The Grymkin are the denizens of the wilderness of Urcaen. (Caen being the mortal world where Warmachine and Hordes is set, and Urcaen being the afterlife world to which humans pass when they die.) This wildnerness is beyond the protection of the gods and is essentially hell for all intents and purposes.
Grymkin are not undead or demons, but have both souls and physical bodies. The Grkymkin are led by The Defiers, five mortals who rejected the god Menoth in person, and were banished to Urcaen as eternal punishment. There they suffered endless torment at the hands of nightmare creatures of their own worst imaginings. Over thousands of years, the Defiers learned to control these nightmares and became demigods themselves.
- 1 Grymkin for Beginners
- 2 Grymkin Theme Forces
- 3 Grymkin Models
- 4 Minions that work for Grymkin
- 5 Grymkin Deep Lore
Grymkin for Beginners
Faction Aesthetic & Playstyle
Grymkin are aesthetically inspired by the dark fairy tales of old, including Biblical tales of sin. Their warbeasts are the nightmares of the Defiers turned flesh & bone, the other Grymkin being corrupt or evil souls given form by the dark magic found in the wilds of Urcaen. Many of their troops thus draw direct comparisons to the troops of other factions, especially the Hollowmen (who are the souls of deserters, as seen on the current models which draw reference to Winter Guard & Trencher infantry) & Piggybacks (which features several pieces of Khadoran iconography). Grymkin fight with a wide range of weapons, many of which are crude improvisations such as the Dread Rots' farm equipment or the Neighslayers' hobby-horses. Many of their models directly parallel Biblical sins, such as the Piggybacks representing greed or the Hollowmen representing selfish fear.
Grymkin like to play up the table, in their opponent's face with very above average melee output and several powerful abilities which increase their staying power once engaged (such as the Death Knell's aura or the Sacrifice arcana). However Grymkin are extremely slow (the Cage Rager is SPD 4, and the Skin & Moans SPD 5) and must typically weather several turns of opposing shooting before they can sink their teeth into the enemy. This isn't to say that they lack for range options (Lord Longfellow & the Hollowmen provide comfortably average to above average output), but the real power of Grymkin comes online once they can charge. Grymkin rely on skirmishers to get themselves up the table, and their delivery is by far the hardest part of playing the faction.
The faction is described in the Announcement video.
Grymkin's primary unique mechanic is the Defiers' lack of feats (Zevanna Agha still has a traditional feat). Instead, these five warlocks use arcana cards. At the start of the game, the Grymkin player will select two arcana cards from a generic list, which, plus a card provided by their warlock (called their Trump arcana), for a total of three. Arcana generally trigger off enemy attacks, and are always thrown down on the opponent's turn. They represent the wilds of Urcaen bleeding over into Caen, warping the world and providing a substantial battlefield-wide effect. Knowing what arcana to bring and when to use them is a key skill when playing Grymkin, as well as one of their most rewarding mechanics.
Unfortunately, Grymkin does not have a battlebox. There was an "All In One" Army box that went on sale when the Faction was released in 2017, but it was a limited production and you're unlikely to find one these days.
Worthwhile early purchases
The best warlock to start with is The Heretic. He has a solid spell list, and defensive rules which are good at preventing being assassinated. His trump arcana is powerful and easy to use, and behaves very similarly to the generic arcana. The Heretic generally prefers lots of troops, and is great as your first Bump in the Night warlock. The Child is a good second warlock, featuring a similar compliment of useful spells, good rules, and straightforward arcana. The Child also happens to be best in Dark Menagerie, and forms a fantastic pair with the Heretic.
Zevanna Agha, the Fate Keeper is probably the next warlock to try out, with a diversity of powerful spells & abilities especially good at delivering a large portion of your Grymkin army directly to the enemy's jugular. Old Witch 3 has a traditional feat, meaning she loses out on arcana and the ability to tailor her battle plan to the enemy at that level. This makes her a good jumping on point for traditional Hordes or Warmachine players, especially those who play Khador and can use Old Witch 2.
The Dreamer, The Wanderer, and the King of Nothing are all much more complicated casters to use well, each with their own suite of unique powers which radically change how you play the game. The Dreamer's phantasms are great at controlling space, but you only have three and thus knowing when to use them is a skill all to its own. The Wanderer wants to play up the table, but has relatively few obvious ways to manipulate his army's output and can sometimes feel pillow fisted coming from the Heretic or the Child. The King of Nothing is by far the most difficult Grymkin caster to start with, as his primary ability is an aura which hurts both friends & foes, not to mention his CMD of 1 preventing the use of some key arcana.
Key models outside the Warlocks:
- The Death Knell should absolutely be an early purchase. It's defensive aura is incredible, and it's ability to shuffle around corpses makes maximizing the awesome power of the Skin & Moans much easier.
- A unit of Dread Rots is often seen in many lists, both as a cheap jamming unit (which can occasionally do very real work), and as an efficient source of corpses for the Death Knell.
- The Gorehound is the go to light, and shows up in almost every list. It's combination of speed & extended control range means its rare it won't do work.
- A Cage Rager or two is highly recommended, both for it's defensive suite of abilities and it's hard hitting power as a heavy warbeast
- The Skin & Moans is arguably Grymkin's signature model and it is definitely the key to why Dark Menagerie is suchc a strong theme
- Crabbits show up in a multitude of Grymkin lists thanks to their diversity of defensive abilities
Unique Core Rule: Arcana
- Main article: Arcana
Grymkin warlocks use arcana instead of feats. A Defier warlock (Zevanna Agha does not use arcana and instead has a traditional feat) is assigned three arcana Cards before the game begins, one is their unique Trump Arcana, the other two are drawn from a pool of generic arcana available to all the Defiers. Each Arcana can only be used once per game, and only one arcana can be used per turn. All the arcana are triggered by enemy action, and most work inside the Defier's control area (twice FURY, generally 12-16 inches). However some trigger off CMD; a key skill of Grymkin is being able to internalize which arcana does what and how best to use each of them with each caster. Of special note here is the King of Nothing, whose CMD of 1 effectively means those arcana which trigger off CMD he cannot effectively use.
Starting a Theme Force
Theme Forces are integral to playing Hordes in Mk3. Grymkin has two themes, Bump in the Night and Dark Menagerie. Bump in the Night is an infantry focused theme, with a strong emphasis on skirmishing. Dark Menagerie is Grymkin's warbeast theme, providing free additional corpses at game start as well as access to the extremely potent scenario piece, Gremlin Swarms. While at release and in the two years that followed Dark Menagerie strongly outshone Bump in the Night, Grymkin Wave 2 in the spring of 2019 provided a wide variety of new options for Bump in the Night, as well as opening up list building in both themes with a new heavy warbeast (the Clockatrice) and a powerful support unit (the Malady Man).
Grymkin Theme Forces
You will almost never see Grymkin played outside their two themes, as they are flexible enough to let you play with most of the models from the faction and have powerful bonuses which let their models shine.
Bump in the Night is an infantry-focused theme with an emphasis on skirmishing.
This list was last updated: 2019.01 (Edit)
- Baron Tonguelick, Lord of Warts - (Warlock Attachment)
- Cask Imp
- Glimmer Imp
- Grave Ghoul
Lady Karianna Rose
- Lord Longfellow
Dark Menagerie is a warbeast-focused theme with an emphasis on bricking (forming a largely impenetrable bubble of warbeasts somewhere on the table) and scenario play.
This list was last updated: 2019.01 (Edit)
- Baron Tonguelick, Lord of Warts - (Warlock Attachment)
- Glimmer Imp
- Gremlin Swarm
- Lady Karianna Rose
Last Updated: 2019.02
- Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper (Grymkin)
- Note that this is Old Witch3, and Old Witch1&2 are Khador warcasters.
- Old Witch3 is the only Grymkin warlock to have a traditional feat. She is not a Defier and does not use arcana.
- The Heretic
- The Dreamer
- The Dreaming Harbinger (not legal for tournament play)
- The Child
- The King of Nothing
- The Wanderer
Minions that work for Grymkin
Last Updated: 2019.01
Grymkin Deep Lore
The warbeasts are the nightmares of the Defiers given flesh and blood. For millenia they tormented the defiers before they learned to control them. The lesser Grymkin are those wicked souls who end up in the wilds of Urcaen and are judged and transformed by the Defiers as an eternal punishment.
The Defiers themselves are five humans who were banished to the wilds of Urcaen for refusing Menoth's law. Their wills were so strong that they each became demigods dedicated to opposing Menoth and punishing his creation, which they see as corrupt and wicked.
For centuries, the Defiers awaited their chance to return to Caen to unleash their wicked harvest on Menoth's civilization. It was not until the Old Witch devised a way to create a portal to Urcaen through which the armies of the grymkin could pass that they got their chance. The Old Witch's motive for unleashing hell on earth was--oddly enough--to use the Grymkin to slow the spread of infernalism that would one day unleash an even worse hell on earth if left unchecked.
If Infernals ever invaded Caen in full force, it would mean the end of the world and the eternal torment of all living souls. The Grymkin, then, are the world's twisted salvation from annihilation.
When Menoth came back from his battle with the Devourer Wurm to give his so-called "gifts" to humanity, five individuals with tremendous will of their own rejected him so strongly and fundamentally they ended up tapping into some part of the divine power all humans have in their souls. In retribution for this, Menoth threw them in to Ur-Caen where they were trapped, tortured by their own nightmares, for thousands of years.
The Old Witch Zevanna Agha knew of them and looked for a way to set them free to further her own plans. She managed to find a lady in an insane asylum and use her as a conduit to negotiate terms and arrange to open the gates to Urcaen for them. The rest of the faction are manifestations of their willpower, or in the case of the beasts; their nightmares made manifest. The only thing the Grymkin warlocks are truly scared of is their warbeasts which are in truth their own nightmares. It's said the only time you would hear the true names of the Defiers is on the breath of the beasts when they lose control and it comes for them.
Other and older grymkin found in previous editions of Iron Kingdom literature featured the folkloric story of Gristle and Flay and the third brother. Anecdotes of gremlins in the machines, and why gremlins hate cats. Stories of the Old Man of the Swamp, or the rusalka bog nymph.