If you followed Tomlin’s coverage from the Dorset Cup this is the list I used to win it (mainly down to luck I am sure as I am a moderate player at best! But it is a nice list, and does catch people out due to its speed, offensive capability, and durability, and ability to play the objectives or the “kill every last one of them” options)
Further, it uses no mortarchs and is the least used of the Legions on the tournie scene (from what I have seen) so at least it shouldn’t illicit a groan from your opponent when they rock up to the table and you mention you are using Death! Plus they may not know what it does necessarily as something a bit different.
Finally, it is also quite a low model count army and quite in “your face” so opponents get to roll dice and interact in the game, and blood flows from turn one normally!
Perhaps most importantly, games rarely last the duration so you both get to the bar quicker!
Legion of Blood
So, both VLoZD, which is the rider AND the dragon, get an extra attack. The -2 rend on the dragon is particularly awesome and really good to have an extra attack bonus (it’s d6 damage). That being said, his back up Claws get 8 attacks at -1 rend, 2 damage which has bailed me out a few times when i whiff the rest. And that is after the vampire’s had a go first. I prefer the sword over lance for the extra attack and chance at 3 damage after he’s charged. But the 2 damage, 3 on the charge on the lance may be the better option (one less attack). The Blood Knights and their horses also get an extra attack. Which means 5 knights have 36 attacks.
Oh yeah, Vhordrai weirdly isn’t a Vampire Lord, just a Vampire, so he doesn’t get an extra attack.
Also, the negative modifier of -1 Bravery on all enemy units within 6″ of everything in the army, plus another -1 from the Blood Knights/Skeleton banner has turned many a game. In the final I only killed 3 Eels when i charged (badly) but the neg to LD finished the other 3 off to battleshock, even with him re rolling, which swung it my way.
Plus, graves as standard, doing what graves do for your skele bob units and dogs.
Oh, I almost forgot, death save of course! save wounds/mortal wounds on a 6+ for anything near the heroes. You know how it works by now!
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Command Ability – Re roll hits. Use it on anything within 15″. General, Vhordrai, ethereal VLoZD, blood knights. wherever its needed most, just pick one in range. Who doesn’t love re roll hits?
Command Trait – Re roll charges for the general or any soulblight within 9″ at the start of the charge phase. Use it on himself, or if you’re careful with your positioning, have him, Vhordrai, Ethereal VLoZD AND Blood Knights ALL re roll charges. Yep, all of them. Makes that turn one smash sooo good if you go second as you can get all four into combat if you want. Or use cogs or pinions on the ethereal, give him re roll to hit and just send him forward as a kamikazee if you have to go first. He’s a massive issue in their deployment zone turn one that is hard to ignore (but is normally just a distraction) and he has a good chance of sticking (3+ ignore rend re rollable/1’s save and Death save) if you’ve given him defensive cogs or shield as well. He will kill stuff too. Makes enemy decide whether to ignore him or not. Problem is, the rest of the army is off scoring points whilst that happens if they go for him.
Ethereal amulet. ignore rend. 3+ save. re rolling with cogs. or re rolling 1’s with shield. enough said (obvious filth but hey, its the lesser taken legion, need a little something to help 😉
Vhordrai. shooting phase. roll a 3+ (2+ if killed something in last combat) and do 6 mortal wounds to anything within 8″. yep. 6 mortal wounds. just like that. take out those annoying characters on foot with minimal effort.
His -2 rend weapon makes him better than the VLoZD. But beware he does die easily so pick where you’re using defensive cogs or mystic shield. I tend to make the ethereal have shield, and vhordrai have defensive cogs (so both offensive pieces had some sort of buff save), then actually leave the general back to summon dead stuff out of graves or counter. You could make the general have ethereal but I prefer to chuck the ethereal forward as a distraction, as mentioned. Plus they both have the same command ability so you have some built in redundancy in the army if you lose one.
The normal VLoZD all kick out decent damage as the dragons themselves receive the +1 attack and you can re roll to hit if you want with the command ability. Their breath weapon at -3 rend and possible auto hit is useful as well. Hey, Death don’t normally do shooting so it’s really nice actually!
Vhordrai’s spell is hard to cast but makes him a monster with +1 to hit and wound.
Dogs. They have won many a game. They only cost 60 points but have 2 wounds each, a 5+ save and a 10″ move. Also summonable. So they can be very versatile holding or grabbing objectives (18″ guaranteed move with cogs and auto run command ability). Or just fly a dragon across the table, smash stuff off an objective, summon dogs out of the gravesite you cunningly put near that objective to hold it, then move the dragons onto the next objective. Repeat this on the other flank at the same time if you want as you have Vhordrai and another VLoZD (or go 2 together if you want to make double sure). It’s a nice little pincer movement which also grabs objecives if they’ve bubblewrapped and deployed centre heavy. Skeletons have more numbers so I tend to use for home objective baby sitting.
Trick to watch out for. If enemy deploys too deep just 6” away from objective to try and avoid first turn charge, thinking only 1 vampire can move that fast so won’t take the objective on his own, “waste” a command point giving dogs an auto 6 run if helps. Often their speed is overlooked and you end up taking the objective just through moving more numbers in range even without the combat. Coming back to the 18” move point with cogs.
Blood Knights. These give you the 4th offensive big hitters. They often do the most damage as the enemy ignores them because there are 3 big dragons to kill first! 4 attacks each as Blood, 3+, 3+, -1 rend. d3 damage on the charge. -2 bravery. Wiped out 30 plaguebearers more than once in one go with re roll hits up. crazy.
That being said, once you’ve added the 3 dragons to your list, you could then play around and swap out the rest of the army with things you like as there’ lots of options for Death here. Reapers and necromancer is the obvious choice if you like that. Maybe a corpse cart to make cogs easier to cast and dogs have a better save? There’s lots of options and all can probably bring something to the table without upsetting much tactically. The tactics are not subtle after all! Charge and smash stuff up real quick! As my good buddy and all round best sport Laurie said in the pre tournie analysis if you’ve read it “Rich is not too bright, and his tactics show that.” B**tard
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
Pinions. I love pinions! Easy to cast (5), extra 5″ or 10″ move. And this army is all about speed. Get where you want to go fast and quick! Yep, so fast it gets two adjectives. Just to be crystal clear, VLoZD or Vhrodrai, with pinions and cogs can do 38” with a re roll to charge! Or just 33” if don’t get pinions on a natural 9. Boo.
Cast cogs offensively when you need the speed (normally for a first turn charge or grab of objectives to put you up and the enemy on the back foot) or defensively for ethereal dragon ignoring rend and re rolling all saves. If you cast it further up the table then you can move beyond it with your dragons if there is a scrap for an objective mid table and that way keep manipulating it without having to re cast. Sure the enemy also moves quicker if use it offensively, but you probably do not care as you’re too far committed and everything is probably fighting by the time they get to move anyway!
not subtle! Turn one charge the ethereal with pinions/cogs/re roll charge for free if near general, and send in Vhordrai and/or Blood Knights and/or General if you really want to go full on as well! Win the game by turn 3 as hopefully everything is dead, dying, or you are just too far up on points!
Use the dogs as a screen to protect the dragons/knights if needed and trying some sort of tactics (boo). You can run them up and hold the dragons slightly behind in case you do not get the double turn. If you do, happy days, charge and smash them, if you don’t, then at least they are hopefully hitting the dogs and you can counter charge.
Use the skeletons/dogs to pop out of gravesites and grab objectives. Or skeletons to hold home objectives and the dogs can either screen them and help defensively with numbers or still get around the table quick. Slight MSU approach, so you can have lines of dogs protecting lines of skeletons behind to save them for a turn if the enemy does not fly.
Finally, it really is a fun list to play! Also it gives a bit of redundancy if you make mistakes and lose a dragon easily (you have 3!). It is sooooo quick around the table so again, you can make adjustments if you make a movement/deployment error (so it is a little forgiving). There’s not many scrolls involved so it is quick to learn stats off by heart and get into the deeper gameplay quicker (see THWG notebook). There’s not many subtleties to trip over either. All in all, it’s a nice place to start I would say for someone quite new. Give it a go, take the 3 characters and the units you like/know/own and have fun flying around smashing things, not dying and playing like a vampire should!