Mark 3 - Interpreting What We Know So Far

In case you haven't heard, Warmachine and Hordes are getting a full rules rework into a Mark 3 ruleset this Lock 'N Load. Exciting as it is at the possibilities, it's really hard to say how the announced changes are going to affect the game balance and meta since we have such a limited picture. Basically, no models have any stats or rules existing on them yet according to public knowledge, and every standard rule is up for grabs. Let's talk about what we do know and how it is likely to shape the future of Warmachine. At the start of each section, I'll decide if the effect is likely to be Positive (a buff), Negative (a nerf), a Change, or Inconclusive.

Am I missing something? Please let me know via Twitter, Facebook, email at ghostdiceblog@gmail.com, or a comment below. But please note I'm only going to talk about specific spoilers, not vague ones like "colossals will be more powerful".

Note: End of Updates

Okay, so I got behind on this, then stuff started leaking and it got impossible to keep up with considering normal life duties I've got, so I'm just capping this update off here. But we will have some articles for each faction coming soon.


May 4 Update

Okay, so I've got a lot of stuff to catch up on. Real life has been cruel, but I'm happy to update it here now. Let's get to it.

In addition to some of the random spoilers we've gotten, they have now done some faction previews. Instead of breaking down the spoilers from those updates one at a time, I'll list what the changes are, then talk about what it means for the faction.

LIGHT ARTILLERY CHANGES

  • Light Artillery rule is gone - they can all move and attack. The grunt makes them faster, but they are all very slow.
  • Trencher gunner gets 3d+1 boosted shots into infantry
  • Winter Guard Field Gun knocks down on a direct hit
  • Ret Rifle Team gained a POW and is cheap at 4 points, and can gain a boosted shot through Range Finder from the grunt
  • Horgenhold Artillery Corps gets a RAT 5, RNG 16, POW 14 Brutal Damage Arcing Fire shot for 6 points
  • Trollblood Thumper at RNG 12 POW 16 Momentum
  • Venator Catapult Crew is Inaccurate, but RNG 18 POW 16 Arcing Fire Burst Fire with a minimum range of 8"

Verdict: Better

All of these look a little better. The ability to move and shoot granted to all of them should be a pretty big deal, and they are pretty cheap, but it's going to be hard to overlook the universally low RAT of 5 or lower we've seen so far. The Trencher Chain Gun and Houseguard Rifle Team look to be the only ones able to overcome that independently. Even so, if you own any of these models, I don't think you should feel sad about these updates.

LEGION CHANGES

  • Eyeless Sight doesn't ignore forests for LOS anymore, but Eyeless Sight models are immune to Blind
  • Bethayne's new feat - warriors gain Flank[FF Warbeast]
  • Lylyth2's feat loses Snipe, but gains Gunfighter. She also loses Shadow Pack, but picks up Soothing Song
  • Nyss Archers cost 8/13
  • Ogrun are cheaper and picked up Tough, but lost 3 damage boxes
  • Scythean gains Murderous (additional die to attack rolls vs warriors) and Thresher, but lost its Chain Attack
  • Proteus's gun is now a 4" melee attack that still pulls; animus gives -2 DEF against models B2B with him, and they can't move except to change facing. He also has Unyielding
  • Carnivean chassis is now speed 5
  • Tenacity is gone, Spiny Growth is RNG Self
  • Nephilim Protector picked up Guard Dog, Soldier got Precision Strike

Verdict: Old Legion Is Probably Dead

Alright, let's face it - if you're a Legion player, none of these updates were particularly great except for cheaper Archers and Bethayne's new feat. It's obvious now that PP wants to change Legion from a 5 heavy and support faction to an even mix of beasts and infantry. Lylyth2 in particular would be a shadow of her former self, but her former self is the one with the shadow (pack). She'll have the Calandra EE problem of wanting to activate first to feat, but also wanting to activate last to use Soothing Song.

Also, holy crap, Proteus was way overhyped. I mean, that's not bad, but you're not going to want him in every list. Unless everything else got nerfed even worse. Which is possible.

Still, it's not all bad. Lylyth2 really can still have a place with the Archers, Bethayne's feat is really solid, and there's a ton we don't know about yet. I think they're trying to get some of the worst out of the way before building back up the new Legion.

But as a Ret player, I rejoice at old Lylyth2's death. I hate her.

CRYX CHANGES

  • Purge is an 8" spray
  • Arc Nodes are as cheap as 6 points (3 in the old system) and lost a DEF
  • Bane Knights lose Weapon Master, POW 12 with Brutal Charge
  • Bane Thralls (now Bane Warriors) lose Stealth, gain Ghostly, 1" reach
  • Bane Lord Tartarus' Curse no longer adds charging threat
  • Mechanithralls can't attack the turn they are brought back, and lost 1 POW on the weapon
  • Denny1 is worse, but not too bad
  • Revenants automatically return d3 destroyed models each turn
  • Rengrave picked up Cleave, Gang Fighter and Call to Sacrifice[Revenant], but lost Point Blank and Ghost Shot, and Sac Pawn
  • Leviathan's gun is ROF d3
  • Venethrax has Field Marshal[Counter Charge]. Dragon Slayer and Soul Harvester gone, +1 STR and ARM, + Terminal Velocity and Mortality. Feat is "Enemy models cannot allocate focus points to or leech fury points from models in Venethrax’s control range. Vengeance of the Dragonfather lasts for one round."
  • Models returned by Excarnate cannot use their actions that turn
  • Coven keep their 4 independent activations

Verdict: There is no more Cryx Harder, only Cryx Different

Let's be blunt - PP has nerfed and removed some of the most egregiously unfun play experiences Cryx had to offer. McThralls aren't going to spawn and charge and ruin a colossal, Bane Knights won't Vengeance down a heavy, and Excarnate/Purge is dead. All that said, Bane Knights still look really good, only losing .5 damage on average on a charge, even if the charge is shorter from BLT's nerfed Curse.

But now you've got super cheap arc nodes! And Venethrax so far looks really legit. It would be easy to call doom and gloom for the gloomiest of factions, but there's still so much we don't know about the faction. Just be patient.

Charging Friendly Models

You can't do it anymore

Effect: Positive

This was a cheeky trick to get some extra distance on movement for the low low cost of attacking one of your own models for a few points of damage or obliterating a worthless dude. Thematically it definitely fit some models, but not all. It makes defensive buffs like Polarity Shield more powerful, too.

Speed Debuffs and Charges

Speed debuffs don't stop a model from charging anymore

Effect: Positive

Lowering a model's speed was devastating in MKII if that model needed to get into a zone or charge. Now it's less powerful overall, but still really strong. You can even see more things lowering speed without being too back breaking, so more options.

Terrain Changes

Warjacks don't go inert if knocked down in water, models have to be completely within a terrain feature to gain the bonus, but still suffer rough terrain as soon as they touch it.

Effect: Positive/Change

Warjacks not going inter just fixes some of the imbalances between beasts and jacks, which is great. You might even see more water in games now that a single headbutt won't eliminate a jack. But the other changes will be interesting to experience. It'll be better for some models, worse for others. Generally, if you relied on a 2 x 2 forest giving your entire unit +2 DEF, you're going to have to adjust. 

No Character Restrictions

No character restrictions in tournament play. It was an artificial attempt to balance a few models that affected way more models than it needed to. Now that everything is getting rebalanced, PP is removing this restriction and balancing characters accordingly

Effect: Positive

I mean, what they're really saying here is, "hey, guys, we're going to balance models around 2 and 3 list tournaments." How this can be anything but great is beyond me.


April 22 Update

We had a number of model specific spoilers today.

Agonizer

It's a lesser warbeast now.

Effect: Inconclusive

Making it a warbeast means it isn't exactly the same as it was before, but we don't know what it's going to be like or how it will act. Need more information.

Forsaken

Still can remove up to 5 fury from a beast.

Effect: Positive

If you're a Legion player, hearing that the Forsaken still works as it did in Mark 2 is a relief considering the Shepherd is much weaker for Fury management. For those of us playing against Legion, at least Legion players can't remove full Fury EVERY turn with a Forsaken.

Archangel

Speed 7, gets to Reposition 3", RAT 6, d3+1 AOE POW 14 shots.

Effect: Positive

It's almost like they figured out some rules to actually make a giant flying dragon behave like a giant flying dragon. Knowing this alone makes the Archangel look much better than it did before.

Menoth jack changes

Crusader is basically the same, but 10 points, 1" melee range. Templar has Shield Guard and is 15 points. Redeemer is 11 points, but has ROF 3 on its gun. Reckoner's Flare removes Stealth

Effect: Positive

The Crusader is a pretty straight forward jack. I don't know if you'll see more of him, but I'd say he's better than he was with these simple changes. A heavy for 5 points is really cheap. The Templar gaining Shield Guard is a big deal, too. It's no unit of Shield Guards the Trolls get to enjoy, but having a Shield Guard is definitely a good thing. And the Redeemer (which costs more than at least one heavy) gets to shoot 3 times for free. So it gets to do the same thing it did before, but without the focus investment. Frankly, that's kind of scary. It remains to be seen if the Choir damage buff will still apply to blast damage, but assuming it does or the damage got increased, that's pretty good. The Reckoner's Flare removing stealth is also interesting, but since the Reckoner itself presumably doesn't ignore stealth, that particular part of it might be harder to use.

eMorghoul's Feat

Enemy models currently in Morghoul’s control range and LOS suffer Blind for one round. (A model suffering Blind cannot make ranged or magic attacks, suffers –4 MAT and DEF, and cannot run, charge, or make slam or trample power attacks. It must forfeit either its Normal Movement or Combat Action during its next activation. Blind can be shaken.)

Effect: Positive

Looks like a solid feat! Certainly a lot better than what he had before. We can't compare the rest of the model obviously, but at least in terms of feat, this is a really good one. Skorne players can be at least a little excited to see how he ends up.


April 21 Update

I thought yesterday was a big update.

New Insider and a new Primecast. Let's start with the Insider, then we'll talk about the Primecast updates to each faction.

Theme Forces

Theme forces and tiers are no longer caster specific. Instead, they are far more broad, more like subfactions.

Effect: Positive

Look, as long as it gets rid of stuff like Runes of War and Machinations of Shadow, it can't be bad. Sample benefits they gave were Gun Mages get CRA in one theme, or warbeasts in another gain +2 Threshold. While some benefits from Mark 2 may not exist anymore at all, a lot of them have been moved. For example, Dr. Arkadius can take Gorax Ragers in his battle group, and Doom Reaver (now Doom Reaver Swordsmen) are FA:U. I worry about the general Doom Reaver FA getting increased to all Doomies all the time, but overall the removal of the old theme lists is a good thing. It will be very interesting to see how it relates with stuff like Force Wall, but we're starting to see the structure of initial list building decisions in Mark 3, and it looks good.

Mercs and Minions Now 2 factions Instead of Several

All Mercs can work in the same army, no more contracts. All Minions can work together, no more pacts. Steelheads with pirates, pigs running with gators! There will be some animosity, and some things (like Cephalyx) will be pickier than others, but basically all Mercs are Mercs and all Minions are Minions.

Effect: Positive

There's a lot inconclusive about this in terms of balance, but for the sake of simplicity, this is a great change. It's just a lot easier to play Mercs or Minions this way.

Tough

Tough is the same, except you cannot make Tough checks while knocked down.

Effect: Positive

Tough has counterplay outside of Grievous Wounds! Woo hoo!

Faction Changes From Primecast

Let's look at how each faction explicitly is changing.

Cygnar

Still all about electricity and high tech. Most faction identities are still intact. Ironclad can use a * Attack with the Quake Hammer to center a 4"AOE of knock down on the model hit. Some Trencher talk, too, but we saw their card yesterday. The Quake Hammer on a cheaper Ironclad is a huge deal. Being able to knock down models in a 4" AOE makes me think he will be a solid option into some Troll or Tough armies.

Trollbloods

Tough was changed, which is huge. They talked a lot about making sure every unit had a place, like Warders are tougher, but Champions do more damage. Impaler's Farstrike changes to RNG: Self, so they could be more free with upping the Troll ranged game in general. The War Wagon, for example, had its big gun's range increased to base 12. Having the Troll ranged game freed from Farstrike is a great change. You'll still be able to get Grim ridiculous sniper range with it, but now you can conceivably play a ranged Troll army without an Impaler.

Also, from a forum post by Soles - Krielstone Bearer is pretty much unchanged except for point cost, Long Riders are still the hardiest cavalry in the game, Champions keep the ability to avoid knockdown if they are base to base, and Warders get Shield Guard. NOTE: Champions didn't have the ability to prevent knockdown if base to base in Mark 2. Either he meant the Kriel Warriors keeping Steady with the Standard Bearer, Champions keeping Defensive Line, or Champions can no longer be knocked down if base to base.

Really, the good news for Troll players here is that your faction is still the Rocky Balboa of Hordes. Also, having a full, super tough unit of Shield Guards is bonkers.

Menoth

Warjacks are getting higher base MAT (mostly +1 across the board, but Guardian chassis is MAT 7). Choir's Battle buff is only for damage. All cav have Reposition, Vengers specifically have Reposition[3"]. Reckoners lose Assault.

The Choir losing the +2 to hit is interesting. They've talked a lot about trying to bring warjacks into bigger popularity, and one of the first things they say they do for Menoth is reduce their accuracy overall. I can't say I'm sad about this, but first impression says this is a nerf for Menoth jacks. The Choir is still likely to be taken, but only for armor cracking or defensive bonuses.

Circle

Tharn Ravagers have access to a minifeat for Overtake and gain Vengeance. More rebalancing and refocusing of stats, but still focused on shifty tricks.

Some of the lesser played Circle models are getting some stuff. Too little information to really say much.

Khador

All of Conquest's blast damage is POW 10. Most heavy infantry reduced to 5 DMG boxes, but Man O' Wars still at 8. They can also be repaired. Shocktroopers are getting a "crazy" UA that prevents them from being moved. Sorcsha is basically the same. Almost identical feat, and all of her spells at least have the same name. Most of the casters in the game aren't too changed from their Mark 2 identity.

Man O' Wars might not be terrible! Rejoice, children of the motherland! But I would say to bridle your enthusiasm until we see full rules.

Skorne

All Immortals gain Soul Vessel, which means they have souls for you to take. A nice buff for Skorne. It will be interesting to see if more or less stuff uses souls in the army, but thematically this rules fits the models better.

Cryx

You'll take Helljacks now. That's all they said. To that, I say... we'll see.

Legion

You'll take infantry now. Also, while Legion fury management is still the best, it's not as good as it was in Mark 2. How badly nerfed Shepherds and Forsaken fury management is yet to be revealed, but if the Blight Bringer is any indication, Legion will be just fine with some infantry.

Retribution

Ret suffered from being the first faction to have complete Mark 2 rules made for it. They learned a lot with them, but they learned even more after them. Now Ret will get to be rebalanced to try and better fulfill the core identity they originally had. NOTE: Ret has progressively gotten better in Mark 2, so it's fair to assume they'll be rebalancing a lot of the faction now they've better figured out what they want from it.

Arcanists lose Power Booster, but gain Empower, which lets them give a focus to a jack (but not over the 3 focus limit). As a Ret player, this is a really good thing. Now 2 Arcanists can fully fuel up a jack without anything from the warcaster. If the jack rebalance works right, expect Ret players to happily take their full allowance of jack points.

Convergence

Corollary is still a big deal, and induction has no limit. I wrote about this before, but it's a huge amount of potential resources.

Minions

Pigs and Gators together! Thematically this should be fun. For gameplay, I'm happy you won't have half a faction be noticeably stronger than the other half. Instead, they get to be good or terrible together.

Mercs

Lots of interesting story stuff coming. Sorry, Merc players, but not much gameplay info here outside of all your contracts are getting mushed together.


April 20 Update

Okay, this is a really big update. We finally got our first look at some cards! I'm not going to address faction specifics with this (even though the Mountain King getting Rage is extremely interesting) because it's a little hard to judge what these models will be like without other Mark 3 comparisons. These four models are our first baselines for stats in Mark 3, and there is a ton we can learn from this post about where Mark 3 is headed.

UA Allowance

Unit Attachment field allowance set to match the FA of the unit.

Effect: Positive

I don't know if this will make something overpowered, but this again speaks to an attempt to simplify. If a unit is FA: 2, then the UA is also FA: 2. Just makes it easy. Of course, this would make some Mark 2 UAs a little bonkers. There are theme lists you take just to have a second unit attachment. It will be interesting to see how UAs are individually balanced to accommodate this.

Weapon Attachments

If you can take a WA in a unit, you can mix and match the WA options. You just can't have more than 3 total WAs per unit.

Effect: Positive

This one wouldn't do too much for Mark 2, as there aren't many Weapon Attachments, let alone multiple WA options for a single unit. But this does suggest that WAs are going to get a lot more diverse. There should be more potential to customize your unit to fit what you need it to do.

Card Design

We got our first look at the card design!

Effect: Positive

Okay, this is largely personal preference, but I'm a big fan of the basic card layout in Mark 2, and not much has changed for Mark 3. The pictures are bigger and it looks sharper overall, but I'm glad they didn't deviate much from the basic look of Warmachine cards. They look very nice.

Also, the card itself not only identifies an epic model by its name (Eiryss, Angel of Retribution) but also includes its version number just above the stats (Eiryss 2). Neat!

Melee Ranges

We now know all melee weapons have "melee range" as a stat. The stats we know of are .5", 1", and 2".

Effect: Positive

I am incredibly happy with the granularity of melee ranges included in the weapon stats now. Even if we only have these three options, it's already great to see a 1" melee range option. It's also very clear on the card what kind of reach a weapon has.

New Icons

Assault, Disruption, and Blessed are now individual icons on the front of the stat card instead of printed on the back under the abilities.

Effect: Positive

This is an exciting change if for no other reason than Assault is going to be firmly set in the core rules. It got irritating seeing the same ability have different interactions on a unit compared to a beast. And now, it's clearly defined on a single icon. Blessed and Disruption on the front of the card are fine additions as well, and further speak to clarity and condensing of rules.

Speaking of condensing of rules...

Ranged Weapon ROF

A ranged weapon's ROF is all initial attacks. To buy additional ranged attacks, a model must have an ability called Reload[X] where X is the maximum number of shots it can buy.

Effect: Positive

This wasn't on that page, but discussed in a resulting thread about these spoilers. The best part about this is that it gives an easy way to remove Strafe, Autofire, and other similar rules that all basically do the same thing (shoot multiple times) but do it in irritatingly different ways. I think it's also going to be helpful for new players to pick up. If you make initial ranged attacks, the number on the front is how many you get.

Cleaner Rules Interactions

Mountain King can use Kill Shot and Snacking in the same attack

Effect: Positive

I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to talk about specifics. But this deserves an exception. This simple change speaks volumes about overall focus on Mark 3. Mark 2 had a lot of occasional Skornergy - two effects that would counteract each other. For example, if the old Mountain King used Snacking to heal, he would RFP the target, meaning he would deny himself the opportunity to use Kill Shot (since its trigger happened after the RFP effect removed the model, meaning it never hit its trigger). Skornergy is incredibly frustrating. On this card, we see that Privateer Press is making a clear effort to remove Skornergy and allow models to be fun by getting rid of possible frustrations. If you were worried about Mark 3, this is a very good sign that the models and rules will make a lot more sense and be a lot of fun.

Tough

It still exists.

Effect: Inconclusive

If we had a list of Ghost's Top Changes to Make in Warmachine Mark 2, Tough checks are #2 of biggest things to change. I've played with and against Tough, and I hate it. Similar to Command checks, you can get too big of a benefit from a single die roll, or multiple die rolls in a row. I would be happy for Tough to just be gone and replaced with something else. But now we know Tough still exists.

We just don't know in what form. Presumably, it has changed. But without actually seeing how it works, I can't say if this is bad or just acceptable.

Reposition[X]

New ability! Models with Reposition[X] get to move [X] inches at the end of their activations if they did not run or fail a charge.

Effect: Positive

Again, greater model clarity. Reform, Light Cavalry movement, and similar effects rolled into one simple ability that's customizable for each model or unit. It's a neat ability to begin with, and now it's clearer and easy to use.

 

Okay, those are the biggest things I picked out of today's update. Whew! And we should get our first peek at theme list changes tomorrow. Let me know if I missed anything!


April 18 Update

Frenzy checks

Effect - Positive

Instead of a flow chart for deciding what a beast does when it frenzies, the rules are simplified to 3 basic steps: shake all effects you can, charge the nearest model, make a single attack with your highest P+S weapon. I love how clean and simple this is. Much easier to remember and actually use the rule correctly.

No Wreck Markers

Effect - Change

Warjacks no longer leave wreck markers. Thematically, it's a little sad to lose wreck markers. I liked the imagery of a giant robot being reduced to a pile of rubble. In terms of rules balance, it's hard to say if it's really better or worse. I can see arguments for both. Having a warjack be a mobile cover platform ready for a player to deploy was an interesting strategy that could backfire. But it's one fewer bunch of rules, emphasizing simplicity in the core rules, which I'm a big fan of.

No Skill Checks At All

Effect - Positive

Skill checks were always kind of a weird thing. It was strange that they were almost the only instance where you wanted to always roll low instead of high, but it had to be like that for higher stats to mean better model skill at the task. This will change how some models function, but it further simplifies the basic rules, making it less confusing for new players and less frustrating for experienced players.


April 17 Original Article

Premeasuring

Effect - Change

This is a simple, but major change. Instead of only being able to premeasure a specific set of things before playing, now players have the opportunity to measure anything at any time.

A lot of people feel more strongly about this than I thought they would have. I see it as a straight up change. Guesswork is involved in a lot of different types of games. You see it in video games, where you're not 100% certain that last shot will do just enough damage to kill the target, but you think it will, only to have it leave the target at a sliver of health left. You see a form of it in gambling, where you have to work with odds and bluffing. It also happens in physical sports to a degree, but typically dealing with laws of physics and outthinking your opponent. Humans are built to deal with that uncertainty and still make decisions.

Warmachine to this point had a large portion of that tense, dramatic uncertainty in not being able to measure. It affected your decisions in risking a large amount of resources into one activation you couldn't be 100% certain would even get to roll dice to succeed. Privateer Press has decided to remove that uncertainty.

So what does this mean for the game? Love it or hate it, this is no longer a skill a player can use to outplay their opponent. For good or ill, Warmachine will refocus that uncertainty that creates drama in other parts of the game. This changes how everyone will experience the game positively and negatively. Because of that, we can only say this is a change.

Power Up

Effect: Inconclusive

Warjacks beginning their activations within the warcaster's control range automatically gain a focus. On the surface, this looks like a huge buff. Casters like Mortenebra, Vyros, Kraye, and Amon look far more appealing. But when you dig deeper into it, it's hard to say that a single free focus broadly buffs warjacks enough. A unit of Bane Knights or Gun Mages are still incredibly strong, and their strengths are hardly surpassed by a Slayer getting a free focus.

That being said, every single model and unit is getting changed. If the overall Warmachine rebalance adds additional strength to warjacks, then this will obviously be a buff. But as of yet, we don't know enough. It's possible warjacks will actually be weaker overall to compensate for the buff of a free focus, or that units get even better. We could be seeing nothing but Cleansers, Black Ogrun Boarding Crew, and Croe's Cutthroats. There's just far too much we don't know to judge this change.

Spirit Bond

Effect: Positive (probably)

Warlocks are able to pull a Fury from a dead warbeast. This is a good change. Warlocks do suffer a bit in the super late game for losing access to their resources through conventional means. Lose a key warbeast and you've got a death timer on your hands. This won't likely fix the weakness for warlocks entirely, but neither will it eliminate a strategy completely for those playing against warlocks.

Point Sizes and Warjack/Warbeast Points

Effect: Positive

75 is the new 50, and warcasters/warlocks will have more of the army points in warjack/warbeast points. First, this means there is more granularity in point cost. A model that is really 4.5 points can actually cost 4.5 points instead of being rounded up or down. Personally, I also like how the numbers aren't needlessly large (like in the thousands). They're easy to work with, but the Mark 2 point scheme just didn't leave quite enough room for tinier adjustments.

For more of the armies requiring warjacks and warbeasts through a larger percentage of total army points being in the warcaster/warlock points, it's a shift for the game to refocus more on big, stompy robots and giant, mean monsters punching each other to death. Thematically, it's great. For the meta, it'll be an interesting shift to observe.

Standard Bearer

Effect: Negative (probably)

Let's look at the exact quote here:

The Standard Bearer special rule now reads, "While this model is within 5˝ of its unit commander, the unit commander gains +2 CMD." Practically speaking, what this does is add +2˝ to the unit commander's command range. To make sure the standard bearer remains compelling (and not the first thing you sacrifice in your unit), we also dialed back the CMD stats of the officer models that come with standard bearers.

Okay, so it's interesting that they want to make Standard Bearers more valuable. But there are two problems with this method. First, it gives your opponent a tool to use against you. If you have members of a unit at maximum range from the Commander and if your opponent can kill the Standard Bearer, you (probably) lose those models for a turn because your CMD range shrinks and they are now out. Second, since the CMD of the Officer is lowered to compensate for the Standard Bearer "buff", this means you're not gaining any actual advantage by having a Standard Bearer.

The goal here was to make Standard Bearers more important. In that regard, Privateer Press is on a path to succeed. But now the Standard Bearer goes from mostly meaningless to a liability. Obviously some Standard Bearers have additional abilities, and this doesn't factor those in. But for the Standard Bearer rules in general, unless there are additional benefits we don't know about, I'm calling this one a net negative for players using Standard Bearers.

Fear, Terror, Massive Casualty CMD Checks Gone

Effect: Positive

Presumably, CMD checks are still going to be present, but won't cause an entire unit to be unable to activate. But removing a rule that occasionally had a full fifth of a player's army out of the game for a turn on a single die roll is a good thing.

"Allocation" Definition Changing

Effect: Change

Allocation is specifically what a warcaster does to give focus to a warjack during Control, so all other Focus granting abilities would not count as allocation. If that simple change happened as it is in Mark 2 right now, it would probably be a straight buff. But with all the other changes happening to rebalance around this and wording adjustments, it's too early to say.

CoC and Cephalyx Focus Changes

Effect: Positive

Convergence of Cyriss vectors get to induct all their focus into another vector instead of just one. Also, Cephalyx monstrosities gain a focus each time they suffer damage, even from friendly attacks. While model-specific rules changes may prove me wrong, I think the wealth of resources these two changes creates is going to be a straight buff to both of these factions.

Repair No Longer a Skill Check

Effect: Positive

One of the most frustrating parts of repairing jacks is that you could fail. This made planning extremely difficult if you had a damaged jack, as you could have a huge plan rely entirely on not rolling above an 8 on one specific roll. Also, compared to the ease of healing for warbeasts, it just felt unfair. This is a good change for the feeling of playing warjacks and the strength of warjacks, and a good sign of the balance direction Privateer Press is taking.