The Withershadow Combine

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Cryx Character Iron Lich Unit (Attached)

Cloaked in darkness, this group of iron liches have stalked western Immoren and ripped its arcane secrets out of the shadows for over five centuries. This trio acts as one of the more subtle and precise instruments in Cryx's arsenal. Through rites unknown to any others, they may dismantle warjacks with frightening ease. The Combine then corrupts the cortex and summons in 'jacks from the Nightmare Empire to wreak havoc on the living.

Basic Info[edit]

The Withershadow Combine
Base Size Small
M.A. 7
DEF 13
ARM 15
HP 5 each
Unit Size 3
Cost 9
(3 each)
See also How to Read the statblock



  • Entire Unit
    • Stealth - Ranged and magic attacks targeting this model from a point of origin greater than 5˝ away automatically miss. This model is not an intervening model when determining line of sight from a model more than 5˝ away.
    • Undead - This model is an undead model and not a living model.
    • Attached - Before the start of the game, attach this model to a friendly Faction warcaster for the rest of the game. Each Faction warcaster can only have one model/unit attached to it.
    • Soul Taker: Soul Cage - This model collects souls from living enemies who die near it. This model can store up to three souls and spend them for the following:
      • Strength of Death - This model may spend soul tokens to boost attack or damage rolls.
  • Maelovus only
    • Officer - This model is the unit commander even if the unit has a Leader model.
    • Magic Ability [ 7 ] - This model can use its Combat Action to cast spells. Offensive spells are a (★ Attack) and friendly spells are a (★ Action).
      • Dark Fire (★ Attack) - Medium range, low POW attack. If it kills a living enemy then this model gets the soul regardless of other, closer, Soul Takers.
      • Spell Slave (★ Action) or (★ Attack) - While in its controlling warcaster/warlock's control area, this model may cast a single spell from their boss's spell card. There are several limits on what type of spells can be cast.
  • Admonia only
    • Black Arts - Friendly faction caster can upkeep one spell for free.
    • Magic Ability - As above
  • Tremulus only
    • Magic Ability - As above
      • Dark Fire - As above
      • Puppet Master (★ Action) OR (★ Attack) - Puppet Master is a RNG 10 spell. when it targets an enemy model/ulit,it is a magic attack. You can have one affected model reroll one attack or damage roll, then puppet expires. Puppet Master lasts for one round.

Thoughts on The Withershadow Combine[edit]

Comparison to Mk2[edit]

They lost one SPD, and one POW on their claws, but gained one MAT. This would be fine and dandy if they still did what they used to, but...well, we'll get to that in a minute. They lost 1 DEF and ARM, and their stealth is no longer tied to Maelovus' existence.

The real reason you're here: firstly, the Combine no longer has Dark Industries. Instead, they are a warcaster attachment, and Maelovus gains Spell Slave, letting him cast spells for his warcaster within specific parameters as a star action (or star attack, if the target is an enemy). Aside from that, Admonia has swapped out Unbinding for Sigil of Power, which gives Damage Type: Magical a nearby model or unit's weapons for a turn. Otherwise, they are essentially unchanged, though their battlefield role has shifted significantly.

The Withershadow Combine in a nutshell[edit]

The Withershadow Combine is comprised of Maelovus (the officer), Admonia, and Tremulus. They're primarily a support unit, although to get the most use out of your points investment you should try and kill the occasional grunt with Dark Fire (the Combine can make a surprisingly effective gunline after grabbing a few souls). They generally stick behind your front lines, using Stealth and their naturally high DEF and ARM to avoid harm. From this back position they can support your warcaster with Black Arts and Puppet Master.

Puppet Master is normally thrown on your 'caster to allow them to reroll a game-critical attack roll, or on a friendly 'jack just prior to stomping face. If you're playing a little more aggressively, it's nice to put on an enemy 'jack/'beast and force them to re-roll a game-critical roll.

Combos & Synergies[edit]

The Withershadow Combine are a great addition to any Cryx force, as Black Arts makes every caster more efficient. Of course some warcasters have fewer upkeep spells available than others and they may not be casting them at all, let alone upkeeping them every turn.

Drawbacks & Downsides[edit]

  • Relatively high point cost - although they're worth every point, it can be hard to fit them into smaller games.
    • If you're too cautious with them, they won't make their points back.
    • If you're too aggressive with them, they'll die before being useful.
  • Too popular! In a character-restricted tournament, you'll have a tough decision choosing which warcaster they should get assigned to!
  • Spell Slave isn't as great as it seems: as well as the "obvious" restrictions listed on the card (no upkeeps, no SELF, no CTRL, no COST 4+), you're also limited by the definition of "spellcaster" which renders almost every support spell Maelovus could cast as near-useless. Why? Well basically if the spell description includes a sentence that has "the spellcaster's battlegroup" or "the spellcaster's control area" you have to mentally delete that sentence from the spell effects, because Maelovus has neither. For example:
    • Excarnate lets you RFP an enemy and create a free grunt in your control area? Nope! Maelovus gets to RFP them but he can't create a freebie.
    • Siphon Bolt lets you remove focus from the enemy and have the spellcaster gain it? Nope! Maelovus gets to remove the point of focus but no one gets to gain it.
    • And so on and so forth.

Tricks & Tips[edit]

  • Activate them near the start of your turn, to make sure you have Puppet Master in play before you try something risky!



Theme Forces[edit]

Other Cryx models[edit]



Warcasters Agathia - Aiakos2 - Goreshade1 - Goreshade2 - Goreshade3 - Asphyxious1 - Asphyxious2 - Asphyxious3 - Terminus - Venethrax - Scaverous - Mortenebra1 - Mortenebra2 - Skarre1 - Skarre2 - Sturgis2 - Deneghra1 - Deneghra2 - Deneghra3 - Coven
Warcaster attachments The Withershadow Combine (Cryx) - Skarlock Thrall (Cryx) - Madelyn Corbeau (Mercenary)
Other Controllers Iron Lich Overseer (Marshal) - Aiakos1 (BGC)
Light warjacks Deathripper - Defiler - Helldiver - Nightwretch - Ripjaw - Scavenger - Shrike - Stalker
Heavy warjacks Corruptor - Desecrator - Harrower - Inflictor - Leviathan - Reaper - Seether - Slayer
Barathrum - Deathjack - Erebus - Kharybdis - Malice - Nightmare
Colossal Kraken - Sepulcher
Units, Solos, & Battle Engines
Units Bane Knights - Bane Riders - Bane Warriors - Bile Thralls - Black Ogrun Boarding Party - Bloodgorgers - Carrion Thralls - Cephalyx Drudges - Cephalyx Overlords - Mechanithralls - Necrosurgeon - Revenant Cannon - Revenant Crew - Satyxis Gunslingers - Satyxis Blood Witches - Satyxis Raiders - Soulhunters
Blackbane's Ghost Raiders - The Withershadow Combine
Solos Bloat Thrall - Iron Lich Overseer - Machine Wraith - Necrotech - Pistol Wraith - Satyxis Raider Captain - Scrap Thrall - Skarlock Thrall - Soul Trapper - Warwitch Siren
Aiakos1 - Bane Lord Tartarus - Mobius - Captain Rengrave - Darragh Wrathe - Gerlak - Hellslinger
Battle Engines Wraith Engine
Theme Forces
The Ghost Fleet - Infernal Machines - Dark Host
Merc cryx.jpg


Mercenary Battlegroups
Warcasters Captain Bartolo - Captain Damiano - Cognifex - Drake MacBain - Exulon - Fiona - Magnus1 - Magnus2

Requires a 2+ caster game.

Other Controllers Raluk Moorclaw (Marshal) - Rorsh & Brine (Lesser Warlock) - Wrongeye & Snapjaw (Lesser Warlock)
Warjacks, Warbeasts, & Monstrosities The mercenary battlegroup members you can include in a Cryx army depends entirely on what type of model is commanding them. There are too many permutations to list here, please refer to one of the model entries above for full details of what it can take.
Mercenary Units, Solos, & Battle Engines
Units Press Gangers - Sea Dog Deck Gun - Sea Dog Pirates & CA & WA - Steelhead Halberdiers - Steelhead Heavy Cavalry - Steelhead Riflemen

Croe's Cutthroats - Nyss Hunters - Devil's Shadow Mutineers - Boomhowlers

Solos Ogrun Bokur - Swamp Gobber Raiders

Bloody Bradigan - Bosun Grogspar - Doc Killingsworth - Hawk - Gorman - Gudran - Rockbottom - Dougal - Orin - Ragman - Raluk Moorclaw - Rorsh & Brine - Madelyn Corbeau (Attached)- Saxon - Seargeant Nicolas - Stannis - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw

Battle Engines None

Rules Clarifications[edit]

Rules Clarification : The Withershadow Combine

  • Despite the main rulebook talking about warcaster units only being able to have "one model" attached to them, the "three models" in the WSC can be attached to warcaster units. (Infernal Ruling)
  • The WSC can be attached to Goreshade1 - the Deathwalker is not an attached model in mk3. (Infernal Ruling)
  • The WSC can be attached to the Coven. (Infernal Ruling)
    • The Coven can only benefit from Black Arts once - if three Witches have Admonia in their control range, they will only upkeep 1 spell for free. (Infernal Ruling)

Rules Clarification : Magical Damage      (Edit)

  • The "Damage Type: Magical" is not inherited by "secondary" damage from a weapon such as arcs (Electro Leap) or hazards (Scather). (Infernal Ruling)
  • All spells have "Damage Type: Magical" (refer latest errata).
  • If a weapon/spell includes Magic Damage and another kind of elemental damage it can still damage Incorporeal models. They're not affected by the rule "if an attack does multiple types of damage and a model is immune to at least one it is immune to the entire attack.
    The phrase "immune to non-magical damage" should be intrepreted as "immune to damage that doesn't include Damage Type: Magical" (not as "has immunity to Corrosion and Electricity and Cold and etc.")

Rules Clarification : Stealth      (Edit)

  • "Automatically missing" is not the same as "cannot be hit by".
  • For instance, a stealth model can still be the target of an AOE attack and although it auto-misses, if the AOE deviates onto them they will get damaged.

Rules Clarification : Undead - None yet. (Edit)

Rules Clarification : Attached      (Edit)

  • Attached models are not (normally) part of the warcaster's/warlock's battlegroup. (Infernal Ruling)
(You need the Companion rule to become part of the battlegroup).
  • Thus, attachments are not affected by battlegroup-only effects such as Energizer (unless they're a Companion).

Rules Clarification : Soul Cage - None yet. (Edit)
Rules Clarification : Strength of Death - None yet. (Edit)

Rules Clarification : Officer      (Edit)

  • Even if they're not on the Officer's card, an Officer can give (and benefit from) any non-standard orders that are on the unit's card (such as Shield Wall). Refer main rulebook.
  • When the Officer dies, the Leader model becomes the new Unit Commander (you don't get to choose).
  • But if your unit doesn't include a Leader model, then you do get to choose any of the remaining models to be the new Unit Commander. You don't swap the model, but it may be worth putting a token down so you can tell that grunt apart.

Rules Clarification : Magic Ability      (Edit)

  • Almost every magic ability cannot be used on the same turn you charge. Because a charge must (almost always) be followed by a melee attack.
  • Using a Magic Ability counts as a spell, for effects such as Spell Ward, Witch Hunter, etc.
  • Unlike with warcasters/warlocks, using a Magic Ability is not an "any time" ability. This means:
    • You must complete your movement before you use a MA.
    • You cannot make ranged or melee attacks on the same turn you use a MA.
    • You cannot use a MA on the same turn you charge.
    • (Unless, of course, the rules for the specific MA you're using say you can.)

Rules Clarification : Dark Fire      (Edit)

  • The model with Dark Fire doesn't "always" get the soul. Abilities which say you "can't" collect souls (such as Soul Ward) trump Dark Fire, due to the general rule that "can't trumps can".

Rules Clarification:  : Spell Slave      (Edit)
Warning: This is a long one.

Important Note

This Rules Clarification is very similar to the ones for Necromancy and Geomancy (since all 3 are very similar abilities). Where Spell Slave is unique, the text has been coloured blue.

Who does the casting

  • It is the model with Spell Slave that does the casting, not the warcaster.
    • It's not anything simple like the warcaster getting an extra spell during their own activation.
    • Nor is it anything like an arc node.
    • Any buffs/debuffs currently on your warcaster/warlock are completely irrelevant.
  • For stuff that interacts with spellcasters (such as Witch Hunter) it is the location of the Spell Slave that matters, not the location of the warcaster.
    • If the Spell Slave is within an area of "models cannot cast spells within this area" effect, it cannot cast spells. Regardless of where your warcaster is.
    • If the warcaster is within an area of "models cannot cast spells within this area" effect, that has no affect on what the Spell Slave can do.

When/how does a Spell Slave cast

  • Spell Slaves use their Magic Ability to perform either a (★ Attack) or (★ Action).
    • Because you use your Combat Action to do (★ Attack) or (★ Action) you must complete your movement before casting a spell (unlike warcasters).
    • Typically, you cannot cast a spell after charging, because instead you must use your Combat Action to make a melee attack.
    • If you forfeit your action, or are affected by a enemy abilities that prevents you using your action, you will be unable to cast spells.
    • After casting a spell, a Spell Slave's activation ends (unlike what happens when your warcaster casts spells) because it has now completed both its move and its action.
  • Spell Slaves do not pay the full cost of a spell, so are unaffected by stuff which changes the COST of a spell; such as Lamentation. (Infernal Ruling) or Scaverous's feat (Infernal Ruling)

What spells can they choose to cast

  • A Spell Slave cannot cast spells with a range of SELF or CTRL or with a COST more than 3, or that are an UPKEEP.
    • In addition to this, a Spell Slave is heavily limited by the definition of 'Spellcaster'. Often it will be able to cast a spell fine, but the benefits won't be applicable to the Spell Slave.
      • (Most) Spell Slaves can't cast spells that use the phrase "Spellcaster's battlegroup" because (most) spell slaves aren't in the battlegroup.
      • Spell Slaves cannot benefit from anything that occurs in the 'Spellcaster's CTRL area' because they don't have one. (Infernal Ruling)
        For instance, a Spell Slave that casts Excarnate will not be able to summon a new grunt.
      • Spell Slaves cannot benefit from spells that give the caster Focus. Such benefits are limited to models with the 'Focus Manipulation' rule, which only warcasters have.
        For instance, a Spell Slave that casts Siphon Bolt would still take focus from the enemy, but won't gain any focus itself.
    • A Hordes Spell Slave cannot cast animi, because they're not "spells on the warlock's spell card".

How can they boost the spell

  • You can not use focus that is on the warcaster to boost spells that the Spell Slave casts. (refer rulebook section on using focus to boost: only the model with focus on it can spend it, and only during its own activation)
  • Spell Slaves can only boost if they have a special rule allowing them do so - for instance, the Skarlock Thrall can spend soul tokens on spells via its 'Strength of Death' ability.


  • The Spell Slave doesn't gain any buffs/abilities that are on your warlock/warcaster (such as True Sight).
  • The Spell Slave cannot channel spells through arc nodes. You can only channel through nodes in your CTRL area, and none of the three models have a CTRL area.
  • The Spell Slave can use spells like Annihilation to gain enemy souls. But generally they will be unable to use the soul tokens so they will stay on the Spell Slave for the rest of the game (doing nothing). (Infernal Ruling)

Rules Clarification : Black Arts      (Edit)

  • In a multi-caster game, more than one warcaster/warlock can upkeep a spell for free.
  • Can't be used by a Battlegroup Controllers, because they're specifically NOT warcasters. Similarly for Lesser Warlocks.

Rules Clarification : Sigil of Power      (Edit)

Rules Clarification : Magical Damage      (Edit)

  • The "Damage Type: Magical" is not inherited by "secondary" damage from a weapon such as arcs (Electro Leap) or hazards (Scather). (Infernal Ruling)
  • All spells have "Damage Type: Magical" (refer latest errata).
  • If a weapon/spell includes Magic Damage and another kind of elemental damage it can still damage Incorporeal models. They're not affected by the rule "if an attack does multiple types of damage and a model is immune to at least one it is immune to the entire attack.
    The phrase "immune to non-magical damage" should be intrepreted as "immune to damage that doesn't include Damage Type: Magical" (not as "has immunity to Corrosion and Electricity and Cold and etc.")

Rules Clarification : Puppet Master      (Edit)

  • Puppet Master can be put on a model in a unit, and it will be applied to the whole unit. However, as soon as any model in the unit chooses to use it then it expires on the entire unit (so really it only affects one model).
  • Puppet Master can be used on "secondary" damage rolls such as Electro Leap, Magic Bullet, etc.
  • It can't be used on "stay in play" damage effects like a Scather's AOE.
  • If you cast Puppet Master on the same model/unit multiple times (eg Dhunian Knot) it doesn't stack, at all. (Infernal Ruling)