Idle Musings: Updating my Vampire Counts Army to include Tomb Kings elements

And here we go again.

During the week, I had actually taken the time to write a lengthy review to discuss which elements of the Tomb Kings army one could include into a combined army as seen in End Times:Nagash. Unfortunately, my computer decided to eat the article and WordPress’s new and improved editing mode does not seem to automatically save drafts every couple of minutes, so the article was lost in the void. I am not going to rehash it, but just outline how I intend to adapt my Vampire list to the new possibilities Nagash offers.

As long-time readers know, I like to run my Vampires in a magic-heavy list, using Master of Dark Arts and lots of casters to gain magic supremacy and then bury my opponent under a pile of Grave Guard and Ghouls. In essence, it is an army that asks the question: ‘You killed this guy four times already, but can you kill him a fifth time before he kills you?’

The old list was:

Vampire Lord: Lvl 4, Extra handweapon, Master of the Dark Arts, Black Periapt, Talisman of Preservation

Wight King: Dragonhelm, Battle Standard, Shield

38 Wights: Full Command


Vampire: Quickblood, Extra handweapon, Armour of Silvered Steel, Luckstone

39 Ghouls: Ghast


Necromancer: Lvl 2, Wand of Flaming Death

20 Zombies: Standard and Musician


Necromancer: Lvl 2, Dispel Scroll

20 Zombies: Standard and Musician


5 Dire Wolves


5 Dire Wolves


5 Dire Wolves


5 Hexwraiths


5 Hexwraiths


From this I would cut:

Vampire Lord: Master of the Dark Arts and Black Periapt: These items do add up in points and more often than not, I either did not need them or they ended up being downright useless. Especially the Black Periapt was often giving me poor choices such as not dispelling a spell to keep two power dice and then ending up rolling 12 power dice after channelling. Admittedly, that is a first-world-problem, but I think I might be better off not plunging all those points into those two items.

5 Hexwraiths: Running two units just feels dirty.

20 Zombies: I only have 60-odd Zombies, so two units meant that I ran out of them easy enough and wasted points. One unit of 20 leaves me with enough to summon more during the game. Also, killing one unit of 60 is tremendously more difficult than killing two units of 30 due to the fact that they crumble after losing combat. And Zombies WILL lose combat all the time.

1 Necromancer: Lvl 2, Dispel Scroll


Instead I will include:

1 Liche Priest: Lvl 2, Dispel Scroll: This guy is there to give me access to the Lore of Nehekhara Signature Spell that lets every unit in 12″ move once on a roll of 8+. What makes this spell so great is that it was intended for an army that could not march, thus making it a necessary spell. However, Vampire Counts armies can march within 12″ of their general (as can Nagash armies), so this not only means that your army gets to use this after marching instead of just advancing, but it can march again in the magic phase as the spell simply says you move as if you were moving in the Remaining Moves phase, without prohibiting marching (as it was prohibited anyway for Khemri armies). So yes, a simple 8+ gives you a complete extra march in 12″. Groovy. Not convinced yet? Well, the spell says it cannot be used more than once per round on each unit, as does Vanhel’s Danse Macabre from the Vampire Lore. But neither spell refers to the other one, so if you manage to use both, your undead can move a casual 24″ (assuming base move of 4) per turn. So you will be touching the opponent’s deployment zone against gunline armies at the end of turn 1. One volley is all they will get.

5 Undead Horsemen: Just as another speedbump. If push comes to shove, they have two attacks each, so they should be able to murder a cannon crew or worry skirmishers or other chaff units. They will also help me maintain the 25% core troops

Casket of Souls: The Ark of the Covenant in Warhammer parlance. It has a spell that scares people enough to force panic dispels, but more importantly, it generates 1d3 extra power dice per phase, thus replacing the Master of the Dark Arts and Black Periapt.

Vampire Lord: Earthing Rod: A simple 25-points investment that allows your caster to survive the first catastrophic miscast.


So, I look forward to giving this a go one of these days. Let’s see how the changes work out.




4 thoughts on “Idle Musings: Updating my Vampire Counts Army to include Tomb Kings elements

  1. Roland says:

    The Undead Legion seems to have done a lot for tomb kings as well. We now have access to marching within 12″ of the general, “Desert Wind” for a second march, the vampire dance macabre or even the new spell lore movement spell. Roughly it seems from being the slowest army, we now not only have the fastest chariots in the game, we are now (together with vampires) probably the fastest army out there, if we put our mind to it. Mind boggling.
    Some units need to be reevaluated (carrion go from good to awesome, our fast cav can finally make it behind the enemy lines (and not only serve as pure redirectors), most of all, skeleton warriors might just be manoeuverable enough to gain back their tarpit function.
    Besides manoeuverability it is nice to have an army that hinges not only on the survival of a single miniature. No more hierophant, more flexibility in the choice of our Lores, maybe even take a Vampire Counts Necromancer… (The vampire lore spells seem to be sweet if applied to TK gameplay… hmmmm)
    Then the new lore of summoning.
    If used by a generic L4 wizard it seems a bit underwhelming, because in testgames, I considered the lore only useable if you put a lot of focus on it. And for that focus, the loss of useful augments on our combat units will not be enough compensation, imo.
    It is a different thing if you add Arkhan or Nagash into the equation. For the fun of it I painted up an Arkhan and I think the new gameplay might be hilarious as hell. So my units are crap? Never mind, here is some more crap you need to go through.
    Arkhan, a casket, a hierotitan, 2 catapults a backup wizard with power stone and some core units (maybe chariots and a prince, some archers), and you have one hell of a summoning power. There doesn`t seem a lot of an army there, but if one good spell moight summon a sphinx (with flaming breath) or 4 necropolis knights or 6 ushabti, you will wear down your opponent until he is manageable even for your crap units.
    It all hinges on the survival of that Arkhan miniature, of course, but at least he has the possibility to flying march and try to get into a good close combat (where he can regain lost wounds like crazy).
    I would love to put this all to the test and engage in a summoning duel of the undead. Even enslaved, the tomb kings remain a formidable force, proud and undomitable. And it seems they gained an edge.

    • I am waiting to see if I should invest in a mortarch, it would of course be Mannfred because he has always been good to me.

      I actually hope that this is the new 9th edition format for monsters ( Dwarf Kings on Shields are similarly now plus two wounds for the bearers), though I would hate to see Elf Lords on Dragon with Magical Swords in that format. Neferata giving her Abyssal Always Strikes First seems already very powerful and Black Dragon used to be awesome when they got their rider’s Hatred re-rolls.

      I disagree that simply adding a summoner will be underwhelming based on pure conjecture and 40k experience with Daemonology, especially only one or two casters with it. You lose some power in terms of augment spells, sure, but with a reasonably mobile caster, you can drop flanking units very fast. Hexwraiths are only 150 points, so not that hard to summon and even just the standard 100 points spell buys you 33 Zombies to delay someone. Admittedly, Arkhan does it better, but that’s why he is Arkhan. Even just one wizard with the Lore of Undeath gives you an incredible toolbox that can alter a game much more than a simple augment could. In addition, the fact that you are so flexible gives you a great psychological asset as an augment is much easier to evaluate than a summoning spell as it has more variables, so people will probably invest more dispel dice in them, letting your augments through.

  2. Roland says:

    About the Mortarchs:
    Go for it. At the very least they are fantastic miniatures and a hell of a joy to paint. Fantastic centerpieces for an undead army (Rumour says there will be 3 more endtime books released, well… if they do as well as they did with Nagash and Co. this might inspire some (un)life into the game.
    About the summoning:
    I have not yet been able to play an actual game with this. But you have to remember how important every single augment spell on an overpriced tomb king unit is. Tomb Kings fight with rubber swords unless they get the upper hand through their magic phase. And even then they might still fail to make a dent.
    This is why I dare say that even though a generic wizard might summon up some pretty useful units (especially if taken from the Vampire Counts book), if you restrict yourself to pure Tomb Kings (as I sure will do), summoning up a few skeleton archers seems nice, but (for example) with the signature spell capping at 150 points monstrous infantry, without some serious tokens, all you will get is three ushabti… and I dare say I know how 3 Ushabti will prove in a fight (Puff!). The spell that allows you to call up a Necrotect or a monster might be nicer, but unless you go for a bone giant or a hierotitan (nothing to be sneezed at), the more powerful sphinxes will need some tokens, which tells me that I will have to go all in with the undead lore or not at all. The cavalry/monstrous cav/chariot summoning spell gets a lot worse if you restrict yourself to tomb kings. A 150 points will net you 10 horse archers (cinder) maybe, but necropolis knights (at least 3 x 65 pts) or a unit of 3 chariots (3 x 55 points) will need a few tokens or it will be impossible.
    A lot of the time I might not even be able to cast a spell unless I go for the worst of all possible options in my arsenal (again with the mindset of restricting myself to models I actually have, which are tomb kings).
    So, my outlook on the new lore with generic wizards seems kind of bleak. Sure, summoning up a roadblock of a handful of skeletons IS useful, but so are a lot of spells and even more. Most of the times I will have to get off a few summoning spells so that I will have the necessary counters to bring forth something actually worthwhile. As a trade in I will not be able to concentrate on augmenting my own units or debuffing my opponent’s (which has a drastic effect on this army but might pretty much be shrugged off by an army based more on VC units who pretty much carry themselves over a fight or have a vampire’s attacking power to hide behind).
    With Arkhan or Nagash the lore changes dramatically in possible output and this is why I would love to put at least Arkhan to the test even though taking him includes a lot of risk (no armour, no ward save, no save against miscasts (at least Nagash gets to reroll once))

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