Thursday, August 19, 2010

WFB 8th Ed. Analysis- Adjusting Tactics

It goes without saying that WFB 8th ed is a radically different game, well radically different in respect to the rule changes have completely change the way some armies are played. A perfect example is my beloved Empire. I recently wrote about how I was scratching my head when I took my first lost of the edition against 60 Chaos Warriors led by a Daemon Prince. While my pal Aaron brought his Warriors to the table for two games Tuesday with slightly augmented lists, the majority of the tactical change for both us came in the magic phase.

It's become clear to me that the Magic Phase has replaced the movement phase as your primary set up sub phase for every turn. Part me wishes the rumor had come true and the magic phase was first in the turn order..that certainly would have put an interesting spin on things. With things being what they are I am looking at the magic phase totally differently. In 7th Ed I would basically use the magic phase to mainly throw out some sort damage spells and hope to thin out what ever I was shooting at. Now its become my force multiplier, meaning when the majority of your troops are S3, T3, you need augments to make them better fighters or your opponents weaker. In my initial game I continued with my previous choices of the Lore of Life and Lore of Fire, life for its buffs and healing, Fire for its damage. This time I used some the great synchronicity between Life and Shadow, to really change the game up.We all know "The Dwellers Below" is great spell against my fellow toughness 3 troops but it wasnt so good against Chaos Warriors, especially ones bumped up the Strength 5 by a Warshrine..but how about hitting a unit of Chaos Warriors with "Dwellers"after hitting them with Lore of Shadows , "Enfeebling foe" reducing there strength with a good roll to "2", say goodbye to 21 of 30 Warriors..thats one hell of spell chain. Using Magic to attempt to disable my opponents strengths, (in case WoC's brutal fighters) so they were on equal par to my rank and file or simply no match for things like Inner Circle Knights or the Steam Tank was really the key to victories. It wasn't that unit themselves that performed so well, it was the conditions I created to make them perform well.

Warhammer is 7th Edition played like a traditional Rock-Paper-Scissors with Dice...meaning I'd have "X" units of various strengths, that I would maneuver into position to take out opponents units that with average dice would lose to the stronger element. However in 8th Edition this new magic phase takes pleasure in now changing the conditions, often when you least expect it. Example, I have moved my Rock into combat with your Scissors..however my Rock just got irresistibly turned to Paper!. While this of course existed in 7th Edition its much substantial as result of way dice are generated and used per turn, not to mention the changes in all the spells.

With the Magic Phase is more powerful, abet differently, this now opens the door to also use your shooting differently. In the past I'd rarely set up shooters for concentrated fire..I using small units to protect my flanks or artillery from smaller harassing units, saving my Artillery for the big monsters or uber units. with the Magic Phase so aptly changing conditions for infantry or shooting ot just flat out making things go bye, I find the aspect of concentrated mass shooting combined with new artillery rules equally as punishing...While 30 Shooters is generally nothing to sneeze at, 30 shooters, a Cannon Rank punching, followed by a mortar pie going to inflict a world of hurt.

Its not that these tactics didn't exist in 7th edition, they of course did. I just find myself using them differently and with a new appreciation. Similarly in the close combat phase every army has at least one Big Baddie, while I have had alot of success manipulating, through magic, average or slightly above average units into elite units at the right time, nothing is quite as satisfying as dropping your big baddie on the table and its actually being big baddie it supposed to be. While I had serious reservations about the Steam Tanks effectiveness in 8th edition versus it cost, its becoming T10 has changed all that.While tough for people to deal with in the past its now truly terrifying, While I've gritted my teeth having a a Lord on Dragon race unstoppably thru my army in the past knowing my only counter was ineffective after 1/3 of wounds were gone and you were only a bad die roll away from doing it yourself if you tried to shoot it..having the Steam Tank be able to "take a lickin and keep on tickin", hell you can even heal the thing now.

Finally scoring changes have adversely changed my tactics when you start trying to tabulate the final result I find myself having to chase down that last model more often than not as not getting half points for unit radically changes how I now go after troops. I must analyze every combat past the break point, to how I will finish a fleeing the unit completely off , a lone cavalry model or handful of rank and file can keep an inordinate amount of points on the table if you give them the chance both my games the other night we much closer than they appeared do scoring changes. I find myself using things like my Pistoliers completely differently than I used too.

While nothing I say here is particularly new to those of you that have studied the game, I just find myself bemused by the fact, I could play an army for 3 years with borderline average success, to now winning 11 of my 12 games with the new edition and find myself playing my old army complete differently, or least looking at it with fresh eyes. While the power curve with 8th Edition has dramatically increased, which is something I normally wouldn't be supportive of. I am finding the payoff's to be substantially greater, the "anything can happen" factor has noticeably increased, and the end result being just plain fun..what more do you really want from a game? The downside is my Lizardmen who were all psyched to be out on the table are sitting around half built. I really want to give them a go and see my Stegadons thunder stomping around the table. My drive to get a new Army on the table was strong, The problem is I did get a new army, its just the one I already had.


sonsoftaurus said...

Interesting read, thanks for sharing your thoughts on your experiences so far.

Tim said...

Good insight. I just got back from my FLGS WFB night and we've come to much the same conclusion - and we're loving every minute of trying to figure out how to adjust our armies and tactics.

As for my VC, I'm no longer able to throw a bunch of one-die invocations to heal my whole army, so I find my army ranks thinning much faster then I'd like. On the other hand, I've been taking Shadows for my VC lord and have found the hexes are awesome at weakening my enemies so that even my pathetic zombies are able to inflict some damage. You know you're in trouble when zombies are hitting you on 4's and wounding you on 3's! - Tim

Conspyre said...

T10 is a really interesting thing now. It makes the tough stuff appropriately hard to hurt for the other big nasties, but it is still vulnerable to the sort of massed tiny things that T6 could have trouble with before. For things like the Steam Tank and the Greater Daemons, especially, I think the change is a really good one- they can smash each other up about the way you'd expect them to, nothing is too easy, but they do still need to fear massed archery rolling for lucky 6's.

Lord Azaghul said...

I'm pretty sure you hit the nail right on the head with this one. The game is more fun, and old tactics no longer work in the same way! In fact the new ed had inspired me to repaint my only fully painted dwarves. However the more I play them in this ed the more I wish I had some sort of 'augment' for my army, shooting just doesn't work in the same way. Converse to 7th I find my war machines more reliable and devistating then my shooter troops, and wishing for the life of me that I had some sort of 'counter' for the new magic phase. I also no longer feel bad for taking 2 organ guns or 2 stone throwers, something I never would have consider in 7th!


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