A Journeyman’s Tour of the Motherland

Privateer Press’s Journeyman League has two target audiences: players new to the game and players looking to start a new faction. I fall just out of the first category, having started playing earlier this year, but I was interested in starting a second faction to gain further experience in the game and for a chance to paint with a new color palette. During the six week league you earn Gameplay points for playing games, 3 for winning, 2 for losing and Hobby points for painting models based on the size of the model or unit. These two point totals are combined into Journeyman points. At the end of the league three awards represented by patches are given out, one for most Gameplay points, one for most Hobby points and one for the most Journeyman points. Everyone in the league gets the basic starting patch and at ten-point intervals can earn up to three ranks of star patches. The completed patch is presented below.

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I started out –and remain– a solid Cygnaran at heart. Still, something about the frigid Motherland to the north intrigued me, especially Orsus Zoktavir, the Butcher. What a fascinating character: a man so dangerous that the empire uses him as a tool against it’s enemies rather than try to take down the man himself. A crazed mass murderer, he commands a crowd of other murderous men that other warcasters would rather avoid. Some, including Doom Reavers and even Fenris himself, are drawn to the Butcher as a kindred spirit.

In the interests of drawing in more of the seasoned players into the league, my local group tweaked the starting possibilities to allow for an alternate starting battle group that contained at least one ‘jack, at least one solo and at least one unit for a grand total of 15pts or less. For my part I started with the following 15pt list:

  • Orsus Zoktavir, The Butcher of Khardov +6
    • Destroyer 9
    • Juggernaut 7
  • War Dog 1
  • Widowmakers 4

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I started with all of them unpainted and unplayed. Having only painted and played Cygnar, I would have a lot to learn on my Journeyman tour. I’ll be the first to admit that I lost a lot more than I won. I did however keep the Journeyman spirit alive by having fun and learning from every loss and every win. Here are a few of my observations as I played and painted my way through the Motherland.

Orsus Zoktavir, The Butcher of Khardov

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Gameplay

The Butcher is not a complicated caster, he is a straight-forward melee beast. This was one of the features that drew me to him. Orsus is best known –and feared– for his two handed axe named Lola. Named after the lost love that fuels his rage, the Butcher is a weapon master swinging a P+S 16 Lola at a fearsome MAT 9. Combined with 6 focus there is nothing that can stand against the Butcher. pButcher also has reasonable DEF, a remarkably high ARM and a wealth of hit boxes. He can receive almost as well as he gives.

I spent the first few games a little too confident with the Butcher’s abilities and too often he found himself in the front lines facing too much opposing army. While there is no doubt the Butcher can kill anything, he still can’t stand past the front lines before his army has swept through and softened things up a bit.

Zoktavir excels in a war of attrition. Once the opposing army has been whittled down, the Butcher can wade into the remnants and chop them down one swing at a time, working his way toward the caster. He also does well when he can charge an enemy that has slipped past your front lines, making quick work of them while your army presses ahead. The few games I did win usually ended with Butcher charging the opposing caster and splitting them in half.

My favorite moment with the Butcher was when, on his feat turn, he singlehandedly took out a Behemoth with focus to spare. That is the power of the Butcher.

Hobby

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The second reason I chose pButcher was the model. It’s a great sculpt full of movement, action and anger. While for the most part I was trying to learn to be a faster painter during my Journeyman Leauge, I knew that I was going to take my time and get the Butcher just right.

As I had started by painting the Juggernaut and the Destroyer, I had learned the pains of painting Khador Red Base over black primer. Seeking the counsel of my local group I was pointed at GW Foundation Mechrite Red. Purchasing a pot from the FLGS, I tried it on the butcher. This stuff is amazing. One coat almost completely covered the black primer, with a few spots needing an extra coat. As seen below Mechrite red is significantly darker than Khador Red Base, but just having that red base to start with makes the P3 reds go on so much easier. You can thin the Khador Red Base down to a good consistency and get solid coverage after a few coats.

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Looking at the Butcher’s cape you’ll notice I initially basecoated it with Greatcoat Grey. Once I got the red on I decided the grey wasn’t working and switched it to the muted greens presented in the back of the FoW: Khador book. The metal plates on his cape were subjected to multiple washes of browns and and some reddish-oranges for rust. Another change between first photo and the finished model is the face. My first try didn’t convey the red-faced rage that I wanted, so I went back in and re-did much of Orsus’s face, using tips from the back of the FoW:Khador book. Conveniently they use pButcher as there example for much of the painting guide.

The Butcher is the best paint job I have painted to date and I learned a lot from it. I even took Ghool’s tip for brighter highlights into mind and redid some of the red highlights. I think I could still go brighter for the reds and especially the greens on the cape, but as a progression from earlier models I’m getting there.

Juggernaut and Destroyer

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Gameplay

I think of all the models I used, the Destroyer would win MVP for my Khadoran journey. Notorious for it’s RAT 4 bombard my Destroyer nearly always hit it’s target, especially when the pressure was on. I did my best to move it into position early and keep it stationary for a RAT 6 and to boost the hit, but there were times even the lowly unboosted RAT 4 came through.

In contrast I never felt I was using the Juggernaut to it’s potential. It typically ended up taking a charge and getting scrapped by meaner ‘jacks, or getting disrupted or otherwise tied up and not adding to the overall combat.

Hobby

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You’ll notice, even in the painted images, that some of the mold lines are rather prominent. I never knew why people disliked the plastic models so much until I opened these two ‘jacks. I had never seen such hideous mold lines in such horrible places. I utterly failed to get some of them removed, especially the ones running down the thighs. There’s must be a good way to remove them but I didn’t figure it out. This was definitely my biggest hobby failure of the league.

These were the first Khador models I painted. I had primed them black and then proceeded to paint coats of Khador Red Base until I lost count. As mentioned above this was remedied for later models using GW Foundation Mechrite Red. These two I think I will go back and touch up a bit. I plan on attempting to freehand the Khadoran Anvil onto the top of the ‘jacks and I think I might do the rivets in black as the solid red seems a little boring.

Wardog

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Gameplay

The key to the wardog is to keep him in range of your caster to give him a boosted DEF, while making sure to keep his charge lanes clear so he can successfully counter-charge. I believe the dog died in nearly every game I played as it was typically people’s first target. He made many successful tough rolls, but even that couldn’t save him. Combined with the Butcher’s already reasonable DEF, the dog really makes him a hard target in melee. While usually on the defensive, I did find occasion to have the dog charge a target then use Return to get back near his caster.

Hobby

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This was a fun model to paint. Being small and without a lot of detail it was a very quick one, and I enjoyed blending the browns of his coat to give a nice transition from dark to light. The red armor I once again based with Mechrite Red. Having had such success with the foundation red, I decided to try GW Foundation Iyanden Darksun to basecoat the yellow, another color I typically have trouble with. As before the foundation paint worked well.

Widowmakers

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Gameplay

The sniper advantage of the Widowmakers, being able to reliably deal a point of damage is great for thinning out infantry at range. Keeping them tucked into a forest while doing it keeps them safe and gives you the bonus to RAT to make hitting almost a sure thing. In several games I found them taking shots at ‘jacks, but sniping down anything vital off a heavy warjack is going to take a lot of time and they rarely helped.

Hobby

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With the Widowmakers I really tried to paint expediently. I typically take a long time with each model and when the chance presents itself I have tried to concentrate on painting more quickly. While I was far from setting any records, I did get them done quicker than I normally would have, so with continued practice perhaps I’ll get there yet. While I’m happy with how the unit came out, I wish I would have lightened up the greys to give the models a bit more contrast. I basecoated with straight Greatcoat Grey, I should have added a bit of Menoth White Highlight to the grey for the base instead. The leader’s face gave me a hard time as well as the first iteration ended up very dark, similar to the ruddy feature of the Widowmaker whose face is exposed and it looked awful, so I tried it again, much lighter this time. I really like how their jackets turned out. I got a nice distressed look on the edges and spoke to some of the wear and tear they would see.

The above 15pt army was all that I managed to get painted. This is a reminder both of how slowly I paint and how busy life can be. The remaining models are ones I played with, but haven’t yet painted.

Winter Guard w/ UA

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What Motherland journeyman tour could be complete without the Winter Guard? Certainly mine wasn’t. Even with the UA providing Bob and Weave the WG were often the first casualties, either from an AOE or ranged attacks. In one game they failed a casualty induced command checked and failed to rally (even with the standard bearer) for three turns at which point they were finally finished off.

Beast 09

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Having been disappointed with the Juggernaut, I thought I would try a different Melee ‘jack and I really liked the looks of the model for Beast 09. Thresher and murderous are great if you can get him into a swath of infantry. Most often Beast was getting matched up with other heavy ‘jacks making those skills useless. He spent a lot of time getting disrupted as well. Clearly his reputation preceded him.

Manhunters

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I really liked these guys. I typically used them to take out pesky solos (I’m looking at you eEiryss) or run them along the edge and charge them into a group of infantry. Sometimes they ended up being more of a diversionary tactic, but often then took out some models that would have caused problems later.

Man-O-War Shocktroopers

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As with the Manhunters I really liked these guys. With medium bases and shieldwall they made a nice guard for the Butcher as he got into range. I found occasional use for the shield cannons and they worked well when charged into ‘jacks. The new plastic models were a breeze to assemble. I really liked having the choice of heads for the leader. In the end I went with the no-helmet look to aid it surveying the battlefield and calling out orders.

Kommander Orsus Zoktavir

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I took advantage of one of the caster swap weeks to try out the epic version of the Butcher. While I really dislike the model (why are his hands so huge?!), I had fun playing Kommander Zoktavir. The random amount of focus is an entertaining way to begin a turn and boundless charge is great for extending eButcher’s kill range. While I did use him to kill a caster, I never did get him into a position to use homicidal maniac or any of the Kommander’s other infantry killing skills.

 

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I though over six weeks I would get more painting done than I did, but at least I made a start on a new faction and that will encourage me to keep building it up and painting it. I really enjoyed playing both versions of the Butcher, though I really wish his epic version were a nicer sculpt.

After my Journeyman tour was over I left with a great appreciation for the Motherland. It was a fun way to learn a new faction and I hope Privateer Press does this again in the future.

For more Journeyman action, check out our ongoing Journeyman League series that starts here.

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