Today I want to quickly talk about a Vampire Counts unit that is near and dear to my heart; the mighty Grave Guard! The remains of ancient warriors and kings, the Grave Guard serve their Vampire masters long after they have perished from the mortal realm. Unlike their weaker, more slow-witted skeleton warrior brothers, the Grave Guard boast fairly good stats, backed up by a Wight Blade and heavy armour. No Vampire Counts player would be caught dead without these stalwart spectres and what follows are the main points that I think make them so valuable.
Great Stat Line: The Grave Guard boast a pretty good statline (we are undead afterall!). With strength and toughness 4, they are better able to deal with more elite infantry and cavalry than any other Undead infantry unit. Their strengh 4 guarantees that the enemy will have a -1 to their armour saves.
Command: While at first glance this seems obvious, it is worth it to note the various Undead units that are not able to take Standard Bearers. Grave Guard can benefit from mostly all of the Magic Banners available, most notably the Banner of the Barrows (+1 to hit) and the Drakenhoff Banner (Regeneration).
Heavy Armour: This is an awesome thing for an Undead infantry unit to have, effectively giving them a 4+ save against shooting and a 3+ save in Close Combat. Yes please!
Wight Blades: Every Grave Guard skeleton carries the magical Wight Blade, which is a magic weapon that causes Killing Blow. ALL YOUR OGRES ARE BELONG TO US!
Great Weapons: So everything listed above doesn't get your underpants a little tighter? Well, how about strength 6 great weapons that also have Killing Blow? Oh, why yes, you may go use the bathroom...just dont use all of my hand lotion.
Point Cost: How much would you pay for a unit with this much awesomenss...20 points a model? 15? How about 12. 13 with Great Weapons. Bam.
The best use of Grave Guard is as a hammer unit. Basically, you throw a combat Vampire Lord, as well as a Wight King with a Magical Army Standard towards anything you want to die. I have had these boys chew threw giant blocks of Saurus Temple Guard in two turns. BBQ frog anyone? They are also good at taking out incredably tough characters, such as Blood Thirsters or Hellpit Abominations. Whatever you choose to do with these fiendish friends I guarantee you wont be disappointed.
Below are some shots of the Grve Guard that I use in my army. As you can see I went with the same red and gold them that I have been using throughout the army. Enjoy!