Vlad von Carstein vampire counts warhammer 8th edition special character overview
In the game
Vlad von Carstein is a special character for vampire counts armies in 8th edition. He is a lord level character equivalent to a vampire lord and comes with a fixed set of magic items and vampiric powers as well as being a level 3 wizard who uses the lore of the vampires. There are no extra equipment or mount options available for Vlad von Carstein.
Vlad comes equipped with heavy armour and wields the magic weapon blood drinker and carries the magical talisman the carstein ring. He also has the following vampiric powers aura of dark majesty, beguile and supernatural horror.
Vlad also synergises well with the hero choice of Isabella von Carstein who is also now a better and much improved choice. This is due to the new beloved in death special rule that replaces the beloved of Vlad special rule in 7th edition and to the healing effects of the blood chalice of bathori.
Differences from 7th edition
Vlad von Carstein is now the only character who has access to both the carstein ring and blood drinker. Although his stat line is unchanged the fact that all vampire have had there attacks increased by one makes him less special in this area. Vlad also now comes equipped with heavy armour as his model shows. His points cost has increased very fractionally.
The carstein ring follows a familiar theme granting him a 4+ ward save when it restores him to unlife however there is now a restriction that he must be placed in a unit within 12" rather then in any unit on the board. The fact that zombies lost the restriction stopping characters being placed with them makes this less of an issue though.
Blood drinker has been completely reworked it now gives Vlad +1 strength and allows his the hunger special rule to take effect on the role of a 4+ rather then 6+. This is a big change from in 7th edition where every wound inflicted granted a wound back to the vampire wielding it or his unit.
The beloved in death special rule (previously beloved of vlad) grants the same bonus of hatred and frenzy to the survivor if either Vlad or Isabella is slain. Better then in 7th edition it also grants them both the always strikes first special rule if they are in the same unit.
Pros and cons
Pros are that Vlad von Carstein is an extremely survivable lord choice for the vampire counts in warhammer fantasy battle 8th edition. He is now also the only character who has access to the magic weapon blood drinker and the magic talisman the carstein ring. The carstein ring is a very potent talisman granting Vlad both a 4+ ward save and allowing him to return back to unlife should he be slain on a roll of a 2+. Vlad is also a colourful character to lead your army into battle as he is the vampire that started it all after all.
Cons are that whilst Vlad is a good all round durable vampire lord you can tailor make better yourself if you have a specific build or play style in mind. Vlads lack of quickblood and red fury for example makes him less of a potent fighter then a vampire lord with those vampiric powers, although if he is taken with Isabella von Carstein and they are deployed in the same unit both gain the always strikes first special rule. Also although Vlad has a ward save a good armour save can often be more effective against a lot of foes with lower strength. A vampire lord on barded nightmare, heavy armour and shield with magic items to increase his save or give him a ward save might be harder to kill in the first place.
Vlad is a good choice as a solid all round general for your army. with a 4+ ward save, blood drinker and the the resurrecting power of the carstein ring he is more forgiving to use then most other vampire lord builds. He is a good all rounder and fits nicely into 2000 point games. As your general Vlad makes a good choice for leading your infantry into battle where his combat prowess, magical augment spells and ability to allow nearby undead to march makes him highly useful. If taken with Isabella they make a tough combination to kill whilst also increases both's prowess in melee combat with the always strikes first special rule.
He can also be a good choice against opponents who like to "snipe" at characters with warmachines as his 4+ ward save and ressercting power makes him harder to kill then a standard vampire lord.