Theme - Hearts of Darkness
| Theme - Hearts of Darkness |
| Theme Force Deleted|
This mk3 Theme Force has no equivalent in mk4. You can't even build something similar using the Unlimited rules.
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.
- 1 Theme Rules
- 2 Thoughts on Hearts of Darkness
- 3 List Building
- 4 Other
- For the core rules on how Theme Forces work, see this article.
An army made use the Hearts of Darkness theme force can include only the following models:
- From Infernals
- Lesser and light horrors that are part of Great Princess Regna Gravnoy’s battlegroup
- Croe's Cutthroats
- Cultist Band units
- Griever Swarm units
- Howler units
- Alain Runewood, Lord of Ash
- Eilish Garrity solos
- Great Princess Regna Gravnoy
- Hermit of Henge Hold
- Nicia, Hound of the Abyss
- Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor
- Saxon Orrik
- Umbral Guardian solos
- Valin Hauke, The Fallen Knight
- The Wretch solos
- Infernal structures
- From other Factions
- Aurum Legate Lukas di Morray (Crucible Guard)
- Captain Kara Sloan (Cygnar)
- Feora warcasters (Protectorate)
- Kommander Andrei Malakov (Khador)
- Lieutenant Crosse, Resistance Fighter (Mercenary)
- Mortenebra warcasters (Cryx)
- Non-character warjacks of the same Faction as written on the card of the warcaster in this army
- Up to two non-Partisan units of the same Faction as written on the card of the warcaster in this army
- Up to three non-Partisan, non-Archon solos of the same Faction as written on the card of the warcaster in this army
- Morrowan models cannot be included in an army made using this theme force.
Full model list
This list was last updated: 2020.05 (Edit)
- Only Lights and Lessers that are in Great Princess Regna Gravnoy battlegroup
- Feora (1), (2), (3) or (4) - Protectorate
- Mortenebra (1), (2) - Cryx
- Lukas1 - Crucible Guard
- Sloan1 - Cygnar
- Malakov2 - Khador
- Crosse2 - Mercenaries
- 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.
- Up to two non-Partisan units that are from the same original Faction as the warcaster.
- Croe's Cutthroats
- Cultist Bands
- Griever Swarms
- Up to three non-Partisan non-Archon solos that are from the same original Faction as the warcaster.
- Great Princess Regna Gravnoy (Master Infernalist)
- Hermit of Henge Hold
- Saxon Orrik
- Umbral Guardians
- Valin Hauke, The Fallen Knight
- The Wretch(es)
- No "extra" Mercenaries allowed.
Each Requisition Point can be spent on either:
- One CA
- One Umbral Guardian solo
- One small- or medium-based solo with Marked Soul and a point cost of 5 or less
- All models in this army are considered to be Infernal models.
- Warjacks in this army gain Accumulator [Soulless].
- Wretch models in this army gain an extra Magic Ability spell: That Which Does Not Kill You
- 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.
Thoughts on Hearts of Darkness
See also Category: Blended Theme
Hearts of Darkness in a Nutshell
The gimmick of this theme is that you get to borrow a warcaster plus small army from almost any of the warmachine Factions, and supplement that small army with powerful Infernal models.
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.
- 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.
- If you want to run multiple Hearts of Darkness lists, you're looking at collecting models from 3+ different Factions (For example Infernals, Sloan + Cygnar, and Crosse + Mercenary).
Starting a 25 point Brawl list
Hearts of Darkness is more aimed at players that already own models from one of the six Factions and want to branch into Infernals (see also Crossing the Themes).
In 2020.11 Phillip Melvin, one of the LOS authors, put together these lists for the Brawlmachine format. It was then updated for the 2021.10 errata. He even wrote about each one's playstyle and expanding them beyond 25 points, which you can read here.
- Mortenebra2: [+27 WJP]
- Griever Swarm (Min unit): [7 pts]
- Umbral Guardian: [Free] (6 pts)
- Eilish2: [5 pts]
- Gun Mage Captain Adept: [4 pts]
- Trencher Master Gunner: [3 pts]
- Patrol Dog: [1 pt]
- Trencher Express Team: [5 pts]
- Command Attachment: [3 pts]
- Great Princess Regna Gravnoy: [6 pts]
- Nicia2: [Free] (4 pts)
- Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye: [4 pts]
- Thamarite Advocate: [3 pts]
- Swamp Gobber River Raider: [1 pt]
- Steelhead Halberdiers (Max unit): [11 pts]
In 2021.04 Lukas gained the Telekinesis spell, which means he is now on the Epic List and not recommended for use in Brawlmachine.
For more Brawlmachine list ideas, see Category: Brawl List
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Howlers or Exemplar Cinerators are great targets for Dauntless Resolve and Ignite.
- Regna makes her army brickier with Deceleration.
- The Living Covenant, Runewood2 and Hauke let her be aggressive with Engine of Destruction.
- Flame Bringers are a great target for Ignite and benefit from her Veteran Leader.
- Severius0 and the Choir of Menoth should of course be taken with her.
- A Judicator is a great anchor piece.
- Runewood2 - Alain can give her an advance during the opponents turn, whcih you can use to back away to safety after casting Incite. With Hauke's Tactician you can een advance through you own skirmish screen.
- Griever Swarm - An Eyeless Sight ranged unit makes excellent use of Incite and they fuel her jacks to boot.
- The usual Protectorate mainstay solos should be included: Severius0 for that sweet +1/+1, The Living Covenant to teleport Feora around and the always useful Hierophant
- In terms of units a minimum Choir of Menoth is non-negotiable, the other should be either some cheap support like Initiates of the Wall, or another min choir depending on how many jacks you bring.
- Feora loves jacks with guns due to Incite, and Accumulator makes them all the more efficient; Redeemers bring 3 shots each at great RNG and POW, one or two Reckoners can apply Flare.
Feora4 loves a big battlegroup and Accumulator and Field Marshal: Aggressive makes it hyper-efficient.
- Death March on a unit of Howlers can be a good use of the spell, they really love extra MAT.
- Runewood and Hauke let her be more aggressive with her Skorne spell.
- She too wants to bring at least one choir, the Hierophant, Living Covenant and Severious0.
Malakov and the really-red Khards
Malakov2 loves this theme for access to good multi wound infantry, focus efficient jacks and the usual Infernal suspects.
- Howlers are his friends, as they are essentially better Man-o-War Demolition Corps. Take a unit of Man-o-War Shocktroopers as a screen, or Man-O-War Bombardiers for terrifying ranged Backstabs, as well.
- [Regna]] - Men-O-war and Khador jacks were not designed with access to Deceleration in mind!
- 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. Koldun Lords bring Puppet master and an ARM debuff at only 3 points.
- Eilish2's Puppet Master, or Orin2's Knowledge of the Damned enable him to nail clutch Discombobulates.
- Croe's Cutthroats - Baseline Backstab is great with his kit.
- Kossite Woodsmen also have Backstab and can Ambush.
- A Decimator under Escort and Tactical Supremacy can compensate for its low range on the gun by being teleported by the Infernal Gate. It's a great Open Fire target as well.
Mortenebra and the Infernal Machines
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 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.
- 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 Index (Edit)|
|Unique Rules : Masters, Horrors, Essence, & Summoning|
|Infernal Masters||Agathon - Omodamos - Zaateroth|
|Attachment (1)||Lord Roget d'Vyaros|
|Master Infernalist||Princess Regna|
|Lesser||Foreboder||Heavy||Desolator - Soul Stalker - Tormentor|
|Light||Lamenter - Shrieker||Colossal||Guardian of Souls - Harvester of Souls|
|Units, Solos, & Structures|
Eilish1 - Eilish2 - Great Princess Regna Gravnoy (Master Infernalist) - Hermit of Henge Hold - Lord Roget d'Vyaros (Attachment) - Lynda the Forgotten - Nicia2 - Orin1 - Saxon Orrik - Runewood2 - The Wretch - Umbral Guardian - Valin Hauke, The Fallen Knight
|Dark Legacy - Hearts of Darkness||J.A.I.M.s|
This index was last updated: 2021.07
(1) - Note that an Infernal Master Attachment is not part of the battlegroup, they are merely listed there for convenience.
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