In our continuing series of investigations into the vampire counts army, we come to the corpse cart. A relatively new addition to the vampire counts army, (or a really old one reinvigorated, depending on how long you've been playing) the corpse cart is an interesting choice, if relatively fragile. Behold the stats:
M WS BS S T W I A LD
4 2 0 2 4 2 1 2D6 7
Special rules are: undead, miasma of deathly vigour and regeneration. It can carry either an Unholy lodestone or Balefire. More on these options later.
It's a support unit which doesn't count toward your core allowance. It's a mount option for your necromancer, but honestly it doesn't offer him enough protection and takes up valuable character points. While it does get thunderstomp, it isn't a combat unit. It's most valuable use is buffing your units and as a dispel dice soak.
Miasma of deathly vigour is a bound spell (3) giving Always Strikes First until the start of the next magic phase. This can work nicely with a vampire with the nightshroud. However, with most undead infantry units it is of little consequence whether they strike first or not, but it is useful to hamstring units that normally do have ASF, like high elves. It might also be useful for blunting those ogre charges.
Balefire can be very useful, (-1 to enemy casting rolls for casters within 24") but I think to really get the most out of this you need two corpse carts. -2 to all casting rolls can be really annoying. To an army that relies on the magic phase and includes units who are impervious to mundane attacks, this is a good choice. Getting both carts within 24" of the enemy caster can be a little tricky, however.
The unholy lodestone grants an additional wound to targets of Invocation of Nehek within 6" of the cart. It's quite meh, unless you have ethereal units (it won't heal vampire units) within it's 6" range. It's irrelevant how many lodestones you have in range too, you still get only 1 additional wound. Now, if it healed vampiric units...
Overall, the corpse cart seems really useful until you look under the hood. It's almost worth taking, and I'm sure there's a build out there it might work well in, but for me, the points are still best spent elsewhere. Shame, as I love the model. Perhaps if the new army book improves the core choices it might be a more viable option.