Your take on Empire of Dust in 3rd

Ok, need your help! Starting up an Empire of Dust army after having played only elves previously. Would really appreciate what your thoughts are on their units and possible playstyles in 3rd.
And one concrete question too, what role does the skeleton archers play in third? Worth using? Got quite a few so considering to make some adjustments if the consensus is that its not viable.


Interesting question. Coming from Elves and a first question was about Skeleton archers, I’m assessing your interested in a Ranged combat army. EoD actually does it very well. In this game its more about saturation of fire instead of affordable support fire. Chariots were recently reduced in range, however EoD has a superior fire support. The issue with a ranks and flanks game, shooting units have diminished army building substance. You’ll notice all the shooting units are Irregular, basically do not unlock. you’ll have some shooter but it wont dominate the list. However spells is a nother story.

I feel like EoD is the ShadowPriest of the video game characters. Healing, Magic, focus on death with life draining, Range DPS, regeneration, magical movement, and resilience.

Considering shooting, here are the unit options:

Skeleton archers T/R/H
Deadeye skeletons archers T/R
Enslaved guardian archers R/H
Skeleton Archer Cav T/R
Chariots T/R/H/L
Great flying wyrm
Burrowing wyrm

But spell casting adds more options.

Reanimated Behemoth: Drain 6 (6")
Soul Snare : Drain 9 (18")
Cursed HP: Fireball12 (12")
CHP : Drain 7 (6")
Aphaphys: Drain 7 (with elite) (6")

I think a heavy shooting army could be made from this, but I’m not sure it would be competitve. I’d hate to run into Nightstalkers, Trident, Basilea, Dwarfs, Undead, and Nature. Players hate the Guardian archer. Theyve been hit or miss for me. Sometimes they do average wounds, others not. Also depends on the target. Slow armies hate the guardians. There are plenty of tools to deal with them in most armies and sometimes there are those bad matchups for everyone.

I’d get enough range damage to shoot out the chaff, then converter to Drain damage with a grind army. Lots of players Use skeletons, Revenants, and mummies. It’s slow but dangerous. It has a control the board kind of feel to me. Another strategy is Bone Giants as the hammers while the rest slows the enemy and gets objectives.

In this new edition there is a significant draw down to range threats. 18" bows are common and no hordes hit on 4+ anymore. That leaves me to believe it would logical to expect more horde and chaff armies are going to come out. I expect I will be heading to a Hordes of Revanants, Rev Cav, Soulsnare, Apaphys, CHP, and Bone Giants. But there are a lot of strats for EoD that are very playable.

1 Like

There’s a lot of potential in 3rd Ed EoD. Unfortunately, there’s no Revenant Worm Riders anymore. So these guys going on the shelf and waiting for Ophidians or 4th edition.


Thanks for the reply. Im not looking for a shooting heavy army, but a combined list would be fun. The question about archers viability is because i got the models.

I just received an email that my book is on the way, so I cannot reliably say anything about 3rd edition yet.

That said, I’ve played undead/empire if dust for quite a few games during 2nd (army here) and listened to the rumours closely.

You’ll need some regular infantry/cavalry to unlock your other stuff. This means, you’ll need some regular skeletons or mummies to unlock your shooters, as skeleton archers will most likely be irregular, just as other shooters. I’m not up to speed to which units will actually unlock (may post as soon as I got the book)

That said, if you’re running an infantry-heavy army; you probably won’t have trouble unlocking your irregulars. Only if you want multiple characters, monsters and titans, you might get into trouble with unlocks.

That is a shame, as that is a nice conversion. Hopefully you can find another unit entry to substitute them for.

The omission of worm riders in the army is a pity. I also regret that the unique unit of restless souls of Raia did not make it. There may be a hope that these missing units could be introduced at some point when the themed lists mentioned in the rulebook appear in a future expansion.

1 Like

Commiserations dude, that’s a great looking unit that helps push the Nids’ existence in your army’s theme :frowning:

Worm Riders needed a rework for sure - I’ve wrecked them every time I’ve ever faced them, and they were in a strange place in regards to the rest of the EOD (slow but no surge, etc) - but they were a cool archetype for modeling and a lost opportunity to keep some heavy cav in EOD (which is likely why they were dropped, to focus EOD on chariots + light cav, not that Undead have a monstrous cav to compete with?) I’m trying to remember if there’s an Undead/EOD sublist coming in AOP, but I think the answer is no (I don’t recall seeing the fabled Ophidians on there, but the list I saw pass around could totally have been wrong!).

EDIT: Something-something allies to make them work?

EoD are a value-based version of Undead in that we pay more per unit than Undead does and lack in alpha strike capability, but have plenty of value units that can two-for-one our opponent’s provided two things: the game goes long enough (spikes happen) and the points are high enough.

The main weakness in EoD is that the units are relatively expensive compared to what else is out there. This isn’t to say that they’re overpriced or that Skeleton Warriors aren’t dirt cheap (they are), but that what really makes the list hum are the expensive units such as Mummies, the heroes, and of course the monsters. That last one is the really important one to remember because, without monster support, we really are just a dry, weaker version of Undead that can shoot (kinda).

I say that we can only kinda shoot because a lot of the ranged units in EoD just don’t serve a great purpose unless the meta suddenly becomes all Trident Realm all day. Even given their low relative point cost, units such as Skeleton Archers just don’t produce enough interdiction to be dangerous and open weak points in our otherwise-tough lines for our enemy to exploit. I’d personally give them a pass pretty much always along with the crossbows, but there are ranged units in the list that do produce enough damage/are tough enough to merit a look.

The first among these units are the chariots. EoD used to be known for their chariots and while the no-unlock thing does significantly weaken their appeal, they’re still a solid buy if you can fit them in. I’ve especially enjoyed using the new legions as a -/22 combat block with serious speed capabilities is well worth it, but I will admit that their ranged capability is far more of a bit of garnish than much else these days. Still, a solid unit. The next unit I’ll talk about are the Enslaved Archers who pack quite a wallop. Again, if you can find the room for them, they won’t steer you wrong most days.

Finally, what I assume will be the most run ranged units are the war engines we have access to. The catapults—with their newly acquired access to Shattering and smoothed damage curve—are a pretty solid addition for a relatively low cost per wound. While they’re nice and all, the big grab is the Soul Snare which is still an excellent piece of kit in 3rd. The snare is a little weaker in that it’s only nine shots now and only heals within 12", but that’s still a very solid piece in an army that relies on healing as much as EoD does along with its ability to shoot into combat to help our…less-than-stellar combatants.

The biggest issue with shooting as a whole, but especially in EoD where points are tight, is that none of it unlocks anything. While Skeleton Warriors are cheap as chips, you’re still paying for them for every unit you want to actually deal damage with and EoD isn’t like Goblins or Ratkin: we need to actually be removing units to win the day. The strength of playing EoD is that you’re very survivable and 50mm squares are deadly with Surge, but with all of those things going up in price or losing survivability, we’ll have to wait and see if that’ll be enough in the coming days or if EoD will have to innovate again to remove the curse of life from Pannithor.

If you’d like to see some battles in action, I’ve played quite a few games of 2nd with various EoD lists and even have two reports using different lists for them on my channel here . Good luck and welcome to one of the most flavorful armies out there!


Sorry, I really can’t see why EoD should be overpriced or something else. They are still able to win games, and they have access to the most powerful hero from my point of view: the cursed Pharao again with Def6. EoD need support from surge, but played well with enough units on the battlefield it should work. Removing shooting has cut most armies and we will have to wait if it fits into the game or is too weak. But having more melee fights meet for an melee army like EoD only a good change. Most armies have significant changes in their strong units, also im not happy about the changes for Abyssals, but after all I can understand most changes. I think EoD haven’t got more nerfs than other armies have. Only the northern alliance seems… Lets say they look for an Army representing Mantics Kings of War game space marines for 40k, and we all know this army’s have - just slightly - some better options.

All Trident Realm, all the time? Don’t you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby!