High Command: The Invasion of Sul

One of the things I love about High Command is that, much like many other LCG’s, it’s constantly evolving through the addition of new cards for your favourite decks. My other preferred LCG, Netrunner, constantly releases new cards for runners and corps to customise their decks, and kicks it a notch further with new runner and corporation identity cards. These are often a subtle change that affects their decks in quiet yet significant ways. The equivalent for High Command is the addition of new Warcasters and Warlocks, each of which changes your deck options by allowing different coloured divisions as well as topping it off with a new once-per-game feat ability.

This month we’ve been handed something new. Not only does it add new cards to your decks… not only does it add new Warcasters… but by adding new Locations and a new Winds of War deck, the entire balance of the game shifts. Suddenly those Mechanithralls you just shot from downtown are hiding behind defensive walls and can’t be easily picked off. Those rapid-response scouting teams that were so cheap to Rush into play? They can’t get down the labyrinthine alleyways in time to intercept those Man-O-Wars.

Just when you had your deck perfect the way you want it, the game has changed.  It’s time for the Invasion of Sul.

Invasion of Sul comes in a much bigger box than we normally see for High Command expansions, which may at first seem a bit wonky given the number of cards you get, but I’ll think on this: How much fun are you having trying to fit all of your cards into the main High Command box? Allow me to digress for a minute to show you my current storage solutions…

See, I have to sleeve everything. At this point I think I’ve spent more on sleeves than I have on High Command cards themselves. Sad thing about this is it makes it difficult to use the main boxes with their handy-dandy division slots. Everything for Warmachine: High Command is in this box, except for my two current decks.

My current decks lurk in individual deckboxes. This is one I picked up on my recent sojourn to the Old Country. Behind the divider is three warcasters and everything that goes into their deck. In front of the divider, the Location and Winds of War decks from the core set. Handy-dandy for travelling halfway across the world, granted, but the advantage of the Invasion of Sul box is that once I take out the divider…

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I can fit two deckboxes in there! Also, I can not impress my cat, who seems more interested in Lego! If you’re not a deckbox user, the Invasion of Sul box will happily hold at *least* two full decks, plus your Winds of War and Location decks. You’ve got the space, it’s up to  you how you want to make use of it.

Okay, back to the Invasion…

The two things that will have the biggest impact on your High Command experience are the Location and Winds of War decks. Rather than giving you 15 new locations, the campaign is centered specifically on the expansive fortifications at el within and around Sul itself, so while there are three new unique locations (Exemplar Acropolis, Sulon’s Fortress and Temple of the Creator), there are three copies each of four other generic locations (Menite Temple, Gates of Sul, Walls of Sul, Narrow Streets.

These four locations are likely to come up multiple times, and each brings the flavour of invading a well fortified Menite city. I’ve already hinted Walls of Sul, where every squishy card with a Health less than 4 can hide behind the battlements and now has a base Health of 4, making cheap infantry swarms the order of the day. Then there’s Menite Temple, where destroyed cards can “go to Menoth” and be moved to the Occupying Forces pile, letting you thin your deck if you’re so inclined. Narrow Streets mean Warcasters and Warlocks are the only cards than can be rushed to them, so swarm troops are going to have a difficult time gaining momentum.

Of course, with three copies in the location deck there’s the risk that you’ll end up looking at nothing but Narrow Streets to fight in…

Oop, no, they thought of that. If you end up with a duplicate location, if there’s no-one currently on that slot, you can switch it out. Good jeorb, Privateer. This is, for the record, the only new rule in the expansion. Whole new campaign, only needs one minor rule addition. So there.

The Location deck has a few faces that seem familiar, but hiding in the midst are some new options. Tactical Retreat, for example, lets you bounce a card from the table to your hand, letting you draw two cards when you do so. This could be helpful in ensuring you have the right resources you need, or even in making sure you draw the card you really need.

Vanguard lets you deploy cards with a cost of 2 CMD or 2 WAR for free. Have you bought up all your Mechanithralls and Allegiants yet? What about Plan of Attack, which lets you choose the next card that goes into your Reserves from the top two of the deck? Or a personal favourite, not the least because it has flavour text from Amon Ad Raze – Coordinated Assult, which gives you a discount on the rush cost of a Warcaster or Warlock if you’ve sent a beast or a ‘jack into the fray already.

These two decks combined – Location and Winds of War – dramatically change the regular game of High Command into a new animal that has me considering the need to completely overhaul  my decks. GAH!

Oh, and there’s new toys for each faction as well. One neat thing about the expansion is that the four warcasters released with it are the same four that were given out as prizes during the release event. If you didn’t nab Kraye, Thyra, Strakhov or the Coven then, now you can complete your collection!

For Cygnar, Kraye rides out and brings with him:

  • Sword Knight Platoon – Health 6 if there’s any other battle brothers at the same location
  • Stormcaller Company – Debuff opposing warjacks and are a cheap VP
  • Hammersmith – Follow Up means those pesky Circle troops aren’t getting away…

Thyra assembles the troops for the Protectorate, bringing:

  • Temple Flameguard Champions – Health 5 when they come out, and a VP
  • Knights Exemplar Seneschal – More potent when discarded Exemplars are about
  • Scantifier – A soul-fueled engine of destruction built for larger decks

Strakhov’s gathering warjacks in defense of the Motherland, along with:

  • Iron Fang Pikeman Kompany – Shield Wall makes them a tough to kill 3pts
  • Manhunter Scouts – Squishy, playing a different game by skipping their attack steps
  • Mad Dog – The mystery Berserker-chassis warjack with a mad-on for infantry

Aint no debuff like a Garlghast debuff, especially when it’s backed by:

  • Satyxis Raiding Party – 3pts, 1vp, and messing with your opponent’s reserves
  • Bane Knights Cadre – More dangerous on your opponent’s turns
  • Ripjaw – Armor Piercing on a 3pt Warjack

While Invasion of Sul does provide new toys for each of the factions from Warmachine: High Command (core set), it’s the new Locations and Winds of War deck that really shake things up and provide a new flavour to what’s already a pretty darn awesome game.

Invasion of Sul releases this month from Privateer Press, and is set to reinvigorate your Iron Kingdoms Cardfloppery. Check it out at your FLGS.