Hey there, players, fans, and hobbyists interested in Age of Sigmar, the massive fantasy wargame by Games Workshop! Today, we have a review for you in the form of an analysis of the new Battletome for the Idoneth Deepkin. This Battletome has had a ton of shifts compared to the book from the first edition of the game, but while many things absolutely changed, a lot of things also stayed very much the same. Is it for better, or for worse? We took a good hard look at these sea Aelves and here's what we think!
So, before we start, it is good to note the format in which we have compiled this new information. We have divided the info into Battle Traits, Command Traits, Artefacts of Power, Mount Traits, Spell Lores, and Subfactions. Finally, we have a few notes on Warscrolls (to be added with Subfactions in a later article). In these sections we will be comparing the current upcoming Battletome with the older book and determining what is a nerf, what is a buff, and what is balanced. With that, let's "dive in"!
The Battle Traits of this Age of Sigmar Battletome are almost identical to the first book's. We have noted that with regard to the Isharann rituals table, which corresponds to the Tides of Death table in the same section (and which is identical to the older edition's Tides table – Round 1 cover, Round 2 run and shoot/charge, Round 3 strike-first, Round 4 retreat and shoot/charge, and Round 5 as a repeat of Round 1), you can only choose one ritual at the start of the game, and only if you've included at least one Isharann unit in your army. Beyond this, everything is practically the same about the Battle Traits of the Deepkin (the old information can be found in various places online, including the Warhammer Community news hub).
Command Traits for the Idoneth Deepkin are divided into three categories: Akhelian, Isharann, and Eidolon. These categories also are the same for their Artefacts of Power, and each category only gets three enhancements of each kind.
The Akhelian Command Trait called Born From Agony, which has the potential to fully heal your general at any battleshock's end, is decently strong due to its frequency of resolution. Even if it needs a die roll of a 6 to do this, it happens at the end of each battleshock phase. This is very strong, especially for an Akhelian King unit.
Lord of Storm and Sea, another Akhelian Command Trait, prevents battleshock tests within 12" of the Deepkin general, which is conditioanlly good for a lot of Deepkin units, especially Morsarr and Ishlaen Guard units due to their sparse Bravery score of 7.
Unstoppable Fury, the last Akhelian Command Trait, is highly dependent on your opponent as a Deepkin player. While 2 extra attacks per enemy unit within 3" sounds good, it's only during Battle Round 3 and needs your general to get really close to the opponents before it can be utilized at all.
The Isharann Command Traits are also pretty good, but can be fairly situational. Two of them need your General to be close by the enemy, and with the Isharann being a bunch of squishy (fishy) wizards, it's not reliable to assume they'll come out on top here. The third one will be better utilized.
The first Command Trait of those three, Hunter of Souls, deals D3 mortal wounds to an enemy Hero or unit champion on a die roll of 3+ at the start of the combat phase. It is novel so far that a called shot to a champion is part of this Command Trait, but it is risky.
The second Command Trait, Merciless Raider, makes an modified hit roll of 6 auto-wound an enemy, but again is risky because it requires a low-defenses unit to get into combat of some sort.
The third Command Trait for the Isharann, Teachings of the Túrscoll, is arguably a lot better. It reverses the Tides of Death table at the start of the game, meaning you can get some major buffs a lot sooner than normal.
Finally, the all-new Eidolon Command Traits are not bad as generalized Command Traits. Ancient Pride automatically makes attacks with unmodified hit rolls of 1 or 2 automatically fail. Nightmare Legacy allows your Aspect of the Storm general to rampage as if it were a monster unit. Finally, Endless Sea Storm makes your Aspect of the Sea general able to cast 2 spells in the same hero phase if the first one succeeds on a 7+. All are pretty good.
Artefacts of Power
Like the Command Traits, these Artefacts of Power are divided into three categories: Akhelian, Isharann, and Eidolon. The Artefacts are mostly worse than the Command Traits in a general sense, in our honest opinion, but as effective freebies, they could be worse still.
The Akhelian Artefacts called Disharmony Stones and Potion of Hateful Frenzy are iffy, either because they're too complicated for the game state or because they're too situational. The Potion, in particular, is effectively a trap for gameplay purposes if you can't manage to win first priority on a turn where it matters. The third Akhelian Artefact, Armour of the Cythai, is the best of these three, in that it stops effects that enemies trigger when hitting with unmodified hit rolls of 6. A shame for Nurgle's disease rolls!
The Isharann Artefacts of Power are a bit better to be sure. Dritchleech weakens casting, dispelling, and unbinding rolls of enemy non-Idoneth Deepkin Wizard units within 18" of the wielder. This is huge for ensuring you get your casts going. Rune of the Surging Gloomtide allows the wielder to summon a Gloomtide Shipwreck faction terrain feature, which is very helpful for keeping your Deepkin alive through an added Ward of 5+. Brain Barnacles, the third Artefact, is more of a "for-fun" enhancement. It's situational and tough to properly utilize, but at least it's fun!
Of the Eidolon Artefacts, Bio-Shock Shell is another "For-Fun" enhancement. It forces strike-last upon an enemy Hero, but is dependent on the Hero's Bravery score. Whorlshell is like a miniature version of the Ancient Pride Command Trait, which is already used by Eidolons. If you wish to take one of the other Command Traits, you'll probably want this as your Artefact. The last Artefact, Kraken Tooth, can spell out an instant kill of a model with less than 10 Wounds natively, or potentially deal up to 2d6 mortals to it if its Wound count is bigger than that.
Mount Traits and Spell Lores
Deepmares and Leviadons get Mount Traits now! You can choose one for a Deepmare mount in your army and one for a Leviadon mount. Voidchill Darkness looks to be the best Mount Trait for Deepmares (providing a -1 to hit rolls for attacks made by enemy units with 3"). With the Leviadons, it's a bit more tricky. The one that will probably be used 9 out of 10 times is Reverberating Carapace, which will increase the Void Drum ability's range from 12" to 15". However, Denizen of the Darkest Depths will be used when the Deepkin player isn't apt to take a horde of Namarti units.
The Deepkin have 4 Spell Lores in this Age of Sigmar Battletome. It may not feel like a lot, but they mostly pack a wallop. The first one, Steed of Tides, isn't remarkably meta as it merely teleports a Hero 9" away from its previous position. Counter-current by comparison is the best, as it halves run and charge rolls for an enemy unit within 18" and only has a casting value of 6. That's impactful and easy to accomplish.
The last 2 Spell Lores can be used as optimal secondary spells if the options are there. Both are equally viable. Pressure of the Deep is a potential insta-kill with a casting value of 7 and 12" range, while Arcane Corrasion worsens Rend for an enemy's melee weapons until the Deepkin player's next hero phase. These are okay, but not as huge as Counter-current, which seems like it'll be the #1 pick for spells.
We will be delving into the Enclave subfactions of the Deepkin as well as their Warscrolls in a later article. Until then, what do you think about the Idoneth Deepkin from Games Workshop's game? Does Age of Sigmar feel more balanced with this new book? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!