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Starting Warhammer-need help
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 23:47   #1 (permalink)
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Default Starting Warhammer-need help

I plan on starting Warhammer soon, and was looking for some suggestions. I haven't read the rulebook, so please don't use rule terms.

I was wondering how these armies are. I was thinking of being one of these. Below is the list of armies, and why I want to be them.

1)Vampire Counts:I really like the idea of having a Necromancer-theme army. I love Necromancers (but hate vampires themselves...) and the theme of starting as a low Necromancer to fight campaigns and eventaully become a legendary one (fluff wise for me) sounded really cool. I'm not a huge fn of the models though-I sort of like them, but the bare skeletons make them look sort of weak.

2)Dark Elves: I liked their mobility and dark alternative to elves. But I dislike the models, and know little of actual Warhammer backround. But from experience with other games, Dark Elves tend to be cool.

3)Tomb Kings: Their theme is somewhat cool, and the models are nice. They seemed tougher than the skeletons of the Vamprie Counts.

4)Dwarves. I like everything about them. In fact, I looked right at them first, as when I was thinking of playing warhammer, I had just watched LoTRs, played a few medieval video games, and had decided I was quite fond of dwarves. But one problem. If my info is correct, the dwarves are the Space Marines of Warhammer. They just got a new book I heard. And I've heard they have better mobility, and have better shooting. And the plastic kit can be used to make 1 of 3 differant types of core units (showing favor). And what will everyone think when I show up with a 40k Space Marine Army and a Dwarves army? "*Cough* Noob/young idiot*Cough*"... It's a shame- I really love dwarves, but the only (and big) reason I won't field them is due to thoughts of me being noob and having a non-unique army.


5)Chaos-I just thought that having a champion leading a small band of chaos warriors around in a small band sounded like a really cool theme. And I like chaos.
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Old 05 Jan 2006, 00:23   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

Read the rule book. It will help kitbags.

Dwarves will be the most forgiving of the armies listed. GW did a similar thing when they realeased woodelfs, having the kits as multiple unit types. Its something they have done for a while. And Dwarves still aren't particually mobile. Brettonians are the marines of Fantasy. Dwarves are Dwarves, and a good army. And now's a good time to start collecting.

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Old 05 Jan 2006, 15:58   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

1. For a in depth coverage of VC, I posted a decent one here.


Also if you don't like the VC skeles just buy a box of high elves/dwarves/humans/chaos/any other army and mix and match. That's one of the best things about Vampire Counts every armies models will work for your army. Just throw in a rotted limb here and a bone there. There was a recent white dwarf article that was all about turning a Wood Elf army into a VC army that was quite good. Currently my VC army's skeletons are mostly empire with some High Elf, Skaven, Chaos, and Wood Elf thrown in. I also have a unit of Black Knight cavalry that are converted from Brettonian knights.

That's what makes VC so great if you don't like their models...use someone elses after you kill them. Also there are Wights(strong undead) and wraiths(ethereal undead) that you can take instead of a Vampire as a hero, and there's always the Necromancers.

VC is an army where having all your character slots(like HQ slots, but you can have up to 3 in below 2000 points and get more for every 1000 points unlike the 2 HQ slots only in 40K) be Magic users won't hurt you like it will most other armies(except of course Tzeentch).

2. Dark Elves are indeed a good army, I considered them, but when my brother started playing them I went High Elf. The fluff is like 40K, except that rather than causing the birth of Slaanesh and then splitting. Slaanesh already existed and cults split the race in 2 one side following an usurper to the High Elf throne and the other side following the proper claiments. They're models aren't as crazy as the Dark Eldar as the Dark Elves wear an armour that you could actually fight in, afford some kind of protection, and not accidently cut your own hand off when reaching for a wallet.

3 of they're "selling" points as an army are Cold One Knights, Repeater crossbows, speed, and reaver bolt throwers.

Cold One Knights: This cavalry would be considered the best cavalry in the game if it didn't suffer from stupidity(You have to roll under you're leadership at the start of your turn or they act stupid like not being able to move). A great armour save and strongest mounts in the game for a decent point cost.

Repeater Crossbowman: You can shoot 2 arrows instead of one with a -1 to hit. So you'll launch 20 arrows instead of 10 and need a 4+ to hit instead of a 3+. Statistically 1 shot means 6 hits for 10 shots and 10 hits for the 20 shots. The Crossbows also are strong enough to wound most models except warmachines. Also the DE have one of the best Ballistic Skills in the game, tied with the HE.

Speed: The DE are meant as a fast raiding force and are very mobile. Their foot soldiers get 5" movement instead of 4" like most other armies(except dwarves who only have a 3")

Reaver bolt throwers: You can take 2 as a single slot and it can do a lot of damage. This is your main war machine, it can launch either 1 powerful bolt or a volley of arrows.

The Dark Elves have a lot of other things too, but these are several of their strong points. Their army "codex" is actually very much like the High Elves except the High Elf spearman can fight in 3 ranks and the Dark Elves use repeater crossbows.

3. Tomb Kings:
While vampire counts can field a unit of skeletons and other more powerful undead, almost the entire Tomb King army is made of Skeletons.
Skelton bowmen(horrible bs, weak weapon, one of the worst units in the game),
Skeleton foot soldiers(about as good as the VC's skeles),
Skeleton Horsemen(Nothing special, not bad, but not on the "best" cavalry list either),
Skeleton chariots(they're good on the 1st turn if they get the charge, weak on everything else),
Bone Giants (Huge Undead that aren't quite as good as their living counterparts)
Tomb Scorpions (A scuttling pile of bones that were built to look like scorpions)
Tomb Swarms (Skelton bugs)

This is a true horde army. You will have lots and lots of skeletons with a few other troops like Ushabiti(think mummies wearing the headresses from Stargate) and a liche priest. Unlike the VC you won't be able to do conversions as easily since the Tomb Kings armies are meant to be made up of the "Egyptian" style units already taken from the desert sands rather than converts from around the world like the VC.

4. Dwarves: The Dwarves are the single least mobile army in the game. They have the smallest movement profile and no real cavalry to speak of. The Dwarves are the redcoats of 40k. Find a position on a hill. Line the hammerers(they use hammers) and other heavy infantry up at the bottom and then put the thunderers(black powder gunners) and war machines(organ guns, cannons, flame thrower, bolt thrower, anvil of doom) on a cliff so they can shoot. This is a defensive army, if they move they can be outflanked extremely easily so their usual strategy is to find something to put their backs too and just sit their shooting till the enemy charges you.

I don't care for the dwarf fluff, but this is the best shooting army in the game. Just don't expect to move around much as with their slow speed they can't ever outflank the enemy and are easy to flank.

5. Hordes of Chaos aren't Hordes at all. Chaos armies are the second smallest in the game (behind the 12 model thousand point lists of Ogres). You can choose from one of the 4 chaos gods(if I have to tell you their names it will make the Emperor cry) or go undivided. Amazingly Nurgle armies are actually played in fantasy. You have strong heroes, daemons, 1 insanely strong cavalry unit, and crazy magic. You can be frenzied berserkers charging straight at your foes with monstrous hand to hand units or sneaky magic users charging straight at your foes with monstrous hand to hand units. That's right your spell caster heroes can fight better than other armies' normal heroes.

You can actually field a horde using the pitifully weak marauders, but even the state troops of the Empire can deal with these unarmoured units without too much difficulty.

Chaos warriors on the other hand are power houses capable of beating heavy cavalry with foot soldiers and slogging through missle fire brushing most of it off. The Chosen Chaos warriors are even more so. A single unit of 5 Chosen Chaos Knights is capable of taking out anything they fight with. The downside is that 1 unit of 5 chosen knights is going to cost you a huge chunk of your points. Chaos armies tend to be very small, fielding as few as 5 units in a 2000 point game.

Chaos is very customizable and there are lots of bits, plus the daemons can be used in both 40K and fantasy with a simple change of base.
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Old 05 Jan 2006, 22:51   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

Trying to post a reply after "the long night's" fantastic essay is going to be hard. However, heres some very simple tips upon choosing an army:
  • Ensure you like the look of the army - you've got to paint these and use them for a long time remember
  • Make sure that you know what type of army your going for, of the armies you have specified, they all have some incredibly varied playing styles. Look at what Long night has written, and think about your playing style. Dwarves are for those who like to shoot an opponent while employing powerfull troops o make a formidable front line, the dark elves are for fast assaulting generals with nice shock power, however care must be taken due to their fragile nature. Chaos are complete opposite of dwarves, entirely offensive with minimal ranged weaponary, khorne has none, even no magic (however the carnage he causes in combat is immense)
  • In fantasy, a lot less emphasios is put on simply pouring shots into your opponent, and there are few armies that can pull this off, with more emphasis on combat. Unlike 40K, Magic is an EXTREMELY potent weapon to employ against your enemies!

-The Bleak Assassin-
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Old 05 Jan 2006, 23:52   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

Ok...I 2g somehwere, but wanted to add a quick post. I can't say reasons why (not much time), but I can say I'm down to Vampire Counts, Dark Elves, and Chaos.

I'll be back later to explain. Thanks for all the great help long night. Could you go more in depth about these 3 armies for me?
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Old 06 Jan 2006, 20:47   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

Vampire Counts:

Fun little bloodsuckers. You can either have a horde of skeletons and zombies with as many units of them as you want (there is only a minimum number of core troops to take, there is no max to how many units).

As such in a 2000 point game you can end up fielding more than a hundred models(trust me on this one you can even outnumber skaven if you try hard enough). Or you can field bare minimum core troops (2+ at lowest point levels) and spend all your points on special and rare units.

I almost always take a banshee as my rare choice as she is the only ranged unit you get, but what a ranged unit.

With Vampire counts you can dominate hand to hand or you can dominate magic, but you can't do both. A lot of good lists do one or the other, but you can also go with the middle and do just as well.

There are 5 bloodlines for the Vampire counts. Von Carstein, Blood Dragon, Nechrach, Strigoi, and Lahmians .

Von Carstein: The stereotypical dracula. They can fight, cast magic, and have cool bloodline powers such as summoning bats, wolves, and ill winds(sucks for shooting armies) too the field.

Blood Dragon: These are the warrior vampires, dedicated to honing their martial prowess. The Blood Dragon Vampire lord has an incredible 10 WS. They can wear armour and cast spells as well something that usually only tzeentch chaos heroes can do. They aren't as good a spell caster as any of the other vampire bloodlines, but their blender abilities more than makes up for the slight deficency. BD bloodline abilities are mostly for increasing it's combat potential such as the opponent losing an attack, giving the vampire the killing blow rule(on a 6 instant kill), frenzy, and making whoever he challenges to combat piss their pants and try to hide ability(I'm serious it has a different name, but that's more or less what it does).

A fully wargeared BD vampire lord will always hit on a 3+ wound usually on a 3+, can have a 1+ armour save even on foot, opponents can only hit him on a 5+ and usually only wound on a 5 or 6+, and can move 5" instead of the usual 4". This coupled with his high initative and 5-8 attacks means alone the lord is capable of cutting down even chaos knights, ogres, and other things.

The downside to these master swordsmen is that in close combat your Blood Dragon has to challenge the enemy to single combat, even if your model is a 110 point vampire thrall(weakest of the 3 levels of vampire) and you're opponent has an 800 point Chaos lord of the apocalypse(I call him Archaon others call him beardy).

Necrachs: These are wasted shriveled husks of vampires, dedicating themselves to the study of the dark arts. They are the weakest of all vampires(which means they could only tear a person wearing full plate in two with their bare hands rather than ripping the horse into 2 pieces in the same gesture.) What they lack in physcial prowess(a small drop in weapon skill and can't use mundane weapons or armour), they more than make up for in spell casting.
As Delvaurius pointed out along with his kind words of your's truly. Magic is a very large part of the game, so big it has an entire phase dedicated too it rather than just to be done in the shooting phase.
The Necrachs are the only vampires that can become lvl 4 wizards(1 being the weakest, 4 the most powerful) thanks to a bloodline power. They're bloodline powers strengthen their spellcasting ability and you can use magic items to swell even farther till you have the most powerful mage (tied with Chaos Tzeentch sorcerors on the board). Couple this with some of the Vampire counts magic items and you have a very dangerous model.

Strigoi: Walking mountains of muscles. They have claws the size of swords and a disposition like that of a rabid rotweiller kicked one too many times. They can't use weapons or armour period, but with their claws they don't need to. While not as high a WS as the BloodDragons, they get bonuses to their profile in the form of str, tough, and wounds. Using the Necrach's analogy for strength, the Strigoi could rip the man in armour, the horse, and the Imperial steam tank they're hiding in apart. Strigoi's bloodline powers deal almost entirely with buffing this walking murder machine.

Lahmians: Second weakest of the vampires. The Lahmian's power lies in her bloodline abilities, capable of making your opponents soldiers fight each other rather than her and giving extremely complicated abilities that amount to "tee hee I'm too pretty to attack why don't you kill each other and then I'll suck your blood."

The 2 special characters that come in the book are Manfred Von Carstein, a Von Carstein who fought the Empire and came closer to taking it over than Chaos has ever done and Zachrias the Everliving, riding a zombie dragon this Necrach vampire is the second greatest mage in the game (The High Elf Teclis being the number one). These 2 are probably the most expensive special characters in the game at close too and more than 1000 points and at 3 character slots each (They're might be more expensive, but I can't recall any off the top of my head.) these 2 are probably the best special characters in the game.

There are 3 basic categories that the VC armies use(these are very large categories with lots of strategies inside and variations).
1: The unliving horde: Lots of models and just outflank, outnumber, and overwhelm your opponent.

2: The elite unliving: A lot less models, but they're your strongest and best.

3: The Retinue: You've put most of your points into your characters(with VC its very easy to put more than 1000 points into just 4 characters in a 2000 point
game) and have units just to keep them safe from missile fire and other tricks opponents can pull.

There are 3 more subdivisions that the VC player can use beyond even these.

1 Combat monsters: You kit your troops and characters entirely for Close combat and ignore the magic phase for the most part. Being VC you still have to have a magic user, but a necrach thrall, a vampire count, avampire lord, or a single Necromancer will suffice for this.

2 Magic heavy: You go all necromancers(VC is probably the only army that can get away with this. Even High Elves and Tzeentch can't go all magic with their characters and still fight as well as an army.) and dominate the magic phase with the Necromancer magic (Probably the best list of spells available in the game and it's all yours MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA). They can also access the lore of shadows from the rulebook, but I recommend necromancy, its just much better.

3 A moderate view: You can go a mix of close combat and magic, you don't have to go all of one or all of the other and you can still do well.

Just remember most of your troops are weaker than your opponents with the exception of Black Knights and Grave Guard whom are strong. What you do have going for you is that almost all your troops are undead meaning no leadership tests, and every single unit in your army causes fear or terror.

Large units are your friend since if you charge someone and they fail their fear test if you're unit size is larger they auto break. If you beat someone in close combat and you're larger than them, they auto break. Regardless of size however if someone wants to charge you and fails, they can't. Fear is your friend.

2 Dark Elves: Yarr matey, here be the pirates of the seas of Warhammer. The Dark Elves follow Khaine(Slaneesh) and like their pleasures and tortures. They live within 7 city fortress made entirely of obsidian and black steel. Their raiding fleets gather around the black fortresses, magically enchanted castles that travel the oceans. In addition they hate their high elf brethren and want to see them driven before them and hear the lamentations of their women. Lead by the evil Witch King(no not the one from Voltron) they are a powerful force.

The Dark elves are physically frail with only 3 str and 3 tough, but in exchange their infantry get second best move(with ogres and cavalry the only faster things in the game), high weapon skil, high initiative, and high leadership.

The magic users of the Dark Elves are the Sorceresses. The Dark Elves have access to the Dark elf lore(I think it's called dark magic), a lore from the rulebook, and I believe the lore of slaanesh from the Chaos book.

Another of the DE characters is the Assasin who can remain hidden within one of your own units and then surprise surprise pop out and murder some enemies. (Assassins have a ws 10, a ws next to no one can match)

The DE have access to the following units:

Dark Elf Warriors: Give them repeater crossbows or spears and let them do their work.

Dark Riders: Fast cavalry, Dark elves on steeds used to flank the enemy.

Corsairs: Dark elf warriors with melee and ranged weapons, and a dragon skin cloak for a bonus save. Their part of the raiding fleets that sail around and bring back slaves for torture.

Cold Ones: Heavy Cavalry, Probably one of the best cavalries in the game, beware stupidity, but it usually wonít bother you. If it werenít for stupidity this would be the best cavalry in the game.

Cold one chariot: Like the Cavalry, but a chariot. Iím not too fond of them as theyíre only really useful on the charge, but I have a chaos friend who will swear by them.

Witch Elves: Supermodels in bikinis who enjoy night time rituals, long walks on a corpse filled beach, and bathing in the blood of virgins to remain eternally young and beautiful. Their light infantry, but can do a lot of damage to anything but heavy cavalry.

Shades: Scouts with ranged weapons, use them to harass the enemy and slow their advance.

Executioners: The Witch Kingís not so secret police, Heavy infantry. They wear heavy armour and use large great weapons to boost their strength. A very strong block of troops capable of taking on even heavy cavalry. A great place to put a non-mounted general.

Harpies: The DE flying unit, go look them up if youíre never heard of harpies before. A fast unit poor at stand up combat, use to harass the enemyís archers and warmachines.


Reaper Bolt Throwers: Youíre main war machine, good for 1 powerful bolt to pierce a line of troops, or a volley of arrows.

Cauldron of Blood: I wasnít kidding about bathing in virgin blood. Crewed by a crazy group of Witch elves this is an interesting war machine.

War Hydra: A multi-headed lizard which likes eating people, pretty good, but donít let the beastmaster die or it might turn on you too.

Black Guard: Heavy Infantry, The Witch Kingís bodyguard, a dark and dangerous group, tough to kill and a good place for a non-mounted general(if you want to shell out the points for this powerful unit).

The Dark Elves have 4 Special Characters for you to field.

Melkith, the Witch King: Riding a acid spewing black dragon this guy is bad news.
Morathi: Mounted upon a black Pegasus and with the blood of virgins still splattering her this witch elf is a strong spellcaster.
Shadowblade: An assassin who slew a ship full of soldiers over a long voyage for fun.
Malus Darkblade: The Kin slayer, he is evil, cruel, calculating, and sadistic. In other words the pride and joy of his father, or at least was until he gutted his father. This character has the largest fan following of any special character(except Gortex and Felix). He rides a cold one called spite who doesnít suffer from stupidity. Malus has a very cool book(forget the name) and a series of comic strips based on him. Heís my favorite named character in Warhammer (both 40k and fantasy)

3. Hordes of Chaos

Based off of Celts and Vikings, coming down from the north to change you, kill you, rape you, or plague you these wacky northerners spread chaos wherever they go.

Hordes of Chaos is a very misleading name as their armies tend to be very small. Theyíre as much a raiding force as dark elves, except they want to conquer land rather than just take slaves.

The army disposition is a little unusual. Chaos has 1 rare unit. The Chaos spawn an amalgamation of flesh, bone, and sharp parts. Itís fearless and can hold up even heavy cavalry for a turn or 2.

Thereís a second rare unit that came out the Hellcannon of chaos, but you need the storm of chaos book to use it. It is probably the most powerful cannon in the game manned by those cute and cuddly chaos dwarves (thatís right folks their back, but as a single unit rather than an army)Öjust donít misfire.

Then it comes down to daemonic or mortal. If your general is a daemon then daemonic units count as a core choice and mortals are special. If the general is mortal then mortal units are core and daemons are special.

Hordes of chaos is the largest of the separate army books because it has so much stuff in it. The daemons are pretty much exactly the same as those out of 40K.

Mortals come in 2 shapes, marauders and warriors of chaos. Marauders are pathetic and have trouble taking on skeletons (that tells you how bad they are). Chaos warriors will be the mainstay of your force if you go mortal.

Despite having a 1 unit army there are lots of variations for this one unit.
Chaos Warriors: Chaos on foot
Chaos Knights: Chaos on horses
Chaos Chariots: Chaos in style

Chaos warriors have high ws, str, tough, init, and leadership. They are hard to kill and very good at close combat.
You can make a single unit of warriors and knights into Chosen. This gives them an awesome armour save and other bonuses.

The 4 gods come into play even more here than they do in 40K. I say this because for once you wonít see only Khorne and Tzeentch as the only chaos armies fielded. People will field Slaanesh and dare I say it the armies of Nurgle (a god/army widely believed to be a myth by most 40K players)

Each of the marks gives a plethora of bonuses to the army.

Khorne: makes the unit frenzied(they want to hurt stuff and just try stopping them BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD) and generate a dispel die in opponentís magic phase for each unit with the mark you have (you use dispel dice to stop your opponent casting spells no army can generate as many as a Khorne army.)
Tzeentch: Each unit gains x ability and generates a power die in your magic phase for each unit with the mark you have (use power dice to cast spells)
Slaanesh: Canít remember, something sexy and hermaphroditic no doubt.
Nurgle: All models gain an extra wound on their profile (very powerful, makes normally tough chosen chaos knights into practically unstoppable tanks)

All of the chaos armies are good, it usually boils down to fluff and personal preference as to whom to play.

Biggest disadvantage of chaos is you have no shooting whatsoever (I havenít even seen the hellcannon used, and it requires a separate book (Storm of Chaos) to use in the first place.

Chaosís main tactic is, march towards the enemy (or rush uncontrollably at the closest enemy unit if youíre Khorne) and hope you get there before his shooting takes too big a toll on your forces.

Theyíre not a complex army and in my opinion and all honesty it comes down less to strategy and more to list building.

Hope that gives you a bit more info, I had to cut it short on the Chaos as I ran out of time, but I hope this helps.
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Old 06 Jan 2006, 21:47   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

I don't quite agree with what you said about Chaos Marauders. They are only 5 points per model so losing a unit of 16 is still only 80 points, less than two chosen knights. They are seriously underestimated and normally left alone, though just giving them great weapons gives you 7 points per strength 5 attack, and are useful at taking out stronger units when they least expect it.
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Old 06 Jan 2006, 22:39   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

My biggest problem with them is the lack of armour and staying power. A unit of High Elf bowman shoot 20 arrows. 12 hit, 6 wound, all die. That's a panic test time and with the low leadership the marauders have a good chance of running. 2 turns of shooting leaves a 16 man unit with just 4 people left.

Or against an equal number of Dark Elf Crossbowman. 40 shots, 20 hits, 10 wounds, that's two-thirds of a unit gone right there. Also if a unit is wiped out from shooting and magic you need to make panic tests for that unit's close neighters which is something I prefer not to risk.

Now against chaos warriors

High Elves shoot 20 arrows, 12 hit, 4 wound, 3 save, 1 dies

Chosen knights

High elves shoot 40 arrows, 26 hit, 8 wound, 7 save, 1 dies
Dark elves shoot 40 bolts, 20 hits, 10 wounds, 9 save, 1 dies

With the same ammount of firepower I can wipe out an entire unit of marauders and force a panic test or get rid of 1 maybe 2 Chosen chaos knights.
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Old 06 Jan 2006, 23:22   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help


I like Vampire Counts backround and fluff posibilities...

But I like Dark Elves need for actual strategy, and a band of corsairs sounds like good fluff...

Lastly, I like Chaos models the most and their tough units, but dissapointed by "lack of needed strategy." Sounds like these guys might be cheaper to buy though...
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Old 07 Jan 2006, 04:59   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Starting Warhammer-need help

Originally Posted by SMR

I like Vampire Counts backround and fluff posibilities...

But I like Dark Elves need for actual strategy, and a band of corsairs sounds like good fluff...

Lastly, I like Chaos models the most and their tough units, but dissapointed by "lack of needed strategy." Sounds like these guys might be cheaper to buy though...
Chaos units are hard but they have no shooting and magic is pretty unreliable so actually they can be pretty tough to play. Khorne (which seems to be pretty popular) can be baited pretty easily.

Dark elves are one of the hardest armies to play, but you if master it they are pretty damn good. Also dark elves can get an extra list called 'cult of slaanesh' which is a mix of dark elves and chaos.

Vampire counts are undead and have a different playing style than mortal armies. They are pretty competitive, but I suggest starting off with a mortal army so you can get the hang of all the finer points of the game (undead are immune to a lot of things).
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