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The Nighthaunt rise from the grave in Warhammer Realms of Ruin

Wargamer went hands-on with the Warhammer RTS Realms of Ruin campaign, pitting the valiant Stormcast Eternals against the ghastly Nighthaunt.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin Nighthaunt - Alnwrach the Drowner, a ghostly fusion of ferryman and ghost-keeled boat

The third faction for Realms of Ruin, the upcoming Warhammer RTS from Frontier Developments, will be the undead Nighthaunt. Wargamer got to test our mettle against the undead horde during a press preview of the game’s third campaign mission.

The Nighthaunt are the third Age of Sigmar army revealed for Realms of Ruin, a tide of spiteful spooks beholden to the god Nagash. They join the previously-previewed Stormcast Eternals – paragons of order – and destructive Orruk Kruleboyz.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin Nighthaunt gameplay - a battle to grab a control point in Realms of Ruin's second campaign mission

Mission three of the campaign offers a stripped-back version of the multiplayer game mode wargamer tested during our first Realms of Ruin preview.

You’re battling to hold a majority of the battlefield’s control points – in this case, pillars binding magical shackles in place – while simultaneously claiming arcane conduits that provide the resources you need to summon reinforcements.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin Nighthaunt - Chainrasps, ghosts dragging shackles

It’s an early campaign mission, intended to introduce a new player to the game’s victory conditions, which restricts the player and the AI to fairly basic forces. My Stormcast were up against hordes of ghostly Chainrasps, crossbow-wielding Craventhrone Guard, and – after hitting the missions’ halfway point – scythe-wielding Grimghast reapers, all led by a Knight of Shrouds.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin Nighthaunt - a hexwraith, a ghostly skeletal cavalryman

Frontier promises the full Nighthaunt roster will include Hexwraith cavalry, magic-devouring Myrmourn Banshees, magical Guardian of Souls, sinister ferryman Awlrach the Drowner, and the enormous Mourngul.

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With most of my focus fixed on winning the mission, rather than inspecting the Nighthaunt, and with no chance to take charge of the ghostly soldiers myself, I can’t comment on what they offer tactically. On the tabletop they’re a horde faction that can cripple the enemy with fear, and are able to disengage from combat easily – we’ll see if that translates into the videogame.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin Nighthaunt gameplay - a attle between hordes of ghosts and golden Stormcast eternals

The audio-visual design of the Nighthaunt is spot on. Their ethereal forms are tugged at by spectral winds. while weapons and chains droop mournfully from their cursed forms. The cutscene voiceovers for the Nighthaunt are on the “spooky” rather than “Skeletor” side of cartoon villainy, and it works well.

We’re tracking the Realms of Ruin release date with interest: it’s shaping up to be an excellent RTS game, and the first Warhammer fantasy game in the Age of Sigmar setting that might make a lasting impression.