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Mustering from the Undercroft: Order of the Amethyst Blade

Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#1
As I brought my attention to bear upon the idea of starting a new undead army, I found myself rather underwhelmed at the prospective troops Games Workshop was proffering. I get it, the undead troops are supposed to be super spooky and vampire themed, but the armor and weapons looks like they're going all shake loose at any moment. Sure, the Necromancy keeps it going, but it strikes me as inadequate. My army, my combat doctrine, and I say my army forges and maintains equipment of the highest order.

This is going to be a problem.

The idea of a well-maintained undead would (un)naturally be an extension of the commander's pre-death experience. If this was the Old World, you could just call it Bretonnian and get on with it, but AoS enables a little more breathing room with army theme, so here's a rough idea of what I'm working with: the general once fought for a Nagashi Catholic-esque religion, but died defending the land against Chaos invaders and was honorarily buried in the cathedral crypt with comrades. The invasion soon scoured the land until little was left but ruins and wilderness. After an age, our hero is roused from death by the Necroquake. As he musters an army to fight in Nagash's wars, efforts are made to return the land to its former glory.

After a look around, I found that skeletons and necromancers that fit the theme were easy to come by, Children of the Hydra's Teeth and Collegiate Arcanum Wizards respectively. With the addition of a Wight King, that covers the first 500 points, and the Wight King, not to mention the rest of the cavalry, is a bit of a unknown right now. The easy way would be to not worry about skeleton horses, and that's easily covered by saying some breed of wild death-infused horse has made a home out of the local wilderness. Knights weren't traditionally buried with their horses anyway.

The next issue is deciding on Morghasts or Blood Knights. I think the army fits well in Grand Host of Nagash, mechanically and thematically, which engenders Morghasts, but the models don't fit the army in my opinion. I've got plenty of time to find an alternative though. Until then, I'll keep building the army lore.
 
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Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#2
Legion of blood is basic legions of nagash (hoardy infantry buffed by support heroes, heavy recursion, some monsters and hammer units). Blood specifically buffs vamp lords and blood knights, so slightly punchier hammers, and debuffs enemy leadership, which stacks with your banners and lets you get some extra mortals out of banshees & terrorgheists.

Between the LoB buffs and recent points cost decreases, blood knights look to be a reasonable hammer unit. vamp lords on zombie dragons have also been decent, but losing the ethereal amulet hurts them a lot, so I'm not sure how strong they'll be going forward. You'll certainly have to be a lot more conservative in where you put them.
I haven't spent much time looking at the large monsters just yet, but a terrorgheist sounds like fun. Might as well get the most out of the allegiance abilities, if I go that route.

Neferata is a cool character with a great model and command ability, but unfortunatrly she must be your general if you take her in Legions if Blood, and that's a problem since she's quite expensive and not at all durable, even with her CA up. Losing your general in any LoN army is a major problem, since you lose the endless legions command ability, so making your feneral a huge fire magnet yet only barely more durable than a basic infantry hero is a big problem. As such, she's sadly much better off in a grand host army, where someone rlse can be the general, rather than in her personal legion. It's frustrating, but a problem Mannfred and Arkhan share. I'm not saying don't run her, just maybe save her for fun narrative games.

Dire woves are fast, cheapish, fill battleline requirements, and help screen for your vampire units and heroes, so def take some. The models are kind of dated, consider using fenrisian wolves instead. You'll still need recursive bulk infantry for onjectives & attrition. Skeletons are the traditional choice, but chainrasps are probably better these days. Unfortunately, unless you live in the UK, where a recent magazine promotion has flooded the market with cheap chainrasps, the cost per model is kind of prohibative, given that you want to field like 80 of them. Grimghasts are also decent as a harder hitting summonable horde, basically better grave guard, but they're not battleline, so points you spend on them are likely to detract from your blood knight budget.

Speaking of blood knights, the models are expensive, resin, and while looks are subjective I certainly am not a fan. You may want to look into conversion options or third party alternatives.
I think I'll stick to skeletons in any case, I want my army to have a grounded, physical terror. I've also found some good models for them already. At 500 points Vampire Lord, Necromancer, 20 Skeletons, 5 Direwolves looks like a great start.

Blood Knights have always points hungry. For the sake of my army theme, and my wallet, I'm definitely looking into other models. The batwing motif endemic to Vampire Counts has its place, but my army going to need that toned down to fit what I want.

The other concern is future proofing. Chainrasps and grimghasts were added to the army to promote the soul wars bix, which I fon't think GW even sells anymore, so they could be removed from the list at any time, and such is especially likely if LoN ever sees a new battle tome. Soulblight is also rumored to see a separate faction at dome point, and when that happens blood knights might see new modrks, which could make a waste of money and effort you invest in vonversions now. Worse, vampire units in general might see new updated rules that make tgem work better in the soulblight army and worse in legions if nagash, much as what happened to Arkhan and Nagash with the OBR book.

If you start collecting LoB now, a Soulblight book, if one does come out, will probably be great news for your vampire units, but the bulk of your army in the mean time will be dire wolves and summonable infantry hordes, and none of that is likely to still want to run with them, which may end up splitting your expensive collection in half down the middle.

I have no good advice gor what you should do about it, because even if a soulblight faction is coming, it probably won't be any time soon, thanks in no small part to covid delays. Heck, the lumineth arent even really out yet, and we havent heard anything about the guants in ages, and right now 40k has the spotlight, so the earliest we even might see a soulblight book, assuming the rumors have any substance to them, is ptobably next year. That's a long time to wait on a book that might not even be coming, when ypu could be starting and enjoying an army right now.
I'd be happy with Skeletons, Wolves, and undead cavalry, which I don't think are in any danger of getting tossed out. Fingers crossed for a Soulblight book that brings some of that old Vampire Counts magic back. I'm taking the long way to get my army together anyway, thanks Covid, so I probably won't have much in my collection by next year anyway, maybe 1000 points. Thanks again for your thoughts, they're a great help.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#3
After a productive session of creative writing I've solidified my army as the Order of the Amethyst Sword, centered around Deathrattle troops. So... I guess I'll just have to figure something out for those Morghasts then, cause that "Nagash" armor really bugs me.
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
True Blood
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
2,156
#4
If you're running legion of blood, you probably shouldn't be running morghasts to begin with. They're not very good by default, and really only the extea benefits they get in Grand Host or Legion of Night make them worth running. Their elite hammer rile is very much occupied by blood knights in Legion of Blood.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#5
If you're running legion of blood, you probably shouldn't be running morghasts to begin with. They're not very good by default, and really only the extea benefits they get in Grand Host or Legion of Night make them worth running. Their elite hammer rile is very much occupied by blood knights in Legion of Blood.
You are right, though it looks there's been some miscommunication. I hadn't decided on whether to run vampires or deathrattle until today, and I meant to convey that my interest in the Legion of Blood was prospective. Your guidance has helped me make an informed decision on the matter, and I appreciate that a great deal.
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
True Blood
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
2,156
#7
Fair enough. even in grand host or LoN, though, morghasts are far from obligatory. If you don't like the models, it won't hurt your army to just not run them.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#8
Norba has a kickstarter coming up next month with knights and undead that look interesting. I'm not pleased over the waiting time kickstarter requires, but could be worth the wait.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#9
Officially started phase one of the army with a purchase of "Children of the Hydra's Teeth". At .77 cents a model, it's quite a deal, and the miniatures look pretty good. The necromancer that comes in the kit isn't quite what I'm looking for, but he'll do until I can get my hands on a collegiate arcane box. Sadly, I'm starting to waver on the undead templar theme a little bit, so I'm not sure what shields and helmets I'll be getting for them. Probably have a better idea of things when I get the skeletons next week.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#12
Skeletons arrived today and I've started working on them. I'm pleased with the kit, though it does lack parts for a musician and standard bearer and I'll likely need different shields. Fireforge foot sergeants Using greenstuff and a mold seems like a good answer.
 
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Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#14
Doing the skeletons in batches of six, since the sprues from Warlord come with six each. Fortunately, my 500 point list calls for 30 skeletons, so it will round itself out in the end. I wasn't ready for the amount of lean in the sculpts, but at least they're dynamic poses. Just finished scraping the arms. I'm still not 100% on what I'm going to do for their shields (use the ones they came with or manufacture my own), but I should probably base coat them before I put the shields on anyway.
 
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Jul 26, 2020
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32
#15
Arms and spears added, I just have to greenstuff a drum for the musician and this troop will be ready for their primer. Now that I'm familiar with the models, I'll throw a unit champion in the next batch plan, in a heroic pose of some sort. There's a pointing hand in the kit that I would like to use.

 
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Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#16
Six more spearmen down. Decided just to finish up the remainder in the next batch. The rest of my infantry standard bearers are just going to have icon poles so I don't have to keep making flags, I think the big one on my mainstay unit will be good enough.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#18
I have heard they were difficult to build because of the flimsy attach point. What do you think of it?
It's careful work for sure. I wouldn't recommend the kit to someone who lacks confidence in their manual dexterity, but the attachment points are fine.

Here's the musician:
 
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Joined
Aug 11, 2012
Messages
1,016
#19
I do like a basic skeleton warrior. You could vary the extreme lean a bit by putting something under the front foot of some of them - just a bit of sprue or card that'll get hidden in the basing, or a rock or shield or whatver if you wanted to make a "feature" of it.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
32
#20
I do like a basic skeleton warrior. You could vary the extreme lean a bit by putting something under the front foot of some of them - just a bit of sprue or card that'll get hidden in the basing, or a rock or shield or whatver if you wanted to make a "feature" of it.
Good ideas. Fortunately, during round two I figured out what I was doing wrong and they'll be standing straight(er) from now on.
 
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