Evaluating Warmachine Battleboxes

Whether you’re buying a Christmas gift for a friend looking to get into Warmachine, looking to get involved in our Journeyman League at the end of this month, or just want to start up one of the most popular miniature games out there, there’s no better place to start looking than the Battleboxes!  I’m going to take a moment to talk about what’s best about each starter product, what you might like to try as a first addition, and what a good second caster might be.

If you’re excited about starting Cryx, this is an extremely strong Battlegroup.  Prime Deneghra (pDenny) might be the best Warcaster in Warmachine (that’s a subject worthy of debate) and will make excellent use of the boxes included Arc Nodes.  She gives a good taste of what Cryx is all about, slinging spells, debuffing your opponents, while staying relatively safe thanks to her Stealth.  The Slayer Helljack you get in this box gives you a heavy hitter and while not every caster in Cryx will use it like your Arc nodes, you couldn’t ask for a better bargain than this box.

When you’re ready to expand your army there are a lot of directions one could go in Cryx, but not more infamous than adding a unit of Bane Thralls (with their Unit Attachment).  The Banes are a purchase you will not regret in growing your Cryx army and continue the theme of stealth and debuffing with giving you a taste of undeadly goodness.  For a second caster and to try another dimension of Cryx I would recommend prime Asphyxious (pGaspy).  He’s a little more physically intimidating than Denny, has another very Cryxian spell list and playstyle, and will teach you a lot about the faction while still being a very competitive caster.  A word to the wise: try to be a nice person while playing Cryx–they’re a viscous faction with a reputation for a reason!

In the Cygnar Battlebox you have another well tuned starting army.  The Lancer is an Arc Node, something many Cygnar casters will appreciate.  The Charger offers the other side of the “gun like faction” as a very focus efficient and powerful light warjack who packs a punch at range.  The Ironclad isn’t my favourite heavy warjack in Cygnar, but it certainly holds its own in this list.  Prime Stryker is a good toolbox caster with a good defensive feat and a solid spell list.  He’s an excellent caster to lean the basics of the game with, and one a lot of advanced players would benefit from going back and having a second look at.

For the first unit purchase, I can’t help but recommend the Arcane Tempest Gun Mages with Unit Attachment.  They’re a staple in many Cygnar lists and bring to the table the powerful ranged game for which Cygnarians are famous.  They also have a really fantastic sculpt.  As a second caster I would prime Haley plays a very different game from Stryker and will compliment what you have very well while being a bit more of a spell-caster.  Cygnar has done very well at major tournaments lately and has some very subtle, very powerful units and casters.

Prime Sorscha comes packaged with a Destroyer and a Juggernaut in the Khador battlebox.  While Sorscha is actually a fairly decent caster, I don’t love the jacks she comes with in this box.  This is a good box to learn the game with, but you might find yourself putting aside these jacks in favour of some of Khador’s truly excellent character jacks, or something like the Spriggan.

If you do pick up the battlebox, your second caster should really be prime Vlad.  He can make both of these warjacks really shine and has a feat that can catch an unprepared opponent completely off guard.  In terms of a first unit to pick up for Khador, both Winterguard infantry and Iron Fang Pikemen are excellent options.  Khador has no shortage of amazing infantry.  Vlad will like pikemen slightly more, while Sorscha may prefer Winterguard, but both will do well with either caster.

The Protectorate of Menoth sports a very strong Battlebox.  Prime Kreoss has a fantastic spell list with a great sample of all the support that makes the Protectorate of Denial so good.  Both the Repenter and the Revenger have their place in Menoth lists and offer you a sample of what Protectorate lights can do (hurt things).  The Crusader is a vanilla heavy, but it has a solid stat line and gives you a heavy hitter.

There is absolutely no debate that the first unit you should purchase is the Choir of Menoth.  The Choir is a starting place for most Menoth lists and turns your warjacks from “okay” to “down-right-good.”  It is very unlikely you’ll be upset with your purchase of the Menoth Choir.  As a second warcaster, the epic version of Feora will offer a little more fire and brimstone.  She’s also got a very forgiving stat line, letting you make mistakes with her and still sometime survive an assassination attempt (unless you’re Chris).  Don’t forget while playing Menoth that this is a game.  If you beat your opponent, it still isn’t okay to light them on fire.

The Retribution of Scyrah doesn’t have a packaged battlebox yet, but they’re getting one next February.  In the mean time you can still pick up the battleforce in separate blisters.  The recommendation of a Griffon, a Chimera, and a Manticore is supported by Kaelyssa.  The Chimera is an Arc node, but retribution has the option of a heavy Arc Node in the Phoenix, which is preferred by most casters.  The griffon sees some play, but might not be a great starter jack.  Kaelyssa, however, is a great first caster and a first time Retribution player should consider her with a Phoenix and the Manticore as a decent 11 point list.  She has a good feat to protect her army, a great spell list, and really plays into the Retribution’s theme of anti-magic.

The first unit every Retribution player picks up is the Mage Hunter Strike Force, along with its unit attachment.  This high defense unit of crossbowers can quickly end games, killing casters who fully camp focus thanks to Arcane Assassin.  As a second warcaster, Rahn would be a great choice as he shows off the high magic side of the elves and will support any list that includes an Arc Node well.

Snipe, Feat, Go?

Stayed tuned for the Hordes version of this evaluation.  If you have comments, suggestions, or just want to set up Battlebox games with other players, feel free to post in our forums.

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