How do you deal with Vampire lords?

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Richard Deane
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How do you deal with Vampire lords?

Postby Richard Deane » Sat May 07, 2016 12:34 am

I don't play this system much but it's been a common theme to all my games that opponents struggle to deal with my vampire lords. This is mostly curiosity about how these lords of undeath are dealt with by other players.

The last couple of games have been 2000pts and I've taken at least a pair of vampires who run around problem solving for me. I'm generally a pessimist so am rather cautious with them (which helps their survivability) but seeing them shrug off a charge from a regiment of cavalry and undo most of the damage over the course of a couple of turns (thanks to lifeleech) made me wonder what effective options are out there to deal with these super-fast self-healing bloodsuckers.

All answers welcome and feel free to include any anecdotal battle stories to accompany the advice on dealing with vampires. I will relay the answers to my opponents. :wink:

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Shyanekh
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Re: How do you deal with Vampire lords?

Postby Shyanekh » Sat May 07, 2016 8:58 am

Vampires are very tough nuts to crack. Defence 6, individual, high speed and lifeleech 2 make them incredibly difficult to pin down and destroy. If you want to kill them, you'll have to commit to them with extremely hard hitting units (wights, dragons, obsidian golems etc) or attempt to grind them down with hordes. Neither option is especially easy to achieve, particularly if the person using them is cautious.

War engines or massed lightning bolts are another option, though not really one I'd recommend. There are better targets for those things.

To be honest, my first instinct on seeing two vampire lords would be to ignore them. While they're good in combat and can hold units up, they can't hold up an entire army. Two vampires is also roughly a quarter of an army in a standard 2000pt game. Throw in the other heroes necessary to keeping the undead army going and I'd be pretty confident that my own army could take on the relatively small amounts of rank and file you'd have left.

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Re: How do you deal with Vampire lords?

Postby Richard Deane » Sun May 08, 2016 1:33 pm

So far ignoring them hasn't done so well. Together 2 vampires can take down a regiment in one round and they are great for tipping the balance in important fights for other units. This is what they've done for me and then gotten in the way to limit enemy retaliation so that units like my cavalry or wraiths can be surged into flanks if the enemy try and take down the vampires. (Currently I've never lost a vampire to a single charge.)

What forces do you play and how do you normal combat undead? Do you use a lot of shooting and magic?

It's been a while since I last played against a force with a significant amount of shooting (last was against twilight kin) and it was a tiresome struggle to get across the board (weren't playing scenarios then) but the vampires did and ate his artillery and ranged units in fairly short order. What survived of my regiments gave a somewhat adequate showing against his melee units. However the recent games against orcs they've only brought a token ranged presence. That was still enough to rout a horde of ghouls by the end of the game due to accumulation of damage but it wasn't that significant an impact on the game.

If it's any help here's what I fielded last time along with my opponents list as well.

Vampire lord
Vampire lord
Necromancer (bane chant & surge)
Necromancer (bane chant, surge & heal)
Horde of ghouls
Horde of ghouls
Regiment of revenants (with giant rats)
Regiment of wraiths
Regiment of soul reaver cavalry
Regiment of revenant cavalry
Horde of werewolves

Going roughly from memory my opponent's list was as follows;

Krudger (with zappy sneak)
Krudger (stabby sneak)
Wip the half cast
War drum
Flagger
2x regiments of moraxs
regiment of greatax
regiment of axs
2x regiments of gore riders
2x troops of skulks
giant
regiment of orclings

There was a smattering of magic items in his list, I had none. May have missed something from his list.

The scenario was one where you score at the end by counting up the points with 12" of the centre. My opponent won the roll-off and went first. This meant he got the first damage focusing fire onto the ghouls although it took him till turn 4 for them to route from this steady hail of fire. Due to terrain and some early manoeuvres I took command of the centre with my soul reavers. As we got to turn 6 my opponent was forced to dash towards the centre giving me free reign to charge his units on the last turn and turned the game into something of a blood bath. Until the last turn it had been quite close since he'd castled up very effectively with his blocks of troops behind chaff like the skulks and used terrain to limit my options to advance on him however it was also what kept him away from the centre and unable to threaten till late in the game. He took a gamble with the giant and lost it to a soul reaver charge with a vampire in support. (One round kill, which is how most of the undead charges went. The orcs weren't as lucky and it cost them the right flank when his regiment of gore riders with krudger failed to rout a regiment of revenants leaving them to get rear charged by surging wraiths.)

There are only a few local players and we play infrequently so it's easy to get mental blocks on how to counter certain difficult pieces like the vampires, so advice is always helpful.

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Shyanekh
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Re: How do you deal with Vampire lords?

Postby Shyanekh » Sun May 08, 2016 2:56 pm

I've been using my forces of nature army. Theres a smattering of shooting and lightning, but it's no gunline. I've also built up a combined undead/night-stalker list which I'm hoping to get a few games with soon. Now admittedly I haven't played a great deal of games, so my advice can't really be considered an expert opinion ;)

Looking over the lists you posted, that's quite a scary looking undead list! The main weakness I can see is limited inspiring coverage, especially since you're running your vampires together. That may be something your opponent can exploit?

The orc list looks pretty good, though most of the orc lists I've seen used tend to favour a few hordes over multiple regiments. If he's losing a regiment a turn to the vampires, he may have better luck combining them into hordes. A flying krudger (either riding a slasher or with wings of honeymaze) is the bane of necromancers, so may be worth trying out.

Rear charging wraiths is a dangerous prospect, but also reasonably easy to counter. He has enough individuals that he should be able to put them behind the units the wraiths are setting up to charge. This prevents the wraiths (especially a regiment of them) from simply flying over, turning and surging into the rear as they won't have room to land.

Soul reaver cavalry are admittedly incredibly dangerous and are usually best dealt with via war engines. Sadly, the orcs don't have any in their list. The option then is to either include some allies (goblins are popular) or attempt to engage them in combat. Ideally, they should be forced to either charge chaff first, leaving them exposed to a counter charge, or forced to charge through terrain thereby stripping them of their TC and Me 3+. Both options are easier said than done, I know.

The vampire lords themselves I'm still a little unsure on. Run together, they present a significant threat that isn't easily countered. Personally, I'd still be hesitant about committing to them even after what you said. I'd be much more tempted to sacrifice units as needed to slow them down while focusing on not letting the other undead units get the flank charges they need.

Another option for you would be to take a look at the tournament tweaks being worked on by the RC (I believe you can find them on the mantic forum). Off the top of my head, some of the tweaks limit the scoring potential of individuals, which might help to make the vampires a bit less frightening.

Hope at least some of this is helpful!

Richard Deane
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Re: How do you deal with Vampire lords?

Postby Richard Deane » Mon May 09, 2016 2:57 pm

The limited inspiring coverage is a weakness (and one I will probably try to counter with later versions of the list) but it's not been hugely impactful. Having stuck to regiments or larger has meant that most nerve values are too high to break easily.

It's all useful information, thank you for the replies and ideas.

What you've said brings us back to the vampire issue though. Although I like to run them together it's a tactical decision made at the time in response to the circumstances presented. Being fast, hard hitting, tough, self-healing individuals I can pretty much choose where they go and what I want them to do. Just about the only single unit my opponent had that I was consciously cautious of was the giant. (Even then I was perhaps being over-cautious.)

If there's favourable terrain then I've few qualms about letting a vampire be charged by a regiment of cavalry or infantry if it'll allow me a more decisive engagment or protect me from enemy retaliation. So long as he starts out undamaged the vampire can take most things on the chin. A regiment of gore riders will only do 5-6 damage even on a clear charge and if they are disordered or have a disrupted charge this gets noticeably worse. It's a similar story for moraxs as well. That's potentially enough to waver or even rout the vampire (although unlikely due to inspiring) and next turn so long as he's steady the vampire can either charge back or do a runner and charge off in some other direction. Something I've found extremely powerful is their ability to just pivot on the spot and charge perpendicularly to get out of line of sight of the first regiment to help out elsewhere.

This kind of tactic is somewhat risky but not very and the fact that after 2-3 rounds that damage can potentially be all healed away is very demoralising to opponents. This is probably the biggest sticking point. The vampires have often taken only a couple of points of damage in one go meaning that a single round of combat for them will invariably undo all that damage leaving my opponent back to square one. A vampire is unlikely to win a protracted with fight with a horde of axs but the thing is that he doesn't have to. He can probably take one charge on the chin and next turn scoot over to a neighbouring combat to ensure victory whilst at the same time undoing a significant portion of the damage that was done to him.

I can see horde and legion sized units with crushing strength 2 or similar helping against this tactic due to high nerve values and good damage output, although they come with other problems.

The suggestion about a flying krudger to hunt down the necromancers and instead force me to react to him seems fairly sound.

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Shyanekh
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Re: How do you deal with Vampire lords?

Postby Shyanekh » Mon May 09, 2016 8:56 pm

No problem mate :)

Are you signed up to the mantic forum/kings of war fanatics facebook group? Of the two, the facebook group is by far the most active. Both of them have a lot more people on them who play KoW than here though and a lot of them are far more experienced than I am. Could be worth asking on one or both of them for some more input?

Richard Deane
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Re: How do you deal with Vampire lords?

Postby Richard Deane » Tue May 10, 2016 12:11 am

Thanks for the pointer, I won't touch Facebook but will have a look at the mantic forums.


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