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I've been playing in an Escalation Tournament recently. Reasonable results thus far, but we're soon to hit the final, which brings us up to 2000 pts, and I'm debating how best to go from here...
The rules are that we're allowed to change up to a fifth of our previous list - so from my 1500 pt army, 1200 pts need to remain. Said 1500 was...
1 Sorceress (Lvl 2, Tome of Furion, Lore of Shadow, Black Dragon Egg, General) - 180 pts
1 Sorceress (Lvl 2, Focus Familiar, Lore of Death) - 160 pts
30 x RXB (Shields, Standard) - 340 pts
30 x RXB (Shields, Standard) - 340 pts
5 x Dark Riders (RXBs) - 110 pts
5 x Harpies - 55 pts
10 x Cold One Knights (Full Command) - 310 pts
Battle plan was to deploy the casters with the Repeater blocks in Horde formation, use the fast units to harass and take down fragile sections, and shoot/magic the crap out of the enemy as they approached.
The original plan was to make up for my existing lack of character punch by adding in a fully-specced Manticore-dreadlord (Armour of Eternal Servitude, Ring of Darkness and Whip of Agony, perhaps?), but part of me is debating pumping up my magic phase even more. Since I don't have any Executioners and the Knights, though powerful, are not all-destroying, I'm relying on my Shadow hexes to soften stuff up for the ridiculous amounts of crossbow fire, which is fine - but I do have issues if someone starts throwing war machines at me.
I've got Ogres, Dwarves, Dark Elves, Tomb Kings, Orcs and Bretonians to contend with. Any thoughts?
Hmm, you could give your Death mage a Dark Pegasus and then go Warmachine hunting with that (Spirit Leech, Fate of Bjuna, Caress of Laniph and Purple Sun).
A Manticore Dreadlord sounds like a lot of fun (and usually is), although perhaps a Pegasus Dreadlord would be better for Warmachine hunting (no chance of it being shot from underneath him). I'd recommend something like Armour of Destiny, Cloak of Hag Graef, Dawnstone, Shield, Lance and maybe a Repeater Crossbow if you've got points.
That gives you a 2+ re-rollable Armour save (1+ re-rollable vs shooting) with a 4+ ward with all shooting at half Strength (so Cannonballs are S5, giving you a 3+ re-rollable and a 4+ ward), with 4 S6 attacks on the charge followed by 3 S5 attacks on the charge. I've run that build a few times and he's bery good at his job (hunting Warmachines).
Interesting. Cloak of Hag Graef does have something to be said for it, although you couldn't take both it and Armour of Destiny (both magic armour, can only take one...)
I'll definitely have to consider that Pegasus idea, whether for the sorceress or the Dreadlord (or even both). Nice thing about that is saving 150 pts! Just need to work out a suitable model.
...maybe I could get away with using a Hellion as 'borrowed' Skaven magitek...
Crap yeah, keep forgetting the *only 1 of each* rule. Tens years of choosing what I want, 1 year of that rule, not a good mix.
Failing that then you then have 50pts of magic items kicking around then.
All right, how's this for a concept...
Dreadlord (Cloak of Hag Graef, Dawnstone, <cheap magic weapon>, Dark Pegasus, usual upgrades)
Supreme Sorceress (Lore of Shadow)
Sorceress (Lore of Fire, <something>)
Sorceress (Lore of Death, Dark Pegasus, Tome of Furion, Pendant of Khaeleth)
Drop the Harpies.
Gives me a couple of mobile harassment characters to support the Cold Ones and Dark Riders, plenty of punch to deal with war machines... the DL doesn't have a ward save, but rerollable 3+ save at worst will help against mundane stuff. The Sorceress can deal comfortably with heavy incoming fire (not so much if she gets pincushioned, but nothing's going to stop that) and assassinate stuff nicely. Meanwhile, I've still got a couple of heavy casters in my main blocks.
The (awkward to fit) alternative is to switch to two Supremes, and downgrade the DL to a Master. Something like:
Supreme Sorceress (Lore of Shadow, Sacrificial Dagger)
Supreme Sorceress (Lore of Fire)
Master (Dark Pegasus, Dawnstone, Cloak of Hag Graef)
Sorceress (Dark Pegasus, Pendant of Khaeleth, Tome of Furion)
This bumps me up to over 900 pts of characters, which feels a little top heavy, and requires losing the Dark Riders (and possibly more).
900pts of characters? Too top heavy? Rofl, that sounds about perfect (fondly remembers times of 700pts of characters in 1500pts and other excess's).
In all seriousness though, the first one definately seems the better, although perhaps Lore of Metal might be a better choice than Lore of Fire. You could even go with a secondary Shadow Caster. Also the Focus Familiar is a better option for a Pegasus Sorceress (except Morathi, who is best with Book of Ashur), as the extra 6" range means you can fly into position behind cover, pop the familiar out where she can see and then fire away. Also the Miscast effects (like the templates of doom) and Misfired Purple Sun are placed over the Familiar (the Familiar counts as the point of casting).
Also, the Black Dragon Egg might be a good addition for your Dreadlord (plus theres nothing wrong with the standard lance, most Warmachines only have 3 crew, who he's hitting on 3s with re-rolls and killing on 2s most of the time, with his Pegasus hitting on 4s wounding on 2's/3's. Black Dragon Egg would be useful for him to drop a nice flame template on some poor unsuspecting troops (at my local GW I'm possibly the only person who regularly uses Breath Weapons in the Shooting Phase. Against Skaven Clanrats I had 2 Breath Weapons, which is a potential 24 kills (2D6x2) in Close Combat, from shooting they killed 46 Clanrats, nearly double than in combat).
I would go with the first one over the second. With the second you might struggle to find enough Power dice, although there might only be 1 or 2 spells you need to get off, the rest would just be a bonus.