Well, I have finished up my first 35pts of Thornfall Alliance models under the leadership of Lord Carver, BMMD, Esq III. He seems like a proper beat stick and the play style for the list has been rather straight forward. That being said at this point I haven't gamed against anyone using anything except the battle boxes of some of the general factions. I mauled Cynar, lost to Circle, slaughtered Scyrah, cornered Cyrx, and rolled right on through Retribution. I know a lot of these factions have way more tricks then their initial builds in the journeyman leagues suggest. I also missed out on going up against common factions like anything Hordes, the Protectorate, and the Khador heavies.
I am thinking now that when I trying to buy up the models for my next list I meant have been a little too concerned about a tiers with the Golden Alliance. I have read that Rorsh & Brine are a little much to be in a list at this point value. I am excited about trying them by any means. Since I started this entire force on day this summer when I found some Thornfall Brigands for half off at my local game store, they have been in every list I created. Combined ranged attack with Carver is going to be nice. A minimum unit can team up to snag a RAT10/POW17 shot at a 'jack or beast within 10". They have a lot of utility and can even dish out some great damage in melee against lower DEF models on a feat turn. With me having a combined arms army seems important. I don't want to be forced into melee every match, so they aren't really a bad shooting unit. The versatility of their prayers seem useful against a lot of things.
Now here is where things get weird though. Like I said Rorsh & Brine aren't models I have played with. On Carver's feat turn Brine can charge for an average 33 damage with his Gore attack. For 9 points they effectively shave three points off my current group, so that is a huge discount. It is like having a six point solo/beast combo. I am getting a point off each brigand unit I am fielding, and I decided having an extra Gun Boar tag along should be okay. He can move up and shoot without generating fury and I can use a combination of him and Brine to shield Rorsh. At worst when the game hits HTH, and my idea is unleashing as much damage as possible running a Gun Boar hot and eventually hitting Frenzy isn't the end of the world. I mean he is only a 5 point light warbeast anyway. My second Thornfall battle box Gun Boar will be getting good use with Carver who usually grants him +2 SPD/pathfinder and a higher ARM stat. It is just having those extra bodies on the field.
One thing I've noticed is the game reminds me of Chess in that you wind up sacrificing models here and there in an effort to get into a better position. So long as I can continue to box my opponents models I don't mind losing a figure here and there. I have run into the position once where I was almost completely out of beasts against the Circle and I no longer had enough fury to maintain my spells. To that effect I started adding Razor Boars. Even at this point if I keep them relatively tight to Carver because they don't have a lot of hit points they will help me generate a little fury later in the game. One day I want to try getting enough of them to run as a unit (maybe four or five of them just to frenzy straight into my opponents line). I ordered Targ from my local store to have a little variety. Replacing a boar in this list with him will let my Gun Boar fire twice using his ancillary action or even grant an extra attack to the War Hog in combat which seems just lovely.
So this is what I have painted so far:
Lord Carver, BMMD, Esq III (Warlock) +6pts -- Razor Boar, Lesser Warbeast 2pts -- Razor Boar, Lesser Warbeast 2pts -- Gun Boar, Light Warbeast 5pts -- War Hog, Heavy Warbeast 8pts Farrow Brigands, max unit 7pts Farrow Brigands, min unit 4pts Rorsh & Brine (solo) 9pts -- Gun Boar, Light Warbeast 4pts
I guess the next thing for me really is to decide what to do next. My options are pretty wide open. The Thornfall looks a little thin in terms of actual units and warbeasts. I think that is one of the things that turns people off. They have a tough time with incorporeal stuff. My list only has a single magic weapon and Carver's ranged spell attack is not so good. I am tempted to pick up some of the Bone Grinders to pick up another spell, but for me it just seems like spending 3 pts for a single POW 12 magical attack is dangerous. I don't want that in every list. Since the Bone Grinders are a unit they can't boost that damage or get a bonus to hit. It is the same problem with the Razor Gun. I love the idea of having a 'dakka POW 15 AOE except firing that weapon is basically a waste of time. I can at best expect to reliably hit a DEF 11. After losing the grunt you are down to a RAT 4 with no aiming bonus. Even with him you are only hitting a DEF 13 on an average roll. Considering it is going to be a POW15 against one model with no way to boost the damage it feels to me like it is a trap. There are just too many snipers and ranged units in the game that will eat that thing alive with easy shots and move it off the board.
Avoiding the traps feels like the way to go. I have access to one of the most dangerous single wound infantry units in the game. Slaughterhousers do a massive amount of damage on a charge especially against a damaged model. They are tough and running with Quagmire are MAT8, so they can't be all that bad. Everyone really seems to like them from what I have read. They are certain to draw fire and I might lose them in most games. Getting them up the field might require a little help. When I increase my points carrying a single unit seems like a good option. Like the rest of the minion players I am hoping for a unit attachment or character solo that offers them a tactic coming up in the next book. I am just a little afraid of investing points in a unit I really have to protect. Marching behind a few razor boars seems like a cool strategy. Just shove straight down my opponents throat.
The most tempting strategy for me at this point is going with a ARM skew list. I absolutely love the War Hog. He is just a brutal model. In the battle box leagues I've played he was my go to guy. Unbuffed they are ARM 18 and have a stack of health boxes. I don't like the model for the Road Hog at all, so it is pretty much just War Hogs for me. Whenever Carver has enough Fury to cast Batten Down the Hatches the War Hogs go to an almost laughable 10 DEF, but their ARM just jumped to a 21. That is going to require a damage boost from most models with a P+S of 14 or lower to even put a single damage check against them. Three in a 25pt list is possible or in a 35pt you can literally have five of them. Let's just assume my opponent has decided to build a very balanced and take on all comers list at 35pts. I put down Carver with three War Hogs and Targ and set down Rorsh & Brine with an additional six point War Hog for a total of five heavy warbeasts, two casters, and a solo that lets me add an extra attack for free when he activates. There isn't much at 35pts that can handle that many warbeast attacks. It just seems like a huge amount of damage when they cross the field. I can add two units of brigands to gain Advanced Move on Carver's battlegroup and still have seven points to work with.
It will just depend on how effective Maximus is. If he has a magic weapon thanks to his Fellblade and an ability that lets him shred through infantry he is going to be in my list. He looks amazing, so at the very least Hordes: Exigence is going to get some of my money for this solo. I am digging the idea of the Meat Threshers too, so I will probably see how they interact with everything else. It is like I know the Brigands will be good at range and have some interesting versatility. In a combined arms list they are pretty interesting. Mixing them in with chainguns from them Threshers might be very cool for shooting. I think holding off on Slaughterhousers in favor of more War Hogs is the way to go given the current state of the game. We like warbeasts. Infantry has its place, but the great thing about the warbeasts is they are more versatile and more durable. Ah well, here is the picture from Privateer Press of the new minion solo the Farrow get. He might mess up my list because I don't think they ever retro-actively add models to the themed lists. I might be forced back into a pact list when I use him, but that isn't too bad with the entire force grabbing Advanced Deploy.