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Skeleton Bus!

Vipoid

Necromancer
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
875
#1
Just a random thought, but do you think it would be viable to make a (unmounted) character-bus using skeletons or GG instead of black knights?

So, you'd have a Vampire Lord or SGK, 2 hero vampires and (assuming you can afford them) 2 wight kings in a unit of 5-wide skeletons.

I know it can never be as good as the BK bus - since it's slower and has worse armour saves all round. Really, I'm just wondering if it's still something that could work, or if it's just a flawed concept.

Any thoughts?
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
255
#2
I run it and I like it better than the BK Bus so far. BK attacks never really matter much to me next to the VL, and this way I don't have to take multiple Vamps to try and wall off for a 1+ in the front. The only way my VL ever dies is to combat res, which is not a problem with the Skeletons, and you can actually break things with Combat Res.

It's also about half the price of GG and counts for my core. It also won't die to hellguns/organ guns/stone throwers like BKs will and is less of a death star so I can afford more varied offensive units.
 

Vipoid

Necromancer
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
875
#3
RarerMonsters said:
I run it and I like it better than the BK Bus so far. BK attacks never really matter much to me next to the VL, and this way I don't have to take multiple Vamps to try and wall off for a 1+ in the front. The only way my VL ever dies is to combat res, which is not a problem with the Skeletons, and you can actually break things with Combat Res.
Interesting.

What builds do you use for your characters?
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
255
#4
Standard Blender: RF/QB/Ogre/4++/OTS
At this point I've accepted that's pretty much the way to run a VL, period.

I also run a Wight King next to him with the nightshroud to reduce the risk of massing high S attacks on the VL.

As a side note, a big benefit of the skeleton block is that it's our one core who can take Magic Banners. I run Lichebone so that my lord has a 3++ vs Death Sniping, but you can also take swiftness for better charging mobility.

Or, as an aside, give your Wight King a GW and switch to a flaming banner. It could potentially give you the edge you need against a pesky regenerator. The other two options are probably better though.
 

Derk

Zombie
Joined
Jul 14, 2012
Messages
20
#5
Echoing the above, I find the skeleton delivery system to be really effective as well. When I run this kind of list generally I have two units of 40 skeletons, one with the Banner of Swiftness (VL here), 40 GG with gw and 8 CH, adding a dash of chaff as necessary. I never put the VL in the GG as it spreads the threat and the anti armour. This gives me a solid centre of 144 wounds plus characters, and generally I like to advance in line. Rolling and casting Vanhels you could be in combat by the second turn. Breaking steadfast is a (massive) advantage over the Bk bus vs losing the mobility.

Hero wise I like a Master Necromancer, Wight King with Nightshroud and 2 wraiths. Although not as killy as a mini blender, I run the wraiths in the same unit as the VL or in the other unit to reduce their frontage depending on opponent. Perhaps not quite as effective as the Bk bus and 2 gheists but to some armies not as vulnerable either.
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
16
#6
Unless you're playing someone who struggles with high armour saves (some lizzies lists etc) I actually think the skele bus is better than the BK bus. I posted a list I was crunching a while ago https://www.vampirecounts.net/Thread-Fine-Tuning-RAW-2400pts which worked quiet well but in the end I actually made a few changes as I found 99% of the killing was coming from the screams and VL anyway so the ghouls we're not as useful as having more tar pits/banners for BnG. Minus the ghouls, add a unit of 40 skele's and a unit of 40 zom's and make the original skele unit a bit bigger to fill out the core 600pts. Also changed the vargheists into fellbats as I only really used them for siege hunting anyway or they'd get missiled off really quick, so might as well lose less points, which allowed a third spirit host. Finally changed the SGK to a VL for the survivability and the Ld10 to go with the death snipes. Also only kept death magic on the Master Necro, having backup vamps and the ability to throw 2 invoc's when needed is handy.

For me and my play style/meta I find this to be the best vamps list I can build without comp restrictions.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
154
#7
I have been using the skeleton bus in my last few games mainly for these reasons..Skelys are cheap, so you can fill out your core % and have some dire wolves or bats as re-directors but still have plenty of bodies around you general...I like to use up my special allowance on the good stuff like varghiests or crypt horrors.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
82
#8
I am very fond of the skeleton bus. Ive had success with it from 1600-2400pt games. Mainly because it breaks steadfast, my opponent hates shooting at it, and its the only core option that fits my playstyle as my vampires dislike ghouls:tongue:

I always field atleast one DW unit and fill up the rest of the core with zombies.

How do you fit so many characters at 2.4k? I usually field my blender in a skelly-bus with a NS wight king or a NS baby vamp. I'l try more chars next time.
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
550
#9
how would you rate this unit, same kind of principle, different point cost and set up

Unit of 20 skeletons with 5 cairn wraiths in the front

Im going to try this out in my list somewhere in the future.
main problem will be magic attacks, i know. But how many people do you see with magical attacks these days? also, adding in the skeleton champion to challange any of them if need be.

will cost about 400 points i gues, so a LOT cheaper than a SGK,vamp,WK,WK,WK unit if my calculations are right.

thoughts??
 

Vipoid

Necromancer
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
875
#10
Dawico said:
Unless you're playing someone who struggles with high armour saves (some lizzies lists etc) I actually think the skele bus is better than the BK bus. I posted a list I was crunching a while ago https://www.vampirecounts.net/Thread-Fine-Tuning-RAW-2400pts which worked quiet well but in the end I actually made a few changes as I found 99% of the killing was coming from the screams and VL anyway so the ghouls we're not as useful as having more tar pits/banners for BnG. Minus the ghouls, add a unit of 40 skele's and a unit of 40 zom's and make the original skele unit a bit bigger to fill out the core 600pts. Also changed the vargheists into fellbats as I only really used them for siege hunting anyway or they'd get missiled off really quick, so might as well lose less points, which allowed a third spirit host. Finally changed the SGK to a VL for the survivability and the Ld10 to go with the death snipes. Also only kept death magic on the Master Necro, having backup vamps and the ability to throw 2 invoc's when needed is handy.

For me and my play style/meta I find this to be the best vamps list I can build without comp restrictions.
Interesting, thanks for that list and your insights.

Von Nachspiel said:
I am very fond of the skeleton bus. Ive had success with it from 1600-2400pt games. Mainly because it breaks steadfast, my opponent hates shooting at it, and its the only core option that fits my playstyle as my vampires dislike ghouls:tongue:
I'd be very interested to see your 1600 and 2000pt lists.

Mainly because it seems like you'd be struggling to fit many characters and much magic in lists that size, so I'd really like to see what you went with.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
255
#11
Loempiaketzer said:
how would you rate this unit, same kind of principle, different point cost and set up

Unit of 20 skeletons with 5 cairn wraiths in the front

Im going to try this out in my list somewhere in the future.
main problem will be magic attacks, i know. But how many people do you see with magical attacks these days? also, adding in the skeleton champion to challange any of them if need be.

will cost about 400 points i gues, so a LOT cheaper than a SGK,vamp,WK,WK,WK unit if my calculations are right.

thoughts??
It's gimmicky. You'll catch new players and Meta-Sheep, but a player who knows how to build a take-all-comers list will have access to magic attacks, and if your Ethereals aren't invulnerable they'll die to a stiff breeze.

Anyone who can get magic attacks into your front will score an easy 400 points.
 

Corien Sumatris

Vampire Count
True Blood
Joined
Jul 3, 2013
Messages
1,536
#12
Agree with the above, Wraith walls can work, but they can also fail really hard.

I use to use a GG bus but that was a huge point sink, skellie busses are the way to go if you're going that route. Also, consider dual ME's, 40 or so skellies with a 5+ regen and your general in there? That block aint going no where quick! Then you'll still have tons of points to play with!
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
82
#13
You are right D. The magic phase suffers the most
Something like:
Lord lvl1 QB RF OB ToP EnchSh
Baby lvl2 (LoV/death) HA Sh Nightshroud beg QB
necro lvl2 (LoV/death) disp/cursed book

About 40skeletons FC+swiftness
20zombies

SH
5hexwraiths
3vargheists
Tbat

At 2k:
Standard blender
WK HA Sh nightshroud
Necro lvl2 (LoV) disp/cursed book

45skellies FC+swiftness
20zombies
40zombies "FC"
5 DW

SH
5Hexwraiths
8CH

Tbat/ME

It seems a bit deathstar-y. At 1600 I sacrifice magic defence for a great combat character in a relativly low point game.(havent met a DP at 1.6k yet) I find the Tbat incredibly good at three things. Screaming, dying and dictating where elite enemy units dare to move. I use it together with the hexies to get the matchups I want as there is little chaff in my lists.

Edit: feel free to give me some tips on how to make the lists more versatile/stronger if you have any oppinions:)
 

Aedin

Black Knight
Joined
Oct 23, 2011
Messages
381
#14
Corien Sumatris said:
Agree with the above, Wraith walls can work, but they can also fail really hard.

I use to use a GG bus but that was a huge point sink, skellie busses are the way to go if you're going that route. Also, consider dual ME's, 40 or so skellies with a 5+ regen and your general in there? That block aint going no where quick! Then you'll still have tons of points to play with!
I was considering this with two engines and 40 spearmen. Give a baby vamp beast magic and you have 40 str 4 toughness 4 attacks. The problem is they are WS 2 which means you need 5s to hit most things and 6s against nurgle.

Now you could do the same job with 30 or 40 ghouls at strength 4 toughness 5 with poison and a better weapon skill.





I tried using a GG bus. The problem I had with this is they have no real save. So the enemy would attack kill GG score good combat res and I was stuck removing even that many more models ! Now when I switched to a knight bus their saves were more dependable and I was loosing way less models making the knights actually more durable than their foot slogging counterparts.
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2013
Messages
20
#15
How about a single banshee in the front rank just for the scream and (hopefully) less dead skeletons?

If she can absorb some attacks, the vamp can blend and the skeleton champ tank challenges you shouldn't bleed that much CR, right?
 

Smogg

Grave Guard
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
260
#16
I often run a skeleton terror bus.


Vampire Lord and a Vampire if points allow.
They would include at least:
- Aura of Dark Majesty
- Fear Incarnate
I might also fit them with:
- Helm of Discord
- Beguile

Bonus if you can roll up a Doom and Darkness on your vampire.

A Banshee
- Terror and the Scream is great with the -1 Ld from AoDM

Unit Standard:
- Screaming Banner

Also keep a necromancer nearby with Master of the Dead to boost the unit beyond starting size.

Great against most armies, and the Terror allow you to cause fear on things like ogres too. Skeletons are cheep and can grow to a real large unit before impact. You are a bit dependant on the enemy failing his fear test... but with 3d6 (two highest) on -1 LD and reroll success, you should get most enemies at WS 1.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
255
#17
Smogg said:
I often run a skeleton terror bus.


Vampire Lord and a Vampire if points allow.
They would include at least:
- Aura of Dark Majesty
- Fear Incarnate
I might also fit them with:
- Helm of Discord
- Beguile

Bonus if you can roll up a Doom and Darkness on your vampire.

A Banshee
- Terror and the Scream is great with the -1 Ld from AoDM

Unit Standard:
- Screaming Banner

Also keep a necromancer nearby with Master of the Dead to boost the unit beyond starting size.

Great against most armies, and the Terror allow you to cause fear on things like ogres too. Skeletons are cheep and can grow to a real large unit before impact. You are a bit dependant on the enemy failing his fear test... but with 3d6 (two highest) on -1 LD and reroll success, you should get most enemies at WS 1.
Fear tests are NEVER worth investing in. You'll be disappointed constantly by how often enemies pass them, even with debuffs. Even if it gets you lucky, you can't count on getting them when you need them.
 

Aedin

Black Knight
Joined
Oct 23, 2011
Messages
381
#18
I think it takes too much to make the leadership bombs reliable or even worth their points.

Psychology is way over nerfed in this edition or the abilities that utilize it are over pointed IMO.
 

Smogg

Grave Guard
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
260
#19
RarerMonsters said:
Fear tests are NEVER worth investing in. You'll be disappointed constantly by how often enemies pass them, even with debuffs. Even if it gets you lucky, you can't count on getting them when you need them.
The Original Poster inquire if you can use skeletons instead of a bk bus or if it's a flawed idea.
My point was to contribute with one of my own builds where I have used Vampire Lord in a skeleton unit. A build that still work wonders in all my games.

My fear builds rely on synergies between leadership penalties, the banshee, the few extra tricks I listed and the possible draws for the baby vamp with lore of death.

I think your statement that fear is NEVER worth investing in is false. If you invest in fear and build in synergies around it to capitalize on those LD penalties then you can really cause your opponent to pale quickly. Yes, VC can definitely win without a blender build.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
255
#20
Assume an average leadership of 9 on Inspiring Presence.
Drop it to 8 off of AoDM and assume Fear Incarnate cancels with BSB.
The Average of 3d6 drop lowest is 8.46, Meaning with all of this you are causing fear a little better than half the time. Assuming they don't have one of the common forms of ITP.

If this actually happens, you get Skeletons that are hit on 4 and hit on 3. They'll still take lots of wounds and still do few back.

The banshee will do an average of 1 wound, which is hardly significant on infantry blocks (Screams are only good against certain target types, without mobility they are barely worth their attrition) And you don't have a blender lord, so you'll have trouble doing serious damage back.

The reason I think fear isn't worth investing in is that you have to manage way too many moving parts, giving up much better alternatives, and all you get out of it is a WS debuff.

If you really want that, just take a Shadow vampire and cast Miasma.
 

Smogg

Grave Guard
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
260
#21
I guess I'll just have to tell my friends to lower their heads in shame for not being able to defeat such an "weak" build.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
255
#22
Smogg said:
I guess I'll just have to tell my friends to lower their heads in shame for not being able to defeat such an "weak" build.
You should have been doing that already. My definition of sportsmanship is stealing my friend's lord mini, repainting it as a zombie, and adding it to my chaff blocks.
 

Aren

Crypt Horror
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
513
#23
Well, VC can definitely be played without a blender lord, often lists have magic domination going as a theme (and no for the perverted ones among you, magic domination is not some new fetish :tongue: ).

Especially if we have loads of tarpits, like skellies. We probably won't win combat, EVER without luck/ blender or side charge or unfair matchup but we can certainly grind the enemy (no, stop thinking that) down with raised models and offensive spells.

And yup, a skeleton bus will work, but then again anything works if you put in 700+ points of characters in. Really the skeletons are just extra wounds added to the unit made of characters and I personally don't like this approach. There should be max 2 characters in a unit unless it is a horde.

Excluding demon princes we have arguably the best generic characters in the game, so yup, put 5 of them in any unit and enjoy the carnage.
 
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