High Elves – This is another tough one. To be honest, my first reaction was to give them a points reduction across the board, but while their units are expensive, they also come with lots of special abilities that can be pretty useful. I also wanted to give Teclis a big old lump of coal that he so richly deserves…so I will do that. Teclis only gets his “I ignore miscasts” once per game instead of every turn. Their present is a box of reasonably priced plastic swordmasters.
Lizardmen – Lizards are very capable, but they do rely on a lynchpin usually. Personally I love that so I’m leaving it alone. I think I’ll give Lizards a two-part gift. 1. Better named characters. Their named characters are pretty meh and really not worth the point increase over building your own character and 2. These characters get better names. “tic-tac-toe”. ‘Nuff said.
Ogres – OK, at first I was all about giving the big guys some coal because they’re nasty…but I thought about it and while they’re vicious, they really aren’t impossible to beat so they’re ok. I think I’ll give Ogres the third Mournfang in their box. Demi-gryphs come in 3’s…necro knights come in 3’s…why do mournfang come in pairs?
Orcs – Orcs Orcs Orcs! And that’s the issue I have. Orcs are good, but goblins aren’t. The book really makes it tough to run a goblin only army. They suck, but they’re cheap so you can bring a ton of them. The problem is their leadership sucks so when they lose combat…and they will… they have a nasty tendency of going away. Running large blocks can help as you can get your unit stubborn, but all your opponent has to do is make sure he has as many ranks as you do and that’s gone. Goblins break easy and then can be easily run down, so my gift is a new rule “Slippery Git”. If the unit contains all Goblins (no attached Orcs) when it loses combat on a 3+ it gets away. It will still have to rally as normal, but it means that 100 Goblin block can’t be erased by a 5 knight charge quite so easily anymore.
Skaven – The army that 8th edition was written for. The Skaven play in every phase, and do so fairly well. This doesn’t make them unbeatable by a long shot, but makes them a flexible, well-rounded army. I think what I’d give the Skaven is a reason to take a vermin lord. I don’t know what that reason would be, but I think they’re cool…just not good enough to be in an army, which is sad.
Tomb Kings – Tomb Kings get some plastic love. First, I love the idea of a king/prince on a chariot, but they don’t have a character kit for this so I’ll give them one. Second, They deserve some necro knights that aren’t so damn stupid. Who was smoking what to think skeletons surfing on snakes were a good idea? I’ll have the kit re-done so they’re RIDING the snake, not surfing on it.
Vampire Counts – On paper, VC are an awesome army. In practice, they fall short. Aside from a few gimmicks, there really isn’t anything good about the VC. Vampires are awesome and their big beasts are great, but when only 3 or 4 models in the army can fight, you’re almost guaranteed to lose. The big problem Vampire Counts have is crumble. VC are going to lose combat most of the time. Sure the vampire can inflict 5 wounds himself, but the unit he’s in is usually going to take at least that many losses, if not more and very often they won’t be inflicting wounds so then you take your crumble and now you’re down twice as many models. In theory your magic can replace those losses, but in practice it just doesn’t work that way. You just don’t have enough power dice and I guarantee when you really need to replenish your lines, you’ll roll a 2 die magic phase. For the VC, I give demonic crumble. The army’s leadership is mostly bad anyway so you’ll still be losing a good amount of models a turn, but it won’t be nearly as hurtful as it is now. Yes, it’s true that a living army will often lose an entire unit to a particularly one-sided combat, but they get to roll leadership first and there’s always the chance to roll snake eyes. The exception will be zombies. Since they can be revived easier, they also die easier so they lose more to crumble then the usual unit.
Warriors of Chaos – Warriors ended up having a decent year. They got something of a second wave (and only 5 years late…) and a few new toys, too. I did have one little issue…why did they only give new units to two gods? My gift to the Warriors is a new unit for Nurgle and Tzeentch, because you guys play this army, too. Nurgle gets a monstrous cav that’s slow, but very tough and Tzeentch get something different...flying cavalry. Light armored, but with a decent ward save.