Long ago in the dusty halls of 8th edition I wrote a tactical article on this very subject. Even though my adventures in Age of Sigmar are still only very early days if there is one thing that it has already taught me it is that Necropolis Knights are still my favourite unit in the Tomb Kings arsenal and by the end of this article you'll have a deeper understanding as to why they should be included in every Tomb Kings list but also if you find yourself opposite them, have a very solid plan to take them out.
I wanted to dissect the 1000 point list I took in last weekends games of Age of Sigmar and jot down my thoughts on each unit and where I think I'd take my list from here going to 2000 points.
2 x 3 Chariots
6 Necropolis Knights
For both games my characters were purely in support roles using spells and command abilities to buff the rest of the army and that was mainly the Necropolis Knights. The ability to run being an old school Tomb King player was very foreign to me however it allowed the heroes to stay relatively close to where they needed to be. The Tomb Kings ability really boosted the Knights giving them a 2+ to hit and the Serpents a 3+ to hit which were both very welcomed and turned them into blenders. The Liche Priest was very handy for placing Mystic shield down onto them as well but also chipping away wounds with Arcane Bolt.
The chariots were my 'battleline tax' and I really wasn't sure how to use them. I just resorted to the old tactics and just made sure I was charging with them rather than being charged and for the most part it seemed to work out well. They tied up a unit of Demigryph's and even though Todd was rolling well below average he thinks they're a great unit but I'm not entirely convinced and will be looking into the future to see what I can pair up with them to make them a little more sharper. Having the icon bearer in them makes them ridiculously resilient however and it is always fun to bring a model back in my hero phase.
Necropolis Knights were undoubtedly my favourite unit in Tomb Kings when they were released and I use to run a list consisting of two units of 6 of them in a snake wall. It was a very fun list and the Knights in Age of Sigmar look even more potent than in the last write up. Once again the Icon Bearer and the Liche Priest nearby ensured that whatever damage this unit soaked up, casualties would shortly re-appear with vengeance. The amount of attacks they put out isn't amazing however once the King puts out his command ability then the quality of attacks severely increases. I think the Necroserpents poison attacks is a great little buff as well. These were easily the heavy lifters in the game and I could see them taking on a lot of units as long as they're attacking first, and of course they're not running into Ironguts or something with damage 3 for example.
Lastly the Stalkers. They have a fantastic ambush ability but I just can't help but feel perhaps their shooting is a little too random for me and just not consistent enough. I'll be sure to include them in a few more games before I completely make my mind up about them but initially I wasn't overwhelmed with them like I was the Knights for example but I do love the fact they can pop up and then vanish again beneath the sands which is right in line with their background.
What I would like to experiment with when adding another 1000 points is dropping the Tomb King and replacing him with a Royal Warsphinx and there is a lot of combinations I wish to try out there such as Red Fury and Tomb Blade, or Master of the Black Arts is another command trait on the Royal Warsphinx I can see as being potent. As for artefacts the only one I don't see much use in is the Sword of Unholy Power and the Black Amulet.
A third unit of Chariots perhaps for the next battleline unit, another unit of 6 Necropolis Knights would be fantastic as well and if there is room I can't wait to get a Necrosphinx onto the table purely because I absolutely love the model and I think the current rules do them justice even though they do cost 400 points and that would be a squeeze at the 2000 points level.
What has done you well so far in the Tomb Kings or playing against them what do you fear the most?
Thanks for reading.
Warhammer is what got me into wargaming at such a young age so whilst I certainly was heartbroken when Games Workshop killed off Warhammer Fantasy Battle and replaced it with Age of Sigmar I was certainly and still to do this day so deeply invested in the hobby that I didn't want to let go. I did have a single game of Age of Sigmar when it was first released but had discovered X-wing and it simply took over.
With the release of the General's Handbook the attention was placed on the points system included and I am very interested to see if this will fix the game and perhaps return some balance to it. By fix I mean give the game a bit more structure rather than just turning up to a mate's place and dumping 'X' amount of models on the table and rolling dice. Yes I know about the 'Sudden Death' rules but really who wants to do that? Wouldn't you rather have a 'balanced' game to begin with?
Another huge motivation for me in hoping that their is some worth to the new book is that I can take all of those lovely miniatures I've acquired over the years and rather than them continuing to gather dust in my display cabinets I'll be able to use them and share another element of wargaming with my kids.
I whole heartedly understand that Age of Sigmar is a completely different game from Fantasy and I actually welcome that change. Fantasy was ridiculously complicated when you disconnect from it and have a look at if objectively and compared to just about any other gaming system on the market that isn't produced by Games Workshop.
Last week I walked into a Games Workshop store which is something I've avoided for the better part of a decade. After copping the normal bullshit and over energetic people that work there that you'd love to punch in the mouth I asked some questions to which I already knew the answers for. The staff member claimed that Age of Sigmar was outselling Fantasy by far which is an indicator that in fact it really is doing well or rather that's the text book response from any sales person. I walked out with the book and eagerly my son sunk his teeth into it straight away asking when we could play.
Interestingly enough Games Workshop for the longest time failed in a big way to use social media to its advantage, it basically turned its back on its customer/fan base and rather than use them as a clever tool for continuing product development they instead went about their business in a rather ignorant way and stuck their head in the sand. Only recently have they re-opened those channels of communications but my question is have they left it too long?
Fast forward to this weekend and I was lucky enough to squeeze in a game with my son but also with long time warhammer sparring partner Todd who wandered over with some of his old Empire army. We both had a quick chat after completing a game and our initial reaction was it was a very enjoyable game that we could see ourselves playing on a regular basis. I was extremely glad to bring my Tomb Kings out of hiding and I won't go into too much detail as at this stage I'll touch on our thoughts in an upcoming podcast episode.
Age of Sigmar seems to have been re-vitalised in my area simply because of this book and matched play, has this had the same impact in your area?
Thanks for reading.
Sticking with a two ship build once again I'm up against Dan running an Empire 'aces' list.
Dengar - Push The Limit, K4 Security Droid, Unhinged Astromech, Glitterstim, Punishing One
Bossk - Veteran Instincts, Mangler Cannon, Zuckuss, 4-LOM, K4 Security Droid, Inertial Dampeners
Inquisitor - Push the Limit, Autothrusters, TIE/v1
Carnor Jax - Push the Limit, Autothrusters
Omega Leader - Juke, Comm Relay
Thanks for watching.
On the weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend 'Aces High' which is an X-wing event ran by Irresistible Force in Brisbane. It isn't a stock standard tournament format however, rather each squad is 125 points and one named 'ace' is nominated for the day. The damage (shields/hull) that ace does is tallied at the end of the day and the top scoring ace of each faction won a prize as well as the overall tournament winner.
I tried a few 125 point builds during the week but couldn't decide on anything I really liked so I went back to the Bossk and Kath build I used in a store tournament a few weeks ago with a simple addition of a bumpmaster.
My list turned out as follows:
The usual 'Party Bus' build I've come to enjoy playing. The damage really sticks and the enemy fighter will re-roll all evade results and of course with Bossk's ability to turn a critical result to two damage it really chews through the shields quickly of enemy fighters.
I really enjoy this Kath Scarlet build and she is certainly a work horse of the list continuing to pressure the opponent and provided I use the engine upgrade well most of the time I should be catching an enemy ship in the rear arc with a target lock.
A very cheap 'bumpmaster' build which would have to serve. I had a single game with this build against my son the night before the tournament and didn't play it very well but could certainly see the potential. If I flew it in too early however it would simply be deleted but if I could get my timing sorted then it could be a real thorn in my opponents side.
My son also tagged along to this tournament for his second one flying a triple brobots list he'd only decided on the night before. It was a good bonding experience and also great to see he wasn't the only kid there playing X-wing who in fact would be my first opponent.
Round 1 vs Roman
Roman had simply told his Dad what ships he wanted to fly and his father Damien squashed them into a list. I would be facing the three most tanky ships in the Rebel arsenal and Romans ace was the Wookie everyone loved - Chewbacca.
From memory his list was something like this but no doubt I am missing something:
Chewbacca - Millenium Falcon, Dash Rendar, Crack Shot
Leebo - Tractor Beam
Kanan - Chopper, Fire Control System, Recon Specialist
Roman setup in a line in the centre of his table edge and proceeded just to slow roll with 2 straights whilst pouring the fire on. I stuck my contracted scout on the right, Kath took centre stage whilst Bossk came in from the left flank. Everyone focussed onto Kanan and the accumulation of fire took him out on the fourth or fifth turn before he got to really open up with those nasty 4 dice too much.
Chewie and Leebo put the hurt onto the Scout and Roman would be able to claim half points for Bossk as well. Leebo was the next to go and then the Bumpmaster did it's job and stuck to Chewie allowing Kath and Bossk to finish him off.
It was great to see another young player at X-wing and I sincerely hope Roman sticks to the game as undoubtedly he'd emerge to be a fantastic player which a great knowledge of the game when he gets a bit older.
Round 2 vs Liam
As soon as I saw this list I knew I was in trouble. I've always struggled with swarms and swarms with 4 dice missiles was just anti-icing for me. The hawk zooming around turning my ships into pilot skill zero punching bags didn't appeal to me much either.
Torkil Mux - Engine Upgrade, Glitterstim, Autoblaster Turret, Moldy Crow
5 x Binayre Pirate - Glitterstim, Homing Missiles, Guidance Chips
Liam flew in formation whilst I deployed Kath in the bottom right, Scout in the centre and Bossk in the left hand corner. I'd assumed Liam would chase down Kath right away as left unchecked I thought she would have posed the greatest threat to his list potentially deleting a ship each turn. How I was wrong. I opened up with a K-turn with Kath but Liam simply turned away and started heading towards the party bus. I pulled a red zero with Bossk to buy some time but I wasn't getting away unscathed and I couldn't pull my ships back into solid positions to retaliate.
Rather than hold back any longer I debated in my head about doing a 3 or 4 straight manoeuvre to try and avoid most of the incoming fire but it turns out a 4 would have been much better suited than a 3 and Bossk got deleted in the opening round of shooting much to my bitter disappointment as Liam popped all of his glitterstim and spent a few homing missiles to clean him up. Oh dear.
From here on it was just cruising around for me trying to get the best possible shooting arcs whilst minimising incoming damage and basically it was a war of attrition but Liam had a castle full of food. I did manage to destroy 3 head hunters over the course of cat and mouse but Liam methodically took out the Scout and then Kath just before time I was called.
Round 3 vs Damien
Damien is the father of Roman so it was good to play another father in the exact same boat with young kids who want to share the hobby with their father. He was running Kath as his ace backed up with a few tricks from what I could remember.
Kath Scarlet - Adaptability, Proton Bombs
Manaroo - Adaptability, Unhinged Astromech, K4 Security Droid
2 x Tansarii Point Veteran - Adaptability, Heavy Scyk, Tractor Beam
I'm missing some things from the list so my apologies. I liked the construction of the list and the trick of the trade was the Interceptors to bathe a target in tractor beam tokens whilst Kath and Manaroo did the heavy lifting putting the hurt on said target. Fantastically crafted and most effective against squads with small ships but I was interested to see how well it would go against my scummy horrible build.
I setup with Bossk just off the centre on the left whilst the Scout was on the right lining up the imposter Kath to cause some dramas whilst my Kath was wedged between the two big ships. Manaroo was opposite Bossk heading at an angle towards the bottom right hand corner whilst the two tractor beamers were going to head towards my Kath to take centre stage.
We slow rolled towards one another and then the second turn the fireworks started. Bossk 4-LOM'ed an Interceptors evade token and put the hurt onto it either destroying it or Kath finishing it up. As much as Damien was annoyed (nobody likes getting 'one-shotted') it wasn't a good trade off for me as the return fire back accounted for 5 shield tokens and two hull points of damage going through onto the Contracted Scout. The next ship to go was another Point Veteran I think as with 1 shield and 2 hull they don't tend to last that long in the thick of it.
I was anticipating his Kath to scream forward to catch a few people in her rear arc so my Scout used inertial dampeners to stay into perfect annoyance position whilst Bossk sat tight and Kath bumped into a ship (maybe my scout) but still netted a target lock from K4. Kath bumped into my zero manoeuvre scout and then took a round of heavy shooting and by this stage I think my scout was reaching for the black tape with 1-2 hull points left.
Next turn Damien dropped out the Proton Bomb but I'd anticipated this and the Scout took off to clear the area and nobody was in the blast zone. Kath just clipped an asteroid somewhere here and it was probably this turn of no shooting from her that prevented me losing a ship. Kath was eventually taken down with some 'girl on girl' action as Damien put it appropriately using DD target lock tokens from his K4 Security droid from Manaroo.
Eventually his Jumpmaster was then dealt with as my limping scout continued to avoid conflict and Kath was reaching for the black tape for ship repairs by this stage. Damien netted half points for both of these ships but it was a very interesting game with Bossk pulling some re-rolls with Zuckuss as well as turning the critical hit to an extra point of damage being what got me over the line.
Round 4 vs Geoff
Geoff was running a Dengaroo with a plus one, which turned out to be Latts.
Dengar - Painbot, Counter Measures
Manaroo - Stuff
Latts - Bossk, Weapons Engineer
Once again apologies for the fuzzy memory and worse still I can't even remember much about this game. I deployed Bossk in the left hand corner, Kath along side and then the Scout facing the left hand board edge just to delay his engagement a bit and hopefully get more out of Intimidation. Latts took the centre on Geoff's table edge whilst Manaroo and Dengar lined up opposite my party bus I think.
I honestly thought this game would come down to how my dice treated me and I was pretty lucky. Geoff perhaps over-committed Manaroo and I decided early on I would totally ignore Dengar whilst he was facing me to prevent him from getting to attack twice a round as well as using his pain bot. Manaroo dropped early from everything firing at him and Dengar managed to stick onto Bossk quite well smashing his shields down in no time.
Dengar ended up wandering a little to close to a corner of the table and I used my scout to block him to prevent him from scoring double shots each round and then used inertial dampeners the next round to hopefully do the same but Geoff turned away from the action rather than in it but by this stage Bossk had lined up a shot taking him out and in return Bossk got turned to space dust by Latts.
Around here I had a very unhealthy Kath Scarlet and a not so crash hot Scout against a full health Latts so the Scout bumped Latts for a bit to create some distance with Kath into range 3 getting a few rear shots with all the trimmings from push the limit. This killed off the shields fairly quickly and then it was time to barrel roll the scout into a better position so his fire could join in and eventually Latts was taken out and Geoff got half points for my two remaining ships.
It was a great game with a lot of analytical back and forth second/third guessing myself about positioning and lets face it, there isn't a better way of finishing off a tournament other than a +1 in the win column.
Geoff played my son earlier in the day and was kind enough to give him an alternative art Poe Dameron card so a big thank you to Geoff as he's a true gentleman and as you could imagine my son was well chuffed and didn't put the card down for the whole hour long drive home!
This was the second event I'd been to that Ado and Gav had run and they both do a fantastic job of it and the energy they have for the gaming community is a credit to them.
Out of 22 players I managed to snake up into 5th place running the Party Bus, Kath and some random Contracted Scout who couldn't find his other two buddies no doubt. It was a great event and overall I was fairly happy with my performance and I think I only managed to crash onto an asteroid once - bonus!
Interestingly enough there was only 24 points between myself and 3rd place so in that regard getting a ship down to net half points in a list like this certainly paid dividends and all those extra points certainly stacked up. I just have to improve against swarms of all types it the clear lesson here.
Finally a worthy mention that Dengar tallied up the most damage on the day with something like 70+ damage over the course of 4 games no doubt with the pain bot on board to help out and lots of double attacking action.
Thanks for reading.
Hardcore war gamer at heart and a huge fan of tabletop games. I use any excuse to get my family involved. Join me as I play and review games while trying not to epically fail.