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So I'm going to be playing against vampire count's a lot in the near future as my friend has decided to expand his horizons and start using them in place of the usual ogres.
My question(s) is, how does one approach fighting them? I have heard some things about them, for example, they have a really good magic phase, tough character's and some decent infantry blocks.
Also, are there specific things I need to watch out for?
What will help me the most, lore wise? Certain infantry? etc.
Thanks in advance!
The VC have some very strong characters who can cast magic and throw down in combat - yeah even a Chaos Lord needs to tread carefully around some of the Carstein crew.
Their army is immune to psychology and unbreakable. Some of their infantry can be very dangerous:
- There is an etheral unit, and the Black Coach will suck power dice and become an un-killable etheral beast by turn 3 so either nuke it fast or bring some Khorne knights, magic won't dent it after +3MR and 4+ ward Save [unless you have Purple Sun].
- Goul hordes are tough and have poisoned attacks
- Bloodknights are the only knights more powerful than our own, but they are even more expensive too.
- Don't get bogged down by hordes, his army will get huger by the round from magic.
- Watch out for killing blow from their characters and carry a cheap magic weapon like biting blade.
The Lore to hurt them most is Death, take out Coach with Purple Sun first turn and pick off their general and vampire. Then sit back and watch the entire army fail crumble tests with their pitiful base leadership [doom and darkness makes this even more fun] - Khorne is a safe choice for marks, but MoT is fine if u have Aspect of the Dreadknight up your sleeve - expect lots fear/terror tests.
“If you’re in the penalty area and don’t know what to do with the ball, put it in the net and we’ll discuss the options later.” – Bob Paisley
Fire and armor come highly recommended - Ghouls have lots of attacks and poison, but they're only swinging at S3, so even a basic unit of 10 Knights will probably handle them pretty easily (as mentioned above, you also want Knights because chances are they will have Ethereal units, which are immune to conventional weapons). The fire part comes from the fact that their classic tournament unit (a Horde of Grave Guard) will have a BSB that gives the entire unit Regeneration, plus they have a gribbly (the Varghulf) that also Regenerates. Hence, Warriors with the Flaming Banner in the flank with Marauders in the front will do the trick. Try and keep your characters away from the Grave Guard, if possible - everyone in that unit has Killing Blow, and nothing sucks like getting caught with 2-3 of those and sweating out those Ward saves. One more thing to note is that the Vampire won't usually be in that unit - he'll by in a nearby one using the Helm of Commandment to give all those Grave Guard WS7. Engage him with a unit (preferably Warriors accompanied by a character that can fight, because Vampires are pretty killy) to take that away.
Prepare to see A LOT of spells being bandied about - Vampire magic doesn't have the "a spell can only be cast once per turn" restriction, so they're just going to spam things on 2 or 3 dice until they get through. As such, unless your magic strategy consists of 6-dicing spells through, leave the Puppet at home, because it's not going to see any action on his turn. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is an average-I army (the units that people actually take hover around the I2-I3 range), so Pit or Purple Sun will do some serious damage.
tl;dr: Bring Warriors with fire; bring Knights; bring I-test spells; bring at least one fighty character.
Last edited by rothgar13; December 16th, 2011 at 20:37.
Thanks for the feedback guys, I was curious about your thought's on trolls vs VC's? Keep them at home or bring them with me?
I'm also considering a big chaos knight BSB/sorcerer bus when I face them, how would that do?
Leave the Trolls at home, I say. The only unit that has an armor save worth noting in the VC army is Blood Knights, and they're so expensive (in terms of $$$ and points) that they're not commonly used anymore.
Chaos Knights will do all right smashing Ghouls and Wraiths, but I wouldn't make a big bus of them, because Grave Guard will roll them, thanks to S4, Great Weapons, and Killing Blow on every guy.
If your friend is a good gamer, he's going to pick up on the onesidedness of the VC book very quickly. Chiefly, their only viable core unit is Ghouls. So let's start there:
Of everything in the book, Ghouls are probably the only thing that is underpriced. They're WS3, S3, but T4, and they've got 2A each with Poison. They don't have armor, and have no options for a command though. Expect these fools to be horded up into huge blocks of 50 or so.
The Poison is the real sticker here, because it means that they're going to ignore our toughness and cause auto-wounds. So out of the 40 attacks you can expect from a Horde, you're facing 20 hits, 6-7 of which are going to autowound.
Warriors can take these fools, but it's almost like using a tactical nuke to kill a mouse. Poison really evens out the score on toughness (since it just straight ignores it) and the Ghouls are going to outnumber us by at least 2 to 1 (literally, assuming no marks, no command, and minimum legal equipment- the cost exactly half as much). For this reason, if you send in a Warrior unit to do the job, expect to be there a while...
The best bet for killing these guys has got to be Marauders. It's one time where we can beat them at their own game - sending in underpriced Hordeables against underpriced Hordeables. Simple GreatWeapons will work, on a unit of about 50-60 guys. Figure, we can get 67 Marauders with GWs for just a bit more than they can get 50 Ghouls. We're already winning.
Now, on to their elites. If you see BlackKnights or FelBats, you're already winning the game, so we'll skip them. Otherwise they have Grave Guard, who are actually a royal pain in the posterior. Considering they have Killing Blow and hit us on 4's, plus they'll almost always take GreatWeapons thanks to their sub-par initiative, you're looking at one devastating unit. S6 walks through Warrior armor if you're not rocking a shield, and Killing Blow ignores it outright. To boost the unit even further, they can add on Banner of Barrows for +1 on their To Hit rolls (now they hit on 3's) and toss in a Wight King BSB carrying a Regen Banner. Oh yes, expect some difficulty fighting these.
Sending in armor against these guys is just plain silly. Once again, they're cheaper (base) than a Warrior, and expect your bloodsucking friend to field them in bulk. My last game against them I ran into a block of 30, fielded with 6 ranks. Yeah, not going anywhere in a hurry. With me at the helm of a full-plate army, I was doomed. Best bet is - once again - send in Marauders.
When you get into Rare, they have a few choices. Firstly, they have the Varghulf, who's really fallen to the wayside these days. Kill him like you'd kill any monster. They've also got the Terrorgheist (pretty sure that's rare) who can be a bit of an annoyance. They also have the Wraiths, Ethereal Skirmishers with Greatweapons. Finally, they have the two most common choices - the Black Coach or Blood Knights.
The Ethereal guys are easy to deal with, provided you have magic weapons to take on their ethereal rule. They do have 3A each, and I believe 2W, so overkilling them with Knights isn't a bad way to get it done. Their champion has a shriek which forces a 3D6 Ld check, and causes instapops for every point you fail your Ld by. This effect is also present on the Terrorgheist, where I believe it is increased to a 4d6 check.
The Coach is a bit of an issue. Every magic phase (yours and your enemy) every die in the casting pool is rolled, and those which come up 6's are eaten by the coach. They can't be used to cast, but they pump the coach up, from causing an extra impact hit, to infinite hatred, to Flying, Ethereal, a Wardsave and Magic Resistance. Basically, you want to kill this thing as early as possible, or stall it and ignore it for as long as you can. There's not a lot that you can do against a Coach, because thanks to the ridiculous amounts of powerdice flying around in each phase, they tend to boost up pretty quickly these days.
Blood Knights are the other choice. They're not as scary as the Coach, but face it, that's not saying much at all really. S5 plus Lances and Frenzy, they can all accept challenges as champions and they're basically Chaos Knights for 15pts more apiece. The worst part about it is that they'll usually be running around with the Regen banner and/or a Vampire with a sword called Blood Drinker, which restores a wound to the unit for every wound dealt to the enemy. Thanks to their ability to suck out the challenges to any basic Blood Knight, getting to the Vamp can be a little trickier than we'd like.
My favorite method for dealing with these guys, is my favorite method for frustrating any VC player - hitting them with superior, cheaper, models. Knights do it well. Get the charge, negate their S7 lances, and then grind it out with these dudes. Don't run characters or champions in the Knight block, because he'll just eat the challenges with a standard guy and leave his Vamp free to whoop up on your unit. Instead, get in there and start banging attacks off at his Vampire. The Vampire is the only thing in the unit that will strike ahead of you - everything else hits simultaneously or slower, so mutual destruction is really viable here.
It should be noted that Blood Knights don't crumble once the General is dead - they're vampires, and anything with the Vampire rule will not just roll over and die.
When it comes to characters, you have your Vampires, and you have your non-vamps. Vampires are the same as Chaos Sorcerers if they had a bit more combat prowess- and therefore they suffer from the same distaste thanks to overpricing. There will always be at least one vampire in the list though - the general. Kill him, it works wonders, obviously.
When it comes to the non-vamps, there are two varieties. The first the Wight Kings, who are a bit of a pain considering they're T5, have 3A, 3W, KB, and take a Hero choice. They're prime candidates for BSBs, and since they are technically Wights, they benefit from the +1 to hit from Banner of the Barrows. Usually they're found in the block of Graveguard, carrying the Drakenhof (Regen) banner, and standing right under the Banner of the Barrows. Otherwise, you won't see them unless they're on the back of a Terrorgheist, which is akin to a minor dragon and should be treated as such.
Finally you have the most irritating creatures in the world for our army - Wraiths. These are Hero versions of the Ethereal rare choice. They're pretty non-threatening on their own, but they can join non-ethereal units and eat the challenges meant for other models. This happened to me in my last game, my BSB was stuck swinging at one of these guys for 4 rounds of combat, when I could've been whittling away at Ghouls.
They've also got Necromancers, which are just fluff casters for their only real good spells. They've got a few which are worth noting - Vanhels will give them a free move or free round of attacks in the magic phase, and they can bring units into contact with this. Invocation will pick up dead models, working almost identically to Regrowth. Raise Dead will bring up wounds across their whole army, or raise a fresh regiment of Zombies. This spell, and the other 3 of their lore, aren't all that amazing. For this reason, expect Necromancers to have IoN and VHD, and Vampires to have IoN and lore of Death.
Well, that's the VC in a nutshell. They used to have a pretty solid magic phase, it's pretty average now, and although their units are actually still pretty scary in a straight fight, they're a bit overpriced. Meeting them at their own game with cheaper units of underpriced models will break their backs in combat and carry the day.
The Coach was errata'd to only work on the Vampire Counts' magic phase, Cap'n. And most of the people fielding the BloodBus up and stopped when the Terrorgheist became available, because it MURDERS MSU armies that don't have cannons, Casket of Souls-style, and if you bring Blood Knights you effectively close the book on that, Varghulfs, and the Black Coach (because they eat up all the Rare points). Another underrated weakness of the Blood Knights is that they're Frenzied, so place a unit of Dogs in front of them and smile. That is, if your opponent makes the mistake of fielding them. Apart from that, most of it was spot-on.
Last edited by rothgar13; December 16th, 2011 at 22:24.
Again thanks for the awesome feedback.
I'm just wondering how does one deal with a S6 4+regen KB unit like graveguard outside marauders?
Could a unit of Tzeentch warriors with banner of eternal flame stand a chance? I ask, because I don't carry around two large unit's of gw marauder's in any of my all-comer's lists.
You want the Flaming attacks in the flank, not the front, so just jam the Marauders in their craw, bring the Flaming Banner Warriors through the flank, and have the Knights handle the Ghouls. Given that the unit of Grave Guard costs as much as the Marauders and the Warriors combined, it shouldn't be an impossible task.
But if you're thinking of fighting them straight-up... yeah, no. Don't do that - the Grave Guard unit will go Horde and crush you under a tide of S6 attacks that hit on 3's, or on 2's if there's a Helm of Commandment in the mix.
Hello all, I hope you enjoyed your holidays! I'm here to post my results for my first 2500 point game against vc's. I think the hype was more effective than my opponents actual army, as I pretty much rolled through it last night. His list was not particularly powerful, he had had quite a bit of infantry, and no coach go steal my dice. He actually ended up bringing quite a bit of cavalry. There was a big block of ghouls with regen bsb, a lvl3, and a few necromancers. Then a unit of blood knights, a unit of black knights, and some graveguard among other things I can't remember all of it. I had a unit of tzeentch warriors with rapturous standard, a unit of khorne warriors with halberds and flame banner. My favorite newly discovered unit of 11knights with MoT and blasted standard, accompanied by my bsb. I also brought with me a hellcannon, gw marauders w/festus, and of course a lvl 4 shadow sorcerer. Again MVPs for me this game were the knights, and of course the marauders.The knights steam rolled through a smaller unit of ghouls, as well as his unit of black knights. My marauders hit the front of the regen ghouls unit with the khorne warriors hitting the rear. My hellcannon engaged his graveguard to hold them up, and the blood knights disappeared off the table after I got off curse of the leper and withering.Needless to say I tabled him by turn 4. He is a very good player, and this was only his first time using vampires, he told me to expect a revised list and a whooping next time we meet .
Last edited by Noma; December 27th, 2011 at 14:58.