Please note, this is not meant to be a comprehensive review but to give you an idea of what this cool new faction is and does in broad strokes.
The Idoneth Deepkin, or underwater Dark Elves essentially, are a new faction in Age of Sigmar. They were created by Teclis after the fall of the World that Was, but were devoured by Slaanesh and suffered intense trauma as a result, leaving them spiritually weakened. They shunned Teclis’ teachings and he then tried to destroy them, but they fled to the oceans were the survived with magic.
However, their respite was brief as they quickly came to learn that their offspring were born with weak, shriveled souls. The only way to preserve them was to steal the souls of other living beings, and thus they became pirates and raiders in order to avoid extinction. This constant conflict with other races makes for a tenuous alliance at best, but the Deepkin are bitter foes of Chaos and as such stand with the forces of Order.
When they go to battle, they bring with them the Aethersea, which explains how they’re able to interact with forces on land with sea creatures. This requires a bit of a stretch of the imagination but hey, in a universe with Dwarves flying around using Aethergold, and armies of animated undead, what’s one more crazy magical oddity? Plot reason says they can swim through the air, so cool! Let’s move along.
A part of their fluff is that they fade from memory quickly, which is a part of their magical defenses and helps to keep them hidden. On the table this is represented by the Forgotten Nightmares special rule, which means you can only shoot at the closest Deepkin unit. This is REALLY strong, lol. Shooty armies are very potent in AoS and forcing them to fire on the unit you present to them is a massive defensive advantage. My Free Peoples artillery heavy army, for example, would hate this rule, lol. It is very good for keeping your support units safe and functioning at full effect.
Secondly, the Deepkin have the Tides of Death special rule which gives them a bonus based on the turn. This is very similar to what the Drukhari in 40k or Daughters of Khaine factions get. Army wide buffs are always fantastic and these ebb and flow (see what I did there?!) with the natural rhythm of a game of AoS. They start with defense, go to offense and then back to defense which is excellent as you will want the buffs in that order throughout the course of a game. However, if you want you can reverse the order of buffs using the Tidecaster if she is your army general. She”s also a solid Wizard with the Riptide spell which not only deals D3 Mortal Wounds to an enemy unit at the start of your next Hero phase but also makes them -1 to hit. That is a very strong debuff.
GW has also been showing off some of the amazing new models in this range! Check them out:
The models speak for themselves, really. They’re incredible and in the image above you can tell there are a lot more we haven’t even seen yet. Really stunning work and I can’t wait to see what folks do with them when they get their hands on them!
We have also been introduced to several units and characters in the Deepkin faction. The Namarati are the lowest caste in Deepkin society, comprised of those born with withered souls. They must feed on the souls of others to survive. They’re also blind, finding their way through the use of magical and mundane techniques to locate and battle foes in the Aethersea. They’re also the main battleine unit in the faction although you can unlock others with certain General choices.
They boast some really good stats! A 5+ save is actually pretty solid in AoS for your rank and file warriors, but their offense is on par with most other factions’ elite melee units. Two attacks with 3’s to hit and wounds and rend -1 is seriously boss for a battleline unit. Additionally, they get the Sweeping Blows rule which gives them +1 attack if they are attacking a unit of all 1 wound models, or go up to 2 damage if attacking a unit with 4+ wound characteristic models. That is crazy good!
And as these are your cannon fodder, so to speak (they’re quite good for cannon fodder!) you’ll often have them in the front to eat those enemy arrows and cannon balls. It’s a tough life being born a thrall! However, at 14 points per model (dropping down to 12 points per model in a full unit of 30) they are not cheap by most armies standards and so you do need to be careful with them.
They also have a variety of buffs available to them via characters such as that from Lotan, Warden of Soul Ledgers who gives them re-rolls of 1’s to hit. Speaking of Lotann, beyond just the buff he gives to Namarti, he also buffs all Deepkin within 12″ with +1 Bravery and deals decent damage in melee thanks to his Octopus familiar, Ochtar. His defense isn’t amazing with a 6+ save but he does have a 5+ FnP style save. However, you want this guy hanging out in the back lines, buffing and not fighting to much.
However, the real juice is this gent right here, the Isharann Soulrender! His buff for them is amazing, bringing D3+however many enemy models he killed with his Talunhook back to life each turn. That is seriously awesome, particularly combined with the Forgotten Nightmares rule. You can run a big screening unit of Thralls which you can regenerate and who start the game in cover thanks to the Low Tide rule. As your opponent has to shoot them, this is really strong. You just have to be careful with morale if you take heavy losses. The Soulrender is also a decent melee character who can debuff an enemy Hero with his weapon if within 3″.
In all though, these basic troopers can be just filler to get your battleline requirements taken care of or they can be the core focus of your army if you beef them up with character support. I really, really like that mechanic in any army I play as it builds in inherent flexibility and diversity into the army.
If blind Sea Elves with great weapons isn’t your thing, then perhaps blind Sea Elves with bows, is! So blind archers seems weird, but through the power of the Aethersea and magic, they are able to locate prey and fire with deadly accuracy. Reavers have two firing options, either a single shot at 18″ with a 4+ to hit and wound and 1 damage, or 3 shots at 9″ with the same stats. Lastly, they can also re-roll run rolls. This is fairly decent firepower, but nothing to get excited about until you get within 9″ of the enemy and it starts to get scary. With the various re-rolls to hit and wound you can get you can take a real bite out of your opponent’s lightly armored units. However, at that range you will typically only get 1 round of shooting, 2 if you get the double turn before you get charged unless you have the unit well screened. I honestly wasn’t all that impressed with this unit until I noticed that they have 2 attacks in melee! Wow, that really changes things as it means that unlike most ranged units the Reavers can jump into the thick of things and put out a ton of attacks between shooting and punching. This is a unit that can blender through enemies with low saves.
The Ahkelians are the Warrior caste of the Deepking and are born with strong souls giving them health and long life. They’re bred and trained to be warriors, riding into battle on fantastic sea creatures.
These units are fast and hard hitting, with some cool special rules to boot. Biovoltaic Barrier is a good example. The Ishlaen Guard units with it ignore the rend characteristic of their enemies and their save goes up to a 3+ if they charged. That is extremely strong. For you 40k players, this basically gives them an invul save that goes up to a 3++ when they charge! Very strong. They will be great for tying up an enemy unit in position to hit you hard as the turn they go up to a 3++ they can stall a hard hitting unit pretty easily, buying the rest of your army time.
Conversely, the Akhelian Morrsarr Guard have more offensively oriented abilities, with lances that jump up dramatically in power if you charge, going to 2 attacks, 3+ to hit and wound, but gaining rend -2 and 2 damage! With their 14″ move it should be easy for them to initiate combat on a regular basis. Additionally, they have a once per game attack, Biovoltaic Blast, that on a 3+ deals a Mortal Wounds (D3 on the roll of a 6) to an enemy unit within 3″ for each model in your unit. This is a nice touch for a very hard punch on a key enemy unit on the turn you go into combat. I can see a unit or two of these gents hanging out behind your Thrall screen until the time is right, then popping over intervening models and going in for a big punch on a key enemy unit or character.
Both units are fairly reasonably costed, too at 140 and 160 for 3 models (with 4 wounds each) respectively.
Akhelian Allopexes are pretty dang cool as it is basically a Great White Shark ridden by a pair of Idoneth Knights! That’s rad. At 140pts he’s not too pricey and he rocks a 4+ save and 8 wounds so he’s fairly beefy although the above units give you more wounds per point. What the Allopexes have that their lighter cousins lack though, is rend on it’s melee attacks, and multi-damage attacks. Not a ton of it but having consistent rend means you can attack heavier units and take them down. The model also comes with quite a few lighter attacks (14 in total!) as well so it can wade into combat and deal some serious damage. Lastly, the Bloodthirsty Predator rule allows the Allopex to re-roll failed charge rolls against a unit that has been previously wounded. The biggest advantage here again, is that you can stay hidden thanks to the Forgotten Nightmares rule.
Rounding out the Akhelians is the Leviadon. This monstrosity is essentially a giant war turtle, which is awesome. He’s got 16 wounds, a 3+ save and a plethora of melee and shooting attacks. His Massive Scythed Fins deal 3 damage a pop at full health at rend -1, but his Crushing Jaws–while random–are truly scary! On a hit roll of a 6 it deals a flat 6 Mortal Wounds…chomp!
In addition to the strong offense and defense though, the Leviadon also provides a fantastic defensive buff. Nearby friendly units wholly within 12″ are counted as being in cover. This is, in addition to being a fantastic model, also a very powerful model. being able to stay hidden behind a thrall screen until you pounce makes it so much better (and it is good on its own!).
If you choose to take an Ahkelian King as your general, you get Ishlaen Guard and Morrsarr as battleline units. So if you wanted to, you could have an entire army of these sea knights! In addition to this, the King and Volturnus both give you re-roll 1’s to hit for Akhelian models within 12″ and 18″ respectively. And of course, either flavor of the king can deal significant melee damage themselves.
The Eidolons are the big bad asses of the Deepkin. They’re absolutely awesome models and despite their appearance aren’t actually Elves but are manifestations of the souls of deceased Idoneth, summoned to fight for their people in times of great need. On the table, they’re fairly beastly (and pricey!). The Aspect of the Storm version is my favorite as he’s got a latent 9″ re-roll wound rolls of 1 bubble. That is extremely strong, particularly combined with possible re-rolls of 1’s to hit with some of the above characters can create very reliable damage dealers in just your basic thralls. He is also quite the beatstick, boasting 8+2D6 attacks!
The Aspect of the Sea version is a little less punchy but has a solid ranged attack at D3 shots, 15″ range, 3+ to hit and wound at rend -2 and 2 damage, and is a Wizard, too. He knows two unique spells: Tsunami of Terror and Cloying Sea Mists. The first is CV 7, 12″, picks D6 units and they have -1 to hit and to their bravery until your next hero phase. That is savage! What a powerful debuff. The second spell does either D3 mortal wounds to an enemy unit or deals D3 wounds to an Idoneth unit. Not bad all.
Both units can heal themselves D3 wounds either by charging for the Storm or not re-roll a casting roll for the Sea. Quite good and they each can fly and have 12 wound with a 3+ save.
The Ishrann Soulscryer is the last support character for the Idoneth. He packs a LOT of attacks n melee, surprisingly, and while they aren’t crazy powerful, they are numerous. However, the real reason you take him is for his special rules, Finder of Ways and Seeker of Souls. Finder of Ways allows he and up to two other units to deploy off of the table and then come on a board edge of your choice. Seeker of Souls allows him to pick an enemy unit within 24″ and Idoneth units that charge that unit gain a whopping +3″ to their charge! That is HUGE from a statistical point of view. The real benefit of this (beyond the obvious) is to allow units behind your screen to charge over it and get stuck in reliably.
My only issue with these support characters is that you want them all! They’re all so dang good and provide really useful benefits. However, it is hard to fit them at 2,000pts. You really have to decide what type of list you want to play and then customize it with some carefully selected support characters. The upside to this though, is that it allows you to play the army in a variety of ways which is cool. The other aspect of this customization are the enclave rules which we will touch on below. Each Enclave represents a sub-faction of the Idoneth and have their own unique backstory and fighting style.
- Ionrach: the “big” sub-faction. Volturnos, the high king, is Ionrach. They gain +1 to casting rolls and their allies can also benefit from Tides of Death, which is solid.
- Dhom-Hain: are fierce warriors and their Akhellian and Namarti units get re-rolls of 1 to hit if they charged. Akhellian units also gain re-rolls to wound vs. Monsters.
- Fuethan: are known for the taciturn demeanor. They gain re-rolls of 1’s to hit when affected by Flood Tide rule. Additionally, they also treat the Ebb Tide as Flood Tide. Their mounts re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the combat phase.
- Mor’Phann: are mysterious and quiet. However, they also rock my favorite bonus which is their Soulrenders gain +3 to their Lurelight roll! That is so good. It means you can resurrect 3+D3 models in your Thrall screen, for example, even more if you manage to smack some enemies around with your Talunhook. Additionally, Mor’Phann Tidecasters know Freezing Mist, which is CV6, 12″, target unit can only pile in 1.”
- Nautilar: are characterized by their defensive nature. They gain re-rolls to hit when they are charged and their Tidecasters know the Protective Barrier spell: CV4, targets a friendly Nautilar unit within 12″, attacks that target that unit have their rend worsened by 1.
- Brimodar: are masters of stealth and ambush. Their Soulscryers can outflank 3 units instead of 2, and those units deploy within 18″ of them instead of 12.” Brimodar units without the Fly keyword can ignore terrain when they move as if they had the Fly keyword (but still cannot ignore enemy models when moving).
There’s still lots more to discover with this new army but I have to say it looks awesome so far! Lots of ways to play, cool and effective units, and beautiful models. What’s not to love? What are you all thinking about the Deepkin so far?
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