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  #1  
Old November 4th, 2008, 01:53 PM

DigSen DigSen is offline
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Default Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

Hey all.
I've so far only dared to play SP, I'm still trying to find a nation I really like. Right now I'm digging LA Ulm, and I'm getting better at jump-starting my blood-economy - but once I've got the Counts, how can I use them for combat?

I understand about spamming Raise Skeletons, and using Summon Lammashtas in suicide runs, but shouldn't it be possible to outfit my Counts with cheap gear and get them to mix it up on the front lines?

I have a few big questions, I guess (but any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!):
  • Is it worth hanging on to their innate Life Drain attack, or will they get more mileage out of a Fire Brand?
  • If they're going to be thugs, is it okay to slap encumbering armor on them, or should I find cheap Protection somewhere else?
  • Is it potentially worth it to give Skull Staffs to a few, have them cast Soul Vortex, and then fly in to mix it up?
  • And, even with five or six thugged out Counts, will I still need some mortal troops to back them up? Or will they ever be able to handle reasonable enemy opposition by themselves?
Alternatively, am I barking up the wrong tree entirely? Should I have my Counts focus on blood-hunting and build up massive demon armies instead?
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Old November 4th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

The one item that I would give them is a amulet of magic resistance. There's just so many ways to banish or destroy undead. And I think its risky to put a bunch of stuff on undead units.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 02:57 PM

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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

I think that the life drain stays no matter what equipment you give them. Also, undead have 0 encumbrance, so you can put whatever armor you like on them without worries. They still get casting enc. though, so don't forget about that. AMA are a good investment, as are any brands, Charcoal,Vine, GG, or Eye shields. When I was playing around with them I actually gave them Jade Armor for the quickening, but since I was playing against Ry'leh they got paralyzed and killed fast, doesn't mean the armor's bad though. Horror Helms could also be useful, since any innate death magic increases the fear effect.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:01 PM

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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

I'm not actually familiar with the vampire counts, but to my knowledge no undead gains encumbrance from armor. So you can put whatever you want on them encumbrance-wise. It will just make them move slower (if they fly this doesn't matter, if you want them casting spells they still gain additional encumbrance for spellcasting from heavy armor so you want to avoid it).

Also generally speaking I don't think it would be worth it to give them a skull staff to cast soul vortex. If you want to give them the ability to cast soul vortex, you would be better off using the +d hat. But that is probably a bit too expensive for what they're worth.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:04 PM

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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

Counts can work well getting buffed as communion slaves. You just need a few other mages with Astral & other buffing paths.

Even with just Astral you can give them personal luck and MR. Their own death can give them Soul Vortex.

Just have the masters retreat (or attack if they're also Counts) after buffing the slaves.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:39 PM

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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

Do counts get Astral? If they don't, then I dunno if Ulm gets anyone with combo S and E paths for the matrices.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:48 PM

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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

Counts have blood. They can use Sabbath Slave, which works with Communion.
Give them a couple slaves to cast & reduce fatigue. Maybe have one cast Reinvigoration after buffing.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:54 PM

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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

LA Ulm gets 1s1e on 25% of their forge priests.

As to thugging out the counts...

Well I've had great success using them as raiders (for out of dominion) giving them horror helmet and golden shield, the combo of awe and fear means they don't get hit much, and as the chaff surrounds them they eventually rout due to the fear effect.

Granted, you don't want these counts going up against anything 'tough', but for clearing PD they work very well. Now, depending on the PD you stick on an appropriate armor (if they need missle def, fire/elec res, or just as much prot as you can give them). Fire/Frost brands are nice for the AoE damage, but swords of quickness, or the one that gives luck (forget the name at the moment...) are also options. Chi boots are actually not a bad cheap footwear, as they give +4 def and an extra attack, but boots of quickness are probably better if you can afford them/forge them (10W to forge, and Ulm has no natural W mages).

Miscellaneous slots can be whatever you need boosted, or just whatever you can forge cheaply.

If you are going to use the counts offensively out of your dominion you want to be a little more careful with the potential equipment, or be fairly certain your army is going to win (so the gear drops to other commanders). Using them in your dominion is a no brainer, but better to couple them with a real army if you have any gear you don't want to lose on them.

Soul Vortex sounds nice, but the cost to get it on a count is too high, unless you have tons of death gems and just empower to D3 (45 gems), so long as you don't commit that count outside of your dominion you won't lose him, the cost of the death raising helmet is 25d (I think) and it doesn't offer much protection, the skull staff means no shield so I don't think that's a good idea.

The other thing to realize is that even at 33 blood slaves they are pretty cheap once your blood economy is humming along, so you can afford to even lose a few if you need to put them in harms way out of your dominion, just don't suicide any gear you can't afford to easilly replace.

LAUlm can forge with a 40% reduction if you give a hammer to a forge priest, so sticking a few 5gem items (3gems with the discount) isn't such a bad loss if it improves their overall effectiveness.

But to recap, the counts fly, are stealthy, regenerate (10%), have 30 hitpoints, and decent attack/def. Their protection is ZERO, which is a huge hole if you do nothing about it, so giving them some armor or etherealness is needed unless you just want them to jump in spam some death spells and then retreat.

Really they make ideal raiders with a small amount of const4 gear, as they can sneak if you need them to, or just jump around to any province within 3 of where they just were.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 04:28 PM

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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

If you give them a black heart they make great assasins. Since they'll throw thralls every turn, you'll take over the province the turn you assasinate the last commander. Ofc, this won't work if there's PD, but few players can afford to put PD on every single province.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Thugging Out Vampire Counts? (LA Ulm)

they NEED some sort of armour with protection zero, other than that dress for the occaission, a good sheild help but isn't vital aslong as you make use of that flight and kill archers/crossbowmen fast.

also you asked about putting some mortal troops with them, i say no just reserach blood rite, it's a blood spell (duh) which you're counts can cast with no boosters, for 22 blood slaves it gives you 8+ vampires (vampire units not counts) yeah you may want to spend slaves on counts and such but once you have a few counts out you can make good use of this, by late game you should have hordes of immortal vampire legions and vampire counts blood hunting all over your dominion, no need for cash because you are summoning immortal troops and mages (vampires of the leader and unit variety).

also good to add is that none of the vampires have an upkeep cost - again a reason why you don't need cash, blood slaves should replace both cash and resources for you if you put enough drive into the vamps,

and the best thing is you WILL have an endless horde of troops, because no matter how many die (so long as they die in you're dominion) they will all respawn at you're capital ready to be dispatched against the next enemy force to wander into you're dominion.

Perhaps you're dominion will be feared as much as ermors, just turn taxes up sky high - scorched earth style, and you won't be at any loss (though it makes blood hunting harder but still you're troops respawn themselves after death so the enemy will just keep getting weaker whilst you get stronger or at the very least stay exactly the same)

The only sad part is ulm isn't amazing early on (except the crossbowmen - love them) but once a few counts are out and yuo have a decent blood economy it does look up and only gets better
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