Building on a budget – Abyssals

EDIT: This post was written under Kings of War 2nd edition rules. Kings of War 3rd edition army composition may be different, thereby invalidating some of the below post’s army composition.

picture from Mantic website

Recently, I posted an article on how to build a goblin army on a budget. This post is one of the most viewed articles on my blog, so I presume there’s demand for more posts like this. Let’s try that out!

In this post I’ll build a 1,200 point army from the Mantic Abyssal army box as seen above. It’s a good starter for an army and even a decent starter for someone that starts the hobby.

First things first

Building 1,200 points without regard for game perfomance or hobby is easy. To wite something that is actually useful, I’ll stick to the following guidelines:

  • While I start out using the Mantic army box, I’m not limited to Mantic models.
  • Multibasing (i.e. building regiments as whole blocks instead of single based models) is allowed -even encouraged-, but I must keep within minimum model count and preferably within preferred model count. (see the FAQ for these numbers)
  • There’s a little room for artifacts, but filling out artifacts in order to maximise points is a no-go. I.e. all artifacts must make sense in the buidling of an army.
  • The army must be effective on the battlefield.
  • The army must be expanded easily to 2,000 and 2,500 points
  • I will not limit my budget to a certain amount, just to “as little as possible”

Will I build this army myself?

Will I build this army myself? The answer is nope, as I already own a “swamp things” army for which I use the Abyssal rules. Here’s the blog post: Some of the ideas I used for this army will be featured here as well.

Contents of the Abyssal army

When buying the box, you’ll get:

  • 10 abyssal horsemen
  • 20 succubi
  • 40 lower abyssals / flamebearers
  • 1 abyssal champion

To make the army I have in mind, I need to add a single model – an efreet. (a more budget option for the experienced modeller below) as these guys are great for Abyssal armies.

The price of this 1,200 point army is € 90: € 80 for the box and € 10 for the efreet.

What to build?

First of all: The army needs a backbone. I’m going (as with my own army) with the backbone that UK champion Nick Williams describes

  • Horde of lower abyssals (2 -handed weapons) (200 points)
  • Regiment of lower abyssals (2-handed weapons) (120 points)

The article from Nick Williams furthermore decribes another regiment and a harbringer. In my battles, I found the 2nd regiment not that useful as I can use other ways to guard my flanks. Additionally, while the harbringer is a great addition in larger battles, in a smaller army I’d rather take an efreet with the inspiring talisman instead.

The mega-army features 40 models. If you remove one standard bearer (more on him later); there’s 39 models to use. If you want to go Preferred model count, you’re short 3 models. (14 + 28 = 42), so in this case I’d go with MMC on either the horde or the regiment instead. If you feel your base will be a bit empty, use the imps from the army (which we won’t be using) as unit fillers. Otherwise, here’s a basing idea from my swamp thing (abyssal army) that struggles to fit PMC.

my swamp things lower abyssals inhabit a ruined temple. It just about fits PMC

The efreet is a great tool, so I’d take him over the harbringer in smaller armies. He’s a decent damage dealer with fireball (16); but excells in destroying dangerous but fragile threats to your army. In particular units such as blade dancers, reconnoiterers and succubi hate him. These units are threats to an infantry army such as this, so it’s very worthwile to add him.

  • Efreet with the inspiring talisman. (155)

I’d shell out the € 10,- for the Mantic model. If you don’t want to spend that; there’s always the option of converting the abyssal champion in the army box to an efreet. If you use the flame-parts from the lower abyssal models (which you won’t be using as well) a crafty hobyist can switch out the axe-arm for another flame-throwing arm. Switching out the legs for a green-stuffed cloud of smoke and you’ve got a nice efreet.

  • Regiment of Abyssal horsemen (215)

Abyssal horsemen are among the most powerful cavalry in the game. This regiment has replaced my tortured souls in my swamp things army and I’m really glad I did. Their damage potential is really high and your opponent will need to find an answer to them.

And fortunately, there’s 10 in the army box. Just multibase the Abyssal horsemen into 2 troops of 4 models or one regiment of 7. See my tips for multibasing cavalry here. You’ll need your most impressive model later, so keep that one out. The models left over? Just leave the one with a banner, you might want to build a mounted harbringer sometime.

  • Abyssal champion with steed (155)

The single-based cavalry model mentioned before? You’ll want this as an individually based abyssal champion. I really like mounted individuals as they can a) serve as chaff, b) ground fliers, c) disrupt shooters and mages and d) due to his impressive combat stats, deal with opponent’s chaff and damaged units by himself. Also, he’s inspiring, so you don’t need a harbringer in addition to him and the efreet.


There’s also the option of upgrading him with wings instead of a steed. This is 20 points more, so you’ll need to find those points somewhere. If you want, you need another model. You can either convert the abyssal champion (if you didn’t convert him to an efreet already) with wings or buy the really nice mau-mau model (also see on the right my mau-mau). As this is a budget post; I’ll keep it to the mounted guy in this example, though I prefer a flying one myself.

  • Regiment of succibi – brew of Strength (220)
  • Troop of succubi (130)

Succubi make great damage dealers in abyssal armies. Their high number of attacks combined with melee 3+ make them very powerful. As their weakness is high arour, I gave the regiment a brew of strength. Just keep them away from shooters and fast alpha striking units, as their ensnare and stealthy will not protect them from dedicated damage dealers.

As for models, you’re again short one model for PMC. a troop has a PMC of 7 and the regiment 14. You need to reduce one to PMC unfortunately.


This makes for 1,200 points exactly. @ € 90 that’s not expensive, and the army is -I think- very viable on the battlefield.

There’s plenty room for expansion as most units don’t have magical items. When upgrading to 2,000 points; I’d consider:

  • The standard on foot you didn’t include in the regiment of lower abyssals? Paint him up as a harbringer with the lute of insatiable darkness so you can take the efreet with heart seeking chant instead. Alternatively, you can use the mounted model you left over from the horsemen instead.
  • you might want to paint up an archfiend as large flying threat. I love the reaper bones model, but Mantic has its own archfiend model.
  • the army could use some chaff. A pair of troops of gargoyles do very well. Too bad Mantic’s are so expensive. I’d buy two additional gargoyles from reaper together with a Mantic box for 2 troops of 6.
  • your army could do with another threat. Maybe buy a 2nd box of succubi and an abyssal temptress for the fire legion formation? Another regiment of abyssal horsemen could do too. It’s up to you.
  • Some units could do with magical items. The horsemen do benefit from the potion of the catepillar, the horde of lower abyssals with elite or +1 speed.

2 thoughts on “Building on a budget – Abyssals

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