Age of Sigmar/Tactics/Order/Idoneth Deepkin
Grand Alliance Order
The Idoneth Deepkin are a faction which sees GW re-envision sea elves for the Age of Sigmar setting. Tragically lacking souls (so they've come to steal yours), the Idoneth are an army that rewards careful placement of models, a variety of units that provide rapid mobility and negative modifier shenanigans and some of the best allegiance abilities in the game.
- 1 Why play Idoneth Deepkin?
- 2 Rulebooks
- 3 Allegiance Abilities
- 4 Warscrolls
- 5 Battalions
- 6 Super-Battalions
- 7 The Enclaves
- 8 Allies
- 9 Army Building
Why play Idoneth Deepkin?
They are elves unique to AoS, and a rare example of sea elves with fleshed out lore and playstyle.
For more points:
- They are Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters.
- Because you want to play with Dark Eldar in a fantasy setting. Or you like the Dark Eldar playstyle but want a group that aren't huge assholes.
- They are Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters.
- Because you want to copy 40K's system of character protection (one of which is the, here ironically named, Fish of Fury).
- They are Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters.
- Because you love sea life!
- They are Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters.
- Because you love an army built around speed, speed and MOAR SPEED! An all-cavalry army not only benefits those who like all-cavalry armies, but every unit has the fly special rule. Combine this with the right Enclave and you'll outrun everybody but Nighthaunt.
- They are Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters.
- Because you wanted more Dark Souls in your Age of Sigmar.
- They are Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters.
- Because Teclis wasn't a big enough dick already.
- Did I mention they are Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters?
- You saw the 2018 Aquaman movie and thought the Atlanteans' armies look awesome in battle.
- Uh, Soul-Hunting Pirates riding Sea Monsters!
- Their battleline are quite fragile.
- Their bravery is mediocre, and they mostly lack the high wounds count or saves to take the lumps and keep going unlike their equivalents in other armies.
- Mediocre spellcasting unless you shell out the points (and money) for an expensive Eidolon of the Sea.
- Your Battletome is from before AoS2, and whilst it's still in decent shape, you are still behind other armies
Faction rules and abilities: Battletome Idoneth Deepkin
Latest Matched play points: Idoneth Deepkin Errata
Core rules: here
Matched play rules, battleplans and expansions: Generals Handbook 2020, plus the battleplans from the Core Book and Endless Spell rules from Malign Sorcery.
Supplement all the above with any Errata and Designers' Commentary from the FAQs.
The Idoneth Deepkin Battletome was released in April of 2018, and as such, this is the fourth-oldest active Battletome and thus relatively due for an update (Maggotkin of Nurgle, Legions of Nagash, and Daughters of Khaine all predate this one). That said, it was also the last new battletome released before AOS 2.0, so they very likely had the upcoming game changes in mind when designing this book. It'll be interesting to see which will end up coming first, a new Idoneth Deepkin battletome or a new edition of AOS.
- Forgotten Nightmares: Your Idoneth Deepkin units can only be targeted with Missile Weapons if they are the closest visible target. Keeps your Heroes safe from shooting, though not from magic. Also note that you can use allies to shield your Deepkin with this as the rule stated that the Deepkin unit must be the closest unit. If there are no Deepkin units in range, then the attack must hit the non-Deepkin unit.
- Tides of Death: Each round, you get a different ability. After the fourth, it cycles back to 1.
- Low Tide: Your units count as being in cover. Helps you advance without making you scramble to terrain.
- Flood Tide: After running, your units can either shoot or charge (but not both).
- High Tide: Units with this trait fight
before everyone else in meleeAt the start of the combat phase now. Get Shipwrecked, Gristlegore. Also, there's a bunch of abilities that activate during this turn.
- Ebb Tide: After falling back, your units can either shoot or charge (but not both).
- It's worth noting here that there are two alternate army list choices that can be made to alter this sequence's order (including taking both together for a third option):
- reversed order (via Tidecaster as General)
- Ebb replaced with Flood Tides (via the Fuethán enclave)
- both options (meeting both conditions)
- The Ethersea: You get to place up to two Etheric Vortex terrain pieces. Currently, the only existing Etheric Vortex terrain piece is the Gloomtide Shipwreck, which you can either split into two or buy and place two full ships of. The shipwrecks give your units a 6+ Save-after-the-save and have a chance to deal damage to enemies, so they are fairly useful, though less so in a pure Akhelian army. Errata'd so that the shipwreck must be placed more than 6" away from objectives or any other shipwreck.
- Merciless Raider: Can reroll run and charge rolls. Interesting for Steed of Tides shenanigans.
- Hunter of Souls: Reroll 1s To Wound. Shame this doesn't work on a mount's attacks, but still nice.
- Unstoppable Fury: During High Tide, your General adds +2 to his attacks. Again, shame this doesn't work on mounts, but it still makes an Akhelian King terrifying.
- Born From Agony: Your general has 2 more Wounds. Always nice to shrug off an additional Arcane Bolt.
- Nightmare Legacy: Enemy units within 12" take -1 Bravery. Not a strong effect, but in a fairly large bubble, so it evens out.
- Lord of Storm and Sea: +2 Bravery for Idoneth Deep in units wholly within 12". Since your units aren't exactly blessed with great Bravery, this is pretty nice.
Can be given to an Akhelian Hero (so only the Akhelian King, because Volturnos can't get one):
- Sanguine Pearl: Gives a 5+ save after the save in melee
- Potion of Hateful Frenzy: Once per game active in the hero phase to get + 1 to hit and +1 to wound for a round. Then they take 1 mortal wound in the following hero phase. Your personal super sayajin mode. Combine with Unstoppable Fury to make your King utterly terrifying for one turn. And don't forget to draw your Falchion to make the most out of it.
- Ankusha Spur: +3" to movement and the mount rerolls 1s
to hitTo Wound after the Errata because someone realized that the King's aura already gives him the 1s To Hit thing regardless
- Armour of the Cythai: Enemy gets -1 to hit if they target the bearer in melee. You're probably better off with the pearl.
- Bioshock Shell: Once per battle at the start of the combat phase you can inflict D3 mortal wounds on each enemy unit within 3". You have so few ways of dealing Mortal Wounds that this is interesting. That said, is it really worth running this on a 240 point King?
- Abyssal Blade: You can improve the rend characteristic of 1 weapon carried by the bearer. Also increase the damage of that weapon by 1 if targetting SLAANESH. Too situational, but interesting.
Can be given to any Idoneth Deepkin Hero:
- Rune of the Surging Tide: Use at the start of hero phase once per battle. It has 2 modes: adds 1" movement to all friendly deepkin or takes 1" from all enemies until your next hero phase. Neither a big buff nor a big debuff.
- Black Pearl: It is the fastest ship with Johnny Depp usually as the captain. Oops, wrong universe. I mean it gives a 6+ save after the save.
- Lliandra's Last Lament: Once per battle you can have all friendly deepkin completely within 18" skip their battleshock test. Very interesting, especially when running a big unit of Allopexes.
- Terrornight Venom: Pick a weapon. You can reroll wound rolls of 1 for that weapon. Also gives a permanent -1 to bravery to things wounded by that weapon. Not many weapons worth using it on.
- Cloud of Midnight: Once per battle at the start of any phase the bearer cannot be targetted for attacks, spells or abilities for that phase. They also cannot use attacks, spells or abilities that phase either. It could pair great with Forgotten Nightmares against a shooty heavy army - put the bearer at the front of your army and activate this in your opponent's shooting phase. The bearer can't be targeted because of the Cloud, and the rest of your Deepkin can't be targeted because they're not the closest unit.
- Whorlshell: Once per battle at the start of your hero phase you can pick an enemy HERO within 9" and roll 2d6. If you beat their bravery they get -1 to all hit rolls for the rest of the game. Since most Heroes you'd want to do that to have high Bravery... just take Brain Barnacles instead.
Can be given to any Isharann Hero:
- Steelshell Pearl: Gives a 5+ save after the save against missile weapons. Interesting if you want a cheap sacrifice to soak up fire thanks to Forgotten Nightmares, but other than that, it's useless precisely because of Forgotten Nightmares.
- Mind Flare: Once per battle at the start of combat pick an enemy unit within 3". They get -1 to hit for that phase. Meh.
- Dritchleech: All Wizards except Idoneth Deepkin get -1 to casts while within 18". Interesting, but remember that this will affect allied Wizards as well.
- Auric Lantern: At the start of your shooting phase pick an enemy within 18" in cover. They dont get cover until your next shooting phase. Not too great, since your shooting isn't exactly stellar. Except the debuff is not limited to ranged attacks; it is just applied in the shooting phase!
- Disharmony Stones: Once per battle at the start of your hero phase you pick up to 2 enemy heroes within 12" and then the opposing player must make a choice. 1) they roll a dice for each hero picked on a 3+ they take a mortal wound. 2) They roll a dice for each hero picked and on a 5+ they take d3 mortal wounds. 3) Each hero picked takes d3 mortal wounds. Then roll a dice, on a 4+ the bearer of this artifact takes d3. Be very careful with these, as they might end up doing nothing or doing something and hurting you as well. Also worthless against armies without many Heroes.
- Brain Barnacles: Once per battle at the start of your hero phase pick an enemy hero within 12" and roll 2d6. If the roll is equal or greater than the distance between them then that Hero gets -1 to hit and spell cast for the rest of the game.
Can be given to any Idoneth Deepkin Hero who's also a Wizard, so Tidecaster and Aspect of the Sea only:
- Arcane Pearl: Gives a 5+ save after the save against mortal wounds. Combines nicely with both the Aspect of the Sea's inherent toughness and the Tidecaster's Spirit Guardians. If you dont need another realm, pick Aqshy and get the 4+ mortal wound save item from there.
- Sands of Infinity: Once per battle you can make a spell last for 2 rounds instead of one. You must use this before the cast and unbind roll. Very nice.
- Coral Ring: Gives 1 reroll for casting and 1 reroll for unbinding for the game. More reliability is never a bad thing.
- Bauble of Buoyancy: Gives fly and doubles their run roll. Just in case you want a Tidecaster to keep up with an Akhelian army. Consider picking up the Thermalrider Cloak from Aqshy instead.
- Kraken Tooth: Once per battle in your shooting phase pick an enemy unit within 12" and visible. Roll a dice and: 1: bearer suffers d3 mortal wounds, 2-5: enemy suffers D3 mortal wounds, 6: Pick 1 enemy model in the unit. If the wound characteristic is less than 10 they are slain. If it is 10+ they take 2d6 mortal wounds. The kraken does not mess around.
- Augury Shells: Once per battle at the start of the hero phase you can roll 2d6. You can choose to use that result for your casting roll or your enemies unbinding roll on spells cast by the bearer during that phase. You must choose to substitute the roll before rolling for the spell/unbind. Very nice. A terrible roll you can give to the opponent and a good one you keep to yourself. Again, more reliability.
Lore of the Deep
- Steed of Tides: Casting Value 5. Pick a friendly hero that is not a monster within 6". Remove them from the table and set them up within 24" of their original spot and outside of 9" of enemies. This counts as their movement in the movement phase. The Hero does not need to be an Idoneth Deepkin.
- Abyssal Darkness: Casting Value 5. Friendly deepkin are treated as being within cover while wholly within 9" of the caster until your next hero phase. Entirely worthless on your first turn and worthless on any other turn if you have a Leviadon. That said, if you go heavy on Namarti and don't use a Leviadon, fairly good.
- Vorpal Maelstrom: Casting Value 6. Pick a spot within 18" of the caster that they can see. Roll for each enemy unit within 3" of that spot, if the dice is less than or equal to the number of models in that unit they take d3 mortal wounds.
- Pressure of the Deeps: Casting Value 7. Pick an enemy they can see within 12" and roll a dice. If you beat their wound stat they are slain. Interestingly you pick a model with this, not a unit. So just point at that icon bearer in the Pink Horror unit to seriously piss your opponent off.
- Tide of Fear: Casting Value 6. Pick an enemy the caster can see within 12". Until your next hero phase that unit gets -1 to hit and to bravery. Nice, but remember that your Aspect of the Sea can do that to D6 units. Better yet, combine the two to make sure one enemy unit in particular is utterly screwed.
- Arcane Corrosion: Casting Value 6. This auto targets the closest enemy. Measure the distance between the caster and that unit. If the distance is: 12" or less: 1 mortal wound. 13-24": 2 mortal wounds. 25-36": 3 mortal wounds. 37-48" 4 mortal wounds. Such a weird spell. Interesting in that it is a damage spell that can be used turn 1, as most damage spells have too short a range for that to work, but Arcane Corrasion can't just be used turn 1, it's practically guaranteed to do quite a bit of damage then.
Deepkin can cast 1 ritual a turn. At the start of your hero phase you declare which ritual you wish to cast, pick an ISHARANN HERO that is more than 9" away from an enemy and roll 2d6. On a 10+ the ritual succeeds and if not then nothing happens. You get +1 if the caster is within 1" of a Gloomtide Shipwreck, +1 if the caster is a PRIEST (i.e. a Soulscryer), +1 for each non priest Isharann heroes within 3", and +2 for each priest Ishaaran hero within 3". This is not a spell and cannot be unbound. They have no range, they simply affect the game
The 3 Rituals are:
- Ritual of Erosion: Until your next hero phase your enemy does not get a cover bonus. Your go-to if you don't have an Eidolon around. No cover does horrible things to bulwark armies like Eternal Guard-Wanderers and Freeguild.
- Ritual of Rousing: Heal 1 Wound on each EIDOLON and they can reroll all failed hit and casting rolls until your next hero phase. In case you didn't realize, this is horrifying on an Aspect of the Sea with his two spells per turn.
- Ritual of Tempest: Until your next hero phase enemy models cannot fly. Unless the table is littered with terrain, this really only helps against Kharadron,gloomspite (squigs) and Nighthaunts. Although, shutting down your opponents ability to fly over your units means that they are going to have to fight through the rest of your army.
- Volturnos, High King of the Deep: An Akhelian King +1. For a measly 40 points more, Volturnos gets another swing with his weapons and far better buffs, such as the reroll-aura being extended to 18" and all Deepkin within that bubble also getting +1 to Bravery. But the real kicker is his shield: Whenever he's affected by any spell, you can choose to roll a D6 and on a 3+ that spell doesn't affect him (but works normally on everything else). Not only does that keep him relatively safe from enemy debuffs and damage spells, it also means you can drop Vorpal Maelstrom on top of him when he's surrounded by enemies.
- Lotann, Warden of the Soulledgers: Aka Octobro. With a fairly standard Hero statline but slightly above-average damage output thanks to the Ochtar, he's not too shabby on his own. Especially his 5+ Save-after-the-save is appreciated since he can't take Artefacts. But what you really take him for is his buff, giving Deepkin in general +1 Bravery and Namarti in particular the ability to reroll 1s To Hit in a
massivecompletely within 12" bubble. Note that his bubble doesn't specify melee, so feel free to use it to boost those Reavers' shots. That said, if you play mostly Akhelians, then the Akhelian King does the buffing better.
- Akhelian King: As mentioned above, the generic Akhelian King pales in comparison to Volturnos, but that doesn't mean he's bad. He's worse at everything, but can take Traits and Artefacts, which can combine to make him either tougher or killier or supportier than Volturnos, though never all three (there is also nothing stopping you from taking one alongside Volturnos if you really want to). Whatever you pick, the Akhelian King is always a fast, reasonably tough and extremely killy Hero who provides good support to your Akhelians. His main weapon is either a Greatsword or a Bladed Polearm; the latter is better provided you can keep charging (perfect time to take advantage of Ebb Tide): 2", -2 Rend, and trades one attack for dishing out 3 damage instead D3 when he charges. If you can't reliably charge each time, the Sword and Spear actually mathhammer out to very similar damage (we are talking fractions here). One other thing he has over Volty is that you can stow the Shield and Draw the Falchion. This lowers his Save to a 4+, but gives you 3, 3+/4+/-/1 Attacks when when you really want to make sure something is dead.
- Make Volturnos jealous of your prowess by giving your Akhelian King the Ethereal Amulet. Worried about using your Falchion in combat because putting away your shield gives you a -1 to save modifier? WORRY NO MORE, GENTLE SEA ELF. Having a 3+ unrendable save PLUS an extra attack profile that can be buffed by either the King's own Command Ability or the Unstoppable Fury command trait (in High Tide only) will please you.
- Isharann Tidecaster: A fairly survivable support caster with access to a number of very interesting spells. All in all, you only pick the lass for two reasons: One, you want a Wizard but don't have enough points for an Aspect of the Sea. Two, you take her as your general, because she can reverse Tides of Death. Combined with the Fuethán turning Ebb Tide into Flow Tide, this will give you a very fast, very aggressive army.
- Another use, that pairs well if your going to have her sit out of combat and only included because of her ability to flip the tide, is to give the Arcane Corrosion spell, and use her as a little impromptu artillery piece. Putting her in the back corner and spamming the spell makes her an effective choice for throwing some MW downrange.
- Isharann Soulscryer: Count von Count here is a support character through and through. Fragile, with only milquetoast attacks, but blessed with a combo of bonus effects in that he can outflank along with 2 other Deepkin units (3 if you choose the Briomdar enclave) and on top of that the ability to add 3 to Deepkin charge rolls so long as they charge the one unit he points at. Also allows for some targetting shenanigans with Forgotten Nightmares, as you can force your opponent's backfield fire support to shoot your nigh-invulnerable Ishlaen Guard. Be aware that his special rule, seeker of souls, makes it so that Idoneth units within 12” have to charge the unit marked with this ability if they are going to charge anything this turn. You cannot opt out of this bonus, as every unit within 12 of the target must add 3 inches to their charge.
- Isharann Soulrender: The Soulrender wants to be a hybrid Hero killer/buffer. The latter role he pulls off remarkably well, reviving D3 plus however many models his Hook killed that turn Namarti models at the end of your battleshock phase. The former role... eh. His two hook attacks are fairly decent, with a rule that makes it better against Heroes, but it will take some prior damage for him to take down any Hero with 2 damage 2 attacks, even with the fish pitching in.
- Namarti Thralls: (Battleline, NAMARTI, 130/360, Min:10, Max:30). Namarti Thralls are the quintessential aelven infantry: Extremely fragile and insanely killy. Seriously. Wildwood Rangers wish they were this scary. They attack with the standard elite infantry profile of 2 attacks 3+/3+/-1/1, but with the bonus of adding another attack against 1 Wound models and adding 1 to the damage against models with 4 or more Wounds. However, they also run around with 1 Wound, a 5+ Save and a paltry Bravery of 6. They also have Icon Bearers who gain one more attack and lets them reroll battleshock. Updated FAQ states that you can have 1 Icon bearer per every 10 models. The only thing that holds them back is that their weapons only have 1" of range, so you need to be careful with how to place them.
- Namarti Reavers: (Battleline with an Isharann Hero as general, NAMARTI, 130, Min:10, Max:20). Namarti Reavers are fast (8" and rerolls run) and equipped with really weird bows. At 18", they get one shot at 4+/4+/-/1, which isn't exactly stellar. At 9", they instead get three shots at the same profile. Still not incredible, but that sure is a lot of shots. And if they get into melee? Each of them has a Sword-Liberator's worth of attack. So these are Archers that are only effective at extremely short ranges. Think of them as less versatile but more killy Shadow Warriors and you're not far off.
- Akhelian Ishlaen Guard: (Battleline with an Akhelian Hero as general, AKHELIAN, 140, Min:3, Max:12). Defendy cavalry. Huh. Ishlaen Guard is fast and has decent damage output, but their true strength lies in their shields. They ignore Rend and gain +1 to their saves when they charge, which they will since they move 14" and reroll charges thanks to their musician. So the opponent has to throw Mortal Wounds at them just to reliably get past their saves and even then each of the buggers has 4 Wounds.
- Akhelian Morrsarr Guard: (Battleline with an Akhelian Hero as general, AKHELIAN, 170, Min:3, Max:12) Same basic profile as the Ishlaen, but with 1 less attack on the weapons and no ability to ignore Rend. This seems lacking, especially considering they cost twenty points more. But then you notice that their spears gain Damage 2 and -2 Rend on the charge and that they can, once per game, drop 0.83 Mortal Wounds per rider on whatever pisses you off and you realize that they are wall breakers instead of walls. That said, just because they're missing the defensive abilities of the Ishlaen, that doesn't mean they're frail, as they still rock 4 Wounds with a 4+ Save. Got jacked up to 170 points in GHB 2019, not enough to make a massive difference.
- Akhelian Allopex: (AKHELIAN, 100, Min:1, Max:4) DUUNNN DUNNN… DUUUUNNNN DUUN… DUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUN... Chariots in all but name. Each has two riders, one who swings a spear and one of which mans a harpoon with either 3 Damage 1 shot or 1 Damage 3 shots (chosen when building the model). The shark itself has a bunch of scary attacks and 8 Wounds at a 4+ Save, so they are tough, fast and bring the pain. That said, don't trust the harpoon to do much damage, as it's mainly there to trigger their ability: If they charge while within 12" of a model with wounds allocated to it (like that Blightking you just hit with a harpoon), they reroll charges. Very nice with a Soulscryer. Finally, they can be taken in units of up to 4, which is very risky but with a potentially huge payoff. Risky because they have Bravery 6, so you run the very real risk of losing 100 point Sharks to battleshock, however, in exchange, units of them make for an incredible target for the Akhelian King's Command. It'd be wasted on a single Allopex but on a unit of three or four? Oh dear. Just make sure you use Inspiring Presence on them until High Tide rolls around. Got dropped down to 120 points in GHB2019 (and then 100 that December), cheaper than any of the Eel Cavalry but probably still not enough to make them competitive. Keep in mind that Allopexes are your only other monster after the Leviadon, meaning in Matched they won't benefit from Low Tide or the Leviadon's Void Drum.
- Akhelian Leviadon: (Behemoth, 310) Sea turtles, mate! Very scary in several ways. Not only is it very strong in melee, but it also spreads a 12" range bubble of cover around. Great, you might say, 3+ Save and guaranteed cover. But nope, remember, Monsters don't benefit from cover in Matched. Still amazing. 16 Wounds at a 3+ Save that spread cover to the rest of your army. It has 2 Volley guns as opposed to the Allopex's 1,
but unfortunately multiple weapons doesn't give more shots, so only 6 shots at 24 isn't anything to sneeze at eitherthe Allopex's volley gun has 3 shots and the Leviadon was updated to have 6, so it does have twice the shots. Besides magic, the Leviadon is probably the best source of Mortal Wounds for Idoneth Deepkin. With the Morsarr Guard only delivering their deadly charge once per game, the Leviadon can bring a flat 6 mortal wounds when his jaw hits on a 6+ and wounds on a 2+. Now it would be absolutely fantastic if we had anything to improve our chances to hit, instead of just messing with the enemy (Though most stuff hits on a 3+, so we shouldn't really complain.)
- Alternative opinion: their melee profile doesn't really add up to anything threatening on the tabletop. Their fins are worse than any dragons claws and their shooting is might take down one or two meatshields. The only threatening thing is the 6 on the jaw attack, but unless it is high tide and the little turtle has been buffed to oblivion this is way too unreliable to happen. Think of this thing as a support peace that makes the first tide useless and you have a better understanding of it.
Eidolon of Mathlann
- Aspect of the Storm: The melee version is effectively a one-trick pony. He charges really really well and can charge after falling back, so he reaps his charge bonuses every turn. Among those charge bonuses is the fact that he heals D3 wounds when he does, which means that he will never ever die, between the regen, the 12 Wounds at a 3+ Save, the potential save-after-the-save from an artefact and the ability to walk out of inopportune fights. His damage output is merely okay for such an expensive model, though, so you need to get some Namarti or Akhelian Guard into his reroll 1s To Wound bubble in order for him to make his points back.
- Aspect of the Sea: The caster version is very powerful. Not only is he not too helpless in melee and armed with a shooting attack just in case, he also casts twice a turn and gets two unique spells, so he's very much not reliant on your lore spells. Especially his Tsunami of Terror spell, which debuffs D6 enemy units with -1 To Hit and to Bravery. That's a massive load, since he messes with both battleshock and enemy damage output. Also, he can reroll a casting roll per turn, but if he does not, he heals D3 Wounds, which is an interesting risk/reward mechanic. However, being the calmer of the two, he does not have the same reroll 1s To Wound aura. Instead he gives friendly units +3(!) to Bravery. This is pretty damn good, actually. This is really important, because your footsloggers only have a bravery of Six. But between the Eidolon, Volturnus and Lotann you get their bravery way up, which makes it easier to keep them alive and bring them back with your Soulrender. All in all, despite being 20 pts more expensive, he is probably better support for your army and neither of them are great damage dealers, so he's better all around.
From Battletome Idoneth Deepkin
- Royal Council: (610pt. min.) [Battalion: 140pt.]
Requires an Akhelian King (Or Volturnos), a Tidecaster, and a Soulscryer.
Adds a new Command Ability, if the Akhelian King is the general. You can add 3" move until next hero phase for 3 friendly Idoneth Deepkin within 12" of the Akhelian King. The Soulscryer and the Tidecaster have to be within 3" of the Akhelian King to use this. Effectively nerfs the Soulscryer's ability to outflank because he needs to be within 3" of the King to use the Ability of this Battalion (unless you take an extra Soulscryer via the Ionrach enclave). Either way, taking the King as general means you can't reverse the tides with the Tidecaster.
- Akhelian Corps: (790pt. min.) [Battalion: 100pt.]
Requires a Akhelian Leviadon, 2-4 units of Akhelian guards and 1-2 units of Akhelian Allopexes
You can reroll a hit, a wound, a save, a run or a charge roll for one unit of this battalion wholly within 12" of the big turtle per phase.
- Namarti Corps: (700pt. min.) [Battalion: 100pt.]
Requires a Isharann Soulrender, 2-6 units of Namarti Thralls and 2-4 units of Namarti Reavers
The Soulrender resurrects 3 models instead of D3 with his Lurelight ability.
- Alliance of Wood and Sea: (1420pt. min.) [Battalion: 140pt.]
Requires (deep breath....) a Isharann Tidecaster, 2 units of Akhelian guards, a unit of Akhelian Allopexes, a unit of Namarti Thralls, a unit of Namarti Reavers, and some Sylvaneth - a branchwych, 2 units of Dryads and a Treelord Ancient
The Sylvaneth in the Battalion benefit from Emissary of the Deep Places regardless of your chosen Enclave.
Essentially a full Start collecting box of Sylvaneth, plus 4 more dyads. Also smart to buy one Awakened Wyldwood since the Treelord Ancient's ability Silent Communion gives you one per battle despite your Sylvaneth otherwise not having access to tree generation. Ideal for an existing Sylvaneth players wanting to branch out to something new (pun intended). But does it work as an useful army?
You could add two units of Kurnoth Hunters as allies (given anyone playing this will most likely have some lying around), but they wouldn't get the Tides Of Death (unless you went Ionrach).
From Battleforce Boxes
- Deepsurge Raiding Party (660pt. min.) (not legal in matched play)
Requires an Isharann Tidecaster, 1 unit of Akhelian Allopexes, 1 Unit of Akhelian Morrsarr Guard or 1 unit of Akhelian Ishlaen Guard, 1 unit of Namarti Thralls, 1 unit of Namarti Reavers
This gives the Tidecaster the ability to negate the first wound allocation to a model from the battalion instead of itself.
From Battletome Idoneth Deepkin
- Phalanx: (3710pt. min.) (30810pt. max.)!!! [Battalion: 120pt.]
1 Royal Council, 2-4 Akhelian Corps, 2-4 Namarti Corps
The big one. Once per battle you get an additional High Tide.
They are akin to the Daughters of Khaine Temples. Each has unique special rules for your army and allows you to upgrade one of your Warscroll Battalions
- Ionrach: The enclave of magic and allies. +1 to cast and unbind rolls for your Wizards, which, as you know, is invaluable. However, your Command Trait is locked into the Ionrach-exclusive Emissary of the Deep Places, which provides your allies access to the Tides of Death rules. Great if you have allies (or mercenaries), worthless if you don't. On the flip side, seeing as Volturnos' main drawback as a named general is that he can't take a command trait, if you're already not bringing allies, this is the perfect time to bring him along and minimize that drawback. Doesn't really fit the lore so well, but it is what it is... Also your Royal Council can have up to 2 Soulscryers and Tidecasters. Also note that with Ionrach, your allies DO NOT gain the benefit of forgotten nightmares (they still screen your Idoneth units however).
- Dhom-Hain: The enclave of more elite, monster-killing soldiers. Akhelians and Namarti reroll 1s To Hit on the charge.
Relatively meaningless as Lotann and the Akhelian King respectively do the same whether you charged or not, but nice if you find yourself outside the relevant bubbles.Lotann and the Akhelian King only do it for units that are WHOLLY within 12 inches of them, and this rule applies to anything not an Isharann or an Eidolon. So if you want to keep your entire, very mobile, army inside a 12 inch bubble, this rule is meaningless, otherwise it's very good. Your Akhelians also reroll Wound rolls against Monsters (not just in melee, so feel free to reroll those wounds on your Allopex and Leviadon's shooting attacks when firing at a monster). Interesting against some armies, worthless against others. Also your Akhelian Corps can have up to 6 units of Akhelian Guard. Dhom-hain is notable as one of the Enclaves that have no restrictions whatsoever.
- Fuethán: The most aggressive enclave (including the mounts). You reroll 1s To Wound with your mounts. Also, during Flood Tide all your units reroll 1s To Hit and Ebb Tide turns into another Flood Tide. You'll really miss that fall back + charge on turn 4, but in exchange, a Tidecaster can make you super fast by giving you Flood Tide on turn 1 and High Tide on turn 2. The Tidecaster has to be the general for that, which locks you out of Akhelians being battleline and lets you not use the command abilities of the Akhelian Kings. Also, your Phalanx can contain up to 6 Akhelian Corps. Not that you will ever use a Phalanx.
- Mor'Phann: The death enclave. Your Soulrenders raise an additional 3 models. This is huge and out-Death's Death armies. However, your Tidecasters can't take Lore spells and instead get Freezing Mists, which drastically lowers an enemy unit's Pile In move. Also, your Namarti Corps can have 6 units of Reavers (errata'ed due to redundancy with 2-6 Thralls already being the base amount for the Battalion).
- Nautilar: The most defensive enclave.' Your units reroll all failed Hit rolls if they were charged that turn. Not that your opponent needed more discouragement from charging your Namarti. Their Tidecasters lose access to lore spells and instead get Protective Barrier, which targets a friendly unit and lower the Rend of any enemy attacking them. Also your Akhelian Corps can have up to 2 Leviadons.
- Briomdar: The enclave with the most mobility. Your Soulscryers can take up to 3 units along and place them 18" away instead of 12. Also, your units can move over terrain (but not enemy units) as if they were flying. Not too great since most of your army already flies. Also your Namarti Corps can take up to 6 units of Reavers. Again, it is notable that the Briomdar have no restrictions to their name.
- Darkling Covens: Eldritch Council and your Reavers do what they do better, but Word of Pain from a Sorceress does help with -1 to Hit spam in a mage heavy list.
- Daughters of Khaine: The best option by a long shot. What they bring are cheap and expendable units of 90 points per 5 Harpies that can Deep Strike in, and help block shots for the rest of your army via Forgotten Nightmares. 2 Units of Javelin Harpies, or one unit of Sword Harpies is pretty likely to one shot a 5 wound hero to boot. Doomfire Warlocks are also solid allies for a Cavalry army and easily able to keep up as well as providing good shooting and a source of mortal Wounds. Your best bet here is probably a unit of Khinerai, seeing as how they can deepstrike independently from any other unit, and offer a decently strong enough attack to help shift an chaff unit off a back field objective. It doesn't hurt that they are cheap points wise too.
- Alternate Opinion: While Daughters of Khaine are indeed an extremely powerful force on their own, they don't make very good allies for a number of reasons. They excel at being an extremely aggressive force when you pile on their faction bonuses (escalating table, 6+FNP, Temple abilities, extra prayers, their NUTS spell lore, not to mention any number of internally consistent abilities and rules) on their own without those they tend towards being overpriced or fragile. While you might get some mileage out of a unit of Khinerai or Doomfire Warlocks, you'd probably be better off with some more Idoneth.
- Eldrich Council: Loremaster dropping Hand of glory on a King, or Storm Eidolon can do nasty things to the enemy. Archmage on Horse can keep up with the army and protect you from Mortal Wounds. Archmage on Dragon is always nice to have plus Dispel Magic is a very useful spell to have access too. Just remember that Loremasters and Archmages are susceptible to being sniped out.
- Order Serpentis: More expendable cavalry to soak up fire for your Akhelians could be nice. Or, you know, just add a Dragon or Hydra and go Ionrach so it profits from Tides of Death.
- Scourge Privateers: Other than being great thematically, these aren't all too useful. On the flip side, Idoneth Deepkin make amazing allies for the Privateers. Also, with their 12" move, a single Scourgerunner Chariot isn't the worst way to spend those last 60 points, as your only other choices for that exact amount would be a random Black Ark Fleetmaster, a unit of 5 Spite-Revenants, or an Endless Spells or two.
- Shadowblades: An allied Assassin could be interesting but really, Daughters of Khaine do everything they do but better. Shadow Warriors can deepstrike, and (if in cover) outshoot Reavers from afar (though they're less mobile once on the field).
- Stormcast Eternals: For a Namarti-heavy army, Liberators or Sequitors make fantastic cannon fodder when combined with a Lord-Castellant and Forgotten Nightmares. Other than that, Vanguard-Raptors make for some nice budget shooting. Fulminators are a nasty addition to any Cavalry heavy army, and combined with Tides of Death, will get your opponent to flip the table fast. A Knight Azyros can give your units a reroll 1 to Hit for enemies in 10". Also, a Knight Vexillor might use his redeploy ability to make your Stormcasts keep up with your Idoneths. A Celestant-Prime waiting in the heavens to boost his Attacks characteristic and then dropping in on turn 3 in High Tide (if Ionrach) can do all kinds of work. Turn 2's not bad either so that you can take advantage of another Cometstrike.
- Sylvaneth: The only things worth considering here are Kurnoth Hunters for some additional shooting and Tree Revenants in case you want to go Warmachine hunting without investing hundreds of points into a Soulscryer and an escort. Additionally, you might want to consider their Outcasts Battalion (3 units of Spite-Revenants), which at 280pt for the minimum-sized battalion, will likely remain the cheapest way to squeeze an extra battalion in. That said, it's currently impossible to field this in a Deepkin list in Vanguard and meet all of the faction-units-per-allies-units requirements, so save this for your Battlehost-and-larger games.
- Wanderers: Fitting a unit of 20 Glade Guard in your army provides you with a highly reliable "remove lynchpin" button. Combining them with the Deepkin is going to make people even more angry than usual, though. Sisters of the Thorn are an awesome addition to Cavalry army and provide a very nice spell to boot. Eternal Guards are rerolling saves of 1 and 2, if they are in cover. With the Ionrach rule, they will profit from the cover of the Tides of Death. Also, they are as fast as Namarti Thralls and cost 70 point per 10 models. A Waywatcher has the invisible hunter rule, which gives shooting units, that target him -1 to hit. He can give this to other Wanderer units within 18" for 1 command point.
- Gotrek: Despite costing 520pts, Gotrek can be brought as an ally in any Order faction even if that's more than the usual allies allowance. It's worth mentioning for the Ionrach enclave because he'll get the benefit of the Tides. Gotrek's an absolute beast in melee but is let down by his low movement and the fact he can never be teleported/ambushed onto the board etc; however, he would love to be able to run and charge, and retreat and charge, and Ionrach lets him do that.
From the Forbidden Power expansion, this odd army coalition of Idoneth, Stormcast, Kharadron, Fyreslayers, and a random Excelsior Warpriest (w/Gryph-Hound) offers you new Allegiance Ability synergies on a level somewhere between those of the regular faction-only perks and the super basic list for Grand Alliances. By choosing this allegiance, all of your units gain the keyword LETHISIAN DEFENDER and gain access to a couple unique Battle Traits, a Command Ability, 3 Command Traits, 3 Artefacts of Power, and 3 Prayers (arguably the focal point of the Allegiance). Unlike simply taking allies in an otherwise Idoneth list, which is limited by the 1:4 unit ratio rule and (in Pitched Battles) the ≤ 20% pts rule, this allegiance allows you to take basically whatever you want from the four armies (two of which you previously had no access to without pulling back to basic Grand Alliance: Order), with the following exceptions:
- no Hammers of Sigmar (most Stormcast named heroes) [notable exception being the Celestant-Prime]
- no Vostarg units (Fyreslayers) [but Kharadron named characters are legal]
- not Volturnos [though you can take Lotann]
- Battleline is restricted to the armies' vanilla offerings (Arkanaut Company, Liberators, Vulkite Berzerkers, and Thralls) since you can't take the other options without allegiance to the specific factions). One notable exception here that might (but hopefully won't) be errata'ed is that Kharadron Endrinmasters (w/Dirigible Suits) as your general can currently grant you access to Skywardens and Endrinriggers as Battleline w/o KO allegiance, allowing you the potential to make an all-flying army with balloon-boiz and your Akhelains/Eidolons (plus whatever scattered Stormcast units you like).
Otherwise, all other units from the four armies are legal, though of course it makes sense to lean in on priests since all priests in your army gain a free prayer that, like most prayers in the game, goes off on a 3+ and can't be unbound. Also, one of the Command Abilities makes your general into a priest as well, or gives a priest as general access to another prayer. Currently, in addition to the Excelsior Warpriest (a fantastically efficient option with a solid prayer of his own and able to unbind one spell per enemy hero phase), the four armies offer us access to the following priests:
- Stormcast: Lord-Relictor, Lord-Veritant (the superior option by far, super anti-Wizard)
- Fyreslayers: Auric Runemaster, Auric Runesmiter (able to deepstrike 1 Fyreslayers unit), Auric Runesmither on Magamadroth
- Idoneth: Isharann Soulscryer (notably lacking a prayer of his own)
- Kharadron: unfortunately no priests (though an Aetheric Navigator really should be)
The Battle Traits for the Army are as follows:
- all units can re-roll Battleshock tests (sadly mostly redundant for all Idoneth squads except Allopexes)
- all Human and Duardin units get +1 to-Hit in melee against enemies that charged them (on that turn)
- all Akhelian units get +1" Move and +1 on charge rolls (eels and the King are now 15"! turtles and sharks 13") [sadly doesn't help non-Akhelians]
- Command Ability: only works for Liberators wholly within 12" of a Stormcast Hero (gives them +1 Save in exchange for not being able to pile-in) [meh]
- you no longer benefit from any of the army's Allegiance-specific synergies (most-notably here, Tides of Death and Forgotten Nightmares), but you get to have fun allying with Dwarfs, more Stormcast, and have some Priestly fun!
- there's no specific lore to the army (besides the prayers), but if you want Wizards, you can always take Endless Spells or use the vast Realm Lores (7 per realm) [albeit limited to agreeing with your opponent about location before the game]
- if your 3 artefacts aren't suitable, claiming that your army is from a specific realm opens up the choices nicely (though this isn't exactly lore-accurate, but whatever)
- unfortunately, there's no fix if you don't like the 3 Command Traits
- no new Warscroll Battalions, but you're allowed to use any of the existing ones
Ultimately, though most-likely not powerful enough to be competitive, I hope that GW will make more coalition allegiances like this, as it not only mixes things up, but it creates opportunities for you to collect and learn other armies, and it's super fluffy lore-wise. Plus, the Grand Alliances really don't have enough going for them, so this kinda makes up for that, meeting halfway between.
There aren't a ton of options for building diverse armies since the Idoneth model line consists of 8 Leaders, 5 units with only one unconditional battleline and a behemoth. However with the addition of Enclaves your army will perform a bit differently and allows for a small but not insignificant level of specialization.
What to start with?
- As the name suggest, the Start Collecting! kit is a great way to start your collection, giving you 10 Thralls, 3 Eels and one Soulrender.
- Battleforce box being released for Holidays 2018. $170 (USD) will net you a Tidecaster, 10 Namarti Thralls, 10 Namarti Reavers, 3 Eel guard riders of your choice, and 2 Allopexes. Not a bad variety to start with, and is over a hundred dollars in savings, if you can somehow get your hands on it.
- Grab an Akhelian King kit and build either Volturnos or the stock King model. Both are fine, though Volturnos outperforms his nameless counterpart before taking Artefacts and Command Traits into consideration. Either model is a fine addition to your army.
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