Friday, December 21, 2012

The rest - Gobbers, Thrullg, Croaks, Feralgeist and Pendrake

Being the last of the 'tactica' articles for currently released models, I've decided to just do quick write-ups on the less common/complicated models.

Swamp Gobbers

These little hobos are really quite good. They aren't as good as they were in Mk1 by a long-shot, but being able to put a huge cloud effect in front of your casters or top of your stuff to grant concealment is not to be dismissed. That will make your Dirged Posse DEF 15 vs ranged attacks, and makes the Boneswarm look even crappier (Snapper + Gobbers > Boneswarm).

They are insanely squishy so would do well to hug a Spitter for Girded when they can. Note also that even when clouds are no longer useful in a game situation, you still have two small-based models with melee weapons that can block charge lanes and take monstrous P+S 5 free strikes. You'd be surprised at the damage a free-striking or charging Gobber can cause.

Clouds are good. A great way to use up that last point in any list. Just make sure you keep them well back and activate them last!


This guys seems to be pretty useful but at 3pts, looks quite expensive and squishy. Being on a medium base and unable to benefit from any magic buffs (Spell Ward), he will get shot to pieces by any opponent worth his salt. Gators is probably one of the best factions to run him because of the large amount of medium bases to screen him from getting shot.

#1 pro-tip for this guy: Advance Deployment is a trap! Do NOT put him in front of your army by himself. He should be deployed with the rest of your force, and used primarily to hit enemy offkeeps off your own models. Definitely a late game model.
In the meantime, he can stay protected and provide a pretty strong deterrent to enemy magic users (that deterrent being death) and bide his time. Once the lines have engaged and a few turns gone by, he can get involved by killing some troops, disrupting some jacks, or knocking focus off the enemy caster. At MAT 7 with three attacks, he is pretty decent in melee.
#2 pro tip: knocking down a non-reach warjack and then disrupting it with your reach tentacle is sweet.

Definitely has a place in most competitive Gator lists so you do not autolose the game vs bad upkeeps like Crippling Grasp.

Croak Hunter

This guy seems pretty good on paper but is pretty crap on the table. He is basically that generic 2pt combat solo that you throw in to fill your list and is slightly better than an average small-based trooper. I've never been impressed by them, nor have I been really disappointed (like I am with Calaban). They aren't especially good at holding objectives since they are so squishy and only have one attack.

They are ok at assassinating squishier living things, and in packs are quite capable of killing light warbeasts. They are also not too bad at baiting people out, since Poison ranged attacks can instill a bit of fear.
Like the Thrullg, AD is a bit of a trap on Croaks. I think the best use of them is to keep them back for the first 2-3 turns behind your Gator wall (where their stealth will matter) and use them to either clean up loose models contesting zones with their ranged attacks, or get high-potential countercharges on living targets (MAT 8 POW 12 weapon master charges = ouch). If you put them out front as anything other than bait against bloodthirsty players, they will die and do nothing.


This guy is super solid for one point. He is insanely squishy with ARM 11 but he is incorporeal AND a low-priority target, so if you play him conservatively and just do the basics with him, you should get his point's worth out of him and more.

  • Scenario Powerhouse - being 1pt and having a CMD stat allows this guy to hold and contest scenario objectives and zones! Extremely useful for a low model count force like Gatormans.
  • Blocking movement - despite being incorporeal (not blocking LoS and people can just walk through him), he is still a model with a base, and therefore other models cannot end their movement on top of him. This is great at blocking charges through narrow gaps, and very great at douching huge-based models.
  • Taking over dead warbeasts - he also does this. For some reason, this is the one rule I always forget but it does prove very useful at forcing your opponent to make just one more attack to clear a lane or zone. Seems to me the undead warbeast will also be affected by Maelok's feat if it's up?
  • Being a frenzy target - if you expect one of your warbeasts (or an enemy beast) to frenzy next turn, park this guy right in front of it. Better a warbeast do nothing than kill something useful. 
  • Being a throw target - two-handed throw your own stuff at him so it doesn't deviate.
A strong competitor to Swamp Gobbers for that last 1pt slot.


Victor Pendrake

I do not have that much experience with this guy, but I like him for 2pts in a list that has a a slight Hordes skew (specifically Circle and Legion). He is like a crappier version of Saxon Orrik (who I really wish I could take since he is so baller), but does have his redeeming points:
  • First of all, his stats are pretty decent.  SPD 6, MAT/RAT 6, DEF/ARM 14 and Tough.
  • Secondly, he has a magical melee weapon which is big deal for Blindwater. 
  • Third, his +4 DEF against any physical attacks made by warbeasts allows him to tie them up late game and take sweet Dismember free strikes against them, especially if you can put a medium base behind him to block tramples.
  • Fourth, he has a RNG 12 bow with rerolls OR a RNG 8 knockdown gun. This alone puts him on equal footing with a Croak Hunter in my opinion.
  • Finally, and most importantly, is his Beast Lore ability, which basically means charging Gators can destroy high DEF warbeasts without breaking a sweat (including Forced Evo Tenacity-ed Angels).

He will only become more valuable as Specialists become more common.

Updated Oct 2013 - some more on Croaks and Pendrake.

Where to from here?

Having completed the epic model write-ups for our small Minion pact, this blog will probably slow down quite a bit in terms of new content but will hopefully remain as a useful archive for current and future Blindwater players.

Stuff you can expect to see here in the future:

  • My thoughts on new releases/spoilers
  • Model write-ups and tacticas after I've had some playtime with new stuff
  • General wargaming/games design articles
  • Battle summaries/match-up thoughts (turn-by-turn battle reports are usually boring)
  • Random gaming-related rage
  • Anything else you'd like to read (leave a comment)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Totem Hunter


The Totem Hunter is one of the best all-round solos in the game on account of his good survivability, speed, mobility and damage. His stats are very solid for a melee solo, with a high MAT and SPD. He has a heap of common abilities:
  • Fearless
  • Pathfinder
  • Stealth
  • Hunter - amazing on models with guns, but since he has no guns is basically means he can see through forests.
  • Jump - get to jump 5" after advancing... really good mobility and threat range boost.
  • Prey - get a nice +2/+2 against a model/unit of your choosing.
  • Sprint - full advance after finishing your combat action if you kill a thing.
A lot of keyword abilities which sum up to 'comes out of nowhere, kills something, then runs off to do it again'.


He has two weapons, a P+S 14 reach spear and a P+S 11 buckler. Combined with his high MAT, these are enough to reliably kill almost any infantry model in the game, but throw in the Prey bonus and it becomes almost a certainty. He hits hard enough to seriously damage light jacks and beasts, or even kill softer casters.


He has Stealth, ARM 15, DEF 14 and 8 boxes. On top of that, he has pathfinder and hunter which means he can use forests and linear obstacles to full efficiency without being impeded by them in any way. If you lose him before he gets to make an attack, it means you made a mistake, played too aggressively and didn't use the terrain effectively, or your opponent put a lot of resources into killing him.


Top notch precision assassination, or hit n' run troop killing. That's where this guy's utility lies.


There's a couple of things you can do with him, most of which rely on maximizing the Prey bonus to take his stats from really good to amazing:

  • Pick a crutch or powerful enemy solo you want to die. Joe, Tartarus, Janyssa, Gorman, Eyriss... that kind of thing. Then focus entirely on killing them, and hopefully sprinting away afterwards to force your opponent to dedicate resources to kill him or risk another nasty cut. At worse, you can just leave him behind a wall or in a forest to make sure said solo never gets too close. Rinse and repeat until the enemy caster is the best thing to prey.
  • Pick an important unit you want to die. Usually this will be an AD unit like MHSF or Widowmakers, but can also be a unit with crutch UAs like Winterguard or Sentinels. Try to kill a few per turn, rinse and repeat until you can get the caster. I find him invaluable for killing that one Stealth Shifting Stone on Turn 2, for example.
  • Hold/threaten a zone or flag. This works especially well if there is a terrain feature nearby that you can use for protection while waiting for your opponent to come into range. Your prey target in this case should be whatever you expect to contest the zone, as long as it's not a heavy.
  • If you're facing a list with a low ARM caster like Nemo, Morghoul, Kaya, etc. you can simply prey the enemy caster from the get go and use the Totem Hunter as a constant assassination threat on account of his long leap threat (12" with reach). He usually won't be able to do the job all by himself, but he can scare them a bit.
In my experience, the key to utilizing him effectively is to stay focused on one of the above roles and not deviating from it. If you send him up a flank and 'see what happens', he is likely to just dick around a few turns and then kill something useless and die. If you send him up the middle unprotected, he'll just get killed without retaliation. Bide your time. Make sure you trade him for something worthwhile - if he completes his mission and dies, then you should have come out better off.

In all cases, he works best if he has some cover to run to with his Sprint move. If he doesn't, I prefer to run straight towards their board edge so they are forced to split their force to deal with him. He is pretty much 100% independent anyway, so you lose nothing.

Because of his very high independence, he works well with any caster. He is especially good under Maelok's feat as it gives him even more mobility. He is also really great with Rask's "anything is a threat" assault playstyle.


Gold star! Keep him focused on killing his prey and achieving a beneficial piece-trade, and you'll get a lot of use out of him. He has a place in almost any Blindwater list above 35pts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gatorman Witch Doctor - aka. Croctor


The Gatorman Witch Doctor, also known as Croctor, is a solid support solo with a pretty nice model (despite the official PP photo, which makes him look a little in-bred around the face). This write-up speaks to his use as a solo in Blindwater, although I suspect his ability to Dominate Undead and Zombify makes him relatively more useful in other Hordes factions in certain match-ups.

His stats are Gatorman stats, although a bit weaker and less able in melee than a Posse member. He has the following abilities:

  • Amphibious
  • Beast Master - beasts can force while in the Croctor's command range.
  • * Attack - Dominate Undead - see Alexia1. A much stronger version of Influence where you can advance with the undead model and make an attack.
  • * Action - Sacrificial Strike - see Skarre. The ability is friendly faction only so will only work when sacrificing fellow Blindwater members, or goats.
  • * Action - Zombify - makes a unit tough and undead for a round.
Note that he is not Fearless, unlike almost everything else in Blindwater.


Like most Gators, he has a decent bite attack. He also has a magical dagger, which for any other faction would be almost irrelevant but for the young Blindwater Pact, it is a welcome addition. All up however, he is not as good as a Posse grunt in melee, and his primary source of damage will be Sacrificial Strike.


He is a Gatorman - good ARM, 8 boxes so he can take a few small hits. Apart from that, his best defense is that he is usually a bit further back. He has no other special defense abilities.


This is where the Croctor butters his bread. He brings a small array of very useful tools.

Beast Master at present is not a very useful ability since most of our beasts are pretty slow and likely to be within 12" or our casters, but I've had it be useful in the late game where I had my caster on one side of the board and a frenzying Snapper had run off to the opposite side. Having a Croctor allowed me to use the Snapper to full capacity before getting him back in my caster's control area.

Dominate Undead and Sacrificial Strike are both useful scalpel abilities. Dominate can be used to move an undead model away, either to clear space for your own guys, get a sweet backstrike or to screw your opponent by messing up their lines and running their support away. Sacrificial Strike can deliver a reliable high POW damage roll exactly where you need it, and is great for dealing with tricky or high def models like Kayazy Underbosses, Gorman or Eyriss. It is also a magical damage roll, so is useful for taking out incorporeal models, Vilmon, or Dahlia and Skarryth.


For the early game, you deploy him behind a Posse unit and he casts Zombify for a turn or four. Pretty simple.
If you get the opportunity to Dominate a valuable undead target like Tartarus, do it and mess with your opponent's plans. If you get the opportunity to sacrifice a Gator or Bog Trog in order to get a POW 14/16 on a key model like Gorman, Joe, or any annoying wiener blocking a valuable charge lane, do it. Otherwise, just keep casting Zombify every turn, and look out for ways in which Zombify or his magic powers can help you deal with problems.

If you're using a full Bog Trog Ambusher unit AND they ambush close him, I would definitely make the two best buddies. Trogs are good Sacrificial Strike targets as POW 14 is usually high enough to kill your target, and Zombify gives you an effective tough tarpit and makes up for one of their greatest weaknesses (low CMD). Being on a flank like that might even make Beast Master useful!

He works well with every Gator warlock since he offers a nice toolkit alongside a sweet troop buff, but he synergizes especially well with Maelok, because he allows a full unit to benefit from Maelok's feat, and Tough helps you grind out even more. He also provides Maelok a  mid-range single target magic nuke, which he otherwise lacks.


The Croctor is a great support/utility piece and brings some magic damage to the faction! He is a bit on the expensive side of things at 3pts for Gators and is surely a victim of the MkII points system (1), but I would nevertheless consider him Blindwater's number one all-around solo choice beside the Totem Hunter.

(1) Although I prefer the MkII "decimal" points system to the MkI "percentile" system, I think plenty of arguments have been made that the system loses a lot of granulary at the lower points level, specifically the 1-4pts bracket, which affects solos heavily. The vast majority of solos in the game sit at 2pts, and within that bracket there is a HUGE variation in power and utility, with models like Gorman and Joe at one end and guys like Rutger Shaw and Troll Skinner at the other. I think the system would benefit from just doubling all the points to allow a little bit more of a fine tuning edge to points values - the Croctor in my opinion is at the lower end of the 3pts scale, which can be evidenced by his cost of 2pts in a Maelok list where he is no less useful than he is in any other Blindwater list, but far less useful than he is in certain Troll lists.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Swamp Horror - cephalopodic carnage


The Swamp Horrow is a giant cephalopod monster of a beast with a suggestive toothy beak and many long tentacles. It costs as much as an Ironback Spitter, is much uglier, and comes with the following abilities:

  • Steady - doesn't get knocked down, probably because it has 8 "legs".
  • Impervious Flesh - impervious to guns at least. Its flesh gets sliced up by axes just fine.
  • Amphibious - likes water.


The Swamp Horror we see on the table may only be a little cousin of the gargantuan monstrosity depicted in its book art, but it can still put out a decent amount of damage. Its primary weapon, its beak, is P+S 16 with Crit Catastrophic Damage. Like many crits, it's not usually worth fishing for by using a fury for a boost over an additional attack (unless you're facing something with high ARM and a huge grid like a Gargantuan), but it can come in handy and should be kept in mind as you roll the dice.
Aside from the beak, it has three reach tentacle attacks of mid-range POW with the Pull ability, which means anything you hit with them gets pushed directly towards the Horror. Note that unlike Drag, you don't have to damage to push, just hit.


DEF 10, ARM 17 on a heavy is pretty pathetic, especially combined with its mediocre number of health boxes. However, it does have two redeeming factors - the first is access to Spiny Growth, and the second is the Impervious Flesh ability, which reduces its damage taken from ranged attacks by 1d6. Essentially, this means that it is not worried about getting shot at all.

Its tendency to be used as a late-game piece also helps it live to get there!


Its animus, Elasticity, is probably one of the best animi in the game as it grants any Minion model reach on all its melee weapons! Needless to say, reach is one of the best ability in the game in terms of additional threat range, ability to make attacks in grindy jam situations, blocking charge lanes and so forth. It is quite unlikely that the Swamp Horror will ever use it's own animus as it can pull its targets within the 1/2" range of its beak with its tentacles, but under exceptional circumstances (immovable target, desperately need a crit on the charge attack), it can also gain reach on its beak if needed (although the warlock would usually be casting it on the Horror then). Otherwise the animus is great on practically any other Gator model in the right situation - Snapjaw, Maelok and the Wrastler especially benefit from it.

Speaking of charge lanes, the Horror is also great at taking free strikes. Even though its tentacles probably won't do enough damage to seriously deter anything with multiple boxes, its ability to Pull any model it freestrikes will usually stop the attacker dead in its tracks. Note that if an enemy model tried to charge something behind a Horror and get clipped by a tentacle free strike, it has likely failed its charge and thus immediately ended its activation. Kaching! Pull also allows him to move enemy pieces outside zones and flags, or pull models out of shield wall and defensive line.

Oh, it also has three open fists. Seems that's no better than having two, but there you go. You can also use it to block LoS to your caster if your opponent is going to try a pop n' drop strat since it has steady, and it's probably going to be back there somewhere.


I like the Horror as a late-game piece. Its animus, multiple attacks and Pull abilities get pretty useful once the lines have engaged and stuff gets cluttered. It is quite frustrating for an opponent to simply not be able to get away from it - I remember once I managed to get it in melee with an opponent's warcaster and he rage quit as soon as I made my free strike and pulled him back even closer to my lines. Good times.

Because he is slow, he will usually not see combat until Turn 3 at the earliest. If he does, it means he got charged by some infantry or a big heavy and will die a quick squishy death. He just doesn't deal enough damage to warrant being an alpha striker. Use this walking time to throw out some opportunate Elasticity on some more aggressive warbeasts, or on some Posse members who could benefit from an extra attack. Once he's engaged, keep him stuck in there and give him as many opportunities to make free strikes as possible and make positioning and movement difficult for your opponent.

Note also that because of Steady, you can't throw it and then Rise it since it never gets KD. Just that little bit of Skornergy to keep the world turning.

  • Of the three Gator warlocks, it is most useful with Maelok, both because it suits his playstyle to a tee, and because it can give him reach (which synergizes excellently with Malediction and Cull Soul).
  • With Barnabas, I would usually prefer a Spitter as the Spitter has a gun and benefits relatively more from Warpath - you don't usually want your Horror further up front than it has to be since it will just die. Nevertheless, Barnabas makes everything better, Warpath is still good for the Horror, it has decent punch and open fists to throw heavies into swamps.
  • With Calaban, I find it does very well at killing living infantry with Carnivore and doesn't require stealth due to Impervious Flesh. Since I preferred to run Calaban a bit more beast heavy (when I played Calaban), this guy was in most lists and surprised me by doing quite well every time.
  • Finally, there is of course Rask, who is bananas with the Swamp Horror. Rask makes it fast via Boundless Charge, hit hard with Fury and much less likely to be charged with his feat and Inhospitable Ground. It's a match made in heaven, my 2 Posse "QB Rask" lists will always include a Horror for this reason and what the animus does with our other heavies.



Art to Model Conversion Disappointment Factor:
Titan Sentry|----------------------------------------------X--------| Kreoss2

Seriously, the art scale for this thing is like 4x the actual model scale. I have seen some killer half-submerged conversions of it though. I am of the opinion that they should have saved the Horror for the Minion Garguantuan - just increase all its weapon damage by 3-4 POW, its life spirals by 125% (to make up for its puny ARM) and make the Beak crit proc on every attack. Boom - Gator Gargantuan.

The Horror is a pretty decent non-character beast. It won't make your opponent flip tables in jeoulous rage like a Bronzeback or Angelius might, but it does what it does reasonably well. I suspect its animus will also have a large impact on Blindwater design space, especially in the beast department (ie. unlikely to get many reach beasts)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ironback Spitter - not-so-ninja mutant turtle


The Ironback Spitter is a gator beast that takes the form of a giant turtle. It is slow, unremarkable in melee, has low DEF and mediocre ARM for a heavy. It also has a pretty garbage animus. However, it does have an amazing gun which provides Blindwater with its most reliable method of removing support models and sniping out key targets. Its other redeeming feature are its dual open fists and stunning smile.

Here are its rules:

  • Amphibious
  • Back Plates - deals d6 damage to models that make free strikes against it. More fluff than anything, but there's no downsides to the rule, so no complaints.
  • Girded - immune to blasts with ARM 18? Awesome! Not really, but if we ever get squishy support models (like sacrifical Trogs for Rask), then they can hug him for dear life against AoE spam.
Angry old man.


In melee, it has 2x P+S 13 fists and 1x P+S 15 jaw. Nothing stellar, lowish MAT but a good number of initial attacks. Might do well with Elasticity at clearing medium infantry, but I've never tried.

The Spitter's main feature is its ranged weapon, the Spit Blast. This is a RNG 12, POW 14, 3" AoE that deals corrosion damage (ie. cannot kill Gorman) and causes continuous corrosion (ie. awesome at killing mid-ARM infantry with splash damage). With RAT 5, it's also not bad at actually hitting.


Not terrible for a heavy beast, but far from stellar. DEF 10, ARM 18 and 27 boxes. Yay. Being primarily a ranged beast does help it stay on the table a bit longer, since its gun is useful pretty much the entirety of the game. Being a heavy, it can take a few hits if you need it to roadblock, but don't expect it to tank like Barnabas.


Sniping out softer support targets with a sweet gun. That's about it. For Blindwater, having this option is a big deal. The only other thing we have that has a similar role is Bog Trogs, and maybe Croctor Sacrificial Strikes.

I have never used its animus (Ornery) ever, since the number of circumstances where a retaliatory strike is worth more than Spiny Growth are few. So few that I can't even think of a situation where I would have used it in retrospect. If it gave a defensive strike instead, it might be a lot more actively useful. But having to get hit and then make two dice rolls to have any effect seems to be a lot of hoops to jump through for potentially nothing. Are Circle players even finding this useful on a melee monster like Ghetorix?

As mentioned, it can also protect softer targets with Girded, but there are not many of those in Blindwater at present. Even our support solos like the Thrullg and Croctor tend to be ARM 16+.


I like to place it in the front line during deployment, usually close to the center in order to maximize its coverage. If I get first turn it will run, if I don't it might get a chance to shoot some squishy AD models with AoE deviations. In any case, you will want to keep it about midline and look out for tasty targets - usually with guns, but sometimes there is a good opportunity for a slam or a charge against a few clustered mid ARM targets.

One good use of its open fists is to throw the Wrastler and set up a Rise Gator Missile. Doing a two-handed throw, it should be able to beat the Wrastler's STR of 12 with two dice and give you a good 5" head start.
  • With Barnabas, you can also use this guy to throw enemy warjacks into Swamp Pits.  He is also quite good at putting the last few points on an enemy caster during a Pop n Drop assassination, and benefits hugely from Warpath, almost doubling his movement that turn. I always take one with Barnabas.
  • I don't usually take one with Maelok, since Spirit Door allows my Gators to get backfield and kill things just fine. I would probably prefer a Swamp Horror most of the time in a grind context.
  • With Calaban, keep in mind that his feat favours ranged attacks as it triggers when a friendly model in his control makes a killing blow, irrelevant of where the enemy model was. Also, Parasite makes everything better. This guy might even kill something in melee if it has Parasite on it.
  • I think the Spitter (or 3) is also a really good for Rask 3 Posse lists. This is because 15 Gatormans with Fury can both hit really hard against high ARM and put out a lot of attacks for infantry swarms, but they need to get the charge to do all that. Spitters are great at clearing lanes and sniping out key support pieces, and can generate that fury Rask needs to be a douche. Furthermore, his Girded ability can help protect some of Rask's squishy trog friends from AoE spam. Rask's feat also synergizes amazingly well with a ranged force, which makes me think Blindwater will never get really good shooting options (which is fine).


The Ironback Spitter is one of our only sources of ranged support. Being a warbeast with a gun is extremely good due to easy access to boosts, and this guy is no exception. He has a place in almost any Blindwater list. He's also a fun model to put together and paint. Go turtle!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wrong Eye + Snapjaw


Wrong Eye is a Gatorman Lesser Warlock and voodoo powerhouse, and Snapjaw is a huge Gator beast with tiny limbs.

Wrong Eye has decent Gator stats, about as tough as a Posse member but less potent in melee. Other than being a lesser Gatorman warlock, he has no abilities of note other than Life Drinker on his bite. He also brings Snapjaw, who is arguable the faction's best heavy warbeast. Snapjaw has a killer animus (see "Survivability" below), stats a little lower than a Wrastler (-1 ARM, STR), and these abilities:

  • Man Eater - charges living warrior models for free
  • Bloodthirst - 2" inches movement when charging living models
  • Warbeast Bond [Wrong Eye] - essentially Life Drinker on Snapjaw but you can choose to heal either Wrong Eye or Snapjaw after the kill
This means that Snapjaw can charge living warrior models at the rate of 10" + melee range, all without spending fury.

That bird is full of life and joy.


Wrong Eye is a more of a schemer than a fighter. He is MAT 6 with a reach P+S 12 and a non-reach P+S 13. Nothing really exceptional there. He does not have any direct damage spells, although Influence can do a bit of work in the right situation. Having 4 fury means he can boost or buy additional attacks when it counts though. I wish the Swamp Hook could still push targets to you.

Snapjaw is pretty much all about dealing damage. He hits about as hard as a Blackhide Wrastler (P+S 17), but has a much longer threat range due to Bloodthirst and having a P+S 14 reach tail with crit KD. Don't rely on the crit, but it's nice to have.


The pair are very survivable on two fronts. First, they are tough Gators with good ARM values. 17 for Wrong Eye (8 boxes) and 18 for Snapjaw (28 boxes). Secondly, Snapjaw's animus is overpowered. It is called Submerge, and for 2 fury makes the user untargetable by ranged or magic attacks (they also don't block LoS). Fortunately, it is RNG: Self, so only two models in the entire game will ever benefit from it.

Essentially this means that they will not get damaged until they get stuck in and have done a fair bit of damage. Like all Lessers, if Wrong Eye is killed Snapjaw will also be removed, but this rarely happens.

One thing to note with Submerge - much like Swamp Pits, it does not fully take ranged attacks off the table. It just means that they cannot be targeted directly by ranged and magic. They can still get hit by sprays and AoE blasts that target something near them.


Whereas Snapjaw is little more than a fleshy and toothy beatstick, Wrong Eye has some tools up his sleeve with two spells: Influence and Voodoo Doll.
Influence is a neat situational 1 fury RNG: 10 spell to have, for example if you need to kill a certain support model outside your threat range, this thing can make it happen. You will almost always want to boost the hit since Wrong Eye's Fury of 4 is pretty craptacular.
His second spell, Voodoo Doll, "locks out" a warbeast's aspect of your choice for one round. Essentially, you treat that aspect as lost for a round, even if it still has some white circles.

Huge jaw compensates for tiny appendages.


These guys are very independent and do what they do pretty well. Before the game starts, you need to decide on what you want them to do. They are pretty good at holding a flank, contesting points, dealing damage to a heavy target, or jamming into some heavy infantry (non-weaponmaster preferable). After choosing their mission, deploy them accordingly and keep them focused. They do not really need much support from your caster at all, unless you want to put an upkeep spell on Snapjaw (Fury, for example) on the first turn.

Both will cast Submerge and charge up the table, making them more or less immune to everything. Then you just focus on what you wanted them to do. There are two important things to remember: first is that Snapjaw charges pretty far for an unbuffed heavy, so you will usually need to activate Wrong Eye first and move up so that Snapjaw will remain in his 8" control. Second, if Wrong Eye dies you lose Snapjaw instantly. Therefore, you should keep him protected with Submerge and/or a fury (although Snapjaw will usually use all his fury on the charge so transfers tend to be off the table).

One of the coolest things Wrong Eye can do is cast Voodoo Doll on a stationary or knocked down warbeast. You can choose to "lock" its Spirit aspect so it cannot force for a round, which means it can't shake to get up. This spell is a pretty potent form of denial for only 2 fury and works on all warbeasts.

Additionally, as a merc/minion Gatorman warlock, Wrong Eye is able to take other Gator beasts in his battlegroup. In Blindwater, this usually means taking a Snapper so that you can get another 2 Spiny Growths out at zero resource cost to your caster (pretty good if you're doing a tanky Maelok Gator Bus strat). I've also heard that taking a Spitter with Wrong Eye in Calaban's theme force is really effective, because it only costs 6pts and gets AD. That means it's shooting things the first two turns of the game, and after that you just have a meatshield that frenzies around and/or dies while Wrong Eye takes care of Snapjaw.
In mercs, this leads to an ARM 24 Galleon or two (as long as Wrong Eye is casting the animus).

Outside of Blindwater, I would take the pair only when you have a specific role for them to fill. For example, in mercs, Wrong Eye + Snapjaw + Snapper can lead to an ARM 24 Galleon, tied to a very survivable support piece that cannot be sniped out and has a world-class counter charge. In general, they offer a reliable way to deliver a tough heavy hitter into enemy lines independent of the rest of your force. As such, they can be a great disruption tool against ranged-heavy lists and help deliver the rest of your army.


I like 'em. They are good.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beermachine IV / SR 2013 first impressions

Beermachine is a little afternoon structured casual event that my gaming group puts together every few months where we play a few organized games of Warmahordes while consuming sizable amounts of alcohol and pizza/kebabs/chips.We decided this time to test out some of the SR 2013 beta scenarios at 42pts. Why 42? I have no idea. Apparently 42 pts is a thing.
The only rule regarding lists was that you had to at least change your caster if you lost. That way losers paired against winners would be able to netdeck a bit. Here are the Gator lists I used:

2x Full Posse
Totem Hunter

This list usually tends to work out pretty well. The lack of ranged support or Bog Trogs has not really proven to be a problem as Maelok's feat usually allows a Gator or two to get back there and wreck havoc. I'm guessing you could drop some of the solos for Shamblers, depending on what those do. At 50 you'd probably just add in a 3rd Posse/WE + Snapjaw and lose the Feralgeist.

2x Full Posse
WE + Snapjaw

This one was a bit of a trial for me. I'm still unsure whether a min unit of Bog Trogs + some support would be more useful than WE + Snapjaw, but given Barnabas' pillow-fisted approach to war, a quality heavy for a good price seems better. The rest of the list is super solid however.

Support by Fire

I thought this scenario was kind of stupid, although it would have been less stupid had we played it with the proper rules (we played it that the guns can shoot anywhere rather than just zones and things close to flags/objectives). I generally don't like the scenarios that introduce new  game models or interactive pieces, and didn't feel differently about this one. In my mind, the purpose of a scenario is to stop people hiding in corners and playing like elves. Scenarios are there to provide alternate win conditions to caster kill in case the enemy caster is over ARM 22 (ie. nigh unkillable to Gators). A high POW AoE 4 that causes rough terrain can hurt a lot of lists quite bad, depending on terrain placement.

Nevertheless I lost this one to insane dice. Specifically, over two turns, I had Maelok with Death Pact, Spiny Growth, feat, and a couple of transfers get shot by 2 obliterator rockets, the scenario gun turrets, Ayanna, Holt.... then killed by 2 Kayazy Assassins I wasn't able to kill with 4 rerollable Gator attacks. How hard is it to roll 9s on 2 dice? Very, apparently. Unless you're facing me, where missing and rolling below expected value on damage rolls is unheard of. I got curious and moved Maelok up to grab a point to see how domination would work out - follow that up with some crazy to-hit and damage rolls, and there you go.

Ah Barnabas, where are you when I need you......


I didn't really get to test the scenario in this game since I took Barnabas vs Morvahnna and wiped nearly everything off the table by turn 3. It turns out by opponent suffered from a vicious combination of intoxication and lack of knowledge regarding Gatorman threat ranges - a deadly combination. Barnabas ended up taking 4-5 Primaled Stalker hits to the face (all hit with above average damage rolls) as a reward for moving up and popping his feat, but Spiny Growth + Unyielding + transfers is the real deal.

We did have someone win this on scenario however. It's basically dual control (zone  + flag) with a little extra POW 20 (!!) damage roll thrown in every now and then - a pretty strong incentive not to dominate with your ARM 14 caster. Interesting twist that adds depth to a basic scenario.

Outflank, Outfight, Outlast

My favourite scenarios ever are Prime's No Man's Land and Mosh Pit (despite their complete lack of balance), so naturally a scenario with dual Mosh Pits appeals to me. I was pretty tired at this point (alcohol is not the best brain food) so made lots of little and extremely obvious mistakes - for example, forgetting the extra points that could be brought by dominating and having Barnabas about 1/2 inch outside the zone for two turns in a row.

I played Barnabas again vs an eMadrak Champs brick. Highlight for me was managing to kill Jaenyssa early with a fluky Gator reach attack, and lowlight was that the Stone unit took a stupid long time to die, despite being hit by Spitter fire every single turn - the corrosion either went out or they toughed. Stupid tough.
Champs and Mulg under the Stone aura are pretty much unkillable to Gators, so I focused on taking out the support stuff (Stone, Fell Caller, Janyssa) so I could use Swamp Pits and knock down to force Madrak so spend his resources on Pathfinder and shake off rather than on killing everything. I ended up winning on scenario in the end by having a Feralgeist hold a zone while the rest of his pieces were jammed up with Gators.


In the end, our colorful Cygnar player managed to go 3-0 with some Kraye list featuring Ol' Rowdy, Hunters, Gun Mages + UA and then a whole bunch of crap nobody takes like Trenchers and Grenadiers. He won most games on scenario, ironic enough since he spent most of time last year raging about how scenarios suck. What a boss. I don't know how he felt having to play Kraye three games in a row, but it was a pro effort nevertheless.

The two biggest changes for us were the smaller Kill Box, and the domination rule. These really seemed to force casters to come forward at least a little more than before, and gave some advantage to tougher casters like Barnabas or Kraye in being able to push for that extra CP IF you could benefit from it greatly (ie. win this turn). I think that most of the time, it'll still be better to stay back and play for attrition, but if you enjoy playing like you have a pair (which, stupidly, I do), then at least you are given this bonus to make up for being reckless. Even if you do chose to play back, the smaller kill box will make quite a difference on the scenarios that use it. No more hiding behind a wall just outside your deployment zone...

These changes reduce the huge distance advantage of squishy support casters with a ton of focus like Severius or Haley. Likewise, I can foresee that this tendency towards more aggressive caster play will in turn advantage really brutal assassination casters like pDenny or Rahn. But then again, if your caster can take 5 Primaled Stalker hits to the face, spit out the blood and grin, what have you got to be afraid of?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blackhide Wrastler


The Blackhide Wrastler is a giant alligator beast bound to the will of Gatorman warlocks. He likes nothing more than death rolling and eating people. At 9pts though, he does cost a pretty penny for what he brings to the table compared to similar (and better supported options) in other factions. Here's an overview of his rules:
  • Wrastler - This is the Wrastler's signature unique ability. Essentially it means that while KD, he can still function as normal, except he cannot move, has DEF 5 and does not block LoS. This applies even if he is knocked down during your turn. Note he will still be auto-hit by melee attacks, and can still engage people while KD.
  • Man-Eater - Charges living warrior models for free. Saves a bit of fury.
  • Amphibious
  • Snacking - heals d3 when he kills a living thing and RFPs it.
Note the lack of Bloodthirst!

He also has a special attack named Death Roll on his bite. Death Roll is a bite attack which KDs both the Wrastler and his target. If both targets are KD, then the damage roll is boosted.



This beast is the hardest hitter in Blindwater (alongside his cousin Snapjaw) with a meaty P+S 17 bite and 2x P+S 14 open fists. At MAT 6, he also hits respectably well for a heavy beast.

Keep in mind that a few P+S 17 attacks without external buffs are just not enough to reliably hurt high ARM heavies. You are cutting it quite fine against ARM 19 heavies, assuming you hit every attack (usually needing 6s, unless you KD it first) and require at least  a little above average damage rolls to do the job. So while he is our hard hitter, he is far from the hardest hitter.


27 boxes (over half in Body), with ARM 19. Good, but again not great compared to faction backbone beasts like Woldwardens or Gladiators. He does have easy access to Spiny Growth, which can make a huge difference. With Maelok especially, achieving ARM 25 on feat turn is no joke.


I think this is where the Wrastler makes its name:
  • Two open fists and STR 12 means 'very good at two-handed throws'.
  • Being able to KD targets with Death Roll is fury efficient and throws in good chunk of damage over the more conventional Headbutt.
  • His animus, Rise, is cost 1 RNG 6 and allows a friendly Minion to stand up immediately. Note that Rise dispels any other animi currently on the target, even though it does not remain in play.


There are quite a few cool things you can do with the Wrastler.
  1. First and above all, he is your heaviest hitter. This means he is good at counter-charging heavy targets that is tied up with Gators, or killing casters.
  2. Secondly, there is the Rise Gator missile trick. This essentially means that you can throw something forward, case Rise on it, then it activates as normal except that it is now much closer to the enemy (and may have flown over a clump of jammy small or medium bases on the way). The simplest execution of this tactic for me has been to throw the Wrastler forward using a Spitter (who also has two open fists), casting Rise with either my Wrastler or warlock, then moving forward and chomping down an enemy caster. However, you can also execute the throw with your Wrastler on another target, throwing the target at a well positioned Feralgeist, and then casting Rise on that. If you do it this way however, you risk deviating more than 6" away from the Wrastler, thereby not being able to Rise the thrown model. I've heard of people throwing their casters this way, and thinking they either trust dice a lot more than I do, or have monster balls.
  3. Third, he excels at two-handed throw power attacks. This means he can throw things at the enemy to knock multiple things down at once or throw warjacks in Barnabas's Swamp Pits.

He benefits greatly from Barnabas' Warpath to make up for his slowish SPD 5 and lack of Bloodthirst. He also works quite well under Maelok, partially because he can reach very high levels of ARM, and partially because throwing enemy models through your own in a grind situation can be very useful.
On the damage side of the equation, Calaban's Parasite and Rask's Fury make all the difference between life and death (for the Wrastler's target). These effective make him 1xP+S 20 and 2x P+S 17. Ouch.


The Wrastler is decent (ie. not great) as a beatstick heavy beast, but his animus and Wrastler rule add on to his cost pretty heavily and makes him more than just a fighter. At present however, he is the best we have in the damage department, so I take him in almost every list I make.
If you treat him solely as a damage dealer, you will be very disappointed in his performance without proper use of buffs and debuffs. Keep Death Roll, throws and Rise in mind, and the Wrastler will win you many a game.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gatorman Posse - Shovel Headed Kill Machines

Gatorman Posse are the backbone of the Blindwater Congregation. I consider them to be amongst the best medium-based infantry in the game on account of their speed, survivability and damage potential.


MAT 7, 2x P+S 13 attacks (one with reach), and the option to reroll against living models. In context, this means you can very reliably kill almost any small-based model in the game quite reliably, including warcasters that don't camp 50 focus and warlocks. Very solid damage output. They will struggle against things that are above ARM 19 and have enough boxes to survive a charge.


DEF 12 and ARM 16, 8 boxes. Looks pretty solid on the surface, and comparable to other elite infantry. However, you throw in their Dirge of Mist prayer (see below), Unyielding and their access to Faction buffs, and these guys are a serious pain to remove. Iron Flesh + Swamp Pits under Barnabas, Death Pact + feat under Maelok, Occultation under Calaban and the Zombify buff from the Witch Doctor make a tough unit even tougher.


Not only does the Posse have excellent damage and survivability, but they also bring with them a heap of tools to deal with different situations.

Bloodthirst gives them a threat range of 12" against living models, which seems kind of insane for medium-based infantry. Compare this with Cataphracts (10") or MoW Demo Corps (9"). Most of the time, this advantage means you will get the first charge.

Prayers are also extremely useful. Note that these are not spells nor are they orders, so to my knowledge cannot be denied, and you can do them even when running the unit:
  • Cold Blood - reroll missed attacks against living models. With a MAT 7, this means you have a semi decent shot at hitting DEF 16 without any external help. Freakin' sweet, or what? As always though, think of it as an insurance mechanism rather than a straight buff.
  • Dirge of Mists - +1 DEF and Terror. I cast this turn 1 every game with every Posse - that +1 can make all the difference. Makes them DEF 16 under Iron Flesh.
  • March - gain Pathfinder. Speaks for itself really.


The basic strategy with the Posse is this:
  1. Turn 1 - Put up Dirge of Mists, run up a certain distance.
  2. Turn 2 - Charge living things and get stuck in. You want to have each Posse member either engaged and benefitting from Unyielding, or staying back a few inches so as to be safe from retaliation and ready to counter charge.
  3. Turn 3 - Keep killing until there's nothing left.
That's the gist of it. Gatormans, being quality Minions, are a very independent unit and do not really need external buffs to make them do their job well. Just keep in mind that they slaughter anything ARM 17 and below, but really start to have trouble with anything above that.

  • Barnabas - I try to take two max units when I can. It's quite easy to completely wipe out multiple units of infantry on his feat turn with each Gator having 2 POW 13 attacks.
    Iron Flesh + Dirged Gators make a pretty effective tarpit for Turns 3 onwards.
    Swamp Pits are awesome for protecting Posse first two turns.
  • Maelok - two max units is compulsory. Reviving a Gatorman under his feat is an excellent to get to key models in the backfield. He also makes them tougher under Death Pact, Zombify and his feat. Death Pact + Unyielding + Feat = ARM 22.
  • Calaban - I've found he benefits more from one unit than two. If you have some high defense targets (ie. Winterguard), they will benefit greatly from Carnivore. Occultation is also usually best placed on a Posse first turn, then shifted onto a beast later. 
  • Rask - Rask trades the Barnabas/Maelok attrition for raw assault. Rask more or less solves the Posse's two glaring issues - getting shot up on the way in, and not being able to crack high ARM. His feat + Inhospitable Ground delivers Posse like nothing else and Fury makes charging Gators kill almost anything in the game.
    You will almost always want at least 2 units of Posse for this reason, and a third unit is certainly not a bad option.


Best medium-based infantry in the game. Well, top 3 at the very least. They are really good at fighting and killing things, which is more or less what you'd expect of troops in a war game. The models are a little outdated and make them look a little more cartoony than intended, but they are still pretty sweet.

Their biggest weakness is that, as Minions, they are not considered Faction models and thus are not able to benefit from a large range of damage or survivability buffs. For us Blindwater players however, this is not a problem!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rask's model

Here he is:

 "Rask is a mighty bog trog warlock who has traded his people’s freedom for some degree of personal autonomy from the bloodthirsty gatormen. Cold and calculating, Rask is a formidable hunter, a skilled warrior, and one of the most ruthless and self-serving creatures in the Blindwater Congregation. Rask prefers to bring his enemies low through a combination of potent sorcery, peerless knowledge of the terrain, and a host of devious trick and obfuscations. He typically avoids direct confrontation with powerful enemies, preferring to use his abilities to tip the scales in favor of the lesser creatures that serve him. However, once his bog trogs and warbeasts have weakened an enemy, Rask claims the honor of the killing blow with a well-placed bolt from his harpoon gun."

You can see a 3D spinorama version HERE.

Cool things about the model:
  • Despite being a goofy-looking Bog Trog, does not look that goofy
  • Sweet quiver made out of Gator skin
  • Cool P+S 11 bone knife hanging over his crotch
  • Looks pretty similar to his cool art
Also, despite what the blurb says, I doubt Rask will ever activate last in a turn or get the killing blow on anything tougher than an Assault Kommando.

I will probably paint mine as an albino. So cute.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bloody Barnabas - ascension through bloodshed

Bloody Barnabas is freaking sweet. This is the Gatorman behind the Gatormans. He was the main catalyst in getting me to play Gators after coming back to the game following many months of abstinence - I just loved how menacing he looked with the cowl over his eyes, wielding a huge, bloody, notched cleaver. Kind of reminds me of somebody that I used to know....




Good Gatorman stats - he has 1 more STR, DEF and ARM than a Posse member, which are respectable caster stats. Not Terminus or eLich great, but not bad either, especially for an old man.

Like Maelok, he also has three base attacks - P+S 12 with his tail, P+S 14 with his bite and P+S 14 reach with his cleaver.


  • Flesh Eater - 3 cost magic nuke. RNG 10, POW 13, and can heal up warbeasts in your battlegroup. Can save a few fury that way if you plan ahead.
  • Swamp Pit - Barnabas's signature spell, because nobody else is awesome enough to have it (yet). Others have Rift instead, which costs more and sucks more.
  • Iron Flesh - Classic spell, not broken good  in Gators due to low DEF values but still very potent.
  • Warpath - Allows beasts to move 3" outside activation if anything in your army kills anything else. Gold, or solid gold?


  • Unyielding - This is a big part of what makes Barnabas such a tank. ARM 19 when engaging + Spiny Growth + Iron Flesh = tough cookie.
  • Counter Charge - very useful ability, especially when combined with Unyielding. Keep in mind you can't charge with Iron Flesh on you, and you don't want to charge forward to get killed easier or charge out of a Swamp Pit which is protecting you.
  • Blood Boon - very useful ability that allows you to throw out a free Flesh Eater, Spiny Growth, Swamp Pit or Iron Flesh. So many options!
  • Tough - why not?
  • Crit Consume on his bite - because again, why not? He's eaten a lot of people. More of a fluff ability than anything else, as there are very few cases where a POW 14 won't easily kill a non-caster small-based model (ie. warlock solos, Covenant, or ARM 17+ models).


Black Tide - Non-amphibious enemies in his CTRL are KD. Basically a straight-up worse version of pKreoss' feat. Of course, Warmachine has evolved greatly from its early days of pop n' drop, so there are a lot of answers and preventive measures to this feat (Steady, Lash, huge FU auras of no-KD ala Covenant), and Blindwater doesn't have jack-all ranged options. Therefore although the feats are objectively almost identical, they are subjectively somewhat different.

Obligatory pic of my model.



This is where Barnabas hurts the most. He has zero damage buffs for either himself or his army. His personal output is respectable for a caster, and in one-to-one he should be able to kill most casters in the game and some lighter armored targets, but it's still more dice-dependent than one would like. Of course, he brings one of the best DEF debuffs in the game in the form of reliable KD (and a lot of less reliable KD in the form of beast power attacks), so the sheer volume of attacks at a decent P+S is to be respected.


He is a tank. His base DEF of 13 is not especially flash, but Iron Flesh can certainly help. ARM 17 base is already quite good, and he is likely to have Spiny Growth on him most of the game. Throw in Unyielding and Tough, and you've got a hard nut to crack. Remember also that he is a warlock so he can transfer! Certainly not the hardest warlock to assassinate, but he is up there.

And of course, he can be immune to all direct shooting thanks to Swamp Pits (which I must add, do not work against magic attacks). That can screw a lot of lists pretty hard (ie. Ret).


Barnabas has utility in spades!
  • Swamp Pits are useful on multiple levels:
    - First, most obviously, they can be used to just protect your models from all direct shooting. Just park your stuff in there and it simply cannot be targeted. Note that your opponent can target something behind them with a spray, and still make attacks against them that way.
    - Second, each Pit is a 5" rough terrain (for non-amphibious models) AoE for 2 fury! You can just place them around the table to slow your opponents or put them in front of heavies to stop them in their tracks. Just watch out for pathfinder-granting models like Saxon Orrik or spells like Easy Rider.
    - Third, the AoE is shallow water. This means you can place the AoE and then KD a warjack in it to effectively take it out of the game for at least one turn. It's one effective way to deal with heavy armour.
    The only thing to keep an eye on is that the template cannot be placed in such a way that it touches any bases. Since they are not upkeeps, it means you will have to cast them each turn before moving into them.
  • Warpath is a fantastic spell that allows your relatively slow beasts to get unpredictable attack angles, threat range or retreat back to a safer location.
  • Iron Flesh works great on a Gatorman Posse when combined with Dirge of Mists. DEF 16, ARM 18 Gators are hard to dislodge once in combat. I sometimes deal with high ARM targets by just putting a full Posse with Dirge + Iron Flesh around them, so they can't do much without dice. Works even better if you disrupt them first.
  • His feat can be great at dealing with high DEF models such as warcasters or Kayazy Assassins, as you'd expect. 
  • Last but not least, always remember Blood Boon and access to all your animi! Blood Boon allows him to basically cast any of his spells or animi for free. That can mean 4 Swamp Pits, moving Iron Flesh around, Elasticity or an extra Spiny Growth on the table. You can also get pretty good assassinations by charging a living model, popping your feat to catch the enemy caster, and then get three Flesh Eaters or two boosted Flesh Eaters thanks to Blood Boon.


Barnabas plays a less grindy game than Maelok, but still relies heavily on the physical superiority of Gators to win out on attrition in the end. He has a very solid spell list and feat, which allows him to control the board quite effectively. He is also tanky enough to be played effectively mid-field. In some earlier games I recklessly threw him forward to do something cool, expecting him to die, and he managed to squeeze out another few turns of game time simply by refusing to die (and some lucky dice).

He synergizes very well with most of the models from the Minions forces book and those in Domination (1). He just makes everything amphibious work better - beasts benefit hugely from Warpath, Posse from Iron Flesh, everyone from Swamp Pits... I'd recommend two full Posses at 35pts and above, along with a Bull Snapper and Blackhide Wrastler. An Ironhide Spitter is quite strong with Barnabas on account of his feat and having 2 open fists allows it to effectively throw warjacks into Swamp Pits.

Early game you'll want to keep Barnabas back-mid, sometimes within a Swamp Pit, and let your spells, feat and army do the work.  Don't be afraid to move up to maximize your feat usage, assuming you protect Barnabas effectively with Spiny Growth and Swamp Pits. Late game, you should feel reasonably safe getting Barnabas involved and killing things to clean things up or set up an assassination.You don't get to live to old age as a Gatorman by letting other people do all the killing!

His primary weakness, like most of the faction, is the lack of really powerful combos, character warbeasts and damage buffs leaving his forces vulnerable to ARM 19+ models. Just like Circle however, this will be solved when we get an auto-include heavy beast like the Stalker. Only a matter of time...


Epic Awesomeness Potential:

eKreoss|--[eMorg]---------------------[eThagrosh]--[eButcher]-------X| eBarnabas

Barnabas is a very strong and very fun warlock who plays well with almost any balanced army composition, is one of the hardest to kill, has an awesome model, and exudes menace. Make sure you bring some heavy hitters though!

His epic incarnation will make Leonidas look like a cookie-selling boyscout.

(1) Even Boneswarms, although you'll probably prefer something else at 50pts and below. It can be nice to park next to Barnabas to make him DEF 18, ARM 21 vs living melee attacks. Plus transfers. Neato.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review - Blindwater 25pt holiday bundle

Privateer Press is selling some 25pt army Holiday Bundles for Christmas, one for each faction. Except Minions, who get two bundles - Blindwater and Thornfall. Funny that.

The list

So let's assess what you get:

  • Bloody Barnabas - the man, the legend. An excellent competitive caster with a variety of tricks, relatively simple to learn and difficult to master. Definitely the best choice of the three current Gatorman casters for a new player or veteran player moving into the faction.
  • Bull Snapper - One of the best light beasts in the game, and a backbone of the Blindwater Pact.
  • Blackhide Wrastler - Hardest hitting model we currently have at the moment, so with Barnabas' lack of damage buffing, this guy is a must-have in my opinion.
  • Swamp Horror - Not a bad beast but I'm surprised this was put in instead of a Spitter. It is able to kill a bit more infantry and control the board a bit better, but a powerful AoE gun at low points size is so good! I think this was put in here more for the ranged hate aspect - you can have Posse, Wrastler and Barnabas safely in two Swamp Pits, and your Horror can stay outside it without too many worries thanks to Impervious Flesh. He also hits harder than a Spitter, although not by much.
  • Gatorman Posse (max) - Wooooooooo. Legit. Survivable, great synergy with Barnabas, crap ton of quality attacks. Best medium infantry in the game?
  • Pendrake - Mmmm... cool I guess. The nature of Blindwater lists always tend to leave annoying list gaps like this, and Pendrake is probably as good as anything else to fill the gap.
  • Mini rulebook + tokens - Neato. I'm very anal when it comes to tokens so including tokens in starter sets is a pro move in my book. I personally prefer white squares with the spell written on them (easier to read), but the PP tokens are also pretty nice.
The cost? 161 USD. Doesn't seem like a stellar deal, when you could buy it for about 155 AUD from Defiant Gaming, without the mini rulebook and 'special ornament', whatever that is. Some of the other bundles seem to be significantly cheaper - so if you can just buy this list by itself cheaper, why not?

Overall I think this is a good starter list for 25 pts. I personally would swap out the Horror for a Spitter in order to provide some ranged support and a stronger assassination angle with Barnabas' feat. You lose a few reach attacks and a little punch, but gain some ranged game. I have played this list with a Spitter instead at 25pts competitively and it did reasonably well. It almost plays itself. You could switch out Pendrake for a Croak Hunter, or Feralgeist + Swamp Gobbers for models that you will probably use more in the long-term than Pendrake.

Good combos

Interested in getting into a new faction at the same time as a friend, or getting a friend into the game? Here are my opinions on the best/most fun match-ups for the Gator bundle, as well as the worst/least balanced match-ups. As you can see, Hordes tends to play better against Hordes at low point values, but I tried to vary things a bit.

Top 3 'best' match-ups

  1.  Skorne - Naaresh, Gladiator, 2x Savage, Min Paingivers, 10 Nihilators, Marketh
    This one would be a good old slugfest. Iron Flesh troops and casters would be a problem for most armies, but with Posse and a KD feat, you have an answer. I think the Gator player probably has a slight advantage in the match-up as Naaresh usually needs either more support or light infantry to kill to really shine, but it's balanced enough that the better/luckier player should win.
  2. Trolls - Grim Angus, Pyre Troll, Impaler, Bomber, 10 Fennblades, Fell Caller
    It was a toss-up between Trolls and Legion, I think both are well-balanced. This list is quite ranged heavy so make good use of your Swamp Pits. The Fell Caller is also a key support piece, being able to give Fennblades Pathfinder and remove KD - if you can somehow take him out quick, the game gets much easier for you.
  3. Cryx - pSkarre, Slayer, 2x Deathripper, Defiler, 10 Satyxis, Skarlock, Satyxis Captain The only really ball-busting thing here is that the Satyxis Captain more or less negates your feat vs Skarre and troops, so kill her quick. Skarre's feat giving +5 ARM to all her stuff is rough, but most of the stuff there is pretty low ARM anyway so it's weatherable. She also doesn't have the focus factory and no Necrosurgeon to heal up, so it's almost.... balanced? Also, Satyxis without the UA are killable and won't completely destroy the Posse and your beasts.

Top 3 'worst' match-ups

  1. Khador - pVlad, Destroyer, Juggernaut, Full Demo Corps, Widowmakers, War Dog
    I think pVlad by himself can pretty much beat the Gator list... Blood of Kings + camp 3 focus over 50 turns, then he eventually wins. Two Khador heavies is also really hard to kill. Basically you have zero chance in a game of attrition at this points size, outside insane luck on damage rolls.
  2. Cygnar - eStryker, Ironclad, Lancer, Charger, Full Stormguard, Squire, Journeyman
    eStryker? Wow. The problem here is mostly that Arcane Shield on either the Ironclad or eStryker with a few focus means those things are not dying. Stormguard + Arcane Shield are not a problem at all for Gators. But the combination of Rebuke and Tremor will take care of the Posse (Iron Flesh or not), then he spend his time lolerskating around till he one-shots your caster or a heavy. Again, armor is the main problem, and there is very little chance of killing Junior as he will hide on the back table edge.
  3. Circle - pBaldur, Woldwarden, Woldwyrd, Wold Guardian, Wold Stalkers, Shifting Stones + UA
    All non-living models with decent ARM? Having no feat due to Solid Ground? Forests everywhere blocking LoS, forcing you to run to engage Woldstalkers, just so they Zephyr away and shoot you in the face? Awesome. The Circle player has the tools to basically just run around and pick off things, and slow the rest of your stuff down. Best chance for you would be a straight assassination if the Circle player is careless with Baldur (and he really doesn't have to be).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bog Trog Ambushers - RwlRwlRwlRw!

The way I look at Bog Trog Ambushers is Blindwater's answer to squishy backline models, alongside the excellent Ironback Spitter. The Pact is quite weak in terms of ranged attacks, aside from the aforementioned turtle, and Ambushers do a decent job of patching this up.


Mediocre stats for light infantry. SPD 5 is a bit slow, but they do have a decent P+S reach Fish Hook. Why fishmen need fish hooks, I don't know. You'd think they'd get along with each other, since there's plenty of enemies out in the swamps.

Fortunately they have plenty of very nice abilities to make up for their mediocre numbers - Pathfinder, CMA, Ambush, Camouflage and Powerful Charge. Do these make them worth the 5/8pts?


CMA, Reach, Powerful charge. Not bad, and quite useful at taking out low-to-mid ARM models and solos (which is most things in the backfield), and put some serious hurt on a lights and some of the softer heavies (Seraphs, Angels, Warpwolves, and Cryx jacks if those existed). Basically this means that they can put out a decent amount of damage on the charge on a variety of targets, and after the charge.... well....


Pretty craptacular - DEF 12/ ARM 14 and usually being far away from your support means they die easier than henchmen in an 80s Schwarzenegger film. They do have camouflage however, which can help them survive an extra turn to deliver the payload if they can find some cover or concealment on the way (pathfinder helps). Their ARM is just a bit too low to reliably soak up most blast damage, so you need to spread them out if that is a threat.

There's no defense like distance - and being off the table is pretty far. However, once they engage, they are most likely to either die very quickly, or stay alive the entire game. Either result is not especially bad for you, since them being dead means attention was taken off more important things, and them being alive means they can clean up or tie up more stuff.


The Bog Trog's utility lies entirely in their Ambush special rule. Without it, they are just crap overcosted fodder troops. With Ambush, they become unpredictable, dangerous to support, and even threatening to enemy warlocks and warcasters. Use this mobility and element of surprise to your full advantage.

Fishmans - a novel concept.


I use a min or max unit at 50pts and occasionally a minimum at 35pts, to help harass backline support (Choir, Paingivers, Focus Boosters, Mechanics, Gorman, etc) or tie up things like Defenders. They can also be useful at taking out those overpowered stealth solos that like to hang out on their own on a flank (ie. Eyriss). I like them a lot as tactically useful pieces but they aren't core to a list strategy which is why they aren't seen too often at lower points games or why I don't usually find the need to take a full unit when I could be getting a 3pt solo for the difference.

I don't see the point in taking them unless you're going to ambush, but this could depend on the scenario. If they don't ambush, you will have to be careful that they don't jam up your lines and not to lose them to weak ranged attacks or blast damage. You might even have them hug a Spitter for Girded early in the game! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I put them on the side of the table before the battle starts and remind my opponent before and after deployment that they are ambushers. That way I get the psychological advantage of them not wanting to deploy anything close to the sides, so they bunch up in the middle and deploy a little more clumped up than optimal, making things easier for the rest of my melee-heavy force. Even if they don't care so much about the Ambushers and just play/deploy as they normally would, I can always choose to ambush much closer to my lines or hold them for turns 3 and 4.

The most important decision you will make will be when to bring them on. This will come with experience, but remember that earlier is not always better, especially in a grindy faction like Gators. Sometime bringing on a fresh unit out of nowhere Turn 4 or 5 can make the difference between win or loss, and is far better than losing them for nothing Turn 2 if you are playing a cagey opponent.

Their biggest weakness, other than being fragile little flowers that you always forget to put into play, is that they somehow always manage to fail CMD checks and wet themselves continuously (which I guess is how they manage to survive so long on land). Zombify is the only way we currently have of dealing with this, but is unlikely to ever be used on them if they are ambushing. Sometimes you just have to take your chances, and have a good laugh when they fail an Abomination check.... again and again.


Comedic appearance:

Piece of Granite|------------------------------------X-----------------| Immortal

Fishmans look like they suck but are in fact really useful. While not being as useful as having units with guns, they do provide a respectable alternative for dealing with support models, or making up distance. Their biggest downside by far is forgetting to put them on the table, and they are kind of stupid-looking.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Maelok the Dreadbound - Death, Magic, Doom!

Maelok is opposite of Calaban - really crappy looking on paper, but remarkably effective on the table. I guess this ties in well with their fluff bro-mance. He plays to Blindwater's strengths, has a decent number of tools, is remarkably resilient, has an awesome model, and poses several problems for your opponent to consider. His weaknesses are primarily the faction he is in and its lack of really powerful synergies, but he will become stronger over time as Blindwater gets more models.

Notice the pirate fishman on the left.



Solid Gatorman stats, with one less MAT and one more DEF and damage than Barnabas. He has three base P+S 12 non-reach magical melee attacks. Lowish damage but three base attacks is pretty legit.


  • Death Pact - Main upkeep buff. Makes things undead and gives them +2 ARM. Synergizes well with his feat and Spiny Growth, especially when used on a heavy beast in later turns rather than on a Posse.
  • Malediction - DEF and ARM debuff 2" aura. Normally not a great thing to have on a caster since you don't want your caster getting assassinated by being further up, but surprisingly it works out well on Maelok, just as it does on Terminus.
  • Venom - Auto-corossion SP 8, POW 10. Nothing remarkable, but for Maelok's playstyle it works out better than one of the Arcane Bolt variants.
  • Revive His bread and butter spell. What's more awesome than reviving a Gatorman? It can also give you a very large threat range boost - revive one Gator within 3" of its unit, add in the base, revive another Gator within 3" of that one, add its base..., and you've got a Gatorman about 9" ahead from the rest of the unit, and still within unit CMD range. Medium bases are so swell.


  • Terror - don't forget this! Forcing CMD checks is as annoying as making multiple tough rolls.
  • Undead
  • Cull Souls - much better on Maelok than most Cryx casters.
  • Spirit Eater on his Bite attack - makes upkeeping Malediction and charging a fully-loaded enemy heavy almost worthwhile, especially if you've softened it up a bit beforehand.


Spirit World sounds like a 70s stoner metal band. There are two parts to it:
  1. Friendly Faction models currently in Maelok's control get incorporeal for one turn (pulse).
  2. Friendly Undead Faction models within Maelok's control get +2 ARM for one round (aura). 
The first part of the feat is like a less potent version of the Testament's feat since you do not ignore LoS, except it affects a larger area and affects Gatormans, so one might even consider it better.
The second part is an aura that affects only Undead models. This means Maelok himself, whatever has Death Pact on it, Boneswarms, Shamblers and whatever has Zombify on it.



Three initial attacks is pretty neat and can cut up a lot of infantry. On top of that, you get sweet sweet Soles tokens when things die near you. The problem here is that he does not have reach, so getting more than two of these attacks off is not common, and his MAT is not very reliable. This gets solved in two ways - Elasticy from the Swamp Horror gives him reach, and Malediction makes him MAT 8! So not bad at killing infantry for souls at minimal personal investment.

Malediction also brings him to P+S 14, meaning he can take out some of the lighter armored heavy targets, and steal a beast's fury Hexeris-style. Not bad. Against the heavier armored targets, it gives a pretty good chance for your heavier hitters to finish the job rather than flat flat by a column or two and then die.


This guy is a tank. Maybe not as tanky as Barnabas, but tanky nevertheless. Under Spiny Growth and his feat, he is ARM 21, which is definately not shabby when paired with a respectable DEF and transfers. You can even put Death Pact on him to bump him up another 2 ARM if you're afraid of losing him that turn.

In any case, he doesn't die too easily as long as you play smart and don't allow him to get charged by weapon masters or heavies.

He looks like he can take a hit or two. Or thirty-two.


He has a few subtle ways to help his army or deal with certain problems. Malediction is one tool, bringing a valuable ARM and DEF debuff to the table. Venom is also useful at clearing jammed up light infantry, and Death Pact is a very solid ARM buff to protect against ranged attacks during the early game. It can also screw a remarkable number of enemy abilities on account of granting undeath. I find it is best used on a Posse early on if your opponent has lots of lowish POW ranged attacks, or better on a beast if he has a few high POW ones. Later game, it becomes a situational tactical decision.

His most powerful form of utility is the control and threat brought by Revive and his feat. Revive allows you to place Gatormans where they really should not be, and the feat allows you to charge through tough front lines to more desirable targets (like support pieces or warcasters), or just jam up like a madman. This latter strategy works pretty well with the ARM buff part of his feat, allowing you to place ARM 22 Gatormans almost anywhere you want.

Playstyle & Tactica

Maelok is an attrition grinder. He is so grindy he makes Napalm Death look like Manowar, he makes sandpaper cry 'uncle' and he crushes coffee beans with his bare hands/claw stumps. The primary strategy of a Maelok list is to put Death Pact on a Posse, run them up the table with your beasts closely behind, then grind away, bringing back Gators as needed to kill important targets outside the mosh pit and put you up in the attrition war. You can then shuffle Death Pact around, be liberal with Spiny Growths, get to where you want using the feat and get some sneaky attacks in between bases with Elasticity. Like most Blindwater armies, there isn't all deep strategy involved but it is very tactical.

Spirit World should be used offensively and never defensively. I often use it for a Revive assassination (just make sure to Revive before you feat), or to take out important support models (Tartarus et al, Sentinels UA, etc.), or to just be annoying and go places I shouldn't be. Just watch out for those magical weapons though, they can ruin your day. You should still plan ahead for the defensive part of the feat by having Death Pact on something, and Zombify on a unit. The defensive part of it is good, but popping it purely defensively is basically throwing the feat away.

I usually try to play Maelok himself a little further back with Spiny Growth on him and a fury or two at all times, but close enough so that he can get stuck in if there is a good opportunity to get a lot of soul tokens or help kill heavy targets. Getting soul tokens is a huge deal with Maelok as it allows him to revive another Gatorman or pump out even more melee attacks. Having lots of tough medium bases around him helps keep him alive, as do his stats and spells.
If there is a highly viable assassination threat from my opponent (for example, many big guns and eEyriss, or multiple MHAs), I will keep him quite far back and use him as a Revive/feat bot until the threat is neutralized. If the risk of assassination is tolerable, I will try to get him involved in the grind to generate soul tokens and lots of attacks.

I will also usually cast Malediction first turn if I see that there will be a use for it at any point in the game (which there usually is). I've tried playing him really safe and not even consider using Malediction or moving up at all, but more often than not I will regret this later in the game. He can make a big difference in attrition with his spells and attacks.

  • Gatorman Posse are essential. You want a minimum of two max units at any points size, and should consider a third at 50pts and above. These are the primary target for Revive - their sizable damage output, ability to reroll attacks against living models and long threat range gives Maelok a very potent eLich-like assassination angle that cannot be ignored at any stage of the game.
  • Swamp Horror is resistant to ranged attacks, has many melee attacks, can push things around and can give Maelok (or other Gator beasts) reach! Pretty solid beast for a grind game. Try to keep Spiny Growth on it whenever possible though, as its base ARM is pretty pathetic for a heavy.
  • Blackhide Wrastler brings even more trickery in the form of the two-handed throw along with some decent hitting power. You have to beware of the Skornergy with the feat however - if you feat with Maelok and then activate the Wrastler to two-handed throw a friendly target, you will not be able to do anything since your friendly target is also incorporeal and unaffected by your puny power attacks. The feat is still good for throwing enemy models through your own guys though.
    The Wrastler is also a great tank under Maelok - with Spiny Growth, Death Pact and the feat, he becomes an awesome ARM 25. Good luck removing that.
  • Bull Snapper brings Spiny Growth and a really long charge. 3 pts? Yes please.
  • Witch Doctor has obvious synergies with Maelok with Zombify turning a unit Undead so they can benefit from the second part of his feat. Remember that he also has Sacrificial Strike to clear lanes but also removes the sacrificial lamb from the game so they cannot be Revived later.
  • Totem Hunter is a real beast under the feat and provides another assassination angle. He is also awesome at killing crutch solos that hide in the enemy ranks like Gorman, Kovnik Joe or Tartarus.
  • Boneswarms are not really good. Maybe in the tier list, but I'll be damned if I'm buying three of those. You'd think the animus would be good in a grind situation, but it usually isn't with all those medium bases involved.
  • Thrullgs aren't too bad however. With all those jamming Gators, they are somewhat screened from getting sniped out, and the disruption/anti-magic abilities they bring to the table can be pretty useful.


Grind Factor:
K-Pop |----------------------------------------------------------X------| Nasum

Maelok is a surprisingly legit caster and quite fun to play. He plays to the faction's strengths, has a great model and great background, and loves to rub your opponent's face into the dirt - sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.