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While this issue has been touched on briefly before, most players seem to gloss over them, labelling them as "not worth the piece of #$%$ metal they're made from". Once again let me offer you an alternative view and an indepth tactica on the wide array of possible uses. Many people also seem to regard carrion obsolete, considering we have the awesome tomb scorpion. While I would agree that scorpions are awesome and a unit of weak flyers should be overlooked for them, the fact is Carrion are much more than a unit of weak fliers.
Firstly lets examine their stats: Ws 3, S3, I3 - nothing really special here. However the real surprise is that they have T4, 2 Wounds and 2 Attacks. The real downside I see for carrion is that they take up a special choice, are 24 points each and are only Unit strength 1. However this is quickly counteracted by the huge boost of flexibility that your army (especially tomb kings where your fastest movement [non magic and charge] outside of carrion is 8 inches) gains by including these bird brained buzzards.
They address a major weakness in the tomb king list. That of "natural" mobility (vs. unnatural mobility through magic). Its good to know that a unit can draw out fanatics 20" away or swoop on that lone mage without the use of magic. Heres why i think carrion are a must for any tomb king army
They are 72 points for 3- sure a tomb scorpion (more on this later) is only 13 points more, but carrions offer way more in terms of flexibility. ICFB can be very unreliable, not something you need when that wizard is out of his unit on that specific turn or when those 3 fanatics need to be released BEFORE they reach your line. Carrion get there when you want them to, and are thus very reliable. Their low points costs also makes them relative sacrificable.
2) They take up a special:
Yes!! this is an advantage. By using carrion, this has forced me to drop my tomb guard and overall create a much more flexible and balanced army. For more info on this see my other post "Tactica Tomb Guard or Lack of"
Here are some of their myriad of uses:
3) Take out War Machines Wizards/Skirmishers:
Self Explanatory- also frees ups tasks for tomb scorpion to do. The main advatage of the Carrion over Tomb scoripion (hereby referred to as TS) in this role as mentioned above is that they are so reliable. They get there when you want, not whenever your dice want. Carrion can also charge artilery in the first turn with the help of magic giving a 40 inch charge range which your opponent if he knows whats good for him will not flee from. Thus you have effectively neutralised a large (100+ point?) threat for at least a turn. Whereas the best TS can do is appear in turn 2. I repeat the best. By then your forces would have alreday been exposed to 2 rounds of enemy fire. Many intelligent players will also spread out the deployment of their artillery if they are aware a TS is present. Therefore after you finish targetting one, it will at least take 2 turns to reach the other one if they are initially outside your 14" charge range, leaving your opponent to get another shot into your insectoid creation. Believe even the resilence of a TS will not stand up to S10 D6 wounding cannon balls or S6 D3 wound bolts. While Carrion may also face this problem, this will probably be less likely as 20 inches is usually enough to make it there.
I have heard concern that people are unwilling to include carrion because of their poor stats, making them even too weak for war machine duty. This could not be further from the truth. Sure they are relatively expensive in comparison to other fliers in terms on the number you get, but in terms of T4 wounds carrion excel. For example for 78 points (5 more than carrion), you would get 6 T3 wounds from the 6 harpies. In chaos armies, for 75 points you would get only 5 T3 wounds. A unit of 3 carrion for 72 points has 6 T4 wounds. So in terms of durability carrion are not at all disadvantaged. I agree however that being undead makes them crumble, but this shouldnt really affect anything as if you pick your targets correctly(ie war machine crew, wizards), they wont loose combat, let alone crumble.
Now in terms of offensively capability- my unit of 3 carrion will have 6 Ws 3 S3 attacks (assuming they charge which they should). Now you might think this isnt great and I would agree. But they are sufficent for what they are designed for- taking out war machines and wizards. 6 attacks should take out 2 crew (not dwarves- they're special ), and 6 attacks should assasinate any lvl 2 wizard and will cause enough damage for lord mages to be wounded, outnumbered and automatically flee. This brings me to my next point- fear.
Although they are only Unit strength 1, a unit of 3 should outnumber any wizard or crew after the charge. This causes an automatic flee, with the carrion pursuing 3d6. The enemy also needs to test on their leadership once you charge them, reducing their chances of causing significant damage on the fight back (T4 also works miracles here against S3 crew). So while other units of fliers may kill 2 crew, their is a chance that they will still hold. But with carrion a flee is virtually guranteed.
Skirmishers may also be targetted if you're desperate, although this is generally not reommended. Maybe weak units like skinks, huntsmen, shades?... What you need to be wary of here is being bogged down and eventually crumbling, so only charge if :
a) you know you are going to win or
their sacrifice of holding the unit up for 2-3 turns is worth loosing your carrion.
Sometimes their sacrifice extremely beneficial though- such as charging your carrion into that huntsmen skirmish screen in front of the knights, or skinks in front of the sauruses, effectively holding up the unit behind for a turn or two.
4) March Blocking:
Self explanatory- one of the few TK units that can do it convincingly. TS arent really reliable in this role, and using chariots and cavalry isnt really effective because of their lack of natural speed. They are also generally used for a more important role and the price of these units dont really justify them in this role. Perhaps a unit of 5 cavalry could perform a type of poor man's carrion in terms of march blocking, but again this unit would be dependent on incantations to get them into range, not something you would usually want to waste them on. Also at best you would only be able to march block them after turn 1 as you cant move within 8 inches of his units even with incatations. So overall Carrion are the most adapted for this role in the TK army. There is no need for me to explain how usful marchblocking, especially in a tomb king army, where that extra turn of maneuvering for a flank charge or catapult/casket launching could be the difference between victory or defeat for your mighty force of khemri.
5) Running down units - the main reason why i take them carrion
Ever had that annoying feeling, where everything just flees from your chariots charges? Well now you can turn his cowardice into an advantage for you. Move your carrion approx 12 inches in front of your chariots, declare your charge a) they take it and break or they flee and are destroyed by magically charging carrion. My LHP with a cloak and jar, along with the threat of a Casket gurantees that this will generally work.
In more general terms you can also park them behind a fleeing unit and charge them in the magic phase. Nothing out runs a 20/40" charge Seriously give this a go!! IT is awesome. The unit of knights fleeing from that screaming skull, that annoying fast calvary unit fleeing from your charges.. the possibilities are endless.
This just adds another dimension to the flexibility and power of your units. No longer shall they waste a turn turning around after routing an enemy, leave that to the Carrion I say, let your chariots charge another enemy instead. Infact carrion are so useful that I often double team them with my unit of chariots, forcing opponents to take my charge, unless they want to be run down by the carrion- thus your 72 point investment acts as a force points multiplier for your army.
6)Matching other fliers: -eliminating a TK weakness
For a long time , enemy fliers has been an obvious weakness for a Tk army as we have no effective counter to them, often getting in the way of chariot charges or taking apart your missile line. Then here come the carrion. Carrion can out charge and out combat these annoying pussies due to the incantations. No longer can they position themselves on a tangent infront of your chariots and force a charge, or roam the battle field freely because the carrion are here. ON the charge and even taking it, CArrion will often out last and outfight most units of equivalently pointed fliers (insert harpies, furies, eagles... etc here) because of T4 - a bane of many low attack and low Strength fliers. Even if they dont it will take at least 2 (maybe 3?) turns for a unit of fliers (some exceptions ) to destroy a unit of carrion. This buys enough time for your chariots/calvalry to get into place unhindered.
There are also other standard flier tactics that most armies can employ. There's the divert- where you place your fliers on a tangent away an enemy unit after landing directly in front. Hopefully when they the carrion crumble they may pursue away from the main battle line (even better in some woods ). At the very worst, at least the unit wont be able to meaningfully march move towards your force.
There is the bait tactic which is very similar to divert except they take the charge, crumble and overrun into a vulnerable position. This is similar to what Dark Elves would do with their 70 point 10 man warrior unit, except carrion are 2 points more.
There is also the what i term "kamikaze chargers" where carrion charge a unit hoping to hold it up for a turn
Carrion can provide cover for your flying liche priest as well
Why people dont take Carrion
I think the main reason why people hate them is that they take up place of TG and Tomb scorpion, rather than carrion actually being bad themselves. But as i have mentioned above, Carrion offer so much tactical flexibility to your army that no other Tk unit can hope to match.
The other reason may be because players are not using them properly and sacrifcing them needlessly. Stick to their roles: as being war machine andwizard hunters, march blockers, skirmisher holders ( in that order). If you use them correctly you will usually find that you will get your points back form them.
May i also point out that carrion arent that bad depsite their poor looking stats. In comparison to other fliers they are actually up there below pegasus knights, screamers and terradons, all which are vastly more expensive than the poor humble carrion. I mean what other flier can have T4, cause fear, 40" charge range as well as being completely healable?
IN conclusion: Give carrion a go. They arent as bad as the stats would suggest and offer a huge range of flexibility that no other TK unit can match. Its amazing that GW even included carrion into a TK army, removing one of their weaknesses, considering the already vast amounts of speed we have at our disposal. There are just so many things that Carrion can do. Once again give them a fair go and let their beaks do all the talking...
Good luck to all Tomb Lords in the storm of chaos
this is part of a message I posted on some topic (don't know what topic, to lasy to look ).and then one of my favorites, CARRIONS, they might seem stupid, 24 points for a model with S3, T4, BUT, with 2 wounds, and 2 attacks, and flying, lets not forget that. if you just keep them in cover but in range of your oppont, they will not get shot and you just wait for the right moment, or just fly behind the enemy in 2 turns and take down his warmachines and wizards (in a unit of 4, they are expendable, so you could charge a wizard in a unit and just throuw 4 attacks at the wizard to destroy him). IF the opponent should have an offensive army (like chaos or skaven), you can just put them in front of some scenery and when the opponts troops arrive, take their flank or rear, most people will see that coming, but if you just let them fly across the battlefield and behind cover all the time, your opponent can't march, you will destroy his warmachines and wizards (and nasty things like ratling guns!!, they are DEFINATLY worth it.
This is one of the few things I agree with you, carrions are a great unit in a TK army.
there is just one thing, and I'm not sure about this yet because I haven't played with them this way, what do you think about 5 or 6 carrions in one unit???
Because, in my opinion, if the opponent hasn't gotten any single wizards, skirmishers or warmachines. you can annoy him by stopping his units from marching, but that won't get their points out of the battle.
So, if you have 5 or 6, you can still make sure his units won't march, but, when they get close enough, you can make a rear charge. He will still have his rank bonus, but you get a 2+ bonus anyway!!
I'd like to know your oppinion, because my problem is the size of their base. you can't get 3 in contact with a wizard, if you have a small village or just some houses on the battle field who are close together, your opponent can just put his wizard in there (or in woods), so that you can't charge him or in woods it's just REALLY annoying because you can't really put them down there. and you can't just go flying between units (like DE harpies, you can put them between two units).
BUT, I admid, I always use them (3 up to now, maybe 6 next time), and they work damn good.
actually i agree with you on this one, the only reason I dont take them is that I think the models are too big. I was thinking of getting few of the smaller ones from warmaster and making up swarm bases with bird of a more conceivable size
Maireann croÃ* Ã©adrom i bhfad - A light heart lives longest
I don't play TKs but these articles are quite good, maybe Mr Slai would like to do something with them? They are seem quite informative and from reading them it seems you've done a lot of playing before actually posting something like this, well done.
Again nice articles Dorn (or shall I call you Plasmapuff? ) keep them up.
I have updated my article a little... please look^^ (added ne sections and edited some)
Nice to know we are in agreement...
About the 6 carrion thing, i would say probably 4 at max ( i too use 3). If you use 6 firstly they attract too much attention and make the unit way too expensive for it to be a viable sacrifice!!
For what you mention before about using them as march blockers and then rear chargers late in the game, I dont think it would really work unfortunately < ...
Because Carrion US is only 1, so all he has to do is to remove 4 T4 wounds (no save) and basically you have a unit of 4 carrion who dont effect CR at all by charging. IMO I dont think you would get points back for them. 6 is also very unweildy.
About the base size, is it legal to make it smaller? I know its leagal to make it bigger (through conversions), though what about smaller?
no, it's illegal to make the base smaller.
I was just pointing out that the size of the base is a reason why some players probably won't use carrions (although they're very good)
Ok then, thanks
All the more reason to have only 3 then, although 4 would also work if you had the points.