Age of Sigmar: How to Play Nighthaunt

Today we look into the Nighthaunt faction of Age of Sigmar. Sometimes that sheet floating in the wind really IS out to get you.

In the wake of Nagash’s sound defeat (when has that not recently happened?), it’s easy to forget the considerable stir he caused when he introduced a brand new Mortarch and unleashed the angry spirits of the Nighthaunt, kicking off the Soul Wars. Well, the spooky boys and their banshee queen haven’t forgotten. Here are some quick tips for running the Nighthaunt and a few sample units you won’t want to leave buried.

Who are the Nighthaunt?

The unquiet dead has always plagued the Realms, spirits rising in areas of great strife or where the magic of Shyish is strong. However, it wasn’t until Nagash elevated the Mortarch of Grief, Lady Olynder, that they became an organized fighting force and ushered in the Soul Wars. Spurred on by the cataclysm of the Necroquake, the Nighthaunt spilled out of cracks across every realm to claim souls for the Great Necromancer, the shades robbed of their eternal rest by the corrupting influence of their Mortarch.

Why Play Nighthaunt?

Nighthaunt are a swift shock army that can control the board with a solid line or sweep across their foes in a flurry of spectral weapons. You can mold them to fit several playstyles, have a mix of powerful combat and support heroes, and as Death, can even return from the dead. If you saw the charge of the dead in LotR’s Return of the King and thought, “Yeah, I wanna do that,” then this is the army for you.


  • You can throw layered debuffs onto enemy units simply by charging with Aura of Dread abilities
  • You can jump back from the dead or heal your heroes
  • Ethereal means Rend is nothing to you


  • You are VERY hero dependent, and if they go down, so will you
  • You ideally need your spells and Heroes, so if you go up against an army that can take them away, you won’t fare well
  • You’ll need a mixed arms force to fully take advantage of your Aura of Dread abilities.

Nighthaunt Signature Rules

Battle Traits

  • Ethereal– Ignore positive and negative save modifiers
  • Discorporate– Command ability to give a unit a 5+ Ward.
  • Wave of Terror– units can Charge even if already in combat. This is important because Charging triggers the Aura of Dread.
  • Aura of Dread abilities- a set of powerful debuffs that can be stacked onto an unlucky opponent.

Battle Formations

  • Vanishing Phantasms– Once per turn teleport with Ethereal Translocation.
  • Hunters of the Accursed– do mortal wounds to three enemy Heroes at the end of every turn.
  • Death Stalkers– Units can Charge after they Run or Retreat.
  • Procession of Death– Gives friendly Black Coaches a 6″ Ward (5+) aura for Infantry.

Heroic Traits

  • Ruler of the Spectral Hosts– Once per battle set up a half-strength replacement unit command ability.
  • Cloaked in Shadow– Only ever hit on a 4+.
  • Terrifying Entity– This unit can do an Aura of Dread ability that was already used this turn.


  • Lightshard of the Harvest Moon– Once per game 12″ plus one attack bubble.
  • Covetous Familiar– Do Mortal Wounds as a Reaction to being attacked in combat.
  • Soulfire Ring– if you slay any models Heal(D6).

Nighthaunt Key Units

Lady Olynder

The Mortarch of Grief is a potent leader, who can once per battle summon back the dead (again) to reinforce all Nighthaunt units on the board! Enemies really don’t want to find out out what lay under her veil.

Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed

A fast combat lord with a sword that heals you when it kills enemy models and a chain activation that allows a nearby unit to essentially strike simultaneously. This guy will almost always be your general unless you bring one of the special characters.

Guardian of Souls

The primary support caster of your army. While it can’t do the crazy summon shenanigans it used to, it’s still a pretty amazing model. NEVER leave home without at least one of these, especially if you bring Chainrasps. Shademist is always a great pick for a Spell.


A mainstay horde unit. A tarpit that’s also surprisingly killy with debuffs.

Bladegheist Revenants

You’ll never regret bringing at least one unit of these deadly warriors who get an extra attack on the charge thanks to Thrashing Desperation.

Black Coach

The Black Coach is the single most resilient model in the faction and is fairly autonomous. Well equipped to hold a flank. It can also teleport on its own and even replace destroyed friendly Heroes.

Sample Nighthaunt Army

Faction: Nighthaunt

– Battle Formation: Procession of Death

Regiment 1


20 x Grimghast Reapers

Black Coach

Black Coach

Regiment 2


10 Craventhrone Guard

10 Craventhrone Guard

10 Craventhrone Guard

5 Craventhrone Guard

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How to Play Nighthaunt

Charge every turn, yo-yoing your deadly threats into the enemy. Don’t let up until their souls join yours!

For Nagash!

Twenty year Games Workshop Hobbyist, Gamer, and Writer. I love Necromunda, Horus Heresy, (40K), and Age of Sigmar (and Mordheim- let’s get a reboot of that!).

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    Allen Campbell