High Command: Heroes & Legends

I’ve recently written on the changing nature of High Command, how it’s less a box game and more an LCG now that we have multiple expansions out for both Hordes and Warmachine lines of the game, so it’s a natural curiosity to ponder how the game will continue to evolve. We have the campaign sets on the horizon (Hello, Lock & Load!), but right here, right now, this month we get Warmachine’s Heroes & Legends. Epic warcasters? Character warjacks, units and solos? Tastes like new shenanigans. You can wrap your mitts around No Quarter 53 if you’re so inclined, but for those without an issue of that fine periodical, let’s take a quick peek at what’s coming for your preferred Warmachine cardfloppery.

CYGNAR

Lord Commander Coleman Stryker hits like a freaking freight train with a natural 5 Power, rocking with green and blue divisions, but as with any warcaster one has to check out the feat. Rolling Thunder means you can send in Stryker to nuke some of those nasty Khadorans and, just to add insult to injury, once the fight’s over you get to play a warjack – *any warjack* – from your hand to that location for free. Failed to kill the defenders? Leave a Centurion behind to thwart their capturing the location. Nuked the defenders and only have one card left on the location? Toss on, oh, say, Gallant so you have two cards there to capture the location yourself unless those aforementioned Khadorans can beat their way through a Shield Guard jack with 6 Health. Lord Commander Stryker is a thing, but it should be noted that he comes with a price. We’re used to paying 2 CMD or 2 WAR for our Warcasters… these Epics, however, cost 5 resources.

He’s not alone, of course. Maxwell Finn charges in, slugger spitting hot lead, and making every other Trencher there stronger and tougher. The Black 13th bring the option to either ramp up their own Power, or to reduce the combined Power of all opposing cards at a location. Gallant, as mentioned, is 6 Health with Shield Guard, and then there’s Thunderhead… 2/6, okay, but +1 Power for each enemy card at a location. Bam.

PROTECTORATE OF MENOTH

Now we’re cooking with gas… I’m not afraid to admit my biases! Heirarch Severius may look mild and unassuming when compared to the monster that is Stryker, but if your opponent’s relying on Warrior cards, Severius will rewrite the rules for that one glorious turn he comes out to play. Every single enemy warrior card resets their base Power to 0, and Severius himself gains that much Power, as those heathens recognize the Heirarch as the voice of Menoth and give him their Power, and  no doubt their Location too. I think that’s worth 5 CMD…

What sort of Heirarch would Severius be if he wasn’t attended by the Covenant of Menoth? This card makes me very, very happy… as hard to get rid of as a heavy warjack? Well, sure, if you’re just looking at its Health… consider also that it strips all opposing cards of their abilities. No Shield Guard, no Backswing, no Electro-Leap, no nothing. The Book Says No. Oh, and let’s stack it with the Avatar of Menoth as well, who demands that opponents deal with its 6 Health before they can even *think* about taking a poke at the Covenant. Fire of Salvation? If an opponent destroys your two defenders at Fort Falk and look to capture the location, kick in a little Righteous Vengeance and move Fire of Salvation to any location where one of your cards was destroyed. Aw yeah, denial. Finally, Nicia joins the fray with 3 Power and 4 Health to match her costs of 3 to purchase or 4 to rush. A hard hitting, inexpensive solo balanced out by her ducking back into the shadows after taking down an enemy card.

KHADOR

If Stryker brings warjacks, what does his Khadoran counterpart do? For 5 CMD, it better be something special… and it is. While Stryker brings in a warjack after the fight to shore up defense or aid in a capture, Supreme Kommandant Irusk rushes a Warrior card from your reserves for free. Any warrior card, regardless of cost, added to the fight. Irusk brings 3 Power himself, but with a free warrior you’re looking to ramp that up to at LEAST 5, and likely a bunch more, and that’s not even considering whatever extra abilities you’re bringing, or even the simple fact that it’s potentially adding free VP’s to your deck.

Irusk is backed up by the Behemoth, suitably wrapped in thick Khadoran armour and swinging Armor Piercing fists, the Great Bears of Gallowswood who just *love* it when there’s multiple enemy cards at a location (4/5? Why not!), the notorious Kovnik Joe, buffing Winter Guard cards, and the sweet, sweet sound of Drago rushing onto the field, destroying all before him and, just to be cheeky, drawing you an extra card once he’s done his job.

CRYX

Possibly the nastiest of the warcasters in the expansion in terms of swing-turn potential, Lich Lord Asphyxious brings a solid 4 Power to the fight, but then goes through your entire discard pile and brings *every undead card* to the location with him for the fight, after which they vanish to Urcaen where they belong. This last warcaster particularly highlights the conditional nature of these four warcasters for me. Stryker needs you to have bought a decent warjack and have it in your hand. Severius needs your opponent to have a handful of warrior cards on the board. Irusk needs to have a decent warrior card worth rushing in the row.  Asphyxious needs you to have a loaded discard pile. None of these are particularly hard to pull off (except perhaps Severius’, being opponent-dependent) but the sheer amount of swing behind these golfers makes a sense given their situational nature.

Don’t you think it’s about time Cryxian players got to use Deathjack? No, I don’t think so either… but nonetheless, Deathjack is here, employing the Skulls of Hate to enact a little Necromancy and bringing turning destroyed enemy warrior cards into undead fodder for your hand. With him is Malice, who may be one of the most annoying cards to get rid of for warrior-centric armies, since its Health increases for every warrior opposing it. Captain Rengrave brings with him free Revenants, and the Withershadow Combine rounds it out by turning destroyed opposing warjacks into new helljacks for your Necrotechs to have fun with.

The introduction of Character cards (other than Scrapjack) to High Command opens to the door to higher power smashfests and synergies that can dramatically change the course of the game. I look forward kicking tires and seeing just how annoying the Convenant can be for my opponents 😉

Heroes & Legends is the third expansion for the Warmachine branch of High Command, and releases this month, for the enjoyment of all lovers of steam-powered card flopping. Your FLGS should be able to hook you up.