It transpires that the lovely people at Workshop have decided to release the jolly old FAQs for Eighth Edition on time – which is nice of them, and nice for me, since it means I get to spew some opinions about the contents.
Naturally I’m going to talk about the armies I’m interested in, which means mainly Dark Elves with some Chaos thoughts as well. So far I’m pretty optimistic, nothing that I need to start a march on Nottingham for just yet.
Many of the Dark Elf changes have brought their entries into line with new universal special rules and the new mechanics for fighting war engines, all well and good. The Beastmaster’s Scourge outshines the additional hand weapon – extra attack and Armour Piercing, and you can combine it with a shield – which makes it an attractive choice for characters with access to armour who aren’t toting a magic weapon.
The extra power die mechanics across the army have been errata’d to obey the hard cap of twelve dice, full stop, no more. The role of the magic items and Power of Darkness has therefore shifted slightly, from ‘build up a terrifying number of dice’ to ‘guarantee/potentially provide extra dice and help absorb a dodgy Winds of Magic roll’: in other words, they’re insurance items which may (if you roll well on the Winds of Magic) end up wasted, rather than must-takes to ensure dominance of the phase. Interestingly enough, Power of Darkness is also a lot safer now: dice that end up discarded as a result of a Miscast, or of exceeding the power cap, do not inflict damage on Sorceresses, and the Sorceress is allowed to throw her dice away on spells she can’t possibly cast. It looks like prematurely ended Magic phases that leave dice in the pool are the only way those little cubes of evil can hurt their creators now, and that’s good.
The Ring of Hotek has also taken a bit of a whack, since you can’t bunker it away behind your army and create a 12″ bubble into which the enemy is afraid to cast… or at least, the new rule text on one page says you can’t, but the FAQ later in the document says you can. CONTRADICTION! Anyway, assuming that the new, rewritten rule for the item (which just talks about casting spells within 12″, not targeting things within 12″) takes precedent, that does force a bit of a change for me.
If I want to force those miscasts, I have to get the character with the Ring out there and in amongst the enemy (which means I’m thinking a Master or Dreadlord on Manticore is an increasingly good idea – deliver the Ring into enemy lines and carve up targets of opportunity while he’s there). Shiny will no doubt be delighted at this news, although not as delighted as he would be at the Ring’s ceasing to exist altogether.
Also, and slightly vexingly, Assassins don’t count towards any of the minimum or maximum percentages – in essence, they exist in a void, outside the army list, beyond the selection rules, and just down the road from the post office. This is unsurprising – filling out the Core percentage with Assassins would have been heck of broken – but it does mean I’ll need to find something else to top off those last few points with (Crossbowmen a-go-go, it would seem).
The rest is mostly old FAQ text, nothing exciting there. So far, so good, nothing to quit the game over. Now let’s have a look at the Chaos ones…
Chaos Knight lances still seem pointless, Chaos Trolls now appear to be easier to panic, Hellcannon’s Rampage tied up by fitting into a universal special rule, Nurgle’s Plague Squall (like all stone throwers) just became more accurate, and a model with the Book of Secrets becomes a proper Wizard (finally), although a Sorcerer with the Book of Secrets becomes a level 1 Wizard and loses whatever they already have (so no more Undivided Sorcerers trying for all six spells in a Lore). Pandaemonium is still excellent, more so now that the Sorcerer can do other stuff once it’s up, and Call to Glory has been tidied up (dispelling it does not count as killing the Hero, although the model is still removed). Chaos can mitigate Miscasts with the Infernal Puppet – grand – and most of the rest are written for the hard of reading rather than direct responses to eighth edition.
Interestingly, no word on the Mark of Tzeentch and the 6+ Ward from having a hand weapon and shield, and while I hear that the new Common Magic Item that makes a character into a level 2 Wizard is a bit pricey, it’s still there, allowing for some nice little efficiencies with getting the most out of the Mark of Tzeentch.
There is nothing in the FAQ that magically gives Warriors of Chaos unit variety or reduces the dependency on high-level Sorcerers – in fact, I’m pretty sure the Winds of Magic will gimp the aforementioned Sorcerers, since they don’t have any dice multipliers (like Power of Darkness, Boon of Tzeentch &c) and are pretty much dependent on getting enough from the random roll to chuck out their big spells. The option to spam little piddly spells from non-Sorcerer characters is there, but with improved access to level 4 wizards across the board, little spells will be far too easy to shut down. The basic Warrior has gained a lot, but that’s not enough – the army as a whole is still blocky, limited, and overly reliant on a phase that can’t be relied upon, whilst lacking the tools to even correct that unreliability, let alone dominate the phase.
Nevertheless, I’m going to have to write a Tzeentch list, just to get this fascination that I have with Chaos out of my system. I wrote about the advantages of theory-gaming over on the Frugal blog, so I’m going to practice what I preach and ride out the inspiration rather than telling myself I’m stupid and causing Gamer Angst.
But first, I need to pay the rent.