Ah it’s that time again! Games Workshop dropped the surprise Battlescroll today, along with a swathe of FAQs for several battletomes. The Battlescroll carries some big changes for the game, along with some point changes for underwhelming and overperforming factions. Let’s go in depth and check out what these changes mean for you.
We’ll tackle the general changes first and then go down faction by faction, including both their errata and point changes.
So there are two changes here that affect everyone and they are big.
The first is the changes to the much-maligned Rally command ability. Particularly in armies with access to 4+ Rally like Daughters of Khaine and Fyreslayers, it’s generally considered one of the most unpleasant parts of the game right now, because all the work done to kill a unit can be instantly undone with some lucky dice rolls (and with a 4+, they don’t have to be particularly great either). So the fix has been to make it so there is a cap on how many models can be brought back capped at 10 wounds total. I’m…not sure this is the fix I would have gone with. I probably would have errata’d the 4+ rallies to 5+ like in Slaves to Darkness, as to not punish armies playing it as intended. As it stands now, for example, Skaven can only ever bring back 1 Stormfiend which seems pretty brutal against them.
The second is Arcane Tome, which has been given a very lengthy list of restrictions. First and most importantly, it no longer grants any bonus spells. This means you cannot take anything from your faction’s lore nor can you take one of the generic spells: It simply grants Arcane Bolt and Mystic Shield like any other wizard and you cannot use enhancements to get around this though they can cast endless spells. Other, less important changes are that Wizards can no longer take it (to get an extra spell) and PRIEST and KHORNE units cannot take it. The priest stipulation is odd, but Khorne is obvious. Bloodthirsters casting Mystic Shield is just very silly. Finally, some clarification may have been lost in the big changes, but the book finally clarifies you can deny one spell. Interestingly, the core rules do not give a concrete answer on how many spells a Wizard keyword unbinds, without specifying it. Although it was generally agreed to be one, we now know it’s one.
So the question becomes, why the change and who is this even for now? In brief, Arcane Tome was just too popular of a relic, and showed up on far too many lists. Flaming Weapon was huge on big combat heroes like a Megaboss on Maw-Crusha or a Mega-Gargant. Certain battletomes also had spells they could take, like the Megaboss, because the keyword required was not unique to the wizard model. There were simply too many “good” options that it often obsoleted many other artefacts in the books and Games Workshop seems to want to push the idea that the book artefacts be your first choice.
So who would take this? It’s probably still useful on armies that don’t have magic at all (Khorne excluded) for mystic shield and a potential spell denial. Armies like Fyreslayers and even Gargants won’t balk at a Mystic Shield, even if now they might be more inclined to look at other options first.
Weird odds and ends here. Skipping over the changes to Rally and Arcane Tome above, most of the changes are clarifications around specific wording around objectives. Importantly, “Wholly within” or “Wholly outside” does not count objectives on the border of deployment. This is generally how the rule has been interpreted but as more battle tactics require specification around what this means, people have asked for an official wording. This generally makes Battle Tactics more difficult, such as Cunning Manoeuvre where they may be impossible to fulfill.
Controlling Terrain now specifies that you do not control terrain if you walk away from it. Which is a change you may or may not have noticed. Before this, as written, you could mark down which terrain you “control” until your opponent wrestles control back. You could then in theory score Desecrate their Lands based on terrain you took control of 3 turns ago. This goes against how the battle tactics have changed to be more proactive and so now gets to be special and you need to remain next to it to hold control of it at the end of the turn. On the plus side, you can control both a piece of terrain and an objective if they’re close enough even though you normally can only hold one point.
Finally another “generally understood but never clarified” rule is that to complete a battle tactic that requires a certain number of units (or all of them) to perform an action, like Ogor’s Eat Their Fill Battle Tactic, you need to have at least one of those units on the field for it to count. Note that this won’t apply to Daughters of Khaine’s Bloodthirsty Zealots, because that one specifically says a unit being killed counts toward it.
Beasts of Chaos
The Beasts of Chaos Battletome came out in January and we’ve had a few updates to it since then, but maybe not the ones that players wanted. Bullgors have proven effective as a hammer in the army while not being anything close to an anvil – they went up 15 points to a fair 210 points. Unfortunately the Doombull followed them down that path going up 20 points at a whopping 180 – almost the cost of two great bray shamans. I think we’ll definitely see fewer Doombulls in the field just because of how expensive they are now.
Bestigors went down to 200, a 20 point decrease, however most goats think they should be around ~160-180. I love that they’re two wounds, and I love their defensive tech, but they actually changed their special rule for Despoilers because it didn’t really work in the rules correctly. Before, they’d get +1 attack if their enemy unit used all out defense – now they get +1 to wound. Statistically it’s a few wounds lost from a 10 model unit in close combat. Bestigors definitely should be amazing, and unfortunately they’re just losing harder here. Cockatrices lost the ability to gang up and try to turn to stone one unit – enemy units can only be targeted by it once per turn now.
Overall not terrible, but I had hoped Bestigors would have gone down further in points – likely with the special rule debuff down to 160 now – and it’d be great if we could get some Dragon Ogor and Shaggoth point changes.
Blades of Khorne
The most recent book and so a fully fleshed out FAQ with it. Mostly unsurprisingly rules clarifications, we’ll skip over the questions about whether or not a hero should or shouldn’t have a certain keyword or role, because the answer is “yes”. The question about if you have to actually spend Blood Tithe to get the benefit returns, of course (yes, you do).
Otherwise, mostly typos or omissions. The Skullmaster was meant to be a HERO and they forgot the keyword, Exalted Deathbringer forgot a minimum unit count (its 1 if you were curious) and some allies were missing: Maggotkin of Nurgle and non-Tzeentch Slaves units. Will these matter? likely not.
Daughters of Khaine
One small change, Blood Sisters cannot use their Turned to Crystal ability if they are in Zainthar Kai and get to fight on death. Generally this was understood but the wording was just ambiguous enough to not be totally clear. The unit must be chosen to fight to get to use the ability.
Disciples of Tzeentch
No rules changes, just point hikes. Sorry guys.
It’s probably not surprising, though. Tzeentch is the absolute terror of the meta right now, sitting a pretty good number of pegs above the next closest factions. Tzeentch has access to a ton of great Galletian Champions, who’s spells can ignore this season’s “enemy Champions cannot be shot near infantry” rule. So as such, these really needed to be targetted. The Magister in particular, and while his mounted version isnt a GC, it’s still got the same spell that causes a lot of chaos in the enemy lines, so a 20 point point hike on both isn’t surprising. The other point hikes on the Curseling, Fatemaster and Fluxmaster all track and definitely start to add up as these heroes were already pretty expensive. Understandable changes, and hopefully bring that win rate down a bit.
No rules changes but lots of point hikes. It probably is a well known fact that Gitz launched with a lot of concern in the community about being too good. This is one of those cases where points hikes probably would help fix the problem, as the biggest issue is just how many you can field.
So as a result the big culprit unit, Squig Herd, went up 10 points. Not a ton, but if you spam units it adds up. Their big buff units the Gobbapalooza went up 15 while the Sneaky Snufflers and the new Squigboss each went up 20 points, so collective the tax adds up. Especially when you factor in the Loonking Skragrott going up 50 points. A probably deserved hike given his casting prowess.
It’ll be hard to gauge if these will get Gitz where they need to be. Better to take a light touch and raise a few more things in 3 months, but these at least seem to target what needs to be targetted.
Hedonites of Slaanesh
Not actually new, these changes actually came out a few weeks ago but were so minor as to not be worth commentating on on their own. Alongside a what has become pretty rote rule that units with the appropriate Chaos God already marked on them do not count for the purposes of coalition, there was a clarification on the Pretenders rule that issuing an order only gives -1 Rend and +1 damage once. The original ruling said whenever a unit does, which has issues when a command trait let them issue an order to three units, most assumed this was the intent, but the written rule definitely could have been busted.
Dexcessa also erroneously had one of their weapons listed as a missile weapon with a 3″ range, so both are now melee weapons as intended.
After several rules adjustments and points changes Kruleboyz still can’t seem to crack their sub-50% winrate so let’s take another crack at that. First, Dirty Tricks now lets you pick 2 options instead of one. This is an improvement but maybe not ideal. All but one of the tricks have a random number of targets so they’re not as reliable as you might like, but being able to take 2 to make sure at least one sticks is still better than before.
The actual notable change is in the Gutrippaz Skare Taktikz ability. Rather than having to do a bunch of bravery nonsense to grant -1 to hit against enemy units, it Just Works and causes a -1 to units in combat with them that are not Monsters or Heroes. This is actually a pretty great change and will make them more resilient. At 2 wounds a piece its likely they may be able to grind out against many infantry units fairly well now.
Fix to ambigious wording on Blind the Enemy which stated you needed to cast 4 spells with multiple wizards, could be read as having 2-3 wizards cast 4 spells between them as counting. The FAQ specifies that it must be 4 wizards, which is still quite doable with Lumineth.
The rest of the changes involve Teclis. In summary, his ability to dispel an Endless spell is clarified to be the start of the Hero phase (like it should be) and that rerolls essentially do not affect him, as he would simply roll the same number again. Lastly the Seeing Stone of Celennar had some poor wording that could imply that your own endless spells require you to roll a 4+ to see if they work. The rewrite restates that only endless spells cast by an enemy wizard count, as intended.
Looking at the points, none of these probably come as a shocker. Cathaller, Windchargers and Sentinels are in every competitive Lumineth list and while 10 points isn’t a lot, collectively it’s going to require trimming some fat. Especially in Teclis lists with another 20 points stapled onto him. The fox spirits went down, which was a fair change. They did not really adjust the point values appropriately for their nerf in the new book.
Will this affect their win rate? Eh…hard to say but I’m thinking probably not. Collectively the point hikes may require some adjustment but Lumineth likely need some serious rule rewrites to bring them down to the right level. We’ll have to see.
No changes, just a slight hike to Hexwraiths and Dreadscythe Harridans. While it is notable that these units see the most use in Nighthaunt, the price hike feels strange. Nighthaunt aren’t doing particularly great, they’re actually below the 50% winrate, so it seems like it’d be more fitting to reduce the cost on other units to make them more competitive. I don’t see this changing lists much, Dreadscythes are still really good, though some might choose to lean on Bladegheist Revenants, the other great melee unit.
One change, and its for your benefit. The Battle Tactic Savour the Taste requires every Ogor unit to be Hungry (i.e. not in combat) at the end of the turn. This did not previously clarify “on the battlefield” and now it does, so if your units are in deep strike, then they don’t count against you.
Fair question about the Redmaw Plague. Since the plague makes an enemy hero count as friendly in the combat phase (which lets them attack their own allies) the question is if they are considered an enemy to your opponent and must fight them if possible. The answer is no, so you can’t use them to draw enemy models away from your own guys, with it now being the closest model.
Slaves to Darkness
Only one ruling, which is that if you get Dark Apotheosis on a character if you get to roll on the Eye of the Gods table during the pre-game it does not count toward the Follow the Path to Glory Grand Strategy. So if you get it early, maybe take something else and circle back to that later.
There is some real good news though, several units got some notable price slashes. 10 points of Knights and Warriors feels a bit odd, as they are seeing play, though maybe not as much as Games Workshop would like when compared to the much heftier Varanguard. The rest of the cuts do make sense. Chaos Lord on Karkadrak, Daemon Prince, Eternus, Blade of the First Prince and Ogroid Theridons are all decent units that just cost too much so slashing them down by 20 to 25 points is well needed. The faction is slightly below the curve of 50% win rate so they will appreciate this a lot.
Two niche rules. Number 1 is that if you summon Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws with a Lord-Arcanum, which adds 6″ to the movement, you do not get to add that to the mortal wound output. Clever, but understandable why it’s not allowed.
The other change is that the Vanguard Raptor’s Aetherwing is a Mount. Since it’s not a Hero, this generally doesn’t affect much this season, but worth noting for some rules interactions such as artefacts that modify attack rolls.
Good news for Sylvaneth players, one of your battle tactics just got way easier. Official confirmation that you can charge a unit then use Strike and Fade to fulfill Harness the Spirit Paths.
This battlescroll doesn’t feel quite as “big” as the last one but it definitely isn’t minor, either. The change to Arcane Tome and Rally will have some big changes to the game for how its worked for the past year and a half or so. While I have some trepidation about how these changes were implemented, it’s why they’re temporary and can be adjusted in the future.
The point changes feel a bit light for the disparity going on right now, but I chalk some of that up to this season being particularly strong for the right factions (i.e. those with a lot of solid Galetian Champions vs those that don’t) so we only have a few more months before that all changes.
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