Welcome to Optimal Game State. In the last few weeks we’ve had a few interesting updates for Warcry. We had the new Starter box Crypt of Blood which does have some updates for the Crimson Court fighters. We also had a new FAQ sneak under the radar which had a small but big change for the game, the Quad Rampage has been changed from a bonus move and attack to a bonus move equal to the value of the ability and then the attack. Rampage has always been the gold standard for Quads so nerfing it slightly does make sense. The change means we’re more likely to use the other Quads which can only be good for the game. Interestingly, it does also benefit slow fighters who might be able to move further than they could normally.
What we’re here for today though, is to look at the new rules in White Dwarf 490. This had three Warcry battleplans but of greater interest it introduced an optional rule for matched play called Divine Blessings.
Once the battleplan has been selected, for each fighter in your warband you can pick one blessing for them. These blessings cost points, so you will have to account for those points in your warband selection ahead of time but it does mean you can switch between blessings to adjust to the battleplan.
There are ten blessings in total. Seven of these increase a characteristic, move, toughness, wounds, attacks, strength, hit damage, or crit damage. All of these increase by 1 apart from wounds which increases by 4. The remaining three options let you use Inspiring Presence as if you had a hero runemark, let you make one free reaction per battle ground, or give you an wild dice at the start of the battle.
Each of these blessings cost points, but the amount of points they cost vary depending on the fighter. If the fighter has 22 or less wounds they are considered regular and get once points increase, if the fighter has 23 or more wounds they are considered elite and the blessing may cost more points.
I can’t understate how big a chance this is for the game. It is of course optional, so we might have a situation where no one actually plays it. It’s also matched play only, so narrative players don’t get it, but lets be honest anything that’s good for Matched play can make it over to narrative without any problems. Indeed, these blessings are a great way to add an underdog bonus instead of the normal extra wild dice. Maybe with each difference in reputation counting as 25 points to spend on blessings.
To sum up the impact, I want to show these two plots. There are over a thousand fighters in the game currently. The number shown over states it slightly as I’ve split any fighter with a melee and ranged attack into two different profiles. Add in the blessings and we and up with 10 thousand profiles.
Now, not all of those are going to be useful. For competitive play we’ll have to carefully study all the options to work out which of the new profiles are worth playing. To help with working that out, this plot is linked in the description and you can play around with it yourself.
Interestingly, this also opens up certain warbands. Previously, if you ended up with 20, 30, or even 50 points left over you’d probably shuffle things around to try take advantage of as many points as possible. Now you have a way to use those points while sticking with the fighters you really wanted.
Of maybe more interest, if you’re like me and enjoy working out profiles for the models you have, this gives us more options. In a previous video I went through some profiles for the Hexbane’s Witch Hunters warband. If I were to do that again, I would definitely be tweaking the profiles with these blessings to get them where I wanted them. It’s only minor things, but here we can increase the strength of that gun from 3 to 4 to get a little bit closer to the badass I’m looking for. I’ve baked the changes directly into the card in this case, but do remember that you can only have one blessing per fighter and you have the option to change things around.
There are 10 blessings in total. We don’t actually have to decide which ones to take until after the battleplan is set out and we know what’s about to happen. That could open up some interesting options, for example if the victory condition is to kill the enemy leader then you can use some blessings to make your leader harder to kill. If it’s a treasure or control objective you might find getting some additional speed could help, and so on. It’ll really depend on the battle plans but it does give you an additional element of control which can be useful.
So, I’ve put together some cards and you can find a link for them in the description. These are designed to be the same size are your fighter cards. This means you can lay the blessing underneath your fighter cards and have the bonus peak out as a reminder. I’ve made a mental note to update the objects section of the card creator, so hopefully you’ll be able to make your own versions soon enough.
For the rest of this video, I’m going to look at how the different blessings impact the pool of fighter profiles overall. So to a certain extend that is going to be focused on the competitive side of things, looking to see if there are any interesting options out there. Part of this though will involve looking at how these various blessings work so hopefully it’ll be useful for all types of players.
First up, we have the Swiftness blessing which adds 1 to the move characteristic of the fighter. It’s 15 points for a Regular fighter and 25 for an Elite fighter. When it comes to damage and wounds we’re not going to see any change, but we do have a shift at the most efficient fighters in the 4 move plus range.
The top 5 would normally be Snirk Sourtongue, Preytaker with Fanged Axe, Crusher, Headclaimer, and Proven with Greataxe. Adding in the Swiftness blessing and suddenly lots of normally 3 speed fighters are in the top ranks. So it’s Desecrator with Iconoclast Warpick with Swiftness, Graveguard with Great Wight Blade with Swiftness, then Snirk Souttongue, then Descrator with Statue Smashing hammer with Swiftness, and Thain Fourth and Last with Swiftness. So we’re seeing a considerable jump.
Now it’s important at this point to understand a little how the points work. Normally as a fighter’s points go up, so do their average damage and their average wounds. The other characteristics like Movement and Toughness in my opinion at least, seem to be adjustments based on what the fighter should do. The important point here is that if you shift the movement up like we have here, the points cost has gone up but the damage and wounds have not. So the Desecrator with Warpick is going to move from 100 points to 115 points when we increase the movement, but they aren’t going to get the benefits typically associated with that upgrade. Now in this case, the Desecrator is already doing great damage and the 12 wounds isn’t bad, I normally look for 3 wounds for every 25 points so it was spot on for 100 points but it is a little under for 115. Keep this in mind as we go along.
Now this shift from move 3 to move 4 is pretty significant as we know the 3 move fighters have been costed a little better to account for the slow speed. So if the discount is greater than the points cost to take them to move 4, then we’re in with a bargain. There are a few other notable mentions in the high ranks, so 6th is Paladin with Starsoul Mace and Swiftness, then Snirk Sourtongue again with Swiftness. He’s down the ranks at 19 but the Armator with Swiftness does appear to be a good option, and I’ve always been a fan of him from the early days with the Iron Golems.
Move 4 fighters with swiftness aren’t dominating the top numbers for move 5+ in the same way the move 3 ones did, but there are a few notables. Snirk Sourtongue with Swiftness is a the top, in 6th and 7th place we have the Crusher and Headclaimer both with swiftness. 11 to 13 has the Proven with Greataxe, Slaughtborn with Great Axe and Preytaker with Fanged Axe, all with swiftness.
I should mention at this point that I’m just comparing the none blessings with the Swiftness for the time being. These rankings will change once we add some of the damage boosts in so the already fast fighters can compete.
Next up lets broadly talk about defensive options. The two blessings in question are Resilience which adds 1 toughness and Fortitude which adds 4 wounds. Both cost the exact same for the Regular fighters with the extra point of Toughness costing more for the Elite fighters. This is nice as it allows us to switch between them depending on the enemy.
When you’re taking damage, there are essentially three different scenarios. The defenders toughness will be lower than the attackers, it’ll be the same, or the toughness will be higher than the attackers. Shifting between one of these bands typically changes the average damage by 1, that’s a pretty broad generalisation but it’s a good guide. When trying to decide whether to go for Resilience or Fortitude the first question is if the change will shift a band. If gaining a point of toughness isn’t going to make any difference then obviously don’t go for it. The second thing to consider is how many times your fighter is going to get hit before going down. If it’s more than 3 attacks it’s likely the damage reduction from the extra point of toughness is going to be better. If your fighter is likely to die in one or two hits though, then getting those 4 extra wounds is going to be a big help.
There are 4 blessings that impact damage, Ferocity gives 1 extra attack die, Might gives 1 extra strength, Brutality increase the hit damage by 1, and Savagery increase the crit damage by 1. I’m going to throw all of them onto the plot to see what we get, but do be aware that I always look at toughness 4 targets when I’m considering damage, so the Strength increase will be specific to that. Depending on your fighter and what you’re facing, that extra strength bonus might be the best option or might make no difference at all.
Still in the top position we have the Graveguard with Great Wight Blade, we can then see the Desecrators and Paladins coming in behind. I do think it’s interesting that the Brutality where the hit damage gets +1 is performing better for the Desecrator with Warpick while the Ferocity with 1 extra die is performing better for the Desecrator with hammer.
The key element there of course is the number of attack dice, the lower they are the better getting more dice is. If you already have lots of dice then getting an extra damage on a hit is going to be better. It’s a little while before we get down to a Might, which is +1 strength, that brings Snirk Sourtongue from 4 strength to 5 where his 3 damage on a hit is going to pay off. Savagery interestingly does appear although it is bringing the overall efficiency down as while damage is going up by a little points are also going up, although at only 10 points that’s not terrible.
We already know the move 3 fighters are great, so lets shift out of that slot and see what we get at move 4. Snirk is again across the board fantastic. He is only 3 toughness and 10 wounds though, so that 145 point version with Might is very much going to be a glass cannon. That’s still 10 damage on average though.
We do have a few of the Swift fighters we talked about before. Then after all the Snirks is the Crusher from the Ogor Mawtribes. He’s up to 16.67 average damage, so off the chart. What’s interesting here is we’ve already got a very expensive model at 245 points. Adding in 30 points isn’t that much overall, it increases the damage by about 3.3 and the fighter is already chunky enough that we’re not too worried about it dying.
The top charts are dominated by the blessed fighters. Not really a surprise here, if you’re spending points only on damage to the exclusion of everything else then your damage efficiency is going to go up. Those fighters are also going to be easier to kill though. This Proven with Greataxe is doing some amazing damage for 155 points, it’s a crazy 9.3 on average. That’s only 15 wounds though when it should really be over 20. If we ignore other fighters with blessings, that Proven would be the lowest wounds of any fighter at 155 points.
Moving out of the damage category we have three special options. The first is Destiny which gives you an extra saved Wild Dice at the start of the game. That’s 40 points so you definitely need to know what you’re going to use that on. Normally you’d get 4 wild dice across an entire game, so an extra one is potentially a big deal but I think 40 points is a bit of a stretch, you’d have to have something very particular you need to do with it. As I mentioned earlier, in narrative play you would get an extra wild die if you were the underdog, so this is a decent reference point. I suggested 25 points for blessings for every difference in reputation, so you’d need a difference in two reputation to get one Destiny and a difference of 4 to get a second Destiny. In narrative if the difference was 5 you’d get a second one. So I think 25 points per difference is a pretty good reference point.
The next blessing is Heroism which lets you use Inspiring Presence ability as if you the fighter had the Hero runemark. That’s the triple that lets you immediately activate another fighter after you finish activating your current one. It’s only 10 points so it’s something you might consider if you had some spare points left over. I certainly have used this ability to win games, although that can be very situational. Not something I’d recommend, but you do get to pick at the start of the game so maybe there will be battleplans where it would be a good option.
The last blessing, and perhaps the most exciting one for me is the Spite blessings which for a costly 30 points lets you use a reaction without using an action once per battle round. In narrative play you do get a similar effect with points of Renown, so often when I’m reviewing a new warband I’ll look at the reaction and talk about how it’s not really any good in matched play as it’s not worth losing an action but it can be good in narrative where you can get free reactions. This blessing opens up that option which is fantastic, but at 30 points it’s not cheap. Just comparing to other blessings, you could use those same points to boost two fighters by 4 wounds each or two fighters faster by one. So you’ll have to give some thought to whether to take this blessing or not.
So what can you do with it? We do of course have the 3 universal reactions: Counter, Take Cover, and Strike them Down. Usually Counter is the primary one out of that list, letting you deal back a chunk of damage to the attacker. Take Cover is very situational giving you a benefit against ranged attacks while Strike them Down lets you do a little damage if someone tries to disengage from you.
Each warband also has it’s own reaction though, that’s where I think the real potential for this is. Chaos Legionaries for example have Call to Arms which will give a free move to a friendly after an enemy gets too close. Skaven have similar with Must of Fear as do several other warbands. That’s 30 points but probably one or two free activations over a battle.
I did take the time to read through the various options out there, and honestly nothing really struck me as being super powerful but there were lots of interesting options that have now opened up. So it’s an aspect of the game that’s opened up for a little bit of exploration. Maybe there are some really bullshit combos in there, but you’ll have to find them yourself.
And that’s everything on Blessings. They appeared without much fanfare and seemed to just be a minor addition. The article in copy of White Dwarf focuses on how they can help when you have points left over, but I think there’s a lot more to them than that. Not only do they massively expand the pool of profiles, but they also present an option at the start of each game giving players a little more control over how the game is going to play out. With the current set of battle plans for tournaments heavily favouring swarm lists, these options might not initially have much of an impact on the game. We’ll have to see whether 4 swift Graveguard are better than 5 normal Graveguard.
Once we eventually switch to new missions though, I think this will be a big factor. Personally I’m going to get some of these blessings cards printed out so I can have them on hand and try them out, it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
In particular, I’m interested in trying out a few of the lesser played warbands. Stuff like Fyreslayers where all the fighters have Swiftness for +1 move, or Daughters of Khaine where everyone gets Fortitude for an extra 4 wounds. The blessings are going to make everything cost more, but maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to work out that secret sauce that gets these warbands out of the cabinet and back on the table where they belong.
So how about you? Are blessings something you’re interested in giving a go. Since it’s an optional rule, would you be okay with your opponent using them or would you prefer to keep the game a little simpler. If you are going to try them, are there any fighters in particular you think would work well with the blessings? Please post in the comments.
If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Optimal Game State website, Mastodon, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the Games Workshop Specialist Games.