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Review: High Command: Heroes and Legends

7 Minute Read
May 23 2014
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The third expansion set to Privateer Press’s Warmachine: High Command is in the wild and demands a look. What new toys does it bring to their deck builder, and are they worth the price of admission?

The Thunderhead
Cygnar –

Cygnar’s new warcaster in Heroes and Legends is Lord Commander Coleman Stryker, the second incarnation of Stryker found in High Command. At 5 Power, Lord Commander Stryker brings quite a bit of hitting power to a location when rushed, allowing him to clear out fortified positions with a little bit of help from supporting warjacks or infantry. His extra ability, Rolling Thunder, allows him to a deploy a warjack from his hand to his location after the battle step, allowing the player to reinforce a position for capture after he has moved in and removed the enemy from it. His rush cost, however, is noticeably high at 5 CMD, making him quite the investment of resources and a better mid-to-late-game option when high resource cards and location cards are available to make the cost less daunting. Better yet, wait until you have a Squire in-hand to make the cost of rushing him free.

The new detachment cards for Cygnar are the Thunderhead, Gallant, Black 13th Strike Team, and Captain Maxwell Finn. The Thunderhead is fantastic and a solid buy for yellow and purple detachments. It has a very reasonable purchase/deploy cost of 6, is worth 2 VP, and boasts the Energy Pulse rule, which makes the Thunderhead stronger for each other enemy card at its location, making it ideal for clearing our hordes of cheap infantry as will be common with Protectorate or Cryx builds. Gallant brings Shield Guard on a hardened platform, allowing you to protect high-priority, high-damage assets from blue and red detachments like Stormblades or the Black 13th.

The Black 13th Strike Team brings versatility to the field not completely unlike the Arcane Tempest Gun Mages. Their Mage Shot ability allows them to choose between +1 Power or Covering Fire, either effectively giving a location more defense or more strength. They are available to green, blue, and purple detachments and will likely see play time in all of them. Finally for Cygnar, Maxwell Finn is a huge asset to Trencher-heavy builds with his Trencher Commander ability, granting Trenchers at his location +1 Health and +1 Power during attacks at his location. Also, at 3 Power, he himself packs a pretty solid punch.


Fire of Salvation
Protectorate of Menoth – 

The Protectorate’s new warcaster is Hierarch Severius. While his base Power 2 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, his ability, Fires of Communion is completely tide-turning at locations swarmed by warrior cards. Fires of Communion reduces the Power all enemy warrior cards at his location by a value equal to their base Power, while also increasing his own Power value by the same amount. This not allows him to completely neuter a horde of infantry, but to most likely dispatch them all in turn, making him quite deadly against glass cannon-types. Like Lord Commander Stryker, Severius is an expensive card to rush at 5 CMD, so you will need the resources to make him work.

For detachments, the Protectorate sees reinforcements in the forms of The Avatar of Menoth, Fire of Salvation, Nicia, Tear of Vengeance, and The Covenant of Menoth. The Avatar of Menoth boasts decent damage output at Power 3 while also bringing the Menoth’s Gaze rule, which is effectively Shield Guard that affects all models, not just warriors. The Fire of Salvation is dirt cheap to purchase/deploy at 4 WAR, and grants some mobile flexibility with its Righteous Vengeance rule, allowing it to move to a location where a friendly card was destroyed, helping to fend off against hasty capture attempts in a pinch or to reinforce your own.

Nicia, Tear of Vengeance is all about rapid response with her low purchase/deploy and rush costs and her Sprint rule, which returns her to your hand at the end of an attack at her location. This will force enemy players to strongly consider investing their damage into trying to destroy her instead of other higher-priority targets. Consequently, she pairs well with anything that can keep her alive, like Devouts or The Avatar. The Covenant of Menoth is fantastic for making the plans of enemy players completely unravel thanks the Lawgiver’s Creed rule, which removes all abilities from enemy warbeasts, warjacks, and warrior cards. While it does no damage itself, Lawgiver’s Creed can often be enough to allow it to turn an attack at any location in your favor.


Supreme Kommandant Irusk
Khador – 

Khador’s new warcaster card in Heroes and Legends is Supreme Kommandant Irusk. At Power 3, he’s not much to write home about, but his ability, Desperate Ground, allows him to rush one warrior card from his reserves to his location, a strong ability given Khador’s many expensive infantry options like Man-O-War. 

The new detachment cards for Khador are the Behemoth, Drago, Kovnik Josef Grigorovich, and the Great Bears of Gallowswood. The Behemoth is a fantastic buy for blue and red detachments. With Armor Piercing and Power 3, it hits plenty hard, and is consequently great for cutting through high-Health defenders. Not only is it worth 2 VP, but it also brings 3 CMD/3 WAR in purchasing power, which is among the highest I’ve seen in a non-resource card, if not the highest. Drago is a bit of glass cannon as warjacks go at Power 4/ Health 4, but it’s also remarkably cheap at 4 to purchase and 6 to rush. Its Bloodbath ability allows you to draw a card at the end of the attack step if there are no enemy cards at Drago’s location. Unfortunately, the trade off for all of this is that Drago isn’t worth any VPs.

Kovnik Josef Grigorovich is Khador’s equivalent to Maxwell Finn, save that his abilities apply to Winter Guard, giving them all +1 Power and Health when at his location, making him work well in decks that emphasize the presence of Winter Guard. The Great Bears of Gallowswood are another solid investment for yellow, blue, and red decks with their decent purchase cost, high durability at Health 5, and the Backswing ability to increase their damage output to Power 4 when there are two or more enemy cards at their location. At 4 to purchase/deploy and 6 to rush, they’re fairly cheap, but they do go a bit against Khador’s apparent combat doctrine of victory through purchasing since they aren’t worth any VPs. 


The Deathjack
Cryx – 

Cryx’s new warcaster in this expansion is Lich Lord Asphyxious. With Power 4, he brings a nice bit of hitting power on his own, but its his ability, Spectral Legion that will really be doing most of the work for him. It allows the player to return all Undead cards from their discard pile to his location. At the end of the turn, all of these cards are discarded. This allows him to quickly overwhelm a location with Undead cards, typically clearing the location out with ease provided that care is taken in regards to timing, since you’ll want as full of a discard pile as possible, else risk having a rather weak result if you just shuffled or your only discarded cards are helljacks or resources. You can enhance this by using more expensive Undead cards like Bane Thralls as resources used to purchase, deploy or rush, then use them to power Spectral Legion.

For detachment cards, Cryx receives the Deathjack, Malice, The Withershadow Combine, and Captain Rengrave. The Deathjack brings pretty strong stats with its Power 4 and Health 5 and is additionally worth 1 VP. This by itself makes the Deathjack a strong buy for its low purchase/deploy cost of 5 and rush cost of 7. Its ability, Necromancy, plays into Cryx’s regular recursion mechanics by allowing the player to return an Undead card from the discard pile to their hand if an enemy warrior card was destroyed at the Deathjack’s location. Malice is a budget warjack at 4 to purchase/deploy and 6 to rush while also being worth a single VP. At 2 Power and 4 Health, it doesn’t boast incredibly exciting stats, but its Ghost Shield ability gives it +1 Health for each enemy warrior card at its location, making its placement an important factor in getting good mileage out of it.

The Withershadow Combine is a support card that allows you to return a warjack card from your discard pile to your hand if you destroyed a warjack card at their location, letting you lend Cryx’s recursion mechanics to their warjack cards instead of their Undead cards for a change. Captain Rengrave is less than exciting stat-wise, but his Death Toll ability allows you to deploy a Revenant card from your hand to his location when you deploy, rush, or move Rengrave to a location, giving you some fast response.

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With new material spilling out every other month or so, High Command continues to be evoloving into a really solid game that has quite a bit of depth. With new factions on the horizon, it only seems to be getting more and more exciting.

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