Picking a Warmachine or Hordes faction

So there is a new version of Warmachine/Hordes coming out and it has intrigued me enough to consider playing again. There are some interesting rule changes being made and it seems as if some work has been done to streamline the game. I won’t say ‘simplify’ as I don’t think that is the intent but what I have read so far looks good.

Part of the decision making process is finding some people to play casual games of Warmachine. There are a fair number of local players but a lot of them seem to be tournament/competitive gamers and that really isn’t my idea of fun. The store will be running a Journeyman League and that may be a way to meet some like-minded individuals.

So the more important issue is determining a faction to play. In order to help me make my mind up I have created a list and will comment on each faction.


Given that I rib everyone who comes into the store and buys Cygnar minis this might be one to avoid. The Warjacks are uniformly awesome and I really do like Haley and the new version of her that was recently introduced. Cygnar is the ‘good guy’ faction though and I almost never play the good guys. I always have a fondness for the darker side of any game and Cygnar won’t scratch that itch. That may change with the new version of the rules as Cygnar is meant to be undergoing a change of rulers and becoming a more aggressive faction.

Khador have some very nice Warjacks but I have never really found a Warcaster that I liked aside from Kommander Harkevich. The Man O’ War infantry also don’t do a lot for me. And to be honest, I don’t think that the backstory for the Khador faction or their Warcasters has any real depth. Aside from the Warjacks there isn’t a lot in the Khador faction that appeals to me.

I had a significant Cryx army before moving to Calgary and I really like the faction and the Warcasters but a) ‘been there done that’ and b) I am really bad with a Cryx army. I thought it was me until I started playing a Magnus force and consistently winning games. I had about 170pts of MkII Cryx minis and effectively rebuilding and repainting the same army that I had before really takes a lot of fun out the game.

Awesome villains. Awesome backstory. Horrible looking Warjacks. I don’t really like the design aesthetic of the Menoth Jacks or even some of the infantry. So while the idea of playing a Warcaster like High Executioner Servath Reznik is appealing it doesn’t come with models that appeal to me. Fire is fun though.

Aside from Magnus, who I have played a lot, none of the faction really appeals to me. Not liking pirates probably doesn’t help.

Great backstory and some of the Warcasters are very interesting but while I really like the Warjacks I am not as interested in the look of the infantry. The Obstructors and Reductors are some of the less interesting looking figures in the entire game.

This is a very strong possibility. I love the Monstrosities and the Warcasters. I even like how the Drudges look. I am less enthused by the lack of infantry choices. What helps mitigate this is that you can currently add Mercenary units to a Cephalyx armies. What will help make my mind up about this faction is what happens to the theme lists in the new rules. Exulon Thexus has an excellent theme list but it might not make it to the new rules.

I really like the infantry and the theme and backstory of the force. The Warjacks don’t really speak to me and they all look the same except for Moros. I think that the faction has some of the most interesting looking infantry in the game and I really like how they play and how the faction’s units interact with one another. I don’t really want to play an infantry heavy army though and that would be what I would have to do to get the most out of the Retribution.


The Skorne are a very strong possibility as well. I haven’t played them and they have a very a strong background with a consistent theme across the faction. The idea of using pain and the loss of your own troops to buff your army is interesting and I like quite a lot of the models for the faction. Some of the Warlocks are also quite interesting, especially Master Ascetic Naaresh and Void Seer Mordikaar. Skorne also really fill my desire to play an evil faction.

I am quite a fan of the Wolds and some of the solos but most of the wolf and goat themed Warbeasts don’t do anything for me. I also don’t like some Warlocks sculpts. I’m looking at you Morvahna. There isn’t a lot aside from Baldur and the Wolds that I could play. The faction also seems to not have a consistent focus to it and it leads the Circle armies to have a wild array of models and types of powers and effects.

I can’t say what it is that I don’t like about this faction but aside from Madrak I can’t think of a single thing about the Trollbloods that I like. Never going to happen.

I really like the backstory for the Legion but most of the models are not really to my liking and for every great model there is one that I think isn’t as good looking. I also don’t think that my painting is up to the standards required to make the Warbeast models look their best.

The Gator and Farrow models are both awesome looking and the Gators have a delightfully awful backstory. I don’t know that they currently have the depth of units available to make them a main faction though. Certainly a possibility.

So the current lineup of possibilities is Skorne, Cephalyx and Minions. I am currently leaning towards Skorne but that might change depending on what happens to the Cephalyx theme lists when the new rules are released.



  1. I’m with you in terms of not wanting to play WarmaHordes against anyone who actually plays the game consistently. Even in non-tournament settings, I find the players seem to prize meta and competitiveness over backstory, appearance, and fun. I just don’t have the time to research every tweaky power combo and play on a regular basis… but I do want to play a fun pick-up game every once in awhile. However, I’ll dig up my old Khador force, bring it to a game, and within one or two turns, realize why it is that I don’t play this game any more.

    Put plainly, I think the game itself is pretty solid. I even like many of the minis. Generally speaking though, I haven’t met too many W/H players that I really like playing against though. I’m sure the good ones are out there somewhere… I just haven’t met them yet.

    1. I should also note that I’m also looking forward to looking over the new rules. The previous versions were absolutely punishing and brutal for new and casual gamers. They did a great job of rewarding the dedicated though. This is true of any game system, but W/H took that to the extreme. I could play a quick pickup game of any other system and feel like I was still having fun and maybe doing okay, but with W/H, I would get caster killed on the 2nd or 3rd turn by some combo out of left field, and the other player would be crowing about it.

      Hoping that the latest version is a bit more forgiving in that regard. Perhaps PP realized that not everyone is a die-hard tournament player.

      1. I think they ran into a similar problem to MK1 in that it has become a more complex game with all the animi, spells, feats and abilities. They also seem to want to make sure that every unit get used which makes sense from a sales POV as well

    2. It does certainly appeal to the competitive gamer. I like the background enough and I am hoping to find some likeminded casual players here in Calgary

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