OK don’t overthink this, just answer with the first thing that pops into your head.
What are your two favourite things about Age of Sigmar?
If you just said “Running overcosted monsters” and “Losing games”, then boy are you in for a treat!
For the low, low cost of 540 points you can run Gordrakk alongside Kragnos, and use the former to give the latter +1 to hit. Big G can select up to 3 units from the whole of Destruction for that Command Ability, and snark aside it gets Kraggy down to 2s and 2s which is pretty sweet despite the eye-watering cost.
Beyond what would obviously be a meme list, what else can we do to synergise with Kragnos? We’ve already had a good look at Kragnos’s warscroll, and one of the big takeaways was that it’s a barren wasteland of keywords. But for those of you who are not quite ready to give up, there’s a little bit of “friendly unit” tech available to Kragnos.
It’s slim pickings, but it’s there. so lets see what we can tease out.
First up, Kragnos has been leaked as costing 760 points, which I’ve used as a rough benchmark for what other pieces you can fit around him. Spoiler: not enough.
Secondly, I’m looking at this from a competitive viewpoint, so I’ll be trying to read the runes on whether something is good as well as whether you can do it. Cards on the table though, 760 points is so exuberantly bad that I did at times in this article sleepwalk into discussing what’s fun rather than good.
Your opinions may vary, and I’m always happy to discuss, so tell me if you think I’m under- or overestimating the usefulness of a given piece of tech.
First things first: what can he access?
There are a couple of things to digest here. Firstly, he’s available to all of Destro regardless of Keyword limitations. Cool.
Secondly, if you use this rule to put him into a Destruction army whose keywords he does not share, he cannot use the army’s allegiance abilities. This in turn raises two questions.
Can he use Mixed Destruction allegiance abilities?
Yes he can, the reason being that he already has natural access to GA Destruction via having the Destruction keyword. He doesn’t need “back door” access to Mixed Destro via this Super Ally rule – he just slots right in there, and therefore the provisos attached to this rule don’t apply.
So Rampaging Destroyers is in scope – which could be crucial if he does get his own Be’Lakor-style GA+ allegiance kit.
What is out of scope as “allegiance abilities” when Kragnos is included in other armies?
Fortunately, this has been well-defined in the Core Rules FAQ:
Q: The core/matched play rules say that allies cannot use
or benefit from allegiance abilities. There seems to be quite a
number of situations where the question of what ‘benefit from’
means. Could you explain please?
A: Certainly. It means that battle traits do not apply to
and cannot be used by allied units. In addition, it means
that allied units cannot receive allegiance abilities that
you choose (or roll for) for certain types of unit in your
army, such as command traits, artefacts of power or
spells from spell lores. Note that, in the second case,
allied units can be affected by such allegiance abilities
when they are used (or would otherwise take effect)
during the battle, as long as no other restrictions apply.
For example, you could not choose an allied Wizard to
know a spell from a spell lore, but an allied unit could
be affected by the spell if it was cast. In addition, any
scenery rules for faction-specific terrain features apply
to allied units during the battle.
This is a little bit more open than some people assumed. I’ve seen a bit of chatter that being the target of a spell affecting “friendly units” would be benefitting from allegiance abilities, but per the FAQ that’s not the case.
He can’t take artefacts, spells or command traits himself: but if those items buff friendly units (without being keyword-locked), we’re golden.
This means we have three main avenues to explore:
- Allegiance buffs that are not keyword-locked, and affect all friendly units
- Warscroll buffs that affect friendly units
- Effects that debuff an enemy unit, so anything interacting with that debuffed unit can indirectly benefit
Ready? Let’s go.
Friendly Unit Tech: Madcap Shaman Spell
The little fella has a warscroll spell benefitting one nearby friendly unit, without needing the Gloomspite keyword:
Night Shroud: The shaman throws a blackcapped nightshade mushroom into the air, which bursts to form a cloud of pitch blackness.
Night Shroud has a casting value of 5. If successfully cast, pick 1 friendly unit wholly within 12″ of the caster that is visible to them. Until your next hero phase, subtract 1 from hit rolls for attacks made with missile weapons that target that unit.
Easy to cast and a nice little bonus. 80 points really is a piss take for a pathetic one-spell wizard rocking 4 wounds on a 6+ save (and no bonuses to cast), but welcome to that Destruction life. Unfortunately the majority of stuff that dunks on Kragnos will just bang out 18 mortal wounds without giving two shits about neg 1 to hit in shooting, but it could be handy against KO for example.
The good thing is that access to this spell is strictly upside, because if you’re running Gloomspite, you’ll probably take one anyway for access to the Moonface Mommet. Who did the what now?
Target Enemy Tech: Moonface Mommet Artefact
Moonface Mommet: This creepy little doll can be used to call down misfortune on the foe.
At the start of the combat phase, pick 1 enemy unit within 12″ of the bearer. Subtract 1 from save rolls for attacks that target that unit until the end of the phase.
There ya go, there’s a cheeky pip of extra rend. Effectively makes Kraggy’s best attacks rend -4 damage 4, and his worst attacks rend -2 damage 2.
Also works around Plate of Perfect Protection (Chamon artefact) and Ishlaen Guard, although Gotrek and Morathi will still laugh at him.
The Shroomancer and Troggoth Hag spells can cripple your enemy with neg 1 to hit and save, and there are plenty of ways to stack further negatives to hit on your opponents that might help to protect Kragnos (such as Sneaky Distraction from the Spiderfang spell lore).
Speaking of which, there’s a hidden gem in there called Curse of Da Spider God:
Curse of da Spider God: The shaman points a bony finger at a nearby enemy and curses them in the name of the Spider God.
Curse of da Spider God has a casting value of 7. If successfully cast, pick 1 enemy unit within 24″ of the caster and visible to them. Until your next hero phase, hit rolls made for attacks by that unit always fail on an unmodified roll of 1 or 2 instead of only on a 1, and save rolls made for attacks that target that unit always fail on an unmodified roll of 1 or 2 instead of only on a 1.
Early indications abound that 3rd ed will bring a general rush of 2+ stat lines (and therefore 1+ stat lines), so this is a great little window of opportunity for your opponent to fail the infallible. Definitely one I’ll be considering strongly whenever I wheel out the gribblies.
Some useful little nuggets, but nothing that seems likely to overcome the inherent weaknesses of playing a trash-tier book while finding room for multiple wizards that will be utterly dominated by magic armies with much better rules.
If your dream is to play Kragnos ‘n’ The Grots, don’t let me be the one to crush that vision, but I think you’ll be doing it for the love and not the podiums.
Friendly Unit Tech: Bloodgullet +3″ Pile In
Now you’re talking!
A BLOODGULLET general must have this command trait instead of one listed in Command Traits section.
‘Nice Drop of the Red Stuff!’: This warlord seeks out the most delicious sources of rich blood, and their warriors know to follow closely behind.
Friendly units that start a pile-in move wholly within 12″ of this general can move an extra 3″ when they pile in.
Note that this is the “bad” version of the 6″ pile in, but who cares…it’s still pretty cool in this army!
You can’t pile in from 6″ away, which means you need either to have completed a charge earlier that turn, or to be within 3″ of an enemy model. But that’s OK, cos we’ve got charge mortals out the whazoo, so what we’re going to do it charge those screens right off the fucking board, then pile into the juice perched behind.
I’ve been having a bit of fun with this already in local games*,
If you wanted to really get wild, you could:
- Charge into a screen with some Yetis
- Charge in with your Frostlord, to get him up in range and bang out a few mortal wounds
- Deliver the payload with Special K right up in their business, demolishing the rest of their chaff
- Everything can now pile in an extra 3″, so the Yetis are piling in 9″
Fuck yeah! Even without the Yetis, it’s still a pretty handy way of dealing with chaff screens, and you can often place your models carefully after the charge to pile into some pretty janky positions.
Friendly Unit Tech: Keening Gale +3″ Movement
Keening Gale: A bonechilling wind howls across the battlefield, giving speed to the beasts of winter.
This prayer is answered on a 4+. If this prayer is answered, pick 1 friendly MONSTER or MOURNFANG PACK unit wholly within 18″ of the model chanting this prayer. Until the start of your next hero phase, add 3″ to that unit’s Move characteristic.
This one is a prayer, which means you need to take a Thundertusk and nail a 4+ (or take a bad subfaction to get it down to a 3+ if you really hate winning games). That’s about 50% of your army locked into a coinflip chance of making him still move slower than a Stonehorn.
The question is, can you still fit in a proper army around them? And the answer is no, take three Stonehorns instead.
Technically you could take the Questionable Hygeine on your Butcher to give out a -1 to hit aura, but that’s not worth giving up a Tribe for.
Slightly more appealing is the Grease-Smeared Tusks Artefact, giving out a +1″ to charge aura for friendly Monsters. Any Orruks player will tell you that the impossibility of failing a 3″ charge is immensely powerful for combat armies, although you’ll either need to give up on your Tribe (in no way worth it) or fit in a Battalion too (worth considering if points allow).
Finally we have a few spells that affect enemies. In ascending order of usefulness, we have neg 1 to hit from Billowing Ash (tight bubble, and doomed by its association with the trash-tier Firebelly), Greasy Deluge (easier to cast, wider range and attached to the less-overcosted Slaughtermaster) and finally Ribcracker: a staple of Mawtribes armies that do take a wizard, this one allows you to worsen the save of an enemy unit with 18″, similar to the Moonface Mommet above.
There are some pretty useful tools here, and I don’t hate the idea of Kragnos enjoying extra movement and a 6″ pile in from Bloodgullets.
The issue you’ll bump your head against is that depending on his points, you will most likely struggle to fit a Thundertusk, Kragnos and enough Battleline into your army without losing the Frostlord on Stonehorn, which overall is a poor trade. The Frosty still moves faster and caps objectives better, so ultimately I just don’t see Kraggy helping you win more games in this build.
We’ve already mentioned that Gordrakk can make Kraggy hit more harderer, so what else do we have?
Quite a bit, actually.
Friendly Unit Tech: Fixin’ Beat
You’ll always want to take a couple of Warchanters, and the good news is that two of the three Warbeats work on him:
Fixin’ Beat: In your hero phase, 1 model that knows this warbeat can use it. If they do so, pick 1 friendly model within 12″ of this WARCHANTER and roll a dice. On a 4+, you can heal up to D3 wounds allocated to that model.
D3 wounds is less valuable on anything without an aftersave – it’s not Gotrek where each healed wound is really worth 3 because of the aftersave. Still, not a bad thing to have up your sleeve, especially if you’re taking one anyway – which you should be.
Target Enemy Tech: Killa Beat
Killa Beat: At the start of the combat phase, 1 model that knows this warbeat can use it. If they do so, pick 1 enemy unit within 12″ of this WARCHANTER and roll a dice. On a 4+, add 1 to hit rolls for attacks made with melee weapons that target that unit in that phase.
Make an enemy unit easier to hit, and badda bing, Kragnos is living the dream on 2s and 2s. Your ‘Chanter has to be up close and it’s only a coinflip, but again you’re already taking a Warchanter for his damage buff – so this is pure upside and nice if you can get it, and a hell of a lot cheaper than Gordrakk.
Other Stuff: Movement Jank
The absolute best thing about running Orruks is free movement after they take damage in a phase: any phase, and for any reason.
Well what do we have here then?
Put a couple of wounds on your mates, and ZOOM off they go!
I’ve had this come up so often…one that springs to mind is Michael Clarke chipping a wound onto a Warchanter at Bush Bash, which in turn allowed him to step forward onto an objective that he was hoping to claim with a single model and contesting it. Yoink!
Another modern classic is the Ironjawz Shuffle:
- Charge into a chaff unit that is screening off an objective
- Activate first elsewhere, so your opponent hits you first before you murderfuck them
- Murderfuck them
- Now you have taken damage in that phase, and have no enemy models within 9″
- Step forward onto the “screened” objective that other, lesser armies could not reach
Any additional way to access that movement is money, believe me.
Orruks are already good, you’re already taking Warchanters and the extra access to gaming movement is glorious.
The issue you’ll have is that Orruks have their own big, hitty monster who can take artefacts and command traits, is exponentially faster and seems likely to be a good couple of hundred points cheaper – or a giant rock with all the keywords Kragnos lacks.
This is unlikely to be the strongest way to run Warclans, yet it might well be the strongest way to run Kragnos.
Sons of Behemat
How does Kragnos even fit into SOB? Wasn’t the whole point of running him with orcs or goblins that they surround him in chaff?
Well…kinda. There is a world in which Kragnos can contribute meaningfully to your win condition with Sons, which is generally to survive for 3 turns by which time you have an insurmountable lead on objectives. Even though he’s significantly worse at scoring objectives than they are, he’s scary enough that your opponent has to deal with him, while your Gargants wander around scoring VPs.
Does he do that moreso than a Gatebreaker, who scores better and has twice as many wounds? Possibly not, but it’s worth experimenting with.
Target Enemy Tech: Extremely Intimidating
Extremely Intimidating: Nobody wants to get too close to this fearsome Kraken-eater, not even other Kraken-eaters!
Subtract 1 from hit rolls for enemy models that are within 3″ of this general.
This command trait from Taker Tribes adds to the survivability of both the general who takes it, and any mates he has nearby. Strong Right Foot is a lot to give up, and Kragnos gets no benefit if he’s off in the wild blue yonder, but this is worth considering nonetheless.
Target Enemy Tech: Takers Artefacts
Net of the Beast-reaver: This enchanted net was stolen from the flagship of a monster hunting Ulguan Scourgefleet, and has lost none of its potency when it comes to entrapping powerful creatures.
At the start of the combat phase, you can pick 1 enemy MONSTER within 3″ of the bearer and roll a dice. On a 4+, until the end of that phase, subtract 1 from hit rolls for attacks made by that MONSTER, and you can add 1 to hit rolls for attacks that target that MONSTER.
Wallopin’ Tentacle and Net of the Beast Reaver both make enemies easier to hit, but only on a 4+. The Net is by far the more interesting of the two for its double payoff, and could be a fun pick for the gamblers out there.
The rend reduction artefact from Chamon is a safer pick, but if we’re running Kragnos in Giants we’re here for the lulz, so why not live a little?
If I was going to run Kragnos in Giants it would probably be in Takers Tribe, with a single Kraken Eater and as many single Mancrushers as I could possibly fit. You’ll have each of the babies running around as 15 models and stealing objectives for a few turns, while Special K draws all the attention and firepower. As luck would have it, the tech in Sons that synergises explicitly with Kragnos also sits in the Tribe that has the playstyle that appeals.
You’d be living on the razor’s edge, with devastating burst output offset by crippling fragility. Bodies will be dropping like flies on both sides of the table as you desperately scramble to build up a decent lead, and every priority roll is a rollercoaster of emotion.
The problem is that at 760 points, all you can fit alongside Kragnos is a single Kraken Eater and 4 Mancrushers, and that’s just pathetic. Never mind how competitive this is(n’t), it illustrates perfectly how his ludicrous points cost sucks all the oxygen out of your list, to the point that he’s not even fun.
As noted in my previous article, Kragnos loves the Ravagers Command Trait. Sadly however the latest Intel is that Games Workshop couldn’t be bothered to give him his own suite of allegiance abilities, so that’s about as good as it gets.
Not a bad home for him, but I’d honestly rather run the Gatebreaker Mixed Destro list I posted recently, and that’s saying something. The absence of his own legion in his own book would be unforgivably lame.
The Final Verdict
Honestly – there’s nothing truly good here. You don’t get to reroll all hits and wounds from a Sorceror Lord; or reroll hits, wounds and charges with a Warshrine; or stack +2 to save and fight in the Hero phase with Khorne; or automatically delete your opponents with Destiny Dice. You just don’t get to have that kind of fun with Kragnos – his absence of keywords has preemptively sucked a lot of the joy out of listbuilding with him.
Currently the most likely scenario in which I’d run Kragnos is the Bloodgullets build, trampling motherfuckers into the dirt and then strutting through the gaps to smash their mates. Sequencing your combo charges will give you some epic moments and my gut feel is that this does a better job of being a fun list than the Orruk builds do of being a competitive list.
Having looked at what’s available to Kragnos in some detail across two articles, and mucked around with a few lists, my considered opinion is that he’s a worthless piece of shit. It is with much regret that I view Kragnos as being Dead On Arrival competitively, and what’s perhaps worse: he’s not even that much fun.
If you disagree, and you think I’m sleeping on some OP combo then hit me up on Twitter and tell me so.
And let’s not forget that all of this comes with one last caveat: we are yet to see full confirmation as to whether Broken Realms: Kragnos will bring him his own affiliation.
Failing that though, he can fuck right off.
*Postscript: A Note On Bloodgullets
This is the list I’ve been running recently, and having a lot of fun with it:
Allegiance: Ogor Mawtribes
– Mawtribe: Bloodgullet
Frostlord on Stonehorn (400)
– Command Trait: Nice Drop of the Red Stuff!
– Artefact: Splatter-cleaver
– Mount Trait: Black Clatterhorn
Huskard on Stonehorn (320)
– Blood Vulture
– Artefact: Skullshards of Dragaar
– Mount Trait: Metalcruncher
– Lore of Gutmagic: Blood Feast
– Bloodgullet 2nd Spell: Molten Entrails
12 x Ogor Gluttons (400)
– Pairs of Clubs or Blades
2 x Mournfang Pack (140)
– Culling Clubs or Prey Hackers with Iron Fists
2 x Mournfang Pack (140)
– Culling Clubs or Prey Hackers with Iron Fists
Stonehorn Beastriders (300)
Total: 1980 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 1
Allies: 0 / 400
What you’re doing is combo-charging to crash through screens, piling into the good stuff and then healing back up.
- Vultures: mortal wounds
- Frostlord charge: mortal wounds
- Huskard charge: mortal wounds
- Beastrider charge: mortal wounds
- Unit of 10+ charge: mortal wounds
- Metalcruncher: mortal wounds
By this point your opponent is absolutely reeling, and you haven’t even started fighting the fucker yet! And when you do, all the Eurlbad units dish out mortal wounds, and even the Mournfang save rolls bounce back…have you guessed? That’s right, mortal wounds.
The spells let you send off missiles in the early game, with extra damage and Mystic Shield on your Stonehorns; then mid-game onwards you pivot to double-buffing the Gluttons with extra attacks and mortal wounds on 6s. You always have two useful spells to cast, and dipping in the pot is strictly upside.
Situationally it can be better than the modern classic Boulderhead, although I feel the latter has the edge overall. What this does is freshen things up a bit, and gets those dad bods on the table. I’d encourage anyone wanting to breath freash life into their Stonehorns experience to give it a crack.
So if, like me, you won’t be buying Kragnos because he’s an abysmal waste of plastic, do yourself a favour and break some skulls with Bloodgullets. It’s good fun.