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Alaric83

Grand Host: Grave Guard spam ?

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Hello fellow Death Lords!

Dispossessed player by heart, I am about to start a LoN side-army.
I don't play competitively, but don't want my army to be steamrolled either.

I'm about to order quite a bit of miniatures, but before that, I would like to ask you experts before committing.  
Side note: I love the Nagash model, as well as Morghasts (though spamming Morghasts isn't competitive, i've been told). I don't like Grave Guard models, but I love the Bane Knights from Warmachine. So I'll get some Bane Knights, and make them "count as" Grave Guards.

The list is quite simple :

Nagash
2 Morghasts with halberds
3*15 Grave Guards (shields or double handed sword?)
First Cohort battalion

That makes a grand total of 1900pts, with 100pts for endless spells (any recommendation?)


What do you think ? I love the idea of this quite elite army, that can still regenerate 5-6 models per unit per turn, and if a whole unit is wipped out, it can be resurrected again for a single command point.
I don't mean to go to tournaments and win, just to have fun and a fair chance at winning in a semi-competitive environment. Would that work?

Thanks for reading me, and thanks in advance for your messages !

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Well nagash will go a long way to help prevent you from being steamrolled. I actually think there is potential for the first cohort to be pretty strong, but it hasn't really been used much since the save shenanigans people were using was squashed with the FAQ. 

A big issue I see with your list is that it's quite slow, and you have one hero. Granted, nagash is one of the single most powerful heroes in the game, but he can only be in one place at a time, and hes made even better with the inclusion of other heroes. A necromancer is pretty much mandatory for his incredible spell, and can act as a caddy for nagash to get access to another spell on the deathmages list. As for your speed issue, how do you feel about black knights? You can keep the feeling of an elite army with similar aesthetic, but have a unit with a different function. 

As for endless spells, spellportal is near mandatory for nagash so he can reach out and touch someone with the hand of dust. Just the threat of that will mess with your opponent's plans. I also like to fit in the geminids, as death loves to debuff the enemy into uselessness.

With a little restructuring, you could end up with something like

Nagash

Necromancer

2 halberd archai

30 grave guard 

5 grave guard

10 black knights

Spellportal

Geminids 

Soulsnare shackles

Its 1990 points, and you will feel the lack of screening units, but has a bit more utility than the 3 blocks of 15 guard. A block of 20 or so skeletons would go a long way towards making sure you get to attack what you want with your guard but it doesn't really fit what you say you're going for. At least with 2 drops, you're likely getting to decide who goes first, and can deploy/plan accordingly.

 

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Thanks for your detailed answer !

I don't mind getting a Necromancer at all. I'm a fluff enthusiast, so he can be the one character for whom I create an interesting background.  Except his double-attack command ability, what does he bring to the table ? Can't Nagash cast all the spells a Necromancer can ? I'm no expert in spells (playing Dispossessed)

For the Skeletons, yes, I'd rather avoid them. However, I can get behind Black Knights for sure (and use Bane Riders as count-as). Never been a cavalry guy (Dispossessed, remember ahah), but they are summonable and thus can get regen. They sound solid !

What surprises me is the unit of 5 Grave Guards. Won't this unit be wiped out terrifyingly fast, and never be worth ressurecting ? What I like about the 15*3 block is that they can regen around 5 model a turn PER unit, while with this composition only two units will get the regen.
Plus, it seems that 2-wound units such as Black Knights are harder to regen with gravesites/legions-innumerable/deathly-invocation. Is that the case ?

I've never played against a Death army, so I am really just guessing from the 1D4chan and from the Azyr app.

Anyway, thanks again for your answer!

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42 minutes ago, Alaric83 said:

Thanks for your detailed answer !

I don't mind getting a Necromancer at all. I'm a fluff enthusiast, so he can be the one character for whom I create an interesting background.  Except his double-attack command ability, what does he bring to the table ? Can't Nagash cast all the spells a Necromancer can ? I'm no expert in spells (playing Dispossessed)

For the Skeletons, yes, I'd rather avoid them. However, I can get behind Black Knights for sure (and use Bane Riders as count-as). Never been a cavalry guy (Dispossessed, remember ahah), but they are summonable and thus can get regen. They sound solid !

What surprises me is the unit of 5 Grave Guards. Won't this unit be wiped out terrifyingly fast, and never be worth ressurecting ? What I like about the 15*3 block is that they can regen around 5 model a turn PER unit, while with this composition only two units will get the regen.
Plus, it seems that 2-wound units such as Black Knights are harder to regen with gravesites/legions-innumerable/deathly-invocation. Is that the case ?

I've never played against a Death army, so I am really just guessing from the 1D4chan and from the Azyr app.

Anyway, thanks again for your answer!

It's not a command ability for the double attack, it is a spell.

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1 hour ago, Alaric83 said:

Thanks for your detailed answer !

I don't mind getting a Necromancer at all. I'm a fluff enthusiast, so he can be the one character for whom I create an interesting background.  Except his double-attack command ability, what does he bring to the table ? Can't Nagash cast all the spells a Necromancer can ? I'm no expert in spells (playing Dispossessed)

For the Skeletons, yes, I'd rather avoid them. However, I can get behind Black Knights for sure (and use Bane Riders as count-as). Never been a cavalry guy (Dispossessed, remember ahah), but they are summonable and thus can get regen. They sound solid !

What surprises me is the unit of 5 Grave Guards. Won't this unit be wiped out terrifyingly fast, and never be worth ressurecting ? What I like about the 15*3 block is that they can regen around 5 model a turn PER unit, while with this composition only two units will get the regen.
Plus, it seems that 2-wound units such as Black Knights are harder to regen with gravesites/legions-innumerable/deathly-invocation. Is that the case ?

I've never played against a Death army, so I am really just guessing from the 1D4chan and from the Azyr app.

Anyway, thanks again for your answer!

To be clear, the Necromancer double-attack is a spell that can be cast instead of a command ability. Since it is a spell Nagash can also cast it thanks to his unique ability but you have to remember two things:

  • You can only cast a certain spell once per turn, regardless of who casts it.
  • Nagash can only cast other caster's spells if the other caster is on the field. If the other caster is dead, Nagash also loses the caster's spell.

It can't be stressed enough how useful skeletons are. They are by far the meat and potatoes of any LoN army, but since you aren't looking for true competitive play you could try zombies. They can be your screening units that you're lacking and can be summoned back. Combine that with a corpse cart then you'll be in business! 

If you still want to stick with a more elite themed army then you got a good start for one. Some more Morghasts wouldn't hurt. Some Dire Wolves would also be a good choice to help cover your battleline requirements and they aren't bad objective holders either. 

Yes bringing back models in a unit with more than one wound is more difficult because in order to bring back a dead model the roll needs to match the wounds the model has. If a model is just wounded but not slain then you can heal that model with any dice roll. 

Also remember that in order to bring a destroyed unit back you have to meet a set of requirements:

  • The Warlord/General of your army has to be alive
  • He/She needs to be in range of a grave site
  • The dead unit needs to be within range of the gravesite when brought back
  • The dead unit needs to be more than 9" away from enemy units. 

Don't let the naysayers fool you, its actually easy to deny bringing a unit back and with these requirements as well as spending a command point one could argue it could be fairly difficult to even use the command ability. 

Edited by CaptainSoup

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Nagash can cast the spells that ANY death wizard on the table knows. So he can cast the necromancer's spells, but the necromancer has to be on the table to do so. An extra benefit is if you are playing another death army, nagash knows their spells too. Nagash only gets to pick 3 spells off of the lists of spells in the book, but there are more than 3 that you'd like to cast, and the necromancer spell that you want is on his warscroll and not something you can just pick. This is why taking one is such a boon for nagash players. Nagash gets to cast 8 spells per turn unwounded, so you'll want to maximize how much he is casting to get the most out of him.

The unit of 5 grave guard was suggested to fill your last battleline slot. In a 2000 point list, you need to take 3 battleline. The unit of 5 guard fill that, fill the last slot in your battalion, and are actually decent at holding an objective behind your other units. You dont want an expensive unit sitting on a backfield objective otherwise not doing anything. Dire wolves do this job better, but aren't in the battalion and dont really fit the elite theme you seem to be going for. But they'd definitely work too. 

The extra models back from graves is nice, but even a unit of 15 grave guard isnt hard to kill. In my opinion, you need units of 30 to 40 wounds if you're planning on using that mechanic heavily. Otherwise, treat it as a bonus. That's why huge blocks of skeletons are so good. They actually hit decently through weight of dice, but more importantly, it is hard to wipe a unit of 40 without a significant investment of units by your opponent. Way more than the 280 points that your skeletons cost. This same logic applies to the grave guard. They just aren't mentioned as much because they are significantly less efficient doing it.

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22 minutes ago, Jaxler said:

5 grave guard are wasted points. Just get dogs for cheaper.

I agree, but he needs 3 deathrattle units for first cohort battalion. 

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Well, it might be not that easy but I'd try to fit in at least two other heroes when you're using the battalion or you'll waste your opportunity to use your second artefact. Just if you didn't know, Alaric, for every battalion you use you'll be able to equip one more artefact. :) Won't be that needed in a friendly game but in my opinion artefacts are always quite good and nice to have.

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Thank you all for your answers !

Indeed Sneedlewoods, I didn't know about the free artifact with the battalion, but as you said it might be hard to make two heroes beside Nagash fit in this list.
If I were to make some space, what second hero would you recommend ?

Also guys, I understand that it is more competitive to take skeletons and dogs, but that is just not the theme of the army. I am not playing to win at all cost, but just because I like the idea of an elite, regenerating undead army. If I can optimize, good, but I won't sacrifice the theme to make it super-competitive :-)

Graywater, Captainsoup, thanks for your detailed answers. Even with shields you think 15 Grave Guards are easy to wipe out, and then it is easy to block resurrection ? That is not what I would have guessed, but that is why I ask to the forum. This might change my strategy.

Following your feedback, I made a new test-list. What do you think about it ?

1 Nagash
1 Necromancer
30 Grave Guards
2*2 Morghasts Archai
First Cohort Battalion
Either Spellportal or Chronomantic Cogs

This list has a Necromancer to get more spells to Nagash, 30 Grave Guards should hold the middle field pretty well, two units of Morghasts give mobility, and the Spellportal allows me to get Hand of Dust anywhere. Would that be a bit more competitive ? 
 

Again, thank you all for your precious feedback!

 

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http://podcast.justplaygames.uk/how-to-beat-legions-of-nagash-insider-secrets-with-ian

listen to this, ianob talks pretty detailed about undead. Mostly about the competitive side, but many useful insights and considerations in there.

 

Fielding Nagash in a cohort without skellis is very point intensive. And we need bodies on the field to really get things going... 5 gg are just 5hp with no save and you want to spend command points for his supreme ruler ability every turn. The 3x15 approach might be  the best option or maybe 10/10/25 to have one heavy lifting unit and the rest as screening objective holders.

another problem as said above is heros... we need them for so much! So bringing a necromancer not only gives Nagash two more spells to choose from, but also grants deathless minions to another side of the table... 

the other thing you could think about is the first cohort. Since the nerf it is not really that powerful and puts a lot of co

As usual, I would suggest just starting to play, before overthinking it. Regameing 800 points with Nagash is pretty tough, positioning is key since he is not ghordrakk the wreckingball, who you just hurl at people.

Sooo, after all that muttering:

7670519F-50F9-4C80-AC39-15C5D665A9A7.jpeg

The necro goes with the 20 guards, Nagash and his archaii and the vamp runs with the BKs. 

20guards is kinda strong, archaii with Nagash semi fast and scary (don’t forget the +1 attack from GHost) with 1950 you get one extra command point which can be thrown out by the vamp (+1attack) to whoever is supposed to kill stuff.

three deathrattle plus morghast which are battleline when big N is rocking... not super strong, but a bit of everything some speed some punch some grind.

Enjoy XD

Edited by Honk

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2 hours ago, Alaric83 said:

Graywater, Captainsoup, thanks for your detailed answers. Even with shields you think 15 Grave Guards are easy to wipe out, and then it is easy to block resurrection ? That is not what I would have guessed, but that is why I ask to the forum. This might change my strategy.
 

Yes, blocks of 15 guard with shields are easy when they are being used as your main line. These guys will probably be who makes first contact with the enemy. They are slow, so it will probably be on your opponent's terms, and they'll be eating the attacks of their main offensive force. Grimghast, sequitors, blood sisters or witch elves, and even just a block of 40 skeletons will do the 15 wounds easily. So better to plan for them to be dead and revived than to grind stuff out. It's actually why I prefer the great weight blades over the shields. Theres a lot of rend out there, and you wont be having a screen to help decide which units of theirs fights your grave guard. At least you wont lose the +1 to wound if the unit gets hit with anything with rend.

2 hours ago, Alaric83 said:

1 Nagash
1 Necromancer
30 Grave Guards
2*2 Morghasts Archai
First Cohort Battalion
Either Spellportal or Chronomantic Cogs

This list has a Necromancer to get more spells to Nagash, 30 Grave Guards should hold the middle field pretty well, two units of Morghasts give mobility, and the Spellportal allows me to get Hand of Dust anywhere. Would that be a bit more competitive ? 
 

This list sounds exactly like what you're going for. It is likely not competitive, but you aren't trying to be, and it fits your theme. For clarity, the 30 grave guard are broken up into 3 different units, right? Otherwise you dont have the units necessary for first cohort. 

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3 hours ago, Alaric83 said:

Thank you all for your answers !

Indeed Sneedlewoods, I didn't know about the free artifact with the battalion, but as you said it might be hard to make two heroes beside Nagash fit in this list.
If I were to make some space, what second hero would you recommend ?

Also guys, I understand that it is more competitive to take skeletons and dogs, but that is just not the theme of the army. I am not playing to win at all cost, but just because I like the idea of an elite, regenerating undead army. If I can optimize, good, but I won't sacrifice the theme to make it super-competitive 🙂

Graywater, Captainsoup, thanks for your detailed answers. Even with shields you think 15 Grave Guards are easy to wipe out, and then it is easy to block resurrection ? That is not what I would have guessed, but that is why I ask to the forum. This might change my strategy.

Following your feedback, I made a new test-list. What do you think about it ?

1 Nagash
1 Necromancer
30 Grave Guards
2*2 Morghasts Archai
First Cohort Battalion
Either Spellportal or Chronomantic Cogs

This list has a Necromancer to get more spells to Nagash, 30 Grave Guards should hold the middle field pretty well, two units of Morghasts give mobility, and the Spellportal allows me to get Hand of Dust anywhere. Would that be a bit more competitive ? 
 

Again, thank you all for your precious feedback!

 

you can only have one unit of morghast in a first cohort battalion, also I know you like the elite feel but it's very hard to do well in Death. 

 

Also like it was said before, the First cohort nerf made it a semi-good protection for Nagash for it's cost. The best way to protect him is with chaff and you don't have any. Front line units with less than 30 wounds in Death will only get crushed. So you will always have to resummon them and you won't keep up with your ennemy.

 

I'm sorry to say this to you but I don't think you can do a viable Grave guard spam army right now. They are way too expansive and skeletons can do the same jobs as them for way cheaper. If grave guard gets a good points drops in the next general's handbook maybe it will be possible but for now, if you want to play Nagash you need chaff and staying power to contest objectives while your big Pope wrecking ball his doing his thing. ;) 

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Thanks for all the detailled explanations. It saddens me that Grave Guard are simply not playable as a replacement for skeletons.

Another idea came to be, though: I could very well keep the Bane Knights models, and just play them as skeletons.

Would that allow me to play a competitive list ?

Again, I don't want zombies, dogs, or any other "non-elite" unit. I want my force to look like an heavily armored elite army (that just happens to have 6+ saves).

Here is a new test list, with only skeletons and Morghasts as units :

Nagash (800pts)
Necromancer (110pts)
2 Morghasts (220pts)
40 skeletons (280pts)
40 skeletons (280pts)
10 skeletons (80pts)
First Cohort (160pts)
Spellportal (60pts)

Thank you for your help! It's been invaluable 🙂

Edited by Alaric83
Forgot Morghasts in the list

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Dont let people discourage you too much. People come in with different levels of play in their head, from super casual narrative, to the most competitive. It can be hard to gauge where someone else wants to be on this spectrum because we always look at it through the lens of whatever level player we are ourselves. So no, grave guard are not competitive, and certainly play a different role to skeletons. However, if you are looking for a fun game using a theme and models you like, you'd be fine.

As to your recent list, this is the first cohort list I built exactly. It is significantly stronger, but be prepared to play a different game than the more elite feel your grave guard list had. 

My suggestion: play some games with different amounts of skeletons and grave guard. You'll get a feel for how they play and what kind of game you want. I know that I've personally moved away from running armies with 100 skeletons because I dont like the defensive grinder style army. Its strong, but I dont enjoy playing it. So you have to find out what you want from the game and go for it. 

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Don‘t let the meta ruin you dream 😄 

just do it and damn the cheese...

maybe go crazy without first cohort, that’s another 10 grave guards. Play Big N a bit more defensively and the morghast a bit more aggressive 

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