Ranking the top three Utility Feats in Warmachine and Hordes.
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, continuing my series of articles on Warmachine and Hordes that examines the “Best of the Best” attributes across all models and factions. We’ll examine the top Feats, Spells, Abilities, Weapons, Stat Lines, Damage Grids, and anything else that appears on model entries in the game. All to give you a sense for which models are among the best on those categories.
This Week, Utility Feats. I did this category as a sort of catch-all for feats that are neither offensive or defensive per se. Instead, they might be a mix of both, or they might provide some other benefit to the army that isn’t clearly offense or defense. And by this I’m not talking about Ashlynn d’Elyse or Deneghra1 for instance. Both are feats that are strongly both offense and defense. Instead, as you’ll see, I’m thinking more of the peculiar effect feats that do something else for a faction that’s different than just a static two-way bonus. These are the kind of Feats that create or do something unique for a force, a benefit that other models simply cannot bring. If nothing else, it’s a handy way to recognize three additional Warcasters/Warlocks who have great feats that are not as easily cast into a single purpose.
So let’s get right to it! The following are my list of the top three Utility Feats in Warmachine and Hordes. At the end is a bonus “Dishonorable Mention” for the least utility-providing Feat out there.
Number Three: Vayl, Disciple of Everblight
Vayl1 is the first model I thought about when trying to sort out this as a third category of Feat. Cat and Mouse is one of those Feats that may initially underwhelm. It’s just a free advance at the end of the turn for all other friendly models (with no free strikes). I think that’s the definition of utility.
Look at the sheer variety of options this one gives. Vayl1 can use it to bring scenario pressure or redress the battle line in a way to box opponents out. She can yo-yo melee beasts quite effectively, and can give ranged beasts some nasty threat superiority. She can commit heavy to a side, then draw back to a balanced presentation of force.
That said, I think it’s a tricky Feat to use sometimes, because of the sheer utility. With Vayl1, I think it’s important to have a plan for different types of match-ups. Know when you’re going to use it in different ways, to really unlock a truly flexible force.
Number Two: Exulon Thexus
Thexus’ Feat is so very simple. 2″ push in any direction on each enemy non-Warcaster, non-Warlock model in its 16″ control range. Yet simplicity plus near-universality makes for one mean dose of utility.
Yes, the simple method is to hold the Feat until you can get one or more Monstrosities in range of an enemy Warcaster or Warlock, then use this Feat to “part the sea”. But what makes Thexus so powerful is that it can do so much more as needed. The Feat is absurd on the attrition side, when you’re talking about a force that likely already outnumbers its foes. The pushes can line up enemy models in perfect, high yield patterns for incoming sprays. It can bring them closer for kills or distance them for survivability.
And that’s not even mentioning scenario. This gives some strong power in nabbing a few control points from a foe. Even on the assassination turn, because it affects everyone, models that won’t contribute to the assassination still get helping scoring some control points on a potential final turn (which can be handy in a tournament setting). It’s a Feat that can do a whole lot with just a little text, and helps on all sides of the game. Pretty utility to me.
Number One: The High Reclaimer
Notice the developing theme for Utility Feats. They provide offense, defense, and scenario pressure all at the same time in unique ways. I put the High Reclaimer at the top of the pack for one simple reason, he can do it all with his Feat and a given list build. If you want offense, this is a huge assassination threat Feat. Bringing models back well toward your opponent for good looks on their caster? Priceless. Sure, the range can be a bit down because you cannot kill your own officers to make it happen, but with Idrians or Cleansers you can still threaten quite far. It’s also a great attrition Feat if the enemy caster is safe–bring back models in just the right spots to help wear away the opponent.
Then there’s the other side that makes for the most utility. It can help you stay in a scenario, block off key spots, engage problematic ranged solos, and just plain stick your stuff in all sorts of places that your opponent was not expecting. It’s almost a paralyzing Feat for the player. They have their plan for assassination, but the temptation to Feat to attrition, deny, block, or simply advance scenario has to be strong as well. That level of “this helps in any phase and any moment” is the defining feature of a true Utility Feat.
Dishonorable Mention: Amon Ad-Raza
I’ve mentioned this before, and again I’ll start with the disclaimer that maybe it’s just me. But Amon Ad-Raza’s Feat is just feeble. At the end of the day, loading Warjacks with a few more Focus while still using that Focus during your Warcaster’s turn is increased utility. But it’s pretty darn feeble as far as Feats go. Sacrificial Lamb is a COST 1 spell that a few Warcasters have in the game that does more than this Feat manages to do. I can see many situations where he’s only able to give out 3 or 4 Focus at best. This is made worse because of his upkeeps. The focus spent on upkeeps don’t get caught by the Feat. The solution? Let them drop and then recast them? I guess that’s a solution, but it’s rather backward.
The other side is protection. Now maybe he doesn’t need to camp as much (as long as he was careful to be base-to-base with the Vigilant that has his Fortify), but still one or two might make sense in a world with Telekinesis, throws, Domination, and models that ignore cover. The more he camps to stay safe, the less his Feat does.
In no way am I saying that Amon is a bad Warcaster, mind you. I think he’s easily top three in Protectorate and a dominant caster choice in the game. Perhaps it’s because everything else in his kit is so good, his Feat gets to be the spot that’s a bit less tremendous.
~ Does this ranking fit your thoughts? Did we miss a critical attribute? Was a great model overlooked, or a powerful interaction missed? Is Number One really that good? Do you think the “Dishonorable Mention” is not so dishonorable after all? Let us know in the comments below!
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