High Command: Savage Guardians

IKRPGGday80Not gonna lie, the release of Big Guns for the Warmachine side of High Command had me giggling like the proverbial guy who giggles at High Command expansions. Menoth is my homeboy, so adding more toys to the Menite arsenal appealed on so many levels. Accordingly, I can understand exactly where the Hordes High Command fans are coming from when we’re talking about this month’s release of the first Hordes expansion, Savage Guardians.  You can find the card list here, if you’re so inclined, but for those of you allergic to downloads, I’ll provide a little rundown.

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As with Big Guns, Savage Guardians introduces a new Warlock for each of the four factions, and four new additions to your reinforcement deck.

Trollbloods

  • Jarl Skuld, Devil of the Thornwood hits the middle of the pack for Trollblood Warlocks with POW3, and adds a fourth warlock recruitable with CMD. He’s the first warlock to bring the Green and Orange divisions, but as with any warlock, the feat’s always the question. Rolling Fog allows Jarl Skuld to deploy from hand a warrior card with a purchase cost of 3 or less, for free. So… Kriel Warrior Hordes,  Frontier Scouts, Pyg Bushwhackers, Slugger Machine Gunners, Krielstone Attendants, and Runeshaper Sorcerors. This makes for a very versatile warlock, since you can bring Assault, Superior Range, Knockdown, or even just the Health 4 big butts that the Sluggers bring with them.
  • Troll Bouncer has 5 health and Shield Guard, for a mere 4 WAR.  Problem?
  • Earthborn Dire Troll is a healthy 3/6, but should you have brought any other elemental trolls, he’s 3/7… and they’re all +1 health too. Oh, and he’s worth 2VPs.
  • Warders of the Kriel feed into the banking theme of the Trollbloods with the Battle-Driven ability.
  • Long Riders bull rush their way onto the field, bouncing any low-health solos on the opposing back to their owner’s hands, shredding the numerical advantage of swarm decks

Circle Orboros

  • Morvahna the Autumnblade brings the purple and yellow, and her feat effect is a filter of sorts. For every enemy card you destroy, you get to refresh one card in your row, and one in any opponent’s. This makes it optimal to throw her against a swarm, and can go a long way to helping dig out that Feral Warpwolf you were looking for.
  • Rip Horn Satyr brings something new with a hard head meaning your opponents cannot force it to move or bounce it to your hand. Sorry, Mordikaar!
  • Feral Gorax, for a mere 3 WAR, can be a 4/4 wearbeast. Sure, he bounces to your hand if you use it, but damn if that won’t help the Circle take down heavy Warjacks.
  • Teleportation Stones, naturally, feed into the Circle’s mobility theme, but the fact that it triggers at the start of _each_ player’s orders step means you can  shift a whole lot of cards in a multiplayer game.
  • Warpborn Skinwalkers are a healthy 3/3 and worth a VP, but the shift to 3/5 when outnumbered again folds into the anti-swarm feel we’re getting from the expansion.

Skorne

  • Supreme Aptimus Zaal is one of my favourite Skorne warlocks, so seeing him ported over to High Command is spiffy. You’ll want to hold Zaal til the late game, because he only has a measly power of 1… but it ramps up based on the number of warrior cards you have in your discard pile. Pick some warrior-heavy divisions (Zaal has access to Purple and Blue), and load up.
  • Cyclops Brute brings with him the Girded ability, the reason why the Wold Guardian’s one of my favourites. I like the Brute already…
  • Titan Sentry may be where the money’s at. With health 7 he’s going to take a lot of work to shift, and his Locker ability not only completely neuters card abilities that let you shift stuff away from its location… it stops you moving stuff in, too.
  • Ancestral Guardian brings a little something new. If you lose a warrior at its location, you get to draw an extra card. Iiiinteresting.
  • Immortal Legion is the natural fluff companion card to the Ancestral Guardian, but it’s the ability that’s potentially interesting, with the Legion gaining health for each Construct at the location. Put three of them on one spot and they’re all health 7, for only 3 CMD each.

Legion of Everblight

  • Kallus, Wrath of Everblight, brings Purple and Orange divisions, and a Host of Angels; when you rush Kallus, you get to dig two Incubus Swarms and deploy them at his location for free. This means that you effectively get 7 power onto one location for a mere 2 CMD… if you play him early enough, before the Swarms are out of your reinforcement deck and into your reserve row.
  • Speaking of, the Incubus Swarm is cheap and nasty. 2 CMD, 2/1 stats, but the Host ability means you can turn an opponent’s victory into a stalemate by replacing your destroyed warriors with Incubi, ensuring that there are still cards to oppose your enemies.
  • Warmonger Champions are 4/5 and worth 1VP. Okay, solid stat line… but if you’ve wiped out all enemy cards at their location, you get to draw a card? Huh…
  • Nephilim Protector feeds into the Blight Gift thematic, allowing you to spend either CMD or WAR to get his 5 health butt out there.
  • Scythean is tailor made to deal with large infantry units or heavy warjacks, with Slaughterhouse reducing the health of every enemy card that starts with a health greater than 5.

Savage Guardians should be on the hit list for fans of High Command for the warlocks alone – new colour combinations give you more flexibility in deck customisation, after all – but with both Circle and Trollbloods gaining some anti-swarm tech while Legion and Skorne get some armour-cracking feats and some very interesting toys – that Sentry’s going to upset a lot of Circle shenanigans – the inexpensive expansion adds a fair chunk to your options. Plenty of bang for the buck, even if it doesn’t have any new Allegiants of the Order of the Fist 😉

Savage Guardians releases this month, and is the first expansion for the Hordes side of High Command, the deckbuilding game set in the Iron Kingdoms. You should hassle your FLGS staff to get it for you.