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Subject: Help me choose a first army!!! rss

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Neomaxim Noefaith
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Hey folks,

So a friend and I dipped our toes into WarMachine, by splitting a 2-player starter box. Frankly, as a mini-war-gaming fan, the choice was made for us though, as our local FLGS (Dragon's Den, in Poughkeepsie NY) really ONLY has a WarMachine player base.

My Warhammer 40k armies sadly retired... I now need to know where to launch my WarMachine ambitions.

I played Imperial Guard in 40k, so I tend to prefer my armies to field lots of, usually shooty units, with a little heavy support. What would the closest analog be in WarMachine? I've seen the Cryx name thrown around.

Meanwhile, i'm open to trying something new, and am willing to dabble in anything weird, but fun to play. I don't care so much about being Timmy Power-Gamer, as I do having fun, and maybe occasionally winning with a very atypical list, and odd units.


Edit: As a small addition... I LOVE fielding big numbers. Also, i'm fine with Hordes OR WarMachine factions.
 
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Zack Stackurski
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At first blush that certainly sounds like Khador. Very troop centric with a couple of really big neat support pieces certainly fits the bill. Cygnar can also pull off a nice troops supported by a couple of Warjacks and can probably be even more shooty... though less numerous.

Other factions can be made to work for you but its not their natural playstyle... in all hordes the troops tend to take second place to beasts... Menoth isn't all that numerous but can be a bit shooty... Cryx isn't terribly shooty but certainly is numerous... Mercenaries might work too but your options are more limited there depending on which caster you take...

Have fun with Warmachine whatever faction you choose!
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Brian Chung
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In general, Warmachine runs more infantry than Hordes who rely on their beasts to generate fury, so I'll break down the Warmachine factions really quick and how closely they match your desired playstyle.

Cygnar- Overall, has the strongest ranged infantry game. Their infantry generally is weak melee-wise and rely on their jacks to bust armor. Has the strongest reliance on Mercenaries to make up for their deficiencies which is by design as they also have access to the largest range of mercs.

Khador- Has some extremely powerful infantry options and generally only runs 1 heavy and a bunch of infantry. Has a decent amount of shooting options with the winter guard and widowmakers but overall, cannot field the sheer amount of accurate shooting some other factions can. Also has access to a lot of artillery which is inaccurate but attacks an area and some hard hitting melee options. (Side note: Of all the units, I feel the Winter Guard come closest to IG in terms of feel. Just ordinary men and women taking up arms, a bit of a militia feel)

Protectorate of Menoth- Runs the most jacks in Warmachine because of their amazing jack support. Has the strongest ranged jacks overall though a bit lacking in terms of ranged infantry.

Cryx- All about the infantry. Quite often runs no heavies at all, opting for masses of infantry. Has almost no ranged game to speak of. Most of their powerful infantry units are melee and has very little accurate ranged options.

Retribution of Scyrah- I'd say is just trailing Cygnar in the ranged infantry options but also can bring the pain with fantastic melee units. The tradeoff is their casters in general are a bit weaker and their jacks are not amazing. However, their jacks almost all have ranged and melee options (which leads to slightly inflated point costs, because you pay for the versatility)

Mercenaries- Don't have much experience here so I'll leave it for others.

In my opinion, you're probably looking for Cygnar, Khador or Retribution depending on what your next priority is after ranged infantry. If you could list some secondary things you're looking for in a faction, it could help narrow it down.
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Eric Taylor
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If you like lots of shooting, Cygnar or Retribution is probably for you. Cygnar tends to run more a handful of jacks with troop support and Retribution tends to run more troop heavy with a 1-2 heavy jacks as support. Cygnar tends to have longer-ranged shooting specialists with some melee backup whereas Retribution has medium-ranged shooters who can also do all right in melee. Cygnar's shooting is great at hitting even higher DEF targets or seemingly outside of LOS targets, but it can struggle a bit with high ARM. Retribution's shooting can have some trouble hitting high DEF and/or Stealth units, but it tends to hit harder.

Khador has some shooting units/support, but they're mostly melee. They tend to run very jack-light unless you use a jack support caster like Karchev or Harkevich. Can't say I'd recommend them if you prefer much dakka and have a liking for jacks.

Cryx tends to run swarm infantry with a few jacks for arcing spells. Their units tend to be very poor at shooting and they do most of their ranged damage from channeling spells cast by the warcaster. They have great melee threat range usually and their debuff spells can get annoying.

Protectorate tends to go combined arms/synergy with a focus on denial. They are the most jack-heavy faction in Warmachine (with limited exceptions), and their best heavies (Vanquisher and Reckoner) can handle both shooting and melee duties. As a general rule, they lack the chops to make long- or medium-ranged firepower a core of their strategy - ranged combat is useful for softening up enemies on the way to melee or for opportunity kills, but will generally not compare favorably to the extreme threat ranges of Cygnar, and to a lesser degree, Retribution.
 
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Neomaxim Noefaith
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Thanks for the help guys.

To expand on what i'm looking for, I guess I just need to use WH40k terms, as my SOLE experience with WarMachine, is the contents of the Starter Box (IE, a token Protectorate and Khador army).

Well, in essence, fielding tons of units is my first priority. Coming from WH40k, my only heart-ache is not filling a table with 50 units... :-p Smaller in scope, WarMachine thus far feels better mechanically, but "looks" less appealing for the time/money investment, come game-day.

Aesthetically I love how Cryx look, and Legion from the Hordes side. Likewise, I know Cryx somewhat emulates a play-style I would appreciate as it sends mass fodder off to die, to create confusion in ranks, and let few heavy hitters clean up, and do real damage.

Also, I know nothing for Hordes, and its Fury mechanic, in practice, so i'm not sure how it alters play-style, per se.

So yeah... right now its probably Khador, Legion, or Cryx. All seem to have elements of what i'm looking for.

Does anyone have suggestions based on this, what kinds of army lists I would want? Park of my decision is also based on what I can afford to put together initially, knowing if i'm liking the game, I can always build more over time.
 
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Eric Taylor
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I'd pick something you'd like to paint first and foremost. People can learn to play just about anything, but it's hard to "learn" to like the way a faction's minis look.

Cryx is more infantry heavy, Legion is more beast heavy. If you want cheap disposable infantry swarms, you're looking for Cryx. It particularly sounds like you should grab some Mechanithralls and Necrosurgeons. Legion is shooty, but they're very infantry light (usually just one or two units).
 
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Neomaxim Noefaith
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So, is there a Khador Leader who seems tailor made for an infanty-heavy, shooty army-list, with say one or two big Jacks for impenetrable targets? If so, I might go that route, otherwise may have to consider Cryx for my mass-army dreams, or Cygnar for my pure shooty experience.

Hmmm. So confused.
 
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Brian Chung
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There's quite a few Khador casters that support a ranged army well. Some quick highlights:

Irusk1- Has access to Iron Flesh, Khador's best defensive buff. Has a spell called Inhospitable Ground which turns his control area into rough terrain for the opponent making it harder for them to close the distance. Finally, his feat also provides an attack boost to all friendly faction warrior models.

Irusk2- Is generally considered weaker because he loses Iron Flesh though can still create a bit of rough terrain and has a spell called Fire For Effect which boosts the attack and damage of the first ranged attack of a model. Really good on the mortar crew as it boosts the damage on all models hit by the AoE. Also has a passive ability called martial discipline which allows some of your warriors to ignore other warriors for the purposes of LoS, allowing say a gunline to shoot through a line of melee warriors ready to stall the enemy. Feat also greatly slows down the opponent potentially giving you more time to shoot.

Sorscha2- Also has access to Iron Flesh. Has some passive bonuses for Winter Guard and a strong warjack bond that makes models ending their activation within 2 inches of your jack stationary. Has another buff, Shatter Storm, that basically causes enemies killed by the buffed model/unit to explode and do some blast damage to everything within 3 inches, potentially turning a ranged unit into a pseudo artillery unit. Feat is fantastic for wrecking heavy armor, doubling all damage done over armor.

Vlad1- Has a spell, Signs and Portents that gives every friendly faction model in your control area an extra die on all attack and damage rolls, dropping the lowest. This is a pretty powerful buff across the board for accuracy and damage, probably making him the strongest overall if you want a pure ranged army.


As for your fury question, if you've played the 2p battle box, you should be familiar with how focus works. Whereas focus is generated by the caster every turn, fury is generated by warbeasts (Hordes equivalent of warjacks) and the warlock leeches it off next turn. There's a ton of debate on focus vs fury but the bottom line is, without warbeasts, a warlock has to deal damage to him/herself to generate fury, making warbeasts essential. In Warmachine, many casters take 1, maybe 2 jacks to allocate their focus to and keep the rest for themselves.
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Brant Benoit
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If you're looking for lots of troops, then stay away from Legion as they run really heavy on the beasts. In fact, I would stay away from Hordes in general if you wan to go troop heavy.

Cryx sounds like what you're looking for; masses of troops. As Cryx troops are dirt cheap, you could run a mass army that would fill up your side of the table at 50 points.
 
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A Warlock of
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Mercenaries

Four sub-factions, and many models will play for more than one. Don't worry if you pick a subfaction and change your mind: you can almost certainly make use of the models in another subfaction.

Strong emphasis on cheap troops, cheap but efficient warjacks (steam powered robots), and lots and lots of cheap but amazing solo characters to support the army.

Talion Charter
Pirates! Masses of puny infantry, buffed by numerous solo characters. Cannons. Warjacks that look like victorian diving suits.

Highborn Covenant
A noble resistance movement trying to retake its fallen homeland. Think duelling musketeers in tricorn hats. Uses masses of Steelheads: a no-nonsense mercenary organisation of cheap halberdiers, riflemen and horsemen. Can also take pirates and dwarves.

Four Star Syndicate
A sinister crime organisation. Uses Steelheads like the Highborn Covenant, but has more access to 'evil' models and pirates. Can also take pirates and dwarves.

Searforge Commission
My personal favourite. Dwarves and Ogres (Ogrun) only. Thick-armoured, slow moving, industrial mining robots, blast templates. Consensus is this is the most limited and uncompetitive subfaction. I don't care, they're dwarves.


Comparisons to Imperial Guard

I would say that Steelheads (halberdiers, riflemen, cavalry) are the closest thing Mercs have to IG. Steelheads are a proud organisation of mercenaries who serve whoever they are currently contracted to. They are generally painted in metal, grey, brown, green. Mercenary jacks tend to look beat-up and patched together.

But ultimately, I'd say the conscript armies of Khador are the nearest thing to the Imperial Guard.
 
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FiretopMountain wrote:
Mercenaries

Four sub-factions, and many models will play for more than one. Don't worry if you pick a subfaction and change your mind: you can almost certainly make use of the models in another subfaction.

Strong emphasis on cheap troops, cheap but efficient warjacks (steam powered robots), and lots and lots of cheap but amazing solo characters to support the army.

Talion Charter
Pirates! Masses of puny infantry, buffed by numerous solo characters. Cannons. Warjacks that look like victorian diving suits.

Highborn Covenant
A noble resistance movement trying to retake its fallen homeland. Think duelling musketeers in tricorn hats. Uses masses of Steelheads: a no-nonsense mercenary organisation of cheap halberdiers, riflemen and horsemen. Can also take pirates and dwarves.

Four Star Syndicate
A sinister crime organisation. Uses Steelheads like the Highborn Covenant, but has more access to 'evil' models and pirates. Can also take pirates and dwarves.

Searforge Commission
My personal favourite. Dwarves and Ogres (Ogrun) only. Thick-armoured, slow moving, industrial mining robots, blast templates. Consensus is this is the most limited and uncompetitive subfaction. I don't care, they're dwarves.


Comparisons to Imperial Guard

I would say that Steelheads (halberdiers, riflemen, cavalry) are the closest thing Mercs have to IG. Steelheads are a proud organisation of mercenaries who serve whoever they are currently contracted to. They are generally painted in metal, grey, brown, green. Mercenary jacks tend to look beat-up and patched together.

But ultimately, I'd say the conscript armies of Khador are the nearest thing to the Imperial Guard.


Hi Neo,

I appreciate your kind of gamer: fun and a non-power gamer. Good on you, sir.

I am quoting this response because Mercs are the faction I think most fits your preferences. All factions have some shooty, but Mercs are loaded with shooty - TONS of shooty choices. Certain sub-factions will let you choose a Cygnar Long Gunner choice, in addition to your other shooty choices. And I echo the cheapness...you will be able to field lots of troops! On the other hand, I think the Mercs are a little weak when taken on the whole. That may not be a problem for you, though. I'm a former GW player, too, and I have never looked back...great game!
 
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Eric Taylor
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larsk7 wrote:

Hi Neo,

I appreciate your kind of gamer: fun and a non-power gamer. Good on you, sir.

I am quoting this response because Mercs are the faction I think most fits your preferences. All factions have some shooty, but Mercs are loaded with shooty - TONS of shooty choices. Certain sub-factions will let you choose a Cygnar Long Gunner choice, in addition to your other shooty choices. And I echo the cheapness...you will be able to field lots of troops! On the other hand, I think the Mercs are a little weak when taken on the whole. That may not be a problem for you, though. I'm a former GW player, too, and I have never looked back...great game!


Mercs and Cygnar are gateway drugs to the other faction, really. A lot of merc theme lists allow Cygnar units (especially Highborn Covenant/Magnus), and a lot of Cygnar lists can benefit from some mercs. It wouldn't be inconceivable to pretty much start with one faction and slowly absorb the other one into your collection.
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Jason Tuttle
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Sounds to me like you should take a long look at Cryx and possibly Khador. Cryx has some cheap infantry and some what I would call elite infantry, mainly the Banes and a caster in Asphyxious2 that pretty much loves infantry because of his feat. Also take a look into the Privateer Press forums faction sections. Most of them have a sticky at the top of the first page that break down all of the unit, solos, 'jacks, and 'casters.

If you've got a smart phone or table take a look at downloading War Room. It's the official list construction tool from PP and the free version has access to all of the cards for the units in the Prime and Primal books. It was utter ahit on launch, but they've fixed almost all of the bugs now.
 
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Moray Grant
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Go with the faction you like the look of first. Most factions can be tailored to run mass troops. I do this Menoth and out jack my opponent but I've had a soft spot for zealots which are the firbombing militia of the faction.

Cryx will let you lay the fodder down and then play some specialists. You can definitely find a large support piece in the jacks or a few of the larger monstrosities in here. I don't have the new Cryx book but their casters can go spell slinger to lay the hurt and I'm sure there are opportunities for horde strategies. Certainly Goreshade and Epic Asphyxious have the Hordes from no where abilities.

Legion of Everblight are lightning strike specialists how have a glass cannon feel. They have a handful of tough units but they swarm with beasts and it's in their beasts they do much of the hard work.

Khador have excellent troops supporters as mentioned. There are a few casters that give the lord Marshall feel of combat. They inspire the grunts to do amazing feats. Winterguard and mortars and assault kommandos will make you feel right at home aesthetically.

Playstyle Khador will give you the artillery barrages you are used to with a guard feel. Cryx will horde more easily and instead of traditional shells you drop arcane barrages from the casters where you need it.

Note on Hordes and how it differs. Rather than automatically generating focus your warlock must draw on the fury of it's warbeasts. Warbeasts generate fury to similar things jacks need focus for (boosting, extra attacks, charging). Each warbeast has a fury stat and threshold. They can only have as much fury as the fury stat. They can produce all that fury on one turn. If a warbeast has fury left on it after the warlock leeches from them then you must test threshold adding fury. Roll uner or equal nothing happens. Otherwise they frenzy. Fury adds a little risk management. In return you generate it easily. Downside is that as your beasts die your ability to run your warlock spell slinging is reduced. Warlocks instead of adding armour with focus can transfer damage instead. When aw arlock takes a hit you can spend a fury on them. Place on an unmaxed warbeast and they take the damage instead. Sorry for wall of text.
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