Theme - Heavy Metal

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Cygnar Logo.jpg Theme - Heavy Metal

Cygnar Theme Force
Flame in the Darkness - Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division

Although Cygnar generally prefers a combined-arms approach to conflict, when its advanced warjacks are massed on the field under the control of a skilled warcaster, they are a match for any enemy. Such large, selfsufficient battlegroups are typically deployed to besiege fixed positions or to meet concentrations of enemy armor and heavy infantry on the battlefield. Where Cygnar faces deeply entrenched or armored foes, the tread of its mighty machines shakes the earth and its storm technology blackens the sky.

Theme Rules

Theme Restrictions

An army made using the Heavy Metal theme force can include only the following Cygnar models:

Full model list

The models allowed in Heavy Metal are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2018.04   (Edit)


  • All Cygnar warcasters


  • All non-character warjacks
  • Thunderhead
  • Other character warjacks can be taken, but only if they're in their bonded model's battlegroup.



Battle Engines


  • Up to one unit
  • Up to one battle engine

(★) Because these models are specifically allowed in this theme, they don't use your "Up to one Mercenary" slot.

Theme Bonuses

  1. This army can include one Mercenary battle engine and one Mercenary unit that will work for Cygnar.
    • These models/units can be included even if they have the Partisan [Cygnar] rule.
    • Mercenary units can have attachments, including a Ranking Officer
  2. For every full 30 points of Cygnar warjacks and/or Cygnar battle engines in this army, you can add free of cost either:
    • one Cygnar CA, or
    • one Cygnar solo
  3. Cygnar solos and Mechanik units in this army 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.
  4. Your deployment is extended 2" forward.
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Tip !
Unlike most themes, the Mercs allowed in Heavy Metal are a unit and a battle engine.

Recent Changes


Thoughts on Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal in a nutshell

It's a warjack-centric theme.

A predominantly lightning-immune Heavy Metal list can be a good counter in most Cygnar mirror-matches, particularly against Storm Division. Some options, such as the Stormwall or Stormclad, are lightning-immune but do not rely on lightning damage for most of their output.

Theme Weaknesses

Low model count
Perhaps the biggest downside to Heavy Metal is how it plays in Steamroller scenarios. With a tendency towards maximising free solos, you don't tend to see many units. And with the units (Sword Knights, Precursor Knights) available generally considered to be weak outside of one or two Warcasters, many players only crowbar in a unit of Mechaniks of some description.

  • This becomes even more pronounced from 2018 with the introduction of scenarios such as Mirage. Suddenly, there are a lot of scoring elements that Heavy Metal can struggle to score from without putting important solos far up the table and there isn't much you can do with two circular zones (One of which you'll have to go past the halfway line to score in).
  • With the points required to get a free solo increased to 30, there is a little more room to add in a frontline unit. However, with the theme's strengths being in its Warjacks, Battle Engines and Solos, those units would only really be seen with those who prefer a softer playstyle.

Lack of unit-based buffs
Warjacks that synergise with other models are less efficient than they can be.

  • The Stormclad suffers without the Storm Knights, and the Grenadier's ranged output is tripartited due to the Trenchers' absence. You also can't improve their accuracy via units like Rangers or solos like the GMCA, so must rely on your Warcaster's toolbox.
    • Warjacks with Electricity weapons will still benefit from the Storm Strider, but at that point you may want to consider the Storm Division theme instead.

No Mercenary solos
One of the rare theme forces with complete ban on Mercenary solos (save for those with the Partisan rule). On the other hand, you can get the Siege Crawler ... but why would you want to?

List Building Tips

The solos
The highest number of free models you can get in an average 75pt list is 3. In practice this means you can have an additional heavy warjack on the table to what you would normally have.

It is probably worth spending 90 points on jacks to benefit from 3 free solos for this list. This means that you will in all likelihood eschew infantry units entirely. You will suffer in terms of scenario play but many casters can crank their warjacks to the point where this loss becomes worth it. With three free solos, look over the options available to you.

  • Squire Being an expensive 5 point model you can take for free is pretty awesome.
  • Captain Arlan Strangewayes Between power up and arcane reinforcement, he becomes invaluable. This also allows you to equip the healing objective in scenarios that permit.
  • Journeyman Warcaster This is an almost mandatory solo to take. Since warjacks are typically high armor, an arcane shield will be extremely useful. Let him run a Hunter or a Charger. If you are running a shooty list of fragile jacks and you want your shooty lights in your Battlegroup, consider giving him a cheap Sentinel instead to shield guard your valuable models.
  • Jakes1 She is kind of an inbetween kind of junior. Most lists will feature 2 juniors, one of which is always the vanilla Journeyman, the other is Caine0 for Siege1 and anybody who brings Thunderhead. The Trencher is great for casters with defensive buffs such as Captain Jakes, or Stryker2. Allison is for the rest of them, especially ranged casters who want their junior to run melee jacks to unjam, she does that better than the others.
  • The Trencher Warcaster Lieutenant allows you to be awash with focus if you really want to be. He can fully fuel a couple of Chargers, cast Fire Group and stay relatively safe thanks to his 8" control range and Dig In.
  • Caine0 - He's a great solo hunter, and Fire for Effect on e.g. Thunderhead or Siege1 can be devestating. He can also bring Ace along, so they both bully enemies out of zones with Thunderbolts, or they can hunt solos or infantry with Trick Shots, which evens the odds a bit, since you yourself will not have many of those.
  • Archduke Runewood - He brings some great buffs to your force, first and foremost Pathfinder through his March battle plan, which the theme is otherwise starved for. He is also a jack marshal with a pretty decent drive, but you don't have to make use of that.

As you can see, there's many good solos in this theme, but you'll never be able to bring them all. so choose wisely. As a rule of thumb: The Journeyman Warcaster + another junior depending on your caster + Squire is a good way to spend your 3 free cards.


Battle Engines

  • A Storm Strider or 2 are Artificer Nemo's best friends. They buff his and his jack's electric attacks and contribute to free points.


  • Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - About your only source of magic weapons and damage buffs outside you caster. They require Murdoch though.
  • Harlan Versh - Absolutely instrumental with Constance, but also very effective with Captain and Major Haley, since they make him shoot his exellent gun twice.
  • Major Harrison Gibbs - Essential for Stryker2 since overloading can hurt him pretty bad. Gibbs heals him put with some cat stew. He can also load a Grenadier if need be.

Starting a 25 point force

If you want to try this theme but are still stuck for ideas, try this.

Caster Thoughts

It's all about the Warjacks, so if you want to get the most from this Theme Force, you should start by looking at Cygnar's main battlegroup Warcasters:


A good mix of Hammersmiths and Ironclads can deliver quick death to the enemy under Escort and Sprint, while Centurions hold down zones. Positive Charge and her feat is also great for flanking Sword Knights. A Sentinel with Arcane Shield on it can hang out around her to give her the Escort bonus. Lastly, Bullet Dodger on a Grenadier with the Trencher Warcaster Lieutenant and Trencher Engineers around can be really irritating for the enemy.


Brawl and win the attrition game. Lists with Colossi and Centurions are the mainstay for Darius.


Simple enough: Deploy 5 Chargers and 5 Hunters, then shoot the enemy off the board.


Similar to Sloan: Deploy every Charger you can and build huge synergy chain on feat turn. Consider Cyclones and Cygnar's Colossi for flavor.


Run and Gun shooter. Kraye can have any heavy Warjack on the halfway line on turn 1 if you opt to go 2nd through trampling and repositioning. And with this theme you can have nearly every single model you take making use of Reposition.


Fully loading an electrical battle group. Nemo3 in Heavy Metal can leverage his ability to fuel multiple Warjacks while further diminishing the ability of Storm Division to assassinate (especially Storm Knight focused lists).

Other worthwhile mentions

  • Stryker1 - Double Stormwall, on feat turn you press the issue of two practically unkillable colossals at armor 27 with Arcane shield (2 instances of Arcane Shield with the Journeyman).
  • Stryker2 keeps everything safe on the way in and gives Sword Knights some useful offensive and defensive buffs.
    • Stryker2 brings Positive Charge to the party. With enough targets for that spell, the knights can be throwing out the equivalent of MAT10 P+S12 weaponmaster attacks thanks to Flank. Deceleration also goes some way to making them more resilient on the way in. If you can combine that with his feat, they will cause a lot of damage.
  • Siege1 loves a boatload of boosted weapons on his feat turn, especially from Chargers. With access to 4 battlegroup controller solos (among them his best friend Caine0) he can tear through medium base spam quite easily.



Originally released 2017 February.

Rules Clarifications

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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)

  1. 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)
  2. 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]
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.

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]

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]

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)

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)

Skorne - The Exalted   [Show/Hide]
  • If a Construct model loses the Construct advantage mid-game, it keeps the theme benefit anyway. (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)

Crucible Guard - Magnum Opus   [Show/Hide]
  • If Mosby is attached to a Mercenary weapon crew unit, they would gain 3" reposition and would not lose it if Mosby is no longer in the unit. (Infernal Ruling)
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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)

Models in this Theme Force

Refer to Category: Heavy Metal

Other themes

List of All Theme Forces       (Edit List)      
Cygnar Flame in the Darkness - Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division (Edit)
Protectorate of Menoth Exemplar Interdiction - Guardians of the Temple - The Creator's Might - The Faithful Masses - Warriors of the Old Faith (Edit)
Khador Armored Corps - Flame in the Darkness - Jaws of the Wolf - Legion of Steel - Warriors of the Old Faith - Winter Guard Kommand - Wolves of Winter (Edit)
Cryx Black Industries - Dark Host - The Ghost Fleet - Infernal Machines - Scourge of the Broken Coast - Slaughter Fleet Raiders (Edit)
Retribution of Scyrah Defenders of Ios - Forges of War - Legions of Dawn - Shadows of the Retribution (Edit)
Mercenaries Flame in the Darkness - Hammer Strike - Llaelese Resistance - Operating Theater - Soldiers of Fortune - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - The Talion Charter (Edit)
Convergence of Cyriss Destruction Initiative - Clockwork Legions (Edit)
Crucible Guard Magnum Opus - Prima Materia (Edit)
Trollbloods Band of Heroes - Kriel Company - Power of Dhunia - Storm of the North (Edit)
Circle Orboros Call of the Wild - Secret Masters - The Bones of Orboros - The Devourer's Host - The Wild Hunt (Edit)
Skorne Disciples of Agony - Imperial Warhost - Masters of War - The Exalted - Winds of Death (Edit)
Legion of Everblight Children of the Dragon - Oracles of Annihilation - Primal Terrors - Ravens of War (Edit)
Minions The Blindwater Congregation - The Thornfall Alliance - Will Work for Food (Edit)
Grymkin Dark Menagerie - Bump in the Night (Edit)