When I bought the Undead warband, I was sort of hoping that I would be able to swarm my opponents with an army of the dead. Yeah... that was a little optimistic. It was disappointing. It's particularly embarrassing for the Undead when both Skaven and Possessed can better field hordes of weak models. Zombies are only good below ~200 rating. Even then, their speed means they might never arrive at the objective even if their AI doesn't cause them to walk back and forth aimlessly. After that, their effectiveness plummets to nothingness in the face of decent WS, armour and multiple attacks. A large part of their early usefulness is a result of people underestimating them and attacking them to farm XP only to get bogged down. Zombies and Necromantic Magic Details The Zombies' stats are: Move 4 (but can't run (except when charging)) Weapon Skill 20 Strength 30 Wounds 4 Initiative 5 Attacks 1 Causes Fear Like other pets, each model can only have one. Necromantic Magic is pretty terrible. So bad that many high-rated Undead gangs mysteriously do not feature a Necromancer. Far worse than Lesser Magic and Prayers of Sigmar. Bear in mind when reading this that the Necromancer's whole turn will probably be casting one of these spells because they have very poor combat abilities. (Barebones Attack and Strength skills, no shooting, Speed skills.) Necromancers with the 'best' gear and the +10% spell cast chance skill have a bonus 35% cast chance. Spell of Awakening allows you to resurrect a dead warrior as a zombie (which is kept after the battle). Note that you actually need to get the 'Dead' result on killing a warrior. The odds of even being able to cast this is low, let alone the odds of the zombie doing anything more effective than the other spells here. Cast Chance: 80%-100% Reanimation resurrects the closest out of action zombie or dire wolf. (Supposed to be in an empty space, but that doesn't work.) Not exactly great, but fun. Cast Chance: 60%-100% Call of Vanhel gives a zombie or direwolf within 6 squares a free turn. Really pathetic. Only useful when trying to get zombies to arrive somewhere before the mission ends. Once the zombies are in combat and there's an out of action zombie, there's almost no reason not to cast Reanimation instead. The Necromancer casts a spell to make 1 WS 20 S30 attack. Cast Chance: 50%-100% Death Vision makes the Necromancer cause Fear. At least it's permanent. Yay. Cast Chance: 50%-100% Doom is easily the best spell here. It targets one enemy model within 12 squares. If they fail a Strength check (unclear if two-handed weapons add to this) with a +15 bonus, they are taken out of action regardless of health. Except, it too is hardly great. Like all Necromantic Magic spells, its effectiveness plummets with rating. It works best with only a few opponents where the Necromancer can run around until they inevitably fail their Strength checks. However, Strength becomes high enough that the odds of casting this (at best 75%) and killing the target are extremely low. In larger combats, the spell becomes awkward and difficult to plan around. The Necromancer, on average, will kill a model every 2 to 3 turns. Most Captains can do that as well, just through more traditional and reliable means. Cast Chance: 10%-75% Lifestealer is... nice, I guess. It deals 3-5 unblockable wounds to a target within 6 squares and gives the Necromancer the same number of wounds, which can take them above their maximum. It doesn't work on Possessed or Undead. The cast chance really cripples this spell, leaving it with an average damage of 2.6. It neither damages very much, or heals very much (which is even more useless because of the 0-armour rating sported by Necromancers). Again best at low ratings, but rapidly becomes irrelevant. Cast Chance: 0%-65% The gold and skillpoint investment for casting is large but the benefits really are not. Most games, the only reason for the Necromancer to not cast Doom is if no target is within 12 squares. Fixes So, the Undead are not exactly great. I do recognise that the developers have limited time and that Zombies are never going to be good at high ratings. I'm not suggesting a major reworking of Undead, just trying to make them a little more fun to play. Necromantic Magic Change Spell of Awakening to be castable on every appropiate out of action model, but perhaps only occasionally keep the Zombie afterwards. On the other hand, considering the rate at which Zombies die, it might still be fine. The opportunity cost of casting this spell means it will never be good but it could at least be usable. Call of Vanhel is a really dreadful spell. It could affect multiple zombies or be turned into a skill that causes all zombies in an AoE to move, but not be able to attack. Vanhel is doing nothing once Zombies are in attack range and thematically, I think this works better. Death Vision is really underwhelming. It does very little. It feels like an obstacle to better skills. It is just a worse version of the Fear skill in Strength with a larger investment on a weaker model. It could really use a secondary effect such as a leadership penalty for hostile models. Even just a copy of Dread of Aramar would be better. Lifestealer could really use a slightly better cast chance. It struggles to do much, especially with its limited cast range and how it exists in the same lore as Doom. Compared to something like Healing Hands (a 100% chance to restore all wounds with a range of 2) it just looks sad. Necromancer Skills It would be nice to have skills that just gave a flat benefit to Zombies -- along the lines of WS, S and W improvements; maybe a small Move increase. I don't know if it's possible to implement this, but it would go a long way to making them both more functional. Additionally, a skill that allows a second pet per model would be fun. The Necromancer is hardly spoilt for choice when it comes to good investments for skillpoints. Dire Wolves I haven't mentioned them very much, but seeing as they go for 50 gold each and are all but certain to die, they are not a good or even sustainable investment. They are only unlocked by the presence of a Vampire -- the extra rating of whom does nothing to help pets. Zombies Speeding up their walking animation a little would be nice. It's frustrating to watch them mill about uselessly, so they could at least end their turns a little quicker. Their AI also really likes hugging cover which, combined with their move, means they go nowhere the whole mission on some maps. They sometimes walk into a corner and straight back out. I'd prefer it if they just moved straight towards the closest hostile model.