News for May 2014
The Undying
A Preview of the Legions of Darkness Expansion for Warhammer: Diskwars
Warhammer: Diskwars | Published 13 May 2014

“Was it not the destiny of the Vampire to feed upon humanity? Were not short-lived men simply cattle to their undying superiors? It was their doom to provide nourishment for the aristocracy of the night.”
    –Warhammer Armies: Undead

In our last preview of the first two expansions for Warhammer: Diskwars, we looked at the Dwarfs of Hammer and Hold, along with the new keywords they bring to the game: Emplace, Guard X, and Stalwart. Today, we move away from the light and the forces of Order. We travel deep into the realm of Sylvania, its history of evil, and we meet the Vampire Counts who rule its undead armies. Today, we come face to face with the undead Legions of Darkness.

Powerful Magic Both Fearsome and Foul

More than any other force in Warhammer: Diskwars, the Vampire Counts rely upon the power of magic. Their reliance upon the Wind of Death is both inevitable and inescapable. After all, it is the power of magic that animates the bodies of its soldiers and propels them forward.

Moreover, the undead units within the Vampire Counts’ armies don’t boast the same raw toughness, attack values, or counterattack values of those from other armies, nor do they boast the sort of tactical synergies or surprises that you’ll find amid the forces of the Empire and Chaos. Instead, they march to battle with deathless infantry and powerful spellcasters, and a successful Vampire Count commander will find a way to make good use of both.

In the game, this comes down to the use of command cards that trigger off of Vampire Count casters and the army’s primary two keywords: Fear and Reanimate X.

  • Command Cards: With command cards like Dark Majesty, Beguile, and Raise Dead, the Vampire Counts are able to choose from some of the game’s most powerful caster effects, and they have enough caster-specific command cards at their disposal to power one such effect at every possible opportunity. Still, as powerful as these command cards are, you’ll need to play them carefully in order to win. Should your heroes fall, your undead units will quickly follow them in defeat.

  • Fear allows the units that bear it to sow panic among their foes, limiting their abilities to fight back. So long as a unit with Fear is pinning an enemy, the panicked foe’s counterattack value becomes one.
  • As a focus ability, your unit with Reanimate X can choose an undead disk in your casualty pile and reinforce it onto the battlefield completely within short range. The size of the disk that you can reanimate depends upon the value of “X.” Reanimate 1 allows you to reinforce a small disk, Reanimate 2 allows you to reinforce a small or medium disk, and Reanimate 3 allows you to reinforce any disk up to large size. When it arrives, the reanimated unit reinforces without an activation token, but instead receives a reanimate token and is returned to the casualty pile during the end phase.

Together, these keywords, along with the Vampire Counts’ host of undead units, allow skillful players to wear away at their opponents’ armies. Even if your units don’t pack the immediate punch to knockout their foes in one fell swoop, their use of Fear limits the amount of damage your enemies can deal in return. And even when your units perish, Reanimate allows you to bring them back to continue harassing enemy troops. Thus, low-cost infantry like the Skeleton Warriors may be able to make their mark over the course of the game. Even if they fall quickly in the opening rounds, they can be returned to the battlefield to block enemy units and keep them pinned.

Likewise, undead units like the Tomb Banshee and Dire Wolves that deal direct damage can move from foe to foe, slowly and inevitably wearing away at their opponents’ defenses. Though your enemies’ retaliatory strikes may destroy these units more quickly than they can destroy your enemies, they will never be truly defeated as long as you have a caster with Reanimate, like the Aspiring Necromancer.

The Undying Hordes

Three Vampire Counts heroes arrive for battle with Legions of Darkness: Mannfred von Carstein, Heinrich Kemmler, and Isabella von Carstein.

When you want to explore the reasons why the Vampire Counts’ undead hordes are as fearsome and unyielding as they are, you need to start with a look at these heroes. Of the three, two boast the Reanimate keyword, while the third, Isabella von Carstein, is able to regenerate throughout the course of battle, as she comes with a focus ability that allows her to repair her wounds. Meanwhile, all three are casters, meaning that any one of them can trigger the most powerful effects available to you through your command cards.

To help illustrate how these heroes and the Vampire Counts’ command cards can spur a shambling mass of undead flesh and bones to victory on the battlefield, we present a sample army that focuses heavily upon the necromantic prowess of Heinrich Kemmler and Mannfred von Carstein.

Hero: Heinrich Kemmler
Units (Recruitment Points): Black Knights (11), Black Knights (11), Grave Guard (8), Skeleton Warriors (4)
Command Cards: Gaze of Nagash, Invocation of Nehek

Hero: Mannfred von Carstein
Units (Recruitment Points): Zombie Dragon (14), Vargheists (9), Skeleton Warriors (4), Skeleton Warriors (4)
Command Cards: Dark Majesty, Proven Champion

The great strength of this army originates from the potent necromancy of its heroes. Both Heinrich Kemmler and Mannfred von Carstein bring Reanimate to the battlefield.

Heinrich Kemmler’s necromancy is particularly effective in that he can use a single action to reinforce up to three “Skeleton” disks. Accordingly, you can throw your Skeleton Warriors into harm’s way turn after turn with reckless abandon, and you’ll want to send them forward as your vanguard in order to pin key enemy units and block enemy traffic.

Meanwhile, Mannfred von Carstein is the only caster currently in the game with Reanimate greater than one. His Reanimate 2 allows him to bring your Black Knights and Vargheists out of the casualty pile so that you can launch them into melee after melee. Moreover, because his Reanimate 2 stacks with the Reanimate 1 from Invocation of Nehek, Mannfred von Carstein can, at times, seize upon the ability to summon even his Zombie Dragon back from the grave.


Just about the only thing more terrifying than the prospect of facing a Zombie Dragon is the prospect of facing it again and again and again…

Thus, because nothing in this army is ever truly defeated so long as its heroes remain in battle, you will position your other units to protect them and make the most of the protective powers of Dark Majesty and Proven Champion.

The Darkness Approaches

The sample army posted above uses just some of the Vampire Counts heroes and units from Legions of Darkness to illustrate one of the many ways that you’ll be able to march to battle with an army of undead. Meanwhile, there’s plenty more darkness to explore among the new forces for the Dark Elves and Skaven, as well as amid the reinforcements for the Orcs and Chaos.

Can the Old World survive another undead incursion? In our next preview, we’ll take another look at the forces of Order coming in Hammer and Hold, including an overview of the expansion’s Lizardmen and Wood Elves heroes and units!

With the introduction of Hammer and Hold and Legions of Darkness, Warhammer: Diskwars players gain the ability to field regiments from six new races and reinforce their Core Set armies. Darkness approaches, and the Old World will quake!

Warhammer: Diskwars is an epic game of heroes, armies, and brutal warfare for 2 - 4 players. At the game's heart art its disks, which represent heroes and units from the Old World. These maneuver across the battlefield by flipping end over end, and if any two disks overlap at the end of the round, they must fight!

    
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