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swarmofseals last won the day on July 3 2020

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Lord Celestant

Lord Celestant (9/10)



  1. I've been trying to explore a lot of different Soulblight variations, so far focusing on Nagash and zombie apocalypse lists. Most people seem to be pushing character heavy lists, but I'd like to propose a different direction focusing on maximizing efficiency. To begin, I'd like to illustrate the efficiency gap between Blood Knights and the Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon. Math ahead: Despite being cheaper, the Blood Knights vastly outperform in every category the minimum damage difference is +60% vs. vanilla VLoZD and +22% vs. Sangsyron. The maximum difference is +166% vs. vanilla and +110% vs. vanilla. Defensively, the Blood Knights have +123% more weighted effective wounds with Deathless Minions and +79% more without. Of course, the VLoZD does have advantages: it's faster until it takes quite a bit of damage, can heal and perform heroic actions, shoot a little, and is a monster. But that gets counterbalanced some against the Blood Knights being able to "retreat" and charge and sprinkle mortal wounds in the process. The Blood Knights also scale equal better off of nearly every buff. +1 Damage to rider weapons and +1 Attack all scale the Blood Knights better than the VLoZD. Bonuses to hit and would and exploding 6's are roughly equivalent. The VLoZD clearly has better activation efficiency, but I'm not sure that this is as much of a benefit in 3.0 as it was in 2.0. I know people are still in the mindset of "hit as hard as possible with one thing, charging with more just gives your opponent the opportunity to swing back," but I think people haven't fully absorbed how the new command abilities change the dynamic. If you charge one enemy unit, your opponent gets to use all-out defense to significantly soften the blow. If you charge multiple enemy units, your opponent has to pick where to use AOD, and the thing they don't pick is going to get hit a lot harder. So now it's a lot more attractive to charge multiple targets, particularly if you can charge with at least one more unit than your opponent has in combat. If you charge 3 into your opponent's 2, your opponent can soften the blow on one thing and then you use AOD on whatever they choose to strike first on, thus allowing you to get two activations against a soft target to your opponent's 1 (and that 1 being with a damaged unit at that). Hitting multiple targets also carries the benefit of pressuring battleshock, which is a real thing in 3.0. So in the end I see lists running one or more dragons and can't help but wonder if they wouldn't be better off running more and more Blood Knights instead. So what heroes might a Blood Knights focused list want to run? None of the options are at all competitive with BKs for actual combat efficiency, but how much value do buffs add? Let's explore it (more math!): Units that can buff BK's include: Belladamma, Radukar, Mannfred, Vengorian Lord, Coven Throne, any non unique hero (Rousing Commander, Sword of the Red Seneschals, Unholy Impetus) Of the non-unique heroes, I don't think it's worth considering the regular Vampire Lord as it's so easy to snipe. The Vengorian Lord, Coven Throne, and VLoZD are worth considering as they can all keep up with Blood Knights relatively well. A Necromancer is also worth considering because it's cheap and might have additional usefulness, but one must keep in mind that keeping in buff range will be MUCH harder. Lets look at a ton more math on these options. What I'm going to try to do here is calculate the total combat value provided by different options between their innate combat ability and the value of the buffs they provide. A few conclusions from this: Both versions of Radukar are good bets to be offensively "profitable" at least the turn they charge. As long as you're buffing two units of Blood Knights with the command ability (which should be easy given the 18" radius), you're getting more WOR than you would if you had invested the points in more BK alone. Furthermore, these options aren't actually bad on defense either. Radukar the Beast + his wolves has a defensive efficiency of .16 (albeit at the cost of a CP), and Radukar the Wolf with 2 Nightguard has a defensive efficiency of .118. Blood Knights have a defensive efficiency of .207, so you're giving up some defense but less than in comparison to most heroes. Mannfred is pretty easy to make profitable as well. If he can buff two targets (which isn't trivial but should be doable pretty often) he'll exceed the WOR value of pure BK. He also has the benefit of being a 2 wizard and a monster hero along with superlative mobility. His defensive profile is a bit hard to pin down due to uncertainty around how many woulds his armor will negate. At minimum he's just below half efficiency compared to BK, but at just 3-4 wounds negated he starts pulling even with Radukar the Wolf. The Vengorian Lord can plausibly break even or exceed on WOR but it's not easy. With Rousing Commander plus either his spell going off or Sword of the Red Seneschals, all hitting two targets he's solidly in the black. But with RC being a once per game thing he's going to have a tough time breaking even most of the time. Defensively he's OK, particularly in melee, and he has the benefit of being a monster hero. The Coven Throne lags pretty far behind except when using Rousing Commander, which when combined with the command ability gives us an easy total WOR of .154 with something getting +1 save in addition. But again, that's once a game. It's not going to be easy to make Sword of the Red Seneschals work here at all, so Fragment of the Keep is a more likely artefact choice. I could see this as an option that is more oriented toward providing defense with a splash of offense. That +1 save is worth a bit under half a unit of Blood Knights in defensive efficiency, assuming the enemy actually attacks the buffed unit. The VLoZD does just a hair better than breaking even with both Rousing Commander and SoRS buffing two targets, so I don't think this one is going to get there based on efficiency, especially given that it is far behind on defensive efficiency. If you can actually manage to buff two things with Rousing Commander on a Necromancer you're getting well ahead that turn, but it's going to have a hard time using an artefact effectively except for possibly the Grave-sand Shard. Belladamma isn't going to get there on offense, so if you take her you are doing it for her magic prowess. That said, I'm not really sold on Belladamma in this kind of list. She's very helpful against shooting, but I don't think shooting armies are going to be particularly problematic for a list that is just spamming bodies that are efficient on both offense and defense and are reasonably fast. Furthermore, to make her reliable as a caster requires significant extra investment. Overall, I think the two heroes that are clearly at the top of the pile are Mannfred and Radukar (either version). The Vengorian Lord and Coven Throne could both work but are pretty marginal and clearly behind the two unique heroes. The VLoZD is substantially worse, and I don't think Beladamma makes much sense for the reasons mentioned above. The Necromancer is a bit of a wild card. So that leads me to the question: could it really be optimal to just forego a command trait and artefact? I really think it might, depending on the list. Mannfred and Radukar both are just better than what the trait and artefact provide on any hero for this kind of list, so it only makes sense to dip to a non-unique hero if you're already taking Mannfred and Radukar. I suppose a hero package of Mannfred, Radukar the Wolf and a Vengorian Lord (810 points or 905 if you take nightguard) could make some sense, but that's really more points than I'd want to be spending on heroes. Mannfred and Radukar the Beast is a more palatable 695, or wolf at 530/625 depending on nightguard. As far as subfactions go, I think it's pretty clearly between Kastelai and Legion of Night. I get that Vyrkos can build a very strong VLoZD with Hunter's Snare and either amulet or Sangsyron, but I wonder if that is a trap. Kastelai has the benefits of an easier grand strategy, better performance on battleplans that care about battleline units for scoring, and the uncertain value of Might of the Crimson Keep. I think figuring out how useful that last one is will take a lot of test games. Legion of Night has the benefits of redundant generals and an easier path to actually resolving spells through a Necromancer carrying Morbheg's Claw. But you'll need three battleline units that aren't Blood Knights (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as having some blocks of zombies could be useful for counterbalancing the otherwise low model count for objectives. Here's a few lists: Basic Kastelai Kastelai with bats + zombies Go Wide The first list is just crazy raw efficiency. The damage potential is very high and the effective wound count is insane, but the body count is relatively low. The second list is like the first list but compromises effective wounds slightly for more bodies. The third list has significantly fewer effective wounds but a ton more bodies and it can also potentially be Legion of Night to leverage Mannfred and a Necromancer into legitimate casting threats with Morbheg's claw. The gain in defensive efficiency from Mystic Shield, Overwhelming Dread and/or Fading Vigor could easily offset the loss of effective wounds. Mannfred, Radukar and the Necromancer all are crazy good at scaling the zombies up if the opponent focuses too hard on the Blood Knights. Perhaps more later.
  2. Vyrkos artefact that gives +d3 attacks on the charge. It's probably the most common offensive artefact choice for the VLoZD.
  3. @TechnoVampire If using no melee boosting artefacts or spells, the lance adds 4.12 weighted damage contribution over the sword on the charge, while the sword adds 1.18 weighted damage contribution over the lance when not charging. So as long as you are charging one activation out of four you're still ahead with the lance. With Sangsyron the numbers increase to 7.66 for the lance when charging but stay at 1.18 for the sword when not charging, so with Sangsyron you are still coming out ahead as long as you are charging at least one activation out of seven.
  4. @TechnoVampire Personally I've found that hero phase fight activations are very difficult to rely on. You basically have to have already gone through at least one and sometimes two rounds of melee with something before you get to activate in the hero phase. Either you charge in your turn, the enemy survives, and then you get the double turn, or your opponent charges you during their turn, both your hero and their unit survive and you get the next turn. Any other scenario requires two full rounds of melee before you get to your hero phase.
  5. A fair point re: Nagash. My logic running so many zombies is that the main weakness of god type lists are the lack of bodies, and Zombies+Nagash are a great way to have a dominating model on the table while still having a numbers advantage against your opponents for the objective game. Zombies do benefit from the reroll to hit quite a bit, although your point re: saves is fair. I think they benefit more from battleshock immunity than the other units you mentioned except possibly skeletons. That said they do still die very quickly, so I could definitely see the benefit of bringing in some skeletons. The problems that I see with this are twofold. For one, the points are very tight, so switching to skeletons would mean taking 20 zombies, 10 skellies, and 30 skellies instead of 20/20/40 zombies, thus losing 20 bodies. Secondly, Radukar doesn't work nearly as well with skeletons. Skellies are completely pillowfisted even when buffed to two attacks, whereas Zombies can actually start to become a threat with two attacks (.086 offensive efficiency for skellies with 2 attacks vs .145 for zombies). Dropping Radukar could solve the points problem, but it leaves the list a lot less pointy. I could see an argument for dropping Radukar and 40 zombies and replacing them with 30 skeletons and 20 grave guard. Now you're maintaining parity on bodies (losing only 1 when factoring in the summoned dire wolves). Total weighted offense of the Radukar package is 38.49 when not charging and 66.54 when charging. Total weighted offense of the bones package is 56.74. Total weighted defense of the Radukar package is 113.7. Total weighted defense of the bones package is 76.5. This math does not factor in the additional CP cost inherent in the Radukar package or the CP cost when charging (or the possibility of units outside the package benefiting from Radukar's CA). It also doesn't factor in any new zombies or skeletons returned, which is a factor that pretty significantly benefits the bones package in many matchups. Overall I think both versions merit testing. ____________________________ As far as your zombie list goes I ran something somewhat similar. I didn't run the VLoZD or Grave Guard and instead ran lil Radukar, Torgilius, 2 nightguard, 5 Blood Knights and 140 total Zombies (3x40 and 1x20). I only have one game in with that list though, but it was a solid win against Lumineth with Teclis, 40 sentinels and 40 wardens. I think some flavor of Radukar is really key in any Zombie list as he scales them so, so well.
  6. The same thing every other list does: keep it away from your critical stuff and try to kill everything else/win on objectives. I don't know that there is any army out there that can reliably kill Archaon if the Archaon player is careful. Just try to minimize his damage by zoning him out, retreating during your turn if he is engaged etc. I've been getting in some reps with Nagash and enjoying it a lot. So far I have used two builds: Build 1: Build 2: I found that you're 100% correct about the Necromancer in Vyrkos. Vanhels very rarely resolved. I also even ran into some issues with Nagash against heavy anti-magic like Seraphon. If he gets bracketed down to +2 or even +1 to cast it's very hard for him to recover, and this really limits your tactical flexibility. With the Vyrkos build I was typically swimming in CP and rarely if ever ran out. I've only gotten one game in with the second list so far but when going first in a battle round it was definitely a bit constraining (particularly the first round where you want to use Nagash's CA and Radukar's summon. The Legion of Night version gives you a MUCH better chance of resolving Vanhels and can even help Nagash out against heavy anti magic/bracketing. I hate losing Pack Alpha, but I think it might be worth it. Just cobbled together a solid victory against Idoneth in which I miscast on Nagash on his second spell on turn 1 and then got double turned 1->2 XD. Overall I'm not super sold on Belladamma in a Nagash list. I'm just not afraid of shooting against Nagash except a Lumineth list that is bringing a lot of sentinels, and Belladamma doesn't help so much against that given the 4+ spell ignore and 5+ ward. Most shooting is rend 1 at best, which is easy to negate with All out Defense. You can even ignore rend 2 once per game with Finest Hour. Even a double volley from Morathi Stalkers is only 5 mortal wounds on average. Very easy to heal through.
  7. I've added data from a big 74 person tournament on TTS that is scheduled to start soon. There are a lot of recognizable names playing, both from the international tournament scene as well as TTS regulars. I'd say this is probably the most competitive of the tournaments that I've compiled for this thread. Overall the metagame is shaping up and some emerging themes are clear: Monster mash lists are very popular. You should be prepared to face things like Sons of Behemat with 3-4 megas, Ogor Mawtribes with multiple stonehorns, Soulblight double dragon or dragon/mortarch, and Seraphon Thunder Lizard lists. You'll also occasionally face Nagash or Archaon. Shooting lists are not as prevalent as many have feared. There are some KO lists and Cities lists with a fair amount of shooting, but perhaps the most common shooty build is DoK's Morathi + 15 Blood Stalkers. Lumineth also tends to feature a fair amount of shooting, either from sentinels, wind spirits or both. Seraphon is the most played faction thus far, but the faction is shaping up very differently from the past. While there are a few lists that are more skink focused, many if not most lists aren't even running Kroak. The most common lists involve a Slann Starmaster and a nice array of monsters. It's one of the few factions that is throwing a lot of monsters that aren't super tough.
  8. Statistically they are pretty average on offense and a little above average on defense for their cost (not counting their ability to add new models). They scale extremely well with bonus attacks though, so support from Mannfred, a Vampire Lord, or Radukar turns them into legit killers for their cost (and if you get Vanhels that's a multiplicative bonus). They also deal mortal wounds which nicely complements other hammers which mostly deal rend 1. Their profile is perfectly suited to dealing with enemies that are heavily armored and deal rendy or mortal damage. Against such targets they will be very efficient. Others have already mentioned the gravesite and pile-in shenanigans. They are also really good in a Nagash list which lets you ignore battleshock and helps counterbalance the lack of numbers. I had two blocks of 40 tie down and eventually destroy Teclis and a block of 20 Vanari Auralan Wardens. ________________________ @Kaizennus it'd be helpful to know a bit more about what your opponents are running too. There can be a pretty big variation in Hallowheart lists, and 40 sentinel Zaitrec lists are a very different animal from 20 sentinel lists etc. I assume Zaitrec is running Teclis?
  9. I can't speak to others, but for me there are a couple of factors that make me like Bretonnians in addition to some of the things already mentioned upthread. They are one of the few armies where you can really paint each model in a very different way and still have it look great. There are also some really awesome sculpts. The Green Knight is a timeless classic, and the 6th edition Questing Knights are so full of character. They have a nostalgia factor. I first thought that my introduction to the hobby was through the free model that I got with my copy of the Dark Omen PC game, but then I realized I had already been primed by HeroQuest and Battlemasters (not realizing those were GW games at the time). And then I realized that this too isn't quite right. When I was young kid I loved collecting those little pre-painted plastic knights that had small grey weapons that you could pop in and out of their hands. I would make mock battles with them and such, of course. So if I'm truly honest, those classic figs were my origin in the hobby, and Bretonnians have that similar feel to them.
  10. @KingBrodd seriously congrats! But given that this is the rumor thread shouldn't you have PM'ed the news to @Whitefang and let him leak it? 😆
  11. Based on a lot of experience playing against Lumineth in general (including a little vs Lumineth with Soulblight in 3.0) I don't think this is true. There are certain builds of Lumineth that will be good against certain builds of Soulblight, I totally agree with that, but I don't think it's a bad matchup in general. In the scenario you describe the other guy almost certainly isn't running Teclis, which means you have a much better chance of shutting down his magic, and if you cast spellportal first he won't be able to dispel it and then recast it during his turn. One thing to consider about Lumineth (particularly Teclis lists) is that they struggle with battle tactics more than most factions. That can make a huge difference in many battleplans. Teclis lists are also awkward in that they really need to castle around Teclis to maintain their ward save, spell shrug and casting bonus. It can often be difficult for them to bring all of their ranged firepower to bear on a single target while also staying in range of Teclis. This is particularly true of you play with a decent amount of scenery (not because of LOS blocking but because it gets in the way of movement). Less hero heavy builds can really pose problems for Lumineth (particularly Teclis lists). I don't think you necessarily need to flood the board with chaff though. Something like 20-30 Blood Knights is really going to give Lumineth fits, particularly when supported by some cheap fast units like Fell Bats or by Belladamma. If you are playing something like a double dragon list then yeah, I think Lumineth could be a hard matchup.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Yeah, strategies that emphasize troops over heroes. Generally higher model count.
  15. 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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