OK so here’s my attempt on a write-up on the pigs newest warlock, Sturm and Drang (hereafter known as S&D). Feel free to tell me I'm wrong or throw in your own opinions.
S&D share most of their stats, with a below average SPD, DEF and ARM but a good above average fury stat. Sturm falls down a bit in his own stats, with a rubbish STR, MAT and RAT, but an excellent CMD, while Drang flips this on its side with a good STR and MAT and poor CMD (RAT doesn’t matter for Drang). They share a good amount of health boxes and have a number of WB points slightly below our other 2 warlocks.
They have the same fists, but they’re better with Drang than Sturm. Sturm’s lower strength means he swings much weaker than Drang, but not hopelessly. Sturm also comes with a nifty magical spray, which takes the pressure off Bonegrinders to snipe incorporeal models. However his low Rat means he’ll need to boost to hit most of the time unless they’re Def 12, and he hates spending his Fury on attacks.
Drang punches as hard as Carver swings with Hand of God, and has the MAT to do it effectively. He also comes with a cool Critical Pitch, allowing for some throwing goodness.
One thing to keep in mind with these 2… Their melee weapons are NOT magical. Sucks, but oh well.
The main thing about S&D is “Struggle of Wills” which dictates that you must pick which pig is dominant at the start of the maintenance phase, meaning you have to plan ahead for which spells and abilities you want for the round. Don’t do what I did one time which is have a cunning Drang-related assassination run planned out which relied on TK being cast…
Sturm has no other abilities, but Drang is jam packed.
Drang cannot upkeep spells. Not an issue with his spell list, it just means that Vision and Watcher won’t be around when you switch.
Drang gives his beasts a passive +2 MAT through Pack Hunters. The only thing better than a Warhog, is a MAT 8 Warhog.
Drang has Goad too, meaning those MAT 8 Warhogs can do some pseudo-sidestepping when they kill something.
Telekinesis - low cost spell with INFINITE POTENTIAL!! Ok, maybe not infinite, but it’s a universally hated spell when you don’t have it on your own caster’s card. I don’t think I need to go over all the uses, but giving Sturm a potential 17” threat on his magical spray can be nice.
Deflection – low cost spell which gives all warrior models +2 ARM against ranged and magic. Decent but not amazing. Helpful for dissuading a mass ranged/magic run against S&D (where 2 transfers won’t help much against a “thousand tiny cuts” tactic), and nice to make Brigands 16/16 when dug in.
Vision – epic win of a spell, especially when combined with Watcher (below). The first hit a model takes doesn’t get a damage roll. Simple. Easily countered (any random attack will remove Vision), but sometimes saves your bacon (literally). Watch out for certain things, it won’t save you from chain attacks for example, as that first attack still hit. Also won’t save you from “on hit” effects, it JUST negates the damage roll.
Watcher – Sturm should always have this up, unless he doesn’t have any beasts left… Whenever an enemy model ends its movement within 6” of Sturm, a warbeast in his battlegroup can make an advance and a fully boosted attack targeting that model. Lots of applications, but you need Sturm near the front lines to get good use out of it. Take note that the spell will end when a beast makes the ATTACK, so you can move beasts around as much as you like and the spell will stay up. Especially awesome when the following situation arises; focus laden jack of death charges your lead beast, but it walks away from the attacker due to Watcher AND ignores the free strike damage due to Vision! In most cases it’s still worth walking away even without Vision (taking a charge attack to the face is pretty much the same as taking a freestrike, but avoiding the attacks afterwards is advisable).
Obliteration – expensive big AOE of death. Nothing fancy. Drang’s only way of hurting incorporeal on his own. He normally has loads of Fury to spare so you might cast this more than you think.
Killing Ground – two good points for this; all friendly faction models beginning in Drang’s control get pathfinder, and all his beasts can charge or make slams for free. VERY useful, very straightforward.
The Feat –
Psychic Apocalypse– All enemy warbeasts have their fury reduced to one. All Warjacks can only be allocated 1 focus max. No channelling.
Not a bad feat, but not a great feat overall. Significantly better against Hordes than WM.
It will save you from a massive ‘jack beatdown (very few jacks can kill a ‘Hog with only 1 focus), and casters lose the use of their arcnodes, so all the focus they’re saving from not giving it out will not be spent chucking spells at you from miles away.
Against Hordes, when a warbeast has it’s fury stat reduced, it loses all the excess fury. This means that the opposing warlock SHOULD be starved next turn. Also, consider this; Kaya has had a busy turn. She is on 2 Fury for transfers, and her 2 Stalkers are only on 2 fury each so she can transfer to them. S&D pop their feat and both stalkers go down to one fury. Kaya will be starved for 2 Fury next turn… If she lives that long! Both Stalkers are now technically FULL of fury, as their fury stat is 1 and therefore she cannot transfer to them! Also, if she survives to counter, those stalkers are only going to be able to force once, ensuring the safety of your stuff mostly. (NOTE – Kaya and stalkers used as an example, not specific!)
Army Options –
Warhog – Do you even need to ask? Our only available heavy is golden, and S&D makes it better. Watcher and Vision are good for them, and Pack Hunters and Goad make them monsters on the field.
Road Hog – I’ve proxied it a few times and they are pretty cool. With TK you can reach out and touch something 22” away from where it started, and they benefit from the other stuff as much as a Warhog (don’t forget, you can get a spray out of Watcher…). Drang likes Lightning Strike because he WANTS to beat something up, but he doesn’t want to be left out to dry afterwards.
Gunboar – I’m a bit biased, but I always take one. S&D don’t offer anything extraordinary apart from the extra range gleaned from TK (or turning round a target, netting the boar +2 RAT), but having a decent AOE and 2 open fists is always nice.
Targ – Unless you’re stuck by character restrictions, take him. There’s no reason not too, and S&D actually give him a measure of protection through Deflection and Vision if he needs it.
Brigands – Why not? I always bring them out. Deflection with Dig in puts them at an annoying 16/16 from range with blast immunity, with tough the majority of the time. Drang can even net them so they can always be tough (or Hog Wild, if you’re as mad as me using this every damn turn)
Bone Grinders – Yes. +2 range on Sturm’s TK’s with a hyper accurate magical shot? Cheap as chips? Sold.
Slaughterhousers – My new favourite unit, no reason not to take them. S&D again don’t offer them much bar +2 ARM from ranged (which pops them mostly safe from pow 10s), but they’re good anyway.
Rorsh and Brine – TK makes them even more fiddly, and they’re already solid by themselves. Take them if you’ve got the points to spare.
Pact vs Theme
By my own admission, I almost exclusively play Theme forces. I love them, so I may be a tad biased...
The Thornfall Alliance pact nets you unlimited brigands, advance deploy on ALL your units and access to Alten, Saxon, Victor and Gudrun. I'm a purist at heart, so the minion solos don't come out to play much... I won't deny their usefulness, but I can't really comment on them. AD units is pretty sweet, but I find that S&D play a bit unit light anyway. You want your Bonegrinders back with S&D anyway, and Slaughterhousers are generally second wave "finishers", so I don't rate the mass AD.
S&D's theme is pretty tasty for the most part.
Tier 1 (which is the same as all the others.... pure pig) gives you a variety of bonuses dependant on who you start as. Sturm gets all his upkeeps in play and doesn't pay to upkeep on turn one. This only gets Vision and Watcher out, but this still means you'll get 2 TK's on the first turn for the saved cost, plus a fury to camp. PLUS Vision can start further away (last night I had it on Rorsh, who was about 20" away from S&D, whereas he would not have otherwise had it...). Drang gets your beasts +2 SPD on the first turn, which is nice but generally overshadowed by Sturm's benefits and Drangs lack of use on turn 1 (however rocketting a Roadhog 18" up the field on turn one is kinda cool, if not a sure-fire way of getting it killed...).
Tier 2 is hit by taking Targ (barring character restrictions, thats a given), and gets you +1 to your starting roll. Nice.
Tier 3 is reached by taking a single unit of Slaughterhousers. Again, a given. This means all your Slaughterhousers get Advance Move, technically only leaving them an inch behind where they'd be IF they AD'd.
Tier 4 is the least appealing, and requires 2 Roadhogs but gets a point off them and subsequent Roadhogs. Cool, and free points are always nice, but I see myself taking 2 Warhogs and 1 Roadhog mostly.
As always, it's down to your own playstyle. Carver loves the Pact because Brigands are so good with him, but S&D gain very little from it in my opinion.