Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WHFB 6 Months Later Part 2: What's Losing?

In part one yesterday I examined the things that the critics initially said were going to be shitty in 8th Edition, but which turned out to be pretty competitive.  In this part two, we'll flip the coin and look at the top five things that critics said were going to be amazingly good in 8th Edition that hasn't panned out to be as strong as advertised.

1.  Warmachine armies.  This is both Dwarfs and Empire.  When the new cannon rules everyone said the sky is falling and these armies would be able to blow everyone off the board.  Also, the move to bigger blocks of infantry means that stone throwers are better, which also benefited these armies.  Despite these big buffs to their artillery, these armies are not nearly dominant.  Dwarfs are still slow and linear, and thus easy to set up multi-charges against which means easy to beat.  Empire can be good, especially in the hands of an experienced player, but they just aren't in the same league as Skaven, Dark Elves, and High Elves.

2.  Swordmasters of Hoeth.  Yeah, they are good.  Not too many units can stand toe to toe with them in combat, which is really nice.  But when the new ASF rules came out, people went apoplectic saying that how broken they were and how they would ruin the game.  What turned out in practice, though, is that they are T3 with a 6+ armor save.  And there is lot's of shooting and magic in the game.  They tend to get blown off the board prior to getting into combat.  Also consider that HE armies are strapped for points.  They only have so many points to dedicated to their hard hitting special units and most HE armies are better off being aggressive and taking Lion Chariots, or being defensive and taking Phoenix Guard.  Swordmasters tend to be a good choice that there aren't enough points for in most lists.  Sorta like Sternguard in most Space Marine lists.

3.  Daemons of Chaos.  Once the undisputed top army, they are now closer to the bottom of the top tier.  Everyone predicted that large units of Bloodletters would be unstoppable when backed up by Fateweaver using Life buffs and Pink Horrors spamming magic missiles.  While this is clearly the most competitive daemon list, it's not nearly as nasty as everyone predicted.  With true line of sight, Fateweaver just isn't the bomb that he used to be.  In the last three games I've seen him in, he got magicked and shot off the board on turn one in two of them.  

4.  Always Strikes First.  Somewhat related to Swordmasters, everyone said that ASF units were going to break the game.  Has it happened?  No, it hasn't.  In fact, one of the scariest ASF units from 7th, Blackguard, dropped the ASF banner because it wasn't very useful.   ASF is a very nice bonus, but it isn't the be all, end all skill that everyone predicted it would be.

5.  Ogre Kingdoms.  I know I know: you're saying that no one said that they were going to be a top tier army.  That is true.  But I did hear plenty of people saying that a horde of Bulls was going to be unstoppable.  On a great many places on the internet I heard people mentioning how their mega unit of Ogre Bulls was just going to be trashing everything they came into contact with.  How'd that work out?  Your horde of Ogres dropping the hammer on the top tables?

What did I miss?


  1. It makes me happy to hear that in the greater scheme of things the warmachine armies aren't working that well. It's easy to be Dark Elves and think doom and gloom vs. a warmachine heavy army, since every warmachine can really impact your army.

    I don't play fantasy much these days, since I have to re-paint my entire army (and nobody at the LGS plays much), so it's good to hear a good players analysis on the way things are falling out overall.

  2. We are lucky that there are no good armies with good warmachines. Imagine if Lizardmen had Dwarven cannons. Or Dark Elves. It would be brutal.

  3. Big units of Ogres have never worked against anyone who knows what they're doing. Always beware of the Ogre player who takes small units, with Leadbelchers and Gnoblars scattered through the army, and backs up or slows down to ensure adequate positioning and maximum firepower rather than charging blindly on. That's a smart Ogre player right there.