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Full death rattle/ skeleton army

Count michael

The Undead Sparky
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May 17, 2010
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768
#1
Sorry if wrong area didn't know where it goes
With the upcoming of the generals handbook and the return of points I have decided to return to my vampire counts which have lain undisturbed for many years. I like the idea of a full AOS skeleton army (mainly since I suck at painting flesh). Of course since I am more a chaos fanboy with limited experience at the undead apart from owning a couple of unassembled kits I was hoping for some advice on what would make a good skeleton army. I was aiming for mostly full death rattle status but am highly tempted to include models that look full skeleton like a bone giant, cairn wraith etc but army part of the death rattler faction any suggestions?
 
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The Sun King

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#2
@Count michael Welcome back to the undead ranks! We are plenty who are excited about the General's Handbook like you. :) I've moved the thread to the appropriate forum (dedicated to AoS).

A Deathrattle army is a fearsome thing due to the massive synergy you get. If you want to go COMPLETELY Deathrattle I would recommend an army like this:

Krell (General)
Wight King w. Infernal Standard
Wight King w. Skeletal Steed and Ancient Shield
40 Skeleton Warriors with Spears
40 Skeleton Warriors with Spears
40 Grave Guard with Great Wight Blades
10 Black Knights
10 Black Knights
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
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#3
All deathrattle units are skeletons, including:

- Krell
- Wight King (black axe or normal, with or without steed, with or without standard)
- Skeleton Warriors
- Grave Guard
- Black Knights

But don't forget Tomb King options:

- skeleton archers
- skeleton chariots
- skeleton horsemen
- skeleton horse archers
- tomb guard (grave guard with better shields but worse great weapons)
- necropolis knights(!)
- warsphinx(!)

Also there's a skeleton who isn't deathrattle:

- Arkhan the Black

And a warmachine that isn't a skeleton, but with crew that are:

- Screaming skull catapult

and non-skeleton units that look at least somewhat skeletal:

- morghasts (archai/harbingers)
- Bone giant (actually a statue)
- hexwraiths
- cairne wraiths
- Nagash

and non-skeleton spellcasters that buff skeletons:

- Liche Priest
- Necromancer

and non-skeleton Generals that buff skeletons:

- tomb king
- royal warsphinx
- khalida
- necrotect (buffs screaming skull catapult)
- settra or tomb king on chariot (helps chariots
- probably more?

Battalions:
- legion of death (meh)
- chariot legion (if you want to field a lot of chariots...)
- tomb legion (good, but will be most of your army)
- arkhan's formation (don't bother)
- deathrattle horde (just field legion of death instead)
- mostly I wouldn't bother


Game-play wise, there's only one reason to stick to straight deathrattle all the time - you can get battle line black knights. But black knights are a kind of bad unit. And only matters if you're playing matched play games from the generals compendium book that won't be out till the end of the month. And once you are, you're much, much better off just playing a regular death army for those bonuses, even if you do happen to be fielding all deathrattle units.

So the point is, feel free to include some of the tangentially skeletal themed units that arne't deathrattle, you're not missing out on anything by doing so. In particular, I would be loathe to skip out on a necromancer, given the potency of their buff spell for skeletons. Maybe convert a skeleton wizard to use as your necromancer?


IMO, the best generals for skeleton armies are the wight king with black axe and the Royal Warsphinx (a mummy, but he does buff deathrattle units, in a way that is especially relevant to grave guard, tomb guard, and necropolis knights, but works for all deathrattle untis). The EDIT: REGULAR, not royal warphinx is the only technically deathrattle monster, but is a good & points efficient choice. Necropolis knights, along with grave and tomb guard, are the strongest deathrattle melee troops. Archers are meh, but the ranged option can be very valuable regardless. Catapults are lackluster on their own, but two to three with a necrotect standing between them are brutal. Remember that just being shot at by the catapult will debuff bravery! the target doesn't have to be wounded or even hit.

Core-wise, skeleton warriors are good in large numbers, but you'll have difficulty filling your entire battle line requirement with units of them big enough to be worthwhile, assuming you end up playing matched play games. Chariots, while more expensive per batch, are more usable in their smallest size, so a couple units of them could help with core woes. Really is a shame archers aren't just battle line by default. Oh, well.

Skeleton-leaning builds can go melee or ranged, fast cavalry or slow infantry, elite or horde. The main issue is the lack of deathrattle heroes - wight kings are fine, krell or wight king with black axe can be great in smaller games, but skeletons armies gain a lot from having mummies, necromancers, and liches nearby, especially as points/game sizes increase. That royal warsphinx in particular is a very handy guy to have around.
 
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Count michael

The Undead Sparky
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768
#4
What would be best for fulfilling the battle line tax I will probably be going skeletons but is there much difference between the tomb kings and vampire counts one. Hmmmm originally I was planning on no wizards relying on the units standards plus tomb heralds to revive dead stuff but may include a slightly converted necromancer to help.
This is a rough idea but how does this sound
Wight King with axe
2 tomb heralds
3 blocks of 30 skeleton warriors
20 grave guard
3 necroknights (maybe 2 units of 3)
War Sphinx (or even necrosphinx just for how brutal it is)
And maybe a necromancer and some archers
Unsure about points but aiming for 2k
 

Malisteen

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#5
You're rarely going to want more than a couple units of skeleton warriors, two at most. In terms of TK vs VC skittles, tomb kings are superior, due to superior shield mechanics, but not by enough that you have to get worked up about it. Also, I recommend spears on large warrior blocks, as the reach will help more than the reduced attack roll hurts. Anyway, I'd drop at least one of the skeleton warrior blocks in favor of a squad of charriots. They fill core slots cheaper, while still being able to contribute somewhat. Just keep them within range of the RotN bonus and one of the heralds.

Also, your army is very close to the requirements of a tomb legion - add that couple of archer units in, swap the grave guard for tomb guard, the wight king for a liche king, and one of the heralds for a liche priest. The benefits are actually pretty good, and it lets you pick up a second artifact.
Alternatively, consider a royal warsphinx as your general, in place of both the wight king and your regular warsphinx. Very favorable command ability for skeleton armies.

You can either go melee with some necropolis knights, or ranged with catapults and a necrotect.

Maybe

Royal warsphinx

tomb legion battalion
tomb king
liche priest
3 chariots
2x30 spears
2x20 archers
20 tomb guard

unless I'm screwing my math up (possible, haven't slept), the total so far is 1660, so 340 points left in 2k point list, either:

+ necrotect
+ 2x catapult

or

+ 6 necropolis knights (make these part of the tomb legion, you still take the chariots for battle line, but they're no longer part of the formation)


alternatively:

- tomb legion battalion
- tomb king
- liche priest
- 10 archers (combine the rest into a single squad of 30)
+ tomb herald
+ necromancer
+ 20 spears (increase both existing units to 40
+ either of the above options, tect plus 2 catapults or 6 necroknights
 

Count michael

The Undead Sparky
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May 17, 2010
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768
#6
On second thought I am aiming to have my death army at 1k mainly as I am focusing on chaos plus got a bit impulsive and brought a Horus heresy force through forge world as well as the new armyibook so would have rather the skeleton force being at smaller amount so I can have small quick games any suggestions it would still try and be a skeleton themed force roughly and necroknights would be an auto include though don't think I would be able to have enough points for tomb legion
 
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Count michael

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768
#7
Double post but how does this sound

Death Vanguard force
Wight King With Axe 120
(Tomb blade artefact and Lord of Knigh command trait)

Cairn Wraith 60pts
20 skeleton warriors spears and tomb shields 160
20 skeleton warriors spears and tomb shields 160
20 Grave Guard with great weapons 320pts
3 Necroknights 160pts
How does this sound didn't have enough points for any wizards but did have 80pts left so thought including a cairn Wraith would be good for another hero
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
179
#8
Double post but how does this sound

Death Vanguard force
Wight King With Axe 120
(Tomb blade artefact and Lord of Knigh command trait)

Cairn Wraith 60pts
20 skeleton warriors spears and tomb shields 160
20 skeleton warriors spears and tomb shields 160
20 Grave Guard with great weapons 320pts
3 Necroknights 160pts
How does this sound didn't have enough points for any wizards but did have 80pts left so thought including a cairn Wraith would be good for another hero
You can take 10 skellies instead of the Wraith, that will allow you to merge the two 20-man skellies into a 40-man unit, which is much more powerful than 2 of 20. And you can use those 10 skellies as a roadblock, walking in front of the spearletons. If you opponent charges, he will have to strike at 10 skellies, and then the spearletons will pile-in and stab with 3 attacks (that will be around 70 attacks from those within reach).

A necromancer would be a great addition, if you'll manage to find points. Vanhels is a great buff.
 
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Malisteen

Master Necromancer
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#9
I'd go with:

Wight King, black axe, ruler of the night, tomb blade
30 skeleton spears
30 skeleton spears
15 grave guard great weapons
3 necroknights

Alternatively:

Wight King, as above
tomb herald
30 skeleton spears
3 chariots
15 grave guard great weapons
3 necroknights

would really like to get a necromancer in there, but probably not going to happen at the 1,000 point mark.
 

Count michael

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#10
Yeah,?Sucks necromancers weren't cheaper. I like the sound of the second lists Malisteenbut never used chariots before what are they like?
 

Malisteen

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#11
Well, they're definitely not as strong offensively as they were in Oldhammer. The loss of impact hits considerably reduces their damage, and even double attacks on the charge doesn't contribute all that much when those attacks, are, individually, so terrible. Granted, the same can be said for skeleton warriors, but skeleton warriors can greatly expand their attack power with buffs - particularly vanhels, hence the desire to fit a necro in, but the rules of one limit the ability to do so with chariots. Since their bonus charge attacks are 'extra attacks granted by an ability', it's unclear whether, for instance, a vanhelsed charging chariot unit would get those attacks in both rounds.

That said, they can still put out some respectable damage to unarmored targets, which are likely to be more common in AoS going forward thanks to the battle line requirement.

More significantly, though, skeleton chariots are tied with necropolis knights for having the most favorable recursion mechanic available to death units. Their banner brings back an entire 5 wound model every friendly command phase. Combined with the 5+ save granted by deathless minions and ruler of the night, they can be extremely chewy, and that recursion is further aided by the tomb herald. If even a single skeleton chariot remains on your turn, their banner and a herald together will bring the unit back up to 3 models. And while they lack the nightmarish offensive power of necropolis knights, chariots do fill battle line units, and do so more cheaply than skeletons while still being able to contribute something, even if it isn't all that much in the grand scheme of things.

There was a slightly expanded discussion of the unit over on the tomb kings forum recently, check it out here: LINK.


In this particular thousand point lists, the chariots are there to block a flank, charging in to do some damage - hopefully knocking the target unit off of one of their squad-sized bonuses - than banking on their recursion mechanics to hold things up while the grave guard and necropolis knights eat through the opponenst army from the opposite flank. Just be sure to keep everything within range of RotN and the herald - which means bunching up more than you might otherwise like, but small games, small armies. Undead armies bunching for aura buffs from their commanders is warhammer tradition, anyway.
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
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#12
ON THE OTHER HAND, the extra attacks from skeleton unit size are 'extra attacks from an ability'. If skeletons don't make those on second swings from vanhels, then they're pretty much as worthless a target for that buff as chariots are.
 

Count michael

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#13
Thanks xD certainly some helpful advice. They don't sell tomb King chariots anymore which sucks though if I get my hands on the black knight, skeleton and chaos Chariot Kits I should be able to make a good count as with a more vampire count vibe
 
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#14
Thanks xD certainly some helpful advice. They don't sell tomb King chariots anymore which sucks though if I get my hands on the black knight, skeleton and chaos Chariot Kits I should be able to make a good count as with a more vampire count vibe
You can also try Corpse Carts, but that may be costy.
 
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#15
ON THE OTHER HAND, the extra attacks from skeleton unit size are 'extra attacks from an ability'. If skeletons don't make those on second swings from vanhels, then they're pretty much as worthless a target for that buff as chariots are.
The 3d rule of one states that extra attacks, to hit and to wound rolls generated by an ability cannot generate new extra attacks, not that they work only once per combat phase.

Chariots double their attacks if they charged the same turn. I think this works on both pile-ins, just as skellies' exra attacks from numbers.
 

Count michael

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#16
Would the herald be better mounted for mobility as there doesn't seem to be any points diffetence if you take a steed or not
 

Malisteen

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#17
Typically? Yes. With the big BSB, you won't be hiding him anywhere, anyway. It's not a big enough difference that I'd worry about it if you happen to have a suitable model on foot, though.
 

Count michael

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#18
Yeah I'd much rather use him on foot especially if I can get my hands on Arkhan the black from the mortarch kit as I have a cool idea for a herald conversion. Don't worry Aranei cost is never a issue when it comes to my conversion ideas I am a special case and have brought entire kits just for certain bits xD like a plague furnace, Nurgle lord and Nurgling box just because they had the bits I needed for my Nurgle Contemptor dreadnought
 

Count michael

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#19
Are bone giants any good??? I know they are not death rattle but I have found a cool count as model which I could use as one (or even a war Sphinx at a stretch) as was wondering if the are worth it being quite cheap for a behemoth
 

Demian

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#20
Bone Giants are not too pricey in points, however you must consider using a Necrotect along them to buff their double-attack phase. And a suitable wizard to cast his spell in order to give him re-rolls to hit.

Blood Feast is the best command ability you can give him, unless you plan to field Settra and give him his command ability.

Plus, a Liche Priest can cast Righteous Smiting on him, coupled with his re-rolls, he should perform nicely if you're lucky enough to have him attack twice that phase.
 

Malisteen

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#21
Yeah I'd much rather use him on foot
Heralds have two different, and largely unrelated jobs. If you're taking them for their banner, then mounted is better, but foot is nearly as good, since their banner's range is huge. If you're taking them as 5 extra wounds for some other death hero, then they need the steed if the hero is fast moving, and they don't if the hero isn't.

They're always technically better with steeds - there's no situation where you'd technically prefer your herald to be on foot instead of on a steed, but if you're running him as a bodyguard for an infantry hero or extra recursion for units that aren't going to race around to your opponents backfield in the first turn then non-mounted is fine.

eg, herald on foot supports necroknights fine under normal conditions, but you'd definitely want a mounted herald to support your necroknights if settra and a necrotect are going to send them on a rocket-propelled 30" flying charge.
 
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