Oh boy! If I had a dollar for everyone who said they did not want to see Faction-specific Battle Tactics, I could buy myself a Bentley, a private jet or maybe even an authentic Mega-Gargant kit.
Well fuck you all, because here they are anyway, with some army-focused “Core” Battalions too. Today’s article will look at those rules and whether they are any good, before moving on to a broader discussion of what they mean for the game.
I’ll be following up next week with some competitive lists built around this update – one for each Tribe – so let’s smash into it.
First up, that little box off to the left makes clear that these rules have the same status as the Battletomes themselves:
If you really have a problem with this stuff, you could always email the FAQ team. May I suggest wording along the lines of:
You have explained very, very, very clearly that these rules are intended to be used in Matched Play. Are they intended to be used in Matched Play?
See how far that gets you.
Next up, we have the Grand Strategy and Battle Tactics:
These are awful. You would never choose the Grand Strategy over the two that are just variations on “don’t get tabled” (Beast Master and Hold The Line), so put that one straight in the bin.
The Battle Tactics range from situational to terrible, but all come with the huge opportunity cost that you’re not getting +1VP Monster bonuses, which is a big part of the win condition for Sons of Behemat.
I did like the cheeky suggestion from the live chat on The Honest Wargamer (link below) for “That’s Mine!” to kick one out of your territory, just to kick it back in again later. That’s super sharp thinking, and it could be a decent option in extremis.
The Warstomper one is terribad because Hurled Body only happens on a 4+ (never mind the rest of the conditions), and although the Wreckin’ Crew one is a lot less bad, it’s still bad. There are so many Tactics that you can just make happen that you don’t need to muck around with this dicey crap.
And that, dear reader, is the genius of this section of the book. It’s hyper thematic, and improves your quality of life a tiny bit by giving you options, while having an impact on the Matched Play competitiveness of the army that lies somewhere between zero and negligible.
You can go after these things for the fun of it if you like, and although they are Matched Play legal, they are really just cool and thematic options. Perfect.
Now this is where it gets serious:
A lot of people hated this, and I do get it. There’s definitely a bit of mental gymnastics in branding them as Core Battalions when they are only for one army.
I did have a bit of a chuckle at that meme, but at the same time it’s not really fair, for reasons that I will come back to. For now, let’s focus on the fact that you can have multiple artefacts with your Giants.
You can also go right down to one drop (without resorting to the Stompers Tribe skew build), but really, it’s the artefacts that I’m excited about. Best of all is that you can take this Battalion a couple of times, with two Megas in each, for two extra artefacts; or mix and match for one extra artefact and a 3-drop package.
There’s also the option to go for Very Acquisitive (in Takers Tribe) and have 4 artefacts on 4 Megas, but I remain to be convinced that your 4th-best artefact will outmatch the CT you could have taken instead. So 3 Artefacts is where my energy is focused right now.
Footsloggas is a nice quality-of-life boost if you enjoy running Mancrushers, but it’s “an option” rather than something that sets the list-building fireworks off in my head. Double Bosses of the Swamp is where it’s at, and I’ve got some very cool lists to share in my next article, but I’m all in on the extra artefacts. This is a very big deal for Sons, make no mistake.
Should this even be a thing?
Yes it should, for several reasons.
Sons of Behemat needed this
One of my biggest gripes when the book launched was that there was nothing like enough customization for Sons. When you have four models on the table, they should all have their own personality and loadout, but instead you have these huge titans of war who can’t even use the artefacts from their own book in the wrong Tribe. I really felt like they’d missed a trick by not giving them each Traits, and this solution hones in on that issue with laser-precision.
The Battle Tactics are garbage
Which is exactly as it should be. They are fun and thematic but not competitive, which is the perfect level to pitch it at.
Sons were frozen out of Core Battalions
It’s an important point: the unique army composition of Gargants locked them out of virtually all Core Battalions, and this is just giving them back what they could have had anyway. If the purpose of Core Battalions was to have a central mechanic without “Haves and Have Nots”, then it didn’t make much sense to have one army essentially unable to use them. It’s a good thing that this was addressed.
They really are “Core” Core Battalions
The masterstroke here (and the reason why the clown meme above is fundamentally unfair) is that the Battalion benefits are generic. It’s not giving them something super special and unique – it’s just a bespoke and thematic way of accessing the Unified, Magnificent and Swift rules that everyone else already gets. A new Changehost this ain’t – and that’s a very good thing.
It’s boosted an army that could use it
I happen to think that Sons are in really good shape in 3rd Edition, and I’m excited to run them; but at the same time, they have hardly been setting the world alight.
When I look at the bigger events we’ve had in AOS 3 at time of writing (such as The Lost and the Damned, Mancunian Carnage, Summer Slaughter, Lonestar Open and Flying Monkey GT) it looks more like an army that is absent from the podium rather than dominating it. It’s true that they have a very healthy win percentage, but that’s just not translating to event wins – Sons are currently the classic Gatekeeper army, and hopefully this will lift them to being a serious contender.
There’s no point whining about Changehost
You can criticise whatever you like, but I don’t think it’s particularly constructive to criticise these Gargant rules on the grounds that GW may or may not do something monumentally busted in future. On their own merits, and on their own terms, these rules are razor sharp: they are thematic and hit the bullseye on boosting precisely the areas of the army that they should.
If your reason for disliking them is that GW might do something stupid with WD updates next time out, then I’ll happily join in the chorus of outrage if and when that happens; but preemptively complaining about something that hasn’t even happened is not constructive. We have a different word for that, and it’s called whining.
Besides, after an early misstep (doubling Slaanesh’s summoning? Really?), the White Dwarf rules have generally been particularly well judged. If you’re really worried about GW breaking the game, you should logically be lobbying for no more Battletomes in general, and no more subfactions in particular; the hit rate there is far more patchy. White Dwarf rules are mostly pitched at helping out the armies who don’t have the busted books, and the track record stands up to scrutiny.
White Dwarf is the perfect medium for these patches
And that leads me onto the final point – the delivery mechanism. White Dwarf is both accessible and agile. Accessible because you can buy it as an ePub if you miss the initial release (or….y’know), agile because it can lift a book partway through its life cycle or respond to issues as they develop.
I’ve just addressed some arguments that I don’t agree with, but it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. One very important counterpoint is that faction-specific Battle Tactics add to the general clutter of the game. It’s all well and good saying that they’re not that strong (which on this occasion, they’re not); but nonetheless it adds to the long list of crap you need to commit to memory. Knowing that we’re all aiming for the same BTs has been fine, and plenty to think about; trying to keep track of 50 of these things isn’t a skill I particularly care to learn.
I do think the good outweighs the bad, but it’s worth acknowldeding that there is a real cost here, and that cost is bloat.
The Honest Wargamer had a very nuanced discussion on this topic that you should definitely check out:
Warhammer Weekly, by contrast, went on an exuberant rant about how much they hate the whole thing:
As always, Vince puts his point across eloquently and with panache, so for a counterpoint to my own views on the subject it’s well worth a look.
Finally, Goonhammer have their own piece on Sons, which also covers the narrative and campaign aspects that I’ve completely skipped:
So there you have it!
I think they’ve really hit the nail on the head here, and I’m buzzing with ideas and combos for how I want to run this army. Come back next week where I’ll rattle through a competitive list for each Tribe. Let’s fucking gooooooo!
Credit for the opening image goes to Brad B