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Thoughts on: Summoning

Banat

Varghulf
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
791
#1
I'm totally into: colons atm... Anyway, here's some reading for a really, really, rainy day.

So I've been playing Lore of Undeath quite heavily recently, particularly with a focus on summoning, and just wanted to offer my thoughts and experiences.

First of all, if you want to play a decent summoning game, you will likely want to take Arkhan as first choice, and Mannfred as a close second.

Arkhan: Arkhan's pros are pretty obvious, his x2 bonus on summoning pt values AND lore attribute counters. On top of that he has an inbuilt Black Periapt. He has an inbuilt capacity to heal himself through wounds dealt in combat, but his combat stats aren't going to floor much in a straight out fight. With his fly though he's a great chaff hunter and those will be easy wounds to heal back anything he might suffer.

Mannfred: Mannfred can handle himself in a fight for one thing, way more than Arkhan can. You need to take Invocation on him though in order to ensure he can heal back wounds. He also has inbuilt Master of the Dark Arts, helping ensure strong magic phases. One of the reasons he can be key in a summoning focused game is his x2 bonus to distance. Summoning spells only have a distance of 12", so this provides a big bonus to tactical maneuverability, which I'll cover more of later.

So, when you're summoning, you're going to be thinking about using those units in one of three ways.

Defensive/tarpitting: Pretty straightforward, summoning units into tarpitting locations to stall you enemies advance and keep his combat units tied down.
- If you have plenty of Invocations around, you can afford to summon zombies at the lowest value - 50pts netting you 15 zombies.
- If you're doing this however, you're likely expecting/trying to provoke a charge from your opponents at the beginning of their turn, in which case 15 zombies is not going to hold down anything that's worth tarpitting. So you'll want the 100pt boosted version of Ryze, which will get you 30 zombies. With Arkhan, BAM that's 60 zombies, or 40 skeletons.
- I don't consider it worth it to summon skeletons unless you take Arkhan. 20 skeletons again won't hold down that much for that long without a master of the dead necro around to boost their numbers.
- Arkhan will be able to summon 7 Crypt Horrors (8 nicely with a token), whilst you can just about get 4 in on a standard LoU user. 4 might keep up some light infantry, but you're better off summoning 30 zombies in that situation.
-Abyssal Swarm: Standard LoU - IMO, whilst being the least efficient amount of points, the ethereal spirit hosts are the only viable defensive use of this summoning spell, and that's assuming the unit you're going to plonk them right in front doesn't have magic attacks. With two counters you can summon 2 hosts. Arkhan will get 3, and will need at least two counters in order to up that to 4. Could be efficient if the unit has no magic attacks (lets be honest, if you deploy these to tarpit a unit that DOES have magic attacks, you're doing it wrong), as 4 bases of Spirit hosts should be enough to counter the opposing units static CR. Potentially both tarpitting AND offensive, as given time those hosts will chomp their way through the unit.

Offensive: So... I've noticed the BIG issue with summoning units is that they aren't going to be able to charge until the beginning of your next turn. So, summoning offensive heavy units can prove to be less than efficient.
- Most of you should know what kinds of units I'm referring to by offensive units, but to clarify my suggestions:

-- Ryze: I don't really consider ghouls an option unless you have Arkhan and even then, 20 ghouls is less than a satisfactory size. I would recommend Vargheists on the Monstrous Infantry boost. You'll get 3, which is not a lot in it's own right, but can be ok for reasons I'll get to later. With Arkhan that will be 6, and I think with one of his 20pt tokens you might even fit a 7th in there. Then there's the Morghast Harbingers. At 80pts a model you'll need a token to boost your 150pts up to 160 to fit them in. Arkhan can summon 4 of them with a token however, and that is a little big more scary, provided you place them correctly. Archai's aren't viable IMO because they'd need that many extra tokens to summon and you get less attacks.

-- Dark Riders: Standard LoU users can get 6 BKs with lances in, 7 without, 5 with lances and barding. If you're willing to sacrifice the Str6 charge BKs in favour of numbers, go with Skelly Horsemen, you can get 12 of them, 2 ranks of 6 and get 12 str4 attacks in. Depends on how tough the unit you're going up against is. Chariots are 55pts a pop and you need at least 3, so you're not getting that unit off without at least two tokens to boost them, but chariots into a flank can be daunting prospect indeed. 150pts of cav is perfect for a unit of 5 Hexwraiths (ofc 10 with Arkhan, and a serious damage dealing threat for pretty much anything) . A sound choice if you know your opponent doesn't have a strong magic phase. Arkhan opens up more options; at 300pts you can take 6 Blood Knights, or a measly 4 with the Flag of Blood Keep... Problem is, you're not going to get them into close combat immediately, so for a turn they'll be sitting out in the open prime targets for some nasty magic. Depends on your opponents magic load out. You can also summon 4 Necropolis Knights with Arkhan. With Killing Blow from the riders and Poisoned attacks on the Necromounts (mine are zombie demigryphs not serpents), WS4, Str5 on the charge and 5 attacks they're not to be sniffed at.

-- Abyssal Swarm: I'd recommend Dire Wolves (9) or Carrion (3) unless you need a warmachine hunting unit, even then I'd say 3 Carrion probably wins out against 4 Fell bats. Obviously Arkhan doubles those numbers. A unit of 18 Dire Wolves slamming into the flank/rear of an opponent sounds slaveringly delicious.

-- Harbinger: Standard LoU won't be able to get a Terrorgheist in without first having successfully cast 4 LoU spells to built up your tokens. On the other hand, a Necrofex Collossus (w/ additional hand weapon) costs 170pts and has the fiendish unstoppable assault rule. Basically Red Fury only the extra hits benefit from it as well. With Str6 attacks it can chew through a sizeable chunk of a unit, Toughness 6 and 5 wounds should keep it alive long enough to get it's str6 thunderstomp in (yeah, maximise by sideslamming it into infantry and infantry only). Rightious Smiting gives it another attack AND killing blow. Give him Speed of Light (WS10, I10) and Timewarp (ASF) and watch him munch through an entire unit with his 3s to hit with rerolls. Admittedly highly circumstantial on the magic side but he can do well without the buffs in a flanking support roll.

Support (and by that I mean SHOOTING):
I left this till last because I think it's one of the most viable options. The reason for this is that close combat units won't get to be active until the FOLLOWING turn, whilst shooty units still get to shoot in the same turn they were summoned in.

At 50pts you can still get 8 skeleton archers, a small unit but useful for clearing chaff. 16 archers is a much more substantial unit and will clear chaff and deal some damage to other units as well. Arkhan can summon a unit of 33 Archers. Two turns of that, and 66 Archers is going to start seriously denting anything they're pointed at. If you take a Liche and conveniently roll Rightious Smiting... 66 archers @ 132 shots each with multiple shots (2).

If you're using Arkhan and have Abyssal Swarm, you can summon 300pts worth of Sepulchral Stalkers, which is 5 without any counters. Stalkers make their way into support because of their Transmogrifying gaze ability. For those not familiar, Gaze is a shooting attack that counts as magical (range 8") so it automatically hits. You role a artillary dice for each model in the unit and add the total together. The target unit takes that many hits (On average about 16 hits, and if you're super lucky, potentially 30). Its Str is only 1 BUT it replaces targets toughness with it's initiative AND it ignores armour saves. So against low initiative and/or heavily armoured units it should prove pretty effective. And it can be used on the turn they're summoned.

If you roll Harbinger then you have access to summoning Screaming SKull Catapults, which again can be fired on the turn they're summoned. At only 90pts they're well within a standard LoU pts allowance. Some however might argue summoning a 65pt Necro on Death or if you have a token taking a Liche on Light might be both more cost effective, and more power dice effective as its the lowering summoning value. He can also cast on the turn he's summoned. Arkhan can summon a Lvl2 Liche with up to 25pts of magic items, 45pts with a token. For immediate damage potential as well as movement controlling, take a Necro with Rod of Flaming Death. Some super efficiency paragons might argue summoning a Catapult with Arkhan is a waste of 210pts for the power dice you're rolling on it, but the possibility of being able to fire in your following phase, and make that nasty looking unit take a panic test even if they've only suffered one wound could be considered worth it.

Tarpit tactics are easy enough.

Offensive tactics need some thought. You need to consider 2, even 3 things to maximise offensive potential.

1. First of all, you want your offensive summons aligned so they're charging into the flank or rear of a unit at the beginning of your next turn.

2. Because they have to wait through your opponents next turn, you want to make sure they're not going to risk being flank charged themselves when you place them.

3. Also, because they're going to have to wait through your opponents turn, you don't want their target unit going anywhere so that unit needs to be tarpitted by a unit capable of lasting through at least two turns of combat. For zombies you're looking at a minimum of 30 to be on the safe side, assuming you don't have a handy Invocation nearby.


Arkhan (and most LoU summoners) can either play defense and offense (given my above tips, it's really classic hammer anvil only the anvil can be a tarpit) OR support. With a 12" summon range he needs to be in the midst of battle lines to maximuse offensive tactical placement whilst placing archers within 12inches of active combat units could be very dangerous. And if those combat units are tied down then your archers can't fire into them anyway. The exception are the Stalkers and their Transmogrifying gaze attack which only has a range of 8".

Mannfred comes into his own when considering the above necessities with regards to placing units, his 24" giving you a lot more room and freedom to pop units up behind your opponents lines. On top of that he's a beast in close combat, although he's not going to be taking down buses on his own.

IMO the archers are probably the best option, provided you summon them in larger numbers. 2 Lvl2s Necros with a Heirotitan sitting at the back of the table can still summon 200pts of Archers a turn. That's probably a more point efficient option as well, coming in at a fully kitted out cost of 475pts against Arkhan's 650. Even accounting for his built in Black Periapt (40pts) you're still slightly better off.

The issue is eventually at some point those archers won't be able to fire at targets... by Turn 3/4 most units will be engaged unless you're fighting a highly evasive army.

TL;DR? Just stick with the yellow.

Too lazy for that? Summon archers. Lots of archers.
 

John Rainbow

Crypt Horror
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
598
#2
Interesting report. Thanks for writing up your thoughts. I think the real power in this lore is movement control and that fact that basically every spell is 'Raise Dead' from the Lore of Vamps. Hand-down the best ability in this Lore is to screw around with your opponent's movement. The fact that you can now do this with some scary units is just money.

As such, I think the best character to use (aside from the Big 'N') is Manny as the range boost is hugely powerful in this regard. Summoning Skelepults and Archers is great but as you say, you need to stop your opponent engaging you in CC. Manny can do this by summoning some of the ranged units and also summoning some blockers and others and placing them where they need to be. Putting units in front of or redirecting your opponents units is money as it allows the units you already have to go to work. I would not consider using LoU to summon the units you need to win the game. Magic is too fickle for that. You need those units in place already and to use LoU to supplement them.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2011
Messages
98
#3
Solid write up Banat. Thanks.

Couple things I'd like to add.

You made mention of a few other units that would be handy to summon because they could shoot immediately in the next phase - but didn't tie this awesome combination to the Terrorgheist - which would be clutch if summoned right outside of the charge-arc of an opposing block.

Also, it's worth noting that Arkhan's staff isn't 'exactly' like the Black Periapt. He can store Power Dice that are to be used in 'his' future magic phases. But there isn't a mention of storing Dispel Dice. That's a huge difference, in my opinion and means it's not as powerful as the Black Periapt.
 

Alabaster427

Minister of Thriftiness
Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
1,315
#4
Solid write up Banat. Thanks.

Couple things I'd like to add.

You made mention of a few other units that would be handy to summon because they could shoot immediately in the next phase - but didn't tie this awesome combination to the Terrorgheist - which would be clutch if summoned right outside of the charge-arc of an opposing block.

Also, it's worth noting that Arkhan's staff isn't 'exactly' like the Black Periapt. He can store Power Dice that are to be used in 'his' future magic phases. But there isn't a mention of storing Dispel Dice. That's a huge difference, in my opinion and means it's not as powerful as the Black Periapt.
That's correct about the difference in between the BP and Arkhan's staff. The other difference is that the BP gets emptied at the beginning of each magic phase, but Arkhan's staff and Nagash's staff can be emptied at any point during a friendly magic phase (or any CC phase for Nagash), which I think makes the staff more powerful than the BP because it allows you to have more than 12 power dice in a phase.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2012
Messages
131
#5
Defensive/tarpitting: Pretty straightforward, summoning units into tarpitting locations to stall you enemies advance and keep his combat units tied down.
- If you have plenty of Invocations around, you can afford to summon zombies at the lowest value - 50pts netting you 15 zombies....
Did I understand something wrong or don't you have to get minimum size of unit by summoning? So no 15 zombies, thats not an option. Neither are 8 archers etc. ??
 

Banat

Varghulf
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
791
#6
This is quite true. Which means on the basic summoning value you can only summon 12 TK skellies or 10 VC skellies. Even with a lvl4 Master of the Dead (to raise them behind their starting value), you're only going to get another 10 skellies added onto that unit... if they hang around for long enough...

I just don't think it's worth it at that value.
 

najo

Mortarch of the Dark Soul
True Blood
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Messages
2,047
#7
Great observations! I'm going to second that comment on Arkhan. His power is not really a black periapt. Manny's power works more like periapt than Arkhan's does. As for Abyssal Swarm, can you say Spirit Hosts! Hell yeah!
 

Banat

Varghulf
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
791
#8
You can, but it's debatable as to whether its optimum usage of pts. You have 75pts at your disposal and you'd be wasiting 30 of them to summon a single Spirit Host.
 

najo

Mortarch of the Dark Soul
True Blood
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Messages
2,047
#9
Depends on circumstances. Putting a spirit host in a key position would be game changing. Especially against wood elves if they couldn't shoot it.
 

BloodbathMcGrath

The Butcher of New Liberty
Joined
Sep 9, 2012
Messages
493
#10
I often think to myself how nice it'd be to take more than 3 bases of hosts. They are just so incredibly useful. Also I think a lore of light liche would really start to make a Ballin coven of light. The downside to coven of light with TKs is paying the nehekara tax in the form of a lvl 4 liche high priest :/

That being said do you still need a nehekara or vampire lore caster if playing undead legion? (Admittedly I never bought the book as I don't play enough games to justify buying it. )
 

Banat

Varghulf
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
791
#11
Nope you don't. You could take Lore of Death, Shadow, Undeath, Light and have no Nehekhara or Vampires at all.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
34
#12
Has anyone considered going for an IF cast on Kandorak - the harbinger, to summon mannfred or arkhan? Given that they are monsters you don't need to use the character one to summon them.
You'd need 2 counters to pull it off, perhaps save like some (4) dices during 1 phase in nagash's staff and throw all of them at it ?
Rolling 10 dices pretty much guarantees that you can pull it off and get that IF.

With his protection to miscasts you could re-roll your first miscast if it tends to be a rather nasty one. You'd have to settle with the second but thats just a gamble.
 

Banat

Varghulf
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
791
#13
There's a bit of a debate going on over that and so far the general consensus seems to be that no, you can't summon special monstrous characters using the monster summon.

Besides, I would much rather NOT have an irresistable force and keep my Wizard/surrounding troops alive than get an IF and have my wizard go pop, or my Black Knights get reduced to ashes.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
34
#14
There's a bit of a debate going on over that and so far the general consensus seems to be that no, you can't summon special monstrous characters using the monster summon.

Besides, I would much rather NOT have an irresistable force and keep my Wizard/surrounding troops alive than get an IF and have my wizard go pop, or my Black Knights get reduced to ashes.
Nagash's base is too big to cause any real harm, even with the large template, to surrounding troops.
Re-rolling a miscast, having a 4+ ward save gives him something to work with. And you should be taking IoN on him to heal him up. A miscast usually only causes a single wound. Unless you get cascaded, but you should be re-rolling that anyway :)

And I can see why theres plenty of debate going on about that but though, they're primarely stated as monsters and they also get a thunderstomp. Special characters is placed in brackets just to make note of them being just a tad more than the ordinary monster.

The mount and model are 1, so if they had not been and were just an option to make them mounted. I'd have said they couldn't be summoned with kandorak.

Ugh GW, why don't you ever make it easy for us.

Edit : Apart from that though, if you hit the boosted version with nagash to summon monsters, wich is probably going to be the only one who can make proper use of this boosted version. It makes one think that it'd be specifically designed to make use of it in this way.

What else would make use of this ?
All monsters in the UL army are near 200 points anyway. So thats a wasted triple potention you get there.
Unless LoU is designed to be used by other races that have high cost monsters, but they'd never get those off cause they don't have the triple points benefit that nagash has.
Taking it on your standard wizard is making it a rather silly spell aswell. Unless if used to summon characters.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
49
#15
If you argue that te boosed kadorak can summon monster (charater) the by that argument ryze can summon infantry (character) and dark riders can summon calalry (character). Since tht would be ridculous, with any charater being sumoned by other spells with higher points values than the characte specific spell, it clearly isnt the case.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
34
#16
If you argue that te boosed kadorak can summon monster (charater) the by that argument ryze can summon infantry (character) and dark riders can summon calalry (character). Since tht would be ridculous, with any charater being sumoned by other spells with higher points values than the characte specific spell, it clearly isnt the case.
Well ofcourse but still.. just the thought of how great it would be.
 

najo

Mortarch of the Dark Soul
True Blood
Joined
Dec 23, 2012
Messages
2,047
#18
Unless LoU is designed to be used by other races that have high cost monsters, but they'd never get those off cause they don't have the triple points benefit that nagash has.
Taking it on your standard wizard is making it a rather silly spell aswell. Unless if used to summon characters.
You can only summon Undead Legion units with Lore of Undeath.
 

BloodbathMcGrath

The Butcher of New Liberty
Joined
Sep 9, 2012
Messages
493
#19
Nope you don't. You could take Lore of Death, Shadow, Undeath, Light and have no Nehekhara or Vampires at all.
This is great! Think of the potential here. *cough*strength10banishment*cough* including a lvl 4 light caster and lvl 4 Undeath you could summon the rest of your light council or at least summon some extras.
@Demian did an awesome write up on what your summoning options can be, and the synergy LoU allows is flat out ridiculous. Bringing up tomb princes and banshees for no points cost is scary good.

I think mannfred gives you better movement control against your enemies, but arkhan gives you options like reasonably sized choppy units and slightly kitted out characters to go wreak havoc. Having vampire heroes run amuck is just gross.

Sorry if I went off topic :/
 
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