Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vargheists or Crypt Horrors?

So last night I’m sitting down at the table and I have the first of three boxes of Vargheists/Crypt Horrors unboxed in front of me. My first instinct is to make up the Vargheists as they look far the nicer models. However having once made up a unit of Sepulchral Stalkers, only to have to retro-fit them back to Necropolis Knights, I decide I should do some reading first.

A quick perusal of the net suggests that Crypt Horrors are the new hotness (Evidence: TWF thread “Are Crypt Horrors Broken?) but there is a school of thought – coming out of Europe - that Vargheists may be under-rated. So let’s look at the rules for the two units.


WS 4 Str 5 To 4 I 4

Special Rules: Fly, Frenzy, Vampiric

Crypt Horrors

WS 3 Str 4 To 5 I 2

Special Rules: Poison, Regen (5+)

On the face of it, Vargheists appear more “hitty” with 4 Str 5 attacks at WS 4 and higher initiative. The higher WS won’t make them any more resilient so the To 4 with no save is worrying. The inclusion of Frenzy creates a further problem as it makes them very unreliable unless you deploy them close to your command – General and BSB – so they aren’t led a merry dance around the board. The Fly rule is good in potentially getting them in to the right target however after the first hit they are really off the leash, forced to pursue etc.

Crypt Horrors appear to be the opposite, an anvil unit that due to WS3 and Str 4 fails to hand out much damage. This may be misleading – because as I found at the weekend – the Vampiric Lore has two spells that act as force multipliers. These are “Vanhels” which gives you the ability to re-roll misses and “Unholy Vigour” which allows you to re-roll “to wound” rolls. It is likely that you will get one of these through which changes the dynamics considerably. A second chance to roll a poison hit in part gets around both the lower WS and the lower Str, while the re-roll to wound greatly enhances damage output.

Given this – and a 8 point cost differential in favour of the Horrors – it is hard to see why you would take Vargheists over Horrors. The extra points will likely pay for a Spirit Host or an ethereal character, both of which should prove very useful. In both cases, current gaming wisdom has both units at between 6-8 models. This seems sensible as it maximises the efficiency of any buffs you look to use.

I’d be keen to better understand how the Europeans are getting increased utility out of a Vargheist unit over the Horrors as I am clearly missing something. As it currently stands, all three boxes will be made up as Crypt Horrors.


  1. I can see vargiests synergysing more with a black knight/terrorgiest list with black coach, and the horrors more with a zombie/goul list using mortis engine.

  2. Its because Europeans dont play the same game as everyone else... ETC

  3. I am fairly inexperienced but to me the Vargheists look like basically flying Rat Ogre's and you know how popular those are :)

    From my experiments with trying to use Rat Ogre's I would say the toughness 4 no saves of any kind thing greatly reduces thier chances of making it into combat alive to make thier points back and with all of the poison/chaff doing the rounds recently they will just get shot/magic missile to death or get led around by the nose by throw away chaff due to frenzy as you mentioned yourself.


  4. Despite the Horrors being cheaper per model its actually going to work out cheaper for a unit of Vargheists due to the different roles of the units. Horrors are primarily an anvil block, so you want them with at least 2 ranks and possibly 4 wide, which is going to be 200-300pts to get you an effective unit. Vargheists on the other hand give you completely self sufficient combat punch (rare for Vampires), so 3 is plenty to chop your way through support units (obviously they are never going to take on big blocks very easily since they have basically no defence). Vampiric means that they can operate as flankers, which is something that's not easy to do with Vampires. Obviously Frenzy can be a pain, but Ld7 at least gives you a chance of passing I guess. The thing is that with Fly and the ability to skirmish you can just charge over blocking units and face away from them early on to avoid being forced to charge anyway. Most likely you just jump them up the flank turn 1 (possibly starting inside General/BSB range to avoid stupidly long charge attempts turn 1), which put them into charge rank of a whole bunch of things and renders Frenzy a moot point.

    I think the main thing to remember is that they have different roles. For me though its hard to see the need for more anvil units in a Vampire army when you can easily just keep people stuck indefinitely with hordes of Zombies (i.e Core, leaving you points to buy stuff to kill things with in Special).

    1. I agree Robert, they have different roles. I'm just a little more concerned that they will tend to get themselves in trouble.

      However one unit of three to clear out chaff may have merit. Still likely 140-150 points - same as 2 Mournfang or 8 Gutter Runners....mmmmmm

  5. That's pretty much the same analysis that i did which led me to the same conclusion but you've missed one other important thing.

    Vargheists are vampires which is good because it means that they can march and don't suffer if the general dies. However, it is very bad when it comes to summoning them back as you can only get back 1 wound at a time with invocation.
    Compare this to Crypt Horrors who can have 5 wounds added back if a L4 casts invocation...


  6. Wheres im the opposite, I couldn't see myself ever taking the Crypt Horrors, To easy to block up and deal with other crap. Vargheists cannot be blocked at all due to the fly rule. Can always march. Can keep them back to avoid magic /shooting, besides they skirmish against shooting.

    Besides there actual killing Power is fairly minmal, you said it yourself when playing ogres, WS3 is a killer when trying to hit stuff, makes them unpredictable.

    Ws4 is better place to be in many regards. In surviving hits back also.

    Skaven only don't play rat ogres because there is just better stuff for them.
    I don't think this is the case for VC