View Full Version : Zombies. Whats the story.

08-04-2008, 11:44
I have got lots of Zombies.

I have no idea what to do with them.

One big unit? Several small ones? Start with small units and make them bigger? How big should a unit be?
I have seen folks talking about units of 80-100 zombies ... is there any point?

Now folks have played a few games....what are the best ways to use zombies.

08-04-2008, 11:58

not at all. a 30-40 stong unit of zombies does the work just as well, as they get the outnumbering almost always, and they get their ranks. 80-100 is rubbish!

I think zombies are great used in units of 30, being reinforced by your magicans as the battle is on. with a strong base of zombies and magicans (say two regiments of zombies for each character with magic ability and summoning. have a lot of those...) backed up by black knights, grave guard and some skellies they should be very powerful

I would set my army so that all my infantry units (GG and skellies) will have two zombie units each to watch over them, and a magican to summon. The Black Knights and blood knights would have dire wolves as guards.

The zombies are great for throwing in to battle to hold for a round of combat, while the skellies or GG flank the enemy units. if they get the charge they are likely to go for the skellie units, but then again you'd get to flank with your zombies. remember, you dont want to kill the enemy, you want to break them!


08-04-2008, 12:12
Im not a vamp player, but id say 40 would be optimal IMO. They wouldn't need much re-enforcing to hold for 4 or so rounds of combat.

08-04-2008, 13:57
Well i recently fought the vampires and i can tell you (as if you didn't already know) that zombies are still as good a tarpit against enemy rank and file as ever.
My opponent started them out as units of 20, having 3 units when he started. As the game progressed he eliminated some of my magic defence (i was playing orcs with 8 dispel dice and -1 to cast) to a point where i had to let some raising spells through...all i can say is that by the end of the game those units were at about 40 each. But then my savage boar boys hit them and it was pretty much curtains.
I guess the moral of the story is they can still hold the enemy in place but you really need AT LEAST 30 of them by the time they reach combat if you want them to do their job effectively. They are absolute rubbish against shock troops with lots of attacks (duh).
Something else to note is you can use a vamp player's cockiness to your advantage. For instance my opponent raised up one massive unit of zombies from 25 to 48, only to realise that it bacame horribly unwieldy and blocked another unit from moving. He then proceeded to get a massacre against me but thats not important.

08-04-2008, 14:08
I've had one game against the new VC and my experience from that is that Zombies most important use is being raised as new units. The block he had at the start was very useful to me, as I charged the Zombies and a unit of Skellies at the same time: The many, many kills inflicted on the Zombies (bear in mind I play Lizardmen, 2 WS3 S4 attacks per model is narsty against WS1 T2 Zombies) just meant more Skellies died to crumbling...

On the other hand, as Zombies are now the only unit that can be raised into a new unit makes them very useful for typing up units with the odd sneaky flank charge. 10 Zombies in the flank still get beaten, but not enough to all crumble - the result being the Saurus got tied up long enough to get outmanoeuvred.

The big units (up to 40) as flank guards do seem like a good idea as well.

08-04-2008, 14:48
Another good use for the tiny unit of zombies is to raise them right in front of some nasty charger, at an angle to your main force.

The opponent basically has to charge them, and gets wrenched around to the side in the process, exposing their flank. If you've angled the zombies right, it shouldn't matter whether or not the charger overruns. At the very (very) least, the charger should be pointing off in some random direction and unavailable for a turn or two.

Lord Dan
08-04-2008, 15:34
I couldn't win without my zombies! I take one unit of 30, and then try to raise up at least one more unit that strong during that game. (Preferably behind my opponent. Let me paint a picture for you:

I was playing another vampire player. I take a fairly balanced list, he takes the 4 vampire casters w/ 2 units of blood knights, 3 units of fell bats, 5 units of dire wolves, 2 carts w/ balefire, and 3 units of ghouls list.

Anyway, turn two I had my vargulf and a unit of wraiths hovering around off on my left flank. He had a unit of blood knights with his general with the blood drinker in it basically covering that same side of the field. I looked to my Grave Guard. They weren't going anywhere in charge range of those monsters. I looked to my ghouls. They told me to %@$ off.

In my darkest hour one unit stepped up to the challenge: my nameless rabble, a unit of 30 zombies. They fearlessly marched into charge range of the blood knights who in turn were forced to charge.

The blood knights came, they did a ton of wounds, and in the end they stood facing 6 zombies. He laughed and told me he would just kill the rest in the next combat phase. I laughed and charged his flank with a vargulf, and his rear with a unit of wraiths. I charged my wight king out of the grave guard into the right flank with his BSB and sword of kings.

In the end, only his vampire general stood, who died a horrible, horrible, crumbly death.

And that is the story of why zombies are the greatest unit in the game.

08-04-2008, 15:40
remind me what was he doing with the rest of his army? if im not mistaken you threw 3 units and a hero at 1 of his (ok it was a big pointed unit). Surely thats more generalmanship than zombies?

08-04-2008, 15:42
Oh, another use for zombies coming up out of the ground behind your enemy. Raise them behind the battle-lines in groups (bigger than five but not much so) and keep them as close as possible to the rear of your opponent's units without charging. Wait for your enemies to break from combat and then begin giggling at the guaranteed crossfire.

08-04-2008, 15:44
wasnt the original question: What do i do with the 100 or so i have in my collection. Thats one hell of a summon ;)

EDIT (i interpreted lots as about 100)

08-04-2008, 15:52
Oh. Well, in that case my response would be: Field as many as you have convenient points for, keeping in mind that they're pretty low priority. Raise the rest in aggravating or sneaky places.

08-04-2008, 15:59
With that i would more than agree.

08-04-2008, 16:00
Thanks for the answers so far. This has been hugely helpful.

I do, in fact, have about 100 of the old metal ones and I was going to use the plastics to make some units coming out of the ground for raised units in 'aggravating and sneaky places'.

EDIT : So I can do two big units of 40 or three biggish units of 30 AND some (3 or 4) smaller units (of 10-15 models) with the plastics.

08-04-2008, 16:56
remember to keep a lot of zombie models in backup for summoning. I find having about 150 zombies at the table and 100 reserve very useful, but I have yet to buy thenew book. I just asume the rules havent changed that much, and that zombies are used in the same way as the previous book


08-04-2008, 17:37
You may have a suprise to read the new book then depending on your size units. however 250 zombies obviously speaks volumes about your play style... :)

08-04-2008, 17:59
Use them in units of 30-40 models, a bit depending on opponents. You want enough bodies to remain your ranks and outnumbering bonus for a couple of combat phases, as this greatly reduces casualties you receive when losing combats (which you will). However, too large, and the unit becomes too unwieldy, and to much of a pts investment.

I use units of 30 these days, and they work really well. In a recent game, they kept some swordmasters occupied long enough for them not to be a treat to the rest of my army. In the game after that, they got their sweet revenge as I vanhelled them into the swordmasters flank. For a mere 132 pts (inc standard and musician), I am really pleased with them. ;)

08-04-2008, 18:38
I had a game vs Brets recently, and up till then I had been horribly crushed every time by my friend... But las game I decided to actualy use some zombies, 80 of them. One big ass unit that covered the front of my entire army, that and a very casty lord behind them. He charged with everything but 2 of his units. I used Vah hels and helm of comand that worked great to keep basicaly his entire army stuck with my tarpit. From then on I manuverd my blood night to the rear and kept curse of years up.

08-04-2008, 19:57
Hmmm... My faith in zombies has been shattered thus far, but that is't to say I wont use them at some point in the future.

I had a game vs Wood Spirits, with Drycha. For those of you that don't know, she can "deep strike" units out of trees. So two treemen turn up on turn 2. One of them was in a bad place, but the other I charged with my zombies, confident that 5 attacks wasnt enough to win a combat. As luck would have it, he broke from combat (even with stubborn!). My maniacal, evil laughter was cut short with a "&*%^!" as I realised my zombies can no longer pursue.

I can definitely see how else they can be used. Tarpit tarpit tarpit til the rest of the army arrives to help in the flanks.

08-04-2008, 20:31
i suppose it all depends on your opponent. However i do struggle to see how a big unit of 80 could hold up the entire enemy for anything longer than a turn or two... maybe its just me but i like hard hitting multi-attack units and could quite easily throw out 50-60 attacks into a unit of 80 and crumble them too quick to be re-summoned. Also there is the issue about how good are they against dwarves who sit in a corner.. I would say its an all or nothing approach, if you take 80 that is a 320 points sinked into 1 tar pit, but more importantly that is one mother large unit. If simply fed 20strong unit of free company i struggle to see how it would help? Your army moves around the flank eh? well what happens if your opponent takes your tar bit with say Gobbos (more than capable with spears of beating back zombies turn after turn). then you have not only blocked off a large segment of the battlefield which means more 1v1 and less room to manovuer. which is what i find undead excel at (multi combats to get the crucial bonuses) but led to a stale mate? except your opponent might have say a griffon,cannons, a hill or numerous other units... I simply cant see how it works without an all or nothing approach......

08-04-2008, 20:32
The fact that your Zombies broke a Treeman is impressive.

08-04-2008, 20:47
Take a unit of 100.

400 pts for one unit that cant beat skaven slaves unless they fail their fear check is brilliant!!!!

I mean common what unit can you get for 400 pts that can beat zombies?

Blood knights, grave guard, black knights, 2 Vargulfs? Pah!!!

So seriously 100 in a unit sounds game winning.

08-04-2008, 20:47
The fact that your Zombies broke a Treeman is impressive.

Not really, they only get 5 attacks, and vs 3 ranks, standard and outnumbering, it's literally impossible for the treeman to win.

The exception is of course spites...

08-04-2008, 20:58
But a Treeman is Stubborn, is it not?

Regardless, your example illustrates just how useful these "crappy" troops can be.

08-04-2008, 20:59
Its stubborn ld 8...

Its easily failed.

08-04-2008, 21:15
Regardless, your example illustrates just how useful these "crappy" troops can be.

Indeed, although in the previous edition they would have actually killed the treeman, rather than just continually chase him around the board.
It has forced some VC generals (myself included) to change they way they use zombies. I have a 1500-point game tomorrow (no idea what army they have) and i'm going to use a big unit of 29 with a st/mus. It's only purpose is to tarpit anything big enough to pose a threat to the rest of the army. I might run the Varghulf alongside it for added killing power and 3d6" pursuit. 303 points... will be interesting to see what they can take out between them ^^

08-04-2008, 21:37
They were also 50% more expensive and not as easily raised as before. I think its a fair tradeoff.

Good luck in your game tomorrow. I'm curious to know how they do together. I personally think its a good combo.

08-04-2008, 22:15
i agree with the 30 and vargulf idea, seems like a much better use of the 400 points. 100 zombies simply seems unwieldy and impractical.

08-04-2008, 22:49
It depends on how you use the zombies. I always include loads of them, as they are the main part of my battle strategy. I guess Im not the one to talk since I dont have the new book yet. everything takes forever to get to norway... Ill shut up now:p


08-04-2008, 23:53
I take two units of 20; nice flank protectors, and put them on the side of your Blood Knights to glue a unit in place and give you time to smash the enemy flank.

They are a lot better then people give them credit for. Just don't expect to actually kill anything, and don't combine charges with them unless the flanker can guarantee over 5 kills or so...

09-04-2008, 09:41
If the flanker can garuntee over 5 kills, why do you need the zombies?

Although i can understand there use, i would much rather buy some skellies who atleast stand a chance

10-04-2008, 02:33
The fact that the "flanker" may well be a varghulf, which can't cancell ranks, could come into it.

10-04-2008, 02:36
However i do struggle to see how a big unit of 80 could hold up the entire enemy for anything longer than a turn or two... maybe its just me but i like hard hitting multi-attack units and could quite easily throw out 50-60 attacks into a unit of 80 and crumble them too quick to be re-summoned.

I'm sorry, please tell me how you get "50-60" attacks to crumble a whole unit in 2 turns? I'm intrigued.

10-04-2008, 02:38
Skaven slaves(or clanrats) with spears, death frenzy cast on them.
Deployed 7 models wide, that's 42 attacks right there.
All hitting on 3's killing on 3's.
And worth a heck of a lot less than your unit of zombies is as well ^_^

10-04-2008, 03:10
I'd have to agree the right size for zombies does seem to be about 20 or 30 to a unit before raising. I plan once I have all my zombies to bring about 3 or 4 units at 30 before raising. Which is a heck of a lot of zombies on the field.

10-04-2008, 07:21
Thanks again for all the replys.

So the 'general consensus seems to be ... starting with 2 or 3 units of around 30 (or maybe 20 and raising a few more) AND raisng small units to be annoying.


(But sometimes, just for the fun of it, in a friendly :evilgrin: Just chucking them all in one huge unit to see your mates face and what he does to tackle the ZOMBIE HORDE OF DOOOOOM!!! :D)

10-04-2008, 08:30
Thanks again for all the replys.

So the 'general consensus seems to be ... starting with 2 or 3 units of around 30 (or maybe 20 and raising a few more) AND raisng small units to be annoying.


(But sometimes, just for the fun of it, in a friendly :evilgrin: Just chucking them all in one huge unit to see your mates face and what he does to tackle the ZOMBIE HORDE OF DOOOOOM!!! :D)

I'd love to see an army inspired by George A. Romero =P

10-04-2008, 11:09
The "flanker" that do over 5 kills in a round has a huge chance of winning the fight alone, but if he doesnt have ranks then the zombie unit would be a nice friend to have. just hope that you dont lose more than 4 zombies;)


10-04-2008, 11:39
Whats the minimum unit size?

10-04-2008, 12:01
20. or was in the old book anyway:p


10-04-2008, 12:03
Whats the minimum unit size?

Of a bloodletter unit? 10 I think.

10-04-2008, 13:57
Ok, gave the zombies a second chance yesterday. My opponent turned out to be using Ogre Kingdoms - instant Refused Flank for me, then. He had his army on a side table, so i could see what he had, and myself likewise. He deployed his single unit of 4 ironguts on the flank i'd chosen to hold onto, so I replied with the zombies. Then he put his bruiser (general) in the unit. They charged in and only 3 zombies remained standing. Good. I flanked with my vampire-led skeletons, chopped up an ogre and ran them down. I ressurected them back to full strength, then the gorger turned up. the zombies took the charge (my opponent was an idiot), and was flanked my the varghulf. He did most of the work, but after a few rounds of combat, the zombies actually finished off the gorger with their own attacks! :D

If my unit recieving the irongut charge was anything else, for the same points, they would have been cut down to the man and the ogres allowed to overrun past my lines - bad news for any VC players.

The end result of the game was every single enemy unit wiped out barring a couiple of leadbelchers who were at half strength, and a personal loss of 5 dire wolves (who were meant to die anyway!)

So from where i'm standing: One, hefty sized unit of zombies for tarpitting that big, scary hammer unit that the enemy needs to smash through your unbreakable troops. Hold it at bay, give it IoN reinforcement if needed, and support it when you can.

10-04-2008, 14:06
Makes it look so simple. You opponent was a tool if he threw in those ironguts and left his flank exposed to your generals unit.......

10-04-2008, 18:15
Makes it look so simple. You opponent was a tool if he threw in those ironguts and left his flank exposed to your generals unit.......

Yes, because we all know that typically opponents play flawlessly, and that any indication of them playing at a lesser level means that the example is meaningless, right? :rolleyes:

10-04-2008, 19:00
You opponent was a tool if he threw in those ironguts and left his flank exposed to your generals unit.......

As I said, my opponent was an idiot. But it's always possible to force your opponent into combats he'd rather not risk, or alternatively stand there and look dumb. My dire wolves die in every game for just such a purpose :)

Oh yeah, the Varghulf-zombie combo worked very well, although i only managed to try it on the gorger. My opponent stupidly let a butcher wander around on its own, unguarded, at the back of the board - he was food for the Varghulf by turn 2.

11-04-2008, 06:47
Makes it look so simple.

Some times it is that simple with zombie somethings the only option the opponent has is to assault the zombie unit. Thats one of their strengths.

I have no idea why a gorger would charge the unit ... but hey, I've done worst.

11-04-2008, 07:37
Well a couple of friends and I played the other day, 750 points each against my 1500 VC
they each brought:
1 runesmith with scroll rune and eater rune
1 thunderer unit
1 quareller unit
then, one brought 3 cannons, other 2 bolt throwers and an organ gun
needless to say they warned me of their impending cheesey gunfest

My response:
4 GIGANTO units of zombies, 1 battle bunker of 30 ghouls
3 hero vamps, 2 with the bonus 2 dice power, 1 with regen banner,the other with the vanhels book, my general with extra level, vambraces, powerstone

they tried to eat invocation, neither killed invocation, and they blasted the hell out of me.
they managed to kill one thrall with a good bounce and a failed regen :(

I was able to end up with a tie in the end, but with their bazillion dispel dice it wasnt easy.

Was fun as hell and I played the "i put a spell on you CCR song on everytime it was my turn.

11-04-2008, 10:45
My point is still valid.
I could state that 5 knights are the best flanking forces because in a game 3 nights ago he turned his unit to face the knights flank. All because i threaten to flank him with some archers (He was a total idiot and didnt realise that skirmishers dotn nulify ranks).

I assumed that we were discussing actual uses for zombies which could be applied against compotent opponents. I personally help my opponent if he is an idiot, not punish him for his inability to form cohesive battle plans.

11-04-2008, 10:59
the unit depends on what you want them to do?

do u want them to be a screening unit? if so then a couple ( around 2 or 3 ) of ranks of zombies should protect your skellies or crypt gouls long enough

to bulk up your army? if so then have a large unit (s) of zombies backed up by a necromancer(s)( optional corpse cart ) and maybe a vampire

to protect your flanks against scouts, detachments? if so a large yet not to many points block of zombies would be fine

generally a vampire counts army combines heavies ( grave guards, blood knights ) with expendable light weight ( dire wolves, zombies ) with a bit of dark magic and a powerful vampire to keep everything together

11-04-2008, 11:01
vampire counts are a tricky army to play with anyway, if i was a beginer i would of stuck to dwarves or empire :D

11-04-2008, 16:15
In my first magic phase I usually just spam ION with dedicated vampires increasing my skeleton units, etc. Zombies are also a good recipient, especially within 6" of a cart with lodestone. I like to purchase about 20-30 and raise it to 40 early on.

Then you can use various raise dead tactics during the game. Raising them in front of the enemy's cavalry to stop their charging, or in range of his frenzied troops to draw them into the middle of nowhere, or to march block him.

If you're facing an army that will often flee as a charge reaction, you can raise zombies behind his units (in one long line if you want...) and destroy anything that tries to flee.

If you're facing an army with low leadership values, raise a few units, bulk them up a bit with ION if necessary, and force him to take even more fear tests. Even if you don't outnumber, you can still press him for 6s.

11-04-2008, 20:12
My point is still valid.

What point? You didnt know what else was happening during that battle, what units were where, what his army consisted of - a straightforward "hes a tool" argument isn't a point anywhere past stating the obvious.

I assumed that we were discussing actual uses for zombies which could be applied against compotent opponents.

We are, and they can. If your so 'competent', contribute. What would you do? :)

11-04-2008, 21:05
I'm pretty new to VC and kind of wrote zombies off at first, but this thread has really convinced me to start using them! I don't know if I would invest many points in them to begin with, but raising small units in annoying places really does sound like fun! I especially like the idea of raising them behind an enemy unit for them to run into if they flee. Very tricksy!

11-04-2008, 22:20
@WalachHarkon: well, thats what VC is all about! being tricksy! you should look around this forum if your new, cause many users has some great and fun tips to playing VC. Good luck mate! And remember; zombies is always THE way;)


12-04-2008, 00:06
My point a while back in regards to a flanking force capable of dealing 5 wounds, in combination with the zombies was basically that the zombies either: stop them from avoiding the charge by blocking them, or just bog them in place, securing the flank charge in the first place. Often there are ways to avoid or deter a flank charge, but zombies can hold the target in place for a number of turns.

Great to see you having success with them, Lordmonkey. I guess the ideal situation is for them to absorb a charge, be reduced to minimal numbers (of 2 or 3 models). They have then successfully held a unit up, prepared them for a flank charge, and been killed enough that the target unit can't get much combat res from them in the following combat phase...

12-04-2008, 01:56
They have then successfully held a unit up, prepared them for a flank charge, and been killed enough that the target unit can't get much combat res from them in the following combat phase...

If the enemy have charged you, it then means you have a magic phase to come. Hopefully you will be able to ressurect at least a few ranks, since your flanker might not be a rank and file unit. At the same time, you then don't lose your zombies (and their standard!) to the enemy :)

I wouldn't recommend zombies in a low-magic army - they constantly need IoN spam.

12-04-2008, 13:47
I agree with the statements about 20-30 strong tar pits. I was merely objecting to using an example which clearly portrayed that large point heavy units in average games will charge into a unit which is only M4 and easy to feed another small unit too. Zombies do require some element of skill to use in order to get the most out of. Simply having a unit in your army does not mean your opponent will fool hardy run into them for the oppertunity of claiming a mere 80vp's. I was more confused why he didnt send that poweful unit into your skellies, who flanked him, then gaurded his own with a small unit of bulls (more than capable of beating zombies), taking out one of your prize vamps into the bargain...

Simply stating my tool opponent charged in there i counter flanked leaves to much to the imagination. I would have much prefered:

I had positioned direwolves to redirect his other units, while van's the zombies to close to be ignored setting up the trap so his wider unit base couldnt manovure into my skeletons. Having blocked all his approaches he was FORCED into charging my zombies (hoping to beat them in 1 turn, which is possible from 14 s4 attacks + 4 impact), through which i was favoured by luck and managed to hold, enabling my plan of a flank charge to hold.

Not: he charged, they held, i won. If we want to truely help people learn how to use zombies, then surely we should show them how to set up the positions and the tactics required. I also never claimed to be competent, only indicated your opponent wasnt.

12-04-2008, 19:57
Honestly, I'm a zombie lover. Fav video games have zombies, same for movies. So its only natural I guess I love zombies in this game too. Like any zombie lover I wish they were a little stronger. However they are completely expendable. Their use GW has given them is very fitting for zombies. To hold a unit, bog them down with the constantly returning tide of dead, and let the actual strong undeads take um out.

Hell I even like how they don't pursue and instead try to drag people down and eat them in the end. Very fitting for zombies I feel. They can't and won't do alot all on their own. But come on now, they're zombies. If you lived forever would you really trust your battle plans to zombies aside from trusting that they will hold up the enemy and be killed quite well by them ?

Zombies are the poster boys for expendable fodder you don't need to give a crap about. They are so amazingly worthless if they win a combat on their own merit it would be a miracle. Thats what makes them so cool in my opinion.

They are cheap, easy to raise up well past full, and they take the beat downs your other more important units wouldn't.

Trust in the zombies to do what zombies do best, stand around in great hordes, eat brains, die and otherwise be totally worthless. In that, they serve their point being decimated by the enemy to enable those flank and rear charges. Don't worry though, always more zombies to go around. Just keep your raising the dead hand strong.

13-04-2008, 02:04
Trust in the zombies to do what zombies do best, stand around

Thats it. Stand around.

People keep on talking about zombies in combat, what the hell for?

The best use for your zombies is mobile terrain. getting your zombies to stand in the way of your opponents plans.

Let your opponent charge you, let him waste his movement phase, don't charge his units with your zombies and give him an extra combat phase.

Second use for zombies, Fear + Unit size.


Third use, combat.