The Spirits of Durthu are fiery wood spirits that will jump out of trees and end you. Here’s how you can use them in your Sylvaneth Army.
When the Sylvaneth received their long awaited update earlier this year, they brought a few brand new things to their roster, like an updated Wyldwood, 3 awesome Endless Spells, and a shiny new hero. However, they still got to keep their classic toys, one of my favorites being the flaming rage trees known as the Spirits of Durthu. They are great both thematically and on the tabletop, and make a great centerpiece for any Sylvaneth collection.
The Spirits of Durthu are the avatars of the Everqueen’s vengeance and leaders of the Free Spirits, and as such they excel in both ranged and melee combat. They are a little slow with only a move of 5”, which befits a massive tree being, but they have a pretty hefty ranged attack with their Verdant Blast. At full strength, the blast gets 6 shots, and even as it deteriorates it hits on a 4+, wounds on a 3+, and has Rend -1 with d3 damage. At 15” range, this gives the Spirit a pretty solid threat range, but the damage really starts to ramp up in the combat phase.
Like all Treelords, the Spirit has the Impaling Talons attack, which is a single attack hitting on a 3+ with a deteriorating wound roll starting at 2+ and at worst 4+. However, should you roll a 6 to hit, the attack automatically does d6 mortal wounds, which could potentially finish off an on-foot hero on its own, and it isn’t even the Spirit’s only trick. It also gets to perform a Groundshaking Stomp, which forces a unit within 3” to fight last in the combat phase.
This is a great way to rob Slaanesh or Idoneth of their combat priority and throw some of their own tricks back at them. But my favorite of their weapons is the Guardian Sword, their signature weapon and definitely their strongest. Baseline, it gives the Spirit 3 3+/3+ attacks with Rend -2, and at full health each successful wound does 6 straight damage! This does of course deteriorate, but doesn’t fall below d6 until the last bracket, so the damage potential doesn’t drop until the very end.
Even better, if the Spirit is wholly within 8” of a Wyldwood, it gets 2 extra attacks with this weapon, and since you can use the Spirit Paths ability to jump between Wyldwoods and circumvent the Spirit’s low movement, this should be fairly easy to achieve.
You can also improve the Spirit’s damage depending on which Wargrove you select. My personal favorite is Winterleaf, which not only allows my entire army to score an extra hit on a roll of 6, but gives all my heroes the ability to inflict a massive amount of mortal wounds in the shooting phase based on the size of the enemy unit. On a Spirit, who already has a pretty strong shooting attack, this will make him a one tree wrecking ball. In addition, if you give him the Frozen Kernel artefact required by the Grove, he can allow any unit within 18” to fight twice in a row in the combat phase. Using this on a full strength Spirit close to a Wyldwood gives a potential of 134 damage (note that the likelihood of rolling THAT perfectly is pretty low, but even that much possible damage is worth considering).
The Spirit is also a very resilient model, and a great support piece for surrounding Sylvaneth. It has 12 wounds and a 3+ save, so it’s already hard enough to shift, but with all the healing available to a Sylvaneth army it can be almost impossible. This bring me to another reason I love the Winterleaf Grove, which gives my Spirit a Command Trait that allow it to return any wounds inflicted in the combat phase back on the attacker on a 5+. While that might not dissuade attackers entirely, combined with the ability to regenerate wounds it can definitely make your opponent consider their attacks very carefully, lest they lose an important unit to little gain. As a support piece, the Spirit increases the Bravery of all nearby Sylvaneth units by 1, keeping them in the fight just a little bit longer and possibly getting around some Bravery related enemy shenanigans. The Frozen Kernel mentioned above can also be used as a support piece, allowing a nearby unit to continue mincing a weakened enemy. Throwing it on a nearby unit of Kurnoth Hunters with greatswords equipped will mess up even the most hearty units.
Which Sylvaneth hero is your favorite?