Part One of our 2020 Wishlist and Predictions focussed in on Battletomes, both confirmed and speculative; here in Part Two, we’ll be looking at pretty much everything else. As always, it’s a chaotic mish mash of things I believe are likely to happen, and what I’d just love to see; but definitely trending towards the latter.
White Dwarf Support
White Dwarf has been smashing it recently. I did stop buying it for well over a year, but pretty much every issue over the last 6 to 12 months has been excellent: the short stories are consistently interesting and engaging (look up the Mawtribes story in the November 2019 issue if you’ve missed it, that one had me creased), and most importantly from my viewpoint, the rules support has really kicked it up a level.
We’ve had some superb mini games for Underworlds, which give you entire new modes of play; a standalone boardgame for free in the December issue; and perhaps most significantly, new Battalions for Slaanesh and Nighthaunt.
The former was a true facepalm moment…you’re given a blank cheque to come up with the coolest ideas you possibly can, to give any faction in the game a bump up or just a refresh; and of all the things that could possibly exist, the most pressing need is to double Slaanesh’s summoning power? Really? C’mon now!
Nighthaunt was a much better idea conceptually, in that they really needed some help. The Hexwraith Battallion actually isn’t bad, and the lore around the whole thing is neat too. Although it wouldn’t have hurt for these Battalions to be maybe a little harder edged, it’s still a nice moment to be the centre of attention in that month’s magazine.
The whole concept offers hope for a mid-term boost to struggling factions who have a ways to go until their next full update, and for Destruction loyalists like me it’s a way to break up a potential underdog cycle that could come down the track, if our recent glut of books all become dated together.
So although the Slaanesh one felt like a truly odd choice, and the Nighthaunt iteration may have been a little undercooked, this is definitely A Good Thing. We’re all new to this, including the writers, so although they made need little slack to start off with, I think it’s a very positive initiative and one I’m hoping to see developed further.
Go on then, surprise me. Call for some Destruction love
Well, if you insist. The number one army I would like to see getting some attention from Grombrindal is Gloomspite Gits. The best and most succesful armies are centred around blocks of debuffing Grots, and plenty of them. If you’re willing to put in the hard yards, they can do pretty well, but it’s a shame to see so much of the book forgotten about.
Squigs sit in a great spot as a fun army that can do ok competitively if played well; Troggoth and Spiderfang armies, on the other hand, are struggling.
Now there are decent units within them: specifically, Rockguts and Fellwaters are both pretty solid choices to provide a Moonclan-heavy build with a bit of punch, and the Arachnarok Spider, as a durable and efficient Wizard, is a regular competitive choice.
But Troggoth-heavy armies are a bit of a joke. The issues they have are myriad:
- The Hero who unlocks Battleline is comically overcosted and underpowered
- Ditto the non-Hero big Troggoth, except even moreso
- The core units are very efficient in a vacuum, but get virtually nothing from their Allegiance kit
- The Battalion is restrictive (notably lacking an option for “Any Troggoth Hero“), overly expensive and does fuck all
Anyone trying to do a Troggoth army has gone down the following slippery slope:
- Pure Troggoth army! Woo hoo!
- OK, that was rough. I’ll add a unit of Stabbas to my Troggoth army
- OK the Stabbas were the best unit. I’ll add some more of them to my Troggoth army
- OK just a few more Stabbas
- Woo hoo! I now have some Troggoths in my Moonclan army
Similarly, Spiderfang have a couple of good units (essentially the Wizards), and a whole lot of dross. Spider Riders are hilariously bad compared to anything else in a similar bracket: compare 20 Spider Riders to 20 Hearthguard Bezerkers at the same points cost – the same fucking points cost, mind you – and try to keep a straight face.
The Skitterstrand Spiders are great fun (I’ve just accumulated a couple more so I can run the Battalion), but they’re hardly likely to be challenging top tables any time soon; and the other variants are irredeemable trash.
So what are we gonna do about it?
Let’s push the boat out, and give Gloomspite Gits their own free rules with Clans! It was bizarre that they didn’t get them in the book, especially when GW already done the groundwork in the fluff to set them up.
The one I really want to see most of all is a Clan that makes all Battleline recyclable! Let’s take Troggoths, Squigs and Spiders and resurrect them through the Shrine on a 4+, in the same way you can for Grots.
It’s entirely thematic, because they all come swarming up from the caves in the lore; and it unlocks the fun in the book. Currently the only unit you can get back for free is the most powerful and least enjoyable to play against; let’s incentivise people to take the fun stuff instead, hey? It’s a only a few free Spiders, for fuck’s sake!
In terms of Battalions, what about the old classic and low-key fan favourite, Sons of Behemat? This one appeared back in the Godbeasts campaing book (which I still enjoy referring back to), and although it’s never had Matched Play points, I have had great fun running it in an Open Play event.
GW have tried everything to shift the Big Fellas, from dumping them in an Ironjawz Christmas box (back when you didn’t have Allies, so you couldn’t even use them legally in Matched Play), to putting a pair of them in an Allies kit when Allies first launched. The only thing they haven’t tried is not making them utter garbage, so about we give that a crack, hey?
And finally, what about a special feature on Stormcast named characters? The poster boys are probably due a refresh, but if GW wanted to give them something in the meantime, a splash release of special Hero models with the White Dwarf rules treatment could be just the ticket.
There’s currently no representation beyond Hammers of Sigmar, yet characters like Hamilcar Bear Eater deserve to be on the tabletop. White Dwarf could be the perfect medium to make it happen.
OK let’s spin that wheel! Focussing on the Matched Play side of things, and points in particular, the early indication is that OBR could be shaping up to need a couple of tweaks. The points in general maybe don’t fully reflect their outstanding rules kit (specifically Petrifex Elite, and the abundance of RDPs), but it’s Mortek Guard and the trebuchets that are both over-represented in competitive lists, and oppressive for many armies to play against. I don’t hate the idea of them getting their wings clipped a little.
I’m already happy to say that the Tzeentch book is likely to need to be “looked at”, especially the ease with which Horrors can flood the board. It might seem a little early to call foul on that, but it does seem like 200 points is on the cheap side for a 50-wound tarpit, and likewise by inference the Gaunt Summoner who comes with a free unit of them.
20-point horde discounts in general should be treated with extreme caution: Hearthguard specifically really don’t need to plumment down to 400 points just because you take them in a block of 20. I’d honestly like all 20-point discounts to be looked at closely, but for Hearthguard I’d just yank the discount to 10 points straight off the bat.
I’ve covered a few units in my Gloomspite daydreaming above that could use a drop, so I won’t labour the point further, but it would be great to see some attention for the half of the Gloomspite book that rarely sees the table.
GH20: FAQs and Errata
OK, can we please get the memo on spamming CAs? It’s a very frequent source of Errata in Second Edition, with recent examples including Hallowheart, Ardifst and now Archaon; how about we make a new rule that we check every CA for spammability before hitting “Print”?
I believe that the Soulscream Bridge needs attention, because that 6″ bubble is way too generous; it really should be just one unit, not a whole frikkin’ gunline.
What’s more, as a generality, I’d love to see teleporting out of combat count as a retreat move by default. Teleporting is powerful enough without needing that hometown ruling in its favour.
Specific teleporting rules very frequently prohibit their use when the target unit is within 3″ of any enemies (see: Khailebron, Hand of Gork, etc). If you’re going out of your way that often to work around it, maybe it’s the core ruling that needs attention? Putting the onus on yourself to catch it every time just increases the likelihood of something janky slipping through.
I like buying shit. Here’s some shit I’d like to buy in 2020.
6″ Objective Markers
The concept here is that you place a 6″ radius disc on the spot of the Objective, and that represents the “scoring zone”; any models on or within that area count towards capturing that Objective.
Just count the number of models on the disc, and Badda Bing! You’re done. No faffing about to make doubly-sure you’ve zoned it off properly, no arguing about whether this guy is in or out, no intricate measurements with models and intertwined units in the way. Just count ’em up and go.
There is one manufacturer that I’m aware of who is already making these, but they are magnificently fugly; it’s hard not to feel that they got a little greedy by forcing their company logo as a permanent advertisement on your paid-for product. I’m not “Mr Immersion”, but even for me, these things are hideous.
Far better are those showcased by THWG on their Twitch stream; since they are transparent, they won’t ruin the look of a nice gaming table:
All of the upside with none of the downside, let’s do this!
These magnificent beasts actually went up for pre-order as this article was being written. GBP 26.00 gets you a full set of 8, and I’ve already got my pre-order in. If you enjoy the content that THWG puts out, then it’s a great opportunity to support their endeavours. I’m all in.
GW Store-Specific Merch
If there was anyone more likely to labelled a nerd at school than us wargamers, it was the guy who collected T Shirts from Hard Rock Cafe in different locations. I didn’t really “get” it myself, but a lot of us do have the collecting gene, so I really think GW are leaving money on the table here.
Whenever I’m on holiday, I make sure I nip into the local store to see what’s going on. I can’t even explain why I want to: maybe I just got old, and became Hard Rock Cafe Collector Guy after all.
Now if anyone outside of Australia has heard of Bendigo, it’s most likely due to Rick and Morty:
Bendigo also happens to have a Warhammer store, so wouldn’t that be a nice piece of swag for fans of both? Leaving aside the whole compulsive-collector thing, all of this merch would make a great gift for your mates. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be T Shirts, it could easily be gaming tools like dice cups, combat gauges, you name it. Print “Warhammer: [Exotic Location]” on it, and I will buy it.
Diversity in Event Swag
The old Combat Gauge and 9″ stick aren’t going anywhere soon; and nor should they, they are super useful, and accumulating a stockpile of these things from tournaments is part of living that AOSLyf. But even so, there’s definitely space for TOs to expand and show some initiative in the tournament swag on offer.
This is such a cool idea, and something that sees a lot of use in my house, believe it!
A couple of other ideas I had are for Triumph tokens (how often do people forget those bloody things!), and maybe even dice cups. Nothing boils my piss more than those wankers who hesitate during the priority roll, so they can see what you’ve rolled first; when I come up against that guy, I like to slam my dice down under a cup and reveal it after they’ve rolled. They have other practical uses too (Helloooo, Archaon), so it’s a nice themed gaming tool that I’d be happy to receive.
A Little Merchandise Shout Out
For all your gaming tokens, look no further than Pro Painted Studios – these guys really know their shizzle. The quality is supreme, and you can tell they are active AOS players by the stuff they produce: they were straight onto Big Waaagh with a “Green Power Points” counter for example, and their Ironjawz tokens include a Strength Through Victory tracker.
Other gems in their range include Command Point tokens, Triumph tokens, and above all: scenery tokens. Fuck scenery dice; life is too short to roll on two separate tables. I feel like I should be employing a professional caddy if I’m being asked to undergo that level of drudgery. Grab scenery tokens from a dice bag, slap them on the terrain piece and you’re off to the races.
I’ll also take this opporunity to emphasise that I have no personal or commercial links to these guys. I’ve had a few people ask if I’m getting kickbacks from Mini Mag Trays after my glowing review of their product, and I can tell you that’s not the case: I’m just a paying customer who loved the product. Same applies here, I don’t know the Pro Painted guys at all, I just bought some stuff off their website with my own money, and loved it. Go check it out.
And just one wish…
Please, for the love of Gork, keep your hands off Mawtribes Might Makes Right ability. Yes, it’s cool; and yes, it’s bloody powerful. But can we please not have “Counts as X models for capturing objectives” creep?
Before you know it, it’ll be everywhere, like the new Activation Wars. Mawtribes is a flawed book in many ways, so how about we don’t rip out their unique Battle Trait and fling it like candy at other armies?
At least not until Mawtribes get teleports and army-wide deepstriking and cheap Priests with good prayers and useful Command Abilities on their expensive Heroes and durable chaff and actual Warscroll Abilities for Ironguts and Endless Spells and meaningful Allies and significant play in the Activation Wars and 2+ rerollable armour saves and summoning and Stonehorns that pile in and attack twice and fight when they die.
Until then: back the fuck up, and just let them enjoy something nice. It’s their thing.