WARNING: probably not tournament competitive due to the fact that it will be nearly impossible to beat Death. Local Meta may allow it to win, though. You could also luck out a tournament and see no death 😛
This is a list based on Stu West’s Unit rundown on the Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade. That got me thinking of how much I like the mortis engine and how it can keep him alive longer. Eevntually, I dropped his super save reflection strategy for another, but a quick change of Legion and Artefact is listed in the secondary objective section to match his ideas and go a different route with gameplay, while keeping the same units.
It is sort of a fun list meant to attack from two angles.
The first: Four Mortis Engines dropping mortal wounds on everything with low bravery and/or lacking the Death Keyword.
The second: Deathmarch + Mastery of Death adding 7 movement to your units, including a turn one charge of black knights.
There are 4 minimum model screen units that also fill battalion tax and three heroes that can all capture in three places of arcane power.
4 Gravesites: You pick four points on the battlefield to serve as gravesites. (2 on each side) These sites can be used to deepstrike units, heal units, revive fallen models or even revive entire units via a single command point. All given that they are Summonable Keyworded. This list isn’t getting greedy by trying to bring back 30 grimghast reapers every other turn, but it can definitely make use of these abilities. Beasts of Chaos can turn one command point into just one summoning point IF THEY SPECIALIZE in summoning, so even if you are bringing back an 80 point screen unit, you are ahead of the game.
Deathless Minions: a 6+ save after save while within 6 inches of a hero.
The master’s Teaching: After you destroy a unit, on a 4+ you can bring back a destroyed unit near a gravesite. Not only will this save you a command point, you can do it out of sequence of the normal returning methods (command point expenditure), allowing you to move and charge on your following turn.
Black Disciples: +1 casting rolls. Very nice to get off Necromancer‘s double attack buff.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Endless Legions: This is the command ability to resurrect dead (like super dead. have been killed. again. like this game. a unit removed from the battlefield via wounds.) units within 9 inches of a gravesite and 9 inches from enemies. Again, bringing back screens is still more value than most other armies get, but if you rush your black knights in turn one, the opponent will have the option of ignoring them or killing them and if they choose killing you can get a 360 point highly mobile unit back.
Wight King: Deathrattle unit within 18 inches gets +1 attacks in melee. This will be going on Black Knights, as they are our most expensive unit and will get the most use out of it. You could pop it on a screen to take out a hero that might be tied up in some situations, but most likely that will be a waste of a valuable command point.
Wight King: Originally, I wanted to put Stu West’s idea of smouldering helm in the list, but I lose the ability to make him a wizard (and +1 save from balewind) by taking a different command trait and lose the +1 to save for deathrattle by taking Legion of Sacrement so I could only get it to reflecting wounds on a 5+ in cover versus no rend. I instead opted for Aetherquartz Brooch to stem some of the bleeding of command points. I put it on this hero because I want him alive in the backline to boost the speed of any units resummoned from gravesites to get them back to the fight.
Vampire Lord: Black Gem – a 3 inch Area of Effect that kills one model in each unit affected on a roll of 6. Half of this army’s plan does zero damage—actually negative damage—to opposing Death armies. I heard a rumor Legions of Nagash lists are pretty popular right now, so instead of automatically tossing the game up as a loss, I’ll take a 1/6 chance of dusting the dusty duster, Nagash in one shot.
Mastery of Death: At the start of your hero phase, units within 6″ of your general can move 3 inches. Completes the automatic turn one charge and gets units back into the fight from gravesites later in the game. Can also allow Mortis Engine‘s to hit some front line units turn 1 with their shooting aura.
Wight King: Anything moving forward your first turn needs to be by him.
3″ for any Death unit within 6″ from the command trait.
4″ for any units in the battalion with 9″ from Deathmarch
They also are each able to heal up 2 nearby summonable units. If your opponent isn’t putting any damage on the black knights, might as well keep them full strength, but if they are about to go down, I would let them die just resurrect them at full. This ability combined with gravesites also makes the opponent overcommit to killing screen units, as they will just be back at full strength if they don’t fully kill them.
Just there for objectives and speedbumping. When one screen dies, you can resurrect it on your objective and move the previous tenants to replace the old screening unit. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Black Knights: If you can pull those same shenanigans with Black Knights because your opponent goes overboard on damaging them, more power to ya. These guys are strong on the charge and kind of weak off of it so I’d suggest using command points to buff them when you will get the full benefits of extra attacks.
The Fourtis Engine.
I just love this warscroll. 12 wounds, 4+ save and 14″ depreciating fly move.
It’s melee attacks are
A)Garbage wizard 1 attack d3 dmg
B)12 Spirit Host attacks dealing mortals on 6+. Guess they either forgot to change to unmodified or didn’t care because it can’t get the +1 to hit nighthaunt bonuses because it technically isn’t nighthaunt.
Shooting: 9Inch (Depreciating) range aura. roll 2d6 versus bravery of each enemy in range. D3 Damage if you beat it. Going off 4 times, this will incinerate enemy heroes outside of demons and death and leave sequitors feeling like sequin-gors.
12 Aura that’s always on: +1 cast for ALL death wizards. -1 cast for nonDeath wizards.
Once Per Battle in hero phase: 4D6 inch range. Nondeath units take D3, Death units heal D3. And this is why this list will probably be a local meta only list. Huge hero sniping potential, but actually can help opponent when facing Death lists.
Deathmarch: the 4inch move for units within 9 inches of wight king and all the units in the same range return 1 slain model.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
Jaws: bravery reduction to help out when needed for the mortis engine aura.
Strategy will obviously change based on who you are playing.
Generally, you will want to buff the black knights on turns in which they can charge an enemy. They automatically make 6 inch charges minimum, so they shouldn’t ever be wasted.
Their movement(12)+Deathmarch(4)+Mastery of the undead(3)+autopass small charges (6) means you are guaranteed to make the first turn charge on any unit on front line of deployment zone. You may want to place them last to see where your best option is.
One option could be to hit targets you know you can wipe out in one round of combat, freeing them up to charge again if the enemy doesn’t engage.
Another option would be more defensive, hit their high damage dealing units or highly mobile units that you dont want to deal with. (Or even just go really wide to tie up as much points cost as possible. Losing half of them to coherency won’t matter if you can spawn them for 1 command point. You could even do this on purpose if they get tied up somewhere you don’t like.)
Think of what role you would like your black knights to play depending on the matchup before the game starts and place your gravesites accordingly. I think having at least one in a safe spot near the wight king is nice to have a fall back plan where he can spawn them and give them +7 move to get them back to the front lines the following hero phase.
If you are planning on using the black knights to tie up their units in their deployment and don’t think they will commit to killing them off completely or are worried they will be able to kill off your general easily, you may want to place the gravesites where you expect them to land. Slightly offset from objectives can also be a nice place to have them healing up in a min vs min unit battle.
Mortis Engines, while not in Deathmarch, can still be speed-boosted by mastery of death 3inch bonus move. That on top of their initial 14 inch move can put them in range to hit some front line units turn one with their 9 inch bravery aura. You could just charge them all up turn 1 in the middle while the black knights hit a flank. They will take some damage on the opponent’s turn, but the following turn you can pop all four reliquaries (the 4d6inch blast) and heal them all for an average of 8 wounds while dealing the same to the majority of their units. If you can hit some key elite units with the endless spells in this turn, they can be left with an army of only battlelines real quick.
If you are playing versus Death, you better hope for all their heroes to be bunched in a circle and roll quadruple 6s on Black gem.
Heavily dependant on a 5 wound general staying alive after initial wave of damage. Enemy deployment could make or break the game.
Wants to go first, has 7 drops. If you think you are definitely going second, you could bubblewrap with your Mortis Engines and counterpunch with auras.
4tis Engines can crush Multiple Small Units armies.
4tis Engines can crush hero reliant armies.
Black Knights can put some hurt out on the charge.
Respawning screens with +7″ movement.
replace wight king’s artifact with smouldering helm to have the wight king saving on 1+ in cover and reflecting mortal wounds back on saves of 4+
Use the Mortis Engines’ Once per battle ability (one from each engine: turn 2,3,4,and twice on whatever turn you need it) to keep healing him D3 to spit out more reflection.