Gorten Grundback

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Gorten Grundback
Mercenary Rhulic Warcaster

One day Gorten had a revelation: he was meant to be a Warcaster. Having heard tales among men and dwarves about the great honour and glory those who can wield magic in battle, he decided to leave the mining life behind and bring his command of stone and earth to the battlefield. At his call, walls of rock rise from nowhere, molten ore will slag his enemies, and allies become rooted to the ground such that nought but death shall move them.

Basic Info[edit]

Gorten Grundback.png
DEF 13
ARM 19
HP 18
WJP +31
See also How to Read the statblock


  • Dual Hand Cannon - 12" range, ROF 2, POW 12 gun.
    • Both Barrels (★ Attack) - This model gains +4 to the damage roll for this attack. This model cannot make additional ranged attacks with this weapon during an activation in which it used Both Barrels.
  • Forge Father - 0.5" reach, P+S 14 melee weapon.
    • Damage Type: Magical - This weapon can damage incorporeal models.
    • Critical Smite - On a critical hit, the model hit can be slammed d6" directly away from this model. If the model hit has a larger base than the attacking model, it is moved only half the distance rolled. The POW of collateral damage is equal to the STR of this model.
  • Gutter - 0.5" reach, P+S 9 melee weapon.


  • Mercenary - In a 2+ caster game, he can work as a Cygnar mercenary or Khador mercenary.
  • Warcaster - All warcasters come with a stack of standard special rules - most notably being awesome.
  • Rhulic Warcaster - This warcaster can control only Rhulic warjacks.
  • Tough - When this model is disabled, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, remove 1 damage point from this model; it is no longer disabled and becomes knocked down. While knocked down this model loses Tough.


  • Eruption - Cost 3, 8" range, 3" AOE, POW 14
Causes Fire Damage. Models hit suffer a POW 14 fire damage roll. This spell's AOE is a cloud effect and hazard that remains in play for one round. Models entering or ending their activations in the AOE suffer an unboostable POW 14 fire damage roll.
  • Molten Metal - Cost 2, 10" range, Offensive spell with special POW'
Target warjack suffers 1 point of fire damage to each column on its damage grid.
Place a wall template completely within the caster's CTRL range that isn't contacting anything else. The wall is an obstacle that provides cover.
While within the caster's CTRL range, friendly Faction models gain immunity to being knocked down and blast damage.
Target model in Gorten's battlegroup gains +4 STR.

Feat : Landslide[edit]

Pushes all enemy models in Gorten's CTRL range up to 8" to a table edge of your choice. They also suffer -3 to SPD,RAT & DEF and lose the ability to give/receive orders or perform charges, slams, and tramples.

Thoughts on Gorten Grundback[edit]

Gorten Grundback in a nutshell[edit]

Gorten walks ever so slowly forward upkeeping Solid Ground and casting Rock Walls until it's time for him to feat. Hopefully it wins him the game.

Feat thoughts[edit]

Gorten's feat is the strongest in the game without factoring in the 10" control area. As such, it is critical to him winning or losing and it is super easy to screw it up by moving models in the wrong order, or not being able to see where models will finish.

This feat can be used in a number of different ways:

  • Drag the opposing caster to you (or sometimes left or right work), kill them. This tactic is used against the unprepared player. There are plenty of ways to set this up. You could slide the opposing caster to a Earthbreaker or Driller, Alexia and her Risen, Kayazy Assassins, Anastasia Di Bray, use your imagination. Experienced players won't allow you to do this easily, and the odds of the opposing caster starting your turn within 14" of Gorten are quite low.
  • Shove everything 8" towards it's own deployment zone. This is awesome for clearing flags and zones. It can also force some casters to killbox themselves, especially warcaster units that won't be able to issue run orders
  • Defensively feating to defend the Earthbreaker or Gorten. If your opponent has a colossal or two, they aren't going anywhere, but you can use the feat to buy your Earthbreaker a turn to get into position for the charge and land some more shots.
  • Use Rock Wall. Sometimes, you can bunch up a huge number of enemy models by placing a wall in front of them and sliding them into it. Then you blast them. This can also be used to move a warcaster away from its guard, warbeasts and warjacks out of control range, move unit leaders away from their units, the possibilities are limitless.
  • Pull your target out from behind cover to set them up for a charge or shooting. Pull them behind obstacles to prevent them from charging.
  • Push models into hazards or rough terrain.
  • Split up squads. As they can't take orders, this can tie up a particularly hard squad, or prevent squads that rely on orders (like Hammerfall High Shield Gun Corps, for example) from being able to do their orders.

Think carefully about the order models are moved. Slide a shield guard into its caster, then slide the caster 8" away from it. Create bunched up models where it serves your purpose, or spread units out as much as possible.

Spell thoughts[edit]

  • Eruption - Rarely gets cast because of Gorten's focus limitations, short range, and questionable use. Usually a desperation play, but the ability to block LOS can come in handy sometimes. Sometimes you might put the cloud out and feat a bunch of infantry into it.
  • Molten Metal - Six guaranteed points of damage isn't terrible, especially against high ARM warjacks, and can be very useful when you have just one box left of a system somewhere.
  • Rock Wall - It can be used to provide cover, block charge lanes, stop specific models when you are using Landslide and prevent things from reaching melee range.
  • Solid Ground - It is almost always cast on the first round and kept up unless the opponent has no blasts or knock down effects.
  • Strength of Granite - Any melee 'jack (or Gorten himself!) can use this spell. It makes them hit much harder. What else do you want to know about it?

Typical Army & Strategy[edit]


Gorten needs to keep as much of his army alive as possible while he gets in position to feat. Unfortunately, he has been stealth nerfed several times since he can't charge friendly models or be slammed or thrown by his own warjacks. The only way to increase the threat of his feat is by pitching him with Bosun Grogspar. This makes it easier for your opponent to position to minimize your feat turn.


Gorten usually brings the following:

  • High-Def or Tough troops for his Solid Ground bubble. Nyss, Kayazy, Boomhowlers are all good choices for this.
  • Melee 'jacks for his Strength of Granite spell. Once you have a SoG Basher trample through a group of infantry or when you start using your enemies warjacks as ranged weapons, or seen the look of horror when your loaded-up Driller with SoG rips up a colossal... you too will understand the power of SoG. You should bring at least one Driller. Possibly an Earthbreaker, but don't go crazy on the battlegroup. Gorten has 5 focus and a small control area.
  • Gunners are always a solid choice. He can put Rock Walls in front of them so they become DEF 16 and can't be knocked down or pushed.
  • His Earthbreaker is solid since Gorten can protect it from melee attacks with Rock Walls and Strength of Granite makes it P+S 25

In Hammer Strike, Forge Guard gain the Tough special rule, which coupled with a pair of Siege Crawlers bringing them back plus Rock Walls, and Solid Ground, is about the slowest, stoutest, most resilient, most dwarfish army you're going to get from Warmachine.

Drawbacks & Downsides[edit]

Gorten has three major weaknesses:

  • Spd 4 and very few ways to make him go faster.
  • Limited army support. Rock Wall is a great spell that does more for an army than one might think, and Solid Ground is great with the right models, and the feat makes the other army really easy targets that don't fight back. But the rest of the time, his army is pretty much on its own.
  • Limited focus. If he had even one more, he'd be one of the most powerful casters in the game. You'll usually be casting or upkeeping one or two spells each turn, which leaves you next-to-nothing to allocate or cast spells with. Also, a low FOCUS stat makes it harder to hit with offensive spells. Bring focus efficient warjacks and don't expect him to do very much himself besides bring a nasty feat.

Tricks & Tips[edit]

  • Cast Strength of Granite on your melee 'jack. If your 'jack is gone, then cast it on Gorten.
  • Cast Solid Ground first round, upkeep it the whole game. Keep your High-DEF, low-ARM troops in his control area to shield them. Or Tough troops. Or both.
  • Advance a squad. Cast Rock Wall in front of it for a quick and easy DEF buff. It can also block charge lanes, fill gaps in existing walls, stop landslide targets, and generally get in the way, especially of huge sized models.
  • Crit-Smite:
    • If Gorten gets into melee combat, try and line up your target so there is a equal-or-larger based model behind it so you can slam them into it. Or cast Rock Wall behind them!
    • Remember, as a small model, he's only going to be slamming medium and large based models half the distance rolled.
  • Bosun Grogspar can hit Gorten in the back and Pitch him. This is not in any way a reliable extra distance for Gorten's feat (it's d6") - but should make your opponent extremely paranoid about Gorten's threat range.



  • Originally released in Warmachine: Escalation (2004)

Warjacks he can take[edit]

Rhulic Warjacks (Edit)
Light Blaster- Gunner
Heavy Avalancher - Basher - Driller - Rockram
Colossal Earthbreaker

Theme Forces[edit]

Other Mercenary models[edit]



Mercenary 'Jack Controllers (Edit)
Warcasters Ashlynn - Caine3 - Captain Bart - Captain Damiano - Gastone2 - Captain Shae - Macbain - Constance - Fiona - Magnus1 - Magnus2
BGC Gastone Crosse
Marshals Colbie Sterling - Dirty Meg - Raluk Moorclaw - Rutger Shaw - Sam & the Devil Dogs
Mercenary Warjacks (Edit)
Light Buccaneer - Renegade (Magnus only) - Talon - Vanguard
Heavy Freebooter - Mangler - Mariner - Mule - Nomad - Rover - Toro
Gallant - Rocinante
Colossal Galleon
Rhulic 'Jack Controllers (Edit)
Warcasters Durgen Madhammer - General Ossrum - Gorten Grundback
Cannot take Colossals
Thor Steinhammer
Rhulic Warjacks (Edit)
Light Blaster- Gunner
Heavy Avalancher - Basher - Driller - Rockram
Colossal Earthbreaker
Cephalyx Warcasters (Edit)
Warcasters Cognifex Cyphon - Exulon Thexus
Cephalyx Monstrosities (Edit)
Heavy Subduer - Warden - Wrecker
Units, Solos, & Battle Engines
Warcaster attachments Madelyn Corbeau - Reinholdt - Wyshnalyrr
Lesser Warlocks Rorsh & Brine (Farrow) - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw (Gatorman)
Units Cephalyx Mind Bender - Cephalyx Mind Slaver - Cephalyx Overlords - High Shields - Artillery Corps - Forge Guard - Idrian Skirmishers - Kayazy Assassins - Kayazy Eliminators - Ogrun Assault Corps - Precursor Knights - Press Gangers - Sea Dog Pirates - Deck Gun - Steelhead Halberdiers - Steelhead Heavy Cavalry - Steelhead Riflemen - Tactical Arcanist Corps - Thorn Gun Mages
Special CA: Cephalyx Dominator
Character Units Alexia1 - Sam & The Devil Dogs - Croe's Cutthroats - Nyss Hunters - Blythe & Bull - Boomhowlers - Herne & Jonne - Aiyana & Holt - Lynus & Edrea - Commodore Cannon - Devil's Shadow Mutineers
Solos Cephalyx Agitator - Gobber Tinker - Ogrun Bokur - Swamp Gobber River Raider
Character Solos Alexia2 - Alten Ashley - Anastasia Di Bray - Bloody Bradigan - Bosun Grogspar - Brun & Lug - Colbie - Dahlia & Skarath - Dirty Meg - Doc Killingsworth - Eilish Garrity - Eiryss1 - Eiryss2 - Hawk - Gastone1 - Gorman - Gudrun - Harlan Versh - Hutchuk - Kell Bailoch - Lanyssa - Rockbottom - Major Harrison Gibbs - Dougal - Orin - Ragman - Raluk - Rhupert - Rorsh & Brine - Rutger - Savio - Saxon - Sergeant Nick - Stannis - Taryn - Thor - Viktor - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw
Battle Engines Hammerfall Siege Crawler
Theme Forces (Edit)
Hammer Strike - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - Operating Theater - The Talion Charter - Llaelese Resistance

Rules Clarifications[edit]

Rules Clarification : Feat: Landslide

  • Even if the model(s) cannot be pushed (such as Colossals)they will still suffer the other effects of the feat. (Infernal Ruling)

Rules Clarification : Both Barrels - None yet. (Edit)

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Rules Clarification:  : Magical Damage      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

* The "Damage Type: Magical" is not inherited by "secondary" damage from a weapon. That is, stuff like arcs (Electro Leap) or hazards (Scather). (Infernal Ruling)
  • All spells have "Damage Type: Magical" (refer errata).
    • This is inherited by "immediate" secondary damage (such as Eruption of Spines). (Infernal Ruling)
    • and might be inherited by "lingering" secondary damage (see below).
  • If a spell leaves a template in play that does damage to models that walk around in it, then:
    • if it is not described as a hazard it will do magical damage to models that walk around in it. (Example: Razor Wall)
    • if it is a hazard then it will not do magical damage to models that walk around in it. Instead, it does whatever damage type is specified by the spell description. (Example: Breath of Corruption).
    • (Infernal Ruling)
  • If a weapon/spell includes Magic Damage and another kind of elemental damage it will still damage Incorporeal models. Incorporeal models are not affected by the rule "if an attack does multiple types of damage and a model is immune to at least one it is immune to the entire attack."
    The phrase "immune to non-magical damage" should be interpreted as "immune to damage that doesn't include Damage Type: Magical" (not interpreted as "has immunity to Corrosion and Electricity and Cold and etc.")
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Rules Clarification : Smite      (Edit)

  • This rule changed in Mk3 to no longer say it "adds the weapon's POW". It still does add the POW, however, because the whole section on calculating Slam damage was reworded in the main rulebook.
  • Smite is not a Power Attack Slam, it is just an attack which causes a model to be slammed. As such, you can smite friendly models.
  • You can trigger Critical Smite on a free strike.
  • If you Smite on a charge, then the slam damage will be boosted.
  • See also the clarifications on being slammed

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Rules Clarification:  : Warcaster      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

  • General
    • FOCUS (uppercase) is the stat printed on the warcaster's card. Focus (lowercase) refers to focus points a model currently has.
    • Your CTRL area is double your FOCUS stat, not double your focus points. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Casting spells or using feats is an anytime ability with the added restriction that you can't use them on the same turn you run even before you run.
      • See also the clarifications on Any Time abilities (below).
    • Some warcasters are also Battle Engines and thus follow all the Battle Engine special rules.
      • There is no particular interaction between the Battle Engine rules and the Warcaster rules.
    • Work out all damage modifiers (such as Decapitation doubling the damage that exceeds ARM) before reducing it with the Power Field. (Infernal Ruling)

Restrictions on "Any Time" abilities     (Edit)      
  • "Any Time" abilities can be used at any time during a model/unit's activation, except:
    1. The model with the Any Time ability has had their activation end "prematurely". By this I mean you resolve anything which includes "its activation ends". Examples include:
      • Running, failing a charge, or failing a slam.
      • Abilities that include "then its activation ends" (such as Reposition and Teleport).
    2. In between declaring your charge target and making your charge movement. (Infernal Ruling)
    3. In between completing your charge movement and determining whether it was a successful charge. (Infernal Ruling)
    4. You're in the middle of moving. (Note: Impact Attacks count as being in the middle of movement).
    5. You're in the middle of an attack. Note that the attack is not over until you finish step 14 of the attack sequence (Apdx A).
    6. Your opponent interrupted your activation to trigger one of their own abilities, such as Countercharge.
  • In general you can use "Any Time" abilities while you're knocked down or stationary (except Spells and Feats which specify you can't).
  • If you have a gun with a random ROF, you can use an "Any Time" ability inbetween rolling the number of shots and actually making the first attack. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Units with "Any Time" abilities
    • Even if the ability says "any time during the unit's activation", a model in a unit can't use an Any Time ability if they run, fail a charge, or use an ability like Reposition.
    • Because that model's activation has ended (even if the unit's activation is still ongoing) and you can't use abilities on models that are not active.
    • So, for example:
      • You cannot use a minifeat after the Officer runs. (Infernal Ruling)
      • You cannot use a minifeat after anyone in the unit has begun a Reposition move. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Warcaster/Warlock Cavalry ( Edit )
    • Warcasters/Warlocks can't cast spells or use their feat while resolving Impact Attacks. Because Impact Attacks occur during movement - you can use spells or feat before moving, or after moving, but not during movement.
      • Exception: If your Impact target(s) include your charge target, then your movement has ended (refer rulebook, last paragraph of 'Impact Attacks') and thus you're fine to use "any time" abilities before starting the Impact attacks.

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Rules Clarification : Warcaster Unit or Warlock Unit     (Edit)
This summary is specific to Warcaster/Warlock units. You may also want to check the Warcasters & Warlocks page for the 'regular' rules clarifications.

  • If you're giving an order, it must be done first, before casting any spells or using your feat.
  • All models in the unit count as part of the battlegroup. So, for instance, Butcher3's argus can be moved via his Energizer spell.
  • Only the warcaster/warlock model can dominate a Steam Roller scenario. They can do that regardless of where the grunts are.
  • The grunt models can contest Steam Roller scenarios, but not control them.
  • Warcaster units can have attachments. They can even attach units (such as the WSC). (Infernal Ruling)
  • Units Buying Attacks (Edit)
    • If you make attacks with model [A], then start making attacks with model [B], you cannot 'go back' and buy more attacks with [A]. Because:
    • A model can only buy additional attacks during its Combat Action.
    • A model in a unit must complete its Combat Action before the next model starts theirs (with some exceptions, like CMA).
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Rules Clarification : Unit of Warcasters or Warlocks     (Edit)

  • Even though they're warcasters, if they're out of formation they suffer the normal penalties (can't make attacks, actions, spells, etc).
  • They can't upkeep each other's spells.
  • They can only dominate one SteamRoller scenario element at a time.
  • Each warlock/warcaster can have different upkeeps on them if those upkeeps are "target SELF" or "target model". If you cast an upkeep that is "target model/unit", that is the only upkeep any of them can have.
  • Units Buying Attacks (Edit)
    • If you make attacks with model [A], then start making attacks with model [B], you cannot 'go back' and buy more attacks with [A]. Because:
    • A model can only buy additional attacks during its Combat Action.
    • A model in a unit must complete its Combat Action before the next model starts theirs (with some exceptions, like CMA).
  • The Legion Twins
    • Rhyas cannot dominate a zone while out of formation.
    • Rhyas can use the feat while out of formation.
  • Haley3
    • Only Haley Prime is an 'actual' warcaster model, and as such she is the only one that can dominate a scenario element.
    • The echoes can Control/Contest scenarios like a normal unit.
    • Haley Prime can dominate an element even if the echoes are out of formation.

Rules Clarification : Rhulic Warcaster - None yet. (Edit)
Rules Clarification : Tough - None yet. (Edit)

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Rules Clarification : Eruption      (Edit)

  • Not blast damage (Edit)
    • Due to the way it is worded, this spell/weapon does full POW to all models in the AOE. It is not blast damage and it is not halved.
    • For the same reason, it doesn't do "two damage rolls to the model directly hit". (Infernal Ruling)
  • Hazard templates and "non-hazard damage" templates (Edit)
    • Some templates are defined as 'Hazards' but some, like Creeping Barrage, are not.
    • Damage templates from spells:
      • Spells which leave a template and are not described as a hazard will do magical damage to models that walk around in them. (Example: Razor Wall)
      • Spells which leave a template and are hazards will not do magical damage to models that walk around in them. Instead, they do whatever damage type is specified by the spell description. (Example: Breath of Corruption).
      • (Infernal Ruling)
    • A model which is "placed" also counts as "entering" an area, so the hazard will damage any one who teleports/spawns into it, too.
    • If two hazard templates are overlapping, a model that enters them will take two points of damage.
    • Damage from a hazard is not from an attack (so won't trigger stuff like Vengeance).
    • Damage from a hazard is not considered to be from the weapon/spell that originally put it into play (so it doesn't gain the Damage Type or any other special rules of the weapon/spell).
  • Hazardous Clouds (Edit)
    • A hazard, by definition, is a terrain effect. As such, if a template is both a cloud and a hazard it will block sprays as per the normal terrain rules for terrain blocking LOS. (Infernal Ruling)
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Rules Clarification : Molten Metal      (Edit)

  • This spell always does 6 damage, but applying that damage can get a little complex:
    • Vs a Retribution warjack with, say, 3 boxes left on its forcefield: Deal 3 points of damage to the forcefield, then 1 to columns 4,5,6.
    • Vs a normal warjack with column 1 already filled in, then the damage "rolls over" to column 2. So 2 points of damage to column 2, then 1 each to columns 3 to 6.
    • Vs a colossal: It can only affect one damage grid. So it will only do 6 damage, not 12.
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Rules Clarification : Rock Wall      (Edit)

  • The upkeep spell is not "on" any model, not even the original caster. So it can't be dispelled stuff like Dispel and Hex Blast.

Rules Clarification : Solid Ground - None yet. (Edit)

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Rules Clarification : Strength of Granite      (Edit)

  • Battlegroup members (Edit)
    • Spells that target/affect "models in the battlegroup" can also target/will also affect the caster, the caster's unit (if they have one), and the caster's Companion (if they have one).
    • It won't target/affect models which are Attached, though.