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I'm primarily a WH40K player looking to get into WHFB. I like the fluff of Vampire Counts and my wife refuses to play 40K (She has aspirations to building a high elf army done in a barbie color palette. I suspect she will dominate in tournaments with an army like that). I've picked up a couple of boxes of skeletons, a black coach and a box of grave guard so far ( a local game store had the stuff for 50% off ), and was wondering what a good direction to aim for for a starting 1000 point list.
Thanks in advance
Praise the Emperor and pass the promethium!
Well at least you dont have to bitch about the ASF rule with your wife, ladies first and all that.
For Vamps in low points there are three units you need to choose from. Skeletons, Ghouls and Grave Gaurd. Either one of these make good solid blocks of units.
At such low points, you more or less have to settle for one Vampire in the army (which kinda sucks). Give him a good save, maybe 1+ attack/streanght to give him an added boost and you are done.
So back to the three choices:
Skeletons are basic troops, can have full command, spears and use well in deep formations. I2, WS2 are your big problem. But Invokation of Nehek helps you keep your skeletons up and fighting
Another solid choice because they, unlike skeletons have I3 WS3 and T4! There is abig diskussion on wether Ghouls or Skeletons are the best core choice for vamps. Personally i wouldn't trade my skeletons for the world! I love their look, even though they sorta work like mediocor fighters.
Okej its not a core choice but they are the best hammer/anvil unit we have. S4 and T4 and even WS3 (yes they are awsome!) 12 pts per model is a lot, but you can still afford a unit of 25 in those kind of games. Killing blow is also nothing to be sniffed at mind you!
The Black Coach is very very good and is fun to use. Now if you reaally have the spare 200pts lying around then ya its a solid rare choice. The evocation of death is brutal since you can have an Ethereal, Flying chariot running around with killing blows! Tell me that doesn't just give you a chill down your spine?
Just giving a few tips and ideas concerning the units you talked about, a compehensiv guide is a lot longer to write and i think there must be one lying around here somewhere. Just remember that Vamps work best when they have around 3-4 vampires on the field to help out your troops. Both in combat and in the magic phase.
first off, welcome new-born brother to the beauty of the night and the power of undeath! we have all eternity to wage our wars and plan our vengeance on the living!
as for how to get started with a 1000pts list, here's some ideas;
- you *must* have a vampire as a general. considering that our thralls are fairly squishy things, it's best to set him up as a caster for now. something along the lines of;
forbidden lore (vampire lore or light) + flayed hauberk. fairly cheap, and can support your army quite well. ligh magic has better buffs, but our own vampire lore is more of an all-rounder with decent support & damage cababilities.
- take a necro. they're dirt cheap, and are dead useful for resing back your fallen troops... (you never want to risk losing concentration with your vampire/s!) necros also buy their spells, so they're a good investment to get those crucial spells you need, like invocation & vanhel's danse.
- skeletons are better at generating static combat res & can get a full command + magic banner. they also have an armour save, and make for the 'best' hoard choice (as they don't waste attacks, unlike ghouls) it costs a few more pts to get a good skellie hoard, (since you'll want them to have spears), but you know that you're not getting cheated out of attacks!
to really see combat effectiveness, you need to hit skellies with a buff spell or three! however, with the right combo of buffs, skellies out-fight ghouls & survive better hands down.
- ghouls. my personal favorite unit for building massive ranks! one of the biggest problem undead have is breaking enemy units, since our troops tend to fight like poo! also, against our better combat units, the enemy is almost always 'steadfast' due to having more actual ranks of troops.
ghouls build lots of ranks for cheap, and can hold their own in combat without the need for multiple buff spells! plus, they throw out more attacks and have poison to boot! the reason they make a less desireable hoard than skellies IMHO is because they lose attacks... thus, use skellies and/or grave guard to form hoard units, while the ghouls can support with depth to deny the enemy the steadfast bonus.
- grave guard are ace! almost all VC players consider them 'must-haves', but there are other hammer units out there too. however, grave guard help alot!
they make for solid hoard units since they only have 1A/model, (and thus, don't waste attacks like ghouls do), and killing blow helps them take down even the most heavily armoured opponents! (hello dwarves & chaos warriors!)
a barrows banner or screaming banner works wonders on the unit. these guys make great bodyguards for your vampire lords and often form the solid center of your battleline.
- black coach. is easily our 'best unit' in that it's the most resiliant, has good armour and a solid ward save, and will eventually gain hatred, killing blow, ethereal, flying & magic resistance. just don't send into a ranked enemy unit or it will crumble faster than you can say 'fluffer-nutter!'
other units to consider as your army grows:
- vampire lords. you will use one as your general. typically, going for the 'caster' route is the safer play as this will allow your general to stay safely bunkered behind the main fighting line. you'll almost always use the forbidden lore power in this case to gain access to every spell from your chosen lore. (a huge advantage really!)
however, figher builds are equally fun, though it places your general in dangerous territory, so make sure you slap on a decent armour save plus a 4+ ward save! protection is overall better than a shiny magic weapon at this point... (it's not like a vamp lord is a slouch in combat anyways!)
- wight lords. make the best choice for your battle standard should you take one. highly resiliant and they come with killing blow, armour & magical attacks!
they also make fine templates for 'assassin' builds too with items like the other trickster's shard & sword of kings.
- black knights. are one the game's best cavalry! their ethereal ponnies mean they ignore all the negatives of any terrain they move through. thus, you can use these guys to go through areas your opponent thought safe from cavalry attacks! (ie: roll them up into a forest to gain cover, while still threatening a unit's flank!)
they still have killing blow, and can build a rank while still being fairly cost-efficient. if you take these guys, i highly suggest giving them the barrows banner since un-supported cavalry have a much harder time breaking ranked units now. (strigos banner is slightly cheaper sure, but hatred only lasts 1 round!)
also, never, ever, ever! stick a vampire or necro into a black knight unit! otherwise you lose your ethereal movement...
- fell bats. lovely little critters who are fantastic war machine hunters! plus, they make great screens for your cavalry units and/or other hard hitters like a coach or vargulf...
- vargulf. they're good since they now have thunder stomp, but they really need support. there's alot more flaming attacks out there now, so regen has suffered a wee bit, but most of all, these guys are squishy!
T5, unsteable & no save of any kind mean you want to support them with say that black coach or knights or a second vargulf... also, don't charge them into ranked units - you'll regret that mistake as you'll watch your beloved pet crumble from combat res! (as vargs don't break ranks either.)
- spirit hosts & wraiths. are situational really. they can be really good when your opponent has little to no magic, or else they can turn into the biggest waste if you face alot of magic!
against armies that can generate alot of magical attacks, (chaos warriors/daemons, wood elves, high elves, skaven, other VC's), you're likely not going to get too much milage from wraiths.
against armies like empire, dark elves, beastmen, non-grail heavy bretonnians and such, wraiths especially can be game winners though as they'll hold even large blacks of troops in place for an eternity!
- blood knights. are one of the most enjoyable units in the game hands down! who doesn't enjoy watching these immortal martial champions plow through half or more of a unit in one go?! (the unit may be steadfast on the table, but your opponent is likely feeling a little queesy at all the bloodshed!)
if you support them with a vampire wielding the blood drinker, the character can even heal back the unit's losses with every enemy they kill!
anyways, i hope this helps,
Since I expect to be facing high elves primarily, are there any troop selection guidelines that you might recommend? I am leaning towards skeletons primarily because I managed to get some cheap, and their relative ease of painting. As you stated a vampire is a must have. I am thinking at 1000 points i'd be looking for two largish units of skeletons a smaller unit of grave guard, a caster vampire and 2 necromancers. I don't have my army book with me so this is very rough. Would this be a decent starting structure?
Praise the Emperor and pass the promethium!