Insider 07-05-2016

Recently, Will Shick kicked off a new Insider series where staff members discuss some of the army lists they’ve been playing for the new editions of WARMACHINE and HORDES. To the shock of literally no one, I’m going to be writing today about Minions.

Now, as Shick mentioned previously, these lists aren’t necessarily tournament tweaked, or even a showcase of the “best way to play” (because that’s nonsense that doesn’t actually exist), but instead are simply what we’ve been playing around with lately. If you watched the staff scramble match from Lock & Load Gamefest 2016 between Andrew Haidon and me, you know that I have this sweet Barnabas list that was exceptionally good at keeping my undefeated streak against Mr. Haidon intact. (Sorry bud, one day you’ll beat me. JK, no you won’t.)

While the Barnabas “Slop and Drop” list is a lot of fun, it isn’t the one I’ll be discussing today. Instead I want to introduce you to another Minions army I’ve been playing that really explores some of the fresh new combos available with the abolishment of the pact system. Would I play this list in a Steamroller tournament? Probably not. Would I play this list for fun? I already am.

I call this little ditty “Slam Bash.”

Model/Unit Points
Helga the Conqueror +29 WB
– Targ 4 pts
– War Hog 15 pts
– War Hog 15 pts
– Battle Boar 7 pts
– Gun Boar 9 pts
– Gun Boar 9 pts
Total 59 pts

Swamp Gobber River Raiders 4 pts
Swamp Gobber River Raiders 4 pts
Swamp Gobber River Raiders 4 pts
Alten Ashley 5 pts
Totem Hunter 6 pts
Farrow Slaughterhousers (6) 11 pts
Farrow Slaughterhousers (6) 11 pts
Total 45 pts

This list can be summed up in the following two phrases: “combined arms” and “c-c-c-c-combo.” The majority of the list is made up of models that Helga is used to supporting, especially if you played her in Mk II using the Thornfall Alliance pact. The Slaughterhousers are primo infantry with Helga thanks to her Dash and Defender’s Ward spells, along with the fact that since their melee weapons are all RNG 2 they help trigger Helga’s Gang Fighter ability.

Speaking of the battlegroup, we’re looking at a pretty stock standard loadout here, but with a nice efficiency increase in the new edition. The War Hogs are the heavy hitters, and thanks to their new-edition SPD increase and greater melee RNG, they perform that role better than ever. The Battle Boar pretty much exists in the list so that I can hand out Primal as needed, but with Helga’s Gang Fighter and his own Adrenalize ability he isn’t too bad at bustin’ holes in tight wads of infantry.

The Gun Boars are there to put some dents into the enemy on the approach and to clear out more swathes of infantry that try to jam up my lines, thanks to the High Explosive ability on their Big Gun. Finally, Targ is in the list because . . . well, why wouldn’t you be running Targ in a Minions list? Ancillary Attack is a real thing. While most models in WARMACHINE and HORDES aren’t supposed to be auto-includes, some are just designed to be, like the Choir of Menoth, for example. If you’re running any sort of ranged game in your Minions battlegroup, Targ is an auto-include.

The Slaughterhousers plus the battlegroup are the core “combined arms” aspect of the list: Some decent shooting, some decent ARM cracking, and two units of infantry that pair well with the commanding warlock. Although not fancy, they’re effective. Now we turn to the combo portion of our program.

See, without the pact system, there are all kinds of fun options and synergies available that never really existed before. For example, Helga’s feat, Grand Finale, allows friendly models to slam enemy models hit by their basic melee attacks. That’s pretty neat. You know what would be neater? If you could position those slams from almost any angle you wanted to, slam tougher enemy models toward your snarling frontline, and have your War Hogs and Slaughterhousers destroy them without a second thought. Enter the Swamp Gobber River Raiders.

Did you forget about these little guys? I hope not, because with Helga and her feat they are kind of magical. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but this is a gimmick list backed by a solid army composition. The combo is simple: on Helga’s feat turn the small army of River Raiders reel themselves into the back arcs of juicy slam targets and then start a cascade of slams straight toward my own front lines (and hopefully through plenty of enemy models along the way). Once an enemy heavy warjack or warbeast lands at the feet of my force, the War Hogs and Slaughterhousers tear it to shreds. Since you can slam a knocked down model these days, a handful of River Raiders can move a model a surprisingly far distance across the table.

Somewhere in my mind is a magic rainbow candy land where the first River Raider gets a slam off on the Butcher, and the remaining eight slowly bounce him toward Helga and her battlegroup, all the way through ranks of Winter Guard Infantry and Iron Fang Pikeman. I just . . . need that to happen in my life.

After completing the combo portion of my list, I noticed I had some army points left to spend. I decided to split my remaining model choices between the two aspects of my army: one would add to my combined-arms approach, and the other would add to my combo.

When you think of Alten Ashley, you might think, “Oh, he’s an anti-HORDES model.” Sure, he is great against warbeasts, but it’s worth noting just how good Grievous Wounds is these days. Not only does the ability stop Tough, it also stops ALL damage removal. That includes repairs on warjacks. Given the increased efficiency of the Repair ability in this new edition, it doesn’t hurt one bit to include a reliable source of Grievous Wounds in your list, and Alten is not only reliable but also extremely hard to pin down thanks to his various defensive abilities and the long RNG of his gun.

Finally, with my remaining six points, I added another combo piece to my list, the Totem Hunter. The Helga plus River Raider combo is all about being able to place my slamming model anywhere I want in relation to the enemy model, to ensure my slam angles are exactly how I want them. While the River Raiders can pull off those slams easier thanks to how Reel In allows them to be placed anywhere B2B with the enemy model, the Totem Hunter can often do the same thanks to Jump.

So there you have it. “Slam Bash” is just one of many lists I’ve playing around with for my Mercenaries and Minions these days. Sometimes I focus more on competitive, sometimes more on narrative, but I’m always looking to have fun when I play, and let me tell you, this list is crazy fun.

Now someone play a Butcher infantry swarm list against me. I’ve got a dream to fulfill. Oh, where’s Andrew?