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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is available! You can read all about it in the news.

Von fjugin,


Fellow T9A gamers, it's finally time for the annual balance update. Not a moment too soon! This patch is expected to be used throughout the majority of 2021, although there will be a small update in a couple of weeks for correcting typos and potentially edit remaining balance outliers (if any).


This year's balance update was created in a slightly different manner than earlier balance patches. There are two reasons for this:
  1. There has been a substantially lower amount of tournament games played this year. We have less data than usually.
  2. Wide-spread feedback from community on the state of the game, where single models are claimed to be dominating the game.


Due to these two factors, the rules team made the decision that this year, we would use the balance patch to start addressing problem #2 above. Deeper analysis of this issue made it obvious that it's not only single models that are the problem, and that not all single models are a problem. Rather, the underlying concern from most players seems to be that the game doesn't focus enough on proper ranked battle lines. This means that the update will "generally" encourage mid and large sized infantry units and things that support them, at the general expense of cowboys (single fast solo characters), monsters, excessive use of minimum sized units, light troops, and other units that aren't working towards the goal of ranked battlelines.

However, there is only so much we can do within the confines of a balance patch.
  • We are still on the era of 2nd edition "gold". And that means rules cannot change. The Rulebook is strictly off limits, and armybooks (those not in beta) and the arcane compendium can only see rule changes in exceptional circumstances. What we can change is anything solely related to army construction (e.g. points, duplication limits, special item restrictions, and so on). The purpose of these self-imposed limits is to keep the rules on the gaming table unchanged: the way a certain unit operated before the patch is the same as the way the unit operates after the patch. No one needs to learn new rules for an opponent's army.
  • We have reached a fairly good external balance overall on the game. The power level difference between the strongest and the weakest army is small, play skill has a much bigger effect on outcome of a game than army tier ranking. This, we think, is important to preserve. If we changed too much, we would risk making mistakes that would turn the external balance upside down.
  • We have to recognise that some players enjoy a more skirmishing play style, and that for some armybooks this is an intended play style. We don't want to make such styles impossible to use or a daunting task to win games with.


For all these reasons we have set quite strong limits on how much we can expect this balance patch to actually affect the meta game. This patch is definitively not going to force all armies to play the same standardized battles between massive units. Our aim is to increase the number of armies/games described as "proper battle lines", but not to have this completely dominate the meta game. For this reason you'll see fairly conservative changes, and you won't see price changes on all entries that support such play styles.


In very broad terms, the update to armybooks were made in the following way:
  1. Data was collected from multiple sources, on both external and internal balance. Primary data sources are surveys (both to open community and to a group of top tournament players) and tournament data.
  2. From data on external balance => establish a tier list. (WDG/OK/HE on the top, DH/SE/EOS on the bottom, and everyone else in between)
  3. From data on internal balance => establish which entries are under-used and which entries are over-used.
  4. Establish which entries can promote the wanted play style (ranked battle lines) and which entries do the opposite. This is added to the internal balance ranking of each entry.
  5. Combine both internal and external data. Use a sliding scale to define what the threshold for under powered and over powered is, and how much price increase/decrease each unit should get. These thresholds are determined based on the army's placement on the external balance tier list.
    Simplified, one could say that this means:
    1. High performing armies get more and bigger point increases on their over-used entries, and fewer and smaller point decreases on their under-used entries.
    2. Vice versa for poorly performing armies.
  6. Sanity check of end result.


Changes in the Arcane Compendium operate under slightly different rules than armybooks. We allow ourselves small tweaks to spells even though they actually affect rules played during the game, such as casting value, range, spell number, and so on. Generally we try to restrict changes to one aspect of a spell, but it's not always possible. There are a few bigger changes, most notably in witchcraft #6 (used to be very unimpressive for a master-only spell) and pyromancy #5 (changed to make the path less match-up dependent).
Changes to common special items follow a similar approach as in armybooks, and generally try to promote play styles focused on the desired ranked battle lines.


Now, give the new books a look, play some games, and see if you can find new cool combinations, or units to try out, and please inform your Army Community Support members about what you like, and what you don't like. Dedicated threads for each army will be opened in their respective forum sections:

BH 2021 Balance Update ACS Release notes
DL 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
DH 2021 Balance Update ACs release notes
EoS 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
HE 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
KoE 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
OK 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
OnG 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
SA 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
SE 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
UD 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes
VC 2021 Balance Update ACs release notes
VS 2021 Balancing Update ACS release notes
WDG 2021 Balance Update ACS release notes

As usual, count on our heroic translator teams to release this update in our various languages ! The release in French, Russian and Spanish should take place today or before the end of this week ; Chinese, German and Polish should follow soon.

You can download all the new books at once using the zip package:
the-ninth-age.com/community/filebase/index.php?file/523
Or go to the downloads page and download individual documents.
Downloads page

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