Damn You Christmas!

So between work and family life, I haven’t had a great deal of time to write over the past few weeks. As a bit of a behind the scenes look at how I manage these posts, I tend to write a bunch of articles in one go, and then schedule them to go out on a Friday. On that front, I’ve done pretty well since I started this blog, having not missed a Friday so far. Equally, I tend to write pieces on current news and post them up sooner rather than later, which tend to be tournament reports that I want out within a week of the tournament ending generally, pushing back some of the less time sensitive posts (the Sorscha 1 deep dive was written about 2 months before it got posted). This generally gives me a bit of a back log so that one bad week doesn’t interrupt my update schedule.

All that being said, the run up to Christmas has been a pain. I work in retail, and all the nightmares of Christmas in retail have been happening. On top of that, prepping for the family Christmas has also been long winded, though fun. The upshot of all this is that, since I didn’t want to rush one of my long rambling essays about nothing particularly important, I don’t have an article for you guys today. I blame that rat bastard, Santa.

There will be an article next week, and we should be back on track from then. We’ll be doing a year in re-cap next week, followed by a ‘what I’m doing/predicting for the next year’ the following week.

Merry Christmas Y’all



Caster Analysis: Irusk 1

In a continuation of my Caster Analysis series, I thought I’d have a look at a caster I’ve been pondering about since the Armoured Korp theme list was released. A lot of casters in Khador run Man-O-War well, but it’s my feeling that Irusk 1 runs them best of all, and so I wanted to do a bit of a deep dive into a list I’ve been contemplating that involves using some of the models revealed during the Insider for Armoured Korp. So lets get started!


Focus 7, Speed 6, Mat 7, Rat 6, Def 15, Arm 15, Cmd 10

1 ranged weapon, Range 10, Pow 13, Reload 1

1 Melee Weapon, Rng 1, P+S 12

Abilities: Battle Plans: Reveille (Stands up models in command); Special Orders (Repo 3); March (Pathfinder)

Spells: Grind; Iron Flesh; Inhospitable Ground; Airburst; Superiority; Battle Lust

Feat: Friendly Faction Warrior models gain +2 to attack rolls; immune to Knockdown; and 4+ Tough

Irusk 1 has long been a favourite of mine, and was in my regular rotation of casters back in mk 2. The first tournament I ever won was a Harkevich/Irusk pairing and Irusk carried me through it. He got some interesting changes in the change to mk 3, mostly his battle plans, and remains an interesting infantry support caster, who has some tools that Khador likes to see. He is the quintessential infantry caster, and will generally be leading a force that is mostly infantry, likely with a big jack that he can put Superiority best (Conquest is great here for that reason).


Irusks feat is a bit odd. At first glance it looks like a defensive feat, i.e., a feat you use to set up a counter attack without losing too much. However, in the mk 3 games that I have played with him so far, it tends to be used for that counter attack turn. The +2 to hit is non trivial, and 4+ tough no knockdown is great, but also not really reliable enough at times to actually see a force through a big alpha strike, especially with anti tough tech being more common these days. For that reason, as well as the types of list that tend to be run with Irusk 1, more of my games devolve into me offering some bait to start trading, before feating the next turn and killing whatever just ran into my face. I also tend to find, that many of my opponents simply back off on feat turns.

A regular occurrence for me back in mk 2, would be making very few actual tough rolls on my feat turn, due to my opponents preferring to back up or re-deploy their forces rather than take potentially pointless attacks. That out of the way, the ridiculousness of 4+ tough no knockdown cannot be understated. When you have had a winter guard survive 6 punchs from a Stormwall, only for all your shocktroopers to die without making a single roll, you begin to understand the power of this feat. It simply throws your opponents plans off. For a straight up hard buff feat, like Stryker 1 or Fyanna 2, you can generally predict how much work your force will be able to do (even if that amount is zero). With a soft defence feat like this, neither you nor your opponent can predict how much of your force will actually die if your opponent kills them, and many opponents will simply back off if they don’t have the tools to deal with it.


Irusk has a pretty good spell list. A defence buff, an offence buff, a jack buff, a control spell and a pretty decent, if expensive way to deal with annoying solos. In addition to this, his battle plans give him a buff to hand out every turn, even if it’s just to himself.

Iron flesh is a signature spell for Khador, and every infantry unit we have likes it. Either they’re squishy and appreciate the immunity (winter guard, kossites, kayazy) or they are natively high armour (Shocktroopers, Iron Fangs, etc). Pushing Shockies to arm 23 is pretty ridiculous, but in general this is always a good spell to have.

Battle Lust is flat out ridiculous. 3 cost for weapon master is pretty silly, and most of our infantry units already hit pretty hard. On one end of the scale, dedicated melee units love this spell for ridiculous levels of armour cracking (having a single unit of pikemen kill 3 heavies is pretty hilarious), and on the other end, making ranged units kill heavies is very versatile (Winter Guard under feat, battle lust and Joe are pow 12, Mat 7 weapon masters).

The rest of his spells are interesting. Inhospitable ground is pretty much useless in a lot of match ups. And in the rest it will absolutely win you the game. Access to pathfinder can be very faction specific, with the likes of Cygnar and Menoth having much less access than the likes of Circle or Legion, and some lists simply can’t deal with this spell. Superiority is just generally great, but Irusk tends to have better things to do with his focus than fuel jacks. Still great to have though. His nukes (grind and airburst) are alright, with airburst being the more interesting, as it can be great for randomly murdering that annoying solo, or for taking out a cluster of troops. His orders are great as well, with giving access to pathfinder or repo 3 being pretty huge for our troops, especially the ones who can’t get either natively.


This is Irusk’s main weakness. 15 – 15 is not a terrible statline, but it’s also not great. He does have some defensive buffs, but in general, they are somewhat wasted on him if he uses them that way. Additionally, whilst 15-15 is not terrible, it’s generally better to be weighted one way or the other. If he had 16 armour, he’d get to 23 with focus and IF, whereas 16 def would get him into the reachs of difficult to hit even with boosting (especially with some kind of terrain bonus). Add to this a tendency to spend his stack, the attrition advantage his lists tend to enjoy and his general position (not on the front line, but not far) and assassination tends to be a real danger for Irusk. Make sure you play him safe.

Win Conditions:

Attrition all day, every day! Irusk’s main game plan is going to be to grind his opponents army down until nothing is left. Nothing about his spell list or abilities suggests anything else. He has an alright assassination threat for a support caster (2 double boosted 13s at 16 inchs is alright), but it isn’t reliable or impressive in it’s threat. Scenario will be the way he wins most games, but again, nothing on his cards is really helping a lot with that. What Irusk brings to the table is nothing more complicated than getting the absolute maximum value out of his army, grinding them into the opposing force until nothing is left to oppose him.

This does mean that if he is out attritioned then it can become difficult for him, as he has few outs in that scenario, but both of the Irusks are some of the finest attrition casters in the game, so a list built well and played properly won’t find itself in this scenario often. Defending him from assassination is top priority and, whereas with Sorscha or Butcher your asking the question of whether you can assassinate this turn, with Irusk you should always be asking yourself if he is safe enough.

The List:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Armored Korps

(Irusk 1) Kommandant Irusk [+27]
– Conquest [37]
Greylord Forge Seer [4]
Man-O-War Kovnik [0(5)]
Man-O-War Kovnik [0(5)]
Battle Mechaniks (max) [5]
Man-O-War Bombadiers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Bombadier Officer [0(4)]
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (max) [16]
– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]

(note: this list was composed with the spoiled changes to Bombadiers in mind)

I’ve stated before that I’m a big believer in list optimisation, that every caster has a niche that they fill. Khador has no shortage of infantry casters, and they all fit a role. Vlad 2 is an elite infantry caster, Irusk 2 a cheap infantry caster, Butcher 1 a combined arms infantry caster. Irusk 1, is to me, a heavy infantry caster, in that he wants hard to kill, high armour pieces that he can push up the field. He wants them to be units to get the most mileage out of his spells and abilities. Enter the Man-O-War shocktrooper.

Man-O-War suffer from 2 things, lack of mobility and lack of out put. Irusk fixes both of those things. The first by granting access to pathfinder and repo 3 (moving 9 inchs a turn in shield wall is nothing to sniff at), and the second through his feat and through battle lust. At the same time that he helps their weaknesses he also buffs their strengths, with iron flesh and feat making a unit of Shockies ridiculously hard to kill. He also helps to control the enemy, as heavier hitters tend to be the models without pathfinder, and thus controllable by Inhospitable Ground.

This is a list I am somewhat excited to play, and one I’ve been wishing for since the reveal of Irusk 1’s card at the start of Mk 3. It brings a lot of steel to the board, in a combined arms style format. With the Shocktroopers acting as the frontline, and the fire from Bombadiers in the second rank, the Infantry of the list can pose a massive head ache to opponents, with Iron Flesh being put on which ever flank is more threatened. Conquest provides more control here as well, with Creeping Barrages being useful for controlling weapon master units (the usual models to prey on Shocktroopers), as well as being a fantastic anchor piece.

Having tested the list a couple of times, it’s main problem is speed. It simply doesn’t get across the board very fast. However, this is offset by how incredibly difficult it is to deal with. The list has a deceptively large number of guns with all the Man-O- Wars having a shot, as well as the big guns provided by Conquest. Whilst this list is going to struggle somewhat to reach out and contest the far flags on recon and spread the net, it’s iron wall has so far proven able to block off friendly scenario elements enough to keep the list from losing on scenario easily, allowing the gun fire and advancing wall to push the enemy to breaking point.

Overall, this list is pretty simple, and very Khadoran. It is simply a line of advancing iron and will likely struggle into any of the traditional predators of such. It is very resilient to shooting and will trade well into heavies, but will probably struggle into the likes of Dark Host or other similar hard hitting lists. Suitable as a generalist list to pair with a Cryx drop. Armoured Korp feels underestimated at the moment, possibly due to the presence of so much Cryx. It does, however, feel like a good reaction to the direction the meta is currently going in, being an armour skew that isn’t bogged down with the same issues that a traditional jack spam is. Spreading out the wounds, being able to heal and cycle the Shockies, combined with a decent ranged game and a lot of AOEs feels like a good reaction to a number of the current infantry spam lists out there, especially combined with control elements from Irusk and the Conquest. Overall, Irusk 1 feels strong in the Armoured Korp, and it will be interesting to see how the new releases alter this list for me. One to watch for the future!



Kommandant Kratikof, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Assassination Run

I hate assassination runs. It sounds a weird thing to say for someone trying to play competitively, but I have a massive aversion to ever going for one. Warcaster/Warlocks are, by design, some of the most difficult models in the game to put into the dirt. They have great stats, lots of boxes, a damage mitigation mechanic built into them, never-mind that they are also the most well defended piece in any given list. To make matters worse, I am a definite attrition player. I enjoy facing armies off and grinding each other down until one side rolls over another. I hate it when games end top of round 2, feeling like I’ve lost time playing a game I love.

Every single assassination run I’ve embarked on since I first started playing at 50 points in mk 2, has been begrudgingly done, due to either desperation or my opponent making a dumb mistake. As a Khador player, I tend to play for attrition, and end up forcing opponents into last ditch assassinations, which, when they go off, leave me feeling stupid for allowing them in the first place, or robbed when a long shot goes off.

That all being said, since the start of mk 3, I’ve been playing more of the casters and lists in our faction that have the innate capabilities of assassinating. Strakhov 1, Sorscha 1, Butcher 3, etc, all of these have, at their bare minimum, a portion of their kit which is useful for getting to the opposing caster and murdering them to death. And in that time, I’ve noticed something interesting about my play.

The threat of assassination is often as useful as actually pulling it off.

Putting your pieces into a position where they threaten the opposing caster can make them panic. At bare minimum, it often pulls them out of position. Many casters want to have free run of the board, moving back and forth, spending down as far as they dare. If you can pressure them, they start having to make sub optimal moves. A good example of a caster like this is my old Strakhov 1 list, which could fling a jack 19 inchs (not counting weapon range). Just by having that possibility on the board, I found my opponents wouldn’t move far out of their deployment zones without bricking up, generally giving up board space and control of the scenario elements, out of fear of receiving Ruin or Torch to the face. I rarely actually went for these assassinations, but benefited massively just from having the possibility on the table.

The Sorscha 1 list I have been running lately in Wolves of Winter has similar threats in it. Going first, I can have the majority of that list on the 25 inch line, with Sorscha herself at a similar distance whilst camping 4 focus and being def 20 to shooting. With the ridiculous amount of mobility that she has, this has often forced opponents to make very cautious advances into the middle table, usually allowing me to take a couple of pieces, back up, or feat on the bunched up army much more effectively. I had a game recently into a Siege 2 Gravediggers list where I bottom of 2 feated with Sorscha at the 30 inch line, freezing literally the entirety of my opponents army. Other games with the same list have been salvaged by Sorscha miraculously getting to the enemy caster and beating them up with a hammer.

My point, if I actually have one, is that just the mere act of threatening an assassination run can often put you in an advantageous position on the board. Your opponent has to respect it and can’t act as freely. And if you can protect yourself from the same threat from your opponent, then you have an advantage.

Now, Khador is actually a pretty bad faction for assassination runs. We are an attrition faction first and foremost, and a lot of the common assassination elements that other factions have, we just don’t have access to. We don’t have access to arc nodes unlike Cryx or Cygnar, good ways to consistently knockdown or otherwise lower defense unlike ret or many of the Hordes faction (Krea’s, Wild Argus, etc), and our guns, whilst not awful, don’t tend to have the kind of threat you need to threaten casters (i.e. we tend towards the inaccurate, when really for consistent assassination, you need accuracy over power a lot of the time, see Chargers).

That’s not to say that Khador doesn’t have some impressive assassination chops in its roster. We have a number of casters that have some good tricks for dropping enemy casters. It’s more that assassinations for Khador tend to happen after the attrition war has already been won. Obviously, exceptions exist to this rule, with Sorscha 1 being the biggest one to come to mind.

With that in mind, I thought I’d go through a couple of the elements to keep in mind when planning to threaten assassination:

  • Recognise what possibilities you have available. Some of our casters are great at assassinations, others are not. Sorscha 1 can threat 19 inchs and takes the attack roll out of the equation. Irusk 1 threaten 16 inchs (with his sword cannon) and has to roll to hit twice with a rat 6 gun. That doesn’t mean Irusk can’t assassinate, just that he’s much less likely to do it. Equally, know which of your models can assist. Behemoth is a great model to go for an assassination run with, whilst a Juggernaut is likely better off helping you set up other pieces. Outriders are likely to be able to get some attacks off, whilst Shock troopers are unlikely to.
  • Know when it’s a bad game plan: I basically never go for an assassination unless it’s really obviously going to work (i.e. Caine 3 standing within 17 inches of Sorscha is not going to survive no matter what he’s camping) or I can recognise that I’m screwed if I don’t go for it. This can be couple of turns before you’re actually hosed, and is usually better when you have more pieces available.
  • Know your opponents capabilities: some casters are more vulnerable than others, and others can counter assassinate you. It’s all very well to play a caster like Sorscha or Butcher aggressively, but if your opponent is Kaelyssa or Caine, you might be asking to die. Likewise, be aware of what they can bring to bear against you and watch for weak spots. If they’re relying on certain defensive tech, try to counter it. For example, if they have Admonition on their caster, try to get them knocked down.
  • Hit confirm: sometimes assassinations come down to one or 2 things going off. Eyriss 1 hitting and stripping focus, Sorscha landing the Freezing grip, a jack managing to win a strength off and throw something. Where possible, do these things first, and if they don’t work, back off. Look for other opportunities.
  • Area denial: Knowing how an opposing caster wants to play is also key. If they’re wanting to spend down their stack every turn or play forward to apply the game plan they want (cough Denny 1 cough), then threatening the area they want to stand in can make them think twice and force sub optimal plays.
  • Plan and Predict: Feeling the tempo of the game is also important here. The start of any plan you make for a turn should be the question: “am I winning this game?”. Whether that’s attrition or scenario, being able to recognise turning points early is crucial. Assassination runs are better and more reliable when you have more pieces to bring to bear, and recognising that a game is going south early can be the difference between a reasonable assassination run and needing to consistently roll 10s.
  • Use your resources well: If you decide to go for the all or nothing, then make sure you spend your resources properly. If you have a lot of time left on your clock, use it! Make sure your plan isn’t dumb and use the time to execute it properly and in the correct order. Figure out what attacks you can bring to bear on the enemy caster, and what your other models might be able to do to assist. That Juggernaut might not be able to get into melee range, but maybe it can slam something out of the way to prevent a free strike. Decide what the models that can get attacks on are going to be doing. Is that Koldun lord going to spray the enemy caster, or try to get off an Ice Cage? Is the one jack you can get into melee better off taking melee attacks or trying for a headbutt or a throw.
  • Dice Math!: There are going to be times when you have no choice but to roll hard 8s. Or worse! Maybe you don’t have the resources to boost, maybe you just won’t get through the focus/fury/shield guard/etc, if you don’t just buy extra attacks. If you can mitigate it, then do. If you can’t, then you might just have to go for it. Try and figure out when those times are.

Ultimately, assassination is another weapon in your arsenal to help you win games. It’s not going to be useful every game, but thinking about it and planning for it can help turn the tables on your opponents. Whilst I generally gun for attrition advantages first and foremost, with scenario being my usual win condition, knowing my outs for assassination has been crucial to winning some of my toughest games. So when you’re playing out your turn, just stop and ask yourself: “Do I need to assassinate this turn? Am I going to lose the game if I don’t?”. Hopefully, the answer will be no. But if it’s yes, then commit. After all,

Needs must when the Devil vomits in your kettle!


Jack all about Jack

I’ve been running our warjacks in a lot more lists lately, in what can probably be called a spam sort of manner. Much of this is my current infatuation with Old Witch 2, and her ridiculous battle group capabilities, but it has led me to try out some jacks that I hadn’t before. On reflection, I thought it would be valuable to have a look at all of our jacks, and their relative pros and cons. Some of our jacks are always taken, some are never taken, and I thought I’d give my opinion on why that is and how to fix the less taken ones. Because I’m narcissistic like that.

So, in no particular order:

  • Berserker Chassis: A brief point about all the jacks in this Chassis, as well as Drago, is that I really think they should re-think how unstable works. I have a couple of ideas for what to change, such as making them Frenzy like beasts if the roll fails, or make them all aggressive again and limit them to 1 focus point ever. Hell, make them all speed 5, I don’t know. They need something though.
    • Berserker: At 9 points, this is the cheapest heavy in the game, and it shows. Crap stat line, poor pow, poor survivability and blows up if you use too much focus. Berserk is kinda pointless on a Mat 5 chassis, and isn’t worth taking with the handful of casters that can buff it’s Mat. Worth taking on a Jack marshal sometimes, but generally a point more for a Marauder is generally the right choice, as while Berserk is interesting, rng 1 on it’s weapons means it’s not super likely to kill more than 3-4 models even if it can hit them. Really needs to be MAT 6, or not randomly blow up when it spends focus.
    • Mad-Dog: Also 9 points, the mad dog has some interesting options compared to the berserker. They were nerfed into the ground due to Karchev, but remain somewhat viable if only for the trample niche. Again, they make a decent Marshall target, and again in most situations, a Marauder is going to be preferable, especially as Mad-Dogs pay for their niche with the lowest POW melee weapons on a Khador heavy (pow 14 is not ok in this faction as a main weapon)
    • Rager: 11 points gets you a durable shield guard. Which is actually something we kind of want in Khador, as it swings dice math on assassinations. In addition, this guy also randomly has 3 initial melee attacks, the only Jack in the list to be able to claim that. Actually a better target for Marshalling than the others, as it gets more mileage out of the orders than most (3 pow 17s and a 15 is nothing to sniff at, especially when blessed and magical). Expensive for what it is, especially with Marauders being cheaper, but fits a particular niche in the jack roster, and does so better than the other 2 variants.
  • Juggernaut Chassis:
    • Juggernaut: At 12 points, this is probably the gold standard for any bog standard beater in the whole game, let alone Khador. That 12 points gets you POW 19, mat 7, arm 20, 34 boxes, with it’s only real weakness being it’s speed, something almost every caster in our faction has a fix for. Compares favourably to the Ironclad, Crusader, Slayer and other basic beaters of other factions. Will usually one round another heavy if given a free charge, great for spamming. main problem with it is it’s hunger for focus, wanting 3 on the turns it goes in. The quintessential Khadoran Jack.
    • Marauder: Marauders should probably cost 12 points (I said it!). They compare reasonably with Juggernauts, with 3 less pow, but the option for a directional slam, at pow 20 with pow 12 collateral, and weapon master vs huge bases (lul whut?). And really, the Khador jack stat line for 10 points is pretty bonkers. The slam and lower native POW of the marauder makes it better as an escort jack for the Juggernaut or other higher pow jack and is great for dealing with infantry and setting up heavies for the kill. More efficient focus wise than the Juggernaut due to it’s role (usually the Power Up is enough as you boost either damage or attack on the slam). Great little jack.
    • Destroyers: 14 points for an alright boostable gun. Rat 4 really lets these guys down, but it’s mitigated by being relatively cheap and the gun being an AOE. Usually I’ll run these guys when the rest of the list is melee centric, and I don’t want a colossal. Nothing majorly wrong here, but 1 melee attack is a bit sad. If you’re running Jaws of the Wolf, Behemoth is straight up better than 2 of these in every way except number of boxes, otherwise, perfectly acceptable.
    • Decimator: Straight shot guns on a Khador jack (i.e. a gun without an AOE) are a bit shit, and at 16 points the Decimator just falls somewhat short in a number of ways. If the gun was 2 inches longer range or it had rat 5, or it was 14 points like the destroyer, you might see these guys. The gun is a good example of a gun that would be great in another faction, but is really let down by speed 4 and rat 4, giving it a crap threat range and requiring boosting to actually hit anything. Make one of the changes above or change the beatback to ram and we’re getting somewhere, otherwise just take a Destroyer. On a side note, the melee weapon is fine. Sustained attack is a great rule, and if you want a more powerful melee weapon take a damn Juggernaut. The gun is what’s interesting here.
  • Kodiak Chassis
    • Kodiak: I love Kodiaks! 13 points for a great independent package. Pow on the melee weapons is a little low, but everything else is great. Pathfinder is important for scenario play these days, as well as running further. Vent Steam is a bonkers ability and can really help our Jack heavy lists to clean up infantry. The combination of Grab and smash and 2 open fists as well as vent steam, means that this is a jack that can still contribute as it starts losing systems. The steam cloud being cloud effect as well as an anytime ability means that 2 of these bad boys can give your caster the ability to make a cloud bunker, and a few of our casters can even use them to play cloud wall (Malakov and Harkevich to name a couple). An all round great jack
    • Grolar: One of the problems with our more expensive jacks is that we run into comparison problems with our cheaper jacks. The comparison always seems to be “is this worth x points more than a Marauder”. The Grolar runs afoul of this problem. It’s 18 points, and is probably worth that. 2 melee intials, coupled with an okayish gun, Dual Attack, Pathfinder and a Heavy Boiler, not to mention Ram on the stronger melee weapon make a very flexible jack that can function well in a bunch of different situations. And that’s kind of the problem. Our jacks are cheap now, and we can actually run them due to Power Up, so 18 points for a beater is not acceptable, and the gun isn’t enough to make up the difference. Take it down to 16 points and I’d consider taking it, otherwise skip it and go for a Kodiak if you need the Pathfinder, or a Juggernaut if you just want to apply axe to face.
  • Devastator Chassis
    • Devastator: The Devastator has one job, be a massive pain in the ass to kill. Steady and Sturdy at arm 23, it does that job pretty well. Rain of Death is pretty bonkers, as an auto hitting pow 18 and pow 9 in a 3 inch bubble will murder infantry. Running Devastators you should always be second guessing whether you should actually be making attacks that aren’t slams or headbutts, and it’s statline supports this. Mat 6, Pow 16 for a Khador jack is sad, and usually underperforms, as you’re often better off boosting a rain of death on 2 targets. Fantastic little jack and a great scenario piece or piece to start a trade with, as a lot of heavies come up short on this guy.
    • Demolisher: This is a Devastator that traded the Rain of Death for shoulder cannons. And it’s a terrible trade, as once again we pay the Khador gun tax and get a jack that can’t hit anything with it’s terrible RAT 4 and probably shouldn’t be trying to anyway, as it drops to arm 19 as soon as it does. And you pay 16 points for the pleasure of this confused pile of Jack parts. To be worth taking, this thing really needs to have Dual Attack, or be able to shoot without opening. If you really want some AOEs take a Destroyer or Behemoth damn it! The girded can be cute in some lists, but is kinda pointless in a faction where Irusk 2 or Iron Flesh exists as a spell.
    • Spriggan: The Spriggan is another red headed step child of a jack, that is taken in some lists because it has an important ability. On first look at the jack, you’d assume this ability is in some way melee related, but no, it’s a ranged flare that strips stealth. Unfortunately, it has terrible range for doing this (14 inchs without help) as it has no assault or dual attack. It’s regular gun shots are awful (rat 4, pow 10 does not a good gun make), and again it pays the gun tax, clocking in at 19 points. It’s melee capabilities are fine (though not great), and reach on a Khador jack is great. Arm 21 is fine, but is tied to a weapon system and bypassed by some rules, coming out about the same as arm 20 in the wash. Again, like the Grolar, the Spriggan just needs a point reduction to be usable, as 19 points for this jack is just a bit too much to ask. It’s flexible, but compares terribly with our other options (it’s straight up worse than Ruin and costs 2 points more for some reason).
  • Characters: Character jacks are odd beasts (as well as being Jacks, not Beasts). In this world of themes, they really only get taken if they’re named in a Theme or are bonded to a caster. As such, I’ll be looking at them in terms of the casters/themes they’ll be taken in, rather than strictly on their own terms.
    • Beast 09: Sorscha’s Super Angry Juggernaut clocks in at a hefty 21 points, which is pretty ridiculous for a Juggernaut with RNG 2 on it’s main weapon. It makes up for this somewhat with a suite of abilities, such as Murderous, Thresher, Heavy Boiler and Hyper Aggressive. The bond being Shield guard is kind of interesting for it’s interaction with Hyper Aggressive, and MAT 8 with Murderous is death to any caster it gets near. But it’s still 9 god damn points more expensive than a Juggernaut and is no more survivable than one. On top of this, it commits the cardinal sin of crap character jacks and doesn’t really do anything for either Sorschas play style, being not particularly mobile or focus efficient. Jesus, just drop the points down to 18 and it’ll get taken, if only for the reach. Otherwise, just take 2 Juggernauts for 3 points more.
    • Torch: Torch is an odd duck (apart from actually being a steampunk robot, and not a water fowl). He has an odd seeming set of abilities, as well as 3 ranged intials, because… I don’t know, maybe Strakhov looted a Spriggan for it’s shitty guns. For some reason, it randomly has assault and RAT 5 though, and so can actually apply those targeting flares somewhere useful on the board. On top of this, the immunities are interesting (as some factions will struggle to gun Torch down), as well as having innate Relentless Charge and a bond that provides Sprint. Unlike the Beast above, Torch actually brings some interesting tools to either Strakhovs game book. Relentless Charge is great with Strakhov 2, as he is greedy and hordes his pathfinder to himself, whilst the combination of a lot of initials (2 + an assault), Sprint, Superiority and Overrun with Strakhov 1 is a massive arse ache for your opponent. Charging something and then ending further back than you started is funny. Overall, a great tool box of a jack, that is unfortunately a bit pillow fisted and expensive, but nevertheless works great as an anchor piece and as a support piece for the army.
    • Black Ivan: Black Ivan looks at Torch’s odd, cohesive set of abilities and wonders if one day he’ll be that good. Evasive is odd on a Khador jack, as is Point Blank on the Bombard (putting fury on Black Ivan is lulzy, Pow 10 melee blast damage anyone?). Bulldoze is welcome, but available elsewhere. The bond with Harkevich is amusing (he’s still strictly worse than Behemoth), but is massively let down by his melee weapon. POW 16? on a 19 Point Jack? Nope and Nope. If it had straight up Brutal on the claw rather than Crit Brutal, or the Bond was all boosted attack rolls, rather than just ranged, he might be interesting. As it is he’s very expensive and mostly worse than just taking a destroyer.
    • Drago: Drago is a fukken weird jack. he’s a Berserker, so he blows up if he spends focus, and is the only Khador jack with an Imprint? He’s got berserk now which is good, as well as pow 17, but lost Aggressive (if any jack in the fluff should have aggressive, it’s probably Drago) and his Chain Attack, which was useful as an effective third initial. He doesn’t do anything super interesting with Vlad 1 or 2 (apart from not blowing up), and is marginally interesting with Vlad 3 under feat. He’s also cheap enough at 14 points. Give him a different imprint (Something like Overtake or Sidestep would be cool) and give him back his old bond with Vlad, and he’ll get taken. As it is, he’s just worse than a marauder in most situations. And at least the marauder won’t explode.
    • Ruin: Undercosted, thy name is Ruin. Probably one of the best Character Jacks in the game. Ruin is 2 points cheaper than a Spriggan, clocking in at 17 points, and is better in almost everyway. Mat 8, dispel on the mace (which against a lot of factions is functionally a +2 or +3 damage buff), arcane vortex for some reason, and has a soul mechanic that means into Infantry spams, he becomes self fuelling after the first clash. On top of all this he works amazingly well with any incarnation of the Butcher. He brings a decent threat range to Butcher 1 (who also buffs his damage output to stupid levels, POW 19 weaponmaster on fully boosted attack rolls anyone?), self sufficiency to Butcher 2, and a ridiculous threat range combined with late game spell protection to Butcher 3. I have literally had this jack charge out of control turn 2, and be out of control killing infantry and heavies for the rest of the game, just riding that soul train. An auto take in any Butcher list.
    • Behemoth: The gold standard for horribly murdering stuff, Behemoth is probably the most deadly model in the game, based solely on unmodified damage output. Giving him buffs turns him into a blender. Ever wanted to one round an Arcane shielded Stormwall? Stick a damage buff on him. Ever wanted to kill that same Stormwall under Stryker 1’s feat? Play Behemoth with Butcher 1 (POW 15, AP, Weaponmaster attacks that are fully boosted are hilarious overkill). I’m not kidding when I say that under Sorscha 2’s feat, I sent a Marshalled Behemoth into said AS Stormwall and killed it in 2 hits (triple 6s does 44 damage to a stormwall under crush and feat). On top of this, Behemoth has some incredibly reliable shooting, especially whilst marshalled. POW 16, blessed and magical, fully boosted is the kind of gun that kills heavies. This all comes for a cost though. 25 points is more than 2 Juggernaut! However, especially whilst marshalled, Behemoth brings 2 things to a Khador list that are both excellent. High quality shooting, and focus efficiency. In most lists where he’ll be taken, Behemoth takes up no caster resources to do the things that he does. Overall, a brutally destructive Jack that will do work every game and is always worth his points.
  • Colossals: Colossals generally fall into 1 of 2 categories. They are either Gunboats with fists bolted on(see the Colossals of Cygnar, Mercs, Protecterate, etc) or Fistboats with guns bolted on (see the Colossals of Ret, Cryx, etc). The Khadoran colossals are definitely the latter. Also, generally, Colossals are going to want to play the same game regardless of faction: Kill everything that can threaten the colossal, then bully the board with the big stompy robot!
    • Conquest: A pretty solid piece for when you don’t want a big battle group. Conquest is a weirdly efficient gun platform. Give him a focus to double boost the big gun, and then shoot wildly at the ground with the secondary guns, it’s the same damage either way! (I confused a Grymkin player that had 2 low arm, high def beasts in B2B with a Conquest by shooting at them rather than punching them, because I couldn’t miss.) On top of this, the creeping barrages are fantastic control elements, being hard barriers against most infantry. Crit Devastation on the gun is hilarious when it goes off (not many things are immune to throws and 4 dice on a pow 15 is like… Cygnar shooting or some shit), but is not reliable enough to rely on. Melee output wise (and this part applies to Victor too), the Conquest is the Colossal made for murdering other Colossals. Pow 23 is pretty ridiculous, and having a large number of boxes and base arm 20, means that often a single heavy will struggle to one round the big bastard. It’s not out of the norm to kill 2 heavies in one activation with this thing, which is the level of work you want out of a colossal if you’re committing it to melee. For added hilarity, Power Attacks are funny, as it will hit its target at POW 19, proving the adage that the best gun a Khadoran Colossal has is the dude it throws at you. Conquest seems to be coming back into vogue, after a somewhat lengthy absence, finding a place in lists that want to be taking just 1 jack and need something hefty to anchor a softer infantry list. It’s very hard to make it’s points back, but this thing will just win you games sometimes.
    • Victor: Exemplifying the Khadoran ideal of accuracy (as in “who need accuracy, lets just carpet bomb the whole area”), the Victor looks like it has better guns than Conquest at first glance. Then you realise that the poor bastard can’t hit the broadside of a barn (it needs a 10 to hit a Khador jack…. that’s just sad), and that the Siege Mortar doesn’t have High Explosive, unlike the, you know, man portable version. Flare is randomly interesting some times, but if you really need to strip stealth or lower defense, there are more reliable ways than drifting an AOE. Incediary is hilarious in some situations and is the one time I might consider casting Broadsides on Harkevich (before deciding that I’d be better off doing literally anything else) and Crater can randomly screw over some lists. It’s lack of reliably hitting things means that the shot types on the Siege mortar are less interesting (though range 20 is funny) as it means you can’t reliably predict where the AOE is going to land. The secondary guns are hampered by inaccuracy as well, as at rat 4, even aiming you likely need to boost, meaning it can’t hit what it can hurt, and vice versa. And for some reason it’s a point more expensive than the Conquest. Drop it to the same level, and give it High Explosive, and we’ll talk. Otherwise, I’d take a Conquest every time.

Blood and Oil Tournament Report

Weekend before last, the last big event of the Warmachine year took place, Blood and Oil. It was, curiously, barely attended by Power Fist, but me,, Christopher Clare and Dan Price were there flying the colours. I’ve been practicing my current list trio a lot in preparation for this event, and was looking forward to seeing how Witch 2, Sorscha and Strak 2 did in a full on 6 round event.

Me and Chris drove down on the Friday night, stopping in Walsall to get one last practice game in with the Warlords. Saturday morning, we turned up at the venue ready for games. Once again it was very well attended (around 90 people attended) and the tables and terrain were already set up when we got there.

My three lists below:

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

(Strakhov 2) Assault Kommander Strakhov [+22]
– Devastator [14]
– Torch [18]
Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
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 [0(4)]
Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

Khador Army – 74 / 75 points
[Theme] Wolves of Winter

(Sorscha 1) Kommander Sorscha [+29]
– Conquest [37]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Koldun Lord [0(4)]
Koldun Lord [0(4)]
Doom Reaver Swordsmen [13]
Doom Reaver Swordsmen [13]
Greylord Outriders (max) [20]
Greylord Outriders (max) [20]

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]
– Marauder [10]
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker [4]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [11]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Battle Mechaniks (max) [5]

First Round:

I’m paired against Stuart Groves, a Cygnar player, who’s running Kraye, Sloan and Nemo 3. Nemo and Sloan are gun lines, and Kraye has no help for damage output so Witch 2 goes down because Windstorm is a big middle finger to gun lines. He drops Kraye and off we go. His list below:

Cygnar Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Heavy Metal

(Kraye 1) Captain Jeremiah Kraye [+28]
– Centurion [17]
– Centurion [17]
– Cyclone [13]
– Hammersmith [12]
– Hammersmith [12]
– Minuteman [9]
– Minuteman [9]
– Sentinel [8]
– Squire [0(5)]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0(4)]
Viktor Pendrake [0(4)]
Field Mechaniks (min) [3]
Field Mechaniks (min) [3]

Scenario is Recon 2. He wins the roll and goes first. I choose a side with more terrain to give him less to use with Repo 5. Important terrain is a rubble patch around my objective, a cloud on the right hand zone and a big forest on my side of the left hand zone. He deploys symmetrically, with a centurion and a Hammer smith on each zone and the rest in between. I deploy with Witch centre right, the Kodiak, a marauder and behemoth to her left and everything else to her right.

Turn 1:

Stuart runs everything forward, and gets a minute man b2b with my objective (lul wut?). Admonition goes out on Kraye, and Counter measures on Speedy the minuteman.

My turn and the plan is pretty clear. Horribly murder the minute man. Witch gets arcane secrets and walks forward, doing cheaper spells. She misses the Scourge, but it drifts onto him anyway and he’s still knocked down. The Kodiak gets boundless and the left hand marauder gets Re-Construct. Behemoth shoots the downed minute man and the Kodiak finishes it off (turn 1 charges with a jack list, sure why not?). Everything else runs forward.

Turn 2:

Stuart considers an assassination run, but the other minuteman is the only thing in range, and I have a shield guard. He then manoeuvres up the board, leaving a centurion on the left within 6 inch’s of my re-constructing marauder, everything else moves up and stays out of threat. The Minuteman does take a shot at witch, but rolls poorly on the damage and does nothing.

My turn, and I think, between Curse, Behemoth and a trampling Marauder I can down the Centurion. Marauder gets 2, Witch gets Arcane Secrets (Sylas walks onto my flag at the same time), and range amplifies a curse of shadows onto said jack. Behemoth shoots it at dice off 3 (arm 21, -2 from curse, +2 damage  from take aim) and spikes, doing about 19 boxes. The Marksman shoots and takes out the shield, and the Marauder tramples up and leaves it on 4 boxes. Not bad for a jack I can’t charge. The Kodiak re-deploys to the other side of the board, and the 4 jacks there move up aggressively into the zone, staying out of easy charge range (I want him to feat to get in). I go to 1.

Turn 3:

My opponent spends the turn getting the Marauder out of the zone (Hammer smith beats back and then slams it out 4 inches, then repos 5 back). He runs Pendrake in to contest and destroys my objective between Kraye, the sentinel and the cyclone. He remains cagey elsewhere, repairing the Centurion somewhat.

My turn and I know that the slammed marauder (who still has all systems), is within 10 inches of the Hammer smith (it slammed me 4 and then repo’d 5 back). If I play my cards right, and get a bit lucky, I can score Stuarts zone, contest his flag and destroy his objective. I murder pendrake with a marauder. Witch Feats and gives out a bunch of focus, fully fuelling and boundless charging 3 jacks. Behemoth, the shiny golden god, manages to finish the Centurion in 1 shot, and uses the other to shoot the 3 mechanics in the zone (in a conveniently shaped blast formation). The marauder charges and slams the Hammer smith out of the zone, and the sniper runs to contest. On the other side, I’m just in range to get a juggernaut onto both his objective and the cyclone, and the Kodiak onto both of his other heavies. I cripple both the hammer smith and the Cyclone and kill his objective, ending the turn by scoring 3 to put me 1 up.

Turn 4:

Stuart fails to destroy the marauder with the hammer smith in the left zone due to re-construct, having Kraye charge in to finish it. He runs the Sentinel up to block a charge onto Kraye. On the right hand side, the hammer smith manages to beat up a juggernaut after the cyclone throws it into the Kodiak (mecs fixed up both jacks). The Centurion charges at one of the jacks further back to get in contesting range. He scores 2 and goes 1 up.

My turn and between Behemoth charging the Hammersmith, and all the jacks on the other side, I clear out the rest of his jacks (apart from the sentinel and the last centurion, who is frozen and knocked down outside of control). I score 2 and go 1 up.

Turn 5:

The next few turns are just clean up with Kraye running around and killing my support staff. Stuart clocks on turn 7, leaving me up by 4 and leaving only the squire standing.

Victory for the Motherland


Stuart made a couple of mistakes, the minute man was a gutsy move, but made the mistake of moving into threat range of the Kodiak. Apart from that, it was a great game, really showcasing how ridiculous an armour de-buff is in Khador (especially when you can actually apply it). Nearly killing a centurion with 5 pow 16 attacks is pretty bonkers. Stuart never feated all game and never cast full tilt, as I never really gave him a good opportunity to do so, using terrain to stay out of line of sight.


Round 2:

The next round starts and I’m paired up with Ryan Longthorne, one of the Merseyside Mammoths that I played at the Triples tourney. He’s running Rasheth, Makeda 2 and Xerxis. We played witch into Rasheth at the triples (which was not good for him), so I’m fairly certain he’s going to drop Xerxis as I think the cats don’t deal well with all the jacks, and it’s bad into pikes. I drop Witch and he drops Xerxis. List below:

Skorne Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Imperial War host

(Xerxis 2) Xerxis, Fury of Halaak [+28]
– Agonizer [0(6)]
– Archidon [10]
– Archidon [10]
– Archidon [10]
– Archidon [10]
– Archidon [10]
– Archidon [10]
– Archidon [10]
– Basilisk Krea [0(7)]
– Basilisk Krea [0(7)]
– Tiberion [22]
Swamp Gobber Chef [1]
Paingiver Beast Handlers (min) [5]
Paingiver Beast Handlers (min) [5]

Scenario is the Pit 2, I win the roll and go first. Terrain has a bunch of forests in the zones  (central and left hand zone) with nothing else of major interest. I deploy centrally with jacks either side. Ryan deploys Xerxis towards the left flank, with beasts on either side.

Turn 1:

I get as far forward as possible, re-construct on the Kodiak and 5 boundless charges out.  Everything moves up.

Ryan puts out ignite on an Archidon, Rapport on Tiberion, and whips a bunch of fury off of beasts. He gets up the krea’s animus on the central group.

Turn 2:

I get Curse of Shadows onto an Archidon, which Behemoth then shoots, missing the first shot (and randomly drifting onto the Krea, rolling trip 6s on the blast damage for a mighty 11 damage). The Kodiak runs into the forest, positioning so that it can see out of the forest towards the objective but no way else. Everything else positions to threat the back of the right hand zone, and stay out of threat range.

Ryans turn and he messes up his order of activation a bit, trying to get enrage, free charges and healing on a couple of different archidons. He charges and kills the objective, sprinting back behind a patch of rubble. Another Archidon attacks the contesting Juggernaut, trying for a crit pitch, which doesn’t go off. Everything else shuffles about. He scores 1 in the left zone.

Turn 3:

I have an opportunity to clear the right zone and kill 2 Archidons without losing anything in return. I start by allocating 2 out to the Juggernaut in the zone and 2 to the nearby Marauder. Witch activates and moves over to get a boundless charge onto both jacks and I boost a Blind shot into the blocking Archidon. The marauder manages to kill the blocking archidon, with Behemoth moving over, gunning down a 4 Beast handlers and a contesting Gobber Chef. Following this, the Juggernaut goes in and finishes the other Archidon. The rest of the list durdles around, staying out of threat. The Marksman runs in to contest the left hand zone. I score 1, with the score being 2-1 to Ryan

Ryan spends his turn shuffling his stuff round, killing the Marksman and putting an Archidon into my zone, after it manages a Crit Pitch on a nearby Marauder. He contests with a couple of Archidons. He scores his zone and goes 2 points up.

Turn 4:

Ryan didn’t manage to pitch the Marauder very far, and so I can get it onto the Archidon that threw it this turn. He also put an Archidon in front of his objective to protect it from my Kodiak (I figure at this point he’s playing for turn 7). I get boundless charge out onto the Juggernaut (the one stuck in the rubble) and the Kodiak in the forest, allocate 2 to the knocked down marauder and the Kodiak, and move witch over towards the centre. The Marauder manages to kill the Archidon and I start bringing the majority of my jacks towards the centre. The Kodiak gets allocated 2 as well and charges the Archidon in front of it. Between some bad attack rolls and Agonizer influence I fail to kill it, but it is at least contesting. Behemoth shoots at the Krea on this side, killing it, and at an Archidon, triggering Hyper Aggressive, which puts it within charge range of Witch (oops). I panic run the Rager and the Mechanics in to try and deny a landing spot.

Ryan looks at assassination for a while, put ultimately decides against it. Using feat, he kills the Kodiak in his zone (though it takes 3 Archidons and Tibbers) as well as doing some damage to my other jacks. He forgets to contest this zone. This turn he puts the other Krea and agonizer into the central zone as well as the rest of the beast handlers. He stays at 1 point up.

Turn 5:

I’m starting to be in trouble, but thankfully I’m in a much better position to do stuff this turn. I kill 2 Archidons in the central zone, as well as managing to kill both the Agonizer and the beast handlers (between a scourge from Witch, shots from Behemoth and a slam from a the left most marauder). This leaves a marauder in the his zone, which currently has re-construct on. I equalise this turn.

On Ryans turn, all 3 of his remaining Archidons frenzy, managing to hurt each other somewhat. He manages to run the last Krea round my jack wall and into my zone (speed 8 kreas!). He puts Tibbers into the re-constructing marauder, leaving it knocked down after triggering the re-construct. Xerxis shuffles round a bit. He goes 1 up.

Turn 6:

Tibbers has to die this turn or I’m gonna lose the scenario race, so I feat. The Rager gets boundless charge, Tibbers gets Curse of Shadows, the Marauder gets full focus. I run my jacks over, to threaten all corners of the centre zone, as well as killing the contesting Krea with Behemoth shots. Between the charging Rager and the Marauder, they just about manage to murder Tiberion, and the Rager contesting the left hand zone and puts me at parity.

Ryan is a man with a plan this turn. If he can contest my zones, score his, and hopefully have his Archidons live, he can possibly win this. He runs an Archidon 18 inchs, weaving in and out of my jacks to land contesting both zones. Another 1 pitches the rager out of the zone and into the Marauder, knocking them down and the 3rd archidon does the same to my jacks at the top of the zone. he scores 1, and goes up by 1.

Turn 7:

This turn, I have to kill all 3 Archidons to win. Thankfully, I have 6 jacks to do it with. Witch spends her stack allocating out to 3 of my jacks, and boosting a blind into an Archidon, which lands. Behemoth continues to be a boss and manages to kill an Archidon by casually rolling 16s on three dice for damage (from full to nothing baby). The jacks at the top try to scare me by missing a bunch of attacks but get the job done, and the juggernaut on the right trivially murders the Archidon there. I score 2 and go up by 1 after contesting with the Rager.

Ryan shakes my hand here, as he can’t contest anything and can score at most 1.


Archidons are fast, speed 9 Archidons are faster. It was a hard match up, and I was lucky that this scenario wasn’t as live as some of the others. Still, a good lesson on why Khador jacks are awesome. It took 3 Archidons and Tiberion to kill a Kodiak with Re-construct on it (granted he had no access to enrage at this point, but he did feat).

Round 3:

I get paired against Micheal Dick this round, whos running Minions. Last year he beat me, so I’m wary of the game against him. He has Rask, Calaban and Barnabas, so I’m at odds with myself. I really don’t want to drop Witch into Rask, or Strakhov into Calaban, whereas I feel like he could make a game out of either into either. I drop witch in the end, and he drops Rask, which is really bad. List below:

Minion Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Will Work for Food

(Rask 1) Rask [+27]
– Blackhide Wrastler [16]
– Bull Snapper [5]
– Ironback Spitter [15]
– Ironback Spitter [15]
Alten Ashley [0(6)]
Bog Trog Mist Speaker [0(4)]
Dahlia Hallyr [17]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0(5)]
Rorsh [15]
Wrong Eye [17]
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew [2]

Scenario is Spread the Net, and he wins the roll and goes first. There is a big forest in the centre of the table, a pond on the right flank and a big patch of rubble in the centre of my deployment zone. I deploy to try and get some scenario presence quickly and swing a flank after he puts Brine on the left flank.

I won’t go over the whole game, as he pretty much won from the dice roll to go first. Suffice to say that he out threats me, can trivially kill my jacks, and this is a really bad scenario for witch. I pretty much regretted dropping witch as soon as I saw the match up. The game was pretty brutal, Brine killed behemoth and hurt a Kodiak, he gunned down my solos using Spitters, feated on the top of 3, and just got up on scenario very quickly. A bad drop into a bad scenario for the list. Frankly I should have dropped Strakhov regardless of list, simply due to the scenario. Ugh, bad decisions.

Round 4:

After the massacre in round 3, I get paired against Luke Tanner, a Cryx player. He has Coven, Skarre 1 and a someone I can’t remember. It doesn’t really matter to me, as I’m dropping Sorscha regardless. he drops Coven and off we go. List Below:

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Host

(Coven 1) The Witch Coven of Garlghast [+26]
– Deathripper [6]
– Deathripper [6]
– Seether [13]
Bane Lord Tartarus [0(6)]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Warriors (min) [10]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Bane Warriors (min) [10]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Wraith Engine [15]

Scenario is Standoff, I win the roll and go first. Terrain has a forest in the left zone, a cloud on the right side of his zone, a forest on the other side of his zone, and rubble around my objective. I deploy with the conquest centre right, sorscha centre left, solos in the centre and Outriders on either flank. He pretty much mirrors me, and puts his clouds between his forest and cloud terrain, creating a pretty big cloud wall.

Turn 1:

Everything runs forward really far, with doom reavers threatening charges about an inch in front of his deployment zone. Sorscha gets up aggressively as well.

Luke moves up cautiously, leaving most of his banes behind the cloud and the WE on the right flank. He runs his bane cav on that side in, leaving 2 engaging some outriders and doom reavers. His other unit run around to behind the forest on that side.

Turn 2:

I apparate the doom reavers, and between charges from them and the outriders, manage to kill 2 bane cav and hurt another 1 (a doom reaver fluffed his charge). On the other side, I hang back, staying out of threat range and don’t trigger vengeance. Sorscha is just slightly out of position to freeze a unit, and so just camps a bunch of focus and repositions to the right. Conquest puts down some covering fire in front of her to protect from Bane charges.

Coven feat this turn, and some work is done against doom reavers and Outriders, killing about 3 of each. He moves the Bane cav up a bit more aggressively on the left flank this turn. as well as running Bane warriors forward. The Seether moves up to threaten the conquest and the WE re-deploys to the centre back field. We both score.

Turn 3:

This turn I murder some banes with sprays, keeping out of threat ranges. I manage to kill another 2 Bane cav members on the right side (such vengeance) with a charge from the conquest and more sprays.

His turn, he puts the Seether into the conquest with Curse, doing about half of it. He runs the Bane cav in this turn, as well as the Warriors, contesting my zone. he kills another few doom reavers and outriders in the right zone as well. He goes 1 up.

Turn 4:

It feat time baby. I spray down a random bane in Sorschas way using a Koldun Lord, and Sorscha walks over to within 8 of a Bane cav member on the left. She feats, re freezes the bane cav unit and Wind rushes behind my objective. The doomies and the Outriders manage to horribly murder most of the Bane Warriors, leaving a few frozen, but leaving the Riders un touched. At the same time on the other side, the conquest manages to murder Tartarus and the Seether (gimpy arm for the win!) and the Outriders and remaining doomies manage to kill the Death ripper sent in, as well as the last Bane rider. I score 2 and am 1 up.

Luke spends the turn trying to clear the doomies in his zone, and succeeds for the most part, he moves the Wraith engine to the left flank, and contests the right zone with a random Bane. I score 1 in his turn, going 2 up.

Turn 5:

I left the nearest Bane rider to sorscha unengaged, and would really like to hit it with a freezing grip unboosted, so the Koldun lords hit it with an ice cage twice, before Sorscha re-freezes the whol unit, camping 3 (I think his only way out at this point is assassination). I manage to kill his other arc node, and spray down most of the rest of the Bane Riders. I end turn at 4 up.

Luke goes for a last ditch assassination, running the Egregore up as well as a Witch for Perfect Conjunction. He hits the first stygian, needing an 11, but fails to get the crit. He misses the second and concedes, as I will win at the end of the turn regardless and the Egregore is sat in front of the conquest camping nothing.

Victory for the Motherland!


I knew I had an advantaged match up going in, as I’m faster than even his cav. No darragh Wraithe means that the doom reavers threat further than the riders, and then it was just a matter of applying freezing grip to tie up a flank. Such a great spell.

Round 5:

The next day starts with a bang, as I get paired against my club mate Christopher Clare. The round was posted the night before, leading to many jokes about locking me in the hotel room, or in the car. Good times! He’s running filthy elves (Retribution), and has Issyria, Thyron and Vyros 2. I’m probably going to get Vyros, (which means I should drop Strakhov), but am afraid he might zag when I zig and drop Thyron (which would be bad), and I’m pretty happy about Witch into Vyros. So down Witch goes, and I do indeed get Vyros. List below:

Retribution Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Forges of War

(Vyros 2) Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard [+27]
– Griffon [8]
– Griffon [8]
– Griffon [8]
– Griffon [8]
– Griffon [8]
– Griffon [8]
– Griffon [8]
– Griffon [8]
– Imperatus [22]
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker [0(4)]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
House Shyeel Artificer [0(5)]
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress [0(4)]
House Shyeel Arcanists [7]
– Soulless Escort (3) [3]

Scenario is Breakdown, I win the roll and go first. Terrain has a big forest just out of the central zone, one on my side of the left zone, and a patch of rubble on my side of the centre zone. I deploy fairly symmetrically, with witch off centre to the right, and the Kodiak off to the left (I decide at deployment that I am commiting to the right hand side, but don’t want to tip my hand this early. Chris deploys fairly centrally as well.

Turn 1:

With no guns to worry about, witch puts out re-construct and boundless charges a bunch of stuff, getting as far up the board as possible.

Chris spends quite a lot of time making sure his support staff is safe, and moves all the griffons up as a block, threatening my jacks with a couple of griffons.

Turn 2:

I do some measurements and decide that while he has a bunch of charges currently, it’s all gonna require fleet, and he hasn’t moved lanyssa up very aggressively, so she isn’t gonna come into play next turn. I move up my jacks a bit to threaten the edge of the central zone and start shifting my line to the right. Behemoth is within fleet charge range of 2 griffons, which I decide is fine with some… adjustments. Witch activates, after getting arcane secrets and scourges down the front 3 griffons, doing 6 damage. She then puts up curse of shadows on 1 of them. Behemoth gets 2 focus and aims, firing at one of the knocked down Griffons, both of which get shield guarded. This spreads a bunch of damage around (pow 9 blast damage into the back arcs, fully boosted). The kodiak runs into the forest, contesting the circular zone, and staying in charge range of only a single griffon. The marksman manages to kill an arcanist that was out of 3 inches of a jack, moving on swift hunter to contest the zone.

Chris spends time on his turn re deploying his griffons, staying out of 3 inch blast radius this time. He moves forward slightly, trying to get Imperatus to threaten my side of the zone. The support staff huddle round the Artificer. Lanyssa moves forward, whilst still staying in the no blast damage bubble, and the most damaged Griffon moves back to be repaired. No score.

Turn 3:

Since Chris hasn’t threatened my lines much more than he already was, and isn’t contesting the centre zone, my turn is pretty set. I drop re-construct and upkeep Curse. Witch scourges down a Griffon, catching Lanyssa in the AOE. It can’t hurt her, but does knock her down (no hunters mark next turn!). Behemoth continues shooting Griffons, spreading more damage. I continue shuffling my line around, staying outside of simple charge range (I want him to use fleet to get in), and cycle re-construct onto the marauder I put into the central zone to score. The Kodiak moves to the opposite side of the zone to the enemy forces (it’s now way out of my control). I score a point.

Chris decides to make a move, slamming both of my jacks out of the zones. He runs a Griffon to the other side of my zone, outside of threat range. He puts Imperatus in the central zone, with a couple of Griffons moving to threaten the right zone. Chris scores 2, going 1 up.

Turn 4:

My turn is fairly simple. I put 2 behemoth shots into the only Griffon threatening him, crippling Movement and shield. The Kodiak stands up and walks back into the zone. It’s still unhurt, and will likely survive the 2 Griffons that can get to it. The Re-constructing Marauder stands up and murders the Griffon that slammed it, and the rest of my jacks position aggressively. Witch scourges down some more Griffons, and moves into the right zone, with a Juggernaut ready to murder the Griffon there (it’s out of Vyros’ control). I also make a mistake, and leave a mechanic in charge range of Imperatus, which will allow him to side step to behemoth.

Chris spends a lot of time on this turn, as it’s the turn he manages to get good attacks onto my force. I have managed to limit his resources, as he has to cast easy rider, to get pathfinder for Imperatus, and knock down some griffons, which is a couple fewer attacks. He still manages to trigger re-construct on the marauder, and kills a Juggernaut, crippling the others arms. He drops feat. He still doesn’t score anything.

Turn 5:

Check the clock, because I do believe it’s go time! Witch feats and charges a griffon, getting Curse onto Imperatus and fully fuelling the 2 marauders, as well as getting boundless charge onto Behemoth. At the end of the Carnage, Witch is camping 2, and I have killed 2 griffons and triggered Phoenix Protocol. She is somewhat vulnerable, but I have managed to score the central zone, and Chris is very low on time.

Chris spends the turn trying to unjam his forces. If he can get Imperatus free, witch dies (she probably can face tank a single Griffon with a 2 camp). He can probably manage it, but panics a bit due to clock and passes turn with 15 seconds left, having brutally murdered Behemoth instead.

Turn 6:

I spend the turn cleaning up. I finish Imperatus, and the Rager manages to kill both of the remaining Griffons in the right zone after Witch scourges them down (Crush is pretty bonkers). The marksman manages to gun down Lanyssa. I score 1

Chris spends a little bit of time assessing the board before clocking.

Victory for the Motherland!


On paper, this match up looks terrible for Witch. My jacks were out threatened and Chris can probably trade up using them, as well as Imperatus probably taking 2 on his own. What changes the match up is a couple of factors, mainly that I actually have better shooting, and that a lot of his threat range comes from spending resources. A fleet griffon gets a charge attack plus 2 more, and even at the top of the synergy chain they won’t one round a Khador jack. The usual problem would be simply overwhelming my ability to counter attack, but Witch can provide enough fuel for the counter attack to be devastating. Overall an interesting match up and a great game.

Round 6:

My last round is against Chris Wills, a Circle player. He’s running Kromac 1, Baldur 2 and Baldur 1. I’m fairly certain I’m getting Baldur 2 (a Bones list with 2 watchers, Megalith and a Wrath), so Witch is going in. Because all I’ve done this tournament is play Witch apparently. He does drop Baldur, and off we go. List below:


Circle Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Bones of Orboros

(Baldur 2) Baldur the Stonesoul [+30]
– Megalith [20]
– Woldwarden [14]
– Woldwarden [14]
– Woldwrath [37]
Blackclad Stoneshaper [0(3)]
Blackclad Stoneshaper [3]
Blackclad Wayfarer [0(4)]
Blackclad Wayfarer [0(4)]
Swamp Gobber Chef [1]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Shifting Stones [3]
Shifting Stones [3]

Scenario is Outflank, I lose the roll and go second. I choose the side with less terrain, giving him a side with 2 huge forests, taking the side with a big forest in the right hand zone.  He deploys symmetrically, with Megalith on the right flank. I deploy centrally, with the Kodiak on the right hand side, and marauders fairly centrally.

Turn 1:

Everything runs forward. The Chef runs along the left hand flank.

My turn and the marksman fails to hit the 6 needed to murder the chef. Everything moves forward, with witch putting up Windstorm and re-construct on the Kodiak. Behemoth drifts some shots, hitting good directions and putting 3 damage each on Megalith, 2 stones and the Wold Wrath (I rolled ridiculously on the blast damage). Everything stays out of threat range of his beasts.

Turn 2:

He moves up cautiously, taking a shot with the Wrath and drifting onto a juggernaut. His Mannikins on the right flank spray at the Kodiak, doing a surprising amount of damage (like 8 boxes I think). The left side repeats this with a Juggernaut, but do no damage. Megalith and a Warden hide behind the forest in the right zone and everything else shuffles. The Chef continues his head long sprint at my sniper.

My turn and the Sniper continues to be crap, missing 4 this time (due to aiming). I survey the rest of the board and decide that I can probably get the Kodiak onto the right Sentry Stone if I can clear a Mannikin. I screw up my positioning though, and Behemoth fails to get line of sight. The Witch gets Curse onto Meglaith, and re-casts re-construct onto a Juggernaut on my right flank, before shooting a Shifting stone with the gun to make LOS more difficult. I move up my jacks, with a Juggernaut going B2b with the Kodiak in the right zone (a mistake, as I’ll find later).

Turn 3:

Chris decides it’s go time, and puts up the enrage equivalent on to both Wardens. The one on the left charges my Juggernaut, and manages to roll high enough to slam it into a marauder (still in the zone thankfully) and on 1 box. He decides not to finish it and trigger Re-construct, and jams with the mannikins on that side as well as putting a rock wall down in front of it. The Chef murders the Sniper, using Backstab to hit accurately.   The Watcher on the right gets teleported (knew I forgot something) into melee range of the Juggy on the right and does a bunch of damage (though he fails to kill either jack), slamming the Juggernaut into the Kodiak. The Wrath elects to shoot Behemoth, which gets shield guarded to the Rager, doing some damage.

My turn and things aren’t great. Roots is out on the 2 Wardens, and I have to clear them this turn. Witch goes first and feats, getting out full focus on both marauders and the Juggernaut on the right side. Boundless charge goes up on both marauders and Witch manages to hit the mannikins with a Curse so a Marauder can go through them. She also blinds the damn chef, and Sylas charges and kills it. Behemoth manages to put some damage on the left Warden (dice of 4 because he had to move), and the Juggernaut gets repaired. Between the Juggernaut, Kodiak and a charging Rager, they manage to put down the right Warden. The left Warden is trickier, as I have to use the Marauders and dice of 5 is a bad luck. I forget about the no moving part of roots (was planning on having the second marauder slam the warden into the other marauder for additional damage), but with a bit of luck the Warden goes down as well. Still no score.

Turn 5:

This is feat turn for Baldur, who has Megalith kill a marauder, fences in the other marauder with Shifting Stones, and has the Wrath kill the Rager and Juggernaut in the right zone. He also manages to cripple the Kodiak and fences it in with stones and mannikins to prevent repairs. He plops Baldur on his flag and feats. Putting down a Rock wall to protect him. He scores 1.

My turn and I contemplate going for assassination. I can’t knock Baldur down, but he’s taken some damage from Wurm tokens, I can blind him, and behemoth ignores roots and can aim. He also can’t transfer as both beasts are full. I decide not to ultimately, as Witch immediately dies if I fail. I am then left with a question. Can Behemoth 1 round a Wold Wrath on his own (with a free charge, Crush and 2 focus). After some tense dice rolls (he fluffs his charge attack damage, but makes up for it), the answer is thankfully yes. Behemoth is fukken ridiculous kiddies. The crippled Juggernaut (he has 1 box in cortex), wanders up and manages to kill a sentry stone and a shifting stone, leaving the Marauder free to put some damage on Megalith and kill another stone. The Kodiak vents steam, killing a Black clad and punching some mannikins. I fail to contest though, and Chris goes to 2.

Turn 6:

Chris manages to kill the remaining Marauder with Megalith, but leaves the Juggernaut alone. He tries to put some damage onto the Kodiak with Mannikins. He moves some shifting stones and the sentry stones behind a forest, to contest both the zone, and block charges to baldur. He scores again, going to 3.

I’m in a bit of a position now. As I have 2 turns to get to at least parity with Chris and he still has a bunch of stuff in either zone. I need to contest this turn, and preferably score the right zone. The Kodiak turns out to be within walking distance of the Sentry stone and a shifting stone, and walks through the forest, killing both. Behemoth shoots and kills 2 shifting stones and I run a Forge Seer onto my flag. I go to 2, and Chris doesn’t score.

Turn 7:

Chris commits Baldur to murdering the Kodiak, which he does pretty easily (he’s on like 4-5 Wurm tokens at this point). A stone shaper moves onto the flag, with the other running to contest the right hand zone. Megalith goes in and murders the Forge seer on the flag, before using Geomancy to get the other one as well. This leaves Behemoth autonomous and he goes to 3, whilst I don’t score.

I spend some time trying to decide the best thing to do this turn. I might be able to kill baldur, but he has transfers and I’m not super happy with that plan. After some consulting with the judges on tiebreaks. I decide that if I can get to 4 points and stop Chris from scoring, I will win on army points destroyed. Witch charges Megalith, just to get into the zone, and scourges down one of the Stone shapers. She then blinds the other. Behemoth then shoots that stone shaper down. Leaving me scoring 2 points and winning the game by about 40 army points.

Victory for the Motherland


A rough game, made rougher by some swingy dice and poor positioning. Wolds hit hard now, especially with the chain attack smite on the Wardens. Yeesh. Still think this was the correct drop though, as I think the Strakhov 2 match up is slightly worse. A great game overall.

After this round, the tournament was over. Final standings placed me at 6th, going 5-1 and losing out on best in Khador to Jim Gradwell. A great tournament and a great weekend.


Trading Effectively

As I play more and more Old Witch 2, I’m learning more and more about how to trade effectively with our jacks. The only other Jack spam (as in 5-8 cheap jacks) I’ve really played in mk 3, was a Butcher 3 list where the whole point of the list was to deliver Butcher, and therefore didn’t really need to trade properly, the jacks were there as play makers for Butcher. Whereas the Witch list I’ve been playing is the opposite, Witch is play making for the jacks. This has led me to notice that I can’t simply throw my jacks up the field, and I have to play around their 8-10 inch threat range constantly.

Most of the true Jack spam lists in our faction have this threat range. Witch 2, Harkevich, Karchev, etc, are all threating this same 8-10 inch range (11 for Karchev with more conditions on it) and are relying on their jacks doing work. This means that often, the matches played with these lists revolve around the piece trade, as opposed to lists like Strakhov 2 Pikes being about threatening key areas of the board, or Sorscha 1 being about control, or even the likes of an Irusk 2 infantry spam being about hardcore attrition. So I thought I’d discuss using our jacks effectively under those conditions. A few baselines to start with:

  • Our jacks are all speed 4, every damn one of them
  • Most of the jacks taken in a jack spam are going to have 1 inch range. The Spriggan is a useful piece in some lists, but not in a true jack spam (too expensive), and all our other reach 2 jacks are characters
  • Our jacks are cheap as chips, with most of the jacks in this kind of list being under 15 points.
  • All our jacks require effort to remove. Armour 20, 34 boxes means that a heavy has to be pretty killy to actually kill one of our jacks. That means either buffs, expensive pieces, or multiple activations spent on one rounding a Khador jack

This all means that our threat ranges are predictable, but that we can mitigate that by trading effectively.

What do I mean by trading effectively? Well, with the low threat ranges our jacks have, we are usually going to be hit first in any game. Take the alpha strike. So to play our jack spams effectively, we have to have tactics in place to allow us to lose pieces on the alpha, and then retaliate to make those losses meaningful. This can mean having guns that allow us to take pieces from beyond our melee range (Behemoth is great at this), having defensive tech that helps our jacks survive or even something as basic as positioning.


Make no mistake, positioning is key here, especially with out of or end of activation movement being more common. It’s been said at Power Fist (my local club) that a bad player flings their stuff across the board and loses on attrition, a good player keeps out of threat ranges and loses on scenario, and a great player gives away just enough to bait the opponent in. This is a generalisation, but is a good example of what we’re aiming for in positioning our jacks.  A lot of this is knowledge of what your opponents list does:

  • Are they relying on a control area wide whammy turn (usually from a feat) like Butcher 1, Xerxis 1, Maddox, etc? Then your positioning should be about giving them as little as possible in one go.
  • Does their list rely on single target upkeeps like Fury or ignite? Then positioning away from the model who currently has it on them is generally a good idea, forcing them to get less than optimum work out of their spell.
  • Are they relying on a unit of weapon masters, or multiple models with rules like flank or gang, to kill your jacks? Then leaving a jack in range of a model or 2 is likely not going to hurt too much.
  • Are they planning on taking stuff for free, using abilities like Sprint or Reposition? Then bunching up your jacks can be a good plan. If your opponent has a model with 2 inch reach and repo 3, they can be 5 inchs away from the front of the Jack they just killed. That means that your second jack can be no more than an inch behind your other jack if it wants to be able to charge the attacking model next turn, even closer for the more extreme abilities like sprint or Repo 5!

You’ll probably have noticed a theme in the examples I’ve listed above. They all are aiming to tempt your opponent to commit resources in a sub standard manner. This is absolutely key to trading well. If your opponent is trading their 19 point stalker for your 10 point jack, that’s a good trade for you. If they are killing your jack and then sprinting out of threat range that is a bad trade for you. Recognising these possibilities and positioning accordingly is absolutely vital in running a low model count list like a jack spam.


Using scenario to your advantage is another key to trading well with a jack list. By threatening the scenario, either by physically threatening it (with charges and guns and stuff) or by tactically threatening it (how are they going to remove that devastator from contesting that zone), it becomes possible to force your opponent into bad trades. This is one of the reasons we even play scenarios, as they give us areas of the board that we must commit to or risk losing the game.

An area a Khador jack spam can struggle with here, is that our jacks are slow, often forcing us into a bad situation, like having to run our jacks into enemy zones to keep up a scenario tempo. There are ways to mitigate this, starting at list design  (including units like eliminators, or solos like the marksman are never bad choices for this), and ending with tactical decisions. Sometimes it is the right choice to throw away a jack, especially if you can threaten the same area with a second model, sometimes feeding models into a zone one at a time is the right answer (mechanics are good for this). Again, recognising the situation and choosing accordingly is key.

Target Prioritisation:

A very valuable skill to learn, is being able to figure out what the valuable models in a match up are going to be. Take, for example, my standard jack load out with OW2. I take double Juggernaut, double Marauder, a Kodiak and a marshalled Behemoth and Rager. This provides me with flexibility as to what I can sacrifice and what I need to keep alive. If my opponent is of the harder variety, such as Skorne or Khador, then the Juggernauts are going to be more valuable than the other Jacks, due to having a higher P&S. If I’m facing down huge bases, then the Marauders are going to have a higher value. Into infantry, the Kodiak will be more valuable due to his cloud, etc.

The second part of this is recognising which of your opponents pieces threaten yours. If your opponent is using a specific animus to out threat or out damage you (rush or rage for example), removing that beast helps swing the game in your favour. Guns are useful here, especially when dealing with solos or lights. Behemoth, for example, is quite good at removing key solos, even when they have stealth (AOEs are your friends).

Using Your Resources Properly:

Jacks are versatile pieces. They have dice mitigation inherently built into their mechanics, as well as methods of crowd control, and can use this to their advantage. Using the right kinds of attacks for a situation is key to getting value out of your jacks. Proper utilisation of power attacks, knowing when to fire a ranged weapon on a jack vs melee, knowing when to boost, all of these come into it.

Power attacks are especially useful, as most of our basic jacks have ways of using them. The humble juggernaut has an open fist, which while not as useful against another heavy (the opposed strength check is often not reliable enough with just 1d6), it can be very useful against infantry. Walk into 2-3 infantry, throw the first into another group and then buy attacks into the others, or use a slam for a similar effect. Tramples can be used to get into zones where needed, or simply to hit more models (Kodiaks are good at this, trampling into a pod of infantry and then venting can often get 4+ models for 1 focus).

Focus allocation also comes into this, as knowing where and when to allocate can be key. Traditionally, Khador casters have been somewhat focus strapped (though the inclusion of Forge Seers has helped mitigate this), so noting the areas that you need to allocate is key. This is another reason to vary up your jack selections, as jacks like the Kodiak or the Marauder are very focus efficient when they need to be.

Finally, this is also an area where ranged attacks come in handy, especially the Khadoran variety of mass AOEs. The usual answer to a jack spam is hard hitting cheap models (weapon masters and the like), and into a lot of these lists, the likes of Behemoth or a conquest can be very valuable. Again, target prioritisation is key here. Don’t simply shoot whatever is closest, figure out what is most threatening to your lines, and what can be hurt by your shooting.

Calculated Risks

Inevitably in this game, you’re going to lose stuff. It’s just the way the game works. That being said, knowing what your pieces can withstand without actually losing one is something that every Khador player should know. You shouldn’t be afraid of leaving a jack in threat range of something that might kill it on a dice spike.

Equally, knowing what can and can’t threaten your models and taking calculated risks can be useful. Playing OW2, for example, has my caster at def 12, arm 19, 20 boxes. That’s a pretty hard stat-line, and means that, especially whilst camping some focus, she can probably survive being charged by an un buffed heavy (camping 3 focus, she has roughly a 1 in 10 chance of dying to an un buffed charging Juggernaut).

From the attacking side, knowing how much damage your jacks can inflict with varying amount of focus is vital to planning out a turn. Anything you can do to swing the dice math becomes a component in your planning. Even something as simple as a free charge can be the difference between 1 rounding an enemy heavy or not, and adding on buffs (or debuffs) can drastically swing how much damage you can inflict, or how little focus you can get away with giving out.


At the end of that ramble, we end where we began. Piece trading is a vital skill to learn in Warmachine, most obviously in the Battle-Group on Battle-Group match up, but also useful in match-ups against combined arms and infantry spam lists. Learning to recognise which of your pieces you can throw away, which you can’t and how to avoid your opponent dictating this to you can really help to improve your game.



Who Runs It Best?

Themes have been out for a while now, and I’ve actually had some table time with both the new ones (Wolves and Armoured Korps) and the older ones with new changes  (Legion of Steel, Winter Guard Kommand and Jaws of The Wolf). As you might imagine, some of the casters I’ve tried fit into certain themes better than others. I’ll go through, on this post, and talk about each theme in it’s archetypes and who I think runs that archetype best.

Winter Guard Kommand:

  • Archetypes:
    • Rocket Spam
    • Caster Bodyguard
    • Dude Spam

Winter Guard Kommand has a couple of things going for it. The first is just that the Winter Guard sub genre of Khador is very well fleshed out and includes some very strong options (the 2 units are good, the weapon crews are great when free and the BE is great now). The second is that the benefits it provides are great, with Sac Pawn being  very powerful assassination deterrent and advance move helping to get our slow jacks into position faster.

The first archetype is simply about maximising the power of the Winter Guard Rocketteer. usually, this Archetype will run a bunch of min units to maz out on rockets (usually 9-12) and then take a bunch of heavy jacks to benefit from the advance move and to form a front line for the Rockets to shoot from. It is a great generalist list that can skew in 2 directions at once if desired and has a lot of shooting output. Vlad 1 runs this best at the moment, with the combination of Signs and Portents and Sac pawn mean that Vlads traditional problem of being vulnerable is mitigated by a wall of winterguard bodies.

The second archetype is about leveraging Sac Pawn in a jack spam to keep your Warcaster safe. This archetype will typically run a minimum amount of actual Winter Guard, usually 20-40 points and will generally bring a bunch of min units and weapon crews to take advantage of the Advance Move. It’s one of 2 ways currently to really go for a jack spam at the moment (the other being Jaws), and it says a lot for how powerful the advantages provided are that we are willing to forgo free points or access to solos like the Forge Seer to get them. It also helps our jack spams as it can allow a couple of infantry clearing options (mortars, rifle corp) or some infantry capable of screening and dealing with lighter targets. Big winner for this list is Butcher 3. Whereas other casters like Harkevich will run this theme purely for the defensive nature of the Sac pawn, Butcher takes that defense and makes it another layer of his question (that being “can you kill me before I kill everythin you hold dear).

The third archetype is one I haven’t seen very much. I have been exploring it somewhat and think it has potential. The theory behind it is simple: take a caster that buffs cheap infantry, cram as many bodies into the list as possible, ??????, profit! This differs to the rocket spam lists in intent more than anything. Where most of the Rocket Spam lists are going to fill out 60 points of winter guard and then take 4-5 heavies, this list is looking to just drown the opponent in cheap bodies. Irusk 2 is my favourite caster so far with this, especially accompanied by Alexia and the Risen, due to the combination of the tough bubble, Joe and the recursion making it annoying to kill the Winterguard, and when they do die, the list getting benefits for it. He also brings Battle Lust, which, combined with joe, makes pow 12 weapon masters out of winter guard infantry.


Jaws of The Wolf

  • Archetypes
    • Combined Arms
    • Jack Spam

Jaws is our Jack theme, with free points for jacks and some other cursory benefits. Amusingly, compared to a lot of other beast/jack themes, ours gives us access to some solid offensive infantry that compliments our jacks well. Widowmakers, Eliminators, Assassins and Kossites are all at their best when trying to murder infantry, and Eliminators and Widowmakers are adept at clearing lanes for our jacks. On the jack side of it, mechanics getting repo 3 is an okay benefit, allowing them to not just all die to an AOE the next turn, and the Forge Seer makes a great jack marshall if your caster supports such things.

The first archetype is exactly what it sounds like, running a bunch of Kayazy and Widowmakers in addition to your jacks, usually heading for 50 points of jacks for free stuff, and then piling in the murderous Mafia wannabes, usually 1 or 2 units of assassins, some eliminators and a sniper boat, backed up by a bunch of heavies. This is usually a tech list, hoping to take advantage of Stealth, high defence and auto point abilities, making it a good anti infantry swarm drop as well as being good into some of the squishier factions like Cryx or Legion, especially with the option for jack marshalling a ranged jack to get some magical attacks without dipping into mercenaries. I’m not sure if she’s strictly the best for this list, but I’ve had a lot of success with Sorscha 2 running this style of list, as she adds a few more tech options, such as blast immunity, RFP (Shatter storm is great on widowmakers) and boundless charge for pathfinder in a pinch. Feat also makes Kayazy hit ridiculously hard. Strakhov 1 is also good here, with support for his battlegroup, stealth for himself, feat for everything, and the Marksman being a good target for Sentry.

The second archetype is the standard jack spam. Usually heading for 75 – 100 points of jacks, with a bunch of free solos and maybe some mechaniks, this list will just be taking a bunch of steel and jamming it down your opponents throat. Usually this will include Behemoth, to provide some quality shooting to a list full of melee jacks. It makes a great primary list to build a pair off of and is a good simple fall back if you’re not sure about a match up. My current favourite here is Old Witch 2, due to her running jacks extremely well (I wrote a whole article on this, check it out), with a shout out to Karchev, who also runs a bunch of Jacks well.


Legion Of Steel

  • Archetypes
    • Aggressive
    • Defensive

The actual list between these 2 archetypes is actually pretty similar, with what particular caster running the list and taste coming into it. The difference comes mostly from the Caster in play. The lists themselves tend to be similar, with a minimum jack package being taken, 3 units of Iron-fang model (Pikemen or Uhlans) and a bunch of support models. The Great Bears and Ironfang solos tend to be taken to threaten counter charges, and the 2 solos currently available (Markov and the Kovnik), synergise well with this, allowing counter-charges through friendly models, no knockdown and precision strikes on attacks. This allows the list, with no intervention from the warcaster, to threaten any melee attacker who comes in to attack the front lines (especially Beasts and Jacks, which will often have their Cortex/Spirit cut off). In addition, the list is natively high armour, has a lot of pathfinder options (Black Dragons being the only Iron Fangs that don’t have relentless charge) and hitting like a ton of bricks.

The first archetype then is run by casters like Strakhov 1, 2 and the Butchers, relying less on defensive tech as they do on simply getting an alpha hard enough to stop retaliation. Usually, this style will be running pikemen rather than Uhlans, as it will be attempting to leverage a damage buff or feat which works better with more models. This style wants to be as far across the board as quickly as possible, and will often win on scenario. It’s main weakness comes from the mad dash, often leaving the pikemen vulnerable to counter attack. Once attrition sets in, the list can lose a a lot of steam, and an aggressive player must be careful to not give away too many models in 1 go. Strakhov 2 is the best here, as he brings a good combination of spells (quicken for speed, last stand to hit hard targets and Inviolable and feat to help with the attrition problem) whilst also being more survivable than the average infantry caster.

The second archetype is run by casters of a more defensive or tech bent, such as Zerkova 1 or Irusk 2, relying on a slow and hard attrition game garnered from defensive tech that they bring to the lists. This style will be more likely to include Black Dragons or Uhlans than the previous style, due to having solutions to their problems (pathfinder for black dragons, good defensive tech ala cloud wall or Artifice for the Uhlans). This style will make more use of counter charge, using a combination of that and other defensive tech to make engaging the front lines risky, whilst also making it difficult to shoot down Iron fangs from range. It will go on to slowly roll over the enemy and win through attrition. Zerkova 1 probably runs the best version of this list, with the cloud wall, feat, and her spells making her suited to spot removal augmenting the list in ways that many opposing lists can find difficult to counter.


Wolves of Winter

  • Archetypes
    • Doomreaver Spam
    • Greylord Spam
    • Combined

Wolves of Winter is kind of an odd theme in Khador. Traditionally, our lists have struggled with access to magical weapons, whereas this theme list has them in bucket loads. The trade off is that most of the options to be found here are very expensive for the abilities they bring. Greylord Outriders are fantastic infantry removal and are very fast, but are kind of squishy. Doom Reavers horribly murder anything they get near, but can’t be buffed and are kind of squishy. This leaves the role of front line to either said squishy doom reavers, or any jacks you may have brought. Despite these flaws, however, this theme list has a definite place, especially with the theme benefit of 1 unit a turn apparating, allowing basically any version of this list to be very fast and adding a way to disengage from melee if necessary. On a side note, mercenaries are un restricted here, unlike WGK or Legion of Steel, and in addition, Valachev may be taken as a free attachment, making Merc units a bit more appealing here than the other themes.

The first archetype is a version of the old mad dogs of war list from mk 2. Simply take a bunch of mad men with possessed swords and fling them at your enemy. This list will usually be 5 units of Doom Reavers and Fenris, with whatever jacks you want to back them up. The advantage here is immediate and painful board presence. Advance deploy plus a 12 inch run puts most of the doomies on the centre line turn 1, with 1 unit getting a bit further. Combined with a 13 inch threat, this can be more than some armies can handle. Any caster that can protect them on the approach (OW2, Sorscha 1, etc) or can dial them up to 11 (Vlad 2, Butcher 2) is welcome here. The major disadvantage is a relatively low model count, lack of guns and a decent statline on doom reavers, that doesn’t save them from shooting (a trencher needs a 7 to hit and kills on a 4 when shooting), meaning that this list is not a great generalist list. Probably best run by Vlad 2, as feat, Arcane might and well placed wind blasts can really dial Doom Reavers up to 11.

The second archetype goes in completely the other direction, taking as many Ice Wizards as possible. Usually it will take double outriders and double koldun lord as a starting point, add a unit of doomies for armour cracking and a couple of ternions. Throw in Aiyana and Holt with Valachev to help kill stuff and that’s the list mostly done. The obvious disadvantage is that it will struggle to kill heavies and will be somewhat hosed in to any kind of serious magic denial (damn Covenant!), as well as the pieces being kind of squishy. The advantage though is a pretty serious assassination potential with the right casters, as well as magic sprays bypassing a lot of traditional shooting defense. This list probably only really works well with Zerkova 2, who turns the sprays up to 11 and gets major benefits from starting with her up keeps out (Telgesh Mark on a pony, it apparates and runs turn 1 up to the 27 inch mark, with Zerk arcing through it to 37 inchs, and shes got nothing better to do with her 7 focus that turn)

The third archetype is the one I’ve been testing lately, and the one that I think will see the most play. It consists of a roughly even balance of Doomies and Greylords, using the Outriders to harry the flanks and funnel the opponent into the centre for the Doomies and battlegroup to finish off. It’s main advantages are speed and infantry clearing, with the outriders threatening 19 inchs with their sprays, and hitting most infantry on an 8 at worst. It is a great list into current cryx, as the sprays ignore a lot of their usual defence tech (stealth, force barrier, carapace, etc) whilst also threatening their casters and having enough armour cracking to get through Cryx jacks. It’s main weakness are it’s lack of game into battlegroup lists from the heavier factions, due to a lack of concentrated armour cracking. It can muddle through combined arms lists, but balks at 5+ arm 19+ models. I have been playing a lot of Sorscha 1 in this style lately, with the hard control from stationary, her mobility and the assassination her feat can set up being strong into the evolving infantry meta. It is also one of the few lists in Khador at the moment that I feel has game into most Cryx lists.


Armoured Korp

  • Archetypes
    • Wall of Steel
    • TBA

Armoured Korp is in an odd position right now, in that half the models in it are not released yet. That being said, I’ve included a second archetype as a guess at what a list including those models will look like. Overall this theme is exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of beef with decent melee weapons and guns. It doesn’t have the ranged firepower of WGK or the melee output and speed of the Legion of Steel, but makes up for that with some versatility and sheer Aberdeen Angus Beef! This theme has the makings of a great question list that hits hard and is hard to shift.

The first archetype is the most obvious one, take 3 units of Man o war, get free kovniks, walk forward. The Man O-War Shocktrooper makes up the core unit of this style, and they have been long over due for a comeback. Hard to shift and hard hitting, the main disadvantage these guys have is speed. The Bombadiers may find a place here as well, especially if they get a range boost to 12 inchs as announced, allowing them to walk behind the shield wall and blow up enemies. The main strength here is in being hard to shift, armour 21, 8 boxes is not trivial to remove, and any kind of armour buff takes that up to 11, leading to heavies struggling to kill them sometimes. This strength is also a weakness however, as if the question it poses can be answered or circumvented, it can sometimes be game over. Whilst the Shock-troopers are hard to kill, and present a box and armour spam typical of Khador, they lack the options that jacks do, in that they only have 1 attack each and cannot exploit power attacks to allay some of the issues they might face. My favourite for this kind of list right now is Irusk 1, as Iron Flesh, his orders, battle lust and a superiority conquest can fix a lot of the issues faced by Shock-troopers, whilst the feat gives them a very good shot at surviving after charging. Special mention to Vlad 2, who runs this kind of list very well with a few tweaks (namely adding Drakhuns and some Kayazy from the merc slot)

The second archetype is somewhat speculative, as I think, based on what has been revealed, that it will be a somewhat fast, heavily armoured and hard hitting list with a very small model count. The Chariot looks like it has a decent gun, and we know it is speed 7. Combined with advance move, it could be threatening opponents top of 2, whilst the Tanker solos seem like gun platforms more than anything. Combine this with a brick I he centre of Shocktroopers and Jacks, and this could potentially be a potent arrow in the Khadoran Quiver, with opponents being harried from the sides by speed 7 Chariots and Drakhuns. Without seeing the actual model stats or some test lists, I can’t say for definite which caster would be best, but would imagine that any of our tankier infantry casters would do well here, inc Butcher 1 or Vlad 3.

So there you have it! A more in depth look at our themes, and who I feel runs them best. Next time we’ll do a deep dive on another caster!