Friday, January 27, 2012

Weather Warning - The Ethereal Cloud

With the release of the new Vampire Counts book there has been the inevitable discussion of how the meta game will change. Certainly the previous release, Ogres, changed the meta by significantly improving the viability of a Monstrous Infantry build. Up until then infantry had been the dominant troop type and the tools for dealing with infantry, didn’t necessarily work on Monstrous Infantry.


Along lurches the Vampire Counts and suddenly the new hotness is the “Ethereal Cloud”, an army of Core backed up by as many ethereal models you can fit in. Of course you get the “Sky is Falling Crowd” led by the Warhammer Henny Pennys who populate the internet and tell you how overpowered the build is.

And of course like the story of Henny Penny, it isn’t.


The easiest way to deal with Ethereal units is to have a ready supply of magic attacks. Daemons, Wood Elves and parts of the Warriors of Chaos and Skaven army have this in spades. Remember also that Page 7 of the BRB FAQ tells you that all attacks made by magical items are considered to be magical attacks. This includes attacks made by weapons, armour and banners unless it specifically is excluded in its description.

There are five magic weapons in the Common Magic Items that are 10 points or less so there is considerable opportunity to cheaply outfit a character for the role.

Magic missiles are a great way to deal with an ethereal unit and virtually every army has access to one in its arsenal. The most obvious is the signature Fireball spell that gives you the opportunity to generate up to 3D6 hits. For the points conscious the common Ruby Ring with its bound fireball is also an option.

“Aah, but what if they put 5 ethereal characters in a block of zombies so they can’t be targeted”. Well besides it being a pretty expensive way of generating a limited number of attacks, the unit is very susceptible to warmachines/impact hits. It also provides a very large drag on your Hero allowance reducing the number of casters you can include.

Of all the armies out there, Orcs & Goblins are probably the least suited to dealing with ethereal units. However they still have access to the tools. It probably means they just need to spend less on the toys and commit a part of their points allowance to dealing with ethereals. It doesn’t need to be large but it probably needs to be included in the mix.

So is the sky falling? I personally don’t think it’s even cloudy.

16 comments:

  1. As a Skaven player it doesn't worry me too much. As you said there is a huge range of options available for very cheap magic weapons & banners many of which are already in general use (flame banner I'm looking at you). From a Skaven perspective it might encourage more use of the weapon teams as they are all warpstone weapons (magical) and things like the ratling gun would be ideal for making a mess of small ethereal road bumps (especially as they can also declare stand & shoot reactions). I always take my Hellpit with warpstone spikes so it's not affected at all. I'm a big fan of my level 1 engineer with the warp lightning condenser for getting rid of chaff/mangler squigs etc. happy to add etherals to that list too :)

    Dave A

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    1. flame banner does not confir magical attacks, only makes your attacks flaming

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  2. you could make the same list in the last book not sure why people only just realised it.

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  3. Technically, it was Chicken Licken leading the crowd, but some of these people may be better described as Cocky Locky.

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  4. So does Flaming banner generate magical attacks as well? have been told by several that it doesn't?.. Cost me a game as I recall....

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  5. Loading up on ethereal units is a very expensive gimmick. Situationally strong, but situationally ruinously weak. Same as 7th ed VC.

    Flaming Banner is flaming attacks only (not magical).

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  6. I don't think it should grant magical attacks as the faq refered to is regarding magic weapons. The banner grants flaming attacks. the old vc banner granted flaming and magical attacks, normally they state they grant magical attacks specifically as it is a special rule.

    if it makes them magical then any old banner must change the unit to having magical attacks. so you dont need magic weapons because a 10 point banner makes your entire unit immune.

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  7. The flaming banner doesn't make attacks. It makes the attacks you have flaming, that's all.

    Contrast this with say the Banner of the Underempire which makes 2D6 attacks. These attacks come from the banner and so they are magical

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  8. Bloody Skaven...Answer to everything :)

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  9. Good to know about the flaming banner not counting as magical attacks, still got plenty of Skaven toys to play with :)

    Actually this might see more people taking Jezzails too, always quite liked the idea of them, but my finecast experiences have not been good which put me off (along with the prices).

    I don't think Skaven actually get any form of ranged attack that isn't magical now that I think about it?

    Dave A

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  10. Im looking forward to seeing how this changes the character set up "rule" of lvl4 + BSB. My empire for example are looking for ways to get more characters in with magic weapons...cant rely on magic missiles as the winds of magic are fickle!

    The simple "just add a character" also means "drop something to fit it in". I think there will be some subtle re-adjustment of the "standard" lists, hopefully leading to a bit of variation in list design...well for a bit anyway!

    BTW I am still yet to see someone rock a night goblin unit + nets with the front rank consisting of big bosses...this "new meta" better bring this sort of list design out of the wood work!

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  11. Yup ethereal spam is way overrated... I can only think of a few standard armies that will struggle with it

    Dark elf shadow spam lists - my eyes bleed for you, and it's easily resolved with a support caster
    Beasts - need shadow magic to compete with other armies but it doesn't give hem magic attacks
    Lizards- will probably have to drop the life spam slaan
    Orcs and goblins - for obvious reasons

    All the other armies already have a reasonable amount of magic attacks without changing much from their standard all comers lists... And to be those above can do it but may have to change the way they play. And to be honest given the above, I doubt anyone will take eth. Spam very often anyway so I you can most likely get away with not changing anything.

    James

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  12. Thats a lot of points to run that unit Joel, really limits the rest of the army.

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    1. In the same manner as say, 90 Night Goblin archers with nets and poison banner

      Joel

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  13. Looks like you had your Sunday Best on when you emerged from your casket. Hope you don't mind me sharing your blood with my ghouls by serving them your post with my weekly themed top X.

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    1. Thanks HOTpanda. Appreciate the spruik

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