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.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Why Gators suck (against Cryx)

There are currently two significant problems for Blindwater Congregation armies:
  1. ARM 19+
  2. Weapon Master infantry
There are also a few annoying, but less significant factors:

     3. Undead
     4. Being the youngest faction in Warmahordes
     5. Being minions (in the 'mercenary' sense)
     6. Craptacular shooting and magic attacks

Let us examine why these things are a problem for our scaly carnivorous friends, and what we can do about them:

1. Arm 19+


High armor just makes a gatorman cry. Sure, we can throw out respectably accurate P+S 13s like they've gone out of style, but the amount of high P+S attacks, armor debuffs and damage buffs available to us have been quite limited:
  • Our hardest hitters are the Wrastler (P+S 17) for 9 pts, or Snapjaw (P+S 17) with Wrong Eye for 9pts. Respectable, but still a bit dice-dependent.
  • Other heavy beasts are the Spitter at P+S 15 and Horror at 16 (with a sweet crit!).
  • Damage buffs - none.
  • Arm debuffs - Parasite on Calaban (awesome spell, wrong caster), and Malediction on Maelok.

I have had games where people just rammed a jack in my face and after analysing the situation, my best response was to flip the table. I've also had games where an enemy caster just camped 4+ focus and was more or less invulnerable to any of my attacks, dragging the game out for 4-5 rounds after I'd killed everything else (except the ARM 19" jacks)

This is why Rask is being hailed as the Blindwater messiah - he brings a significant damage buff in Fury, and a pretty reliable way to remove enemy upkeeps and focus with his gun.

Current strategies for dealing with ARM:

  • Barnabas - Swamp Pits. You'll probably have a Wrastler to bring those high-POW attacks, so why not just use it to 2-handed throw a jack into a swamp pit? It's both hilarious, effective and infuriating to your opponent. You can also use the Pits to slow jacks down. Deathjack loves this. It's like Rift, but good. It's not as reliable a tactic against Hordes since a large chunk of heavy beasts have access to Rush or Pathfinder or Wings.
  • Maelok - Ignore the ARM by running around it while incorporeal, or tank it with a couple of super-tough Gators that will come back next turn, or man up and run into it with Malediction up (less risky than it sounds) and unleash whatever you can muster. P+S 15s on the charge are pretty good.
  • Calaban - You have Parasite! And Hex Blast! But you're playing Calaban, so you have other problems.
  • Roll well on damage rolls. By far the most effective strategy and the one that requires the least player skill. This is made easier by increasing your odds of doing damage by KDing your targets so you don't fluff on attack rolls.
  • Throw heavy targets away and jam them with troops or disrupt it with Thrullgs. Also quite funny.
  • Thrullgs can also remove ARM buffs. They will probably die trying, but it's worth a shot, right?

You'll notice a lot of these strategies do not work on Colossals. This is because Colossals were in fact designed as a response to the Gatorman threat in Western Immoren . Your best response to Colossals as a Gator player is to crap yourself and get back in the water.

2. Weapon Master infantry

I was playing against a Ret player the other day who was packing a unit of Sentinels + UA. I was very careful not to touch any of the Sentinels so Vengeance would not trigger. On my last activation of the turn, I stupidly shot something with my Spitter, missed, deviated onto a Sentinel and rolled an 11 on blast damage. During the next maintenance phase, I pretty much lost my entire army.

Although Gatormans are very resilient with ARM buffs all over the place, they just get completely hosed by weapon master infantry. This is because Gatormans will usually get to charge on account of Blood Thirst (charging as far as you run is cool) + good shooting protection, and excel are grinding due to having 2 attacks each at a good P+S and Unyielding. In this context, ARM 18 with damage boxes is pretty stellar.

On the other hand, Weapon Master infantry don't really care too much about not being able to charge, and their damage potential is very high, so they don't care about your ARM or boxes. In my experience, Posse members will just explode when faced against weapon masters, unless they are really buffed up.

There isn't all that much you can do against weapon masters in general other than playing smart and choosing your match-ups carefully. Buffs such as Iron Flesh or Death Pact can play a part in swinging a matchup in your favour. It depends on the individual unit you are facing - sometimes it's best to control them with Swamp Pits, to tank them with mega-buffed Posse or beasts, to jam them with Bog Troggs, or to try and pick them off (really) slowly at ranged so the chunk that gets to you is manageable.

3. Undead

A lot of the abilities which take Gatormans and Blindwater models from mediocre to pretty damn good rely on the target being alive. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • Blood Thirst (Snapper, Snapjaw, Gatormans)
  • Man Eater (Snapper, Snapjaw)
  • Blood Boon (Barnabas)
  • Carnivore (Calaban)
  • Flesh Eater (Barnabas)
  • Grave Door (Calaban)
  • Torpid (Snapper)
  • Snacking (Wrastler, Snapjaw's bond)
  • Cold Blood (Gatormans)
  • Poison (Croak Hunter)
  • Life Drinker (Wrong Eye)
  • Cull Soul (Maelok)
  • Swarm (Boneswarm)
Bloodthirst and Cold Blood on the Posse are especially huge. Losing 2" of threat range against undead really, really hurts.

Also, somewhat related: an almost complete lack of magical weapons outside our casters. Fortunately the Witch Doctor helps a bit here with his Sacral Blade and Sacrificial Strike ability. There's also Dahlia and her 'you can't melee or shoot me, L2 cast spells' thing that just straight up laughs at your army and your Fury 6 casters.

4. Youngest Faction

This is pretty straight-forward. Pigmans and Gatormans are the youngest faction, so they have less stuff and less options than everyone else. Therefore more design gaps, less redundancy, and space wasted by garbage like Bone Swarms.

5. Minions for hire

The majority of the Minion models are also designed to be taken by other Hordes factions. As such, they have to be designed in such a way that they won't break the game. For example, it would be pretty broken if Wrong Eye took a Snapper into a mercenary army and put Spiny Growth on a very tough warjack that is capable of putting out 2d3 boosted AoEs a turn and be affected by Batten Down the Hatches or some other such buff.

As such, a lot of the Minion models should lean towards being pretty underpowered so that something like this never, ever happens.

6. Craptacular shooting/magic attacks


Blindwater has no shooting units. It's part of the deal - no good shooting, but good shooting denial. We have two casters with RNG 10 magical guns (Rask + Caliban). Each Gator caster also has a short range magic nuke (or two in Calaban's case). The Witch Doctor also has Sacrifical Strike. We have one beast with a potent Corrosion AoE (Spitter), so it cannot kill Gorman. Oh, and Pendrake. I guess he counts.

That's it for the whole faction. It's a good part of the reason why we have real trouble with weapon master infantry, or incorporeal models, or Dahlia and Skaryth, and will never be able to kill the Covenant of Menoth, and Gorman will pretty much always get a Black Oil off unless you dedicate a Totem Hunter to kill him (100% worthwhile trade).

Why Cryx sucks


So what is it that makes Gators especially crap against Cryx of all factions?
  • Tons of cheap weapon masters - Banes, Banes, Banes... Banes that also charge pretty far thanks to Tartarus. And Satyxis that go 55" inches turn one and can't be shot or KD and then proceed to one-shot a Gatorman with weapon master mini-feats. Sweeter than coconut milk.
  • Swarms of cheap undead that hit as hard as South Auckland public bus.
  • Terminus! Holy f*cking monkey on a string, does this guy just straight up screw Gators. Ridulous ARM, tough and undead. Oh, he also flies and does a crapton of damage in melee. Neat. Rask won't even be able to shoot his focus off due to Sac Pawn? Awesome. Bring in the Thrullgs! 
  • Movement control spells and feats are really hard to deal with in melee armies. And Cryx has buckets of it. Anything that slows you, restricts your charges, running or target selection hurts because of each model's limited personal threat area (as opposed to models with guns, which have a sizable threat area even when unable to move).
  • Incorporeal models and units. You know what's funny? Blackbane's Ghost Raiders jamming your caster, and Pistol Wraiths rickrolling your beasts. Then doing it again, and again.
  • Almost no reliance on the ranged game. So they don't care so much about your denial options, and just do what you do better.

FU Cryx.

I hear Skorne is a bad match-up due to similar things but switching out 'tons of stuff' with 'tons of ARM' but I don't play against Skorne too often. But I will post some rage about it if that turns out to be the case.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Watery Graves - Rask tier list

I wonder if Rask will have a last name or nickname or other name of some form.

Ah, the latest thing out for Blindwater, featuring our fantastic fishman and his fishy friends. Time for some baseless theorymachine:

The List

So let's see what you CAN take in this list, along with Rask:
  • 2 units of Shamblers (this implies they are FA: 1 otherwise)
  • 4 units of Ambushers
  • All current Gator beasts (Snapper, Boneswarm,  Horror, Spitter, Wrastler)
  • Thrullg
  • Totem Hunter
  • Witch Doctor
  • Wrong Eye + Snapjaw
  • Croak Hunters
 Here's what you CANNOT take:
  • Gatorman Posse!
  • Swamp Gobbers
  • Pendrake
  • Feralgeist


You have no Gatormans! That's a very fundamental playstyle change for Blindwater, since Gatormans are the core attrition piece for the faction. In exchange, you get a crap ton of Ambushers and Croak Hunters, along with heaps of speed for your solos.

As such, I expect this will be an alpha-strike, assassination oriented list. The main strategy will be to run up the table with your main force (under protection of your feat) and push your opponent towards a flank, and then jam that flank with Ambushers, Totem Hunter and Croaks. Then you just hope you can kill enough things to get a solo or beast with Fury on the enemy caster. The loss of Gatormans means you don't have much of a chance at attrition, so you'll just have to sacrifice units and beasts in order to get that assassination run.

Thrullg is a bit redundant in this list, given that Rask can do everything from range with his sweet gun that the Thrullg can do in melee, and is also less prone to death. But who knows.

I'm glad that you can take Wrong Eye + Snapjaw though, since Snapjaw looks insane with Fury + Boundless Charge on him.

Tier Bonuses

- Tier 1 gives more Trogs. 4 min units of Ambushers is pretty scary for the average list, and annoying for a jack/beast-heavy list. We don't know what Shamblers do yet, but at FA:1 they better sh*t rainbows and erase every one of my parking tickets from existence.

- Tier 2 gives advance move to your solos in exchange for taking the Totem Hunter. That's a steep cost to pay if you're not bi-winning. For the rest of us, it's basically a freebie. This benefit will affect Wrong Eye (but not Snapjaw), Totem Hunter, Croaks, Thrullg and Witch Doctor. This means your AD solos will be anywhere from 19" to 23" up the table before the game even starts, and your other solos can get to more advantageous positions (ie. Wrong Eye keeping up with Snapjaw, Witch Doctor moving up to get himself in a better position to Zombify Ambushers). Just watch out for stealth-ignoring guns!

- Tier 3 gives you a free Croak Hunter for every two units. Pretty good deal, since it means you get at least 1 free Croak Hunter for nothing. Croaks seem to be pretty good in this list due to the assassination focus and the model spam means they will usually get their gang bonus. P+S 12/15 weapon master charge is nothing to laugh at!

- Tier 4 gives 2" extra deployment in exchange for taking three warbeasts in Rask's group. This one is also relatively easy to achieve if you take two lights and a heavy. More speed! It makes it easier to push your main force up and get that solo assassination, such as buffing your Totem Hunter so he can safely jump up and stab the enemy caster Turn 2 with some sweet MAT 10, P+S 19/16 action, followed by some crazy gang fighter frogmans.
Totem Hunter threat turn 1 = 9/12" deploy + 7" Advance + 12" leap + 2" reach = 30/33". Not likely to be a caster kill opportunity, but he can likely take out any AD solo he wants or go really wide flank. Then switch prey and kill caster next turn. Booyah!

Turn 1 threat 33". /flex


  •  No Gatormans! As mentioned above, this roughly means your attrition game is crap and you are playing against the clock to assassinate before your entire army of squishy fishmans gets battered.
  • Wussy Bog Trogs with CMD 8. This means either your Trogs will need the Zombify buff so they don't run away like little girls when fighting terror/abomination, or they will run away like little girls. At least they can run back towards Rask and be useful as popcorn.
  • No Swamp Gobbers means Rask can get shot much easier in later turns - I think it's preferable to force your opponent to try and kill Rask via melee attacks since there are only so many models you can fit around a small base. Can they deliver more attacks than you have Bog Trogs within 5"? Without the Gobbers, including guns in this number of attacks can make the difference between death and almost death (1). At least you can take the Swarm animus for concealment and DEF 17 melee vs living (OMG! A use for the Boneswarm? In Blindwater? No way.)


I think this list will be fun to try out and will catch people out the first few times with its spamminess and speed, but due to its lack of staying power and attrition, I don't expect it to do well long-term in a competitive format - nor would I generally expect a theme list to do so. Except Rasheth's, which is basically the best Blindwater list ever (P+S 15/ no KD Tough Gatormans with awesome beasts and beast support to back them up? Yes please).

(1) 'Almost death' is not that bad a place for Rask to be.

PS - Totem Hunter does not have AD. :(

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Calaban - the Gator troll warlock

I am convinced Calaban is a troll warlock. Not in this sense:

but in this sense:

He belongs to that elite group of models that looks really sweet on paper, but is as effective on the table as a hobo's cardboard box is waterproof. Other members of this family of model failures include Assault Kommandos, Garryth, Arkadius, most Cygnar infantry models, and Kriel Warriors (1). The worst thing about these smegheads is that no matter how many times they disappoint you with their in-game failures, you always come back to them eventually thinking that "maybe if I try X and Y or combo them is Z, they'll be awesome!"

Newsflash!: They don't work, and Privateer Press is trolling you.

On paper

 Calaban looks really solid on paper and in theorymachine. He has a really strong spell-lists which seems perfectly suited to dealing with Gator problems.

  • Hex Blast - removes pesky defensive buffs or Crippling Grasps!
  • Parasite - removes pesky armor!
  • Carnivore - pretty good on a Posse or Swamp Horror.
  • Occultation - keeps him, a unit or a beast alive longer... usually him.
  • Bone Shaker - POW 12 nuke, can be nice when used against weapon masters.
That's a pretty stellar spell list if I do say so myself.

He also has respectable stats for a spell slinger. SPD 6 (woot!), DEF 14, ARM 16. Not bad at all. 15 boxes is a bit weak, but nevertheless.

His melee capabilities are a bit on the low side with a low MAT and P+S, but he has some nice abilities to make up for it - sustained attack on the bite, and Life Trader on his reach weapon. So he is able to put out decent damage against high DEF models and higher ARM models, if he needs to and you get lucky enough to hit once.

His Heart Stopper voodoo gun seems to be his shtick. ROF 2, RNG/POW 10 with a respectable RAT. When he boxes a living enemy with it, instead of removing the model, it stays in play until the end of the turn and becomes an arc node for him. Think of the amazing angles you can get with that!

His feat seems solid against infantry heavy armies, and triggers when a friendly model in your CTRL kills something, rather than when the enemy model dies in your CTRL. That seems like a crazy amount of fury to shred infantry with, right?

In addition, he has a pretty nice model. Here is mine, painted with the constrasting red/turquoise blue found on my Blindwater models:

In practice

In practice however, something just doesn't work. I have a few theories on why this is the case:

1) No legit arc node. This is a problem with a few Hordes spellslinger casters (especially Arkadius). As noted above, Calaban has a very solid spell list. The Voodoo gun seems decent but in practice screws you over in several ways.
  • The arc node model is often facing the 'wrong' way. 
  • It'll be engaged by an enemy model, and hence useless.
  • The way the ability is designed is also not optional so basically you have an "friendly" model or two just sitting there blocking your charge lanes and such.
Having to move up to cast Parasite, Hex Blast or anything tool-boxy just makes those spells worth far less in Hordes than in Warmachine (2).

2) No real tricks. So he has good spells. But you pretty much see it all coming. The voodoo arc-node is the one potential trick in the bag along with his feat, but they both just kinda suck in practice. Barnabas has a great feat, Warpath, Counter Charge and the ability to control the field with Swamp Pits. Maelok has his feat and Revive to kill things from crazy angles. Calaban has his favourite sitcoms on Friday evenings, which he watches alone.

3) Highly predictable & reactive caster. This is the biggest one in my opinion. All the good casters in this game present your opponent with a threat or problem that they have to consider while playing the game, whether it's assassination/raw damage threat, models that are very difficult to remove, or unpredictable positioning/mobility. Here are a few examples:
  • Caine2 presents you with nigh-infinite highly accurate magical hand cannon shots, huge threat range, and no KD Boomhowlers.
  • Gaspy2 presents a hard-to-prevent brutal feat, long Excarnate threat ranges, great board control and a very survivable caster that can't be charged.
  • Butcher1 presents you with extremely hard-hitting, high DEF infantry and a beast of a caster who can kill anything in the game himself.
  • Barnabas presents you with the threat of mass KD, Warpath, some of the best shooting denial out there, rough terrain AoEs at will and a real tank of a caster.

Calaban doesn't really present any problems.
His spell list is all based around dealing with your problems (3) - but he doesn't actually do anything to make your opponent react to you. Even his feat feels reactive - it doesn't really do much on its own, but relies on your opponent's army composition and the effectiveness of the rest of your models far too much for it to be really good solid. The voodoo arc-node is more of a bad gimmick than an actual thing to watch out for.

Nobody is even remotely concerned playing against him like they are playing against actually good casters. And I think that's what lets him down more than anything else.


Despite the above, I'm sure several of you guys and gals will want to play him. Here are some suggestions from my experiences:

  1. Unlike Barnabas and Maelok, he doesn't really benefit much from a second Posse. I find more use out of putting another heavy beast or WE + Snapjaw in there instead.
  2. I'm told the tier list is good. I've yet to play it since I don't want to buy a unit of pigmans just for one caster I don't like playing (not a big fan or proxies, it's a personal thing). ADing Wrong Eye + Snapjaw and a Spitter is pretty neat and could be considered a problem for your opponent. Extra range on spells doesn't hurt. And you don't really lose anything you'd want.
  3. The arc node gun is more useful at helping you put buffs on your stuff than casting spells at your opponents. Quite useful on the feat turn especially.
  4. The feat is best used by activating Calaban first, feating and spending all your fury on spells or melee attacks. Then you can fill him back up to a 'safe' level over the turn, spending any excess fury on Spiny Growths or Bone Shakers. Against an infantry heavy army, it can be quite potent, and cycling Parasite between medium/heavy can be pretty cool.


Comfort level:
Stick in the eye |-------X-------------------------------------| High-end La-Z-Boy

Calaban is really something you have to experience yourself. Like most other members of this fail family (we really need a name for these models), you will keep coming back to him every now and then, realizing how uncomfortable it is to play him, and then go back to playing a Gator caster  that actually works. Even writing this makes me want to go play him and think that maybe I'm just missing something vitally important, even though I know playing Calaban like shaving with a blunt razor - it might get the job done, but you'll come out wishing you hadn't shaved at all (combined with some nasty gashes that will scar you for life).

(1) There are more of these sad excuses for models of course, this is in no way a finite list.
(2) Unless of course your caster has some form of teleportation trick or viable arc nodes ie. Circle, Legion, or if your caster has a moving rock wall and a 13-foot tall guard dog wielding an entire tree as a weapon ie. Trolls.
(3) Occultation is of more of a solution (to getting shot) than a problem. Shadow Pack is a problem, Occultation is a solution.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bull Snapper - Amazingly sweet, or just really good?

Ah, the Bull Snapper. He is all man. Gatorman. Well, masculine at least. Let's say that he has a mean pair and makes all the females swoon. So what is it that about this light warbeast that makes him so delectably good?


The Snapper is a 3pt light warbeast. That's cheap. His stats are pretty average for a light beast, with 16 damage boxes and a single non-reach P+S 12 attack. Nothing really impressive there.

He has a few neat rules:

  • Blood Thirst - +2" when charging living things. Hungry gator is hungry.
  • Man-Eater - Eats men. And women. In the literal sense. Also charges living warrior models for free (which are usually men or man-shaped/scented).
  • Torpid - After killing a living thing, he immediately goes to sleep and you can remove a fury from him.
  • Also, amphibious. Of course.



So... average DEF, as much ARM as a Bog Trog, and 16 boxes. You'd think this guy would die to a stiff breeze and/or Reckoner shot. And he probably will, given the chance. However, because of his abilities and animus (see 'Buff Bot' below) this guy very, very rarely dies in a game. In a losing game, he will probably amongst my last few models to die. Distance is the greatest defense, as they say.


Again, not remarkable on the surface. Single non-reach P+S12 bite attack. He does have sustained attack though, which helps make up for his low MAT. As mentioned he can be quite quick too, and fury efficient at killing warrior models.


This is why you take this little guy: animus - Spiny Growth.  Gators, being an attrition-oriented army, benefit hugely from this ARM buff animus by placing it on your warlock, beasts, or key trooper models. 3pts is worth it for this animus alone.
The neat thing about having this in Hordes is that your caster can put it on another beast, and your Snapper on your caster - and you've effectively spent nothing in terms of resources.


Buff Bot

Early game, the Snapper is best staying back within a few inches of your warlock and heavy beasts, and just put Spiny Growth on something every turn. This deters away from ranged assassination attempts on your caster, or protects your bests from the occasional shots. Simple. If that's all this guy does all game, every game along with providing Spiny Growth to your caster, he's already paid for himself (a bit like a Journeyman).

Pretty good non-standard caster uses for Spiny Growth:

  • Barnabas triggering Bloon Boon on his axe after killing something - sometimes you don't want to move Iron Flesh, and another Swamp Pit won't do much good. Might as well put a Spiny Growth on Barnabas or elsewhere.
  • Sometimes you will get pretty high amounts of fury under Calaban's feat, such that it would seriously hamper your ability to leach fury off your beasts next turn. Why not burn that extra fury as it comes in by casting 2-4 Spiny Growths?
  • Wrastler + Spiny Growth + Death Pact + Maelok's feat = ARM 25 = Devastator. Just don't get shot by eEyriss, or try this against Cryx.

Solo-killing Missile

As mentioned, the animus alone makes this guy worth his 3pts. His extra utility as a speedy Gonzales solo-killing machine is what really makes the little guy shine.

Let's say you are playing an opponent who has taken one of those FU stealth power solos like Eyriss, Gorman, or Mage Hunter Assassin. And this douchebag solo is moving in on your flank about to totally take a dump over your carefully laid plans. Up steps the Snapper:

Charge range: 6" base + 3" charge + 2" Blood Thirst + 0.5" melee = 11.5" threat, with a potential extra 1.5" from Elasticity.

Your Snapper is now in melee with their solo and has spent no fury on account of Man Eater. You boost your charge attack:
  • If you miss, you have another boosted shot to hit (2 fury). 
  • If you hit, and don't kill, you've got another P+S 12 damage roll or two thanks to Sustained Attack.
  • You can even cast Spiny Growth on something before charging if you're confident of killing your target with the charge attack.
  • Finally, after killing the solo, the Snapper removes a fury and his activation ends, making him a viable transfer target if you need one.

5 gold stars. Very well designed model, everything just flows smoothly and allows good decision making to make the difference.

Sexy Beast

Check it his pose:
And he knows it.
Judges say: 10/10

Slam Bot

He is a light warbeast. Light warbeasts all pull off a game winning slam at some point in their career. It might not be today or tomorrow, but someday.


The Bull Snapper is the closest thing to auto-include in a Blindwater list, after at least one Gatorman Posse.

 Fillet'o Fish |-------------------------------------------------X----| Baklava

The Snapper - so good, it makes the Galleon even better, and the Boneswarm seem even crappier.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gators vs Retribution - Garage Style

Battle reports! The most exciting of all posts - especially when there are no photos.

The majority of my games are played on Tuesday evenings at a highly unofficial gaming community named 'the Garage', which is located in the depths of Mt. Roskill, down a treacherous rocky path featuring more holes than a Star Wars Episode 1-3 plot. I haven't played in over a month so it was a pleasant surprise to go show up and see the place had been tidied up and made very spacious and cozy.

I played two games against nChris (1), one of the Garage stalwarts and generally classy individual who also likes talking linguistics with me. He's also the guy who beat Luke at Rallypoint. What a boss.

Game 1 -Barnabas vs Vyros - 35 pts

Scenario: Overrun

2 full Gatorman Posses
Totem Hunter

A pretty standard old-school Barnabas list, not much to say here. I preyed his caster as there weren't really any key solos or units to go after.

2 Banshees
Min Halberdiers 

2 Arcanists


I think that was the list. I have so little respect for elves in general that I don't really pay much attention. The Banshees are kind of annoying as they stop charges within close proximity and don't die to a single gatorman.

I have trouble seeing how someone playing Barnabas can consistently lose to Retribution. You hop Barnabas in and out of swamp pits so he doesn't get shot, you upkeep Warpath to get a movement advantage with your heavies, and you throw out Iron Flesh on a Gator unit to make them hold a flank pretty effectively. Easy, right?

The only problem of course, is when they are playing Vyros and he spends most of the late game at ARM 23+. Thank PP for scenarios!

That's more or less what happened here -
  1. Swamp Pits get put down and Gators stand inside. 
  2. MHSF cry and shoot stuff to no effect.
  3. Gators charge and kill lots of infantry. Warpath moves trigger.
  4. Ret counter attacks and kills maybe 2 posse and Spitter.
  5. Barnabas feats. Posse kill all infantry, Warpath allows Wrastler to kill a Banshee. Remaining Posse get Iron Flesh + Dirge of Mists and jam remaining Banshee.
  6. Vyros camps focus + Inviolable Resolve for about 4 turns (the amount of time it takes for a full Gator Posse to kill an ARM 19 Ret heavy, apparently).
  7. Eventually manage to throw Vyros out of the zone so I can win on scenario.

Most exciting game of all time. I should get a warlock with a damage buff or focus removal to deal with this crap....

Game 2 - Maelok vs Ossyan  - 35 pts

Scenario: Process of Elimination

Swamp Horror
2 Full Posses
Wrong Eye + Snapjaw

Witch Croctor

I almost took a Boneswarm, but came to my senses at the last second. The main reason is that a 4 pt model doesn't fit well in Gator lists. And Snappers are much better.


Full Invictors + UA
Full MHSF + UA

2 Arcanists

Again not 100% sure on the lists, see reasons above in Game 1. All I know is I said I wasn't going to play Barnabas, which apparently translates as 'take heaps of guns'.

This game was equally simple, but for entirely different reasons.

  1. Gators win first turn - run up Posses with Dirge. Put up Death Patch on Posse #2 and Malediction on Maelok (I always regret it if I don't cast it turn 1) and move so that only a couple of MHSF would be able to shoot me next turn. Submerge/charge with WE + Snapjaw, put Spiny Growth on Maelok with Snapper (so it doesn't get ignored by MHSF). Zombify Posse #1.
  2. Chris decides to cup his balls in his hands, casts Quicken on Ossyan, feat and charges forward. Then proceeds to unleash mighty boosted POW 10s on ARM 16 Gators, killing maybe 2. Pro move.
  3. I charge both Posse into the Strike Force, kill many. Get myself entrenched in both zones. Charge Snapjaw with Elasticity into Ossyan, hit once for about 10 damage.
  4. Snapjaw dies to Manticore after getting headbutted by Hypnos. I kill more stuff.
  5. He decides he will kill Posse #1 (the one with Zombify) using all the ranged + magic attacks he has left. Invictors, Ossyan, Hypnos, Manticore. I think I made 4 or 5 tough checks with a single Posse member, which made him want to flip the table. What a broken rule. The Posse leader survives with a single hit box, which means I still contest that zone.
  6. Swamp Horror pulls Hypnos out of the other zone, giving me a point at the end of the turn. But it doesn't matter, since I revive two Gators from Posse #1, pop my feat and they kill Ossyan on their first of four attacks (who was exposed from his attempt to kill the last Posse member).

Reviving Gators and charging living casters = pretty legit. Also using your feat to plink Gator Posse turn 1 with POW 10 shots, only so your caster gets charged by your opponent's heaviest warbeast Turn 2 is not a recommend tactic.

Pro tips!

nChris was reasonably demoralized after losing to a terrible player playing the worst faction in the game (2). The problem for him is dealing with two full Gatorman Posses, usually with a survivability buff of some kind. The answer we came up with was 'Sentinels + UA' (3).

As a Gatorman player, I have 3 principal things I respect:

  1. ARM 19+
  2. Weapon Masters or equivalent, usually with reach.
  3. Weapon Master, Tough, Undead and/or Recyclable infantry that cost next to nothing and probably out-threat me on account of their Undeath or AD (which are also often immune to blast damage and KD).
Although Gators have no trouble killing Sentinels or out-threating them, the fact is they are P+S 12 reach weapon masters with Vengeance. This means you can have 2-3 of them out front as bait, effectively blocking charges past them with reach, and ready to trigger Vengeance attacks. At 3d6-6, even Vengeance attacks can do sizable damage to the Posse. And you will definitely kill them on the charge. It is a very good matchup for the Retribution player, and the Gator player doesn't really have the ranged options to deal with it cleanly. Iron Flesh + Dirge + Tough can still be a problem, but the volume of attacks should be able to overcome those buffs. Also, eEyriss.

The one long-shot that Gator players have in that match up is to hopefully snipe out the UA with a ranged attack or spell, which is very unlikely to happen given that Gators are seriously lacking in that department.

Other pro tips:

  • As a melee heavy force, it is extremely not sweet to get pushed around by Rahn and Mittens. 
  • Mage Hunter Assassins are broken.
  • Stormfall Archers are also pretty flexible and deserve more credit than Theorymachine gives them.
  • Don't expect to win on attrition with the majority of lists. Squishy elves are squishy, although as time goes on you have more options in that department.
  • Don't rely on a ranged assassination. Barnabas has Swamp Pits, Maelok will be at least ARM 19, and Calaban has Occultation. However the Gator player can't protect everything all the time, so you can usually snipe out key models to open up charge lanes.
  • Eyriss, every list. If you're not gimping yourself by picking a crap faction like me, you shouldn't gimp yourself by not taking 100% legal models, even if they make your opponents whine endlessly.

(1) The 'n' can stand for 'newphie', 'noob' as in 'didn't play in Mk1', or 'no really, that guy who beat Luke at Rallypoint'.
(2) Well, second worst. There is Thornfall, after all.
(3) My initial answer was 'play another faction that isn't elves, doofus', but he wasn't having any of that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Boneswarm - steaming pile of crap, or hidden gem?

Thought I'd start my Gatorman write-ups on the wrong foot by exploring one of our more controversial (read: bad) models, the very pretty Boneswarm:

First of all, the model is stunning, and understandably very easy to paint. It comes from the original IK RPG range of PP miniatures, and was given a set of WM/H rules with the release of Domination. A Maelok tier army featuring three to four of these things looks amazing!



The Boneswarm is a light Gatorman warbeast with no scales, teeth or death-rolling abilities. It in fact appears to be made up entirely of human bones, and is much more man than gator. 

It has 2 abilities of note:
  • Bone Picker allows it to gain a corpse token for every living/undead model it kills, to a max of 3. It gets +1 STR and ARM for each token on it.
  • Gross Anatomy allows it to spend corpse tokens to heal itself d3 per token.
It is also Undead. True story.



DEF 13, ARM 15, 20 boxes. Pretty crap, until you start considering corpse tokens giving +1 ARM per token and external ARM buffs.



A single P+S 12 attack, Fury 3. No reach, slow, average MAT. Unremarkable in this department, even with corpse tokens.



Has Swarm for an animus (taken from the Swamp Troll, which is noticeably better than the Boneswarm), which gives it concealment and makes living enemy things within 2" -2 on attack rolls. That sounds ok, right?

The Boneswarm - as pretty as it is useless



In theorymachine, the way you use this thing is to charge into a cluster of low DEF, mid ARM models like Stormblades, kill a couple of them, and not die on account of the ARM buff from tokens and possibly Spiny Growth. Then you just repeat the cycle, healing yourself up as required, grinding slowly through a unit and jamming it up.

In real games however, that just does not happen. It is far too fragile to survive any somewhat organized retaliation, and the lack of reach, slow SPD, average P+S and MAT are deal-breakers in getting any legit damage out of it. The 2" range on the animus is also a ballbuster when it comes to protecting anything else in an army of large bases.

The fact is, the Boneswarm is a late-game model which does not do much at all until the late game:

  • It is pretty good at picking up loose trooper and solo models after the front lines have engaged. However, the Snapper is much better at doing this due to its ridiculous threat range against living models, sustained attack, and better fury control. The one advantage here is that the Boneswarm gets stronger the more it kills.
  • The animus is useful mid-late game when stuff starts getting jammed up, and you can squeeze a Boneswarm in your front line to get the -2 debuff on enemy models. However, it is practically useless until that time, since you are unlikely to get too many melee attacks against your backline early on, and bringing your Boneswarm forward will just get it killed.

In my (limited) experience, the Boneswarm does best in larger points games (>50pts), where you have enough stuff to do the work early on in the game and the Swarm can do its part later on, or have a better chance at picking off loose troopers and solos early on without getting itself killed. In smaller points games (=/<50), you are putting yourself at a disadvantage early game by essentially playing 4pts down (which could get you more Gators, Bog Troggs, solos, another Snapper...) which sets you back in the attrition game.

Understandably, the Boneswarm does best with Maelok, given his focus on attrition and strength in the late-game. It benefits from both parts of his feat: allowing a Boneswarm to position itself in a clump of enemy models to maximize Swarm, as well as getting the +2 ARM for the round.
It does ok with Barnabas in that you can just park him next to an Iron Flesh Barnabas, making your warlock effectively DEF 18, ARM 19 vs melee attacks (not that Barnabas has trouble surviving otherwise). Warpath can also help it set up a good slam or charge and can mitigate its low SPD.

I haven't tried it yet with Elasticity, but I have a feeling I'd pretty much rather but Elasticity on ANYTHING else in my army than a Boneswarm. But who knows, it seems good in theory.

Overall though, the problem with the Boneswarm is that it is worse than everything else you could be taking for the points, and 4pts is not much.  If the animus was RNG:6, it would be a great support piece early on (possibly overpowered in many factions while attached to Wrong Eye?), and a quite decent late game attrition piece. As it stands, it just makes me cry in my cornflakes.


Steaming Pile of Crap  |-------X---------------------------------------| Gorman

Boneswarm - slightly better than Assault Kommandos!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rask - Bog Trogg Bastard Extraordinaire

So the spoilers for Rask from NQ 45 have been released through the internets:

Pretty badass for a walking fish

  • Pretty average, slightly worse than pStryker's stats.
  • Same WB Points and FURY as the other Gator locks.

  • Admonition
  • Boundless Charge
  • Fury
  • Inhospitable Ground

Low POW melee weapon

ROF 1, RNG 10, POW 12 gun
Choose 1 ammo type per shot:
  • Arcane Interference (eEyriss' ability to dispel + remove focus + disrupt)
  • Energy Siphon (Kaelyssa's Fury/Focus steal)
  • Paralysis (Krea - living model becomes DEF 7 and can't run or charge)

Call of Sacrifice [Bog Trogg] - like the Errant Seneschal. You know, the one that never ever dies. Note that his CMD is a measly 5 however. I guess people don't trust him.

- Basically Kaelyssa's Feat, except there is no way around the stealth, and you can charge if you are within 5" of your target.


This guy seems to have blown people away with his potent spell list and Call to Sacrifice ability.


He himself, being a Bog Trogg and not a Gatorman, is pretty wussy in melee.

Fury by itself is a HUGE deal for Gators since 19+ ARM targets have been a problem for Gator armies since day 1. Traditionally the answer to such targets has been to take them out of commission with power attacks, swamp pits or peace-trade tactics. However, none of these are really possible with Colossals. The only reasonable answer Gator players have had until now has been Parasite on Calaban, which is a super sweet spell on a so-so caster. The non-reasonable answer Gator players have had has been 'take Carver'. Now, you can take Rask!

Boundless Charge is just a solid spell all around for our melee heavies and certain solos. Combined with Elasticity and Bloodthirst, that's effectively a 14" charge against living models from Snapjaw, or 12" from a Wrastler. Not to mention that it offers a pathfinder option to said heavies, who just didn't have it before.


This is where I think people are overreacting a bit. Not to say that he doesn't look strong in this department, but I think people are overestimating the value of being able to use Bog Troggs as a life battery. 5" CMD is a large area to pick from but it's not really comparable with the Errant Seneschal's giant bubble of lifetrading, especially when you take push and place effects into consideration. There is the fact that Troggs are DEF 12/ARM 14 and die to a stiff breeze, that they are only really good when used as ambushers, and that we have no idea what Bog Trogg Shamblers are going to do yet. I think in practice the ability will be good, but not gamebreaking. It probably isn't as strong as eMadrak's version of the rule, and Rask has pretty wussy stats. To be determined.

Admonition is great spell on a heavy beast in the right situation, even better on a warcaster in almost all situations. This spell alone makes melee assassinations.

Inhospitable Ground also can make quite a big difference in the right matchup. 12" control can be a lot and protect him from charges very effectively.

His feat is also pretty strong. It might only be one turn, but that's one turn of not getting shot at or charged crossing the table, and that's usually all you need with Gatormans.


This is where I think this guy shines. His gun (combined with a solid RAT) brings a new dimension of control and Cryx-like douchiness to the table. Being able to shut down a warjack or warbeast  from 10" away so they don't mess you up next turn is a big deal in the attrition game. Being able to steal a fury or focus from an opposing lock/caster is a big deal in the assassination game. Not to mention that be brings a dispel option outside Calaban's Hex Blast or the Thrullg's suicidal tentacle slap.

And being able to have a 12" radius area of rough terrain in the middle of the board is a big deal in the scenario game. I remember playing eKreoss 'theme' lists during the Mk2 beta (before the Errant UA came out) and getting completed and utterly hosed by Irusk. Now I can douche it up too.


Just by virtue of his decent tricky survivability, his good utility, and Fury + Boundless Charge, I think this guy is an almost guaranteed second list pick with Barnabas or Maelok, despite being a fishman. There will be a bit of a learning curve at the start to learn how to effectively use Call to Sacrifice, but once that has passed, he will be very interesting to play. The Gators will remain your core, tanky, grindy list and Rask will be brought in to deal with certain matchups on account of Inhospitable Ground, his gun and Fury.