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TheSil
04-12-2014, 08:01
Alright, the next of my armies that I am going to retrofit for 8th are Vampire Counts.
With most of my armies I can figure out new unit sizes easily enough, but with Vampire core troops I am unsure...
I have enough Skeletons to field them as a horde, but I can't quite decide how effective they are.
I really liked hordes for Empire, Skaven and Goblins, while other armies like Warriors, Lizardmen or Elves obviously don't qualify that much for "hording up".

With Vampires I have the following thoughts:

Their core troops are not *really* there to kill everything else, but rather to hold the line and win battles of attrition through resurrection, so deep formations seem to be more appropriate.
On the other hand, they are not *that* much weaker regarding combat than Skaven or Goblins, and hordes work well for them...
Of course they are not steadfast and crubmle, so this has to enter the equation too, even though I am not sure how much this effects the preferred unit sizes.


Anyhow, I currently have the following to work with:

65 Skeletons with hand weapons
24 Skeletons with spears
50 Zombies
40 Ghouls
+ maybe some few extra Skeletons

The Ghouls I would keep in two seperate units of 20. I would prefer 24 as usual, but whatever. I could also field a single unit of 30, but then the last 10 ghouls would literally just rot on the shelves forever.

The Zombies might work as a single horde I guess, but as I have not painted up 30 of them I haven't tried them out yet. Are they just pathetic cannon fodder and lost points in horde formation? Or are they a tar pit with enough bite combined with resurrection?

The Skeletons is where it gets most interesting...

I could field a horde of 50 (hand weapons)
This leaves me with a lousy 15, but with some converted Grave Guard and some leftover parts assembled as "summoned skeletons" I could easily get them up to 20, maybe 24.
The spears would stay the same.

So I would have:
50 Skeleton Horde Hw
24 Skeletons Hw (need to use 6 Skeletons without legs to reach this)
24 Skeletons Spear


Alternatively I could field them as units of 30, and put spears into the hands of the rest, leaving:
30 Skeletons Hw
30 Skeletons Hw
30 Skeletons Spear

A horde of 60 would be overkill I guess?
Are there any other good options for organising my skeleton units? How would you field them?


As an additional info, I have 50 Grave Guard which are used as two units:
- 24 with 2-Hw
- 24 or 25 with Hw+S (which leaves 1-2 for Skeleton conversion)

Wesser
04-12-2014, 08:48
It's down to personal preference with skeletons. I prefer my 80-man horde because it can almost fight, is good points denial and looks badass. Some take trains 40-50 guys and even small units can serve as wizard bunkers, flank protectors, speed bumps etc. and it doesn't matter if they're left behind due to "no marching" as they are cheap and expendable units

With Ghouls you field a horde of 40 or a horde of 50. Deploying them in a slime formation makes them grossly cost-inefficient compared to skeletons or zombies and fielding fewer than 40 is too small as they'll disintegrate too quickly. You might think that with 2 attacks and poison small units of Ghouls would make good monster hunters or flankers, but the truth is that you need to reserve your Generals march bubble for more important units which makes small units of ghouls exposed and easy points if your opponent wants them.

Antigone1977
04-12-2014, 15:32
I have only been playing vamps for a year or so and I don't feel like I've got it very right but in 2K games I use:

40 ghouls + ghast in one unit (ghouls can't be raised above their starting size, units of 20 will get popped very quickly
2 units of 20 zombles with banners (easily raisable, good bunker, adds fortitude)

Ultimately where I'm using a unit that can be raised above its starting size I like to start it small and grow it as quick as I can (don't forget that direwolves and skellies can be raised above their starting size with the right upgrades).

Ghouls on the other hand I start big because any of the VC core can be popped fairly quickly in small unit sizes.

More importantly, experiment and if you find a magic formula let me know!!

CountUlrich
04-12-2014, 16:39
Ghouls need to be 35-45, preferably 40+. Skellies are best in bus formation, 45-60. Zombies in 40-50 for tarpits, with a 20 man necro bunker also.


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TheSil
04-12-2014, 16:56
Right, all Ghouls in one unit then, not a problem, its just a matter of fielding both blocks next to each other :)

The 40-50 Zombies... would you field them as horde small front unit?


So, do you think 24 skeletons are too small a unit to fight properly? Especially for spears? If so I would need to bolster them to 30+ at least...

How about:
50 Skeleton horde Hw
42 Skeletons 6-wide Spear

Does that sound better than the alternatives above? Two big meaty units instead of three... following the "bigger=better" stance, with unit sizes of 50 + 50 + 42 + 40 core infantry troops

facepalm
04-12-2014, 18:01
Right, all Ghouls in one unit then, not a problem, its just a matter of fielding both blocks next to each other :)

The 40-50 Zombies... would you field them as horde small front unit?


So, do you think 24 skeletons are too small a unit to fight properly? Especially for spears? If so I would need to bolster them to 30+ at least...

How about:
50 Skeleton horde Hw
42 Skeletons 6-wide Spear

Does that sound better than the alternatives above? Two big meaty units instead of three... following the "bigger=better" stance, with unit sizes of 50 + 50 + 42 + 40 core infantry troops

Zombies always only 5 across, they will almost never kill anything and will die in droves against pretty much anything, which is why the best think you can do to reduce casualties is to reduce incoming attacks. As for skeletons i would take any unit under 50 strong as 5 across.

For your skeleton example above, it would be much better to swap a few HW+S across (8 HWs mixed into a unit of spears wont cause anyone any offense) then take 50 spears in horde and 42 in buss formation, this not only increases the offensive power of your horde but gives you a bus unit with 5+/6++ that can be re-raised and are unbreakable. For less than 10 more points you have now far more efficiency than if you were to take them as above.

PirateRobotNinjaofDeath
05-12-2014, 23:37
Right, all Ghouls in one unit then, not a problem, its just a matter of fielding both blocks next to each other :)

The 40-50 Zombies... would you field them as horde small front unit?


So, do you think 24 skeletons are too small a unit to fight properly? Especially for spears? If so I would need to bolster them to 30+ at least...

How about:
50 Skeleton horde Hw
42 Skeletons 6-wide Spear

Does that sound better than the alternatives above? Two big meaty units instead of three... following the "bigger=better" stance, with unit sizes of 50 + 50 + 42 + 40 core infantry troops

There is no reason to ever run VC skeletons or zombies in any formation other than bus. Zero. Zilch. Notta. If they win fights they do so with SCR, not attacks, and all wider frontage does is expose them to more incoming attacks. Extra WS2 I2 S3 attacks do not make up for taking extra hits on T3 5+6++ troops.

You should also snap those spears off and turn them into swords. Spears on skittles are awful. Parry saves are so much better than a handful of extra WS2 S3 attacks.


As for unit sizes, I do quite well with skeletons in units of 40. They're cheap, frustrating to deal with, and hold things up juuuuust long enough to isolate key units while my hammers pick apart the rest. Big fan. They're also way better than zombies, since their parry saves and better WS means they take fewer wounds and cause more back, allowing them to actually be used as an anvil. Plus skeleton champions are the best 15 points you can spend in an undead book. Mounted solo character with a great weapon? Cool. Watch his horse kick the skeleton to death and run him down when he dies from SCR.

Manbrick
06-12-2014, 10:26
^^ This.
Everything PirateRobotNinjaofDeath has said is spot on.

Tarsus
07-12-2014, 16:31
I run skeletons and zombies in units of 40+ and 5 wide.

The only reason to ever run wider than 5 is when you have just summoned a new unit and want to create a 15 wide speed bump in front of several units.

I don't use ghouls so can't comment on them, but 10 points each and no armour means go big to survive.

TheSil
07-12-2014, 21:52
First of all thank you all for the sound tactical advice.

Of course I see the advantage of reduceing incoming attacks by minimising frontage, but I wonder if it really is that big of a deal...
I mean, if I look at the armies I regularily face, most of them will get all their attacks in either way:
Elven elite troops for example usually run around 7 wide (7x3), which means all of them can attack my 5-wide formation. Wouldn't it be better in these situations to have more attacks back, as with my big units I would have more ranks anyway, but a couple of extra attacks usually means a few dead elves in return, which can be a big deal.
Granted elves might be one of the most favorable opponents for low strength attacks, but even so I thought of a few other regular units and by fielding a 5-wide formation I seem to avoid rather few attacks:
Saurus Warriors - usually 5 or 6 wide - can all attack
Ogre/Monstrous Infantry units - usually 4 wide - can all attack
Cavalry units - usually 6 wide - can all attack
Chaos warriors/Savage Orcs - usually 6 wide - can all attack
etc...

I don't want to dispute the value of a small frontage in general, as the increased rank bonus is obvious, but rather I'd like to come back to my personal situation:

My problem is that I do not have enough weapon parts to re-equip large parts of my units. The reason for this is that I had about 60 old skeletons and bought about 30 new ones as soon as they were released to improve the physical appearance of the old sculpts. I removed all the heads and weapons from the old ones, replacing them with the much much better new versions... So in addition to the 24 spears that I currently have equipped, I have exactly 14 spears left - and 0 swords. Of course I can add a few swordsmen to a spear unit and vice-versa but too much of it and it just looks odd. Which means I have to plan with what I have, and I have to make the spears useful somehow...

Therefore I was tending towards facepalms advice to go for the spear horde, but on the other hand I can see how skeleton hordes might not be the best thing to have around for this army...

Again, a 6-wide formation with spears would give me 8 more attacks that can kill some vulnerable enemy troops. Granted, that hardly makes up for the parrying save but at least its something.
So, what I *could* do is:
45 skeletons 5x9, hand weapons
42 skeletons 6x7, spear

3 skeletons would just stay at home doing nothing, even though I could bump the 45 hand-weapon unit up to 50 with some grave guard conversions... but is that even worth it?

At first glance it does not look ideal to me but might still be better than my previous attempts... avoiding hordes and not opening frontage up too much. Still the 42 spear unit will probably not be super effective, the 50 spear horde might be more of a threat for only few extra points...

N00B
07-12-2014, 22:25
Dont forget that your opponent can reform. If you face 7 wide and go to 9 wide yourself - then they can reform to 11 wide and you crumble very fast indeed.

Tarsus
08-12-2014, 01:45
You need to remember that with zombies and skeletons even an extra 20 attacks isn't going to do much. What's important is making sure you have your full 3 rank bonus after the first round.

Oogie boogie boss
08-12-2014, 09:50
What are people's views on GG size, equipment and formation? Also, do people think they are effective as a hammer unit or do they function better as a more elite anvil?

The French Guy
08-12-2014, 11:44
I plan on using 40 of them with GW and the banner of the Barrows, with the Lord vampire and a BSB Whight king.

Tarsus
08-12-2014, 13:44
I plan on using 40 of them with GW and the banner of the Barrows, with the Lord vampire and a BSB Whight king.

That is an amazingly effective unit, incredibly expensive though.

With grave guard, they can be used as both a hammer or anvil, as an anvil give them shields and the warbanner and they will stick around for ages. For hammer give them the barrows and GW and shove a king with them, put them in horde formation and they will make mincemeat of all but the most elite enemies.

I wouldn't take them in units of less than 30 but the more the better. The only issue of using them as a deathstar vampire Lord unit is they are quite slow, but barrows is so much better than the +1 movement banner.

Oogie boogie boss
09-12-2014, 08:03
In my planned 1,250pts list, I'm aiming to use 25 with GW, 2 x units of 30 Skellies and 1 x unit of 40 zombies. Do people think this is enough?


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Tarsus
09-12-2014, 08:45
In 1250 points then 25 will usually be fine. With vampires you want minimum core, drop one unit of skeletons, boost the other to 40 and spend the extra 100 points on something useful.

Oogie boogie boss
09-12-2014, 09:23
I want to go for a shambling horde army, so I'm (somewhat masochistically) basing my army around a healthy proportion of core. No monsters, only people who used to be alive. Besides, you can't get much for 180pts. The escalation to 1,500pts will include either bumping up the GG, or adding some BK, not sure which yet. Then for 2,000pts another unit of Skellies, another of Zombies, and a Black Coach.

PirateRobotNinjaofDeath
11-12-2014, 17:02
GG are pretty awful. I've been trying to make them work but it's tough. The best I've found is running a unit of 30 7 wide with a VL and a WK with nightshroud and GW. Your opponent can get too much into the front of a horde and kill too much before they get to strike.

They're cheap under Swedish Comp though, I guess....?

malisteen
13-12-2014, 14:42
with the right support, skellies can be run in horde formation - that support being some combination of a high leadership character plus lore of shadows for mindrazor, a tomb prince or king for respectable weaponskill, a corpse cart for ASF, mortis engines for regen, etc. You don't need everything, but you do need several of such buffs to make it worthwhile, and probably only really worth considering in undead legions lists (which free up combinations of vamp and tk buffs, plus frees up your casters for lore of shadows instead of needing a vamps/nehek general).

Even with all that, it isn't exactly great, but it is amusing to watch skeleton spearmen tear chaos warriors apart when and if it all comes together.

I've also know people to run zombies in conga-lines one or two models wide and dozens of ranks deep. This can be very effective, you'll generally save more combat res by reducing enemy attacks than you lose in giving up rank bonus, but, it's unsporting, and gamey, and looks dumb, and can easily backfire on you if you don't know what you're doing, so I don't recommend trying it unless you're an experienced tournament player who is actually at a tournament.