Saturday, November 19, 2011


By now you’ve hopefully become excited enough that you ran out and purchased your own copy of Hordes: Domination and are aware of the different spells and abilities that these fancy new warlocks can use.  There are some new spells and there are some old, but one thing that Dominations has surely brought us is a bunch of new playstyles for each faction.  Today I want to focus on my three favorite (I didn’t say “best”) warlocks, and why.  I want to first say that I LOVE eBaldur, but I already spent enough time talking about him here, so today I will be focusing on three other warlocks, with the understanding that you know Baldur is my absolute favorite.  Here are my thoughts:

Honorable Mention: Sturm and Drang.  I really like these guys and I’m not sure why.  I think it’s because they offer something unique in the game, where you have two separate casters that fight over who’s in charge.  The pig-a-taur reminds me of the ogres from Warcraft II with two heads who’d constantly fight (“This way!  No, that way!  Pbbhbhbbt… hehehe”).  Ultimately, they don’t make the cut because I think that the Thornfall Alliance struggles so much to compete when you have a warlock like Lord Carver BMMD Esq. III in your “faction.”  These guys are certainly interesting and I will love to play against them.

#3 Jarl Skuld
Why?  Cool model, movement shenanigans for Trolls (!?)
Jarl is another warlock who has been spoiled for some time and so we really didn’t see any surprises when he showed up in Domination.  His tier list is pretty good (which got an honorable mention yesterday) and I think that he will see a lot of play for Trolls who get tired of playing with the Borka/Madrak bricks.  Jarl offers mobility to a faction that largely relies upon attrition to position themselves for the killing blow.  You might think that he’ll play just like Grim, but that is where you’re wrong.
Grim plays a support game but he relies upon a different set of mechanics than does Jarl, and picks apart his opponent piecemeal until he’s able to get at the juicy center.  Jarl doesn’t support his ranged units, but he supports melee units who can position themselves to optimize their effectiveness either through moving around (or through) his enemies, or picking off models who are simply getting in the way.  Grim supports his ranged-attack units, Jarl supports his units with ranged attacks.  He supplies some defensive support to his units so that they can get into position, survive, and by picking off key models and popping his feat, suddenly his army is exactly where you wish they weren’t, tearing you apart from within.  Whereas Grim loves to focus attention on taking down opposing heavies, I see Jarl completely ignoring them and making sure his army goes straight for the throat of the opponent.
Oh and his model looks too awesome!

#2 Naaresh
Why?  Great game design.
Naaresh has been spoiled for some time now, thanks to No Quarter magazine.  Even still, I really like this guy for his awesome game design.  Privateer Press does a great job of having models behave like they should on the table, and their fluff and game design are synonymous - there is no rift between the two – and I think that Naaresh exemplifies this.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
but chains and whips excite me
This guy has a couple neat rules that I love.  First, he loves getting whipped, and friendly models will hit him automatically.  Secondly, when he suffers damage from an attack, he gains a power token which adds to his STR and ARM.  This is great because it means that you can literally whip him into a frenzy with some paingiver beast handlers and throw him at your enemy!  His stats are largely unimpressive, but it’s because he can gain up to +5 STR and ARM from these pokes that his stats are low.
Come git sum!
What this means, however, is that in a faction where there’s very little healing, it means that when you’re playing Naaresh, you have to weigh the benefits with the fact that you’re taking damage.  Warlocks can’t take little ‘pings’ of damage like warcasters can – their ARM values are too low and their survival depends upon transferring big hits, not little nicks and scratches.  Naaresh needs to be especially aware of this, because he wants to have his own guys nick and scratch him up so that he can chew some face.  Fortunately, he has some spells and abilities to help him heal up some of the damage he might take, but you will still have to weigh that with the fact that you will need to be at the front lines, susceptible to damage.

In the end, I love the tactical options and thought that go into Naaresh and I love the image of some beast handlers whipping him from behind as he runs towards the enemy lines.  I think he’s going to be an iconic warlock for Skorne, and that’s why he’s one of my favorites.

#1 Epic Grissel
Why?  Awesome model, cool new playstle, most appropriate transition to “Epic”
I’m not even a Troll player.  I’ve thought about crossing-over, about trading my forlorn Pirates for an equally fun faction, but I have yet to bring myself to do it.  This book REALLY makes me reconsider, to the point where I’ve calculated the value of my Pirates for equivalent trades.  Just like Legion had two of what I think are the best tiers, I think that the Trolls have my two favorite casters, and my absolute favorite is Epic Grissel Bloodsong.
She really is better than you

First, you should check out Grissels artwork in Domination.  It is just SO AWESOME!  Grissel has probably the “most epic” transition from her awkward primal form to a new more epic version of herself in so many ways.  It might be hard to tell because of the poor quality photo, but I love how she’s smirking in the photo, portraying a bold and proud Troll who knows that she’s better than you.  Her model is one of my favorites as well to come out of the range for this book (at least so far) and to me she exemplifies power while maintaining a relatively feminine form without looking slutty (shameless plug for women fighters in reasonable armor).

That’s just scratching the surface, however!  Beneath her bold and aggressive exterior lies the heart of a ranged caster.  Wait, what?!  That’s right, a ranged caster.  While she maintains her abilities to use her songs like she did in her primal form, she has become so badass that she hurts you with music.  Not only that, but she can do it three times in a turn with a different effect each time.  What's also great is that these attacks feel like their own spells, with the obvious benefit of just having to spend one fury to buy an extra shot (up to the ROF of 3!).  Her spell list is small but like I said, her ranged attacks feel like spells anyway, so it's totally fine.  Plus, the spells she does have are fantastic for Trolls: Dash to make running up the field that much faster and get into positions without taking free strikes and Inhospitable Ground to make sure that her troops get the first charge.
I think Grissel will like having this guy around

I see her being successful running your standard Troll brick with her casting her two spells first turn.  Come second turn, she doesn’t cast anything and immediately breaks into song, blasting fell chorus after fell chorus into her opponents to soften them up while her troops do the rest.  If she wants to, she can even pitch-in with Resounder – her crit-smiting hammer – because she’ll have the fury to do it, so why not?  She's one of the more survivable warlocks too, even doubly so for Trolls with her relatively astounding DEF 15 and her beefy ARM 17.  I see an Impaler or two being absolutely necessary for her to make the most of her songs, and Fell Callers are going to play a big feature in her lists with the new Sons of Bragg bringing some nice and cheap abilities that synergize well with the rest of the factions fell calls.  She really doesn't offer her beasts much support in the way of spells, but I imagine that a Mauler will be handy for wrecking enemy heavies, and a Bouncer as well for a transfer target and meat-shield for her, since she's likely going to be towards the front of her army.

I think it’s interesting that Trolls got a lot of ranged support in Domination.  I certainly didn’t imagine that Grissel would be a ranged support caster like she is.  Will she be seen at many tournaments?  Maybe not, but she’s certainly one of my favorite new casters from Domination.

In Part 4 I will look at my 3 favorite new warbeasts!
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