Friday, June 08, 2012

Review: Privateer Press Summer Deals

For those who are not following, I wrote two articles recently reviewing the Privateer Press Summer Deals because Kirby asked me to.  I must apologize for those who've already read these articles because I will be recycling them here today, but at least I'm combining them into a single article (which will be found in the future under the 'Review' tab above) and I have downgrading a couple of ratings after some discussion and reconsideration.  While Games Workshop is raising prices on 200+ items, Privateer Press is offering special 25 point deals on products through their online store.  I'll be rating these on a 1-5 scale on Longevity (how often you'll use the models in the deal), in a similar style to when I rated the Battlegroup boxes on my own blog, but I'll also rate these based on the Power of the 25 point list in the deal.  Just to clarify, I do mean the 25 point list created from the models you get in the deal itself compared to any other 25 point list you might come across.  This means that I'm not so much ranking them relative to each other, but more sharing my opinion on whether it'll be a solid list playing against anyone at 25 points.  Since each of these deals has a savings of about 25%, you at least know that you're getting a pretty good deal here.  Lastly, at the end of my review I'll include my [brutally honest] concluding thoughts about the deals themselves.

Cygnar Battlebox (plastic)
o Warcaster Commander Coleman Stryker
o Ironclad Heavy Warjack
o Lancer Light Warjack
o Charger Light Warjack
Stormguard (full unit)
Archduke Runewood
and a free copy of the Prime MKII rulebook!
$130.45 vs. $174.93 retail - %25.4 savings
Longevity: (3/5) - I don't really think that the Cygnar plastic battlegroup is all that great in the first place but at least the warjacks you get give you some flexibility in planning for other Cygnar warcasters in the future.  Unfortunately, you'll rarely use all of the battlegroup warjacks together again.  Stormguard are a great unit but are often overlooked for Stormblades, but they're a solid unit.  Runewood is a curious addition but is also a pretty solid model to use in the future, especially since you'll probably want to pick up Sword Knights at some point anyway.  Lastly, the Squire is one of the best warcaster attachments out there and will see a lot of use no matter what list you use.
Power: (4/5) - I actually think that this hodge-podge 25 point list could be quite effective.  All of the models will highly benefit from Stryker's feat and he has a wide variety of spells to throw out onto the models out there.  Arcane Shield on the Stormguard will be quite funny on his feat turn as you're throwing ARM 23 infantry into your opponent's face and laughing at them.  Runewood will make sure that the Stormguard are able to get to their target, even if rough terrain is in the way, and everyone can benefit from the Squire.  I think there's enough to make this 25 point army fun and flavorful.

Khador Battlebox (plastic)
o Warcaster Kommander Sorscha
o Destroyer Heavy Warjack
o Juggernaut Heavy Warjack
Winter Guard Infantry UA
Winter Guard Infantry (full unit)
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich
and a free copy of the Prime MKII rulebook!
$125.94 vs. $169.92 retail - %25.9 savings
Longevity: (5/5) - This is a very solid list of models for Khador.  Every Khador player's first purchase should be these exact models with the addition of perhaps a War Dog.  I really don't have much else to say.
Power: (3/5) - Winterguard Infantry are awesome, but everyone knows about and plans for the Winter Guard Death Star whenever they're building a list, and at 25 points they'll often have something to deal with your models.  They'll still be great and you should still take them, but I don't think they'll synergize as well with pSorscha as they might elsewhere.  If you pick up eSorscha, however, I think you'll find the power level of this 25 point list to be a bit better as she makes the Winter Guard much better in a lot of ways.

Protectorate of Menoth
Protectorate of Menoth Battlebox (plastic)
o Warcaster High Exemplar Kreoss
o Crusader Heavy Warjack
o Revenger Light Warjack
o Repenter Light Warjack
Choir of Menoth
Bastions (plastic)
Vassal Mechanik
Vassal of Menoth
and a free copy of the Prime MKII rulebook!
128.66 vs. $172.94 retail - %25.6 savings
Longevity: (2/5) - I'm going to be pretty harsh here.  While Choir and the Vassal of Menoth are great models that should be in almost every Menoth list, they really are the only models in this deal that you'll use on a regular basis with other Menoth warcasters.  Bastions are pretty solid too, I might add, but even then they are not necessary in most lists.
Power: (3/5) - Despite my harsh criticisms on the longevity of the models, I think this list will put up a reasonable fight.  The 'Pop-n-Drop' technique is a tried-and-true one and Bastions will love Defender's Ward to keep them threatening and obnoxious.  That said, even with Choir and a Vassal, there are really too many warjacks for Kreoss to run them well, and all of the jacks are very inefficient.  The Mekanik will help keep that Crusader running for longer, but unfortunately the Crusader isn't enough to justify this 25 point list being all that great.

Cryx Battlebox (plastic)
o Warcaster Warwitch Deneghra
o Slayer Helljack
o 2 Deathripper Bonejacks
o Defiler Bonejack
Mechanithralls (full unit)
Necrosurgeon and Stich Thralls
Warwitch Siren
and a free copy of the Prime MKII rulebook!
$118.74 vs. $161.92 retail - %26.7 savings
Longevity: (5/5) - *sigh* I hate to admit it, but this is a pretty awesome deal.  I hate Cryx - I really do - but all of the models in this deal will see regular inclusion in other lists.  Mechanithralls are your staple cheap-but-effective Cryx infantry unit and the Necrosurgeon is practically a unit attachment for them.  Steampunk zombies are pretty great and they're found with pretty much any Cryx warcaster.  On top of that, the Warwitch Siren is amazing for getting the most out of warjacks and even if there are no warjacks around, she sports Venom and can even hold her own in melee.  Lastly, every Cryx player should own a Skarlock.  All of that plus the reasonable models you get in the battelbox and I'd have to say this is an awesome deal!
Power: (5/5) - *SIGH* I really hate Cryx.  Yes, this 25 point list is probably the best of the bunch.  Everything works together really well and with Deneghra having such an awesome feat and spell list, she makes Mechanithralls go from annoying to frightening and capable of wrecking heavies.  The fact that the necrosurgeon can bring them back is even more frightening.  If you're interested in Cryx, get this deal.

Magnus the Traitor
Steelhead Rifleman Unit
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
and a free copy of the Prime MKII rulebook!
$118.75 vs. $161.93 retail - %26.7 savings
Longevity: (1/5) - It's too bad that the Mercenaries don't have a plastic box but this is your best bet of getting that equivalent.  The rating here might seem a bit harsh but that's in the scope of the entire Mercenary faction.  Magnus fits into only a couple of contracts and Renegades can only be taken with him, so you're already looking at a fairly limited scope for using these models in other Mercenary lists.  Rhupert is great in most lists anyway (even in other factions) and Riflemen are okay, but if you're looking to get into Mercs, this is a very narrow 25 point list and you'll rarely use any of these models with other warcasters in such a broad faction.
Power: (4/5) - While these models won't be used much outside of this list, I think the list itself is quite solid.  Magnus is a surprisingly awesome warcaster and Renegates are really awesome warjacks if you wait until the right moment to launch their Obliterator rockets!  A full unit of Steelhead Riflemen can be devastating at 25 points as they can deal with a large variety of targets from infantry to heavies.  Even the Mangler feels quite at home here, capable of dealing with warjacks or swiping away at infantry with its Thresher.  I think you'll have a lot of fun and success with this 25 point list.

Vyre Jack Kit (Banshee)
Standard Heavy Jack Kit (Phoenix)
Magehunter box
Magehunter UA
Magehunter Assassin
and a free copy of the Prime MKII rulebook!
$119.65 vs. $162.93 retail - %26.6 savings
Longevity: (4/5) - This package has a lot of great things going for it.  First of all, the two warjacks you get are both very solid and will find their way into a variety of lists.  While you'll rarely want both in the same list, either of them will fit into a large variety of Retribution lists and you'll definitely use them again.  Next, not only do you get the Magehunters - which are one of the best ranged units in the game right now - but you also get their UA.  Lastly, top it off with everyone's most-hated Magehunter Assassin and you're good to go.  Retribution is already a small faction so there's a lot of overlap, but these are the models in a narrow range that see the most play and that's good for you.
Power: (3/5) - I honestly don't see this list knocking around too many other 25 point lists.  Yes, the components are pretty awesome, but I don't think that Kaelyssa brings it all together as well as you might think.  While this package definitely has more of a theme than the others ("KILL THE MAGE!"), I think playing against anything outside of that narrow scope will prove to be quite challenging.  Retribution is already a finesse faction as it is, and this list doesn't help.  That's not to say it can't do well, but I think for a newer player they will find it difficult to gain traction quickly.


Circle Orboros
Circle Army Summer Sale Bundle contains:
Circle Battlebox (plastic)
o Kaya the Wildborne Warlock
o Feral Warpwolf Heavy Warbeast
o 2 Argus Light Warbeasts
Tharn Bloodtrackers (unit)
Shifting Stones
Lord of the Feast
and a free copy of the Primal MKII rulebook!
$116.96 vs. $159.95 retail - %26.8 savings
Longevity: (3/5) - In this particular deal I feel like the battlegroup actually holds the deal back from a better score.  While most Circle players will agree that Shifting Stones, Lord of the Feast, and Bloodtrackers are amazing models that can be used in most any list, unfortunately those will be the only models you're likely to use again outside of this specific list.  I will say that the Feral Warpwolf is much better than people give it credit for, despite it's Stalker brother.  The Feral is capable of wrecking most heavies in the game with a full compliment of attacks and you'll miss that MAT 7 when you don't have it around.  Unfortunately, pKaya rarely sees play outside of these introductory games and the Argus is notorious for the bashing it gets from the community - despite my personal feelings to the contrary.
Power: (2/5) -This 25 point list is a mixed bag.  While Kaya definitely makes her beasts awesome, she does often lack in anti-infantry, which this list packs in spades.  Unfortunately, that's to the detriment of some great heavy-hitting warbeasts.  Also, Kaya is really good at managing fury on her warbeasts and so the purpose of the Shifting Stones is a little unclear.  Additionally, while Occultation is a great spell, it's a bit of a waste on the Bloodtrackers since they already have a natively high DEF and Stealth does not make them terribly excited.  In general, this power of this list is just the sum of its parts, and although those parts are pretty great, I think a budding Circle player will get frustrated playing with this list more often than not.

Legion of Everblight
Legion of Everblight Battlebox (plastic)
o Lylyth, Herald of Everblight Warlock
o Carnivean Heavy Warbeast
o 4 Shredder Lesser Warbeasts
Strider Deathstalker
Strider Deathstalker
The Forsaken
and a free copy of the Primal MKII rulebook!
$114.26 vs. $156.94 retail - %27.2 savings
Longevity: (3/5) - Some of the models included in this deal aren't bad at all. Forsaken are pure gold no matter who you take (and were hard to find in stores and online for a while).  The Deathstalkers are also great, but are limited in their usage with particular lists (they're great with eLylith). Same thing goes with the Warspears. They're great, but most people will prefer the Warmongers because of berserk.  I've already given the battlegroup a solid rating in the past but I think that the models included here, aside from the Forsaken, will probably be too limited for usage in other Legion lists.  Also considering how much Legion players like running warbeasts (they're pretty cool so I don't blame them), I doubt many of you who are interested in Legion will be happy without lots of land-shark-dragons running across the battlefield.
Power: (4/5) - I think that this 25 point list is quite solid!  While not many feel drawn to pLylith, if you think of her more like a super solo then you'll see why she's so appealing.  She shoots targets with her bow (and with Eyeless Sight, mind you) so that her beasts can charge them for free AND she can also toss Parasite on the target for free!  She's great at hunting down high-ARM targets and even Shredders become scary when they effectively get +3 POW.  This list also sports solid ranged attacks to deal with infantry (Deathstalkers) and the Warspears - although often overlooked for Warmongers - will love pLylith's feat and offer some meaty bodies to keep her safe behind.  Lastly, the Forsaken offers some much-needed fury management for Lylith so you can feel safe in running that Carnivean to maximum.  Also as a side note - pLylith's feat affects ranged and melee attacks, offering some fantastic versatility against a number of targets - especially with the Carnivean's spray!

Skorne Summer Sale Army Bundle contains:
Skorne Battlebox (plastic)
o Master Tormentor Morghoul Warlock
o 2 Cyclops Savage Light Warbeasts
o Titan Gladiator Heavy Warbeast
Paingiver Beast Handlers (unit)
Hakaar the Destroyer
and a free copy of the Primal MKII rulebook!
$122.36 vs. $165.95 retail - %26.3 savings
Longevity: (5/5) -This deal is fantastic if you're looking to start Skorne.  Nihilators are their go-to infantry in a large variety of lists because they sport a good P+S, reach, tough, and berserk for clearing out swaths of models.  In fact, the only models that are limited in their use here are probably Hakaar and the Savages, but they can certainly be used with other warlocks.
Power: (4/5) - While I don't have much experience playing with Skorne, I have played against it a lot and I can tell you that I think this list will be pretty solid.  Not only is pMorghoul a solid warlock but the rest of the elements seem to work fairly well together.  Nihilators will do a great job at clearing out any infantry you might encounter and with the help of the Paingivers and Abuse, those Savages can deal some serious hurt to enemy heavies.  Combine all of this with a good feat (although it's much better against Hordes) and I think that any Skorne player will find this 25 point list fun and effective.  My only worry is that Hakaar seems a bit out of place here, but I guess he could be a useful solo in this list for his solid melee attacks.

Trollblood Battlebox (plastic)
o Madrak Ironhide, Thornwood Chieftain Warlock
o 2 Troll Impaler Light Warbeasts
o Troll Axer Light Warbeast
Fell Caller Hero
Trollkin Fennblades
and a free copy of the Primal MKII rulebook!
$126.86 vs. $170.94 retail - %25.8 savings
Longevity: (5/5) - I think that the Trollblood summer deal is the best deal of the bunch.  Period.  While Trolls have been adding some diversity to their playstyle, a lot of Trollblood warlocks apply the philosophy of "Axe to Face" and every model included here will find itself useful in a wide variety of lists - even the second impaler might find itself a home with Gunny or Grim!  Also worth considering with this list is generally how expensive Troll models are normally (since they're so large in stature) and so a deal like this is fantastic for taking the sting out of purchasing the models you need and this is a fantastic, affordable start to playing the faction.
Power: (4/5) - While the models included here are really fantastic, the hitting power of this list is fairly lacking.  More specifically, there's a lot of mid-range power hitting here but nothing goes above the P+S 14 range, which can be a real problem when facing other lists.  Fortunately, at 25 points you're unlikely to see a swarm of heavy targets so this is mitigated a bit.  Also worth considering is that a large volume of mid-range hitting means that almost anything in your list is capable of damaging heavy targets, even if you might have to apply lots of them to do it.  Even still this list I feel packs a lot of power behind it and "bricks up" rather well and its strength is in being able to handle a variety of targets.

Concluding Remarks
It's always refreshing to see a miniatures game company putting models on sale when they aren't going out of business, and each of these 25 point deals represent a great discount to both bolster your forces or if you're interested in taking the plunge into a particular faction.  I'm actually amazed at how well-balanced each of these appear to be against each other - and that's not easy to do!  I think that any player will get a good feel of the faction from any of these 25 point lists, even if I might make the review sound terrible.

That said, you should have noted by now that the discount on all of these deals is generally around 25%.  That's both fairly significant (especially directly from the company) but also unimpressive when compared with online retailers.  I won't provide any links or share any names of stores, but I'm sure you're all able to find an online retailer that will sell the same products for 25-30% off of their normal retail value.  What does separate these deals apart from their value is that you are getting a 25 point list.  They did a pretty good job of finding and making lists that are fairly well-balanced and around the same cost - and that's not an easy thing to do.  If you've been playing Warmachine/Hordes for a while, though, these deals are not really for you.  You probably will already have an idea of the models you want to purchase for that faction you're eyeing and you can probably pick up the models you need for a much more efficient value (especially since you will doubtfully need the "free" rulebook).  If, however, you are new to the game, then I would recommend these deals since you might not have any idea of where to get started - especially since opinion varies wildly on the internet.

In short, if you're interested in taking the plunge into Warmahordes, these are a great way to get started.  If, however, you've been playing for at least 6 months, you'll probably be unimpressed.
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