This review is based on the beta with a patch released on 9/16/2021. The state of the app may change rapidly in the near future. As it does, we’ll come back and update this review.
Just a few days ahead of the first Battletomes for 3.0 we finally got our new list builder app. The successor to Azyr and standing alongside Warscroll builder it has some mighty shoes to fill. While the idea of an official 40k app was widely desire, as there had not been an official list builder app to the game before and your best option was something like Battlescribe which wasn’t always the most user friendly thing in the world. Age of Sigmar already had 2 official list builder apps. Azyr worked fine most of the time, and Warscroll Builder worked through a web browser and didn’t require a monthly fee.
With the release of the Beta version of the app, and the not so great early reception to the release of 40k’s app there was a lot of concern on how this was going to go. Is it good? Is it at least…usable? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
On the plus side the app is largely usable, and a far cry from the disaster of the 40k app’s launch. Those that use the 40k app will be able to get into list building instantly because the UX is basically the same, for good and for ill. The building blocks are here, you add units, you can add battalions and give Heroes artefacts, Warlord Traits, etc. I was able to get my list built relatively quickly and easily.
The other nice perk is all the first and second edition battletomes are unlocked. Stormcast Eternals and Orruk Warclans aren’t included in this of course, but there is a code inside the book to redeem to unlock it. As time goes on the books will probably be pulled as the third edition version of the book is published but for now you can build your list with any of the older books with complete freedom. This is one thing the builder has over Azyr and Warscroll Builder for the moment. Being able to actually read the descriptions of artefacts and spells without needing to pull out your copy from elsewhere is very nice. Azyr let you unlock the books but for those of us who like their physical copies asking people to buy a second digital copy (even at a reduced price) wasn’t going to happen. So I’ll give the app points for that at least.
You can build a list with Stormcast Eternals and Orruk Warclans without the book, you just can’t read what the abilities do, putting it basically on par with Warscroll Builder in that department. It is eventually going to cost a monthly sub, which can be accessed on its own or with Warhammer+. For now the list builder is free and makes it a viable tool for people still using 1st and 2nd edition battletomes.
Warscrolls remain unlocked even if you don’t own the book, I tested before redeeming my codes. So we see GW is continuing Age of Sigmar’s free distribution policy for units while requiring battletomes for the army traits.
I’m not going to harp too much on incorrect points and inaccuracies. This is a beta release and Games Workshop is fully aware of it. So if you see them, report them. That said, it still does hinder the app’s ability to function as a list builder. I found that a few units were missing but the new patch seemed to fix that. Some point values might be wrong (but so far I haven’t found any) so make sure to double check your list against your most current point values. Always good practice anyway.
A bigger issue, however is that there isn’t an option to pick weapon options. For anything. That is a huge problem since many tournaments require you to make your loadouts clear up front. Hopefully this will come in an update soon.
The UX sucks. All of the same issues that the 40k app has show up here and I do not care for it. Everything is listed in alphabetical order, though it does a better job at least trying to group things into separate categories such as artefacts intended for different keywords. When you get into the list builder itself there’s a litany of issues.
When attempting to add a unit you are immediately bombarded with a list of every unit you can possibly add, including allies. There is a filter for allies, coalition allies and mercenaries but anytime you go back to add something new it forgets your filters and shoves everything in your face again. For some armies this is fine, but if you have a lot of coalition or allies such as Chaos mono-god armies or the Stormcast Eternals it’s a lot to sift through and can get tedious to need to reframe your filters every time you want to add something new.
The list builder has no respect for organizing your units in a proper manner. Whatever order you put them in, that’s the order they show up. If you add some Deathrattle Skeletons, then a Vampire Lord, then some Deadwalker Zombies that’s the order they’ll be listed in. You can’t even change the order once they’ve been added, as far as I can tell. Even if they didn’t bother subdividing units by type (Leader, Battleline, Behemoth etc.) at the very least it should allow you manually organize them into something coherent.
The text printout isn’t….great, but it’s fine. I would have preferred if the points were in parenthesis like the other major list builders do but I can work with this. Organizing into battalions has been a hurdle since 3.0 launched, as it’s hard to say the best way to clearly mark which units are in battalions while also keeping the entire list clearly organized. I think Warscroll Builder has the most elegant solution, putting asterisks next to units to mark them. This instead moves the whole unit to a seperate header for the battalion. I suspect this is from cribbing from 40k, where Force Organization is mandatory. In Age of Sigmar where Battalions are optional, it doesn’t work quite as well and makes the order of units even more disorientating.
As an example this is what it spits out for the text:
Army Faction: Soulblight Gravelords Army Type: Vyrkos Dynasty Battlepack: Pitched Battles Points Limit: 2000 pts General: Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery Triumph: Inspired Units Vengorian Lord Battlefield Role: Leader Points Cost: 280 pts Deadwalker Zombies Battlefield Role: Battleline Points Cost: 115 pts Core Battalions Warlord Magnificent Bonus: Artefacts of Power Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon (General) Battalion Slot Filled: Commander Battlefield Role: Behemoth, Leader Command Traits: Pack Alpha Artefacts of Power: Amulet of Destiny Spells: Vile Transference Points Cost: 435 pts Necromancer Battalion Slot Filled: Sub-commander Battlefield Role: Leader Spells: Fading Vigour Points Cost: 125 pts Dire Wolves Battalion Slot Filled: Troops Battlefield Role: Battleline Points Cost: 135 pts Vampire Lord Battalion Slot Filled: Sub-commander Battlefield Role: Leader Artefacts of Power: Ulfenkarnian Phylactery Points Cost: 140 pts Hunters of the Heartlands Deadwalker Zombies Battalion Slot Filled: Troops Battlefield Role: Battleline Reinforced: Once Points Cost: 230 pts Grave Guard Battalion Slot Filled: Troops Battlefield Role: Other Reinforced: Once Points Cost: 280 pts Blood Knights Battalion Slot Filled: Troops Battlefield Role: Other Points Cost: 195 pts Total Points: 1935 pts Valid: Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App
It’s fine, certainly. Definitely readable. Not sure if I care for it anymore than what Warscroll Builder puts out but there is room to improve on it and I imagine the text output is one of the easier things to fix in the near future.
It’s worth remembering this is in beta and is subject to change. It’s definitely a lot less of a disaster than 40k’s app at launch and they had the foresight to make it free from the start this time so that’s fine. I think a lot of problems come from taking the 40k app and trying to jam Age of Sigmar to be compatible with its UI. suspect the poor organization of units in the list builder is from the expectation that you would be organizing everything into Detachments like in 40k.
For now you’re probably going to want to stick to Warscroll Builder for building lists as that has the most up to date point values and a far easier interface for making your list. Since the Stormcast Eternals and Orruk Warclans books won’t officially be out until this week it will suffice for now, and we’ll see if Games Workshop keeps that up to date. In the mean time, since this is a beta and they are accepting feedback please let them know about your concerns so we can make this app the best it can be. Just be nice about it.
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