EoS Artillery, Neither Cheap Nor Reliable... Thoughts?

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  • EoS Artillery, Neither Cheap Nor Reliable... Thoughts?

    Hi folks,
    Quick thought and point for discussion. Although EoS and Empire before it have been my primary army for over 20 years, I play multiple armies. EoS, KoE, HBE, SE, DE, O&G, and Tomb dudes. I play with and against artillery quite a lot.
    Artillery, in my experience, needs to be either cheap, or reliable. Paraphrasing that from a regular opponent of mine. Goblin Bolt Throwers, cheap and cheerful. Dwarven Guns, reliable. Elvish Bolt Throwers, reliable and reasonable price. EoS warmachines seem be be neither.
    So I am heading in to a round of tournament prep, with lists that no longer include any warmachines. Have I made a critical error, or do EoS warmachines need some TLC to get more time on the table?

    Hope this generates some discussion.

    Cheers ~ Michael (Gaius Marius)
  • I’d agree with this. If you take WMs, I feel you need to double up in order to assure some level of reliability. After their dismal performance at ETC last year, I’ve sworn off warmachines :panic:
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  • That's the issue, isn't it?

    OnG: Cheap and plentiful war machines. 4 skewerers can ruin the day of just about everything... for 90 ppm.

    Dwarves: Decently accurate (engineer helps), don't blow up, longer range on the organ gun, rune crafted shenanigans... slightly pricier, but far more reliable.

    Elves: the bolts throwers are versatile, well priced and accurate.

    ... EoS. Eh.

    The rockets are in a good place. The Mortar is...okay. The volley gun is bloody infuriating and cannons, across the board, are woefully overpriced. I almost feel like a rule like "blackpowder mastery: if an engineer is within 12" of an EoS war machine, and the machine misfires, the model takes 1 wound and may behave as normal next turn" would be a big help.
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  • Given that LOS is such a nause and that one feels the urge to sport artificers, even though it’s a points sink, and bearing in mind the old adage that ‘take three or take none’ I’ve plumped for the latter.

    They’ve missed once too often and blown up once too often too.
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  • I think mortars are in a bad spot right now. The changes to line of sight hurts them, plus they require a very particular match up to be good. You are almost always better off with reiters.

    Volley guns create very polarizing match ups. Either, our opponent has the tools to remove it before it shoots, or it gets to shoot 3 or more rounds with huge effect. Ideally it would shoot 1 to 2 times before being removed so it does some work. This could be by design as it just a high impact piece.

    The cannon is slightly over priced though hence why you almost never see double cannons, the extra tax on 2 of them is too much. However, a cannon and a steam tank is very common.

    I agree with every one else that rockets are fine.
  • For me volley gun is the best, but it need cavalry protection the first turns. It is well priced and works very well.
    Mortar is my second favorite, It can blow away infantry troops or just hit quite hard to a monster. The only thing I would do hear is consider the option to make "mortars and catapults" shoot with volley fire, or something similar so that they can see over infantry troops.
    Battery, I guess is ok, but I am very unlucky playing it....
    Cannon is the worst by far. Too costly to do just what it does, and in addition now the opponent can get cover....

    I think we are in a good spot, the only thing I will fix is the price of the cannon. Other price adjustments could be minimal (+/1 10 or 20 point here or there, nothing that it really matters though..)
  • I agree with everybody here. I still try to fit in a piece or two because I really like the pressure. But with good light infantry its not that necessary. All other catapult weapons are tall, which is an offense to the mortar (forward observer rule on artificer and/or an item that can be taken by anyone, maybe even added to rangers). And the artificer should become tall for sighting purposes only, to take full advantage of this.



    Cannons are too expensive, but we will get hammered by the community of monster lovers if it were lover.

    @Litoperez Is there cover now???????????????? WHAAAAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lover the price to 200 no problem!

    EDIT: Looked it up: (STILL NO COVER)
    21.F.c.1 CannonCannon attacks ignore to-hit modifiers from Soft Cover and Hard Cover. They gain a +1 to-hit modifier when targetingunits consisting entirely of models of Gigantic Height that do not benefit from Cover. On a natural to-hit roll of ‘1’a Cannon Misfires: roll on the Misfire Table (table 11, page 109) and apply the corresponding result (a to-hit rollresulting in a Misfire cannot be rerolled)
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • Litoperez wrote:

    "They gain a +1 to-hit modifier when targeting units consisting entirely of models of Gigantic Height that do not benefit from Cover". What I mean is that they loose +1 to hit when the giants get cover. (and it is very easy to benefit from cover)
    ARGH! missed that part. Its fair from a rules and immersion perspective. BUT, then yes they should be cheaper.
    as they sometimes don´t have any targets, are unreliable and don't have any armor piercing on area attack, they have become somewhat situational. I think 200 pts on all arty would be fair (not including rockets).
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • that would also allow us to bring one of each and an artificer! A bare minimum for a prober Imperial marshall. :oldmen:
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • warmachines in general were priced at times when they were a lot harder to be killed from range.
    Nowadays the exposed artillery (volley gun) is so easy to kill on range, especially by magic, and in addition it opens up weird overrun directions when engaged in Close combat.

    Pricing of most artillery pieces is off. More so when a lot of armies sprinkle hard target on their faster units. (see DL book, where you even can buy hard target 2 times on the flank attack demon).
  • The main thing people are referring to is the 2.0 LoS change that meant standard height no longer see over standard height.

    This is has most impact for EoS with mortars wanting to shoot at infantry; their LoS is now blocked by friendly infantry.

    (Of course they only need to see a smidgeon of the target cos they don't suffer from cover, so this is mitigate-able go some extent, but for sure one can no longer just line up artillery on the board edge with troops in front and give no thought to the flow of the battle).
    Being supportive & giving useful criticism aren't mutually exclusive.
    Are you supportive of the project? Do your posts reflect that?

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  • Nostalgia:
    For me, I have played Empire for ages. Like since 4th edition. I have seen power builds come and go. Artillery come and go. Back then, Hellblasters were one shot wonder weapons until, like 6th edition. Cannons kept Dragons at bay. Mortars were kind of niche.
    For years I used 1 Volley gun, 1 Cannon and 1 Mortar, to give me options, and to avoid cries of cheddar-listing.
    Then in 8th, guess ranges went away, and the artillery got weird, as people got very afraid and the cost reflected that. In 9th, to hit rolls added a new layer of un-reliability to the mix, but opponents remained as afraid of them as they had been in the past. In fact, there have been various hard-caps on how many machines we could take from the beginning of the 9th age project, which shows in some quarters there was some concern about the power curve of artillery.

    My hypothesis as to the issue:
    SkargitCrookfang (my most regular opponent) asked me, "What need/target are you trying to address with your War-machines?" My conclusion was that the targets and situations that I take Artillery to deal with, are all more reliably / consistently addressed with tools other than the big guns. The problem is that they are priced as though they are effective. However, they aren't effective, they are fluke-machines. I have used progressively fewer war machines since starting 9th age (and now am playing with none) because although they are noted as an Army Strength for EoS, they are neither reliable enough/ nor cheap enough to warrant taking.

    Review:
    1 - The cannon, with the d3+1 wounds (and 1 more if flying) they can do in a single hit, are life altering for flying dragons, heroes on chimeras and Griffons. They CAN, on paper, and in memorable instances, change the fate of a game. The time you successfully got a hit, rolled a wound, avoided the Aegis save, and then got max wounds on some big gribbly monster stand out. On the other hand, they as often or more often fail to hit anything of value before rolling a 1 and taking themselves out of the game. 250pts, occasionally amazing, often a crushing disappointment.
    2 - The Volley gun. S5 shooting is good. 24" range less good. Aim 4+ less good. High misfire chances also less good. We all remember "That time" a volley gun turned a unit of Chaos Knights in to a fine red mist. Or brought some Elite Elves to their knees. We also know the the majority of times that without magical support and maybe an Engineer, our 200pt wonder gun did precisely nothing.
    3 - The Mortar. Actually, if this weapon can see it's opponents (and that is a bit of an issue), it isn't too shabby. At killing horde enemy infantry. Low toughness, low armour infantry. For the record, the one thing the EoS doesn't usually need extra help to deal with is horde infantry. 200pts to help extra kill goblins and skeletons is not usually a priority. (See "what am I taking artillery for anyway?" comment)
    4 - The rocket battery. S5, 3 shots, actual fluffy helpful rules for misfires, d3 wounds. It is actually pretty good. I would argue that it is the only piece of EoS artillery that is almost good value for points. It is still aim 4+, but at 160pts it is so much cheaper than our other options it feels like a deal in comparison. It is still however a fluke machine. It is best shooting at multi wound big stuff, and with only S5, it often fails to wound even when it hits. Honestly, if I could by 4 Goblin Bolt Throwers for 360pts instead of 2 Rocket batteries for 320pts, I would. Every time.

    Constructive Criticism and solutions going forward:
    A - Reduce the impact of Misfire. From a game mechanics point of view, the war machines with misfire charts were given those charts to offset the lack of a to-hit roll. It was fun and fluffy too, if a little random. Well, now all our Machines have to roll to hit, and we still have onerous misfire charts and opportunities. Dwarfs for a price get to more or less ignore misfire. All Bolt throwing machines have no misfire. Why do we? The Magic miscast chart is a very toned down version of its old self, why are misfires as bad as ever for war-machines? Possible solution, give the other machines the same misfire mechanic used by the Rocket battery. Roll a 1, lose a wound, move on with your life. Maybe make that a bubble ability provided by an engineer.

    B - Reduce the damage "ceiling" on these weapons and reduce the price. Artillery scares people who own nice center piece Dragons and Manticores, and big multi wound stuff. One of the early changes to cannons in 9th age was to remove some of the randomness of d6 wounds. Now cannons can no longer 1-shot the big stuff, but can't roll a 1 for damage either. The balance issue is that if cannons get too cheap or effective, it will kill off big monsters from other army books. I would personally rather be able to score a few wounds on a big bad thing reliably, rather than kill it outright on occasion. The same goes for the mortar, and the Volley gun for me. Limits on the number and types of machines is fine, but make them cheaper. A cannon that only does d3 wounds, or even d2 wounds is fine, if it costs a lot less too, and doesn't blow up. A mortar with a smaller footprint 5x5 or 4x4 or a lower strength, at a significant drop in price would be fine. A volley gun that could choose the number of barrels fired, or only shot 2d6x2 for a significantly reduced price would be good.

    C - Make them more reliable damage producers and perhaps raise the points cost. A dwarf cannon simply shoots better, and misfires less, and can get runes. Plus the Discipline is better, the crew wears armour, and although the range is 60" instead of 72", they pay only 5pts more. That would be nice. Ditto their Catapult, their Organ gun. Better versions of EoS options. Make an order that can be given to War-machines that lets them stand and shoot, or gives them a bonus to hit a particular enemy, or allows re-rolls to hit or something. Let an engineer assist multiple machines, or decide to intervene AFTER we roll to hit.

    D - Add fun quirks or options that help with reliability or function without adding seriously to cost. Let the crew entrench, or wear a cod-piece or helmet for crying out loud. Give us a Horse-Artillery option that allows move and shoot, or allows scouting deployment in our own deployment zone like the Dwarf Bolt Thrower, or a Vanguard. Give the engineer access to magic items that allow 1 off attempts to actually hit a target - "Magic Telescope" 1 use only allows 1 war machine a +2 to aim, Or "Magical Spotlight" 1 use Engineer targets one enemy unit, all shooting gets +1 to hit this phase on that target. Make a step-ladder or crow's nest a purchasable upgrade to make your machines tall. Give the Engineer a hot air ballon as a mount and use his line of sight, or a megaphone as an upgrade option to allow him to give orders to machines further away.

    I know B&C are mutually contradictory but EoS machines need to be EITHER cheaper, or more reliable. Otherwise I suspect, for internal balance reasons they will continue to dwindle on the battlefield.

    Cheers ~ Gaius Marius
  • You nailed it @Gaius Marius. Agree on everything you wrote. EoS book has better options for nearly every artillery piece. Core crossbows, magic and even ren repeater Reiters are much more reliable and also have better synergies with the other elements of our book.
  • 1 - The cannon, with the d3+1 wounds (and 1 more if flying) they can do in a single hit, are life altering for flying dragons, heroes on chimeras and Griffons. They CAN, on paper, and in memorable instances, change the fate of a game. The time you successfully got a hit, rolled a wound, avoided the Aegis save, and then got max wounds on some big gribbly monster stand out. On the other hand, they as often or more often fail to hit anything of value before rolling a 1 and taking themselves out of the game. 250pts, occasionally amazing, often a crushing disappointment.
    Hm, why couldn`t cannons just have a "glancing" hit "reroll"...like the mortar. Something like..reroll with St. 5 and d3+1(2) halfed (and perhaps -1 to hit).


    A volley gun that could choose the number of barrels fired, or only shot 2d6x2 for a significantly reduced price would be good.
    Mayhaps something like the (old) rattling guns...you may roll up to 3 dices. doubles and triplets give a disadvantage/misfire (depending on results..ranging from double/triple 1`to 6`, while double/triple 1´s may have no impact , triple 6s is the good ol blowing up )
    Veteran of the Chaff Wars
  • I dont understand you analyze guys. for me EoS artillery is pretty good.

    You cant speak about our artillery without take in consideration the spell:
    +1 to wound in aura or for one target. (if you play mortar)
    +1 to hit (for any artillery)
    Reroll to hit and gain divine attack. (if you play volley gun)

    Our hereditary allow us to get 2 of those spell, by only pay for an adept !

    And of course we have to pay for one or two Artificer.

    Looks like you guys pay for artillery but want them to be cheap. You take it the wrong way. When you play artillery, you have to build your list around it. Pay them the wizard that will help them, the ranger or militia unit that will do redirection in protection. The light troops that will help the artillery and protect the Artificer. And be sure the Artificer could always help an artillery, so if you choose a volley gun take also a canon or a rocket to be sur to get a target each turn.

    When i build a list, all possibility seem open to me about artillery, even mortar that arent the best synergie with our army, are attractive, with the +1 to wound possibility.

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