Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More About Colossals

Just want to try and organise my thoughts on Colossals and put them together somewhere. I'll start by going through the colossals we know about so far and talking a bit about them, how they fit into their factions and how good I think they are.

Cygnar - Stormwall

Easily the best colossal for two reasons. One has got to be covering fire on the secondary weapons. Covering fire is awesome, two templates with POW 12 really allow you to control the board at least with respect to infantry and can cause issues with beasts and jacks as well, a damaged beast/jack has to be wary of losing an aspect when moving through covering fire, that it's on the secondary weapons and you can still take two big gun shots a turn makes the ability really sing. The other has to be the pod, there are so many ways this is helpful from making sure your stormsmith stormcallers always get off triangulations to giving you a target for spells and abilities like chain lightning, earthquake, Mage Storm and electroleaping weapons. A little explanation for mage storm, when you don't have enemies you can affect with a pod what you can do is leave a 4" gap between your two covering fire templates and drop a pod in the middle, then have Ryan (black 13th gun mages) Mage Storm attack the pod. It means you can have 10 inches across of auto POW 12 templates which is really good. 

Best Warcaster - Haley2 (though it can find a home in really any caster's list, it's just that good).

Impact - The impact of this jack in faction is massive, it doesn't bring anything new to the faction but it does what the other factions jacks do but better. It shoots and can melee, something Cygnar sorely needed, it's got great defensive and aggressive abiliities and it makes Cygnar's signature spell (arcane shield) really sing. 

Galleon - Mercs

The second best colossal in my opinion though for very different reasons than the Stormwall. The Galleon shoots and fights well. It can put out a lot of AOEs but that number is random and it doesn't really have a great deal of special abilities. Drag is nice but there are a lot of ways to avoid it. You can use terrain, armlock your own models, sit behind cheap screening infantry etc. 

Best Warcaster - Broadsides Bart. Again though it's good with pretty much everyone.

Impact - This is what makes the Galleon so good. Merc jacks have two problems; they suck at shooting and they are low P+S, the Galleon is great at shooting and has high P+S on both melee weapons. The Mariner requires a loader which is painful to set up and the mule has very short range unless it aims, the new releases in wrath helped a bit but it's only really with the Galleon that Mercs finally picked up a really good ranged jack. Previously all Merc jacks (except the Rockram) topped out at P+S 17 where as now we are up to 21 which means Mercs can now crack high ARM. Add to that it brings much needed survivability, merc jacks are generally the least survivable, the base stat lines (general stat lines) for the other factions are Khador jacks 10/20, Menoth 11/19, Cygnar 12/18, and Cryx 13/17 (12/18 for the crab jacks). You can see the pattern,  Merc jacks are 10/18 or 12/17 (pirate) and they don't have a lot of damage boxes either (same as Cygnar jacks, the second lowest, sorry Cryx). This jack fills a huge hole in the Merc line up, gives the mercs an option for dealing with high ARM, a way to deal with stealth (AOEs), and a truely survivable piece to take a control zone. Most casters will love it and it has really changed the faction. 

Judicator - Menoth

First one of the Colossals that I think isn't particularly good. Its stats and abilities are all right except for the fact that it has inaccurate on its rocket pods (bringing it to a mighty RAT 1 except on its sprays) but it puts out four AOEs a turn without focus and the blast damage is POW 9 with the choir. It can also aim and with the choir be back up to RAT 5. Add the choir to its sprays and you will devastate infantry and it's quite good in melee. It picks up a focus for free too which is good but not spectacular. 

Best Caster - Feora2, it's AOEs will set everyone on fire and Feora uses that for her feat, she can give it four focus and she speeds up her jacks which is pretty important for colossals (which generally want to shoot rather than run).

Impact - Very little. The problem is that you can't enliven a colossal. That said you can always throw an ARM buff on it and enliven two other jacks but it means that your most expensive piece is without your best defensive trick. The other problem is that the existing Menoth jacks are just too good, unless you have a specific synergy or a specific role for the Judicator generally you are better off taking the menoth heavies. That said there are some great synergies in addition to the one with Feora mentioned above. Expect to see this jack just not in most lists like the Stormwall and Galleon.

Conquest - Khador

This one is OK not great but certainly not bad. Crit devastation is fun, the gun has a good POW and the secondary batteries are occasionally pretty good but creeping barrage is not covering fire and the Jack lacks other abilities.The jack is saved by its massive amount of damage boxes, P+S 22, the cheapness and effectiveness of Khador mechanics and the fact that regular khador jacks are not that great. 

Best Caster - ? I'm going to go Sorscha2 because she does the most for the jack but the jack doesn't really do a lot for her. Maybe either Vlad or Irusk1.

Impact - Khador has always been an infantry faction. The jacks are too slow, too bad at shooting (except for maybe the Behemoth) and lack survivability (I know it sounds weird to say that as they have the most survivable base stat line but their base stat line is killable and they have no tricks to keep their jacks alive). The Conquest fixes these problems. Not quite as hard as it does for Mercs but still it's a solid improvement, it does what the Khador jacks already do just much better. As such expect to see it in quite a few lists, although as an infantry faction there will still be plenty of players taking a cheaper jacks and spending the points on infantry. 

Krakken - Cryx

On paper the jack look unwieldy, requiring corpse tokens to function at maximum efficiency but it's actually really good without the corpse tokens too. Cryx can buff the crap out of this thing or debuff whatever it wants to destroy. It has massive threat range, its gun shoots forever has a good size AOE and can shoot after it kills something in melee. 

Best Caster - another ? Skarre1? Goreshade2? Mortenebra? Witch Coven? I don't think I can call this one but I think it's one of this lot. 

Impact - Cryx lacks ranged attacks and Cryx jacks outside of the death jack and the great cheap lights leave a bit to be desired. The Krakken gives cryx a survivable jacks with great ranged capabilities that is also fantastic in melee. That said Cryx is still an infantry faction so a lot of casters probably prefer the points to be spent on infantry but the Krakken can work its way into a lot of lists. 

Hyperion - Retribution

Back to a jack I think is straight up good. POW 18 on a ranged attack is fantastic, add in a full size AOE and critical consume and the gun is silly good. It has two smaller guns with the colossals standard d3 attacks and is quite good in melee too. It has the most damage boxes of anything in the game and Ret casters have a lot of buffs they can put on it.

Best Caster - I'm going to have to say Vyros1 he can increase its speed, increase its ARM and let it shoot straight through models and terrain to whatever target it wants. 

Impact - Ret doesn't have a lot of good jacks. The Pheonix is good and the Banshee is good and some other jacks have specific synergies that make up for their "not generally that goodness" but in general Ret jacks are a little lacking, paying a high points cost for their versatility while not being able to do anything particularly well. Hyperion though is just plain good. Ret also has cheap mechanics that can also give the jack +2 on melee damage and they should always be in the list with Hyperion. 

Mountain King - Trolls


Joking aside I might do one for the gargantuans when I know what's going on with the Everblight and Skorne ones. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hacksaw on Mercs

Hacksaw was on Road to War (one of the warmachine podcasts I listen to):
He was talking about Mercs and I think gave a great summary of the faction. 

In particular this cracked me up. Magnus the Traitor (Magnus1) has Feign Death (when knocked down you can't target him with ranged attacks) so when dealing with ranged assassination lists you headbutt him with one of your own light jacks, knock him down and your opponent can't shoot you.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Going to put down my thoughts on Menoth while they are buzzing around up here as well.

EDIT: http://museonminis.com/which-bloody-unit-the-menoth-tarpits/ Chunky (Australian player, came down for the super series I played against him though he brought Skorne not Menoth) has written an article on the main Menoth units. It's worth a read, it hits all the important points.

Menoth - the basics

A lot of the abilities of jacks and casters that really make this faction are defensive in nature. Menoth is easily the most defensive faction in the game but not in a purely ARM or DEF buffing way, rather in a way that allows you to dictate to your opponent. It also has some of the best shooting in the game and is able to shoot without sacrificing the ability to fight in melee which is a dangerous combination. It has far and away the best jack support in the game making it one of the few warmachine factions that generally looks to base its lists around warjacks.

Things that make Menoth as a faction

Choir - Battle allows you to give all your jacks +2 to hit and +2 damage, in general Menoth jacks are not worse or at least not significantly worse than the jacks of other factions so this makes them spectacular. They can also prevent your opponent from targeting your jacks with spells or non-magical shooting.

Vassal of Menoth - Enliven and Ancilliary attack. You can have a jack walk away if it gets damaged or make an extra melee or ranged attack. The can also use arcane bolt but unless all your jacks are dead this should never even be a consideration.

Purification - Purification may not be the best spell in the game but it's certainly the one that breaks the game the most. Three factions have purification but Menoth has it in two of it's better casters and a third has purification light as a feat.

Eye of Menoth - pSeverius' spell. +1 to hit and +1 damage to all attacks from your army. Even blast damage. It's an upkeep too.

Exemplar Errants - POW 9 weapon masters who shoot really well and have blessed on their shots, and have self sacrifice so you can break up attacks and deny abilities that require destroying a model and pathfinder and quick work and advance deployment and can't be targeted by enemy spells and only costs 10 points. 

Martyrdom - The harbinger should probably get her own entry here but I'll focus on one of her more pain in the arse abilities. She is able to prevent you from killing key models, she brings them back to life for d3 damage and is able to heal that damage pretty easily as she has 10 focus.

The jacks - Reckoners can shoot and fight better than most specialist melee or ranged jacks. Redeemers can put out a ridiculous number of AOEs which hit at a pretty high POW (POW 9 with pSev is pretty silly). The other jacks are good too but these two are the best, most undercosted (feeling a bit weird calling a 6 point light undercosted but it is). 

Daughters - Menoths version of Kayazy, and the faction is full of defensive buffs. 

Zealots - A unit with battle from the choir built in. Hooray. Also can become invincible for a turn and have grenades. 

The book - Covenent of Menoth. It's such a pain to kill and can cause so many problems. 

Vessel of Judgement - Menoths battle engine. Has a great ranged attack, always has access to boosts, and has three great miracles it can do including one on your opponents turn.

Defenders Ward - Menoth's signiture spell (like arcane shield with cygnar or iron flesh with Khador). Half the menoth casters have it and it's a really good defensive buff. 

Menoth is better at higher points. Something not talked about very often is the way points values affect the strength of factions. Mercs for example are 35 point specialists or at least they were before Galleon. 35 points is enough for Mercs to get in all their powerful solos but not so high that large chunks of the army need to go without their abilities. Menoth and Circle and to a lesser extent Trolls (and Skorne?) rely on support staff, with Menoth in particular you start off with the choir and two vassals. You probably are also looking at the book, reclaimers,  Heirophant, wracks, Rhoven, a second choir... It's not unusual for a Menoth army to contain 10 points or more of support staff. At lower points you just can't fit in all the support you want and an army for them to support. 

Playing Against Menoth

First and foremost avoid a caster that is reliant on defensive upkeeps. Iron flesh is a great spell but it's just going to be purified off you. Shooting is a great counter to Menoth but only if it is magical shooting, otherwise you'll end up with the choir singing no non-magical ranged attacks and be stuffed. You need to be ready for enliven, that means you need open fists (to weapon-lock, being mindful of the reduction in threat range as you cannot charge and weapon lock), quick cheap troops to surround a jack or knockdown/stationary effects or force lock to hold them in place. 

You are going to have to be ready to both be shot at and face high MAT high P+S melee attacks. Unless you are immune to blast damage you can expect to be hit with high POW blasts as well high enough that even high ARM infantry are not immune. You need to be able to take down multiple heavies. Menoth can easily run quite a few heavies if they want, the Avatar in particular uses no focus from your caster

What about the off casters? I didn't really talk about the Khador casters without iron flesh but I will spend a bit of time talking about Menoths infantry casters. I'll start by saying that Harbinger is not one of them. Though she clearly is an infantry caster she also has 10 focus and all her spells also work on jacks. You still expect to see 3 or 4 jacks with her. Kreoss2 has a really good tier list which has a crapload of infantry in it. His spells and feat are better for infantry. Expect to have a whole bunch of exemplars up in your face very quickly. Vindictus is quite tanky and can sit inside a unit of zealots with defenders ward and be near invincible. He also makes infantry faster but not jacks. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Ratmen - http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?297863-Ratmen-list

Wanted to try to organise my thoughts on Khador as a faction. I'll start off with What I think is a quintessential Khador list. This one is Jamie Perkins Old Witch list. Jamie has been very successful with this list or close variations of it.


The old witch has two DEF buffs, Iron Flesh and Wealed Secrets (which grants camouflage and will take the Nyss up to DEF 19 in a forest, Kayazy will be at 19 in combat and have stealth). It has two jacks (plus the scrapjack which comes with the caster), the maximum I think you can take with Khador and they both do something to mitigate the lack of threat range of khador jacks. Good lists are looking to ask questions or answer questions, this one asks a question - can you deal with 21 models with unhittable DEF? That's typical of Khador, can you deal with DEF 19 Kayazy with stealth, can you deal with a full unit of winterguard with DEF 17 and boosted sprays? Speaking of winterguard the reason why they are not in this list is because of character restrictions. The winterguard go with epic Sorscha, normal Irusk or the Butcher (normal not epic).

Why is high DEF so good?

I'll start by explaining why high ARM isn't that good. You have a built in buff to help with ARM, charging, that means that infantry, particularly weapon master infantry really have no trouble taking out models with higher ARM. Also beasts and jacks have higher P+S and the ability to boost. If you combine high ARM with multiple damage boxes then you can cause problems. High DEF doesn't need that. Average MAT and RAT is 6, and the top base MAT or RAT is 9, beasts, jacks and even casters do not have higher numbers. That's a much smaller spread than for P+S (Base P+S go from 8-22), there is also no built in buff to hit. You don't get an extra dice to hit when charging and while aiming may get you +2 on your ranged attacks you have to forfeit your movement to do it which lessens your ability to put attacks on a target (charging generally increases the number of attacks you can make) you still have problems with stealth and even at RAT 8 or 9 you will miss more than half your shots against DEF 17 or higher.

High DEF is DEF 17 or higher, it's the point where even when you have your beasts and jacks boosting you will still miss more than half of your attacks, where you'll need more than two attacks and two boosts for one hit. It's also the point where you are essentially immune to normal infantry. At MAT/RAT 6 you hit only 1 in 12 attacks against DEF 17 and cannot hit DEF 19 Kayazy at all. Even with an army like Everblight which is loaded with fury management and mostly beasts you cannot get through a unit of Kayazy if you are paying 3-5 fury for every single kill. The only way to deal with high DEF is to take models that have abilities to deal with high DEF. I've talked about that before and I think what I wrote there is still pretty valid. Even against models with lots of wounds DEF is still very important, a DEF 13 Colossal will take nearly twice as many average attacks to take down as a DEF 10 one, if you don't have a MAT buff even middle of the range DEF on models with a lot of wounds becomes an issue.

Lastly most of the things that can remove the spells/animi that are giving you high DEF or ARM require that you hit the target. Eiryss can easily strip off an armour buff but will struggle to remove iron flesh particularly from Kayazy (stealth). The same goes for hex blast the spell, or other models with dispel on their weapons.

What does this have to do with Khador?

Khador is unique among factions in that a large chunk of khador players including most of the top players break this faction down largely to one spell and that is iron flesh. Half of the Khador casters have it and the casters with iron flesh see much more game time than those without. Those that do not have iron flesh, if they are played at all, are second or third choice casters to provide some variety and take on different threats in a tournament (most players now know to take a list that can handle high DEF so it's good to bring something different as a backup list). Khador largely rely on their high DEF to cause issues at tournaments and it has for the reasons above been a very successful tactic.

Also the two best units in Khador (at least the two best full size units) are without a doubt Kayazy and Winterguard. A full unit of winterguard with UA put out 15 8" sprays with all attacks rolls boosted at POW 10 or can make normal POW 12 ranged attacks with the ability to CRA as well and three range 14 rocket shots (AOE 3). Iron flesh gets them to DEF 17 and if they don't need boosts to hit then Kovnik Joe can give them tough instead. Kayazy have stealth and duellist  gang and good mat so they hit anything and gang also takes them to respectable POW 12 so again they will shred infantry. Lastly they have kill stroke and parry which allows them to charge straight through your front line so they can kill your support, or midline casters, their good MAT and gang making them perfect for killing casters.

Khador can't do high ARM

One thing a lot of new players tend to think is that Khador is slow and high ARM. The problem is that Khador can't do high ARM, while they do have ARM 25 jacks, they are only ARM 25 as long as they don't make any attacks or they go to ARM 17. If you actually want your stuff to do anything Khador can only do ARM 20 and 21 as they have no ARM buffs (only one feat which doesn't really count, even then other factions have better ARM boosting feats). ARM 21 is not high ARM particularly when you are talking about infantry (shocktroopers) even POW 12 attacks will damage to ARM 21 models.

Most factions can do high ARM better than khador or at the very least as well - Trolls can give all their heavies ARM 22 and 23, their infantry ARM 20 and still be fast enough to get across the table, Menoth can give the Avatar ARM 23, Legion can get to the equivalent of ARM 22 with all their heavies, both minion factions can take their melee heavies to ARM 21, Circle can take the Wold Guardian to ARM 23 and Megalith to ARM 22, Skorne can get Cetrati to ARM 22 and 24 against shooting (again not counting feats). Even Retribution of Scyrah can put inviolable resolve on their colossal and take it to higher ARM and more damage boxes than the khador colossal. Then we get to the stuff that I actually consider high ARM - Skorne can use an agoniser, defenders ward and a Sentry or Tiberion to get to ARM 25 (and if you want you can take a sentry and it also benefits from the same Aura to go to ARM 23). Cygnar can put Arcane Shield on a Centurion for ARM 24 (and polarity field to prevent charging it), the Stormwall at ARM 22 also counts because it has so many damage boxes and plenty of casters can take it to ARM 24 against shooting. Mercs are actually the faction that can do it best now (or at least will be able to do it best shortly) with batten down the hatches and spiny growth on a Galleon it goes to ARM 24 which is probably the worst of the lot as it has so many damage boxes and can be repaired.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Another photo from twitter. It's so pretty, terrified it will suck (though people have figured out how to make even the mountain king work in some lists). This comes from Matt Wilson so expect an insider with the archangel or something similar to pop up on the site soon.