Getting Started: Conquest The Last Argument of Kings

Continuing on with our series of Conquest The Last Argument of Kings we’ll be looking at the best way to get started with your army and get playing as quickly as possible. 

If you’re new to the game and didn’t see our first article, we covered what the game is. If you missed it, here’s the short version: Conquest is a rank-and-flank fantasy game with alternating activations that plays faster than most tabletop games. Today we’re looking at the starter sets available for The Last Argument of Kings and how to start playing.

The Basics of Army Building

We’ll be going into further depth later on about how to build an army and many of the options around that but there are some basics that are very useful to know about.

First off is that Para Bellum has a free army builder that is kept up to date and gives you all of your unit’s stats and rules. When I put a list together I’ll print off the PDF and use it as a quick reference. It is currently in the process of being updated to a new, more mobile-friendly version – for now I’d use the old version on PC (option is on the screen linked above).

Second is that the only upgrade to really think about right now are banners and leaders. You can take 1 of both in just about every unit. Leaders, when available, are a free upgrade to the unit and simply give 1 extra attack for the model that is the leader (both in melee and when shooting). Banners give 1″ extra move on the second march a unit makes each turn as well as a re-roll on all charges, it’s worth taking almost always. Even then, if you want to give each unit of 3 stands a banner and later decide to run them together in a larger no one should bat an eyelid at it; just kill off the spare banner model first, it will die.

To make an army you first take a Character and have to take 1 unit and up to 4 units in its warband – if you’ve played 40K, think of these as detachments. Each Character has a list of Mainstay and Restricted units available to them, this list will be different for each Character. That means that not all units are available to all Characters. You must take at least 1 Mainstay unit and can only take 1 Restricted for each Mainstay.

One of your Characters must be the army’s Warlord and comes with a Supremacy Ability which is either a one-use ability or an “always active” type ability that buffs your army. Only your Warlord gets to make use of their Supremacy Ability so if you have multiple Characters think about which you’d like to use.

Two Player Starter Set

The main and most obvious way of getting into Conquest is with the Two Player Starter set. It’s a great set to either have two factions for yourself or to split with a friend, it even comes with two printed rulebooks so if you do split it there’s no awkward “who gets the rulebook” like with many other games. This set comes with the beginnings of a Hundred Kingdoms army and a Spires army with units that you’ll definitely be using later on when you have a “full” army as well; there’s no waste in this set. Before delving into upgrades this set gives you nearly 600 points of each army. Don’t go crazy with upgrades before you’ve played at least your first game using the basics to learn the mechanics.

If you’re brand new to Conquest and there’s not much of a local scene then this is going to be the best way to get started, it comes with a lot of miniatures for its cost and gives you two playable factions to start roping friends in to play with. If you were to buy these kits separately it’d come to €387.90 but the box set only costs €149.99 giving an 88% saving. For the experienced wargamer a sizeable saving is expected in a start set and if the Hundred Kingdoms or Spires are a faction you want to collect this is the box you should get.

Hundred Kingdoms

Your basic human faction with knights, squires, noble lords and holy orders. You can play the army to be more of a horde, flooding the table with mercenaries, militia, and household guard or you can take a more elite force with multiple units of knights. Something in-between is generally best however with enough infantry on the table to hold down objectives with knights riding out dealing large amounts of damage.

For this half of the box you get:

  • 1 Mounted Noble Lord
  • 3 Household Knights
  • 12 Mercenary Crossbowmen
  • 24 Men-at-Arms

All of these units and kits are very straight forwards without any optional builds past giving units banners or not. Your units start off at 3 stands minimum (12 models or 1 knight) and have no maximum so you could build the Men-at-Arms as either 2 units of 3 stands or 1 unit of 6 stands. To begin with you should build 2 units of 3 stands and give each unit a banner. Having two of the same unit on the table gives you tactical flexibility: in this case when you draw a Men-at-Arms card you can activate either unit instead of being stuck with just one.

Otherwise it’s a good idea to build the Knights and Crossbowmen with a banner as well, the extra movement when coming onto the table can mean the difference of being in range or not in following turns and the Knights want to make use of that re-roll charge. Since the Noble Lord is a Cavalry model it must join a Cavalry unit so will always be joined to the Household Knights. His Supremacy Ability buffs your Cavalry making them hit harder on the charge.

The Crossbowmen and Men-at-Arms are Mainstay units in a Noble Lord’s warband and the Household Knights are a Restricted choice, making this a legal army to build off of.

What to buy next?

The one-player starter set is a pretty easy and obvious choice to go from here which we look at below. It gives you more knights, more cheap infantry (including ranged units if you want them to be) and some heavier infantry as well. From there you’ll have about 1200 points of army, a bit more if you want to take more upgrades, so after that we recommend  really any unit that you like the look of; this really is the “jack of all trades, master of none” army and there’s not any particularly stand-out must-have units. After playing a few games with your units you’ll get an idea of which units you like using and what you should get to plug the gaps in your force, whether that’s more ranged fire support, more knights for hard hitting charges, or more Household Guard or Steel Legion.

Spires

An alien faction that fills its ranks with clones and strange creations of flesh and bone the Spires are often much more of a horde army. Force Grown Drones are your bread and butter unit, not being particularly amazing at anything they are cheap and numerous. You’re able to offset this bulkier units like Brute Drones, Avatara, and Abominations.

On this side you get:

  • 1 Pheromancer
  • 3 Brute Drones
  • 24 Force Grown Drones
  • 1 Abomination

In order for this half to be a legal army you’ll need to build the Force Grown Drones as 2 units of 3 stands, they are the only Mainstay unit for the Pheromancer and also one of very few Mainstay units across the army.  Force Grown Drones also have banners, sort of, where the banner bearer is called a Pheromonic Node and is both the Leader of the unit and the banner bearer and you’ll want one in each unit.

The Pheromancer is more of a support character instead of an outright damage dealer like the Hundred Kingdom’s Noble Lord. Their supremacy ability gives off a 16″ aura that allows your units to re-roll failed morale and has an ability to give a unit +1 to their resolve; both helps keep your units alive on the table longer.

Brute Drones act similarly to Cavalry, they are 1 per stand and have multiple wounds but are a good deal slower with 6″ move and no option for a banner or anything similar. You also get the Abomination, a Monster, meaning it gets a larger base and stand and acts entirely on its own in games.

What to buy next?

As with the Hundred Kingdoms, the one player starter set for Spires gives you a second character, more force grown drones, and some elite infantry including options for some shooting. That will bring your army up to around 1200 points but unlike Hundred Kingdoms you do want to spend some time looking at the upgrade options on your characters which will bring your total up. After that if you want to add more elite heavier units to your army then pick up a Lineage Highborn and some Avatara, maybe even a second Abomination; if you’d rather keep the horde going then more Vanguard Clones and Marksmen Clones definitely won’t go amiss.

One Player Starter Sets

Para Bellum have also made single player starter sets which are good for both new and experienced players. You save a bit of money as opposed to buying all the kits separately and get a printed version of the rulebook but it is best to use the rulebook online as it can change. If you’re not interested at all in either the Hundred Kingdoms or Spires then one of these wouldn’t be a bad choice to start with. Remember that all faction rules and core game rules are free to download. Be mindful that there are rules for units and characters that don’t have models yet.

Adding one of the Kingdoms or Spires one box sets to a two player starter gives you an extremely solid base of an army to expand from at a good price, which is especially appreciated because both factions tend to put a lot of bodies on the table.

These boxes all have a €149.99 RRP that come with a saving over buying the kits separately. In each box you get 1 Character and 4 units and buying these separately would cost you €185.95, saving you about 21% by getting the box set. Except for Nords which gives you a slightly better saving of 25% thanks to the Ugr being a bit more expensive than infantry units.

Hundred Kingdoms

Again, this really is the jack of all trades army. That really is a good thing too as it means no two armies will really look the same. You get to build it around your own playstyle and make it work for you – there really isn’t a “must-have” unit that you need multiples of to do well. If you want it to be more elite field more heavy infantry and knights, more like a horde just means more militia and longbowmen. A great army for new players.

  • Noble Lord (on foot)
  • 3 Household Knights
  • 24 Militia (or Militia Bowmen)
  • 12 Household Guard (or Gilded Legion)

Just under 600 points with choices below. 

Other than the knights, the kits in this set are dual-kits so you have a choice which unit you want to build. You’ll likely want to build 12 Militia, 12 Militia Bowmen, and 12 Household Guard from the options you have. This will give you a legal warband straight out of the box without need of another character. If you do want to build and use the Gilded Legion you’ll need an Imperial Officer to take them; this is the only character in the Hundred Kingdoms army that can take them.

A Noble Lord’s Supremacy Ability is always active and instead of buffing your Knights specifically gives off a nice aura for your units to re-roll 6’s on Defence rolls and also on rolls to hit in melee. Put him in a unit of Household Guard for a unit that’s harder to kill and puts out more damage.

What to get next?

Hundred Kingdoms characters are best off without many (or even any) upgrades to them, keeping them cheap so you can field more units. As above you can really pick and choose which units you want to suit how you want to play this army. An Imperial Officer as Warlord brings your units onto the table faster and allows you access to more units such as Steel Legion and Gilded Legion; both are great heavy infantry units that can get stuck into a fight and cleave their way through more heavily armoured enemies.

The Spires

While you are able to build a Spires army to be very elite with Highborns and Avatar and Abominations the bulk of the army usually relies on lots of clones and drones; it’s definitely the horde army in this game and the starter set reflects that. The army relies heavily on combinations between characters and units to work at full potential and makes them trickier to pilot, not the best army for a new player.

  • High Clone Executioner
  • 12 Marksmen Clones
  • 12 Vanguard Clones (or Vanguard Clone Infiltrators)
  • 24 Force Grown Drones

Just under 600 points with choices below. 

The High Clone Executioner is exactly what it sounds like – a duelling and combat monster in the army. His supremacy ability is a once per game effect that allows you to play the top 3 cards from your command deck one after another before your opponent plays any. Having 3 of your units activate without your opponent intervening can cause an incredible amount of damage without fear of losing models or units between; learning to time this right will take some practice.

If you build the Force Grown Drones as 2 units of 3 stands (you should) then you can build either Vanguard Clones or Vanguard Clone Infiltrators depending on which unit you’d rather have: another ranged unit for more shooting or a melee infantry unit for your Executioner to join. Marksmen Clones are a fantastic ranged unit with longer range and more shots than most ranged units in the game.

What to get next?

If you didn’t start off with a two-player starter set then picking up an Abomination is never a bad idea along with the same advice as before: Lineage Highborn and Avatara to trend towards a lower model count army or simply more drones and clones to flood the table with units.

Nords

The other human faction has much more than just humans in it. Nords are a more aggressive and more glass-hammer type army eschewing armour for attacks. With access to heavier non-human units like Trolls, Ugr, and Jotnars (giants) as well as beast packs like Fenr. The goal is always the same for the Nords: get on the table before your opponent, take control of the battlefield and only make the charges you want.

  • Jarl
  • 3 Ugr
  • 12 Huskarls
  • 24 Raiders

Just over 600 points with choices below. 

All of these are units that you’re going to want for a Nord army, easily. For a Jarl all of these units are Mainstay actually and are all very useful to have. As a Supremacy ability the Jarl makes enemy reinforcement rolls more difficult while he’s on the table, so you want him part of a Light unit like Raiders to come on as soon as possible. In later turns he can Seek New Escort to join a heavier unit for longevity.

Ugr are a Brute unit and really do hit hard and are a pretty tough unit too. Huskarls are like a bodyguard for characters for the Nords, they want to get stuck in to combat and whittle down enemy units while taking a beating back thanks to their shields.

For the Raiders it’s best to go with 2 units of 3 stands like the others above, they’re a cheap and fast little unit with surprising damage potential thanks to re-rolling all failed hits in melee but fall apart fairly quickly – they’re not really wearing armour after all!

What to buy next?

This gives you a solid foundation of infantry and you likely won’t need any more Raiders ever either. A second set of Huskarls however would be great, with some of their unit upgrades they can become a difficult unit to kill. Adding a ranged unit of Stalkers or Bow Chosen will give you some early damage from range as your units flood the table giving them easier targets to pick off. You’ll want to add a Blooded Character next giving you access to more units like Trolls and Fenr Beastpacks while being a real combat monster in his own right. Both Mountain and Ice Jotnars are never bad in an army either and are some of the coolest models in the range; you won’t regret having either or even both.

Dweghom

The dwarfs of Conquest. They play how you expect a dwarf race to play in a game: they’re more heavily armoured so arrive to the table a bit slower than other armies, are very tough to take off of the table, and have an assortment of close and long ranged weapons. Given their toughness the units tend to be a bit more expensive to take making this army more elite with high defence and resolve stats. Very forgiving if you make mistakes and a great first army for newer players.

  • Hold Raegh
  • 24 Dragonslayers (or Hold Thanes)
  • 24 Hold Warriors (or Hold Ballistae)

Just over 700 points with choices below. 

A Hold Raegh is an absolute beatstick of a character. Great in combat with attacks that will slice right through armour and high Defence like most of this army he’s a great pick for any Dweghom force. His supremacy ability makes your Hold Thanes tougher all of the time and gives you easier reinforcement rolls for Heavy units (like Dragonslayers).

The rest of the box are two different dual kits so you have a fair amount of choice here. I’d recommend building one of each of the unit options giving you a unit of 3 stands each of: Dragonslayers, Hold Thanes, Hold Warriors, and Hold Ballistae. Starting off this gives you a wide array of units including a ranged unit (the Ballistae). This gives you a legal warband with the only restricted unit being the Dragonslayers.

Dragonslayers and Hold Thanes are both solid combat units while Hold Warriors are tough with a rule that lets you ignore the first failed save each time the unit makes Defence rolls. Hold Ballistae are important to the army to get a unit on the table early (being Light) and start dealing damage as early as turn 1.

What to buy next?

What the Dweghom generally lack is early board presence – many units are either Medium or Heavy. A unit of Inferno Automata are a Light unit so can arrive from turn 1 and are the fastest unit in the army list filling another niche. As a second Character either an Ardent Kerawegh or Tempered Sorcerer would be a good choice, depending entirely on the units you want to field since their warbands are different. If you want Flame Berzerkers to sprint across the table and wreak havoc early on then go for the Kerawegh; if you’d rather have heavily armoured Fireforged with shoulder mounted cannons and a Hellbringer Drake then the Tempered Sorcerer is for you – and who doesn’t want a massive dragon with cannons? There’s not a bad unit in the army list either so you can pick and choose the units you want pretty easily, just remember to check which Character you’ll need to take them.

W’adrhŭn

As far as Orc factions in games go this actually tends towards a more elite fighting force with elite hard-hitting infantry as a base supported by fast flanking cavalry units and massive dinosaurs. Not a good pick for a new wargamer as the army relies heavily on activating units in specific orders and pulling off complex combo plays. It is not a forgiving army if you make mistakes but when you do pull it off it is incredibly satisfying.

  • Predator
  • 24 Blooded (or Braves)
  • 24 Slingers (or Hunters)

Just over 600 points with choices below. 

Both infantry sets here are dual kits and the units you can make from either are actually identically costed to each other so you could build 24 instead if you wanted to. We do recommend building 1 unit of each however to give you a more rounded list as each does have a place. Regardless of how you build these kits you will end up with a legal warband so that’s not a concern.

As a Warlord the Predator gives a once per game charge bonus to all units and is a solid character at range with a crossbow that can deal serious damage. Join with a unit of Slingers to sit back and rain down death on your enemy while your Blooded and Braves close in for melee attacks. Blooded are better at charging in a dealing a large amount of damage in one hit while Braves with their shields will survive a few more rounds of combat while dealing damage back to enemy units.

What to buy next?

The answer is of course some dinosaurs. Raptor Riders and Hunting Packs add fast units that you can use to flank around enemy lines with high volume of attacks to take down lighter enemies with ease. Let’s be honest though the Apex Predator is likely to be the sole purpose you want to play this army, and very understandably too. You can take it as part of your Predator’s warband or as part of a Matriarch Queen’s. The second hero we recommend would be a Scion of Conquest or a Matriarch Queen depending on how you want to play: the former gives you a Priest with access to great spells while the latter

Old Dominion

The undead faction of the game that’s really good at…staying alive. Old Dominion units are much tougher than other units because they never take morale or suffer wounds from it, so to make up for that they’re more expensive in points making them a pretty hefty elite force, even when you’re taking as much infantry as you can. They do require a little book keeping and the use of some abilities at the right time but making a few mistakes won’t lose you a game outright; they’re a middle tier army in terms of difficulty for new players, not the worst but not the most straight forward.

  • Archimadrite
  • 24 Kheres (or Moroi)
  • 24 Legionnaires (or Praetorian Guard)

Just about 700 points with choices below. 

Another box with a lot of dual kit options. Once again it’d be best to build one of each unit here to give you a full breadth of options later on and to have a legal warband to field. The Archimadrite’s supremacy ability allows itself to cast 2 spells per turn instead of the normal 1 and once per game allows itself to re-roll dice when spellcasting as well.

Both Moroi and Kheres are also spellcasters able to choose from a couple different spells each which can cause more damage at range or allow the Moroi extra movement to get them across the board and into combat against the units you want even faster and easier. Kheres are shockingly durable for ranged units, and given they can cast their attack spells in melee have surprising punch at close quarters.

Legionnaires are your basic infantry unit for the army and always a good, solid choice. Praetorian Guard are a Restricted choice for the Archimadrite and are a more elite unit that are even tougher to kill. Neither are particularly good at killing but that’s why you’ll have other units in the army, it’s just not their job.

What to buy next?

For your second hero we’d recommend the Strategos for two reasons: his supremacy ability allows your army to reach Tier 4 Dark Empowerment (the army’s main ability, we’ll cover this in the faction focus later but it is a good thing) and gives you access to Kataphraktoi, the army’s cavalry unit. With these characters you can also take Bone Golems, an even tougher unit with a fantastic attack to cut through enemy ranks quickly.

It’s very hard to ignore the literal Monster of the army too: The Fallen Divinity. This unit adds an incredible amount to your army and is a Light unit so even turns up to the battle pretty early. That said it’s also a bit tricky to use, so maybe save for a later purchase/add on.

More Kheres and Legionnaires will always do you well!

Where to go from here…

The next few articles will involve deeper discussion of the game itself, as well as detailed reviews of some of the models!
Remember too that you can get 10% off from the Para Bellum webstore when you use our link and use code “goonhammer” at checkout.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.