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5/21/2015

The Elves march to war. The armies of "End Times: Khaine" stand ready to do battle!

You know what they say: even if the beginning is bad, the outcome may be worth it. Unfortuantely it is not os with the third installement of the "End Times" as "Khaine" continues to dissapoint.

Las time I've covered the special rules which have included in the third book and now it's time to move to more juciy parts of the crunch that's been presented within its pages. In today's post I'll be covering the three new armies that are available to all you Elf fans out there: the Aestyrion, the Host of the Phoenix King and the Host of the Eternity King. Bear in mind that this one will be a tad shorter than my usual entries but I'll try to make it up to you in the next week's conclusion to "Khaine".

So let's get to it. Here are the three elven armies and their special rules.

1. The Aestyrion


This is the army led by Tyrion, after he picks up the Widowmaker and becomes the Avatar of Khaine. Er... more sucessful Avatar of Khaine than those that most fans know.


Poor guy...

For starters it should be mentioned that the Aestyrion are Forces of Destruction. This means that it can be allied with all the nasties of Warhammer World like Undead for example. It is comprised of units from High Elf and Dark Elf armybboks. Note that all Elven Hosts DO NOT use special rules from their respective army books, but those from the "End Times: Khaine" supplement (for example Wood Elves lost the Ambush from the World Roots special rule). But don't worry, they are still 8th edition Elves and they are still broken as hell, now even more so in fact.

Th general rules for building an army are still the same. Lords and Heroes can take a total of 50% of its points but a minimum of three units must be present so nothing surprising here.

The main theme of the Aestyrion is of course the combined strength of Asur and Druchii. This means that now you can deploy your Tiranoc Chariots alongside War Hydras and have Tyrion rub his shoulders with Lokhir Fellheart. Aside from the Dragon of Cothique you can also field the aformentioned Dark Elf Pirate, Morathi and Korhil. The rest of the army is essentialy the combination of High Elf and Dark Elf units from both armybooks. I'm still trying to figure out why the hell they've allowed Shadow Warriors in here, since Alit Anar is in another castle... or should I say in another Elven Host. Actually in two of them. Whatever.

Aestyrion's special rules are quite simple but nonetheless deadly. All units in the army hate Elves. All Elves. Yeah, that's nice isn't it? Martial Prowess has been replaced with Murderous Prowess. Say hello to re-rolling all 1's To Wound in CC. Fuck me. This is some nasty stuff, but wait! There's more. How about a 2+ ward save against all Flaming Attacks? The Fireborn rule grants that. Bright Wizards just became obsolete, as well as a huge portion of Tzeentchian lore and many more at that. What the hell GW! A 2+ ward save? Seriously?

Then there's the Herkarti's Blessing which grants +1 to all Dark Lore casting attempts. Likewise the Lileath's Blessing grants a modifier of +1 to casting of all High Magic spells. Nasty, especially now with the "improved" magic phase. Yes I'm being sarcastic.

Sarcasm? What's that?

Finally we come to the Valour of Ages which grants re-rolls to all Panic, Fear and Terror tests if your opponent has at least one elven unit of his own. With Elves generally high LD skill and the 8th Edition's retarded rules for Terror, this one is pretty meh, but I guess it can be useful... sometimes.

In my opinion Aestyrion's biggest strengths are Tyrion as the Avatar of Khaine (I know, I know - no stats yet, but stay tuned) and the two new rules - Murderous Prowess and Fireborn. This army is a perfect Elf killer, which fits its fluff I guess, but is also great against Daemons and anything with lots of Flaming Attacks thanks to the Fireborn special rule.

2. The Host of the Phoenix King

Now we come to the fist army which consisit of all three elven factions. This force is supposed to represent the "loyalists" gathered behind the true (ya rly) Phoenix King - Malekith. Just... roll with it. These Elves are opposed against Tyrion and his murderous, Khaine-loving army of douchebags. Again, this one is just an amalgamation of High Elf, Dark Elf and Wood Elf units with a few special characters and rules. Except for Malekith the Phoenix King, you can also field Imrik the Crown Prince of Caledor, Alarielle the Avatar of Isha, Shadowblade, Caradryan, Alith Anar, Naestra & Arahan, Araloth, Durthu, Drycha, Hellebron and Teclis for that sweet, sweet fratricide action. That's quite a lot of specials in one place, eh?

Clearly he's a guy worth following

The rules for this one are also spectacular. By that I mean that they are spectaculary broken. Instead of Aestyrion's Murderous Prowess they retain the "Martial Prowess" special rule. You know how this works - one extra rank for both CC and shooting. This works quite nicely with the Arrows of Isha which grant magical attacks to all units with this rule, as well as -1 armour save to all Forces of Destruction forces which are being shot by said units. Great stuff, especially given the ammount of Undead and Daemon armies that are present in the "End Times".

Additionally every unit with the Forest Stalker special rule instead gets Forest Strider AND Martial Prowess. This one's not too shabby.

Next rule, "Blessings of the Ancients", is surprisingly weak, as it only works in forests. Generally any unit with this rule can add +1 to all casting attempts. This one's highly situational and almost requires the controlling player to always have a forest in his possessions. Not too good but if you play on a forest-heavy board then maybe this one can be useful for you.

Next up is Eternal Hatred which is friggin' great. It grants the Hatred special rule that lasts for ENTIRE CLOSE COMBAT and just first turn. This one is so hillariously broken that it's almost funny. Almost. How about some more re-rolls? Also overruning just became all that much easier for Elves. Christ...

The last unique rule for the Host of the Phoenix King is Forest Spirit which grants the Forest Strider and gives it magical attacks in CC AND a 6+ ward save and Immune to Psychology if it's not a mount. Yes, yopu've read that right. It is now possible to have an elven army that has a 6+ ward and is Immune to Psychology. Oh and it can kill ethereal units without any problems. The best part? This army also has all the rules from the Aestyrion army list including the fucking Fireborn and both blessings!

I... I can't even comment on this. This is it people. You are seeing the "we don't give a fuck anymore" attitude of Games Workshop in full action. Can you imagine playing against such army with anything else than the exact same one or the Aestyrion? Which sucks by the way, when you compare it to this one. I've seen fan-made supplements balanced better than this. Who the fuck greenlighted this shit? Was it even playtested? I sincerely doubt that.


Here we see Malekith crushing the last hopes for balance in future Warhammer games

3. The Host of the Eternity King

Finally we come to the last army available to all those who love winning beyond anything else. The Host of the Eternity King practically combines the last two armies, meaning it has ALL of their rules but not every special character which they've possessed. Martial Prowess, Murderous Prowess, Fireborn, Arrows of Isha... all these and more can now be used by High Elves, Dark Elves and Wood Elves which comprise this grand army of assholes. I'm not even kidding. The only thing it lacks is the placement of a single forest terrain that Wood Elves normally have. Oh my, what a loss. Oh and Morathi is not present since she got eaten by Slaanesh before Malekith united all three elven factions under his rule. Oh and Korhil's gone too, tortured and execued by Tyrion, while he was still under the influence of Khaine. No big loss, given the fact that with all three pointy-eared armies combined the possibilities for creating the ultimate cheese list are endless but I'm honestly too pissed off and mad about it to even consider what can be done with Banner of the World Dragon and a unit of DE's Black Guard of Naggarond.

The Elves are back in town, but now I'd like them to leave. Forever

Yeah, no thanks.

Until next time. I'll be finishing the review of "Khaine" and then it's time to visit the Under-Empire. I've heard that the Rats are up to something nasty...

Honestly I just can't stand Elves anymore. Even Skaven are better and that's saying something.

"Yes-yes we are, foolish man-things!"

5/15/2015

The Sundering returns: the review of "End Times: Khaine" begins!

Well... crap. Stuff happened. Couldn't write for quite some time now, for which I'm truly sorry. However it's time to push this thing forward and what better way to do this than to review the rules section of the third "End Times" installement? Even tough the event itself, along with the whole Warhammer world, has been concluded and not in a good way...

If you remember one of my first posts about "End Times", I was initially very sympathetic towards this campaign and the changes it would wrought. This, however, was before GW started fucking things up big time, just around the release of the third installment which was "Khaine". From there it all went downhill so fast that nowdays even the die-hard fans of this... thing, usually agree that it could have been handled better. Alas it wasn't and now we're in the shit. Deep shit with Squigs swiiming in it and they al have bombs strapped to them and I'm the guy who has to brave all that sewage and finish what I've started.

Oh joy.

Now that's a troll face!
 Ok, now let's get to it. Aside from the complete lack of quality material, "Khaine" has a lot of rules. Like - much more than "Nagash" and "Glottkin". This means that I'll have to split the review in three parts. In first I'll write about the new magic system, Lodestones, Fulcrums and End Times spells. Then I'll talk about three new elven armies and finally it'll be time to review the new lord and hero choices that "Khaine" offers us. Sounds pretty easy right?

1. Magic of the "End Times"


"End Times" have drastically changed the magic system of WFB's 8th edition. Now the emphasis on spells is much bigger and certain armies have been incredibly buffed. By "certain armies" I mean all three elven factions, Chaos and Undead. Which is quite a lot.

First of all we need to adress the "End Times" spells. Most lores now have uber-spells available to EVERY mage that is Level 3 or above. Oh and they cannot be dispelled. Like, at all.
Then there is the "Loremaster for everyone!" new rule which means that every magic user knows every, single spell from his lore. Jesus. Christ. It just keeps getting better and better. Those that have the "Loremaster" special rule can re-roll casting rolls. It keeps getting better and better...

"End Times" also dropped the limit for 12 power dice completely. Now there's no limit at all. Additionally players now roll 4D6 instead of 2D6, for their magic dice pool. One interesting thing is that every Wizard can only use a D6 dice for every single spell that he casts and no more. D6 is also rolled for his maximum dispell pool. This is actually quite nice as suddendly Teclis or Malekith can be left with measly two D6's to cast their magic with. Of course Wizards still add their mastery levels to thei dice rolls, so...

Now we're going to the truly fun (i.e. abysmall) part of the new magic system. You see with the "End Times" the limit of casting each spell only once per turn has been lifted. As long as you've sucessfully casted your chosen spell, you can do so again and again and... Well, you get the idea. The only excpetion to this are the End Times and 15+ spells, which can be casted only once per turn, but give how OP they are it is actually a bliss. Well, if you ignore the fact that these spells still exist of course.

Finally all Wizards are unable to break their concentration. Which in effect means that all-powerfull spell caster like Elves and Chaos Sorcerers have just been empowered even more, while low-magic armies have been fucked even more. Jolly good I say!

Thanks for the advice...
 In generall these new rules made the game even MORE dependent on magic than before. In my humble opinion this is not a good thing. Since the 6th edition, rules for Warhammer Fantasy have been more and more geared towards spells and spellcasters. In effect this more than often turns the game into a "I cast first and fuck you up" kind of competition, where armies like High Elves, Lizardmen and Vampire Counts recieve incredible (and IMO unfair) advantage over armies like Empire, Bretonnia, Ogres or, Gods help you if you play them, Dwarfs. Certain factions have so many magical benefits, which, combined with these new "End Times" rules, mean that they are almost an auto-win options for their players. Of course there are still methods to get an advantage over such armies, but truthfully with "Khaine" they've been greatly reduced. This is not a good thing and I sincerely hope that GW will adress this magic problem in the upcoming 9th edition.

2. Magical Lodestones and Arcane Fulcrums


With "Khaine" we've got ourselves even more mystical terrain. Every Arcane Architecture and Mystical Monument gets the "Magical Lodestone" special rule. In effect this means that every wizard within 3'' os such structure adds 2 dice to his channeling attempts. This rule is actually quite nice as it not only helps the weaker casters with their magic phase but also encourages players to place more stuff on their table, which IMO is always a good idea. Personally I love a good table and Games Workshops's magical style buildings are really good looking.

There, now you can write in the comments that I'm a sellout.

But that's not all. One of the new "End Times" spells is "Conjure Arcane Fulcrum" (which every Wizard of Level 3 or more knows by the way, despite the Lore he has at his disposal), which drops a piece of mystical architecture on the battlefield. What does it do exactly? Well...

- This building must be occupied by the Wizard that summoned it. He and only he can be placed on top of it, no matter how big his model is. Of course he still can't be allowed to fall of it!

- The Fulcrum cannot be destroyed, except when explicitly stated. Furthermore the Wizard that occupies it recieves a 3+ Ward save, gets Stubborn, Immune to Psychology special rules AND is immune to the Multiple Wounds special rule.

Oh and he also gets protection, conffered to him by occupying a building.

- When the Fulcrum is attacked in CQC only one attacker can fight the occupying Wizard, and said Wizard cannot be the target of Stomps and Thunderstomps.

- The Asshole in this Tower of Bullshit recieves 2 more dice to his channeling attempts, since Fulcrum is a Magical Lodestone. If he exits it (in case he's mentally handicapped or something) then the Fulcrum is immediately removed from play.

Oh and this spell needs only a 12+ roll to get through. Wow. Just wow.

Are you having fun yet?
This people, this is exactly what I meant when I've talked about "Khaine" being garbage. Can you imagine what a powerfull spell-casting character can do on top of a building like this? Not only is he practically immortal, being able to effortlesly shrug off warmachine fire, but he also gets buffs like you can't even imagine. Christ, this is a game breaker like no other. Again, certain armies benefit more greatly from this than the others, but since every Wizard knows the "Conjure..." spell now it's simply downright ridiculous.

3. The "End Times" spells 


Here it is ladies and gents. The shit-filling of this fine dish. The big one. The crap essence of "Khaine". The "End Times" spells have arrived and they are, if you haven't guessed already, goddamn atrocious. I'm not going to mention every, single one here, instead focusing on those that I've found to be most game-breakingly bad. Let's begin.

Just a quick recap for all of you. Every single Wizard that is Level 3 or higher knows the "End Times" spells, which can only be casted once per turn and cannot be dispelled by any means. Sounds good, right? Now let's get to my personal choices.

- Withering Heat (The Lore of Fire). Casted on a 20+ this little hex targets ALL enemy units on the battlefield. The unit that is under this spell's duration rolls an extra dice when fleeing, charging or pursuing and discards the highest result. But wait, there's more! The units in question gets "Flammable" special rule and all Flaming Attakcs re-roll failed To Wound rolls against them. Spicy!

- Meteoric Ironlcad (The Lore of Metal). Casted on a 15+. This one's good, reaaaaaly good. It targets one unit, which, until next turn, gets a 2+ WARD SAVE. Un-fucking-belivable.

- Storm of Renewal (The Lore of Life). The ultiamte regeneration/restoration spell. Casted on a measly 15+ this one is a magical vortex that remains in play and travels in random direction each turn. Every unit that gets under the large round template immediately regains 2D6+1 Wounds' worth of models. This spell dosen't work on special characters and, for some weird reason, standard bearers, but otherwise can bring back champions, musicians and even multi-wound models. This one is great for horde armies which can stick together and make sure that the vortex will graze them every, single turn.

- Deadlock (The High Magic). The ultiamte fuck-you spell, Deadlock targets a single enemy Wizard. Until next turn this poor chap cannot channel, dispell and cast any spells of his own. I can already see this one being abused to hell by High Magic users everywhere, and with "Khaine" released, 4 armies have now access to this fucking thing, instead of only two. Wonderful. Oh and it's casted on a 20+ which for High Magic users in 8th edition isn't really a problem.

- Return of the Golden Age (The Lore of Nehekhara). Although highly specialized (it targets Tomb Kings units only) this one is incredibly potent. It grants ALL units in army buffs to Weapons Skill, Strength and Initiative. Holy shit. Suddendly these ordinary skellingtons became much more dangerous, eh? Casted on a 20+.

- Malediction of Nagash (The Lore of Undeath). With a range of 24'' and a casting value of 20+, this one is a hex that hales the strength of ALL enemy units within range. Ogres and Chaos Warriors cry so much right now.

- Ruiner of the Wrought (The Lore of the Wild). Let's face it: even with the coming of "End Times", the Beastmen are still a shitty, highly situational army. However this spell is simply overpowered. Altough casted on a 25+ it targets every single building and warmachine on the battlefield and makes them its bitches. Warmachines recieve a D3 S10 hits each and buildings are destroyed ona  4+. As for the units inside those building, well... Let's just say that their day will be much, much worse when this spell will go off.

- The Great Maw Awakenes (The Lore of the Great Maw). Ogres recieved a very juicy spell of their own. Casted on a 20+ this magical vortex will remove any enbemy unit it comes into contact with, unless the models touched by it manage to pass an Initiative test. Lizardmen, Empire and Dwarf players will weep when this one comes to play.

- Nikkit! Nikkit! (Spells of the Little WAAAGH!). Who would have thought that one of the more broken "End Times" spells will belong to Gobbos. It is a direct damage, 24'' missile casted on a 15+ that targets a single, enemy special character. The model in question recieves a D6 Strength minus his own Toughness, hit with no armour saves allowed. Additionally the caster steals one magic item of his choice from the target that he can then use. It's a perfect spell if you want to have an additional dispell scroll in your army, or if you want that tasty Runefang for your own use.

- Grandfather Nurgle's Circle of Life (The Lore of Nurgle). You know, at this point you'd thought that those spells cannot get any more dumb. Well surprise, surprise! They can! Big daddy Nurgle really got buffed during the "End Times" and this spell is a perfect example why. Altough casted on a 25+, it is a 36'' direct damage spell that 5D6 hits on a target and wounds it on a 4+. Seems simple? Well then check this out. If this spell causes 10 unsaved Wounds or more, then the caster can summon a friggin' Great Unclean One (if the caster is playing a Daemons army) or a Nurgle Daemon Prince (for Warriors of Chaos and Beastmen armies) within 12'' of the target. Both options can be worth 375 points max. This spell is almost guaranteed to work against armies like Skaven, O&G's and Empire. Do you like the idea of spawning Greater Daemons of Chaos almost every turn? I sure don't.

- Song of Seduction (The Lore of Slaanesh). Finally we come to the sick bastard himself (Or maybe herself? I dunno). This spell is a hex, casted on a 20+ that drops the enemy traget's Initiative by 2 and grants the caster control of said unit until next turn, where the targeted unit must test his modified I skill to break free. Otherwise it remains under the Chaos player control. Fun, right? Even Elves can get fucked (no pun intended) by this one, as it is really hard to withstand. Don't even get me started on armies like Dwarfs, Men or Lizards. They are buggered (hehehe) beyond belief when this spell gets through.

So this is it. As you can see, I've found quite a lot of spells to be of the "bullshit" category. Some might say that these new "End Times" spells are hard to cast with an average of 20+ or more needed, but I disagree. First of all the "End Times" made magic all the easier for almost every army to utilize, and for some, like High Elves and Chaos, it has become criminally easy to use. Secondly don't forget that these new spells cannot be dispelled. Like at all. As for the Level 3 wizards all I can say is that they were mandatory in any army, even before the "End Times" began. So with that I can safely say that magic phase has just became downright broken and it's a damn shame. In a game that relied on spells way too much (Purple Sun spam is a good example), the last thing we needed was this: the complete and utter relayance on uber-one shot spells. Good job GW. You've fucked it up. Again.

"Calm down now. Maybe you'd like to buy one of our excellent Arcane Fulcrum models?"
Next time I'll be reviewing the three new armies for Elves. Tune in next thrusday to read my completely biased opinion on tree huggers and why next edition should really have reworked Always Strikes First rule.

Until next time

Xathrodox86

Oh yeah, one more thing. Well, actually two more things. First of all Doc-Cthulhu from the excellent Daily Empire blog (check it out HERE) is working on a very cool supplement for WFRP called "Bitter Moors". Part of it consists of "Random Skaven Trappings", thinbgs that can be found in any vile ratman's pockets. If you're a Warhammer RPG enthusiast like me, then you should definetly visit his blog and follow the progress on the "Bitter Moors" supplement as well as download the "Random Skaven Trappings" PDF document. Bunch of guys from Strike-to-Stun forum (myself included) helped with the ideas for it, and it's really worth checking out.

Second thing is this.


By Sigmar. This is glorious. The main question of course is: how many factions will be availabe only through DLC's?

Just kidding. I'm hyped and I hope that this game will be awesome, just like any Warhammer product deserves to be.