Adapting a Hordes or Warmachine army. Part 1: Sage – Age of Magic

Previously on this blog I talked about how to adapt an army for Warhammer Fantasy Battles to use in one of the three fantasy rule systems (Dragon Rampant, Warlords of Erehwon and Age of Magic) that this project is using. I’d like to now take a look at how you can try to adapt an existing Warmachine or Hordes army to play using the Sage: Age of Magic rules.

The last set of articles used the contents of an old WFB Empire Battalion boxed set but in these articles I will instead use a Skorne army list that I found from a local player who was trying to sell his army. This will make a more realistic list and also give an opportunity to look at a wider range of models and units.

Warmachine and Hordes are a good subject for this approach since the factions have large and medium sized models that will make good Creatures and Monsters, there are many options for cavalry and many factions have access to ranged troops as well as war engines. As well, the game has units that fit very easily into Saga. 

Army building essentials

Age of Magic is an expansion for the Saga rules. When you build an army for AoM you do it by purchasing troops in blocks which are 12, 8 or 4 models. Those factors correspond to Levy, Warrior and Hearthguard units. In Saga, the more effective a model is the smaller the unit is. Hearthguard are the best troops in Saga and so you purchase them in groups of 4. Levy are the worst and come in units of 12. While you have to ‘purchase’ models using those factors you don’t need to form units in those numbers.

Adding some special units or heroes in AoM requires you to remove troop models from your force. So a War Machine is available to include in your force by removing either 2 Hearthguard, 4 Warriors or 6 Levy models.  A standard Age of Magic force is eight points and on average you can expect to field 6-8 units of varying sizes plus several heroes.

Continuing the example of purchasing Praetorians, if we bought 3 blocks of eight Warriors, for a total of 24 models, we could build two units of ten Praetorians and then spend 4 Warrior models to get a War Engine. Or build two units of 12 models each. Creatures are available in groups of 2 models for 1 point. Lieutenants, which are the special heroes unique to each faction, can only be added by purchasing them with troops with the same 2/4/6 cost. Monsters cost 1 point as do Sorcerers.

Skorne army box
Skorne army box

Getting Started

So let us take a look at a sample Skorne collection and see what sort of units could be built. The Skorne faction list I found contains the following models:

Warlocks and solos

  • Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer 
  • Extoller Soulward
  • Mortitheurge Willbreaker
  • Makeda 1
  • Makeda 2
  • Xekaar
  • Tyrant Vorkesh

Troops

  • Cataphract Cetrati x10
  • Cataphract Arcuarii x 6
  • Cataphract Incindiarii x 6
  • Paingiver Beast Handlers x6
  • Immortals x10
  • Praetorian Swordsmen x 27 (including UAs)

Warbeasts

  • Basilisk Krea
  • Reptile Hounds
  • Agonizer
  • Titan Gladiator
  • Cyclops Brute 
  • Cyclops Raider
  • Cyclops Savage
  • Molik Karn
Immortals
Immortals

There are a lot of fun models with which to build an army. For this article I am going to use the Great Kingdoms as the faction template but you could also use the Horde faction since that army has access to a Heavy Weapon option for its Warriors that would fit the Immortals very well. The Horde can also take more monsters so if you had a Skorne collection with a lot of Warbeasts this would also make a good option. In fact one of the fun things about Age of Magic is that the factions are really more similar to theme forces in Warmachine/Hordes in that they are really more a way of playing your army than a fixed list for a specific type of miniatures. 

Each faction has special heroes and a distinct terrain piece that give them unique abilities. For example, the Great Kingdom has a monster-fighting Paladin and a Monument that lets them reroll Saga dice while the Horde has a Champion with a higher attack strength, Chariots and a Sacrificial Stone terrain piece that boosts the attack strength of nearby Horde units.

Warmachine and Hordes factions have a large number of diverse troop types so it makes it easy to fit your collection into multiple AoM faction giving you the option to try out different play styles. For example the Legion of Everblight is a clear choice to represent the Otherworld faction with its flying monsters and twisted infantry. But you could also use Blighted Nyss models, solos and Warlocks to represent a Lords of the Wild army with lots of shooting and terrain tricks.

Praetorians
Praetorians

One issue that a Warmachine/Hordes gamer is going to run into is that non-cavalry Warrior and Hearthguard models are required, by the rules, to be on 30mm x 30mm bases. Most factions have infantry models on 40mm bases and so you may run into issues if you want to play in tournaments or official events.

Picking some options

So the first army choice is the Warlord to lead your force and there are several good options for it. Tyrant Vorkesh would make a great Warlord with a Heavy Weapon as would the Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer. Warlords can be placed on bases up to 60mm so it gives you the option of making the Commander and Standard Bearer into a nice single base unit. 

The Great Kingdoms faction has an option for a Captain hero and that role could be filled by whichever Tyrant you didn’t use for the Warlord. The Great Kingdom Paladin hero is a monster-killing machine and that describes Makeda very well with her dual swords. This collection has two versions of Makeda so you could easily use two Paladins in the force.

The Extoller Soulward would make a great Sorcerer miniature but both the Great Kingdom and Horde factions have access to spells that are great at buffing up monsters so if that is how you wanted to equip your Sorcerer then you could also use one of the Paingiver Beast Handlers in that role and fit into the narrative of the Skorne army.

In Age of Magic troops are labelled as Hearthguard, Warriors or Levy. None of the Levy options for the Great Kingdom have melee weapons (the only faction that does are the Masters of the Underearth) so the Praetorian Swordsmen would have to be used as Warriors even though there are enough of them for several Levy units. The Immortals would make an option for Hearthguard and in the Great Kingdom list they can have Heavy Weapons that better reflect the model.

The Titan Gladiator is clearly, literally?, a Monster and so is an obvious choice. Both the Great Kingdoms and Hordes allow players to take Creatures with the Great Kingdoms restricted to a single choice and both factions not allowed to take flying creatures. The Cyclops Brute and Raider would fit nicely into a unit of two Creatures as would the Reptile Hounds.

Cyclops Brute
Cyclops Brute

Putting it together 

So using the Great Kingdoms faction lets put together a force using the models listed above. We’ll use the Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer as a Warlord. Two units of Immortal/Hearthguard will cost two points and we can add two units of  Praetorian Swordsmen/Warriors for another two points. The Titan Gladiator/Monster is one point and we can add a unit of two Cyclops/Creatures for one point. This gives us a total of six points spent out of an allowance of 8. 

We can add a Sorcerer for one point, bringing us to seven total, and it would probably be interesting to add some additional heroes. Both the Paladin and the Captain from the Great Kingdoms list are purchased by removing troop models from the army. Since both can be purchased with 4 Warriors it is simplest to purchase an additional point of Warriors (eight troops) and then use four of them to pay for a Paladin and four to pay for a Captain.

So the final list is:

  • Warlord (Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer)
  • Captain (Tyrant Vorkesh)
  • Paladin (Makeda 1)
  • Sorcerer (Paingiver Beast Handler)
  • 2 x Hearthguard (Immortals)
  • 2 x Warriors (Praetorian Swordsmen x 8)
  • Monster (Titan Gladiator)
  • Creatures (Cyclops)

The force doesn’t have a War Machine but if you had a Titan Cannoneer in your collection it would make an exceptional Mobile War Machine. There are also the Venator Catapult or Reaver that could be used as Static War Machines. If you didn’t want to use a Paladin you could remove it and spread the remaining four Warriors across the two units creating two Warrior units of ten models each.

Using the Horde faction list you can create a slightly different force. We could use Molik Karn and a third Cyclops to create another unit of Creatures or add the Reptile Hounds letting us field two units of Creatures and a Monster at the cost of a unit of Hearthguard or Warriors. The Hordes list doesn’t have a Paladin so we would have an additional 4 Warriors to use that we paid to get that hero. That would give us a beast heavy list that looks like:

  • Warlord (Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer)
  • Champion (Tyrant Vorkesh)
  • Sorcerer (Paingiver Beast Handler)
  • 1 x Hearthguard (Immortals)
  • 2 x Warriors (Praetorian Swordsmen x 10)
  • Monster (Titan Gladiator)
  • Creatures (Cyclops)
  • Creatures (Reptile Hounds)
Titan Gladiator
Titan Gladiator

Wrapping Up

I think it is easy to see that the size of Age of Magic enable you to get a lot of potentially different forces from a single Warmachine or Hordes collection. Not only with a single faction but also by trying out different factions to give you different troop options and play styles.

Changing factions also changes the type of spells that your Sorcerer has access to as well as the Battle Board you use. In Saga each faction has a Battle Board that gives the army unique abilities that buff, debut or allow additional activations. It helps create a unique style of play for the faction in addition to the troop choices the force has. So you could build a fairly similar army for two factions but they would play very differently because of the Battle Board.

Age of Magic is an excellent choice if you want to not only get new life from an existing collection of figures but also to let you get a different play style from some of your favourite miniatures.

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