A former meta-king, finds itself becoming a finesse-needing contender. What units still do work, and which deserve their eternal slumber.
Undead have always been an army and playstyle I enjoy, so when reinforcement points vanished, I just knew I would get to dust off my hordes. For a time everything from mission design, and a powerful book just took this army from strength to strength. Soon Nighthaunt were released, and their very best units were even folded into Nagash’s native book.
Times change, though, and meta is a fluid thing. Hedonites arrived and were content to earn Depravity from numerous, weaker, models. Nagash found his needed durability as an Ossiarch Bonereaper, and slowly the Legions fell out of favor.
This week I wanted to see what I could do with the core book, and see if I could reclaim that powerful, mid-field army that once dominated at scoring the scenarios.
As an added exercise, I would not include the inherited Nighthaunt. I am so fond of Grimghast Reapers that even I treated them as a crutch. They’re still excellent, so for readers looking to buy into this army, just know I would have awarded them Over-Performer if not for my self-imposed criteria.
This little guy was once unfathomably awesome, but in a casting-buffs and denial meta, he is merely great. At a meager 110pts, one is an auto-include, and should never be left home.
Legions need to lean hard into model recursion to win, and if nothing else, a Necromancer with Deathly Invocation will return more points of models to your army than he cost. Being functionally free means the incredible asset that is Van Hel’s Danse Macabre, is pure winfall. Effectively doubling the combat effectiveness of a unit is mathematically among the strongest buffs in the entire game. The added mobility a second pile-in provides is gravy on top.
In my non-Nighthaunt experiment I found Grave-Guard needed to do a lot of heavy lifting, and they aren’t particularly point-efficient models. With the Necromancer, they felt like a worthy investment.
This does mean in a meta full of pluses to dispels (or outright automatic ones… thanks Teclis) this critical spell will be trickier to count on. This very much encapsulates how this army has been left behind, as acquiring bonuses to casting are not really available, unless Nagash or Arkhan the Black are also a part of your list, and borrow Vanhels.
Under-Performer: Blood Knights
This unit is just so maddeningly costly. I normally never bring this up, but the actual models are shockingly expensive. The bigger problem is that this theme extends to their unit cost in points. This unit is incredibly fragile for its significant investment, if even a single point of rend is involved in the attacks against them. If their role as shock-cavalry meant they at least carved a hole in an enemy line, this could be a forgivable trade, but their damage is middling at best, and outright horrible when they haven’t charged.
Their issues are compounded by the fact that the Legion of Blood they are intended to work in is largely a series of abilities that do them no good in the present landscape of tournament Age of Sigmar.
Final Thoughts: As the sun sets on the Legions, it feels abundantly clear that the undead theme will be carved into thematic smaller armies. I suspect you will see the future of Soulblight (read: Vampires) relatively soon, but giant mega-battletomes like this are meant to be a parting for those with massive, consolidated Old-World collections.
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