Took this list to a local 2-day, 5 game competition last weekend and had a lot of fun! I didnt have any other options to run as this was a fully painted and based tournament, and I had about a week to kill myself getting these all ready. Thank goodness Arkhan was painted four years ago.
Round 1 - Three Places of Power - VS Skaventide - Major Loss
Squared off against a really good local player who brought Thanquol and three Verminlords, plus five endless spells. I already had a disadvantage on this one, only having two Heros (heroes are required to score) but I managed to wedge the Immortis and Arkhan square in the middle of the board, where they stayed the rest of the game. It was neck and neck up until turn five, but once he took out my Boneshaper I just didn’t have enough heroes to catch back up. Arkhan survived two Verminlords at once though and earned his weight in tithe.
Round 2 - Scorched Earth - VS Skaventide - Major Loss
Played another local guy on this one who brought Skaventide with a 40 block of plague monks, 6 Stormfiends, a Verminlord Warpseer, and then a bunch of piles of clan rats. This was probably the worst matchup for me the entire tournament due to the insane shooting the Stormfiends put out. With a three drop army I managed to secure all four of my objectives and snag one of his, but after that it was all downhill. It didn’t help that the table we were on only had one piece of terrain on it that would block line of sight, and it was a tiny tower in his territory. Without a way to reroll saves in the shooting phase, he deleted 10 Mortek Guard in his first turn, double turned me, and took out all four Morghasts with the next salvo. At that point I managed to fly over and secure another objective with Arkhan, then burnt both of his for a whopping…2 victory points. Bottom of turn 3, he burnt two of my objectives and rolled boxcars (6 victory points), so that was that as I simply didn’t have the models to take any more objectives, even though he couldn’t unseat me from my back two.
Side note, I really dislike random score battle plans in tournaments, because they have the potential to make the whole game relatively pointless if one person rolls super well on the burns. Every time I play this battle plan I walk away thinking we could have each just rolled 4D3 and whoever rolls higher won the game.
Round 3 - Focal Points - VS Khorne - Major Loss
Nerf Blood Boil right?
This was a really fun, bloody game that unfortunately just came down to a ridiculous amount of swingy Blood Boil rolls. Nothing really tactically interesting here as it all devolved into a big melee pile across most of the board with the sheer amount of Reavers and Blood Warriors on the table. It was a slow grind but by turn 3 I had managed to push him pretty far back. Unfortunately my luck went totally upside down at the bottom of Turn 4, when he rolled two successful Blood Boils at 6 mortal wounds each, plus getting the Axe and Skulls off and slamming them into my Immortis, clearing out all of Arkhan's protection. Got double turned, all his prayers stayed on the table, and he rolled another 12 mortal wounds with the two Blood Boils for a second turn on Arkhan himself. Unfortunately my shrug rolls were nowhere near as blessed and I couldn't crank a single one, and with the big guy gone, I couldn't get enough people on an objective to outnumber him.
Even though this was a loss for me, the sheer amount of models he had to pull off the table every turn made it feel more satisfying. Yes, I know they're Reavers and therefore made of balsa wood and sneers, but it was still a thrill to have 3 Immortis kill 18 people in one shot. Plus he had to dump his Blood Tithe points on the last turn to kill ONE Mortek Hekatos with Greatblade who had managed to survive two turns and was single handedly holding up a Mighty Lord of Khorne and 5 Flesh Hounds. (You don't actually have to have a shield in the unit to use their Shieldwall ability so he was happily hacking away through the dogs before he was finally stopped)
Round 4 - Shifting Objectives - Vs Big Waaagh! - Major Loss
This was the most disheartening of all of my games because I honestly think the only reason I lost was the clock. My opponent was a really nice guy though and I'm fairly sure he wasn't trying to slow-play me, just learning his army on the fly. He was running 15 brutes, 6 gore-gruntas, a bunch of Ardboys, and a Megaboss, Wurrgog Prophet, Megaboss, Warchanter, and Weirdnob. I set up right at my territory line with a wide screen of Mortek and let him go first. Thanks to smart screening and knowing exactly what his plan probably was (our meta is FULL of IJ players now) he couldn’t Hand of Gork anything to my back line, so instead he just pushed the wall forward. 10 Mortek Guard met the charge of the Gore Gruntas, and in my favorite combat of the day, managed to only lose ONE guy while killing a pig in return. Mortek are TOUGH.
My opponent all three objectives through turn 1 and 2, though just barely. He got the double turn on turn three, which is when the TO announced that there was only a half-hour left. Unfortunately, my opponents hero, movement, and shooting phases took up that whole time, as he was very polite about the fact that he had only played this list twice before. The TO allowed us to finish up the combat phase thankfully, which saw me reclaim two of the objectives and contest the third (he held it by one model). However, that meant that he had gained 11 victory points to my 4.
Looking at the board, he had a Megaboss, Wurrgog Prophet, 2 brutes, and I think 12 Savage Orruks when the game was called, whereas I had only lost one unit of Mortek Guard, 2 Morghast, and 2 Immortis (one from each unit). Assuming I didn’t just roll straight 1’s across the board, it as looking like I’d table him entirely as most of his guys were heavily wounded but…the clock ran out.
Round 5 - Knife to the Heart - Vs Cities of Sigmar (Living City) - Major Victory
Finally a win! Although the battle plan helped me more than anything on this one, as my opponent’s list consisted of 7 Steam Tanks, a Knight Azyros, a Celestial Hurricanum, and a Luminark of Hysh. To make it even more wacky, we were clearly on the ‘last place’ table, which had been decorated with American wild west style terrain, some aquarium plants, half of a geode, and several buildings from a Star Wars game. With only 10 models to to my 42, it was pretty obvious how this one was going to go. Being on the last table and in the last game against a friend was a great way to end the tournament though, especially after a sour Round 4. My ‘tactic’ was to leave the Boneshaper and 3 Immortis on my objective and just run everything else up in a giant horde, which worked very well. He had a lot of good shooting but the Morghasts managed to engage four tanks at once, so he had to spend all their shots trying to bring them down while I retreat-ran a group of 8 Mortek Guard onto his objective.
Admittedly, I’m way more of a narrative player than a competitive one, but Bonereapers feel strong while not overpowered. When speaking with each opponent after each game, no one felt like they were too unfair to play against, just that they were new and therefore hard to predict. Of course 4/5 of those people just walked away with a win; I’m guessing if I had tabled everyone the opinion would be quite different.
Although I was somewhat handicapped with the availability of models (there was no way I could build and paint anything more than this in the week before the tournament) I think the list was surprisingly solid, especially at simply being impossible to kill. I have plenty of memories of trying to run Arkhan pre-Legions of Nagash, and boy was it nice to not have him shot off the board in the first turn.
I also managed to end nearly every turn with at least 1-2 Relentless Discipline points left, which was kind of nice. I averaged about 5 a turn and really only spent them to boost movement a few times, and then to give the Mortek Guard a reroll to saves. The Immortis Guard ability to pile in and attack with only their shields never really did any damage, but it did let me reposition them for maximum irritation, so that was nice.
And hey, I won best Death player. Of course, I was the ONLY Death player, but I still got a trophy and store credit...which immediately turned into a Mortek Crawler. Next time I see those Slaughterpriests, they're getting Stele'd.
Bone-tithe Shrieker: Ok so it’s not a unit per se, but it takes the top spot her because of the sheer utility it brings. Adding +1 to hit in that bubble is MASSIVE, especially if you can tag three or four units with it (since it isn’t wholly within, just within). The bravery debut never really came up, but I bet it could work nicely with a Morghast/Horrorgeist build. Plus, the base of the Shrieker is big enough to physically block off a decent sized unit while letting your 2” range swing around it, and since you always get to move it, its a great tactical piece.
Mortek Guard: At one point I had a unit of Mortek Guard with an attack profile of 2/4/-2/1 that rerolled all failed saves and ignored mortal wounds on a 4+, PLUS 5+ to hit did an additional hit. I blender’d a unit of 15 Blood Warriors with one turn of that insanity. Their biggest weakness seems to be the shooting phase, unless I’m just missing a buff somewhere.
Arkhan the Black: Surprise surprise, he’s solid. I’m use to playing him very defensively but with the protection of the Morghast/Immortis, he could plow right into the fray and be totally fine. His healing bubble (24”) is crazy if you can get him near the center of the board and while his command ability didn’t do a lot for my list, I could see a more magic-heavy list really utilizing it. Still never got Curse of Years past 2 wounds though, but the dream is there.