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True Blood
Sep 29, 2009
Hey guys,

I’m looking to go into my first tournament using my vampire counts. I have a pretty “standard” list I guess. I did very well against a tough Dark Elf army the other night as well.

Any feedback on this list would be greatly appreciated. The list needs to be 2,200 points and meet the following requirements:

- Special, named, or unique characters (including any army lists that require special characters) are not allowed.

- A maximum of 3 identical core choices may be taken (regardless of equipment and other upgrades).
- Units cannot be more than 40 models nor 450 points (including all command, upgrades, magic items/banners). This restriction applies during the creation of the roster - unit size/cost may be increased during the game (for example - by joining characters to the unit). This restriction does not apply to characters.

- Vampire Counts: Cairn Wraiths and the Varghulf are each 0-1 choices. Maximum 5 model Cairn Wraith unit. Army may have a maximum of two units (total) of: Cairn Wraiths, the Black Coach or Spirit Hosts. Army may include a maximum of two of the following: Helm of Commandment, Master of the Black Arts, Drakenhoff Banner.

2200 Pts - Vampire Counts Roster

Vampire Lord, 450 pts (General; Vampire; Level 3 Upgrade; Hand Weapon; Undead)
- Casting Lore of Metal or Heavens (Not sure yet)
- Will go in Graveguard
Blood Drinker
The Flayed Hauberk
Helm of Commandment
Forbidden Lore
Infinite Hatred
Lord of the Dead
Invocation of Nehek

Wight King (Battle Standard Bearer)
-Will go in Graveguard
The Drakenhof Banner

Grave Guard -28
Full Command
The Banner of the Barrows

- Goes with Skeletons
Dispel Scroll
Invocation of Nehek
Raise Dead
Vanhel's Danse Macabre

Skeleton Warriors -39
Full Command
Banner of Hellfire
Skeleton Champion

40 Zombie Horde

25 Zombie Horde

Cairn Wraith - 5
1 Tomb Banshee




Black Knight
Mar 10, 2009
Hey Jake!

Hmmm... The obvious good choices are the GG and the CWs ofcourse... but two units and some speedbumbs (alas skeletons may last more than 1-2 rounds unless they face swordmasters or something like that... TK chariot charge would be quite devastating aswell... lost over 40 in one go to that)just dont seem that scary...

That's why people include ghouls as core... as they're good speedbumbs and can dish out some hurt aswell... I know you have some painted so... :)

The necro is quite expensive for what he does aswell ... I dont see Nightshroud saving him as even tho they strike last the skellies wont be able to remove an entire unit and the ones they kill will just be replaced and slay the necro... I'd just take him with VDM and scroll for 80 points... (saving 55 points)

Also in my experience you should either go combat or magic lord... I do realize that with the current setup you can't take MotBA but I actually thinks it'd be more useful than the banner (almost every1 has some means to counter it anyways and realize they must!)...

The BSB could go naked with just The Other Tricksters shard... or tool him up further... but in my oppinion the characters in a VC army shouldn't try to do much themselves rather support the units best way possible... and that would be done with either adding to their survivability (drakenhoff/Helm of Commandment) or damage (Other Tricksters Shard, Flaming attacks and Helm of Commandment)... Vampire lore has all those options aswell...

Much much more to say but gotta rush for school now...



Vampire Count
True Blood
Apr 16, 2008
Totally disagree: Drakenhoff is too useful not to take. Not everyone takes flaming, especially since VC are so much rarer on the scene these days. (Tournament Red Army and I are going to has a max of 80, and will fill up easily... and only has 4-5 VC). Plus with people taking the 2+ ward vs flaming items on fighty characters (and Dragonbane Gem is a must for a Lord in a unit with Drakenhoff), and the HE's ability to laugh at flaming... not everyone takes it.

Also only one unit can take the flaming banner, so you do what you can to tie the likely unit up (zombies!).

Plus even if the flaming unit gets in, he can buff his GG with "Glittering Robe" to rely on a now good armor save, plus use Transmutation of Lead to reduce the enemy WS by 1... and with most troops being WS4, that is big. With Heaven's he can make them -1 to hit, reroll 6's, etc. Plus they're still T4.

In the end, the regen will be useful FAR MORE often than not.

I also don't field a single ghoul, I go with skeletons. Plus you have to keep in mind if he does go metal magic, Glittering Robes on Skeletons (instead of GG) will give them a 3+ armor making them fairly durable and more than making up for T3 easily (and against S3, 5+ armor does help already). Plus with the Helm, he can make them WS7. WS7 3+ armor skeletons will not be easy to kill and can be buffed by his Invocation to really get the numbers.

Alternately, if he goes heavens, and makes them WS7... he can make the enemy unit -1 to hit and -1 leadership. So they're already hitting on 5's (or 6's if WS3) if they fail leadership (not likely, but -1 leadership helps this) they also hit on 6's. Curse of the Midnight Wind makes this 10x nastier by making them reroll their 6's to hit, wound, and armor (adds up quickly). Plus being WS7 they hit on 3's. As another option he can make them reroll 1's, which helps all around (especially when made WS7).

Just do the GG combat first, drive off the enemy unit (or kill them) and then send the WS to skeletons... assuming people just don't avoid the GG.

Skeletons are better than ghouls in that they can also have a banner, which helps with the fortitude scenario. Especially with zombies units carrying banners (they may be easy to kill, but have fun with the tarpit... you can just boost them to a ridiculous number) you'll likely be letting something flank. you!). Also skeletons can take the banner of hellfire. Half his army has magic attacks, and one has flaming. Again, having an armored core unit will really work well if he goes metal and can use glittering robes. Having the musician also adds maneuverability (being near the vamp they should make their swift reform rolls), let alone if BSB is nearby. Make the Skeletons WS7, and they'll be strikingly useful. We've seen how effective Dark Elves and High Elves are with S3, so that doesn't bother me so much. If you boost their WS, they can start doing rather well (especially with Vanhel's and/or other augments).

Also my experience, and the experience of another very good player (let alone good VC player) in the scene around here shows that you can go 'hybrid' and still do very very well. Plus going Loremaster and spending the rest on fighting is still a very strong fighting character. This is especially true if your chosen lore can augment your ability to fight (Beasts can really boost a lord's ability to fight!) and/or make him & his unit more resilient, reliable, or deadlier (Metal, Heavens). Also if he went Lore of Death, he could pick off casters, enemy fighting characters, BSBs, warmachines, etc. That itself is big.


Black Knight
Mar 10, 2009
So what... you can spend your entire magic phase doing your 40 man skelly unit "decent" and it still wont do anything but keep a unit tied up... spending half the dice would give the ghouls a good charge and they're able to rip apart stuff... As you said you have the zombies anyways! - what do you want 3 units for that can't kill anything and all needs attention in the magic phase to "do" (aka survive) anything... even if charged by small units of the enemy...

So you want to boost them with several spells and use HoC on them (pressuming the GG arent in combat but you're probably spot on here they wont be without any magic left to help them out)... And they still wont kill more than the enemy unless you're fighting some no AS, S&T 3 thing with...

The point about banners for fortitude... he has 1 unit worth 4 points... if it dies he dies... it's almost as ideal as that scenario gets. Doesn't matter how many banners you have around... the generals unit is quite safe and anything besides that would just be giving away VP in other scenarios... Both the general and the BSB are vulnerable as hell vs flaming attacks and killingblow tho so watch out for that :)

I seriously dont mean to be rude by this post but my experience and theoryhammer just doesn't make this add up in this case... I read and consider everything you write Swiss! - I just can't see it working out unless you're thinking only 1 CC at a time...


Vampire Count
True Blood
Apr 16, 2008
Nuts, as I was writing a response it got deleted randomly... BAH!

No worries, no hostility felt nor any intended. Text can easily convey hostility where none is present, sadly, so no worries. :)

I just don't see ghouls stacking up in real world games. I honestly don't, especially to the degree people hold them over skeletons. Between the Grave Guard (where most people will send their big griblies anyways), wraiths, and magic potential (depending on lore) I find the poison is only so relevant. Most people will not engage ghouls with big gribblies if they can due to the ghoul's poison, so the poison doesn't matter anywhere near as much as it would seem to.

Also, against S6+ the T4 vs armor is irrelevant. The only time it seems to matter is against S5. Against S3, it is identical (possibly better depending on if he drops spears, or rerolls 1s from heavens, or buffs his armor via Glittering Robes). Against S4, a single augment (or dropping spears) keeps them on par.

If he goes metal, he is best having a core unit with an armor save. Adding two pips to something that already has armor isn't just "decent" it is strikingly good. Half the failed saves (vs S3) will save. Against higher S, it ensures you still have a save. 36 S5 hits will do 24 wounds on the ghouls (with or without glittering robes), vs the skeletons it will do 30 wounds and 10 will save leaving 20 getting through. Against S6, he'd at least have armor on the skeletons. S4 or less, the better armor makes a huge difference.

Plus, psychologically an opponent might see the skeletons and get more risky when going after them, making them quite a nice bait/trap... which works nicely with some of the magic he is looking at. Trust me, I've used that to great effect. Nothing like a hydra munching on skeletons all day to no effect.

I also would still recommend the lore of death, as reducing S and T by 1 will make either skeletons or ghouls nicer, but further ensure intact armor.

Also that musician is huge. Being able to swift reform has saved a lot of people (in my games and ones I have witnessed) from some really bad situations. If the skeletons are nearly the lord, let alone the BSB too, they're almost certain to get it. This works even more beautifully with Vanhell's as you can reform, and move to within the 8" charge. It could also let the skeletons move into a position to protect the grave guard. It really opens up A LOT of tactical options.

As for the banner, having 4 in the GG is only so good. If the lord and BSB are killed, he instantly loses the game. Granted, losing both is normally a big problem, but if it is on turn 6 when he is likely to break that last fortitude point of his opponent too... it is big. If he had another banner somewhere, it could make the difference. You want all the 'breathing room' you can muster. I've had more lord die, and went on to win the game (much more so in fortitude games). And yes, having that extra banner can make quite a bit of difference.

Statwise the ghouls may seem better, but in terms of tactical use, I find skeletons superior. Add in the magic Jake is looking at, and skeletons can work better with that.


Another factor that may have been lost here, is the element of how the list is viewed.

For one, the list will be judged a little less harshly when skeletons are seen. With the rules of the event, if he took ghouls and went for the typical net list, he'd probably be stacked against a tougher opponent first round. Also people will judge the list a bit harsher too. If the 'weaker' nature of the skeletons is something he can can address via other avenues or tactically, or even simply enjoyment wise then it is good.

Edit: Forgot to include somethigns that had been deleted!

vs flaming. I've found it not as common as people think, plus I wonder if Jake forgot to mention (or changed his list since I talked to him) for his Lord not to include the Dragonbane Gem. If he is fighting flaming, he can put the BSB on the corner, lord next to him, and draw the attacks on the lord (people will likely leave the BSB alone in favor of the lord... especially if they feel drakenhoff is not relevant currently). They will bounce off his 2+ armor, T5, and 2+ ward.

Killing blow is tricky, yes. Though if he goes heavens, he can try to ensure they reroll 6's. Tried this against Khorne daemons myself, and it worked marvelously.


Black Knight
Mar 10, 2009
Just to include some math... it takes 30ghouls+ghast for 41 attacks... 40 skellies with champ and spear 41 attacks aswell... if they receive HoC they hit on 3+ and vs t3 ghouls will average 17.08 wounds and skellies will average 13.67 - 25% more dmg from ghouls... vs t4 it's 13.67/9.11 - 50% more dmg from ghouls... Then there's ofcourse to consider if they dont get HoC and the higher initiative of the ghouls...

To be honest I think you got me convinced it could work! :)
Will atleast be viable when we get our new book and they hopefully reduce the pointcost of the skellies!! :)
Would be really really glad if you could make it work atleast!
Make sure to write some after the tourney about how it went! - pwetty please :)


Master Necromancer
True Blood
Feb 25, 2008
Personally I´d go with MotBA and HoC. You could give your BSB the flagg of the blood keep. That will keep those GG safe until they hit combat. No lore of the vampires in the list? I think that this is a vital part for our army. Support lores usually goes on my thralls.

Zombies, well they will be a speedbump at beast. Another unit of skellies (should be 5 wide) or a big unit of ghouls would be sweet. How about fielding those wraiths with the skellies?

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