Conquest April 9 Balance Update Hot Take

A new balance patch for The Last Argument of Kings has dropped, and the headlines: The Eighty-Eight Demon Kings of Adepticon have been slain, and the Sorcerer Kings no longer lust for the blood of their enemies.


Core Rules

Parry: This has changed from forcing rerolls of 1 to preventing people from rerolling to-hit rolls against you. Interesting change because it inverts the old logic; previously Parry was at its best against low-Clash opponents, now it’s best against elite units with Blessed, Clash 4+ or Flurry. It feels like the essence of a sidegrade, a little less reliable in general but a little more impactful when it happens.

Impassable Terrain no longer has a 1 inch exclusion bubble around it. Similarly, you can now move within 1 inch of enemy regiments during a charge move, which is relevant when it comes to Tokyo Drifting around certain flanks.

Hundred Kingdoms

Ashen Dawn: 250 points a regiment/90 points per stand

An uncomplicated points hike on an overperforming regiment. Everyone knew this was coming – one of my colleagues sent me a tournament list with 14 Ashen Dawn stands and then immediately decided they hated it. It was only ever a question of if they’d change the stats or the points, and in this case points feels more correct.

Water Mage: Healing spell is now Infantry only, but heals 3+successes wounds.

Goodness gracious – I previously said that she was functioning as a tiny goddess but look at this lady. This is a reduction in flexibility but an increase in power and it means she’ll reliably put back two entire stands of Gilded Legionnaires with every cast.

Sorcerer Kings

Credit: Para Bellum

Elemental Rites Rework

The Rituals were previously a bit of an odd duck mechanic; the constant draw-add ritual marker activation rhythm was a lot of bookkeeping to track what built up to what were previously fairly mid effects. A colleague remarked ‘the entire system could have been replaced with ‘once per round, activate a ritual’ with minimal loss in the functional experience of what it meant to play Sorcerer Kings.

The new version does away with the complex aspect of the mechanic and reduces it entirely to a free character action: Perform Elemental Rites, get a ritual token. When a Ritual is prepared, it enters your Command Stack. When the Ritual card is drawn, it goes off, and if the next card matches the element of the Ritual then that card can be drawn and activated immediately. If the card activated is an Elemental they get an extra Action. This is not an additional action so they cannot Clash twice, but they could, say, move-charge-clash.

All elemental units lost their Bloodlust, and Infernal/Aetheric release which activated a ritual on their death.

Ghols go to Wounds 4, which they probably always needed.

The Sadar got Arcane Conduit, which means they passively add ritual tokens while in range of an objective. This is actually a really strong use case for the Sadar who previously lacked one – this is your gate to reliable lategame ritual activation even while your other spellcasters are occupied.

The artifact Shu‘laat now means every ritual that character starts comes with 2 tokens. This, combined with most rituals being 5-7 tokens for activation, is huge.

The artifact Banner of Elemental Dominion now gives Unstoppable – reroll charges – to all Elementals within 10. Thirty points now buys you all the banners you need.

Favored of Hormus now means that a Maharaja riding a Mahut no longer gets its Volley activations. The volley of a Mahut is a very significant part of its damage and role so this loss does hurt, but it’s compensated for with Terrifying 1. The Mahut incidentally picked up the Elemental keyword.


The takeaway from all this is that Sorcerer Kings have become enormously more accessible and easy to play. This is a huge positive step in favour of the faction and we’re generally very happy with these changes.

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