So Blackout is now over and (spoiler alert), I didn't actually get any wins at all - however I would say that I had more fun playing Legion of Grief than either my Khorne or Grand Host armies.
I'll quickly go over my 5 games and then give a summary opinion on what I struggled with and weak points and then things that I learned from my games. I will also add in that I managed to leave my one and only Banshee at home - this wasn't ideal and I think she could have made a massive difference to my games. I also apologise that this is such a long post!
Game One vs Gloomspite - Starstrike, Shyish, Aetherquake Aftershock
First taste of the new Legion and I was far too tentative, the Harridans performed wonderfully against a number of low bravery units, but the sheer amount of command points being generated by my opponent meant that there was Inspiring presence abound!
Game Two vs Nurgle - Battle for the Pass, Realm of Metal, Rust Plague
The effectiveness of the army dropped massively against bravery 10 opponents. I actually only lost this game due to me not paying attention to my back edge and a summoned unit of 20 plaguebearers - quite litterally moving my Mortis Engine back 3" would have given me a draw if not the game. Dice rolling on this game was painfully bad for both of us.
Game Three vs Legion of Blood - Relocation Orb, Hysh, Dazzing Glow
My first "awful matchup", bravery 10 opponent with 4 Behemoths (two zombie dragons, Neferata and a Palaquin). My main units were quickly bogged down so I couldn't get into combat with Neferata, and Harridans really suffer with a -1 or -2 to hit and not having something like a Spirit Torment to allow re-roll hits of 1. Quite simply not enough tools to deal with four big monsters.
Game Four vs Mixed Order - Duality of Death, Ulgu, Shrouded Lands
Weirdly my last two games were much tougher than my first three (bearing in mind I was now lurking on the bottom tables). My opponent had Morathi and a dragon model with Ethereal amulet, couple of ignore damage rolls and a strike last ability. He also had less drops, so was able to take both objectives on turn one and just sit on them. Both me and my opponent feel that the victory point scoring on this battleplan is awful and puts far too much sway into both the priority roll due to the 1vp vs 3vp scoring.
Game Five vs Skaventide - Focal Points, Ghyran, Hidden Festering Corruption
My most difficult game, but without a doubt the nicest opponent I've played. We were on the last but one table and he was kind enough to let me use one Harridan as a Banshee so I was actually able to get a feel of how the army "could" play. Losing my Harrow on turn 2 was enough to seal the game, preventing me from bringing back my units to deal with the big unit of plaguemonks (which is how I dealt with a similar unit in Game Two).
So, five losses, but four Hidden Agendas achieved, so I've actually come away quite happy. The list I was running was very much a list written to be more friendly - one I'm happy playing round the club with friends. I would have loved a win on day two, but the battleplans worked much better for my opponents than me.
I also have to hold my hands up and admit that I'm very out of practice, I've not played any 2k games this year and as such, not completely up to date with the new battleplans - which really showed. I think having your objectives almost as second nature means you can then focus on the army achieving them, rather than having to try and juggle both in your head.
My ability to roll a 4+ armour save was awful - struggling to make a third of my armour saves across the whole event. I'm putting this down (quite realistically I feel) to New Army Syndrome.
Forgetting my Banshee - one of the key pieces of the army, was a massive blow and I do think could have shifted things in my favour certainly on game one and four.
I'll go over the weaknesses of my list/the Legion in general.
First and foremost is the number of drops for a Legion of Grief army is huge - even with my forgotten model I was running at 11 drops - on every game my opponent placed first, regardless of who won the roll-off. Until we get a roll-off for the first turn or battalions, we're always going to start off on the back foot because of this and the way some battleplans work results in it being an uphill struggle such as I had in my game 4.
My list was really low on wizards and unbinds (3 in total). In short it wasn't enough and I was often casting different spells to the ones in our lists. Better knowledge of the realm spells would help (but many of them are situational). Myrmourne Banshees would help, but such a small unit will get removed pretty quickly due to their short 18" unbind.
The Horrorgast didn't see any board time and was pretty much a waste of points. Around 50% of the units I faced were bravery 10, so required a -5 on them to get them to suffer the -1 to hit from the Harridans (which increases the survivability a lot). With limited casting, most of my spells were spent doing different things to debuffing bravery. A second Necromancer would help - but that's a very big investment of points.
I have no idea why the Mortis Engine isn't a wizard! It's also not a hero?!
I also have no idea why Harridan's aren't battleline for us?! For a narrative allegiance, this genuinely confuses me 😵
We don't have a proper beat stick available to us. All of our unnamed heroes are really quite soft and physically small (I'm excluding Nagash). This makes us really vulnerable to shooting and magic, and once we've lost our heroes the army pretty much begins to melt.
I didn't get very much mileage with Reikenor at all - however he did absorb a lot of my opponent's attention. He should also really be a 2 spell caster!
Command abilities were in short supply - however that was in part for me not having the generic ones written down on a crib sheet (as there are now 6). I also need to go through and make tokens for them - possibly on a flying stand type base with an arrow pointing to the unit in question.
Now onto the positives
Against an army with bravery 6 or below, the army performs really well - don't get me wrong it still takes a beating in return, but hitting your opponent with that -1 to hit, increases the survivability of your army a lot.
The Mortis Engine is great fun. The reliquary ability is a pretty good way to throw out a cheeky D3 wounds within a fairly large range (my best 4d6 was 17")
The army felt thematic - this endless tide of grief flowing across the battleground was brilliant.
And finally things I've learned
You need to be aggressive and not afraid to lose a unit in order to recycle it. This way you can whittle those big opposing units down. Although you'll feel like you're giving your opponent kill points, it's essential to the way the army works.
Protect your general at all costs. Use the Harrow's blink to send it across the battlefield out of harms way. Keep an eye on scenery too - if there's a line of sight blocking piece (or Overgrown using the new rules), put a gravesite near it and don't be afraid to simply park your general there to bring back dead units - most ranged attacks require line of sight.
Unlike a Legion of Nagash army, where you want to be putting units in the grave due to poor movement, the same doesn't apply when most of your units have an 8" move! When combined with an army with "ok" movement and less drops than you, a lot of the time you'll be going second so will struggle to bring those units up where and when you want. This applies even more if you're going up against an army with more physical models than you. Instead, put everything on the table and deploy the gravesites for resurrection (both D3 and units) - that said it never hurts to have a "safe" gravesite somewhere that you can bring dead units back from.
Hero deployment is critical. Even though I barely succeeded with most of my Deathless Minion rolls, there were a lot more situations when a unit was outside the 6" distance so didn't even get one (forgetting the banshee didn't help). Can be difficult as most heroes are slower than your combat units too.
Don't sit the Mortis Engine at the back doing nothing, once the army has got under-way the +1 casting bubble will be difficult to maintain, so throw it towards the enemy and open that reliquary!
As ever there are changes that I'd potentially consider. In keeping with this being a friendly list I'd likely drop the endless spell for a second Banshee or possibly a second Harrow.
If I were looking for something more competitive, I'd likely swap out the Bladegheist and Harridans for two units of thirty Grimghast and 8 Myrmourn Banshees and a second Banshee. Although expensive (and I feel overpriced), the reapers just cause so much more damage with their 2" range and re-rolls.