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I'm kind of new to the warriors of chaos and warhammer in general, I have a regular opponant who plays with vampire counts who crushes me everytime we play. Can anyone offer advice in the form of army composition, tactics, item combos and stuff?
well, as far as army composition goes, I don't think there is really any correct way to do it (other than having the correct 3+ core at 2000+pts etc). To be totally effective in helping you counter your opponent, though, It will certainly help to know how many points you typically play (as games at different points values can change tactics and composition drastically) and information about what models you have/are willing to use and what parts of your opponent's army give you trouble.
As a general rule of thumb, I try to build all my lists as balanced, at least somewhat competitive take-all-comer lists. To do this I make sure my army has at least one, preferably two or more means to take care of the various types of armies I expect to encounter. With chaos this generally means that I want to have something capable of stopping big monsters (like dragons), several things to help against shooting armies or magic heavy armies, and plenty of flexible models. In my case this means at 2000+ I'll have two or more solid blocks of chaos warriors, at least one brick of knights, some screening units like marauders and warhounds to keep me from getting too shot up, at least one sorcerer, and at least one well-tooled out killing machine character. Everything else changes upon my playstyle (if I want to go with an all cavalry army, the composition changes significantly, for instance) or what type of game I'll be playing. I imagine this is how most people will advise you also.
As for dealing with Vampires, I don't have their book, so I don't know the worst of their tricks, but I can pretty safely assume at a few good ways to take them on with WoC (I've really only played against them with my empire, and then cannonballs solve everything).
Vampires tend to have a pretty heavy emphasis on magic, so make sure you have a fair share of dispel dice to stop him from rezzing skeletons and zombies all over the place. I don't think you should be too worried about it on an individual spell level, as you can probably kill whatever he puts out just as quickly as he can raise it, but still- the last thing you want it to be out of dispel dice when the vampire casts the free movement spell.
You'll also want some good methods of dealing with the whole army causing fear. Most VC generals rely on static combat resolution (that is- outnumbering, ranks, standards, flanks) to win combat, so if you can avoid automatically running should they win, you shouldn't have too much difficulty Mark of Slaanesh is great for this because it's cheap. Mark of Khorne is a more expensive and risky way to solve the problem, but will work nonetheless (and help you put more of a dent in the dead). Even without marks, core warriors shouldn't have too much difficulty negating the undead static res by merely attacking rank and file troops. Many core undead troops are pathetic compared to even marauders on foot, and generally aren't very well armored either.
If you can get a flank charge against blocks of undead, you WILL win combat.
Also, if you can kill their vampires (which you can certainly manage in challenges) the army falls apart.
Im sure theres more that others can add, but those are some general guidelines. Hope this helps.
What you need against Vampire counts is a high static combat resolution. What this means, is that you need ranked up units of marauders, marauder horsemen to flank and negate their combat res, and units of warriors just to get the kills to make more dead skeletons.
Depending on his army, there are other things you should do. Does he have lots of magic missiles (i'm not familiar with the vampire lore)? If so, take warhounds to screen your important units. Is his killing blow units annoying you? Then take chariots.
You will also need some magic defense to stop all the spells to replenish his units.
Infernal Puppet and Black tongue works wonders on Vampires. Wait till the general rolls a double (assuming he casts, say VDM) and then just destroy him with it.
Also, Pandaemonium works too.
In addition to that, try a character kitted out for character killing and just pop off their magic. Wulfrik springs to mind.
If you can get all his magic into healing his units you've got him on the back foot. he wont be casting spells to kill your units and wont be raising more units. So things that will kill his units very quickly get them in there!
The undeads biggest advantage(other than magic) is fear, you nullify that then you bring it down to a straight fight. So Mark of Slaanesh is great or mark of Khorne. Or use your units that cause fear, Knights or monsters.
Monsters i find are dam good against Undead. Ogres are brilliant. A unit of 4 armed however you want rock against undead. The general bad side for ogres is their low WS, but against skelies and zombies thats out the window. Dragon Ogres too, kit these boys out with 2 hand weapons and you'll scythe through his units faster than he can heal them!!!
Spawn can hold a 200pt unit of skellies up for the whole game and they're only ** points!
Also, kit out your boys for Magic defence, Collar of Khorne on one boy and er.....the other thing that gives your character Magic Res 2. Burning Blood is it? (Great time to have a senior moment) They will protect your units from the worst of his offensive Magic. Fire magic or Tzeentch No1 spell, Flaming attacks are good against the most of their stuff. Some of their units have Regenerate or the ability to regenerate such as the Vargulf. The Tzeentch Pandemonium spell just rocks against Undead. But again, if you hurt him enough to put his magic into repairing units you're sorted.
hmm......Hope that helps......