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Nico's Thoughts on the General's Handbook 2017



So the dust is still up in the air, but I'm going to venture forth with some initial thoughts and reactions.

The death of alpha strike?

One consistent theme is the nerfing/elimination of many of the mobile burst damage combos in the game - KO Khemist stacking, Tretch + Skaven Warlords stacking, Sayl + X alpha strike, Stonelord alpha strike and even Cloak of Mists and Shadows on the Ghoul King on Terrorgheist. There are only a handful of really strong alpha strikes/burst damage melee combos left that spring to mind: Murderhost, Shock Gauntlet Storm Fiends with Packmasters, very expensive Tomb Kings and Warherd, Executioners with the Hurricanum, Skyborne Slayers and Hammerstrike Force.

The question this raises is whether the move towards hordes and away from alpha strike means that the meta shifts back towards bunkers (and specifically Order Funlines). I'm concerned about Freeguild getting even more stand and shoot with their units giving out +1 to hit buffs like candy (already a powerful mechanic). The nerf to the Hurricanum is very necessary now.

Battalion changes and Hordes

Some good news for Death - almost all Battalions got jacked up in cost. This really changes the calculations for listbuilding - now you really have to pay a lot for that second artefact, rather than getting 3 easily. Single drop armies will be much rarer and there is a real trade off between models and battalions. In some cases, the cost increases are offset by cheaper battleline and/or volume discounts on hordes - best example being Sylvaneth.

The Big Losers

  1. Mixed Destruction - headshots to the Kunning Rukk and a multi-pronged attack on the Stonelord (points vs other big monsters, halving wounds nerfed, Talisman nerfed and possibly the Battlebrew not affecting the mount - this depends on how explicit the reference to the mount should be).
  2. Mixed Death - the removal of the 5++ is devastating to Death's survivability. Death still don't have any credible way to reach out at range - indeed they have lost the Cloak teleport too (and Little Mannfred on a Balewind). The only good news for mixed Death is their non-reliance on Battalions, while everyone else is paying significantly more for these.
  3. Inherent Battleline - as they don't count as Battleline if they are allies. Effectively only used for Order, Death, Destruction, Chaos allegiance armies.
  4. Brayherd - the only positive is cheap as chips Bestigor spam, but the command ability of the general (absent named characters) is dire. They might be able to spam bodies in your face, but not as well as other armies.
  5. Kharadron Overlords - death by a thousand cuts for one of the most overpowered armies - the Thunderers are now rifle spam units, who are still decent output for the amount of ship capacity they occupy. Drill cannons have been nerfed by a third. Khemists don't stack and are 40 points more expensive. The Navigator lost his 3D6 unbind (which was a bizarre change). No cost reductions at all is painful (Gunhauler and Frigate).
  6. Bow Hunters - just not worth the points. They can at least move out of combat using Navigate Realmroots and still shoot (not a retreat).
  7. Crypt Horrors - seem like a bad choice compared to their flying mortal wounding, rending Crypt Flayer cousins.
  8. Mannderp - cannot be an ally - still Derpy Mcderp.
  9. Skyfires - I still feel 220 would be right - 3 Flies are 220.


The Big Winners

  1. Daughters of Khaine A big point reduction on 30 Witch Aelves together with the lack of a ban on stacking buffs means 90 bodies with a  quadruple 5++ Ward Save is now a thing - that's 80% of damage protected. Even just for the first Battleround this is meta-breaking. They can also spam Battleshock immunity and other buffs.
  2. Fyreslayers - the change from the truly dire Order Allegiance pack is immense. The Rune mechanic is exceptional - especially the across the board rend - I also like the extra throwing axe range, since this will buff the damage of 30 Vulkites and 30 Aurics popping up to say hi. Some of the cost reductions have been rolled back, but they are still cheap. The Vostarg Lodge is a win as it means that all your units will definitely be able to fight in melee for a battleround. The other battalion feels like a miss as it neglects the fact that the army can deepstrike with Runesmiters. Battleshock Immunity Bubble is nice. Artefacts aren't great.
  3. Freeguild - what was already a decent army has moved from the terrible Order allegiance to an exceptional new Allegiance pack. The battle trait expands stand and shoot options, which is already an infuriating mechanic (small models that can fly can partially mitigate this). They have a carbon copy of the Stormcast's incredibly strong Staunch Defender trait (called Indomitable - only it stacks with cover!) as well as solid artefacts - Armour of Meteoric Iron is a straight +1 save and Writ of Dominion is a once per game aoe wound buff). They also gained a cost reduction to their Griffon, which was already amazing value for 300.
  4. Legion of Azgorth - lots of subtle buffs. Cost reduction for the Bull Centaur Renders is strong - 60 wounds worth for 640 points with -2 rend, 2 damage. Take a Sorceror Lord as an ally and buff with reroll 1s to hit, wound and save.
  5. Slaanesh - so exciting - the triple general trait looks very tasty (e.g. take Archaon as one, but you still get a battle trait) or take two traits on your new shiny Exalted Greater Daemon of Slaanesh. The traits look strong too - especially the copy the Yhettee ability - you can stand out of combat at 4" away until the end of the combat phase (rather than charging), then pile in 6" and smash face. Supremely Vain is also a nice buff. Icon of Infinite Excess is a situational but amazing once per game aoe buff +1 attacks to all models including enemies - or summoned Bloodletters! Breathtaker looks good as a quasi-Forest Dragon toy. 
  6. Ironjawz - I would defer to @Chris Tomlin 's superior knowledge here and excellent write up here - They have a copy of the (nerfed) Destruction move (a good change as it's much quicker than rolling for a Warmachine, rolling for its crew....),  two sweet Battalions, the ability to chain activations if they wipe out enemy units (which creates a good tension between MSU and big units for both you and your opponent). Lastly there are material cost reductions for the Cabbages and Pigs (how are they less than 10 points per model!).
  7. Seraphon - look very nasty - can teleport Kroak into the front of your army and then Balewind and aoe spam against them. Same trick with Razordons (which got cheaper). Solid traits and artefacts. 
  8. Stormcast - the nerf to all the overpowered mixed Chaos, Death and Destruction traits is a big plus for them. The availability of 2+ rerollable saves is a big advantage given the nerfs to burst damage discussed above. The Lord Celestant on Star Drake got a points reduction despite being a popular choice. They benefit the most from allies given their freedom to choose. Prayers appear to work on Allies (unlike Khorne Prayers....) which seems purposively wrong and isn't likely to survive long.
  9. Sylvaneth - As discussed, the nerfs to alpha strikes/burst damage melee combos mean that Sylvaneth's traditional grind, chip away and heal modus operandi should be viable (notwithstanding the nerfs to Hunters). Extra Battleline choices make Dreadwood viable. 
  10. Wanderers - nice board edge mobility with their pew pew. Have a trait called Myst Walker which basically imports the 40K cannot shoot a character rule for your general. The Forget-me-knot allows you to incapacitate a charging Stonelord in the combat phase, which is hilarious. The Viridescent Shawl is decent for -1 to hit vs pew pew and a buff to nearby wizards.
  11. Tamurkhan's Horde - have a battalion which isn't pricey. Some units cheaper.
  12. Everchosen - source of cheap Battalions and Varanguard cost reduction. However, Archaon not any cheaper.
  13. Elite infantry in general - Stormvermin (and the costed the same White Lions!), Phoenix Guard, Bestigor, even Chosen.
  14. Jabberslythes - how can they be so cheap!
  15. The Rogue Idol - so good you can buy two in a box now. Obvious ally choice. Synergies better with Ironjawz now (Orruks).
  16. Troll Hag - cheaper and very solid - good spell!
  17. Freeguild General on Griffon - so cheap! 
  18. The humble Treelord - cheaper.
  19. Drycha - got a buff to her aoe ability, so it no longer affects friendly units or here. Also good option vs hordes. Seems like you can pick which weapon she has before the game (e.g. it's not something you select on Scrollbuilder) - logically being a named character she does have the ability to do either and pick for each battle.
  20. Spite Revenants - might finally see the table now they are cheaper and battleline.
  21. Settra - now generic so trolling with the new Ring of Immortality - still a horrific amount of points.
  22. Neferata - now an ally choice. Cheaper.
  23. Arkhan - an immensely good wizard and troll.
  24. The Exalted Greater Daemons - with the nerf to pew pew and some subtle buffs to their scrolls, these are a real thing now.
  25. Mannderp - no longer costing you the 5++ Ward Save if you take as general. His Command Ability is great.

I'm ambivalent about Pestilens and Skryre. I think they will find hard counters in the form of rerollable saves; and hordes respectively. The cost increase to Tunnelling Skryre is very welcome.

I'm not convinced by Nighthaunt or FEC. The deepstrike ability for Nighthaunt in too risky and not so helpful for non-pew pew units. To be fair the Lightshard is an amazing buff on Spirit Hosts - as they only hit on 5+

Defenders of the Realm Delusion is decent to mitigate pew pew. I think Dark Wizardry is the only decent command trait - as their all important buffs are spells.  The artefacts are pretty meh too - probably the gamble on the Chalice for healing D6 wounds. You can bring in a Necbromancer as an ally for Vanhels.

As for Soulblight - the fly is nice. Their spells aren't good enough to warrant taking the buff to that (Blood Boil - sigh...). The Saccharine Goblet is a quasi battle brew - probably doesn't buff the mount sadly. The traits aren't great - retreat and charge might be the winner. Mannderp and Neferata aren't soulblight, which sucks.

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Nice writeup. I'll vomit out some notes in your comments if you don't mind.

Skryre Allegiance (esp. focused on their heroes) without new spells seems like wasted effort sadly. They have a 4+ Look out Sir! trait that's cute (it even seems to work on Spark backfires) but at the end of the day an Arch-Warlock can only do so much.

Slaves to Darkness... seems pretty meh. But we have god-specific allegiances (all four soon) so StD didn't even need this. Slaves aren't taking anyone's breath away with their warscrolls but I do love the sheer amount of options they have now for allegiances (and I don't think they're picking this one).

Slaanesh is a little sketchy, the initially obvious combos being held together by command ability stacking. The Seekers factions seems slightly unplayable in scenarios based on camping objectives. 6th edition Frenzy (almost) with 360° LoS... yeesh. I love the Fallacious Gift artifact though. It's not actually that great in most situations (and as MtG players well know punisher mechanics are not something to rely on) but it's definitely amusing.

Chaos allegiance sucks even more now... but Dark Avenger (situationally) and Cunning Deceiver are still there. Could've been worse! (read as: Could've been Order!)

Freeps: Indomitable stacks with cover, unlike Staunch Defender. Pretty significant. Writ of Dominion is tasty as well. There's also a serious error in the Free Peoples Command Traits. #3 should obviously read "You receive an extra Triumph to forget about during the battle." Also I'm salty that Valten is gone now that the Allegiance is pretty good.

Darkling Covens look supremely underwhelming. I really wanted them to be at least interesting.

Total Conquest deployment zone: Wtf? It's seemingly inaccurately drawn but objective locations are based on centers of quarters and deployment zones based on horizontal thirds with each player taking half the board +/-  a quarter of the table vertically in each third. You then can't deploy closer to the dividing line than 9". Does that sound confusing to you? It bloody well looks confusing on the diagram. I get that GW don't want to pigeon hole table sizes (hence no guide distances based on 6x4) but I don't think a bit more guidance is asking too much. Remember John Oliver's bit about squiggly lines on the map making for squiggly people? I think this is going to make for some pretty squiggly wargamers.

Can we stop with the "Rules of one" gimmick? It's not that clever and it's not going to sell any more books.

Edited by Bjarni St.
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Daughters of khaine are my pick for most buffed allegiance faction. Crucial points cuts on the important things means they can now really stack enough buffs to do a lot of damage and be very resilient.


nice write up though and agree with your points.

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The Witch Aelves changes are nice, but ultimately they are dancing about with the Order Allegiance pack which doesn't offer much.

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1 minute ago, Nico said:

The Witch Aelves changes are nice, but ultimately they are dancing about with the Order Allegiance pack which doesn't offer much.

Obviously they would benefit from better allegiance stuff but I don't think it breaks them . 


Inspiring is a great trait for generic order though if you are spamming skinks like people will.

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Hey nico, great write up! Your broad knowledge of every faction in the game is truly impressive! I wish I knew as much about all other factions as I did about my own, which is something it seems like you've achieved.

Im curious to hear what you think about thanquol only going down by 50 points. At 450, he still doesn't seem worth it. I think 400 would have been a fair price, especially so you can ally him in. 

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nice write up man.

another winner is gutbusters with the following  changes

(though no allegiance abilities though)

ironguts now being "battleline if".

reduced cost of:

Ironguts -20pts

scraplauncher -10pts

ironblaster -20pts

leadbelchers -20pts

ogors -20pts

Grots(30pts horde discount)

+beastclaw and firebelly allies

my list i was building dropped 140pts without changing anything

Edited by sirflukesalot
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I'm still surprised Mannfred cannot be an ally. That being said, I'm wondering if a GA: Death is the way to go to have him as a general.

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Thanks for the comments and responses.

Ironguts seem cheap at that price. However the weak allegiance abilities would hurt. Query whether Warherd do what Gutbusters do more efficiently?

I think Thanquol needed a cut, but 400 would be too good. Tele-Thanquol is still a thing with the Deceiver - especially now that Tunnel Skryre is hopefully probibitively expensive. The nerfs to shooting make things like Thanqless more viable.

The same is true of Mannderp - the fact that he is no longer costing you the 5++ Ward makes him interesting again as a general. Similarly to Thanqless he isn't going to be tabled turn one by Skyfires as frequently as he was.

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Nice write up nico.

I think BCR lost in general here: thundertusks more expensive, stonehorn FAQ, battlebrew nerf & mount FAQ. Knife to the heart is close to impossible for BCR to win a major (unless running grot allies) 

I dont know how you write a big winner list and not include the troll hag...

Edited by Donal
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Just now, Nico said:

Good points Donal - I do own a Troll Hag.

I just rebased mine :) She got better in combat, spell down, points down, better healing... Literally all the things

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I like the troll hag as an IJ ally.  Big attention getter, hard to kill, and dishes out the dmg.  That shooting attack is short Range but should do serious damage.  I really like her for the 2 scenarios where Heroes hold objectives. 

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Great post, good job on a solid write up. Although I don't agree that Brayherd are big losers. I believe they may have been a Big Winner! Here is my reasoning. 

Starting with points reductions on Horde units, brayherds need to be run in big units anyway, at least three big blocks each with a Hero behind them. Gors have a 30 point discount for maxing, Ungors 40, Raiders 40 and Bestigor (Which are now Battleline if) 60 points! GBS came down 10 points too, GBS is one of the few wizards in the game that has a serious flexibility for summoning, All Chaos Monsters on a 9+, so bring on a Chimera for instance outside of 9" and breath D6 mortal wounds on any model within 14", or go big and summon an Exalted GUO 9" away from enemy and watch them panic. Now 9+ is pretty tough, but make a GBS your General and take Command Trait Scions for +1, herdstone gives you +1 and if your feeling really weird, put him on a Vortex for another +1, so suddenly that 9+ comes rights down... 

Ambushing (great mechanic) on a Beastlord with Great Axe and going for the charge on their lord, getting just one wound off and suddenly you have a 1 in 6 chance of removing the model outright. Nagash, Archaon... here we come. 

Yes I know Brayherd have no real damage output and rend is hard to find outside of Bestigors, but the strength in the Herd now lies in summoning Daemons (Plaguebearers for objective grabbers, Pink Horrors for a Mystic Shield further up line... etc), Monsters for table edge diversions... Jabbersylthes are only 120 points now... Probably one of the quickest factions out there.. with Shaman, Banners and Horns, potential 24" across the board in one go. 

I haven't even spoke about the other Command Traits and Artefacts, denial of cover save on terrain, D3 auto wounds on the charge... plus +2 to charge, units taking mortal wounds if they are around the terrain as the hero.. another favourite the 'Brayblast Trumpet' giving ambushing units +1 to hit in that turn.. thinking 40 Ungors here.

The battalion fits nicely although a little expensive, but +1 attack can't be sneezed at, plus a one drop and an extra artefact. 

To me as well, Gor are just as deadly as Bestigor. Unit of 30 ambushing with a hero nearby (with Brayblast) and the Battalion in play could mean 3 attacks, 3+ to hit (re-rolling 1s, 3+ to wound could mean a lot of pain to someone. 

Yes, ok they are not anywhere near a top tier army, but on the same note... definitely not a Big Loser.. in any Braylords eye... this is a massive winner!


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