In preparation for a Warhammer Tournament I have been beavering away making sure that my “new” Tomb King army is painted and ready. Part of being ready requires me to test my army to see what it is good at, and how the army synergy will pan out.
My list was not specifically aimed at taking out Bretonians but isn’t quite wasn’t as all comers yet, which it’ll need to be for a tournament but it was woefully unprepared for a Dwarven Gunline army. Using the Tournament Rules on list building and missions. For this game we agree on a standard Battleline, so it is wall across a board and beat fuck out of each other.
Tomb King army features 4 Ushabti with Great Weapons, 4 with Great bows, 18 Tomb Guard, 6 chariots, 3 groups of 10 archers, some regular warriors, 2 Casket of Souls and a Screaming Skull Catapult. Plus 3 Liche Priests a Herald (Battle Standard ) and a Tomb King
The Dwarves are a large block of Hammerers, Iron Breakers, 1 squad of 20 Warriors, a second squad of Warriors with Great weapons, and then guns, lots of guns, more guns, and some other guns. Plus a Canon, and a Volley Gun. A thane and some rune smiths for better shooting.
Tomb Kings go first, and as Tomb Kings special rule is they can move and shoot without punishment everybody nudges forward a massive 4 inches trying to keep priests within range of what they need.
Next up magic, and with the 2 Casket of Souls we are hoping for some good damage. The first Casket fails. The second casket fires it’s light at the Dwarven Warriors, annoyingly they pass the Leadership test and laugh off the Indiana Jones-ey ness of the Casket, hereby known as the Ark of the Covenant. Other than this a couple of Liche priests cast the extra movement spell meaning the Great Weapon Ushabtis and Tomb Guard nudge further forward.
In the Shooting phase, well… The Scream Skull misfires and manages to destroy itself. First game syndrome is kicking my arse already. All 30 archers, and the Ushabti’s shoot , a total of 36 shots killing 3 warriors. Toughness 4 Dwarves really don’t care about arrows hitting on dice roll of 5, and wounding on a dice roll of 5.
Dwarves up now and thankfully those stunties are slow, they amble 3-6 inches across the board and can’t do very much. A few shots are fired, and one of the 6 chariots is taken out.
Tomb Kings again carry on moving up the board making use of their full movement, the chariots rather than risk a long charge move forward lining u a turn 3 charge. This leaves them exposed in the next phase, but i’m confident they’ll survive.
The magic phase is another bust 5 power dice, so casting the ward spell protection on the Chariots is the plan. With a successful cast I bring back the dead Chariot. Final dice is used trying to pop a Light of Death from the Ark of the Covenant. It fails.
Shooting, all 30 archers, and the Ushabti’s shoot again, a total of 36 shots kills another 3 warriors.
The dwarves with combat weapons move forward their full 6 ready a turn three or 4 charge, and the rest shoot. They are still unable to do too much, but with the weigh of shots 6 Skeleton Archers die, and the Chariot came back to life dies again.
Charges to declare, the Chariots are going at the Iron Breakers, because of course I charge my best unit at their best unit. 14 Impact Hits are scored resulting in 3 Deaths.
The Ushabti’s amble forward, so to the warriors and Tomb Guards. The Tomb Guards can see the Hammerers, but don’t want to run trough terrain to make the charge so they stand tantalisingly close to get a counter charge.
Magic phase brings a little more joy in that 10 power dice are available. A couple of extra movements. Extra movement is cast on the Chariots, just to beable to resurrect another chariot. The twice dead chariot returns! The Great Bow Ushabtis get to shoot twice meaning 8 shots, plus roughly 20 from the archers, results in another 3 dead dwarves… Starting to think this archery is a but shite.
Combat time, been looking forward to this. The crew and horses do their stuff and lay into the slow Iron Breakers, they are no match for us! Except they are… With plus 1 strength attacks due to charge meaning they are wounding on 3 with nearly 20 attacks, 1 Iron Drake dies. Fuck. They then hit back, and hard taking out 3 chariots. Billy Big Bollocks on his Chariot dies a 3rd time.
Dwarves turn. Rather than letting the Iron Breakers confidently finish off the Chariots, the Iron Drakes and the Thunderers charge in to the flank of the Chariots. The Hammerers fall into my trap, declare charge through dangerous terrain, and fail it. 3 are lost due to Terrain damage, and they are left 5 inches away from my Tomb Guards.
While the other gunners take pot shots at the Undead Warriors and the Archers. The Volley Gun takes out an Ushabti. And the warriors reach the Great Bow Ushabti’s. The combat is pretty even as despite having bows, the Ushabtis still have 3 attacks each and are strong. Annoyingly as strong as they are the Dwarves are tough. So while 4 Warriors are killed, with rank bonuses, banners, and a Musician the Dwarves win the combat. Resulting in one wound from the Unstable rule.
And as expected the Iron Breakers mince the Chariots. Not killing them all, as 2 remain, but between the Iron Drakes and the Thunderers there are enough attacks to finish off the whole squad with minimum loss.
Tomb Kings make the odd decision to not declare any charges, instead walking the Tomb Guard 3 inches towards the Hammerers, the Ushabti 5 inches to Dwarven Warriors (leaving them 2 inches away). The Undead Warriors who have effectively been sat in a corner having a wank decide to carry on slowly walking forward.
Magic phase brings a glorious 11 dice out of a possible 12 with a successful channel attempt and 3 extra dice from the Caskets special rule. Time to enact my grand plan! The Tomb Guard are magic’d forward into combat. It isn’t a charge, so no terrain test is needed. I’ll show them. 8 dice remain. Next up, I try to walk the Ushabti’s into combat versus the warriors, except… The cast fails. They have been caught with their pants round their ankles and are royally screwed. The archers at least get to shoot them though, the 14 or so left kill 2.
The Combat we have all been waiting for starts and the Thane issues a challenge to the Tomb King. What could go wrong? Well the Thane with Shield Bearers kicks the King’s head in. Taking 2 wounds off him in the process. He survives though, and it means my Tomb Guard get a Weapon Skill of 6 meaning they hit on 3s and the Dwarves hit on 4’s. Despite this clear advantage the Tomb Guards fail pretty spectaularly, even with Hatred from the Necrotext. 1 Hammerer dies from Killing Blow, 1 dies from a regular wound. The slow dwarves hit back like a freight train taking out 5 Tomb Guards. With a combat result very much against Tomb Kings 7 Tomb Guard crumble to dust due to the Legion traits.
The dwarven turn now, and those Ushabtis with great weapons get the obligatory charge on them. The Iron Drakes and Thunderers, and other gunny units don’t really have much to do. They take the odd potshot but their job is done.
The Dwarven Warriors with Great Weapons gun through the Great Weapon Ushabtis like they weren’t even there. 2-3 Dwarves are lost in the process, but 3 Ushabtis are now sent back to the Afterlife. Where hopefully they don’t need to see the Tomb King any soon.
Spoke to soon, the Tomb King is swiftly taken out. Unfortunately the Dwarves didn’t know about the Curse. Killing a Tomb King curses you and takes out 3 Hammerers. Least in death the King had a use. With him dead the Tomb Guards weapon skill drops and it is now them hitting on 4s, and the Hammerers on 3s. The combat is a drawm but the rank bonus of the Hammers means a couple of Tomb Guards disintegrate leaving only 5 left.
The Warriors realising they have spent all game having a wank try to charge in to the Hammer/Tomb Guard combat they need to score 8 on two dice. They don’t they roll 3. The archers step backward to get a shot off and hope they aren’t charged. All magic fails except for one spell of protection on the Tomb Guards. However this is miscast with irresistible force, the wizard promptly loses all his knowledge of magic but thankfully the spell comes off.
Shooting fails too.
Combat time and the end is near. With a successful spell cast 3 more Tomb Guards appear. With their attacks 4 Hammerers die, and with Protection spell the Guards some how god roll 6 ward saves meaning the Tomb Kings finally win a combat.
The lone Ushabti great bowman takes out 1 Warrior but his lost combat means 2 more lost wounds. He has 1 left.
The Dwarves smelling victory as the Great Weapon Warriors charge the skeleton archers for funsies and wipe them out. The Warriors easily take out the remaining wound on the Ushabti bowman.
However, with the Tomb Guards and Hammerers are still at it. The Dwarves forget to dispel the protection spell, and as a result Tomb Guards win another combat. 7 Tomb Guard remain and only 5 (including Thane) are left.
What did I learn?
As this was my first game I expected to be up against it, I don’t know the units, I don’t know the strategies and it showed, but learnt a lot.
Firstly, too many Arks of the Covenant. This is a dice roll, but as I constantly rolled badly on winds of magic I didn’t have the dice to pull off spells regularly and as a result couldn’t get a single Light of Death off in 5 turns. Some turns I had to prioritise getting other spells off such as movement and protection spells. The tournament rules also meant only 2 dice could be used for bound spells, so I can’t rely on these in the tournament. They are fun though, so I will keep one for my next game if only for the d3 extra power dice each Phase. All of this combined helps me see I need to focus my magic and not try to spread it out too thinly.
The Screaming Skull failed due to bad luck, so is worth another attempt.
The Warriors failed but that was due to movement.
The archers didn’t work in configuration. So rather than 3 blocks of 10 I’ll try 2 blocks of 15 next time. Landing a double shot spell on 15 means 30 shots which will do damage. This will be even better on a block of 30, but you risk miscasting or mass dispel roll against you.
Drop the Ushabtis with bows as 50 points per Ushabti is 200 points across the 4, in 3 rounds of shooting they killed less than 10 warriors and in combat took out 3 or 4. Without mathammering too much I can’t see a way to make them more useful. Those points will probably be better spent on more Ushabtis with Great weapons. that’ll give an extra rank and support attacks. Or run in a separate unit for more punch