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Undead racial introduction

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Joined: 29 Jun 2008
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Location: Hillsborough, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:31 pm GMT    Post subject: Undead racial introduction Reply with quote

The Undead have several advantages to earn the fear and trepidation their name suggests, but also some disadvantages. All their units lack the missile icon, but this gives them units that are more focused at magic, maneuver, melee and/or saves. Far from being slow, Undead can not only be competent at maneuvering, but one of their racial spells, Night Moves, permits another maneuver action to change the terrain – allowing this race the opportunity to move the same terrain die twice in one turn. Although only of one color, Undead mages have a powerful set of racial spells to complement the black spells.

Undead Racial Abilities
Undead have several significant racial abilities that are among the best of all the races:
Stepped Damage: Undead, when killed by any means, may instead be traded in for an Undead unit of lesser health from the DUA.
Resist Burial: When sent to the BUA, an Undead unit may resist burial and return to the DUA by rolling a non-ID save result.
Double Magic: Undead may, when rolling for magic, use all dead units in the game to double their ID icons.

The Undead units
Zombie [save, save, melee, melee, melee x2]
The Zombie is a good melee Common, concentrating heavily on melee and saves. Good in a fight, but has no maneuver icons.

Skeleton [maneuver, melee, melee x2, save, save]
The Skeleton is similar to the Zombie, except that it has one less melee icon, but a single maneuver icon.

Ghoul [melee, melee x2, magic, save, save]
Instead of a missile unit, the Undead have a “light magic” class. The Ghoul is a good fighter with melee and save icons, but has one magic icon.

Wraith [maneuver, maneuver x2, melee, melee, save]
The Wraith is the equivalent of the other races’ cavalry unit.

Apparition [melee, melee, save, magic, magic x2]
The Apparition has only 3 magic icons, versus the standard 4 magic icons that are present on most magic Commons of other races, but it can contribute to a melee better than the other magic Commons.

Wight [save x3, save x2, melee x2, melee x2, melee x3]
Like the Zombie, the Wight is an excellent unit to have in a melee brawl. It packs a heavy melee punch, but saves – but don’t count on it to maneuver.

Revenant [maneuver x2, melee x2, melee x3, save x2, save x3]
The Revenant is almost as good a fighter as the Wight, but has a maneuver face to give it more mobility.

Ghast [magic x2, melee x3, melee x2, save x3, save x2]
The Ghast is an upgunned version of the Ghoul, and is a magician that like to brawl more than cast magic.

Spectre [maneuver x3, melee x2, melee x2, save x3, save x2]
Unlike the Wraith, the Spectre has only one maneuver face, which makes it more equivalent to the “skirmisher” class of other races, rather than a “cavalry” unit.

Heucava [melee x2, melee x3, save x2, magic x2, magic x3]
The Heucava can melee as well as cast magic.

Mummy [melee x3, melee x4, melee x3, save x3, Wither x3]
The Mummy, like most heavy melee Rares, is strong in melee, but has the Wither SAI, rather than Smite, which some players may feel makes it slightly inferior.

Death Knight [save x3, save x3, melee x3, melee x4, Scare x3]
The Death Knight might also be considered a heavy melee rare, since it has no maneuver icons, but more save icons. Instead of Counter or Smite, the Death Knight has the Scare SAI, which some players may feel makes it inferior.

Vampire [magic x3, melee x4, melee x3, save x3, Convert x3]
The Vampire is one of the most feared Undead rares, due to the Convert SAI, which can not only send enemy units to the DUA, but return your units in the DUA back into the game (with comparable momentum-swinging effects as Regenerate).

Ghost [maneuver x4, Vanish x3, melee x3, melee x3, save x3]
The Ghost is an interesting unit which can melee well, but can contribute to maneuvers. The Vanish SAI can provide some opportunities and surprises.

Lich [melee x3, save x3, magic x3, magic x3, Cantrip x4]
The Lich is the only Undead magician that has comparable magic faces and icons to magicians of the other races. The Lich has magic, saves, and melee. Its 4-point Cantrip is useful for bringing in a Dragonkin, casting a Reanimate Dead to bring a dead unit back, cast a Finger of Death to cause a sudden casualty, cast two Evil Eyes or a Palsy on the enemy army, or to cast Ashes to Ashes to bury enemy dead that have a reasonable chance of returning to the game.

Dracolich [Fly, Fly, magic, magic, Cantrip, melee, Rend, Smite, save]
The Dracolich is a magic unit, but able to melee, with a 40% chance of getting a magic, maneuver, melee, or a save when it rolls for one of these actions, thanks to its 5 SAIs.

Fenhound [maneuver, maneuver, melee, melee, Dispel Magic, Dispel Magic, save, save, Smite]
The Fenhound is not a particularly powerful unit, but is able to melee, with a 30% chance of getting a maneuver or save, and 40% chance of getting a melee result. The Dispel Magic can be an unpleasant surprise to opposing spellcasters, but is not reliable.

Carrion Crawler [Stun, Stun, save, save, maneuver, maneuver, melee, melee, Smite]
The Carrion Crawler is a strong unit that is especially effective against units that don't maneuver well (due to the Stun SAI). The Carrion Crawler works best with friends that can score hits that stunned enemy units can’t stop.

Minor Death [Slay, Slay, Plague, Plague, save, save, melee, melee, maneuver]
The Minor Death is another strong melee unit with its Plague and Slay SAIs. Plague could have negligible affect, or kill off several enemy units. The Slay SAI is deadly since it requires an ID icon to save.

Skeletal Steed [Trample, Trample, maneuver, maneuver, maneuver, save, save, melee, melee]
The Skeletal Steed is fast unit, but not that strong a unit with its two Trample SAI, giving it a 50% chance of a melee result, 60% chance of a maneuver result, and 30% chance of a save result.

Undead Monster SAIs:
Cantrip (Dracolich): During a magic action or magic negation roll, Cantrip generates magic results. During any non-magic action, save roll or non-maneuver avoidance roll, Cantrip can be used to purchase spells that are immediately resolved.
Dispel Magic (Fenhound): Whenever any magic targets this unit, the army containing this unit and/or the terrain this unit occupies, you may roll this unit after all spells are announced but before any are resolved. If the Dispel Magic icon comes up, immediately negate all unresolved magic that applies to the target(s). Only one dispel attempt is made per unit and, if it fails, then all the spell(s) are resolved normally.
Fly (Dracolich): During any roll, each Fly result generates one maneuver or one save result.
Rend (Dracolich): During a maneuver roll, each Rend result generates one maneuver result. During a melee attack or melee avoidance roll, each Rend result generates one melee result; roll this unit again and apply the new result as well.
Plague (Minor Death): During a melee attack, choose one unit in the defending army, which must immediately generate a save or be killed. If the target unit fails to generate a save, your opponent chooses another unit from the same army to be plagued. The plague continues until a target unit generates a save.
Slay (Minor Death): During a melee attack, choose one unit in the defending army to immediately roll its ID icon or be killed.
Smite (Dracolich, Fenhound, Carrion Crawler): During a melee attack, each Smite result immediately inflicts one point of damage on the defending army or unit; no saves (including those provided by spells) can stop this damage. During a dragon attack or melee avoidance roll, Smite generates melee results.
Stun (Carrion Crawler): During a melee attack, choose up to four health-worth of units in the defending army to be stunned unless each targeted unit immediately rolls a maneuver. Target units that fail their avoidance roll cannot be rolled until the end of your turn. Roll this unit again and apply the new result as well.
Trample (Skeletal Steed): During any roll, each Trample result generates one maneuver or one melee result.

Black (Death) Spells - Undead mages have access to only black magic (unless they capture a Standing Stones 8th Face), but their racial ability allows the powerful advantage of being able to double their black magic through enemy dice present in ALL the DUA’s.
Ashes to Ashes (2 black): Target one health-worth of units in any enemy’s DUA. Target units are immediately buried. Multiple castings increase the number of health affected or target another DUA.
Evil Eye (2 black – Undead only): Target any enemy army. Until the end of your next turn, subtract one save result from the target army. Multiple castings
increase the effect or target another army.
Palsy (3 black): Target any enemy army. Until the beginning of your next turn, subtract one result from the target army. Multiple castings increase the effect or target another army. During a combination roll, the owner of the acting army chooses how to apply the penalty.
Reanimate Dead (3 black): Target one health-worth of units in your DUA. Target units immediately join the casting army. Multiple castings increase the number of health affected.
Summon Black Dragonkin (3 black): Target one health-worth of your black Dragonkin in the summoning pool to immediately join the casting army. Multiple castings increase the number of health affected.
Fade (3 black – Undead only): Target one of your Undead units. Until the end of your next turn, the target unit 1) cannot roll during a melee or missile action or during a dragon attack, 2) cannot be the target of a missile, melee, or dragon effect or be taken as a casualty for this damage, and 3) cannot be promoted. Multiple castings target multiple units.
Deadlands (4 black): Target any terrain. Until the terrain face is changed, the target terrain gains the black (death) element. Multiple castings target multiple terrains.
Finger of Death (4 black): Target any enemy unit. Immediately inflict one point of damage to the target unit with no save possible. Multiple castings increase the effect or target another unit.
Restless Dead (4 black – Undead only): Target any army. Until the beginning of your next turn, add four maneuver results to the target army. Multiple castings increase the effect or target another army.
Open Grave (6 black): Target any army. Until the beginning of your next turn, for any army-targeting effect that causes damage to the target army, any units taken as casualties immediately go to the reserve area rather than the DUA. Multiple castings target multiple armies.
Exhume (6 black – Undead only): Target any enemy DUA. Choose up to three health-worth of dead units that must immediately roll a save or be buried. A number of Undead units from your DUA, up to the total number of health buried, may join the casting army. Multiple castings increase the number of health affected or target another DUA.
Summon Black or Ivory Dragon (7 black): Target any terrain. Immediately send any black or ivory dragon to the target terrain. Multiple castings target the same or multiple terrains.
Haunt (8 black – Undead only): Target your DUA. All dead units form into a magically constructed army that immediately takes a melee action against any enemy army. Bury any of your units killed during this melee action and return the rest to your DUA. This spell can be cast only once per magic action.
Night Moves (9 black – Undead only): Target any of your armies containing an Undead unit at a terrain. The army immediately attempts to maneuver the terrain. Opponents at the terrain may counter-maneuver as usual. This spell can be cast only once per magic action.

Spell strategies
· Ashes to Ashes can bury units in their opponents DUA, permitting the Undead to pursue a battle of attrition by denying opponents the opportunity to bring back their dead;
· Reanimate Dead allows you to return even multi-health units back to the game, which is an important advantage in a battle of attrition;
· Exhume can do both of the above, if the target dice fail their save.
· Evil Eye and Palsy can be useful “penalty” spells, reducing an enemy army’s ability to generate saves (Evil Eye and Palsy), normal magic, maneuvers, melee, and missiles (Palsy only).
· Open Grave can be another effective spell in a melee or battle of attrition, sending your units to the Reserve instead of the DUA, but recognize that this only works for normal damage to the target army and does not apply to unit-targeting damage and damage from Smite.
· Deadlands offers an opportunity to double black magic, instead of relying on units being present in anyone’s DUA, but remember that it is lost when the face of the terrain is changed.
· Fade can be used to protect a unit at a target terrain until your next turn, allowing the Undead player to maintain a presence at a target terrain for a strategy could take several turns before the opportunity is at hand.
· Dragon summoning is important as a means to whittle away your opponent’s forces. Black breath is very effective, especially against large armies.
· Summon Dragonkin can provide important protection for your magicians, both in saves and the ability to melee, and remember that Dragonkin are eligible for promotion at a City 8th Face, a dragon’s Treasure Chest, or after a dragon has been killed. A Dragonkin Champion can have an important effect in the game. Dragonkin are like bonus units, but can’t move from the terrain they have been summoned at.
· Haunt can be very effective towards the end-game if the Undead player has been on the losing end of a battle of attrition.
· Restless Dead is the black version of Windwalk, allowing the Undead player to pursue maneuver strategies - especially in combination with Night Moves.
· Night Moves permits the Undead player the opportunity to attempt to change the same terrain die more than once a turn, which can catch opponents off-guard and lead to a surprise win.

The Undead have several different strategies that can be pursued. Their units’ main strengths are in magic, melee, and saves, with some maneuver-capable units available (like the Wraith and Skeletal Steed).

Most Undead armies have a strong magic contingent, since their spells can be powerful. Aside from supporting the melee half of the army, the magicians can be sneaky by using Fade to protect a unit and then abandon the terrain to threaten another. If the opponent removes enough units from the terrain, leaving only a small number of units to challenge the “Faded” unit, the Undead player could either eliminate the opposing unit with Finger of Death and then the “Faded” unit could maneuver the terrain twice with the help of Night Moves, or the Undead player could use a combination of Restless Dead with Night Moves to move the terrain die twice (and possibly to victory).

A Dragon-summoning strategy is also viable, especially if any of the opponents have Black, Black-hybrid, Ivory or White dragons. An Undead army at a terrain with a Deadlands has the potential of unleashing several dragons (or making opponents already dealing with dragons mighty uncomfortable with Evil Eyes).

Many Undead units have lots of melee faces, making them a formidable force to deal with in a melee action. The Undead racial ability Stepped Damage, can minimize the damage score against the Undead – so many Undead armies have a mixture of 1-health, 2-health, and 3-health units to take advantage of this. Undead that end up in the DUA are often available to return to the game through the Stepped Damage racial ability, the Convert SAI, or through Exhume or Reanimate Dead spells. Units in the DUA that are targeted to be buried are allowed a roll for a non-ID save, which is often a 33% chance for many Undead units.

Army Construction
If you’re new to the game, or don’t have a lot of 3 or 4-health dice, this army is a reasonable “starting point”: 1 x Lich R, 1 x Vampire R, 1 x Ghost R, 2 x Minor Death or Carrion Crawler monsters, 2 x Heucava UC, 1 x Wight UC, 1 x Ghast UC, 3 x Apparitions C, 3 x Ghoul C, 5 x Zombie/Skeleton/Wraith C.

A 36-health army that’s focused more on maneuvers and melee with a few tricks is this:
2 x Minor Death monsters, 4 x Vampire R, 2 x Spectre UC, 2 x Heucava UC, 2 x Apparition C, 4 x Wraith C, 2 x Skeleton C

It’s intent is to melee with good saving abilities and some maneuver capability. Magic potential is not as great, since the Vampires don’t have as many magic faces as do Liches, but the Vampires are more for melee than for magic (but they may be forced to play the magic role). It might get beat up versus other races’ melee armies, but the Convert SAI, Stepped Damage, and resistance to burial help blunt the damage and get the dead rising from the graves. Opponents might be intimidated and think twice before sending dragons your way, since they will be so easy to kill with your melee results.

Many of the Undead SAIs and spells favor an Undead-only army, but many competition Undead armies include a little outside help. One Goblin monster that complements Undead armies extremely well is the notorious Troll. Regenerate brings back the dead fast, and it’s a great melee unit – but don’t depend on it for being a source of gold magic.
Daniel Burkley
US National Champion (DEXCON 2007, 2009, 2010)
World Champion (GENCON 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014)
Battlefest Champion (DEXCON 2008, GENCON 2009, 2011, co-champion GENCON 2010, DEXCON 2011)
"No Magicians" (GENCON 2008)
"Single Race" (DEXCON 2008, GENCON 2010, 2011, co-champion 2014)
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White Dragon
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:02 am GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Important note about Fade vs. Hide and Camouflage. Fade expires and the end of your next turn, while the other two spells expire at the beginning. That means that a single Faded unit is immune to dragons. The drawbacks to Fade are that it can only be cast on Undead units, and it leaves you open to magical attacks. Also the other two spells are health-based, while Fade works on any size Undead unit. So if you Fade a 3-health unit that saves well (or better yet 2 units), then you have a very good chance of surviving a magical attack.
You can never have too many dice.
First Place at the first ever Daemon Dice™ sealed starter tournament.
Battlefest tied for first GenCon 2012
Single Race Champion GenCon 2008-2009, Sealed Box Champion GenCon 2007,2009,
My collection is 21,500 Dragon Dice™, 20,000 Daemon Dice™, and others (too many to count).
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