The vampire counts skeletons can carry spears for free.

What would be the benefit for not carrying spears?

Just seems weird to me. I don't see any reason to not carry them.

2 Answers 2


By default the skeletons come armed with light armour, a hand weapon, and a shield.

The combination of hand weapon and shield gives you an additional 6+ Parry Save (8th Ed rulebook, pg 88), which you may make against close combat attacks. They have a 5+ Armour Save and 6+ Ward save.

If you give them spears they lose this extra Parry Save, instead gaining Fight in Extra Rank. They have just the 5+ Armour Save.

So a unit with hand weapons and shields will live longer in close combat, which is useful if they are only expected to tie up enemies or as a bodyguard unit for a necromancer. While a unit with spears and sheilds will have up to twice as many attacks but weaker saves, so they will die faster but might do more damage.

  • So i can't equip them with shields and spears? I thought you could equip them with both and it is assumed they fight with the spear in combat and if you are getting shot at while out of combat you can use the shield to save. It does not say spears are two hand weapons.
    – prolink007
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 23:11
  • 1
    They do not lose the shield. Spears are one handed, so the shield is still there both at range and melee. Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 23:14

A model with Hand Weapon and Shield can use the 'Parry' special rule to get a ward save. A model with a spear cannot. Since skeletons are weak and have poor weapon skill anyway, it may be beneficial to have better survivability rather than a few more attacks that are unlikely to hurt anything, depending on what role you see the unit filling in your army.

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