One thing I am extremely happy about is just how much of a solid choice the Royal Warsphinx is nowadays in comparison to the old edition, and it's this new unit I wish to put under the magnifying glass today.
Looking at the unit point values, the Royal Warsphinx is just 20 points cheaper than Settra and, although I don't have any AoS experience with either unit, I'm going to focus on the Royal Warsphinx for the time because I haven't used Settra yet. Plus, having my leader on a massive animated stone beast just appeals to me.
There is a lot of customisation you can put into the Royal Warsphinx depending on how you've built your army and also what you're facing off against, which I will cover later. I think it's these facts that give it a high price tag so, in my mind at least, it's worth the 340 points.
From the top, the Royal Warsphinx like a regular Warsphinx, with a move of 6 inches. Depending on what you have in the rest of your army (for me, it's going to be Necropolis Knights), chances are it will be floating behind them for a turn or two before it enters combat. It is worth noting that there are ways to nullify its movement problems outside of running, but I'll cover that later on.
Previously, this unit would eventually die from 1000 cuts and a poor save. But now it's not only sporting a heartier 4+ save, but it also halves any wounds, effectively turning this 12 wound monster into a 24 wound one. Also, if you have a Liche Priest nearby, it's not too difficult to heal any damage on the statue.
Let's talk about damage output. The last edition of the Warsphinx was capable of putting massive holes in infantry blocks and it seems that GW has kept the unit behaving like an infantry blender. That's not to say it can't take on heroes or monsters, but I feel it wasn't designed with those in mind. The Warsphinx is able to whittle away D6 wounds with its Fiery Breath to a unit within 8” on a 3+, which is a pretty solid attack. It's also great for sticking it to other units that aren't tied up into combat yet or softening up others which already are with another unit.
The real fun begins in combat. Provided Warsphinx is charging, the Thundercrush attack ability kicks in and slaps down D3 wounds. This is always a great way to start, even before any 'to hit' dice have been rolled. Provided the model gets into combat at full health and depending on what tail you have decided to go with, you'll be swinging anywhere from 10 to 12 attacks.
I am currently opting for the Bladed Tail option to go with 12 attacks and I'll tell you why. The King on top is dealing out the heavy hitting damage with 3 damage on his glaive so in my mind it's the Sphinx that is lightly slapping wounds down in sheer volume rather than high damage attacks. Secondly, for one of the builds I have in mind it really works well – I will list that later.
Tomb King in Chariot
Casket of Souls
Skeleton Horse Archers
One of my favourite units, Necropolis Knights, work very well with this command ability. Also, having another Warsphinx in the list is never a bad thing and both of these units go from wounding on a 3+ to a 2+, which increases the damage output.
All of this excites me and it isn't even the best part. As soon as I started reading the command traits and artefacts, I noticed some interesting ways to field this model and how a number options make for some unique play styles.
Master of the Black Arts is a very handy tool to get a wizard into your army or a second one depending on the rest of the force make-up. Suddenly, the King on top of the Warsphinx right in the heart of the action can continue to support the troops with mystic shields or healing wounds on himself or other units, continuing to be a difficult kill.
The last trait I want to talk about is Red Fury, which allows for a second chance to attack if a die roll is less than the number of wounds inflicted. Being on top of a Warsphinx and swinging a massive weapon means you'll be sinking some damage into the enemy force. There are 10 to 12 attack chances with the command ability, and you'll be surpassing 6 wounds considering the King's Glaive does 3 damage. This means you'll automatically attack again unless you roll very poorly – nice.
Artefacts of Death
Cursed Book is an interesting one and would be great on a support build kitty, however, its range is terrible and I think there are better options available.
The Cloak of Mists and Shadows really intrigues me, because it allows you a single giant move that takes a relatively slow moving monster and puts it somewhere in the battlefield that your opponent doesn't want it. This essentially pulls off a sneaky charge and, when timed correctly, it could tip the favour of the game. It's a one-use only, though, which is a drag.
Unfortunately, I think the Sword of Unholy Power and the Black Amulet are dust so I'm not going to write about them. The Tomb Blade is perhaps the star of the show, healing the model for damage which, on the King's glaive, could potentially ax 9 single wound models and heal up to 9 wounds on his pals within 6”. Happy days – and it's easy to see why this blade comes out of the tomb so much.
Lastly, the Ring of Immortality is a pretty cool gimmick, returning a killed Royal Warsphinx to the table. However, let's say you've opted for a wizard King and/or the Tomb Blade. It probably makes the immortality ring a little redundant. Besides, if I saw this across the table I'd probably try to chip a few wounds off it and then ignore it, whilst it lumbers around unable to do much more. As I said, it's an item at least to keep in the back of your head for those times when you want to surprise your opponent.
Support Sphinx – Ruler of the Night, Cursed Book/Tomb Blade
Priest Sphinx – Master of the Black Arts, Cloak/Tomb Blade
So what is your greatest accomplishment with a Royal Warsphinx and how do you outfit it? If you've opposed one, what is the best way to take one out?
Thanks for reading.