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Varghulf Rules and Tactics (Vampire Counts Rare Unit)

The Varghulf is one bestial monstrousity and makes a nice addition to the Vampire Counts and Warhammer World mythos. I was, and still am, in two minds about using the Varghulf unit in my 2000pt army - primarily due to it's points cost.

175 points seems a lot to pay for a creature with it's basic profile (I'm thinking about the 5 strength 5 attacks and toughness of 5 when I say this).

What you really have to do when deciding whether you should select this rare unit in your army is consider it's other profile attributes and, more importantly what you plan to use the Varghulf for.

If you were thinking of simply charging the Varghulf into combat against the nearest enemy unit then think again. The only time this would be a viable and effective use of points at the start of a battle would be if that enemy was cavalry and you wanted to deny them their charge bonus while your other units position themselves for a supporting charge.

Do not charge a Varghulf into combat against heavily ranked enemies (unless they are of the cannon fodder kind)

The Varghulf is on it's own is a furious flesh ripping beast. It will never run, is terrifying to behold and can regenerate wounds inflicted that turn.

Given it's toughness you can expect it to hold up most lightly ranked enemies for several turns and cause them significant damage. When the Varghulf does meet it's match though it will be quickly dispatched due to the undead rule of losing wounds in lost combats. Having multiple support units will not help either unless you win the engagement.

The Varghulf is most effective on the charge and you should try to ensure it always charges into combat. It's lowly initiative means that it will strike last against nearly all enemies in subsequent turns. The Varghulf does stand a good chance of routing lightly ranked enemies when it charges. It's hatred for everything means that when charging the Varghulf will usually score 4 hits against average opposition, at least 3 of these should result in unsaved wounds, leaving no one to strike back at your Varghulf. That would beat a unit with 1 rank and a standard bearer.

The Varghulf can also operate alone if need be because the enemy gain no bonus from flanking it or charging it in the rear. A Varghulf is a maesltrom of death and could care less which direction the enemy comes from (the official rule is actually Bestial Fury)

A possible tactical use for the Varghulf

A tactical approach I have been toying with is using a Varghulf to get my Direwolves into combat more quickly. Dire Wolves cannot normally march move unless within 6 inches of a Vampire or a model with the Vampire rule. The Varghulf does infact have the Vampire rule and can almost move as fast as a Dire Wolf (M8 vs Dire Wolf M9). This to me seems like an excellent way to get behind enemy lines.

Lead a couple of Dire Wolf units into the enemy lines. Charge with the Varghulf and use the Dire Wolves to flank the charged unit or move around the charged unit to get at war machines, spellcasters or missile troops on hills.

One word of caution with this tactic though. Dire Wolves are fast cavalry so they do not receive a rank bonus (just like skirmishers), although they still get a combat resolution bonus for a flank or rear charge (like skirmishers do) and they negate the enemy's rank bonus (unlike skirmishers which do not negate the enemy's rank bonus when fighting them in the rank or rear)*

Well, I hope that has provided some food for thought. Like I said, I'm still awaiting the jury to deliver a verdict on the Varghulf. Once I have used one in combat a few times I will come back and let you know how it went.

Next up... Blood Knights !


* many thanks to Setomidor who spotted an error in the original post which I have now corrected.

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