Choosing the Vampire Army

Martin Skummelkrat I have to admit that I didn’t think much about the army when I put it together. It was composed quickly, and since I’m a seasoned Vampire player, it didn’t take long.
Now after the Final, I wish I had been more careful, as there are some things I would like to have changed. I’ll not linger on that, though. I’ll rather tell you a little about the units that I did take. It seems natural to start with the characters. I chose a Strigoi Vampire with the whole package. An extra attack, hatred, Strength 6, Summon Ghouls and Regeneration is a force on his own. He suits my playing style well, because he allows me to be very aggressive and march my generals unit right up in the front of the enemy without using a Ghoul screen – there’s not the opponent he can’t tear the head off (almost…). Sometimes I choose to not have the Regeneration, to have more points for troops, but I knew that I would face Bretonnia and Chaos in the Play-offs, and it’s nice to have a general that’s hard to defeat.


My next character choice was a flying Thrall. I chose to give him Bat Form, which allows him to Fly 20”. It’s truly a great bloodline power, because it makes him remarkably mobile – he can threaten enemy wizards and warmachines, even fast cavalry. Besides that, most players get a shock if he suddenly flies behind enemy lines and joins a newly raised regiment. Not many are prepared for that.

Next, I chose two necromancers – I had a feeling that my enemies would not take magic lightly. I chose the Book of Arkhan and three Dispel Magic Scrolls. I like having those scrolls in the bag, because even though the Undeads can take a lot of punishment, some units are very vulnerable to magic – for instance the ghosts. On top of that, I’ve previously been in trouble against armies that I couldn’t catch, because of Howler Wind and the like. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that I probably would have been better off with the Black Periapt instead of a Scroll, maybe even the Rod of Flaming Death instead of two Scrolls.

I chose to include two regiments of Skeletons with Light Armor in the army – Skeletons are tough, because it’s usually the job of the big infantry units to take as little damage as possible, while the Vampires are dishing it out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken chaos knights because my Skeletons managed to save a wound on a 6, and then won the combat by 1. I tend to keep the units together during the combat, to support each other.
Next I bought a 10-strong regiment of zombies. Without a command group, I can deploy them four man wide, and place the two necromancers in the center, so they can’t be attacked from the flank. During the games, I made sure that the unit’s front was just behind the skeletons, leaving no room for my opponents to charge me in the front. If my Necromancers had to cast magic missiles, I made sure that they had line of sight in the crack between the two skeleton regiments, which were always close.

Then it’s time for the lighter troops. Two regiments of Ghouls, each five man strong to act as a charge screen and deal with enemy skirmishers, and a regiment of wolves, also five strong, to march-block and threaten enemy fast cavalry on the flanks. I wish I had taken another regiment of Ghouls, but like I said – the army was created in a hurry.

Ghosts are a must-have – and they also were this time. Two bases of Spirit host are just enough to remove ranks, have enough staying power and are easy to manouver around. Besides, they can only be harmed by magic weapons, and since great weapons seem standard these days, the Ghosts really have an advantage. I usually place them in front of difficult or impassable terrain, as they benefit from being able to pass through that. They are reasonably safe from enemy charges, but can threaten a charge themselves. Besides, they are the perfect wizard-killers, as they have a lot of attacks, and can usually be placed so that both bases can attack the same character.

In order to further threaten enemy wizards and warmachines, I decided to buy 3 fell bats. I only got three, as my experience is that 3 bats usually do just as well as 4 bats – and they are cheaper if they have to screen a charge.

The most controversial part of my army is probably the ten Black Knights with full command and Banner of The Barrows – they always hit on 3+. It’s an expensive unit at 335 points, but I find them very good. It’s nice to have a hard-hitting unit with a lot of movement, and if you play the unit well, they can do a lot. Although I have to say, against Skaven, it’s usually in trouble against Jezzails and Ratling Guns. Against any other opponent, though, it’s a regiment I wouldn’t be without. I usually place it between the two skeleton regiments, so if my opponent wants to charge, he has to wipe out the unit and make an overrun, or he gets a skeleton regiment in the flank next turn. It almost never happens that the Knights are destroyed, especially since I can screen them with ghouls, and I can even move the bats or ghouls behind them, so the enemy overrun will be stopped – and then the flank charge is a real threat. If you attack the Knights, you need a tough and expensive unit, and it’s still risky, because there’s a good chance they’ll be destroyed afterwards. If the Knights are not attacked, they can threaten a large part of the board in front of the Skeletons. The key to success is keeping the Knights close to the skeletons, so I always have at least one skeleton unit that can come to the aid immediately after the Knights charge or are charged themselves.

Last, and actually least (unit strength 1) I bought a banshee. I did it with the Play-Off against Chaos in mind. It’s a lovely thought, that I with a single roll of the dice can wipe 5-6 chosen chaos knights of Tzeentch from the board – that’s 400 points! Besides, one Banshee is a nice speedbump for Dragon Ogres and other large models that doesn’t have banners. This is where a Banshee can truly shine, which mine did against chaos. A howling march blocker that can only be hit by magic weapons and can always run 12” – I simply couldn’t resist at the time.

So that’s how the army was created, and even though I don’t think it’s a terrible army, there are things I would change if I had the chance – even though it’s little things. Though I have to say, this army brought me all the way to the final, so I’ll definitely not complain. I just hope it will bring me the last step onto the podium.

Go to the Vampire Counts Army List

Go to the Skaven Army Selection

Go to Introduction Story

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Proceed to Pre-Battle Preparations

The Vampire Counts army.

A close up of the more dangerous elements.

The newly painted Spirit Hosts. I guess Martin has played against Chaos recently.