I’ve always wanted a Warmachine or Hordes army. I actually have a fair few miniatures from this range and have played a handful of small games, but I’ve never really put together a coherent army. Also, if I did do an army, I wouldn’t want a big, all-encompassing force with everything the faction has to offer. No, I’d go for a themed force.
Themed forces in Warmachine and Hordes are armies that are built around a particular idea and are limited in their recruitment. This is a tradeoff that sees the player get theme-specific bonuses in exchange for the limitations they accept. Themed lists have gone from being an interesting option to, in the current edition, the default state of list building.
So, let’s take a look at some of the themes that really appeal to me. I will not be doing a full look at the forces and the various bonuses you get for adopting a theme, but rather just my own thoughts on making an army along these lines. My judgments are largely based on the visual appeal of the army because, hey, that’s what I like and it’s what I’m here for.
We’ve previously taken a look at a few themed forces from the Cryx, some from Cygnar and Khador, various Hordes forces and some Mercenaries. This time let’s take a look at the forces of the Minions, the Hordes equivalent of the Mercenaries.
The Thornfall Alliance
Piggies! The Thornfall Alliance consists of the porcine elements of the minion faction. Visually, they remind me a lot of the Quilboar from World of Warcraft. Looking at the theme, I’d have assumed this to be a purely melee-focused force, but there’s actually a surprising numbers of ranged options available.
The warbeasts for this faction are, unsurprisingly, various types of boars:
These beasties rangne from the standard giant boar, as in the Razor Boars. These are the basic warbeasts of this theme, but they’re still really nice models. My favourite two heavy warbeasts are the Road Hig and the War Hog. The road hog has some cool armour and a kickass flamethrower. The standard black and bronze colour scheme also really works well. The War Boar is probably the most iconic of the theme’s warbeasts, carrying a huge cleaver and striking a suitably aggressive pose. This would definitely be included in any force I put together.
The units are where this theme really starts to channel the Warcraft Quilboars:
So many piggies! I love the Farrow infantry units. My favourites are probably the Commandos and the Slaughterhousers. I like the heavy armour of the Slaughterhousers and the big, serious weapons they carry. These guys are ready to tear up some hapless foes. The Commandos, meanwhile, look scary for a whole different reason. More lightly armoured and all carrying grenades and knives, these guys are definitely going to cause a ruckus. I like the almost haphazard look they have.
There are a handful of thematically appropriate Warlocks available for this faction. They all exhibit varying degrees of pigginess:
All of the Warcasters look decent, but my favourite is definitely Lord Carver. He fits closest with the visual style of the army and he’s striking that lovely, iconic pose. He has the big, vicious-looking sword and the – again Warcraft-esque – big pauldrons. He just thoroughly looks the part.
This is definitely a fun theme. Visually, it’s very appealing and I like the units that look particularly brutal. As I’ve mentioned a few time, the Quilboar are some of my favourite enemies in World of Warcraft, so this really appeals to me.
The Blindwater Congregation
Whereas the previous force featured piggies by the bucketload, this one is all about the crocs. Visually, this is a very tight theme, featuring a range of really beautiful sculpts. The scaly texture of these miniatures would also really lend itself to the use of contrast paints, helping to speed up the painting process.
As always, the first things I’m looking at are the warbeasts. In this case, this means a ton of huge, reptilian murder-machines:
The Bull Snapper is my favourite warbeast miniature from the available warbeasts. It feels like the iconic miniature for this faction and, even if I were not regularly using it, I’d definitely pick one up as part of any initial round of purchases for this force. The Blackhide Wrastler is another great looking model and fits the croc theme perfectly. Similarly, the Dracodile is a huge, impressive model that looks thoroughly vicious. The price is a barrier, as with most of the Gargantuans, but it’s very cool.
In terms of units, there are a number of nice infantry units and solos to take with this force:
The Gatorman Posse would be the core of any infantry-based list within this theme. They are thematic and have beautiful miniatures. They also seem pretty tough, which is nice. Of the solos, I really like the Boil Master and his Cauldron. The cauldron sculpt is a lot of fun, whilst the Master himself fits in with the whole swampy-voodoo vibe. Longchops is another solo that oozes personality, appearing as a big game hunter, complete with rifle and fedora.
There are a few nice, scaly warcasters for this force:
There are a few really cool Warlocks here. Jaga-Jaga looks fantastic. Between the headdress, the snake and the classic pose she really carries the voodoo vibe forward. This same theme is carried by Calaban, the witch-doctor miniature in the bottom left of the gallery above. He’s who I see as the classic Warlock for this theme and he’s one I would very likely pick up.
I love crocs. I love voodoo themes. This force ticks a lot of boxes for me and I love it. I’ve also seen some of these models in person and they looked brill. I’d consider it just for the Bull Snapper, to be honest. It’s one of my favourite minis that Privateer Press has ever put out.
Will Work for Food
Both of the previous themes are pretty focused, with each consisting of broadly similar-looking miniatures. This themed force is a lot looser, with access to models from both themes and with a focus on special solo warlocks with their own unique warbeasts.
The force has access to most of the available minion warbeasts. I’ve shown most of them above, so have picked out a couple of highlights that I’d want to use in this force:.
The battle Boar is one of the nicer light warbeasts from the Thornfall Alliance and fits theme of the Warlock that I’d most likely use with this force. More on him later! I’ve also included the Blackhide Wrastler as who could, hand on heart, turn down the idea of a wrastlin’ croc? Finally, the Swamp Horror is very pretty squiddy miniature that also seems to work well in the game, with the ability to lop off whole limbs with its sharp beak.
The solos are where this force really shines. I especially like all little warlock/warbeast combos:
Dahlia Halyr and her snake, Skarath, are the first of these pairings. The miniatures look great, but I’d probably tone down the colours a little bit. My favourite pairing is Cragback and Lug. These guys have long been one of my favourite units, visually. Cragback is a cool wee mannie with a fantastic hat and a rather large axe. His pal Lug, meanwhile, is a big armoured bear who looks ready for action. I’ve long considered them to be one of the really iconic units of Hordes. There’s a ton of other solos and units available, but these are the standouts. For a larger infantry unit, I’d consider Greygore Boomhowler & Co, a Mercenary Trollkin unit that, again, has always struck me as being particularly iconic.
There are lots of warlocks available for this theme, but they’re mostly just overlaps of those available in the Thornfall and Blindwater lists. There is one warlock that I’d most likely use for this list, though:
With all of the myriad of different warbeasts, solos and paired warlock and warbeast solos, the army can appear a little hodgepodge. What better way to tie this ramshackle lot together than with a mad scientist! He’s also well known for being a good warlock for leading a warbeast-heavy force. Yeah, he’ll fit right in, here!
This list seems a lot of fun, but the lack of a coherent theme does put me off somewhat. I think if I were to go with minions I’d definitely one of the other two themes. This list would be more fun as a bridge between the two themes if you had both already.
And that’s all for the Minion-based forces that I wanted to take a look at. Indeed, this is the end of this entire series of themed-force overviews. They’ve largely been pictorial articles and I hope you’ve enjoyed them. I’ve certainly enjoyed reacquainting myself with Privateer Press’ various offerings.