Shadeglass is not the only treasure to be found within the cursed city of Shadespire. The Fyreslayers are here for Ur-Gold, and they’re here to stay! Enter the Chosen Axes!
Fjul-Grimnir and his Chosen Axes form a unique duet with Spiteclaw’s Swarm in Age of Sigmar by not simply being a single unit on the battlefield, but two separate warscrolls consisting of a mighty hero and his loyal entourage. Both Fjul-Grimnir and the Chosen Axes pack the killing power and survivability of their respective Fyreslayers units but with some interesting perks and abilities thrown on the side.
The Pitched Battle Profiles for the Chosen Axes and Fjul-Grimnir come in at 40 points and 100 points respectively, and if you want to take on them in an army the other must also be included for a combined total of 140 points. This is a respectable amount, with a unit of 10 Vulkite Berzerkers costing 120 points and an Auric Runefather clocking in at 80 points. You get just shy of a third of a Berzerker unit for a third of the points, and a Runefather with some extra abilities on top of 20 points more. However, both units lose out on the Fyresteel Throwing Axes that their original units come with, and the Chosen Axes lose the benefit of being able to take a hornblower.
Kicking off with the Chosen Axes, this unit of up-jumped Vulkite Berzerkers packs a respectable amount of punch. For 40 points you get;
- Two attacks from Tefk’s Fyresteel Axes at 4+/3+ – d2, re-rolling failed hit rolls
- Two attacks from Maegrim’s Fyresteel Axes at 4+/3+ – d1, re-rolling failed hit rolls
- Two attacks from Vol’s Fyresteel Greataxe at 4+/3+ -1 d1
Perhaps to make up for the loss of their throwing axes, the Chosen Axes gain the benefit of adding one to their wound rolls and the ability to ignore Battleshock tests while within 3″ of Fjul-Grimnir thanks to the Chosen Kin special rule. This bonus to their wound rolls can prove substantial, especially when paired with the re-rolling hits granted by wielding two axes and it makes their relatively low number of attacks very powerful against enemy units with weak saves, such as Clanrats, Bloodreavers or Skeleton Warriors. Compared to their normal counterparts, the Chosen Axes do not gain any additional attacks per model. They do however gain what is effectively an improved Fyresteel Pick in the form of the Fyresteel Greataxe.
Fjul-Grimnir is almost identical to the Auric Runefather Warscroll but with an extra rule that increases his durability while close to his Chosen Axes. Grimnir’s Blessing allows him to take a 5+ save against wounds or mortal wounds allocated to him. Thanks to the wording this works rather well in conjunction with his Command Ability, Lodge Leader, which allows him to pass off wounds or mortal wounds to another Fyreslayers unit on a 4+ whenever he suffers a wound or mortal wound. Suddenly we have a very durable character that can be supplemented even further by another unit that can act as a bodyguard, which we’ll cover later.
At 100 points, Fjul-Grimnir has both decent combat and defensive abilities to keep him in the fight for much longer than the standard Runefather, providing you can keep his Chosen Axes alive.
Much in the same way that all of the previous Shadespire Warbands cannot fit into standard Warscroll Battalions due to the lack of keyword usage, this does not mean they are without hope. The Chosen Axes are vaunted warriors of the Vostarg Lodge and Fjul-Grimnir is one of their most legendary fighters. As such, it only makes sense that you should be able to take these warriors as part of the Vostarg Lodge Battalion as found in the General’s Handbook 2017.
The Vostarg Lodge Battalion provides the Fyreslayers with a solid buff to their allegiance trait with the Proud Lineage special rule, which automatically causes the Rune of Fiery Determination to have its enhanced effect. While this won’t bump up the durability of your Chosen Axes per se, it does mean that if they are likely to be slain in an ensuing combat that you can make the most out of their ability to keep Fjul-Grimnir alive, at least until the end of the phase.
The second ability in this battalion is the Fearsome Reputation special rule. As if it wasn’t enough that Fjul-Grimnir’s Stare Down ability reduces the bravery of enemy models by d3, but a further -1 on top of that. Fyreslayers can deal an impressive amount of damage and the ability to cause even more casualties can be devastating. With Fjul Grimnir’s commendable combat profile and a maximum damage output of 9 wounds, this extra loss of bravery can cause even your opponent’s most elite units to flee.
If you want to supplement Fjul-Grimnir’s killing power and ensure those enemy models flee, why not invest in an Auric Runesmiter to maximise his damage output with the Runic Empowerment ability, allowing your leader to re-roll his failed wound rolls?
Earlier in the article I made mention of further enhancing Fjul-Grimnir’s already impressive durability. The natural “tankiness” of some Fyreslayer units can be used to keep Fjul-Grimnir in the fight for even longer, and there are no less than two units capable of doing the job. The run of the mill Vulkite Berzerkers when at 20 or more models have a 4+ “save after save” which not only allows them to better weather the attacks of their enemies but also the Mortal Wounds put on them by Fjul-Grimnir’s Command Ability.
Hearthguard Berzerkers are also good at this role thanks to their Duty Unto Death special rule. Aside from being exceptionally fluffy to have your elite warriors acting as a bodyguard for your Runefather, their special rule also allows them to make a save after save roll of 4+. This means that Fjul-Grimnir gets not only a 5+ save from Grimnir’s Blessing when he is allocated a wound, but then his 4+ armour save if it is not a Mortal Wound, followed by a 4+ save from Lodge Leader when he suffers the wound. The unit that the wound is then being passed to can then make their own respective save. That’s a lot of saves!
This combination is likely to make Fjul-Grimnir a very tough opponent to take down when surrounded by Vulkite or Hearthguard Berzerkers as well as his Chosen Axes, and it’ll be hard for your opponent to prioritise those three duardin when there’s a horde of Fyreslayers charging down at them!
That’s it for this week’s Warscroll Wednesday! Did you find this article helpful and has it given you any ideas? Let us know how you plan to implement your Chosen Axes in your games of Age of Sigmar?
Tune in next week where we claw-scurry our way down into dark and dismal depths of Shadespire with the most cunning warband yet – Spiteclaw’s Swarm!