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AoS3 - Soulblight Gravelord Discussion


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9 minutes ago, Holy_Diver said:

Hi, death people, here's the thing: a friend of mine (long time death player) almost lost hope of playing his favorite army and started buying SoB. Now, me and others have decided to challenge him with lists that he believes are underperforming, and I, who have never touched a death model, will play Soulblight.

Where can i start creating a tournament list? I played against Vyrkos and legion of the night, but Vyrkos seems better now.

ps: if anything should interest the experiment I will post the battle reports. 😁

If you read through the past pages, you will find details of several lists that are doing okay.

The book is very versatile and lists can reflect personal play style.

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1 hour ago, Holy_Diver said:

Hi, death people, here's the thing: a friend of mine (long time death player) almost lost hope of playing his favorite army and started buying SoB. Now, me and others have decided to challenge him with lists that he believes are underperforming, and I, who have never touched a death model, will play Soulblight.

Where can i start creating a tournament list? I played against Vyrkos and legion of the night, but Vyrkos seems better now.

ps: if anything should interest the experiment I will post the battle reports. 😁

Soulblight are for sure not underperforming competitively according to the recent metawatch article.

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2021/09/10/metawatch-which-warhammer-age-of-sigmar-armies-contested-the-top-tables-at-the-warhammer-open/

They are firmly one of the top factions right now.

There is tournament-winning Vyrkos list and a write up of how it plays in that article, too:

 

Spoiler

AoSMetawatch Sep10 ArmyList1

Cody’s list relies on solid Battleline choices in the Deadwalker Zombies and Dire Wolves. He complements them with a core of powerful Heroes and the massive high-Rend combat threat of Prince Vhordrai (paired with the free use of the Coven Throne’s command ability to improve his resilience thanks to the Vyrkos’ Pack Alpha command trait).

The Battleline choices are great for seizing mid-board objectives, and with the army’s resurrection abilities, five Heroes, and multiple power centres, at least one unit is likely to be alive (well, sort of alive, anyway) at the end of the game to achieve the Hold the Line grand strategy.

Cody used Radukar aggressively, throwing him forward with the protection of his summoned Dire Wolves for screening. Radukar works well in tandem with Vhordrai because:

  • Vhordrai’s command ability can allow Radukar to fight in the hero phase and potentially escape being bogged down in an undesirable combat
  • Radukar’s command ability can give Vhordrai extra Attacks if wholly within 18″ after Radukar charges

The Vyrkos subfaction abilities give some support to Belladamma’s casting bonuses, allowing the army to compete with more magically dominant forces. Belladamma’s spell works well against shooting armies as it allows you to set up Dire Wolves in a way that prevents the shooting unit’s ability to Unleash Hell, and her command ability allows a Dire Wolves unit to pile in from 6″ away.

Here is an example of another top-tier Vyrkos list:

Spoiler

Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords
- Lineage: Vyrkos Dynasty
- Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
- Triumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Vampire Lord (140) in Warlord
- General
- Command Trait: Pack Alpha
- Lore of the Vampires: Amethystine Pinions
Vengorian Lord (280)
- Artefact: Sangsyron
- Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Necromancer (125) in Warlord
- Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
- Lore of the Deathmages: Overwhelming Dread
Belladamma Volga, First of the Vyrkos (200) in Warlord
- Lore of the Vampires: Soulpike
Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night (380) in Warlord
- Lore of the Deathmages: Fading Vigour

Battleline
10 x Deathrattle Skeletons (85) in Warlord
30 x Deathrattle Skeletons (255) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Reinforced x 2
40 x Deadwalker Zombies (230) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Reinforced x 1

Units
20 x Grave Guard (280) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Great Wight Blades
- Reinforced x 1

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 4 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 141

However, I don't want you to think that Vyrkos is unquestionably the best lineage. Legion of Night and Kastelai have also been doing well. I see at least three tournament viable archetypes, personally:

  • Vyrkos or Legion of Night goodstuff (leans hordey)
  • Kastelai Blood Knight spam
  • Nagash
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12 minutes ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

Soulblight are for sure not underperforming competitively according to the recent metawatch article.

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2021/09/10/metawatch-which-warhammer-age-of-sigmar-armies-contested-the-top-tables-at-the-warhammer-open/

They are firmly one of the top factions right now.

There is tournament-winning Vyrkos list and a write up of how it plays in that article, too:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

AoSMetawatch Sep10 ArmyList1

Cody’s list relies on solid Battleline choices in the Deadwalker Zombies and Dire Wolves. He complements them with a core of powerful Heroes and the massive high-Rend combat threat of Prince Vhordrai (paired with the free use of the Coven Throne’s command ability to improve his resilience thanks to the Vyrkos’ Pack Alpha command trait).

The Battleline choices are great for seizing mid-board objectives, and with the army’s resurrection abilities, five Heroes, and multiple power centres, at least one unit is likely to be alive (well, sort of alive, anyway) at the end of the game to achieve the Hold the Line grand strategy.

Cody used Radukar aggressively, throwing him forward with the protection of his summoned Dire Wolves for screening. Radukar works well in tandem with Vhordrai because:

  • Vhordrai’s command ability can allow Radukar to fight in the hero phase and potentially escape being bogged down in an undesirable combat
  • Radukar’s command ability can give Vhordrai extra Attacks if wholly within 18″ after Radukar charges

The Vyrkos subfaction abilities give some support to Belladamma’s casting bonuses, allowing the army to compete with more magically dominant forces. Belladamma’s spell works well against shooting armies as it allows you to set up Dire Wolves in a way that prevents the shooting unit’s ability to Unleash Hell, and her command ability allows a Dire Wolves unit to pile in from 6″ away.

Here is an example of another top-tier Vyrkos list:

  Reveal hidden contents

Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords
- Lineage: Vyrkos Dynasty
- Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
- Triumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Vampire Lord (140) in Warlord
- General
- Command Trait: Pack Alpha
- Lore of the Vampires: Amethystine Pinions
Vengorian Lord (280)
- Artefact: Sangsyron
- Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Necromancer (125) in Warlord
- Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
- Lore of the Deathmages: Overwhelming Dread
Belladamma Volga, First of the Vyrkos (200) in Warlord
- Lore of the Vampires: Soulpike
Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night (380) in Warlord
- Lore of the Deathmages: Fading Vigour

Battleline
10 x Deathrattle Skeletons (85) in Warlord
30 x Deathrattle Skeletons (255) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Reinforced x 2
40 x Deadwalker Zombies (230) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Reinforced x 1

Units
20 x Grave Guard (280) in Hunters of the Heartlands
- Great Wight Blades
- Reinforced x 1

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 4 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 141

However, I don't want you to think that Vyrkos is unquestionably the best lineage. Legion of Night and Kastelai have also been doing well. I see at least three tournament viable archetypes, personally:

  • Vyrkos or Legion of Night goodstuff (leans hordey)
  • Kastelai Blood Knight spam
  • Nagash

Yeah, I wanna demostrate that this faction is one of the best right now, but seems that words aren't enough for my dude 😁
So, let the studies begins, I dunno near anything of this tome. Thank you very much! 

ps: I will be the second match for my friend, the first will be against 24x Ironguts list done by another veteran player, that partecipate to my experiment 🤣

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2 minutes ago, Holy_Diver said:

Yeah, I wanna demostrate that this faction is one of the best right now, but seems that words aren't enough for my dude 😁
So, let the studies begins, I dunno near anything of this tome. Thank you very much! 

ps: I will be the second match for my friend, the first will be against 24x Ironguts list done by another veteran player, that partecipate to my experiment 🤣

I'll throw out some basic pointers in that case:

All basic Soulblight battleline are good, and they all play different roles.

Zombies are excellent bodies/wounds for their points and surprisingly mobile with their 6" pile-in (allows them to run and still get into combat). They can be punchy, as well, if you buff them with extra attacks.

Direwolves are fast screens that can take a punch, but their offense is not great. They synergize with Belladamma Volga.

Skeletons are the defensive option. They resurrect about half of their casualties after fighting. The Necromancer's warscroll spell lets them fight twice, for double resurrection.

The Necromancer frequently wants to take an Arcane Tome, so that they can attempt both their warscroll spell and a lore spell (usually Overwhelming Dread for the low casting value).

The Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon is a very solid hero-monster. He can make good use of the Amulet of Destiny and becomes hard to kill with it.

Belladamma Volga is frequently included in competitive lists even outside of Vyrkos because she's a 200 point 2 cast wizard that offers a lot of anti-shooting tech.

Similarly, Mannfred von Carstein often goes into lists that are not Legion of Night. He offers the ability to teleport of out combats he does not want to engage in (even if he gets charged), which is probably the dirtiest trick in Soulblight Gravelords.

Blood Knights are just allround good, but their defense is better than their offense. Kastelai offers the most payoffs for running Blood Knights, but they can go into any list.

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8 minutes ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

Skeletons are the defensive option. They resurrect about half of their casualties after fighting. The Necromancer's warscroll spell lets them fight twice, for double resurrection.

Damn! I never saw that in my matches...that's cool! Any death player in my community regards on doing damage, but the game is all about objectives. So remove units from play isn't an universal winning tacitc.

I really like grave guards, cause reminds me Marauders (Yep, I'm a chaos/destro player). If packed in 20, they can hurt so bad: 3 attacks d2 each and double pile in when dancing 😅

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42 minutes ago, Holy_Diver said:

I really like grave guards, cause reminds me Marauders (Yep, I'm a chaos/destro player). If packed in 20, they can hurt so bad: 3 attacks d2 each and double pile in when dancing 😅

Grave Guard are really good, but hard to use because of their low mobility. Personally, I also think it's easy to over-buff them. Here are the calculations for 10 Grave Guard (you might well be running 20 and would have a good chance of getting them all into combat with their small bases) with +1 attack and +1 to wound from Vyrkos allegiance (so, with support from a Vampire Lord or Radukar the Beast):

Save    Grave Guard
2+ 12.63
3+ 17.22
4+ 21.81
5+ 26.41
6+ 31
- 31

You really get into the territory where you have to ask your self: What am I trying to kill where I need to also need them to pile in twice on top of this? Each Grave Guard already kills two enemy models on a 4+ on average.

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14 minutes ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

Grave Guard are really good, but hard to use because of their low mobility. Personally, I also think it's easy to over-buff them. Here are the calculations for 10 Grave Guard (you might well be running 20 and would have a good chance of getting them all into combat with their small bases) with +1 attack and +1 to wound from Vyrkos allegiance (so, with support from a Vampire Lord or Radukar the Beast):

Save    Grave Guard
2+ 12.63
3+ 17.22
4+ 21.81
5+ 26.41
6+ 31
- 31

You really get into the territory where you have to ask your self: What am I trying to kill where I need to also need them to pile in twice on top of this? Each Grave Guard already kills two enemy models on a 4+ on average.

Well I think they are the second line of an army, ready to counter charge some nasty units. They can also benefits from Belladamma spell, to explode 6s! 20 of them with all the buffs activeted can kill Gotrek?

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How I've used Grave Guard in my Kastelai list is usually to be the second wave to wipe something out. Generally I have one flank with a couple units of Blood Knights supported by a Vengorian Lord with Rousing Commander and Fragment of the Keep. Reducing the rend by 1 and -1 To Wound (Fragment of the Keep) makes that force extremely tanky. The other flank is Prince Vhordrai and a unit of dogs to screen. Those things are fast and tanky, so I can get into the enemy fast and tie them up (doing decent damage too). Meanwhile the Grave Guard march up and mop up whatever is needed. But yes, GG are slow and will need something to screen for them or tie up the enemy until you get in range. However once they get in combat they will absolutely shred what they touch, especially if they have any sort of buff (for me Belladamma).

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18 hours ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

Grave Guard are really good, but hard to use because of their low mobility.

Might be a thing to summon from the gravesite…

if you play against him, consider all the nice debuffs we have, maybe a mortarch (Neffi -1 to hit or Manni coward-teleport) and two necromancers  (decrepify/ fading vigor) also vile transference 

But if your buddy has started playing SoB and likes it, not much you can do about it.

I don’t mean that disrespectful, but that is something you can do after the second beer 😇 three Megas and three crushers trample forward aaaand done. No aura buffs, no blocking and screening, just charge forward and watch your opponent struggle… 

and once he‘s all in for that type of helterskelter play, going back to deep thought positioning, spell roll hopes and target priority charge anxiety… 🤣👍

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7 hours ago, Honk said:

But if your buddy has started playing SoB and likes it, not much you can do about it.

I don’t mean that disrespectful, but that is something you can do after the second beer 😇 three Megas and three crushers trample forward aaaand done. No aura buffs, no blocking and screening, just charge forward and watch your opponent struggle… 

and once he‘s all in for that type of helterskelter play, going back to deep thought positioning, spell roll hopes and target priority charge anxiety… 🤣👍

The mission is mainly made to prevent that, not cure 😁 but I agree anyway.
One question about a beatstick general in Vyrkos: what's the difference between vengorian and VLOZD? 

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1 hour ago, Holy_Diver said:
One question about a beatstick general in Vyrkos: what's the difference between vengorian and VLOZD? 

IMO : the VloZd kills with a charge, while the Vengorian grinds…

the one gets extra rend the other ignores rend 🤷🏿‍♀️

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2 hours ago, Holy_Diver said:

The mission is mainly made to prevent that,

If all fails, FEC won a big tournament with a mega as merc… 🤔

Knights and wolves (or shambling masses) and in the middle big Bob

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Just played my second game with my current list (fourth overall in 3.0 with SG, so not a lot of experience), and I have managed to win both games pretty solidly. First game was against old Ironjawz, and this second game was against new Stormcast. My opponent made lists from models he likes, not necessarily especially competitive lists, so take my performance/commentary with a grain of salt (though he is competitive at the table, just less so during list building).

But! Still pretty happy with myself, since they were very solid wins. Absolute stars of the show are the 30x1 GG w/shields and the 2x5 Blood Knights. The Blood Knights are incredibly durable and do enough damage in return to not be ignorable. The shields on the GG help a lot with negating rend and keeping them at a 4+ save with AAD/Mystic Shield, and with 30 of them, they're absolute blenders in return.

Elsewhere in the list, the zombies are great sticking in the grave and threatening their backline with. Also ended up being helpful in the Stormcast game to help deal with an enemy unit that was teleported behind me. The skeletons are hilariously absorbent of damage. The Necromancer is obviously a great support caster. Neferata is also amazing support, and holds up reasonably well in combat with her d6 Hunger heal. And unfortunately, the Lifeswarm has been entirely useless so far; cast it too far back to be useful in one game and failed to cast it twice in the second game. Not the spell's fault, but it has made me a little sad, haha.

As for the Wight King, I've debated just putting it on foot and giving the tome to the Necromancer, but I'm undecided on that right now. Haven't gone against any significant shooting to threaten it yet, so it hasn't really been punished for me and has been providing at least some value by keeping up with the Blood Knights. Having a Mystic Shield for them has been handy.

All in all, I'm sure my list could be more competitive, but it's been doing well for me so far.

Spoiler
Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords
- Lineage: Legion of Blood
- Mortal Realm: Ghur
- Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
- Triumphs:

Leaders
Necromancer (125)**
- Lore of the Deathmages: Fading Vigour
Neferata, Mortarch of Blood (365)*
- Lore of the Deathmages: Overwhelming Dread
Vampire Lord (140)**
- Artefact: Soulbound Garments
- Lore of the Vampires: Amethystine Pinions
Wight King on Skeletal Steed (130)**
- General
- Command Trait: Soul-crushing Contempt
- Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
- Universal Spell Lore: Ghost-mist

Battleline
20 x Deadwalker Zombies (115)*
30 x Deathrattle Skeletons (255)*
- Reinforced x 2
30 x Grave Guard (420)*
- Wight Blades & Crypt Shields
- Reinforced x 2

Units
5 x Blood Knights (195)*
5 x Blood Knights (195)*

Endless Spells & Invocations
Emerald Lifeswarm (60)

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment
**Command Entourage - Magnificent

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 2000 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 4 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 139
Drops: 4

 

Edited by Leshoyadut
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3 hours ago, Leshoyadut said:

As for the Wight King, I've debated just putting it on foot and giving the tome to the Necromancer, but I'm undecided on that right now. Haven't gone against any significant shooting to threaten it yet, so it hasn't really been punished for me and has been providing at least some value by keeping up with the Blood Knights. Having a Mystic Shield for them has been handy.

I am also a fan of the Wight King on horse firstly because he is a gorgeous model, but also because he unlocks GG as a battleline, which means I can always go with one Skelli block, one Zombie block and a GG block as my battleline, which worked out pretty fine for me so far.

 

Another question I have is concerning the GL-list in the Metawatch article over at WarCom: Can anybody tell me, what the Coven Throne is used for? It doesn't look to pump out insane dmg and seems to be (in my eyes) a pretty expensive buff piece for what it brings to the table, or am I missing something here?

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2 hours ago, Craze said:

I am also a fan of the Wight King on horse firstly because he is a gorgeous model, but also because he unlocks GG as a battleline, which means I can always go with one Skelli block, one Zombie block and a GG block as my battleline, which worked out pretty fine for me so far.

Whenever I think about using a Wight King general to get battleline Grave Guard, I remember that a Wight King is more expensive than a unit of 20 zombies, which will also be enough to fill battleline in most cases. Although I think spamming minimum-size units of Grave Guard might actually be good, so maybe that's a build to try out.

2 hours ago, Craze said:

Another question I have is concerning the GL-list in the Metawatch article over at WarCom: Can anybody tell me, what the Coven Throne is used for? It doesn't look to pump out insane dmg and seems to be (in my eyes) a pretty expensive buff piece for what it brings to the table, or am I missing something here?

The Coven Throne is mostly good for its command ability (+1 to hit, wound and save), which is pretty much as good as command abilities get. It's also decently fast and has a big base, which is good for a buff wagon. The problem is just how expensive it is. You really have to make that buff do work if you bring a throne.

To a lesser extent, the Coven Throne warscroll spell is pretty good. It helps keep the Coven Throne save and makes it possible to use the Throne to screen off other units.

The coven throne does pretty well in Vyrkos, where you get reroll cast and free command points (Pack Alpha). I could also see it in Legion of Blood, where it can take Soulbound Garments.

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I have recently been thinking about my general tendency to just slap a support Necromancer into all my lists. I have really been kinda unsatisfied with them ever since we got the new tome, but what specifically prompted me to rethink my attitude towards Necromancers was realizing how bad a single-cast wizard with no spell casting bonus really is.

I think many of us will have looked at the chance to successfully cast a spell before, since it's pretty easy math (and the same math is used for charges, too):

Casting Value Odds to succeed
12 0,03
11 0,08
10 0,17
9 0,28
8 0,42
7 0,58
6 0,72
5 0,83
4 0,92
3 0,97
2 1

I always looked at this with regard to the Necromancer and thought: Sure, it would be nice to get a +1 cast, but I will mostly be casting Vanhel's Danse Macabre at CV6, so I would end up with a 83% chance of success instead of 72%. That's a bit better, but not enough to make or break the Necromancer either way.

However, I have only recently started to fully realize that bonuses to cast don't just affect your chance of getting a cast off, but also your opponent's chance of unbinding. What's interesting here is that you get to double-dip in a way: You are more likely to beat the CV of your spell, and your opponent will on average be less likely to beat your roll. Here are the odds:

Casting Value Odds to succeed Odds to succeed against unbinds Odds against unbind (+1 to cast)
12 0,03 0,03 0,08
11 0,08 0,08 0,17
10 0,17 0,16 0,27
9 0,28 0,25 0,4
8 0,42 0,35 0,54
7 0,58 0,45 0,64
6 0,72 0,51 0,71
5 0,83 0,54 0,74
4 0,92 0,55 0,76
3 0,97 0,56 0,76
2 1 0,56 0,76

As you can see, even for a CV6 spell, the odds jump pretty significantly: From 51% to 71%. 20% absolute percentage points more (as opposed to 11% as I initially thought). We can also see that casting a CV6 spell through an unbind is basically a coin flip. For the Necromancer, I think that's a seriously bad look. I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of bringing a 135 point support unit that only has a 50% chance of doing the thing that I want out of it.

---

So what are the alternatives to the Necromancer?

Here are my thoughts:

The Necromancer, but properly kitted out

Maybe just the regular Necromancer is not worth it, but you can always give him an Arcane Tome and a Corpse Cart for support. Overall, that sets you back an additional 80 points for a total of 215, but you get way better casts and a chance to use the Deathmages spell lore out of it (probably Overwhelming Dread).

I think this option is good in theory, but I find it hard to fit in practice. My list has the Necromancer as a support unit for a Skeleton block. I also have a few points to spare on utility units, so there is enough room for a Necromancer+Corpse Cart. But there is also enough room to just leave the Necromancer at home and add another block of 30 Skeletons. And it just seems like even at 2 casts, +1 to cast the Necromancer will have a hard time competing with literally doubling the amount of skeletons I bring.

The question for me is becomes: How much do I value Vanhel's? And I kinda find that I don't value the spell that much. On Skeletons, it seems like just bringing extra skeletons might be the better point investment. On Zombies, +1 attack has the same effect and is much easier to come by. On Grave Guard, fight twice often seems like overkill, they do well enought with +1 attack, hit or wound (or a combination of those), and those are, again, much easier to come by.

The Vampire Lord

The Vampire Lord is fairly similar to the Necromancer, in so far as they are both single-cast wizards without a bonus. But the Vampire Lord is way sturdier, can fly, is faster, and has a good command ability (+1 attacks). If you are in Vyrkos, he also gets to reroll cast. Now, he has no access to the Deathmages lore, but you can still cast Mystic Shield, Invigorating Aura or one of the Vampire spells with him (fishing for double casts, potentially). Plus, depending on your opponent, there is the whole attack stacking thing. 140 points, so slightly more expensive.

Gorslav

Gorslav is just 75 points, but he can do some cool stuff. Resurrecting a unit of Direwolves or Deadwalker Zombies for a command point is just all-around good. Since he's so cheap, you might be able to bring another utility piece (Fell Bats, an endless spell) or reinforce a unit on top of bringing him.

---

I personally think I will be doing some trial runs. I really feel like just bringing a Necromancer with no cast bonus is not worth it anymore. Vanhel's looks good, as does the Deathmages lore, but in the end there are fewer good targets for Vanhel's than it seems and getting the spell off is a coin flip a lot of the time.

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Can you also calculate the average wounds/mortal wounds required to kill each one please?

My main gripe with the Vampire Lord is he is 5 wounds without a bodyguard save, which means most armies with decent shooting can just take him off the board from the get go without breaking stride.

The Necromancer (and Gorslav) at least make the opponent consider whether shooting them is going to be worth it, but it would be good to see exactly how much needs to be dedicated to each one, on average, to take them down.

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15 minutes ago, Liquidsteel said:

Can you also calculate the average wounds/mortal wounds required to kill each one please?

My main gripe with the Vampire Lord is he is 5 wounds without a bodyguard save, which means most armies with decent shooting can just take him off the board from the get go without breaking stride.

The Necromancer (and Gorslav) at least make the opponent consider whether shooting them is going to be worth it, but it would be good to see exactly how much needs to be dedicated to each one, on average, to take them down.

In terms of mortals:

The Necromancer is 5 wounds with a 3+ bodyguard. So 15 mortal wounds need to make it through to put him down on average.

Gorslav is in a similar position, sitting at 7 wounds and a 4+ bodyguard, for 14 mortal wounds.

The Vampire Lord only gets 5 wounds and just the Deathless minions save, for a total of 6 mortal wounds until death.

 

In terms of damage in general:

The Necromancer has a 6+ save in addition to his bodyguard save, which puts him on a 6+/3++. That's an effective 18 wounds, 22.5 with +1 to saves.

Gorslav achieves a 6+/4++, for a total of 16.8 wounds, 21 at +1 saves.

The Vampire Lord gets to 3+/6+, which is 18 wounds or 36 at +1 saves.

 

If you give the Vampire Lord the Amulet, he goes to 7,5/22,5/45 (mortals/no-rend damage/+1 saves). The other two guys can't benefit from the Amulet, since wards don't stack/Gorslav can't take an artefact. All three also get Look Out, Sir!, but I have not factored that in.

 

My takeaway from this:

The Vampire Lord is a good deal less sturdy against mortals, but about the same as the other two against shooting (possibly more sturdy against regular damage in general if you give him +1 to saves).

Also, another option to consider: Belladamma is a very reliable support caster (2 casts, +1 to cast, possibly rerolling) who gets 9 wounds (so gets Look Out, Sir!), a 4+ save and a 3+ bodyguard, making her sturdier than any of the other options. I would put her in a list before considering any of the other three.

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Here's another thing to consider as a replacement for a Necromancer:

Two Corpse Carts with Balefire Brazier. -1 to wound in melee within 9" and -1 to cast within 18" from two sources on chariot bases is probably a better defensive boost than anything from the Lore of Deathmages and you don't even have to cast anything.

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