Aim of this list is to maximise the use of the Kastelai battle trait with a hard alphastrike.
Spare points are in anticipation for AoS 3.0 to use for either a Batallion, extra CP or Umbral Spell Portal
Depending on your opponent’s list and the Battleplan you can put both blood knights in reserve to come in from the board edge (fear factor for your opponent too) and then both units of Varghiests can go in the sky to drop anywhere on the board.
Use the Skeletons to screen if required or to sit on an objective. These again could be put in reserves to pop up from a Gravesite if the Battleplan suits it.
Use Belladamma to cast cogs, she’s the best available caster with +1 to cast (Ideally deploy near arcane for +2). if anyone threatens her use Orb and arcane bolt for potentially three goes of D3MW.
Use Belladamma’s second spell to cast Lycancurse on ranged units or chaff to lock them down.
Assuming you have Cogs up (if not you can hold back until turn two if you need to), run Radukar and move up the Coven Throne to a good spot to buff from.
Bring in or move up your Blood Knights then drop your Varghiests within 9″ of prime targets. Make sure they’re within 12″ of the Wight King for Rousing Commander.
End of the phase use Radukar’s Command Ability if you have the CP to summon 10 Dire wolves to protect Belladamma with her wound pass off ability.
Charge whatever you can, use Radukar and the Coven Throne to clear weaker units (it will increase their move with the battle trait) and fly your Varghiests in to the prime targets, with +2 from cogs you only need a seven but use CP for charge re-rolls if needed (this is 83% chance of successful charge).
Pop the one use rousing commander on the Coven Throne ensuring that as many units are within 12″ as possible, this gives them +1 damage and +1W.
Activate Radukar’s command ability to give+1A to all units within 18″.
At this point your units that have all the buffs will have the following attack profiles:
6 Varghiests – 30A 3+/3+ -1r 3D = 40 damage to a 6+ save, 27 damage to a 4+ save, 13 damage to a 2+ save.
5 Blood Knights – 21A 3+/3+ -1r 3D | 20A 4+/4+ -0r 2D = 38 damage to a 6+ save, 23 damage to a 4+ save, 11 damage to a 2+ save.
Note: Attack amounts include +1 for leader and the exploding 6’s average amount for Vargheists.
This amount of damage from each of your main threat units should utterly destroy anything they touch with only a few exceptions, and in those cases put two units in the them!
Each of the vampire units have The Hunger so will heal D3 damage at the end of the phase.
After turn one…
So hopefully everything worked out and each of your units killed something tasty. Anything that killed a hero or monster is on +1 damage permanently and anything that killed a 3W+ unit is on +1 W and anything that killed 1-2W has extra movement to help clear up, kill more things and get to objectives.
If there is anything threatening still around you should have your -1 to wound on enemy units on your Coven Throne to help protect anything important. Your Blood Knights with their solid save, deathless minions and healing should be fine, the Varghiests may need to be used carefully, maybe get them in to fights in terrain.
Radukar at this point should head in to more combats to keep buffing with his +1A aura.
Once you no longer need Cogs Belladamma can move up with her Dire Wolf bodyguard and use Orb to take out lone/weak heroes and use Under a Killing Moon to give your units more exploding 6s for extra damage, this is great on any unit that has the permanent +1 damage.
This list doesn’t have that many bodies for objectives so you need to be conscious of the scoring of the Battleplan, you should have time to spend a couple of turns destroying things where you may be down on VP but then be able to take it all back by turn 5. Just be wary of the time and make sure you don’t miss out on VP in the late games because the time ran out!
This list may have issues with strong ranged armies if you’re not careful, you can deploy your heroes further back an ambush all your threat units to go in unbuffed, they safe when off the board and will still do decent damage without buffs.
There are a few alternate ways you can build this list mainly by swapping out the heroes and using up the spare points, without Spell Portal though you lose some utility:
Belladamma/Radukar/Wight King. Swapping the Coven Throne for a White King on Steed will still allow you to do the same tactics although you lose the coven throne buff. The main benifit to this list is that it frees up 180 points which you can use to swap the Skeletons for a third unit of Blood Knights and have enough points left for the Umbral spell portal which is great to boost the range on Lycancurse to really lock down enemy ranged units.
Belladama/Radukar/Vengorian. A Vengorian Lord can be swapped for the Coven Throne, it can cast pinions so will definitely be up front to push out the Rousing Commander buff and then also putting out it’s -1 rend debuff along with the artefact for -1 to wound debuff. It’s command ability also allows you to heal the Varghiests occasionally. The spare 30 points could let you swap out the skeletons for 20 zombies or maybe an endless spell.
Vyrkos Dynasty. You can run any version of this list as Vyrkos if you swap all the Battleline units for 3×10 Dire Wolves. This also gives you a spare 100 points for an extra CP and/or maybe a Battalion in AoS3.0. This doesn’t have quite the killing power as you lose the Kastelai Battle Trait Buff, however you now have re-roll casts which all but guarantees cogs and any other spells. You also have re-roll charge 12″ aura on the general which really helps save CP for buffs. In short it’s less offensive but has more chaff, bodies and reliability.