Today we’re continuing our Warcry Hero series with the Death faction.
Compared to the other grand alliances, the Death grand alliance is quite small having only four warbands in total. But those warbands are quite diverse giving a lot of options.
The Flesh-Eater courts have the super cheap and fast Ghouls along with terrifying flyers like the Crypt Infernal. The Nighthaunts are an entire faction of flyers including the cheapest flyer in the game the Chain Rasp. The Ossiarch bone reapers are a relatively new addition, with constructs made from bone rather than the normal undead. Lastly, we have the Soulblight Gravelords, a classic mix of vampires and shambling hordes.
As we’re dealing with a mere 45 heroes, the plots are a little chunkier with less spread. Damage has the typical peak at 5 and another at 7, but unlike order and chaos there’s nothing in the 8 to 12 categories. Wounds peak at 20 but there are almost as many 25 and 30 wound heroes.
Movement is very surprising, the other grand alliances are mostly 4 move and we might have expected based on the typical death fighter a lot of move 3 units, but instead we have a majority of fighters at move 6. A lot of this is coming from the Nighthaunt leader who are all very nippy.
For Strength and Toughness we’re seeing the usual 4 and 4, with the vast majority of toughness at 4. Notably there are no toughness or strength values of 6.
Here we have the Average Damage versus Toughness 4 plot, and with so few heroes to look at we can mark almost all of them clearly enough.
There are immediately some stand outs. The Crypt Ghast, Crypt Ghast Courtier, Wight King and Abhorrant Arch Regent all are punching well above their weight. Underneath the Crypt Ghast is Mortek Hekatos with the same points and damage but move 3. No crazy 10+ damage fighters here, so we’re going to have to scale back our expectations a little in comparison to Chaos heroes.
And here we have our top 5 with a range of fighters all capping out at 7.33 damage. Along with that we are getting some interesting options. The slowest fighter here is move 5 so we’re not going to have to worry about speed. These were sub-sorted into damage per points, so the cheapest models are coming up first.
That means we start with the Abhorrent Archregeant. Relatively cheap at 205 points, decent damage especially against T3 targets. Great move of 5 and T4 with 25 wounds, so a solid all rounder. He does have a notable double Unnatural Vitality which allows him to heal, so with 25 wounds he can take some hits and then an easy double while in combat will get him some wounds back. He also has a fantastic, but slightly controversial, movement ability which I’ll talk about later.
Next up we have the Crypt Haunter Courtier also from the Flesh Eater Court. 45 more points and move is up to 60 and wounds go to 36. The Unnatural Vitality is gone, but all Flesh eater court have a on kill version that’s also a double Feeding Frenzy. The Courtier also has an interesting double that will add 2 attacks for the rest of the turn, but can only be used when within 6 inches of a Flesh Eater King, either the Arch Regeant or the cheaper but similar Abhorrent Ghoul King.
In Third place we have the Liege Kavalos from the Ossiarch Bonerepears, this is a mounted hero so pretty fast at 8 move but with all the draw backs of being mounted, no climbing without stairs and no getting through doors or arches. Generally the Bonereapers do poorly in this review, but they do have access to a double that increase their hit and crit damage by one for the rest of the turn, which might be impacting their general numbers. Along with this, the Kavalos has one of my favourite type of abilities, Endless Duty is a double giving a bonus move or attack after a kill. All the Ossiarch leaders also have access to a movement ability, a Triple Unstoppable Advance, it only gives move equal to half the value which is kinda meh but it applies to all fighters in the same battle group, so hammer, dagger, or shield, regardless of where they might be.
In fourth place, and remember this is the same damage as number 1 just a little costlier, we have the Wight King on Skeletal Steed. Another mounted character, this fighter also has a reach of 2 extending his threat range and forcing the opponents to spend an action if they want to attack back. He does have a double that increases crit damage by the half the value. At best, this increases the average damage by 2, while the universal double Onslaught increases it by 1.84, so unless you’ve got a double 5 or 6 this is a trap. As a hero from the Soul Blight Gravelords he also has a crazy good ability to bring fighters back from the death which we’ll talk about later.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Crypt Infernal Courtier. This is a move 10 flier doing max damage for the faction. The agile runemark opens up two abilities, one is a double increases strength by 1, which doesn’t mean much unless you’re attacking a toughness 5 fighter, but it also means any crit will root the target. As the Infernal has 4 dice, that’s essentially a 30 percent chance of rooting the target if you’re attacking once, and 75 percent chance if you’re attacking twice. Unfortunately you’ll need to use the ability before you try kill it, so often it will be wasted when the target dies.
We don’t have any 3 move fighters in this list, so the next list is straight to damage efficiency. These are mostly cheaper versions of the previous list.
The Crypt Ghast Courtier is similar to the Crypt Haunter Courtier, but loses the Chosen of the King double and has lower stats overall. The Wight King is almost the same as the mounted version, just unmounted. The Crypt Ghast is like the Courtier, but cheaper again just losing 4 wounds and 1 strength. The Mortek Hekatos is kind of new, but the bulwark ability really adds nothing of value. So this his all stats, decent damage for 105 and with an impressive 5 toughness, but with move 3. Last up we have the Abhorrent Archregeant who was top of the last list.
If we take out the one move 3 characters we also get the Slasher Crone who is our first Nighthaunt hero. Damage is decent at 5 for 165 points, and this is a move 6 fly hero. The Nighthaunt have a number of interesting abilities, but the one unique to this hero is the Triple Harrowing Shriek which is a root effect.
Next up we are looking at wounds. As expected, we’ve got a pretty tight range where the more points you spend the more wounds you get. We do have a few notable fighters at the top of that band. The Mortek Hekatos and Wight King unsurprisingly with their move 3 make up for it with lots of wounds.
In this list, I’ve tried to do some balancing between wounds and damage versus points, but as you can see we’re back to familiar faces and if we take out the two move 3 characters, we’ll see two more familiar faces.
So although the damage isn’t super high for these hero, they are well rounded with great move, decent damage, and good survivability.
Let's look at flyers, and we’ve already seen a few. As before, we’re looking for problems solvers and fast flyers typically are able to get into position to get the job done the fastest.
At the top of the list we have the Crypt Internal Courtier. This is the chunkiest of the Death heroes at 36 wounds and with move 10 and fly will be able to get in and take care of most problems. I’ve already mentioned the two doubles, which are a bit situational to be fair.
There are also two triples, one Death Scream does target everyone in 8 inches, but only does damage on a 5 or 6, doing 1 damage on a 5 and ability dice value on a 6. With enough dice you might get some value out of it, but often you’ll be better of spending the triple elsewhere. The second Triple, Bringer of Death is a movement ability that we’ll look at later.
Only slightly cheaper we have the Varghulf Courtier, a little less move at 8 but still with fly. Similarly damage average of 7 is a little down but still pretty good. The doubles are the same, but if you have a Triple free you get to use the amazing Terrifying Frenzy. It is only for the next attack, but as the Varghulf has only 3 dice it is an extra attack worth of dice. So that brings a single attack to 14 average damage, meaning you can reliably snack on a chaff model. If you’re already in melee and getting two attack actions anyway, then the double Onslaught is going to get you 2 dice which is pretty close, but the option for that burst damage makes this quite an interesting fighter.
Next up we have the Vampire Lord, which I have to admit I was surprised to see is actually a flier. The terrifying runemark opens up these two triples, Thirst for Blood which lets you heal after killing a target. Unfortunately that heal is based on the abilities dice value, which for a triple can be unreliable, but it is doubled which is quite nice. If you fall to kill the target you can spend that triple on Call the Crimson Feast instead, which adds 1 attack dice to other nearby fighters.
As with the Flesh Eater Court, there’s one additional ability all Soulblight Gravelords have, which I’m going to hold off on till later, because it’s worth giving a section to itself.
Last in this short list we have the Slasher Crone, much cheaper at 165 points but still move 6 fly with 5 average damage which is pretty good. Not going to be a problem solver all by herself, but will get some work done. At 15 wounds might be a little vulnerable. In this case there are two abilities I want to talk about later! One is a Net like effect and the other a resurrection, so rest assured there is more to this hero.
Looking at damage efficiency, we can see the same names appearing in our move 5 list.
It’s only once we up it to move 10 that we get some new appearances. The Fell Bats are a Thrall unit, so they aren’t competing with the others.
The Dreadblade Harrow is an interesting addition, around the same price as the Vampire lord with around 1 less average damage. It has a very interesting teleport ability for a Triple and as with the Slasher crone gives access to the Nighthaunt hero resurrection ability.
The Crypt Infernal we’ve seen, in 5th place we have the Knight of Shrounds on Etheral Steed. This was the go to last edition, but the Dreadblade Harrow has pushed ahead. On stats alone you pay 35 points just for 3 wounds. You also trade the teleport for a double that heals and a quad that does aoe damage. The heal ability is quite good though, rather than worrying about dice values you heal wounds equal to the damage the Knight of Shrouds did during the activation, which at 5.33 average could be a big.
The quad, obviously is problematic being a quad, but is actually reliable damage, doing ability dice value in damage to all enemy fighters within 3 inches. A rampage would be another move and attack, but Reaped Like Corn could be better if its a high dice value and you have 2 or more targets getting hit.
Last up we have the Hellwraith, added to the list because there were only 6 fighters in this category, with only 3.33 damage on average this is pretty poor. The ability opened up with the destroyer runemark turns hits into crits, but with strength 3 even getting the hits is going to be rough.
The next section I normally look at is the ranged fighters, and honestly we’re not expecting a lot. I have a tendency to undervalue the ranged fighters, it’s good to remember these fighters can often attack at range twice where other models would have to move in and attack, so mentally doubling the damage isn’t unreasonable. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately depending on your perspective, you cannot target hostiles in melee with a friendly, so a good way to avoid ranged attacks is to get stuck in.
There are a few caster heroes, pretty much all the options have the same stat line. Average damage of 3 at max range 7 with he Krulghast Cruciator as the only outlier at 4 damage and 10 range. Three of these heroes are from the Ossiarchs and I guess it reflects their theme of support casters packing up the line troops and constructs.
The Necromancer has a very cool double ability that lets him assign damage to a friendly minion to heal himself equal to the value of the ability. He also has a quad that gives a bonus move or attack to nearby minions up to the value of the ability. As a quad, getting good numbers is tricky, but a quad where you get 3 or more extra activations would be great value.
The Ossiarchs all have various abilities which aren’t worth noting. All the Ossiarch leaders have a bonus move ability for their battlegroup, it is a a triple and the bonus is equal to half the ability so it’s tricky to use but very cool.
Similarly, the Krulghast Cruciator doesn’t have any extra rune marks beyond fly and hero, so his ability selection is the same as any other Nighthaunt hero.
Alright, next up we have Thralls. In a matched play warband you can have up to 3 thralls and they do not conflict with your 3 heroes. Thralls are part of your grand alliance, so any of the Death warbands can take these.
For Death there are just the two, the Dire Wolf and the Fell Bat.
Both share the same reaction ability which they can trigger if an enemy comes close to one of your heroes. Using a reaction takes up an action, but this reaction gives a move and attack, so you’re up an action. While the average 2 or 3 damage from these Thralls is unlikely to kill anything before they can then attack, you will get to attack with the thrall in a later activation so it’s very efficient. Importantly, none of this is costing you any dice.
Despite appearances, neither of these are considered beasts, presumably due to their magical nature. This means they can go through closed doors and importantly can carry treasure.
The Dire Wolf is super fast at move 8 but also giving them a bonus move as a double if they’re within 6 inches of a target. It’s very comparable to the Crypt Ghouls from the Flesh Eater court who cost 55 but the Dire Wolf is getting 3 extra move, 2 extra wounds, and importantly that reaction for those 30 points.
The Fell Bat on the other hand is a faster, can fly, hits a little harder, and has a little more health. That’s an extra 45 for all that though, so the Dire Wolf is definitely more efficient. The ability is a triple, which we don’t always have spare and it does get an extra attack. So that’s an extra 3 damage. I always like to compare these to Onslaught, as the Fell Bat rolls 3 dice for attacks that’s pretty easy, 1 dice is another 1 average damage. So the extra attack is s1 average damage better than Onslaught and two attacks.
I have to admit, I love the models for the Dire Wolf which is probably going to sway me in that direction. Three Dire Wolves will cost me 255 which is about the same as two Fell Bats at 260. I lose out on the 2 move, 2 wounds, and fly, but I gain an extra activation for my warband.
Next up we’re gonna look at some abilities and see what fighters can use them rather than the other way around. As you’ll have noticed there are a couple of very interesting abilities that are open to any hero within the Warbands. There’s one in Flesh Eater Court, one in Nighthaunts, and one in Soulblight Gravelords. I’d be tempted to try bring one from each to be honest.
We’ve already talked about the Dreadblade Harrow. Decent damage, move 10 fly. For a triple you get to teleport. You do have to be 3 inches away from anyone and you end up 5 inches away from anyone, but that’s not too bad. A disengage will get you out of combat letting you then teleport. Since the Dreadblades move is 10, teleporting to more than 5 inches away means you can easily get into combat. So worst case scenario, you disengage as first action, then teleport, then the second action moves you into combat with the target who can literally be anywhere on the board. While fly 10 is already going to give you a lot of options on the table, a teleport is always handy to have.
Next in the Nighthaunts, we have the Slasher Crone who we’ve already talked about b before. Much cheaper but still with damage close to the Dreadblade. The Triple she brings is the Harrow Shriek, a 3+ net effect. This is the most reliable net for Death, so even as a triple it’s worth keeping in mind.
Both of these are part of the Nighhaunts and any of the Nighthaunt Hero can use this triple which will take any friendly fighter that has already been killed and put them back on the board reducing the total wounds by whatever the ability was. It should be noted that wounds never exceed the total wound total. So if a fighter as 1 wound left and takes 20 damage, they only end up taking 1 of that 20 with the remaining 19 discarded. I’d imagine from turn 3 onwards, this is probably the ability you’ll want to use the most. Very frustrating to play against as you need to keep killing the same things over and over.
Speaking of which, the Soulblight Gravelords have a similar ability, in this case it only works on Soulblight Minions but it does remove all wounds from them. The model of choice is the Graveguard with Great Wight Blade which is one of the most efficient damage fighters in the game and the best bang for your buck with this ability.
These two abilities combined are amazing and are probably what you should be banking your wild dice for. A lot of warbands I suspect will be using the Grave Guard as their core units, they are slow, but they’re cheap and with 5 average damage on hit are very dangerous. While the 3 move might mean they take a while to get there, the Triple to bring them back means they’ll keep killing until the game ends.
The Vampire Lord is a great all rounder for this ability while the Necromancer is the cheapest hero with this ability. To really use it you do need to be in faction, so while you’re likely to bring in a Nighthaunt hero for their ability, the Soulblight Gravelords keep to their own.
Another great option for the Soulblight hero is the Wight Lord. Personally I love the new model from the Warhammer Underworlds Gnarlwood box which is a fantastic Wight King model. In addition to summoning back graveguard, he also has a great double. As each point increase is about 2 extra average per activation, even a double 1 is better than getting the extra attack from Onslaught. This means the Wight King can be a super high damage model when you need him to be.
Last up we have a Triple any of the Flesh Eater courts can use. This adds the value of the Triple to the move characteristics of friendly fighters within 6 inches. This is the same ability as the Order heroes have with the Cities of Sigmar and it’s been shown to be incredibly powerful there.
There are some tricks to using this. First you want to make sure you stay within the 6 inches for all your fighters, so if your Crypt Infernal is shepherding some slow undead, you don’t want to zoom across the board 20 inches straight away. You might. Be better of using a wait as your first action, then the shambling undead can get their boost for both of their activations, moving no more than 6 inches on the first move, and then when you activate the Crypt Infernal next he can move his normal 10 plus the triple ability bonus.
The cheapest option for a Flesh Eater Courts hero is the Crypt should at a bargain 105. Damage is fine for the points and he’s got a nice move of 5 to go along with it. As I talked about with the order heroes, having a ranged ability with this can be quite nice, but that’s not an option for this warband.
And there we have it, Death is a relatively small grand alliance, but they really have some fantastic fighters in their range.
One thing I should note is how great the Flesh Eater Courts start collecting box is. It has a monster, 10 Crypt Ghouls, and 3 Crypt Flayers. The monsters rider can be kept separate though and is a Abhorrent Ghoul King. The 3 Crypt Flayers can be built with multiple options, with and without wings and with various options to distinguish infernals and courtiers. The crypt ghouls form the core of the Flesh Eater Court warband, being fantastic value and very fast. You get 10 in this box and one can be made into a Crypt Ghast Courtier, so you have lots of options.
There are also a few other options that you might already have or that are relatively cheap to pick up.
You can see the Sons of Velmorn, which you’ll have if you picked up the new Gnarlwood box for Warhammer Underworlds. This give you a fantastic looking Lich King along with a number of models you could use as Graveguard, unfortunately only one has a two hander for the Wight Blade, but your opponent might be fine with you proxing them or you just run them straight as is, they’ll pack plenty of punch anyway.
Back right I have Cado Ezechiar the Hollow King, because there are a ton of options to use for your Vampire Lord. Have fun with it. Or pick up the Underworlds team and have 4 options to pick from.
The Dreadblade Harrows are easy to build models that should be a cheap enough to pick up, while the doggies are the front are just the goodiest boys ever.
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