Age of Sigmar Winter FAQ – Points Updates

Age of Sigmar points were last released in June 2021 as part of the General’s handbook and – bar new books and a small Dragon issue – have remained the same since then.

Along comes the Winter FAQ to shake it all up…! I have reviewed some of the rules changes already, but I wanted to look at some of the points increases as well to see what impact it has.

Points, with movement

Thanks to the hero that is Hellsotrm Mikey on twitter we have the points adjustments above listed alongside the new points from GW.

Before I comment on the above, it would be good to find out from Games Workshop what they want this update to do – for example is there a different aim than the Warhammer 40k team had? Fortunately they have told us on Warhammer Community

Great aim!

Now I know the aim, I can try to judge the success of the work against that. As already stated in my previous article I think the overall changes to the core rules and Kragnos are great. I can’t really comment on Archaon & Nagash but they look like they are trying to make them easier to balance. I’ll let you be the judge of their level of success. But, onto the points review. Here’s that picture again:

Whilst I do go to a lot of tournaments in the UK I’m not at the ‘bleeding edge’ of tournament play and I don’t know enough about most of the armies so I’ll give impressions and then deep delve on the armies I know and care about.

First thing that is noticable is that every army has at least one adjustment. I realise that with the existence of some vocal people on twitter this was probably necessary some of the adjustments feel a little top level – particularly those for characters … which I’ll explain later.

The Good

Irondrakes, Blood Stalkers, Sentinels, Bastilidons, Salamanders, Gore-Gruntas, Horrors, Chaos Warshrine and Chaos Sorcerer have all gone up in points to varying degrees. The thing you’ll notice about the first 5 of these is that they are all shooting units – so hopefully the change to Unleash Hell will also impact them.

Gore Gruntas were always going to go up since the FAQ gave them rend 2, but it’s a bit galling when other units get months of play, and Ironjawz get 2 months only! But that’s the way of timing and I’d prefer they were changed if due – and they were due an increase.

Horrors are still great value at 250 points for 50 wounds – now the equivalent of Gnoblars – and we all know which one we would prefer. I think another warscroll re-write is needed here, and my unpopular opinion is that the problem are the Brimstones. They were brought in with Silver Tower a small dungeon crawler and are now hamstringing the rules writers… just stop blues splitting – problem solved!

The changes to the Slaves to Darkness units seem reasonable given the number of times these units appear and I am told that the Sorcerer was far too cheap – but have never faced him.

The Bad

Foxes (LRL Windspirits) and Gargants are untouched… either on points or in the FAQ. The Foxes are bad because only other shooting armies have a reasonable chance of catching them – thanks to moving in the shooting phase – and Gargants are bad because their ability to hold objectives doesn’t deteriorate. This is especially confusing because GW have given Kragnos’ ability a deteriorating profile for Mightier Makes Rightier!

No movement on the Sons FAQ

The Ugly

Now here I may be accused of being unfair to GW, but they are a large company that charges a lot of money for the rules of their game… and they have stated that they will improve factions that could use a boost… so what has happened?

What nonsense is this?

I know Gloomspite very well, and have played them at four tournaments in 2021. 2 one dayers, one with Kragnos (oh dear!) and 2 5 game tournaments – Facehammer where we got an additional 150 points and BoBo where there was a best in race that Trogg & I fought for.

In neither of these did I do very well, and the stats from The Honest Wargamer show that I was not alone. They have a winrate of 31%. And this just isn’t a few incompetent fools playing with them (looking at myself)… they represent 2.4% of the meta in those same stats.

In order to improve an army that is doing badly it needs one of two things (and preferably both). It needs a better book & warscrolls and it needs lower points. Books take time to produce and GW have shown that they don’t often adjust warscrolls so that leaves points. Once this is decided – and it clearly has been in this update – then you need to meaningfully adjust the points… downwards… on units which are taken – a lot!

Sure the reduction of 20 points to my Mangler Squig is great… but all it does is get me a Triumph… maybe! Same issue with the Dankhold Troggoth – sure it’s a few points but not enough to make a difference. We need Battleline and Battleline IF to be reduced for armies to get better. Remember I played with 2,150 points at Facehammer and was lucky to go 1-1-3… and I’ve been playing this army a lot.

And reducing a unit that no-one takes (Skitterstrand) doesn’t help the faction get better. It gives another rubbish unit to throw at the enemy and give more points. Am I looking at the 3 Spiders and 4 Gigantic Spider riders on my desk? sure… but I also look at the Sentinels in LRL – still cheaper than a Skitterstrand!

So, as I feared, it’s turned into a tirade, but there are suggestions above, and what’s worse is that Games Workshop know what to do because they have done it with other armies:

Battleline and Battleline If… going down – well done!
And here too! – Clan Eshin Ahoy!
And again – Black Knights same points as Spider Riders

So, why when they know the problem and know the solution do they not enact it across the board? Does it matter if a few armies suddenly go from 31% to 35% (or even 40%) winrate? No.

I did initially think that Gloomspite got no meaningful reductions because of Kragnos being improved but: 1) Kragnos is better in Beastclaw; and 2) I shouldn’t have to go outside Gloomspite for a playable army… playability should be included in all books – or if not adjusted!

Games Workshop could have given the struggling armies: Gloomspite, Blades of Khorne, Beast of Chaos, Nighthaunt, and Skaven a points drop of every unit of 10% and these armies still wouldn’t be ruling the tabletops but maybe, just maybe, the players who play them would have more fun and be more likely to occasionally grab a 3-2 out of the hands of Seraphon, Gargants, Daughters of Khaine and Ironjawz. At the very least they should follow their own aims as stated on Warhammer Community and try to succeed in those aims.

Conclusion

The points adjustments are a start… but it seems that Games Workshop are worried about getting something wrong – small points adjustments on non-battleline or unique characters doesn’t achieve very much. I hope they continue with the Battlescrolls, release them quarterly and get brave – make changes – accidentally make Beasts of Chaos a 5-0 army for 3 months! Go Wild! ..please…

Shoot for the Moon, even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars!(Peale)

— Declan

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