Ranking the top three Warcaster or Warlock weapons 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, Melee Weapons. Every caster has them. Well, except Rasheth, Issyria, and Wurmwood. But the rest do. And so many of them go under-recognized for just how powerful they are. Sure, your Warcaster or Warlock usually hangs back to be safe. But sometimes they mix it up. And when they do, certain weapons have some amazing abilities. Some have straight powerful P+S values. Others feature cool effects. So the question becomes, which are the best weapons out there–even if they’re rarely used?
So let’s get right to it! The following are my list of the top three Melee Weapons in Warmachine and Hordes. At the end is a bonus “Dishonorable Mention” for the most feeble beat stick out there.
Number Three: Forge Weapons (Horgle the Anvil)
There’s a reason that Horgle2 is the new hotness (pun intended) for Trollbloods. And sure, his spells and feat and abilities are part of it. But what got me intrigued the most was the sheer variety of destruction you can manage with his magic melee weapons and their excellent rule: Chain Attack: Ignition. The ability is simple: if both initials hit, all models within 2″ of the target take a POW 12 damage roll and suffer Continuous Fire. As an added wrinkle, the damage on the Ignition is not counted as an attack–overcoming certain defensive tech.
There’s two ways to leverage these splendid weapons that can burn crowds of enemies to ash. First is, simply get Horgle2 up front and center and go to work on an enemy heavy. Surrounding support models get toasted and he inflicts serious damage. Trollbloods profit.
The second, and much more devious, course of action is to bring a Gargantuan along for the ride. Get it up into where you want the burst to happen, then have Horgle attack his own model from the rear. Because they’re Immune to Fire due to his Field Marshal ability they’re not going to take the burst, yet the Ignite can project a long way from such a big base. Sure, your friendly model might take a couple of points of damage on the swings, as Forge Weapons have Continuous Fire but not the Fire type. But it’s worth it to see the big kaboom, particularly if the Gargantuan is a Mountain King that has already Bulldozed and beat his way into the middle of some foes.
Number Two: Lawgiver and Solace (Vice Scrutator Vindictus)
Sure, one is Blessed and one is a Chain Weapon. That’s not why Vindictus made this list. It’s for the magical property: Death Toll [Holy Zealot]. Creating new models when you kill someone is one of the coolest abilities in the game. And Vindictus creates models near him that then he can Call to Sacrifice–to be destroyed instead of him when he is disabled by an enemy attack. It’s win-win-win. He kills some foes that were threatening, gains new models that can fight on subsequent turns, and gains handy targets that can keep him alive against threats that might be closing in. That’s a powerful ability, and it even outshines Goreshade1’s placement of Deathwalker with his melee weapon.
With careful placement of Holy Zealot units to receive the new additions, and use of the Monolith Bearer, these paired weapons can be a real boon for Vindictus. At P+S 12 it can get the job done on most fast infantry. It’s an option for taking out faster moving harassing foes. Woe to the enemy whose flanking unit becomes fuel for his power, and ends up swelling the ranks of the Protectorate more than they remove. They’re certainly not the most dominant melee weapons in the game. But this little perk is one of the coolest effects when it works. And even in games where it’s not working, if the opponent is keeping their infantry away due to fears of conversion you’re still gaining leverage.
Number One: Lola (Butcher 1, 2, and 3)
Okay, so you knew this would be the case, right? As a P+S 16 Weaponmaster, this is about as damaging a weapon as there is on a Warcaster or Warlock in the game. Sure, Karchev has a higher total on the card (19), but Weaponmaster adds an average 3.5 damage per swing to just creep ahead at 19.5 on average. And remember, this isn’t counting feats or other buffs. Just sheer weapon stats and effects. And yes, there may be something with a Combo Smite that can get higher overall damage (Xerxis1’s Pillars of Halaak clock in at P+S 20 that way), but then you’re counting on enemy positioning to be just so to keep the weapon’s wielder in range for subsequent swings or to get that bonus die on the slam damage. For sheer, raw power to swing and swing (and swing) with deadly abandon, Lola is tops.
Ah, the Witch Coven. They’re armed with Ritual Blades, which have a whopping P+S 7. What makes them worse is that they’re a unit. I can understand the low POW swords on some of the Cygnar warcasters. They’re there to give them the ability to charge. Given the way that Egregore works as the point of origin for any spells, it’s not like they’re often gaining more range to toss a spell by charging. Charges, or even move-to-melee activations, also make any Perfect Conjunction positioning dependent upon enemy placement. I think they’re more there for fluff and look of the models than anything else. Definitely the weakest melee weapons on Warcasters and Warlocks in the game.
~ 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!
To watch the worst of the worst hit the tabletop, check out Chalkboard’s Warmachine and Hordes blog at: