I'm back for part 2 of my Fantasy army breakdown. We have some good ones coming up...and a few not-so-good ones. So on with the breakdown...
Ogres- are a newer army and are pretty brutal. An Ogre is a large, hungry nasty beast…and you can have a whole bunch of them. This is an army that hits very hard. You’ll be outnumbered and your units are usually big so be aware of being flanked. Of course you have some flankers of your own in the monstrous Mournfang cavalry. You have some magic options, but you must bring a mage with the Lore of the Great Maw before you can take another. That’s not a bad thing as you have some decent spells, and your butcher is one of the few casters that’s ok with being in combat. Even better if he casts a spell from your lore, he can regain a wound so he’s really durable for a magic user. Ogres have some decent monsters, which are good but I don’t understand why since they’re pretty beastly to begin with. You do have a big kit to make one of either of the big nasties. The line is largely plastic so that’s good. You do have finecrap characters, but the new boxes come with enough bits to scratch-build your own Tyrant or Butcher and avoid the mis-casted, over-priced nightmares. This is a strong army, safely in the mid-range of the top tier.
Orcs- were the first 8th ed. Book. They are a typical horde army and really work well in big numbers. They have some shooting, but this is an army that really wants to get in your face. They have their own magic, which has a decent mix of buffs and offensive spells. Orcs tend to be the comic relief of the old world…some of their stuff is kind of silly like the doom diver, which is a goblin strapped to a kite that gets fired from a giant slingshot. It’s a fun army with lots of options and the first of the 8th ed. Monsterhammer kits with the arachnarok. Note that I don’t regard the “and Goblins” part of the book much. Goblins have been relegated to a supporting force, but I’d rather take more Orcs. In the old book a Goblin-only army was possible and could be a decent, fun build but now they just aren’t that good. You can still do it, but I wouldn’t recommend it at all. You’ve got a largely plastic range, but you’re going to need a lot of them. Buy your green paint in bulk, but you’ve got a pretty good force.
Skaven- are an army that 8th ed was pretty much written for. They live their lives in hordes and are cheap enough to do it well, plus they get better the more there are. They have great shooting, some dirty tricks and capable magic. They have some Monstrous Infantry, a beast and some capable warmachines. They have decent magic, but they don’t get to use the main 8 lores, only having access to their own 2 but if you don’t know what the 13th spell is…play against a magic heavy Skaven list and you’ll learn how scary it is. You don’t have cav, but you’re also faster than most so that helps. Skaven are another army that has the tools to deal with almost any contingency, and do so well. They’re largely fragile but considering you can bring 200+ models easily, you don’t care. Mind you, that means you will have to buy and paint 200+ models but this is another largely plastic army and the other half of the starter box, so that helps. You have cheap enough characters that you can bring a bunch if you want and you end up with a very interesting army. This is a top tier force and a fun one, too.
Tomb Kings- are an army that got a much needed update. Sadly your core models didn’t change and are still kind of ugly, especially compared to the other Undead out there. This army is built on synergy. Your spearmen are pretty mediocre, but add a king or prince and the entire squad gets his WS. It’s an undead army, so you can replenish your ranks with magic. This works largely through the lore attribute, which gives you wounds back after you cast a buff. Seeing you have some good buffs, this is nice. One thing to consider…you can’t march. Taking chariots can combat this as they move faster, but you just don’t get the maneuverability the living do. There is a spell to move you, but you can’t use it to charge so it’s kind of meh. You do get some fierce cavalry and a few monsters, including one with the rare Heroic Killing Blow on it. You have to nominate a caster as your main one and if he dies, you start to die and don’t forget you’re unstable so when you lose combat you die. You have a good amount of plastic, but as I said some of the sculpts are a bit dated. The cool thing is when you buy your monster kit (and you will..it’s just awesome) you get a Tomb King included. TK are decent, but a few shortcomings keep them from being a powerhouse army. Still, they’re well balanced and sit pretty much in the middle.
Vampire Counts- are the newest book right now so I really can’t grade their power yet. From what I’ve seen, they’ll probably stay where they were towards the top of the mid tier, but we’ll see. VC got a mini-boost last year in White Dwarf, adding their monster, the Terrorgeist and some hero level ethereal choices. Unsurprisingly, they did not change. VC’s live in the magic phase as that’s when they can refill their units and since they have no shooting, this is about the only place to do ranged damage. Vampires themselves are fearsome and the units around them run the range from pretty lousy (Zombies sadly) to awesome (grave guard and cavalry). Necromancers are better then they were so you can bring cheaper capable casters now. You have lots of killing blow potential, ethereal units including cavalry and some interesting combinations starting to surface. Your base units can only march near the General, but anything with the Vampire rule is exempt from this so a weakness the TK isn’t so bad here. Crumble used to destroy you as when your General died, your army literally fell apart, but now there’s ways around that. Their hardest hitting unit was too expensive in the last book and hasn’t really changed as Blood Knights are not only a bunch of points, but also a $100 finecrap box. Buy High Elf Dragon Princes at 1/3 the price if you want to use this unit. Beyond that the model line is pretty good.
Warriors of Chaos- are another powerful army. The Warriors themselves are one of the best core units in the game and adding a mark can tailor a list to compliment your play style as well as give the unit a nice boost. Bear in mind though these are not cheap units so mixing in Marauders can help you add some numbers. This is another elite army so it won’t take much to be outnumbered and possibly out-maneuvered too. Your characters will be pretty amazing. Even your sorcerers are good fighters so at low point games, can serve well as your General without missing the choppy Lord. Mind you the lords are brutal, too but this comes at a price. You also have automatic buffs you can earn by killing enemy characters or big monsters. You don’t have much in the way of shooting, though like their casters their only warmachine is also scary in CC. This is a “punch you in the face” army, but be ready as low model counts means you’ll mourn almost every one you lose. You don’t have a “monster” outside mounts but the warshrine is surprisingly capable as a pseudo-monster and brings along a boost for a nearby unit. You also have some Monstrous infantry (with old, overpriced models) that can be fun to play with and add some mobility. You’ve got plastic core, and honestly can convert most of what you’ll want from here. Chosen are metal and a newer sculpt so expect them to shift to finecrap with a price-gouge soon.,,make them from Warriors and save a bunch. Warshrines are still missing so you have to get creative if you want to run these. This army can be tough to wield as you can lose in the movement phase if you aren’t careful and casualties hurt you, but they still sit up in the top tier.
Wood Elves- are the reason I can’t end on a high note. They’re old and it shows. They’re Elves so they have speed, but not durability and they just don’t have the tools to win. A Dryad heavy build can be used fairly effectively but even then you’ve got some disadvantages that are tough to overcome. Their book just does not perform well in the current rules. Mind you, it’s not their rules that’s old. Their models are ancient. I’ve been in the hobby since 2008 and I don’t remember a single Wood Elf model coming out in that time. The technology of making plastic miniatures has come a long way in those years and Wood Elves haven’t seen any benefit for that. Just in case I haven’t made it obvious, this army sits pretty near the bottom of the heap. If you like the fluff or dig the models, go for it but don’t expect the army to perform well against most opponents.
And there you have it. All the armies of Warhammer summed up in a few paragraphs. Like my 40k breakdown, I hope this will help a new player get an idea on what they want to play. I hope it was a fun read. Most importantly I just hope it didn’t suck.