View Full Version : Vampire Counts Strengths in 8th

01-11-2010, 16:29
In 7th Edition, I'd say that the Vampire Counts two greatest strengths were being able to raise units and regenrate lost models, and being able to break units by outnumbering them with Fear causing units.

In 8th, magic is a little different, but Fear is very different to how it worked in 7th. So what is the strength of the Vampire Counts army now? Is Fear just as good but in a different way, instead of making units more likely to break actually making them easier to beat in CC, and making the Undead units harder to hurt in return so that Vampire Counts rank and file stand a better chance of winning combats without as much character help, or is Fear pretty much out of the equation as a crutch for the less that adequate Vampire Counts troops?

01-11-2010, 16:48
Fear is not just as good. It is a potential boost that will often not be much of a boost at all. It makes zombies bad instead of horrible, skeletons mediocre instead of bad, and ghouls decent instead of mediocre. And this is only when it happens, which is rare with the abundance of high LD and BSBs. Now a unit of wights with Banner of the Barrows going at someone that failed a fear test can be devastating considering they'll probably be throwing 2+/2+ w/magical KB attacks, but again, rare and you're better off taking a vamp with the Helm to boost their WS and do that all the time.

I would say the VC strength is now only that they are unbreakable and their ranks can be replenished. This was true in 7th, but it is really all we have going for us anymore. No more magic domination, no more autobreak. I have been concentrating on keeping my force at maximum capacity and it's been working. Most of my games have been under 2000 with my counts in 8th, but once I get back up to the 2000+ level I intend to take a healthy serving of necromancers to accomplish this at low cost.

01-11-2010, 16:55
It's a shame that all break test taking armies have benefitted greatly from Steadfast, while Vamps units still just take extra damage from lost combats, which with all the extra dice flying around in most combats in 8th could be significant. I'm thinking that taking bigger units to start and make them deep enough to deny Steadfast to the enemy, and taking every item and power you can that reduces the enemy Ld value is the way to go - Aura of Dark Majesty, Screaming Banner etc........

01-11-2010, 18:06
I agree Eternus, that sounds like the way to go with VC this edtiion. A list that includes the Aura of Dark Majesty, the Tormentor Sword, Walking Death, War Banner, Screaming Banner. Focus on winning combats and causing as many LD tests as possible. Units of 50+ zombies in normal 5-wide formation (same for skellies) and many flesh hound units just to disrupt the enemy. Use healing just to keep your units large enough to prevent the enemy from getting steadfast.

01-11-2010, 18:18
Aura is the only thing available for lowering LD, correct? It happens to be expensive, too, likely due to the power of fear last edition. If you really wanted to play fear to it's fullest you'd probably want to take some vamps with Forbidden Lore - Death. Doom and Darkness isn't difficult to cast and with a few castings per turn you could almost ensure that most battles go your way. Not to mention the bonus of being able to drop a couple Purple Suns.

How many vamps would be needed to get it done? 3? 4? Do you take a lord, or just heroes?

Definitely field some banshees in the army, the spell basically means +3 wounds for her scream.

I think I'm going to stick with my focus on replenishing. It has a lot of positives to it, including a high number of potential casts per turn and folks around here don't seem to find it very threatening, saving dice for something bigger.

01-11-2010, 19:18
Also, with bonuses to casting from magic level now, Summon Undead Horde will be far easier to cast. I'm thinking pair up wide units of Grave Guard or Skeleton Warriors with very deep units of Zombies to prevent the enemy from gaining Steadfast, and if the enemy do break and get away, at least they'll suffer from 6 or 7 ranks worth of Str2 hits from the Zombies.

Andy p
01-11-2010, 20:14
Im wondering if it would be nice if steadfast gave a bonus to undead units too, something along the lines of "halves all crumble damage from combat rez".

But thats probably a bad idea.......

01-11-2010, 22:00
In my opinion the greatest strength of Vampire counts is their ability to heal models and units. They do it easier and more reliably than any other army in the game. Summon undead horde got a lot more powerful in this respect as it's not only easier to cast but you are also more likely to have more elite units that will benefit from it's effects. You can heal a lot of characters and difficult to heal units with just one casting of this and that in itself can break an opponents plans for dispelling that phase.

Fear is less powerful (it was certainly one of the stronger aspects of the vampires in 7th) but it's still useful. The improved rules for battle standards makes it even less so, that said opponents have to take the test every round of combat so you actually have more chances for it to swing fights.

The other great strength of the Vampires and one that carries over from the previous edition is an awesome magic lore with one of the most potent abilities in spell casting. Repeatability, the option to cast the same spell over and over till you run out of dice is incredible. With the new rules for magic and if you felt like really pushing your luck it's possible for a vampire to cast 12+ spells. In fact you can cast most of the vampire lore on one dice with a level 4 vampire. Casting Vanhel's danse macabre over and over again with almost total reliability really drains an opponents dispel pool.

01-11-2010, 22:17
Eternus, Watch out for Zombie units joining combats, as my opponents now see them as free combat rez. I can only counter this with the Helm.

DarkAngelDentist, Can we now cast every Vampire spell repeatedly? I thought just ION could be cast like that.

I am finding it hard to play as the VC unless it is 2500+ points, as otherwise even with Ghoulkin, my units are not big enough to start with.

I usually use Death Magic, as when it causes wounds we get more Power Dice, which is a small boon, but in combination with MOTBA can mean we have 3-8 more dice a turn.

At 2000 points I have a unit of 25 GG, 2 units of 25 Ghouls, and a unit of 20 Skellies with a Corpse Cart. 1 Lord, 2 Vamps, and a WK BSB. I have trouble keeping from being flanked, and am wondering if I should use 3 15 Ghouls, and build them up.

01-11-2010, 22:29
Supporting attacks has certainly made wights better (both GGs and BKs); the ability to put out 6 killing blow attacks against a single enemy base (with the chance of ASF, +1 to hit, WS 7, another 3 attacks if horde, etc) is handy. Especially when killing the enemy bsb is so vital to getting the most out of fear.

01-11-2010, 22:55
Vampires aren't as bad off as everyone likes to say they are. Sure they lost fear autobreak, but that was really disgusting against some armies, while other armies were totally immune to it. Now the armies are more balanced across the board. Fear is still good, just not unbalancing good. And lots of armies are still immune to it anyway.

Vampires can make great use of the horde formation. With all their units already unbreakable why not? Ghouls are disgusting in horde, and so much better than skeletons that the point costs don't make sense. Varghulfs are a lot meaner with thunderstomp.

IoN spam was toned down a bit, but now summon undead horde is that much better. And with a lvl 4 caster its pretty easy to get off. Undead can still gain access to plenty of power dice too. And if you have multiple casters you can always try the single die spam. There is a 2/3 chance of it working.

02-11-2010, 03:42
DarkAngelDentist, Can we now cast every Vampire spell repeatedly? I thought just ION could be cast like that.

We can't cast every spell repeatedly, just the necromancy ones. Which are invocation, raise dead and vanhel's danse macabre. These three spells can be cast any number of times and since a level 4 cast vanhel's on a 3+ you can actually spam it rather effectively. An enemy level 4 will have a risky time matching you dice for dice. Raise dead despite the slight issue of giving up victory points is also extremely handy for speed bumping enemy units. A line of zombies gets in the way nicely and is easy enough for even a level 1 to have even odds casting on 1 dice.

Combine this with the modest casting values of curse and gaze (which alas can only be cast once per wizard) and you can really hammer people with a barrage of spells. Vanhel's in particular is incredibly potent and opponents do not like seeing it cast. Whether it gives you a charge or 'strikes first' and re-rolls it can turn a flank or even the whole game with just a single casting.

In smaller games I focus on having a decent lord with the lore of vampires and a level 1 hero with forbidden lore. This gives a nice spell slinging combo as the lord chucks out successful castings with ease and the level 1 can sneak in one of the many potent support spells now out there. (Wissen's wildform is just one of my favourites.)

02-11-2010, 06:59
Eternus, Watch out for Zombie units joining combats, as my opponents now see them as free combat rez.

I agree, but they are a cheap way of preventing the enemy from being Steadfast (which with Vamps is the name of the game), and being only 5 models wide will reduce the number of attacks coming back. The intention is to allow the Skeletons or GG with characters to do the damage, and the zombies are just there for ranks.

Vampires can make great use of the horde formation. With all their units already unbreakable why not?

See Goldenwolfe's comment above, which is pretty much spot on. Vamps models are generally so poor in combat and have such low Initiative values that a lot them just give away CC res without achieving anything in return. That's why we rely on characters and the odd elite unit so much, and why autobreak in 7th was such a staple of Vamps tactics - we just really struggle to kill the enemy with our abysmal troops.

02-11-2010, 11:57
Undead are suffering from edition lag.
The main problem is that they were priced for the old edition where the FEAR was worth the extra points and the ability to resurrect made our units tough. The problem is that with so much leadership and re-rolling leadership cause of BSB fear is in effect pointless (all armies reach LD10 with reroll 12'' bubbles now). It is worth maybe half a point of the model, if that. It is priced at at least 2. Furthermore the ability to resurrect models was counterbalanced by by the crumbling rule in the old edition where differences of 10 points in combat resolution were staggering and you seldom lost more than 10 models a round. The number of casualties increased exponentially, with it the number of crumbles. But our ability to resurrect remained constant ( if even that with the new rules) so it is much less powerful. But the core fact remains that as a result ALL of our core units and almost all of our units in the game are overpriced.
So what advantages do we have?
1. Versatility and power in magic. MotBA and Forbidden Lore are awesome. You will no longer utterly dominate the magic phase so use them well.
2. Graveguard with great weapons and +1 to hit banner are BEASTS. They are still vulnerable to some things and can be wasted against cheap hordes but Vanhels and staff of Damnation are a fantastic answer.
3. Number of magical attacks has actually gone down in new edition as magic users have come do dominate the character selection with the obligatory BSB with ward save. This makes wraiths very good in the new edition if u can get them into CC alive.
4. We can snowball more than most armies. By snowball I mean pack our strengths in one area/unit and make it overwhelming. Crown of Command, Drakenhof Banner, etc remain viable game winning options in the new edition. As do the new magic rules (pity we cant take life magic).

Spleen Hammer
02-11-2010, 14:28
Zombies. All zombies, all the time. Never lose...

Heh, that was a good one. No seriously, a vampire lord kitted out to be as killy as possible, bunkered in a big ol' unit of GG, supported by a necromancer is the best thing we got going.