Monday, May 30, 2011

Tomb King Army Book Review (part 3 -- first game with the new book)

I finally had a chance to play a couple of games with the new book, so I thought I would update some of my initial thoughts.  I worked up a list that contains mainly the newer units, so I would have an idea of how they worked.  This certainly isn't a powerful list, so keep that in mind as you look over it.  Here's what I ended up playing:

Tomb Prince (Armor of Silvered Steel, GW)
Liche High Priest (Level 4)

50 skeletons (mus, standard)
50 skeletons (champ, mus, standard)
18 skeletal archers (musician)
5 horse archers

3 sepulchral stalkers
3 sepulchral stalkers
3 necropolis knights
warsphinx (fiery breath)
warsphinx (fiery breath)

casket of souls
screaming skull catapult
screaming skull catapult

I'm really hoping that a construct heavy list like this can work because I think it would look awesome on the table.  Of course, there are about $250 (US) in new models there that I don't have, so I had to go to proxy mode:

That's right; I used paper cut out Tomb Kings. That guy actually worked pretty well.  My opponent and I joked about just buying a fancy printer instead of more models. 

Anyway, I got three games in with that list: one against Bretonnians and two against vampire counts.  The Bretonnian list had the standard issue double trebuchets, 6 medium blocks of knights, 3 units of ten archers, some pegasi, a lord with heroic killing blow, the invulnerable BSB, and a lvl 4 damsel.  The VC list featured the grave guard horde with regen banner, 2 units of ghouls and 1 unit of skeltons for core, a block of ten blood knights(!), a vampire with said bloodknights (along with the weapon that brings those pesky knights back), a sidekick caster vamp, and the BSB.
I felt good about my chances because neither of those lists are built for staying back, so I knew the TK's lack of movement wouldn't be a huge deal.  For the most part this was true; however, the Bretonnians were certainly able to pick their combats much to my dismay.  Partially because of this, I ended up being routed by the Bretonnians.  However, I fared better against the VC, routing them in the first game (of course both of my opponents casters were sucked into the warp by miscasts) and losing the second game with VC by 166 points (so close to a draw).

Despite my 1-2 record, I found the army very enjoyable to play, especially because of all the entombed elements in my list. Having those three units popping up where needed added a dynamic element to the game that is often lacking (too many games end up with a scrum at the center of the table). Overall, the games cemented my belief that TK are competitive but solidly mid-tier.  I'm still worried about playing against heavy shooting lists, but we'll have to see how that goes when I actually get a game in against the dwarves.  Here are my revised thoughts about some of the individual units:

Magic:  I found myself very dependent on magic.  Unfortunately, even with the hierotitan and the casket, I found that my opponent was very able to stop the key spells each round.  The killing blow spell attracted the most attention, and I wasn't able to get it off in any of the three games.  However, neither of these armies cared much about me advancing, so I was able to get the march spell off when I needed it. I'll also note that I lost my hierophant against the Bretonnians.  The TK's high leadership made crumbling more of an annoyance than a game breaking occurance (although the catapults are toast).

Skeletons: My units of fifty with shields were rock hard while they had their prince. Unfortunately, the armor of silvered steel broke down pretty quickly against the high strength attacks I was facing in these lists.  When the prince died, the skeletons broke down pretty quickly.  50 seemed to be a pretty good number to me, and I'll probably continue to play at that size.  I'll also note that archers and smiting go well together; I found myself wanting more archers on the table for sure.  I may drop back to one block of shield skeletons and use the other unit to buy more archers.

Stalkers: I questioned taking these guys in my last post; however, I found them very useful in all three games.  They really hurt warmachines and high armor targets, and their misfire didn't hurt them too much.  They even helped out in several combats by coming in from the rear.  They were probably the all-stars of the list truth be told, and I'll be placing them in every list (at least for a while).

Knights: They are very powerful and have a good save, and they really force people to think when they come up behind them.  They do have trouble in wars of attrition, but I feel they are a very solid unit.

Warsphinx: The Brettonians had no trouble with these things.  The low armor and the fact that anything can wound them with a 6 means they are more vulnerable than one might think (heroic killing blow also is painful).  Still, they dominated the VC core, cutting through a units of ghouls with ease.  I really want to like these things, but they are just too easy to take down.  A block of tomb guard would probably been a more effective choice.

Horse Archers:  I still love them.  They got into a trebuchet in turn 2, which is excellent for us.  Against VC, they were able to redirect the dreaded bloodknights in one game (I was able to vanguard right up in front of them and turn them away), and they kept a unit of ghouls busy for two rounds in the other.  I think they serve a very valuable purpose for us.

Hierotitan:  I'm torn about this guy.  I made good use of both of his spells, and he helped the sphinxes out in combat.  However, I did find it a little difficult to keep him in range of my hierophant (who was bunkered behind my lines) and the extra casting value isn't as useful in a single mage list as it would be in a list with multiple casters.  I may just take a regular colossus next time.

Casket:  I still feel this is our automatic choice.  The extra dice are invaluable, and the spell is great against both small annoying units as well as heavily armed units.

All in all, I enjoyed playing my army, and I never felt outclassed as I sometimes did with the seventh edition list.  I'll be fiddling with my list in my continued attempt to make a viable construct-heavy army (and maybe I'll pick up a boxed set or two of the new models -- I'm itching to paint some Necropolis Knights).

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