So with the finishing of my last Gun Mage, I have finally painted up my 20 point High Born Covenant army list.
I am not going to pretend this is some super-duper, all conquering, Chuck Norris, world dominating, super beardy list, but it is the list I have the most fun(?) with.
I have pretty much built this entire army around Ashlynn’s feat and if nothing else ensures me at least a round of giggles as everything goes for a flying lesson in the feat turn. There are holes in this list and I always struggle against Sorscha and Satyxis Raiders with their Sea Witch attachment but other than that, it is a fairly versatile force that has a punchers chance against everything.
First up my Mules ‘The wild rover’ and ‘Ol Smokey’. I LOVE MULES!!!! I love the cast of the original Mule, I loved painting it and I love how it plays in game. Due to the focus heavy nature of Ashlynns’ spells and the need to have her camping on at least a couple of focus for the armour buff, these boys rarely see melee.
|The Wild Rover|
They get a focus to run the first turn and then usually just get a single focus each from then on for their shooting attack rolls, in order to try to trigger the almighty ‘critical devastation’. If I am fielding a Gun Mage (GM) Captain (see below) I will nearly always marshal one to him in order to save the focus and cash in on the GM captains’ marshal ability (see below).
I normally have these guys hunting in pairs, causing carnage to enemy formations with (a potential) 8” wide AOE of ‘Critical devastations’. This also gives me the option of charging in the second Mule as a road block if I fail to get the critical on the first shot and really want to stop my opponents charge. With a large base and reach it can really tie up a lot of enemy units or have them risk a power 16 free strike.
Next up are my compulsory (for me) unit of Gun Mages (GM). The High Born Covenant of Llael can field their own flavor of Gun Mages via their own gun toting, magic-bullet-slinging pistoleers known as the Order of the Amethyst Rose. so it made complete sense to field this unit with regards to fluff, having the duellist Ashlynn leading the army and all the ‘Brutal damages’ which would be unleashed on the feat turn!
|"Show us to your Women, red wine and maybe the enemy!"|
I initially had a quandary about which way to go when painting this unit. Llael is obviously (occupied) France within the Iron Kingdoms, just like Khador is Russia and Cygnar is the USA (does that make Britain the Rhul?). This made me look on GM’s as Musketeers (that’s from the classic Oliver Reed films, not the crappy remakes). I have always considered Musketeers to be flash bastards, dressed up to the nines, swanning around town, trying to bed as many maidens as possible before fighting a duel over honour then returning to the tavern for a glass of red and more rumpy pumpy. I wanted my Mages to reflect this BUT Llael is occupied and this is a army of rebellion meaning the Mages would be arrested on sight, so the last thing they would want to do is draw attention to themselves!
This meant I then started to picture them as desperados, robbing banks, stage coaches etc. to make ends meet (they even look like Highway men!). Most ‘freedom fighters’ through history seemed to have financed their operations by repressing the people they were supposed to free with protection rackets, running drug / prostitution rackets, organised crime etc. If I run with this idea I would need to paint the Mages much darker then I wanted.
|Believe it or not these are the same figures|
In the end I went with the compromise of these were hunted men, donning their uniforms for one last hoorah to ignite a country wide rebellion. This compromise also meant I could get round another problem. Four of the six Mages I bought were doubles. Now in a mass army this is not a concern but in an army where I am only fielding eleven figures it’s suddenly very noticeable! The simple solution was to green stuff on some scarfs. This suddenly made two identical figures look very different and fluff wise I could look at these fellas as men who were not willing to lie down their lives for the rebellion and hoped to survive this without being recognised.
|So are these fellas|
The GM’s are a great tool box unit to field and again are tailor made for Ashlynns feat with their ‘critical brutal’ and Thunderbolt’ shots. That said any ability like ‘Dead eye’ or ‘beast lore’ which add an additional attack die to trigger the criticals are a great boon to this unit. This mob REALLY have to stay out of melee and AOE blasts will decimate this armour eleven unit in seconds.
With regards to melee, one trick I have found useful is trying to ensure I keep one Mage out of charge range but has LOS to the front of another Mage. By standing still this means the Mage is on RAT 9 (10 for an officer), which means they should be able to shoot into melee with a decent chance of hitting the enemy (especially on the feat turn). With high armour, multi box opponents (like Jacks), I use ‘Thunderbolt’ to just push the opponent out of melee range. This should free up the Mage to then shoot into the next combat etc and hopefully free up the entire unit.
Another use for Thunderbolts is to ‘push’ your own Mules forward if they are just out of range. A stationary GM shooting a Mule in the back only misses on a double one. He then pushes the Mule D3" forward for the extra range. This can blow up in your face if you roll a double as the Mule will then be knocked down, which will cost it it’s shooting attack!
Another ability I consistently over look is the ‘Arcane inferno’ order. This allows you to place a 3” AOE around a target and everything within suffers a POW 10 hit. Not much use for a full unit of Mages in shooting range, but for a last GM facing down a unit of winter guard it can be a wonderful F U before he is shot off the board by any survivors!
With the above units and Jacks as my core force (of 16 points), I am left with four points for solos. The solos are where you really get to tweek your army list to fill in any missing gaps.
The first Solo I normally reach for is a Gun Mage Captain (2 points).
Fluff wise I have a gun totting, jive talking, bad ass muther trucker called 50 Groat as my Gun Mage Captain. He is a notorious gang land pimp who keeps his pimp arm strong by popping a cap in the arse of any Khadorians within range. I fell in love with this Reaper miniature the second I saw him and originally envisioned him leading a unit of Gun Magisses but Priverteer press did not do enough female, mage, mini's to fill out the unit. Had to go with the 70's pimp look on the fella and he gets a lot of attention as soon as he is placed on the table.
Against an army with lots of stealth he is invaluable as he grants the GM's true sight. The really good news is the unit get to keep this ability even if the Captain is shot off the table.
The other use is the ability to marshal Jacks to him. This does place a MASSIVE bulls eye on his (armour eleven chest) and things like feedback are an absolute nightmare to go up against (bloody Satyxis raiders!!) but it does allow you to grant the Mule the same rune shot as the Mages. Yes thats 'Critical Devastation' and 'Critical Brutal' within the same shot. I nearly always use the Marshal ability to boost the attack roll to trigger these criticals.
|"Take that Turkey!"|
My next auto include is nearly always Gorman Di Wulfe (2 points).
Fluff wise it makes complete sense as he is from Llael.
Gorman is a wonderful vulture and can be a nightmare for your opponents thanks to 'black oil' which 'blinds' the hit models. Against high defence opponents the trick is to get as close as possible so the target is still black oiled, even if the throw deviates.
Gorman has stealth but has very low armour, so he is still very vunerable to blast AOE's. I find Gorman is best left tucked in behind your units, ready to dart out and screw your primary target before it is finished off by the rest of your forces.
Another solo option is Reinholdt (1 point)
I normally only get to field him at twenty points if I take Eiryss (see below), but if I ever have a point going spare I always reach for this little fella. The most useful role I have found for him is the 'reload' ability which grants the caster an additional shot. This is especially useful with Ashlynn as she is a gun fighter as well as a 'virtuoso' and the additional shot can be used in melee or to pop off an additional opponent if she finishes off everyone in melee range. For one point you can't go wrong as he will normally account for at least three opponents during the game. One good thing about Reinholdt is he is not 'attached' to the caster so you can still make use of someone like Sly (see below).
As an aside this little bastard is the miniature which brought the misery that is Warmachine to my attention as I originally bought him as one of the 'Green streak ooligans'.
My next solo Eiryss (3 points), is normally the one I take against high focus warcasters (like epic Vlad) or someone who is dependant on their spells for their assassination runs (like Sorscha). Eiryss is a great swiss army knife against Casters but suffers against Hordes, Warlocks.
Her 'disruptor bolt' has caused the demise of more then one Caster as they are suddenly stripped of Focus and cannot replenish it during it's next turn! One thing you do have to be wary of with Eiryss is her inate racism (called technological intolerence in the game). This means she will sulk and go into shutdown if she ends her movement within five inches of a FRIENDLY warjack and a canny opponent will be looking for this!
To counter this I normally just stick her out on a flank away from my Jacks. She has a range 12" shooting attack so this is not too much of a hardship for her.
This is another solo with stealth, but she is only armour twelve so watch out of blast AOE's.
The veil across her face is not me trying to be clever. When I bought this miniature I did not notice she was a mould slip and looked like she was having a stroke, until I got her home. The Tube fair to Dark Sphere and back would have cost as much as the miniature so I just decided to green stuff a veil on her to hide the deformity.
Because of the focus hungry nature of Ashlynn's spells and the great buffs she offers to her units any solo which can help her save on focus is a boon.
This is where Sylys comes in (2 points). First up his 'arcane assistance' means you get to upkeep one spell for free.
His special action of 'Arcane secrets' means an extra die for attack and damage rolls for the first spell cast (discard the lowest), which can really help Ashlynn get off that essential offensive spell without eating up all her focus.
If nothing else, if it all goes tits up you can always use him to block a charge lane.
When going up against Hordes I naturally reach for Viktor Pendrake (2 points).
First and foremost he is there to grant 'Beast lore' to my Mages. Thats an additional attack die for the Mages when shooting at warbeasts (AND WARBEASTS ONLY!). Suddenly my Mages can shoot into melee against Warbeasts with impunity and the extra die is there to trigger the critical. Whats not to love?
That said Pendrake is no slouch when it comes to melee against warbeasts thanks to 'duck', 'tough' and 'dismember'.
Finally my girl Ashlynn the Warcaster (+6 Warjack points).
I had to use a Reaper proxy as the Privateer Press model is an horrendous, bobble headed, freak!
I love using this caster as she is fragile, but a melee monster. This can only lead to exciting games as you try to judge the right time to strike. She has amazing defence and a slew of tricks to pull.
On the down side she is very focus hungry as she will nearly have at least one spell to upkeep and her Mule will need at least one focus to trigger 'critical devastation'. This only leaves three or four focus and your probably going to want to camp on at least a couple of those due to her low armour.
Her other great weakness is 'knockdown' which will nullify all her high defence in at instant. 'Admonition' goes some way to counter this but any opponent with lots of knockdown abilities will be an absolute nightmare to navigate.
She really is a balancing act. That said she is worth the time to learn to use but if you want a 'plug and play' caster I would probably look else where as I have had to go through a steep learning curve with her.
It's funny looking at her now, as she was one of the first Warmachine miniatures I painted, at least a year ago. I am pleased I managed to pull off the 'white in white' eyes (from casting spells) and went with very pale skintone as I figured she would be pale due to the stress of controlling six ton Warjacks while dodging bullets and someone was trying to cave her face in with an axe!
That said my painting ability has definately improved since she was painted and she a bit on a 'Monet' (looks good at a distance but not so great close up).
Is it time for a repaint?
So thats my 20 point list.
Ashlynn (+6 WJ points)
2 Mules (16 points - 6 WJ points = 10pts).
Gun Mages (6 points)
and four points of Solos (including the GM captain attachment).
And one last shot of the 'Purple Hurtful'.