Ahh, at 25 points, I tend not to run Madhammer in Searforge. I usually do Durgen, Herne and Jonne, full Nyss, Eyriss, A Driller and two Gunners, Reinholt, and Dougal MacNaile.
Ahh, at 25 points, I tend not to run Madhammer in Searforge. I usually do Durgen, Herne and Jonne, full Nyss, Eyriss, A Driller and two Gunners, Reinholt, and Dougal MacNaile.
Soul Slave + Razorworm = Lazorworm. End of joke.
Strategic Analysis - Ogrun Bokur
Representing ten percent of Rhul’s population, Ogrun are present in most day-to-day life for all Rhulfolk, and military matters are no exception. When they come of age, many young Ogrun will journey through Rhul to find a master to declare their Korune. Once they have found one and proven themselves worthy companion, Bokur fight with furious tenacity and strength. Capable of cutting massive beasts in two or slamming a steam-belching warjack to the ground, Bokur are a welcomed asset to the Searforge Commission.
Bokur feature quite impressive stats all around. SPD 5 immediately separates them all other available melee-centric Searforge options. Their STR 9 also comes into play when dealing out Slam and Collateral damage, so he is capable of killing single-wound infantry at ARM 15 or below with average damage rolls by bowling larger-based models through their ranks. MAT 6 will allow them to hit models at DEF 13 with average rolls and is further boosted thanks to other abilities like Powerful Charge and the Client bonus. The Bokur’s DEF value of 13 separates it even more from the normal Rhulic mold, a DEF score only beaten by Durgen. At ARM 17 and with a total of eight wounds, Bokur will take a beating before going down. To put it in game turns, it requires a POW 25 hit or a pair of POW 21 hits to kill.
Bokur wage war with a simple, yet powerful Pole Arm and Shield. The oversized Pole Arm is easily able to cleave through most armor and hides, making it a fine tool for delivering a kill stroke. The Bokur’s Shield, while typically used for ancillary attacks, can be a fearsome weapon when backed up by the furious strength of the hulking brute who wields it.
Ogrun Pole Arm – At P+S 15, this weapon will easily put the hurt on most medium-armored targets and, while charging, heavily-armored targets as well. This is further compounded by the Client bonus.
Shield – While not the most impressive looking weapon, the Bokur’s Shield will kill most non-Shield Wall, single-wound infantry or put some extra damage on a light warjack or warbeast with average rolls.
Powerful Charge – At MAT 8 on the charge, Bokur will strike true against DEF 15 targets on average rolls. This makes Bokur already able to strike hard against many high-priority targets like solos, warcasters, and warlocks. Stacked with the Client bonus, a Bokur can boast an extremely impressive MAT 10. Be aware that Powerful Charge only applies to the Bokur's Pole Arm and not to its Shield.
Reach – At SPD 5, thanks to Reach Bokur have a threat range of 10” on the charge. Reach is also quite nice for engaging multiple infantry models, denying them the ability to make ranged attacks. Like Powerful Charge, Reach only applies to the Bokur's Pole Arm and not its Shield.
Client – The Client bonus applies a few very special bonuses to the Bokur. First is that it boosts its attack rolls by 2, making it pretty accurate in melee (effectively MAT 8), incredibly so when combined with Powerful Charge. This gives the Bokur an edge against high-DEF models like warcasters, warlocks, and solos. Second is that it boosts damage rolls by 2 as well. On average, a charging Bokur with the Client bonus will deliver a P+S 27.5 attack, enough to put damage on most any model in the game. Lastly, the Client bonus makes the Bokur fearless, a nice bonus considering it's rather average CMD stat.
Shield Guard – This ability gives your Bokur a certain measure of backfield utility, allowing them to protect other models from ranged assassination. Consider keeping your Bokur close to priority solos or your warcaster. Be mindful of the limitations for using Shield Guard though. You can only use it once per turn and never if the Bokur is Incorporeal, Knocked Down, or Stationary. He can, however, use it while engaged or even while fleeing.
Slam – While your Bokur will most typically be looking to their combat actions to lay down a nice, big P+S 17 attack on something, there will be occasions when the disruption, lane clearing, or DEF-dropping debuffs granted by a slamming a model can come in handy. As the Bokur is a medium-based model, remember that large-based models will only move d3”. Consider using your own medium-based models (like badly-damaged and less useful Gunners or Blasters) to knock down clumps of enemy small-based, high-DEF models, making them easy targets for your ranged troops.
Battlefield Role -
Bokur fill a number of roles. First is that they are bodyguards for your high-priority models like Thor Steinhammer, Brun Cragback, High Shield Officers, or your warcaster. Their medium bases make them excellent at providing a screen, while Shield Guard gives you the means to protect those models from ranged assassination. The second role is as a “finisher”. Their P+S 17 attack from their Pole Arm will hurt most models, but it won't be enough to outright destroy most hardened, multi-wound targets. If you can soften those targets up first with ranged fire or a combined charge from another source, Bokur can do well enough removing those last few damage boxes with a charge. Their third role is as a solo assassin. With the Client bonus and Powerful Charge, they're effective MAT 10, allowing them to strike truly against most any model in the game, including those pesky high-DEF solos like Eiryss.
Bokur often work great in the second or third wave of your army. While they are fairly tough solos, they will die to a concentrated ranged attack, so don't throw them up front unless they're moving in for an attack of their own. You have other models that act as damage sponges better than Bokur at your disposal (i.e. warjacks). As placement is not a factor in using Shield Guard, they can actually be placed behind the model they're protecting. As mentioned earlier, Bokur are finishers, so you may also look at keeping them near models that are going to soften up closing targets like a unit of High Shields or a marshaled Driller or Rockram.
The nice thing about the Client bonus is that it does not have to be determined during the list-building process; you can wait until you know what you're playing against. If you feel that you're playing against a list that is going to go for a ranged caster assassination, than you may be better off attaching it to your warcaster. If there's evidence that they're going to gun for Cragback or Steinhammer, perhaps they would be better options. As your Bokur can use Shield Guard on any friendly model, you don't necessarily need keep them near their Client at all times or even choose the Client that will most likely be a target, but you'll often want them to be in order to take advantage of the Client bonus when it comes time for them to charge in.
Supporting Ogrun Bokur -
Ogrun Bokur have a very nice built-in support ability in the Client bonus. All that is necessary is to keep the Client within 6” of the Bokur to give him a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls in addition to making it Fearless. However, it's important to ultimately know when you really need the Client bonus and when you don't. If, for example, your Bokur has Thor as a Client, and Thor would need to move dangerously close to the action in order to apply the Client bonus to his charging Bokur, it may be a better idea to forgo the Client bonus to give Thor a better chance of survival so he can continue to manipulate and buff your warjacks. If you do still want to get that bonus, do your best to get Thor within 2” of the Bokur's final position so he may still benefit from Shield Guard.
While your Bokur will often be Fearless due to the Client bonus, if their Client dies or the Bokur wanders too far from their Client, they will be vulnerable to Fear and Terror. Rockbottom's Bought Loyalty can keep him in the game despite a failed command check.
Spell-wise, Bokur benefit nicely from Durgen's Primed spell. While it does lower their ARM and effectively diminishes their bodyguard role, it boosts their damage output nicely to an effective MAT 12, P+S 19 with the Client Bonus and Powerful Charge while also creating a landmine of sorts for closing enemy melee models. Gorten can keep forward-deployed Bokur nicely protected with his Rock Wall, boosting their DEF against ranged attacks up to 17 and against models with Reach attacking over the Rock Wall up to 15. It additionally will outright stop models without Pathfinder and/or Reach from being able to attack your Bokur in melee at all.
As a protection and melee support model, Bokur are not exactly a model that work well in high numbers, particularly with access to other very effective PC 3 choices like Gunners, Blasters, or filling out units. One Bokur will typically be adequate for any list, but they are no means a requirement. In larger games of 50 or 75 points a pair of Bokur might not be a terrible choice, particularly if you expect to face lots of ranged threats.
Last edited by relasine; 07-11-2010 at 09:53 PM.
I use to use 3 bokurs in mk1, and now im lucky if I ever use one, at least at 35 pts. I could see myself bringing back the 3 at 50 maybe. Mk1 say a bokur with gudrun, one with brun and lug, and one with either gorten or thor. Do you see 3 being too many now?
Khador - 30/8/0 Strakhov "Red flash" list currently
Searforge - 3/1/0 NOW MK2 active!
Trolls - 9/3/0
Sig by Wargamer Lester
Strategic Analysis - Ghordson Basher
Originally designed to haul rock, ore, and equipment in and out of Rhulic mines, the Ghorsdon Basher is a steamjack that has been repurposed for war. Armed with a pair of short-ranged grenade launchers and a cavalier temper for ramming into enemy positions, Basher's are instruments of disruption and bedlam.
Basher's are fairly nimble for a Rhulic heavy, being able to cover 8” on a charge or slam. Their STR value is quite nice at 12 and will be quite consequential considering the Basher's liberal application of collateral damage rolls. At a respectable MAT 6, Bashers will hit most heavy warjacks on less-than average rolls, but boosting those attacks during high-risk endeavors like a slam is never a bad idea unless their target is DEF 10 or less. While Bashers do have a higher DEF value than other Rhulic heavies, DEF 10 still isn't exactly defense. Players should consider all attacks without the Inaccurate quality a good bet to directly hit your Basher. ARM 19 puts them in a nice position as far as ability to withstand weak attacks, but be mindful of the Basher's total damage boxes; it has fewer than most other heavies. This however, is nicely mitigated by how the Basher's systems are spread out, meaning a Basher will have to take a beating before losing any combat effectiveness.
Battering Ram – While the Battering Ram is not the Basher's sole means of damage, it is its only weapon-proper. At P+S 15, the Basher will not have the damage output of a Driller or Rockram, so don't look to it for its ability to lay waste to enemy heavy warjacks. Heavy warbeasts, however, are often going to be more vulnerable here, due to their often low ARM stats.
Follow Up – This ability has a number of different applications for the Basher. Most obviously, it's a means for the Basher to continue beating on its target by closing the distance slammed and buying more melee attacks. As the target will at this point be knocked down, it will auto-hit with all melee attacks: a nice little bonus. The second use here is to advance into a model that the Basher's target was slammed over to attack it or drop a Flak Field on it. This is a nice way for going after an enemy warcaster or warlock if you're lucky enough to line such an attack up. The third use is to keep slammed model busy, forcing it to deal with the Basher while the rest of your army works towards other objectives. This can be particularly handy against hard-to-kill targets like Devastators.
Grand Slam – Free slams are thing of beauty, particularly when on a large-based model with SPD 5. This alleviates focus strain on your warcasters and even allows your Bashers to slam while marshaled. The additional 2” of distance on the slam helps to mitigate the randomness of rolling a single d6 to determine distance; you're always looking at minimum of 3” instead of just 1”.
Flak Field – While it doesn't look like much on paper, Flak Field is a pretty nice ability, and can occasionally be devastating. It's important to note that Flak Field is not an attack or action; it just happens. You can do it before moving, after moving, after attacking, after using Follow Up, even before running (but not after). The next thing of note is that it automatically hits. This can give you a fool proof way to kill models with extreme levels of DEF like Sorcha with Wind Rush. The third thing is that the breadth of the attack is fairly impressive. A 50mm model is a hair-width shy of 2”, meaning that there's effectively a 6” footprint where models will be taking damage rolls. This makes Flak Field a great way to take out a load of high-DEF, low-ARM troopers like Mage Hunters, Kayazi, or Satyxis. Finally, a POW 6 model is not often going to hurt your own troops. Even our lowest-ARM models like Thor will require at least a roll of 9 to do any damage; just make sure they're not in base-to-base first! Remember that Flak Field rolls cannot be boosted, including via Tune Up. Also beware of models with Force Barrier or Dig In. They ignore the effects of Flak Field as it does count as Blast damage.
Hard Head – This is a very nice bonus to the Basher, allowing it to hit their slammed targets for an additional 3 damage. While it also applies to head-butt attacks, most players will find that they'll likely never access it. It's also worth noting that the Basher can still benefit from Hard Head while the head system is disabled, as the Basher is making a power attack, not an attack with the Battering Ram. Make note that Hard Head will only apply to the model slammed, not to collateral damage rolls; which will only take POW 12.
Battlefield Role -
As mentioned earlier, Bashers are tools of disruption and opportunity. They are fantastic at removing a troublesome model from the list of immediate threats by both moving it and engaging it with a fairly cheap, durable warjack. Thanks to being able to slam for free and the increased distance on a slam, Bashers are also adept at knocking down and applying collateral damage to swathes of enemy troops that have clumped up behind a larger-based model, hurting, denying, and debuffing them. This makes Bashers very good at clearing line of sight to and knocking down enemy warcasters and warlocks, effectively serving them up on a platter to the ranged elements of your army. Additionally, these qualities also make the Basher a fine choice for removing high-ARM targets from scoring areas. With Flak Field, Bashers are also good at applying blast damage to low-ARM enemy models without having to stress over drift directions and distances on AOE attacks.
Bashers are viable choices for a number of controlling models, but one certainly stands out among the rest. Thor Steinhammer makes Bashers into extremely hard-to-counter, difficult-to-predict nightmares. Due to being able to move the Basher before it activates via Pronto, Bashers have both increased threat range (effectively 13.5”) as well as an extremely handy means of lining up a slam to get the most devastating effect out of the attack. The ability to redeploy before a slam is incredibly powerful, so much so that it cannot be stressed enough. Because slamming model must move directly towards the center of their target, there are often many steps in placement your opponent can take stop a slam from happening, but Pronto completely mitigates this and allows you to realign the attack. With the 'Jack Marshal bonus, you can additionally boost the attack or damage roll or buy another attack after you use Follow Up. The Basher also has some nice synergy with Gorten, who gives up Thor's high maneuverability for access to Strength of Granite. Durgen like-wise works okay with a Basher thanks to Redline, which will give the Basher better-than printed threat range and more damage. That being said, Pronto is very hard to pass up for 'jack buffs that are often better applied to other models like a Driller or Rockram.
If marshaled with Thor, where you deploy your Basher is rather inconsequential as long as you can make a hole for it to move through. With Pronto and the ability to run for free, you can redeploy your Basher 15” on turn one, getting it where ever you might want it. If playing your Basher in an army with Durgen, I'd recommend keeping it near him until you send it in so you can use Flak Field to give him more focus. A pair of Bashers can make Durgen effectively an 8 FOC caster, which can be quite awe-inspiring to behold.
Supporting the Ghordson Basher -
As mentioned earlier, the best support you can give your Basher is Pronto, which makes Bashers terrifying. It makes the Basher extremely difficult to account for in ones planning unless they have specific means of dealing with it, like spells or effects that will deny it the ability to move. A nice buff that the Basher can benefit from while being marshaled is Durgen's feat, granting it an additional die on Flak Field damage rolls,which do count as blast damage. POW 12+3d6 damage rolls that automatically hit can be a really nice way to finish off a warcaster or warlock, and boosted POW 6+3d6 damage rolls will kill most single-wound, non-Shield Wall or ARM-buffed infantry fairly nicely.
If running your Basher with Gorten, Strength of Granite will allow you to give your Basher another roll, which is anti-armor. At P+S 19, they're hitting as hard as Juggernauts and issuing POW 16 collateral damage rolls. Durgen's Redline will give the Basher another 2” of threat range and boost its P+S to 17 and collateral damage rolls to 14. But remember, both of these abilities come at the cost of losing Pronto, which is arguably more useful in most situations.
It's often a good idea to support your Basher with ranged elements that can pick off the Basher's victims while they are knocked down; consequently making it work well with Gunners, Blasters, High Shields, Rockbottom, anyone with a gun.
Due to having such a specialized role, it's often best to only take a single Basher unless you are running a high-point game, have a very solid core to your army, and want either more line-of-sight-clearing/disruption capability or an additional focus for Durgen. As mentioned earlier, Durgen becomes a truly amazing warcaster when he has eight focus to play with, but the cost for those additional focus points is high.
Last edited by relasine; 07-12-2010 at 10:30 AM.
An excellent write-up, Relasine. Save for one little section...
How do the bonejacks work this? They are the only other model I can think of with a head-mounted weapon.Originally Posted by MkII pt rulebook
Here you go. There's no Infernal ruling there, but no correction from the Infernals usually implies that the question was answered correctly. If a ruling is made otherwise, I'll gladly update that post.
Strategic Analysis – Wroughthammer Rockram
Originally designed for pulverizing and shattering the rock and rubble of Rhulic mining enclaves, the Wroughthammer Rockram is equally at home on the battlefield. Wielding an enormous mechanikal hammer and a short-ranged cannon capable of penetrating rock and armor alike, the Rockram is fine machine of death and destruction.
Like its brother the Driller, the Rockram doesn't boast particularly amazing base stats. Its SPD value is as low as one would expect from a typical Rhulic heavy, so it will rarely make the first contact of the battle unless its mobility is buffed in some way (i.e. Redline, Pronto) else the distance closed via Landslide. The Rockram's STR is fairly nice, but without an open fist, it won't come into play much, save for slam, trample, or the occasional head-butt attacks. MAT 6 isn't too bad for a heavy, but making attacks against warbeasts, warcasters, warlocks, or even DEF-buffed warjacks may require boosting via spending focus or Tune Up. RAT 5 is pretty low, and will often require boosting against all but the lowest-DEF targets. This isn't necessarily a bad thing considering the the Rockram's excellent critical effect on the Sledge Cannon. Its DEF value isn't exactly “defense” in the strictest sense of the word. Save the case of miserable dice rolling, attacks on Rockrams are going to hit. While the Rockram's ARM 19 isn't terribly impressive for a heavy, it does get a nice little buff from its Buckler. Its damage grid is pretty nice, only missing four boxes of the potential 36.
Rhulic tools of mining often make excellent tools of war. Where its Pulverizer is fairly adept at delivering seismic blows to walls of solid rock, it is equally competent at delivering crushing blows to heavy armor. Its Sledge Cannon, which was originally designed for shattering particularly hardened deposits of minerals, can put large, smoking holes in warjacks and wild beasts alike.
Sledge Cannon – While the RNG on this weapon is decidedly short, its damage output is considerable. A POW 15, boosted or not, will put damage on any warrior model, save high-ARM warcasters camping focus. Against warjacks and high-ARM warbeasts, a boosted damage roll will like-wise put some meaningful damage on all but the most resilient warjacks.
Pulverizer – P+S 18 is par-for-the-course on melee warjacks, a fact made more interesting considering that this particular warjack also comes with a ranged weapon as well. P+S 18 attacks will put out a POW 25 on average, POW 28.5 if boosted. That means that on average, with Tune Up, an advancing Rockram with three focus will wreck a Juggernaut.
Buckler – ARM 20 heavies are the gold standard for measuring damage output for a reason; ARM values that high mitigate a fantastic amount of damage. Be wary that if the right arm system is crippled, the Rockram will use the extra +1 ARM from the Buckler.
Assault – Granting an extra attack while charging, Assault gives the Rockram a higher damage profile depending on the ARM value of its target (the lower the ARM, the bigger the boost). It can also be used to increase the ranged threat range on the Rockram's Sledge Cannon up to 15”, but at the cost of spending focus or using the 'Jack Marshal bonus to charge. More often than not, if the Rockram is within advancing range of its target, you'll be better off using the focus you would have spent to Assault on buying an additional attack with the Pulverizer. The only exception here is if you are attacking a knocked down or a very low-DEF model unless the Rockram has Tune Up on its damage rolls.
Critical Catastrophic Damage – A critical hit with the Sledge Cannon can potentially add a good deal of damage to an attack against a warjack or warbeast, but the amount done is largely a matter of luck. For instance, if a critical hit is rolled and two damage is done to Deathripper's first column, the additional damage is quite marginal. However, if seven damage is done to a Woldwarden's third branch, the Woldwarden will take an additional seven damage.
Critical Stagger – Knocking out a model's initial attacks can be quite a nice means of greatly reducing the damage output of the Rockram's target while also denying them access to Chain Attacks and Combo Strikes. A model with a crippled Cortex or inactive Spirit will effectively be shut down for the turn unless repaired or healed.
Battlefield Role -
Much like the Driller, the Rockram is most often used for its melee prowess, but it does have some capabilities at range. This makes the Rockram a nice choice to bolster your army's ranged capabilities if you don't quite have the points to fit in another Grundback Gunner in your army. The Rockram's high ARM and large footprint make it a fine damage sink and screening model for the softer models in your army.
Controller choice for your Rockram can often be difficult. Gorten can boost both the Rockram's effectiveness in melee thanks to Strength of Granite as well as its effective accuracy and threat range via Landslide. Durgen, meanwhile, can increase threat range, melee damage output, and give the Rockram a free charge via Redline, letting the Rockram Assault and attack four times at P+S 20. Thor Steinhammer, also has some nice synergy with the Rockram, by increasing its threat range, positioning, and potentially accuracy (if the aiming bonus is used) via Pronto. Pronto can also be used to get your Rockram upfield fairly quickly, allowing it to run and then advance a total of 12”. Additionally, the 'Jack Marshal bonus can be used to allow full advantage of Assault. Tune Up is also handy for boosting either its attack rolls (to increase the chance of a critical effect triggering) or damage rolls.
In terms of initial placement, the Rockram will serve you best up front so that you can take advantage of its resilience while the rest of your army advances behind it.
Supporting the Wroughthammer Rockram -
How to support your Rockram is really a matter of what available buffs you can give it based on who is controlling it. Go for fully-boosted attack rolls agains DEF 13 models and fully-boosted damage rolls against anything DEF 12 or lower unless trampling. With Gorten, unless you're running multiple heavies with him, cast Strength of Granite on the Rockram and upkeep it every turn. You can minimize the volume of potential attackers via Rock Wall, but don't count on the DEF boost from cover or making a melee attack over an obstacle to keep the Rockram safe. Even with the +4 DEF from cover, the Rockram is still only DEF 13. The point with Rock Wall is deny placement, stopping models without Reach or Pathfinder from being able to make melee attacks against the Rockram. With Durgen, put Redline up on your Rockram on the first turn after the Rockram has moved if possible. This way the Rockram isn't taking damage on turn one and can potentially last a little bit longer when things come to blows. Redline is a fantastic spell on the Rockram, as it allows it to take advantage of both its high melee damage output as well as Assault. If going for a ranged assassination, through an Explosivo on the Rockram and boost the attack roll for 4d6 on the attack, letting the Rockram hit DEF 19 on average rolls, a handy tool against models counting on ridiculous DEF values to survive.
With Thor, Tune Up is always an option as he may put it on any Rhulic warjack regardless of its controller. If Thor is the controller, Pronto can achieve a few things. First, it's a means to move the Rockram and still be able to take advantage of the aiming bonus. Second, it's a way to move the Rockram forward, fire it, then pull it back after its activated. Considering the Sledge Cannon's RNG, this may be a good idea on occasion. Third, and most obvious, it gives the 'jack a really nice boost to its threat range, increasing it from 7.5” on the charge to 11.5” or from 15” when making an Assault charge to 19”.
At PC 8, the Rockram isn't exactly a warjack you'll want to run en masse. This isn't because it's necessarily a poor warjack, but because at PC 6, the Driller is a better choice for your second and third melee heavy if you choose to go that route.
Due to the escalation of war and technology in the south, the Avalacher is the first Rhulic warjack outfitted exclusively for warfare, breaking the standard mold of building and maintaining dual-purpose machines like the Ghordson Driller or Wroughthammer Rockram. Armed with the mighty Avalanche Cannon and protected by its enormous Assault Shield, the Avalancher can dispense death and destruction at long range while remaining quite well-protected from retribution.
The Ghordson Avalancher is built on the same chassis as the Driller and Rockram, and consequently has the exact same base stats. While SPD 4 is very slow, it's rather negligible considering that the Avalancher will do most of its work from extreme range. STR 12 implies a healthy defense against single-handed throws and good collateral damage while slamming or trampling. While its MAT value of 6 won't often come into play, with the right buffs, Avalanchers can sport impressive damage profiles comparable to the base damage stats of its brothers on the same chassis. RAT 5, however, is pretty low for what is supposed to be a dedicated ranged warjack. Use of the aiming bonus, boosting, or target debuffing will often be important if accuracy is a critical facet of your attack. DEF 9 is as low as it gets. If something attacks the Avalancher, it will most likely hit. While ARM 19 isn't exactly superb for a heavy warjack, its Assault Shield provides nicely in increasing its resilience, particularly when combined with its rather robust damage grid of 32 boxes.
Armed with the devastating Avalanche Cannon and holding up its tall Assault Shield, the Avalancher is a mobile artillery platform, savaging infantry formations as easily as it blows the limbs off of warjacks.
Avalanche Cannon – At RNG 15, this weapon is amongst the farthest-reaching ranged weapons in the game. Models directly hit suffer a POW 14. On average you're looking at a POW 21 with two dice or a POW 24.5 if boosted. Boosted direct hits will obviously not do a great deal against a Juggernaut, but they will make warjacks with ARM 18 or lower suffer. This applies well against warbeasts as well, which typically give up high ARM stats for higher DEF stats. As for its blast damage, you're looking at a POW 7, which on average will deal a POW 14. This is fairly nice for taking out models with low ARM like Kayazi or Mechanithralls. If boosted, blast damage jumps up to POW 17.5, giving the Avalancher enough power to kill Bane Knights or Stormblades. If you're firing the Avalancher into groups of single-wound infantry and not a single target, you may wish to try your luck at hoping for a good drift by not boosting and hoping that you miss. This is risky, as the drifting mechanics are fickle, but direct hits against infantry that are not clumped tight together will often mean fewer blast damage rolls than if you miss and get a good drift result.
Assault Shield – Aside from providing the Avalancher with a fantastic ARM value of 21, the Assault Shield provides you with a last ditch weapon for those occasions when enemy models close in and engage it in melee. While P+S 14 isn't that grand, both warcasters have nice STR buffs that will raise the Assault Shield's effectiveness considerably. Tune Up can help quite a bit as well, making the Shield hit about as hard as a non-boosted POW 18.
Battlefield Role -
The Avalancher's role should be obvious; it fires from range at the most appropriate target. These targets are most always clumps of high-DEF, low-arm infantry, or warjacks or warbeasts topping off at around ARM 18. If the former cannot be found and your opponent has instead run a horde of elite, high-ARM troops, the Avalancher can still threaten these models if benefiting from Tune Up. In a pinch and with the right buffs, particularly Strengh of Granite and/or Tune Up, Avalanchers are pretty capable in melee, out-classing most non-buffed, melee heavies.
Picking the Avalancher's controller is a pretty hard decision for a few reasons. First and foremost, it's actually not too bad when controlled by anything able to, and that includes High Shields. As mentioned earlier, Gorten is capable of making the Avalancher into a talented melee warjack. Now in terms of letting the Avalancher do what it was meant to, Gorten isn't bad, but as he is often strapped for focus, and he may not always have the resources available to allow it to boost that attack roll. Durgen has similar ability to boost STR, but not as much as Gorten, but he does has a higher focus stat and access to the ability to acquire more focus via Blast Armor, so he can drive the Avalancher's ranged capabilities with focus a bit better than Gorten. There's also his feat to consider. Thor is also very capable of running an Avalancher thanks to Pronto, Tune Up, and the 'Jack Marshal bonus. Even High Shields can run an Avalancher, as it can do well enough at range with just the 'Jack Marshal bonus and Tune Up.
As the Avalancher is designed for long range fire support, you may wish to run it in your second wave, perhaps acting as a screen for Durgen (who can fire over it) or Thor. Get it too far upfield and you risk having it getting engaged and losing access to its Avalanche Cannon. Keep it too far back, however, and you lose the Avalancher's talent for being a damage magnet.
Supporting the Ghordson Avalancher -
The Avalancher can do well with two things: means to boost their accuracy, and means to boost or add an additional die to all their damage rolls. The first can obviously come in many forms, like the 'Jack Marshal bonus, spending focus, Durgen's feat, or simply aiming. The second, however, is a bit more limited for sources, coming from simply spending the focus, which can be costly considering the general lack of focus that Rhulic warcasters have, Tune Up, or Durgen's feat, which will only boost the blast damage rolls.
Starting on the accuracy side of things, the more you can stack your effective RAT buffs on assassination runs, the better, particularly when dealing with warcasters hiding behind cover or banking on spells like Blur or Wind Rush to save them. If you can stack the aiming bonus, Durgen's feat to give an additional die on the attack roll, and focus or the 'Jack Marshal bonus to boost it, the Avalancher will hit DEF 21 on average. With Gorten, debuffing via his feat and stacking the aiming bonus and a boosted attack roll will make the Avalancher effectively RAT 10 hitting DEF 20.5 on average.
For damage, Tune Up is pretty amazing. It boosts everything, direct and blast damage, letting you put heavy damage on the model directly hit while hopefully killing all the single-wound models around your target with average rolls of POW 17.5. Stack Tune Up with Durgen's feat, and you're looking at blast damage ramping up to POW 7+4d6, doing POW 21 on average rolls.
Other support forms are typically dependent on who is controlling your Avalancher. As mentioned earlier, Gorten is capable of making your Avalancher into a truly multi-purpose warjack with a POW 14 gun, a POW 18 melee weapon, and ARM 21. While you aren't going to get the mileage out of Strength of Granite here that you would from a Driller or a Rockram, POW 18 is pretty good for a melee weapon regardless. With three focus, Tune Up, and Strength of Granite, you're looking at 34 damage against an ARM 20 heavy. This is something you may wish to heavily consider when looking at your list build when determining exactly how many Drillers you want in your list; you're rarely going to have to destroy two Devastators, after all. If you look at it in the light of being a ranged heavy that can provide a solid measure of redundancy for your melee contingent, the Avalancher begins to appear a bit more attractive.
Durgen's Redline isn't bad, but STR 16 isn't exactly much to write home about. With three focus and Tune Up, you'll come up with about 30 damage when charging a healthy ARM 19 heavy provided you hit. It does additionally give the Avalancher a bit more threat range while charging into melee. It's not fantastic, but it can fill a gap late game.
Avalanchers are very expensive. At PC 9 they're going to represent a significant portion of your build total, so make sure you have a solid core for your list before making that investment. Outside of playing with Durgen's theme list, I'd recommend against taking more than one in anything under 75 points. In 35-point games, I'm hesitant to field one at all, but again, if you core is solid and you have room for it, it can work for you.
Last edited by relasine; 07-14-2010 at 06:07 AM.
Armed with the legendary Barrage Arquebus, Herne and Jonne can be seen fighting side-by-side throughout Western Immoren for a variety of nations. However, in 605 AR when the Searforge Commission was created, the duo found themselves lending their expertise to Clan Searforge and the 33rd High Shields on a regular basis.
Herne and Jonne have two completely different sets of stats, complete with varying amounts of wounds, SPD, STR, and ARM values. Being a dwarf of a less-than speedy nature, Herne is SPD 4, meaning that the unit will be moving relatively slowly as they advance up field, especially if you want to take advantage of his Gunner and the Scatter Shot attack. Herne’s MAT and RAT values mean that he can hit semi-reliably if he has the opportunity, so don’t forget that he does have a gun and an axe. His DEF and ARM values aren’t entirely impressive, and he only has five wounds, so keep him protected or risk giving him up.
While Jonne’s SPD value of 6 is very nice, he is tied to Herne’s slower SPD value, so you could consider it a 4 unless you are choosing to forgo Scatter Shot and the +2 to RAT. If charging into combat, this gives Jonne a nice, 9.5” threat range with his hefty Great Axe. While Herne won’t be able to keep up and fight, he will be able to run and keep close enough to maintain unit coherency. While Jonne’s RAT value is a bit low at 4, he does get the benefit of the additional RAT from Herne’s Gunner ability, and he won’t always really require a high RAT as he is counting on the rather random nature of his AOEs to do the work. Like Herne, Jonne’s DEF value is below average, making him vulnerable to hard-hitting, ranged fire. Jonne, however, is much survivable than Herne due to his ARM 15 with 8 wounds, but don’t think he can’t be killed with just a little effort. Due to his large base size, he is easily targeted, and a single large CRA or a boosted Hand Cannon shots can kill him with average rolling.
Armed with the Barrage Arquebus and a variety of other instruments, Herne and Jonne are known primarily for their ability to dispense death from a distance. However, a dwarf with a handgun and an ogrun with an axe are never to be underestimated.
Pistol – Herne comes armed with a single, short-ranged weapon. At RNG 8, POW 10, it won’t do a ton of damage, but it is an extra, relatively accurate shot. He can still shoot with it while functioning as a Gunner to Jonne, so don’t forget about it.
Axe – Herne isn’t particularly well known for his ability to deliver an axe to the face, but with a MAT value of 6, he will hit DEF 13 on average rolls and kill a single-wound model of ARM 15 or less without having to roll an 8 or higher.
Barrage Arquebus – This weapon is what the unit is all about. At RNG 12, Jonne has an 18” threat range with this gun, which isn’t something to dismiss easily, especially considering its POW value. However, Jonne will almost always want the benefit of Gunner and the ability to make a Scatter Shot attack, so you’ll usually be looking at a 16” threat range instead. At POW 14, you’ll be able to put some good damage on medium-ARM targets like light warjacks, light warbeasts, or multi-wound models if a direct hit can be scored. Blast damage rolls should penetrate models that have ARM values of 13 or lower without a ton of trouble. It’s only a 3” blast, so look for models that are clumped up close.
Great Axe – While you’ll usually want Jonne firing his gun, the ability to dispense a POW 13 attack isn’t something to sneer at. On the charge, Jonne will be able to exceed ARM values around 21/22. This isn’t quite high enough to dispatch a Demo Corps model, but it will kill less hardy models if he can land a strike with it.
Gunner – An artillery shot at RAT 4 is pretty average and won’t hit most targets without RAT buffing or target debuffing, but a RAT 6 shot will. Herne’s ability to boost Jonne’s RAT is very important and often a source of dilemma, as you’re sacrificing threat range for accuracy, something that is further compounded by the Scatter Shot attack.
Scatter Shot – This is the main event. 3, 3” AOEs doing POW 7 Blast damage. The caveat here is that both models must be alive and in base contact. Consequently, if Herne dies, the ability is gone. Ideally, you want this shot to land in the middle of a large horde of infantry and to drift as little as possible from the center of this spot, so do what you can to increase accuracy by either aiming at the target, debuffing them, or getting close so that you can decrease the amount of drift. Remember that all drifting AOEs from the initial point of impact will drift the total amount rolled on the d6, and that the rules for maximum deviation don’t apply to the two additional templates.
Battlefield Role –
Herne and Jonne have an obvious roll. They are present to rain templates of death onto low-ARM infantry. This makes them ideal for going after pesky models with Stealth, extremely high DEF, or models simply in great numbers like Zealots, Mechanithralls, Gun Mages, Long Gunners, Idrians, Kayazi, Striders, etc.
As a medium-based model with some ARM and wounds to him, Jonne can act as a screen for your warcaster or some other important model, and in a pinch, he’s not bad with his axe. A boosted POW 13 will put two or three damage on your average Khadoran heavy.
Deploying Herne and Jonne –
If deploying second, you’ll usually want the pair to be placed opposite their intended target so that they will have the best chance of being able to fire on them as early as possible. If deploying first, place them towards the center of the board so that they’ll have the best possible chance of having good early access while being able to redeploy with a first turn run order with ease.
Supporting Herne and Jonne –
There's really only one existing proper buff for this unit, which is Durgen's Feat. Bombs Away increases Herne and Jonne's potential damage output exponentially, allowing them to do average blast damage rolls of 17.5, enough to kill most hardened-single wound infantry. If attacking against Shield Wall infantry, do your best to target a model in the back lines so that you can be rolling against their base ARM provided the that the model your rolling against has the AOE in his back arc. Otherwise, the pair doesn’t really need a ton of support, but there are some helpful tactics and synergies to keep in mind. First is that a model affected by Solid Ground will not take damage from the duo’s three AOEs. This means that Herne and Jonne can fire into a melee without having to worry about friendly casualties, and is thusly a great way to clear off low ARM infantry from your own models. Second is that Durgen can benefit from a possible extra three Focus if you roll lucky with your deviations. Merely walk the pair up to Durgen and shoot at him at point blank range; just hope that you don’t score a direct hit, which will, unfortunately, only require an 8 on 2d6.
As Jonne is a medium-based model carrying a giant cannon, he might be an early priority target, so it is important to either keep him screened with terrain or other medium- or large-based models, or to present your opponent with other targets that they might hopefully deem higher priority. A well-placed Bokur can keep him alive for an extra turn thanks to Shield Guard.
Last edited by relasine; 07-13-2010 at 07:38 AM.
Relasine, the effort you've put into this thread is simply fantastic - thanks so much =]! As someone looking to get into warmachine, these threads are immensely helpful.
Hired to act as a guide through more treacherous terrain throughout Western Immoren, Brun and his unlikely companion are a fearsome pair on the battlefield. While Brun’s predilection for the wilderness helps make him a credit to his profession, it often makes him difficult to find for agents of the Searforge Commission who wish to employ his services.
Brun Cragback’s stats are quite typically Rhulic. At SPD 5, he doesn’t often get anywhere in a hurry, so if you’re planning on charging him in, prepare to take advantage of terrain or offer up bait in order to draw his enemies into range. His MAT value of 7 isn’t too bad, particularly when combined with his ability to spend fury to boost, get the bonus from Flank, or knockdown his target via Bear Hands. Brun’s RAT is fairly average, and combined with the short range of his Blunderbuss, he will often need to spend fury to hit targets that don’t have lower DEF values. Brun’s own DEF value is fairly high compared to most Rhulic stat lines, coming in at 13. This means that he dice might actually work in your favor on occasion. At ARM 15, a whopping 10 wounds, and the ability to transfer damage, Brun can be fairly difficult to take down without a some means of ignoring his defensive or a decent amount of concentrated attacks, particularly when combined with other abilities like Stonehold and Lifebond. Brun’s Fury value is awfully low at 3, so keeping him close enough to Lug in order to force can and will be a challenge to adjust to.
Lug’s stats are fairly nice for what we could label a Rhulic heavy. He’s pretty agile at SPD 5, so he can close a bit more quickly than a Driller or Rockram. His STR of 12 makes him a nice option when taking advantage of power attacks, particularly double-handed throws, giving him a nice 6” (7” if throwing a small-based model) toss with the d3” deviation. While his MAT is fairly low for a heavy, but it gets nicely boosted with Flank and Bear Hands, making him pretty fury efficient if the need is great. His DEF value is what you’d expect from a bear. Warjacks and warbeasts will hit him with average rolls, so don’t count on it to keep him safe unless you substantially buff him. Lug’s ARM comes in at 18 with a total of 27 wounds, making him fairly resilient to the occasional shot, but it won’t take a ton to kill him. To put it in perspective, it’d take 4 charging Bane Knights to do Lug in (provided they all hit and did average damage rolls). His Fury value is quite respectable, allowing him to do a total seven attacks with his two initial attacks, the chain attack, and four additional purchased attacks. At Threshold 9, chancing a frenzy might not be a bad idea if you can leave him with one fury on him.
Brun and Lug are uncomplicated creatures and are armed as such. There’s nothing more simple than an Axe or firearm more reliable than the Blunderbuss, both of which Brun brings to bear (no pun intended) with great enthusiasm and skill. As a wild creature naturally armed to fight, Lug needs nothing more than his Claws and razor-sharp teeth.
Blunderbuss – At a relatively short range of 8, Brun will most often have to forgo the aiming bonus to fire his Blunderbuss. However, it does actually work quite well for him considering that he has Fury available to boost both attack and damage rolls with. While he will most often wish to charge into combat with Lug, this weapon comes in handy for turns when he can’t quite make it into melee or you wish to hold him reserve.
Axe – While only P+S 10, Brun can handle this weapon quite handily thanks to Flank, which will effectively make him a MAT 9, P+S 10 Weapon Master.
Claw – While a pair of POW 15 weapons won’t often impress Warmachine players accustomed to warjacks with POW 18 axes, hammers, and swords, it’s important to remember that Lug has two of these weapons, while warjacks often only have one. To put it in perspective, Lug will do a total of 4 damage against a Khadoran heavy with his initial attacks while an Ironclad will only do an average 5. This gap does begin to close with extra purchased attacks, but Lug’s Fury value of 4, chain attack, and Flank help quite a bit as well. These also give Lug the ability to make Single- and Double-Handed Throws, making him work quite well against hard targets that you just can’t quite deal with.
Fearless – Brun and Lug needn’t worry much about Abominations or Terror-causing enemies. It's a good thing.
Immunity: Cold - While this ability will often be rather inconsequential, there will be times that it will come in handy, so don't forget you have it. There are many Khador spells and abilities that are Damage Type: Cold or are ineffective against models with Immunity: Cold like various attacks from Grey Lords or either Sorchas' feat. On the Hordes side, there are a few attacks to watch out for as well, like Epic Thagrosh's or a Winter Troll's spray attack, Lanyssa's Ice Bolt, or Vayl's Hoarfrost and Chiller.
Flank – This is ability that takes the pair and pushes them both to incredible levels. When Brun has the Flank bonus, he becomes an effective MAT 9, making him very accurate, especially when boosting his attack roll. At only P+S 10, however, Brun won't exactly be dealing a ton of damage, but it can be enough to finish off a critical solo or even a warcaster or warlock. Lug, on the other hand, will deliver an average POW 25.5 without boosting or charging, while also boosting him up to an effective MAT 7, equal to an Ironclad. Combined with Bear Hands, Lug can lay down a ridiculous amount of damage on a target with quite a deal of accuracy. While you should look for the Flank bonus against high-priority targets, know that sometimes it may not be possible to pull off, as Brun’s placement may require that Lug be outside of his control range and unable to charge. If this is the situation, consider taking advantage of Grab and Smash to throw Lug's prey into the laps of something else in your army that can finish them off.
Lesser Warlock – While technically a solo, Brun has many of the normal warlock abilities, namely Damage Transference, Healing, Forcing, Fury Manipulation, and Spell Casting. Being able to transfer damage is a very nice means for keeping Brun alive, particularly when combined with Stonehold and his impressive ten wounds. The ability to heal noth Brun and Lug is also quite nice as well, allowing your warbeast to continue fighting at full strength even if he is not brought down in a single, broad stroke, and giving Brun the chance to boost himself back up if he has the extra Fury and nothin better to do with it. Note the his is not a commander, and so may not share his command value, even with Lug.
Lifebond – This is yet another excellent ability for keeping Brun alive throughout the entire game. If you can keep Brun in base-to-base with Lug, you needn’t worry about accounting for the possibility of having to transfer damage to Lug when determining fury allocation during your round, save that you may still not transfer if Lug has four Fury on him. Unless you need to dump Fury to avoid having to make a Threshold check, always use Lifebond to transfer. Beware of abilties that can place or push the pair out of base-to-base contact though. Things like Telekinesis or Thunderbolt rounds may spell trouble if Brun isn't sitting on a few Fury.
Pathfinder – This ability yet another large part of what separates them from all the other Commission options. Aside from Gudrun, Brun and Lug are the only models in the Commission that may freely ignore rough terrain and obstacles, make them a huge boon against armies that either rely on terrain or have a good deal of trouble dealing with it. Deploying and moving them in and around terrain may often be a good way of freeing up other parts of the board in order to avoid crowding. Don’t do this out of habit, though. There may often be situations where the pair will be best off out in the open.
Chain Attack: Grab and Smash – Lug will not always have the damage output to finish off his targets, making Grab and Smash a nice addition. If, for example, the only enemy model contesting a scoring area is a single Spriggan, instead of trying to destroy it (which will be difficult unless you're rolling hot or the target has already taken some damage), you can put some damage on it, then two-handed throw it out of the scoring area with Grab and Smash. This is also a nice ability for tossing hardened targets over to other elements in your army that might can finish the target off. If you don't want to throw your target, you can alternatively attempt a head-butt for the knock down effect and a little extra damage (if you haven't used Bear Hands yet), or you attempt a lock to deny a model the use of a weapon.
Warbeast Bond – This bond gives Brun +2 DEF against melee attack, immunity to free strikes, and no back arc if Lug is within 3”. The additional DEF bonus and immunity to free strikes and back strikes helps increase Brun’s already impressive survivability even further.
Continued on the next post...
Continued from the previous post...
Spells and Animi –
Stonehold – Despite the fact that Brun only has one spell, he will be casting it and upkeeping it nearly every turn. Stonehold not only reduces damage rolls done against him by one die, but it keeps him and every model in base contact with him on their feet. This may sound redundant with Solid Ground, but you must remember that Gorten’s control area is pretty small, and that Durgen has no defense against such abilities. In lieu of Solid Ground, look to Stonehold to keep your priority targets safe from Drop and Pop tactics.
Bear Hands – Lug’s animus, which both he and Brun can cast, allows any model they hit in melee to either be knocked down or pushed 3” away. It’s a great way for not only denying movement, but also for improving fury efficiency by allowing you to hit automatically, saving you the trouble of having to spend your fury on boosting. If sending both Brun and Lug in on the same target, do what you can to send one in after the other, the first charging in and knocking the target down for the other to charge in and and finish off. Lug’s animus is a nice ability to have not only for Brun and Lug, but it can potentially benefit your entire army. A knocked down target never counts as being engaged, so you can use this to make life much easier for your ranged models like your warcaster, High Shields, Gunners, Blasters, or Herne and Jonne. The available Push effect from Bear Hands can be nice too, particularly when playing with scenarios that use scoring areas or points. It won’t often be the primary use of Bear Hands, but it is available, so don’t forget about it.
Battlefield Role –
Brun and Lug have several roles they can fill. First and foremost, they are an excellent independent strike force that can hold a flank against hard targets or go straight up the middle to deal with them there. Secondly they are a great measure of redundancy for the melee arm of your strike force. Thirdly, they work quite well in tandem with ranged models like Gunners or High Shields, allowing your shooters to finish off any target that Lug has knocked down via Bear Hands or Grab and Smash.
Brun and Lug are often best deployed in such a way as to take advantage of terrain for a couple reasons. First of all, letting them do so will increase their defense against targets without Pathfinder (or an equivalent ability) while also granting them Concealment. Secondly, by putting them where the rest of your army dare not tread, you’re effectively opening up the rest of the board, helping to avoid crowding. If you are facing knockdown-related effects from warcasters like Stryker, you may often wish to deploy the pair near Durgen so that Brun can lend the benefit of Stonehold to the warcaster in order to avoid easy assassination. If your goal is to get the pair up field as fast as possible, deploy Lug directly in front of and in base contact with Brun. On the first turn, rile and run Lug forward his full 10” (or at least more than 8.5”). Then activate Brun, cast Stonehold, and charge Lug. This will result in a failed charge, but will give Brun an extra 3” of movement, getting him forward faster. Alternatively, rile and run Lug 8” forward, and have Brun charge something on the otherside of the board that would have him fail and end in base contact with Lug. The second option is obviously more attractive from a defensive standpoint, but it might be harder to pull off depending on model positioning.
On succeeding turns, you may wish to simply have Brun upkeep Stonehold and run around in front of Lug so that he can be the first to charge in, priming their target by knocking it down for Lug. Putting Brun out in front of Lug may sound dangerous, but with free transfers and extra protection via Stonehold, it's not a bad idea unless your opponent either has the means of moving either Brun or Lug via push or place effects like Epic Haley's Telekinesis, or denying you the ability to transfer at all by filling Lug up to full Fury or putting up an effect that denies it altogether. This is when knowing what your opponent is capable of becomes very important.
It's been found that Brun and Lug actually work quite well in combination with High Shields due to their various knock down effects, allowing the Gun Corps to put a Combined Ranged Attack into a hardened target that Brun and Lug couldn't quite finish off, so it may also pay to keep the pair near them.
Supporting Brun and Lug –
Being as self-sufficient and dangerous as they are, Brun and Lug typically don’t require a lot of support. What they really need is to simply support each other, which can often be tricky. As mentioned previously, getting the most out of your threat range can often be difficult if you want to lend out the Flank bonus to either character. If moving Brun up first, do your movement incrementally, checking to make sure that he does not leave Lug without the benefit of being able to charge if Lug will need the extra distance to close. Don’t get wrapped up in making sure that you always have the Flank bonus for Lug. Lug’s damage profile isn't too bad and not always requiring the damage boost unless attacking a high-ARM target (i.e. 20+). If Lug were to really need the boost from Flank to take his target down, but it is unavailable, he can merely do a Double-Handed Throw via Grab and Smash instead to neutralize it or serve it up to the rest of your army.
As they can sometimes spearhead your army, particularly at lower point totals, look to defensive buffs like Rock Wall to boost DEF and deny the enemy from engaging them first. To help close the distance with a target, Landslide is a great way to get the jump on faster targets like Angelii that could potentially tear the pair down before you have a chance to respond. Also, don’t forget that Brun can benefit from Primed, boosting his damage potential and accuracy to decent levels when boosted by Flank, which will give him an effective MAT of 11, which can also be boosted with spent Fury.
A final quick warning about the pair: remove Fury from Lug at the very beginning of the control phase. Do not do this after Focus allocation. Get in the habit of always doing it first, because between the two mechanics, it’s much easier to forget to remove Fury than it is to allocate Focus. You do not want that bear attacking your own models with fully-boosted attack and damage rolls if you can help it.
Last edited by relasine; 10-01-2010 at 06:53 AM.
Strategic Analysis - Lord Joln Rockbottom
While normally found at sea as the financier of the Talion, Lord Joln Rockbottom's interests sometimes extend to trade matters on the mainland of Western Immoren. As a dwarf of considerable wealth and clout, Rockbottom will often hire the Searforge Commission to protect these interests when moving throughout war-torn and often hotly contested lands. While his coin may not buy him the same influence with the hardened protectors of Hammerfall and Horgenhold Fortresses, it will buy him temporary loyalty. Often at the side of an Ogrun protector and mercenaries for hire, despite his comical appearance, Joln Rockbottom is no trifle to be dealt with under any circumstance.
Rockbottom’s stats are fairly typical according to Searforge standards. His SPD and DEF stats are characteristically low, but he does carry a respectable MAT and RAT of 6, meaning he’ll be able to hit DEF values of 13 on average rolls with his Cutlass and Fire Breather. At SPD 4, he won’t be getting anywhere fast, so most players will often find themselves running him for the first few turns. At ARM 14, he will take sufficient damage to be destroyed from standard Hand Cannon shots, so beware of these threats or other attacks with POW 12. A single POW 10 will have trouble taking him down as well, but a pair of successful shots will usually do the trick as well. His CMD stat is quite low, but is bolstered quite nicely by Coin.
For obvious reasons, Joln prefers to allow others to do the fighting for him, but when violence is brought to him, he is not without his own defenses. Wielding his Cutlass and flame-belching Fire Breather, Lord Rockbottom is perfectly capable of dealing death to others.
Fire Breather – At RAT 6, Rockbottom can often get some successful use out of this weapon. As a Spray attack, the volume of attacks that this weapon generates will often allow him to hit and kill several targets even if he needs a roll of 8 to hit his target. Causing Fire, the Fire Breather is an excellent way to take out units of single-wound infantry that rely on Shield Wall to keep them safe or other models that can use or benefit from abilities that make them immune to damage for a turn (like Zealots with Greater Destiny). As spray as ignore DEF bonus for being in melee in addition to Stealth, the Fire Breather can be used in a number of manners. Just be careful when spraying near your own troops. Also remember that Fire Breather has Damage Type: Fire, so many models, particularly many in the Protectorate, will be immune to it.
Cutlass – While he’s typically not a model you’d want to stick in melee, at MAT 6 with P+S 10 on his melee weapon, Rockbottom is not exactly a slouch. With average rolls, Rockbottom will hit DEF 13 roll damage of 17 on normal attacks and 20/21 on the charge. However, his damage profile is much higher with Fire Breather, so only dedicate him to combat if you simply must kill a particular single-wound or badly damaged model and your best bet is to have him attack in melee.
Bought Loyalty – This ability is the bread and butter of Rockbottom. Without a single Fearless unit choice, the power to convert failed command checks is incredibly powerful and altogether useful. While both Horgenhold and High Shield officers sport a healthy CMD of 9, these rolls will be failed on occasion, often at the most inopportune moment. Models with Terror or Abomination, death-related checks, or attacks that cause command checks are will occasionally show up in this game, particularly with factions like Cryx, Khador, and Legion. The sheer volume of command checks one can face in games against factions like these will often result in at least one or two failed rolls, making Rockbottom’s presence pretty beneficial.
Bought Loyalty also works with Thor’s Drive ability, consequently a reason that many are very fond of running Rockbottom in the Searforge lists. When making multiple command checks a game with Pronto, Thor will occasionally fail, especially if he is managing multiple warjacks. Failing a Drive check at a critical moment can be extremely detrimental, especially if Thor is running a rather expensive heavy warjack; having Rockbottom in your army can protect you from these scenarios.
Coin – Rockbottom’s Coins do two things. They are used for converting failed command checks from Bought Loyalty, and they increase his control area. At the game’s start, he is an impressive CMD 11. However, don’t forget that each use of Bought Loyalty will reduce his CMD by 1, thus reducing his effective range with Bought Loyalty.
Paymaster – Paymaster and its attached bonuses do not yet apply to Searforge Commission models.
Tough – This ability increases Rockbottom’s survivability a great deal, giving him a 33% chance to shrug off any attack that would put him in his grave. However, as Tough checks involve rolling a single d6, this mechanic is often fickle and unreliable, so it won’t save him every game.
Battlefield Role –
Rockbottom can serve the Commission in several ways. First and foremost, he is there to provide converted command checks for the army, which is very practical given the army has few living models that are Fearless, save Gudrun, Bokur with the Client bonus, and Brun Cragback. You'll most often find yourself using thisThe benefits here are explained at great length earlier, so I won’t discuss it further.
Rockbottom is also a decent Bokur Client, but there are usually better in your army. His relative survivability combined with low target priority make him an okay choice here. While he may sometimes have trouble keeping up with his Bokur, running will often help to close the distance and will often be the movement method of choice on the turn that his Bokur moves in for the kill.
When battles turn into slugfests, Rockbottom can be quite nice at clearing out the enemy with Fire Breather, so watch for moments when you enemy infantry is close and unengaged or else debuffed to manageable DEF levels so he can move up and lay down his Fire-causing Spray template.
Rockbottom will often want to be deployed mid-board in order to provide ample coverage with Bought Loyalty. The exceptions to this case are when you are splitting your forces heavily on both flanks, in which case it may be wise to send him to support one flank over the other. You’ll most often want to deploy Rockbottom behind other models as to avoid early assassination.
Supporting Lord Rockbottom –
There isn’t very much to help Rockbottom, as he’s often there to provide passive help to the army, and should stay near the rear of your possession. Do your best to keep him screened at all times. Watch for opportune moments to shoot Fire Breather like when a target has Landslide. In a pinch, Durgen can slap Primed on Rockbottom to create a landmine for the opposing army, sporting a respectable MAT 8, P+S 12 melee attack.
Last edited by relasine; 07-13-2010 at 09:06 PM.
The Forge Guard of Horgenhold Fortress are among the most devastating infantry in Western Immoren. Where their rivals from Hammerfall Fortress come to battle geared for ranged warfare, Forge Guard bring to bear the strength of Rhulic melee prowess. Their massive Mechanikal Warhammers use charges to drive the spike of the hammer forward with tremendous power at the moment of impact, allowing them to crack the heaviest armor and send their enemies reeling.
Forge Guard, like their cousins from Hammerfall, have generally low-to-average stats, save their high MAT, ARM, and CMD values. At SPD 4, and with no way to increase movement, Forge Guard are typically characterized as a second-wave counter-charger. At MAT 7, Forge Guard will be able to hit DEF 14 with an average roll, but will have trouble hitting anything at DEF 15+ without the benefit of buffing or target debuffing. Their DEF value, however, is as low as it gets if you’re not tied to a wrack or made of rock. Only serious DEF buffing will increase the likelihood that they will be hit by an attack, so assume that most ranged, melee, and magic attacks will all hit them with ease. Their ARM is high enough that they are typically safe from most attacks, especially if benefiting from Defensive Line, but the price they pay for it in their DEF value mitigates this quite a bit, greatly increasing the amount of successful attack rolls and consequently the number of damage rolls that will exceed their armor. They also have a high CMD value, helping to keep them in place in the event of a check for casualties, Terror, etc.
Unlike the Gun Corps of Hammerfall, the Forge Guard forgo ranged combat for incredible strength as melee combatants. Their Warhammers are capable of hitting quite hard and in multiple numbers, occasionally sending their foe crashing backwards through enemy ranks.
Mechanikal Warhammer – Despite looking like they would bear a POW stat to rival any other melee weapon, they come in at a mere P+S 11. This rather unimpressive stat, however, is made up for largely by the Weapon Master rule.
Reach – The extra inch-and-a-half of melee range helps the Forge Guard a good deal, one of a few ability that help to make up for their low SPD value. Thanks to Reach, even at SPD 4, the Guard have a longer charge range than Knights Exemplar or Stormblades.
Critical Smite – Fortunately, this ability is optional and is not automatically triggered when a critical effect is rolled. This is a good thing if a squad charges a heavy target and the first model hits and rolls doubles on the attack roll. However, if their target is butted up against another model (hopefully enemy) or a terrain piece, there’s no point in not letting it trigger and knocking the target down to make it easier for anything else to hit it while also potentially shutting it down for a turn. This is always a useful ability if a large- or medium-based target is moving directly ahead a unit of infantry, as you may be able to manage to knockdown or kill these models with collateral damage. Be mindful that a critical hit against a large- or medium-based model will have its distance halved.
Defensive Line – This is yet another ability that helps to counter the low SPD value that Forge Guard have to endure. Defensive Line in lieu of Shield Wall allows the Guard to run 8” and benefit from ARM 18. This means that they are typically moving up field faster than other ARM 18, Shield Wall units like Flameguard, Ironfangs, or Precursors. When charing, think about how and where you want the models in the unit to end up, doing your best to put them back in base contract with another model in the unit to maintain their high ARM after first contact.
Ranked Attack – Combining well with most Guard abilities, Ranked Attack does quite a bit for getting those extra attacks in where necessary, allowing the player to attack several ranks of enemy troops by attacking with the rear rank into the enemy’s front rank first, and then following up with the front rank into the enemy’s second rank. It also allows for the entire unit to attack a single, small-based model without having to bother with strict placement and base separation. The final advantage here is that other elements of your army can draw line of sight and attack through your Forge Guard as well.
Weapon Master – Despite P+S 11 on their Warhammers, Forge Guard still hit plenty hard thanks to Weapon Master. On the charge, Horgenhold do an average damage roll of POW 25, allowing them to take on most high-ARM threats with ease, save Centurions or Devastators. Remember that Weapon Master does apply to a damage roll on a Critical Smite, allowing for an absurd 11+5d6 if the target slams into an equal- or larger-sized base or obstacle. However, it won’t apply to collateral damage rolls.
Unit Size –
As a relatively inexpensive melee unit, more numbers are almost always better, but it’s important to remember that their SPD value implies that they typically won’t see combat until turn three. This implies that multiple minimum units are often a good way to go, allowing you to spread out your Forge Guard a bit more instead of centralizing them in one clump.
Battlefield Role –
With such a low SPD value, Forge Guard will more often than not have trouble closing the distance on a charge first. This means that they will usually be best suited as a counter-charging unit. This is where the Commission's cheap and resilient warjacks can really come in handy as they are great at attracting melee threats due to the fact that most ranged attacks will merely bounce off of their ARM 18 or higher.
As such a cheap, hard-hitting, and fairly accurate unit, Forge Guard are excellent for redirecting enemy forces. Expensive models that rely on their ARM and multiple wounds to keep them safe, like Demo Corps and cavalry, will often have to think twice before exposing themselves to the Guard. This is where a second unit really comes in handy as it presents the enemy with quite a dilemma if both units are deployed on different flanks.
As a front line unit, Forge Guard will struggle. While some think that their ARM 18 will keep them safe, the increased volume of successful attacks due to their low-DEF will see the unit evaporating quicker than one might initially think.
If a single unit is deployed, you’ll typically want to deploy them behind your warjacks and opposite the hardest enemy concentration. If two units are deployed, keep them setup on separate flanks so that you’ll always have one unit where you need one.
As previously mentioned, move them in trios and keep them separated enough to avoid being brutalized by attacks and spells that deal out large amounts of POW 12’s like from a Cyclone.
When moving them up field, it's extremely important do your best to anticipate your opponent's move as much as possible. Where other units don't have to be so measured, the slow SPD of the Guard requires that their placement be a bit better so that they may react to their fullest potential.
Supporting Forge Guard –
Forge Guard will most often only need support in the form of forward protection so that they can get up field unmolested, which lets them function as a counter-charging unit. Screen them with Gunners, Blasters, or other warjacks while they make their way into melee. Beware of flanking threats, however. This is where a minimum unit of High Shields can really come in handy as they are really excellent for holding up such things.
At MAT 7 and P+S 11 with Weapon Master, Forge Guard won’t have much trouble hitting and damaging most targets, but this isn’t to say that they can’t benefit from such abilities. Target debuffing via Landslide will allow them to hit DEF 18 with average attack rolls, helping them take on warcasters and warlocks like Caine or Rhyas. They can also benefit from Durgen’s Primed, which makes them an effective MAT 9, P+S 13 Weapon Masters; a horrifying thought indeed. Beware that use of Primed will cause you to have to be willing to separate the unit a bit more or else risk watching the whole group be consumed when one of them explodes. Forgoing the bonus for Defensive Line in this case is usually advised. Don't be afraid to drop some AOEs onto the unit if they are engaged by high-DEF, low-ARM troops to free them up; most blast damage rolls will have trouble exceeding ARM 18.
Another simple solution to helping Forge Guard to get the charge off first is to take advantage of Durgen's Inhospitable Ground. Models without Pathfinder, Ghostly, Incorporeal, or Flight will be moving at half rate, giving Forge Guard the edge they need to close with their enemy on their terms.
Last edited by relasine; 07-14-2010 at 06:49 AM.
One note on the Avalancher...
You mention that Durgen's feat boosts it's blast damage rolls. It actually grants an additional die.
Tune Up + Bombs Away = 4d6 blast damage rolls! This is why we can't have AoE 4, btw.
Soul Slave + Razorworm = Lazorworm. End of joke.
Small niggeling thing about Critical Smite. You write that a slam against a larger based model is a D3 inch slam ... it's still a D6, but the distance is halved. It's little as makes almost no difference, but since you never round distances, you actually have between ½" and 3" slam distance, and not just 1-3.
Just a detail for clarity
The heavily-armored dwarves of the western fortress march with short-ranged, yet potentially devastating Double-Barrled Rifles to bring to bear against even the most hardened of enemies. Laying down concentrated attacks and sporting the protective assets of their namesake, High Shields are professional, well-organized, and not to be trifled with.
High Shields sport fairly low stats all around, save their quite respectable ARM and CMD values. Their low SPD value makes their ability to deploy an additional 4” forward all too important, and a lack of Pathfinder or access to other models that can grant it makes the use of terrain a difficult endeavour. With such low MAT and RAT values, High Shields typically will require that their target either have a naturally low DEF value of 12 else rely on aiming or Combined Ranged Attack. Their own DEF value is quite low for standard infantry. Their ARM value with Shield Wall makes High Shields quite adept at shrugging off most normal ranged attacks like those from Long Gunners, Trenchers, Winterguard, Knights Errant, etc., but be wary of naturally high POW attacks from Zealots or ranged attacks that will ignore ARM values and do a single wound. Touting a proud CMD 9, High Shields will be a difficult squad to scare off despite a lack of the Fearless rule.
Armed with their Carbines and trusty Rhulic Axes, High Shields march to war as a seeming mixed-arms unit not unlike Cygnaran Trenchers or Khadoran Assault Kommandos.
Carbine – There's nothing particularly impressive about the High Shields' ranged weapon. Their RNG and POW are decidedly average, so they'll often be on the move when firing them, a matter further complicated by their rather low RAT. Their saving grace here, is access to CRA, which will boost both their accuracy and damage.
Axe - The melee weapons carried by the High Shields are not particularly potent, but this unit was never meant to be the melee powerhouse that their cousins from Horgenhold Fortress are. While these weapons will usually only scrap the paint off most warjacks or slide off the shields of heavy infantry, they will kill ARM 15 targets on average dice rolls.
Combined Ranged Attack – Access to CRA grants this unit this ability to threaten any model regardless of DEF or ARM value. Against hardened targets, a single, ten-man, POW 20 CRA can be pretty nice. Against medium-ARM warbeasts or light warjacks, a pair of five-man, POW 15 CRAs are usually the way to go. While putting a large CRA into a single, high-DEF, low-ARM model can feel like a waste, it's better than nothing.
'Jack Marshal/Rhulic 'Jack Marshal – High Shields aren't particularly great as 'Jack Marshals for the simple reason they lack a good Drive or other ability like Power Booster to support a warjack. All they offer is the 'Jack Marshal bonus in the form of a free run, charge, boost, or additional attack. The only warjack one should consider running would be an Avalancher, and only if Thor is nearby to lend help with Tune Up. By putting the Avalancher on the High Shield unit instead of Thor, you lower Thor's target priority substantially while still getting fully boosted attack rolls via 'Jack Marshal and damage rolls from Tune Up. Remember that High Shields can only marshal Rhulic Warjacks per the Rhulic 'Jack Marshal rule.
Ranked Attack – This ability provides a few nice bonuses to both the High Shields and the rest of your army. First and foremost, they can ignore each other when shooting at small-based models, letting the unit maintain a close, stacked, Shield Wall formation while attacking other infantry. The second advantage is that if the High Shields make their way in front of other elements of your army, they may still shoot or make melee attacks through them. This lets Forge Guard swing at models on the other side of a wall of High Shields or Grundback Gunner peg a solo that is blocked off by your own unit.
Shield Wall (Order) – At DEF 11, High Shields aren't exactly difficult to hit at range. Shield Wall is their one true defensive ability, getting their ARM up to 19 and protecting them from small arms fire and spells that hit multiple models like Chain Lightning. Remember that models with Shield Wall need only be in base contact with another model in the unit, but as soon as they're no longer in base contact, the bonus is lost and the model is back down to ARM 15. As Shield Wall is an order, the unit will not be able to benefit from it if they received another order or if they are denied orders via spells like Rebuke feats like Desperate Ground.
Unit Size -
The size of your High Shield unit should be based on what you want it to do. Small units of six are usually good at watching your flanks for threats against Ambushing units or cavalry. Large units are better at supporting your force from the center, providing a screen for your warcaster and ranged fire where you need it.
Battlefield Role -
High Shields are a ranged support unit. With rather low RAT, RNG, and POW, without using CRA they're limited to attacking low DEF, single-wound, and low-to-medium ARM infantry like Mechanithralls, Winterguard, Sword Knights, Zealots, Wolves of Orboros, and the like. With a paired CRA, their selection of targets widens to include solos, and Shield Wall infantry like Temple Flameguard. In trios, their best targets are going to be medium-ARM, multi-wound troops like Demo Corps or high-DEF and/or medium-ARM warbeasts like Seraphim, Impalers, Argii, or Drakes. Five-or six-man CRAs will be best targeting warlocks, high-ARM, multi-wound units like Champions, warbeasts with ARM 17 or 18 like Axers, Maulers, Feral Warpwolves with Protective Plates, or Molike Karn. Save those 10-man CRAs for the big targets like Gladiators, Carniveans with Spiny Growth, anything at ARM 19 or higher.
Those 10-man attacks will give a full unit a group of targets that they'll be effective against that 6-man groups won't, so it's important to be aware of what in your army can take on those high-ARM threats when you put a 6-man unit in the army.
As mentioned earlier, 6-man units typically do better protecting your flanks while lending support to the middle when the flanks are clear. 10-man units are usually best in the center of your army in the second wave. This lets them both protect your warcaster and priority solos while also laying down fire when the first wave engages the enemy. If placed too far forward, High Shields will get torn apart quickly. While their ARM value with Shield Wall is substantial, their low DEF value largely balances this out, implying a higher-than-normal volume of successful ranged attack rolls. For example a unit of Trenchers doing 2-man CRAs on High Shields will hit on a 4 and kill on a 7, which aren't terrible odds. Widowmakers will kill four High Shields a turn.
Supporting High Shields -
As High Shields are largely a support unit that will stay in the second or third ranks of your army, they usually won't need much protective support. If, for some reason, the unit is being played up front or exposed in some way, Gorten's Rock Wall will provide cover, deny placement, and give them +2 DEF against Reach models attacking over the wall. In terms of accuracy and range boosting, the only available ability is Landslide which can both close the distance, which can pull enemy models in range and drop their DEF by 3.
Durgen can do well to keep enemy models from closing on your High Shields via Inhospitable Ground while also giving you an option for when the unit has been whittled down to inconsequential numbers by Priming them and sending them running head-long into the enemy's lines, acting as a tarpit. Additionally, he can throw Explosivo on individual models to let them go after Ghost Raiders, but remember that you can't make a CRA while doing so.
The last type of support that High Shields will need is to find a means to attack models after they've engaged your front line. There are a few pretty good options here. The first is via Knockdown effects. Two-handed throws, bash attacks, slams, or use of Bear Hands from Brun and Lug are a great way to disengage enemy models so they can be targeted by CRAs and/or hit with ease. Bashers and Bokur are able to slam and knock down enemy models as well without using focus. Any of your warjacks can slam or headbutt, and Driller can make throw power attacks as well. The second way is to push enemies out of melee range. Landslide and Bear Hands are both good methods here. With the former, just be careful not too push those models too far away to be able to be fired upon.
As war continues to escalate in Western Immoren, the Gun Corps of Hammerfall Fortress have seen increased action under longer contracts with bigger demands of performance. The 33rd High Shields in particular have seen more and more combat as supporters of the Searforge Commission with each passing day. To support them, Hammerfall Fortress has dispatched experienced officers to lend leadership to Gun Corps units where the need is highest.
The Officer and Standard Bearer have nearly the exact same stats as High Shields, save for three small differences. The Officer, as with most all Officers, has five wound, making him a bit difficult to take down, and higher RAT. The benefits of the former are obvious. The latter is quite nice for those cases when doing split Combined Ranged Attacks. If, for example, you're doing a five-man and six-man CRA with your unit, it's often best to put the Officer in the five-man group, so that both shoot at an effective RAT 11. The last difference is that the Officer has MAT 6, but as a ranged unit with pretty low P+S weapons, his MAT isn't going to come into play often.
The Officer carries the same Carbine and Axe as the normal High Shield models. The Standard Bearer, however, carries no weapons.
The Officer and Standard Bearer have access to all normal High Shield abilities like Shield Wall, Ranked Attack, and CRA (which the Standard Bearer obviously can't take advantage of). The Officer is also a 'Jack Marshal, but lack of a really good warjack choice for marshaling makes this an ability that won't often be accessed.
On the Double (Order) – High Shields have a nasty tendency to clump up and block your lanes due to their short range and desire to stay in the second rank. On the Double is great for mitigating this, allowing you to move up, fire, then spread out to open your lanes back up for other models to move through or occupy. It's also a great means for moving up, firing on a melee unit, then backing up to stay out of their charge range. Just be wary of when and where you choose to use this order, as the unit cannot benefit from Shield Wall and On the Double at the same time. Properly measuring your target priority is important if you want this unit to survive after a turn of using On the Double, which is why running them in the second wave of your army is often a good choice.
Guns Blazing – There's not much to say about Guns Blazing. It gives you another round of shooting. Do your best to save Guns Blazing for something critical like an assassination run or firing on a big, expensive warjack or warbeast. However, don't hold off on it too long; every casualty you take reduces the return you'll see on this mini-feat.
Standard Bearer – While CMD 9 is quite nice, you will fail it on occasion. The ability to reroll it will keep your High Shields functioning while reducing the need to bring Rockbottom or spend his Coins to convert a failed check. However, if you do have Rockbottom and aren't afraid to use those Coins, Standard Bearers can make nice sacrificial roadblocks as the only real purpose they serve is another warm body that lets you reroll command checks and nothing else. If your Standard Bearer gets killed, it may be a better idea to just let him die rather than give up another ranged attack to take advantage of Take Up.
Taking this attachment with a 6-man squad is not a good idea for a few reasons. First of all, a good deal of the points you spend on this attachment go towards Guns Blazing, arguably one of the strongest mini-feats of any of the available unit attachments. As Guns Blazing is a multiplying effect, the smaller the unit, the smaller the return. With a 6-man squad with the UA, if two models die, they lose a good deal of the combat strength as well as a higher percentage of the multiplying effect of Guns Blazing. In a 10-man squad with the UA, it's not felt as much, as you still 9 models that can shoot.
That said, running a pair of full squads with the Officer and Standard Bearer is prohibitively expensive for ranged support units, coming it at 22 points unless you're running Gorten's Theme List, in which case you're spending 19. In either case, it's going to represent a significant portion of your list, so make sure you have a very solid core before trying to crowbar 19 or 22 points with of High Shields.
Deploy your full units with the attachment the same way you would a 10-man unit without it: in the second rank behind your warjacks.
Supporting the Hammerfall High Shield Gun Corps Officer and Standard Bearer -
There's not really a lot that needs to be done differently when supporting this unit, save that you may need to be more mindful of positioning as the unit is a bit more expensive for only one more model of real consequence, particularly because that one model's best ability is a multiplying effect. Rock Wall, Inhospitable Ground, screening models, and holding them back are your friends.
Last edited by relasine; 07-15-2010 at 02:30 PM.
Horgenhold Fortress has long guarded southern entrance into Rhul north of Llael. Overlooking the Black River, the fortress bristles with more artillery emplacements than the eye can count. Like their brethren in the Forge Guard, members of the Artillery Corps are being sent south as mercenaries and to serve with the Searforge Commission.
Like all good dwarves, the Artillery Corps are as slow as they get. Slower even. At a dreadful SPD 3, this unit won't be getting anywhere fast, but fortunately they won't need to. As the Light Artillery rule prevents them from moving and firing, their SPD value will only come into play when positioning, which will almost always be done on the run. Their MAT value is more reminiscent of the High Shields of Hammerfall than the Forge Guard of Horgenhold. MAT 5 is pretty inaccurate, so don't count on a unit of Artillery Corps to turn the tide of battle with their axes. RAT 4 is pretty common for an artillery unit, and is boosted nicely with Range Finder. They maintain typical Rhulic DEF and ARM values, being easy to hit and fairly resistant to blast damage and other low-POW attacks. CMD 9 is par for the course for Rhulic models. They'll pass most of their command checks, but they're not exactly Fearless.
Siege Cannon – This is a seemingly common stat line for an artillery weapon. It's far-reaching, not bad for direct damage or blast damage, but with a AOE value that leaves something to be desired. On a direct hit, unless your target is within a populated clump of other infantry models, your volume of blast damage rolls is bound to be rather low. This means that missed rolls with a good deviation will often be more advantageous than a direct hit. As far as its direct damage capability, it's not bad for sniping solos, softening up a light warjack or warbeast, or for assassinating a unit officer.
Sword – While they're technically armed with axes (see the models), what the weapon is doesn't really matter, as it's not going to see much use. At RNG 16 on the Siege Cannon, they shouldn't be close enough to action to have to swing their axe-swords. If they do get that close and forced to engage in a melee, Dhurg be with them.
Arcing Fire – This is the one ability that makes this unit attractive. Aside from Durgen, the Artillery Corps are the only thing in the Commission able to fire deep into enemy lines over other models, make them a fine choice for taking out support units like the Choir of Menoth or backfield solos like Arcanists or a Squire.
Light Artillery – More a series of limitations than abilities, Light Artillery confines the Siege Cannon to moving or shooting, never getting the aiming bonus, and not being able to charge. The rest of the unit, however, can do all those things.
Range Finder – Range Finder is a pretty simple ability to understand. Higher accuracy is usually better, but there are times you may wish to forgo it, like when hoping to miss your target while hoping for a good deviation roll, betting on the chance to hit more models with the AOE.
At PC 3, this Weapon Crew is relatively expensive, particularly compared to other similar PC 3 choices like Herne and Jonne, Gunners, and Blasters. Each of these four choices offers something unique, but the benefit of running multiple Artillery Corps doesn't really outweigh running one of or multiples of the other three. One is probably the most one should ever put on the table.
Battlefield Role -
As mentioned earlier, Artillery Corps are designed for targeting backfield support models. When these aren't viable targets, go for packs of low-ARM infantry. Aside from that, watch for opportunties to finish off or soften up a multi-wound model.
On a turn with nothing better to shoot at, or if you simply need this more, you can keep the unit separated and drop an AOE on top of Durgen while hoping for a small drift to grant him additional focus.
Where you should deploy your Artillery Corps is largely a matter of if you're going first or second. If going first, your deployment zone will be 12” forward, so their reach can possibly extend forward 28”. Since the unit is best at targeting the rear of your opponent's possession, you may wish to run them forward on the first turn if you can do so safely. If going second with a 16” deployment zone, this may not be as necessary, as you'll be able to strike 32” forward from the word go. As the unit has Arcing Fire, do your best to keep them screened and safe from being popped off. A three-wound unit at PC 3 is a nice target of opportunity.
Supporting the Artillery Corps -
Support really only needs to come in one form: a screen. As mentioned above, Arcing Fire will keep them safe from most attacks if you can screen them with the rest of your army. Other than that, there are a few spells and abilities that can help them. Most obvious is Durgen's feat. An extra die on the attack roll and blast damage will let them hit DEF 16.5 on average and will have them putting out POW 17.5 blast damage rolls. Inhospitable Ground can keep them shooting for a few extra turns by slowing the enemy advance. Gorten's Landslide can debuff enemy DEF as well as stop an enemy advance, giving you a turn of high accuracy and a potential additional round of firing. Solid Ground also lets you lob rounds at models engaging your own troops without fear of friendly fire.
After reading the description for High Sheilds, I thought some discussion on CRA vs. Mass Fire might be needed:
First off - porn for math geeks:
Assumptions: all models are in range. Rolls of 7 to hit/damage. ARM 15 'average target'.
11 CRA DEF 24, POW 28, 14 dam against ARM 15. (Max HS with UA)
10 CRA DEF 22, POW 27, 12 dam (Max HS)
7 CRA DEF 20, POW 24, 9 dam (Min HS w/ UA)
6 CRA DEF 18, POW 23, 8 dam (Min HS)
5 CRA DEF 17*, POW 22, 7 dam (1/2 Max HS)
3 CRA DEF 15*, POW 20, 5 dam (1/2 Min HS)
2 CRA DEF 14*, POW 19, 4 dam (Min CRA)
*- +1 if includes Officer from UA.
11 SS DEF 12, POW 17, 22 dam
10 SS DEF 12, POW 17, 20 dam
7 SS DEF 12, POW 17, 14 dam
6 SS DEF 12, POW 17, 12 dam
3 SS DEF 12, POW 17, 6 dam
2 SS DEF 12, POW 17, 4 dam
1 SS DEF 12, POW 17, 2 dam
The 'tipping point' for High Shields is DEF 12, ARM 16. If stats are below this, single shots will almost always do more damage.
Damage output for 2-man CRAs are identical to 2-man single shots. This seems to be the best trade-off, half the shots doing same net damage, but more accurately. Tipping point becomes DEF 14, ARM 18.
Wearing a suit of custom-made blast armor, Durgen Madhammer lives to sew confusion and mayhem on the battlefield. He is a dwarf singularly obsessed with the art of destruction, sparing no expense in the pursuit of fire and devastation. While the Commission will hire the Madhammer on occasion, there are very few who will work under his command more than once. Those have learned the more subtle nuances of working with Madhammer know that once his bombs start falling, its time to be somewhere else.
Durgen sports a nice SPD value of 5, something compounded nicely by having Reach on Leveler and the RNG 12 on Buster, giving him a fair amount of threat range in melee or at range. Durgen's MAT comes in somewhat low for a warcaster, but he does have the means to increase it via Primed. That said, Durgen shouldn't be doing most of his damage up close and personal anyway. RAT 6 isn't bad at all for a ranged weapon, particularly one as flexible as Buster. He'll occasionally want to boost attack rolls to hit, but with AOE 4 on Carpet Bombs and armor piercing shots designed for low-DEF warjacks, he'll often be able to let boosting go. At DEF 14, he's not exactly hard to hit. He won't stand up against a concentrated effort very well, so do what you can to screen and protect him in any way you can. His ARM value is quite healthy, but he will want to sit on some focus if he fears an assassination attempt, particularly because he's only sitting on 16 wounds. His CMD value of 8 won't come into play much as almost all Rhulic and Ogrun models have CMD values of 9. His FOC stat separates him nicely from Gorten. At FOC 6 with built-in means of getting more, Durgen will typically have a bit more flexibility in terms of casting and upkeeping spells, assigning focus to warjacks, and boosting his own attacks.
Armed with the blast-inducing Leveler and his munition-lobbing Buster, Durgen stands armed and ready to dispense bedlam and mayhem.
Buster – Durgen's base stats on Buster aren't particularly exciting; it's his special attacks and abilities with it that actually make this gun something to fear. However, on the surface, I'd refrain from calling it anything less than decent. A RNG 12, AOE 4, POW 14 gun is not bad at all. Capable of some solid boosted direct damage with a rather large footprint of blast damage, if denied special attacks for any reason, Buster can still put the hurt on an unsuspecting enemy.
Leveler – At P+S 13, Leveler is fairly mediocre. While some of the attached abilities can make Leveler a little more practical of a weapon, he probably shouldn't often be using it. While it can net you an assassination against a low-ARM warlock or warcaster, you should probably have better tools at your disposal for that kind of job.
Blast Armor – Providing Durgen with both complete immunity to blast damage while also giving him more focus, Blast Armor is a very nice ability that can be carefully manipulated to make Durgen into a real powerhouse. Just remember that Durgen can never have more focus than his FOC stat as a result of receiving focus via Blast Armor. One typical trick is to keep a Basher or two near Durgen. If he puts a focus or two on his warjacks or upkeeps a spell, leaving him sitting with four focus or less, those two Bashers can move over to Durgen, Flak Field, and grant him two extra focus for when he activates. This can be a fantastic means to get Durgen that extra focus or two he needs to be able to cast Inhospitable Ground, boost a damage roll on a Case Cracker shot, cast Primed on Gudrun, upkeep Redline on Rockram, and throw Explosivo on a Grundback Gunner. Alternatively, this can be done after Durgen activates simply to boost his ARM on the following turn.
Arcing Fire – This ability can function both defensively as well as offensively. On the former side, Arcing Fire allow you to easily screen Durgen with even large-based models while firing on models opposite. It's incredibly useful for allowing Durgen to make ranged attacks targeting your opponent's lines without immediate fear of reprisals. Of course, slams, push, and place effects can quickly change the score here, but careful attention to your opponent's capabilities should keep you aware of such threats so that you can alter your plans accordingly. As far as the offensive potential of Arcing fire, it grants you higher volume of targets by allowing you to target anything not completely screened by other models within one inch of the target. The first benefit is for placing Carpet Bomb attacks in the middle of a high concentration of enemy models instead of in their front ranks where negative deviations can equal poor AOE coverage. The second offensive application is for targeting high-priority rear support models like Fell Callers, Vassals, Skarlocks, etc. This also applies equally for putting some damage on and softening up enemy warcasters and warlocks.
Carpet Bomb (*Attack) – The benefits of Carpet Bomb are obvious. Combined with his impressive AOE size on Buster, the coverage granted by multiple deviations can be pretty significant. Dropping a Carpet Bomb into the middle of an infantry cluster will often mean the death of many Winterguard, Zealots, Mechanithralls, or other low-ARM infantry. Alternatively, the same coverage can be used, with a bit of luck, to kill low-ARM solos that rely on Stealth to survive. A boosted blast damage roll will do 17.5 damage, enough to kill Eiryss, for example.
Case Cracker (*Attack) – Best used against high-ARM models, Case Cracker acts as a nice counterpoint to Carpet Bomb. Remember that effects that increase ARM will be applied after halving the target's base ARM, so things like Bucklers, Shields, or spell effects like Defender's Ward will add their full value. As the POW on Buster is 14, it's important to know when to use Case Cracker and when to merely use a straight shot or Carpet Bomb. As Case Cracker shots will reduce the power of your attack to 7, any attack made against models with base ARM values of 14 or lower will be best made with straight shots or Carpet Bomb attacks instead, as the damage done will be the same or lesser. In these cases, wouldn't you like some extra AOEs out there in order to potentially do more damage? As this attack is AOE -, another important item of note is that Bombs Away will apply in no way to Case Cracker, including the additional die on attack rolls.
Magical Weapon – Like all warcasters, Durgen has at least one weapon with the Magical Weapon trait. Durgen has many options for taking out Incorporeal models like Explosivo, Ground Zero, or even Powder Keg, but his initial melee attack is always free, so you may find it advantageous to take that route depending on how stretched your resources are and whether or not positioning is optimal.
Reach – Combined with Durgen's SPD 5, he has a rather respectable 10” threat range on the charge. While he's not exactly the most savvy melee combatant, Leveler can provide good support when you least expect it.
Back Blast – This ability gives Durgen some infantry-clearing ability in melee as well as the means to stack extra, sometimes free damage on his target. As Back Blast does count as blast damage, if he is close enough to get inside the AOE created by it, he'll get back the focus he spends, effectively allowing free use of the ability until he runs out of focus from buying and boosting attacks or casting spells.
Explosivo – The most important thing I can say about Explosivo is that you should take the time to read this. It'll explain clearly how this spell works, what it effects, and what it is effected by. The printed rules and errata for it aren't exactly the most clear, so do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the linked passage. Common use of this spell comes in two forms. The first use if for popping off models with Incorporeal or vulnerabilities only to ranged attacks with Magical Weapon. The second use for this spell is for granting models the ability to access Bombs Away that wouldn't otherwise have it. It can be a great way for both increasing the accuracy and incidental damage output on things like Grundback Gunners. It also obviously adds AOEs to models with AOE - ranged attacks, a good way for clearing out some extra low-ARM infantry in a pinch.
Ground Zero – This spell is a means for clearing models off Durgen. It's damage output and footprint are high, and in the event that a victim is not killed, they will be pushed d6” away, usually pushing them out of combat with Durgen. It can be a nice way to clear models off of Durgen when he activates so that he can make ranged attacks without having to suffer free strikes to exit melee, or to kill a cluster of high-ARM infantry that can easily withstand Back Blast damage rolls. Additionally, if you roll well enough, Back Blast can push enemy models off of points or out of scoring areas during scenario play. Remember that Ground Zero is not blast damage, so it does not stack with Bombs Away.
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Last edited by relasine; 07-17-2010 at 01:03 AM.
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Inhospitable Ground – Among one of Durgen's best spells, it has the potential to completely shut down armies that are ill-equipped to handle rough terrain. While it is expensive, it can keep your forces safe from charges for turn after turn if executed properly, allowing you to whittle your opponent down at range and finish them off in melee when they get too close to continue to fire on them. This spell also acts as a great equalizer for the Commission's slow melee models like Forge Guard and Drillers, granting them the opportunity to charge first instead of merely having to counter charge. Wheeling around a large obstruction while keeping Inhospitable Ground up can be a real pain and is sure to frustrate opponents lacking in Pathfinder. Even if they do come with a unit that can ignore terrain effects, merely put concentrated fire into them until they're gone and then deal with the rest of the army as they try to catch up behind them. If facing a large force with Pathfinder, you may wish to consider forgoing Inhospitable Ground for a more offensive approach.
Powder Keg – At 4 FOC, this is a very expensive spell, so it probably won't often see much use considering the strength of Durgen's spell list as a whole. It can be made relatively cheaper if Durgen himself is within the AOE itself, but if he's that close the action, depending on his position and the position of his target, you may simply wish to just use Ground Zero instead. The blast damage on Powder Keg will hit as hard as Carpet Bomb shots from Buster and it does have a rather large, 5” footprint, but a properly tooled Durgen list won't often be hurting for AOEs. Remember that the additional die on blast damage rolls will apply to Powder Keg.
Primed – Both acting as a buff and debuff for your own infantry, Primed is a dangerous spell for both players. The bonus to attack and damage rolls is an obvious bonus, no question. It allows Forge Guard and Bokur to be incredibly accurate and hard-hitting while making Gudrun a serious threat to closely-formed infantry formations. Even High Shields become consequential in melee at an effective MAT 7, P+S 11. Durgen himself boosts up to MAT 8, P+S 15. The ARM debuff, however, is pretty costly, particularly for the army that is built around its high ARM values. Stack this on top of already low DEF values, and you can safely assume that any unit with Primed on it won't last long. This is further compounded by the fact that models with Primed that become disabled will blow up in a POW 14, 3” AOE, devastating all nearby, including your own forces. Durgen, however, does gain some benefit here, getting extra focus each time a Primed model dies close to him, effectively boosting his ARM as his screen begins to fall. You should play carefully when positioning Primed models so that they blow up more enemy models than friendly when being disabled. There's another subtle bonus to Primed, which is that when a model with Primed blows up, it is removed from play, stopping things like Berserk from triggering and denying Soul Tokens. Also remember that the damage done when a model explodes is blast damage, so if Bombs Away is up and a Primed model dies from a free strike, you get 14+3d6 on your damage roll. A few of those can kill a warcaster.
Redline – This is a fantastic 'jack buff spell. Best used on melee heavies like Drillers, Bashers, or Rockrams, Redline provides several nice boosts where they are often sorely needed. Drillers boast impressive P+S 19 and 18 attacks with a 9.5” threat range on the charge. Bashers are slamming from 10.5” away for POW 17 with POW 14 collateral damage rolls. Rockrams get to take advantage o the free charge with Assault and get a nice boost to their Pulverizer. Even an Avalancher with Redline can provide some nice melee backup with an effective P+S 16 attack. Be wary of the damage this spell causes, though. If you can help it, cast it on your warjack after it moves, and recast it every turn if you can give up the focus and can activate after the target does in order to spare unnecessary damage. Otherwise, do your best to repair this damage periodically.
Feat – Bombs Away
While this is not the game swaying fear fest that is Gorten's Landslide, Bombs Away has the potential to provide you with a very potent turn of attacks. As Bombs Away applies strictly to attacks and abilities that deal blast damage, models that have AOE values are going to immediately be attractive when building lists with Durgen. It's important, however, not to let this completely dictate your list build. Even with Carpet Bomb, a Basher dropping a Flak Field, and a few castings of Explosivo on Grundback Gunners, Durgen can get some decent mileage from his feat. The most obvious beneficiaries of Bombs Away are Herne, Jonne, and Durgen himself. Their multiple AOEs can provide you with a rain of death and destruction that only models with the highest resilience will be able to tolerate. Others include (for obvious reasons) the Avalancher and Artillery Corps. The last model with native means to take advantage of this spell is the Basher, whose auto-hitting Flak Field ability can be quite effective against an unsuspecting enemy.
Aside from the easily-discerned profiteers here, there are other ways to get extra mileage out of Bombs Away. Explosivo is one of them. If thrown on a Grundback Gunner, the model can additionally boost the attack roll to reach fairly epic levels of accuracy, something Durgen or an Avalancher can also do by boosting the attack roll to stack on top of the additional die. RAT 6 models are suddenly hitting DEF 20 on average rolls, doing a great deal to cut through the defense of models relying on cover or other DEF buffs to save their hide. Durgen has yet more personal use of this spell, as he can use it in melee on Back Blast rolls, giving him additional damage rolls at POW 10+3d6.
That said, Bombs Away provides means for destroying an opponent's army or giving you a super-accurate assassination run. Even if you don't (or can't) hit the enemy warcaster or warlock, if you pile enough blast damage rolls with three or four damage dice, you'll eventually take some of them out.
Battlefield Role -
Durgen provides both destructive and denial support to the Searforge Commission. His former benefits are quite easy to see, and don't require much explanation. He merely chooses a target, fires the proper round at it, and lets the other elements of his army finish it off. Alternatively, he can provide redundancy by stepping up to provide anti-armor or anti-infantry support if there isn't much left alive from either category. For denial, he can make infantry into dangerous tarpits via Primed or keep the enemy at range with Inhospitable Ground. While he does have some ability in melee, you should probably avoid using him as such unless the need is dire.
Durgen should be deployed behind your front line, often behind durable medium- or large-based models that can keep him safe from ranged attacks. While ARM 17 looks impressive on the surface, it doesn't take much to kill him if the enemy can get line of sight on him. As Inhospitable Ground is a control area-effect, you'll often want him in the middle of the board to get the best coverage, especially if you can cover scoring areas or points to gain an advantage over otherwise faster enemies.
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Last edited by relasine; 07-17-2010 at 01:17 AM.
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Supporting Durgen Madhammer -
As mentioned above, keep him screened unless facing an army that cannot immediately close in melee that lacks solid ranged forces. If playing against models with Knock Down effects like Earthquake, do your best to keep him behind several ranks of your forces or keep him and another screening model in base contact with Brun Cragback for the benefit of Stone Hold.
In terms of warjack selection, Durgen works well with Drillers and Rockrams for melee power. Don't feel obligated to take a Rockram, though. When building your list, it's often best to start with a Driller and upgrade it later if you have two points left and nothing good to do with it. Bashers gain some nice STR and SPD bonuses from Redline, but the ability to reposition via Pronto makes them a hard sell for running on anyone but Thor. Their added ability to grant Durgen extra focus via Flak Field and Blast Armor is another very attractive perk. Avalanchers have some nice synergy with Durgen due to Inhospitable Ground keeping your opponents at range and Bombs Away boosting both accuracy and damage, but they're by no means a requirement for a Durgen list. Both light warjacks are fine choices with Durgen. Gunners are always a solid choice and Blasters are fantastic solo and infantry hunters. While many will forgo the latter due to a build that might stress AOEs for killing stealthy or high-DEF troops, there are many like Satyxis Raiders that are immune to AOEs due to things like Force Barrier or Dig In, so you may want to think twice before deciding against a Blaster.
Infantry support isn't hard for Durgen. Herne and Jonne are strong choices for obvious reasons, namely synergy with Bombs Away. Due to the rather suicidal nature of Primed, minimum units of Forge Guard are often best to reduce the impact of giving up a unit to hit really hard for a turn. Large units of High Shields with the UA provide great direct fire support to Durgen. Artillery Corps aren't bad at all for dropping an additional AOE in your opponent's back lines, but for their cost, you may wish to hold off them until 50+ point games.
For solos, Thor can do a great deal. He can Pronto a Basher into a perfect position in order to clear line of sight or knock down an enemy warcaster or warlock. He can keep warjacks with Redline up and moving at full steam, or use Tune Up to make them into unholy wrecking balls. Bokur are also good choices. They make fine targets for Primed and can help keep Durgen alive against scary ranged threats. Like Bashers, they can make slam attacks as well. Gudrun isn't too bad here. With Primed he becomes quite scary to infantry of all sorts, and he even will have the damage capacity to put the hurt on warjacks or beasts. Brun and Lug are also good choices, potentially providing Durgen with immunity to Knock Down while also granting additional melee redundancy. While Rockbottom doesn't particularly get any real benefit, he does provide some. Durgen lists often result in a lot of high-priority command checks, either due to casualties from Primed models dying or important Drive checks during critical moments.
Last edited by relasine; 07-17-2010 at 01:14 AM.
Gudrun the Wanderer -
Despite his banishment from Rhul, agents of the Searforge Commission are still willing to hire the disgraced Gudrun. Stumbling into battle armed with his over-sized glaive in one hand and a bottle of alcohol in the other, Gudrun is truly a terror to behold. In his stupor, Gudrun shrugs off blows that would smash others into a fine paste, and when roused, Gudrun goes into a berserker frenzy.
Gudrun’s stats are quite the opposite of what is expected from a Searforge Commission agent. At SPD 6, he’s the fastest model available, meaning that he can cover quite a bit of ground in a single turn. His mobility is further compounded by Reach for added threat range and Pathfinder for the purpose of navigating parts of the board that other available options will have trouble with. While his MAT is respectable, keep in mind that he’ll need a 6 on 2d6 to hit standard DEF 13, meaning that he’s not as accurate in melee as many would hope. Anything that can be done to buff his MAT or debuff his target’s DEF will go a long way towards making him a powerhouse in melee. DEF 13 , while an average DEF value, is quite high for the Commission, making Gudrun a slightly more difficult model to tag with normal ranged fire, particularly when combined with available DEF buffs like Rock Wall or concealment. His ARM value and eight wounds are quite nice for a solo, not quite as high as Bokur, but high enough to shrug off most ancillary attacks and blast damage rolls. Only heavy warjacks, warbeasts, large CRAs, or high-rolling Weaponmasters will be able to dispatch all eight wounds in a single strike with average rolling, while it will take a pair of boosted Hand Cannon shots (provided they can hit him) to do the same. His CMD value is high enough that he doesn’t need to worry about most CMD-related effects, something further boosted via Fearless.
Battle Glaive – At P+S 15, the Battle Glaive does the same damage as the Ogrun Pole Arm, but without the benefit of additional +2 damage from the Client bonus. On the charge, it delivers an average POW 25.5, which is enough to do meaningful damage to a standard Khador heavy. Without charging, he’ll average a POW 22, which is easily enough to dispatch most any single-wound infantry.
Reach – Reach allows Gudrun a number of nice advantages on the battlefield. Firstly, it grants him a 2” melee range, giving him a standard threat range of 11” when charging. It also stacks quite nicely with Berserk, giving him a greater quantity of targets if he’s able to set off a chain of attacks. It finally allows him to tie down several models at once, keeping them from firing ranged weapons or walking away with ease.
Advance Deploy – This is yet another ability that makes Gudrun one of our most mobile options. Not only do you get to deploy him an additional 6” up field at the start of the game, but you get to place him after your opponent deploys their normal forces, meaning that Gudrun will be in a better position to be near the model or unit that he will need to target while staying away from things that will be trouble for him. This also stacks quite nicely with the additional 4” of deployment zone granted by playing with the Searforge Commission, making Gudrun the furthest deployed model in the game in a Commission list.
Binge Drinking – This is a nice ability for denying the enemy from shooting or spelling him down, making it quite handy when working playing with scenarios that use control areas. Due to the Commission’s already high strength in scenario play, you won’t often need to use Binge Drinking to keep control of control areas contested, but you shouldn’t forget it as an option. Remember that this will have no effect if Gudrun is under the effects of Solid Ground.
Fearless – Gudrun doesn’t ever flee. It's a good thing.
Feign Death – Combining well with Binge Drinking and Hangover for obvious reasons, if Gudrun is ever knocked down, he can’t be targeted by ranged or magic attacks. This can be quite helpful when playing against armies that rely on knockdown effects or heavy ranged or spell threat to get the job done.
Hangover – This is the ability that grants Gudrun a good deal of staying power, as it gives him an effective sixteen wounds and can often mean that it’ll take at least two turns to be rid of him. It will knock him down, allowing him to take advantage of Feign Death after taking some damage, but that will only protect him from ranged and magic threats. He can still be easily dispatched in melee, though, so be mindful of his positioning if you don't want to see him die.
Pathfinder – As one of the few models in the Commission with access to Pathfinder, this makes Gudrun yet another reason to seriously consider taking in any list. Combined with his high SPD and Advance Deploy, it’s yet another ability that grants him even greater access to parts of the battlefield that the rest of our available models with have trouble getting to, making models that rely on terrain a bit less safe.
Battlefield Role –
Gudrun has a few roles on the battlefield that he is capable of filling. First, he is an excellent tarpit for troublesome enemy units or solos. Thanks to his effective sixteen wounds, Reach, high SPD, Pathfinder, and Advance Deploy, Gudrun can get up ahead of your army and into your opponent’s grill as early as the bottom of turn one, acting as one heck of a shock trooper for tying up ranged troopers. At MAT 7 and P+S 15, he’ll be able to hit most enemy models with free strikes and will hit hard enough to either kill or seriously hurt his victim. Be mindful of models that are immune to free strikes, as Gudrun won’t do much to keep them held down, save denying charge lanes.
Second, Gudrun works well for holding points or control areas. With Binge Drinking and Feign Death, Gudrun can hold a lonely scoring point against anything but melee troops. Combined with Hangover, Gudrun can essentially take three turns to kill, making him an incredibly resilient place holder.
Third, Gudrun is a great counter-infiltrator. If playing and going second against lists that utilize powerful Advance Deploy units like souped-up Trenchers, you can deploy Gudrun right up in their face. If the Trenchers ignore Gudrun and go for the rest of your army, they’ll spend several turns trying to shake him loose. If they shoot Gudrun and leave the rest of your army alone, they’ve given up the initiative to merely knock Gudrun down.
Fourth, Gudrun works well as a means for taking out clumps of enemy infantry, particularly single-wound models with low DEF and high ARM like Knights Exemplar, Stormblades or Stormguard, Bane Knights or Thralls, or Kriel Warriors. You can boost his effectiveness against higher-DEF models via debuffs like Landslide or buffs like Primed.
Gudrun’s deployment will be dependant on a number of factors. If going first, you’ll typically want to deploy him as far forward as possible, opposite his target, so that he can be engaging and tying down high-priority targets immediately, else redeploying to throw your opponent off balance. If going second, try and deploy forward and either behind some terrain or in something that will provide him with cover or concealment, which should boost his defense up to pretty impressive numbers against ranged or magic attacks. If you choose to use him as a place-holder model, deploy a little more reserved so that you can have him where you need him during crucial holding turns. You also have the option of moving Gudrun up behind a mid-board obstruction. This will allow him to move in behind advancing infantry to hopefully be able to attack them with the back strike bonus, providing support to your lines and protecting against getting swarmed.
As far as warcaster support is concerned, Gudrun doesn’t really need a lot. Giving him a Rock Wall to hide behind can buff his DEF value up to an impressive 17 against ranged and magic attacks. Offensively, Gudrun is effectively MAT 10 when attacking models affected by Landslide, making him a complete and utter terror to clumped up single-wound models.. You can also improve his potential a bit via Primed, making him effectively MAT 9, P+S 17, but reducing him to ARM 13.
Inspired into the mercenary lifestyle by the warcaster Gorten Grundback, Thor Steinhammer will gladly lend his wrench to the needs of Clan Searforge. Thor finds himself constantly in demand due largely in part to his impressive expertise with Rhulic warjacks of all designs.
Thor’s stats are pretty typical for a Searforge model. While his SPD isn’t as low as it could be, he still is pretty sluggish. His MAT and RAT are pretty average; don’t expect him to hit mid- to high-DEF models reliably, but he can hit most warjacks with relative ease. At DEF 12, Thor is fairly easy to hit, so be wary of his placement and try to keep him screened whenever possible. His ARM level isn’t bad, but with only five wounds, he will go down to a single POW 19 hit, so don’t count on his hardiness to keep him alive. At CMD 9, Thor won’t be failing many command or Drive rolls, but supporting him with Rockbottom is a good idea if you're running an expensive warjack with him.
Blowtorch – At only RNG 6 and the often higher need to use Tune Up or Repair instead, this weapon won’t come in handy too often. It does hit at POW 12 and cause Fire though, so it can do some decent damage if you line him up well and get good enemy model coverage.
Wrench – At only P+S 8, Thor’s Wrench isn’t much a melee weapon. At MAT 6, his accuracy isn't bad, but his damage output is so low, that Thor shouldn't be looking to make melee attacks unless absolutely necessary.
Pronto (Drive) – After passing a command check, Thor can allow one his controlled warjacks to advance their SPD in inches. This can afford you with a number of great benefits. First, for an army that is largely very slow, Pronto is a fantastic way to increase a model's threat range. Drillers and Rockrams are suddenly able to advance an effective 8” or charge 11”. Bashers can slam models from 13.5” away. Blasters can get deep into your opponent's lines, granting better coverage with its SPR template for a higher volume of attack rolls. Gunners can suddenly reach out and shoot models from 22” away. The second benefit from Pronto is allowing ranged models to effectively move and get the aiming bonus or move forward, shoot, and then scoot back. The third benefit is for repositioning, allowing you to put a Basher at an optimum slam angle or to clear a charge lane by moving something out of the way. There are plenty other good reasons to use Pronto, like getting a warjack close enough to use Tune Up or Repair, pulling a 'jack out of melee range of its target after it has attacked so you can open up with ranged fire, or simply just getting warjacks running between 12 and 15” a turn.
‘Jack Marshal/Rhulic 'Jack Marshal – Thor has the ability to marshal a pair of Rhulic warjacks.
Repair  (*Action) – As warjacks have high threat density, medium or large bases, and low DEF values, they make easy targets. This is yet another reason that makes Thor’s presence a welcome one in Commission armies that use warjacks. Rhulic warjacks tend to see a bit of ranged damage, so having Thor around to keep them working at full strength is a nice option.
Tune Up (*Action) – This is Thor’s bread-and-butter ability. Fully boosted attack or damage rolls can help turn a warcaster-controlled Driller into a monster. A Driller with Strength of Granite, three focus, and Tune Up to damage rolls will wreck most anything it gets near, dealing an average POW 32.5 attack with the Drill and POW 31.5 with a Grappler. Rockrams can make up for their relatively low MAT and RAT by fully-boosting all its attack rolls. With warjacks that he is marshaling, a Gunner with Tune Up and a boosted attack or damage roll from the ‘Jack Marshal bonus effectively behaves just like a Gunner spending a focus point, save that it can benefit from Pronto as well. A marshaled Blaster with Tune Up actually has greater penetration and coverage than a warcaster-controlled Blaster, but it will give up mass accuracy or damage in the process. Avalanchers with Tune Up on the damage rolls put out average POW 17.5's for blast damage, enough to kill most non-Shield Wall, single-wound infantry.
Battlefield Role –
Thor is around to support your warjacks. There are typically two schools of thought as far as how he is played: as a support character for warcaster-controlled warjacks or as a mix between a controlling and support character.
Some players will play him without allocating him any warjacks, giving him the role of repairing and putting Tune Up on warjacks controlled by his army’s warcasters. The benefit of playing Thor this way is that if he is picked off, you don’t need to watch as his controlled warjack(s) lose a great deal of their effectiveness, as they’ll still be able to obviously benefit from Focus allocation. The negative is that your warcaster may be more strapped for focus and you won’t be able to take advantage of Pronto.
When marshalling a warjack, the negatives are obvious. Firstly, if Thor dies, the warjack(s) he was controlling won’t be able to run, charge, boost, or buy extra attacks at all. Secondly, your Gunners and Blasters won’t be able to benefit from the Powerful Attack rule. Thirdly, you won’t be able to buy additional attacks or make power attacks. The bonus to marshaling, however, is decreased focus strain on your warcaster and access to Pronto, an ability that can make Bashers into terrifying disruption machines, giving Drillers and Rockrams really long threat range, and putting incredible mobility and coverage on Blasters.
Thor should typically be deployed close to the front line, typically behind the warjacks he will be supporting so that he can remain close to them during the game. During initial turns, he will often use Pronto for any controlled warjacks, and then run forward, just remember that you have to use Pronto before running, as your activation ends immediately after running. As battle progresses, screen him and/or distract your enemy with other targets to keep him safe.
When marshaling warjacks with Thor, it is probably a good idea to keep your allocation on the lower end. Giving him heavies or multiple warjacks will put a big target on his head, making him an early priority for your opponent, so if you go this route, do your best to protect him via screening, providing Shield Guard with your Bokur, or keeping Rockbottom near to make sure you pass priority Drive checks.
As mentioned previously, Thor supports warcaster-controlled Drillers, Rockrams, and Avalachers quite well. If taking a Rockram loaded up with focus, boosted damage rolls with Tune Up can make it quite the beatstick, while attack rolls will ensure accuracy. If running a heavy warjack with Redline on it, Thor can keep it repaired as it moves upfield and give it a bit higher damage capacity when you send it in. For warcaster-controlled Blasters or Gunners, Thor can always boost one side of its attack or damage rolls if your warcaster doesn't have the focus to feed it.
As far as supporting Thor himself goes, if he's marshaling warjacks, he and Rockbottom might as well be best friends. The ability to convert a failed Drive check is just pure gold. While it doesn't happen terribly often, it can and will eventually happen at the worst possible moment.
Last edited by relasine; 07-17-2010 at 09:24 PM.
All the models are now completed? Very nice and well done. You Relasine are amazing. I've been playing Searforge for over 6 months now and there are still new tidbits that I have found very informative on different playing styles and tactics.
Again, well done.
Thanks. I just hope that people are finding this helpful. I'll be working on some list-building articles soon. Starting next week I'll be taking my first break from the Searforge Commission in two years when Carver and the War Pigs release. It's going to be weird to have completely different models to play with...
Simply fantastic Relasine! Every post contains little gems of useful information for new players like me, and I suspect experienced players get a lot out of them too.
Really appreciate the enormous effort this must have taken.
My Gorten List makes it to Tier 4 at the 35 point level, and the tier bonuses really are effective.
High Shiled Max 8
High Shield min 5
Forge Guard min 5
All those Shield are advanced deployed, the Jacks are advance moved, and the dwarves all have ranked attacks. Gorten has not a lot of focus to give out because all of these jacks are in his group, but all of the bunnies have focus efficacy. Thor can still repair the Drill and the Bunnies, which act as speed bumps to block charge lanes, and tune up any of the Jacks. He misses out on pronto though as he is not marshaling any of the Jacks in this list. Try it, You might like it!
Just want to say this is the best write up for a new Rhulic player I have seen on these boards. Granted, the limited model selection makes it more possible but what I really appreciated was the tactical tips. Seriously the little reminders and call-outs on rules interactions was distinctly beneficial. I have never wanted a "strategy book" for any video game, but if they made one for Warmachine I'd buy it, (for the factions I don't play mostly) and I'd nominate this article to set the standard.
Thanks for the great article , really useful for myself just starting a Rhulic army.