Friday, 5 August 2016

Morbius the Liche

Morbius the Liche commands his undead host to advance. 

Morbius the Liche was one of the characters that came with the undead chariot from the MD8 Skeleton War Machines boxed set from 1991. This kit was sculpted by Aly Morrison, and I'm lucky enough to have two of them that I'm in the process of fixing and repainting.

Morbius was a liche in the pre-tomb kings background of the time, and summoned units to the battlefield to help out the forces of death. He cost quite a few points, but the units he summoned didn't cost anything. Which interestingly is how Age of Sigmar was doing it in the pre-points value ruleset. History repeating itself perhaps?

Because Morbius was originally created as a passenger for a chariot, and presumably because he is partly ethereal and doesn't have any legs, the model is sculpted to look like it is moving forwards, with the robes trailing behind. This makes it look a little unusual when mounted on a base like I have here, but I think it is fine as he is obviously moving forwards as he casts spells, commands troops or whatever he is doing pointing like that.

From a painting point of view it was all fairly straightforward, with a few nice little details sculpted on that add a bit of interest without being too over the top. The sculptors of the day created models that looked practical, with a less is more approach that made them look a bit more realistic than some of the more modern miniatures that have come out since.

Painting glowing eyes on this guy really gave me some dramas. I think I nailed it pretty well on the necromancer that I painted, but I haven't quite got it right here. I might give them a freshen up some day, or remove the blue glow completely perhaps. There was something about the deep eye sockets and facial structure that meant that I couldn't quite get the glow right. 

In games of Age of Sigmar Morbius will be used as either a Necromancer or a Liche, depending on what I want to use at the time. The Necromancer can cast Danse Macabre, meaning that one of my skeleton units will be able to pile in and attack twice in close combat, which will be pretty handy on a buffed up large unit like the nightmare legion will be. The Liche can cast righteous smiting, meaning that a unit gets an extra attack for each roll of six or more to hit (after to hit bonuses are applied). This works on archers as well as melee attacks, and the extra hits are applied before the enemy gets to hit back. So this might be a handy buff for a large unit of skeleton archers, provided I can get them a bonus on their to hit roll as well. The only ways I know of to do this are if I take a tomb king or Queen Khalida and use their command ability, so it is stacking up to be quite a points investment. But it I take a unit of thirty archers, they get a bonus attack, meaning that they will be rolling sixty dice to hit. If I also take the Wight King as my general, then they can get +1 attack from his command ability, so that's 90 attacks, with an average of fifteen additional attacks even if I don't try to give them any bonus to the to hit roll. That will do 17 wounds on average, because skeleton archers are fairly poor shots, but it's still a reasonable amount of wounds to unload on someone from afar.

Righteous smiting also works in close combat, so the large combat block of skeletons would get an extra attack on a six or more to hit if I cast it on them, plus a +1 to hit from a nearby character thanks to the Serve in Death rule, which if coupled with Danse Macabre from the Necromancer would be brutal. 
To the Mathammer!
40 skeleton spearmen with a death hero within 18" have 120 attacks hitting on 4's, so do 60 hits. If I also use the Lord of Bones command ability from the Wight King they get an additional attack. So 160 attacks causing 80 hits on average. Because of the +1 to hit from a death hero within 18" they generate an extra hit from righteous smiting on a 5 or a 6, so generate an extra fifty odd attacks, which is another twenty five hits. So they will score 105 hits on average, wounding on a 4+ so do 50 wounds. If they also have danse macabre cast on them they will do this twice, so could do 100 wounds (assuming they don't lose any models in between attacking twice, which is fairly unlikely). Fun times.
So fielding him as a liche still isn't a bad option, especially alongside a necromancer and a Wight King. I might need to buy some more dice.

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