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Sunny & Najo's Vampire Counts Handbook: Undead Legion Expansion (2015)

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Sunny & Najo's Vampire Handbook:
Undead Legion Expansion

This section covers the contents of Warhammer End Times: Nagash and Warhammer Armies: Tomb Kings. It is rated from the perspective of a Vampire Counts player looking to field the units and options in an Undead Legions army. This work is the collaborative effort of The Sun King and Najo. The handbook is a subjective assessment of Undead Legions army, meant to help newcomers to the game. Our ratings are based on years of playing and cold numbers. Alas, Warhammer Fantasy is no exact science and opinions will therefor differ – not even our collective wisdom can deduce an ultimate truth.


Rating scale:
RED is unusable. This rating is reserved for the real stinkers. Picking this can only make your list worse.
YELLOW is situational. You need to have a specific purpose in mind if you pick this. Without a plan for the selection you will make your list worse by picking this.
GREEN is moderate. These are decent, balanced selections but are not a must have either.
BLUE is good. Most lists benefit from this selection and you should definitely consider it.
PURPLE is amazing. If you don’t pick this you’re likely a masochist. No matter how you look at it, this pick will usually make your list better.


Special Thanks!
Special Thanks goes out to @Demian who wrote the excellent Lore of Undeath Summoning Guide below. We have Demian's consent to revise his work as needed. Currently, we are streamlining the guide and making it easier to access and use during game play, while bringing its style in line with the rest of the Vampire Handbook. Thank you Demian for your great work and allowing us to incorporate it into our VC Handbook!

Vampire Counts Handbook Link
https://www.vampirecounts.net/threads/sunny-najo’s-vampire-counts-handbook-2014.27561/

Lore of Undeath
A lore of undead summoning and utility spells to complement our army. Lore of Undeath can be taken by nearly any Wizard who can choose their Lore. Whether in the hands of our lowliest necromancers or wielded by the all-powerful Nagash himself, Lore of Undeath has interesting tools to offer us.

Raise the Dead (Lore Attribute): Whenever you successfully cast a Lore of Undeath spell, your army gains a Raise the Dead counter. Each counter can be used by any of your Lore of Undeath Wizards when they successfully cast a summoning spell to increase the point value of the summoning by 10 points. Arkhan increases his summonings by 20 points, while Nagash increases his by 30 points for each counter. Raise the Dead doesn’t grant an immediate benefit like our other lore attributes do. You must make use of the counters with subsequent castings in order to benefit from them. That, and the fact that certain units cannot be summoned without the counters, makes the Lore of Undeath somewhat dependent on Raise the Dead in order to get the full use of the lore.

Ryze – the Grave Call (Signature Spell): Ryze is hands down the best spell in the lore, and is often the only spell you really need. Ryze summons 50 points of infantry on a 9+, 100 points of infantry on a 14+ and 150 points of Monstrous Infantry on a 16+. The unit is summoned within 12” of the Wizard, making Ryze a shorter range but more versatile Raise Dead. With it being the signature spell, you can build your army and plan your strategies around it. Ryze easily summons Zombies or Skeletons for use as redirectors or Skeleton Archers for some unexpected reach and chaff removal. With the 16+ boosted spell, it can summon 3 Crypt Horrors or Varghiests or with 1 Raise the Dead counter, 2 Morghast Harbringers. With 5 counters, the 14+ spell can summon 3 Cairn Wraiths, and though normally these wraiths are a poor choice, dropping a surprise ethereal unit exactly where you want it is devastating to your opponent. With Arkhan, Ryze role changes. It can still employ the same tactics, but the units are much larger and can do more. Zombies become tarpits, Skeleton Archers a volley of arrow fire and Cairn Wraiths can bring a banshee, gaining a scream. Crypt Horrors with Arkhan are a solid anvil, and Varghiests a powerful shock unit you can take more risks with. Arkhan can do all of this without counters too. With Nagash, the numbers only increase (again, without any counters) and absurd units of 100 Zombies or 11 Crypt Horrors are summoned with each casting, allowing Nagash to take a fire and forget approach with many of his summoned units. Regardless if Ryze is cast by a Wizard, Arkhan or Nagash, it is effective and versatile, and should always be taken. The only real choice is which spell do you swap out for it to best fit your plans.

Morkharn – Breath of Darkness: Morkharn is the same casting value and effect as Van Hel’s Danse Macabre, just with a normal move in place of 8”, D3+1 Wounds regained in place of To Hit rerolls and a Raise the Dead Counter instead of 1 wound on any friendly undead model within 12”. Van Hel’s can be boosted to affect all friendly undead within 12”. More often than not, Van Hel’s is superior. But Morkharn offers utility that Lore of Undeath needs with its 12” summoning ranges and lack of healing. With it you can move a newly summoned unit to intercept or do some light healing and since it’s a normal move, flyers and your fast units can cover ground quickly. Interestingly, it also allows healing at 12” but at its 6+ to cast, which in some circumstances could be a better option that boosting Invocation of Nehek. If you are using Lore of Undeath exclusively, make sure to include Book of Arkhan to get Van Hel’s Danse Macabre in.

Sulekhim – The Hand of Dust: Sulekhim is an augment spell cast on the Wizard on a 7+, allowing him to exchange his normal attacks for a single attack that automatically deals D6 wounds with no armor saves if it hits, and if the attack slays the enemy model, you gain D6 Raise the Dead counters. This is alright, but the problem the spell has is most of the time your Wizard wants to stay out of combat and the ones who don’t (such as Nagash, the Mortarchs or your Vampires) can do more damage with their normal attacks then with this spell. In the right circumstances, Sulekhim is powerful (such as up against a high Toughness or 1+ armor save or used by your Master Necromancer or High Liche Priest who gets caught in combat unexpectedly) and out of all characters, a Vampire hero or Arkhan will get the most mileage from it. Overall, there are better spells in the lore and if you don’t see a good strategy for using Sulekhim when setting up, swap it for Ryze.

Khizaar – The Soul Stealer: Like Sulekhim, Khizaar is overshadowed by the summoning spells. Essentially a subpar Banshee scream with a range of 12” that casts on an 8+. If used well, Khizaar is a decent source of damage (dealing 2d6+2 against Leadership with no armor saves) and if it causes even one wound, you gain D3 Raise the Dead counters (boosting your summoning spells quickly). Take care with this spell though, unlike the Banshee scream, Khizaar can’t be used in the same combat as the Wizard casting it. Likewise, if the spell fails, you don’t get your scream, so more often than not a Banshee is a better alternative unless you really need the Raise the Dead counters.

Razkhar – The Abyssal Swarm: Razkhar almost beats out Ryze as Lore of Undeath’s best spell. With it summoning 75 points of warbeasts or swarms on a 10+ or 150 points of Monstrous Beasts on a 16+, it can summon nearly all of our redirecting and character hunting units plus Sepulchral Stalkers, making it more of a toolkit spell than the army building one Ryze is. With Razkhar, a Wizard can summon small units of Carrion, Fell Bats or Dire Wolves or they can summon a single Spirit Host or Tomb Scorpion. With a couple counters, a Wizard can summon 3 Sepulchral Stalkers. When cast with Arkhan, this spell becomes frightening with large units of redirectors, respectable units of 3 Spirit Hosts or units of 5 Stalkers. With Nagash, this numbers become jaw-dropping as tarpits of Carrion, Dire Wolves and Fellbats make movement impossible and units of 5 Spirit Hosts or 8 Stalkers are summoned in as needed. As you can see, a well-timed Razkhar is very deadly to your opponent’s plans, especially when they are vulnerable to Spirit Hosts or the Stalker’s shooting.

Kandorak – The Harbringer: Kandorak lets you summon a 65 point character on a 10+ or a 200 point Monster, Chariot or Warmachine on a 24+. Because it summons characters, this spell allows you to bring in unexpected surprises in the form of a magic item, an ethereal character or spell lore. The choice of which character and how they are equipped makes for endless possibilities, its use is just more situational than spells like Ryze or Razkhar. Also, where you summon the character is crucial, as they can’t begin placed within a unit. With its boosted version, Kandorak can turn the battle but at the risk of your Wizard as you will be six-dicing the spell. Still, summoning in a Casket of Souls, Terrorghiest or Mortis Engine at the right moment will likely destroy your opponent. Imagine placing a Mortis Engine to redirect and intentionally get destroyed so it explodes in the center of your opponent’s army on turn 5 or 6. With Kandorak there are many tricks and tactics. A Wizard can summon a Necrotect (granting hatred), Necromancer (bringing an Arcane Item and Lore of Vampires or Death), Cairn Wraith (for ethereal tricks), Hierotitan (boost your spell casting and get its bound spells), Skull Catapult (putting artillery in an advantageous place), Casket of Souls (Light of Death) or a Varghulf (redirector, Wizard hunter or harass the backfield) . With 1 Raise the Dead counter he can summon a Liche Priest or Warsphinx, with 2 Raise the Dead counters a Mortis Engine and with 3 counters a Terrorghiest. Arkhan can also summon a Necrotect with all upgrades, a Liche Priest with 60 points of options, a Necromancer with 65 points of options, a Banshee, a Wight King with 45 points of options, a Vampire with 25 points and either a Mortis Engine or Terroghiest without any counters. Nagash can summon any character will all options, except Lords and any Monster, Chariot or Warmachine.

Akar’aran – The Dark Riders: Akar’aran summons a 150 points of Cavalry, Monstrous Cavalyr or Chariots. Overall, it has too high of a cost and doesn’t grant very effective units unless used by Arkhan or Nagash. But what makes Akar’aran so appealing is even in the hands of a lowly Necromancer it can summon 5 Hexwraiths and when cast by Arkhan or Nagash, it summons a full unit of 10 Hexwraiths! The possibilities of Hexwraiths summoned unexpectedly and exactly where you need them, potentially every turn, offers a huge advantage. Needless to say, it overcomes many of the threats a Hexwraith unit faces, especially when fighting armies like Wood Elves or Dark Elves. If you plan your Magic phase well, your summoned Hexwraiths are immediately effective with a casting of Van Hel’s Danse Macabre. So make sure to at least include a Book of Arkhan to ensure you can take full advantage of this spell.

Overall: On its own, Lore of Undeath is a mixed bag. It lacks the synergy of Lore of Vampires and the raw power of Lore of Death. Early game, Lore of Undeath doesn’t have the Raise the Dead counters it needs to summon its most threatening options (unless you’re using Arkhan or Nagash), then by late game summoned units are only offensive if they have a ranged attack or enough time to charge into combat and deal damage. If you wait till the last half of the game, Lore of Undeath becomes harder and harder to gain an advantage from. The non-summoning spells compliment the lore itself, but are severely underpowered when compared to similar spells from other lores. This makes depending heavily on Lore of Undeath very risky. Often, you’re better off just including the unit within your army than trying to summon it.

With that said, Lore of Undeath has some solid tricks and tactics in it. To really leverage Lore of Undeath, plan your strategy around the ideal units you want to summon and then how you can summon them early and often. While summoning, maximize the element of surprise, using all the various tricks and don’t put yourself in a position where you are wholly dependent on a summoning spell to win the game, as a single dispel will ruin you. Remember, Lore of Undeath lacks a way to deal damage excessively, so make sure the rest of your army can hold its own and bring the pain.

There are choice units for each summoning spell too, and the flexibility and utility of spells like Ryze and Razkhar are impressive. A decent assortment of shock troops, redirectors, ethereal units and magical support are found throughout them all. Combined with guerrilla tactics like the Mortis Engine bomb, instant Hexwraith run-through, the surprise Light of Death, or even just a Varghiest hunting pack every turn, and you can see the potential Lore of Undeath can offer an “outside the box” style general.

The lore gains even more value when used with Arkhan, Mannfred or Nagash. With Mannfred, the summoning spells can be cast up to 24” away, which allows for a more effective placing of Zombies, Varghiests, Hexwraiths and their like. With Arkhan, you are summoning double the point value, bringing in very dangerous units and allowing you to grow a whole army to fight for Arkhan within just a few turns. But in the hands of Nagash, you gain three times the points and range, bringing forth a sprawling horde of undead that threaten anywhere on the battlefield.

Lore of Undeath is effective when used right and it has good synergy with Lore of Vampires, especially with healing from Invocation of Nehek. Really, it’s the non-summoning spells that drag Lore of Undeath down a notch. Too many of those spells and your summoning plans can be ruined, so make sure to swap out the right spell for Ryze - the Grave Call to maintain your best summoning options. If you are using Lore of Undeath with Mannfred, alongside Lore of Vampires or just to access Ryze – the Grave Call, the Lore is Blue. If using it with Arkhan (as the majority of his spells) or Nagash (any number of Lore of Undeath spells), the Lore of Undeath is Purple.

Demian's Summoning Guide
Rating scale:
RED is the worst summoning choice in the list. This option summons the most weakest choice wasting potential power, points or counters. Avoid summoning this option, you have better choices.
YELLOW are situational or poor choices that don't optimize your points or counters. You need a specific purpose in mind if you summon this.
GREEN are moderate summoning choices that use points and counters well. Use them according to your battle plan or to get yourself out of a mess.
BLUE are good summoning choices, intended to get the best value out of your spell. These spells are efficient, making good use of the points without being over dependent on counters.
PURPLE is the best summoning choice in the list. This option summons the most powerful choice without using counters and getting the most from your points. If a spell has multiple casting values, then this is given to the single best choice from the various options.

Keep in mind, the rating scale takes into consideration that the unit is being summoned with 12" of the Wizard. This means a unit like Sepulcher Stalkers or Blood Knights may have greater value when summoned then if just taking in a list as summoning them may negate inherent weaknesses the unit might have (i.e. Stalkers having to surface or Blood Knights only having one wound).


Ryze - The Grave Call
9+ Version, Infantry

A wizard can summon with 50pts:
12 Skeleton Warriors (TK) or 10 Skeleton Warriors with light armor (VC or TK).
+1 Counter: 20 Zombies

+1 Counter: 10 Skeleton Archers.

Arkhan can summon with 100pts:
20 Skeleton Warriors or 14 Skeleton Warriors with full command.
33 Zombies or 29 Zombies with Standard and Musician.
16 Skeleton Archers.
10 Crypt Ghouls.
+1 Counter: 10 Tomb Guard or +2 Counters, for 10 Tomb Guard with halberds.
+1 Counter: 10 Grave Guard with or without great weapons.
+3 Counter: 3 Cairn Wraiths (rare unit).

Nagash can summon with 150pts:
30 Skeleton Warriors or 24 Skeleton Warriors with full command or 19 Skeleton Warriors with full command and a 25 point Magical Standard.
50 Zombies or 46 Zombies with Standard and Musician.
25 Skeleton Archers.
15 Crypt Ghouls.
13 Tomb Guard or 11 Tomb Guard with halberds.
13 Grave Guard with great weapons.
3 Cairn Wraiths or +1 Counter to upgrade a Wraith to a Banshee.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

14+ Version, Infantry

A wizard can summon with 100pts:
- 20 Skeleton Warriors or 14 Skeleton Warriors with full command or 10 Skeleton Warriors with full command and a 20 point Magic Standard.
- 33 Zombies or 29 Zombies with Standard and Musician.
- 16 Skeleton Archers.
- 10 Crypt Ghouls.
+1 Counter: 10 Tomb Guard
+1 Counter: 10 Grave Guard

Arkhan can summon with 200pts:
40 Skeleton Warriors or 34 Skeleton Warriors with full command or 29 Skeleton Warriors with full command and a 25 point Magic Standard.
66 Zombies or 62 Zombies with a Standard and Musician.
33 Skeleton Archers.

20 Crypt Ghouls.
15 Tomb Guard with halberds.
16 Grave Guard with great weapons.

4 Cairn Wraiths, or 2 Cairn Wraiths and 1 Tomb Banshee or +2 Counters: 3 Cairn Wraiths and 1 Tomb Banshee.

Nagash can summon with 300pts:
60 Skeleton Warriors or 54 Skeleton Warriors with full command or 49 Skeletons with full command and a 25 point Magic Standard.
100 Zombies or 94 Zombies with Standard and Musician.
50 Skeleton Archers.

30 Crypt Ghouls.
23 Tomb Guard with halberds.
25 Grave Guard with great weapons.

6 Cairn Wraiths or 5 Cairn Wraiths and 1 Tomb Banshee or +1 Counter: 6 Cairn Wraiths and 1 Tomb Banshee.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

16+ Version, Monstrous Infantry

A wizard can summon with 150pts:
3 Ushabtis.
3 Crypt Horrors with Crypt Haunter or +1 Counter: 4 Crypt Horrors.
3 Vargheists with Vargoyle.
+1 Counter: 2 Morghast Harbingers.
+3 Counters: 2 Morghast Archai.

Arkhan can summon with 300pts:
6 Ushabtis.
7 Crypt Horrors with Crypt Haunter or +1 Counter: 8 Crypt Horrors with Crypt Haunter.
6 Vargheists with Vargoyle.
3 Morghast Harbingers or +1 Counter: 4 Morghast Harbringers.
3 Morghast Archai.

Nagash can summon with 450pts:
9 Ushabtis.
11 Crypt Horrors with Crypt Haunter or +1 Counter: 12 Crypt Horrors with Crypt Huanter.
9 Vargheists with Vargoyle or +1 Counter: 10 Vargheists with Vargoyle.
5 Morghast Harbingers or +1 Counter: 6 Morghast Harbringers.
5 Morghast Archai.


Razkhar - The Abyssal Swarm
10+ Version, War Beasts or Swarms

A wizard can summon 75pts:
3 Carrion
+1 Counter: 2 Tomb Swarms
9 Dire Wolves
2 Bat Swarms
4 Fell Bats or +1 Counter: 5 Fell Bats
1 Spirit Host or +2 Counters: 2 Spirit Hosts.

Arkhan can summon 150pts:
6 Carrion. +1 Counter: 7Carrion.
3 Tomb Swarms or +1 Counter: 4 Tomb Swarms.
18 Dire Wolves.
4 Bat Swarms.
9 Fell Bats or +1 Counter: 10 Fell Bats.
3 Spirit Hosts.

Nagash can summon 225pts:
9 Carrion or +1 Counter: 10 Carrion.
5 Tomb Swarms or +1 Counter: 6 Tomb Swarms.
28 Dire Wolves.
6 Bat Swarms or +1 Counter: 7 Bat Swarms.

14 Fell Bats.
5 Spirit Hosts.

---------------------------------------------------------------
16+ Version, Monstrous Beasts

A wizard can summon with 150pts:
1 Tomb Scorpion (max. unit size is 1)
+2 Counters: 3 Sepulchral Stalkers.

Arkhan can summon with 300pts:
1 Tomb Scorpion (max. unit size is 1)
5 Sepulchral Stalkers.

Nagash can summon with 450pts:
1 Tomb Scorpion (max. unit size is 1)
8 Sepulchral Stalkers.

Kandorak - The Harbinger
10+ Version, a single Character.

A wizard can summon 65pts:
Tomb Herald with 5 points of options.
Necrotect with 5 points of options.
+1 Counter: Liche Priest with 5 points of options.
Necromancer
Cairn Wraith.

Arkhan can summon 130pts:
Tomb Herald with 70 points of options.
Necrotect with his maximum 50 points of options.
Liche Priest with 60 points of options.
Tomb Prince with 30 points of options.
Prince Apophas
Necromancer with 65 points of options.
Cairn Wraith
Tomb Banshee

Wight King with 45 points of options.
Vampire with 25 points of options.

Nagash can summon 195pts:
Tomb Herald with 135 points of options
Necrotect with his maximum 50 points of options.

Liche Priest with Level 2 Wizard, 50 points of magic items and Skeletal Steed.
Tomb Prince with 95 points of options.

High Liche Priest with 20 points of options.
Tomb King with 25 points of options.

Prince Apophas
Necromancer with 130 points of options.
Cairn Wraith
Tomb Banshee
Wight King with 110 points of options.

Vampire with 90 points of options.
Master Necromancer with 30 points of options.
+1 Counter: Vampire Lord with 5 points of options.
+2 Counters: Krell, Mortarch of Despair.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
24+ Version, a single Monster, Chariot or War Machine.
A wizard can summon 200pts:
+1 Counter: Khemrian Warsphinx.
Necrolith Colossus with any of it's 3 options
Hierotitan
+3 Counters: Necrosphinx
Screaming Skull Catapult with Skulls of the Foe.
Casket of Souls
Corpse Cart with any options.
Black Coach

Varghulf
+2 Counters: Mortis Engine.
+3 Counters: Terrorgheist.

Arkhan can summon 400pts:
Khemrian Warsphinx with any options.
Necrolith Colossus with any of it's 3 options.

Hierotitan
Necrosphinx with Envenomed Sting.
Screaming Skull Catapult with Skulls of the Foe.
Casket of Souls
Corpse Cart with any options.
Black Coach
Varghulf

Mortis Engine with Blasphemous Tome (Arkhan can't use Lore of Vampires)
Terrorgheist with Rancid Maw and Infested.

Nagash can summon 600pts:
Khemrian Warsphinx with any options.
Necrolith Colossus with any of it's 3 options.

Hierotitan
Necrosphinx with Envenomed Sting.
Screaming Skull Catapult with Skulls of the Foe.
Casket of Souls
Corpse Cart with any options.
Black Coach
Varghulf

Mortis Engine with Blasphemous Tome
Terrorgheist with Rancid Maw and Infested.



Akar'aran - The Dark Riders
16+ Cavalry, Monstrous Cavalry and Chariot Units.

A wizard can summon with 150pts:

12 Skeleton Horsemen or 8 Skeleton Horsemen with light armor and full command.
10 Skeleton Horse Archers with 10 points of options.

+2 Counters: 3 Skeleton Chariots.
+5 Counters: 3 Necropolis Knights.
Corpse Cart with any options.

7 Black Knights or 5 Black Knights with barding, lances and 20 points of options.
5 Hexwraiths
+5 Counters: 4 Blood Knights.
+5 Counters: Black Coach.
+7 Counters: Mortis Engine.

Arkhan can summon with 300pts:
25 Skeleton Horsemen or 20 Skeleton Horsemen with light armor and full command.
21 Skeleton Horse Archers or 19 Skeleton Horse Archers with full command.
5 Skeleton Chariots with 25 points of options.
4 Necropolis Knights 40 points of options.

Corpse Cart with any of it's options.
14 Black Knights or 10 Black Knights with barding, lances and 40 points of options.
10 Hexwraiths or 9 Hexwraiths with a Hellwraith.
6 Blood Knights or 4 Blood Knights with full command and 65 points of options.
Black Coach
Mortis Engine with Blasphemous Tome

Nagash can summon with 450pts:
37 Skeleton Horsemen or 30 Skeleton Horsemen with light armor and full command.
32 Skeleton Horse Archers or 30 Skeleton Horse Archers with full command.

8 Skeleton Chariots with 10 points of options.
6 Necropolis Knights with 60 points of options.
A Corpse Cart with any of it's options.
21 Black Knights or 15 Black Knights with barding, lances and 60 points of options.
10 Hexwraiths with a Hellwraith

9 Blood Knights or 7 Blood Knights with full command and 65 points of options.
Black Coach
Mortis Engine with Blasphemous Tome

Nagash & Mortarchs (Lords)
Nagash: Nagash, the Great Necromancer… Incarnate of Death… God of the Dead…

So, our beloved Naggie has returned from the dead and he is closing in on godhood, and dear Sigmar does his rules represent this!

Nagash will cost you almost half your army in points but that doesn’t matter as he can summon an army all on his own. Nagash is a Level 5 Wizard who knows 9 spells! He chooses his spells from the Lores of Undeath, Vampires, Nehekhara, Light and Death. His first spell must always be Ryze – The Grave Call (from Undeath), but after that you are free to choose your spells from whichever of those lores as you wish. Nagash gets triple the points and range with summoning spells and triple the Raise the Dead counters when casting spells from Lore of Undeath. But choosing your lores for Nagash isn’t so simple, especially since Ryze does most of the heavy lifting when summoning. But before discussing Nagash’s spell selection, it’s important to understand how the big guy functions as the central part of your army.

Nagash is an absolute beast on the battlefield. All of his statistics are 7, except for his Movement, Initiative and Attacks which are 6 and his Leadership which is 10. He wears Morikhane, the Black Armour, granting him a 4+ armor save and a 4+ ward save and he carries the mighty Zefet-nebtar, the Mortis Blade, that grants him magical attacks, +1 Strength and the Multiple Wounds (D3) special rule. Nagash is strong enough to survive a cannon hitting him and in close combat he is often hitting on a 3+, Wounding on a 2+ and is only getting hit on 5+ and wounded on a 6. Outside of combat, Nagash is vulnerable to focused fire, especially from warmachines and poison. Inside combat, he is extremely hard to kill but gets tied down easily by steadfast units. You have to be careful combo charging with Nagash too, because nearly any unit you send in with him is easier to Wound, and with Unstable could just end up seriously harming Nagash. Fortunately, his special rule Death Magic Incarnate allows Nagash and all friendly undead within 12” to suffer 2 fewer Wounds from Unstable. This makes Nagash’s presence near the center of fighting critical when playing an attrition strategy. Use Nagash wisely, he is not invincible, but the brilliant thing about him is he is far less risky than many other special characters.

Nagash’s major downside is that he costs so many points, you sacrifice having a real army and have to rely on Nagash summoning one during the game. On top of that, most of your starting units are taken to protect Nagash from being charged and cannonballed to death early game. Units like Crypt Horrors, Dire Wolves and Skeleton Horse Archers are nearly mandatory to redirect and control the battlefield conditions until Nagash can get some powerful units into play. Although predictable, it does make for a tense game as Nagash maneuvers and summons, fighting uphill using his small force to control what he faces until he can turn the tide and drown his opponent in ridiculous numbers of summoned undead.

Nagash has two key weaknesses to watch out for. Fast armies are going to get pass his chaff and gunlines could pose a problem by blowing away any meat shields he is using. If you face either of these armies, make sure to re-evaluate the real threats and then adjust your summoning accordingly. You could also go on the offensive and rush Nagash into combat against these armies. Once engaged Nagash is mostly safe from shooting and can still summon units to take out these threats while many of the hit and run armies lack the power to take Nagash on face to face anyways, just don’t let them swarm you all at once and dictate the pace of the game.

Even with all his raw might, Nagash’s real power is in the spells he chooses. It might seem ideal to take as many of the Lore of Undeath as possible. With his Supreme Lord of the Undead special rule, Nagash can make good use of Raise the Dead counters and having triple the points and range on his summoning spells. But the Lore of Undeath isn’t ideal for him. First, Nagash can’t make great use of the non-summoning spells. Breath of Darkness pales to Van Hel’s, Hand of Dust is subpar to Nagash’s own combat abilities and Soul Stealer is short ranged and fairly weak when compared to other spells he can cast. Nagash doesn’t really need the extra Raise the Dead counters from those spells either, as he gets so many points and counters from just summoning as it is. Nagash comes with Ryze – the Grave Call built in, and this is nothing but a downside, because you can’t swap one of the aforementioned spells for it. So, considering half the spells in Lore of Undeath is useless to Nagash, he has to carefully weigh the risk/reward of taking additional Lore of Undeath spells as whatever he rolls he is stuck with.

The other consideration is how valuable Lore of Vampires is to Nagash. Nagash draws a lot of heat during your opponent’s turn and remaining healed is top priority for him. Nagash can’t hide in a unit like our other Wizards can, so Lore of Vampire’s lore attribute is really the only way Nagash can heal himself. With how valuable Lore of Vampire spells already are to an undead army, they become double so for Nagash by helping him stay at full Wounds while supporting and boosting himself and his army.

Then you have the other lores of Nehekhara, Light and Death, all of which can offer value in their own way. Nehekhara is easy for Nagash to cast and the spells allow him to control enemy movement, boost his units own attacks and defenses and with its signature spell Desert Wind being so useful, you could just take 1 or 2 Nehekharan spells, hope for Righteous Smiting or Vengeance and then swap out a weaker spell for Desert Wind. The same tactic applies to Lore of Light or Death, going for spells like Timewarp, Banishment or Net of Amyntok and then swap to Shem’s Burning Gaze or go for Purple Sun, Soulblight or Doom and Darkness and then swap for Spirit Leech. You could also take one of each spell from those lores, go for the gamebreaking spell in each and then swap over to the signature spell if you don’t get what you want. This gives Nagash a decent variety of tools, including Ryze – The Grave Call, leaving five spells he can take from Lore of Vampires.

Another option, Nagash can split up his 8 rolled spells between two lores of his choice. This can be any combination (usually Vampires and something else), allowing Nagash to essentially act as two Wizard Lords in one. This is when taking more Lore of Undeath spells is ideal, as Nagash isn’t relying entirely on them and he can afford to get one or two of the less ideal ones. But you can just as easily focus on Death, Light or Nehekhara and play him as you would one of those Wizards too.

Each option changes the tactics you use with Nagash and where he will best support your strategies. Regardless of the spells you choose, you can rest assured Nagash will remain relatively unharmed when casting them. Since he adds +5 to his casting rolls, he can easily cast most of his spells on 2 or 3 dice, and on the off chance he does miscast badly, his special rule Arch-Necromancer allows him to re-roll any miscast he suffers, accepting the new result instead.

Topping off Nagash’s already formidable powers is Alakanash, the Staff of Power. Alakanesh allows Nagash to store up to four power dice in it to use in a future Magic phase, and the dice can be added on top of the six he is normally allowed, letting him cast with up to 10 dice. Needless to say, this is often overkill and since the dice must be taken from power pool to power pool, this doesn’t grant the same advantage that Black Periapt does (i.e. shifting dice between your turn and your opponents). Ultimately, using the staff this way just slows down Nagash’s magic phase. Ironically, the staff is better used mid to late game once Nagash has established battlefield control and he needs to kill off monsters and characters he has engaged in combat. Nagash can discard dice stored in the staff before he attacks, granting Heroic Killing Blow to one of his close combat attacks for each dice he discards. Nagash can intentionally charge in, shift dice into the staff in his Magic phase and then make short work of whatever Monstrous unit, Monster or Character he is fighting.

Ultimately, Nagash needs time to summon in the earlier turns and then make his move during the midgame. There are multiple ways to come at this, and no one way is correct, it really depends on your playstyle and personal preferences. Your goal should be to make Ryze – The Grave Call count every time you cast it and make every engagement Nagash gets in hurt your opponent. Remember, if Nagash dies, you are likely going to lose, especially if it happens early. You have to keep Nagash safe while taking calculated risks to use him to gain ground. Although he has crazy stats and powers, Nagash is actually fairly well balanced. If Nagash does nothing all game, you won’t get your investment out of him and likely face defeat. Including him in your army puts you at a disadvantage until you’ve summoned enough units to counter the army deficit he starts you with. Including Nagash is fun, but shouldn’t be done lightly. Plain and simple, he changes the dynamics of your army and puts a lot of eggs in one basket. It’s for this reason alone that Nagash is Blue. That said, in larger and larger games, Nagash becomes less of a risk and the units he summons more reflective of the size of game he is ideal for. In these games or in the hands of a very skilled general, Nagash is Purple. In any case, Nagash makes for fun games and every Undead Legions player should try playing with him. Especially if you like summoning 8 Sepulchral Stalkers right behind the enemy and watching them squirm.

Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night: Manny is easily the most potent of the Mortarchs. He has 10 Wounds, 9 Attacks, a better armor save and is unmatched in the Magic phase. Not only does Mannfred have Master of the Black Arts (letting him reroll a Winds of Magic die), but he can use Dark Cunning to gain up to 3 power dice at the expense of 3 of his Attacks, ideally when he’s not engaged. On the turns he is in combat, you can sacrifice up to 3 power dice to give Manny 12 attacks! Even better, with his Sword of Unholy Power, each unsaved Wound Mannfred causes nets him a power or dispel dice in the following Magic phase. When used properly, Mannfred often caps out your 12 dice limit (though only Mannfred can use the dice Dark Cunning creates). Since Mannfred is such a powerhouse with magic, his spells are important. He is a level 4 Wizard and has access to the Lore of Vampires, Death and Undeath, which he can choose from in any combination. With how central Manny becomes to your army (between his spell casting and capabilities in combat), Lore of Vampires is usually the best choice as it boosts and heals your units, the Lore Attribute keeps Mannfred healed and the other spells provide redirection and target softening that help Mannfred and his smaller force control engagements on the battlefield. Still, Mannfred can really benefit from taking a single Death or Undeath spell. You can hope to get something like Purple Sun, Soulblight, Dark Riders or Abyssal Swarm and when you don’t default to a signature spell like Spirit Leech or Ryze - the Grave Call and Mannfred is still doing very well. With Spirit Leech, Mannfred becomes a sniper that can often draw line of sight over the units he is engaged with, while he can use Ryze as a guaranteed Raise Dead all the while bringing in deadly units of Varghiests and Crypt Horrors to take out threats such as cannons and Wizards or provide combat result for the fights he is in. With his mobility and combat prowess, Mannfred is the ideal general since he can quickly move to help your army march or offer spell support and then charge into combat on a following turn, often turning the tide with a flurry of attacks followed by his bone crushing Thunderstomp. Though Mannfred is more durable than fellow Mortarchs Arkhan and Neferata, be careful. As he is costly, losing Manny severely weakens both your Magic and Combat phase and leaves a gaping hole in your army. Keep him moving, healed up and hitting your enemy in the right spots and Mannfred is hands down worth every point.

Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament: Arkhan requires a word of caution before using. He is Toughness 6 with 8 Wounds, but has no real defenses and his 6+ Armor Save doesn’t count. As a Monster, Arkhan can’t easily hide either. But with his Tomb Blade every unsaved Wound he causes restores one of his own. This allows Arkhan to engage low Strength, non-elite rank and file with very little threat to himself. Once engaged, shooting and magic become a minor threat. Arkhan’s point cost is very high, and at face value he isn’t worth it. What makes Arkhan powerful is his Mortarch of Sacrament special rule. Arkhan doubles the points’ worth of models he can summon. This alone means he can use Lore of Undeath better than any Wizard, short of Nagash. Where most Wizards are summoning small, redirector units and Nagash is raising whole armies, Arkhan falls between these two. His summoning spells bring in strong, self-sufficient units that threaten your opponent. For Arkhan to pull his weight, you must leverage his summoning. Just take all 4 spells as Lore of Undeath, make sure to replace a non-summoning spell with Ryse, the Grave Call and then summon the most advantageous units you can every turn into the nastiest positions possible. Since Arkhan doesn’t increase the range of the summoning spells, he is best when getting in close and grinding the units he can handle, while summoning threats in close to the enemy. Be careful with Arkhan, his cost is high and if you use him poorly or lose him, your battle is going to be severely uphill.

Neferata, Mortarch of Blood: Neferata suffers a similar issue as Arkhan, Mortarch of Sacrament. She is high points for a model with poor defenses and a specific role. Unlike Arkhan, her role is more direct and less dependent on casting spells. All considered, Neferata is fairly decent in combat and hunting down characters. She is Weapon Skill 8, Strength 5, Toughness 6, 8 Wounds, Initiative 9, has 8 Attacks and Always Strikes First. She also has Twilight’s Allure, making all attacks (shooting and close combat) -1 To Hit her. More often than not, she is hitting on re-rollable 3’s while being only hit on 5’s or 6’s. She doesn’t hit hard against tooled up characters, but her Dagger of Jet gives her an edge in challenges, which when matched with her overall profile, make challenges a safe place for her. One tactic with Neferata is to intentionally engage a unit with a powerful character in it and declare a challenge. If the character accepts, she is relatively safe. If they decline, the character hides while she tears through the rank and file. Characters that do challenge her find their Strength, Toughness and Attack characteristics being whittled down round after round. Since Neferata likely attacks first (with rerolls), the Dagger of Jet is actually defensive for her, lowering the enemy’s Strength and Attacks by 1 before they can come at her. But the most interesting thing about Neferata is her Staff of Pain. When she successfully casts a magic missile, direct damage or hex spell, each target unit suffers D3 additional magical Strength 5 hits. Although she is only a Level 3 Wizard, she has access to Lore of Shadows and Lore of Death. She can also use Lore of Vampires and Lore of Undeath, but neither lore synergizes with her Staff of Pain well. Neferata could take Lore of Vampires, boost the allies around her and heal herself with the Lore Attribute, while grinding down enemy characters and units. Likewise, she could take Lore of Undeath, bury herself in challenges and summon redirectors and small units of Monstrous Infantry (ideally Varghiests or Crypt Horrors) to support her with flanking. But Lore of Shadows or Lore of Death is where she really shines. Every spell in Lore of Shadows, except Steed of Shadows and Okkam’s Mindrazor, benefits from the Staff of Pain, including the signature spell. In this form, Neferata engages ferociously, laying Lore of Shadow hexes and direct damage down while tearing enemy characters and units apart. Perhaps her best option is Lore of Death. Every spell except Aspect of the Dreadknight and Purple Sun works with the Staff of Pain. Swap either of those out for Spirit Leech, and then cast all hexes and direct damage spells on the enemy. The sniper spells are especially deadly, not only doing their normal effect, but an additional D3 Strength 5 hits directly to the character they are targeting. Also, since Neferata is such a large model, she can likely cast those sniper spells out of combat at other unengaged characters. Her main weakness is since she is so good with Lore of Shadows or Death, she likely won’t have any spells from Lore of Vampires. This severely restricts her options for healing. You could take a single Lore of Vampire spell, hoping for Gaze of Nagash or Curse of Years, and then swap for Invocation of Nehek. But this just cuts into her chances of getting multiple sniper spells or all of the Lore of Shadow hexes. Another option, purposely take a mix of Shadow, Death and/or Vampire and then use the signature spells to maximize the usefulness of the Staff of Pain. This is a fairly valid option, as Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma and Spirit Leech are ideal spells for her. Whatever tactic you employ, it’s this tradeoff between keeping her healed and being a decent threat, which is key to your success with her.

Krell, Mortarch of Despair: Krell just can’t find the love he deserves. He just costs too many points for his subpar rules. The only way to really leverage him is if you build a fear bombing army and exploit every Leadership debuff you can, and then that army is weak against Daemons, Undead and other Immune to Psychology or Unbreakable units. You’d think as loyal as Krell is to Nagash, that he would have better perks as a Mortarch. Sadly, not the case.

Vlad von Carstein, Mortarch of Shadow: Though Vlad has lost Isabella, he is stronger now and as a Mortarch, more of a team player too. Vlad still has the same profile, regaining a Wound from the Hunger on a 4+, Blood Drinker grants him +1 Strength and the Carstein Ring brings Vlad back from the dead. What makes the new Vlad so good is his Mortarch of Shadow special rule. Vlad now causes all enemy units within 12” to suffer -1 to their Leadership. Even better, this stacks with the -1 from Aura of Dark Majesty. But Vlad doesn’t stop there, as all shooting and close combat attacks against him suffer -1 To Hit. Not to be outdone by himself, Vlad takes it up another notch by also granting his -1 To Hit to any unit he joins. Vlad is still a level 3 Wizard, but in addition to Lore of Vampires, he can take spells from Lore of Death, Shadow and Undeath too. It’s this flexibility with his spellcasting that really rounds Vlad out, giving him the tools to maximize his synergy with his unit and whatever enemy he is fighting. As Vlad is less dependent on healing from Lore of Vampires, he can commit to the other lores with little to no risk. Vlad does best in an infantry heavy army, as he still needs a unit within 12” to use the Carstein Ring and Vlad really does best moving from unit to unit to where he is needed most.

Morghast Harbinrgers (Special) & Morghast Archai (Rare)
Morghast Harbingers: The first impression Morghast Harbingers make is that they cost too many points for what they do. They hit like Varghiest and are tough as Crypt Horrors, so it’s easy to assume they aren’t much different from either unit. But with both costing half the points per model of Harbingers, Varghiests are still our most efficient shock troops and Crypt Horrors our best anvil. But Morghast Harbingers cost more for a reason. They are an elite guard that can control positions, be a solid spearhead and reliably pin and grind down units while shrugging off damage. With their Weapon Skill 5, they often hit on a 3+, while all but the most elite enemy hit them on a 4+. Their 4 Strength 5 Attacks with Killing Blow make Habingers beasts in combat, while their Toughness 5, 4 Wounds and 5+ Armor Save, make them extremely hard to kill. Combined with their Leadership 10, Harbingers are also very resilient to Spirit Leech and other Leadership-based attacks.

Harbingers are fairly mobile. With Hover, they don’t depend on the general for marching (though can march 12” when they do) and are practically impossible to march block, so they can easily operate away from your main force. Hover also means obstacles and enemy units offer little impediment as the Harbrngers jump from cover to cover or onto an enemy’s flank where they can’t be charged. The Terror they cause lets them act as harriers on enemy flanks, causing units outside of the general’s Inspiring Presence to break and run. While their Swiftstride makes them excellent at charging and pursuing. Altogether, this allows Harbingers to get into the best positions, picking and choosing the engagements that allow them to best control the battlefield. Just be mindful of their large bases. Although Harbingers hover, their footprint makes hopping around and squeezing into tight spots difficult. Fortunately, their bases also make it difficult to avoid them, allowing 3 to 4 Harbingers to easily block enemy movement by not letting units passed them.

Harbingers are best deployed as a unit of 2-4 models in one rank, allowing them to get the most attacks out of their additional hand weapons. With Killing Blow and 4 Attacks, Harbingers can really threaten any characters bunkered in a large unit and make short work of small armored units, but they work best against large rank and file units with little armor. Since Harbingers are Monstrous Infantry, they have Stomps, can block cannonballs and (since they are neither Vampiric, Ethereal nor Constructs) can regain 1+ Wizard’s Level in Wounds from Invocation of Nehek and D3+1 Wounds from Lore of Nehekhara augment spells. Their special rule Heralds of the Accursed One (all friendly undead within 12” suffers one less Wound from Unstable), makes Harbingers even more robust and excellent at supporting our other units in combat, playing well to our army’s attrition strategies. One word of caution, Harbingers’ high cost does mean fielding them brings your body count down. So, be careful not to overdo it with too many units. But with Harbingers being a Special Choice, they aren’t really competing with many other choices for a spot in your army. All together Harbingers are very well-rounded, durable hammer with a reliability most undead units lack, giving them a place in most armies.

Morghast Archai: Everything said about Harbingers essentially applies to Archai, but with a handful of key differences. First, Archai cost 10 points more per model, as if Harbingers weren’t expensive enough. Archai are also a Rare choice, meaning they compete for a place in your army with Terrorghiests and Mortis Engines. But that’s alright, because Archai are of the same caliber. The Archai have ebon-wrought armor, giving them a 4+ armor save and they are armed with halberds in place of additional hand weapons, granting one less Attack, but giving them that all important Strength 6.

Strength 6 (or higher) Attacks are that sweet spot that wounds nearly everything and reduces most armor saves to nothing. Previously, we relied on vampire blenders for this type reliable round after round Strength 6, but the Archai offer it as a unit. This shouldn’t be overlooked, as no other unit can deliver Strength 6 attacks as effectively as Archai. Deploy them in units of 2-4 models, in either one or two ranks. Since the Archai are Monstrous Infantry, they grant 3 supporting attacks each, which allows a unit of 4 Archai to concentrate all of their attacks on a single point making them excellent at assassinating characters in units if needed. Just be aware when Archai are in two ranks how their second rank sticks out. The unit has even more difficulty fitting into tight spots, and it’s easy for it to get clipped by enemy units within charge range.

Overall, Archai are better than Harbingers. With their extra armor and halberds, they can take on tougher opponents and excel at killing whatever they are fighting. Although they don’t have Death Shriek, a unit of Archai can easily replace a Terrorghiest. Just two Archai cost less points, have more Wounds, a higher Weapon Skill, Strength and Initiative and a better save. They heal with Invocation of Nehek or The Lore of Nehekhara better too. Where Harbingers pin down and grind their enemies, Archai break lines, slaughter characters and slay monsters. They are the most powerful elite unit in a Vampire Counts or Undead Legion army and if used right, will serve you well.

Tomb Kings Lords
High Queen Khalida: High Queen Khalida is more an army build than an actual character. With her Blessing of Asaph special rule, any unit she joins uses her Ballistic Skill 3 instead of their own, and their shooting attacks become poisonous. Khalida is most effective when she’s deployed in a unit of 30-60 Skeletal Archers. With the Blessing, the Archers rain down devastation upon their enemies. When combined with Ptra’s Incantation of Righteous Smiting, her Archers unleash a nightmarish hellfire upon the battlefield. Imagine 60 - 120 poisonous arrows that always hit on a 4+, with a third of the hits automatically wounding. Though the Blessing of Asaph is what Khalida is best known for, she is quite formidable on her own. With a profile similar to a Vampire Lord, Always Strike First and Poisonous Attacks, High Queen Khalida can deal with many threats to herself and her unit. Her major weakness however is she has no real armor or ward save, so protect her well.

When not in combat, her Venom Staff can unleash a powerful bound magic missile that deals 2d6 Strength 4 hits. Many players are inclined to have Khalida and her unit of Archers sit back and fire all game. But what makes her so powerful is tactical shifting between defensive and offensive play. Arrows of Asaph don’t care about modifiers for cover or moving. You can field Khalida and a couple large units of Skeleton Archers. Early game, Khalida’s unit softens the primary targets while the secondary archers remove chaff. All the while, Khalida targets lingering support units with her bound spell. As the archer units maneuver and advance, they eventual swift reform into buses to support close combat once shooting is no longer needed, with Khalida herself fighting in the frontline. This style of army is well supported by a High Liche Priest with the Lore of Nehekhara or a Vampire Lord with the Lore of Vampires or Shadows. Tomb Princes also provide My Will Be Done, boosting the Skeleton Archers Weapon Skill in close combat.

Tomb King: Although a bit overpriced for what they do, Tomb Kings can take some serious punishment. Because they are Flammable, the Dragon Bane Gem or Dragonhelm is a smart idea on these guys. Give them a shield and Armour of Destiny or Talisman of Perseverance, and Tomb Kings become nigh imperishable. With their remaining points, Tomb Kings can be armed with a Magic Weapon and deal some real damage. When using a Tomb King, you want to make good use of My Will Be Done. Any undead unit they join use the Tomb King’s Weapon Skill 6 in place of their own. This is ideal in a unit of Grave Guard with the Banner of the Barrows, but My Will Be Done grants a hefty boost to any unit the Tomb King joins whether on foot or in a chariot.

Liche High Priest: Though 10 points more than a Master Necromancer, a High Liche Priest is ideal if you want to use either Lore of Nehekhara or Lore of Light. The High Liche Priest can also access the Tomb Kings’ magic items and is the best candidate for Golden Death Mask of Kharnut, Cloak of the Dunes or Neferra’s Scroll of Might Incantations. With easy access to both High Liche Priests and Liche Priests, Undead Legions also can field an effective Light Council army build. If you don’t need any of these options, a Master Necromancer or Vampire Lord is a better choice.

Tomb Kings Heroes

Prince Apophas: One of the stranger Special Characters in Warhammer, Prince Apophas doesn’t completely play like his backstory describes. He is depicted as a tortured soul sentenced to death for betraying and murdering his family. Upon death, Apophas makes an unattainable pact with Usirian to hunt down and slay equivalent souls to replace his own in the underworld. You would think his profile and special rules would reflect this undead assassin role more. Although Prince Apophas picks a target character when he appears and can reroll To Hit and To Wound rolls against them, he doesn’t have any tools for dealing with high Toughness or Saving Throws. This makes him excellent at hunting Wizards and Battle Standard Bearers, but against most other characters does little else. What he’s capable of is still interesting. Between Entombed Beneath the Sands and Fly, Prince Apophas can appear and threaten anywhere on the battlefield. With his Weapon Skill and Strength of 4 and his 5 Attacks, Apophas is fairly effective against rank and file, some monsters and most war machines. His Strength 2 Breath Weapon isn’t impressive, but can easily turn a combat or do chaff removal unexpectedly and with Regeneration and 4 Wounds, he is fairly hard to kill and good at pinning units in place. Though he requires some smart deployment and maneuvering, Prince Apophas can do a variety of these guerilla tactics, many of them all in one game, making him a multi-threat capable of disrupting battlelines. To top it all off, when he finally dies, all enemy units within 2d6” take 2d6 Strength 2 hits as he dramatically explodes into a swarm of flesh-eating scarabs.

Tomb Prince: Tomb Princes pack a lot of punch into such an affordable package. With great survivability, decent stats and the Curse, a Tomb Prince is formidable on his own. Equipped with Armour of Silvered Steel and a Great Weapon, a Tomb Prince has both great protection and powerful offense. But as if that wasn’t enough, My Will Be Done makes any undead unit he joins fight with his Weapon Skill of 5! With Tomb Princes being fairly cheap, you can affordably put a few throughout your army, granting their WS into your units of Ghouls, Grave Guard, Skeleton Warriors and their like, including any characters (such as Cairn Wraiths or Wight Kings) who have joined his unit too. Unfortunately, Tomb Princes can’t be mounted on Skeletal Steeds, which makes them joining cavalry units impractical. A Tomb Prince can be mounted on a Chariot though, giving a solid boost to your Skeleton Chariots and letting your Tomb Prince ride in style.

Tomb Herald: In most cases, you are better off taking a Wight King. For 25 points more, the Wight King gains a point of Toughness, Leadership and an extra Wound. The Wight King also has access to better equipment and magic items (such as Nightshroud). Still, that doesn’t mean the Tomb Herald is useless. He is a cheap way to get Killing Blow into your army and (when properly equipped) is a frightening challenger in whatever unit he joins. Where the Tomb Herald shines best though is as a Battle Standard Bearer. With Standard of the Undying Legion (and some cases a Skeletal Steed), the Tomb Herald can join units like Ghouls, Grave Guard, Black Knights, Crypt Horrors or Morghasts, providing a decent boost to the unit’s survivability. The Tomb Herald is also the only way to get Banner of the Hidden Dead, and though not advised normally, the banner does offer some interesting tactics that wouldn’t be available otherwise.

Liche Priest: Liche Priests give our armies easy access to Lore of Nehekhara and Lore of Light. Considering Light Council is one of the more competitive magic builds, Liche Priests can provide a lot of power to Undead Legions. Beyond that, Necromancers are a better choice as they have far better army-specific Arcane Items, such as Cursed Book and Book of Arkhan.

Necrotect: Necrotects are interesting because any unit they join gains Hatred. This works well in Crypt Ghouls (granting more poisonous attacks) or infantry units with vampire blenders, especially if the vampires don’t have re-rolls (such as a Great Weapon with Quickblood). Necrotects are mediocre fighters with only Toughness 4 and 2 Wounds. So a smart opponent will target then to get rid of the Hatred they are granting your units. To keep them alive, invest in some defensive magic items. But their hatred gives them re-rolls, which makes arming them decently worthwhile. The inexpensive but effective magic items work the best when you need both offensive and defensive boosts. Fencer’s Blades, Sword of Anti-Heroes, Sword of Might, Sword of Battle, Dragonhelm, Enchanted Shield, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Endurance and Opal Amulet are all ideal choices. Just combine the best weapon, armor and talisman to fit the Necrotect’s intended role and the risk he’ll face in your army.

Tomb Kings Character Mounts

Skeletal Steed: Only usable by a High Liche Priest, Liche Priest and Tomb Herald. More often than not, these mounts offer little benefit. They are worthwhile if you are using Skeleton Horsemen or Horse Archers as bunkers or needing liches tagging along with your vampires in a Black Knight bus.

Khemrian Warsphinx: You can put a Tomb King or Prince on a Warsphinx, but that doesn’t mean you should. If you run a sphinx heavy army, it is a way to get more Warsphinxes in without compromising your other Special choices. Also, having your general on a Warsphinx increases his Inspiring Presence to 18”, which is nice, just not that important in an undead army. But with how vulnerable a mounted character are when the cannonballs start flying, the risk of mounting your kings and princes often outweighs the reward.

Skeleton Chariot: Having a well-armed Tomb King or Prince with My Will Be Done in a large Skeleton Chariot unit is fairly powerful. They turn a decent unit into a terrifying hammer that can do damage beyond the turn it charged. Tomb Heralds aren’t as good, but they are the only way to get certain banners into the Skeleton Chariots unit.

Tomb Kings Core

Skeleton Warriors (TK): These Skeleton Warriors are cheaper than Vampire Count Skeletons but more expensive than Zombies. If you need Skeleton Warriors, but don’t need spears or a magic banner, then these Skeletons are the way to go. But because you have to pay extra for light armor and spears and the lack of a magic banner, they are often a subpar choice when compared to Skeleton Warriors from the Vampire Counts. When using these Skeleton Warriors forgo the extras and take advantage of their lower point value to use them exclusively as tarpits. This means deploying them 5 wide and very deep, around 8-10 ranks. Accompanied by a Vampire Lord the tarpit is transformed into a cheap but strong fighting regiment which is great at breaking the enemy’s steadfast units. Remember, any tarpit tactics that VC Skeletons or Zombies can do, TK Skeleton Warriors can do just as well, including the dreaded ‘Wraith Wall’ where you fill the front rank with ethereal characters (Wraiths and Banshees), negating most units ability to fight back. Since they are cheaper, you are essentially getting the same result for less points.

Skeletons Archers: Skeleton Archers give our army a decent shooting attack. Because they are cheap enough and their points come out of core, sometimes they are worth replacing our normal Skeleton Warriors. Since they always hit on 5+ they are fairly reliable too. Arrows of Asaph provides a wider range of tactical options, allowing Skeleton Archers to move, shoot at enemy behind cover or swift reform, and not have it affect their chances to hit. Because of this, you always want to upgrade them with a Musician. Just remember, being Undead means they cannot stand and shoot. But perhaps the most difficult decision when using Skeleton Archers is whether to field them as one large block of archers or several smaller units. The larger block can easily fulfill a dual role as both archers and a bus or tarpit. It’s also easier to cast augment spells on a single unit too. The smaller units put less eggs in one basket and allow the Skeleton Archers to shoot at either the same or multiple targets while deploying in different positions, covering the battlefield with more flexibility. When deployed this way, Skeleton Archers lose their tar pit function, becoming more of a redirector or chaff unit, should they become engaged. In either case, Skeleton Archers make great bunkers for our Wizards, providing both cover and a way to deal damage to the enemy while keeping our Wizards safe. A long row of archers allows the wizard to move to any position within the front rank, giving them a sizable range of movement and still have the safety of the bunker. If your army is using lots of wizard bunkers or skeleton infantry, Skeleton Archers are an efficient and multi-functional choice and should be considered Blue. With High Queen Khalida, a large block of Skeleton Archers should be considered Purple.

Skeleton Horsemen: On their own, Skeleton Horsemen are a poor choice, but don’t dismiss them so quickly. First, they come out of your core, so unlike Black Knights they don’t compete with your Special choices. Second, they are about half the points of a fully equipped Black Knight and though Black Knights have better armor and are Toughness 4, Skeletal Horsemen give you more Wounds and overall body count, thus they provide great cover for your mounted vampires, necromancers and liches. Third, the Skeletal Horsemen have Vanguard, and although characters without Vanguard joining them prevent Skeleton Horsemen from using it, Vanguard still provides deployment tricks and extra movement, especially if you’re using multiple units and hopping your mounted characters between them. Vanguard also gives your Skeleton Horsemen a double role of both redirector/chaff and bus for your mounted blenders, and that tactical flexibility is useful. Whether you give them Light Armor really depends on your local scene, and if you face a lot of low strength shooting or melee, it’s useful. But either way, Skeleton Horsemen give you inexpensive, fast moving cavalry buses that either replace or support your Black Knights and provide bunkers for your mounted characters, which isn’t a poor choice at all.

Skeleton Horse Archers: Hands down, Skeleton Horse Archers are the Kings of Chaff. Like Dire Wolves, they come from our core, but as Fast Cavalry and Scouts they are much more effective at harassing and redirecting than Dire Wolves can be. With Arrows of Asaph, they can clear out enemy chaff or other light targets. Just a couple of units can threaten your opponent’s backfield early game, forcing them to react defensively to avoid their warmachines and other support units being taken out. With the option to take full command, Skeleton Horse Archers provide decent flanking support, can do a lot of the same tricks as Dire Wolves and even contribute to the victory conditions of Blood and Glory. Being Scouts, they can counter deploy against enemy vanguard and scouts, blocking off those units from moving into a desired position early game and march block key enemy units. Skeleton Horse Archers even can act as support units in Cavalry heavy armies, giving your mounted blenders a leap pad to move to another unit or they can be used as mini-bunkers for your mounted wizards. This unit is really that versatile.

Skeleton Chariots: Hordes of Skeleton Chariots are an awe inspiring sight to behold. So much so, most opponents are compelled to focus fire on them, and when they do your Skeleton Chariots will die. But this isn’t bad at all, as your chariots are a real threat. They have impact hits, Arrows of Asaph, multiple Attacks and Wounds and are easy to keep alive and buffed up with either Lore of Vampires or Lore of Nehekhara. One of your Skeleton Chariot units can even take a magical banner. Just a single unit of 3 chariots with a Banner of Eternal Flame has 3d6 S4 Flaming Impact Hits. That’s some decent damage and could take out an enemy’s Regeneration before the fighting even starts, which should frighten even the nastiest Hell Pit Abomination. . Skeleton Chariots also automatically boost target saturation, drawing attention from other threats in your army such as Terrorgheists, Hexwraiths or anything Vampiric you have running around. As an added bonus, although Vampire Count characters mounted on chariots (such as the Coven Throne or Corpse Cart) cannot join them, they can still claim look out sir if within 3” of a Skeleton Chariot unit. Best of all, Skeleton Chariots not only do all of this but they are only core!

Tomb Kings Special

Tomb Guard: The Nehekharan brothers to our Grave Guard. For the same points, Tomb Guard are essentially the same unit with worse armor and better Leadership. Although with Undead Legions the army doesn’t crumble upon the loss of our general, a higher Leadership does mean easier swift reforms when Tomb Guard are out of the range of Inspiring Presence. Tomb Guard can take Halberds (+1 Strength), while Grave Guard can take Great Weapons (+2 Strength and Always Strike Last), and this alone often means Grave Guard are a superior choice. Especially since both units’ Initiative of 3 means they rarely strike before their enemies. But when Tomb Guard are given Halberds and the right magic banner, they become a much deadlier unit. With the Razor Standard, Tomb Guard take on a more offensive role, circumventing enemy armor with a -3 to save. Against slower units, this often ensures the Tomb Guard’s victory. With the Standard of the Undying Legion, Tomb Guard are more defensive, becoming a semi-autonomous unit that operates away from your Wizards support. Their bound spell also boosts your healing’s threat without using your characters’ points or magic items. Tomb Guard with Halberds also synergize with Lore of Light better than Grave Gaurd, gaining Always Strike First when Birona’s Timewarp is cast on them or Weapon Skill and Inititative 10 when Speed of Light is cast. If you are using Lore of Light, Tomb Gaurd with Halbreds should be considered GREEN.

Necropolis Knights: Though Necropolis Knights are our only Monstrous Cavalry, and not quite as powerful as those in other armies, they still serve an unique role in the Undead Legions. Each knight and his mount has 5 Strength 5 attacks when they charge (3 poisonous and 2 with Killing Blow) and a Strength 5 Stomp. With Toughness 4, 3 Wounds and a 3+ armor save, they are fairly durable and can be given full command too. All in all, Necropolis Knights are both a solid defensive and offensive unit. Necropolis Knights synergize well with spells like Righteous Smiting and Briona’s Timewarp, as both the rider and the mount benefit from the extra Attacks. Taken in units of 3-4, they can direct a flurry of deadly blows onto an enemy unit, while a unit of 6-8 is a frightening flanker or roadblock. Just remember, only the rider gets to strike with supporting attacks and the back rank can’t stomp, so fielding them in more than one rank without a reason is often subpar. With a move of 7, Necropolis Knights are fairly fast and can easily keep up and support a mounted vampire and his cavalry bus. But their real secret is Necropolis Knights can take Entombed Beneath the Sands. With it, these knights can pop up unexpected anywhere on the battlefield – ideally on an exposed flank, behind enemy lines or directly in front of a unit they can threaten, closing it off from its objective. If leveraged right, just the threat of your Necropolis Knights choosing where they will arrive can cause your opponent to make mistakes when deploying and maneuvering. Just remember, there is a slight chance they won’t surface and once they do Necropolis Knights can’t charge until the following turn, so plan and place them accordingly. Usually this is done by taking multiple units, providing you a backup in case there is any issues.

Tomb Scorpion: A bit expensive for what it does, the Tomb Scorpion can be deadly if used properly. Ideally, the Tomb Scorpion needs to use Entombed Beneath the Sands to get behind enemy lines to get at enemy warmachines, Wizard bunkers, other soft targets and threaten their flanks. Once in position, the Tomb Scorpion’s goal is to outright assassinate its prey and with its Movement of 7, Strength and Toughness of 5, 4 Poisonous Attacks (to deal with high Toughness) with Killing Blow (to deal with Armor Saves), plus a stomp, it has the tools for the job. One downside the Tomb Scorpion has is Wounds caused by poison don’t benefit from Killing Blow. But overall, its attacks are going to cause havoc.

Ushabti: Overall, Ushabti are too expensive for what they provide. In most cases, you are usually better off with either Crypt Horrors (as an anvil) or Vargheists(as a hammer). Where Ushabti are worth considering depends on the types of units they will be fighting. Against non-elite type units and weaker monsters, Ushabti are fairly powerful. With either great weapons or additional hand weapons, and their Toughness of 4, 3 Wounds and 5+ Armor Save, Ushabti can hold out against these types of units while dishing out a decent amount of damage. Ushabti offer an interesting option as a ranged unit too. With Great Bows, they gain a formidable Strength 6, 30” shooting attack and although they only hit a third of the time, along with Ptra’s Incantation of Righteous Smiting, Ushabti shooting becomes fairly deadly. Still, Ushabti are just too situational and require the right conditions to earn their keep.

Tomb Swarm: Tomb Swarms have mediocre stats and its often better to take a Tomb Scorpion. What Tomb Swarms have going for them is their high number of Poisonous attacks and Entombed Beneath the Sands. This makes Tomb Swarms ideal for surprise redirects and to deal some unexpected damage to lightly armored units with their poison before they die. They are also a cheap way to get march blocking whereever you need it using Entombed Beneath the Sands. Tomb Swarms are fairly easy to heal with either Lore of Vampires or Lore of Nehekhara, but they still are very situational and overall difficult to get reliable use from.

Carrion: Though a few more points, Carrion are essentially a harder hitting, more mobile Fell Bat. With an extra point of Strength, Toughness and Attack and having Fly (instead of Hover) Carrion are an interesting support unit. Like Fell Bats, Carrion can perform redirection but unlike Fell Bats they can do so much more, and with their higher points and unit size, using them only as chaff is wasteful. What the Carrion really excel at is hunting soft targets like enemy chaff, Warmachines, Battle Standard Bearers and Wizards. Carrion make decent flankers too, hitting fairly hard and easily handling the small number of return attacks they’ll face. Take Carrion if you want an inexpensive, Varghiest-lite unit that also doubles as a redirector in a pinch.


Khemrian Warsphinx: What makes the Khemrian Warsphinx most appealing is it’s a Toughness 8 monster. Very little can harm it and between its own attacks, the crew’s attacks and Thunderstomp, the Warsphinx performs well in the grind game. Add in Fiery Roar, and you have a fairly potent beast that can hold its own and decimate most units it fights. Although it does lean towards the pricey side compared to many Vampire Counts options, the Khemrian Warsphinx is the only way to get a Monster as a special choice and that alone means it can provide target saturation to take heat away from other Monster units, like our Terrorgheists, Mortarchs or even Nagash himself. Best of all, the Warsphinx synergizes extremely well with Lore of Vampires, rerolling its assortment of Attacks and the Wounds of its Thunderstomp, while healing from Vampire’s Lore Attribute. Just don’t use it as a mount, as your character doesn’t gain any benefit from the Warsphinx’s Toughness.


Sepulchral Stalkers: Sepulchral Stalkers are often underestimated, but frankly no other unit in Undead Legions can do what they do. Sepulchral Stalkers are a Monstrous Beast unit with a Movement of 7, Strength and Toughness of 4, 3 Wounds and 2 Attacks armed with Halberds (granting +1 Strength). As a Monstrous unit, they have a Stomp attack too. Overall, Stalkers are decent in combat, but what makes Sepulchral Stalkers deadly is they have both Entombed Beneath the Sands and Transmogrifying Gaze. Similar to the Necropolis Knights, they can arrive unexpectedly and intercept an enemy unit or arrive on its flank or rear. But, unlike the knights, the Stalkers can shoot with their gaze on the turn they arrive. With Transmogrifying Gaze each Stalker rolls an artillery dice, dealing that many hits attacking the unit’s Initiative in place of Toughness and ignore armor saves. Misfires cause the unit wounds, but on a whole the gaze attacks deals a high number of hits that can easily wipe out single models, smaller armored units and troops with low Initiatives. Along with Entombed Beneath the Sands, Sepulchral Stalkers can drop in and use their gaze nearly anywhere.

Tomb Kings Rare

Necrolith Colossus: With access to Lore of Vampires and the Book of Arkhan, the Necrolith Colossus is fairly viable. Van Hel’s Danse Macabre makes the Colossus’ Unstoppable Assault a terrifying whirlwind of destruction capable of tearing through most units on its own. If equipped with an additional hand weapon the Colossus becomes even more effective at this role, while a Necrolith Colossus armed with a great weapon can take on most Monsters it may face. The Bow of the Desert, while a powerful weapon, is lackluster with the Necrolith Colossus’ Ballistic Skill of 2. Even with Ptra’s Incantation of Righteous Smiting, the chances of hitting are too unreliable. In a defensive army, multiple Colossi with Bows of the Desert could be effective, but their overall point cost and the fact the Colossi wouldn’t be utilizing their Unstoppable Assault makes this a weak choice.

Hierotitan: With 3 Strength 6 Attacks, a Thunderstomp, Toughness 6 with 5 Wounds and a 5+ Armor Save, the Hierotitan is a decent Monster that holds up against most non-elite units. With its profile, it can be played either defensively and guard your flanks and backline against enemy infiltrators or you can have it up in the frontlines pinning enemy units and providing supporting attacks into combat where you have crumbling under control. But where the Heirotitan really shines is in the magic phase. All friendly Wizards within 12” add +D3 to the casting results of their spells. This boosts your entire magic phase but without any increased risk of miscasting. The Heirotitan also comes with two effective bound spells, Spirit Leech and Shem’s Burning Gaze. Since Undead Legion generals are often Leadership 10, the Spirit Leech is full power whenever the Heirotitan is within range of Inspiring Presence, while Shem’s Burning Gaze is an effective magic missile that can counter Regeneration with Flaming and gains D6 additional hits against Undead and Daemons. Taking a Heirotitan is a perfect way to get Spirit Leech or Shem’s Burning Gaze into the army without having to commit to Lore of Death or Lore of Light. The Heirotitan is a solid and cost effective multi-role unit and should be considered for any army that can utilize its abilities.

Necrosphinx: The Necrosphinx is decent, but it competes with our other rare choices and costs the same as a Terrorgheist. Like the Terrorgheist, it flies, has Strength 5 attacks that can be upgraded to become poisonous, and it’s a large, terror causing Monster. The main differences are the Necrosphinx has one less wound and one more attack, its Toughness 8 instead of 6, and has Killing Blow and Decapitating Strike (a single Heroic Killing Blow at Strength 10) in place of the Terrorgheist’s infamous Deathshriek. Plus, the Necrosphinx has a smaller base than the Terrorgheist, making it easier to hide from cannons and land in tight spots. But it is the higher Toughness, extra attack, Killing Blow and Decapitating Strike that defines the Necrosphinx’s role. The Necrosphinx hunts and kills enemy armor, lone characters and other monsters, and it does this decently, but not like the Terrorgheist can with its Deathshriek. But when paired with Lore of Vampires (giving it re-rolls on To Hit, To Wound and healing from the Lore Attribute), the Necrosphinx becomes decimating. The Necrosphinx holds its own in combat, and unlike the Terrrogheist, it easily pins units in place while killing the characters hiding within them.

Screaming Skull Catapult: Screaming Skull Catapults give Undead Legions artillery, adding much needed ranged firepower to our army. Although a rare choice, these stone throwers are inexpensive, allowing you to easily take a couple of them without impacting your other favorite rares. Because the Screaming Skull Catapults shooting is magical and have Flaming Attacks, these catapults help deal with unexpected threats from units with the Ethereal or Regeneration special rules. Flaming Attacks also means you reroll To Wound against units cowering inside of buildings. Skulls of the Foe is fairly good too, especially if you play against a lot of low leadership or chaff heavy armies where panic is fairly effective. Fielding a single Catapult is ill-advised, as you want to ensure the odds of getting a solid hit from these each turn, so 2 (or 3 in a Grand Army) catapults are ideal. When deploying, make sure each Skull Catapult has line of sight and is hard for the enemy to get to, as you don’t want to be shooting indirectly or lose them foolishly to chaff.

Casket of Souls: A powerful tool for enhancing your magic phase. Armies with one or more Casket of Souls gain D3 dice to their power pool. Each Casket also has Light of Death, a direct damage bound spell with a 48” range. Light of Death targets an unengaged enemy unit, making it roll a Leadership test on 3D6, suffering a Wound with no armor save for each point the test fails by. Light of Death then hops to the next target within 6” on a D6 roll of 3+, continuing until it fails to hop or there’s no target in range. Light of Death is the Casket’s claim to fame and dreaded by many players for a reason. With a good casting, it can wipe out entire flanks - clearing away chaff, warmachines, monsters and heavy cavalry with ease. In reality though, the power dice from the casket cover those used for the bound spell, and Light of Death can be unreliable. With a failed casting, a low Leadership test or a failure to hop to another target, Light of Death can end up doing nothing. Your opponent can actively minimize it as well. Proper placement of a Battle Standard and spacing out of support units, while rushing combat units in to engage can quickly minimalize Light of Death. The incredible range of the spell does, however, force your enemy to overplay his movement to avoid Light of Death and in the hands of a savvy player, the Casket of Souls brings psychological warfare to the game. It provides a steady boost to your power dice and just the threat of Light of Death throws off your opponent’s dispelling attempts. Many players will hold on to dispel dice and let spells through because they are afraid of the Casket’s effect. This allows an experienced player to use the Casket to boost their power dice each turn, using the potential threat of Light of Death to get other spells through, and then hit hard with Light of Death at the right moment (ideally at targets outside of their general’s and battlestandard’s range). Remember, if your target is within range of their Battlestandard and fails their Leadership check by even 1 point they cannot accept the result and must still reroll it (and could reroll a worse result). For players who can pull off these tactics, the Casket of Souls is considered BLUE. Just remember to park your Casket away from the rest of your army, because you don’t want anything nearby when it blows up!

Lore of Nehekhara

Lore of Nehekhara is available to Undead Legion armies. It can be taken by High Liche Priests, Liche Priests and Nagash. Lore of Nehekhara offers different options to Lore of Vampires that are useful if you plan your army around them.

The Restless Dead (Lore Attribute): Each time an augment spell from Lore of Nehekhara is successfully cast on one of your undead units, that unit regains D3+1 Wounds worth of models. Units with the Animated Constructs, Vampiric, Ethereal or Large Target special rules only recover a single Wound from each casting. Since augment spells are needed to heal your army, and the healing is such a small amount, Lore of Nehekhara is not nearly as reliable for healing your units as Lore of Vampires. Lore of Nehekhara has only four spells that heal and one can’t be used in combat, while Lore of Vampires has Invocation of Nehek and its Lore Attribute that works with every spell. You would have to cast three of the four spells on the same unit to equal a single casting of Invocation of Nehek. Of course, those spells have other effects too, and where Restless Dead is strong is when cast on units that would only receive a single Wound regardless: They receive the one Wound (like they would with Invocation, it’s Lore Attribute aside) and the effect of the Nehekhara spell.

Khsar’s Incantation of the Desert Wind (Signature Spell): Before Undead Legions, units in a Tomb Kings army couldn’t march. Now any units within 12” of your general can. With this one difference, Incantation of the Desert Wind went from being mediocre to fairly good. Cast on an 8+, Desert Wind allows friendly undead units within 12” to make a normal move, and as an augment spell, those units heal as per the Restless Dead Lore Attribute. Desert Wind can be cast on a 16+ and effect all your units within 24”. You could nearly gain an extra movement phase if needed! The downside of Desert Wind, since it can only be cast on unengaged units, it can’t be used to heal them once they are in combat. This is where Desert Wind pales to Van Hel’s Danse Macabre, which remains useful to all your units the entire game. Still, as a signature spell, Desert Wind is easy to build your army around and incorporating it can be as simple as adding in a Liche Priest with a Dispel Scroll. Throw in Lore of Vampires and the Book of Arkhan on another Wizard, and you easily have 3 movement spells!

Djaf’s Incantation of Cursed Blades: Killing blow is not all it’s cracked up to be. Although Killing Blow is a deterrent against enemy characters and armoured units, it is very situational and this limits Cursed Blades usefulness. Keep in mind, this spell also heals D3+1 Wounds and units with Killing Blow or Heroic Killing Blow take effect on a To Wound roll of 5+ instead of a 6. Cursed Blades is best cast on a unit with lots of attacks (preferably one that already has killing blow) or a tarpit unit that is intercepting enemy characters and the unit they are in. Cursed Blades does grant KIlling Blow to your Red Fury vampires, which is very effective against the right targets, especially models with multiple wounds. Remember, models slain by Killing Blow count as suffering all their Wounds.


Neru’s Incantation of Protection: Incantation of Protection is an attractive spell. Only 9+ to cast, it grants a friendly undead unit within 12” a 5+ ward save until the start of your next magic phase. As an augment, it can’t be dispelled once successfully cast and heals D3+1 wounds worth of models too. Undead already do well in combats of attrition, and a 5+ ward save turns those grinds to your favor immediately. The fact that few undead units have ward saves makes this spell even better. Incantation of Protection can affect all units within 12” by casting it on a 16+, securing your victory in the common end-game multi-combats that can occur. Overall, Incantation of Protection is a solid choice in this lore and useful in all army builds.

Ptra’s Incantation of Righteous Smiting: Incantation of Righteous Smiting is the spell that Lore of Nehekhara is famous for and one of the reasons Khalida and her mass of Skeleton Archers is so frightening. Cast on a 9+, it grants a friendly undead unit within 12” an extra attack (including mounts and crew) and multiple shot (2) if armed with a bow or great bow. As an augment it heals D3+1 wounds. Righteous Smiting is best used on a big unit, especially Grave Guard or Crypt Ghouls where their special rules work well with extra attacks. Cavalry units like Black Knights or Skeleton Horse Archers also synergize with the spell well as their mounts gain extra attacks too and in the case of Horse Archers, they gain both extra attacks and multiple shot (2). Righteous Smiting can be cast on an 18+, affecting all your units within 24”. This is extremely powerful with multiple units of archers or late game, when you’ve got multiple units engaged.

Usirian’s Incantation of Vengeance: Movement is crucial in Warhammer and anything that boosts your own or hinders your opponent’s can be game changing. Incantation of Vengeance is a hex that is 10+ to cast and makes an enemy unit within 18” suffers –D3 to its Movement (to a minimum of 1). They also treat all terrain and open ground as Dangerous Terrain, and the unit must test every time it moves (including charging, fleeing, pursuing, etc). The spell can be cast on 13+ to increase its range to 36”, giving you breadth of the battlefield. Incantation of Vengeance makes a unit either sit in place or suffer the risk of incredible loses with no armor saves. If timed right, you can use the spell’s effect to force your opponent to make hard choices. You can use the movement reduction to make them fail necessary charges or catch their units easier. Use the spell when they are faced with those tempting overruns or situations when they should make an important move, but they risk the results of the spell, forcing every member in the unit to take a test and suffer a Wound if they roll a 1. Veteran players will say this time and again – you win or lose the game in the movement phase: Incantation of Vengeance is a powerful tool that helps you accomplish that.

Usekph’s Incantation of Desiccation: Incantation of Desiccation is an 11+ to cast hex that causes an enemy unit within 24” to suffer -1 to their Strength and Toughness, making it essentially a more expensive Soulblight. Like Soulblight, Desiccation weakens enemy units’ effectiveness in combat and against ranged attacks too. Desiccation also works well within the Lore of Nehekhara, giving our units a way to bring enemies down a notch while gaining the boosts and healing from the lore’s augment spells too. Avoid the costly boosted version though. Although it reduces the target’s Strength and Toughness by D3, you’re likely to miscast and the boosted spell is the same as a normal one if you roll a 1.

Sakhmet’s Incantation of the Skullstorm: Skullstorm is nothing more than a Strength 4 vortex with too high of a casting cost for what it does. Really only useful against hordes of low toughness, unarmored troops like Skaven or Goblins. Even then, Screaming Skull Catapults or Skeleton Archers are still a better choice. All of the other spells in this lore are simply better. Unless you really need it, swap Skullstorm for Desert Wind.

Overall: Though not as practical or synergistic as Lore of Vampires, Lore of Nehekhara has some gems for armies of Undead Legions. A more defensive and circumstantial collection of spells, utilizing Lore of Nehekhara to the fullest requires carefully planning your deployment and tactics around the spells you receive. Although many of those tricks can be found in Lore of Death or Lore of Vampires, Lore of Nehekhara combines them in one place granting two excellent hexes and a variety of decent to powerful augments for your army.

Treasures of the Necropolis
Destroyer of Eternities: For a very steep price a Tomb King can get +2 Strength and Heroic Killing Blow. Though primarily relying on his defenses of Toughness 5 and 4 Wounds, a Tomb King with 4 Strength 7, Heroic Killing Blow Attacks is a force to be reckoned with. When combined with Van Hel’s Danse Macabe and Hellish Vigor, this weapon is extremely powerful against Monsters, Monstrous Cavalry, Beasts and Infantry, heavily armored units, and characters. The auto-hitting sweeping attack is also interesting, but as the Tomb King has to remain on foot, means it affects 2-3 enemy models and only matters when odds are against hitting. Plus, with the Tomb King’s lack of mobility, against evasive units it's difficult to provide Heroic Killing Blow where you might need it. Still, a Tomb King armed with Destroyer of Eternities makes a unit very dangerous. Aside from his ‘My Will Be Done’, just the presence of Heroic Killing Blow in a unit will cause your opponent hesitation.

Blade of Antharhak: This weapon’s effect is too reactionary and minimal for its cost. For more points than the Ogre Blade, you get Wounds back when you cause them and Regeneration when the bearer’s Wounds are full. Though Blade of Antharhak can allow a Tomb King or Prince to remove a couple of wounds and aid in winning through attrition, you are often better off using those points to boost his offensive or defensive capabilities. This weapon is rubbish, skip it.

Golden Death Mask of Kharnut: Though the cost of this item (and that you have to use it on a Tomb Kings character) challenges its application. Still, its effect are powerful considering how dependent armies are on Inspiring Presence and Hold Your Ground!. With Golden Death Mask of Kharnut, suddenly Fear and Terror strategies are viable, screams and sniper spells are more effective and the Coven Throne’s Battle of Wills or the Casket of Souls Light of Death are even deadlier. Armies basing their tactics around debuffing enemy Leadership should consider this item Green. If you are already fielding a Liche High Priest and can get them close to the enemy safely, this item is BLUE.

Cloak of the Dunes: Arguably the best way to get a Tomb Kings character to fly. Giving Cloak of the Dunes to a Liche High Priest allows them to easily hop from unit to unit and maximize their spell casting while dealing 2D6 Strength 2 hits to every unengaged enemy they pass over. With proper planning, Cloak of the Dunes allows a Tomb Kings character to act similarly to Hexwraiths while gaining shelter in your own units. An excellent way to clear out chaff or single models.

Neferra’s Scrolls of Mighty Incantations: Though expensive for a one use item, Scroll of Mighty Incantations nearly guarantees you will get a spell through. With the right spell and timing, this item can be game changing. Imagine casting Purple Sun with 10 dice and any double rolled causes Irresistible Force! Neferra’s Scrolls of Mighty Incantations pales when your army is using vampires and necromancers with access to Vampire Counts’ Arcane Items, but if your army is exclusively using High Liche Priests and Liche Priests, this item is BLUE.

Enkhil’s Kanopi: At face value, Enkhil’s Kanopi is a simple Arcane Item with a powerful bound spell where you roll a D6 for each Remains in Play spell, and on a 2+ that spell is dispelled and you add D3 power dice to your pool. The best part of this is that the spell is dispelled on a 2+ regardless of it’s casting value (even Fiery Convocation!), and since you gain D3 power dice, you essentially are paying nothing for the Kanopi’s bound spell. The only real seeming drawback is how few Remains in Play spells are in the game. But when you build around the Kanopi with Lore of Shadows, Lore of Death and/or the Cursed Book, a powerful tactic emerges. On your turn, cast spells like The Enfeebling Foe, The Withering, Doom and Darkness and The Purple Sun of Xereus. Take full advantage of those spells and then use the Kanopi at an opportune time (either that Magic phase or on your next) and remove the spells, gaining D3 power dice for each. If timed right, you gain the full benefit of the spell and additional power dice, all while clearing your opponent's Remains in Play spells from the battlefield.

Standard of the Undying Legion: With easy access to Invocation of Nehek, this item loses some of its appeal. Still, a banner with a bound spell that heals D6+2 wounds to its unit allows that unit to operate independently of your Wizards and provides back up to your healing spells. Although Standard of the Undying Legion is usually seen in Tomb Guard, it can also be carried by a Tomb Herald Battle Standard Bearer (though it’s a bit expensive to do). Whether on foot or mounted, a Tomb Herald allows the banner to join a unit of Skeleton Chariots, Warriors or Horsemen. Even more intriguing is the Tomb Herald can join Vampire Counts units, and not only Zombies and Skeletons but Ghouls, Grave Guard and Black Knights too. In the right army or with the right units, the Tomb Herald can work. Even allowing the Battle Standard to move between units, bringing its benefits and healing effect with it.

Banner of the Hidden Dead: This banner is difficult to rate. On one hand its expensive (175 points for herald with banner), vulnerable (Herald has only Toughness 4, 2 Wounds and a 6+ Armor Save) and risky (both the Herald and the unit in the banner easily become dead weight if they can’t be used effectively). But the Banner of the Hidden Dead has two interesting effects. It can hold a 175 point infantry, cavalry or chariot unit that gains the Entombed Beneath the Sands special rule and friendly Entombed Beneath the Sands units emerging within 12” of it can re-roll their scatter and artillery dice. These two effects strengthen the shock tactics and dependability of your Entombed units greatly. Aside from your Necropolis Knights and Sepulcher Stalkers arriving right on target when needed, the unit you place within the banner gains added tactical flexibility. That unit is varied too. Any of the Tomb Kings characters, sizable blocks of Skeleton Warriors or Archers, medium sized Horsemen, Horse Archers or Tomb Guard or a minimal sized unit of Skeleton Chariots are all valid candidates. Imagine a unit of 40 Skeletons suddenly surfacing and intercepting an enemy or 3 Skeleton Chariots or 13 Horsemen with a banner surfacing in a flank ready to charge. 29 Skeleton Archers appearing with other threats on a flank or rear, begging your opponent to divide his forces. Perhaps the most creative use of the banner is placing the Herald himself within it and using the banner to deploy him and your other Entombed units together anywhere with deadly accuracy. The Banner of the Hidden Dead isn’t great, but it’s unexpected. Its use is challenging and likely ill-conceived. But well-planned and intentionally built around, could catch your opponent off-guard and cause some real damage, and for the risk-taking general Banner of the Hidden Dead might just be the ace up their sleeve.









 
Last edited:
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Nov 13, 2013
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#2
1) Disagree that TK skeletons are inferior to VC ones. 5+ armour is of negligible utility, and the 20% reduction in cost is a huge boon. Magic banners are only helpful if you're using the unit as a bunker for characters, really.

2) You missed the most important part of skeleton chariots: flaming impact hits go BEFORE the ASF step, meaning it knocks regen off before blender lords strike...magic weapon or no.

3) Tomb Guard are worse than Grave Guard on their own in many circumstances, but take buffs much better as a result of their lack of ASL. I3 is nothing to shake a stick at though, as they go before great weapons and the many, many units that are I1 or 2. Skullcrusher mounts, for instance. The BotUL is also a big trap choice...razor standard is the way to go here. If this unit is out of buff range then you're doing things wrong. They should be green.

4) Remember that necroknights get +2 attacks per model with any spell that gives them extra attacks. That's pretty huge, especially when the mounts are S5 and the riders S5 on the charge. Entombing them is...a bit of a gimmick. Could work with certain builds (like supporting a BK bus or flying circus list, perhaps?). Or occasionally a gunline, coming up behind their lines. Not dependable though.

5) You're missing the warsphinx out of special! These things are fucking awesome with Lore of Vampires. Their biggest weakness in the TK army is that you chip a few wounds off them with shooting then they go down easy to SCR and the odd 6 you roll just throwing lots of attacks at them. Pair them with morghasts, wight king BSBs, and Lore of Vampirse and they can stick around all day. Not to mention Vanhels rerolls on thundercrush! It's terrible on average wounds, but with Vanhels / Viggor it can output a staggering amount of damage to big bricks (something that both VC and TK struggle with).

6) Remember too that the casket is T10, and draws a surprising amount of warmachine fire from players who have felt its sting. Also remember that tis target should be CHAFF, and WARMACHINES, not stuff in the BSB bubble. If it bounces there then cool. Just don't depend on that.

That said, in a magic-oriented list these things are an incredible force multiplier. The dice advantage is key, but the real benefit is the effect this spell has on the magic phase. You can ram a lot of spells though with the threat of two dice held back for Light of Death. And then you just stick those dice into the Periapt, and let your opponent end the phase holding wasted dice.

EDIT: also keep in mind that BSB rerolls are NOT OPTIONAL. No, you cannot simply say you're happy with failing by 1. You must reroll. "Hold Your Ground" is not a 'may' ability.

7) Tomb Kings players have hate-love relationships with their skullapults. Without a way to reroll the dice the things miss all the fucking time. They're so cheap it almost doesn't matter, as when they do hit it's game altering. They're super frustrating though.

8) Cursed Blades: don't forget...killing blow impact hits! Also that the full amount of remaining wounds triggers extra RF attacks.

9) Mighty Scroll: reread the item description. ANY doubles causes a miscast. You don't need 10 dice for that to happen. So just when your opponent is sick of you sticking those last two dice of yours in the periapt you can turn them into a 6-diced purple sun that goes IF something like 70% of the time (check the Khemri boards for the math...it's surprisingly high probability).

10) BotUL is a trap choice. It basically only fits on TG and heralds (which are AWFUL). TG want razor standard, while for the price of a herald with the banner you're getting close to a level 4 vampries with Invocation and an extra channel.

11) Golden Deathmask is blue, no question. Put it on a Liche High Priest with a dispel scroll and push him to the second rank with vampries and wights.

12) Destroyer of Eternities is alright, and the Kanopi has some...rather fringe uses. I struggle to see the use for Cloak of Dunes though. There are better ways to protect your liche than a 10" move that he likely won't be marching with.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
187
#3
For the Mighty scrolls, the Tomb king FAQ makes it clear that only doubles rolled by the bonus dice from the Mighty Scrolls, which are not power dice and do not count towards your casting value, count for causing a miscast. So you use the scroll and roll 2 dice, since not enough power always trumps out irresistable force, and since it is on a level 4, four bonus dice if any of those 4 dice roll doubles ~70% of the time, it goes off with IF, so use this last in a magic phase, the opponent won't see it coming and you won't lose power dice for it.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
187
#4
Another thing incantation of smiting can only affect skeletal archers and the ushabti bows, it won't give a necrokith colossus two shots with the vote of the desert.
 
Joined
May 5, 2015
Messages
46
#5
Don't forget that Skelton archer units are comprised of skeleton warriors armed with bows and therefore benefit from MotD :D
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
187
#6
Motd, does NOT
Don't forget that Skelton archer units are comprised of skeleton warriors armed with bows and therefore benefit from MotD :D

That is false, motd will increase units called skeleton warriors beyond starting size, so the argument can be made for tk skeleton warriors, but skeleton warrior is most definitely not spelled s k e L e t o N a r c h e r. So it can't be used to increase archers beyond starting size.
 
Joined
May 5, 2015
Messages
46
#7
Motd, does NOT


That is false, motd will increase units called skeleton warriors beyond starting size, so the argument can be made for tk skeleton warriors, but skeleton warrior is most definitely not spelled s k e L e t o N a r c h e r. So it can't be used to increase archers beyond starting size.
The exact wording for MotD is "The Necromancer is able to use the IoN spell to increase units of Skeleton Warriors beyond their starting size" Note it states units of SW, not SW units. Then look at the profile page for the Skeleton Archer unit, it states Skeleton Warriors in the stat line, the only difference is that they have bows. Pretty sure this has been argued elsewhere before and ultimately decided in favor of increasing the archer unit size.

http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/621716.page
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
187
#8
I'm pretty sure it was decided you couldn't increase their size although that may have been on warseer or some other site, but to be fair no one in their right mind would take motd just to get a few more S3 shots that hit on 5s. It would be side effect of some other strategy because skeleton archers really aren't that great.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2014
Messages
240
#10
An amazing work yet again guys :)
I've been waiting for this for a long time and I'm thrilled that it has been posted right before my game on monday.

Time to get back to the drafting table and implement some changes to my list!

Also, skeleton archers that can be raised beyond starting size through MOTD is very interesting and worth a second look.
 

najo

Mortarch of the Dark Soul
True Blood
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Messages
2,047
#11
Thank you Hellion! We glad to hear you are already good use out of it!
 

najo

Mortarch of the Dark Soul
True Blood
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Messages
2,047
#13
1) Disagree that TK skeletons are inferior to VC ones. 5+ armour is of negligible utility, and the 20% reduction in cost is a huge boon. Magic banners are only helpful if you're using the unit as a bunker for characters, really.

2) You missed the most important part of skeleton chariots: flaming impact hits go BEFORE the ASF step, meaning it knocks regen off before blender lords strike...magic weapon or no.

3) Tomb Guard are worse than Grave Guard on their own in many circumstances, but take buffs much better as a result of their lack of ASL. I3 is nothing to shake a stick at though, as they go before great weapons and the many, many units that are I1 or 2. Skullcrusher mounts, for instance. The BotUL is also a big trap choice...razor standard is the way to go here. If this unit is out of buff range then you're doing things wrong. They should be green.

4) Remember that necroknights get +2 attacks per model with any spell that gives them extra attacks. That's pretty huge, especially when the mounts are S5 and the riders S5 on the charge. Entombing them is...a bit of a gimmick. Could work with certain builds (like supporting a BK bus or flying circus list, perhaps?). Or occasionally a gunline, coming up behind their lines. Not dependable though.

5) You're missing the warsphinx out of special! These things are fucking awesome with Lore of Vampires. Their biggest weakness in the TK army is that you chip a few wounds off them with shooting then they go down easy to SCR and the odd 6 you roll just throwing lots of attacks at them. Pair them with morghasts, wight king BSBs, and Lore of Vampirse and they can stick around all day. Not to mention Vanhels rerolls on thundercrush! It's terrible on average wounds, but with Vanhels / Viggor it can output a staggering amount of damage to big bricks (something that both VC and TK struggle with).

6) Remember too that the casket is T10, and draws a surprising amount of warmachine fire from players who have felt its sting. Also remember that tis target should be CHAFF, and WARMACHINES, not stuff in the BSB bubble. If it bounces there then cool. Just don't depend on that.

That said, in a magic-oriented list these things are an incredible force multiplier. The dice advantage is key, but the real benefit is the effect this spell has on the magic phase. You can ram a lot of spells though with the threat of two dice held back for Light of Death. And then you just stick those dice into the Periapt, and let your opponent end the phase holding wasted dice.

EDIT: also keep in mind that BSB rerolls are NOT OPTIONAL. No, you cannot simply say you're happy with failing by 1. You must reroll. "Hold Your Ground" is not a 'may' ability.

7) Tomb Kings players have hate-love relationships with their skullapults. Without a way to reroll the dice the things miss all the fucking time. They're so cheap it almost doesn't matter, as when they do hit it's game altering. They're super frustrating though.

8) Cursed Blades: don't forget...killing blow impact hits! Also that the full amount of remaining wounds triggers extra RF attacks.

9) Mighty Scroll: reread the item description. ANY doubles causes a miscast. You don't need 10 dice for that to happen. So just when your opponent is sick of you sticking those last two dice of yours in the periapt you can turn them into a 6-diced purple sun that goes IF something like 70% of the time (check the Khemri boards for the math...it's surprisingly high probability).

10) BotUL is a trap choice. It basically only fits on TG and heralds (which are AWFUL). TG want razor standard, while for the price of a herald with the banner you're getting close to a level 4 vampries with Invocation and an extra channel.

11) Golden Deathmask is blue, no question. Put it on a Liche High Priest with a dispel scroll and push him to the second rank with vampries and wights.

12) Destroyer of Eternities is alright, and the Kanopi has some...rather fringe uses. I struggle to see the use for Cloak of Dunes though. There are better ways to protect your liche than a 10" move that he likely won't be marching with.
I'm under the weather right now and Sunny and I are enjoying a break from the hard work we poured into this. But we will review your points shortly and fine tune where needed. We also like to hear what you liked about the handbook. What insights did it provided you?
 

Eyeless

Wight King
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
442
#18
Thanks a lot for this guide. Was waiting for it :tongue: i would like to point out that you missed sepulchral stalkers and carrions and the warsphinx from the specials section. and once again thanks a lot for your hard work :)
 

najo

Mortarch of the Dark Soul
True Blood
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Messages
2,047
#19
Thanks a lot for this guide. Was waiting for it :tongue: i would like to point out that you missed sepulchral stalkers and carrions and the warsphinx from the specials section. and once again thanks a lot for your hard work :)
Thank you for the kind words :) Just had a copy and paste error. Got those three units posted!
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
927
#21
I'm under the weather right now and Sunny and I are enjoying a break from the hard work we poured into this. But we will review your points shortly and fine tune where needed. We also like to hear what you liked about the handbook. What insights did it provided you?
Lot's of good stuff in there, you guys did a good job! The TK book is just full of a lot of trap choices, which were most of what I was pointing out. It takes many games with the TK before you start to notice how certain items and units just plain don't pull their weight.

The biggest trick with TK is taking advantage of the synergies. Everything in the book save the casket is overcosted on its own, but plays really well when combined with other synergy pieces. Finding ways to make them all work with the VC book is, I think, the biggest key here. As compared to finding things that are objectively powerful on their own. If you're trying to do that then you're better off just taking VC units.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
187
#22
As has been stated before you did a wonderful job summarizing the TK units, but as Pirate pointed out, as people find ways to make them synergize with VC, and it isn't always intuitive, some items may become more or less useful.
 

The Sun King

Imperator
True Blood
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
3,838
#23
Doing a handbook does have its limits, sure. That is why we are also working on tactical articles and archetypes, which will be posted when they are done.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
187
#24
Wow, you two really are trying to develop this website to a great degree. I am sure I speak for almost everyone here that we appreciate your hard work, just this handbook, is incrediblly useful for understanding the roles of units in the army, and now you are working on tactical articles, Vampire counts must be one of the luckiest army forums around because of you two, so much really good information beign distilled to understandable levels.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
927
#25
Doing a handbook does have its limits, sure. That is why we are also working on tactical articles and archetypes, which will be posted when they are done.
Yeah...definitely tricky to give a sort of "grade" to various units when their performance is so attuned to what else is in the build. Having a long list of "if X is in the army, then this unit would be Y" would get really unwieldy.

My suggestion would be to just assume a base level of synergy, point out what it goes well with, and give a grade based on that "optimal" performance. Basically assume that people are smart enough to include things in a way that makes sense. Putting the deathmask on a LHP in a bunker of 20 skeletons probably isn't great. Putting it on a LHP in a bus of black knights with a blender is a very different story.
 
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