It’s always an interesting time when there’s a new season of matched play on the horizon. All the subtle reflexes, lists and tricks you’ve built up over the last 6 months are about to be obliterated by a new set of realm rules and battleplans – including points adjustments and therefore significant list changes.
Rest assured, we’re here to help you get a head start on the practical stuff you need to know ahead of Season 2 – Galletian Champions – kicking off next week. Your author has glimpsed the new rules slightly ahead of their official publication date and has played a fair few games with the new rules already (with the new Slaves to Darkness book, in fact) with his club-mates, Sigmar’s Pilgrims, who recently finished 8th at the Brotherhood Teams Event.
So read on for a few tips, insights, and general things you should start thinking about for the forthcoming season. And what a season it’s going to be – as we guessed in our Hot Takes article – it’s a fantastic new set of rules that offer a welcome reduction in book-keeping from the previous season, helping make it smoother and more accessible, while adding in some awesome new levels of depth.
- Identify your Galletian Champions (aka Galley Champs, aka GCs)
Put simply, this season is all about non-unique foot heroes under 10 wounds. A number of the new battle tactics require them, and multiple battleplans will either award bonus points for objectives being controlled by a GC, or give GCs priority when contesting them (i.e. if a GC is contesting the objective, only other GCs can).
This, as you have probably surmised, means you need to have a good look at what GCs your army has available, and start re-thinking their role in your army. Traditionally, most of these kinds of heroes have been underwhelming – why take a piddly foot-slogging dude when you can take a pure chad riding a giant monster? The answer, as it turns out, is because this season tells you it’s the cooler thing to do. If you want to win.
If your army has GCs who are either strong in their own right (Ironjaws are happy here) or simply cheap and durable, or highly mobile (hence the Knight Zephyros suddenly being S tier) – you’re laughing. If, like Soulblight, all your non-unique foot heroes just kind of suck, well, have a think about how best to protect them and then get them to where they need to be! Which brings us to…
2. Pay the Ferryman
Though it’s tempting to leave it there, I will elucidate. If you army doesn’t just happen to have a teleporting GC (or like Fyreslayers, one that can also teleport their own bodyguard…!), then you’re quite possible going to want a way to zoom a GC onto a flank objective – and this season has lots that are less reachable.
The endless spell, Lauchon – aka the Bringy Dinghy – is perfect for this. You just need your GC to be a wizard (not hard with Arcane Tome doing the rounds) and for their base to fit within 6″ of the boat, and they’re eligible for a 21”+ whatever your hero has move. Then they can score points, and on the off-chance the boat doesn’t get Dispelled, at the end of the following hero phase they can zoom right back to safety! So it’s obviously best done with a GC on the cheaper side of things as it may be a one-way trip…
He’s not the only way to get around in style however, which brings us to…
3. Tunnel Mastery
There’s also another way of getting where you want to go – and it takes the form of what I imagine will quickly become the pick of choice from the new selection of free GC enhancements you now get to choose from. There are some excellent effects and combos but Tunnel Master – which allows your GC a standard teleport (so no closer than 9” to enemy units) – is obviously tasty. In general it’s risky to chuck even a 100 pt GC onto an objective on their own, so timing will be everything here – it’s well worth thinking if your army has a good way to support this play (or bringing a Soulscream Bridge!) so that the hero can have some backup, or some way to do it early then escape if the enemy starts hunting them down.
Alternatively, if you can work out a way – like the Fyreslayer example above – that you don’t have to pick Tunnel Master, then that will open up the slot for another enhancement instead.
4. The New Drop Off
There are three new battalions in the new Season, but the two that will shake things up the most are the ones GW previewed themselves. It’s not hard to see the respective merits of each, but what we’ve realised after a few games is that you really need to plan around the potential of your opponent taking Sharpshooters. GC scoring is so important that if you don’t have a genuine bodyguard unit to protect your GC from being sniped, you are going to want something in your list to try and deal with the shooting units.
What this means for the average drops is that, in our humble prediction, the new most common drops will be 3 (battle regiment + Sworn Guard) and 4 (Battle reg + Sharpshooters). If you really think dictating turn order is really important to your list, it might mean giving up Sworn Guard.
It’s also possible we’ll see a lot more ‘who gives a crap’ drops due to the following point…
5. 2nd Time Lucky
One of the coolest mechanics of the new season is that the player who takes the second turn gets to perform a second heroic action in their hero phase. This suddenly makes taking second in the first turn even more valuable, but that’s balanced by there now being an incentive not to take the double. And of course if you do get doubled – you can think about how that second action can keep you in the game rather than just sweating bricks.
Now, there are two new heroic actions revolving around fighting in the hero phase with your GC, potentially then followed by their Sworn Guard – which we’ll go into more detail on shortly – but we’ve found in reality they rarely actually get used. And as such, aren’t worth planning your turn priority around. However, you’ll obviously want to have them in your back pocket for when it’s important to be able to move in your turn rather than wait until the fight phase to get stuck in. The most important thing as ever will be reading the board-state, but do start thinking about whether your army can handle giving away first, as you can now potentially really punish over-reaches from your opponent.
6. Remembering Realm Rules
The author is a big fan of the new realm rules, but it pays to be aware of their subtleties, and not lean too much into them for list building.
For example, the obvious, most game-changing benefit to GCs is the Key to Victory rule, meaning they can’t be targeted by ranged attacks while they stand within 1” of a friendly battleline unit, unless the attacking unit is in the aforementioned Sharpshooter battalion. Now it’s easy to mix up Battleline and Sworn Guard – so bear in mind it’s any battleline unit that can protedt your precious and flimsy GC from shooting.
Now, the new heroic actions have an obvious combination with the new rule for getting two heroic actions – bear in mind they both have to be issued from the same hero in your hero phase. The first allows GC within 3” of an enemy unit to fight, but then gains ‘fight last’ for the rest of the TURN. The second allows the Sworn Guard wholly within 6” of the GC that just fought, and is also within 3” of any enemy unit – i.e. doesn’t have to be the same one the GC fought – to also fight – with the same fight last modifier being added.
In practical terms, this hero phase fight with a unit is frankly unlikely to come off. It will be useful here and there – especially against pin lists like whoops all Nurgle flies or Beastclaw Raiders – but it’s probably a mistake to plan on it. Likewise, if you are hunting frantically through your Tome for the fightiest hero so they can get some hero phase action, just bear in mind that unless they kill that unit, they’re either going to have to stick around and try again or retreat.
Of course, if your hero has a fight first ability – this will cancel out the fight last and they will attack as normal in the fight phase – or likewise, if you have the ability (such as the new Slaves spell) to make an enemy unit fight last, you can much more safely activate this ability and still charge your GC into combat in your turn.
So there you have it – we’re super excited for the new Season and we hope you are too. Let us know in the Discord what your thoughts are once you start getting games in – and we hope these little offerings help you to get a head start on taking names at the table!