith Stalkers, 10 Chainrasp and their leader, the Dreadwarden.
Outside of those collections, you will surely want a box of Grimghast Reapers that allows you to assemble 9 Grimghasts and one Extoller and the unit is also extremely useful in any Death army for Age of Sigmar.
Not available in any starter set but extremely useful, for 16£ you can buy 3 Spirit Hosts and you may want to have at least one of these big boys in your army.
The cheapest option to obtain Glaivewraith Stalkers is the Easy to Build set that provides 4 of them for 10£, however, it may be the last of your purchases.
Finally, a box of 10 Chainrasps (including the option for one Dreadwarden) costs 25£.
If you need even more options, the Nightvault Core set includes 7 Nighthaunt models, but that will buy you into a whole other “skirmish-like” game. Do note that the Nightvault core set will be replaced by the new Beastgrave set, but you can still get the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband by itself.
In summary to start your warband you will need around 50£ (the cost of a Tempest Soul box from GW store) but if you are planning to expand into Age of Sigmar keep in mind the Grimghast Reapers don’t come in their minimum unit size and I would recommend buying as soon as possible a box of Spirit Hosts.
Tips on painting a Nighthaunt Warband
In the Citadel website and the Community articles there is plenty of guides on how to paint these spectres in every shade of gloomy colours: from the newest contrast paint using Warp Lightning, to the paints specifically designed for this army (Hexwraith Flame and Nighthaunt Gloom) to other technical colours like Nihilakh Oxide.