Warhammer 8th Edition – Army Power Levels Explored Part 2


I know it has taken a while, my boss feels that it’s relevant to make me do some work during the day rather than admit that work is an 8 hour lull spent thinking about the next model we’re going to paint or game we’re going to play. As soon as I figure out how to monetise writing a blog sufficient to fulfill my needs, well, we’ll have a really happy writing staff if they can get a piece of the action.

Anyway, enough with the inane waffle, time to leap right back into our series on the changes wrought on the Warhammer armies due to the advent of the 8th edition of the rules.

DWARFS

Dwarfs have undergone some pretty major changes thanks to the new edition of the rules. These changes have catapulted them (or grudgethrowered depending on your bent) right up into one of the most dangerous and powerful armies of this edition. Random charge moves mean that the short ones will on average be going 10″, much faster than they were previously capable of. If an enemy isn’t expecting this it can come as quite a shock. True line of sight means there is little space to hide from all the artillery that can be thrown your way, 50% of an army on special choices is a lot of Cannons, Bolt Throwers and Grudgethrowers, before you factor in what can be taken from the rare choices or that core Quarellers and Thunderers can now fire in two ranks.

Dwarfs with their base leadership of 9 are going to be tough to beat in combat too, large infantry units have been a staple of Dwarf armies for a long time, now they are going to be even more difficult to shift. Due to their poor Initiative I reckon you are only ever going to face them when they are armed with Great Weapons, you are going to be striking last anyway so might as well fight back with some oomph, and with large blocks you are not going to be suffering enough wounds (at T4) to reduce attacks back in the first round. The stunties are really going to have to be softened up before anyone can hope to beat them through combat. Their magic defence is still as nuts as ever as Runesmiths can still take three dispel runes while all other armies are reduced to taking one scroll if they choose nothing else from Arcane Items lists. Premeasuring also means that shooting is rarely going to miss and it is all high strength. Fighting against Dwarfs means you are going to take a pounding going in and a pounding when you get there. Unfortunately you need the same kind of tactics to fight them, soften them up and thin them out before getting into combat and that is much more easily said than done.

Empire

After the Dwarfs, the one army that has also gained a goodly amount is the Empire. Finally we have a human army that isn’t Space Marines and can hold its own pretty well in a new field. Like the Dwarfs, Empire shooting got even better with the extra ranks you can use and Empire artillery also benefits in the same ways as mentioned above. While a gunline will be just as devastating as before the Empire has access to a lot of very cheap infantry units that will allow them to really have a combined arms force that works very well on the table. Wizards with access to all the basic spell lores gives them incredible versatility and they can be taken at level 4 alongside another lord level character relatively easily. I am imagining some pretty hefty infantry units backed up by melee and ranged detachments with an outfield filled to the brim with as much artillery as can be crammed into the list. Greatswords are going to be worth taking now you will get to fight back due to stepping up and the large number of Knights available will make great supporting units for when your halberdiers and swordsmen get stuck in. This army has really gained a lot and shot up the rankings to be one of the most versatile and deadly books in the current generation.

I even considered switching armies again, but then I read more into the…

High Elves

That’s right, the army I pledged not to use until I had it painted. Then we got 8th edition and War of the Ring. War of the Ring is winning in the painting stakes but these guys are coming out soon after. Elves still suffer from being T3 and High Elves don’t have a huge amount of armour to protect them. What makes them good in this edition is what made them good in the last edition, Speed of Asuryan. Not only do all High Elves come with Always Strike First, but their version overrides all other weapon rules. Swordmasters and White Lions are now equally destructive and will cause a huge number of casualties in whatever they face, supporting attacks help the Lions more than the chaps from Hoeth but both units are quite viable in larger numbers than they were before. Elite army also means you ignore the duplication limits on Special and Rare choices no matter the points level played to. High Elf mages are still some of the best in the game, High Magic got easier to cast with the changes to the magic system and being able to pick any of the other Lores from the book is still a massive gain over others. it is now possible to have a Prince not flying around on a Dragon and for him to be useful.

Repeater Bolt throwers are kind of useless now as they only have 2 wounds, need two crew to fire and everything can wound them on 6’s or better. For 100pts you are normally better taking a couple of Eagles (who are still great) and troubling your opponents war machines or lone characters. Always Strike First now grants re-rolls to hit if your Initiative is the same or higher than your opponents means High Elves are going to be nasty in combat with normal units, Lothern Sea Guard are experiencing a coming of age and Spearelves are back on the horizon too as they can fight in 4 ranks normally or 5 ranks if you go horde! The future is looking bright for the Elves, I look forward to finishing off my army at some point and giving them a try out. Luckily I didn’t finish it as a lot of the options I’ll now be looking at are different from what they were in 7th.

Lizardmen

The last army for this part of our analysis is the Lizardmen, one of the later books from 7th edition who got a power boost with their new toys. While not generally considered a top tier army they were always a tough opponent to beat, not a lot has changed with this. Saurus get better now that they can step-up as their low initiative isn’t that much of a burden overall. Large blocks of them surrounded by a BSB are going to be tough to shift. A Slann in a unit of Temple Guard is even harder to try to break now too, I’d avoid this kind of bunker even more than I would have in the old edition. Again the giant frog is one of those guys that has access to all the Lores in the book, however, forcing you to pick your lore at army creation has the potential for some bad match-ups the same as with other armies who have this feature. The Slann options for magic items can really upset things now, with a really evil miscast table the Slann chucking his miscast’s at an enemy spell caster is likely to hurt big time and removes a lot of the risk that Mr. Frog would other face for chucking as many dice as he can against a spell, although I find it amusing to picture what would happen when the Hex scroll is used to try to turn the Slann into a frog…

Multiple Lords on Carnosaurs are now possible in smallish lists and Salamanders will probably see more tabletime now as well. With big blocks of infantry being the order of the day, the Stegadon spam lists should also dwindle as the last thing they want to happen is to be stuck in infantry. Lizardmen didn’t gain a huge amount from the new rules, certainly not as much as some other armies, but they are still strong enough to hold their own and provide a challenge.

That’s it for now, stand by for Part 3 coming soon!

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