Please register for Total War Access to use the forums. If you're an existing user, your forum details will be merged with Total War Access if you register with the same email or username. For more information please read our FAQ’s here.


My Take on Thematic Army Compositions - Vampire Coast

GoldfishLord#2862GoldfishLord#2862 Registered Users Posts: 496
edited August 2021 in General Discussion
Hello once more, everyone. Today we are dredging up the army compositions for the Vampire Coast LL's. My customary preface: these builds are designed to be themed around the Legendary Lord's bonuses, gameplay, overall roster utilization (between all LL's in a faction), background lore, location, and starting units, in that order. The entire point of these builds is to force, by means of fun themes, myself and perhaps others to utilize units in their campaigns that they may otherwise not use.

While making these builds, I discovered that the Vampire Coast has a few minor oddities in its roster. Namely, the buffs that the LL's provide are spotty - they cover some units that you'd expect in that army but also others that you wouldn't, and then sometimes they don't buff units that you would expect them to. Luckily, there's comparatively little background lore for the Vampire Coast, so I had more liberty with my process.

1) Luthor Harkon

Luthor on Death Shriek Terrorgheist
Gunnery Wight on foot
Vampire Fleet Captain (Death) on foot*
The Tide of Skjold
Zombie Pirate Deckhands Mob x2
Zombie Pirate Deckhands Mob (Polearms) x2
The Black Spot
Zombie Pirate Gunnery Mob (Handguns) x3
Scurvy Dogs x2
Salt Lord Scuttlers
Deck Droppers (Bombers) x2
Deck Droppers (Handguns) x2*
Queen Bess

*Changed the lore of magic from Deeps to Death to improve caster variety across the LL's. Removed Terrorgheists per @LennoxPoodle's suggestion

While Luthor Harkon doesn't actually buff Terrorgheists, and Noctilus does. The Gunnery Wight is on foot due to a lack of mount options, but he's really there to replenish the ammunition for the Queen Bess, which is definitely tied to Harkon specifically. Actually, all of the RoRs in this build mention Harkon by name or title in their unit descriptions, apart from maybe the Salt Lord Scuttlers. I don't know who exactly the Salt Lord is, but I figure that it's either Harkon or Noctilus. Anyway, those RoRs sort of build his list. The Tide of Skjold are Deckhands, so he gets the Deckhands as his infantry. The Black Spot are Gunnery Mobs (Handguns), so those are his ranged units. The Salt Lord Scuttlers are Deck Droppers, so he gets a few of those. I added the Scurvy Dogs due to Harkon's splendid diplomacy lines. Luthor's buffs mildly support this build but they're nothing to write home about.

With Harkon, I'd be the most landed of the Vampire Coast Lords, taking over the entire coastline of Lustria and the southern isles.

2) Count Noctilus

Noctilus on Necrofex Colossus
Vampire Fleet Captain (Vampires) on foot
Depth Guard x3
The Bloody Reaver Depth Guard
Depth Guard (Polearms) x2
Zombie Pirate Gunnery Mob (Bombers) x2*
Shadewraith Gunners*
Animated Hulks x4
Death Shriek Terrorgheist x2*
Gallows Giant
Necrofex Colossus x2

*Replaced one unit of Bombers with the Shadewraith Gunners and switched out Deck Droppers for Terrorgheists per @LennoxPoodle

Noctilus has a Necrofex Colossus as a mount and he buffs them, so those are must-haves. As a von Carstein, I felt that the lore of Vampires suited his army best. He also personally has access to that lore, but I'd put points into his melee tree instead. Noctilus buffs Depth Guard more than anyone else, and their RoR is named for his personal ship, the Bloody Reaver. Noctilus provides increased weapon strength to "large units", and given that Animated Hulks are rather under-utilized in the roster, I thought that it'd be a great place to insert them. He also therefore buffs Terrorgheists, which I have recently learned are specifically found in the Old World. The Shadewraith Gunners also seem to be tied to Noctilus via his underlings. Thank you again @LennoxPoodle for being the only one to respond thus far and for the educational input.

Playing as Noctilus would see me establishing pirate coves in the New World but not taking territory, but later on in the campaign, I'd take settlements along the coasts and rivers of the Empire, aligning with the von Carsteins.

3) Aranessa Saltspite

Aranessa on Rotting Promethean
Gunnery Wight on Rotting Promethean
Sartosa Free Company x4
Sartosa Militia x2
Deck Gunners x3
Rotting Prometheans Gunnery Mob x3*
Rotting Leviathan x2
Mortars x4*

*Increased each unit allotment by one to replace lost RoRs that fit other Lords better

Clearly, Aranessa is designed as the Rotting Promethean Lord, as she reduces their upkeep, grants them increased missile resistance, and starts with them. Oh, and she has one as a mount. Case closed. As the only one who can have them, she obviously gets the Sartosan units, but only two of the Sartosa Militia because they really suck. Luckily, she makes up for that with the Deck Gunners, which are awesome. Aranessa starts with a unit of them, and none of the LL's buff them so they're hers. The Rotting Promethean buffs that she has also apply to Rotting Leviathans, validating their inclusion. She has the mortars because she increases ammunition for artillery, but does nothing else, so I stuck her with the lowest tier. Finally, the Gunnery Wight is in because it is the most "human" hero option available, and you can stick him on a Rotting Promethan to match his scaly Lord.

With Aranessa, I'd take over the Norscan coastlines, Albion, and the Maw, and later on all of the islands in the New World, while otherwise just establishing pirate coves in the Old World and the Southlands.

4) Clyostra Direfin

Clyostra on Rotting Leviathan
Damned Paladin on Barded Warhorse
Mourngul Haunter
Syreens x5
Zombie Pirate Gunnery Mob (Hand Cannons) x4
Night Terrors
Mournguls x3
The Lamprey's Revenge*
Carronades x3*

*Replaced one unit of Carronades with The Lamprey's Revenge

Clyostra's most notable buffs would be providing physical resistance to Syreens and Mourngul Haunters (the hero) and reducing the upkeep for Syreens and Mournguls (the unit). She gets her unique Damned Paladin hero, who is anti-large. The Mourngul Haunter that she buffs is anti-infantry. Obviously she has the ethereal Syreens, and the Mournguls and their RoR given her slight bump in upkeep reduction. Her Gunnery Mob is the anti-large type because she really needed some of that, although the Carronades are also anti-large. She gets these artillery units because she starts with one. The Lamprey is the name of her ship, so she has the RoR named after it.

Clyostra's loading screen in ME directs you to sink Ulthuan, so that's your big to-do. I would also take over the Bretonnian coast during the campaign.

I'm on much more level footing with lore in regards to the Vampire Coast, purely because there is a lot less to know. I am open to change, as always, but I'm feeling pretty set on the infantry, artillery, and monsters in these builds. I can perhaps shuffle around some flying and ranged units, though. Regardless, if you have a strong argument, let me know. Once I've evaluated and incorporated feedback from this thread, I'll be tackling the last - for now - of our factions, the Tomb Kings.

Previous Lists:

Dwarfs https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/288070/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-dwarfs-updated
Vampires https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/288074/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-vampire-counts
Empire https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/289912/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-the-empire
Greenskins https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/288285/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-greenskins
Wood Elves https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/288448/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-wood-elves
Norsca https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/290569/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-norsca
WoC https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/292243/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-warriors-of-chaos-current
Bretonnia https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/290009/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-bretonnia
Beastmen https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/295338/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-beastmen
Dark Elves https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/293037/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-dark-elves
High Elves https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/293966/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-high-elves
Lizardmen https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/294733/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-lizardmen
Skaven https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/295681/my-take-on-thematic-army-compositions-skaven
Post edited by GoldfishLord#2862 on


  • LennoxPoodle#1380LennoxPoodle#1380 Registered Users Posts: 1,946
    The Vampire Coast truly are interesting, as they pierced together from the OG "Zombie Pirates of the Vampire Coast" (Zombie Pirates would've been a significantly better name for the race btw) White Dwarf list, Dreadfleet and then some (Monstrous Arcanum and made up stuff).
    Theoretically that should make the division easy. Luthor is a stranded Vampire who built his own unique Zombie Pirate force, Noctilus (Niklaus actually) is a proper Sylvanian Von Carstein who teleported his castle into the necromantic treasure trove of the Galeons Graveyard, Cylostra is newly made up and Aranessa has no business belonging to this race. Actually I think her being here is inspired by the White Dwarf mini supplement that had her receiving the blood kiss in one of the latter Dreadfleet missions (alternative timeline though).

    Thus I agree with your sorting in many ways, maybe barring a few exceptions.
    As the only lord in the WD army list (not even generics), Luthor is obviously a good fit for all the units taken from it. IIRC, that's Deck Hands, Gunnery Mob (for those 2 some weapon variants were made up by CA), Deck Droppers, Syreens, Queen Bess, Animated Hulks, Rotring Corpses(?), Scurvy Dogs, Deck Gunners, Rotting Leviathans and the Carronades. The Fleet Captain was in too, but as a Zombie-Wight, which meant absolutely no magic btw. Obviously some stuff fits others better.
    The only thing in your list irking me is the Terrorgheists. Those creatures are native Sylvanian (or at least Old World) and thus fit our Von Carstein rather well.

    This brings us to Nikl... Noctilus!
    I agree with you that he's basically a Von Carstein vampire count but he's also a master of shadow magic (translocation), allowing him to teleport the bloody reaver all over the world and summon mists.
    As such, stuff that harkens back to the VC's are perfect for him, as he warped his entire castle with all its Sylvanian denizens to his new base, only aquiring naval stuff later. From the rules we learn that he's also got a talent for controling monsters, hence his trait. All of this just screams Terrorgheists to me.
    Necrofex Collosi are actually a Vampire Counts/Necromancer thing from Monstrous Arcanum, thus connected to his origin, and Rotting Leviathans are undead sea Monsters, exactly what he's so good at controlling. Still the Aranessa case for the latter is a valid one.
    I actually like that he's the Depth Guard lord, as those guys feel more vampire than pirate and afaik Harkon doesn't have many bloodsuckers under his command.
    BTW, the Shadewraith is Vangheist's (literally a german Dutch mix word meaning "of Ghost") ship, one of Noctilus's lieutenants. So both the gunners and the spell certainly belong into the Dreadfleet camp.

    On Cylostra I can just say: whatever.
    She's CA's invention and thus whatever the game tells us about her is 100% right. As long as she's got Syreens I'm happy.
    Though as a Bretonnian a "less gunpowder" approach could be considered for her, as well as for Noctilus who actually doesn't have Luthor's unique magic to make zombies with guns work.
    Mournghouls have no association with pirates and the Sea, it's actually the opposite. Another MA monster they are associated with the cold Mountain peaks, only coming down into the valleys with avalanches and serious temperature drops. Really as far from the tropical Vampire Coast as you can get. They are the results of people succumbing to emergency cannibalism in those icy mountains btw.

    Finally comes Aranessa who'd require an army w/o anything undead to fit her lore, which just isn't feasible. So yeah, Just stick to gameplay bonuses here.
    Maybe a heavy artillery focus can be considered as she has a huge ship full of cannon and at least the gun part of artillery units isn't undead. Mortars aren't that great though as they are rather useless in naval combat (combine indirect fire with rolling ships and moving targets) and despite being a Norscan Saltspite really is a high seas pirate and not a Coast raider. This kinda leaves Deck Gunners (ugly gun model!) and Carronades, which IRL are pretty much naval exclusive weapons and don't resemble the ingame model at all.
    She's considered a daughter of Manaan though, so maybe a Deep caster would be half decent.

    This time I'd maybe consider spliting RoR, Mount and normal unit variants, as the instances of them having different themes are rather common here (Harkon's Terrorgheist, Lampreys Revenge and Shadewraith Gunners). I mean mounts on naval commanders are weird anyway...
  • GoldfishLord#2862GoldfishLord#2862 Registered Users Posts: 496
    @LennoxPoodle, thank you for your thoughts and please excuse my extremely delayed response. I've been working a lot recently.

    I'll start with your last point, because it's really the most important in terms on unit allocation. I think that you are correct in saying that in this case, I should break my rule about RoRs and mounts. The Vampire Coast roster wasn't built in the same way that the other races were. There always has to be an exception, doesn't there? And yes, mounts on naval commanders is odd, but imagine packing Rotting Leviathans onto your ship - there's no way that those creatures could keep up with a ship at sea if they were trying to swim alongside it.

    I'm responding to your comment before adjusting the lists, but my immediate concern is that making the new builds is going to stack Noctilus' army with all of the best units.

    For Luthor Harkon, the only issue was the Terrorgheists, for which you provided solid reasoning. It disappoints me, but it does provide an opportunity to unequivocally designate Luthor as the Deck Dropper Lord. As the only LL with an aerial mount, I still intend for Luthor to have the most flying units, so if I simply swap his Terrorgheists for Noctilus' Deck Droppers (Handguns), it reinforces Luthor's gunpowder schtick and retains his army balance in terms of ground vs air troops.

    For Noctilus, with the inclusion of the Terrorgheists, the only item of contention that you brought up would be having the Shadewraith Gunners in his army. For that, I decided to just reduce the number of Zombie Pirate Gunnery Mob (Bombers) by one and replace it with that RoR. As previously stated, I don't generally like breaking RoRs away from their core unit, but I believe that the Vampire Coast will be the one roster in which I expand my flexibility.

    For Clyostra, despite how much I protested otherwise in my original post, we are now in agreement about the RoRs and such, so she can have her baffling unit: The Lamprey's Revenge. I removed a unit of Carronades to integrate it. I don't really see a way to adopt a "no gunpowder" route with Clyostra, as gunpowder is the focal point of the Vampire Coast as a race. She starts with a Carronade unit, after all, and her special RoR is itself a gunpowder unit. I hear you, though. You know what would have been cool? Maybe a bit too much, but cool? CA never used the Bretonnian snails, so Clyostra could have had a special "Sea Snail Knights" unit unique to her, even if the originals were terrestrial. Perhaps they're zombified and therefore able to be aquatic, I don't know.

    Now for Aranessa, who has had two RoRs stolen away from her. To make up for this, I've given her one more unit of Mortars and one more unit of Rotting Promethean Gunnery Mobs. I was considering just replacing each RoR with their normal unit, but actually, the Deck Gunners have such good range and low firing arcs that line of sight can become an issue when so much of your build is large units. Mortars don't have that problem.

    I believe that this fixes the builds, and to be honest, if I hadn't adhered to my "rule" so much when making these, I likely would have come to this conclusion earlier. I still likely would have messed up the Terrorgheists, though. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

  • GoldfishLord#2862GoldfishLord#2862 Registered Users Posts: 496
    I have now fixed the builds. I'll give this post a day or so to fine-tune with any further input from the community, then I'll get cracking on the Tomb Kings.
Sign In or Register to comment.