OK, I have returned from the dentist and all of my teeth are back in my head. Hopefully that remains the case for a while. Let’s talk Lumineth Realm-lords. Overall I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen. The core rules of the army are flavorful, and encourage a very unique play-style. The Realm-lords are built to be the essential “Take All Comers” faction, and I think they will fit into that role well. The artifacts and command traits encourage players to build their heroes in such a way that emphasizes their strengths, and Teclis looks just as powerful as a god should be. I’m not completely happy with the internal balance of the book, which we can get into later, but there are plenty of viable builds presented. What are your thoughts on the core rules of the army?
I more or less echo that sentiment! High level – combined with what I’m hearing from my shiny, pointy-eared Clubmates, is that the feel of the army has changed significantly. On the overall plus side, the Great Nations are much better balanced now, offering a variety of contrasting play-styles. The main army rules are unchanged – and remain as useful and thematic as before. In true LRL fashion they have a lot of bling – i mean, enhancements – to choose from. But I think in many ways, discussing them will make more sense after considering the units. What were your gripes with the internal balance on the unit side?
Specifically with the durability of the Alarith units and rules. Taking the Ymetrica great nation allows your Alarith units to ignore Rend -1 and Rend -2, giving the Stoneguard units easy access to a 3+ that is potentially unrendable against many armies. They gain a 4+ ward when contesting an objective that is controlled by the LRL player, which means when those attacks do penetrate the armor, there is a 50% chance of the wound being shrugged. Overall I feel the combination makes those units so powerful that they overshadow many other elements of the book, and may encourage a mono-build faction.
The balancing point would be their relatively limited damage output, but if you can consistently hold primary objectives, you don’t necessarily need to destroy your opponent’s units. Ignoring that, however, the rest of the book is great. Most units seemed to come out of the new book without any major nerfs, and the Stoneguard and Windchargers are the only units that received major buffs (notably the Windchargers’ ability to ignore ward saves). Teclis took a minor blow, limiting his spellcasting slightly as he suffers wounds, but he received a points drop to counter that, which I think leaves him in a great position. Are there any warscroll winners in your opinion?
Yeah it does seem like Alarith and Stoneguard rules are very pushed in this book. Bear in mind the objective ward is only against MWs – but it’s still very strong and with Speed of Hysh it’s easy enough for them to zoom onto an objective to proc the ward. Pair that with generic or named Big Cow – who can target an enemy unit within 18″ for a -1 to hit (ranged AND melee) and Alarith can actually be insanely tanky on paper. You’re right they don’t slap the hardest but with a decent number of attacks – and the Stonemage giving them MWs on 5s to hit – they can still bring the pain! Agreed that Windchargers got a big glow up – ignoring wards and their extra shot being extended to 6″ is huge, both for zooming up to something and making it a pin-cushion or UH behind a screen.
The other biggest glow ups for me are Avalenor, Eltharion and the Ballistas. Eltharion now absolutely slaps, dealing extra damage to monsters and being on an unrendable 3+ by default kinda makes him a mini-Gotrek in some ways – certainly has rules befitting his beautiful model now. The Ballistas also got pretty reliable for their points, and adding one more source of targeted -1 to hit (once per battle in their case) is icing on the cake. Have GW finally figured out how to balance artillery!? How do you feel the Enhancements and streamlined spell lores fit in with the newly improved heroes?
The artefacts are all pretty viable, with some really standout choices for each type of hero. The Waystone would allow you to build a versatile Vannari hero, since it provides a free 13″ teleport with the ability to deploy at least 3″ from an enemy. This could either get your beatstick in range of an unprotected hero, or allow them to jump through terrain to grab an unoccupied objectve. The Silver Wand is a straightforward, but great artefact providing an extra spell cast for a Scinari hero, and while the Arcane Tome would do a similar job, I expect the balance scroll may make the Arcane Tome less appealing. The other artefacts are all decent, but I think that those two are the standouts for me.
The Command Traits set the book up to make list building interesting. All of them are good, and all of them buff the heroes to do the job they are designed for. This will make picking the general for your Realm-lords list a slightly difficult prospect, since you will wish for ways to take more than one. Almighty Blow and Swift are both simple, but deceptively good. The first allows for some pretty reliable mortal wound output, and the second makes it much easier to place your Wizard more efficiently.
There may be too many to dig into in this article, but what are your thoughts on the spells?
Agreed, the Artifacts/Command traits seem nicely balanced and should give a fair bit of flex and depth to your hero makeup. Spell lore wise, things have been streamlined a little – which was necessary, both from a book keeping standpoint and general external balance. Lambent Light has gone (re-rolling failed hits) which makes sense as that was the primary vector for abusing Sentinels. Solar Eclipse, another spell on the ‘watch list’ remains but had it’s CV increased to 9.
The new lores are mainly balance tweaks like this – but the higher CVs are mitigated by most casters now having a built in once per battle auto-cast on their warscroll. Either way, LRL still have an incredible magical toolkit – with Howling Gale for turning off CAs at 12″, the new Unbreakable Stoicism spell for allowing Stoneguard to do MWs on 5s instead of 6s, and the good old teleport spell ‘Transporting Vortex’, which when combined with Stoneguard and their mw ward of 4+ on objectives they control, will allow you to plonk them down T1 and ask your opponent some rock-hard questions.
How do you feel the tweaks to the Great Nations have ended up?
I think the Great Nations are all pretty great (see what I did there?). Ymetrica has already been mentioned, and is the go-to for building extremely tanky Alarith units, but I won’t say that it’s a standout winner. All of the Great Nations strike me as useful, it’s just a matter of how you want to build your army. If you want to focus on spellcasting, Zaitrec provides your wizards with a +1 bonus to casting, dispelling, and unbinding rolls, which will help offset the high casting value of the Realm-lord spell lore. Meanwhile, if you want to have extremely powerful Vanari Sentinels, Helon increases the Attacks characteristic of your ranged weapons if your target is within 6″. Syar and Illiatha boost Aetherquartz reserves, and Alumnia rewards you for playing tight formations. Most tomes that have been released so far leave me thinking there are either one or two subfactions that are better than the rest, and here I can honestly say that I can see relatively equal value in all of what’s presented. I think that leaves us with the Matched Play rules. How do you feel about the Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics?
Interesting, I didn’t think of Sentinels as benefiting much from Helon – I think it’s Windchargers that become a real menace there though. A reinforced unit of 10 is able to fly forward 12″, ignoring terrain – say it can get within 6″ of an enemy unit, and then put out 31 attacks – with AoD on 2/3/-1/1, ignoring ward saves – before charging for 10 more attacks 3/3/-1/1 and 20 3/4/-/1 from the mounts OR proccing ‘Move Like The Wind’ to pile in 6″ in ANY direction – i.e. sling-shotting themselves out of engagement range. That’s a powerful drive..well, ride-by.
The Matched Play rules are seeming really quite pushed in the most recent books. We discussed how DoT’s bump them up a tier instantly – LRL fare pretty darn well too. In terms of Grand Strats, it’s a mixed bag, but ‘Alarith Aftershock: 2+ friendly Alarith units contesting 2+ objectives’ is very doable unless you’ve been tabled in which case, who cares. Battle Tacs are much easier. Now ballistas are good, ‘kill a monster with one’ is going to be an obvious pick, especially if you’ve taken 2, once you leave a monster on around 3-4 wounds. ‘Kill an enemy unit with a unit with an aetherquartz reserve, without spending that reserve’ is also going to be fairly trivial when the time is right. ‘Cast 4 spells’ is extra points for exactly what you want to do, and will be easily able to do against all but the most magic dominant armies, especially factoring in the auto-casts. ‘Have 2+ endless spells at the end of the turn’ will be super easy first turn most of the time. By and large, I think they’re just about within acceptable parameters. The main issue I have with them is, when the LRL picks then, 9/10 times they will just be utterly non-interactive and impossible to deny.
Mind you, given how techy the rest of the army is, maybe anything more complicated would have been the mental straw that broke the camel’s mind.
So to cap off – let’s pin our hats to the wall again – competitive rating guess?
I think this will be a top tier army, competitively, but I’m not sure if we’ll see spam lists the same way we do with other high performing armies. I suspect that players will lean heavily on windchargers and stoneguard, and a fair few of their battle tactics can be instantly scored by Teclis. Given what we’ve shown above, though, I’m not sure that the army composition is what will win games, so much as the battle tactics. I think the ability to easily score points will drive the win rate above 50%, but I honestly think there are other factions that will be good counters for them. DoT and ThunderKroak will counter their magic, and hard-hitting armies like DoK may be able to remove the problem units before they become an issue. Overall, I think their win rate will be above 50%, but I don’t know that they will break 55%.
As we’ve been a little slow in posting this review, there’s been a chance for some new lists to meet the (searing) light of day – with some success, it seems!