Exigence week: Minions, according to Devilsquid

exigenceThis week we’re taking a look at Exigence, faction by faction (though not in book order, because that would be just crazy). Today we welcome the return of Devilsquid, who assures us that despite his recent performance using Khador in a steamroller tournament, his heart really does belong with the Thornfall Alliance, and that he honestly is a true Swineherd deep down. Nossir, the Butcher is not swaying him toward Khador, not at all, not at all…

devilsquidavatar

Hey everyone, and welcome to the Minions portion of Exigence. Gdaybloke asked me to write a little something regarding the upcoming releases, and what kind of impact they may have on the game. As Farrow got 4 new releases this book, I’m glad to take a moment and wax poetic on the new options available to my pigs, as well as those dirty gators.

First off, WARLOCKS!

helga

The queen of pigs herself, Helga the Conqueror, brings some great benefits to the Farrow. Her spell list is very strong, sporting some favorites like Dash and Defenders Ward, as well as Distraction and Cyclone. Although Muzzle does have a specific affect against beasts, it’s still a good ranged magic attack (Bone Grinders make it a magic handcannon of sorts). Defenders Ward gives Farrow its first flat buff upkeep spell, and while the farrow DEF of 12 isn’t the best to begin with, 14 with Defenders Ward puts them in the ‘starting to be a pain’ realm. Add in Dig In, and your Brigands will be DEF 18/ARM16 and immune to blasts. That makes them very hard to move.

Dash and Cyclone add a lot of movement for Helga, as well as flexibility in her attacks. With Cyclone, you can fly into position to attack, then move away and shoot, or use Cyclone to reposition her back out of dangers way. Dash speeds up the Farrow, but also allows for repositioning once stuck in and moving past enemy models due to ignoring freestrikes.

Helga can also do work in combat, as her Shield Cannon is the same RNG/POW as the Gun Boars cannon, and although her spear is a base pow 12, with her Field Marshal ability of Gang, she can get up to a hearty MAT 8 POW 14. Sure, that won’t crack any crazy armor, but that gives her enough oomph to clear out the weeds so her beasts can do the heavy lifting, and with her beasts having gang with warrior models, they can do a lot of armor cracking with a little help from their friends. Nothing like a MAT 8 POW 20 Warhog with Gang and Pain Dial to ruin someones day.

Should slamming models around be your idea of ruining someones day, then Helga’s Feat, Grand Finale, does that. All friendly Faction  models can turn their melee attacks into slams. Knock infantry down? Done. Knock models into each other for set ups? Done. Have your beast beat on an enemy heavy then slam them away with their last attack? Done. Who needs to kill a model to get them out of the control zones when you can just slam them away? (Good timing for a Distraction to drop their DEF, eh?) Helga brings a lot of movement flexibility, passive buffs to her warbeasts, a great control/offensive feat, and a laundry list of spells that any caster would be happy to have.

jaga

But fret not, my scaly gator friends, for Jaga-Jaga, The Death Charmer, is no slouch herself. While her undead snake may give her some melee potential (Reach, Poison, Chain weapon), Jaga-Jaga’s true strength is her spells and feat. While Jaga doesn’t bring a way to protect the Gatorman Posse on their way up the field, she does make her beasts move faster with Escort. Charging Wrasslers, positioning Spitters, even fire and forget missile Snappers…all benefit from the extra movement. Since Spiny Growth stacks with Escort, Jaga will often be sitting at ARM 21. Ghost Walk gives you the flexibility to ignore terrain and freestrikes, and Grave Wind (+2DEF and Poltergeist) fits great on a Totem Hunter to make it even more of a pain to deal with.

While Dead Weight is a solid ranged magic attack, it’s her signature spell of Spellpiercer that really gets peoples attention. Control Area Magic Weapons and Blessed is a strong thing. Iron Flesh, Defenders Ward, Incorporeal Models, Paladins of Menoth…anything that might be able to stop the Gator army from killing you gets ignored. The fact that this applies to ALL weapons, and not just melee, means the Spitters can snipe out annoying models all the easier… after moving 6” due to Escort, of course. Now, if you look in the Dictionary under “Jam Feats”, you’ll see Legion of Death listed there. Go ahead and check, I’ll wait. Anytime you kill a living or undead get to make and advance with it (ignoring freestrikes). This allows you to kill enemy models, then block charge lanes, drop the ARM of enemy beast/jacks, and generally put models in annoying positions and force your opponent to have to kill their own guys to get them out of the way. Oh, and since they’re your models, you can claim objectives and controls zones with them during your turn and theirs. Nice, eh?

Just watch out against Convergence, with their yucky construct people. Jaga Jaga is leading as my favorite Gator caster, as she brings a different playstyle to Gators besides ‘Deliver posse to face’.

New Warlocks are always a great thing, adding new options and play styles to your forces, but in Exigence, nothing is impacting the Minion Pacts like the release of the Battle Engines! Both Battle Engines bring new options to each pact, as well as new interactions with each caster. While many Minion players have been chanting for a Gargantuan, the Battle Engines are easier to fit into existing armies without impacting the Fury pool the warlocks would be working with. Both Minion battle engines can also be used by Hordes factions (two for each), and I know a few Warlocks who are eyeing the Minion battle engines with a jealous glare.

thresher

And so, the MOTHERLOVING MEAT THRESHER! Without a doubt, I’m excited for the Farrow battle engine. In general, the Farrow have issues dealing with mass infantry that many armies can bring. The Thresher brings mass infantry removal in a sweet spiked package, with Ride By Attack and Bulldoze, the Thresher can push deep into enemy lines, then roll back out again.

The Crusher is the main weapon of this battle engine, and with special rules like Blood Reaper, Grinding Wheel, Knockdown and Thrash, it’s designed to do one thing: Kill infantry. Blood Reaper makes your melee attack target everything in your melee range, so you get to hit more than one model at a time, and Grinding Wheel gives you boosted attack rolls against small based models. As if boosted attacks against all small base models in front of you isn’t enough, Knockdown and Thrash give you the finishing move of not only knocking everything down, but getting an additional die of damage against them. Note that you still knockdown anything you hit, so while you don’t get the additional die against medium and bigger bases, you still can knock them down and get Thrash for damage.

What do you do after you’ve death rolled into your opponents front line? Easy! You light up anything you can see with the Hailer, spitting 2D3 handcannon shots into anything you want. The Thresher is a Weapons Platform to boot, so you can do BOTH in the same turn. The Hailer is a nice addition, because if your cowardly opponents are running away from your pig powered rolling wheel of death, you can still reach out and shoot them.

Without a doubt, the Meat Thresher adds a whole new class of weapon to the Farrow arsenal, and as it’s pretty self reliant, it doesn’t need your warlocks to run effectively. MInd you, where’s the fun in that? Carver’s feat will have the Thresher doing ABSURD damage to anything it knocks down (5D6 on a charge target, plus overtake!). Crippling Grasp from Arkadius on whatever the Thresher is going to mulch makes it so much easier, as well as Calamity from Midas. And while Deflection from Sturm and Drang don’t affect the Thresher, Telekinesis does. Helga doesn’t offer anything in particular to the Thresher, but her feat interacting with it does make me chuckle a bit inside. Tactical Tip: Lightning Strike from the Road Hog on the Meat Thresher is extra sweet. Ride by attack, make all attacks, finish movement, sprint away, go wee wee wee all the way home.

vault

While the Meat Thresher brings a new dynamic to the pigs, the Sacral Vault works its voodoo with the already established abilities of the Blindwater Congregation. Expanding upon the concept of life, death and souls, the Sacral Vault is just that….a holding pen for the souls of the dead, used as fuel for the Blindwater’s needs.

The first thing that pops out is the laundry list of special abilities: Eyeless Sight, Gunfighter, Crypt of Souls, Soul Sacrifice, and Soul Storm. Soul soul, and just for flavoring, a bit more soul. Soul food? Crypt of Souls is the big magic of the Vault, generating D3 souls if the vault doesn’t have any, and collecting souls from friendly AND enemy models within its massive 10” CMD. It also allows the vault to boost attack and damage rolls, because reasons. Soul Sacrifice allows a friendly Faction warlock to pull one soul off the vault to change it to a fury, which is a nice mechanic because while Circle and Legion can use the Vault, they can’t tap into the souls for fuel. That’s gator only suckers!

Soulstorm allows the Vault to wander the field with impunity from single wound models, because as long as it has a soul, anything ending movement (or activation) within 2” of it takes a wound. And dies. And generates a soul for the vault. See how it works? But what if your opponent doesn’t willingly serve you their infantry to feed the vault? Then you unleash some Spectral Fury on them! A RNG 12 POW 13 magical weapon that not only gets to shoot d3 times, but can trigger Deathly Domination, so by spending a soul token you take control of whatever you just killed, and have it advance and make a melee attack. So you can shoot three enemy models, kill them, and have them wander over and kill their friends. Now while the models you control are removed from play and don’t generate any souls for you, their dead friends can.

Each of the gator casters can find a good use for the Vault: Barnabas can hide it from shooting in his swamp pits, as well as knock everything down for it to shoot. Caliban can Stealth it, because an ‘invisible’ Sacral Vault zapping things with soul blasts is an entertaining thought. Rask’s feat allows it to run into position unharassed, and while Jaga and Maelok don’t do anything in particular for the Vault, it certainly can do a lot of things for them by being a self supporting ranged weapon and area denial tool. Let us not forget Spiny Growth making it ARM 22. Bleah.

Remember folks: Moorclaw, Trollkin Mercenary, can work for both pacts, and can repair battle engines! Not like that traitor Tinker, oh no…

And speaking of Solos, they’re our final entries for Exigence. Sorry Gator pact, these two are Farrow only. Yes, they work for other Hordes factions, but who cares about them? They got their own section of new releases.

maximus

Maximus is an unsubtle weapon of death for the Farrow forces. Similar to Drax, he liked the Doomreavers sword, and he kept it. While Maximus doesn’t support the other elements of the army, he brings all the tools needed to scare the bejeezus out of any opponents silly enough to let him get close.

With the best base MAT in the farrow stable at an 8, he shouldn’t have any troubled hitting his foes. He also comes stock with the standard “Doomreaver” adventuring package: Reach, Weapon Master, Magical Weapon, Beserk, Abomination and Spell Ward. He brings Relentless Charge and Unyielding to the party, which combined with the previous abilities, makes him a bundle of death for not a lot of points. He’s also a hearty fellow, sporting 8 boxes of wounds and tough.

So in the end, you have a -very- unsubtle weapon in the farrow toolbox: Maximus goes in, kills things, and makes it hard for his opponents to kill him so he can kill more things. Once they realize his potential, your opponents are going to go out of their way to eliminate him before he gets to their lines. Deflection from Sturm and Drang help him against ranged attacks, and Dash from Helga will help get him into melee faster, but patience and careful positioning will benefit you the most when using Maximus. And remember: It’s not a spell when a warbeast uses an animi, so the Road Hog can give Maximus Sprint for even more mayhem. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?

eefarit

If you’d rather do your killing from a distance, the surprise release of the Efaarit Scouts may be for you. Up until very close to the book release no-one had heard about these guys in years, so seeing them in the book was a pleasant surprise. They can work for everyone in Hordes but the Skorne and Blindwater, and belong a desert dwelling tribe of gobbers who are ‘following’ the Skorne to see what all the fuss in the west is about.

With a high SPD of 8 and light cavalry rules, the Scouts are a great flanking force able to move about the battlefield quickly. Their range 12 Armor Piercing shot is what they’re all about, able to do solid damage to anything with a medium or bigger base. And should your target be a small based infantry, they also have Sniper so can ping those little targets just as easily as the big ones. With Sniper allowing them to chose the column of damage against jacks and beasts, they can shoot out important sections, especially if working in tandem. With speed, Pathfinder, Camouflage, and a good AP weapon, the Efaarit Scouts offer a good selection in the flanking section of your army.

So with new casters, battle engines, and solid solo support, Minions definitely had a great release in Exigence. I’m looking forward to Maximus and the Meat Thresher clearing all that pesky enemy infantry off the table for me.

Thanks for spending the time on this hopefully informative and entertaining writeup. And remember: Farrow is playing the game on Hard Mode.


2 Responses to Exigence week: Minions, according to Devilsquid

  1. Great summary, Devilsquid. I look forward to blending some of these agents into the cause for Everblight!

  2. hmmm, I wonder if the scouts are a hint for what the new Hordes faction might be?