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Looking to start WFB, I like Vampire Counts all the way. I been doing a little study of the game, but with 8th Im sure that all change. So to the experts, what works now and what doesnt anymore?
 

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Okay, I hate it when people come on forums and whinge on saying 'my army got nerfed' but wellllll....

-bites tongue-

The way to play this army has changed drastically...

Previous strengths of magic dominance, psychological warfare [fear/terror], lack of concern about the worst troop stats around, op wraith units, immensely tooled up characters, these things are all of the past.

Magic dominance from single die spell casts is out, but in a 1000pt army you'll get roughly double the dice to do the same thing, but your opponent with even just one L2 mage can hold you at bay. Now we need to look at the rest of the spell list and make more use of it, there's serious potential in going for uber casts of Summon Undead Horde, Curse of years and Wind of Undeath if the opponent has plenty of units. These were never really used before as the single die Invocation was so much more effective. But the ease of casting them now is quite something, though you really need to look at specialising your vampires for optimum effectiveness. All magic or all combat as a little bit of each gets you nowhere.

Psychological warfare doesn't really exist anymore. Instead in combat, your opponent may once in a while fight with WS1, not something to rely on as you can bet on a Lord (high Ld) and BSB being nearby. Though combat Vamps should really take Aura of Dark Majesty as it'll have effects of increasing the likeliness of this, favouring successful break tests and also interfering with any troops wanting to march nearby.
Also on this vein of thought, outnumbering/outranking is gonna become a hefty issue for Vamp players, if we don't we have a stubborn enemy, not needed.

The bad troop stats is gonna be a real bugbear on all Undead players. Now that the emphasis of the game is coming back to troops making attacks, [Am actually Really glad to see this but every silver lining has it's cloud,] Skellies and Zombies are gonna shine at just how bad they are....
Ways round this.... Horde em up, even crap stats get better when you up the amount of attacks. Helm of Commandment is gonna become your favourite item, normally worn buy a magicky Vamp Lord behind your battle line. Danse Macabre gets you Always Strike First and reroll misses, a huge boost, and ofc the movement thingy but thats by the by. Other ways to get this are through Corpse Carts and Staff of damnation, though both are bound spells, you need to read how they work and see if you like.

Wraith units, though still a nifty bunch for being Ethereal and dishing out some sexy damage are no longer immensely manouvreable as Skirmish units are confined with similar LoS and movement to normal units :(

The days of most of your army being in points heavy characters with token minimal size Core Units and the rest in Special/Rare are also gone.
Real attention needs to be paid to what role you want your characters to take, and how to efficiently kit them up. The 25% Lord and 25% Hero means more Lords in smaller games!! though at 205 starter you're not going to get much kit on him in a 1000pt scrap. But to not take him means only 2 characters in your army, it'll be an uphill struggle going that way.
I still see the Wight King as the best statline BSB pts can buy though. For cheap points Necromancers fill a gap and are always handy.

Let's have a look at some positive things now....:scratchhead:

Admittedly I am still finding my feet with this new Edition, the changes as a whole, I love, more emphasis on troops, armies being more manouvreable, the game has def evolved, how can we take advantage of this....

First up, there's guaranteed to be a lot more dice in the magic phase so let's get the old favorite 'Black coach' back out again. Each magic phase will see average 7 power dice, before any additionals. That pretty much guarantees an upgrade to it Every Magic phase, so by end of Turn 3 you get the all singing, Scythed, Hatred, Magic Res, Killing Blow, Ethereal, flyer, you Always wanted, maybe even earlier =)
And unless I'm very much mistaken, there's no more cannonball chariot popping!

Black Knights might also be worth another perusal, now that the 2nd rank get to attack, the charge can become a Lot more effective. Tweaking with Banner of +1 to hit, some Always hit first with re-roll magic and a character or 2, there's some serious damage potential, though have yet to put this one into effect.

Personally am taken with a new look a Grave Guard. Before I always used as an anvil with hand weapon shield, serious lastability, which they maintain. But with 2nd rank attacks, single attack great weapon units have some serious potential. Multi attack units will only get +1 from the 2nd rank which wont greatly enhance their effectiveness, but this gives chance to double the amount of S6 being dished out. Even on hand weapon/shield, that's still a heck of a lot more killing blow potential. Not many heroes will be volunteering to face that, just on the off chance...
As always with magic enhancement for Always strike 1st, re-roll misses, even +1 to hit banner, these guys will scare opponents.

Corpse Carts around the front line will always have their place.

Dire Wolves are no longer Fast Cav, relegated to 'War Beasts', meh. A sad loss. Though Fell Bats are now much better at War Machine hunting, take a unit of 6 and see them dish out 12 attacks as they dont have to be in base contact any more.

To summise,
Army Selection needs more care with job-specific roles for Vampires needing to be optimised to fit point allowance.
The more manouvreable units in our army are now a lot less so, whilst the majority of our opponents have become more so with a better chance of marching in proximity to enemy units.
Our heavier units now look to be a little stronger and might be something we come to rely on.
Horde units look to be a must for cheaper units, eg. Zombies, though this is a double edged sword with giving opportunity for more enemy to engage.
The Magic Phase has changed severely, and though can still be a strength is not as reliable as was, and that miscast table still makes me wince. Plenty of dice and repeat casting Invocation on 2 dice with a L4 Vamp is open for wearing down dispel pools, but the option of an uber cast of Summon Horde with your last power dice is also definitely viable. I say with your last dice so you dont lose any when you miscast. And the fact you can heal up any Magic users is still a strength of the army.

These thoughts are just my initial responses to 8th Ed. I haven't gone far in my play-testing, though am relishing the challenge of looking again at the elements of the army that had gotten sidelined previously. I look forward to hearing others thoughts on the Good, the Bad, and the Dead.
 

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You forgot one of the best parts about the new edition for VC. Access to all the new uber powerful lores of magic (with the exception of life), and the ability to double up on the same lore. Lol imagine as you get up to a additional +5 to cast fire magics. Also we now have bare none the cheapest caster who is guaranteed to get the transformation of kadon. (I know its not a practical spell, but damn turning a 135pt vamp into a 500pt dragon even for one turn is fun).

Also building on the idea of grave guard a 6X3 unit with the banner of the borrows (sp?), and a helm of command behind them will on average cause around 8 wounds to even T4 models. Oh also taking the ability to get +2 magic dice a turn on a suicide vamp =150pts is still a sensible investment, since it will guarantee that you will never have less then 4-5 dice at the least, and will on average still have 2 more P-dice then your opponent. Also at 1500pts we can have a caster lord with a constant +5 to cast.

One more thing casters can now hide in the back ranks, and cast as long as they don't require LoS for their spells. (The rule is found on the border of the page in the relevant rule book entry)
 

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Also we now have bare none the cheapest caster who is guaranteed to get the transformation of kadon. (I know its not a practical spell, but damn turning a 135pt vamp into a 500pt dragon even for one turn is fun).
Wrong :p

I know High Elves can beat that, at 130points. Mage w/ Seerstaff of Saphery. I'd have to check the other books because I'm not sure if they can go cheaper again.

Oh, and HE Dragon gets ASF as far as I'm aware :)
 

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You forgot one of the best parts about the new edition for VC. Access to all the new uber powerful lores of magic (with the exception of life), and the ability to double up on the same lore. Lol imagine as you get up to a additional +5 to cast fire magics.)
True but I've experimented with other Lores in the past, particularly the old Lore of Death, for Ld mods, and found it just not as effective in the VC army I play.

Also we now have bare none the cheapest caster who is guaranteed to get the transformation of kadon. (I know its not a practical spell, but damn turning a 135pt vamp into a 500pt dragon even for one turn is fun). )
Does sound like fun :victory:

Oh also taking the ability to get +2 magic dice a turn on a suicide vamp =150pts is still a sensible investment, since it will guarantee that you will never have less then 4-5 dice at the least, and will on average still have 2 more P-dice then your opponent. )
Hmm, not just me that's looking aat suicide mages then =)

Been musing over a Hero Vamp with Forbidden Lore to access the new uber Magicks, particularly Lore of Metal's signature spell, Searing Doom, max power it and you can cut deep into most tooled up units, nuking a full unit of Chaos Knights in one spell, tastes good. Halve the size of a Dwarf Lord's retinue too. that'd taste Real good.


One more thing casters can now hide in the back ranks, and cast as long as they don't require LoS for their spells. (The rule is found on the border of the page in the relevant rule book entry)
See I wasn't sure on this. I thought it looked viable again from my first read through, but wasn't sure. I've revisited the book since and can't see anything stating that we can't put casters in the middle of units again, but if you can actually see a rule stating we can, that'd put my mind at ease, a page number if you please. Thanks in advance
 

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I thought you'd only have LOS if you were in the first or second rank? I'm pretty sure there's no LOS if you're any farther back than that.

(Although I could be wrong, and would be quite overjoyed, actually, if I am.)
 

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As an add to previous post, a unit that I had long since discarded, due to unreliability of Frenzy has become now quite tasty.

Blood Knights

Drop a Lord in to boost Ld, and the Frenzy becomes controllable, also these guys will have extra manouvreability around the enemy, more chance of being able to march with higher Ld. All of a sudden the killing power of these gorgeous models is harnessable.

*kudos to Sethis for this one btw*:thank_you:
 

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To bad the corpse cart is kind unplayable these days.... Still in huge points games I would take 3 with bale fire if your facing a real magic heavy army, since you can get a 8+ to dispel if you take a maxed out caster lord.
 

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Sorry to double post, but I really wanted to show the unique opportunity for unique paint/modeling for VC presented by dedicated caster vamps. Here is my lore of beasts caster vamp (The paint scheme, and animal accompanying her get across the feel of her specialty). Actually I plan on doing 3-4 dedicated vamp caster representing my favorite borrowed lores(All female). Also all the necros, in my army are getting faced out for the mantic female necromancers.
 

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He does get ASF. It specifically says that the character remains a character, and maintains all of his special rules that are not granted by equipment (he also cannot cast spells). A Vampire Lord who turns into one, for example, is still Undead, a Slann that does it is still Cold Blooded, and a Dark Elf Sorceress would still have Hatred.
 

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Heal-able dragons you say hmmm.
 

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He does get ASF. It specifically says that the character remains a character, and maintains all of his special rules that are not granted by equipment (he also cannot cast spells). A Vampire Lord who turns into one, for example, is still Undead, a Slann that does it is still Cold Blooded, and a Dark Elf Sorceress would still have Hatred.
Except no Dragon for the Slann :(

Immune to Non-Magic Attack Dragons may have been considered a little too over the top :p
 

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Speaking hypothetically :p
 

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For those still experimenting around magick heavy Undead, a few thoughts...

The souped up Vamp Lord is a must pretty much as he will be doing most casting, get him to L3 at least pref L4 for the + mods on each cast.
Have seen some more usage of Necro coming in, both a little experimental.

1st type is for single die casts on Invocation.

If you want to hang on to the old style of casting, you'll prob never single die cast with your Lord as the possibility of failure just empties out your magick phase from other spell usage. With a single spell Necro however, there is nothing to lose. Kept at basic cost with one spell, you can repeat roll 3+ to get Invocation off, if you fail you switch to another Necro and do again, or switch to Vamp Lord with 2 dice. Necro's are dirt cheap, but can hammer out repeat casts to suck dispel dice out. Bare in mind though if facing Dwarves or any army with a L2 wizard, they will have +2 dispel, so this is only a tactic to suck dispel dice rather than to rely on to rebuild an army. The odd spell will get cast, but effects are negligible.

2nd type is suicide mages

If you want to make sure of getting a Danse cast at a crucial point, take a Necro with the spell, add a power scroll, (new common magic item,) and dump in a unit of skellies, not near anything valuable.
The idea runs that at that crucial point you use 6 power dice and the scroll, and go for the irresistible/miscast.
Result: Necro and a few skellies get slapped, you get the crucial ASF + Hatred at crucial point in game with minimal risk to anything of worth. Just try it out
:wink:
 

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Trickster's Shard and spam IoN. Every spell from that character dispelled cause a wound on the wizard used to dispell. (Means he would probably use a minor wizard for dispelling that round for 25 points).

Might work? Think i'll give it a try one day.

The only problem is that you need to use Trickster's Shard before you roll for dices. So, pretty random, but we get the most use of it since we can roll a spell more than once.
 

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What are people looking at for character builds? I'm torn between running multiple "battlemage" vamps (Avatar of Death & Dark Acolyte) or specialising individual vamps for specific tasks.

One trick I'm considering is to give my general forbidden lore (shadow) and make use of the school ability to swap places with a tooled combat vamp if he gets into trouble. Might keep him (and therefore the army) alive a little longer, as well as being a nasty surprise for enemy mage hunters...

EDIT: I would prefer to run vamps only, rather than using necros or wight kings. More aesthetics than anything else, but I am going for a blood dragon theme using a mix of mantic/LOTR models.
 

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'Battlemage' sounds intersting, how do you find they work?

Personally I'm a lot more for speciallising for specific roles.

Reason for this being, characters in combat are now a lot more vulnerable, (extra rank of attackers able to target even after you've dished out your kills, to combat this corner placement can limit the incoming but that's still a minimum of 4 able to target) so if they aren't kitted out with good defence, they die too easy.

Also, Lore of Death can be renamed Lore of Assassination, it is a true vampire killer. Most spells can pick out a character and nuke him. Though this is also a viable tactic in our arsenal with 'Forbidden Lore'.
On that note, a little word on suicide mages, a Vampire L1, + Forbidden Lore, +Power Scroll adds up to a good few points but can auto use Signature spell in Lore of Metal. This one spell has awesome potential when used on max power. First turn usage I find has the best impact.

Put the vamp in a unit of expendable/massive skellies.

Have him opposite a nasty enemy unit, ie. Hydra, Heavy Cav etc

1st magic turn, you need at least six dice from winds of magic, once you've used whatever other power dice you can but are down to your last 6, you use all 6 on him to cast the spell, max power with the power scroll.
Any roll of a double = irresistible force (+miscast, which is why it's your last spell in a unit of cheap skellies)
Effect = 2d6 hevy Cav kills on 2+ or Hydra gets 2d6 wounds on 4+ (note no armour save and counts as flaming)

Admittedly this is a bigger points cost than Empire equiv, and MathHammer may say well, points used vs points killed isn't that efficient.
But the heavy nuking of a prominent enemy unit on the 1st turn really puts your opponent in a spin.
Admittedly, was you use this more than once you'll find counters coming into play, but whilst it's new and lasts it's bloody good fun =)

Also, 2k + check out Count Mannfred for uber spell casting, Isabella is a nice little healer for novelty value, and the uber mounted combat Lord with dreadlance (auto hit) red fury (extra attack for each initial wound) and Nightshroud (enemy lose all charging bonus, lose ASF and have I1) is a fairly sic combo

Play them, experiment with them, let me know what you think [make them better]

Enjoy
 

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On that note, a little word on suicide mages, a Vampire L1, + Forbidden Lore, +Power Scroll adds up to a good few points but can auto use Signature spell in Lore of Metal. This one spell has awesome potential when used on max power. First turn usage I find has the best impact.

Put the vamp in a unit of expendable/massive skellies.

Have him opposite a nasty enemy unit, ie. Hydra, Heavy Cav etc

1st magic turn, you need at least six dice from winds of magic, once you've used whatever other power dice you can but are down to your last 6, you use all 6 on him to cast the spell, max power with the power scroll.
Any roll of a double = irresistible force (+miscast, which is why it's your last spell in a unit of cheap skellies)
Effect = 2d6 hevy Cav kills on 2+ or Hydra gets 2d6 wounds on 4+ (note no armour save and counts as flaming)
I like your idea. Will play this out in my army and see how it goes.
 
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