Insider 08-19-2016

I’ve talked about my obsession with the Rhulic theme in past Insiders. When asked what Faction I wanted to write about for an army-building Insider, Mercenaries was among my top choices. I had just built and painted a 75-point Khador army for Lock & Load, but I was eager to get back to my main Faction. In the spirit of the new edition rules, I decided to take some of my favorite elements from the Searforge Commission army I built for the last edition and expand on them, capitalizing on the freedom I now have to build a Merc army almost any way I want.

I’m a very casual player. When I build an army list, I usually begin with an idea that strikes me as interesting, and then I see whether it will work as some sort of functional fighting force. The change to the repair rules in the new edition is one of my favorite small adjustments, and most of the armies I have been thinking about lately take a unit of mechaniks. My mind immediately started to turn over all of the repair options in Mercenaries the second I sat down to write this article. There are numerous solos with repair available, and choosing between them was so hard that I decided not to restrict myself. That led to an army I like to call, “If it breaks, we can fix it!”

Model/Unit Points

Gorten Grundback +31 WJ pts
− Ghordson Driller 10 pts
− Ghordson Driller 10 pts
− Wroughthammer Rockram 14 pts

Thor Steinhammer 4 pts

Raluk Moorclaw, the Ironmonger 4 pts
− Rover 15 pts

Dirty Meg: 3 pts

Gobber Tinker 2 pts

Gobber Tinker 2 pts

Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye 4 pts

Steelhead Halberdiers (10) 11 pts

Steelhead Heavy Cavalry (3) 11 pts

Ogrun Assault Corps (5) 16 points

Total 75 pts

At the core of the army is Gorten Grundback, one of my favorite characters in the game, with a battlegroup of solid Rhulic heavy warjacks. They will move up the field as quickly as they can to get into melee with the enemy. Their high ARM and all of the repairing that I’ll be able to do should allow them to weather just about any amount of shooting. Once I get the enemy within striking range, this battlegroup can be pretty scary. All of the ’jacks hit hard, and Gorten’s Strength of Granite spell gives a model in his battlegroup +4 STR. That brings the POW + STR of any of my warjacks’ main melee weapons up to 22. Meanwhile, Gorten’s feat is a great answer to a lot of issues. If I need to bring the enemy a little closer for my ’jacks to reach, or if I need to get a pesky model out of the way for a charge, Gorten has it under control.

My team of mechanics is led by Thor Steinhammer, since Gorten would want to have a fellow dwarf in charge. I chose not to give Thor a marshaled ’jack of his own so that he could stay more flexible and ready to use his Tune Up [Rhulic Warjack] ability on one of the battlegroup ’jacks. A free boosted attack and damage roll will come in handy when I try to stretch Gorten’s limited focus a bit further. Backing Thor up is Raluk Moorclaw who, unlike the dwarf, is given a warjack. I’ve owned Raluk for quite a while but never got around to putting him into an army. His Drive: Assault ability means he needs a ’jack with a gun. When I picked him up, I also bought a Rover for him. A bit of easy conversion work replacing the warjack’s shield with one from a Troll Bouncer and replacing the head of the axe with the one the Troll Axer carries makes the ’jack look even more like it belongs to Raluk. The combination of Raluk’s Iron Sentinel and the Rover’s Shield Guard should make it difficult for my opponent to pick the trollkin off and leave his ’jack without a marshal. To further cover that contingency, Dirty Meg will stay close behind in order to take over the Rover if something happens to Raluk. Rounding out the repair section is a pair of Gobber Tinkers. They’ll be moving to aid wherever necessary while keeping their pistols loaded, just in case.

Next, I knew I needed some type of screening unit, and the cheaper the better. Of all the options, the Steelhead Halberdiers are my favorite choice. They don’t eat up a lot of points, and they should keep the rest of my force protected from a melee army attempting to take out my important pieces. To give the unit a bit more staying power, I added Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye. His Leadership ability gives all of the Steelhead Halberdiers in his command range Wall of Steel, raising their ARM by +2 while base to base with another model in the same unit. In addition, he gives Tough to all of the Mercenary warrior models within 3˝. Gorten’s Solid Ground spell will prevent any models near the sergeant from being knocked down (and losing Tough), and it has the added benefit of making models immune to blast damage. This should make it safe to clump the unit a little tighter around the solo until they need to spread out and screen.

I wanted to include some shooting, and I knew just what it would be. One of my favorite parts of the Mk II Searforge army I assembled was the Ogrun Assault Corps. Military ogrun with cannons that a human can’t lift are the best thing ever. These guys provide both solid shooting and melee capability, and with the Assault advantage, they can do both in the same turn. For staying power, they have Tough. They’ll benefit from Solid Ground as well, meaning I will likely upkeep it until my Tough models are taken out.

The final piece of the army took the longest to figure out, but in the end I decided that I wanted to address one of the biggest downsides to this list. Dwarves are not fast, and the Steelhead Halberdiers would be sticking close to the main force. I needed models that could flank if necessary but also work well with the rest of the army. Since my force already included some Steelheads, I determined that the Steelhead Heavy Cavalry would make the best fit for my last 11 points. They also have Assault, meaning that I could have a big turn with them, the ogrun, and the Rover all smashing into the enemy, firing guns and swinging axes. And if I face a force that I really need to flank, their speed makes it possible. Finally, if I go up against a brick of hard-to-kill targets, I can take advantage of their Flank [Steelhead Halberdier] ability to bring them up to MAT 8 and four dice on a charge attack damage roll.

Not surprisingly, I’ve built another army that hits like a freight train in melee. Hopefully I’ll be able to deliver it to my enemy’s face. Either way, it’ll be fun to play, and that’s my main goal.