Reecius back with part two of our Kharadron Overlords overview! This time we’re looking at their Sky-port cities, Battalions, Artefacts and Command Traits. Check the Tactics Corner for more great information.
If you have not read it, check out part 1 of this Age of Sigmar review, here. In it, we explored the units of the Kharadron Overlords.
The Kharadron Code
Let’s jump in to the Code! The Code is what guides the lives of the Kharadron Overlords. They also define your army wide special rules which I think is super fun. There are 3 elements to the code which you can customize, or you can use set codes by choosing one of the 6 major Sky-ports, all of whom have additional bonuses. Each element of the code has 6 choices which you can roll for or pick (18 choices in total). There are some real gems in there, too. Some allow you to reroll Battleshock, others give you the ability to unbind spells for your Heroes (sometimes twice per Hero!), reroll Hit and Wound rolls, additional Artefacts of Power, deal mortal wounds, switch your code mid-game, etc. There’s a lot of potential for those juicy combos that make or break AoS armies in there.
There are some great Command Traits in this book.
- Doughty Champion gives you a 5+ to ignore wounds or mortal wounds.
- Fleetmaster gives you a pre-game redeploy with a Skyvessel which is awesome for baiting your opponent to deploy poorly.
- Grudgbearer increases a weapon’s melee attacks by 1.
- Stickler for the code gives you an additional footnote in your army, which can be combined with some of the Sky-city combos to get two or even three Footnotes!
- Prospector allows you to nominate a terrain piece that while any of your that are within it are immune to Battleshock.
- Rising Star allows units within 7″ of your general to use his Bravery.
Some are really good, others are a bit more situational. To me, Doughty Champion is pretty solid to keep your General alive, and Fleetmaster looks amazing as someone that often used Eldrad’s similar ability with my Eldar to tremendous effect. Getting your opponent to deploy poorly can seriously win you the game before it begins!
Artefacts of Power
The Kharadron Overlords have 3 sets of Artefacts, 1 for Skyvessles, the other two for Heroes. Again, we have some real winners in here and some that are a bit more restrictive in scope. The Skyvessel artefacts (Great Endrinworks) vary a lot in efficacy, from potentially healing the unit on a 4+, to firing a single weapon in overwatch to inflicting mortal wounds on units if they charge (lots of these types of effects in this army), to speeding up the Skyvessel a bit. The overwatch ability is quite good for the main cannon of the Skyvesells IMO, or with a battery of Carbines as that can drop a monster down a notch on its profile, or limit the ability of an infantry unit to real damage them. It could also outright kill some characters with some luck! Baring that, I would default to the Magnificent Omniscope, allowing your Skyvessels to move an additional D6″ if they are being effected by the Aetheric Navigation ability. That extra movement is quite good.
The Hero Artefacts are also quite varied. The Aethermatic Weapons all do some cool stuff such as improving damage, rend, number of shots, etc. but I feel like all of them are red herrings, honestly. Kharadron Heroes are not really beat-sticks. The exception being the Aethershock Earburster, IMO. This is a real gem! It alters one of the bearer’s missile weapons, and if it causes any casualties, the unit takes an immediate Battleshock test (in addition to the one they take normally). Against low Bravery units, units that have already taken damage, or combined with Bravery debuffs, you can devastate a unit. I’d consider throwing this bad boy on the Aether-Khemist whose gun can do a lot of damage.
The Treasures of the Skyports have some absolute killer Artefacts. Masterwrought Armor lets you reroll save rolls of 1 which is obviously good for Kharadron units with generally very good saves. The Balebreath Mask allows you to inflict a Mortal Wound on an enemy unit within 3″ on a 4+, the Autotinker heals a wound on a Skyvessel within 3″ on a 4+ (so many ways to fix the ships!), the Aethersight Loupe allows you to Unbind a spell but if you already have this ability–get this!–it lets you roll an extra D6 to the attempt and add it all together. WOW! The Gimlet Lens is another cool one, denying the Hero’s target any modifiers to their save roll and lastly the Aethercharged Rune allows you to change the result of one hit, wound, damage or save roll to the result of your choice. Pretty dang good.
For me, the most appealing choice is the Aethersight Loupe on a Hero that can already unbind (usually the Aetheric Navigator). This is super powerful and if you want, you can combo it with Trust Aethermatics, Not Superstitions Code Ammendment to get two of those crazy Unbind attempts every turn which can really shut down an opponent’s key spells they’ve been relying on. If you really want to go crazy, combo this with the Barak-Nar special rules (which we will get to in further depth, shortly) for a +1 to that attempt and their unique Code Footnots, Through Knowledge, Power to once per game attempt a THIRD unbind attempt with all of those bonuses! That is so good, you can really take the teeth out a magic heavy army with that, such as Disciples of Teentch who are very popular (and powerful!) right now.
There are a few good ones in here to be sure. The Grand Armada is a solid super-battalion granting you extra uses of special rules and bonus movement but as it requires such a hefty points investment, you’ll only see it in very big games.
The Iron Sky Command battalion gives a Bravery penalty of -1 to nearby enemy units (combos well with the Fearsome Raiders ability of the Barak-Mhornar faction which adds 1 to enemy Battleshock rolls) and gives you a 5+ to shuck a wound off on to a mook for your Heroes. It consists of a variety of Heroes, an Ironclad, Arkonaut Company unit and up to 3 Endrinrigger units.
The Iron Sky Squadron will likely be fairly common as it consists of Battleline units. 2+ Arkanaut Companies and 2+ Frigates, to be exact. It grants you +1 attack to all Firgate missile weapons on the first turn and rerolls to run and charge rolls the turn the infantry disembark from the Frigates.
The Grundstok Escort Wing is a bit pricey but has a VERY good benefit. Each turn you pick 1 enemy unit and add 1 to all hit rolls for units in the Battalion if all of their attacks are directed at that target. This gives you a big boost to accuracy, especially when combined with the amazing Barak-Mhornar ability Opportunistic Privateers which gives you rerolls to hit for shooting for units within 3″ of your general on a unit they target for that ability. This gives you crazy accuracy on units that hit like a brick shit-house already. Now, again, the Battalion is expensive but if played well can pack a vicious punch. This is also the only way I’d want to play the Gunhaulers as they seem pretty sub-par to me. The Battalion calls for 3 Grundstok Gunhaulers, 1 Frigate, 1-2 units of Thundeers and 1-2 units of Skywardens.
The last Battlaion, the Aetherstrike Force features some Stormcast Prosecuters units mixed in with Kharadron units. The Battalion lets the Knight-Venator fire his star fated arrow in the Hero phase and if he wounds but does not kill his target, other units in the Battalion add 1 to their hit rolls vs. that target for the remainder of the battle. That is a great way to take out big, beefy units. Secondly, in each Hero phase you can choose one unit from this Battalion to fire in that phase as if it were the shooting phase so long as two other units from the Battalion are within 6″. Again, these guys pick a target and go and murder it with massed, accurate firepower.
I am personally not a fan of mixed faction Battalions in most cases for fluff reasons but for game play, this is a fairly solid choice. It calls for 1 Knight-Venator, 3 units of Prosecutors, 1 Gunhauler, 1 unit of Endrinriggers and 2 units of Skywardens.
This is where it gets REALLY good! The Sky-ports give you pre-set Kharadron Code settings with additional–and awesome–army wide bonuses. They vary in efficacy but there is no reason not to use them unless you truly have your heart set on some combination of the code not represented here. However, due to the myriad other special bonuses they provide, I see no reason to not pick one from a game-play perspective. They’ve got a lot going on so here I will stick with a general idea of them.
- Barak-Nar: These dudes shut down enemy wizards, hard. They get multiple bonuses to unbind, can unbind an extra turn and a +1 to unbind, too. They also give you multiple ways to control Battleshock. A very solid choice.
- Barak-Ziflin: All about movement tricks, and wow do they do it well! They get bonuses in combat against enemy flying units, fly faster in their Skyvessels, get a 6+ vs. Mortal Wounds for their Skyvessels but the big one is the ability to give a ship Aetherspheric Endrins, an Artefact that lets it Deep-strike, essentially. The Skyvessel drops down and units inside can hop out, all in the Hero phase, then you blast the balls off of someunlucky target. 20 Thunderers backed by an Aether-Khemist will put out staggering firepower. Running some quick math, I cannot think of any unit that would survive that without significant buffs. This is going to be a brutal Alpha strike combo or Beta strike from reserves.
- Barak-Zon: melee oriented Sky-port. They’ve got some good flavor, and buffs to Battlshock and melee, but in general I think this will not be a super popular choice although please let me know if you think I am wrong.
- Barak-Urbaz: will be a fantastic all around choice. They grant you an additional Artefact, Battleshock buffs, extra attacks in the Hero phase, the ability to deal Mortal Wounds with a Skyvessel and the big one, Khemists Supreme. This ability is bonkers. It lets Aether-Khemists to use their Aetheric Augmentation ability (granting +1 attack to 1 weapon on a unit of Overlords) to 2 units per turn, not just 1. That is SO powerful, lol. If played well, nearly all of your Skyfarer units will have significantly higher damage output. Very, very good.
- Barak-Mhornar: I think this might be the best of the Sky-ports, so far. Time will tell, but wow, these guys are solid. They give you Battleshock buffs, first turn bonuses of running and shooting, additional attacks in the Hero phase, a Battleshock debuff to your opponent, and, the big one, an aura allowing units within 3″ of your general to reroll failed hits in the shooting phase against one enemy unit of your choice, per turn. That is mega powerful. Combo this with an Aether-Khemist or three and some Thunderers and Skyvessels (you only need a single model from the unit in range by a sliver of his base!) and you can focus fire down key enemy units with extreme prejudice. One example: take a units of 20 Thunderers all with Mortars. From 36″ away (out of most units’ threat range) you lob out 40 shots doing D3 damage a pop at your chosen unit. That is devastating! Or, go aggressive and take Aethershot Rifles, or Aethercannons, and fly up in a Skyvessel. Jump out and pump hot lead into your opponent with +1 shot per model (Aether-Khemist ftw!) AND rerolls to hit….holy crap. Big, linchpin units will just melt to that. That is just the tip of the iceburg, too. This is a great Sky-port to play and they have the benefit of essentially being Sky Pirates in their fluff which is just cool. I’d go with either an Aether-Khemist for efficiency (As he buffs their shooting) or an Arkanaut Admiral for the Battleshock immunity and increased durability. In either case I’d likely go with the Masterwrought Armor of Phoenix Stone artifacts to keep them above ground. This combined with either the Doughty Champion command trait for additional defense of the Fleetmaster ability if you are playing this combo on offense would really polish it off.
- Barak-Thryng: The last Sky-port, they have some decent rules. They settle grudges against D3 enemy units with bonuses to hurt them, gain Battleshock buffs when away from the enemy, a lone die reroll of your choice, and a special melee Artefact. These guys are not that appealing to me personally, as they are a bit bland but others may dig them.
So there you have it! This new army at first glance left me feeling a bit flat but once you really dig in, wow, there is so much to love. Amazing models, compelling backstory and very cool rules, too. I think once this hits the tables and gamers find the right combos, it is going to be just brutal and full of tricks that catch people off guard, just as a sneaky steampunk dwarf sky pirate should!
What combos are you excited about with the Kharadron Overlords?
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