The success stories coming out dont revolve just around playstyle - on the contrary, there's a healthy mix.
The one thing that does consistently get reported on is the learning curve; but that means those who bail on the army before it starts working are failing to hack it themselves, rather than missing the tools.
I feel like this is a super-important post.
Yes, HBE can win. In the hands of a top player (e.g. Dan) they just did.
Steep learning curve. They are an unforgiving army. Mistakes will kill you.
And that is a bad thing for an entire book to be. Because it means that average players can't play HBE and muddle along averagely - they just get smashed.
In particular, the last page or two has popped up some interesting thoughts.
Such as, people field 10 strong Lancer units. This works poorly - they need spare bodies to work. But people do it anyway.
Why? Well, off the top of my head? 10 is a nice round number. Worse, HBE Lancers are 41 points per model for extra models. So if you run 12, it costs you 537 points (+command/magic banner if any).
That's bad. It's unaesthetic and just annoying. 1ppm less for extra models would save at most 10 points per unit... but it would be so much better psychologically I think.
Or better still, make a min-size-12 version of the unit. Give it a slightly different name if necessary - but don't let people shoot themselves in the foot by taking too small a unit. Force good list design on people.
(best of all would be if Cavalry only need to be 4 wide to get rank bonus I think... but that's too big a revision now)
That's what good game design looks like - not just providing tools, but also making sure people don't use them the wrong way and get frustrated.
(This is also my main beef with MSU-costing: yes, sure, bigger units are better than small ones... but your average-to-bad player is more likely to go "okay, the game designers don't want me playing big units, I guess they have their reasons, I won't do it". Bigger units are actually *worth* the price, sure, but the psychology doesn't work out.)