Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thoughts on 8th Edition

I have been reading a lot of material from numerous Warhammer related sites regarding 8th edition and Saturday got in my first actual game of it.

We had a good-size game; I took 5K of Warriors of Chaos and would be facing 2500 points apiece of 2 different armies.

I figured Liam was most likely to bring Beastmen with an outside shot of bringing the Bretonnianss and figured Kev most likely to bring Sakven with a not insignificant chance of bringing the Ogre Kingdoms.

Not that it would matter...I was going to build the Knight of magic regardless of what they brought.

The overwhelming concensus I have come across at various sites is that cavalry in this edition is "pants", "not worth taking", "overpriced", and just in general considered inferior.

This made me inaccountably happy because it means I can take more Knights and instead of making my army better, it arguably (according to general opinions) makes my army worse.

The second concensus is that taking 1 Level 4 and 1 level 2 Wizard is about the best possible result. So taking 2 Level 4 Wizards (and thus no fighty-killy Lord level character) and a couple Level 2s would mean I had spent too many points on Knights and Wizards to have a truly beardy list.

I also wanted to try out the Horde rules and deliberately over-costed my Marauders by taking fully 50 with mark of khorne, light armor, shield, and great obviously poor choice since they MUST use the great weapon in close combat, so the light armor will almost always be negated and the shield is extra points for nothing.

I also took an over-sized block of 40 chaos Warriors...a ridiculous choice, as most people seem to be running them in blocvks of 12 (6x2 formation).

But that is what I love about this edition. With rules like steadfast and removing casualties from the rear, these blocks have value in 8th.

In 7th edition, MAYBE the Warriors block would have been worth taking. Maybe. But the marauders? It is to laugh. Despite their ability in 7th to POTENTIALLY dish out 13 S5 attacks, the reality is the enemy would typically wipe out most or all of the front rank, reducing them to maybhe 2 attacks for the champion.

Thus I would be spending points for the sole purpose of giving the enemy some nice combat reolution bonus.

In 8th, despite taking 15 casualties from one spell and several more from shooting, I was able to attack back with I think 28 attacks, killing about 17 Skaven 9an admittedly above average and outstanding result).

This shows the good and better of the edition to me.

First, the good. Magic is effective again...and potentially game changing. His Plague spell did nearly 33% casualties to a 50 man unit. That is pretty awesome. I even was able to get off several spells (despite, I might add, some apalling rolling that saw them have more dispel dice than I did on the first three turns due to my second die consistently being a "1" and them channeling 2 - 3 dice per turn whi9le I was channeling zero on those turns.)

Since I have always loved the magical aspect of fantasy, it was great seeing magic be something worthy of being feared instead of something you packed a couple dispel scrolls and forgot about.

I love that I can be confident I will get off not just magic, but magic I want to get off. No more pointless "I shall cast flaming sword of Ruin on my mage who will never see combat".

Great, love the new magic system.

Second, the GREAT part. I love that Marauders now have apunchers chance against...say...grail Knights.

In 7th, 150 points of Grail Knights > 300 points of Marauders based on the charge alone.

In 8th, 300 points of Grail Knights are more or less equal to 300 points of Marauders. yes, if they get the charge and have proper support they probably win the combat...but the marauders are still going to have a punchers chance of doing some damage.

Whereas in 7th, if charged by a hero-buffed unit of Grail Knights I expected to have zero chance of striking back, in 8th I am virtually guaranteed to have a chance to strike back...AND, more importantly, strike back with a sufficient chance of doing casualties.

Even blessed grail Knights with 2+ save and 5+ ward have something to fear from 21 S5 attacks coming back their way.

Assume 10 hit on 4s, 8 wound, 4 save base, and 1 - 2 save Ward...even the mighty Grail Knights have now taken some damage for their attack. And should the Marauders somehow be Steadfast after taking 10 - 15 casualties, in future rounds they are about even money to take on the now low-S Knights.

Conversely, if I charge my beloved Chaos knights into say...Saurus Warriors, in past editions I could count on the 16 S5 and 10 S4 attacks to keep the Saurus from ever attacking back and thus proved demonstrably impervious to their martial might.

In 8th, however, a block of Saurus is a legitimate threat to do some wounds...even if I run the Knights 10 deep now, 21 S5 and 5 S4 attacks are still going to most likely see a minimum 20 S4 attacks coming back, 10 hitting, 5 wounding, and maybe 1 - 2 Knights dying.

Not a lot...but better than the zero that would die in 7th. It means any unit dishing out mass quantities of attacks has a great chance of doing damage to someone like me...

Who for the second time in a month rolled 4 "1"s on a roll of 4 dice, a 1 in 1296 chance. And needing 2s to save failed 2 out of 3.

So I expect my Knights to die.

In fact, in our game where I got my Knights into the combats I wanted every time except when Frenzy forced me to present my flank to the Grail Knights, I lost both Exalted heroes and 17 of 20 rank and file knights.

Perversely, this makes me very happy.

If my Knights are worse I do not need to feel bad about taking more.

I also will take Chaos Warriors more often since they are now more likely to actually see combat. meaningful combat.

Now, obviously one game is a very small sample size.

It did, however, reinforce several theories I had about the game and I am in love with this edition.

I will be able to take the units I like...block infantry for epic "grind" combats, Knights for epic charges, Wizards for saga-worthy magic, and know they will all be useful.

Conversely, I really, really do not like certain aspects of the "true line of sight".

First off, hills either need to be modeled differently or else it should be taken into account they are REPRESENTATIONS of much taller structure.

Second, forests should actually know...forests. I am tempted to model a forest with about 200 trees and dare anyone to shoot through it. The idea a single model could not find a convenient tree in the middle of the forest to hide behind is ludicrous beyond comprehension.

Another dislike is the "1+ armor cap (gotten around by the Eye table due to its explicit statement allowing 0+, but by nothing else I am aware of). It would be nice to allow characters to be protected against higher strength stuff.

But overall, it looks like a great experience. I look forward to writing up the report on the game that saw an irresistible Purple Sun damage only the one who cast it, the unbelievably awesome hellcannon implosion, the Shaggoth v. pit Abomination duel, and the surprising outcome.


kev said...

I still think the best part was when my remaining 5 clanrats rolled insane courage against your horde and held them long enough to let my Furnace get in there.

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