View Full Version : Calling all Tomb Kings, Vampire Counts and Orcs & Goblins players! Advice needed.

22-12-2014, 18:59
Hi all,

A friend of mine is just starting out in the hobby and is getting a fantasy army (Skaven to be precise) so I thought this would be a good opportunity to start another army (I already have a Lizardmen army). The problem is, having narrowed it down to three choices I don't know which to choose. That is hopefully where you come in.

I was hoping players who play these three armies might be able to give me a steer on each of them. Sort of, sell them to me if you will. What is good about them? What is not so good about them? Or, 'you should play this army if...' kind of responses would be quite helpful.

I know some people will say 'well it depends what you are in the hobby for, if you are a gamer go for X or if you are a hobbyist go for Y'. Problem is, I do a bit of both (although I lean more towards the gaming side. I would say i don't want another army that is very similar to Lizardmen.

Anyway, I shall leave it to you more experienced players now. Hopefully by Christmas I will have enough information to make a choice!

22-12-2014, 20:27
Undead player here:

Vampire Counts:
There are two basic ways to play this army. The first is to lock down your opponent's army with chaff, and tarpits while your mobile, savagely dangerous hammers tear apart their army. VC have some of the best chaff in the game, but because of the way march bubbles and unstable work it takes a bit more thought than other armies with double-fleeing chaff, etc. to orchestrate. Makes it much more satisfying when it works.

The other way to play is a grinding game. You use things like crypt horrors, zombies, and grave guard paired with mortis engines, master necros, and banshees/etc. to lock your opponent up and grind him out with screams or ME pulses while protecting your own points with spammed Invocation of Nehek. This is a much slower, more defensive game and is unfortunately also a less competitive build...but if you're into giant hordes of shambling undead then this is the approach for you.

Either way, VC are a much more delicate and challenging army than many think. Losing your Vampire Lord or your casters basically spells doom for you. I've also lost an entire unit in a single turn to unstable as a result of foolish misplays. However the flip side is that this challenge makes the army all that much more compelling and rewarding. You can often calculate to a very small margin of error how much you'll lose a combat by, which paired with unstable gives the army a great deal of predictability. VC are the army that math built, and rewards well-executed plans more than many other armies do.

However a poorly-executed plan will also explode in your face, as will any number of small, seemingly inconsequential misplays.

Tomb Kings
Tomb Kings are a tricky army. They're basically VC with less raising ability, more ranged offensive, and more grinding ability. However unlike VC, who have short-ranged attacks that can fire into combat, TK have long-ranged attacks that are useless once the enemy locks up in CC. Combined with a paucity to generate real damage output and a lack of S higher than 5, we can struggle against certain types of builds.

The strength of TK comes in the psychological game. As a synergy army it's often easy to disguise where the real threats are. People are afraid of the casket, but few know our book well enough to properly decipher what is threatening to them and what isn't. This means that you can frequently catch your opponent off-guard.

Unfortunately it also means that the more people play against you the harder your day becomes. This was my experience at least, as my TK lost more and more games the more I played rather than the other way around.

Undead Legions
Nagash was, unsurprisingly, the biggest boost that both armies have received in a long time. The combined list is undeniably more powerful than either list, due to the incredible synergy gains that each got. TK units fared the best, gaining the ability to march and the Lore of Vampires, which synergizes far better with the army than their own lore does.

Vampires no longer crumble and can take a lore other than Vampires on the general (a huge boost), but the real gain here is access to TK core and support units. TK skeletons are better support blocks than zombies, flaming chariots are phenomenal at knocking regen off targets before Vampires get to strike. Add to that caskets, hierotitans, TK magic items, royals to increase WS...truly there is an embarassment of riches when it comes to the potential synergies.

Personally, I would not recommend Tomb Kings to anyone who isn't specifically interested in the models and hobby aspect, or are extremely experienced players looking for a challenge. They're an incredibly frustrating army to play at first, and utterly unforgiving when it comes to even the smallest mistakes. Vampires are much more forgiving, and have far more in the way of competitive builds and choices. There are few out-and-out bad units in the book.

The most competitive build for the VC is the BK bus. Basically black knights as ablative wounds for however many vampires you wish to jam in there (I personally lean towards 2 lord-level "blender" vampires), backed up with whatever mobile hammers you desire (generally vargheists, terrorgheists, or hex wraiths). The benefit of this army is that it's fast and maneuverable.

The alternative is the "foot vampires," which is the same thing with Grave Guard or Crypt Horrors instead of Black Knights. Personally I find this army too slow and unwieldy in the age of cav buses, avoidance lists, and gunlines. Against other combat armies they tend to bleed too much CR to be truly effective as well.

22-12-2014, 21:13

The best thing about O&G from my perspective is the amazing variety of troops you can get. We have more special choices than some armies have total. We've got 6 kinds of infantry with multiple gear options, 5 kinds of cavalry, 3 chariots, 3 war machines, giants, trolls, and spiders, a swarm, and some unique troops to top it off. 9 kinds of heroes and 9 lords *before* named characters. This gives you a lot of freedom to design your army. All goblins or all orcs is viable if not that competitive, all mounted is possible, chariot swarm is possible, hordes of infantry is the "default" army, O&G gunline is possible. Or with a balanced army you can have a significant presence in all four phases.

For a horde army, it can be very cheap to collect. We've been in two of the last three starter boxes, so if you need night goblins with spears or bows, orcs with AHW or Bows, spider riders, boar chariots or trolls these can be had for significantly less than other units. The ramshackle and looted nature of greenskin construction means you can scratch build or convert convincing warmchines out of just about anything and they'll fit.

O&G is a funny army to play. Your troops will fight themselves and your fanatics will plow into your own formations one turn, then the dice will go your way the next turn and you'll overwhelm your foes.

On the flip side, your army will usually outnumber your foes, except possibly skaven, so there's a lot of stuff to paint! You can mitigate that somewhat with a more "elite" army of biguns, boar boys and black orcs. Night goblins in particular paint up very quick, so those 100 spearmen will take less time than 100 of just about anything else.

O&G is not for those who like precise plans. The strategy of O&G is to change plans on the fly to deal with squabbling and all the other chaos the army brings to the board.

22-12-2014, 21:49
Well. To add what was said I find VC to be an overall more balanced book. I've ran plenty of different compositions.

I ran vampire heavy lists before but mostly stuck to mass raising Necro's with wight, low vamp council theme that worked. I've also ran ethereal heavy lists, scream lists, fast lists (everything I can get on horses/carts/monsters). Heck I even ran the Black Coach quite frequently.

Downside to a strict VC list, lack of shooting.

TK suffer a bit but I still play them. They had shooting though which helped me with that fix. Dependent upon magic.

Both Undead tend to rely a bit on heavy hitting characters and magic. Both suffer from units not working quite well together so it might take a few games to get it right. By this I mean sending a Necrosphinx in as your skeletons get munched down by a hard hitting unit (not saying I have done this or that this happens, more an example of how you really need to understand how two separate units work together when charging the same unit).

Undead Legions is what I play now, not for power gaming but simply because I played Undead before they split and I still enjoy playing them now. Though Pirate hit it on the head it helped both armies balance out better (at least in my view) but most importantly game me even more combinations to try! I still don't run a Vamp Lord as a rule of thumb (though I have in the past).

Orcs and Goblins have plenty of options themselves but they have a lot more character.

Still, I prefer and recommend the Undead lists simply because as a person I'm a power hungry control freak. That really meshes well with the ideology, units and playstyles of VC and TK.

Assuming direct control!

Spiney Norman
24-12-2014, 00:53
Of the three you've chosen orcs and goblins are probably the most different from Lizardmen.
I won't comment on VC because I don't play them, but I have played TK, O&G (and Lizardmen actually) for almost ten years.

Orcs and goblins are ultra flexible, they can pretty much be whatever you want them to be, you want a long range shoot Warmachine spam army? You got it. You want an infantry horde army - again you got it.

O&G do tend to be very random though, a failed animosity roll at a bad moment can totally cock up your plans.

If you like the magic phase, probably don't choose O&G, they are hobbled with probably the two worst lores in the game, I almost exclusively use the lore of undeath with my goblins now because anything is better than the spells of the little Waaagh!

Tomb kings are quite the opposite, implacable, ultra-reliable, powerful magic with great buffs in the form of the casket and hierotitan. There is no doubt that TK are not for the noob or the faint hearted, they are not an easy army to deploy so be prepared to lose a few games before you really get the hang of them. I started them back in 6th edition primarily for the visual Egyptian theme they have going and their models have only got better since then with the new plastics that came out with the 8th edition book.

24-12-2014, 16:46
Very good advice here...

I think the combined book, from Nagash, offers alot of versatility and unit options; making it a good deal for a new player hoping to start an army from scratch. There is a lot of good discussion going on at the moment about unit combination for the Undead Legions.

I have played Lizardmen in the past, and now I'm working on a big Undead Legions Army; I'm really enjoying both the games and the hobby side of things.

I vote for Undead Legions here.



Spiney Norman
24-12-2014, 18:54
Something that occurred to me as I was playing my orcs and goblins last night.

You can tick all three of these boxes with one army if you play orcs and goblins and use the lore of undeath with your mages to summon tomb kings and vampire counts. Orc and goblin magic is weak at the best of times, you don't lose anything by using the lore of undeath.