TOMB KINGS SPECIAL CHOICES REVIEW (Part 2) O_O
NOTE: Just a bit of a disclaimer, I will be looking at all the choices within the army book and by no means do I know or realize every combo/tactic that can be achieved with this army. The following is a "highly" opinionated review and by no means should be considered complete or the "Right Way" to build/collect/play the faction in question. Mistakes will be made so do not take everything written as complete fact. Useful/helpful User input is highly encouraged. Enjoy!! :D
My Preferred Units: (64)
IT CAME FROM THE DEEP.....YOU MIGHT EVEN SAY IT'S ENTOMBED BENEATH THE SAND?
Well, lame attempts at a joke aside. This week's theme is all about exploring the depths of the Special Rule "Entombed Beneath the Sands" that is used for half of the special units within the Special Choices section. So what happens when a unit actually carries this special rule? The selected units gain the "Ambusher" ability and instead of entering the game from a table edge, they emerge from a token/coin that you place on the table during your remaining move's phase. Afterwards you roll both a Scatter and Artillery Dice to determine where the unit shows up. If a misfire is rolled or if the marker hits another unit and the unit cannot be placed for any reason(impassable terrain). Therefore you roll on the misfire chart and needless to say, it is rather unpleasant; results including everthing from showing up on a random table edge, to being destroyed outright. Lastly the unit arrives in the remaining moves part of the turn, so they are not allowed to charge. That last one is probably the most significant change compared to previous versions of the rule and lets see how it affects the future roles of these units under the battlefield.
Now this is a unit that I have to say is very interesting. Now normally I tend to look past Swarm type units because they are lackluster and lack the hitting power of a standard infantry unit. My reasoning for this is that you can have a cheaper infantry unit of 10 guys achieving the same goals that a group of three swarms might hope to accomplish. Sure they have more wounds and in most cases also have poisoned attacks, but they just lack the durability and recieve extra damage when losing a combat. However, I believe that this unit is the best choice when picking a unit to best utilize the EBTS rule. They can be deployed practically anywhere; can go after light targets like fast cav and warmachines with multiple poisoned attacks. The best part is that this unit is relatively cheap and even if you misfire, resulting in it's own death, you really don't lose much with regards to points. This unit is by far the best swarm unit in the game and can be helpful to an extent, but you will find it competing with other more important special choices and therefore this unit will most likely get over looked.
-A unit of 3 that is placed behind enemy lines to attack support elements like warmachines and other light targets
-Have the unit as a one turn redirector so that you can set up important counter charges
While looking up this new model on the internet, it becomes very apparent that people really love these new sculpts and I have to say that I strongly agree. The idea, concept and image of this new beasty is rather impressive in comparison to the other model that can be built from the kit(Necropolis Knights). However rules wise this model is a bit of a mixed bag, having some truly neat rules and a couple barely above average stats for a monstrous beast. Sure he has Mv 7, but considering he won't be moving around the board(EBTS) it's rather pointless for him to have it. Looking at the others, he has Ws 3, Str/Toughness 5(halberd)/4, 2 attacks at Int 3. They do get stomp, but considering thats all this unit gets you don't want to throw it into the fray. Having no choice, but to enter the board via EBTS, this unit will need at least two turns in order to get into combat, if thats what you want from it. Not to mention the fact it's on a chariot base, which really limits the usefulness of this unit's ability to be put anywhere on the board. Even Ushabti, who are almost identical in Stats and pts are better suited for this task, because you can hide them between units easily because of their base sizes. The sheer base size will make it difficult to place when deploying via EBTS. Now this unit has a leadbelcher type of attack where each model gets to roll an Artillery dice and generate shots against the enemy. The hits are then compared against the opposing unit's Int stat, when rolling to wound. The added benefit is that these wounds ignore armour saves. Theres one big problem when considering using the unit for this ability.....the opposing armie's Int Stat. You could play against a dwarf army which has a very low Int Stat resulting in a better chance to wound more models. On the other hand though you could run into an elf army with Int extremely high, which makes it difficult for this unit to actually kill anything. The last problem is that if you misfire, you can damage your own models, which can be a significant disadvantage during a game. An interesting unit, that might become overshadowed by more obvious multi-purpose units in the Special section.
-Treat them like a unit of Ogre Leadbelchers, have them shoot at important targets(Support units) or weaking larger units of Infantry/Knights/Monsters
-Have them guard a flank
-Deploy behind the enemy and cause all kinds of terrible things to happen
No matter what wargame system you play, you tend to find a particular unit/model that every player owns. It could be because of the model or theme that they enjoy it, but in most cases they own it because of it's stats, rules, and pts cost. It's a unit that you would technically be crazy not to take, a key cornerstone to the army and playstyle. But due to a new edition of the book this unit becomes a shadow of it's former self and is by no means as game changing unit/model, requiring more thought and investment to achieve a different purpose. Regrettably the Tomb Scorpion is one of those models. I still feel that they can be useful, because it is a giant scorpion after all. It has the same points cost as before and similar stats, so not much has changed there. I do feel that the EBTS rule has actually hurt this model however, since you can no longer choose to have this model deployed normally on the board. It has no choice, but to deploy via EBTS and therefore all the before mentioned risks and issues apply. The second key problem is that it can no longer charge the turn it pops out of the ground, meaning it will be sitting around for a turn and hopefully you didn't scatter in front of the enemy battle line. Once you get it into combat, there's poisoned attacks and killing blow which is always nice, meaning this unit is great for killing high armour and Toughness type models. It might be cheaper to have two Tomb Swarm going after support elements, but at least with the Tomb Scorpion it boasts a high Str and Tough, meaning it can kill most things.
-Deploy on flank, so that you can hopefully create a roadblock, allowing your army time to react to tougher armies(Warriors, Lizardmen)
-The ultimate warmachine hunter, but keep in mind that it needs at least a turn before it can do anything and a little luck with the artillery dice.
-Could be used it a similar role like the before mentioned Ushabti. Once this model is on the board it can protect your larger monsters like the warsphinx from cheap throw away units.
-At the very least it can be a simple redirector, that has a decent chance of sniping wizards, before dying to larger units.
NECROPOLIS KNIGHTS (64)
Looks better then the model eh? Just kidding, actually I have seen some pretty sweet conversions using this kit and I know it can become a cool looking unit. Now this unit is very unique out of all the EBTS choices, because it can actually purchase the ability as an upgrade. It would have similar issues as the Sepulchral Stalkers, but without the grace of a range attack. I personally think they are too many points to have accidently dying via EBTS, so in my own opinion I'd leave that upgrade at home. This unit works better being on the board already, and are a decent alternative to chariots. They have a 3+ armour save which is by far the best save in this book. This unit has poisoned attacks(Snakes) and Killing Blow(Riders), so it can have a decent impact on any combat. The one key difference compared to chariots, however is that you don't have the option for a Tomb King/Prince to join the unit on a mount. But considering the potential damage output and more importantly the durability of this unit, Tomb King players need to take a good hard look at this unit and say "Now how can I convert it"?
-Deploy them in a nearly identical manner to that of chariots
-Have units of 4 wide so that you can have a least 3 models survive to get into combat
-It's not worth deploying in multiple ranks because you lose out on extra attacks.
-This unit will be used as a potential counter-attacking unit that slams into the flank of an exposed enemy unit. Make sure to have a decent anvil unit engaged to the front before charging though.
ROUNDING OUT THE SPECIAL
Coming to the end of the Special Choices, it's time for some army design analysis. Building off from your chosen Core choices(Which can vary so greatly I would take hours to write them all down), the Special section should really complement what your over arcing goals your army is trying to achieve. Units like the Warsphinx, Tomb Guard, Necropolis Knights, have very well defined roles within the faction. More likely then not, most armies will base the majority of their force around these units as a result of wanting a corner stone within the army.
Looking back at my Preferred Units for the Special Section (64), Warsphinx, Tomb Guard, Necropolis Knights,....Ushabti? (lol, Which is completely opinionated) I would possibly build my force around 1-2 of these units. For instance the Warsphinx is a great all purpose model, being able to distract the enemy with it's size and hitting power allowing the TK player a viable hammer unit to build around. The Tomb Guard approach this from the opposite side, as an ideal Anvil unit. Allowing you to design an effective counter attack playstyle that favours the overall design of the TK's. Finally the Necropolis Knights are the midway point between the two extremes. They are a hard hitting glass hammer unit that is more durable then most glass hammers, but they can still get worn down if they are in combat too long.
The rest of the Special is really meant to cover areas that your list has not already. Theres alot of alternatives for warmachine/support unit hunting if you don't want to take the Core options, theres Tomb Scorpions, Carrion, Tomb Swarms, Sepulchral Stalkers, Ushabti. Some choices are better/cheaper then others, but depending on the composition of the opposing army, certain ones are more viable.
All in all, I love this part of the book the most, because there is just so much depth with army design that I could spend all night talking about them. Oh wait I spent all week trying to write about them......
MISSED OUT ON PREVIOUS REVIEW CONTENT?
Tomb Kings Core
Tomb Kings Special Part 1
First Look: Tomb Kings Impressions
As always you can reach me on Twitter @ATT64
Till Next Time