Posted 02/07/2017

Kharadron Overlords Tactical Spotlight – Part 2

Ben Curry is something of a Warhammer Age of Sigmar renaissance man. As well as running Bad Dice – a podcast, Youtube channel and blog – he’s a keen painter, gamer and tournament organiser – it’s safe to say that, when it comes to the Mortal Realms, he knows what he’s talking about. Continuing on from the first entry in his Kharadron Overlords Tactica, Ben is back with his latest guide on getting the most out of your sky-fleets.

Ben Curry from The Bad Dice Podcast here again to share more of my thoughts about the Kharadron Overlords.  

In my last article, I wrote about the Kharadron Code, and this time around I will be covering the single Battleline unit that the Overlords have access to, the Arkanaut Company.  


It might seem a disadvantage to only have a single option for your battleline slots, however, the Arkanaut Company fill that roll nicely by being flexible enough to be used in a number of situations in a variety of unit sizes.  

The Same Yet Different

The basic Arkanaut is pretty average. While they are far from a weak unit, the basic stat line will not strike fear into your opponents.  

Some might initially begrudge having to take three units of these in 2,000 points matched play armies, but when you dig deeper into the rules and look at their role in the game, you soon realise all is not as it first appears.  

Skyhooks, Skypikes and Aethermatic Volley Guns really help this unit pack a punch, and when used in combination with their Glory-seekers rule, they become real Monster and Hero hunters.  

Arkanaut Companys get access to three special weapons. The rules say that three models can choose from three different weapons, but you can also let all of them take the same special weapon, and duplicating the three types of special weapon upgrades can make Arkanaut units fill entirely different roles in your game plan.  


I’ll start with Skyhooks because they are my favourites. (Totally off topic, but as a tradesman, I often used to send my apprentices looking for made up things such as Tartan Paint, A Long Wait, and Skyhooks… good times.)

The Skyhook in all its forms is an interesting weapon. It hits hard and the Skyvessel mounted versions have some bonus rules I will be talking about in a future article, but for now we can look at the Light Skyhook that the Arkanauts carry.  

The weapon has a great range (24″) and can pack a punch with Rend -2 and D3 damage. The hit and wound rolls are about average for a battleline unit but it is greatly enhanced when using the Glory-seekers rule to target Monsters and Heros as you get an additional +1 to hit bonus.  

Using three of these in a unit of 10 Arkanauts gives you a solid ranged threat that can reach out and put significant damage into your opponents army.  If you want to take down larger units, this is even more damage. Larger units also benefit more from the bonuses granted by friendly units. An Aether-Khemist can use his Aetheric Augmentation ability to grant all the Skyhooks in the unit an additional attack.  

Can you picture a unit of 30 Arkanauts with nine Skyhooks being part of the Iron Sky Squadron for an extra attack each, getting an Aetheric Augmentation from a nearby Khemist and shooting at the unit that you selected as the ‘Settle the Grudges’ Target?  This will get a total of 27 shots with the Light Skyhooks, (and 42 Privateer Pistol shots if you can get them in range!) that hit on 3’s vs a Monster or Hero. The Artycle let you reroll 1’s to Hit and Wound. If your want to be really crafty, then you can use the Footnote ‘These Are Just Guidelines’ to change your Artycle after your initial target has been destroyed.  

You can use this blunt force of a unit in more subtle ways too. While it is clear to your opponents that this amount of firepower can wreak havoc in their lines, it is less clear if your intention is not to destroy units, but more to create an exclusion zone in part of the table. This unit deployed on a flank might not get to shoot at anything for most of the game as your opponent is scared to deploy units opposite them, but that flank – and any objectives there – will be firmly in your control. Allowing you to funnel your opponent’s army towards less obvious forms of firepower.  

Aethermatic Volley Guns

That brings me onto the Volley Guns.  As powerful as a single Light Skyhook shot might be, it can only actually kill three models. The Aethermatic Volley Gun has the potential to kill six models. It might be unlikely, due to needing 5+ to hit, but it’s still possible. There is a lot to be said for rolling buckets of dice. If you get a lucky roll while throwing only 3 dice it is not much of a swing, but a lucky roll from three lots of Aethermatic Volley Guns could result in a huge amount of damage.

Sometimes, a Rend -2 shot from a Light Skyhook is found to be overkill. Plenty of models in Warhammer Age of Sigmar can ignore Rend so the sheer amount of shots pumped out by these guns will inevitably result in some failed armour saves. At the other end of the scale, there are also lots of units with 6+ or even no Armour save at all. Again the Skyhook is wasted on these units, and this is where the Aethermatic Volley Guns are built to excel, making the most effective use of its firepower.  

The Arkanauts firing Aethermatic Volley Guns will still get the Glory-seekers rule, and the guns are very effective at hurting those big targets, but I see these being the optimal weapon for mowing down single wound, lightly armoured infantry in droves.  

So many dice will benefit greatly from bonuses that give access to rerolls, as opposed to the Skyhooks which will prefer to get an additional Attack.  


The Skypike is the melee weapon of choice for the Arkanaut who wants to get up close and personal.  2″ Range, 2 Attacks, Rend -1 and D3 damage are the highlights, and similar to the Skyhooks, I can see these being excellent in larger units, such as 30 Arkanauts packed with Skypikes with Aether-Khemist nearby.  They will get 27 attacks from the Skypikes and with the 2″ range, it should be easy to ensure they all get to fight.  

Which Is Best?

Overall, I feel that a mixture of these weapons is a great idea, however, I’m not sure that you would want to mix them in a single unit. The Arkanauts will excel at being specialists and selecting the right unit and weaponry for the role the unit needs to play will be key to your entire army design.

Skyhooks are clearly a powerful and devastating long range attack, but if you are up against a huge horde of lightly armoured enemies, then both Skypikes and Aethermatic Volley Guns seem a better choice. You should also look at what else you are taking in your army list and arm your Arkanauts to complement them for the best fit. If you have no other melee units, for instance, then arming your Arkanauts with Skypikes might be a sensible option.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on this interesting new unit. You can see that the Arkanaut is flexible and well suited to filling many roles in your matched play army lists.

I will be back again soon to talk about the rest of the Kharadron Overlords army, but until then you can catch me over at on my daily podcast about Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  

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