Tactica: Undead Wights

Mantic Wights concept art

Wights are, hands down, one of my favourite Undead units. They’ve never disappointed me and always pulled their (immense) weight.

The Summary

Wights-entry

  • + Huge melee output
  • + Formidable Defence
  • + Surge shennanigans
  • +/- Height 2
  • +/- Speed 6
  • – High points cost

Wights are your can openers. With Crushing Strength (3) and Brutal, even the highest defence units will be terrified. While their defence is well above average with -/17 Nerve and De5+, they can take some punishment but they’re far from invulnerable. With a Speed of 6, they’re particularly vulnerable to being hit by heavy cavalry before they get to strike. At 235 points for a horde, that’s a lot of your army that can simply vanish from a single, devastating horde.

My Wights, converted from Mantic Elohi without the wings and sporting Revenant heads.
My Wights, converted from Mantic Elohi without the wings and sporting Revenant heads.

Getting them there unscathed

Wights really come into their own when protected by alpha strikes either with chaff (read the chaff tactica here) or tarpits. I like to run my Wights behind a screen of Zombies, preferably Horde or Regiment. This means that the enemy has to first charge the zombies and attempt to chew through their considerable nerve, and even if they do, there’s a horde of angry can openers stood right behind. The zombies mean that alpha strikers will impact against a squishy front screen rather than hitting your Wights.

Then, when it comes to hitting back, your Wights being Height 2 and able to see over the top of the zombies, means that you can declare a multi-charge with both units. The zombies will go in first, then slide to the side, allowing the Wights to charge in as well.

Running Wights behind zombies (or skeletons or any other height 1 unit) has the other added benefit of providing cover from ranged attacks. Unless your opponent is on a hill or ignores cover, they’ll be at -1 to hit. With that normally halving shooting units effectiveness (going from hitting on a 5+ to a 6+ halves the number of hits), your opponent will likely shoot the zombies instead. Who have the nerve to suck it up. And even if they die, who cares. It’s a 130 point unit compared to your 235 point Wight horde.

Surge shenanigans

Wights are Shambling meaning that you can play all kinds of tricks covered in this excellent video by Mantic.

Getting a flank charge with Wights will wipe out most units with a single hit. You will, of course, need a Surge caster nearby.

Flyer defence

Literally the worst position for a flyer to possibly find itself in.
Literally the worst position for a flyer to possibly find itself in.

Wights are the anti-flyer. If there ever were a dartboard in the “Kings of War Flyers Only club” with their worst enemy in the centre of it then it would be Wights. They would hang effigies up, beating and burning them to get their Wight hate out of their system. In one corner of the room, a sullen group of griffins, dragons and Elohi would mutter constantly about wights, often using words such as “broken” or “cheese”.

At the moment, the current meta shows that big flyers, such as dragons, are extremely popular and often paired with the Ensorcelled Armour to give them De6. Wights laugh at that. So the dragon lands behind your lines. The Wights pivot 180 degrees and are then surged into the dragon’s flank or even rear. 36 attacks with Crushing Strength (3) and Brutal, maybe even a Bane-Chant to bump them up another point of CS, will make an absolute mockery of any flyer in the game. No-one is going to try and land their big flyer behind your lines as long as your Wights are there. Well, they may try it once and only ever once…

The ideal formation

A lot of players like to organise their units into battlegroups that work well at supporting each other and often have a formation they mostly adhere to. Here’s one that I use, or a variation of it:

DSC00401

  • 2 x Zombie Hordes
  • 2 x Revenant Regiments (I usually run them with two handed weapons)
  • 1 x Wight Horde
  • 2 x Necromancer (sometimes giving one the Inspiring Talisman or Myrddin’s Amulet of the Fire-heart)
  • 1 x ASB (often with the Healing Charm)

Zombies in front, Wights in the centre of the 2nd rank and a regiment of Revenants on either side. Dotted in between there’s an ASB and two Necromancers for Surge and Bane-Chant goodness. The Revenants are tucked in behind the Zombies so that a fast unit can’t bypass the zombies and charge the Revenants instead. Keep the 2nd line within 50mm of the front rank so that flyers can’t land in the gap. The enemy will almost certainly have to charge the Zombies first. If they try and flank, then they have to chew through the Revenants first before getting to your Wights – better to lose a 120 point unit of Revenants than your Wights! If they try and land behind you, then your Wights and event Revenants can do a 180 degree pivot and then get Surged in. The deep formation means that flyers will be very hard pressed to even jump over your line in the first place.

Here’s an example play where a unit of Ogres has charged one of the zombie units.

Useful artefacts

I actually think Wights, whether in Regiments or Hordes, are pretty much perfect as they are! I don’t think there’s a real need for any artefacts however there are a couple which can be useful if you have the points:

  • Mace of Crushing – makes sure that you can re-roll a single wound roll of a 1.
  • Brew of Courage – extra nerve is always nice, especially on a fearless unit.
  • Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar – hindered charges hurt Wights a lot. This will stop that happening as much.
  • Brew of Sharpness – This is a very expensive artefact however taking the Wights from Me4+ to Me3+ is huge. Like the Potion of the Caterpillar, this severely reduces the effect of hindered charges.

Stay away from any ranged artefacts (naturally) since you want these guys in melee, and the extra CS from the Brew of Strength is often wasted. It’ll only affect De6, and if you’re going up against De6 then a Bane Chant source might be a better investment, or putting the Brew of Strength on a different unit without much or any CS already.

I’ve also seen the Crystal Pendant of Retribution suggested, but I strongly disagree with that. Putting that artefact on a unit of Wights just makes them target number one for enemy shooting, and the enemy will go out of their way to avoid combat even more. Which is great in a way, but really you want your Wights to be getting stuck in. I’d also avoid sticking it on one of the zombie units up front, again because the enemy will avoid you.

What might work well is sticking the Pendant on a Zombie legion somewhere to the side of the main formation shown above. That way all enemy fire will be concentrated on the legion, leaving your Wights unscathed. The enemy will also have to make a difficult choice between charging the exploding Zombie legion or your Wight formation.

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About Daedle 33 Articles
I'm Nick Williams, member of the Rules Committee and avid Kings of War player all the way through first and second edition.

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