Ever since our announcement of the 2019 release schedule, we have been inundated with questions about Lord Fazeal, the undead death knight. Introducing two races, undead and goblins, within the one year is ambitious, however we are so keen to push the game to its limits and provide a fantastic variety of heroes for our players to enjoy. We have set our stall out and stated that we want to be the first miniatures game in the world to balance the undead race against all other races...so let's see how we are going so far. :)
Before we dive in to look at Fazeal's rules, we do want to caveat the discussion by pointing out the version number on the card is v0.8, so there will most likely be changes between now and when Fazeal hits production. In saying that, the v0.8 rules are pretty solid and have survived many play tests.
Let's start by look at the race rules for undead.
Undead Race Rules
All undead heroes permanently suffer the cursed condition. This means they are unable to contest Shrines, cannot contribute to friendly Soul Harvest attempts and similarly, are unable to detract from enemy Soul Harvest attempts. It also means undead are a prime targets for heroes such as Nephenee (Laser Storm) and Viktor (Hex). Astute readers of the Judgement lore would know that Nephenee is a member of an elite civilian military unit whose primary task is to hunt down undead that have infiltrated society. We that has just been reflected in the game. :)
The Soulless rule is very interesting. Giving up an auto-banked Soul whenever an undead hero is killed is a huge negative, however the flip side, when an undead hero kills an enemy hero, can be a positive. The Soul is harvest by the nearest friendly hero model that is not cursed, which provides a good opportunity to manipulate this so an ideal model, such as a Doenrakkar, is the nearest hero whenever Fazeal kills an enemy. It also allows you to dive Fazeal deep into your opponent's backline to make a kill, safe in the knowledge you will not lose that Soul if Fazeal dies later in the turn.
Drain Life & Flammable
Drain Life is a nice ability that promotes combat, something that Fazeal is built for. Lord Fazeal also gets a very nice boost to his Drain Life at level 2. Flammable is another small negative making them take an extra damage from the fire condition.
This is an interesting ability that all undead will inherit, however we have added a twist so that each undead hero will gain a different buff when they do consume a Soul. In Fazeal's case he gains 5 health. Consume Soul immediately places all undead in the anti Soulgazer category, with Soul denial a legitimate strategy.
Level 1 Abilities
Fazeal's kit is fairly simple. Two Combat Manoeuvres and one Active Ability that scream melee monster and reflect the aggressive nature of this powerful hero.
Weaken and Decapitation
Weaken is a standard condition generator with the bonus of letting the Fazeal player choose either the poison or curse condition. Weaken is good, however the signature play for the mighty death knight is without a doubt Decapitation. Double J is not easy to roll, but the reward has the potential to decimate even the most tanky foe.
Decapitate means any damage to the target is doubled. The +1 damage Fazeal receives on the charge, being mounted, means he can do a hefty 12 damage against an enemy he charges that does not have RES. Note that RES is used to reduce the initial damage before it is doubled.
Pestilence is a Fate fuelled Active Ability that does d3 True Damage and a power de-buff to any heroes within 6" that are suffering the poison or curse conditions. It is definitely situational however under the right circumstances it can be devastating.
Level 2 and Level 3
Gaining levels on Fazeal is all about improving his survivability, something that is his achilles heal at level 1. Vampiric Touch can drastically improve his staying power allowing him to heal 5 health above his maximum via Leech, and Life Drain is an AOE True Damage dealer that can also heal the death knight significantly. At level 3 you basically want to get this guy in amongst the enemy as much as possible and let him unleash the fury.
Jeff and I are extremely pleased with the undead race in the Judgement universe. We believe we have successfully captured the spirit of the undead, pardon the pun, while keeping them balanced and challenging to play. We have a lot of plans for future undead heroes however for now it is the might Lord Fazeal that will lead the way for the kings of the night.