Vampire Count's units are quite unique compared to other factions. They don't have any missile units (artillery included), making their playstyle a lot more aggressive. You have to rely on your melee, cavalry and flying units to make short work of your enemies.
Vampire Counts have access to the following melee infantry units:
- Zombies - the weakest unit in the entire game. They are slow, they deal low damage and have almost no armor. However, their main role is to occupy enemy units while your more powerful ones will deal damage to them. Additionally, their recruitment is cheap and their unit size is enormous. All of that makes them the perfect cannon fodder.
- Skeleton Warriors - your most basic melee unit (aside from Zombies). They have lower stats than most low-tier units of other factions, but what makes them effective are the low recruitment costs and their enormously large unit sizes (120 soldiers in a unit). Additionally, they are shielded, which protects them from a portion of damage from enemy missile units.
- Skeleton Spearmen - basically a variant of the unit described above. Skeleton Spearmen have almost the exact stats as the Warriors, but they deal additional damage against large enemies and enemy cavalry. However, like the two units described above, those should only be used during the early game, as they quickly fall behind other units.
- Crypt Ghouls - an infantry unit sacrificing defensive capabilities for pure damage. They are capable of dealing comparable damage to Grave Guards who are a lot more expensive, but they must be protected, as they lack any armor. If you can get them to charge at the enemy flank or rear they will obliterate most units. Additionally, their attacks poison their targets, decreasing their offensive capabilities.
- Grave Guard - a better version of the Skeleton Warrior. They have thick armors, are shielded and are capable of dealing good, non-piercing damage. Additionally, they deal more damage against infantry, making them one of the strongest units to fight off enemy infantry. However, they do low armor-piercing damage. Their biggest problem is low leadership - don't send them alone into combat or they will quickly start crumbling.
- Grave Guard (Great Weapons) - a variant of the above unit. They have the same stats, but sacrifice the shield for a two-handed weapon. This in turn gives them increased armor-piercing damage, making them a good counter to any heavily armored enemy.
- Cairn Wraiths - one of the most unique melee units in the game, and the strongest from the Vampire Counts. They deal a lot armor-piercing damage (and magic as well, allowing them to hurt ethereal units), are extremely fast for an infantry unit, but their biggest merit is their etherealness. This protects them from any non-magical damage, reducing it by 75%, regardless of the amount of damage they take. This makes them extremely effective against enemies that rely on armor-piercing damage, as it will only deal 25% of damage to them. Unfortunately, being ethereal makes them extremely susceptible to magic - a single spell can obliterate an entire unit thanks to their low health. Also, they are vulnerable when fighting with masses of enemies, especially missile units. Finally, they cause fear and terror to surrounding enemies. Those units should be your bread and butter, together with the Grave Guards.
Vampire Counts have access to the following cavalry units:
- Black Knights - a decent cavalry unit, with good stats and damage. You can basically say that Black Knights are Grave Guards on horses. Their biggest merit is their speed, making them faster than most cavalry units in the game.
- Black Knights (Lances & Boarding) - a better version of the unit described above. Superior armor, damage and charge bonus, coupled with incredible speed for a shock cavalry (slightly slower than Bretonnia units) makes this unit exceptionally strong at short skirmishes. As with every cavalry in the game, they are ineffective when surrounded by enemies, or blocked by units that negate charge bonuses.
- Hexwraiths - basically, Cairn Wraiths on (ghost) horses. A very fast cavalry unit, capable of dealing immense armor-piercing damage. As Cairn Wraiths, they are ethereal - any damage they take is reduced by 75%. Given their great speed and Vanguar Deployment which allows you to set them up outside of the starting zone, those units can be extremely effective at quick charges at the enemy backline. They share the same weaknesses of Cairn Wraiths - vulnerability to magic and masses of enemies.
- Blood Knights - powerful cavalry unit. They receive even more bonuses to their charge attack than Black Knights. Furthermore, they have Frenzy ability, which increases their stats if the discipline is above 50%. Their main weakness is their speed - it's the slowest mounted unit in the Vampire faction. Still, they are faster than Knight of the Empire and Reiksguard.
Monsters and war beasts
Vampire Counts have access to the following monster and war beasts units:
- Dire Wolves - the only war beast type unit of this faction. They are extremely fast and have Vanguar Deployment, allowing you to deploy them further than normal units. They have three major flaws - low leadership, no armor and almost no damage against heavily armored enemies. They should only be used during the early game.
- Varghulf - one of the best monster-type units in the game. Those large beasts are incredibly fast, deal huge amount of armor-piercing (and regular) damage and cause terror to the surrounding enemies, causing them to flee in fear. Additionally, they have the regeneration ability, allowing them to restore some of their health each second while on the battlefield. They have poor leadership, which means that you shouldn't send them alone into combat. Varghulf can obliterate almost any unit in the game (aside from Lords).
Vampire Counts have access to the following flying units:
- Fell Bats - the fastest unit in the game, but also the most vulnerable to any form of damage. Fell Bats should be mainly used as an annoyance - send them behind enemy ranks and harass enemy's missile units, preventing them from shooting at the rest of your army. In direct combat they will be obliterated in seconds, but they are very cheap to recruit.
- Vargheists - a stronger version of Fell Bats. They are a little slower (but still very fast) but they can deal many times more damage than Fell Bats. Those units are extremely effective at attacking enemy flanks and harassing missile and artillery units - without help from melee units those troops will be dead in second. However, they aren't effective in direct combat because of their low armor - they should be used to harass enemy, not engage them in direct combat.
- Terrorgheist - the biggest and most powerful flying unit in the game. Those dragon-line creatures are heavily armored, cause terror to surrounding enemies and deal immense damage - normal, armor-piercing and extra against large foes (+70 points!). Additionally, they are one of the fastest units in the entire game. Terrorgheists can be used in direct combat, but you can't let the enemy (especially units with anti-large capabilities) to surround them, as they will quickly get killed. Their capabilities make them the ultimate nightmare for enemy missile and artillery units - even if they aren't killed, they will still run away in fear.
Vampire Counts have access to the a single chariot unit:
- Corpse Cart (DLC The Grim and the Grave) - the cheapest of the magical chariots available for Vampires. It has medium armor, and shouldn't be used for fighting -its role is to boost nearby units in terms of attack and defense. It can also regenerate itself.
- Corpse Cart (balefire) (DLC The Grim and the Grave) - variation of the previous unit. This version can also decreases the rate at which nearby troops regenerate their power. Useful against hostile wizards.
- Corpse Cart (unholy lodestone) (DLC The Grim and the Grave) - the last and the most expensive version of this unit. Once again, its role is to support other troops - this time by healing nearby units.
- Black Coach - on paper this unit seems decent. Good speed, damage (both regular and armor-piercing), armor, the ability to cause fear and multiple skills to enhance itself. In practice, however, this is like any chariot unit in the game - it's powerful when it charges, but it quickly gets surrounded and killed in a matter of seconds. You shouldn't use this unit at all.
- Mortis Engine (DLC The Grim and the Grave) - another chariot that support our forces during battles. Although it has good close combat stats, it has barely any boosts to its charge attack. However, it does increase magic points during battle, and decreases time needed to cast a spell again. That last feature is especially useful for Vampire Lords and heroes. Finally, it restores health points of nearby units and deals damage to nearby foes.