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Warhammer 8th edition Vampire Counts changes from 7th Edition

Updated on January 14, 2012

The Old Faithfuls Return

With the release of the new 8th edition Vampire Counts book for Warhammer all the old favourites (and not so favourites) have returned. In keeping with 8th edition most of these units have been revised tweaking points costs, stat lines and special rules. Some units such as Dire Wolves (now count as core) and Corpse Carts (now special) have had their slot moved

The New and the Resurrected

With the advent of 8th edition there is the addition of a plethora of new units and therefore mostly new models. Two old favourites Heinrich Kemmler and Krell have also returned as special characters to reap discord around the Warhammer World.

In characters the additon of Master Necromancers and Strigoi Ghoul Kings give you more variation in magic and for combat lords. Vampires can also ride atop the Coven throne as a new mount.

In the special section 3 entirely new units have emerged 2 Monstrous Infantry units Crypt Horrors and Vargheistsand the new fast cavalry Hexwraiths.

The rare section also has a new edition in the form of the potent arcane Mortis Engine.

Rules changes

There are several minor rules changes probably the most beneficial is the ability of another wizard using the Lore of Vampires to take over if your general should ever bite the dust and be slain. Whilst this still means your army takes 1 rounds of crumbling it then stops as the new wizard takes over.

On the negative the bubble that Vampiric units gave that allowed nearby undead to march has gone only the general now grants this ability as before with a 12" radius meaning it is more vital to keep your lord at the heart of your forces.

Characters can also now only heal wounds through specific abilities and spells that cleary stat that they can (don't worry though the Lore of Vampire attribute allows you to do this) this means you cannot heal them with Invocation of Nehek except with the Lore attribute.

Also gone is the rule that every Vampire has Invocation of Nehek, it is now the default spell in the Lore of Vampires, on the plus side every Vampire now has access to the Lore of Death and the Lore of Shadow alongside the Lore of the Vampires. Necromancer can access either the Lore of the Vampires or the Lore of Death, so no more choosing your spells or paying for them either.

So in overview 8th edition Vampire Counts have better survivablity at the cost of a slower moving army.

Lore of the Vampires

Most of the now rewritten Lore of the Vampires is an improvement with Invocation of Nehek as the default spell and a Lore attribute that heals a wound to the wizard or another friendly model within 12" on every successful casting.

Necromantic spells that allowed "spam" casting previously have also gone now.

All of the old spells make a comeback with the exception of Summon Undead Horde (no longer needed with an improved Invocation of Nehek) in exchange you get the spell Hellish Vigour an augment spell allowing the target(s) to re roll to wound.

Invocation of Nehek has changed as it is now an area effect and has different casting values allowing you to increase the size of this area, you also heal more wounds back to cavalry and war beast units Vampiric, Large targets and Ethereal units are still limited to 1 wound per casting of the spell though.

Vanhel's Danse Macabre has changed slightly for the worse as the movement can no longer be used to perform a charge, it does however having a higher casting value that is an area effect.

Wind of Undeath has changed entirely to a magical Vortex Spell that seems situational as when to use as it hits every unit touched for a random number of hits, against army's with many small units it is potentially lethal if you have a good position.

Magic Items and Vampiric Powers

Here it is sad to say a few of the better Vampire Counts magic items have gone such as Blooddrinker and the Drakenhof Banner are no longer. There is in fact no new magic items however some previous items have been massivley changed and all at least have had minor changes.

Happily many of the Vampiric Powers have returned (in an additional allowance to magic items too still) again some of the abilitiys have been tweaked. Red Fury remains unchanged though Infinite hatred is now a special rule for Strigoi Ghoul Kings, thankfully this has been replaced with Quickblood granting the Always Strike first special rule. Also with the addition of equipment available to Vampires from the list your no longer have to waste points on Vampiric Powers that granted armour, weapons, mount or all three.


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    • profile image

      Count Jondi 

      6 years ago

      Arioch:The Lore attribute Specifies Model, not unit, model, so you couldn't target a unit of skellies if you wanted to

      About the rank/breaking, Who say you need the flank or rear charge?, you can just charge there in the front with your beaters, and your rank-breakers.

      Besides If you send the good beaters in with them, the skellies that die will matter little for combat res

      Your welcome, i enjoy discussing the subtlety's of the game(s) i love

    • Arioch profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      It is the army rule resurrecting fallen warriors that causes the ambiquity and it clearly states about characters restoring wounds, the wording of the lore attribute itself is not the issue.

      Resurrecting fallen warriors states "Unless specifically stated otherwise, spells and magic items that restore lost wounds cannot heal characters or their mounts". Now what is debatable is the lore attribute considered a spell or is it something else? And is the term "model" enough to imply "characters" (and of course their mounts) or is it not specific enough. We personally play that you can use it to heal characters, I am just pointing out it is a grey area due to the wordings used.

      The problem with using skeletons/zombies for rank breaking is that they often pull down your combat resolution unless used very carefully, the sheer number of units seen in games also makes flanks harder to get to.

      Thanks for your many comments by the way.

    • profile image

      Count Jondi 

      6 years ago

      Ressurecting Fallen Warrior states that it only applys when raising models, the lore attribute only heals models , and oh F.Y.I the lore attribute uses the same exact text in the Lore of life attribute, why would it work different?

      Yes, the skeleaton/zombies rarely beat anything in a fair fight, but that's why you never give your opponent one. Use your Rare/special/Characters to do the dirtywork while the skeleton's massive ranks deny's your opponent's steadfast

      Ive used the Black coach to stall 400 points+ units with the new book (most of them had magical attack) It would take ridicoulous rolls to make 4 spirit hosts do that.... Not that the spirit hosts are bad, they're awesome. The hosts have won games for me, but the Coach has won several more.

    • Arioch profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      We will have to agree to disagree about the healing characters, ressurecting fallen warriors is an army rule so applies to the entire army and I see no reason why it wouldn't affect the curse of undeath lore attribute , were both entitled to interpret it as we see and I certainly think there is enough ambiguity for it to be questionable until a faq comes out.

      There are only a few troops that either skeletons or zombies will beat in a fair fight (and lets face it even then they struggle and the enemy costs half as much) and I don't feel the extra stats or save make up for the extra points cost and less raised when casting invocation. I find either drags bigger combats down involving better units/models. In most situations both types of unit become a tarpit type unit where I feel numbers count more then saves or denying a few points of combat res. With all the high leaderships and re rolls not to mention armies that either cause fear or are otherwise immune I find failing fear tests is something that does not happen frequently enough to take into account.

      The difference between the black coach and the spirit host there is the cost you can have four for the cost of one black coach which also potentially make 4 targets, also with the new rare choices I find there are better (and newer) things to take from you rare choices. It's a very expensive chariot with a few gimmicks its ok but I feel there are better selections now.

      I have used the ghoul king effectively several times, losing the save can be bad but if going mounted is risky (vs war machine heavy armies for example) your not losing as much and a vampire lord with similar abilities would come out at a similar cost but I understand its not everyones cup of tea. The ghoul king is also useful in bigger games where at lot of magic items are already allocated out to other characters.

      I play both with and against vampire counts (with different armies) so tend to see both sides of an argument as at some point I will be fighting them myself. Its also a great way of getting insights as to what is most effective against what army.

    • profile image

      Count Jondi 

      6 years ago

      I am confounded by you thinking it's an ambiguity in that, your characters are models, it allows you to heal one model within "12, ergo you can heal characters. It doesn't allow you to raise models, only alive ones to gain wounds, so Ressurecting fallen warriors does not apply to the lore attribute.

      I don't get your point here "you don't need a vampire lord, you can easily make up for that". Exactly my point in the previous comment.

      I have heard "skeletons are pointless, because zombies are cheaper" argument" And i can understand why you would think that. the armour/parry saves are not, i repeat not to keep your skeletons standing, the parry and their 5+ arm is there to deny your opponent combat res, and a Ws-1 upped to two may not seem much, but then you don't hit standard infantry on 5's, you hit those that fail their fear tests on 3's instead of 4, and those few points of combat res can easily change the tide of a battle

      The black coach is not etheral from the get-go, but the spirit host has even less combat res score than the coach, and can easily be taken out with a single magic missle spell, wheras the coach's armour, ward and toughness keep it alive easily.

      The ghoul king sacrifices all his armour, can only be a level 1 wizard, loses 1 Ws, for Eternal hatred, poisoned attacks and a 5+ regen and +1 I and an increased point cost. Ive played VC vs VC twice with the new book, and both times was the lord not only dispatched easily, it was dispatched both times with a vampire Hero, not a lord.

    • Arioch profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Yes exactly the ambiguity is that "a model" is not "specifically states can heal a character" it can be interpreted either way. I see no reason why ressurecting fallen warriors wouldn't apply after all you could heal a unit wounds and not restore any models with invocation of nehek.

      The 12" of the general rule is also another that needs a faq lets be honest.

      No you don't have to have a vampire lord but without one you can find yourself at a disadvantage though you can compensate with combat units such as buffed up bloodknights.

      The point with skeletons is not that there are not usable just in many situations zombies are just as effective, cost less (20 zombies to 12 skeletons), can be raised by any caster past there starting number and you raise more of them. Skeletons have the slight advantage of a 5+ save and parry however in most situations numbers work as better protection then a low armour save.

      As for the black coach on the charge its decent however after that you're in trouble against any unit with a decent combat static resolution you have 5 mediocre attacks that just lost hatred so half of those will miss meaning you lose combat and the resulting number of wounds. Sure it has its uses against units with little or no combat resolution but it is expensive particularly for using as a blocking unit a spirit host is ethereal from the word go and about a quarter of the cost.

      Of course everyone has their own opinions and successes (and failures) with different units and builds.

      I find the ghoul lord useful for a "cheap" alternative from a vampire lord he comes basically equipped and with red fury and the dragonbane gem combined with a nearby mortis engine can be hard to kill, it also fits in with the master necromancer allowing you to keep your magic and combat character separate.

      Thanks for your comment healthy debate can only help to improve the game of warhammer in the long run.

    • profile image

      Count Jondi 

      6 years ago

      to Disappointed VC player

      What ambiguity is there with the lore attribute?

      The wizard or another model within "12"

      as Someone somewhere said, your characters are models and may therefore heal a wound lost earlier in the battle.

      Ressurecting fallen warriors doesn't apply to the lore attribute as it only let's you recover lost wounds

      if it would have said unit, or distributed as per shooting, you would be correct, but here we are.

      I must say that it being stronger and more flexible is straight A bullshit

      i tried a lot of lists with the 7th ed book, and few of them were that competetive, but now with the writing of Phil Kelly behind the Vampires, so many options, and themes brilliantly opened up, and every unit and character being viable(given the right list) except the Strigoi Ghoul King, he still kind of confuses me.

      oh and another thing that i forgot to mention The "must be within 12 of general to march" rule doesn't require you to be within "12 at the start of the turn, you can march some units, move your general into range with others, and then march them.

      Arioch, in no way must you have a vampire lord, don't get my wrong they are still one of the more powerful lord choices in the game, but i've played several lists using a master necromancer as my only lord and being greatly successful.

      Skeleton warriors are not useless, sure they do little to no damage, but it's a huge block that cost you very little, so you charge them up to your opponent's infantry blocks for combat resulotion, and deny them they're steadfast, while your Characters/rare/special does most of the actual work, and besides exactly the same in the old book, but 3 points cheaper.

      The Black Coach: it's´kill power on a charge is not half bad, d6 (+1 with 1 siphoned power dice) at Strength 3 S-5 attacks and 2 S-4 attacks that have hatred on the second or third dye, and all of the above get +1 Strength on the siphoned dye chart. It's durability allows it to stall a lot costlier units than itself

    • Arioch profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      The ambiguity with this is in the ressurecting fallen warriors army rule as that states a spell or ability must specify state whether it can heal characters or not, whilst its clear it can heal the caster its not so clear as to if this extends to other characters. Really need a faq to clear this point up. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Someone somewhere 

      6 years ago

      There is no reason why the lore attribute can't heal characters, it says the wizard or another friendly MODEL within 12"

      Last time I checked, other characters were MODELS.

      Just because it doesn't say character, doesn't mean it can't heal it. Is like saying it doesn't say monster or chariot or bats or spirit hosts.

    • profile image

      Disappointed vampire 

      6 years ago

      From what ive read in the forums lore attribute does not say " character" or "mount"therefore it can not be used to heal. The way i interpreted it was the same as yours at first. I do disagree with some points in your critique though count jond. My point in a nutshell was 7ed vamp was stronger and more flexible. Im not the only one. Check out the forums and polls.

    • Arioch profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Thanks for your comment

      Opinions do differ greatly about vampire counts mainly because their play style has changed so much.

      Master of the black arts took a real knock in nearly every situation as an extra 2 power dice is better and more reliable then a reroll.

      I do find that not being near the general really limits the use of hexwraiths, dropping the ability to march can make it extremely difficult to move through large units or indeed move through them at all.

      Spirits hosts got a real boost as being able to take 1 on its own makes it an excellent monster blocker a definite improvement.

      Skeletons warriors though to be honest are pretty useless still now given the changes made to zombies, more models is a better defence then a 5+ save and minimal stat increases plus even better invocation of nehek raises more zombies.

      The black coach is hard to kill in combat (or indeed out) but combat resolution just flattens it I find making it a little costly in my opinion.

      As more army books come out they will become more evenly matched. Most hordable troops have gone up in cost, cavalry has come down a fraction and everyone has lost a lot of magic items so far.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Disappointed vampire, you're so wrong it's not even funny.


      The lore attribute can be cast to heal friendly characters, and better yet it can be used to heal non-character models too because it says "The Wizard(or another friendly model within 12") instantly recoveres a single wound lost earlier in the battle.


      About the etheral characters, yes out in the open they can be pretty vulnereble, but they can join units, so if you put let's say 5 wraiths in a unit of zombies and charge into a unit without magical attacks, your opponent cannot attack and takes 15 Ws-3 S-5 attacks

      3. about lore of life being automaticly better and everyone accessing it. Orcs and goblis, Chaos warriors, Tomb Kings, Dwarfs, nor skaven have no access to the lore of life, a whole third of the armies available in Warhammer. and it is more killy with Dweller's bellow i grant you, but regroth only allows one unit to recover d3+1 wounds, while Invocation of Nehek allows for d6+wizard level for infantry, 1+Wizard Level for other troop types, and 1 for Large targets, etheral, or vampiric units in a 6" 12" or 18" BUBBLE, a single casting of ION can easily bring be 2d6+8 skeletons +6 other wounds in other units.

      4. Red fury and Quickblood are very good i grant you but the only good ones, By Nagash himself NO!

      Flying horror, Fly 30 points-can be quite useful

      Aura of dark Majesty- -1 LD on all enemys within 6"-25pts

      Master of The Black arts- re-roll one Winds of magic dye- although expensive, in the course of a game it can gain you a lot of power dices

      Beguile-when enemy models attempt to attack they take an LD check with a minus 3 modifier or must re-roll all successful to hit rolls-15 points

      Dreadknight-+2ws but you have to issue and accept challenges when able-10 pts

      summon creatures of the night-ION raises bat's and wolves beyond starting-10pts

      several VP´s that have their advantages besides QB and RF

      5. Not good enough units (roll eyes)


      Skeletons are 5pts each and never panic's

      Zombies are a point Cheaper and are S-3 T-3


      The Corpse cart wich has the same upgrades as 7th ed, but instead of the bound spell, he gives everyone within6" always strikes first for one round when targeted with an augment spell

      Grave Guard-solid infantry 11 pts each

      Crypt Horrors: getting Monstrous infantry that has poisoned attacks, 5+regen pure gold

      Fell bats: a perfect War-machine killer with 2 attacks each+flying

      Spirit Host: a terrific staller M-6 usually gets in combat before magic takes it down.

      Hexwraiths- Etheral fast Cav, that go through units and cause a S-5 armour ignoring hit for each one

      Vargheist- Flying S-5 glass-hammer that has the vampiric special rule

      Bat Swarms-unitsin base contact have Always strikes Last, need i say more?


      Varghulf-still solid

      Blood Knights, one of the better cav units in the game

      Black coach with T-6, 3+armour and a 4+ward it rings as one of the sturdiest chariots in warhammer

      Terrorgheist- it's howl makes it the perfect elite unit hunter causing armour-ignoring wounds, devestating for elite cavalry units, and flying making it perfect for flank guarding/charging

      Mortis Engine at the start of each turn grants all models within 2d6 to improve their regen by one, or gain a 6+ regen. Making Crypt horrors very sturdy, and being a solid combat chariot is worth every point i costs


      And about the old stuff missing Master of the black arts, it's different, but still there and pretty solid.

      Dark acolyte improved your Wizard level by one, which you can now do without it going into the VP point limit

      The ethereal vamp power costed 50 points and denied you magic items and mounts. not crying over that one.

      Scout, if you wanted a suicidal vampire sure, but rest of the time it rarely paid off.

      and besides the new books have had a similar amounts of magic items so warhammer armies in general are just going in that direction.

      I have been playing the 8th edition book for a while now and i have won most of my matches while playing veteran players, and i have participated in tournements and done very well. So either i am some sort of god among warhammer players, or the book's just fine. It fixed a lot of the 8th ed weaknesses that the VC's developed then and introduced new units, tactics, and themes to be explored.

      6. the model's must be within 12" of general to march. you're definentely not taking several units such as Vargheist's, Terrorgheist, bat swarms, Hexwraith's Varghulf, and blood knights that can all be speedy without help from the general.

    • Arioch profile imageAUTHOR

      Gordon D Easingwood 

      6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Opinions do differ about using the lore attribute curse of undead to heal other characters (other then themselves)guess until they faq it, it will remain that way. I also play Lizardmen and Empire but you have to look how the 8th edition army books are going less magic items for them all, loremaster is also becoming a special character only trait so far. Personally I feel they concentrate on the vampire lord too much, you have to use him as he is the most powerful thing you have but you also really cannot lose him a bit of a dichotomy.

      I still enjoy playing vampire counts but 8th edition has certainly changed the way they play. A lot of armies cannot access life either and in the group I play in the lores of shadow and death feature heavily.

      Thanks for your comment Arioch.

    • profile image

      Dissapointed vampire player 

      6 years ago

      Ive read the forums and they state they there is no way to heal characters unless they themselves have IoN and cast it. This is only because of the lore attribute. IoN or its lore attribute can't target characters/ heroes. The lore attribute can not be used to heal other friendly characters only the casting character and also never his mount.. Sucks. That means all those cool character/hero banshees and wraiths can not be healed...ever. Why bother? 8 is so magic heavy they are gonna burn anyway. You have to put ethereal characters in unit. Basically the new vamps suck in comparison to other armies. Why? Because of the lore of life. Now almost every army can ressurect and they don't have to be 12in from there general. Also they have access to way way way better core/special/raretroups.

      The only good vamp powers are quick blood and red fury that's it. But i feel these take away from the essence of vamps which is magic and raising the dead. All in all we got cool lookin NERFed models. In no way are we more competitive. I guarantee there will not be any top 10 vamps in any tourny.

      Also the 12 in from general to march/ charge is bs utter bs. Its tactically devastating and frankly boring. Every vamp player should take a picture of there army at the start of the game and compare to others. I think all players who say the vamps got a boost where glamoured by hot vamps in the new chariot model. Read 7th ed vamps. Scout...gone. Master black arts...gone. Dark acolyte....gone. Ethereal vamp....gone. All those great magic items weapons....gone. These guys are no fun any more. Im going back to lizardmen


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