View Full Version : Vampire Counts Basics

29-09-2010, 23:03
I have the opportunity to start up a Vampire Counts army if I act relatively quickly, for a good price I believe. The problem is that I know very little of Vampire Counts altogether, as an army, their play style, etc. I'm hoping that some of you can help me out with this.

First of all, are Vampire Counts a decent army now in 8th edition? I've heard murmurings that they took quite a hit in terms of power level in the transition to 8th edition, but really don't know the truth behind this. Also, and this may come out a little bluntly, but are they an annoying army for an opponent to have to face? I really wouldn't want an army that nobody really liked playing against. Powerful is fine...annoying is something else altogether.

Secondly, these are the basic models I'd have access to with this army start:

2 Vampire Lords
2 Corpse Carts
40-80 Zombies(I can get up to 80, but would I really need the full 80...even for raising?)
28 Skeleton Warriors
18 Grave Guard
17 Crypt Ghouls
8 Dire Wolves
13 Fell Bats(again, this number seems a little high...what's a more reasonable and useful number of these critters?)
2 Varghulfs

Now, this said, I can add a few things if I deem it necessary. Things like beefing out the units is also possible, if you guys think it's a good idea.

So, basically I'm looking to see if you think this is a worthwhile endeavor, if the Vampire Counts are a good, fun, and effective army to play and collect, and anything else you might have to say in regards to this.


30-09-2010, 00:55
VC dropped from upper tier to middle tier, which means they're less suitable for (uncomped) tournament play, but it also means it's actually easier to create friendly lists with the army.

Prototypical hard vampire army:
- vampire lord totally tooled out for casting and/or combat.
- vampire or wightking BSB
- supportive characters, e.g. specialised vampires or necromancers
- 1+ large graveguard unit with +1 to hit banner
- minimum core spread over 2-3 large skeleton/ghoul units. Skeletons are anvils and always need full command. Ghouls are the killers. Zombies should be raised, not bought.
- optional varghulfs, 1 black coach or 1 wraith unit with banshee. I advise at least 1 Varghulf.
- possibly wolves or fell bats to hunt warmachines and be annoying, e.g. redirect.

VC have a rather unique playing style that rests on the vampires, especially the lord their magic. They can become somewhat monotonous, however, due to their lack of participation in several elements of the game (e.g. the receiving end of psychology; shooting).

30-09-2010, 01:09
Awesome, thanks very much, Witchblade! So really, with a few additions to the model list above, I could actually make a pretty decent Vampire Counts army, yes? Sweet. I really like the double Varghulf thing...those things seem nasty. I've never had the misfortune of facing even one of them across the table, let alone two, but they seem pretty appealing.

How would you suggest equipping the main Vampire Lord? It seems to me like he's the single most important model in the whole of the army, so equipping him correctly and efficiently seems paramount.

Thanks again, Witchblade. This is definitely good news.


30-09-2010, 01:19
So, thanks to Witchblade, this is what I've come up with for the core of a 2000 point army. It doesn't have any characters added to it yet, and some points might need to be shaved off to fit everything I'll need in terms of characters...we'll see. Let me know what you think of this start.

29 Skeleton Warriors-
Standard Bearer

18 Crypt Ghouls-
Crypt Ghast

18 Crypt Ghouls-
Crypt Ghast

6 Dire Wolves-
Doom Wolf

28 Grave Guard-
Standard Bearer
Banner of the Barrows



Current Total 1375pts.

The Grave Guard are 28-strong, because I figured that's where I'd most likely want to stick my Vampire Lord and Battle Standard Bearer. The Skeleton Warriors have a space open for a Hero of some kind, probably a lesser Vampire of some sort...

30-09-2010, 02:00
It's a very good base to start with. The crypt ghouls as they are are OK but you should plan to increase their size early in the game. You'll need more than 18 in a unit to be effective.

The Doom wolf is unecessary unless you have a fondness for the model. Dire Wolves don't actually kill much. I'd rather have another wolf (or ghoul or skeleton) than an extra attack.

The only other comment I'll make is if your lord is mostly a caster and has the helm of commandment it is generally recommended to take some form of small 'bunker' of skeletons that will sit behind your main blocks and cast spells and apply the bonus from the helm as necessary. You should also consider if you will stick to lore of vampires or branch out into some of the other lores.

30-09-2010, 02:19
Thanks for the reply, ramongoroth, those are very excellent points, and I really appreciate it. Just how large are we looking at for an effective unit of Crypt Ghouls? And is 6 wide, as I have them, preferable? I'm thinking that, because of their base size, and the fact that we're trying to maximize Poisoned attacks with them, their frontage should be around that size(6 wide). Am I right in thinking this?

Also, nope, the Doom Wolf can go:) No problems there at all! I didn't really think the Dire Wolves would do much in the way of killing, but maybe tie up some war machines or something like that. Without the Doom Wolf, is a unit of 6 or 7 of them adequate for this task? Would Fell Bats perhaps be better for this job?

Also, when it comes to the Vampire Lord, what sorts of builds should I be looking at? I might like to go magic heavy with him, and I`m not entirely sure on sticking with the Lore of Vampires or not...thoughts on this?

30-09-2010, 02:47
Ghouls I always run 7 wide (unless you wanted a huge horde unit) as it will give you maximum attacks against a 5 wide 20mm based unit (corner to corner) which is the minimum frontage for a ranked (and likely steadfast) unit.

30-09-2010, 02:57
That's a really great point, thanks Dreadgrass. 7 wide it is! So really, that'll bump the minimum size of my Crypt Ghoul units up to 21(7x3)...and that would be as small as I'd possibly want them, I suppose. Maybe this would be a decent size to start them off as, in terms of having to pay points for them, and then just try and summon more early on.

This would also pretty much dictate the focus of my Vampire Lord, I assume. He'd obviously have to have Summon Ghouls and be geared to being very powerful magically. Works for me. Any thoughts on the Crypt Ghoul unit sizes I've mentioned, and also a Vampire Lord build geared towards supporting them as required?

Thanks again, Dreadgrass.

30-09-2010, 03:13
No worries, I'll re-post my tinkered with army list and throw the link in here for you in the next day or so, as its VERY similar to what your running. Graveguard block with Ghouls and Varghulfs in support and a Vamp lord bunkered in a unit of skellies behind to ramp them all up with buffs.

Alternately, come join us over on Carpe Noctem (vampirecounts.net) Im under the same name there and theres a fair few good ideas etc. floating around to supplement what you pick up here!

30-09-2010, 03:17
Awesome, thanks so much, Dreadgrass! I definitely look forward to seeing what you've got going on for a list, and I might just head over to Carpe Noctem at some point soon to check things out, and maybe get a little more advanced Vamp theory;)

Edit: The duo of Varghulfs is really appealing to me right now too, and for the points, I think they're a great bargain. I'm wondering if fielding a couple Varghulfs in 2000 points would be considered a little too over the top, or what? Honestly, I can't see it...I mean, they aren't War Hydras or something like that. I think they're solid, but not overly nuts, and I think the two of them will add some much needed hitting power to the army. Definitely looking forward to the repositioning and such one of them too, to make him look different enough from the other to seem almost like a different scuplt...very cool stuff.

30-09-2010, 05:38
Great initial reply Witchblade. I've been building up my VCs and all the advice you had there would have saved me a lot of reading :D

30-09-2010, 07:19
It's definitely important to have a few skeleton spear deathstars. With the new 1/4 core minimum, you don't have to feel guilty about taking 2-3 ginormous units of these suckers and using them as your damage-absorbers and unit blockades. I'd go with wolves as Witchblade said for war machine and missile-hunters.

Definitely go with frontages of 7 for your units. As you have 20mm bases throughout most of your army, a frontage of 7 will grant you full attacks in the front most of the time (assuming you're fighting a 20mm infantry unit to the front that only has 5 models).

As far as your Vampire Lord goes, I'd go more caster than combat. In 7th, it was all about the ridiculous dragon set up, but with TLoS and the deletion of range-guessing, it's become a little more dangerous (especially when your Vampire dying means the rest of your army suffering). I'm not saying stay away from dragons, but I'm saying keep him more for casting and less for combat.

30-09-2010, 15:13
Thanks so much, SiNNiX, that's great advice too. For sure, it seems that my Vampire Lord will definitely be leaning more towards being a strong spell caster rather than a combat monster. However, I mean, he has a pretty brutal stat line to begin with, so it's not like he's helpless in combat naturally, so he can still likely hold his own if need be. However, obviously I would(and I'm sure the Vampire Lord would be with me on this one...)rather his minions take the worst of the enemy attacks. Spell casting Vampire Lord it is!

Skeleton deathstars sound pretty fun! So you'd suggest all units, not just Crypt Ghouls have a frontage of 7?

30-09-2010, 15:29
Edit: The duo of Varghulfs is really appealing to me right now too, and for the points, I think they're a great bargain. I'm wondering if fielding a couple Varghulfs in 2000 points would be considered a little too over the top, or what? Honestly, I can't see it...I mean, they aren't War Hydras or something like that. I think they're solid, but not overly nuts, and I think the two of them will add some much needed hitting power to the army. Definitely looking forward to the repositioning and such one of them too, to make him look different enough from the other to seem almost like a different scuplt...very cool stuff.

I'm also a starting VC player, and Varghulf was the first unit I decided I had to have in my army. Varghulf is good but hardly over the top (I've lately played mostly 40k where spamming of tanks and dinosaurs is just normal), so I want at least two in 2000 points. Maybe even a trio of them? With a horde of ghouls and ghoul summoning Vampires it seems nice and fluffy.

I've been thinking about Varghulf conversions too. Repositioning seems to be nice enough, but what about a different animal type? A giant wolf or cat could look quite cool if done well.

30-09-2010, 15:41
Ville: Totally agree...a trio would be absolutely terrifying...but it can't be done at the 2000 points level, sadly. Firstly, one can't have more than two of a Rare choice at that points level, and also, you can only have 25% of your army value in Rare units, and three Varghulfs comes to 525 points. It would be completely awesome though....

As for the different models, I love your idea of a more giant wolf-like Varghulf, that would be so cool. I'm trying to think about how I could go about putting one together, and I'm sure there's some alternate line models that would fit the bill quite nicely....definitely worth a look.

For now, my friend, we're stuck with two Varghulfs in our 2000 points armies...

30-09-2010, 20:14
Hmm, perhaps I should really get a rulebook finally. I am building "fantasy" armies in my mind that are rarely legal...:p

If you google "varghulf", you can find at least one example of a wolf form.


Man, you can really let your imagination run wild with those lovely beasties!

01-10-2010, 11:23
Frontage of 7 is good for ghouls and grave guard. I'd not use it for skeletons (or zombies). Skeletons IMHO are best 5 wide and very deep. I also do not field them with spears. Your WS2 St3 attacks will not go very far against even mediocre troops. I like my skeletons to hold whatever they're fighting either to keep them tarpitted or allow a flank charge. The exception is if you plan on taking say shadow magic to debuff the enemy. Skeletons don't benefit enough frmo the extra attacksto go 7 wide or use spears for my tastes. I generally take 25-30 with the war banner and back them up with a vampire hero with the +1 CR power.