want to keep out of close combat, that leaves the Vampire Lord as the best choice who is probably the General of your army. Vampire counts 8e - Free download as PDF File .pdf) or read online for free. Vampire counts 8e. Dark Elves 8th Edition Warhammer Army Book. Uploaded by. New Vampire Counts 8th Edition Army Book - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. A fan made vampire counts army book for.
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Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts is an Army Book for the Vampire Counts army in games of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. It was first published in and . All army books were initially replaced by a get-by list in Ravening Wood Elves · ISBN , September , 8th Edition Wood Elves Army Book April , 7th Edition Vampire Counts Army Book. Results 1 - 26 of 26 Warhammer Fantasy Vampire Counts Army Book Codex Hardcover New ListingWarhammer Vampire Counts 8th Edition Army Book.
Banner of Barrows: If you are going to take a unit of more then 15 Grave guard and why wouldn't you? The Screaming Banner: If you want to troll, take this banner. It will make low LD armies suffer, and give you a small chance to drive away even high LD armies. The flag gets better with Terror though, as then even enemies who take options like the Shrieking Blade or those pesky Phoenix Guard still have to take the test.
Black Periapt: Not a must-have item but it can be great for a dedicated spellcaster option if you get a bad magic phase or if you're facing an army where you have spells you NEED to dispel.
Staff of Damnation: A fantastic item, best used for Ghouls or more powerful options in the offensive category. The Cursed Book: This item is a gamble where you can't really lose. The only thing that's wrong with it is your primary spell is Invocation and in almost all possible circumstances you want to cast it AT LEAST once per turn, and this book can take that away.
But that being said, you can pull off these spells all of which are good for what's probably less than their casting value without risk of any miscast.
Even if you make all attempts to cast that spell using all your capable LoV casters you can still at least count on whipping out one more attempt. Also can be taken by the Strigoi Ghoul King, making it fan-fucking-tastic in low-magic lists. Rod of Flaming Death: Pretty good item even for it's price and very good for controlling the movement phase.
This can actually be taken by a Wight King, freeing up points on your casters. Rulebook Items[ edit ] Thanks to the Vampires already having very high stats on most of their characters, they can benefit greatly from Rulebook items. Note this is a very long section. Extra Strength is never a bad thing. Getting S8 on anything, especially a model with 5 fucking Attacks, is fucking amazing.
That being said those 60 points eat up your options for magic items, so you probably should think hard about other options first. You'll still have 40 points for Nightshroud after this. Remember that with Red Fury, any unsaved Wound caused grants you an additional attack so going from 5 Attacks that can become a maximum of 10 you can get 8 Attacks which can become a maximum of It's by no means an optimal build even for a blender lord, but at the same time isn't terrible.
Once again, take a good long look at other options, and if you do take it consider the Nightshroud. Obsidian Blade: 50 points, Attacks made with it don't get Armor Saves against it.
Good for a Vamp designed to go toe to toe with more point-costly enemies or for high-armor foes like Warriors of Chaos or dwarves. Here's how to do it.
Vamp Lord with 7 Strength is still amazing. Also decent on the Wight King to bump it up to S6. Same as above, still good on a blender lord. Forget it on the Wight King for the most part. Fencer's Blades: 35 points, paired weapons, bearer has WS The Wight King on the other hand can benefit from it a lot. Sword of Anti-Heroes: 30 points, quite an appropriate name.
Spellthieving Sword: 25 points, Wounds caused to a Wizard force them to lose one spell each.
But chances are good any opponent in melee with your Vamp is about to die, unless you're talking about a Lord like Malekith. But really you should be focused on actually killing the fucker. For 30 points you can take that as a Vampire Power, and there's literally no reason in any situation ever to take both. Take the Sword to save 5 points when you aren't taking magic weapons of any other kind or when you're trying to save points for more powers, take the power to save magic item points or to prevent one of those item-destroying abilities like the kind High Elves in the High Lore have.
You can also take it on the Wight King, which is when it's worth consideration. Take if if you're on a budget with your blender Vampire Lord, but if that's the case why are you trying to make a blender lord? Berserker Sword: 20 points, grants Frenzy. WHY would you want Frenzy? More importantly, why would you want to bother with Frenzy without the bonuses from Skabscrath?
Probably more of a detriment than a bonus. Not bad. Not great. S6 Vamp is okay though. Gold Sigil Sword: Attacks made with it are Initiative 10, 15 points. Vamp Lords already have I7, Vamps have I6. Bumping up the Wight King is okay though. Not terrible, but Vamps already have such a high WS it's not too great unless low on points and need to bump up the hero assassin.
It's the poor man's Obsidian Blade. Not a bad choice. But truth be told, Sword of Might is better. Relic Sword: 10 points. But chances are good your Vamps are going to be Wounding on better then that anyway. Shrieking Blade: Bearer and thus their Unit causes Fear. Everything you have that isn't a Necromancer who isn't going to be by himself causes Fear. Tormentor Sword: 5 points, any monster or character who suffers an unsaved Wound has Stupidity for the rest of the game. There is almost never a time this is useful for anyone.
Warrior Bane: 5 points, any monster or character who suffers unsaved Wounds from it loses one Attack each to a minimum of 1. In the imaginary scenario where you are facing another Vampire Counts player and throw a hero Vamp against your opponent's Lord Vamp, this could be conceivably useful. But that's about it. Not terrible. Okay for kitting out a Vamp for some survivability.
But there's better choices. Factor in that Heavy Armor costs only 6 points and you're looking at 44 points for that Ward Save. Forget it on the Wight King. Trickster's Helm: 50 points, wearer has one extra point on their Armor Save. Any Wound that manages to get through has to reroll it. Probably better than the former option. Armour of Silvered Steel: 45 points. Here's your best choice from the magic armor. You don't need Heavy Armor with it, and the Shield will only grant a Parry.
A very good choice if you are taking a great weapon or a paired weapon Armour of Fortune: 35 points. Not good either. Helm of Discord: 30 points. One extra point of Armor Save, and at the start of each Close Combat you can choose an enemy in base contact with the bearer or the bearer's Unit. They must take a LD test.
If its failed they can't make Close Combat attacks and it automatically hit by yours. Souped up version of Beguile at twice the points. Not bad, but yeah; it's just a souped up Beguile. Good on a Wight King. Glittering Scales: 25 points. Stacks well if on a zombie dragon Shield of Ptolos: 25 points for a Shield. Spellshield: 20 points. Grants Magic Resistance 1. Meh, Magic Resistance is pretty weak this edition so not a great choice.
Dragonhelm: 10 points. Since Strigoi Ghoul Kings can't take magic armor, there's not really any good reason to take this. Enchanted Shield: 5 points for a Shield. Bearer has two extra points to his Armor Save. Actually a nice option since it's only 2 points more than the standard non-magical shield Vamps can take for an extra point of armor.
Mostly a useless magic item, especially for the army of badass heroes who heal the fuck out of themselves. Taking this and regular Heavy Armor instead of the Armour of Destiny saves you 5 points of Magic Items, which allows you to take that Charmed Shield at the cost of one more point total for your Vamp.
This makes it better in most cases. Sadly, there's no reason to take it on your Strigoi Ghoul King since you can't combine a Regeneration save and a Ward Save. It can give your Necromancer survivability. Obsidian Lodestone: 45 points for Magic Resistance 3.
If you're worried about the Mortis Engine blowing up, this is your good luck charm. Obsidian Amulet: 30 points, grants Magic Resistance 2. Same purpose as the Lodestone. Dawnstone: 25 points to reroll failed Armor Saves. Not a bad choice for a survival Vamp. Pair it with the Armour of Silvered Steel for best use.
Since your SGK can't have armor, there's no reason to take it with him. Costs 15 points. Maybe in a low point game, but in a legitimate 1. Obsidian Trinket: 15 points, grants Magic Resistance 1. As with the other Obsidian items. Do you really need a Ward Save this bad?
Not terrible, but Even for your Ghoul King. Cash in on that Mortis Engine bonus with your Necros and Vamps! Great choice if you're fielding one. If you're afraid of your caster sitting in a Zombie or Skelly bunker being picked off by Fell Bats, Giant Eagles, and the like then maybe.
But tailored lists are probably the only place this belongs. Luckstone: One use, reroll a failed Armor Save.
It's twenty points less than the Dawnstone, but is reduced in effectiveness thanks to the fact whoever you're kitting out to survive will probably be facing more than one Armor Save. Probably meh. Magic Standards[ edit ] Rampager's Standard: 55 points to reroll your Charge distance if it fails. This alone pretty much makes it useless. Wailing Banner: Causes Terror for 50 points. Generally speaking, this isn't what you want in this army since it's just upgrading your Fear to Terror which a Vamp could do plus the combination of items that make your Fear-causing list badass doesn't leave room for a third Banner.
But if you just want to plod your way through the map without going around things, taking this is good. At any rate it'll prevent your opponent from factoring it into the Movement Phase when trying to get an edge over you. Razor Standard: Now here we go! It's by no means a "must have", but it's okay and if you need to pick something for your BSB. This is actually pretty good, since Combat Resolution causes you to take casualties.
If you've got a Unit like Grave Guard that can take magic banners this is a good choice. Your army is based on getting into melee, so this is a good choice as well. Lichbone Pennant: 15 points for Magic Resistance 1. Some survivability for Units marching close to the Mortis Engine. MR doesn't do anything for magical attacks. Sounds great to hide from Crumble? Well, you can' use the General's Inspiring Presence rule. But you only Crumble when the General dies Banner of Eternal Flame: 10 points.
There is NO army in the game who are precluded from this option. Use it to chop down enemy Regenerators, scare the beasties but everything in the army already does , and clearcut those fucking Wood Elf tree monsters. Gleaming Pennant: 5 points, reroll your first failed LD test. Can save you from Crumble. Crumble is not a leadership check, it states by the amount you go over, not if you fail therefore this is utter pointless.
That's a LOT of points for something there's better options for. Feedback Scroll: 50 points, one use. Instead of dispelling, you can use this. The spell works, but for every power dice used to case the spell the casting Wizard takes a Wound. If you're lucky, you can use this to take out your opponent's only spellcaster. Pretty good choice. Scroll of Leeching: 50 points, one use. Use it instead of dispelling, you get to have as many dice as was used to cast the spell in your next magic phase no more than 12 dice ever, remember.
This puppy, if used when your opponent whips out Dwellers or Cas's Comet, can get that Black Coach out a few turns early! Sivejir's Hex Scroll: 50 points. One use, once again you use it instead of dispelling. Enemy Wizard must roll their own level or lower on a D6, but if they fails they turn into a frog.
They can no longer cast spells, their magic items stop working, and all stats other than Wounds become 1. Power Scroll: 35 points. One use, use when you cast a spell. ANY roll of a double causes Irresistible Force and a miscast. Suicide spell, coupled with Forbidden Lore you can try to whip out a level 6 spell that your opponent cannot try to prevent.
It's actually not a bad option, taking a single Vampire on their own, far from friendlies the explosion radius can hit and whipping out something big. Wand of Jet: 35 points, one use, after you roll your power dice you can tack on an extra power dice roll.
Not bad when you're trying to conserve dice between multiple spellcasters. Forbidden Rod: 35 One use. Since you can restore such Wounds with the lore attribute, it's not a terrible tradeoff particularly if you can save some of them with Black Pariapt. Trickster's Shard: One use only.
But this won't really save you from dispelling, and on phases you aren't casting many spells it's wasted. Earthing Rod: 25 points.
If you miscast, you can reroll the result. Not a bad idea but it's a bit too expensive to reroll what will probably be another "localized Exterminatus". Dispel Scroll: One use, 25 points, use instead of attempting to dispel.
Auto-dispel an enemy spell, unless it's Irresistible at which point the caster won't be around much longer most likely. This is never bad, for any army, to take. Power Stone: One use. Before you cast a spell, you can use this to add two power dice you must use at least one of your regulars. Scepter of Stability: 15 points, one use.
Pretty good. You have much better ways to get it. Scroll of Shielding: 15 points, one use. Use instead of dispelling. Since most spells you should be afraid of barring the Lore of Death don't cause direct Wounds, this is usually a mediocre option. Enchanted Items[ edit ] Wizarding Hat: points, bearer is a level 2 Wizard in a random spell lore but has Stupidity. Since the only two options that can afford it are already level Wizards there is literally no reason to ever take this.
Absolute independence from the Ruinous Powers. If this appeals to you, you are looking at the right army. Even in small games you will be fielding dozens of zombies and skeletons as well as some more exotic dead and undead creatures; few armies can field such numbers of fodder and only one other can field fodder that is so reluctant to stay dead.
Get your brush hand ready and get comfortable as you are going to need a lot of models to field these hordes. Any Wizard in the Lore of Vampires can take over as general from the next turn onwards or this continues until your army is just dust and bats. Unless they have the Vampiric rule. The signature spell, Invocation of Nehek, will in almost any list you make be cast every single turn due to the fact that it resurrects D6 Wounds to the unit of your choice with the exception of Vampiric, Ethereal, or Large Target which only get 1 Wound restored.
If you pump more dice into it, you can make it into a bubble resurrecting a large chunk of your army. The most important thing to note however is that Necromancers in your army can take Master of Undead, and Vampires can take the Summon Creatures of the Night upgrade. These two abilities allow them to bring MORE models into the army than you began with. What these three things means together is Lore of Vampires is good, and you do best with more casters in it.
It also means that when you don't have a Level 4, or more than one possible Lore of Vampires caster, you're gambling like a Tomb Kings player. Under the current edition, named characters tend to be overpriced; you can emulate most named characters from scratch and save yourself some points. That said, many named characters, and especially in Vampire Counts, have abilities and war gear combos unique to them so if you need to have them go ahead. Just make sure you're really getting your points worth.
The man that started it all, and one of the few special character who are completely justified in their points cost. You want to field him, but most people never will. Because he's points. As strong as he is, that is your entire Lord budget in an otherwise balanced point army, and below you most likely you don't have that kind of room for just one model.
He's fairly good but the price is what stops him from being great, but most players prefer a combo of a level 4 caster of some kind along with a damage option blender lord Strigoi Ghoul King or Master Vampire. If you're taking him, you want to bring Isabella as well although unlike her he can be good on his own.
This is the first, and is a Lord level character. This is the man you want fighting nothing but Goblins and Skaven Slaves if you can possible help it if you're facing Ogres, you're in for a world of hurt. If you can manage to make kills then this guy will generally rule both magic phases, make sure to snipe enemy wizards early on with Spirit Leech. He's pricey as fuck though at points so you may not take him in games below points.
He's worth it, but once again you're looking at your entire Lord allowance here. Unlike the other named characters in this army, you can have Mannfred ride a mount. Of those choices, only the Barded Nightmare is of any value for the most part and only to put him in a unit of Black Knights or Blood Knights. The other two will make him even more of an artillery and shooting target than he already is. Oh, you were never going to be playing this game in decent company anyway. Worth it. Much more fieldable than his older self and a solid choice since he provides Loremaster in Lore of Vampires, which is what you take him for.
He's much more flimsy and you MUST have him fighting puny hordes to make effective use of him. Since Magic is so important to a Vampire Counts army's success, it's important to note that this version of Mannfred is almost a must if you're planning on taking a fighty Lord but can't afford enough supporting casters to reliably get the spells you'll need out of Lore of the Vampires by rolling.
Still, if you CAN take multiple spellcasters he's probably not worth it. This time he should probably be left hiding in a unit unmounted unless you want to hide him in some Black Knights.
He's back! Krell is a Wight King with a better statline who gets Heroic Killing Blow in challenges if in the same unit as Kemmler which obviously means he'll always be in the same unit as Kemmler. He has regular Killing Blow otherwise, but the drawback is that he MUST issue a challenge whenever possible, Oh, and having a T5 W4 hero for his meager point cost not to mention his other rules is very very good. By the way, his model is fucking ace. Alternate take: Krell is significantly more expensive then a normal Wight King and only marginally better offensively, defensively he is inferior.
A mundane Wight King will almost always be a better option over Krell because they can be kitted out specifically for your needs. His model IS pretty amazing though. Nothing short of psychologically damaging if your opponent happens to bring Monstrous Infantry to him, not his models.
That being said combat is all he really does well though he does it VERY well while being the uncle of all glass cannons. His stats are on-par with am ordinary Hero level Vampire, and he only has Heavy Armor, so it's his special rules you want to take him for. He rings in at points. His insanity is reflected by a special rule called "One Bat Short of a Belfry" which has you roll for his current mental state. At the start of the turn you roll a D6, with a result of granting him Stupidity and a result of giving him Frenzy.
So be wary of using him Now in 8th has the proper Vampire statline.
As it stands, she's not a caster being only a level 1 Wizard in Lore of Vampires or a fighter being that she only has the vanilla Vampire stats and her only equipment is Heavy Armor and a Hand Weapon.
The most she can do is support other vampires using the invocation of Nehek and the Blood Chalice to make sure they don't die. Of course, there's always the fact that if she kicks it, Vlad goes nuts, with Frenzy and Hatred and whatnot. It's also possible that he'll die first not as likely and she will get Frenzy and Hatred, but as previously mentioned she's not really geared for fighting.
She isn't worth it on her own, but put her with Vlad and they have great potential. While named characters are judged against their generic counterparts, generic characters are examined based on their role in your army.
Brilliant stat line, a metric fuckton of upgrade options, and outside of the Chaos Lord is probably the most dangerous generic combat lord in the game he probably would have been the best since he can kill more models per round compare while the Chaos Lord is better at single combat, but there's the whole problem where your army starts crumbling if he dies unless you're at the point level to take more than one.
Naturally, characters are the first place points go in a Vampire Counts army, and this motherfucker will likely soak up as many points as you can give. Properly kitted out they can stand toe to toe with Lords and go on to rampage through Special units all while having excellent magical options. Remember, if your general dies very bad things happen to your army, so whatever you do, keep him in a unit at least until he is in combat: Mounting these badasses up is not only an option, but depending on your goals may just be the point of taking him.
Item selection and powers will be covered later. An important thing to remember that he doesn't come with jack shit for equipment standard, so browse through all the options when making your list or you'll wind up with an ancient immortal Vampire walking into ranked Halberdiers naked with his bare hands he'll still kick ass, but do you really want to picture it? All of the choices though are just kind of Cheap level 3 Wizard which can be upgraded to a level 4 in either Lore of Death or Lore of Vampires NOT Shadow that can be used to support a a fighty Vampire Lord, or to be the main caster and general should you decide to bring a slew of ordinary Vampires.
If you are considering making him your general, that certainly frees points for the other great choices you have, but remember that your army will start crumbling as soon as he dies. If you assign the other Vampires to Lore of Vampires then at least one of them can take over as general although with such a weakened magic phase you better be planning on bringing the rape train quickly.
Corpse Carts. The main point of putting him on a Corpse Cart is making a combo out of casting Invocation of Nehek on the Corpse Cart, which ensures that Vigor Mortis activates, giving all friendly Undead units within 6" the Always Strikes First special rule, but it's not a great idea - siege machines are already pointing at him to start with, and putting him on the cart makes him that much easier to shoot down. A Strigoi may not look like much, having a slightly inferior statline to a Vampire Lord for points, not being able to take magical armor, being stuck as a level 1 caster in Lore of Vampires.
It can also be mounted on a Terrorgheist. Giving him a magic weapon isn't necessary seeing as he already has 5 Poisoned Attacks and S5 is not as much of a boon as you'd think. If you're paying to swap his poisoned attacks for extra attacks or strength as he loses those Poisoned Attacks as they do not apply to magic weapons, and it's stated in the core rulebook a character with a magic weapon MUST use it. No matter how you're planning to use him, just make sure you have a plan for your casters since this guy is almost pure combat at mastery level 1.
Leadership is almost meaningless to Vampires as they cannot be broken. If you have the points, adding a few basic heroes to your list to bump the leadership in a few key units can still be a worthwhile investment for the wounds they prevent when crumbling comes around.
Something that can take Lore of Vampires can also take over as general. Cheaper Vampire Lord and almost identical other than having inferior stats, half the allowance of magic items and Vampire upgrades, and can be a maximum of level 2 Wizard in Death, Shadow, or Vampires.
Like the Lord equivalent they don't come with any equipment standard, so if you put all your points in magic don't send them into combat or they're going to get slaughtered. Can be upgraded to BSB, and gets Vampire upgrades regardless of that fact. The last option is great for supporting a killy Lord, or maybe even helping Mannfred get some kills. Pretty much the same statline as a Vampire, with the S and T swapped around and an extra Wound being the notable changes.
Can be upgraded to BSB. Can mount up on a Skeletal Steed with barding as an option and take a lance if you want him with Black Knights, otherwise stick him in a unit of Grave Guard with the Banner of the Barrows for an incredibly cheesy unit that will melt all variety of faces. Gets Killing Blow.
Oh, and like Krell this guy has a fucking beautiful model. Taking this character over the Vampire makes you lose the Vampire Power options, despite this he's still 20 points cheaper and has 2 more points of Leadership, so if that downside doesn't matter then go for it, and at 9 LD he's very good at preventing crumbling in his unit.
As above, 8th makes Necromancers more viable 65 points for a level 1 Wizard in Lore of Vampires or Death that that can be bumped up to level 2 is good. Use them to keep your armies at good strength, but don't expect too much from them.
You get what you paid for. Necro's are good for supporting large units of infantry with a little extra LD and some magical support if they end up away from the General, and if they're in LoV can take over as general if shit hits the fan.
Mount options are Nightmare and Corpse Cart. Ethereal, Terror, Undead. Has a special ability called Chill Grasp, allowing it to trade in it's 3 Attacks for one Attack that automatically wounds if it hits and ignores armour. Only S3 and great weapon, T3, and 2 Wounds with a low as fuck 2 Initiative. Can't be upgraded in any way. Sadly not a great choice. Both are also more resistant to magic by virtue of having more wounds. Finally, Wight Kings are better at simply killing normal stuff by virtue of their Killing Blow and awesome for points stats.
It's possible to use them to nail characters, but chances are good that whatever you're aiming to kill has a magic attack which renders the Cairn Wraith's only defense moot, and at 5 LD, don't expect him to prevent anything from crumbling in fact, he's more susceptible to it truth be told.
On the other hand, they are heroes, so as of the End Times Archaon you can make some truly game breaking lists with them. Ethereal , Terror, Undead. Crap stats and two Wounds. Can use Ghostly Howl, which targets an enemy unit and is used in the shooting phase and can be used in close combat.
Generally not the best investment for points. Any competitive army will have at least 9 Leadership in important units, most will have 10, so the hysterical woman is unlikely to earn her points back she will deal on average deal less than 0. She can take out a low LD unit very quickly however seeing 10 Skaven Slaves drop dead bleeding from the ears from one single attack can be fucking hilarious.
As a result, she's best used to wipe out ranks of anvils and let you wash over everything that was supposed to flank charge you, though thanks to the range of the scream she's not very good at that, and at LD 5 has the same problem as the Cairn Wraith.
The Black Knights basic mount, ignores terrain as they are treated as Ethereal for movement and does not get the -1M for barding if you take it. Think about that for a moment, you can charge units on the other side of buildings if you can see them. Never take a dangerous terrain test with these guys again! Simple undead horse, best in a squad of Blood Knights, and never put Black Knights unless there's no terrain, as they'll lose their Ethereal movement.
Ordinary in all regards. A flying Barded Nightmare, and overall a better horse.
Not too expensive and still a great investment if you like running with Fell Bats or other silliness. Still, if used right it can be a scary model that's great for picking off warmachines or other small units, since arrows don't tend to have the killing power needed for a Vampire.
Not great by any standard of a monster. Can be given Poison Attacks or Armour Piercing, has Thunderstomp which doesn't get the upgrade abilities sadly.
Fairly cheap and it flies so it's not exactly bad, but it's just beaten out by the next two usually. Hot motherfucking damn also damnably hot if you know what I mean , this thing has a good number of abilities. You subtract the enemy's LD from the Coven's and the result is the effect caused. A mixed bag honestly, absolutely fucking awful against any army with high leadership and siege weapons so mostly Dwarfs with their army wide LD 9 or Elves or usually just any army with a lot of cannons as they'll pass eventually.
The only thing worthwhile to put on it is a Vampire Lord, but then you're at points naked AND you just made your general a much bigger cannonball magnet which might lose you the game, and lesser vampires don't have a high enough leadership to consistently use The Battle of Wills effectively and it costs a shitload of points.
Exactly what you think it is. It's got beefy stats, can be healed massively thanks to lore attribute plus Invocation, his Pestilential Breath attack causes -3 to armour as well as causing a S2 hit and it adds that extra "fuck you" to Ogres in the form of terror.
Has Swarm of Flies ew! A great time if your Vampire has the same stat line as the mount its on. Can really wreck heavy cavalries day as well as rank and file, though it will die to cannons or Heroic Killing Blow. Still a wonderful kick ass model and is our only dragon, but like most fun things, it's a magnet for artillery and mass shooting.
Zombies are pathetic. The lore goes to silly lengths to tell you how living opponents fear engaging zombies and being torn apart, and on the game they are a bloody joke. They couldn't kill a sickly blind crippled mentally disabled orphaned Skaven Slave in a fair fight. It is literally so bad, that decreasing it's stats would only worsen it in the abstract.
So why in ever take them? Because they are only three points. In addition, the Vampire Counts magic phase is full of buffs, get yourself some rerolls and that Zombie unit can hold a bit longer. Thanks to the The Newly Dead rule, they recover an extra D6 Wounds worth of models per casting of Invocation meaning 2D6 Zombies and can increase their unit size beyond what you started the game with; this means you can, with luck, turn a strong horde into a strong horde in just 2 turns of magic. They can also make excellent Caster bunkers for your necromancers to hide in so they never get shot to death or challenged.
More durable than Zombies,a pinch better at killing and less likely to crumble, they cost five points a model, and should only be taken in large units to maximize the usefulness of Invocation of Nehek. That being said, Skeleton Warriors are by no means bad. Since skeletons still suck, they aren't going to hit much, not with weapon skill 2.
Generally Skeletons are a better carrier unit for your foot slogging killy Vampire Lord. The most expensive core option available at 10 points. Toughness of 4, exceeding both other options by one point. Highest still terrible Initiative of 3. Two Attacks per Ghoul, and the highest Leadership score of the core options at 5 meaning Ghouls have a low chance to crumble in comparison to Zombies which can all vanish off the board with their 2 LD. Poison Attacks are default, but Ghouls cannot have a musician or standard bearer.
Less likely to die like the skeletons, but much harder to get more of, and still a good bunker for a footslogging Vampire Lord. A very fast moving alternative to the other core choices. They ring in at 8 points per model, with a cavalry-speed Movement of 9 compared to the M4 of the rest of the core. They have a LD of only 3, meaning they'll crumble as fast as Skeleton Warriors. They have one point higher WS and I so combat will have more kills, but otherwise share a stat line with Skeleton Warriors.
As a unit of the War Beast type, they also come with Swiftstride which allows them to roll a 3D6 and discard the lowest number than add the resulting sum to their M score while on the charge, while fleeing, or while pursuing.
A 90 point Chariot. It has Regeneration, which may keep it alive for a pinch as long as nothing with Flaming Attacks goes after it. Far more important, it has Vigour Mortis; if any Lore of Vampires augment spell is used on it then all Undead units within 6" of the Corpse Cart including itself get ASF until the next Magic Phase, which is un-fucking believably awesome, AND the rulebook specifically states Zombies lose ASL and get ASF as so they can actually do more than just tarpit something all game if you horde them up.
Of the 2 upgrades Bale fire used to be the best as it stacked and could totally cripple enemy casters, now it is merely useful in that it makes dispels a bit easier. The load stone is a solid choice as it makes your summoning more consistent.
Coming in at 11 points, these supercharged Skeleton Warriors boast Heavy Armor and Shields standard, have Killing Blow, can swap their Shields for Great Weapons for one point a piece do this for killing, S'n'B for anvil , and can take a Magic Standard. Their statline is superior to weak skellies as well. With a toughness of four, and heavy armour. They are a lot more resilient then Skeletons and just as easy to raise.
Stuff a Wight King into this unit and take them in hordes for a hard-hitting anvil force. These skellies are a nightmare for any high T non-monstrous troops. Same statline as Grave Guard at 21 points, but on Skeletal Steeds which grant them an 8M and Spectral Steeds which lets them count as Ethereal for Movement and they don't get a penalty for Barding.
Said Barding comes at 3 points per model, and for another 2 points they can take lances. Like their footplodding counterparts they can take a Magic Standard. They are one of two heavy Cavalry units in the army. They are a DAMN good unit capable of moving over terrain like it wasn't even there and letting loose with a flurry of S4 or higher, depending on weapon choice Killing Blow attacks. Just don't put anybody in with them that doesn't have a spectral steed or they get much slower, and you want them to be constantly charging.
New option for 8th edition, they are 30 points each and have a statline like weaker Black Knights. They come with Great Weapons standard, and have a metric fuckload of special rules. One of these provides a very interesting advantage: They also have the Soulstriders special rule, which allows them to move through unengaged enemy Units both friendly and enemy during the "Remaining Moves" sub-phase although they can't end within 1" of a unit.
As a result they will attract a TON of magic during your opponents turn as he desperately tries to fry them before they reach him and they don't have any protection against that other than you trying to dispel, so beware.
They have Fast Cavalry as well, which grant them Vanguard get to make a 12" Move before the game starts and a Free Reform unless it charges.
You should leave the Hexes to do their thing alone. The first of three designated hammers, representing the jack of all trades which has the speed of the Terrorgheist without being as flimsy. They are Vampiric, so they cannot crumble. They compete with Empire Outriders and High Elf Swordmasters for the title of premier glass cannons; these guys do pack considerable punch at break-neck speed.
They can hunt War Machines if they must, but they really work better hitting flanks and hunting enemy support troops. Be careful though, because they are Flyers they're also Skirmishers. Keep this in mind when you send them out into the juicy flanks as they cannot disrupt enemy Units. The other Monstrous Infantry unit, little more than super Ghouls.
This unit is an anvil with a bite, pure and simple, but crumbling and a limited offensive capability does force you to take Units of at least 6. A unit of 18 in a horde does have good punch however and is very hard to get rid of, but will be expensive points, with the upgrade to champion for a unit that ultimately works best in a points denial role. Work best with a Mortis Engine if the thing doesn't get blown up and Invocation spam from a caster using them as a bunker.
Don't skip them over, but they aren't something to drool over either. Alternative Take- While Crypt horrors may not be the most offensively powerful unit on this list, they can be made into one of the most powerful units in the game with some magical buffs. Unlike Grave Guard, they are monstrous infantry, and therefore gain all of the additional attacks of the rear ranks. With three attacks each, at S4 and poisoned, they can make a Very mean hammer.
Buff them with the right spells however Staff of Damnation, i'm looking at you and the effect can be multiplied hugely. Further, they have neither the Vampiric or the Large Target or Ethereal rules, so they can be quickly and easily healed back up to strength by the Invocation.
This is not always viable, but for those gamblers looking for a death star unit, look no further. They are a Swarm, meaning they are Skirmishers, they are Unbreakable, and are Unstable like the rest of your army. Their special abilities are Hover permanent 10" movement and swiftstride for charging and Cloud of Horror which grants Always Strikes Last to any enemy in base contact with them, which is awesome considering most of your army has terrible Initiative.
Your go-to for Warmachine hunting. Cost 16 points each and must be fielded in Units of 2 or more. Count as War Beasts meaning they get Swiftstride roll 3d6 when charging, discard lowest and add it to their Move and do the same when fleeing as well as Fly.
Ah, the Spirit Host. Sadly, as a Swarm they also die from Combat Resolution like everything else in the army. These guys are extremely cost-effective Monster and Cavalry tarpits while they last just make sure whatever you are facing does not have magic attacks , and can also be used to dissuade a flank charge by something nasty than to actively hunt their targets, otherwise they may get too exposed to infantry their bane thanks to that Combat Resolution damage or outmanoeuvred.
That said, don't mind losing a Unit to magic or infantry if you have to: Why give a damn? The Vargheist's meth addict big brother, and the only hammer you really want to meet anything head-on. You have 3 more points of M, 1 more point of WS, one more point of Toughness, one more Wound each, two more attacks each, but 3 points less Leadership though it's Vampiric.
It's a Monster, so it also has Thunderstomp. All in all, the Varghulf is a decent choice, as it's statline is pretty nice and it's decently killy in addition to that Regen and Terror, especially considering he lacks Frenzy so he won't jump into combat without being given the order, he's also harder to kill, and sucks up less points than a Terrorgheist so a lucky cannonball won't eat up a large chunk of your points. His main detriment is that he eats up Rare points, if that doesn't bother you then go right ahead, otherwise a properly built Terrorgheist can do the job just fine though will cost more.
There are a lot things to remember about the Blood Knights. You can take them in Units of 4 or more. However, don't forget that they have a big weakness - due to being Vampiric, they receive only one wound back per cast of Invocation of Nehek, which, combined with their cost and sometimes harmful Frenzy, makes them inferior to Black Knights in the eyes of many players.
A point Chariot. For just points and a little patience, you can get one of the most amazing fucking models crunch-wise in the entire game. Death Shriek has an 8" range that requires Line of Sight oddly enough and can target something regardless of if you or it are in Close Combat.
You roll 2d6 and add the Wounds the Terrorgheist has, and for each point that the result exceeds the target Unit's Leadership they suffer 1 Wound with no Armor Save and it counts as a Magical Attack, which isn't that great against LD high armies, a Strigoi Ghoul King can help somewhat, but that makes it a cannonball magnet.
It can also be upgraded for 10 points to be Infested ew! It can also take Rancid Maw for 15 points which grant it Poisoned Attacks not for it's Thunderstomp though. Its main weakness however is that it is fairly flimsy, especially if your opponent has Flaming Attacks or brought some nasty ranged options, this combined with their relative vulnerability in Close Combat and their huge base size means they are tricky to actually move about.
Not everyone likes them, but they remain one of the best choices tied with the Black Coach available to Vampire Counts owing to the fact that it is the army's most flexible option. It's ready for battle from the beginning unlike the Coach, allowing you to go on the offensive in a prompt manner. It's purely a support unit. It's offensive abilities are abysmal unless you charge it into a flank despite it getting a lot of little bird peck attacks, but it has decent survivability.
Here's where you factor in it's abilities. It looks awesome, the crunch seems awesome, then you put it on the field and a Dwarf with a flaming cannonball blows it to hell before it can move. If you want to use it effectively, you NEED some distraction units, either war machine hunters or faster melee units to take the artillery off of you, or you actually want it to get shot so that your hammers don't get shot by those same cannons.
The expensive, damage-dealing alternative to the spirit hosts. Must be fielded in units of 3 minimum, 10 maximum. The unit Champion is actually a Tomb Banshee. Exact same stats and abilities as their character equivalents. All in all you are getting a bulk discount by taking them in the Rare section, as well as saving points for more Vampires, Necros, or Wights in the Hero slot. What's not to love? That being said, they DO take Rare choice points and unlike the Spirit Hosts you can't afford to just let them get killed by a magic missile and forget about it.
It's usually better to pin enemies with Spirit Hosts and then flank later with another unit so, in essence, the Cairn Wraiths are to the Spirit Hosts as the Varghulfs are to the Vargheists. If you really get in good, you can take advantage of the fact these little Ethereal buggers can go straight through terrain to stay in Charge distance of the enemy while staying safe from being Charged, which can tie up a lot of troops by forcing the enemy to either continue facing them or just bite the bullet and say goodbye to everyone on the side or back of the Unit.
Upgrades Vampire Lords and Vampires can take. The former can take points, the latter Vampire hero BSBs can still take this, so there's also that. WAIT- it could technically grant access to the lore of life. In massive points games, you could therefore have access to every single lore!!!
The Magic Phase of Warhammer Fantasy is basically a glorified game of chicken arbitrated by dice. Approach Lore of the Vampires from this perspective: The short answer: These three spells are the core of what makes the Vampire Counts terrifying: They're all cheap spells low casting values for what they do, combined with the ability to reduce their casting values with different options in your army and have effects that dictate the flow of the game.
Taking a Level 4 Master Necromancer or the Hero level Mannfred in games where you can't afford a kitted out Vampire Lord caster is always your best bet. The Magic Phase is where Vampire Counts have a huge advantage: The lore attribute, Curse of Undeath, allows you to allocate one healed wound to the caster or a model within 12 inches of the caster of any spell in the lore.
For great times late game cast spells around your Coven Thrones to keep that rape train running and make your opponent cry as the ladies cause their troops to hit themselves. Early on it's the primary way to keep your Mortis Engine from self-destructing.
This can be a useful lore on a Vampire as it comes with several Hexes and damage spells that increase the effectiveness of your own Units by reducing the stats of enemy units, firing off cannonball lines of pain, or dropping nasty templates. This lore will only really be seen in games over points as Lore of Vampires takes priority on at least 2 Wizards, preferably the higher level ones. The spell lore, Smoke and Mirrors, allows the spellcaster to switch places with a friendly character of the same model type within 18 inches which can be useful for getting them back and forth in your mage bunkers, but that's situational at best.
Short-ranged sniper magic is a good way to describe most of this lore. For each 5 or 6, add a die to your Power Dice for next turn. With a Vampire upgrade meaning only Vampire casters can do this that rings in at 25 points, you can take any Lore from the Core rulebook other than Lore of Life. This generally isn't ideal since the default Lores are pretty well suited to the army and don't burn 25 points, but by no means is it a BAD idea to do. Also great for fluff lists or throwing your opponent a curveball.
Turning the spell lore most popular with Sigmarites and Witch Hunters against them? Hell yeah! While Fire is probably the bottom of the Lore tier list, it isn't by much. Lots of S4 damage that gets better the more dice you pump into it, and it's devastating against models with Regeneration, and those nasty Wood Elves and dusty old bones Tomb Kings. The lore attribute, Kindleflame, reduces the casting difficulty of each Lore of Fire spell when targeting a Unit you've already hit with one by D3.
The spells themselves are not difficult to begin with, allowing a level 4 Wizard to unleash hell on a budget. Using Black Periapt, this is perhaps the army best at using this lore in fact.
Remember that the Vampire Counts set up shop in Albion and Lustria , which is a good fluff basis. Strigoi, or frontier Vampires works too. Lore of Beasts is one of the better Lores in the game. Contains some good and cheap Augments and a Hex that really help bulk up VC troops, and one of the potentially most risky and broken combos in the entire game.
It's absolutely fucking boring and pretty much a non-factor. For your self-respecting Vampire Dwarf list. A fairly decent Lore, although it's generally overshadowed by the darker Lores and Life. The main benefit of this Lore is for low survivability armies or against highly armored armies, and as such this is a good Lore for VC. The Lore Attribute, Metalshifting, means your rolls to wound are equal to the opponent's armour save, and the hits are also flaming and armor-ignoring.
As a result, this is a good Lore for killing heavily armored stuff in addition to being fantastic against armies like Warriors of Chaos, but on low armour armies it's not nearly as good. Taking the spell lore utilized to cleanse the world of the Undead as a Vampire?
Lahmians infiltrated the Sisters of Sigmar long ago, and there's also non-evil Vampires running around mostly those who have self control combined with the aforementioned hatred of Chaos. This lore is actually a solid choice, as it helps get around some of the shortcomings of the Vampire army. Who's better at astrology and astronomy than a race who spends all their waking hours at night? What's a better profession for a long-lived master of the undead in a world where you can actually read the future or at least possible futures and big events with star charts, and with a moon that causes necromantic magic to grow stronger or weaker?
As for the crunch, this isn't an ideal choice considering your other options. To begin with, it has one of the least useful attributes of any lore- it does some free hits to a spell's target if that target happens to be flying. Although 7e removed the previous Bloodline traits, they managed to survive in the way that you can kit out Vampire Lords and Vampires with Vampire upgrades that reflect the various attitudes of the families.
Invoking a Bloodline army is mainly for fluff, although the army choices reflecting the Bloodlines are still thankfully complimentary of each other. Fluffwise this was explained in Ulrika the Vampire by saying that when Vamps fuck, they tend to bite and share blood which makes Bloodlines act like each other combined with the fact that as time goes on the younger recruit Vamps have much more in common than their former kinsmen than their Bloodline progenitor that they'll probably never meet face to face.
Taking a specific Bloodline rather than just picking and choosing arbitrarily can simplify your listbuilding process if you're unsure, can make the game a bit more fun if you enjoy the fluff, and can earn you a bit of respect from your fellow players as someone into the army rather than just into the strength tier of the army. Lahmians are the first of the Bloodlines.
Mostly but not entirely consist of female vampires, they organize into a network of spies from all races and nations of the world controlling as much as they can from behind the scenes. Most Bloodlines dream of world domination; the Lahmians are already there, and they plan to keep it that way. They all answer to Neferata, who is essentially a bisexual Cleopatra. Their army mainly consists of things they can hide or summon from anywhere due to them keeping appearances as civilians in various professions and social levels, meaning you stock up on ghosts, dogs, bats, and skeletons.
Centerpieces should be the Black Coach and the Coven Throne. The vamps themselves are mostly magic-heavy. Blood Dragons are the martial Bloodline. Founded by one of the biggest badasses in either Warhammer universe, the Blood Dragons are made up of mounted Vampire Lords and Vampires, Blood Knights, Black Knights, and whatever you want to use in your Core.
These guys ride around looking for challenges to their manliness, drinking the blood of what they kill. If the fight is worthy enough, they're cured of the negative aspects of vampirism blood thirst, weakness to sunlight, running water, and so forth. Their numbers are increasing and nobody knows if their leader has plans of conquest, taking his place as Khorne's superior, or whatever else may be in plans.
Most of them aren't outright evil, just looking for a fight with the biggest guy around. Stay fighty, keep away from Ethereal options or spellcasters keep your Vamps in the Lore of Vampires and spamming Invocation as a battle cry so they can take over as general however.
Necrarchs are the most magic-heavy Bloodline. As time goes on this Bloodline has become less and less focused since Lahmians took over as the magic spammers, Strigoi were introduced to become the brutes, and Mannfred stole their entire plot.
In fact, they work better as the explanation of why your Strigoi brought Necromancers and spellcasting Vamps than a Bloodline to themselves.
Despite this they're still fun, and since Nosferatu is STILL the most frightening example of a Vampire the Bloodline that looks like his family to the last is likely to stay. More the mad scientist group than anything else, they're equivalent to the Skaven clans Clane Skyre and Clan Moulder for Vampire Counts.
They're neutral with most of the other Bloodlines and provide support as needed to advance their cause.
They play behind the scenes, creating abominations of new kinds and mass producing existing types like Zombie Dragons. They're differentiated from Strigoi by taking spellcasters at all. Strigoi are a newer Bloodline, introduced in 6e. If you haven't seen the movies 30 Days of Night and The Descent, add that to your "to do" list.
Those best exemplify this Bloodline. Vicious killing machines, pitiless and animalistic. Mostly Vampires turned by any Bloodline that gave into the bloodthirst, Strigoi Vampires not only drink blood but also eat meat The Strigoi that can think coherently is rare, but they're even more scary fuckers than their kin.
Kit out vamps to be fighty. A fully Strigoi list will be dangerously low on spellcasters unless you bring fighty Vamps all on Lore of Vampires spamming Invocation like with Blood Dragons. Von Carsteins , the army based more on Dracula and his wives. Their characters tend to be parodies of nobility, be they Starscream style plotting bastards , Caligula style insane inbred manchildren , or similar style characters.
According to Vlad they're the second oldest Bloodline being descended from Vashanesh, the husband of Neferata and it's possible that he himself is Vashanesh Most other Bloodlines treat it as bullshit either way and consider them the nouveau riche Bloodline of children fucking things up since before they declared war on the Empire and the world Vampires were a threat similar to Skaven in that most humans didn't think they really existed, and knowledge of them was sparse and being a bunch of little shits since von Carsteins are very hostile to the other Bloodlines particularly Lahmians and Necrarchs due to seeing them as rivals, and outright manipulative of Strigoi.
Generally speaking, the von Carstein army will contain any of the options in the Vampire Counts army at will. They're more defined by what named characters you bring along and what you have more of. Vlad and Isabella early in their war on the Empire will probably bring along skeletons more than anything else, since Sylvania is mostly on their side and they've pilfered the ancient tombs of the land to make their army as well as Black Coaches used by the nobility they've turned into Vampires.
They'd pick up things like Zombies and Corpse Carts as time went on and more cities fell to them. Mannfred specifically brought in Vampires and minions directly from other Bloodlines into his forces, although by and far he relied on mass blocks of Zombies and anything he could use to bolster them. As for OCs, anything works. GW sells special bits to customize to look more "von Carstein", but despite them looking kind of neat they don't actually look more "von Carstein" than anything else really.
Sartosa are a new Bloodline from special models made up of pirates, with their fluff originating in a issue of White Dwarf. Luthor Harkon was a Vampire of an unknown Bloodline who was shipwrecked in his coffin. Vikings took him aboard thinking it was a floating treasure chest, and he turned them into his zombie crew. He took his crew to Lustria and found a temple filled with gold and a room sealed with magical glyphs.
They can act as an anvil against certain armies, but lose their target saturation role and become a big target in exchange for less risk of crumbling. It doesn't hurt to take a base or two of Spirit Hosts in most armies. If you are going to field more than that, they start to compete with the coveted Special choices and require you to build your army around them.
Hexwraiths: Either you love them or your hate them. Truth be told, Hexwraiths are one of the trickier units for the aspiring Vampire Counts general to use properly. They are expensive, are T3 with no real protection and they strike last, plus they contend for attention in that ever popular Special choice.
But Hexwraiths are a very unique unit. First, they are Ethereal, have great weapons and magical, flaming attacks take that Hellpit! They ignore armor Skullcrushers? What Skullcrushers? But the real secret to the Hexwraiths is their unique rules: Soulstrider and Spectral Hunters.
Soulstrider let's Hexwraiths move through unengaged units say what? Yes, move.. Mastering this is key to getting the most from them. Along with Fast Cavalry reforms, Hexwraiths can stay close to enemy, while remaining out of charge arcs and line of sight. They can hug flanks and rear arcs or move through units to take the shortest route to a piece of cover, becoming highly inconvenient for an enemy to pursue.
With Vanguard, M8 and a well-timed Van Hel's Danse Macabre, Hexwraiths can move 30" on the first turn, placing them behind enemy lines with little exposure to threats.
The real trick is keeping your Hexwraiths within 12" of your general so they keep marching throughout the game. Spectral Hunters makes all of this moving around and harassing your enemy worth it, as Hexwraiths automatically deal a S5 flaming, magical hit that ignores armor for each model in their unit that rides through one unengaged enemy unit.
Say good bye to chaff or ride over Chaos Knights and watch them die. Hexwraiths used properly are brutally effective. Now all this awesomeness does make them magic missile magnets which is a bonus in itself if we're going for target saturation. Hexwraiths are best fielded in multiple units of in one rank, allowing them maximum Spectral Hunter hits while keeping opportunities for Soulstriders open to them. They can also be fielded in units of 10 in two ranks, ideal for disrupting ranks but dependent on your local meta Not that great against Daemons of Chaos.
Hexwraiths are very adaptable, removing enemy knights, chaff, gunlines and other small units with ease. They can hunt mages, take out artillery or act as redirectors in a pinch, all the while ducking and weaving across the battlefield and hopefully staying just out of harm's way.
Vargheists: Highly mobile and hard hitting, few lists can do worse than picking Vargheists. On the other hand, if used poorly they die fast and become a total waste of points. But what makes Vargheists attractive is how independent they are. As a Vampiric unit, they can always march and with Fly they can move very fast. They are Monstrous Infantry, S5 and A3 with Frenzy, so these beasts have 4 attacks and a stomp against most enemies they fight.
Vargheists are best when flanking, creating a threat on a second front your opponent must react to usually by dividing his forces. Make sure they have a couple of targets, and can get into combat without facing a lot of attacks as Varghiests only have T4, I4 and W3. If used properly, Vargheists tear through an enemy unit and easily overrun into the next one. Vargheists are very flexible too. A unit of 3 can be deployed in a single file with a champion and go Wizard hunting all day long!
A unit of 4 can be deployed 2x2 and get the majority of its attacks into an enemy's flank while minimizing attacks back.
That same unit can go 4 wide if the enemy are little threat and maximize their own attacks and stomps. In addition to their squishy nature, Vargheist's Frenzy and Ld 7 makes them a bit unruly, so move them carefully moonwalking towards the enemy if you have too and then choose your targets with care, ensuring you get the charge.
Because of this, if you aren't proficient at moving or facing them or your opponent is effective at baiting them, Vargheists can be difficult to use. Fact of the matter though, the Varghulf is a good flanker, he destroys MSU armies and tears through elves.
He is valuable in monster mash lists or as support for a cavalry based army and he excels at hunting down Wizards and warmachines. Many armies are going to build around the Mortis Engine or Terrorgheist. But the Varghulf fits an unconventional niche that plays an important role in unconventional armies.
Blood Knights: So, hands down, the Blood Knights hit harder than nearly anything else in our army. A minimum sized unit has 12 S7 and 4 S4 attacks when charging. Blood Knights can get into a flank easily and excel at running their enemies down. Plus with Ld7, their Frenzy could get them into a bind if they get lead around by your opponent. All of this, AND they are competing with the ever coveted Rare spots. They are playable. Throw in MR2 and that ward vs.
Some pro-level players even use them as a deathstar, taking Blood Knights, loading them up with blender Vampires, a Battle Standard and key Magic Items then keeping the ensuing mess of fangs, lances and hellfire-eyed horses riding down any and everything in sight. However you use Blood Knights, avoid putting your general in them. Cairn Wraiths: Do not take these Yes, they are Ethereal, yes they hit hard, but unlike their Hero version, they cannot hide in a unit and are doomed to walk around with Absolute.
The best case scenario; your Cairn Wraiths get targeted by magic missiles that you will HAVE to dispel to keep them alive. Worst case scenario; your Cairn Wraiths come up against one of the many armies with an abundance of magical shooting or close combat attacks.
Want an insane challenge? Try me! But most armies do not need this unit, so save yourself the headaches and take Cairn Wraiths as heroes instead. As Nagash intended! Black Coach: The Black Coach is not an optimal choice. But its problem is in drawn out combats where it has difficulty producing ongoing damage. This makes the Black Coach a liability to itself and other friendly undead units as its inconsistent damage turns into poor combat results, which causes crumble. It even combos with Master of the Black Arts to power up faster.
But unless you really need its unique features, there are better choices you can make. Dealing hefty damage that attacks Leadership while ignoring Toughness and Armor Saves, Death Shriek allows the Terrorgheist to live up to its name, terrifying the most harden of Chaos Champions and their followers. But against a skilled opponent, the Terrogheist is a large hulking model that is easy to wound and as it takes damage its infamous Death Shriek weakens.
Even worse, there are so many efficient counters to the Terrorgheist; cannons, bolt throwers, magic missiles, poisoned shooting, decent hammer or anvil units, rival monsters, Wood Elf shooting… the list goes on. Truthfully, most armies should be focusing on neutralizing the big bad T-bat on turn 1 and have him dead or useless by turn 2. Healing up on our Lore Attribute is easy and immediately repairs the scream right before using it.
The same for getting it in range of Invocation, allowing it to regain 2 Wounds from casting one spell. Third, engage it in close combat tactically. Finally, field multiple threats for target saturation. For most players, this is a second Terrogheist or a third being ridden by a Strigoi but similar threats such as a Mortis Engine, multiple Hexwraiths units or a Black Knight bus often get similar responses and can open up your available strategies.
Aura of Dark Majesty helps too. The vampire general who makes good use of Death magic and the Cursed Book or who can keep the T-bat targeting units affected by Aura of Dark Majesty will be pleased at the results.
So keep your Terrogheist moving, avoid the plethora of threats and disintegrate the most elite, armored units in your way. At first glance, the Mortis Engine is quite mindboggling because it does so many incredible things. First, it grants a stacking Regeneration bonus that makes even Crypt Ghouls, Zombies and Skeletons hard to kill and gives a character with Seed of Rebirth a hefty boost. The double miscast from Blasphemous Tome affects all Wizards in range, so be careful with it especially around Ogre Kingdoms and their Hellheart but it can also be used offensively against your opponents too.
At the start of your turns, the Mortis Engine damages all enemy within range, clearing out chaff and weakening or destroying smaller units. By late game, this effect is devastating as it kills the high Toughness units too. The Engine has Ghostly Howl, allowing it to deal with armor. With Spectral Steeds, it moves as an Ethereal allowing it to use terrain to its advantage. With T5, W5 and Regeneration the Mortis Engine can take a beating and grind in combat all while damaging nearby enemy turn after turn.
Cannons are its biggest threat, so the wily general will use its free pivot to present its side to cannons, granting the shallowest target and thus making it harder to hit. Crypt Horrors used as a screen not only gain a Regeneration buff, but as Monstrous Infantry can keep cannonballs from penetrating them and thereby protecting the Engine.
Two Mortis Engines are especially effective, as the Regeneration bonus stacks and the double Engines creates target saturation for cannons, gunlines and magic.
Still, a determined opponent can make keeping the Engine intact difficult, so your plans for when and where it eventually explodes are important. A good Vampire general maximizes its effects, charges the Mortis Engine into the right combats and then if necessary run the Mortis Engine into your enemy and let it be destroyed, exploding and taking out even more of them.
This is where the Mortis Engine requires skill to use properly as poor timing can make it useless or worse, turn it against you. With its high point cost, you must sacrifice powers like Red Fury and Quickblood on your Vampire Lord. Giving your Vampire Lord an extra Wound is a viable strategy and makes them more survivable. You often see this power combined with Skabscrath, since the Wound bonus also strengthens its Death Shriek.
Curse of the Revenant is a nasty surprise on a Vampire Lord built for grinding. When using Vampires to deal damage, this power is the essential component and has no substitute. When building a mini-blender Vampire, choose between this power and Quickblood. Flying Horror: Flying Horror is a decent power especially if you play with closed lists and offers a number of tactical options for your Vampires. Although a Hellsteed is cheaper and can be a better alternative if you need other vampiric powers too, Vampires with Flying Horror can hide in infantry bunkers and fly out for surprise attacks when needed.
With their improved movement and range, these Vampires can easily hop from unit to unit and move into superior positions for casting spells and threatening the enemy. Flying Horror is a very tactical choice but can easily be misused, so have a plan in mind when taking it or you could find your Vampire in a bad spot unexpectedly.
Quickblood: Quickblood has so many nice benefits. Always Strike First allows the Vampire to remove enemy threats before they can attack him. It gives re-rolls against enemies with the same or lower Initiative.
It also negates Always Strikes First re-rolls an enemy might have. Combine Quickblood with a Great Weapon and the Vampire gains a powerful weapon that still strikes at initiative, while freeing up magic item points for other options. When building a mini-blender Vampire, choose between this power and Red Fury. Aside from weakening all enemy break, panic, march and reform tests, it synergizes with a lot of facets of our army. Dark Acolyte: Dark Acolyte is limited in use but when used in builds that maximize Invocation of Nehek this power increases casting results enough to usually warrant an additional dice from your opponent if they hope to successfully dispel it.
This means your opponent has to commit more resources to stop your Invocations of Nehek, and thus allows fewer resources to stop other spells. Most of the time you will want to focus on other vampiric powers, but when used effectively, Dark Acolyte can noticeably boost your Magic phase.
Forbidden Lore: Forbidden Lore opens up possibilities but at a hidden cost. Taking Forbidden Lore means they give up powers like Quickblood or Red Fury and since they can only be level 2, you get little access to the new Lore. Vampire Counts armies still gain better control over magic by focusing on Lore of Vampires or Death, but in the right hands Forbidden Lore offers powerful tools that can surprise your opponent.
Supernatural Horror: Since there is so many ways to get Terror into your army, this power is often a poor choice. This will have the same effect with much broader tactical options. Fear Incarnate: Fear Incarnate is really only useful in fear-bombing armies. However, fear-bombing rarely works. There simply is too many units in the game that are Immune to Psychology or can reliably pass Leadership tests for Fear to make a difference.
Beguile: Beguile is a useful and cheap way to protect your Vampire and those next to him by causing a single enemy in base contact to make a Leadership test at -3 or re-roll their successful hits. But add in a Strength boosting weapon, Red Fury and Other Tricksters Shard, and a Vampire Lord with this combination of powers could easily go challenging enemy characters with very little exposure to risk. Almost everything in our army is useful, but this sadly falls way short. Challenges are a bad place for your Vampires as they either get tied up fighting a unit Champion or facing off against a powerful lord who actually threatens them.
If you can keep your Vampires away from challenges, then this power is useful. This power works best on hero Vampires that are in the same unit as your Vampire Lord, since their Leadership is lower and can benefit from this power without any downside. Unfortunately, all three of those units are usually used as chaff and work best in small numbers.
So there really is no reason to raise them beyond their starting size. Some army builds make use of large units of dire wolves as tarpits. In these few cases, this power has some limited value. Only a Lord can carry it and its cost leaves few points for any defensive items.
Skabscrath grants Devastating Charge, Frenzy and its attacks count as Flaming and though those things are useful, you risk its bearer making unwanted charges and its automatic overrun could cause problems.
Used properly, Skabscrath screams nearly as good as a Terrorgiest. Placed strategically and combined with the right vampire powers, and Skabscrath becomes a nasty surprise for your opponent. The trick is building that character right. Aura of Dark Majesty and Curse of the Revenant both improve its scream, while Red Fury synergizes with its extra attacks well.
Nightshroud: Nightshroud causes enemies in base contact to lose strength bonuses from their weapons and gain Always Strike Last thus losing Always Strike First. This wrecks characters and units dependent on these rules like all elves and Nightshroud has many places it can be utilized. The obvious choice is on a Wight King bodyguard.
Keep him next to your blender Vampires, and they essentially gain the protection of the item without having to wear it themselves, allowing them to put points into items that boost their damage.
But give it to a Vampire, and he can bring his damage capabilities along with the protection Nightshroud offers. This allows Vampires to take on enemy units and survive in challenges that would otherwise put them at risk and likely be deadly.
Banner of the Barrows: If you have either Grave Guard or Black Knights in your army, then this banner is an auto include. Frightening indeed! Screaming Banner: For a cheap, simple way to boost fear in your army, the Screaming Banner is your best option. Screaming Banner is worth considering if you want fear to be more reliable in your army.