Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Hordes: Blindwater Congregation

I have been a long time Warmachine fan/gamer, starting in 2003 and have collected nothing but Khador (I have every figure in the range with spare to go around) since I first saw the Faction starter box set, last weekend though this changed...

I did not really see the appeal of Hordes when it first came out, being so comfortable with the Khador play style and theme. There was something about the lack of guns that made it feel like bringing a primitive stone axe to a gatling gun fight. The release of the new Minion's book however changed that, I am still bringing a stone axe to the fight but I am also bringing a huge angry beast with it in the form of the Farrow & Blindwater Congregation. For those unfamiliar; the Farrow is essentially a army of man sized, mechanically altered pigs with guns and cleavers, while the Blindwater Congregation consist of Bayou style gator men, associated reptilian allies and lots of teeth. 

Whilst I managed to resist the Farrow, I did finally succumb to Blindwater...

I have always wanted to work on something Crocodilian ever since I saw Crocodile Game's amazing Sobeki range, however the narrow minds of my gaming group meant that they would never see table action outside of perhaps proxy Beastmen. So since the group has finally moved with the times and opened their minds to Privateer Press, the Blind Water Congregation fills the need for something different in terms of gaming and a modelling project I have wanted to do for some time. Last weekend I picked up the latest recruits for the Blindwater Congregation: The massive Blackhide wrastler, Thrullg and Warlock Bloody Barnabas, on route is the Croak Hunter. Since the push towards plastics for Warmachine, fans were convinced that the same process would occur with Hordes, however the stringent release schedule (all army books for both games in the first year) set for Warmachine/Hordes MKII release has meant that sticking to metals for at least one gaming brand will yield more product on time (the delays on the plastic Man O War Bombardiers reinforce this).

Bloody Barnarbas
Extremely cool figure in my opnion, something about a hooded Crocodile man in a hood that just states "I'm gonna eat yuuu!". There have been some reports of the arms not fitting in the sockets properly, but I seem to have been lucky having no glaring issues constructing this figure. The skull back banner keeps in line with the voodoo swamp theme consistent through out the army.

From a game point of view...He ain't no Butcher. Boasting three melee attacks and a spell proc'd from kills, you would be mistaken into thinking this caster is pure melee offence. He is not. While quantity has a value of it's own, the low power of the attacks mean he is designed around beating (and eating) light to medium armour units. Blood Boon allows for selective killing and a way of increasing the survivability of units in combat. Keep him in the second line dropping swamps on people's heads and commit him to winnable combats (Or wait for an opportune 'Counter Attack') which can allow you to get the kill needed to cast spells for your line. His feat is a Command range knockdown effect that does not effect amphibious wary of certain Cryx units.

*On a random note, it's great when he critical bites queue "Nom nom nom" noises when it does ;)

The Blackhide Wrastler
The Wrastler (equivalent to a Heavy Warjack) is a big but very detailed chunk of pewter, every tooth and scale has been sculpted in amazing detail making for a nice textured figure to paint. The stock comes with a very bad 'surfing' style pose but after holding the figure in hand, I can see that the pose was heavily exaggerated by poor photography and the model itself looks very nice indeed.

From a gaming perspective, the Wrastler is interesting. I suffer from the unfortunate fact that I have played Khador for 7 years and as a result armour and hitboxes were always going to be lacking, but with armour at 19 it is still quite impressive. Death Roll and Animus combo will be interesting way of maximising the bite attack and in true Crocodilian fashion it does seem that the power of the Gatormen is in their bite. The Wrastler has a special ability to knock itself and it's target down, the advantage of this is boosted damage and of course automatic hits in melee, be aware that your Wrastler will also count as knocked down, yet still retains the ability to attack. Luckily...his animus allows him to stand back up again...

The Thrullg
This purple menace has been coined as the Horde's version of Eiryss. Basically a creature that feeds off magic, it can strip magical buffs all from the comfort of reach and has a dead zone for magic, can consume focus and cause disruption.  However the lack of amphibious and any form of ranged deterrent means careful play and screening to get the most out of this (be careful with Barnaba's Feat or have a Wrastler Animus spare) . I see this creature as a second line null zone that will debuff units for   your heavy hitting units, if the opportunity to assassinate magic users crops up though...take it.

A very creative figure design that oozes eeriness. I like the purple colour scheme, which will break up painting all the Gatormen scales, am really look forward to painting mine up.

So my thoughts on Blindwater Congregation? Savage and primal, just like the plug for Hordes. With the shift in MKII towards more units with firepower, it is nice to see a army retain the primitive of the spectrum. With tier bonus' yet to be shown (if any) there are still a few surprises waiting, but from the outset Blindwater looks like a control based army with a score of hardy first line troops and a heavy hitting second wave. Treat it like a melee beat stick and you will probably lose, a little planning and placement will allow the user to set masterful ambushes and counter strikes, that most factions will not be able to weather (unless your khador *joke*). I hope to share my near complete Wrastler by the end of the week and will be reviewing the rest of the Blindwater figures as they are released, hopefully with the holiday season approaching I will also be able to give some actual game accounts of how they play.

Inspired? Join the Blackwater Congregation today! Pick up your Crocs from Wayland Games - Discount Wargames

Thanks for reading,
The 14th Legion

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