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Monday, May 17, 2010

Possible Tiers of Armies in 8th Ed – Introduction

By Vinsanity
As most people into this hobby know, Fantasy 8th is just around the corner (July) and the new rumoured changes will change up the game significantly. I believe this is for the better balance of the game and to correct the crappy, imbalanced and unplaytested work of Mat Ward on a few of the books (however, Ward is rumoured to be writing 8th or at least a significant part of it – bit of a paradox, no?).(/grudge).

The fundamentals of army selection are rumoured to change with percentage allocations of unit types replacing slots. The magic phase is rumoured to change up a lot and this will impact Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts massively. Scenarios are rumoured to be included instead of just a constant pitched battle of kill the crap out of each other all the time. But what does this mean in terms of army tiers and where does it leave the armies after 8th? I’m hoping to expand on this greatly in the coming articles and will try to do an indepth assessment of all current fantasy armies and where this edition may leave them.

Before we begin though, we should really look at the current set of tiers (say 1-5). These are only roughly based on the armies power level or how I perceive the armies power level to be. So therefore, it will only be a rough tier list and hopefully the internet would agree with most of these armies in that tier.

So here is the interwebs general tier system or something similar:

Tier 1: Daemons, Dark Elves, Vampire Counts
Tier 2: Lizardmen, Skaven
Tier 3: High Elves, Wood Elves, Empire, Warriors of Chaos, Brettonians
Tier 4: Dwarfs, Tomb Kings
Tier 5: Orcs and Goblins, Beastmen, Ogres

Hopefully I don’t have to explain exactly why the army is in that tier, it should be fairly clear for some. Some are just more powerful, some are too weak, some are outdated, etc.

Now here is mine currently:

Tier 1: Daemons, Dark Elves, Skaven
Tier 2: Lizardmen, Vampire Counts
Tier 3: High Elves, Wood Elves, Empire, Warriors of Chaos, Brettonians
Tier 4: Dwarfs, Orcs and Goblins, Beastmen
Tier 5: Ogres, Tomb Kings

Not too much different but Vampire Counts are T2 since the army suffers from too much internal imbalance between the interaction of the casters and the other units. The VCs either win heavy or lose heavy. O&G should be higher a bit than T5 as they have some capable units but animosity prevents them from perfectly performing the function you need them to do. Beastmen should be higher because it is a relatively new book with some really good, hard hitting options. Tomb Kings (unfortunately) are in T5 since their difficulty curve is steep and they are quite reliant on magic which is quite outdated and their units stand little chance again the newer, hard hitting type of units such as Minotaurs, most DoC stuff, Hydra, most WoC stuff, etc.

Now since this my first article, I hope to delve much further into the effects 8th may have on each army. So I could just do a basic, quick list of important changes, perhaps a top 10 (in my view), of the most important changes and which armies it could affect for this article, and then go further into army specifics in later articles. I will do a top 5 for my first article and the next 5 after that.

#1 – Percentages per Slot – Huge in my view, perhaps the biggest change of all. DoC can’t take Greater Daemons in 2K anymore. VCs can’t have 1K points invested in a vampire party, Lizardmen can’t have Slaan and EoTG combo at 2K, HE can’t fuck you with a Star Dragon and Prince in 2K etc. Max special and rare and min core suggests that most peoples armies will have to be changed a bit, with a unit or two taken or changed instead of a character, etc. So to sum this one up, it will affect some armies more than others but in the end will affect everyone.

#2 – Magic Overhaul – For those who don’t know, magic is a vital part of fantasy. Even with no offensive magic, one still had to take defense to protect vs enemy spells. The magic system is entirely going to change, as rumours suggest. This is a big topic, therefore and I may have to devote some long articles on this as the changes are too numerous. Suffice to say, it will also affect everyone, but Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings, the two magically dependent armies, will be affected the most. It could be summed up that casting will be made more difficult, miscasts more frequent and harsher with multiple casters, lores and spells more powerful and a change to the pool of Power Dice you get.

Also possible is the movement of the magic phase to the first phase, before the movement phase. This will mean that spells that can let you move units will become very strong indeed. Beastmen, Wood Elves and any Shadow lore users will potentially be game breaking units who can let you get a crucial flank charge to then roll up the enemy’s flank.

#3. – Movement and Charging Changes – Apparently movement will be streamlined with most infantry being able to move like fast cav currently and also will have a random charge + their MV value. This means charging will be riskier. No longer will your precise tactical acumen of charge distances be the only factor to see who gets the charge. Similarly, combat changes are aplenty with the rumoured Initiative fighting being the only factor to see who strikes when as charging no longer will let you auto strike first. This will also affect all armies, but high In armies such as elves and WoC will benefit greatly, prima facie.

#4. – Stepping Up and the Horde Rule - Interestingly, there will be changes to how infantry are played. Stepping Up will let them attack back against units that usually charge to wipe the front rank with no attacks back like Hydras and wardancer units. The second rank will get to attack if there are models left to step up and fight. This, in combination with spears, will give some units a large amount of attacks. HE spearmen may get 4 ranks of attacks with spears :O Armies will be affected in varying degrees, but mostly armies that take a fair few infantry units will benefit most. Empire, WoC, HE, DE, O&G, Skaven etc.

The Horde Rule, suggests that if you lose combat but have 10 wide and outnumber the opponent, you will get stubborn to test your LD on. Whether this is a big deal will depend on how people approach this. If large units of cheap infantry are taken and are charged, they can easily hold and a flank charge next turn could turn the tide. Armies that benefit greatly from this are Skaven, O&G, Empire and any other army that can take lots of cheapish troops. Daemons, VCs and TKs won’t be affected by this for obvious reasons.

#5. – One Save to Rule Them All – Apparently wards, armour or regen saves have to be distinguished and only one can be taken. This is a fairly big one, it affects the DE unkillable lord build, some DoC units who have armour (mostly Khorne units and the Bloodthirster) and will also affect the gay regen deathstar that VCs can field with Grave Guard, Drakenhoff Banner and a bunch of Vamps. Time will tell with this one, but I would suggest that some builds will quickly lose significant effectiveness and won’t be the cookie cutter characters or units that are taken anymore.

That’s the top 5 for now, the next 5 will come in my next article coz otherwise it may be a bit long. They are somewhat ordered but some changes might be bigger than others for some people and only time will tell.

Next time – Next 5 changes and how the new tiers may look!

8 pinkments:

The_King_Elessar said...

Obviously I don't know your sources, but I find the idea of percentages returning both unlikely, and incredibly distasteful. GW finally moved on from that system...

Kirby said...

Since Vince hasn't made an intro yet, I'll do a quick one here for him >.<. Vince is Russian, so blame everything on that =D. He's one of my regular gaming mates and offered up to write some articles on Fantasy since I don't play it (and he regularly trys to tell me it's better...uh huh). So with that in mind...welcome Vince.

Don't go alienating everyone now =D!

Kirby said...

Scratch that, he's just sent me his "bio" so check it out on About Me.

Vinsanity said...

Woot first replies :D

# 2501 - Yes Mat Ward is the axis of all evil. I still can't understand how DoC could have been passed in their current form with playtesting... Plus, he doesn't play fantasy much, hes apparently more into LoTR. So I kind of fear for fantasy too. The sooner GW axe him (literally axe him to death), the better...

TKE - My sources are really just the rumours on forums. Mainly Warseer. Most other forums just circulate the same info really. From what I believe, percentages is fairly likely. I welcome it tbh, and I play VC too :D. 7th brought in too heavy a focus on killy characters and spamming magics for my liking.

Kirby - Uhh, thanks :P. Fantasy background is better than 40K imo. Should blame the Germans for everything, not the Russians :)

Chumbalaya said...

I like Mat Ward's work in 40k, though his Fantasy stuff leaves something to be desired.

Percentages is hella dumb. It's fiddly and far too restrictive. In GW's trend of streamlining, this sticks out like a sore thumb.

With all these changes, I'm looking at a few changes to my Skaven army. Clanrats pick up spears, I bring either a Bell or Furnace in a 10 wide unit, spam Engineers on the cheap, 2 Doomwheels as always, and just pick up as many PWM as possible. Everyone brings more infantry, so my blasts get killier.

Skip said...

Cool, some WHF articles! I'm starting a Mono Tzeentch army, it's good to hear they get weaker (no sarcasm).

Vinsanity said...

Chumbalaya - I'm not convinced of Ward's work, even in 40K. The background of the SM dex was just so shite.

I'm not sure how percentages will ultimately affect the game but I think it is a step in the right direction and a step away from the herohammer game we have atm.

Skip - Cheers mate, 3++ is diversifying ftw. They might get weaker overall yes but I can see some upsides too that mitigate these negatives a little bit... We will jsut have to wait and see!

Chumbalaya said...

I liked the SM book loads. The background was goofy in some places, but I'm a big fan of the over the top silly things like Necron Death stars, ramming Battle barges, and so on.

Percentages seems like Kill Points, a hamfisted attempt at balance that should have been done with the various army books. I don't think TK or VC armies are going to like having their essential characters hamstrung.

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