“Walls Ahead, Rubble Behind” A look at the hardcore list so far.

I thought it would be good to have a good run through my current main list with the UK hardcore next year being one of my targets. I’ve been playing Warmachine since summer 2011 and this means my play level is somewhere between baby seal and the try hard kid. So I’ve got alot of work and practice to put in before I’m ready for this sort of event!

The list I’m running at the moment is kind of a culmination of everything I’ve seen and experienced whilst playing so far. Its a mix of solutions that I devised to counter certain elements I encountered as well as advice from other players, battle reports online articles, articles, watching other games etc. In this sort of game you can never learn too much and even small tid bits of knowledge can make all the difference.

On that note I would like to talk about one particular player who’s battle reports are an excellent read and if you play Khador they are almost mandatory. Jamie P has written many tournament reports and articles and is one of the best players in the UK. I learn’t ALOT from reading his reports not just on playing Khador but about the game in general.

So although this may not be my hardcore list come the event this year it is very probable that whatever I take will be built off the base of this list.

50pts Harcore Khador List

Kommandant Irusk  +6 points
* Behemoth  13 points
* Spriggan  10 points

10 Winter Guard Infantry  6 points
* Winter Guard Officer & Standard  2 points
* 1 Winter Guard Rocketeer  1 point
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich 2 points
10 Kayazy Assassins  8 points
* Kayazy Underboss  2 points
Great Bears of Gallowswood  5 points
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution  3 points
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt  4 points

Kommandant Irusk

One of Khador most rounded Casters, his spell list and feat combined with a good stat line produce a caster then can enhance and enable his army to take on all comers.

First of all his stat line is very solid, his DEF and ARM are above caster average and he is no slouch in combat. Quick work combined with a Rof 2 gun means he can clear out the remainders of infantry and 2 fully boosted power 13 shots is nothing to turn your nose up at and in my case has ended the game a fair few times. This being said though Irusk is most powerfull when used as a support caster and if he does get into combat then generally something has gone very wrong.

His feat is amazingly useful as it includes both a defensive and offensive element, both of them very potent. It makes all models in his control area fearless and tough on a 4+ this is IMMENSE as it allows you to really get stuck into an enemy without having to fear a crippling return strike. I usually combine Irusk with patented Khador high DEF infantry (as we shall see later) in which case they become very hard to kill. This infantry suffers alot from AoEs and spells such as chain lightning or eruption of spines, anything that can autohit models even. What would normally be a crippling weak point in the army becomes of little concern for a turn at which point you can usually do enough damage before it wears off again. The feat also renders them immune to knockdown, even better as after taking the brunt of the attack models will still be able to use their full activation the turn after. The last part of the feat gives all models in his command area +2 MAT & RAT, a fantastic element that allows you to really put the hurt on before turtling up. In all I would always prioritise the defensive side first as it is the most potent and important part of it. However if you have the chance to engineer the game so as to gain max benefit from both the offensive and defensive elements then the feat is so much more potent.

As a focus 7 caster (very good for Khador) Irusk excells at both buffing your army and powering up jacks with focus. For upkeeps he comes with the staple khadoran spell: Iron flesh which is nearly essential when using winter guard as it raises their DEF to silly levels(see later), as well as Superiority greatly enhances the power and utility of one of your Jacks. Battle Lust turns a unit into close combat monsters for a turn. Airburst is a great AoE spell that autohits at POW 8 and is great for clearing high DEF and low ARM infantry. Inhospitable ground really makes him stand out as a support caster as any enemy models within his control area treat open terrain as difficult for one turn, this can seriously hamper enemy movement and protect your models from counter charges. The downside to this spell is that a lot of hordes models have pathfinder and so it doesn’t see much use when fighting hordes.

All in all I like Irusk as I know I can count on him to aide my forces no matter what the opposition and even if he does tend to hang around the back, sometimes out of sight, his influence is still felt across the entire board.

EDIT: From Bitmatic. In a very subtle way, his feat is actually a bit nastier than just that… I had played Irusk quite some times before i realized this 

There is 2 parts to the feat.
1. Model/units in his control area gain Fearless, Tough, +2 to mat/rat and no knockdown.
2. Models in his control area get 4+ Tough.

The main thing here is the units part of the first paragraph. This means that if even just one model in a unit is in his control area, the whole unit will gain the benefits. With the very large units you are fielding this is very important. Keep just a single Kayazy in his control area, and charge the rest of them out of it, and they will still have the benefit.

And just when you thought a good thing couldn’t get any better! As Bitmatic points out this increases the reach of Irusk’s feat beyond his control area to effect models that are well and truly stuck in behind enemy lines, like the kayazay are want to do! Thanks pal for pointing this out to me.

But of course a support caster is nothing without good models to support so lets talk about the friends Irusk brings with him to play.


Big B, the big cahuna, el grandissimo, “oh no not him” and “he does what?!”, He is known by many names but Behemoth remains one of my fav warjacks in the game and for me characterises the Khadoran army. He is both the unstoppable force and the immovable object and there is very little he cannot do with a bit of support (and some tasty tasty focus).

The first and, I believe, the most important thing you need to realise about behemoth is that he puts the fear of god into your opponents. Nobody likes to play behemoth and they will actively do whatever they can to avoid or disable him. He is a 36 hitbox, armour 21 monster that has otherwise a standard khadran jack statline. He is the only jack in the game thus far with a full hit boxes and combined with an excellent armour of 21 he is very hard to kill even for other heavies that can tear through lesser jacks with ease.

His weapons are fantastic, 2 bombards; great ranged AoE weapons with a hight POW that can clear infantry, put the hurt on beasts and if he can get range on them he can severely hurt or kill a warcaster. To make these better they are controlled by a sub cortexe that can take an addition 3 focus that can only be used on his guns. This itself is minor as you will never load behemoth up for shooting AND combat generally but the major point is that it allows him to shoot even after melee attacks or if he is engaged in melee.

Speaking of melee, behemoth has 2 open fists that are POW 12 with armour piercing. Not only does this allow him to execute the full range of power attacks but the AP effect is not a special attack like some models may have but ALL his attacks half enemy armour meaning that anything medium or large based that you hit will be taking minimum 2D6 +2 straight damage, normally more. Its not often you get a positive modifier on a roll to damage a heavy and because of this behemoth can usually kill a heavy with 3 attacks, 2 if you roll exceptionally well. Note that because of this it is wiser to never boost damage, unless the target is particularly hard to hit, as  buying another attack will do more damage then an extra D6.

Now that’s all very well and good you may say but in reality you look at his stats and he’s slow and he’s clunky, but dont worry! theres an app for that! Superiority from Irusk makes this monster SPD 6, MAT 8 and DEF 12. SPD 6 is very good for heavy jacks and allows him to keep pace with the army as well as a respectable melee threat range of 9.5″. MAT 8 means he can hit DEF 15, which is way more then most of his prime targets will have, on avearge dice. DEF 12 is fairly minor but it means that alot of low MAT/RAT models will need at least average dice to hit him.

My tactics with Behemoth are usually very simple, he holds the line with the winterguard against the nastiest things that my opponent can throw. His primary targets are enemy heavies and his presence usually stops them trampling through my infantry for fear of being mercilessly crushed. the bombards take pot shots at infantry early in the game but later on will usually target enemy heavies and valuable solos as well as warcasters should then wonder into range. Due to the nature of AP attacks he generally wont be used for caster kills (at least on small based models) or to take out small individual elements. A viable assassination for him can be to slam a warcaster (POW 12) then put 2 boosted bombard shots into them (POW 14+3D6), this will kill most casters and if not will leave them on few enough hit points to be easily finished off by other elements.


I have only been using the Spriggan for a short time now but he is fast becoming one of my favorite jacks. Essentially he is a mini Behemoth but what he loses in power he gains in utility.

His Stat line is that of a normal Khador jack but with a point less armour though thanks to his assault shield it becomes the same as Behemoth, combined with 34 hit boxes he is another tough Jack to kill.

He comes with 2 grenade launchers, essentially less powerfull bombards but still he has 2 POW 10 AoE 3 RNG 10 attacks which it always usefull. The real utility of the grenade launcher though comes from the targeting flares he can fire instead. these flare cause any models caught in the area to loose camouflage, concealment and be seen through cloud effects. This allows the rest of your army to engage stealthed models more effectively and pieces that think themselves safe behind a cloud will have to think twice about their defenses.

He has 2 melee attacks, one being the assault shield which is POW 14 but you can never refuse an extra attack and his primary weapon is the War Lance: This P+S 18 weapon with reach and +2 to charge attack rolls that allows the spriggan to cause one hell of an punch in combat, generally rolling straight 2D6 damage against other heavies. He is also MAT 8 on the charge, making him alot more accurate . The reach element also gives him an extended threat range, especially when combined with Superiority.

One of his best tricks is Bulldoze, it allows any model he contacts to be moved up to 2″ directly away from him. There are many things you can do with this ability, the least of which is charge through intervening models to get at your target. Sneakier uses include using it to line up models for follow up spray attacks from the winterguard, disengaging your own models from combat and slamming from 1″ away.

The spriggan gains exactly the same bonus from Superiority as the Behemoth but special note should be given that with the speed increase he has a threat area of 11″, very good for heavies and his charge attack with be MAT 10 with powerfull charge. With bulldoze you can also generally count on him to get into combat with whatever is within those 11 inches.

In a game the Spriggan will generally set up just off the centre. early game he will use his grenade launchers to help clear enemy infantry or if facing stealth to light them up so other models can hit them. once into combat range he will generally be the first jack to go in thanks to his longer threat range with Superiority. In alot of these cases he will get first blood on enemy heavies but will be in a position to be counter charged. To dissuade this or at least avenge him Behemoth or the Great bears will usuall move into a counter charge position to support. All in all I’d prefer not to lose the spriggan but if I can get him to kill an important enemy model and then get a counter charge I will generally be happy as I still have the kill advantage and Behemoth.

WinterGuard Deathstar

This unit consists of: a max unit of winterguard infantry, the UA attachment, Kovenik Jozef Grigorovich and as many weapon attachments as you can fit in. despite consisting of several different elements I thought I would review all these together as it really is in unison that they shine.

This is THE deathstar of warmachine. It slices it dices and it does everything you could ever want your infantry to do. If you are using a caster with Iron flesh then there is no reason not to use this unit as they will always perform. Without IF they are slightly weaker but still a very valid option when compared to other choices.

Starting with the standard Infantry. I remember when I was starting out and people told me I had to get this unit because they were insane and looking at their stat cards who could blame me? for 6 points you get 10 models with standard human statlines. Their weapons are fairly decent, the axe being POW 8 and the Blunderbuss RNG 8 POW 12, not too shabby as they have combined melee. Under Iron flesh these guys got to defense 15, not bad at all as most other models would need above average dice to hit them. Still I did not see what all the fuss was about.

Enter the UA. Now this is where things started to get interesting. Their stats are the usual UA agenda: the officer is slightly better then the others and the standard bearer has a normal grunt stat line. Of note is that their weapons are the same but the standard bearer also has an axe and blunderbuss, one of the only armed standard bearers as far as I’m aware. The officer gives them combined melee attack meaning that alongside combined ranged they can excel in combat and shooting whatever the opponent. She also gives them the Bob & weave order, this allows all models, on making a full advance models in the unit gain +2 DEF so when advancing and under the effects of iron flesh that makes them a whopping DEF 17. Enemy models will either have to be very elite, buffed up or boosting their dice to hit them on average rolls. The standard bearer provides an offensive option allowing all models in the unit can make a SP8 POW 10 attack, making them excell at clearing opposing infantry with their shotguns.

The Rocketeer serves two purposes. Firstly it carries a longer ranged AoE weapon that once again increases the diversity and threat range of the unit, It can reach clusters of enemies that the spray attacks can not. despite hefting this heavy weapon around he is also equipped with the standard axe/shotgun which allows you to choose his role based on the situation, sometimes a spray attack will be more effective then a rocket although once the rest of the unit is engaged and spyaing away rocketeers are great at sneaking behind the front line and shooting down important enemy solos/command models hiding at the back. Secondly he is another body for the winterguard unit and gains all the buffs and benefits associated with it, increasing the unit resistance and effectiveness.I would alway try and have 3 of these where possible and they are great for filling up those last 1-2 points in your list.

Finally the big man himselk: Kovnik Joe. This guys provides the cherry on what is already a very tasty cake of death.Witha solid solo statline he is no slouch but is greatest contribution to combat is when he buffs the winterguard.Joe has 3 “speeches” he can use on a winterguard unit. Bears strength is the least used and gives WG models +3 STR for a turn, normally you will be spraying or using combined ranged attacks however if you can charge into combat you will averagely deal 2-3 points of damage more then the blunderbuss. For the motherland is the reason bears strength sees little use as it gives the winterguard boosted attack rolls, personally I would rather be sure that my attacks hit an enemy model then risk the dice to do 2 points more damage. Although that could be useful against low DEF enemies such as heavies this is the speech that once stuck into combat you will get the most mileage out of and really lets the guard bring the pain to a fight. Courage of the forefathers is the last speech and gives the guard tough and fearless for a turn, alongside DEF 17 this means that even if you manage to hit the model you are not sure to kill it, It allows winterguard to take the brunt of an alpha strike and come out punching. In the unlucky case that you do take a lot of casualties the fearless side will at least ensure they stick around after for a bit of return fire.

You will normally find my winterguard in the centre of the opposite my opponent, they are my first line of defence against alpha strikes, the unit I count on for clearing out enemy infantry so the rest of the army can go in unmolested and to provide a viable threat to the opposing warcaster for the entire game. Now normally this is too much to ask of any one unit but when you think about what they are capable of then it seems more rational. They are always my first choice for Iron flesh and will usually always be buffed unless I choose to drop it so they can charge or get a cheeky extra inch for their spray attacksThey will run up the first turn with iron flesh and courage, getting into position to block and counter attack the opposing army. Going first or second does influence their movement substantially but generally, unless the enemy has a lot of advance deployment then they will always go as far forward as possible so as to ensure board control and give the rest of the army room to move about. As mentioned before they can weather the worst of onslaughts thanks to their high DEF and tough so never be afraid to put them forward and bait the enemy into attacking, especially If you have Irusk’s feat stocked and good reason to use it.

This unit dictates when I will feat with Irusk as generally they stand to gain the most from it due to their proximity to him and the nature of their tasks. they have one massive weakness and that is mass AoE and spells like chain lightning and eruption of spines. If I am facing an army with these spells, there is very little you can do to stop them casting so normally I will just run as far forward into their face as possible and feat in order to weather the storm, these spells are normally not long ranged so whatever cast the spell will be within reach the turn after.

Joe will always use courage first turn however the guards best way to protect the rest of the army is to kill opposing models so if you are in range to destroy multiple enemy assets it is always wiser to boost your attack rolls to make sure it gets done. The return strike will be less powerful, counterbalancing tough, and any shots directed at the winterguard are not aimed at the rest of your army that are about to get stuck in.

The Winterguard will very rarely cause the killing blow to your opponents but they facilitate a victory that would of been a lot harder without them. They are a tactically sound unit and I never leave home without them!

Kayazay Assassins & Underboss

Ruthless killers for hire the kayazay are another staple unit for khador, in the same vein as the winterguard they are light infantry with high DEF although they specialise in close combat. The underboss joins them as a UA attachment to increase their effectiveness, especially in assassination.

They have very good basic stats notably MAT 7 and DEF 14 with stealth. This allows them to hit high medium DEF models reliably and whilst being very hard to hit in return, stealth will protect them from shooting but they still have to watch out for AoE effects, and DEF 14 makes them hard to hit for standard infantry. They have a P+S 10 attack which is made all the more effective with gang and backstab. Gang means that if the enemy is engaged by another model from the unit then you gain +2 on hit and damage rolls, effectively making them MAT 9 and P+S 12. Backstab will rarely come into play as you either have to be very lucky or your opponent suicidal for him to give you his back arc. If this does happen then prepare to bring the hurt as with this you can expect each assassin to do on average 23 points of damage. They also have parry which allow them to ignore free strikes and get to the juicy targets that may be hanging around the back.

The underboss brings 2 powerful elements to the table. As well as sporting an extra attack, higher MAT and tough he also gives the unit Duelist and Kill stroke. Duellist gives the Kayazay +2 DEF in melee making them DEF 16, very hard to hit for all but the most elite units. Kill stroke is the mini feat which gives the unit acrobatics, allowing them to ignore other models whilst moving. This gives the unit a lot of manoeuvrability and lets them hit the enemy where it hurts the most and prevent them from being shuttered off by a wall of models.

In a game I would normally try and put the Kayazay on the flank. Let the enemy try and take down the winterguard whilst the kayazay move up to their flank at which point your opponent must either divert forces to deal with them or risk being encircled and losing all his support/back line troops. Like winterguard, the kayazay are very resilient in their own way as stealth and DEF 14 will protect them from a lot of threats until they can make it into combat at which point duellist will take over. with gang they can dish out a lot of damage and can be relied upon to kill high armour models. Kill stroke should be used when it would be impossible for you to engage a max amount of models otherwise, It can be used to get you into place for a caster kill but a lot of adversaries will see this coming so don’t rely on it too much. Kayazay are also great for engaging heavies as they can put quite a large amount of damage on them as well as being resilient to their return srikes and tramples.

Great Bears of Gallowswood 

The bears are Khador’s character trio that specialise in close combat and can be counted on to take out most threats that come into range.

The bears have a good stat line with an impressive MAT 8, tough, fearless and 5 hitboxes. their great axes are P+S 12 with weapon master so as standard they pack one hell of a punch. contrary to the rest of the army their defense are nothing to write home about with DEF 13 ARM 14.

All the bears have Defensive line, which makes them ARM 16 when in base to base with another bear, and precision strike, a great ability that allows them to choose which branch suffers damage when damaging a warjack/warbeast. Remember when using this ability to try and take out their movement branches first as this will render them immobile and therefore be auto hit by followup attacks and by other models. Each of the bears then has a unique conferred ability. The downside to these is that if the bear is lost the power goes too. Relentless charge gives pathfinder during charge actions, its a power that is not very wide spread in Khador and its inclusion allows you to always maintain that 11″ threat range. Steady renders them immune to knockdown, the auto hit part of being knocked down is less of a concern as bears are fairly easy to hit anyway but when they do get boxed and pass their tough roll they can get straight back into the fight the following turn. Circular vision gives them a 360` circle of vision, rendering them immune to rear strikes and giving them a slight advantage when charging.

Bears are second line troops and I mainly use them as a counter charge threat for my Jacks. The 3 of them will kill most things in the game with average rolls and with their 11″ threat they can safely sit behind either the Spriggan or Behemoth after they’ve gone in and butcher whatever trys to kill them in return. Just remember that the key to the bears is keeping them alive long enough! you can loose Yarovich without too much concern but loose either Volkov or Kolsk and they start to loose alot of power. I keep them behind my winterguard in support of my Jacks where they can fulfill this roll as well as dealing with anything that breaks through the line.

Eiryss, Angel of Redemption

A solo that for many needs no introduction. Love her or hate her you can’t deny she gets around. For Khador she brings a lot to the table such as a way to deal with enemy upkeeps and tieing up warjacks.

With SPD 7, RAT 9, DEF 16, advance deployment, pathfinder and stealth she is an assassin like solo. Don’t look to her to deal much damage with her weapons, although with sniper she can kill. Its more the effects those weapons cause that I’m after. Arcane interference stops a warjack from being allocated focus points and cannot channel spells for one turn. This is a Fantastic ability that lets you effectively shut down an enemy jack for a turn either to ignore it or set up a charge against it next turn. It also removes any upkeeps/animi and stored focus points so can be crucial when assaulting certain models which rely on these kind of spells to survive. Eiryss also has a 5″ disruption effect (which can effect my own jacks too so I have to think about positioning) that can be used to disable multiple warjacks although normally she won’t survive the next turn.

In game I start Eiryss near my main force using AD to get her into some nice terrain straight off the bat where possible. Her actions depend on the enemy warjacks but her main objective is to disrupt their jacks, removing crucial buffs from enemy AND friendly units because yes, you can shoot your own models to trigger the effect. She is very hard to hit with stealth and DEF 18 in cover thanks to camouflage although a wayward AoE will can take her out as she is pretty squishy once hit and is a very high priority target for your opponent so never underestimate what some will do to get her off the board! Keep her stocked until the crucial turn when you need her skills and then let her rip, she may die but when used well you will normally get your points worth.

Lady Aiyana & Master Holt

This duo are a pricey unit but they once again enhance the capabilities of the rest of the army by allowing it to deal with different threats.

Holt is a suped up gunmage that is a bodyguard for Aiyana. His high MAT with 2 POW12 shots means he is very good at popping infantry models, solos and is a great little flank guard model.

Aiyana is the utility part of the unit and comes with 3 spells. Ayisla’s Veil gives her and Holt stealth if he is in base to base, this gives them a nice bit of cover whilst advancing up the board and stops them being sniped before they can come into effect. Lurynsar’s Touch makes a model/units attacks magical for a turn. This is very usefull as no other models in the army have magic attacks except Irusk and if ethereal models or such roll up its never a good idea to leave those sorts of threats to just your caster. Her final spell is Kiss of Lyliss, probably her most used as a model/unit hit takes +2 damage on any rolls for a turn. This spell can make all the different on even a few attacks when dealing with large models and gives units like the Kayazay or winterguard the ability to easily take down heavies.

Like Eiryss These 2 are support models and should hang back untill the battle is well and truly joined. Their placement will depend on where you think they will most be needed based on your enemies deployment. Once the moment arises though don’t be afraid to commit them to a fight even if they die after as both of them can have a profound effect on battlefield in juts one turn.


As mentioned I am very happy with this list so far and the way it plays. I still have to keep practising with it as I know I haven’t mastered all the tricks it can play just yet. There are a few things I would like to try such as Nyss hunters in place of the kayazay as welll as using the list with the Old Witch. The UK hardcore series is still a good way away so I still have lots of time to refine my list and myself as a player!

And  I should probably get them painted too!

WOW that one took a while to write up! 5k plus words! Still I hope you’ve enjoyed the little insight. How do you think I could improve this list? Do you agree with how I use my assets or do you have some better ideas? If you have any thoughts about the list or hardcore then be sure to leave a comment and get a discussion going! Thanks guys. J.

4 thoughts on ““Walls Ahead, Rubble Behind” A look at the hardcore list so far.

    • Ah you know what you think you’ve read something right but the little details slip past! Thanks for pointing that out I will edit the post immediately.

  1. As a player that mainly plays Irusk i enjoyed reading your article. Seems like you have studied JamieP very thoroughly

    I did notice, however, that when talking about Irusks feat you keep refering to models within his control area…. In a very subtle way, his feat is actually a bit nastier than just that… I had played Irusk quite some times before i realized this

    There is 2 parts to the feat.
    1. Model/units in his control area gain Fearless, Tough, +2 to mat/rat and no knockdown.
    2. Models in his control area get 4+ Tough.

    The main thing here is the units part of the first paragraph. This means that if even just one model in a unit is in his control area, the whole unit will gain the benefits. With the very large units you are fielding this is very important. Keep just a single Kayazy in his control area, and charge the rest of them out of it, and they will still have the benefit.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you did and yes saying that I hadn’t learn’t a lot from his articles would be a blatant lie!

      Thankyou that is some prime info that I have never noticed before! That will greatly change the way I play his feat. I’m going to add this to the article right away!

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