Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Age of Sigmar #8 - How to play Deathmages? / Deathwalker? / Beasts of the Grave?

The common keywords for these units are: DEATH

These three factions, Deathmages, Deathwalker and Beasts of the Grave are very weird in regards to most other factions in Age of Sigmar, they all aren't able to legally or even effectively play as a faction on its own unlike most all other factions in the game. Grand Alliance Death obviously has a ton of holes that need filling and hopefully, we will get a new or second re-written faction to rectify this. I play this three factions as one army as each faction either by design or most likely pure chance fill the role of Leaders, Troops or Monsters.

Heroes (Deathmages)

I have not included the Mortis Engine as a part of this overview as I feel thematically it belongs in a Nighthaunt / Malignants army and so sticks out from the rest of these units.

Necromancer: Necromancers are the standard Wizard available to Death, their unique magic spell, Vanhel's Danse Macabre, on the other hand, is incredibly useful not only in supporting ZOMBIE armies but also SKELETON and MORDANT allowing the target unit to pile in and fight twice in the combat phase. Necromancers also have a rule very similar to the Warhammer 40,000 look out sir which allows you to allocate wounds they suffer to ZOMBIE units in close proximity.

Necromancer, taken from Necromancer warscroll

Troops (Deathwalker)

Zombies: Zombies work, but only in large numbers. Zombies have no armour save and awful melee stats until you begin to horde them, for each group of 10 Zombies in the unit they gain 1+ to their Hit and Wound rolls to a maximum of 3+ which if you get this bonus means you have a unit of at least 30 zombies and no matter what army you are facing, 30 Zombies is a hard unit to remove. That 3+ to Hit rolls can be boosted to 4+ to Hit rolls if within close proximity of a Corpse Cart. Although they have no save they have two ways to bolster their ranks during the game, firstly if they include a banner D6 Zombies return to the unit each Hero Phase and secondly every time the Zombies kill a model, roll a dice and on a 6 the slain model becomes a Zombie!

Corpse Cart: The Corpse Cart is the unit that allows your Zombies and Dire Wolves to get those much-needed re-rolls. If left on its own it is completely useless as it is not great in a fight and its abilities are then wasted. Each Corpse Cart has the choice of a Balefire Brazier which forces enemy Wizards to subtract 1 from their casting roll. Alternatively, it can have an Unholy Lodestone which boosts casting rolls of Death Wizards by 1. With the large number of Zombies, you should be taking and their need to be within 9" of one of these carts I would almost always take 2 of these each with one of the different options.

Corpse Cart, taken from Corpse Cart warscroll
Dire Wolves: Dire Wolves are the fast addition to this army, compared to the Zombies this unit if what you will use to zip across the battlefield to control and contest objectives or pick off vulnerable backline units. They are quite survivable with two wounds each and much like the Zombies get better if they are close to a Corpse Cart, in this case, it allows them to add one to save roll essentially making it a 4+.

Monsters (Beasts of the Grave)

Terrorgheist: The Terrogheist is in no way a bad unit but it is much better in other factions when it is acting as a mount for a hero. It does have a great shooting attack that wounds against the targets Bravery stat so against cowardly armies this unit gives this army a much needed powerful ranged attack to put pressure on the enemy while your Zombies make their way across the battlefield.

Zombie Dragon: As with the Terrorgheist the versions of the Zombie Dragon as a mount for a hero are much better than the Zombie Dragon on its own. Much like the Terrorgheist the Zombie Dragon has a powerful ranged attack that I would happily use instead of Arcane Bolt on my Necromancers to allow them to cast their unique spell.

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