Tuesday, May 10, 2011

They will survive...

Tomb Kings are out, and with them comes a nice shiny new hardcover, full-color Army Book…guess GW just likes square-basers more since Grey Knights god shafted with the old “will it last a week?”-style binding we all know and loathe. As for the army in general, I like what they’ve done mostly and look forward to seeing what my undead brethren can do when they are brought up to 8th edition.

Well first and foremost, Monsterhammer still lives with the necrosphynx and it’s variations. GW has again made a great model for the new beasts that are becoming more common on the battlefields of the Old World (so many monsters…so few cannonballs…my Empire is nervous…but eager). Heroic Killing Blow makes another rare appearance here, too. I’m happy that something that game-changing is so hard to come by right now, but with more and more armies able to take 3 massive creatures it’s also becoming more useful. There are armies that have very few answers for a 3 monster list… and only a few that have access to Heroic Killing Blow at all. Of course a few uber-killy magic spells are possibly more game-changing and much more common, but that’s another article.
Something I’m interested to see is how useful the boost that characters give to the Skeletons they join by sharing their WS will be. This can make those cheaper shambling hordes more effective, but still fragile, though we’ll discuss the answer to that in a moment. I’m curious to see if this is something that will be used extensively, possibly by spamming characters to get high WS core units or if it’s just going to be a fun little bonus when it’s there, but not a tactic worth building an army around. At this point it could go either way. And yes, they are cheaper. I guess GW finally realized that “undead can be expensive because they can be resurrected” isn’t a valid argument now that you can’t count on a strong magic phase anymore. I quickly learned that when I NEED to cast a few resurrection spells on my Vamps I am guaranteed to roll snake eyes for my power dice…and then I’m dead...for real this time…the “cut into little pieces” dead not the “conquer the living world and drink blood all night” dead. Remember this when you’re re-doing my Vampires in a few years, GW.
As to the fragility issue, GW has given some new magic spells and a great Lore attribute to keep your undead coming back for more. GW…please PLEASE give my Vampire Counts a lore attribute like this. All a TK has to do is cast a buff and they get bodies back…even better since they have buffs that affect multiple units. VC have to cast a specific spell for that and it only brings bodies back. I think the TK way is better, and probably more fitting since I’d imagine the mages would be constantly trying to raise fallen warriors anyway.
We also have new plastic, which is mostly great. My prediction that the TK were bumped up may or may not have an effect, but the fact that the ugly old core skeletons didn’t get an update suggests this is so. I expect a re-package with the per-model price hike like the Orcs got in the not-too-distant future, but we’ll see. As I said I love the monster box. The Grave Tomb Guard* are a good box and fit into GW’s now standard “pay a fortune for 10 Rare models” price point but that’s what online discount retailers are for, right? The only box I have mixed feelings about are the serpent…things. The snakes on their own are cool (and an interesting unit…they have the potential to put out a LOT of shots) but the cavalry leave something to be desired. Nothing says ancient Egyptian undead like a Skeleton surfing on a cobra, right? Hey, Snake Plisskin was a surfing bad-ass in “Escape from LA” and that didn’t suck…oh wait it did.
Now the only issue I have. The Tomb Kings get 8 magic items…period. Now I think we all expected this considering the huge collection of magic items in the rulebook, but I just don’t like it. Army-specific magic items add character to the army and considering that the Tomb Kings only exist because magic brought them back to life, I expected more magic then the Orcs got. I guess this will be the new standard and I am less then happy…plus I fear when my Empire get re-done…DO NOT TOUCH my Von Horstmann’s mirror of awesomeness! It’s my General’s reason for being…and I can’t wait to use it against my friend’s Khorne lord of doom.
Overall, I think this is a strong book. I think unlike the Orcs, there are very few “who would run that unit?” choices (I like Goblins, but they got the shaft in the new book…pure goblin armies will be VERY rare now) Considering how slow Army Book releases are compared to a codex release, the TK will likely have to live with this for a long time, and I think they’ll be just fine.
*it’s the same unit, after all. VC’s live in “Graves” and TK live in “Tombs”. Oh very witty, GW…eat any good books lately?

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