Sunday, 24 March 2013

Hordes: Gargantuans - Review

I was a little delayed in getting my copy of Gargantuans due to my LGS’ supplier having an issue with “flammable pallets”. I feel this is an excuse along the lines of “the dog ate my homework”, but as I wasn’t going to buy it anywhere else, I had to wait.

However, patience is a virtue, and I even successfully managed to avoid all the online spoilers!

And I’m glad that I did, as once again Privateer Press has produced and excellent product that I would have been disappointed had I spoiled myself before having my own copy.

Gargantuan’s is a 160 page, full colour book available in both softback and hardback for those collectors out there. As with all the previous anthology books, it contains sections on painting, new rules, new model write ups and fiction highlighting the new models as well as advancing the world metaplot.

Just like the Warmachine equivalent Colossals, Gargantuans contains the relevant new rules that covers the new unit type, as well as publishing the Unbound rules again. While Unbound is an interesting change to the game (for those out there with 200pts+ of models), if you have either Colossals, or the original No Quarter issue, these rules are duplication. The only new part is the new formations, and changes to existing models if you want to play Unbound. While I’m disappointed that Unbound has been included again, I’m not sure of any better way of publishing it. I can’t see an Unbound rulebook on its own selling well.

The painting section, once again highlights some of the techniques used to paint the display models. Not everyone is going to want to replicate the paint schemes, but they do make interesting reading for picking up techniques. Along with the painting sections from the faction books, and available in No Quarter, there is a wealth of well written pieces for anyone looking to improve or expand their painting techniques.

For me, as much as I’m looking forward to the new models, I’m also looking forward to the fiction in the books. Privateer Press has built up a great setting and metaplot, and anything to build in that is welcome in my opinion. Once again, we are treated to some excellent stories that not only see the new models do awesome stuff, but the overall plot move forward. As we go on, the Warmachine and Hordes metaplots are becoming more intertwined, and we see the effects of battles in Colossals being played out here. I’m really interested in the Cryx/Legion story as well as the Skorne/Ios plot lines. All in all, excellent writing as usual, if anything it serves to make mediocre models seem much more impressive than they are on the table. Not a bad thing in my opinion!

Anyway, onwards to what everyone really cares about, the new model releases.
I’ll be honest, its tough for me to give much of an overview of the factions other than Legion and Skorne, so take any commentary on the other faction releases with a pinch of salt!
Overall, this has more releases than Colossals, with at least another beast and 2 solos/units per faction above the Warlock & Gargantuan we expected.

Trolls gets themselves a Warlock unit in the shape of Grimm2, a light troll with Stealth and Eyeless sight, a heavy champions unit and 2 solos (one Sorcerer that attaches to a unit, and a Fennblade commander). While considered the weakest of the Gargantuans, you can’t dispute the Mountain King model is amazing. I wouldn’t say anything here is out of the park outstanding, but a solid set of releases that I would expect to see play.
 I really don’t like the look of Morvahna2, Circles new mounted warlock. With a strong feat and set of spells and abilities, I can easily see her causing trouble in play. Another strong release is the Warpborn Alpha UA for the Skinwalkers unit. For 3 points you get a whole raft of abilities to make your medium based infantry even better. Their unit release, the Tharn Blood Pack also look mighty strong, and the Rip Horn Satyr promises to find its way into many lists. Compared to these releases, the Razorwing Griffon and Woldwrath Gargantuan do feel a little lacklustre, but I don’t doubt someone will make them work.

For me, Skorne get some of the most interesting and powerful new models. Makeda3 is our Warlock Unit, and if you want to play a Warlock that gets into the middle of the action, then she is for you. She has the ability to dish it out, and to keep herself reasonably protected from retaliation. I think she’s definitely on the to-buy list.
Our weakest release is the Reptile Hound, a Lesser Warbeast with a situational animus, and Flank with Reptile Hounds, meaning you have to take at least 2 to make them worthwhile. We do, however, get the only Character Warbeast in the book, in the shape of the Despoiler. With an Affinity for Mordikaar, you wouldn’t be surprised to know he works at producing Void Spirits and supports spell casting. His animus doubles enemy fury and focus costs to cast spells, and he’s not a slouch in combat for a heavy beast.
Our unit is a ranged Cataphract unit, that have Continuous Fire and an AoE! These fill a much needed gap in our roster, and I can see in more than just Xerxis lists. Our Solo, the Mortitheurge Willbreaker, will, however, be found in even more lists. For 2 points you get Beast Master, Ancillary Attack and Puppet Master! Best Release of the Book.
If that wasn’t enough, our Gargantuan, the Mammoth, is easily the best of the large based models. A giant 4 armed monster with a 4 barrelled cannon on its back, yes please! Add in the ability to total anything in melee, and the most armour of them all, I can’t wait to drop this guy onto the table.

Legion of Everblight

Legion gets some interesting releases, but really only one has made it onto my to-buy list.
They do have the privilege of the first Huge based Warcaster in the shape of Lylyth3. Counting as a Battle Engine, and mounted on a sledge pulled by 2 Ulks, this should be an amazing model, but how it performs in game is yet to be seen. I’m concerned that a huge base makes her much too difficult to hide from opposing assassination attempts.
Legion gets 2 light warbeast, the Afflictor and Nephilim Bloodseer. Both are interested with both having Flight, the Afflictor creating new Incubi and the Bloodseer improving spell casting units. Solid releases that will see play in certain lists.
No unit for Legion this time, but 2 interesting solos. The Beast Mistress is a spell casting equivalent to a Jack Marshall. Only able to take Lesser Warbeasts, but packing a couple of spells herself, I can imagine she’ll end up as a Legion Buff bot for those useful Lesser animi. The second solo is the Warspear Chieftain, a UA for the Warspear unit. Much like the Warpborn Alpha, he brings the Warspears much needed abilities such as Huntsman and Relentless Charge, for the bargain price of 2 points.
Legion do win the prize for the most amazing looking Gargantuan. Unfortunately, its rules don’t quite match, but I can still see if getting some table time.

 Minions get 2 warlocks, one Farrow and one Gatorman. Of the two, I like the look of Rask (Gatorman) better, but I am a sucker for the Gatorman faction. The Farrow get a Lesser Warbeast and Blindwater get an Undead Bog Trog unit. There is also a new Gobber Tinker solo that can repair Warjacks and Battle Engines. However, as he only works for 2 of the Warmachine factions compared to all 4 Hordes ones, I can see him repairing more Battle Engines than anything else.

Overall, another excellent release from Privateer Press. Every faction gets something useful, and while debate will reign over which faction “won” the book, I think no one goes away unhappy.
I already have a couple of the early releases, which I'll review in a week, once I've got them put together.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Easter Warmahordes - The Armies

A new year, and a new set of Bank Holidays for playing Warmahordes over!

This year, we move up from 15pts to 25pts, and also start using the Steamroller 2013 scenarios rather than the ones in the core book.
To ease us in, we are only going to use 4 of the scenarios, Destruction, Incursion, Outflank and Process of Elimination. We’ll also be aiming for a 2 list format with character restrictions. No timed turns though, we aren’t quite ready for that!

We are now only a week away, so I thought I'd talk a bit about what I considered taking, to give an idea behind my list building.
Firstly, I want to take as much painted models as possible, so that practically that limits it to either Skorne or Cryx. I simply don't have the amount painted to manage one 25pt list for either Menoth or Legion, although Menoth isn't far off.

My 4 opponents are going to be Cygnar, Menoth, Retribution and Circle. I know pretty much what the Retribution player will be taking, as I help with his lists, but I'm going to try not to have that effect my decisions too much.
First up, lets look at my Skorne options. I only have 3 Skorne Warlocks, and as 2 of them are already painted, that narrows down my choice quite nicely.

List 1
Master Tormentor Morghoul
* Cyclops Brute
* Cyclops Savage
* Bronzeback Titan
* Titan Gladiator
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts)
This is a nice beast heavy list, that should be able to wreck most things it comes up against. Downside, it have very little defensive abilities, depending on body mass alone to survive. An option is to drop the Cyclops Savage for some solos that may help, a Willbreaker, Master Tormenter and some Swamp Gobbers being my choices.With 3 of the 4 opponents being able to play a reasonable ranged list I may not make it to the zones before loosing something though.

List 2
Tyrant Xerxis
* Basilisk Krea
* Titan Gladiator
Cataphract Cetrati (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 5 Grunts)
* Praetorian Swordsmen Officer & Standard
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer
Here I’m attempting a Xerxis block, but I can’t seem to fit in everything I want. Note, no Beast Handlers, as I can’t afford them, and a heavy warbeast. Ironically, I don’t feel that I’d need them if I had a light warbeast, such as a Savage. Anyway, the plan is to slowly advance the 16 DEF, 24 ARM Cetrati up the field and see what can actually do anything to them. Good against ranged lists, but lacking in overall pace as everything would be stuck at the speed of the Cetrati.

Some interesting options, and certainly I like both lists. However, these two lists have a couple of big painting projects in, and I simply don't have enough time to complete them. If I'm to Play It Painted, as is my plan, then Skorne are off the table.

I have much more to choose from in Cryx, and much more painted, making list construction a bit more varied.

List 1
Warwitch Deneghra
* Deathripper
* Skarlock Thrall
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard
Bane Lord Tartarus
<9pt Focus Efficient Heavy>
+2pt Solo

This list is fun and uses many of the units I love in Cryx. Most of the list is Stealthed, meaning I should be able to advance reasonably safely, I have a heavy of some description (usually Seether) for heavy lifting duties, and weapon master infantry to make people cry. I have 2pts left for a solo, either Gorman (for even more debuffs), War Witch Siren (because) or a Bloat Thrall (for some range, and pie plates). Not yet sold on which to take yet.

List 2
Skarre, Queen of the Broken Coast
* Deathripper
* Deathjack
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
Pistol Wraith
Pistol Wraith
Satyxis Raider Captain

I love the synergy of this list! The Satyxis package is strong in most lists, but the additional Inspiration from Skarre tops it off. Pistol Wraiths and Black Spot go together amazingly, and Deathjack loves Seas of Fate, and acts as a bit of a Scarlock. I did consider swapping out the Deathripper for a Stalker, but the ability to throw Black Spot or Perdition at further range is too useful.

List 3
Asphyxious the Hellbringer
* Cankerworm
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls
Revenant Crew (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
Captain Rengrave
Satyxis Raider Captain
Warwitch Siren 

A bit of a mixed list, but I just want to give Gaspy3 a shot. Cankerworm is a must, as with Gaspy he punches well above his weight. Satyxis love Ashen Veil, and a load of infantry to annoy the opponent. Not as tested as the other two lists though, and Gaspy3 would be a brand new caster to try.

Well, that's what I'm thinking, I'll report back once I've played a few games.