Tag Archives: Beastmen

Warhammer 8th Edition – Army Power Levels Explored Part 1


THE collective wargaming world has now had, more or less, a week in which to digest the changes that have been made to the Warhammer fantasy rules. While certainly a lot of the Internet-based doom-mongery that prevailed before the books release has died down there are still the die-hard few that have consigned Warhammer to its grave and will stop playing. However, for the vast majority of players this new edition has been a breath of fresh air, it may not be perfect, there may be some tweaks needed to some of the army books down the road but overall I am actually excited about the changes that have been brought in and look forward to getting hands-on with the game at some point. With our gaming groups commitment to War of the Ring this may be a little further down the line, I know Servitob is still waiting patiently for me to complete my Easterlings.

What the new edition has also done is shift the power of various armies. There are a lot of forum threads around right now discussing the merits of the armies and what “tier” they are in with regards to their perceived tournament effectiveness. This new set of rules hasn’t just affected what armies have the advantage, it has also affected people’s thinking on certain units and some magic items that were previously considered sub-par now have a valid use and others that were must haves are now going to disappear entirely.

What is clear from what I am reading and also from search results generating traffic right here, is that people are very much concerned about the power levels of the various armies. I’d like to think that people pick a force based on the look of the models and the background of the army, not solely on the perceived “ZOMGWTFBBGOMGAWESOMESAUCEROFLSTOMPROFLCOPTERCHUCHU!!!11!!!!!!!!amillion!!!!!!!!!29!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!” power scale. I know that for some people winning is the only option, the idea of having a fun game with your mates is nothing compared to preparing your latest and greatest list to rape the sanity of all who you face at the next tournament.

As Gribblin has already given his thoughts on the rules themselves and I echo what he says, I thought I’d spend today’s post going through the armies and offering my own opinions on how they fare in the new edition. I would ask you all to remember that these are my opinions and that therefore they may differ from your own, this is not a problem for me, neither should it be for you. That’s the wonderful thing about opinions, we are all entitled to our own. Let’s begin;

Beastmen

When the Beasts were released right at the end of 7th edition it was a widely held belief that they sucked ass. This was not an erroneous belief, everyone was aware that 8th would probably give them a bit of a boost and it has. Sure they are still not going to be an army that is going to wipe the boards with everyone but as bigger blocks of infantry are now more desirable so the Beastmen profit. Minotaurs got a big boost with the addition of Monstrous Infantry and the new Stomp attack, likewise some of the Monsters now profit from Thunderstomp, the new Lore of Beasts gives more power to the Bray Shamans and the changes to the percentage system means there is nothing to stop you taking a Beastlord and a Great Bray Shaman.

The usefulness of the Battle Standard Bearer also should help out with all the psychology tests and with big blocks of infantry you should be able to work out some Steadfast combats on a re-rollable leadership 9.

Bretonnia

The Bretonnians are somewhat of a quandary in the new edition. While they still benefit from their lance formation giving them ranks only 3 wide and the fact that the damsels now can see quite happily out of their Knight bunkers for spells using the improved Lore of Life, cavalry itself isn’t the all-conquering force we were used to. With a greater focus on infantry those Knights are going to be grinding out long combats with large blocks of footmen, something they will suffer for. Knights want to charge in, do a load of damage and bug out, something which has become much harder depending on your opponent. The Damsel’s magic resistance will also stack with Lady’s Blessing though so any unit of Knights with a spell-lady in there is going to have a 5+ save against direct damage spells, not bad at all really and while you can bulk out your army with oodles of Men-at-Arms that’s not really what the Brets are about. Although their Trebuchet is now the most powerful stone thrower in the game.

Daemons of Chaos

Everyone’s love-to-hate army of 7th edition changes quite a lot under the new rules. There are many who believe that the Daemons are done for, having lost all their power, while others are saying that while they have taken a hit to some of their builds they still remain a force to be reckoned with. The problems that Daemons have are no different from what they used to be, a lack of armour and all round low toughness on their core troops and the fact you pay a premium for those troops as well. Now that Fear no longer auto-breaks units from combat they are going to be in protracted combats for longer, with the steadfast rule being more easily available for virtually any opposing infantry unit, the new and improved Battle Standards and supporting attacks Daemons are going to suffer. However, they still benefit from usually high initiative and some decent special rules, especially when Heralds come into the picture, although these guys can get sniped out of units now. Plaguebearers are now almost useless due to the combination of Ward saves and Regeneration and their appalling initiative. Greater Daemons are still monsters (literally) in combat and can Thunderstomp as well as using their impressive profiles but are easier to pick out with cannons that can now pre-measure. ASF Daemonettes are still going to be sick in combat though, providing you can get them there. Tzeenthcian heralds with Master of Sorcery are now on the most useful spell casters in the whole game though. I still think that a properly constructed Daemon army will be tough to beat but the cheese lists of the past are exactly that, the past.

Dark Elves

The Dark Elves were probably the number one army under 7th edition. Cheap units that can chuck out a load of attacks, cheaper monsters that were hard to beat and a pretty tasty personal spell lore with some ridiculous magic items. Not much has changed. You are still going to see nice blocks of infantry, sure the Shadestar probably will never be seen again and their FAQ has changed a few things related to their magic items but these guys are still going to be strong. Cheap blocks of Spearmen are going to be a feature and the second rank being able to fire ranged weapons makes Repeater Crossbows even more deadly. Reaper bolt throwers might not feature as much, 2 wounds at T7 isn’t going to be that hard to kill now either. It is also possible for a High Sorceress as well as a Dreadlord to fit into 2000pts now too. Elves are still only T3 though and will still be outnumbered, they are going to want to really try to strip a unit away because of the number of return attacks they are going to be facing.

That’s it for Part 1 – there are fifteen armies to get through so rather than have one huge post I’ll be splitting this up into several Undead buccaneer friendly chunks.

Noticing a Trend


The fantasy environment is filled with sterotypes, it’s a part of parcel of the genre that has established itself from its beginnings in the primordial soup of works like Robert E. Howards Conan through to Tolkien’s masterworks and more modern pieces like Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time”. What these pieces of literature have done is to expand upon age old mythology and craft tales of heroism against vile beasties of all descriptions, whether it’s a hellish demon or sorcerer, right through to Trolls and Myrdraal. Otherworldy monsters with amazing strength/magical abilities could often be singled out as appropriate bad guys for our protagonist to fight against due to the fact they are largely alien to the real world in which we live. Therefore if the (typically) normal person can overcome these seemingly impossible beasts then the dramatic effect of that victory is magnified as we can understand the limits placed upon a normal human frame.

It is unsurprising then that when this medium is translated into the realms of the tabletop wargame those monsters that captured our imaginations in literature come to life across dining table the world over. Fantasy games especially are festooned with dragons, treemen, trolls, minotaurs, giants and other creatures born of fevered imaginations. For our purposes today we will be looking at the Warhammer world, a land not without more than its fair share of fearsome unnatural creatures.

Way back when I first started in the hobby Warhammer had a Bestiary, a list of all the different monsters than existed in the world and any army had access to them. Empire with Giant Scorpions, you got it, Dark Elves with a Cockatrice, there you go, Undead with a Silverback Gorilla, not a chance. Now, as the game has matured through several versions since those heady days of my misspent youth things have been refined a little. While these same beasts still exist out there in the Warhammer world (except the Gorilla of course) those available for recruitment by the various armed factions have become limited. No longer do we have a laundry list of monsters that any army can pick from, things are a little more tailored now that we get available monsters in the core lists for each army. Personally, I have to admit that I prefer this way of constructing one’s army as some of the choices didn’t really make sense alongside the force they were chosen with. Yet, there is a new trend that is appearing throughout the books, or, at the least, there appears to be and I’m not sure I like it.

Being an adherent to the Warhammer world I look over each army release, I’m not a fanatical collector of all the army books *cough*Gribblin*cough* but I do tend to enjoy looking at the new models and whathaveyou. The Daemons release obviously caused an uproar for how amazingly overpowered it was claimed to be, then we had Warriors of Chaos which took half of the Beastmen list and crammed it alongside the less mutated mortal servants of the Dark Gods. While before this they still had access to monsters it wasn’t as normal to have a proper Warriors list backed up by Dragon Ogres, Shaggoths and Giants. The new Lizardmen book added more power to the Stegadons and the Dark Elf book gave the Hydra a major boost too. Then we come to the last book to be released and the next one on the horizon. People decry the power of Greater Daemons and the undercosted Hydra and then we receive the confirmation of the aptly named Hell Pit Abomination. Never before have Skaven had something that equates to the scale and power of this individual beast, it takes half the special rules from the book and lumps them into one model just shy of 300pts. This monster is rightly feared across the battlefield.

I have followed rumours around the Beastmen book and finally got to have a quick preview of it last week as I was visiting my local game store. From memory I can recall three beasts of giant size coming around the 275pts mark, similar to the Abomination. Now, while I appreciate out of all the armies out there Beasts probably have more right to a horde of large-base monstrosities it is not just their size that is the problem. While I won’t release any spoilers here suffice to say that each of these monsters has some fairly evil rules to match. Just like the Abomination and Hydra are not pushovers for their cost neither are the new Beasts. I wonder if this trend is going to continue in the next releases, current internet rumours suggest we’ll either be seeing the Ogres of Tomb Kings being refreshed, I think the Undead require more of an update than the Ogres but then I am not really all that into the Ogre army.

I’m not sure I agree with the big beasty in every army that seems to be the route GW are going down. While I can see that some armies fit the idea (Beasts for instance) I don’t think that you can “standardise” these things across the whole segment. What really winds me up is that out of these new monsters the only one with a model is the giant and hydra, all the new ones do not have a model available. While this gives players a change to show off their creativity one of my largest bugbears regarding GW is the fact they will often release options in army books that never get a model released. I remember the previous edition of the Dark Elf book where there was no model for a Dreadlord or Noble available throughout the whole time the book was current. I think this is inexcusable for a miniatures company to not have a model for something that everyone is going to have at least one of to use.

So, Internetz, do you think I’m seeing something that isn’t there, or is our fantasy game becoming Monsterhammer? I can guarantee we’ll see lots of them in tournaments over the coming year.