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The Vaults  
Core Rules

Master Categories


Beware, gentle reader, for you have stumbled upon an article hidden within The Vaults. These dim and dusty halls are a resting place for articles that are seldom read, seldom updated, and sometimes woefully obsolete. Plus, you know, all the other junk we can't find a better place for.



ADR or Active Duty Roster

It's a tournament format aimed at very top level players. The format limits which casters and theme forces players are allowed to use. The roster of casters/themes changes every 6 months.
The intention is to force players out of their comfort zone, and the winner will be the player best at (1) designing army lists for casters and themes that they're not used to (2) looking at the enemy faction's roster and figuring out what the opponent's army lists are likely to contain before the tournament even starts (3) taking the information from #2 and putting it into #1.
ADR helps keep tournaments fresh, instead of seeing the same few "Top Dog lists" grinding away at each other year after year. This has a trickle-down effect to non-ADR players, too.

Alpha Strike

Attacking first, with the majority of your army.


Americas Team Championships. An annual tournament.



Black Anchor Heavy Industries. PP's direct-order only model range. See the BAHI article for more info.

Box Cars

Double 6’s on two dice


Models with high ARM and/or hitpoints that deploy close together. Either because they get a bonus for being in B2B, or because they all want to fit within the same buff bubble.

Brick Up

Move into a brick formation.


1) A spell/ability that increases a model's stats. The opposite of a debuff.
2) It can also refer to when a models rules are changed by the games developers, and it receives better stats or abilities. The opposite of nerf.

Buff Bubble

If a model hands out a buff to all models within a given distance of itself, that area is called a buff bubble.

Buff Cycling or Buff Juggling

See Spell Cycling.



Have your warcaster/warlock hold onto their focus/fury, so they can use it to reduce incoming damage next turn.


Warcaster, Warlock, or Infernal Master.
Technically caster is short for spellcaster, and thus it can also refer to solos that cast spells with a magic ability and/or warbeasts that cast an animi - but players never really use it in that context.

Champions or Champs

Champions is a special kind of tournament format aimed at very high level players. It uses the ADR rules.


Community Integrated Development. A forum where PP ask players for feedback on rules for new models about to be released, and/or existing models about to be errata'd. See the What is CID? article for more info.

(Name) Chassis (example "Slayer chassis" or "Ironclad chassis")

Term used to describe warjacks/warbeasts variations that have a similar model and/or stats as the first model released of that kind.

Clocked or Clocked Out

Lose the game by running out of time


Generate a series of clouds in a line, to block LOS to your army.


Exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. Especially if it happens at a crucial point in the game; and/or especially if the odds of it happening are low.
e.g. "He charged past to get at my caster, but I rolled double 4 on the free strike, got a critical pitch and threw him on his ass - it was pretty clutch."

Collapse in

Your flanking models kill everything on the flank, and move into the middle of the board to mop up.

Company of Iron

This is a spin-off game released in 2017, set in the same setting as the Iron Kingdoms. It's a squad-skirmish style game. It uses the same models as Warmachine/Hordes.
It proved to be not that popular with players and not many people still play it (as of 2019).

Control Caster

A caster that can easily limit the opposition's options for moving and/or attacking (for example with a Time Walk feat)

Crit Fishing

Trying to get a Critical hit. Specifically, filling your army with models that have critical attacks in combination with a caster that increases the odds of criticals (such as the Terminal Velocity spell or Ashlynn1's feat)

Cutting or Cutting for Fury

When a warlock damages itself to gain fury.


Dark Horse

A caster that is seldom used at a competitive level, and has an increased chance of success at a tournament because of opponents' lack of familiarity with it.

Dead Scenario

When the scenario elements are located nearer the centre of the board and/or close to each other, such that for most of the game neither player can stop the other contesting the scenario, and neither player scores scenario points. The opposite of a Live scenario.


A spell/ability that decreases a model's stats. The opposite of buff.

(Name) Denial

An ability/spell that prevents your opponent from doing that activity. For example, Sacred Ward is spell denial, Windstorm is ranged denial.

Dice Off (number), Dice Minus (number), Dice Plus (number)

When it comes to damage rolls you roll dice, add your weapon's power (POW), then subtract your opponent's armour (ARM). To speed this up most players will subtract POW from ARM before rolling dice.
For example, a POW 12 weapon vs an ARM 15 model. The damage roll will be 12 + 2d6 - 15. Which is 2d6 - 3. So players say "dice off 3"

Dirty Swans

The Cygnar faction. A disparaging description.


See List Dojo


Choose which caster you will use in a 2-list tournament. Example: "My opponent had Sloan and Haley3, so I dropped Deneghra2 into it."


e(Name) (example eSorscha)

Refers to the second iteration of a caster. In older versions of the game, the first iteration was referred to "Prime" (after the name of the first rulebook) and their second iteration was called "Epic". Not used as often in the current edition of the game. See also p(Name).


Fishing for Crits

See Crit Fishing

(Thing) Fixer for example "MAT-fixer"

A spell or ability that increases the odds of (thing). A MAT-fixer could be +2 to hit, or an extra die, or knocking down the enemy. An ARM-fixer could be +2 to damage, or Armor Piercing attacks, or something which does auto-damage (like Anatomical Precision).


Have models deploy and move up the side of the board. Easy to be confuse with the special rule called Flank.


Friendly Local Game Store


The fiction and information that provides the setting, background, and context for the game. Also called "Lore".

Fluff Bunny

A person who loves the stories, background and setting of the game

Full Boat

Max unit with all possible unit attachments, max weapon attachments, and all applicable solos.
Named after the mk2 version of the Talion Charter army.

Fully Boosted

Boost both the attack and damage rolls

Fun Bracket

See Loser's Bracket


Hail Mary

Attempting an assassination with very low odds of success; because if you don't win by assassination now, you'll lose next turn. Term derived from a Hail Mary pass (American Football)

Hard (number) For example "hard eight"

See Roll a hard (number)


In The Tank

Spending a long time planning your turn. Derived from the “Think Tank” phrase.


An army which spends the bare minimum points on warjacks/warbeasts


Jam or Jamming or Jammed

Run models into the enemy battlelines for the sole purpose of making it harder for the enemy to move around. It's normally done with a unit that is cheap, numerous, speedy, and/or difficult to kill.
See also Screening and Speed Bump


This is a bit hard to define. It's using a strategy which relies on an unusual combination of special rules which, if everything works out, has a spectacular result.
There is normally some difficulty to overcome to get the jank to work - either it requires a precise setup and model positioning, or the special rules are simply rare to find on models.
If jank is not difficult to execute, then more and more players adopt it and it evolves into "tech".

Journeyman League

A "slow-grow" league aimed at new players. You start week 1 with a small force, then play bigger and bigger games as the league goes on. You also get points for assembling and painting models.
It was written back in mark 2, and it's getting a bit dated. If you want to know more, you can find the link on the Useful External Links article.


Kite or Kiting

A model/unit/army that has much greater speed and threat range than its opponent, and just hangs back at max range where the enemy can't reach it (like a kite at the end of a string).


Landing Spot

The space a model needs to have clear if it wants to move to a particular place. Normally used in reference to models that have a way of moving over/through models, and want to stand within melee range of the enemy #Caster

Launder Attacks

Using your weak weapons to trigger bonus attacks with your main weapon, when you're affected by something like Berserk or Black Spot.
The "launder" is used in the same manner as money laundering.

List Dojo

Plan out an army list, work out the synergies, tweak it and adjust it to get everything you want within the points limit ... all without playing a game with the list.

List Pairing

Most tournaments let you bring two army lists (from the same Faction). That way you have a "backup" army to cover the weaknesses of your first army. The idea is, if you get matched vs an enemy army that you know would kick your army's butt, you use the second list to give yourself a better chance.
The two lists you design for the tournament are called your "pairing".
You choose which list to use before the game starts, but after you've seen what is in your opponent's lists.


Local Game Store

Live Scenario

When the scenario elements are spread further apart, they become easier to score. This means both players must stay on top of the situation, to prevent their opponent pulling ahead and winning on scenario points. Opposite of Dead Scenario.

Losers Bracket

All players with at least one loss in a tournament. No one in this bracket can win the tournament. Opposite of Winners Bracket.


Someone who spends time browsing an online group reading what people say, but never say anything themselves.



Masters is a special kind of tournament format aimed at very high level players. It uses the ADR rules (I think).


Meta has a few dictionary definitions, the applicable one here is "denoting something of a higher or second-order kind". Specifically, it is short for "Metagame, the game outside the game".
To 'play' the metagame you identify what casters, models/units, and/or playstyles are currently popular among oponents in your area, identify what problems they give your army, then solve those problems by adjusting your army to include specific tools; as opposed to designing a generic "All Comers" list. (For instance, if your opponent has a lot of Tough models you might include a Void Archon for its anti-tough Entropic Force ability.)
But then your opponents start bringing tools that give them a better chance vs your tools (for instance adding a Death Archon that has a Vendetta vs the Void Archon), and/or they stop using the thing that you now have a tool against. You adjusted to them, and now they're adjusting to you, and the meta keeps shifting.
This sort of pre-game analysis and list design can be just as strategical as playing the game itself, hence it's a second-order game.

"The Meta" versus "My Meta"

When people talk about "the meta" they refer to the latest stuff being talked about on the internet, or what was used at a recent top-level national tournament, or what they're planning to take to the next top-level tournament. Stuff in "the meta" can all be a bit nebulous, especially what's getting talked about on the internet, and it starts feeling like everyone is bringing really strong stuff with the latest tech.
When people talk about "my meta" they mean what they are actually seeing at their local clubs and low-level local tournaments.


A single caster and list which is so powerful into so many different types of opponents that everyone has to adjust their own lists to fight it specifically.
The term is normally applied to a list that gains large popularity very suddenly (normally after winning an international tournament), as opposed to referring to a caster that has long been known to be a stong caster.
Examples include Deneghra1 and the Ghost Fleet (pre-nerf), Karchev and Mad Dog spam (pre-nerf), Asphyxious3 and Slayer spam (not nerfed at time of writing, 2018.12).

Mini Crate

PP's subscription-only range of models. See Category:Limited Edition Sculpt for more info.


A once-per-game ability on a model which isn't a caster.

Mirror Match

When both players are using the same caster or even faction.



When a models rules are changed by the game developers, and it receives worse stats or abilities. The opposite of buff.


A disparaging term used when a model gets too many nerfs, or nerfed too often, or needs nerfs. ("Asphyxious3 is too strong and needs to get hit by the nerfbat.") ("No one plays Karchev since he got hit by the nerfbat.")

Netdeck or Netlist

Copy an army list from the internet, normally one that has won a major tournament, rather than creating it yourself. The term originated in Magic The Gathering, where players prepare decks of cards in a similar fashion to how we prepare army lists.

NPE or Negative Play Experience

A rule or model that makes the game less fun for a player. It may or may not explicitly powerful, but could lead to tediousness gameplay or be impossible to counter for someone unfamiliar with the rule.


Any spell that does damage, with little-to-no special side effects.


Old Man Stats

A caster with low stats in DEF, ARM, and total hitpoints. Example: Nemo1 and Severius1 with DEF14 ARM 15 HP 14. See also Victim Stats.

(Name) On A Stick

A model included in a list just to hand out a buff or ability to another model/unit. For example, Saxon is "Pathfinder on a stick". The phrase originates from D&D, where non-wizard characters could cast spells with a wand, making the wand "(spell name) on a stick".


When talking about a model: Overpowered, e.g. "Minions OP!"
When talking on an online forum: Original Poster, the person who started the current thread/conversation.


p(Name) (example pDeneghra)

Refers to the first iteration of a caster. In older versions of the game, the first iteration was referred to "Prime" (after the name of the first rulebook) and their second iteration was called "Epic". Not used as often in the current edition of the game. See also e(Name).


Any model that has an ability to kill an enemy model, then move, then make another attack, rinse and repeat. For instance the Killing Spree ability.


See List Pairing

Piece Trade

Deliberately letting one (or more) of your models die, but in a position where you will be able to kill the attacking enemy on your next turn.

Pillow Fisted

A Warjack or Warbeast that has melee weapons with a much lower P+S than normal for its Chassis and/or points cost.


Trigger an effect or event under particular circumstances. For instance, you will proc Countercharge if you walk too close.
It is an abbreviation of "special procedure" and dates back to text-based computer games.

Points Tax

See Tax.

Pop Feat

Use your Caster's feat

Pop and Drop

Use a feat (or a Minifeat) to knockdown the enemy Caster's then assassinate them.

Power Field

The name of the warcaster rule that lets them spend focus to reduce damage from an attack, or to spend focus to heal damage from previous attacks.

Project threat

See Threaten



The ability for a unit or army to quickly replenish losses during a game. Normally associated with undead armies.

Riot Quest

This is a spin-off game released in 2019, set in the Iron Kingdoms but in an alternate timeline where the Infernals won. It's a boardgame style game. It has its own range of models with a distinct post-apocalyptic aesthetic, but every model can also be used in a normal game of Warmachine/Hordes.
See also Category: Riot Quest

Roll a hard (Number) (example "roll a hard eight")

Try to roll the required number without boosting

Rules Lawyer

An opponent who uses the strictest interpretation of a rule to win, instead of the spirit of the rule, and is a total dick about it. Thankfully, the rules that PP write are so well done that rules lawyers are almost non-existent in this game.



Feeling angry, agitated, or bitter over something. Normally used when the level of anger is out of proportion to what caused the anger.


A model/unit that stands between the enemy and your more important/valuable models. The goal is to block LOS and/or Landing Spots.
See also Jamming and Speed Bump


See Cutting

Simple Nuke

See Nuke

Snake Eyes

Double 1’s on two dice

Speed Bump

A sacrificial piece used to slow your opponent down. Normally this piece is weak and easy to kill, thus more of a speed bump than an obstacle.
See also Jamming and Screening

Spell Cycling/Juggling

Upkeeping a spell at the start of a turn, activating the model/unit that the upkeep is on, then activating the caster and casting the spell on a second model/unit to get double use out of it.

Super Tough

Tough on 4+ rather than the normal 5+


Tar Pit

A unit which is numerous and hard to kill (and/or has strong recursion), but not good at attacking. Good for jamming or as a screen for the rest of the force.

(Name) Tax

A perceived reduction in stats because of the presence of another in-faction model that buffs those stats. For instance, believing that Protectorate warjacks have lower POW/P+S because the ever-present Choir can easily give them +2 to damage rolls.
Alternatively, a perception that to make model A worthwhile, you have to "waste" points on model B. "Sure, Protectorate warjacks look cheap, but you need to pay the Choir tax."

That Guy

An opponent who rules lawyers his way to victory, or deliberately misleads you by omitting info unless you specifically ask for it, or just generally is a bit of a dick to play against.

The Tank

See In the Tank

Theme Force

See the Theme Force article.

Theorymachine or Theorycraft

Talk about what a model/unit is good at, or isn't, what combos or synergies or tactics you should use ... based on just reading the card and not based on actual gameplay expereience.


When a model positions itself so it can attack anyone within a certain area next turn. See also Threat range

Threat Range

The total range a model can attack from, including its movement, its weapon's range, and its movement buff(s).
It can be very poorly defined, and a source of contention between players who miscommunicate, depending on what buffs you include. "Well, I normally threaten 12" but if you trigger Countercharge I'll get +5", and if I cast Boundless Charge that's +2", and if..."

(x)-tier caster

Grading in terms of powerlevel for casters. S-tier casters are the best (S for Super), then dropping to A-tier, B-tier, etc

Tilt or On Tilt

A player who is frustrated at the game because of unlikely dice rolls swinging things against him, and/or an unexpected ability on his opponent's model catching him out and ruining his strategy. Can lead to the tilting player making bad tactical decisions (and that's a downward spiral). Can also lead to the tilting player being a bad sport.

Time Walk or Time Lock

A feat that effectively gives the user an additional turn before the opponent can retaliate. For example by locking them in place, or stopping them from attacking. Can occasionally refer to an ability/spell. Partially coined from the Magic The Gathering card: Time Walk.


The Telekinesis spell. Can be used as a noun ("I cast TK to move up") or as a verb ("I TK him out of the way")


Tournament Organiser

Toe in or Toeing in

Place a model barely within a scenario zone so that it can contest it, while staying as far away from the enemy as possible.

Trooper models

Refer to the 101 - Model Types training article.

Troop Swarm or Troopmachine

See Infantrymachine


Upkeep Cycling/Juggling

See Spell Cycling.


Victim Stats

A single-wound model with low stats in DEF and ARM, which allow them to be very easily hit and killed by anyone. DEF 12 or lower in combination with ARM 15 or lower. See also Old Man Stats.



A bad piece of jargon used by lazy people. It can refer to either Warjack, Warbeast, Warcaster, or Warlock and you need to figure which one the lazy person means by their context.

Warrior models

Refer to the 101 - Model Types training article.

Winners Bracket

All players currently undefeated in a tournament. Anyone in this bracket can potentially win the tournament. Opposite of Losers bracket.


World Team Championships. An annual tournament.



Send a model into the enemy lines, have it kill a few things, and then bring it back by use of various abilities (such as Refuge, Sprint, Fate Walker)

Nicknames - Warmachine

Info icon.png

From here down, its prerty much a straight copy-paste from another site. It hasn't been updated to mk3 and the formatting is a bit hit-and-miss.






  • Battle Cricket or Space Tick – Arcantrik Force Generator
  • Coffee Cup or Coffee Guy – Arcanist, named because of image of him with a cup of coffee in the Forces of Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah book.
  • Disco – Discordia
  • iJack – Retribution warjacks (Thanks to the studio scheme and its resemblance to an Apple designed Jack)
  • Mittens or Battle Mittens – House Shyeel Battle Mages
  • Mega Mittens – House Shyeel Artificer
  • Ozzy – Lord Arcanist Ossyan
  • Snipe, Feat, Go – A style of play with Ravyn that involves Mage Hunter Strike Force getting snipe, Ravyn Feating, and then proceeding to kill the opposing caster with the Strike Force.
  • Dawnmower - Dawnguard Trident


Nicknames - Hordes


  • Troll Moses or Trollses – Trollkin Runebearer
  • Dygmies – Pyg Burrowers
  • Impaler Tax – Reduced Range on troll models because of the ability to take the Troll Impaler
  • Kenny – Keg Carrier from Borka Kegslayer & Keg Carrier, comes from South Park. OMG you killed Kenny! (party foul)
  • Doomy – Hoarluk Doomshaper (any version)
  • Stone – Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes. 'Pop stone' or 'Pop stone aura' means activating its Protective Aura
  • Champs – Trollkin Champions
  • Tuffalos – Trollkin Long Riders
  • Bowling – Using a slam (usually from Long Riders, Caber Thrower, or Beast) on your own models to take out large numbers of opposing models. Usually used on high defense opponents or to knock down casters. In the transition to MK3 and its dynamic updates friendly models can't be targeted any more by charges or power attacks, so this term has faded somewhat.
  • Skilldrak – Madrak Ironhide, World Ender
  • EBDT – Earthborn Dire Troll
  • Bruce – Mountain King (I believe this term was coined by Dr. Lust on the trollbloods forum to describe how forum threads discussing the Mountain King refuse to die. Reference is to Die Hard/Bruce Willis)
  • Gunny - Captain Gunnbjorn



  • Land Shark – Shredder
  • Abby – any version of Absylonia
  • Lylythclaus – Lylyth, Reckoning of Everblight (Lylyth3)
  • Legos – Blighted Nyss Legionnaires
  • Pasta Pot/The Pot – Spawning Vessel (also sometimes known as Pasta Pot & The Lunch Ladies)
  • Thags or Pimp Daddy Thags – Thagrosh (any version)
  • Harm – Kiss of Lyliss (Spell on Blackfrost Shard, was called Harm in MK1)
  • Carny – Carnivean
  • JVM – Jake VanMeter or Neutralyze (forum name), very successful Legion player.
  • Nagapocalypse – Term used to describe the DOOM! of Legion getting the Wraithbane animus on the Naga Nightlurker, giving them Magic Weapon and Blessed “On A Stick”. Example: “OMG Legion has Blessed on a stick, my Arcane Shielded Stormwall is screwed! Its the NAGAPOCALYPSE!”


  • Mr Fancypants or Mr Puffypants– Aptimus Marketh
  • Tubby (McButterpants), Fatty, Baron Harkonnen, Fats Dominar or Hedonism Bot – Dominar Rasheth
  • Skornergy – Term coined by Focus and Fury to describe the somewhat anti-synergy built into a lot of Skorne models before they received their first update in MK3
  • Lanterns – Void Seer Mordikaar
  • Tibbers – Tiberion
  • TyCom – Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer
  • Poop Holder – Extoller Soulward
  • sHexy or Guitar Hero Hexy – Lord Arbiter Hexeris (Hexeris2)
  • Elephant Herd or Titan Herd – List with a lot of Titan warbeasts in it.
  • Molik Missile – Using Molik Karn with Makeda1 or other 'casters that can grant him movement bonuses with various spells (Quicken+Rush+The Lash) and Side Steps to send Molik Karn a very large distance to assassinate an opponents caster. In the transition to MK3 Side Step became its bond for Makeda, so the Molik Missile has declined in popularity.
  • (Derp) Turtle - Siege Animantarax. The name is a leftover from MK2 when battle engines were unpopular in general, where the Siege Animatarax was very difficult to get working right due to a combination of low hit boxes/defensive stat combination and only getting its rage tokens from enemy attacks. Its output also left something to be desired.
  • Supreme Gentleman - Supreme Guardian
  • Pimp Daddy M - Dominar Morghoul & Escorts
  • Crybaby - Agonizer
  • Stone Bois - Immortals
  • Beastie Boyz - Paingiver Beast Handlers
  • PGMT or PGBMT or PBMT - Paingiver Bloodrunner Master Tormentor


  • Ninja Pig – Brine from Rorsh & Brine (Rorsch throws the smoke they both move… like NINJA!)
  • Witch Doc Croc – Gatorman Witch Doctor
  • Pork Node – Imaginary beast that Minions will someday get with an Arc Node on it.
  • Gobbos, Gobbers, or Swamp Gobbers – Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew
  • Predator – Totem Hunter
  • Gator Flying Circus or Flying Circus – A MK2 tactic: Throwing a (non-steady) model then using Wrastler's animus (Rise) to get the model up before its activation. In MK1 it was used on Steady models, most commonly called the Trollkin Flying Circus or Khador Flying Circus and was used to toss Borka1 and the Drakhun respectively.
  • Trouser snake - Skarath from Dahlia & Skarath
  • Rask & friends - a list that consists of the warlock Rask with several of the Minions' lesser warlocks thrown in.
  • Barny - refers to any version of Barnabas
  • Drac - Dracodile
  • S&D - Sturm & Drang