This is Part 2 of the Rise of the Underdogs series of articles where I ask the members of the Northern Kings to have a go at writing a list for one of the armies currently in the bottom four of a Call to Arms.
You can find Part 1, where I take a look at the Free Dwarfs here.
This time its multiple time Clash of Kings and UK Masters winner Tom Robinson taking you through the League of Rhordia.
Take it away Tom…
League of Rhordia
Ok so I was asked to do this for two reasons.
Firstly, so far Call to Arms is three rounds in and the League of Rhordia are currently sat at a 20% win rate, that 20% was the two games I played with them in the tournament – it’s up to me to address that sorry state of affairs because Rhordia are anything but a whipping boy.
Secondly, I have played Rhordia since their creation, racking up seven tournament wins with them including the 2017 UK Masters. With third edition they got even more personality, the Aralez are awesome units which as I speak am ordering some big wolves to convert into proper Honour Guard. Just look at the art for them, they’re good boys!
Personally I find the idea of forcing Halflings onto the frontline to be distasteful and cruel. This is reflected in my current list which you will get to see in action in a grudge match with Mr Patrick Zoro Allen over on Dash 28 this Saturday 16th May 7:30pm BST. Shameless plug out of the way here we go!
The concept behind this list is that I wanted a robust, mobile combined arms.
I wanted to have a list that could take all comers, could alpha the slower lists, can tarpit the alpha strikers, win the chaff fight and outshoot most lists without sacrificing the ability to fight or manoeuvre. Something of a tall order in an all comers list but I think this does it pretty damn well. The units all work in tandem so that opponent depending you can achieve two to three of the aims above to help take victory.
First things first, one of the best things to happen to Rhordia and Kingdoms of Men this edition is Indomitable Will. You can see I have it on every unit which can take it and here’s why.
1. You save points on buying a third Inspiring characer. No need for the Standard bearer tax, or to work in a suboptimal character choice to give you that extra bit of inspiring to round your list out. Go nuts, you’ve got a safety net for each unit wherever it goes, deploy that knight regiment on the flank without a standard bearer shadowing it! You’re free! (for 10 points).
2. One use only Fearless. Yup, I think it’s nearly worth it just for this. Last edition I ran two hordes of Honour Guard and they almost always ran Staying Stone/ Chalice of Wrath in order to support their mediocre nerve and keep the wrecking ball of attacks rolling. Now I get a better version of it AND buy myself the Brew of Sharpness/ Potion of the Caterpillar. Win.
3. Put them together and you achieve something Kingdoms of Men for one definitely didn’t have last edition… character. I’ve always loved the idea of normal human soldiers facing off with stout heart and a burning passion against the immutable horrors of a twisted fantasy world. This is in my opinion a great distillation of that concept in gameplay terms, I love it.
Muster the Forces
This is the perfect support piece, it is all things to all men and it’s better than last edition. The rallying two pushes the average human nerve to super elite levels. The Lightning Bolt (6) gives it something to do early game in tandem with the rest of my list’s shooting. It’s hard to kill at def 5 -/14 so chaff aren’t picking it up and now it can even fight in combat so it whacks the chaff back and can threaten flanks once the melee closes leaving the Lightning redundant. In Third Edition it lost the character tag so now you can save a character unlock! It’s also height five so can safely shoot from behind infantry without cover (or over infantry at pesky individuals).
Like I said it does everything, it’s an auto include, every army wishes they could have it, it’s the Battleshrine.
Wizards (2x Pegs, one Boomstick, one on horse with Bane Chant and Inspire)
The unassuming chaff! These guys feature in three slightly different forms. The base form Pegasus Lightning (3) variety is a disposable early game shooting piece and providing it’s not tactically important to throw it under the bus it’s a late game objective taker and nuisance maker.
The second is the same again plus the Boomstick -he does the same thing but only sacrifices himself if I really have to when all the buses have arrived at once. Still cheap enough that it’s not a great loss though. The last is only on horseback, as he has the Inspiring Talisman as some redundancy against spiky nerve and damage rolls and to protect the Volley Guns and chaff since they don’t have Indomitable Will, he also has Bane Chant which the individual aspect makes use of as opposed to a Pegasus, he’s also easier to hide and is my only dedicated Inspiring unit.
Duke on Winged Aralez
He’s the flier protection, the flank threatener and a support combat unit which can take a surprising amount of damage thanks to the Radiance of Life and Iron Resolve. He’s good enough to send off without an item as this list doesn’t have the wiggle room, but Staying Stone is my go to. The heavy fliers tend to attract a lot of plink shooting and this guy shrugs all that off and the more expensive dragons can’t afford to ignore him.
Foot Guard horde (Indomitable Will)
A new addition from Kingdoms of Men is the ability to keep defence 5 AND to get the horde option. A great tarpit, not too shabby in combat, the horde unlock nets me the war engines, characters and monsters all in one. Can’t go wrong with them.
Dogs of War horde (Indomitable Will)
Probably the best tarpit in the game. Yeah you can only have one, yeah you can’t buy it an item (but you get Indomitable Will so who cares!), yeah you can no longer sit two Halflings behind them with 12 Drain Life and watch your opponent flail fruitlessly BUT phalanx got loads better, ensnare still rocks, def5 on top of those two rules is ridiculous!
This unit holds the line, whatever line I want to hold, these guys stand on it. Great and reliable in objective play. I often run in tandem with the Shrine to make sure they NEVER die but honestly my deployment is pretty fast and loose, I try to aim them at a choke point or at fliers like Wights etc to give them a proper neutering – lovely unit.
Knight Horde (Indomitable Will, Brew of Strength)
OK so I know a lot of people say Knight hordes don’t work but bear with me here. Last game I ran them they wiped a zombie horde on the charge, they were charged, and then with Bane Chant, one shot a regiment of Wraiths in return. They were then charged again by a horde of Wights, which they then one shot AGAIN on the counter before being brought down by a regiment of Soul Reaver infantry. These guys wreck face, they don’t need the charge, they don’t need to move quickly, hell I run them as super infantry a lot of the time but when you combine the support options you’re looking at a unit that puts out 32 attacks, Crushing 1 plus Bane Chant on Thunderous 2 WITH Indomitable Will and Rally (2) pushing them to -/25 nerve! Yeah have fun with that.
Honour Guard horde (Indomitable Will, Caterpillar)
Another beatstick, if I had the points I’d give them Brew of Sharpness, these guys like most of my army mathematically, between the hammers and the shooting, is designed to put -17 nerve units in real danger at any point. They aim to be fighting around terrain so the rest of the army doesn’t have to. Again if the flow of the battle is heading that way I can throw Bane Chant, Rally (2) and Indomitable Will to push up to -/20 nerve.
I love that adaptability and the aesthetic of armoured wolves ridden by Knights, they’re the poster boy for Rhordia, they’re good boys.
Volley Guns! (They come in threes)
OK so yes they took a nerf, that’s on me guys, I’m responsible for getting them nerfed. They have two roles. A metric fuckton of Piercing (2) shots speaks for itself.
Secondly, area denial. You don’t need these guys to be shooting to be getting use out of them, having reload and with mediocre range as war engines go opponents will try to just not come into range, use that to your advantage. It’s not a bad thing to drop all three of them early on, force your opponent to drop three units while you set these up on overwatch on an area and he deploys the rest of his army all cooped up somewhere else (preferably away from an objective or two you’re watching over). At 85 points who cares if they die, or if they only get one proper volley off if your opponent has put himself at a massive disadvantage to do so. They might not shoot until turn 5 and pick off a dragon and a chaff piece, hey they made their points back!
I also use them as a trap, people fixate on them, I’ll drop the lightning battery nearby with the Shrine pushing the guns up to 11/13 nerve for turn one or two so the individuals or counter batteries put themselves at massive risk trying to take them out. OR I have put the Honour Guard behind them when I knew the opponent was going to throw something big at them because when he kills one the other two get out the way and in goes the Honour Guard horde to trade a Volley Gun for a dragon. I love these guys, this is where your Halflings belong.
Shooty fast chaff! Everything you need!
Screen the cavalry, pin down fliers, plink damage alongside the rest of the shooting hell if these guys as my primary under the bus unit survive to mid-game they can threaten flanks or grab objectives with their speed. Can’t go wrong with them, they pull their weight, perhaps without the flair that the rest of the army can show.
So there you have it. I like to think there’s some real depth to this list, it can function well in every phase of the game and I really enjoy playing them. The real weakness here is the limited damage mitigation, there’s only two lots of iron resolve and the radiance of life only does so much. The sheer amount of nerve mitigates this to an extent but combi charge alpha strikes are a threat that my list can struggle with, with limited mobility and little to no rear line or reserve units. Expect a long line of overlapping threat ranges with a shooting core and mobile lightning battery for opportune targets, the chaff range ahead ready to flag down their doom to buy the opportune moment or round of shooting that helps me clear a bit of the board on good trades.
A huge thank you to Tom, make sure to check out the Dash28’s livestream of Tom’s game against Patrick Zoro Allen on Saturday 16th May 7:30pm BST.
If you haven’t read it yet, in Part 1 I gave my take on the Free Dwarfs.
Coming up next is 2017 Clash of Kings winner, author of the very first Clash of Kings book and all round Kings of War aficionado Nick Williams.
Nick’s been given the hardest job (because he was last to respond so we volunteered him!) and will be giving his take on the Ratkin Slaves.
Look out for that in the coming days!