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SBGL has several shenanigans to help combat shooting. 

Fell Bats. Fly. 14" move. 75 points. Eat Unleash Hell on charge. Basic and likely ineffecient but the maneuvering ability of this cheap unit is invaluable because of the versatility.  

Deadwalkers (Dire Wolves with Belladamma Command also apply) are eligible to pile in and fight from 6" away. This is not a Charge and is not eligible to be "Unleashed" upon. 

Gorslav hidden behind terrain with a command point + a 60 man Zombie unit is actually gross durability. Back it up with a 30 man Skeleton unit and a 10 Dire Wolf to escort Belladamma... 

Belladamma + Spell Portal: tie down a ranged unit and then charge their screen. If you kill 2 Musketeers they have to do 4 wounds on the swing back, which may require them to pile in awkwardly and set themselves up to being engaged in when you pile in against the screen, or allow you to claim an objective if they must pile in to a wolf that is placed opposite the ojective.

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@Noob Vampire if you look back over the last couple of pages you'll see this question discussed quite a lot. Someone else asked a very similar question.

Just to summarize a few things:

  • Generally speaking ranged offense is much less efficient per point than melee offense. High efficiency ranged units are typically only doing a half to a third as much damage per point as melee units, and they only get to attack once per battle round (barring Unleash Hell) as opposed to (potentially) twice. On the other hand, they gain the ability to focus fire on priority targets more effectively. That's the trade-off.
  • You can block Unleash Hell by either charging first with a trash unit or, better yet, by not charging in at all and piling in with units that can pile in from >3" (Dire Wolves supported by Belladamma or Zombies).
  • You can eliminate the targeting advantage of ranged units by getting in combat with them.
  • You can reduce the targeting advantage of ranged units by focusing on heroes that are resilient against sniping (more on this later).

Also, if your opponent is using Unleash Hell and "Stand and Shoot" in the same turn with their Freeguild Handgunners then they are violating the rules (possibly unintentionally). The recent round of FAQs changed the stand and shoot ability on both Freeguild Guard and Sisters of the Watch to allow them to benefit from Unleash Hell without spending a CP if the charging unit is within 3" of them. They get to shoot without spending a CP, but they can't shoot twice.

Generally speaking, there are some Soulblight units that are vulnerable to shooting. Grave Guard are probably the worst offenders, but anything that is slow and defensively less efficient is a culprit. Faster units that are defensively inefficient are also problematic, albeit less so -- most of the monster heroes are like this, and the unridden monsters and Mortis Engine even moreso.

The best units against shooting are fast, defensively efficient units like Blood Knights and Dire Wolves. Fell Bats are also an option as a cheap trash unit to absorb Unleash Hell. These units can close quickly and are likely to get into melee before getting shot down, and when they do get into melee most ranged units will fold very quickly. For example, a unit of 20 handgunners with the +1 to hit from Hurricanum shooting once and then using Unleash Hell on a unit of Blood Knights will kill an average of 2 to 3 Blood Knights. After this point the Blood Knights are a strong favorite to wipe out the Handgunners over the next two combat rounds. I think that illustration is pretty telling: the handgunners get the opportunity to shoot first, have a buff, use a CP and still lose to the Blood Knights who have no support at all and use no CP.

The other key bit of anti-shooting tech is Belladamma, who can tie up a shooting unit with Lycancurse (ideally through spellportal).

Most armies are really vulnerable to getting their heroes sniped by shooting, but Soulblight much less so. The lowly Necromancer, Radukar the Wolf and Belladamma all have the ability to shrug wounds off on minions making them MUCH harder to snipe.

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My LoB has gone to one drop.  I stopped using a lot of units that can be one-shot, heroes do alright at soaking Unleash ****** as well as charging from 9+ away, serious risk but if you have 2-3 units going one could make it, then go squish in with your main battleline.  This helps in holding objectives longer, my only unreinforced units are 2x5 blood knights.

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Regarding grand strategies, I don't see why you'd take anything other than Hold the Line.

Yes, it's "starting" units. I know. But it's like, mass chaff vs anything else. They don't want to waste attacks clearing out your rubbish units knowing they respawn anyway.

As for Prized Sorcery, you're gonna have like 2-3 wizards. Probably one is a dragon, the others pass wounds to chaff. You're relying on them not killing things that are priority targets.

I think the go-to is Hold the Line.

 

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1 hour ago, Obeisance said:

Regarding grand strategies, I don't see why you'd take anything other than Hold the Line.

Yes, it's "starting" units. I know. But it's like, mass chaff vs anything else. They don't want to waste attacks clearing out your rubbish units knowing they respawn anyway.

As for Prized Sorcery, you're gonna have like 2-3 wizards. Probably one is a dragon, the others pass wounds to chaff. You're relying on them not killing things that are priority targets.

I think the go-to is Hold the Line.

I think this is the kind of question that is going to be heavily dictated by the metagame. In a melee heavy meta Prized Sorcery is going to be relatively more valuable, while in a shooting meta Hold the Line goes up in value.

If you are running Nagash it's definitely Prized Sorcery.

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That's a totally fair assumption.

I'm assuming that all the best lists are going to be either like, 1-2 flying dumptrucks or insanely high shooting and/or magic.

I'd kinda like Unleash Hell changed to unmodified 6s like 40K. We could also use more obscuring terrain. Lol.

 

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1 hour ago, Obeisance said:

That's a totally fair assumption.

I'm assuming that all the best lists are going to be either like, 1-2 flying dumptrucks or insanely high shooting and/or magic.

I'd kinda like Unleash Hell changed to unmodified 6s like 40K. We could also use more obscuring terrain. Lol.

I thought we'd see insanely high shooting at first but I'm becoming more convinced that while there will be some of that in the meta that it won't be super duper common. Go Wide lists are going to be good against both of the archetypes you mention, so it would be really surprising if that playstyle doesn't make big inroads.

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Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords
- Lineage: Kastelai Dynasty
- Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
- Triumphs:

Leaders
Vengorian Lord (280)
- General
- Command Trait: Rousing Commander
- Artefact: Fragment of the Keep
- Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Prince Vhordrai (455) in Battle Regiment
- Lore of the Vampires: Amethystine Pinions
Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night (380)
- Lore of the Deathmages: Decrepify

Battleline
5 x Blood Knights (195) in Hunters of the Heartlands
5 x Blood Knights (195) in Hunters of the Heartlands
5 x Blood Knights (195) in Hunters of the Heartlands
10 x Dire Wolves (135) in Battle Regiment

Units
3 x Fell Bats (75) in Battle Regiment
3 x Fell Bats (75) in Battle Regiment

Total: 1985 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 119

I think this is going to be my competitive list. Any thoughts anyone??

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11 hours ago, Noob Vampire said:

Hello there!

Some tips and tricks against shooting would be greatly needed here. Was a bit surprise search tools didnt come up with it (or then it was me)  but how are you going to play against armies with a lot of shooting. 

Shooting is the big weakness of the Gravelords battletome. We have no significant shooting of our own and all our anti-shooting tools are finesse tools (by which I mean, you have to actively do stuff to gain their benefit, it's not just -1 to be hit or "can't be targeted").

The upside is that we do genuinely have access to a quite strong anti-shooting tools.

In no particular order:

Fast chaff

If you are tied up in combat, you can't shoot at anything other than the unit you are in combat with. G-Lords have several units that are fast and good at tying up enemies, most notably Direwolves and Fell Bats.

Fell Bats have a very fast 14" flying move and can be deployed in the grave, so they have a good chance of caching your opponent's shooting units off guard. For only 75 points they are good list filler.

Direwolves are slower at a 10" move, but they are battleline and can take a punch better, potentially tying up the opponent for several rounds. They are also legal targets for Endless Legions, so after a unit of 10 of them dies, you might just get 5 back for free.

6" pile-in

Unleash Hell is a reaction to getting charged, so if you don't charge, the opponent can't Unleash. Deadwalker Zombies have the ability to pile-in from 6" away, which means that if you move them within 6" of the enemy, they can just pile into combat without needing to charge. They are usually slow, but their 4" move, plus a 6" run and 6" pile-in means that they can cross a distance of 16" in a turn potentially.

Belladamma Volga

Belladamma Volga is a great caster you should consider in any Lineage, not just Vyrkos. At +1 to cast, 2 casts she's almost guaranteed to provide value, but she also comes with two pieces of anti-shooting tech attached.

One of these is her warscroll spell, The Lycancurse. What it basically does is deal 1d3 mortals to a unit within 18", and if any models die from this they turn into Direwolves. These Direwolves are conveniently placed right into combat with the unit you targeted, which shuts down their shooting phase for at least one turn nearly guaranteed. Those Freeguild Handgunners won't be Unleashing Hell on you if they are peroccupied fighting their friends that have just been turned into puppers.

The second piece of tech comes in the form of her command ability, Pack Alpha. It gives Direwolves that good 6" pile-in. I already talked about how good direwolves and 6" pile-ins are against shooting, and this combines them both!

Magic stuff

While Gravelords are weak at shooting, we have an easy time competing in the magic phase. There are several endless spells that can help with shooting, like Prismatic Palisade (blocks line of sight) and Geminids of Uhl-Gysh (shuts off command abilities).

It's also worth looking into the generic spell Ghost-Mist, which can make terrain block line-of-sight. I think it's a nice spell on a Necromancer supporting a skeleton block. Skeletons are particularly vulnerable to shooting and will often want to sit in one place and hold an objective. So just place them on/behind a piece of terrain, cast ghost mist on it and enjoy your safety. You might even be able to snag the +1 to saves from cover at the same time.

Healing

While it's not exactly anti-shooting specifically, Gravelords can deal with shooting more easily than others because we have the ability to heal off chip damage more easily. Big monster-heroes can easily be on a 2+ save healing 2d3 from rally and more. Blood Knights are fast and tanky enough to engage ranged units easily. Units of summonables get that free 1d3 healing, possibly 3 more from Invigorating Aura, and get to resurrect at half strenght if they get wiped out. Also, the Rally command now exists and can be used to increase healing even further. Plus, our army wide 6+ aftersave is a bit of help, too.

All these tools are situational, but if you get enough situational tools into your army, they eventually become fairly reliable. Overall, shooting is undeniably the weakness of Gravelords, so games against shooting lists put us at a disadvantage. But it's not one that is impossible to overcome.

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10 hours ago, Obeisance said:

Regarding grand strategies, I don't see why you'd take anything other than Hold the Line.

Yes, it's "starting" units. I know. But it's like, mass chaff vs anything else. They don't want to waste attacks clearing out your rubbish units knowing they respawn anyway.

As for Prized Sorcery, you're gonna have like 2-3 wizards. Probably one is a dragon, the others pass wounds to chaff. You're relying on them not killing things that are priority targets.

I think the go-to is Hold the Line.

I really think it depends on the role your think your battleline will play in your list. If you can take Blood Knights and just load up your list with anvils, Hold the Line seems really good.

But if your battleline is just Direwolves, Zombies and maybe a block of Skeletons, then in my opinion part of what makes them good is the fact that you don't have to be afraid of "throwing them away". For Wolves and Zombies, I would definitely put them in my lists with the expectation that they will die at some point. That's part of what I think is good about them, they are cheap enough that you don't have to feel bad about using them as throwaway units. Plus, part of their value comes from being resurrectable. If they never die, you don't get that. Kind of seems like a nonbo with Hold the Line, where you both want your battleline to die and not to die.

A big problem I see is that our non-conditional battleline is very killable if your opponent puts their mind to it. Even 30 skeletons can be wiped fairly easily if they get focussed own. I don't think this is a problem in general, because these units are still quite cheap and have a chance to come back for free at half strength, but it is a problem in regard to Hold the Line.

Generally, Prized Sorcery just seems more achievable in some lists (although probably not all). If you have a VLoZD general, that guy already has a fairly good chance to live through the whole game. Over in the actual games thread, people are definitely noticing the investment of ressources needed to reliably kill big 3+ base save monster heroes. If your list has one of those (especially Mannfred, who is super easy to keep alive) and like maybe two more wizards, I think the case for Prized Sorcery starts looking pretty good. Belladamma is probably one of our most popular support wizards, and she is fairly survivable, as well. At 9 wounds, she can still get cover and Look Out, Sir!, while passing wounds off to her wolves on a 3+ at the same time. I think finding the ressources to reliably kill all three between a big monster hero, Belladamma and a support Necromancer sitting on a back objective will be tough for a lot of lists, good target priority or not.

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On 7/14/2021 at 4:20 PM, Warbossironteef said:

Have you considered Mani for that list? 15 Bloodknights would benefit so much from +1 hit and wound. I feel like it might be testing Mani and VLOZD vs Prince V and Ven Lord. Mani us such a force multipler.

I've considered it, and may try it. However, the plan is more so having Prince V. go on his own and threat one side while 2 units of Blood Knights, Vengorian Lord and Belladamma threat another side. The real damage is not Prince V. however a lot of opponents see the big model and make that their primary target / concern. With Prince V. chalice, the hunger and heroic recovery he is super durable. So I use him more as a distraction carnifex that still has some punch. Going the Manny and VLoZD route, I have the command trait and artefact on the VLoZD which means the BKs won't get a benefit out of it since the VLoZD is doing its own thing. Rousing Command on demand is massive. I have considered changing tactics using Manny and instead of having two fronts, create a central death start supported by Dire Wolves and Zombies to tie things up.

I'm finding I'm having the same problem in SBGL as I did in Khorne. I want to use everything and I only have 2k points! 

Another list I am thinking about is Vyrkos list with a VLoZD and Hunter's Snare and the artefact that gives D3 extra attacks on the charge. Supported by Belladamma and a bunch of Grave Guard OR Zombies with 1-2 units of BKs to tie things down.

Edited by BaylorCorvette
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Question for everyone- has mannfred ever died for any of you and if so how?

My initial read of the book is that he should be basically unkillable with 13 wounds, ignoring the first against him per phase and the ability to avoid any combat he isn't going to win. I am still of the opinion that he is incredible beyond belief in any competitive list but confess i have never played with him-my local store hasn't yet reopened after covid...

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1 hour ago, Frowny said:

Question for everyone- has mannfred ever died for any of you and if so how?

My initial read of the book is that he should be basically unkillable with 13 wounds, ignoring the first against him per phase and the ability to avoid any combat he isn't going to win. I am still of the opinion that he is incredible beyond belief in any competitive list but confess i have never played with him-my local store hasn't yet reopened after covid...

I haven't actually gotten any games in with him yet, but yeah is is going to be very difficult if not impossible for most opponents to deal with. The one thing that is realistically going to kill him is very heavy, concentrated shooting.

A unit of 9 Stormfiends with a spark and More-more Warp Power! are only a slight underdog to kill Mannfred in one round of shooting even if Mannfred has +2 to save from various abilities. With only +1 to save Mannfred is *very* likely a dead duck.

A KO boat drop could maybe do the trick, although that's a lot dicier. If Mannfred is fully buffed it's pretty unlikely.

A bunch of Vanari Auralan Sentinels could definitely get it done. 20 units of 20 without Power of Hysh is very unlikely. With Power of Hysh it's still unlikely but definitely possible. With Lambent Light though things change quite a lot. Lambent Light without Power of Hysh is a small underdog to kill Manny in one go, but 50/50 power/no power is a favorite and if both units have power they are a very heavy favorite to kill him in one go.

15 Blood Sisters double shooting are a bit of an underdog to get it done in one go but it's definitely possible, especially if big Morathi takes her shot as well.

Given what I'm seeing in the current meta I think those are the most likely ways for Mannfred to die suddenly. Sustained shooting over two or 3 turns is very likely to do the trick unless you are able to really get your healing going.

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25 minutes ago, swarmofseals said:

Sustained shooting over two or 3 turns is very likely to do the trick unless you are able to really get your healing going.

With the heroic actions healing 2d3 per round and ignoring the first wound  sustained shooting is unlikely to kill unless it is one of those already strong shooters. You have to do 5 wounds to just break even, and more if he can ever use the hunger. Chip damage will be a struggle, at least without leaving a lot of the rest of your army intact.

What have people seen actually kill him?

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4 minutes ago, Frowny said:

With the heroic actions healing 2d3 per round and ignoring the first wound  sustained shooting is unlikely to kill unless it is one of those already strong shooters. You have to do 5 wounds to just break even, and more if he can ever use the hunger. Chip damage will be a struggle, at least without leaving a lot of the rest of your army intact.

What have people seen actually kill him?

I'm not talking about chip damage, I'm talking about multiple turns of heavy shooting, like the kinds of units that I mentioned in my previous post -- buffed Stormfiends, sentinels, KO stuff, Blood Stalkers, multiple units of salamanders or perhaps even things like Sisters of the Watch or Irondrakes. Even if those units fail to one shot Mannfred, they can easily two shot him. And in practice it doesn't always look like 2d3 healing per round. For example, if you are going first in a battle round and the enemy double turns you that's 2 rounds of shooting (and magic) with you getting only one bite at Heroic Recovery. Also Heroic Recovery heals 1.75 on average, not 2.

I haven't been playing with Mannfred, but I have been playing with Nagash who is quite a bit tougher than Mannfred is. I haven't lost him yet but I have come very close, and Nagash is way more likely to get Mystic Shield than Mannfred is.

He's still ridiculously hard to kill, but the answer to your question is right there: the thing that can kill him is very heavy shooting.

 

 

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@swarmofseals I'm more curious about what actually does kill him, not just the theory of it (since I agree with you basically in entirety) and how he plays out in practice. I think he's outrageously strong. And very importantly he costs over 500 points less than Nagash. Not to mention the avoiding melee. For example, tzeench archeon will pretty reliably put Nagash in his sword, but mannfred can just cloak away.

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30 sentinels, let's say 3 x 10 so 27 shots.

All lofted.

With power of Hysh it's 9 mortals on average, plus a few wounds.

With Lambent Light it's 15 mortals on average, plus a few wounds.

You can't really escape lambent light these days thanks to teleport spell, if they want to cast it on you they probably will. 

Then there's Sevireth to shoot and do mortals when moving over you and also when charging you to finish the job.

People will argue that its a greater points investment than Mannfred, but all that damage is effectively point and click, board wide and risk free.

That said I think its an edge case, but Lumineth is likely the Paper to our Rock. Unless you just flood the board with chaff.

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I have a game coming up tomorrow and wnated to share my list with you guys:

Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords
- Lineage: Vyrkos Dynasty
- Mortal Realm: Shyish
- Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
- Triumphs:
Belladamma Volga, First of the Vyrkos (200) in Vanguard
- Lore of the Vampires: Spirit Gale
Radukar the Beast (315)
Vengorian Lord (280) in Battle Regiment
- General
- Command Trait: Pack Alpha
- Artefact: Sangsyron
- Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Vampire Lord (140) in Battle Regiment
- Artefact: Ulfenkarnian Phylactery
- Lore of the Vampires: Amethystine Pinions
30 x Deathrattle Skeletons (255) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Reinforced x 2
20 x Deadwalker Zombies (115) in Battle Regiment
20 x Deadwalker Zombies (115) in Battle Regiment
20 x Grave Guard (280) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Wight Blades & Crypt Shields
- Reinforced x 1
5 x Blood Knights (195) in Hunters of the Heartlands
3 x Fell Bats (75) in Vanguard
The Burning Head (20)

Total: 1990 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 3 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 150

 
Any thoughts, inpur or critique is well appreciated. :)
The Burning Head is only included because I have nothing else to fill the points.
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