Well, so apparently you liked the first one enough to read the second one… *in bad Russian accent* well i am honoured
After a busy Hallowe’en and additional family stuff, I’ve comeback to force feed you a second dose of “Everyone’s gotta start somewhere”. We’ve got the Russi..I mean Khadoran reds; those plaid sashed drunken Trollbloods, and the eerie as hell Grymkin on the list for tonights article.
So…You’re looking at Khador. You’ve decided to join the ranks of the Reds and their hardy and pragmatic approach to gameplay. That pretty much exemplifies how Khador plays. Their options are pretty straightforward. There isn’t a single light jack in their armory, as they prefer heavy armour and resilience instead of mobility and nimbleness; each of their units is designed to either shock troop the enemy, or weather a storm of artillery while they close in to wreak devastation; and their solos are meant to inflict as much damage as possible. The Battle box is a perfect example of this “heavy is the answer” mindset, as this battlegroup has the smallest model count I can think of. However, don’t let the model count fool you. The two jacks that it comes with are more than capable of holding their own. Lord Kozlov is also a deceptively powerful model. with a spell list that aims to confer favourable conditions to his jacks as well as some added damage, Kozlov’s M.O is definitely securing and maintaining an advantage while delivering heavy, iron weighed strikes against unwitting opponents without any guise of mercy. Lets take a look and break this down a bit.
Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad
Lord Kozlov is about maintaining the favourable conditions of battle. as a 6 fury caster, his retinue of spells lean more towards offering advantage to his models and the theater in which they fight. Avalanche is a pow 14 spell that knocks down every model impacted and has a 4″ AOE; while Chosen Ground confers no knockdown and pathfinder while active. Fury is a cheap insurance policy that helps the spell’s recipient get more oomph behind their hit (conferring a +3 to all damage rolls made by the affected model). Razor wind is a single target damaging spell that really doesn’t offer much for entertainment. Lastly we have Tactical Supremacy which offers an end of activation movement of up to 3″, which is especially powerful for a jack with low speed. As combat goes, Kozlov isn’t a slow pitch hitter either, sporting a pow 12 Weaponmaster axe, he can mete out some punishment if forced into combat, and in the early stages of a journeyman, you may find yourself in that position if you’re not careful.
this is actually a pretty impressive jack, and looking at it’s numbers, you can see why the opening Battle box salvo only comes with two heavies. The Decimator offers a really mean opportunities, especially in melee. A pow 17 melee weapon with Sustained attack is pretty capable of mulching even some of the more high end heavies such as Ironclads or Mules. In tandem, however, is is the ranged capability it has too. The Dozer cannon at POW 15 and Rate of Fire 2 is a damn fine opportunity to level out some well placed shots before charging the fray. Even though its only Rng 10, the damage output is not insignificant and can make the difference between whether or not your opponents jack will have a chance to swing before it gets ground up into a heap
A staple in almost every beginning Khador player’s army, the Juggernaut is a tried and tested melee machine. Sporting an open fist at POW 15 and n Ice axe at Pow 19, this jack can really lay the pounding. Whats more fun is the critical freeze ability, whereupon laying a crit on an enemy model, the model is rendered stationary (not that many things will be left standing after a forward assault from a Juggernaut). Using this jack is pretty straightforward, which is convenient because that is the direction you want to be pushing it as well.
So, my takeaway is how simplistic and straightforward this list runs, and one could argue that it could lead to boredom. Kozlov should keep close with his battlegroup in order to maximize delivery of a flurry of very high-powered, and well placed attacks, reinforce mobility, and simply to keep in his control range. Kozlov himself wants to keep proximity so his jacks can take advantage of targets of Avalanche, as the best thing for a high powered hit to make an attack on is something with a def of 5. In addition, tactical supremacy s an excellent means of getting that juggernaut into combat faster, as the difference of 3″ can be all the difference between victory and defeat. A new player may consider the idea of using Tactical Supremacy to give the Decimator a Hit and run role with its cannon. My recommendation is not to fall into that trap (I’ll address shortly). Fury is an excellent way to ramp one of these jacks to 11, and my recommendation is the Juggernaut as your close combat nightmare. Razor wind may not have much of an impact in any game you play as the focus can always be better spent on one of the more useful spells in his repertoire. Chosen Ground is a handy spell for games with a larger battlegroup and army, but may not necessarily have a place in early, starter point battle box games as there simply isn’t enough terrain for three models to be heavily concerned about. But again, as you build your red tide, it will definitely become more valuable. Lastly, his feat is unusual for a starter caster feat, as it adds +2 speed and +2 Arm which is amazing for closing the gap and withstanding blows from any attacks made while moving in to hack and slash
The jacks in this list are very straight forward to use. The Decimator wants to close in to allow use of that pow 15 gun, but with a range of 10, you may only get a round or two to use it. However, those shots can change the tide of the battle quickly, especially if they land some pretty heavy damage. The gun is a placeholder for the rip saw, as you want to make sure that, even though you have the big gun, you are firing it *while* closing the gap. Don’t let the Decimator stop or fall behind.
The juggernaut is very point and click. With tactical supremacy, it can move anywhere from 7″ to 11″ with tactical supremacy, so use the spell to close that much more ground. Once its in combat, hedge your bets and put Fury on the Juggernaut and watch it just level anything it breathes on. The juggernaut should only ever either be moving into melee, or actually in melee. In later games where you may find yourself playing tournament games that the Juggernaut may be a decent jack for taking zones, but this is a beginners article. While pretty straightforward, this Battle box has some seriously high damage potential in any round where it lands an attack, and its simplicity is a thing of beauty
The Trollblood starter is a bit more unique (and personally, i think) one of the more challenging kits to play. The synergies between the caster and battlegroup are a pinch less obvious, but in that lack of direct obviousness is the capacity to get a tiny bit creative. Lets crack this one out, and I’ll let you guys gauge and think on this one yourselves.
Ragnar is an interesting caster that seems to want to disadvantage his opponent more than directly damage them. His feat pillow-fists the most powerful punches by forcing any attacks made on any friendly models in his control range to roll one less die when rolling damage; His hammer, while an appreciable POW 14, gains more benefit from its inherent abilities than the damage, as it drops a 4″ AOE on any model hit, and any models affected by the AOE that are hit with a critical hit are also knocked down.
More to the point of disadvantaging opponents, his spell list really seems to cater to this. To say that his spells don’t offer anything directly to his battlegroup is misleading, as Pulverizer offers +2 STR to anything it is cast on, it also confers beatback, which may be immensely effective if you’re de-synergizing a plan by a player that includes models being in specific positions. Hex blast is a powerful offensive spell that wipes Upkeep spells from models benefitting from such things ( and as a pow 13 spell with an AOE of 3″ its not bad offensively as well). Earth’s sanctuary is an interesting spell opportunity for a model like the Troll impaler for a defensive ranged strike opportunity , as it allows a model to dig in for a round. Lastly, Shockwave is a pow 14 4″ AOE that drops anything under the template on its arse, provided that it successfully hits the model targeted. With this collection of spells Ragnar really feels more the support piece than a model intended to directly engage, although Warhead on his hammer may lead a new player to consider the alternative.
The Troll Impaler is a classic range support piece that can also mete out some halfway decent damage from a halfway decent distance away. The impaler spear is a Pow 13, Rng 8 weapon, and with the impaler’s animus which grants snipe amps the range to 12. its got a decent amount of hit points and offers more displacement, as critical hit with the spear knocks the hit model back by d6 inches as the force of the spear knocks the poor hapless bastard of that roasting stick right in the solar plexus. As trolls go as well, they have hyper regeneration, so if the impaler gets hit by a few off shots, it can recoup any spiral disabling shots in a round. Of course, as a spear wielder, it also has Set defense which is handy if anything gets a bit too lose on behalf of a charge.
The Bouncer isn’t bad as far as light combat ready beasts go. with a POW 11 shield and a POW 12 Ball and chain, the power output isn’t huge on this model, but it has a few advantages, such as Chain weapon which extends the range of the weapon to 4″ and ignores shield rules. Its animus denies any attack that forces the model to move or any attacks that knock models down. Lastly, he has shield guard which is handy for adding ablative hit points to a model that may need said benefit.
The Axer seems to be the one carrying the most weight in terms of damage output with a pow 14 axe. Thresher in a battlebox game has a questionable level of usability in the early stages of learning how to play, but as opponents begin to use units and more models, the thresher ability starts to become more relevant. The animus for this bad boy may seem familiar to those who play Skorne, as the Axer also has the same Rush Animus as the Titan Gladiator which conveys +2 movement and pathfinder.
Well, one of the first things that come to mind when looking for synergies is the spell list. An excellent start would be a combination of Ragnar’s Earth’s Sanctuary, and the Impaler’s animus. Get the extra 4″ on that spear and dig him in once he has a good line on the target of choice, and start filling out the target. Chances are, he won’t kill anything straightaway, but it will make a difference when the Axer and/or Bouncer decide they want to get personal. Speaking of the axer, get Pulverize on him right away. Its safer to cast it while the caster is outside of danger range, and cheaper to upkeep than it is to cast, and that one fury difference could be the difference between a victory or a loss. Between the two, you can deliver some serious damage if you put them together. The Bouncer is something of a wild card model. As a shield guard he can help offset any damage to the Axer or the Impaler (Remember that Ragnar can transfer to the bouncer anyway, but in a round where you’ve had to burn your fury and you may have realized after the fact that maybe that was a bit too dangerous, a bouncer is a good place to deflect a hit or two to.
Lastly, consider using Ragnar’s feat on that turn you engage in combat. Nothing is more annoying than laying that first level headed concrete brick to the face, and having the opponent retaliate with a pillowfisted cabbage patch doll of a punch. This kind of feat is somewhat universal, with regards to the size of the army you play. No matter how many points you play, this feat is great at limiting the impact of a charge or the damage that can be laid out by an already high POW model. This list really caters to a more nickel and dime strategy while minimizing the enemy’s ability to respond. Although its a bit janky to start, you’ll get the hang of it.
I love Grymkin. They’re creepy, kooky and just plain unsettling, and their playstyle looks the part as well (I mean, when you’re first caster looks like a ‘roided out ‘My Pet Monster’, it sets the tone pretty effectively). The caster is basically a spastic, spoiled child who has a huge beast as a companion ( the whole thing is one model, rather than two separate models) whose playstyle is fitting: like that of a spoiled child. The beasts are some of the most unsettling (conceptually speaking) in the Iron Kingdoms. The Gorehound is a dog that can grab with its tongue and ignore literally every obstruction on the map as long as it has enough movement to pass through it completely; The Cage Rager is slow, but massive, and can be used to arc node spells until it gets to you, then it just punches. HARD. however, the winner of the “Stuff of nightmares” category is the Frightmare. Lets break it down
The child is a heavy hitter of her own accord, with two pow 16s, and 7 focus, but her real power is in what she does for her group and herself when she gets in to melee. If she’s hit by anything, then she auto gets a +2 to STR and ARM until the end of turn. if its a melee attack, then God forbid, as the model also gets retaliatory strike which allows the model to make an out-of-activation strike against an opponent. In addition to the inflation when she’s hit, she can also provide +2 to Speed and Strength when using Abuse on another beast; Force Hammer is an expensive push spell which may come in handy in later games that involve zones and does a decent amount of damage while doing so; Discord has no use until you start playing against a player with units, which in that case it offers a lot of opportunity to stop many unit abilities by denying models the ability to give orders, nor does it allow enemy models to cast spells. Lastly, is the one spell that really exemplifies the caster: Tantrum, which states that if any models in your battle group are hit with an attack, then the model struck can move 2″ and make an attack during the maintenance phase of their next turn.
A beast of few words but a few abilities. It may be a big lumbering hulk, but it hulks around with a pair of POW 18 fists and colects corpses. The moment it has a corpse, it has the ability to serve as an arc node for your caster. The model is flexible as it allows you to either use it as a hammer handed brick breaker, or as a support piece that serves as a collection point for corpses and relays spells across the table. In addition to these physical attributes, it also has Arcane Vortex which allows any spell targeting it or any model within 3″ to be cancelled if it gains a fury to do so.
This fella is the stuff of nightmares. Use that to your advantage! it can ignore stealth and clouds with its animus while spitting a pow 13 corrosion attack which is good for auto-plinking a point of damage a round if the affected model doesn’t shake it off. In addition it comes armed with 2 POW 10 melee attacks, which are pretty basic. It’s also harder to kill due to regeneration. The Frightmare is a fairly straight forward beast with a little bit of utility overall
In my opinion, tis little hellhound is the miracle worker in this list. With ghostly, it ignores all obstructions, provided that it an completely clear them, which means that walls don’t mean much when it comes to maneuvering. It also has prowl, so if it hides in the corner of a house or in the woods, it also gains stealth. The extended control range means that it can move double the distance away from its caster and still be considered within the caster’s control range. The secret, though, in my mind is actually in the melee attack. A 2″ bite, but not just any bite. This bite drags the model up to 2″ towards the Gorehound, which is amazing if you have an enemy model tucked behind a wall, as the Gorehound can come up within 2″ of the affected model, and yank him out into the open so other models can follow up with their own attacks. the bugger also has sprint which allows the Gorehound to make a full advance after destroying an enemy model.
First off, a note of suggestion for new players. Grymkin *might* not be the best starter faction, as some of the details in the core rule book don’t address Grymkin. Firstly, instead of a feat, it has Trump Cards that have in game triggers that set of specific effects which usually last the round, while feat triggering is solely in the control of the player on his/her turn. Each caster has one Trump card specific to them, and may pick two more. once the cards are used they are depleted for the game. In addition, the synergies are a little weird for first time players. Now, if you can sort them out, they are a ton of fun to play, but a new player may find them daunting and confusing. Don’t worry, understanding comes with time.
The main things you want to take advantage of are the Gorehound’s extended Control range and its dragging bite. the extended control range allows the Gorehound to set up very effectively as a support piece and ensures you have the ability to pull anything hiding out into the open. I’ve won quite a few games by moving through an obstacle +2″, and then making one attack on a model which pulled it out of cover and rendered the Child fully capable of smashing it into a gore and tooth soup. The Frightmare is perfect for providing ranged support and softening up targets before laying fists into them. It can also provide some melee support if needed, but its strength relies on working the acid spit ability. The Cage Rager is kind of the unsuspecting death machine. While it may be slow and steady, the amount of power behind those punches is nuts. In addition, it becomes an arc node once it has a corpse token applied to it, which allows the Child to sling spells over a greater distance, while also denying enemies the ability to cast spells.
The Child is definitely a model that wants to reach out and touch someone. The spells and abilities it brings to the table want it and some of its buddies (Ideally the Cage Rager for maximum damage output) to get right into the face of anything that is worthy of a good facial rearrangement, and the Child is really good at providing it. In addition, spells like Abuse and Tantrum are great for speed and damage increases as well as closing gaps, as Tantrum allows any model in your battlegroup a 2″ move and a free attack during your maintenance phase. That means that an abused cage rager could potentially move as far as 12″ in a turn where it uses both effects at maximum capacity, while laying in a series of Pow 20 hits, while a stack of attacks out of activation can make a huge difference when you’re in the market for melee attacks. Force Hammer may be handy for a bit of crowd control, but its cost makes it a little subjective for use in a battlebox game, and Discord is useless in this type of play.
The Child’s trump card is “Wrath” which increases the fury stat of all models in the Child’s battlegroup by 1. This means, an extra attack or boost or cost economizing for things like Animii. interesting choices to fill the remaining two could be Shadow, which gives you a faction heavy warbeast for a round (another Cage Rager or a Skins and Moans) when a model advances and ends int he melee range of a model smaller than the model that made the advance. which throws an entire models worth of combat capability into the mix; another one could be shroud, which gives a round of stealth when one of your models is hit by a ranged attack, which is very effective against a list that relies heavily on ranged support; Accursed is another decent one, but can only be triggered when a friendly faction model is destroyed by a ranged attack. My advice is to read through all the Arcana card options, and choose based on the way you want to play. It can get complex, but it can also be very rewarding when you hit on that combo that works for you
Anyhow, thats it for me this time around. For the next article, which will (Hopefully be within the next week or two) will talk about the purifying flame of the Protectorate of Menoth (ugh..it hurts saying that..i hate playing against Menoth); the wild beasts of the Circle of Orboros; and for our Alternate Battlebox we’ll take a look at the new seat at the table, the warriors of the Order of the Golden Crucible, The Crucible Guard. For those of you who are looking to start a journeyman league with your newly bought and built battleboxes, I heavily endorse checking out fellow Party Foul writer Mike Corkhill’s article “The Journey of a Journeyman League, or Growing through Slow-Gro“. This is an excellent article for ambitious event coordinators who want to start their own Journeyman league but have never done so before.