So I came into some cash…

Theme: New Army on a Budget

Now that the summer is done and I’m back to my old self again I realize just how much more writing there is to do on my blog.  I’ve got a lot of ideas in the pipe, and will hopefully be able to muster the motivation to turn them into articles.

The article after this will be the first of these new articles.  10 others will follow, one for each faction.  All of these articles will share an overall theme that should not be readily apparent in any way when your army hits the table:  budget.  This first article isn’t about how to build an army on a budget, but about the things you should keep in mind to get the most use out of the army you do build.

The idea for this series started on the Privateer Press Forums (  There are always new players looking to get into the game, and invariably they hit the faction forums for advice on what they “should get” or “what do I do to win”.  What they get from these forums is both good and bad advice.  They are told a lot about different playstyles.  They learn what models go well together, what pieces fit into combos, and how certain model plays.  They learn about “auto-includes” and “never-gets”.  They get mountains of information on Epic Haley (a strong caster), and very little on Darius (a weaker caster) unless they specifically ask about Darius.  There is also some talk of cost (mostly in reference to Kriel Warriors), and a lot of differing opinions.

All of this advice is certainly helpful, but I think is a little much for a new player.  There is talk of getting the models you like the look of, or the ones with the good rules, or the super combos.  There is little to no talk of something I see in my other hobbies, bang for your buck.

I’m not talking about how many points a unit is compared to dollars spent.  I’m talking about what your money gets you in terms of army playability and collectability.  After years of playing I’ve realized that certain things have inherently more value for their cost then others.

First, we should define “playability”.  When I say it in this article “playability” is the amount of play a model/unit can get.  Models with high playability have a lot of flexibility on the battlefield and can fill different rolls in different lists depending on the other models around and the plan.  A unit with high playability that you will hear a lot about is Dawnguard Invictors.  High armor, good melee, good range, a solid UA, Flank and jack marshal make this an incredibly flexible unit who’s roll changes with each Retribution caster that hits the field.  Conversely, a unit with low playability is the Squire.  The Squire is a very strong model, but he doesn’t do anything.  His job is to sit there and give bonuses to his warcaster.  He does this well, and reliably, game in game out no matter the opponent or controlling warcaster.  But that’s all he does.  The Squire you fielded in January will be just as exciting as the Squire you fielded in April.  So, playability is a game version of variety.  Not everything in a good budget list needs high playability, but overall the list should have high playability.

The lists below are the things to look for, and to avoid, when building a budget list.  More faction specific examples will follow in the coming weeks, but these are a good general guide for now.


Multi-purpose unit – Units which can fill multiples rolls on the battlefield have inherently high playability and good value.  Dawnguard Invictors are the kings of this, because they can excel at doing so many things with the right support.

Straightforward use – Straightforward models with simple rules are better for newer players (to the game or to a faction).  Learning the rules of the game while also trying to perform a complicated charge with Lord Commander Stryker will lead to frustration and possibly wasted budget.

Lower model count – The fewer things on the board there are for a player to use, the less overwhelmed she will be, the less rules there are to remember, and the less interactions there are to forget.

Options – The more options a player has with the pieces in his initial purchase, the longer he can go before he needs to heavily invest cash in his new army to expand his play experience.  This can involve Unit Attachments that alter the way a unit plays or models with several battlefield roles.

Plastic – Plastic models are inherently cheaper then their metal counterparts.  With some creative use of pins and magnets, they can be a lot more flexible as well.


Single purpose units – Units which do only a single thing should be avoided.  This is not to say that all dedicated melee or ranged units should be avoided for budget lists, but things that do only one thing should be.  Longgunners are a good unit to illustrate this.  They stand still and shoot things.  That is about the depth of their tactical application.  They are effective, but planting this unit on a hill (or behind a wall) and shooting gets boring fast.

Complicated Rules Interactions – Models that are just tricky to use should be avoided.  If a model requires too many conditions or rules interactions to work well, it’s not providing best bang for buck.

High model count – From a transportation and a painting perspective, nothing turns new players off faster then having to move and paint masses of troops.  30 zealots are cheap, and they make an interesting list, but you will gouge your eyes trying to paint them, and use far too much space moving them safely.

Expensive or complex models – When you are just starting, stick to the simple.  The Harbinger looks cool, but if you’ve never built a miniature before, trying to put her together will ensure that you never will again.  Also avoid cavalry; a full unit of them is an investment of $100, which is a large chunk of money for a single, usually single purpose unit.  Character warjacks fall into this category too.  They are typically advanced, highly detailed kits and are priced higher then their standard counterparts due to lower sales numbers.

One shot assassins – Your goal with a budget army is to build a maximum army on a minimum of dollars.  With this in mind, avoid one shot assassination warcasters.  Models like Epic Cane, Epic Asphyxious, and Baldur have very set “end the game” moves that are available if they get within a certain number of inches of the enemy warcaster/warlock.  These often involve feats and several detailed steps, but the plan does not vary from game to game.  These casters are not good for a budget army because they give you very low variety play, and the rest of the army is nominally filler around this warcaster’s super move.

As I said at the beginning, you are looking to build a maximum army on a minimum of dollars.  You’ll see me do this soon, but the tenants I’ll be following are very simple:

  • Models/units with flexible battlefield roles should be given priority.  This will allow you to change how your army plays quickly and easily, keeping playability high
  • Focus on a combined arms force, rather then a specialized army.  This will avoid bad matchups and autopilot builds, and will keep frustration and boredom to a minimum
  • Keep an eye towards how your army grows.  Good budget armies work very differently depending on the caster.  A well built budget army can change it’s whole game with the low cost addition of a new warcaster.
  • Play what you want to play.  All of this talk is a guideline.  In the end, never compromise if you are in love with a particular unit.  This passion will always keep playability high.

And the overriding rule: Get a new army and get the maximum amount of playability with the fewest dollars spent.

The best armies to build are those that can adjust their play style with a few changes in models or tactics, are easy to learn, and provide a lot of battlefield ability for the fewest dollars.

Posted in General | 3 Comments

Theme #2: Weapons of War

We’ll start off article #2 with a confession.  I used to play World of Warcraft.  My main character, Salana, was a shaman on an enhancement build, entirely built for melee combat.  Healing was for healing her, spells were for buffing her or close range damaging her enemy.  Gear?  As much combat mail as she could get her hands on, and maces. 

Why maces?  She could use daggers, staffs, axes and maces, and 2 handed varieties of both.  She was a dual wielding build, so 2 handed weapons were out, but that left plenty of other weapons in the dagger and axe department.  Yet, for most of a year Salana wielded almost nothing but hammers and clubs.  Why?  2 reasons really, look, and attitude. 

Maces were the first weapons made by man (or in her case, Troll).  They are simple, straight forward, and brutally effective.  In a word, they are primal.  The look was strong, that of a Troll charging at you full tilt with a club or hammer in each hand.  She didn’t care where she hit you, because every swing was going to break something.  Her opponents never had a clean death.  A rogue might put a knife neatly in your heart or quietly suffocate you.  Salana was going to beat you into something resembling frito pie.  For a further comparison, I direct you to the movie Troy.  Achilles is a rogue.  Salana was Ajax (The Greater).

So why do I go on talking about Warcraft in this clearly Warmachine/Hordes blog?  Simple, to illustrate a point:  We play wargames.  Weapons, more then anything else, define a model in this setting. 

With that, I welcome you to the rundown of Theme #2, Weapons of War. 

Weapons of War is an incredibly simple theme to build off of, and incredibly difficult at the same time.  It is incredibly easy to build this theme list because the criteria are so clear.  There is no grey area that some of the other themes have.  There is no interpretation on how the fluff influences a warcaster themed army.  Either a model has the required weapon, or it does not. 

Weapons of War armies are built on 1 of 2 simple requirements. 

1a. Visual Weapons – Chose a weapon or combination of weapons, every model in this army must carry that one or all of the chosen weapons.

1b. Weapon Rules – Chose one or two weapon abilities or statistics.  Every model in the army must have a weapon bearing that ability. 

Simple right?  Well these simple requirements require religious adherence to work from a theme perspective.  Because of this, I add requirement 2.

2. Exceptions – No more then 2 models (models not units) within your army are allowed to deviate from the theme.  The exception to this rule is non-character models that fill a support role (mechanics, choir, arcanists, vassals, nechrotechs, etc…)

Requirement 2 is what makes this theme difficult.  You cannot throw everything you want into the army.  You want a rifle themed Cygnarian army?  No gun mages, no Black 13th, no Storm anything, no sword knights, you get the picture.  Those 2 exceptions are precious, so you may want to save them for Stryker and ‘Ol Rowdy, or Nemo and the Thunder Head, or a Stormclad and Hammersmith for Kraye.  More then most themes, sticking to this one is going to force you to make some hard choices. 

The reward is an army that looks fantastic on the table top.  Imagine your opponent lays down his Cygnar army.  He has a unit of rangers, a full unit of long gunners, a minimum unit of storm lances, a unit of mechanics, a full unit of sword knights with UA, a pair of ranged warjacks, thorn, epic Haley, and the obligatory squire, Strangeways and Journeyman.  An effective army no doubt, but it has no unified visual theme (except the paint scheme).  You, in turn, lay down your two handed weapon themed Troll army (any weapon, as long as it’s two handed).  He’s staring down the barrel of 2 full units of fennblades, 2 axers, a troll hero, an earthborn dire troll (exception 1), a fell caller (exception 2), whelps (support) and a Kriel Stone bearer (support) and epic Madrak. 

This is a unified, intimidating army you just put on the table.  It’s unified not only in its paint scheme, but in the fact that all combat models have big swords and axes.  These things are so big they need two hands to hold them!  Imagine what those things will do to your opponents spread out selection of units.  What’s more, those single exceptions (such as a powerful warbeast) stand out even more.  They truly become centerpieces here.  Believe it or not, the visual strike of this army can be pretty intimidating.  Watch at tournaments, the armies that look great and unified are often those people notice and worry the most about playing. 

It must also be mention that this is a theme that lends itself very well to duplicate units.  In the Troll example above, there is only one unit that can hit the table under this theme.  No Fennblades?  No Infantry.  Fill up on them or don’t take them.  Duplicating units might be viewed by some as spam (a dangerous term for sure) but with such a limited selection you have more then traded off. 

So, let’s get on to some examples.  We have 2 this time, an example of 1a and an example of 1b.  Our factions are Skorne and Protectorate of Menoth respectively.  35 point lists for each, let’s get cracking!

“Come back with your shield, or on it” – Spartan Proverb

Theme: 2 (Weapons of War) Visual Weapons
Faction: Skorne
Warcaster: TBD (has to abide by the theme this time)
Points: 35 pts

Step 1: Spear and Shield.  Skorne do this theme very nicely, and there is a strong Greek influence here (the hoplite style of combat). 

This gives us access to the following units:

  • Cyclops Brute
  • Titan Sentry (to be released, but NQ mentions PC 9 for this model)
  • Cataphract Cetrati
  • Paingiver Beast Handlers (support unit)
  • Praetorian Ferox (mounted, but those are spears and shields I see)
  • Praetorian Karax
  • Agonizer (support model)
  • Tyrant Commander and Standard (The Tyrant has only half the weapon combo and is an exception.  The Standard counts as a support model)
  • Extoller Soulward (support model)
  • Tyrant Rhadeim


Step 2: No warlocks in the Skorne Army are armed in this manner, so the warlock will be one of our exception models.  Our other can be either a solo (Ancestral Guardian, Void Spirit, Master Tormenter), or a warbeast (any of those not listed), or Tyrant Commander and Standard.

The list:
  • Tyrant Xerxis +5
  • Cyclops Brute -5
  • Titan Sentry -9
  • Cataphract Cetrati (4) -8  
  • Cataphract Cetrati (4) -8  
  • Praetorian Ferox (3) -7
  • Tyrant Commander and Standard -3
35/35 points

That’s our first army.  Every thing has Shields and Spears with the exception of Xerxis (exception 1), the Tyrant Commander (exception 2), and the Standard (support).  The army as a whole has this massive feel of immovable object.  It’s going to play in a brick style with small numbers, so watch out for flank attacks.  The army is built like a tank, and has two distinct parts, themselves representative of the weapon theme.  You have the shield (the Cetrati), and the Spear (Xerxis, the Ferox, the beasts and the Tyrant).  Is it optimal?  No, but damn does it look nice on the table. 

How it looks:

As I said above, this army looks like an immovable object.  It’s going to hit the table looking strong, feeling strong, but feeling slow.  The army could best be compared to a big prickly rock.  A solid mass of armor and shields backed up by commanders and beasts is going to be inexorably making its way to the enemy bristling with spears for fighting and killing.  One small element of the army is going to be bouncing around the flanks, keeping them safe and looking for targets of opportunity.  This is also a very heavily armored army (very little skin, lots of armor on all models).  It’s going to look very good in a bold, dark color scheme.  Picture these models with a dark under cloth, a strong deeply colored armor and a high contrast trim color.  Black under cloth, blue armor, and bone trim would look great. 

How it plays:

The immovable object theme continues here as well.  Make no mistake; with the exception of its vanguard this army is slow.  Not slow naturally (most things are SPD 5), but slow because it’s going to always want to be in shield wall.  The models that don’t will want to be behind the shield wall.  This is mitigated somewhat by Xerxis and the Tyrant Commander.  These models are liberally handing out pathfinder or speedier advances every turn.  Further more, though the army forms a brick, it can exhibit surprising speed on the turn the brick comes apart. 

Formation wise, as you advance up the field the two units of Cetrati should form up side by side.  The Tyrant Commander and Sentry should be behind one line, and Xerxis and the Brute should be behind the other (with Xerxis towards the center).  The Ferox will go off to one side, playing the role of outriders.  They should get defenders ward from Xerxis first turn as this spell will make them extremely hard to kill off (DEF 15 ARM 19, ouch!) 

If you think you will be safe, everything should run on the first turn.  If not, Xerxis and the Commander hand out 2″ movement to the Cetrati, who then go into shield wall and advance.  Normally strategies like this can cause your support to fall behind and cause activation issues.  With Martial Discipline, however, Xerxis and the Commander can walk right through the lines, and the lines through them.  Awesome.  This shield wall advance continues until the enemy is in range.  As you advance Xerxis should be keeping Inhospitable Ground up to hold charges in check

Once you are in charge range (or even better when he charges your Cetrati and fails), it’s time to strike with a one-two hit.  The Critical Cetrati unit should have Fury cast on them, and all the infantry should charge.  The aim here is two fold: 1. Kill as many of his troops that you can.   2. Tie up the rest in melee.  Xerxis should also use his feat this turn; it will let your troops hill hard targets that might threaten him, and will also give them an armor boost from defensive line so that you can survive the counter attack. 

Though your opponent will now attack you, a lot of your stuff should survive.  Everything has high armor, everything has damage boxes. 

The next turn (or few turns) are the killing turns.  Your troops should go into shield wall, gaining even more resilience, and continuing to advance and attack.  Movement or pathfinder should be handed out as needed, but the goal here is to grind a path towards the enemy warcaster and kill him.  If you have to beat your way through his whole army to do this, so be it. 

Make no mistake, this is an attrition army, and is not the typical assassination game that people play.  You aren’t going to pull of crazy threat assassinations.  You are however going to inexorably advance towards your opponent and grab him by the neck.  He’s going to hit you, but you’re going to hit back harder.  In the end, you can weather the punches and he can’t.  You’re going to use your shield to weather his assault, and your spear to thrust through his heart. 

*           *           *           *           *           *           *           *           *           *           *           *

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” – Unknown Proverb

Theme: 2 (Weapons of War) Weapon Rules
Faction: Protectorate of Menoth
Warcaster: TBD (has to abide by the theme this time)
Points: 35 pts

Step 1: AOEs and Sprays – All models must have one attack (including spell) with an AOE or spray effect   

This gives us access to the following units:

  • Feora, Priestess of the Flame
  • Feora, Protector of the Flame
  • High Exemplar Kreoss
  • Grand Exemplar Kreoss
  • Hierarch Severius
  • Harbinger of Menoth
  • High Executioner Reznik
  • Redeemer Light Warjack
  • Repenter Light warjack
  • Vanquisher Heavy Warjack
  • Holy Zealots (The Monolith Bearer counts as support)
  • Flameguard Cleansers
  • Deliverers
  • Deliverer Sunburst Crew
  • Reclaimers ( support)
  • Choir (support)
  • Vassals of Menoth (support)
  • Vassal Mechanics (support)
  • Wracks (support)
  • Hierophant (support)


Step 2: We have plenty of warcasters that fit with an army like this, but that is balanced by relatively few troops and warjacks.  What’s more, we have no dedicated melee troops that fill this requirement.  This theme pick really shows the limitations that you can be under with certain themes.  It’s a cool theme no doubt, but it is very far outside the normal Menoth playstyle.  This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the particulars of the battle itself.

The list:
  • Feora, Protector of the Flame +6
  • Reckoner (Bonded) – 8
  • Repenter – 4
  • Repenter – 4
  • Repenter – 4
  • Repenter – 4
  • Holy Zealots (10) – 6
  • –          Monolith Bearer – 2
  • Choir (6) – 3
  • Vassal of Menoth – 2
  • Vassal of Menoth – 2
  • Vassal Mechanic – 1
  • Wracks – 1
 35/35 points


 What we end up with is a variant on a “competitive” Epic Feora list. Our one execption model is the Reckoner, which is bonded to Epic Feora for the fire and extra focus.  The meat of this list is filled with an insane core of fiery ranged murder.  Zealots, backed up by 4 (count ’em) Repenters.  The support rounds out this list.  We find the necessary choir, 2 Vassals, a Mechanic and a set of wracks.  As a variant, one Vassal can be replaced with a combat solo like a Paladin, Monk or Errant Seneschal (or even a mercenary).  This replacement will most likely be the second exception model.   

How it looks:

 This is a very striking list on the table.  Make no doubt, your opponent is going to see a lot of warjacks across the table and he will be scared, more so with the bomb squad coming up this middle.  There is a lot of redundancy in a list like this, and Feora and the Reckoner stand out strikingly in the middle of it all. 

For colors, this army can go with any of them.  What is important is that the army should look worn in.  The army should have lots of dark leathers for cloth, lots of burn marks, lots of battle damage. 

How it plays:

 This list plays simply: move forward, bomb and flame everything in site.  You’ll hit the enemy, because if you try you can cover half the battlefield in templates.  If at the start of a turn you should find yourself with a good assassination run, feat, and send in Feora or the Reckoner. 

This list has some very definite strengths and weaknesses but is highly flexible on the table.  I will not go into a turn by turn here, because this list is so adaptable you can safely go to battle with a little a plan as “kill that stuff”. 

The strengths of this list are in the bombs and AOEs, especially with Epic Feora around.  With 4 Repenters, it’s going to be very hard for your opponent to stop you from spraying.  Backed up by the choir these sprays are POW 14 and RAT 7 (which ignores most bonuses).  Add in the Vassals and 2 more sprays can come out.  Add in Epic Feora and the Repenters can advance 7 inches before spraying (Total spray range of 15”).  Very strong.  The other elements of this list can be used to support the sprays.  Zealots can be used to clear light infantry off of your jacks by targeting the engaged troops and letting the bombs scatter.  Zealots are also a great way to direct sprays, and if hit while under greater destiny, can provide more fire for Feora.  The Reckoner fills the role of a kill piece in this list.  He should be eyeing targets of opportunity, pinging solos, and bashing heavy jacks while he waits for a line to the caster. 

You’ve noticed now that this is a ranged oriented list, and there are downsides to that.  Things that hurt range will hurt this list.  This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that you don’t care about a lot of the things that hurt range in this list (cover, concealment, stealth), but beware of things that are immune to blast damage as they can give you a hard time.  Against targets with fire immunity, it’s time to wade into combat.  The Repenters and Zealots can actually excel here, with long charges, and high power attacks (Repenters with Choir, Zealots with Ignite and Prayers).  They will have trouble hitting the high defense models, but should be able to manage against most threats

This is a radical list no doubt, and sure to throw your opponents for a loop.  Just remember, plan your turns ahead of time, be flexible, and always look for openings.

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Theme 1: Warcaster/Warlock

Warmachine and Hordes has a distinct advantage over other game systems when it comes to constructing themed armies.  This is due to the nature of Warcasters and Warlocks.  For those who wandered here from outside, Warcasters and Warlocks are the leaders of your army.  Every army must have one.  Each one is very powerful, able to strengthen warjacks and warbeasts, cast spells, use powerful abilities, and fight like a true Greek hero.  The warcaster/warlock is also like a king in chess, whose death usually ends the battle the instant it happens. 

All of these things easily make a warcaster/warlock the center piece of an army.  But there’s another facet to these models that makes this even more appropriate.  They are characters.  Each warcaster and warlock is a named character within the background of the world setting.  They are leaders of soldiers and masters of machines or beasts.  They have a story, a history, passions, wants, loves and vendettas. 

In terms of building a themed army, there is a lot to work with here.  A warcaster or warlock themed army operates on a simple principle.  Chose your character, and select the army around them.  This is done in three easy steps:

  1. Pick your favorite warcaster or warlock.  This character can be chosen by looks, story, abilities, or even the roll of a dice (you like them all too much!).  The important part here is to pick one and stick with it till the army is done. 
  2. Hit the books.  You now need to immerse yourself in this character.  You need to look for histories about them within the setting.  The MK II Rulebooks and Forces books are great for this, but do not neglect the MK I rule books.  No Quarter Magazine is another good source of information.  If your chosen general has been profiled in the files of Gavin Kyle consider yourself blessed, you now have new insights into their character and motivations.   
  3. Build an army.  You are not limited to certain kinds of troops or warjacks in the same way as other varieties of theme armies.  The only limitations are the ones that your background research has revealed.  Often these are not hard and fast limitations, but rather insights into the character’s personal preferences and past history.  Stay true to these insights and you’ll have an army with a strong character feel.  **NOTE – you will often find that warcasters and warlocks work with different sorts of armies at different points in the background.  This should be taken into account when building your army. 



All of the above is really theory and guidelines.  The best way to drive home what I mean about a warcaster/warlock themed army is to build one as an example.  Of course, there are 10 whole factions out there, and nearly 100 warcasters and warlocks.  How is one to decide what army should be an example?  Here at The Theme Workshop, we roll dice to do such things!  ::roll:: ::roll:: ::roll::  Hmm?  36?  Alright then!

Theme: 1 (Warcaster/warlock)

Faction: Cryx

Warcaster: Lich Lord Terminus

Points: 35 pts

Step 1: Completed

Step 2: So the dice came up Terminus (yes I did roll).  Let’s do a bit of a fluff run down.  What do we know about Terminus? 

  • Terminus is a huge freaking monster made of flesh, bone, and metal
  • Terminus is a Lich Lord, immensely powerful and thousands of years old. 
  • Terminus is tasked with overseeing Cryxian operations on the main land (Western Immoren)
  • Terminus hates Asphyxious with a passion
  • Cryx’s operations on the main land consist of gathering raw materials for their war machine. 


I’ve got the feel for Terminus now.  He feels to me like a classic villain.  He’s immensely powerful, evil to the core, and likes hordes of minions to back up himself and his trusted subordinates.  He’s a sledge-hammer to the face.  Not for him the sublte assassinations of Denegra, or the pirate raids of Skarre.  Terminus is all about getting up close and personal and breaking skulls with some heavy hitters at his side and a swarm of minions to his front.  A look at his personal abilities confirm this.  All of his abilities either help keep him alive, help him tear warjacks in half, or keep the minions going.  His spells either shoot magic at the enemy, or make them more susceptible to being killed by Terminus.  His feat powers him like he just plugged into a nuclear plant.  No doubting it now, Terminus is a monster, and an army themed around Terminus is all about Terminus.  The following things in my opinion fit well with him in a 35 point army.

Hell jacks: If it’s one thing Terminus needs, its more monsters.  Every true villain needs trusted right hand men, or machines in this case.  All non-character Helljacks are good to go here.  Seethers, as insanely powerful necrotech creations, fit very well in this theme.  The aquatic jacks fit less well.

Thralls: Mechanithralls, Bile Thralls, Bane Thralls:  If it has thrall in the name it works well with Terminus.  This creature is a lord of the undead, and what is a lord without his minions?

Harvesters: Necrotechs, Necrosurgeons, scrapthralls: Terminus’ main mission on the continent is to gather raw materials.  These are the guys that help him do it.

 So, with these in mind….

The List 

  • Lich Lord Terminus +4
  • Slayer – 6
  • Seether – 9
  • Reaper – 7


  • Mechanithralls (10) – 5
  •             Brute Thrall – 1
  • Mechanithralls (10) – 5
  •             Brute Thrall – 1
  • Necrosurgeon – 2


  • Necrotech + Scrap Thrall – 1
  • Scrap Thralls (3) – 1
  • Scrap Thralls (3) – 1

 35/35 points

So there’s the army.  The Lich Lord and his personal Helljacks are at the center, forming a strong core of murderous iron and hate.  Ahead of them is a swarm of thralls, with Brute Thralls playing the role of light jacks and a Necrosurgeon keeping the pack on its feat.  As an element of necromantic randomness, you also have scrap thralls, and a Necrotech to keep the jacks moving.  The army can be adjusted easily for more bodies as well, simply swap out the Slayer for more Mechanithralls. 

How it looks

There’s a very clear theme to this army.  You have vast waves of mechanized and expendable undead running full tilt towards the enemy.  They won’t stay down, they get remade like new each turn, and it’s going to hurt like hell when this fleshy fist-toting tide hits.  What could be worse?  The towering Lich and his trio of black iron murder machines coming behind them.  Terminus really feels like a general in this army.  He’s the one leading the swarm, and his monsters are backing him up on this.  This is a villain through and through.  You have a swarm of minions and a quartet of bosses for anyone who gets through the pawns. 

How it plays

This army will play simple, direct, and unavoidable, much like Terminus himself.  It moves across the table in a single mass, with the Thralls running every turn.  Terminus and the Jacks should run to keep up, as should the Necrosurgeon.  As you move up, try to keep as many thralls as possible in CMD range of Terminus so they gain tough.  The ones that don’t make it should be brought back by the surgeon as quick as possible. 

The impact of this wave of bodies is going to be the build up to the crucial turn.  The Mechanithralls should run, not charge, the enemy, getting as many into combat and tying down as many things as possible.  They’ll die in droves, but they are minions, this is their purpose.  Directly behind this should be Terminus, close enough to some thralls that he can use sacrificial pawn, and with his jacks keeping things from easily reaching him in melee. 

The next turn is the kicker.  Bring back any thralls you can, move terminus close, feat and just start killing.  It doesn’t matter what it is, kill it, then bathe in it’s entrails.  Filling Terminus with souls is task number one.  Full of souls he’ll be safe for one more turn (hella high armor), so try to protect your jacks (or kill the things that can kill them). 

The final turn?  The end game.  Spread that now massive focus pool around and break the last of the enemy under a tide of iron monsters. 

The key to playing this way is to play like a cartoon villain.  Your enemy doesn’t matter, your troops don’t matter.  In the end, the battle will come down to you and your closest associates, suitably powered by the slaughter of armies, mercilessly pummeling the heroes into the dirt.

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Welcome to the Workshop

It has been far too long since I wrote here, but the main articles that I envisioned for this blog are coming to fruition.  You’ll find the first in a multi-part series here. 

A brief recap for those who are visiting for the first time.  The Theme Workshop is a blog dedicated to themed armies in the Warmachine and Hordes game system.  This blog covers any and all theme armies, from home grown to tiers.  We’re not going to delve into playing the game and how to field the most effective group of soldiers.  We will be exploring how to field a force of soldiers that both looks and feels awesome on the table top.  What does that mean?  Well, we will be exploring that below. 

What’s a Theme army?

This is a question that has been asked many times before.  We here the term tossed around on gaming forums, in hobby articles, in army spot light features, but rarely has anyone sat you down and told you how to build a theme army.  There is a reason for this.  Themed armies are all about the feel, and the rational.  They are not about finely tuning a list to get a certain combo off, nor are they about packing as many powerful units into one list as possible.  Themed armies are about style, fluff, and feel.   

I’ve been involved in this hobby for a long time (a jar of jellybeans to any who can guess how long), and in that time I’ve seen a lot of player armies I would call themed.  Some have had really strong themes, some not so much.  All of that experience however, leads me to define themes as such:

Themed army – Any army which has one or more unifying elements that are expressed in some way across the majority of models. 

A pretty good definition I think, and one which will be used for all future articles.  So remember it.  Write it down.  There might be a test later.

A theme army is still a very general concept though.  Armies can be themed based on the background, or based on the models themselves.  Many types of themes are available to build an army around, and no army or faction is limited to just one theme.  Warmachine and Hordes take place in a world setting rich with fluff and the armies in these games can easily be constructed with themes in mind.  So let’s explore the type of army themes available to us. 

Another 4-7 posts will come over the course of the next few weeks discussions various theme builds.  Stay tuned (for real this time)

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I have a lot of Warmachine and Warhammer models (and a few other items) posted on ebay.  Feel free to check them out.

Ebay Auctions

There are 3 battleboxes for Warmachine and Hordes up there, 2 of them painted.  Consider this a prodding from me to start a new theme army.  😉

Articles coming soon, promise


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Follow me on Twitter!

You can follow me on twitter.  This is a simple and direct statement, that can be met by a simple and direct action (following me).  However, the consequences of doing so are vast and mysterious.  You will receive updates on blog posts.  You will also see pictures of fun things.  What else will you get?  Only The Shadow knows.

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This blog will be restructured in the coming months to serve less as a personal gamers blog and more as the community resource I imagined it would be when I started.  Updates will be rapid fire for a week or so and then we will hit a normal schedule.

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