Let’s get the obvious stuff out the way. This year’s Clash of Kings is rammed full of stuff. So much in fact, I am fully expecting there will be things I don’t get a chance to try out or face off against before the next Clash of Kings is unleashed. But that’s no bad thing. Choice is great, after all.
As I’m starting to fight with and against the new stuff, as well as getting some battle reports watched, my general feeling is that the book very much continues in the spirit of the game I know and enjoy. That opinion has been reinforced reading through a number of facebook exchanges within the community about some of the different changes that have been made. These have given me some useful insights into armies that I don’t generally encounter, and how those changes are being received, which seems to be really positive. I’ll admit, at a glance, there have been a couple of scary looking bits amongst the updates, but in my mind the real challenge of Kings of War is finding the right tools to deal with whatever the enemy brings to the table. So, it would be a bit disappointing if there weren’t one or two things I wasn’t a bit worried about stumbling across on a dark night.
The greatest benefit for me is not so much about any specific changes that have been made, more the general benefits such a sweeping set of changes brings when collecting an army. When I build an army I really want to be able to delve into the lore and pick units that excite me because of their fluff and representation on the table (yes, I like my toys to look pretty) as much as how competitive they are. That being said I don’t want to paint up units that will just fold to the slightest breeze. Consequently, I’d much rather see improvements to units that mean more of the twenty plus options in most armies are up for consideration when I start building a list. This is preferable to having a situation where unpopular units are buffed to the extent that it makes current popular choices unappealing. That doesn’t solve the problem, it just recreates it in a different place, and Clash of Kings didn’t set out to do this, and doesn’t.
My favourite three
So, with my eye firmly on stuff what I like, as opposed to tactics, strategy, and such, here’s my top three updates:
Scout type unit melee buffs – affecting units like Gladestalkers and Scurriers who have had their melee scores moved to three. I really like this idea. I think it creates a point of differentiation and reflects all those images of elite fighters creeping forward to undertake special forces style shenanigans (I mean yeah, rat ninja, if I’m being completely honest). I’m currently finishing off a second regiment of Scurriers in order to give them a whirl, although I’m not sure quite how they’ll feature in the army, or what I’ll do with them once they’re on the table, but I’m yet to see that as a valid reason to not put something in a list.
That being said I think there are reasons to be optimistic. In the case of Scurriers, specifically, I think it will make them harder units to ignore, just in case they manage to get a flank charge off, especially if there is any of that super reliable Banechant (3) hanging around. Additionally, plague pots will make them just that little bit harder to root out, meaning they could tie up some units a bit longer than would otherwise be expected. Of course, they remain expensive, and I’m still wrangling with that age old question… what do they replace?
Gorp’s Explodo’matic Bangstiks – I love light cavalry and think this is an exceptionally fun formation the Goblins have been blessed with. I have nothing further to say really, other than – why couldn’t the Hackpaws have had this?
The Brothermark – I’ve always had one eye on the Brothermark since third edition arrived because of the Examplar Hunters and the Order of the Abyssal Hunt. I’ve played Brothermark a couple of times, but the lists I ended up with always made me feel as though the difference between them and their master list really just boiled down to what flavour of cavalry I wanted with my ogres, ease of pronunciation, and whether a side order of angels was on the menu or not. Not so anymore!
I really like the Brothermark changes and now I’ve had time to properly mull them over an army is definitely on the cards for next year. Weirdly, the more I play with lists the more the amount of rally, movement 9 nimble cavalry, fury auras, etc, starts to feel oddly familiar (squeak, squeak). So in a sort of Freaky Friday moment I’m going to have ago at translating my most recent Ratkin list across and see how it works (more on that in the future though).
I guess it’s going to be a while before we really get a solid picture of just how all the changes impact what hits the table. One of the very real considerations of improving units to be in line with (relatively speaking) better/more popular units is that players will have to make room for these other units in their line ups. So far, I’m certainly seeing that happening around me and, I’m really looking forward to my next tournament in a couple of weeks to see just how much newy newness makes the cut.