[WM/H] Road to SmogCon: Hail Hydra

Hydra, as a format, could be tailor-made for a player like me who prefers small games, doesn’t have the disposable income for two or three lists’ worth of stuff, and is a long-term believer in the whole ‘run the same good stuff with a different caster and see how much the game changes’ approach to Warmachine.

It demands a single 35 point list, assuming that 5 warjack points are available, and five different warcasters, to whom numbers are assigned. At the top of each round, the caster choice is randomised; if a four is rolled, everyone in that round uses their number four caster. It’s a four-round event, so there’ll be one caster you just don’t get to use. This is not only within lunging distance for me, but the kind of scale toward which I’d be working anyway; the list suggested by Capture and Control as a decent ‘starter’ force happens to include a whole bunch of things I think are good.

The list features Dawnguard Invictors and a Griffin for solid Flank-tastic fun; the ‘jack of all trades Phoenix (although mine seems rather lacklustre, maybe because I don’t at present own an Arcanist, maybe because it’s having to take point in my games, maybe because I keep forgetting that it has a sodding gun); the cheap Houseguard Halberdiers who provide one-way see-through chaff; and the potentially-devastating-if-they-ever-hit-anything Stormfall Archers.

There are, however, problems.

One: that list has six warjack points, not five, and I’m reluctant to just chuck out the Arcanist (that little sod is needed to make the Retribution heavies do anything worth doing). I’m also very much aware that some of the warcasters I’ll be running would really, really benefit from having Sylys Wyshnalyrr around, for the extra range on the spells and the free upkeep and the help with getting those Arcantrik Bolts, Strangleholds and Death Sentences off.

Two: that list doesn’t use everything I already own, and it includes a couple of high-cost low-volume pay-for-rules options in the form of the Unit Attachments. They’re certainly good, and I’d like to have them, but money is not abundant and if I can get the list ticking with stuff I own rather than stuff I’d have to buy, I’ll be in a generally more comfortable position.

The simplest way to get to 35 points is just to drop the Halberdiers down to minimum size, freeing up 3 points – one for the rogue warjack point and two for Sylys. I’m not sure that an eight-man chaff unit is really a good chaff unit, though, and I’m also not sure I want to buy ten Halberdiers and only field six. Does anyone else miss the days when Privateer Press sold minimum-sized units? If I wanted a maxed-out unit I’d just buy two boxes – two minimum or one maximum, problem solved, no need for blisters.

Other options include chucking the Unit Attachments (frees up four points and a lot of cash – maybe a Soulless Escort for somebody, or a second Arcanist to get both the ‘jacks swinging harder), or downgrading the Phoenix to a slightly cheaper heavy.

This last has a certain appeal – the Phoenix is excellent but I struggle to get the most out of mine, possibly because I don’t have other pieces to do the heavy hitting but possibly because the gun and the arc node and the decent melee weapon and the Combustion are a few too many options for me. The thought occurs that with Sylys in the list, the arc node may not even be essential. With extra range on the non-channelled spells, the casters could potentially operate closer to the front lines; most of them have some sort of weapon or ability which encourages being played up-front, too. I used to play Epic Magnus that way and blimey, it was fun getting to use stuff other than focus!

The other options with the kit I’ve built are the Manticore (sufficiently punchy to not need the Arcanist, and could be fielded with Aiyana and Holt or both UAs if I can afford them, but a right old focus hog) or the Hydra (more economical in terms of focus, could be fielded with Eiryss or an Arcanist and one UA if I can afford them).

Decisions, decisions. At the moment, here’s how it’s shaking down.


  • [House Shyeel heavy of some sort]
  • Griffon
  • Sylys Wyshnylarr

Full Dawnguard Invictors / Nyss Hunters (always an option, and could serve in other faction contexts)
Full Houseguard Halberdiers
Stormfall Archers

PLUS – exact choice dependent on cash and points available
Aiyana and Holt
Unit Attachments for Invictors and/or Halberdiers
Eiryss + Arcanist

[WM/H] Hardcore Cryx Action!

In the past I may have been heard saying good things about Warmachine’s Hardcore format, in a sort of detached, intellectual kind of way, with ref: different goals for different playstyles and a prize for each, no conflated ‘best overall’ nonsense, sportsmanship as a prerequisite rather than something that needs extra gameable systems to police.

What I haven’t mentioned is how much bloody fun it is.

The five minute turn limit means the analysis paralysis that normally grips me can’t be allowed to set in – it’s keep going forward, don’t get killed, make a mistake and live with it.  Not having any time to umm and aah about things or regret errors of judgement is remarkably liberating, and I’d be really looking forward to Sunday’s 50 pointer down at Chimera, which I haven’t found time to visit just yet, were it not for one small thing: the lists I was thinking about taking are rubbish.

Continue reading “[WM/H] Hardcore Cryx Action!”

[WM/H] FQDII Khador List Review

I’ll be honest, I’ve got the blues a bit at the moment.  Not as regards actual gaming, still doing a fair bit of Blood Bowl and WoW, although the Goblins! game has stalled owing to the near-impossibility of getting seven people into a room at the same time.  Strange that it’s only RPGs that seem so afflicted; the local wargames club pulls in more people than that to play wargames and boardgames every week and most of us manage to turn up regularly.

I do have the blogging blues, though.  It might be that I’ve been talking about one company’s games more than I like to, it might just be one of those fallow periods that we all go through from time to time.  However, I did say I’d have a quick look over the Khador lists that I took to FQDII, just to see what I’ve managed to assimilate from the day, so here goes.

Continue reading “[WM/H] FQDII Khador List Review”

[WM/H] In Imperial Khador, 'Jack Marshals You!


The Circle stuff still hasn’t turned up, so I’m going with the backup plan – playtesting Khador lists for Fun, Quick and Dirty II.  It was going to be Cryx, it arguably should be Cryx, but every time I try to write a Cryx list I just sort of sigh and decide I’d rather not.  After five years I might need a good long break from them.  I’m not selling them, they’re my favourites and I do love them really, but I need another go-to Warmachine faction for a bit.  Hence Khador practice last night.

Continue reading “[WM/H] In Imperial Khador, 'Jack Marshals You!”

[WM/H] Fun, Quick and Dirty II – The Great Von Hunt

So, it’s that time of year again – the 20 point, three lists (dump one at lunchtime), no tiers, one Field Allowance to split event, with food by Mrs Flash and the prospect of some serious shenanigans.  I am, at this point, in Doubt.  Not about going – I know I want to go.  About what I’m going to take with me.

Option One: Bog Druids.

If – and at this stage it’s still if, but wish me luck for Friday’s interview – I have sufficient disposable income to inflate my Circle collection during August then I could take the faction I’m currently most interested in playing.  I’m starting to get a handle on epic Kaya (I almost won a game with her last night!) and think that a Gorax handing out its animus could come in rather handy here to provide yet more STR buffs (slapping it on the Feral so he can use Warp Speed with less of an opportunity cost, for instance).  Or I could always slot in the Shifting Stones and Stonekeeper, which I will be buying this week (guess who has a painting commission!); I suspect their teleporty shenanigans and beast-healing will come in very handy to help with some of the activation order issues I’m having.

Kaya the Moonhunter & Laris (*3pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Feral Warpwolf (9pts)
* Pureblood Warpwolf (9pts)
Feralgeist (1pts)

Krueger interests me largely because I’ve seen him do very well for himself at this scale, scooping up infantry like you wouldn’t believe.  The two realistic options for him are the Wolf Riders (I theorise that Lightning Tendrils addresses a major weakness by giving them Reach like real cavalry, and horrible potential on a turn when they Assault a unit and trigger Electro Leap with two melee attacks) or the Nyss Hunters (Weapon Masters!  Reach!  Lightning!  CRA!).  The Nyss wouldn’t benefit from Deflection but that’s about all they wouldn’t benefit from.

Krueger the Stormwrath (*5pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Woldwarden (9pts)
Tharn Wolfriders (Leader and 4 Grunts) OR Nyss Hunters (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)

However, I’m stuck for a third list, since I can’t double up on Kruegers in this event.  I’m tempted by a Kromac list using Wolf Rider attacks to trigger Warpath, but Kromac himself has that odd ‘Hulk out’ thing going on and I suspect that’ll take some learnin’.  Morvahna tempts me too, but again, she looks fiddly and there’s only a month ’til the event.

Option Two: Armour is Red, Targets are Blue; in Imperial Khador, ‘JACK MARSHALS YOU!

The wild card.  I have no idea how to play Khador but I have three warcasters and a broad enough spread of stuff to do some potentially interesting lists with them.  The first involves making Nyss Hunters into Faction models so they can benefit from Vlad’s buffs, and using his feat to slingshot a Devastator either into the enemy lines or into a scenario control area.

Vladimir, The Dark Prince (*5pts)
* Devastator (9pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
* Koldun Kapitan Valachev (2pts)
Greylord Ternion (Leader and 2 Grunts) (4pts)

The next one uses the Butcher’s spell list to make Widowmakers stupidly hard to hit and Iron Fangs stupidly hard hitting.  It also uses his feat to make Kossites scary for a turn, Widowmakers unnervingly good, and the Marauder because I like Marauders to slam things so I can knock them down and hit them with everything I can bally well muster.  Tempted to swap the Iron Fangs for a Juggernaut so I have the option of using the Butcher’s battlegroup spell for something worthwhile; not sure.

The Butcher of Khardov (*6pts)
* Marauder (7pts)
Greylord Ternion (Leader and 2 Grunts) (4pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard (2pts)
Kossite Woodsmen (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)

The last one is the “use once and dump” list – having run out of Field Allowance on Widowmakers and Iron Fang Standard Bearers it uses the other models I have to cobble together something I’m sort of interested in.  If I tossed the Kovnik and Devastator I could fit the Iron Fangs in here, but I’m buggered if I know what I’d spend the other five points on.

Kommander Sorscha (*5pts)
* Destroyer (9pts)
Greylord Ternion (Leader and 2 Grunts) (4pts)
Man-o-war Kovnik (3pts)
* Devastator (9pts)


Option Three: Epic Cryx

Reluctant as I am to indulge this side of my nature (half the Darklords play Cryx these days, it’s beginning to bore me), I could just take the ruddy Cryx again.  Having run them at last year’s FQD I have an idea of how the restrictions affect them – I’m also aware that I haven’t yet fielded an Epic Skarre Shooty Solos list at an event and, given that it’s the variant I’ve done the most damage with in casual play, I should probably at least give it a go.  Tempting as it is to mash the Deathjack in, I think I’m going to be wanting that brute with another caster, so the Reaper and Ripjaw tag-team will make their appearance again.  The Captain’s in to protect Skarre from knockdown and provide another gun.

Skarre, Queen of the Broken Coast (*6pts)
* Ripjaw (5pts)
* Reaper (7pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bloat Thrall (2pts)
Bloat Thrall (2pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2pts)

I’ll be giving the Iron Lich a rest this time.  We’re spending some time apart following recent incidents.  Let’s get the Lich Lord out instead – the Deathjack to project force on his behalf (because he likes to throw his weapon away) and two units of feat fodder; one to knock things down, one to hit things hard.  Even the Siren could potentially stage a comeback and provide a crucial DEF debuff on feat turn.

Lich Lord Asphyxious (*6pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

And finally, just to complete the hat-trick, Epic Deneghra again.  Haven’t used her in a while.  Or the Nyss Hunters.  Lots of Weapon Masters here.

Wraith Witch Deneghra (*6pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard (3pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)

I just don’t know what to do with myself.

[WM/H] Live And Let Fly: List Building

I’m off to Ross in a few weeks’ time for a charity tournament at which I’d been intending to give the Circle their first outing.  However, the second bout of learning games (against Stu’s Dwarfs, again, and then against Nik ‘Largi’ Topham’s Trollblood swarm) made it pretty clear to me that my collection isn’t best suited to 25 point games.  I tend to see opposing lists with either two or three units, which do well owing to the economies of scale that appear in spellcasting on units, and their ability to spread out and create layers of threat range, ensuring that they can grab huge tracts of land in scenario play.  The current list doesn’t have enough bodies to spread out and take areas being held by those sorts of numbers and or enough attacks on a wide enough frontage to clear them – not enough boys or toys.  I’m sure I could put together a Circle list that can deal with or do that at 25 points but I’m not sure I can do it with the Circle models I own.

Continue reading “[WM/H] Live And Let Fly: List Building”

[WM/H]: List Build Review and Tournament Pimpin'

Like the mug I am, I’ve agreed to act as ringer, lead sandbag crafter, dark lord of fantasy forestry and general odd-job bloke for a little thing at Dice and Decks which we like to call From Khador With Love,

If we have an odd number of attendees, one lucky personage each round will be facing a Cryx list piloted by my bad self.

This source of easy tournament points and disappointing bottom-of-turn-two auto-wins because I keep forgetting about the scenario may or may not bear superficial resemblances to the following, which I’ve thrown together on the fly in support of an entirely incidental sidequest.

You see, I want to beat Russ’ Trolls.  It’s becoming something of a point of honour, to the point where I’ve engineered a list designed to circumvent not so much what his Trolls do, but what those similar lists that so frustrate me do, viz. grab scenario control areas with so many buffed-up infantry that I can’t shift them all.  Since it’ll be rolling out in three weeks, I figure I’d best start ironing the kinks out of it now.

Army: Through The Ringer
Type: Skirmish (1 caster, 25pts)
Points: 25

Iron Lich Asphyxious (*6pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)

Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
* 2 Brute Thrall (2pts)
Soulhunters (Leader and 2 Grunts) (6pts)

Darragh Wrathe (4pts)

In essence, my plan is to bypass the quagmire of infantry which so frequently operates as a deterrent, and go for the jugular.  The Helldivers and Soulhunters all have the ability to somehow past whatever nuisances the opponent presents me with, and then eliminate the key support pieces that deter me from massacring the enemy infantry, or rush a vulnerable ‘caster type if that’s an option.

I’ll have to read up on exactly how abilities like Gatekeeper or whatever the High Reclaimer does with his souls work, but if they suffer the same ‘closest eligible model gets the soul’ check as most of my abilities go, I can bagsie those errant spirits with Soulhunter melee attacks.  In the category of options presented, we also have the capacity to chuck out a whole mess of Hellfire and/or Breath of Corruption, thanks to Wrathe, the Skarlock, and Asphyxious’ excellent feat plus two arc nodes.  The feat can pull double duty by potentially killing some more enemy dudes via Parasite (although that could blow up in my face if it’s Menoth or Skorne on the other side and they want me to kill their dudes by the double handful)

How do the Mechanithralls fit in?  They screen Asphyxious.  They go off hunting a big enemy model and they hit it until it dies.  If the opportunity emerges they rush the scenario control zone first and take bullets or deterrents on behalf of the stuff that I’m actually expecting to do something with.

I think it’s a workable plan against those chaff-mad builds that have been giving me such hives of late.  The other option, of course, is to attempt a joining of what I can’t beat; if it’s snarling up the scenario zones with swarms they want, it’s snarling up the scenario zones they’ll get.  I’m just not quite sure I can manage the layers of buffs that that requires with the collection I have available…

[WM/H] Beasts from the East: Back To Basics

It’s been a surprisingly hectic couple of weeks for gaming, and while I have some resources for reports on every single game I’ve played, what I don’t have is time to type them all up and fiddle about with BATTLE CHRONICLER (it took me the better part of an hour and a half this morning just to set up pictures of a table, deploy two fifty point Warmachine armies and move the first one…), so things are a little bit delayed at the minute.  It is entirely due to the amount of very serious work I have to do over the half-term break, and entirely not due to my renewed WoW access and the challenge of coming to grips with the new Warlock mechanics.  Just so we’re clear.

Continue reading “[WM/H] Beasts from the East: Back To Basics”

[WFB] Addendum: Shiny Says:


Reading Game Over.  Nice.  HOWEVER, I thought you might like to edit in the details of my army, for completeness.  If not, meh, ’tis your blog, you can say I brought an army of gayness and penguins if you like.

Chieftain – Weeping Blade, heavy armour, Enchanted Shield

Warlock Engineer 1 – Warlock-Augmented Weapon, Warpstone armour, Warp-energy Condenser.

Warlock Engineer 2 – Warlock-Augmented Weapon, Pipes of Piebald, Dispel Scroll.

30 Clanrats – spears, shields, full command, Warpfire Thrower.

30 Clanrats – shields, full command, Ratling Gun.

30 Clanrats – shields, full command, Ratling Gun.

Rat Swarm – 5 bases.

25 Plague Monks – full command, Banner of the Under-Empire.

Do I get the Face too? I did not know that…

There you have it, folks.

Incidentally, Shiny, yes, you do get the Face.  You know that thing you do about where you spend whole minutes complaining about everything that’s rubbish about your army and what the others have that’s better/invincible, and greet every die roll with “as usual” and an eyeroll?  That is the Face.

Also incidentally, we’ve been talking about how to improve the Skaven army in the act of expanding to 2000 points.  Maybe Shiny would like to write up his take on that conversation?