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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Warmahordes - Warcasters, Warlocks, Warbeasts and Warjacks.

pDenny. Pretty much epitomises Cryx. Annoying spells,
Debuffs, and really, really annoying to play against.
Also has one of the most brutal feats in the game.
Foreword: The pictures in this article are some exceptional Warcasters I would absolutely recommend if you want to try out that faction. I'll also give you a little hint as to their strengths.

Ok, so this is where the big difference between the two games occurs. Now, while you "could" just go and read Tzeentchling's comments in the previous thread, I'm going to go over it here. So, lets start with the basics. In a Warmachine force, you get a Warcaster. These are (as previously mentioned) your king pieces. The most powerful (usually, there is Molik Karn) and influential model in your force. So, what do Warcasters do? A lot. What do warcasters do, that they have in common? A lot less. See, 'casters are pretty unique. Definitely within faction in regards to how they play. Yes, some are similar, but they're all absolutely different. Anyway, I'm rambling. What do they have in common? Well, they all use Focus, and they all control Warjacks. Suppose I should explain those two things. But first...

eSorscha. Great support, and a BRUTAL feat. Works
well with almost any Khador unit. Especially WGI
That e and p thing. You've probably seen it. Y'know, eKrueger, pSorscha, eSorscha, pThaggy etc. Basically, this is "prime" and "epic". There isn't a difference in power, it just represents the characters at different stages of their campaign/life etc.

Now, to quote Tzeentchling's excellent summary from my last thread:

"Warcasters have a Focus stat, and automatically receive that much Focus at the start of their turns. They can use this Focus to cast spells, use it to increase their Armor stat, or they can give it to warjacks (usually up to 3/jack). Warjacks need Focus to perform special actions, such as charging, running, or performing power attacks, and they need to spend a focus to make an extra attack with a weapon beyond their initial one. This means Warmachine is a resource-management game at heart - how much focus to give to a jack, how much to keep for spells, how much to keep for Arm in a given turn? As the jacks get destroyed, the choices get simpler, but the Warcaster never loses power.

pKreoss. Has one of the most feared feats in
the entire game, and is a fantastic model to boot.
In Hordes, the Warlock has a Fury stat. He starts with that much Fury, but does not replenish at the beginning of their turns. Fury can be used to cast spells or to transfer all damage from a hit to a friendly beast (usually making them difficult to assassinate). Beasts do not need to be given anything from the Warlock; instead, they have their own Fury stat. They can be "forced" by the warlock to perform actions (same list as in Warmachine), but they can do this as many times up to their Fury stat. In addition, all Warbeasts have an "animus," or personal spell. The Warlock can cast the animus himself, or the beast can be forced to cast it itself. At the beginning of the Warlock's turn, he can harvest off of his beasts an amount of Fury equal to the Warlock's Fury stat. If a Warbeast is left with Fury on it after the harvesting, it makes a Threshold check and if it fails, it will Frenzy, giving up its regular action to attack the nearest model (usually friend or foe). This makes Hordes a "risk-management" game - how much Fury do you need, how much do you dare generate, can you risk your beasts frenzying? It also means that as the game goes on and the Hordes player loses beasts, he loses spells he can cast (the animii) as well as his protective mechanism (transferring damage taken)."

eHaley. Oh dear lord, the most
irritating feat in the game, and
a FANTASTIC caster. She is a
great first choice for Cygnar.
That's a pretty fantastic summary of the Focus/Fury mechanic. I feel no need to change that. So, we know what we're dealing with here. This leads to a different dynamic between the 2 games. As Tzeentchling pointed out, Warcasters are not nearly as reliant on their 'jacks as Warlocks are on their 'beasts. This tends to lead to Warmachine armies featuring more infantry, as Warjacks are not self sufficient like Warbeasts. This tends to mean that focus hungry casters will only run one jack, maybe two (with one usually being an Arc Node). In addition, most Warmachine armies (Cryx and Khador particularly) have REALLY GOOD infantry, and great infantry support. Taking Khador as an example however, their Warlocks tend to have low Focus, meaning they can usually only really support one Warjack. 

On the other hand, in Hordes, 3 Warbeasts is pretty commonplace. Heavy ones at that. The reason is as Tzeentchling mentioned, a Warlock relies on its Warbeasts to replenish its Fury. So really, it comes down to something we should all know, redundancy. Now, thinking about this, most heavy warbeasts have 4 fury. Most Warlocks have 6-7 fury (warlocks tend to have lower fury than warcasters do focus). This means you're going to need 2 Warbeasts straight from the beginning to keep him running. Then what if one dies? This is why you really want 3. Hell, some armies run 4+ Warbeasts. 

The other big thing between Warlocks and Warcasters is their defensive mechanic. Warcasters gain Armour for every Focus on them. This means that some casters can reach truly ridiculous armour values, becoming untouchable to most. However, this tends to result in you not being able to spend your focus, or you'll lose that protection. In Hordes however, you can spend a Fury to transfer the damage on to a friendly Warbeast. Now, at first glance, the Hordes one seems better. Against things that will kill your caster in a hit (Beast-09 rolling 18 for damage with eSorscha's feat up, I did this before, and the transfer one shotted a Carnivean, 44 damage is nothing to snicker at) it almost certainly is. However, against things like a unit of Tempest Gun Mages, I'd definitely rather have the armour. In addition, with the extra warcaster armour, the damage is actually being ignored. In Hordes, it's just being moved around (this is mitigated somewhat by Warlocks being able to heal their warbeasts, but it's incredibly inefficient). 

eMadrak. FREEEEDOOOOOM! But seriously, this
guy is sheer brutality Hits like a truck, and makes his army
do the same.
Now, I'm sure you guys were expecting some big essay about the differences between Warjacks and Warbeasts. Not so! The main difference is actually in the Fury and Focus mechanic. As this has been explained, there's not much to talk about. There is something though, so I'll talk about that. :D
Now, due to the nature of the Fury mechanic on Warbeasts, this tends to make them a fair bit more dangerous than a Warjack. Why? Well, if it'll win them the game that turn, there's no reason a Hordes player wont put 16 fury on the table, knowing full well his Warlock wouldn't have been able to suck it up next turn. Doesn't matter though, he won. This is something that Warcasters simply cannot do. Of course, if the Hordes player has no beasts, he has to cut himself for fury, and then the warcaster will simply win the attrition war, which balances this. But basically, Hordes can have "that one turn" where all their warbeasts go wild and you're left with piles of scrap where your jacks used to be.

Legion's best here. Saeryn is an absolute toolbox, with
a tool for every occasion. Ignore the model, it's a silly MKI.
But seriously, she's very very good.
There is another downside to fury. See, a Warcaster can load a Warjack up with focus, and it can go haring off outside the Warcaster's control, to beat in the face of whoever it damn well pleases. Not so with beasts. They have to stay in their Warlock's control to get forced. Remember I said that generally Warlocks have less Fury? Yeah, smaller control. This means Warlocks are forced to get closer to the front lines, to keep their beasts in check. Admittedly, usually the safest place to be is behind a Beast/Jack, but hey, I don't want to get any closer to the Butcher than is absolutely necessary. 

Then we have one final thing. A nail in the coffin, if you will, that cements beasts being better than jacks (game is balanced though, WM has better casters and infantry). I mentioned it earlier. Warbeasts can be healed. "But Arch! You said it was woefully inefficient!" Yeah, and it is. However, let me paint you a picture. Avatar on 3 focus charges into my Bronzeback titan. It reduces poor ol' bronzey to just having 1 spiral left (mind). This would be the nail in the coffin if the Bronzeback was a jack. He wouldn't be able to effectively hit the Avatar back. However, eMakeda spent 2 Fury to put a point back in his body and spirit spirals. Then I enraged him. Then the Bronzeback went to ******* town on that Avatar so that he ***** and ****** and then he ***** **** ****** *****. And that was the ******* Avatar! One of the hardest jacks in the game. Period. It's a huge mechanic, and something to never ever ever forget. 

eMakeda. She's realy really good in combat, and makes
Skorne fast. This is big, because they hit hard, but
are normally quite slow (:
If you're against Hordes, do NOT damage their Warbeasts. Kill them. Kill them outright, or don't even bother, unless you have nothing to shoot at. Against Warmachine, if you can nuke out key systems (if I'm playing circle and I can hit their arms, I'm very happy, as I have high def across the board) then by all means do so. But the important one is against hordes, do NOT leave them alive. 

Well, there we have it folks. A short summary of how Warbeasts, Warjacks, Warcasters and Warlocks work. Followed by a load of drivel. :P

Toodle pip! 


Best warlock. Wins through sheer Bullshit. Not that
I'm biased. But whoever moves the most stuff wins.
And this guy moves the most stuff. :P

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