Undying Dinasties 1.2 Preview
We have a new release coming soon, and I was given the chance to look at it early and comment how it affects our glorious Dynasties. There are a lot of changes in this new version, seeking to stop skewed list and make the background of the game more relevant., so lets start with some of the changes in the general rules.
General rules:There have been some general changes to the game that will affect us directly, so I want to swiftly comment on them first.
The first one is the Miscastrule. As you may have seen in other previews, miscast punish far more hardly the use of 4-5 dice than before and no longer rob you of PD. With this in mind, the game supports more and more the use of 2-3 dice when casting spells, something we already did a lot.
Another change was to the general magic items. The most relevant to us are IMO the removal of the Book of arcane knowledge and that the discipline banner is now an expensive enchanted item that a character has to wear. Combined with a general leadership reduction for support characters, this may lead to lower leadership across the board. While our wizards/Royal characters did suffer this, the bright side is that swift reform is automatic if you have a musician.
Another general change is how Warmachines work. They have only T4, but their wounds increase to 5 (5W). The catapult now affects a YxY number of models and use BS to hit, with the chance to roll a second chance in case of a miss for reduced area damage. Their direct damage is reduced against single models. All this means catapults are now focused on dealing with big infantry blocks instead of single targets.
Another interesting change is that units that can score on scenario (scoring units) are predefinedand no longer ranked units with standards. For our army, these units are Skeletons, skeleton archers, Skeleton Cavalry, Necropolis Guard, Shabties and Cataphracts. Combined with standards adding CR based on the number of standards involved and standards no longer granting an extra 50VP, small/medium units of standard bearing unit seem like a more interesting choice now.
Paths of Magic:As the preview showed, we have access to 3 lores (Cosmology, Divination and Evocation) and each one has a pretty different focus.
CosmologyThis path focuses mostly on small augments/hex and low STR damage that ignore armor or special saves. Most spells have a low CV once you apply the Cosmos/Chaos effect, in fact five of the seven spells en up with CV7 or less, which can be easily 2 diced.There are some strong synergies with most of our units in this Path.
The signature helps all our ranged units significantly, increasing ranged damage by a 50%, which includes catapults now. The -1 to WS hex can work well in conjunction with our royal-lead units and high WS units (constructs mostly).
Healing 1 wound on a CV5 spell for monsters is pretty decent, basically the only reason I used desert wind before and the +1 leadership is mostly wasted in our army now, but the -1 ld hex now seems better than any other time. Truth of time is more list dependent, but the augment is a solid spell for combat oriented lists and the hex for shooty lists. Still, it’s probably a once per game hex with the cast distance.
(A song of) Ice and fire is one of our best answers against armored characters and both versions can be used to deal with chaff units. Perception of strengths is the only way we now have to increase chariots STR, which makes it really appealing.
Finally, the last spell is something we have never had before, a unit killing spell. While its only STR3 and allows all saves, it can be used to decimate tarpits. The ward is a useful last resort spell, but most of our combat units can have a 5+ regen, so this version of the spell is less interesting for us.
This is a lore I would use with a +3 to cast and two dicing most spells, on a list with chariots, monsters and shooting. The Cosmos/Chaos counters will require some forethought on the order spells are cast.
DivinationThis lore comes with some of the best anti-monster/deathstars spell in all our paths and with strong (aura) augments. The range in most spells is rather short, so you can either play a close formation or have multiple Divination wizards to increase the range.
The attribute of this spell is something that will have little use in our army, especially now that swift reforms are automatic, but the signature (hard target/distracting) works great with our high WS units or shield infantry. From experience, hitting an units that can resurrect on 5s is a pain in the a$$.
Fate Judgment and Look to the west are both strong spells against monsters, bypassing high toughness and special saves. With some of the changes dealing with monsters may be harder now for us, so both spells in the same lore will cover one of our biggest weaknesses.
The stars align grants divine attacks but more importantly rerolls to hit on CC and ranged attacks, which can be used on our catapults and stalkers now :D. This spell will be useful in almost all lists, but our Harbinger already does this, so the benefit will be noticeable for grindy armies more than deathstars. Look to the west also supports this concept granting stubborn, something only a unit losing combat will benefit from. It can also be used on an enemy unit to prevent a flee reaction. Know the enemy is a decent augment overall and the only Initiative boost we have.
Portent of doom is a strong anti-deathstar spell but with enough range you could also target a wizard bunker, especially those with 2+ wizards, to stop their magic phase.
The high CV is the main downside of this lore, with more than half of its spells having CV 9+. The aura spells and short makes this lore shine on infantry based spells that want to grind their enemy down, so this is the lore you want if you like blocks of skeletons and NG.
EvocationThe trait resurrects troops back based on the Evocation value of the unit. We no longer roll a die, instead the value is a constant for all our entries. Skeletons and archers have evoked 6. Cavalry and swarms 5. Chariot, NG, vultures 4. All our small constructs 2 while Towering monsters, warmachines and characters have evoked 1. Now most units heal a similar amount of points, something that needed fixing for a long time. A slight boost for NG and chariots too, didn’t expect that.
Evocation focus on dealing damage to characters, a resurrecting Trait and some decent CC augments. The resurrecting aspect seems pretty limited, but we have a way to improve this, with our new Book of the Dead. A 100 point item (50 pts in 1,1) that triggers the healing for all other augments the wielder cast, similar to how the old Sand attribute worked.
Evocation is our new mandatory lore with the hierophant. The fact that it has a trait means a lvl 1 hierophant will make him a more useful choice in general.
Dance macabre is an improved desert wind, letting us move 8” with Ethereal movement, really good for the aggressive lists.
Spectral blades is identical to cursed blades and Ancestral Aid to The stars align(but without divine attacks), both having decent synergy with our LS/ranged units.
Touch of the reaper is my favorite spell in this path. This (long ranged) focused spell can deal decent damage against monsters on flanks and directly at charaters. The general reduction in ld helps it but most characters now have 3 wounds, so they will be harder to snipe too.
Whispers of the veilis a really good spell for our high WS army, especially units lead by Royal characters. A WS4 unit can be reduced to 2 and thus forced to hit on 5s, good stuff. The -1 ld has a lot of potential when combined with fear or book of the dead, especially with the Death mask.
Hasten the hour has really limited use. Between the short range (12”), high casting value (14 and harsher miscast table), limited target (only deathstars) and dealing only 1 wound to them I will rarely use it.
This lore seems useful mostly for an army focused on a NG deathstart and a 4 spell wizard with the book of the dead.
Army composition:Depending on how you preferred making lists, this may not affect your lists at al or require you to redesign your list. As I predicted, we have three unique slots, Ranged support, Entombed and Colossal constructs.
CHARACTERS (max 35%)The character limit is something that won’t limit us. Most UD lists have around 25% character support and I don’t remember anyone having more than 35%. With support focused haracters, it makes sense to spend most points on the things you want to support rather than the support itself.
the Pharoh/Nomarch , now share the same entry with no real change. The Royal sphinx entry cost 420 point (with LS auto-included) and counts toward the Colossal constructs, so we won’t see this unit until the book redesign.
The Death Cult priest is our only wizard now with 3 wounds and T3 and who can buy up to 3 extra spells (50 points each), turn into a wizard master for another 70 pts and take Soul conduit if he is a master wizard. Since the base price is 160, Masters got cheaper (but easier to kill) while acolytes increased their cost (but are more durable) in comparison.
The Ark of ages, while counting toward Colossal constructs, seems far more interesting now, by giving access to Truth of Time, Whispers of the Veil and Hasten the Hour. A master wizard with 3-4 spells, on this mount and with the Book of arcane power will be a force to be reckoned, knowing automatically all spells from Evocation and increasing its meager range by 3”.
The Tomb harbinger saw his price increase by 50, lost 1 point of leadership but won an extra wound and the amuut is 30 points cheaper. I like the change, since it makes the foot Harbinger more durable.
The Tomb Architect changed the most. With an extra wound and 18” range but with nomason menagerie and costing 160 pts now, the architect saw a nerf we all expected.
And the new addition to this entry is the Casket of Phatep, which gets access to the boosted version of the old Judgement at Power level 4. No longer limited to rare and with a lower general leadership, I see this model being used considerably more.
Core (min 25%)We maintain the same core % and same units, with a twist. Cavalry is divided now in two entries, Skeleton cavalry (mid cav) and Skeleton Archer cavalry (chaff).
Skeletons and archers remain the same, but the magic support for archers got slighty worse with the removal of smiting.
Skeleton cavalryis limited to 3 units per book, are scoring units and come with LA and light spears. This will be a good scoring units and with the change to how banner works, it will also be useful as support on flank charges too. The only problem I see is the cost. At 180 per 5 cavalry they seem 20-30 points too expensive.
The Skeleton Archer Cavalry, max 3 per army, is the same as having a cavalry with bows but also gained vanguard.
Our chariots got 20 points (10 old points) more expensive, limited to 5 units per army and can’t score any long, so a slight nerf for chariots in general.
In general small changes, but it seems the internal balance is slightly better.
RANGED SUPPORT (max 35%)We have a cap of 35% on ranged support, which includes Skeleton Archers, Skeleton Archer Cavalry, bow Shabties, Stalkers and Charnel Catapult.
Most units remain the same, with the exception of the Catapult. It now cost 240 points (pretty expensive), ignores all shooting penalties and comes with two ways of shooting: Either an area 4 S3 attack with a S7[MW D3]direct hit or an area 6 S3 flaming magical attack, that causes panic at -1 ld and one casualty. The panic check on the second shooting is pretty interesting now that leadership has been limited and the catapult can roll twice and the second roll hit has less area and strength. In general the catapult seem less random too and Magic letting you improve the catapult is an appealing change. This unit is considerably worse at dealing with monsters, but definitely better at killing infantry.
The stalker also suffered from changes in the BRB and magic. Warmachines having 5 wounds make it night impossible to kill them in one turn and ridden monsters using the rider initiative means some mounted characters will be harder to wound. The advantage is they can be boosted with all lores, something we couldn’t do before.
The greater synergy with our magic and shooting is something I look forward too. The fact that all our magic paths have either a reroll or a +1 to hit for our ranged units makes them all interesting for this section of our book.
I played around with the % and in general found it pretty forgiving, especially now that with no multiple shoot(2) archers are slightly less interesting. 2 catapults, two units of stalkers, three unit of archer cavalry and 40 archers can easily fit in a 5k list. The catapult no longer being in rare will definitely make it more accessible.
ENTOMBED (max 25%)Our second slot is entombed units, which include Cataphracts (if UA), Stalkers (if UA), Swarms and Scorpions.
One change here is that UA for Stalkers and Cataphractsnow cost 20 ppm. The other change is that Scorpions are 20 new points more expensive than before, I hope just an error because the Scorpion definitely didn’t need a price hick, and now that UA units are restricted even less.
This cap definitely limits the heavy ambushing armies. We can fit now 3x3 Stalker/Cataphract units on an ambushing list, which compared to the 5 I had on my ambushing list seems really constrained. But for the lists that use UA as a support instead of the main element, it’s pretty forgiving.
COLOSSAL CONSTRUCTS (max 30%)And our final entry, the big monsters. In this entry you will see the Battle Sphinx, Dread Sphinx, Winged Reapers, Colossus, Royal Sphinx andArk of Age.
Edit: The battle sphinx (max 3 per army) cost the same, but now comes automatically with ID 4+ and breath weapon. Not sure why, but this is a great buff to it, basically got 100 points cheaper than before! The Dreadsphinx (max 2 per army) didn’t see the same benefit and now cost 520 and also comes with a ID 4+. I know which one I will take for sure.
The colossus (max 2 per army) price increased slightly, to 420 points, something a lot of people on the UD saw coming. No change to PW/GW, but the giant aspen bow has a limit of 1 per army, but doesn’t count toward ranged support. The change to magic and how bolt throwers work makes this weapon less appealing in general. The most interesting choice though is the new Scales, which has access to Touch the Heart (Power level 4) and Ice and Fire(power level 5). As you may have noticed, the colossus has now effectively access to 4 spells, all of them extremely good.He can heal himself/other monsters, is better against chaff and armored targets and blast flying characters with both the AP(6) autowound and 2d6 S3 AP(3) in the same turn. This is definitely too good, so use it while it last.
Reapers changed a lot too. They always have LA and are autonomous, but their price was reduced a little. 2 of them cost 360, compared to the 390 a unit with the same upgrades would cost. Each extra Reaper costs only 160 points, 24 less than what we would pay before. But there were some nerfs too. Necromantic aura was removed, not like anyone used it, and PW got their price increased to 16 ppm, something that was needed. The unit size is also limited to 4 instead of 5 and you can have a max of 6 models per army. TBH, Reapers seem actually better now than before, with basically LA for free and the option of using 3 units of 2.
This is a cap that will hit Monster Mash armies hard. You can only fit 3 monsters now on a 4.5k list, so my opponents will no longer see my “fun” (fun for me, no so much for them) 5 sphinx list. Reaper/shabties list won’t see any chang, in fact they will benefit from having easy access to all the warmachines too.
The options also seem to suffer from bad internal balance, with the Battlesphinx easily outshined the other two sphinxes and the Scale looking like a really really strong weapon choice for the Colossus, two things that will have to be worked on 1.3.
Final thoughtsI really like most of changes in the general book, especially the ones that make medium combat units more viable. The new paths look definitely interesting and each has a different strengths and weakness, so I see far more diversity in magic for us in the future. The anti-deathstar spells are an interesting tool to deal with them without hard comp. I have some concern about dealing with flying characters now that the catapult and stalkers are worse at wounding them with no many new tools, and it looks like magic is the main one. Some of the most extreme lists, which I liked to play from time to time, are not viable anymore but IME most of them weren’t really fun to play against. Considering most armies got nerfed, I would say we got the better end of the deal. The only downside I see is that with a limited synergy with our paths, the bonier aspect of our army will see less use, but fixing that requires more profound changes *cough*My will be done*cough*. I hope you enjoy the changes and let’s give these old mummies a try.
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