Insider 9-27-13

DC: Today, our WARMACHINE High Command blog series takes us to Khador, the expansionistic empire in the North. Khador’s warjacks and warriors create a formidable wall of steel supported by flanking forces like snipers, woodsmen, and conscripts. These themes are represented in High Command by expensive but powerful cards with high Health stats, along with some cheaper troops with low rush values.

There is perhaps no better representation of the empire’s armor than the red detachment. With high Health and numerous victory points, its power is undeniable — yet so is its cost. No other detachment in the game has an average CMD/WAR cost as high as Khador’s red detachment, and the chances of purchasing or playing multiple red cards in a single turn are slim. The green and orange detachments have the most cards suited to rushing to a location, with cards like Winter Guard Conscripts and Kossite Woodsmen Ambush Teams lending their speed to an otherwise ponderous reinforcement deck.

Will: When it comes to Khador I prefer taking a balanced approach with blue-orange-purple. Not only does this combination let me take the Prime trinity of warcasters with the Butcher, Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff, and Vladimir Tzepesci, it also gives me a very flexible deck boasting speed and staying power in equal measures. Make no mistake, this build is all about offense. The great rush options within the orange deck allow you to jump on locations early while still maintaining enough resources to purchase at least one warjack or heavy infantry card during the same orders step. Your goal for the early game shouldn’t necessarily be about capturing locations but about threatening multiple locations and forcing your opponent to react to you.

The Winter Guard Conscripts card is a vital component to this strategy. Their Conscripted ability turns their 4 CMD rush cost into a 2 CMD cost. It may sound odd, but for this reason you should avoid purchasing them in the early rounds of the game. Once they are in your army deck the mechanics behind deploying make them far less of a useful rapid-reaction force.

Another card worth calling out from this build is one of my personal favorite units from Khador, the terrifying Doom Reaver Berserkers. With 4 POW and a cost of 4 CMD, these guys offer a lot of bang for your buck. The Berserk ability balances their reward vs. cost, but it’s nothing a little clever play can’t overcome. While you can use them as one-shot missiles to clear a location, my preferred strategy is to deploy them to an uncontested location, as their high POW makes them great deterrents. And regardless of which type of trooper you put into the field, this deck has plenty of ways to increase your troops’ survivability between Greylord Occultists or Kovosk War Hounds.

DC: I know the current trend is to play Khador very conservatively with a denial/VP-buy build, but I believe that an aggressive Khador is just as viable. I choose yellow-green-red with Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff, Zevanna Agha the Old Witch of Khador, and Vladimir Tzepesci the Dark Prince. These warcasters are as different as their detachments, but all three positively affect my tempo or adversely affect my opponent’s. With two quick detachments alongside the tankiest detachment in the game, tempo advantage is key.

The four Widowmaker Sniper Teams are key components to the deck and well worth the 3 (or 5) CMD. Behind a red-detachment warjack or some Shocktroopers, they provide an efficient attacker positioned to capture a location or destroy opposing cards without losses. The fact that they’re also worth a victory point makes them perfect for a backup plan of purchasing enough VPs to compete with faster factions’ decks.

Will: While you continue to press your opponents with low-cost troops in the early game, by mid-game you should have built up a stock of resource cards like Supply Convoy and Kommandant’s Authority in preparation to unleash your iron assault! Kodiaks and Demolishers are extremely resilient warjacks with very reasonable rush costs. And that’s before you factor in Vlad’s Forced March ability, which allows you to rush warjacks to his location for their purchase cost. 4 WAR rushed Demolishers? Yes, please!

And that’s where another critical aspect of this deck comes into play: the Khadoran unique resource, Supremacy. Supremacy provides you amazing control over your reserves, allowing you to refresh a card each time you discard it for resources, making it a sweet two-for-one return to keep your reserves clear of chaff without sacrificing your purchasing/deploying power.

DC: We also cannot conclude a discussion about Khador in High Command without talking about the potential behind a frost deck. We’ve already mentioned some of the cards that are the key components to such a game plan, but stacking these effects together allows you to apply continuous pressure to an opponent. Just remember that the goal of a Freeze-focused game plan does not require you to destroy all of an opponent’s cards, but rather to slow your opponent’s development to a crawl via turn-after-turn discard. Such a strategy is less viable in free-for-all games but serves as a powerful supplement to a conservative slow-grow play style.

Will: Once again I’ve got to concur with DC. Freeze is an incredibly powerful tool at your disposal. With 7 cards boasting the ability in the blue-orange-purple detachments, you should have little problem finding opportunities to leverage it against your opponents. It is another great way to slow down your opponents in the early game while you build up your might for the mid-game push.

Until next time,
DC & Will