Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WOTR: A different tack on rebalancing.

For a few months there, we played WOTR with 'Rules as Written' (RAW), and by the end of it I was actually a bit sick of WOTR! That, combined with some truly absurd rules discussions (I am sure there was an answer, I just felt better off not knowing) had led me to focus quite a bit on other things (that tag got a lot of entries, pretty fast). Despite being really keen on WOTR, I was at the point of going to the effort of porting it over to the Impetvs rules, since I felt that the existing fantasy mods for that system did not do all that I wanted
Aragorn was 'King of the Hill'
 However, Jason and I had a fun game of WOTR on Monday (batrep to come), using my houserules. I had a blast. WOTR is my favourite game once again. It turns out I like everything about it except some of the stupid combos that appear, and the role of magic in the game. I didn't even use most of the houserules - the key ones were 'Will of Iron' worked on a 3+ and my Warriors of Minas Tirith became 30pts per coy. We both played using a mix of units and had a single Epic hero each - The Beast-caller for Jason and Aragorn for me

Since Tempest is coming up (and I got a prompt from one of the local WOTR players on the Chch forum), I got to thinking about the best way to run a competition, where houserules were not appropriate but the sillier combos were restricted. I realised that WOTR has far, far less restricted lists than pretty much any game I can think of and it is this lack of restriction that caiuses most of the issues.If guidelines were written right, no single model or battlehost would be excluded from the game but lists overall would be much less free to combine the top-tier heroes. Here is what I came up with:

WOTR 1000 pt draft competition rules. 
Rules: 'Will of iron' works on a 3+
Lists: There is a list of all the Epic heroes in the game, below. Your army may only contain one hero from the 'restricted' list. Though you may take as many other heroes or legendary formations as points permit. You may not take any allied Epic Hero, though Good lists may use Epic Heroes from the Forgotten Kingdoms list ('The Shadow of the Nazgul' fulfils the same role for Evil). If you take an Epic Hero from the 'restricted' list, you may not also take a monster with the 'extremely hard to kill' rule. Further, if you do take a monster with the rule instead of taking a 'restricted' hero, you may only ever take one monster with that rule. Battlehosts may be fielded but the restrictions on Epic Heroes remains. The sole exception to this are Battlehosts which require more than one Epic Hero from the restricted list, in that case they may take the minimum necessary. Since the restrictions on Epic heroes remain in place, you may not take one restricted hero in the battlehost and another for the rest of the army.


Restricted: Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, Imrahil, Isildur, Elendil (The combination of Isildur and Elendil may be taken in a properly themed 2nd Age Numenorian list)
Not Restricted: Peregrin,

Restricted: Eomer, Eorl
Not Restricted: Deorwine, Eowyn, Erkenbrand, Theoden, Theodred

Elven Kingdoms
Galadriel (Lady of Lothlorien), Thranduil, Haldir, Galadriel (Potectress of Lothlorien)
Not restricted: Celeborn, Elrond, Legolas, Cirdan, Gil-Galad,  Arwen, Elladan, Elrohir
The Dwarf Holds
Restricted: Balin, Dain, Gimli
Not Restricted: Floi

Forgotten Kingdoms (may be allies for any Good list)
Restricted: Saruman the White, Gandalf the Grey, Radagast the Brown
Not Restricted: Gandalf the White


Restricted: Ringwraith, Mouth of Sauron, Gothmog, Kardush
Not Restricted: Gollum

The Fortress of Isengard
Restricted: Thrydan, Saruman, Lurtz
Not restricted: Grima Wormtongue

The Misty Mountains
Restricted:  Stone Giant, Dragon, Balrog, Durburz, Druzhag.
Note a Moria army may treat EITHER the Dragon OR the Balrog OR the Stone Giant as a Legendary formation for the purposes of army construction. Other restrictions remain in effect - these are still monsters with the 'extremely hard to kill' table, and this means they may not be taken with other restricted heroes.

Fallen Realms
Restricted: Ringwraiths (Shadow of the Nazgul), War Mumak, Suladan, Queen Beruthiel
Not Restricted: Dalamyr, Amdur

Restricted: Ringwraiths (Shadow of the Nazgul)

I would be interested in any feedback on which hero goes where. I think I've been fair, and all Epics should be on one or the other list, so let me know if I've missed any!




  1. I like your ideas here, we too have self imposed a restriction on Epic heroes in our recent games; being one per 1000 points, where the hero is ~100+ points.
    This has done away with some of the powerful combinations and reducing spellcasting, which can delay gameplay.
    It has seemed to work well for us thus far.

    I like your will of iron modifier. I could go as far as 2+ since you do have to spend a might point on it. I have always flet the WoI roll was potentially wasteful of might as its currently only a 50/50 chance!

    I wonder if it might be worth allowing the caster and 'castee' a chance to modify roll result with might; caster down and castee up?

  2. Hi Scott, yes I agree Epic restrictions are a good idea. One of my opponents was initially against the idea....but once he saw what happened when we really tried (in the interests of science, you understand), he changed his mind.

    I think both of your ideas about 'Will of Iron' are good ones. The 2+ matches the spell failure chance and the second gives caster might a more important role, which allows the Istari to shine more. Another idea that Jason had was to all all casters to 'Will of Iron' spells, even when their formation was not the target.

  3. After reviewing these matters after recent 'playtests', I have a concern at restricting Mordor to a single Wraith as you suggest - they are simply no match (singly) for any of the good heroes they my go up against: Aragorn, Boromir, Thranduil etc, that have Epic Strike and multiple Might points. The wraith is simply out classed, and once defeated in the duel, you have chopped the head off the snake and the rest of the army is likely to be defeated.

  4. Another thought, instead of limiting certain Epics to one per 1000 points, what about a simple percentage of the overall army list, say 25%.
    This is going to put a tooled-up Boromir or Aragorn, againast 2 Wraiths or a Wraith and Gothmog, for example?

  5. Hi Scott, the odds are good (no guarantees though) that a Wraith can survive a single duel vs anyone except Aragorn/Boromir. The Witch-King could actually survive a few. No guarantees but this is probable. On the other hand, Aragorn and Boromir cost much more and actually do not contribute nearly as much as a single Wraith does to a battle.

    I think that any army built around a particular hero is at a significant risk. That is a risk that I personally wouldn't be willing to take but I don't think a Mordor army is exactly going to fail when down to 875pts of the type of stuff they have in their list.

    I have a fair bit of experience using Wraiths in my Angmar army. They aren't hugely vulnerable to duels and if I lose them it is because I lacked the self discipline to resist charging ahead with them somewhere. Even when the Wraith goes, the bigger issue is the loss of the fact he is a hero (no doubling) and this can be mitigated through actually taking Captains/Shamans. These aren't bad choices, just why take them when Wraiths are 125pts and you can have up to 8 of them?

    In anycase, other armies manage without the perks (Darkness is just a ridiculously good list, let alone the bonus rules) Wraiths provide, somehow. They already do so much, and are so cheap (while their reliable counters cost so much more) that I don't feel I am missing out too much when I 'only' get to take one for Angmar. In fact, I am a little relieved that I will probably be able to avoid that one dueler all game.

  6. Also, re: your last suggestion, a percentage could defiitely work though 25% seems high and to stacking up cheap Gondor heroes, perhaps 20%? Or is there a specific reason you had 25% in mind? ;)

  7. 25% just seems a reasonable place to start, I was think of other rules that usually state some thing along the lines of "min 33% on core troops, max 50% on elites, max 33% Heroes" or some such similarities. 20% could be another point to start at.

    I guess at the end of the day I need more experience to get the hang of this game. Deep down I love it bits, and its driving me nuts I cant get a win!

  8. For 1000 pts, 25% is exactly two Wraiths (due to their low cost). In general, cost-based ratios heavily favour those heroes that were already under-costed: 125pt Wraiths, Druzhag, Gothmog, Faramir, Durbuurz et al. The purpose of a non-cost based limitation is to be less bound by these poor costings.

    20% is at least better in that it deals with Wraiths but does not deal with some other things and suspiciously still allows Aragorn... Usually you would have points ratios because that is the only consistent way to do it accross all the permutations.

    However, we think that: 1. It is the heroes that are the key issue and 2. That the total list of heroes is a small one. So given this, less of a 'blunt instrument' is called for.

    If it is any comfort, I lost my game last night.

  9. I guess dropping it to 20%, still really means only one wraith for Mordor in a 1k list, you couldnt even squeeze in MoS or Kardush...
    But I take your point about the heroes in general...

    I had a few thoughts about Kardush, after your comments on Saruman (ruin casters) - Exsicate I had always discounted as naff @ D6 hits S1, even uping it to S3 didnt seem much good, except maybe against D3 elves, until I noticed its D6 hits per company! Now that makes a difference, especially against those elves...
    I had also been wary of Tremor - until I noticed its only 6" range, AND your own casters formation is safe (cleared up by FAQ?) and it should be fairly easy to keep friendlies far enough away. But still in a single epic hero list, I doubt I would take him, Wraiths still seem better option for Mordor.

    You lost!? Playing WOTR? I don't believe it ;-)

  10. I did, and there will even be a batrep. The guy I took one wasn't that experienced at WOTR but knows how to wargame and the Fallen Realsm does very well out of my restrictions. His wasn't overly troubled by the presence of Aragorn either and was quite adept at preventing charges on Khamul.