Thanks to the wonderful forumites at Privateer Press for all their help.
I was hoping to compile a list of very dangerous combos* to give to newer players who are getting frustrated. Explain how the combo works, why it is dangerous, and how to counter it. I hope this will ease their way up the learning curve, which can be quite steep. Once they are posted (I would guess there is about 100) I will compile a document (organized by faction) that can be requested by new players (and that I can give out to new players in my group) and that can be referenced before a game with a waac player.
This is the SECOND draft, so if you have more additions or addendums, comment away!
Snipe-feat-go. That is a combination between a Retribution warcaster named Rayvn and a unit called the mage hunter strike force. Rayvn feats, which gives the MHSF boosted to hit, and casts snipe of the unit, giving them a 16" range. The unit now has a 22" threat range that ignores line of sight, cover, spell effects and camped focus. 11 shots, pow 10. My advice is to keep fury camped, bring a naturally highly armored caster, or run up stealth or high def melee to engage them.
Dark Industries. Reaper/Malice uses its harpoon to drag an enemy warjack in close, Withershadow Combine charges in and finishes it. They use their special ability to create a Cryx warjack from the one they just killed.
Excanate Bile Thralls: Gaspy or Skabby excarnates (and Skabby telekinesis) a bile thrall which advances and purges. This murders infantry. Best way to counter is to respect the insane threat range it has and lead with heavier elements, especially warjacks or beasts.
eGaspy's feat: Mercifully made a little less insane, is still very dangerous. Allows him to bring models back from the dead for a turn, usually BLT and a bunch of bane knights. You need to block LOS to your caster as they ignore free strikes. If he cannot get the assassination he will usually just decimate your army, but hopefully you can outplay him from there. Be careful as he has abilities that make him almost impossible to assassinate between generating clouds, causing rough terrain and teleporting. Any abilities that deny charges work great against his feat. Also remove from play abilities.
eDenny's autowin: If you're playing a SR2011 tourney with control the geometry in the center, watch out for being jammed out of the control points. eDenny is the queen of this (especially if she goes first) if her list gets first turn, they run full bore up the table, 2nd turn eDenny pops her feat to keep you out of the zones, score on your turn and theirs and win. Remember that eDennys feat does not allow you to move so you need units in the zones by the time she pops her feat. You must move quickly up the field.
pDenny's autowin: pDenny can cast crippling grasp on your caster or another key model and pop her feat. This leads to a cumulative -4 to SPD STR DEF and ARM. Your unit or caster will be easily killed and will be unable to do anything in return. Also watch out for scourge which can knock your caster down even if it deviates. Venom murders heavy infantry (corrosion damage) and deathwalk allows her units to ignore difficult terrain and obstacles by becoming ghostly. These will be combined with Cryx's high Def/SPD/very cheap arcnodes to easily deliver spells and keep Denny out of harms way. The way to beat it is to destroy her arc nodes as early as possible, otherwise there is little chance at victory. Anti magic abilities are worth their weight in gold.
eSkarre, Queen of the Broken: Admonition will make it very difficult to charge her jacks. Backlash and Raiders will allow her to kill your caster through your jacks, so keep your jacks away from that unit and with magical protection. Perdition makes her jacks insanely fast, and seas of fate lets them boost after seeing the roll. Black spot lets her army keep attacking when they kill you. Worst is her feat, which allows up to 5 models to be untargetable by attacks and charges. She is very tough to beat, but if you manage to survive her feat turn, you have a chance. And then you can brag to your friends that you beat the best caster in the game!
Terminus infantry bus: Terminus cannot be killed by range there are infantry around him. He also has great defensive stats and gives undead tough. If he gets to your caster you are dead, and on his feat turn if he gathers enough souls he is untouchable. Best way to beat him is to get him out from his clump of infantry and then shoot him to death.
BLT and banes: The most hated solo in warmachine, BLT can make the only weakness Banes have (MAT 6) go away. He allows them an easier time to hit, longer threat range and can make more of them with his thresher attack. Bane Thralls hit really hard, so keep warjacks or heavy infantry away from them. He needs to be killed ASAP, but he has stealth, so ranged abilities that ignore stealth is the way to go here.
Deathjack: Tough, hits hard and can cast spells with free focus. Try to kill him in one turn so he can't wreck your infantry and heal up.
Ingredients: Mortenebra, Stalker, Harrower or something to trigger over run.
Give the stalker 3 focus. Give the harrower 1 focus if you really need to land that hit or nothing else in your battle group can kill 1 model. Activate Derylis, if free strikes is going to be a problem have him slap spectral steal on the stalker. Most likely this will not be the case and you can cast over run on the harrower or whatever battle group model is going to do the killing to trigger said spell. Activate Mortenebra, pop feat, cast terminal velocity end activation. Activate harrower have it shoot something to trigger over run, use re roll if needed from feat. Have the stalker move from over run he will move 7" and is already where ever he wants to be because he can be 28" from Mortenebra. Activate stalker charge caster with a 12.5 inch threat plus the 7" from before. That's 19.5" and you have arcane assassin, grevious wounds charge for free all attacks are boosted with two initial attacks and 1 additional bought attack if needed all which ignore camped focus spells that add to arm/def and all are boosted to damage if you so choose and all attack and damage rolls can be rerolled if you do not like the result on a mat 7 jack. Not too many casters survive this. Not too many at all.
pMadrak's conga line: Crusher Carnage chain with Mulg - countered by spreading effectively or Mulg will wipe out at least an entire unit if not also your caster, as under Madrak's feat he gets to advance an inch everytime he destroys a model. Is very dangerous with any beast, infantry or Madrak himself.
eDoomshaper is angry: Feat, Goad and Wild Aggression - Always keep caster outside of 16" of eDoomy's beasts until he has popped feat, because his feat gives them +3” of speed and free charges, goad lets them move 2” after they kill something, while wild aggression gives them an additional to hit dice. Respect these threat ranges and concentrate fire to keep them from regenerating damage.
eMadrak will kill you: Blood Fury'd Long Riders of Doom - countered by coming up with some way to stop them charging, otherwise they will kill just about any caster in the game, as the spell gives them psuedo weapon master. Also, his grim salvation rule means that there is no point going after him until you have killed all the trolls around him. He can run models and then pop his feat to give them long threat ranges.
Digmies: Can burrow under the ground and then pop up and put the hurt on your models. They have poor Mat so don't worry unless you are knocked down or they are with Calandra. Don't let them play games with your head!
Kraye and Bobby Lee: Take a Stormclad with Full Tilt on it, and Arlan Strangeways. Arlan gives it Evasive Action, Kraye feats, then it does a cavalry charge 15" (plus reach) through intervening models, ignoring free strikes. Unlike a trample, this can't be stopped by non-small bases, just so long as it can destroy them with it's mounted combat attacks (with boosted attack rolls). Because it has Tall in the Saddle, it can also attack over a second line of small or medium models to get the assassination. Essentially, this can break through two defensive lines of infantry. A Centurion or Ironclad don't have the same combination of SPD 5 plus a reach weapon, but can still be threats, so don't forget about the other heavies.
Siege: His spell foxhole will remove blocking los to the enemy caster. Siege will then pop his feat and assasinate with a rocket to face. Do not depend on LOS blocking with Siege.
eHaley: can take a bonded stormclad and give it a 16" threat range with temp acceleration and telekinesis. She also has a very frustrating feat in which she picks your activation order and makes you sacrifice movement or action. Taking shooty models against her is a must, as she is squishy and vulnerable to assassination. She has a good army buffing list, especially Deceleration, extra ARM and DEF against ranges and time bomb, which is a SPD and DEF debuff. Just remember that once she doesn't have an army, she is not much use.
eCaine hates you so much: On his feat turn can get up to POW 21 on his pistols, He has Rate Of Fire infinity. With Reinholdt and Squire and two initial shots he can shoot 10 times in a given turn. He is RAT 9 and we have Rangers to make him effective RAT 11 even if he moves. His feat means that every shot he hits adds +1 to the damage for his next hit. So that's a:
that you get hit with. They won't be boosted... but that's still really hard to live through if he catches your caster with it. Let's say you are camping and have an armor 22 caster. That's an average of 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 damage = average of 21 damage even on that high of armor.
Darth Stryker: His spell overload + velocity is dangerous. He can overload to give himself POW 15-33 (tough he may take enough damage to kill himself) and between velocity and the feat he will have a threat range of up to 20”, albeit with a single attack. Try to put damage on him early to make overloading a dangerous proposition.
eNemo, 2 Chargers, Thunderhead, Rangers, Black 13th (in case of stealth).
Run ranger within 5" of enemy caster.
Fire Beacon enemy caster, lossing camo/stealth, ignoreing Clouds for LoS.
eNemo feat, energize jacks forward.
Advancing Chargers are RAT 8+3d6, boosted POW 12, 2 shots, with 21" threat (energize+walk+shoot).
Aiming Chargers are RAT 10+3d6, boosted POW 12, 2 shots, with 15" threat (energize+shoot).
Thunderhead can either aiming for 13" threat at RAT 10 sustained attack (boost to be sure) for 3 POW 14s. It can also walk and shoot for RAT 8, with 18" threat for 3 POW 14s, or advance and pulse to auto hit with a 14" threat, a POW 12, 2 POW 14s, and a boost on the damage roll of your choice. Assume we dont get to aim or pulse (although getting the pulse isnt that hard with smart positioning).
In this case things get a bit dicey if the enemy is at DEF 18+ or armor 19+, but its rare to see someone have both. Most average stat line casters will get hit even in concealment and wont be camping more then 2-3 focus in the turns where you would try to pull this off. Just do your math before hand and if its below average just use the turn annihilating the enemy army instead.
eKreuger S***storm: Kreuger has a Woldwarden Telekinesis him forward, perhaps has a Pureblood use it's animus, advances, then starts shooting (total threat range 18"). So long as the first attack connects, he can land three boosted PS 12's on the target, ignoring DEF or ARM buffs from spells if needed. Only a real threat against casters with lower defensive stats, but still quite nasty against softer targets.
Krueger and Baldur both have feats that allow them to slow down your army, often keeping you from capturing objectives. To stop this you must advance quickly up the table, or stay out of their control areas.
Baldur's Crazy Teleportation: Feralgeist, Woldwatcher, Woldwarden, Baldur. Baldur upkeeps Rapid Growth on his position. The Woldwarden puts Stone Skin on Baldur. The Feralgeist moves to within 2" of the enemy warcaster / warlock and completely within Baldur's control area. Woldwatcher shoots the Feralgeist, making a forest. Baldur forest walks with 5 Fury at P+S 16 and kills most warcasters dead. Alternatively Baldur can just cast Rapid Growth, or the woldwarden can use his animus.
Be careful of getting your caster within ~10" of a beast inside any unit of shifting stones. Cause a circle player will easily teleport it at your face. Oh, and in ideal situations? Primal'd stalkers have 2" reach also and are MAT 8 POW 20, regardless of wild aggression, stone skin, cure of shadows, or some other buffs. With kromac you can teleport from the first unit of stones, then from a second unit of stones, then warpath him forward for a total of 25" threat, although its really only about a max of 17" threat from the second unit of shifting stones.
pSorcha. She uses Wind Rush to make a full advance (6"), and feats (so her opponents are all stationary), before casting boundless charge (+2" movement and pathfinder when charging), for a total threat range of 19" (6"move, 11" charge, 2" reach) with pathfinder, and it doesn't all have to be in a straight line. As she's in the battle box, it can be something that beginners come up against pretty soon, so it might be worth noting, even if it's not as spectacular as many of the other combos.
eButcher: Kayazy Assassins with the Underboss use Kill Stroke, and run through your army. Well, they just ran, so they can't do anything else, right? But Butcher has been collecting rage tokens with his feat, and gives them to the assassins for free charges (edit: Not charges, normal advances.) and boosted attacks.
Winterguard deathstar: With the other most hated solo in the game, winterguard can be 15 models strong, gain extra DEF, shoot sprays and rockets, then Uncle Joe either gives them tough, boosted ranged attack rolls, or extra strength. Really a pain to kill, especially under Iron Flesh, which they will likely have.
Fiona's witchery: Fiona takes the Highborn contract, so goes in with a unit of Gun Mages, marshalling a Mariner. With Nonokiron Brand on the warjack, it can shoot 19" and ignore intervening models for LoS.
Magnus the Traitor: with 2x Renegade and Dougald allows long ranged and powerful shots that can take an opponent unawares.
Thor and Basher is explained somewhat here, but the gist of it is you get a Basher (a specialised slamming jack) marshalled to Thor Steinhammer. Thor stein hammer uses his special action Tune-Up to give the basher boosted damage rolls, then uses his Drive "Pronto" to make the Basher take a free full move. This sets up the Basher to make a slam (which it can do for free, without focus), using the Jack Marshal bonus to boost it's to hit. Thanks to grand slam, it gets an extra 2" on the slam, and it can follow up to the distance it slammed the model (so up to 8"), which also puts it in a good position to use it's Flack Field (Pow 12 against models in B2B, 6 against everyone in a small radius, anytime ability). Because of the Pronto move before everything, not only do you have an exceptionally long threat range, you also can choose the angle you want to make the slam from, so it's easier to knock a heavy into a caster, then walk up and flack field the caster. Alternatively, slam the model into a wall/obstacle/larger based model, and you'll be doing 15+4d6 damage on the slam. While it won't often kill the caster himself, can open up an easy ranged assassination on a caster who thought he was safe behind a jack wall at a distance.
Carpet Bomb... Durgen Madhammer on his feat turn backed by Master Gunner Dougal's ability and mini-feat and Reinholdt's extra shot. Range 14" Rat 10(+2aim, +2Dougal's ability +4d6 (one extra nonboosted die from feat and one boost)) or if I move it's a total threat of 19" arcing fire shot, Rat 8. This will hit anything that isn't stealthed, unless the dice gods absolutely hate me that day. Damage is a pow 14+3d (boost). Than from that shot I make two deviations, AoE 4. Dougal allows me reroll distance and direction once for each shot. Law of averages says that one of these devations, if not both (and it's always ALWAYS been both for me) will clip the caster dealing PoW 7+4d6 (One extra die from feat and one boost for each). If the caster is still alive after this Reinholdt ability gives me another normal shot (See top of paragraph) PoW 14+3d6. If the caster is stealthed Dougal's ability will allow me to reroll distance and direction on on four deviations, even the extra shot from Reinholdt, Dougal's ability last the entire turn - not just the action, giving me four PoW 7+4d6 shots. If by some miracle the caster is still alive I will still have a gunline behind that under the affect of a feat and minifeat that will finish the job. The way to counter this: girded. I can't think of all of them (beasts/jacks) off the top of my head, but almost every faction has some way to stop blast damage. Hiding your caster B2B with a larger model so I can't target him directily won't stop the four blast templates from Durgen and whomever else is firing off shots.
Epic Severius. Awareness is a spell in which the battle group ignores intervening models, forest, etc*. for LOS and gain a 360_degree front arc (*does not ignore stealth). You cast it and have 2 reckoners (buffed by choir) assault charge (20" threat) with boosted to hit and damage (damage= 15+3D6 x2) followed by 2 vassal making them shoot again (damage= 15+2D6 x2)
can also use a vanquisher which range is only 10", but will set you on fire on a hit (damage= 16+3D6)
Daughter of death: Thyra with Madelyn Corbeau to give her an extra 3" movement through Intrigue, and Saxon Orrik to lend her Pathfinder. She feats for another 2" movement, then charges 10" through intervening models and with no free strikes. If she gets into contact with a warcaster, they're likely dead, and if she contacts a warlock, they're almost certainly dead, as a result of Silence of Death denying Tough & transfers.
Pop and trizop: pKreoss has the classic "pop and drop". Use his feat to knock down the enemy, then have ranged units (often a Redeemer) start blasting them (as knocked-down models don't block LoS). Normally, the rockets would have problems hitting a barn if they were inside it, but that's not a problem with knockdown.
Testament: And there's the Testament, who can feat and send five incorporeal cavalry charging right through your army. Though this is easier to stop by blocking LOS or positioning to deny space for a large base to get within attack range.
Avatar: Can be immune to ranged and magic through the choir, and can force you to move directly at him. Try to negate his shield advantage with a chain weapon.
Blighted chocolate rain: eLylyth's feat allows models +1 shots, and adds 4" to their range. Ravagore has a 14", P15 AoE3 that can also be made continuous fire. Against eLyl you *must* block LOS to your caster with something solid (hill, building, model), not something eyeless sight can see through.
Slithery Saeryn: Her feat prevents models from being targeted with meleee attacks. Slipstream allows placing the model within 2", Angelius has a 12" threat on its own, and an armor piercing special attack. More than capable of stapling most casters to the floor. Positioning is key in dealing with this. Against the Angelius don't leave a charge lane open, and be pretty sure he can't open one. Remember that free strikes are melee attacks, so the Angel will be immune to them on feat turn.
eThagrosh Shredder Swarm: Thagrosh moves up to bring enemy caster in control radius, casts Manifest Destiny and pops feat. Shredders go rabid, and now have a potential threat range of 24" (rabid run for 16, feat move for 8). When they arrive at the caster, they each make a fully boosted attack, rolling 4 dice and dropping the lowest. It pretty much catches everyone who hasn't seen it before - it is hard to grasp just how far the shredders can reach on his feat until you have seen it on the table.
The counter is just to be aware of it and careful with your positioning, even if it means keeping your force packed in a bit tighter and bubble wrapping your caster until you've taken down the shredders or he's used he feat on something else.
The Hexeris Tier Sucker Punch (Turn 1, Round 1)
This is almost certainly available to most players playing Hexeris and is quite simple and straightforward.
Hexeris begins on the 10” deployment line and has an Extoller nearby. This activates before him to give him Eyeless Sight if necessary. As part of the tier bonus a Razorwurm begins soul slaved 6” up (thus 8” from the centre line). A Titan Gladiator moves up and puts Rush on the Razor Worm and it then runs up 14” to be 8” from the enemy front line or wherever he needs to be. Because of the measurements Hexeris is probably within 20” of the Razor Worm and can simply walk and then arc Obliteration through the Razor Worm but may need to charge a friendly model to keep the light beast in range. A boosted Obliteration costs 5 Fury and it is nice to also boost the blast damage on this 4” AoE to really capitalize. If you are going for advanced deploy models the chance of keeping the Razor Worm alive for another round is not bad. If not be prepared to lose that model but it is often worth trading a 4 point beast for models such as Squires, Hierophants, MHA and the units listed above. Very good and in 50 point games this is a very nice tactic.
The Rasheth Tier Sucker Punch (Turn 1, Round 1)
This works best at tier 4 and The Chain Gang is a very popular list that players do take all the way to tier 4. So you are at the 12” deployment line and your list includes a swamp gobber unit. Have the task master put temper flesh on the Gobbers before they activate. In round one they are at +2 spd meaning that they run 16” which puts them at 4” over the deployment zone and 10” away from the opponents from line. Keeping the 2 Gobbers at least 4” apart is useful as when Dark Rituals takes effect the ‘arc node’ may survive on the tough roll but then will be an AoE magnet for your opponent to try and kill the other. This way even if he does survive the other little Gobber is a def 15, tough model that must be dealt with or will be used as another arc node next round. Temper flesh makes them fearless so no CMD checks are necessary when one of the Gobbers dies. Influence and Sunder Spirit are obviously the spells that can be used via the goblins but I prefer BOC. It is obviously fabulous on AD models but also on a 1, 2 or 6 deviation it can drift into the main force and wreak havoc with POW 12 hits to multiple models. Even if it doesn’t, watch your opponent spend half his force killing that last Swamp Gobber while the rest of your army is left in relative peace.
Rasheth Revisited (Round 2 either Turn usually)
On the surface this seems an easy sucker punch but unlike the other one - you have to sell this to your opponent. Firstly they will see the Bog Trog Ambushers waiting on the side of the table and may deploy very centrally. Secondly, as the further up the table the more threat this tactic has, you need to move Rasheth directly up the table which can be risky in itself. Deploy the Bog Trogs on Round 2. Rasheth will be 8” up the table and therefore his control zone will reach 10” or 12” into the enemy’s side of the board (depending on tier). The Bog Trogs can get 12” into the centre of the table with a charge or 15” with a run. From this position almost no model is safe from an arc BoC and it’s also a great way to deliver Blood Mark especially if you’ve dealt with any anti-upkeep models in the first turn. As with the Gobbers the opponent now needs to divert forces to deal with this new threat especially as the threat is not just the melee aspect but the arc-ing aspect.
eMakeda Ranged Sucker Punch (Turn 2, Round 1 or Round 2, Turn 1)
eMakeda can play this with a Cannoneer, Gladiator, unit of Venators with UA and a Tyrant Commander unit. This combo is perfect for Round 1 of Turn 2 or Round 2 of Turn 1. eMakeda has leash on the Cannoneer, casts Road to War and a Gladiator puts Rush onto the Cannoneer. The Cannoneer has a total movement of 4” + 3” (Leash) + 2” (RtW) + 2” Rush making 11” and a threat range of 23” which, with an extoller, can ignore stealth and clouds etc. After that the Venators under RtW and press forward move 10” and with the UAs mini-feat have a massive 26” threat and can use CRAs to improve accuracy and power. Again this can catch the unsuspecting out and is great against Menoth to target Monolith Bearers and Choir/Vassals before they start their shenanigans.
pMakeda Tier Variant (Turn 2, Round 1 or Round 2, Turn 1)
This is a tier maneuver that has a sucker punch quality and can leave you in a very strong position in scenario games. The list requires a full unit of cetrati, Marketh, two min or max units of venators both with the UA and 2 tyrant commanders. The Makeda starts in the middle with the cetrati split on either side of her, puts Savagery on the Cetrati, feats and charges up the field. The cetrati then move 10” in shieldwall, slightly diagonally to cover Makeda. The TCs put press forward on the venators and move up and the venators then move their 8” and can fire for another 16” and reform up the field with the standard bearers moving behind the Cetrati shieldwall. The venators will be up the field but in Makeda’s control area and coming back from the feat. Marketh now puts Defenders Ward on the Cetrati and, of course, there are still beasts behind all that. A very aggressive way to deliver close to 30 models that are immortalish for a turn and can deliver 2 Rat 11 POW 16/17/18 hits from 24” away with a minimum unit. A nice way to out-threaten eCaine.
The Molik Karn Bullet (Turn 2, Round 1 or later)
Well documented and very well known – it still can catch a surprising number of players out. The set up is that eMakeda upkeeps Leash on MK and casts Road to War and feats. She then charges forward so that her control area reach the opposing warlock/warcaster or is only an inch or two away. With the recent errata the opportunity to bounce off your own troops with Side Step is now gone. MK gets enraged, has rush put on him by a Shaman or Gladiator, has eyeless sight put on him by an extoller if you are playing Cassius or the board is terrain heavy and charges (after a 3” leash movement) 9” move + 2” RtW + 2” Rush + 3” charge + 2” Reach. It then can threaten up to a further 4” away with 2 side steps. All boosted attacks with high POW weaponmaster hits and 5 Fury makes this one of the top most lethal moves in the game. Obviously it can be shut down and is so infamous that it is almost predictable but the threat of it can provide a lot of board control and leave casters camping on fury and focus to mitigate the threat. This in itself can often be game winning in scenario play.
pMorghoul Assassination Sucker Punch (Round 2 or later)
A risky maneuver that can work well on an opposing Hordes player. Especially if the opponent is sitting on a couple of Fury and thinks that they are quite safe. The setup requires a Cannoneer, a Gladiator and a 3rd Warbeast and Morghoul needs to be within 20” of the opposing Warlock. Morghoul casts or upkeeps Abuse on the Cannoneer and scrapes a fury off a 3rd warbeast that is nearby but out of movement lanes (the perfect beast for this is a brute that has just put Safeguard on Morghoul or a Shaman that has just cast Rush on the Cannoneer). He then charges a model up to 10” away. If it is a 1 wound model he kills it and then casts a fully boosted Torment on the opposing Warlock/Caster. Morghoul could obviously use overtake and his second attack plus overtake to get LOS to fire off the Torment making it difficult to defend against. The warlock cannot now transfer and has had a boosted POW 12 hit. The Cannoneer then follows and moves 4” + 2” (Rush) + 2” (Abuse) and fires a further 12” to make a 20” threat range. If it hits the target suffers a fully boosted POW 15 shot. With no tough or ability to transfer - on average damage dice only a handful of warlocks will survive this hit but given Morghoul’s low fury stat and the Cannoneer’s low RAT even DEF 14 warlocks are a risk but if Morghoul has sprinted out off charge range from the opposing Warlock and feated he is relatively safe from counter attacks from infantry and beasts. Can be used on Warcasters that aren’t camping focus too.