If someone wakes me in the middle of the night, and asks – what is the most climatic Dust army? I will say without hesitation – ZOMBIES! Yes,yes – zombies in the 1947 world when the second world war is raging on. Come and see for yourself!
Everything happens for a reason, and so also zombies came to be in Dust world. In 1947 Axis powers have best tech (with laser rifles and X-7 guided missiles to name a few). But they lack one key resource – manpower. So the German scientists from the Blutkreuz Korps start working on a solution for this problem. One of the outcomes is the weaponized gorilla program. Second the “recycling” of dead soldiers, and giving them second life. And so this terryfing army came to “life”.
It’s quite obvious that BK is quite an old army. And I’m not talking about old age of some of the iconic heroes 😉 Most units had their release few years ago, and last few years didn’t had many new models to offer. Nevertheless the sculpts we have still look good, even trough Dust has received many great quality models in the meantime.
Zombie models are ideal for what they represent. Scary faces, deep eyes, missing skin together with holes in uniforms, bloody wounds and parts of bones here and there. Frank Von Stein looks like a monster (what a coincidence 😀 ) and Totenmeister seems pulled our right from Hellboy universe. This army has a great feeling!
I would like to say that zombies are as good on the field as presenting themselves on a model shelf. But sadly reality sometimes differs from dreams. For sure one of the biggest advantages is passing infantry safe as we would be passing cover save. In theory it’s a colossal plus, and works similar in real life – so far as we don’t meet a flamethrower army 😉 Flame weapons are a true Nemezis of our zombie forces, as well as one other combination – that I will tell you about later.
Let’s do a quick sum-up for those that haven’t played with Blutkreuz so far. Zombies only have one walker: Heinrich. Light machine with invaluable anti air and anti infantry support. Another important unit is the Zombie Grenadier Squad. They can both chew enemy infantry with their machine weapons as well as damage enemy armor with their five panzerfausts. Another zombie squad with these AT weapons is the Zombie Suicide Squad – they also bring some mines to the fight (but lack any classic ranged weapons). And now the most fantastic unit – famous mindless zombies; cheap, effective and very good at pounding most enemies with their huge weapons.
Almost a separate group of fighting units is formed by heroes. Frank Von Stein is a great Close Combat specialist, and has a separate platoon to prove that to enemy commanders. Totenmeister can resurrect fallen mindless zombies (so was that afterlife or are we still getting there?) and also has a dedicated platoon. Wolfgang is a great HP source plus a small bonus of Cheat Death. You can use Grenadier X in a similar role of health pool provider.
On that basis let’s look at Frank’s platoon. It special rule is quite simple: for the close combat attack the defending unit gets “under fire” or “suppressed”. What’s more – the allied units of attacked unit in line of sight and range 3 also get same markers. It’s a great ability both fluff wise (who won’t shiver seeing friends being torn to pieces) and rules wise. And it grants a hell lot of fun to the commanding officer, no matter who wins in the end.
You can also think about using Totnemeister platoon. Mindless zombies on their own are quite slow and cannot take over objectives – and often we fight for these! Situation gets much better when Totenmaister is next to them, increasing move range and allowing for use of charge action, With the platoon on the field all zombies can charge, no matter how far they are from their “mom” – and also capture strategic objectives. On paper it looks grate but in my personal experience it won’t always work properly. I prefer to have Grenadier X and Wolfgang capturing objectives and Totenmeister can handle her zombies as a big blob after some practice (just watch out for artillery fire!). And then we can focus on everyone benefiting from Frank’s platoon!
In theory it all works perfectly. Hard to kill zombies swarm the battelfield, eliminating enemy forces and basically obliterating any enemy resistance. Practice sadly is much more complicated, and army needs a very important support weapon – mortar. Allowing enemy artillery to pound us without mercy is first step to defeat for zombies. Artillery attacks decimate our undead soldiers as their “super save” ability no longer works. Smoke from mortar can prevent it from happening, even better 2 of these..
So why do you need these for? Let me explain: it’s crucial to advance your units while the LoS to enemy ranged units is blocked by artillery smoke. Step by step the horde moves as one being – to attack in full force at a perfect moment (for example by Totenmeister ability). Your undead soldiers need to swarm enemy units as far as possible, before they can concentrate fire and start eliminating whole squads. If this works out then the quantity becomes quality by itself 🙂
Infantry focused armies can also be a small problem for zombie armies. Your zombie grenadiers have a reasonable amount of dices against enemy soldiers but they are quite expensive. For 1 point more the enemy will probably bring 2 units that will outgun our poor zombies. You can try to save yourselves with new upgraded BK Laser Grenadiers but they need some good throws as the number of dices is smaller for them. Some of the cheaper mercenary units with Tommy guns seem to be a good option here also. But my dream is a truly new zombie unit with a lot of range firepower. Maybe an undead heavy machine-gun nest?
Also the supposed “cheap” unit of the army -mindless zombie squad – looks kind of weak compared to other squads in Dust world that are much more effective. Especially that even the upgraded save won’t “save” you from a concentrated fire from 2-3 infantry units. Yes I know I’m picky – but that unit should cost a bit less in my opinion. The biggest mistake are the zombie suicide grenadiers – 5 panzerfausts, 5 mines but way too expensive and all of these weapons only work once! Where is sense in that? I tried many times to use these guys but I can no longer bet on a loosing horse.
How to support your zombie army? I mentioned the mortars, laser grenadiers and Justine squad. You can also experiment with next Heinrich and Gregor – bot models will supply valuable support against air and infantry units. Angela, best sniper in game can also be very effective. Or super cheap but effective Natalia. As you can see, as it is in Dust, you need to try, experiment and see for yourself.
As a Blutkreuz commander you need to remember two things that can decimate your army. The mentioned flamethrowers and close combat units (especially those with “first strike” and “stunning 😉 “. And I look at you USMC dogs! Two squads of these american beast can eat all of your mindless squads not even breaking a sweat. And it creates crazy situations when all of your range units focus fire on 2 louse dog weapon squads 😀
So most important question I always ask myself: Is this army good enough to play with it? Would i take it to a competitive tournament? If I plan to fight for the higher places then probably not. Undead usually can’t keep up with the newest releases ( and it’s not because like all zombies they cannot run 😉 ). In my opinion they are too expensive, especially when you recount amount of dice VS price in pints. This army could use a unit or two to bring some new fresh blood into those cold veins.
But for any other games? Of course yes! All Blutkreuz armies – take lasers, gorillas or zombies – bring tons of great, climatic fun. And that is one of the most important factorts for me when choosing armies. And I always see those B-class movies when charging with my zombies.. Crazy experiments and evil commanders – and me among them 😉
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