This is part 2 of our review of Battletome: Soulblight Gravelords for 3rd Edition Age of Sigmar. This review was completed using a free copy of the Battletome provided to us by Games Workshop.
Make yourself a beverage, this list of units goes long, and almost everything has been changed in some way.
Big changes here – the self-proclaimed Supreme Lord of the Undead has been completely rewritten conceptually. Some things have stayed the same, he still casts up to 8 spells that degrades down to 4 through the damage table and he’s still a Warmaster that knows all the spells of the army you take him in, and hand of dust is the same. Everything else has changed.
Nagash’s shooting attack is gone, but the melee profile has been smoothed out. No aspect of it degrades anymore, it’s a flat 4 attacks each for both Alakanash and Zefet-nebtar and the bizarre decision to have the huge sword wound on a 4+ has been reversed. This works out meaning the old Nagash very slightly out damages the new Nagash at top bracket, but the new Nagash remains consistent until death. Another core profile change is that Nagash’s wounds are up to 18, which is a very welcome change as 16 did feel a bit wimpy and every wound counts on a model like this. Finally on the core profile, Nagash now has a degrading movement profile, starting at 10” and degrading down to 7”. This is a mild speed boost at top bracket, but unless you have a lore-teleport or other speed boost he will be sluggish.
A very, very welcome change is that the bonus to cast/deny/unbind is now always +3, a more thematic way to handle that and you’ll take the flat bonus for degrading movement every day. Note that Nagash now just has an unlimited number of denies with this bonus. The ability to mortal wound machinegun via unlimited arcane bolts is just gone and whilst that was a strong ability, it always felt like a bit of a stopgap until they had a better idea. In Soulblight, having access to both lores makes Nagash a brutal debuff machine, and being able to start comboing those Lore of the Deathmages spells on the enemy is crippling amounts of debuff onto melee units.
Invocation of Nagash is now a degrading ability, being an aura with a range that starts at 24” and goes down to 9”, a pretty big swing. Otherwise, this still lets you heal 3 wounds or return 3 wounds of models to a summonable unit, but now targets every eligible unit within range of the aura. This looks like a worse version of the ability, but you’re much more likely to be wanting your units to be hugging Nagash now, for reasons we will get to in the next paragraph. In the Soulblight context, if a unit is near Nagash and a gravesite you’re looking at bringing 7 wounds of models back into a unit with zero dice rolls, which is really good.
Morikhane, Nagash’s ensorcelled armour, now provides a 12” aura of a 5+ ward to death units. This is a huge change and gives Nagash more of a castle gameplay effect than he previously had, though to be fair 12” from his huge base is a decent amount of real estate to be working with. Note that Nagash is also affected by this aura, being a 5+ this means he’s slightly more vulnerable to mortal wounds than previously but is much more durable against regular damage, and combined with the wound increase he will be a menace to deal with for armies that cannot output a large quantity of mortal wounds.
Supreme Lord of the Undead is a start of hero phase ability that gives you a 3+ roll to return a slain summonable unit, with half of its starting models. This does essentially replicate the ability Soulblight already have in this regard, but the timing window for it is different and it gives you a second bite at the cherry if you fail the Soulblight roll – given how much of an investment Nagash is, making that recycling of units more reliable could be crucial for your board presence.
Last but not least, Soul Stealer is now a real spell. Still a nice 24” range, it now automatically does d3 mortal wounds and can do d6 mortal wounds on an unmodified 9+ to cast. Nagash gets wounds back for every one inflicted, so chances are you will be casting this quite often now.
For all of this, Nagash is back up to 965 points. That’s a huge chunk of your army, you’re essentially playing with a thousand point army and Nagash. Time will tell if he’s competitively viable but our guess is that this is an improvement over the old version. There’s positive and negative changes, but he’s generally going to stick around for longer and have more of an impact over the battle. If you’re looking for combos they’re slim because of the lack of keywords, but the Legion of Night command trait the Bait does combine with Nagash to make it a 4+ ward aura in the first battle round.
Mannfred Von Carstein
Mortarchs continue to get more buff over time, and Mannfred is now up to a meaty 14 wounds, which makes his ability to ignore the first wound or mortal wound in each phase go that bit further. He’s also better in melee now, with Gheistvor picking up an extra attack and rend, and moving to a flat damage 2.
There’s no command ability or replacement for it, but Mannfred still has the ability to provide extra attacks to summonable units by killing stuff in melee. This means you will want Mannfred getting stuck in more often, and fortunately his tricksy abilities have been rewritten to push this. He doesn’t get to teleport out of combat anymore, instead he gets the strikes-first rule when he charges and a really interesting ability to attempt a charge when he receives the Redeploy command instead of moving d6”. If you’re running this in his own subfaction, that’s two different ways to attempt out of sequence charges, and grab strikes-first into the bargain. This makes Mannfred a really interesting piece for disrupting a melee opponent’s plans, but he still has to get stuck in. For these changes, Mannfred has come down slightly to 390, and definitely still has a role to play for Soulblight but will maybe be slightly less ubiquitous.
Quick Note about The Hunger: It’s probably best to talk about it here, rather than in every entry where it’s relevant. The Hunger is an ability that every vampire unit has on its warscroll and has seen significant revision for the better. Now, after the attacks of a vampire unit have been resolved they heal a number of wounds equal to the number of wounds and mortal wounds they allocated to the enemy, capped at a total of 6.
A few key changes here, then. You don’t have to kill any models, just deal damage, and the healing triggers immediately after fighting rather than the end of the phase. This means that more often than not you will be healing more, and healing in a way that can prevent enemies using multiple units to chip the vampire down before the end of the phase. There’s also no specification for what kind of attacks will trigger this, so mount attacks work. Moving to a cap of 6 over the previous d3 is obviously a massive increase in total healing, and if you’ve got a big scary vampire that your opponent cannot kill in one go, chances are they cannot kill them at all.
The Mortarch of Blood has picked up the same durability boost as her rival Mortarch but is otherwise fairly similar to previous incarnations. Her melee profile is boosted with Akmet-har picking up an extra point of rend, though that damage 1 still hurts. If you run her in her own legion, do note that she will benefit from the bonus to cast or attacks, which does actually improve her quite significantly. You’ll want to do this anyway, as her key abilities now specifically target Legion of Blood units, not Soulblight.
In terms of her abilities, Twilight’s Allure is now always on and doesn’t cost a CP and Dark Mist remains a hugely powerful version of ethereal that still lets positive modifiers to save rolls work on the target (but note, it’s now limited to targeting Legion of Blood). Mortarch of Blood is a brand new ability that provides a lot of flexibility but has a bit of a skill cap to get the most out of it – at the end of deployment you can redeploy Neferata and up to 3 other Legion of Blood units.
She’s the same points as Mannfred now and is perhaps a less obvious choice, as she’s essentially limited to her own subfaction, but there’s a lot of power in her abilities and the Legion of Blood is a very reasonable subfaction selection.
More stat increases abound with Vhordrai up to 16 wounds and 5 attacks on his Bloodlance, very strong for a rend -3, damage 3 weapon on the charge. It’s worth pointing out here that all varieties of zombie dragon now feature a 3” aura where Inspiring Presence cannot be received, which is in line with the drip feeding of this rule throughout third edition and always strong when it shows up. Shordemaire’s shooting attack is now just a regular zombie dragon shooting attack rather than a mortal wound blast, but that attack has now been improved over previous incarnations.
To complement his beatstick profile, Vhordrai’s spell Quickblood gives him strikes-first. That’s very strong, but being cast on a 7 it wont be consistent. The big change to his abilities is to Fist of Nagash, which encourages you to run the character in Kastelai. Once per turn when a Kastelai vampire anywhere on the battlefield gains an ability with their battle trait, you can pick another Kastelai vampire wholly within 24” of Vhordrai and they get it too.
One of the potential weaknesses to Kastelai in this tome was the loss of Rousing Commander for that one brutal turn of violence, but instead with this and the command trait you’re looking at a number of ways to obtain the Kastelai buffs on units permanently. Being able to permanently apply that damage bonus to your general and another unit because one unit managed to kill a hero is a nice change to the rhythm of the army. You pay for him now at 470 but if you’re running Kastelai you will have to think long and hard about not including Vhordrai in your army.
Lauka is choppier now, with an extra attack and rend with her rapier and improvements to the rest of her melee profile. Her spell has seen a total rewrite and she’s now no longer an inconsistent control piece, and is much more focussed on buffing Anvegorii, placing a debuff on an enemy unit that allows your monsters to pile in from 6” away. Obviously good for avoiding unleash hell, you can also do some pretty wild stuff with piling those massive bases 6”.
She also hands out the ability for an Anvegorii monster to do two monstrous ramapges in a turn instead of one, which is quite nice. Lauka and the generic Vengorian Lord are now much more focussed on interacting with other monsters now, with Lauka still being pushed in Anvegorii it makes her a tough sell, that subfaction isn’t great. For 300 points, if you are running Anvegorii monster mash she’s probably an auto take, as her abilities feel like backup battle traits for what is otherwise a thin subfaction.
Vengorian Lords have improved their melee profile as well, the sword is the same as ever but the talons have seen a big change to hit on 3s with rend -2 and a flat 3 damage, so they’ll be much more consistent.
The Nightmare Miasma aura is as strong as ever, a 3” ability that worsen’s your opponent’s rend by 1. The weird old rule that sometimes handed out run and charge at the cost of your ability to issue commands has now thankfully gone, and Vengorian Lords can now fully heal a non-hero monster that has destroyed an enemy unit. On top of this, their spell lets you pick a monster and give it the Hunger until your next hero phase. As discussed, the Hunger is a very potent healing ability, so there’s some nice combinations here if you’re taking unridden monsters.
This focus does make them a less efficient take in armies where you won’t be running monsters like that (ie. most of them), but if you want to run the model that anti-rend aura will always be strong.
Radukar the Wolf
Perhaps a tough sell compared to a vanilla vampire lord, one more wound and a worse save, Radukar still hands out +1 attack if he made a charge but vampire lords can do so without charging. The big thing that sets him apart is gaining a bodyguard save from friendly Kosargi Nightguard. Really, the biggest thing against this warscroll is the existence of the one below.
Radukar the Beast
Lives up to his name. An extra pip of rend is the only update to his core profile, but that’s very welcome and he remains a beatstick with 12 damage 2 attacks across his profile. For 290 points that’s a really good melee profile and whilst he looks squishy and slow at 12 wounds and a movement of 8, he subtracts 1 from hit and wound rolls that target him and can run and charge.
This change to his defensive toolkit and the update to the Hunger make the Beast much more durable, he can happily wade into combat and emerge the other side unscathed. You’re doubly rewarded for charging as he now automatically hands out +1 attack to summonable units in a 12” aura when he makes a charge. A fun additional rule is that Radukar can never retreat from combat, but if he’s more than 12” from any enemy units and takes damage he can make a d6” move. This is a much improved scroll in subtle ways, at a lower price point. The addition of being able to take the Vyrkos enhancements pushes him even further and Radukar is definitely worthy of consideration in your lists – at a baseline, a surprisingly durable beatstick that hands out a powerful buff and has the opportunity to count as 12 models on objectives is just good.
The new model, she has a fairly standard foot-vampire profile without being a wizard but gets an always-on -1 to be hit. The draw here is her anti-monster ability and fair enough, it’s one of the best anti-monster abilities in the game. If she’s within 3” of a monster, she counts as 10 models on an objective and the attack characteristic of the monster’s melee weapons becomes 1.
What this does and doesn’t do is pretty obvious and it makes her a model with extremes of utility. If your opponent doesn’t have a monster, or a monster worth using this on, then she’s wildly inefficient compared to the other vampires on offer. If your opponent has some key monsters and no easy way to remove her, her utility is incredible. In an all-comers environment, this might make her a tricky sell, but your local meta will make the mileage vary here.
A really solid caster, and should have a good place in most Vyrkos lists. For 170 points you get a double caster with an always-on +1 to cast/dispel/unbind. On top of this she’s durable, with 9 wounds and the ability to bounce damage onto nearby Dire Wolves. She’s also able to handle herself decently well in melee for this kind of wizard character at this price point.
Whilst the Lore of the Vampires isn’t the best to be picking from for a double caster, she has two very solid warscroll spells. Lycancurse is a pretty standard d3 mortal wound nuke, but any slain models get turned into Dire Wolves – those Dire Wolves get set up within 3” of the slain model’s unit so this creates a way of nullifying both Redeploy and Unleash Hell.
Under a Killing Moon is a fantastic spell that give Belladamma a 24” aura of exploding 6s in melee for Vyrkos units. This aura is colossal and makes her really easy to use a buff piece that doesn’t have to get too close to the front lines.
The Cursed City Crew
Gorslav the Gravekeeper suffers from Zombies generally being a harder sell and the ability of Soulblight armies to bring units back improving. Because of that, his time in the sun is probably over at a steep 120 points.
Torgillius the Chamberlain is more interesting, as access to the Lore of the Deathmages is always good. He also provides a 12” aura of a 5+ ward for Vyrkos summonable units. This double dips on the ward ability provided by an artefact, so whether you take him over a Necromancer does depend on how much you want that double bubble – he’s 35 points more than a Necromancer.
Watch Captain Halgrim is our first summonable hero, which is fun. Unfortunately, that’s about it. His main ability lets him issue At the Double to 3 Vyrkos Deathrattle units for 1CP which is fine enough but not enough utility for his cost, especially compared to a Wight King.
Previously an incredibly boring warscroll, Lady Annika is now a bit more fun if still not quite competitive. She retains a 4+ ward, for a tanky 120 point hero, and can now be set up in reserve with the ability to arrive at the end of your movement phase in enemy territory. Her Kiss of the Blade Proboscian ability means that if she causes any damage to an enemy hero or monster but doesn’t kill it, their save is permanently reduced by 1. Like some of the other heroes here there’s no desperate need to rush out and paint this model, but if you have it and want to use it, it shouldn’t totally disappoint.
Has also had a tweak to do a bit more on the battlefield, and is actually a little spicy now. A sneaky change is that Kritza is now summonable, so can come back to life once when destroyed and it does also make him eligible for some buffs that are not normally able to go on vampires (like the Vyrkos 5+ ward artefact).
The Verminous Court is a very cheeky rule that lets Kritza pick an enemy unit within 1” at the start of the combat phase and turn off its artefact of power for the rest of the game on a 3+. Robbing your opponent of a big artefact is always a lot of fun, and Kritza has the tech to come back in after running in and getting owned pulling this off. If there’s a problem, it’s getting him into that combat in the first place and early enough to have impact, plus just fitting him in around all the great heroes available.
Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon
Like Vhordrai, the vanilla VLoZD has picked up 16 wounds and turns off inspiring presence. Beyond the changes to the zombie dragon profile that we’ll cover in its own section, the rider on top has seen some changes to bring their weapons a bit closer together in power. The lance now does damage 3 on the charge instead of 4, but has extra rend. The sword now does flat damage 2 and has five attacks that wound on a 2+. On the charge, the lance is still the better damaging weapon, but it’s a lot closer now, and if you’re a flaming weapon aficionado the sword is the way to go.
Otherwise, this is the model you know and love with the added durability of more wounds and the Hunger. At a modest price increase back up to 440 this is a generically good hero but looks particularly tasty in Legion of Blood, with an extra attack on every weapon profile in melee and the opportunity to slice through ward saves.
Cado returns exactly as he was, unsurprisingly. He’s still a good overall beatstick hero with an ability to turn his successful wound rolls into mortal wounds, or an ability to move 14” as needed. He’s maybe now looking relatively worse than he did just because of the glut of vampire heroes improving around him. If you’re chasing damage with him for fun, he’s another model who does benefit from the bonus attack from Legion of Blood as he’s a vampire hero and doesn’t have a pre-set subfaction.
Sporting an extra attack and a 130 point price tag, the vanilla Vampire Lord is still a good hero choice, especially for armies that will be investing in Grave Guard as its combat phase ability to hand out +1 attack to a summonable unit no longer costs a CP. The lack of a warscroll spell still hurts a bit with the weaker lore, but there are at least long range spells to throw out in those early turns, or it’s a good flaming weapon user.
A cobbling together of the two previously established builds in the kit, the Bloodseeker Palanquin was introduced in the Legions of Nagash book and has been terrible since its inception. There’s no change to that vibe here, it’s a bit better in melee than before but not any better than a foot-vampire in any meaningful way, it’s a single cast wizard with a terrible warscroll spell.
The main gimmick here is that you can permanently hand out +1 attack to vampire units wholly within 12”, but the Palanquin has to kill an enemy hero to activate that buff. For a gobsmacking 310 points, I will pass on this opportunity.
A bit of a sad trombone here, Tactical Insight has gone from one of the best command abilities in the entire game to an ability to issue the same command twice. That’s nice, but it’s really an ability that’s gravy rather than the main meal. You do get an ability that grants you a CP if you go second in the round or an extra cast if you go first, which again is nice to have but is not enticing you to take the unit.
The funniest thing a Coven Throne can do is its spell, which is a 12” d3 mortal wound nuke. If you can kill an enemy hero that has a wounds characteristic of 6 or less with that nuke, it gets turned into a Vampire Lord. Hilarious. The Coven Throne itself is a bit better in melee but again, you just want more for your points here, 275 is a lot for what you’re getting.
Another summonable hero, Wight Kings still compete in a similar role to Vampire Lords. Their main ability is now exploding 6s, which they can hand out to Skeletons or Grave Guard in the hero phase. Assuming you can’t just take both, they’re an interesting sell compared to Vampire Lords, the extra attack from the vampire lord will typically work out better and the vampire is a wizard. On the other hand, being summonable opens up a lot of opportunities for the Wight King, and makes them de-facto tougher. They also unlock battleline for Grave Guard, which is absolutely something that will play into some army builds.
Wight King on Skeletal Steed
The chunkiest summonable hero with 7 wounds and a 3+ save, and blessedly no longer inexplicably worse in melee than the foot King. What you get ability wise for the steed is a 12” aura of re-roll charges for Black Knights, which is handy. The aura also makes the Black Knight charge ability trigger on a 4+ instead of a 5+ which, we’ll get to it, but that’s very good indeed. You do pay a bit for this unit now, 160, but if you’re chasing the Black Knight dream it’s mandatory.
Great, great, great unit. They get to bounce damage onto nearby summonable units on a 4+, so stick around longer than their statline would suggest. Vanhel’s Danse Macabre has seen a big change, and now allows the targeted summonable unit to fight in the hero phase. It’s less generally applicable, but useful when you need it. The spell lore for these is fantastic and they’re one of the few ways to actually access it. For the now rock bottom price of 90 points, you really can’t go wrong with one or two Necromancers.
If anything is appreciably worse this tome, it’s unfortunately the Zombie. They’ve seen a heavy rewrite and it’s essentially removed the damage dealing from their role.
You get two abilities: if they kill anything in melee you get a new zombie back at the end of the phase on a 2+ for each thing they killed. They also blow up when slain with a melee weapon, dealing the attacking unit a mortal wound on a 5+. These are both OK rules, but they have lost the 6” pile-in and mortal wounds on 6s to hit.
Jumping ahead, if they’re near a Corpse Cart they get 6s to do mortals on the wound roll and they do get 2 attacks now, but at 5s to hit baseline you will still not be outputting the damage you were before (until they start dying). There is some zombie tech in the book so it’s not totally hopeless, they’re just not quite what they once were.
Dire Wolves have stolen the 6” pile-in from Zombies, which does make quite a bit more thematic sense to be fair. Otherwise, these are pretty rock solid battleline. You get a lot of wounds for your points and a 10” move. They’re naff in combat, but a fantastic screening and objective grabbing unit.
Not a bad battleline unit all told. They do pick up a point of rend if they outnumber their opponents, but at one attack each they’re never going to be setting the world alight in combat. Where these shine is being a cheap block of summonable bodies, and the skeleton legion rule which brings slain models back into the unit on a 4+ at the start of the combat phase. This timing is a little awkward, as the start of the combat phase is when they’re least likely to have actually taken any casualties, so your mileage may vary. Still, 85 points for 10 skeletons is a fine deal and they’re a good screen.
The Soulblight Tome has a lot of Conditional Battleline for specific subfactions and generals. So we’ll organize those into their own section as they are often one of the biggest draws to a particular faction
Battleline in Kastelai. The headline changes here are that their lances are now rend -2 all of the time and charging now just provides a damage bonus. On the other hand, their ability to de-facto retreat and charge against some units has been removed, they can move as if they fly vs 3 wound or less units all of the time but there is no ability to normal move within 3” of them.
For this they now cost 230 points. This ultimately probably ends up as a nerf to the unit and Kastelai will feel the sting of accumulated price increases, but ultimately this is still a very solid unit: fast, hard hitting and tough all in one package.
Battleline in Legion of Night or Anvegorii. These still suck. They’re quite fast with a 12” move, and you can elect to deploy them off the board as a reserve unit, but they’re too squishy and pillow fisted for 155 points. You can get the same attack profile and almost the same speed out of 90 point Blood-born, Vargheists just feel like an afterthought without a real role.
Battleline in Legion of Blood. A very interesting unit now. Pretty terrible in combat, and only as survivable as a Dire Wolf does not bode well but we’re entirely here for the charge ability. Deathly charge means that when you finish the move you pick an enemy unit within 1” and roll two dice for every model in the unit of Black Knights, doing mortals on a 5+ (or 4+ if you have a friendly Wight King on Skeletal Steed, which you should).
Note that there’s no requirement for the individual Black Knights to be near the target of this, just one model in a unit of 15 being within 1” of the enemy can deliver all of the damage. For a 110 point unit this is a pretty bonkers amount of damage, and being summonable will give you multiple bites of the cherry. As noted, they are absolutely terrible in a protracted fight, so will get bogged down if the charge itself doesn’t deliver the goods. Still, a very interesting unit indeed and there’s almost certainly a spam build that can do horrible things with board control and mortal wounds.
Battleline with a Wight King general. Good and solid, if you’re doing a summonable build these will be your bread and butter. They’re squishy and they’re slow but they’re also not overly expensive and slap obscenely hard with mortals on 6s to wound in addition, plus damage 2 on their great weapons. Do note that the great weapon stats have been flipped around and they now hit on a 4+ and wound on a 3+, having the hit roll be worse is much easier to fix, so this is a good change.
You’ve seen all through the review that this book is stuffed full of buffs for summonable units and Grave Guard will absorb them like a sponge and butcher whatever you can point them at. Against some builds the low speed and poor save absolutely will be a liability, but there are a couple of subfactions that can mitigate this, alongside gravesites.
Battleline in Legion of Night. They move 14”, they’re summonable, they’re 85 points. If they ever manage to kill anything they get to start stacking bonus attacks, and they can beat up other chaff units if you get lucky with their profile of 4s and 4s thanks to a cheeky damage 2.
The Mortis Engine has been reconfigured to have less design overlap with the Corpse Cart, and that’s great. It’s Nexus of Death Energy ability now upgrades your Deathly Invocation healing to d3+3 – making it one of the few ways to achieve that one battle tactic. Otherwise, the Reliquary now counts up every time you cast or unbind a spell and does that many mortal wounds in an AoE (up to a maximum of 6). A 6 mortal wound bomb is terrifying, but activating it is in your hero phase and the range is a very tight 6” making this difficult to use. For 230 points it’s hard to recommend unreservedly, but if it can do it’s thing it will be devastating.
As mentioned, the zombie dragon now turns off Inspiring Presence within 3” which is great. You can also elect to set it up in reserves and bring it on at the end of your movement phase with all of the usual restrictions. Also fine, though unless you are trying to avoid an alpha strike you will probably get more out of its 14” move.
There have been tweaks to the weapon profiles as well, the breath weapon is now d6 shots with a flat damage 3, which does work out to be on average better than the old profile if still quite swingy. The snapping maw now has a very respectable damage rend -3 and a flat 3 damage. Zombie Dragons have always been sort of solid, and this is a better version of them. They’ve also never seen an enormous amount of competitive play and the things that held them back still do: hitting on a 4+ with a relatively low number of attacks and a 300 point pricing.
Battleline in Anvegorii. Terrorgheists have traditionally had a little more play in an unmounted format than Zombie Dragons, though more often in the more offensively oriented Flesh-eater Courts. Death shriek remains as it was, as does the gambler’s rush of doing 6 mortal wounds with the maw attacks. These have now been tweaked to have the same melee profile with their talons as Zombie Dragons, so whilst their maw attacks are more swingy they’re as good to better in melee as a Zombie Dragon now. This is needed, as the new Zombie Dragon breath attack works out a bit better than the death shriek into most targets and the Terrorgheist lacks the utility of turning off Inspiring Presence.
These are as they were being a recent release, and still don’t quite get there. Being able to hand out strikes-last on the charge is handy and the anti-monster ability is nice but the unit is just a bit too expensive for what you’re getting as an overall package.
Buffs Zombies as noted before, but the main thing is they either have a 12” aura of -1 to cast for enemy wizards, or a wholly 12” aura of +1 to cast for friendly wizards. Otherwise they’re slow, squishy and have some pointless attacks. At 70 points these are very cheap, and for a cast bonus certainly a strong consideration given how magic-heavy Soulblight armies can be.
More Cursed City
Vyrkos Blood-born are now a very interesting unit, that could see some play in any subfaction. You get 3 models with 3 wounds and 3 quality attacks, plus a 10” pre-game move. They’re a little fragile to be throwing around with too much abandon, but they will happily bully other cheap skirmishers and come in at a bargain basement 90 points.
The Vargskyr gained the Hunger but lost its 5+ ward and it’s squishy enough where that probably ends up being a poor trade. Otherwise, it still has a decent combat profile and a 3d6” charge. They’re cheap-ish at 110 but aren’t lighting the world on fire.
Kosargi Nightguard are another 90 point unit, they do have a 5+ ward and grab an extra attack if they’re near Radukar. Again, these are probably a skip unless you have a desperate need to protect Radukar the Wolf, and even then it’s rough.
The Sepulchral Guard have two wounds each and some other bits and bobs rules. At 100 points for 15 wounds they’re actually relatively efficient in that regard, but realistically they’re not doing anything another unit cannot do better or cheaper.
King Morlak Velmorn and his Sons are here to remind you that Grave Guard haven’t had a model update. Of the various warbands on offer these are one of the more interesting. Morlak is essentially a Wight King in statline but only interacts with his unit in terms of buffs. The best thing going on here is that the Sons can stop an enemy unit from making pile-in moves on a 2+. For that, you pay 220 points, so back to traditional staggering costs for Underworlds units.
Deintalos the Exile has managed to make some Zombies from the previous battletome, as his unit does mortal wounds on 6s to hit, and can even pick up a 5+ ward. Again, we’re looking at 220 points and you’re only getting 6 zombies in that deal. They’ve got 2 wounds each and a bunch of attacks but not being able to take a bigger unit is holding back what could have been something more competitive.
Finally, Prince Duvalle and his Crimson Court are here to also cost you 220 points. Prince Duvalle is a pretty standard vampire in statline and the Court themselves are now more appropriate, with 3 wounds each and decent quality attacks. Duvalle himself is a lot of fun, as he offers your opponent the choice between giving Duvalle rend -2 or being untargetable in melee. It’s a cheeky ability and he comes with a spell that marks an enemy unit to hand out +1 to hit and wound anything attacking it, that is a bit hamstrung by a 6” range. Again, nothing incredible here but they could do some damage and be fun to use.
Initially we were a bit befuddled by this book’s existence. As far as Death Tomes go, Soulblight have been doing fine, the book was pretty well balanced internally and as the last 2.0 Tome, it did have a lot of rules that jived well with 3rd.
However as we went through this book, we did find that the old tomes few eccentricities did make those stand out. Certain rules just didnt quite “fit” right and could use an update (even if I still argue Flesh Eater Courts could use that love far more). The new book is…it’s a bit of an odd duck, stuff seems shuffled around with some units getting notably stronger while others being absolutely cratered in power level. The book seems like it’ll still do strong, it’s still a book with a lot of options and versatility to build from, but where those points of power are is going to take a bit more to work out.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.