Kings of War Factions Introduction: The Good

An article by and    Competitive Play Gaming Kings of War        0

Welcome back to our coverage of Kings of War. In last week’s intro, we talked about what kind of a game Kings of War is and why you should play it. If you missed it, consider checking it out here.

This is the first of three articles designed to introduce you to the vast array of armies to choose from in the ‘rank and flank’ tabletop wargame, Kings of War. While more exhaustive descriptions of each individual army can be found elsewhere – and we’ll look to provide more tactics for each in future articles – in this intro we’re looking to provide more of a laid back overview along with a brief description of some cherry-picked units. These won’t necessarily be the most competitive units in the faction, but they will be representative of the army and allow for great hobby projects.

Model disclaimer: Mantic Games has a different completeness of model ranges for each of the armies, ranging from “complete” to “nonexistent.” Thankfully the Kings of War community and ruleset encourages you to use whatever miniatures you like. Note however that in this article we will be focusing on Mantic miniatures.

 

Basileans

Photo credit Mantic Games

Who are they?

Basileans are much like the Romans after the fall of Rome; both were once great empires laid low from within and without, but there’s one important distinction. In their darkest hour, when the Basileans beseeched their gods for aid, they were sent an army of badass warrior angels (Elohi) complete with flaming swords and feathery wings.

Basilea is largely a human faction made up of holy paladins and sisterly orders (some even on panthers!), backed up by the Elohi. The Elohi are the real reason to play as Basilea; the models are cool, the rules are good, and they reinforce the army’s theme of righteous vengeance. Having an army of them backed up by the Ur-Elohi (boss angels) is a force to be reckoned with on the tabletop.

If you like having big monsters as centerpiece models in your army, there are a few available in this list. You can get yourself a Basilean Phoenix or a High Paladin on Dragon. Both of these have some great rules and models.

Why play them?

Do you play the lawful good paladin in D&D or think the Adeptus Custodes the peak 40K faction (after Ultramarines, of course)? Look no further than the heaven-blessed, glorious legions of the Basileans.

How do they play?

Basileans work best with large blocks of durable infantry (Paladins and Ogre Palace Guard) taking the center, reinforced by characters (Priests) who can heal them up and keep them going in a long grind. The real punch comes from the Elohi and Paladin Knights, which can plow through the enemy once they are stuck into your infantry. Although Basileans do have a few ranged units, these are primarily to support the above.

Standout units

  • Elohi
    As mentioned above, these celestial warriors are great. They have great mobility and hit like a bag of levitating bricks. Also, why wouldn’t you put giant flying angels in a giant flying angel army?

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

  • Phoenix
    Awesome model and great support unit. Heals your guys, inspires them, and can toss around some fireballs to supplement your weak shooting.

 

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

  • Ogre Palace Guard
    The sturdy iron fist of any Basilean list. They will take quite a bit of punishment, especially when supported by healing from priests. These guys have some great models from Mantic but also look equally as cool when using Stormcast Eternals from Age of Sigmar.

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

Dwarfs

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

Who are they?

The Dwarfs of Kings of War, like the Dwarfs (Dwarves) of many fantasy worlds, are heavily inspired by those from the works of Tolkien. They live in mountain fortresses, have great beards and they like a good pint or twelve. However in Kings of War, the Dwarven empire is expanding rather than declining, and they’re not out to make friends.

The way the Dwarfs engage in warfare is not unlike the way in which a car is crushed: slow, yet implacable. To do this they bring a solid core of hardy warriors, accompanied often by the even harder Earth Elementals (rock and a hard place, anyone?). These slowly (really slowly) move across the battlefield while cannons, handguns and thrown murder-pugs tenderize the soon to be forcibly compressed opposition.

Why play them?

The Dwarfs are for those that enjoy being the ‘tank’ in roleplaying games, or the Death Guard in Warhammer 40K (minus the pus and tentacles). If you also like mighty beards, the use of weaponized pugs and a healthy dose of gunpowder, then a Dwarf army is surely for you. 

 

Look at the murder-doggy! Photo credit Mantic Games

What makes this all interesting is some faster units to act as a hammer to the aforementioned anvil: Berserker Brock Riders and the Dwarf Lord on Large Beast. These cinder blocks disguised as cavalry can punch a hole through most armies, and enable a whole ‘new’ tactic not typical to the Dwarf repertoire – movement.

How do they play?

The Dwarfs can play a mixed army bringing solid infantry (Ironguard and Shieldbreakers) and Earth Elementals, supported by cannons and handguns with the Berserker Brock Riders hitting the rear. A full gunline is also a viable strategy, sitting back and destroying the enemy from afar. This, however, will not make you popular and many mission objectives require your army to actually move somewhere.

Free Dwarfs Theme List: In the Uncharted Empires expansion, there is the theme list for Free Dwarfs. Free Dwarfs are a wandering lot, having recently lost their homes to invasion. This translates in-game to greater access to units/abilities to move through terrain unhindered, though they lose access to most of the war engines available to their imperial cousins.

Standout units

  • Berserker Brock Riders
    Grab an irate, borderline-naked Dwarf, stick it on the back of an irate giant badger, and you’ve got yourself a Berserker Brock Rider. These guys hit hard and relatively fast (for a Dwarf), and the models are really fun!

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

  • Ironguard
    A unit that exemplifies the inherent nature of the Dwarf, the Ironguard are the toughest of the tough. Covered in armour and unlikely to run, these dwarfs excel at anchoring a flank or battleline.

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

  • Greater Earth Elemental
    Want something that’s just as tough as the Irongard, but hits harder? Try the Greater Earth Elemental. When paired with a Stone Priest to let him move out-of-phase, it’s much easier to get a juicy flank or rear charge. He’ll hit your enemy like a landslide, crushing even the toughest armour with ease.

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

Elves

 

Photo credit Mantic Games

Who are they?

Drawing inspiration from Tolkien, the Elves are the best of the best at whatever they try. Powerful warriors, wondrous wizards and peerless craftsmen; they are responsible for most of the greatest feats in all of Pannithor. Much like elven civilisations in many works of fiction (*cough* Eldar *cough*) their pride and hubris is responsible for the downfall of their civilisation, the God War and the creation of the Abyss and the Nightstalkers (Eye of Terror anyone?). Classic Elves.

When the Elves march to war, they do so in fewer numbers than nearly every other race of Pannithor. But nearly everything they bring is elite, literally. Every battle starts with a rain of arrows and lightning bolts on the enemy. Then, the glorious cavalry hits the weak spots so hard the enemy starts to wonder if this whole war thing is really a good idea after all. By the time the Elven infantry arrives, what’s left is usually not worth poking a slender spear at.

Why play them?

Do you like roleplaying as the know-it-all wizard? Have you fond memories of the Isle of Ulthuan? Or do you bring out your Grey Knights as the masters of magic and combat? If you like all of this, and also like looking down your immense nose at those that don’t live forever, then the Elves might be for you. 

How do they play?

The elven units are among the most expensive in the game. However, they hit hard and fast. All elven units are elite, meaning they all reroll ones to hit, and this is much harder to come by in Kings of War than Warhammer 40K. They play well as a mixed arms force, with the best non-warmachine shooting in the game, as well as excellent cavalry, solid infantry, and the most versatile wizards around. If you’re after something tough to hold the line, the Elves can also bring walking trees in the form of the small Forest Shamblers and the mighty Tree Herder. 

Standout units

  • Drakon Riders
    The scariest cavalry unit in the game. These Elves ride mini dragons into battle, and they will wreck your face/flank. These guys are incredibly fast, very tough, they fly and they hit hard. However, they come with a price tag to match, so (luckily) you rarely see too many of them on the field at one time.

Photo credit Mantic Games

  • Dragon Kindred Lord
    The big brother to the Drakon Riders above, these guys are absolutely devastating. Put three of these in your list with some Drakons and watch your opponent squirm. There’s not much that a Dragon Lord can’t do, but if you feel like there’s something the best of the best can’t handle, there’s a named character Dragon Lord that’s even more dangerous.

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

  • Elven Archmage
    The most customizable and versatile wizards in the game, the Archmage is great. I’d be putting at least two in every list if I played Elves. Archmages start off at a very low cost and can be upgraded to take basically every non-unique spell in the game, so you can build them to support your line, or to throw out damage and disrupt your enemies. They also come with reroll ones for all their spells, an absolutely amazing upgrade.

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

Northern Alliance

Photo credit Mantic Games

Who are they?

The Northern Alliance is a true coalition of species under the rule of the elven prince Talannar. From his capital of Chill in the frozen lands of the north he commands his peoples. In this army, you find Humans, Dwarfs, Elves and Naiads all working towards the common good. They are supported by trained wolves, snow trolls and frost giants, and ride the terrifying Frostfangs into battle. They guard the lands of the north from the forces of evil, and keep a wary eye on their “allies” to the south, who believe they jealously guard a great and powerful secret found somewhere in the frozen wastes.

Why play them?

Do you play T’au and their auxiliaries (or would if they had good rules) and love the idea of a coalition of different species working together? Are you an old Kislev player? Or someone who has seen the Warhammer: Total War 3 trailer and wants to get in on bear cavalry? Then check out the Northern Alliance.  

How do they play?

As one would expect from a coalition army, the Northern Alliance plays best as a mixed arms force. They have access to Human and Dwarf Clansmen as anchors for the lines, with Half-Elf Berserkers and Ice Naiads acting as horde and chaff clearers respectively. Throw in some of the scariest heavy cavalry around, the Frostfangs, and back them up with a Frost Giant or a Cavern Dweller, and you’ll go through armour like a hot knife through ice cream. 

One can also build an army composed entirely of Ice Elementals, Frost Giants and their supporting wizards, the Ice Queens, and watch as every one of these units can breathe their icy breath on the enemy and turn them into popsicles.

Standout units

  • Frostfang Cavalry
    These are your monstrous bear riding cavalry. They are the most brutal horse(bear?)men in the game. They have a massive amount of attacks, and will go through all but the strongest armor with ease.

Photo credit Mantic Games

  • Ice Queen
    If you’ve seen the Warhammer: Total War 3 trailer, this is the star of the show. They keep your Ice Elementals inspired, they can buff and heal anything in your army and they reroll one dice when targeting a frozen unit, say one your Frost Giant just breathed on. And they do all this for a pretty reasonable points cost, with flexibility on how you want to build them.

Let it gooooo! Photo credit Mantic Games

  • Frost Giants
    Giants are absolute monsters in any army, but they are especially great in the Northern Alliance. They wound anything in the game on 2’s, with plenty of attacks, and the addition of their frozen breath ranged attack lets them still contribute to destroying your enemy as they move into position. There’s also a named character Frost Giant, Hrimm, who is fearless, and has even more attacks. Definitely take him if you’re only taking one giant.

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

Salamanders

Credit: Myopic

Who are they?

The Salamanders are an empire of bipedal reptilians of all shapes and sizes that fight back the evil and it’s implacable cold. Unlike the reptiles of our world, the Salamanders run hot, with fire literally burning within. However, as a consequence of their struggle against the Wicked Ones, they are cursed with the Winter’s Chill. They must return home regularly to their archipelago of volcanoes to stoke their flames lest they perish.

The Salamanders take to the battlefield in the company of saurian behemoths as well as great fire elementals. These usually stomp (or… floaty-burn?) around the flanks while the durable infantry marches forwards. Ranged support comes in two forms: mid-range with ghekko-like hunters with blowpipes and lizard pirates with flintlock pistols (and freaking pirate hats), and close-range with many of the beasts and elementals flame (or acidic) breath attacks. No one appreciates a warm lunch more than the Salamanders.

Why play them?

Do you love the idea of armies of lizardmen and dinosaurs, but are sad that they don’t get as many updates as a Primaris Lieutenant? Maybe you were disappointed as a child when discovered the Salamanders chapter of Space Marines weren’t Lizardeptus Astartes? Then perhaps this is the army for you.

How do they play?

The Salamanders do great at mixed arms force. The infantry (Ceremonial Guard, Ghekkotah Warriors and Ancients) form the dense core of most armies. These are often supported by the Kroxigor-like Tyrants or the Fire Elementals, as well as a range of characters and the Phoenix to help them all stick around longer than they might. 

But what about all the cool dinosaurs and dragons, we hear you say? Cram in as many as you can and you’ve got yourself a monster mash army; a force that can truly look spectacular on the battlefield, albeit not as all-round competitive. 

Note: The Salamanders’ model line is currently undergoing a refresh, hence the unpainted images used.

Standout units

  • Ancients
    These are possibly the most durable infantry in the game with exceptional defensive attributes and a relatively punchy offense. Not much will be able to shift these in a hurry. The only thing holding you back is you can’t make a whole army out of them so choose how you use them wisely.

 

Photo credit Mantic Games

  • Clan Lord on Fire Drake
    There are many dragons and dragon-like models throughout Kings of War and the Clan Lord on Fire Drake is a great example of a true beast. Flying around with flaming breath and a bucket of attacks means your opponent will always be keeping an eye out for where this guy is going (*hint* their juicy flank). Also, it’s a fire-spewing lizard warrior on a giant flying fire-spewing lizard!

 

Photo credit Mantic Games

  • Corsairs
    Apparently Salamanders have an impeccable sense of fashion because these scaly lads are the most dapper scourges of the seven seas. The models to which we refer are the just announced sculpts from Mantic Games. On the tabletop, the Corsairs constitute some of the best shooting the army has to offer.

 

Photo credit Mantic Games

 

The Brotherhood

*Found in the Uncharted Empires expansion

Who are they?

The Brotherhood were once like the Night’s Watch in Game of Thrones except they had regular baths and weren’t a bunch of criminals. They stood vigil against the Forces of the Abyss in the far north for generations until eventually, in the aftermath of a great victory, the Brotherhood split into two factions: The Order of the Brothermark and the Order of the Green Lady.

The Order of the Brothermark are the knights that were adopted by the rich Basileans in what can only be described as a corporate buyout. Together they fight evil yet with the agenda that they defend the Basileans first and foremost. The knights of the Brotherhood ride alongside the Paladins of Basilea and the Ogre Palace Guard, making for a formidable and implacable force. The peasantry, however, are drawn to the Brothermark as well, bringing bows and formidable artillery.

*Note: The Order of the Brothermark are a theme list from Baslieans.

The Order of the Green Lady instead serves the revered Goddess of Nature, the Green Lady, and thus fights evil in the company of the Forces of Nature (so are actually a Neutral army). Earth and water elementals fight next to glorious knights, with druids and unicorns offering magical support. Together, this warhost protects the world from the demonic scourge wherever it may arise, but always with the intent to preserve nature as it exists.

*Note: The Order of the Green Lady is a theme list from the Forces of Nature.

Why play them?

It was 2016, a year since the conclusion of the End Times, and Bretonnia had been put on ‘Last Chance to Buy’. By 2017 the noble army of knights were just a legend… but they live on in Kings of War as the Brotherhood! If you want to lead an army of glorious fully-armoured cavalry into the ranks of evil, then this is the force for you.

How do they play?

Much like the Bretonnia of old, the Brotherhood overall relies on your hefty knights to smash apart key units, but they can’t do it easily on their own. An all cavalry list is definitely possible, but be sure to bring along some small throw-away units (termed chaff) to prevent any threats from ruining your charges. Where the Brotherhood works best is as a mixed arms force, with a big slab of infantry to take the brunt of the enemy while the knights can set up some key charges. How you do this differs based on which sub-faction (Theme list) you take.

The Order of the Brothermark can make the most balanced mixed list with great cavalry, solid infantry to hold the line (either blocks of Paladins and Ogre Guard, or cheaper hordes of Villein Penitents), and very good ranged support (Villein Siege Artillery). Their main drawback is that they have few units to draw from, so variation army to army will be minimal in comparison to even their Green counterparts.

The Order of the Green Lady can come with much the same approach minus the ranged support. Instead they have flying cavalry (Order of the Forsaken) and access to some of the best wizards in the game (Druids). Add to this the aforementioned Earth Elementals (see Dwarfs) and you have an army that can be ultra-tough or extra-punchy. 

Standout units

Note: None of the units not unique to the Brotherhood (ie. those from Basileans and Forces of Nature) will not be included in this list. Additionally, Mantic does not produce a model line for the Brotherhood.

  • Order of the Abyssal Hunt
    Your standard knights but there’s nothing standard about them; all the special rules mean they can hit hard, but most importantly, continue to keep hitting when the going gets tough (essentially when the enemy doesn’t snap in half on the first charge). They specialise in fighting monsters and titans, so be sure to match these lads with your opponents lovingly painted centrepiece and destroy it.

 

Photo credit AD Bird

  • Order of the Forsaken
    Do you just wish you could charge that lonely exposed wizard on the other side of your opponent’s army? Well with the Order of the Forsaken, you can! These are the Pegasus Knights reborn, but named in such a way that you can have them riding whatever flying beast you like – it’s up to you! As with all flying beatsticks, half the value of bringing them along is forcing your opponent to be wary of them.

 

Photo credit Fireforge Games

  • Villein Bowman
    Archers? A top unit!? Yes! These might be some pretty standard archers but with one key difference – they have the ‘phalanx’ special rule typically seen only on spearmen. This means that any cavalry charging them will be considerably less effective. Why they have this is due to the Battle of Agincourt wherein the longbowmen rained down arrows from behind a row of sharpened wooden stakes. 

 

Photo credit Games Workshop

Next Time: The Neutral Guys

That’s the Good armies of Kings of War! There’s something for every playstyle, but if these don’t tickle your fancy then you might just find what you are after in the Neutral or the Bad. Look out for these articles in the coming weeks. And if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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