A couple week’s ago I found myself inheriting an absolutely massive Cities of Sigmar army, a faction I had long wanted to play. This lovingly converted, Japanese-Shogun themed army, provided by my friend Phil, had been one I had my eye on for ages, and once it arrived it quickly consumed my time. The side effect of having the massive wealth of options meant I had to do some serious testing, and I don’t just mean raw math-hammer.
Without a doubt, this is the trickiest endeavor yet, in terms of picking winners and losers. Having literally been a half-dozen factions smashed together, plenty of these units seem poor, only to become situationally excellent in the right City, etc… With enough digging, and plenty of testing, I think I can pretty confidently give you these insights.
Over-Performer: Phoenix Guard
Let me begin by actually acknowledging a few runners up. The Celestial Hurricanum, and Anointed on Frostheart, are simply wonderful. The sole reason either was edged out is because their points are fairly appropriate.
That said, both of those units take the already solid Phoenix Guard, and elevate them to being one of the most point efficient units in the game.
Coming it at 160pts per ten, with a healthy discount for units of thirty, the Guard seem fair. Ten wounds, but which can easily attack in three ranks, with solid, and numerous attacks, is already a decent deal. Their range means you’re getting full value out of the unit, which can often be an uncalculated consideration when evaluating units.
But their special abilities are just terrific, and take them firmly into over-performer territory. Witness to Destiny is simply a no qualification, 4++ after-save, which roughly doubles the unit’s real-world survivability… something compounded when excellent support like said Anointed on Frostheart are further reducing incoming wounds.
And you will always want that support hero present, as Emboldened means with correct placement, you will never lose a model to battleshock.
Comparisons can broadly be made to supported/tricked out Fyreslayer Hearthguard Berserkers, and as we all know, that is one of the most survivable units in the entire game.
Expect points increases in the next General’s Handbook, as even though they aren’t dominating the competitive stage, this unit is just plain undercosted.
Under-Performer: Dreadlord on Black Dragon
In Age of Sigmar, there are a multitude of excellent mounted heroes; This book alone features several. The Dreadlord is NOT one of these models.
At 300pts, Dreadlord on Black Dragon feels like an impotent imposter of a Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon, or even this book’s own General on Griffon. Its damage potential, only roughly points efficient at full health, immediately drops as it takes wounds. A mere two damage done already reduces mediocre output by 25%, and this is not a unit you will be supporting with Ethereal Amulet’s and the like, so it will take wounds quickly.
While its Noxious Breath can provide some value, this unit is damned by a lack of any other meaningful contribution. Its Command Ability is of limited worth applying only to other units you are unlikely to take in numbers, and that’s it. Dreadlord is a rote unit made worse by the fact that the Sorceress on Black Dragon is already worlds better for the EXACT SAME COST.
In a book with so many moderately competitive options, it is unfortunate that this one is so easily outclassed.
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