Theme - Dark Menagerie

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Theme Rules[edit]

Theme Force Restrictions[edit]

A Dark Menagerie army can only include Grymkin models from the following list:

Theme Force Bonuses[edit]

  • The FA of Gremlin Swarms becomes 4 (instead of 2)
  • For every full 15 points of warbeasts, you can add one Crabit or Gremlin Swarm free of cost.
    • Free Crabits do not count toward the total point value of warbeasts when calculating this bonus.
    • Note that in Steamroller events, your opponent only scores army points for every 2 crabits they kill; ergo an odd number of Crabits (or just 1) are a point disadvantage for your opponent.
  • Gremlin Swarms gain Serenity. (Serenity - During maintenance, this model can remove one fury from one warbeast within 1" of it.)
  • Each non-trooper model in this army that can gain corpse tokens begins the game with one corpse token.

Thoughts on this Theme Force[edit]

Theme - Dark Menagerie in a nutshell[edit]

Dark Menagerie is the beast theme of the Grymkin and rewards you for taking battlegroup models and the death knell.

The primary way to play Dark Menagerie is a very powerful beast brick where the backbone is formed by cage ragers and skin and moans, both of which benefit a lot from the corpse they recieve as a theme benefit.

Very notably -- while being a slow brick theme it has a way of mitigating the standard weakness of slow bricks. Gremlin swarms which are free in theme and assist in fury management are able to contest extremely well which allow you to play a slower list and not lose scenario.

with a very tough brick, that has excellent contesting models Dark Menagerie is hard to beat in attrition, has excellent denial tech through Arcana, Wraithbane on Cage Ragers and Arcane vortex, and your caster benefits from all of this tech making many assassinations simply untenable.

Without any exception, all grymkin warlocks are playable in this theme and have compelling synergies.


Dark Menagerie is the staple themeforce of the grymkin and is considered extremely competitive. It alone propels them to being very powerful in the current meta. Almost any of their casters can be highly succesful in this theme force.

List building tips[edit]

  • Cage Ragers and Skin & Moans form the backbone of the theme and there is essentially no reason to not bring at least one of these models
  • All warlocks are viable in this theme, However they will have a different composition.
  • The King of Nothing can play a radically different style where he focuses on the factions light warbeasts and turns them up to 11. He's an extremely odd caster with a very high skill cap.
  • All three of the light warbeasts have a place. Rattlers are dedicated anti infantry and with enough buffs can threaten weaker heavies. Gorehounds are powerful skirmishers using their mobility to scalpel out key models, kill infantry, or just jam. Frightmares have the true sight animus and are usually brought when its important such as on the old witch or the king of nothing.
  • Crabbits are one of the best lesser warbeasts in the game and are brought to improve your match into not just guns, but key guns with effects such as a drag gun.
  • Death Knell is not mandatory, but is a very strong piece. Expect to see it with the majority of casters in this theme unless they have strong delivery tech that compensates for the lack of the knell such as Old Witch 3.
  • Dread Rots are not usually brought in force, but its not uncommon to see a minimum unit who can screen, do some work, and become corpses for the Death Knell


Rules Clarifications[edit]

Rules Clarification: Theme Forces     (Edit)
Warning: This is a long one.

Mercenaries and Partisans
  • When you take a Partisan Mercenary, it counts as your Faction. However this doesn't increase the number of total mercenaries allowed. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Exception: If the Partisan Mercenary is explicitedly listed as one of the models you can take in the theme (such as Cephalyx in Cryx's Black Industries theme), then you can take the full FA plus your "up to one Merc" allotment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Sometimes a specific Mercenary/Minion model/unit will gain a theme benefit of "If this model is included, it counts as a Faction model" (such as Greygore in Kriel Company). In this case, the model/unit might or might not count against your "up to one merc" limit:
    • If that Merc is in the list of models explicitly allowed (such as Savio in Storm Division), they won't count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
    • If that Merc isn't in the list, (such as the Devil's Shadows in Slaughter Fleet Raiders), they will count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
  • Partisans will count towards any relevant free points. For instance, Nyss will count twoards the "20 points of Retribution units" in the Defenders of Ios theme. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Partisans can be eligible to be taken as free choices. For instance, Erysis1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenaries and Ranking Officers

  • If you can include a Merc unit, and its attachments, then you can attach a Ranking Officer. This is true regardless whether or not that Ranking Officer is on the list of "Allowed models" . (Infernal Ruling)
  • Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
  • The Merc unit will count towards your "X points of [Faction] models/units" benefit (if your theme is worded that way). (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenary Warjacks, Warbeasts, & Companions

  • As per the errata to the core rules, if your "up to one Merc" ...
    • ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
    • ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)

Bonus - One [X] gains [Y]

  • If you need to choose which models get your theme bonus, then you do this choice after deployment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • An example is how Winter Guard Kommand gives Advance Move to one-warjack-of-your-choice-per-WG-unit.
    • In comparison, Destruction Initiative gives all Servitors the Shield Guard ability so you don't need to "make" a choice.
  • You should still write on your army list how many of these bonuses you get to hand out, though, so your opponent can clearly see. (Infernal Ruling)
    • ie at the bottom of your list, you'd write "3 warjacks gain Advance Move" but you don't need to state which three are going to get the bonus.

Theme Forces, free models, and Specialists/ADR in Steamroller

  • You can swap out as many models from your main list into your specialists and vice versa as you like, but you must completely recalculate the new army list when you do, including bonuses. As long as the new army list is valid, including all free models, it doesn't matter what the left over points in your specialists are. (Staff Ruling)
  • If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.

Unit Attachments & free points

Theme - The Bones of Orboros

  • Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Call of the Wild

  • When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
  • Due to the way Tanith's feat is worded, during her feat turn the COST of animi cannot drop below 1. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - The Faithful Masses

  • A Mercenary unit with an Attendant Priest does count as Protectorate unit for the purpose of calculating points for free cards. There is a bug in Warroom that prevents it counting properly. (Staff Ruling)

Theme - The Ghost Fleet

  • The "free solo" can be any kind of solo, it doesn't have to be a Revenant solo.

Theme - Kriel Company

  • Greygore/Dannon count against your "up to one Minion unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Llaelese Resistance

  • It is 2 Cruicible or 2 Cygnar or 2 Menoth.
    You can't take more than 2, and you can't mix and match from multiple Factions. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Scourge of the Broken Coast

Theme - Slaughter Fleet Raiders

  • The Devil's Shadows Mutineers count against your "up to one Mercenary unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Clockwork Legions

  • If you attach a small-based model to a medium-based unit, it is no longer a medium-based unit and won't benefit from Vengeance.
  • However, it will regain Vengeance when the small base dies. Furthermore, the small base dying will trigger Vengeance.
  • (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Serenity      (Edit)

  • Each model with Serenity can pick one warbeast to remove fury from, that is within range of the ability. They may pick the same or different warbeasts.
    So, for example, a warbeast with 4 Serenity models around it can have 4 fury removed from it. (Infernal Ruling)

Models in this Theme Force[edit]

Refer to Category: Dark Menagerie

Other Themes[edit]

Theme Forces (Edit)
Cygnar Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division (Edit)
Protectorate of Menoth The Creator's Might - Exemplar Interdiction - The Faithful Masses - Guardians of the Temple (Edit)
Khador Armored Korps - Jaws of the Wolf - Legion of Steel - Winter Guard Kommand - Wolves of Winter (Edit)
Cryx Black Industries - Dark Host - The Ghost Fleet - Infernal Machines - Scourge of the Broken Coast - Slaughter Fleet Raiders (Edit)
Retribution of Scyrah Defenders of Ios - Forges of War - Legions of Dawn - Shadows of the Retribution (Edit)
Mercenaries Hammer Strike - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - Operating Theater - The Talion Charter - Llaelese Resistance (Edit)
Convergence of Cyriss Destruction Initiative - Clockwork Legions (Edit)
Crucible Guard Magnum Opus - Prima Materia (Edit)
Trollbloods Band of Heroes - Kriel Company - Power of Dhunia - Storm of the North (Edit)
Circle Orboros Call of the Wild - Secret Masters - The Bones of Orboros - The Devourer's Host - The Wild Hunt (Edit)
Skorne Winds of Death - Disciples of Agony - Imperial Warhost - Masters of War - The Exalted (Edit)
Legion of Everblight Children of the Dragon - Oracles of Annihilation - Primal Terrors - Ravens of War (Edit)
Minions The Blindwater Congregation - The Thornfall Alliance - Will Work for Food (Edit)
Grymkin Dark Menagerie - Bump in the Night (Edit)