So it's finally upon us, the much awaited 8th edition ruleset for our beloved Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Now, if you are reading this blog I can only assume that you are quite familiar with all things wargaming so I won't bore you with the information on rule changes and how they affect the armies blah, blah, blah. What I will do, however, is let you know how this edition has affected me, and my favorite army of death, the Vampire Counts.
To be honest, when the jump from 7th edition to 8th happened, I was still fairly new to the whole Fantasy aspect to GW wargaming. I've been an avid 40k player since I was 15 years old, but when it comes to Elves and Dragons, I'm a relatively new player. So when it was announced that there would be a new edition coming in a few months, my first reaction was...meh. Later, as I began to get closer to the release date and I was playing more 7th edition lists, my worries began to grow. How would I survive this new edition? I had fallen into the trap of the typical VC player and had been running small units that could be grown later and relying soley on one deathstar unit to win me the game. Now, there were going to be percentage caps on characters and magic was being significantly nerfed? Core choices were becoming more powerful (while ours have always been god-awful) and fear would no longer make enemies break? This later fact caused great trepedation on my part due to the fact that my one trick pony-that of winning combat by one and causing the enemy to flee-would no longer work. These were going to be grave times indeed.
Then, my opinion began to change. While this new edition would certainly make my army less powerful, it would also force me-and my VC thralls-to think of different ways to run our armies. We would have to use our sub-par core units in ways that would surprise and terrify our opponents..exactly the way a true undead army would operate on the field. Below I am going to talk about certain Undead units that I have used in the few games I've played and how they have performed under the new rule set. After that I'll include some pics of the recent 8th edition action at my FLGS. Enjoy!
Vampire Lord - This guy is still awesome. I have been running him as a magic heavy lord due to the fact that while gearing your combat lord to be an uber killing-machine sounds fun, losing him to combat resolution and having you army crumble is not. Face it, our Lords are cool, but any Chaos Hero...even a Champion...will usually school his ass and lose you the game. I have been putting my Lord behind the lines in a skeleton bunker and letting the other units use his WS with the Hat of Ridiculousness. He also takes Forbidden Lore, which lets him choose any Lore of Magic (accept the Lore of Life..obviously) making him great for buffing your units and combat characters. He also takes the magic item that lets him reroll his Miscast (which, when you're rolling 6 dice for killer spells can really come in handy). Just make sure that you are still taking protection for this guy, in the form of armour and ward saves, due to the number of snipe spells out there.
Konrad Von Carstein- This guy is awesome. For a hero-level combat character, there really is no equal. First of all, his stats are that of a vampire, which makes him deadly enough. His 3 attacks are augmented by his double swords, which gives him another one. Oh, btw, one of his swords is a magical one that causes an addition wound for each one in inflicts. Did I mention he also has cool Vampire Powers. Oh, I didn't? Well why didn't you say that, asshole? Anyways, he has Infinite Hatred, which lets him re-roll ALL of his hits in CC...always. He also has Red Fury, which lets him have an additional attack for each unsaved wound. Now, remember that each of his wounds causes an additional wound? Well, if he causes 2 wounds on a character, its actually 4 wounds..and now he can have 4 more attacks..that can be re-rolled if missed....yeah. If you have your Lord around he can buff Konrad with +3 attacks and +3 strength if using the Lore of Beasts...dirty. Konrad's only drawback is that he must roll a d6 at the start of your turn, and on a 1-3 he is stupid for that turn. Don't worry however, as he can use the Lord's 10 LD to take the test, and if there is a BSB nearby he can re-roll that. Also, Konrad will usually be in combat, making stupidity not an option. Oh, btw, if he rolls a 4-6 he is frenzied (which cannot be lost) giving him 5 base attacks. Yuck.
Wight King - As the percentage of Hero's is now 25% of your total points, these guys just became better. Not only are they cheaper than your Vampire Thrall, they can also carry your BSB (which is now equally awesome). They also make great body guard characters, as their toughness 5 and 3 wounds can go a long way to keeping your more valuable characters safe. They can also be given useful items, such as the Sword of Kings, which makes the killing blow happen on a 5-6. Also, with the new frenzy rules (it can now be restrained by a LD check) their LD of 9 will go a long way in making sure those Blood Knights doing get lured into a trap. Basically, never leave home without this guy.
Necromancer - This litte turd actually has some great uses now. Not only are they cheap Dispel Scroll caddies, they also purchase their spells, which means you can have multiples of these assholes running around spamming Invocation and Van Hels. Also, casting big spells with these guys ensures that, even though they will miscast, the big spell will go off and its better losing a 55 point model than your General Vampire Lord. This is another must have model..maybe models...that you should have in your army,
Grave Guard - These guys are still awesome and the fact that you will have 2 ranks attacking makes them even more bad ass. Make sure you run them with great weapons and try to buff their to hit ratio also, either with a banner or a Lord wearing the Crown of Ridiculousness. As they only wear heavy armour and will get no parry save, its important that you try and protect them as much as possible, which means giving them the Drakenhoff Banner (4+ regeneration save)..but be wary of fire attacks!
Ghouls - Still the go-to core choice for flanking. As they have 2 poison attacks each they can be quite deady to high toughness models, but be aware that they are only toughness 4 and have no armour save, meaning that they will die horribly to warmachines or any high strength / high volume attacks.
Skeletons - If used in large blocks (around 30-35) with 5 to 6 ranks they can be effective tarpits. Give them a cheap War Banner for another Combat Res and they are even better. I find that giving them a hand weapong and shield is better than the extra 5 attacks offered by the spears. A 6+ ward is better than nothing. Again, if you have a lord around, they can be buffed to be slightly better in combat, but lets just say that they will still struggle killing even a lowly goblin.
Vargulf - Since I've used him I havent been disappointed. He is quick and can really dominate a flank or take out enemy war machines. He has a high number of high strength attacks, and also has Hatred. He only has a 4+ regeneration save, though his high toughness makes him difficult to harm. He also now has Thunderstomp, which give him an additional d6 strength 5 attack. If this guy is buffed using the Lore of Beasts, you get a +1 to cast any spells on him...which is nice.
Fell Bats - I just started using them and am happy with what they do. They are mosterous creatures that fly and have 2 wounds each. Basically just throw them on a flank and take out war machines as soon as possible. Remember to start them next to a Vampire so they can get their full 20" march move on the first turn. Unfortunately they are no longer classified as Infantry so you can Invocate them on mulitple wounds..ony one per Vampire...but they will usually be out of range anyways.
Well thats it for the units that I have used so far in the 8th Edition. As I experiment with more of the army I will give you my take on those as well. Anyways, here are some pics of people enjoying the 8th edition release over the last few weeks at Ork Town in Seoul, Korea..
A rousing game of Chaos Warriors v.s Wood Elves (Hippy Elves)
Finally, the Hellcannon gets its just deserts...
Vampire Counts (yeah!) v.s Gay Elves
Oh, I didn't hear you come in!
My VC Army..its big where it counts..
My mixed unit of Ghouls and Dogs..hey I have to do something with them now!
We'sa eat your face now?
My Vargulf..ready to defecate in your yard..
Alex's Lizardmen..pretty tough army
The bane of my existence..the fat toad wizard thing..
Ancient enemies square off...
High Elf Bolt Throwers take aim at some beardy Chaos Warriors