Ok, so folks have asked around a bit for solid Tomb King tips. Can the army be made to work? Is it as bad as people say it is. Well, here’s some tips for playing Tomb Kings.
First, let me start that I haven’t started moving down the road of special characters. I think there are a couple of them in the book that can really boost the army where it needs boosting, but I am not the kind of guy that puts them on the table. Especially when I am learning the army. If I can’t make an army work without them, then I am probably not going to get over the hump when I add special characters.
Tomb Kings for Conesy has been the first time I have ever put an army that didn’t have psychology, that didn’t take normal break tests, and didn’t have troops that had the ability to flee. It is really different and took a little bit to get used to. It really is a different approach to playing Warhammer and very full filling. I find myself enjoying my games more, even when I am getting tabled and getting even more excited when my troops are throuncing my foe, running down units, and generally watching my casket bounce from unit to unit of the foes causing immense destruction.
One of the first things that I see a lot of TK players buy into is hordes of infantry, particularly skeletons and tomb gaurd. I have never fielded these armies and I really don’t feel that those types of lists are competitive short of playing denial type lists. Even then, I am not sure how well they hold up. Why do I feel they are bad? Well, when you cannot march these impressive combat blocks cannot dictate the game at all. They can’t engage where you want them to and that means you are dependent on what your opponent wants to do. If they are defensive, then they move up to offensive spell range, stop your movement spell attempts and watch your slow creeping dead fall apart to there fire power only engaging you when properly softened. Playing against that uber offensive army, say chaos warriors or ogres? Well, they out combat you and will destroy your units so you are playing on your back heals in this match up. Really, TK infantry really aren’t a good match. I can see an arguement for a single block in the lists, but generally I haven’t found the desire to put that on the board.
Another style to the list is the ultra defensive shooting/magic builds. I ran something like this at Blood in the Sun 2013, mostly due to what I had available that was painted and went with a 1-2-2 record for the weekend. Not really that good. Now, I didn’t sell out to the magic/shooting phase which may have been some of it, but then you are also starting to get yourself into match up Warhammer. If you get a favorable draw you can really destroy your opponent and make for a not fun game and if you get a bad match up you are tabled before you know what hit you. My 2 losses at this event, while I played hard were tablings like this where I was on my back foot the entire game. My win was against inexperience more then anything and draws against Beastmen and Dwarfs (with no canons/1 stone thrower) isn’t really a lot to right home about.
Now, I am a huge fan of the Warsphinx. Why is it so good. Well, it gives you a tool for a lot of things. Let’s list off what I find it useful for:
1. Movement. They aren’t slow with a move 6 unlike the infantry you can move them a bit more to where you need them. This means you can try to ensure that you are getting the matchups that favor these creatures. Not to mention that extra little bit that can give you the edge on making a charge over the same distance that an enemy infantry unit can. Plain and simple, there are few units in the list that are truly as maneuverable for you as the Warsphinx.
2. Infantry destroyer. These things really eat infantry. Drop one into an infantry unit and watch it run rampant. Drop two into an infantry unit and watch it evaporate. With 4 attacks from crew, 4 from the Sphinx, and a thunderstomp alone they take huge swaths of guys. Still, buy that breath weapon for them and that turn you charge or that second round of combat when you don’t have that charge bonus or character to kill with the crew and lay waste.
3. Killing Blow crew. One of the things that I think folks overlook on the Warsphinx is the killing blow on the crew at a higher initiative. This is invaluable. By the time they crew virtually all of the characters, short of the great weapon armed ones, so you all ready know what they were able (or unable to do) and have free rain to drop all for crew attacks at one for a killing blow. I can’t tell you how consistently and successfully I am at killing characters this way. Heroes, lords, BSBs all have been slain in this manner. Giving me a couple of wounds to my combat result often equaling anything the opposition is going to deal for the round letting me have the luxury on the Warsphinx’s attack to choose if I want to use the Thundercrush attack.
4. Durability. Oh, are those Nurgle chaos Warriors with halberds, White lions, or some other amazing troops well it’s time to serve them a Warsphinx. I almost always see a round 1 survival against these units, often doing great damage with breath and thunderstomps and then being able to hold on both their turn and back to mine where I have the luxury of throwing a buff on them to heal up a precious wound. Often this is enough to keep the guy around for another full 2 combats which is all you can ask for a Warsphinx with breath weapon upgrade to do against these super elite units.
Note that units that can re-roll to hit and have high volumes of attacks such as beastmen gor (hatred), black guard, and swordmasters tend to just eat Warsphinx in a couple of rounds of combat which isn’t good. Watch out for these units.
5. Killing power. Really, there aren’t a lot of units that deliver the kind of killing power that a Warsphinx does in the army. Tomb Kings suffer from the lack of high strength and armor piercing attacks which isn’t good when dealing with the abundance of cavalry, particularly monstrous cavalry on the board these days. The Warsphinx isn’t designed for this, but it is possibly the single best unit in the army against infantry freeing up tools like your Casket of Souls to target those elite units like monstrous cavalry units.
One last tip I would have, in a 2000 point or above game don’t bother bringing Warsphinx unless you bring 3. There are too many canons and other tools that can obliterate these guys. While they are still great for all of the above reasons, when you have just one of them they just aren’t good enough and you will find yourself having to rely on that one’s toughness 8 too often. 2 is what you need to consistently deliver and there is little more devastating in the Warhammer world then a double Warsphinx charge on a unit. Not only that, but I can’t tell you how often an opponent will underestimate the sheer killing power of these and throw a unit of skaven slaves, zombies or similar in their path only to watch the double Warsphinx litterally obliterate the unit in one or two rounds of combat.
There’s a tip for bringing these monsters on the table and how and what you can expect to use and get out of them. Warsphinx spam isn’t a bad thing and the best part is when these run rampant on your opponent, the look of surprise is priceless.