Welcome to Librarium Online!
Picture the scene...
In small and dimly lit room somewhere lies a circle of chairs filled with a group of shamefaced people too embarrassed even to look each other in the eye. They shuffle and fidget nervously as they wait for the support worker to get the session underway.
Could this be a meeting of alcoholics anonymous you ask? or a support group for those poor souls battling substance abuse perhaps? Oh no friends, for one of these poor wretches bears a much deeper, darker secret indeed...
"Don't worry friend, there's no judgement here, only love and support. Why don't you start by telling us your name and how we can help?" The councellor says gently as the newcomer rises slowly to his feet.
His shoulders shaking with pent up emotion, his voice cracks as he struggles to come to terms with his shame and a single tear rolls down his cheek as he steadies himself to tell all "Hello everyone. My name is Phoenix and... and... I do tomb guard!!!"
Recovering somewhat from his initial shock, the councellor smiles kindly at the sobbing man before asking gently "And how long has it been since you last used?"
"It's been three games since I last used tomb guard" comes the pitiable reply.
Shaking his head in disgust, the councellor followed the others others from the room, turning the lights off as he went and leaving poor Phoenix all alone in the dark. Pulling forth a small miniature from its hiding place deep within his pocket he begins to stroke the tiny tomb guard figure lovingly "...My preciousssss"******************************************************Okay folks, so what was the point of all this mindless reverie? Was it just a shameless attempt to gently poke fun at everyones favourite mod? (I'm sucking up now)
Did I just want to find out how fast he could wield the banhammer if I caught him on a bad day? (now I'm grovelling)Well no, actually there is a point.I suspect we've all seen the various threads about the viability of TG and come to understand (if not agree with) the belief that TG are little more than expensive skellies with HW/S/LA. Essentially they just don't give enough back to warrant the extra cost.
So goes the conventional wisdom that has developed over the years since the TK book first appeared. Fair enough, we've all read the old threads and grudgingly nodded when the math hammer was presented as proof of this.But here's the thing:A lot has changed in WHFB over the years since this opinion was formed, opposing armies have got stronger with every new book that has hit the shelves and the kind of threats we now routinely face simply were not around when tomb guard really were just an expensive luxury.Given everything that has changed over the years I'm thinking it's about time we all, as a community, took another serious look at TG and discussed if the 'conventional wisdom' is still justified.Thoughts?
Because Sun Tzu would play Tomb Kings...
... are tougher than Skellies
... have Killing Blow!
... are stronger than Skellies
... have a better WS
... have WAY BETTER Ld!
... have higher Initiative than Skellies
But also, Tomb Guards...
... are just as slow as regular Skellies
... are 3 points more expensive than a Skeleton
... cannot wield Bows!
... occupy one or more of the precious Special Choices available
Indeed, TGs are fairly underestimated...
How many Skellies can you afford for a unit of 24 TGs?
Answer: 36 Skellies can be bought for the same price!
To have a unit of Tomb Guards is indeed effective, while the choice not to use them depends on which Tactics a Player prefers. Personally, I would gladly spend the points on Infantry numbers rather than effectiveness since Outnumbering and flank charges easily takes out most units.
The ability not to be able to shoot makes them a block that easily will be ignored by the opponent... The unit will not bother anyone as long as it can't move more than 4" without (dispellable) magic.
Now it comes to the Nightmare of a TK Player: The Hierophant is dead! The TGs can survive this quite well since they got the Ld 8 - BUT! You could as well have a TK close to Skellies, giving them a Ld of 10...
Tomb Guards is not as good as Grave Guards, we must to face it And they cost the same
I will make adds later on, I'm running out of time...
//Nagash, the Great Necromancer
Well IMO, TG's pros outway the cons. I like to always take one unit of them in a game, they are the heart of my army.
Also taking TG is extremely useful in my cases, because I tend to fight units that have the front
rank dishing out around 10ish atks . My friends armies i play most frequently are ogres and wood elves and as from my past two games bowmen get r'd in the a to them. Then hero in unit crumble due to static res. I've been losing badly to these armies too frequently and i think i may just start a thread on what tactics i should do against them.
But yes, TG to me are necessary and are well worth the special slot. And adding the Rakaph banner makes them so much more of a threat.
*Hand moves slowly to Banmammer...*
Haha, no chance. Best Thread intro ive read in quite some time, earning you some well deserved rep i think
Ok, so now im actually going to add my thoughts on Tomb Guard to this thread. Strangely, i cant find anywhere where i have covered this throughly before, so once im done i plan to add this to the "common points for lists" thread, stickied above.
Nagash has copvered most things nicely, and Brandpwn sums up well with "TG's pros outway the cons.". However, for my personal playstyle, i see this as being more true on paper than it is mid-game. (Yes, im a stubborn old git, stuck in my ways... read the following in Jetfire's voice )
Tomb Guard are essentially Skeleton Warriors that can actually fight. At a cost of +3 points (over HW/S/LA skellies) they have: +1WS, +1S, +1T, +1I, +5Ld, and Magical Weapons with Killing Blow. Not bad eh? To me atleast, on paper, it looks amazing.
Now im going to dig a little deeper, unearth the points that are perhaps less than obvious when simply choosing an army list from the army book.
Generally when i see an army list containing TG, it is one of two types:
- A list with a large TG unit to house the General, supported by skellie warriors (for which i suggest 2 units of 20 bowmen w/ music).
- A list with few numbers and little killing power, with just one large TG unit, supported by Light Cav, small skellie archer units, etc.
The first setup i fully support and encourage. The second is the type of list i have a "problem" with, and the reason is simple; TG are not the most effective choice for the army! Why is that?
When used in list type 1, as an anvil unit supported by numbers their increased T over normal skellies makes them a great choice, as they can act as a "sponge", taking fewer casualties and dealing a little damage in return.
When used in list type 2, the problem comes in the fact that +3pts per model quickly adds up! Compare 20 skellie bowmen for 160pts to 20TG for 240pts. Add to that the usual full Command and Magic banner, join in the usual DoE King and thats a massive 600pts of your army! All contained in a nice little 5"x5" square... with M4. If the enemy doesnt want to meet that "powerhouse" in combat then its really not that hard to avoid.
Wait... why the use of "s around powerhouse? Well, lets take out the King for a moment (He could also be granted to a similar sized skellie unit). Whats left? A 300 point unit with WS3, S4 T4 and KB.
I think the major issue is Killing Blow. Its ruling means that in most games, its vital role is played as a Character Killer, this is why our Scorps are so good. Generally youll see TG ranked 5 wide, and lets give them a champion too.
So you have 6 Attacks at WS3. Dont nearly all TK players slate the Bone Ginat for having a "poor" WS3? So TG hit as well as a BG... fantastic!
Once half of your attacks have hit (good average) then you have 3 rolls to wound. Lets say a KB, 1W and 1 fail. So thats 2 wounds youve put out. And im being generous on the maths, And thats if you strike first!
Lets face it, M4 is... poor. And I3 isnt anything special. Especially given the blanket ASF rules, Hatred + High Init, etc that were seeing now. Chances are with just a 4+Sv, youve already taken a casualty or two yourself.
So that powerhouse unit doesnt really look so strong anymore... What other options do we have? What possible replacement could there be that fills the necessary roles, but better?
As most TK players should be aware, TKs are an army where the sum is far far greater than any individual piece. Each unit has a specific role, and (generally) must be played together with each other unit for maximum effect. Your Liche Priests form the core of the army and everything works optimally off their backs.
So rather that the TG unit, lets try a unit of Skellie Warriors (with bows, for preference) and (the recommended number of) 4 Ushabti. The Skellies give you cheap numbers in combat, for static combat res and sponging. The key bit is comparing Ushanti to TG in combat. You lose KB and gain... +1WS, +2Str (S6 striking in Init order!), +1M, and +2Ld. Also the front of a standard Ushabti unit puts out 12 WS4 S6A compared to the 6 WS3 S4A from the TG. Who needs KB when you have a -3Sv mod? Against standard enemies atleast. As i said earlier, KB is best saved for assassination.
So there we go, the major downside of Ushabti is that it tries to combine two rare and key roles required in a TK army, and falls a bit short of both objectives. And when yopu can have one unit crawling into combat, or two units able to work independantly and/or come together to achieve the same objective but better, the natural choice for me atleast is to leave the TG in the case...
How can this be solved? By the GW power-up that we will almost certainly get when they try to "improve" TKs for 7th ed! Lets see what they come up with... My hopes arent high
If anything, as i mentioned with the whole "initiative" thing and ASF elves etc, convention is stronger than ever
Last edited by Phoenix; August 4th, 2009 at 16:54.
Nice written Phoenix It seems as a more detailed version of my analyzation
Heh, thanks for reading!Didnt realise how long it was til id finished, but im happy that atleast one person has read it
Felt good to write, i havent gone to town on anything like that in quite some time...
If you look upon LO as a jewelrystore where knowledge is displayed for all too admire...
Then this thread can be conciderd a real Gem !
Thx for puting in the time and effort
The other View!
I love TG, far more than normal skellies I would only leave home without them if my special options are taken, but even then I generally always have a spot for these guys.
Generally speaking you will always find you are faced with rank and file units in the centre. Most rank and file units M4-5 and can march, And mostly they come straight for you. Therefore you don't need to rush to them in fact generally its better you don't given our shooting and magic you can afford to stay out of combat far longer than other armies. Then when they do get in range you have the standard 8" charge but more importantly a 12"charge with magic, allowing you to pick and choose your target, This is better than almost all armies and ties with ogres for manoeuvrability.
When is this most effective? To smash a weaker unit before coming in behind a stronger unit. (this will be covered in the tactics section)
Kiling power (that skeletons don't have), Durability (best in the army), with a static combat res (that ushabti can only dream about)
T4 is one of their greatest attributes. The less saves you have to take the better your chances of surviving. Couple that with WS3 allowing them to deny standard armies from hitting you on a 3+ they have significant durability over a skeleton. They are reasonably tough to kill for your standard units.
They will hit on 4+ against all but the most elite opponent (same can't be said for skellies), with S4 they will wound more often than not against most standard infantry, and they reduce the save (not by buckets but everything counts). Then the most feared ability by characters in the game (killing blow) Generals are afraid of these guys one lucky hit and its all over rover for that 300 point model. It doesn't always come off but the threat is there and when it does it can severely turn around a game. It can turn a Defensive combat into and offensive one and can destroy an opponents morale.
Here is another place where they shine over normal skellies. Being able to take magic banners up to 50 points for each unit is awesome. Our banner choices at the low end of the points spectrum are top notch, banners that work exceptionally well here are BOTUL and Icon of Rakaph.
Too often we must rely on the hammer and the weak Anvil strategy, our heavy hitters (ushabti) are vulnerable to shooting attacks with low save and expensive per wound cost. and sometimes our magical plans can be foiled leaving our anvil units to get "hammered".
Striking Viper Attack
TG are best for this tactic because they take less wounds deal more and can take the icon of Rakaph which was made for this tactic
Sit back and wait while your enemies march towards you. Put your king in the unit and keep them close to the catapults so he can use his magic for the initial turns to help launch this offensive. As the enemies battle lines draw near identify the weakspot in his army this might be the block of witch elves marching beside his black guard, or the clanrats next to his plague monks. Position yourself to sneakily charge the weaker foe making sure to use a scorpion in the rear to annihilate him if he chooses to flee (allowing you to get out of the way of the superior infantry block). Hit hard hit fast break them and pursue through. A king with a destroyer of eternity and TG should comfortably win most combats allowing you to pursue after then enemy (out number cause fear or just from static combat res) this puts you behind the big block and for most armies this would mean you're useless and out of the game but for TKs mean you have a rear charge next turn especially if you have the icon of Rakaph.
Your enemy will be forced to turn to face the new threat or try to get out of its range but overall his main attack will be faltering.
there is no better anvil unit than TG they are tough and can last and with the BOTUL are nearly impassable
There is no better anvil unit especially up against the more elite armies now. Often skeletons will lose too many numbers because of there low toughness and ease to be hit. The flanking force of chariots or a bone giant cannot boost your combat res enough and then as our group says the ultimate undead mistake is made "helping out". You don't want your bone giant to crumble to ogres because they are chomping through the skeletons in front of them and your bone giant cannot match them kill for kill. Skellies are great to hold the weaker units but TG are a must to anvil the new stronger breed of Elves, men and beasts that we see with the advent of their new books.
Useful against armies that rely so heavily on characters like ourselves and VC
Throwing skeletons against a generals unit is only done to buy time, its effectively a sacrifice of points (usually in the range of 200 points) for 60 points more you are granted the ability to assassinate the character. Focus all your attacks that you can on the characters in the unit, not only will your opponents start watching your rolls with perspiration but you may be able to turn the tide of the battle. Killing a character with killing blow demoralises an enemy but also gives you 2 to 3 combat res for the single hit (4 up against VC) it lowers the leadership of the stack and possible surrounding models if you kill the general. Take out the Battle standard and there goes that re-roll plus any magical effect such as ASF or Regeneration the newer armies get. Take out a wizard, the list goes on. Also for most armies character assasination will more than make up for the points lost by the TG and they will stick around far logner than your normal skellies.
TG open up tactics that the enemy does not need to consider with normal skeletons. adding a variety and unpredictability to your army. If the enemy knows what you are going to do before you do then the battle is already lost.
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