Disclaimer: I’m not a tournament winner Warmahordes player. Far from it in fact. I barely know my ropes with Khador, and have played the game for about a year now. I have played quite a bit though.
Ok let’s start with a nice fact here. Still, remember I’m no expert on every Warmahordes faction so don’t know every model by heart. But I find it amazing that both Vlad profiles, the prime and the epic, are basically very similar. But also completely different.
If you play with one, you have a hang of the other one. The spells are similar, the way to play him in support till the last minute when he can take on most any other caster/lock is also the same. It does look like he is the same person even after the events that gave us his epic incarnation. You will miss his spell list on one model, and the other spell list on the other.
On the other hand, there’s a clear distinction: pVlad is a jack caster while eVlad is an infantry caster. That IS pretty hardcore as far as differences go, but you still get a sense of playing the same guy, just with a slightly different toolset.
Back on topic now, I’ll focus on eVlad cause I’ve been playing him a lot lately. Like I said he is an infantry caster. He has only one spell for jacks (Assail, and it’s pretty good, though Hand of Fate can be used on a jack if you really need to) and +5 points so you will be getting just the jack you need for his list, be it a cheap option just as bodyguard, or one of the more expensive, more specialized ones. His feat simply does nothing for jacks and only affects non-character warrior models.
Speaking of feats. On his feat turn he will select 1D3+3 warrior models and they basically get +3 to every stat. Yes, that means you get +3 base SPD, also +3 to RAT and MAT so you can use it on different type of models, and don’t forget the +3 to STR which adds damage to all your melee attacks. And of course it lasts a whole round, so your guys will be sitting on improved DEF and ARM as well. Hell, if you want to pull a weird charge with your unit the CMD is also increased by 3 inches so spread ’em out!
It is an AMAZING feat. Makes regular models into heavy hitters, and our usual heavy hitting infantry into freaking beasts. MOW Shocktroopers dealing POW 17 attacks and sitting on 24 ARM for the next turn? Shit yeah.
The thing to be careful though is to time your feat right. Specially if you’re running too many characters and/or jacks. You don’t want to run out of useful (and valid) warrior models before you feat. Remember: cavalry models are also warriors. Get your heavy Uhlans to do a nice 14″ pathfinder charge with POW 19 blasting lances with reach, sitting afterwards on ARM 20 or 22 (if some end up in BTB contact with each other) and watch your opponent squeal. No wonder Vlad3 seems to be an Uhlan himself. In any case it’s always better to feat earlier than later. You will do massive damage whenever you feat. And that’s the Khador way.
eVlad’s abilities are defensive on the whole and pretty good if someone is trying a feeble assasination attempt or taking potshots at your caster (which will add focus for his Transference spell on the next turn). He will get stronger, faster, and deadlier the more they hurt him, and he also has defensive strike to deal a swift goodbye to any regular model trying to get too close.
Onto his spell list. Assail is a pretty good jack upkeep that turns your jack into a slamming machine. Still good for free charges with +2″ move. Get this on your single jack and keep it up until he’s in combat. Hand of Fate lets a unit or model roll another die on attack and damage rolls, discarding the lowest. Do not think of it as a melee support spell. I cast it on the first turn on my widowmakers, making them hit anything and then rolling damage when shooting at enemy medium or heavy infantry (or cavalry like I did recently) or light jack/beasts. You’ll be surprised how much damage you can get with the “reroll” and a bit of luck, specially if you don’t have an obvious one would infantry unit in front of your guys. After a few turns give it to your vanguard melee unit and continue dishing the pain.
Martial Paragon is a late game spell that gives Vlad an extra die on melee attacks and immunity to free strikes. Razor Wind is your usual Khador magic missile and Wind Blast is a nice big area spell that clears your path of cloud effects and grants a RAT penalty to models in it if you place it well enough.
Now Transference. Here’s the star spell. This is the one you will have upkept on him from turn one, until you need to go for the opposing caster/lock with your Martial Paragon. This spell lets your warriors in your CTRL to boost melee attack or damage rolls using Vlad’s focus. It’s simply amazing. Upkeeping Assail, HoF and Transference every turn leaves Vlad with 4 focus to spare for this. Considering you will only have one jack, you can do a lot with these boosted attacks all over the place. Hit those high DEF dudes with the unit your opponent thought wouldn’t make it. Destroy the multiwound model with a couple of little guys, with the impunity of a warjack, and without even having to decide to give the focus beforehand.
eVlad is a toolbox of pain. He can turn up the damage when and where he needs to with surgical precision. He is tough enough to not need extra special precautions when keeping him safe, and his support spells are pretty much dealt with in the first turn. Feating before the opponent is usually a good idea, specially against negating feats. With a solid list most benefits from Vlad become bonus, over the top numbers reducing the enemy’s wounds pool dramatically with a flexibility not many feats allow.