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The majority of the houseguard are career soldiers who have spent years at drill and formation. Though they are drawn from dozens of lesser Iosan households, all follow an ancient shared tradition and undergo similar disciplined training and drills. At the orders of their superiors, ranks of halberdiers form a tide of rising and falling steel that can cut down masses of enemies with deliberate ease.
- 1 Basic Info
- 2 Thoughts on Houseguard Halberdiers
- 3 Other
Special Order Model
International distributors can still access the entire catalog of models.
- Entire Unit
- Combined Melee Attack - This unit can combine their melee attacks to get a bonus on accuracy and damage.
- Practiced Maneuvers - Each model in this unit can ignore other models in this unit when determining LOS and can advance through them if it has enough movement to move completely past them.
- Set Defense - A model in this model's front arc suffers -2 on charge, slam power attack, and impact attack rolls against this model.
- Shield Wall (Order) - Until the start of their next activation, each affected model gains +4 ARM while B2B with another affected model in its unit. This bonus does not apply to damage originating in the model's back arc. Models in this unit can begin the game affected by Shield Wall.
- Officer only
- The Officer has +1 MAT, CMD, and 5 hitpoints
- Officer - This model is the unit commander even if the unit has a Leader model.
- Granted: Reposition [3"] - While this model is in formation, models in its unit gain Reposition [3"]. (Reposition [3"] - At the end of an activation in which it did not run or fail a charge, this model can advance up to 3", then its activation ends.)
- Team Effort (Minifeat) - Once per game at any time, during their activation the unit gains +2 to attack and damage rolls vs enemy models that are in the melee range of another model in this unit.
- The Standard does not have CMA or Set Defense
- Standard Bearer - While this model is within 5" of the unit commander, the unit commander gains +2 CMD.
- Take Up - If this model is destroyed, you can choose a Grunt in this unit within 1" of it to be destroyed instead. Effects on this model expire, and it gains the effects on the chosen Grunt. Remove the Grunt from the table instead of this model. This model has the same number of unmarked damage boxes as the chosen Grunt.
- Everyone except Standard
- Halberd - 2" reach, P+S 10 melee weapon
- Brutal Charge - This model gains +2 damage on charge attacks with this weapon.
- Halberd - 2" reach, P+S 10 melee weapon
- Standard Bearer
- Unarmed - This model has no weapons.
As always, the Halberdiers may be joined by up to 3 Soulless Escorts. Theie weapons/abilities have been omitted for brevity.
- Defenders of Ios. They can potentially gain Advance Move in this theme.
Thoughts on Houseguard Halberdiers
Houseguard Halberdiers in a nutshell
Houseguard Halberdiers can be compared to the other, small-based units, like the IFP, the Obstructors or the Karax. They have combined melee attack, plus the role-defining Shield Wall order, which sacrifices mobility for increased resilience. They lack the hitting power of the IFP, won't survive anti-infantry tech as well as the Karax, and lack the tarpit function the Obstructors can achieve with the enigma Foundry. However, they are surprisingly fast even in Shield Wall. Between Reform from their UA, +2" from the Thane and Advanced Move in theme - they can be up to 24-27" over the board, in Shield Wall and jamming your opponent before they can get hit.
Their offensive power can also be bolstered by Brutal Charge and their minifeat (giving them what is essentially Gang), yielding an effective P+S 14, which is enough to make people hang back. More than that, their natural DEF is the highest among their peers, and grows to absurd levels with Set Defence. This can be especially valuable as enemies usually rely on charges to crack shield walls.
Thoughts on adding the CA
Adding the CA is almost always going to pay dividends. Reposition is essential in their mobility while leaving them in shield wall and the mini-feat gives them one round of decent damage (and they'll probably be dead after that anyway).
Thoughts on adding the WA
The Soulless Escort will rarely defend you against SPD de-buffs - by the time the enemy will be able to drop such spells on you, the Halberdiers already supposed to reach their position. However, against spells which mess with your ARM (like Parasite), or downright forbid you entering into Shield Wall (Rebuke), he can be extremely useful. Like in every case of him, know your enemy before you inflate further this unit's cost.
Combos & Synergies
- Elara2 - her feat, Closing Darkness, along with a Thanes +2" movement allows you to charge through enemy lines, thanks to Ghostly, and strike their warcaster with a 15" threat range.
- Add in Lanyssa. She can be brought into the Defenders of Ios theme, and with Hunters' Mark + Boundless charge you have a very nasty assassination potential from Turn 2, hitting a warcaster/warlock that is only 14" from their board edge if you go second.
- Vyros1 - Inviolable Resolve pushes their ARM up to Khador heavy levels, plus they resist pushes. Their 2" melee range also allows you to trigger the feat's flank bonus from afar.
- Ossyan - Quicken can further protect them against ranged attacks and almost gets them faster to their destination.
- Thyron - feat, with its Side Step, coupled with Reposition 3" means that after the Halberdiers have hit (and they will hit with 3d6 effective MAT 8 attack rolls!), they can delve a further 5" into your opponent's face and be a real pain even though you know they're going to die.
- If you have a single spare point, consider adding the Soulless Escort to these guys. Not only he benefits from the Shield Wall order and the minifeat of the Officer, but his presence makes the delivery of common debuffing spells (Rebuke, Parasite, Crippling Grasp, etc.) all the more difficult/dangerous.
Drawbacks & Downsides
- They're a special order model.
- Like all single-wound shield-walled infantry, they are sweet targets for corrosion templates, snipers, and other attacks that cause a single damage upon hitting.
- Outside themes they compete against Dawnguard units, who - in most scenarios - do the same job better, and are not that much more expensive.
- A lack of Pathfinder outside of a couple spells and one feat and low native ARM means they can be stymied by wall templates of all varieties.
- Though their reach is far, they need to charge to be effective and anything that stops them from charging will make them sad.
Tricks & Tips
- Usual caveat for units in Shield Wall: use the arrow-formation to counter tricks which push unit members out of shield walls.
- Since Shield Wall can be applied from the start of the game, always take advantage of this, which also applies to the Advanced Move benefit from theme.
Released in Forces of Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah (Novermber 2009)
Other Retribution models
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