The next article of discussion is the size of armies that will be needed under the new rules. There was an immediate, and widespread, rush to argue that 700 points will have to be the new standard. I have been leaning towards staying at 600, though that is a fairly arbitrary amount as well.
I wrote up a post in our forum (here) about this and decided that it was something I wanted to capture on this blog as well.
I agree that 600 points is feeling pretty good to me. The new Warbands construction rules actually force theme better than the LoME rules did. You can still take that hero that doesn't really fit your army, but you are paying a premium for the privilege. If you just have to have Durin in your Gondor force then you are going to have to make some sacrifices. From a theme standpoint, this is not a bad thing.
It also makes horde armies smaller, with the exception of goblins and hobbits. I'm less happy about this. I like having a bunch of crappy dudes on the table and kicking that elite warband's arrogant teeth down their throats. Oh well. I'll just have to adjust.
You can still bring a pricey hero. The trade off is still there. It's just when you try to bring a pricey hero who is not thematically linked to your army that you get hammered on the points. I'm actually ok with that. I'd prefer that the min/max math hammer stay in 40k and Warhammer and LotR be about the story. For me, and this is certainly only my opinion, the point of a skirmish game is the story that's being told. The reason I like LotR is because I started in the books and want to play them out on the tabletop, not because I'm looking for a generic fantasy skirmish game.
All in all, it's actually a pretty elegant way of controlling what players bring. We can all choose to bring the big heroes but there are appropriate penalties in place when we break the paradigm of the stories. I'm less pleased that I have to buy some new models and get them painted as well as retiring others that I have worked so hard on. On the other hand those old guys are already forming the core of new armies, in my mind at least.
So what we have with Warbands is certainly an adjustment. My Faramir, Captain of Ithilien doesn't even exist in the new rules. I can take Faramir and tool him up for the story or purpose I want him for, but the guy I built my Gondor army around is gone. I can move on from that. In many ways, Gondor is the least affected army because they have a couple 25 point heroes that you can throw in and lead Warbands.
My Harad list is more affected. My base troops are more expensive. 1st blow against numbers. Bob the Budget Nazgul is no longer viable since I won't spend 90 points on a hero who can't lead a warband. I can use a thematically correct Nazgul instead. He costs 30 points more. Another blow against numbers. My Mahud are now just another slightly different flavored warrior option. They are a lot cheaper. Here's where I can make some points back. Coolly themed upgrades to tweak how normal warriors play. Those eat into points too. I'll have to see if they are worth it. Right now I'm thinking they are not but I'm going to give it a shot, just to see my opponent's face when I tell him I have 18 Elvish equivalent archers with poison on a 1&2. Suck it Galadrim!
I'm reconciling myself to the changes, though I'll always regret the loss of my Mahud. We're in for some fun times for the next two or three years.