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Need help with TK

Green0Green0 Posts: 3,911Registered Users
edited December 2018 in Multiplayer
Hi guys,

I'm trying to pick up TK. I know it's impossible to list all matchups in 1 thread, but I'm looking for help. I like the flavor of the faction but I can't understand what are the "go-to units and strategies". For example, as a HE main, I'd tell you that Spearmen, Dragon Princes, Dragons and Archers are pretty universal units in almost any matchup. You can hardly go wrong with them if you learn how they work. The strongest and most versatile Lord that as a noob you can blindly pick is probably Alarielle currently. Can you tell me this info for TK please? Would like to facilitate the learning curve a bit :)


1) 1-2 basic strategies TK rely on
2) 3-4 units that are universally strong and versatile
3) the best LL
4) how is the frontline formed, in what case I should pick Skeleton Spearmen (seem a bit weak)

Now I know the basics, for example Arkhan is pretty strong but I would like to start playing TK more without spamming SL/FoB...

The impressions I have about TK is that the whole cavalry department (except light cavalry) is underwhelming. I tried the Screaming Skull Catapult vs Black Orcs and I wasn't impressed although I had good uptime (might have been due to terrain this). Are these units bad? Or situational?

A few ideas I had in the match I played vs GS was that Bowshabti are not worth it in this match (is this true?).

Chariots, are they useful? TK were a chariot faction in TT, would be cool to be able to use them.

Hierotitan, what is this dude meant for?

Are the generic Lords any good?

Regular Ushabti, are these dudes good considering TK can already field monsters, Ushabti Bow and you get 1 for free with the faction mechanic?

(important) which RoR are actually good? I know from the other side people pick a lot of RoR Archers and Bow Ushabti, occasionally Kephra Guard. Are any of the remaining ones worthwhile?

Feel free to add 2-3 important matchups too!

Thanks a lot for the help.


  • AerocrasticAerocrastic Posts: 302Registered Users
    1) As an undead faction their most competitive strategies tend to rely on holding your opponent up with cheap, but unbreakable units as you work your way down their chain of command. There is a lot of resource overloading that undead factions can do (IE fighting their 1000 worth of funds with 3000 of yours) so this is something you will want to keep in mind most of the time.

    2) Tomb Kings have a lot of strong, but specialized units. It's difficult to nail down any particularly strong/versatile without also talking about the front line or in some rare cases lack thereof. I suppose if I had to say I would list Melee Ushabti, Bow Ushabti, Necrosphinxes, and Tomb Scorpions.

    3) The best LL is also a bit difficult to pinpoint. HE for example have a lot of competition between Teclis, Alarielle, and Tyrion since they all excel in a wide array of matchups, and TK are not too much different. Arkhan is the most universally useful, but Settra is an incredible duelist/grinder and even Khatep has his merits for being especially cheap. Arkhan>Settra>Khatep>Khalida if I had to rank them.

    4) Skeleton infantry tends not to do much damage in general. By way of tournament limits, you typically take Skeleton spearmen when you hit the cap of 5 for normal skeleton warriors as a means of extending your frontline. If you choose to play without these restrictions, they would be good under any circumstances where your infantry is expected to die anyways and you just want that to take as long as physically possible. This would be like vs Norsca or Chaos for example.

    Their chariots are good, but there are some pathing issues through high mass units since they have 9 models opposed to the normal 3 of most other chariot units meaning that you will typically bleed models unusually fast until they drop to around 6. Generally ill advised to use, but they are excellent infantry grinders.

    The generic lord is a great way to incorporate terror into your builds without much consequence with tombstrike and is one of the hardest lords to snipe when mounted on a warsphinx thanks to his scorpion armor item.

    Regular ushabti are great units, and perform extremely well when given stat buffs either through lore of light or other means. If you played a lot of high elves, you should have seen these guys quite a bit, but they also can be deadly in large numbers against other factions. They tend to have a critical mass of 3, and these are very good when supported by a necrotect (one of the only kinds of builds that you would take the MA buff aura ability on them).

    I won't go too much into detail on matchups, but I'll leave you with a few that you should avoid until you feel comfortable with TK as they tend to be fairly difficult.

    Vampire Counts, Chaos, Norsca

  • Green0Green0 Posts: 3,911Registered Users
    oh, thanks so much! Very exhaustive! Yea, indeed one of the problems I faced is that I'm not used to pick 8+ units of infantry and see them lose still (there are exceptions where you'd pick less of course, but as a rule of thumb TK frontline is fairly wide).

    I'll also try Necrosphinx/Settra on Warsphinx more for a start :)
  • ystyst Posts: 5,236Registered Users
    Ror stalker r amazing unit to have behind. Many games u think ush bow is great but what u actually need was bone giant. Managing the front prolly the hardest thing for tombs, how many skeletons and tomb guard mix r the best. Took weak and they break, too expensive and u lose the flank
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  • ReymReym Posts: 403Registered Users
    I will just had a few thing to Aerocratic post.

    While Arkhan is indeed the best lord the normal one or Settra can be great. Keep in mind that some players love fireballing Arkhan face to death or just dive him so a "tankier" lord isn't a bad idea most of the time.

    If you go fo Bowshabti builds, give a try to light magic. The net saved me a lot of time (in fact even without bowshabti builds).

    Hierotitans can have a use vs rushed races (exept GS cause of the RoR archer + others archers)but it will require builds working around them. So a bit of a blob army with mounted archers to kill throwing axe units. In the end a Warshpinx while requiring more micro will be more effective (scorpions too).

    I can recommand to use carrions. Not really for archers (where you will lose them quickly) but more to block a Single entity or even a cav unit.

    I've played a lot of the RoR bowhabti and to be honest this unit is a bit "all or nothing" when it came to performances. It perform pretty well vs cav but can quickly be a bit disapointing when it come to shoot at an infantry in spaghetti line. Not mentionning that they are useless vs Single entities. So in the end I would recommand you to favour normal ushabties as they perform well vs anything even if they wont have super damaging volleys like the RoR can have in some situation or vs cav. Also the normal ones kill models with every shots not the RoR.

    The RoR skelleton archer is indeed very good. Paired with a normal one you can kill a good amount of heavy armoured infantry units (as long as they don't have shields of course). This can be helpfull as TK sometimes struggle against a heavy armoured frontline (chaos for exemple).

    Don't be shy to pick at least one necrotect. The 2 charges of restore heal a total of ~2100 hp and they punch the infantry well to be honest

    So to give a list of interesting units I would say:
    Normal bowshabties
    Ushabties (refer to Aero post)
    Skelleton archers
    Mounted archers (to couter specific stuff) tho they require protections due to having super low melee stats even for mounted skirmishers and being slower (76 speed)
    RoR necrosphinx (same, counter specific units like mainly other single entities) using carrions to help him dueling isn't a bad idea.
  • Green0Green0 Posts: 3,911Registered Users
    edited December 2018
    thanks yst and Reym! I'm still trying out all units and I think I'm improving and understanding a bit more.

    One more thing that always gives me a hard time in army building: I like to play Settra (as mentioned, Arkhan is too meta and I don't want to pick him yet), but he has like 10 different abilities and spells. What should I pick? Based on a few games, the spell that gives +44% phys. resist. and the one that is an AoE Enfeebling Foe seem worth it. Are there other useful spells in Lore of Nehekhara? What about Settra's items? Is the explosion any useful for example? What about his blade?

    My will be done (+5 MA +5 MD) seems good, I always pick it. Thoughts?
  • ystyst Posts: 5,236Registered Users
    edited December 2018
    Settras insanely expensive, i dont use him at all. Would love to put him in the field but he costs like crazy. Only great thing about him is that his aura r bigger than others, and yes again uve to pay bigger price for it. So all adds up hes easily a 2k+ lord.

    $240 on unyielding will, $250 on nehek crown, $240 on ptra blade. If ure seriously gonna bring any of those, u need him on warspinx for sure. Thats $2100 base. Add those aura plus a few spells ure looking at a $3000+ lord, u need to be sure as hell know what ure doing coz theres no second chance for him as they got no heal. Time those abilities right and u can get -52 att and -54 def for at least 38 secs. Or u can rotate incantation and ptra blade for 80 secs of constant -26 att -27 def debuff.

    Easy to say on paper, in game everything will want him dead asap lol. Arkhan is picked a lot simply because hes economically good for $1100 base. With leech and bjuna u dont have to worry about miscast taking a chunk of hp out of him.

    Lords like khatep are very popular vs factions u know ure not gonna get sniped like say skaven, dwf, nosca that sort of factions. Hes just $650 base, settras $1550. I personally think settras overpriced by quite a bit. Regular lords just $1200.

    Will be done r picked quite often im sure, unless ur lord is always running around avoiding fights to stay alive.

    Theres no second chances for tombs, it will be a big learning curve for any1 who get used to factions with healing.
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  • Green0Green0 Posts: 3,911Registered Users
    The reason I tend to gravitate toward Settra is that he seems an "all-in" type of Lord, he's a caster, AP AL, has appropriate items that allow you to spec him for any situations. I often still play single Lord because I'm still learning the rest of the roster so I don't feel comfortable managing many characters, particularly when TK forces you to often play with 8+ infantry on top of another likely 8 units of other stuff.

    On top of that, Khalida and Khatep don't really seem exciting. I do believe you when you say that Casket of Souls is bad, while I tried Khalida and she seems good but situational a bit (also she's not a caster).

    On the healing part, well, one strong combo I found is Necrotect + Necrosphinx (eventually RoR version with the flaming weakness banner). Also, many factions don't have healing, sure, but if they don't they normally have stuff like Stand your Ground, Poison attacks or +60% Weapon Strength buffs. I'm not too sold on non-healing factions being less forgiving; certainly the gameplay is different.

    What would you recommend from Lore of Nehekhara? No offense, all the spells seem a bit trash... there's the Archers buff spell (the relevant part is bonus AP damage, and they have 1 AP lol), the vortex is well... a vortex, then there's the melee damage buff one but idk. Phys. resist. and Desiccation are the best 2 right?
  • OrkLadsOrkLads Posts: 717Registered Users
    Settra is a beast, even though he is expensive. His variety of buffs and debuffs make him a great duelist and support lord on a horse, and an infantry wrecker on the warsphinx or chariot of the gods.

    Lore of nehekara is a great lore (for the most part) and you can spam djafs Incantation and nehrus protection to boost your troops or yourself while.continuingly procing healing.

    Djaf's overcast gives +16 BvL which works great with Settra on a warsphinx in a monster fight or on carrion to help them fight skirmish cav. Can also be used on ushabti/bowshabti to punish cav disruption.

    Khepra Guard chew through most unarmoured/lightly armoured infantry cheaper than them just never let them take a charge.

    Poison spears are great, perfect for protecting a backline.

    Eyes of the desert are a great cheeky cavalry defence tool and their ability to negate cav charges can come in very handy.

    I think Necro Knights are a bit underrated. Used in combination with bowshabti + cheap spears can make it really costly for your opponent to disrupt your ranged units.
  • AerocrasticAerocrastic Posts: 302Registered Users
    Incantation of Cursed Blades gives anti large on overcast which is a huge part of what makes Nehekara horsemen especially deadly for their price point. That, the phys resist spell, and 1 of any of the others of your choosing are probably the only must haves.

    Personally I'm a big fan of Settra on horseback or on his chariot, but it can be a bit intensive to get good value out of those. With Settra it's basically a matter of

    Want to be hard to kill? Foot or sphinx
    Want to hunt their lord/hero(es)? Horseback
    Want to kill infantry and duel their lord/heroes decently well? Chariot
    The explosion ability is a must have unless you're mounting him on the sphinx since you will tend to push away the models that would be hit by it, and I would always take the blade of ptra since spreading debuffs on contact is a huge deal. The crown's effects are kind of difficult to gauge the usefulness of outside of especially construct focused builds (I'm talking like >60% of your funds) and even then why not just spread around ~5 chevrons.

    My Will Be Done is basically an autoinclude ability in most cases. I think the only times you might want to cut it are if you're using Khatep on horseback or a generic tomb king on foot.
  • ValkaarValkaar Junior Member Posts: 1,645Registered Users
    edited January 1
    So, I will admit right out of the gate that I have only ever tried 1 type of 'all-purpose' build with Tomb Kings and haven't deviated from it too much. I have had decent success with it, but most of my input is honestly going to be based around facing against Tomb Kings and what things I felt was the most challenging to deal with.

    In response to some of your questions/comments:

    1. Because the Tomb Kings kind of lack in the cavalry department, I actually find people play them similar to the Coast than the Counts in terms of Undead strategies. Rather than trying to be mobile and aggressive...they defensively sit back and try to pick apart or agitate an opponent into engaging...using their range or magic to make their opponent come to them. This is not to say that there are not melee rush options for the Tomb Kings...cuz there definitely are. Tomb King leadership placement is definitely key as they have A LOT of AoE buff options passively tied to their generals/heros. So your leadership usually does have to be more actively involved in the fighting to make your other units get the most out of them, which feels a little different from other Undead factions sometimes.

    2: The most universally good units imo include:

    Tomb Scorpions: I've never had them not pay for themselves. For 1000 gold, so long as you don't just run them into AL infantry, they almost always take more gold to deal with than they cost. And their wild attack animations naturally allow them to escape from blobs that try to trap them and/or get to a backline to disrupt missile units.

    Necrosphinx (regular and RoR): Best monster-hunting unit with the game with the possible exception of the Dragon Ogre Shaggoth. Obviously sort of match-up dependent pick, as not all races rely on large as much, but in terms of sheer AL quality, these things can't be beat, and are mobile enough to stay away from missiles.

    Bowshapti: I don't really use the RoR version as much as the regular, but the regular work just fine. I use them mainly for single-entity sniping, but they are definitely versatile, and can wreck high value units as well. I've heard people argue that their PURPOSE should actually be to kill elite infantry and that their accuracy is better tuned for this role. They seem to be able to do both equally well imo.

    3: This I think is entirely dependent on your build. Arkhan has been nerfed heavily since release, and I see people bring Settra on his Warsphinx A LOT. My only real switch between Aerocrastic's assessment is that I actually like Khalida. Her Handmaiden style buffs allows her to synergize very well with the Bowshapti, and her poison ability makes her a decent duellist. Arkan and Settra are top 2 to be sure imo...but Khalida is the better 'cost effective' pick imo. I understand that people like Khatep for his AoE vortexes, but he's so squishy and slow that I often feel like if I bring him, my whole build/formation has to be centered around protecting him which I really don't like.

    4: The most useful thing your frontline will ever do for you is just die so you can trigger your heals/Ushapti spawn. Since the heals can benefit some of your more powerful units, depending on your build, I do think there is something to be said for not being over concerned with how weak they are...since being weak is kind of what allows them to benefit your army.

    Your miscellaneous questions:

    Cavalry: Necropolis Knights with Halberds are pretty good statistically. I usually find other things can do what I wanted them to do better, so I don't personally bring them. But I don't think they are a bad unit by any means. Stalkers on the other hand are HIGHLY situational. Decent at tackling enemies for other things to kill them (but so is a Light Wizard)...and good for vanguard deploy shenanigans in those maps where that might be relevant. Regular Necropolis Knights are just bad imo. Their stats only feel powerful imo when they're buffed by magic, which just feels like a suboptimal use of winds.

    Screaming Skull: Haven't tested this since it's most recent buffs. But as far as I'm aware...Casket of Souls or Bone Giants are just better if you want to bring artillery with your build.

    Bowshapti are worth it in every match up imo (including Greenskins). Black Orks make fine targets if they don't bring a monster. And they don't have good options for counter-skirmishing with you like the Elves or Coast can.

    Chariots: They honestly feel a little squishy/low mass per model in comparison to other factions chariot selection. Not saying they are bad...but I definitely wouldn't describe the Tomb Kings as a 'Chariot' faction in Total War unfortunately.

    Heirotitan: I don't know what they're good for tbh. Like I understand in principle of why you might want one...but imo, bringing one of the other two Sphinxes and/or a wizard will ALWAYS be a better pick over the Heirotitan.

    RoR: In addition to the RoR you listed in your OP the RoR Necrosphinx is a beastly and popular pick. I think I actually see that one more often than the regular Necrophinx.

    I don't really see the other RoR types fielded very much at all beyond this^^ and what you already said.

    Last but not least....I know I'm not a gosu player or anything and I don't even main Tomb Kings, but for whatever it's worth, I've had a lot of success with this build... 3-0 today alone vs Norsca, Chaos, and Lizardmen:

    1x Khalida
    1x Necrotect
    1x 2nd Necrotect, Tomb Prince, Light Wizard, more skeletons (match-up dependent)
    3x Bowshapti
    2x Scorpions
    1x Necrosphinx
    4-7x Skeletons (depending on exact items/mounts chosen for the leadership portion and ratio of regular skeletons to spears)

    Obviously the Skeletons are there pretty much exclusively to protect the Bowshapti. That's what I have Khalida do as well + buff their missiles. I wouldn't be opposed to Settra/Arkahn with this, but I find them to be too expensive. But you probably could ax a Tomb Scorpion and then Settra would be more feasible. I usually wait to deploy my Scorpions until after lines have met, and either send them against missiles or elite anti-infantry infantry as needed. I like to keep the Necrotects near wherever the Scorpions are fighting. If the Necrophinx needs a heal I'll usually pull it back to the Necrotects rather than vice versa. Tomb Prince (if I bring one) is actually mainly use to punish flyers...people who try to land on the Bowshapti straight away.

    I'm not saying this build is perfect. It lacks in mobility to deal with heavy counter-skirmishing or heavy cav/chariot play to. But I still find it very versatile, I've had a lot of success with it. I hope it gives a nice starting off point even if you need to alter it to your taste.

    P.S. Sorry for the ramble. Scrolling back up, I realize a lot of what I said was said by others, but hopefully you still found it somewhat useful.
  • ReymReym Posts: 403Registered Users
    As Orklad said djaf is pretty good especially overcast (since gives +16 BvL pretty funny to do on almost everything like you ushabti summon to rear charge a cav is one of the funny combo I found).

    The physivcal resistance is ok but your opponent may not strike you at all in its short duration.

    The miasma like spell (Usirian's blablabla) deals around a 1000 damages it's more of a WoM trap if you ask me.

    The range buff can also be put on stuff like ushabti greatbow. Tho it's still a WoM trap as the buff by being 32sec long will only give you 3 augmented volleys and 5 if overcast.
    It's not that bad to overcast it on the RoR archer since skelletons archers have a 7,2 reload time the +40 of the overcast will put it at 3,2 which is almost the animation time. But yep still a WoM trap.

    Skullstorm you guess it yourself.

    And the debuff is maybe the spell that make the lore viable as a frontlane of skelletons + ushabti (with maybe one terror causing unit) will oblitarate a lot of the frontlanes in game. But this is also good to prevent gooning ect. Of course taking this spell with Settra means that its maybe the only spell you will take if you want to cast it several time since Settra doesn't have any WoM regen.

    This is why I suggested you to try light magic if you don't go for Arkhan.In my opinion the net helps a lot a race like the tomb kings as they rely on shooting, isolating single entities to goon them with their and can quickly be threatened by cav.

    Also the lich priest has a nice WoM item and the other item who gives 66% magic resistance in an area while very situationnal is pretty good when you expect a final transmutation or something of that nature. Just keep the priest near you big constructs, activate it when needed and enjoy the fact that your opponent used 28 WoM to deal 500 damages. This little trick contributed a lot to some of my victories vs Chaos.
  • Green0Green0 Posts: 3,911Registered Users
    edited January 1
    Interesting, thanks for the contributions. I agree that the best spell in Nehekhara lore is the last one. Phys. resist., I see it more as a spammable spell to proc the lore attribute of healing. Obviously you should try to get value out of it. Agree on the rest.

    My experience, although limited, tells me that Necro Knights are a good unit, contrary to what @Valkaar says. Any reason you think they're bad? If I had to make a comparison, they seem to perform like Questing Knights. Due to poison and high HP per model, the low number of models isn't that big of a deal, at least not right away. They're certainly weaker to massed infantry than Questing Knights due to low model count, that's for sure.

    Lore of light is indeed useful. I'll try the combo you suggest more @Reym . Still have to figure the optimal way of playing Ushabti, currently I use them as an all-purpose unit but I think the RoR is better vs infantry (better accuracy, shieldbreaker), while the others are better vs, well, everything but large in particular, right?

    What does their arrows splitting do? Does it create more splash damage whereas normal arrows have 0 penetration?

    Do their projectiles get blocked by shields? (I am pretty sure the answer to this is no, just checking).
  • ystyst Posts: 5,236Registered Users
    Casket of soul is no longer a casket of lol, their projectile got a nice rebalance. Problem is its still very expensive but way better then before.

    Ppl made a lot of mistakes with settra underestimatinf overcast dmg. Ive seen ppl losing 1k+ hp just from it before even going into combat.

    Spells like curse blade, u hardly ever not overcast them. That means high chances of wounding the caster.
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  • ReymReym Posts: 403Registered Users
    The arrow splitting work like shrapnel. The big arrow explode a bit before impact an leave multiple classic arrows.
    The effectivness will vary vs infatry as some of the shrapnel may miss because of the sphagetti line.
    However it tend to hit cav super well.
    But they are useless vs Single entities
    The shrapnell is blocked by shields (since they are normal arrows) but this is why they got shieldbreaking so its almost irrelevent.
    Arrows from normal bowshabtis counts as artillery shots so shield is useless (it's something you can verify when you look at the leadership detail of the unit shots it shows a "-10 shot by artillery" not a "-5 shot by projectiles"
  • Black_PhillipBlack_Phillip Posts: 358Registered Users
    Why are people saying that RoR ushabti are useless vs single entities? I've seen it do a lot of dmg to them if I remember correctly.
  • ystyst Posts: 5,236Registered Users
    edited January 2

    Why are people saying that RoR ushabti are useless vs single entities? I've seen it do a lot of dmg to them if I remember correctly.

    Its not just saying. Its a fact.

    Not like they do 0 dmg, regular ush bow simply do so much more dmg and have better accuracy, the net effect prolly like them doing just 1/3 of the dmg regular ush bow does to monsters. Lots of dif monsters as well, uve fat mammoth down to small ones like varg, ror will do so much worse on smaller ones
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  • tank3487tank3487 Member Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    yst said:

    Its not just saying. Its a fact.

    It really depend on size of model. And IMHO RoR ones are harder to dodge.

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