Games Workshop takes us behind the scenes to explain some of the reasoning behind the point changes in AoS 3.0.
The new General’s Handbook 2021 is out in store this weekend and that means a new round of Pitched Battle Profiles is also dropping just in time for the new edition. For the past week or so grainy pictures of the points changes have been floating around the internet. The points (in general) showed a increase across the board for armies with most going up 10-15%. There were some outliers on either side of that spectrum and also some targeted point increases for specific units/armies as well.
Also noted in the points updates were a few other things – notably the move to a “5 point” system vs the current “10 point” system – meaning you could get units that cost 85 points. Another thing that was noted was the removal of maximum sized units.
Today, Games Workshop has provided us with some insight on why these changes occurred and covered a few more as well. These things had you scratching your head hopefully this “Designer’s Notes” feature will clear some things up.
No More Maximum Sizes
Why the change? Essentially, the maximum sizes were replaced by the new Matched Play battlepack rules.
“Matched play battlepacks typically limit the number of reinforced units you can include in your army. For example, the Pitched Battles 2021 battlepack in the General’s Handbook 2021 limits this to four. Only battleline units can be double reinforced, and doing so counts towards this limit twice.”
We’ve talked about this before. Now GW has confirmed some of the thought process behind this change. The new Reinforcement system is going to make those larger units rarer and folks will have to make some serious choices in their list construction. With those changes there was no need for a Max unit size any more. So there you go.
More Granularity – 5 Point Increments
Really this one is self explanatory. Moving to 5 point increments just allows for more fine-tuning for units and (ideally) better balanced units.
“This is particularly impactful for units on the lower end of the points value spectrum, where you can keenly feel the difference between 70, 75, and 80.”
I don’t know how true that is on the tabletop (yet) but we’ll all get to find out together pretty soon. Regardless, this does allow GW to me more “precise” when it comes to changing those points moving forward. We’ll have to wait and see how they tackle that in future updates.
Point Increases Across The Board
This is a big one. Why the point increases? I’ll let GW explain this one:
“We increased the points values for several reasons. Firstly, during the last edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, the points values of many different units were adjusted, usually seeing a steady drop. While this promoted better balance, the size of armies went up, which meant battles took longer to complete. This points rise will help battles come to their conclusion in a timely manner by reducing the size of armies once more.”
Their first reason is that they wanted battles to take less time. If everyone’s army is more expensive, then that typically means there are less models on the tabletop and thus games should (theoretically) finish faster.
Their next reason is that there are new minimum battlefield sizes. Smaller armies (and units) means you should still have room to maneuver.
And their final reason? Battalions no longer have a points value. This points increase factors in those battalions back into the units since players are no longer spending points on the Battalions.
A New Points Calculator Was Used
This was mentioned in a White Dwarf article by the Design Team before. The way that Games Workshop calculates points changed in the new edition.
“When developing the new edition, we put considerable effort into refining this calculator to make it much more sophisticated. It is not a simple formula that only adds up the damage or survivability of a unit, although these are accounted for. It is something that can spot trends within warscrolls. For example, it can identify if a warscroll is a ‘glass hammer’ – a unit with high damage but low survivability – or the opposite – a ‘tar pit’. “
Their new “formula” was also considering things like the model’s base size and their weapon ranges. And also their allegiance abilities as well as ” everything from the different spells, artefacts of power, battle traits, and even unique enhancements such as mount traits.” This certainly makes it sound like this new points calculator was pretty involved.
Obviously the more powerful allegiance abilities caused some units to get more of a bump than others. That’s why you might see certain units have gone up considerably compared to counterparts in other armies. One pretty clear cut example GW showed was the comparison of Tzaangor units in the Beasts of Chaos army vs the Disciples of Tzeentch army:
As you can see above, the Disciples of Tzeentch units cost more. Why? Because their allegiance abilities are just better. Not only can they summon more units in but they can also use their destiny dice to change their rolls – that’s a pretty BIG shift in power.
But it wasn’t just left to this magical formula – there was also internal testing and feedback on those points. Some units had powerful synergies while others did not. That couldn’t be accounted for based on the points calculator so some manual adjustment was also done.
While many units did go up in points, there were units that did drop as well. One example was the Orruk Ardboys. The new restrictions and reinforcement rules hit them pretty hard. And they lost some synergies from the army, too. So they dropped in points:
New FAQ Coming
“Alongside the new edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, we will update all of our existing Designer’s Commentaries and Errata. We’ll cover all the burning questions you might have about how your faction works with the new edition, and we’ll let you know if previous Designer’s Commentaries and Errata still apply. “
Good. We have questions. And more still. Hopefully this FAQ will cover a lot of those and answer all your burning questions, too. The fact is that this is a new edition with a lot of subtle changes. The older books need some sort of bridge to the new edition to keep them interesting to play. One example that GW provided was a change about Unique Wizards and their spells on their warscroll.
Games Workshop also wants your feedback. As you get more games in they are interested in how things go.
“We welcome your thoughts on the new points values, so please do not hesitate to send them in. The feedback that is particularly useful for us is that which focuses on powerful synergies and rules interactions between units that seem to have not been accounted for. Rest assured, we look at every bit of feedback that is submitted and greatly appreciate everyone who takes the time to do so.
We hope you’re all excited to fight battles in the new edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. As always, if you have any rules questions or would like to send specific feedback, you can reach us by emailing [email protected].”
So what do you think of all these changes? Let us know in the comments.