My first game I was slaughtered but it was entirely my fault, outplayed masterfully by CRD.
I was playing 2500 against Lizzies, who did have a Slaan with the extra PD ability. However we both felt even without that extra PD that the Blood Dragons were quite overwhelmed when it came to magic. It got to the point where a Saurus champ could match a WS10, I10 ASF lord due to light buffs that kept on being powered through.
A suggestion was made by CRD that Blood Dragons (possibly only the Lord) could have a balefire effect? Whilst I am not sure on that suggestion I do think something is needed to increase their magical defence.
Played a small game as part of a narrative campaign, Blood dragons against Lizardmen, 400 points. One thing immediately leapt out at me, namely that in any small game, the Blood Dragons have a pathetic lack of core choices, i.e. only skeletons. Then I realized that this goes up all the way to higher pts games, with ONLY skeletons (including, admittedly, the veteran skeletons) counting. That strikes me as a problem, possibly solvable by removing the "does not count towards core limit" restriction from one or two of the BD's core options. At low pts values it's still worse, however, because there are usually not sufficient pts to do both a unit of skeles AND a unit of skele vets.
Added to this is the fact that since the BD's are not so hot in the magic department, they even have a hard time reinforcing their limited forces...
It's possible there's no way to balance the BD's as we currently have them in a small game setting. I don't know, but just wanted to provide evidence that, in my experience, they don't work below 1000 pts right now. I like DoN's balefire idea. Well, at least some sort of magic defense. (We might look to the Strigoi for some ideas there. There's nothing saying that everything between all the bloodlines has to be COMPLETELY different.)
It's possible there's no way to balance the BD's as we currently have them in a small game setting. I don't know, but just wanted to provide evidence that, in my experience, they don't work below 1000 pts right now.
Just a quick note, was looking at the Skeleton veteran and the Blood Monks' stat lines, and noticed that neither of them have a Wound characteristic. The veterans are fairly obvious, but I had actually been wondering if the Monks would have more than one wound, considering that each one costs more than some heroes.
Battle Rpt using Blood dragon army at 1250. Actually didn't find lack of magic to be that big of a problem. Didn't see any restrictions on taking Necromancers, so took one, found he did what I really needed him to. Even though Vamp Lord lost magic in 2nd turn, still was able to play effectively.
One thing, might need to specify more clearly whether the Blood Knight Lord's retinue count against Lord 25% point limit, Special point limit, or no category at all, as I at least wasn't clear on that looking at it as it stands.
Also, having played in a slightly larger game, I think that the skeleton veterans + Skeletons make for pretty good core choices in combination...but I still think that something else being able to contribute to core minimum would make sense...probably not GG, I guess...maybe zombies? I can't think of any reason why the BK's wouldn't feel ok using zombies as fodder. Honestly, I think they should count as core for all of the bloodlines, as that's sort of the basic necromancy unit...but possibly we're going in a different direction with zombies. If so, feel free to disregard
Made another BD list, 2000 pts this time. Has anyone else tried to fit Blood Monks into their army, and if so did you also seem to cost a bit much for what they promise to deliver? I'll have data on how they ACTUALLY do after I play the list, but just looking at it I'm a bit worried, I must confess.
Yeah when I created a list with them in for a test WFO game they looked tiny. I ended up giving up on that game due to making an almighty mess I couldn't recover from, however I will say the Blood Monks survived a fair few shots due to their ward save.
Just remember not to charge head on into ranked up units along, use them in tandem with other units or hit flanks / rears. They are very fast so it shouldn't be that difficult.
I found this bloodline army list a few days ago, and I was pretty happy: that's what I looked for to play blood dragons on 8th Ed. I tried them yesterday in a 2000 pts battle, and I supposed you would like to have an advice on this list. So here I am!
First of all, I really like this work. I'm going to make a few critics on it, but that's because I think this list can become really cool with a few changes.
So, this intro being over, let's start:
It seems that in 8th Edition, Skeletons are a terrible choice. They got quite the same defensive power as ghouls, but they lack offensive abilities. Skeletons veterans don't change that much: +1 WS and +1I isn't usefull against a lot of enemies (I fought dark elves, they don't carry if I got a WS 2 or 3). The halberd make them a little stronger, but they still cost twice the price of a human fighter with the same stats. Being undead is no longer an advantage in 8th Ed. (nor a weakness, just another style), and there's really no point in paying a halberd guy with poor fighting skills 11 points. Other armies get way better units for less points.
The Hardened warrior special rule is strange. I can't imagine what it's supposed to figure. I can't see the link between the supposed fighting skills of blood dragon's skeletons and the game effect. Moreover, skeletons are quite unable to win a fight by themselves, and they are the unit that has the most ranks in the army. That make this special rule of little use, imho.
Having Grave Guards in Core units is pretty cool, but it doesn't change anything at all. I never saw anyone playing VC and lacking of Special points. But that's not a problem. To finish, Dire wolves are as useless as usually, no surprise.
To finish on core units, I'd say that the Blood dragon list is far less powerfull than the VC book, just cause we can't take ghouls. I know skeletons are fluffy in such an army, and I'll recommand to boost them a little. Now, they just are easy point to take, and that's a shame for an army which is supposed to give pain in close combat.
Wooo! Blood Knights! Having them in special units is fluffy, and that's a good thing. The limit of one unit per 1000 army points is superfluous ihmo, cause I can't see any efficient army list with 4 blood knights units at 3000 pts (for exemple).
Black knights and Fell bats are classics. 0-1 Spirit Hosts, that's enough for most army lists, and Batswarms are still unusefull, nothing really changes. The good point is having blood knights in this category: it doesn't sound overpowered to me, cause despite their abilities, they got enough weaknesses to avoid a player to spam them in his army list.
As the blood knights now are in Special, the Rare points can be used freely. However, with only two rare units, blood dragons don't give us that much choices.
First, we can use Wraiths. I should say, we can spam them, cause we don't need Rare points for our mounted vampires. Actually, Wraiths are a powerfull unit against a lot of armies, so this is a good option.
On the other hand, Blood Monks, one of the most stylish units I've seen so far. I tried them yesterday, of course, and it appears that they cost too much points for what they do. Their offensive abilities are equal to the blood knights one, they are fast and skirmisher rule let them avoid a lot of threats. Their shooting ability is quite trivial, they deliver much more pain in close combat. But when it comes to fight, or when they're targetted by range attacks, they show their bigger weakness: they die incredibly fast. For the same amount of points, I can have 5 BK with a 2+/4+ ward save against ranged attacks, or 5 BM with their 4+ ward and the -1 for shooting at them: BK are finally more resistant to light shooting and to S3 or 4 attacks, they can have a character with them and a banner. I think that Blood monks are a good idea, but they should cost the same as blood knights, or having 2 wounds. If needed, you could suppress their ranged attack: it seems cool, but they don't use it much, they're far more efficient in close combat. And when they use it, 4 or 5 S5 range attacks don't scare too much the big 8th Edition's units.
To conclude, my opponent said he found the Blood Monks nice, but that Wraiths are more dangerous for the same price, and I have to agree. With Blood dragons' army list, the better use with Rare points is to take a lot of Wraiths: doesn't look great in such an army, and not very funny for the game. If the opponent has a lot of magical weapons, he'll have an esay win. If not, he'll just have to pray.
Heroes and Lords:
Blood Dragons vampires are incredibly strong, for sure. I used a Lord with Master of blades, and he could destroy a unit alone in two turns of close combat. The high WS of vampires, their armour and weapons that don't use magical/vampiric powers points, make them great warriors, even in an edition where troups are usually more powerfull than characters for the same amount of points. A good thing for blood dragons.
However, there are a few problems I noticed: - they lack magical power. It's not such a problem, cause they're destructive enough in close fight, but in 8th edition magic is very strong, and VC depends on it. It's hard to cast a spell, hard to have enough dices to dispell, and there's no way to increase magical power (periapt excepted, but it doesn't change a magic phase on its own); - they lack options. Master of blades is indubitably dangerous. So are Unliving legend, Quicksilver and Master strike (red fury is quite good too). The other powers are less interesting, and I fear that all the blood dragon's vampires are going to use only a few powers; - Retinue rule: I suppose there is an interest, but I can't see it. As I said before, I don't think we can run short in Special points (cause Characters, Core units, and Rares always make at least half the army points), so having a retinue is just a way to prevent our characters for moving freely. Strange deal. - Challenges: this rule is very fluffy, but it's a nightmare to play. If I understand it well, it means my evil-powerfull-terrible-vampire-of-the-evil-death must challenge each champion in any enemy unit? A unit with a poor champion becomes immune to my general attacks for one turn, and can freely destroy his unit? On his own turn, the opponent can charge the unit, and I have to challenge the new champion while he destroys me with his troops? That doesn't make any sense at all. I was forced to challenge with my skeleton champion to avoid that, or to launch suicide attacks to kill a champion before attacking the unit. Not funny to play, and makes my 455 points general quite unuseful.
As a conclusion, I'll say that this bloodline army list is a good basis, but needs a few changes. The good point is that it doesn't seem really unbalanced to me, and that it's full of good ideas (retinue, blood monks, new powers). I'll say two points need our attention:
There are very few ways to play it. Characters can only be close monsters, basis are skeletons. The only choices are the number of knights or GG you'll put, and to use Wraiths or Blood monks. I know it's the V6 spirit, but if I remember well, Blood dragons don't amount in Knights. There are also assassins, fencers, and many other identities. It could be good to have more powers, more options so that we could do many differents, but efficients, characters and armies.
They're not that fun to play on the battlefield for the moment. VC don't use range attacks, that's a fact, but their gameplay is a combination between moves, magic support and close combat, whereas their characters are divided between close combat, magic and support. With blood dragons, magic is strongly restricted, and characters are mostly close combat ones. I had the feeling, while playing them, to advance, charge and throw dices to kill, while using IoN to maintain my characters alive. No shooting phase, very few support powers and magic, I don't think I'll could play it for long. Moreover, I had to find ugly stratagems to avoid the horrible challenges rules and to make something with my underpowered core units.
One more time, please don't think I didn't like your work: I used it, and I took time to register here and make this long report, isn't that a proof? Your base work seems very interesting, I just think it can become even better
Of course, all I said is only my opinion and the results of my tests, but I hope it can help you!
Great analysis, Caleb, thanks for taking the time for setting it all out. As I just finished playing through a narrative campaign with my BD army (also ending in a 2000 pt game), I figured I'd take the opportunity to both respond to some of your points and give my own thoughts.
Core: I agree with you that we are severely limited at core, but unfortunately I'm unsure how to improve that. Possibly giving all skeletons in a BD army a universal upgrade to Veterans would work, if we then knocked the cost down by a point (9 for normal, 10 for halberds) Also, since halberds prevent them from using their shields, I honestly think they ought to be freely switchable, exchanging a little higher strength for better defense, or vice versa. The campaign was against lizardmen, so I actually DID find the +1 Initiative quite useful, but you're right in saying that it's not so good against quicker armies...but then, what undead is going to be hitting before DE anyway? Also, I think changing GG to count for core points, but limiting them to a smaller, elite size might be workable, as in, 5-25, say. Just some ideas on how to possibly help what really is a very poor core range of options at this point, unfortunately.
Special: Agree with Caleb all round, love having Blood Knights in Special, lots of fun.
Rare: Finally used Blood Monks in the 2000 point game, and had two major problems. Firstly, as Caleb mentioned, they can die fairly quickly, as a single flyover/stonedrop by my opponent's Terradons took out 4 of the 6 Monks I was able to bring. Secondly, those six monks cost me 445 pts. That's not anywhere near a good value for a unit that a lucky round of bow shots can eliminate entirely. Thus, I concur with Caleb in that they need to be put down to around the same points as the Blood Knights, or possibly 5 pts over, due to their ward save and KB. Keep the Abbot's cost as is, however, due to HKB.
My opponent brought a Slann, and for the first time I realized that we don't have access to a Black Coach. Is there a particular reason why not? I mean, I have no problem seeing the minions of a blood dragon Vamp being capable of putting one together, and it would definitely help with the magic defense aspect of things. Didn't take wraiths, so no observations on how those operate within the army
Lords and Heroes: Sorry Caleb, but this is just about the only area in which we significantly disagree. -Regarding magic: Blood Dragons aren't supposed to be good at it. Agreed that that makes it harder to play, but when we've got access to such hard hitting units in the blood monks and knights, there's got to be a disadvantage somewhere. By loading up on a couple of necromancers and giving THEM appropriate anti-magic gear, I was able to at least hang in there in both magic phases. (and being up against a Slann, that's honestly all I could have hoped for.) -Options: In the two games of the campaign in which I used the BD lord, I took Master of Blades, horse master, and red fury, and very nearly took two of the others (which ones I don't currently remember) I personally like all the choices, and can see using any/all of them. -Retinue: I loved, loved LOVED having the unit of Blood Knights with him. They served as a roving deathstar, and in both games both survived and took out better than their pts value in opponents. No complaints there. -Challenges: Agree it can be something of a pain, but I think you're looking at it wrong. After all, chances are that if the opponent's champion accepts the challenge, you ARE going to kill him, and with the overkill rules, you can get up to 6 combat res JUST FROM THAT FIGHT, against something with one wound. Assuming the unit he's in (such as his retinue) isn't completely inept that turn, that should be enough to turn any fight heavily in your favor. And if the enemy champion does not accept your challenge, well...let's just say after getting his retinue down to the Lord and two Blood Knights, my opponent still lost 10 of 15 Saurus after refusing a challenge, to no casualties in return. Again, a bit of a peculiarity, but not nearly as bad, in my opinion, as it seems at first blush.
Glad you like what we have so far hopefully this feedback will help us improve it even further
About magic: I agree, Blood dragons aren't supposed to be good at it. I just noticed that, basically, VC are about magic power. And blood dragons can't really use it. They don't have antimagic items neither. But I think a simple access to the black coach could change that.
Powers: Hmmm... I just took a new look on it. And to be more precise: I won't buy any generic power to my vampires, except Quicksilver. They are the same than the ones no one use in the VC classic army.
In fact, the question is: what would I buy to my characters? For lords, I'll use Master of Blades, or Unliving legend + Master strike. At least, I could use Unliving legend + Red fury. It doesn't make that much builds.
For heroes, all the builds I see are about Quicksilver + something else. No way to make an assassin, for exemple.
Retinue: You did not understand my point. Retinues are not a bad idea, but the actual rule give no advantage, and prevent your general from going away. The only advantage was to avoid to use your Special units slots in 7th Ed, and that was cool. But now, with the percentage system, that make no sense: why the hell would I buy Blood knights as a Retinue, knowing that my vampire lord won't be able to quit them if needed, when I can by them with my Special units points without any problem? In a 2000 pts game, I got 1000 pts for Special units, and I won't use them all, so who cares?
Challenges: Here we truly desagree, indeed. I used to think it was not significant, but it really is. I explain: enemy champion will always accept challenge. By doing this, he protects his unit: he will die, but his unit only lose one model, whereas he could have lost 7-9 models without this challenge (by the way, he's limiting the points the vampire make for combat result: 6 max instead of 7-9). And then, two cases:
1) The vampire is in a powerful unit (Blood knights for exemple, 800 pts min. for the unit, warmachines are pleased): BK destroy many models, the vampire destroys only one, you gain the fight by +15. However, you only have one rank, and the probabilities are great that your enemy will still be steadfast. So, the +6 points of overkill are useless, and the result is that your 450pts-character only kill one enemy model. Ouch.
2) The vampire is in a core unit (that avoids to concentrate all our strength in only one unit): the skeletons are slayed by the enemy (all the others armies have better core units than us). You have great chances to lose, or to make an equality, or to win against a steadfast unit.
In both cases, risks of countercharge are great, with a new champion. Of course, I don't say this always happens, but I just feel completely ridiculous when my warlord of the evil death that kills and kills again (TM) absolutely needs to use his first close combat turn to kill only one model. It's not stylish at all, and make our vampires far too easy to counter. That's why I suggest them to challenge enemy character's only.
Really, I won't play this list again because of this rule which say: "If you got a champion, then the vampire can only make one casualty. Don't worry if you're steadfast."
Haven't paid much attention to this bloodline army recently, but I feel Caleb raises a very pertinent point. As he said, an opponent will always challenge your big bad I-kill-your-unit-for-appetizer hero/lord as it will prevent said hero/lord from tearing through the rank and file instead. While the overkill bonus from challenges could possibly cause units to break in 7th Edition, it has been rendered meaningless by the advent of Steadfast.
I suggest changing the rule so that the unit champions of the more powerful units also have the must challenge or accept limitation. This isn't a stretch to rationalize, the vampire deems his foe unworthy and a lesser underling steps forth to show his mettle instead. Something like 'Come back and find me again after you've trained your swordwork for another century or two. In the meantime, Karl will entertain you, won't you Karl?'
That would certainly be a workable solution. After thinking about the matter for a while, it also occurred to me that it might work to simply say they only have to issue/accept challenges regarding heroes and lords, and not bother about the champions at all, unless we were to say that, as Sweeney indicated, a champion in his unit could accept a challenge from another unit's champion. Hope that's clear, Heh.
I was looking at the 6th edition blood dragon list recently, and found that they had Black Knights as a Core choice. Now, I can see why in 7th edition that would have been a bit OP considering we have Blood Knights also, and a few other stronger things than were available in 6th ed.
However, now that we've moved on to 8th, and cavalry has been nerfed to a pretty substantial degree in terms of being able to disrupt steadfast, effectiveness of charging, and so on and so forth, it doesn't seem like putting them into Core would be entirely out of the question? It would certainly aid in the creation of the elite, cavalry heavy force which (I think) we're primarily going for.
I would go so far as to say that Black Knights should be included in the Core choices, AND they should count towards the minimum core percentage. In all of the Bloodline Armies, it's impossible to field an all-cavalry army. I can understand this (after all, the it's impossible for the Vampire Counts to do this in general). But, if there's any army that deserves the ability to field solely cavalry, it's the Blood Dragons.
That said, I've never had the opportunity to playtest the Blood Dragons (everybody plays 40k at college... ), so you can probably take anything I say with a grain of salt. But still, that's my opinion for what it's worth.
A simple suggestion i though of (biased on the old 6th ed army list). Give the skeleton veterans +1 BS and the ability to swap shields for bows (maybe crossbows or longbows) for free/+1pt. This would help the army participate more in the game and is from the old list (they were a special choice though).