Ranking the top three Warjack damage grids 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, Damage Grids. When you play only one faction, they all seem pretty equivalent. You know lights have about six boxes less than heavies, but they seem more or less the same. However, not all damage grids are equal. Some have unusual placements of systems that can make them more or less resilient. Others have curious shapes that affect things, or just plain heaps more boxes than the rest. So this week, it’s time so think about which Damage Grids are the best of the best among the non-Colossal warjacks in the game. Colossals will get their own “Best of the Best” later, where we can compare their damage grids. For this purpose, it’s helpful to simply treat them as a different category. And a quick note to all the Warbeasts: sorry. There’s not enough variety in damage spirals to do any more than “most boxes”. You’ll get your due with the consideration of best Animus next week.
So let’s get right to it! The following are my list of the top three non-Colossal Warjack damage grids in Warmachine and Hordes. At the end is a bonus “Dishonorable Mention” for the most easily disabled warjack.
Number Three: Ghordson Basher
This little guy gets the nod thanks to the curious layout of its system boxes. With only three systems (head, cortex, movement), each system was given four boxes rather than three. Most importantly, that means four cortex boxes across four columns. Now, its overall boxes aren’t amazing compared to, say, a Khador Juggernaut chassis. But the extended layout gives this little guy a functionality edge that many other warjacks cannot match. A lucky hit in the right column needs to do 12 points of damage to cripple the cortex of a Juggernaut. It takes a whopping 19 points of damage to do the same to the Basher. Head and movement take 14 to knock out in a single hit, again well above other heavy warjacks.
Cryx players should note that Cankerworm and the Helldiver have the same layout of boxes, which gives them a pretty strong survival edge compared to other light warjacks in the same way. They lose the tiebreaker because the Basher has so many more boxes above the strange layout. My initial thought was “oh, Cankerworm is a pain to cripple”… until I saw the same grid in the Basher with a bonus row of boxes above.
Number Two: Imperatus
Retribution’s Shyeel-designed Myrmidon warjacks deserve a notice all of their own thanks to the Force Field ability. It gives the warjacks that have it a unique advantage–a line of boxes that fill first. Now they’re not as meaty as other heavies or lights once the Force Field boxes are passed, but it’s the fact that Force Field boxes come first that matters. It’s a seventh column that has to be entirely filled before you start getting to the regular grid that helps.
Imperatus is the best of the Retribution jacks on grid simply because it has those two extra boxes in the Force Field beyond the other Shyeel heavies. Having 12 boxes that always get hit first, none of which contain a system? Yes please. Never mind the fact that it heals a d6 of those boxes in the maintenance phase and all Phoenix Protocol regeneration trick it gets when disabled. This model has the same number of boxes as a Khador Juggernaut, with the bonus that 12 of those boxes get filled before anything actually starts working down columns toward systems. Like the Basher above, it takes a 19-point hit in just the right column to take out the cortex. And a 17-point hit to reach either arm system. That’s an impressive grid.
Number One: Avatar of Menoth
What could possibly be better than models that take 19 points of damage in a lucky column to remove their cortex? How about a model that doesn’t have a cortex in the first place? The Avatar of Menoth has an amazing damage grid for a very simple reason. Just no cortex box. The Avatar special rule means that this model gets its focus without having to fret that system. Unlike the Basher, that doesn’t mean more system boxes to check for the other systems. Just fewer system boxes total. 3 for left arm, three for right, and 3 for movement. While it still loses systems quicker than the two prior examples, that’s mitigated in part by the higher armor and shield. But inability to lose the most critical system for a model is a huge boon. It makes the Avatar of Menoth’s Damage Grid unique, and extremely powerful.
Fragile, thy name is the Cryx Stalker. It has a mere 18 boxes, and only six of those boxes are not systems. That’s paper-thin. The Stalker has some other defensive tricks that help, namely high defense and Stealth. But if something gets there, this Damage Grid wilts. A mere 5 points of damage beyond its hardly-impressive ARM 13 is enough to cripple a system with the right column. Even then, it’s best-defended systems only take 6 points to cripple–again with the right roll. Definitely the weakest Damage Grid for a Warjack. You know it’s bad when even the Convergence of Cyriss Corollary’s feeble grid looks better than yours.
~ 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: