One of the “Great Boogie Man” lists of AoS 1.0 made for 2.1! This time, it’s reasonable! No more under-costed shenanigans. Now you pay a premium for the honour of dusting off your Tomb Kings, and that’s not just with your wallet.
The list is centered on two main threats: The Necropolis Knights and the Skeletal Legionnaires. A fully buffed group of Knights can be a major Bully unit, and helps create space for the rest of the army to claim objectives. Combine that with a massive unit of skeletons with 120 attacks, exploding 4’s, and hitting on 2+ you’ve got a great one-two punch.
“They just won’t die” Welcome to the wonderful world of Banner Bearers. Unit banner bearers return a variable amount of whole models. From 1d6 for Skeleton Legionnaires, to 1 whole Necropolis Knight. Back breaking when combined with the Tomb Herald to return another whole base. Use returning these models to the battlefield to rope in more units into close combats, or give your unit some free movement.
Auto-Dispells. Liche Priests come with a once per game ability to auto-dispell a spell. Great for those clutch moments when you need to cancel game changers like Hand of Dust.
Movement – These skeletons have fast bones. Other than the Legionaries and the on foot TK, everything in the army moves at least 8. Add in the ability to double your movement and fly from the TK on Exalted Chariot and you’re cruising around.
Snakes! – Necropolis Knights have additional mortal wounds on a 6+, high rend, lots of attacks and the ability to bring back whole models. They’re an incredible unit who can chew through just about anything.
Exploding Sixes – The Liche Priests spell, Righteous Smiting, gives you another attack roll on a 6+. Combine this with the Tomb Kings bevy of Command Abilities, and you could have exploding hits on a 4+ easily! Hope you keep your dice organized!
High number of drops – kiss picking first turn goodbye.
Over reliance on one combo – If those Knights melt quickly, or if the TK on Exalted Chariot is taken out early, you’ll have an uphill battle.
Other than the Knights, very limited Mortal Wound output or Rend – can have trouble with well armored lists.
No multi casters – one spell at a time, and no buffs to cast either.
Cut the Head off the Snake – kill all the heroes and this death army just crumbles into dust
No battalions – So no access to multiple artifacts or extra command points.
Welcome to Grand Alliance 6+ DPR.
The Death Save – Never to be relied upon, but never to be counted out – it is a beautiful thing that will frustrate both you and your enemies.
A Damage Prevention Roll of a 6, after other saves. Limited in range to 6″ from your heroes, it is important to make sure you check you distances. Remembering to move your heroes up in support positions before you charge is the difference between major wins and major losses.
The list is designed to have heroes (Liche Priests, Tomb Herald, TK) available to supply the DPR bubble. Most of the heroes have a fairly high movement and can easily be there when needed. The hard part is balancing having your heroes near the front lines, but not too close.
I loosely follow this list for where to place my mummies:
Tomb King on foot – Skeletal Legionaries
Liche Priest#1 – Skeletal Legionaries
TK on Ex-Char – Necropolis Knights
If you take care of your units, the 6+ DPR can keep them going all game.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Ethereal Amulet – Tomb King on Exalted Chariot
- Who’s got a 3+ un-rendable, a native 5+ against mortal wounds, and 6+ DPR? This guy. Narratively it works that a Tomb King would become a ghost, and it doesn’t hurt that this helps keep your most important buff piece around well into the later turns.
Red Fury – Tomb King on Exalted Chariot
- On the charge the TKEC turns into a holy terror – 6 attacks at 3/3/-2/3? 16 attacks at 4/5/-/1? Then on a 5+ he then gets to pile in and go again! Hello!
- Master of the Dark Arts – Make him a wizard! If this is more your cup of tea, subtract a Liche Priest, add in Chronomantic Cogs, and Geminids.
Crown of The Desert Kingdoms – Tomb King on Exalted Chariot
- While not technically a Command Ability it can activate all of his friend’s within 18″ for free! Or at least it used to. Depends on who you ask. I asked the GW Facebook page how it worked and they agreed that it should be treated as Mini-Archaon. But don’t believe everything you read on the internet. As written the Crown does nothing – The scroll needs a re-write for AoS2.1. Pray with me friends.
And He Did Say “War”, And The World Did Tremble… – Tomb King on Exalted Chariot
- A huge 18 inch bubble that will probably hit your whole army.
- +1 to both to hit and to wound
- Turns on your knights mortals wounds on a 5+!
- Stacks with other TK command abilities well, unlocking that sweet sweet Righteous Smiting.
My Will Be Done – Tomb King on Foot
- +1 Bonus to hit, run and charge. Sign me up. Use early to help motor you bone boys up the field. Works well in conjunction with Righteous Smiting from the Liche Priests. Use My Will Be Done for free thanks to the Crown too!
Even when your Tomb Kings die, they won’t be forgotten. Mortal wounds to whomever finally slays them. I’ve had this ability come up clutch for me. Something to remember!
The Big Daddy himself is one of the most important parts of the army, and hes about a 1/4 of the points, so he better be! You’ll want to use him centrally if possible. His buff is 18″ from his very large base, so just be sure to survey the terrain and make sure you don’t get caught in places with no where to go.
Incantation of the Desert wind. AKA the Flying Snake Death Machine Delivery Service. Double the movement and add fly. Gives much needed maneuverability to any one unit. Great for flinging something across the board to claim objectives, or to deliver the snakes into a juicy target. Don’t forget that you can use it to jump over units, especially for a cheeky “retreat” onto their back objective. Just don’t roll a 1 at the wrong time.
Tomb King on Foot
- While not as flashy as the TK on Exalted Chariot, the Tomb King on Foot can does a lot of work. Excellent choice to hold an objective in cover or to trudge along side a big block of skeletons. With a 3+ re-rollable save this sucker is great at holding on longer than expected. Oh and the +1 to run, charge, and attack rolls is great to help your units get up the board early, or add some reliability.
- Righteous Smiting – One of the most fun spells! Makes your hits explode on a 6+! That’s right, with the Tomb Kings command abilities stacking in AoS 2.1 you could be getting an extra attack on a 1+(Usually I only stack 2). With a large Skeleton Legionnaire blob you could easily be getting more than 200 hits. Please make sure you have a well organized dice blocks. I recommend keeping set round numbers. I like having multiples of 30 around for ensuring things going quickly.
Make sure you’re out of range of dispells if you can, with no bonuses to cast you can get shut down pretty easily.
Hierophant’s Scrolls – Auto-Dispell once per game, per priest. incredible for the points!
Put it on a horse – it’s free, it triples the movement, it’s a no-brainer.
Can’t stress how important returning whole models is. He can give you back in one hero phase for this army, 13 wounds, no roll required. Always keep him in range of the Necropolis Knights, at 24″ inches it should be pretty easy, especially because it is not wholly within.
If the Tomb Herald is within 3 of a friendly embalmed hero(ie. any other hero in this army) on a 2+ the Herald can take the wound instead. Still gets the death save too! With five wounds he can really help your Tomb King on Exalted Chariot stick around another turn or so.
- The Hammer and Anvil of your list. This unit has two things that are almost unique in the army – Rend and Mortal Wounds. Those Mortal Wounds happen in addition to the regular damage from the snakes Necrovenom on a 6+
- A unit of six has the ability to pump out 67 damage and 18 Mortal Wounds in addition.
- When all buffs are applied the unit can be 1+/2+ , exploding 4’s for the spears from the riders and 2+/2+ on the fangs, exploding 4’s, mortals on 5’s.
- Banner bearer returns one whole Knight! 5 wounds! Add the Tomb Herald‘s ability and you’re getting 2 back! 10 wounds! No dice required. Use this ability to help with positioning and possibly drawing more unit into combat. If you’re lucky you can just chain combats, bringing up your previously slain models within 3″ of the enemy.
- Horn blower – A unit that includes a horn blower can always move up to 6″ when it charges. The reliability of this makes charges a win-win scenario, say good bye to missing easy charges and say hello to playing for the long bomb.
- Shields – They go from 5+ to a 4+ in combat. Not great, but add in the death save and you have a fairly sturdy unit. Get them in combat and enjoy.
Battle Line – Every one has its place
- Sneaky Anvil/Speed Bump unit. With the sheer glut of wounds, 15 in a 3 man unit, these guys can hold up your opponents medium and light hitters well. If you get lucky with the Death DPR than they could hold up a heavy hitter for one turn or two.
- Move 10″ makes for some speedy skeletons. Chariots take up a ton of board space with their large bases and can get around quickly, to help pen in units, or protect objectives.
- Banner bearer returns 1 base. Combined with the Tomb Herald that can be 10 wounds a turn. Great for holding on longer than your opponent planned for.
- Arrows – Look, something to do in the shooting phase! Unreliable at best, you can’t count on getting anything from this. Think of it as an added bonus, to help chip at characters if you get quite lucky.
- Bonus on the Charge – don’t rely on this unit to do damage beyond the first round of combat. They get to double their attacks after charging, but even then they hit like pillows.
- Horn blower – A unit that includes a horn blower can always move up to 6″ when it charges.
- The most underrated unit in the army, and the one that can win you games, if used correctly.
- Speed Kills – Skeletal Speed Freaks – With a 12″ move and the ability to run and charge, you can fly around the board. Amazing for snagging that late round objective. With a base unit of 5 they can outnumber characters and elite units to steal critical points.
- Pillowy Soft – this unit can die to a stiff breeze, never put it into any kind of medium or heavy hitting unit. Even with a death save, they won’t hold up.
- Pin Them Down – Use this unit on the first turn to pin down your opponent. Charge into a lighter unit to hold it up for a turn, making it so they cannot move onto objectives. Sometimes denying you foe one round of scoring can making all the difference.
- Banner Bearer – Returns d3 slain models. A nice, if unreliable amount. Use the returning models to improve the positioning of your unit. Rope another into combat or maybe loop around the back to retreat onto your opponents objective.
- Worse Skeleton Warriors for more points. The Joys of playing Tomb Kings. What was once an overlooked unit has now come into the limelight thanks to Legions of Nagash.
- A great place for Righteous Smiting from your Liche Priests. With a block of 40 you’re swinging with 3 attacks per model. You get +1 to hit for having a hero nearby. Add on both TK buffs and all of a sudden you’re at 2+/3+, 3 attacks, exploding 3’s. That’s a lot of dice. Without rend, your opponent will need some seriously great armour to stand up to that many attacks.
- Tomb Shield – Can increase your save from 6+ to 5+ if you forgo running or charging. Not great. Something to remember for the second round of combat if you charge, and to use before if you expect to be charge. expect to be hunting for lots of 6 up DPRs with this unit.
- Banner Bearer – Returns d6 slain models. Not reliable, nor overwhelming, this is one major difference between Legionnaires and Warriors. Still great to have and to use to add more movement to your skeleton blob
Tomb Kings can be a real joy to play on the table. With simple, straight ahead rules, and fun overlapping synergies you can enjoy learning your army quickly and then move on to mastering some of the finer points of Bone Boy Warfare.
If you can learn to protect your heroes, place your Knights in the right spot, and play the objective game with your speedy battleline units you’ll be in the mix in every game.
In general the list suffers against Alpha-Strike lists that can take out the heroes quickly, high armour armies, magic deniers, and getting hit by the double turn at the wrong moment.
Tomb Kings do well against armies that they can pin in and smack around with their beat stick units. Having such a seldom seen force has the benefit of people underestimating what your units can do, and how well they can do them.
Use your Necropolis Knights to take out the big scary on the other side, using the Incantation of the Desert Wind to hopefully leapfrog the enemy, allowing your TK on EC to charge in the front side.
Pin in units with your Skeleton Chariots and then use the Skeleton Horsemen to claim objectives. Protect all your banner bearers at all costs, they hold the ability for lots of cheeky positioning and are the key to victory!