Age of Sigmar: Flesh-Eater Courts - Harbingers of Change
Before we dive into today’s article, it’s important to note that the information below is based on an incomplete picture: The following warscroll changes to three of Flesh-Eater Courts’ core units were gleaned from secondary sources, and not currently released content. That said, they’re verified, interesting, and radically change how the army’s going to be built on the tabletop, so it’s certainly worthwhile to cover!
Flesh-Eater Courts, or FEC, has been one of the most niche factions in AoS: With fewer than 10 total kits in its entire range, the army makes the most of what little it has, earning a dedicated fanbase through uniquely powerful rules & compelling lore. That said, it also has the oldest book in the entire game, from all the way back in February of 2019, and much of its playstyle shows clear age. Critically, however, it’s aged…well! The copious rerolls & summons have allowed FEC to be a constant competitor throughout most of the book’s lifespan, but now, Games Workshop appears to have taken a stance on fixing these consistent dice roll mechanics.
Found in the updated warscrolls attached to Dawnbringers: Harbingers, the rules for Crypt Ghouls, Crypt Flayers, and Crypt Horrors have all changed, although their points remain the same. Let’s start with the good news: The auras have been unified, to receive their buffs (more on that in a second) while the unit is wholly within 9” of a COURTIER, or wholly within 18” of an ABHORRANT. Now, a quick overview of each unit’s other changes:
For Ghouls, Royal Approval now gives them -1 Rend, rather than rerolls of 1, and Boundless Ferocity has been changed to allow the unit to Autowound on hits of 6, or 5+ if there’s 20+ models.
For Flayers, their Death Scream is now a standard shooting attack, at 10”/4a/4+/3+/-2/1, that gets +1 to Wound if the target has 6 or less Bravery. Furthermore, their Skewering Strikes are…gone, replaced with Escort Courtier, allowing them to move a Courtier wholly within 3” of them with the unit, dropping them 3” nearby the end of the movement, but out of combat.
Finally, Horrors changed the least, going to 4 2” Attacks per model, and Chosen of the King going to the standard aura, and providing -1 Rend, rather than rerolls.
As you can tell immediately, this appears to be Games Workshops’ response to both the current meta with FEC, being Blisterskin Flayer blobs, and a mechanism to reduce the time it takes for them to play. An FEC combat sequence takes longer than nearly any other in the game, from all the rerolls, modified damage, and double-attacking due to Feeding Frenzy, so this reduction in dice rolled is welcome, but still a nerf. The complete removal of Mortal Wounds from Flayers, between the scream & their attacks, however, is an absolutely brutal change; it’s unlikely you take more than maybe 6 total in a list now, for their useful Unleash Hells, or carrying a Vargulf Courtier, but the days are long gone when 9 Flayers could storm midboard on their own. Essentially every FEC list since 2019 started with 9 Flayers and Blisterskin, so this is a shocking band-aid to rip off.
The downfall of Flayers also means the likely downfall of Blisterskin, the de facto subfaction for FEC generals the world over, with Morgaunt & Hollowmourne both looking increasingly appetizing in the wake of these changes. Morgaunt could very easily run upwards of 90 Ghouls now, given their extreme consistency into debuffs, or even dip into 20-man blobs of Beastflayers, backed by Crypt Ghast Courtiers to Muster back multiwound Serf models. That said, the true way may be a switch to Hollowmourne, and 18 Crypt Horrors, with a tremendous burst of speed from your Abhorrants and the ability to fight with 2” reach, a 9 man of Horrors can pack a serious punch now, where prior you’d have too much damage falloff. In total, these changes radically open the gates to more diverse FEC listbuilding, although it’s highly likely the army is going to be overall worse-off, for the time being.
A lot of FEC players have been unhappy with these leaks, and it’s not hard to see why: The faction has played the same way for nearly 5 years at this point, and these gameplay patterns are ingrained into the muscle memory of their players. It’s going to feel bad to lose rerolls essentially everywhere, like every other army, and it’s quite likely we see their Summons get nerfed as well, or Feeding Frenzy go to a second-fight on the Fights Last sequence. In stark contrast to pretty much every other Warhammer game written, Age of Sigmar has seen a slow decline in power throughout 3.0’s lifespan, which I for one appreciate. FEC represents a kind of gameplay that simply doesn’t exist anymore, meaning it was unique in its own right, but bringing it up to speed should benefit everyone involved. The good news is that we’re likely to see a new FEC book this Winter, and hopefully more models alongside it, but until then, the army’s gotten more new kits in the past 6 months, than it had prior in the past 4 years.
We’re likely to see confirmation of these rules during Thursday’s Warscroll Update, but until everything is outlined, I hope this article puts together the various pieces for those confused! It’s rare we see such a shocking army update done so quietly.
With that, FEC’s arrival into modern Age of Sigmar commences! Are you excited or disappointed by the changes shown off? Are you going to stick with Blisterskin, or explore another Subfaction, like Hollowmourne? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so go ahead and leave a comment below!