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The Legion of Blood Conundrum


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Hi all,

I hope this is the best place to post about Legion of Blood - now that the new Soulblight Gravelords battletome landed.

In the past few weeks I have tried to stay clear of any leak/preview, so that I could have an unbiased, fresh look at the battletome as it eventually materialised into my greedy hands. That happened yesterday (what a day!) so I am now elbows deep into the whole awesomeness.

What I would like to discuss here is how to make Legion of Blood work in the context of the new battletome, but from a very selfish perspective, focused on my dislike for anything with the DEATHRATTLE keyword. I'll try to summarise what I (think I) gathered from a first read of the book, looking for any sort of feedback from your side. So:

  • The main LoB change consist in the Favoured Retainers battle trait, which now focuses on DEATHRATTLE units as opposed to VAMPIRE LORDS and BLOOD KNIGHTS. Whether we like it or not (I do not and I do not understand this choice from a lore perspective, but hey...), it means the book is now encouraging the inclusion of some skeletons in our LoB lists. Argh.
  • My idea of a Legion of Blood army is something that includes Neferata (good news on that side, more on that below) and loads of VAMPIRE units. The latter fell out of favour for LoB, though, as they appear to be the focus of the Kastelai Dynasty instead. "Yeah, just play the Kastelai", I hear you say. Fair. But let's assume for a moment that we want to stick with LoB and VAMPIRE units. Can we make it work?
  • Going VAMPIRE instead of DEATHRATTLE means giving up one of the LoB battle traits, so we start on the back foot. However, we still have, I would argue, the best command trait and artefact combination in the whole book for making our beloved Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon seriously hard to kill. Namely, in LoB we have access to Aura o Dark Majesty, which is great (-1 to hit flat in melee, which means that shooting is still an issue) and the Souldbound Garments, which are now filthy, bringing our VLoZD to a 2+ save.  Neferata can make that a 2+ unrendable save, which is glorious. Yes, the Coven Throne also gives you the opportunity to improve your save rolls by 1, but that costs a CP, and there is no CP farming option in this book, aside for allying Kurdoss (but that's a tough sell).
  • Our Beautiful Queen Neferata now has a very solid profile. As a start, she does not have to be your general in LoB - huge, as our VLoZD can take Aura of Dark Majesty with her in the list as well. Incidentally, with the new Endless Legions rules you don't care too much about your general getting killed, which is awesome. A 3+ (potentially a 2+ with a Coven Throne, potentially an unreadable 2+ with her on spell), 12 wounds and her command ability not degrading with wounds, she can now stick around for way longer. And, I just love that Akmet-har is now slaying any HERO on a 5+. That's... something. So. She's in.
  • Neferata + VLoZD + Coven Throne make for an exceptional trio of Leaders, two of which are generals. Excellent. The problem is our battleline options. The minimum size for a unit of dire wolves is now 10, which is harsh, as the battleline tax effectively double (compared to the usual 5x3 wolves paradigm I'm used to). With that, we can barely fit two units of Blood Knights, and we are basically done. Very few wounds on the board, close to zero board presence. On top of this all, Nighthaunt are now allies. This is a huge blow, as 3 units of Chain Rasps would have done nicely to deal with the battleline tax. 

So. Is this really the end of a LoB VAMPIRE-themed option? Am I missing something important, here? I know that leaning into the Kastelai is the best thing to do, but I am just curious as to whether I can make it work still. It could be just me caring about this option, and that's absolutely ok - just indulge me, and please let me know whether there is anything you'd like to add to this discussion. 

Thanks!

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May I ask why you hate Deathrattle stuff so much? I think replacing one of your battleline Dire Wolf units with a mid-size unit of Deathrattle Skeletons would go a long way towards answering your board presence problem, especially with the option respawn them and/or the Dire Wolves with Endless Legions.

I had a very similar train of thought to your final bullet point, except for that switch I just mentioned and buying a command point. Only 53 models initially on the table, but there's recursion to keep in mind, and the wounds total seems not bad at 128.

I am definitely waiting on AoS 3 before finalizing the list, though. Depending on things like bonus stacking and command point generation, the Coven Throne may become more or less of a priority. And if the Blood Knights are confirmed to be intended as not able to retreat and charge, you could replace one or both units with cheaper Vargheists.

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As someone who played Legion of Blood in the old book, with up to 15 Blood Knights at a time, I feel ya. But I got to say......since Legion of Blood has changed so much, what ARE you really attached to? 

Neferata can be used in any Bloodline. She doesn't benefit from Kastelai battle traits, but she can be played there. And then you get Blood Knight battleline and some cool buffs. While Legion of Blood has some awesome tricks, as you noted, Kastelai does too and you can save up to 400ish points on Dire Wolf battleline with them as well, letting you fill out with bodies you actually want. 

At this point, while there are some cool traits and artifacts, I feel like you are attached to a name and not a concept. Neferata's Vampire Guard comes from Kastelai and her own Legion is instead her showing off her legion of loyal and disciplined Deathrattle legions, which are perfect tools and loyal subjects to build her crafty wall around and keep those backstabbing rivals from getting at her for any sort of advantage. 

So expecting Legion of Blood to be Vampire Legion is missing the concepts for loyalty to the name. Legion of Blood is a different beast than it used to be, because the focus has shifted. 

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I think the focus on Deathrattle units in the Legion of Blood is actually a callback to the Vampire Lords of the Olden Days (WHFB 6th or 7th edition, I think). 

Back then Neferata's subfaction were called the Lahmia, and they had Skeletons as core units, but couldn't field Zombies. The reason was that the Lahmian vampires were all female and very decadent - they were disgusted by rotting flesh and preferred cleaner bone.

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In my opinions, LoB's strength is not mainly in the battle traits. The only Deathrattle unit that cares about negatives to hit and wound is Grave Guard. Skeletons deal no damage anyway and you are not bringing Black Knights (who also deal no damage). I think the real strength of LoB is in the artefacts and command traits, where there are several good choices.

I think what differentiates Legion of Blood from Kastelai is that LoB has the better tools to be more defensive, and that should probably inform your playstyle to a degree. Maybe a block of 10 Blood Knights with Coven Throne support and the potential to be ethereal from Neferata would make a good build around unit. Battleline is a bit of a problem, but there are worse things in the world than running a bunch of direwolves and zombies.

Overall I think Kastelai or Vyrkos are stronger choices for a kitted out VLoZD and a bunch of Blood Knights, but I think you can justify going LoB instead if that's the faction you like. There are some unique tricks there.

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If you want to run say, Grave Guard heavy, Legion of Blood might be a consideration in order to ensure they ignore negative hit and wound modifiers.

They will blend anything especially with Vanhels, and you can possibly get shields to 3+ unrendable if you go one unit shields, one unit great weapons and have Neferata involved.

I know OP doesn't want to run Deathrattle, but I could see a case for this legion for them.

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Posted (edited)

There's definitely been a big narrative retcon for legion of blood.  They used to be the faction with the strongest vampires on the battlefield, empowered by the royal blood of the primogeniter of their curse.

Now they're retroactively the bloodline with the least martially inclined vampires, preferring the ballroom to the battlefield, focusing on the refined game of politics and leaving the messy business of combat to their lockstep legions of skeletal retainers.  When they do go to war directly, they prefer to float above it all on thrones,  palanquines, dragons, & dread abyssals, rather than drag their boots through the mud.  If GW hadn't made the new black knight scroll so bloody useless, they'd actually make a lot of sense as a unit of skeletal retainers that can keep pace with the NuLahmian's various airborne conveyances.

As a subfaction dedicated to Neferata specifically, this new take is arguably a better fit for her character.  Unfortunately, it does kind of result in a rather bloodless Legion of Blood.  And the cool bits about Neferata's kin still don't really show though.  Their spy network and political machinations have no in game representation, and the scaring away an extra d3 enemies to battleshock bit doesn't really capture the imagination, even if 3e manages to make the ability worth anything at all.

For now, though, if you really want to run a vampire heavy army, I do think Kastelai is the way to go.  That's just not what Neferata's legion is anymore.

Edited by Sception
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Posted (edited)

I see Legion of Blood as much more of the Lahmian vampires of old. 
They aren't Vyrkos (or Von Carstein for that matter) or Avengorii to have all of the vampire monstrosities. 
They also aren't Kastelai (or Blood Dragons for that matter) to be martial masters and vampire warlords. 

Instead Legion of Blood highlights two major aspects of classic Lahmian traits:

1. Deception, Manipulation, Mind-games

The Lahmian vampires mess with the minds of their prey. They can do this through spells, magical auras or through disconcertingly beautiful visages. It makes sense then that this aura is only for enemy units close to the vampire units in this faction. 
Lahmian vampires have always messed around with mortal minds, making servants out of them, seducing them or manipulating them. 
I think ****** with the opponents' morale and making more of them flee actually fits in really well. 

2. Using Undead Puppets to do their bidding

So this could go for multiple bloodlines but to me, Lahmians especially had the affinity to use the undead like puppets. Not just in terms of resurrecting dead bodies and throwing them at the enemy but actually using them as puppets or dolls. The fact that it's for deathrattle is extremely fitting - a Lahmian vampire wouldn't want to sully him/herself with the likes of rotting zombies, ravenous gibbering ghouls or fickle ghosts. They would be disgusted by anything that drips, slavers, stinks, dribbles, sploshes, smears or squelches. But the skeletons and wights - they're clean. They don't make a sound, they're not wet, they are the perfect puppets - the perfect dolls. 
If you consider a Lahmian vampire like a puppet master, with their strings on every puppet they control, it makes sense that their puppets are less affected by negative modifiers. After all, the Lahmian vampire has a stronger control over them than other bloodlines might. 

Why is this important?

I think the traits for Legion of Blood fit Lahmian vampires perfectly. They may not be Lahmians in name, but they definitely feel and act like Lahmians. It's a nice throwback. You could do worse than LoB if you want to play a Lahmian army. 
So, what does a Lahmian vampire army look like? Refined Vampire Lords, legions of skeletons and Grave Guard, a unit of Blood Knights, up to one unit of Vargheists (they are certainly a part of the faction, but they shouldn't make up the backbone of the army as they might for Avengorii or Vyrkos), definitely Coven Throne. 


The vampire units are the only sentient units in your army. The rest of them are clattering dolls. There's no shame in a vampire using dolls, really each puppet is just an extension of the vampire itself. You may think you're fighting 100 skeletons but actually you're just fighting one vampire that is coordinating each of their moves and should you die to them then you didn't die to the skeletons, you died to the vampire's genius and prowess. 

I hope this helps explain the faction traits and hopefully warms you to the idea of skeletons :) 

Edited by Aren73
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Posted (edited)

Yeah the deception/spy network aspect being effectively ignored was a shame.

Instead of the D3 extra battleshock (really, lol) they could have something cool like, "Pick d3 enemy units at the start of the battle, reduce their save characteristic by 1 for the rest of the battle" to simulate the enemies armour being stolen or damaged, or whatever.

You can really tell, with Lumineth, it was a project that spanned a long time, with serious thought and passion. The rules are amazing, often unique, and engineered to win.

Gravelords was simply a job to be done, to rebrand the faction and make it playable, no more no less.

Edited by Liquidsteel
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Posted (edited)

Thanks folks - all of your thoughts are very much appreciated!

14 hours ago, RocketPropelledGrenade said:

May I ask why you hate Deathrattle stuff so much?

It used to be because: (1) they lack, by definition, any personality. At heart, I am a skirmish game player, in that I tend to think a lot about each unit/model. I like a story for each thing in my list. Sure, you can write narrative in your head for Deathrattle stuff as well, but it's maybe not that epic as the deeds of a vampire lord (in my mind at least!). Big blobs of mindless hordes don't do it for me; (2) Deathrattle units are all awfully slow. It's true that with the new gravesites mechanic that's less of an issue, but still; (3) The models were bloody awful. Now, that's not the case anymore, the new skeletons are actually quite cool.

14 hours ago, RocketPropelledGrenade said:

if the Blood Knights are confirmed to be intended as not able to retreat and charge, you could replace one or both units with cheaper Vargheists.

Alright, so this is something that pains me quite a bit. I have 12 Vargheists (VG), all painted in a color scheme that I like a lot - and I only ever used them in narrative events. Sadly, I don't think they got any better with the new book - they just can't hope to compete against Blood Knights (BK). BK are 195 points for 5, VG are 155 points for 3. They are both excellent hammers, albeit BK deal more damage in almost any situation (assuming the Riders of Ruin will do what we think it should do, i.e. the BKs get damage 2 basically every turn). The one big ol' problem is the save. BK are on 3+, VG are on a 5+. The gap is immense and means that BK can also be an anvil - VG die to a stiff breeze. This is especially key given that both BK and VG can (in specific builds) deep strike 9" away - the big difference between the two is that if you don't make the 9" charge (which you usually won't, unless you invest in the Reikenor+Cogs combo, and even then...) it's a bad day for your BK but an absolute disaster for your VG. You would really only deep strike them if you are about to get the possibility for a double turn, and even then it'd be a gamble. VG should either be 120 points or being summonable. That's my thinking - please do try to convince me otherwise, as I'd love to bring them!

9 hours ago, flamingwalnut said:

I feel like you are attached to a name and not a concept

This is very true... "A vampire rose by any other name would smell as sweet", I guess.

6 hours ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

I think Kastelai or Vyrkos are stronger choices for a kitted out VLoZD and a bunch of Blood Knights, but I think you can justify going LoB instead if that's the faction you like.

BK in Kastelai become very interesting indeed. I still think the Souldbound Garments are crazy good for a VLoZD, though.

2 hours ago, Sception said:

If GW hadn't made the new black knight scroll so bloody useless

It's incredible, isn't it? There is NO point whatsoever in bring those guys along for the ride.

2 hours ago, Aren73 said:

I hope this helps explain the faction traits and hopefully warms you to the idea of skeletons

Maybe ;) At the moment, here's a work-in-progress LoB list with no DEATHRATTLE...

VLoZ (General, Soulbound Garments, Aura of Dark Majesty, Amethystine Pinions)

Neferata (Overwhelming Dread)

Coven Throne (Vile Transference)

3 x 10 Wolves

2 x 5 BK

1 DreadBlade Harrow (little annoying thing) or 1 extra CP plus and an endless spell. 

But yes, let's say that I was to forget about names and labels and opt for the Kastelai instead. At that point I'd probably want to spam as many BK was possible. However, wolves are probably the best screening unit in the game, so I'd probably still bring them. An interesting option is that of swapping the Coven Throne for Belladamma... well, we shall see.

At the heart of it all is my desire for a truly elite vampire army, which is doable - it just does not feel very competitive. In fact, I would go as far as saying that LoB is probably the least competitive sub-faction in the whole book, as the battletraits are bloody awful and the battleline bespoke option (Black Knights) is absolute trash.

Maybe bravery will become more relevant in AoS 3, and I think you guys are right - perhaps this book was truly written with AoS 3.0 in mind and it will reach its full potential only when the new version will land. Who knows. After all, I seem to recall this was the case with the LoN book as well, so maybe we are in for a treat. I should clarify that my intent is not that to complain (I got my plastic Blood Knights, I am good for the next 5 years) but simply that of trying to find the sweet spot between something fairly competitive and my "idea" of Neferata's vampires.

Edited by Thamalys
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21 minutes ago, Thamalys said:

Alright, so this is something that pains me quite a bit. I have 12 Vargheists (VG), all painted in a color scheme that I like a lot - and I only ever used them in narrative events. Sadly, I don't think they got any better with the new book - they just can't hope to compete against Blood Knights (BK). BK are 195 points for 5, VG are 155 points for 3. They are both excellent hammers, albeit BK deal more damage in almost any situation (assuming the Riders of Ruin will do what we think it should do, i.e. the BKs get damage 2 basically every turn). The one big ol' problem is the save. BK are on 3+, VG are on a 5+. The gap is immense and means that BK can also be an anvil - VG die to a stiff breeze. This is especially key given that both BK and VG can (in specific builds) deep strike 9" away - the big difference between the two is that if you don't make the 9" charge (which you usually won't, unless you invest in the Reikenor+Cogs combo, and even then...) it's a bad day for your BK but an absolute disaster for your VG. You would really only deep strike them if you are about to get the possibility for a double turn, and even then it'd be a gamble. VG should either be 120 points or being summonable. That's my thinking - please do try to convince me otherwise, as I'd love to bring them!

Assuming you're not completely attached to the Aura of Dark Majesty command trait and are willing to lean on the Soulbound Garments/Dark Mist/Coven Throne for your survivability needs, then I think Vargheists might have play with the Aristocracy of Blood command Trait. Deepstriking them to wholly within 12" of a VLoZD still gives a wide area to cover, thanks to the massive base on the zombie dragon, and re-rolling a 9" charge may not be as reliable as we'd like, but it's a lot more reliable than it could be. Makes them a decent option for striking a secondary target that your VLoZD can't focus on. Or at least, that's my theory, as I have yet to actually try it.

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2 hours ago, Liquidsteel said:

You can really tell, with Lumineth, it was a project that spanned a long time, with serious thought and passion. The rules are amazing, often unique, and engineered to win.

Gravelords was simply a job to be done, to rebrand the faction and make it playable, no more no less.

I agree with the rules. Though I almost think it's the opposite with the models, that's where we got the love and Lumineth got a lot of kits which I don't feel are as well designed, not with the same kind of finesse or love IMO. 

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Just to add: While they have no particular synergies, you can run a unit of Fell Bats in basically any subfaction if you have 75 points left and don't care about drops.

You can plop them into the grave at deployment since they are summonable. Just leave them in there and potentially threaten any objective within, like, 30" of a gravesite.

Might be a fun little unit if you want to lean into the vampire aesthetic.

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2 hours ago, Aren73 said:

I agree with the rules. Though I almost think it's the opposite with the models, that's where we got the love and Lumineth got a lot of kits which I don't feel are as well designed, not with the same kind of finesse or love IMO. 

Oh yes I am absolutely in love with our models, no question there!

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4 hours ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

Just to add: While they have no particular synergies, you can run a unit of Fell Bats in basically any subfaction if you have 75 points left and don't care about drops.

You can plop them into the grave at deployment since they are summonable. Just leave them in there and potentially threaten any objective within, like, 30" of a gravesite.

Might be a fun little unit if you want to lean into the vampire aesthetic.

I've heard this being thrown around before but how does it work exactly? 

The Unquiet Dead ability says you can set the unit up "at the end of any of your movement phases" so the bats wouldn't be able to move after teleporting in. 
They arrive on a gravesite, stand there till the end of the turn because they're definitely not wanting to be in combat, then in your opponents turn they are charged/shot/magicked/eviscerated/de-batted and all other forms of horrible happenings. 

Am I missing something letting them arrive in the movement phase as normal? 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Aren73 said:

I've heard this being thrown around before but how does it work exactly? 

The Unquiet Dead ability says you can set the unit up "at the end of any of your movement phases" so the bats wouldn't be able to move after teleporting in. 
They arrive on a gravesite, stand there till the end of the turn because they're definitely not wanting to be in combat, then in your opponents turn they are charged/shot/magicked/eviscerated/de-batted and all other forms of horrible happenings. 

Am I missing something letting them arrive in the movement phase as normal? 

Yeah you got it, it takes two turns. But the idea is that once an kpponent moves off a back objective, you can put down the dire bats to threaten it next turn and they need to make the decision to go back to defend or push foreward and potentially let you capture.

EDIT: With a 14" flying move and no reason not to run, you can hopefully put them out-of-range of enemy charges most of the time, given you have a 12" circle around the gravesite to put them down.

Edited by Neil Arthur Hotep
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5 hours ago, Thamalys said:

Thanks folks - all of your thoughts are very much appreciated!

It used to be because: (1) they lack, by definition, any personality. At heart, I am a skirmish game player, in that I tend to think a lot about each unit/model. I like a story for each thing in my list. Sure, you can write narrative in your head for Deathrattle stuff as well, but it's maybe not that epic as the deeds of a vampire lord (in my mind at least!). Big blobs of mindless hordes don't do it for me; (2) Deathrattle units are all awfully slow. It's true that with the new gravesites mechanic that's less of an issue, but still; (3) The models were bloody awful. Now, that's not the case anymore, the new skeletons are actually quite cool.

Alright, so this is something that pains me quite a bit. I have 12 Vargheists (VG), all painted in a color scheme that I like a lot - and I only ever used them in narrative events. Sadly, I don't think they got any better with the new book - they just can't hope to compete against Blood Knights (BK). BK are 195 points for 5, VG are 155 points for 3. They are both excellent hammers, albeit BK deal more damage in almost any situation (assuming the Riders of Ruin will do what we think it should do, i.e. the BKs get damage 2 basically every turn). The one big ol' problem is the save. BK are on 3+, VG are on a 5+. The gap is immense and means that BK can also be an anvil - VG die to a stiff breeze. This is especially key given that both BK and VG can (in specific builds) deep strike 9" away - the big difference between the two is that if you don't make the 9" charge (which you usually won't, unless you invest in the Reikenor+Cogs combo, and even then...) it's a bad day for your BK but an absolute disaster for your VG. You would really only deep strike them if you are about to get the possibility for a double turn, and even then it'd be a gamble. VG should either be 120 points or being summonable. That's my thinking - please do try to convince me otherwise, as I'd love to bring them!

This is very true... "A vampire rose by any other name would smell as sweet", I guess.

BK in Kastelai become very interesting indeed. I still think the Souldbound Garments are crazy good for a VLoZD, though.

It's incredible, isn't it? There is NO point whatsoever in bring those guys along for the ride.

Maybe ;) At the moment, here's a work-in-progress LoB list with no DEATHRATTLE...

VLoZ (General, Soulbound Garments, Aura of Dark Majesty, Amethystine Pinions)

Neferata (Overwhelming Dread)

Coven Throne (Vile Transference)

3 x 10 Wolves

2 x 5 BK

1 DreadBlade Harrow (little annoying thing) or 1 extra CP plus and an endless spell. 

But yes, let's say that I was to forget about names and labels and opt for the Kastelai instead. At that point I'd probably want to spam as many BK was possible. However, wolves are probably the best screening unit in the game, so I'd probably still bring them. An interesting option is that of swapping the Coven Throne for Belladamma... well, we shall see.

At the heart of it all is my desire for a truly elite vampire army, which is doable - it just does not feel very competitive. In fact, I would go as far as saying that LoB is probably the least competitive sub-faction in the whole book, as the battletraits are bloody awful and the battleline bespoke option (Black Knights) is absolute trash.

Maybe bravery will become more relevant in AoS 3, and I think you guys are right - perhaps this book was truly written with AoS 3.0 in mind and it will reach its full potential only when the new version will land. Who knows. After all, I seem to recall this was the case with the LoN book as well, so maybe we are in for a treat. I should clarify that my intent is not that to complain (I got my plastic Blood Knights, I am good for the next 5 years) but simply that of trying to find the sweet spot between something fairly competitive and my "idea" of Neferata's vampires.

For the Deathrattle issue of personality, they don't HAVE to be devoid of personality, even the lowly warrior.

There are entire Deathrattle Kingdoms, and while the Wight King obviously has a kind of personality, each Warrior can have all sorts of personality to them.

I find, for skeletons, to have a echo of their past lives. One skeleton can be aggressive and loud (I imagine some sort of supernatural wail), one can be a quiet shield wall with a tactical mind. Or maybe the Grave Guard are the soldiers and skeleton warriors are poor conscripts, fated to never see their homes again as they are lost to another lifetime.

The rules aren't always perfect, but Age of Sigmar does so well with a blank canvas. So much magic and oddities and exceptions to be made. Always worth a shot! 

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I feel like there is something very strange about the whole death rattle section of this book. The Warscrolls aren’t very good, but neither are they priced as expendable speed bumps. Only the skeletons have the resurrection rule that seems like all the death rattle units should have had, and the Wight King’s command ability doesn’t make sense. I see an faq for these units very soon. If black knights and grave guard stood back up upon activation they might actually be decent as trouble-maker units. Legion of Blood’s focus on the most confusing warscrolls in the book makes it a confusing allegiance.

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11 hours ago, Nullius said:

I feel like there is something very strange about the whole death rattle section of this book. The Warscrolls aren’t very good, but neither are they priced as expendable speed bumps. Only the skeletons have the resurrection rule that seems like all the death rattle units should have had, and the Wight King’s command ability doesn’t make sense. I see an faq for these units very soon. If black knights and grave guard stood back up upon activation they might actually be decent as trouble-maker units. Legion of Blood’s focus on the most confusing warscrolls in the book makes it a confusing allegiance.

I get the complaints about Black Knights, but you lost me with the grave guard.  They're one of the few units that got pretty clearly buffed from the previous versions, and they're lower points now, too (aside from the minimum squad size going up, but it's not like a unit of 5 would have done that much anyway.)  With great wight blades doing 2 damage and having a chance to do mortal wounds on top of that, they're one of the better damage dealing units in the army.  Also giving them a built-in ability to stand back up would be overkill.

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On 5/26/2021 at 6:50 PM, Nullius said:

I feel like there is something very strange about the whole death rattle section of this book. The Warscrolls aren’t very good, but neither are they priced as expendable speed bumps. Only the skeletons have the resurrection rule that seems like all the death rattle units should have had, and the Wight King’s command ability doesn’t make sense. I see an faq for these units very soon. If black knights and grave guard stood back up upon activation they might actually be decent as trouble-maker units. Legion of Blood’s focus on the most confusing warscrolls in the book makes it a confusing allegiance.

I think Deathrattle are more of a mixed bag than the overall losers of the tome.

I can say without exaggeration that I will probably not build a Gravelords list without a 30-strong unit of Deathrattle Skeletons. I say this because they are the only unit in the book that you can expect to stand on an objective, live through a charge and keep capturing. Everything else either doesn't have enough bodies or doesn't have staying power.

Grave Guard are the strongest unit in the book for pure damage output. You will have to build around them to a degree because of their slow movement and relative fragility, but they will kill whatever they touch. Most notably in the context of this book, they can deal with both high saves and low saves. A lot of our units (like Blood Knights) do pretty high quality damage, but can't deal with a large amount of bodies.

Black Knights and Wight Kings go straight into the trash, though. Although I might play Black Knights if they get cheaper.

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Posted (edited)

Wight Kings might see some play, purely as a tax to make grave guard battleline.  But yeah, the spotty, inconsistent, and half the time actively bad warscrolls for deathrattle stuff in the new battletome is really disappointing.

....

I wish there was a unifying feature.  Like if the skeletal 'get back up' rule were for all deathrattle units, or if all deathrattle units did something on a 6 to wound.  Like 6 to wound skeletons = +1 damage or +1 rend, 6 to wound grave guard = a mortal, 6 to wound black knights = a mortal on the charge.  Then wight kings CA could let deathrattle units re-roll wound rolls so they'd have some mechanical synergy.  Or maybe the skeletal 'get back up' rule could be a general deathrattle thing, something black knights and grave guard would also get, and wight kings could give you a +1 on the get back up roll.

Or both, even.  Make the get back up a 5+ base, extend it to all non-hero deathrattle units, give wight kings a passive 12" aura of +1 on that roll and a command ability for re-roll wounds, give skeletons 2 attacks and 6's to wound grant +1 rend, Black knights get 4+ armor and 6's to wound proc mortals on the charge instead of impact hits, grave guard shields change the base save to 4+ instead of granting a +1 armor bonus so it'll stack with other armor bonuses even if stacking bonuses are restricted, change the banners from rr1s on deathless minions to +1 deathless minions, lower the cost of wight kings a bit, raise the cost of skeletons and grave guard a bit...

bah.  bah.  it's so easy to get sucked into wish listing with this book.

Edited by Sception
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  • 3 weeks later...

I’m going ahead and getting a blood seeker palanquin and coven throne and I do feel like the flying behemoth thing is something legion of blood can do well.  The scrolls are quite fast even when bracketed and IMO all of them have really unique abilities like Neferata’s wound a hero and on a 5+ they die, or shudder on the throne able to drop an enemy unit out of existence for a turn; that is seriously game changing stuff.  I already have a Mortis Engine from an old Nighthaunt start collecting box and with 3 big flyers bringing mortal wound clouds and serious pin point scalpel mortal wound work with Bloodsiphon, a ton of cavalry  gumming up the works and able to redeploy to contest objectives really easily.

Neferata - Decrepify/Fading Vigour

Bloodseeker Palanquin - Vile Transference

Vengorian Lord - Aristocracy of Blood, Soulbound Garments, Amethystine Pinions

Mortis Engine

3 x 5 Black Knights

2 x 5 Blood Knights

this is 1885 points, leaves me with a unit of Fellbats and/or an endless spell or two.  If I could fit Chronomantic Cogs I think it would be handy to help keep Neferata’s debuffs/buffs up when she inevitably reaches combat as well as more MW assistance right up close from Arcane Bolt.

the Vengorian is pretty integral to the army, giving me charge rerolls in a bubble and that sweet sweet 2+ natural save with his -1rend ability, it allows me to save my Dark Mist cast for whichever one of my behemoths/blood knights is in the most trouble.  Clotted Deluge can turn Neferata into a blazing hellcat inferno of death and the odd speed boosts the Vengorian will catch off Undeniable Impulses and Amethystine Pinions should help keep him in prime front line support position.  With his command ability and the new heals he is going to be one tough SoB to keep down if you can’t paste him in a turn, and if you’re going to ignore him you’d better polish off the other target for the same reasons; Vile Transference, Hunger and Hero Heals helps me keep regenerating the Palanquin which will hopefully be under pressure.

I’m going with the Mortis Engine/Bloodseeker combo because I like the potential they have to be a psychological affect, a bit unpredictable because they are quite swingy, but so many potential mortal wounds makes me think it’s at least worth some playtesting.  I’m thinking these abilities will be more valuable with the smaller unit sizes in the new rules and the thought that swirling combats could easily net 4-5 opportunities up to three times makes me maybe too excited to see how it works.

The focus will be MW Missile and slow things down with the BK’s while the blood knights and Vengorian roll a flank.  The idea of using an army where every unit is min move 12” sounds like a lot of fun.  Hopefully in the meantime the three behemoths will be pushing the centre, or trying to get deep into enemy territory early on more dynamic scoring missions.  Magic is mostly all defensive focused on keeping the characters alive as long as possible.  I do have the points to upgrade the Mortis Engine to a Coven Throne, I just feel like it backtracks a bit on some of the synergy in the list.  There’s a decent chance I keep one unit of Black Knights in the grave.

my biggest concern with this army is staying power and the ability to contest or at least make plays for objectives after turn 4, I really like the idea of it, comes across like it would need to be played really aggressively which is a nice change after having to play such a nuanced slow control Ymetrica list this past year.  I guess I don’t really know how far the 12 wounds goes on 4+/6++ saves.

Once I figure out how to fit it into the new battalions I’m hoping I’ll be able to get the Orb of Enchantment on the Bloodseeker or maybe more spells for everybody.  Aethervoid Pendulum just got pushed back to the front of the painting queue as well.

Edited by Andalf
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