With that out of the way, a look at the new (Old?) army composition in WHFB8. It's been a source of a lot of rumors, a lot of "OMG the sky is falling", and rather a bit of wringing of hands. I didn't get a long look at the book today, but I wanted to at least see precisely what the rules are on composition, so I can start to prepare my army for the new book.
It's pretty simple. >25% for Core, <25% each for Lords, Heroes, and Rares, <50% for Specials, and no more than 2 duplicate Rare units and 3 duplicate Special units.
For someone who cut their square-base teeth on WHFB5, this isn't terribly strange, but if you've only played 6th Edition and later, it's going to take a little bit of getting used to. So what's it mean for the game?
-Points are important, not unit counts. I think this may be one of the biggest (and best) changes for high-cost, elite Core units. No more cheapo filler units to take up the third core slot, if you have a couple of big smashy ranked units that add up to 500pts (in a 2k game), you're all set.
-The sky is not falling for heroes. This is important to note, especially as compared to many of the rumors. Lords get their own points allotment, with plenty of room to stretch their legs. Monstrous mounts are going to get relegated to the larger games, but it also means that Lords are available in ALL GAMES. Now stop, read that again, and make sure that you're not drinking anything while you do it. 1000 point game? You can have a 250 point Lord running your army. Granted, 250 points isn't going to get you a Chaos Lord with all the trimmings, but it does mean that in smaller games, armies with less smashy Lord choices will have a good shot at going toe to toe with some of the more punishing Hero choices, like in the Warriors of Chaos book.
-Unit spam is not completely gone. There was a lot of scuttlebutt going around about stiff penalties for running multiples of the same unit. It's just not true. The book clearly specifies that "2 for 1" choices still count as a single pick, and 3 of the same Special is still going to be quite a few of the same models. That said, the limit does reward running two larger units of a Rare slot, rather than running seven or eight tiny ones, so it does nip a few of the more ridiculous hypothetical builds from the rumor phase in the bud.
I sat down and wrote out a new Dwarf list over my lunch today, and it's actually legal in both editions of the rules. I suspect most people that were running relatively even-handed armies are going to be in a similar position. More Lord or Rare focused forces might be in for a little reorganization, but from what I've looked at for the rules for close combat, I suspect that most of those armies are going to be wanting to take a few more skeletons/warriors/spearmen anyway. I don't envy the guys that have to rewrite the validation rules for Army Builder, but on the whole, I think it's a strong step towards rebalancing things for the better.