Thursday, May 12, 2016

Death Army List and Strategy for NICON 2016

With our North Island Gaming Convention just around the corner, it is time to make the hard choices about what to bring in order to sow death and reap souls in the name of the Great Necromancer.

Here are my thoughts about what I'm bringing, what my overall strategies will be, and how I arrived to those decisions.

NICON Army Composition


At NICON we will be using the SCGT players pack, with the exceptions that we are allowing all legacy warscrolls, and that the pool choice restrictions are 120 for the army and 80 for the deployed warband.

Starting Point


My collection started with the Deathrattle faction. I love the models, and the Dark Lord of Despair has been leading my forces through our local escalation campaign. I had the following models:

  • Wight King (Black Axe) - 3
  • Wight King (Infernal Standard) - 3
  • Necromancer - 4
  • 20 Skeletons (Spears) - 8
  • 20 Skeletons (Swords) - 8
  • 10 Grave Guard (Great Blades) - 8
  • 5 Black Knights - 5

I really love the synergies with these warscrolls. the Lord of Bones command ability (+1 to all attacks) and Vanhel's Danse Macabre (an extra pile-in) has proven very effective on my Grave Guard, and on occasion, Black Knights. My original plan was to add the Legion of Death warscroll battalion, and so started painting up another 20 Skeletons and 5 Grave Guard.

I have the Nagash model, but felt he would be a bit too over-the-top for this tournament. I didn't want to put off anyone new to the game or the hobby, but I also didn't want to turn up and lose 6 games. So I selected his lieutenant, Arkhan the Black - one of my all time favourite characters, to lead in his stead. I also added other models from my collection in order to help fill out the points:

  • Arkhan the Black - 18
  • 2 Morghast Archai - 10
  • 3 Spirit Hosts - 5

I'd love to get more Spirit Hosts. Those things are great value. So the plan at this point was to deploy the Legion of Death battalion, and then summon the Archai, Spirit hosts and some more Grave Guard. But then something happened.

The Monstrous Arcanum warscrolls came out.

Enter, the Mourngul.




The Lure of Power


The SCGT guys brought out a pool cost for this bad boy a week before the pool choice lock for NICON, so I was able to include the Mounrgul in my list. This would give my army some much needed punch, and also help with taking and holding objectives. But how best to fit him in? He is 18 points (exactly what my group predicted it would be), but by including him in my summoning pool I could halve this. The downside is that the Mourngul requires a casting roll of 10 to cast.

Arkhan gets +2 to cast by default. When summoning, he gets an extra +1. With the Morghast Archai nearby, he gets another +1. I happened to have a Mortis Engine still on the sprue from one of the starter boxes. With it, I can give Arkhan a sweet + 5 to cast (before any terrain bonuses), making the Mourngul summon much more reliable. So I put the Mortis Engine together in an evening, and with 3 weeks left to go, set about painting it and the Mourngul. These new acquisitions meant I have to forgo the extra skeletons and Grave Guard, and not take the Legion of Death battalion. But I feel much better having including them.

  • Mourngul - 18
  • Mortis Engine - 7

This left me with 2 pool choices left over. Luckily there is a 2 point option in the Death Grand alliance - the Cairn Wraith. Time to pick one up. The plan is to have it hang back behind the Grave Guard or Skeletons, smacking up big units with it's 2" range.




The Summoning Pool


I plan to keep the Morghast Archai and the Mourngul in the summoning pool. In scenarios and against opponents where I have to be attacking, I will use Arkhan as the general, his First of the Mortarchs command ability extending the range of his spells. I would summing both the Archai and Mourngul in the same turn if possible. This will place my hardest-hitting hammer where I need them in order to assault objectives. Arkhan can then sit back and try to get as many Curse of Years spells off as he can, adding Vanhel's or Mystic Shield along with the Necromancer as needed.

The Leadership Conundrum


Using First of the Mortarchs means passing up Lord of Bones, which has until now been a very successful ability. I guess it will come down to the situation need for it. I know for example there will be a Khorne Daemon army and a Khorne Bloodbound army at NICON, and they will be moving towards me as fast as possible, meaning Arkhan's extra range will be less important. In this case Lord of Bones could be the better option. Will have to take that on a game-by-game basis.

Final List


So that's the plan. I will be taking the Black Knights with me, but in all likelihood I will not be deploying them unless the extra mobility is absolutely crucial in the right circumstances - perhaps to help achieve the Breakthrough Hidden Agenda.

Deployed Warband


  • Arkhan the Black - 18
  • Wight King (Black Axe) - 3
  • Wight King (Infernal Standard) - 3
  • Necromancer - 4
  • Cairn Wraith - 2
  • Mortis Engine - 7
  • 3 Spirit Hosts - 5
  • 20 Skeletons (Spears) - 8
  • 20 Skeletons (Swords) - 8
  • 10 Grave Guard (Great Blades) - 8

TOTAL = 66

Summoning Pool


  • 2 Morghast Archai - 10
  • Moungul - 18

TOTAL = 28