Warmachine: Khador Second Looks

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Take a second look at these two Khador Warcasters for Warmachine and Hordes – Old Witch & Zerkova.

Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with the sixth in a series of second looks articles that address Warmachine and Hordes warcasters and warlocks that may have been missed by some players as the Mark III meta has crystalized. We’ve got a tendancy as players to follow what works, and with the WTC recently, that means a set of clear warcasters and warlocks that received a sort of “seal of approval” from the top players in the world. The fact that some were chosen is good reason to think that they are among the best in the game. However, that doesn’t mean that ones that weren’t represented aren’t worth a second look. These articles push for a bit deeper consideration of the faction’s roster, to see if any other models are worth a second look in Warmachine and Hordes.

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This week I’m focusing on Khador, which has emerged as an extremely effective faction in Mark III. They’ve got some obvious clear-choice warcasters within the faction that topped the lists in the WTC: Irusk2 and Butcher3 in particular, for understandable reasons. Vlad1, Vlad2, and Karchev also saw ample representation, with Sorscha1 close behind. With that crew, and the archetypes of builds they can bring (particularly heavy warjack spams), the meta can seem somewhat brittle–choosing one option might seem to lock in another clear one. The two second look warcasters I’m suggesting today, the Old Witch and Zerkova1, could be intriguing additions to a list pairing, and bring an unknown quality to match-ups–and as far as I can tell they seem to be better than their representation at tourneys suggests.

Second Look: The Old Witch

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So I don’t play Khador. But in writing this article, and considering the Old Witch, she at least seems like a fun spot to start. Her feat intrigues me: models in range that advance in any direction take a POW 14 hit, and warrior models that are damaged are knocked down. It seems particularly useful in pairings: combine her with another caster running a Warjack spam, and have a ready-made infantry stall to handle either swarms or weapon masters. Cagey opponents will treat it like a time stop, or only let their sturdy Warjacks and Warbeasts do work during feat turn, so it’s likely to be more of a time stop than an actual damage dealer. Consider Mark II Harbinger for Protectorate of Menoth: similar feat (on a bit larger area) made her a scenario monster. With an Arc node, a free casting of one of her spells each turn, Gallows for dragging opponents closer to be killed, and a placeable AOE that deals damage to models that move into it, she looks like a solid scenario warcaster. Having Apparition on herself and her entire battlegroup is just extra flexibility and threat extension for a sometimes-rigid faction.

Second Look: Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova

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Excepting Butcher3, a number of the warcasters on the common list above are more support in nature. And while that’s fine, sometimes people want to play a more involved warcaster in their games of Warmachine. Zerkova1 gives some interesting options in that way. First, her feat is a really solid one to help a slow-ish force close to the right range. By stopping all shooting and preventing charging/orders/special actions, it means that her force gains the feat turn to cozy up to their foes with limited ability to retailiate. On the personal involvement side, Zerkova1 has some similarity to Calaban (and to lesser extent the Vayls) with the ability to generate a spell channeling model deep amid the enemy line in their infanty. With some spell perks that arrive each round (+5″ range for one casting, -1 cost for another), she can get interesting angles of attack with either her nuke or spray spells. With ability to give Ghost Walk out and to place cloud effects in a large control area, she’s got some solid options in terms of what she can enable for her force as well. Zerkova1’s main limiting factor may be having too much she can do–but that flexibility means that as long as a player decides “this is her role this round”, she can get it done.

~ So how do Old Witch and/or Zerkova1 do when you give them a second look? Do they offer enough that they’re worth taking instead of the current “consensus choice” warcasters in Khador? Could they be a solid half of a pairing? Do they ask a question of opponents’ lists that’s worth another round of consideration? 

And if you haven’t seen it lately (or ever), take a second look at Chalkboard’s Warmachine and Hordes blog at:

www.chalkboardwar.com

  • Nvision

    Zerkova and Zevanna are two of my favourite ‘casters. Zerkova is an incredible toolbox, made even better in Mk.III. Her spell list and abilities are much improved, and taking her with Sylys makes her even more focus-efficient. She functions well as both a control and assassination caster. Casting Ghost Walk on a ‘jack or unit of anything, then seeing them charge through the opposition towards the opponent’s caster is brilliant.

    The Old Witch is incredibly mobile, especially combining Unseen Path and Apparition. She is a melee beast when it comes to light infantry AND she can collect soul tokens. Her feat isn’t the best, except to protect her from being swarmed, but the rest of her spells and abilities are solid.

    Plus, these two ladies have the only real arc nodes in the faction, with Scrapjack and Zerkova’s gun.

    • Richard Mitchell

      True that, two of my favorite and most underestimated casters. I love when my opponent underestimates Zerkhova and wonders how they lost.