The third year of Blades of Nabh sucking. in review.

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  • Blades are a glass canon. Sadly a rather specialized glass canon with main target beeing a non or very weak armor unit.

    On the other hand their glass canon style is over the top in regard of totally lacking any defense. R3, no armor and Def skill of 2 means litterally everything in the game will be able to kill a bunch of the blades. I mock mostly about the def skill 2, that is in my opinion not ok. Should be at least 3, better even 4.

    On the other hand the pricing of the unit seems off. I think it is ok. to prevent a small unit spam of the blades, but additional models, that only bring 1 attack to the battle are priced way to high. In my opinion the blades should be a 0-1 unit if it is not a cult army. And only in a cult army there should be multiple of them allowed. This are things that can be fixed in FAB. Only thing that can be done now is make a reasonable price for starting size and a way lower price per additional model.
  • While I do not think that they are in an excellent position, I don't feel that the Blades are that bad of a unit. Their main problem seems to be that they die to shooting and magic in droves, and that they have a difficult time punching through armour.

    The first one is a unifying characteristic of almost all elven infantry and can only be mitigated through use of terrain, tactics, target saturation and perhaps magic. The second one is a bit easier to deal with: Rending Banner and Alchemy magic is your friend here.

    On the flip side, these ladies pack a serious punch, especially against enemies with low armour values. With OS5, ignore parry, lightning reflexes, hatred, poison and initiative 6 they are not to be messed with.
    I wouldn't bring a huge unit of blades to the battlefield, since the concentration of points in a fragile unit would make them too much of a target. But I would definitely consider bringing two small/medium-sized units with Rending Banners to fill out core.

    Not unlike Sylvan Elf Wild Huntsmen, the Blades will without doubt excel in matches where the enemy has no to low shooting: Beast Herds, Vampire Covenant, Warriors of the Dark Gods, certain types of Daemonic Legions and Kingdom of Equitaine. In other games, they might be more difficult to protect, but even there target saturation and a multiple wave approach will help.
  • I doubt that you can bring target saturation with the huge point costs the blades got.

    Blades are a bit more vulnerable to litterally everything than the rest of the elfen infantries. They have no armor, compared to 5+ on most other units, and their defense skill is just 2. So nearly all units in the game hit them on a 3.

    Their attacks from 2nd rank are limited to 1, and there is no battle focus on the unit (but they got a 2nd stat attack). So building bigger units, and even medium sized ones just add some additional R3 no armor targets...

    Rending banner is a rather huge investment on small sized units per model, taken into account the huge starting costs they already have (to punish spam).
  • berti wrote:

    Blades are a bit more vulnerable to litterally everything than the rest of the elfen infantries. They have no armor, compared to 5+ on most other units, and their defense skill is just 2. So nearly all units in the game hit them on a 3.
    What kind of shooting/magic are we talking about? Because anything with gunpowder denies saves on all elven elite infantry anyway. They are a bit more vulnerable, it's true. But they also are great at killing a lot of things. The idea behind a glass cannon is to strike first and hard, so that the attacks back will have less impact.

    Concerning costs, a unit of 15 with Standard, Musician and Rending banner sets you back 410 points. You want 7 of them to survive to get the most out of their attacks, which is something that you can manage if you play aggressively. They are far from perfect but I'd wager they can do a decent job if the list is built around them.

    The def skill 2 is a bummer, agreed. We've had the same issue with Wild Huntsmen, getting hit on 3's really limits their survivability.
  • They alwaye were and shall be vulnerable to anything ranged, but in CC they should not be hit so easy in my opinion.
    Their intended targets are low armor things of any kind.

    Even when they are core, I don´t need them there. Spears are nearly as dangerous to a lot of things, expecially when there is the altar on the battlefield. Spears are a lot more numerous for these points, and pierce through armor. Add the rending banner on a decent sized unit of spears is more useful than on blades in my opinion.

    When used in small numbers I compare them more to tower guards or dread judges (even when they are not core).
    This is so sad, because I have great looking units of them 2*21 models and can never make them realy work in competitive lists.


    I want the riders to have some ranged threat, that can hunt war machines and other chaff and be used as redirector.
    Rest of core is free to choose, and in my opinions the spears are simply a better price/power rate than the blades, mostly because spears are a lot more numerous. And the targets of the blades are also covered by dread judges (due to strength 6, lethal strike) or the tower guard (due to number of high quality attacks, combined with AP2).
    Blades have their niche target, but the special units both can fight the same target with not much less output. And even spears can fight these targets. Especially when there is an altar involved in the list.
  • The thing Is if you play 10, 12 or 14 bons, one salvo of shooting or magic missile either wipes you, or leaves u with 5 models, making u efectively inefective. If u charge anything other then warmachine, after you strike, even zombies wipe you when striking back... No idea, when every dwarf may have 6++, ferals got 6++, why the hack religious elves do not have any protection.

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

  • I’m finding it hard to include Blades in any list for the same reasons - they need the army to be built around them.

    I didn’t even notice the Def skill 2 - which definitely takes them a no go for me...

    I get that they’re a glass hammer and that their external balance is correct, but it might just be their internal balance then? I find that corsairs and spears serve similar roles and arguably are a little more flexible and durable which is ideal for elven core.

    Slight tangent:
    Not sure on the exact bg for the unit - but if it’s about their religious fervor, would cool for them to have a bit more synergy with a Nabh Divine Altar. Or with a Nabh cult priest/priestess. Doesn’t have to be as broken as 8th Ed DE, but I liked the fact that the synergies made sense...
  • I've never used Blades because the points cost for a T3 no save Scoring infantry unit is bonkers.

    At 220 points they are the most expensive Core Scoring unit at minimum size. If you are looking simply for a small Scoring unit then you aren't taking Blades when 15 Legionnaires are cheaper, as are 10 Corsairs with a 4+.

    There might be value in taking multiple 10s of Blades in certain kinds of lists, but these are fire and forget missiles. In small numbers you are effectively throwing away the 440+ points as they have very little chance of surviving the battle. That is counter-intuitive to many scenarios where you want to preserve Scoring units.

    You can take them in multiples of larger units, 12 or 14 or 18, but points invested in more Blades is points not spent on more survivable Scoring. It all comes back to the fact that Legionnaires give you more bodies and Corsairs have better saves.

    Blades also have very real hard counters. These can be partially mitigated by items, banners, special rules, magic etc, but why throw more good points after bad?
    #freekillerinstinct
  • Crafty wrote:

    I’m finding it hard to include Blades in any list for the same reasons - they need the army to be built around them.

    I didn’t even notice the Def skill 2 - which definitely takes them a no go for me...

    I get that they’re a glass hammer and that their external balance is correct, but it might just be their internal balance then? I find that corsairs and spears serve similar roles and arguably are a little more flexible and durable which is ideal for elven core.

    Slight tangent:
    Not sure on the exact bg for the unit - but if it’s about their religious fervor, would cool for them to have a bit more synergy with a Nabh Divine Altar. Or with a Nabh cult priest/priestess. Doesn’t have to be as broken as 8th Ed DE, but I liked the fact that the synergies made sense...
    I totally agree but without the statement that they’re well balanced externally. Obviously they can’t be imho. Corsairs are not very good still they are preferred over blades. This is both internal as well as external.
  • For playing one or two unit of 10 frequently, I won't say the unit is too fragile, even if they die almost every game. In fact, if you use DR as main chaff, they cost almost the same and die as often.

    The point is using them agressively to divert the opponent ranged from your other infantry, or if he don't care, they strike (and then die, but with some kill). It's better to use them with other elite infantry, as long as their counter will be the same, blades may absorb damage in place of your elite (not the area attacks though). It's something that corsairs with a 4+ save (or legionnaries with 5+) wouldn't do as it's harder to kill them and they don't represent a big threat. But for sure, if the non-core don't contain any infantry they are not the best pick from core. I call them a "fuse" unit as to be effective I think it need other unit of the same type to force a choice of traget.
    For a glass-canon unit I'm OK with them now for 220pts.

    In the other hand, for me a big unit is too much costy to even consider them, paying 700+ pts for their current stats which are the worst for a big unit (3A, very low def/res/arm) is really unattractive (and even more considering adding character to help them survive / fight their counter). A point decrease (16pts/additionnal model) can help, but the design still orientate them into small glass-canon unit rather than big units.


    Reading the answers before, I think the actual problem is more the view of the unit by the majority rather than the effectivness of the design : people want to build their army arround blades (like other big infantry units), when now they are more an auxilary unit (like harpies, medusa, DR).
    Armies : DE, UD - Co-organise : Nain Gros-Gnon
  • The thing is DRs are worth their 220 points if you choose. For this they get 4+ and excellent shooting. They can vanguard, avoid firing arcs, arguably they’re the best light cavalry in the game. They are orders of magnitude more useful than blades for the points, and they can still be superlative chaff for just 160 points, 60 points cheaper than a minimal blades unit.
  • Do monster fear your DR ?
    Sure, the blades are not a great chaff as it's a M5 infantry, just they can do : the price range make them disposable, playing agressivelly make them being sometime in a good spot to do = something very unlikely with a reaper even with a similar price range.
    And in term of survivability, 10 wound without save is better than 5 with a 4+.

    But it's still a difficult unit to play, even with a dozen or more game played I have too explore their potential, but they have more than one (in small unit only for me).

    Maybe during the beta, they would be more popular if the design was streamlined like the other frenzied unit : battle focus, -1 def instead of +1 att, -2 def. Better for a big unit... I wonder if people would have complain to play just feral orc with -1 res. ^^
    Armies : DE, UD - Co-organise : Nain Gros-Gnon
  • Minidudul wrote:

    Do monster fear your DR ?
    Sure, the blades are not a great chaff as it's a M5 infantry, just they can do : the price range make them disposable, playing agressivelly make them being sometime in a good spot to do = something very unlikely with a reaper even with a similar price range.
    And in term of survivability, 10 wound without save is better than 5 with a 4+.

    But it's still a difficult unit to play, even with a dozen or more game played I have too explore their potential, but they have more than one (in small unit only for me).

    Maybe during the beta, they would be more popular if the design was streamlined like the other frenzied unit : battle focus, -1 def instead of +1 att, -2 def. Better for a big unit... I wonder if people would have complain to play just feral orc with -1 res. ^^
    BF doesn’t work with poison. Additionally the -2 def is not because they have an extra attack but because „every frenzied unit has to have -2 def sometimes it can be -1. now I think 3 units in general have -2 but actually these are the streamlined ones. -1 was intended to be an exception. We then tried to higher it again but it was rejected.
  • I want to challenge a point some of the posters made, which is basically that Blades are a glass Cannon but have enough good scenarios to offset this.

    This is NOT true.

    Blades have an Incredibly narrow set of targets against which they are effective AND efficient. The reason for that is their combination of no AP, first turn damage spike, Def 2 and high point cost per model. This means the following for good scenarios:

    1. The enemy must not have a lot of armour
    2. The enemy must not be a deep Tar Pit which will stand the combat on steadfast
    3. The enemy must not attack before the Blades (or simultaneously if more models)

    In reality this usually means the Blades have 0-2 targets in the enemy army. In addition to that you also need to be able to actually get in the combat you want and avoid magic missiles and shooting. This results in Extremely high opportunity costs on the battlefield (e.g. you need to assign the spot/avenue with cover to Blades, you need to drop them late as they need to be close to their favourable Matchup, etc.). If you add something like a razor banner, it's even better to shoot at it. And of course it is still a difference, even when shooting with AP 2, whether you remove a model for 21 points or one for 15 points.

    There are reasons why DE always field exactly 25% core and not a point more. And there are reasons why the Blades are played less than Legionnaires and Corsairs which are both individually on a very low power level themselves. To claim the external balance of Blades is anywhere near 'okay' under these circumstances leaves me baffled.
    My blog with battle reports and painting gallery: bleaklegion.wordpress.com/
  • What if they had Death Trance?

    Feels fitting (fluff wise - with what little we have) and it allows them to play their current role better - but without making them massively OP (imo).

    Also - I re-read my initial post and I think in my head I meant to say: “...external balance might be correct...”. Their usage can vary from meta to meta so I don’t like to make absolute sweeping statements.

    Internal balance is definitely off, I don’t play tournaments and don’t have stats or numbers to comment on their external balance.
  • @Crafty
    I want to apologise, if my post seemed to be targeted towards your person specifically, that was definitely not my intention. I think Blades of Nabh seem to be okay if you play a game where their strengths can shine, because they are actually a compelling design.

    Regarding Death Trance: While I think it is good to think about all avenues for improvement, that specific direction is the wrong one in my opinion. Blades already have rules to help them wound (Poison, many attacks) and are front loaded (hatred). Making this part even better does not really change their uses on the battlefield. It just makes Blades even more non interactive. Either you get the combat you want -> enemy is wiped out before attacking or not -> Blades don't do anything.

    I do not think Blades are fixable within the next Hotfix. For a full rework, I would go away a little from the all or nothing approach, meaning they get defense against one of their weaknesses (so either shooting or magic or low res or low Def) and hopefully more synergy with newly designed cult rules.

    For now I'd like to see a little price drop to not feel Totally hamstringing myself if I field them.
    My blog with battle reports and painting gallery: bleaklegion.wordpress.com/
  • @DarkSky No apology needed! @noir made a similar point so I wanted to clarify my thoughts. I'm happy to be corrected if faced with valid arguments and you made some good points :)

    My opinion:
    At the moment, Blades have a very specific role so improvements can go one of two ways:
    1) Address one of the many weakness they have.
    2) Make them much better at what they're designed to do.

    I'd then assume that the point value of the unit can be adjusted to suit (taking into account internal / external balance etc)

    I think the easy route would be to address their weaknesses (ie: giving them a 6++), but since this is just theory - it's fun (I think it's fun) to explore the many many solutions available...

    As you pointed out, Death Trance may not be the best solution and probably won't be the design direction that is ultimately taken by ADT.

    But <hypothetically> if they got Death Trance, I feel like it would suit them conceptually, and perhaps allow them to not solely rely on those precious 6's to hit. Means that the rest of the attacks going through can actually do something, especially against the many T4+ lightly armoured units out there. It might be a way to help them differentiate even further away from spears and corsairs...

    Not saying this is the best option - but as a design challenge, I'd like to think we can explore all options to their fullest extent and what fits the concept of the unit both as an idea and mechanically.

    I'd definitely give them DS 3 - minimum.

    I'd also consider:
    - Possibly give them Adv 6 & Mar 12?
    - Possibly the ability to Skirmish?

    @DarkSky Apart from a price drop (which would be great in the interim) What do you see as a more long term fix?