The Blacktalons are a group of assassins led by Neave Blacktalon, Sigmar’s foremost expert in the art of removing extremely dangerous targets from existence.
They are the protagonists of their own animated series on Warhammer+ and even several novels. Their Warcry rules help to recreate their adventures in smaller skirmish sets (they also have rules for Age of Sigmar) but consider that being named characters, many upgrades (and downgrades) are not available to them.
Background and Lore of The Blacktalons Warband
Neave Blacktalon was a known name in Stormcast Eternal stories long before she became the protagonist of her own show. She still has a previous miniature that can be used as a Knight-Zephyros. Before becoming a leader, she was already a force to be reckoned with, able to infiltrate the deepest lairs of Chaos forces and eliminate her targets swiftly with her two axes.
Reforged one too many times, reconciliating with her past before becoming a Stormcast Eternal is the main theme of the animated series and many of her other stories. Recently she is being accompanied by Hendrick the Silver Wolf, her mentor and previous leader of the Blacktalons when they were known as Silverwolves. He his her strategist.
If Neave needs brute force, she can rely on Rostus Oxenhammer and his grandhammer, never shying away from a fight. While for the most delicate jobs, there is the sharpshooter Shakana Goldenblade, whose Star-eagle, Anda, warns the group of incoming ambushes and dangers.
In the group there’s also an Idoneth Deepkin Soulscryer, Lora, Child of the Abyss, that is able to use her obliviating magic to conceal the Blacktalon’s presence from mortals.
But how do they take the battlefield by storm? Let’s find out.
Fighters in The Blacktalons 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
The Blacktalons warband is made of 5 different fighters, of which Neave is the leader.
Neave Blacktalon: 285 points
Neave Blacktalon is the leader of the warband with 30 wounds on Toughness 5 which will make her extremely hard to take down. An impressive 7″ movement allows her go anywhere she is needed, and if that was not enough, her ability, a Quad, allows to teleport anywhere after taking down an enemy. The only limitation is that she has to appear 6″ away from any enemy minus the value of the ability, meaning that with a Quad 6 she can enter directly engaged, but considering her 10″ ranged attack, she can anyway teleport and attack.
Her attacks indeed are quite scary, with her melee profile being 6 attacks at Strength 5 for 2/4 damage, and her ranged attacks being “only” 3 at Strength 4 for 1/4 damage. She is expensive, but she is worth her point cost.
The warband reaction cover the usual weak spot for heavily armoured fighters: critical hits. In this scenario, everyone using the reaction can downgrade up to 2 critical hits to a normal hit. However, Neave can downgrade up to 3 as long as she is within 6″ of Hendrick, Rostus or Shakana.
Hendrick, the Silver Wolf: 155 points
Hendrick, the Silver Wolf has an interesting profile with 2 melee attacks, one a bit sharper with 3 attacks at Strength 5 for 2/5 damage, and one more balanced with an extra attack but Strength 4 and 1 less damage on critical hit. He also returns to “human” levels of movement with 4″ and the 25 wounds that characterise all other Stormcast in the warband.
His special ability allows another companion within a distance in inches equal to the Double’s value, to perform a bonus attack or move action, meaning that you are incentivised to use Hendrick and Rostus in pair with one of the others to maximise their actions. As the only Double in the warband is both great and limiting, but you can always use universal abilities like Rush for an extra inch of movement.
Shakana Goldenblade: 180 points
Shakana Goldenblade builds from Hendrik’s profile, in particular his melee balanced one (but with 1 less attack) and adds a 3-15″ ranged profile for 4 attacks at Strength 3 for 1/2 damage. Don’t be fooled by the low damage here, because for a Triple she can add the entire ability’s value to the damage characteristic bringing her up to 7/8 damage for a single ranged attack action. It costs a Triple and she has only Strength 3, but 4 attacks are bound to hit something and she can be devastating.
And if an opponent gets up close, it will still have to face the profile of an elite melee fighter with the usual Toughness 5.
Rostus Oxenhammer: 200 points
Rostus Oxenhammer is the heavy hitter of the warband with 4 attacks at Strength 6 for 3/6 damage and the same ability as Hendick that provides a free action to a companion within range. He also increases Toughness to 6 meaning that he will be mostly disturbed only by critical hits, for which there is always the reaction if you need to.
Lorai, Child of the Abyss: 160 points
Lorai, Child of the Abyss is an interesting profile because she is a wizard with all her fragility (20 wounds on Toughness 3), but also some good low-range attacks (3 at Strength 3 for 3/7 damage and 7″ range) and a bit weaker melee profile.
Her ability costs a Triple and it’s the other way elite fighters compensate against critical hits: by reducing the amount of attacks enemy can perform. She has a 6″ range, but every enemy performing attack actions within will see their attack characteristic reduced by 1 to a minimum of 1 that can be deadly both on horde units (many can be impacted at the same time) and on elite units (reducing their few but strong attacks).
Abilities for The Blacktalons Warband
- Storm of Justice (Double, Hendrick and Rostus): Another friendly fighter within up to 6″, performs a bonus move or attack action.
- Headshot (Triple, Shakana): Add up to 6 to the damage for the next ranged attack action.
- Nebulous Sea-fog (Triple, Lorai): Subtract 1, to a minimum of 1, from the attack characteristic of all enemies within 6″.
- Windrider (Quad, Neave): After taking down an enemy, can teleport anywhere on the battlefield a distance from any other enemy equal to 6″ minus the value of the ability (up to 0″).
Reaction for The Blacktalons Warband
Introduced in the new season of Warcry, Reactions are things that can be done in certain circumstances, but always during the enemy turn. They cost one action, so they can be used only by fighters that have not activated yet or are waiting. There are 3 universal reactions and one specific to each warband:
Shield of Azyr (Everyone)
- When: targeted by an enemy attack but before hit rolls.
- What: treat up to 2 critical hits as hits. If Neave is using the reaction and within 6″ of another companion, except Lorai, she downgrades up to 3 critical hits.
Strategy and Tactics for The Blacktalons Warband
The Blacktalons are not meant for big narrative campaigns where you expand the team and explore the Gnarlwood or other hideous places. They are meant to be an entertaining warband to use to recreate your favourite stories, either from the novels or from the animated series. In that context, they are a well balanced warband, with a bit of everything and a 5-fighters core that is perfect also for beginners starting the game.
They are also astonishing models great for a painting exercise, so try them out, you will not regret it!
Pros and Cons of The Blacktalons Warband
+ Great thematic warband to recreate your favourite stories
– None, they are not super competitive but they are well balanced
Tips on painting a The Blacktalons Warband for Warcry
The Blacktalons are a Stormcast Eternals group belonging to the Hammers of Sigmar, so the standard Stormcast colour scheme. This should not stop you from customising them however you prefer, but if you need a refresher, Warhammer Community has you covered with Neave.
If you need something a bit more complete and need inspiration also for the Idoneth Soulscryer, Warhipster has a really long video that goes into detail.