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Legions of Nagash Warcry Warband & Guide, Tactics, Overview

“Legion of Nagash Thrallbands” is the name of the Death warbands available for Warcry in Bringers of Death 2020 book.

If you already have a Legions of Nagash army, you have enough miniatures to play Warcry and start a Thrallband Warband: all you need is the new book 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.

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What changed in the Warcry: Bringers of Death Book for the Legions of Nagash warband?

Note: The new Warcry books released with Tome of Champions 2020 brought some changes in how Thralls, Monsters but especially Allies work. The roster of available leaders has been massively increased and it’s now possible to use more than one as a “Hero” (1 in matched play and up to 3 in a Narrative campaign).

Link to the 4 new books:

Warcry: Sentinels of Order (all Order warbands updated)
Warcry: Harbingers of Destruction (all Destruction warbands updated)
Warcry: Agents of Chaos (all non-warcry specific Chaos warbands updated)
– Warcry: Bringers of Death (all death warbands updated)

In the Bringers of Death book the Thrallbands more than doubled in size with the welcoming addition of 5 extra leaders and 5 new fighters for a total now of 17.

The new fighters are:

  1. Vargoyle
  2. Kastellan
  3. Vampire Lord
  4. Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade
  5. Wight King with Black Axe
  6. Vargheist
  7. Blood Knight
  8. Hell Knight
  9. Black Knight
  10. Zombie

The new abilities are: Beheading Strike, Blood-maddened Feeding Frenzy, Thirst for Blood and Deathly Charge.

Background and lore of Legions of Nagash warband

The Legions of Nagash are the shambling hordes of undead that serve Nagash and his lieutenants for eternity.

Those beings, for which there is no rest or peace not even in death, are raised and commanded by a fixed hierarchy, where everyone serves the Lord of Undeath, the self-proclaimed master of all of Shyish, the Realm of Death.

Under Nagash there are different Mortarchs, leading his armies in battle, but even they cannot oversee every single operation. So there are many lesser lords able to raise their own armies or thrallbands and venture forth to serve the will of the Great Necromancer.

Those can be vampires leading winged horrors or noble knights, skeletal wight kings commanding infinite hordes of skeletons or necromancers raising from the graves all sort of horrors, from zombies to skeletons.

Since the Necroquake the dead became restless across all Mortal Realms, and where, if not in the Eightpoints, there is abundance of long-dead proud warriors ready to serve once again in the Afterlife?

Every day new thrallbands are raised by rogue shamans pledging to the arts of Necromancy instead of the Chaos Gods and waging war to the Everchosen warbands.

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

Necromancer for the Legions of Nagash Warband in Warcry

The Necromancer is not anymore your only leader option, but is still an important piece in the army able to activate your other fighters within his round.

Leaders in Legion of Nagash are extremely important as most leader abilities require them within range of the target.

The Necromance with toughness 4 and 25 wounds is a bit fragile and will need to be protected as losing him means not being able to use most abilities.

Another reason to keep him surrounded by cheap infantry is his special ability, Necrotic Siphon, that for a Triple allows you to transfer vital energy (heal Wounds) from a friendly fighter to the Necromancer.

But where he excels is his quad ability, Vanhel’s Danse Macabre, a nice reference to his signature spell in Age of Sigmar, that allows a bonus move or a bonus action to up to 6 friendly fighters within range.

Complements the profile of a good support hero his ranged attack (3-7”) with good damage (6 on a critical) while the close combat option still has 2” range, useful to hit the closer enemies while keeping your skeletons in between.

Vampire Lord: 235 points

The Vampire Lord is one of the strongest melee leaders in this warband with an average damage second only to the Wight King with Black Axe (4 attacks at Strength 4 for 2/6 damage).

On the flip side he has similar defensive characteristics of a Necromancer with Toughness 4 and 25 Wounds with the ability to heal back when he takes down an enemy (for a Triple).

He can fly, but has a movement of only 4″. He is also one of the fighters with most model representation in Warcry: currently GW sells 4 different models labelled as Vampire Lord on foot.

Vargheists

  • Vargoyle: 300 points
  • Vargheist: 235 points

The Vargheists are the proper flying unit of this warband with a Movement of 10″.

High Wounds (40 and 30 respectively) and average Toughness (4) guarantees them some survivability.

The Vargoyle is a leader of a Vargheist unit, despite so there are quite some noticeable differences. The Vargoyle can heal himself with a Triple when taking down an enemy and concentrates his attacks on fewer but better hits (4 with damage 2/5).

The Vargheist instead presents more attack (5) for less damage (2/4). Furthermore, when they take down an enemy they don’t heal back, but instead they can perform a bonus move or action on a Triple.

All of this comes at a cost however: they are the most expensive leader and most expensive fighter of the Thrallband.

Blood Knights

  • Kastellan: 250 points
  • Blood Knight: 195 points

Blood Knights are one of the most expensive kits produced for AoS by GW, and even in Warcry their point cost is the second highest in the warband.

A Kastellan is basically a Vampire Lord on horse. He loses the Flying runemark but increases Movement to 8″.

He is also able to heal himself when taking down an enemy and has access to Deathly Charge, an ability that for a Quad allows to damage an opponent at the end of a Move action.

The rest of the profile is identical to the Vampire Lord.

Blood Knights have access to the same abilities but have 1 less attack (3) and damage on critical (2/4). On the flip side they have Toughness 5 and 22 Wounds making them the most resilient fighters in the warband.

Careful that as mounted figures, they cannot climb, open door or pass through archways.

Wight Kings

  • Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade: 200 points
  • Wight King with Black Axe: 200 points

The Wight Kings are the commanders of the skeleton hordes at Nagash service.

They have two different profiles: a Blade for 4 Attacks at Strength 4 and 2/5 damage or the much better Black Axe for higher Strength (5) and damage (3/5).

The other difference between the two profiles is the Toughness where the Blade allows the presence of a shield for the highest Toughness available in this warband: 5. Both have 25 Wounds and Move 3″.

Their special ability is forgettable, allowing to add damage on critical hits only on the next attack action.

Black Knights

  • Hell Knight: 185 points
  • Black Knight: 135 points

Black Knights are the lighter cavalry of this warband, if Blood Knights are the heavy-armoured, with movement 10″.

25 wounds and Toughness 4 make them also extremely resilient skeletons giving some more options to a Skeleton-only army.

Melee wise they have a 2″ range that allows to not engage and still hit the enemy, however their special ability, Deathly Charge, damages only after a movement that ends within 1″ of an enemy.

The rest of the melee profile is in line with their on-foot counterpart: 2 attacks at Strength 3 for 1/4 damage (2/4 for the Hell Knight).

The Hell Knight is the leader of this unit and as a Champion he also can perform Chosen Champion, that for a Double can add 1 to Attack and Strength while in range of the leader.

Grave Guard

Seneschal and other Grave Guards ofr the Legions of Nagash Warcry Warband
  • Seneschal: 120 points
  • Grave Guard with Wight Blade and Crypt Shield: 90 points
  • Grave Guard with Great Wight Blade: 85 points

The leader of the Grave Guard is the Seneschal, the 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 while within 6” of a leader for a potential 10 attacks (5 attacks per action) with 5 damage each critical… ouch!

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. 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) are able to add +1 to their damage for a Double, particularly useful if they remain isolated from the main group.

Skeletons

Skeleton Warriors for the Legions of Nagash Warcry Warband
  • Skeleton Champion: 90 points
  • Skeleton Warrior with Ancient Blade: 55 points
  • Skeleton Warrior with Ancient Spear: 55 points

Like the Seneschal and the Hell Knight, also the Skeleton Champion 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.

The base skeletons have same Toughness but 8 wounds meaning they are going to last really little.

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 but the Blade in almost all situations generates more damage.

Zombie: 55 points

The Zombies have the same identical profile and cost as a Skeleton Warrior with Spear, but 2 Wounds more to compensate the 1″ range of the weapon.

Probably the worst trade-off in history, but if you are a fun of Zombie movies you can recreate your own favourite scene with a horde of this sacrificial pieces.

Abilities for the Legions of Nagash Warband

  • Shambling Horde (Double, Everyone): up to 3″ bonus move when starting in range of a leader.
  • Chosen Champion (Double, Seneschal, Hell Knight and Skeleton Champion):  +1 Attack and Strength if within 6” of a leader.
  • Cursed Weapon (Double, all Grave Guards): +1 to damage.
  • Beheading Strike (Double, both Wight Kings): add up to 3 to the critical damage of 1 attack action.
  • Necrotic Siphon (Triple, Necromancer):  steal wounds from a friendly fighter to heal back the double to the Necromancer.
  • Summon Undead (Triple, all Leaders):  return a slain model to the table.
  • Blood-maddened Feeding Frenzy (Triple, Vargheist): perform a bonus move or attack after killing an enemy.
  • Thirst for Blood (Triple, Vampire Lord, Kastellan, Vargoyle, Blood Knight): heal back after taking down an enemy fighter.
  • Vanhel’s Danse Macabre (Quad, Necromancer):  perform a bonus move or attack with all fighters in range.
  • Deathly Charge (Quad, Blood Knights and Black Knights with respective leaders): damage an enemy once you finish a move action next to him.

Strategy and Tactics for the Legions of Nagash Warband

The Legions of Nagash are a strong warband with numbers on their side.

The low mobility problem has been fixed with new flying or cavalry models.

Toughness remains a problem with many models at 4 or lower, but some of the new more elite options guarantee more Wounds and some leaders are able to heal themselves.

Snipers and ranged attacks in general can really take down this warband quickly in particular if they manage to knock out the leader in a warband heavy-dependent from him (mostly skeletons).

The addition of vampires resolves a bit this issue allowing for more flexibility when building the warband and adding new pieces.

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. Note that this ability works with any fighter, including elite monsters like the Varghulf.

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…

The Necromancer ability to give free actions to all fighters surrounding him is especially good in a horde army. For more elite armies you may want to choose other leaders and maybe revert back to the Necromancer as a support unit.

In summary it’s a warband that can give a lot of satisfaction and has lots of options available. It can be built thematically around one of its traits (skeletons vs vampires) or mixed up. And don’t forget if you play narrative to add some Thralls!

Pros and cons of Legions of Nagash

Pros:

+ Horde army but with elite options

+ Versatile with many options

+ Ability to bring back dead comrades

Cons:

– No ranged options except one leader

– Low survivability of most models

Some thematic warbands for Legions of Nagash Warband

Just for fun here we present few thematic warbands, meant more for fun or narrative context than for competitive play. Note that in narrative play you need to control at least two territories before mustering your first hero.

Skeleton Horde: A Wight King with Black Axe, 2 Black Knights, 1 Seneschal, 2 Grave Guards with Great Wight Blade and 4 Skeleton Warriors with Ancient Spear. For more survivability swap a Black Knight and Skeleton for a Necromancer and maybe use the two old kits of Krell and Heinrich to recreate a mythic duo of villains.

Dawn of the Dead: A Necromancer and 14 Zombies. Well that is an horde people will remember about…

Vampire Galore: Vampire Lord, Vargheist, 2 Blood Knights, 2 Zombies. A super-elite army with a couple of Zombies for objective grabbing.

How to buy a Legions of Nagash Warband

Note: all prices used are standard Games Workshop prices. It is possible to get the different things cheaper (check the links for prices).

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. Legions of Nagash in particular includes older models in resin and some boxes that are difficult to find outside of GW store.

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.

There are more than 4 Vampire Lords models available from GW store, including the old models of the renowned couple Isabella and Vlad Von Carstein, Konrad Von Carstein and a winged version.

Note that there is also a horse-mounted version, the old Mannfred model, but while technically not prohibited comes with a bigger base and would mean more enemies can target him.

There are also 3 models of Wight Kings available, but the mounted ones is highly discouraged for the same reason above. Apart from that there is the newer model with the Baleful Tomb Blade and the older model of Krell with the Black Axe.

All prices for Necromancers, Vampire Lords and Wight Kings vary between £10 and £15.

The Blood Knights box comes with 5 models at a pretty steep price: £61.5, allowing to field 1 Kastellan and 4 Knights.

The Vargheist box is another one of the different options available from the Flesh-Eater Courts Crypt Flayers/Horrors box.

The Black Knights box costs £25 and is another webstore exclusive of GW. It comes with 5 models and the ability to assemble the leader as a Hell Knight.

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 (15£). You are also getting some of the best skeleton models ever made.

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.

Another alternative for Skeletons and Black Knights is the Start Collecting Skeleton Horde that provides you with 5 Black Knights and 10 Skeletons and a Mortarch at your choice between Neferata, Mannfred and Arkhan. If you are starting a Legions of Nagash army there’s no better place to start.

The last kit to complete the warband is the Deadwalker Zombies, a whooping 20 models in the same box for a veritable undead horde (£25).

In summary there are different ways to start this warband, some cheaper than others. A full Skeleton army with a Necromancer can cost around £50 and then you can expand from there.

Tips on painting the Legions of Nagash

Show me you skelemebobs!

I would very much like to display them right here on this page.

All you have to do is send my some files. You can read more about how to make that happen here.

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.

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