{DD Boot Camp}

(Something Spooky)

Mages mastering melee

Bones are their money

This week we are taking a look at Undead, masters of death magic. Packing the unique Convert SAI, we will be constructing an army that won't go down easy, and certainly won't stay down.

The Forces

We've got a lot of dice to work through here, so let's break it down in the next section.

Initial Setup

Our Home terrain - with our main magic army - is a Feyland Standing Stones. This gives us the most magic faces, the fewest melee faces, and circumvents the maneuver faction abilities of most factions who have one.

Our Campaign army - the main aggressive army - sits at a proposed Wasteland Dragon's Lair; this provides us the most melee faces possible while also bypassing the most problematic faction abilities our opponents might be packing.

As Undead are the slowest of all factions, we have opted to forgo the chance at winning a Horde roll and placed a single Ghoul here.

Our Summoning Pool contains 12 points of Black Dragonkin, all heavy melee, as well as two Deadlands Villages and two Deadlands Woods.

Rounding out the summoning pool is a pair of Green/Blue Hybrid Wyrms.

Army One - Primary Mages

Our Home army is our main magic army, broken down as follows: one Lich, two Heucuva, two Apparition, two Adept, two Trickster, and five points of death magic equipment.

We have three different Death factions combined here, along with five points of magic equipment which can be used to cast spells from any of the factions.

Army Two - Secondary Mages

Our second army is also mages, but bent toward melee. Three Vampires - with the Convert SAI - are supported by two Ghasts, a Ghoul (at Horde), and four Apparitions. This gives us a decent balance between melee, magic, and saves.

The Summoning Pool

Naturally we have taken Black Dragonkin with this army, and they are all melee-oriented. Both of our armies have mages that cast Death magic, so these can be summoned to either force.

Two Deadlands Villages give us the best chance at hitting melee faces, as well as providing Death energy for faction abilities. Two Deadlands Woods give us some extra saves to protect our units, and again power our faction abilities.

Green/Blue Hybrid Wyrms have a good chance of chaining Tails to deal massive damage, they are on-color for both our Dragon's Lair and our Standing Stones, our Dragonkin will fight them, and we aren't taking the worst breaths for our strategy. The Blue breath is troublesome, but Red is much worse for us.

The Plan

With our armies setup, we have one primary strategy, but a lot of flexibility compared to some other force construction options.

  • We want to get Army One at a terrain showing a Magic face. If that isn't possible, we want to get them into reserves, where most of the important spells can still be cast. Being at a terrain - rather than reserves - lets us summon Dragonkin to protect our mages, and we can bring in a minor terrain to gain access to Bone Magic, so it's preferable but not necessary.

  • If Army Two ends up at a magic face, we don't mind. That gives us a chance to grab some Dragonkin first, then start pushing the terrain up. Bringing in a Village will get us to melee faces faster, if we end up at a low terrain. Then we can start pushing damage.

  • Stepped Damage is one of the strongest tools in our arsenal, so we want to make sure we keep it in mind while taking damage. We want to take smaller units first, so larger units can "step down" and mitigate some of our losses.

  • Once we capture an eighth face, we can move Army One into that position and start crushing at the second terrain.

Graveyard Shift

Our main focus is to throw heavy melee attacks at our enemies, augmented by several death magic spells. We have a secondary system built in to make our forces harder to kill, and even harder to keep dead.

Convert SAI - Melee

During a melee attack, target up to X health-worth of units in the defending army. The targets make a save roll. Those that do not generate a save result are killed. The attacking player may return up to the amount of heath-worth killed this way from their DUA to the attacking army.

Convert offers us a double-duty powerhouse SAI. First, it is targeted removal, so we can select the units least-likely to save and kill them. We can even combine multiple Convert to kill Monsters.

Second, it brings back our own dead units, so we can kill our enemies and reinforce our own army.

Undead are slow, but they don't need to be that slow. Restless Dead lets us add some speed to our armies. It is efficient, with a one-to-one conversion from magic to maneuver, and it stacks.

Restless Dead - Black (Death) - Cost: 3

Target any army. Add [three] maneuver results to the target’s rolls until the beginning of your next turn.

Open Grave - Black (Death) - Cost: 5

Target any army. Until the beginning of your next turn, units in the target army that are killed following a save roll by any armytargeting effects (including melee and missile damage) go to their owner’s Reserve Area instead of the DUA. If no save roll was possible when units are killed, Open Grave does nothing

Open Grave is a staple of any Undead army, and this build is focused on survivability, so we will want to make sure we have this spell loaded up and ready in case we need it.

Having our units go to Reserves instead of the DUA gets them back in the fight much faster, and can even redeploy them to other terrain if we need to.

Necromantic Wave is the real meat-and-potatoes of this build. Our armies both offer the ability to cast spells so we can resurrect units as necessary, cast Restless Dead or Open Grave as necessary, but this is the piece that brings it all together. Casting this on Army Two where our Vampires are fighting, suddenly they all hit as hard as the heaviest melee units around.

Necromantic Wave - Black (Death) - Cost: 5

Target any army. All units in the target army may count magic results as if they were melee or missile results until the beginning of your next turn.

Decay - Black (Death) - Cost: 3

Target any opposing army. Subtract [two] melee results from the target’s rolls until the beginning of your next turn.

Decay offers us the ability to strip away the effectiveness of opposing melee strategies if necessary. Our army is lighter on saves than some factions, so the ability to weaken counterattacks more efficiently than Palsy is a good tool to have in the tool belt.

Final Notes

The goal of this army was to highlight the effectiveness of Undead mages, especially when paired with other death factions. As the only with two magic classes, and with the most unique SAIs, we wanted to find a way to break outside the typical mold of melee units.

Undead have some of the most powerful tools around to manipulate death. From Open Grave which keeps your units out of the DUA, to Soiled Ground and Exhume which are among the only ways to bury units, we've got a lot of powerful tools at our disposal.

We'd love to hear what you think, so send us your feedback to info@thedicemustflow.com