Fighting in the wars of the Iron Kingdoms has allowed the mercenaries of Rhul to stay apprised of the ongoing struggles abroad. These sell-swords fatten the coffers of mercenary clans and receive valuable combat experience against a variety of opponents. Numerous such clans offer the might of Rhulic ’jacks and veteran warriors to those who can afford their asking price. Together they crush enemy armies to dust beneath the tread of their machines and an unceasing rain of hammer blows.
Thoughts on Hammer Strike
Hammer Strike in a Nutshell
This theme force is used to field the dwarf and ogrun alliance of the Rhulfolk. Warmachine has a small but passionate collection of Dwarf players, and this theme is just for them.
Extended deployment zone, and heavies with Reposition are good things. Repositioning Horgenhold Artillery Corps is better. Tough on high ARM models is alright.
Dwarves can field a lot of ARM and boxes, they're all tough and they are adept at both ranged and melee combat. Hammer Strike rewards taking units and Crawlers, so 20 Forge Guard and 2 Crawlers is something to seriously consider to get your three free picks.
It is the slowest army in the game. Ossrum mitigates this to an extent, however Gorten and Durgen do not and you may struggle to contest those distant flags and zones in certain scenarios. You will be running Gunners, Blasters and Bashers to contest to avoid losing.
On early turns your heavy warjacks will get further with a Trample + Reposition than they would with a regular Run.
Very limited model selection
The limited choices makes this theme tough to run. Most of the Rhulic units are considered subpar, while their warjacks are good to excellent. The lack of solos means that some flag scoring may not be possible. You are only able to field four solos total (Counting Brun, who will cost you a free pick to bring.) in a Hammer Strike Force, which is a big problem for scoring flags.
Many Rhulic units aren't exactly the greatest choices, so you're basically only going to take Forge Guard and Siege Crawlers to get freebies.
Few magic attacks
Tactical Arcanist Corps are the only magical attacks in the entire army besides your caster. This makes Hammer Strike nearly unplayable into Cryx for all intents and purposes, and you'll playing a constant uphill battle against the Dark Menagerie's free Gremlin Swarms.
List Building Tips
Several ways to max out free points:
- 20 points: Two minimum units of Forge Guard (20 points)
- 21 points: Full unit of Forge Guard (16 points), and Herne & Jonne (5 points)
- 22 points: Full unit of Forge Guard (16 points) and a unit of artillery (6 points)
- 23 points: Siege Crawler (18 points) and Herne & Jonne (5 points).
- 40 points: Full unit of Forge Guard (16 points), a Siege Crawler (18 points), and a unit of artillery (6 points)
- 41 points: Two Siege Crawlers (18 points), and Herne and Jonne. With two free artillery corps this is sometimes known as Full Madhammer.
- 41 points: Siege Crawler (18 points), 10 Forge Guard (16 points), Tactical Arcanist Corps (7 points)
- 42 points: Two full units of Forge Guard (32 points) and one minimum unit (10 points)
- 60 points: Two full units of Forge Guard (32 points), a minimum unit of Forge Guard (10 points) and a Siege Crawler (18 points)
Ogrun Assault Corps could stand in for any unit of Forge Guard, but are universally considered a poor choice.
The Artillery Corps are considered the best item to take as the freebie, rather than a Bokur or a High Shields CA; to take the CA would first mean taking High Shields (there is of course nothing wrong with the Bokur).
Starting a 25 point force
There is some debate about whether he prefers the Rhulic-specific buffs of Hammer Strike or the flexibility of the Irregulars. The major difference being Ossrum can be built to beat Cryx in Irregulars, but not in Hammer Strike.
Ossrum likes to include a large battlegroup and the Siege Crawler in his force. A large battlegroup doesn't count towards free points in Hammer Strike (but does in Irregulars), and the Crawler doesn't count towards free points in Irregulars (but does in Hammer Strike). So it sort of balances out.
There is no debate that Durgen is much better in Irregulars where he can take Reinholdt and bring units that work well with Primed.
With the addition of Tough to Hammer Strike, a compelling case can be made for Gorten to use this theme over Irregulars since he can keep Tough models upright and put walls in front of them.
In Mk1 and Mk2 this was known as The Searforge Commission.
Other Mercenary models
Rules Clarification : Tough - None yet. (Edit)
Rules Clarification : Reposition (Edit)
- Models out of formation cannot move via Reposition. Refer to the "Out of Formation" rules in the core rulebook.
- You cannot trigger abilities that occur "at the end of activation" (such as Sprint) after resolving Reposition, because your activation has ended. (Infernal Ruling) See also this article for a detailed explanation.
- You cannot trigger abilities that occur "at any time" (such as Go To Ground) during a Reposition. Because you can't trigger it while moving, and after moving your activation has ended. (Infernal Ruling)
- This holds true even if it's a unit with multiple Reposition moves. (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification: Theme Forces (Edit)
Warjacks/Warbeasts with bonds [Show/Hide]
- A warjack/warbeast with a bond can always be included in a theme force, whether or not they're in the list of allowed models, but only if they're controlled by that bonded model.
- This applies even if that bonded model isn't a full warcaster/warlock (changed as of 2018.06).
Including Mercenaries [Show/Hide]
Number of Mercenaries
- For your solo, if you select a solo that comes in multiples (such as Swamp Gobber River Raiders) you get the normal number of solos. Not just a single model. (Locked thread)
- As per the errata to the core rules, if your "up to one Merc" ...
- ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
- ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
- There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to not only take one Merc solo/unit, but the entire FA of that Merc solo/unit. It's a bug.
Partisans & Theme Forces (Edit)
- If the theme force has the Partisan model on the list of allowed models, then it doesn't use up your "Up to one mercenary" slot, and so you can take the full FA plus another mercenary. Example: Cephalyx in Black Industries or Kayazy in Jaws of the Wolf. (Infernal Ruling)
- If the Partisan isn't on the list, it does use up your "Up to one mercenary" slot, and you can only take one. There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to take multiple.
- Whether you used option 1 or 2 above, once they're in your theme force they count as a Faction model and so...
- they can count towards free points (if applicable). For instance, Nyss will count towards the "20 points of Retribution units" in the Defenders of Ios theme. (Infernal Ruling)
- they can be taken free of cost (if applicable). For instance, Eiryss1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)
Mercenaries and Quasi-Partisans
- Some themes include a benefit that says "If this model is included, it counts as a Faction model instead of a Mercenary model". For example Greygore in Kriel Company.
In this case, the mercenary model has effectively gained Partisan and is subject to the FA limits described above. To reiterate:
- If that Merc is in the list of allowed models allowed (such as Savio in Storm Division), they won't count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
- If that Merc isn't in the list, (such as the Devil's Shadows in Slaughter Fleet Raiders), they will count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
Mercenaries and Ranking Officers
- If you can include a Merc unit, and its attachments, then you can attach a Ranking Officer. This is true regardless whether or not that Ranking Officer is on the list of "Allowed models" . (Infernal Ruling)
- Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
- The Merc unit will count towards your "X points of [Faction] models/units" benefit (if your theme is worded that way). (Infernal Ruling)
Benefits for a single model/unit
(eg "One unit of [blah] gains [yaddah]") [Show/Hide]
- If you need to choose which models get your theme bonus, then you do this choice after deployment. (Infernal Ruling)
- An example is how Winter Guard Kommand gives Advance Move to one-warjack-of-your-choice-per-WG-unit.
- In comparison, Destruction Initiative gives all Servitors the Shield Guard ability so you don't need to "make" a choice.
- You should still write on your army list how many of these bonuses you get to hand out, though, so your opponent can clearly see. (Infernal Ruling)
- ie at the bottom of your list, you'd write "3 warjacks gain Advance Move" but you don't need to state which three are going to get the bonus.
Free models and Specialists (ADR) [Show/Hide]
- You can swap out as many models from your main list into your specialists and vice versa as you like, but you must completely recalculate the new army list when you do, including bonuses. As long as the new army list is valid, including all free models, it doesn't matter what the left over points in your specialists are. (Staff Ruling)
- If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.
Unit Attachments & free points [Show/Hide]
- If a unit counts towards your free points, then all attachments count too; regardless of whether the attachment is the same model type. For instance:
- If the unit gets a benefit from a theme force, the Attachment will too. (Infernal Ruling)
For example, a Trollkin Sorcerer will gain Serenity if its attached to a Dhunian Knot unit in a Power of Dhunia theme force.
When to apply theme benefits [Show/Hide]
- Theme force benefits are applied when you construct your list and models keep the benefit for the whole game. You don't gain/lose theme benefits due to in-game changes.
Also, if you put a new model into play midgame, they immediately gain any relevant benefits too. (Infernal Ruling)
- For example, Scourge of the Broken Coast gives Dodge to "models in the army." If your opponent takes control of one of them, it keeps Dodge even though it's currently not "in the army".
- For example, Storm Division gives lightning immunity to "Cygnar models in the army." If you include a Mercenary unit with a Ranking Officer, they will get the theme benefit and also keep it even after the Ranking Officer dies.
Number of free models [Show/Hide]
- If a model is normally added to your army in multiples (such as 3 Scrap Thralls for two points, 2 Crabbits for seven points, etc) and you choose to use your free card on such a model, you only get one model. (Infernal Ruling)
- There are some exceptions, such as Storm Division's benefit explicitly saying you'll get 3 stormcallers.
- There is one odd exception, for Children of the Dragon, where it was ruled that you'll get 5 incubi. However that ruling is an exception, not a general case.
Protectorate - The Faithful Masses [Show/Hide]
- A Mercenary unit with an Attendant Priest does count as Protectorate unit for the purpose of calculating points for free cards. There is a bug in Warroom that prevents it counting properly. (Staff Ruling)
Protectorate - The Creator's Might [Show/Hide]
Cryx - Ghost Fleet [Show/Hide]
- The "free solo" can be any kind of solo, it doesn't have to be a Revenant solo.
Cryx - Scourge of the Broken Coast [Show/Hide]
Cryx - Slaughter Fleet Raiders [Show/Hide]
- Despite being treated as a Cryx unit during a game, the DSM still use up your Mercenary slot during list creation. They are more like a Partisan Mercenary unit, in that respect. (Infernal Ruling)
Mercenary - Llaelese Resistance [Show/Hide]
- It is 2 Cruicible or 2 Cygnar or 2 Menoth.
You can't take more than 2, and you can't mix and match from multiple Factions. (Infernal Ruling)
Trollblood - Kriel Company [Show/Hide]
- Despite being treated as a Trollblood unit during a game, Dannon, Blythe, and Greygore still use up your Minion slot during list creation. They are more like a Partisan Minion unit, in that respect. (Infernal Ruling)
Circle - The Bones of Orboros [Show/Hide]
- Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)
Circle - Call of the Wild [Show/Hide]
- When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
- Due to the way Tanith's feat is worded, during her feat turn the COST of animi cannot drop below 1. (Infernal Ruling)
Circle - The Devourer's Host [Show/Hide]
- Free Tharn models do count towards the free corpse tokens. (Infernal Ruling)
- Bradigus1 is not legal in this theme. The theme only allows living warbeasts, his rules only allow construct warbeasts, and you can't just 'skip' his battlegroup - you have to spend your warbeast points.
Legion - Children of the Dragon [Show/Hide]
- If you select Incubi as your "one" solo, you get five of them. (Infernal Ruling)