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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, with End Times happening the meta is changing. So, where do we put the armies now in the ranks. Well here's how I rank the 21 armies currently available in an uncomped environment.

TOP TIER

1. Host Of Aestyrion - White Lions, Doomfire Warlocks, Witch Elves & Cauldron, The Avatar Of Khaine, Morathi, Incredible magic, and more bolt-throwers than you can shake a stick at... all in one army. It's literally a "best of" collection for what was in effect the first and second seed of this edition according to most; and they complement each other very well.

2. Host Of The Phoenix King - Nice list. Similar to our number 1 but with more focus on Wood Elves and no Witch Elves. Still, they have White Lions, Frost Phoenix, Black Guard, Malekith, and endless bolt-throwers so they are still very formidable. It's not as nasty as the other list for optimisation capability but it's still so sick and terrifying you should think twice on how to deal with it.

3. Chaos Legion - We can take Beastmen wizards and chaff, Daemon cannons and flamers, and everything else from Warriors Of Chaos and just rip face. Troll/Gorebull/Throgg is just mean, Wargor BSB w/ Beast Banner in Nurgle Warriors with Festus is horrific. Casting Wyssans and Savage Beasts on these units is game changing. The Skullcannon is just plain broken, (seriously, two of them for less than the price of a Cygor, yes please). Chaos Knights & Skullcrushers are still great units. Daemon Princes still hold up even against the new hotness characters, only now you can take more than 1. This army simply has no weakness now. Built correctly it's just going to murder everything.

4. Skaven - These guys can fit more toys in 1000 points than some armies can fit in 3000 points. I've seen 2000 point armies with over 400 models on the table which effectively outnumbers the enemy by as much as 5-1. Grey Seers have great magic options, Warp Lightning Cannons and Weapons Teams are cheap yet powerful. Doomrockets and Brass Orbs can be shockingly effective. Jezzails are capable shooting. The Storm Banner can lock down entire armies (Dwarfs are basically screwed, no shooting, no gyro, nothing). Nothing is overpriced really, except maybe Rat Ogres. The only real lacking point is there's no cavalry or monstrous cavalry; but they just don't need it. Despite being still stuck with the old 7th Edition book, Skaven are beastly.

5. Legion Of Asgorh - What happens when you mix Warriors Of Chaos with Chaos Dwarfs. You get double Magma Cannons, Infernal Guard with Fireglaives, and a Sorcerer Prophet with Lore Of Hashut, backed up by Chaos Knights, Trolls, Chimera, and more. Adding a good shooting unit, a fantastic war machine, and a very easy to synergise magic lore to the already powerful Warriors line effectively mitigates there only real flaw.

Top Tier is basically combination armies... and Skaven. Why Skaven so high? Because of diminished returns. You always hit on a six, you always wound on a six. This mean if you can charge Karl Franz Ascended with a bunch of Skavenslaves they WILL do a wound, statistically, once every 36 attacks. Now that might not sound like much, but if you hit him with a big block of 50; he's killing 8-10 rats per turn on average. These rats are only 2.5pts each with spears. Who gives a shit?! A horde of these will hit with 4 ranks, so that's potentially 40 hits per turn. On average Mr. Franz will be taking at least 1 wound per turn. When you can potentially kill an 800+ character with a unit worth only 125 points, you're awesome. Consider as well, your lightning cannons, jezzails, sling armed slaves, and rattling guns etc. can all shoot into combat with slaves. So HRH Franz will be shot by pretty much everything as well. In the age of hero-hammer, this is a fantastic advantage.

UPPER-MID TIER

6. Dark Elves - Pure Dark Elves are still very much the super-army of 8th. While I think Skaven are a better singular army, the dark elves seem to be both easier to use and more reliable; which is likely why most consider them number 1. Warlocks, Witch Elves and general Elf Shooting is still just as powerful as ever, and they have strong magic potential. Requires skill and tactics to do properly, but a powerhouse in the right hands.

7. Warriors Of Chaos - Powerful and capable troops, good access to magic, armoured sorcerers, best chariots in the game, great monsters, superb cavalry, and monstrous infantry that can rival Ogre Kingdoms. Shooting is limited to throwing axes (crap), and the Hellcannon, which is really in effect a stone thrower (good, but not incredible). Hard to screw up, even a very sub-optimal list is capable, but when optimised this army is powerful. Often underestimated because they're popular and thus often played by unskilled and casual players.

8. Undead Legion - Best magic in the game period! Vampire Blender-Lord, Ethereal Units, Flying Chaff, Cheap Bowmen and Catapults. Hordes that can almost rival Skaven. An entire army that causes fear and is immune to psychology. Add in a load of powerful super-characters and you have a very formidable army.

9. High Elves - Often ranked as 1 or 2 by most this is a great army, but I feel it's somewhat overstated. The problem is over-reliance on White Lions and Banner Of The World Dragon. Sure it's got Frost Phoenix, great magic, and effective cavalry; and it's likely rerolling to hit which makes it far more formidable that it first looks. It's a great army, but without that banner it would lose a massive strength.

10. Chaos Dwarfs - They're Dwarfs with access to magic, goblins, and a K'Daai Destroyer. That's power. Lore Of Hashut has great synergy with fire, which the Magma Cannons, K'Daai, and a unit of Fireglaives with Banner Of Eternal Flame can take advantage of. Their hobgoblins are slightly better goblins that can take full range bows, not short bows, and don't cause panic in Dwarfs so they make for good axillary shooting and/or chaff. A very focused army but unparalleled at it's specific way of doing combat. The recent addition of Lore Of Undeath is especially good for Chaos Dwarfs to augment their numbers.

Upper-mid tier armies are probably the most fun. They feel powerful, you can go in with a plan and expect to win if you can carry out your plan, but winning doesn't feel like a certainty. You have weaknesses, they may be subtle but you have them. This is where 90% of competitive lists will likely be.

LOWER-MID TIER

11. The Empire - The all-rounder, good at literally everything. They've got great shooting, magic, artillery, cavalry, monstrous cavalry, and good infantry, chaff, and troublemakers (steamtank). Special characters like Karl Franz and Elspeth Von Draken make running a hero-hammer super-game is very possible. At less than 1500 points for them both, it's possible to field just those two and minimum core in a 2000 point game. While admittedly amusing that's probably not so effective though. Still, the strength of Empire is their versatility, it's also however their weakness as literally any role they play can be done better by someone else and unless you're playing 5000+ point games, Empire can't cover all it's bases.

12. Ogre Kingdoms - Good hard hitting troops with good shooting. Nice monsters. Decent monstrous cavalry. Fantastic chaff, and the second best cannon in the game. Ogres are very capable and enjoy some strong builds, but the MSU build and Gutstar builds are well known and counters for them have become commonplace. Ogres also suffer from an army wide weakness to magic due to low Initiative and an army wide poor Weapon Skill. Good, but with some glaring weaknesses.

13. Daemons - Capable in combat and having some decent units, daemons appear to be a good army but almost everything is overcosted and difficult to use effectively against all armies. A slaanesh leadership bomb is extremely effective against some units, bloody useless against undead. The only thing keeping Daemons in good stead is Beast Of Nurgle are heavily undercosted and the Skullcannon is so cheap it's simply unfair. Even with that though, one Elf player with Banner Of The World dragon can pretty much ruin a Daemon armies day, and Elves are hardly rare in ANY meta at this point

14. Dwarfs - Put simply, Chaos Dwarfs do it better. Sure Dwarfs are great at making a gunline and their stubborn infantry is hard to shift. They also have some nice toys like the Gyrocopter and fantastic magic defense. The problem is they have really only one truly competitive build and that's the gunline. Chaos Dwarfs and Empire can both do the same and both of them have other options available, and Dark Elves are effectively the same gunline but highly mobile and with high powered magic.

15. Vampire Counts - Capable and scary with ethereal units and monsters like the terrorgheist, and the infamous Vampire Blender lord. Still, with an overreliance on their Vampires, the army itself is really just an inferior Skaven horde with no shooting and less effective troops. Capable in the right hands especially with clever use of magic, but ultimately obsolete now with the Undead Legion.

Lower-mid tier armies can and do win battles, with the right person they can be formidable opponents for even top tier armies, but they're simply missing too much, too generalised, or have too obvious of an exploitable weakness. The difference isn't huge but it's clear there's an underdog when these armies hit above their weight.

BOTTOM TIER

16. Wood Elves- Treated far better than they have been in the past Wood Elves are at least playable now, though they don't win. Wood Elves are fantastic at forcing a draw, even with Top Tier armies; as their avoidance list are extremely manoeuvreable but they lack the punch to decidedly win matches. While they may not lose often, they don't win often either. It may be so with nuclear war, but it's not true in Warhammer that the only winning move is not to play; with Wood Elves, that seems ro be their big strategy though. It's just not enough.


17. Beastmen - End Times has saved the Beastmen, who without End Times comes in at dead last by a large margin. You could probably win more by playing a top or upper-mid tier army with 25% less points than your opponent than you could with plain Beastmen. 2500 of Beastmen woulc routinely lose to 1500 of other armies... seriously. Thankfully, now they can take Marks Of Chaos making units actually capable (Slaanesh is especially usefull). Ambush now actually works. Lastly there's Magic. Thanks to Khaine magic, the Beastmen are now rivalling the Undead Legion for magic capability. The combination of cheap shaman, the Shard Of The Heardstone, and the Skull Of Rarkos make for multiple effectively level 5 shaman with extra power dice very easy to achieve. The special character Malagor however can single-handedly propel Beastmen into Top Tier if used in a specific way. Thanks to changes in the magic system, this 350 point character can outcast Nagash worth over 1000 points, and he can do it with shocking ease. Fully optimised Beastmen are now the single most broken army in the game (As are Chaos Legion who can also do this). Take away and/or re-write Malagor though and their magic just becomes great, not stupidly overpowered; and the poor shooting and combat balances that out. Better than they where, but still bottom tier.

18. Lizardmen - Some nice units, decent monsters etc. and in theory it should work well. Thing are fairly priced for the most part but they just don't seem to work. Not cheap enough to be a horde army, and not elite enough to hold their own against the big boys, Lizardmen seem to either be outnumbered and lose, or outclassed and lose. Most of the monsters whilst, again, being fairly priced; are simply not able to take a cannon ball to the face. Add it a miserable shooting phase and a distinctly underwhelming magic phase, (considering how powerful Slaan are supposed to be), and you've got an army that just can't compete with the big boys.

19. Orcs & Goblins - A fantastic range with loads of options; none of which are especially great. There's a few decent builds, usually abusing savage orcs with double hand weapon, or night goblin randomness and hoping the enemy comes off worse. Fun yes, competitive... not really. The big kicker is animosity, stupidity, frenzy, and fairly low leadership. This army also suffers from sub par shooting and a fairly stunted magic phase due to a lack of Lore freedom... unfortunately the addition of Lore Of Undeath hasn't aided Orcs & Goblins much who can already horde and tarpit effectively anyway.


20. Tomb Kings - Can't march, flammable, unstable, and far too reliant on their characters. The best magic for a single army book, (discounting the recent Beastmen anomaly), and with some nice things like Casket Of Souls; this army has potential but it's squandered. Thankfully almost all these flaws are addressed in Undead Legion, if you want to play Tomb Kings just play Undead Legion and choose predominantly (or even entirely) from the Tomb King range.

21. Bretonnians - This is what happens when an army isn't updated for multiple editions and is left to just rot away for closing on 2 decades. Seriously, Chaos Dwarfs get more love. GW clearly dislike Bretonnians, probably because you can't copyright King Arthur style knights and peasantry bowmen/footmen. They have a nice tactic, it's pretty cool, it worked well... now we have loads of special units, monstrous infantry, monstrous cavalry, and other such thing. Brets simply aren't set up to deal with the variety. They where designed back when infantry, cavalry, and war machine was your lot. Occasionally a swarm or flying infantry would turn up, but not often. This new stuff counter acts much of Brets strengths, as does Steadfast which effectively improved the capability of infantry dramatically, and made combat for knights actually quite daunting. Very little magic attacks is also an issue. These guys desperately need an update but I'm genuinely concerned GW would rather just destroy Bretonnia in the End Times campaign fluff and drop the line entirely.

So yeah... Bottom tier are progressively more and more terrible aren't they? They struggle to win against anything outside their tier and are rarely successful. Obviously there are YouTubers who show that you can win with even a botton tier army (yes, even Brets), but these seem like exceptions and done by talented and tactically minded players. Warhammer is shockingly well balanced but the difference between top tier and bottom tier is extremely apparent; even to a newer player.

So, do you agree? Disagree? Please let me know and maybe you could change my mind.
 

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Honestly, there really aren't any definitive "army tiers" in Fantasy anymore, as the player is what's truly important in game. (unlike 40k, where the list itself can still allow for auto-pilot wins)
Most people for example love to claim that Brets & TK's are weaksauce and thus 'bottom tier'. That's horribly untrue. Those armies simply have a steeper learning curve and require the player to properly understand how the army works. A good Bret player will demolish so-called 'top tier' lists, just as even the most obnoxiously built 'Brolock spam' Dark Elf list will get face punched when used by a new player, as they have little idea how the army actively works.

Even the most heinously one-sided match-up of Daemons vs. an Alarielle led, Banner of Averlorn + Skillbanner Light Coven gunline can get owned badly by the right counters...
ie: Daemon player goes first, marches that Kipper 20" into the Elves' collective face, 6-diced Cacobomb = profit?!
If that goes off and gets through, the elves are quite frankly screwed, despite being a near 100% perfect hard-counter to the entire DoC book! However, that Daemon army now runs rings around an army that just lost all it's chaff, and has units now moving just a random D6" in their next turn. (and DoC can still run rings around even Elves if they want to!:p)

The only real 'tier' so-to-speak is simply in what army is enjoying the most popularity and thus, can effectively define the meta...

Right now, that army is all of the Elves, with a decent side helping of WoC & DoC.
If you can effectively build your list to cope with elves & 2+ saves, odds are you can take on most of what are considered the 'usual suspects'.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Honestly, there really aren't any definitive "army tiers" in Fantasy anymore, as the player is what's truly important in game. (unlike 40k, where the list itself can still allow for auto-pilot wins)
Most people for example love to claim that Brets & TK's are weaksauce and thus 'bottom tier'. That's horribly untrue. Those armies simply have a steeper learning curve and require the player to properly understand how the army works. A good Bret player will demolish so-called 'top tier' lists, just as even the most obnoxiously built 'Brolock spam' Dark Elf list will get face punched when used by a new player, as they have little idea how the army actively works.
To an extent I agree, and I think it's a testiment to GW that so many armies with so many units all combined in innumerable ways comes out as even vaguely balanced. To say that Bretonnians or Tomb Kings are competitive though is quite franky a joke... With Undead Legion the unfair elements in the Tomb Kings army has been largely undone (ie. no marching, overcosted units etc.) but before that Tomb Kings where simply outgunned and outmaneuvered by everyone. As for Bretonnians, the Brets where royally screwed in such a way that they had to rely on advanced tactics just to beat armies that where marching straight forward and hoping.

Sure, both TK and Brets can be effective with skill, but let's be fair here; the average person playing Warhammer is an idiot. Watch in your LFGS next time there's a pick-up game happening. This is NOT "more complicated chess" as I've heard it described in the past. Rather, at the average players skill level, it's a rather sad game of "bucket 'o dice"; skill need not be applied. Even at tournament level you'll see people just moving forward without any clear tactic or plan of action. Perhaps with a more dedicated player base this changes, but I don't regularly see two skilled opponents facing off in Warhammer.

When it comed down to it though skill is irrelevant. Assuming both players are equally skilled, a High Elf, Chaos Legion, or Skaven player will make mincemeat out of a Bretonnian or Tomb Kings player.

Even the most heinously one-sided match-up of Daemons vs. an Alarielle led, Banner of Averlorn + Skillbanner Light Coven gunline can get owned badly by the right counters...
ie: Daemon player goes first, marches that Kipper 20" into the Elves' collective face, 6-diced Cacobomb = profit?!
If that goes off and gets through, the elves are quite frankly screwed, despite being a near 100% perfect hard-counter to the entire DoC book! However, that Daemon army now runs rings around an army that just lost all it's chaff, and has units now moving just a random D6" in their next turn. (and DoC can still run rings around even Elves if they want to!:p)
True but that's a massive amount of 'What If' to rely on. Especially now that Khaine magic makes 6-dicing a spell very difficult. Add in that you'll be having smoked Kipper if the Elves go first because any Elf player worth there salt knows that tactic and will nuke him from orbit at the first opportunity; and you have a hail-Mary chance at best. Hardly balanced now is it.

The only real 'tier' so-to-speak is simply in what army is enjoying the most popularity and thus, can effectively define the meta...

Right now, that army is all of the Elves, with a decent side helping of WoC & DoC.
If you can effectively build your list to cope with elves & 2+ saves, odds are you can take on most of what are considered the 'usual suspects'.
"The Meta" is largely a myth. Most people play whatever their favourite is regardless. Most people also have 2 armies or less so it doesn't change much; with only true enthusiasts and psychos like me collecting half the damn model range. Sure some tournaments may have specific metas but they can change at a moments notice and often have little actual tactics to them. If someone on WarSeer posted a Bret build and a few batreps showing them winning consistently, the sheep would all suddenly buy Brets. In fact this happened when Malorian, TheSustainableCentre etc. all did a Bretonnian competitive bet at a tournament last year I think it was. Suddenly YouTube filled up with people doing Bret lists...

So yeah. I'm afraid I have to disagree. There's no way Brets, Tomb Kings, Beastmen or Lizardmen can reliably compete with Chaos Legion, Undead Legion, Skaven or the End Times elf lists. As much as I agree it's far more balanced than 40k, (which I can't stand), but some things are just so overpriced (Cygor, Tomb Scorpion, Men-At-Arms), or so undercosted (Skullcannon, Hellpit Abomination, Banner Of The World Dragon), that I wonder if they're a misprint.
 

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As usual, I have to disagree with a couple of points scattered throughout the thread already.

Firstly, the listing. While I agree with you that there are still Tiers, I think that it has less to do with the power level of the army, so much as the book itself. That's what keeps Wood Elves and Brets in the bottom, even though they can be competitive. If an army can only produce wins with one list from it's book, it's a bad book. That said, there are some armies in which that single list approach is nigh unbeatable, and that's something worth pointing out (looking at Daemons here).

If I were going to rewrite the lists, I'd go with:

Legion of the Phoenix King - This is the Elf list from Khaine. There's nothing lost within this list, it's a free mixture of everything, minus some characters, and is the only list of the three presented which mixes the Martial/Murderous. The Aestyrion list I am certain does not, it simply replaces Martial with Murderous, and that's a huge downgrade, actually.

Chaos Legion - I rate them higher than any of the individual books, simply because you can mix and match. Otherwise however, I don't think that this book is the be-all, end-all that ET: Khaine is. For Daemons, this book represents a major downgrade, and for Beastmen it is merely a sideshift. Warriors are the real beneficiaries here, and most "competitive" Legion lists focus on a base of Warriors of Chaos, with some added "sprinkles" from the other books.

Upper Tier - I would add WoC, High Elves, and Dark Elves to this, alongside Skaven. If your reasoning is that they are already represented in the Legions, then you're not seeing the point. WoC/HE/DE can still hold their own against a Legion army. They're powerful lists on their own.
I would also add specifically Nurgle Daemons to the list of top-tier armies. It goes against the "one list from a book", but Nurgle Daemons are like finding an 'Astral Diamond' in the rough. They are deathly hard to defeat, even with BotWD High Elves (as an aside, people still need to calm down about the BotWD - it's really just one unit from your army, and while good, it's not going to win you a game outright).

Mid - I wouldn't split it. If you're going to split it, then drop Skaven down to Upper Mid, and leave the genuinely Top-tiere for the Legion armies. Mostly just Khaine, because it's in a league of it's own right now.
If I were splitting it, I'd place Upper Mid as:
Ogres
Legion/Vampires
Lizardmen

Lower Mid would be:
Empire
Dwarfs
Azgorth/Chaos Dwarfs
Daemons (non-Nurgle focused)
Orcs'n'Gobs

Bottom Tier - Beastmen, TK, and Brets for sure. Also Wood Elves at the top of the heap. "Trap units" make up the majority of these army books, or the armies simply aren't written to win the game the way that it's currently played (big issue with Brets and Woodies, as usual).

Bits You're Mad About

Lizardmen - I really don't think that you've played a solid enough Lizardman player. Their magic phase is, at a minimum, considered at least average. Their Skink Priests are no better or worse at casting than a L2 Empire Wizard, with the exception of Lore Selection choices. Slann are absolutely powerful. One thing to keep in mind is that the End Times rules for magic are not FAQ'd into the Core game yet. They are used "by choice", and were meant to be used a scenario rules for ET games. Tournaments, competitive players, and even most "friendly gamers" aren't picking these rules up. Slann therefore, still have major bonuses over other casters. Not to mention their interaction with Temple Guard.
For the rest of their book: Lizardmen are "footy" Chaos Warriors with useable Marauders. It's that simple. Saurus are on par with Chaos Warriors in every aspect that counts - the exceptions being WS and Initiative (the two least important skills on the line). Even then, they still hit most stuff on 4's, and I1 hurts them for magic, but they still get to strike in combat. They can get just as many attacks per frontage as AHW or MoK (but not both) Warriors, at S4, and can generate additional attacks to boot. The big kicker is their Leadership. Saurus can grind down just about anything that they want to. They'll take casualties, but a fully upgraded Saurus Warrior is still cheaper than a "naked" Chaos Warrior. With a Slann in the army (duh) they have better magic to back them than the WoC too.
Skinks are terrible, but they are priced accordingly. Poison is huge here, and I've seen Skinks rip through regiment of High Elves like they were butter. Being able to act as ablative shields for Kroxigor (and get Kroxies into Core, basically), as well as lay down some smack of their own, makes Skinks solid. They fill the chaff role, and do the same thing that Hagbane Tipped Glade Guard or Deepwoods do for about half the price.
The rest of the book is by no means terrible. Their monsters are all fairly priced and you can cram quite a few of them into the army.
My regular opponent is a Lizardman player, and has been for a decade now. His army is the only army that will consistently draw my Chaos Warriors, or stomp them. He has smashed apart every army I've put onto the table, including the WoC.
The problem is that people just don't know how to build Lizardmen. It's not that they have bad or trap units (not any more so than other non-WoC books), it's that people don't realize that moreso than any other army, you should not skimp on Core. His army typically tops out at 30-50% Core, rather than the minimum 25%. That entire book is written to support Saurus Warriors, not to charging off on it's own and make a mess like Skullcrushers or Bloodknights.

Chaos Dwarfs (alone) Their "book" is hardly a book, so much as a White Dwarf update. They only have a handful of regiments, and while powerful, they still suffer heavily from the Forgeworld blight of "soft pricing". They're very points-heavy. They can pull out some nasty tricks, and they're not a bad army, but they aren't rubbing elbows with the big-boys. Any time that I've seen Chaos Dwarfs put onto the table, I've walked away feeling like they'd be truly terrifying if they were about 10% cheaper per model, army-wide.

Chaos Dwarfs (legion) The Legion rules are so restrictive, and Chaos Dwarfs so expensive, that you don't actually gain much from your Chaos army. If the Dwarfs were priced competitively with your Chaos stuff, it would make a bit more sense, but in many cases the better option for Chaos players is to just get more boots on the ground, or more Crushers, or Knights, or a Chimera. All of the best CD stuff has the tax of requiring a hefty CD Character somewhere in the army. The CD Warriors aren't anything to write home about - if you can't make your full core out of them, you're not going to have enough shooting to really do anything. They're too slow - WoC doesn't provide them with the tools to gunline effectively, because all of that stuff is left sitting in their Tamurkhan book, or is very restricted/expensive or competing for space with the units which make Warriors tick.
The Tamurkhan lists were what I hoped End Times would be: very restrictive, non-threatening army lists that only stood a chance in friendly games with tacit agreements and no real "bent" towards a competitive edge. If they had done that with ET, rather than appealing to competitive players by adding in powerful lists, I think that the community would be in a better place right now. WoC+CD is a case where each individual army gets watered down, and is therefore better off on it's own.

The Meta
This is really odd, because you've said yourself that you don't attend tournaments, and here you are putting up army tiers. These tiers are the meta, and that's also a lot of reason that I have to disagree with you on some of your choices. Tournament gamers are willing to sit down and crunch the numbers and spend hours refining lists where most (not all) friendly players will not. It helps that all of this tuning and refinement (R&D, if you will) is taking place either in the tournaments themselves, or as practice games leading up to the events - all of these calculations are based upon two smart players running into each other on the upper tables of a tournament, and playing a high level game of Warhammer where both army books are bent to the breaking point.

There is a reason that so many people gravitate towards certain armies - they have a reputation for winning games. While yes, there are bandwagoning "blips" in the meta (your Bret example, for instance, as well as new army releases) these often quickly iron themselves out and things return to the norm. It's when a trend hits and stays that you see a real shift. When everyone rushes out to buy the new Dark Elves, and then keeps playing Dark Elves - that's a shift in the meta.
There are currently three things that must be dealt with for any tournament army to be effective:
1) Chaos Warriors, or their equivalent saves
2) High/Dark Elves, particularly White Lions
3) Regen-heavy Nurgle Daemons (and by extension: Troll-Horde Chaos armies)

For good, bad, or worse, and win, loss, or draw, you will see several of these armies at any tournament. You're right - most players don't have more than 2 armies. So just because a bunch of guys run out and start playing Brets for a tournament, few people actually go out and start buying up Brets. What they will do, is key in to what armies are already known for winning games. Either they ask here on the forums and everyone screams, "Don't play Brets, play WoC/HE/DE/NoC", or else they have their first army of whatever and get consistently roflstomped by one of those powerhouses until they get the message and "if you can't beat 'em, join" their way into the fun.

Until there's a massive flight away from one or more of the current juggernauts, they're going to keep dictating what types of armies you see in tournaments.
You're right - outside of large tournaments with a wide sample-group of participants, there's no meta at all. It's just too hard to guage trends when you're only seeing 10 or fewer people each game. Are Paul's Brets winning because Brets are actually hard case brick-houses, or are they winning because Paul is the best player in our neighborhood?
When you have a tournament and there are maybe 3-4 Bret Players facing a wide array of opponents - rarely the same opponents per player even - you can get a better sense that yeah, Brets are hard to win with no matter how good you are, or what army you put them against.
For this reason, the meta means sod-all to most people, and army tiers mean sod-all to most people, unless you are playing in a large and/or very competitive group, which reflects the meta on a smaller scale.

Take my group for example; the majority of us are - or were - tournament players. The local group a little ways off from me is also made up of several hardcore tournament players. Where most players might have just 1-2 armies, most of the players in my group have at least 2 armies, both at tournament size with very few "extra" models left on the shelf, and they each have at least one of the top-tier armies.
Just looking at the four players living nearest me (myself and 3 regular opponents) the army breakdowns are as follows:

Me: WoC, HE, DE, WE, VC, Empire, O&G, Brets, Dwarfs
"K": Lizards, HE, VC, TK, DoC
"N": DE, VC
"S": Skaven, O&G

Whenever we play, you are most likely to see someone fielding VC(3), HE(2), or DE(2). Why the VC? Well, it goes back to when they were devastating during 7th edition. On the table, and in reality, you'll most likely face
WoC or HE/DE
Lizards or DoC
DE
Skaven

Compare that to what we've both agree are "upper tier" armies in either the top or mid.

Also keep in mind that the type of games that you play is going to color your opinions of the armies just as much as the mindsets of the players themselves. You've said yourself that you play very large games, which results in having it's own imbalances and oddball quirks compared to the universal "standard" of 2.4k or 2.5k. I often warn new players with smaller armies to beware of becoming too overconfident in their shooting or magic, as these phases tend to go "wonky" in smaller games below 2k (typical for new gamers getting their armies off the ground). Playing 2.5k games most frequently myself, my group sees where the balance is considered to be a little more "true", or the targeted balance for the game.

So there is a meta, it just breaks down unless you're willing to track it on a larger scale than mere local groups. If you took a crosssection of several local groups, I'm sure that you'd see trends which still fit the global metagame. I would bet money that more players use WoC than TK, for example, and that the more "successful" gamers in each group are often the guys who are using the upper-tier armies, either because they are powerful armybooks in the hands of idiots (give a monkey a sword, and he becomes king of the monkeys), or because the gamer has the spot the superior book and seeks it out intentionally.
 

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[MENTION=9309]CaptainSarathai[/MENTION]: On the subject of the top list for DoC, it really is no longer about Nurgle, due to the high prevalence of Lore of Death & Purplefun hard countering it so massively, combined with the new era of Elfhammer.
'The List' has moved on to Slaanesh heavy, with a sprinkling of the main staple units such as Beasts & Khannons.

- Slaanesh in general is capable of out maneuvering even Elven cav lists, and Caco Choir is the single most effective 'feth-you' to Bannerstar builds & the nastier DE/WE avoidance lists. Lore of Slaanesh in general is golden for playing the table control game, and is a rather mean lore toward Elves, who are currently everywhere in the competitive meta right now. (Brolocks especially!)
- Also typically included are units of min/maxed Pink Horrors filling out the Core tax, since they're almost as difficult to kill as Phoenix Guard and Gateway will ruin the typical power builds from WoC & Empire.
- Soul Grinders are also becoming a true staple unit, as they are difficult to kill, make excellent anvils/supporters, and are naturally adept at countering unfortunate Warpflame results due to their Baleful Torrent upgrade. Marked Slaanesh, they'll shred any smaller units of 1+/2+ saves.
- Character selection is either going for multiple Heralds, or else taking an Eternal Beaststick Kipper, which is perhaps in contention for best melee character in the game, alongside a key Herald or two.

The only Nurgle elements still making the grade honestly are the utterly broken as hell Beasts, a small unit of Plaguedrones, and occasionally a Regen Herald BSB w/Plaguebrick.

Plus there's also the fact that Swedish comp and/or ETChammer which can be very common depending on the whims of your local 'leadership' really puts the screws to Nurgle, but has very laughably left Slaanesh all but un-comped. (the only 'hit' being in the inability to 6-dice spells, which slightly hurts the Cacobomb.)
 

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I haven't heard/caught the shift over to Slaanesh yet. I'm interested to know if it will stick. I'm also waiting around to get an official response to what the Comp Systems are doing about Khaine. Their current ruling is "Common Magic Items only" for all Legion lists, but that doesn't hurt the Elves as much, because they aren't gaining power through "combos", so much as they're getting free 1-3pt/model rules for no additional charge, plus the ability to cherry-pick from amongst two very similar armybooks (call it 'hybrid vigor', to steal a science term).

I don't think that Slaanesh will catch on faster than Nurgle because it features just as many hard counters. The Cacobomb stalls out utterly against anything that's Psych-Immune. Daemonettes are just Elves with an opportunity cost, and if you're considering that everyone is already planning to counter Elves... yeah.

Really, I don't see PurpleSun as being that crippling. Again, my friend plays I1 Lizardmen, and while he is admittedly terrified when he hears that Sun is on the table, he's pretty logical about it: few people we've seen are using Death. In tournaments I'm not so sure if this still holds, but it seems to have fallen out of favor just about everywhere I look. Especially when you consider that I5 Elves and Warriors are still popular takes.

I also wasn't really factoring in Comp, to be honest. I don't think that Tornado was either (in fact, given the inclusion of Azghor lists, I know that he wasn't) so I was talking from an uncomped standpoint. Inside Comp, a lot of stuff gets the shift and goes wonky. I've always walked a tightrope with Comp - it's a bad substitute for GW actually giving a damn, but until GW decides to focus a bit more on balance, Comp systems are something that I can live with at a tournament. I would rather play a Comped GT than go to something like GW's own Throne of Skulls (in regards to paying for a ticket and hoping for a fair chance to win my money back). That's a huge change of pace for me, but when I consider things like the inclusion of SoM creatures and the BattleScrolls, Comp systems keep Warhammer from getting too ridiculous.
Comp feels a lot more balanced to me, although I've only been to a few comped events in the past, so I can't comment on any large-scale findings. I know that it's still not perfect - in the last High Elf book I was able to write up a 60-white-lion spammer list that scored softly on Comp. My current WoC army also features Lore of Shadow, 2 units of Crushers, 2 MoK Chariots, a Daemonic Steed BSB, 8 Knights, and a block of 20 MoN Halberd Warriors, and is considered balanced at a "softish" 11pts. So yeah, you can definitely skate your way around it, and Comp is best applied in settings where players haven't had the time to crunch those numbers down and find the "tenth of a wound" efficiencies and loopholes in the system.
 

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I haven't heard/caught the shift over to Slaanesh yet. I'm interested to know if it will stick. I'm also waiting around to get an official response to what the Comp Systems are doing about Khaine. Their current ruling is "Common Magic Items only" for all Legion lists, but that doesn't hurt the Elves as much, because they aren't gaining power through "combos", so much as they're getting free 1-3pt/model rules for no additional charge, plus the ability to cherry-pick from amongst two very similar armybooks (call it 'hybrid vigor', to steal a science term).
This is why I hate comp. Ridiculous rules that make no sense in the guise of "balance". There's absolutely no justification or interpretation of the legion rules in any of the End Times books. What happened was a few rules lawyers at the big east coast USA tournaments and through WarSeer decided it was so and no-one had the balls to call them on this utter bullshit. Slaanesh has always been good, why it's less costed I'll never no. Immunity to Panic is massive (and Immunity to Fear and Terror isn't bad). You get the freedom of an undead army when it comes to deployment, movement, and engagement without the nasty crumbling. It doesn't get comped or even played much because it's subtle, but I've seen it win games.

I don't think that Slaanesh will catch on faster than Nurgle because it features just as many hard counters. The Cacobomb stalls out utterly against anything that's Psych-Immune. Daemonettes are just Elves with an opportunity cost, and if you're considering that everyone is already planning to counter Elves... yeah.
I don't see what the hard counters are here. Manoeuvreability and reliability are hard to counter which is a lot of what Slaanesh gives you, it's why I'm shocked we don't see more big blocks of Hellstriders in WoC armies. The main problem is that DoC has schizophrenic costings.

Really, I don't see PurpleSun as being that crippling. Again, my friend plays I1 Lizardmen, and while he is admittedly terrified when he hears that Sun is on the table, he's pretty logical about it: few people we've seen are using Death. In tournaments I'm not so sure if this still holds, but it seems to have fallen out of favor just about everywhere I look. Especially when you consider that I5 Elves and Warriors are still popular takes.
I think people are far too reliant or focused on the big spells. Gateway, Sun, Caco etc are all nukes; they win games, but you don't go to war planning to nuke your opponent, especially if they have an anti-ICBM network in place.

I also wasn't really factoring in Comp, to be honest. I don't think that Tornado was either (in fact, given the inclusion of Azghor lists, I know that he wasn't) so I was talking from an uncomped standpoint. Inside Comp, a lot of stuff gets the shift and goes wonky. I've always walked a tightrope with Comp - it's a bad substitute for GW actually giving a damn, but until GW decides to focus a bit more on balance, Comp systems are something that I can live with at a tournament. I would rather play a Comped GT than go to something like GW's own Throne of Skulls (in regards to paying for a ticket and hoping for a fair chance to win my money back). That's a huge change of pace for me, but when I consider things like the inclusion of SoM creatures and the BattleScrolls, Comp systems keep Warhammer from getting too ridiculous.
Comp feels a lot more balanced to me, although I've only been to a few comped events in the past, so I can't comment on any large-scale findings. I know that it's still not perfect - in the last High Elf book I was able to write up a 60-white-lion spammer list that scored softly on Comp. My current WoC army also features Lore of Shadow, 2 units of Crushers, 2 MoK Chariots, a Daemonic Steed BSB, 8 Knights, and a block of 20 MoN Halberd Warriors, and is considered balanced at a "softish" 11pts. So yeah, you can definitely skate your way around it, and Comp is best applied in settings where players haven't had the time to crunch those numbers down and find the "tenth of a wound" efficiencies and loopholes in the system.
I NEVER account for comp because everyones comp is different. If someone seriously expects me to plan my game around their house-rules they're going to get a sad realisation. The fact is comp is just another set of douchy know-alls who set up arbitrary rules without any justifications, often just to stroke their egos because they think they can do a better job that GW. Sure GW have made some stupid rules, it's not a perfect system, but comp only complicates the game further adding stupid and constantly changing rules to an already rules heavy game. None of my friends play by comp, none of the pick-ups or random games I play will be comped, if I play at my local GW store they expect everyone to use the core rules. Without a regulatory body, comp is players with inherent biases deciding restrictions on a game they play and sink hundreds of hours a month into... and people expect no bias! Bullshit. As far as I'm concerned discussing comp is just as relevant as discussing your (ie. Cap's) new homebrew rules. Should I tier everything up according to that and assume you all know what I'm talking about?

This community lives and dies on it's system. We all have to be playing the same game, using the same rules, or it goes back to how it was back in the 1990's... and wargaming (and tabletop roleplaying) back then was the gaming equivalent of the old west. GW are far from perfect. Thier writers are obsessed with making elves good at everything, have a massive stiffy for Nurgle for some reason, and seem to think it's edgy and cool to put skulls of literally every-****ing-thing; but they've at least kept a consistent game going and it pisses me off when people throw these stupid comps around as though they're sacred and act like they've fixed warhammer... especially when it's still unbalanced or worse still more unbalanced.

This hobby is expensive enough without a self-entitled cock telling me what I can and can't have in my army because his comp pack says so. I'm not about to change my armies composition; buying, building and painting more models, all for a tournament I'm expected to pay to go to. What's wrong with just playing Warhammer... it's honestly not that imbalanced anyway, and I should know; I play Beastmen!
 

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I haven't heard/caught the shift over to Slaanesh yet. I'm interested to know if it will stick. I'm also waiting around to get an official response to what the Comp Systems are doing about Khaine. Their current ruling is "Common Magic Items only" for all Legion lists, but that doesn't hurt the Elves as much, because they aren't gaining power through "combos", so much as they're getting free 1-3pt/model rules for no additional charge, plus the ability to cherry-pick from amongst two very similar armybooks (call it 'hybrid vigor', to steal a science term).
I fully expect most events will ban the End Times lists themselves, simply because the level of sheer douche-baggery to be had by the most ruthless & cutthroat "Tournament" types will drive most sane people up the walls.

We'll likely see, (and already have with the Nagash book), the new units themselves come into play, such as the Blightkings & new construct units for TK's/VC's, but the characters & the combined lists especially will almost certainly get told to stay home...


I don't think that Slaanesh will catch on faster than Nurgle because it features just as many hard counters. The Cacobomb stalls out utterly against anything that's Psych-Immune. Daemonettes are just Elves with an opportunity cost, and if you're considering that everyone is already planning to counter Elves... yeah.

Really, I don't see PurpleSun as being that crippling. Again, my friend plays I1 Lizardmen, and while he is admittedly terrified when he hears that Sun is on the table, he's pretty logical about it: few people we've seen are using Death. In tournaments I'm not so sure if this still holds, but it seems to have fallen out of favor just about everywhere I look. Especially when you consider that I5 Elves and Warriors are still popular takes.
I don't get the European community in general... Here in most parts of North America, especially the hyper competitive US west coast & east coast, Slaanesh has been utterly dominant as THE go-to list for DoC for a while now.

Nurgle is great at not dying sure, but it's hard counter is annoying prevalent. Slaanesh has no actual hard counter beyond being able to out-play the Daemon player!
And Lore of Death is still very, very prevalent due to it's utility for both Character sniping, as well as Doom & Darkness combo'ing so nicely with a number of other spells, or even just to knock the General's IP ability. Purplefun is just a bonus that inevitably can utterly bone nearly half the game's armies given half a chance, and is amazaballs at forcing out the Dispel Scroll early game.

While it's true that Daemonettes are just inferior elves, no one really uses Daemonettes... DoC Core is still either a regen'ing Plaguebrick including a BSB to act as an anchor, or the more and more popular option, min/maxed Horrors who are almost as resilient in the long run, but provide both crowd control & a solid counter to 1+/2+ saves.
Seekers, Fiends & MoS Grinders are quite common though, as is of course the Kipper as it's easily the single best choice of the 4 Greater Daemons.

And you really need to re-read what Caco Choir does... It's simply a catch-all, auto-wound on a 4+/no armour saves. Take a wound? Enjoy 'Random Movement D6"' & ASL. Immune to Psych doesn't protect from it in any way. Add to this that you can boost it for a 12" bubble AND every single wound caused can grow a 'free' Fiend.
It's a stupid, stupid, spell that's broken to the nines and then some! Move into an optimum spot, (not hard when Kipper's can move 20"!), get it off, and boom. Turn 1 victory, especially with a predominantly Slaanesh army backed-up by Beasts/Grinders/Drones.
 

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when i think tiers, I really only consider what army i feel to be doing best and worst, everything else gets tossed in the center. why you ask ? well i guess that's just my opinion with only my personal feelings about the game for a reason.

Top Tier ? WOC without a doubt. Reason? the books bad choices are still not even bad just par and pale in comparison to the top choices. while this army will face many problems that all the others throw at it, it still seems to hold up. its true that you will still see everyone taking the same kind of list even though they have good options, i believe that no matter what army people play they still gravitate towards the same stuff anyway, so who cares ??

Bottom tier ? this ones really hard for me but i would have to say its beasts. yes they did get a large boost from the legion rules, but you will still not see many true beast lists, rather they are their to cherry pick stuff from for your warriors army. the problem with beasts is it has a few "effective" builds, builds that i personally find the easiest to face and counter. they are a cool looking army though !!

Everything else is mid tier to me. sure dark elves have some really great lists flying around right now, and skaven always give me a bad time (ALLWAYS) but with all these lists i can find weakness in, most cases obvious weakness.

also, Im with the captain on tornado's point on lizardmen. I picked up the army about a year ago now and its really great. beyond solid core when you stop comparing them to warriors and start comparing them to everything else. half of the armies out there are only S/T 3 with maybe a 5+ save at best. we have slanns. everyone seems to underestimate these guys cause they think they are just a wizard, and thats just no so. they are first and formost a general that gives ld9 COLDBLOODED and more often then not also is a BSB AND a LV4 caster that comes equiped with a free 4+ ward save and 5 wounds, 5!! look at the fact that most other armies have to spend more points to get the same thing and you see the real power of the slann. not to mention have you ever been on the receiving end of an ancient stegadon with sharpened horns upgrade ?
 

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also, Im with the captain on tornado's point on lizardmen. I picked up the army about a year ago now and its really great. beyond solid core when you stop comparing them to warriors and start comparing them to everything else. half of the armies out there are only S/T 3 with maybe a 5+ save at best. we have slanns. everyone seems to underestimate these guys cause they think they are just a wizard, and thats just no so. they are first and formost a general that gives ld9 COLDBLOODED and more often then not also is a BSB AND a LV4 caster that comes equiped with a free 4+ ward save and 5 wounds, 5!! look at the fact that most other armies have to spend more points to get the same thing and you see the real power of the slann. not to mention have you ever been on the receiving end of an ancient stegadon with sharpened horns upgrade ?
I'm not disputing the Slaan is good on paper. That's the problem though, it's good on paper but in my experience not in practice. Maybe I've simply never faced a Lizardman player who's done the army justice but everything just seemed to underperform. Two cannons will pretty much end a Lizardmen army I find, with one shot routinely being one kill. It's reasonable to expect that even with 4 monsters and a Slaan on the board, that by the end on turn 3 they'll all be dead. That's a lot of points to sink into stuff that >300 points worth of artillery can routinely destroy.

Sure Saurus Warriors are good and I like the killing potential of Ripperdactyls, but they seem difficult to use effectively. Much like how a Warriors player finds people simply don't engage a block of Warriors, it seems very easy to not engage with Saurus or Kroxigor etc. leaving only the odd fast mover unit and poison throwing skinks as an effective option. Skink spam seems the only reliable strategy and even then it's effectively trying to use horde army tactics in what should be an elite army.

Now, can Lizardmen be effective? Sure, there's no truly bad army, and at least their monsters don't cost 275 points like the poor Beastmen (seriously, 150 points at most is all the bloody Cygor is worth. It's certainly not worth more than TWO Skullcannons). The problem is, everything is powerful enough to be a target but not powerful enough to be a threat. If their monsters where a bit sturdier and costed around 50pts more, sure, or if they where a fair bit weaker but you could take them like Chariot units (think Tomb Kings); or could take a half dozen of them at just under 100 pts each, then they'd be interesting. Currently though, the Lizardmen are just a really good piece of target practice for my Skullcannon, Ironblaster, Deathshrieker, or my opponents Great Cannon, Bolt Throwers, Warp Lightning Cannon, etc. There's simply too much that can kill them too easily for often less than 150 points in most armies.
 

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I do have a question for all you internet nay sayers out there ..... cannons are a bagrgin at any price for what they can do against large multi wound things but just what game are you guys playing ??? 2 cannons destroy 3+ large things by turn 3 ?? doable ya but not a for sure thing . any player who just sits there and lets your opponent shoot you to bits without a counter is just not a good player .....

When you make a list and say " hmm id like three stegadons " you cant just take that, you have to consider what kills said monsters ... Cannons !! maybe i should include some war machine hunters ... oh look chameleons

not to mention tornado how you mention in many of your posts about all you have to do is get spells off. lets say im a good LM player and take a slann with lore of light and cast the spell that protects all my units within 12 by making all non ballistic skill stuff roll a 4+. Now your chances are cut in half !

My point here being not that LM are the be all to end all but i just don't understand why people whine so much about cannons. i played empire for many years and leaning on the cannon crutch is something i don't miss at all. this is a game of skill and chance, if a cannon were a for sure kill each time this game would be far different. more often then not a cannon will fall short, miss-fire, fail to wound (murphys law man), be ward saved/ regen, or just fail to do enough wounds to kill outright.

not to mention counter fire, magic , terrain and so on.
 

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I do have a question for all you internet nay sayers out there ..... cannons are a bagrgin at any price for what they can do against large multi wound things but just what game are you guys playing ??? 2 cannons destroy 3+ large things by turn 3 ?? doable ya but not a for sure thing . any player who just sits there and lets your opponent shoot you to bits without a counter is just not a good player .....

When you make a list and say " hmm id like three stegadons " you cant just take that, you have to consider what kills said monsters ... Cannons !! maybe i should include some war machine hunters ... oh look chameleons
Very true. Which is why War Machines aren't an instant win. The thing is, if I'm taking say 2 Ironblasters, I can also have a few Sabertusks or Gnoblar Trappers to ensure you can't just send up a small unit. Likewise with the Skullcannon; a few Chaos Warhounds, Harpies, Ungor Raiders or a Razorgor can easily cover it. Even then, in both of those cases they're both mobile cannon chariot hybrids which will likely win face-to-face with a unit of Chameleons and should you come too close I can grapeshot you too. War machine hunting is not as easy as it used to be. Even with Chaos Dwarfs, Empire, Dwarfs, Elves etc. who don't have supercannons like Chaos and Ogres, they still have anti-chaff. I have a Hobgoblin Khan on a Wolf, and a pistol toating Daemonsmith standing right next to my War Machines... they're quite ready and able to intercept, especially as if you got this far you got behind my gun line, so you've likely been shot to hell for 1-2 turns.

not to mention tornado how you mention in many of your posts about all you have to do is get spells off. lets say im a good LM player and take a slann with lore of light and cast the spell that protects all my units within 12 by making all non ballistic skill stuff roll a 4+. Now your chances are cut in half !
Indeed, but now you're either not advancing, or your moving your Slaan to within bow/handgun/fireglaive range. Also, if I'm relying on artillery, I will dispell that if I can. Though it is a good tactic.

My point here being not that LM are the be all to end all but i just don't understand why people whine so much about cannons. i played empire for many years and leaning on the cannon crutch is something i don't miss at all. this is a game of skill and chance, if a cannon were a for sure kill each time this game would be far different. more often then not a cannon will fall short, miss-fire, fail to wound (murphys law man), be ward saved/ regen, or just fail to do enough wounds to kill outright.

not to mention counter fire, magic , terrain and so on.
I agree, a cannon alone isn't as powerful as some people make out but you're considering basic cannons moreso than modern super-cannons.

The Empire Great Cannon is 120 points and is a standard cannon with nothing special about it...

The Chaos Dwarf Magma Cannon is 145 points and shoots like a cannon, only when the ball lands it explodes into a flame template which bounces through the unit like a cannon ball, doing flaming attacks and multiple wounds D6 to everyone it hits. That's quite the improvement for only 25 points.

The Ogre Ironblaster is 175 points, it fires exactly like a Great Cannon only it can move and fire, and it's a chariot driven by an ogre. It's manoeuvreability alone makes it terrifying as it can literally wheel around to the flank of a unit of Knights or Monstrous Cav and just fire a cannon ball straight down the like.

Lastly, the Skullcannon, or as I like to call it the "**** you" cannon. It's 135 points (yep, cheaper than both the Magma Cannon and Ironblaster), and it's the best cannon in the game! It has all the advantages of the Ironblaster, as well as being a magical, flaming cannon/chariot that can regain wounds by killing things in close combat. Oh, and it's Immune To Psychology is Toughness 6 and has a damn Ward save; a 3+/5++ save to be specific. All of this for 15 points more than a basic standard cannon. Game balance is a joke sometimes isn't it.

Now, honestly; when 270 points of daemon-rape-cannon can do that much; yeah, monsters are just screwed. Hell, these cannons (Skullcannons & Ironblasters) have a reasonable chance of killing your monster IN CLOSE COMBAT! Why? Because they're also chariots; with bonus Impact Hits just for the hell of it.

Sure, these are not instant win buttons, but in 2500 points they're only 10-15% of my army and they're an instant threat to everything on the board. Misfires happen sure, but Chaos Dwarfs, Empire, and Dwarfs, have characters to mitigate that for their cannons, and quite frankly, misfire is the only thing stopping Daemon and Ogre cannons from being outright banned by most comps. Hell, the Chaos Dwarf engineer is also a wizard, so the level 2 scroll caddy who is working as an engineer is also Death sniping anyone who gets too close.

Remember your monsters are averaging at around 200-220 points each (likely more if you're mounting characters or using Ancient Stegs with upgrades), so if you've got 3 like you say, that's about 25-30% of your army at 2500 points, which is more than double the investment I'm making.

While Lizardmen aren't a bad army, when half the armies in the game have access to extreme artillery that will just end your monster pretty much instantly; they're just not competitive... that's all I'm saying.
 

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What's wrong with just playing Warhammer... it's honestly not that imbalanced anyway, and I should know; I play Beastmen!
That's the point of Comp: Beastmen probably do work for you, because the group that you're in isn't that terrifyingly competitive. From what I've heard, stuff like 'Throne of Skulls' isn't even that over-the-top. Likewise, in large events, a lot of players won't even see the top 5 armies. Partially because odds demand that they can't (you only play 3-4 games, usually), but also because even if you take a "good army" and win 3/3 games, these guys have shown up with a genuinely brutal army and are winning their games by huge margins (most tournaments use Victory Points to break W/L/D ties in each round).
I used to agree with you - I was very anti-comp for a long time. Two things changed my mind:
1) I got Bored
Okay, call it arrogance or conceit or whatever. For a long time, I haven't been able to attend any major tournaments, and have been playing against my small group or getting PickUp games where I can find them. In the games against my group, my list was largely unchanged, and most of my armies sat on the shelf - some of them my favorite armies. The reason being, was that my opponents were all very competitive amongst each other, and our lists were so focused that the imbalance was very apparent.
When I got to play pickup games, I realized that (like the popular "fact") most players are not competitive at all. Imagine rolling into a game store with an optimized army - literally any army - and seeing your opponent throw down hilarious like an Empire army with 1000pts of Spearmen, no BSB, no Captains, no L4, and a Grandmaster with no ward as their general. Ummm... remind me why we're playing again? That guy might think that his army is awesome. It could have really good paint/theme/fluff or whatever floats his boat, or he might only play with a group of people who are so closeted about their hobby (or not as insanely fanatical as I am) to either go online or crunch the numbers and realize how god-awful that army is going to be. Smacking those kinds of lists into a crater isn't any fun at all.

2) Warrior's Code
GW's official list of "what's tournament legal" includes some real head-scratchers. For instance, will the next ToS or GW event mandate that all players will use End Time Magic (a'la ET:K) or will they say that only Khaine players use it (or games against Khaine players)? The Warrior's Code allows Pact Armies from Storm of Magic (not that it matters these days, with ET lists), but also the Scrolls of Binding. You can slam a beastly K'Daai Destroyer (with better rules/cost than the CD version) into literally any army in the game. You can fit two of them, actually.
So when you say that you don't want Comp, you are saying that's what you want: Warrior's Code - because it's the ultimate "GW published it, so I can use it" format. And it's ridiculous.

I agree with you, comp's not perfect. There are still balance issues, it's still exploitable, and it can be a pain in the butt. However, since adopting Comp systems, I think that a lot of non-Comp players have some misconceptions about how good comp systems really work, and I think that there are also bad comp systems, and instances where comp is poorly implemented.

ETC Comp (2015 draft version) is horrible. It's a very invasive system, with rules limited casting dice amounts, maximum unit sizes, "2 units of this, or 1 of that" type exclusions, and awards extra points to armies (most games played 2400pts, Beastmen and TK get 2700pts, O&G and Brets get 2500pts). These kinds of limiting factors, I agree with: they're just silly. They're still very exploitable. People like them because they're easy - it's easy to follow the rules, requires no real math skill beyond your normal list building, and so forth.

Swedish Comp (latest version)
is very good. It is the least invasive. You are allowed to use everything from published Armybooks (no supplements) except for End Times and mixed WoC/CD. This includes Special Characters. It works by giving your entire army a single score - you go through your army list and tally up the "comp points" of each unit selection you've made, and plug it into the formula, and it spits out a number for you. Most tournaments aim for something in the 9-12 range, with 9 being a pretty optimized army, and 12 being rather "soft". You can drive some armies' scores all the way down into the 3-5 range (WoC is a prime offender here, obviously).
Still, Swedish comp can be poorly implemented. The designers tell you exactly how to use it, but other people just gaff that off and pretend they know better, which makes about as much sense as self-diagnosing a disease without being an actual doctor. Tournaments that enforce a "minimum number" can be a bit of a pain, for example. Also, tournaments which give a blanket points-adjustment to final game scores, without factoring Comp Scores into pairings can also be agitating. Swedish Comp is best used when armies are paired together based on their comp scoring (still not perfect balance, but much closer than "uncomped" Warhammer will ever be) and then after the games are played, the underdog gets a slight "boost" to his tournament points (not Victory Points). The result is that in Swedish Comp, you can actually see good Bret players finishing quite high on the list, because they are spared the predations of sickeningly optimized top-tier lists until the last rounds, and then they're getting a significant boost to their scores even if they lose the game on the table-level.

From a sport perspective, Swedish comp makes a much more strategic game, and better tournaments for everyone. It essentially divides the players/armies into "classes", right there on the spot. If you want to build a cutting edge, munchkin-webz list, you can do that. But you're going to be playing in the equivalent of the "top-fuel class" of players - everyone you meet is going to be playing a similarly optimized army. If some kid shows up with the Beastmen army that he's amassed over 5 separate Christmas wish-lists, then he's going to see other, similarly "friendly" lists for most of his games.
If you showed up to your local race-track with your car, and they said, "excellent, you'll be racing for pinks against this Lotus F1 car", you'd be mad. Or if an amateur football league "recruited" a pro player into the ranks.
The divisions keep things fair - it keeps things from devolving into blatant MoneyHammer, or NewHammer - but also doesn't force players to change their army or buy new models.


I fully expect most events will ban the End Times lists themselves, simply because the level of sheer douche-baggery to be had by the most ruthless & cutthroat "Tournament" types will drive most sane people up the walls.
Oddly enough, Pinkus told me that GTs were allowing the ET stuff, but ruling that you can't use your own magic items. However, Swedish Comp (linked above) is cutting the ET Lists and new units right out.

I don't get the European community in general... Here in most parts of North America, especially the hyper competitive US west coast & east coast, Slaanesh has been utterly dominant as THE go-to list for DoC for a while now.

Nurgle is great at not dying sure, but it's hard counter is annoying prevalent. Slaanesh has no actual hard counter beyond being able to out-play the Daemon player!
And Lore of Death is still very, very prevalent due to it's utility for both Character sniping, as well as Doom & Darkness combo'ing so nicely with a number of other spells, or even just to knock the General's IP ability. Purplefun is just a bonus that inevitably can utterly bone nearly half the game's armies given half a chance, and is amazaballs at forcing out the Dispel Scroll early game.

While it's true that Daemonettes are just inferior elves, no one really uses Daemonettes... DoC Core is still either a regen'ing Plaguebrick including a BSB to act as an anchor, or the more and more popular option, min/maxed Horrors who are almost as resilient in the long run, but provide both crowd control & a solid counter to 1+/2+ saves.
Seekers, Fiends & MoS Grinders are quite common though, as is of course the Kipper as it's easily the single best choice of the 4 Greater Daemons.

And you really need to re-read what Caco Choir does... It's simply a catch-all, auto-wound on a 4+/no armour saves. Take a wound? Enjoy 'Random Movement D6"' & ASL. Immune to Psych doesn't protect from it in any way. Add to this that you can boost it for a 12" bubble AND every single wound caused can grow a 'free' Fiend.
It's a stupid, stupid, spell that's broken to the nines and then some! Move into an optimum spot, (not hard when Kipper's can move 20"!), get it off, and boom. Turn 1 victory, especially with a predominantly Slaanesh army backed-up by Beasts/Grinders/Drones.
Heh, oddly enough I live on the East Coast of the US. North East division of the Masters, to be specific (although I'd rather play in the MidAtlantic venues, as there are more of them closer to home - I live right on the border). Anyways, like I said, I haven't been able to get to a big tournament for a while now. That's gonna change with the new Chaos army I'm finally getting around to building, but the biggest kicker is that I have to take off work every time I want a game (even just a pickup with the club), since I work 2:30pm to 10:30pm every weekday and most Saturdays now. I've just been keeping an ear to the ground for GT reports and finishes, to keep "in the know" as best I can, and playing as many competitive games outside of that as possible. But enough about me.

The DoC list that you posted didn't quite strike me as a Slaanesh list, so maybe that's why it didn't trip my radar. Kippers are gaining popularity - it's like a buying a new car - now that you've told me about it, I see that you're right; they're popping up practically everywhere.
Still, it's mostly down to the usual Plague-Brick, BoNers, SKanons, and Grinder/Drones.

You're also right about the Caco-Bomb. Not sure why, but I was thinking that it was a leadership-based tactic which forced a bubble of Panic Checks. I think that's something to do with the Masque though, and might even be from the older book, I'd have to crack open the Daemons book again to check.

The only thing that I disagree with is the prevalence of LoD, or, if it is that prevalent, I think it's a mistake. It's not that great at sniping out characters, in my opinion. Much like the Wood Elf misconception that they can bring down your BSB in ~2 turns on average. They can, but it's hard, and usually it's not worth the effort (points) that it requires to do with any kind of certainty. The fact that it combos with other lists I can see, but that doesn't mean that Purple Sun is going to be that common, because most of the time, the L4 in the army gets the lore that it's comboing with, and leaves LoD to a lower-level caster with fewer spells. Finally, Purple Sun screws up almost half of the armies, and an equal number of armies just don't care at all. Compared to some of the other "big spells" in the book(s) and lores, you could probably do a bit better, even for plain, non-combo, "remove models from table" destruction.

I'm not disputing the Slaan is good on paper. That's the problem though, it's good on paper but in my experience not in practice. Maybe I've simply never faced a Lizardman player who's done the army justice but everything just seemed to underperform. Two cannons will pretty much end a Lizardmen army I find, with one shot routinely being one kill. It's reasonable to expect that even with 4 monsters and a Slaan on the board, that by the end on turn 3 they'll all be dead. That's a lot of points to sink into stuff that >300 points worth of artillery can routinely destroy.
That's bad lizardmen composition right there, sir. At 2500pts, my friend's Lizards are running a Slann (usually Kroak), a Stegadon BSB, a Skink+Kroxigor(4) horde, two blocks of 30-36 Saurus Warriors with a CC Hero in each, another Stegadon, and a block of Unbreakable TempleGuard, and two Salamander or Razordon packs. Plus "sprinkles" usually, which are normally chaff-y Skink Skirmishers or Terradons, or else a Skink named character (Heavens caster on Pally).


Sure Saurus Warriors are good and I like the killing potential of Ripperdactyls, but they seem difficult to use effectively. Much like how a Warriors player finds people simply don't engage a block of Warriors, it seems very easy to not engage with Saurus or Kroxigor etc. leaving only the odd fast mover unit and poison throwing skinks as an effective option. Skink spam seems the only reliable strategy and even then it's effectively trying to use horde army tactics in what should be an elite army.
That's why your experiences with Lizardmen have been shown them being so poor. Firstly, Lizardmen are harder to use. They lack some of the genuinely brute WoC options, but across the board are just as good, and replace those hard hitters with decent low-point models (like how WoC players wish Marauders were viable). Lizardmen make up for this by having access to an excellent "Hurt Heal" game in the magic phase, or the ability to just blast people with whatever lore they've chosen.
In the case of my friend's army, you can't just ignore the Saurus or Kroxi block and go for the "other stuff", because the most you'll net is maybe 500pts, and you're getting nailed with magic the entire time. You can't sit back and shoot him - he'll blowpipe you from up close and keep belting you with magic, plus his Saurus are as hard to kill with shooting as a Chaos Warrior is. His whole army is a big brick of Points Denial that has a pretty good chance of taking you down with it, if you try to crack the hard-case units. This is why our WoC/LM games either end in a close draw (literally scored an exactly equal number of Victory Points once) or else result in a landslide tabling because someone rolled way off average on a crucial roll.

At least their monsters don't cost 275 points like the poor Beastmen (seriously, 150 points at most is all the bloody Cygor is worth. It's certainly not worth more than TWO Skullcannons).
It's worth pointing out that Skullcannons are stupidly under-costed for what they do. And I mean stupidly under priced. When I went to include them in my ET list, I was blown away by the fact that you can get two of them into a 2500pt list and still have room for 6 Crushers.

The problem is, everything is powerful enough to be a target but not powerful enough to be a threat.
I'm getting the sense that your artillery players in your group aren't too bright... because that doesn't even make sense. If something is truly a viable target, then it's a threat. If you shoot anything else you're wasting the shot.
It's why trying to shoot a well-built Lizardmen list isn't doing anyone any good. Sure, you might kill 500pts worth of Stegadons, but they're Slann has a 4++ and 5W, and the rest of their army is all built from multi-ranked infantry regiments with Cold Blooded. You can't "cannon paste" a single Crusher for 80pts or 65pt DemiG like you can with other armies. Sure, you can maybe cannon-snip their characters, but then, there's no guarantee that they don't just have a 4++ Slann, and a bunch of 60pt Skinks with a 2+ LoS! roll.
Lizardmen can take oodles of big dinosaurs. It's one of the "traps" in their book - they can't do an effective Monster Mash, but they can sure as hell look like one. If they take tons of big dinos, then yes, a whole wave of Stegadons isn't that overpowering. Of course the exception is when the Lizardman player takes nothing but huge dinosaurs. They can, if I recall, field something like 10 Stegadons onto the table if they try*, and then no amount of cannons is going to prevent them from charging across and multi-charging several Impact Hitting monsters into your front rank, backed with Stomp and pounding you to the nines. It's not an effective all-comers list (has trouble with "tar pits") but it can really lay down the smack on most armies, and actually eats Elves for breakfast.

*10 Steg List (and I've faced this)
Tehenhauin (L3, Beasts) on Ancient Steg w/ Engine of the Gods
[or a Skink Chief BSB]
Skink Chief on Steg [general without Tene]
625pts Min Core
[in the case of the list that I played against: two units of 32 Skinks w/ 3 Kroxis and a Banner)
3 Stegadons
2 Seg Ancients
235pts of Items or additional units without Tene
 

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Comp is it's own worst enemy honestly, as all it does in the end is to simply move the goal posts. Sure it might remove 'broken' combos A/B/C, but all that does is mean that now combos X/Y/Z are the new 'uber filth.

In the end, you can get better events by simply going back to the old school award breakdowns by adding in awards for the likes of Best Overall, Best General, Best Appearance & Best Sport.
Those systems also mean that an even is much more inclusive of the whole community, rather than just becoming a way for people to play at measuring the size of the man-dollie penis.
 

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I find it hard to find tournaments. So comp has never been an issue.
I also tend to use less than power house list. I have ran all Saurus Lizardmen with no magic, all foot slogger Empire, unmarked warriors and common goblin with normal Orc list.
I always limit myself with my list and as such have learnt to use them to surprising effect.
I believe that there is no such thing as a ranking of armies only the people using them and some armies are easier to use than others, leading to the assumption that some armies are better than others.

I do however understand that some people may like comp as it makes some list "match" better. It's just that in my experience the most powerful, uber list can be dismantled very easy, you just need to know how to do it with the list you have.
 
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