Vanguard Faction Focus: Forces of the Abyss

By Mantic Games

The Abyss is a yawning chasm of malice that spreads across the lands to the north of Basilea. From within its depths comes some of the most wicked and despicable creatures to torment Mantica. Only tales of the terrifying Nightstalkers cause more dread in the surrounding kingdoms.

Although it is a physical wound upon the land, this awful scar transcends dimensions. On the surface those foolish enough to get too close will see a raging inferno of flames and scorched earth. But its depths are anathema to natural law and its many circles of nightmarish creatures are too numerous to behold for any sane individual. Borne of fire and malevolence, countless creatures spill from its terrible depths. Yet deep within the Abyss more abhorrent horrors lie in wait… biding their time to strike against a world they despise.

Although mass incursions of Abyssals are rare, small groups are constantly sent forth to test the resolve of Mantica. These groups of Succubi, Lower Abyssals, Hellhounds and their leaders, have only one goal in mind – to send more souls to the beasts that dwell in the lower circles of the Abyss. Should you ever come across a raiding party of Abyssals, hold your tongue, stay your blade, and hope they ride by, lest you become their latest victim.

LOWER ABYSSALS

As the name implies, these are among the weakest monsters to venture from the depths of the Abyss. Yet, they are also the most numerous. These cruel and cackling creatures often make up the bulk of an Abyssal warband. Their commanders care little for their safety and they’re typically sent to harass and delay the enemy, while the stronger units pick off the opposition.

At only 8pts, the Lower Abyssals form the perfect (and cheap) foundation on which to build your warband. Combined with the Flamebearer, which costs 9pts, you can quickly gather enough grunts to unlock spots for more powerful support models, spellcasters or commanders. They’re going to die pretty quickly… but who cares when they’re only 8pts each? That’s the Abyssal way.

FLAMEBEARERS

Similar in appearance to the Lower Abyssals, the Flamebearers are imbued with fire magic. They cast bolts of flaming energy at their foes, searing the battlefield with sorcerous fire.

While the Lower Abyssals are your cheap melee option, the Flamebearers are a cheap ranged choice. However, they have a nice trick up their sleeve (assuming they ever wear jumpers) called Firebolt. This costs 1 Power to use but increases the range of their attacks and gives them Piercing (1). Combine this with a Group Shoot action, and you can quickly take out rival grunts.

ABYSSAL GUARD

The existence of a Lower Abyssal is one governed by constant violence and bloodshed, even among themselves. Those who rise to the top of the pile, by way of cunning, martial prowess or a combination of the two, will earn the right to don ceremonial armour and wield more powerful weapons.

If you want to go for something a little stronger than the Lower Abyssals, then this is the choice for you. They’re more expensive than their weaker brethren – coming in at 14pts – but for that you get the added bonuses of Crushing Strength (1) and Regenerate (6+). Consider arming them with a heavy weapon item to boost the Crushing Strength or the Large Shield, seeing as one miniature has an awesome shield.

SUCCUBUS LURKER

Often the first indication of a Lurker’s presence will be a lustful whisper from the shadows. The voice beguiles and enchants the unwitting victim, pulling them closer until they fall into a soft embrace. As the hold grows tighter, the promising whisper becomes a shrill, cruel laugh that reaches a frantic pitch as a razor-sharp blade bleeds away the prey’s essence.

As well as having access to Succubi as a Warrior option, an Abyssal leader can also take a Succubus Lurker as one of their Support models. The Lurker has an array of abilities: Scout, Sneaky, Stealthy and Vicious, that will allow them to skirt around the edges of the battlefield and take out any foolish enough to stray close. The Lurker hits hard too, with 3D8 in close combat and a melee stat of 4+.

HELLEQUIN/HELLEQUIN BLOOD MASQUE

On the Second Circle of the Abyss, there is an eternal hunt that stretches across the aeons. Faceless riders on heavily armoured steeds thunder across a blasted plain of scorched earth, pursuing the tortured souls sent to rot in the belly of the Abyss. Leading the charge are the unrelenting Hellequins, who will stop at nothing to capture and kill their quarry.

Our second support option for the Abyssals is the Hellequin. While the Lurker is great at sneaking around and picking off the opposition, the Hellequin is a brutal hammer you can use to smash the enemy into submission. Because the Hellequin is a mounted unit, it gets a bonus to its melee stat when charging down smaller opposition, so it can quickly make mincemeat of smaller grunts and warriors.

There’s even the option to run one as a Hellequin Blood Masque. This is a commander, rather than a support model, so costs a little more. However, with those extra points you gain Crushing Strength (2) and an ability called Expert Rider, which means the Blood Masque gets its cavalry bonus even when charging models of the same height.

GARGOYLE

These lesser Abyssals of limited intelligence follow the armies of their evil kin, darkening the skies like a sinister pall, ready to plunge on the wounded and the stragglers with voracious appetite.

Our final support choice for the Abyssals is the Gargoyle. The main benefit for the Gargoyle is its superb speed of 7. This means it can dash around the battlefield early doors to grab objectives, or fly behind the opposition to harry their backlines. What’s more, with Regenerate (4+), there’s the potential to keep healing any wounds if the enemy doesn’t manage to take it out with one-shot. The Gargoyle may become the dark horse of the Abyssals.

DESPOILER

The Despoiler is a creature of pure, burning rage. Sired in the lower circles of the Abyss, the Despoiler is racked by the agonising pain of its twisted, unnatural form. Although it resembles the lumbering Molochs that often march alongside an Abyssal army, the Despoiler is capable of far more terrifying feats of violence, as it strives to inflict its own agony on others.

Regenerate (6+), the ability to knock down opponents, steady so it can’t be knocked down, armour 4+, 5 wounds and Crushing Strength (3)… excuse us while we wipe the drool from our keyboard. The Despoiler is the can opener of the Abyssals – quite literally with that massive claw (assuming they have cans in Mantica). Plant the Despoiler on an objective and watch as others try to take it out, or use it to assassinate your opponent’s heavily armoured units. The Despoiler is a unit to be feared.

WARLOCK

The terrible dark magic of the Abyss is enough to send even the strongest mind into a spiral of madness. Its wicked tendrils weave and twist their way through the mind of one ‘gifted’ with magical abilities so they’re no longer able to tell what’s real and what’s not. As a result, the only way these gibbering wrecks can be transported into the heat of battle is on the back of a lumbering Abyssal. However, the moments when the fog of madness lifts from their addled mind, the Warlock is able to unleash horrific and powerful arcane magic upon its target.

Along with the Despoiler, the Warlock is the other Large model choice for the Abyssals – so typically you’re going to have to choose between the two. With Fireball, Hammer and Mind Storm spells, as standard, the Warlock has the ability to kill and disrupt opponents. However, it’s the Range Boost ability that’s certainly likely to catch your opponent off guard. If you spend 2 Power, you can add an extra 6” to your spells – giving the Warlock a far more dangerous range than most magic users. What’s more, the Warlock is height 3, so it’ll be able to see over your grunts and warriors.

SEDUCTRESS

Among the wicked order of the Succubi, none revel in torment and torture more-so than the Seductress. She toys with her enemies by keeping them on an exquisite knife edge of intense pain and pleasure, until the begs for mercy become sorrowful, agonised howls. Drunk on the delicious agony of these cries, only then will she tear out their beating heart to end their life. Yet that is only the start of their torment, as their souls are sent to the Abyss to become playthings for the endless hordes of lower Succubi.

Our final commander for the Abyssals is the beautiful but deadly Seductress. She certainly lives up to the latter part of that reputation, with a melee stat of 3+ and 5D8(!) in close combat. Although she has no ranged capabilities, she does have Fly and speed 6, so she’ll be very mobile when it comes to getting stuck into combat. What’s more, she’s got a few tricks to hamper the opposition too. Fatal Attraction lowers the melee stat of an opponent and Confuse means she can ignore outnumbering bonuses  – so she won’t be easily overwhelmed by grunts/warriors.

Will you be joining the legions of the Abyss? Well, make sure you grab the Faction Starter and Faction Booster now!

The post Vanguard Faction Focus: Forces of the Abyss appeared first on Mantic Blog.

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