Corpse cart warhammer fantasy battle 8th edition overview for vampire counts
What are corpse carts?
Corpse carts are macabre constructs used by vampires and necromancers when they go to war. These strange contraptions are a mix of rotted wood, corroded metal and decaying flesh. Many believe that the first corpse carts were created from the wagons used to take away the deceased during times of famine and plagues, already saturated with dark magic vampires and necromancers imbued them with further powers and dark energies. Corpse carts act as lodestones for dark magic and drawing upon this magic they can invigourate nearby undead with a unholy speed.
They also abounds rumours of constructs similar to corpse carts being created on nights where the evil moon Morrsleib casts its glow upon the land or the corrupting presence of warpstone is abound, even better is the presence of both. It is an easy task for those well versed in necromancy to bind these to do their bidding.
In the game
Corpse carts follow the same theme as they did in 7th edition but is improved and better refined in 8th edition. The corpse cart is now a chariot so cannot march but charges as if it has swift stride as well as inflicting impact hits. The bound spell Miasma of undeath has gone to be replaced with the vigour mortis special rule, this grants nearby undead units the always strikes first special rule still if the corpse cart is the target of an augment spell from the lore of vampires. The regeneration save has improved and the guy in charge (who was previously overlooked) gains his own name and stat line, the corpsemaster.
The corpse cart has now moved to a special choice slot away from the previously undefined slot that it had in 7th edition. It is also available as a mount for hero level necromancers and the new master necromancer. The unholy lodestone and balefire upgrades are still available. The unhjoly lodestone allows a nearby wizard to re roll a single dice when casting invocation of nehek upon infantry units. The balefire upgrade still causes enemy wizards to deduct one from their casting rolls though this bonus is now fixed regardless of the number of balefire equipped corpse carts there is.
Pros and cons
Pros are that always strikes first is a very good rule to have making sure that your units get to strike and against lower initiative opponents get re rolls to hit. They work particularly well with units of ghouls as they have the highest initiative and re rolls to hit combined with poisoned attacks increases the number of poison rolls you will get. They work best alongside infantry and the unholy lodestone can be a great asset allowing you to re roll the dice when raising infantry units with the invocation of nehek. They can also provide a much needed boost in later rounds of combat with their impact hits and numerous attacks against weaker foes.
Cons are as they are now a chariot corpse carts move very slowly when not charging they have a movement of only 4 and as chariots cannot march (this is not a problem if you are not near the march bubble of your general though). This can make it a challenge keeping up with your units unless you are willing to take the risk and charge the corpse cart into combat. If you have gone for a faster moving army such as dire wolves and cavalry corpse carts will simply be left behind of be of little use. If you are intending to use zombies as a blocking or holding unit or are facing an elite melee combat army giving you units the always strikes first special rule can be a bit of a waste.
Also with some scenarios there is random deployment meaning your slow moving corpse cart may be away from the units that you wanted it to support, with a low movement value it will also struggle to move into a better position.
Corpse carts work best as support units for your infantry, with a movement of only 4 even with a decent charge distance they will struggle to keep up with faster moving units. If you can get them in range of more powerful units even better, black knights or blood knights with re rolls to hit can be lethal (remember the lore of vampire spell vanhels danse macabre also gives re rolls). With the addition of impacts hits they can also be used to support a charging unit or to swing combat in your favour in later turns.
Against low initiative armies ghouls supported by corpse carts can be an excellent synergising combination giving the ghouls and any accompanying characters re rolls to hit. This also turns these units of ghouls into effective monster killers, beware of units with high armour saves though.
They make okay mounts for hero level necromancers though it is often just as effective to keep your necromancers in a nearby unit, remember the effects of movement 4 though if you intend to be using this necromancer to cast invocation of nehek though. Master necromancers on corpse carts generally just make better targets for the enemy and is a combination usually best avoided.