Here we are, after more playtesting. I wrote in the previous post that I would just update it, but I found out that updating it would make it too long. Here's the link to the previous post where I wrote about Minas Tirith, Khazad-Dum, Mordor, Barad-Dur, Moria, Arnor and Angmar.
Let's start with Part 2!
Rohan (Mounted models gain +1 Strenght on a turn in which they charge)
A Westfold Redshield charges a Uruk Hai with Shield. The Rider wins and knocks the Uruk down. He now has 4 strike to make against the uruk but, since he needs 6 to wound, the odds are in favor of the Uruk. However, if the Redshield has now S4 he would only need a 5+, 1 on 3 chances, with 4 four dice to roll. It's a whole different story.
This bonus is both great and thematic. Granted that it's not as a good as a +1 to wound, it will still be helpful when dealing with D6 infantry or when facing the forces of Harad (another thematic opponent), whose D4 would most likely mean that they're gonna be chopped. If D7 units are involved you can always charge them with Sons of Eorl or call a piercing strike. The ability to piercing striking means that you cavalry potential strenght ranges from 5 to 7 and 6 to 8 for the Sons of Eorl. Of course, since piercing strikes actually has drawbacks when used by units with D5 you have to carefully pick the right moment to unleash their potential.
However, no matter how great the bonus is, Rohan still keeps all of its weaknesses and adds one more: this list does not include Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor (who, by the way, has a rule that boosts his Strenght when charging) the only Rohirrim Hero with 3 in all the right places. Other than that, the list still lacks in the spellcasting department and the heroes are not very resistant to magic, with only 2 will points at best. Plus, all the horses but Eorl's and Sons have D4 so you'll still have to be careful when facing opponents with tons of bows or, even worst, crossbows. But those are just the weaknesses Rohan already had.
The Rangers of the North (All models in the army can have bows. Rangers of the north and Dunedains can lead warbands up to 6 models)
Let's talk about the bad things first. Elladan and Elrohir are no longer part of Grey Company, which lowers the killing power of this list. Aragorn is still there, not as Isildur's Heir but as Strider which increases the options he can take (Horse!) but loses the bonus he used to give to the Grey Company. Lastly, aside from Halbarad's, this list has no banners so you'll be pretty much forced to equip Halbarad with one.
Now, let's talk about the bonus.
It's great. The fact that Rangers and Dunedain can lead small warbands allows to horde up very easily and make the shoot phase a nightmare for your opponent and it's expecially dreaded in small points game. At 200 pts I was able to field 18 units and their bows allowed me to kill the enemy leader despite the fact that he was cowardly hiding behind two ranks and his D6.
Like Rohan, this list keeps the weaknesses it already had and it is less effecient in melee. Aside from the elven twins, they can no longer field Malbeth nor Warriors of Arnor, which made the rangers even more vulnerable since they can no longer count on a Fury roll nor a meat shield and the loss of a F5-D7 captain can be painful.
In the end, this list will perform extremely well or extremely bad, depending on the deployment phase and the number of shoots phases you get before melee starts.
You can increase the killing power by giving horses to the Rangers of the North, Halbarad and Aragorn, but you have to consider that only Aragorn will reach D6 if you equip him with an armor. Like Minas Tirith, you need your heroes if you want to kill units in melee. Unlike Minas Tirith, if a hero loses a fight there is a good chance he will suffer a wound; even Aragorn D6 is not much when you consider just how many units have S4 nowadays and all the other heroes only have D5.
Khand (All models may have bows)
Now, we had to proxy the hell out this one to get an idea. And the idea we had is that, despite the bonus, this list is not good.
Khandish Archers are overcosted when compared to units with a similar profile (the same cost as a Ranger with Spear, who has a better shoot value and the ability to support) while the cavalry is okay. We played it Mongol-style, as a pure cavalry force. Well, they are not that good.
All models may have bows, but their shoot value is still average, which means that it drops to 5+ if they move. And the bows are just S2 bows, which means that they will be more annoying than effective. And in the end, they are only D4 so they fear the shoot phase more than their opponent.
Let's not be mistaken, it's still a very fun force to play if you have enough cavalry models to do so, and the king on chariot is a very good hero (provided your opponent does not field Radagast) able to knock down even Rivendell Knights. But the drawbacks are just too massive.
No hero has 3 attacks or 3 even 3 might points, no units goes above S3 (although infantry has access to two-handed axes) the average defence is 4, the shooting value is average, there are neither monsters no spellcasters.
Frankly, I liked Khand more as part of the Eastern Kingdoms. One thing that could be done to make the list more interesting is to either improve the shoot value (à la Dale) and/or removing the penalty for mounted models that shoot after moving. That would be thematic.
Easterlings (+1 to courage when the army is broken; may reroll dice to see if the game ends if a hero is still alive)
I'm amazed by how useless this bonus is. It's a bonus that does not kick in until you're army has taken a beating and even then, it doesn't really change much.
The idea of a "desperation mode" is actually pretty nice and I would love a rule that would actually increase their killing power when broken. I would have liked a +1 to Strenght when Broken. That would allow to compensate for one of the weaknesses of the army and it wouldn't be game breaking since it wouldn't affect your army from the start.
The Easterling army is actually slightly weaker than it used to be, and that's saying a lot. Since Khand is a separate faction, you can no longer improve their killing power by adding a couple of axe wielding units in each warband nor a King or even a captain on Chariot. They also lose the 50% bows, which is annoying because, if you buy them as GW wants you to, you'll be left with a lot of models you will need to either convert or leave on display.
Isengard (Courage test for being broken only after being reduced by 66% rather than 50%)
Basically, Isengard only lost access to Sharkey and his Ruffians, which surprised me because I expected the Dunlendings and the Scouts to be on separate lists. That doesn't really change the way this list is played so, like Mordor, you only have something to gain from the bonus.
First, it should be noted that, even if they don't take the courage test, the list will still count as broken when reduced under 50% of its units. It does not change the rules, it only postpones the courage test. So, if you have to roll a die to see if the game ends after an army is broken, there's a 1 in 3 chance of the bonus not coming into play at all.
The bigger the game, the more effective the bonus is. But, out of the 3 games we played, only in the third game (1000 pts) the bonus lasted for more than one turn.
I'm conflicted. On one hand, this bonus could be life saving, expecially when playing against evil, where there are penalties to courage and shamans have a hard life (Nazguls, Nazguls everywhere) but, on the other hand, we are talking of a bonus that may not even come into play at all.
Lothlorien (All models gain the Resistant to Magic special rule)
We all know that, at some point, Lothlorien and Mirkwood will be split. After all, Mirkwood has already its own list in There and Back Again and it would make absolutely no sense to keep the old list from "The Free People" playable. Basically, Lothlorien loses Crowned Thranduil and Legolas, while keeping all of its units, which will understandably annoy good players because, we all know it, Old Thranduil and Legolas are in every wood elves list.
However, we believe this bonus to be worth the loss of the Mirkwood heroes. It's not limited to heroes, but is granted to "all models". Nature's Wrath, Sorcerous Blast, Compel...there's no spell now that can be considered a sure hit, because there's always the chance that the target will resist. The "Sap Will and Compel" is no longer a sure kill combo. It's great, expecially if the spell was cast with a low roll. Of course, there's no guarantee that the spell will be resisted, but at least you'll have a chance.
On a side note, watching your opponent's face when you roll a 6 on a single die to resist a spell he spent 3 will points on is priceless.
Frankly, I cannot think of a better bonus for Lothlorien. It's effective and it fits the army perfectly.
Siamo Dikey e Shagrat, e facciamo parte del Gruppo di Gioco della Sicilia Orientale dedicato al gioco " Middle-Earth: Strategy Battle Game" prodotto dalla games workshop, che è la proprietaria del marchio registrato.