Tag: Warmachine

This past weekend I attended a 20 person local steamroller and brought the familiar pair of Ossrum and Thexus, lists as follows:

(Ossrum 1) General Ossrum [+28]
– Ghordson Basher [9]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Gunner [6]
– Grundback Gunner [6]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist [0(4)]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0(5)]
Ragman [0(4)]
Horgenhold Artillery Corps [6]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]

(Thexus 1) Exulon Thexus [+29]
– Warden [10]
– Warden [10]
– Wrecker [14]
Cephalyx Agitator [3]
Cephalyx Agitator [3]
Machine Wraith [2]
Machine Wraith [2]
Cephalyx Mind Bender & Drudges (max) [11]
Cephalyx Mind Bender & Drudges (max) [11]
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max) [12]
Cephalyx Overlords [0(8)]
Cephalyx Overlords [0(8)]
Croe’s Cutthroats (max) [16]
– Cephalyx Dominator [1]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]
– Cephalyx Dominator [1]

The questions that I was particularly interested in answering throughout the event were:

  • Whether I should give into my dissatisfaction with Forge Guard and move to an entirely battlegroup and “other” list model with Ossrum (I think Cory Doyle has run a list along the lines of what I’m imagining).
  • Whether the Croes held up their end with Thexus.  I’m not necessarily that enchanted with the backstab/TK combination because they still tend to run into problems with really formidable ARM values, but Thexus is already such a good scenario warcaster I wondered whether he might be able to make a lot out of having an AD presence.  I also had faint inklings that Croe himself and Silencer might be tech for some matchups (e.g. Kolgrimma as a way to stave off giving up looks at an assassination by shooting Mulg).
  • Whether I felt that I needed a more straightforward midrange list to grind against stat skews (probably a Damiano list).
Round I – Breakdown

(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25] in Storm Division
– Dynamo [18]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator [4]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [4]
Stormsmith Stormcaller (3) [0(5)]
Stormsmith Stormcaller (3) [0(5)]
Stormsmith Storm Tower [4]
Storm Strider [18]
Storm Strider [18]

My opponent, a local, and I were a little miffed that we were matched up immediately (but of course you always are) and I was also a little miffed to have to play Nemo III on a fairly slow scenario.  On the top of turn one I ran, aiming to keep my options open if only I could get away with taking a solid shot at Nemo right away and duck having to have a real plan for the game.  This involved keeping lines of threat as open for both of the Gunners as possible around a central obstruction and being sure that Eiryss and the Artillery could manage to clear the same for LOS (but without making a show of measuring from either too much).  The former got Snipe and the latter Fire for Effect.  On the bottom of one Nemo didn’t quite play things safely enough.  He didn’t advance aggressively, but didn’t have to, really, and really I was happy to take what I could get.  Nemo ended the turn having put Electrify somewhere (not on himself, which was really what mattered) and Lightning Shroud somewhere else (not on himself either, but in this case it didn’t matter) and then on the top of two I threw a lot of dice at him.  Eiryss got the show started by seeing if I could roll a 5 and then, having proven that I could, I figured that I was feating this turn regardless of what happened vis a vis killing an elderly inventor, and so I did (but didn’t do damage).  I ran the Basher up into a trench to engage a Firefly near one Strider, to try to encourage poor scenario play as much as I could, but I then managed to avoid coming up with any more ideas because the Artillery and a Gunner killed him.

https://i.imgur.com/dEZXgW4.jpg https://i.imgur.com/WBJaFuI.jpg

Round II –  Standoff

(Mortenebra 1) Master Necrotech Mortenebra [+24] in Black Industries
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Malice [15]
– Reaper [13]
– Scavenger [0(7)]
– Scavenger [0(7)]
– Seether [13]
– Seether [13]
Machine Wraith [2]
Machine Wraith [2]
Necrotech [2]
Necrotech [2]
Warwitch Siren [4]
Warwitch Siren [4]

This looked like a job for Thexus to me, as I have generally been rewarded for trusting his ability to trade well with Cryx heavies, and it was Cryx heavies on the other side regardless of the list my opponent took (the other was also in BI – a Venethrax list).  This was also a good chance to test the premise that Croes are actually a live unit even against fairly shooting resilient lists that Ossrum might draw out (BI certainly being one, Forges another) because those lists don’t necessarily have the same durability in melee and Thexus facilitates their backstab charges as well as their backstab shooting.

After I moved up on the top of one my opponent responded by moving fairly aggressively and particularly by getting the DJ up behind a central obstruction with Spectral Steel on the bottom of one and trying to keep as safe from my Machine Wraiths as possible (mine were certainly the better Wraiths in the matchup).  I was reasonably sure that I had a decent long game, but also that the game would be pretty short if the Deathjack (or possibly any Cryx heavy) ever got to Thexus, so I spent a bit of time early making sure that I wasn’t within 16″ if I could possibly help it.  On the top of two I accepted that I would have to get within the magic distance if I wanted to have a decent feat, which I did, pulling the Reaper towards the ambushing slavers on the right, the Deathjack towards the Machine Wraith that hopefully spelled its end and TKing the Inflictor on the left side around to set up a Croe unit charge.  Everything went relatively well except in re: the Deathjack, which I failed to roll a five to hit.  I contented myself by trying to jam it up behind the central obstruction as thoroughly as I could, charging in a Warden and beating it back diagonally towards the Cryx deployment zone. The turn was otherwise relatively uneventful, though I managed to kill a Siren but not a Machine Wraith with the one Overlord in range on my right.  On the bottom of two the Deathjack and Seether certainly killed the sacrificial Warden very thoroughly, but otherwise things went fairly well, but he scored a point on his close zone and kept the others contested.  On the top of three I took down the Seether that had been playing patsy to the Deathjack and did a moderate amount of damage to it as well via Adrenal Flooded drudges.  At some point either during this turn or the turn previous I also brought down the two Scavengers.  I scored both my near zone and the right circular zone on the turn to go up 2-1.  On the bottom of three the Deathjack removed my Wrecker, and Malice continued to mostly soak up attacks and hoard souls, slowly fighting the Bender unit on the left but being ARM 22 and in a zone more than anything else.  He scored his near zone one again on this turn, 2-2.  On top of four the combination of a boosted hex blast and three AF drudges finished off the Deathjack, though after Aiyana whiffed her Harm roll.  My volume of attack advantage ground him down to Malice, his Deathripper (scuffed), Darryl and Mortenabra by the end of the turn, and I scored 2 to go up 4-2 (Thexus wasn’t quite ready to get into my friendly zone and my Monstrosities were now gone).  On bottom of four, without a much else to do, Morty went in herself and started collecting souls,  and Malice killed the remaining Warden, but I scored again at the end of the turn, 5-2.  That allowed me to walk Thexus into my near zone and end the turn on top of five to go up to 7-2 and win on scenario.  

https://i.imgur.com/kQ0cVCr.jpg https://i.imgur.com/jl3Vz77.jpg https://i.imgur.com/k2ZUcy8.jpg https://i.imgur.com/GE0kPXY.jpg https://i.imgur.com/CYHa9pM.jpg

Round III – Spread the Net 

(Amon 1) High Allegiant Amon Ad-Raza [+29] in The Creator’s Might
– Dervish [7]
– Devout [9]
– Indictor [15]
– Sanctifier [14]
– Sanctifier [14]
– Templar [15]
– Templar [15]
– Hierophant [0(3)]
Anastasia di Bray [3]
The Covenant of Menoth [0(4)]
Vassal of Menoth [0(3)]
Vassal of Menoth [3]
Wrack [1]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]

My opponent was somewhat concerned from the word go in this one, as he selected Amon out of concern for the Harbinger’s safety against Ossrum, while I assumed that he likely wouldn’t be interested in playing her, and so brought Thexus, content to see what I could do in the matchup if I did end up seeing Harby. He went first and moved forward on top of one, but had to give me a friendly zone that would be pretty punishing to contest, because an obstruction allowed me to really remove a warjack at a time without providing easy angles for retaliatory trades.  He was concerned a second time on bottom of one, as he appreciated the issue that my machine wraiths presented for him (he could attack them well enough because of the Sanctifiers, but couldn’t easily do anything about them until they were committed, which would generally entail sacrificing something much more valuable for the opportunity).  On top of two he moved a Sanctifier into my friendly zone, enlivining it because it was better to do than not.  The vassal responsible set up camp on his flag, with an Indictor for company. Contesting my friendly flag with a heavy was a bridge too far at this point, however, and so on bottom of two I killed the Sanctifier and crippled the cortex and sword arm of the Indictor with the ambushing drudges, positioning the rest of the unit so as to not easily give up backstrikes to Stacy (it wouldn’t do for a Merc to get got by ambush) and killed the Vassal with an Overlord.  A Machine Wraith ran to my flag and so I ended the turn up 2-0.  He felt that things did not portend a long and successful scenario game at this point, and so got aggressive, feating with Amon and ending the turn on one focus and in his friendly zone, which he scored.  He dealt with the wraith my flag with a Dervish after getting the Sanctifier in range.  I don’t believe he contested my friendly zone, and so the turn ended 3-1.  on top of three I felt I had something of a free roll at Amon, as I could probably score both my friendly zone and his flag and make attritional inroads with the drudges and monstrosities on that die of the board, leaving the Bender unit, Overlords, and Holt without anything quite as essential to do with their activations.  One of the overlords managed to hit him and did 1-2 damage through his single focus, and Thexus set Holt up by TKing him into range to aim, and Holt obliged by hitting twice and doing what I think was very average damage.  The Bender unit then advanced one drudge into melee via an Adrenal Flood and the one attack proved enough to force a tough roll, which Amon failed, saving me from having to continue a longer game on attrition and scenario.

https://i.imgur.com/Ew215di.jpg https://i.imgur.com/kEtAsKz.jpg

Round VI – Recon II

(Kolgrima 1) Kolgrima Stonetruth, Winter Witch [+28] in Power of Dhunia
– Dire Troll Bomber [19]
– Dire Troll Brawler [16]
– Dire Troll Mauler [15]
– Mulg the Ancient [22]
– Troll Axer [10]
– Trollkin Runebearer [0(5)]
Bog Trog Mist Speaker [4]
Troll Whelps [0(4)]
Troll Whelps [0(4)]
Dhunian Knot [6]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
– Stone Scribe Elder [3]
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew [2]

There were three undefeated after four rounds, and I ended up being the pair down.  Fortunately we all agreed that we weren’t about to play through 10:30 or 11:00 and that we’d just split in the event that I won and we didn’t have a clear winner at the end of the round.  That decision proved wise as both my opponent and I were tired in this one.  Early on I cemented in his mind the conclusion that he didn’t like his chances in a long game by very nearly killing his Bomber for free via a Rampager and the Aiyana/Croe unit activations (and I will add because I can’t stop myself that I should actually have killed it).  He ended up spending his turn two (bottom of two) tanking for a good thirty minutes trying to find a way to kill me, which I didn’t think he could, as Thexus was on a hill, camping 3, with a shield guard and both on the other side of a forest from Kolgrimma and Mulg and more than 21″ from the former and 19″ from the latter (and there weren’t really viable Hunter’s Mark targets around, the angle that would be created would require Mulg to turn to face away from Thexus to get up the table).  Happily for me my opponent eventually decided that I had done a good job of avoiding offering any sort of viable assassination and he conceded, having taken up most of his clock and also having not done anything significant to keep his shot at attrition alive.

The night was capped off by discovering that the game that I didn’t have to play would have been into Madrak I.  I could certainly stand to get more practice in that one, but in this particular case I was more than happy to let the opportunity escape me.

The aim in this series is to talk about the core “psychographic” profiles as originally dreamed up by the Wizards of the Coast R&D department to try to encompass clusters of traits that they had begun to identify in particular players and which they used to help be sure that each set released contained something for everyone.  The profiles have been covered with more authority than I can provide there, but rather than try to further hijack the concept I’m going to explain each very briefly and then suggest what factions and within them particular themes and warcasters might be suited to a player who leans towards each profile.  Hopefully doing so will help players getting into the game to have a better sense of what might most appeal to them while also providing more experienced players food for thought, and direction when they get the urge to expand.


The first profile is the first to have been named – Timmy (“Power Gamer” is Timmy’s title, though not because he “power games” as the term is usually used in tabletop games, but because he likes big things).  Timmy plays for emotional experience and is drawn to excitement and to things that are big and dramatic and which create narratives in a game.  Timmy wants to win big when he wins, to win in one huge swoop, to wipe his opponent out entirely; Timmy sure isn’t worried about overkill.  Younger players are often a Timmy, but that doesn’t mean that older and experienced players can’t be, or that there’s anything wrong with being a Timmy (or that it’s something that you do or should outgrow).

In Warmachine then, Timmy would be drawn to things that are big, that look intimidating, that hit hard, and have high stats.  Timmy is a player generally not interested in paying costs for benefits (doing so feels bad) nor necessarily in being responsive to what the other player is doing (seeing cool and impressive things happen is part of the fun, as is a social experience, so Timmy would most naturally want everybody to do what they’re trying to do and see what happens).  So, naturally, the factions that we should recommend here are those that are the biggest, the meanest, and which look as much.

Timmy’s Top Factions

  • Khador
  • Trollbloods
  • Skorne
  • Legion


This is the easiest Timmy pick.  How many times have you heard the story of someone being drawn into the game by the chunky, brutal look of Khador heavies?  Khador in MKII was a faction that was more likely to seduce and then disappoint Timmy players than anything, but the faction is much closer to delivering on the desired play experience in MKIII.  Jaws of the Wolf and Armored Korps are perhaps the two most Timmy-friendly themes in the game.  Warcaster suggestions: Butcher I, Butcher III, Karchev, Vlad III, Sorscha III.


Khador also doesn’t obviously pay for its strengths, not in a way that is immediately, viscerally apparent in game.  Khador generally pays in having fewer abilities that interact with enemy models to prevent them from leveraging their rules and strengths, or which allow the Khador player to solve problems that an enemy list might present (problems that aren’t models with DEF, ARM, and boxes, things like Incorporeal).  Khador is also a faction largely without rules that provide incentive to allow harm to come to your own models – relatively few instances of rules like Vengeance and Battle Driven, and very little in the way of alternative resource mechanics.  This also suits Timmy, who doesn’t generally like having to accept downsides in order to get benefits.  The general heartiness of Khadoran warcasters also suits Timmy.  Warcasters are often provided the stats and tools to be relatively potent combatants, but aren’t necessarily best used to make anything more than opportunistic attacks in many cases, but it is more often a good idea to get stuck in properly in Khador than in just about any other faction.


Troll warbeasts are probably the closest Hordes analog for Khador warjacks in being visually intimidating and exciting in a way that often draws in players (though they have competition in Hordes in Legion, more on that upcoming).  The extreme Mauler has long been a favorite of painters and a model that draws oohs when done well.  The Mountain King (and now the Glacier and Sea Kings as well) is also still often lauded as one of the best and most inspiring sculpts in the game.  These models visually reflect the Troll identity of being bigger and meaner – and as Troll infantry has gotten bigger over time Troll heavy infantry lists similarly have a very satisfying beefiness.  The Mountain King is also a model which naturally creates very cinematic activations (in addition to being a strong huge base) between Bulldoze, Assault, and Kill Shot it can generate productive activations that might appeal to other players for other reasons, but which Timmy likes because they involve a huge monster being a huge monster.

A number of the other features of Khador also apply here – the relative lack of rules that benefit from taking damage (despite it being a feature of the faction’s style that it often takes the first hit in a fight – something that might cause tension for Timmy), the number of buffs possible (which can appeal to Johnny in a different way – in creating synergistic combo play), the number of high durability brawling warlocks available.

Warlock Suggestions: Madrak I, Madrak II, Borka II, Grissel II, Ragnor

Honorable Mentions – Skorne & Legion

Skorne is an honorable mention here because it has some claim to being the Hordes faction of big angry monsters in lieu of Trolls.  Titans appeal to a slightly narrower range of aesthetic sensibilities, in my experience, than do Dire Trolls, but they’re similarly impressive.  Skorne are, however, a faction that looks to use debuffs and denial more often than Khador or Trollbloods, and one that does have a significant soul collection subtheme.  That focus on cost-for-benefit play doesn’t suit Timmy nearly as well, and Cataphracts are less often seen currently as well – which is another aspect of the faction more likely to appeal to a Timmy.

Legion is here partially because there’s something about dragons for some people and because they have traditionally been the go to answer to anyone very new to the game who asks to be directed to a faction which doesn’t have to play any boring infantry – big monsters or robots only.  That last element of the faction’s identity has been somewhat eroded, and there are other elements of Legion which are not particularly in line with a Timmy experience (incremental damage and yo-yoing beasts), leaving Legion as a less pure Timmy draw.

Timmy’s Bottom Factions

  • Mercenaries
  • Circle
  • Grymkin
  • Cryx

The factions that populate this list are those that don’t necessarily create visually striking lists (Mercenaries, Cryx), which tend to have heavily responsible or denial based play (Circle, Grymkin, Mercs), which tend to focus on leveraging efficiency and cost-for-return rather than out and out exceptional stats (Cryx, Mercenaries) and which often focus on winning without a full blown engagement (Circle, Mercennaries).  This is not to say that each of these factions have nothing for a Timmy – waves of undead Cryxian warriors do appeal to a certain kind of Timmy in particular – but these are probably the factions that are farthest from the core Timmy experience.  I have to particularly note Cephalyx – which are control oriented, which have a strange aesthetic, which focus on cost effectiveness, and which have a heavy emphasis on paying significant costs for significant benefits, might be the farthest thing from a Timmy experience in Warmachine.

Top Timmy Warcasters for Each Faction

Cygnar – Lord Commander Stryker (Stryker II).
There’s not much more cinematic than overloading for three dice, and Stryker is a warcaster who is great at creating evocative experiences (though also a very Spike friendly option).
Honorable mentions – Siege II, Nemo III.

The Protectorate – Feora, Priestess of the Flame (Feora I).
Randomness is something which appeals to Timmy more so than any of the other player archetypes, and there are few things in the game which can lead to the stories that Scorched Earth (Feora’s feat) can.
Honorable Mentions – Reznik I, Feora III.

Khador – Karchev the Terrible
Karchev needs very little justification here – he’s a warcaster who is also a warjack (which has long been a very Timmy thing to be, even though it generally just makes him more vulnerable to more things in the game than he would be absent Man in the Machine).
Honorable Mentions – Butcher I, Butcher III.

Cryx – Lich Lord Venethrax
Countercharge is an ability that is very viscerally fun to pull off, and Venethrax, even when more niche and much more boring in MKII, long appealed as a warcaster who could brawl with battlegroups of warbeasts.  Cryx is a faction that is generally a little less well suited to Timmy experiences, and so while Vengeance of the Dragonfather (Venethrax’s feat, which is weirdly named given what it does), Deadweight, and Lamentation aren’t really Timmy rules to have, he is still probably holistically the best fit here.
Honorable Mentions – Terminus, Skarre III.

Retribution – Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard (Vyros II)
Retribution is another faction that isn’t perfectly suited to the Timmy experience, but Vyros II is a pretty solid offering.  Synergy is a Timmy-friendly spell (in making for good stories, in leading to big numbers and dramatic activations, in supporting battlegroup heavy play) and he is himself a pretty bad dude.  Tide of War (his feat) is, again, not a great Timmy fit, but it can sometimes suddenly create assassinations, which potentially creates exciting stories.
Honorable Mentions – Vyros I, Thyron, Ravyn.

Mercenaries – Bartolo Montador
Bart runs a Galleon and makes it do crazy, impressive things.  He produces some pretty intense numbers and, generally, effectively allows (nearly requires) you to play with the colossal as your de facto warcaster.  Broadsides can also create some unpredictable and dramatic effects (especially if Bart’s battlegroup has more ranged warjacks in it than it should).  Typhoon (Bart’s feat) is not a very Timmy effect, but it is very evocative, at least.
Honorable Mentions – Drake MacBain, Durgen Madhammer.

Convergence – Forgemaster Syntherion
There isn’t really a perfect Timmy fit in Convergence.  Each of Synthertion, Lucant, and Axis offer some features that appeal, but Syntherion’s Axiom on his feat turn likely is the most Timmy-centric experience in Convergence, and that pushes him over the edge.  Very few other models in the game can do the damage across the area of table in a single activation, and that kind of dramatic knockout punch play is big, flashy, exciting, and a great story afterwards (Timmy likes to win big when he wins, recall).
Honorable Mentions – Axis.

Trollbloods – Madrak Ironhide, World Ender (Madrak II)
Desperate Hour (Madrak’s feat) is one of the most quintessentially Timmy effects in the game – it can be hugely swingy and can win the game outright and very emphatically when it swings high.  Madrak is himself can brawl about as safely as any Warlock or Warcaster in the game (though Grim Salvation is a bit of a cost, which Timmy might not love).  Blood Fury is another fairly Timmy-friendly effect, though the DEF debuff might rankle Timmy more than say Spike – who is more likely to view the cost as close to irrelevant based on the spell’s impact.
Honorable Mentions – Madrak I, Borka II.


Circle Orboros – Kromac, Champion of the Wurm (Kromac II)
Kromac is here because he is by far the Warlock in Circle I’ve most often had people speak about their desire to put on the table and make work based on coolness factor (Borka II is also way up there in the game on Timmy factor for the same reason).  He was also a payoff to a call in Circle for a warbeast-as-Warlock release that a subset of the faction’s players had been crossing their fingers for.  He’s big, he’s impressive, he brawls, he has dramatic, intimidating activations.
Honorable Mentions – Baldur II.

Skorne – Xerxis, Fury of Halaak (Xerxis II)
This is another very self-evident pick.  Xerxis is a huge brawler on a giant Rhino (and as an aside – Battleengine warcasters and warlocks generally are much more a Timmy thing than a Spike or Johnny thing).  Ignite and Rapport are Timmy-friendly spells and Hand of the Ancients (his feat) is an enabler for the dramatic swings that let Timmy go home happy.  Makeda III did get a long look here because her feat is also a very Timmy effect.
Honorable Mentions – Makeda III, Hexeris I.

Legion – Thagrosh the Messiah (Thagorash II)
Another large monster man to win fairly safely.  Thagrosh is an intimidating melee presence in his own right and runs an aggressive, high damage battlegroup.  As with Stryker II he appeals to Spike because he enables more complicated lines of play and (at least historically) was high on raw power, but while Spike can feel smart about using Dragon Storm (Thag’s feat) to back up and avoid trading, Timmy can dig that much deeper, and have a very exciting turn.
Honorable Mentions – Lylyth II, Absylonia II.

Minions – Helga the Conquerer
This is actually something of an upset in my own mind, as Barnabas II felt like the most immediately obvious pick (another frontline monster).  There’s not much in the game that is as good for chaos, for excitement, and for creating memorable game experiences than Grand Finale (Helga’s feat), however, and that’s what pushed her to the top for me.  Helga is also very Johnny friendly (Minions generally are).  Cyclone when used for to actually generate attacks is also a very Timmy spell.
Honorable Mentions – Barnabas II.

Grymkin – The Child
Grymkin are really another of the factions that seem fairly far from Timmy’s core interests, but the Child is another big brawling Warlock, and Wrath is a very Timmy-friendly Arcana.  A fair amount of what the Child does otherwise is benefit for cost (if minor costs – e.g. Tantrum, Abuse, and Pain Response) which aren’t really what Timmy is normally looking for, but that’s also something that’s really very core to how Grymkin play, so it’s hard to avoid and part of why Grymkin aren’t a faction with a ton of good picks here.
Honorable Mentions – The Heretic.