Hordes: Metamorphosis Part 4 – Solos and Minions
I saw Watchmen today. It was as good as everyone says it was, I highly approve and will be buying it on DVD when it comes out. It was truly excellent.
We’re nearing the end of my series on Metamorphosis. The book has been out for long enough for the internet to have formed its own opinion of everything that we’ve got. I think I will probably wrap it up here unless I become inspired to do any more writing on how to combat our enemies most effectively. We got three new solos in the book – the Warmonger War Chief, the Strider Deathstalker, and the Nyss Sorceress on Hellion. Each of these does something interesting for somewhat underappreciated units. I find that this is a welcome change from Warmachine, where the new design methodology was only really implemented in Legends, 5 books down the line. Earlier attempts produced monstrosities like the Knights Exemplar Seneschal and the Gun Mage Captain Adept. I mean, why would you not take those guys? They’re great for beginners but they don’t really contribute much to the army beyond another beatstick and while they are great options to take, that doesn’t mean that I enjoy taking them. I’d much rather have solos like they have now.
The Warchief isn’t overly powerful by comparison to a standard Warmonger but his abilities make him brutal in close combat. He can start his own chain of kills and additionally end that chain in order to heal himself, a viable option when one considers how tough he is for most basic infantry to damage. Any concerted effort will kill him though, so it’s something to keep in mind. The Field Officer ability is something we’ve come to expect out of unit support solos, the real surprises come in the form of the Veteran Leader and Warmonger Commander abilities. His high CMD makes him perfectly capable of keeping Warmongers in line in the case of Cephalyx Slavers or other annoyances giving you hell, and allows him to issue orders from pretty far away, or forward depending on how you look at it. On top of that he addresses one of the main issues of Warmongers which was that they tend to kill themselves if not managed properly. With added MAT when in LOS of the War Chief and unable to kill themselves, they become pretty deadly opponents to face, although significant practice will be needed to balance keeping the Chief in their line of sight and preventing him from being picked off with contemptuous ease by the enemy. Perhaps keeping him to one flank of the unit, allowing him to still be in their front arc while gaining a measure of protection from enemy shooters and backing that up with Seraph support to take out anything that would be a major threat to him? Swamp Gobbers dropping clouds to cover their advance would work too, and he’s already received a lot of praise from Rhyas players, who are the most frequent users of Warmongers. Her Dash helps him as well as it helps any infantry in her army.
The Deathstalker is a more recent addition, and one we’ve all had time to speculate and practice with. While not as overtly powerful as the War Chief, her Sniper ability makes her a welcome addition against Iron Fang Pikemen and all of their accursed ilk, while simultaneously positioning a unit of Striders to get aiming bonuses or retreat behind a wood. Best used with eLylyth to get the most potential out of the unit with their Elite Cadre bonus and the bonus from the UA. People are already talking about first turn infantry massacres that can be pulled off with a fully decked out Strider army. Personally, I’m not a tournament player and more capable people than me could tell you how it all works, but I’m just happy in the knowledge that one of my favorite units has gotten such a massive boost in the new book. I’m pretty keen on trying out a unit of Striders with full support in an eLylyth army, my only worry is that it doesn’t address the main issue I’ve always had with Legion, which is cracking high armour beasts and infantry. I’ll leave that to the rest of my army, I guess.
Finally we have the Sorceress and Hellion. No we didn’t get a Dragoon like the rest of the factions. I’m over it. She’s as mobile as the rest of our army so it’s the magic abilities that I’m really interested in. Aerial Coordination is a massively good ability, boosting the Angelius to new levels of surgical killing by allowing it to charge without being forced and making it more likely to hit. In theory, with a low enough defense, you wouldn’t even have to boost to hit and it would definitely have a better shot at hitting those high DEF targets that you really want dead. Sadly the Nephilim Soldier doesn’t have wings but would really benefit from being able to use this spell. Pity, really. Blight Storm is truly a godsend for taking out those goddamned Iron Fang Pikemen. Get one of these on a Warbeast and you could really cripple it with a mountain of shots from a Blighted Archer unit. Any infantry you have benefit from this spell while facing anything tough. Storm Howler is interesting but in practice, I don’t think you’re going to get more than one off against a Warcaster, which is the target you really want to hit. Enemy spellcasters are often single wound models in units so you should be killing them anyway to negate their striking power. That said, it’s plenty useful for neutralising solos that tend to wander off on their own. Finally, an ability that shuts down ranged attacks. Very interesting, I wonder who I would use it against. To be completely honest I don’t know what to make of it, it is very late now and my brain is shot so my thinking’s not exactly the best. Overall it seems like a very, very useful unit to have. Shame about the artwork.
Traditionally the Legion has never had many minions to work with and those we do don’t really add anything to our army. In a way this makes my choices much less complicated because I like to play pure faction armies so I don’t feel forced to take minions just to stay in the fight. On the other hand, this book gives us a few interesting toys to play with, namely Rorsh and Brine, and Wrong Eye and Snapjaw. Both of these minion beasts and their warlocks seem like pure beatsticks, with Rorsh able to control his beatstick to a greater extent than his low fury would otherwise suggest. He can move surprisingly quickly as well through abuse of Diversionary Tactic and I must say having a giant beatstick working on your flank to undermine anything your opponent throws at you is pretty useful. Pigpen is a great animus as well, one the Circle know very well in the form of Undergrowth on the Woldwarden. It’s hellish when you’re facing it, very useful when it’s on your side. Rorsh and Brine are one of those deceptively slow models and seem pretty interesting; I will have to try them out and see how they do. Wrong Eye and Snapjaw are an interesting case though. They’re slow, but Voodoo Doll is a very, very good spell. Since the aspect isn’t actually destroyed there’s no way it can be healed and it forces people to spend more resources than they otherwise would in order to get a good result. Voodoo Doll their mind away and stick an invisible Rhyas in their midst for hilarity. Snapjaw is much more the straightforward beatstick, although he can’t stray far from Wrong Eye, his Submerge animus is an interesting one for a warbeast to have. It’s just that their speed is so at odds with everything that the Legion stands for and he doesn’t have the means to gain extra movement in the same way that Rorsh and Brine do, that makes me hesitant to try him out. I’ll wait for the models to come out before I do a test run because their models are fantastic. I’m just a bit saddened I can’t use Brun Cragback and Lug, that armoured bear is just too cool.
Well, there you have it, my thoughts on the Metamorphosis book. Its done a lot for us, and anything else that the Legion gets now is just icing on the cake. We can play multiple different styles and are no longer confined by the glass cannon approach, so never give up and always strive to improve your playing. Go forth and conquer, the Dragon commands it.