As expected after any new Battletome, errata and FAQs must follow. Probably more so than any other Battletome in recent memory however, this one has been of particular interest in the community. After an extremely strong showing in major tournaments immediately after the book released. There was a consensus that Tzeentch just was not very fun to pay against. I’ve even heard recently that many people will refuse to play Tzeentch players in local games. A nerf was needed and Games Workshop seemed quick to respond. The newly-released FAQ seems to deliberately target a lot of the complaints players had when fighting against a Tzeentch list so I want to focus on the particular changes of interest.
One of the unifying features in DoT lists over the tournament weekend was the Changehost Battalion. In short, as long as the Battalion’s Lord of Change remains alive, each turn a player could remove 1-2 of their own units from the board and deep strike them back in anywhere with the usual restrictions (more than 9″ away etc.).
The power of this is pretty apparent just at a glance. While I underestimated it initially, writing it off as a side grade from the original version from the first Battletome, the reality is that having complete autonomy to move units around is pretty strong! The writing team was in a difficult spot here as completely rewriting the Battalion would basically remove its role in the book. The team decided you can only move 1 unit a turn which retains its purpose while drastically drawing back its power.
I’m not sure if this is enough, freedom to move a unit around is still really good, but it does at least force choice on the player. If you can move 2 units freely you probably can always move whatever you wanted. When you only get one option a smart opponent can at least for the players hand and have them need to make some tough decisions about who stays and who goes.
The other major change that seems a direct response to tournament performance is the Destiny Dice. The rules team were clear that in hoping to simplify confusion around Destiny Dice they decided to make Destiny Dice unmodified. This means if you used a 5, it’s always a 5 no matter the modifiers. This had some unforeseen consequences which they specifically isolated in the errata:
- Armor Saves – As a rule, Tzeentch units have pretty bad saves. They can be improved but without any buffs they’re frequently rocking 5+ saves, 4+ on a good day. Tzeentch forces are generally not meant to survive a lot of close-quarters combat. Well the Destiny Dice let you ignore that. opponent has -2 rend? Not anymore, use that 5 and you saved. This made them absolutely frustrating to fight because even if you got past their firing line, you still had to deal with this bullshit. Not anymore, you still have to use modifiers even if you use the dice, meaning the role the dice serve remain but players have to be more tactical about the use.
- Leadership Tests – This was probably the biggest source of controversy. For those who don’t know, like other lesser daemons, Pink Horrors can “blink” if they roll a 1 on leadership, which allows them to bring back D6 dead models. Since the saves were unmodified this compounded the problem. With any other unit you could use one of your 2s for Destiny Dice and pass, even if you lost 10 models, is pretty bad. The ability on Pink Horrors to burn a 1, not lose any models and gain D6 models back was too far. It basically made Pink Horrors an impenetrable wall. Now the blink ability works but if you lose 10+ models you still have to have some flee. A fair compromise.
- 2D6 Rolls – In the FAQ it was clarified players now must use 2 Destiny Dice for rolls with 2D6 (usually charge rolls or casting rolls). In the past it was common to use a high die like a 5 or a 6 on a casting roll and take your chances on the other. Officially now you have to use a destiny die on both if you want to use them, which means if you try and use it on every casting roll you’ll burn through your limited supply pretty quickly.
I’ll be honest I’m not sure how some of these got missed. It’s possible GW assumed because you “only” had 9 dice, determined at random with limited ways to regain them, making them unmodified wouldn’t be too powerful. Regardless of the reason, they seemed to respond to the problem quickly which shows a lot of attention to the pulse of the community.
Not nearly as major as the other changes, the FAQ also included 3 warscroll changes that are worth noting for the future. The first is the Gaunt Summoner of Tzeentch, the warscroll says it can summon “10 Pink Horrors” (or another lesser daemon). This was a bit confusing when interpreting the rules literally because the Horrors warscroll had been updated to just say “Horrors of Tzeentch”, which blue and brimstone horrors being rolled in the same warscroll as a mixed unit. The FAQ clarifies that the Horrors warscroll is valid to use. Since warscrolls are meant to be universal (and the wording hasn’t changed just a rules interpretation) this likely applies to the Slaves to Darkness version too.
Kairic Acolytes got a tiny buff. Cursed Glaives, the “3 in 10” special weapon now also get a shield. This makes them a little better but probably wont change their rankings much against Pink Horrors.
The Lord of Change’s Beacon of Sorcery command ability (+1 to casting and dispel rolls) was changed to only be once per turn. This is pretty expected, as more command abilities are being given this stipulation.
Effects on the Competitive Scene
It’s too early to say if this will change the tourney scene. Tzeentch showed up and basically left a trail of devastation when everyone was expecting an Ossiarch Bonereapers hegemony. It’s not very common to see drastic rules changes this quickly, GW instead preferring to do minor rule fixes for the first FAQ and worry about major changes a few months later during the biannual rules updates. The fact they jumped on this does mean this got their attention and I’m not sure if this will be quite enough it does make a few simple changes that bring the army down closer to what it should be. By March at Adepticon we’ll probably know a lot more.
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