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Wanted to seek players inputs for how they select, or what they think, are the best options for Vampire counts armys for your rare slots. I'm looking along the lines or what will make its points back, and what will have the best effect in a tournament style setting. Don't feel you have to restrict to what's in the Vampire Counts book, i'm generally seeking input as to what to use in a balanced Counts army. Here's my thoughts on a couple items. Feel free to throw in your own ideas or units you use.
Banshees- effective vs low leadership armies, however in a tournaments just might not cut it. For what they do the points seem a little high for my liking, but being etherael makes them a little more dangerous.
Giants-seems the most cost effective, and always nice to add a little terror to a fear causing army. Points are on par with taking 2 banshees or 1 coach. Seems a little more survivable then a coach but not by a whole lot. The high leadership and stubborn is always a nice thing.
Black Coach-Terror and the ability to gain wounds is huge. Points are a little high for something that going to explode to a cannon or Str 7 bolt thrower
DoW cannon-just can't bring myself to do this as it just doesn't seem fluffy, will most likely be one of the most points effective units.
40K-Beakies(9-14-4),Guard(4-7-2),Orks(34-12-11). FANTASY-Dwarves(15-6-7),Beasts (14-14-1), Skaven (17-17-10) DoC (6-1-2). CYGNAR (28-15-1)
Or even more bizarre and something you could include in a necrarch army: the cannon could have (human)legs: like a frankenstein-milliped with a cannon grafted on top!
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The Dutch Legion
I pretty much stick to the units in the book and 9/10 I pick banshees.
In the opponents I tend to play against there's a lot of S7+ stuff and the Black Coach just isn't worth it.
My Banshees tend to be very lucky too.
I tend not to use my rare slots at all. However when I do it is usualy a giant. It works so well in combination with zombies or skellies and doesn't die to combat res like the black coach.
I would not take the giant or the cannon. Sure they have their uses but what you gain in battle scores you will lose duoble in comp and sportsmanship scores.
I always take a banshee and a black coach. Sure they aren't cheap and in some games they are next to useless. However they have great potential and opponents know this and will go out of their way to get rid of them meanwhile you can march your main army across the field.
Sure you can use the black coach to a STR 7 shot. But a giant can also fall in 1 round of shooting.
Banshees are nice. I have only taken them a few times but on both occassions I sort of just had them tagging along with some skellies. Both opponents ignored them. Then in the last couple of turns they were close enough to cripple the heavy cavelry (Dragon Princes and Boar Boyz respectivly) my opponent was fielding.
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Ive only just started using a banshee as my only rare, before i looked at them and thought they were too fragile and wouldnt do enought damage, but after using one in a few games ive started to respect them there scream can be very nasty. The game i played yesterday she took out 5 mounted yoemen, 6 knights of the realm and a trebuchet crew not a bad toll in a 1500 pt game could have been more if werent for that damn blessing.
As for the black coach ive used 2 in a sylvannian list. I would deploy them effectivly as a unit of 2 and have them smash entire flanks and then focus where most of my army was to clean up. Though in a normal list i dont think there worth their points. 2 banshees is always preferable unless youre against an immune to psychology army.
As for DOW i dont use them as i dont think its in character and they tend to take away an armys weakness. Vampire counts are not meant to have cannons. Plus you cant use DOW in GTs.
BEN DIESEL FTW!!!
If I were making a tourney list, I wouldn't take any rare choice for VC. The Coach is too expensive, and Banshees tend to run into a lot of ItP or high Ld armies, making them largely ineffectual. I'd rather spend the points on core and special troops.
If I wanted a general list for fun games, then I'd take a Banshee, maybe two. They pay off more often than a coach in my experience. Along with Spirit Hosts, many opponents really fret facing three ethereal units. Even if they die due to magic, they've kept some other unit from being targeted. You can buzz through heavily armored units with them.
The Coach is magnificent when it works and will rack up a ridiculous amount of wounds on occasion, but it's too iffy and subject to demolition from those Str 7 hits.
If you don't mind spending the points, whip up a zombie Giant. It'd look awesome, especially considering how well you paint. And Giants are just plain nasty in combat.
I tend to field the coach, I know how vulnerable it can be to st7 hits but if it comes off it wins the game. In terms of a tournament I think sticking the 200 points into either wights or spirit host would be a better bet though.
Banshees are amazing, especially if you have a BSB, just engage your opponents light cav, lose combat by outnumber but if within 12" of your BSB lose no wounds. Then you can howl at them in combat and fight them too! works on chariots also!
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I've had really good experiences with both the Banshee and Black Coach in my army. I've found that the key to using both of these effectively is actually the terrain on the board. If you're playing on fixed terrain, you may have troubles, but if you're setting it up yourself, use your choices to section the field and provide cover for these (relatively) easy targets.
For a Banshee, its important to remember that line of sight is not required. By strategically placing woods around the board, you can keep from one to the next, hitting anything that gets too close to the woods, using them to get in position on key units, and making your way into the back field to hose down enemy war machines. Also remember that there's no armor save against the Howl - I one shot a full block of marked chaos knights last week, making up the banshees points for at least three games.
Likewise, for the Coach, you need some cover. Multi-story buildings and tall forests provide you cover from siege even if its up on a hill, so it's often useful to section off a flank with enough of this type of terrain to cover your advance on the enemy's flanks or backfield. In my experience, the coach gets killed at least two games out of three, but it almost always makes its points back, or at least jams up the enemy's plans enough to be well worth it.
With both these units, there are situations - whole games in fact - where they can be pretty useless. In other matches however, they are so effective that they more than make up for their failings. In that vein, they are good performers well worth the points as long as you consider things in the long run of your play time.