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Soulblight Tactics: my point of view

Nov 18, 2016
Hey guys, I'm an avid, competitive and quite good 40k player. I love theorycrafting my lists, balancing the odds, reviewing battles in my head to try and understand what I did good and wrong, what the enemy should have done, even what another of my armies could have done if, but...you get the point, right?

I've developed quite an obsession with Soulblight in AoS. I've always loved the idea of playing a Vampire Army, BUT I also love elitist and small footprint armies. And I couldn't stand the idea of playing hordes of zombies.

I've also read and I'm really enthusiast of another post on this site (https://www.vampirecounts.net/threads/comprehensive-death-tactica-post-generals-handbook.30491/), so I decided to try and do the same with the soulblight! Have fun!

Disclaimer 1: Summoning. I know my (and all of yours!) list would be better with some points left in reserve for summoning. Summoning gives you so much flexibility and the right tool for the job. I won't analyze summoning, first because I won't be probably using it in my army, and second, because you want to check the post linked above. It's far more comprehensive and better written, seriously!

Disclaimer 2: I'm approaching the theme of the Soulblight as an Allegiance on its own. So I will be limited in the choices I can make and will probably rate lots of things starting from this point of view.

--[Table of Contents]--

[1.1] The Lords of Night and Blood

[2.1] Blood Knights
[2.2] Vargheist
[2.3] Bat Swarms and Fel Bats
[2.4] Vampire Lord
[2.5] Vampire Lord on Abyssal Terror
[2.6] Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon
[2.7] Coven Throne
[2.8] Vlad Von Carstein + Isabelle Von Carstein
[2.9] Konrad Von Carstein
[2.10] Count Mannfred

The unit will be described with a value of 1 to 5 (where 1 is absolutely terrible, and 5 is a good value!) in two different aspects, and are ALWAYS evaluated on a point-base: Offense and Resilience. And there will be an example of usable setups.

[1.1] The Lords of Night and Blood: we, the Soulblight. An army with a wide access to a -1 Rend, high wounds self healing models, lots of Wizards and Flying things ready to "rip&tear" your backline. On the other side of the line, we are an army which fields a low count of models, without any shooting, and with a distinctive scarcity of mortal wounds or Rend -2. In my head, I'm fielding something like 26 models in a 2000pts Pitched Battle. Or 15 in a 1000pts one. Not much to cover the field with!

[2.1] Blood Knights: our only battleline, and a good one. They come as a squad of 5 and cost quite frankly a lot of points. In a 1000pts Pitched Battle their cost will actually limit the flexibility of your list. On the other side, they are a good unit. With an high wound count, good 4+ save (which you will never roll actually, since you will have a 3+ against a no-rend, and a 5+ or worse against rends xD ), the ability to refill a model and to heal back wounds, they are not going to die fast. At base size, they won't even ever use their high bravery. Even if they don't fly, their mobility is really good and they have a guaranteed charge of 6". Their killiness is in the middle of the road while locked in combat, but is doubled (sort of...) on the charge, and combining the 3 (+2) attacks with the -1 rend make them useful both agains hordes and more elite targets.

.:\Offense/:. 3.5
|:.Resilience.: 4

(_Unit example_)
5 Knights: a min sized unit, which still poses a threat that can not be understimated. Quite useful to fill a compulsory battleline slot.

10 Knights: doubling the killy-ness makes this unit a frightful sight. When properly buffed by a Vampire, it can be an absolute monster and shred quite anything!

[2.2] Vargheist: mobile light skirmisher blessed with the gift of flight, they are better than Blood Knight (point per point, as always) while not on charge (ie: when charged!) and against low-wound models. They are really cheap and can cover different roles, from screen for a Blood Knight unit to flank harassers, to backline hunters. On the other side, they are a lot less resilient than Blood Knight, can't heal wound or refill models, and if you want to use them as a weapon, they should engage targets they can reliably kill, because they will lose a war of attrition.

.:\Offense/:. 4
|:.Resilience.: 2.5

(_Unit example_)
3 Vargheist: a min sized unit, very useful and cheap as a screen, they could be used in all sort of different manners while retaining utility.

6 Vargheist: probably useless, since you will have one less Vargoyle than 2 Units of 3. Just don't.

[2.3] Bat Swarm and Fel Bats: unified in a single entry because they have a lot of common points: the same point value, quite similiar number of wounds, and even if Fel Bats have a little save, it's quite useless. Both of them can be summoned, and have a good flying mobility. However, they are not meant to attack anything (even with the Fel Bats buff) or survive a lot (even with the Bat Swarm buff). Their use is as a screen, to harass a shooting unit, or to fill up a point value that can't be used for anything else.

.:\Offense/:. 1
|:.Resilience.: 3

(_Unit example_)
2 Bat Swarms: a cheap and decent screen, but probably a unit of vargheist would be better, being only double in cost, while having lots of other uses, more models to block lanes, and just a little less resilience.

[2.4] Vampire Lord: an Hero. A Wizard. On a point base he's half effective both in a offensive and resilience point of view when compared to the Blood Knight. On the other hand, he's access to a Nightmare or Wings. Wings will let him be a good backline hunter, which is not a bad idea. His spell will debuff an enemy melee, quite a "strange" option for an army which has attack in his blood, but could improve the survival chances of an already self-healing unit. He can, however, just cast Arcane Bolt or Mystic Shield anyway! The command ability is probably the best we have, but the Red Fury trait would be better on something else, probably. You should also consider that being that cheap, they provide a useful Hero to allow the use of your Death Allegiance trait in a lot of places on the battlefield.

.:\Offense/:. 2.5 (including Magic Missile!)
|:.Resilience.: 3.5

(_Unit example_)
Vampire Lord, with Wings and Blood Chalice: probably the best way to field it. Losing a couple of Nightmare attacks to gain the ability to deny gravity (ie: flying) is really a no-brainer.

[2.5] Vampire Lord on Abyssal Terror: on a point base, he's quite equal both in offense and defence when compared to a Vampire Lord. He's more mobile, has a worse command ability and a WAY better spell to cast. Hell, you should probably get him just for the spell itself. You could and will use him as a Wing Vampire Lord. The weapon choice is interesting, but you should really go for the sword!

.:\Offense/:. 2.5 (including Magic Missile!)
|:.Resilience.: 3.5

(_Unit example_)
Vampire Lord on Abyssal, with a Vampire Sword and an Ancent Shield: mobility, buffing, field presence for employing the Death Allegiance ability, counterspelling.

[2.6] Vampire Lord of Zombie Dragon: the only behemot dragon and monster hunter of our roster. It's our only way to get a Rend -2, and since we have little in the way of dealing mortal wounds (an Arcane Bolt a turn, that is!) his spell could be godsend, while not the shiniest. His command trait is a tad worse if compared to the Vampire Lord's one, but giving him Red Fury could be a good reason to make him your general. On the other hand, he costs a lot and is a lot less useful if "resurrected" with a Ring of Immortality, so a Tomb Blade is actually better than a Ring of Immortality.

.:\Offense/:. 4
|:.Resilience.: 3.5

(_Unit example_)
Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon with a Vampiric Sword, Ancient Shield, Chalice of Blood, Tomb Blade and Red Fury: it's the centerpiece, the monster hunter, able to take on *quite* anything and sport a 2+ save if correctly buffed to endure any kind of enemy.

[2.7] Coven Throne: I don't really get it. It has an handful of attacks but without rend they are not that useful, and the ethereal weapons aren't really a solution for high armor. The spell itself is situational at best. The only good things it provides are the reroll and a slight better chance to go first in a turn. Pass?

.:\Offense/:. 1.5
|:.Resilience.: 2.5

[2.8] Vlad Von Carstein: a strange beast. He's a Vampire Lord on foot which has an interesting access to Rend-2, BUT with just a single damage and limited mobility he will probably end up swamped, so don't count on him to be your special-snowflake-slayer. He's resilient with his ring and obviously rolls better with Isabella on his side. His spell is nothing to write home about and his command ability is just...no.
Isabelle Von Carstein: a Wizard on the budget, will buff up Vlad and help him, just don't expect her chalice to come into play that often, her number and quality of attacks is lacking, even with her 2+ to hit when with Vlad. Her spell is meh, but still better than Vlad's one if you can find the right unit to cast it on.
I just feel the two of them are too little of a menace on themselves to be worth the time they take to get to the enemy, and we don't have units to block the enemy with while this two guys takes the long walk of shame to their target.

.:\Offense/:. 3
|:.Resilience.: 3

[2.9] Konrad Von Carstein: gifted with a built-in Red Fury and a cheap price, he's a Vampire on foot without any spell. On the other side, activating his Red Fury is quite hard, he has no spells, his mobility is poor and he has no chalice so it will probably be a point filler IF you have the slot.

.:\Offense/:. 2
|:.Resilience.: 2.5

[2.10] Count Mannfred: the named Vampire with the best mobility, the best caster array (2 spells, +1 to cast, a good spell able to inflict mortal wounds!), a good lethality. His Armour of Templehof is a good replacement for the Chalice. If you want to use a generic Vampire on Nightmare, just consider this man instead.

.:\Offense/:. 3 (including spells)
|:.Resilience.: 3.5

(_Unit example_)
Count Mannfred, Barbed Nightmare: a good companion for your Blood Knights, this is a frontline fighter and caster instead of a flying assassin.

[3.xx] Work in progress: reviewing Command Traits and Artefacts
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Vampire Count
True Blood
Oct 28, 2011

I disagree with the Vampire Lord's Spirit Blight spell. It is amazing to take on elite units and even monsters / heroes. Taking off 1 attack from each weapon is awesome, if you ask me.

Also, the Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon's command ability isn't so bad. Actually, Blood Knights with re-rolls to hit should benefit more than with +1 attack, but both are fine if you ask me.

The abyssal terror option to have a cheap(ish) and strong Vampire Lord on the field is quite nice, and Hellish Vigour can take care of those pesky gunlines we tend to face, although I don't have the model, I'd use the Mortarchs or... just a regular Vampire Lord on top of a Varghulf (I've always wanted to do that...)

Last, we use the Coven Throne to take on any single enemy unit stupid enough to charge absent support. Beguile is absolutelly awesome, and the Scrying Pool's effect is great for that critical roll. It's command ability I grant you, not very useful, but as a support hero it is not too bad! (besides, you know... boobs!)