This will be my first look at the new Tomb Kings Army Book, but you'll notice as your reading that I won't go too specific into the entrys. The reason for this is mostly because this is my first impressions on the book and about certain parts in it. This will be more of a brief opinion review that will be followed by a more in depth review later in the year. This is so that I can get a better perspective on how this army will function in the new 8th edition landscape and I think it would be pointless to be too critical on this book during this time. Keep in mind that I can get information wrong while recording my notes, but those mistakes will be pretty minor. Models provided by Wonderland Toy and Hobby.
FLEASHED OUT TOMB KINGS
As you can tell the new TK book has been put into beautiful colour and man it really shows off the sheer quality of GW Artwork. Its a shame that GW doesn't have a webpage for all their independant artwork (If there is please let me know, also if you have some cool concept artwork yourself let me or Mike know and we can showcase it on the site :). The above photo was taken from the book and it showcases a Brettonian crusade against the TK, this is only a part of the total picture, so keep that in mind. Like every GW book before this book is significantly larger then previous books and the TK have been greatly expanded on.
Theres one particular paragraph that really captures the essence of the Tomb Kings: "The Tomb King orders his servants to gather the feast, as his right hand grabs the dish in front of him. Oblivious to fact that the food will simply fall through his degrading form, he bites down and his tortured mind recalls memories long past of a time when he could taste, feel and touch. The Tomb King quickly turns into a raving beast tossing his meal to the ground. There is only vengence and conquest left in this being's mind, for what else awaits those in undeath then to take justice upon the selfish living, whose entire purpose is to eternally mock the damned Tomb King with their very existance".
Tombs Kings are so much more then desert themed Vampire Counts. While their counter parts are cursed individuals whose entire personality controls a mindless horde of monsters. The Tomb Kings and the legions serving them are tortured souls that are attached to their decaying forms, while each army follows the Tomb King they do so under their own will and not as mindless husks. Each soldier is attached to corpse, but they still retain all their knowledge from their past life and follow their lords out of the same royal bonds and traditions that governed them in real life. Needless to say I was happy about the sheer amount of TK story content in this book, it far surpasses the old book in scope and depth, thankfully. There are the usual trademark lame endings like in all other GW books (They march to war) but more content on individual legions(Black Scorpion Army...people ridding giant...scorpions) and lots of special characters to spend hours on for anyone to enjoy.
UMMM THEIR DEAD....MOVING ON
Looking at the special rules I see that alot of the old spelling mistakes and grey areas have been cleaned up. For instance, units that come up from under the ground have a special rule called "Buried under the sand" a nice generic term to sum up that they can erupt from a point on the table. This reminds me of the generalizations that the Orcs and Goblins book layed down like Choppa and Animosity. The rule is explained on one page and certain models will be labelled with that rule. Otherwise not much has changed here: they still can't march, will crumble after losing combats and the hierophant, they still hit with ranged weapons on 5+. So basically other then cleaning up the special rules not much has been added.
TOMB KING, TOMB PRINCE, TOMB HEARLD....OK I GET IT
There has been some interesting developments with the characters this time around, the Tomb King stays the same in points, but all the liche priests(Lord/Heroe) have significantly dropped in points. The Tomb King/Prince have remained largely the same, but the "My will be Done" rule has changed dramatically. Instead while the TK/TP are in a unit that unit can use their WS Instead. Who needs the Helm of Commandment? The curse is also still there as well. There are two new characters (Heroes) The Tomb Hearld and Necrotech, the first one acts like a personal bodyguard to the TK/TP and if they are in the same unit they can take a blow for them on a roll of 2+, even melee attacks. The exception being they can't do this while the TK is in a challenge. Given that TK's typically don't have the best armour, this could provide a bit of extra protection. But I'm not sure if this character is entirely worth what he does in such an expensive army, although he is only 60pts. The Necrotech is also interesting because he acts like a warrior priest providing hatred for his unit, with the added benefit of providing all units with the "Undead Construct" rule within 12 a free 6+ Regeneration save. This character is also fairly cheap so you might see lots of these on the table. You can legally take all the special characters regardless of the points level (Take that!! 6th ed Settra!!) Plus there are at least 8 new characters to delve into, good stuff! Lastly the Liches have lost their old spells, but they cast just like normal wizards, but thats not really a bad thing.
Like the recent Orcs and Goblins army book, this book also only has 8 magic items. This pretty much confirms that all future army books will only have 8 items in addition to the main core magic items. Where the army customization comes in is that compared to the Orcs who have 2 magic weapons, 1 armour, 3 standards and 1 enchanted item, the TK's have 2 of each category. This leads me to believe that troop heavy armies will have access to more standards, while more elite specialized forces like the elves will have more arcane/enchanted items. I will have to see the future releases to confirm this, but it seems logical at this time.
THE LORE OF THE DEAD, LIFE AND DEATH....VERY NICE
Wow so basically the new lore has 4 augment spells, 2 hexes and 1 magic vortex, which lets say is right up their with the purple sun. The signiture spell is the basic movement spell they had before, but its boosted version allows units with several inchs to make a free move. The option to use the lores of life and death are fairly intereting and I can't wait to see what combinations players will come up with at tournaments.
SKELETONS R US
Is basically the entire core......surprise!!! But what TK players will love is that the basic skeleton foot soldier costs 4pts. Take that Skaven! Of course you can upgrade the skellys to 6pts making them a decent tarpit unit that can wear average armour. The skeleton archers are a seperate entry that already cost 6pts. The skeleton horsemen archers cost the same at 14pts, but the skeleton heavy horsemen(Heavy... yeah right) cost 12pts. Lastly chariots have made the jump to core, so no more lord switching mumbo jumbo stuff, sorry. The chariots cause D6 impacts now, and only need 3 chariots to make a rank. If that wasn't enough each added rank bonus gives 1+ strength to the impact hits on the charge. This is huge, allowing units of chariots to really dish out the hurt on other large units. This might be the future lance formation, but thats speculation at its most extreme. However Chariots have also went up in price.
THE BASIC CONSTRUCTS OF THE ARMY
Joking aside, this section (like the O_G book) is HUGE! There will be alot of hard choices to make in this section. There are Tomb Guard coming in at 11pts, but really they are 13pts because you really want the halberds for 2pts(Str 5 Killing Blow). There are Tomb Swarms coming in at 5pts cheaper.....moving on. There's Carrion and Tomb Scorpions at the same points costs as and abilities as before. Ushabti are similar like before, but they have the option for giant bows that are Str 6 Killing Blow and volley fire. Theres the warsphinx that is just a crazy monster to behold. This sphinx is the one with the howdah. It can choose to do one attack (in addition to thunderstomp) called the thundercrash attack, where it rolls an attack against the highest WS in the opposing unit. If it hits, place a small template in base contact with the warsphinx, causing strength 3 hits and str 9 no armour under the center hole. It has a breath weapon attack and not to mention the Tomb Guard crew or Tomb King on its back. This beast is very awesome and I believe the only real issue its going to have is that while its at Toughness 8 it only has a 5+ save, and since its undead it will lose its wounds if combat is lost. Lastly there are the Tomb Kings Necropolis Knights / Sepulchral Stalkers. The knights are interesting because they are pretty fast and have killing blow(Tomb Guard riders) a 3+ armour save, and poisoned attacks. Not bad for monster heavy cav. The Stalkers have poisoned attacks as well and halberds, they have an interesting range attack that might interest people. Its range 8, Str 1, and each stalker rolls an artillery dice, inflicting that many hits. Then when rolling to wound they use the opposing model's Int stat, using the highest one. That model, if wounded takes a no armour save hit. If a misfire is rolled that model suffers that many hits instead as it catches its glare in the enemies weapons. I really like this unit, it acts like an Ogre Leadbelcher, and is fairly neat to look at.
In conclusion the Special section is so large that tough choices will need to be made, and you won't be able to take every model in the entry. My guess is that you will see at leasy one Tomb Guard unit, Ushabti, Warsphinx, Stalkers. It will be interesting to see what a list will actually look like and if people can even fit in Scorpions or Carrion?
SHADOW OF THE COLOSUSS
Now the Special section was difficult to pick, but guess what the rare is even worse. Theres the new bone giant (Sorry no model yet, coming later) it acts just like the old bone giant, but is better stats wise and has the option for a Giant Bow. Keep in mind it can make additional attacks in combat, and attack, attack, attack. Makes the Ghorgon look like a push over. Plus its only 170pts....yeah. Theres another monster with no model the Hierotitan, which is an ancient statue that can make your wizards cast better and plus cast some unique spells of its own. It comes in at 175pts.....yeah. Next theres the Necrosphinx that everyone has seen, and yes it can fly. It has Toughness 8, 5 attacks (One of those attacks is a special one, so yes it doesn't give up attacks) All of them are killing blow, and that special one is Str 10 with Heroic Killing Blow. Don't forget your thunderstomp as well ;) There's the casket of souls and it doesn't attach to a liche anymore(Comes automatically as a warmachine crew), it can be killed, but it basically explodes....killing stuff within 12 inches. Theres the Screaming Skull Catapults, which are basically the same thing as before.
Thats alot of Rare choices, not to mention the Necrosphinx is over 200pts so again fitting everything into a list will be difficult and although each choice is strong, your limited in the amount you can take thanks to only having 25% of the army in rare. So it seems unlikely that you will see too many monsters, but the options are there. Finally while the Necrosphinx, without a doubt is awesome, it doesn't have the staying power and or the killing power to stop giant units on its own, due to having a 5+ save and only 5 standard attacks. Thunderstomp helps, but is random so its better to have this beasty chasing down hellpits or spiders. Leaving the Colosuss and Warsphinx to chomp on infantry.
HERE COMES THE DESERT STORM!!!!
My final thoughts on the book, like the Orcs and Goblins army book are fairly positive. The book, while it does have some crazy powerful stuff, its been balanced by the percentage system and high points costs. There is alot of variety now in the list and I honestly believe that while Tomb King armies will have similar elements in them, they will also have very different approaches to list building. Theres going to be chariot armies, archer armies, skeleton hordes, monster spam, and many other options. The thing about all those army extremes though, is that they will be lacking in so many other areas, so a balance is most likely ideal when building an army.
Looking back at the two new army books I feel fairly confident in saying that GW has a pretty good handle on warhammer 8th edition and there seems to be certain formulas and design choices that are branching across the books. This helps alot in dealing with power creep, because it basically makes each book similar(But very different in playstyles) and simple to develop. While each book from a design point don't seem to be that different, the added colour and artwork really helps make each book feel unique although they are similar.
I really enjoy looking at this book and with all the designs, artwork, and new ruleset, heck I might even pick up an army, mind you not anytime soon (Student Budgets suck). If you have any speculations on what the next warhammer fantasy army to come out next is, or want to talk about the new Tomb Kings, you can contact me on Twitter @ATT64. I check my wall everyday and I will try my best to contact you.
Till Next Time