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The awesome vampires are known for their potential devastating magic phases, and as an enemy of those sharpteethed nightwalkers I've been wondering what one possible could do to stop/halt the onslaught so often caused by such a deathly magic phase where vampires gain tons and tons of extra dice and know whole magic lores.
Could you help me, oh, wisened men of the night?
Well, to be honest I'd love to help you, but I've only recently begun VC myself.
But from what I've learnt so far: 3 of our 7 spells are classified as Necromancy spells (Invocation, Raise Dead and Danse Macabre, these are the only spells that Necromancers buy and use). These spells can be cast multiple times by the same caster, and with low casting values (average is 5.3) you can just throw 2/3 dice at them and most of them will pass (especially with that Lvl 3 Vampire Caster). All vampires automatically know the basic Necromancy spell: Invocation. So, unlike a lot of 8th ed magic which tends to be casting 2, maybe 3 spells a turn and throwing a whole bunch of dice at them, you end up casting several smaller spells sometimes with a single larger spell like Wind of Undeath or Curse of Years (great against those hordes!). It gives you more options: you could use your large spell at the beginning and make the opponent use all his dispel dice, or he could call the bluff and let it through without challenge. Alternately you could use the large spell at the end of your magic phase, ensuring that it gets through OR letting your other spells in and not bothering to cast the spell you enemy thought you were going to. With less dice thrown, the modifies from wizarding levels matters quite a bit: 6 spells by a level 3 means +18 overall while only 2 spells means +6 to your casting.
As far as items go, we're quite fortunate. Black Periapt can be useful at 15 points to give you that little boost in your power/dispel pool when you need it, having the foresight to know when you'll need it is a good skill. Forbidden Lore is really useful, make sure you plenty of spells to throw your enemy off, and to have the right spell at the right time! It can be used on all shared lores except for Life (duh!) but can be used to know all Lore of the Vampires spells too. Personally, the idea of using it to get the lore of light or shadows seemed like a great idea, but I'm finding recently that I'm happy with the Vampire lore, some damage in their, plenty of wound-restoring and my necromancer with Danse Macabre is driving my opponents insane!
Overall, I'm finding our magic rather technical and difficult to master at first as it can be difficult to decide what I need at what time and how high it is in priority terms to get the spell off. But with time I find I'm improving and my patience is paying off. I'd give a spell overview but I play a themed list which is focussed on my different style of play, so someone else can run you through their effectiveness'
If someone helps you, rep them.
In a votewar you don't vote on a single match, you vote on the entire round. Got that?
The biggest threat is easily Vanhel's Danse Macabre. It allows for additional movement OR can be used to *really* buff a unit's fighting abilities if they're already in combat.
Stop this spell dead in it's tracks. You're likely to see at least 2 sources of this spell - a necro + vampire, though in 2400+ pts expect to encounter 3-4 models capable of using this spell. And being a 'necromancy' spell, it can be cast any number of times in a single phase... The best way to deal with this spell is to bring an item that outright destroys a spell and/or it's source. (ie; high elves should look to cast vaul's unmaking on that book of arkhan!)
Next up is the basic spell Invocation of Nehek. The second most important spell in a vampire's repitoire because it's our basic 'healing' spell. Not nearly as effective as it once was, but again throug hthe use of necros, it's easy to get a couple of cheap wizards you can annoy the piss out of anyone by simply chucking 1 dice into each casting attempt!
Best way to deal with this spell is to simply let the VC player have it - especially he/she is repairing their core units! (trust me, VC core units are absolute shite and you'll run roughshod over them...)
Only put effort into denying this spell if it's being cast at characters and/or a unit of grave guard!!! This spell is ment to suck out your dispel dice, so don't fall for it.
Finally, be very afraid of a loremaster thrall with a summoning power since they can use the spell 'Summon Undead Horde' to add 3D6 models to the unit of their chosen master power! (either skellies or ghouls).
30-40 or so skellies/ghouls pose very little risk on their own since anyone can easily grind them down. But when they start growing by a potential 18 per turn, things get dicey fast!
Now, as for the VC powers... Be on the lookout for;
a) Forbidden Lore. Let's a character gain the loremaster ability and access to any spell lore but life. Expect to see either Lore of Light/Shadows/Vampires. Though Metal and/or Death magic is also occasionally seen.
Look to stop the following spells; Birona's Timewarp & Speed of Light (light), Mindrazzor & Miasma (shadows), Danse macabre & SUH (vamps). Those are the big threat spells since they either synergise perfectly with the undead, or else negate their biggest weaknesses.
b) Master of the Black Arts. This is the power that gives a vampire extra dice. Now of corse, these dice count against the max of 12PD so it's really more or less the VC player spending lots of pts for potentially little gain... Of corse, it only takes one low roll for the dice pools to make it worth it's pts!
Just make sure that your opponent is keeping these dice to the side, since only the vampire that generates these added dice may use them!!!
Overall the VC magic phase is nowhere near as brutal as it was in 7th. (this is one of the big reasons why VC's are so gimped now!)
Countering a vampire magic phase is simply about letting through those spells that will make little impact, and stopping the big guns; Vanhel's Danse, Summon Horde and a few of the rulebook lore spells.
If you tell us what army you play, we can probably help you futher with ideas of magic item/character combos to help counter a magic phase as well!
Thanks for the awesome and long replies both of you! Rep is coming your way.
Im playing either Empire or Warriors of Chaos. Now, as Empire I dont really have much of a problem, since i have easy access to additional dispel dice and a destroy scroll, but as Warriors of Chaos - who more or less only has the ability to play offensive when it comes to magic - it can be a tad bit hard to figure out how to counter the vampire magic phase.
I agree that 8th edition is kinda hampering the vampires magic, but it can still be quite damaging. Focussing on dispelling the toughest spells is a very very good idea. I'll keep that in mind when I am to play against my friend next time
a) Arch Lector and/or Warrior Priests obviously! The priests are especially scary since they have some nifty anti-undead prayers to boot... Try using them first to suck out a dispel dice or two, and then roll out some lore of light spells of your own!
Best way to counter the VC's tendancy to rely on ASF spells is to cast your own to match them!
b) Lv4 Wizard w/Lore of Light & destroy magic scroll. Pull a little number out of the VC playbook and keep him in a small'ish 20-25 man bunker behind your main line... Now start dropping your own castings of Speed of Light and/or Birona's Timewarp. (greatswords make an excellent choice for both those spells, and they'll simply shred grave guard if they're carrying the eternal flame banner!)
c) Capastus w/Casket of Sorcery, Dragonhelm & luckstone, full plate, shield & lance. He's a right nightmare for VC's to deal with since the only range you'll likely face is magic-based... (and a 1+ save is pretty damn good!)
Yes it's still a sacrifical unit in the end, but the idea is to simply fly about and try to nick as many of his spells as you can! Concentrate your efforts on the necros first since they'll only have 2 spells and thus you've got a 50/50 chance of removing a vanhel's...
d) Lv2 Wizard w/Staff of Sorcery. (it got faq'd back into the game!)
This effectively gives you a cheap Lv3 when it comes to dispelling, and the Lv2 will act as a good way of ensuring your Lv4 gets the spells he really wants since you can roll spells for the Lv2 first...
As for Chaos Warriors? Don't fear the VC magic at all! It should really end up being an annoyance more than anything else - just concentrate on dispelling anything targeting his grave guard (or other hammer unit).
Warriors are light-years ahead of undead in every way... The big threats will only come from any wights, grave guard & vamps.
Just keep your wizard/s in a unit you expect to not see combat against anything scarier than a skeleton. Also, don't forget your chaos anti-magic gear; black tounge to punish those foolish single dice attempts, infernal puppet, hell cannon (through a possible misfire).
Since you will likely have to fight a grave guard unit, I'd try to hit it with the following;
25-30 Warriors w/sword & board, MoT, full command, banner of eternal flame.
If the grave guard had regen, then they've just wasted 225pts to get it! And with a 5++ ward, his killing blow isn't nearly as deadly as it could be...