Theme - Hearts of Darkness

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Infernal Logo.jpg Theme - Hearts of Darkness

Infernal Theme Force
Dark Legacy - Hearts of Darkness

It is unlikely the invading Infernals would be as strong without the aid of humans possessed of more selfish greed than survival instincts. As horrors move out from the shadows, people who have betrayed their own kind hold the torches to light the way for evil. Perhaps they hope to be spared by showing their allegiance and harvesting victims for their masters, but hope is a dying luxury now.

Theme Rules

Theme Restrictions

An army made use the Hearts of Darkness theme force can include only the following models:

  • Morrowan models cannot be included in an army made using this theme force.

Full model list

The models allowed in Hearts of Darkness are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2019.09   (Edit)

Infernal Masters

  • None

Infernal Horrors

Warcasters

Warjacks

  • Any non-character warjacks that are from the same original Faction as the warcaster.
  • Character warjacks can be taken, but only if they have a bond and they're in their bonded model's battlegroup.

Units

Solos

  • Up to three non-Partisan non-Archon solos that are from the same original Faction as the warcaster.

Structures

Mercenaries

  • No "extra" Mercenaries allowed.

Requisition Options

Each Requisition Point can be spent on either:

Theme Bonuses

  1. All models in this army are considered to be Infernal models.
  2. Warjacks in this army gain Accumulator [Soulless].
    Accumulator [Soulless] - When it begins its activation within 3" of one or more other friendly Soulless models, this model gains 1 focus point.
  3. Wretch models in this army gain an extra Magic Ability spell: That Which Does Not Kill You
    That Which Does Not Kill You (★ Action) - When an attack destroys one or more enemy models in this model's command range, you can remove d3 damage points from a friendly model in this model’s command range. That Which Does Not Kill You lasts for one turn.
  4. Friendly models/units can begin the game affected by the upkeep spells of warcasters in this army.
    • These spells and their targets must be declared before either player deploys their models.
    • Warcasters in this army do not have to pay focus to upkeep their spells during your first turn of the game.

Recent Changes

  • Released with the Faction launch (2019.06)
  • Technically changed with the 2019.07 Theme Remix, but not really.

Thoughts on Hearts of Darkness

Recent Release icon.jpg

New Theme - This article is a Work In Progress
This Theme has only recently been released, and the content in the "Thoughts On" section is based more on theory-machine than actual gameplay experience.

Please don't delete this warning unless you (1) have played several games with the final rules (games with CID rules don't count) and (2) you've reviewed this article and it mostly(★) matches your experiences.

(★) Bearing in mind that other editors may make suggestions you don't think are the "best" but that doesn't make them "wrong". Don't delete stuff just because you disagree with it, please.
See also Category: Recent Release and Category: Recent Change.

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Oblivion's Theme Faction mashup

The 3 themes released in Oblivion mixes up Factions in a new way, so here's a quick recap of what it means in terms of list pairings:     [Show/Hide]
  • Hearts of Darkness "steals" models from other Factions.
Although there are 6 Factions you can steal from, you have to pick just one then all the stolen models must be from the same original Faction.
It is always an Infernal army and in a Steamroller tournament it must be paired with another Infernal army. (Although you can pair it with another Hearts army, that steals from a completely different Faction.)
It is both a Khador and a Protectorate theme, and can be paired with either a Khador army or Protectorate army.
For example, you could build an army with nothing but Protectorate models in this theme, and you could still pair it with a Khador army.
It is either a Khador, Cygnar, or Mercenary theme, and must be paired with an army from the same Faction.
For example, if you use a Cygnar warcaster in this theme, it is a Cygnar army and must be paired with another Cygnar army.

Hearts of Darkness in a Nutshell

The gimmick of this list is that you get to borrow a warcaster and small army from any of the warmachine factions and supplement them with Infernals.

Theme weaknesses

Limited pool of models

You're limited to a handful of casters and a smattering of non-Infernal units/solos. Sure, those units/solos can be anything from their Faction, but you still can't take that many in total. Also you have very limited access to Horrors. Lastly you don't get the usual "Up to one Mercenary solo and unit" allotment.

Battlegroup Casters

About half the casters available in theme are battlegroup centric, and this is not a battlegroup-centric theme. Accumulator is nice, of course, but sometimes isn't enough. Also you're forced to bring at least one infernal unit if you want to benefit from Accumulator, whether they work with your overall army strategy or not.

Purchase Cost

  • If you're a new player looking to pick up Infernals, you will need to learn about all the other factions in order to make an informed decision on what you want out of them, and have to spend money on those faction models.
  • Purchasing a single HoD list isn't too much of a burden, especially if you're starting Infernals as a second faction and you happen to already own them, but if you want to explore some other options with Hearts of Darkness you're looking at purchasing more stuff from yet a third Faction.

Starting with a 25 point force

This theme is not recommended as a starting point for newbies. If you're going to start collecting models from one of the six Factions this theme can use, it is recommended to start with that Faction (ie use one of that Faction's themes to guide your first purchases).

Hearts of Darkness is aimed at players that already own models from one of the six Factions and want to branch into Infernals (see also Crossing the Themes), and/or veteran players that don't need a guide for their first 25 points.

List Building

Infernal options

    Character Solos    
This is why non-Infernal players might try out Hearts - for access to these powerful solos.

  • Valin Hauke, The Fallen Knight - Probably the first model you pick, regardless of your caster.
    • He has a Tactician bubble that affects the entire army, 'jacks and 'caster included.
    • Brother's Keeper provides immunity to knockdown and stationary, which is great for any Tough unit (Howlers, Trencher's, Doom Reavers, etc) and/or solos with Inhuman Resolve.
    • He is also a great combat solo, especially if he survived to the mid-to-late game.
  • Runewood2 - He's a utility solo bringing Intelligence and has the option to either strip away Pathfinder or give one of your warrior models an out of activation move. The latter synergises well with Hauke in protecting a squishy 'caster that you had to overextend too far forward i.e. to get a good feat (looking at you, Feora3). Shadow lets you advance you caster backwards, and Tactician lets you move through your own troops and jacks.
  • Great Princess Regna Gravnoy - She brings a useful spell list in Deceleration and lets you summon Horrors. Her primary disadvantage has to do with the mechanics of Essence; She will need to eat non soulless warriors to replenish it.
  • Hermit of Henge Hold - does what he always does. The only notable point is that in this theme he will always be a friendly Faction model, so are a few extra spells/buffs that will work on him.

    Non-character solos    

  • Umbral Guardian - You can take these awesome solos as free options, and your almost certainly going to want at least two. Double Shield Guard is very relevant into heavy shooting lists, and will often give you the edge when building around the Gate & powerful 'caster-faction shooting options. Do note as well that they are Soulless models, and as such they can be used to add Accumulator zones on your opponent's turn.
  • The Wretch - General support solos who provide some not insignificant utility in the form of Entropic Force, Black Mantle, Ancillary attack for Regna's Horror, or a RNG 8 POW 12 spell that causes a living or undead model to explode if it kills them. They also gain That Which Does Not Kill You from the theme, which makes them extremely useful for keeping your generally fragile caster healthy. A solid option which should make it into most lists at least as a one-off.

    Units    

  • Howlers - They benefit immensely from Hauke's presence, as they naturally have Tough and often get in each other's way. Howlers are solid Soulless models which can be used to fuel Accumulator on your front line of warjacks.
  • Cultist Band - These guys' main purpose is to support Horrors in the Dark Legacy theme, and they have limited use here in Hearts. Anything non-Horror-support that they might want to do, something from the caster's home Faction can probably do better.
However they can find a use as meat-fuel for stuff like Malakov2's Sucker ability, Mortenebra1's Sacrificial Lamb spell, or Princess Regna's essence supply.

    Structure    

  • Infernal Gate - A steady source of recursion is great when the number of units you can bring is limited. Additionally, the extra mobility the Gate provides synergises extremely well with weapon teams & your generally squishy casters.

Sloan and the Bad Guys in Blue

Sloan can bring a very focus efficient battlegroup here, which is a massive boon to her. Mainly she wants Umbral Guardians from this theme, as they are shield guards and let her battlegroup accumulate. Rangers are a nice supplementary unit, pushing the math on attack rolls to make sure that you hit almost everything under Guided Fire. Nicia also makes for an excellent Return Fire target, as does Runewood2, who functions as a second source of pseudo-Refuge with his shadow plan.

Feora and the ex-Menites

    Feora3    

Feora, The Conquering Flame struggles in her home faction due to lack of options to keep her safe post-feat, which is why the combo of Hauke and Mordecai is so relevant. Predictably, she wants to bring a Choir, while Holy Zealots will set the world on fire under Incite and Fervor. To add to this, Hand of Judgement for the buff to fire damage is advised, as well as a Revelator to set even more things on fire. The Hierophant and Scrutator Potentate Severius are the usual Protectorate mainstays and an Exemplar Warder, will add an additional layer of protection to the Conquering Flame.

    Feora2    

Feora, Protector of the Flame ... Placeholder

    Feora1    

Feora, Priestess of the Flame ... Placeholder

Malakov and the really-red Khards

Malakov2 loves to work with Tough multi-wound infantry for his feat, so Howlers are his friends. Combined with a Man-o-War Demolition Corps with CA, you can run a Vengeance heavy meat mountain. Alternatively, two units of Doom Reavers can be used by him to great effect, as they are great targets for his feat and Battle Plans, and they benefit from the inclusion of the Infernal solos, like Hauke. The Infernal Gate can teleport the slow Khadoran jacks around, or convert the infernal converts into Howlers, which can then be healed up by Cultist Bands, who make for good Sucker! targets too. As for solos, the Greylord Adjunct is never not a great option and there's a good case for Sorscha0 with a Rager. Sorscha provides Boundless Change and Fog of War, which can be used with his Sneak Battle Plan to give any unit Stealth. Butcher4 should also be mentioned, as he is his best feat target. Runewood, Lord of Ash is amazing with Malakov, and a model he is likely to want to take.

Mortenebra and the Infernal Machines

    Mortenebra2    

Mortenebra2 doesn't really want to play in the Infernal sprinklers. She's a battlegroup caster tied to Cryx warjacks, which are pretty fragile warjacks. Cryx players will sometimes use her in their Black Industries theme, but only because that theme gives warjacks +4 ARM vs shooting. Even with that, she's not used that often. Leaving Cryx to gain Accumulator and access to some Infernal models ... well, she's not going to be competitive.

Or, to put it more bluntly:

  • Gaining access to Infernal models isn't enough to make a serious Cryx player want to use Mortenebra.
  • Gaining access to Cryx models isn't enough to make a serious Infernal player want to pick Mortenebra over any of the other Hearts casters.

Of course, if you're playing for funsies, go nuts.

    Mortenebra1    

Mortenebra1 suffers from the same issues as Morty2 (namely being a battlegroup caster tied to fragile Cryx warjacks) but her spell Sacrificial Lamb means you can make a half-decent list. Sac Lamb gives a free focus to all her warjacks, and combine that with Power Up + Accumulator and all her warjacks can have 3 focus every turn, which is kind of insane.

Other things she'll look at taking:

  • Grievers can keep pace and soften targets or clear screens.
  • Wretches can give out stealth, provide some anti-infantry, or allow your jacks to heal.
  • Princess Regna (for Deceleration & a summon) and Umbral Guardians gives you back some of the shooting protection you lose from Black Industries.
  • A small unit of cultists to babysit Regna & be fodder for Sacrificial Lamb are really cheap per model.
  • If you don't take Regna, you can swap out the cultists for the cheaper Scrap Thralls.

The list puts out a crazy number of attacks when filled with a load of Slayers, but you are still using Cryx jacks so they will fold hard if you don't either get a good alpha or can limit how much your opponent alphas you.

Lukas di Morray's Unfortunate Forray

Aurum Legate Lukas di Morray has struggled to find a place in Crucible Guard, he gets out-competed by Syvestro & Gearhart for the title of "Best Midfielder 2018". In Hearts of Darkness he can really shine, providing huge amounts of focus on the premium Guard 'jacks thanks to Accumulator, 16" range Dragon's Breath Rockets thanks to the Gate, and extremely scary Rocketmen when paired with the Hermit of Henge Hold. Lukas' main weakness when run as an Infernalist is his limited access to Guard support (in particular Mosby) and his exclusive reliance on the Wretch as a source of healing. Alyce is an obvious auto-include (note that she does not take up a CG solo slot, as Lukas has Irregulars: Alyce), as is at least one unit of Soulless infantry. Prospero with a heavy or a Vulcan is always a powerful option, especially since Accumulator affects all 'jacks not just your main warcaster's.

Note, Maker's Mark does not work when Lukas is run as an Infernal, as Maker's Mark specifically calls out Crucible Guard casters (and turns the 'jacks into CG 'jacks). As such Lukas does not have access to either the Toro or the Vanguard in this theme. The Vanguard is not much of a loss (it's primary purpose is the Shield Guard, which can be better provided by Umbral Guardians), but losing access to the Toro is a really big deal.

Crosse and the Particularly Mercurial Mercenaries

Crosse2 runs the theme decently well if he brings double Steelhead Halberdiers with an Infernal Gate, Alexia2 and Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye for lots of recursion. The third merc solo should be either Rhupert for no-knockdown tough halberdiers, or Reinholdt for doubling his personal output. Howlers let his jacks accumulate, can go deep into enemy territory under Ghost Walk and at ARM 17 with 8 boxes are great Dauntless targets.

Other

Trivia

  • Released with the Faction launch (2019.06)
  • The warcasters in this theme are not canonically infernalists, it's more of a "what if" scenario. That is to say they were all, at some stage in their lives, at the point where all they needed was a little nudge to become fully fledged infernalists, but the nudge never quite came.

Other Infernal models/themes

Infernal Logo.jpg       Infernal Index       (Edit)
Unique Rules : Masters, Horrors, Essence, & Summoning
Infernal Masters Agathon - Omodamos - Zaateroth
Attachment Lord Roget d'Vyaros Master Infernalist Princess Regna
Lesser Foreboder Light Lamenter - Shrieker Heavy Desolator - Soul Stalker - Tormentor
Units, Solos, & Structures
Structures Infernal Gate
Solos

Alain Runewood, Lord of Ash - Eilish1 - Eilish2 - Great Princess Regna Gravnoy (Master Infernalist) - Hermit of Henge Hold - Lord Roget d'Vyaros - Nicia, Hound of the Abyss - Orin1 - Saxon Orrik - The Wretch - Umbral Guardian - Valin Hauke, The Fallen Knight

Units

Croe's Cutthroats - Cultist Band - Griever Swarm - Howlers

Theme Forces Mercenaries
Dark Legacy - Hearts of Darkness J.A.I.M.s
This index was last updated: 2019.06

Rules Clarifications

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Rules Clarification : Accumulator      (Edit)

  • Accumulator does not allow you to go over the normal focus limit (3 for most warjacks). Refer to the Cortex rules.
  • Warjacks which are Jack Marshaled can gain focus via Accumulator, whether or not the marshal is still alive.

Rules Clarification : That Which Does Not Kill You - None yet. (Edit)

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Rules Clarification : Hearts of Darkness      (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 when a model is considered a different faction, it will not be it's original faction. (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.

Other

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

Partisans & Theme Forces (Edit)

  • Since Partisans are Mercenary/Minion models, there are two ways you can add them to a theme force:
    1. If they are 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: Cephalyx in Black Industries or Kayazy in Jaws of the Wolf).
      They can be implicitly allowed (for example Scourge of the Broken Coast allows "living Cryx models" and Partisan Cephalyx fit that criteria). (Infernal Ruling)
    2. If the Partisan isn't on the list of allowed models, it does use up your "Up to one mercenary" slot, and you can only take 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 Eiryss1 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)
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)
When to apply theme benefits   [Show/Hide]
  • Theme force benefits are applied when you construct your list and models keep the benefit for the whole game. You don't gain/lose theme benefits due to in-game changes.
    Also, if you put a new model into play midgame, they immediately gain any relevant benefits too. (Infernal Ruling)
    • For example, Scourge of the Broken Coast gives Dodge to "models in the army." If your opponent takes control of one of them, it keeps Dodge even though it's currently not "in the army".
    • For example, Storm Division gives lightning immunity 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.

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)

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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)
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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.
  • Due to the way Tanith's feat is worded, during her feat turn the COST of animi cannot drop below 1. (Infernal Ruling (2019))
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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)

  • Boomhowler uses up your Minion slot. His Fell Calls ability is not enough to make him a "Fell Caller model/unit". (Infernal Ruling)
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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)