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How to play the undead

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I see what you guys are saying, now.

I think I focused in on the wrong detail. 

You know, I wonder what the actual *intent* is as to the relationship between the tray dimensions, the pegs, and the length of a speed-1 template. There's clearly a connection, but are we meant to be super fiddly with millimeters of movement, or meant to fudge it a bit?

RAW says be precise, so I'm on board, but my instinct would have been to allow the speed-2 shift jump until I took a look at the additional peg distance.

I use the same logic to justify why, when a tray is remove from a unit, that can disengage the corners of the attacking unit.

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How to play the undead? Terrain is your friend.

9 tray spear stars and 4 wide cavalry can't get through size 1-2 gap. A 2-wide tray of archers can easily shoot around a small piece of terrain like spikes or rock outcrops.

And while your archers are busy stacking blight on those deadly units, your Carrion Lancers can be moving to the flanks. And if they can't get to that flanks, they can usually hold an enemy unit in place long enough for archers and/or Maro to wipe them out or for help in the form of Ardus to arrive.

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I know I'm a little late to this party, but lately I've had a lot of success with some variation of this list:

Ardus Ix Erebus
# of Trays: 1 ( 37 points)
- Reaping Blade ( 4 points)
- Ancient Technique ( 2 points)
= 43 total unit cost 

Reanimate Archers
# of Trays: 2 ( 18 points)
- Wind Rune ( 6 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
= 30 total unit cost 

Reanimate Archers
# of Trays: 2 ( 18 points)
- Wind Rune ( 6 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
= 30 total unit cost 

Carrion Lancer
# of Trays: 1 ( 15 points)
- Rank Discipline ( 4 points)
= 19 total unit cost 

Carrion Lancer
# of Trays: 6 ( 68 points)
- Master-Crafted Weapons ( 4 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
= 78 total unit cost 

I'm still playing with the upgrades on Ardus (sometimes removing Rank Discipline from the solo Lancer) but otherwise my list has stayed at this for a while. Here's the key points:

  • 6 Lancers with MCW and CI is just gross. Very durable, huge damage output. One-on-one, they can usually take out just about any other unit in the game, especially with some support.
  • Correct positioning and use of the Archers is key. With Wind Rune, they're usually highly mobile, unless the tokens are being dumb. Try to keep at least one in a place where it can shoot whatever your Lancers are fighting; the panic test usually won't do much, and the blight tokens will at the very least remove a single die, and at most negate their entire attack. The mortal strikes from your Lancers can come in handy as well, especially if they roll some accuracy (which on two blue dice happens a lot). Dial in a shoot+skill when you need to move (assuming there's at least one green rune) and a shoot+surge when you don't. They're also great in terrain.
  • Ardus is at his best when he's flanking. I usually deploy him way off to the side where he's unlikely to be bothered, and he shows up a few turns later to help finish off anything the Lancers are struggling with.
  • The one-tray lancer has so many uses. If the enemy has two big units, a flank charge from the solo lancer can keep one of them busy long enough for the big lancer unit not to have to fight both at once. It usually takes them at least 2 turns to kill him (and I've seen him survive as many as 5). Otherwise, you can use him  for grabbing objective tokens, flanking big units for a little extra damage, or whatever else you need. At 15-19 points, if he accomplishes anything at all, he probably more than paid for himself.

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, Zetan said:

I know I'm a little late to this party, but lately I've had a lot of success with some variation of this list:

Ardus Ix Erebus
# of Trays: 1 ( 37 points)
- Reaping Blade ( 4 points)
- Ancient Technique ( 2 points)
= 43 total unit cost 

Reanimate Archers
# of Trays: 2 ( 18 points)
- Wind Rune ( 6 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
= 30 total unit cost 

Reanimate Archers
# of Trays: 2 ( 18 points)
- Wind Rune ( 6 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
= 30 total unit cost 

Carrion Lancer
# of Trays: 1 ( 15 points)
- Rank Discipline ( 4 points)
= 19 total unit cost 

Carrion Lancer
# of Trays: 6 ( 68 points)
- Master-Crafted Weapons ( 4 points)
- Combat Ingenuity ( 6 points)
= 78 total unit cost 

I'm still playing with the upgrades on Ardus (sometimes removing Rank Discipline from the solo Lancer) but otherwise my list has stayed at this for a while. Here's the key points:

  • 6 Lancers with MCW and CI is just gross. Very durable, huge damage output. One-on-one, they can usually take out just about any other unit in the game, especially with some support.
  • Correct positioning and use of the Archers is key. With Wind Rune, they're usually highly mobile, unless the tokens are being dumb. Try to keep at least one in a place where it can shoot whatever your Lancers are fighting; the panic test usually won't do much, and the blight tokens will at the very least remove a single die, and at most negate their entire attack. The mortal strikes from your Lancers can come in handy as well, especially if they roll some accuracy (which on two blue dice happens a lot). Dial in a shoot+skill when you need to move (assuming there's at least one green rune) and a shoot+surge when you don't. They're also great in terrain.
  • Ardus is at his best when he's flanking. I usually deploy him way off to the side where he's unlikely to be bothered, and he shows up a few turns later to help finish off anything the Lancers are struggling with.
  • The one-tray lancer has so many uses. If the enemy has two big units, a flank charge from the solo lancer can keep one of them busy long enough for the big lancer unit not to have to fight both at once. It usually takes them at least 2 turns to kill him (and I've seen him survive as many as 5). Otherwise, you can use him  for grabbing objective tokens, flanking big units for a little extra damage, or whatever else you need. At 15-19 points, if he accomplishes anything at all, he probably more than paid for himself.

Good luck!

I like it! But a couple things:

  • Reaping Blade really does not seem worth it on Ardus. Assuming you're rerolling to get hits, each die has about a 2% chance of ending up blank. Let's pretend that means 4% chance for Reaping Blade to trigger per attack, and you can expect one mortal strike for every 25 attacks - in other words, very low return on investment. There isn't really a generically good artifact for Ardus yet, which is too bad.
  • Do you think you could get away with dropping Wind Rune on one of the Archer units? That one would need to work more closely with your other units to stay safe, but that shouldn't be a huge issue.
  • That's 10 points, which is tough to do much with on its own. Juggling the Rank Discipline and Ancient Technique free things up a little. Might be worth experimenting!

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I've never had good results with Reaping Blade on Ardus, no matter how tempting it can be with his lack of any innate Precise ability.

Now that folk mention it, I guess I almost never put artifacts on Ardus.

Even in the case of The Duskblade, which WOULD be a nice ability to help Ardus drop heroes/siege units, I'd much, MUCH rather put that on a nearby unit of Death Knights with Combat Ingenuity and let Ardus "borrow" that power for the reduced surge cost, then toss in Ardus' Fury.

Edited by Tvayumat

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On 10/4/2017 at 3:35 PM, TylerTT said:

I'm wondering if OP is a host of the D6 generation podcast. 

I am not.
So over the weekend I came second in a 5 person comp, a few less people than we were hoping but that's the way it goes sometimes. Was playing 3x2 lancers with MCW and CI, Maro with violent forces, and a 3x3 block of oathsworn with MoI and raven tabards.

Got the first round bye. :(

Lost 8-3ish in the second round to a horthorn cav list: Horthorn, Kari, and two lots of 3x2 cav. My cav got a good charge off on one of the opposing cav units but the lancers fell to the other cav unit and a flanking Kari. Maro didn't stand a chance against Horthorn. After the first engagement I have about half my cav unit left against 2 heros and an opposing wounded cav unit. That didn't go well.

Last round I won 10-1 against another undead player; 3x3 reanimates, solo Maro, solo Ardus, and some archers. My lancers took care of the reanimates while the cavalry hunted the archers.

Overall a good result but I'm still not doing well against humans.

Been playing around with lists. I like in-unit Maro resurrection shenanigans but I find the 3x2 reanimates, 2x2 reanimates with maro, 2x1 archers, 2x1 archers, lancer, ardus type lists to suffer from having only 1 unit with any staying power. At the moment I am working on:

3x2 Reanimates
-Ardus

3x2 Reanimates
-Maro

2x1 Archers
-CI


2x1 Archers
-CI

2x Single Lancer

that leaves 9 points to outfit the reanimate blocks. Thoughts?

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52 minutes ago, darkjawa103 said:

Ardus on his own is a murdering machine. I really prefer him solo instead of in the ranks of Reanimates

Local opinion is that Undead have the best and worst embedded heroes.

Ardus as embedded is terrible right now. 23 for a white die when Moment of Inspiration is 5. The surge ability sucks when the only things he embeds in have Red dice. Once some kind of undead infantry unit comes out with blue dice, embedded Ardus won’t be a turd anymore. 

Ankaur as embedded in Reanimates is amazing. 

 

I will second the comments about Slurm Team 6 (3x2 Lancers with MCW and CI). It has done wonders for me. In particular, the ability to rally and then move 3 helps me a lot after killing scions. 

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4 hours ago, Church14 said:

Local opinion is that Undead have the best and worst embedded heroes.

Ardus as embedded is terrible right now. 23 for a white die when Moment of Inspiration is 5. The surge ability sucks when the only things he embeds in have Red dice. Once some kind of undead infantry unit comes out with blue dice, embedded Ardus won’t be a turd anymore. 

Ankaur as embedded in Reanimates is amazing. 

 

I will second the comments about Slurm Team 6 (3x2 Lancers with MCW and CI). It has done wonders for me. In particular, the ability to rally and then move 3 helps me a lot after killing scions. 

Yeah you can really tell how much Ardus's upgrade is paying for that surge ability when you compare him to Hawthorne: 22 points gets you the same white die and the potentially very powerful ability to attack multiple enemies. It's situational, but really strong when it comes up.

Obviously they have to be careful about future-proofing Ardus, but it makes him not so attractive now.

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4 hours ago, Church14 said:

Local opinion is that Undead have the best and worst embedded heroes.

Ardus as embedded is terrible right now. 23 for a white die when Moment of Inspiration is 5. The surge ability sucks when the only things he embeds in have Red dice. Once some kind of undead infantry unit comes out with blue dice, embedded Ardus won’t be a turd anymore. 

Ankaur as embedded in Reanimates is amazing. 

 

I will second the comments about Slurm Team 6 (3x2 Lancers with MCW and CI). It has done wonders for me. In particular, the ability to rally and then move 3 helps me a lot after killing scions. 

 

14 minutes ago, Bhelliom said:

Yeah you can really tell how much Ardus's upgrade is paying for that surge ability when you compare him to Hawthorne: 22 points gets you the same white die and the potentially very powerful ability to attack multiple enemies. It's situational, but really strong when it comes up.

Obviously they have to be careful about future-proofing Ardus, but it makes him not so attractive now.

Frankly if they just changed Ardus' upgrade to replace one red die with a blue die it may change everything. Something like, "You may replace one red die with a blue die for this attack"

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7 hours ago, darkjawa103 said:

Ardus on his own is a murdering machine. I really prefer him solo instead of in the ranks of Reanimates

Reallly? I have never had him do anything on his lonesome. Normally Kari ranged attacks with fortuna's dice for 6 and drops ardus before he can engage  or he gets charged by oathsworn and dies in a single attack. How do you position him? Should I start further out and bring him in for a late flank? He can't move very far, im worried he wont make it in time.

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Run him at range 3 of a Carrion Lancer unit with MCW + CI and every Surge he rolls is a Hit. Ardus' Fury is essentially an extra Hit.

Ardus isn't much in a head-to-head but he hits undefended flanks like a blender when he's supporting a bigger unit.

Edited by Tvayumat

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16 hours ago, Tvayumat said:

Run him at range 3 of a Carrion Lancer unit with MCW + CI and every Surge he rolls is a Hit. Ardus' Fury is essentially an extra Hit.

Ardus isn't much in a head-to-head but he hits undefended flanks like a blender when he's supporting a bigger unit.

Ardus' fury and duskblade on anything that doesn't have just 1 armor...

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1 hour ago, Curlycross said:

Ardus' fury and duskblade on anything that doesn't have just 1 armor...

Honestly I think Duskblade has a better home on Death Knights where it can benefit from Combat Ingenuity.

On Ardus I've found it somewhat underwhelming and too situational for how much of a gap filler he tends to be.

Edited by Tvayumat

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2 hours ago, Tvayumat said:

Honestly I think Duskblade has a better home on Death Knights where it can benefit from Combat Ingenuity.

On Ardus I've found it somewhat underwhelming and too situational for how much of a gap filler he tends to be.

It can be underwhelming but it's pretty cheap and lets him pummel people like Lord Hawthorne. I agree it'll be better on DKs when they come out. For now though the Ardus' fury/duskblade at least guarantees one -1 armor.

Edited by Curlycross

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I've been liking the pairing of Ardus with dice and technique, with ankaur trailing with regen magic, letting ardus heal for 1surge each.

I realize that's 90/200 right there, but I can still fit a 3x2 reanimate with upgrades, two 2x1 archers (CI and Rank discipline) and a spare blocker/blight lancer. Maro builds up the CI archers to 2x2 and the 3x2 of reanimates the first few turns, so even if he does get sniped quickly you've made some points back. If you can protect Ankaur he can keep Ardus swinging for a long time.

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I just picked up my second Core Set and Reanimates pack, bringing my total to 12 trays of Reanimates. How have people found the 12-tray unit to work? I'm drawn by the Threat 4 because I'm tired of being smacked around by Spearmen and Oathsworn Cavalry. I know there has been success with a 12-tray supported by a 4-tray with Ankaur Maro equipped, but can a 12 tray be effective on its own? I fully acknowledge that large infantry units aren't everybody's favorite way to play, but I'm really looking forward to it.

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3 hours ago, Parakitor said:

I just picked up my second Core Set and Reanimates pack, bringing my total to 12 trays of Reanimates. How have people found the 12-tray unit to work? I'm drawn by the Threat 4 because I'm tired of being smacked around by Spearmen and Oathsworn Cavalry. I know there has been success with a 12-tray supported by a 4-tray with Ankaur Maro equipped, but can a 12 tray be effective on its own? I fully acknowledge that large infantry units aren't everybody's favorite way to play, but I'm really looking forward to it.

I haven't run that unit yet myself (I prefer the smaller units tactics that undead offer), but I have run against it and slaughtered it.  I'll go ahead and tell you what my opponents could have done better to avoid this.

1. Don't fail on terrain placement.  Maybe even bid a bit lower to try to get first pick.  You can still use a little terrain to protect a flank, but other than that make it sparse and leave the middle of the map open.

2. Use either aggressive or marching drummer.  A giant army of reanimates does little for you if everything is charging you first (and since your attack is init-4, you can't just attack late).  

3. Have some bane insurance.  Unless you're running cursed signets (which can backfire unless you're running necro+lingering dead and even then it's risky), you'll have some trouble with blights and immobilizes.  Because of this, I recommend rallying at least once before a big engagement.  Adding more dice to your pool with upgrade Ardus can further reduce the impact of blight.  Drummers mitigate stuns since you can get the modifier w/o your modifier dial side.  Immobilize can be a big problem which, imo,  is the main reason to rally at least once.

4. Place your army near your 12-tray.  Too often my opponents (even in non-undead matches) will place their big unit on one side of the map and the rest of their army on the other side.  You can tell that's gonna happen usually even if they place the big unit last because they leave themselves with only 1 viable placement either due to where they put their other units or where they placed terrain.  But anyway if you place your small units far away from a your big relatively-slow one, guess which side ALL of my units are going to?  That's right, the side w/o the massive scary death-ball of skeletons.

These are just my thoughts as someone who sees my opponents try to run big infantry units a lot.  They usually fail because they neglect multiple of these points above and it's always sad and they leave feeling frustrated and saying things like, "if only my big unit had been able to engage something other than 1 amyhelin scion (vicious roots ftw)"

Edited by Willange

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Lingering Dead is mandatory, but yeah it's pretty good.  It's just a point and shoot unit, because you aren't going to maneuver around the table, but that doesn't mean it isn't really effective 

Keep in mind that because you are 4 wide performing a turn moves a corner of your unit further than a straight march.  For example, a 1-turning charge will move you further than a 2 straight charge 

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5 minutes ago, Click5 said:

Lingering Dead is mandatory, but yeah it's pretty good.  It's just a point and shoot unit, because you aren't going to maneuver around the table, but that doesn't mean it isn't really effective 

This is what I always used to think. Now I'm wondering...what about using File Leader, Raven Standard Bearer, Flank Guards? I could have Ankaur Maro in position to add trays as needed. This way I'm not quite as worried about charges or flanks, which is important when presenting this giant broadside to the opponent.

7 minutes ago, Willange said:

Adding more dice to your pool with upgrade Ardus can further reduce the impact of blight. 

Willange, all great advice. I have a feeling I'm going to need to learn those principles more than once :). I particularly agree with that bit about Ardus. Adding the white die gives the possibility of adding surges, which can blight the opponent if the Archers are nearby, which adds to survivability. I used to love the idea of a giant unit with Necromancer and Lingering Dead, but Necromancer gets taken out so easily, it's sad.

10 minutes ago, Willange said:

I haven't run that unit yet myself (I prefer the smaller units tactics that undead offer), but I have run against it and slaughtered it.  I'll go ahead and tell you what my opponents could have done better to avoid this.

I've been running 3x2 of Reanimates and 2x2 of Reanimate Archers due to lack of figures. I suppose instead of a 12-tray unit, I could do a 6-tray supported by the 2x2 w/Ankaur Maro equipped, if I also include Ardus in my army. if the 6-tray has a Carrion Lancer, that leaves me 3 trays of Reanimates to add right at the start of combat. So many decisons! I love this game, but I knew I'd love it even more with more expansions! :D

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On 10/3/2017 at 3:35 PM, Bhelliom said:
  • Reaping Blade really does not seem worth it on Ardus. Assuming you're rerolling to get hits, each die has about a 2% chance of ending up blank. Let's pretend that means 4% chance for Reaping Blade to trigger per attack, and you can expect one mortal strike for every 25 attacks - in other words, very low return on investment. There isn't really a generically good artifact for Ardus yet, which is too bad.

"Assuming you're rerolling to get hits" is a bad assumption. I often use him to go after high-armor units. If I'm fighting something with armor 4+ (an increasingly common choice in our meta) I'll often re-roll a single hit hoping for either a double-hit or a mortal strike, assuming I don't have any relevant surge abilities in range. Reaping Blade turns the odds of each die getting either a double-hit (which is essentially a mortal strike against 4 armor) or a mortal strike from 17% to 25%, which is a much more significant improvement. It also makes it so only 17% of the faces (instead of 25%) have no damage at all, making me much more comfortable re-rolling a single hit hoping for better (since odds of me making it better are higher than the odds of making it worse).

If you're mostly fighting stuff that's armor 2 or less, I totally agree that Reaping Blade does not pay for itself. It all depends on what you intend to do with Ardus.

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