Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A Stampede on your houses! (Heavy hitter comparison)

Following on from Nick’s article’s revealing what goes on behind the curtain, and linking to the article in the upcoming Clash of Kings book on unit design, I thought I would delve deep into the heavy hitters focusing on Stampede’s, and the question are they broken? 

(you can scroll down to the Overall TLDR at the bottom if you want to skip the in depth analysis)

First up let’s look at where the unit came from, all units originally stem from Kingdoms of Men, they are our baseline units. Then after that we have the core armies, every army that is in main book. Now Stampedes being in Uncharted Empires we’re balanced vs both the baseline units and through ours and public playtesting.

Stampede’s were based around Ogre Warrior Chariots, combined with Berserker Brock riders. They hit hard, have a great nerve but also low defence, and unlike Berserker Brocks they have a large waver value. (representing animals panicking) Being a Herd unit of large animals they also have Strider and Pathfinder. (nothing is getting in their way!)

Damage under normal conditions

Ok now let’s delve into some damage comparisons. Initially assuming each unit keeps its TC (where it has it)

Stampedes hit like a truck, but so do all the similarly designed units, Stampedes are very consistent however and with the TC do the same across the board. Ogre Warrior chariots do more against everything bar Def 6, and have Brutal so are more likely to rout units. (bar Def 6 as mentioned)

Fight Wagons are amazing vs Def 3 or 4, and still solid vs Def 5, Def 6 being their weaker point. Direfangs excel against Def 3 or 4 matching a Stampede but tail off slightly against Def 5, and more against Def 6. Soul Reavers are a good all rounder, they will mince anything pretty well, even vs Def 6 is reasonable.

Damage while Hindered

Next up Hindered (due to Difficult terrain/Obstacles)

 Here clearly the Stampede/Direfangs have the advantage, Fihgt Wagons however are still excellent very Def 3 and 4, and the others still put out some reasonable damage, Def 6 is the main difference here Stampede really excel at killing Def 6 enemies in  difficult terrain!

Damage while Disordered

Ok now let’s see what happens when they lose TC due to being disordered.

Interestingly now Stampedes become one of the worst damaging units, Only Soul Reavers drop more. Fight Wagons and Direriders don’t care at all, being all CS, they remain very high damaging. The chariots drop in damage but are still higher than Stampedes. (and have Brutal)

Damage Overall

Direfang Riders are the most consistent they will always do the same damage, they are excellent against Def 3,4,5 and still do a decent amount vs Def 6. Fight Wagons are also one of the most consistent, and will chop Def 3 or 4 up in basically any condition. Soul Reavers are high damage dealers but really feel the loss of their TC, (like many Cav) Macc wars potion is popular choice on this unit! Ogre Warrior chariots do immense damage and with Brutal are very likely to rout enemies. Stampede do amazing damage unless Disordered so unfortunately they tend to spend a lot of the time this way! (pesky opposing chaff…)

Defensive qualities

Course damage isn’t the only factor. Stampedes have a low Defense of 4 this means they will consistently take a lot of damage, 18/22 however means your opponent needs to focus on them, if they do, they will rout, even basic arrows and similar are a danger. Soul Reavers on the other hand have an amazing Defence 6, if you are unable to get a flank or very high CS/Piercing they are a menace, and then they have Lifeleech 2 as well! Played well they will not die.

The other 3 are Def 5 which is significantly better at stopping incidental damage, of course they also have lower nerves, the Fight Wagons especially being the lowest(it was a tad too low, Fury helps balance this)

The differing Nerves/Defense are a good counterplay, and means they can effectively take similar amounts of damage before routing. Lets take a little look at some numbers to confirm this.

Elf Bowmen do the Stampede takes 3 times as much damage as Soul Reavers and 50% more than even the Defence 5 units take.
So what does this mean? Well lets look at mass fire and see how close we are to routing. The table shows the average damage if 3 of each unit shot. (without cover etc)

The Stampede would be routing on a 6 or 7, but wavering on a double 1.

The Fight wagons will rout on a 4 or 5, wavering on a anything bar a double 1.

The Direfangs would be routing on a 6 or 7, Waver on a 4 or 5

Ogre Warrior chariots, rout on a 5 or 6, waver on a 3 or 4.

Soul Reavers rout on 11 or 12, and waver on 9 or 10.

So Soul Reavers can laugh off basic shooting all day long, espcially with Lifeleech, Direfangs are next best off they may be ok or only waver. (not forgetting they could have Headstrong and Fury from Guise of the Deceiver)

Ogre Warrior Chariots are middle of the road, Stampedes are 2nd to last, they may not rout but they are almost certain to waver. Fight Wagons have it worst, however with the recent addition of Fury in the CoK tweaks they are now much more likely to keep on going once they get stuck in.

The more piercing the closer it gets but short of Piercing 3 or 4 the Stampede will always take more.


Here Soul Reavers are the clear winners speed 8, Direfang being the worst at a solid speed 6. Speed is of course huge and increasing the chance of getting the first strike, something Soul Reavers want to do to keep TC. Direfang riders don’t care as much being CS(2) with no TC.

Overall (TLDR)

Ok so which is better? Well every unit is in different ways!

Stampede excel in difficult terrain but Disorder them and the damage drops down, suddenly high defence units become a huge problem for them. This is why I will give mine Elite/Vicious and follow them with a Shaman, they need the extra damage, and BC/Heal to keep them running and ensure they rout enemies in one go. (Kill/disorder the Shaman) Note this unit is Irregular which makes builds featuring too many of them tricky.

Soul Reavers are the fastest of this style of unit and can take the most damage and heal it back, they are amazing all rounders, difficult terrain hurts them so expect Maccwars potion. They are the only Height 2 unit of the lot, this is both good and bad in different ways. This unit cost the most, balancing them out.

Ogre Warrior Chariots do the most overall damage and with Brutal will rout units far easier than any of the others, the large foot print makes avoiding terrain difficult so Maccwars potion is a perfect match.

Fight Wagons, ah these beauties are a joy to behold, they will chop up Def 3/4 better than anything else, and remain consistent when Disordered. Back these with a Wardrum and Godspeaker and they will work wonders. Again the large foot print makes avoiding terrain difficult so Maccwars potion is a ideal.

Direfang Riders, ah the Swiss army knife, hard to damage/rout, you can’t Hinder them, Disordering does nothing to them! And on top of that they have the Gift of Korgaan making them very versatile. Brew of Haste is my pick for these, but honestly something like Brew of Sharpness has to be a popular choice too.

I’m very happy with the balancing of all of these, I think the Fight Wagons needed a slight nudge but with Fury balance really well. :)


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Altibash 3 - Tournie Report

Last weekend was Altibash 3, a local tournie for me, it’s pleasant being able to get to a tournie in just 40 mins, as most involve a fair bit more travel. I went along with Jez, he had his Goblins and I had my Herd. Amusing mention should go to Walter a friend of mine who was supposed to be coming along but instead slept in… :p

My list is the latest variant ready for the UK Masters, I figured it would be an ideal chance to really give it a good practice right before the event. (Masters is the 21st/22nd of Jan) I haven’t changed much, just swapped out the Avatar for a Chimera and a Centaur Chief with Blade of Slashing. This list is just a little bit more versatile vs shooters which I quite likely expect to be common! (I’ve seen the lists now)

Here's the new Lion Centaur which was finished the night before! I've been working on my blending and highlighting techniques and I feel I'm starting to get somewhere.

We arrived bright and early, as I’m being healthier I’d eaten rice crispies, everyone else enjoyed bacon butties… Still I was pleased to note the guys had provided a big bowl of fruit, nice one!

This event was closed lists and we had a once a game lucky dice reroll. (up to 2 dice from one roll)

Game 1 - Hal Eccles – Nature - Invade

Hal had a lovely painted army, I especially liked the Naiad Wyrmriders on crabs!

I advanced fast on the right using chaff to prevent too many charges, I lost the chaff but it enabled me to then kill everything else there so a fair trade. ;-)

On my left I went to the centre line keeping a distance from the Shamblers, no way they can charge me, over to George. He reveals Brew of Haste and gets one unit into a Stampede... And then with Surge 15 tries to get a 2nd in, he needs 8 successes and gets 7! (phew) Thankfully my Stampede takes one charge fine, two would have been unpleasant!

In the centre, The Green Lady prevents me flanking the Shamblers with my Spirit Walkers but thankfully they are able to get into the flank of Naiad Wyrmriders, and combined with a Stampede they are routed quickly. It takes me a few turns to chew through the Green Lady of course.

Over the next turn I delayed Hal’s units just long enough to rout everything but a couple of units on the left, though I lose some too.

Eventually I also kill the last couple for a big win.

Game 2 – Andy Sharp – Goblins – Loot.

Interestingly Goblins were in 3 of the top 4 spots at this point having all won their first games!

Last time I played Andy the game was a relatively easy win, not so much this time! I went first and sped towards the green line! Andy revealed more shooting surprises than you can shake a stick at!

On the left my Chimera, Centaur Chief and the Spirit Walkers faced off vs two Goblin Rabble reg, a War Trombone and a Goblin ASB with a surprise Diadem of Dragon-kind. I thought I would kill this easily, not so much! Andy managed to waver my Chieftain on his first turn and then killed it the next. The Spirit Walkers killed the War Trombone then got stuck into a combat with Goblin Rabble that would last several turn before being losing to them!

The Chimera fought the Goblin Regiment, in retrospect I should have kept it further back instead of allowing the charge. The Chimera was able to kill the goblins eventually however it took damage and had to flee the ASB who was slowly breathing it to death! While the Chimera was then able to take a Mincer in the rear, the ASB still chased it down and finally killed it…

On the right flank my Lycans were getting shot up, but the damage wasn’t sufficient on either unit so between regen and Heal they were ok. I eventually killed all the goblins there by a tricksy Lightning Bolt 5 Wiz who just kept running away!

In the Centre Andy very nearly took out my Stampede but it just survived a combination of the Mincers and Trolls + Bruiser, mostly thanks to fancy maneuvering and Yellow Bellied!

Right at the end I had two Loot markers to Andy’s one, he had an amazing turn of shooting and rolled to rout the Stampede, a success would turn the game back into a draw. He rolled 11 to rout! Inspiring! Just ok… Phew!

This ended as a big win to me, though it was much closer than I had initially expected!

Game 3 - George Kirke - Nightstalkers + Ogres - Control

Aha this was a game I was hoping for, George will also be at the Masters and was using his Masters army, so this would be a great practice game for both of us! I was keen to see if my tweaks would make beating this sort of build easier.

I won table sides and happily took the side with plenty of terrain on it, this was useful. George won the first turn roll off and decided to take it. I was very happy with this! He peppered my Lycans with his Ogre shooters, but it didn’t do enough to worry me between Heal/Regen. The rest of his army mostly stayed back awaiting my advance, which didn’t happen… ;-)

Advancing into Mind-screech is unpleasant so I decided to push forward on the flank with my Lycans and simply wait for George to advance closer. This worked pretty well, as they were then unable to do anything until turn 3, (range 18 + speed 5”, and we were 24”+ apart. ) When they did advance they were penalized and while they still routed my Spirit Walkers at least nothing else was harmed as well. This gave me some needed time to advance on the flank, and while it took me a few turns by turn 4 I’d wiped it out and was able to refocus my Lycans and Chimera towards the centre.

The Screeches concentrated on a Stampede but thanks to cover and some luck they were fine and then rear charge the remaining Fiends… Giving me the right. At this point on Turn 5 it just left me the three Mind-screech to deal with!

By the end of the game I’d tabled George for another win. Excellent game and it was lovely to have the practice pre masters! Course he now knows my tactics against him so who knows what will happen if we face again! ;-)

Game 4 - David Crabtree - Abyssals + Nightstalkers - Dominate

Ah Dave had an amazing army, practically scratch built and fueled by nightmares… Took me a little to figure out what was what but Dave was patient with me. :p

The army in all its disturbing glory...

On the right I threw the Chimera forward into a forest luring his flyers, this was a little risky and he did get wavered, the sacrifice worked though, it gave me the time to wipe the units out one by one.

Eventually the Chimera died and the Well of Souls bugged out and got a sneaky flank charge into my Stampede fortunately not enough to waver it! I then managed to take down the Tortured Souls.

On the left I sneaked some Lycans behind the building and used chaff to delay, this worked well and over the next few turns I was able to rout the remaining units for a win. Really fun game, and it felt much closer than the last time I played Dave, next time we play I think it'll be closer still!


I was the only person to have won all 4 games on maximum points so I was crowned The King of War! (rather apt being the name of my blog) And got a lovely pint glass as below! Also rather awesome was my friend Jez came 3rd. :) Hal won Best painted and Dave won the Facebook painting award, well done guys!

1. Daniel King – Herd
2. Antony Bond – Varangur
3. Jez Gurney - Goblins
4. David Crabtree - Abyssals + Nightstalkers
5. George Kirke - Nightstalkers + Ogres
6. Andrew Sharp – Goblins
7. Jonathan Faulkes – Varangur
8. Andy Ransome - Goblins
9. Hal Eccles – Nature
10. Sam Barker – Orcs
11. Ross Diggle - Rhordia
12. James Darcy – Salamanders
13. Roger Campá Alcaraz - Goblins + Orcs
14. Michael Roberts - KOM + Varangur
15. Charles Budworth - Herd + Varangur

16. Richard Middleshaw – Ogres


All in all a great event, I enjoyed catching up with so many friends, and had 4 great games of Kings of War! I would highly recommend the Altibash events to everyone, the fact they even provided healthy options for us also was amazing, great work guys! Looking forward to the next one.

EDIT - Kev asked me to make people aware that he spent ages slaving over a hot oven baking scones, and while I resisted due to being healthy, they looked delicious!