Saturday, May 27, 2017

NICON 2017 - Grand Alliance: Death List Overview

With one week to go until the event, here is part two of the NICON List Saga!

In Part One I looked at the Grand Alliance: Order army lists, and what to expect from the tournament metagame.

Before kicking into the Death lists, I wanted to briefly mention the time limits at NICON, and give a shoutout to our awesome sponsors.

Prizes at NICON

We are very lucky to have two awesome sponsors this year - Mighty Ape and Gaming DNA. Please go check out their stuff.

There will be no double-ups with the plaque awards.

Here are the awards:
  • First Place Overall
    • "Realm God" Plaque
    • $80 vouchers
  • Second Place Overall
    • $40 vouchers
  • Third Place Overall
    • $20 voucher
  • Favourite Army Award
    • "Grand Panoplist" Plaque
    • $40 voucher
  • Favourite Opponent Award
    • "Arch Manipulator" Plaque
    • $40 voucher
  • Top Scoring Order Player
    • "Prime" Plaque
  • Top Scoring Destruction Player
    • "Megaboss" Plaque
  • Top Scoring Death Player
    • "Mortarch" Plaque
  • Top Scoring Chaos Player
    • "Exalted" Plaque
  • Top Scoring Club or Gaming Group
    • Terrain Kit (TBD)
  • Spot Prizes*
    • 1x Kharadron Overlords Grundstok Gunhauler
    • 1x Kharadron Overlords Arkanuat Admiral
    • 1x Stormcast Eternals Excelsior Upgrades
    • 1x Stormcast Eternals Prosecutors (3 figure boxing)
    • 1x Stormcast Eternals Liberators (5 figure boxing)
    • 1x Quest for Ghal Maraz (book)
    • 1x Treemen Ancient
    • White Dwarf issues
*Each player will get one entry into the spot prize draws. Additional entries will be given out for sharing 'cool stories' from your battles! In addition, each player will receive a Mighty Ape discount voucher.

What a haul!

Timekeeping at a Tournament

When we play Warhammer socially, often the only time limit is just how long we have to get the game in alongside our other commitments. We can let games go on for hours, or even just call it after one or two turns for absolutely massive games. 

At tournaments, the necessity of cramming in enough games to produce a fair result, and things like venue times, means that we have to impose time limits on  each game. For the Warhost sized games at NICON (2,500 points), I have allowed 3 hours per game, with a short break in between. This is slightly longer than Battlehost events (2,000 points at 2.5 hours), and depending on the type of army each player has, it may be a challenge to complete each game within the allowed time.

If your game goes to time, you are asked to finish the turn your're on, or if that will take more than 5 minutes, then "dice down" will be called. Depending on where you are at in your game, an early finish can greatly affect the victory conditions and the outcome.

So my comment about this is to please try to do all you can to finish as many turns as possible. It is part of respecting your opponent. Some players like to take their time to consider their moves. Which is absolutely fine. However, with the time constraints of tournament play, the ability to quickly make decisive decisions is one of the measures of success.

A while ago I did a blog on Tips and Tricks for Tournament Players. The take-away is that by doing some preparation in the lead up to the event, you can save yourself game time on the day. 

Now, onto the Death lists! There are only three Death armies coming to NICON so this will be short and sweet.

Grand Alliance: Death

Andrew L - Tomb Kings

The General
Settra the Imperishable - THE Tomb King.  His command ability is pretty epic: so long as Andy holds out his hand and utters 'War' in a commanding tone, he can add 1 to all hit rolls for Death units within 18" of him in the combat phase, and add 1 to wound rolls if they are also Deathrattle. This is a huge force multiplier, and makes Settra a priority target. But that's not all he does. All Mummy heroes within 18" can also use their command abilities. He has a prayer that allows a Deathrattle unit to fly and double their movement distance. He has an extra wound ignore ability on a 5+. If he charges his damage 3 weapon gets an extra two attacks. And if he is slain, the unit that killed him takes D6 mortal wounds. The downside is, Andrew can't kneel during the game or he loses. Settra does not kneel!

The Battalions
  • N/A
The Army
Andy has two other Tomb Kings - one on foot and one on a Royal Warsphinx. This means extra command abilities  - one Skeleton unit can add 1 to hit, run and charge rolls. Another adds yet another +1 to wound rolls for Mummy and Deathrattle units. The Necrotect can add 3" to a units Movement, and allow his catapults to shoot twice. So, lets look at who these buffs can go on. Mostly, it's likely to be the chariots; +2 to hit, +2 to wound (re-rolling 1s), a 26" movement range, which can fly, and then add 1 to charge rolls and re-roll failed charge rolls. This might sound like Andy really wants to charge you with his chariots, and there is a reason for that. They double all their attacks when they charge. They have 5 wounds each, so assuming you can kill some of them, they also return one model per turn back to the unit thanks to the Icon Bearers. And then in the next turn a second chariot unit hits you. Glorious! 

Andy has his bases covered with fast moving shock troops (with good buffs), and his catapults, which reduce Bravery by 2 for battleshock tests. This will be devastating on some armies. A Necrosphynx and Royal Warsphinx to help deal with big gribblies, and which are both hard to kill due to halving all incoming wounds. Lastly, Prince Apophas. I am so delighted to see this guy in a tournament list that I'm not even going to cover him, just so that you will either go and look him up and learn about this awesome character, or you will let Andy surprise you with him on the day!

Brett LF - Nagash Deathmages

The General
Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead - The Big Guy. The internet will tell you he is not viable at tournaments. I  disagree, even at Battlehost sized games. Perhaps I will to a blog about that later. Until then, let's look at what he does. His command ability allows all his units on the table to re-roll 1s for hit and save rolls, and everything is immune to battleshock. I've found the re-rolling ones is not to be underestimated, especially when his own armour save is 2+ with Mystic Shield. It makes Morghast very reliable. Nagash also does a lot of summoning. Another thing the internet will tell you sucks in Matched Play. Again, I beg to differ. I don't know what Brett is summoning with his 320 points but Nagash's ability to double what he can bring out to the table means that he can get units out very quickly, such as a full unit of 20 Grave Guard or 40 Skeleton Warriors to swamp an objective. he can summon heroes if needed. We do know, however, that he cannot summon a Mourngul, which is 400 points. remember that he can react to his opponents deployment and summon some hard hitting units where needed. Seems like a small thing but it's not.

That besides, you should probably just read his warscroll as there is a lot there. Some nasty spells. And he can use the spells for all other Death wizards on the table, friend or foe.

The Battalions
  • N/A
The Army
Brett's battleline consists of zombies. If units of 10 looks unflattering, just consider that Brett can combine them into a unit of 40 in turn 1. Then, with the Necromancer and Corpse Cart buffs, they have +4 to hit rolls, re-rolling 1s. They have +3 to wound rolls, pile in and attack twice in the combat phase, are immune to battleshock, and can gain D6 models back each turn (more sometimes). The Corpse Cart reduces enemy casting rolls, while the Mortis Engines do the same and give a bonus to his own side's casting. Casters are in for a bad time against Nagash. The Mortis Engines also release their once-per-game ability that heals friendly units D3 wounds each within range and damages enemies by D3 within range. Pop both at once could be nasty. Morghast give Nagash yet another +1 to cast when he summons. So now he is at +5, more if he finds Arcane terrain. Only advice I have is watch out for the Morghast, and whatever he summons. Nagash can be hard to kill, and zombies will be hard to move. 

Tim L - Deathlords

The General
Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead - As per Brett's army. Nagash also gets to use Arkhan's spell, and Arkhan gets to use Nagash's spells. I have 300 points of summoning, so not enough for a Mourngul, but enough to get tricky with objectives and/or chaff or another hammer unit, depending on the opponent. Summoning 10 Skeleton Warriors is nice, being able to stop some Stronehorn or other such nastiness from charging Nagash directly. Again, flexibility is the key.

The Battalions
  • N/A
The Army
Four units of Morghast, which become Battleline units as my army is Deathlords allegiance. I like the concept more than the army's capabilities, but I came second with this list at Warhost last year in Wellington, so it has its surprises. I also had a lot of luck! Keys to the list are judicious summoning (as mentioned), Nagash kicking some ass and not dying, and Arkhan's Curse of Years triggering full DEATHMODE, which statistically has about a 15% chance of happening each time it is cast. The downside is that Morghasts in units of two are not ideal, and if I can't get first turn against an alpha list, I do not have the benefit of Nagash's command ability or summoned chaff. 

Also, the metagame has moved on from last year, and some of these new armies will wreak me!

I am not playing to compete this year, but I always love fielding this army for pure Cool Factor.


More to come this week with the Destruction and Chaos List Overviews!

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