By: Anthony S. Altovilla

Why Should You get an All-In-One Box?

When people come to the various internet places to find out about how to get started with Warmachine or Hordes, the most common advice is to begin with the battle box of your preferred faction. That advice is great and shouldn’t be dismissed, but with the release of the various All-in-One Army boxes in 2017, a new option to get into the game has arrived for a limited time.

The battle boxes have a number of advantages for new players: They’re relatively cheap, they usually come with models that you’ll make use of for a long time and they are small enough to make for quick games that make it easy to learn the rules. The All-in-one boxes on the other hand are significantly more expensive, come with a lot more models, and don’t include a rules digest for those who aren’t familiar with the rules of the game. But I’m here to tell you that there is a lot to be said for picking up one of these All-in-One boxes and that they shouldn’t be discounted so quickly.

The first thing to note is that these boxes, despite being expensive, are still much cheaper than buying each piece individually. In addition, unlike the battle boxes, you get the full set of pieces for your units/jacks/beasts so that you can make alterations such as magnetizing your heavies in order to experiment with your lists more. In addition, each of the All-in-One boxes appears to be assembled to be in one of the themes that are available for your faction of choice. Although not all of these themes are released yet, the model selections all appear to lean heavily towards each box ending up in one of the themes that are either already released or being worked on in CID (Community Integrated Development). This means that as you expand your new faction, you have a clear direction to help you make future purchases and will get to benefit from additional abilities with your army.

The Khadoran Army Box

lrg-230-irusk_conceptI recently purchased the Khador All-in-One Army Box and have been playing it regularly for the past two months or so. The Khadoran All-in-One box is a fantastic collection of pieces that mesh incredibly well together and can be played out of the box to great effect.

The warcaster for this box is Kommandant Irusk (or Iruksk1), one of Khador’s premiere infantry casters. He comes with a suite of battle plans, decent defenses, a spell list with a lot of utility, and a feat that makes his infantry nearly impossible to remove for a turn. This makes him well geared for supporting this list and its theme (Legion of Steel, more on that later).

Irusk’s Battle Plans include March, which gives a warrior model/unit Pathfinder; Reveille, which stands up knocked down Friendly Faction models in his CMD; and Special Orders, which gives Reposition 3” to a warrior model/unit. March and Special Orders will probably be the two that you use the most, as they help get your Iron Fangs and Black Dragons further up field and allow them to get to the enemy to deliver the hurt. But this doesn’t mean you should discount Reveille. As the only Battle Plan that isn’t limited to warrior models, it can be used to save your jacks from having to waste a focus to shake knockdown or forfeit combat action or movement to do the same.

Irusk’s spell list consists of Airburst, an expensive low POW AoE spell that ignores nearly every piece of defensive tech the enemy can have. It’s useful for softening up enemy units before engaging or trying to scalpel out support solos thanks to its long range and accuracy. Battle Lust is another expensive spell, but well worth it as it adds an additional die to damage for a warrior model/unit. Grind is an expensive spell geared towards damaging warjacks and will probably see limited use. Inhospitable Ground can be amazing, as it makes your entire control area Rough Terrain for the enemy which can keep the engagement on your terms. Just avoid using it against armies that have lots of pathfinder. Irusk also has Iron Flesh, an ARM buff upkeep for warrior models/units that goes a long way towards making Iron Fangs and Black Dragons the most annoying units in the game. His final spell is Superiority, which boosts the SPD, MAT and DEF of one of his jacks and gives it Knockdown Immunity. The key features here are the SPD buff and the KD immunity, as Khadoran Jacks are typically easier to hit than the broad side of a barn anyway and generally have above average MAT.

Irusk’s feat does amazing things granting Friendly Faction warrior models +2 to attack rolls, Tough, immunity to knockdown and improving tough from a 5 or 6 to a 4, 5, or 6. Going from a 33% chance to tough to a 50% chance to tough is a significant increase in durability and the immunity to knockdown means that you can keep toughing through a myriad of attacks with just a little luck. Irusk’s feat is best used right when you want to engage the enemy in order to take advantage of the entire package of the feat, although if your enemy is much faster than you, feating defensively can make sure that you have a truly dangerous counterpunch available after you shrug off the enemy’s assault.

The All-in-One box comes with a Grolar and a Juggernaut for warjacks. These can also be kitted out as a Kodiak or a Destroyer/Decimator/Marauder respectively. If you are confident I highly recommend magnetizing these kits so that you can swap out arms as necessary (personally I wouldn’t worry too much about the heads). In terms of power, both of these jacks are melee bruisers of the highest caliber, which is good because Irusk does nothing to increase their hitting power.

The Grolar comes with native pathfinder and a high ROF gun that it will probably never hit with. It is the speedier of the two jacks, being able to run an extra 2” thanks to its heavy boiler. Its hammer has an auto-knockdown effect which makes it incredibly accurate in melee. Ultimately, the Grolar is a jack of all trades jack, able to hit hard and shoot a lot. Potentially it can do some insane damage to a single target with its gun, but it will likely stick to melee where it is much more consistently successful. The Grolar is also extremely pricey and as you expand, trading it out for its cheaper cousin (the Kodiak) could free up some points to expand the theme a little more.

The Juggernaut on the other hand is a cheap, no frills beatstick. It has an ice axe with Critical Stationary, but not much else to speak of. The open fist might be useful for getting off a throw, but with a P+S 19 ice axe you’re often better off just laying into whatever it is that’s standing in your way. The only other member of this chassis that is cheaper than the Juggernaut is the Marauder, which has a very fun combo smite attack, and an additional die on damage against huge based enemies, but otherwise lacks the hitting power of the Juggernaut. In order to try out the other two versions of this jack, the Destroyer and the Decimator, you’ll need to find a way to free up some points.

In terms of Solos, this box comes with the War Dog and the Iron Fang Kovnik. The war dog attachment is great at adding a little more protection to your warcaster, giving +2 DEF in melee, parry, and a counter charge to try and keep Irusk a little safer than he would be otherwise. The Iron Fang Kovnik supports your Iron Fang Pikemen with Precision Strike and immunity to knockdown. He will do a little more for your actual Iron Fang Pikemen than he will for the Black Dragons because they already have Precision Strike, but the immunity to knockdown is still very useful. While running in the Legion of Steel theme, he also gains countercharge giving you a second way to mess with your opponent’s positioning and threat vectors.

33104_ironfangpikemen_webYour units are one unit of Iron Fang Pikemen and one unit of Black Dragons. You could theoretically build two units of either one, but the points will not work out in your favor, either leaving you one point down (if using two IFPs) or one point over (if using two Black Dragons). They come with their Command Attachments as well, which gives you a total of 24 dudes to put on the table, 22 of which can actually hurt things (the standard bearers are sadly pretty much useless). In terms of abilities, these two units are outstanding. They have high MAT and POW along with Combined Melee Attack to boost their damage and accuracy even higher, they can shield wall for extra ARM and can benefit from almost all of Irusk’s tech.

Individually, the Iron Fang Pikemen come with some useful abilities from their officer in the form of Relentless Charge and their mini-feat Defensive Formation. Defensive Formation serves the dual purpose of boosting their range by granting Reposition 5” and their ARM by issuing the Shield Wall order even after they’ve already had one order already. They benefit more from being near the Iron Fang Kovnik as they don’t have Precision Strike natively. Thanks to Relentless Charge and their mini-feat, these guys are a bit faster and a bit more offensively oriented than the Black Dragons and because of that they will probably benefit more from Iron Flesh as their ARM will be a little lower than the Black Dragons on most turns.

The Black Dragons come with their own set of abilities: Practiced Maneuvers allows them to move and attack through each other, so that you can get more dudes on a single opponent. Precision Strike allows them to scalpel out key aspects or systems on enemy warjacks/warbeasts, Side step (from their officer) gives them some more mobility and threat and their mini-feat can make them as tough as a heavy warjack for a turn. They can afford to be a little more independent than the Iron Fang Pikemen because of their abilities and make a great second wave or flanking unit depending on how your opponent plays.

The Legion of Steel Theme

blackdragonsAs I’ve mentioned before in this article, the Khador All-in-One box comes already in theme. The Legion of Steel Theme offers several benefits to the army that can make it much more effective on the field. You can get yourself some free models, although doing so will put you well under your points value if you select from just the army box (you’ll have to expand in order to actually take advantage of this). It grants Iron Fang Solos countercharge (which at the time of purchase is only the Iron Fang Kovnik) which can save your bacon with lucky rolls or otherwise frustrate your enemy by allowing you to attack his models on his own turn. It also grants one of your Iron Fang Units Advanced Move, which allows you to start further up the field on turn 1, enabling more aggressive play and early scenario presence. Advance Move has another small benefit in that it is different from Advanced Deployment, meaning that it cannot be stopped by the several themes with the benefit of blocking Advanced Deployment.

While in theme, you are limited in your unit and warjack selections to only Iron Fang units and solos, Battle Mechanicks, and non-character warjacks (and the dog, the dog gets to stay too). This means that you will be working with an almost entirely melee oriented army, unless you choose to focus on ranged warjacks, but even then with Khador’s low RAT the best they’ll be doing is softening up the enemy for your approach with blast damage. However, I can’t recommend going purely melee as it leaves you vulnerable to exploitation, so cheap, powerful guns are still important to have. Fortunately for Khador, our ranged jacks tend to be quite capable of mixing it up in melee, allowing them to serve double duty as a ranged threat while closing with the enemy and still being threatening enough to tear through enemy jacks or beasts when the time comes.

Playing the Box- 50 pts.

So we’ve talked about what comes in the box, but how does it play? With only what you have in the box, you’ll be at 50 pts and in a theme so you’ll have a fairly well set up army to fiddle with.

The army you’re playing with is infantry focused, which means that your Iron Fangs and Black Dragons will be expected to do the brunt of the work. The Grolar is my recommended choice for Superiority as it has pathfinder and can run further up field if necessary. The goal for turn 1 is to get into position on scenario and ready your units for the feat next turn. Ideally you’ll want to spread out the feat and the mini-feats to give yourself two turns of impressive survivability instead of only one, but when going second, using both could mean that you get off a powerful alpha strike and stick up a big middle finger to your opponent’s attempt to counter punch.

I tend to keep the Kovnik back to help the War Dog guard Irusk, although this isn’t always necessary as Irusk can often find some form of cover to hide behind. You will need to make sure your jacks are in position to take on the enemy’s heavies, as their goal is to support your pikemen while they clear zones or a path to the enemy caster. Look for opportunities to use Battle Lust to maximize the power of your IFP and Black Dragons, since 4d6+13 is enough to put a serious dent into just about anything on the board. If you can get an airburst off on a cluster of enemies or an important solo, definitely do so but you should try to keep Irusk safe, so try not to burn your whole stack unless you’re reasonably certain that Irusk is in no danger.

When dealing with terrain, it is important to remember that Irusk is a back line caster and appreciates cover from walls, obstacles or trenches to keep him safe, but the range on his Battle Plans is only 5” so he still has to play up to get his units through forests or over walls. The Iron Fang Pikemen have Relentless Charge to help with this, but the Black Fangs will need Irusk’s support to be able to deal with most terrain.

Building off the Box

When looking at expanding your army up to the full 75 pts. there are several directions in which you could go. I recommend picking up at least one more jack, with a recommendation for the Destroyer, and possibly a fourth jack if you’re used to facing a lot of enemy heavies. This will strain your focus reserves though, so be careful with how much you want to fuel them.

Some key pieces to look at are the Great Bears of the Gallowswood and Uhlan Kovnik Markov. The Great Bears are a trio of powerful Iron Fangs that gain countercharge from the theme and have Flank and Rapid Strike, making them very potent offensively and excellent recipients of Battle Lust. Kovnik Markov gives all Iron Fangs in his CMD Tactician, allowing them to move through each other and his warhead ability can potentially give an AoE knockdown on a countercharge, which will utterly shut down any combat attempt by your opponent. This means that you can sit your counterchargers behind your front line and have them slam through your line and into the enemy to deliver some truly devastating blows. Other pieces to look at picking up include a second Iron Fang Kovnik and some battle mechaniks if you can spare the points.

Given this information, I have put the following list to use on multiple occasions with great success.
Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Legion of Steel

  • (Irusk 1) Kommandant Irusk [+27]
    • Destroyer [14]
    • Grolar [18]
    • Juggernaut [12]
    • Marauder [10]
    • War Dog [3]
  • Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
  • Black Dragons (max) [17]
    •  Black Dragon Officer & Standard [0(4)]
  • Great Bears of the Gallowswood [9]
  • Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
    • Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

This list is an expansion of the 50 pt. list provided by the All-in-One Army Box. The Destroyer and Grolar provide decent ranged options (much more the Destroyer than the Grolar) and 4 khadoran heavies is a lot of ARM to crack for a supposedly infantry focused list. The Great Bears, Kovnik and War Dog give you 5 counter charging models to protect Irusk and weaken your opponent, while the two units of Iron Fangs clear the enemy out of zones. It’s a fairly balanced list, but can be taxing on Irusk with 4 jacks and needs some careful focus management to work at its best.

Khador Army – 74 / 75 points

[Theme] Legion of Steel

  • (Kozlov 1) Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad [+28]
    •  Destroyer [14]
    •   Destroyer [14]
    •  -Juggernaut [12]
    •   War Dog [3]
  • Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
  • Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
  • Uhlan Kovnik Markov [7]
  • Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
  • Black Dragons (max) [17]
    •  -Black Dragon Officer & Standard [4]
  • Great Bears of the Gallowswood [9]
  • Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]
    •   Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

This second list attempts to take things in a slightly different direction. Two Destroyers and a Juggernaut provide a solid core of warjacks that can deal damage at range and can utterly devastate opponents in melee thanks to Kozlov’s Feat and the Fury spell. Kozlov’s chosen ground provides Pathfinder to his battlegroup (all of whom can benefit from it) and the addition of Uhlan Kovnik Markov and an extra Iron Fang Kovnik means that you have a total of 7 countercharging models that can charge through your own lines to get to the enemy. Kozlov’s feat is simple, but affects his entire army, and while he’s shorter on focus than Irusk, his spell list is a little more balanced. The minimum unit of Battle Mechaniks helps to keep your jacks repaired after the first big clash so that you can continue to deliver the hurt. Kozlov himself also has a stronger battlefield presence than Irusk and can theoretically do work on his own if necessary. You could also just as easily switch Kozlov for Butcher1 for a much more aggressive list that can dish out the hurt big time on feat turn.

Those are just a couple directions you could take this army box in, but I do think that the benefits of playing in theme outweigh the flexibility of going out of theme in this case. The All-in-One boxes provide a clear direction for your list and fortunately for Khador, the Legion of Steel theme is a pretty good direction to head in.

So if you’re just starting out with the game or are looking to expand into a new faction, consider the All-in-One boxes and what they bring to the table, and if you’re a fan of the Motherland like I am, then definitely give the Khador All-in-One box a look.