Theme - Gravediggers

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Cygnar Logo.jpg Theme - Gravediggers

Cygnar Theme Force
Flame in the Darkness - Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division

Trencher art.jpg
Mk4 icon.png
Legacy ... sort of
This mk3 Theme Force is somewhat similar to the mk4 Legacy Army "First Army".

If you're planning on starting a mk4 First Army army you may get some use out of this article, espcially the In a Nutshell, the Theme Weaknesses, and maybe even the List-Building Tips sections.

Trenchers are men and women of grit found at the forefront of every battlefield. The first on the field and the last to leave, it is the trenchers’ duty to form the vanguard of Cygnar’s military might and seize the battlefield against all opposition. Trenchers dig in and hold the line, proud to spill their blood for their countrymen and seeing the battlefield as the only proper gravesite.

Theme Rules

For the core rules on how Theme Forces work, see this article.

Theme Restrictions

An army made using the Gravediggers theme force can include only the following Cygnar models:

  • This army can also include one Mercenary solo and one Mercenary unit that will work for Cygnar.
    • These models/units can be included even if they have the Partisan [Cygnar] rule.
    • Mercenary units can have attachments, including Captain Jonas Murdoch.

Full model list

The models allowed in Gravediggers are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2020.02   (Edit)


  • All Cygnar warcasters


  • All non-character warjacks
  • Triumph
  • Other character warjacks can be taken, but only if they're in their bonded model's battlegroup.





(★) Because Gibbs is specifically allowed in this theme, he doesn't use your "Up to one Mercenary" slot.

Requisition Points

You can spend each Requisition Point on either:

  • One Trencher weapon crew unit
  • One Cygnar CA
  • One small- or medium-based Cygnar solo of 5 points or less

Theme Bonuses

  1. Trencher warrior models in the army gain Rise.
    Rise - If a model with Rise is knocked down at the beginning of your Maintenance Phase, it stands up.
  2. You can reroll your starting roll for the game. Your starting game roll can only be rerolled once as a result of this special rule.

Thoughts on Gravediggers

Gravediggers in a nutshell

Trenchers form the highly-trained core of Cygnar's armed might, and this theme allows you to field an entire force of them.

You end up with quite a balanced army, especially from a scenario-scoring point of view, with a variety of warjacks, units and solos. This makes it a pretty versatile force for playing Steamroller scenarios. This is also currently the only theme force where you can take a ranking officer to your Mercenary unit choice, making them a friendly faction model.

Theme's weaknesses


Countering high ARM values are what Gravediggers will struggle with. Most models will only be equipped with POW 10 or 11 weapons with a similar P+S in melee.

Your main options for mitigating this are:

  • Combined Ranged Attack on the Trencher Infantry and Long Gunners allows them to put out some high POW shots, although this can mean some hard choices into infantry spam lists played by Cephalyx or even Cryx.
  • The Trencher Commandos mini-feat. POW 14 grenades hurt, but still don't do much into ARM19 or above.
  • Warcasters with damage buffs such as Fury or Positive Charge make Trencher Infantry and Commandos hit very hard with their charge attacks.
  • Ragman, Aiyana and Holt or the Hermit are the standard pick for this.
  • Caine2 offers Fire for Effect, which can make a Combined Ranged Attack, Trencher Express Team or Trencher Blockhouse hit well above their class.
  • Most of the boostable, high POW guns or P+S melee weapons will be on your Warcasters and Warjacks.

Outside high ARM, Incorporeal models can cause a lot of headache too. Your sources for magic damage outside the caster will be Triumph, and the Warcaster Lieutenant with a short ranged, extremely expensive spell, and his blade.

Starter Set

Starter set

Unlike most themes, Gravediggers have a starter set. This is a decent purchase as you save about 11% over buying the contents individually. The contents are:

You'll notice that there is no warcaster or warjacks included.

List Building Thoughts


Most Gravediggers list include two Express TEams and for good reason, they are the best unit in the theme (maybe even the faction). The rest of the units is up to taste/caster/armybuild. Most list usually take two of the three big units (infantry, commandos, long gunners), none of them are bad, they just do different things and work better with different casters. Two units is also usually enough to maintain scenario pressure, while not limiting the points to spend on solos, mercs or jacks all that much. Rangers are usually taken my battlegroup casters to support their jacks as Trenchers hit accurately enough on their own.


The solo loadout is usually dictated by whether or not you want to go battlegroup heavy. There is no need for Hitch, Finn or Trench Busters if you aren't bringing lots of Trenchers, but if you do, they are almost mandatory, bringing you Tactician, Veteran Leader and ARM-cracking respectively. Master Gunners are often seen in both types of lists as tag-alongs for Express Teams, but they can also give RAT boosts to Grenadiers or Arcing Fire to the Blockhouse, and are also capable combatants in their own right. The is also not reason not to take the Patrol Dog and you are a bad person if you consider not taking him out for a walk. The most debatable option is the Warcaster Lieutenant, he can form a nice tag team with a Grenadier and hold down a zone and be difficult to remove, but Gravediggers doesn't struggle on scenario at all and you lose out on battlegroup buffs on his jack. It should also be said, that all of the solos, bar Hitch and the Patrol Dog are excellent combatants in their own right, being able to do work by themselves, thus you don't have to worry about support bloat.


The Trencher Blockhouse is a very good piece for scenario and attrition (heck, the quake gun can even set up an assassination), but its sometimes hard to find the points for it. Still the extended trench network, Girded and Reinforcements make your whole army extremely sticky to get rid off Consider the following tools to get even more value out of your piece of real estate.


  • Grenadiers - While they are available in any other theme, realistically you will only see them here thanks to the extra attacks the get from being near Trenchers. Getting a RAT boost from the Master Gunner or Rangers is also very nice for them, making sure your AOS land where you want them.
  • Melee warjacks. What you'll be lacking thanks to so many Trenchers is some serious armour cracking. Consider something with serious punch, namely the Ironclad, Stormclad, Hammersmith, or Centurion
  • Triumph is a quality warjack, able to be taken by anyone in theme. A powerful gun, Rapid Fire, True Sight and a Shield Guard to boot, makes him the envy of many other casters with less fortunate character jacks.


  • Grand Master Gabriel Throne is usually seen in this theme to hand out Stir the Blood to a unit of Commandos or Pathfinder to something that doesn't have it innately.
  • Order of Illumination Resolutes - The pack a punch in melee and a quite durable thanks to being multi wound models, both of which are rare in this theme.

Alternatively, you can up your scenario game with extended recursion options, this is best done with a Blockhouse and a caster that packs their own damage buff, such as Maddox

  • Alexia Ciannor & The Risen for some tenacious recursion.
    • Combine with the Trencher Blockhouse and Haley3 for maximum recursion. (Just remember that you can't do both, reinforce and revive, as both abilities try and Return the same model.)

Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire is a nice alternative to Alexia1, being faster, cheaper and able to create three thralls a turn.

Other honourable mentions go to:

  • Anastasia di Bray can give you +1 to the starting roll if you really, really want to go first.
  • Hermit as a more ranged friendly damage buff. Telemetry and Mad Visions are also always good.

Caster thoughts

  • Haley3 can cast Tactical Supremacy on Trencher Infantry, allowing them to advance, drop smoke bombs, and reposition outside of them, allowing you to create a wall of smoke to hide your army behind. Her Temporal Distortion bubbles also skews the DEF of your forces. Additionally she can fuel at least two Grenadiers, three if you are so inclined but you might want to run a Lancer instead. Lastly, she can play for assassination, attrition or scenario thanks to her echoes, so she is just as versatile as her troops.
  • Siege2 makes Trenchers faster with Desperate Pace and his feat and provides them with Fury, High Ground and Hallowed Avenger. He is the best caster for Commandos since they threaten really far under Desperate Pace and his feat. They also hit relatively hard thanks to Fury. High Ground makes Infantry even better against shooting and Hallowed Avenger punished your opponent for attacking them. Lastely, he too has such good scenario presence thanks to his trusty turret companion.
  • Sloan likes Rangers well enough, making her jacks able to snipe out even the dodgiest of adversaries. Being able to squeeze out an absurd number of attacks out of Grenadiers also has its charm and, lastly, Grievous Wounds from the Express Teams makes sure that everything she crippled but couldn't finish off stays crippled.
  • Maddox - She brings her own damage buff in her feat, making the Trenchers less flimsy in melee. Snipe on a Blockhouse is very good and Dauntless Resolve on Commandos hiding in trenches as well as receiving reinforcements can be a nightmare to remove from the table.
  • Kraye has tools in just about any theme and Gravediggers in no different. Countermeasure is still best cast on rangers, there is a lot of guns to apply his feat with and Triumph is a jack he doesn't get to use elsewhere.
  • Caine2 likes to hide in the Trench networks and Fire for Effect on a Blockhouse or Master Gunner is amazing.
  • Styker1 has an interesting combo with Hitch. Hitch gives Feign Death to a unit and Stryker knocks them down with Earthquake, now they can't be shot. And the unit is back to normal next time thanks to Rise, so very little downside. More importantly however, he can snipe a Blockhouse and put Arcane Shield on another.
  • Jakes2 the best target for her feat, Maxwell Finn, is in this theme. Trenchers are fairly self sufficient as well and only really need a damage buff, which Jakes brings in Positive Charge.

Starting a 25 point Brawl list

In 2020.09 Phillip Melvin, one of the LOS authors, put together this list for the Brawlmachine format. It was then updated for the 2021.10 errata. He even wrote about it's playstyle and expanding it beyond 25 points, which you can read here.

Siege2: [+28 WJP]
Captain Maxwell Finn: [5 pts]
Trencher Master Gunner: [3 pts]
Patrol Dog: [1 pt]
Trencher Commandos (Min unit): [8 pts]
  • Command Attachment: [3 pts]
  • 2x Scattergunner Attachments: [2 pts]
Trencher Express Team: [Free] (5 pts)

For more Brawlmachine list ideas, see Category: Brawl List



  • It was the first theme force to go through CID, with the beta rules released in 2017.06 and the final rules released 2017.09

Other Cygnar models

Cygnar Logo.jpg       Cygnar Index       (Edit)
Battlegroup & Similar
Warcasters Caine1 - Caine2 - Caine3 - Constance - Darius - Haley1 - Haley2 - Haley3 - Jakes2 - Kraye - Maddox - Nemo1 - Nemo2 - Nemo3 - Sloan - Stryker1 - Stryker2 - Stryker3 - Siege1 - Siege2 - Sturgis1
Warcaster attachments Squire (Cygnar) - Madelyn Corbeau (Merc) - Reinholdt (Merc) - Wyshnalyrr (Merc)
Other Warjack Controllers

Battlegroup Controllers: Caine0 - Nemo4 - Jakes1 - Journeyman - T. Warcaster Lieutenant
'Jack Marshals: Runewood - Strangewayes - Anson Hitch - Stormblade Captain - T. Master Gunner - Gun Mage CA - Stormblade CA - Sword Knights CA

Light Charger - Firefly - Grenadier - Hunter - Lancer - Minuteman - Sentinel
Ace - Thorn
Heavy Avenger - Centurion - Cyclone - Defender - Hammersmith - Ironclad - Reliant - Stormclad
Brickhouse - Dynamo - Gallant - Ol' Rowdy - Thunderhead - Triumph
Colossal Stormwall - Hurricane
Units, Solos, Battle Engines, & Structures

Arcane Tempest Gun Mages - Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Field Mechaniks - Legion of Lost Souls - Long Gunner Infantry - OoI Resolutes - OoI Vigilants - Precursor Knights - Rangers - Silver Line Stormguard - Storm Lances - Stormblades - Stormguard - Stormsmith Grenadiers - Storm Tower - Sword Knights - Tempest Blazers - Tr Cannon Crew - Tr Chain Gun Crew - Tr Commandos - Tr Express Team - Tr Long Gunners - Tr Infantry - Tr Mechaniks
Special CA : Captain Jonas Murdoch (Mercenary unit) - Special WA: Morrowan Battle Priest (any unit)


Arcane Tempest Rifleman - Archduke Runewood - Captain Arlan Strangewayes - Captain Maxwell Finn - Commander Anson Hitch - Dreyfus1 - Dreyfus2 & Flubbin2 - Grand Master Gabriel Throne - Glyn Cormier, Illuminated One - Gun Mage Captain Adept - Journeyman Lieutenant Allister Caine - Journeyman Warcaster - Harlan Versh, Illuminated One - Lieutenant Allison Jakes - Lieutenant Bastian Falk - Lieutenant Gwen Keller - Major Katherine Laddermore - Major Harrison Gibbs - Morrowan Archon - Savio Montero Acosta - Squire - Stormblade Captain - Stormcallers - Tr Buster - Tr Master Gunner - Tr Patrol Dog - Tr Warcaster Lieutenant - Viktor Pendrake

Battle Engines & Structures

Nemo4 - Storm Strider - Trencher Blockhouse

Theme Forces
Flame in the Darkness - Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division
Refer to Who Works for Whom and/or Category: Cygnar Mercenary
This index was last updated: 2021.11

Rules Clarifications

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Rules Clarification : Rise      (Edit)

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Rules Clarification: Theme Forces     (Edit)

Themes that change a model's Faction   [Show/Hide]
  • Many themes swap which Faction a model counts as. They're slightly inconsistent with how exactly this is worded. Despite this inconsistency - whenever a model is considered a different faction to normal, it will not be its original faction. (Infernal Ruling)
For instance Lukas stops being a Crucible Guard model when taken in an Infernal army, and as a consequence he cannot take Toros or Vanguards in Infernals. (Infernal Ruling)
Rerolling the starting roll   [Show/Hide]
  • You cannot use the theme benefit to reroll if it is a draw. Instead both players reroll until there is a loser, and then the loser can use their reroll benefit (if they have it). (Infernal Ruling)
  • If both players have a reroll, first the original loser uses their reroll.
    • If the original loser still loses, fine.
    • If the original loser now wins, the other player can use their reroll.
    • If it is now a draw, both players reroll until there is a loser. Then the player that hasn't used their theme benefit reroll can still use it, if they want.
Warjacks/Warbeasts with bonds   [Show/Hide]
  • A warjack/warbeast with a bond can always be included in a theme force, whether or not they're in the list of allowed models, but only if they're controlled by that bonded model.
  • This applies even if that bonded model isn't a full warcaster/warlock (changed as of 2018.06).
Including Mercenaries   [Show/Hide]

Number of Mercenaries

  • If your "up to one Merc" ...
    • ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
    • ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
  • There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to not only take one Merc solo/unit, but the entire FA of that Merc solo/unit. It's a bug.

Mercenaries and Ranking Officers

  • Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.


  • See also the section on Partisans
Including Partisan Mercenaries   [Show/Hide]

Partisans & Theme Forces (Edit)

  • Partisans are Mercenary/Minion models, so there are two ways you can add them to a theme force:
    1. Freely: If the Partisan is on the list of allowed models, then you can take as many as you want plus another Mercenary unit/solo. (Infernal Ruling)
      They can be explicitly allowed (for example Jaws of the Wolf allows "Kayazy models/units" so Partisan Kayayz can be used freely).
      They can be implicitly allowed (for example Scourge of the Broken Coast allows "living Cryx models/units" and Partisan Cephalyx fit that criteria, so they can be used freely). (Infernal Ruling)
    2. Limited: If the Partisan isn't on the list of allowed models, it does use up your "Up to one Mercenary/Minion" slot, so you can only have the one.
  • Whether you used option 1 or 2 above, once they're in your theme force they count as a Faction model and so:
    • They can be taken as a Requistion Option (if they fit the Requistion description).
    For example Lanyssa can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)
    • They will get any theme benefit that they fit the description for.
    For example Storm Division gives all Cygnar models Immunity Electricity, so Partisan Mercs in that theme get immunity too.
    For example Nemo4's Mechaniks get Reposition [3] in Heavy Metal. (Infernal Ruling)
Requisition Points   [Show/Hide]
  • You can choose the same Requisition option as many times as you like, as long as it doesn't put you over a FA limit.
  • You can't mix and match models from different options. Say one option allows 3 Machine Wraiths and another allows 3 Necrotechs. You can't use your Requisition Point to get 2 Wraiths and 1 Necrotech.
  • If you have an option that allows one other solo, you can't use it to get something already on the list. For instance, Ghost Fleet allows 3 Misery Cages (which are FA 4) for one Requistion Point, and it allows 1 other solo. That "other solo" can't be a 4th Cage.
  • If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
  • Models with the Man-Sized rule count as small-based models for the purposes of being a Requistion Option. (Locked Thread)
Free models and Specialists (ADR)    [Show/Hide]
  • If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.
Unit Attachments   [Show/Hide]
  • If a unit is allowed in a theme, any-and-all of its attachments are allowed too. Exception: Ranking Officers are not allowed unless explicitily mentioned.
  • If the theme force gives a benefit to a specific unit, any-and-all attachments to that unit will benefit too. Even if it is a "generic" attachment like the Void Leech. (Infernal Ruling)
    For example, a Trollkin Sorcerer will gain Serenity if its attached to a Dhunian Knot unit in a Power of Dhunia theme force.
  • If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
  • A non-character unit with a character attachment (i.e. Captain Karli) still counts as a non-character unit. (Infernal Ruling)
When to apply theme benefits   [Show/Hide]
  • With reference to special abilities that themes give to models, Ranking Officers, adding new models, and/or taking control of models:
    1. Theme force benefits are applied when you construct your list or put a new model into play. A model already in play will not lose or gain any theme benefits mid-game based on any changes of faction status or otherwise. (Infernal Ruling)
    2. However, if the theme gives a benefit to models "at the beginning of the game" (such as Devourer's Host letting models begin the game with 1 corpse token) then this benefit does not apply to new models that are put into play mid-game. (Locked Thread)
    • Example 1: Sons of the Tempest says "ATGM units in this army gain Pistoleer". If your opponent takes control of one of them, it keeps Pistoleer while under their control even though it's currently not "in the army".
    • Example 2: Storm Division gives Immunity:Electricity to "Cygnar models in the army." If you include a Mercenary unit with a Ranking Officer, they will get the theme benefit and also keep it even after the Ranking Officer dies.
    • Example 3: Stange Bedfellows gives solos Swift Vengeance. If Nemo4 creates a new solo mid-game, that solo will have Swift Vengeance.

See also these Theme-Specific Rulings   [Show/Hide]
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Rules Clarification : Black Industries      (Edit)

  • The entry which allows "Cephalyx models/units" only applies to Partisan Cephalyx. That's because the theme's rules start off with "this army can only include the following Cryx models"​. Partisan Cephalyx are the only ones that fill that condition.
  • The Cephalyx Agitator also works for Cryx and can go in Black Industries but, because it is not a Partisan, it will use up your Mercenary solo slot.
  • (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : The Creator's Might      (Edit)

  • ​Elias Gade is allowed in Creator's Might. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You can spend the "Two Vassal solos" requistion option on one Vassal Mechanik and one Vassal of Menoth. Warroom has a bug and tells you that you can't. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Flame in the Darkness      (Edit)

  • You can take any number of Mercenary jacks. You can also select two additional jacks from Khador and Cygnar in any combination you like. Character warjacks with a bond don't count against this limit of 2. (Infernal Ruling)
  • There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to take two Cygnar and two Khador jacks.
  • Morrowan Battle Priest:
    • If your warcaster is a Cygnar model that makes every unit you take a Cygnar unit, and Battle Priests can be attached to any unit.
      Warroom has a known bug where it doesn't allow this interaction.
    • If your warcaster is a Mercenary or Khador model, though, the only units the Battle Priest can attach to are the Morrow ones.
    • If you attach the Battle Priest to The Devil's Shadows Mutineers then it can be returned via Blood Bound. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Llaelese Resistance      (Edit)

  • It is 2 Cruicible or 2 Cygnar or 2 Menoth.
    You can't take more than 2, and you can't mix and match from multiple Factions. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You can have a non-character unit with a character attachment (i.e. Captain Karli). (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : The Talion Charter      (Edit)

  • The 3rd benefit is "Sac Pawn [Sea Dog trooper]", not just any Sea Dog. (Infernal ruling)
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Rules Clarification : The Bones of Orboros      (Edit)

  • Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : The Devourer's Host      (Edit)

  • Bradigus1 is not legal in this theme. The theme only allows living warbeasts, his rules only allow construct warbeasts, and you can't just 'skip' his battlegroup - you have to spend your warbeast points.
  • If you create a new model mid-game (ie with the Well of Orboros and that model can have corpse tokens, that model does not enter play with a corpse. Because it's not the beginning of the game. (Locked thread)
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Rules Clarification : The Wild Hunt      (Edit)

  • The animus benefit doesn't apply to enemy warbeasts. (Infernal Ruling)
  • The animus benefit doesn't stack with the Druid Wilder's Herding ability. (Infernal Ruling)
  • When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
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Rules Clarification : Oracles of Annihilation      (Edit)

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Rules Clarification : The Exalted      (Edit)

  • If a Construct model loses the Construct advantage mid-game, it keeps the theme benefit anyway. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Band of Heroes      (Edit)

  • Boomhowler2 uses up your Minion slot. His Fell Calls ability is not enough to make him a "Fell Caller model/unit". (Infernal Ruling)
  • Boomhowler3 does not use up your minion slot on account of having the Champion keyword.
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Rules Clarification : The Blindwater Congregation      (Edit)

  • Void Leeches attached to a Gatorman Posse will gain Snacking, but they won't gain extra hitpoints. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Magnum Opus      (Edit)

  • If Mosby is attached to a Mercenary weapon crew unit, they would gain 3" reposition and would not lose it if Mosby is no longer in the unit. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Hearts of Darkness      (Edit)