Beards, Robes and Fangs

A 10,000pt battle report featuring High Elves, Dwarves and an awful lot of Vampires...

On the principle that bigger equals better, a bunch of us decided to play a fairly substantial game for a change. The new Vampire Counts book had just been released, complete with incredibly expensive Vampire characters, so I was slightly amazed to find I could actually make a 5000pt army fairly easily (having over 2000pts just in Vampire Lords helped). The hugeness of it all attracted legions of bystanders, onlookers, hecklers and the like, some of whom handily came eqipped with cameras. Since we ended up with a ton of photos, I thought it'd be shame not to do something with them. Here follow my (probably incomplete and biased) recollections of a pretty big game between the noble alliance of High Elves (Greg) and Dwarves (Aaron) and the fiendish and black-hearted but impeccably-dressed Vampire Counts (Ben and Pete).

View all the photos from the game


The Blood Knights deployed opposite most of the High Elf army, lead by a mounted Vampire Lord. The infantry went in the centre with two Vampire Lords, while the Zombie Dragon went on the far left flank. The other flank was filled with a wall of Undead infantry led by a variety of Vampires, all armed to the teeth (har har).

Vampire Counts Turn 1

Blood Knights move forward supported by Wraiths and a Varghulf. A Vampire Lord with the Talisman of Lycni jogged over and joined them. The infantry in the centre moves forward. Various nasty spells get fired off, but they're all blocked except for a Wind of Undead that creates 5 (!) Spirit Hosts. On the other flank, masses of Undead infantry march toward the Dwarf lines.

Dwarf-High Elf Alliance Turn 1

A Prince riding a Star Dragon charged the Wraiths. The other High Elf units crept forward a bit. Some Swordmasters moved forward to attack the massed Undead infantry on the other flank. The Dwarves stayed put. The High Elves attempted to throw some nasty spells at the Blood Knights, but were either stopped or failed to cast. (The Drakenhof Banner was safe for now.) The Dwarves opened up on both large Grave Guard units, killing off quite a few Wights and smashing up the nearby Black Coach. The Anvil of Doom slowed the Zombie Dragon down and did a wound to it.

Vampire Counts Turn 2

The Blood Knights charged into an Eagle, which ran off. A Varghulf charges the Swordmasters, another runs into some Spearmen and a third sneaks off down the far flank along with the Zombie Dragon. Two flying Vampires charge into a Flame Cannon and start shredding the crew. The infantry moves forward some more across the board. The High Elves use their sleazy Vortex Shard, cancelling out the Vampire Counts magic phase and stopping a few units Danse-ing their way into some flanks.

Dwarf-High Elf Alliance Turn 2

The Dragon-rider that had finished mauling the Wraiths moved around behind the Vampire lines, while some Dragon Princes charged the Vargulf on the flank. The Slayers charged the Grave Guard in the centre, supported by a Lion Chariot, while the rest of the High Elves shuffled around and the Dwarves stayed put. The High Elves destroyed the Drakenhof Banner with Vaul's Unmaking, rendering the Blood Knights far more vulnerable. Both Grave Guard units were getting pretty badly mauled by this point.

Vampire Counts Turn 3

The Blood Knights charged the Eagle again (deja vu), which lead to the Knights running into the flank of the Battle Banner-toting battle standard bearer's unit of Dragon Princes and a bunch of Spearmen. The Vampire Lord riding the Zombie Dragon runs in to join the fun. The infantry all advances a bit more, with the units on the right flank getting into charge range of the Dwarf lines. The flying Vampires charged into the Runelord, stopping his rendition of Hammertime for the next turn, at least, while the giant Spirit Host charged some White Lions that bad bravely got in front of them. The Blood Knights mauled their opponents and pursued into the remnants of another unit that had just killed a Varhulf. The destruction of the Spearmen panicked a Lion Chariot that ran through an Archer unit, killing just enough to panic them. Both units fled off the table, the Archers carrying an Archmage with them (negate my magic phase will you, Mr Vortex Shard!)

Dwarf-High Elf Alliance Turn 3

The Prince, his Star Lance and his Star Dragon flew into the flank of the Blood Knights, while the other Dragon was just out of range. More shooting was seriously denting the Grave Guard, with the colossal 40-strong unit being given up as dead (even more than normal) and abandoned by the characters with them. The Prince and his monstrous mount mauled the Dragon Princes horribly, leaving only a couple of Blood Knights alive, while a Vampire Lord and a Blood Knight had to settle for mangling a Dragon Prince champion. The Grave Guard had managed to maybe kill one Slayer by this point, and the Spirit Hosts were chipping away at the White Lions but crumbling a bit in the process. The Runelord proved to be too tough for the pair of Vampires to handle and crumbled them both. A unit of Swordmasters who'd finished off a Varghulf the previous turn and then Insane Courage-d to stay in combat finally got cut down by a flanking unit of Skeletons lead by multiple Vampires, leaving them free to try and deal with a monstrous Hammerer unit.

Vampire Counts Turn 4

The Zombie Dragon-rider manoeuvred into position to try and help the Blood Knights out with a magical charge, while the Undead infantry facing the Dwarves finally got into combat. The remaining infantry in the centre puttered forwards a bit. One of the Vampire generals and his imposing bodyguard of about seven Skeletons decided to help out the Varghulf fighting the Spearmen. It got poked to death, but was duly avenged. A whole bunch of Blood Knights got resurrected in the magic phase, but a miscast managed to end it before the Vampire Lord on the Dragon could Danse in. In the combat phase a Vampire Lord managed to hold off the Star Dragon and its rider while only taking a single wound in the process, but the lone Dragon Prine standard bearer somehow proved too much to handle. He ran off anyway, but unfortunately the Dragon stayed put.

Dwarf-High Elf Alliance Turn 4

The other Dragon-rider slammed into the rear of the Blood Knights, while some Spearmen flanked the Spirit Hosts to help out the White Lions and the Phoenix Guard flanked the Grave Guard fighting the Slayers. Some feisty Archers flanked the Vampire general's massive one-and-a-bit-rank bodyguard. The remaining pesky Archmage fired off a pair of irresistible spells (damn you, Book of Hoeth), casting Drain Magic and destroying the heroic Vampire Lord's ward save. This led to him predictably being shredded by a Star Dragon. Being shredded by Star Dragons was the theme of this combat, as between the two of them they killed all the Blood Knights and left a Vampire Lord and a Wight King battle standard bearer looking a bit outclassed on two wounds each. Lots of brawling continued on the other flank as the Dwarf and Vampire Counts infantry really got down to the serious business of bashing each other to bits.

Vampire Counts Turn 5

The Ghouls charged in alongside to try and help get rid of the Slayers (really trying to kill of one of the seemingly untouchable Dragonslayers leading them), while the Zombie Dragon decided that his remaining comrade was in a bit too much trouble to help and flapped away to deal with the Book-toting Archmage and possibly help out the Spirit Hosts. A Gaze of Nagash sorted the Elf out nicely, though the Vampire thought better of charging the Spearmen and ending up in sight of a small but nasty battery of Dwarf war machines. The arrival of the Ghouls must have made the Grave Guard worried about being shown up, as they finally managed to stab a Dragonslayer to death. It'd be nice to be able to say that the Vampire and Wight fighting the Dragons went down bravely, but in reality the Wight got punched to death by a S4 Prince before his Dragon even got to to anything, and the other Vampire crumbled depressingly, despite some Zombies managing to make it in to the rear of one of the Dragons. The Vampire general managed the amazing martial feat of beating up nine Archers, definitely earning him fame throughout the ages.

Dwarf-High Elf Alliance Turn 5

The High Elf side of the battlefield was looking a bit barren by this point. The unengaged Star Dragon went off to fry some Zombies. With both the Archmages dead there was no magic, and with most of the expensive stuff in combat the shooting was limited to blowing up random Skeletons and Zombies. The Spirit Hosts finally bit the dust, though they'd managed to earn their vaguely outrageous 50pt value back by reducing the White Lions to half strength. The Archers managed to win combat, while the Star Dragon in combat beat up a few Zombies. Sounds of fatal death drifted over from the other side of the battlefield, with quite a lot of stuff (re)dying.

Vampire Counts Turn 6

The Vampire Lord on his Zombie Dragon waddled over to try and flank the Prince fighting the Zombies (accursed Anvil...), though the Dwarves' antimagic stopped him Danse Macabre-ing himself in. On the plus side, a barrage of Invocations raised more than half of the sadly depleted Grave Guard fighting the Phoenix Guard back. The Star Dragon must have found killing Zombies boring or nasty-tasting as it only managed to munch a couple, leaving it stuck in combat. On the other side of the field, the Dwarf Lord was broken the manual way by killing off his Hammerer unit, though he fled at massive speed (for a Dwarf) and got away.

Dwarf-High Elf Alliance Turn 6

Seeing an opportunity for some premier-grade glory, the Prince not currently engaged in Zombie-whacking charged his Vampire counterpart in the rear. The Dwarf lord rallied, and the artillery and Thunderers got some parting shots off (alas, poor Necromancer and his Ghouls). The Prince went in for the kill and used his Talisman of Loec, but in a blistering display of shocking rolling managed to miss the Vampire completely. His Star Dragon managed to do a wound to the bloodsucker, but then had to watch its rider get stabbed to death by the Vampire (more awful rolling ahoy for the Elf's saves). The Dragon passed its monster reaction test, but lost by one because of the Vampire Lord's Walking Death power, broke, fled into a unit of Zombies and exploded. (Dragons totally do that when they flee into things.)

End Result

The Vampire Counts and the High Elves basically slaughtered each other senseless, with around 3500pts of casualties on each side. The Vampires on the other side had also taken a beating, but as they'd done some decent damage to the Dwarves and kept more Vampires alive (read: hadn't been outrageously cocky and fielded an awesome-but-impractical Blood Knight unit containing two Vampire Lords and worth approximately 1800 points) managed to come out ahead. Overall, probably a minor victory to the fanged ones.


Notable Casualties

  • Two Vampire Lords
  • Two Archmages
  • An Elf Prince and his Star Dragon
  • A Wight King Battle Standard Bearer with the Drakenhof Banner
  • A High Elf Battle Standard Bearer with the Battle Banner
  • A unit of 40 Grave Guard
  • A unit of ten Blood Knights
  • Three Varghulfs
  • At least two Vampires
  • A unit of 30(+) Hammerers
  • A Necromancer (hey, he was notable to me)