Thursday, 25 October 2012

Tomb Kings and the new FAQ's

Now that the dust has settled a little bit its time to step back and have a look at how the new FAQ's and erratas affect our beloved legions.

Sorry this post might be a bit wordy as I ramble on.....

The first one to look at is the new "Entombed beneath the Sands" errata

"Page 29 – Army Special Rules, Entombed Beneath the Sands
Add “A unit with the Entombed Beneath the Sands special
rule may choose to deploy normally along with the rest of the
army if the owning player wishes. In this case, the owning
player must clearly state this to their opponent before either
player begins deploying their army."

My first reaction was wow! I did not see this coming. The introduction of flexibility into the force is the greatest strength here. We now have the option of changing our deployment strategy to suit our opponents. If we both have 8 drops in deployment and you lose the roll off, then entomb them and get +1 for first turn roll off. Playing against fanatics and don't want to lose them? deploy them normally. Or in a situation I have versus Lizardmen in the weekend, facing 100 skinks? Deploy them normally. Some people did not like the random nature of the entombment or the fact that you could lose your unit 1/18 times. Personally I think this was/is still the greatest strength of the Sepultural Stalkers. The ability to drop them in behind enemy lines and vapourise a unit, something that your opponent cannot ignore. But the real strength of the new entombment rules is in the form of scorpions and swarms. Coupled with the FAQ on overruning we now have a plethora of options for bump stops or assassinations. A T5 W3 model can be very difficult to deal with. Having the option to deploy them normally means they can now fulfil rolls of flank guard or warmachine protection, counter charge as well as assassination attempts. This rule heralds the return of the scorpion

I give this an A+

"Q: Does the e ect of Djaf’s Incantation of Cursed Blades apply to
Impact Hits? (p61).
A: Yes"

An expected clarification. Most played it like this anyway but nice to see it in black and white.

"Q: If a friendly unit is locked in close combat within 12" of the caster
when Khsar’s Incantation of the Desert Wind is cast, does it still gain
the e ects of the Restless Dead lore attribute? (p61)
A: No."

Once again expected. Although I would have personally liked it to have gone the other way, it was reasonably clear that this was going to be the case. GW missed an opportunity to make dual use of this spell by giving a benefit to a unit in combat like ASF or re-rolls to hit

"Q: Can a Tomb King be your army’s Hierophant if he has the
Wizarding Hat? (p28).
A: No."

"Q: When exactly do I have to decide which model in my army is the
Hierophant? (p28).
A: You must choose which model will be your Hierophant
when picking your army and record this clearly on your army

"Q: If a Tomb King has the Fencers Blades, does the My Will Be
Done special rule mean that he makes his unit Weapon Skill 10?
A: No; use the Tomb King’s unmodified Weapon Skill of 6,
not his modified value of 10."

A bunch of useless FAQ's that nobody was even asking. The book is clear enough in these areas not to leave any room for interpretation.

Ok, so that covers the new stuff in the Tomb Kings section. And now on to a big one:

"Q: If a unit charges into combat and, on the turn it charges, the last
of the enemy unit it is fighting are removed as casualties due to
Daemonic Instability, the Unstable special rule, Cornered Rats or as
a result of a War Machine failing its Break test, does the charging
unit get to make an Overrun move? (p58).
A: No."

Not wanting to gloat but this is exactly how it is written in the rulebook. Now there has been a lively debate in the past about this but the GW FAQ has finally cleared this up. We now have established clear steps in the close combat phase which is a change from 7th edition. Also note it is a FAQ, not an errata. 
But as for the effect it has, to be fair, from a Tomb King perspective it dosn't change a lot. To take advantage of this rule we need to look to take slightly larger units, so that we will have some left over after we lose combat, but not too much as that crumble effects will still destroy the unit. There are still questions with regards as to if a unit can still reform after a unit crumbles from it in combat (I personally think you can), which leave us at what can we really achieve with this clarification to the rules?
It dosn't really change a lot for Tomb Kings. the army dosn't work well on huge units like Vampire Counts can as we don't have the ability to restore unit strength as efficiently. Neither  can we slap huge cheap units on the field like skaven can. We do however have a lot of small mobile units (what! mobility in the Tomb King book?) in the form of scorpions, horse archers, entombed units, carrion etc to name a few. The key thing for us I think is being compact, and redirecting.
Redirecting with Tomb kings is a bit of an art, and generally tries to achieve a different goal that the traditional redirect. Normally you would park a unit in front of a bus and flee from the charge, but we don't have this option, so we throw a unit under the bus and sacrifice it instead. There are often times where overrun is preferable, as is the case with leading a frenzied unit around. This is where horse archers have a great strength with free reforms. Set them up on odd angles  in single file if you want to stall a unit, or set them up wide as possible if you wish to draw out an overrun. having the option to do this is one strength few other armies can achieve that this FAQ reinforces. 

So what am I looking to try?
My 2 units of 10 archers and 1 unit of 20 may evolve into 3 units of 16, which will then need musicians.
More chariots? The ability to stall a unit and then countercharge with dozens of impact hits looks fun.
More shooting! just when you thought the 100 shot army was enough, now we can stop you dead at optimal range, and a timely smiting will see that unit disappear!
Carrion kill teams. They become more versatile now
Scorpions, also infinitely more versatile

So the result is that it may encourage some changes in Tomb King builds, however the effect is IMO is somewhat less than what many believe it may be. I need to get some play testing in to really try out some of my theories. There are still a few doomsayers out there still and I even had the privilege of someone telling me this weekend that "it wasn't in the spirit of the game" and "the FAQ is wrong". Some people are still stuck in 7th edition...

Solid B rating for this FAQ

"Q: Do units that are deployed as Scouts count toward determining
who finished deploying their army first? (p79)
A: No."

Most people played it like this anyway, but nice to have it set in stone


"Page 107 – The Battle Standard Bearer.
Add “If a Battle Standard Bearer is in a unit that Refuses a
Challenge and is subsequently moved to the rear of its unit, it
loses the Hold Your Ground rule until the end of the turn.
Note, however, that if the Battle Standard Bearer has a magic
standard its effects continue to apply as normal (it cannot be
‘switched on or off’)”."

I can see some options of challenging out a BSB to gain the advantage in combat. 

So i think these are the key FAQ's that affect the Tomb Kings to some degree, but not by any means all of them. These FAQ's have given a lot of enthusiasm to the regulars (and haters) on the Khemri forums, but I don't think they will have that profound an effect on Tomb Kings as some believe, well at least in the way I play them.

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