Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grading Blindwater - an analytical exercise

This is an interesting mental exercise I fell into while discussing a colleague's faction. Assigning a grade to each model (ie. putting them in a box) serves to give a different perspective on how models compare to each other within faction and within the game. Taking a soulless bureaucratic approach to a highly complex system, so to speak.

Of course, designing a suitable scale is an article all of its own. I chose to use a 1-10 scale, where 1 is bad and 10 is Cryx:

1 –  A liability, has a crippling design flaw, is very painful to play and/or very weak 
3 – Crap. Only playable in a very tiny majority of lists. Bad at what it does.
5 -  Mediocre. Not really exciting or strong. Playable in several lists, but never really shines.
7 – Solid, has some bad matchups. Does cool things. Taken in a lot of lists.
10 – Overpowered, and should be nerfed a bit. 
11 - Mk1 eVlad / Idrians

Like all good 1-10 scales, this one goes to 11.

My idea is that the developers are aiming for everything to be around a 6-7 level with a few outliers each way, where it’s strong enough to be exciting and powerful, but not powerful enough to risk breaking the game. Therefore it comes out around a bell curve where 6 is the median. Think of it as a 1-5 scale, but doubled for extra granularity (1). The game as a whole should only have a few 1s and 10s (ideally none, but PP is very slow and cautious when it comes to balance errata), and lots of 5-6-7s.


Bloody Barnabas -8

Barnabas is a really strong warlock with some really good match-ups thanks to his feat, Swamp Pits and his nigh-invincibility. That said, he does have some crippling matchups against high ARM lists (especially if the Covenant is involved). If he had Battle Lust or Fury, he would probably be a 10. 

Calaban, the Gravewalker - 3

My feelings on Calaban are well-documented. He doesn't work right mechanically - lots of Skornergy, lots of frustration, lots of inneficiency. Fix his arc node mechanism and Skornergies, and he'd probably be a solid 7 or 8. Still, can't give him much lower than a 3 since you can still win comfortably with him. You'll just wish you hadn't. 

Maelok the Dreadbound -7

Maelok is very solid and grinds like a boss, but lacks depth. His feat helps with that, and Revive is hard to defend against once it happens, but it does have its hard counters. He additionally suffers from the same bad matchups as Barnabas. 

Rask - 9 

The more I play Rask, the more I come to realize how powerful he is. His feat early game is straight up ballbusting (even if you cheese your way around it), and his utility after that is off the charts. He has what is probably one of the best spell lists in the game, and what is certainly the best gun in the game, and is almost as hard to kill as Barnabas. Very high on the power curve, and probably only balanced since he is in Minions.

It occurs to me at this point that most things in HORDES are named 
after BC Rich guitars... or the reverse. Metal \m/


Wrastler - 6

I tend to hate on our warbeasts a bit, but to be honest they aren't terrible. They just require a lot more finesse and creative play than traditional heavy beatsticks, and/or cost a lot. The Wrastler is a solid example of that - his raw power is a bit underwhelming but if you take into consideration his Wrastler ability, Rise animus, two open fists and Death Roll attack, you've got a good tricky workhorse on your hands.

Spitter -5

The Spitter is pretty much middle of the pack when it comes to warbeasts. His gun really is good (especially when it's THE only gun!), but the rest of him isn't so flash. His animus is pathetic (who decided to put Ornery on this guy?), he isn't too hard to kill and his melee output is sub-average at best for a heavy. Having a good relevant animus or more melee punch would push him up a good deal. Still has a place here and there.

Horror - 6

The Swamp Horror is a bit of an anomaly. He brings a great animus, a heap of initial attacks, a good deal of push-pull trickery, undeniable resilience against ranged attacks, and a cute smile. However, he is also very prone to death by melee, is slower than a dead horse and hits about as hard as a nun. Overall, pretty standard (unless you put Fury on him, where he suddenly blows stuff up).

Snapper - 8

This little dude is money for 3pts. He brings a great faction-defining animus, and his offensive capabilities are very well designed. Brilliant.

Boneswarm - 2

This little dude is garbage for 4pts. He brings a very cornercase animus, and his offensive capabilities work about as well as gluten-free pizza bases. Useless.


Gatorman Posse - 9

These guys are just insane. They are tough as old steel-capped boots, have a great damage output (both in quality and quantity), an awesome threat range vs living models, and their prayers allow them to deal with practically any problem that presents itself. Probably the best medium infantry in the game.

Bog Trog Ambushers -6

I debated for a while whether these guys were 5 or 6. If they couldn't ambush, they would be really unappealing at their current cost. However, ambush is an amazing ability that brings so much to Blindwater, not to mention any faction that can take them and can potentially anything with mid to low ARM. They are still situational though. If only their stats weren't so low for 5/8....

Swamp Gobbers - 7

Awesome little dudes for one point. They will die like nothing to AoEs, but even a turn or two of putting that cloud down is worth it.

Upcoming AD unit.


Totem Hunter - 8

This guy is insanely good when he works well and manages to actually do something, but pretty average when he doesn't. Still, sometimes having the threat present is worth the cost of admission alone.

Thrullg - 4

Very cornercase. Brings some great abilities (Spell Ward, Arcane Consumption, Disruption), but is squishy as hell and will get shot to bits if he wants to do anything more than whipping enemy offkeeps off your guys. For 3pts, is lacking a little pazzaz. 

Croctor - 6

Good solid support piece. Similar defensive stats to a Thrullg, but doesn't ever have to show his face to the enemy. 3pts is quite costly though, within Gatormans anyway. This is obvious when you see they are 2pts in Maelok's tier (the warlock with which they are most powerful). Minion tax at work.

Croak Hunter - 4

Mediocre, with a capital M. If anyone suffers from Minionhood, it's this cheeseball. Also I will trade Vitriol on this guy for a sandwich.

Feralgeist - 7

He can contest and control in SR. He's incorporeal, and only costs one point. Great! Of course, if you're not playing a scenario, he's probably a 5.  

Wrongeye + Snapjaw - 7

These guys are pretty good too. Good punch, good survival, good utility. Good all-around which counts for a lot, but not quite excellent. 

Speaks for itself.


Looking at our sub-faction this way allows us to see that we are in fact not that bad. We have some good stuff (mostly in the caster department), some bad stuff, and a good deal of average stuff. Probably to the same ratio as everyone else. 

But this is where that old truth rears its head - the main issue is that we have far less 8/9/10s than other factions which have been around longer. Take Skorne for example - most of the power lists feature a couple of top-notch heavies like Molik Karn, Tiberion, Bronzebacks, Gladiators, top notch beast support in Paingivers, and then awesome units like Nihilators and Gatorman Posses (P+S15, no KD, tough Gators)! Combine that with some pretty solid casters (even though they might not be as good as Barnabas or Rask), and you've got a list that can beat Gators to a pulp almost on the raw power of the models alone. 

So go ahead and apply this analysis to your own faction, you may discover a thing or two in the process!

(1) Much like the Mk2 points system should have been!

Updated a bit March 2013.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Rask Report - 50pts vs Pigmans

I've been playtesting Rask pretty steadily over the past month, awaiting the model's official release and preparing for my first tournament in a long time in early March. I had a game lined up against Protectorate, but ended up playing against my beloved Pigmans instead, played by the Warmachine legend affectionately referred to as Scooping Holmes on account of his tendency to call games a turn or two early.

Blackhide Wrastler
Swamp Horror
2x Full Posse
Min Trog Ambushers
Totem Hunter
Wrong Eye + Snapjaw


Sturm and Drang
Road Hog
2x War Hog
4x Razorboars
2x Full Bonegrinders
2x Slaughterhousers
Alten Ashley


                  [War Hog][S+D][War Hog][Targ][Road Hog][Razorboars]

[Bonegrinders1]        [Slaughters1]          [Bonegrinders2] [Alten][Slaughters2]


[BluePosse]      [Snapjaw][Wrastler]          [Horror]        [RedPosse][TH]
              [Croctor][WE]                [Rask/Gobbers/Trogs]

Scenario was Close Quarters. It was more or less ignored the entire time since we were both playing aggressive melee armies. Deployment on my end was similar to my previous reports, with Posses on flanks and beasts near the middle, Rask + support behind the beasts. His deployment was similar, except there was a huge line of Pigmans at the AD line. I preyed the Slaughterhouses#2, which proved to be useless. Never prey stuff you can just kill easily without the +2/+2.

Turn 1:
Sturm: Stuff runs up a lot. Vision the Road Hog and Watcher gets put up.
Rask: Stuff runs up about 7" from his guys. Rask uses Inhospitable Ground, puts Admonition on the Wrastler, feats and charges a Posse member (doing much more damage than you'd expect from a P+S 11 bone knife).

Turn 2:
Sturm: Since he was so far up the table thanks to Thornfall's AD perk (jamming armies get a big boost in SR13 in my opinion, making Razorboars less crap than you'd think), he just decided to move all his troops back just to the edge of my Posse's max threat ranges, except for one sacrificial Bonegrinder unit to jam up my blue Gator units and one Razorboar to block a charge lane.
Rask: Snapjaw charges the Razorboar blocking the charge lane and kills it using all 4 fury! YAY. The Red Posse then charge forward, killing a couple of Razorboars and Grinders2, and two Slaughterhousers (which tough). The Swamp Horror puts Elasticity on the Wrastler, Rask puts Boundless Charge and Fury on the same Wrastler, then Paralysis shoots the Visioned Road Hog. The Wrastler then goes Flying into one of the War Hogs, getting a Watcher attack for his trouble and leaving him with 1 box of spirit (phew!). He manages to kill the War Hog and take out about half the Road Hog. The Blue Posse charges and kills all the Grinders 1 without any effort.

Turn 3
Drang: Switching to Drang to get more smashy, he charges the Wrastler, smashing him good and uppercutting him into Snapjaw and to his death on the third swing. Drang feats, throwing my fury down the drain. PSYCHIC APOCALYPSSSSSSSSSSEEE! The Slaughters1 group charges the Blue Posse and Snapjaw, doing almost no damage to the Posse, but putting serious hurt on Snapjaw. The Road Hog moves up and sprays the Croctor, missing all the other spray targets but setting the Doctor on fire. The Grinders2 do nothing, some of the Razorboars attack the Red Posse, as do the Slaughters2. The last War Hog moves up to finish off Snapjaw.
Rask: Cleanup time! The remaining two Red Posse members manage to kill a few Slaughterhousers and Brigands, while the Totem Hunter fails to kill an annoying Razorboar (I thought it was already damaged, and left it on one hit box). Rask moves over to the left, shoots the War Hog with a Paralysis Bolt, puts Fury on the Blue Posse, and casts Inhospitable Ground. The Blue Posse then charge the War Hog, killing it in 5 attacks, and Scooping Holmes scoops.



Rask is just insane. His gun is without a doubt the best gun in the game. It's like he not only has one, but two of the best spell lists in the game - control, damage, defense and threat.... twice. I have only lost one game with him so far, which was mostly due to Blindwater's inability to kill stealth solos at range (in this case, Saxon Orrick), and lost on attrition/scenario after getting out threatened.

Last Rask batrep for a while - expect the Rask tactica article once the model arrives and gets painted up!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rask vs Ret Reports

I promised yesterday's Ret opponent that I would write some battle reports for yesterday's games, so that he remembers the day where he tried to play Garryth and raged hard.

In both games, I played a Rask list, with Rask proxied by a Croak Hunter (despite my general aversion to proxies, it's a nice model, and nobody would think I would play an actual Croak Hunter). We decided to play 35pts to get more games in (although 50pts is clearly better):

Full Posse
Min Posse
Min Trog Ambushers
Swamp Gobbers
Totem Hunter

Game 1:
This game was against Ossyan, who seems like a pretty awesome caster but doesn't do so well vs Gators since we have good anti-ranged tech.

Min Invictors + UA
Min Invictors
Skeryth aka Mk1 Vilmon on a horse

The scenario was Incursion (which I have grown to dislike very much with my Fury 6 casters). I got first turn. I preyed the Strike Force. Deployment was like this:




       [Wrastler][Min Posse][Horror][Rask][TH][Red/Full Posse]

Turn 1: 
Rask and friends move up, Fury on Full Posse and Inhospitable Ground. The Totem Hunter ran left to stand sort of between the left and centre flag. A cloud was put on Rask, like every other turn this game.
Ossyan and friends move up, MHSF with Quicken shoot Rask once (first and only time I have taken damage on him in four games), and kill two Trogs. The Gorgon also ran towards the left flag, Skeryth to the right.

Left Flag disappears. Yay.

Turn 2:
Rask: The Full Posse managed to kill the MHSF without a breaking a sweat (partially because they are reptiles, and partially because elves die so easily). I switched Prey to the Invictors + UA, and lept TH over there to kill two and engage the rest. The rest of my stuff just moved up, Rask cast Inhospitable Ground, cycled Fury to the Swamp Horror and feated. The Wrastler ran right so he'd be able to get Skeryth next turn, or at least force the flag.
Ossyan: Not being able to shoot much with Ossyan kind of sucks. He ran the Gorgon into melee with the Totem Hunter, which allowed the Invictors to slice him up good with flank. Skeryth ran to take the right flag next turn. The rest of the list just moved up and dicked around. Skeryth took the right flag. Ossyan moved back so my frontline stuff was just in his control.  I think he feated at this point to kill a few Red Gators with Hypnos and a few Invictors, and put Admonition on Hypnos.

Turn 3:
Rask: I upkept Fury on the Swamp Horror, activated Rask, cast Inhospitable Ground, and shot Admonition off Hypnos. How good is that gun? The Swamp Horror charged Hypnos and did a meaty amount of damage, leaving Hypnos with about 10 boxes and killing a couple of Invictors (sans UA) with tentacle attacks. The Min Posse charged the Invictors with UA, killing a handful. The Wrastler charged and dismounted Skeryth, so still no point for me. Damn you, lack of reach!
Ossyan: The Invictors with UA managed to kill a single Gatorman and fluffed some dice rolls. The Arcanist failed to repair the disrupted Hypnos, who did a few points of damage on the Horror with his broken arm. The Invictors nearby managed to take out the Horror's body. Ossyan decided to man up and charge on of the min Posse members by putting Quicken on himself, then failed to do any damage. What a bitch. The Gorgon did end up killing that Gatorman in the end.

Turn 4:
Rask: The Wrastler frenzied onto dismounted Skeryth and killed him, getting me a point. Rask activated, healed the Horror's body, put Fury on the min Posse, and shot Ossyan with a Paralysis bolt, doing a few points of damage.
The Horror managed to take out Hypnos, the Arcanist and couple of Invictors, and one of the min Posse members charged a now DEF 7, ARM 16 Ossyan and one-shot him with his charge attack.


Rask seems pretty solid in this matchup as well, but for the most part I think Barnabas does better against Retribution unless they bring a Colossal. Swamp Pits, Warpath, good threat and being a tank are just such strong counters to a range-focused game.

The second game was against Garryth and wasn't all that exciting (I won on scenario after a slew of failed assassinations from both sides). Instead of a tedious battle report, I offer this guide:

How to Play Garryth Properly -
a purely theorymachine perspective born of irrational Elf hate

First, one must accept that Garryth is NOT an assassination caster. He is a caster who is pretty good at assassinating. A fine but crucial distinction.

Garryth should be played as an attrition caster for the first few turns, and only when you get to turn 4+ do you start even considering killing the enemy casters. When it comes down to it, one-on-one with full focus, Garryth can kill most casters and warlocks, but using heavy warjacks is almost as reliable and won't get you killed.

Still an elf, but at least has facial hair.

Here are some pro tips:

  • Garryth has two hand cannon shots that ignore spell effects. That's pretty sweet, and should be used every turn to pick off front line troops and lighter jacks/beasts/solos.
  • Apart from shooting hand cannons every turn, you want Garryth to do nothing but hand out focus to warjacks and cast Death Sentence or Gallows on enemy stuff. An arc node is therefore useful, especially when it comes with a badass fire sword.
  • You do not want to put Mirage on Garryth unless you have nothing better do to. Put it on a unit or heavy warjack that your opponent actually has to be concerned about. An extra 2" of unpredictable threat is very potent.
  • Cast Psychic Vampire if your opponent has any spell casting troops or solos. Because, why not? It has a long range, only costs 1 to upkeep, and can douche certain models pretty hard, at least by forcing them back.
  • Gallows should NEVER EVER BE RELIED UPON FOR A GARRYTH ASSASSINATION. d6" is far too big a range of random to be reliable, and it costs half his focus. Gallows does have a long range though (even longer with Syllys), so it's still pretty good to cast on enemy front line warjacks to be pulled a few inches towards your own warjacks.
  • Death Sentence is also pretty solid. I would know, since every Gatorman Posse gets it. For free. This gives you a leg up on dice reliability, which allows your stuff to kill more of their stuff.
  • The feat isn't great, but is best used early on to shut down enemy warjacks from retaliating against yours, or late game when charging at an enemy caster so they can't easily get away from you.
 Basically, you want to try to get your force to kill much of their force as possible (especially anything capable of killing Garryth), until a time when you can either win on scenario or kill their caster. If you try for the assassination early on, you are very likely to fail and die.

The best thing of course, is to accept things for what they are and not play Garryth at all. He is the Calaban of Ret (although not really as broken, just frustrating).

Monday, January 21, 2013

5 Simple Ways to Fix Calaban

Because we certainly don't want him breeding in his current state...

If you read my rage post on Calaban, I think it's pretty clear that I am frustrated by him. I like the model, the fluff behind it, the ideas behind the rules, but the rules as written don't work. They don't flow smoothly like hollow logs on a river, or like rhymes from the mouths of poor inner-city youths. So in an effort to fight off the constant urge to play him, here are some ideas about how to make his parts work properly:

What works

  • Spell List - His spell list is rock solid all around. He's got answers, and plenty of them.
  • Melee capability - Despite being primarily a spell slinger, when it comes down to the wire, Calaban can step up with his crap MAT and kill things in melee. You've got Sustained Attack on the bite for high DEF targets, and Life Trader on Carcass for high ARM. You still don't want to rely on him in melee, but it works.
  • Base stats - the coolest thing about Calaban for me has always been SPD 6. In almost every game I have won with him, my winning play would not have worked if he was SPD 5. It is a strange quirk, and very welcome.

What doesn't work

  • Feat - This feat seems awesome and can be good at killing infantry and bouncing spells around. It requires a lot of experience and planning to get right, and is quite satisfying when you actually pull it off. However, there is something missing:
    No real threat! -
    It's not scary for your opponent. It lacks explosion or risk. It needs to provide some direct threat to the enemy caster, rather than just to your sanity and ability to rationalize.
    Skornergy! - The feat triggers when a friendly model destroys an enemy model. 'Destroyed' is the 3rd step of the death process, following disabled and boxed. Calaban also has the following abilities that remove from play on 'boxed' - Carnivore, Bone Shaker, and to a lesser extent Grave Door (which destroys the model only at the very end of the turn, right before the feat expires).

Calaban's feat is the square, logic the hole.

  • Heart Stopper - this ability is crucial to getting Calaban to function smoothly and throw spells around instead of just moving up and dying because you wanted to cast Parasite and Hex Blast. It sounds really cool in concept. It is however janky as all hell. It's not optional so you can't use the gun to just clear a lane, the model becomes a very ineffective arc node due to LoS/engaging/living-only issues.


5 Simple Ways

1. Pretend he doesn't exist / wait for Mk3 / play Rask
Probably the most realistic approach, and certainly the most effective.

2.  Errata - Grave Door
Erratas happen once or twice a year. Usually to nerf models that are a bit on the OP side (eSkarre, Blood Witch UA, eLich, Molik Karn, or the mighty Khador Bulldoze jacks), but very rarely to buff crappy broken stuff. Still, one can dream:

'When a living enemy model is boxed by this attack, it may heal 1 damage point. If it does, for the rest of the turn, the enemy model gains Circular Vision and this model can channel spells......'

Essentially, this makes the ability optional and gives the arc node a 360 degree LoS. Having any living infantry model in your list in your caster's LoS then becomes a slightly scary proposition for your opponent on feat turn, should he get blasted by 3-4 boosted Bone Shakers. Of course, if you're Cryx you still don't care, but that maintains the essential underdog character of Gators and dominance of Cryx so the world can keep turning.

Would that be too powerful? Remember that you still have to kill an enemy target with a POW 10, and it has to be living, probably fail a tough check, and it can't arc while engaged, so your opponent can do something about it.

I can live with the Skornergy of the feat if the arc node ability worked properly. At least the feat works when you kill non-living models.

3. New models - Craft Talisman
Bone Grinders in the Tier list. I know, right? However it seems like BS and antagonistic to the list-building aspect of the game that you have to buy a unit for a single caster to work half-way effectively - a unit which you literally cannot use for any other caster in your half of the faction (which is 95% exclusive from the other half).  Maybe I'd like to have Craft Talisman on Rask as well for 8" Fury and Boundless Charge and Admonition so he can be a bit further back at times.

Hell, if PP give that to the Bokor in the Swamp Shamblers or some other new Gargantuans model then I'll even think they know exactly what they're doing with Gators. Assuming said Bokor doesn't have a giant bullseye painted on its head...

4. New models - Arc node solo
Yep, arc nodes helps spell casters. News at 11. It might even be fluffy to have models like Spell Martyrs, except they are just dead people impaled on voodoo spikes and strategically located around the battlefield by a good Samaritan. The only issue here is that our other casters don't really need arc nodes. It's just Calaban. I think Barnabas is the only other Blindwater warlock with a direct target spell above RNG 6! An arc node would also better thematically suit the Thornfall's 'mad scientist' vibe better, so while an arc node helps Calaban, I don't really want one in Blindwater. I'd rather the poor pigs get one. Don't say I never give you guys anything.

5. Add a rule/spell
PP has historically not added any new rules to models (after Escalation was released anyway), so this would be even less likely than Mk3.

Basically, here I would add a rule that adds additional range to Calaban's spells, so he can throw out his Warmachine RNG 8 spells without getting gibbed or being dependant on a tier list to work.

There are a bunch of rules in the game that add additional range to spells, or pseudo-channel abilities:
  • Dark Rituals (Rasheth) - killing/damaging/sacrificing your own guys is not really in Calaban's character. He has a kind heart under all that cold-blooded bastard exterior.
  • Soul Slave (Hexeris) - Neat spell. Probably too many upkeeps for Calaban though.
  • Beast bond (eHexeris/eKaya) -  Only happens on epic models. Need to grind that XP to buy the 'beast bond' node on your talent tree.
  • Range Amplifier (eLylyth/pCaine) - this would be amazing, but would undermine the voodoo magic nature. Personally, I'd much prefer 5" range on all my spells base over voodoo magic smoke and mirrors, but it would skew him hard in the tier list with Craft Talisman.
  • Witch Mark (pLylyth) - this has a 'during caster's activation only' clause at the end, which screws it.
  • Spellbound/Oraculus (Vayl) - this is like a version of Grave Door that works because you can use it on friendly models, so they can actually see what they are casting at. Replace Grave Door with Spellbound, and we're almost in business.
A giant rubber duck in Auckland's viaduct. Pretty cool.

Why should I care?

Why do we need Calaban at all? What can Calaban do that a Rask/Barnabas two-list combo can't also achieve?

To be honest, I don't know. Calaban's primary strength has always been that he has Parasite, and therefore allowed Gators to seriously hurt models over ARM 19. He also has Hex Blast, which is costly but still far more effective than a Thrullg in removing upkeeps, and a magic gun to deal with incorporeal douchebags that try to hold flags/zones.

Now we have Rask, who is more survivable than Calaban (Trog Sacrifice, similar defensive stats, small base, no reliance on offensive spells), can put out the same level of damage (Fury), can deal with nasty upkeeps (Arcane Interference),  and has an accurate magical gun.
The only advantages I can see on Calaban's side is that he is far better in melee, and thus better in the attrition game. He is also the only Fury 7 warlock, giving him a bigger control area and better ability to run beasts (which he does quite well), but isn't really a big deal when Posse are so good.

Calaban's only redeeming feature at this point from a design point of view is that he offers a different playstyle, a playstyle which relies on unpredictability through Grave Door, through Bone Shaker, and through his feat Death Harvest. That means there is the potential of spell assassination in there somewhere. Everything else he does is providing solutions and counters which Rask also provides. If those unpredictable abilities do not work effectively, then he doesn't work effectively. And in my opinion, they don't, so we don't need Calaban at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Pigmans and the Razorboar

The spoilers on the Razorboar, and the ensuing widespread disappointment within the online Farrow community, have made me consider a few things about our other half.

How do  the two pacts differ? At the time of Domination, the answer was that Gators cause problems whereas Pigs solve problems. Gators had the Swamp Pits, power attacks aplenty, shooting denial, Revive threat vectors, armor stacking, and general douchiness, whereas the Pigs had Mobility, Hog Heaven, Telekinesis, Aggravator, Psycho Surgery, Pack Hunters, and general hulk-out damage output. Granted, Pigs could still present some problems like Batten Down the Hatches, Crippling Grasp, Watcher and whatnot, but for the most part the distinction made sense.

This distinction isn't so clear anymore, as Gators now have access to Rask's gun and Fury, which helps solve one of Blindwater's main problems. In a way, he seems like exactly what Gators needed to grow as a faction by helping deal with bad matchups and offer a different playstyle. Pigs on the other hand, have gotten more of the same with the Razorboar - largely ineffective, mechanically plain beast that needs big-time buffs to do alright.

What are Pigs about? Pigs are about a good old fashion scrap - nothing fancy, but violent. Gators are tricky, douchy, tanky and calculating but also capable of bursts of slaughter. Pigs are raw, aggressive, relentless, stubborn and simple. Their animi and spells are about being aggressive and getting into your opponent's face, being chaotic, causing mayhem.

Thornfall - Yays:

Strong warlocks

Carver is potentially the best warlock in the game, with great stats, good personal damage, a feat similar to Butcher1's and a brutally effective well-rounded spell list. He also makes Farrow Brigands quite good with CRA, fearless and AD within Thornfall.
Sturm and Drang is also a pretty strong warlock, with a two-in-one package - one defensive and denial-oriented, and another raw melee assault power. His medium base is a bit of a risk though.
Arkadius is also a pretty bad ass warlock with a ballbuster spell-list, except he is prone to instant death due to his lack of an arc node. A bit like Calaban, but his design issues could be easier to fix than Calaban's (mostly since Carver doesn't benefit much from arc nodes).


These guys are also pretty good in a world where the majority of infantry now appears to be tough (being tough themselves, and denying tough and souls and all that), and ARM 15 is just in that sweet spot of not fearing AoE damage. Finisher may just be a gimped version of weapon master, but it's still pretty stellar.

Cool looking beasts

Everyone likes Bebop.

Great fun to play against

I love to play against Pigs. I don't know why. Maybe because they are pretty bad, maybe because they look cool, maybe because cool people play them. Playing against Carver with Barnabas is quite an uphill battle, but apart from that it's a blast (bada-bing).

Thornfall- Nays:

Few beasts = little list build flexibility

Excluding mini warlocks, at the end of Domination, Gators had five beasts, and Pigs had three. That is a HUGE difference when both factions are still tiny. The level of flexibility in list building is like night and day - most Thornfall players take double or even triple of the same heavy. Now the Pigs have a lesser (which they seem to hate), which basically act like medium infantry meat tanks (but seems to be straight up worse than Posse), and Gators are likely to get another beast. Things will even themselves out in a release or two, but for the past two years, it's been balls for the Thornfall when it comes to building different lists.

Needless fluffy dice rolling

So you have to roll d3 damage to get a STR buff on the War Hog, roll d3 damage to get a SPD buff on the Road Hog and individually roll d3s for each battlegroup model when using Psycho Surgery with Arkadius. On top of all that, it seems like frenzy is a major shtick. That all seems... really annoying. It's a good idea, but practically is kinda janky. Somehow I don't think it would break anything if those additional stats were just base.

Analyzed... with SCIENCE.

Lame beasts and animi

Ok, the models are pretty cool, but how do they play on the table? The beasts look sweet, but like Gatorman beasts,  they also kind suck in the greater scheme of things. That's fine, it's part of the Minion deal. But the difference in design depth between the two factions is significant.
As mentioned above, you can roll a couple of dice every time you activate them to boost their stats. Apart from that... not much excitement going on, either in terms of tactics or in terms of numbers. They look pretty good on paper when combined with some great warlock buffs, but on the table usually don't do anything stellar.

There are no unique animi like Rise or Elasticity, nor faction-defining ones like Spiny Growth, no sweet rules like Wrastler or Torpid. You get Massacre on beaststick pig, Lightning Strike on speedy pig (which only mostly works on speedy pig), and Counterblast on gun pig. Flavourful, but flat. Oh, you also get Hyper Aggressive on wiener pig, but it costs 2. Neato?

Maybe the Boneswarm should have been a Farrow beast - just throw in some pipes and random fluids and there you go. Swamp Troll would be much cooler, k thx.

Oh, I guess healing up your opponent's warbeasts when they kill your squishy beasts is cool (Bacon). I am all for that.


Carver is awesome. Perhaps too awesome. Awesome to the point where everything Farrow is tuned with Carver in mind, which is not great news to players wanting to play other warlocks, who in their own right are pretty awesome but are not Carver.

Which brings us to...

And then you get the Razorboar. What a missed design opportunity. Current discussion online seems to be at Stage 3 and 4 of the Five Stages of Grief:

1. Denial - "No way, this guy is just trolling. Nothing is confirmed until we actually get the magazine in our hands. O.o"
2. Anger - "WTF PP! That animus sucks! Arkadius does the same thing but better! MAT 5 POW 10 and Fury 2, are you serious?! (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ "
3. Bargaining - "You could treat them like heavy infantry / run them off to die / it's like putting 'no shooting' on your heavies! / they'll be good with Carver / etc. :S"
4. Depression - "Wow, that doesn't work at all. I don't even want to play... should sell my Pigs and go play Cryx, or sell hot dogs at a baseball game..... :( "
5. Acceptance - "I guess if you run 4+ of them they are ok, mostly because we don't have anything else to do that (tank/tarpit effectively). That animus is cool and suits pigs, but I will almost never cast it for 2 fury when I have all these other awesome spells on my warlocks. Bleh. -_-"

Overall, I constantly feel like Pigs are lacking something - something exciting, something unique, something defining. It's like they are constantly being punished for having Carver. I don't think I could summarize it better than this writer on BattleCollege:

"In my opinion, the best thing to say about Thornfall is "nice warlocks, shame about the rest". Let's be clear here; Thornfall's warlocks are quite simply some of the best in the game......... but herein lies the rub; these amazing warlocks have practically no choice for what to take with them. It's not a case of the Thornfall units being bad; they're very good. There just aren't very many of them to choose from. Two [sic] unremarkable warbeasts, some mildly interesting units, and a couple of your standard minion solos? A Thornfall collection is going to have a lot of the same models appearing over and over. Here's hoping that they get fleshed out a LOT in the expansions, so Lord Carver, Dr. A, and their Frankensteinian pets get some nice toys to play with."

And when you come from this position, getting something like the Razorboar and its wasted design space opportunities really really stings. It's a little bit there, but it's also not. Especially right after your sister faction just got an almost perfect model from a gameplay and theorymachine standpoint.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Batrep - Rask vs Cassius 50pts

Exciting picture free battle report!

Anyway, I played against one of the highest ranked players in the country, better known to the internet as VaulSC, former Starcraft enthusiast and fellow D3 hater.

Swamp Horror
Blackhide Wrastler
2x Full Gatormans
Min. Bog Trog Ambushers
Totem Hunter
Swamp Gobbers
Wrong Eye + Snapjaw

Running a list first time ever without a Bull Snapper. Intense stuff.

2x Shifting Stones (one with UA)
Min Ravagers + UA (I think it was a min unit)
Full Wolfriders
1x Gallows Grove
Swamp Gobbers

Scenario was Close Quarters, aka. 'mostly non-scenario which just forces you to not gunline'. Deployment was a bit like this high definition map:

                                 [Cassius]   [Megalith] [Woldwrath]

[Wolf Riders][Grove][Stones]                            [Tharn]



[Blue Posse]    [WE+SJ] [Beasts]     [TH]    [Red Posse]
       [Croctor]                     [Rask and friends]

Stuff in italics is AD, the asterix are the scenario flags. There was a large forest on the left side near the centerline, and two perpendicular linear obstacles dead center, right next to an annoying rock. My two Posses are distinguished by tribal warpainting on their models and bases:

Some red, some blue...

The Wolf Riders were set up opposing the Blue Posse and Preyed them, the Tharn set up opposite the Red Posse and were in turn Preyed by the Totem Hunter. Let's go down to the field and ask our competitors what went on.

Cassius: "............... Orboros speaks through me. He loves me, and I him. His roots go deep, and we are truly one when he creeps into my..."
Rask: "Aaaaaughibbrgubugbugrguburgle!"

Thanks guys. Better get a translator for that second guy....

Turn 1

Cassius: "Onwards, scions of nature. "
Rask:  "
Looking out at this horde of hairy warm blooded scum running towards me simply made me want to kill them, as a joke. I instilled my Blackhide Wrastler with an unnatural wariness for his environment and instructed him to slowly move up, followed by my Swamp Horror. After riling up a nearby Gator Posse with a sense of righteous fury (they are so easy to manipulate), I call upon the powers of the bogs to hide my forces in thick black mist. Some Gatormen to my far left were left unprotected, but they can go to hell."

Turn 2

Cassius: He shuffles Ravagers to the center, moving a chunk of them outside Red Gator threat range. The Grove teleports up to deny tough and the Wolf Riders start flinging spears at Blue Gators, killing a couple. Cassius feats.
Rask: Upkeep both spells. Send the Red Gators with pathfinder to kill some Tharn (easy with Fury), then cycle Fury onto the Totem Hunter who manages to kill the Stone UA and Ravager UA before running off behind the annoying rock. The Blue Gators get Zombified and Dirge of Mists and run into the Wolfriders, who pass their terror check. Snapjaw manages to kill a Gallows Grove, RFPing and denying Wurmwood a soul (woo!).

Turn 3

Cassius: Megalith moves up near the Wrastler, and I use Admonition to move him an inch or two forward so he is 3/4" away from Megalith and b2b with a Red Posse member, thus blocking LoS to the rest of the Posse unit and Rask. Whether this was clever or stupid, we will never know. Megalith then proceeds to Stranglehold my Wrastler, and kill the Gatorman. So the Wrastler seems pretty boned at this point.
Cassius casts Curse of Shadows on the Red Posse, allowing the remaining Ravagers to charge in and kill a few, and Woldwrath to do the same. The Wolf Riders finish off the Blue Posse, switch Prey to Snapjaw, and move up to surround the gator beast.
Rask: At this point, I have come up with what I thought was a BRILLIANT TACTICAL MANOEUVRE. I activate Rask, back up, put Fury on the Wrastler, and shoot a Ravager. The Swamp Horror then moves up behind the Wrastler, gives it Elasticity and throws it directly behind Megalith. Naturally, it contacts Megalith after 3/4" and gets knocked down. The Wrastler however is unaffected by KD, so chooses to sacrifice his movement for Stranglehold (not getting up) and makes a heap of attacks against Megalith and the last Ravager behind it. Megalith is left on few boxes thanks to some shocking attack rolls, but is finished off by the last Red Posse member.

The Totem Hunter then switches his Prey to Wolf Riders, jumps halfway across the board to kill two of them, and Sprints off to engage the other two. Wrong Eye then kills a Wolfrider and Submerges, while Snapjaw charges up to grab the enemy point.

Now that I think about it, this was probably an illegal move since the Wrastler would still have to sacrifice his movement or action due to being knocked down in its own turn. If it has used its animus, then it would be ok, but I'd have an attack less (assuming it's the attack I missed needing 4). I'd have to check. Intuitive rules interpretations have no place in wargames.... alternatively, I could have just given him reach and not thrown him, but then I wouldn't have been able to switch Prey. It would have been safer to just use reach, and have the Gatorman who killed Megalith kill the last Ravager.

EDIT: It was a legit tactic - all that happens is the Wrastler cannot stand up during the turn it was KD (unless it uses its animus). It doesn't have to sacrifice either movement or action.

Turn 4

Cassius: Cassius is now very sad to have lost Megalith. He responds by having some Stones teleport around, and then throws a monster Hellmouth in the center of the table, catching Snapjaw, the Wrastler, a bunch of his own stones, and the last Red Gator. Nothing really takes much damage, but the Woldwrath comes in and monkeystomps the Wrastler. Fortunately for me Snapjaw is just outside his reach and KD threat.
The Tharn on the left do nothing to the Totem Hunter, since Prey is everything.
Rask: This was a momentous moment in my Blindwater career. I actually managed to kill a full health Woldwrath with a Fury + Boundless Charged Horror and Snapjaw. Yay Fury! I also learned that the Crit Catastrophic Damage on the Horror's bite is INSANE vs Gargantuans. Sadly I only rolled one crit here, and it was on a branch that was pretty much gone, hence I only did 2 pts of damage out of a potential 14 or so. Sadface.
Totem Hunter finishes off the Wolf Riders and Preys Cassius.

Sorry, Wurmwood.

Turn 5

Cassius: He concedes, since I have two heavies, Wrong Eye and Rask with 6 sacrificial targets, and he has Cassius, some Swamp Gobbers, and some Shifting Stones.


- Unlike my last test game with Rask vs Khador, Inhospitable Ground did absolutely NOTHING here, so I never used it. It's one of those spells.
- Fury is amazing. Like an answer to Blindwater prayers. Much like the Razorboar was an answer to Thornfall prayers.
- I thought I would really miss the Snapper, but I didn't. In fact, I was swimming in fury half the game and nothing to do with it. In two games, no-one has attempted an assassination at Rask nor have I had him take a single point of damage.
- Having Ambushers not ambush seems like a massive points sink. They are so bad when they don't ambush, and literally do nothing except stay within 5" of Rask the whole game. Gimme Shamblers please.
- Hellmouth is a hell of a spell.

More on Rask after I've  played a bunch more games (ie. about a month)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Learning to swim - a guide for new players

If you intend to play Blindwater as a faction, my first piece of advice would be "run for you life, and don't look back". Minions are the weakest faction in the game. You've heard it plenty of times before, and it won't always be the case, but playing Gators is like strapping a rabid hungry monkey to your leg and wondering why you're having trouble walking and losing so much blood. If you intend to carry on, however....

EDIT 08/2015 - Blindwater has received some really good releases since this guide was first written - Jaga Jaga, the Sacral Vault and Croak Raiders, all of which are excellent and cover Blindwater's bad matchup vs weapon master infantry swarm and provide a decent ranged game. Gators still lack a few things but in my opinion are about middle of the pack in terms of competitiveness thanks to its strong warlocks and very strong individual pieces.

"Faction" Summary

In the style of the threads on PP beginner forums:

Blindwater Melee: Gatormans excel at eating things, which is difficult to do at a distance. The backbone of any good Blindwater list is the Gatorman Posse, who are arguably the best medium-based infantry in the game. Durable, hard-hitting, and tactically adaptable, Gatorman Posse are an elite melee force to be reckoned with. Like the Posse, most models in the faction boast two or more base attacks which helps them make up for their lower table numbers.

Blindwater Ranged: Being primarily a melee faction, ranged has historically been the weakest point of the faction. But this has changed a lot with the introduction of Croak Raiders, one of the best ranged units in the game, and the Sacral Vault, which provides accurate shooting on top of its support capabilities. The Spitter warbeast also boasts a great boostable gun..

Blindwater Magic: The general theme here is that of voodoo, shady swamps and blood magic. This translates into excellent resilience for both our warlocks and their army, while also leeching life force (both enemy and friendly) to bolster their units or impede the opponent in some way. Blindwater forces are also often accompanied to battle by Witch Doctors who use sacrificial magic to manipulate the veil between life and death.

Blindwater Warlocks: Blindwater's warlocks are on the whole much more powerful than the average warlock and carry the faction on their backs in order to make up for lower list synergies. The general theme of our warlocks is durability and a good mix between troop buffing and battlegroup spells, with a strategic theme of denying enemy ranged combat or excelling in a grindy attrition fight.

Blindwater Warbeasts: Blindwater's beasts are based around the theme of the swamp - amphibious creatures who like it rough and dirty, such as monstrous oversized alligators, turtles and octopuses. Although rather unimpressive in terms of their combat stats, our beasts generally have great animi (Rise, Spiny Growth, Elasticity, Submerge) bring a lot of tactical utility with their myriad of combat abilities and multiple open fists.

General Advice

This is some general advice for any new players to Warmachine, and for veteran players wishing to pick up another faction:

1. Start small, build up. I see a lot of complete noobcakes wanting to rush straight to 35 or 50pts so they can "play proper games". Maybe this is a holdover from WHFB and 40k, where you had to invest a couple of hundred bucks off the bat to get to 500pts to play bare minimum games, but Warmahordes thankfully doesn't work that way. Although games are much better around 50pts, you can still have a meaningful and challenging game at 15/25pts using only battlegroups. That's the beauty of the system, it scales very well.

Thus I recommend starting at 15pts, and building up to 25pts, 35pts and 50pts over a period of at least a month but more likely 4-5 months (depending on how much free time you have). This gives new players time to get familiar with core mechanics like focus/fury, power attacks, activation order and gloating, and gives experienced players time to adjust to their new faction's intricacies and feel out where they would like to expand.

2. Don't over analyze - go with your gut.
In my experience, and in my observation of other players, too much rationalization and agonizing over the 'right' faction and caster will just lead to more pseudo-rationalism and frustration down the line. You are better off choosing a faction or caster that you think is cool, playing a few proxy or Vassal games with it, and sticking with that choice if it feels right. The best faction decisions I've made have come about this way (eButcher + Blindwater).

Having said that, you also have to accept that realities do not usually match expectations, hence the importance of trial.
If I chose my faction by theme alone, I would be playing Khador without a doubt - wolves, (slavic) women, winter and war. Also bears. That is my inner calling, as I identify Central Europe as my spiritual homeland. Also axes and melee are way more awesome than guns, and tanks are better than DPS.
However, that is not actually how Khador plays. Khador probably would not take any jacks at all if it weren't for warjack points, Khador's focus mechanic is boring (except with Butcher2), and you spam small-based infantry. That is not how I like to play Warmahordes.
Another example, my second faction in Mk1 was Protectorate of Menoth, purely because I really liked Kreoss2 and the Testament of Menoth in the fluff and art. Unfortunately, both their playstyles in Mk2 are about as exciting as watching a dog lick its balls for an hour. I got frustrated for a few months, having spent quite a bit of time and money on the faction before deciding to move on (1).

If you play Blindwater for a while and realize playing an underpowered grindy faction with almost no releases each release cycle is not for you, cut your losses and play something else.

3. Play some trial games.
The best way to assess your decision is to put it in play on the table. I wouldn't recommend any experienced players to buy into a new faction without having played a few games on the table to see how you like the playstyle. Proxy at will.

4. Read and re-read your special rules, then put them into practice.
Once you've got your army assembled, read the cards over and over. Play some games and try out special abilities, even if it's not the most tactically brilliant choice at the time. Every turn is an opportunity to learn. The best way to remember anything is to put it into practice. I have an informed opinion of Boneswarm being really bad since it has failed me on so many vivid occasions. I would not have this knowledge and total lack of respect for its rules had I not played it several times! Likewise, I used to hate on Croak Hunters until I started using them as backline counter-chargers and lane clearers, now I think they are a worthwhile addition to almost any list that can spare the points.

5. Paint your models.
I have a personal guideline that I don't buy any new models unless I've painted everything I already own. This not only leads to a more personal and pretty collection, but will also keep your costs down and keep your purchases focused!

Where do we start?

At the time of writing, we have five warlocks: Barnabas, Calaban, Maelok, Jaga-Jaga and Rask.

I would recommend that you initially avoid Calaban at all costs, since I think he is as well designed as the highway system in Auckland combined with a healthy dose of mind-altering substances, and will probably just serve to frustrate you with his Skornergy. But then again, if he sets your heart aflutter, go for it.
Maelok is quite straight forward and effective but works much better with multiple Posses than beasts (ie. higher point levels). Rask and Jaga-Jaga would both be good at low points levels though - Rask is a very solid caster and probably the most powerful in faction although I would not recommend for low points learning games as he can just hard win a lot of matchups (easy wins are not the best learning experience). Jaga-Jaga is a more passive, support-oriented warlock and would also work well at low points games, despite her feat not doing anything if no infantry is present.

Barnabas would be my pick for your first caster. He is very tough, has a great spell list for low points games, and his feat can be used for the simple and effective pop 'n' drop strategy (feat, KD enemy caster. KD stuff screening caster, shoot/spell DEF 5 caster to death). Barnabas' main weakness (at all levels) is his inability to crack high ARM, but at lower points games you are unlikely to see Gargossals and being unable to kill high ARM models will force you to use your Swamp Pits and power attacks, hence learning more.

To start with, you want to get a solid core of warbeasts:

15 pts

  • Warlock (+6)
  • Blackhide Wrastler (9)
  • Ironback Spitter (8)
  • Bull Snapper (3)
  • +1 pt

You can fill the last point with a Feralgeist or Swamp Gobbers, both models you will find very useful later on, or just play a point short if you wish to play Mangled Metal/Tooth and Claw games.

This list provides you with a solid core to build on for any warlock you might choose to play in the future, and a good selection of animi.You can read more about the specific models by clicking on the tactica link to your right.

Expanding your force

15 -> 25pts:

  1. One full Gatorman Posse (9pts)
  2. Feralgeist or Swamp Gobbers (whatever you didn't take in your 15pts list)

Gatorman Posse are AMAZING and are the backbone of the Blindwater Congregation. A full unit is a must if you intend to play Blindwater, and you will take at least one in pretty much every list (2).

25-> 35pts:

This is where it gets interesting!

  • If you want to play Maelok, Barnabas or Jaga-Jaga:
  1. A second full Posse unit (9pts)
  2. Replacing the Swamp Gobbers+Feralgeist with a Witch Doctor or Totem Hunter (-2, +3 = 1pt)
Both Maelok and Barnabas actively make Posse better. Maelok wants them to grind and Revive, Barnabas buffs them with Iron Flesh and Swamp Pits. Jaga-Jaga on the other hand allows Posses to excel by eliminating enemy buffs and terrain considerations. The Witch Doctor is good choice for troop support and utility, the Totem Hunter is a great solo assassin and board controller but takes a little skill to use effectively.

  • If you want to play Calaban:
  1. Swamp Horror (8pts) OR Max Croak Raiders (8pts)
  2. Replacing either the Swamp Gobbers and Feralgeist with a 3pt solo (Witch Doctor is a good choice, as is the Totem Hunter). (-1 + 3 = 2pts)
Calaban doesn't get as much from a second Posse as his fellow Gator warlocks in my experience. He does make the Swamp Horror into a MAT 8 beast however, and can afford to push beasts a little harder with his Fury of 7.

  • If you want to play Rask:
  1. A second full Posse and sub in 2pts for a Totem Hunter,  OR
  2. Swamp Shamblers (6pts), Totem Hunter (3pts), and switch out Feralgeist/Gobbers for a Croak Hunter. (1pt)
Rask can do amazing thing for Gatormans, usually giving them a devastating alpha-strike. However, Swamp Shamblers give you a little attrition which Rask otherwise lacks and also provides him with bodies for his Call to Sacrifice ability, making him ridiculously hard to assassinate. They suck in melee but the Bokor can do some serious damage to a heavy target given enough Shamblers to feed him. Bog Trog Ambushers are also decent as Sacrifice fodder, because with Fury they are very legit counter-chargers late game.

35 -> 50pts

By now you should have a good feel for the faction and a good chunk of games under your belt, so will know what you want to add in to cover your weaknesses or enhance your strengths. Here are some suggestions, in no particular order:

- Wrong Eye + Snapjaw: This pair are a complete package. Highly independent, good utility (especially against Hordes), hard hitting, very survivable. A good choice with any caster.
- Another Gatorman Posse: Three full Posses at 50pts might seem excessive, but they really are that good. I will almost always run Maelok with 3 Posses at 50pts, and will usually take 3 with Barnabas as well since neither of them are great ARM crackers, so you might as well maximize your advantage.
- Bog Trog Ambushers: these little guys are great at dealing with support staff or providing extra threat vectors since we lack ranged power. I don't usually take them below 50pts, but at 50 they shine.
- Another Snapper and some 3pt solos: Snappers are awesome, and solos are useful. The Thrullg comes into serious consideration here as well.
- Add in some beasts: Rask absolutely loves Swamp Horrors for example - I prefer to run him with a Wrastler, a Swamp Horror and WE+Snapjaw at 50pts. Jaga-Jaga and Barnabas might also appreciate another Spitter instead of a Wrastler, depending on your matchups.
- An army of frogs: goes great with your bask of crocodiles. Croak Hunters are decidedly mediocre combat solos, but in pairs and threes they can almost pull their weight.
- Sacral Vault: This thing is ridiculously good. Get one.
- Croak Raiders: One of the few signs of power creep in the game, these guys are just better than they should be. They don't directly synergize that well with Blindwater stuff, but they do benefit from our buffs and feats!

And that's that!

Those are my recommendations for anyone intending to start playing Gatormans - if you have any criticisms, suggestions, or wish to correct my grammar and/or stylisms, feel free to leave a comment below, or send me a PM on the Privateer boards (Yertle4).

Updated Oct 2014 - Sacral Vault and Jaga-Jaga notes.

(1) I moved on to Skorne near the end days of Mk1, since I liked the challenge of not having pathfinder anywhere, and playing badass melee armies. Then Metamorphosis came out and Skorne got ridiculous amounts of pathfinder, along with one of the most broken warlocks ever made, then Mk2 playtest came out and flipped the faction on its head. I was out.
(2) Unless you are playing the Rask tier for some drunken fun. Maelok and Barnabas usually take 3 Posse.