Why hello there dear readers, welcome to the 4th installment of Thursdays with Thanan! Today’s topic is the Khador battle box. The Khador battle box is tough as nails and offers a strong assassination vector in it’s leader Sorscha 1 (aka pSorscha). It also contains two heavies, the destroyer and the juggernaut, which is a wee bit different than the other battle boxes we’ve covered so far. But there’s a good reason that it has two heavies – Khador doesn’t have any light warjacks. They do, however, have man-of-war units, heavy infantry that are really tough. Regardless, back to the battle box.
Sorscha 1 – Sorscha is a strong warcaster with a very viable assassination run. She has fairly standard stats, with just above average defense and just under average armor for warcasters. She is slightly better at hitting in melee than she is at range, and does just a smidge more damage as well, but her hand cannon is fairly decent. If you happen to find yourself 12 inches away from a foe with nothing much to threaten you, it might be worth using. Sorscha’s imposing weapon, Frostfang, has reach, giving her an additional 2″ of threat, is a magical weapon, and comes with critical freeze. As any veteran player will tell you however, relying on crits for an assassination run is not a good idea, so please don’t bank on getting the crits when it matters! Let’s go through the spells real quick, before we look into her assassination potential.
- Boundless Charge – this spell grants one friendly model + 2″ movement, free charge (no focus required), and the handy pathfinder ability. Feel free to cast this on one of your heavies if you need that extra umph to get them into the thick of things.
- Fog of War – this spell gives every model, friendly and enemy alike, concealment in her control area. Remember this, friendly and ENEMY alike. So if you cast this to help defend against shooting, and your opponent has a model with prowl (two that come to mind and are common, the Warpwolf Stalker, the Black 13th), they can gain stealth from this. It also protects them from your shooting. Use this if you’re afraid of getting gunned down.
- Freezing Grip – the target model / unit becomes stationary. This spell sucks up so much focus, it might not be worth it very often, especially since you’ll probably have to boost to hit the models you’re casting it on. Unless, of course, you’re casting it on an enemy heavy or some such, then it might be ok. However, what happens if your opponent shakes stationary? Suddenly you’re only 8″ away from a big bad axe, and that is not a place most warcasters would like to find themselves in.
- Razor Wind –a magical damage spell. Occasionally useful for removing a solo or a model blocking a charge lane. You won’t get much use out of it in Battle Box games.
- Tempest – models hit by the moderate sized aoe suffer a knockdown and a POW 12. The POW is great enough to threaten most any single wound troopers, and the knockdown can help make sure that your axe to face makes contact. Good to cast and let your heavies do the rest. Don’t forget that models knocked down don’t block line of sight or have a melee range.
- Wind Rush – Sorscha makes a full advance, and gets +2 defense. You can only cast it once a turn. This spell has SO many uses! Let’s say that you’re hiding behind a wall. You walk past the wall a couple inches, turn a corner, shoot trooper Joe in the face. Wind rush back to the wall and sit in relative safety. Or maybe you wind rush 6″, charge 9″ and with the 2″ reach just manage to get to your opponent’s caster. Then you can use…
Sorscha’s Feat: enemy models without cold immunity suffer stationary in her control and line of sight. This means that casters who rely on high defense to avoid death are suddenly in a very untenable situation. Their high defense can’t save them now (insert girlish evil giggle). Use this offensively. Plan on killing casters with it. Plan on smashing high defense troops asunder with it. Plan on killing lots. Don’t waste this feat! It’s a serious game changer!
A special note – Her assassination relies on unexpected distances and her feet, as well as one or two of her spells. If you wind rush 6″, then cast boundless charge for an additional 2″ of movement during your charge, add in reach, and suddenly your melee threat is 19″. That, dear readers, is a lot. And, even better, it need not be in a straight line! Wind rush simply states full advance, so you can make as curvy a line as any, and boundless charge gives her pathfinder too, for those enemies who like terrain to keep them safe. Then, you feat, and you’re auto hitting charge attack, plus two more normal or one more boosted damage! If you do cast both spells to get there, however, you’re dropping a chunk of her focus, so if you don’t need the full 19″ threat, consider not casting boundless charge to allow you to buy additional attacks and / or boost damage.
Juggernaut – The juggernaut is just like his name-sake: ponderously slow and tough as…well…himself. His average MAT 6 leaves him boosting most if the time in melee. His opponent’s won’t likely need to boost to hit his abysmal defense. but thankfully he does have quite a lot of armor and health boxes to protect himself from their inevitable hits. He has an open fist, good for locking weapon systems, one hand throws, and the occasional punch, and does decent enough damage just on that. It also has an ice axe, with a very good POW, and crit freeze, making an enemy stationary. Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but it bears in mind mentioning that one should not rely on critical effects in one’s plans. They don’t happen nearly as often or conveniently as statistics might argue.
Destroyer – The destroyer is a slow, tough jack. It has a a great gun, long range, small AOE, and solid POW. Also, the gun has arcing fire, meaning that you can ignore intervening models more than an inch from the target when shooting say… a caster behind some infantry. It has a great melee axe, with crit amputation, meaning that if it does damage to a warjack arm or weapon system, it is crippled on a critical hit. The jack has great armor, and really bad defense. A lot of things will be able to hit this jack with 3 or 4 on two dice, fortunately it’s armor is high enough that it’s likely to survive anyway. Unfortunately, this jack is not very brilliant in combat – it will need to boost to hit quite a lot of the time, especially if it’s firing it’s gun.
Khador battle box play style and tactics – Khador is famous for being slow and ponderous, but being a jackhammer when they get to you. Their very high armor helps them survive to get into melee, and their warcasters generally have ways to make them get their faster as well. In the battlebox, you can cast boundless charge, which adds 2″ of threat to a jack’s charge and also makes them have pathfinder. This gives them a decent threat range. Also, the destroyer’s gun is powerful enough that unwary casters could find themselves in danger of stray shell deviations and the odd direct hit. Keep popping the big gun gun as an opponent comes into the battle and put some damage on the enemy, it will make the rest a lot easier if they are already hurt! As I mentioned above, the Khador battle box also has a very viable caster vs caster assassination win condition. Sorscha can easily, all by herself, put serious damage on an enemy caster, if not out right kill them. Remember this when things get dicey!
Warnings and such – As I’ve mentioned, Khador’s jacks are easy to hit. Opponent’s will probably never boost to hit. That makes their focus allocations and fury reasoning more cost effective. And, while armor 20 is really high, opponents will still be able to hurt you, primarily with their heavies, but dice minus 8 can still put the hurt on at range over time.