Been a while since I showed some painting progress but the reality is I moved and it was not easy to set a spot for (almost) decent pictures. Now it’s possible and there’s a bit of backlog so check through the whole week for a lot of new Khador models.

Today is the Manhunter. I had the variant ready for paint for the tournament that started this last Saturday but suddenly this model fell on my hands and decided it was going to be easier to paint (speed painting him alongside the Bears) and also a bit more stunning for the tourney.

As said before, this past Saturday a weirdly amazing tourney started. 25 points random couples. So 50 points of awesome on each side of the table with the weirdest combinations. Being ten players we made 5 couples and one did not play each round. I didn’t on the first one so only took one battle on the first day. I was paired with Trollbloods with eGrissel and I honestly think it’s the most balanced couple (I brought eSorscha with all weapon master infantry and two Devastators), even though we lost to a sneaky move by my favorite (most hated too) Circle player after killing almost all of his army (eKrueger if I recall?) and his partner’s (some epic Legion warlock girl, I can’t remember who).

Other combinations have been Retribution + Skorne, Cryx (pAshpy) + Retribution, and Khador (Strakhov) with Cryx (Terminus I think). All battles were incredibly fun and with my Troll partner we decided to go straight to ass kicking. That we did, but Circle + Legion could sneak a caster kill victory from us in the middle of our face smashing. We’ll be better prepared next weekend.

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Scenario play in Warmahordes is not just a tournament standard. In fact, I would advice anyone already over the game rules learning hill with a decent (25 points?) collection to play scenarios from the get go. Here’s why.

Caster kill games get old very fast. More so, there are bad matchups and there are worse. Caster kill exaggerates these matchups in a very clear way. The rock-paper-scissors aspect of the game comes to the forefront in such a way that when a bad matchup is set one player will just have no fun at all. It is great to learn, specially to learn what your models can do and when, but after a while it will be about the best list.

Let me give you an example of this. You have anti-X model on the table. It will be deployed straight ahead of your opponent’s X models. Every single time. Now, depending on the scenario, your anti-X model might seem to work better someplace else due to some of its other rules and abilities. So now you have to make a choice based on scenario. Choice is good.

It gives you something to fight for. Alright, I admit it, Steamroller scenarios are as abstract as they get. You could add some fluff and spice to any of them, but I’m sure not everyone will. And in the end, it’s still about controlling the flags or occupying the marked area. But still, they add something other than utter destruction, something to think about other than shooting and hitting.

Makes scenery important. There are factions that can ignore almost all the terrain on the board with the proper list (Legion, Circle). They make caster kill games an unfair proposition. One player has to deal with the forest and the walls while the other one ignores them all and focuses on grinding the opponent getting ready for caster kill. Trust me, I’ve played a ton of those and it is not fun at all. Sure, on a scenario things are the same for both players (one ignoring everything) but that player has to be active about stuff, and not just reactive from safety. You can hide all you want, but when I score that 3rd point I win no matter what you have done and how with your spiffy rules.

Makes movement crucial. In a game where movement already is a beast of a factor (unlike many other wargames) the scenarios make planning your movement specially tricky. You want to be where you want when you want, and you need to avoid the enemy doing that as well. It’s no longer a matter of staying out of threat ranges. It’s going where you have to, considering the risks that threat ranges pose, and thinking how to deal with that.

Makes you a better player. Ok, I can only speak for myself about this, but I really think I do a lot more brainwork playing scenarios than plain bashing. And the best part is I don’t get burned so easily. After a couple of games of caster kill remembering every threat range and trick the enemy model’s can pull on me I get exhausted. But I can play 4 or 5 straight scenario games where both my opponent and myself are thinking above the abilities of the models, and it somehow makes me worry more about tactics and movement and crazy tricks with what I have there and then, than just thinking about the initial deployment for the rock-paper-scissors kind of game. I can honestly say this kind of play has made me a better player.

You might think that Steamroller scenarios are only for the hypercompetitive game. And you’d be wrong. Take away the time limits and just play the scenarios at any point level with any composition. Make a story out of the abstract win conditions, make new scenery elements to represent objectives and zones. It’s all about playing with something else in mind than just bashing your opponent. It rewards smart play and not only good model stats memory. It creates a better looking playing board (most of the time).

Now, about that last point, it is true that most scenario boards seem boring. When playing competitively people try to make the board as fair as possible, and this usually means drawing an imaginary line along the board and placing mirrored scenery on each side. This is good for tournaments, but it shouldn’t for your regular scenario play. Set up the board before choosing (or rolling for) the scenario. Make the basic adjustments to place the objectives or the areas and then roll for sides. Suddenly it’s not just a matter of thinking if you wanna go first, but now choosing the board side might be just as useful.

And this is why I like to play scenarios.

This is aimed to Warmahordes players of course, but possibly of use for other game systems with persistent on table effects and packed figs!

So, you have cloud AOEs and all kinds of stuff. They can be in the middle of the table, marked with a simple circle of the appropriate size and made from any material you like. But then you have these clouds and things on top of figs. And when models are too close things can get a bit mess unless you have spiffy metal rings, and even then.

If you want to know, I made these while thinking about the Circle druids making all those cloud effects while packed together and also while considering shooting some clouds on my units with the Greylord Ternion unit.

The example piece is for 3 inch AOE markers. Make the marker on your favorite material. In this case, a piece of plastic sprue (from which I make my wreck markers also).

Then cut it in 4 equal pieces. Easy!!!! Now you can place a smaller marker under the base of the figure without too much fuss, showing the general circumference for a very clear idea of what the cloud is covering.

But, smart reader, it’s very easy to center a round AOE under a model’s base, but not so easy to center this pseudo triangle. And you are right. That’s why I center the templates on some 30, 40, and 50mm circles, and make tiny marks representing the edge of the appropriate size base.

Now if you’re putting the template under a small based model, just align it with the first marks, medium base with the second marks, and so on. Now your opponent can be sure the thing is centered and you’re not getting those few extra life-or-death millimetres.

Hope you find these useful. Warmahordes is a game about information, and all of these clear, precise, and comfortable markers make all the difference when half an inch is a big deal.

With the silly excuse of talking about going from pencil and paper to digital sketching, PP’s Insider gives us a couple of pictures to drool on and wonder about. (Isn’t that what we love the most of PP’s online presence?)

The second piece specifically shows what’s clearly sketches for Vlad3, with his mount as shown on this preview.

Now, I know it’s a lot to hope for with all the nice plastic jacks, heavy-ish infantry, and now beasts coming out, but it seems to me that the next obvious step is to turn all those beautiful (and extremely expensive) cavalry units into full unit plastic kits.

Don’t you think?

Disclaimer: I’m not a tournament winner Warmahordes player. Far from it in fact. I barely know my ropes with Khador, and have played the game for about a year now. I have played quite a bit though.

Ok let’s start with a nice fact here. Still, remember I’m no expert on every Warmahordes faction so don’t know every model by heart. But I find it amazing that both Vlad profiles, the prime and the epic, are basically very similar. But also completely different.

If you play with one, you have a hang of the other one. The spells are similar, the way to play him in support till the last minute when he can take on most any other caster/lock is also the same. It does look like he is the same person even after the events that gave us his epic incarnation. You will miss his spell list on one model, and the other spell list on the other.

On the other hand, there’s a clear distinction: pVlad is a jack caster while eVlad is an infantry caster. That IS pretty hardcore as far as differences go, but you still get a sense of playing the same guy, just with a slightly different toolset.

Back on topic now, I’ll focus on eVlad cause I’ve been playing him a lot lately. Like I said he is an infantry caster. He has only one spell for jacks (Assail, and it’s pretty good, though Hand of Fate can be used on a jack if you really need to) and +5 points so you will be getting just the jack you need for his list, be it a cheap option just as bodyguard, or one of the more expensive, more specialized ones. His feat simply does nothing for jacks and only affects non-character warrior models.

Speaking of feats. On his feat turn he will select 1D3+3 warrior models and they basically get +3 to every stat. Yes, that means you get +3 base SPD, also +3 to RAT and MAT so you can use it on different type of models, and don’t forget the +3 to STR which adds damage to all your melee attacks. And of course it lasts a whole round, so your guys will be sitting on improved DEF and ARM as well. Hell, if you want to pull a weird charge with your unit the CMD is also increased by 3 inches so spread ’em out!

It is an AMAZING feat. Makes regular models into heavy hitters, and our usual heavy hitting infantry into freaking beasts. MOW Shocktroopers dealing POW 17 attacks and sitting on 24 ARM for the next turn? Shit yeah.

The thing to be careful though is to time your feat right. Specially if you’re running too many characters and/or jacks. You don’t want to run out of useful (and valid) warrior models before you feat. Remember: cavalry models are also warriors.  Get your heavy Uhlans to do a nice 14″ pathfinder charge with POW 19 blasting lances with reach, sitting afterwards on ARM 20 or 22 (if some end up in BTB contact with each other) and watch your opponent squeal. No wonder Vlad3 seems to be an Uhlan himself. In any case it’s always better to feat earlier than later. You will do massive damage whenever you feat. And that’s the Khador way.

eVlad’s abilities are defensive on the whole and pretty good if someone is trying a feeble assasination attempt or taking potshots at your caster (which will add focus for his Transference spell on the next turn). He will get stronger, faster, and deadlier the more they hurt him, and he also has defensive strike to deal a swift goodbye to any regular model trying to get too close.

Onto his spell list. Assail is a pretty good jack upkeep that turns your jack into a slamming machine. Still good for free charges with +2″ move. Get this on your single jack and keep it up until he’s in combat. Hand of Fate lets a unit or model roll another die on attack and damage rolls, discarding the lowest. Do not think of it as a melee support spell. I cast it on the first turn on my widowmakers, making them hit anything and then rolling damage when shooting at enemy medium or heavy infantry (or cavalry like I did recently) or light jack/beasts. You’ll be surprised how much damage you can get with the “reroll” and a bit of luck, specially if you don’t have an obvious one would infantry unit in front of your guys. After a few turns give it to your vanguard melee unit and continue dishing the pain.

Martial Paragon is a late game spell that gives Vlad an extra die on melee attacks and immunity to free strikes. Razor Wind is your usual Khador magic missile and Wind Blast is a nice big area spell that clears your path of cloud effects and grants a RAT penalty to models in it if you place it well enough.

Now Transference. Here’s the star spell. This is the one you will have upkept on him from turn one, until you need to go for the opposing caster/lock with your Martial Paragon. This spell lets your warriors in your CTRL to boost melee attack or damage rolls using Vlad’s focus. It’s simply amazing. Upkeeping Assail, HoF and Transference every turn leaves Vlad with 4 focus to spare for this. Considering you will only have one jack, you can do a lot with these boosted attacks all over the place. Hit those high DEF dudes with the unit your opponent thought wouldn’t make it. Destroy the multiwound model with a couple of little guys, with the impunity of a warjack, and without even having to decide to give the focus beforehand.

eVlad is a toolbox of pain. He can turn up the damage when and where he needs to with surgical precision. He is tough enough to not need extra special precautions when keeping him safe, and his support spells are pretty much dealt with in the first turn. Feating before the opponent is usually a good idea, specially against negating feats. With a solid list most benefits from Vlad become bonus, over the top numbers reducing the enemy’s wounds pool dramatically with a flexibility not many feats allow.

There are few things I enjoy more than battle reports online. I usually like more the way and the how than the actual battles. For example, I don’t play (nor plan to play) Warhammer 40K, but Miniwargaming’s video reports I find extremely fun to watch. When it comes to Warmahordes things get even better.

But… I don’t really enjoy written battreps as much as video. And then most make the “recap” style. Play a turn, get camera rolling, say what happened, stop rolling, and so on. They are interesting, but not as much as others.

Then there’s the extremely sporadically Miniwargaming’s WM/H battreps. They are great in the way they are made, fun to watch, but as a hardcore Warmahordes player I want more than just a “friendly” game. Don’t get me wrong, I mean hardcore as someone who loves the game, who basically stopped playing anything else because WM is THAT great, and who thinks, reads, and talks (or types) about the game a good bunch of time a week. Means I want more than just a recap. I want the players’ imput on lists, and advanced tactics whenever possible.

Enter Chain Attack podcast. I have listened to Warmahordes podcasts before but I stopped a few months ago. They are too long for the most part, and they talk a ton of time about armies/models/events I don’t really have much interest (although as a hardcore player I do like to know as much as possible about all factions). But these guys have found an amazing sweet spot in the podcast/battle report mix.

Two of them play a game. They document it throughly. They start talking about the lists, describe the feats, and go on to deployment. Most of the time it’s clear they have played several games with the lists or caster/locks (against each other) before the actual battle from the report, to get a decent hang of it all.

They go on a turn per turn basis, and on the site you get a link to a forum post with the pictures. One for deployment, and one for each player’s turn. Good old bird’s eye picture with the whole table. They retell the game move by move in a conversational manner with other players, usually 4 or 5 on the chat. It’s extremely agile and entertaining and the pictures are spot on. They talk of the hows and whys and whens of everything that happens, and you get an idea of everything even if you barely know what one or both of the factions playing do.

In the end they go about ranking the caster/lock on different categories. I don’t share that and usually don’t like that. I was a Warmahordes newbie not too long ago, and finding ratings like these do nothing, specially for a game such as this where every model simply works, just with different combinations and playstyles. It probably does something for the tournament player, but for new gamers it’s not great to find a few of the options available marked with a C, a B, and so on, twisting the view of the models before even playing them.

On the other hand, the discussion while putting these scores is smart and informative, full of gamer passion as well as thought after many games.

They really hit the sweet spot for battreps, with a mix of audio and pictures, and a pace that couldn’t be accomplished on video. Go check them out and follow them weekly. You will learn a lot about your favorite game.

Different times require different creative outputs. I will be posting random Iron Kingdoms snippets here: http://iksights.tumblr.com/

No, I´m not moving out or anything. Drop by if you´re curious.