Warhammer Army Project/Vampire Counts
- 1 Vampire Counts: Warhammer Army Project, 9th Edition Tactica
- 2 Why Play WAP Vampire Counts
- 3 Special rules
- 4 The Lore of Necromancy
- 5 Vampiric Powers
- 6 Artefacts of Death
- 7 Army Units
- 8 Tactica
- 9 External Links
Vampire Counts: Warhammer Army Project, 9th Edition Tactica
Created by Mathias Eliasson, this project was a homebrew attempt at giving many of the units, nations, and factions that never got Armybooks of their own (and those left behind and never got one in 8th Edition) such a thing.
It should also be noted that Eliasson is constantly updating his work, so don't expect this page to stay current forever. If anyone wishes to actually update this page and the items that need it, later on, go ahead.
Why Play WAP Vampire Counts
Vampire Counts are a fun army to play but boy are they hard to play. This army is not recommended for beginners. They lack obviously OP options that other armies have and thus aren't as subject to public shaming for playing them. They're focused on getting straight to the killing tactically, don't have to worry about demoralized troops, and their army replenishes itself fairly quickly leading to wars of attrition. They're fun to play, but they have several gimmicks that have to be accounted for to play at their best. First, note that there are no shooting options in this army, effectively eliminating an entire phase. Any ranged options in this army are purely magical. Second, while you have no need to worry about the psychology of your own units you will be paying a lot of attention to the enemy's psychology because that's crucial to victory. Never forget to take a fear test or your troops lose any advantage they have. Third, magic is your bread and butter, your meat and drink, your crossbow and hammer. You are going to be heavily reliant on magic to replenish your units and get the most advantageous fights. If you're not utterly dominating the magic phase, you're doing it wrong. There are other things to remember as well, but we'll get to them as they crop up. They, as an army, have been made more consistent on the table and less reliant on magic and generals. They are still one of the kings of tar pitting and Vampires are still one of the top combat heroes in the entire game.
As for looks and lore? Lots of ranked corpses slowly marching toward your opponent as his terrified troops struggle to fire more bullets and arrows at the hordes in a vain hope of stopping the endless tide. Shrieking spirits of the damned whirling about the battlefield consuming the warm flesh of living and adding their poor souls to their ranks. Nigh unstoppable undead beings with nightmares of feasting and world conquest, supernatural witches and tainted beings, and insane power mad mages commanding the powers of hell to do their bidding as they charge into the fray behind their minions. Absolute independence from the Ruinous Powers. If this appeals to you, you are looking at the right army. Even in small games you will be fielding dozens of zombies and skeletons as well as some more exotic dead and undead creatures; few armies can field such numbers of fodder and only one other can field fodder that is so reluctant to stay dead. Get your brush hand ready and get comfortable as you are going to need a lot of models to field these hordes.
- You have a massive level of customization equaled only by the Warriors of Chaos.
- You need Necromancers. If they all die, there goes the majority of your army.
- Undead: These aren't any different than the Tomb Kings undead, Fear, Immunity to Poison, Unstable, only lack flammable. They can't march or charge unless within 12" of the General or within 6" of a wizard with necromancy, which is a step up from the Tomb Kings. They can never flee from combat, which might matter depending on what you use. Fortunately, none of your vampires are Undead and thus can operate without worry.
- Vampiric: Vampire rule part 1.Grants Fear and Immunity to Psychology. In addition, all enemies must re-roll to wound them (unless it's magical, flaming, or a Killing Blow).
- The Red Thirst: Vampire rule part 2. Whenever a model with this rule kills, they recover a wound on a 5+ on a d6. Unfortunately, this is useless against other undead, daemons, and other non-living things.
- The Generals of Undeath: It's the same as before. You need a necromancer to be a general, then grab a few more in case he becomes like his minions. If you lose all necromancers, the undead parts of the army needs to make an Ld test each turn or lose as many models as the test was failed by.
The Lore of Necromancy
Lore Attribute: Curse of Undeath: After casting a spell, one undead unit within 6" can restore a wound. Really, this is to bolster any monsters or characters that need the pick-me-up.
- Signature: Invocation of Nehek: Always, always, always take this, especially on your Lords. If you're surrounded by undead units, they all recover 1d6+Level wounds worth of models (and that's before factoring in the various items that amplify this spell's effects). Even characters and monsters recover a wound, and if you really need it you can spend the attribute on them.
- Vanhel's Danse Macabre: let you reroll Hit rolls in close combat until the start of the caster's next Magic phase, also Tomb Kings have the means to march as a Signature Spell, yours lits you make a move if not engaged.
- Hellish Vigour: Lets an undead unit re-roll to wound in cc. Considering how pathetic your mobs are, this is better reserved for Tomb Guard if you bring them.
- Gaze of Nagash: Basic magic missile. You don't need it because you're more worried about your toys and because Curse of Years does more damage. At the least, it can pick off stragglers.
- Raise Dead: Instantly summon a horde of zombies 2d6+3 corpses strong, no upgrades included. If you augment, you can raise skeletons. The best part of this is that they can't be dispelled and they never award VP for dying.
- Curse of Years: Your deadliest spell. Each magic phase, the targeted unit needs to roll a d6 with an increasing likelihood of taking wounds without being allowed to take armour saves.
- Wind of Death: Magical Vortex. Yours has a bit of an edge since it immediately deals d6 S3 hits for each rank of a unit it crosses over, allowing you to possibly wipe out mobs of State Troopers.
Upgrades Vampire Lords and Vampires can take. The former can take 100 points, the latter 50. These do not break into the magic item allowance.
- Red Fury: Blood Dragon or Strigoi only. This allows them to make an additional attack for each model they kill, which can lead to an entire unit being flattened with the proper rolls and a well-kitted hero. The downside is that this is expensive as shit.
- Fear Incarnate: Von Carstein, Necrarch, Blood Dragon, or Strigoi only. Models in b2b with this vampire need to test Ld or be forced to only hit on 6s. You WILL want this for any killy lord.
- Supernatural Horror: Von Carstein, Necrarch, or Strigoi only. Grants Terror in the event that you don't want to ride a monster. Don't forget that this also counteracts any fear-causing units your enemy may take.
- Flying Horror: Von Carstein, Necrarch, Strigoi, or Lahmia only. Gives a pair of wings to fly with. Way to make the Abyssal Terror feel even sillier.
- Curse of the Revenant: Necrarch or Strigoi only. Gives a 4+ regen, which is helpful since these guys lack good armour.
- Transfix: Von Carstein or Lahmia only. One model in b2b must test Ld (presumably, Mathias forgot to write that in) or be unable to attack them that turn.
- Unbending Willpower: Von Carstein or Necrarch only. This allows a unit of undead within 6" suffering from Unstable or a dead general to lose one less wound. This only stacks with a BSB, so you have a slight security blanket, but it's not having a necromancer.
- Hounour or Death: Von Carstein or Blood Dragon only. During each round of a challenge, the enemy must test Ld or be reduced to WS1. While you won't expect much against an equal hero or general, this can let you sweep aside lesser champions.
- Quickblood: The OTHER most taken killy ability. If you are going to be in combat, you want this.
- Beguile: Useful in one on one challenges, which you normally don't want to be doing, but if you're up against Chaos Warriors it can be very useful.
- Walking Death: Adds +1 to Combat Resolution. Sadly, this won't stack with other Vampires with this power.
- Aura of Dark Majesty: When you're gambling on Fear/Terror, abilities like Beguile or the effects of the Coven Throne, each be amped up with Aura. One of the better non-blender lord abilities. Combine with the Coven Throne, Banshees, Terrorgheists, or Screaming Banner to really fuck with your opponents.
- Wolf Form: Have a need to make a footslogging vampire but hate M4? Buy this and now they're faster than even ponies!
- Call Winds: Innate bound PL5 spell. Enemies within 24" of this model now suffer -1 to hit with missiles.
- Wolf Lord: Dire Wolves within 24" can now march or flee from a charge.
- Summon Creatures of the Night: If you plan on using Dire Wolves, Bat Swarms, and Fell Bats then this is good as those are expensive options point-wise, so increasing their numbers on the field is a good choice.
- Master of the Black Arts: Not terrible, but not great either- it's extremely expensive, taking it prevents you from taking some other really good powers, and it doesn't guarantee you anything despite the high cost. It's nice when you turn a 1 into a 6, but so very annoying when you turn a 2 or 3 into a 1. Taking it on two vampires is a complete waste, since at that point, you're spending almost the points cost as a varghulf. That said, Necrarchs are caster-lords, so it's at least worth considering.
- Spectral Form: Grants a foot-slogging Necrarch Ethereal, but bars it from joining non-ethereal units or buying magic items.
- Forbidden Lore: You are now a Loremaster. This is a pretty neat grab for your General since you now have every Necromancy spell on tap, while others can take it or leave it as they wish since they have a broad list to pick from (Including Zacharias the turbo-nerd).
- Dark Acolyte: Adds +d3 to the casting total of Invocation of Nehek. Whoever you have managing your hordes will want this.
- Nehekhara's Noble Blood: +1 to all casting rolls. Again, Necrarchs are good at a lot of lores, so this just shoves it more in your face
- Unholy Cynosure: Lets you re-roll a single casting die, which could be helpful in saving your ass from a miscast.
- Doomrider: Lets a Blood Dragon on a Nightmare and any attached cavalry re-roll charges. You'll be thanking yourself if you manage it.
- Might of Arms: Re-roll to hit in combat. You'll be doing it plenty in combat, though you have a pretty good WS to begin with.
- Warrior Pride: Re-roll armour saves. Considering how plated you are, you'll definitely appreciate this though it's not a Ward Save.
- Dread Knight: Not bad really, a Blood Dragon can benefit from this as they'll always be challenging and any way to end it faster means you can reach your next enemy sooner.
- Heart Strike: Lets you re-roll to wound in combat.
- Master Strike: While this looks like it can be worth it if you go through the percentages, in almost all cases this is shit. Killing Blow and Heroic Killing Blow are generally only good when you have a lot of things with them all taking a chance at killing.
- Strength in Steel: You're a Blood Dragon, your job is to charge. This just makes you get Devastating Charge and add +1S when you do it.
- Blademaster: In the event that you bought a different weapon but want to keep the shield's parry save, you can net this.
- Massive Monstrosity: Strigoi, being the bare-naked freaks they are, need all the wounds they can get.
- Iron Sinews: Extra strength is also welcome on a monster that needs to rely on brute strength to prevail.
- Hunter in the Dark: Gives a footslogging Strigoi scout.
- Infinite Hatred: A Strigoi's got no use if he can't hit, so having Hatred that lasts every turn makes them better likely to kill things.
- Ghoulkin: A pack of Crypt Ghouls can be scouts.
- Summon Ghouls: Up to 3 packs of Crypt Ghouls can be ambushers.
- Seduction: On top of all the Leadership fuckery already present, you have one more. One model in b2b must take a Ld check at -1, failure letting you manipulate the model and make them attack their own unit (or be useless if they're solo).
- Quickblood: Lahmians so fast they get a 5++ Ward save.
- Lightning Reflexes: Enemies in combat must re-roll to hit this model.
- Night Creature: In the bizarre instance that you took a footslogging Lahmian and didn't put them in a unit, this gives enemies a 50/50 chance to be unable to charge the loner.
- Innocence Lost: In case you want to style on all the living fools and beat out Elves without question, this gives you ASF.
- Beguile: Enemies in b2b must test Ld at -3 or else be forced to re-roll all successful hits. Much cheaper than Lightning Reflexes, but more subject to Immunity (Psychology).
- Swiftness: Grants swiftstride in the event that you didn't bother to buy a mount.
Artefacts of Death
- Frostblade: Want an instant-killing weapon without bothering with Killing Blow? Here's your overpriced option!
- Skabscrath: This has been reworked to NOT be lethal to your user. It still has Flaming Attacks, Frenzy, and Devastating Charge, but it's now no longer bound to kill them and instead lets the user use the Banshee's Ghostly Howl attack.
- Nightshroud: VERY useful no matter where you want to put it. If you need help justifying the points, remember that it also takes the place of the Bat Swarm on the flank. Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon with Quickblood and Sword of Striking buttfucks the enemy. Master Necromancer in a Skelly bunker may make it literally impossible for your opponent to deplete your forces before you wipe his out to the last.
- Black Periapt: Not a must-have item but it can be great for a dedicated spellcaster option if you get a bad magic phase or if you're facing an army where you have spells you NEED to dispel.
- Staff of Damnation: A fantastic item, best used for Ghouls or more powerful options in the offensive category.
- The Cursed Book: This item is a gamble where you can't really lose. The only thing that's wrong with it is your primary spell is Invocation and in almost all possible circumstances you want to cast it AT LEAST once per turn, and this book can take that away. But that being said, you can pull off these spells (all of which are good) for what's probably less than their casting value without risk of any miscast.
- Book of Arkhan: VERY good item. Even if you make all attempts to cast that spell using all your capable Necromancy casters you can still at least count on whipping out one more attempt. Also can be taken by the Strigoi Ghoul King, making it fan-fucking-tastic in low-magic lists.
- Rod of Flaming Death: Pretty good item even for it's price and very good for controlling the movement phase. If your enemy DOES move (possibly due to taking a Fear test!) then you have the chance to disintegrate the whole group. This can actually be taken by a Wight King, freeing up points on your casters.
- Banner of Barrows: If you are going to take a unit of more then 15 Grave Guard (and why wouldn't you?) and/or you have a Wight King in there, you will want this banner as the +1 to hit makes your relatively low WS (for elite infantry) far more destructive. This doesn't work on the Black Knights' steeds.
- The Screaming Banner: If you want to troll, take this banner. It will make low LD armies suffer, and give you a small chance to drive away even high LD armies. The flag gets better with Terror though, as then even enemies who take options like the Shrieking Blade or those pesky Phoenix Guard still have to take the test. For the ultimate cheese special, take a horde of Grave Guard with this flag then put a Wight King BSB carrying Banner of Barrows into the same Unit along with a Vampire Lord with Aura of Dark Majesty, Supernatural Horror, and Fear Incarnate for utter carnage as a failed test means they'll be hitting on 2+.
Lords and Heros
- Vlad von Carstein: The man that started it all, and one of the few special characters who are completely justified in their points cost. You want to field him, but most people never will. Why? Because he's a staggering 520 points. As strong as he is, that is your entire Lord budget in an otherwise balanced 2000 point army, and below 2500 you most likely you don't have that kind of room for just one model. He's fairly good but the price is what stops him from being great, but most players prefer a combo of a level 4 caster of some kind along with a damage option blender lord Strigoi Ghoul King or Master Vampire. That being said, at the 2500 point level and above (ESPECIALLY above 3500) he's fucking amazing. If you're taking him, you want to bring Isabella as well although unlike her he can be good on his own.
- Mannfred von Carstein: His previous editions' ability to be one of two forms has been condensed into him only being an obscenely expensive Lord level character. He's a superb caster with one major flaw: for optimum usage he needs to kill stuff, which he isn’t too good at for a Vampire Lord since he's kitted out so much for magic. This is the man you want fighting nothing but Goblins and Skavenslaves if you can possible help it (if you're facing Ogres, you're in for a world of hurt). If you can manage to make kills then this guy will generally rule both magic phases, make sure to snipe enemy wizards early on with Spirit Leech, while he adds a free usage of Invocation of Nehek to emergency-heal any units. He's worth it, but once again you're looking at a lord who is absolutely impossible to use in any game below 3000 points.
- Unlike most other named characters in this army, you can have Mannfred ride a mount. His options are Barded Nightmare, Hellsteed, Abyssal Terror, and Zombie Dragon. Of those choices, only the Barded Nightmare is of any value for the most part and only to put him in a unit of Black Knights or Blood Knights. The other three will make him even more of an artillery and shooting target than he already is.
- Queen Neferata: Makes a fabulous return by turning her handmaidens into Special choices and being the mandatory general for 565 points. She's also a powerful caster (with her own special spell that expends wounds to cast a deadly magic missile), a massive boost to all magic missiles by adding extra damage, and a special "gift" that curses a unit to re-roll all good armour saves. While equally as flimsy in combat as Manny, she benefits from immediately recovering wounds each round as well as several defensive powers. Her ability to inflict -2 Ld to units in b2b in particular make her perfect for a Coven Throne if you can afford such a massive drain on your army. Seduction lets her stand a chance while on foot, riding a Hellsteed, or a Nightmare.
- Zacharias The Everliving: If the Necrarchs are the bookish nerds of the Vampire Counts, then this guy is their super-king. While he's stuck on a zombie dragon, he can be a Loremaster in ANY CRB lore except Life (or just grab Necromancy) while also possessing Gaze of Nagash as a bound item and carries a bag of dispel scrolls. Invocation of Nehek in particular is given a major boost by using one of Nagash's books to make its casting value go sky high so it can have a big range. As expected such unmitigated power comes with an horrific price tag; 765 points go down the drain if he dies, so keep him as far away from artillery as possible.
- Melkhior the Ancient: Fallen king of the Necrarchs. Unlike Zacharias, he's got the misfortune of being on an Abyssal Terror and is only a level 4 loremaster in Necromancy. Fortunately, he's immune to all mundane shooting, so he can laugh at the gunlines while using his free-ish Invocation of Nehek (After each casting with the item offering it, he he needs to roll a d6 and loses it on a 1).
- Walach Harkon: Grand Master of the Blood Knights. He's a flat-out Nightmare in combat (heheh, 'Nightmare'. Because he rides one), joining the Blood Knights he now makes Special if you don't buy the dragon. While only a level 2 Necromancy wizard, he's got Initiative Elves dream of, his sword always wounds on a 2+ on top of dealing a variety of special effects, and Hatred (The Empire) while his Battle Standard (Yeah, he's a BSB too) gives units within 12" Hatred (ALL). His last gift is the Blood Chalice, which gives either a recovered wound, a free attack for the turn, or makes his sword flaming while re-rolling 1's to hit and wound (meaning i.e. he will always fucking hit). If anything, his weakness lies in how many roles he tries to pull together, and if he dies, there goes all your stuff.
- The Red Duke: A lower-tier Blood Dragon with a hate-boner for Bretonnia. He's just as deadly as Walach with his +1 to hit and +1 S in cc, while his blade lets him heal for every wound he inflicts, all useful when considering he has Red Fury (aka the blenderlord's power).
- Gashnag the Black Prince: Your named Strigoi. He's just as frightening to face as the others while also having a degree of protection from a 5++ ward and a -1 to hit him in cc.
- Dieter Helsnicht: The other master necromancer. While he lacks Loremaster, he's got himself a manticore that never suffers from berserk fury. While he has a magic weapon, you shouldn't be relying on it when you have the manticore. Instead, use Dieter as the wizard he is, since he has Burning Head as a bound spell and has a single-use ability to auto-cast any spell he wants.
- Heinrich Kemmler: Oh, you were never going to be playing this game in decent company anyway. He's a Loremaster in Necromancy ideal for filling a lord's spot at 1500+ point games and If you're playing at that level, you may as well bring Krell to take advantage of their tag team abilities. 350 points? Worth it.
- Krell, Lord of Undeath: Krell is a Wight King with a better statline who gets Heroic Killing Blow (in challenges) if in the same unit as Kemmler (which obviously means he should always be in the same unit as Kemmler). He has regular Killing Blow otherwise, but the drawback is that he MUST issue a challenge whenever possible, Oh, and having a T5 W4 hero for his meager 205 point cost (not to mention his other rules) is very very good. New to this edition is his Crown of the Damned, which finally gives him a 4++ Ward Save, but also inflicts Stupidity (at Ld9, he can manage). By the way, his model is fucking ace.
- Alternate take: Krell is significantly more expensive then a normal Wight King and only marginally better offensively, defensively he is inferior. His special rules are fairly situational and only holds up against medium to weak enemy heroes (a strength 7 lord/hero will completely ignore his armor). A mundane Wight King will almost always be a better option over Krell because they can be kitted out specifically for your needs. His model IS pretty amazing though.
- Konrad von Carstein: Nothing short of psychologically damaging if your opponent happens to bring Monstrous Infantry (to him, not his models). That being said, combat is all he really does well (though he does it VERY well) while being the uncle of all glass cannons. His stats are on-par with am ordinary Hero level Vampire, and he only has Heavy Armor, so it's his special rules you want to take him for. He rings in at 160 points.
- His insanity is reflected by a special rule called "One Bat Short of a Belfry" which has you roll for his current mental state. At the start of the turn you roll a D6, with a result of 1-3 granting him Stupidity and a result of 4-6 giving him Frenzy.
- So be wary of using him... and be aware that Ogre Kingdoms players will die a little inside each time you field him.
- Isabella von Carstein: As it stands, she's not a caster (being only a level 1 Wizard in Lore of Vampires) or a fighter (being that she only has the vanilla Vampire stats with Beguile and her only equipment is Heavy Armor and a Hand Weapon). The most she can do is support other vampires using the Blood Chalice to make sure they don't die.
- Of course, there's always the fact that if she kicks it, Vlad goes nuts, with Frenzy and Hatred and whatnot. It's also possible that he'll die first (not as likely) and she will get Frenzy and Hatred, but as previously mentioned she's not really geared for fighting. She isn't worth it on her own, but put her with Vlad and they have great potential.
- Sethep the Merciless: Another Necrarch who plotted world domination with a horde of zombies, only to be rekt by Konrad von Carstein. In truth, he's a pretty weak L2 necromancer. His only item lets him cast Hellish Vigour as a bound spell, though it can be exhausted, and forces -1 to hit him in combat.
- Helman Ghorst: Remember the part where he got in Total War: Warhammer? That's how he landed here. He can only ride his corpse cart as a level 2 necromancer who adds even more bodies to raise from using Raise Dead or Invocation.
- Von Carstein Vampire/Lord: The von Carsteins, being the flagship vampires, offer a rather balanced take for a vampire, the horrific monstrosities of the Warhammer World not named Chaos Lords. They have a solid statline capable of holding their own in a fight as well as being wizards of Shadow/Death/Necromancy and can select a large list of items and powers to give them a fixed role.
- Necrarch Vampire/Lord: The Necrarchs are the vampires you want for a casting-heavy army, though each isn't much worse otherwise than the other bloodlines. Each of these wizards can take all the lores a von Carstein have, but can also take Heavens or Metal to interfere with a wider list of foes. These guys lose out on any mundane weaponry, so consider more arcane items and talismans.
- Lahmian Vampire/Lady: Lahmians have the advantage of a high Initiative score, allowing them to punch into an enemy before they can strike back, while their powers let even that last bit fall into question.
- Blood Dragon Vampire/Lord: With WS scores above their kindred, the Blood Dragons can definitely handle themselves in a battle, especially in challenges since they're forced to accept challenges. In exchange, they become the poorest wizards of the lot. Each of them already comes with full plate, so you are already plenty protected if all you get is a shield and a ward save.
- Strigoi Vampire/Lord: A Strigoi may not look like much, having a lord with a slightly inferior statline to a Von Carstein for 245 points, not being able to take magical armor, being stuck as a caster on par with Blood Dragons. What it gets for these tradeoffs a Lore of beast caster and the offense near equal to a Blood Dragons. It can also be mounted on a Terrorgheist. No matter how you're planning to use him, just make sure you have a plan for your casters since this guy is almost pure combat.
- Master Necromancer/Necromancer: Cheap level wizards (L3/4 for lords, L1/2 for heroes) in either Lore of Death or Lore of Necromancy and can Raise Skeleton warriors beyond the starting size, that can be used to support a fighty Vampire Lord and the hordes, or to be the main caster and general should you decide to bring a slew of ordinary Vampires. If you are considering making him your general, that certainly frees points for the other great choices you have, but remember that your army may start crumbling as soon as he dies. If you assign the other Vampires to Lore of Necromancy then at least one of them can take over as general (although with such a weakened magic phase you better be planning on bringing the rape train quickly).
- The Master Necromancer can be mounted on Barded Nightmares, Hellsteeds, Abyssal Terrors, and something Vampires can't ride: Corpse Carts. a buffing shrine that makes Skeliontons and zombies more deadly.
- Liche Lord: The undead necromancers, a beefier combat wizard(but vampires have weapons), but are almost double the cost of Master Necromancers. Their only option is to ride a Mortis Engine, which would lock him out of combat even harder.
- Wight King: 85 points. Pretty much the same statline as a Vampire, with the S and T swapped around and an extra Wound being the notable changes. Can be upgraded to BSB. Can mount up on a Skeletal Steed with barding as an option and take a lance if you want him with Black Knights, otherwise stick him in a unit of Grave Guard with the Banner of the Barrows for an incredibly cheesy unit that will melt all variety of faces. Gets Killing Blow. Can take 50 points worth of magic items if he's NOT the BSB. Oh, and like Krell this guy has a fucking beautiful model. Taking this character over the Vampire makes you lose the Vampire Power options, despite this he's still 20 points cheaper and has 2 more points of Leadership, so if that downside doesn't matter then go for it, and at 9 LD he's very good at preventing crumbling in his unit.
- Cairn Wraith: 60 points. Ethereal, Terror, Undead. Has a special ability called Chill Grasp, allowing it to trade in its 3 Attacks for one Attack that automatically wounds if it hits and ignores armour. Only S3 and a great weapon, T3, and 2 Wounds with a low as fuck 2 Initiative. Can take a horse and magic items. Spirit hosts are cheaper for simple tarpits and the Cairn Wraiths unit from the Rare section are more cost-effective for cavalry/monster killing. Both are also more resistant to magic by virtue of having more wounds. Finally, Wight Kings are better at simply killing normal stuff by virtue of their Killing Blow and awesome (for points) stats. It's possible to use them to nail characters, but chances are good that whatever you're aiming to kill has a magic attack which renders the Cairn Wraith's only defense moot, and at 5 LD, don't expect him to prevent anything from crumbling (in fact, he's more susceptible to it truth be told).
- Skeletal Steed: The Black Knights basic mount, ignores terrain as they are treated as Ethereal for movement and does not get the -1M for barding if you take it. Think about that for a moment, you can charge units on the other side of buildings if you can see them. Never take a dangerous terrain test with these guys again!
- Nightmare: Simple undead horse, best in a squad of Blood Knights, and never put Black Knights unless there's no terrain, as they'll lose their Ethereal movement. Ordinary in all regards. other than being S4 WS3 horses.
- Hellsteed: A flying Barded Nightmare, and overall a better horse. Not too expensive and still a great investment if you like running with Fell Bats or other silliness. Still, if used right it can be a scary model that's great for picking off warmachines or other small units, since arrows don't tend to have the killing power needed for a Vampire.
- Barrow Chariot: Your basic chariot pulled by skeletal steeds. Fortunately, it has the Spectral Steeds rule remain intact and now you have all those Impact Hits to deal. The drawback is that there aren't any chariot units to stick him with.
- Abyssal Terror: Cheapest of the monster mounts. Not great by any standard of a monster. Can be given Poison Attacks or Armour Piercing. Fairly cheap and it flies so it's not exactly bad, but it's just beaten out by the next two usually.
- Terrogheist: Your bigass scary mofo exclusive to Strigoi. While it's still beefy as hell, it remains a large magnet that only has a 6+ Regen for protection.
- Zombie Dragon: Exactly what you think it is. It's got beefy stats, can be healed massively thanks to lore attribute plus Invocation, his Pestilential Breath attack causes -3 to armour as well as causing a S2 hit and it adds that extra "fuck you" to Ogres in the form of terror. Has Swarm of Flies (ew!) which causes -1 to To Hit rolls in melee. A great time if your Vampire has the same stat line as the mount its on. Can really wreck heavy cavalries day as well as rank and file, though it will die to cannons or Heroic Killing Blow. Still a wonderful kick ass model and is our only dragon, but like most fun things, it's a magnet for artillery and mass shooting.
- Coven Throne: Lahmians and Neferata only. Hot motherfucking damn (also damnably hot if you know what I mean), this thing has a good number of abilities. The Battle of Wills is a fun way to mess with your opponent as before anything rolls To Hit against it or whoever is riding it in melee OR shooting rolls a D6 and add it to their LD (unless something doesn't have to roll To Hit anyway), then the Coven Throne rolls LD plus D6. You subtract the enemy's LD from the Coven's and the result is the effect caused. 0 or less means nothing happens. 1-2 and the enemy fights at -1WS and -1BS. 3-5 and they reroll To Hits that succeed. 6 or more, the unit TURNS ON ITSELF causing one melee attack per model against the whole unit, with War Machine crews taking one S3 hit for each crewman left against their Toughness and whatever is affected doesn't get to shoot or attack in any other way this turn.
- A mixed bag honestly, absolutely fucking awful against any army with high leadership and siege weapons (so mostly Dwarfs with their army wide LD 9 or Elves) or usually just any army with a lot of cannons as they'll pass eventually. The only thing worthwhile to put on it is a Vampire Lord, but then you're at 450 points naked AND you just made your general a much bigger cannonball magnet which might lose you the game, and lesser vampires don't have a high enough leadership to consistently use The Battle of Wills effectively (and it costs a shitload of points).
- On the other hand, excellent in combat, you get 2D6 attacks from the ghosts hauling this thing around, the ghost horses grant it Ethereal movement so there's no troubles from terrain, a 5+ Armor Save, a 4+ Ward Save, four S5 ASF attacks from the Handmaidens, D6 S5 impact hits, and it has one of the most glorious models Games Workshop ever released.
- Skeletorn Warriors: More durable than Zombies,a pinch better at killing and less likely to crumble, they cost five points a model, and should only be taken in large units to maximize the usefulness of Invocation of Nehek. Skellies are good but the Zombie tar pit works way better than any unit in the army for the role, since the Invocation of Nehek only heals back D6 Wounds+caster level (compared to the 2D6+caster level that Zombies get) and unless it's a master necromancer or liche lord they cannot be pushed past their starting size.
- That being said, Skeleton Warriors are by no means bad. They have an option for a full command unit, Champion that can take challenges your Vampire Lord doesn't want, a musician for swift reforms and a standard bearer for a +1 combat res score for extra survivability, and they come with Shields and hand weapons giving them a neat 6+ parry save in close combat. You can exchange their hand weapons for spears, sacrificing the 6++ parry save, but it lets you attack in 3 ranks. Similarly, you can eschew their entire loadout and buy everyone bows so you can have an army of disposable BS2 arrows. Since skeletons still suck, they aren't going to hit much, not with WS 2. Generally, Skeletons are a better carrier unit for your footslogging killy Vampire Lord.
- Zombies: Zombies are pathetic. The lore goes to silly lengths to tell you how living opponents fear engaging zombies and being torn apart, and on the game, they are a bloody joke. They couldn't kill a sickly, blind, crippled, mentally disabled, orphaned Skaven Slave in a fair fight. It has M4, WS2, S3, T3, 1I, and fucking 2LD. It is literally so bad, that decreasing its stats would only improve it in the abstract.
- So why in ever take them? Because they are only three points. In addition, the Vampire Counts magic phase is full of buffs, get yourself some rerolls and that Zombie unit can hold a bit longer. Thanks to the Newly Dead rule, they recover an extra D6 Wounds worth of models per casting of Invocation (meaning 2D6 Zombies) and can increase their unit size beyond what you started the game with; this means you can, with luck, turn a 20-strong horde into a 60-strong horde in just 2 turns of magic. They can also make excellent Caster bunkers for your necromancers to hide in so they never get shot to death or challenged.
- Crypt Ghouls: The most expensive core option available at 6 points. They are a relatively speedy core option(not undead and count towards core) that's Toughness of 4, exceeding both zombies and skellies by one point. Highest (still terrible) Initiative of 3. Two Attacks per Ghoul, and the highest Leadership score of the core options at 5 (meaning Ghouls have a low chance to crumble in comparison to Zombies which can all vanish off the board with their 2 LD). Poisoned Attacks are default, but Ghouls cannot have a musician or Standard bearer. Less likely to die like the skeletons, but much harder to get more of, and still a good bunker for a footslogging Vampire Lord - especially when skirmishing.
- Sylvanian Peasant Levy: In the event that you thought that we were being too mean to the poor zombies (what is wrong with you?), you have this unit of pitiful farmers who are also Ld 5 that don't count towards minimum core and only accessible to an army with a Von Carstein as a general. They are just as useless, and even more so since you can't use Invocation of Nehek to swell their ranks.
- Dire Wolves: No longer count towards the minimum core. A very fast-moving alternative to the other core choices. They ring in at 6 points per model, with a cavalry-speed Movement of 9 (compared to the M4 of the rest of the core) and Swiftstride. They have a LD of only 3, meaning they'll crumble as fast as Skeleton Warriors. They have one point higher WS and I so combat will have more kills, but otherwise share a stat line with Skeleton Warriors. They have the Slavering Charge (+1S on the charge) and Vanguard (after both armies deploy everything, but before the first turn, they may make one normal move).
- Fell Bats: No longer count towards the minimum core. Your go-to for Warmachine hunting. Cost 16 points each and must be fielded in Units of 2 or more. Count as War Beasts meaning they get Swiftstride (roll 3d6 when charging, discard lowest and add it to their Move and do the same when fleeing) as well as Fly. Stats are M1, WS3, S3, T3, W2, I3, A2, and LD 3 (likely to crumble), which is pretty meh, but with multiple models and Fly they'll probably reach what war machines they need to get to unless your opponent spends some time shooting them, which will buy you time to get into melee so either way it's a win/win.
- Bat swarms: No longer count towards the minimum core. 35 points each, but they have 5 Wounds and 5 Attacks. They are a Swarm, meaning they are Skirmishers, they are Unbreakable, and are Unstable (like the rest of your army). They have WS3, S2, T2, I4, and LD 3 and coupled with being Unstable most likely will be the first thing to crumble after Zombies. Their special abilities are Hover (permanent 10" movement, overwriting that joke of M1) and Cloud of Horror disrupts all enemies they flank, which is awesome considering most of your army has terrible Initiative.
- Grave Guard: Coming in at 11 points, these supercharged Skeleton Warriors boast Heavy Armor and Shields standard, have Killing Blow, can swap their Shields for Great Weapons for one point a piece (do this for killing, S'n'B for anvil), and can take a Magic Standard. Their statline is superior to weak skellies as well. With a toughness of 4, and a 4+/6++ save, they are a lot more resilient then Skeletons and just as easy to raise. Stuff a Wight King into this unit and take them in hordes for a hard-hitting anvil force. These skellies are a nightmare for any high T non-monstrous troops.
- Black Knights: Same statline as Grave Guard at 22 points, but on Skeletal Steeds which grant them an M8 and Spectral Steeds which lets them count as Ethereal for Movement and they don't get a penalty for Barding. Said Barding comes at 2 points per model, and can come default with lances. Like their footplodding counterparts they can take a Magic Standard. They are one of two heavy Cavalry units in the army. They are a DAMN good unit capable of moving over terrain like it wasn't even there and letting loose with a flurry of S4 (S6 on the charge) Killing Blow attacks. All while possibly having a 2+ armor save. Delicious. Just don't put anybody in with them that doesn't have a spectral steed or they get much slower, and you want them to be constantly charging.
- Hexwraiths: New option for 8th edition, they are 27 points each and have a statline like weaker Black Knights. They come with Great Weapons standard, and have a metric fuckload of special rules. One of these provides a very interesting advantage: they're Ethereal, as in all the time! They also have the Soulstriders special rule, which allows them to move through unengaged Units (both friendly and enemy) during the Remaining Moves sub-phase (although they can't end within 1" of a unit). As a result they will attract a TON of magic during your opponents turn as he desperately tries to fry them before they reach him and they don't have any protection against that other than you trying to dispel, so beware. They have Fast Cavalry as well, which grant them Vanguard (get to make a 12" Move before the game starts) and a Free Reform unless it charges. They lose most of this if they are joined by a character without Ethereal+Fast Cavalry. You should leave the Hexes to do their thing alone.
- Crypt Horrors: The other Monstrous Infantry unit, little more than super Ghouls. 37 points a pop so big units are hard to field, Unit size 3+. Like Ghouls, they have Poisoned Attacks, but also Regeneration 5+. Stats are M6, WS3, S4, T5, W3, I2, A3, LD5. This unit is an anvil with a bite, pure and simple, but crumbling and a limited offensive capability does force you to take Units of at least 6. A unit of 18 in a horde does have good punch however and is very hard to get rid of, but will be expensive (684 points, 694 with the upgrade to champion) for a unit that ultimately works best in a points denial role. Work best with a Mortis Engine (if the thing doesn't get blown up) and Invocation spam from a caster using them as a bunker. Don't skip them over, but they aren't something to drool over either.
- Alternative Take- While Crypt horrors may not be the most offensively powerful unit on this list, they can be made into one of the most powerful units in the game with some magical buffs. Unlike Grave Guard, they are monstrous infantry, and therefore gain all of the additional attacks of the rear ranks. With three attacks each, at S4 and poisoned, they can make a Very mean hammer. Buff them with the right spells, however (Staff of Damnation, I'm looking at you) and the effect can be multiplied hugely. Further, they have neither the Vampiric or the Large Target or Ethereal rules, so they can be quickly and easily healed back up to strength by the Invocation. This is not always viable, but for those gamblers looking for a death star unit, look no further. Buff them effectively with the lore of Beasts, and they will SHRED everything.
- Corpse Cart: A 90 point Chariot and mount for your necromancers. The thing itself is a 6+ Armor Save Shrine option with 4 Wounds, but don't let that trick you. It's just as useful as zombies in combat with 2d6 WS2 S3 attacks from the Zombies hitched to it as beasts of burden, as well as an attack from the rider who is a WS3 S3 I2 Corpsemaster. It has Regeneration, which may keep it alive for a pinch. all skelly and zombie units within 6" of the Corpse Cart get a bonus attack and zombies 6+ regen, a very very distant cry from the ASF of yore. Of the 2 upgrades, Balefire used to be the best as it stacked and could totally cripple enemy casters. The lodestone is a solid choice as it makes Invocation of Nehek more reliable at rebuilding armies.
- Vargheists: The first of three designated hammers, representing the jack of all trades which has the speed of the Terrorgheist without being as flimsy. 46 point Monstrous Infantry with Fly and Frenzy. M6, WS4, S5, T4, W3, I4, 3 Attacks, and a Leadership score of 7. They are Vampiric, so they cannot crumble. They compete with Empire Outriders and High Elf Swordmasters for the title of premier glass cannons; these guys do pack a considerable punch at break-neck speed. They can hunt War Machines if they must, but they really work better-hitting flanks and hunting enemy support troops. Don’t ever think they'll last against even mediocre infantry unsupported though as that T4 is all they have keeping them alive despite their 3 Wounds, and that low Initiative will let even humans with pointy sticks get a jab in before they move. Be careful though, because they are Flyers they're also Skirmishers. Keep this in mind when you send them out into the juicy flanks as they cannot disrupt enemy Units.
- Spirit Host:Ah, the Spirit Host. 45 points for a single Swarm of four, and They are also Ethereal. Sadly, as a Swarm, they also die from Combat Resolution like everything else in the army. They have M6, WS3, S3, T3, I1, A4, and a Leadership of 4.
- These guys are extremely cost-effective Monster and Cavalry tarpits while they last (just make sure whatever you are facing does not have magic attacks), and can also be used to dissuade a flank charge by something nasty than to actively hunt their targets, otherwise they may get too exposed to infantry (their bane thanks to that Combat Resolution damage) or outmanoeuvred. That said, don't mind losing a Unit to magic or infantry if you have to: after all, they cost less than 50 points. Why give a damn?
- Blood Knights: There are a lot things to remember about the Blood Knights. They are as expensive as a Baneblade to purchase both in-game and in real life at 42 points a model and $99 for five (coincidentally, they also have a similar effect on enemy tactics, you should also convert them instead of buying them to save money) and they are one of the top heavy cavalry units in Warhammer Fantasy. So here's what we're looking at; Full Plate, Barding, Shield, Lance. They have Frenzy, a Blood Dragon's Martial Honour and are Vampiric. They can take The Flag of Blood Keep as an upgrade instead of another magic standard for 50 points, which grants them a 4+ Ward Save against Ranged Attacks. That Ward Save comes into effect once something gets through their 2+ Armor Save, namely war machines. They come in at WS5, S5, T4, W1, I5, A2, and LD 7 overall. You can take them in Units of 4 or more.
- They are a fantastically lethal addition to an army of any size, and It's a good idea to keep a loaded-up Barded Vampire/Vampire Lord within the Unit, to help them keep their minds focused and overcome the Frenzy urge to go fuck something despite being in the line of sights of a warmachine or something similarly undesirable, and Taking a 4-man unit with Banner of Eternal Flame makes them fantastic monster hunters who will reliably take down even Hydras, Sphinxes, and Hellpit Abominations on the charge.
- However, don't forget that they have a big weakness - due to being Vampiric, they receive only one wound back per cast of Invocation of Nehek, which, combined with their cost and sometimes harmful Frenzy, makes them inferior to Black Knights in the eyes of many players.
- Lahmian Handmaidens: These ladies are some intriguing new additions since they're the lone means of reliable mundane shooting. They're plenty good at this role too, as the champion can get a longbow that deals two wounds, is poisoned, and has sniper. If you don't do that, they're still a pack of lesser-tier Vampires with M6 with three S5 attacks thanks to dual-wielding so they can be an elite bodyguard.
- Black Coach: A 195 point Chariot. Has one crew member, a Cairn Wraith (with Chill Grasp and a Great Weapon) and two Nightmares as drivers. Causes Terror, counts as Vampiric so there's no fear of Crumble, has a 4+ Ward Save on top of the 3+ Armor Save. It has 5 Strength when trying to figure out its d6 Impact Hits. The real fun part though, is the special ability "Evocation of Death", which combines fantastically if you have a lot of wizards (both with or against you), giving you (very quickly) +1 to the Impact Hits on the Charge then gaining +1 Strength to the Wraith and the Nightmares, then gaining Killing Blow and Flaming Attacks for it's Impact Hits and regular Close Combat attacks, then gaining Magic Resistance (2) and Strider, then becoming Ethereal, and finally gaining Fly at 6 points. For just 195 points and a little patience, you can get one of the most amazing fucking models crunch-wise in the entire game.
- Varghulf: The Vargheist's meth addict big brother, and the only hammer you really want to meet anything head-on. In comparison to the 'gheist you lose Fly and Frenzy but gain Terror, Hatred, Bestial Fury (immunity to flanking or rear attacks), and Regeneration. You have 3 more points of M, 1 more point of WS, one more point of Toughness, one more Wound each, two more attacks each, but 3 points less Leadership (though it's Vampiric). It's a Monster, so it also has Thunderstomp.
- All in all, the Varghulf is a decent choice, as it's statline is pretty nice and it's decently killy in addition to that Regen and Terror, especially considering he lacks Frenzy so he won't jump into combat without being given the order, he's also harder to kill, and sucks up less points than a Terrorgheist so a lucky cannonball won't eat up a large chunk of your points. His main detriment is that he eats up Rare points, if that doesn't bother you then go right ahead, otherwise a properly built Terrorgheist can do the job just fine (though will cost more).
- Mortis Engine: 220 points Chariot with an Armour Save of 5+ on top of it's 5 Toughness and 5 Wounds, but this isn't a Black Coach that you want to run your enemy down with. It's purely a support unit. It's offensive abilities are abysmal (unless you charge it into a flank) despite it getting a lot of little bird peck attacks, but it has decent survivability. Here's where you factor in it's abilities. The Reliquary ability gives your undead a nice regeneration boost to make them live longer/tarpit better and can hit a good amount of enemy units at decently high strength, making it one of the few good ranged units available to you, and with the amount of wounds it has you don't even need to worry about taking a hit from doubles, and even if it does get a little hurt, you can just heal it up yourself.
- You can/should also upgrade it with Blasphemous Tome for 20 points, which lets all Wizards within 12" of the Mortis Engine have +2 to casting attempts from the Lore of Necromancy, and if anything within 12" of the Mortis Engine miscasts (both friend and foe) then the player rolls twice on the miscast table and his opponent chooses which result applies. Both of these mean you want it with the front, supporting everything else making enemy wizards nervous about 4/5/6 dicing anything, and drawing lots of fire away from your actual nastiest units. That said, this thing is a magic and artillery MAGNET LIKE NO OTHER. It looks awesome, the crunch seems awesome, then you put it on the field and a Dwarf with a flaming cannonball blows it to hell before it can move. If you want to use it effectively, you NEED some distraction units, either war machine hunters or faster melee units to take the artillery off of you, or you actually want it to get shot so that your hammers don't get shot by those same cannons.
- Cairn Wraiths: The expensive, damage-dealing alternative to the spirit hosts. Must be fielded in units of 3 minimum, 10 maximum. 50 points per model, providing a bulk discount by taking them in the Rare section, as well as saving points for more Vampires, Necros, or Wights in the Hero slot. What's not to love?
- They will still die to ranked infantry as they're Undead but, unlike the Spirit Hosts who function as a sacrificial tarpit/ball and chain for a Monster, these guys function as killers as well for 105 more points. 9+ attacks (Always Strikes Last, remember) at S5 or 3+ attacks that ignore armor will put the hurt in whatever they strike. That being said, they DO take Rare choice points and unlike the Spirit Hosts you can't afford to just let them get killed by a magic missile and forget about it. It's usually better to pin enemies with Spirit Hosts and then flank later with another unit so, in essence, the Cairn Wraiths are to the Spirit Hosts as the Varghulfs are to the Vargheists.
- If you really get in good, you can take advantage of the fact these little Ethereal buggers can go straight through terrain to stay in Charge distance of the enemy while staying safe from being Charged, which can tie up a lot of troops by forcing the enemy to either continue facing them or just bite the bullet and say goodbye to everyone on the side or back of the Unit.
- Tomb Banshee: 75 points. Ethereal , Terror, and Undead. Crap stats and two Wounds. Her only attack is Ghostly Howl, a short-ranged attack that's resolved during the Shooting Phase and can be used in b2b. Roll 2D6+2, for each point you beat the enemy's LD score they take one Wound with no armor saves against it. Any competitive army will have at least 9 Leadership in important units, so the hysterical woman is unlikely to earn her points back (she will deal on average deal less than 0.5 casualties per turn in those cases). She can take out a low LD unit very quickly however (seeing 10 Skaven Slaves drop dead bleeding from the ears from one single attack can be fucking hilarious). As a result, she's best used to wipe out ranks of anvils and let you wash over everything that was supposed to flank charge you, though thanks to the range of the scream she's not very good at that, and at LD 5 has the same problem as the Cairn Wraith.
- Mourngul: Forge World's large monster that's half a torso. It's a an S5 T5 undead with 4 wounds, Killing Blow, and a surprising immunity to ice. Their lone protection is a 4++ Ward against non-magical attacks, but considering that he deals ASL to anyone he's in b2b with, you can give him a good place with mobs. Especially when you see that he heals a wound for each model he kills, he can very easily take care of a mob of pikemen or spearelves.
- Terrorgheist: A 225 point Monster (so you get Thunderstomp) with M6, WS3, S5, T6, 6 Wounds, 3I, four Attacks, and a Leadership of 4 (it's not Vampiric so the death of the General may cause it to crumble, which at that point level can be painful). It has Fly, is a Large Target, causes Terror, has Regeneration (6+), and has a special ability called "Death Shriek" which counts as a Shooting Attack that you get to make regardless of your previous actions that turn. Death Shriek has an 8" range that requires Line of Sight (oddly enough) and can target something regardless of if you or it are in Close Combat. You roll 2d6 and add the Wounds the Terrorgheist has, and for each point that the result exceeds the target Unit's Leadership they suffer 1 Wound with no Armor Save and it counts as a Magical Attack, which isn't that great against LD high armies, a Strigoi Ghoul King can help somewhat, but that makes it a cannonball magnet. It can also be upgraded for 10 points to be Infested (ew!) with bats (wut?) that, upon death, cause 3D6 Strength 2 hits to anything in base contact with the Terrorgheist. It can also take Rancid Maw for 15 points which grant it Poisoned Attacks (not for it's Thunderstomp though).
- Its main weakness, however, is that it is fairly flimsy, especially if your opponent brought some nasty ranged options, this combined with their relative vulnerability in Close Combat and their huge base size means they are tricky to actually move about. Not everyone likes them, but they remain one of the best choices (tied with the Black Coach) available to Vampire Counts owing to the fact that it is the army's most flexible option. It's ready for battle from the beginning unlike the Coach, allowing you to go on the offensive in a prompt manner.
- Zombie Dragon: Your particular dragon, while on tier with most, is let down by its 5+ natural armour. To make up for this, its breath weapon can obliterate armour (if it ever wounds) and makes enemies engaged with it take -1 to hit.
- Necrofex Colossus: This unholy behemoth is essentially a legit undead giant mixed with magic support. Indeed, alongside its magical attacks and 4+ regen, it adds +1 to all casting of Death or Necromancy spells within 12". It's offensively like a Giant with its randomized rules - though none of them are lethal, all of them are very dangerous if they land. It's decked with some very unique upgrades (Re-roll stomps and random attacks, deal d6 S2 hits in b2b, gain Regen 3+ and Frenzy, become a level 1 wizard of Death/Necromancy).
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