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New Cult King
22-05-2012, 01:55
Looking around at all the internet wisdom, it seems that many people prefer zombies over skeletons as their core units in VC armies. As someone who is a Fantasy nub and doesn't yet have the rulebook, is there an obvious reason for this?

Can a good VC army be built around a skeleton core, or a mix of skeletons and zombie units?

NitrosOkay
22-05-2012, 02:11
I like a mix of skeletons and zombies. Skeletons won't give up quite as much combat resolution and can take the screaming banner which works well with the other fear enhancing powers in the Vampire book. If you're taking a Mortis Engine give them spears, otherwise hand weapons for that 6+ ward. Skeletons make a nice place to bunker a Vampire Lord with said powers, probably with a Wraith/Banshee to cause Terror.

Basically it's possible to combo charge with skeletons and not die horribly to combat resolution, but really isn't with Zombies. Ghouls are really expensive for what they do. I've won lots of games with skeletons with the new book. I absolutely would take at least one unit of Zombies for tarpitting important enemies though.

Gooner
22-05-2012, 05:01
Skellies are a much better unit to have a vampire with the fear powers and screaming banner in compared to using Zombies. I find I am not as worries sending them into combat with other units compared to zombies just bleeding combat rez. A secret is to put a vamp in there with fear powers , full command with screaming banner, and a wraith. This works because there is a decent chance they will fear you, your wraith hits well and reduces incoming attacks because the corner of ur unit is ethereal. The other corner has the vamp that I give fear powers and good deffence with GW for killyness. There is less attacks actually hitting skellies as they must attack the wraith or vamp and they might even be WS1 so your skellies hit on 3's.

Ginger Ian
22-05-2012, 09:10
I personally only use skeleton core. The main downside is increasing units beyond their starting size - only one necro with Master of the Dead or Kemmler can do this.

Arnizipal
22-05-2012, 10:52
Looking around at all the internet wisdom, it seems that many people prefer zombies over skeletons as their core units in VC armies. As someone who is a Fantasy nub and doesn't yet have the rulebook, is there an obvious reason for this?

Can a good VC army be built around a skeleton core, or a mix of skeletons and zombie units?
Don't you mean ghouls instead of zombies?

Zombies are a support unit. They die in droves and as such can't be used in the same way skeletons and ghouls can.

warplock
22-05-2012, 11:39
Don't you mean ghouls instead of zombies?

Zombies are a support unit. They die in droves and as such can't be used in the same way skeletons and ghouls can.

Skeletons die in droves too, though - it's easy to forget, because zombies are so bad, that skeletons are still worse than skaven slaves in combat! (lowe I, crumble).

Rake
22-05-2012, 12:11
Bottom line for me is BOTH skeletons and zombies suck. If you tally the cost of full command + wraith + banner of fear + vampire with fear powers you could have 50 ghous instead of 50 skeletons roughy equal in combat AND all those points come from CORE rather than heroes further reducing the number of points wasted in in order to make your core tolerable. Get this straight, CORE troops are your weakness, REAL weakness not like skaven leadership. You will never turn this weakness around. Limit it and move on. For aesthetic reasons alone skeletons are worth it, but cannot compare to ghouls (even expensive ones) for effectiveness.

BooMeRLiNSKi
22-05-2012, 12:30
There is less attacks actually hitting skellies as they must attack the wraith or vamp and they might even be WS1 so your skellies hit on 3's.

No they mustn't, they can still hit your rank and file just fine.

Scythe
22-05-2012, 13:38
No they mustn't, they can still hit your rank and file just fine.

If they are only in base contact with your characters, they have to strike against the characters. Strategically placed wraiths DO lessen return attacks.

SteelTitan
22-05-2012, 13:41
Bottom line for me is BOTH skeletons and zombies suck. If you tally the cost of full command + wraith + banner of fear + vampire with fear powers you could have 50 ghous instead of 50 skeletons roughy equal in combat AND all those points come from CORE rather than heroes further reducing the number of points wasted in in order to make your core tolerable. Get this straight, CORE troops are your weakness, REAL weakness not like skaven leadership. You will never turn this weakness around. Limit it and move on. For aesthetic reasons alone skeletons are worth it, but cannot compare to ghouls (even expensive ones) for effectiveness.

I tend to agree. I probably wouldn't go without a unit of Zombies, just because they are cheap and if you make sure you keep them inside your IoN range, you have a nice big unit to play around with and block units with.
Ghouls, although pretty expensive now, are still good. You just have to make darn sure you get the matchup you want AND that you can IoN them when needed.

It does depend on the list though. I don't think VC core is a no-brainer selection process. In the list I'm building (cav bus), I can see a core of only zombies and wolves work really well. However, when I get around buying a unit of 6 crypt horrors, I can see 40-50 ghouls being a good addition next to 40 grave guard and some wolves.

BooMeRLiNSKi
22-05-2012, 13:47
If they are only in base contact with your characters, they have to strike against the characters. Strategically placed wraiths DO lessen return attacks.

If it's a 20mm based bus vs the same then having a character on each end with a command group will lessen the attacks that can be directed at rank and file by 0. I'm not saying it can't happen, but more often than not it wont or it can be easily circumvented.

Ratbeast
22-05-2012, 14:18
zombies rock, start with a few units of 20 around your casters, and you dont even need to try to get there numbers up, they spawn like crazy, many games ive played i started with 20 zombies and ended up well over 70!!!!!!!!!!!! they die in droves but you can raise in droves, ghouls are still decent fighters, but zombies vs skeletons, id take zombies every day, too bad i dont own 300 zombies..........

tsochung
22-05-2012, 16:22
I do not take skeletons in my all comers list, I usually fill my core with a big ghoul horde after i pick enough zombies and wolves.

Wesser
22-05-2012, 17:54
I dont take ghouls. If you do you basically got to take at least 40 of them...and core or not for 400+ points a unit needs to accomplish something, and ghouls just dont seem good enough to horde up.

For around the same cost I could have 30 units of 30 skeletons (okay a few extra points) which are decent support troops.

Unless supported by characters a ghoulhorde just arent gonna win many combats. If I actually want my core to fight then I'd rather invest in a fearbomb vampire and skeleton unit with screaming banner

Spaceboy
22-05-2012, 17:59
When I've played Skellies, I've found their just not worth their points, they are harder to Invo and much harder to raise beyond starting size as MotD is limited to one caster. The fear bomb combo will only work against armies which aren't immune to fear etc, so it's not as effective as it might seem at first. Zombies on the other hand, can be the much better option, because of the 2D6+level raised, and their good as bunkers for single necros, redirects, holding up and such like.

Wesser
22-05-2012, 18:14
When I've played Skellies, I've found their just not worth their points, they are harder to Invo and much harder to raise beyond starting size as MotD is limited to one caster. The fear bomb combo will only work against armies which aren't immune to fear etc, so it's not as effective as it might seem at first. Zombies on the other hand, can be the much better option, because of the 2D6+level raised, and their good as bunkers for single necros, redirects, holding up and such like.

Perhaps, but they can't be used in any real support role and are slow. Zombies fight so bad that it often won't even be worth making a flank charge with them because of the CR they'll give away, and while they are useful redirectors and tarpits they are also slow and take up lots of space. Since you'll often be advancing at a brisk pace towards the enemy as what shooting and magic we have is very short-ranged, they will often get left behind or get in the way.

Also they aint immune to being tarpitted themselves. Empire detachments, skavenslaves, goblins, gnoblars and swarms can easily be send to intercept the zobbos


Don't get me wrong. Zombies can be great.... but like other chaff units its probably not clever relying on them to do anything. Supported by characters ghouls and skellies can , each in their own way, be a good combat unit.

I just find that skellies are the most versatile of the lot. None of them do anything really well, so might as well go with the versatile choice

bad dice
22-05-2012, 18:22
I still take skeletons despide all the down sides
Cause they can take a banner and I don't like auto lossing blood and glory.

Spaceboy
22-05-2012, 18:22
Don't get me wrong. Zombies can be great.... but like other chaff units its probably not clever relying on them to do anything. Supported by characters ghouls and skellies can , each in their own way, be a good combat unit.

I just find that skellies are the most versatile of the lot. None of them do anything really well, so might as well go with the versatile choice

I see what you mean. I guess it depends on people's play-styles/game plans aswell. I prefer elite units, and spend nearly all my minimum core points on ghouls. I have a single unit of 20 Zombies to bunker Mannfred the Acolyte in, near an Engine, and if any cheap units come near, its a bonus if Mannfred kills anything for extra dice (albeit the Zombie unit has doubled in size since the first round, and Mannfred is the only one who actually kills anything :). I used to take more - units of 40 Skellies and Zombies but dropped them.

BigbyWolf
22-05-2012, 19:10
As someone who has always been a fan of Skeletons, thanks to Armies of Darkness, I have to admit that Ghouls are far more effective. Skellies are easier to raise (if you have the special power), but can't really do much. If you're looking for a core unit that can be effective in its own right, then Ghouls are the way to go...Skellies will rarely be able to do much more than tie up units, and a lot of people prefer Zombies for this job. I only really use them as a bunker now, with a big unit of Ghouls and some dogs to fill out the core.

Wesser
22-05-2012, 19:39
As someone who has always been a fan of Skeletons, thanks to Armies of Darkness, I have to admit that Ghouls are far more effective. Skellies are easier to raise (if you have the special power), but can't really do much. If you're looking for a core unit that can be effective in its own right, then Ghouls are the way to go...Skellies will rarely be able to do much more than tie up units, and a lot of people prefer Zombies for this job. I only really use them as a bunker now, with a big unit of Ghouls and some dogs to fill out the core.

The actual difference is tiny. Ghouls have no more attacks than spear skellies, and T4 is pretty close in survivability to 5+ armour. You may decide that +1 WS and poison is worth 5 points, but at least in my meta I think mice can starve on the difference in killing power.

Hinaelark
22-05-2012, 19:55
The actual difference is tiny. Ghouls have no more attacks than spear skellies, and T4 is pretty close in survivability to 5+ armour. You may decide that +1 WS and poison is worth 5 points, but at least in my meta I think mice can starve on the difference in killing power.

I would agree that the difference between the two is tiny, until you start attacking troops that are ws5-6 or T4+. Keeping hits on 4+ and getting auto wounds can be a big difference. That's why I try to take minimal numbers of skeletons if I'm fighting ogres.

SteelTitan
22-05-2012, 20:06
Exactly, I was just about to bring up Ogres. They are a tough matchup and I find the prospect of having a nice big unit of Ghouls when playing against them very nice indeed. Skeletons however won't add anything there. That many attacks with poison really helps out a lot. Add in the ability to cast two Vanhels a turn and you have a unit to fear.

I wouldn't leave home without Ghouls in an infantry list.

Wesser
22-05-2012, 20:24
Exactly, I was just about to bring up Ogres. They are a tough matchup and I find the prospect of having a nice big unit of Ghouls when playing against them very nice indeed. Skeletons however won't add anything there. That many attacks with poison really helps out a lot. Add in the ability to cast two Vanhels a turn and you have a unit to fear.

I wouldn't leave home without Ghouls in an infantry list.

Yeah well, by that comparison I'm not home a lot...

Against ogres I would set the skellies to kill off gnoblars, leadbelchers and other chaff. I'd let my special troops and characters worry about the actual ogres.

Against ogres Ghouls migth be slightly better, but assuming all-comers I'd still pick skellies for cheapness and versatility...isnt it wonderful how balanced VC core is? Lets burn an Empire book and warm our hands together over that fact

New Cult King
22-05-2012, 21:55
Wow, this is great stuff :D It seems like ultimately it boils down to personal choice, with each of the three (skels, ghouls and zombs) having their ups and downs. I'm a total Fantasy nub, so some of the more... finesse tactics will be beyond me for a while yet.

madival
22-05-2012, 23:17
Zombies have a key advantage over skeletons. When a level one casts IoN, you get double the zombies. They are gonna die and lose. Depending on the list, grinding face with someone isn't bad. Skeletons vs sword masters and such do almost as bad as zombies do and are almost double the points. Ghouls can kill, but when I throw 3 times the zombies with banners (so no auto losing blood and glory) , I don't think ghouls are ao awesome. Each core has their place, but for a point for point comparison , zombies win just because of how cheap they are. Sure they strike last, but 50 zombies with standard is 155 points. That's 30 skeletons and even less ghouls. It comes down to 50 zombie wounds vs 30 skeleton wounds vs ghouls. Zombies win for me

Scythe
23-05-2012, 06:30
If it's a 20mm based bus vs the same then having a character on each end with a command group will lessen the attacks that can be directed at rank and file by 0. I'm not saying it can't happen, but more often than not it wont or it can be easily circumvented.

You don't need to reduce attacks against a bus anyway, as busses aren't meant to cause casualties. Against hordes however, it will generally save you of at least 3 high quality attacks, which is quite useful. And if people want to circumvent it by deploying their horde as a bus? By all means let them, as that would be a terrible tactical decision.


The actual difference is tiny. Ghouls have no more attacks than spear skellies, and T4 is pretty close in survivability to 5+ armour. You may decide that +1 WS and poison is worth 5 points, but at least in my meta I think mice can starve on the difference in killing power.

This is a very good, often overlooked point. Ghouls and skellies don't differ that much, actually. Sure, ghouls have some advantages against specific troops (like the ogres mentioned), but the point to keep in mind is that skellies are only HALF the points of a ghoul. And I still find ghouls need support to win combat, even though they are a bit more deadly. I think they both have their uses, and that skellies are better than most people give them credit for.

BigbyWolf
25-05-2012, 13:44
I suppose it's all a matter of opinion/ preference, whenever I've tried out big units of Skellies as my mainstay core, they haven't really done much apart from hold, my ghouls always seem to kill more.

madival
25-05-2012, 20:51
I suppose it's all a matter of opinion/ preference, whenever I've tried out big units of Skellies as my mainstay core, they haven't really done much apart from hold, my ghouls always seem to kill more.

For the points difference between the two, what would you expect ? Ghouls better rub my feet while killing stuff to be worth the points. If you could master of the dead ghouls, They would be awesome. Since you only get what you start with, they just don't seem worth it. Also, blood and glory mission is the suck with ghouls only since it puts a bullseye on everyone else with a banner.

Gus8
25-05-2012, 21:04
Regardless of the various tactical merits of the troop types, I find skeletons to be a more pleasing unit to look at than ghouls or zombies.

Anyone else feel the same way?

madival
25-05-2012, 21:31
I agree with the ghouls looking stupid. The only model I hate more from the vc line is the dire wolves. Makes me happy o have 30 of the old wolves.

Arnizipal
25-05-2012, 21:33
The wolves can look good with the right paint job, the ghouls I really dislike.
I far preferred the old "degenerate human" ghouls over the current "Chaos mutant" ones.

Askari
26-05-2012, 10:07
Sparing me some of my own effort;


Zombies


By turn 2 these end up about double the size you started the game with. By turn 5 they end up annihilated by the supreme crumble they suffer from being atrocious fighters. They're cheap though, and can hold up monsters for all eternity. Being cheap, they also make excellent bunkers for Master Necromancers without taking points away from the front line.


Skeletons


More survivable and slightly better at fighting than Zombies for a couple of points extra. With a Mortis Engine grab spears, otherwise stick to sword and board. That parry save will save a fair few over combat rounds which may delay the enemy enough for you to hit them with something else. Another 'okay if you need to fill core' choice.


Ghouls


My go-to core infantry, unlike everything else, Ghouls can kill. Not spectacularly, but they'll outfight Clanrats and State Troops and are the bane of high Toughness monsters everywhere. Small units of 20 are useful support to Skeleton/Zombie blocks, while I horde them up to maximise those base 2A touching the enemy.

Small addendum, Skeletons become more attractive when using a Master Necromancer as your Lord. Master of the Dead really helps them out as they can gain quite a few guys by the time combat begins, and also helps in those rare cases they win combat they may outrank the enemy, denying Steadfast.

sethorly
26-05-2012, 10:28
I use Mantic ghouls which are the degenerate human type, so I like the Ghoul aesthetic. This is an interesting thread and very helpful, it's great that VC core is no longer Must-Take-Ghoul-Horde. In my last game I had a Master Necro with Loadstone support and Master of the Dead sitting between 2 skeleton units, and by the time they got into combat they had doubled in size. Nice! I'd say, over the course of the game, the skeleton parry save stopped half a dozen kills, which isn't that impressive. They were good buses for some killy heros though.