Monday, January 16, 2012

WHFB Vampire Counts Book!

Ever since I first got into the hobby Games Workshop have repeatedly seduced me with their wares. It seemed like every White Dwarf there was a revamp or a new army and I would convince myself that was the army I wanted. This ended up with me owning a lot of models, but never really having an army. I think in my many years I have only had two 1000 point Warhammer Fantasy armies!!

Some years ago (3 or 4) I picked up the Vampire Counts book – promising myself this would be the army I go for. It didn’t happen. The new book came out at the weekend and while I haven’t played WHFB for a long time I have always wanted a nice big army. So I decided to pick up the book and take it from there. Then I thought – what really changes between books? I decided to compare them as close as possible and this post is the result of that! Bear in mind that I have not played VC and if I have missed anything good please add a comment!

Presentation and Content
The new book is gorgeous. Wonderful hardback, as the recent few books, print quality is awesome and looks very durable for flicking through and carrying around. Every page is in glorious full colour. In the last VC book the only colour was the covers and ‘Eavy Metal section. There are 96 pages which is exactly the same as the old book. With several new models available it will be interesting to see what was dropped to make space, although the new book does have a smaller font size.
Winner: New Book

Aside from a few subtle changes to headings the fluff from the old book remains the same. I think overall it has been made more fluid and the rewordings are a good thing. The new book has a section called "War In The Border Princes" which is new and introduces Krell - a new character. Grim Moor has dropped off the map as well as the fluff from the lands section and the Timeline has been slightly truncated in the new book.The section of fluff called "Infamous Vampires" has been dropped as well, but the new book has two new playable characters in it.
Winner: New Book

Army Lists
There are bigger changes here. The new book has 2 new characters, 6 new units and 2 war engines. There are two big changes for the army rules. One to allow the army to not crumble if the general is slain as long as a friendly wizard is on the field and one to allow units within 12" of the General or a vampiric model to march - this was 6" previously.
  • Vampires regain wounds on a roll of 6 in they kill an enemy in close combat. They have an extra attack and slightly higher points cost
  • There is now a Master Necromancer. Base Necromancer costs slightly more
  • Wight King gains "Killing Blow" and 10 points in cost
  • Cairn Wraith and Tomb Banshee now characters and more expensive
  • Strigoi Ghoul Kings is a new wizard with Vampiric who can lead the army
  • Crypt Ghouls stats stay same, but 2 points more
  • Skeletons down to 5 points
  • Zombies strength and toughness up 1 - points down 1!!
  • Corpse Cart wounds and strength up - 15 points more
  • Grave Guard down 1 point
  • Black Knights down 3 points
  • Spirit Host down 20 points
  • Dire Wolves get no points change but strength bonus when charging
  • Bat swarms get 1 wound and attack, points stay the same
  • Fell bats - no change
  • Crypt Horror and Vargheist = new gribblies!
  • Blood knights get 1 higher initiative and 5 points off
  • Varghulf higher Initiative - same points
  • Black Coach 5 points cheaper - Evocation of Death Effects altered
  • Hexwraiths = new spirit riders!
  • Terrorgheist is new flying terror. Was in White Dwarf before but not old book
  • Zombie Dragon, lower WS but +1 to T and W - 30 points cheaper!
  • Abyssal Terror, 15 points cheaper, but Nightmares and Hellsteads cost more
  • Coven Throne and Mortis Engine - massive beautiful new models!!
  • Vlad stats same - 5 points higher
  • Isabella higher WS, S and A - points almost double!
  • Mannfred has 1 more attack. Approx 30 more points and Acolyte up about 15 points
  • Konrad has 1 more attack up 15 points
  • Krell and Heinrich Kemmler = new baddies!
There are some subtle changes ion rules, probably because of 8th edition as well, that mean I have probably missed commenting on some juicy stuff but it is clear that every unit has been tweaked a bit, some a bit more and it all looks like a good thing to me.
Winner: New Book

Magic, Powers and Items

I'm not detailing everything here otherwise this would take an age! But the highlights are:
  • Invocation of Nehek. Now 6+ cast, but affects all units within a radius of 6" - can be powered up to 18" by increasing cast
  • Raise Dead now has range of 18" and create 2D6+3. Can create skellies on 14+#
  • Gaze of Nagash can be powered up to 48" range on cast of 12+
  • Curse of Years now 12+
  • Wind of Death has no spirit host creation, higher cast and can be powered up to increase strength
  • Summon Undead Horde gone - replaced by Hellish Vigour allowing a unit to re-roll failed to wound rolls in CC
Also for magic on each successful cast the wizard, or another friendly wizard within 12" recovers a wound.
  • Vampiric powers consolidated to 14 powers from 24. Various rewrites and alterations 
  • Massive drop of banners and artifacts.Only 2 banners and 6 items left.
For me this is a vast improvement to make it less complex. Still enough choice, but I can imagine if you are used to using a banner or item and it has been dropped it could be frustrating.
Winner: New Book

Models and 'Eavy Metal
Amazing stuff as always. The painting is another step up from the impressive quality of the last book and the new models, particularly Coven Throne and Mortis engine really shine. I am really liking GW's one kit makes one of two things approach too.
Winner: New Book

Final Thoughts
For it is a big thumbs up and improvements all round. Yes the new book costs more new than the old one did. But given the dramatic improvement in quality I am fine with this. The book is lovely - the full colour pages, hard cover - for me these justify the rise in price. Not to mention the fluff is nice as always and rewritten/added to where needed. The new models are beautiful kits with lovely rules and it does look to me like there are so many choices here for an army build.
I would like to think I can hold with VC's now and build up a nice army at last! Even if I don't manage that I don't feel I will find myself regretting picking this book up.
Winner: New Book

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