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Unas the slayer

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Jan 1, 2017
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OK, let’s talk about Tomb Kings.



First of all I’m going to say that I’m no 8th expert, far from it.

I’ve collected Tomb Kings for a number of years and I’ve won some AoS tournaments with my army (when AoS TK were still a thing), but in 8th edition I’ve less than 10 games under my belt.

Anyway, i was able to pick some hidden tactical gems on how to play them and (encouraged by Disciple of Nagash), I am digging through Khemri (and other forums') archives, trying to recover the most ample selection of tactical adviced on the army, integrating them with various sources and personal considerations. I cannot cite all the persons that worked on the material I'm going to post, but i thank them all.

As immediate reference, I will point you toward this Thread, made by Count Vashra

This will be a long process and (when i will enter into detailed tacticas for each unit) the various articles will take some pages so, without further ado, let’s go!



(Edit: as log as the tactica will grow, i'll do a index with handy links to each post)


Index with links:

Army Overview
General Rules
Great Heroes
Heroes
Troops
Special units
Rare units
Spells
Magic Items

General Tactics
How to play Tomb Kings
Entombed beneath the sand
Movement tricks - how to reform to victory
Basic Synergies
Units sizes and different uses
Threats from various armies
TK at 1000 pts games

Magic
Lore of Nehekhara - advanced analysis
Death Magic
MathHammer: casting spells
...

Specific Units Tactics
Necropolis Knights
...
 
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Unas the slayer

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Jan 1, 2017
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Special Army Rules

Nehekarans Undead
They have general Undead rules, so they don't run away and are Fearful.

The Hierophant
The army must be supported by a Hierophant, a powerful Priest who magically supports the troops. Therefore, at least this magician will always be present, and upon his death the army will risk falling apart. Needless to say, it is important to defend it.

Standard bearer of the Tomb Kings
battle standard In addition to the normal rules for the battle banner, units of Undead Nehekarians within 12" of their battle banner suffer one less wound than they would normally suffer due to the UNSTABLE special rule or following the death of the Hierophant's army.

Animated construct
These particular units are more resilient than other Undeaths, with base 5+ armor and reducing by 1 the wounds due to the UNSTABLE special rule (it stacks with the BSB effect).

Arrows of Asaph
Allows greater accuracy in hitting with ranged weapons: All shooters always hit on base BS, ignore modifiers

Entombed Beneath the Sand
From now on EBtS: a kind of "Ambush" special rule. It allows a unit to appear from any nominated point on the map in the remaining moves phase (so no charge). Requires scatter/misfire roll.

Resurrecting fallen warriors
Unlike other armies, ours can restore wounds to models, even resurrecting those already dead, as long as the unit is still standing with at least one model. However, you cannot heal the PCs (except with the spear of Antarhak) and you cannot create new units or heal units that are now completely destroyed (one of the things that makes us inferior to our cousins Vampire Counts).





Army’s Strenghts

Strong magic:
TK’s lore is mainly a buffing lore which heals their troops. They have a number of units that help them cast A LOT of spells. Their magic can make them among pretty fast (a thing they need, given that they cannot march), heal their troops, and hit way above their weight class.

Varied troops:
They have anything and everything from Cavalry to all types of Monsters.

Reliable:
They never fail break tests and ignore leadership-sapping abilities for the most part. No panic, no fear, no break tests. They are dead, they just don't care.

Fear Causing:
Although not that strong, having EVERY unit cause fear means most armies will fail checks every game.

Premier War Machine Hunters:
They have multiple units that can literally appear out of nowhere, bypassing protecting troops and forcing tight castling. Between Entombed Beneath the Sands (EBtS from now on), decent shooting, certain types of magic and scouting/vanguarding cavalry.



Army Weaknesses

Reliant on magic:
Take away their magic and they have major issues dealing with their other weaknesses. They must take a Heirophant caster and if he dies, the army begins to crumble.

Slow:
Cannot march. This is huge. This is mitigated by magic and by having lots of units types with 7 or 8" base movement to a certain extent.

Fragile:
Most of the army has low armor. Very few units have high toughness. If they can't get lots of healing off they drop pretty quick.

Unskilled:
Very low weapon skill (again, can be mitigated by MWBD) and initiative across the board. Without nearby characters they will have trouble passing fast-reform and combat-reform tests.

Unstable:
The trade-off for being unbreakable and immune to pyschology is the unstable rule. For every point they lose combat by, they take a wound. That's bad for solo monsters, and bad for units as this roughly doubles the casaulties they take when they lose combat.
 

Unas the slayer

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UNITS

I will also give each unit a “efficiency level” ranking:
Very bad
Bad
Medium
Good

Very Good



Great Heroes

Rules shared by many Tomb Kings / princes.
The Curse: the unit responsible to kill a model with this rule, suffers d6 str 5/4 hits
My Will Be Done (from now on MWBD): any unit accompanied by a model with this rule, uses the character WS instead of its own



Settra

Bad / medium

4+/4++ save but his ability to give ALL units within 6” his WS7 by my will be done is just AMAZING. 1st lev. wizard, so not that great
He comes upon his Chariot of the Gods, which does D6+1 S5 Impact Hit… but it’s a pain as the chariot base it’s really odd (having 4 horses). His use is situational. In games equal or less than 2000 you’d struggle to get your points back (470)



High Queen Khalida
Medium

Weirdly, she’s a special character, tomb king, has the curse but doesn’t have my will be done! However, She gives her BS to any unit so you’ll see her with 40+ archers around her. They’ll hit on a 4+ and are poisonous but missile fire never won a game of 8th by just themselves. Still a strong option and comes with a nice arcane item (bound spell for 24” 2d6 S4 hits), but she forces you to a certain style of play.



Arkhan the Black
Medium

5th Level death mage able to be your hierophant, many consider this an auto include in their army as can also grant additional power dices. Alas, it costs a staggering amount of points, and his only protection is a save 6+. If in a unit, he’s able to heal it tnx to his magic weapon… but don’t count on it, as any wise opponent is not going to send chaff.



Grand Hierophant Khatep
Medium

A lore master of Nehekhara, reason good enough to take him, but 330 points is a hefty price to pay for “only” that. His other saving grace is that he comes with a good protection from irresistible force casts, as he can reroll 1/turn the casting dices (which is pretty handy).



Tomb King
Medium / good

The armies namesake is the lord level CC character. Overshadowed by the Tomb Prince in effectiveness, as the 70 extra points that you pay for the King are not effectively used at all. Can be mounted on a Sphinx and a chariot, and only the latter is considered slightly competitive because the omni-present cannons just are too strong against the very expensive Sphinxes. On a chariot they are also very expensive, but in a massive chariot unit this might be fun. Gives his WS6 to the unit he is with, always. This WS buff can’t be improved by weapons such as the Fencer’s Blades. Is also Flammable but will often have the Dragonbane Gem to mitigate this and damages the unit(s) or model that kills him via The Curse. It is only unit in the book that can use the magic item “The Golden Death Mask of Kharnut”, which makes enemy units within 6’’ unable to use their generals Inspiring Presence and the BSB Hold your Ground rules and makes the wearer cause Terror.
More often than not (and to save the chariot’s points), he will be put into a unit of Guards with AC6, Fo5 (with halberds), Killing Blow (which if aided by the spell of the Cursed Blades gives them KB 5+) and Hatred (if there is also the Necrotect).



Liche High Priest
Very good

The first really “must have”. Level 3/4 wizard that can have spells from the lore of Nehekhara, Light and Death. Liche HP can make your day really bad with their plethora of buffs and debuffs. He costs 175 points (with the addition of 35 points if he is 4th level, plus equipment), and if he is the Hierophant he has Regeneration 6+ (which also transfers to his troop). If he is the Hierophant, he MUST choose Nehekara's sphere (and honestly that's okay).
 
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Unas the slayer

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Heroes



The Herald Nekaph

Very Bad

A herald who can't be a Battle Standard Bearer doesn't even make sense to exist. Yeah, for 120 pts you can field a hero with some interesting equipment and the chance to give him a KB on a 4+. But really?



Prince Apophas

Medium (?)

Weird character. WS4, T3, W4, A5 (nothing great for a prince), but comes with a ton of special abilities: EBTS, Fly, Strider, Terror, breath weapon. I’d look to take him as a warmachine hunter, or harassment in the rearlines of enemy’s deployment.



Tomb Herald

bad

Has KB and can tank a wound for a Tomb King or Tomb Prince as long as he is in the same unit and when neither of them is in a Challenge, but the only passable way to play this guy is to make him a BSB, to reduces the loss you may take in a crumble by one… but it’s a rarity to see a BSB in a Khemri army, and at 85 pts it’s not really enough to make it viable.



Necrotect

bad / medium

On paper it’s should be classified as “good”. Gives Hatred to the unit he is with and gives Undead Constructs within 12’’ 6+ regen. Seems to be a cheap, solid hero… the trick is that once he dies he immediately stops giving Hatred to the unit he is with. As the TK have generally pretty low I, he is often focused and killed before his hatred actually comes into effect.



Ramhotep the Visionary
bad / medium

He’s THE necrotect, with all the abilities of his counterpart and giving also Frenzy on the unit he’s in, on top ot it. Of course, the real reason you want to take him is the ability to allow a random animated construct unit an armour reroll. “Random” is the keyword here, because the most common use is paired with a Necro knights unit of around 6 models for a solid save 3+ rerollable. But if you want to be sure that the reroll goes where you need it, you must avoid other constructs, and you want also a hierotitan more often than not.



Tomb Prince
good

Your second fighting character (after the King), 3 Wounds, T5 and always giving his WS5 to the unit he is with and has the Curse to damage the unit(s) or model that has killed him (D6 S4 hits). Can be put on a chariot (viable option) or a Sphinx (don’t do it). Best uses in a unit of 4 chariots, turning i tinto a strong hammer unit with a high WS and density of attacks, OR in a large Tomb Guard unit for the same reasons as the King. They are often kitted for survivability with a GW and the Armour of Destiny or the Armour of Silvered Steel with a Dragonbane Gem.



Liche Priest
good

Standard issue lvl 1/2 wizard and you always want at least one, in addition to the big caster(s). Can take Nehekhara, Light and Death as lores, and is often used as a scroll caddy; you can even give him a horse.
 

Unas the slayer

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Troops



Skeleton warriors

Bad / Medium

These dudes make up the majority rank and file infantry of TK. At base cost (4) you get a Skeleton with a shield. Granted they aren't the best of troops, barely able to outfight skaven slaves or lizzie skinks but they ARE unbreakable and cause fear. So, they are a sufficiently nice tarpit unit, as you can field 40 models for a little more than 150 pts, with parry save (as each parry effectively saves two skeletons). Alas, They just struggle to kill anything, even when buffed up by spells and characters.
Can be upgraded with Spears and armor. Never upgrade them, NEVER. Not a single option, as it makes the unit a lot more expensive while it adds close to nothing



Skeleton Archers
Medium

The main way of making use of the Arrows of Asaph rule (always hitting on 5’s) is this unit, there are bowline TK lists that are built on this unit (and something else, as shooting alone won’t win you the game). Can get multiple shots (2) without the -1 to hit modifier, from Righteous Smiting spell. Speaking of it, it’s an augment spell, so you will heal and buff them at the same time. They make decent character bunkers and distraction units, and a large group can seriously weaken a target.



Skeleton Horsemen
Very Bad

Expensive skeletons on horses and a weak stat line (WS 2) that generally do nothing. They do have some advantages, namely a mediocre armor save (which means high for TK), spears so they can hurt a little on the charge, and (most of all) Vanguard, so they are used in some lists as War machine hunters. So, they could be vagualy useful IF you face the right enemy and if you’re lucky. More often than not, they just die or are empoyed as redirection, but any unit in Warhammer can do that.


Skeleton Horse archers
medium

These are much better redirectors then the Skeleton Horsemen as they are Scouts (very useful to block possible vanguard movements) and Fast cavalry. These guys will be the possible bodyguard of a Liche Priest on a horse (giving him a precious LoS!), or they will run around, redirect things and be a general nuisance
All in all, they can be a useful and very annoying unit., since they don't have to actually get into close combat to kill stuff they can be something you need to clear out least they tie up a war machine or pick the odd model or two from a unit. Mobile shooting can add up (see Wood Elf armies) in the long run if left alone. They combine well with EBtS troops and Chariots for 'In Your Face' tactics.



Skeleton Chariots
Good

Now we’re talking, the only unit in WHF that is a unit of chariots. Has 6 attacks per model plus D6 S4 impact hits on the charge and has great synergy with most of the TK buffs. The best example is of the fact that the TK spell that gives a unit KB also gives the impact hits of the chariot KB (the models gets KB for his CC attacks, and as impact hits are CC attacks which are delivered as ranged attacks, they get also KB). Also has 2 bow shots per chariot for extra harassment (Arrow of Asaph!), and they can get magic standards. This unit is a fast (glass) hammer, they can break a lot of things on the charge, especially if they have a character with them. Unlike everything else in the book the lack of marching is not a problem...chariots can never march
Their downside is their relative cost, 55 pts per model, and they only have T4 W3 and an armour save of 5+, so standing and shooting and general magic missiles tend to make their number dwindle rapidly. They also have a WS of 3, as they are ‘’elite skeletons’’, which is actually pretty good. A problem for these guys is Steadfast, they want to break the unit they charged in on the first turn so they can get their impact hits again, they quickly die in prolonged combat because they lack staying power.
Last but not least, rememember they can be healed with the Lore Attribute by d3+1, upgradable to d6+2 if you pick the Standard of the Undying legion (50 pts, so worth only on a big unit)
 

Unas the slayer

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Special Units



Tomb Guards

Good

WS3, S4, T4, I3 elite infantry with KB. Can take halberds (13 pts) or sword and board (11), with the last one being slightly better, and this is often the place where Tomb princes will reside because WS5 S5 KB attacks are good. May take a magical standard. Is also often the place for a Necrotect to reside as Hatred and KB synergize well with one another. They are slightly expensive, so if you see a unit of 40 of these guys they will have to do a lot of chopping to get their points back.
When they have halberds they hurt like hell but they also die like flies because then they only have a 6+ save. Is often the place where the Banner of the Undying legion is put into, as this banner is the bigger form of reliable healing in the list. The Cursed Blade spell gives ‘em KB on a 5+.



Necropolis Knights
Good

Basically tomb guard riding monstrous cavalry. Best armour save in the army with a 3+, the riders have killing blow while the serpents have poisoned attacks. They lack the ability to take a magical standard. The can be entombed at an additional cost (consideri t with a small unit but never do it with a large one, due to the danger and the high cost).
Both the Snake and the Rider are capable fighters, and they have a combined 6 attacks per model (3 from the snake, 2 from the rider, and a stomp). they are also quite fast, with M7 and Swiftstride they are fully capable of dishing out the hurt.



Tomb Scorpion
bad

they have lost their ability to charge on the turn they came out so they became quite useless, even as War machine hunters. They do have S5 and T5, KB and Poisoned attacks, but they only have an armor save of 5+ and 3 wounds. They also have a very small base, so redirecting with them is quite hard, and they are not as good at it when compared to units such as skeleton bowmen or Carrions. Not completely useless, but expensive for what it brings to the table.



Tomb Swarms
very bad

The forgotten cousins of the Scorpion, these guys have taken the same hit as the Scorpion in the fact that they can no longer charge on the turn they get onto the table using EBtS, and their very weak stat line gives them no use in the TK army. Poisoned attacks on 5 attacks per model is the only saving grace, but their M4 will make sure that the enemy will never fight with these guys unless he wants it. Min. size is 2 bases (80 pts)… a scorpion is 85 and, even if bad, it’s a better warmachine hunter.



Ushabti
Medium

50 pts models with an ogre bull stat line, and the only ‘’saving grace’’ is that they are Undead? Their stat lines, with M5 and T4 are simply too bad to cost this much. Can be given Great bows, which gives them S5 shooting. Sounds great in theory, until you remember that you are paying 50 pts for this single shot, at BS2. They can’t even be healed as other models can, because they are undead constructs they can only be healed for one wound every turn, which is basically nothing.
Why medium then? because WS 4 and stomp is not bad, with GW they go to a very respectable S6 and they can fight on their own without (almost) the need of support. Just remember: go big or go home, if you wanna field them, field 7-8 of them and give ‘em a 5+ ward save with Neru’s incantation



Carrions
bad / medium

Flying S4 T4 models with 3 attacks apiece. They are priced pretty ok (72 pts for the minimal 3 bases unit), and they are often used as War machine hunters They are the most mobile unit of the army and among the cheapest ones. Their downside is that they have only 2 wounds and of save of any kind and the lack of march does make them significantly weaker than they appear at first glance.



Khemrian Warsphinx
Good

Strong T8 (!) infantry slaying monster with KB and a Breath Weapon (S4) to boot. Can forgo all the attacks of the beast in total (not the crew) for a single Thundercrush attack against war beasts, swarms or infantry, if the attack hits, you will endure a stone thrower hit which counts for CR. Causes Terror and you may pay for a poison attack and a breath weapon. It's still easy prey to cannon but nothing short of a combat character will wound it on higher than a 6+. So, beware of units with a high density of attacks, static CR, cannons, and things as the Pit of Shades.



Sepulchral Stalkers
medium

these snakes have a 8” shooting attack at S1, but instead of your Toughness, this beast uses your Intiative as a Toughness value when shooting at you. It shoots an artillery dice worth of shots per model, a misfire means that the Stalkers themselves get d3 wounds. They can also use EBtS, and they are the only unit to use it well as they can shoot on the turn they come out. There are few armies with no valuable targets, as anything with I2 is fair game for them.
You will not see big units of these, because the EBtS rules are to risky and the unit is not that cheap (165 for 3), plus being on chariot bases makes them not very maneuverable.
 

Unas the slayer

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Rare Units



Necrolith Colossus

Medium

The old bone giant. He can take a cheap extra hand weapon for 5 attacks, a great weapon (which seems pointless, if you want to bash other giants, use Necrosphinx) and a bolt thrower! Granted, he'll miss with the bolt thrower a lot but it's a nice option to give him some threat at range with a S6 D3 wounds shot that always hits on a 5+.
He’s got the unstoppable assault which is just that, for every unsaved wound you roll an extra attack, this has the same rule so you can keep going. he can also thunderstomp. In fact he is stronger than a Sphynx, cheaper in points, and has the same wounds, but with “only” T6. His key selling point is the strength of 6 for stomping and hitting; It’s downsides are its low WS of 3, its low I of 1, and the competition in the Rare choices



Hierotitan

Very good

One of the new units in the TK book who at first glance seems a little 'meh'. He's the same cost as a Bone Giant with Extra Weapon, has one less attack (and can't take any gear) and loses the special charge rule. So what's the big deal? Why is this one of our best units?
He's the first of two units that assist us in the magic phase. Every time casters attempt a spell within 12" of him, they gain D3 to the casting role. A level 4 now has a +6 (average) to cast on EACH SPELL. Let that sink in. That's effectively an extra dispel dice your opponent have to throw, really two dice to be reliable, per dispel attempt. With 2 dice casting spam that adds up. The more spells attempted the more valuable this becomes. If you have 8 dices and the opponent has 6, you are still going to successfully cast no less than 2 spells, and since each spell usually has a +6 it makes two dice spell casting VERY reliable on anything that needs a 9+ or lower to succeed.
He can also cast Shem’s Burning Gaze and Spirit Leech as bound spells, and he's not a complete slouch in CC either with a giant statline, S6 thunderstomp and terror. Expect this guy to anchor a battle line, buff a lot of spells, cast some itself and then support a unit in a charge.



Necrosphinx
bad / medium

This is a flying Warsphinx without the crew, the breath weapon and the stonethrower attack. To make up for this it has KB and it has a single attack with HKB and S10. This thing has Monster hunter written all over it, but it is simply not strong enough to take on most other monsters. It only has 5 attacks against other monsters (it has Thunderstomp against infantry, but not against monsters which it looks like this guy should target) and relying on your HKB to do anything is foolish. At best, it has a 1 in 10 chance to kill something with HKB, and that is without wardsaves. It seems weird to give a flying T8 model a bad score, but it does not have enough hitting power to justify its massive cost of 225 points.



Screaming Skull Catapult
medium / good

Sandard issue catapult that makes every unit wounded by it take a Panic check and can be expensively upgraded to make that panic check on -1 LD. The point is that in the end a fair percentage of troops from the various armies (excluding demons and undead) still suffer the effects of panic, which now remains the only serious way to make the enemy escape. It’s very unreliable, because it is a stonethrower, but it's flaming and magical which is awesome.



Casket of Souls
Very good

A special warmachine with T10 (!) and some other nifty abilities. It gives us +D3 power dice each turn and makes the TK’s magic phase a lot more stable, as we are never too low on PD due to this effect, and in the end we live and die by our spells Multiple Caskets do not make this effect stack.
Its primary offensive function is a bound spell called Light of Death. It hits automatically, and makes the unit hit by it take a LD test on 3 dice, and every point the unit failed the test by they take a wound with no armor saves allowed. After this already pretty bad effect it can bounce to another enemy unit within 6’’ on a 3+, just like Chain Lightning. This can zip through an artillery park quickly. This warmachine gives strong effects that synergize well with the rest of the TK, and it has a devastating attack that will do damage unless it’s dispelled.
 

Unas the slayer

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Spells



The restless dead

(Lore Attribute)

Description: Applies to any unit affected by the spell. The unit immediately regains D3+1 wounds (constructs only gain 1 wound back).

Commentary: This is the only way to heal now, but it's a free heal on any augment spell. 4 of the 7 spells are augments, and they are all useful. It's not such a big deal if a large unit of skeletons gets 2-3 bodies back. It's a bigger deal on the area affect spells as now every unit starts healing bodies. You can also spam this affect by targetting a unit with multiple spells. It gains value of course by the point cost of the unit healed. Ok, I get 4 skeletons back. That's 16 points, woo hoo! If that's on Tomb Guard that's actually over 50 points back
The BEST target for this ability is chariots. Chariots have three wounds, the average return on the spell is three wounds. Yes, this heals back chariots like no one elses business.



desert wind
(Signature Spell)
augment spell Cast on a 8+/16+

Description: Any spell caster can take this by exchanging one of their rolled spells for it. It affects all units within 12" of the caster and allows them to make a normal move (so no charge or march, but can be used to reform/fast-reform). Basically everything in a 12" bubble can effectively march. And gets healed.

Powered Up: Bubble is now 24".

Commentary: It really defines Tomb King magic and is among the most crucial spell we have. This is a solid argument for taking the TK lore on a secondary wizard as well just so the TK general has two sources of it. It counters our slow movement drastically and is the main way to affordably heal the unit. Of course, we need a spell to just do what all the other armies do for free…



1) Djaf's Incantation of Cursed Blades

Augment spell - Cast on a 7+/10+

Description: Target within 12" now gains killing blow. If they already have killing blow it now works on a 5+ wound roll

Powered Up
: Range extended to 24"

Commentary: Super cheap to cast. The downside of this spell for the TK is that it is no bubble, so it barely heals anything. It has combo’s with: Chariots (ll the attacks of the chariots get KB, including impact hits. This murders cavalry) and Tomb Guard. (in prolonged combat, having your KB hit on a 5 and 6 is a game changer)



2) Neru's Incantation of Protection

augment spell - Cast on a 9+/18+

Description: Target within 12" now gains a 5+ ward

Powered Up: Affects all units within 12"

Commentary:
Excellent buff spell. Makes the target(s) act like Daemons now. The boosted is very expensive, but a 12" bubble of everything getting a 5+ ward save can shift multiple combats. Plus, it gives that extra cannon protection for the larger Undead Constructs.



3) Ptra's Incantation of Righteous Smiting

augment spell Cast on a 9+/18+

Description: Target within 12" gets +1 attacks. Bows (includes Ushabti bows but not the Collosus bow) get multiple shot (2)

Powered Up: Affects all units within 24"

Commentary: Another good spell. Ok, 5 more attacks from skeleton infantry is a joke. But on Chariots? Each now has 10 base attacks. On Tomb Guard? On archers?.
The single version is good enough, but the boosted version can easily target entire armies. This spell is what makes bowlines viable, as it can double the shots of even 100 Skeleton Archers. It is also good in CC armies, as it sometimes doubles the attacks of units and because it gives extra attacks to characters. That Tomb Prince in a challenge will do a lot more damage with that extra attack. Casting this spell while there were multiple combats going on can win you a lot, it heals a lot and it is easily in range of a lot of units no matter where the Liche Priests are. Must have in bowline armies, very strong in every army.



4) Usirian's Incantation of Vengeance

hex spell Cast on a 10+/13+

Description: Target within 18" gets -D3 movement and takes dangerous terrain tests every time it moves

Powered Up: Extends range to 36"

Commentary: Odd spell. If you don't move it's not a big deal (but note it does work on flee/pursue moves). It’s good against hordes and hordes of Skaven. It does not really stop a unit though, as it only chews of a few inches of its charge range.



5) Usekhp's Incantation of Desiccation

hex spell Cast on a 11+/22+

Description: Target within 24" has -1 S and -1 T

Powered Up: Increases effect to D3.

Commentary: A weird version of the Shadow spell. It costs more for base cast, but can be cranked up to make a unit useless if they roll well on the effect. Powered up is very expensive to cast however. Anyway, a hex spell that that knocks down 1 S and T is good any day of the week, and it’s bad news for a unit about to be charged by a chariots.



6) Sakhmet's Incantion of Skullstorm

magical vortex spell Cast on a 15+/25+

Description: Stupendously weak magical vortex, with small template of S4 power. Moves artillery dice times Wizard level in inches. Misfire centered on caster and moves randomly.

Powered Up: Large template!

Commentary: This is designed to fight T3 high initiative units as the Stalkers deal with low initiative targets. This is our worst spell



General considerations:

The most important spells are the buff spells. They make the army much better in close combat and provides the healing, so you get 2 benefits from a single source.
We have very few units that can stand by themselves without support, and even those needs every little help. For other units, magical support is simply mandatory... our army lives and dies by the magic phase (and careful placements)

You will automatically see the synergy a Heirotitan provides. A level 4 will average a +6 on casting, meaning we can two dice ANY augment spell with little risk of failure. TK usually want to avoid IF as much as possible on their main caster, so they should not panic and throw piles of dice at a regular spell. Two dice casting with the Heirotitan to help means an average result of 13 for a Level 4 and an 11 for a Level 2. In other words, you are forcing the opponent to use three dispell dices to stop something cast with two power dices, and that gives merely a 50/50 chance of silencing it.
 

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Army specific magic items

Destroyer of Eternities (80 pts = King on Foot)

+2S (but doesn’t say it’s a great weapon) Heroic killing blow. May make a single sweeping attack hitting all those in base to base (rider and monster are both hit).
It would be a pretty good weapon, but it leaves you with 20 pts for protective items.



Blade on Antarhak (50)

For every unsaved wound the wielder gains back a wound, if at full wounds he gets regen until the next turn.



Golden death mask (60)

Model causes terror, in addition units within 6” cannot use generals inspiring presence or BSB’s hold your ground special rules.
There are some nice combinations you can pull off with this item. Most high leadership armies are Ld.8 and Ld.9. TK also have access to the Death Lore and thus Doom and Darkness. Now throw in some SSCs that forces a panic test at -1 with Skulls of the Foe and you’ve got armies panicing off the board with very little you can do about that.



Cloak of the dunes (50, infantry character on foot)

wearer can fly. If you fly over a unit they take 2d6 S2 hits.
What it is best on is a Level 4 High Priest. He hangs out in a bunker unit possible threats are down and then he flies around with impunity to where he is needed most. Since all their spells are range limited this is immense in the later stages of a game. It's also useful for escaping a bunker unit the opponent is about to charge and demolish! Now you see me, now you don't.



Scroll of mighty incantations (50)

Before rolling for a spell the priest may add a number (equal to his level) of bonus power dice. They don’t count as power dice so you still need to roll at least one from your pile, any double (these dice) causes a miscast and irresistible force.
Usefu when you are low on dice and suddenly add a few to the pile. Really risky on a Heirophant, less so on an expendable level 2 but that’s probably it’s best use



Enkhils Kanopi (25)

Bound level 3. Any "remains in play spell" on the table is dispelled on a 2+ and for each spell stopped add d3 power dice to your own pool.



Standard of undying legions (50)

Bound level 5, bearers unit only, the unit recovers d6+2 wounds.
Most often put on Tomb Guard due to nothing else can take it other than a BSB thanks to point cost. And it can be brutal. One cast on TG or Chariots pretty much gets it's points back. Very cost effective healing and is twice as powerful as the lore attribute. Seriously, potentially 8 wounds back? Being a bound spell it is easily dispelled, but your opponent needs every dispel dice.



Banner of the hidden dead (90)

Any unit of infantry, cavalry or chariots up to 175 points (FAQ’d) gains the entombed special rule. They emerge within 12” of the banner. Units with that rule already can reroll scatter and artillery dice (both or neither) when emerging. Very nice, but its cost is staggering
 

Unas the slayer

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GENERAL TACTICS



How to play Tomb Kings



I will address this in two parts.

First the assumptions that people make when playing TK that make them play them wrong, second will be my advice on how to make decent TK lists.



Assumptions:


People come to play TK with tons of assumptions on how they should work that severely hinder their performance. I will list a few of them.


Play TK like VC: They don’t. Most of the reasons why will be commented next, but trying to replicate VC with TK is just wrong. VC is an aggressive army innumerable bodies to chaff up. TK is a more tactical weapon that tries

Net-list/Synergy: The typical way that people make list is they just take the best units and make a list. In the TK case, there is a pretty good internal balance that makes this a hard choice. There is no clear net-list. What you need to do with TK is synergyse. The most important aspect of this army is to make the combination of the units greater than the units by themselves.

Killy lord: People like to use their lords to do the damage or try to replicate a blender lord. The Tomb King/Tomb prince/necrotect characters are a support character that boosts the unit he is in, that can be kitted with offensive gear and use magic for defense. The most typical build is a simple GW for S7/6 attacks and either naked or defensive gear. Think of them as empire characters, they are there to support their units. If they can add some S6/7 attacks in addition, it’s a nice perk.

Hierophant death: Crumble after the hierophant death is almost a non-issue. Most units are either high ld and -1 to crumble (all construcs), high ld and lots of bodies (TGs, chariots) or low ld and cheap as dirt (archers, warriors). The real problem is losing a lvl 4. Also, the division of general and hierophant helps this, since you will still have your IP aura. And with Ld9/10 IP, it makes it a really small problem. This can actually be turned into an advantage. There are tons of times my opponent has focused so much on my hierophant that when he got it, I have already dealt with what I needed and when my remaining units dont suffer at all, they simply lose. In fact, I would say that 1 round of crumble does far more damage to VC than 3 round for TK. I have never lost a game to multiple rounds of crumble. I have seen VC armies disappear on a single round to it.

Resurrection: People try to use the TK resurrection as VC, and focus on it. The real focus should be on the buffs. The resurrections are a small perk on the side. Getting 2 less models is pretty much irrelevant compared to getting a 5++, KB, moving again or +1/2/4 attack per model.

No marching approach: When people see that TK can’t march, they tend to take one of these attitudes. Either they ignore it and try to play like a marching army, which fails against fast/shooty lists, or they simply decide to stay static and not move much, which will fail too against savvy opponents. What people don’t consider is that they can swift reform with no real disadvantage and that terrain hampers their opponent but doesn’t hamper them. Also, undead don’t have to fear being broken in combat, so being in formations with of 2 ranks or showing your flank is not such a big problem and there are plenty of ways to use it. Specially with buildings. So choosing the correct formation for each situation instead of staying in bus or horde always is quite relevant.

One spell to rule them all mentality: Another critical problem with players that come to TK and want to play magic heavy list. They try to simply 6-dice a spell and call it a good magic phase. This is a waste of the strong TK magical phase. The best use of TK is to pepper your opponent with spells and let him choice is poison. With a titan nearby, a lvl 4 wizards can 2 dice a CV9 spell with only a 2.8% chance of miscast and 95.4% chance of casting it. For example, a 10 dice magic phase (about average with a casket) should net you 5 spells, and let your opponent dispel 1 or 2 at best of those. With a correct spell order this will also let you get the 3-4 spells you want though. This will also make the magic phase far more reliable than 6 dicing and playing for a miscast. Also, this makes it impossible for your opponent to use his scroll to shut down your magic phase. A scroll will only make you lose 2 PD, not 6.

No-fleeing chaff: for some reason, people don’t like to use undead chaff. They simply can’t wrap the idea that non-fleeing units can be used to stop your opponent. Chaff is a NEED in TK armies. You don’t want simultaneous combats, you want to focus your magic phase on one combat at a time to beat the crap of that unit and then go for another victory next turn. Chaff is obligatory for this. If they have to give their life to buy you a necessary turn and you to get a victory, that the way it works.





Suggestion on how to build a list:


There are some advantages to TK that have not been mentioned directly. They are:


Obscure Army
: TK are a Darkhorse army. Being a rather unknown army and there being no netlist makes hard for most opponents to predict what is the real threat on the list. Taking advantage of this can give you the upper hand.

Magical Powerhouse: TK have the strongest magic phase in the game, just not the most versatile. The combination of the casket (+1d3 PD) and the hierotitan (+1d3 to casting) makes you able to cast 4-6 per magic phase on average. The difficult task is choosing the correct lore for your list. With the option of three lores, the combinations of them can give you wildly different results in the same list.



The most basic combinations and the units/items they synergize with them (or don’t):

- Single nehek + casket(s) (+ Hierotitan): You have to option buff your units with nehek and use the remaining dice on the casket. Works well with chariots, archers and TG.

- Nehek + Death + casket (+ Hierotitan): You now have the option to improve psychology bombs and debuff your opponent further. Works well with the ld test of SSC (with or without skulls of the foe), deathmask and CoS. Also works well with chariots, TG and now NK (since double -1 S helps their defense). Works better with archers for a -2 T. Archers and chariots can help you deal with I initiative armies while death helps with the low I ones. Three RIP make the canopy and interesting item.

- Nehek + Light (+ casket ) (+ Hierotitan): Like nehek, but with more defensive buffs (negate elf rerolls, stops/hampers warmachines). This lore helps monstrous models, since it patches up their weaknesses. Also, skeleton warriors benefit a ton from this, letting them grind or hold their opposition far better. Works well against armies that relay on high I like elves.

- Nehek + Light council + casket + Hierotitan: With a far greater ranged capability (thanks to shems and banishment), there will be fewer PD to use on the units on the firsts rounds of the game. This makes this magic choice work poorly with chariots and TG. Like in light, skeleton warriors and other monstrous units benefit from it. Works well against gunlines, demons, undeads, elves and avoidance armies. Tends to work better with units that can be cheap and still combat effective, since so much points where dedicated to magic.

- Death (Arkhan) + Light council + casket (+ Hierotitan): This has a impressive ranged damage, capable of dealing with armored units (death snipers, Psun, Banishment, CoS). While SSC do synergize with it, they kind of fulfill a role that is not critical. TF and chariots are not a viable option at all, nor are archers a too effective option either. Constructs work well here, so do SW, since the magic helps mitigate their weaknesses. The deathmask may a good option here, but with no lvl 4 available to carry it, it can be difficult to include.

After the choice of magic lores to use and the units benefit from it or the other way around, choose the units first and then what lore helps the most, you have to ensure to have a way to deal with armor. Some of the choices in magic can deal with armor, but if not the options are somewhat limited. Sepulchral stalkers, SSC, small units of Ushabti with GW or colossus are cheap but unreliable option. A TG halberdier horde with AP banner is a more reliable (but expensive and slow) option. S5 units (NK, chariots with 2 ranks) can deal with AS 1+, but it will be difficult.

A third important aspect to consider when building a TK list is to have enough ranged firepower to motivate your enemy to come to you. A typical problem with new TK players is making a list with units capable of dealing with anything in CC (deathstars), but no way to get those units engaged. Motivating an opponent to come to you doesn’t require a gunline. Considering 3/4 of the core options have bows and most lists already include a casket, just having a bit more can be enough to ensure this.
 

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Tactica - Entombed beneath the Sand



The Good

Entombed Beneath the Sands units can arrive anywhere on the table; this is a unique ability that no other unit or army in the game can share. They can also achieve this fairly safely, though as you'll see later it does come with a little risk. They can seriously mess up battle plans and battle lines and generally cause a bit of havoc, which is always nice.


The Bad


These units generally have a high points cost, as well as not being able to charge on the turn they arrive. However, taking into account all other Ambushers in the game and comparing to the 40k equivalent of Deep Strike, this really isn't a drawback so much as it is simply keeping in line with the system.





Discussion


So, we have four units that (can) have Entombed Beneath the Sands: Necropolis Knights, Sepulchral Stalkers, Tomb Scorpions, and Tomb Swarms. Conveniently, this is the order of highest to lowest points cost as well, since the Necropolis Knights must purchase the ability. Now, I'll be fair to mention that I have only used Sepulchral Stalkers and Tomb Scorpions in my games, but the general principles can still apply to the other units as well.

Necropolis Knights are a kick in the teeth. They are a major combat unit that dishes out lots of poisoned/killing blow attacks with a good statline, as well as holding the title of "Best Armor Save in Tomb Kings" at a decent 3+. They would take the place of the major combat unit in the army, or the death star of sorts. Most reports I've read suggest that units of 6+ are ideal...this is a hefty investment in the unit, but being able to spring your anvil unit behind your opponents' units has some major advantages and just might cause some consternation. Flipping the battle lines is always entertaining.


Sepulchral Stalkers are a different beast entirely. They are an incredible ranged unit, when properly placed and pointed. They have a bit of a weaker statline than the Necropolis Knights, but this is to focus their efforts on their Transmogrifying Gaze. This unit has an advantage over all the other Entombed Beneath the Sands units in that it can actively participate in the game on the turn it arrives by turning something to sand. With an Artillery Dice's worth of shots each that ignore armor saves completely makes opponents balk and encourages their best targets to be either small or heavily armored, or both! While they can defend themselves in combat, against anything stronger than an Empire Detachment they'll be struggling.


Tomb Scorpions work individually and accordingly have a higher Strength and Toughness than most other units in this discussion. They also have Killing Blow and Poison attacks, which are quite nice. They have plenty of uses, but even so one must keep in mind their heavy limitations. As a single model, they don't produce a high number of attacks, nor can they take many. Thus, their targets should be either equally small, or too weak to be effective (Strength 3, basically).


Tomb Swarms perform a role very similar to Tomb Scorpions and they are far weaker, but they do have the benefit of having a lot more wounds. With a larger footprint they can deny more ground to the enemy, but that's about the extent of what there is to say about them.



There are other unique Entombed units elsewhere in the book: Prince Apophas and the use of the Banner of the Hidden Dead. I've only used the former once and the latter never, so I don't have much to say on their capabilities or usage yet.


Other than the last unit touched on (Prince Apophas), all of these units are Animated Constructs, which is quite handy in keeping them alive when they start to lose combats.




Putting Them to Use


Units in reserve in this manner arrive from Turn 2 onwards on a 3+...good odds! However, banking on a single die roll often makes you the user sweat more than your opponent, as you never know when the dice will take a turn for the worse. That being said, my recommendation is that, excepting a massive unit of Necropolis Knights, if you're going to take any Entombed Beneath the Sands units, take two instead. This has multiple benefits, including:


- extra insurance that something will show up when you want it to.

- more hidden enemies for your opponent to worry about.

- more emergent options for yourself.


Now, as the real estate agents say, location location location! The placement of these units is critical, as they can never march. Tomb Scorpions' placements aren't as critical, since they are single models and can turn freely. On the plus side, 3/5 of our Entombed units have a decently high move speed of 7 (Prince Apophas has a nifty 10 for flight), allowing them to make up for a bad scatter. Still, there are some dangers to this ability. The unit has to make a Mishap roll if either of the two events occur: you roll a Misfire on the Artillery dice, or if not all the models can be placed. The former has a mere 1/6, or 17% chance of occurance. The latter can happen far too often if you aren't placing your units well. On the plus side, even when you have to roll on the chart there's only a 1/3, or 33% chance of the unit dying. All you need for them to survive is a 3+...;)


Two things you'll want to avoid are narrow gaps between units and the board edge, as both of these will cause the latter Mishap. Generally, you'll want to place your marker about 6-8" from any "Death Spot" that could cause a mishap, and this should avoid pretty much all problems. If you scatter away, the speedy movement can make up for it. If there are no such problems nearby, feel free to place them next to enemy units, as the super-safe Entombed rule makes so you'll never land on top of a unit and potentially die, which is awesome!


The best places, I've learned, are simply behind the enemy. This forces the following crucial decision: turn back to face the new threats, or push forward and hope to outpace them? The scenario can also influence their decision. There has almost always been space to do this, as well, in all my games. Even with gunline armies like Dwarfs and Empire, there is often more than enough space behind the units that even an eight inch scatter won't cause me problems.


Depending on the unit that is erupting from the ground, you'll have different ideals for where to pop up.


Necropolis Knights will generally want a flank or rear of an enemy block (their best target for dealing the most damage), as well as having plenty of space, because their footprint will be huge. Charge and stomp away.

Sepulchral Stalkers will generally be going after units of 5 or less (or more, if the Initiative is really low), but most importantly can obliterate artillery with a single shot. Emerging behind or to the flank is ideal, in a position where they can simply move forward into the rest of the battle rather than be forced to turn around.

Tomb Scorpions are also ideal Artillery hunters, like Sepulchral Stalkers. The ideal location for them, depending on the target, is outside of grapeshot/half range, and/or next to another unit. See later under "Tricks" as to why this is important. Alternatively, a Tomb Scorpion can also be used as a redirecting unit. Simply have it arrive in front of a unit you want redirected and put it as close to said unit as possible, angled how you want. This is where the superior mobility of the Tomb Scorpion really pays off. They work best against Strength 3 units, simply because they are wounding only on 6's. With few attacks coming in in the first place due to only being by itself, this can ensure its survival for a couple turns, especially when in the flank or rear. It can even break units, with a +3 for rear charge (if they were foolish enough to not turn around) and possibly another large amount of kills; don't count on it though. It can hold up weaker units well, but it's certainly not there to destroy them.

Tomb Swarms are mainly a redirecter unit, at best. Units of two are fairly cheap and can get frustratingly in the way. Because they cannot charge when they arrive and have a slow Move value, using them to specifically hunt down something is not as encouraged. Due to the plethora of poisoned attacks though, they'd be useful for getting in the way of something Monstrous with a high toughness, as you just might strike at the same time.






Deployment Tricks


When deploying a unit, especially a big one, all you have to do is touch the base of one member to the marker. This can lead to some fun deployments, such as with a unit of 6+ Necropolis Knights in line-abreast formation. Suddenly they can be blocking a huge portion of the table, or much closer to an enemy than your opponent would have thought. Just remember that they will have a huge Wheel and you'll need the space to do so. If you take a huge unit of Tomb Swarms, they can form up into a long line of Charge blocking/redirecting, which is always fun. As with the afore mentioned monsters as targets, they can effectively seal off its movement for at least a turn, as well as potentially kill it outright.


Tomb Scorpions have great fun messing with Cannons. They'll have to choose grapeshot or regular cannonball. Remember, the rules say that you cannot shoot a cannonball in such a way as it might hit a friendly unit; if the Scorpion is next to an enemy unit, then the player has to place his firing point 20.1" away from the friendly unit...naturally, this means it will be very hard to impossible for him to actually use it, since you'll be so close. Then, you'll either be out of range or at long range for grapeshot, also ensuring its survival. Subsequently making a 12.5 inch charge with a 7" move and Swiftstride should be pretty darn easy.


I like to bait and pop with my armies. I bait them with the rest of my army (which, composed of archers, chariots, and ushabti, looks squishy). This makes them move forward into my massed arrows and magic, opening up plenty of space behind for various Entombed units to cause problems.






Conclusions


More is better, location!, correct targets. Those three tenets should really help make the best use of Entombed units.

Hopefully some new insights have been gained by you readers about the various Entombed units. I intend to add more if and when I think of it, kind of like a living document that can evolve when other people get more experience, though for the most part across the entire community I'm the only person that makes extensive use of Entombed units (wacky!).






[Addendum - Banner of the Hidden Dead discussion]

This is a list of all units that may make use of the Banner of the Hidden Dead (Inf, Cav, Char: 175pts):

- Tomb King + 5 points of upgrades

- Liche High Priest + no upgrades

- The Herald Nekaph + can choose either mount upgrade

- Ramhotep the Visionary

- Tomb Prince + 75 points of upgrades/mounts

- Tomb Herald + 115 points of upgrades/mounts

- Liche Priest + can choose all 95 points of upgrades

- Necrotect + can choose all 50 points of upgrades

- 43 Skeleton Warriors + no upgrades or 35 + spears

- 29 Skeleton Archers + no upgrades

- 14 Skeleton Horsemen + no upgrades

- 12 Skeleton Horse Archers + no upgrades

- 3 Skeleton Chariots + one command upgrade

- 15 Tomb Guard + no upgrades


Possibly useful combinations. Characters can only ever do this if they are placed in Reserves (ie, if the scenario makes use of Reserves):


- Necrotect + 28 Skeleton Warriors

- Liche Priest on horse + 6 Horse Archers or 7 Horsemen


Banner uses:

- Roadblocks (Summon up 40 skeletons in your opponent's way!)

- Surprise attacks (Chariots in the flank!)

- Teleport homer (Entomb the Herald, have him pop up behind enemies, then the following turns have your other units home in on him!)


Downsides:

- Minimum 175 points to use (Herald + upgrade + banner)

- All that are normally inherent with a buried unit
 

Unas the slayer

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Movement: Fluid formations, or how to reform to victory


One of the most common problems I see when people play TK is maintaining rigid formations. While most armies do benefit and need this kind of tactic, our disciplined soldiers have transcended this limitation and are free to reorganize their ranks and change formations to our great benefit.

This is based on two basic concepts:

1) We don’t need steadfast to survive, thus we don’t require ranks.

2) We can’t march, thus we don’t lose anything by swift/free reforming.


For making the best use of this, we need to have a good idea on how the units will look after reforming, to not have a unit within 1” of the initial position we want our reforming unit to use.





In the diagrams presented here, the grid lines are 12" apart. The legend is:

Light blue: Initial position of the units that reformed this turn

Blue: Final position of the unit that reformed this turn

Red: Evil units that try to eat your candies and also march. Evil evil.

Orange: Valuable caskets, er, units that you want to protect.




Unexpected Lunge


This basic movement is pretty simple, with minimal risk, but can have a lasting impact in the game. It can be used in different depending on the unit type.


- Monsters

By starting sideways, a monster in a chariot base benefits.
1) Less vulnerable to cannons
2) When free reforming, it will move 1” forward, as can be seen in the image.

move_1.png



- Infantry

The idea here is to deploy the unit 20/15 wide. Then, when you need the extra distance, you can swift reform to a horde/bus formation and move almost 4” extra inches. By doing this you can move forward up to twice the unit initial movement value. We can basically “march” with this, with the addition of not having to waste movement on pivoting. Even on a failed reform, we will move almost the same than simply advancing forward.

move_2.png

This also protects the unit initially against template weapons and magical vortex.



- Chariots/monstrous cavalry

Similarly to the infantry, our chariots and monstrous cavalry can do something similar, deploy wide and then reform + advance. For example, a swift unit of 6 chariot can do this to move 3” inches and reduce warmachine damage the first turn.

move_3.png

In this case the additional movement is smaller, but the added benefit of reducing the damage template weapons, vortex and traditional cannons.



- Chaff

This is a pretty common movement with chaff, but I will add anyways. Basically, by free reforming into a line you can advance 4” with your horse archers and 2” with carrions. Thus, our chaff units have an effective reach of 12”.

Move_4.png





Swift reforming into buildings

- Infantry

A pretty simple maneuver. While most armies dread going into buildings since it prevents them from marching, we can use buildings to advance swiftly. By swift reforming and advancing we can get into buildings that are almost at twice the unit movement value. Then next exit on the other side, and voila, 16” movement on 2 turns.

Move_5.png



Increase the gap

- Infantry


Another simple maneuver, but really powerful when done correctly. If you have a bus and don't want a charge, you simply swift reform and backpedal. You will thus move up to 6" backward and increase the distance between your unit and the evil unit considerably. An easy 9" charge can suddenly turn into a difficult 15" charge.


Move_6.png




The wall

- Infantry


Unit of infantry swift reforming and move sideways to block charges against apparently far away units.

Move_7.png


- Chaff

Similarly, horse archers can reform wide, to increase the area they block.

Move_8.png



The scalator

This can be used to transport characters from one side of the board to another, or to move wizards from a frontal unit (like a TG horde) into a position behind or to the other side of the board with no risk.


- infantry

Another use for a bunker can be to turn into a 1 wide scalator for your wizards to be transported from side to side. Just reform, go 1 wide and face the direction you want your character to move. Said character will be able to move a total of 12". Who needs marching when your soldiers can carry you on their shoulders!

Move_9.png


- Cavalry

A unit of horse archers ca be used so that a mere foot wizard can move up to 14” in a turn easily, in almost any direction.

Move_10.png

Remember that there is always a chance to fail a swift reform, so include this in your considerations. A ld 9 prince means a 16.7% chance of failing a leadership test, while a ld 10 Kings is still a 8.3% chance.
 
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Unas the slayer

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Basic TK Synergies


one of the first things most experienced TK players noticed is that this army, while good when used properly, can be horrible if you don't make good use of his synergies. That's why I'm trying here to make a basic list of the combinations that do work, for new players.
I will list the basic units that make this synergy's work. Improvements to this synergy, like SC, will be mentioned as extra. Then the basic strategy, finishing with a short analysis of advantage and disadvantage of the build.

At last, there is a small section with general tricks to use with or that can be used against TK.

Council of light:
List: HLP 3(light) + 4x LP lvl 1(light) + Heirotitan
Cost: 665
Strategy: Get banishment, spam light magic, kill at distance high toughness/AS units.
Pros: Really good at killing monstrous cavalry (demigryphs, mourfangs), monsters and warmachines.
Cons: Depends on the flickering winds of magic.

Double snakes:
List: 2 units of 5+ NK + HLP lvl 4(light) + Necrotect
Cost: 960
Strategy: Buff NK with light magic, maintain necrotect in 12" range, charge and destroy most targets.
Pros: Mobile and threatening units.
Cons: If pitted against MI/MC killers (high strength units) the Snakes will be done.
Extra: Ramhotep makes this combo considerably better, granting rerollable armor save to one snake unit. In this case, cant take other animated constructs.

Terror bombing:
List: 2xSSC(skull of the foes) + HLP lvl 4(death) + Sphinx x 2 + archers(40+)
Cost: 1150
Strategy: Castle up, cast D&D on important unit, kill characters, make the enemy roll lots of terror and panic checks between the SSC, terror charges and magic/shooting damage.
Pros: Can break havoc on some armys (O&G, skaven, other low ld armys).
Cons: Depends on successfully casting key spells before the enemy reaches your lines (~2 turn). Enemy's immune to psychology make this combo almost useless.
Extra: Arkham make this strategy better.

Golden Mask:
List: Tomb king with golden mask on chariot & charmed shield + 5 chariots + HLP lvl 4(death).
Cost: 1150
Strategy: debuff important unit, charge with king (don't overextend), win combat by a lot, break them without BSB nor IP.
Pros: Can break big steadfast horde units easily on the first turn.
Cons: If you don't break them, the unit will probably die. Vulnerable to concentrated shooting/warmachines. Useless against unbreakeable units. Can only be used in high point games.
Extra: Arkham improves chances of casting D&D and reduces points in Lord.

Monster mash:
List: 3x Warsphinx + 2x Necrosphynx + Necrotect
Cost: 1140
Strategy: Saturate your enemy with T8 construct, so he can't deal with them. (Most armies have 1-2 units that can deal with Sphinxes). Double charge against units so they don't crumble you.
Pros: Multiple mobile units. Good against elite units.
Cons: Really bad against high strength (warmachines, banishment, blender lords) attacks or poison.
Extra: light buffs improves this build considerably.

Gunline:
List: Catapult x2 + big archers units (30+) + 2x4 chariots + 2xcasket
Cost: 990
Strategy: Castle up on a corner, cast smite, open casket + archer fire + catapults to try and kill/panic enemy units before they reach you. Chariots are there to shoot and dissuade enemies from advancing too fast.
Pros: Can deny points and kill units, getting wins that way.
Cons: Can be outgunned by typical Gunlines. If reached by sufficient units, it dies easily. Without Khalida, T4 wide armies are too tough.
Extra: Kalida in a giant horde of archers improves the killiness a lot.

TG Deathstar:
List: 40 TG with halberds + defensive Prince + banner of swiftness/razor
Cost: 715/735
Strategy: Advance, kill.
Pros: chew up armored units (great problem for TK, specially the MC/MI) among other thing.
Cons: slow, unwilding, expensive unit. Not really good against T7+ monsters.
Extra: Ramhotep make this strategy better, granting hatred & frenzy to the TGs. 1/2 Necrotect can grant hatred to this unit too. A King can improve this unit against WS5/6 units.



Tricks
Also, some neat tricks that can be done with/against TK are included here:
- In a Chariot unit a in three wide formation taking a FC pushes characters initially to the second rank.
- Champions are the first ressed unit, so challenging MC/MI champions or characters can save rank-and-file models.
- Put your characters on the sides of hordes. That way if you charge, you can assure that only 1 enemy unit makes contact, minimizing attacks against the character.
- Receiving a charge with a infantry block lets you get a magic round on the next turn instead of in 2 turn. downsides of this are: This is not advised against enemies with impact hits, lances or other significant bonus on charge. Enemy will be able to select how he charges, making difficult to protect characters.
- Skullstorm can be used to restrict the movement of the enemy (units cant move voluntarily over the template).
- Skullstorm/Purple Sun are RiP, and can generate power dices when using the Enkhil's Kanopi.
- Champions on Chariots/MC/MI, since they can be ressed, have a decent chance of killing heroes in challenge, granting extra VP. Also can give deny enemy rank-and-file attacks/kills in close combat due to forced attack-allocation issues.
- Sepulchral Stalkers can enter buildings, increasing their LOS to 360 degrees & their range (by the base of the building).
- D&D increases light of death killiness.
- Ten skeletons with a champion in a conga line with the champ in front will tie a unit for 2 turns. If healed, will last 3. Less useful against models with multiple iniciative.
- deploying monster sideways can grant an additional 1" of movement and make them a bit less susceptible to cannon shooting.
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
Units sizes and their different uses


Different players use the same unit types in completely different ways. Some use chariots as main units while others almost like threatening chaff. What I have seen make the most difference, aside from support and strategy, is the unit sizes. Same units at different sizes can fulfill completely different roles. So, I made this little summary trying to show the different uses the units may have. The idea is to post units size that work well in a specific role (for at least 2 different persons).
I wont include support units here, assume units have adequate (but reasonable) support.

First, some concepts I will use:
XXX Grinder: this unit wins combat against XXX after 3+ rounds on average.
XXX Killer: this unit wins combat against XXX after 1-2 rounds on average.
XXX softener: unit attack softens XXX considerably.
Mage hunter: this unit can go after a mage in a bunker and kill him/defeat his bunker.
Tarpit: unit that is can hold most enemy units for 3+ turns without causing significant damage.
Anvil: unit that is there to hold a enemy unit until reinforcements (a hammer) arrive to kill the enemy.
Flanker: unit that can only contribute to close combat when in a flanking/rear position.
Bunker: place to hide a mage/hierophant.
Speedbump: unit that is there to receive a charge and stop a unit from overrunning, dying after this (at least 2 turns of combat or 1 turn and a bad angle for overrun).
Redirector: unit that is there to receive a charge, die and redirect the enemy unit.

Core
Skeleton archers:

10: Chaff softener.
20-30: Bunker. Chaff killer.
50+: Infantry softener. Chaff killer.

Skeleton warriors:
10-20: Bunker
20-30: Speedbump.
40-60: Tarpit.
60-80+: Infantry grinder(horde). Tarpit.

Chariots:
3: Flanker.
4: infantry softener. Flanker.
6: infantry softener/killer. Monstrous infantry softener/killer. Chaff softener (bows).
7: infantry softener/killer. Monstrous infantry killer. Chaff softener (bows).
9: infantry softener/killer. Monstrous infantry killer. Chaff softener (bows).

Horsemen:
5: Warmachine hunters. Redirector.
8-10: Death priest mobile bunker.

Horse archers:
5: Warmachine hunters. Redirector.


Special
Sepulchral stakers:

3-4: Warmachine hunters. Cavalry softener. Monstrous cavalry softener. Monster softener. low I Monster killer.

Necroknights:
3: (EBTS) flanker.
4-6: infantry killer/grinder.

Carrions:
3: warmachine hunter. Redirector. Chaff killer.
5: warmachine hunter. Flank charger. Mage hunter. Redirector. Archer grinder. Chaff killer.

Swarms:
2: (EBtS, not animated construct) Warmachine hunter. (EBtS, not animated construct) Mage hunter. Redirector.

Tomb guards:
25-30 (HW&S): Anvil.
35-45 (halberd): Infantry killer. Cavalry killer. Monstrous cavalry killer. Monstrous infantry killer.

Ushabti:
4-6 (bow): Monstrous infantry softener. Monstrous cavalry softener. Cavalry softener.
6 (GW): monstrous cavalry flanker. Monstrous infantry flanker. Monster flanker.
8-9 (GW, FC): Monstrous infantry killer. Monster killer.



And ordered by role:


Chaff softener:
10 skeleton archers.
6+ Chariots (bows)

Chaff killer:
20-30 skeleton archers
50 skeleton archers
3-5 Carrions

Infantry softener:
50 skeleton archers
4-9 Chariots

Infantry grinder:
60-80 skeleton warriors
4-6 Necropolis Knights
5 Carrions (for archers)

infantry killer:
6-9 Chariots
4-6 Necropolis Knights
35-45 Tomb guard (halberd)

Bunker:
20-30 skeleton archers
10-20 skeleton warriors
8-10 horsemen (for priest mobile bunker)

Speedbump:
20-30 skeleton warriors

Tarpit:
40-60 skeleton warriors
60-80 skeleton warriors

Flanker:
3-4 Chariots
3 Necropolis Knights
5 Carrions
6 Ushabti (GW)

Monstrous infantry softener:
6-9 Chariots
4-6 Ushabti (bow)

Monstrous infantry killer:
7-9 Chariots
35-45 Tomb guard (halberd)
8-9 Ushabti (GW)

Warmachine hunters:
5 Horsemen
5 Horse archers
3-4 Sepulchral stalkers
3-5 Carrions
2 Swarms (EBtS, not animated construct)

Redirector:
5 Horsemen
5 Horse archers
3-5 Carrions
2 Swarms (EBtS, not animated construct)

Cavalry softener:
3-4 Sepulchral stalkers
4-6 Ushabti (bow)

Cavalry killer:
35-45 Tomb guard (halberd)

Monstrous cavalry softener:
3-4 Sepulchral stalkers
4-6 Ushabti (bow)

Monstrous cavalry killer:
35-45 Tomb guard (halberd)
8-9 Ushabti (GW)

Mage hunter:
5 Carrions
2 Swarms (EBtS, not animated construct)

Monster softener:
3-4 Sepulchral stalkers

Monster killer:
3-4 Sepulchral stalkers (against low I monsters)
8-9 Ushabti (GW)

Anvil:
25-30 Tomb guards (HW&S)
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
Threats from various armies


This post is going to contain a (still incomplete) list of threats, sorted per army, and their counters.

So, per army:


Bretonnia
-Double trebuchet: something to watch out for. Strength 10(5) is nothing to be sneezed at and they only cost 45 skaven slaves each. Important these things are taken out as early as possible. Luckily, with only 4 peasants guarding them, even horse archers can take them out inclose combat. The Casket also rocks against it, and probably will 'get there' faster. Stalkers are supposed to be machine hunters too, and won't be wasted against a armor1+ army anyway.

-Lord with HKB virtue: This guy has Heroic killing blow on all his attacks, rerolls failed wounds or something. at any rate I've seen build with extreme high chances of rolling 6 to wound. sphinxes should stay away. The guy is likely in a unit, so the lore of death is your only option really. that, or you find a way to charge a knight-unit with tomb guard.

On a general note about bretonnia: stalker attacks ignore their armor AND are strength 1, so that the bretonnian blessing wardsave doesn't get better than 6+. further, the fact that stalkers come from behind is extra devastating for the bertonnians, who need to get forward as fast as possible and can't afford to turn around.


Chaos Dwarves
-K'Daii Destroyer: T6, armor4+, ward4+(2+ vs fire), wounds are rerolled. Flaming attacks obliterate characters while S7 tackles everything else. Absurdly killy, fast and very, very hard to remove. You will not find a chaos dwarf army without it. Khalida is wonderful here since it dies to Poison no problem. It is always possible to tank with a Soulblight/Dessicate combo and hope it burns out. Stalkers also simply wound on 6es (and since their attacks are magical, no rerolls are necessary)

-Chaos Sorcerer mounted on taurus: He's a lvl4 fire. With a certain build (Shield, Crown of Command, Dragonhelm, Talisman of Preservation, Blood of Hashut), this guy is expensive but man is he difficult to kill. Dude on top has a save of 1+ and 4++. With fire magic the sorcerer can heal the taurus. (NB, though both are virtually imune to the fire lore, our fire-catapult can still touch the taurus). It packs a real heavy punch and the skeleton champion challenge tactic wont work because of stubborn LD10. This setup is rarely seen, but heaven forbid if it's taken in combination with a K'daii Destroyer. Randomizing provides some additional protection to both, but the sorceror is best targeted with stalkers (he has I2) while the taurus would get hurt by catapults easily.

-Magma cannon: It does str 5 d3 wounds. these things eat ushabti and knights for breakfast. be sure to deploy wide you it doesn't pierec ranks, if you get the chance. With the usual crew-wizard rerolling misfires, you have to take these out quick.

preliminarry conclusion on chaos dwarves: You need stalkers badly!


Dark Elves
-Crossbows: though they are susceptible to all kinds of -1's, these guys will outshoot us hands down when they have a clear shot. they can have an armor5+, so you might need to commit more than just bowfire. charriots will still mash them, if you survive the stand and shoot. good manouvre would be to charge, take damage, and then heal back up before combat and smash them!

-War hydra: nobody has mentioned this guy yet. he simply isn't scary?


Demons of Chaos
-Bloodthirster: with the following gifts: Strength 10 (sphinxes, stay away), 3+ Armour Save, MR2. Only way to deal with him is double SSC catapult. Unfortunately he is very fast and if he gets into combat it's all over.
This guy simply is a top priority target for everything you have. focus fire and penetrate its defenses with sheer numbers. when if combat, pile every augment you have on your unit; the guy has only 7 attacks, so after protection, lightprotection and speed of light, you could have him fluf against your static res if you're lucky (and then the demon-unstable kick in).
Unde_d (demon player) ammends that there are better builds possible. (firestorm blade, armor3+ from either obsidian armour or armour of khorne, and often carries a dispel scroll) A very usefull tip of his is: as soon as the bloodthirster has lost 3 of his 5 wounds, the controlling player will start to get very nervous when having to commit him to battle. (so keep those catapults firing)

-Great unclean one with Balesword: He only has 4 WS4 attacks, but with this kit he auto-wounds, and each wound is multiplied into D6 wounds. He will easily wreck any construct he hits, sphinx, Titan, snake-knights, whatever. With 10 T6 wounds he's very difficult to manage from afar. He's also movement 6, so with marching he easily puts unpleasant pressure on your constructs. (Worth noting that some Daemon players like to use a Tzeentch herald with shadow in combination with the GUO - steed of shadows on this bad-boy could easily lose you the game right in one spell, so be sure to dispell!)
You could try to catch him with death magic (purple sun), but since his Init is 4, it's a longshot at best. His very high wounds count means catapults do very little to him as well. Unde_d's (he's a demon player) recommendation is to tie him up with infantry, heavily-buffed with light magic if possible (make him pay for only having WS4). one or two bad thunderstomp rolls and combat res will do the hard work for you.

-bloodletters: there demon's horde unit of choice. The good thing is: if you win combat, they crumble. multi-thunderstomp is suggested, disrupting their ranks is a good idea and don't forget doom&darkness!

-Siren-trap units: Siren Song is one of the most powerful abilities still in the game. Any time you see a Slaaneshi Herald, expect it to be packing Siren Song. The uses of this little gift are too numerous to go into here, but stick to this simple rule: If you don't want a unit dragged out of position by Siren Song, use an interference unit of your own to block your more valuable unit. (or see that you kill the herald?)


Dwarfs
-War Machines: Yes, every army will pack at least 4. Best bets are a couple of Horse Archer units to Scout up. While you won't kill them, you should be able to tie them up and prevent them shooting for a good 3 player turns. Just be sure to avoid the Organ Gun when deploying because it tends to wipe out most Machine-hunters.
As always, Stalkers are also a perfectly valid answer and made extra deadly due to the I2 of the crew.
However, Dwarfs are one of those overall I2 armies, so your stalkers might be occupied elsewhere. ^_^

-Hammerers: Sphinx! Assuming you can protect them from Cannons, A Sphinx will neatly remove the Hammerers main advantage of S6 and probably lock their Lord out of the game to boot. Killing Blow on the crew also helps.

*In general: pretty much everything can be countered by a healthy mix of Horse-Archers, Stalkers, Sphinx and obligatory Death Magic. Archers are fairly useless however and Necroknights will struggle to find a unit without Great Weapons.


Empire
-Steam tank: This thing is the ultimate tarpit. It will do virtually zero damage (except when it charged you through impact hits), but it's pretty difficult to damage to it too. Str 6 should penetrate it's toughness/armor though, so ushabti and collosi can start smacking right away. skellies will simply hold it up indefinitely, and our usual assasination tools (spirrit leech, casket, catapult) should work fine too.

-inner circle knights: empire has knights too. heavily armored and equiped with lances, these guys can generate huge crumble results on impact. Like with any knights, outcharging them helps, and casket/stalkers are ideal.

-cannons: very acurate str10 hit with multiple wounds d6. sphinx does not like. If you happened to bring caskets or stalkers in your all comers list, these are a top priority for them.


High elves
-swordmasters: These guys have 2 asf ws6 str5 attacks. Fortnately, they are elves, meaning they have T3 and just armor5+. Shooting should work great to wittle them down, and especially small numbers will be obliterated by 4d6 str4 impact hits!

-white lions: More elven elite with a little difference in flavour. 1 asf ws5 str6 attack per model. They are still elves, but unfortunately have an armor3+ against shooting. Given the possibility of high elves to bring an imune-to-magic-banner, it's likely that you can only deal with a block of these in close combat! 4d6 str4 impacthits still take out about 8 guys, but prepare to loose your chariots when the other 12(?) strike back. Keep in mind that a sphinx is not impressed by their greatweapons in the least, and should be able to manage 16 attacks for one or two rounds. if you go all out with firebreath and thundercrush (little gamble) you might very well come out on top now and then.

*additional note on high elves: the scary antimagic banner can only be taken by the armystandardbearer; which will therefore have no defenses at all. That's what we call a top priority target!


Lizard men
-Slaan (in general): loremaster, free powerdice, becalming cogitation, this guy overpowers any magic phase.
-unkillable Slaan: 2+ ward ethereal 5 wounds at toughness 4.


Ogre kingdoms
-Ironblaster: The cannon kills monsters, and the Ironblaster is a chariot that's tough enough to crush our usual anti-Machine hunters. The Gnoblar has I3, making Stalkers not so effiecient as you'd like (tough bringing stalkers against an ogre army might be a good idea anyway). Use the Casket of Souls to hit its mediocre Ld, while several catapult hits might drop it too.

-Mournfang: Huge damage output, T4 armor2+ and a parry. Get charged and the Dragonhide banner will have them reroll all their saves too (and you get enough impact hits to outright lose!) Again, hit them with a Catapult or the Casket to hit their low Ld. Also, they have the wonderful combo of high armour / low Initiative that makes Stalkers so great.


Orcs and goblins
-Shamans: Appart from being a caster, this guy can apparantly pimp himself with a 2pd spell and kick your teeth in with +3str & +3attacks, which deserves a special mention.

-black orcs: They are the toughest type of orcs, and they can choose their weapons based on the situation. Only thing than can go toe to toe with them is a big block of TG.

-night goblin fanatics: Basically, when you get within 8 inch of a night gobo block with this secret upgrade, the block launches single models at you that deal 1d6 str5 hits with penalties to armor, or something. the sneaky tricks that are possible with this are endless. example: a night boblin block hides behind an orc block. if you charge the orcs, you get in range of the gobo's, and get alway hit because the fanatics travel through the block. (orcs get hit too, though)
The best counter is suspecting them, drawing them out with trash, and then either walk over them with trash (they then deal more damage but die) or shoot a wound on them.


Skaven
-The hellpit abomination: T5, regen, few wounds. The classic TK answer to this guy is flaming impact hits, negating its regeneration, high initiative AND the Too Horrible To Die rule. Bowshabti with a flaming-banner-herald could do some serious damage as well. Finally, remember that our catapults are flaming, so they too are a perfect fit. A sphinx with breathweapon can also put pressure on the hellpit.

-Doomwheel: T6, 4+armor. Again, catapults and bowshabti get past these defenses fine. The casket is another good answer as it targets the doomwheels ld7 rather than its regular defenses.

-Plague furnace: T6, 6 wounds. It can be targeted seperate from its unit, but will benefit from Strength in Numbers, so the casket is not so nice a fit. Only 108 regular bowshots should be enough to deal the 6 wounds, or 36 bowshabtishots. Catapult, again, seems nice enough. If you want to assault it in close combat, keep in mind, it often brings:...

-Monks with a plaguebanner: This is infantry with 5 ws3str3 attacks per file, and the banner lets them reroll failed hits and wounds once per game. Hits like a brick, and all those rerolls will put pressure even on a sphinx. High armor is the way to go, so consider knights. Note that we have another unit that can go toe to toe with the monks in a vacuum: HW+SH Tomb guard. 35+ of them at ws5(prince) will endure the first wave of attacks and then mob the floor with them.

-Skavenslaves: Far, far too high Ld for how cheap they are. Their defense is the fact that they bring 50 wounds for 100pts, rolling on Stubborn Ld10. They can tarpit any unit stupid enough to assault their front. The Death Mask is absolute gold here. While very specific, it is such a hard counter that it is worth considering if you regularly play Skaven. An alternate route is to cast doom and darkness o the generalls unit (or spirrit leech on the general). Slaves that are in a forrest for some reason can be taken out by anything you can get into them.

-Gutter runners: These guys can seriously screw up a list that relies on warmachines (or sphinxes). They come out YOUR table edge with poisoned doubleshot-slings. This makes them extremely dangerous to warmachines, which rely on ther high toughness alone. The low armor of sphinxes is an issue as well... The best counter is massed bow fire, so consider keeping a unit of bows with amusician for a quick turnaround close to your casket. With LD7, they don't run that easily, but are a juicy casket target (their death will earn you plenty of points, even). Don't forget they still suffer a -2 to hit when you put something between them and their target.

-Poison wind globadiers sneaky little units of 5 provide multipurpose trahdrops. Though they have a crappy range, have to roll to hit, and kill themselves if they fail, they always wound on 4's, no aror saves allowed, and they can shoot into combat. Be aware, knights and sphinxes, and think of them when you have some spare arrows.

Preliminairy conclusion about skaven: the catapult is always a good option here. however, since the skaven army has Gutter runners as well, it might not be the best. Realising that analysis is not yet comprehensive, the above list so far points to bowshabti. Note that they are especially nice here because after the high T units are gone, the ubis are more than capable of going toe to toe with the micemen.


Vampire counts
-Vampires: not that unexpected in an army named vampire counts. Vampires are as fighty as lords come these days, and can kill enough by themselves to completely win combat, bringing a skellie bus to negate steadfast (like we care). Nothing we have is going to take on a kitted out vampire lord, but we CAN cast killing blow. Get the vampire to assault a nice infantry block and you have a fighting chance.
Remember that you are going to commit *a lot* of points to kill him. However, he is worth 500+ and will take another 100+ from crumble when he dies, so its probably worth it.

*Also remember that VC is one of those armies that triggers the lore ability of our light magic.


-Terrorgheist: If this thing starts close to the general, it will march 20 inch on the first turn, and launch a shooting attack (range 8 inch) that equals a slightly pimped casket attack (test on 2d6 + its nr of remaining wounds rather than 3d6) which will, as you know, completely obliterate a single model (such as your casket).
So, first thing to do is to put your warmachines as far back as possible. The Gheist's defenses are T6 regen5+ and 6W. catapults are fine, bowfire with flaming is fine. It has LD4, so as soon as it has marched, the casket and spirrit leech are VERY fine. Even if you don't kill it right away, putting wounds on it makes it's shooting attack severely less scary.

-Ghouls: This used to be the horde block of choice. two poison attacks per model, at T4. especially scary when pimped by a VC supportmagic-cascade. Knights will do best thanks to their heavy armor. simply win combat and watch them crumble.


Warriors of chaos
-Hellcannon: S5 blasts, Misfire tinkering, cannot be killed by traditional War Machine hunters due to monster stats. Stalkers are the perfect counter to him, targetting either the I1 of the Cannon or I2 of the 'crew'. Even a small unit of 3 should turn it to dust easily enough.

-Tzeentch warriors with altar: apparently, these warriors in combination with two altars have a guaranteed 3+ ward save. A systematic approach seems needed, first taking out the altars and then the block. feel free to suggest your ideas


Wood elves

-Treeman: with T6 armor3+ ws5+(vs nonmagical) and 6 wounds, the treedude is one of the toughest things around. Unless you have flaming magical catapults, because you get through all its defenses, and it's flamable to boot. stalkers are a good second best, getting past both of the saves, and wounding on 5s


*********************
List of multipurpose counters
We're at the lovely point where people start seeing connections between the armies.
Stalkers deal with an awfull lot of the thing smentioned above.
Council of light: lots of wizards provide you with a high strength magic missile that has succesful wardsave be rerolled.
Death magic provides a fair number of counters as well.
Catapults and Casket (no real surprises there)
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
TK at 1000 pts games


Since 1k games are quick, easy and simple to do, i figured a write up on it can help improve these games for some, which may have an impact when you step up to bigger and better games. This also may help get newbs on the right foot.

In this post I will simply go through the choices availiable and give my opinions upon what works well in this point range, while in the next reply i will go into detail about the tactics to be employed using such models.

1000 points: for the slow at math we have a limit of 250 points per slot, and at least that much core has to be taken.


Lord Choices:
The problem with lord choices is simply we cant fit any of the special characters in, and for the most part the tomb king seems very unpractical. Due to the fact we have to have at least a Liche priest in additon to a TK, spending 240 characters at least, and 405 at most clocks in at 1/3rd to almost half of our army. IMO thats a no go.

High Liche Priest: They may very well be worth it. Since you HAVE to have a caster in this army, why not make at least an LD 8 general (if you're going with one character, which i reccomend) With the usual inclusion of the casket, he can actually be quite formidiable in the magic phase and can actually do some great things for our army, as some cannot feasibly get a lvl 4 into these lists (im looking at you lizardmen, WoC) The question then is, do you give him an earthing rod to protect your asset, or give him a Scroll to protect your assets. Most people on here already dont give your Phant's protection due to the 6+ regen, so as long as he's got a bunker, you should be kosher. another option is to just make him a LV 3 and a scroll clocking in at 200 points, which isnt bad either. I would just shy away from taking another character if you are including one of these bad boys.


Hero Choices

Special Characters:
Nekaph: may actually be a decent choice at this level, as the fear fail may save your skin, and he should be pretty killy compared to what he faces in a challenge at this level, but my thoughts are that you have to pay for him plus at least a liche. This may be a possibility if you go for the lvl 1 naked/useless phant, but it may get too expensive otherwise.

Apophas: hahah, this may actually be fun, he can actually do a bit of harm at this level, as a good bit of casters cant protect themselves too well due to points restrictions, and his terror/statline, may be able to run of small units if rear/flank charged, not to mention terror. The usual caveats apply, too much points in characters, may be an issue and detract from the army as a whole.

Ramhotep: he actually may not be too bad too, going into 30 horded guys ala, wildman style....actually, knowing that you wont get parry saves, he may actually not do too bad to go into archers instead, for a nice, kinda duality unit, although this is one unit you may not want to fight with untill later, and frenzy restaining on LD 7 may get iffy. He can also work instead of a prince in a small unit of TG.

**I find it actually funny that you might be able to get good utility uses out of these characters at this points level, that you probably wont get at any other**

Normal Characters:
Liche priest: now this guy is necessary (unless you're going the HLP road) and with him you've got options. So the priest, what to do? you can: 1)actually kit him out as a priest and use him properly. 2) you can leave him at 70 points, hide him somewhere (like behind a building, and just cast the sig spell to heal occasionally, 3)do something similar only put im on a horse in a horsemen bunker and try to run circles around the enemy (actually isnt too hard). The point is you have to have him or his big brother, so whether you use him, or just say hey, i have to spend these points let move on to the other 930 points and make a winner, is all up to how many toys you want to bring and what suits your playstyle.
>>>as forgottonlor has pointed out, taking an additonal lvl 1 of say light with the ruby ring can actually do some decent damage output via magic missiles, which are much better in smaller games. you could also give the 2nd guy a channeling staff to increase your defense as well as offense.


Necrotect: If you go down the Skittle road, it may not be too bad, or if for shats you go down the ushabti road, he may be beneficial there too, also another thing is you could use him as a *cheap prince* and use him in a small unit of tomb guard to guarentee some decent combat ability.

Tomb Herald: In my honest opinion, i dont think he's worth it at this level. and if he is, its with a BSB making him 85 min. He may have uses but i would skip him at these points, granted -1 to crumble may actually win games, but i'll take my chances.

Tomb Prince: He's a decent option if you're going infantry heavy. Hell 50 skittles with armor isnt bad being lead by him. Will it be Woc? no, will it beat other small elite units? probably not, but it should out attrition all but deathstars at this points level. would he work in a chariot? probably not due to costs, but its also a possibility.



Core Choices

you have to have at least 250 points of this one, and i find it challenging at this points level because many options arent as good as they are in bigger games due to the sheer size of 1k, and many want to get the best out of a slot they have to take, before moving on to bigger and better things. Excluding chariots, i dont really think you want to try to get too high over core requirements since you really need everything to succeed without magical assistance, and really contribute to the rest of the army. However certain tailor builds might support these core choices quite nicely, although you may be lacking in other areas simply due to the lack of points to cover weaknesses.

Chariots: the stars of this class, plain and simple, many people dont like them, but due to smaller unit sizes and since it is core, these guys IMO are amazing at this level. to make it even simpler, 4 chariots, with a standard, musician, and the flaming banner comes out to an even 250 points. 3 man variants can also be used to some success, allthough thats the only other size i'd reccomend, if you want to use up the rest of your core on bowmen. Oh and the flaming is pretty necessary. Do you seriously think that Dark Elves wont pay 175 points for that hydra? or what about that skaven and their hellpit?

Skittles: might have just written, HW/S because Spears arent really worth it, unless you're going with 50 horded with ramhotep. it makes you feel like a high elf. but not really. (that combo is only 360 points before command btdubbs) I would consider avoiding them unless you may take them as cheap 10 man drops for pitting. cant go wrong with 40 points a piece. they can also work with prince builds but it wont stop any death star.

Bowmen: They will most likely be your staple bunker, unless you're either saying eff the Liche or using horseys instead. Their fire can do some work on skirmishing units and flankers you'll see at this level, but i dont really like them in bulk at this sized game. there are some decently armored troops at this level that would make the giant unit completely useless, although IF you are facing the elf and human varieties, you can quickly chew them up with bowfire. Its a risk/reward kinda thing.

Horsemen: armor or not, these guys arent too bad at this points level either, between being a cheap (fast) flanker with a str4 charge, decent armor and being a highly mobile liche bunker. if you plan on playing blitzkrieg with snakes and chariots, this is the way to protect your liche. believe it or not, with a highly open field at this level, and movement in the magic phase, swift reforming 2x and moving around 16 inches can keep you away in an fun game of cat and mouse.

Horse Archers: they arent bad due to scouting, but in all points levels, i only find them best at redirectors, and my feeling is at this level, you dont want to just throw almost 1/10th of your army away. now they can be pretty good at harassment, but in the numbers to be taken at this points level I'm not too big of a fan, and i dont know if their shooting will really do anything. 70+ points can be worth it for annoyance at bigger points values but not here.



Special Choices

keep in mind kiddos, you have up to 500 points to spend on these bad boys. Too bad that you'll use about 300 at most, due to other slots.

Tomb Guard: arent too bad for an infantry unit, although they can be expensive. due to such, you most likely will go with HW/S to get more numbers, and you shouldnt have enough for a magical banner. You will also want some kind of character to help support them, most likely a necrotect because its cheap. (although ramhotep plus 20 Berd TG, FC, 3x7 clocks in at 400 points, that may make a point across.) Its not that it isnt feasible, but its kinda expensive and your whole army has to work around this unit, which as sleb will be ever so quick to bring up, can be ignored due to their pace.

Necro Knights: They are a solid at this points level. for the low low price of about 200 points, you get 15 str 5 attacks on the charge, 3+ save, and 7" move. They annihilate smaller units, at this level. The only problem is as soon as they take heavy fire (ala cannon offs a snake) their usefullness goes way down (as healing does them almost diddly) great on a combo charge with chariots as well. Oh and theres always the entomb route for these guys, as it makes opponents shart bricks when this pops up behind their lines, however, there is a teensy bit chance that they could misfire, costing you a minimum of 210 points, but the option is there and not too shabby by the way.

Ushabti: slightly overcosted as always, They actually arent too bad when you consider they can steamroll small units. Technically all options do fine at these points, and honestly the one that has the hardest time fitting in are actually the Greatshabti, but they will do decent against Warriors and dwarves, provided what survives the inital attack can deal back the same amount of damage Its unlikely you take more than 4, so running 4 at 4 wide, with xhw, gets you 20 st4 attacks, and when you consider you get the same from 20 more points of TG, and they're unbuffed, its not too shabby. My personal favorite is bows at this level, due to the smaller unit sizes they wont fold in combat against most things, and they can take pot shots at that hydra/hellpit/beasty that your enemy will bring. IMO at this level, they come out better than TG.

Tomb Scorpions: ah the scorp corps. You love em, or you hate em. No, seriously you guys here are either on one end or the other of the spectrum on them. Anyhoo, we all miss the 4th wound, but thats in the past, what we have now are decent character killers that can ruin a guy's day and give some unit easily +5CR thats attacking the front. At T5 3W these guys should have no problem dispatching that mage's 10 man archer bunker, so why not. And as veritas has pointed out in his post on ETBS, its safer than deep strike, and you have to have some risk, to get some reward. Its rare they dont come up, and 1/6 that they misfire. As most ETBS, these bad boys work better in multiples, to ensure you get on poping on T2

Tomb Swarms: With the newfangled ETBS, they can no longer be speed bumps in our deployment zone, so what can they do? be annoying. While at 80 points its still pretty expensive for a harassment unit, they arent too bad at, at least tying up war machines for 3 turns, simply due to number of wounds. the same can apply if you get a rear charge (although harder than others due to m4) they can do it as well as long as the apponent has no way of turning around. And like always, they have tons o poison so they can do pretty decent against big monsters, although they probably wont live past a turn due to stomps and whatnot.

Carrion: ah carrion, the one carry over that became really boss. at s/t 4 and flying, they are our primary WM hunters, if you dont dig those entombed shenanigans. although theyre still 2 wounds and no save, our flyin ogres can be healed quite easily and synergize well with Killing Blow. cheaper than scorps and twice the wounds, they arent too shabby. They really are good choices, the problem with them at this level is do you have any room for them after you purchase your heavy hitters.

Sepulcural Stalkers: Normally, I'm a big fan of stalkers. they can entomb, they can do something when they come up, and they have a magical shooting attack with no AS. Unfortunately I dont see them here because sanz WoC, you wont see too much retarded armor, and those guys dont get wounded as easily as say, dwarves. They are 165 points, they (surprisingly) cant do much in combat, and firing 3 shots a turn, someones gonna misfire. Sure in larger games, when you can spare 200 points to ruin some warmachine's day, go for it, but when you are paying 1/6th of you army that has multiple self destruct buttons, i would skip untill 2k. 2 scorpions is almost the same and have better chances of (one) comming up earlier. Not to mention will do at this level besides take up a huge amount of space.

War Sphinxes: Ah the sphinx, the noble battle kitty. tar pits like a dream, wipes out opposing tarpits in 1 game turn, and you can even get two of these bad boys at this level. Why not? I mean at most opponents will have 2-but most likely 1 cannon. and the normal millions str3 attacks that can bring it down are reduced greatly? Because if you spend all you points here, you might be missing out on someting else in your army, be it banners, a magic phase or whatnot. While you can certainly do 2 sphinxes, i would stick to one to ensure you get everything you like in these smaller games.


Rare Choices

before i say anything its fairly obvious that you're only getting one of these choices, maybe 1 or 2 of the last two but this is a one and done section that can affect the rest of the army.

Colossus: he may not be too bad at these points, but i would most likely give him the XHW to keep him cheap. he should be able to munch through most vanilla troop units in a turn (sans wiffing) but he is almost 1/5th of the army and only T6. Overall not a bad but not a great choice.

Hierotitan: depending on how you modeled him, he may be the only bunker you need for your liche. place him standing behind him and he may not be seen(DONT USE VS CANNONS), he gives you a boost to magic (especially if you go with multi priests) and also contributes nicely with thunderstops/str6. However, if you are goin this route, you are spending a ton of points in magic, so overal, i'd say skip this boy for now.

Necrosphinx: He may be the sleeper hit of 1k, your normal problem is that most of the time, you get bogged down by attacks, but with smaller troop sizes and the lack of numerous elite threats, between his flyin move and KB, you could quickly ruin someones day by taking out a bsb/general/spellcaster, and even live to fight another. I actually love this guy in this points value, since he can still pit decently(monsters too), and kill characters quite effectively. He also moves that sphinx you wanted to rare, while leaving you the rest of the army to come from special, (coughTGcoughcough)

Screaming Skull Catapults: before i start, don't ever buy the upgrade, its not worth it anymore. Er, ehm, yes, one may not be bad at this points level, but 2 can do some damage if you're going for gunline format. I like most members say 2 or none, but there might be some merit to 1 and a casket. they can do some decent sniping, with lesser characters have a better chance of panicing who can be panic'd and can kill the crap out of say marauder or slave busses.

Casket: This is probably the best choice out of your rares for this level besides the necrosphinx. It keeps you on top of your offensive magic phase, and works quite well with a 70 point priest if you just hide him and 6 dice the casket all day. not to mention, that if something kills it, you have a good chance of killing it back? sold.
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
MAGIC & SPELLS




Lore of Nehekhara


Lore attribute - the restless dead

not exactly a spell, but equally important, is the Lore Attribute, the Restless Dead. Now, this Attribute may not be as powerful as some, but it truly has its uses. It allows the raising of or restoring of wounds to units of Nehekharan Undead that have had an Augment from the Lore of Nehekhara.
First off, it's a done deal. No rolling 5+ or giving situational bonuses from this Attribute- if you cast an augment it happens, period. That's pretty useful- and the fact that it restores a minimum of 2 is pretty cool too. Then again, it's really dissapointing it doesn't work well with the animated statuary we like to field. But all in all, a good Utility Attribute- not balls-to-the-walls offensive like Fire, one-trick pony like Light, or sneakily powerful like Life's attributes, but nothing to sneeze at either.



(Signature): Khsar's Incantation of the Desert Wind

Augment spell: Cast on a 8+/16+
Description: Any spell caster can take this by exchanging one of their rolled spells for it. It affects all units within 12" of the caster and allows them to make a normal move (so no charge or march, but can be used to reform/fast-reform). Basically everything in a 12" bubble can effectively march. And gets healed.
Powered Up: Bubble is now 24".

I really hate this spell, not because it's a bad spell, it's arguably quite good, and in fact it's by no means the most situational spell in the game.
It's just that it really only exists to plug the crippling weakness of not being allowed to march! It means we have to spend power dice to do what everyone else does for free and the prospect of having it dispelled leaves your army bumbling across the battlefield at 4-5" a turn. It wouldn't be so bad if we could ignore it but having and totally useless thereafter.

Why to use it:
desert wind is almost essential for any kind of manoeuvrability in the first two turns. Yeah, it's a really bad way to try and alleviate the marching ban, but unfortunately it's the only thing we can do unless you want to spend 4-5 turns before getting to grips with the enemy.
Anyway, it's nice that it's a bubble, and it does add some much needed maneuverability to the army, and if you're using a level 4 to cast, it'll go off half the time with a single die- risky to start with, but something that could be used at the end of the magic phase if you have that spare die and spell. And it's an Augment, so it's always useful to heal- except on units in combat.

Why don't use it:
I don't really care for the 4 etra inches my infantry would gain, not if it costs powerdice.
I would only want to cast walking if it allowed me to gain an advatageous flanking position or so, but there's two theoretical problems with that that have kept me from casting it so far:
1: my opponent isn't stupid, so it isn't going to happen
2: flanking units ar far away, so this isn't going to be a relatively cheap opening spell that can either draw dispell dice or be a freebie; it's going to be a powered up bubble spell that costs recources.
Tomb King is not a run up and smash you in the face army. The army wins by attrition and positioning. In the early turns, I would much rather spend my dice on the casket to kill off their support units than to rush right at a force that is most likely better at killing things than I am. Soften the opponent up, and then strike. Desert wind doesn't help that at all.



1) Djaf's Incantation of Cursed Blades

Augment spell - Cast on a 7+/10+
Description: Target within 12" now gains killing blow. If they already have killing blow it now works on a 5+ wound roll
Powered Up: Range extended to 24"

Now, for whatever odd reason, this spell is actually easier to cast than Khsar's, but whatever. Now, something I noticed a bit ago is that this is a 'stackable' augment- in other words, there's nothing in the working of the spell that prevents it from being used multiple times, and for each successive use to add to the previous use. In the case of Cursed Blades, this means that you could potentially give any unit in the entire army a 5+ Killing Blow. ('Stacking' the spell is only possible with Khatep's Loremaster ability)
First off, which of the units we have benefit most from a 5+ Killing Blow, and which units benefit most from a 6+ (obviously any unit benefits more from the 5+, but we'll assume, for now, that we only have access to it once). Our Serpents, Tomb Guard and Sphinxes all already have KB, so it benefits them a ton, of course, and probably Tomb Guard the most- but would it be worth it to cast on a Sphinx? (the sphinx's thundercrush ability benefits from killing blow. See TK FAQ)
This spell, of course, can only target a single unit, and that only in 12", though the Boosted version isn't that much more difficult to cast, and doubles the range. Would it be worth it to cast it twice on a single unit? Or would it be better to 'spread the love' and have 2 units that benefit, if you have Khatep and another?

Why to use it:
This spell is probably one of the nicer ones to have for a 'combat Heirophant/Priest', one on the Front lines, and its range would actually allow you to cast it on a unit in a flanking position in the same combat you're in.
Vs some opponents it's only useful simply as a cheap heal and bring back d3+1. Not just ogres, but any armor-free army like daemons or woodies. Against other armies, its psychological effect is quite powerful. People are likely to burn more dispel dice than they should to stop it, especially if a character is involved fighting against the unit getting buffed.
Something else to consider is it's benefits onto chariots, or for Kings with Destroyer of Eternities, and the Necrosphinxe's Heroic Killing Blow attack- giving each of these a 5+ HKB is incredible, allowing your hela your Sphinx and give it the chance to snipe its target 1/3 of the time instead of 1/6, and making the King an incredible threat to any MI he might come up against.

Why don't use it:
The killing blow thing is nice, but I never seem to roll sixes when I have it, and even then it only really shines against things with high AS.
More seriously, if you equipped your TG with sword and shield, counting on it as offensive threat, and it is dispelled...



2) Neru's Incantation of Protection

augment spell - Cast on a 9+/18+
Description: Target within 12" now gains a 5+ ward
Powered Up: Affects all units within 12"

This is the third of the Augment spells, and the second one that cannot be 'stacked', as Djaf's and Ptra's can- it 'only' gives a 5+ Ward save, instead of adding "+1 to Ward" or something like that.
This is a pretty simple spell, with either a basic, one unit target in a foot, or a foot bubble- however, it doubles the casting cost, which is fairly major. This spell is definitely one you want for any unit in close combat, and could take the place of a character specific Ward.
Some strategies with it would be that Magic Resistance stacks with this spell's effect, allowing you to give units in your army anything from a 5+ to a 2+ Ward vs. magic damage.
It works best on units that don't have a parry save or regen save, for example Halberd guard, constructs (without necrotects), carrion and cavalry. Especially carrion (and possibly cavalry) can become quite resilient with it.
It also synergizes with some character builds that don't rely on ward saves. Glittering scales, trickster's helm and silver steel armour comes to mind.

Why to use it:
Simple spell, saves 1/3 of your casualties, plus all that related additional crumble and subsequent heal.
It pads the fact we dont have decent armor. The higher casting is a little expensive, but it can come in handy some times. Ive found the quickest way to draw out dispel dice is to cast this baby on a sphinx and watch the enemy cringe and grab their dice quickly.

Why don't use it:
Usually you need kills to win combats, so this spell is quite average, compared to Ptra



3) Ptra's Incantation of Righteous Smiting

augment spell Cast on a 9+/18+
Description: Target within 12" gets +1 attacks. Bows (includes Ushabti bows but not the Collosus bow) get multiple shot (2)
Powered Up: Affects all units within 24"

Here's the last of the Nehekharan Augments, and the last spell to benefit from the Lore Attribute. However, it's also another 'stackable' spell, in that casting it more than once on a unit will apply more bonuses. Unfortunately, multiple casts do nothing for shooting attacks, as it states "Gains multiple shot (2)" instead of saying they get another shot. However, in close combat, it says the target's Attacks are increased by 1, meaning if you cast it twice, you increase the attacks by 2.
This spell is generally considered the most useful on large blocks of infantry or archers, and I can see that easily- however, it can have other uses, such as being cast on Colossi that are going into combat, giving them an extra chance (or two) to continue their Unstoppable Assault. A Colossus with XHW and smiting (or double smiting, from Khatep) could get up to 5 or 6 attacks! And with those attacks ignoring any armour less than 3+, you could easily chew through an entire block of enemy infantry.

Why to use it:
One of the big things about this spell, though, is that it's simply a bonus attack, with whatever extra features the model's regular attacks get (not to mention it adds attacks to mounts as well). So it combines well with Djaf's, or Flaming Banners, or Khalida archers, Ushabti with bows (I shoot you twice and have +1 attack to beat your face), chariots (I shoot you twice and have +2 attacks to beat your face), and warsphinxes (I have 5 more attacks...)
Hands down best spell.

Why don't use it:
It is so good that the opponent will always try to dispel it. So, sometime you could plan your magic phase to succeed in everthing else and have your opponent save dispel dices for a thing you are not going to cast.



4) Usirian's Incantation of Vengeance

hex spell Cast on a 10+/13+
Description: Target within 18" gets -D3 movement and takes dangerous terrain tests every time it moves
Powered Up: Extends range to 36"

This spell is fairly low casting value, with a decent range- and its Boosted version barely increases the cast cost, while doubling the range, which is amazing. You should be able to get this spell off (Heirotitan and Lvl 4) half the time with a single die (good if you leave it till last) or almost every single time with a measely two, which is incredibly cheap considering what it does.
First off, it reduces enemy Move by up to 3- while this might not seem a lot, it basically turns long shot charges into impossibilities, and 50/50 charges into Long Shots, while adding the bonus of Dangerous Terrain.
This is a spell that you'd actually want multiple of in your army if possible, so another one for consideration with Khatep and another LP/LHP- for, not only could you then target multiple enemy units, possibly tieing up or delaying their entire advance for multiple turns by using it on fast-moving redirectors they were expecting out of the way, but it is 'stackable', in that multiple castings will each reduce movement by d3 "to a minimum of 1"- so you could potentially reduce those Bretonian Knights down 6 Move, or any fast-moving enemy. And with the ability to reliably cast even the Boosted version on two dice, it's not gobbling up your dice pool like the boosted versions of other spells.

Why to use it:
Dangerous Terrain, one of the least respected methods of dealing damage, simply because it's 'optional' for the enemy. The thing is, with this spell, it's the entire unit that's testing, not just a couple on the edges, which means the unit will be reduced by a 6th of its size (minus Ward saves, if any) every time they move, including on charges, marches, basic moves, etc.
This is a great spell to use in conjunction with the Golden Mask (or any Terror causer, really) because you can possibly force your opponent to move; same with the Screaming Skull Catapult- it's a situation where Skulls of the Foe could be worth its points- and is also incredibly useful on any unit that has compulsory movement, such as Chaos spawn (if anyone used them).
Very useful when you charge a unit: this will force them to take tests when they combat reform (best used against stubborn / unbreakable troops when you hit them in the flank, for example)

Why don't use it:
You may kill some model, but you are not building your tactics on it. This is not Ptra, neither Usekhp



5) Usekhp's Incantation of Desiccation

hex spell Cast on a 11+/22+
Description: Target within 24" has -1 S and -1 T
Powered Up: Increases effect to D3.

This is a decent range hex that does a straight -1 Strength and -1 Toughness. It's fairly simple, but very useful. And again, it's stackable using Khatep. So 4 dice to guarantee -2 Strength and Tougness on an enemy unit or suck up opponent's Dispel Dice)? Yes please.
It's Boosted version is kinda rubbish, though. It's double the casting value, and has a 1/3 chance of not doing anything more than the non-boosted version- however, there is that slim chance that you could reduce a Stank to T4, or pretty much anything else to T1 for two whole phases. Slim, (and it'd suck up dice like nobodies business) but there.
This spell is probably not one to rely on for its effect, but for its threat. An opponent is often going to need to throw at least 3 DD to your two to have a decent chance of dispelling it, but if it doesn't get dispelled, it's still worth having cast.
It's best combined with 4 charriots barreling into the enemy infantry alongside each other. the -1 toughness then is a huge thing for 4d6 impact hits.

Why to use it:
I find myself often in fights where I think smiting will have a negilable effect, (like with a monster, or Necroknights), where I think a -1 to wound for my opponent and a +1 to wound for me is much better (not to mention my save gets better). Its also nice for archers having a +1 to wound.
Dessication is iprobably our second best spell. It has swung far more battles in my favour than smiting ever has. that's mostly because the effect of -1/-1 on enemies doesn't discriminate; when you cast smiting, charriots are happier than infantry, but with dessication EVERYBODY LAUGHS.
Dessication works offensively with shooting and combat, and also defensively as a deterrent. The opposing unit is not as likely to charge if their stats are subpar.

Why don't use it:
See Ptra. if you plan to not using it, it's just for psycological reasons.
And NEVER use it on any unit that Stalkers are going to be targeting.



6) Sakhmet's Incantion of Skullstorm

magical vortex spell Cast on a 15+/25+
Description: weak magical vortex, with small template of S4 power. Moves artillery dice times Wizard level in inches. Misfire centered on caster and moves randomly.
Powered Up: Large template!

This one probably has the dubious honor of being the Nehekharan Lore's most undesired and underappreciated spell. Whereas most other lores are absolutely thrilled to get their Big 6th, a Tomb Kings player is probably about 75% likely to trade this one for the Sig.
The odd thing is, it's our only damage dealing spell (other than the DT from Vengeance). This says something about TK players and our army, but I'm not sure what.
In any case, Sakhmet's Skullstorm is actually rather terrifying. It's Strength 4, meaning it can moiderize most basic infantry, and can travel a fair distance upon casting. And being a Magical Vortex, it can be cast into combat, allowing us about the only CC use for a non-Heirophant Priest.

Now, there've been a couple of 'non-standard' uses of this spell, which are what make it interesting

First, as it's a Vortex, it's RiP, and thus can be effected by the Kanopi. It's been suggested that this be used as a 'mana battery' of sorts, popping a Skullstorm early in some random direction and using it in a later magic phase when you need a couple extra PD. Easier and safer, I think, than needing Death magic for that (and along with the Casket and a Titan, a good way to get a 'surprise' spell of at the end of the phase, when the enemy has depleted their DD.)
A second use for it, one that stacks well with the first, is as something to help control the enemy movement. As a RiP spell, you can cast it in front of an enemy unit- a big block you don't want charging you, or that you want to charge instead- and chances are the enemy will either try to maneuver around or attempt to dispel it in their magic phase, or go through and brave it anyways- and this spell only deals more damage the further you pass through it. Any of these is a win for the TK player.
Third is the basic use. Kill stuff with it. In conjunction with Dessication, the Skullstorm is absolute terror to T3 6+ units- which is the grand majority in the game. This spell can easily decimate (or worse) things like Skaven Busses, Pike blocks, or even enemy skeletons.
By far the best thing about this spell, though, is it's basic cast cost- far cheaper than any other 6th spell. It's possible to cast on 2 dice, even with no Titan, and with a titan, you're usually going to get it off on 3. If you want to cast the Large Blast template size with it, though (which is terrifying) you'll need to be very lucky with 3 dice, or go 4 or 5 to have a better chance.

Why to use it:
Plenty of blocks (elves of all flavors, skaven of all flavors, skinks) will die far more easy to skullstorm than to purple sun. crab troops with T3 and low armor will die as easy (night gobos, skellie warriors without light armor), except when some magic resistance is confered.

Why don't use it:
There's a 1 in 6 chance it'll blow your own caster up, and a decent chance it'll then proceed to sweep through your own ranks.
With storm you really need to cast it with a high level guy to get it to work well, and since it uses lots of dice and carries two chances to harm the caster, that often means your hierophant is taking too much risk.
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
Death Magic



General Strategy

First of all, the groundwork. For your magic phase to be most effective it needs proper support. Unless you're running Arkhan, to me that's a minimum of two level 4s and the casket.

For Arcane items, I never leave home without a dispel scroll. To me it's the best bang for your buck that you're ever going to get out of 20 points. Being able to shut down both must-dispel spells in a phase can be absolutely crippling to your opponent's plan for that turn. Just gotta make sure that you don't blow your load too early.

If I have room for two arcane items, my second choice is usually a powerstone. I've found a lot less use for it, but it's great for turning that last 2 dice into a 4-dice attempt at purple sun that your opponent didn't see coming. However, since I'm usually running a SC caster and a level 4, I don't typically have the slots.

Otherwise, for death I've found that two catapults are absolutely essentially. I haven't found room in my lists for Skulls of the Foe on them both, but I've definitely considered it. Just never been able to fit 60 points in...



Spell Selection

Here are the spells from death in, what is in my opinion, order of descending importance.


1) Purple Sun:
This spell can straight up win you games. Against anything with initiative 3 or lower you're killing at least a third of the models in the unit with no saves of any kind. There is no way to stress how powerful that can be. It's a silver bullet against Ogre and undead armies. It auto-kills steam tanks, cauldrons, and bells/furnaces. What's more, it can generate enough dice for you to get a whole 'nother magic phase.
Against armies like elves or warriors of chaos it becomes less of a priority, but I still might pick it up just 'cuz. Even killing 15% is nothing to sneeze at, if you think you can hit enough models with it.


2) Doom & Darkness:
Purple Sun is amazing contextually, this spell is amazing always. ALWAYS. With range 24" / 48" and -3 to leadership, there is no reason to not take Doom & Darkness. Ever. Even against demons and undead you're still increasing the effectiveness of your casket, and causing extra instability wounds.


3) Soulblight:
-1 S/T is one of the most powerful debuffs in the game, but it's even better paired with Desiccation. Not so much to get -2S/T, but for redundancy. They'll dispel one or the other, but not both.


4) Spirit Leech:
Good range, and keys off leadership (which you're already targetting). More importantly it's cheap. 10 for 24" you can easily cast on two dice. 7 you can cast on 1. By no means guaranteed, but if it's the last spell your death mage is casting then it's worth the risk.


5) Caress of Laniph:
2d6-S *sounds* good, but it's really not. It's utility is lessened by the fact that it's terrible against monsters, terrible against lots of fighty characters, and wounding on a 4+ halves that.
It's good at killing wizards, but not that much better than spirit leech. Take this if your opponent has a squishy wizard near their front lines (Bretonnia, say), and drop it if they don't (Slann sitting at the back casting through priests, vampires with their base S5 and 4+ ward, etc.)


6) Fate of Bjuna:
12" range makes this worthless for us. For flying demon princes and pegasus-mounted sorceresses this may be a good spell, but for us our mages are basically never going to be in range to cast this until it's too late. The ONLY reason to keep it is if you got stuck with....


7) Aspect of the Dreadknight:
absolutely worthless. Everything in our army already causes fear, and you're never going to convince me that Terror-bombing a unit NEXT turn is worth a higher casting cost than the purple sun. Rolling a 1 means got Spirit Leech, plain and simple.



EARLY GAME (enemy >24" away): Doom & Darkness + Casket + Double Catapult

Early game is a tough time for us. Catapults are in range, but they're extraordinarily unreliable. Casket is in range, but it's your 6 dice versus theirs and they get a wizard level. Everything else is just sitting pretty and waiting for them to come at you.

That's where Doom & Darkness comes in, your second "Must Dispel!" spell.

The target is almost always going to be the unit containing the enemy's general. As per the FAQ, bonuses like Banner of Discipline apply to his Inspiring Presence bubble...meaning that penalties like D&D do as well. Suddenly that LD10 general is only passing out LD7.

Firstly, this is going to make your casket more deadly. 3d6-10 is doing .5 wounds on average. 3d6-7 is doing 3.5 wounds. That's a BIG deal. Even against LD8 units that's still a very big deal. Also, remember that a test that causes even a single wound MUST be rerolled if the BSB is in range. They don't get a choice.

The second benefit of this strategy is your catapults. They only need to kill a single model to force a panic check, and at S9 multiwound that's pretty easy to do against large units. Heck, even against white lions with BOTWD you're probably getting a wound between that and the boatload of S3 hits. Then, at LD 6-7, watch them fail that test and run right off the board.

Suddenly saving dice for that casket isn't looking like nearly as big of a priority, is it? Heck, you might even get a dispel scroll out here.


For dice use, I tend to only use 3-4 here. With a level 4 you only need to hit a 9 to hit the casting value of the 36" range version. 3 dice can do that fairly reliably. 4 dice is better, but of course there's more chance of a miscast. Depends on how many dice I have really, and how juicy the general's unit is looking.

I've also typically cast Vengeance before this against something on the far flank. Since they're probably going to be marching next turn you're effectively reducing their movement by 2d3, or 4" average, with DT tests as a bonus. If that draws dispel dice then awesome. Probably won't though.

This leaves me with 5-6 dice to throw at the casket if they choose not to dispel D&D. If they DO use their dice for that I'll often try to squeeze protection through on something at risk from warmachines. Otherwise everything goes into opening the casket.




Mid Game (enemy within 24"): Soulblight + Desiccation / D&D + Spirit Leech


This is the "charge standoff" phase, where you and your opponent are setting up to take or receive charges. The key thing to remember here is Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Now that your spells are all in range, you want to be getting off AS MANY as possible.

You're still wanting to play the same strategies that you did in the early phase, so D&D+Casket, but now you're trying to ram those through with volume of spells rather than volume of dice. You should be aiming to throw 2 dice at the casket, and nothing more.

Note for the casket that I typically leave it to cast until the very end of the phase. This is for purely psychological reasons: I find that my opponents are disproportionately afraid of the casket, and the THREAT of it is enough to keep my opponent's dispel dice at bay.

For that reason I tend to lead with the spells that I really want to get off, and what spells those are really depends on the context:

1) If I'm afraid of getting charged, I'll typically throw buffs on my units to discourage that. Knights will think twice about charging my snakes if the riders killing blow on a 5+. Tomb Guard with extra attacks, same thing. Nobody is afraid of a 5+ ward save, so save this one for later.

2) At the same time, sometimes debuffing THEIR units works just as well. I usually start with desiccation, then follow up with soulblight when the latter gets dispelled. This allows me to attempt the boosted version if I feel like it's worth it (i.e. I'm anticipating multiple scary units in combat next turn). The risk there, of course, is losing your wizard to a miscast too early.

1 and 2 could have been combined, but debuffing has the additional benefit of softening the enemy up for archer and catapult fire. Which is more important really depends on what you're facing off against. Against Ogres I'd probably suggest debuffing is more important than buffs. Against something like knights or chaos warriors your buffs are scarier, due to things like killing blow.

3) As mentioned, D&D is still a very valid threat. Opponents are continuously forgetting that it's RiP though, so I find it's often still up. Otherwise whether it's a better option than 1 or 2 is highly contextual. Do you think you might be able to win a combat next phase, and therefore increase the chance of breaking the enemy? Against something like skaven that might be a real possibility. Against something like Ogres...not so much.


Remember, the trick here is to use the THREAT of the casket to ram your spells through. You're basically resigning yourself to the fact that it's not going to go off. The casket is deadly, sure, but it's not going to do as much damage as 5+ killing blow will. Or 7-attack snakes. Or +5 attacks on a warsphinx. The amount of dice you'd have to throw at it to guarantee it going off just isn't worth it. In short: if you're throwing 6 dice at the casket then you're probably doing it wrong. That doesn't mean don't attempt it...just don't do so on no more than 2 or 3 dice. Let the casket's d3 dice pay for its own casting, and use the threat of that to get your other important spells through.

Note that I didn't mention using Purple Sun here. There are times where it's absolutely in your best interests to cast this spell in the mid-game, but from experience I've found that it's rarely worthwhile. Your opponents are far enough away that it's unlikely that the sun will make it all the way to it's target, and there's nothing scarier for you than a sun stopping right in front of your expensive, low I models. What's worse is if it misfires, it has the potential to cause crippling damage to your lines.

There are times when targets are just so juicy that it's worth the risk, or so scary that putting a template in front of them to prevent the charge is worthwhile. However, remember that doing this means exposing your wizard to a potential charge (since he'll have to maneuver out into the open to cast it).




Late Game (units are engaged): Soublight, Desiccation, Purple Sun

Now that everything's in combat it's time to push all in.

1) Soulblight and Desiccation are really important here. Tag-teaming them on a unit guarantees that you'll get 1 of the 2 off. You might even get both if your opponent is afraid of the sun.

2) Nehek buffs are also always important. I like using Khatep here, so that I can both get as many as possible, and use fewer dice to cast them

3) D&D is still a great spell here. -3LD makes it much more likely that your opponent will fail fear tests which can be HUGE. This is especially true if you managed to snipe out their general and/or BSB.

It also makes them much more likely to break. So if you think you'll be winning combat (charged with chariots, multiple units, got lots of buffs/debuffs off, etc.) then go for it.

4) And last, but certainly not least, the purple sun. I'll deal with this in its own section, since it deserves it.


You do, of course, still have the casket. With the scary units likely engaged it's probably not worth much, so will just become a battery. However, there are times where your opponent has left something in reserves, is maneuvering it for a flank charge next turn, or has already smashed its target and is lined up to charge the next. You'll probably still want to use those spells for more important buffs and debuffs, but 2-dice at the casket at the end can't hurt (especially if there's still big-scaries out there for it to target).

Another good time to use it is to mop up scattered points. That single silverhelm or grail knight hiding behind that building, preserving its points. Might just be enough to tip the balance of the game, and you don't want to leave yourself too little time to get those points.




Using the Purple Sun!

It's hard to stress enough the potential of this spell to win you games. If thrown in the right situation it can cause devastating damage to the enemy, and generate enough dice for practically an entire other magic phase.

The trick with purple sun is thinking about it early, and setting yourself up for maximum damage. Use your chaff to manipulate your enemy's formation. Then try to make it so that when you either charge or are charged their units are in a nice, straight line with as few of your own models in the way.

Then pick your wizard's place in his bunker, reforming them if necessary. You'll probably be jumping him out of his unit next turn, meaning that he'll only be able to travel 4" from wherever you put him in the unit the turn before. So THINK AHEAD!!!

When the time comes, jump your wizard out of the unit to wherever the optimal starting point of the sun will be. If the enemy still has lots of shooting you can try to keep him in his bunker still, but at this point it's often worthwhile to just consider him expendable. Moreover, having him outside of the unit minimizes the damage that will be cause if he miscasts, or if a misfire is rolled on the artillery die.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ACTUALLY PLACE THE TEMPLATE TO TEST WHERE IT WILL GO. Unless your opponent is an idiot he's been expecting this ever since he watched you roll your spells, and either way there's very little he can do to stop it except save up his dispel dice for it. It is FAR more important to make sure that you don't ###### up the placement.

Also, in setting up remember that although you cannot PLACE the template on your own models, you can direct it to PASS over your own models. A few people have complained that this is 'unsporting,' but that's the rules and you take them as you will. Remember that it's ANY wound caused that triggers death's lore attribute, even friendly fire, so consider that any friendly model you lose is being converted into 33% of a spell die that can be used to cast buffs and raise them back. If that's what it takes to inflict maximum damage upon the enemy, then so be it.


ALSO remember that the template cannot end its movement ontop of a unit, or within 1" of them. So if units are closely bunched together it is very likely that you can get it to bounce through all of them. Again, make sure to thoroughly consider all of these things as you place your wizard, and before you declare the direction of travel for the spell.


Now magic phase. Once again, you're going to be wanting the THREAT of this spell to help you get your other must-casts through. How many dice you hold back for it depends on you. For the purposes of this analysis, I am going to assume that you are using the normal, unboosted version that casts on a 15+. The 25+ cost of the boosted version is simply too high, and the additional benefits over the standard version is too low. Trust me when I say that you can hit more than enough models with the small template. The only exception is if your opponent has a dispel scroll left, and the game rests on whether you get this spell off or not. In that case you're praying for IFs anyways, so you might as well go for broke.


3 DICE: This gives you an essentially 50/50 chance of getting the spell off. Not. Worth. It. Unless it's all you have, then I guess you might as well try. But still...it's not worth wasting a minimum 25% of your dice on a coin-flip. Unless you have a hierotitan, that is, in which case go for it since you're turning that 50% success rate into a 63-83%. Or Arkhan the Black (63%, or 74-90% with a titan)


4 DICE: This right here is the sweet spot. 84% likelihood to cast, with only a 13% chance to miscast. If your opponent has 4 or less dispel dice to throw at you this is probably where you'll want to stay.


5 DICE: 96.8% chance to cast, but 19.6% chance of a miscast. In a game where the sun will do a lot of damage I'll throw 4. If it's going to win me the game, then I throw 5.


6 DICE: 99.6% chance of success. 26.3% chance of miscast. The only time it's worth 6-dicing this spell is if it HAS to go off to win you the game, your wizard is dead anyways next turn from shooting, or if your opponent has a dispel scroll. Otherwise it's better to use 4-5 dice, and use the extra to cast other spells beforehand.




Conclusion:

I think that death magic is an extremely powerful tool for Tomb Kings, that synergizes really well with our army and lore. It's strengths play to the weaknesses of our army, and shore up our defenses against armies and strategies that we have difficulties against.

I've toyed around a lot with both light and death magic, and it's my opinion that death is the superior choice for any army running 6-8 wizard levels. Light is a very powerful lore to be sure, and certain builds I would say make better use of it than they do death (2x6 snake armies, for instance). However, I would contend that the bulk of TK armies will make better use of death than they will light.

That said, what I will ALSO say is that I don't think death is enough. Even if I could take death on my primary caster, I would still supplement that with a Nehek mage (unless I was taking only constructs, then Light). Without the ability to spam spells death really suffers, and 6-dicing spells is a terrible strategy.
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
MathHammer: percentages of casting spells


Hopefully, this thread will contain everything you want to know about casting our spells!

Start with the Basics.

Total available spells: (includes boosted versions)
Nehekhara: 14 spells
Death: 13 spells
Light: 14 spells
Undeath: 11 spells
Bound L5: 3 spells
Bound L4: 1 spell
Bound L3: 3 spells

Odds of getting "that spell you want!": (includes rolling a double)
Lv
1: 17%
2: 44%
3: 72%
4: 98%
5: 100%

Odds of not getting the spell you want:
Lv
1. 83%
2. 56%
3. 23%
4. 2%
5. -

Castable on a 11 or less:
Nehekhara: 7 spells (50% of total spells)
Death: 7 spells (54% of total spells)
Light: 6 spells (43% of total spells)
Undeath: 6 spells (55% of total spells)


Chance of casting spells on straight dice:
CV's | _1D6_ | _2D6_ | _3D6_ | _4D6_ | _5D6_ | _6D6_
03+ | 66.7% | 97.2% | 100.% | 100.% | 100.% | 100.% Bound Spells
04+ | 50.0% | 91.7% | 99.5% | 100.% | 100.% | 100.% Bound Spell, Aspect 1
05+ | 33.3% | 83.3% | 98.1% | 99.9% | 100.% | 100.% Bound Spells, Shems 1
06+ | 16.7% | 72.2% | 95.4% | 99.6% | 100.% | 100.% Caress 1, Pha's 1, Morkharn
07+ | 00.0% | 58.3% | 90.7% | 98.8% | 99.9% | 100.% Blades 1, Leech 1, Sulekhim
08+ | 00.0% | 41.7% | 83.8% | 97.3% | 99.7% | 100.% Desert 1, Speed 1, Khizaar
09+ | 00.0% | 27.8% | 74.1% | 94.6% | 99.3% | 99.9% Pha's 1, Smiting 1, , Soulblight 1, Aspect 2, Light 1, Ryze 1
10+ | 00.0% | 16.7% | 62.5% | 90.3% | 98.4% | 99.8% Vengeance 1, Blades 2, Doom and Darkness 1, Leech 2, Net 1, Banishment 1, Razkhar 1, Kandorak 1
11+ | 00.0% | 08.3% | 50.0% | 84.1% | 96.8% | 99.5% Desiccation 1
12+ | 00.0% | 02.8% | 37.5% | 76.1% | 94.1% | 99.0% Caress 2, Timewarp 1, Pha's 2
13+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 25.9% | 66.4% | 90.2% | 98.0% Vengeance 2, Bjuna 1, Doom and Darkness 2, Net 2, Banishment 2
14+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 16.2% | 55.6% | 84.8% | 96.4% Ryze 2
15+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 09.3% | 44.4% | 77.9% | 93.9% Skullstorm 1, Purple Sun 1, Shem's 2
16+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 04.6% | 33.6% | 69.5% | 90.4% Ryze 3, Razkhar 2, Akar'aran
17+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 01.9% | 23.9% | 60.0% | 85.5%
18+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.5% | 15.9% | 50.0% | 79.4% Pha's 2, Smiting 2, Soulblight 2, Light 2
19+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 09.7% | 40.0% | 72.1%
20+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 05.4% | 30.5% | 63.7%
21+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 02.7% | 22.1% | 54.6%
22+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 01.2% | 15.2% | 45.4% Desiccation
23+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.4% | 09.8% | 36.3%
24+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.1% | 05.9% | 27.9% Timewarp 2, Kandorak 2
25+ | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 00.0% | 03.2% | 20.6% Skullstorm 2, Purple Sun 2

MCs | 00.0% | 02.8% | 07.4% | 13.2% | 19.6% | 26.3%

How The Table Works:
Find the spell and how many dice you want to cast it on. Then, simply subtract the wizard level and Hierotitan bonus from the CV and there you have the odds of casting it. Numbers in green are in the "above 50% chance to cast" range, which generally makes them more reliable casts. I'm sure there may be a mistake in there or something, but oh well it's pretty close. The last line is the chance of getting a miscast. Keep in mind this is only accurate if you are not Sleboda, who manages to miscast around 60% on 2D6.


Thoughts
So here we have something of a visual breakdown of the difficulty of casting the spells available to us. There are more lower-cast BRB spells than Nehekharan spells, but it evens out around the 10-11 range. The easiest spells to cast, then, are Death, followed by Nehekhara, and finally Light. In my opinion.

This leads me straight to Arkhan and Death and why I think it's a game-winner for us. Death spells are easy casts on 2-3D6. At Level 5, he makes it easier, and with the Hierotitan bonus, even so much easier! With the casket bonus dice, his storage dice, as well as bonus dice when Death starts killing stuff, it just keeps the magic phase rolling right along, which is exactly what the Tomb Kings need.

But enough about how I lurvs me some Death. Let's do a pro/con.

Nehekhara
Pros:
- Improves your dudes
- Inhibits your enemies
- Vastly increases mobility
- Heals your models (limitedly)
- Area-effect spells poof multiple units into goodness

Cons:
- Somewhat expensive to cast
- Not much in the way of causing direct damage by itself
- One fairly useless spell (6: Skullstorm)

Light
Pros:
- Improves your dudes
- Inhibits your enemies
- Decent damage output, especially vs Daemons

Cons:
- Pretty much the same lore as Nehekhara but with more direct damage
- Nothing really threatening to distract from better lores
- One fairly useless spell (3: Light of Battle)

Death
Pros:
- Can cause massive casualties
- Syncs well with psychological effects
- Ignores armor saves
- Can refill the power pool
- Too many threatening spells to stop them all (especially with easy casts)
- Character/model sniping with little penalty

Cons:
- Can cause massive casualties...on yourself
- Strongest at shotgun range, which means you'll be in combat soon
- One fairly useless spell (1: Aspect of the Dreadknight)


More Thoughts
If you want plenty of buff/nerf spells, go with Nehekhara and Light as your lores. If you want bigger synergy and risk/reward spells, go with Death. One perk of Nehekhara and Death is that the fairly useless spells are on 6 and 1, making them seemingly less likely to be rolled. Light's meh spell is a 3, you can bet your pet monkey that you will almost always get it when you're rolling four dice for a Level 4 (since you roll them all at once). That's not to say it isn't the worst thing ever; it's a handy spell for all-shooter armies and swift reforms, but for the most part it's just going to be in the way. At least you can drop it for Shem's.

(note, while the above thoughts about Light aren't accurate, I feel it's worth keeping in there to inspire more thought, or something, I dunno, keep reading, fool!)

I think three different lores would have been the way to go, and only further cements the idea that this book was made for 7th edition. Heck, Pha's Protection seems to go everywhere! Lore of Heavens, I think, would have been a better alternative to Light, but oh well.




Spell order
This entirely depends on your lores and what spells you rolled up, and generally depends on the battlefield situation. Smiting, Cursed Blades, Light of Death, and any of the kill-spells (of which there are four) from Death can change the course of the game...or fizzle out pathetically. Still, if you have decent power dice (7+) and you generally should, start with the ones that are least effective, or seemingly. So many people are terrified of the Light of Death that I save it for last almost always, which allows too many spells through that would otherwise be stopped.

I like throwing out Purple Sun first, almost no matter what turn or situation it is. On 3D6 with Hierotitan support Arkhan's likely to cast it, though 4D6 is also highly suggested. This forces your opponent to think: let it through and have an impassable terrain/unit/character killing orb floating around, or dispel it, or scroll it. I find that on the first turn it usually draws out the scroll, since many big tournament players use low-Initiative armies.

I follow it up with some insignificant spells from Nehekhara and/or Death so that they go through, then it's the crazy good spells to see how many I can get. Perks of casting Death spells later in the phase: you can get extra power dice without topping off and losing any. On the other hand, if Purple Sun does well then you're still a winner. There's something to be said for leading with the meh spells, but I find it lets your opponent get comfortable. Starting with a bang tends to rattle many players, which encourages more mistakes later in the phase.


Conclusionary Thoughts
I dunno, magic is magic and will always be fickle. Our army is generally predicated in its heavy use, so there's nothing wrong in doing things your armybook encourages you to do. Hopefully something was learned and ideas inspired!


Addendum

#1
Here's an effort to pull from the chart a table that shows the best chance of getting a spell with the least chance of miscast. I present it below:

___||With Titan|| Without T.
CV || # || . % . || #|| . % .
07 || 2 ||94.4%|| 2 || 94.4%
08 || 2 ||94.4%|| 3 || 92.1%
09 || 2 ||92.6%|| 3 || 90.7%
10 || 3 ||91.8%|| 3 || 88.0%
11 || 3 ||90.3%|| 4 || 85.6%
12 || 3 ||87.3%|| 4 || 84.1%
13 || 4 ||85.4%|| 4 || 81.4%
14 || 4 ||83.7%|| 5 || 78.8%
15 || 4 ||80.9%|| 5 || 77.2%
16 || 5 ||78.6%|| 5 || 74.5%
17 || 5 ||76.8%|| 6 || 71.7%
18 || 5 ||74.1%|| 6 || 70.1%
19 || 6 ||71.5%|| 6 || 67.6%
20 || 6 ||69.8%|| 6 || 64.1%
21 || 6 ||67.3%|| 6 || 59.2%
22 || 6 ||63.6%|| 6 || 53.1%
23 || 6 ||58.8%|| 6 || 45.8%
24 || 6 ||52.7%|| 6 || 37.4%
25 || 6 ||45.4%|| 6 || 28.3%

In this table, CV is still Casting Value, # is the number of dice thrown. All the options are obviously available, but you might call these the "most efficient" choices of all.


#2

The Lore of Undeath
Pros:
- Summon more units! Handy for boosting your Fortitude, or snow-balling into bigger and nastier critters via the lore attribute, like a terrogheist!
- No useless spells; everything has a use
- Can heal a unit (and make them move), boost your caster, or banshee scream
- Can bring in tough units from outside the armybook
- Super easy to cast most spells

Cons:
- Needs to juice up via castings to be able to get the big stuff

This lore works very well with low unit-count armies, like massed Chariots, or deathstar armies. You get around the shortcomings of having few units and fortitude by simply summoning up more of them, shoring up the flanks or producing chaff. Since the summoned units do not give away any Victory Points, you can happily chuck them in your opponent's way and set up your counter-charges nicely. While the lore isn't necessarily the best for all cases, I actually can't find much fault in it, other than it has the fewest spell options. It might synergize with Death and the casket pretty well, considering your opponent now has to try and stop you getting new units, in addition to all the terrifying spells from before.
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
SPECIFIC UNITS TACTICS




Necropolis Knights - 1st part



The Necropolis Knights bring a few things to the table that aren't matched by any other unit in the book without combination:


Advantages:
- Speed
- Armour
- Damage output
- Damage resistance
- EBTS
- Fear

The first key point being speed, in an army of shuffling bone it's a pretty important one. M7 and Swiftstride allows us to get into good positions (as opposed to most other units) and make reliable charges when the time is right.

They've got the best armour save in the Tomb Kings army, however don't go thinking that's an automatic pass to throw them into the thickest of fighting as you'll be sure to come away disappointed. They do have the potential to soak up some damage provided they're pitched into the correct combat with the correct support elements.

The damage output a unit of Knights can produce is once again I believe (without character support) is hands down the best our army reliably has access to, each base nets you 5 attacks plus a stomp. Throw some killing blow attacks and enemy characters/armoured units are fair game and secondly poisoned attacks for the mounts and you've got a very versatile unit that is great at dishing out the hurt. Once you start adding magical buffs to the picture the results just multiply rapidly.

On damage resistance a unit of knights is certainly worth of mention. At T4 and 3 wounds a piece and of course with a good armour save they're fairly hardy to most small arms fire and magic missiles. War machines however will have a field day but depending on what is in the rest of your army you could find they're not the number 1 target.

The last point I wish to touch on is this unit is capable of using the ETBS rules. Certainly nothing game breaking but it has the potential to setup some very good tactical options and its never fun to have your units surrounded regardless of the threats. This is certainly one area where I lack experience but I will certainly be looking into it more and more.

Certainly not as powerful as it once was but still worth a mention. Having your opponent hitting on 5's or 6's can go a long way to saving your Knights so be sure you always have your opponent roll a fear check every combat round.


Disadvantages:
1. Low Initiative
2. Footprint
3. Expensive
4. Drop easily to S5+ attacks

1. Granted our whole army suffers from this however it's still worth mentioning. Most of the time you'll be striking either at the same time or last unless of course the unit is buffed.

2. Depending on what size you run the unit you may end up with a very large 6 wide frontage which can take a bit of getting used to when using them. Weigh up when deploying, is it easier to run them in a single line or can you afford to spend a turn reforming them after running them up the flank as a block?

3. Don't go throwing them into any combat you like as these guys soon add up in cost. Add entombed as the price hike goes up a little more.

4. Probably the biggest gripe this unit has is against S5 attacks, with a -2 armour save they won't be hanging around long so keep this in mind all the time!



Unit options:

Size: This all comes down the personal preference and what you intend to do with the units. If you're using them as shields then units of 5-6 work great as they've got the wounds to soak up and they can 'guard' units behind them with their large foot print. Units of 4 work well for hunters and units of 3-4 work great as entombed units to get flank and rear charges. This will also minimize losses if they fail to appear for the game.

Command: Depending on the unit size Full command can be a great option. 4 is the amount I would run before putting a standard in the unit. The champion is a handy upgrade for three reasons, firstly he's got a good chance at dropping enemy characters and gaining an underdog bonus. Secondly if you lose the champion and a further Nehekharan augment spell is cast on the unit then your champion gets back up on a single wound - it's nothing game breaking but certainly something to keep in the back of your mind that you can re-gain 5 attacks with a single spell. Lastly and this again comes down to what formation you're running your Knights in, if the unit is charged in the flank and only a single snake is in combat it may be useful to challenge and/or put the unit champion on the receiving end of the damage so your unit can only take a maximum of 3 wounds and crumble a further few wounds allowing you to reform and even the odds a little next combat phase hopefully!

Seeing as unit champions are unable to use the 'Make Way' rule you'll have to use a bit of nous here and position the champion on the flank if you suspect a flank charge coming on or if you're stuck in a position you can't get out of. I'm honestly a little hazy on this area so need to grab my rule book and then clear this area up.

Entombed: With a small investment you can pay to have your unit/s ambush. Great for some builds but it always adds that element of risk with the unit misfiring and not turning up.



WARNING


Be sure to never mix your Necropolis Knights into a combat with non animated constructs unless the circumstances are dire or for whatever reason you'll annihilate the enemy before they get to strike back. They're expensive wounds to lose via crumble. ;)



Types/Builds:

For me there are 3 main builds when considering a unit of Necropolis Knights and assigning them a role:


1. Snake Shield


I build my army around this tactic currently and for it I find it's effective as it combines the Knights ability to soak a bit of damage before absorbing charges and then dealing the counter attack.

Deployment is typically with the Knights shielding the softer/shootier elements of the army allowing them the maximum amount of time to inflict casualties on the oncoming threats. For me currently this is 3 units of archers housing my 2 level 4's. Because of TLOS our archers will always be hitting on 5+ because of the nice gaps the snakes give us. This castled up formation ensures that the support elements are within range of the Knights. It certainly comes across as a very static tactic for the Tomb Kings and it is, but I've had nothing but good results from using this build. The enemy advances whilst constantly under a wall of fire from war machines and archer fire hopefully taking maximum casualties before hitting the wall. A Necrotect here often serves as a great way to add another tiny failsafe into the save of the Necro Knights benefiting both units.

Some deployments from previous games:

NK_1.png

NK_2.png


This build is all about delaying the enemy and inflicting casualties on them before they hit our lines. Combined with magic support you can really force the enemy into some tricky situations or increase your threat range with Birona's Timewarp to give them second thoughts about moving into your threat range.

In this image the unit of Knights absorbs a charge from a ranked unit of Halberdiers and a War Altar protecting my archers and casters in the backlines. They eventually proceeded to killing blow the Arch lector and break the halberdiers securing the West flank.

NK_3.png





2. Hunters

The 'Snake Shield' is an army built around two units of large knights. In a 'Hunters' role the unit of Knights more become a support element or a main combat unit depending on the unit size. With a unit assigned to this role you'll actively look to deploy them on a flank picking your combats carefully as per usual. Here you'll be looking to support your units of knights with combo charges from other elements of your army. Units of 4 work well at this role when combined with another animated construct or sufficient magical augmentation is provided.

Units of 6 can also be assigned to this role depending on the enemy. In a recent game against Empire my opponent had two fast moving elements to his army (IC Knights + Demigryph Knights). I simply couldn't sit and wait behind the snake shield for him to hit my lines as that would have spelt disaster. One of my normal snake shields was then assigned the Hunter role and slowly made it's way up the flank to ensure the Demigryph Knights never made it near my lines.


NK_4.png




3. EBTS

Entombed Necropolis Knight units have a very specific purpose. To get behind or flank the enemies main combat blocks and cause some havoc. Don't war machine hunt with this unit unless there is nothing better to do and if that's the case you've probably already won. All the same principles here apply with allowing them to join a combat with another animated construct for optimal results.

In the battle below I pinned a unit of warriors with a Warsphinx whilst the entombed unit of snakes arrived next turn to annihilate the enemy. The Warsphinx and unit of Knights then continued to rampage the Eastern flank for the remainder of the game.


NK_5.png
 

Unas the slayer

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 1, 2017
1,061
Northern Italy
Necropolis Knights - 2nd part





Support


Like with any unit we have access to, it only really truly shines when supported with the correct elements. This doesn't necessarily always mean to join a combat with the Knights but rather setup various tactical avenues for you to exploit from delaying the enemy and prevent charges through to declaring charges to gain some more combat resolution and tip a combat in your favour.




Horse Archers – Delay

In this example I used the Horse archers to pull the opponents Chaos warriors towards my lines to get them in a favourable charge distance for my knights whilst a lone Horse Archer blocks the path to a charge against the Necropolis Knights.

NK_6.png




Hierotitan – Combat


The Hierotitan is primarily used to boost our magic but towards to later turns of the game he can find himself in some great positions to charge and support combats or at least delay units from getting into our backlines. He's not the quickest or the slowest unit in our army so careful deployment will dictate where he'll end up so try and be mindful of this next time you game with him. Try and charge him into the flanks/corners of a unit to avoid any damage as yes he is T6 but his armour save isn't great. You basically want him for the amount of damage he can tally up with it's S6 Thunderstomp.

In this example the Hierotitan really tipped the combat in my favour by adding his S6 Thunderstomp and careful placement meant he was taking minimal attacks back.

NK_7.png




Warsphinx/Necrosphinx – Combat

I'll put these under the same entry but between the two I think they're nearly the best double team act you can assign to helping out the Necropolis Knights. With T8 and assuming you've picked your combat carefully your opponent will have two options, attempt to get through your 3+ armour save or alternatively try and roll some lucky 6's to wound. With killing blow attacks all around you can be sure your opponent will hold his breath if he's got any characters leading those units. Once again Thunderstomp can certainly help here.



Necrolith Colossus – Combat

Another winner however follow the same principles with the Hierotitan.



Necrotect – Support

I've used the Necrotect a few times to remain within 12" of a single or sometimes both units of Knights at the regeneration can certainly help at times save the odd wound here and there but you can probably find better things to spend your points on.





As you can see the optimal unit support elements for combat are all in the shape of other Animated Constructs, this is clearly to prevent crumble damage from spilling over and taking out our high point investment units. It's certainly not saying that you can't mix and match however it's a risk and you should weigh up all your options and do the maths of the oncoming combat to ensure you'll come out on top. Run through a quick breakdown of the following and then make the choice:



Are you charging?

Does your opponent have ranks/standards/BSB?

Characters support?

Predicted damage? (Both you and your opponents)

Unit support incoming? (Both you and your opponent)

Can you reliably augment the non-construct?

How will this combat effect the remainder of the game?



If you were to support the Necropolis Knights with a non animated construct unit then I'd lean heavily towards Tomb Guard because chances are they'll have a Prince/King to support them giving them the WS boost and making them a little more harder to hit. Secondly chariots provided they're augmented well could make an ok support unit.




Magic Support

Yes this section deserves its very own.


Firstly I think that the Lore of Light has the best synergy with the Necropolis Knights. Lore of Death helps directly IMO with only two factors, Soul blight and Doom and Darkness. They're certainly great to have but I think Light as a whole can bring more to the table.


Spells to look for when your snakes are on the offensive (that is charging S3/4 enemies) are as follows in random order:

Incantation of Smiting (taking your base attacks from 5 per model to 7? Yes please)
Birona¡'s Timewarp (same as above + ASF)
Speed of Light (Hitting on 3's)
Incantation of Desiccation (Easier to wound opponents)
Soulblight (as above)


Spells to look for when playing on the defensive or being charged by an enemy with Strength greater than 4 in random order:

Pha's Protection (harder to hit)
Incantation of Protection (Ward off some damage)
Speed of Light (harder to hit again)
Incantation of Desiccation (tougher to wound snakes)
Soulblight (as above)


An honourable mention goes to Doom & Darkness in order to get an enemy to fail a fear test however it doesn't make the list because no doubt a BSB/General will be around and you basically have to pass two tests to get this off (casting roll and opponent fail) where as any of the other spells you only need to cast.


Birona's Timewarp deserves a special mention as after Bad Mojo crunched some numbers its really clear that's the spell you want to get off on your Knights. It increases their damage output but also allows you to inflict casualties onto your opponent (and maybe take out that enemy character before they even swing) before they get to attack which can of course reduce the amount of attacks coming back.


Post combat however we've still got a lot of options to delay the enemy allowing us to inflict as many casualties to make the snakes jobs much easier, these include but are not limited to the following and are in no particular order:


Incantation of Desiccation/Soulblight + Net - I realise that getting Soulblight and net off is highly unlikely as that would mean running a lore of light and death priest in the same list which is unlikely but it's still possible. If you manage to cast any of these spells it allows more damage to sink through to the opponents in the form of S3 arrows and SSC plates. Secondly if you're lucky enough to get Net off as well the opponent has to test against his S value in order to do anything at all which can become quite frustrating especially when they fail at a lower S value.


Incantation of Vengeance - One of our best spells. Warhammer is won and lost in the movement phase so if you can potentially hinder a units movement phase you can effectively dictate where they will end up.


Incantation of Smiting - Once again worthy of a mention but more so with our archer units to support the knights prior to combat. Chew those ranks down so your knights are able to engage the unit, smash it up and not get bogged down and destroyed.


Doom & Darkness - Receives another mention here for panic tests alone from missile fire/war machine fire.





Sneaky Tricks


Now consider that these may or may not work any of the time but they're still options so should be considered even for a split second.


Firstly the Necrotect. If geared with a ward or 2+ save with a single re-roll he can probably take a bit of damage before turning to dust. I've never done this but have often entertained the idea. Prior to the enemy charging your unit of Knights (probably 'Snake Shield' would be most applicable here) have your Necrotect join the unit of snakes for some Hatred goodness. One trick pony no doubt but I'd like to see angry snakes one day. ;)


It's also possible to gear a HLP with the Death Mask. If sat right behind a wall of snakes in a single rank his mask will effect whatever unit is in combat with the snakes negating them a precious 'Stand Your Ground' roll and the enemy General's Inspiring presence. If you're lucky enough to pop a doom & darkness through as well then odds are you could be in a good position to cut down a fleeing opponent.

Also worthy of mention is the inclusion of the special character Necrotect Rhamotep who grants a random animated construct with a re-rollable armour save. If you take nothing but Knights then a 3+ armour save becomes pretty tough to get through.





Conclusion:


Necropolis Knights are a flexible tool capable of strong damage output in combat combined with a good armour save. Use them wisely and they're equipped to take down enemy units in unison with a solid support network. Treat them right and they'll pay dividends.



In summary:

Snake shields - Units of 5-6 with Full command
Hunters - Units of 4 with Standard/Mus
EBTS - Units of 3-4 with Standard


What to aim at:

S3/4 enemies
Armoured Infantry/Cavalry
Characters


What to avoid:

S5+ enemy units
Helblaster Volley Guns (absolutely mince our Knights so remember the 24" range!)
 
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