Black coach warhammer 8th edition vampire counts rare choice overview
What is a black coach?
Vampires are evil creatures saturated with dark magic when one is slain in battle or by a lucky witch hunter even this does not signify the end for the most powerful of them. By gathering the remains of their lord the vampires minions and thralls can attempt to bring them back to unlife with powerful and ancient rituals and the use of much dark magics. One such method is the black coach, wise vampires have even been known to create one themselves just in case should they ever face the final death.
One particular method is to create a black coach pulled by nightmares and with a cairn wraith as the coachman. Inside the heavily ensorcelled coach is a coffin or sarcophagus containing whatever remains of their master there was often only ashes or dust. These black coaches focus dark magic to regenerate the form of the vampire over periods of times, they move between areas saturated with dark magic soaking it up and then moving onwards to the next.
Battlefields are often places where dark magic gathers particularly when the vampire counts go to war and it is here that the black coach is most often seen by mortals. Driven by its ghostly coachman the black coach gathers up the winds of dark magic seeking to draw more to it by spreading fear and death amongst the living. The more magic the black coach absorbs the more powerful it becomes and the closer to returning one of the lords of undeath back to the mortal realm.
In the game
In 8th edition like 7th edition warhammer fantasy battle the black coach is a rare choice for vampire counts armies. The black coach comes as a set choice and no upgrades or equipment options are available for them. It also effectively receives upgrades with the evocation of death special rule.
Changes from 7th to 8th include a slightly lower points cost, cairn wraiths have now changed and come with a chilling grasp attack. The main changes are with the evocation of death special rule. Evocation of death now only takes effect in your turn, whilst you still roll the number of dice you get for the winds of magic roll you no longer lose any. Finally the evocation of death bonuses have changed somewhat.
Pros and cons
Pros are high toughness, wounds, armour save and ward save plus the bonuses from the evocation of death special rule make the black coach hard for some armies (elves spring to mind) to kill. After all a toughness 6 model that can fly, is ethereal has a 3+ armour save, 4+ ward save and magic resistance 2 giving a 2+ ward save vs magic makes it a tough model to get rid of without serious firepower.
Cons are that the black coach is an expensive model, the addition of the mortis engine to rare choices(also a chariot though with regeneration instead of a ward save and different special rules) also offers more then one choice now. Although tough to kill otherwise the black coach can die to combat resolution after it has charged or if it is charged particularly from flank and rear charges from units with high static combat resolution. Like all chariots black coaches suffer in protracted combat as they lose impacts hits and instead must rely on the cairn wraiths and the nightmares to cause any damage meaning they can be bogged down by weak but numerous foes.
Black coaches are best used as a support unit as they are essentially (albeit expensive ones) chariots and in order to gain impact hits you must charge either by outmaneuvering the enemy or pinning them in place with another unit. They also make an excellent choice for taking care of small bothersome units such as fast cavalry or missile units who will have a minimal chance of actually causing any damage to it.
They can also be used to keep units that will struggle to wound them pinned down especially if you manage to get to the ethereal upgrade from siphoned power dice. They can also be used as character assassins when you reach the killing blow special rule do not forget killing blow also applies to the impact hits making a black coach with this upgrade an excellent choice for running down lone characters.
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