The Necromancer

Sauron, the Necromancer


Early in the Third Age of Middle Earth, Sauron began to grow in strength again.  He set up a stronghold in southern Greenwood in a location that came to be known as the Hill of Sorcery, or Dol Guldur.  There he disguised himself as a dark sorceror known as the Necromancer and hid his true nature even from the Elves that lived in the northern regions of the woods.  He began to draw all foul and evil creatures in the area to his service and in time, his evil polluted the area so fully that the woods themselves were changed and came to be known as Mirkwood.


Gandalf suspected the evil dwelling at Dol Guldur was powerful but most in the White Council believed it was a Ringwraith, not suspecting the truth.  When Gandalf learned that Thrain II, father of Thorin Oakenshield, was being held in the dungeons there he stole in.  Unable to save the Dwarf, he was given the key and map that allowed Bilbo and company access to Erebor, but also learned the true nature of the evil that was corrupting the region.


Despite the objections of Saruman, who was already falling into darkness, Gandalf convinced the White Council to strike at Dol Guldur.  The Necromancer had warning of their coming (perhaps from Saruman ) and though his forces were defeated, Sauron himself escaped back to Mordor.  The fortress of Dol Guldur also survived and in time was strengthened back to a mighty garrison which helped extend the reach of Mordor until it was utterly destroyed by the armies of Lothlorien and Mirkwood at the close of the War of the Ring.



In the Strategy Battle Game, the Necromancer is a formidable model.  He is dangerous in close combat but also wields significant magical power.  He can be worn down in time but with proper support from his forces can be a major power on the table.  In War of the Ring he has even more potential if it were not for one fatal flaw in his profile.  He uses the Hard to Kill ( H2K ) special rule, which I have found from experience is really not very hard to kill at all.  My Wood Elves easily bring down H2K models in a single turn of bow fire, and I've rarely seen one survive more than two combats in melee.  They are also easy prey to many special rule attacks and magic.  The Very Hard To Kill ( VH2K ) rule helps for stronger models by giving the dice a -1 modifier and effectively adding one turn of survivability to most models that have the rule.


Though the Necromancer in WotR has some good special abilities, strong magical power and a reasonable profile (including a high defense and a resilience of 2), that H2K has made me hesitant to play him so far.  I will likely start fielding him as my Dol Guldur army grows a little more, but under 2000 points I believe he is more of a liability than an asset.


The model itself is pretty good for one of GW's creations.  When they have something from the films to work from they have done a great job of presenting it.  But when they have used their own imagination they often "run home" to their 40K roots (oversized weapons, lots of skulls, etc.).  Thankfully the Necromancer really looks like an extension of the Nazgul concept of flowing robes with some armor calling out themes of both Sauron from the Second Age (seen in the prequel of Fellowship of the Ring) and the Mouth of Sauron as seen in Return of the King.  Most examples of the model are painted up in the fashion of GW's example which gives the robes a look of ghostly green.  For mine though I wanted him to look closer to his Nazgul servants in appearance.  So I did his robes black with a reverse-highlighting of green glow to the areas where his inner spirit essence may be showing through.  I think I am going to do a little more work on darkening the glowing regions but overall I am happy with him and believe he looks very good next to Khamul and the Castellans.