Playtesting Army lists in a tournament

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    • Playtesting Army lists in a tournament

      So we had a small tournament yesterday using all the 9th age rules that came out friday (!). We were excited and made huge sleep sacrifice to give this 9th age a good try! I am not an ETC tournament winner, i am not a winner of anything actually, i am however an economist (read mathematician/statistician) and a game developer and i can spot weaknesses in game systems and overall balance in point costs very quickly. I'll try to be strait to the point, even if it hurts. Blame it on my poor English skills.

      First, we were only 5 people, down from 20 or so in previous months. I'm sad to report that Warhammer is dead in my area, no matter what we try to keep the interest. As for 9th age itself:

      1- New rules: 8/10. Rules fix some old problems, but create other. The warmachine missfire chart is a little too unforgiving. Canons are actually more precise than before to snipe a monster, especially with an engineer and their improved BS, and the bounce is weaker than a doom diver shot. I would have gone the other way around. Rules for ridden monsters and chariot... there's a reason why GW never went that route. I see NO reason to field a chariot without a hero and a ward save now. Monsters, like dragon, ridden by a lord, you just complain about the high cost of the lord! Most minor monsters, you will ride by heroes and not by lords unless you want to give him a 70+ points killer weapon to make a suicidal engine of flying destruction. We all know those don't win tournament, survivors and unkillable units do....

      2- Army list: 3/10! I think the overall rework of all the armies was not necessary at this point as we just wish for an improved WFB with fix to obvious problems. What we have here is a rushed document with an overall deboost of almost all armies. Most point cost adjustments are arbitrary and i could argue against most of them, as i could argue in favour of adjustment that were not made. The overall adjustment as been made in favour of infantry and monsters/mounted heroes and against war machines and previously powerfull units. It might bring new meta to tournaments to keep the game living, but It will be a hard sell to most players that i know that play friendly games. There ARE many options available out there, including blackhammer, Warhammer 8.5, plain vanilla books, various other comps that were made. Why would one read 90 pages that will give him a weaker, less fun to play, army?

      3- About my orcs: Big waaagh lore sucks. Period. Glowing fists ban weapon use? So no WS10? No I10? Lore is worst that the old one, i never used it in 3 games since i have one big block of orcs, already with a warboss and a BSB. But i argued many times against it in the forum, guess that fell on deft ears. Trolls are too expensive now compared to their Stone and River counterpart that are now in special. Keep at least the point cost to 40, a round number, 42 just f*** the calculus off. But now the ugly:
      - Savages orcs; the magic item that must not be named, no longer boost ward saves to 5+ but instead reroll missed ward save of 6. Why??? Statiscaly, this is 30% instead of 33% chance, and it slows the game down! You removed the always strike first reroll of the elves to speed up the game and now this??? Makes no sense. Removing the buff of the said item to heroes and lords makes no sense either as all other magic items in the game affect all unit AND their included characters.
      - Are goblin nets free now?
      - Doom divers: Now more expensive than a CANON or a HELLBLASTER gun! WTF? Still S5 with no armour, its only good to kill shaft or heavy armoured cavalry, in remains mostly useless against war machines as a canon will snipe your doom diver away. In 3 games, both killed a bunch of dark riders, a casket of soul and 5 out of 6 empire knights, hardly ever got their point cost back. Mere rerolling of the scater dice instead of the previous redirecting rule is baddd, and the previous redirecting rule has been on since.... forever. That's how DD should work.
      - Manglers: I get the hatred toward mangler: 2D6 S6 hits and only 65pts??? Well now they are 90, and i'll tell you in 50+ games since i bought my manglers, i can count the amount of times they actually hit something on the fingers of my right hand! They are, and always have been, area denial units or canonball / arrows magnet to keep the rest of your army safe for 1 or 2 turn. AT 65pts, it was a no brainer. For 90pts, go get a giant and a pump wagon (equally good canonball magnet) instead of 2 manglers!
      - Black orcs are 2 points less with a free shield now (so 3 points less), but still in special (while you will have bigs blocks of core already), why would we take them? Limited to 30, it removes the option of a horde of 40 black orcs. Sure it sucked before, but you could do it nonetheless, and it was FUN.
      - Boyz: since the cost off all good stuff went up, savages got complicated and boyz cost went down, now the best build will be with 75+ boys i guess! Not complaning against it, but thats the net effect of all the changes, thought you should know.

      To conclude, i sincerly hope that the maker of this will listen and take criticisim, no matter how painful it is and not fall in the ''god-sydrome'' of ''we know better than all of you'' that plague so many house rule makers and tournament organisers, otherwise all your effort will be in vain. As it is right now, i will use some of your ideas, but not the revamped armies, not the ridden everything and certainly not canons. This is not a better game than the old one was, especially for an orc player. And it failled to draw in old players or new players into the game. I'm sorry.

      good luck nonetheless.
    • Thanks a lot for this feedback, it will be very helpful. I'll try to give quick comments on some if the raised issues.

      1. The game needs weapons that are good against monsters, I see no big issues with havning cannon be able to hurt monster reliably (though, D3+1 wound average less than D6). Most monster has come down a lot in points cost also. BS5 engineer was probably a mistake, yes.
      As for the balance issues of mounted chariots and mounted monster, such issues should be easily fixed with points adjustments /though I would like to see more play testing before anything is done)

      2. If all armies are nerfed, then none is, right.
      There are so many small changes in the rule book, that we would had to create a quite massive errata document to make the the books understandable. We did this in the alpha version of the 9th age, and one major complaint we heard all the time was that we did not do enough for game balance, especially not for the weaker armies/choices. We wanted to send a clear message to our players that we are not afraid of changing points and buffing mediocre units.
      These army lists also made in possible for us to create a complete stand alone game, with no ties to any company.
      We are aware they they contain many flaws. The major ones will be fixed in an update tonight.
      The work on proper army books will begin very shorty (please have patience with us, we have regular lives so we cannot work full time with this).

      3. When it comes to army specific feedback, it is easy to forget that all armies have their best parts nerfed, and only see the parts of your own army that has been weaker.

      Orcs used to have a very hard time against death magic. Death is nerfed so will be less common, and purple sun uses a smaller template and allows ward saves now, so savage orcs will not care about it.
      Orcs used to be army that was incredibly powerful against heavily armored opponents (empire had close to 0% chance of winning against orcs, this is not ok balance-wise).
      Thus, orcs are better in some areas (no more out-loss against death magic) and thus some of its best units (especially against heavy armour troops) needs to be nerfed; trolls, doom divers, #6 spell etc.

      Lore, noted (we have received many similar comments)
      Trolls, noted
      Savage orcs, I can't recall the rational behind this, and it seems to have been lost somewhere along the way. (always strike first rerolls was btw not removed in order to speed up the game)
      goblin nets, mistake, will be fixed
      Doom diver. This was one of the best war machines in the game in 8th. EASILY better than a hellblaster. The old redirecting rules made it too good at indirect firing, making it very hard to deal with for the opponent (if facing other war machines, DD would just hide and indirect fire all game long. It can still do this, but not with the same precision). New rules for distributing hits also makes doom divers slightly better now. I don't think 110 points for 9th doom diver is unreasonable, maybe it should be 100, but that is impossible to say after only a handful games.
      Manglers, noted
      Black orcs, yes, should be 40 models
      Orc ladz, I don't see a problem with orc players fielding 75ish orcs to fill core
      - Assistant Head of Rules clarity -
    • In response to that Fjugin

      1- I am aware you guys are doing this for free on your spare time with your ordinary lives going. Building a game myself, i know the full amount of work that is necessary to do this, and understand your will to have a stand alone game. But you have high ambitions to build THE Warhammer replacement and should be held to high standards and be ready to pay the price of hard criticisims. I am saying that the armies book (lets call it that way) is not ready for prime time just yet and i will not enjoy using it in a tournament right now, altought i will test it one or two more times and give feedback.

      2- I agree with you analysis that Orcs were an anti-armour army, but so was 8th edition built: HE were anti-deamons army, Dwarves were anti-orcs/Monsters and so on. If you wish to remove that rock-paper-cisor kind of balance, you may, just be aware that you're doing that. I am not blinded by MY army, i do look at the overall work, and right now i think it will be a hard sell to casual players since on first look they will see a weaker army than before, and have a lot of reading to get that.

      3- However i disagree that empire had 0% chance of winning against orcs. (then again, is an all 1+ armour army fair?)

      4- I also said many times that O&G were the absolute average army: but for their rare, troops are just variations of 6 races with little to no special skills, no killer stats, no 2-handed weaponers with 2 attacks like elves/dwarves/chaos warriors. Savages frenzy is easily countered by good players and 5+ ward tatoos is not much stronger than heavy armour + shield and parry save (except vs war machines or magic, then again, magic items can give you that protection). I feel they are the absolute benchmark against which you should balance all other armies. I would have started by nerfing Chaos / Dark Elves and so and boosting weaker like beastmen, bretonia, tomb kings. Leave most other untouched to focus testing on the rules.

      5- In 4rth edition, DD were a 3'' template, redirected like always and did a S10 hit on middle doing D6 wound. THAT was abusive. But S5 is only S5, it will kill less demi-gryffs / trolls / ogres than a good balista shot, will be less precise than canon to snipe a monster, will not hurt a war machine very much. Again, this is a shaft unit killer, or focus fire on a unit of 10 knights. For 110 pts, i will not take it. Remove the ignore armour thing since THAT was the problem (what's the point of a S5 shot ignoring armour?), make it S6 or S7 to hurt war machines (and be -3 or -4 armour only) and i think we will have a nice balance. DD are the poster boy of Warhammer O&G armies!

      6- Black orcs and/or Boar boyz. Most other armies have similar units in their core. O&G right now, with the load of core you will already have, why would i take 25 more black orcs? If BO were core, they would be taken a lot more, we would see less savages and less green tides.

      7-Overall armour: We were discussing and most agreed that 1+ armour is too much and takes away the benefits of S4 attacks or AP(1) attacks. Armour saves should be capped at 2+, especially if you are nerfing all anti-armour weapons.

      8- I will test what i think is THE new build price/performace wise: 75 boyz green tide + 3 heroes on chariot +boars riders + 2 giants + araknarok. Even try the warboss on wyvern. I'm gonna play vs empire or lizardmen. Gonna tell you if it outclass the previous universal savage + troll build.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Da W ().

    • maybe best not loose focus on the most important thing here...

      these guys are creating a better, more balanced give them some time and credit.

      try not to search for a direct uber powerful new combo in 9th edition but just to see what i think these guys are doing here...

      that is in my opinion trying to create a nice, balanced, enjoyable game.

      as for myself, i play chaos, do not care about nerfs or power upgradres, and i am mostly looking at the good parts these guys are creating...

      just my 2 cents
    • I'm totally on Zacharanzas side here. It is better to start low with the armies and upgrade them together than to just ''try'' to work with what we already had. Futehrmore, I feel thst some comments here are more about personnal feeling than fact. Yes the change to the savage orcs ward save seems inefective, yes the mangler are now priced too high IMHO, but someother things are only feelings or impression like the DD, the 1+ save and definitively your idea of the ''best orc army around'', but I already told you that at our tournament ;)

    • Valkom wrote:

      I'm totally on Zacharanzas side here. It is better to start low with the armies and upgrade them together than to just ''try'' to work with what we already had. Futehrmore, I feel thst some comments here are more about personnal feeling than fact. Yes the change to the savage orcs ward save seems inefective, yes the mangler are now priced too high IMHO, but someother things are only feelings or impression like the DD, the 1+ save and definitively your idea of the ''best orc army around'', but I already told you that at our tournament ;)

      Yet most of my requests were granted. ;) Everything is personal. The goal is to please the most people possible, I am a vocal one, and I think a good warboss representative. If i thinks orcs sucks, chances are I'm not alone.

      But most important of all: I play vanilla 8th, i play 40k, i play AoS, i make my own game, spare time is getting few. Want me to play 9th age? Make it GOOD! Make it better than 8th. That was my point. Right now it is not, although it is moving fast.

      For the best build, may be it's not the best, but relatively speaking, its the build that got better. Take what got improved and dump what got nerfed. If you stick with savages + trolls + DD+ mangler, you will suck more than before. I'll test 3000pts tomorrow, all my monsters, 75 boyz and 3 heroes on chariots are in it, no war machine, trolls nor squigs! Chances are my ass won't be kicked as bad as last week-end.