First post of the series by myself, Cash Johnson, focusing on the most successful Warhammer Fantasy army I own, Orcs & Goblins. Most of what I have seen on internet forums focuses on general aspects of the new rules set, and what is going to be the most prevalent combination of units/items/rules/etc to see in every army. Well that's fine if plastic men are the only way you feel good about yourself, but I play for sport and enjoyment - it's still a game after all. Therefore, I have ignored everything other people have said about what they plan to change to have the most broken armies and concentrate entirely on my own.
The start of my Fantasy greenskins was with the Battle for Skull Pass box set. While I liked the look of the Dwarfs, I have always been a huge fan of the Waaagh, plus the starter came with a sizable number of goblins and a plastic troll, which was more than I could say for the stunties. After that, came the large army box, which filled in the rest of the horde nicely. After that, many boxes of Orcs, Black Orcs, and Night Goblins, plus Fanatics and war machines.
Which brings me to my play style - the horde press. Create walls of infantry, put bigger stuff behind it and go. Since Animosity tends to ruin the best battle plans, I opt for the simple approach. March, release Fanatics, and grind down units as they come. So after reading the 8th Edition rules, I decided to not stray from this tried and true method. Some of my strategies improved drastically, and some of the options I never considered are now open to me. Surprisingly, very little of the new rules damage my army. And so, the reactions:
1. The Horde Rule - I already ran Night Goblin units in massive bricks, originally 46 and 50. Now both bricks are at 55 each, and one with spears - something about receiving a charge and getting 40 attacks back makes me all tingly.
2. Random Charges - Instead of a standard 8" charge, I'd get an average of 9-11", meaning opponents would have to fear my Fanatics and Animosity even more. Unexpected surges of movement can close the charge gaps quicker now with lucky rolling. On top of that, it allows me to coordinate the Waaagh better, seeing as how I will usually get an extra couple inches on a charge.
3. New Magic Rules - I never took Shamans unless I needed Dispel Dice. I relied on weight of attacks and cannon fodder to do the work for me, and didn't trust dice to choose my spells for me. Now that even a Lv 1 Shaman can cast a 10+ spell with ease, I figure on taking two Night Goblin Shamans in games, a total of 175 points for the pair. On top of that, the Staff of Sneaky Stealin' becomes the most valuable item I could have, since Power Dice are limited to dice rolls instead of stacked pools - the chance to get more Dispels than the enemy can use is another tingly feeling.
4. Indirect Fire - My Shooting phases always consisted of 4 Spear Chukkas, always. Hitting on 4's, wounding almost everything on 2's, and hitting across the table. I had killed a giant and a stegadon with them before the new rules for stone throwers came out. Now I will take the same 140 points and reinvest in two Rock Lobbas. Indirect Fire gives me two turns of twin boulders raining on the enemy as I march up, and probably stay parked out of sight in the process - in addition, there are no more partial hits, so hitting 6 is vastly improved over having to roll to wound 6 times.
5. New Cavalry Rules - Like Shamans, Cavalry were something I didn't bother with. They moved faster than the rest of the army, so they would always be vulnerable until the bulk of my horde reached the battle. However, thanks to Surestride, cav units become more lethal when used en masse - several units getting a 16-19" charge makes a combined Turn 2 push possible. On top of that, I own Spiders and Wolves, so the Vanguard movement at the start of the game GUARANTEES a Turn 2 assault. But the biggest improvement is the inclusion of the Boar Boy Big 'Unz, with Gork's Waaagh Banner - 7+3d6 (dropping lowest) plus another d6" increases the charge threat to 17-21" with a maximum of 25" for a third unit that can charge on Turn 2.
6. Premeasures - A warboss' new best friend, the ability to premeasure everything means Fanatic releases and Waaagh rolls are MUCH easier to coordinate. End of story.
7. Characters and Items - Because characters are based on points instead of slots, every unit could realistically take a Hero in addition to a Command Squad, each with a Magic Item geared towards whatever the unit needs. On top of that, Battle Standards become even more important in a low Ld army -ANY Ld-based test can be re-rolled within 12", and the number of magic banners available (and so cheap) can jack up the effectiveness of any unit.
8. Improved Giants - Thunderstomp. That's all - Thunderstomp.
9. Waaagh Miscast - With the dangers other armies have to face, I'm incredibly at ease with rolling a Miscast. On the main table, every roll is a tragedy waiting to happen. On my table, I just have to avoid rolling a 2-4 or 7 as a final result to skate around the worst. 36% is a much better risk than 100%.
1. Fanatic Control - While increased charge range is great, my Night Goblins can never charge before releasing their Fanatics. Before, my charge range was 8", which is where my Fanatics were released from anyway. Now, I have to make the decision to attempt a charge or release them and get charged - while Fanatics would be a great start of a two part combo, I'm not guaranteed to get them into contact with the enemy unit, meaning I would take 2d6 hits per Fanatic, possibly Panic from my own charge, and Flee just like that.
2. Monstrous Cavalry - My lucky gobbo cruise missile loses 2 wounds because of the new Unit Type rules. Night Goblin Boss on Giant Cave Squig is my great random unit, and so far I am the only person I know who owns one who can use it correctly (aim it at specific, easy targets, like solos or war machines). At 94 points, and a -4 Armour Save penalty (Sneaky Skewerer), it would usually last 2-3 turns before it was killed. Now with two less wounds, and the ability for units to get extra attacks in combat just by standing there, and the fact that trees no longer block LoS, he has to be mixed in with several units to make sure he gets where he needs to go.
These are just initial impressions - the actual performance on the table will be the test, though if I stick to the original plan of marching up under artillery fire, I should be just fine.