Following up on yesterday’s high-level review of the points and the process, my Australian ETC team mate Michael Clarke will be presenting you with his thoughts on the biggest outliers in the game as it stands.
Michael made his name running Hallowheart under the classic Firestorm rules, and almost won the event (playing off on Table 1 in Round 5) with what this blog named as the coolest army at BBBB 2019. Michael was the only player to beat my Big Waaagh with his Cities of Sigmar edition of Hallowheart at Summer Smash 2020, and he hosted a huge night at his (amazing) pad that Saturday night.
Michael is known for his analytical approach to list-building, which he has applied to this analysis. I can guarantee that everyone reading Michael’s article will find something in there to strongly disagree with, but you know what? If you stuck your neck out, there are people who would disagree with you too. It’s an interesting discussion to be had, so get your pitchforks ready and let’s smash into it.
Grand Alliance Chaos
Most Underpointed: Marauders
Marauaders got an extremely minor nerf in GHB2020 going up by 0.5points per model, after getting massive buffs at the release of the STD book.
Like the Savage Orruks (see below), they are a very cheap but very versatile unit that can perform multiple functions. Unlike the Savage Orruks, they can’t just rely solely on their own ‘on-warscroll’ abilities and faction buffs, but actually need to be used more in joint operations to get true value efficiency from them. They are much more of a thinking man’s unit. But once buffed up correctly, these guys can perform any tactical role you need them too, as good or better than most specialist units perform that same role!
One of the keys to value is sheer reliability. They have on-warscroll guaranteed minimum 8” charge which equates to a 97.2% chance to hit that those critical 9” charges. As most competitive tournament players will highlight, you want statistical reliability wherever possible, and Marauders give that big time – and they are simply not adequately pointed for the strategic value of high reliability on the charge. As discussed elsewhere, GW often doesn’t fully factor in synergy / buff potential into points as a system-wide feature, but Marauders have access to such a wide variety of potentially stacking buffs that they really need to have that factored in at least somewhat.
Ultimately they are 1-wound human battleline infantry for ‘cheap-as-chaff’ 80-points per 10…. But when you compare to other relevant alternatives in that range, they just come up sooooo much better. More attacks, faster and (most importantly) more buff potential – leading to more high-value strategic versatility. Even at (say) 100 points per 10 they compare up very favourably to majority of other 1-wound Battleline infantry, so at 80-points per ten you are getting a real bargain!
Most Overpointed: Pusgoyle Blightlords
While the PB’s did get a small points drop in GHB2020, they also effectively got hit with the nerf stick at the same time (i.e no longer allowed to have multiple after-saves), so net-net they are actually now even worse than pre-GHB2020! They remain pillow-fisted in the their damage output potential, are simply nowhere near tanky enough to really take a hit in any attrition game, are very expensive for small model counts to contest objectives, and have access to only a ‘middle-power’ suite of potential buffs.
With their foot-slogging Blightking brethren now getting a serious points drop down into the “very interesting” category, it only makes the comparison to the PB’s even worse. Advice: simply take more Blightkings instead!
It is a shame, because they are gorgeous* models and I’d love to see them on the table more often! Note: while the PB’s ended up as my pick here, it was fairly close call between them and some of the other Nurgle middle- and heavyweight choices.
*beauty is in the eye of the beholder….
Grand Alliance Death
This was a tough one – tough enough that I gave up!
GA: Death is actually quite well internally balanced at the moment. While (as usual) there a few things that are around +/- 10% points out of kilter, there really aren’t any massively ‘standout’ obvious things that are wildly under or over-pointed. Although Mannfred might come close, I couldn’t find any high-conviction picks here.
I see this as a good sign – there are no real obvious “auto takes”, but by the same token not many “auto ignores” either. This gives Death players both hard choices in list selection stage, and also many viable ways to play!
Grand Alliance Destruction
Most Underpointed: Savage Orruks (in a 30-man squad)
This was super easy pick…. for 10 points per model you get a 2 wound model with ok armour, that has 3 medium-quality attacks, and access to huge buff potential….. woah!
This unit is easily one of the most point efficient ‘tarpits’ in the game. With 60 wounds and a 5+ save (in combat, noting this is buffable) followed by a 6++ DPR aftersave, this unit can soak up more damage (on a point-for-point basis) than anything else in the game. Stop complaining about Pink Horror split spawn… on a point-for-point comparison, 30 of these guys are statistically harder to kill than stamping out those Horrors!
But they are not only a tar-pit. Savage Orruks are actually a versatile multi-purpose unit. They are cheap enough to be your screen when you need (and they are a VERY good screen – they are tough enough and control enough board space that standard ‘screen clearer’ tactics don’t work!). They are cheap enough to leave behind as your rear zone control unit (anti-summon, anti-deepstrike) if the mission-matchup dictates that requirement. As above, they are an incredible tarpit to camp a side or rear objective –> your opponent will usually need to commit 800+ points of an attack force to displace them, which leaves your main army to rampage away and engineer skewed matchups in their favor elsewhere on the battlefield.
They are also really good as a first-wave attack force to fling across the table (with Breath of Mork) and control the board, locking up your opponent’s units on their side of the field while you control the objectives and move into position. Finally, with 3 attacks and 2” reach on the spear, plus access to multiple buff options, they can actually also do a surprisingly decent amount of work in combat too.
To really see how wildly underpointed Savage Orruks are, just compare them to other 30-man infantry squads that cost around 300 points…example: 30 Bloodletters are the same 300points. The comparison just looks stupid. Or by way of a different angle, compare them to another 2-wound infantry … lemme see – Tzaangors! Tzaangors come in at nearly double the points (180 for 10 vs 100 for 10) and are basically equal or worse on almost every stat, as well as buff potential!
I think one mistake GW has made with Savage Orruks is to give them a double-bonus for horde. Not only do they get a points discount for horde, they also get a very good buff (+1 attack is super solid). Now, I generally quite like that we have bonuses for hordes, but I think as a starting point, maybe give either a points discount OR a horde buff – not BOTH! Savage Orruks are not unique in having both, but they do standout in the extreme quality of both!
Overall, even if Savage Orruks didn’t get a points discount for horde size they would still be pretty decent, respectable and quite points efficient (i.e cheap) when compared across the meta and for the roles that Warclans needs them for. Once the horde points discount is added in, they become the second-most points efficient units in the system and extremely close to outright “broken” category. The only unit in the game more wildly under-pointed is the great Fat Frog himself!
Most Overpointed: Gordrakk
Overall, Destruction is in a pretty good place right now – while there is a bit of stuff here and there that is still off (i.e overpointed) by say 10% or so, there really aren’t too many clear contenders for ‘crazily over-pointed’. After much thought, I’m probably left with nominating Gordrakk (as a weak conviction pick).
This pick ultimately came down to a direct comparison of Gordrakk vs a generic Megaboss on Maw Krusha. You are paying a 80-point premium for Gordrakk to:
(a) gain very little benefit that you actually need*, while
(b) losing the option to pick the incredibly good Brutish Cunning Command Trait, as well as your own choice of custom Artefact that best suits your army’s needs
Overall, paying the points premium means poor Gordrakk therefore becomes a narrative choice rather than a competitive one, until his points deficit versus between the obvious alternative is closed to be (frankly) close to identical.
*For example Gordrakk’s bonus to Big Waagh point generation… well given you will probably have all the Big Waagh buffs you really need by the end of the first turn anyway, the bonus to Waagh point generation becomes basically meaningless….
GRAND ALLIANCE: ORDER
Most Underpointed: Lord Kroak (Seraphon)
This was the easiest pick of the lot – not only is Kroak the most underpointed Grand Alliance: Order hero, he is the easily the most wildly underpointed unit in the entire system. By a long margin.
While on a standalone, no synergy, warscroll-only basis he would already be up there in points efficiency, the best way to view him is what I am calling in this article “Real Kroak’. ‘Real Kroak’ is the obligatory auto-take combination of Kroak (320p) + minimum 5 Saurus Guard (100p) + Astrolith bearer (140p) + Balewind (40p). He never leaves home without this entourage anyway, so lets for a minute just pretend this all just got bundled up into single warscroll!
“Real-Kroak” comes in at the ultra-efficient, low low price of 600-points. For this bargain price you get:
- The single most tanky (nearly unkillable if played right!) of the god-tier builds in the game
- The best ranged MW damage output in the game (should pump out at least 15MW at range per turn)
- Excellent anti-magic control – yes, not the absolute best in the game, but still a top tier option….
Plus then a boat load of other synergies with the rest of Seraphon… including:
- Awesome CP generation
- Excellent buffing command ability (which also stacks nicely with other Seraphon buffs…),
- Very respectable summoning
- Teleport shenangians
- Vessel casting – to further avoid risk (adding further to his unkillable tankiness factor), and creating effectively a “triple-stacked buff” on extending spell threat ranges
- Access to the extremely powerful Bound Endless Spell mechanic
- Strategic flexibility to switch Lore spells to whatever spell is most needed at that moment
But wait, there’s even more!
- He is small enough to get access to Cover bonuses and Look Out Sir protection.
- “Real-Kroak” contributes both Battleline (via the Saurus) and also Leader/Hero status for objective control – both of which got even better with the new GHB2020 mission pack!
“Real-Kroak” literally has the lot…. plus the kitchen sink, the kitchen table, the bread basket and well, the whole fucking pantry!
”Real-Kroak” is the best god-tier build in the game – and by a fair margin too. This combo is worth something close to 1000-points (I see “Real-Kroak” as being comfortably better than Nagash and Archaon). Noting that it is a system-wide feature that individual unit prices don’t place full value on synergies/ combos (even where they are auto-take obvious combos…), Standalone-Kroak should be still pointed at something around 500-ish (which would bring the “Real-Kroak” combo in at 780pts => still a bargain and likely still close to ‘auto-include’ in every Seraphon list).
Unfortunately, the Fat Frog is simply so good and underpointed at 320p at the moment he currently pretty much breaks the game. If you want the “glory” of face-stomping some easy wins (while garnering no respect from anyone), just show up for a club friendly with your Kroak-Seraphon list!
Most Overpointed: Battlemage on Griffon (Cities of Sigmar)
By coincidence, the most overpointed unit in GA: Order is also a wizard and comes in at a whopping 300 points…. the not-so-mighty Battlemage on Griffon.
This guy is very confused as to what he wants to be – he simply doesn’t have a useful role on the battlefield that cannot be done by multiple other options both better and for half the price! Harrassing skirmish units – better option. Buff casting – waaay better options. Hammer – hahaha. Tank – hahaha. What can you use this guy for?!?
As many of you know, magic-heavy Cities: Hallowheart is actually one of my ‘go-to’ tournament competitive lists. To entice me to add the BMoG in he would probably need to be around 150-160p or so before I’d take a serious look at him compared to all the other options available. So you can rule a line through this guy, safely ignore him, and simplify your life choices!
Not only does he win the award for most overpointed in Order, he comes in as my gold medal pick for single most overpointed unit in the whole system.
Well there you have it – tell us what you really think, Michael!
I’m slightly sad that my beloved Savage Orruks have made it onto someone’s radar – they’re a bargain, no doubt, but they’ve not copped much heat so far. I’d also put the Thundertusk right up there with Gordrakk from a Destro viewpoint, doomed to remain overcosted because he fills a role with very little useful purpose.
Let me know what you think, either in the comments below or on Twitter, because everyone’s got their own view on this one.
Up next will be a look at the (excellent) Coalition of Death content in GH20, and until then: May Gork bring you strength, may Mork bring you wisdom.