The book is finally getting into people’s hands, and we’ve now been given the nod from Mantic that we can talk about V3! Finally!
Northern Kings have been playtesting third edition and have submitted the most battle reports out of all the groups. Of course.
So here’s a big dump of thoughts in no particular order. There aren’t any pictures because I’ve not got a fully PDF or my copy of the book yet.
The game plays very much like 2nd edition, naturally. The core rules haven’t seen a massive overhaul (why change what already works?), they’ve just been tweaked where 2nd ed was a bit wonky.
There are a few things that will throw you off though. We constantly fought our instincts when it came to positioning. The lack of a 1″ bounceback doesn’t seem like a great deal, until you set up a trap based on your intuition that the charging unit will bounce back. And the trap fails because the unit hasn’t bounced. It takes some time getting used to the smaller movement changes, and it’s been difficult over the last few months where we’ve also been playing 2nd edition games (I’m blaming my shocking Clash of Kings performance on this…).
I highly recommend that everyone reads the rulebook cover to cover twice. There are lots of little tweaks to the wording of the rules, and you’re bound to be caught out by something.
2000 feels too low.
Not in a “I want to have everything” sort of way, but in a functional army sort of way. Lots of things have gone up in points, few things have gone down in points. Generally 2000 now feels like you’re missing something. You just can’t quite squeeze in all the units you need and have to go to the game missing a key piece of some sort.
2200-2300 feels right. The Northern Kings events are going to be run at 2300 points.
The battlefield feels a lot more dynamic with the introduction of Wild Charge and Frozen rules, alongside the Enthrall spell. That’s not to say that it felt static before, but these rules can really mess with your opponents positioning.
Fewer Upgrade Units
There are fewer units that are just straight up upgrades of other units. For example, Wights in 2nd edition were just upgraded melee attacks for Zombie Trolls. That’s no longer the case with Wights now being speed 7 and flying. They fulfil a very different role to Zombie Trolls, and this is the case with a lot of units that used to be upgraded versions of other units.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any units which are upgrades, but there are fewer.
Yielding Individuals work really well.
In most cases, it’s near impossible to block with throwaway individuals like standard bearers. If you’re too close to the enemy unit then they go right through you. If you’re closer to your unit, then they can go around you. If you do successfully block your opponent from moving through you, then you’re generally offering them an easy overrun into your flank.
A canny opponent can still do some blocking with cheap individuals, but it tends to be in conjunction with other units. Usually hitting the unit in the flank with something else to disorder it, so it can no longer move through yielding individuals.
The 3 attack heroes make for viable, if unreliable, chaff.
Large Infantry Regiments
MSU is a thing in 3rd edition.
More artillery, fewer units. That’s not no units, but you can’t seem to build an army based around shooting your opponent off the board any more.
Also note that there’s only one shooting artefact for units (rather than heroes) – Piercing Arrow. Jar of Four Winds, Heart Seeking Chant etc are all gone. Elite and Vicious are still there though.
Bane-Chant doesn’t buff shooting at all, nor does any other spell.
These are largely the same, with the new additions generally being rules that already existing as unique rules for units or artefacts in 2nd edition.
Phalanx is definitely a winner, with -1 to hit for cavalry, large cavalry and flyers in addition to losing thunderous charge. On top of this, Phalanx units generally have +1 unit strength compared to their contemporaries. I think we’re going to see a lot of Phalanx infantry hordes.
Duelist is another top tier special rule.
I don’t think anyone’s going to be massively surprised by the artefacts on offer in 3rd.
Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding will feature in most lists (one time Strider), as will the Mournful Blade (Duelist).
These are largely unchanged from CoK19, with the exception of the addition of Fool’s Gold, where the value of objective markers are revealed in turn 3. This is a really fun scenario that will become a favourite I think. It encourages dynamic armies, since you can find yourself surrounded by worthless gold on turn 3, while your opponent is sat on a bed of latinum. You need to be able to respond and change your gameplay on the fly in turn 3, and a static army doesn’t help that.
They’re still a thing. Elohi are still a great unit. Elliot has continued using them to great effect. I think people have been playing on easy mode for too long with nimble flying units and just need to readjust, like they did when Elohi went from De6 to De5 in 2nd edition or when flyers could become disordered. We saw the exact same complaints raised when these changes were brought in that we’re seeing now, and we still see flyers in most lists. They’re fine.
So that’s it for now. Just a few quick thoughts on 3rd ed. I’m really looking forward to how the edition is going to shape up. The Northern Kings have been discussing the potential meta and almost everything we’ve come up with has had a hard counter elsewhere in the game. Definitely going to be interesting!
I’m totally going to pimp out our Third Edition Game Day that we’re hosting at Leodis Games, Leeds. Come on down and try it out!