Fantasy Fisticuffs #34: Over and Under (Lumineth)

Something new, returning High-Elves, or a bit of both, this new AoS army is bringing some dangerous changes to competitive Age of Sigmar.

I usually love those moments where you see a new book or unit, and just know the meta of a competitive game is about to see a huge refresh.  Those can be exciting times and keep a beloved game from becoming stale, but they can also cause plenty of anxiousness on the part of players.  Testing the Lumineth suggests they may not be an army that rolls every major event, but they very much are new gatekeepers for anyone hoping to win.

Before getting into the book’s most and least efficient units, a few thoughts on the army in general…  

Firstly, I love some of what the book’s design suggests about where the designers heads are currently at.  Wardens, and their physical formation buffs require placement and movement that really feels like a call-back to Warhammer Fantasy.  I really enjoy the models specific physical presence on the table mattering, as it really brings something tactile to a game that can sometimes feel like abstracted wound counters.  If more books really emphasize more specific placements, and put even more importance onto the movement phase, I think it will be great for the game over-all.

Next, this army feels like the strangest of spoilers.  I feel it will have several tough match-ups that it will struggle against, but the almost comically useful Teclis, functionally breaks spell-casting for all but the most elite casters… and even those will seriously struggle.  While playing probability and mitigating it is a real skill in this hobby, having things just “auto” happen is generally very bad design.  Auto-unbinding feels like a negative experience for opponents as there just isn’t an answer.  Likewise armies reliant on small heroes just got violently shoved down the power curve.  For instance, Fyreslayers who might’ve had a genuine chance to do well at moderate-sized events, likely hit a wall if they meet their ancient racial rivals.

The Lumineth are a defensive themed army whose flavor jumps beyond the game to the meta-game.  There existence must be considered, if nothing else.

Now having had extensive time with them thanks to some proxying, lets see where some individual units shake out.

Over-Performer:  Sentinels (and a LOT of other things…)

To start, let me say that a decent number of options were vying for this spot.  Teclis proved expensive and his value fluctuates a ton, depending on the opponent.  The basic Wardens are a remarkably durable, well-priced battleline choice as well.  This book doesn’t lack for quality units.

Sentinels, however, are game changing.  With absolutely no support outside of their warscroll, this unit is the best assassin in all of AoS.  It’s threat-range with Lofted Shots, is functionally half of the table, and Line-of-Sight is irrelevant to them.  Their real value shows up when taking those shots after casting Power of Hysh, so that all wound rolls of a 5+ cause additional mortal wounds.  

With no outside buffs, a unit of twenty statistically remove most five wound heroes at will, which is a terrifying proposition for many, many armies utterly reliant on strong support characters.  Some armies outright fall apart with the loss of a couple key pieces, such as Hags, Warchanters, or Battlesmiths.

Even a cursory glance at further buffs make this unit even crazier.  Lambent Light, a spell so easy for this army to cast that it is hilarious, allows Sentinels to reroll all hits versus a target.  Double damage output?  Sure, why not.  Aetherquartz usage makes a particularly clutch round of shooting even easier, as well.

When determining the value of a unit, some part of that requires taking a wide view.  As such a unit like this will change the landscape of every game it is a part of.

Under-Performer:  Light of Eltharion

I know, I know…  some books are in good position when their under-performing units are still very usable.  Light of Eltharion is a surprisingly hard hitting, counter-punching unit, that while offensively valid, will have a difficult time finding a place in current lists.

At 220pts, he really does not fulfill a function that only he can uniquely do.  Wardens are content to grind with an opponent, and Stoneguard can adequately hit back all on their own.  Lumineth Realm Lords do suffer from being extremely elite.  Not unlike Bone Reapers, you will want to spend every justifiable point on more bodies, the things that will actually win you games.  As cool as the model is, he is fragile relative to your modest battleline, and not particularly fast either.

Paint him, admire him on your desk, and just take twenty more Wardens instead.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Mark Gottlieb

Writer, Game Designer, and owner of Fortunate Sun Studios, I have always tried to lead a life in some way built around paying back to gaming, and the gaming community. This hobby, and everyone in it, saved my life on more than a few occasions, and now I get to put my heart into helping it thrive for everyone!

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