Theme - Gravediggers

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Cygnar Theme Force
Trencher art.jpg

Trenchers are men and women of unparalleled grit found at the forefront of nearly every Cygnaran engagement.

Theme Rules[edit]

The Good Boy

Theme Force Restrictions[edit]

A Gravediggers army can only include Cygnar models from the following list:

Allowed models Which includes
Last updated 2017.09
Cygnar warcasters Any
Non-character warjacks
Note: Character warjacks can be taken, but only if bonded with their favourite warcaster (Cankerworm with Asphyxious, etc)
Ranger models/units
Trencher models/units
Up to one mercenary unit and one mercenary solo. Too many to bother listing

Theme Force Bonuses[edit]

Warcaster Lieutenant
  1. This army can include one Mercenary solo and one Mercenary unit that will work for Cygnar.
    • These models/units can be included even if they have the Partisan [Cygnar] rule.
    • Mercenary units can have attachments.
    • If you attach a Ranking Officer, this doesn't increase the total number of merc units you can take.
  2. For every 20 points of Ranger or Trencher models/units in this army, you can add one Trencher weapon crew unit, Trencher command attachment, or Cygnar solo to the army free of cost.
    • Free units do not count toward the total point value of units in the army when calculating this bonus.
    • Jonas Murdoch (Trencher Ranking Officer) counts towards the points, but the merc unit he attaches to does not.
  3. Trencher warrior models in the army gain Rise. (Rise - If this model is knocked down, at the beginning of your next Maintenance Phase it stands up for free.)
  4. You gain +1 to your starting roll for the game.

Thoughts on this Theme Force[edit]

Recent Release icon.jpg

Recent Release
This model/theme has only recently been released, and the content in the "Thoughts On" section is based more on theory-machine than actual gameplay experience.

Feel free to remove this warning if you, personally, have a good level of gameplay experience with the model, have reviewed this article, and either you A) agree with the content 100% or B) for the parts you disagree with, you don't strongly disagree; and it's more a case of differing opinions between you and previous editors rather than incorrect content / bad advice.

Trencher Commandos

Gravediggers in a nutshell[edit]

Trenchers form the highly-trained core of Cygnar's armed might, and this theme allows you to field an entire force of them.

From a scenario point of view, you generally end up with quite a balanced force of Warjacks, units and solos. This makes it a pretty versatile force for playing Steamroller scenarios.

Theme's weaknesses and Mitigating them[edit]

Countering high ARM values are what Gravediggers will struggle with. Most models will only be equipped with POW 10 or 11 weapons with a similar P+S in melee. Your main options are:

  • Combined Ranged Attack on the Trencher Infantry and Long Gunners allows them to put out some high POW shots, although this can mean some hard choices into infantry spam lists played by Cephalyx or even Cryx.
  • The Trencher Commandos mini-feat. POW 14 grenades hurt, but still don't do much into ARM19 or above.
  • Warcasters with Fury make Trencher Infantry and Commandos hit very hard with their charge attacks.
  • Caine2 offers Fire for Effect, which can make a Combined Ranged Attack, Trencher Express Team or Trencher Cannon Crew hit well above their class.
  • Most of the boostable, high POW guns or P+S melee weapons will be on your Warcasters and Warjacks.

Outside high ARM, Incorporeal models can cause a lot of headache too. Your sources for magic damage outside the caster will be Triumph, and the Warcaster Lieutenant with a short ranged, extremely expensive spell, and his blade.

List Building[edit]

Trencher Infantry


You're looking at supporting light infantry, sometimes with a DEF skew with certain 'casters.

  • Sloan. She likes Rangers and a cloud wall. She doesn't do much for her units, but Combined Ranged Attack means most are fairly self-sufficient.
    • As a battlegroup warcaster, you probably won't be getting the most free solos.
  • Caine2 likes a lot of the same units for the same reasons.
  • Haley3. She's been used with Trencher Infantry for a long time, so this theme is a natural evolution of that.
  • Siege2 makes Trenchers faster and gives them Fury, High Ground or Hallowed Avenger. Suddenly commandos won't be struggling to get the charge in, Trenchers are no longer pillow fisted on the melee and High Ground makes them even more obnoxious to deal with.


  • Grenadiers.
    • You've got an army swimming in Trenchers, so it's pretty easy to get the maximum number of shots from Manual Reload.
    • The ability to get the most from them is pretty constrained by the amount of focus you can allocate to them. To get the most out of them, consider:
  • Melee warjacks. What you'll be lacking thanks to so many Trenchers is some serious armour cracking. Consider something with serious punch:

It should be noted however, that the theme incentivises you to take 60 points of Trenchers to get all you free models. Warjacks and battle engines don't count for that. Furthermore, your remaining 15 points are best spent on Merc models (Aiyana and Ragman cost 12 points together). Consequently you will never see battlegroup controllers or marshalled jacks in a good Gravediggers list. Especially since the most popular Gravediggers caster Haley3 has enough focus to fuel 2-3 Grenadiers on her own.


Master Gunner

Easy. Take anything that has 'Trencher' in the title.

This is the core of the most popular Gravedigger lists right now.

  • Rangers generally suit gun casters, but Trenchers don't realyl have problems hitting anything with guns.
  • Trencher Commandos are more specialised and only really suit a handful of army builds. Siege2 really likes them though.
  • The Trencher Grenadier WAs are nice and all, but genereally not with spending points on.


  • Trench Busters give you some added melee presence, especially if they can trigger Flank. Two are useful.
    • The Shield Guards also mitigate the loss of Arcane Shield in this theme.
  • Commander Anson Hitch stops all of your units gumming each other up.
  • Captain Jonas Murdoch to make Lady Aiyana and Master Holt Cygnaran.
  • Captain Maxwell Finn he makes Trenchers hit more accurately AND is a murder machine in his own right. Seriously, why would you not want to play the toughes bastard alive?!
  • Major Harrison Gibbs is a Trencher and thus does not count towards your one merc solo. He gives Ragman or Anastasia reposision and feing death. If you consider that worth spending 4 points on.
  • Trencher Master Gunner gives your Express Teams an additional attack and has a RAT boost for your Grenadiers as well as your grenadiers (the WA).
  • Patrol Dog.
    • Who's a good boy?
      • You're a good boy!
        • Yes, you are!
          • Ahem. Outside of certain casters, you will struggle against Stealth targets. Doggo saves the day.


The Trencher Blockhouse is currently seen as a niche piece. Some support tools and spells can start to make your opponent think it's no longer worth ignoring, though. Consider the following tools:

Mercenary Units[edit]

  • Lady Aiyana and Master Holt.
    • Remember that Kiss of Lyliss says "friendly faction model". Aiyana is a merc, not a Cygnaran. So you'll need Captain Jonas Murdoch.
    • Still, damage buffs solve that armour cracking problem.
      • Also Aiyana is the only worthwhile way to have magic weapons in Gravediggers, bar your caster of course
  • Alexia Ciannor & The Risen for some tenacious recursion.
    • Combine with the Trencher Blockhouse, and Haley3 for revive.
      • When ever a Trencher dies Alexia gains a corpse token to create a Risen, the Blockhose puts into play reinforcements and Haley revies the fallen grunt.

Mercenary Solos[edit]

  • Ragman
    • It's still all about making those Trenchers worth a damn in melee.
  • If you really, really want to go first, Anastasia di Bray can give you another +1 to the die roll.
  • Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord hands out concealment, which makes Trenchers even more infuriating to deal with, or Pathfinder, which Trenchers strangely don't have.

Casters of Note[edit]

  • Haley 3 can cast Tactical Supremacy on Trencher Infantry, allowing them to advance, drop smoke bombs, and reposition outside of them, allowing you to create a wall of smoke to hide your army behind.
  • Hitch can apply Feign Death to a unit. Stryker1 can then knock them all down with Earthquake to stop them being shot. The unit can then get up with Rise and be ready to rock the following turn.
    • Just don't let them get charged.
    • Or let AOEs drift onto them if they aren't dug in.
  • Siege2, having been released alongside this theme, supports it well between his Desperate Pace action and Fury.



  • Released in the Trencher CID (2017.06)

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 : Rise      (Edit)

Express Team

Models in this Theme Force[edit]

Refer to Category: Gravediggers

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)