Roundtable: Summer 2022 Battlescroll Hot Takes

What’s your favorite change of the bunch? What does that mean for those armies?

Bair: I just love that they’ve seen the exact issues with armies/units and have actually made fixes to them. All of these are incredible quality of life improvements to the game. Kruleboyz are now scary, Stormcast are still good but not remove-you-from-table-turn-1 good, Ossiarchs have a heavy battleline option which is incredibly cool. There’s not a negative change in here. 

Marchettus: Despite being primarily a Kruleboyz player my favorite changes are to Khorne and Gitz. For Gitz, I want to be the first kid on my block to rally two units of stabbas on a 4+ with an allied Killa-Boss on Corpse Vulcha. A friend of mine has already shared how he intends to build a blood factory now that bloodtithe is kept after use.  My favorite change is that the rules team has said that they have a target win% (how they get stats for that isn’t shared) and that’s a great signal to collectors who love a faction.  Shorter seasons, combined with buffs and nerfs to armies outside of the regular book cycle, are great if you love an army and faction.

Matthew Ward: The best change here is the change in direction for the design team, ditching the divisive VP alterations from the Hunt Battlescroll and applying focussed balance changes directly to where they’re needed. The other best change is to Living City, drastically altering the least thematic and most annoying to play against Command Ability in the game.

Mike: Probably agreeing with Matthew here, as the changes being so confident and focused means they can ditch the Hunt Battlescroll which was effective but rather clumsy in nature. It’s nice to see the bottom dwellers get legitimate changes to help uplift them, it’s given them some excitement to carry forth into the new season while things are unsettled. But really my favorite change is the Grinnin’ Blades subfaction trait change, it’s so godamn good and I can’t wait to bring it to the table.

Quin: Taking a lot of the point changes into account, I believe that there can be some hidden tech with Slaanesh now, that might not have been visible/known previously. Other than that, the Be’lakor Bodyguard ability loss is a good alternative to the VP handout the Legion was before. Simply put, I think that the rules team realized that trying to balance the game via extra VPs does not work.

RagnarokAngel: Showing my personal biases here for the Ossiarch Bonereaper changes. Always hated how the army was saddled with 2 fairly expensive battleline and no conditional choices for variety. Deathriders still cost too much but being able to swap in Stalkers for some variety is great. Combined with the point cuts I can probably wedge in a decent amount more units that I actually want to.

Knight-Judicator and Gryph-Hounds. Credit: SRM

The Living City and Stormcast Eternals nerfs are both laser targeted on the strongest stuff in Stormcast Eternals. To engage in click bait: what do you think this means for Stormcast, are they dead or still a threat?

Bair: Stormcast have one of the most diverse books in the game. Always have and always will. They have a variety of strong units, synergies, and ways of playing them. Just because the obviously broken units are no longer broken doesn’t mean anything other than Stormcast players needing to learn how to play the game past turn 2. 

Marchettus: Based on the best data we have SCE are a highly used faction that kept a winrate around 50% in 3.0. A lot of the targeting was to “feels bad” actions like double shooting and hero phase movement. Smart players are going to be able to adjust and might have to live with only having a 2+ rerollable prayer to move in the hero phase.

Matthew: There’s a lot of salt around but Fulminators, Vindictors, Yndrasta, Bastian, Annihilators are all great. Stormdrake Guard are still great at their price point. Interacting with your opponent for 5 full battle rounds is good, and healthy. 

The Living City command ability Strike then Melt Away was always abysmally written and not used for its intended purpose but being able to import multiple units of the terrifying new Fulminator warscroll into the army and hand them 3” charges was a miserable play experience to be on the receiving end of. It felt like one of the last real remnants of an earlier phase in AoS’ lifespan and shouldn’t have existed in the modern game. 

Mike: Stormcast as a book has a ton of warscrolls, and many of them were immediately undermined by the presence of very pushed ranged options and their dragons. Paladin units, Vanquishers, the big named Dragons are all enticing options in the new landscape that have been given some room to breathe now that Stormdrakes and Longstrikes aren’t sucking all of the collective air out of the room. They’ll be fine, though likely not dominant.

Quin: Stormcasts don’t die, it is that simple. With most of the powerful units receiving massive nerfs, the power hungry gamers might look to other armies (New Nighthaunt, Sylvaneth, etc.). This ‘loss of power’ and shift of focus can be beneficial for the SCE environment, as lists can develop and become more diverse in an even playing field battletome.

RagnarokAngel: They’ll be fine. They may have lost some technical out of phase stuff but they’re still strong units.

Thunder Lizards are one of the dominant parties in the meta, what does losing Scaly Skin on Skinks and Slann mean for them now?

Bair: I’m going to sound like a broken record but this is GOOD. I think the new GHB and the missions are going to have Seraphon trend towards Starborne instead of Coalesced anyways but it never felt good that Skinks were so cheap and so damage immune. 

Marchettus: Seraphon have had a deep book that has adapted very well from 2.0 to 3.0. Keeping Scaly Skin for monsters means the overall list will be fine. “The Hunt” no longer being in place means that they will be giving up fewer points and you might see more salamanders out there.

Matthew: If your Coalesced army needs some idiots to stand in the way and get hit, Saurus are meaningfully tougher into multi-damage than Skinks now, and Saurus Knights in particular look like a bit of a bargain. 

Mike: Not nearly enough was done to really put a dent in their plans, when you consider that the Hunt battlescroll being gone means things like Bastiladons & Salamanders can stick their head above the parapet once more. Thunder Lizards lists will pivot to Saurus Knights as their screen of choice and continue to podium with relative ease. What an uninspired attempt.

Quin: We need to wait and see what this development means in conjunction with the new season rules. Is it worth the risk of taking the squishy skinks that count as 3 models on objectives?  Or will we see the Jurassic Park Meta return with a bang, to avoid GV benefits/detriments all together? Are Kroxigors a viable option now? What about Saurus Warriors? (Insert article idea for risk/reward for seraphon with the new rules)

RagnarokAngel: Cutting down damage on skinks was a pretty feels bad moment. I agree with Mike that they could have gone a step further here but I’ll take what I can get.

Scheme inspired by Peter's Banded Skinks
Raf’s Hobgrots. Credit: Raf Cordero

The 2 lower tier Orruk Warclans factions got some significant buffs. Do you think this will make them a threat or at least bring their winrate up?

Bair: Grinnin Blades seem like an incredibly good time now, between the changes for this season in the GHB, how the Bounty Hunter battalion synergises with their mortal wound output, and now being invisible more than 12” away all of the time it’s so tempting to pick up some swamp orruks. I’m not sure if it’s enough to take them up onto podiums at event but it does give them a hell of a fighting chance. 

Marchettus: Since Kragnos Bonesplitters have had a 53% win rate on low usage and were an incredible counter to several top armies.  It will be interesting to see what happens now that they won’t be getting an extra VP from The Hunt but I anticipate the army will stay above water. The change to Grinnin’ Blades, with hobgrots being a “can” battleline unit, opens up entirely new ways to play the army. A lot of people have been talking about how they want to use more endless spells and an untargetable Grinnin’ Blades Gobsprakk with a 3D6 unbind is going to stop a lot of first turn magic combos

Matthew: Moving from only getting exploding 6s on units with 5 or more models to everything is a lovely quality of life change for Bonesplitterz, but also increases the power of our already good units. Savage Big Bosses chain-fighting in a little circle is a neat trick with damage that can really ramp up, and Big Stabbas are great damage at very low cost (just don’t think about how many boxes of Savage Orruks you need to buy to get them). Neither of these could access the Spirits of Gorkamorka before, so it’s a straight damage upgrade to our best damage units.

Splitterz were already a good counter-meta army on the sly, with pre-game moves to pin and win (or counter pin and win), a 4+ ward on that one crucial combat phase, unlimited mortal wounds* and army-wide access to ignoring ward saves in melee. If this season is looking like Maggotkin is the disease, then Bonesplitterz are the cure.

*not a guarantee

Mike: Kruleboyz are still a glass cannon army, but now they have a knife edge’s width of a tool to keep their opponent’s at bay and weaken them considerably more before things descend into close range anarchy. I suspect this (and the changes to Longstrikes/Dragons) will bring their winrate up considerably, but I suspect that their fragile nature and lack of consistent tools will keep them from lofty top tiers.

Bonesplittaz on the other hand are cooking with some serious gas between this, the GHB changes and the weakening of many of the top factions. As Matt said, they have fantastic tools for dealing with Nurgle and they may be a sleeper hit.

RagnarokAngel: It’s a genuinely solid buff, it just has to hold up a lot of mediocre units. For those who are insistent on continuing to play pure kruleboyz it’s going to be a hard call between Big Yellers for battleline Man-Skewers or for not getting shot off the board turn 1.

The Badmoon allegiance ability for Gloomspite Gitz has seen a considerable rewrite, with the Badmoon Shrine giving them at long last some consistent applications for these abilities – is this enough?

Mike: I think it’s a very good start, though the keyword bingo present in the Moonclans aspects of the book still remain and make the book feel rather fractured – there’s 3-4 different themes vying for attention and it makes the book considerably more annoying to play with than I might like. That said, every one of the bad moon abilities they’ve changed are considerably potent abilities that will help reset things for our much-maligned Goblin friends.

Quin: It is not a cure, but a step in the right direction. Keyword lockout is still a massive issue with the Gitz, and a new Battletome would see that issue resolved nicely. Everything until then looks like a band-aid trying to cover up a missing limb. 

Marchettus: Having a better loonshire is going to dragging opponents down to gitz level. It’s not hard to get a big group of cheap wizards all casting at +2, breaking artifacts, teleporting, causing opponents to fight last and doing weird little goblin stuff. Gitz players that have continued to stick with them are going to bring out a lot of jank that’s been ironed out of newer books.

Matthew: People love Troggs, and the new moon power does mean they should stick around on the table for longer, which is nice. I’ll echo that what is really needed for Gitz is a book.

RagnarokAngel: It’s a start. The mechanic sucks and there’s no avoiding that, it’s a weird second edition experiment and a lot of those didn’t work out – this is just the most egregious. A full battletome will be needed to fix it, but in the meantime this is something.

Instagram: bair_paints

Any changes you feel were a missed opportunity? Any armies that really should have been nailed and weren’t hit hard enough or left alone?

Bair: I would say that Kharadron Overlord changes/clarifications were missed but it was stated in the WarCom article that more FAQ’s are coming, and specifically targeted at the KO ship rules. Very eager to see what that looks like. Also, and this comes purely from the salt of a Fyreslayer player, I’d like to see some Lumineth things toned down as well but maybe the new GHB battlepack just helps that anyways now. 

Marchettus: RIP LotFP – I thought it was a cool techy army. I think that the biggest missed opportunity is how this information is being delivered to the community. While it’s neat to wake up to an app being updated there is a real opportunity to let the developers take 5-10 minutes to talk about how they think the first year of Age of Sigmar went. While there were a few lines in the update article about win rate I’d like to hear what surprised them about the season (Maybe living cities?). They set an incredibly ambitious goal (watertight rules) and have been largely successful. 

Matthew: For consistency’s sake it would have been nice for Soulblight and OBR to pick up the no-heroes-required 6+ ward that Nighthaunt and now FEC have.

Mike: It’s got to be the half assed Seraphon changes, because it feels like it doesn’t really understand what actually makes Coalesced armies so strong. Yes annoyingly tough Skinks caused some issues, but with a book so deep in options just excluding Skinks will allow armies to pivot and still largely benefit from Scaly Skin, and dominate as a result.

Quin: A personal request would be for the publishing department of GW to get their shit together. With some of these releases, the App update has spoiled the new Warscrolls, added the Scenarios, etc. Other than that, a lot of the early 2nd Ed. Battletomes still suffer from weird/ambiguous wording (BoC, Gitz, etc. ) that could easily be cleared up with one page of rules/updates. It’s not THAT hard.

RagnarokAngel: Not sure why they went after Stormcast Eternals shooting and not Daughters of Khaine or Lumineth. Mortal wounds shooting is one of the most toxic things in the game right now due to its non-interactivity, you just have to hope your opponent rolls bad. Im hoping more is done combat it.