Riding a Dark Horse:The Lord of Dawn

by Chuck Elswick



Bulldog here, continuing my Dark Horse series with the Dawnlord Vyros.  If someone was to ask what my favorite faction is I would have to say Retribution, not so much for their story but because I have always enjoyed elves in fantasy fiction.  Though if I ever had to pick a character to call my favorite, when it comes to story I would have to say Goreshade. He is the bad guy you love to hate. Vyros is the Retribution caster with the most ties to the Goreshade story, making him one of my favorite favorites.  The list below is just a basic list for what I would use with him and after giving the list I will provide what I like to do with it.


Dawnlord +6

Griffon 4

Manticore (6) 2

Phoenix 10

Arcanist 1

Arcanist 1

Dawnguard Scyir 2

Dawnguard Scyir 2

10 Dawnguard Sentinels with UA and 3 Soulless 14

Fane Knight 5

Madelyn Corbeau 2

Mage Hunter Assassin 2

Mage Hunter Assassin 2

Narn 3

Total:  50/50


The Dawnlord has way above average MAT, almost on par with the likes of Butcher.  His best stats however, are the defensive ones, average DEF combined with above average ARM and life. His weapon only has reach with a POW just below the Butcher’s, when he flanks with a warjack. He has a great command, as the leader of the Dawnguard this is unsurprising, and in Retribution often unnecessary.  He is, however, lacking in other abilities. He really only has the one, Birds Eye View. This is a great ability as it allows his battlegroup to ignore clouds, forests and models when determining LOS, as well as extending their front arcs 360 degrees. Make sure to keep his battlegroup in his control area for this.


His spell selection is good with Eliminator (average range, above average POW and 3″ AOE and for every model destroyed by the spell he gets to move 2″), Hallowed Avenger (upkeep for a warjack that allows it to charge something when a friendly model is destroyed by an enemy attack), Stranglehold (decent range, ok POW, but great effect, if you damage the model then it must forfeit either its next movement or action), Inviolable Resolve (upkeep that gives model/unit gets a bonus to ARM and becomes fearless; as a side note one good thing to do with this spell is if a model/unit is fleeing and you need them that turn you can cast this spell on the model/unit and it will immediately rally and can activate normally that turn, which has helped me in many games), and lastly Mobility (models in his battlegroup gain a bonus to SPD and pathfinder).


So what I like to do with the list is have the Dawnguard unit stay base to base with each other (as they get a bonus to ARM while they are base to base) and cast Inviolable Resolve on them (makes them ARM 17/19 if in base to base with each other).  The Fane Knight stays close to them and Madelyn stays in base to base contact with him (she has an ability to give a bonus to CMD to solos in base contact with her), this allows for one of his abilities to have a better range (whenever a friendly model is killed by an enemy model in his command he gets a bonus to STR and ARM).  The Mage Hunter Assassins and Narn try to gang up on something and put the pressure on the enemy. They can get rid of heavies and lights together (Narn is a weapon master with 2 blessed weapons, and the Hunters are weapon masters that do double damage over ARM).


The Griffon and Phoenix were chosen because they have reach weapons that allow for more use out of the flank ability that the Dawnlord and the 2 Scyirs have. These jacks are also great models for the Dawnlord’s feat (every model that is destroyed in the Dawnlord’s control area gives him a focus to allocate to his jacks). They can get to a lot of models with their reach weapons and with bird’s eye view if the Phoenix gets free focus he can use them to target support models that are hidden or even the caster/lock.  I love the Manticore and it is usually the jack I use most with Retribution. It is a low point cost model with great melee damage output (its initial POW below average for a heavy it has the ability to spend a focus to get a bonus to STR). It also has a range weapon equal to a hand cannon but with ROF 3.  So this model is perfect for the feat. It usually uses a lot of focus, thus the Arcanist.


The Arcanist has the ability to give a model a focus point (as long as they do not already have any) and remove disruption.  But the ability I like the most is the bonus to melee damage rolls they can give.  Combine this with the Manticore’s STR boosting ability you now have a jack capable of matching Khadoran ARM on damage rolls.


I usually like more shooting in a Vyros list to capitalize on the feat. I prefer unit ranged support to warjack ranged options. I have had much success with this list; it has great melee potential and it can take a hit on the way in.  With this army I usually use the Sentinels, solos and unit, to fuel up the jacks on the feat turn.  Madelyn has also been used to allow any of my solos, though usually the Assassins or Narn or the Fane Knight, to move into position.  Also the Dawnlord with the spell Mobility on SPD 6 jacks is really great as it allows them to threaten 11″ on charges, 13″ with reach, now you are talking about cavalry threat ranges.  The Griffon has an ability to spend a focus and gain an additional bonus to movement. When combined with reach and the Mobility spell it can charge 15″ away, and this model is very focus efficient. It has powerful charge which lets it hit at a MAT on par with the Dawnlord himself.


One might ask “why the 3 soulless in one unit?”  I had already added 1 to the unit; they are great protection against spells. I only had 2 points left and there were not many options available for the list at 2 points that I had not already taken or that “fit” the list.  The soulless provide another type of function. They have flank with the unit they are attached to. This allows them to hit at the same MAT as the Dawnguard and though at a lower melee POW gives them the same effect as a weapon master, just like the Dawnguard. They also have magical weapons to get rid of those annoying incorporeal models.


That’s all for this week.



Author: Bulldog

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