We do this kind of stuff so you don’t have to. Remember kids, servitob is a trained speedfreak / moron, your mileage may vary.
Don’t try this at home! (unless they’re not your miniatures)
The problem with a game that has 15 armies is that it takes an age to go through them all. Splitting them up also means I’m not taking up the entire first and second pages of the site with a single article. I think the other authors like a bit of exposure some times. So it is that I present you all with part 3 of our look at the Warhammer armies and how they have changed for 8th edition, there will be one final part following this one and by then we’ll have covered all the armies.
Without further ado, let’s get on with things.
One of the weakest of books from the last edition got a pretty significant boost, now, I’m not saying that Ogres are going to be bull-charging their way into the top-tier and taking tournament crowns, but when you see an army of them staring at you across the table you won’t be thinking of the free win.
The changes to monstrous infantry means you only need 3 wide to form a rank and anything in the rank behind contributes up to 3 attacks. Therefore a normal unit of say 6 Ogres is now going to be getting 18 attacks if they don’t have a unit Champion. Their fear is now less scary as there is no autobreaking but then Ogres didn’t normally outnumber their foes in the first place. Add in the impact hits from a bull-charge and the Stomp attack they get then your bog standard Ogres are not pretty beefy in combat. Their diminutive cousins the Gnoblars are also great as tarpits, they are dirt cheap and are likely to benefit from being deployed as a Horde to get lots of attacks while remaining steadfast and tying up your opponent until you can get a charge off with Bulls, Man-Eaters or whatever.
If your army has been gathering dust while something else has been taking up your playtime then now may be the time to reconnect with your inner Ogre and slap some unsuspecting opponents around.
Orcs and Goblins
I don’t know what it is about the letter O but under 7th edition rules both of the books fated to start with it have been the most underpowered of all the army books. This isn’t just my own opinion but one I have seen spread around the online Warhammer community. However, just like the Ogres before them, while Orcs do get better in this edition they still face the problems that they did earlier. One thing that Orcs have always been good at is producing a ton of infantry, they are not the best at it but can do it well enough. Big infantry is the hallmark of 8th edition so Orcs have that one covered. They still have a pretty decent spell list and their own miscast table to boot, this saves them from some of the nastiness in the rulebook. Cheap lords mean you can kit out some really good fighty characters and still take some magic ability without compromising your list.
Where things get really good is when you look a Night Goblins. These guys had a ton of options before, with Netters and such like, give them spears and drop them into a Horde formation and you have 4 ranks of attacks coming your way from a very cheap unit. Add in the bat-poop craziness of Fanatics too and you have some really funky, not to mention cheap, units that can wreak havoc. Bolt Throwers and Stone Throwers can help soften the enemy on the approach too, but big blocks of Goblins are going to be big feature I think. Still not the best army out there but Orc players should no longer consider themselves bottom of the pile.
I am sure no one has forgotten how awesome the new Skaven book was when it was released towards the end of 7th, well, they have only gotten better in the new rules. While Orcs can spam infantry well, Skaven do it even better, with a greater focus on large blocks of foot soldiers Skaven have gone straight to the top tier of armies as they can put more feet (well, claws) on the ground than any other army out there. While the ratmen benefited from outnumbering their foes in the past when they do it now they are truly formidable, stubborn on leadership 10 provided they have the ranks for Strength in Numbers and are close to a Warlord is going to make them tough to shift. Disposable units of slaves are even more disposable and are likely to make an even bigger boom when they are broken. Skaven characters are cheap and you can kit out a Warlord and still have a Grey Seer should you want. It may be a tight squeeze if you are one of the Screaming Bell crowd but larger point games play even more into Skaven hands. The new casting rules make a lot of their spells easier to cast and you will normally have the wounds to soak up casualties if your mages are on foot.
Let’s not forget a new common magic items list that fills in a lot of the perceived gaps that the Skaven only items have. Abominations are still evil and get more so with their Thunderstomp even if it is a little easier to stop regeneration in this edition. A grand army can take a lot of them too, not something I’d want to be facing. Rat Ogres got the same kind of boost that all monstrous infantry did and are now a viable choice to add extra hittting power into a Skaven force, also you can no longer stand and shoot the A-bomb nor the Doomwheel due to their use of random movement, you’re either going to have to deal with them up close and personal (not recommended) or beat them to a bloody pulp at range. Although now you can pre-measure Skaven shooting is even better than it was previously. In fact the only thing to get worse is Plague Censer Bearers due to the new Skirmish rules and even then they are still worth taking. I can’t really think of too much the Skaven lost in 8th, only a lot of plus points for them.
The oldest book in Warhammer is showing its age. Long overdue an update (much like the Dark Eldar in 40k) the egyptian themed Undead hordes certainly are an interesting army. With an interesting update to the magic system cleared up through their FAQ the risen forces of Khemri are certainly not to be trifled with.
They still suffer the same problems they always have, troops that cost way more than what they are capable of doing, sub-par choices in some areas leading many armies to look like carbon copies etc… Yet they still had a decent tournament showing with people who knew what they were doing. We get some nice stomp attacks for Ushabti and Tomb Scorpions, Thunderstomp on the Bone Giant and still a potentially devastating magic phase if played right. Despite all of this the Tomb Kings really just need a new book, even more than Ogre Kingdoms who appeared before the Wood Elves at the end of 6th. While they can certainly hold their own they aren’t an easy army to use. A little more variety in unit choices wouldn’t go amiss as well as a re-write of the Incantions that they use. I love the theme of this army but they could be so much more. We are probably looking at a middle tier army here but their age shows through.
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.
Good morning Intarwebz, how are you doing?
I am sure that you, like me, are aware of just how awesome a resource the Internet can be. Not just a repository for media of the female of the species in various states of undress doing unusual things with various food groups, but a fount of information and communities of like-minded individuals. Normally a hobby that is stereotypical filled with either pre-pubescent youths or sweaty, bearded old men locked away in their parents dungeon comes into the (normally shunned) bright lights of socialism and we find many places where we can engage with others, finding (shockingly) that the majority of gamers are just normal folks with a liking for half-naked elves, or whatever.
However, there is also a feature of Internet communities that are not so positive. While this medium has, in a way, brought the hobby to a more mainstream audience there has been an effect born of forums that does not just take place within our favoured pastime. This follows on from my post earlier in the week regarding the eagerness and excitement you can feel when a project clicks for you and I feel that this behaviour is increasingly prevalent. I’m willing to admit that we see perhaps a subset of the community who are active participants online and this may skew the results but we can deal with that.
What I am talking about is the negativity that seems pervasive sometimes when discussions of armies come up. Taking for an example the newest Fantasy army, the Skaven, I have read discussions that on some occasions are downright damning of various units and their abilities. I’ll also admit that these discussions seem to revolve purely around what will be viable for a tournaments and while I commend the fact that tournaments are more frequent and better established these days I would hazard that this is not the preferred way of gaming for the vast majority of gamers. I have read threads posted that could completely crush enthusiasm if you were planning something that is being discussed and these discussions rarely touch on those things that are positive. This isn’t purely the case with the latest armies, this can be anything at all, it really does seem that the more negative the person the more vocal they are when the Internet beckons.
Luckily for most of this I can try to ignore what is being said. I’m not a tourney player, I enjoy the quiet competition between friends gathered around a suitably transformed dining table. I’d also like to point out that this isn’t something only linked to Games Workshop’s games but is present among other companies as well. Any game involving an army list obviously will have some units that are seen as sub-par and others perform way beyond their points cost, however, I’m a keen believer that the game is what you make of it and all this negativity is unnecessary. We should enjoy trying things out and experimenting, not merely talking about which unit are auto-includes or that you should never take unit X because player Y reckons it sucks donkey wang without having ever actually used it.
Saturday saw another Uncharted Seas event. This time hosted at the domicile of the erstwhile Servitob. We had a new player with his fledgling Dragon Lord fleet and another new player waiting for his own Orc flotilla that had to make do with my Human upstarts. The new Dragon Lords took on Servitob and his new Iron Dwarves in the first match with the new fleet. Servitob then proceeded to display the devil’s own luck with the volume of high rolls he made. Hopefully he will be along later to spin his own tale of hirsute midget derring-do.
I’ve got the new Skaven book for Warhammer which I may ink a review of once I’ve finished reading it, although now that Dragon Age has been released I’m running round acting like a Warlock which is 17 kinds of awesome and well over 9000!
In other news I have also found my favourite Internet icon ever. I present it to your here for your appreciation;
For anyone that is not a regular reader of Games Workshop’s monthly hobby mag and is blissfully unaware of the number of other sites reporting this across the Interwebs, the next army to be released for 7th edition Warhammer is going to be the Skaven. New Clanrats are on display in the magazine (alongside a lot of stuff dedicated to Space Hulks return), personally, I’m not sure about the models but another army coming out should mean that the “Daemons are too overpowered” argument may receive some further dilution.
Also, not much of a surprise though, the next 40K release is yet more Space Marines, this time in lycanthropy flavour. New Space Wolves will be hitting the shelves soon.