Category Archives: Vampire Counts

Something to get your teeth in to


Warhammer: Vampire CountsIt’s been a little quiet here at 6 inch move recently.  Servitob has had an addition to his brood of future gamers, there is the usual chaos that accompanies the Christmas/New Year season and as for myself I’ve had to move an entire swimming pool/sports & leisure centre (and I’m telling you those things are heavy).  As a result our small band of gamers has had little time to get together and roll the dice.  This will be changing soon as life begins to settle down again.

This month saw the release of Warhammer Fantasy’s latest army book, the Vampire Counts.  Having bought an army of the undead when I was still a teenager this edition caught my attention.  I’ve always liked the dark, gothic imagery that has accompanied vampires in general and GW’s vampire counts in particular.  To me they are what a classic vampire should be; dark, sinister and above all blood thirsty.  No glittering skin here.  I’m almost impressed at the speed that GW has been turning out the army books for this edition of Fantasy.  Its been out about 2 years and they’ve produced 4 army books for it so far, along with the Storm of Magic supplement and several 40k codices.  Not to bad going.  It was good to see them do the Ogres, Tomb Kings and Orcs early on as all of these army books needed serious updates.  I just wish they’d hurry up and do the Wood Elves (they’re my favourite Fantasy army, I have about 6000 points, but their current army book is two editions out of date and a bit naff).  Still can’t complain, I have new vampires to play with.

So whats new to this edition of the dark lords of undeath? Well the book itself follows GW’s latest trend of full colour, hard back with a £25 price tag.  The book is nicely edited and of good quality, and if you’ve looked around a bookshop recently, it’s not too over priced for a colour hard back.  Saying that though, gone are the days when I’d buy every army book as it came out.  Now I’m restricting myself to getting the armies that I actually own, or are seriously considering purchasing.

The army has seen the return of a few old favourites.  The option of a Lord level Necromancer is back, as are the special characters Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler and Krell.  Necromancers can again be made better wizards than in the last edition and once again Wraiths can be taken as Hero choices.  There have been some new additions to the ranks of the dead.  The Strigoi Ghoul King is a Lord choice that is basically a hate filled Strigoi vampire, who has weaker magical abilities than regular Vampire Lords, but more than makes up for it in close combat kick-ass potential.  The vampire characters all have a new special rule called The Hunger.  Basically whenever they kill one or more models in close combat you roll 1D6, and on a 6 the vampire regains a lost wound.  Nice.

The other new units include the Crypt Horrors (basically ogre sizes ghouls), the nice looking Vargheists (psychotic, bestial vampires in bat form), the Terrorgheist (a dragon-sized, undead bat with one hell of a scream), the Coven Thrown, the Mortis Engine and the Hexwraiths.

The Coven Thrown and the Mortis Engine are both made form the same kit.  I’ve been really impressed by the large, plastic models that GW has been producing for Fantasy.  For me the kind of symbolize a fantasy genre; you have epic heroes, magic throwing wizards and large, scary monsters

Vampire Counts Coven Throne / Mortis Engineand although GW can sometimes go OTT on the heroes and magic, the latest round of monster kits are fantastic.  In game terms both the Thrown and the Engine count as chariots being pulled by a spirit host that grants both units ethereal movement.  The Coven Thrown is a mount for Vampire characters, and comes with a pair of vampiric handmaidens to attend to their lord.  It has a 4+ ward save and nice little special rule called Battle of Wills that could result in an enemy unit turning on itself.  The Mortis Engine is a rare choice and has Regeneration, a Banshee swarm and a Reliquary that hurts the enemy and heals the undead and becomes more powerful the longer it stays on the table.  Both builds look good, but personally I prefer the look of the Mortis Engine.  It has the look of a gothic pipe organ and I love the swirling banshees.

Vampire Counts Black Knights / HexwraithsAnd finally we get to the Hexwraiths.  The rules for them are cool.  They’re ethereal, fast cavalry that can move through units, hurting the enemy as they go.  Their attacks are flaming and ignore armour saves, and their background as agents of death itself, sent to hunt down those who have cheated death is cool.  The models are OK.  They’re made from the same kit as the new black knights.  They’re not bad looking models, my only problem with them is that I don’t think that they do the concept art from army book justice.  Have a look below and you’ll know what I mean.

Now is it just me, or is that piece of artwork cool.  It really captures the terror and ethereal aspect of these creatures.  They are the stuff of nightmares and this picture shows that.  Like said, nice models but I’m not sure if they really bring out that same fear factor.

And now for the other stuff.  The magic Lore of Vampires has changed slightly.  All of your old favourites are there; Curse of Years, Vanhel’s Dance etc. but there are a few subtle changes.  The signature spell is Invocation of Nehek, but this time instead of targeting a single friendly unit, it targets ALL friendly undead units within 6″ (or 12″ or 18″ if you want to increase the casting value).  All friendly units regain D6+caster’s magic level worth of wounds, unless the unit is Vampiric, Ethereal or a Large Target, which only regain 1 wound per casting.  Characters and their mounts do NOT regain wounds from the casting of this spell.  The only way they can get wounds back is from the Lore Attribute; each time a spell is successfully cast from the Lore of Vampires the wizard, or a friendly model within 12″ regains a wound.  Unless the unit is zombies (or you have bought the appropriate upgrade) you cannot increase a unit beyond its starting size.  The Raise Dead spell can be used to create new units of skeletons once more, but you do have to increase the casting value.  Oh and in case you ever get tired of raising the dead you now have access to the Lores of Death and Shadow.

One of the cool things about the Vampires is that you can customize your lords of undeath.  You can still do this, though the list is a little smaller than in the previous edition.  This I feel is no great loss as several of the Vampiric Powers are now included as standard upgrades (such as armour and weapon upgrades).  The one I am going to miss is no more ethereal vampires.  Oh well, can’t have everything.  The list of magic items has been reduced to 9 as is the standard for the newer army books.  Frostblade has gone, but watch out for Skabscrath is all I’m saying.  As for the death of the general?  Well its still not a good thing.  Your general has to be a wizard with the Lore of Vampires, and if he/she is killed then all of your non-vampiric units have to take a leadership test at the end of the phase.  The difference this time is that if you have another wizard with the Lore of Vampires in your army then he/she takes over and the army doesn’t take anymore leadership test.  This is repeated if that character is killed and so on.

All in all I’m impressed with the new release.  They’ve added a few, nice looking units and made some minor rules changes to existing ones.  They’ve re-done the Black Knights, which is about time, as they seriously needed it.  What would I like to have seen?  I know it’s called the Vampire COUNTS, and therefore focuses upon the von Carsteins, but what happened to the other special characters such as Neferata and Walach. Harkon.  The zombies could also do with re-modelling, and I really wish they’d done a new Black Coach, rather than just making it a Finecast model.  It is however nice to see an army that has all of its units available rather than GW’s usual trick of not releasing half of the army list.  It looks like I may be dusting off the coffins that contain my undead models and giving them a new lease of . . . life.

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Warhammer 8th Edition – First Game Thoughts


I may be naught but a humble re-animated buckler of swashes but there are a couple of things that really wind me up, I feel like sharing these with you before diving into the meat and potatoes of my actual post. Both of these relate to the toiletry habits of the male Homo Sapiens Sapiens in a working environment, point the first; why is it that some guys seem incapable of working the flush mechanism? I mean, it’s not rocket science, all you have to do is push a button or push the handle down a very simple process that means the next user doesn’t have to stare at whatever it was you deposited during the last time you took the Browns to the Superbowl! Point the second, the toilet is a male only domain, no women can use the men’s toilet, there is a sign on the door and everything, wangs only!!! That means you are allowed to leave the toilet seat up, in fact doing so provides the gentleman with a larger target to hit while standing and judging by the trail of pi$$ dripping from the seat you could really do with having a more sizeable area to thrash your wild beast, it’s possible you may hit the right target then!

Anyway, that wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about today. After my previous post regarding our sojourn to Warhammer World and our subsequent trial of the latest edition we have managed to play a couple of games using the varied gaming facilities of the 6 Inch Move floating citadel, in other words, mine and Servitob’s living rooms. I wanted to give a quick rundown, not a full battle report, of these games, their participants and the feelings that I have towards how things worked out and using the new rules in general.

The first game we played was alluded to from my previous post. Due to Gribblin’s required sacrifice at the altar of “I want to maintain a Girlfriend” (we have quietly suggested amongst ourselves that he should get married, this quite handily solves all of the nonsense about having to spend time together “I’m going out with my mates on Monday” for some reason tends to be more than OK) he was ideally placed to service our needs. Servitob rang him while we were on our way back in the good ship ZombiePirate (also known as a Mazda) and asked him to knock out a couple of 2000pts armies and bring them along. So it was that we arrived at our respective domiciles with a couple of hours to spare ideal time to chill out after the drive and arrange suitable snacks for the evening’s entertainment.

At the appointed time we met up at Servitob’s estate, emptied a cars worth of terrain and armies and went about setting things up. Gribblin had brought his Wood Elves and his Vampire Counts, one army that got considerably weaker in 8th and one that stayed about the same. This was going to be an interesting matchup. We rolled off to see which army people would command, so it was that Gribblin and team-mate Servitob took the forces of Sylvania while myself and nBreaker had a force of Greenpeace rejects with which to play. As I am writing this up a few weeks after it happened the specifics of the list are lost to the hazy twilight of hindsight but please bear with me. Our Wood Elves consisted of a Spellweaver with Lore of Life, a Noble Battle Standard Bearer, a Branchwraith, 2 units of 15 Glade Guard, a unit of Eternal Guard, a 10 man Glade Rider unit, 10 Wild Riders, 10 Dryads and 3 Treekin. Across the table were a veritable horde (literally in the case of the zombies) of the Undead led by a combat oriented Vampire Lord.

The game was based around the Break Point scenario and was our first proper game of 8th edition at an appropriate points level. This late in there is no way I can provide a turn by turn account of what happened, what I can do though is to highlight parts of the game that surprised us and talk about things we enjoyed. Movement and deployment are still as vital as ever. If you position your troops in the right way you are still a good way to achieving victory and just because you have a unit of Fast Cavalry that can use the Vanguard move doesn’t mean you have to. If they are going to be unsupported for a turn or two then hold them back with the main line, unless they can survive being out there on their own waiting for your infantry/other cavalry to arrive. Monsters are now sicker than ever. The vampires took a Varghulf and that thing can cause an horrific amount of damage, the Thunderstomp attack may come last but it can deal enough damage to swing a combat, likewise the Treekin with just their normal Stomp attacks benefitted greatly from it, 3 of them single-handedly saw off a unit of 20 Ghouls.

I deployed the Glade Guard in 2 ranks to maximise the shooting, however in hindsight I should have stuck with three ranks, I’d have lost some shots for the first few turns but after that they would be much better in combat. I could also do 2 ranks for turn one and then reform in turn 2, this was the first time I was playing as Wood Elves so forgive me a few mistakes. We deployed the Branchwraith, Dryads and Treekin on our left flank and everything else went either on or towards the right, this split the Vampire Counts and the Forest Spirits held their flank well despite getting mostly wiped out. I was impressed. Cavalry in units of 5 are not worth it, I had two units of 10 and the supporting attacks from those in the second rank makes things really worthwhile, with most armies this is going to eat into your points but the offensive benefit is well worth it. It was a close fought game with the Eternal Guard charging the Zombie horde, we knew it was going to be a grindy combat but I wanted to stop that unit rather than let it run around threatening other stuff. Lore of Life was fantastic, for one turn I had the Toughness 7 Regenerating Elves of doom! It was great, but using the regular spells to bring back your own troops had a big impact against the Undead. Just as they could boost their units, bringing back Elves was really useful and helped out no end.

Combats were intense and very bloody, some of them wound on a little bit but that’s what happens when you fight Undead. Eventually the Wood Elves did win due to killing off enough of the standards, it was still a closely fought game and very enjoyable. I’ve waffled on enough now so will have to have the second game as another post, but we were very impressed with the game. No arguments for rules came up that I can recall, everything worked and we had a fun game, that can never be a bad thing.