The Ghosts of the Past
Preview the Armies of Waiqar the Undying in Runewars Miniatures Game
The chill mists have an evil reputation, billowing and moving like a thing alive. But the true terror lies within the mist, a dead kingdom garrisoned by undying legions. Though centuries have passed since the Night of Betrayal, no force in the world can sway Waiqar the Undying from fulfilling his vow—to break the reign of the Daqan Lords and recover the shattered Orb of the Sky at any cost.
In Runewars Miniatures Game, you can take command of the armies of the Daqan Lords, using crushing cavalry charges, highly-trained spearmen, and lumbering Rune Golems to break the enemy ranks. Or, you can enter the Mistlands, gather a following among the undead, and swear allegiance to Waiqar Sumarion.
In our previous articles, we’ve caught a brief look at the lore of Terrinoth, hearing a tale of the Night of Betrayal itself. We also explored the armies of the Daqan Lords, showing the units they bring to the battlefield, and the tactics that they execute. Today, however, we travel deep into the Mistland swamps to behold the shambling dead that you may lead to war.
A Plague of Undeath
When Waiqar Sumarion brought the curse of eternal life upon himself and his armies, his warriors became more powerful than anyone imagined. All mortal weakness had been burnt away, leaving only the strength and resolve of bone and steel. These champions became known as the Deathborn Legion, and a single member of the Deathborn can turn the tide of a battle.
Even when these champions fall, their legacy endures in Waiqar’s army. Dark priests and necromancers render the champion’s bones down to dust, and fleshwrights and bonemasters then use this essence to reanimate the bodies of fallen enemy warriors. In fact, the remains of a single Deathborn champion is enough to reanimate thousands of enemies. Built upon the bones of lesser foes, Reanimates do not match the prowess of the Deathborn, but they fill the ranks of Waiqar’s armies with untiring dedication all the same.
Reanimates will form a large part of any army that serves Waiqar the Undying, and they’re ideally suited to fill that role. When you first look at the Reanimate command tool, you may be tempted to compare them to the Daqan Lords’ Spearmen. While it’s true that the Reanimates are generally slower and less flexible than the Spearmen, they make up for it in several ways.
First, the Reanimates’ melee attacks roll two red dice, which lets them hit harder than the Spearmen. Red dice in Runewars are damage-heavy, so while the Reanimates may be less likely to trigger special abilities, they’ll almost certainly deal more damage than Spearmen. What’s more, you can modify the Reanimates’ attack to inflict more panic, giving you an even better chance of sending your opponent’s units fleeing in terror.
You’ll also note that Reanimates are cheaper than Spearmen and invite you to field larger units. For sixty-four points—just over a quarter of your full allotment—you can field twelve trays of Reanimates, bringing an awe-inspiring forty-eight figures to the battlefield as a single unit! Reanimates even possess the ability to replace their fallen warriors with Regenerate. At the end of each activation phase, you may be able to replace a number of Reanimate figures, significantly increasing the lifespan of your unit in combat. Finally, Reanimates, like many of the undead, are steadfast in the face of morale tests. Every morale cards has a trait, such as Doubt, Fear, or Confusion, and your opponent will find it difficult to inflict Doubt upon your undead minions.
Not all Reanimates are equipped with melee weapons and sent into pitched battle. Some choose to harry their foes from afar, firing tainted arrows into the hearts of the living. If you’re looking at the Reanimate Archers like a normal unit, their command tool may seem restrictive. It doesn’t offer many options for maneuvering, and those options are only found late in the round. Still, the Reanimate Archers have one thing that no other non-hero unit in the Runewars Core Set has—the ability to make ranged attacks.
Obviously, ranged attacks let you attack an enemy unit without fear of immediate reprisal, picking off enemy figures while they’re still halfway across the battlefield. In fact, the power of ranged attacks to wear down enemy units cannot be overestimated. You may even choose to engage an enemy unit with your Reanimates, then fire into the engagement with your Reanimate Archers. This has the potential to shake the morale of your Reanimates, but as we’ve already seen, the undead are accustomed to shrugging off the effects of morale tests.
And in addition, your Reanimate Archers can do far more than inflict damage. The arrows of the undead are slathered with grave-rot and corruption, and if you spend two surges on a ranged attack, you can drop a blight token on your target. Blight tokens can be spent when that unit attacks to remove one attack die, but the undead have other ways to profit from blight tokens, as we’ll see below!
The fleshwrights are adept at raising more dead to serve Waiqar the Undying, and what little they do not use are fed to the carrion worms that live on the edges of an encampment. As these creatures grow fat on the remains of Waiqar’s enemies, they can be trained as swift and terrible mounts for the fiercest Reanimate soldiers. Acidic ichor drips from the carrion worms’ maws, and this foul substance can corrode nearly any metal, not to mention flesh.
Carrion Lancers are some of the most terrifying units included in the Runewars Core Set, writhing their way across the battlefield and devouring any units in their way. As siege units, Carrion Lancers have with a defense of three and a wound threshold of three for each figure, allowing them to absorb a massive amount of damage. They can even boost their defense during some actions, ensuring that only the strongest attacks will pierce the leathery hide of the carrion worm.
Carrion Lancers are also one of the fastest units in Waiqar’s armies, slithering forward with a speed of four, if you’re willing to wait until later in the round. On the attack, you can choose to boost the Carrion Lancers’ damage or inflict more panic in enemy troops, giving you a way to tailor your attacks to the unfolding battle. And like the other undead units, your Carrion Lancers resist the effects of Doubt cards during morale tests.
You might even command your Carrion Lancers to spew bile on enemy troops. By using the Special Ability action, you can choose an unengaged enemy unit within range and immediately give that figure a blight token. This blight token can be spent normally, but it can also be saved—when the Carrion Lancer attacks a blighted unit, you can spend a surge to deal a mortal strike, which immediately bypasses the defense value and inflicts a wound. In some ways, this makes the Carrion Lancer a natural foil to Rune Golems—no matter what defensive stance the Rune Golem takes, the Carrion Lancer’s acid can eat through its rocky hide.
Finally, the forces of Waiqar the Undying in the Runewars Core Set are led by none other than Ardus Ix’Erebus, a true member of the old Deathborn Legion. In life, Ardus Ix’Erebus was a cold, methodical commander. His victories were many, but often more costly than some might have hoped. When Waiqar’s oath shattered his host, remaking them into the Deathborn Legion, Ardus was beside him, and since that day, he has been one of the Mistlands’ most renowned generals.
When fielded in battle, Ardus Ix’Erebus is truly a force to be reckoned with. He is already faster than nearly every other undead unit, with his slowest actions taking place at initiative five. He is fast and maneuverable, he can raise his defense at will, and he’s steadfast in the face of both Doubt and Fear cards from the Morale deck.
A member of the Deathborn Legion is rumored to be capable of turning the tide of battle alone, and Ardus Ix’Erebus certainly proves this true. He rolls two white dice in battle, giving him better attacks than almost any other unit in the game. And what’s more, Brutal 1 raises his threat, directly increasing the amount of damage that Ardus can pump out in a single round.
Ardus is undeniably powerful in combat, but where he truly shines is in his role as a master of battlefield tactics. During melee attacks, he is treated as having the surge abilities of all nearby allies—allowing him to easily blight and smite units, provided he’s close enough to his Reanimate Archers and Carrion Lancers. Ardus even influences your army-building—a dark host of crows flocks above him, drawn by the scent of carnage and inspiring the other undead. While Ardus leads your army, each unit can access more upgrades than it otherwise might have.
The undead are coming, to clutch all of Terrinoth in the icy grip of a frozen crypt. Keep your eye out for more previews of upcoming Runewars expansion, and remember to pre-order your copy of the Runewars Miniatures Game Core Set at your local retailer tod