Okay so why do people play Hordes? I imagine that if they really wanted to play with lots of infantry then Warmachine probably suits that better than Hordes. No, if you want to play Hordes, you're likely interesting in the big tools of war known as warbeasts! Domination brought us some unique and exciting warbeasts! Unlike Warmachine, new warbeasts have to be considered not only for their battlefield performance, but for their animi, as they are effectively a new spell that our warlocks have access to. Which warbeasts are my favorite from Domination? Let's find out!
Honorable Mention: Naga Nightlurker
The Naga is a pretty neat warbeast but one that I think requires some thought as to how best use him. As a light he is your standard price and comes with a RNG 10 POW 12 and a P+S 12 bite, so he might seem a little “meh” since his other abilities are pretty standard for Legion (pathfinder, eyeless sight, serpentine). He does have some nice effects on his weapons (crit poison on the ranged and shadow bind on the bite), but they’re both critical effects and thus unreliable. Since he’s a beast, boosting is easy, but that still doesn’t guarantee that critical when you really want it. Legion has so many beasts anyway that this guy will find there’s some tough competition even for his cost. This guy gets the honorable mention for some great abilities (albeit unreliable) but the competition is so tight for Legion that I doubt we’ll see him often unless he can get an additional attack die somehow (pLylith and eThagarosh).
#3 - Cyclops Raider
It’s really interesting to see Skorne get a ranged beast. It seems like Privateer Press wants to start giving Skorne some more ranged capability, as they received 3 ranged units in Domination (this guy, the Battle Engine, and the Venator Slingers). Skorne is typically known for being a heavy melee army, with ranged options being incredibly rare or ineffective comparatively. Would you rather spend points on an unsupported ranged unit or buy another solo which supports the rest of your army since they’re all melee. Throw into the mix that the Skorne warlocks don’t really offer much in the way of supporting ranged units, and you’ll see why you rarely see Skorne with guns.
|Zaal might appreciate more range on his evil eye of doom|
So why do I like the Raider? He’s pretty self-sufficient and he can hunt down annoying solos before they get to you. The first unfortunate thing to note about the Raider is his unimpressive RAT 5. Not surprising I guess when you lack depth perception. However, if he’s able to aim, he’s effectively RAT 7 and he ignores stealth to punk obnoxious solos or the occasional light under the effect of Occultation or Shadow Pack. Thanks to his animus Far Strike, he can have almost the same range as a Mariner or Destroyer, and with Burst Fire on his gun, he’ll be hitting heavies just as hard. Not bad for a 5 point light! I could see these guys being spammed with some beast handlers to remove the fury after a fusillade of boosted POW 14s at the opposing heavies at long range.
Also, Zaal and Soulwards will appreciate the animus since their ranged attacks are short-ranged. Skorne just got some serious ranged threat for the cost!
#2 - Scarsfell Griffon
When I first heard that Circle was getting a griffon in Domination I was so excited! I had originally hoped that it would be a new heavy warbeast, but I’m equally pleased that it’s a 5-point light, as there aren’t many options for Circle to fill that point slot right now. As is normal for Circle warbeasts, the Scarsfell Griffon has pretty unimpressive stats (although he has a better MAT than an Argus!), he’s not supposed to be wrecking models by punching them, but by throwing them!
|I think eKaya will love the Scarsfell Griffon the most|
One thing that stands out with the Griffon is access to a Long Leash – something relatively rare in Hordes – and this is huge for Circle, as we love to out-maneuver our opponents. The first warlock(s) I thought of with this guy is Kaya. With pKaya she offers Spirit Door to allow this guy to run pretty far along the flanks and she can pull him back once his job is done. Also, pKaya grants a +2 to melee attack rolls in her control, so this guy can be at a MAT 8 on the flanks, allowing him to do what he does best. Then again, eKaya offers him some similar safety with her feat plus Dog Pile to increase his threat range if you can tag the caster. What I really love about him, though, is that his fluff matches his playstyle.
I cannot emphasize enough how much I love this game for matching fluff and playstyle. The Scarsfell Griffon, in the fluff, kills its prey by picking it up and dropping over cliffs with its talons. Just like real birds of prey, this allows it to kill large prey without having to actually bite or claw at it, and this is what the Scarsfell Griffon will do best. Thanks to his animus, he can avoid free strikes and dive straight into the caster, ignoring enemy models and even forests, only to double-hand throw the opposing caster towards the rest of your army to pounce on. While he’s not for everyone, I think he was made for both Kayas, and if eKaya throws Forced Evolution and Primal from a Gorax, he can even be a pretty effective missile with 3 initial attacks at MAT8, DEF 16, and P+S 16, 15, 15! Not too shabby for a light!
#1 - Storm Troll
Like I said yesterday, I’m not a Troll player, but I sincerely think that Trolls got a really awesome set of models in Domination. My absolute favorite non-character warbeast is the Storm Troll. When I first heard of a lightning-slinging Troll, I first rolled my eyes (I guess it was only natural since they already have a Pyre, Winter, and Slag troll), but having seen his rules… yikes! I predict that we will see this guy in a lot of Troll lists.
Just like every other Troll, this guy has the standard DEF 12, ARM 16, and Regen. Where he really stands out, however are his abilities. As we might expect, he’s immune to electricity and has a ranged lightning attack. It’s pretty short-ranged, but in a faction where Impalers are prevalent for Far Strike, it’s less of an issue. His RAT is admittedly poorer than you might expect, but with Far Strike he can aim a little more often, and even then he will likely want to tag lower DEF models anyway. Why? Lightning generator! This means he’s a mini-chain lightning himself! This is the same rule as the Cygnar Storm Tower and it means that he can potentially clear out a couple obnoxious models himself – even those with stealth if you’re clever with it. Hell, the POW is low enough on the main blast that you could run a Dire Troll up front and shoot it in the back just to have the d3 bounces to punish eEiryss for getting too close. Oh, and unless it’s errata’d, you can boost the electrical damage rolls from the bounces!
|Although the model has yet to be|
released, it looks pretty awesome!
I think he should have been a heavy
Next on the list of awesome abilities is critical disruption on his fists. While I did criticize the Naga Nightlurker for having critical effects, disruption is incredibly rare in Hordes, even if it’s a critical effect. While I wouldn’t send this guy specifically after heavy warjacks to disrupt them, he does have two initial attacks, and boosting on both gives a reasonable chance of landing disruption if you can’t shoot. This alone is a good reason for Troll players to convince him, as the rest of Hordes has to get the Thrullg to have disruption as a tool, and the Storm Troll is way more survivable. Even if the critical doesn’t happen, it’s electrostatic rule means that even if a warjack hits him, if it doesn’t insta-gib, then the warjack suffers disruption! This is great to deter a fully-loaded warjack from charging in and trying to kill the Storm Troll, because it’d lose all of its focus after the first hit! Pretty ace!
|Troll Axer + Storm Troll|
Lastly, the Storm Troll’s animus grants a model immunity to electricity (situationally useful), and its melee weapons gain electro-leap! Two words: Troll Axer. A Troll Axer is already a pretty awesome choice for Trolls, as it has the great animus Rush, a decent-POW axe with reach, plus thresher. The downside is that he’s expensive for a light. Now with the Storm Troll, you can have all kinds of hilarious fun with the Axer! Have him thresher with electro-leap and watch him clear out an entire unit of infantry with ease! Go ahead, knock down some infantry (maybe with eGrissel’s song with Quake), charge in that Axer, and thresher all of them to not only kill them, but electro-leap off of each one! Wheee! Lightning!
Next up is Part 5, where I will talk about the character warbeasts and what I think of them!