How to Lose Games and Not Influence People: My Maul List

This weekend I submitted my list for my (everyone’s?) first Darklands tournament at the Maul. I’m approaching the whole event as a learning experience and a welcome opportunity to get 5 games in quick succession so I figure there’s no harm in sharing my list ahead of time as I’m likely headed for the spoon anyway.

I’m taking Formoraic, an army of Sea Devils intent on conquering the land, who control men and – more prominently – beasts in order to achieve their nefarious goals. The kindred is represented on the battlefield by all nature of beastmen and their larger more monstrous brethren.

List building in Darklands is not simply a question of totting up points and making sure you come in under total, there are far. More variables to consider, hence my current glacially slow attempts to teach myself swift in the vain hope of programming a bespoke list builder app.

In the world of Darklands the point system is represented by the amount of gold you have to muster your kindred. In the case of the Maul this is 1750g.  You then have to consider each units ubiquity (whether it is rare, common, mythic etc and hence how many you can take) and your command structure.

Each host is divided into commands, each one led by either your general or a commander. Commands are placed together on the battlefield during deployment and the combined authority of each unit in a command cannot exceed the authority of its commander so there are tactical decisions to be made surrounding what goes in each command.  Formoraic is also one of the most fully rounded out kindreds in Darklands, hence being one of the most well represented at the Maul.

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The painted portion of my list

General’s Command:
My kindred is led into battle by a Untain of Baalor mounted on an Ipracx (or bear to you and me)…/.  The warriors of Baalor are the human representatives within the Formoraic and an Untain is their Warlord level character. Mounting him on a bear may not be the best idea (he would probably be safer on foot inside a unit) but frankly having my general sat atop an armoured polar bear was too much for me to resist. I’ve also armed him with a soul axe, which does Soul Damage. The different damage types (fire, hellfire, soul, cold, venom, petrification, corruption etc) are one of my favourite parts of Darklands, they take effect on each roll of a 9 and have various effects but usually involve the victim having to pass an attribute test at the end of each hour (turn) or take further damage so this was 12 gold I couldn’t really pass up.

In my general’s command I’ve also included my Tarvox. It’s a raging four armed giant Minotaur like creature, it’s a quarter of the value of my whole list and it’s feral which means it is also frenzied and has to get stuck into the closest unit asap. This guy is my a-bomb and as such I’d like a degree of choice over where I point him. Deployment in Darklands is done one whole command at a time in reverse commander’s authority order, so by putting him in my general’s command most of my opponent’s deployment is likely to be complete before I have to put him on the table and I have more choice over exactly which point I want to shove him towards.

On a similar note the last unit in my general’s command is 3 Sronax.  These are hulking rhino men on 60mm bases and are pretty resilient. They are upwards of 100g each and can form units of up to 5, so as these guys are slightly under full strength I’ve opted to have them in my general’s command. Thinking about it now I may actually be able to deploy my general with this unit which would boost both of them, especially as the general and any unit with him has much more flexibility about when they can activate and what actions they choose to perform. I will test this out and see if it works!

Gabrax Tain’s Command

Gabrax are your bog standard goat-descended beastmen and Tain is the Formoraic’s warchief level character.  In a battle of this size you are compelled to take at least one mainstay unit, these are the most common units in any kindred but interestingly in the Formoraic (and I believe this is true in most kindreds) no units actually start off as mainstay.  Your commander will usually have a special rule that dictates that they make certain units mainstay and if one of these units is taken they must be taken in their command.

I don’t have any Warriors of Baalor (who my general makes mainstay) and as I needed to get this list together quickly for the tournament I had to work with as many models I already had as possible.  Taking a Gabrax Tain makes Gabrax mainstay and this meant I could use the unit from the metal age starter to satisfy my mainstay requirements and as a result they have to go in this guy’s command.

If a unit is taken to satisfy mainstay requirements, its minimum unit size changes to half its maximum size, which means this unit had to have at least 10 warriors. Gabrax hit a bit harder and run away a bit easier than their human counterparts but fit quite well into my ‘push it forward and hope’ list design, still the cost of them mounts up so I’ve stuck with a unit of just 10 and given them full command to bolster their chances of sticking around slightly.

Lastly in this command is a unit of three Tarvax. As the name suggests these are the Tarvox’s little brothers. Also Feral but considerably smaller and less scary, I’m not 100% sure of their role on the battlefield yet, although I think a bigger unit would be good for clearing out infantry.

Gabrax Warlock

Mere hours after I submitted my list I found out that these guys are supposed to be quite a handful and there may well be multiples of them floating around the Maul.  He’s a goat-wizard with three spells that all revolve around the snow and ice of the Formoraic’s territory and a couple of which are capable of causing cold damage and one of those also ignores armour. Now cold damage requires the recipient to pass a constitution test each turn, so against models with low skill, low constitution and high armour such as Skorpion’s, this is a godsend.

Taking that all into account it looks like I’ve been incredibly dumb putting him into a command all on his own. This means he won’t be able to join any units for protection from shooting and magic and in all likelihood I will be deploying him first every game, but it does mean I can deploy him outside of the command range of another commander, which I couldn’t if he was in their command.  We will see, hopefully I can use the bigger units to blog line of sight to him when I need to.

The Maul takes place the first weekend of November and I will endeavour to report back afterwards with tales of just how badly I get beaten and why.

It Ain’t Where You’re From it’s Where’s Your Gabrax Warlock aka Tumblr can S my D

So here we find ourselves, returned to the bosom of conventional mega-blogging after my brief foray into micro-blogging resulted in one too many particularly verbose posts disappearing into the ether instead of doing what you’d expect when I hit the ‘post’ button.

Therein lies the reason that this post hasn’t unfortunately arrived before the end of Mierce’s recent Savage Hordes kickstarter, however I can tell you it was great, and it looks like there may well be a Savage Hordes II come early 2016 aimed at rounding out the remaining kindreds of Darklands with missile troops. The value inherent in the starter sets offered in the this one was phenomenal for the calibre of model you’re getting so I can’t recommend the next one highly enough.

You definitely won’t be wondering where I’m at with Darklands since my intro post a few months ago, but I will tell you anyway.  Mierce were kind enough to make it possible for me to get involved in the game a bit sooner than expected and I have been building, painting and practising my way towards the inaugural Darklands tournament at the Maul in Sheffield at the beginning of November. 

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My Gabrax Warlock 🐏

Hopefully I’ll have the brainspace to provide a rundown, if not full battle reports from the event after wards and will be trying to stick as on twitter during the event as I can.  I appreciate that diving into the rulebook or fluff can make Darklands look a rather daunting prospect but once you see it in action I think it becomes a lot clearer how slick and fun it plays despite its massive complexity.