Caution: This post is one of my wordy affairs delving into my KOW list selection and the club comp. You have been warned….
Still here? Seriously, did you not read the warning? Fine, here we go then:
After initially trying it out a few years back and having not played it since the club 2017 competition, I thought i’d give Kings of War another try.
Last time I played I used Beastmen (or ‘ The Herd’ in KOW terms) and I did briefly contemplated using something different (Dwarves or Elves), however i’m missing a few things I’d want to use with the dwarves (badger riders!) and I’m currently using elves in the WHFB comp, so for ease and because I vaguely remembered how they played, I went the easy option of taking the Herd.
13 club members entered the comp, which isn’t bad and gives two groups of 4 and one of 5. There is a reasonable split of races with only the Undead and Varangar having multiple entries (3 and 2 respectively).
The comp is using standard rules but including the updates in the COK 2019 book (think of that as the equivalent of 40k’s chapter approved). The main changes are only 6 of the 12 scenarios are being used in the group stages:
- Loot (P76)
- Pillage (P76)
- Invade (P76)
- Occupy (P78)
- Raze (P79)
- Control (P77)
Players also need to note the total Unit Strength (US) of what they kill during each battle to assist with any tie-breaks (Hordes/Legions are US-3, Regiments are US-2, Individuals and War Machines are US-0 and everything else is US-1)
The one custom part of comp is the introduction of an experience system. Each battle you secretly nominate one troop/regiment or horde (it cannot be a unit introduced in COK 19). If it survives the battle you roll 2D6 and consult an experience table. This table then gives the unit additional rules, anything from +2 attacks to Elite (re-roll 1’s to hit), to use in the next game. They can gain further experience if they are your nominated in a future game and some results are cumulative. However, if the unit is destroyed then any experience previously gained is lost. It’s nothing game breaking but adds a little fun to the competition.
The other thing worth noting was the points value for armies was 2300. This is a bit higher than the standard 2000 normally taken. I’m not sure of the reason but it allowed you to take a few more options.
The Army List and thoughts
The Herd is not too different from Beastmen in style. Lots of chaff, good hordes with lots of basic attacks and an almost army wide ability to ignore negative terrain effects (Pathfinder skill). The main weakness of the army is their generally low defence. This is an issue in KOW as when they start to take damage (and they do at the drop of a pin), there’s a good chance they’ll be removed.
Thankfully the army also comes with one of the best characters in the form of the Shaman. Not only do they come with the spell Bane Chant (3) that helps break through armour, they can upgrade to take Heal (5) which is very good and as a bonus they cause Inspiring (allowing you to re-roll failed nerve checks). So before picking any units I’m going to start with 2 Shamans.
Shaman – Khazbar the Magnificent – 95 +25 (spell – heal) +20 (spell – critters call) +10 (amulet of the fire-heart) = 150
So I’ve upgraded the first shaman with a few things. Heal was a must as stated above. Critters call (8) is a legendary spell that can be cast one per game and if it wounds, disorders the unit it hits. It’s great for ensuring a unit of flyers is grounded or preventing a unit of archers from shooting at a crucial moment. The final upgrade is again a one use item that allows you to cast 2 spells in one turn.
Shaman – Wazzock – 95 +25 (spell – heal) +25 (shroud of the saint) = 145
The second shaman again was given heal. I then gave him an item that increased the heal so instead of rolling 5 dice he would now roll 8 dice on each cast. This should help keep the hordes in play longer.
Not wanting to go crazy with characters I decided two was enough
Total – 295pts
With the way KOW list building works, you need to take hordes and regiments to ‘unlock’ the ability to take characters, monsters, war-machines and troops. As such my next stop would be to select my core choices to do this.
Rank and File
Keeping with the Warhammer theme I wanted to take at least 1 unit of Gor. In my eyes these are best represented by Spirit Walkers. A horde of high attack but minimal defence warriors. As a bonus, they had recently had their attacks increased up to 40 in an errata. They also cannot be wavered, an opponent would have to remove them completely to neutralise them. As the mainstay unit in my list, I decided to take 2!
Spirit Walkers – Horde (40) – 230 + 30 (Brew of Strength) = 260
Spirit Walkers – Horde (40) – 230 + 25 (Blessing of the Gods) = 255
To give them a bit more ‘omph’ I gave one unit the brew of strength so they hit harder. The other got blessing which allows re-rolls of 1’s on hit rolls.
My next choice was based on wanting to take at least one unit that could take damage. This limited the choice to almost a single option.:
Guardian Brutes – Horde (6) – 230 + 20 (Potion of the Caterpillar) = 250
These guys not only have a good amount of attacks but they hit hard and have a high defence meaning they are tough to wound. They have an average nerve but the fury rule means even if wavered, they are able to still countercharge. They also allow me to use my Minotaurs to represent them 😀. They are pretty much the one unit that doesn’t have the pathfinder skill. The Potion fixes that little issue.
These 3 hordes are a good base for the army, unlocking 3 character slots (2 of which I’ve used for the shamans), 3 monsters/war-machines and 3 troops.
There was one final horde I wanted to take:
Stampede – Horde (6) – 260 + 15 (brew of haste) = 275
This is the Herd version of cavalry. It hits like a freight train on the charge with a decent number of attacks. The brew increases its movement so it is on par with most other cavalry. The one downside to the horde is it counts as ‘irregular’. This means it doesn’t unlock any other army ‘slots’ (unlike the other hordes).
Total – 1040 (cumulative – 1335)
So with my main units sorted it was time to decide what to support them with.
These units are as important in KOW as they are in WHFB allowing you to block movement and generally get in the way/be a nuisance. As such I’d ideally like one for each of my main hordes. I instead settled for 3.
Beast Pack – troop (5) = 70
Beast Pack – troop (5) = 70
This unit is excellent. It’s fast, cheap, nimble and a complete annoyance. Everything you want in a chaff unit. If I owned more I would take them. As I don’t, I’m limited to 2 units!
Harpies – troop (10) – 90 + 5 (Staying Stone) = 95
This is our other flavour of chaff. Stat wise it is pretty much the same as the Beast Packs but with a couple of extra attacks and the fly rule. Overall I prefer Beasts (at least in the role I like to use them in). The harpies are great for back field harassment though. The staying stone just adds 1 to their nerve. It may do nothing but I had a spare 5 points left over
Total – 235 (cumulative – 1570)
With the essentials out of the way I could now choose some of the fun options. One thing I seriously considered taking was a chimera. A flying monster is a great option in this game due to the sheer flexibility combined with hitting power. So of course I completely ignored that and used the opportunity to take the biggest most imposing models I own, two Ghorgons (or Brutox in KOW terms).
Brutox – 220
Brutox – 220
I love these guys, yes they get a random element to their attacks (between 9 and 14) and my bases are too large which gives them a potential disadvantage especially as it makes them easier to flank charge but they hit very hard, can regenerate and can still counter charge if wavered. They also have a large presence on the battlefield and opponents tend to worry about them more than they probably should.
Total – 440 (cumulative 2010)
With the increase in points I was now actually running out of things to take. It was tempting to take another large creature or perhaps even the Avatar of the Father special choice but instead I decided to take 2 standard regiments of Longhorns (Bestigor to you and me) in order to boost the number of units I was fielding.
Tribal Longhorns – Regiment (20) – 145
Tribal Longhorns – Regiment (20) – 145
These are the equivalent of the elite troops for other armies. They hit reasonably hard and have average armour. It always surprises me how few attacks they have for a regiment but this is offset by the ease of hitting opponents and is no different to say the Elven Palace Guard. Again the nerve isn’t particularly high so there is always a chance they can be ‘one shotted’. Still they aren’t too expensive and can double as chaff at a pinch but you really want these guys in the flank.
I did consider taking three troops of them or using the models as a further horde of Spirit Walkers but I didn’t and the list has been submitted, so we shall see how I fare with them!
Total – 290 (cumulative 2300).
If you’ve made it this far, then well done as it’s been another mammoth wordy post from me (sorry for that – a bit).
I’ll admit that at the time of writing this, I’ve already played my first game but I’ll hold off on some thoughts on the list until the end of that.
I’ll end by saying that my group of 4 breaks down into the following armies:
Cormac’s Undead (Cormac is the son of Alex, one of my old foes and was the game I got in last Friday).
Neil’s Empire of the Dead – A different style of undead army, closer to Tomb Kings (and that is exactly what he will be fielding).
Luke’s Varangar – This is basically Warriors of Chaos and this is the very same Luke who features heavily in my battle reports (we just can’t keep away!).