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High Command: Colossal Warfare – Khador and Cryx Review

6 Minute Read
Aug 17 2014
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Colossal Warfare, the fifth expansion for Warmachine: High Command has released, bringing the crashing might of Colossals, Battle Engines, and Cavalry pounding into the fray. How will its impact be felt by High Command’s burgeoning metagame?

In Part 1 of our review of Colossal Warfare, which looked at Cygnar and the Protectorate, we discussed the new 3 CMD/3 WAR Resource cards. Since they also apply to Khador and Cryx, I will recap for anyone who missed it.

Like the Gargantuan Might expansion for Hordes: High Command, Colossal Warfare brings several new things to the table. As already mentioned, the high-cost, high-impact Colossals and battle engines are now represented in card form. Cavalry, which was previously unseen in Warmachine: High Command is also present, introducing cards with solid rush margins and typically high-impact.

Last, Colossal Warfare also brings new Resources to the Warmachine set, specifically VP-less, 3 CMD/3 WAR cards that effectively become 5 CMD/5 WAR when used for purchasing, deploying, or rushing Colossals or Battle Engines. The only thing that separates them across factions, aside from card title and art, is that they have different detachment distribution.

If you are planning on running Colossals or Battle Engines in your deck, these cards are really solid investments. While their lack of VP is potentially troubling where balanced or purchase-heavy builds are concerned, it is worth noting that every Colossal and Battle Engine is worth at least 1 VP and often as many as 3, which will nicely cover the VP lost for taking these new Resource cards.

Every faction receives these cards, with the Khador one labeled “Prikaz Chancellery Initiative” and the Cryx one called “Death’s Harvest”.

Khador – 

Khador’s newest warcaster into the fray is Karvev the terrible. While his special ability, Total War, which allows you to reduce the purchase and rush cost of your cards by 1 WAR for the turn, is not the most exciting of warcaster abilities, his Power value of 5 is nothing to smirk at. He can single-handledly kill a warjack or warbeast by himself, but back him up with a warjack or two, and you’ll clear a location out easily. His inclusion in red detachments makes a lot of sense, since it is so warjack heavy anyway.

Courtesy of Privateer Press Digital. Used with Permission.

The Conquest is Khador’s new colossal card in this expansion. At 4 Power and 9 Health, it is among the hardest-hitting and heavily-armored cards based on base stats alone. Its 2 CMD/2 WAR in resource gives you decent purchasing value, and its 3 VP is the highest currently available on a non-location card. Its special ability is a bit limited in application given the current state of the metagame, but as new expansions are released, especially the upcoming Castle of the Keys campaign expansion for Hordes: High Command, I think we might see a shift towards including cheaper cards a bit more. Its purchase cost of 8 WAR seems quite reasonable, but its 15 WAR to-rush is pretty rough, making it rather unlikely to see it played directly from reserves unless you also rush Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Prince, who allows you to rush a warjack for its purchase cost.

Iron Fang Uhlans are another VP-less infantry option with not the most exciting resource stats at 1 CMD/1 WAR. These facts alone make Uhlans a tough sell, particularly given their available detachments and of the VP-scoring Man-O-War there-in. What the Uhlans bring to the table that the Man-O-War do not are higher base Power and fantastic purchase and rush costs at 4 CMD and 6 CMD respectively. Given Khador’s saturation with great scoring cards, players looking to have some location presence might find the Uhlans a viable and attractive option.

Courtesy of Privateer Press Digital. Used with Permission.

The Winter Guard Gun Carriage is an interesting card. Its stats of 2 Power and 7 Health are respectable, particularly given the Blast rule for increasing their damage output based on enemy warriors present at the Carriage’s location. Their 6 CMD to-purchase and 10 CMD to-rush are about what I’d expect from this kind of card in Khador, which is not that intimidating with application of Prikaz Chancellery Initiative, and its 2 VP is nothing to complain about. Its resource stats of 1 CMD/1 WAR do leave something to be desired, but I think makes the Gun Carriage a card best-suited for capturing locations. As a Winter Guard card, it is eligible to be buffed by Grigorovich, who can effectively make the Carriage 3 Power, 8 Health, so strongly consider combining the cards if at all possible when designing your detachments.

Cryx – 

Lich Lord Venethrax is the newest warcaster for Cryx players. His Power 4 is on the higher end of the spectrum for warcasters. His detachment choices are fair. Yellow is inundated with great warcaster choices, but blue could certainly use another option. His special ability, Charnel Flames, is somewhat of a double-edged sword. It states that when you rush Venethrax, choose one card. That card’s Power is reduced to 0 and it cannot be destroyed while Venethrax is in play. This can really be used one of two ways. The first is to take a heavy-hitter from the enemy’s side out of the combat. The second is for protecting your own investments at the location. While Cryx currently lacks for a card with Shield Guard, if it ever receives one, Venethrax will pair extremely well with it. Alternatively, it pairs well with one card without Stealth and one or more cards with it, since cards with Stealth cannot be destroyed before cards without it.

Courtesy of Privateer Press Digital. Used with Permission.

The Kraken is a strong addition to Cryx, particularly in the orange detachment, which is hurting for VP-scoring warjack options that do not rely on Combo Strike to be effective, perhaps finally giving credence to the viability of the Revenant-heavy builds that the orange detachment seems to promote. At 4 Power and 7 Health with the Collector ability, it seems particularly geared towards being an offensive machine, with Collector making the Kraken stronger every time a warrior card is destroyed at its location. Its 7 Health is far from bullet-proof, though, so you will need to take measures to keep it alive, making The Witch Coven a great warcaster to try to fit in if possible. The Kraken is also worth 2 VP and has a resource value of 2 CMD and 2 WAR, making it a card that can be easily cycled for resources if needed. Its purchase and rush cost is fair, although 12 WAR to-rush is a little higher than I would like, but given its offensive potential, I can certainly understand it.

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Courtesy of Privateer Press Digital. Used with Permission.

Cryx’s new cavalry unit, the Bane Riders Cadre, is a fantastic addition to the blue and red detachments. It basically takes the VP value of Bane Thralls and marries it to the aggressive potential of Bane Knights. Its rush margin is almost as good as it gets, and it will be hitting at Power 4 fairly often. 2 VP cards with this type of rush potential are rare, and I fully expect to see the Bane Riders Cadre fairly often in many Cryx decks. While its 1 CMD/1 WAR in resource value leaves something to be desired, this is a card that screams to be used for taking locations, not cycling through your deck.

Finally, the Wraith Engine is the last card in Colossal Warfare. While 5 Health is not terribly thrilling on a model that rushes for 11 CMD, Incorporeal leaves it on the table for an entire round, making it a solid tool to hold off a capture attempt in lieu of simply removing enemy cards. Alternatively, the Incorporeal rule may stop players from going after a location with a newly-deployed Wraith Engine present, since you will be able to heavily reinforce the position when your turn comes around again, which makes sense given its mediocre resource stats of 1 CMD/1 WAR. It also scores 2 VP, which, as mentioned earlier, is great to have on a CMD-based purchase, although both the green and purple detachments that it is available to are flush with solid, fast warrior cards that score 1 VP.

This wraps up the last Warmachine: High Command expansion we will see for the four core factions for at least three or four months now that Faith and Fortune will be releasing soon with its core set and first initial expansions. While I would certainly love to see more for the core factions, I believe that Colossal Warfare leaves the game in a strong state overall. Watch for our review of Faith and Fortune in the coming weeks.

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