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How to play the undead

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I have started having some real trouble against humans. It's clear I'm doing something wrong and I was hoping I could get some advice on how undead are meant to be played.

My local meta seems to focus on massive damage output. Almost every list packs Kari with dice. Spearstars with FLRG and a hero for an extra dice and cavalry either 4 wide with rank discipline or 2 wide with moment of inspiration are also common.

I have done some reading and it seems undead need to focus on shenanigans (mainly blight) to win however I never manage to get it to go off.
Kari is super mobile and with a small foot print is really hard to engage. She will normally use her dice to snipe out a key figure upgrade from reanimates or use her int 2 ranged attack to drop my arches before they can do any significant damage. Even when I get some blight on her, due to the white rally, she normally has 2-3 inspiration tokens on her before we get into range.

The cavalry and spearmen both have the same problem in that they can do a very large movement very late in the turn, finishing very close to my army, then they out initiative me early the next turn for a charge before I can react. Due to their damage being so high the first charge is normally enough to cripple a unit and this technique prevents me from shooting at the units before they hit.

It's clear to me that I am doing something wrong but can't figure out what. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks!

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Undead are not compete without their cavalry and will struggle in the movement area of the game. My answer has been to switch to a 3x2 unit of carrion crawlers with windrunes.  Everything around that is to taste.

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I don't see that Waiqar are now in disadvantage.  As the OP was already pointing the key is Blight. It can very effectively diminish the damage output of the units no matter how big. 

The bigger the death star, the more we have to focus on it. 

With this goal, I recommend no less than two archer units and two carrion lancer units. Being the goal to blight, the smallest the more effective: 

-Blight does not increase with size. 
-The smaller the unit the less return the enemy will have on attacking them.

Single carrion lancers are especially useful to slow dangerous units charging them from the side. Again, the smaller the unit, the easier its to charge on the side and the more units you can field with the same goal. 


Obviously slowing is not enough and although there are different strategies for damage dealing my favorite in the last games is to field two Reincarnate units. One the damage dealer and one with Ankaur Maro, that will add trays to the first one so that they can stand as long as needed. 

With Waiqar I find more difficult to get 200-0 victories but in general in our local meta, they are winning more games than losing. 

 

PS. A list I played with good results as an example


Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Rank Discipline [4]
----------Total Unit Cost: 22
Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24
Reanimates x6 [35]
--Champion: Ankaur Maro (I) [20]
----------Total Unit Cost: 55
Carrion Lancers x1 [15]
----------Total Unit Cost: 15
Carrion Lancers x1 [15]
----------Total Unit Cost: 15
Reanimates x6 [35]
--Champion: Ardus IxErebus [23]
--Heraldry: Blighted Vexillum Bearer [3]
--Music: Aggressive Drummer [5]
----------Total Unit Cost: 66

Edited by Liher
Adding an example list

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Try out the deathcaller/lancer/Sim-orders combo.  You should be able to get at least one strike in, and given runes, that's two wounds.  If nothing else it creates an area (danger zone!) for heroes/calvery will want to avoid.

You can delay sniping a bit if you use the profane banner unit on a decoy unit.

Look at file leader if you want to counter those late charges.  

Alternatively lingering dead counters the early charges in that your threat/rerolls survives the round.

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Right now, Daqan has a serious mobility advantage. Carrion lancers have a pretty good and diverse dial, but reanimates are incredibly predictable, so the Daqan player can approach them at leisure. Death knights and wraiths will change this dynamic, but for now:

Kari with dice will snipe figure upgrades, but can't go toe-to-toe with anything her cost. Pretty bad at fighting lancers in particular. 

The spearmen deathstar has some serious weaknesses. You can use your own Fortuna's dice to snipe out the citadel weapons master, dropping their damage a lot. They're also very vulnerable to morale - reanimates with RR and a morale on their dial can do horrible things to them. Also, lingering dead helps gives you the edge in attrition, so you can grind it down. 

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I like this list it is fun and puts a lot of dice denial into the mix...

Ardus IxErebus x1 [37]
--Unique: Ancient Technique [2]
----------Total Unit Cost: 39

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Carrion Lancers x6 [68]
--Equipment: Master-Crafted Weapons [4]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 78

Reanimates x4 [26]
--Champion: Dispatch Runner [7]
--Music: Trumpets [2]
----------Total Unit Cost: 35

 

I keep Ardus supported by archers within range 3 so he can benefit from the CI'd surge mechanic...lancers end up hitting like a truck when all their surges can turn into surges into either mortal strikes or damage...I have had some success with it, though the down side is it is few units...

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List Name: Sample Waiqar

Faction: Waiqar
Points: 200/200

Ardus Ix Erebus
# of Trays: 1 ( 37 points)
- Ancient Technique ( 2 points)
39 total unit cost 

Reanimates
# of Trays: 4 ( 26 points)
- Ankaur Maro ( 20 points)
46 total unit cost 

Reanimates
# of Trays: 6 ( 35 points)
- File Leader ( 6 points)
- Front Line Carrion Lancer ( 5 points)
- Blighted Vexillum Bearer ( 3 points)
- Lingering Dead ( 3 points)
52 total unit cost 

Reanimate Archers
# of Trays: 2 ( 18 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
24 total unit cost 

Reanimate Archers
# of Trays: 2 ( 18 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
24 total unit cost 

Carrion Lancer
# of Trays: 1 ( 15 points)
15 total unit cost 

 

The thought here is you use your 4 tray Maro unit to add trays to your 6-block of renamiates, or any of the 2 archer blocks.  The double CI archers can stack a ton of blight (1-4) per attack, which will cripple most units.  Especially big spear stars.  Your main reanimate unit has File Leader -- so he can attack before a charge if you dial in the attack at the right time -- and blighted vexillum bearer ensures they are always getting at least 1 blight when they attack.  This makes it a hard unit to charge (if they charge into FL, they will also have a blight token during your attack to deal mortal strikes with).  Then you have Ardus and the CL to sit out front of your archers to delay / intercept units, so you can keep plinking away.

Without Death Knights, Waiqar has to play a defensive / debuffing game.   The Daqan have very little for range, so they are forced to engage.  This will all change up in a few months when both sides have cavalry and ranged trays.

Edited by Glucose98

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35 minutes ago, jek said:

I like this list it is fun and puts a lot of dice denial into the mix...

Ardus IxErebus x1 [37]
--Unique: Ancient Technique [2]
----------Total Unit Cost: 39

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Carrion Lancers x6 [68]
--Equipment: Master-Crafted Weapons [4]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 78

Reanimates x4 [26]
--Champion: Dispatch Runner [7]
--Music: Trumpets [2]
----------Total Unit Cost: 35

 

I keep Ardus supported by archers within range 3 so he can benefit from the CI'd surge mechanic...lancers end up hitting like a truck when all their surges can turn into surges into either mortal strikes or damage...I have had some success with it, though the down side is it is few units...

Do you think ardus does enough to warrant including here? If you increase the reanimates to 3x2 you can trade him in for 2 solo lancers to support the archers. Seems stronger. 

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I mean I had ardus take on a 3x4 of reanimates and just DENIED them being able to do anything due to blight...every unit in the last game I played just constantly had 3-4 blight on them...I don't want the reanimates to increase in size I only need them for dispatch runner which they wouldn't get without ardus...

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31 minutes ago, jek said:

I mean I had ardus take on a 3x4 of reanimates and just DENIED them being able to do anything due to blight...every unit in the last game I played just constantly had 3-4 blight on them...I don't want the reanimates to increase in size I only need them for dispatch runner which they wouldn't get without ardus...

Hm, so using Ardus to block for CI archers eh? With his dial he could pretty reliably hand out two blight, neutralizing most units while he (slowly) chops them up. That's not something I've considered, could be good. 

In my tiny meta, the general consensus has been that if you spend Ardus's points on just making the units larger so they can access the upgrades normally, you'll end up with a better army overall. In the case of your dispatch running reanimates, they still do that job perfectly well (though I guess it's harder to fit the larger unit in some places, worthy point) but their damage and wound total increase by 50% so they're also a much more effective combat force. We've been interested to watch lists develop online to compare results.

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2 minutes ago, Bhelliom said:

Hm, so using Ardus to block for CI archers eh? With his dial he could pretty reliably hand out two blight, neutralizing most units while he (slowly) chops them up. That's not something I've considered, could be good. 

In my tiny meta, the general consensus has been that if you spend Ardus's points on just making the units larger so they can access the upgrades normally, you'll end up with a better army overall. In the case of your dispatch running reanimates, they still do that job perfectly well (though I guess it's harder to fit the larger unit in some places, worthy point) but their damage and wound total increase by 50% so they're also a much more effective combat force. We've been interested to watch lists develop online to compare results.

I don't see taking Ardus as just a list builder he is stupidly destructive, and yeah he either handed out 2-4 blight or didn't a ton of damage or both...it was fun times...

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I mean, WW at threat 2 is definitely solid, but it's not especially terrifying. With the reroll upgrade he'll usually roll two hits and dish out a couple blight or mortal strikes depending on the situation. A 2x1 Carrion Lancer with Rank Discipline has better output (2.53 vs 1.89 average hits), a probably better dial, and more wounds for fewer points. A good chunk of his cost comes from his army building ability, so you really have to take a hard look at whether he's worth it in your list.

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Ardus's dial is better, he is more maneuverable he attacks before most things, and can benefit from any surge ability around him(even maro if you run dual hero) CI augments any surges that he is using and with an archer near by his damage plus threat overshadow a 2x1 lancer. him and his archer friends in one round, albeit with a really nice roll) drop 6 blight on a unit and stil took out 2 trays, I now that may be only ok damage for two trays but that shuts down the unit afterwards, they aren't going to hit in the next turn and unless they have a significant inspiration mechanic and dial in a rally they aren't doing much the second round either.  I really like lancers but I find it hard justifying not taking ardus, especially since my list does also utilize his list building ability to get a hella cheap dispatch runner to just keep Ardy or Slurm Team Six hitting a second time each round...

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18 minutes ago, jek said:

Ardus's dial is better, he is more maneuverable he attacks before most things, and can benefit from any surge ability around him(even maro if you run dual hero) CI augments any surges that he is using and with an archer near by his damage plus threat overshadow a 2x1 lancer. him and his archer friends in one round, albeit with a really nice roll) drop 6 blight on a unit and stil took out 2 trays, I now that may be only ok damage for two trays but that shuts down the unit afterwards, they aren't going to hit in the next turn and unless they have a significant inspiration mechanic and dial in a rally they aren't doing much the second round either.  I really like lancers but I find it hard justifying not taking ardus, especially since my list does also utilize his list building ability to get a hella cheap dispatch runner to just keep Ardy or Slurm Team Six hitting a second time each round...

Yeah calling the Lancer dial better wasn't fair. I'm not sold on Ardus's being better, but they are different enough that each has its merits. Ardus turns better and attacks earlier, but the worms move and threaten farther, and can move 3 as early as initiative three to sneakily engage a unit, block an opening, or occupy terrain.

In terms of that output though, you're comparing Ardus with archer support to Lancers on their own. If we replace Ardus in that scenario with the 2x1, things can basically only improve - less blight, but more hits, and you also get to add mortal strikes to the mix! Compare this list to the one you posted earlier:

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Carrion Lancers x6 [68]
--Equipment: Master-Crafted Weapons [4]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 78

Reanimates x6 [35]
--Champion: Dispatch Runner [7]
----------Total Unit Cost: 42

Carrion Lancers x2 [27]
--Training: Rank Discipline [4]
----------Total Unit Cost: 31

Ardus vanishes, and it replaced by two trays of Reanimates and a unit of Carrion Lancers. The worms can slot right into his battlefield role of protecting the archers, performing better in some cases and worse in others, and the Reanimates are basically half again as effective in combat as they were. To me, this list does not benefit from including Ardus.

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1 hour ago, Bhelliom said:

Yeah calling the Lancer dial better wasn't fair. I'm not sold on Ardus's being better, but they are different enough that each has its merits. Ardus turns better and attacks earlier, but the worms move and threaten farther, and can move 3 as early as initiative three to sneakily engage a unit, block an opening, or occupy terrain.

In terms of that output though, you're comparing Ardus with archer support to Lancers on their own. If we replace Ardus in that scenario with the 2x1, things can basically only improve - less blight, but more hits, and you also get to add mortal strikes to the mix! Compare this list to the one you posted earlier:

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Carrion Lancers x6 [68]
--Equipment: Master-Crafted Weapons [4]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 78

Reanimates x6 [35]
--Champion: Dispatch Runner [7]
----------Total Unit Cost: 42

Carrion Lancers x2 [27]
--Training: Rank Discipline [4]
----------Total Unit Cost: 31

Ardus vanishes, and it replaced by two trays of Reanimates and a unit of Carrion Lancers. The worms can slot right into his battlefield role of protecting the archers, performing better in some cases and worse in others, and the Reanimates are basically half again as effective in combat as they were. To me, this list does not benefit from including Ardus.

If I did the math right, a 3x2 CL lancer with CI & Master crafted weapons has an expected value of 3.7 hits (with a full reroll), so that's an expected 11.1 damage.  That's a pretty big hit from a heavily armored unit.  Then it can get dispatched runner'ed to do it again.  Sounds pretty good.

Edit: Forgot they'll dial in a hit to make that 14.1 expected damage.

Edited by Glucose98

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Six Carrion Lancers with MCW+CI is one of the most reliable, heaviest damaging units in the game.

Heck, TWO Carrion Lancers in an Ardus list with MCW+CI is a respectable high damage flanker.

Edited by Tvayumat

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9 minutes ago, Glucose98 said:

If I did the math right, a 3x2 CL lancer with CI & Master crafted weapons has an expected value of 3.7 hits (with a full reroll), so that's an expected 11.1 damage.  That's a pretty big hit from a heavily armored unit.  Then it can get dispatched runner'ed to do it again.  Sounds pretty good.

It's insanely damaging, but I had a few problems when I was running it.

Carrion Lancers dial is kind of mediocre for a damage dealer.  Attacking at 5 is slower than just about everything so they are going to whittle you down in melee.  This means you really need to get a charge off, but one of the main perks of their dial is that you can rally or skill then fly 3 straight into someone.  Also, they have no wheel or reform modifier to reposition after you kill whatever you were aiming at, so it's slow getting back into the action.

More importantly, points.  78 points is **** near half your list, but while they are vest resilient, as the main focus of your army they will take casualties, and the way their points are structured is a bit harsh.  Lose a single tray and you give 22 points to your opponent.  3 trays is 41 points!  I haven't gone through and checked all the other units, but my guess would be that's at least the highest end in the game.  Makes tournament scoring tough for you

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Since we're throwing army lists around.  I've dropped both heroes in favour of this list. It's almost identical to Bhelliom's so you can see a couple of players have come at the problem from different groups and arrived at a very similar solution.

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Reanimate Archers x2 [18]
--Training: Combat Ingenuity [6]
----------Total Unit Cost: 24

Carrion Lancers x6 [68]
--Equipment: Wind Rune [6]
--Training: Simultaneous Orders [2]
----------Total Unit Cost: 76

Carrion Lancers x1 [15]
----------Total Unit Cost: 15

Reanimates x6 [35]
--Champion: Deathcaller [5]
--Heraldry: Blighted Vexillum Bearer [3]
--Music: Trumpets [2]
----------Total Unit Cost: 45

Carrion Lancers x1 [15]
----------Total Unit Cost: 15

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Carrion Lancers + Wind Rune / Simultaneous orders looks like a fun thing to try.  Would you be able to set up some flanks pretty easily by shifting left/right 2-3 range, reforming 45 degrees and moving forward to engage a flank (no charge, but you get the position)?  Also, you throw a blight? :)

 

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1 minute ago, Glucose98 said:

Carrion Lancers + Wind Rune / Simultaneous orders looks like a fun thing to try.  Would you be able to set up some flanks pretty easily by shifting left/right 2-3 range, reforming 45 degrees and moving forward to engage a flank (no charge, but you get the position)?  Also, you throw a blight? :)

 


Fun, but not very effective.

They won't be doing a lot of damage off that flank without MCW+CI, and tossing a single blight at an unengaged unit isn't really worth the investment into Simultaneous Orders. Opportunity cost is too high and utility too low.

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2 minutes ago, Tvayumat said:


Fun, but not very effective.

They won't be doing a lot of damage off that flank without MCW+CI, and tossing a single blight at an unengaged unit isn't really worth the investment into Simultaneous Orders. Opportunity cost is too high and utility too low.

This was an attempt to maximise blight, every single unit outputs blight in some manner.  It also allows a late game armour up and blight action when your large unit has been whittled down.  It also is the main way to get something in the undead army flanking effecitvely.  The singles are there for redirection and then a charge from the main two blocks.

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46 minutes ago, Thornoo1 said:

This was an attempt to maximise blight, every single unit outputs blight in some manner.  It also allows a late game armour up and blight action when your large unit has been whittled down.  It also is the main way to get something in the undead army flanking effecitvely.  The singles are there for redirection and then a charge from the main two blocks.

Problem is, by the time you've bought a big enough unit to put two upgrades on, you've invested so many points that the often disappointing bare damage output probably won't earn them back.

Your mileage may vary. I always like to be proven wrong.

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