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TheDanish
07-06-2013, 00:42
So I was thinking about the sixteen WHFB armies and how they differ in functionality. From a game design point of view, each army seems to fill a particular "niche" or "role" that the other armies cannot quite perform as well. As luck would have it, I was cleaning out my closet and found a set of printed notes from a 2008 thread on these very forums. I managed to dig the thread itself up, here:

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?173783-Cathay-Army-List-(Yes-another-one)/page2

Without intending to put ThereIsNoSaurus in the spotlight, I will point out that s/he offered a list defining each army and what its role is within the game system. Now, granted, s/he provides insight on 7th edition, not 8th, but I think generally the roles have remained steady. The Cathayan bit doesn't really concern what I want to do here, but it helps to think about filled and unfilled niches.

So to shamelessly (but with credit) repost Saurus' compilation (with my own addendums):

Empire - Combined Arms: Benefits from rules that bolster combined arms tactics
Orcs & Goblins - Jack-of-all-trades: Can do many things well, but suffers from unreliability
Skaven - The Horde: Exactly what it says on the tin
Bretonnia - The Lance: "Spike through the heart," or strength on the charge, relies on breaking the enemy and perhaps challenges to remove character threats?
Warriors of Chaos - The Bludgeon: Brute strength in CC
Wood Elves - The Dancer: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," difficult to catch, harassing force
High Elves - Glass Cannon: The Blender, but can't take hits (less extreme with the new book, since they dish out less damage but take hits a bit better)
Dark Elves - The Scalpel: Brings pain precisely where it needs to be, very quickly
Dwarfs - The Rock: Steady, hard to budge, forces the enemy to come to them
Vampire Counts - The Tarpit: The longer the fight goes on, the better it is for them
Tomb Kings - The Trickster: "Look who's behind you," unconventional tactics and rules
Beastmen - The Swarm: Surround and ambush
Lizardmen - The Elite: Very reliable but expensive
Ogre Kingdoms - The Bruiser: Hurdles across the table for maximum pain
Daemons of Chaos - ???
Chaos Dwarfs - ???

Now, granted, I don't have a ton of experience with 8th edition, but these seem pretty spot on. Any corrections would be appreciated.

My first question is: where do Daemons and Chaos Dwarfs fit in all this? Daemons were extraordinarily powerful in their last army book because they covered many roles well, but I haven't played them yet in 8th. From the battle reports I've watched and read, Chaos Dwarfs might be what I like to call "The Core," i.e. an army that relies on a very powerful, immobile core of rock-hard infantry and war machines, backed up by mobile flank defenders in the form of monsters and cheaper/weaker hobgoblins.

My second question is: what unfilled army niches could GW exploit? I could personally think of two:

1) The Legion - a horde-like army of weak yet reliable infantry. Skaven have lower Ld when they're not bolstered by numbers and their war machines are particularly fickle, while Orcs, of course, suffer from animosity. The Legion would suffer less from psychology and unreliability, so it would be different from other horde armies, but it would not have to worry as much about being outdeployed, which would distinguish it from Lizardmen. The Legion may also employ "denial" elements, i.e. characters that are designed to tie up enemy characters in combat, psychology re-rolls, etc. IMO a great spot for a Cathayan army.

2) The Nomads - for lack of a better term, a "Mongol" style army of fast cavalry. Wood Elves sort of fill this role, but they are largely infantry- and skirmish-based. I could see a fast-moving army that relies on being closer to the enemy and yet remaining untouched via flee reactions and fast maneuver elements. Might be difficult to balance and make fun to play with/against. Great place for a Central-Asian themed Hobgoblin force.

Thoughts? Feedback? Comments? (if this is in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it.)

HereComesTomorrow
07-06-2013, 21:41
Daemons are a hard one to pin down. I guess it's an elite version of the Empire. There's units and army builds that fulfil all roles, but they're expensive.

Aunodin
07-06-2013, 22:33
Look at the cathray fan army book http://warhammerarmiesproject.blogspot.com/ That one can do a good job on filling the legion nitch.

For high elves I find them to be a very defensive army. Sure they can dish out the damage but as soon as you try becoming too offensive you just get destroyed.

Urgat
07-06-2013, 22:53
Daemons are a hard one to pin down. I guess it's an elite version of the Empire. There's units and army builds that fulfil all roles, but they're expensive.

I'd say it's even more true for chaos dwarfs, they have it all apart from skirmishers and light flyers, but hobgblins aside, everything is terribly expensive.
And yeah, Hobgobla khan's hordes of wolf riders would fill the nomade niche neatly, but that's one army we'll probably never see.

TheDanish
08-06-2013, 00:59
Aunodin, I have checked out that fan book, and I must say it's very well put together. The Strategists in particular are a unique feature that can help make the army more "reliable."

Regarding High Elves, with the release of the new book the Asur have certainly obtained new defensive measures - the High Magic lore attribute and a few magic items (BotWD and Shield of the Merwyrm, in particular) really help on defense. Overall, though, I think they're still an enormously strong combat army.

Forsworn
08-06-2013, 18:01
I definitely feel that the Legion would be filled by that Cathay fanbook. It's a pretty awesome book (I've always thought of starting up Empire to be able to play that after modelling for effect).

On the High Elves: I'd say that they are, now, as much a scalpel as the Dark Elves. In fact, our new book makes us even better at this, since we can now play our enemies and fight when we have the advantage. I'd say that Dark Elves are more of a glass cannon, as they have the same stats and defense, but without our new toys. Personally, I'd flip High Elves and Dark Elves to be Scalpel and Glass Cannon respectively.

As for nomads:
Huns or whatever they are called. I don't know if they have a fan-made army book, but they exist in the fluff. They are basically the Warhammer version of the Huns. They *are* evil, though; and human. Personally, if I were to hope for a new army, I'd like it to be a non-human army, and good (just to balance out the amount of armies in Forces of Order and Forces of Destruction). Araby (they have a fan-made book) could be made to work here, I think, as well. These, while good, are again a human army.

Aunodin
08-06-2013, 20:38
Ya dont get me wrong the High elves can deal out damage but ya defense is key with them. The idea as a scalpel is a good definition for them now especially with calvary.

For Daemons maybe put them under Shock and Awe. Basically there main thing is causing units to break combat and if you have low leadership you always run the risk of your entire army running off the board.

For the Nomad army the albion army book on that site might be a good place to start. All of there models have swift stride so they can move pretty fast on charges and flees. Haven't really read anything in that book besides some quick glances but it could be interesting (reading the halfling one atm)

If anything GW should at least release a Kislev army and a Cathray army. Cathray already can fight Chaos, Orcs and Goblins, and Ogres. Kislev even has some models made as well plus you can have units who ride bears into combat. Now that is pretty awesome.

I like that site a lot so i send em traffic if i can. Although a lot of those books are badly in need of an editor. I swear they say the exact same thing with just different wording a lot in those army books.

Leogun_91
09-06-2013, 00:22
My second question is: what unfilled army niches could GW exploit? I could personally think of two:

1) The Legion - a horde-like army of weak yet reliable infantry. Skaven have lower Ld when they're not bolstered by numbers and their war machines are particularly fickle, while Orcs, of course, suffer from animosity. The Legion would suffer less from psychology and unreliability, so it would be different from other horde armies, but it would not have to worry as much about being outdeployed, which would distinguish it from Lizardmen. The Legion may also employ "denial" elements, i.e. characters that are designed to tie up enemy characters in combat, psychology re-rolls, etc. IMO a great spot for a Cathayan army.

2) The Nomads - for lack of a better term, a "Mongol" style army of fast cavalry. Wood Elves sort of fill this role, but they are largely infantry- and skirmish-based. I could see a fast-moving army that relies on being closer to the enemy and yet remaining untouched via flee reactions and fast maneuver elements. Might be difficult to balance and make fun to play with/against. Great place for a Central-Asian themed Hobgoblin force.

Thoughts? Feedback? Comments? (if this is in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it.)The Legion is a role that Empire or Tombkings infantry lists can do well. Empire has fairly cheap and varied infantry with detachments for denial/boosts. Tombkings on the other hand pays the least points for high ws troops in the game and are utterly unfazed by panic.

For Nomads a Wolf rider list is perfect, can play cheap fast-cav with shooting or large fast-cav for combat and can buy a few chariots and heavier cavalry for added hitting power. Thanks to spider riders they even have a shot at taking the watchtower if needed (with gift of the spider god that's 21 poisoned attacks in the building assault, half which have poison 5+).

If added new I'd like Kislev to fill the Nomad role (Hobgoblin like armies can be made with O&G) and I'm not that interested in a Legion style list though I guess Cathay could do it well enough.

For additional ones, and I'm just brainstorming here;
The Schemer Controlling the opponent, forcing actions on your opponent. It's hard to balance and I don't have a force in mind that fits to use it.

The Horror Terror tactics army, specialized in psychological warfare. Can be done with VC but you really need to get doom and darkness for it to reach full effect and you can't guarantee that. Could see Ind with it's Tigermen, War elephants and other jungle terrors do it, have hypnotizing gurus to hex away some ld. Zombie Pirates of the Vampire Coast could do it as well with their syreens and undersea monsters.

Kamikaze Suicide attacks, all units designed to destroy themselves or easily die but hurt the opponent far worse. Arabys elementals could do this well.

The Mimic Copies the enemies tactics, tricks and strengths. A hell to design but could be very interesting.

The Terraformer Controlling the terrain to win, woodelfs have a version of this but an army with more focus on it would be interesting. Unfortunately Lizardmen are the ones that fit best for the role fluff-wise.

The Specialist Each part of the force has a very specialized role and will fail when placed against the wrong one (one could be low-stats, bad equipment but high I and ignores armour to specialize in taking down Heavy armoured, one could have lots of poisoned strength one attacks to work well against unarmoured enemies etc).

Litcheur
09-06-2013, 02:11
Bretonnia - The Lance: "Spike through the heart," or strength on the charge, relies on breaking the enemy and perhaps challenges to remove character threats?
Feeling nostalgic ? :D

Bretonnia used to be like this. The power of the Bretonnia now lies in its powerful artillery and numerous bowmen... :angel:

NemoSD
09-06-2013, 07:20
I have to say, if they publish a Cath army book, I drop my High Elves and I am not a Cath player!

Urgat
09-06-2013, 10:13
Thanks to spider riders they even have a shot at taking the watchtower if needed (with gift of the spider god that's 21 poisoned attacks in the building assault, half which have poison 5+).

Nah, they can attack it, but not take it.

the beardless dwarf
09-06-2013, 15:33
Lizardmen- The exsotic This one is much better I think, because they bring all sorts of special stuff to the table, lots of small rules.
Chaos dwarfs- Feared Nobody knows them well and they bring slavery and terror to the table.

The Low King
09-06-2013, 17:38
I don't think any army can be defined by a single name, they all have too many ways to play.

For example: High elves are 'glass cannons', yet they also have some of the hardest to kill units in the entire game, they also rely on combined army a bit in this book.
Dwarfs are 'the rock' but can also be one of the most aggressive armies in the entire game, they also have lots of quirky tricks and rules.

TheDanish
09-06-2013, 19:10
Feeling nostalgic ? :D

Bretonnia used to be like this. The power of the Bretonnia now lies in its powerful artillery and numerous bowmen... :angel:

You are right, of course. I should clarify that the list above is suppose to detail the intended army role. Brets are clearly intended to fill "The Lance" but their book is 2 editions old and current edition rules don't favor their playstyle.


I don't think any army can be defined by a single name, they all have too many ways to play.

For example: High elves are 'glass cannons', yet they also have some of the hardest to kill units in the entire game, they also rely on combined army a bit in this book.
Dwarfs are 'the rock' but can also be one of the most aggressive armies in the entire game, they also have lots of quirky tricks and rules.

This is absolutely true. But there are an equal number of roles that certain armies cannot fulfill, no matter hard they try: Dwarfs would have a helluva time coming anywhere close to a no-touch Wood Elf style of play (bar blasting enemies off the table before they get a chance). Similarly, Skaven can't really fill the Reliable Elite role of Lizardmen.

The Low King
10-06-2013, 01:10
This is absolutely true. But there are an equal number of roles that certain armies cannot fulfill, no matter hard they try: Dwarfs would have a helluva time coming anywhere close to a no-touch Wood Elf style of play (bar blasting enemies off the table before they get a chance). Similarly, Skaven can't really fill the Reliable Elite role of Lizardmen.

So shouldn't the categories be based on what they cannot do then?
So Dwarfs are the 'anti-horde', WOC the 'anti-shooting'?

Veshnakar
10-06-2013, 01:25
For Chaos Dwarfs I would say they fill the niche of the evil war machine centric army. Very expensive and elite in general barring Hobgoblins as chaff. Skaven kind of fill that void, but their war machines are more on the wacky but insanely destructive side.

Chaos Dwarfs: The Iron-hard masters of industry and dark sorcery.

Lord Solar Plexus
10-06-2013, 09:14
No offense but those categories are simplistic parodies without any value.

Vipoid
10-06-2013, 09:19
So shouldn't the categories be based on what they cannot do then?
So Dwarfs are the 'anti-horde', WOC the 'anti-shooting'?

Wood Elves the anti-win. ;)

the beardless dwarf
10-06-2013, 10:06
Bretonnia- The horse F***ers :D