The Rules Team Support Blog 16

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  • VS Sneak peak
    The glorious armies of the Vermin Swarm has prevailed in 0.11, but the time has come to look to the future and how the Vermin Swarm army can expand its hidden empire to stretch over vastly greater dominions. The senate has convened and all has been heeded. Then, in typical Vermin Swarm manner, the council ignored all advice from their lackeys and bickered for days on end. The Siccara representatives tried to assassinate the Plague representatives by writing the word cheese on bottles of rat poison but the Plague representatives just ate the whole thing anyway and asked for more. Once all had come to a final agreement, a Fetthis representative ate the document by mistake (he mistook it for a piece of cheese) so the process had to be started over again with even more bickering. Finally, it was decided that the direction the Vermin Swarm army had been moving towards, with MSU army with monster mash and extreme gunlines, had to change. Too many slaves were dying to breed up all the monsters and summon all the Daemons, and the Rakachit Organization Dark Shards were in short supply. Coincidentally, the 0.11 direction was also not favored by either the 9th age developers nor by the community, so several changes (both buffs and nerfs) where implanted to steer the army away from this.

    1. The Vermin Daemon, the big elephant in the room, was tired of being summoned to each and every game and even more so having to look at his own reflection on the battlefield all the time. All Vermin Daemons held a council and decided that they now only will send one Vermin Daemon to aid the Vermin Swarm, no matter how many Magisters call for them. Furthermore, the council decided to only send the little cousins of the Exalted Vermin Daemons, but that these cousins will be linked to the cults, organizations and schools of the Vermin Swarm society.
    2. Some old magic items that were never used have been removed and some new magic items have been added to allow for better synergy with the armies strong points. The implosion sphere has imploded upon itself and a new magic weapon utilizing the mass horde aspect of the Vermin Swarm army has been added.
    3. Tyrants and chiefs, the main close combat characters, were not used by the Vermin Swarm army to much extent (except as BsBs and MurderbladeLords). Therefore, they received a point decrease and/or access to new mundane equipment. One such option will be a vile brew that can be sneaked into the Gruyere cheese that unsuspecting units of Rats-at-Arms and Vermin Guard eat on the eve before a battle (it's tradition, we promise). The units will then gain a random special rule that boosts the close combat ability (such as devastating charge).
    4. The Doom Bell was brought up many times by the Magisters, but they could not come to any consensus on what was best for it. Thus, in true political fashion, nothing has been done. The Magisters promise that they will fight for the Bell during the next senate meeting, so have hope!
    5. Upon request from several Magisters and Tyrants to add more “Vermin Swarm feel” to the army, some ranged weapons now have the possibility to backfire. The Rakachit Organization objected as they think this is a plot to hinder their plan of world domination by making their favorite toys blow up, but the remaining Vermin Swarm society ignored their objections.
    6. By this time, the large masses of the Vermin Swarm army were beginning to ruffle as they were annoyed of all the new things happening around them. To nip this rebellion in the bud, and to buff the overall close combat ability of the army, most rank and file infantry units received a small point decrease or other buffs. The large masses were happy with this and went back to eating their Gruyere cheese.
    7. Weapon teams, the slightly smaller elephants in the slightly smaller room, have been moved to special instead of core to remove the possibility of flooding the mandatory core points with these. To compensate, the weapon teams are not restricted by other units, so Vermin Swarm players are now allowed to field up to three teams regardless of what is in the rest of the army (ok, not regardless, you cannot take pointy eared elf things in the army, that doesn’t make sense, but you get our point).
    8. The Meatgrinder, the sad excuse for a weapon team that no Tyrant would touch with a thirteen foot pole (even if the pole was made up of Swiss cheese), will also see an important change as it competes for the same entry as the other weapons teams, but has a significantly different role to play.
    9. Fetthis has been complaining recently about the state of their Vermin Hulks, claiming that they were being poisoned by the Plague cult. After a brief bout of aggressive negotiations, Feethis negotiated augmentations that allows for sculpting of the unit to specific needs, accompanied by a small point increase.
    10. The Undernational Union of jeZail rIflerats (UUZI) met and decided that they were being undervalued. To resolve this, they increased their wage and
    [Read More]
  • The theme of the Beast Herds army is all about having fast and hard-hitting troops. Sure, we don’t have cavalry, armour, or powerful shooting, but we are resilient in our own way and can deliver a punch before you know what hit you. This theme guided our decisions as we sought to address the feedback from the community, the Rules Team, and the Balance Board.

    The Beast Herds book was considered to be at about the correct power level overall, but it needed to be adjusted to get rid of abusive builds (combos that were not fun to play against or were too powerful) and to create better internal balance. We also sought solutions such that units did not have to pay for advantages they did not plan to use.

    • The ability to ambush is central to this army. However, nobody wants to play against an opponent that can drop super powerful stuff behind your lines. So a few common-sense rules were put into place, such as Drunk units no longer being able to ambush. We also changed the pricing structure of ambushing units, and it will now be an optional upgrade rather than being built into the unit’s base price. We did this so that units that do not ambush no longer have to pay a premium for that ability.
    • Minotaur Warlords will no longer be able to field minotaurs as core units. One of the changes across all the army books is that core units need to not be elite – and minotaurs are nothing if not elite. However, to compensate for this loss, the new Lord of Bulls rule will cause all minotaurs to always remain frenzied.
    • Beastlords are a little cheaper now, and Hunting Call is an optional upgrade. Again, we didn’t want to pay for an unused ability. Hunting Call is a little different, as it now only works on units with the Pack Tactics special rule and can only be used to reroll failed ambush rolls. This ability was a little too powerful for units that are already on the border of being too powerful to ambush (looking at giants, centaurs, etc.). We also wanted to avoid situations where a player rerolled successful ambush roles in order to deny their opponent legitimate game turns. Also, Beastlords are a significant part of a new Longhorns special rule (see below).

    • Wildhorns are now cheaper. They lost Light Armour because we felt it was not fitting to the theme of the army, and we thought it better to make them as cheap as possible. Also, the ability to ambush is an optional upgrade for a flat cost for the unit (i.e. you don't pay per model, but per unit), but ambushing units are limited to 25 models. As said above, we wanted to be an aggressive army with the ability to ambush lots of stuff, but we are trying to balance that in a way that people will enjoy playing against us. Dropping a 50-model unit behind someone’s line does not make for an enjoyable game for our opponents.
    • Mongrel Herd changed in a similar as the Wildhorns – and for the same reasons. They now start at 20 models. Like above the ambush upgrade is a flat cost for the unit cost for units up to 30 models. Also, the Insignificant rule has been removed, so now characters can join them.
    • Mongrel Raiders now start with 10 models at a cheaper price. We wanted their price per model to represent their abilities, and across all the armies the RT is trying to ensure that any single unit is worth at least a decent amount of points. So, we thought that increasing the Mongrel Raiders starting size without increasing the overall cost very much was the best way to go.
    • Longhorns underwent quite a few minor changes in an attempt to balance several needs. We needed them, as an elite unit, to cost as much as elite units in other armies, but we also needed their abilities to reflect that price. So, they will see a drop in their base price, and additional models will be a bit more expensive. The cost to ambush is being reduced to only 1 ppm. But. BUT. HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS!!! They now have the Bodyguard (Beastlord) special rule. That’s right! Longhorns and Beastlords just became a lot more attractive, which is good because they were underused in the last edition.
    • Razortusk Chariot got scythes, which was a much-needed improvement to differentiate this unit from the Raiding Chariot. It also gained an optional upgrade that grants charging benefits to units within 6 inches. (Remember our theme of being a fast army?
    • Gortach was too strong for its points, as evidenced by its inclusion in most tournament lists. It is now leadership 9 and no longer has ID(5) vs shooting. Also, if you field one or more Gortachs, then Minotaur Warlords become one-of-a-kind. (Two Minotaur Warlords and two Gortachs is simply too brutal of a combination.) We decided to make these changes in its rules in order to prevent a price increase.
    • Jabberwock received a price reduction and a slight increase in its Innate Defense upgrade. BUT, its aura ability now affects ALL units – even those that are ItP. We wanted to keep this monster cheap, and the ID upgrade was almost an auto-include. Also, we
    [Read More]
  • For this sneak peek we've interviewed the various Orcs and Goblins responsible for the update in order to explain the upcoming changes. Translations are below each quote, and if you want the sneak peek in an easy-to-read format, one can be found after all the quotes.

    Orc Chief Amaz wrote:

    "If ya ain't killin' 'em da first time ya smash 'em, save yer killyness lads 'cause it's gonna be a long fight."

    -Born to Fight-
    The old rule was switched off for the entire game if a round of close combat was not won, and in some situations this was too good. Born to Fightwas changed so that the bonus now applies to the first round of each combat.

    Orc Chief Swaging wrote:

    "We got da cave gits to ride da Gnasher Dashers right good. Deys goin' where we wants 'em to, an' we only had to krump 'em a bit to make 'em lern."

    -Gnasher Dashers-
    This unit was rarely seen on the battlefield. In addition, "bouncy" had some possible issues with movement rules which we wanted to remove. Due to these issues, the unit has been redesigned to have flying instead of Boing and random movement.

    Cave Goblin Big Shaman Oolah da Finka wrote:

    "All yer wierd git shamans can't 'ave da really glowy mushrooms anymore 'cause yer've been muckin' about, an' aint been doing da spells and fings proppa."

    -Power 'Shrooms-
    Have been reduced to a +1 to the casting result to put them more in line with the new casting values of spells. Furthermore, there have been some changes to the Paths of the Green Gods to make them more useful.

    Orc Chief Amaz wrote:

    "We used up too many of da 'erdin Gnashers and now deyz zoggin' hard to find."

    -Gnasher Herd-
    The Gnasher Herd was seen to be over performing for its cost, so the price per model has been increased and the max unit size decreased.

    Forest Goblin Apita wrote:

    "Boss, we has takin' da spider venom like ya shouted an' put it on our pointy bits an stuff, but some of da ladz mucked about, an' just put it on demselfs like paint."

    -Forest Goblins and Mother's Gift-
    Only getting poisoned attacks from the Mother's Gift magic banner was seen as too limiting, so the banner has been removed and forest goblins have been given the option to add poison attacks to their melee attacks (but might just give it to an enemy unit instead). You know, proper Gobbo style.

    Iron Orc Akagtug wrote:

    "Da ladz was complainin 'cause dey ain't got no bitz from those shiny gits on horses, 'cause of da Git Launchers killin' 'em all first. So we fixed da git launchers some."

    -Git Launcher, Splatterer and Skewerer-
    To be consistent with game-wide changes to war machines, the Git Launchers and Splatters have been moved to Special and combined into oneunit. Skewerers have been moved to Rare for this same reason. The Git Launcher has been seen to be overperforming, and has been reduced in effectiveness, but also in cost.

    Orc Chief Swaygig wrote:

    "Dem Stunties have gone an lernt how to run away from us faster. Faster 'an da boys could keep up. We put da boys ta running, an put da great stone idol after 'em so it'd krump dem stumpy gits. But da idol got so slippery wiv' da stunty bits da lads we 'ad wranglin da idol got krumped an' we 'ad to make da idol all over 'cause it brokeded. So we put gobbos ta work makin da idols, but da stupid gits built 'em all funny."

    -Great Green Idol and Waaargh!-
    When used together, the Green Idol and Waaaargh were proving to be an insurmountable force when used against any unit. Due to this the following changes have been implemented:
    • Waargh has been changed so that Devastating Charge has been replaced with +1 movement.
    • The Hatred aura from the Great Green Idol has been replaced with a Devastating Charge aura.
    The Great Green Idol has had its defense lowered and upgrade redesigned as well, due to its survivability being too great against low strength units.

    Iron Orc Akagtug wrote:

    "Da boys was gettin' hungry smashin' humies, squishin' stunties an breakin' da poncy elf's faces an' all. So we was finkin' a spider-leg barbecue would 'it da spot. An' dey got so many legs, missin' a few won't matter, right?"

    To bring them in line with other similar mounts and eliminate excessive builds, Gargantula mounts have been limited to One of a Kind.

    Orc Warlord Tukasatig wrote:

    "Findin good 'elp is gettin hard. Ya gotta keep yer Iron Ladz close. Da lads keep all da puny fight off ya, so ya can get some real fightin' done."

    -Iron Orcs-
    Have… [Read More]
  • Greetings Noble Knights, the time has come for what you have all been patiently (some not so patiently) waiting for, the KoE sneak peek. We know a lot of you were a little put off that our 'review' was last, but we have to say we think it was the right call as we think we needed the extra time. There were a lot of suggestions, rejections, counter proposals, and, unfortunately, some things that were not able to be changed in time, but we have no doubt these will be addressed in the future. We hope that we have a more workable, balanced and viable book than we previously did. However we won't know either way until we have done extensive playtesting, which is where the feedback of the community becomes important. It's important to remember that both the ABC and RT have spent an enormous amount of their free time working on this book, so please respect the process.
    We think first and foremost the intention was to scale the power of the Grailstar down as it has been made clear for a long time that death stars are not something the team wants to encourage, but also to hopefully bring some more variety and viable list options in competitive play. However before you get too crestfallen about this, we're excited to share what I think the biggest, and best change for us this release will bring:

    1) The Blessing: Whether the Lady has realised how devout we really are, or our noble knights have just become a little more intelligent regarding warfare and have decided to pray the night before a battle- no longer must we give up first turn to receive benefits from the blessing. We do, however, gain no bonuses to the roll deciding who goes first.
    We no longer have to suffer a massive disadvantage just so we can benefit from our AWSR. Until now, we were the only ones suffering from this. However, we do still have to decide something (in list-building, not at the start of matches).. Would you prefer to receive a stronger ward save against AP attacks, or high strength attacks?
    After much discussion between the RT and ABC, where it was basically split on what the blessing should give, they came to the conclusion that each should (theoretically) be as balanced as the other- so why not give the player the choice? As for why we no longer have to give up first turn, we think that's quite obvious, we can now play the deployment game just like any other army. We think this change can be really interesting especially in team tournament scenarios.

    2) One change we believe nobody really understood in .11
    was giving our horses stomp, but only when we don't charge. It didn't really make any sense, and frankly was quite useless for the most part. It's gone. However, our horses have gainedthunderous charge to bring them back to S4 when charging.

    3) Peasants: As we are certain you are all aware of, one of the main problems with running peasants in a cavalry army is keeping them in the battle. Our nobles have been beating and chastising the peasants for this very reason, and as a result, they're quite motivated to move a little quicker under the watchful eyes of their betters, and now receive +1M when marching while under the inspiring presence from knights.

    4) Questing Knights no longer have The Blessing, as they have a different rule to fill a niche - they have a flat 5+ ward in close combat, and as a result, both the oath and questing knights have seen a price reduction. They have also received something many of you have been asking for in this army - the option to scout! (and vanguard). However, they no longer haveskirmish. As you all know one of the many difficulties in an army full of cavalry options is differentiating the units and giving them different roles, we hope that these changes can help questing knights find that role

    5) In the interest of allowing a peasant or making mixed army more viable, peasants have also seen a price reduction, and the reliquary grants nice buffs, but has become a rare unit. It now grants an aura to insignificant units that grants The Blessing, FiER, and rerolling 1's to wound.

    6) The price has been adjusted for many magical items, particularly in regards to taking them on hero level characters. While the Talisman of Roland has been changed to a max of 4+ as a result of item combinations/death star lists, and The Oriflamme is cheaper, but now only removes Hold Your Ground.

    7) Characters themselves have been seen as over costed ("finally", we can almost hear you all say..), and as such have seen some reductions. While the Castellan has been hitting the gym and can now match the goblin chief in strength and toughness, for no change in points, this should help him survive a little better in combat. Previously he tended to be targeted and killed quite easily, this will also allow his unit buffs to be utilized a little longer. With thatchange he can also be a better redirector.

    8 ) The option to create a 'Green Knight' lord is no longer there, however there is now a one of a kind rare unit to the… [Read More]
  • Hello my scaly friends!

    In a weird twist of events the Saurian Ancients had teamed up with the Deamon Legions and together they reigned supreme in the land of OPness.
    The Old Gods didn't approve of this unholy alliance and so their subordinates have been on patrol duty and mucked out the Taurosaur den.
    Jealous kings and other persons of so called importance, from the cold lands far away from the steamy jungles, have been complaining about their own incapability of bringing down the sacred warriors of the jungle. Hah, we'll give them what they want and beat them all the same anyway! Because, obviously, my fellow genetically superior Warlords will show their worth. Right, guys?

    Here's the sneak peek of what the Old Gods have done to the next breed of spawnlings:

    1) Born Predator saw some changes affecting several units. Apparently creating a genetically superior killing machine also involves including various weaknesses. Being a born predator was a sneaky way to negate at least one weakness and since the Old Gods didn't want to pay their Warlords and Veterans anymore Itxy Grub than they already do, they decided one shouldn't be considered a born predator if using Great Weapons and magical Weapons. This change will balance Saurian Characters, Caimans (make Caiman halberds more attractive) and make Skrox units more reasonable. Both the Alpha Carnosaur and small Carnosaur also lost their BP special rule.

    2) You wouldn't think it, but the Alpha Carnosaur suffered from an inferiority complex! The younger Carnosaurs must learn to restrain themselves and give a fighting chance to other monstrous beings. As such the younger Carnosaurs will refrain from using their set of ultra sharp claws in combat and no longer inflict Multiple Wounds (D3). For this they don't demand the same amount of Itxy Grub and so they got a slight reduction to their cost. To make things good with the younger Carnosaurs, the Warlords have decided to give them some attention and will from here on also ride to war on the younger Carnosaurs.

    The Alpha Carnosaur received a slight nerf to its stats, and the Starfall Shard will only grant Fireborn and Hard Target. The Old Gods didn't appreciate the Alpha Carnosaur munching too much on humanoids - the Alpha Carnosaur should instead be focused on hunting its favorite prey: monsters.

    3) Moving mountains shouldn't be used to crush puny humans and the High Borns were jealous. The favored of the Old Gods now have a more limited allowance for their disciplines and some of them have been changed. That'll teach them! They can still bring more than one disciplinethough, so no worries.

    4) The Old Gods are millennia-old and for the longest time they have dreamed of crushing their opponents with huge units of genetically superior warriors. As one can understand they were severely disappointed when they realized their generals fooled around with guerrilla like warfare. The Skink Hunters have been banished from the core of the army (and can now be found in special), and to force the cowardly Brave ones into close combat they've had their poisonedjavelins exchanged with non-poisoned javelins. Luckily they now come with almost-free poison for close combat and smaller units may yet again be taken. The clever general will realize this opens up the opportunity for cheap scoring units.

    For those who cannot shake the need for guerrilla like warfare, the Skink Braves can be made into Skink Hunter look-a-likes and move in a skirmishformation.

    5) The Old Gods want their warriors to smash their enemies in the face, not shoot them from afar! When the Chiefs were given permission to shoot the big bolt thrower from the back of the Taurosaurs, they all flocked to Taurosaurs. WHAT?! - TAUROSAURS ARE MEANT TO SMASH FACE AND NOT HIDE IN THE BACK. The Chiefs may still shoot the bolt thrower if they wish, but a new breed of BS4 chiefs have been popped in the pools and the old ones are being sacrificed as we speak to the vengeful Snake Man. Also the Taurosaurs demanded more Itxy Grub payment for their efforts, otherwise they'd go to their union dino and complain.

    6) Fairness was demanded from the jealous kings. Fairness will be given. Templeguards will be given more Itxy Grub payment, but only very little more than what the Veterans among us are used to. Being a Weapons Master have also been removed from the genes. Smash humanoid faces with halberds, don't dance around with shields and act all kinds of tanky.

    7) MORE FAIRNESS they yelled. The remaining T5 caimans have all been promoted to Ancient Caimans, leaving the T4 guys as the only solution. Light Armour was given as an alternative. Meanwhile the Templeguards were still feeling the heat, and like the Alpha Carnosaur they were quickly developing an unhealthy inferiority complex. To make sure the scaly generals would utilize all the special warriors evenly, the Caimans will receive a bigger payment when used in big units. The bold general who uses these in… [Read More]
  • Hello community!

    It is time to bring you up to speed with what's happening with the Sylvan Elves.
    These past few months saw several versions of our Armybook, each time bringing a mixed bag of changes: sometimes they gave us nothing but despair, but sometimes they brought candies and joy. All of these changes reflect the combined effort of the Guys Below, or more specifically the Armybook Committee, Balancing Board and Rules Team. The ultimate goal is to balance the armies and to get rid of overpowered and imbalanced stuff. Behind the upcoming book stand several people with cojones who sacrificed so much of their time to bring this roller-coaster to the next checkpoint.

    Speaking of balance! At the current stage, Sylvan Elves are considered one of the top-tier armies. More precisely, there are two lists which outshine any other combinations from our book. Those are Tree spirits lists, and avoidance lists. A wise man once said: “The most important part of the sneak peek is not to show you that something has been changed, but why something has been changed” (looking at you mr. little man), so we are not going to present you every change made in upcoming version of our Armybook (and there are quite a few), but leave you to find them out when the book is released come March. Without further ado (and pointless blabbering, if I may add), here are the most important changes:

    1) The army-wide special rule has been revisited, in an effort to define what is crucial to the SE in terms of gameplay and identity. In the 9th age no race gets "freebies", so having a special rule that grants many bonuses could have reflected badly on the units, in terms of overall cost. We decided to drop the "Fight in Extra Ranks" part of the Forest Walker, and to move the Armour Piercing just to the units that need it. This way, archers and sentinels do not have to pay for a rule that they will probably not be using. The solution we've come up with also ensures the balance of combat characters, as it had been brought to our attention that the fact that they got AP(1) with magical weapons was making them slightly overpowered. Tree singing became cheaper and gained S5 at the expense of AP, and lost the attribute of the Path of Nature.

    2) Kindreds and Aspects of Nature got a face lift:
    • Bladedancer kindred had become overburdened with too many rules for just one pointy-ear, so in the new version it no longer provides amazing profile bonuses or a ward save, but instead creates a nice synergy with the unit of bladedancers it joins.
    • The second big change concerns the Wild Huntsmen kindred. These bad boys are back, boosted by free reform. This comes at an expense, since the kindred's cost has been upped to reflect the added versatility, while at the same time the Wild Huntsmen will be less heavily armored than before.
    • When talking about Aspects, this is where you’ll find changes regarding the Tree spirits lists we mentioned above. Fertile seeds became infertile and got ditched from the book. Toxic Spores became susceptible to the winds which shortened their range, and it seems Dryads decided to strike on Entwined Roots which became exclusive for Thicket Beasts only. All these were measures taken to tone down the power of certain aspects of the book (S5 core Dryads, I'm looking at you).
    3) The magic item section saw a lot of modifications, since it quickly became apparent that certain items were either too good and got used all the time or too situational to be of any use. The Bladedancer Drums became a lot more usable, the Spear of Cadaron got a different role that differentiates it from the Whirlwind blade, and a new entry came to replace the Ancient Brooch, whose cost post-balancing would have been prohibitive in our opinion. The Fire Blight Pendant will make some of you nostalgic fellows smile, at the expense of the enemy's strength.

    4) Our beloved Treefathers got hit by a nerfonball (TM). Dwarves swear it wasn’t theirs. Next in row to balance 4 Big-daddy-trees lists, it was decided to limit their presence on the field to max 3. It was a daunting task to confront these 4 big nasties at the same time; besides, they are the rarest of the all spirits, aren’t they? Avatar of Nature got a price increase to better reflect what it brings to the table, and Impaling Roots became optional.

    5) Dryad Matriarchs became more customizable, too. Now, the plain Matriarch costs as much as one eagle, but it doesn’t inspire hatred in other dryads nor it does cast any spells, unless you decide to upgrade her. Now every ability of the model is properly costed and in line with our balancing efforts, but you are not forced to get the whole package if you only want a combat forest spirit to give Hatred to your Dryads.

    6 ) In a Chess-like maneuver, Kestrel Knights and Sentinels swapped their places in Special and Rare.
    Kestrel Knights have received some love and we are hoping they will see some play in your armies, other than continuing to collect dust on your… [Read More]
  • Daemon Legions was considered to be one of the top performing armies during both 0.10 and 0.11 so an overall readjustment was called for. Some combinations such as the Scourge with Mortal Blade and Mantle of Wrath was deemed to good and all its parts have been reworked, Crushers have also been seen as overperforming and more attractive than their counterparts in special/rare. Other than that, there were very few combos that were deemed to good, but the Daemon Legion Army Book was just to strong as a whole with a good internal balance. So a general lowering of strength through special rules and/or by adjusting point costs has been done across the board, while trying to keep the amount of models on the table roughly the same as before.

    1. Monotheist armies seemed to be overperforming, especially Wrath and Change armies, so most bonuses for playing Monotheist have been removed. Left are the buyable options for special and rare units.

    2. We have used your feedback to rework the Daemonic Item section. Some items were deemed too powerful, so they had to be reworked, some were rarely taken and have received a small discount. The goal was to give the army more options. The three biggest offenders when it comes to balance were the Mortal Blade, the Mantle of Wrath and the Soul Drinker and they've all been reworked.

    3. The Firebolts for Horrors have been reduced to strength 3 only. The option to use strength 5 core shooting was deemed too strong and removed To avoid future abuses of the meta changes, the S4 part was removed as well.

    4. The Mark of Pestilence has been changed, it now gives Poison and a 5+ Regeneration. All models with the Mark of Pestilence have received a point decrease in addition to this change. This makes Pestilence a bit less defensive and a bit more offensive, since they can now get more models on the table. The Mark of Change has changed for wizards. Wizards don’t get +1 to cast, but can now instead re-roll their spell generation at the start of the game.

    5. The concept of "dual Greater Daemons" was considered problematic and as such warranted a higher minimum cost for the Greater Daemons from the ABC. They also wanted the ABC to implement larger bases for the Greater Daemons to make them more in line with other monsters such as dragons/chimeras/hydras, as it didn't make sense that other monsters and even monstrous cavalry had bigger bases than Greater Daemons. The solution is to give them larger bases (50*100mm). As part of a compensation, all Greater Daemons except the Scourge of Wrath now come with a 5+ Innate Defense (Scourge already has a 5+ AS from Heavy Armour). In addition to this the Weaver of Change now is a Lvl.4 and Lust starts at Lvl.2.

    6. The biggest change in core is that Sirens lost Paired Weapons but come with 2A on their profile. This was done because big units, both with and without AHW, was seen as a bit over the top. Instead of just upping the cost, we removed the possibility for initiative 6 instead, which also makes them more well rounded.

    7. Igniters is the unit that has been changed the most in its stats and damage output, as their survival rate vs damage output was too good when compared to its Elven skirmish shooting counterpart. Instead of doing a big points increase and losing models on the table we decided to halve their wounds and damage output so we could easier find a balance and keep more models on the table. It is now a 1W, T4 model with D3 multi-shots in units ranging from 5-8 models.

    8. Pestilent Beasts have been changed in their profile to 3W, this in combination to the mark changes, should promote a more offensive role for them, rather than the wall of Pestilence style that has been attached to them.

    9. Crushers being one of the most played units (and best performing) received quite a lot of attention. As such, the rider has lost one attack, and with the change to Aspects the mount does not benefit from it anymore. The upgrade to increase Innate Defense has been lowered to 5+ and is now combined with the Hellblade upgrade.

    10. The Shrine of Temptation has become cheaper but most of its additional functions are now upgrades. A 8W chariot was seen as problematic and it has been streamlined vs similar bigger chariots and is changed from its T4, 8W profile to a T5, 5W profile. In addition to this, it now has more stable impact hits (D6+3) instead of 2D6+1, in order to reduce the random impact it can have in a fight.

    11. To bring them in line with other armies, Blight Flies have lost Hard Target. Next to that, we decided to give them a new profile, with 2A on both Rider and Mount. This increases their supporting attacks and thus gives more ways to play this unit. To compensate for the slighlty lower damage output, and changes to the mark of pestilence, the rider now has WS4 just like his mount.

    12. The Weapon upgrades for the Blood Chariot lost some effectiveness. The cannon version was seen as externally balanced when looking at othercannons and… [Read More]
  • The Warriors of the Dark Gods were above the desired benchmark, as a few builds consistently over performed. The review was a tough one for all parties, and took a whopping 4 hours. The army has had some major internal design changes and a few builds were addressed in particular. Here are some of the most important revisions:

    1. Marks of the Dark Gods were redesigned on many levels. To begin, pricing has changed. Since different Marks give different features to different units, in the long run sticking with same price for all of them caused some internal balance problems. In the new update the price of each mark will vary for each unit. One mantra of T9A project is to avoid any auto-includes, and MoL chariots, MoC characters and MoW everything else were becoming just that. The new pricing will address this.

    Regarding internal balance, even with the new pricing structure for marks it was likely that some of them would never see play. Therefore, every mark but the Mark of Change got a slight redesign in order to make them more unique. The new Marks are more tactical, promoting good maneuvering and discouraging deathstars. Also, their roles are clearer now:
    • MoW — Offensive: +1 to-hit to the front, can't declare flee.
    • MoP — Defensive: -1 to-hit from the front (but no worse than on 5+), -1 Initiative for the marked model.
    • MoL — Control: Re-roll charge, pursuit and random movement rolls, and Immune to Panic.
    • MoC — Support: Ironically, given the name, there has been no change.
    Finally, the stacking of Marks and "ubermarks" were always on weak foundations balance wise, and with the overall toning down of the power level they had to go away.

    2. Gaze of the Gods gives re-roll to-hit and to-wound the next turn after killing a Monster/Character in a challenge. The current table for the Gaze of the Gods was too complex for what it brought to the table. It saw play maybe once a battle and would always require checking the book because the table, especially the secondary effects, was hard to memorize. Relatedly, Trolls have lost Warped Regeneration.

    3. Complete overhaul of Magical Items and Gifts. This was the #1 priority for the ABC, as they felt that when the book was first published there was not enough time to design the items properly. Many of the old gifts/items were removed and some of the ones that stayed have been changed. It's only a Sneak Peak so we're not going to lay it all out, but some of the important changes are:
    • Nine Tailed Standard now only gives non-Skirmish infantry +1 Movement, but its price has dropped and the bubble effect is still there.
    • Out of the four god-specific banners, all of them but the Banner of Transmutation are available for 25 pts.
    • All the Dark Gods have a separate dedicated gift now - 3 of them are old gifts, but one is completely new.
    • The Once-Chosen gift is back!
    Some of the gifts and items that were removed entirely are:
    • Crushing Strength
    • Blessed by the Dark Gods
    • Dagger of Change
    • Beguiling Chains
    4. Lust Ubermark gives Skirmish and +2 Movement to Chosen and Once-Chosen, but only starting-size units are able to take this upgrade (10 for Chosen and 3 for Once-Chosen). Since the old Lust-marked Chosen hardly ever saw play, we tried a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking and gave it a more flavorful function which was in line with the general concept for Marks and hopefully could also open a new playstyle. That's right: Uberfallen.

    5. Monster Mash with Daemon Prince, Elder Dragon Centaur and 2x2 Crushers was dominating tournament lists and with the changes happening across the board had to be addressed. Fielding this setting in the standard formats is still possible but not with full kit anymore. The flying version was also limited in that WDG can now only field a maximum of 2 Large Targets with Fly, though as always there are upgrades allowing you to circumvent this rule.

    6. Core Wasteland Chariots were too obvious a choice for the standard WDG playstyles and were moved to special. However, this came with returning them to their elite T5 status and with the option to play them in core if you field your General on a Chariot. Another change, prompted by community feedback, is that the Chariot profiles were merged with the Mauler Chariot, which is now an upgrade that increases the chariot's survivability but limits its speed. These can't be taken as core, though.

    7. Wrath Priest was rarely seen, even in mono-Wrath lists, and as a result was heavily buffed. At the start of the game the player can choose one of the three Special Rules, once of which allows the model to count as a Wizard Master for dispelling if no friendly wizards are present on the battlefield.

    8. Hellcannon has gotten a redesign too. We streamlined the unbreakable option with the Daemon Prince and simplified the overall design a bit. Now it has Movement 4 and two modes of fire: if it doesn't move it has longer range and higher Strength. The -1 Ld penalty for panic is gone, but the panic test is still obligatory if it inflicts… [Read More]
  • With this review we looked at a number of nerfs and buffs targeted towards the internal balance of the army book. Overall, the power level of the army book was intended to remain the same, while making a MSU and cavalry list more viable. Below is a list of upcoming changes to the book, in no particular order. In the following descriptions when I say "we," I mean The Ninth Age. Technically, the book was analyzed and amended by members of the Rules Team, the Balance Board, and the Army Book Committee.

    1) Cult Upgrade: Cult's model looses killer instinct.
    In this way Cult units and non-Cult units are more balanced and promote the creation of non-Cult lists.

    2) Yema: Change +1M and Strider. Yema characters (not Mages) may take a Horse with Free Reform.
    +1 AP was a problem since it was too easy to stack with Divine Altar and Moraec’s Fury.

    3) Cult High Priest: Unit Removed.
    This character was not necessary. In return we added the Cult Upgrade to Dread Prince and Dread Captain.

    4) If the general belongs to a cult, all core units gain the same cult rule as the army's general (at no additional cost) and all units, including character models, that can optionally be upgraded to the same Cult as the general must do so.

    5) Beast Commander and Fleet Commander:
    Both were unbalanced, so we removed Cold-Blooded from the Beast Commander and removed Swiftstride and Free Vanguard from the Fleet Commander. The cost of the upgrade was wrong, and moreover swiftstride was a problem due to internal balance between infantry and cavalry units, especially considering the possible combos with the new Yema.

    6) Assassin now has two separate upgrades for Close Combat and Ranged. CC can get Ward Save and Distracting while Ranged can get Assassin TW.

    7) Dread Legionnaires, Corsairs, Dancers of Yema, Executioners, and Tower Guard have had their starting prices adjusted. The initial models cost less than additional models in order to to promote MSU playstyle.

    8 ) Blades of Nabh have been moved from Special to Core and had devastating charged exchanged with frenzy.
    With the new structure of the book, their return to the troops section was essential in order to ensure a more variety, particularly in the possibility for a Nabh-themed list.

    9 ) Harpies received Insigificant because they needed a buff, and this way we also avoid the ability to hide an Assassin in the unit.

    10) Hunting Chariot was nerfed in that the BS was reduced from 5 to 4. With BS5 it was like a cannon and the model did not appear to be balanced. Also, the model was removed from the mounts section to avoid 6 characters on Hunting Chariots.

    11) Kraken received Hard Target and Distracting since the model needed a buff. In this way the chances of hitting it are reduced, making it more resilient both CC and against shooting attacks.

    12) Medusa was decreased from BS5 to 4 and we removed Skirmisher in favor of Free Reform. We wanted to make them more CC oriented, which the Yema cult also compliments.

    13) Divine Altar. The rage of divine blessing was increased to 12 for both options ( mounted and not).
    We changed the Third Blessing to avoid abusive situations. A debuff was added instead, which will help monster lists.
    +1 in AP was a problem since it was too easily stackable with Yema, Moraec’s Fury and Crossbows.

    14) Dread Fleet Standard
    We decreased the range to 6, changed the effect to +1 to Wound in CC, and decreased price to 55.
    In this way the potential of the core troops remains improved, but doesn't decrease the enemy Armor Save.
    This also increases the likelihood to wound T6 units.

    Review Snapshot:
  • DE_review_KultsAndKillerInstincts

  • [Read More]
  • This article is one of many in which the Rules Team Support group will be sharing some sneak peeks into the upcoming changes to the army books. Our intent is not just to let you know what to expect, but to also let you know the rationale and thought processes that went into those changes. So, without further ado, here's a sneak peek of some of the changes you can expect to see for the Highborn Elves.

    Highborn Elves had been on a bit of a ride when it came to power level, and was considered to be above the targeted power level for the 0.12 release. Below is a list of upcoming changes to the book, in no particular order. In the following descriptions when I say "we," I mean The Ninth Age. Technically, the book was analyzed and amended by members of the Rules Team, the Balance Board, and the Army Book Committee.

    Army Special Rules
    • “Last of Their Kind” was added to reduce flying monster spam (a trend throughout the project). The rule limits the number of dragons and phoenixes available to the HBE player to max 2 in any combination.
    • The Lion Fur Cloak was deemed problematic because it was under-costed (especially good with Master of Canreig Tower) but also because it breaks the theme of the army. The 6+/5+ innate defense gave HBE characters access to better armour than what armies that are considered to be the well-armoured have access to. Heavy armour + Lion Fur is in fact better armour than the plate armour of DH, EoS, and WDG. The Elven characters come with other great properties and are therefore not supposed to excel at defense.
    • Master of Canreig Tower saw a price increase and One of a kind restriction to reduce the number of duplicate spells which could be spammed. This was demonstrated to be taken in preference of an Archmage was and often an auto-include.
    • High Warden of the Flame: Bestowing Divine attacks to the unit he joins was considered a bit too good and overstepping existing item, so it got swapped for another weaker unit buff ability (magic attacks).
    • Queen's Companion: Added poison darts & scout to make the unit unique.
    • Royal Huntsman saw a swap in rules and will benefit from being the only character with access to Lion Fur (because he’s a Huntsman). Added immunity to fear and terror for him and the unit he joins. He'll no longer be able to do multiple wounds on chariots, but instead focus strictly on Monstrous/Monster hunting.
    • Prince of Ryma: As the flying circus is a specific play style, it was important not to remove it as an option for players: therefore, theHonourwill counteract the default restriction on the Last of their Kind rule so someone wishing to focus on this style can still do so.
    • Order of the Fiery Heart: Removal of Fire Phoenix from mounts as it overshadowed the dragon mounts by a long shot, removal of damage and missile keywords for casting into CC he is part of is a big thing, as it goes well with the warrior mage image as well as adding the option to purchase the Dragon Armour.
    • Some of the Core units were slightly tweaked in the points domain to encourage smaller units. Sea Guards lost Quick to Fire in exchange for a new rule, as it was observed of being the go to choice of core infantry. No big changes were done since the Citizen Spears and Citizen Archers were at the desired power level, so Sea Guard had to be tweaked to fit in.
    • Swordmasters: A change to their Sword Sworn rule, as it was seen as problematic, but they still keep their role as anti-infantry shock troops. They now ignore Parry and Distracting rules, which gives them a steady damage output against their intended targets.
    • The loss of skirmish for QG was implemented as they were too good in shooty avoidance lists, as well as a price increase for longbows so as not to be an no brainer auto include. Gained access to a 25 pts magic banner.
    • The Sky Sloop was deemed too weak and uninteresting. It used to be a mobile shooting platform that did not bring anything of great value to the army, so its design got a little twist. The Sky Sloop will have Volley Gun option only, but it is increased in strength and reduced in number of shots - although its keeps AP(1) - so in terms of shooting power it is around the level of the RBT, with a preference for heavily armoured targets. Secondly, the chariot's base strength was raised so that it can work as an actual CC support unit. Thirdly, since it is not a well protected model(T4 W4 AS 5+), it got theHard Target special rule to be able to survive in hostile territory a bit and kept Quick to fire as to remain a solid shooting platform.
    The greatest design change, however, was giving the Sky Sloop buyable options to become sort of a buff wagon:
    • Storm Pennant is giving the model lightning attacks in CC (both impact hits and regular attacks), and the bound spell (Thunderbolt) at PL(5) for increased ranged damage potential.
    • Aldan Warhorn is a passive aura effect that reduces WS of all enemy units within 6" of it, providing an edge for our CC units as both a defensive and offensive
    [Read More]