View Full Version : Starting a VC army... but how?

22-03-2009, 06:48
So I am new on WHFB and I am starting VC because I just love the look and feel of VC armies. My main focus is painting but of course there is also the playing, so going for the aesthetically most pleasing army made me chose 'em. I have no clue about how to play VCs the best way so I am turning to you for help.

I want to base the army at 2250 points and I want to include units that would be fun painting. I bought a pack of ghouls and I will be getting a few more, setting the main theme for basic troops within my army. I also plan on getting a box of zombies or so as I thought it would be a good idea to raise some of them. I don't really have any preferences with the rest of the units but I will get some blood knights too because they look just stunning. Now, I actually just bought a box of ghouls, the winged vampire lord because I love the model and the codex.

I thought of playing vampire lords, necromancers, ghouls, blood knights and wolves or so ... but I basically just decided what units I want based on their looks. In the 40K universe, I play rather straight forward and fast armies and adapted a very flexible and movement-heavy playstyle.

From the looks, I'd rather not play a black coach...

Apart from that, what would you recommend me to get for my army and what should I take care of when playing?


22-03-2009, 13:41
I myself play Vampires, so I recommend you the army book first (which I suppose you already have), the Battalion and maybe 2 Vamps to start with. Then you can add more Vamps, a Necromancer, a Wight King, as you wish, and other troops, Grave Guard, Black Knights, Wolves, and so on...
What you should take care of? Protect your General at all costs, if he's a Casty Vampire (like mine) be sure he's bunkered or away from combat, if he's a fighty Vamp, then make sure he's well protected.
And be aware that VC's are not meant to be played the same way as other armies, they have a unique playing style. CR is going to be your friend, and IoN, and other things ^_^

Have fun, and welcome to Sylvania.

22-03-2009, 17:14
Heh, I've been putting a lot of thought into a Vampire Counts army myself lately (seeing as how I've finally been slickered into playing Fantasy), and these are my rough thoughts about the army.

One of the key things to remember about Vampire Counts is that in order to march-move, you need units with the Vampire rule - lots and lots of them, or at least a fair few. Also, moreso than any other army, you're dependent upon your Wizards to keep your units healed with IoN, raise up tarpit Zombie units, and Vanhel's your key units into enemies. The more Vampires, the better. One of the best (IMHO) bloodline skills to take for a Vampire Lord is Dark Acolyte; that way you ensure that you've got the key Vanhel's. Always take the extra level of Magic, as well. Give one of your other Vampires the Book of Arkhan, too - and don't forget that they can cast Vanhel's on themselves if they're in close combat to gain ASF and reroll to-hits.

Even if you're taking a Vampire Lord with Dark Acolyte, you should have at least one Necromancer to ensure you get Vanhel's Danse Macabre; I'd hesitate to say whether mounting him in the Corpse Cart would be a good idea or not, however. equipment-wise, Black Periapt+a Power Stone would ensure at least one or two Vanhel's going off successfully. If you don't like the looks of the current Necromancers, just look at any given wizard mini; myself, I have a Bretonnian Damsel.

The Battalion box for sure - even if you prefer Ghouls, it still comes with 10 Ghouls, 20 Zombies, and a Corpse Cart on top of the 20 Skeletons, and the Skeletons can be formed into a magic banner unit pretty easily.

A note on Zombies, however: they're cheap Combat Resolution for your enemies. Never ever ever expect them to do ANYTHING in combat except die.... yet again, and never use them for flank charges or anything other than a unit to tarpit your enemy's hammer regiments until you're ready to deal with them.

I would heartily recommend either Fell Bats or Dire Wolves for warmachine hunters; by my personal preference Fell Bats because they don't require a Vampire to keep them moving forward, they move 20" versus 18", and aren't affected by terrain; but I will admit that they cost more ($15 for a blister of 2 versus $20 for a box of 10 Dire Wolves) and that the Fell Bat model is dead ugly. I'm halfway thinking of using Furies or Harpies as counts-as Fell Bats. <_< If you're going to go for Fell Bats, try to get at least 5 of them; that way you can also use them as flank-chargers to negate ranks. Hell, one box of Dire Wolves is good anyway, just as flank-chargers.

If you want a unit of Spirit Hosts, just buy a cheap plastic regiment box of the basic troops that your regular opponents have and use that instead of the more expensive models. That way, you're raising his own dead against him...

A Grave Guard unit will provide some much-needed combat punch; their only real disadvantage (low WS) can be counted by a Banner of the Barrows/Royal Standard of Strigos/Vanhel's Danse Macabre/Helm of Commandment. I would get at least 2 boxes, either for 4 ranks of 5 (20 models) or 3 ranks of 6 (18 models) - combat resolution is your friend even with the 'fighty' units.

Though it would be a skill-intensive project, a box of Grave Guard + a box of Bretonnian Knights of the Realm = a respectable unit of Black Knights. Me, I just used the leftovers from one box of Grave Guard, but I wanted a Bret-looking regiment - and I have other tricks to distinguish them from regular Bretonnians!

As far as rare units go, all of them are good in their own way. Varghulfs are good for keeping a flanking movement involving Black Knights/Dire Wolves march moving, thanks to their Vampire rules; they can do some damage but don't expect a Varghulf to win a combat all by its lonesome.

Wraiths are very good at adding close-combat punch with 3 S5 Attacks apiece, along with the Ethereal rule - just try to negate the Ranks of any unit they charge with a flank to make sure combat resolution doesn't crumble them. Also, Banshees are deadly-effective against low-Ld units and/or high Sv small units because they ignore armour saves. However, they can get torn up by enemy Heroes/Lords, and against Dwarves they die quickly thanks to their war machines counting as magical attacks.

Black Coaches are best if you've got a lot of power dice to fuel it, and are the worst nightmare of any Wizard-intensive army, especially High Elves; with a 3+/4+ save, they're also dead hard to kill even before they become Ethereal. But I do understand about not wanting the model because it's ugly. Boy, do I ever understand... but you might look at some of the other Chariots available to other armies and convert one, maybe? With the Vampire rule, they can also keep units march-moving too.

A lot of people swear by Blood Knights; me, I just swear at them. They're very, very killy; but with Frenzy they can charge at the most inconvenient times and Martial Honour is a disadvantage if they go up against a Hero or Lord that's capable of Overkilling one of them. Also, they're a lot of points for T4 1 Wound models that attract a LOT of artillery and handgun fire. If you're going to use them, have screening units of Dire Wolves and the Banner of Dread Keep - Drakenhoff is too anticipated, and BoDK does much the same job for 50 points less, not counting the cost of a Vampire BSB.

22-03-2009, 17:51
One thing that I think is terrific to keep in mind is that if you don't like the looks of a unit, convert it!

For example, I personally hate the Black Knights models. The skeletal steeds are just awful, and they are pricey too. So if I wanted to field a unit of black knights, I would probably kit bash them from either bret or empire knights and the skeleton or grave guard plastic box with the help of some greenstuff to gore up the horses.

If you don't like the Black Coach, I suggest watching the last 15 minutes or so of Bram Stoker's Dracula and see if that changes your opinion =)

One of the great things about VCs is that the army itself is so powerful you can afford (and even SHOULD) make some sub-optimal choices and still end up with a decent list. It's a fantastic army for the "play with what models you like" style.

The only thing I think is really mandatory is to have a fair number of zombies painted up and ready. Even if you don't field a ton in your list, you'll probably want to raise them.

Also, with respect to blood knights: if you think the GW ones are nice, do a search for Gamezone Mournful Knights =)

22-03-2009, 18:22
Many people, incluede me, thinks zombies are horrible and useless and not even worth raising, so I would consider not buying any at all...
Ghousl are great for minimum core units of 10, so 2-3 packs should help, but dont count on using them as a maunstay unit, cause skeleton beat them when you got large units with characters. Skeletons are great in units of 20-25-30 (or starting low and building them with Lord of the Dead), so if you want to use them, you'll probably need 30+...
Dire Wolves are great and comes in oacks of 10!, so you should at least pick up one box...
The corpse cart is not bad, but it's hard to find the spare points...
The Varghulf is great, and you should have at least one...
Cairn Wraiths are very powerful, and can win the game alone, just not versus deamons :D...
Grave guards are IMO very good for any raise army, and a unit of 25 is very hard to chop though, so 2-3 boxes if you want to use them. The great weapons are okay, but I would rather use hand weapon & shield and go for winning combats on static...
And make sure to get a BSB, they are great and I never play without one...

22-03-2009, 18:36
Zombies are useful, just not for winning combats. Zombies are for march blocking and redirecting, two of the most important tactics in Warhammer.

I would strongly recommend getting the battalion box. It is a fantastic place to start, as it includes nearly everything you'll need for your core forces. That plus a vamp or two will get you well on your way. Then you need to figure out your special and rare choices, but that will come in time. Finally, once you have your army itself purchased, by another battalion and use those models for raises. Then you have a good army right there.

22-03-2009, 21:49
Oh wow. Thanks for your very informative answers! Sylvania is just too kind to me :)

So yes, tomorrow I will get a battalion box for some more units. I am not sure if I will use the skeletons though. Don't get me wrong, I like skeletons but I have the feeling that the more troop choices I use and the more I go into detail with different troop choices, the more I will lose army control ... at least that's what I am used to when building 40K armies. Don't get me wrong, I am not up for serious powergaming but I am really down with army consistency.

About those ghouls: I always hear different stuff about them. Some people I respect told me that it's actually better to add some more of 'em, having units of 15. Well, I think I will have to see about that, right?

I think I won't bother with the rare and special units now, concentrating on my basics and heroes ... so the battalion box will give me a whole bunch of new troops and a corpse cart ... i might also get a necromancer (should i get the one with the staff or the one with the sword?) and a vampire blister (thinking about necrarch... i don't really digg the look of the von carstein vampires, lahmia would also be an option but they're a bit too egyptian influenced for my taste) ...

i thought about playing it like:

1 vampire lord (a caster guy)
2 vampires (both dark acolyte, one is a summoner, the other one has avatar of death and the book of arkhan)
1 necromancer (vanhels, ion) on a corpse cart with balefire
3x15 ghouls with ghast
another corpse cart with balefire
and 5 blood knights or so ...

so from the battalion box i could use everything but the skeletons :( so it's not really a that good bargain from buying the troops seperately, just that i would not have things i would not use lying around ...

23-03-2009, 05:22
It's always nice to have spare skeleton sprues around for bases and conversion work. You could also sell them or trade them to a player who wants to use them.

23-03-2009, 08:32
I wouldn't get Ghasts for your Ghouls - the extra Attack just plain isn't necessary, and he wouldn't be winning any Challenges that your regular Ghouls wouldn't just slaughter anyway.

The advantage of the Skeletons versus the Ghouls is static Combat Resolution, and being able to take a 25-point magical banner - one difference from 40k to Fantasy is that a unit can lose tons of models and still win battles simply through having more weight of numbers or whatnot. With Vampires especially, static CR is more important, as is outnumbering enemy units; because everything is Fear-causing, if your regiment outnumbers theirs and you win the combat they automatically fail their Break tests (barring a roll of snake-eyes!)

Simply for that reason, one large regiment of Skeletons is a good idea. Ranked up in 5's, with a Standard Bearer carrying the War Banner, it has a static CR of at least 6 - 1 for Standard, 1 for War Banner, 3 for ranks, and 1 for outnumbering (very likely, with Invocation of Nehek to heal up casualties!) If they're using Hand Weapons and Shields together (for a total 4+ save), any charging unit will probably only inflict 3-4 casualties tops, and if you stick a Vampire in the front row of the skellies... well, he can wipe the floor with most Hero level characters in a challenge, let alone a measly Champion, or butcher entire front ranks by himself.

Generally speaking, you'll use Ghouls to move forward (probably with Ghoulkin on one of your Vamps so they get a free move), and the skellies as a bunker for one of your caster Vampires. I can understand not liking the skellies, and KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) synergizes with The Master bloodline powers, but don't write off having them in your army just yet.

If you're going to use Blood Knights, then it is absolutely essential they have a screening unit of some kind, probably Dire Wolves, to stand between them and the enemy until the time comes to unleash them. The problem with Frenzy is that the unit with it HAS to charge, and smart players will stick a disposable unit just within charge range of your Blood Knights (probably fast cav), and then flee as a charge reaction, leaving your Blood Knights sitting out in the open and vulnerable.

23-03-2009, 16:11
Many people, incluede me, thinks zombies are horrible and useless and not even worth raising, so I would consider not buying any at all....

I agree, for the most part. They have their uses, but I pretty much never raise them anymore. Its a shame, really. I always loved my zombies and they had become a back-bone of my 6th edition army; I even took them instead of skeletons in my list. Now I have tons of models, some of my favorite ones in the VC collection, sitting around never seeing the table top.