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Age of Sigmar Ossiarch Bonereapers army guide

Warhammer Age of Sigmar's Ossiarch Bonereapers are the God of Deaths’ tithe-takers, expanding Nagash’s realm by conquest or by contract, one bone at a time

Ossiarch Bonereapers Katakros - a huge, regal construct of bone, wielding massive shiedl and spear, surrounded by courtly attendants

The Age of Sigmar Ossiarch Bonereapers are a legion of the undead. Though they may appear to be animated skeletons, each is a unique construct of bone and deathly magic, a magnificent shell to hold a soul that suits the death god Nagash’s grand purpose.

Whereas the Flesh-Eater Courts are deluded, the legions of the Soulblight Gravelords are mindless, and the Nighthaunt are consumed by delirious spite, the Bonereapers are sentient, even civilized… after a fashion. They are Nagash’s answer to the Stormcast Eternals created by the hated soul thief Sigmar.

You’ll enjoy this Warhammer Age of Sigmar army if you want a force that is extremely reliable and durable, yet can strike with overwhelming force when commanded by its deathly masters.

The Bonereapers are a fantastic candidate for Contrast paints if you want to get your army tabletop ready fast – though there’s plenty of detail on their models if you enjoy painting miniatures (just be prepared to paint an awful lot of bone, ivory, and off-white).

Ossiarch Bonereapers grand army arrayed for battle, a huge host of undead skeletal constructs

Ossiarch Bonereapers army

The Ossiarch Bonereapers army is disciplined, durable, hard-hitting, magically potent, but can be tactically brittle. They can overwhelm objectives with troops that are hard to (permanently) kill, while you pare away your opponent’s best units with your own elites. Just beware enemy mortal wounds, or your units becoming mired in situations that they’re not suited for.

Ossiarch Bonereapers new Battletome

Previews from Games Workshop at the Las Vegas Open 2023 suggest we can expect the Ossiarch Bonereapers new Battletome in Spring 2023. Until then, they use their second edition Battletome, as well as a hefty errata you can download from the Warhammer-Community website.

Ossiarch Bonereapers Mortek Guard, bony warriors with purple armour, array for battle - their leader holds a human head aloft

Relentless Discipline Points

Shaped by the unbending will of Nagash, the Ossiarch Bonereapers army doesn’t rely on Command Points (CP). Units can heroes instead activate their Command Abilities using Relentless Discipline Points (RDP). They’re similar but, in many ways, better.

The Bonereapers get more RDP than other armies receive CP. At the start of each Battle Round they receive one RDP for each Hero, one for each Liege, three if the Mortarch Katakros is the army’s general and on the field, plus one for taking the first turn in the round and two for taking the second.

Ossiarch Bonereapers - a Wizard made of bone and its attendant, four-armed, multi-headed cboneconstructs, advance on an army of plague-worshipping chaos warriors

Then, in each Hero Phase, each Hero can generate more RDP on a d6 roll of a six. That’s a lot of points to spend on Command Abilities, and they’re not limited to using those abilities just once per phase.

However, the Bonereapers don’t have access to any of the universal Command Abilities that other armies enjoy. So whereas any other unit with a Champion can move At the Double to secure an objective, then declare All-out Defense to survive an enemy counter-attack, Ossiarchs can only use the abilities found on their Warscroll, a Hero’s Warscroll, or the army-wide Unstoppable Advance ability which grants +3” to a normal move, run, or retreat.

Ossiarch Bonereapers Tomb Stalker - a four-armed contstuct made from bones, wielding four huge, amber blades

Ossiarch Bonereapers subfactions

There are six Ossiarch Bonereapers subfactions, reflecting legions created in different realms from different sources of bone (or other substances…) These each have a unique army wide ability, command ability, and require their general takes a specific command trait and artefact of power.

Legion Legion ability
Mortis Praetorians -1 Bravery to enemy units within 12”
Petrifex Elite Worsen enemy rend by one
Stalliarch Lords Run and charge in the same turn
Ivory Host If within 6” of a wounded friendly unit, +1 to hit, -1 to saves
Null Myriad Units may ignore the effect of any spell on a 5+
Crematorians Whenever a Crematorian is slain in melee, roll d6, adding one if a hero or monster was slain: on a 5+, one enemy unit within 3” suffers a mortal wound

Ossiarch Bonereapers survivability

Bonereapers are immune to Battleshock. If a single Mortek Guard model (the army’s basic, one-wound infantry) survives an enemy attack, it’s staying exactly where it is.

Bonereapers have a 6+ ward save if their unit has the Hekatos keyword (found on the elite Morghast, Necropolis Stalkers, and Immortis Guard units), or if it is within 6” of such a unit, or within 12” of a Bonereapers Hero.

Ossiarch Bonereapers Gothizzar Harvester - a huge, top-heavy construct of bones, with the jaws of a huge beast and multiple small arms, plus great scythe-bladed limbs

Katakros, Nagash, and Arkhan the Black can all heal damaged Bonereapers units, or return destroyed models to their units, as befits mighty lords of undeath. So can the Mortisan Boneshaper, a wizard that specialises in on-the-job repairs.

The Gothizzar Harvester is a chunky combat monster and walking reconstruction station. Whenever models die within 3” of it, friend or foe, it has a 50/50 chance of taking their body parts and adding them to a nearby friendly unit.

You can double down on this survivability with your choice of legion. The Petrifex Elite legion ability worsens the rend characteristic of enemy attacks by one.

The Null Myriad legion are able to resist the effects of any spell on a 5+ – they don’t even have to be the target of the spell, allowing them to resist things like the mortal wounds that spill over from the Stormcast Eternals’ spell Chain Lightning.

Ossiarch Bonereapers Mortek Guard - skeletal warriors with large scarab shaped shields - form ranks against ogres

Start collecting Ossiarch Bonereapers

Currently, there is no start collecting Ossiarch Bonereapers box. It’s likely that an Ossiarch Bonereapers Vanguard box will release alongside their new Battletome, which we expect in the Spring.

A box of 20 Mortek Guard and a Gothizzar Harvester are a solid spine for any Bonereapers army. The Mortek Guard will give you enough bodies for two battleline units or a single, larger unit, while the Harvester makes them very difficult to shift by bringing them back into the fight after they’re killed.

Ossiarch Bonereapers - illustration of the realm of undeath, swirling eddies of undead and bones around the giant for of Nagash the death God

Ossiarch Bonereapers lore

The Ossiarch Bonereapers lore begins in the long-lost Age of Myth, when Sigmar and his divine allies wrested the Mortal Realms from the forgotten powers that ruled them in the time before time.

Before history, Sigmar walked the Mortal Realms in search of allies. He discovered a great cairn of stone in the lowest underworld, and beneath it discovered the imprisoned Nagash, Supreme Lord of Undeath. Once freed, Nagash pledged to join Sigmar’s Pantheon of Order and create an enlightened world.

But Nagash was ever suspicious. Covertly, and with the patience of the grave, he began the secret construction of new armies from gathered bone and necromantic magic. Perfect warriors, perfectly loyal, each one was formed from many skeletons and infused with a chosen soul or souls to suit its task – the Ossiarch Bonereapers.

Though Nagash disdains free will as an aberration he will ultimately banish, he sees its utility, and the Bonereapers were made with far greater sentience and personality than most mere undead.

Ossiarch Bonereapers grand army arrayed for battle, a huge host of undead skeletal constructs

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Mortarch of the Bonereaper legions, Katakros. In life Katakros was a mighty general and cunning strategist who ruled an Empire in the realm of Death. When this land came to the attention of Nagash, Katakros bent his knee rather than waste his realm in futile resistance. Nagash elevated him to Mortarch of the Necropolis and gave him charge of the elite Ossiarch legions.

When the Age of Chaos dawned and brought low the works of the Pantheon of Order, Nagash refused to join the fray, content to protect his domains in the realm of Death. Sigmar was enraged, and descended to Shyish to humble the Lord of Undeath. Katakros barred his path, though even the mighty Mortarch could not prevail against a God.

Katakros’ material form was destroyed, but he could not be banished. Instead, Sigmar interred him in a hidden Stormvault to wait out the ages. But death is nothing if not patient….

Over the millennia of the Age of Chaos and even into the dawning of the Age of Sigmar, Nagash gathered the materials he would need to construct a great inverted black pyramid from the magical realm stone of Shyish. This was to be the fulcrum of his Great Work, a spell that would end time itself and drag all the Realms into the Realm of Death.

Nagash did not succeed, for agents of Chaos disrupted the magic at the last moments. Yet the effects were cataclysmic. A Necroquake of death energy spread across the realms, unleashing tides of spirits, and revealing the Stormvaults Sigmar had hidden in ages past. It was not long before the lost Mortarch was freed – and Nagash had need of his legions.

The Bonereapers are the most civilized of Nagash’s servants. They are single-minded in their purpose to conquer the Mortal Realms, but they are not hasty about it. Rather than force a conflict they will strike ‘deals’ with mortal kingdoms, offering them their life and liberty in exchange for a regular tithe of bones, from which they will construct yet more legions.

Ossiarch Bonereapers illustration by Games Workshop - an army of undead skeletal constructs clash with the warriors of chaos

Such a deal cannot continue indefinitely, and when the Bonereapers perceive that they are being short-changed, their retribution is inevitable. Once they have set their sights on a conquest there is nothing their prey can do to resist, for the Bonereapers fear nothing, and rest only a little while in the embrace of death before they are remade and return to war.