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Ok basically ive begun to get sick of seeing the same questions being asked week after week or ones that can be found in the books or elsewhere in the forum(no offence guys but thread's of the same question every couple of weeks is starting to get annoying). I am also starting to get sick of people doing certain things that make Vampires seen as a horrible army (i.e The wannabee invincible grave guard unit or 12 power dice and alot of bounds) and things that are not wise for people to do.
So ive come up with the idea (no idea if its been done before as im too lazy to look). To make a guide for people starting or people interested in learning more about how to use VC. Although not perfect myself i hope that many other people can contribute their ideas as well and try to keep the none topical talk to a minimum.
So basically im going to start basic with the Lords and heroes of the Vampire Counts, and their strengths and weaknesses.
I will NOT be doing anything on Special Characters best leave it to the people who actually use them (i find them unneeded)
Vampire Lord: The Amazing Brace
Now our lord choice for all he offers is Amazing. He offers us a stable caster and combat character, while also giving us the option of making him very very strong in either of these but also giving him the ability to make him into a good support character. Although expensive what he can bring to a game is invaluable to a VC army and is needed. The best cost for a Vampire Lord is between 350-400 this means you can still have a good sized army if you go higher than this your pushing it and would really need cheap characters to keep a decent sized army. Although it may not seem like much of a difference to stack him to full, it is actually a big one, this way if he dies youve still got more balance through your army with points than if he was lets say 55 more points. Because that there is almost 5 more grave guard you could have or another blood knight. Our lord is also the Main Brace for our army. The biggest problem with our Lord is that once he dies your probably in alot of trouble because of the crumbling and also because of the fact that youve lost an amazing unit that gives your opponent at least 300 VP
My most used Vampire Lord builds are as follows
Vamp Lord w Magic level +1, Dark Acolyte, Forbidden Lore, Flayed Hauberk, Biting Blade
Helm Of Commandment, Black periapt. 395
For this one you can take away the helm, black periapt and magic level + 1 and just give him another power and hed be under 350 a very cost effective vamp lord who can still do great in the magic phase.
Vamp Lord w Magic level +1, Forbidden lore, Master of the black arts, Flayed Hauberk, 2x Scrolls. 415
This one is a little more expensive because i would not have my heroes with scrolls in the particular list.
Vamp Lord w Red Fury, Infinite Hatred, Talisman of the Lycni, Flayed Hauberk, Crown of the Damned, Sword of Might. 365
This Vampire gives up on magical attack and defense in favour of the "OMG i pwn units solo. Although cheap in price this lord is considered a cheesy hero and expect people to hate playing the army containing him.
Vampire: The Variable Supporter
Possibly the best hero choice in the game for all of the choices it can have. The vampire although rather expensive once kitted out are the supporting braces for your army, if you want a magic heavy army you can take a diverse choice of magical vampires, if you want supporting vampires, youve got some great items that can support your units, and if you want your vampires in combat then you can make it a strong opponent for your opponents. But the biggest problem for your vampire is the lack of defense that hes likely to have as its most common for the lord to have flayed hauberk.
Out of the above though Combat is easily the Vampires weakest point, as our vampiric powers primarily focus on support, magic and defence.
I just use rather simple vampire builds
Vamp w Dark Acolyte, Scroll x2 180
Vamp w Dark Acolyte, Scroll, Gem of Blood 180
Both of these builds are defensive magically and are just there to ensure i can defend myself well. But also at the same dice give me a nice 4 power dice.
Vamp w Dreadknight, Infinite Hatred, Sword of Might, Enchanted Shield 180
For what this one brings to the plate i find him to be very cheap and also quite effective
Your vampires are the supporting braces of your army if you look after them then your army can continue to stay strong but if you begin to lose them it will slowly fall.
Wight King: The Underrated Battle Standard Bearer
Now the wight king in my opinion is very underrated by people, its a very defensive character that is a great BSB and can even be a hero killer. The Wight King is best used in a unit of grave guard as it keeps its banner close to the army (A very invaluable banner bearer that prevents us from taking as much damage) The wight kings biggest weakness though is that if given a magical banner is easily killed in combat.
My wight king builds are either Offensive or Defensive. These are the 2 that i use.
Wight King w Night Shroud, Sword of Kings, Battle Standard Bearer. 145
This build is a risky build but i find that it works almost all the time and being as cheap as it is i dont like not having it. This is my offensive build
Wight King w Enchanted Shield, Crown of the Damned, Battle Standard Bearer. 150
This is a very good build for defending your BSB and when you dont want to be risk losing him to an enemy. This should keep him safe if it doesnt your not rolling well. This is obviously the defensive build.
Necromancer: The Pack Mule That Everyone Avoids Because He's An Ass
I see the Necromancer as the Pack Mule of the VC heros, the one that carries whats important but youve got nowhere else to put it. Hes cheap and he gives you a spell that you can choose, one of those spells possibly being one of the best in the game. Although he is very weak and spat on in combat, but having the ability to mount a corpse cart is a nice option but often overlooked.
This is the only build ive tried and liked.
Necromancer w Book of Arkhan 90
This guy dishes out 2 Vanhels a turn and is a very cheap 90 points
Well this is just the jiist of it, as there is alot to say about our heroes and lord.
I would prefer if we kept this thread civilised and not go on about off topic stuff and start turning it into an argument.
Feel free to put in your own views on the hero and lord choices but please refrain from doing anything on other things. Ill do Troop Choices and maybe Special soon (within the next 24 hours hopefully)
I'm really big on protecting the lord, I often use dreadknight + walach's hauberk for 1+ AS 5+ WS, if combined with magical skills he can become expensive but you can keep him in the front line.
Last edited by Zatarra; April 12th, 2009 at 19:13.
Ok basically ive begun to get sick of seeing the same questions being asked week after weekI thought this was kinda hilarious, as the reason for why the same questions get asked week after week is because people don't look =DSo ive come up with the idea (no idea if its been done before as im too lazy to look)
I'm not entirely sure what your intention is with this guide. You state two goals. First to answer common questions that occur frequently; something I agree with is a nice thing to have. And then second to address some sort of misconception people have about the VC army list that leads them to make "horrible" armies. I guess that means you are against "cheesy" lists that play the strengths of the list while minimizing the drawbacks? Think about that statement for abit...that is really the best you can do with a list in a competitive setting, so what's wrong with that?
I'll add something to this guide though since I'm in favor of helping those that're new to the army understand a few things that may not be readily apparent.
I'll start with my specialty, Necromancers! This is mostly a repost from the thread "Do you use Necromancers" which some people have told me they found very helpful.
Our cheapest hero choice, and in my opinion the most fun! Here's a few things to keep in mind when using our weakest Hero.
* They're undead so they cause fear, nothing as hilarious as seeing a ranked up and armed to the teeth unit falter their charge against a lone necromancer.
* They're very weak, be very careful about ranged units camping ontop of hills. Being surrounded by other units can often give you a false sense of security. Clarify with your opponent what counts as high ground before the game begins so you can be careful not to move him into a position where he can be sniped.
*If you must I'd suggest you plop them in a skeleton unit with a champion for protection. The champion can take all challenges and the necromancer can raise him for near continous protection vs. challenges. Have him move to an opposite flank against "Assassin" type armies (Skaven, Dark Elves, wood elves, Night Goblin lists, melee heavy VC armies)
* A word of warning when facing Night Goblin lists. Their Fanatics go through units and end up 1" away from them, for that reason make sure that your necromancer is atleast 1" away from the unit he's being screened by (if he's on foot and not joined with the unit, like a unit of zombies). I've had very unfortunate instances of a fanatic plowing through a unit of zombies, then through the necromancer causing horrendous damage =p
* Against Ogres beware scouting units of Gnoblar trappers that are very prone to go Necromancer hunting. Even "Sharp Stuff" hurts our frail necros ;
* This is a strange pointer I guess...but make him look impressive. I'm serious...it really works. I've painted up my necromancers to look very menacing and people tend to overestimate how powerful they are, taking extreme precautions. This won't work against VC veterans...but I've had this happen in several games
The final point is that the vampire is superior in every way, save for fluff. If you take them as anything but range boosters and item caddies (Rod of Flaming Death is a great item to give to a necromancer, people never expect him to kick so much ass) then you'll be in a uphill struggle.
Dont' just discard them though, they can be a very sneaky and effective hero choice depending on the rest of your list;
- A single necro with IoN and two units of zombies with partial command. All the necro does is raise zombies and maintain them as tarpits.
- A single necro with Raise Dead and Sceptre de Noirot that travels with your main force and sets up flank and rear charges with his Raise, another necromancer with Vanhels/Book of Arkhan (or a vampire with the same) makes this very effective.
- A necromancer with Raise Dead and Rod of Flaming Death. He can be in charge of sniping flankers or large units...see 'em run with the mandatory panic test. If that doesn't work toss up a zombie screen to delay them.
- Use a necromancer who has Raise Dead to "catch" fleeing units. If he's been lurking near your fighting units you'll most likely have range past the fleeing unit. Summon zombies infront of them. They'll have a minimum units strength of 5, enough to wipe out the fleeing unit if it runs through them. It's not bad for a cheap necromancer to wipe out a huge fleeing unit with a simple spell =D
There's only a few items that're viable for necromancers. The cheap bound items we have access too are an obvious choice, further enhancing his supporting role.
As mentioned before I've mostly armed my necros with the following items:
Sceptre de Noirot: A great item for a necromancer out on a flank or one who's supporting the main advance.
Rod of Flaming Death: Superb for a skulking necromancer. I've taken out allsorts of units with this little wonder.
Book of Arkhan: I tend to give this to necromancers that have "Raise Dead" so I can pull the old "Summon-Charge". It's great to negate your opponents rank bonus and to tip the scales. without a doubt one of the sickest combos for two necros is a Book of Arkhan for one and a Sceptre de Noirot for the other. Depending on the rest of your list you can almost guarantee a negation of ranks with up to +3 CR added to the combat.
A trick I've always meant to test further, is slapping a Nightshroud on a necro and placing him in the front rank of a offensive skeleton unit armed with spears. Skeletons receive charge, Nightshroud activates, skellies rip into the charging unit and hopefully win and you move your necromancer out of harms way elsewhere in the unit.
Combine this with the Sceptre/Book of Arkhan trick and sick things start to happen ^^
Testimonials: (a.k.a. Ranting)
In my VC lists I usually try to have as few vampires as I can get away with, not really liking their mechanics, finding their fluff dull and seeing them as a poor representation of what vampires are all about in warhammer.
Nagash, the father of necromancy was a necromancer (Or technically a Liche priest I guess)...not a vampire. Heinrich Kemmler, a necromancer and so on. Instead of getting the kind of twisted ambitious individuals that attempt to cheat death using dark magic we get the VC necromancer. As Mirage described him he's a mere pack mule now. The Master Necromancer of old is gone now, a mere memory. A sad state of affairs.
Being in denial about that this is how things are I decided I wouldn't buy into this, and so started making lists featuring necromancers exclusively, or joined with fell wight kings. Since I can only legally do this under the warbands rules I've been playing alot of 600 pt. warbands.
At the time of this writing I've had 1 win (massacre), 2 losses (massacred) and 1 draw. Those aren't such bad stats given that I'm using what most people consider our worst hero with nothing but our worst core choice (zombies) and a few corpse carts.
Rather than reflecting the skill, or lack thereof, of me or my opponents I think it says more about how even our worst units aren't bad at all, considering.
Necromancers are not a bad hero choice. He's a cheap and effective spellcaster and, as is, has abilities no other hero caster in another book has; to continously resupply and heal all of our units, create new units of them AND to buff them. Granted not all at once unless we pay a silly amount of points. Next to the vampire he sucks...but pretend for a moment we don't have vampires, pretend that what most of our army book is devoted to is just some inane gibber. Then what we have is a list that "can" win, but it is going to require different prioritization and, in my personal opinion, a greater reliance on tactics than a reliance on statistics.
This last part of my post shouldn't be taken as anything but whine since that's what it is. But I don't ask for any cheese with my whine, infact, I refuse to believe it exists and instead have some nice dry crackers with my whine. Mmm...crackers.
I guess what I'm saying is I gimp my lists on purpose...man this is becoming long winded.
Anyways, I hope my pointers on Necromancers help some of you!
I look forward sharing some of my pointers on the other units in the VC lists! ^^
Last edited by PrOtOcoN; April 13th, 2009 at 12:16.
Your fluffraping hurts my eyes. - TehDarkPredator
Well Protocon i tell a lie, after i posted that i looked for something like this and i didnt see anything that comes close to the present.
Very nice add-on about the Pack Mule himself, i like the idea of what youve done with your army
So you sir have been rep'd
TY PROT, seriously. lol LOVE how you put necromancer at top! people who think he is uselessshouldn't be trying to create a tatica they need to go learn to replay vampire counts. Necro with 2 dispell scrolls is 105 points, and hes a level one wizard helping with the magic pool. Never leave home without one. Oviously hes good at more than 1 thing though...
Last edited by VampireCountsFTW; April 13th, 2009 at 15:50.
Vampire Counts-4000 Points
Black Templars-2000 Points
The necromancer can be at best a lv 1 wizard which means that he only gets one die unless you use the dice pool. With one die all he can cast is IoN. The problem with that is that he can't raise skeletons or ghouls beyond there starting size which makes him difficult to use for IoN. This is usually why if I take him I will put him on the corpse cart and give him book of arkhan.
Vampirecountsftw i dont know what your getting at but i never take a full vampire army, i find it far too costly and i like to put in a Wight King BSB always.
Soz guys bout not getting on to the core ill get it done later this afternoon
Part 2a: Core ZOMBIES
Ok heres part 2a to the guide.
Zombies: Destroyer and Saviour?
Now Zombies are seen by many in terms of being a core unit, Hopeless because they usually lose over 10 models per combat to even the worst combatants. But what makes Zombies effective in the VC army is the fact that new units can be summoned at a casting level of 5+. Now this is great for many purposes that most people already know but ill put at the end anyways. When summoned you dont exactly get many zombies, but because of the zombies wonderful rule, whenever they are invocated they get up to 10 zombies into the unit. So you can start with 5 zombies and turn that into 50 and still only be worth 50 points because of the summoning rules, because Zombies can always be raised past their starting point unlike Skeletons, ghouls, wolves and bats. Personal Opinion if your not going to make an army with at least 200 zombies and nothing else (other than heroes lords and corpse carts) then do not rely on them as a full on core choice. Instead take maybe 2 units of 30 that can be used as flank defenders.
Best Uses of Zombies:
March Blocker: Because of its ability to be summoned within 12" of the caster this can make marching difficult For example: If its the opponents turn next and its your first turn. You move your unit forward and summon some zombies (note: raise dead is something that opponents will be wary of) and you summon the unit 12" forward (after youve made a 8" at least move forward) so this should mean your unit is 4.1" at least away from the opponent. if you then line them up about 1" away from where the opponents edge (of movement tray) would be if he were there, youve got an effective march blocker that can easily be nudged so its preventing him from getting past if he decides not to charge. If he does charge though your at an advantage as your unit causes fear giving him the chance of failing and making that unit useless for another turn, or if he does charge he is basically putting his unit's flank facing you leaving him open and useless for another turn.
Dont Let Them Run: A personal favourite where you summon the zombie unit behind the enemy to prevent a unit from running away and also giving you the oppurtunity to get that wonderful rear charge which can also make the difference in battle (be weary with the rear charge as if you do not have helm of commandment helping them theres a good chance that they can fight back and do more damage than your rear charge gave you in combat res)
Whats It Called: Another great one is to prevent those annoying units from getting the charge against a unit you want protected. Basically you summon the unit on an angle facing the unit and the rear of the unit facing the unit you want the enemy to overrun into, Be weary when using this one when your placing the units down as you may make it possible for the opponent to charge the unit your protecting anyways, but always be sure to have it as close to the opponent to the opponent as possible and make sure its in front of it just slightly
ZOMBIE SHIElD: Its funny when you can summon zombies in the masses just to protect your units from enemy shooting, but this is a very very good choice against armies like Dark Elves, Wood Elves and Dwarves whos shooting can be very devastating, taking away one of their strongest phases and attributes can ensure that you dont lose too much early on.
Items that are best used with Zombies:
Helm of Commandment: Whats not funny about trying to hit weapon skill 6/7 zombies
Book Of Arkhan: Vital for those rear charges and giving those zombies ASF
Sceptre de Noirot: This item is great for making you able to make a larger unit of zombies. This is a better choice for people who like to use them to defend flank's, make rear charges and ZOMBIE SHIELD
Skeletons and Ghouls to come tomorrow.
And i expect Protocon to say something more as he is probably more of a zombiefan than me
Good stuff! I can't wait for the ghoul info. I'm thinking of going ghoul heavy, and I want as much information as I can get on them before making a decision.
I love zombies and I use alot of them in my regular lists. They're cheap and amazingly effective at what they're meant for. But what is it that you're meant to do with zombies? How can you beat anything in close combat?
* The zombies true strength lies in numbers. Since you'll lose ALOT of zombies during the course of any protracted combat you'll need a large unit to handle the initial losses and to make miscasts or dispels less deadly for you. In my Zombiefest lists my first moves are generally made to simply seize terrain advantages, but don't be afraid to hold back your forces until you feel confident about the size of your zombie swarms.
* If you're buying zombies then buy them a partial command. A standard and a musician are the handiest thing zombies could hope to have. Not only a +1 CR but a win in case of a tie? That's worth its weight in gold when it comes to winning combats with Zombies. Since you'll most likely outnumber any opponent you winning the combat means he'll insta-break. Musician can mean the difference between winning the game and losing by a hairsbreadth.
* Beware summoning units of zombies just so they can die unless you'll make back their Victory points. I've covered a few uses of zombies in my necromancer rant, but be careful not to just give your opponent free VP's. Summon zombies with a plan in mind for them and try to have them survive.
* Never expose the flank of your large zombie units to a charge. Without that rank bonus you'll continously lose combat, will never be able to reform to face the unit and that zombie unit is lost to you. NEVER. EXPOSE. THE. FLANK!
In my Necromancer rant I covered a few uses of zombies and Mirage has also given a very handy list in his zombie coverage. I'll mention a few tactics and combos that I use with my Zombiefest list:
- Corpse Buggy: A unit of zombies with a parent Corpse Cart that trundles along behind it spewing miasma. Once a charge looks likely, move the corpse cart out onto a flank or alongside the zombie unit so that it'll make contact with the unit to be charged. Those extra 2d6 attacks coupled with the usual static +5 CR from the zombies who likely ASF due to the cart generally break all but the hardiest rank and file troopers. The advantage of having the corpse cart join the fight isn't just the extra attacks. The Corpse Cart is not subject to the "Shambling Horde" rule, meaning it'll persue as normal, very handy against high ld. units that you overwhelm but would just regroup easily.
- Zombie Sandwhich: Move two units of zombies up the field and select the unit you intend to break. Approach it with the unit roughly between the two units with the units about 5-6" apart facing slightly towards each other like this:
/ Unit /------5-6"-----\Unit \
Forming a spread "V". The advantage of this is that if your opponent charges either unit he's exposed his flank. If he see through it he's forced to manouver to counter it and you can adjust your zombies to match it. Against a tight line of units this doesn't work, but use it when you can and see the results.
- Peekaboo Zombies: When you see that a unit is about to break, summon a unit of zombies behind them to catch them when they run. At this stage you have an important decision to make, namely how to face the summoned zombie unit;
If you're engaging flankers with more enemy forces beyond this unit I recommend facing the summoned zombies away from the enemy unit. It's risky, but if you're confident about the opponent breaking it'll save you alot of manouvering time in the next phase since you can just keep moving them forward. If, as tends to happen to me, you are engaging the enemy in a pretty straight line across the battlefield I'd recommend facing the summoned unit so that its flank is to the unit that is about to break, facing towards the next fight. This way once the unit breaks you can quickly have the zombies join the next fight. Ofcourse if you're facing a hard unit that you're not sure about breaking have them join right in at the back, but keep the other options in mind.
Zombie Gate: By sacrificing half a turn of movement you can increase a units frontage by up to five models, ten if you don't move at all. Use this tactic to create a zombie shield that you can raise and lower depending on what you need. Opponent creeping along the flanks trying to get a diagonal sniping shot at your Corpse Carts or Necromancers? Increase the frontage of the unit shielding them to eliminate that worry. Be careful doing this when close to the opponents close combat units since this'll greatly reduce your static CR. Use this trick to force a charge against a particular zombie unit or to allow other more harder hitting units to move along with the zombies and then get past them again once you're in range.
Zombies benefit the most from the same items as most of our other Core units. Those are well known to most Vampire Count players but I'll list them here for completion
Sceptre de Noirot: The most Zombie centric item in our inventory and great for setting up sneak attacks on an opponents flanks and rear. The unit you summon has an automatic +1 CR, coupled with a flank or a rear charge you're contributing from +2 - +3 CR to that combat as well as negating your opponents ranks.
Book of Arkhan: A handy tool to allow you to Raise Dead and charge all in one turn and with one character (for range purposes).
Staff of Damnation: A potentially devestating item that is best placed on a character that keeps in range of as many units as possible. In a all zombie list this could give us a much needed close combat edge, reducing the size of squads for that Outnumber + Fear goodness.
-Helm of Commandment: I see this item referenced alot, though when coupled with zombies it isn't as good as one might think. The zombies already have a 50% chance to hit most opponents, and with only about 5-6 attacks I question whether it is worth it to effectively get a +1 to hit against rank and file units. It does have the advantage of reducing the chance of your zombies being hit in return, but since they're so easy to raise anyway it's not such a big deal. Now, "Confers users strength" would be a completely different matter =D
-Unholy Lodestone upgrade for Corpse Carts: Since we rely on overwhelming our opponent with superior replenishable numbers, having the Lodestone really helps. Every little helps. A single zombie can mean the difference between a full rank and an insta break, or another round of uphill combat.
I love zombies. I love 'em to bits, and then I love the bits as they squirm away. Its sad really that we don't have more zombie in our army book. Zombie pistoliers, cannoneers, cavalry, halflings...you name it and it could work so well zombified. I'm dying to include some Zombie Pirates in my force, that BS 0 is just too hilarious to pass up.
Zombies are a great unit and I think it's hilarious how well we can do by using the worst unit in our list.
Now all we need is a proper "Undead" list and I'll be a happy zombie!
Hope it helps folks!
Last edited by PrOtOcoN; April 17th, 2009 at 02:21.
Your fluffraping hurts my eyes. - TehDarkPredator