Kings of War/Tactics/Undead Armies
Why Play Undead Armies
Maybe you're an asshole. Maybe your mother didn't give you enough hugs. Maybe you watched too many Bruce Campbell movies.
Whatever the reason, you decided that rather than making friends the hard way, using spare or discarded people parts is the best way to get Sally to go to the prom with you... not that she has choice, mind, she's going. Breathing or not.
Did we mention the zombies are cheap and
one of the best range Mantic makes?
Army Special Rules
- Evil Dead: All units in this army have Lifeleech (1) unless otherwise noted.
- Undead Giant Rats (or are they Dogs?): Units with this upgrade increase their Lifeleech ability to Lifeleech (2). Which is ridiculously good, by the way.
- Cursed Pharaoh: This guy is a beast. Hits in melee on a 3+ with Crushing Strength (2) base. He also comes with Individual, Inspiring, Lifeleech (1), Regeneration (5+), and Surge (6) with a defence of 6+ (Though COK rules have bumped him down to 5+). He's got everything you could want on an undead hero; hard to hurt, self-healing, has Surge, and deals damage with almost every attack. Highly recommended. Try to give him wings and witness explosions.
- Lady Ilona: A very expensive, but very powerful, living legend. Lady Ilona has a high speed, hits in melee on a 3+, a defence of 6+, and has better than average attacks for a hero. She comes base with Crushing Strength (3), Heal (3), Individual, Inspiring, Lifeleech (2), Lightning Bolt (3), and Surge (3), giving you a solid selection of spells, a source of Inspiring, and the ability to wound almost anything with reliability. In addition, her special rule makes all heroes who attack her receive a -1 penalty to hit her. The issue is her points cost, which is the second highest in the army. Only recommended for narrative or high point games.
- Liche King: An upgraded Necromancer, costing nearly twice as many points. He comes with Surge (12), 4 points better than the Necromancer, and can buy Bane-Chant (3), Heal (6), and Lightning Bolt (5). You can also mount him on a horse if you so desire. You're not really getting much better for the points and are better off just buying two Necromancers instead of a single Liche King.
- ...which could be argued, though. You get inspiring as well, and Heal (6) is bonkers.
- Lykanis: A hero werewolf. Crushing Strength (2), Inspiring for werewolves, Lifeleech (1), and Nimble on a decent stat line. They're pretty expensive, but they do get extra attacks for flanks and rears since they lack Individual. Take one in a werewolf heavy army.
- Mhorgoth the Faceless: Your other living legend hero unit in the core rule book. Another expensive, but powerful, hero. He has a slew of abilites; Bane Chant (4), Fireball (15), Fly, Heal (6), Individual, Lifeleech (1), Lightning Bolt (6), Regeneration (5+), Surge (12), and Very Inspiring. He also allows you to upgrade a single non-hero unit in the army to his personal guard, giving them Regeneration (5+). So yeah, he's got a lot to offer, but like Lady Ilona his price means you're only taking him in a narrative game or a very high point game.
- Mortibris the Necromancer (Destiny of Kings): Your new living legend hero in the Destiny of Kings campaign book. He's cheaper than Mhorgoth and comes with a similar selection of spells; Bane Chant (2), Heal (5), Individual, Inspiring, Lifeleech (1), Lightning Bolt (4), Regeneration (5+), Stealthy, and Surge (10). He can also buy the Hero of Renown upgrade, allowing his Inspiring to inspire allied units as well as core army ones. He also gives all non-allied friendly units within 6" the Stealthy rule. Solid choice, but like the other living legends you're probably only paying these prices for narrative games or very large games.
- Necromancer: Your budget hero. Like a lot of undead heroes, he comes standard with Surge (8). You can buy three spell upgrades or mount him on a horse. The spell upgrades are pretty weak, being Bane-Chant (2), Heal (3), and Lightning Bolt (3). He's better as a cheap source of Surge instead of as a general offensive caster.
- Revenant King: A hero somewhere between a Necromancer and a Vampire Lord. Comes with Surge (6) and Inspiring. These guys are kind of in a weird spot points-wise. For 15 points more you could take both a Necromancer and an Undead Army Standard Bearer, so you're saving a few points to take a hero that fills both roles. It also lacks Shambling, meaning you won't have as much trouble keeping up with your hordes with the king. A solid choice if you're planning to use it as a dual Necromancer/Standard Bearer that walks behind an infantry block and casts Surge while providing an Inspiring bubble.
- Revenant King on Undead Wyrm: The large cavalry version of the Revenant King. Adds Thunderous Charge (2), 1 point of speed, and 3 attacks for 50 points. Not a good deal at all. Something to consider, the Revenant King on Undead Worm is NOT an individual, so you can net yourself some nice flank/rear attacks if you play it smart.
- Also has insanely high Nerve. Upgrading him to either 6+ Def or Regen (5+) turns him into a real tank.
- Undead Army Standard Bearer: Your cheap Inspiring hero. This walking corpse has Shambling itself, which you need to remember when moving it around the field, but otherwise it's your cheap source of Inspiring. Love it and take it, hell, take two or three.
- Vampire Lord: Your basic infantry combat hero. This hero is kind of all over the place. Comes standard with Crushing Strength (2), 8 attacks, and a 3+ on melee, but it also has a small selection of spells. Vampire Lords on foot suffer from the same issues as all combat infantry lords: lords cost way too much for what you get. If you want a budget caster, take a Necromancer. If you want a combat hero, take one on a giant monster...
- ...but then again, there's really not many units in the entire game that can wreck this guy. Without a giant monster you'll get that crucial free pivot at the start of turn, and this guy can be anywhere, anytime. He's really, really hard to kill, even on foot.
- Comes natively with 6+ Def and Lifeleech(2) which means anything short of an elite regiment or a multicharge will have a hard time taking him out (and with Individual all you'll realistically get are countercharges which means he picks what units get to fight him). You can reliably count on him doing at least 3 points of damage on just about anything which is pretty darn good for an Inspiring Individual.
- Vampire on Undead Dragon: A Vampire Lord on a big fire-breathing dragon. Comes with Breath Attack (10), Crushing Strength (3), Fly, Inspiring, Lifeleech (2), and Surge (3), with options to buy Heal (2) and Lightning Bolt (3). It has the same number of attacks in melee as it does with the breath attack, so either option is viable depending on the situation, although with a melee of 3+ and Crushing Strength (3) you will on average do much more damage in melee. That being said, it is more expensive than Lady Ilona and generally not a better choice unless you really need that Fly. Like the Vampire on Undead Pegasus, this guy also loses a point in defence.
- Vampire on Undead Pegasus: For 25 points you can upgrade your Vampire Lord to ride a flying horse. They lose 1 point of defence doing so, but gain Fly and a speed of 10. Not a bad trade off if you need a flying hero.
- Zombies: Basic, basic. They'll survive against shield walls and spearmen regiments long enough for you to get something to help them, and they cost practically nothing. A horde will do nicely with a bucketload of attacks, but regiments hold their own for a turn or two as well. Try to match them against strong hitters (high amounts of CS) instead of many attacks, since their Def 3+ can't handle anything anyways.
- All three versions (Regiment/Horde/Legion) are pretty good choices. Legion-sized zombies hordes are probably the biggest tarpits in the game and are really nice choices for either Brew of Sharpness (+1 to hit) or Crystal Pendant (exploding). The Regiment also has excellent staying power and make for decent anvils with the high Nerve/Lifeleech and are a really cost-effective way of getting unlocks.
- Skeleton Warriors: Your other basic infantry formation. Better defence and slightly better nerves than zombies of the same size, for a small bump in the cost. In general, if you're looking for regiment/horde-sized tarpits, grab skeletons. If you need something with even more stickiness, zombies are your only option anyhow. Unless you're facing enemies with lots of Crushing Strength/Thunderous Charge 2, in which case zombies are marginally better again due to their slightly reduced price.
- Skeleton Spearmen: Phalanx formation skeletons for you. Slight point bump to cancel out Thunderous Charge, and a few more attacks if you go with the big formations. You'll have to judge your local meta as to whether you need this or not. It should also be noted that Mantic's skeleton boxes only include 8.5 spears per 10 minis, so you might have to get crafty.
- Skeleton Archers: Your only ranged option, aside from the catapult, lightning bolts and maybe your vampire's pet-dragon. Thoroughly average statline when compared to the archers everyone else gets, which actually makes them slightly above average. You can Halt!, shoot without a negative modifier and then have someone cast Surge on them to still move forward. Potentially even charge them into whatever charged at them last turn for an extra wound or two. Just do keep in mind that any wounds they caused while shooting earlier in the turn do not count towards the nerve test at the end of their charge, which makes this slightly less awesome than it could otherwise be.
- Ghouls: Similar to Skeletons but not dead. They are cheap as chips and troops of them are good for chaff, especially as they don't shamble, so you can project them ahead of your main line. You could use horde of them but shambling units have way better nerve. Both Troop and Regiment choices are excellent as chaff. Use them more or less the same but go with the Regiment for a little more points when you need the extra unlock.
- Revenants: The more elite infantry formation. They're a point better in melee and defence than Skeleton Warriors. They can also switch out their shields to gain Crushing Strength (1) at a cost of 1 point of defence. In general you're going to be better served by Skeleton Warriors as the price bump doesn't add a lot, while Mummies are a much better elite infantry unit.
- Mummies: Crushing Strength (2) and Regeneration (5+) on a decent stat line. Your opponent will target these guys mercilessly, but they are hard-hitting and will heal back lost wounds in melee and movement quickly. They do have low nerve, due to their small unit size, but unless they are targeted very heavily this won't be as big a problem as it appears. These guys are what you should use your troop slots on, unless you really need those elite Reavers or plan on Surge *ickery with Wraiths (see below).
- Soul Reaver Infantry: Used to be probably the best infantry in the game, but they've since gotten a lot of competition for that title. Still, they're both brutal as the hammer for your anvil of skellingtons, and very handy in the rear line to finish off units that have tuckered themselves out killing all the zombies. Thanks to their improved Lifeleech and the numbers of attacks they churn out every turn, they can take quite a beating and still keep on handing out returns as well. Their only downside is how incredibly expensive they are.
- Wraiths: This is where you'll achieve the most hideous Surge *ickery. Survive a turn with Def 6+ (keep them Inspired because of that low nerve), fly to the attacker's rear, and surge them in contact. Or just keep them at flanks threatening casters and war machines with 20" charge (even though they can't At the Double). Or whatever nastiness suits you. High manoeuvrability is key, and this is your source for it. The points cost equals the soul of your first born son, though. Which is fitting. I'll take that deal. They can make a truly hideous first line as well. They're tough enough to take on many chaff units. This can force the opponent to commit their main line troops to finish them off. In turn this gives you the ability to get the charge on their hammers.
- Werewolves: Of your three Large Infantry, these guys are both the fastest and most expensive. Given their lack of Shambling, high speed and Nimble, they are fantastic at flanking. CS (1) is standard too.
- Wights: Fluff wise these guys were dead heroic figures of the past whom swelled in size due to their k/d ratio and legendary status. Crunch wise, they are the hardest hitters of your Large Infantry. Basically Zombie Trolls but with -1 Ne, +1 Def, +1 CS and Brutal.
- Zombie Trolls: Trolls without regen?! What is this? These guys are your mid tier Large Infantry. Worse than most other large infantry (they're undead, what did you expect?)
- Revenant Cavalry: Your cheap skeleton cavalry. These are your screener cavalry, although they cannot march with their Shambling holding them back. Thankfully you're playing an army loaded with heroes who can Surge them into your foes. Set them up on the flank and Surge them into your opponent's lines while they cry that your spells are too cheesy.
- Soul Reaver Cavalry: Vampires mounted on cavalry. They are significantly more expensive then Revenant Cavalry, but gain more attacks and point each in Crushing Strength and Lifeleech while losing Shambling. Unfortunately they can be wavered at the standard cavalry values, meaning you're likely not going to get much use from them if your opponent targets them specifically. They're much too expensive to be used as screeners, so if you use them deploy them as elite heavy hitters.
- Balefire Catapult: The undead war engine and your only non-hero choice for those extra regiment slots since undead don't have any monsters. It hits on a 5+, like your standard war engines, and cannot move and shoot. It does have Shambling though, so you can Surge it around and still fire with the damn thing. If it does hit, you get Blast (D6+2) and Piercing (2), so with some luck it might pay for itself. It does make a good DISTRACTION CARNIFEX even if it doesn't hit anything since a movable shooting platform seems to scare the shit out of most players.
Use necromancers to surge shambling hordes into the enemy. Stab them in the face* and eat their brains.
*Face optional. Location and results may vary.
Undead play well as an attrition based army (duh). You have super-cheap tarpits (like zombies) combined with small, elite hammers (Wights, Soul Reavers, Vampires). Trade your cheap stuff for their more expensive main line units. Make their super elite units a waste of points (your crap will die to basic infantry just as fast as their tooled-to-the-eyeballs uber unit). Then use your elite troops/characters to wade in and finish off their big, expensive stuff.
Warning About Surge: Don't surge just because you can. New generals have a tendency to isolate their own units (especially hammers) by surging them early and far. Your opponents will wipe out the unit, reform, and say thanks for the points sucker.