Reviewing the new Court of the Damed

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  • Version 2.0 Beta is upon us! And with that there are a host of new spoilers to talk about. However, it’s only fitting that the Court of the Damned blog provide a summary review and basic tactica for recently spoiled Court of the Damned entry in the VC 2.0 Book.

    The basics of what you need to know (copy and pasted straight from the thread which you should visit for further detail):

    1)Gains War Platform and base change from 50x100mm to 60x100mm
    2) Unholy Dominion: All models in enemy units within 6" of one or more models with this Global Rule suffers -2 Agility and -2 Defensive Skill
    3)Ghostly horde attacks changed from 2d6 to 8
    4)Court of the Damned gains Mounts Protection (6+) (mounted version only) but loses innate defense (5+)

    The biggest, most meaningful change for the court is its switch to a war platform. This role allows it to provide a big boost to VC core units or create a death star type build in a unit of barrow guard. With that said, let’s look at the main candidates:

    Ghouls: Ghouls are our naturally most agile infantry unit so seem like a good synergy fit for the CotD’s unholy dominion. This unit will put out a high volume of S3 wounds at a high agility step due to their having 2 attacks a piece and poison as well as a new boon (hatred that kicks in after the first round of combat). With these abilities, I see this unit as an anti-elf unit. They will often strike simultaneously with elves and the output of S3 with poison makes them a fantastic unit to deal with lightly armored troops. Furthermore, this unit does not especially need character support. The best counters to this unit will be still be the units that can normally counter ghouls. I expect ghouls to do very well against 5+ and 6+ armor, average against 3+ and 4+ armor and be countered hard by units that possess 1+ and 2+ saves. Like all VC core, ghouls will experience losses in droves but provided the right match up and having great enough numbers by the time the second round of combat arises, this unit has potential to be effective.

    Skeleton spears: Similarly to the ghoul unit, the CotD should synergize well in providing attacks at a high agility step in combination with the new agility buff for spears. Whether or not this unit charges or takes the charge it should put out a high volume of attacks (due to fier and horde) at a high agility step in the first round of combat (this will diminish somewhat when first round agility bonuses subside). The defensive skill debuff will also help the skeletons to hit whilst it won’t reduce incoming damage. Compared the ghouls this unit will benefit more from character support, most notably Lamian vampires will be able to reduce enemy agility by a further -1 or make the skeleton unit offensive skill 6 with commandment. This can also be done in a more expensive unit of barrows. All things considered, this unit is very solid and will counter the units that spears counter well e.g. cavalry. As there is no getting away from t3, light armor dying in droves (especially when striking at lower agility) this unit would benefit most from additional character support. With a lord level character in the unit, this unit becomes something just a level below a death star and many units might choose to simply counter by ignoring this unit. Imo, this plays in to the VC players hands by denying the opponent core points which are usually the easiest points to get when playing VC.

    Barrow Guard with halberds: I have specified halberds in this entry as this is the weapon that will make the most use of unholy dominion’s initiative debuff. The already “elite” skeletons can be stacked with further synergies, including commandment (in a Lamia list), a cadaver wagon and the new banner of the barrows. This unit with a character is likely to cost around 40-45% of 4500 point army and what you get is a unit with the potential to hit on 2’s with a high volume of S5, lethal strike. Pretty deadly! Unlike the previously reviewed core units which might tempt a few charges, there is no way an opponent will willingly charge this unit if it is fully tooled out with the requisite synergies. Whilst not much is touching this unit in combat, you can’t get around the fact you are movement 4 and have put the vast majority of points in this unit. In this build, armies that can excel at the chaff game will cause problems as will armies with other means of out maneuvering. The surefire way to defeat this list is to avoid the deathstar, pick up points for the unbuffed VC core units and everything else that is not in this unit. Other tactics include looking to take out some of the unit synergy – war machines will likely be perfect for this role. However, other ways to mess with this unit include use of dangerous terrain, whether on the battle field or spells that force DT’s. Pinning the unit with rear and flank charges should also be possible in lists that rely on a variety of MSU-medium sized combat units that work in tandem.

    As a mount: the CoTD gets a small boost for armor wearing vampires in the form of mounts protection 6+. This enables a decent armor save on the court which should make it a lot more durable against small arms fire. This is mostly useful when playing the court as a single model and not in its newly acquired war platform role. For Lamian vampires, who want to keep their distracting rule, it’s a net 0 change as they will now be able to combine light armor with mounts protection to stay at a 5+ armor.

    Overall, I see the Court of the Damned as capable to buff a variety of units. The power level of these units will be determined by the level of additional support and resources that are put in to the units. I’m not sure what we will see in terms of list building but I see the CotD as a great choice in Lamia lists and as a playable mount option in non-Lamia lists. Without the 4++ of the Lamia blood tie, I think the unit could be a good stand-alone buff to core troops if priced correctly. As a chariot with a 5+ armor is not hard to take out, I would expect the non-Lamia version to be cheap as chips. However, as with everything, we will have to wait for point values and these values will no doubt be adjusted based on performance in the beta phase. Personally, I’m looking forward to it!

    Hope this review has been informative and/or entertaining for both VC and non VC players. I would love to hear your comments on the review and your thoughts on the new CotD.

    Community Engagement: Most of us are aware of the GW coven throne model that is a great model for a court of the damned. However, I’m interested to know what other models people use, know about or possible conversions to represent the Court of the Damned. Let the community to know =)

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Comments 2

  • Wesser -

    Good review, but you perhaps failed to touch upon how the increased base size affects the wagon itself. More attacks directed at it from infantry and (if used as a traditional chariot) that it takes up more space in the already dense VC advance. If not used as a War Platform it has become clumsier that (apart from having to rebase) is my main gripe with it. Wish that Warplatform upgrade was just an option

    • VampsinMD -

      Thanks! I tried to gather my thoughts about the court and turn it into something useful. I really appreciate your feedback and I think your gripes with the court are legit. If you are using the single model (as is your preference) it does take up more space. You're also basically forced to be in a horde formation when using it as a war platform. Additionally, 1 extra 20mm base can be in contact with you which will hurt against the most elite infantry (and of course changing the base size is a pain). Conversely, if you already run a horde it won't take up any extra space in your battle line and, if you mount your general, the extra IP could give you a bit more room to spread out.