Today we look at how to play Soulblight Gravelords Kastelai in Age of Sigmar. The Children of Abhorash are back, and they’re not happy.
The Soulblight Gravelords have returned in magnificent, terrifying force, separating themselves from the old Legions of Nagash and bringing along a few new friends in the process. One of the OG bloodlines is the Kastelai, the Realms’ equivalent of the ancient Blood Dragons that terrorized the Old World. Fans of ancient vampire warriors or martial prowess honed over years of practice and bloodshed will love these guys, and rightly so.
Who are the Kastelai?
The Kastelai are one of the five bloodlines from the new Soulblight Gravelords book, alongside Avengorii, Vyrkos, the Legion of Night, and the Legion of Blood. Each bloodline has a unique style of fighting, and for the Kastelai, that style of quality over quantity, utilizing ancient generals astride long-dead drakes leading formations of vampiric knights in a twisted reflection of martial honor. The Kastelai hit fast and hard, utilizing a teleporting stronghold that allows them to ambush their enemies from unexpected angles, crushing them beneath armored hooves or skewering them on wicked lances. These guys are the best warriors of this or any time, and they are more than happy to show you why.
Why Play Beasts of Kastelai?
Of the five Soulblight Bloodlines, the Kastelai are one of the most powerful, combining speed and ambush tactics with exceptional power. They can quite literally trample enemy infantry underfoot, and as of the latest FAQ can turn around and slam the unfortunate unit in the back. If you want to play an army of unmatched martial prowess that scythes through the enemy like wheat, Kastelai is for you.
- Blood Knights, one of the most powerful units in AoS, is your battleline, so you can field a full army of vampiric knights.
- The Blood Keep mechanic is exceptionally strong.
- Blood Knights are self-healing, so you don’t have to babysit them
- Your knights buff themselves whenever they wipe out a unit, which they’ll be doing a lot
- You suffer from low model count
- Blood Knights aren’t summonable, so you must rely on their innate healing to keep them alive, and you can’t resurrect them.
- Enemies like Ogors and Minotaurs will stop this army cold
How you play and what rules you worry about depends on your bloodline, but these are the basic rules you need to know for this army.
- The Unquiet Dead – You get to pick two points on the battlefield to resurrect or deploy Summonable units from. You won’t have many of these in Kastelai, but being able to set up your spare units or chafe downfield is helpful.
- Locus of Shyish – If a Wizard casts from one of the book lores with a 9+, the spell is activated twice. This sounds a lot more exciting on paper than it actually is, but it can be situationally powerful.
- Deathless Minions – Soulblight units wholly within 12″ of a friendly Hero or gravesite have a 6+ shrug. Pretty powerful in Kastelai, thanks to their multiple wounds and high save.
- Reanimated Horrors – Deadwalker and Deathrattle units mess with enemy Bravery. You won’t have many of these, so this probably won’t matter for you often.
- Endless Legions – You can recycle slain enemy units into half-strength Deathrattle or Deadwalker units that you lost earlier in the game. Same as above, but it can bring back a tarpit that was wiped out.
- Deathly Invocation – Your heroes all heal nearby Summonable units innately. As with the last two, this won’t matter for you much, but it’s still a neat mechanic.
In addition, Kastelai armies have the following army rules:
- The Shifting Keep – A number of Blood Knights equal to half the units in your army can arrive from reserves at the end of the movement phase, arriving wholly within 6″ of a table edge and more than 9″ from enemy units. Unleashing this in a later turn to mop up enemy fragments with full-strength Knight units is devastating.
- Might of the Crimson Keep – Whenever a vampire unit destroys an enemy, they get a buff depending on what type of enemy it was. Watch your Blood Knights and Vampire Lords go nuts after a few kills.
3 Key Units
When playing Kastelai, these are the units you can’t afford to leave at home. Normally we do five here, but I assure you, you only really need three.
Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon – A powerful hybrid caster that can wipe out enemy units with ease or cause a pesky hero to bleed out with a single spell. Their lance charge alone can annihilate a single unit, and then they also have the dragon they’re riding to attack as well with claws, teeth, and rotten breath. For extra style points, consider bring Prince Vhordrai, the canon leader of the Kastelai faction, and watch him end lives with abandon.
Blood Knights – Your conditional battleline, and mostly all you’ll need in the army. They hit hard, they move fast, and against an enemy with less than 3 wounds, they can trample over them, turn around, and get their charge bonus again. One of the most devastating cavalry pieces in the battletome, if not the entire game.
Coven Throne – Another powerful hybrid caster that can dish out an obscene amount of damage, but honestly, you’re not bringing her for that. The CT Signature spell gives your Blood Knights a 2+ to hit, to wound, and to save, which is…absolutely absurd. There’s no universe where you don’t want at least one of these floating around.
Sample Army (1000 pts)
Army: Soulblight Gravelords (Kastelai)
Leader: Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon. General.
Leader: Vampire Lord
Battleline: 5 Blood Knights
Battleline: 5 Blood Knights
How to Play Kastelai
Hit hard, hit fast, then wheel back and hit again. Keep your Blood Knights buffed, and they won’t let you down, and don’t charge something you can’t either kill in a turn or trample; leave that to your heroes.
~For the Dragon!