Building a Khador Pairing: The New World

Continuing on in the series I started a couple of weeks ago, I’ll be covering the list pairing I built and how I think it will play into the meta. This week, continuing in PPI order, we’ll be looking at Retribution, Convergence and Mercenaries. Whilst not as meta dominating at the moment, these factions are still solid contenders and can be hard to play into if you don’t stop and consider what it is they’ll be bringing to the table. Lets take a look at our own lists first shall we:

 

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Legion of Steel

(Strakhov 2) Assault Kommander Strakhov [+22]
– Rager [10]
– Torch [18]
Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
Kaptain Sofya Skirova [0(5)]
Uhlan Kovnik Markov [7]
Great Bears of the Gallowswood [9]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [0(4)]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

!!! Your army contains CID entries.

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [11]
– Spriggan [17]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [10]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Retribution:

Retribution is a solid faction to play into. Really good infantry, good jacks, janky casters. Some of the lists they tend to play have been set for a while, with some others flying somewhat under the radar at the moment. Khador in general doesn’t tend to have massive issues with Ret, especially since Rahn seems to have fallen somewhat out of favour, but them elves is tricksy, so we should watch out. Retribution lists tend to be fast, reasonably hard hitting, but a little brittle. A lot of their jacks are deceptively tough, but don’t take attrition super well (most of the force field jacks have tiny grids to compensate for their force field) and Ret infantry tends to be on the upper scale of stats, with a lot of mat 7s or rat 6s, compensated for by being somewhat more expensive than most. So who do we normally see then?

Vyros 2 is the most common to be running their jack theme (Forges of War), being a synergy caster, as well as ludicrously hard to kill due to high stats and mobility. He’ll usually have Imperatus, a butt load of Griffons, as well as a bunch of support staff in the form of Arcanists, Sylas and Lynnsa Rysal. Between all this stuff, Synergy and Birds Eye, he’s going to bring a hard hitting, fast moving force that is going to threaten stuff way above it’s weight class. On top of this, Imperatus is going to be a constant assassination threat throughout the game, getting free charges with Vyros, as well as side steps. There are not many casters in the game that can survive 3 attacks from Imperatus with Concentrated Power at the top of the Synergy Chain. His battle group is going to ignore clouds and forests, so it is not easy to hide, especially combined with Easy Rider to give out Pathfinder if he needs it. All this means that Witch 2 is not the ideal drop here. It can be done, Griffons may threaten 13 without any help, but they need to spend 2 focus to do it, and are therefore only going to get 2 quality attacks off. Whilst every jack is going to have shield guard from the theme, the fact remains that Behemoths shooting is going to do significant damage to whatever it hits, and Witch can fling out a scourge every turn, as forcing the list to spend even more focus can help to blunt the alpha strike potential. That being said, Strakhov 2 is clearly the better drop, with Witch’s list being exactly the kind of list that Vyros wants to see, a brick of slow heavy warjacks that he can consistently trade up with. Strakhov on the other hand, is probably a bad enough match up for Vyros that this pairing will never see him. The pikes don’t require last stand to deal with anything here, and threaten as far as the Griffons do. Combine with Griffons struggling somewhat with the Feat turn(between high armour stopping the early synergy chain from doing much, as well as counter charges and tough), and overall Vyros does not want to see this list. Now, Vyros 2 is pretty common at the moment in Retribution pairings, so we must turn our attention to the possible pairs for him.

Defenders of Ios is going to be fairly common as well, and is an odd one. It will probably be run by Issyria or Elara, with Issyria being more defensive between Blinding light and Inviolable, whilst Elara is going to be much more offensive, using feat to alpha hard and quickly. The core of the list is going to be 3 units of Halberdiers, with 2 thanes for desperate pace. From their a bunch of combinations are possible. The Fane Knight will probably be a free model, as will Heavy Rifle Teams. Jack packages will vary somewhat, with the new Harpies and Sirens being popular at the moment for the shooting they bring to the list. With either caster, the Halbediers are going to threaten 15 inches on the charge, which is pretty monstrous, whilst Elara is going to make them hit like trucks, with POW 16s from each model. In addition, the Halberdiers having CMA means they will be able to deal with problem high def models if needed. At first glance, this looks like a terrible match up for both lists. The pikes are out threatened, and Witch’s jacks are pretty trivially dealt with by pow 16 infantry. However, having played the match a few times now, it’s actually much more even than it looks. The plain fact of the matter is that the list is somewhat fragile, not having much in the way of defensive tech. Witch’s list can generally control and kill enough Halberdiers at range to blunt an alpha (I had a game where between Behemoth shooting and the Blind cloud, my opponent could only charge with 1 model from the unit on 1 flank), and once the lines have engaged, the jacks can put out enough attacks to actually murder a lot of Halberdiers. Strakhovs list is a little more vulnerable to the starting dice roll, as being able to go first puts a lot of pressure either way. Ultimately, if you can feat at the right time and position your counter charges correctly, the Strakhov list can get through the long bomb charges and take a flank, attritioning from there, especially if you manage to keep your jacks alive into the late game. Ultimately, I think Strakhov is the better drop here, especially when considered in the context of the other pairing being Vyros 2.

Shadows of the Retribution is also being played fairly extensively at the moment, also with Elara and Issyria. The core here is going to be double strike force, with infiltrators and various mage hunter solos, with the main deviations being Narn or no Narn, double or single assassin, and which incarnation of Eyriss to take. This is going to be similar in style to Defenders, with a very fast list taking up a lot of table space. It’s going to perform better into Warmachine if only for Jack Hunter on the strike force, and will assassinate well. Trust me, Mage Hunter Assassins hurt when they hit under Issyrias feat, or with Scything Touch. That being said, this probably a better match for either list than Defenders, the plain fact being that Shadows just doesn’t hit as hard, even with Jack Hunter, nor does it threat quite as far, between losing out on desperate pace and 2 inch range on the guns. Either Witch or Strakhov could be played here (Strakhov threats far enough and is a hard brick to take apart, and Behemoth will murder a whole lot of Mage Hunters with blast damage), though Strakhov is probably the correct drop due to the likely presence of Vyros in the pairing.

There are a couple of other possibilities that bear a quick mention. Rahn is not great into either of these lists, as he will struggle to assassinate either caster between Inviolable on Strakhov and Witch being a huge base, whilst he probably won’t fair well in attrition with the usual lists he takes. Kaelyssa is a right bastard to deal with, but probably goes down to either list as well. Probably running Dawn guard, the Strakhov match up will be very dictated by Pikes being very good at murdering sentinels (and if Strak gets the first turn, it feels like Kaelyssa has to feat turn 1 to take board space), and the Witch match being not great due to the presence of the Spriggan, Eliminators and Witch being hard to assassinate even with focus draining potential. Overall, Retribution is less of a concern than some factions, bringing some hard games that are ultimately answerable to at least an even match up. I think just based on the ubiquity of Vyros 2 at the moment, Strakhov 2 is generally the right drop, but do be aware of mass ranged options that might take witch better.

Convergence:

As the shy girl said to the pushy frat boy, ‘ok, just the TEP’. Kidding aside, Convergence is interesting mainly for how similar alot of their lists end up being. There are only a couple of archetypes, mostly in Destruction Initiative. Your generally going to see a pairing with Axis or Lucant running a jack brick with 1-2 TEPs, paired in most situations with Iron Mother, or maybe Orion as a ranged brick, because Prime Axioms are rat bastards, as are TEPs. Let start with the Axis/Lucant brick.

Axis and Lucant are going to build slightly differently in most situations, with the core of the list being 1 or more TEPs, a big battle group and a bunch of balls floating around, mostly free (Free Balling anyone?). The damn balls are all going to have shield guard, and if it’s Lucant, all the Battlegroup models are going to have shield guard as well. So take all your dreams of shooting things and throw them out the window. Worst case, the COC player takes that shot, and shield guards it half way across the army by chaining shield guards, before exploding a random ball near a Conservator and giving it Righteous Fury. If you do that, then you’re likely to have a bad time. On top of all this, TEPs may have one of the most ludicrous damage outputs in the game, if they’re able to line up good sprays. And you can’t shoot them either, because of Sac Pawn…. Sigh. Melee it is then. For this reason, and reasons we’ll discuss in the other archetype, Strakhov is generally the preferred drop here. He out threats most COC stuff, can spread out across the board, and causes focus issues with all the Knockdown (there is nothing sadder than a COC warcaster having to allocate out their stack to shake on their battlegroup). The biggest problem here is going to be goddamn TEPs, and the abundance of auto point attacks available to the list (though most lists will end up taking more reflex and attunement servitors than extermination). The key to dealing with both of these problems is encirclement. Spread out! The pikes are faster, threat further, and have actually decent stats for this match up. Particularly in the Axis match up, this will lessen the impact of the Razor wall, as well as force Axis to pick a flank to feat on. In addition, anything you can do to skew the numbers, even slightly, is worth doing. TEPs firing at a Khador jack want to be able to go the full 5 dice of damage, but if your jack is stood on a hill, or has quicken on it, they need to either aim or hit it with goo to reliably hit. Equally with pikemen, the nightmare scenario is the TEP being able to aim and get off 4-5 sprays that murder a whole unit, so as counter productive as it may seem, keep up the shield wall. Between denying aiming, high armour and quicken, especially on the feat turn, most players will be forced into 2 high quality sprays, which if you’ve positioned right, should only get 2-4 pikes. Once the first TEP falls and the feat turn is over (with either caster), the rest of the army should start struggling on attrition. By comparison, Witch will struggle somewhat with Axis, due to him being able to pretty trivially catch everything in the feat, as well as controlling her jacks with Bulldoze. It’s not unplayable, but Strakhov does better here, despite the presence of some specific anti pike tech. It can be played around, so don’t get scared off.

Which brings me to the other Archetype you’re likely to see. Iron Mother. She’ll likely have an Axiom, some assimilators and, again, up to 2 TEPs (because goddamn TEPs). She’s going to set up her gunline and wait for you to come across the table, dragging in heavies with the Axioms and using Assimilators to wreck infantry. So this is primarily going to be a gunline, made worse by the presence of eliminator servitors and her own AOE spell, as it does auto points as well. The gut reaction then is that Witch is the right drop, but this is actually not a cut and dry match up. Whilst Witch has some anti shooting tech, the presence of Fire Group, back lash and Domination make playing Jacks into Mother difficult. It’s not a great thing if she back lashes a jack, walks it forward and then peppers it with puncture shots, doing large amounts of damage to Witch whilst also taking a Jack. It’s not a terrible match up though. Wind storm means that Mother has to play much further forward and rely on her spells more, and repair can keep witch running if the Mechanics are kept safe. Strakhov looks like a terrible drop at first glance. There are a lot of anti infantry shots in this list, between the Assimilators, TEPs and other things. It is a playable match though, it simply requires a shift in play style. By spending the first turn of the game moving to just outside the maximum threat range of the battle group (preserving as many pikes as possible), and then throwing an entire quickened unit of pikes in to jam along with feat, it is perfectly possible to jam the entire front line. Whilst the Mother list does have ways to un-jam itself, most of it’s un-jamming pieces are solos with poor RAT, or actually have to damage, meaning that most Mother lists will end up using quality attacks to clear off your jam unit. It then comes down to how much work the second wave can do. It’s probably a worse match up than for Witch, it relies on a lot of dice rolls for one, but it is playable. I would say overall, that what you drop here depends entirely on the other list.

Overall, Convergence isn’t a massively varied faction, which is the case with limited factions like Convergence or Grymkin. They are strong though, and not to be taken lightly. I would say that Strakhov is probably the correct drop in the majority of cases (he should do well into the various Clockwork Legions lists as well), being generally good into the battle group heavy lists that want to mix it up in melee. At the end of the day, it’s easier to threaten TEPs with threat 13 melee models than with threat 10, and a bunch of Witch’s usual tech doesn’t work here. She can’t blind most COC models, and a high percentage of them are steady as well. Pikes are probably the way to go.

Mercenaries:

This is going to be a long one, so I’ll try to stick to the most likely lists to be seen. Mercs is super varied, almost being a conglomerate of limited factions rather than a full faction in and of itself. A Magnus 2 jack brick is going to look completely different to a Thexus infantry horde, and that will be different to an Ossrum combined dorf arms list. Ugh, so much to cover. Mercs is broad enough that we have to talk about individual casters rather than themes. Lets start with the biggest bastard of the lot.

Magnus 2 is possibly one of the best jack casters in the game at the moment. He takes pretty reasonably fast jacks and makes them even faster, gives them an armour buff, is fairly survivable and has a pretty ridiculous control feat. He’s usually going to spam a bunch of jacks, likely Nomads, and then take some support pieces to help it hit hard and contest scenario. He’ll be using the combination of advance moving jacks and Escort to take up table space, before feating to either take control of scenario, or to prevent you getting into his lines. This is pretty much always going to be a hard match, any jack brick like this is going to be, but there are some things you can do to make it easier. A thing to remember here is that Mercs has no way to help with focus burden, so if you present multiple heavies to Magnus, the Nomads and Manglers he brings will usually require multiple rounds to deal with them. Another is to try to threaten him personally. Magnus is going to be sat at 13/19 usually, and can camp focus, but will be less threatening if he does. Threatening him personally can help to lessen the impact that his feat has. Match up wise, there is no disputing that Strakhov is the stronger drop here. Even with Escort and Unyielding, the Pikes both out threat and do enough damage to drop merc jacks, and the list is fast enough to spread out and avoid the feat doing enough damage. Witch by comparison has a game she can play here, but it’s not an easy one. Witch’s jacks are pretty slow, so it is hard to threat the feat out. This will allow the Magnus player to get multiple turns of work out of each jack (it’s frustrating having a nomad at full reach range and then being feated on so you can’t get close enough to it to hit it. The main mitigating factors here are going to be Behemoth and Witch’s various spells. Behemoth probably shoots well enough into merc jacks to cripple a jack a turn with reasonable dice (2 boosted 18s should do a ton of damage), as well as the counter punch being pretty devastating from the rest of the list. In the end though, Strakhov is clearly the better drop of the 2 and Witch should only be considered if the other list is a hard Strakhov counter.

Ossrum:

Ossrum is never going to be an easy game, and comes in essentially 2 flavours. Usually played in Hammer Strike, he’ll either have double Siege Crawlers backed up by mortars, forge guard and a few jacks, or he’ll go full ham on the battle group and spam drillers and gun bunnies. Either are not fun. Between Snipe, FFE and all the guns in the list, he’s going to whittle down anything that comes near his list, before the melee models of the list mop up. Simple plan, but effective. Witch is the better drop here, though not tons better. Despite the Siege Crawlers being quite threatening to her (4 dice damage is scary), Wind  storm shuts down a good portion of his plan. Combined with your unhindered shooting, as well as her control methods (Forge Guard are likely the best possible target for her gun) there is a definite game to play here, as long as you respect the threat ranges of the battle engines. You should eventually be able to grind down the list, so long as you don’t give stuff away for free (respect the Forge Guard, they hit hard), whilst also threatening Ossrum with assassination from Behemoth (Ossrum wants to be spending a fair amount of his focus every turn, between cycling FFE and snipe). Strakhov is by no means unwinnable though, being fast and fairly resistant to shooting. Getting first turn here is pretty huge, as the pikes can be a huge way up the board without losing too much to AOE scatters, as well as being pretty good at murdering Dwarf stuff. Main concerns to watch out for here is spacing, as Ossrums got a lot of AOEs, don’t let him get too much on the approach and you should be fine.

Thexus:

I’ve played opponents with Thexus in their pairing, but almost never actually played him. It’s a pretty terrifying sight though. Hordes of tough dudes, big scary Monstrosities, and Telekinesis (the scariest thing of all!). From a purely theoretical perspective, it’s pretty intimidating. Drudges will murderise most Khador jacks, there are a lot of sprays and auto hitting spells here and the feat combined with TK makes it hard to keep jacks safe. That being said, there is a game to be played generally with either list. Witch comes back to general control methods, as well as trying to mitigate the threat of the horde. Eat the elephant a bite at a time, and try to stay out of threat. The cloud becomes super important here, as does the supporting pieces in the list. Try not to throw your Eliminators away, as there are a lot of auto hitting POW 12s and MA 7 sprays to deal with them. Making maximum use out of every attack is also going to be key. For the Pikes, a lot of the game feels like it comes down to winning attrition, not letting Thexus get a lot on the feat turn with his feat, as well as taking down key pieces such as the Overlords and Mind Benders. Take all this with a pinch of salt of course, as I have very little in the way of experience with this match up. It feels overall like Witch is the right drop here, but honestly, you might not see him as he seems to have fallen out of favour recently.

There are other match ups I could talk about. Ashlynn in Resistance, Damiano in Kingmakers, etc, and they all come with their own tips and tricks. Generally, these are going to be infantry bricks, but Mercs come in all shapes and sizes and your going to end up having to make a judgement call at the table. Generally, Strakhov is going to be stronger into the battle group and infantry casters (magnus 2, Damiano, etc) , and Witch is going to do better into the gun lines, (caine 3, Ossrum, etc), but that’s not a hard and fast rule. Use your judgement.

Overall, after looking at these 3 factions, a theme emerged for me. None of these are ‘problem factions’. They don’t have massively one sided match ups for us, where you *must* take an answer list to deal with them. What they are, however, is solid. Most lists from these 3 factions are going to be a game, with not a great deal of advantage one way or another. This seems to be the way the game is going at the moment, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Assuming players prepare their list pairings well, and drop the correct lists, a lot of the time these match ups are going to be (for lack of a better word) fair. So polish up those skills and play the best game you can.

Next Week, having finished off the Warmachine factions, we’ll be diving straight into Hordes, with Trollbloods, Circle Orborous and Legion of Everblight. Same Avatar time, Same Avatar channel!

Thanks to Jon ‘If I were a Barryman’ Williams for proof reading.

 

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Building a Khador Pairing: The Old Guard

So last week I posted the first in a series of articles about building a pairing for the current meta, where I put together a list pairing that I hope will be a winner in the current meta. I also did some analysis of a popular Cygnar pairing and which of my 2 lists I’d drop into it. Today, I plan to continue on with this, and will be looking at the other 3 original factions: Menoth; Khador and Cryx. I’ll post the 2 lists again, just for the sake of clarity, but for my full thoughts on why they are built the way they are, and what their match ups are like, please check out my article from last week. Lists below:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Legion of Steel

(Strakhov 2) Assault Kommander Strakhov [+22]
– Rager [10]
– Torch [18]
Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
Kaptain Sofya Skirova [0(5)]
Uhlan Kovnik Markov [7]
Great Bears of the Gallowswood [9]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [0(4)]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

!!! Your army contains CID entries.

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [11]
– Spriggan [17]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [10]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

 

Menoth:

Protectorate is in an interesting place at the moment. They are not tearing up the meta by any stretch of the imagination, but generally are in a solid position. I never sit down across from a Menoth player and think the games going to be a cake walk. Menoths style of denial and hard hitting, if slow, forces are a real bugger to deal with at times (Choir singing passage for no shooting on their jacks, before battle the next turn being the classic example). So who do we normally see in Menoth pairings at the moment? Amon is very popular at the moment, running Creators Wrath with a bunch of jacks, ranging from Dervishes forever to the slightly more interesting Heavy builds, involving multiple Crusaders, Indictors and other jacks. These will usually be backed up by Choir, Vassals and the Covenant of Menoth; and is going to run across the table and beat you up with their Synergy jacks flattening anything they touch. The obvious drop from my pairing into this list is Strakhov, as I out threat basically anything Amon can bring, and the counter charges can help to neuter anything he sends into the line. But wait, there’s more. Paired with Amon will usually be something that can specifically deal with his weaknesses, which at the moment ranges from Thyra in Guardians (bringing a bunch of fast stealth models that murder infantry), to Vindictus in Exemplar Interdiction (errants and knights and Idrians oh my, delivered by feat and true path), to Harbinger (yes she’s back). The Harbinger list is probably the most interesting so lets look at that, as Strakhov pikes can likely play the other 2 (he out threats the exemplars and most of Thyra’s list, with the rest being taken care of by counter charges). Harbinger on the other hand, is kind of a problem for the Pikes.

Harbinger at the moment, seems to be mainly played in Faithful masses, usually with Idrians, loads of paladins (on horse, on foot, named, etc), often Forge guard with a ranking officer and then a variety of support thrown in, such as Kicky Monks (Allegients of the order of the fist), a devout, etc. The first of the problems starts with Martyrdom, which for a heavily melee army like Strakhovs, is going to make it difficult to leverage a lot of attacks. Throw in Awe making your pikes less accurate, Feat making the area around her a no go, and Rebuke and Purification being on her card, and the list is a right bastard for Pikes to deal with. Between high quality shooting from Idrians, as well as struggling a bit to actually threaten Harbinger (feat makes her basically untouchable for the list) and getting enough attacks to get through the martyrdom, it can be a grindy game. There are some advantages, such as the melee portions of her list struggling somewhat with the countercharges, and her potentially Purifying off her own rebuke making your own upkeeps somewhat safer than into some purification casters. Overall, there is a game to be played there, but relies a lot on keeping up with attrition and managing the threat ranges of Harby’s pieces.

Vindictus is another possibility, usually run in Exemplar interdiction. He will likely have errants, a bunch of Knights Exemplar, and maybe Vengers. This feels like an easier match for the Pikes, as despite the presence of Penitence, and him having a control feat that will deny you charges, the fact you have a longer threat range than just about any non mounted cav will generally see him feat either bottom of 1 or top of 2, allowing you to counter feat and set up a more favourable attrition turn. Penitence can be worked around somewhat using the multi wound models in the list to murder the Penitence unit (Strakhovs unit, the great bears and Markov are great at this), which will make it less painful if he jams those models into your face. Any cav will likely out threat you, which is in turn mitigated by correct usage of counter charge. Overall, a reasonable game.

So, overall the likelihood is that most of the time Strakhov 2 is going to be the correct drop, feeling like an advantaged match up into Amon, and a reasonable one into the rest. The main consideration to have, is the pairing of Amon and Harbinger. Whilst I try to avoid it, the fact is that this match can be a bit of list-chicken. Strakhov is a good match into Amon, and can probably play out the Harbinger match, whilst Witch is a decent Harby drop (due to the Blind Gun, Behemoth being able to threaten Harby even behind a wall, and the sheer amount of focus witch can give out) and a mediocre Amon drop (due to the sheer quantity of hard hitting models, as well as Synergy). The other side to consider is the Menoth players’, as Amons game into Strakhov is terrible, whilst Harbys game into witch is actually playable. Based on that assumption, it is better for we as Khador players to gamble on the Menoth player dropping Harby in that particular pairing, thus dropping Witch ourselves.

Khador:

The mirror is weird, for a number of reasons. For a start, Khador is very wide at the moment. There exists all sorts of pairings, with players putting down pairings made up of Vlad 1, 2, Zerkova 1 and 2, Sorscha 1, Witch 2, Harkevich, Butcher 3, Karchev, etc. Unlike Menoth and Cygnar then, we have to talk about broad archetypes and what to drop into them. There are more than what I’ll be listing here, but I think that these are the ones we’ll generally see in the mirror.

First archetype is the WGK gun-line, which will usually be run by Vlad 1, but can also be run by either Sorscha or Witch 2. This is generally going to have a bunch of Winter guard (rockets and rifles maybe), a bunch of jacks, and maybe some gun carriages. They are going to leverage buffs or de-buffs to get enough output that softens you on the approach, with the heavies in the list destroying anything that comes near. The impact the casters have varies, with Witch 2 being a tool box for spot removal, as well as defending the Winter guard well, whilst Vlad 1 is just going to amplify every dice roll that happens during his turn. Having played into this a lot, I can say that the Pikes don’t go well into this, with the main problem being the line guard (whether that’s heavies or gun carriages). They will simply mulch your troops and stop you getting to the squishier winter guard behind. Witch is a much better drop here, shutting down a lot of shooting and protecting her heavies much better. I would go so far as to say that any pairing with this kind of list means that you are automatically dropping Witch 2.

Second archetype that we have to worry about with this paring is the Legion of Steel lists, with Zerkova 1 being the most popular, but also available with our own Strak 2 and the Irusks. The main thing here is going to be speed and hard hitting models, backed by counter chargers with Precision Strike. The Zerokva build in particular is going to focus largely on denial, using clouds and then feat to deliver most of her force intact. Strakhov 2 makes for a pretty reasonable drop into most legion of steel drops. The inclusion of certain pieces make it a good anti pikemen list. It focuses mostly on small based vanilla iron fangs, brings a feat that will have multiple pikes survive (and gives you a way to feat into control feats), as well as bringing some anti cloud wall tech combined with a threat extender. The issue, then, comes from a possible LOS/WGK pairing. Fortunately, whilst not as good a drop into this style of list, Witch can actually play it. The combination of Eliminators, mass focus allocation, the blind gun and Behemoths guns make this a pretty reasonable drop into LOS, due to the control elements and ability to selectively engage models with Eliminators to prevent counter charges.

Third type is the Jack Brick. We know it, we love it. Run by anyone from Butcher 3 in WGK or Jaws, to Witch, to Harkevich, it’s a pretty simple concept. Take a load of heavy jacks and fling them up the table at your opponent. They all run slightly differently (B3 in particular is going to use his heavies to trade away everything that can hurt him, whilst Harkevich is going to run a bunch of arm 23 heavies into your face, etc), but share certain common details. Most of the jacks are only going to threaten 10-11 inches, there will generally be few guns, there will be a limited infantry presence running around, etc. This is generally the kind of list that Strakhov 2 excels into. A bunch of slow moving jacks that he can have his pikemen charge, feat, then charge again. The details are going to vary based on jack load out and caster (Butcher 3 in particular is tricky to get positioning right against). Witch should also do well here, between denying enemy shooting, being hard to assassinate and actually fueling her jacks really well (re-construct in particular becomes a real bastard to deal with for lists like these). Ultimately, the best drop is probably Strakhov into this style of list, but Witch can also excel, rendering the decision based on the other list in the pairing. If it’s a winter guard gun line, you should probably drop Witch, if not, then Strakhov.

Fourth and finally, we have the newish one. Armoured Korp. This is going to be similar in style and caster selection to LOS, with the main caveats being that this list will be much more durable, much less spread out/mobile, and will have actual guns. Probably run by the likes of Irusk 1, Zerkova or Vlad 2, it’s going to march across the board and hit things until they go away. Irusk is going to make the brick super hard to break, Zerkova is going to deny a bunch of stuff using clouds and feat, and Vlad 2 is going to make the list deceptively fast. Here, you are probably best off putting down Witch, due to diminishing the effect on the guns being brought, as well as the blind gun being especially effective vs medium based infantry that wants to clump up. Strakhov is a completely reasonable drop, but suffers somewhat due to the ranged presence and kind of requiring Last Stand to mill through Shock Troopers in a timely manner (Last Stand is great, but there is nothing sadder than actually being required to cast it).

Overall then, the ideal drop here is going to depend on the pairing, with any kind of gun line heavy WGK pretty much mandating a Witch drop, but other wise being fairly reasonable to play with either list, coming down to the specifics of which caster /lists they actually have in their pairing. Vlad 1/Zerk 1? Probably Witch. Karchev/Irusk? Probably a Strak 2 drop. Witch 2 Jaws/ Strak 2 LOS? You’re probably playing an actual mirror.

Cryx:

Cryx is weird! They get necromantic out in the Islands! There’s something in the water out there, and it’s Kharybdis! All this and more is said about the genocidal zombie faction that is Cryx. They’ve been Khadors natural predator for a long ass time, but I actually find that they are not quite as oppressive these days, just broader. Cryx currently have access to 6 themes, and of them all, 1 is not great, 4 are fantastic, and 1 is going to be a pain once the models are released (I’m not going to talk about Slaughter Fleet as the models have yet to drop, but Witch is probably the right choice there). The main issue with building a pairing for Cryx then, is trying to find lists that can play into any of the pairings. Taking my pairing as an example, I can probably play Witch into any of the current Cryx lists…. except for Scourge, because Satyxis Raiders are bastards to deal with for Heavies. Equally, Strak 2 with the pikes plays reasonably into Scourge, but struggles with Ghost Fleet. Lets dive in a bit deeper and see where we end up.

Ghost Fleet:

Ghost fleet got nerfed into the ground, but is still a particularly difficult skew. Currently it seems to only be run with Denegrha 1 and Terminus, with the core of the list being 3 min units of revanent crew with max weapon attachments. From there, expect Wraith Engines, Blackbanes and various solos, with the list being a gun line that leverages special rules such as incorporeal or the recursion mechanic for the undead pirates. Due to the nerf, it is now entirely possible to simply out armour this list, as the list doesn’t deal with high armour massively well (high armour in this case meaning the likes of multiple arm 20 heavies or the likes of Shock troopers with Iron flesh) but will absolutely smash infantry lists and/or lists without much in the way of magic weapons. Deny and Terminus are going to run their lists differently, with Terminus being the main highlight of his own list, smash heavies and being as immune to retaliation as possible through sac pawn, whilst the attrition will be even harder due to tough undead models. Deny is simply going to de buff all your stuff and threaten assassination through out the game. She might have lost Scourge, but a minus 4 def and arm swing can mean the death of casters with lower stats, especially if they fail to camp enough. As to which list to drop, Witch is the obvious choice here, being hard to assassinate, bringing mass armour as well as magic weapons. The list may struggle to grind through the pirates, but the same is true from the other side. Strakhov 2 pikes will struggle here, being able to armour its way through for a couple of turns, but ultimately struggling to actually attrition through, as well as really suffering from the lack of magic weapons.

Dark Host:

Dark Host is currently one of the more popular lists about, with Denny 2, Skarre 1, Coven, Lich 2 and others all being good in this list. Furthermore, Dark Host is going to vary depending on the specific caster. Skarre is going to want to run more Stalkers and double wraith engine, Coven is going to want to run actual Warriors, etc. Regardless of caster, the core of the list is likely to be double Bane Riders, at least 1 Wraith Engine and a couple of Stalkers. From there, options include Darragh Wraith to speed up the list, Warriors or Knights depending on caster selection, more stalkers, etc. These lists are odd in that the threat ranges are somewhat erratic. Even with Darragh, threats cap at 13 inches unless we’re talking Coven controlled Stalkers or triggering Vengeance on the Riders (hot tip: Don’t do this unless you have too or can control the rest of the unit), meaning that generally, you can actually play reasonably far forward with either of the 2 casters we’re looking at here. Any iteration of Dark Host is going to crack armour well, as well as present something of an elite infantry skew, with mass stealth (Banes and Stalkers) as well as Incorporeal in the form of Wraith Engines, along with the usual Cryx trickery (Curse of Shadows plus Impact attacks from Riders comes to mind). The gut reaction is not to play a jack brick due to the ease with which most banes will murder Heavies, but Witch brings some specific tech to the match up, such as blinding Wraith Engines and having the magical weapons necessary to kill them, as well as Curse of Shadows to prevent jams. Having Behemoth in the list is interesting into the likes of Skarre, as he will horribly murder a Wraith Engine if he gets into melee with it, even through her feat. Coven is more difficult, but possible through managing threat ranges (You can probably take a few cav, but probably not Warriors as well). Strakhov 2 has kind of the opposite problem, dealing with the actual warrior models well, but having very little recourse into Wraith Engines. Ultimately, you can drop either Witch or Strakhov into Dark Host and there will be a game to play (harder or easier being down to caster and list composition, with Witch doing better into double wraith Engine builds, and Strakhov doing better into Bane Spam), the decision will likely be made by what the off list is.

Scourge of The Broken Coast:

Goddamn Goat Ladies! Most Scourge lists are going to look pretty similar in composition, 2 units of Raiders, at least 1 unit of Witches, and then jacks and solos to taste. There are benefits to most of the infantry Cryx casters, The Denegrhas (yes all of them), Gaspy 1 or 2, Coven (how I hate them), Scaverous, etc, and will generally be relying on being very fast, taking a lot of board space quickly as well as hitting harder than is probably reasonable for pow 11 infantry and being hard to deal with at range. Backlash is also a concern here, especially with either Skarre, as the damage against a jack heavy list to their caster will start adding up. Ambushing witches will punish the unwary and start dealing with support if played around, meaning that you will often end up bunched in the centre, which is an ideal situation for a Raider blob. Witch feels like a bad choice here, due to the nature of her list being low threat ranges. She can probably get some control work done here, and the repair helps to keep her alive, but we’re relying on hitting a lot of average rolls here consistently (sevens to hit for the jacks in melee, boosted 10s for the blind cloud, etc), never a good thing to hinge a game on. Strakhov is a much nicer match up here, despite the triviality with which Satyxis kill Pikemen (stupid chain weapons….). Sofiya makes a big difference here, taking the pikes from 7s to 6s to hit, which is a very relevant part of the dice curve, and Quicken means that you will out threaten most of the Cryx players pieces, with Counter Charges from high mat pieces defending the lines. In addition, a lot of the ranged options available to Scourge tend to be bad into Pikes, between Gunslingers being dice of 8 at best early on, and Cryx ranged jacks being generally poor (especially unlikely to see Desecrators due Satyxis being living and also not Banes). Once the Witches have committed to one side, the game opens up even wider, leading to a reasonable attrition victory.

Black Industries:

This one has been getting some traction lately, due to the Gaspy 3 9 slayer list. Black Industries is an interesting theme in Cryx, because by and large, Cyrx War-casters make for poor jack casters. Their focus hogs, generally want to be slinging de buffs, or nuking down the odd solo or target of opportunity (Deny 1 or 2 are good examples of this). On top of this, Cryx jacks are kind of made out of paper maiche. 13 def 17 arm is a perfectly fine stat-line, but their grids are garbage, and they kind of require de buffs to actually hit well. That being said, Carapace is a great benefit that shores up the fragility problem, and there are options in Cryx to mitigate the focus burden. There are going to generally be 2 flavours of Black Industries. The first is the Jack spam, as is generally going to focus on 7 plus heavies with some support. These are going to vary between the 9 slayer builds with Gaspy 3 to the more support heavy builds that include Aiakos running something as well as Overlords and Sirens to help deal with infantry. You’ll likely see Ragman as well, just to take some pressure of the caster themselves. These lists will generally not be able to fuel their jacks properly, and will rely on de-buff stacking and power up focus to get the job done. The second type is the more elite Jack brick, sacrificing numbers for specific tools (Denegrha 2 probably runs this best at the moment). Expect to see Death Jacks, malice and others in here, using Carapace and other tricks to clear parts of the board as well as hopefully using distance, terrain or other tricks (deny 2 feat for example) to protect the Cryx players pieces. Strakhov 2 is the favoured list to drop into either of these, being accurate and hard hitting to murder Cryx jacks in melee, whilst also threatening further than even a Gaspy 3 led mobility brick. Counter Charge with precision strike makes this even better, letting you neuter a percentage of the incoming retaliation. Witch by comparison is a bit more difficult, but still playable. Most cryx jacks have to trade 2 for 1 with Khador jacks, even with a de buff, which is not a great position to be in. In addition, Behemoths shooting is still heavy enough to get through most jacks carapace (slayers go down quickly to effective pow 18 shooting), meaning that the Witch list can still affect Cryx jacks at range. The main issue for the Witch list, is not losing on scenario, which requires careful management of your contesting pieces and taking opportunities to score where possible. Ultimately, what you drop here is going to depend heavily on what the pairing is, much like Dark Host.

Overall, Cryx is less of a problem than it used to be, but still very much something we have to think about. This particular pairing of Witch and Strakhov feels like it covers most bases, feeling like it has a clear drop into most current Cryx pairings. The outlier is a Ghost Fleet/Scourge pairing, which feels rare in the current Meta, with the forced and likely match up being Witch into Scourge. Barring this, every other pairing feels solvable, with Dark Host/BI getting Witch, Host/Scourge getting Pikes, Host/Fleet getting Witch and Scourge/BI getting Pikes.

Next week, we’ll be looking at the rest of the Warmachine factions.

Regards to Jon ‘Ja, Das Barry’ Williams for proof reading!

 

 

 

Khador Pairings in the current meta

Last week, I posted an article about the WTC practice weekend, and writing it got me thinking about the greater meta as a whole. Things are very different now than they were a year ago, and I thought I’d sit down and give my 2 cents on what I think the match ups for Khador are in the various factions, as well as talk a bit about my current pairing (Old Witch 2 in Jaws and Strakhov 2 in Legion of Steel) and what they bring to each match up. I’ll be splitting this up over a couple of weeks, as a complete run down of every faction would be massive, and I’m sure I’ll end up letting something past my radar, so let me start with a disclaimer.

  1. This is my view on the meta as it stands, and my exposure to the national meta is limited to large events such as Bones Con and to my local meta, which is short on a couple of factions, namely Cygnar. The upshot of this, is that my perception is probably skewed, as much by my local meta and faction as by anything.
  2. The current forms of my lists are created with the CID update in mind, which I’m hoping come out in the same form as they ended CID and that they drop before Welsh Masters in mid May.
  3. My general list pairing philosophy is to aim for a fairly even match up, rather than try to create advantaged matches. This is generally because I’ve found that teching for a particular list in a faction leaves you vulnerable to other parts of that faction, whilst also creating a vulnerability to list chicken. The upshot of this, is that when I talk about dropping a particular list into a particular match up, I’m generally talking about it being playable, rather than a slam dunk.

With that out of the way, I’ll start with my lists:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Legion of Steel

!!! Your army contains a CID entry.

(Strakhov 2) Assault Kommander Strakhov [+22]
– Rager [10]
– Torch [18]
Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
Kaptain Sofya Skirova [0(5)]
Uhlan Kovnik Markov [7]
Great Bears of the Gallowswood [9]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [0(4)]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

!!! Your army contains CID entries.

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [11]
– Spriggan [17]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [10]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

I’ll start by talking a bit about the lists. The Strakhov list is fairly self explanatory. Legion of Steel builds itself somewhat, with the major decision points being whether to take Uhlans or not, which Solos you want, whether to bother with a merc choice and Black Dragons vs Vanilla Iron fangs. For Strakhov, I went with no Uhlans in an attempt to maximise the value I get out of Last Stand, only 1 Kovnik, Markov and Sofia, due to tightness of points and wanting a slightly bigger jack package than normal, no merc choice due to not feeling it to be necessary and Vanilla Iron fangs due to most of the Black Dragons package being represented by abilities on the solos, Iron Zeal being functionally the same as the regular mini feat (due to most of the time Iron Zeal being used to run or charge whilst maintaining a high armour), and Vanilla pikes having access to path finder, an ability Strakhov has no way to give out. The Jack package is similar, with Torch being included due to having guns and pathfinder (as well as a cloud wall out and being a great assassin with Last Stand) and the Rager due to points and it’s relatively low damage output being assuaged by Last Stand. Overall, the list is very fast, very accurate, hits very hard and can have a very difficult to remove feat turn , making it great into battle group heavy lists (like Dark Menagerie or Jack heavy Jaws builds for example) or heavy melee focused lists that rely on speed or high defence to survive (ala Scourge, Defenders, Band of Heros with Madrak 1, etc). It also pairs well with the other list, due to Witch not particularly wanting to play fast, hard hitting melee lists.

The Old Witch 2 list was conceived out of the idea that she runs jacks extremely well, and fine tuned through play testing. The jack load out provides flexibility, with the Juggernaut and Behemoth providing armour cracking, the Spriggan and Kodiak providing utility and the Marauder and Rager providing cheap models that hit hard under witch. The Spriggan in particular is a recent addition, providing a slight threat extension on the rest of the list, as well as options into stealth or cloud walls. The decision to marshal Behemoth and the Rager was born of a desire to take some of the burden off of Witch herself, but ended up being a great option. With Witch providing Boundless charge, and possibly blind, COS or scourge on enemy models, Behemoth does a ridiculous amount of damage in melee and at range, with the Rager adding a shield guard and a respectable damage out put considering it basically never wants to spend focus (in ideal conditions, it can get 4 POW 19s and a POW 17 against a knocked down or blinded foe). Complimenting the jack package, the mechanics synergise well with Witches abilities and general game plan (I.E. force engagement through guns and spell slinging before counter punching in melee), whilst the Eliminators are great models for contesting and threatening single wound weapon masters. Overall the list is a great general list, shutting down many gun lines through the combination of Wind Storm, counter shooting from Behemoth and the general hardiness of Khador Jacks. It also plays well into a lot of infantry spams due to the control elements of Witchs gun, Behemoth guns, mass focus allocation, as well as the counter jam tech from Curse of Shadows.

So those are a brief rundown of my current pair, why they’re built those ways and a rough approximation of what they can be played into. Strakhov into heavy melee, Witch into heavy ranged. However, I don’t tend to think about match ups in that sense a lot these days, mainly because the game has gotten broader. Pretty much every faction is capable of fielding multiple archetypes of lists, whether it’s Skorne playing a Gunline or Legion playing melee attrition. It’s more valuable, in my opinion, to look at the common pairings/lists being taken in each faction, and then deciding which of your lists would have the best game into that pairing. For example, I feel like my Witch list is my Cygnar drop, due to a common pairing being Haley 3 and Nemo 3, which I think Witch plays better into. I might have a better time with Strakhov if, say, Kraye gets dropped, but I can still play that game with Witch, and she brings things in her list that are traditionally strong into Cygnars usual game, i.e. ranged attacks. This approach doesn’t always work (in particular it can sometimes make my list selections somewhat telegraphed) , but does let me avoid list chicken a lot of the time, in an attempt to make my match ups more consistent.

This article has already run pretty long, so, whilst I was planning on getting into the first few factions here, I think I’ll start with just the first one. We’ll mimic something more popular and go in PPI order, just like Chain-Attack. So Cygnar then.

The current go to pairing for Cygnar seems to be Haley 3 and Nemo 3. Haley 3 is taken in Gravediggers, with the core list being Haley herself, Trencher Infantry and Trencher Long gunners. From there, usual appearances include double Trench busters, Ragman, Alexia 1, Express teams, Thorn, etc. The list will revolve mainly around a big cloud wall, behind which the Haleys will be delivering Long gunners CRAing and crippling heavies, as well as gunning down infantry. The list hits surprisingly hard when all the elements are in place, between Ragman, Baby Haley and Flanking Trench busters, whilst being very high defence due to Temporal Flux. The Haleys themselves do a large amount of work, with Baby Haley horribly murdering anything she gets into melee with, as well as controlling enemy heavies with Force Hammer; Grandma Haley having a kick ass gun that will do a surprising amount of damage every turn and bringing Revive and True Sight to the unit, meaning even stealth doesn’t save you. Finally, Haley 3 herself has Domination to pull jacks out for the list to destroy, and can cast any spell cast by the other Haleys. The list is a pain to deal with, requiring a huge gear check, needing an answer to cloud walls, a list that can survive the kind of shooting a full list of trenchers can put out, and a way to threaten the Haleys themselves, as the echoes are incorporeal at def 16 arm 14 and focus camp, meaning you need a magical attack capable of hitting an def 18 model and rolling a 24 total for damage, preferably at range, because these bad ladies come back. The Nemo 3 lists by comparison vary a bit more and are simpler in what they do. He’ll roll in Heavy Metal or Storm Division, with Heavy Metal being more jack heavy, and Storm Division having Stormlances. He will likely be building his list around 2 Storm Striders, Dynamo and a number of Fireflies which will walk up the board and shoot at extreme range, shoot again under feat, when he can leverage all of his tools (fireflies damage buff, feat, to hit buff from the Striders, spells, etc), and after that you’ll likely not have much army left. This requires a list that is reasonably fast, and has some form of shooting defence, whether that’s armour buffs, multiple jacks or what ever. It compliments the Haley list nicely, as it covers a bunch of match ups she may not want to see, such as Legion, as well as requiring whatever list being played into her to also be able to tank a bunch of lightning to the face.

This is a challenging pairing to play into, and is likely the best 2 list pairing in Warmachine as a whole at the moment. It requires a mix of tech, whilst not compromising on actual bread and butter list elements to play well into, and some of the tech is non-optional to play into these properly. Thankfully, I have Witch 2 in my pairing. Witch brings a lot of options to the table that help deal with both lists, from Windstorm helping to mitigate shooting in both cases (Nemo effectively loses the turn of shooting at extreme range, and the Trenchers in H3 lose a lot of ranged output), whilst the counter shooting from Behemoth, combined with the Blind gun, and Spriggan cloud mitigation allow the list to attrition against Nemo before engagement, and actually grind through some of Haley’s Trenchers. In addition she is tanky, being able in the Haley match up to stand 10 inches from the front lines and be pretty safe as long as she stays out of the armour crackers range (she’ll tank charges from Trencher Infantry pretty well), as she can trivially camp 3 every turn, as well as requiring actual effort for Nemo to kill (she’s not going to die to Electro Leaps, and can probably tank a single Strider if she camps and has a shield guard). She also threatens assassination on both casters, with the combo of Spriggan, Behemoth and Blind gun/scourge being good to threaten Haley (obviously not if she has her shield guards around, but they will be needed to actually crack your armour), whilst Nemo is reasonably squishy between a 18 inch threat on the blind gun and Behemoth.

Overall, the Witch 2 Jaws list feels like a generally good list into Cygnar in general. Windstorm is a powerful spell into Cygnar, bringing most shooting ranges down to the point that if those guns are shooting, that model is in range of being charged. Combined with general tankiness from Jacks, and difficulty in actually disabling them, Witch resists ranged attacks well. Combined with her running Jacks really well, as well as threatening assassination and resisting them well, she is generally a good Cygnar drop that will have a decent game into most Cygnar lists.

Next week, we’ll be looking at another few factions in the same context, probably Menoth, Khador and Cryx.

Thanks again to Jon ‘Das Barry man’ Williams for proof reading.

 

WTC Practice Weekend

This past weekend I went up to Stockport to take part in the scheduled practice weekend for the English WTC teams. It was an interesting event, with the Saturday being reserved for requested match ups and the Sunday for a Steamroller. I took basically my entire Khador collection up, with an intention to play mainly my 3 current lists, but having the rest available to play particular lists if they were requested, and to maybe play some cheeky CID Armoured Korp stuff if I got the chance (Man O War!!!). I had 1 game scheduled the first day (into Haley 3), and ended up playing 6 games over the weekend, as well as some interesting meta conversations with various other players. Normally, I would do this report as bat reps of the various games, but this time I thought I’d concentrate on some of the ideas and meta considerations I picked up. I went intending to main my current list pairing. Lists below:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [10]
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker [4]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [11]
Battle Mechaniks (max) [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Legion of Steel

(Strakhov 2) Assault Kommander Strakhov [+22]
– Marauder [10]
– Torch [18]
Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
Kaptain Sofya Skirova [0(5)]
Uhlan Kovnik Markov [7]
Great Bears of the Gallowswood [9]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [0(4)]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

My first game was against Andy McBirnie, a Cryx player from one of last years WTC teams. Having discussed the match up and my current desire to see if I can get away without a dedicated Cryx drop, we decided on Witch 2 Jaws into Gaspy 3 Black Industries list (with the discussion being me declaring my pairing and him dropping what he would probably put into Khador). I’ve suspected for a while now that the current Cryx lists that are popular are not as difficult for Khador to deal with as in the past, and wanted to see if that was actually the case. His list below:

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Black Industries

(Asphyxious 3) Asphyxious the Hellbringer [+24]
– Desecrator [14]
– Nightwretch [0(7)]
– Nightwretch [0(7)]
– Slayer [10]
– Slayer [10]
– Slayer [10]
– Slayer [10]
– Slayer [10]
Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredius [4]
– Seether [13]
Necrotech [2]
Ragman [4]
Warwitch Siren [4]
Cephalyx Overlords [8]

The game was revealing, with him winning the die roll and going first. Top of 1 he had all 5 slayers far up the board, threatening to just outside my deployment zone. Which was threatening. Interestingly though, it wasn’t that bad in the end due to a couple of factors. One was that between Behemoth aiming and Curse of Shadows, I was able to cripple 1 of his Slayers, even through Carapace. Two was the fact that at the end of all this, they are still slayers. Slayers struggle with Khador armour, and with his force so far up the board, Ragman struggled to keep up. I ended up running all of my jacks forward, with a Juggernaut on both sides kept in reserve. He went into my jacks the next turn, but took the entirety of 2 slayers, calamity and some supporting shots from Vociferon to remove a marauder. This went back and forth, with me starving his feat somewhat and removing 2 slayers and crippling a 3rd, as well as removing the cortex from a 4th with my sniper. again, this was bottom of 2. In the end, he almost won on scenario, but had no way of scoring the last point he needed, and Gaspy dying to Witch charging him, having lost all but a single slayer and me still having 2 jacks on the board. All of this confirmed a couple of things to me about the various Black Industries Jack Spams:

  1. The 9 slayer list is not something to be afraid of in Khador. It’s strong, but we are particularly good at dealing with it, between our heavies being hard to kill, and everything else being hard hitting. In addition, it runs into kind of a problem, in that it is very difficult for most cryx casters to fuel that many jacks well. Even Gaspy 3, who can get to ridiculous levels of focus on his feat turn runs into the issue against Khador that we just don’t spend that much focus turn to turn compared to the likes of Hordes/
  2. Khador tends towards higher armour, with our jacks having a lot of boxes and higher armour, meaning that even with de-buffs, most cryx jacks trade 2 for 1 with our jacks, which, when the point difference is only 2-3 points, tends to be a bad trade.

Overall, Cryx is in an odd match up place for us in Khador. With Ghost Fleet being less of a bug bear than it once was, and the popularity of Black Industries and Dark Host, both of which are much more playable for us than some of the other lists, Khador is in a much better position for the Cryx match up. With Wolves on the rise, as well as the more widespread adoption of Witch 2, it feels like we have a much better time into Cryx.

I also had 2 games against Menoth, which was something I was looking for due to the current rising stock of Harbinger (who I still have terrifying nightmares of due to mark 2). I was interested to see if I could play some of my brick lists into a list with the kind of attrition that Harby can offer. First game had me play a CID AK list with Zerk 1 that performed very well, and the second had me playing Witch 2 into a similar Harby list. The most popular version seems to be as follows:

Protectorate Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Faithful Masses

(Harbinger 1) The Harbinger of Menoth [+24]
– Devout [9]
– Templar [15]
– Hierophant [3]
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist [3]
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist [3]
Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]
Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon [0(6)]
Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]
Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]
Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [4]
The Covenant of Menoth [0(4)]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (max) [16]
– Attendant Priest [3]
Idrian Skirmishers (max) [15]
– Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide [0(5)]

Harby is back. Ugh. The games I had were interesting, with the list hitting hard, and attritioning well. I found it to have some similarities to Makeda 2N, with the main differences being that Harbys list doesn’t threat as far whilst Martyrdom can generally be done more times than Stay Death. Both matches were interesting, with the main take away being that Harby is generally going to get 1 good turn of Martyrdom, with the rest of the game being less impressive (though no less annoying). I was worried with the Witch list that I would suffer due to lacking a weight of attacks, but ended up finding that between mass use of power magnifier, the blind gun and Behemoth threatening Harby somewhat (even behind the wall she’s only def 18, which behemoth can hit on 10s between aiming and Strike True). Eve  getting Blast damage on her is valuable, as she tends to clump up with the likes Vilmon and the book, so between blasts and possibly a martyrdom or 2 you can generally do 6-9 boxes, lowering her ability to save the rest of the force. Overall, the current Menoth favoured lists of Harby, Amon, Vindictus and Thyra all feel like hard games, but absolutely playable throughout our faction.

I managed to get a game vs Pat Dunford as well, playing Strakhov 2 into Dreamer. This was a match up I’ve been  looking at for a while, as I think Grymkin is an odd opponent for us. They tend to be low threat ranges, and take the first punch, but have very little trouble in actually killing our stuff, which is very much the style that Khador is supposed to be playing. Legion of steel feels generally good, due to the presence of high threat ranges in melee and hard hitting models, combined with counter charges to help protect against beasts coming into melee. Gremlin swarms can be an issue, but it feels like, with an objective, LOS can play grymkin, due to the access to at least 1 magic weapon a turn. It’s only when you have no outs for Gremlins other than your caster that they become oppressive. His list below:

Grymkin Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

(Dreamer 1) The Dreamer [+28]
– Cage Rager [14]
– Cage Rager [14]
– Cage Rager [14]
– Crabbit [0(n/a)]
– Crabbit [0(n/a)]
– Gorehound [6]
– Gorehound [6]
– Gorehound [6]
– Skin & Moans [15]
– Skin & Moans [15]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Death Knell [13]

I ended up losing this game on time, but it provided me with a lot of insight into the match up. The fact if the matter is, against dreamer, you can’t race on scenario. If the grymkin player goes second, you are basically forced to attrition. I made that mistake in this game, and Pat had 4 beasts at the end of the game. I also made the mistake of letting him get enfeeble out turn 1. Really, I should have been trying to take as many beasts as I could and trying to get the attrition to a more level pegging, which in turn would have let me contest more easily. On a more positive note, Grymkin definitely don’t feel like a problem faction for Khador. Whilst Gremlin Swarms can be an issue, we generally hit hard and well enough to get through their beasts, and the magic weapons answers that we have can often be enough (Behemoth marshalled can kill them on drifts pretty trivially, and in my match my objective was enough to see all 4 of them dead over the course of the game).

Trolls currently feels like one of our hardest match ups, between the lists involving Madrak 1 being real bastards to break, to Kolgrimma just generally being a bear (he he) to deal with in Storm of the North, Trolls seems to be just fast, hard hitting and hard to kill enough to be a problem for Khador. I managed to get a game vs Andy Gerard, who plays lists different enough to our local James White to be valuable, to give me some more experience into the match up, as I’ve been trying to figure out if I can play Strak 2 pikes into Kolgrimma, given Fire Eaters and Cursed Fate. His list below:

Trollbloods Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Storm of the North

(Kolgrima 1) Kolgrima Stonetruth, Winter Witch [+28]
– Glacier King [35]
– Storm Troll [9]
– Trollkin Runebearer [0(5)]
Bog Trog Mist Speaker [4]
Fell Caller Hero [0(5)]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
– Northkin Elder [3]
Northkin Bear Handle & Battle Bears [10]
Northkin Bear Handle & Battle Bears [10]
Northkin Fire Eaters [7]
Trollkin Champions (max) [16]
– Trollkin Sorcerer (1) [3]

I end up losing this game, but it was god damn fascinating. Andy won the roll off and went first, running everything forward. I decide to feat turn 1 and everything runs and mini feats, embedding a bunch of counter charges. I also manage to murder a bear. He counter feats and gets out 2 cursed fates and sprays some dudes, killing most of 1 unit, but is limited in the damage he can do, due to quicken and counter charges stopping the fire eaters getting deep. I manage to pull it back somewhat, killing the fire eaters, his storm troll, bears on the left and do a bunch of damage to the glacier king. We grind it out, and I make some mistakes, come up short on the Glacier king and failing to score some points when I probably could. The main take away though, is that the Strakhov 2 vs Kolgrimma match up is very playable. It depends a lot on the particulars of the Kolgrimma list (double fire eaters or northkin raiders seem rough), but overall, I just have a lot of dude that can murder most things in his list pretty trivially. Considering Strak plays really well into Madrak 1, I think this is probably fine. Also Sophia is still pretty ridiculous.

Finally, I also managed to get a crack at a Haley 3 Grave diggers list, which I’ve been trying to get a game against for awhile (it seems like the new ghost fleet). I got put up against Golly (Matthew Goligher), who plays it very well, and faced with the option of Witch or Strakhov, opted for Witch. My lists at the time of the match had Strakhov as having the only anti cloud wall tech (torch targeting flares), but I decided that the various anti shooting tech, and ability to actually threaten echos in the Witch list was a better match up. His list below:

Cygnar Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Gravediggers

(Haley 3) Major Prime Victoria Haley [+25]
– Ironclad [12]
– Thorn [13]
Captain Maxwell Finn [0(6)]
Commander Anson Hitch [4]
Patrol Dog [2]
Ragman [4]
Trench Buster [0(5)]
Trench Buster [0(5)]
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen [10]
Trencher Commandos (min) [10]
– Trencher Commando Scattergunner (1) [2]
Trencher Infantry (max) [16]
– Trencher Infantry Officer & Sniper [5]
Trencher Long Gunners (max) [18]
– Trencher Long Gunner Officer [4]

Spoiler alert: I lost this game fairly convincingly.

Still, this was a good match up to play, as it gave me some insight into exactly what the Haley list is doing to be so back breaking. My consideration at the start was probably correct, in that I think Legion of Steel doesn’t do very well into this, and that Witch has a lot of the right tech pieces for this match up. The Wind Storm was absolutely valuable, as it meant the Long Gunners were flanking hard to get around it, rendering them much less valuable. Jacks were the right way to go, as whilst it gives the Haleys an easier time of controlling, the range of options that Witch gives her jacks is important. Having Behemoth in the list was also valuable, as the Echoes couldn’t just stand in the middle of the table, allowing me to play my force much further up the table than I otherwise could have (Witch spent most of the game stood about 3-4 inches away from the centre zone in Breakdown). The main difficulty I found was in dealing with the damn cloud wall. I had gone into the match intending to run some of my mecs and eliminators into the cloud wall and deviating off of them with Behemoth, but frankly, it’s just not reliable enough. I would have had to be able to reasonably kill 3-4 trencher infantry a turn to make a dent in the cloud wall, and just couldn’t. The combination of Ragman in addition to all the other hard hitting pieces just took my jacks apart, and though I managed a few coups, like killing his Ironclad and Thorn, as well as murdering most of his Long Gunners, the cloud wall just never let me carry the game forward, and I ended up losing on scenario.

Having thought about the game a lot, I feel like, for Witch at least, that the current match up is disadvantaged for Witch, but not massively. I need a way to be consistently using my resources every turn (namely Behemoth and the Witches Black Wings) to be grinding through his pieces. Every time I can take pieces away from that list, it loses some steam. Missing a few long gunners means less impactful CRAs, getting a Trench Buster or the Ironclad drops the melee out put, as does getting Ragman. To wit with all these rambling ideas, I’ve decided that a good change in favour of this match up is the inclusion of a Spriggan, what with upcoming changes from CID potentially dropping point cost and adding Dual Attack, allowing me a way to attack stuff behind the cloud wall, without throwing models away. Hopefully. Apart from H3 Grave diggers, Cygnar doesn’t feel as scary, Nemo 3 is something we can play a number of different ways (Zerk 1, Strak 2, jack spam, etc) and none of the up and comers like Siege 2 feel overly scary, not in a Ghost Fleet kind of way anyway.

So that was the WTC practice weekend. A lot of good practice and insight came out of it, as well as a bunch of good games. Over the next few weeks, I’m planning on taking a look at the general meta, and what factions are taking as well as building a pairing for them. Not quite sure what format it will take just yet.

Thanks to Jon ‘The Barriest Man’ Williams for proof reading.

 

Armoured Korp

Promise this is the final week of me fan-boying over MOW. Ahem.

Having spoken a bit before about armoured korp and how I think it’s going to change the competitive Khador scene, I’ve been looking more in depth at some actual lists. Armoured Korp is an interesting beast in this respect, as it brings back some casters that haven’t seen a lot of play, and also brings forward some current favourites into new lists. Broadly, I’ve found that these fall into three categories, which I thought i’d discuss today and go into a list that I think fits the category. Onwards!

Anvil:

These lists will be about forming a wall of steel and marching across the table, with double shocktroopers being most common as the centre piece of the list, supported with a variety of guns and fast models, ala Drakhuns and Bombardiers. In addition, it will benefit the most from the likes of Suppression tankers and other support style models. This archetype will be the most common with any of our armour buff casters. Sorschas 2 and 3, Irusk 1 and Butcher 1 will be interesting here.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Armored Corps (CID)

(Irusk 1) Kommandant Irusk [+27]
– Conquest [35]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [0(5)]
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]

This list encapsulates the Anvil archetype best. 2 full units of Shock troopers, backed by a whole lot of guns and a Conquest. On top of that, denial options are strong here. Between Inhospitable ground, Creeping Barrages and Covering Fires, a huge portion of the board can be locked off, particularly to the single wound weapon masters that make up Shock Troopers primary predators. Iron flesh on top of arm 21 makes for a very hard to deal with unit, with many heavy jacks bouncing off and making them very resistant to most shooting. In addition to the steel wall, the list has a lot of guns, with almost every model , having a gun. The feat is weaker in the current meta, due to the amount of tough denial in the meta, but can be back breaking into low output lists, and allows a turn of fairly ridiculous accuracy (bombardiers get to rat 10 whilst aiming). The plans allow you to run MOW without some of the support pieces, like Atanas or some of the mercs which in turn lets you get much more beef into the list. Overall, this list is going to attrition well and march across the board quicker than you might think, between the advance moves and Irusks re-position plan, a unit of shock troopers can shield wall up to the 20 inch mark. This opens up some possibilities and draws the sting somewhat from deciding to shield wall bottom of 1, with the expanded board presence making the general slowness of the list much more bearable

Hammer:

Hammer lists are going to be focusing on the hard hitting models in the theme list, Demo Corp, Drakhuns, etc. It’s not going to have the same staying power as Anvil lists, and is going to struggle with delivery at times. The main game plan is going to be using abilities on our casters to deliver hard hitting fragile models, and supporting with guns from elsewhere in the theme. It’s mainly going to be the forte of the likes of Zerkova 1, Vlad 2, and others.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Armored Corps (CID)

(Vladimir 2) Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion [+27]
– Conquest [35]
Man-O-War Drakhun [9]
Man-O-War Drakhun [9]
Man-O-War Kovnik [0(4)]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [0(5)]
Man-O-War Demolition Corps (max) [14]
– Sergeant Dragos Dragadovich [0(6)]
Man-O-War Siege Chariot [15]

There are some key differences here to the anvil lists, with the main one being that this list is focusing on a hammer strike. It’s not going to take a punch anywhere near as well, but between a couple of clouds from the chariot, a decent gun threat, and a 14 inch potential threat on the Demo corp, should be enough to deliver the somewhat more fragile Demo Corp. In addition, the Drakhuns are going to be a major threat, between feat making them hit hard and fast, and making them ridiculously hard to remove. The list should benefit massively from hand of fate cycling, with it making both the Bombardiers hit even harder than normal at range (HOF pow 14s combined with dual shot should be removing heavies) and HOF being a huge buff to the Siege chariots big shot, allowing it to hit harder and more accurately. Arcane Might allowing the Demo Corp to boost their melee attacks makes a crit freeze more likely, allowing them to more trigger shattter, making them weapon master pow 19s. Overall, this list should be fast and have some reasonable denial elements, between the clouds, wind blasts and creeping barrages, allowing everything to be delivered and hit hard.

Hybrid:

These are going to be any list that doesn’t fit into the above, usually looking to capitalise on the presence of Drakhun or battle engines in conjunction with advance move. It also might be to take advantage of a particular casters package. They are generally going to be a bit more of a niche list, built for a particular match, or to leverage a particular game plan. This niche is going to include casters like Sorscha 3 and Malakov 2 and will encompass game plans beyond take punch or hit thing with hammer.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Armored Corps (CID)

(Sorscha 3) Kommandant Sorscha Kratikoff [+28]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker [4]
Man-O-War Drakhun [9]
Man-O-War Drakhun [9]
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Man-O-War Siege Chariot [15]
Man-O-War Siege Chariot [15]

This is kind of a weird list, and is mostly looking to capitalise on the feat and the siege chariots to deliver cheap jacks that hit much harder than their weight class suggests. Between advance moves (of which there are 3) and the speed 7 on the Chariots and Drakhuns, this list is going to make it up the field very fast. The Chariots or the Drakhuns can be on the 28 inch line turn 1, with Sorscha potentially being at the 22 inch mark to support, with 4 of the Berserkers close behind. The Chariots can then drop a cloud wall the next turn, and disrupt enemy lines, with a feat turn the next to deliver the jacks into Drakhun based flank targets. On top of this, Sorscha is threatening a reasonable assassination here, with a 13 inch threat, as well as a arcane secrets Winters Wrath to freeze the enemy caster and open them up to the rest of the list. On top of that, Iron flesh can be placed onto either Sorscha or the Drakhuns to make them even harder to remove. Overall, this list is going to be relentlessly fast, with an in built cloud wall and a decent assassination threat, something that is rare in faction.

 

So that’s my take on Armoured Korp. Next week will be a report on the WTC practice day being held this weekend.

Cheers once again to Jon ‘Mighty Barryman’ Williams for proof reading.

Caster Analysis: Butcher 1

I’ve been raving about Armoured Korp since the CID finished, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the casters I’m considering playing in that theme. It’s a versatile theme, really durable and brings a lot of guns, so I had the idea to revisit a caster I haven’t played since the start of Mk 3, Butcher 1, and maybe write a list for him. One of the interesting things about Armoured Korp so far has been how it brings some of our more neglected casters somewhat to the fore (I’m even considering an OW1 list in the theme), as some of our more straight forward infantry casters have some cool interactions with MOW. On with the post!

Butchers stats:

Spd 5; Str 8; Mat 9; Rat 5; Def 14; Arm 18; Cmd 7; Foc 6

Abilities: Tough

Weapons: Lola POW + Str 16 Rng 2 Weapon-master, Magical; Blunderbuss Rng 8 Pow 12

Spells: Iron Flesh; Obliteration; Fury; Full Throttle; Venegeful

Feat: Friendly Faction Models in Butchers Control gain an additional dice on damage rolls

Butchers feat is pretty simple. Its also somewhat ridiculous! An extra die of damage on any models attacks in his control area is a massive damage spike. In addition, unlike every other feat similar to this in the game, there are no restrictions. Melee, spell, ranged, whatever attack you make, gets an extra dice. Its simplicity is actually one of the things that makes it a bit hard to know when to use and how to build his lists. See, Khador doesn’t struggle to deal damage, and he has fury on his spell card, so most of the time you don’t need feat to horribly murder a bunch of stuff. This in turn means that the feat tends to lend itself better to ranged attacks, due to your melee probably already killing the target without it (anyone who’s put fury onto ruin or some pikemen and charged something will understand this). Frankly put, you are generally better off spending the feat to ranged alpha stuff off the board than saving it for the melee clash. Part of the reason i say that is….

Spells:

Butcher has a pretty good, if blunt, spell list. Fury, Iron flesh, Full throttle, Vengeful and Obliteration. Support wise that’s pretty damn good. Fury is just generally good, and the -1 to def is not as crippling in khador as else where (the opponent was likely hitting your jacks and MOW on not double 1s anyway and pikemen were not relying on def to save then). +3 pow is pretty silly in any faction and is bonkers on most of our stuff because we already hit real hard. Iron Flesh is always useful to have, and put on himself makes him 14, 20 before focus. Full Throttle is interesting as it makes jacks super efficient. Combined with feat and fury, Full throttled jacks can do a lot even when trampling. Vengeful is interesting in places due to the presence of Ruin. Retaliatory is great on a dispel weapon into certain match ups, like Trolls, where the opposing player is relying on animi or upkeeps to deal enough damage. Which leads me to his main drawback, which is a pretty big one for a khador caster. No Speed buff. This is a big drawback in khador, as has been discussed elsewhere, and threatening 8-9 is just not good enough. This means that butcher is not really fit to be in a jack heavy build, despite the presence of full throttle (though a few berserkers are a cheap way to fill out his battlegroup and he gets a lot out of them). Ruin becomes very important with Butcher 1 due to the native boundless charge giving him a Jack that has some actual threat range.

Survivability:

Butcher is 14 18, with 20 boxes and access to an armour buff. That’s pretty good i guess (there are heavies in the game that are easier to kill). On top of this, he’s a caster that can generally camp (a usual turn will see him upkeeping for 2 and maybe cycling fury) and is a support caster primarily, meaning he doesn’t have to be near the front. One of our hardier casters.

Impact:

Butcher 1 us probably one of the hardest hitting models in the game, with the possibility of being pow 19 mat 9 weapon master and an additional die on damage. This being said, he only threatens 10 inchs, so he isn’t going to be getting any down town assassinations. He will, however, be very good at murdering anything that gets sent into the lines. Outside of personal threat, Butcher is primarily a support caster, he’s going to use Iron Flesh and Fury to make his forces attrition well in a very straight up battle. In particular, the ability to take down heavies from range, especially with a primarily melee force is a game changer in game. There are no particular tricks or traps here, simply overwhelming force.

Win Condition:

Attrition, with a side order of assassination. Butchers lists will primarily be about horribly murdering everything in reach. Leveraging feat, fury and his personal output, Butcher can make basically everything trade up. Want to murder a colossal with a single heavy, or a heavy with Winter Guard? Butcher can make that happen. Even more so than the likes of Irusk or Strakhov 2, Butcher makes stuff hit hard. He’s kinda simple like that. Assassination comes from the simply ludicrous damage out put on his feat turn. Getting a unit of Rifle Corp or Behemoth onto an enemy caster under feat will usually result in a assassination.

The List:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Armored Corps (CID)

(Butcher 1) Orsus Zoktavir, The Butcher of Khardov [+28]
– Marauder [11]
– Ruin [17]
Man-O-War Drakhun [9]
Man-O-War Kovnik [0(4)]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kommandant Atanas Arconovich & Standard [7]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [0(5)]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [0(5)]
Man-O-War Shock-troopers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Shock-trooper Officer [4]

I’ve been thinking a lot on Armoured Korp since the end of the CID. One of the things that came out of it for me is list archetypes. I think that Armoured Korp will manifest itself in a couple of different forms, with the primary list being centred around 2-3 units of Bombardiers and Shock-troopers and variations on the rest of the list being based around the specific caster and what you’re building to play into. Butcher in particular is somewhat interesting for this list due to some of the specific tools he brings.

First of all. Atanas and Standard feel basically mandatory for any War caster that does not bring a pathfinder solution. He brings some other interesting tools, including tough and Tactician. The retaliatory strike is also interesting with Butcher, due to Fury and feat, making actually attacking Shock-troopers a daunting prospect in melee. The tactician becomes interesting for moving forward as a blob, meaning that the Bombardiers can blob up between the 2 units and threaten more board.

The inclusion of the Drakhun was a deliberate nod towards scenario. Whilst desperate pace and advance move help with scenario problems, having a fast model that is hard to remove (especially with Iron Flesh). Other tech here includes being able to use counter charge through the other MOW and hitting ridiculously hard on feat turn (doing POW 14 on 3d6 and a pow 14 on 5d6 and fury tanking that up to 11). Having a piece that is fast and hard to remove is a boon for a list like this.

Regarding units, I oscillated between double Shockies and double Bombardiers. I decided on Bombardiers due to the interactions with feat. Having a potential maximum output on feat of 24 POW 14 shots on 3d6, and threatening 18 inches is an impressive out put and enough to deal with most heavies. They also get a lot out of Iron Flesh, with arm 18 and 8 boxes being reasonably hard to deal with (trivially at least). Even outside of feat, being able to put out 6 AOEs a turn is a great out for dealing   The Shock-troopers  provide an anchor piece, with most opponents likely to prioritise the Bombardiers to remove as much out put before the feat. With all the buffs stacked on top of them, they can be a daunting prospect to remove, being potentially arm 23, and having access to tough or retaliatory strike. Especially if the other side of the game plan has worked and you’ve managed to remove 2-3 heavies with a ranged alpha strike.

The jack package is interesting if only for Ruin. In this list, both jacks are usually going to be second wave models, due to Butcher having a lack of speed buffs, but is salved by the ranged output of the Bombardiers and feat. Apart from that, some of Ruins abilities are massively useful, with another magic weapon being useful as well as access to dispel (there is nothing sadder than Rebuke or Crippling grasp on Shock Troopers). The arcane vortex is nice, but likely not to come up much due to a difficulty in collecting souls. Importantly as well, Boundless charge as the bond gives the list access to another source of Pathfinder and a good late game heavy that can finish trades or assassinate well. The marauder is difficult, as I am inclined to just drop a point and go to a Rager for the shield guard, especially as Full Throttle and Fury combine well with it’s high number of initial attacks (3 pow 18s and a pow 16 is pretty respectable for a jack with one focus and a free charge).

Overall, this list feels strong, though I need to test it somewhat. Butcher 1 is a strong, if uncomplicated caster, bringing very straight forward buffs. This list feel like it will be a good generalist drop, threatening a very strong ranged alpha on anyone without a cloud wall. In addition, most of the models here are non trivial to remove, giving it a different niche to WGK or LOS. In terms of dealing with our problem match ups, it will probably be fairly strong into most Grymkin, as well as being a good all rounder to ask questions of Trolls, Retribution, Khador, Skorne and Grymkin. I am still of the opinion that Irusk 1 makes a better Armoured Korp caster, but Butcher certainly isn’t far behind, and this list feels like the kind of thing that Butcher 1 has been waiting for. I can’t wait for the new models and update to drop!

Thanks to the Mighty Jon ‘Barry’ Williams for proof reading.

 

Khador Harder!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the meta lately, between the Khador CID and the new Steamroller stuff coming out. Some of that has been list building and some of that has been the cycling of the meta itself. I wanted to sit down and put some thoughts out there about Khadors place in this meta, and what we can do to start leading, rather than following. To start posing questions instead of asking them.

The Meta is a strange beast, where nothing ever stays the same. This time last year, strange reports were coming out about a list full of spooky ghosts, that was damn hard to beat, and yet now we stand in a world where Ghost Fleet is much less taken. A year ago, Slayers were never taken in Cryx, and now lists abound with 10 of the damn things. My point, if I have one, is that the strongest lists seem to spring forth less as a reaction to the state that the meta is currently in, and more from enterprising players coaxing strength out of things. Looking back on most of the big power lists of the last few years, Bradigus in Mk 2, Una 2 when first released, Haley 2, Nemo 3, Ghost Fleet, Mad Dog spam, Body and Soul, Fyanna 2, Madrak 1, etc, they all seem to have a couple of things in common. They all focused on building and leveraging their strengths, rather than trying to bolster a perceived weakness. They don’t tend to be reactions to the current meta. Mad Dog spam was a great example of this, with Karchev bringing very little to the mad dog chassis outside of feat and counter charge. What was leveraged in that list was a cheap chassis, with an inherent speed buff and a lot of boxes. Same with Una 2, with that list not really salving the inherent fragility of the Griffons, but rather taking advantage of a caster that could make light war-beasts kill colossals on top of a pretty ridiculously broken feat.

Some of this is faction specific. It’s a simple fact that some of the factions lean better into posing difficult questions than others. Cryx has some of the most wide ranging access to de-buffs and to special rules that are hard to deal with (incorporeal, stealth, ghostly, etc), which is one reason that that faction is generally hard to deal with. Other factions, including ours, are simply more straightforward. This doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t ask questions, it just means that our questions are different and require a more straight forward approach.

It comes up a lot in conversations with fellow Khador players, that we as a faction tend to believe we need to take particular tools in lists to be viable at a competitive level. Much of the salt about the restrictions to character mercs in WGK and LOS is that we can’t take Reinholdt to remove stealth for our nominal gun line (WGK) or take aiyana and holt for our theme with the least access to magic weapons (LOS). I kinda agree with the complaints, though for different reasons. Mostly I think that it’s not necessary to restrict our themes because other themes aren’t. However, on the subject of mercs, I very much feel that the need for these mercs is over hyped. In this world of theme list and free models, a merc model/unit have to be a particularly valuable tool to make the cut. Currently I run no mercs in 2 of my 3 lists, with the 1 I do run being Sylas with Old Witch 2, due to the value I place on all 3 of his support abilities. For the rest, 4-8 points not spent on models that internally synergize always feels like a bad move.

I am also of the opinion that the game is now big enough that answer lists are not massively viable, at least purely answer list. Sure you can build for a specific problem, much as my Sorscha 1 list was built specifically to drop into cryx, but it seems at the moment that building one of your limited number of drops for specific problems, or even for generic problems then you end up leaving yourself vulnerable to other lists, and also telegraphing your drop to your opponent. There is also the consideration that that list you tailored for a specific drop becomes less necessary. I believe we’re going to see much more Scourge and Black industries, which are much easier in a sense for us to deal with. So, the way forward seems to be building lists to take advantage of every single strength we can pull out of our faction rather than trying to tech for problems.

Our faction has an image of the steel legion. Of big hard to kill models that hit hard and take a punch well. And the fact of the matter is, that at this particular moment, the only lists that actually fulfil that description are our jack spams. Don’t get me wrong, our jack spams work fine, but they struggle somewhat due to our jacks having very little in the way of internal jack support. It also means that our big armour spams are vulnerable to the same things that all battle group heavy lists are vulnerable to. Control effects, disruption, precision effects, crippled systems, etc. It also means that board presence tends to suffer with each model taken off the board.

Enter the Armoured Korp and the idea to just Khador Harder. For the first time since themes became the norm, we can build a list using our heavy infantry with the staying power of our jack lists. This brings a bunch of casters back into competitive rotation, such as Butcher 1, Irusk 1 and several others. Having played a list with Irusk 1 and double shock troopers backed by a Conquest, I can say that the armour skew is not dead, and presents a difficult question to opponents, asking if they can deal with a front and second line of 8 box high armour infantry models, and then a Conquest. This is the kind of question that I think Khador should be presenting to the meta.

I genuinely believe that the meta is posed for Khador to ride high. A lot of our natural enemies have started cycling out, and some of our natural prey are cycling back in. Ghost Fleet, Haley 2, etc are all on the way out, Miserable Meat Mountain is cycling back in, and I firmly believe that that is an archtype that we can play better than anyone else. Looking elsewhere, infantry machine has made a come back in a big way, with the likes of Haley 3, Madrak 1, Scourge of the Broken coast, etc coming to the fore front, and with it, the chance for our infantry to cycle back in. This meta seems tailor made for the return of mass winter guard with Irusk 2, or Strakhov 2 rocking Legion of Steel.

Ultimately, we will still always need to consider options when building lists. As the meta changes and adapts, we may find our lists need to adapt as they do, but mostly, we can deal with these issues through play. For example, Legion of Steel can play into Denny 2 Black industries despite it’s lack of magic weapons by threatening out the feat and then backing off and counter feating with a defensive feat. In general. it doesn’t feel worth sacrificing effectiveness with a list to put in models that help with a particular problem, and instead should focus on presenting problems for our opponents instead. Whether that’s speed, denial, durability or damage output, Khador is a faction that can achieve this if we can brave the waters of leading the meta.

Glory to the Motherland!

Thanks to Jonathon ‘Barry’ Williams for proof reading.