Wow, this has taken a long time hasn’t it? I’m sorry Interwebz, I am currently on vacation from work and I’m going to use that as an excuse for not having got through with this sooner, that and a really hectic week before that following an office refurb. However, I am here now and ready to finish off with the last three armies. This has all been done alphabetically rather than any genuine attempt to annoy Gribblin who uses two of the armies that we will be looking at today. I suppose that once I am done with this final post in this series we should start writing up our experiences with 8th edition as earlier in the week 6 Inch Move were at Warhammer World and got hands on with the new boxed game Island of Blood and we came back and played our first proper 8th edition game that evening. But first…
In 7th edition the Vampire Counts list was one of the toughest to beat, up there with Dark Elves and Daemons of Chaos. With some of the rumours coming out before we got our hands on the actual rules typical Internet doom-mongery was at its most fertile with fervent trolling of apocalyptic decreases in the power level of the book. Luckily for all right-thinking individuals the prophesied doom of the Vampire Counts did not come about. While some of the cheesier elements are not quite as strong as they used to be, I’m looking at you single dice casting spam, the rest of the list has survived intact and elements have gotten ever stronger. While you now add your wizard level onto the casting total of spells a natural total of 1 or 2 will end your magic phase, so those single dice castings could really screw you over. However, both the Corpse Cart and the Varghulf are monsters and therefore get the Thunderstomp rule!
The rest of the army is still composed of some of the most evil combat characters in the whole game as well and most of the Lore of Vampires spells are easier to get off with the new casting rules, however, I would expect to see Vampires plucking some Lore of Death or Lore of Shadow spells in larger armies due to the nature of the spells in there which would perhaps give them more offence than the standard coterie of summoning. I know that you want to keep your units alive by rezzing them but a single Vampire with one of the new Lores could do a lot of damage to the opponent and thereby reducing the damage your shambling horde takes.
If Zombies were a tarpit before, with the new horde rules you are looking at one of the best in the game, they are dirt cheap like all good hordes should be but cause fear and are Immune to Psychology. Good luck getting through that without putting way more power into a combat than is warranted. Vampires didn’t too badly at all out of the new rules and I expect them to be as evil as ever. Not unbeatable by any means but still will put on a strong showing.
Wizards of Chaos
That’s right, I made a funny! But seriously, considering the power that is Infernal Gateway, how many WoC players do you face that take a combat Lord these days? OK, well, take a guess who went from average to bat-poop crazy? Here is another army that got catapulted into the top-tier of army lists with only a massive rules update to thank for it. Warhammer 8th edition is about infantry, killy, choppy infantry and who has some of the killiest and choppiest stuff out there? Warriors of Chaos, that’s who. I am looking at the humble Chaos Warrior who has WS5 and I5 to start with and a 4+ armour save due to his Chaos Armour, give them a shield and that’s 3+ with a Parry save for that 6+ Ward. Bolster that with Mark of Tzeentch and that ward save goes to a 5+, not bad for a Core troop choice, or you could give them halberds for S5. While you could argue that cavalry took a hit and that used to be a big part of Chaos lists the fact that the infantry got so much better more than makes up for it, you can take almost three Warriors per Knight and while I still think Knights will feature (who doesn’t want a unit of Fear causing S5 magic attacks?) Warriors of Chaos will finally be about just that, the humble Warriors. Cheap Marauders allow you to get a Horde unit or two if you want and just like the Vampires you have some of the best Lord level characters in Warhammer to choose from too.
With spells easier to cast that flying Tzeentch wizard that has been nuking the living crap out of your expensive units is here to stay and has some nice new items to pick out of from the new rulebook too. Lore of Metal will still work wonders against these guys but if you don’t know what you will be facing then you’re not going to be able to tailor your spell Lore just for these guys. The Warshrine can now Thunderstomp as it’s a monster so is much better at protecting itself in combat now but the units that you would never take before still aren’t worth anything. So the army did get quite a buff, tough, armoured warriors with a high initiative, couldn’t ask for any other army that really captures as much of what 8th is about as these guys.
Last, but by no means least, we come to Gribblins favourite, tree-hugging friends, the Wood Elves. I’m going to make an alarmist statement and then back it up, so all fanbois prepare to stop reading after the next sentence. No army got gimped as much by the new rules as the Wood Elves. There, no we’ve lost all the rage-quitters after I just dissed their army I’ll tell you why I think this. Wood Elves are an interesting army, always have been. They have a large number of skirmishing units, next to no armour at all, one of the poorest spell lores in all of Warhammer and Woods are no longer difficult terrain anymore so anyone can go right through them.
In translation, the Wood Elves lost some of their advantages, whereas before you’d never have charged anything the Woodies had if it was shaded beneath the boughs of Oak or Beech, now you can charge in with impunity and thanks to no armour and T3, even if they get to strike before you, you are going to ROFLstomp them into the ground. Wood Elves are expensive points wise, the same with all Elves but they don’t have the all out offence that the Dark Elves or High Elves can bring to the table. Yes, Treemen and Tree Kin got mightier with their various stomp attacks and the ability to gain ranks but most armies are going to pack some kind of flaming weapon to get rid of Regeneration these days and that leaves them vulnerable. Also, with skirmishers losing their 360 degree line of sight a lot of the freedom of movement that the Wood Elves enjoyed is gone. While you can still join combat on a flank or the rear to help with combat resolution those skirmishers are going to be tougher to use as you need to plan their movement like a regular unit now rather than being able to divert them at a moments notice.
With all the skirmishers not having options for a standard bearer either in Blood and Glory scenarios you are going to be at a disadvantage. This really is the edition of the Eternal Guard. Where the Wood Elves did get good is in their Lord level casters. Lore of Life is now an amazing Lore to use and I’d expect it to be the default Lore for any Wood Elf worth his salt. This Lore gets around some of the key weaknesses of the Wood Elves, namely low toughness and crappy armour. You can now get T7 Regenerating Elves that you can res back if they die, what’s not to love there? As you can cast Augments in combat you don’t have to worry too much unless your dudes are being targeted specifically by models they are in combat with.
With the exception of Tomb Kings and Ogres, Wood Elves are now the oldest book out there, having been released just as 7th edition was about to appear. I don’t know what they will do to help the forest lovers out but Wood Elves are even trickier to play than they were before. While most Elves are polarised by their strengths and weaknesses this just seems so much more apparent in Wood Elves now. To really get the most out of them will take some good generalship, they are not going to lose every game by any means, there is still a lot of power there, but they are not a beginners army.
So, there we have it, a round up of all the armies for Warhammer. I’ll break it down now by giving a listing of where I think each army rates on the typical Tier chart. Remember folks, this is just the opinion of an ageing Undead Buccaneer, you are free to agree/disagree at your own pleasure;
Tier 1 – Dark Elves, Dwarfs, The Empire, High Elves, Skaven, Vampire Counts, Warriors of Chaos
Tier 2 – Daemons of Chaos, Lizardmen, Ogre Kingdoms, Orcs & Goblins, Wood Elves
Tier 3 – Beastmen, Bretonnians, Tomb Kings,