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Age of Sigmar: How to Play Nighthaunt

6 Minute Read
Apr 21 2023

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 at the hands of the bright aelves, 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, and they’re still just as potent as they were when the war began. 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 Wave of Terror
  • Corporeal? You’re are a ghost; you walk through walls (Fly) and Retreat and still Charge
  • 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 need your spells, so if you go up against an army that can take them away, you won’t fare well

Nighthaunt Signature Rules

  • Aura of Dread – Enemies within 3″ are terrified, which prevents them from issuing or receiving the Inspiring Presence command. This is a lot different than it used to be, but it could be quite a bit deadlier with all the other new rules.
  • Discorporate – This is a new command ability that allows the Nighthaunt unit to receive the order to up their ward save to 5+, making them even harder to kill (an already daunting prospect).
  • Ethereal – This rule got a whole lot nastier. It still has the old standard of letting all your models ignore modifiers (positive and negative) to their armor save, but now it also gives them a 6+ ward AND allows them to retreat and charge. No more tying them down to take away the charge bonus.
  • Frightful Touch – One of the few legitimate nerfs in the book, but to be honest, it barely counts. Any time a Nighthaunt model scores a 6 to hit, the attack wounds automatically. It isn’t the mortal wound factory it once was, but it’s still pretty great.
  • Vanishing Phantasms – After deployment but before determining objective control, up to 3 units can be removed from the battlefield and placed in reserve. At the end of your movement phase, they can pop in anywhere on the board, so long as they stay 9″ away from enemies. This is a great way to bait the enemy into an unfavorable setup, only to redeploy to capitalize on their weaker lines.
  • Wave of Terror – After a Nighthaunt unit finishes a charge, you compare the unmodified charge roll to a table. You can give the target -1 to hit, -1 save, or even the Strike Last effect, depending on what you roll. What’s more, multiple charging units can get the same effect multiple times!


Nighthaunt subfactions are called Processions, and each one favors a different style of play. You can lock down your enemies with The Grieving Legion or unleash the hyper-violent Scarlet Doom. Try a few of them out and see what works best for you since removing compulsory artefacts has made subfactions a lot more palatable.

Nighthaunt Key Units

1. Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed

A fast combat lord with a sword that buffs itself when it kills an enemy model and a command ability 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.


2. Guardian of Souls

The primary support caster and healer 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.

3. Chainrasps

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

4. Bladegheist Revenants

Battleline in the Scarlet Doom subfaction (where they also produce a bunch of Mortal Wounds on the charge), and incredible pieces regardless. You’ll never regret bringing at least one unit of these deadly warriors, and with the Elite rule, they’re very self-sufficient.

5. Black Coach


The Black Coach is the single most resilient model in the faction and is fairly autonomous. Well equipped to hold a flank.

6. Spirit Torment

A great resurrection piece, the Torment will bring 3 wounds worth of ghosts back each turn. Take these to give your army that extra bit of resilience to keep them in the game for loner than expected.

7. Dreadscythe Harridans

Nice Battleline in the Quicksilver Dead subfaction, where they ignore all Ward saves. Even otherwise, Dreadscythe Harridans have an absolute boatload of attacks.

8. Hexwraiths

A nice, quick Battleline unit. Hexwraiths are great to screen or flank, and do a decent amount of damage thanks to Mortal Wound production.

Sample Nighthaunt Army (2K pts)

Allegiance: Nighthaunt
– Procession: Emerald Host
– Grand Strategy: Fright or Flight
– Triumphs: Inspired


Guardian of Souls (150)
– Artefact: Midnight Tome
– Lore of the Underworlds: Shademist
Spirit Torment (120)
– General
– Command Trait: Ruler of the Spirit Hosts
Spirit Torment (120)
Krulghast Cruciator (150)

10 x Chainrasps (110)
10 x Chainrasps (110)

20 x Grimghast Reapers (320)
– Reinforced x 1
10 x Chainrasps (110)
10 x Chainrasps (110)

Black Coach (290)
Black Coach (290)

Endless Spells & Invocations
Purple Sun of Shyish (90)

How to Play Nighthaunt

Charge every turn, yo-yoing your deadly threats into the enemy and denying them the chance to Inspiring Presence. Don’t let up until their souls join yours!

For Nagash!

Author: Allen Campbell
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