Kings of War 3rd edition has officially landed and since I received the book yesterday, I can start reviewing my armies. The first to be reviewed is Undead:
For obvious reasons, I’ll not post exact statistics and point costs on this blog. In a few months, they will be available on easyarmy, until that time, you’ll have to buy the book for yourself.
Please bear in mind I haven’t actually played any games under 3rd at this moment (received the book only yesterday) so any observations are just made with 2nd edition in the back of my mind. Probably in a few months time, time will tell if this post makes any sense.
a 2-part series (edit: it became 3 parts)
As my time today is limited, this review will probably be split into three parts. Today will cover the infantry, swarm and ranged infantry.
As all armies, undead units have a armywide upgrade. Most unit can get lifeleech (+1) by buying undead giant rats.
Aside from the really grindy units (reventants), I don’t think this upgrade will be used much. That said, it’s a cheap upgrade on most units, so maybe to fill a few spare points it might be viable anyhow.
There’s 2 kinds of skeletons: The normal sword-and-board ones and those with spears. The spear-skeletons have slightly higher attacks and the phalanx special rule.
The normal skeletons are great. Cheaper than in 2nd edition; they still retain defense 4+ and a high nerve with fearless. There attack value is as bad as it always was, making them a serviceable anvil at budget cost. Whether the (not that expensive) upgrade to spears is actually useful is dependant on the amount of thunderous charge on the table. When facing brotherhood or elves, it could very well be, but against most infantry-type armies the added offensive power is not enough to warrant the upgrade to spears.
All-in, sword-skeletons are a solid upgrade over 2nd edition (if only by becoming cheaper) and the prime anvil in my undead armies the upcoming months.
Could they make zombies any worse? Yes, they could. A defense of (2) is what makes them truely squishy compared to other units. Their high nerve will keep them around for a bit, but expect to rack up the damage quickly.
Zombies do shine in one department: They are really cheap unlocks and unit strength, the cheapest I’ve seen in the book. With unlocks (and unit strength) rumoured to be of premium value in 3rd edition, expect to see more zombie regiments than you would expect on the value of their stats.
Their offensive capabilities? Let’s not talk about those. Next.
Revenants remain the defense (5) anvil mainsty of the undead battle line. They are nearly the same as in 2nd edition, even in point costs.
The only gripe I have with this unit is that they lost the 2-handed weapon options (this is now the Empire of Dust standard) so the troop-option with CS(1) I used from time to time is no longer.
That said, a cheap troop with def 5+ and high fearless nerve (for a troop) may be a serious roadblock to a chaff unit or even a normal regiment. So even the troops have some use. Most players will use the hordes, however. They are not cheap, but so many points of def 5+ nerve is very hard to remove. They also hit slightly better than skeletons, so that’s a bit of a plus too.
Ghouls remain what they were, non-shambing infantry with sightly higher speed than your average unit. This makes them great shielders and chaff. In 3rd, they also gained Wilde charge, so they are even faster on the charge, beating even an elf or rat!
It’s not hard to see why they got slightly more expensive. Whether I like the change or not, Ghouls will remain a stapple in many of my armies.
Our flying defense (6) chaff unit. Reviled in 2nd edition by many opponents, yet the high cost made that they were skipped often.
In 3rd edition they lost a bit of their speed in exchange for strider and a point reduction.
Though I’m a bit sad the fly over-turn-180 degrees-surge- option is no longer valid, the decreased cost will make sure they actually can get a place in some of my armies these days.
Mummies are more or less what they were in 2nd edition. Tough, regenerating and high CS. They got slightly more expensive as a regiment, but cheaper as a troop.
These guys make a decent alternative for the old “revenant-with-great-weapon” troop. Actually, a troop of mummies trumps the regiment of zombie trolls with better stats all over the board on a smaller base.
Soul reaver infantry
It seems that I have to find models for these guys (I really hate the Mantic ones) as they remain one of the prime damage dealers of the undead army. Now without a formation, their 20/25 attacks at CS(2) with Melee 3+ are nothing to scoff at.
Of course they are expensive. They are meant to be. The choice between a troop (20 attacks at a low nerve) and regiment (25 attacks @ better nerve but higher price tag) depends on whether you think you can protect them. I’d love to include 2 troops in my army. Which I cannot as I don’t have the models.
I might steal FredOslow’s idea of using paladin foot guard with ghoul heads as a base. They both look great and use Mantic’s miniatures; which is always a bit plus. Finally, a regiment of these guys is fairly affordable @ € 25.
Ranged infantry -skeleton archers
The whole ranged infantry department of the undead army consists of skeleton archers. 8 attacks @5+ to hit is kinda worthless, but a troop or regiment of these guys might actually be useful in clearing chaff. (since the army doesn’t have other ways to do so)
So it’s a bad tool but probably better than no tool at all. It’s irregular too, to add insult to injury.
If you want to clear chaff (which you want, being Kings of War) you have three alternatives in the undead army: a) balefire catapults; b) spellcasters using lightning bolts, (which are the expensive vampires or lich king) c) allies. (also hard since most shooters are irregular and therefore cannot be allied.)
All-in, I think most armies will have some use for these guys.
Swarm – deathpack
As an alternative to ghouls, deathpacks make decent chaff too. They don’t shamble either, go as fast as the ghouls but bring nimble to the table. Their nerve is better than ghouls at a slightly higher point cost.
The offset: a defense of 2+. With stealthy, they will survive some shooting, but in melee they will wither.
Their offensive capabilities are comparable, bringing slightly more attacks than ghouls with vicious at an worse melee score.
All-in, against a shooting army the deathpacks will probably last longer, while against most infantry grind armies the added wild charge of the ghouls will be better.