“Legion of Nagash” is the name of one of the three Death warbands available for Warcry in form of “faction cards”. If you already have a Legions of Nagash army, chances are you already have enough miniatures to play Warcry and start a Legions of Nagash Warband: all you need is to buy the card expansion (5£ and provided you can find them in a store!) and join someone with a board, the rules and some scenery.
This warband plays exactly like in the tabletop version: suffocating your enemy with waves of undead skeletons and the ability to resurrect them. The only downside is that your leader is the key of the warband: once dead the rest will crumble.
This short introduction takes you through the fighters of the warband, their abilities, and a few tips on strategy and painting the models. There is not much lore on the warband, as it’s derived from a fully supported Age of Sigmar army. For more information on the Legions of Nagash Age of Sigmar army check out my article here.
Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Legions of Nagash Warband
Note: if you haven’t read the basic rules for Warcry before reading this article, it might be helpful to know that the game’s abilities are activated by using 6 dice that you roll at the start of your turn. If two of the dice show the same value, they can be used to activate a Double ability. If three show the same value, they can be used for a Triple ability, and so on. So, when this article refers to an ability being a Double, a Triple or a Quad, it refers to this system. It might sound a bit confusing, but takes no time to get used to when you start playing
Necromancer: 195 points
The Necromancer is your only leader option, therefore it’s an essential part of your army. Most abilities also require him to be within 6” of the target so you will need to keep him close to your skeletons. With toughness 4 and 25 wounds he is not the weakest leader available, but you need to keep him safe as losing him means not being able to use most abilities.
He should be surrounded by friendly fighters at all time, not only to strengthen them but also to use them as sacrificial puppets to heal back some wounds. For a triple, Necrotic Siphon, you can damage a friendly miniature for the value of the triple and heal back double that value. But beware of snipers!
His quad ability, Vanhel’s Danse Macabre, nice reference to his signature spell in Age of Sigmar, allows a bonus move or a bonus action to as many friendly fighters within 6” of him as the value of the quad.
His ranged attack (3-7”) can hit hard (6 critical damage) while the close combat option still has 2” range, useful to hit the closer enemies while keeping your skeletons in between.
Seneschal: 120 points
The leader of the Grave Guard is the Seneschal, your elite champion. With toughness and movement 3 they don’t last long but they can hit really hard with 4 attacks at strength 5. Attack and strength can be improved with two double abilities, including Chosen Champion that allows to add +1 attack and +1 strength if he is within 6” of the Necromancer for a potential 10 attacks (5 attacks per action) with 6 damage each critical… ouch!
Grave Guard: 85 or 90 points
The basic Grave Guard comes with 2 possible options: one with a Great Wight Blade for 85 points, and one with Wight Blade and Crypt Shield for 90 points. The difference between the two is that the 2-handed weapon version hits at strength 5 with +1 on critical damage for 5 points less than the shielded version. However, the latter gets a toughness 4 (+1) that really improves the longevity of the miniature.
As these are your elite options, if you can, experiment to see what your preferences are. For further damage the Grave Guards (including the Seneschal) have the only ability that does not require a leader nearby: for a double add +1 to the damage. Useful to leave some Grave Guards isolated from the main group.
Skeleton Champion: 80 points
Exactly like the Seneschal he has access to the Chosen Champion ability, but apart that he is a slightly better version of the basic skeletons. 4 wounds more at toughness 4 can make him last a bit longer but his point cost it’s probably excessive for the difference.
Skeleton Warrior: 55 points
Your basic troops: with toughness 4 and 8 wounds they will not last long. There are two versions: the Ancient Spear for 2” weapon range and +1 damage on critical versus the Ancient Blade version for +1 attack. The spear version is extremely useful if you manage to use the scenery to block access to an area and form two ranks of miniatures or to hit the enemy behind the front line.
Abilities for the Legions of Nagash Warband
- Shambling Horde: (Double) bonus move for half the value of the ability but you need to start within 6” of a leader.
- Chosen Champion: (Double) (Seneschal and Skeleton Champion only) +1 Attack and Strength if within 6” of a leader.
- Cursed Weapon: (Double) (any Grave Guard only) +1 to damage for weapons with range 3 or less. Only ability that does not require a leader nearby.
- Necrotic Siphon: (Triple) (Necromancer only) damage a friendly fighter within 6” for the value of the ability but heal back the leader for double that amount.
- Summon Undead: (Triple) (Necromancer only) set up any fighter taken down again wholly within 3” from the leader and with a number of wounds remaining equal to the value of the ability.
- Vanhel’s Danse Macabre (Quad) (Necromancer only) execute a bonus move or a bonus attack with as many friendly fighters as the value of the ability as long as they are within 6” of the leader.
Strategy and Tactics for the Legions of Nagash Warband
The Legions of Nagash are a strong warband with numbers on their side. However, with low mobility and a toughness of 3 for your most elite units and 4 but only 8 wounds for your basic troops, you will suffer being surrounded or isolated. Snipers and ranged attacks in general can really take down this warband quickly in particular if they manage to knock out your leader.
You will struggle in those scenarios where you have to defend one of the groups and this does not include your leader or is too far from your leader, but you can compensate in those scenarios were you have to control objectives.
If you time correctly you can deny victory to your opponent by resurrecting a key fighter that was taken down and bringing it closer to your leader before the remaining targets are finished off. This requires a triple, your leader to be alive and not surrounded by enemy fighters that have not activated yet otherwise your evil laughter will be short-lived…
In summary it’s a warband that can give a lot of satisfaction but will require a lot of strategy and attention to be used and is probably not recommended to beginners.
Tips on painting the Legions of Nagash
Grave Guard and Skeletons can be painted really similar and they fit perfectly the batch painting tutorials available online, in particular the one from the Citadel website (and embedded below for convenience)
The necromancer can be painted in different ways and really only your creativity is the limit but would probably recommend using darker tones for the robes and paler colours for the flesh. The contrast paints can provide a useful base, like Guilliman Flesh or Skeleton Horde.
If you want to get a bit more creative and maybe learn a new painting technique, I suggest doing them with a “wet-bland-basecoat”. It is a quick and easy skill, which even beginners can get great results from. I learned this from Sam Lenz doing it some skeletons from the Sepulchral Guard.
How to buy the Warband
Unlike the Chaos Warbands for Warcry, the other factions do not come in a specific box. You have to go out and get the models from the normal Age of Sigmar boxes instead.
There are two different Necromancer models available: one is a direct order only from GW store and is the old miniature of Heinrich Kemmler, an old Warhammer iconic figure, the other is widely available in any store.
The Grave Guard box contains 10 miniatures and allows you to create 2 seneschals (although only one every 10 is now allowed in Age of Sigmar) and 8 other guards with either combination of 2-handed weapon or blade and shield. With the General Handbook 2019 Grave Guard minimum unit size is now 10 instead of 5, so you will not be able to assemble both options with one single box and still have a valid Age of Sigmar unit.
If you are not bothered, assemble half one way and half the other way. If you prefer being able to use the unit in both games, you may want to start with the 2-handed weapons option for more hit damage and expand at a later stage.
For the skeletons, there are different options available to you depending on which direction you want to go. The simplest box costs 17.5£ and contains 10 skeletons, allowing you customization with both options plus one Skeleton Champion. If unit coherency with Age of Sigmar troubles you, then you have to choose your main loadout.
If you go for spears, like most armies, you can find some swords and another Skeleton Champion in the Sepulchral Guard, a warband for Warhammer Underworlds (17.5£ with cards, 15£ without). If you need spears, there is one scythe in the same warband you can proxy, or for 6£ you can find 5 skeletons via direct order from GW store only with spears. You will need to add some 25mm round bases in that case.
In summary to start your warband you will need around 53£ (prices from GW store) and that gives you 21 miniatures and plenty of customization options.