Rise of the Underdogs: Kingdoms of Men

This is the forth and final installment in the Rise of the Underdogs series where the Northern Kings give their take on how they would approach one of the armies in the bottom four of a Call to Arms.

You can find Part 1 where I take a look at Free Dwarfs here,
Part 2 where Tom Robinson takes a look at the League of Rhordia here,
and Part 3 where Nick Williams gives his take on Ratkin Slaves here.

Taking us out in this final installment is the 2018 UK Masters winner, Adam Padley giving his take on Kingdoms of Men…

Kingdoms of Men

So, I was asked to write a list for one of the four worst preforming armies from A Call to Arms and despite never playing a human army in any game system, I volunteered to do Kingdoms of Men.

After looking at Kingdoms of Men, I was really surprised they only had a ~20% win rate. I mean they can do everything; solid infantry, cavalry, shooting and even monsters now! 

This is my second take on this list. I began with writing a nice all round balanced list taking advantage of the excellent ‘Indomitable Will’ special rule – but after Tom’s League of Rhordia review I realised I was repeating a lot of what Tom had said.  Kingdoms of Men can build a very similar list with advantages and disadvantages over League of Rhordia, but they’re basically very similar.

So take two. What I decided to do instead was take another look at what Kingdoms of Men can do, but focusing a bit more on the extreme builds that I’m know for. 

Even though shooting was given some considerable nerfs from version 2 to version 3 (more than it should have been) I began to come up with something I would feel very comfortable running (even though I don’t own a single human miniature!). With 2300 been the most popular points level across A Call to Arms I started there.

This is what I came up with:

Yes, that’s a lot of shots. 120 bows, 12 d3+6 blast and to round it off 12 Lightning Bolt – correction a lot of low power shots!

List Strengths

A lot of people will be looking at this and think, “yeah yeah, this is just another shooting spam list. We saw a lot of these in v2 and you said yourself, there has been a lot of nerfs to shooting from v2 to v3!”.

You wouldn’t be wrong, but the reason for this extreme skew is very simple. It’s deceivingly a very strong scenario list with a total of 21 drops and 25 Unit Strength with mobile scoring units. It forces people to react in different ways to your standard meta picks.

We haven’t seen a good shooting list in v3 yet (other than the obvious Abyssal Dwarf and Goblin war engines, but they’re not a dedicated shooting skew).  This list’s real strength on scenario is board control and area denial. If there’s a loot token in the open with 3 cannons and 2 archer hordes looking at it, that’s got to be one tanky or very brave unit to take that token alone.

Chip damage is your goal.

90% of the time, its not about killing 1-2 units a turn, its about putting 3-6 damage on 4-8 units a turn. This helps you control the flow of the game in your favour.

List Weaknesses

This list is very dependent on controlling the flow of the game so anything your opponent does to disrupt this can have a huge impact if you haven’t planned any redundancies. Letting a flyer behind your lines for example is a big no no and will often just cost you the game. This is where the General and Hero come in. These units are both for offensive and defensive use, keeping the enemy at bay for more shooting or mopping up anything that’s managed to get into your back field.

Mass regen can be very hard to play against due to it almost cancelling out your chip damage plan, along with Iron resolve and Life Leach. This has to be accounted for when you’re doing damage and you need to play around this as best you can.

But the biggest weaknesses of this list, is that it’s not an easy list to play. I’m saying this from a hell of a lot of experience with lists like this (over 100 games across v2). One mistake can cost you everything, because when you start loosing control of the game it quickly spirals out of control. Every single movement is key, you need to make sure you advance when you need to and stay still when you don’t need to. You have to be thinking 4 turns ahead otherwise you wont stand a chance.

Stand Out Units

The General on Winged Beast is a fantastic unit at 190 points, it’s basically a mini dragon for a fraction of a dragon’s points.

Cannons. I never thought I’d see cannons be played, I went all V2 without seeing one! I’m so glad these are viable now, excellent range and damage output. The Shattering is what makes this unit better than the Siege Artillery – I wish they would change grape shot to something playable though because at the moment there is ZERO reason to use it over just a cannon ball.

Wizards on Pegasus. These guys do everything, mobile Unit Strength for late game objective grabbing, they’re cheap enough for chaffing a unit up and to top it all off Lighting Bolt 3 is a nice touch to add to the chip damage.

Closing Thoughts

If I were to build a Kingdoms of Men list this is most likely the route I’d take. I feel this is a very good list, but as I said above not a easy one to play. It’s also massively weaker than any of the shooting lists I played in v2 due to lacking key support pieces that were available in v2 and the core rule changes to v3 really effect shooting as a whole.

I hope you found this interesting because despite my skew onto shooting, Kingdoms of Men are probably the most balanced army in the game.

Nothing they have is broken, nothing is over the top, everything is just about perfect. They excel in unit support, their strength is from working synergy into your list unlike say Undead, where it runs forward and rolls dice with the obviously broken units. 

Writing Kingdoms of Men lists actually feels like what a rank and flank game should be – it has been very enjoyable exploring a human faction for the first time!

A huge thank you to Adam for sharing his thought on an alternative way to play Kingdoms of Men. I totally agree with his assessment that Kingdoms of Men are one of the best all round factions in the game.

What do you all think of Adam’s list? Is it an effective list or has shooting been reduced in strength too much to make it feasible?

Rise of the Underdogs

This article is part of the Rise of the Underdogs series. Check out the other articles in the series below.

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One thought on “Rise of the Underdogs: Kingdoms of Men”

  1. I’m only a few models short of fielding this at full model count I think. First post Covid casual game at the store someone’s day is getting ruined.

    Why do I have 200+ painted 28mm bowmen? Doesn’t everyone?


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