Everything You Wanted to Know About the Lore of Undeath but were Afraid to Ask No! I don't have a problem, I can quit anytime I want! As Lustria’s official necromancer, I figure I’d write a Tactica for Lizardmen with the Lore of Undeath. The Carpe Noctem people wrote something similar, but the units an army of undead wants to summon are noticeably different from the units a LM Necromancer may wish to use. I’m guessing the Lore of Undeath will not stack up favorably against WD Slann or High Magic, but I’m going to playtest this lore at every opportunity regardless. How do We Get This Great Lore?: The End Times book is very explicit that ANY wizard can take this Lore. That means Slann can take it and Skink Priests can take it. Mazdamundi and the Prophet of Sotek may take the lore; Tet and Kroak may not. Due to the precise wording of Wandering Deliberations, a WD Slann does not get the Lore of Undeath Signature spell. Due to the wording of Contemplations, a High Magic Slann may swap out spells to pick up Lore of Undeath spells. The EOTG Arcane Configuration cannot be used to lower Undeath casting difficulties. What do We Do with It: Like most lores, Undeath has varied spells. The grubs and potatoes of this lore is about summoning undead to fight on your behalf. If you are uninterested in summoning undead, this is not the lore for you. Remember you can’t summon someone into combat so you need to plan at least a turn ahead and be able to make an educated guess on what your opponents will do. Though if you summon a missile troop they can fire the same turn you summon them (shooting comes after magic phase). Unless your local meta is very strict on WIZIWIG, reasonable players are likely to accept most proxies since bringing models for EVERY possibility would be very taxing (unless you are playing a few yards away from your model shelf). I would recommend having a shortlist ready. Reasonable players will probably not want you to page through books and calculate unit costs. If you do not have access to a copy of Tomb Kings and/or Vampire Counts army books, preparing units ahead of time will be exceedingly difficult. I did my best to list all the possibilities for things you can summon with realistic quantities of tokens. Basic Principles 1) Most Undead capable of being summoned cannot survive long unsupported. 2) Troops can’t be summoned into combat, that means they won’t be able to help fight until next round. Longer if they are in a bad position. 3) Make sure you have a place to put something before summoning it. All spells have 12 inch range, and units cannot be placed within one inch of another unit, inside a building, within one inch of impassable terrain. They must be fielded five or three models wide, so you can’t use conga lines to get around placement limitations. 4) Shooters can shoot the turn they arrive The Lore Itself I have set guidelines for use for various summoned units below with this simple rating system. Green: This will probably help you no matter what the table circumstances are. Yellow: This can help you if you have a good setup or need a niche covered fast. Red: I won’t say never summon these guys, but you need to either have a strong fondness for the model or some unusual extenuating circumstances. Raise the Dead (Lore Attribute): Every successful Lore spell cast gives you a counter. Some spells give you extra counters as part of the description. You can cash these tokens in to add 10 points/counter to the value of a summoned unit. Many units may ONLY be summoned with the expenditure of counters. Ryze – The Grave Call (signature spell), 9+/14+/16+: This spell summons up to 50 or 100 points of infantry or up to 150 points of Monstrous Infantry (MI). In most cases, you should use this spell to create a speed bump for your enemies rather than for offensive reinforcements. 50 point level 10-12 Skeleton Warriors depending on equipment: Your best roadblock if you have no tokens. 20 Zombies (with one token): As the cheapest point cost per model, this should be your go-to unit when all you need to do is stall an enemy. 10 Skeleton Archers with one Token: With their superior mobility and poison, our Skink shooters outclass the TK in most situations, but these guys are good because they can shoot immediately after the magic phase and still serve as a roadblock. 100 point level 10 Ghouls: Can be used for flank support by the desperate. Thanks to their poison, they are roughly as effective on offense 10 Saurus Warriors are, but they have no saves at all and poor leadership so they will likely die very fast. 16 Skeleton Archers: With their superior mobility and poison, our Skink shooters outclass the TK in most situations, but these guys are good if you are facing enemy skirmishers or other squishy targets hiding behind lots of penalties to hit. 20ish Skeleton Warrors depending on Equipment: Not terrible on the surface but it doesn't have the sheer body count of zombies or the immediate attack of Skeleton archers. 30 Zombies with Standard and Musician: If you need a really big roadblock and don't care about not killing your enemy, this is your unit as it should hold things up better than 20ish skeletons will. 10 Grave Guard/Tomb Guard with one Token: If you decide you want offensive backup, this is best you can get with Ryze. These will provide more bang for your buck than ghouls. They have better WS and saves than most undead, but mostly you want them for the Killing Blow. A token or two more and you can upgrade their weapons. Cairn Wraiths with five tokens: This takes a lot of tokens, but a unit of three ethereal troops can really ruin your opponent's day if you can summon these guys near someone without magical attacks. By the time you have five tokens to burn, most of the units will likely be engaged so it should be relatively easy to pick an ideal spot to deploy these guys. I wouldn’t recommend burning this many tokens on one unit unless this is your only summoning spell and you need a good spell to clinch your endgame push. 150 points 3 Ushabti with any weapon option: Almost as good as Kroxigor, but they only have Scaly Skin (5+) and Strength 4 instead of 5. You can opt to swap their great weapons for two hand weapons or a great bow (like a regular bow only Strength 6), but I recommend using the great weapons in most cases. If you have to hack at something tough, these guys will be adequate. 3 Vargheists with a unit champion: They are not as resilient as Crypt Horrors, but Vargheists can fly and are one of the few undead units that can always march. Think of them as Terradon Riders with Frenzy (or Rippers with crappier special abilities). 4 Crypt Horrors with one token, 3 Horrors with no tokens: They hit reasonably hard and have poison, but as Pinktaco explains, they more for durability than anything else with a high Toughness score and Regeneration. That’s presumably a good thing because Ryze is generally used to stall an enemy as opposed to killing it. 2 Morghast Harbringers with one token, 2 Morghast Archai with 3 tokens: Great for VC and TK, a poor choice for us. The real reason to take these things is because of the passive buff on friendly undead units. If you are a LM player, you probably don’t have enough undead troops on the board to justify the need for the buff. Morkharn, Breath of Darkness, 6+: This spell heals 1d3+1 wounds on an undead unit and gives them a free non-charge move. While not completely useless, a LM player should drop this spell for the signature spell most of the time unless you have an allied or mercenary undead force in addition to your summoned troops. Positioning is king in Warhammer, so you can think of it as Walk Between Worlds with far more limited eligible units. Sulekhim, Hand of Dust, 7+: A wizard can sub all of his attacks for a single über attack that inflicts d6 wounds and ignores armor saves. If the wizard kills an opponent in a challenge you net some extra Raise the Dead counters. Note generally, Skink Priests and Slann want to avoid challenges more than vampires want to avoid the sun. This is another spell you should swap for Ryze most of the time. On the other hand, since our wizards only have a single attack anyway this isn’t a terrible choice, at least when paired with WS affecting buffs or hexes. NEW EDIT: It was pointed out to me that this requires the caster be in base contact with the enemy making this useless for bunkered Slann and not much better for lone Slann or Skink Priests, though this spell would be potent in the hands of Mazdamundi. Khizzar, the Soul Stealer, 8+: Kind of like a stronger but less focused version of Spirit Leech. Very handy against low Ld targets, especially tough ones like Monsters. Inflicts 2d6+2 minus enemies Ld wounds with no armor saves and grants you d3 bonus tokens if you inflict any damage (on top of the one you already get for casting the spell). Razkhar, the Abyssal Swarm, 10+/16+: This summons 75 points of Swarms or Warbeasts or 150 points of Monstrous Beasts. Per usual, these troops are used best as speed bumps or reinforcments, not stand alone units. 75 points 9 dire wolves: For a very cheap spell you get 9 wounds to die for you, and 9 WS3 S3 attacks. Not overwhelming but respectable. Best Razkhar option for soak troops. 3 Carrion: These flyers have 3 Strength 4 attacks each and they have two wounds a model. Thus they hit harder, take hits better, and have a smaller footprint than Fell Bats. Best Razkhar option for damaging troops. 2 Bat Swarms: In terms of raw combat power, Bat Swarms are pathetically weak, but they bestow Always Strikes Last on enemies in base combat. Given that LM are a slow Initiative army, Bat Swarms can be potentially useful. It can also nullify ASF rerolls for various pointy eared jerks (be they of the Wood, Dark, or High varieties) who you may be fighting 1 Spirit Host or 2 Spirit Hosts with 2 tokens: They fight pretty poorly, but they are ethereal, so that means they can hold up and eventually beat almost any unit without a static CR or a character unless they get smacked by a magic missile first (and I’d rather lose a summoned Spirit Host to a magic missile than have my Skinks get panicked). 4 Fell Bats, 5 with a token: These guys have 2 Strength 3 attacks each, but at only one wound a piece, Carrion will get you more bang for your buck barring augment spells but the difference isn’t huge. 2 Tomb Swarm with one token: Like a Jungle Swarm that moves slower and doesn’t have Aquatic or “They’re Everywhere.” You should consider yourself lucky if they even cause Concern. 150 points of Monstrous Beasts Tomb Scorpion: A Scorpion costs way less than 150 points, so you are not getting your money’s worth out of this spell. Its grab bag of assorted special abilities does not make up for its underwhelming stats. 3 Supulchral Stalkers with two tokens: Their close combat stats are mediocre, but they have an 8 inch ranged attack that is devastating to low Initiative enemies (and near worthless against I4+ enemies). Since the shooting phase happens after magic, they can attack right of out of the gate. Kandorak, the Harbringer 10+, 24+: This spell summons a 65 point character or a 200 point Monster, Chariot, or War Machine. The augment version of this is clearly the "nuclear option" of the Lore of Undeath. Characters Necrotect: If he can survive long enough to join a unit, he can give a unit Hatred. He also comes with 5 points to spare so you can build him up with magic items with relatively few tokens. I wouldn’t recommend him unless you already have models with the Animated Construct rule on the table. Tomb Herald: Tomb Heralds are nice and cheap with Killing Blow, but in most cases I’d rather use Ryze to summon a unit of 10 KB Tomb or Grave Guard than summon a naked KB character. Necromancer: Poof! You now have a L1 caster with Lore of Death, Vampires, or Undeath. For 2-5 tokens you can buy yourself a caddy for your favorite Arcane item provided you don’t have it on your regular list. Downside? Your Necromancer is going to be very vulnerable until he can join a friendly unit. Generally speaking you want Death or Undeath, but Lore of Vampire has some spells that don’t need undead nearby to work. Also, the Lore of Vampires lore attribute works exactly like Lifebloom and can be used to heal LM units just as easily as undead units. If you can summon a necromancer early in the game and keep it out of harms way, the extra channel dice alone will pay for this spell. Cairn Wraith: An ethereal character is nice in many circumstances and this will cost you no tokens. Liche Priest with one Token: When any cheap wizard will do a Necromancer is better, but Liche Priests can take Lore of Light which is something useful in even L1 casters. Taking the Lore of Nehekara is probably a bad idea in a LM army though. Sure, Lizardmen would love to get the spell that lets you double your shooting phase but your odds of rolling the one gem in the lore is one-in-six. Banshee with three tokens: Worth the three tokens if you are facing low Ld enemies and have a relatively low risk your spooky lady being picked off by a magic attack. Wight King with at least two Tokens: A tough soldier with KB is worth the tokens if you can keep him alive between now and when he can enter close combat. Tomb Prince with many tokens: Regardless of how they are equipped, it will cost many of your tokens and Tomb Princes are only really good when leading a large unit of undead soldiers. Inconvenient since you can’t summon a character inside one of your existing units. Vampires with many tokens: Vampires are strong fighters, but you need a sizeable pile of tokens to pull this off, even if you field the guy naked. 200 points Corpse Cart with either upgrade: Way under 200 points and the buff is not worth much unless you have LOTS of zombies on the table. Black Coach: Black Coaches are potent units. Summon this guy early and you can enjoy multiple turns of him powering up with new special abilities in subsequent magic phases. Casket of Souls: I’d recommend summoning it ASAP, so you can enjoy bonus power dice in all subsequent rounds. As an added bonus, these things are very hard to kill. Note, they do explode violently if destroyed, so try to put them in an isolated corner. Skull Catapult with Skulls of the Foe: We Lizardmen get few opportunities to enjoy artillery. That being said, I would generally prefer a big nasty monster instead, unless I’m facing enemy troops highly prone to failing Panic tests. Varghulf: It doesn’t do anything exotic (unless you consider marching outside the general's Ld bubble exotic), but it’s a strong monster with a small footprint. Necrolith Collossus with great weapon or Bow of the Desert: It lacks the punch of the two sphinxes but it costs no tokens. If you take the Bow of the Desert you can fire it right out of the gate (counts a Bolt Thrower). Hierotitans: Sadly the magical boost only applies to undead casters. I doubt you’d be able to talk your opponent into considering Kroak undead, despite the fact that he is a mummy. Khemrian Warsphinx with one token: Basically you get a primo monster that excels at killing blocks of infantry. For an additional two tokens you get fire breathing improving it's niche even better. Mortis Engine with two tokens: The buff only applies to undead but the Dark Aura can smite your enemies pretty bad in a wide radius. Better late game than early game because it’s Aura’s damage is dependent on the turn number AND late game you are likely to hit more enemies in your radius AND if you summon it late game you are less likely to have it die and explode on your friendly units (or at least you’ll take out the other side with you). Terrorgheist with three tokens: If you are going to spend multiple tokens on one spell, this is probably the one. It’s strong enough to fight by itself, it flies and you can use the scream attack immediately in the same round if it starts close enough to the enemy (and a close distance to the enemy is virtually guaranteed by the time you have three tokens to use). Necrosphinx with three tokens: Nice and all, but I’d prefer to take the vanilla Sphinx and not eat more tokens than I have to. Akar’aran, the Dark Riders, 16+: Summons 150 points of cavalry, monstrous cavalry or chariots. Corpse Cart with either upgrade: Still under 150 points and it buffs things you probably don’t have. 5 Hexwraiths: If you can summon these guys early in the game you can have a lot of fun with ethereal units that can run through enemies and burn them. 7 Black Knights, or 5-6 Black Knights and some upgrades: My favorite package is five knights with barding, and lances, a standard and a champion. Usefulness depends on if there’s any enemy boils you are ideally positioned to lance away. Note, these guys can pack magic banners, so you can easily take the aforementioned combo but swap the champion for the Banner of Eternal Flame in a pinch if you need to counter something that doesn't handle flaming attacks well. 4+ Blood Knights plus at least five tokens: Black Knights fight almost as well without costing a Slann’s ransom in tokens. 9-10 Skeleton Horse Archers with command option(s): Skinks are far better mobile missile units. 10-12 Skeleton Horsemen: Medium cavalry isn’t that impressive. They aren’t the worst unit in the world, but you probably can find something better to summon. 3 Skeleton Chariots with two tokens: If you are a TK player then you probably like chariots, and nothing I can write can dissuade you from using them. Just make sure you get the impact hits or you’ll be a sad necromancer. Necroplis Knights with five tokens: These Knights are strong in close combat, but they are not my first choice if I’m going to burn through that many tokens. Broad Strategy High Magic Dabbler: I wouldn’t recommend High Magic dabbling if you fancy summoning badass monsters since your odds of rolling Kandorak are pretty low. You need to be content with Ryze speed bumps. Though you can probably make good use of the Dark Riders or Abyssal Swarms, anything else should probably be subbed out for the signature spell (though Khizzar is handy if you can get it early game). If you find yourself wanting to take three or more Undeath spells on your High Magic Slann, then you have fallen down the slippery slope of necromancy that snares most dabblers. Seek out Spawning of Bob for counseling (assuming it's even possible), or just take the Lore of Undeath outright. EDIT: If you are playing with End Times magic rules, you can swap out a spell for the entire lore of Undeath and then immediately get back the "lost" High Magic spell back making "dabbling" in necromancy much more potent. Bunkered Slann of Undeath: Kroak can’t take the lore, but it’d be appropriate to use his model anyway. You probably want a Skink Priest or two to cast Khizarr through and I’d recommend taking Heavens or Beasts, both signature spells synergize reasonably well with undead. You want Khizarr (the imitation Spirit Leech) if you can get it. Use Khizarr at every opportunity to kill things and wrack up tokens. Start out summoning cheap units to roadblock enemy units you don’t want to fight right away. By the time your Temple Guard are engaged you should have a nice stack of tokens, summon hardier units to back your guards up (preferably behind the already engaged enemy). Since I am risk adverse, I would recommend only cast the boosted Kandorak in an emergency, since it’s almost impossible to cast without using six dice and that’s risky when surrounded by Temple Guard. One thing I noticed trying this build is that since the Lore of Undeath has zero buffs and hexes, the Temple Guard will not fare as well as with other lores. Whatever number of Temple Guard you normally take for the points size game you are playing, I recommend taking four or five more Temple Guard models. Solo Slann of Undeath: Hang back floating behind your main blocks and summon troops like it’s going out of style. With no Temple Guard to blow up in a miscast, you can concentrate on summoning the high casting value stuff with an acceptable amount of risk. Since summoning spells are only a 12 inch range, you should concentrate on conjuring relatively fast Undead since your Slann is probably going to be hanging back. Skink Dabbler: By which I mean one Skink priest at L1 or L2 (early experiments suggest L2 is best). If you roll Kandorak, keep it. Then six dice the boosted version. If the Skink blows up, you just got a 200 point unit from that trade. If he doesn’t blow up, cast it again next round. Otherwise just stick with Ryze (or cheap ethereals with basic Kandorak and Razkhar) and roadblock stuff at every opportunity. If you are running a level two Skink, the best spell you can hope for is probably Khizarr. If you follow up Khizarr with summoning you can consistently have tokens to spend. Presumably you have another spellcaster or two. It doesn’t really matter what lore the other wizard has, periodic roadblocking undead units will help almost any army build or general strategy. Heavy Skink: By which I mean multiple Skink Priests with 2-4 Undeath spells between them. Basically you are making multiple attempts to roll Kandorak. Presumably your Skinks will be running around the board guarded by Skirmisher bunkers which will give you the flexibility to grow small units with the signature spell anywhere you want. The Skinks don’t have much raw damage potential, so if you are taking a Slann you want to compensate for this with somene like Kroak or a BRB lore with lots of magic missiles (since you will have well-positioned Arcane Vassals). If you are running Slann-less I’d recommend a Solardon or two. That gives you magical ranged damaging power without cutting into your power dice supply too much. EDIT: My first game with this strategy suggested to me that Undeath really needs a level 4 caster if it's going to be relied on. I'm going to playtest this in some casual games before ruling this out completely, but I think Undeath is best for our toads. 2nd EDIT: Another thing I bumped into the "Undead can only march when in the general's leadership bubble thing.) If a Slann is your Undeath caster, your new units start near your general by default. With Skinks this is not always the case. Mazdamundi of Undeath: If you are playing a team game with undead allies or mercenaries, Maz is ideal, as all seven of his spells will be put to good use. Otherwise, it should still help you as much as most BRB lore mastery. Given that Maz is relatively likely to end up in a challenge, Sulekhim might actually work. It’d be quite amusing to see Maz smack someone down like that. For a less wacky End Times version of Maz, you can pick your favorite BRB lore then throw in a couple Skink Priests of Undeath. You mostly cast from Maz, vassaling as necessary, but you can summon irritating undead roadblocks when needed. Slann and Skinks with Undeath: I haven't tried this yet. After seeing Undeath used in tandem with BRB lores, I don't think I ever will. If you are investing in multiple casters you should probably take multiple lores for versatility. Especially if one of those lores is Undeath. Once you get past three or four Summoing spells, that's a lot of diminishing returns if you take more. You don't really need redundant casters for Ryze.