Played two games with the full rules over the weekend with Helynna (battle reports coming).
All in all Mk3 feels like… well Mk2. There are a lot of subtle changes, the vast majority we knew about prior to release, but the game from a mechanic perspective feels the same. If you understood Mk2, you’ll understand Mk3. There are lists of changes running around (linked and copied below for the lazy; thank you to PP forum user Dybbuk). Where the newness of the game comes in is from the vast changes in units. From my armies I’m finding a lot of the Menoth units which never saw use, I’m considering. I’m considering a lot more Warcasters from the Menoth and Circle pools, etc. Hopefully this means there will be more variety of warcasters / warlocks and actual army builds on the tabletop.
Other than that diversity, where I feel we are going to see a significant shift despite these relatively minor rule changes (even though the list below is quite large) is a general streamlining of game functions. The game will run smoother and faster and there’s going to be less weird janky rules combinations or exceptions that take a while to resolve. That’s always a plus. From there, we will see a pretty big shift in how lists are built. Again, more diversity which is always a plus but with a 25-30% quantity of your points required to go into Warbeasts and Warjacks, you’re going to see a lot more Warjacks on the tables. Oh and ya, that Power Up rule really, really, really helps with this. Insanely so. Warbeasts will probably be around the same level with the increase in demand of % points but decrease in general fury management. This means you’re going to need an army that can handle this type of army more effectively.
I’ve seen a lot of chatter about how your traditional jam or tarpit units are now less useful (your cheap 2″ reach infantry) unless they have some offensive game against heavier targets (such as IFP, Forge Guard (though they are not a traditional jammer given their slow SPD), etc.). If the game really does develop into mass heavier targets, this does seem likely as you’re only going to delay them for a turn as they trample over you. Again, if you have a jam unit that can hurt a heavy target as it tramples over you, bit of a different story but otherwise those 10-17 points might be better spent elsewhere. If there’s still a higher demand for infantry (which I think there will be), expect to see these guys stick around. Even with some CMAs or Mini-feats, they can put a dent into a heavier target if not consistently or with any great regularity.
On the flip side, it’s obvious that your multi-box tarpits of doom have been vastly downgraded. We saw this at the end of Mk2 with the Warders and this has been carried over with most eight box infantry becoming five box. The exceptions are MoW, Convergence units and Skinwalkers – all of which are sturdy and durable (and in some cases, more sturdy and more durable than before) but aren’t going to cut swaths through whatever they touch whether it be losing multiple attacks, weapon master, etc. This creates more list building opportunity costs – do I want to tarpit or kill stuff – always a good choice to make as we then see an actual flip up of unit choices assuming there’s another unit to answer the question. Again, these units can still put out dents on heavier targets but generally due to a lack of attacks or special rules, cannot simply scrap a heavy target without issue.
This all leads down to, somewhat counter productively, ARM skew seems slightly less viable in terms of multi-box units with crazy high ARM values and rather lots of boxes with higher than average ARM (i.e. multiple warjacks, brick warbeasts, etc.). That being said, I’m sitting here with lists that contain ARM 21 Sentinels / Invictors (ignoring mini-Feat), ARM 22/23 Warjacks on non-Feat turns, ARM 21/23 MoW, etc. and actually feel that more armor cracking is necessary as indicated above. All these units though, I want a jam unit for (well other than MoW probably since they are so slow), so now we’re being antithesis to the proposition against jam units. It’s circular and maddening!!!
What I think this is going to dissolve into, is some Warcasters or Warlocks will be able to run jack/beast bricks with support models / one unit only. You’ll need to have an ARM cracker list still for that. On the flip side, you’ll see a definitive move away from all infantry lists and a general increase in Wajacks from 1-2 to 2-3+ in your average list which is a little bit more of a combined arms approach and probably what PP is aiming at. This means you’re going to need to maintain infantry clearing and ARM cracking mechanisms across most of your lists but probably lower amounts of both – you’ll still need to drop those high ARM colossals in one round or multiple heavies in a go but you’re not going to need to regularly drop ARM23 8 box weapon masters. On the flip side, you’re still going to need to drop infantry boats, particularly infantry with layered defensive tech but, the sheer volume of infantry is going to be slightly less at a minimum.
Anyway, this is all conjecture at this point but I look forward to seeing how it will all unfold. The long story short is, Mk3 is a made up Mk2 – certainly not a bad thing. It addressed some of the silly rules functions and combinations and has streamlined most of the processes without changing the core concepts of what makes the game work. A lot of models have been reworked for the better (there are definitely some exceptions) and a increased focused on ensuring Warjack points are not being ignored and actually a functioning part of the army.
Onwards to the great unknown! (and what are everyone else’s thoughts?)
And for those interested or for later reference, here is the rules summary from Dybbuk:
General Rules Changes
- Measuring: A player can measure any distance at any time for any reason.
- Within: When a rule affects models within a certain distance of a particular model, that model is always considered to be completely within the range/area described by default (previously this was the exception, such as with command range and control range).
- Stat Minimum: Current and base stats have a minimum value of 0 (the minimum was previously 5 for DEF and 1 for everything else).
- Duplicate Effects: Effects of the same name still do not stack, but their durations overlap; an effect only ends when all instances of it would have expired. Thus, models cannot be “protected” from later applications of an effect (i.e. Blind) by having it applied beforehand.
- Combat Action: A model’s action during its activation is now referred to as a “Combat Action”.
- Abomination: This rule has been removed from the game.
- Amphibious: While fully within shallow water, a model with Amphibious gains concealment and does not block LOS.
- Assault: Assault is now an advantage, not a special rule. Assault no longer explicitly ignores the “target in melee” modifier, but all attacks (including Assault shots) ignore it if the attacking model is in melee with the target (so an Assault shot into melee from a failed charge no longer ignores the bonus DEF).
- Cavalry: Cavalry is now an advantage, not a typeline rule. There is no more “light cavalry”. See Additional Model Rules, below, for more cavalry changes.
- Commander: This rule has been removed from the game.
- Eyeless Sight: Models with Eyeless Sight no longer ignore forests when determining LOS and are now immune to the Blind effect.
- Fearless: This rule has been removed from the game.
- Flight: Flight is now an advantage, not a special rule.
- Gunfighter: A model with Gunfighter can make ranged attacks against a model engaging it regardless of its own melee RNG (i.e. it can attack a model that has greater melee RNG engaging it without moving to engage that model).
- Incorporeal: A model cannot make free strikes while Incorporeal. Incorporeal models are immune to continuous effects and non-Magical damage, and cannot be moved by a push, slam, or throw. When an Incorporeal model makes a melee or ranged attack, it loses Incorporeal until its next activation (not for one round).
- Parry: Parry is now an advantage, not a special rule.
- Soulless: Soulless is now an advantage, not a special rule.
- Standard Bearer: Standard Bearer is now a special rule, not an advantage.
- Terror: This rule has been removed from the game.
- Tough: Models lose Tough while knocked down.
- Immunity: Electricity: Lightning never arcs to models with Immunity: Electricity.
Additional Model Rules
- ‘Jack Marshal: A ‘jack marshal can control up to one friendly Faction warjack. Instead of the old “pseudo-focus”, a marshaled ‘jack gains one of the following each turn during its activation, as long as its cortex is not crippled and its marshal is not knocked down or stationary: Crush! (additional melee attack, +2 to all melee damage rolls), Hurry! (run, charge, or power attack for free, +2 to charge and slam attack rolls), Strike True! (+2 to all attack rolls), or Take Aim!(must aim, +2 to all ranged damage rolls). Drives are now passive abilities that effect the ‘jack while in its marshal’s CMD range.
- Battle Engines: The Serviceable rule has been removed; battle engines now have damage removed normally based on whether they are constructs, living, or undead.
- Cavalry: Cavalry gain boosted charge attack rolls (rather than +2 to hit). All cavalry can make initial attacks with their mounts if they do not charge. Mount attacks are no longer unboostable, except while making impact attacks. If a model is in melee with its charge target when it makes impact attacks, it ends its movement and turns to face the target directly before making the attacks (and so will not continue moving if the target dies). Tall in the Saddle and Ride-By Attack have been removed.
- Ranking Officer: A ranking officer cannot be attached to a Mercenary/Minion unit that is a Partisan to its faction (as with Mk.II Allies).
- Shield Guard: When a model uses Shield Guard to redirect an AOE attack, the AOE is centered on the Shield Guard.
- Melee Weapon RNG: Melee weapons now have a range, generally 0.5”, 1”, or 2”.
- ROF: Rate of Fire designates the number of initial attacks that can be made with a ranged weapon, not how many additional attacks can be bought.
- Blessed: Blessed is now a weapon quality, not a special rule. A weapon with Blessed now ignores DEF and ARM buffs from animi (in addition to other spells).
- Chain Weapon: Chain Weapon is now a weapon quality, not a special rule.
- Critical Disruption: Critical Disruption is now a weapon quality, not a special rule.
- Damage Type: Magical: This is a new weapon quality that has replaced Magical Weapon. Besides the name, it is identical.
- Disruption: Disruption is now a weapon quality, not a special rule.
- Magical Weapon: This rule has been renamed to Damage Type: Magical.
- Reach: The Reach rule has been replaced by printed melee weapon RNG.
- Unspent Army Points: A valid army can have up to 5 unspent army points (rather than 1).
- FA:C Limitations: Character identity (i.e. whether a character model counts as an alternate incarnation of another character model and thus could not be included in a list with that model) is now denoted my its “stat profile name” found above its stat bar followed by a numeral.
- Charters and Pacts: Mercenary armies are no longer bound by charters, and Minion armies are no longer bound by pacts. A Mercenary or Minion army can include any models of the appropriate faction, regardless of the faction(s) for which they will work.
- Partisans: The Partisan [Faction] special rule indicates Mercenary and Minion models that count as Faction when included in the listed faction’s armies. These models count as Friendly Faction models to other models of that faction while in a list made for that faction. While in such a list, they do not count as Mercenary or Minion models. A Warcaster with the Partisan rule can lead either a Mercenary/Minion list or a Partisan Faction list, but its battlegroup must be composed entirely of models from the appropriate faction. The short version: Partisans work similarly to Allies from Mk.II, except that they are Mercenaries and/or Minions by default, rather than in-faction.
- Allies: The Ally typeline rule has been replaced with the Partisan special rule.
- Warcasters and Warlocks in Theme Forces: A theme force can be led by any warcaster/warlock of the force’s faction or by any warcaster/warlock who is a Partisan to that faction.
- Character Warjacks/Warbeasts in Theme Forces: A theme force list led by a particular warcaster/warlock can include any warjack/warbeast with a bond to them, even if that model would not normally be allowed.
- Ranking Officers in Theme Forces: Ranking Officers are only allowed in a theme force if both the Officer and the Mercenary/Minion unit to which they are attached are explicitly allowed.
Setup, Deployment, & Victory Conditions
- Deployment Zones: A 7” deployment zone for the first player and a 10” deployment zone for the second player are now core rules, not scenario-specific alterations.
- Deployment Steps: There is now a list of steps for deploying models, in similar fashion to the list of steps for each in-game Turn Phase.
- Pre-Deployment: Huge-based models no longer pre-deploy.
- Forfeiting Movement: The rules now specify that a model can choose to forfeit its Normal Movement during its activation, and seem to imply that it can choose to do so even in the absence of an effect that requires or allows it to do so. Merits further investigation (i.e. in the Rules Forum).
- Aiming: Models in melee cannot aim.
- Charging: Models cannot charge friendly models. A penalty to SPD does not prevent an affected model from charging.
- End-of-Activation Movement: If two or more effects would allow a model to move at the end of its activation (such as Reposition and Sprint), the model’s controller picks one to apply and disregards any others.
- Basic Attacks: “Normal” attacks from Mk.II are now referred to as “Basic Attacks”.
- Skill Checks: The skill check mechanic has been removed from the game.
- Automatic Hits and Misses: An automatic miss now takes precedence over an automatic hit.
- Back Strikes: A model can make a back strike even if it did not start its activation in its target’s back arc, as long as it is completely within the back arc when the attack is made.
- Power Attack Types: Push, headlock, and weapon lock power attacks have been removed from the game. The rules for two-handed throw power attacks have been combined with the rules for standard throw power attacks.
- Power Attack Slam: A huge-based model slamming a smaller model adds +2” to the distance slammed.
- Power Attack Sweep: A sweep power attack ignores intervening models and has a range equal to the base RNG of the melee weapon used to make it.
- Power Attack Throw: When making the opposed STR check to throw, a model gains an additional die if it has at least two non-crippled Open Fists. The thrower’s controller no longer chooses a direction in which to throw; instead, they choose to either throw the model directly away from the thrower or directly toward another model in LOS (ignoring the thrown model). A thrown model now only deviates if it was a) thrown at another model, b) that model was within the thrower’s throw range, and c) the attack roll resulted in a miss. A large- or huge-based model no longer throws a small-based model an additional 1″.
- Power Attack Trample: A model with the Buckler or Shield weapon qualities now benefits from them against trample power attacks, with the same restrictions as Shield Wall.
- Power Attacks and Movement Restrictions: Effects that prevent a model from charging no longer automatically prevent it from making slam or trample power attacks.
- Elevation Modifiers: The benefits and drawbacks of elevation no longer require that the terrain be at least 1” higher than where the other model is standing; it must simply be considered “elevated” relative to that location. Elevated attackers no longer ignore equal- or smaller-based intervening models within 1″ of their targets.
- Target in Melee Modifier: The “target in melee” modifier for ranged and magic attacks is now +4 DEF for the target (rather than a -4 penalty to the attack roll). All attacks (ranged and magic) ignore this bonus DEF if the point of origin is in melee with the target.
- AOE Deviation: A deviating AOE attack will stop at the table edge.
Model Damage & Destruction
- Corpse Tokens: Undead models generate corpse (but not soul) tokens by default.
- Healing: Healing is no longer distinct from other means of having damage removed. The term has been removed from rules text.
- Cloud Effects: A model must be completely within a cloud effect to gain concealment from it.
- Knockdown: A knocked down model can be moved by a slam.
- Stationary: A stationary model cannot be used to channel spells. It also cannot advance, make special actions, make attacks, cast spells, use feats, or give orders, but does get to activate now (and could use abilities like minifeats; also note that it doesn’t say the model can’t receive orders, so it could still benefit from Shield Wall, for instance).
- Falling: A falling model takes damage equal to 2d6 + 12 + 1d6 per 2″ fallen after the first, rounded up (up from 2d6 + 10 + 1d6 per 3″).
- Command Tests, Fleeing, and Rallying: These mechanics have been removed from the game.
- Replenishing Focus Points: Models with Focus Manipulation remove focus points in excess of their FOCUS stat during the Maintenance Phase (rather than all focus points). In the Control Phase, those models gain focus points to set their total equal to their FOCUS stat.
- Overboosting: This mechanic has been replaced with Reinforcing.
- Reinforcing: When a warcaster suffers damage, it can spend 1 focus point to reduce that damage by 5, to a minimum of 0 damage. It can do this up to once per instance of damage. The warcaster is still considered to have been damaged by the damaging attack or effect, even if all damage is prevented.
- Power Up: During the Control Phase, after focus replenishment but before focus allocation, each warjack in a battlegroup that has a functional cortex and is within its controller’s control range gains 1 focus point.
- Focus Cap: A warjack can have no more than 3 focus at any time.
- Induction: Convergence warjacks do not have Power Up but can induct focus any number of times during their activations.
- Crippled Movement: A warjack with a crippled movement system has its base DEF reduced to 5 (instead of 7). A crippled movement system now explicitly prevents making slam or trample power attacks (rather than doing so because crippled movement prevents charging, which was necessary for a slam or trample).
- Removing Force Field Damage: When a model with a force field spends focus to remove damage from the field, remove d3 + 1 points (instead of d3).
- Destroyed Warjacks: A warjack no longer leaves a wreck marker when it is destroyed.
- Inert Warjacks: An inert warjack is longer considered stationary, though it follows the same rules as a stationary model. It no longer loses its special abilities, but cannot use abilities that could not be used while stationary (i.e. Counter-Charge or Shield Guard). A warcaster reactivates an inert warjack by spending a focus point while B2B with it at any time during the warcaster’s activation. ‘Jack marshals still forfeit their Combat Action. A reactivated warjack now only forfeits its Combat Action the turn it is reactivated, rather than its entire activation.
- Autonomos Warjacks: Taking control of an autonomous warjack works the same way as reactivating an inert one. A warcaster must spend a focus point while B2B with the autonomous ‘jack at any time during the warcaster’s activation. ‘Jack marshals forfeit their Combat Action while B2B. An autonomous warjack now forfeits its Combat Action the turn it is reactivated.
- Rage-Fuelled: Monstrosities do not have Power Up but gain a focus point each time they take damage from an attack or continuous effect.
- Focus Removal: Unlike warjacks, monstrosities do not lose their focus points during the Maintenance Phase.
- Warcaster Destruction: When a Cephalyx warcaster is destroyed, its monstrosities become autonomous (rather than inert).
- Spirit Bond: After leeching, a warlock can gain up to 1 fury point for each medium-based or larger warbeast in its battlegroup that has been destroyed or removed from play. It can’t exceed its FURY by doing this. If a warbeast returns to play, its warlock can no longer gain fury from the warlock’s Spirit Bond with it.
- Reaving: A warlock can reave fury points from warbeasts that get removed from play (in addition to destroyed warbeasts).
- Frenzying: A frenzying warbeast activates, shakes all shakeable effects without being forced, and charges directly toward the nearest model (friendly or enemy) in its LOS for free and tries to enter B2B contact. It then attacks with its highest-POW weapon that has range to the target. Its attack roll is automatically boosted. The damage roll is boosted if it was a charge attack (i.e. the warbest moved at least 3″). Then its activation ends and it can remove any amount of fury. Warbeasts ignore effects that would require them to forfeit their Normal Movement or Combat Action when they frenzy.
- Animi: Animi are now considered to be spells.
- Field Promotion: A Grunt that is promoted to a Leader must forfeit its Combat Action that turn, but is not prevented from making attacks that turn that occur outside of its Combat Action (i.e. free strikes). If a Leader is destroyed while under an opponent’s control or is removed from play, choose a new unit commander but do not replace a Grunt with the Leader model (relevant for a few units like Stormblades and Croe’s Cutthroats).
- Unit Attachments: Unit attachments are now called “command attachments”.
- Weapon Attachments: A unit can have up to three weapon attachments. Weapon attachments are added individually, rather than as a variable-sized group.
- Granted Abilities: Granted abilities only function while granting model is in formation.
- Formation: A friendly model can target model in a unit with out-of-formation members with spells and abilities, but cannot target the out-of-formation members.
- Press Forward Order: This is the new name for the order that allows models in a unit to run or charge.
- DUR: The Duration (DUR) of a spell replaces the UP column on spell cards. It will indicate if a spell lasts for a TURN, a RND (round), or is UP (an upkeep).
- Custom Terrain: Basic guidelines have been added for the use of player-created terrain not described in the book.
- Standard Terrain: Two new official terrain types have been added: Dense Fog (static cloud effects that can disappear during the game) and Rubble (rough terrain that provides cover to models completely within it).
- Concealment and Cover: Whether terrain is intervening between an attacker and a target and whether the target is within 1″ of the terrain are now separate requirements for checking whether the target gets concealment/cover from the terrain (previously the target had to be within 1″ specifically along the intervening line).
- Elevation and Melee: When checking melee range between models at different elevations, measure range between their volumes (instead of between their bases).
- Forests and Hills: Like cloud effects, these features now only grant effects (besides slower movement from forests) to models completely within them. “Tall” hills can block LOS.
- Deep Water and Structures: These terrain types have been removed from the game. Buildings now count as obstructions.
- Obstructions: Models can climb some obstructions, agreed upon by the players, regardless of height. A model can stand on such an obstruction if less than 1″ of its base overhangs the obstruction.
- Hazards: These are new terrain features that inflict various harmful effects on non-flying models that enter or end their activation within them; flying models knocked down within them also suffer the effect. There are two types in the core rules: Acid Bath (continuous corrosion) and Burning Earth (continuous fire).