Due to my Empryian (Firewalker) nature I look upon the undead and stare in wonder.
They are slow, They all hit very hard. They are all hard to kill, they can cast with the best of Magicians. Think about nearly every undead unit as heavy Melee with a dabbling of something else.
Stepped Damage: When an Undead unit would be sent to the DUA from play the controlling player may exchange that unit with a unit of lesser health in the DUA instead.
The Undead are though, and they don’t mind when a random body part falls off. That being said I recommend a balanced 5-10-9-8 ratio for a 36 health army. That way you always have something that can die/be sacrificed to further your Magic and keep rolling.
Bone Magic: when an army containing Undead takes a Magic Action, each Undead unit that rolls at least 1 non-ID Magic result may add one additional Magic result. The number of results that may be added in this way equal to a maximum of 4 times the number of dragons brought in your DUA.
OK Heavy Magic has a good risk reward thing going on with it’s coin flip tactics, however on a Non‑ID Magic roll you can increase the number of Magic results by 1 for up to 8 units in a 36 point game. Remember you are going to loos units. They may be mages but stepped damage allows you to get those mages back in play faster than most resurrections. This seems tailor-made for Liches and Heucuvas and when done correctly will net a good resurrection or touch of death for a pesky unit or a lot more palsies.
Evil eye: Black: Undead: 3
Target any opposing army. Subtract 2 (Stacking), Save results from the targets tolls until the beginning of your next turn.
A nice setup for your army in the jaws of Melee combat. This stacked enough times will negate a lot of Saves and push a lot of damage through.
Restless Dead: Black: Undead: 3: Cantrip: Reserve
Target any army. Add 3 (stacking) Manoeuvre results to the targets rolls until the beginning of your next turn.
Cantripable Manoeuvre results merit the use of a Dracolich and Lich in nearly every army. It is the best way for Undead to get any kind of mass Manoeuvres. Once an opponent sees it they won’t likely want you to roll that army again. Don’t worry, you will though.
Exhume: Black: Undead: 5
Target 3 (Stacking) health-worth of units in an opposing player’s DUA. The targets make a Save roll, if the targets do not generate a Save result they are buried. You may return units of the health-worth of units buried in the way to the casting army from your DUA. This is a resurrection on steroids! Unless you’re playing against frostwings or someone owning a Grove 8th face they won’t be resurrecting from their BUA. Then you get more things to attack with. It’s a win-win situation. Most monsters will have less of a Save chance than infantry. Go for them first.
Open Grave: Black: Undead: 5: Reserve:
Target any army. Until the beginning of your next turn units in the target army that are killed following a Save roll by any army-targeting effects (including Melee and missile damage) go to their owners reserve area instead of the DUA. If no Save roll was possible when units are killed, open grave does nothing.
Open Grave makes your army that much more resilient, and you can also siege another terrain if your attack goes south. Or, however, you can roll your reserve for Magic to reclaim some lost numbers.
Mummy: Rare: 3 Health: 3 Save, 3 Melee, 3 Melee, 3 Wither, 4 Melee
Wight: Uncommon: 3 Save, 2 Melee, 3 Melee, 2 Save, 3 Melee
Zombie: Common: 1 Health: 1 Save, 1 Melee, 1 Melee, 1 Save, 2 Melee
Undead Heavy Melee are good at what the do. They take a hit, they can hit, but like most of the undead, they are slow. These guys should be sprinkled into just about all armies to give that extra frustration factor to player who think they can out damage your stepped damage passive. They may not win a foot race but once they get to Melee range they can tare through nearly any opposition.
Death Knight: Rare: 3 Save, 4 Melee, 3 Melee, 3 Save, 3 Scare
Revenant: Uncommon: 2 Health: 3 Save, 3 Melee, 2 Melee, 2 Save, 2 Manoeuvre
Skeleton: Common: 1 Health: 1 Save, 2 Melee, 2 Melee, 1 Melee, 1 Save, 1 Manoeuvre
Scare is awesome. Add in a small group of Light Melee units when you assault any opposing army with not a lot of Save faces and they will flee the fight before it’s begun, or if they roll an ID they are just dead. Also there are 2 units here with Manoeuvres faces. Faster than Heavy Melee, but by no means a worth while endeavour. They are still, however, very much Melee based and will serve well in that roll.
Skirmisher: in place of Cavalry the bumps in the night receives this subclass of unit. It is like a faster light Melee in most instances, sacrificing a Melee result for a speed boost when rolling a Manoeuvre face.
Ghost: Rare: 3 Health: 4 Manoeuvre, 2 Melee, 3 Melee, 3 Save, 3 Vanish
Spectre: Uncommon: 2 Health: 3 Save, 2 Melee, 3 Melee, 2 Save, 3 Manoeuvre
Wraith: Common: 1 Health: 2 Manoeuvre, 1 Melee, 1 Melee, 1 Manoeuvre, 1 Save
Vanish can be nice if you want to rapidly redeploy but the reall winner here is the wraith. They are the fastest unit in the army with no competition from the other rarities. If you want to apply a racing strategy the go for at least 8 health worth of Wraiths and sprinkle in some light Melee.
Vampire: Rare: 3 Health: 3 Magic, 4 Melee, 3 Melee, 3 Save, 3 Convert
Ghast: Uncommon: 2 Health: 3 Save, 3 Melee, 2 Melee, 2 Magic
Goul: common: 1 Health: 1 Save, 2 Melee, 1 Melee, 1 Save, 1 Magic
Light does not begin to cut the phrasing on this battle role. There is a 33% chance to contribute to a Magic roll, a 50% or 65% chance to contribute to Melee, and a 33% or 50% to contribute to Saves. If you want to use spells go with heavy Magic. They are just better at it.
Lich: Rare: 3 Health: 3 Melee, 3 Magic: 3 Magic, 3 Save, 4 Cantrip
Heucuva: Uncommon: 2 Health: 3 Magic, 3 Melee, 2 Melee, 2 Magic, 2 Save
Apprition: Common: 1 Health: 2 Magic, 1 Melee, 1 Melee, 1 Magic, 1 Save
Heavy Magic unit can run with the Heavy and most of the time contribute with them to create quite a bit of Melee results. Once they get to an eights face however they begin to shine by casting the Undead’s myriad black spell and summoning dragons and dragon kin to their aid.
Carrion Crawler: Manoeuvre, Melee, Stun, Save, Save, stun, Manoeuvre, Melee, Smite
The Carrion Crawler brings only stun to the table in the wake of a wave of scythes. I’d like to say something else about it but to me stun is the most interesting thing about it. It’s less survivable than your infantry and does only part of what they do on a regular basis.
Dracolich: Fly Magic, Cantrip, Smite, Save, Rend, Fly, Magic, Melee
Forty percent Magic, 40% Melee, 40% Manoeuvre, the only thing the Dracolich doesn’t do is Save well at 30%. I think this un-dragon is a victim of JoAT (jack of all trades) syndrome. It’s worth having however, but to rely on it for any given roll.
Fenhound: Manoeuvre, Melee, Save, dispel Magic, dispel Magic, Save, Manoeuvre, Melee, Smite
The Fenhound does Saves and Melee, with a bit of Magic protection on the side.
Minor Death: Melee, Plague, Save, Slay, Slay, Save, Melee, Plague, Manoeuvre
Run one with your Melee. Plague will wipe out armies on its own. Enough said, do it.
Skeletal Steed: Melee, Manoeuvre, Save, Manoeuvre, trample, Save, trample, Melee, Manoeuvre
If you want to have a good racing game this is the monster for you. Once they get into Melee, they will have a coin flip Melee chance and you will need something to protect them, but they are reliable for Manoeuvres.
The choice of terrain can be one of the most important choices you make when playing Dragon Dice. It says how you plan to start the game, what strategy you choose to employ, and how you plan on crushing your enemies. Because of this I suggest a Feylands Standing Stones and a flatlands Dragon’s Lair for your terrains. Water (Green) is nice because you can use the Heavy Magic and bone Magic to generate Magical Saves with watery double or turn back the range through flash flood. Don’t be afraid to use varied terrains for your armies because you only need one element, Death (Black), not two like the children and half children of Nature. Keep the colours as varied and vague as possible. Make your opponent use a Manoeuvre attempt to bring in a minor so they can activate one or both passives, all the while you will be attempting for Melee range and then an eighth face.
Usually this is as difficult as picking a major terrain, but here the choice is simple. You want all deadlands all the time. Also Villages will have the best chance of getting you a shortcut to Melee goodness ASAP since there are no Magic heavy minors at the time of this publication (hint hint Devs). Don’t forget your army’s main focus is in Melee, do bring deadlands to accommodate. Don’t worry about forest or bridges due to their double faces, they only work on ID icons in this edition, stick to Melee and Magic and you will be fine.
Undead can be a force to be reckoned with on the fields of Esfah. They are easy to run and hard to master. Consider using a Magic phase to secure your secondary army closing to Melee with Restless Dead. Or annihilating frustrating Die with Touch of Death. With the around of Magic you can bring to the table with your Heavy Mages, you can restore half your army strength in the course of a couple of turns. Open grave has situation use due to it only working on army wide targeting effects, no firebolt, no touch of death, no soiled ground. Still its effect against any army targeting spells like hail storm. You can also use it to do like the firewalkers and use a form of Mirage move. Cast Open Grave, Attack, whatever dies on the counter attack gets moved to the reserves and is ready to redeploy to the terrain of your choice. Another thing to remember is that you WILL loose units, so long as you don’t bury them you can step them down and benefit from both passives. And if you need them they are just a Magic action away.