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after finishing my Tau Empire and beginning work on my Wood Elves, I am slowly looking for yet another project (yes, I fully understand this is an addiction). Now, the Tomb Kings have caught my interest, but as the army has been around in its latest incarnation for a couple of years, I have to ask:
How competitive are the Tomb Kings currently?
How enjoyable are they from a tactical perspective?
I picked the Wood Elves not only because of the amazing fluff and models, but also because they were quite a difficult army to master, with lots of tactical possibilities, allowing for a highly enjoyable gameplay. Will I get the same with Tomb Kings? Warseerers regard TK as one of the weakest armies, so I would like to know whether I'm still safe with them or I need to wait for a new army book. I'm not looking for the overpowered cheesiness of VC or Daemons (I'm talking BT here, mostly, if any Daemons player gets offended), but I would still like to be able to make more than two lists that can do fairly well, even against armies that have been already updated.
Cheers for any input, awarded with reputation points.
Last edited by Leafwalker; September 14th, 2008 at 21:12.
Tomb kings are a highly competitive army in the right hands, although there are certain units which hardly anyone can find a use for.
In terms of an enjoyable tactical encounter then yes, this is very possible with TK as you have no troops that can flee to give you gambits like that, however the magic phase can provide you with another movement or close combat phase, or both.
Having said all that the undead style of play is not for everyone, and unbreakable immune to psychology fear causing troops do have some drawbacks after all!
Arms are an instrument of evil, No measure for thoughtful men until there fail all other choice but sad acceptance of it.
Sun-Tse : The art of war
The Tomb Kings remain a competitive army, but that has been slowly diminishing with each new book that comes out. They handle the new HE well (gogo impact hits), but struggle against the new VC, DE, and DoC, and soon the new Warriors of Chaos. This is in addition to their old uphill battles vs Dwarves (any list) and Empire (gunlines). They simply don't have the tools to deal with some of the new power inflation, and the playerbase is small enough that they rank low in re-write priority.
They are difficult to learn how to play well, but once you get through the learning curve, they are (in my opinion) the most tactically advanced army in the game. There is almost no randomness in the army, no sweating over whether this or that dice roll will go your way. Your troops are reliable in the extreme and after a while you can predict almost exactly how any situation will work out.
That can lead to a bit of boredom though, as there isn't much in the way of gambles and gambits. If you take a chance with this army it will almost certainly backfire in your face. They survive on reliability and relentlessness.
The bit about boredom is interesting. And the one about small player base even more - this may cause the TK to be one of the last, if not the last, army to be updated. Definitely something to think about, as I have two alternatives (DE and Lizardmen, which are getting an update after WoC) to consider as well.
Playerbase isn't the sole deciding factor in when armies get re-writes obviously. DE and VC both had very small followings (because they were so bad) and have already been re-done. However I think if TK were anywhere on the radar we'd at least have heard rumors as such.
And I don't mean to say that the army is always boring. Setting up your combination charges is always fun, but you better enjoy the movement phase, because that's where this army wins and loses.
It's also always fun to watch your opponent's face when you get a really good Light of Death off. It's about the one random element in the army. That and KB'ing a 600+ point Lord with a Tomb Scorpion worth 1/8 his cost.
Still though, you'll be stuck with always the same magic lore (which never fails and is never irresistable), steady, unbreakable troops, shooting that always hits on 5's and chariots with a much more steady number of impact hits.
If you like steady and hate surprises though its great.
Tomb Kings are a fantastically competitive army Despite the seeming overpowered-ness of the newer armies, they do all have massive flaws, and hence Tomb Kings remain in the top 3-5 of the best armies in Warhammer. Once you get your list and tactics smoothed out, your army will do exactly what you want it to. Its very unforgiving (make mistakes and you will be punished if your opponent is smart enough) but so long as your focussed on the game it becomes pretty hard to make mistakes. The army itself is very individual, there is nothing else like it in fantasy, and hence makes for a very enjoyable army to collect and play. Furthermore, they have some of the best models GW have ever made; Ushabti!
Anyway, thanks for the input, this is something to think about. I still have some time to go through this, so maybe I will be able to find someone with the army book to have a look at what's actually inside.
TK definitely have a bit of a steep learning curve. In the hands of a beginner, they will probably underperform, but if you know your army well and can play them well, particularly having magic phases on your terms, they are a very powerful army and really awesome sight to look at on the table. They are also better in larger battles than smaller battles, you will find them much harder to play at 500-1500 points than at 2k or 3k, in large battles they really get powerful.
But yes, with power creep they are slipping a little bit. I don't think they have much of a chance at all against the new VC, but they should at least have a chance of winning against most of the other new armies. They are fragile and unforgiving, yet at the same time extremely reliable, if you want to get a certain spell off there is not much anyone can do about it unless they are very very magic defensive heavy.
I'll probably pick up Tomb Kings once they get a remake. I don't like the current models but I like the concept of the army. I am going to start reading the fluff myself. I play Wood Elves by the way, like Leaf. I choose Wood Elves for the same reasons and would like to play TK for a more solid Magic army (that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment though).
I think perhaps you should try painting a unit of them and seeing how you like them. The army is, admittedly, not particularly varied and unless you're a three-color speed painter, there is a good chance you may find painting two hundred skeletons to be a little monotonous.
A fully painted Tomb Kings army looks particularly striking on the table, but to get to that point is potentially a horrible exercise in boredom.
With regards to their tactical abilities, I will have to go against the grain and declare that they are made difficult in their simplicity. The Tomb Kings, as befits their 'undead automata' theme, operate in very predictable, almost rote, fashion. Their army selections follow similar templates as well. Thus, a TK opponent knows a great deal about the army he is facing and that always makes for an uphill battle.
I think that, more than the Power Creep (whose effect I tend to downplay) makes the TKs difficult to play: being an older army, everyone knows them and how powerful they really are.
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