Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fantasy Thursdays: Preparing for Vanguard - Part Three

The Cursed Company is one of the more fluffy units in the DoW list; an undead regiment with the ability to fill its ranks thru combat. I have heard that this unit is the ultimate tarpit and while I don't think it is the "ultimate" tarpit, I do think it can serve that role.

The Cursed Company has one of largest set of special rules for any of the RoR units. The majority of these rules are simply the standard rules that would be found in the VC army book. The unit causes fear and is immune to psychology. It takes additional wounds if it loses in combat and crumbles if the champion (Richter) is killed. Moving past the basics of being undead, the unit has a few rules that really allow for it to be a solid tarpit. The first rule is called “Join us in damnation”. Basically, every 1 wound model that is killed by the Cursed Company in close combat becomes an additional skeleton in the regiment. If it was only normal skeletons swinging back, I wouldn’t put much stock in the rule, but the addition of Richter and his sword Blight makes a big difference.

Blight is a magical weapon that confers a +1 strength bonus to Richter and gives him the killing blow special rule. This means that Richter is swinging with a WS 5 on 3 strength 5 (4 + 1) attacks. Typically this means that against any infantry, Richter should be generating 1 or 2 skeletons each turn of combat. Not a lot, but enough to slow down any unit forced into combat with the regiment. To keep him in the combat, Richter has heavy armour, a shield, and the Dark Gem of the Cursed which grants a 4+ ward save. Again, his stats are nothing that will slow down a powered up lord character, but they are enough to make him very solid against most standard infantry.

While the Cursed Company sounds really good, there are a few things about it that will make most players think twice about fielding it. The first thing is the cost of the regiment. At slightly over 300 points for 10 models, the regiment is very expensive just to field. The model count can be bumped up, but at 10 points per basic skeleton, the cost only gets more prohibitive the larger the regiment. The next issue with the unit is that it takes a special slot in a DoW army, and a rare slot in other armies. The combination of these two things leads me to believe that outside of casual play and weirdos like myself, most players are not going to place this regiment in a competitive list.

When it came to painting my Cursed Company, I decided to use a combination of the original RoR models with skeletons from the newer VC kit. I would have used the original Richter model, but years of abuse results in a model that requires more TLC than I want to spend at the moment. Maybe after Vanguard, I will revisit the model.

When it comes to the color scheme, I like the contrast between the bone, pseudo-NMM, and purple. I am especially pleased with the standard, as it was my second attempt at doing freehand. At this point I need to finish the shields and paint the movement tray, but that is work I plan on doing with other units.

My strategy for Vanguard is to castle and rely on my ranged attacks to diminish enemy forces before they hit my lines. In that context, I plan on using the Cursed Company to protect my flanks and push forward into enemy units that threaten my lines. I know my plan is very flawed, but considering the nature of the Cursed Company and my stubborn determination to include it, I need to have an idea how it will be used. I am sure that playtesting will help me hammer out how best to use the unit within my army.

In Two Weeks: Dogs of War Crossbowmen