Legion of Everblight
Legion of Everblight Faction overview
Steeped in the blighted energies of it's namesake, the Legion of Everblight sweeps down out of the northern reaches doing the bidding of a near incorporeal master...
At its core, Legion is a fast paced, warbeast focused faction. Legion's rule and keyword laden warbeasts are embodied by their Eyeless Sight - a trait allowing these expensive warbeasts to ignore the defensive tech from clouds, forests, and Stealth, which many armies may rely on to remain safe. On top of that, Legion warbeasts and even infantry boast some of the highest concentration of native Pathfinder and Flight, allowing Everblight armies to maneuver unhindered by terrain. What draws many to the faction are these large and focused battlegroups comrprised of fast and flighty dragons. It is not uncommon to see an army of Everblight composed of a warlock, a few heavy warbeasts, and support models to keep the massive amount of FURY in check. Indeed, Legion has near unmatched support for removing excess Fury from the board after a turn of heavy boosting and buying.
Many will call Legion the "alpha strike" or "glass cannon" faction, and while these monikers are somewhat true, they are not fully accurate. Legion's offerings are certainly "glass" when you look at their defensive parameters, but they are no more "cannon" than any other faction in Warmachine or Hordes. In fact, often other armies can well exceed Legion's hitting power after you factor in support buffs! Additionally, on paper many factions look slower than Legion, but in reality many of these armies can buff themselves up to Legion's higher raw speed with common support pieces. Rather, Legion relies on its mobility and warlocks (instead of independent support models) to outmaneuver the enemy and pick them apart while controlling their losses carefully.
Don't let this discourage you. Instead of treating Legion as the "alpha strike" or "glass cannon," it can be better thought of as the "piece trade" faction. While this is a little less glamorous to say, it is far more representative of the faction's focus. While some forces may be able to suffer a blow and soldier on, the Legion of Everblight must engineer clever play to trade low value models for high value models. These sorts of tricks are quite viable thanks to the tools at Everblight's disposal, such as the dragging capabilities of the Hellmouth or Proteus and place/push effects from animi like Slipstream and Repulsion. In many ways Legion is more about disrupting your opponent's plans by snatching key models out of position or dealing a poweful blow and retreating to safety; these sorts of plays set up favorable "trades" that let you get ahead of the enemy with little reprisal.
Of course, striking first and striking hard is definitely still an aspect of these draconic swarms (especially warlocks like Absylonia, Daughter of Everblight), but this plan won't always work every time. A successful Legion player is a crafty Legion player, much like Everblight himself in the lore. Sneaky tricks, creative counterplay, and movement shenanigans will serve you just as well - if not better - as a big meaty beatstick.
Legion of Everblight for Beginners
The Legion of Everblight can be a tricky faction to pick up initially, espcially if you're coming into an established gaming area with veteran players. It also can be an incredibly easy faction to pick up if most of your fellow opponents are also new players. As stated above Legion is less the faction that does hit first, but more the faction that must hit first. Against well practiced players, many of the easier tricks and traps Legion employs will be harder to execute. Additionally, due to the "glass" nature of the faction, mistakes on your part are much more costly compared to some other factions; even Legion's hardest armor has relatively little staying power against many other armies, which is why this alpha strike is so important. Conversely, against other newer players, their own mistakes when playing against Legion can be just as costly for them, as it will be much easier to find "gotcha" moments where their key centerpiece model is dragged completely out of position and you get to eat it for "free."
Choosing your first warlock can also greatly influence your learning curve coming into the faction, and who you choose will depend on your playstyle as well as your familiarity with Warmachine and Hordes as a whole.
For new players just getting into the Warmachine and Hordes environment from scratch:
For new players who have their first army and want to expand their army (especially those starting with the Kryssa box):
New players will want to get some of the important faction staples as soon as they are ready to expand their battlegroup or learn to use solos and units in concert with their beasts.
For existing players looking to start Legion as a new faction, brave newbies, or newer players looking for a new warlock:
Legion of Everblight Models and Units
Legion of Everblight Theme Forces
Legion of Everblight Deep Lore
On the Nature of Dragons and Athancs
To understand the Legion, you must understand the nature of dragons. Dragons are all immensely powerful creatures of god-like power; even the weakest of them is a match for the mightiest of armies. But while their physical forms may evoke awe and dread there is another aspect unique to all dragons that makes them truly exceptional and deadly. The Iron Kingdom dragons are just as much daemon, as they are dragon.
Existing outside the natural order the very existence of the dragons is anathema to nature, and this fact is best expressed through what mortals refer to as "blight". Blight is a warped energy radiated by all dragons into the land around them. The effects of dragon blight on the land are both incalculable and devastating. In even scant quantities the taint of blight can corrupt virtually anything over time, poisoning rivers, eating away stone, and corroding metal. Living things are even more susceptible to blight as its mutagenic properties can twist and mutate them into grotesque mockeries of their former selves. Worst of all, many of these unnatural changes can be permanent; even minor cosmetic damage can take years, if not generations to undo. Thus while a dragon's physical form may be nigh-unstoppable it is through its blight that a dragon truly leaves its mark, as over time everything in the vicinity of a dragon's lair will eventually fall victim to its influence, becoming warped and twisted in body and mind.
Both the strength of a dragon's physical form and the corrupting influence of its blight are made possible by one thing: it's athanc. A dragon's athanc is a crystallized soulstone which contains its essence, its soul, its very identity. Though it is no mean feat it is possible for a dragon to be slain, but as long as the athanc endures so too does the dragon, and over time its flesh will regenerate and the dragon will be reborn again to terrorize the mortal world. Fortunately, for the dragons, no one knows how to destroy an athanc, though many have tried, and attempts to hide or seal away dragons' athancs have met with... limited success, but more on that later.
For many ages, even since before the creation of the Iron Kingdoms, Toruk the Dragonfather was the only dragon. However, for reasons unknown to anyone but himself, he decided to create a brood of lesser dragons to rule over. He divided his athanc into smaller pieces, saving the largest chunk for himself, and from these new athancs grew his progeny, the lesser dragons. Unfortunately for Toruk his offspring did not simply bow meekly before their progenitor; each dragon developed its own personality and with it its own desire to dominate those around it. Thus did Toruk's offspring rebel against their creator. Toruk, being the most powerful of the dragons still, slew several of his offspring outright, consuming their athancs so that they may be rejoined with his own. The rest of the dragons fled and hid, and from that time on all dragons have sought to find and consume one another, for when one dragon slays another and consumes its athanc the victor absorbs the essence of the slain, strengthening the athanc of the victor as the two crystals fuse into one. Toruk, in turn, seeks to find and destroy the rest of his wayward progeny and undo the mistake he made all those eons ago, and the dragons have been at war with one another ever since.
The Machinations of Everblight
Everblight, one of Toruk's younger offspring, is often regarded as being the most intelligent and cunning of Toruk's progeny (just ask him). Though not as physically powerful as many of his siblings Everblight's calculating and contemplative nature enabled him to develop far greater control over his blight than even his father. Whereas most dragons simply radiate blight into the world haphazardly he learned to control his blight and even to suppress it, enabling him to mask his presence if he chose and thus work through more subtle means rather than sheer force. As his mastery of his blight grew he developed another impressive skill: to consciously shape the draconic minions born from his blood. While all of Toruk's progeny can create blood-born draconic beasts to do their bidding, most dragons regard these inferior creatures as mere cannon fodder, randomly created monsters to be used and disposed of once their purpose has been served. Everblight, on the other hand, has achieved a mastery of this power all his own and over the years he has created an entire menagerie of dragonspawn species, each specifically crafted to serve a specific function in his schemes, ranging from spies and assassins to nigh-unstoppable juggernauts of draconic, bestial fury.
For reasons of his own Everblight laired for many years beneath the black kingdom of Morddh, making his presence known only to select nobles and rulers whom he could easily manipulate. Using his blight to warp the minds of his thralls rather than their bodies Everblight remained hidden for centuries until one of his spawn was spotted by Toruk's agents. Recognizing the blighted signature of its creator Toruk struck with all his fury, forcing Everblight from his hiding place and threatening to destroy and consume him. Only by leading Toruk to a nearby sibling's lair was Everblight able to escape, but not before suffering severe wounds which would take centuries to fully heal. During his hibernation the dragon Blighterghast, the largest and most powerful of Toruk's children, organized an alliance of the remaining dragons against Toruk, and while his wounds made it impossible for Everblight to participate it is doubtful he would have taken part even if he had been able to. Instead he waited and watched as his siblings united against their creator once again and fought Toruk to a standstill, forcing him to retreat from the mainland to lick his wounds and begin building the Nightmare Empire of Cryx. The other dragons called it a victory. Blighterghast even had the audacity to make his new lair in the coastal mountain range that looked directly across at the burgeoning Cryxian Empire, but Everblight knew that Toruk would return.
To prepare for that eventuality he resumed his subtle machinations and wormed his way underneath the elven nation of Ios, where for many years he consolidated his power and made extensive studies of the effects of his blight on the Iosans. For a time the elves seemed the perfect thralls for the cunning dragon; Everblight mapped virtually every aspect of Iosan physiology and learned to control the effects of his blight on affected Iosans to virtually the same extent he could over his blood-borne dragonspawn. However, one of his test subjects escaped, alerting the elves to the dragon's presence. Sending a massive army into the dragon's subterranean lair they were confronted first by the full horrific power and variety of Everblight's blood-spawned menagerie. The lightless tunnels and caves proved no hindrance for Everblight's eyeless horrors, and scores of Iosans met their deaths by fang, claw, and fire before the army pushed through to Everblight's lair, where the full fury of the dragon was awakened. Bursting from beneath the earth with a primal fury that only the dragon race can boast Everblight descended on the city of Issyrah and razed it to the ground. The victory was short-lived, though, as the Iosans' battle mages shredded his wings, confining him to the ground as their soldiers and myrmidons set upon him in droves. Beset by thousands of spears, arrows, and powerful magic Everblight finally fell, his flesh utterly destroyed. Removing the dragon's athanc, but being unable to destroy it, the Iosans sealed it in a mystical prison and hid it away high in the mountains, where no one would ever find it... or so they thought.
How to Tame Your Ogrun
For a time the Iosans' plan was successful. Everblight lay in his prison for many years, silently screaming in impotent rage and frustration until finally regaining his composure. Though his power was greatly diminished he was not completely helpless, and soon he began to send his consciousness into the surrounding wilderness searching for something, anything with a sentient mind that he could latch onto. So it was that he eventually found a small settlement of Ogrun, large relatively simple-minded creatures, who had been enslaved by local Khadorans. It was a young ogrun named Thagrosh who finally attracted the dragon's attention. Flooding the young ogrun's mind with fevered dreams and visions Everblight called out to Thagrosh, summoning him from within his icy prison. Overcome by his visions Thagrosh slew his captors and freed himself, setting out into the frozen wastes to answer this mysterious call. Discovering the dragon's prison high atop the snow and ice-covered peaks Thagrosh shattered the seals placed by the Iosans and removed Everblight's athanc. In a fit of mad genius the ogrun flayed open his own chest, prying open his rib cage and shoving the ice-blue crystal into his heart. For the first time in years Everblight looked upon the world with living eyes, his mind linked to that of the young ogrun. Thagrosh's mind was overwhelmed by the dragon's, but not consumed; instead he found himself exposed to thousands of years of information and experience, the collected knowledge and memories of Everblight since his creation. Thus linked the two strode down the mountain as one. Thagrosh Hellborne had become the Prophet of Everblight, the first of the dragon's chosen generals.
The choice of Everblight to remain bodiless served several purposes. First, and most obvious, it freed the dragon from his prison and allowed him to walk the world clad in flesh once again, as opposed to remaining a mere crystal shard. Second, by disguising himself in the body of another Everblight was able to mask and conceal his weakened state; had he chosen to reform his body it would have taken considerable time to regrow his flesh, during which time he would be exceedingly vulnerable to his siblings. Third, Everblight's athanc effectively transmuted Thagrosh's ogrun blood into draconic ichor, which gave the dragon a new source from which to generate dragonspawn without having to take form himself. Fourth, linking his mind to that of Thagrosh gave him access to all the ogrun's memories and knowledge; the moment their minds linked Everblight was aware of every ogrun village and settlement in the mountains, their dispositions, customs, culture... and more importantly, he became aware of the nearby Nyss, a race of elves distantly related to the Iosans. This information proved invaluable to the dragon, as he believed he would be able to take all of his discoveries relating to the Iosans and effectively transfer them to the Nyss.
Subjugation of the Nyss
Thus Thagrosh set out to find the Nyss, and when he arrived he ran into another stroke of good luck: his arrival was not unexpected. A Nyss sorceress named Vayl Hallyr, who had a considerable gift for divination and prophecy, had foreseen the arrival of the dragon and saw it as a means to even greater power than she already possessed. Offering herself willingly to the dragon/ogrun Vayl became the second to be initiated into the ranks of Everblight's chosen. Using an ancient blade known as Rapture, which Everblight guided Thagrosh to after they first joined, Everblight commanded Thagrosh to remove his athanc and cut a shard of it off using the ancient weapon. The blade was forged by Everblight during his time beneath the kingdom of Morddh and was intended to be used as a weapon against both his siblings and his father. It has the ability to carve apart a dragon's athanc without diminishing either pieces' power and simultaneously preventing either shard from generating a new dragon. The new athanc shard created, Vayl drove the shard into her own chest, instantly linking her mind to that of both Thagrosh and Everblight.
As before, Vayl's mind was instantly linked to the vast repository of the dragon's knowledge, while Everblight instantly became aware of virtually the entirety of Nyss culture. He knew their customs, their tribes, and their defenses, as well as the existence of Nyssor, the frozen god of winter worshiped by the Nyss and once worshiped by the Iosans, a being which Vayl eagerly suggested the dragon apprehend and consume. Through Vayl's betrayal of her own race the dragon was able to subjugate almost the entirety of the Nyss with relatively little bloodshed. Water supplies were tainted with Vayl and Thagrosh's transmuted blood. Curses were laid down by Vayl designed to awake the blight in tainted Nyss by the words of the Prophet. Thus primed for consumption entire shards fell in line with Thagrosh and Vayl without swinging a single sword. By the time the remaining Nyss knew what was going on it was already too late. Within months of his escape from his prison Everblight had absorbed the core of what would become his new standing army, an army of blighted, fanatically loyal soldiers, spies, hunters, and sorcerers backed by his ever-increasing numbers of dragonspawn. Some Nyss managed to escape, including their high priests who fled with the white marble vault containing the body of Nyssor, but the damage had been done. The old life of the Nyss was finished, either massacred by draconic nightmares or twisted and warped into the vanguard of a new order in service to an everlasting dragon.
Since then Thagrosh has selected numerous powerful mages and warriors from among the Nyss to bless with shards from his athanc. Each was chosen for a specific quality and was given a title or honorific to signify their role in Everblight's army. These formidable servants include but are not limited to the Herald/Shadow, the Disciple/Consul, the Omen, the Sigil, the Terror, the Voice, and the Wrath of Everblight, with Thagrosh assuming the mantle of both Prophet and Messiah. Though they each fill distinct roles in the Legion's hierarchy they all serve as the dragon's warlocks, generals, and priests, delivering his will to his servants and followers. Like the warlocks of other factions each Legion warlock commands both troops and warbeasts in battle, but unlike the other factions, indeed unlike virtually any other race, army, or nation in the world, the Legion has one thing which unites them totally and completely: the shared mind of the dragon. As each warlock's mind is linked to that of the dragon they are, by extension, linked telepathically to one another, allowing the Legion's generals to communicate instantaneously over any distance. This gives the Legion unprecedented coordination in the field, allowing each tendril of the dragon's army to react to the others accordingly.
The mental link shared by each warlock with their respective dragonspawn only amplifies this. Like Thagrosh and Everblight before him all of the Legion's warlocks have the power to create dragonspawn using their own transmuted blood, and every spawn is linked mentally to the warlock who created it. Though the smaller spawn are relatively simple creatures to make the larger spawn require increasingly greater amounts of blood, which can imperil the warlocks at times as it can require them to nearly exsanguinate themselves to make even one of these great beasts. Fortunately in his cunning Everblight, with Vayl's assistance, has devised spawning vessels, cauldrons of various sizes inscribed with profane runes of power designed to transmute the flesh and blood of living beings into draconic ichor, thus enabling the Legion to replenish its numbers in record time. In a chilling mockery of the undead armies of Cryx every battle thus strengthens the Legion as the bodies of the fallen (or captured...) are cleared from the field and thrown into these vile vats to be boiled down and transmuted in order to replenish the Legion's losses.
Expanding the Blight
While the dragonspawn derive from the dragon itself and serve as extensions of his will, the Nyss and Ogrun that have been subjugated by Everblight should not be forgotten either. The soldiers of the dragon may not be borne of his blood but Everblight has worked his blight on these races like a master sculptor with clay, refining and honing desirable elements of their bodies and minds while stripping them of anything undesirable... such as their free will. The Nyss and Ogrun now serve the dragon fanatically; he is their king and their god, and they serve him and his chosen generals unquestioningly. In the Legion of Everblight, all serve the will of the dragon.
So the Legion moves forward advancing the dragon's plans. In a few short years they have created what took Lord Toruk centuries to make, and such boldness has reaped its rewards. Everblight has already found and consumed one of its siblings, the dragon Pyromalfic, and by doing so he has made himself the equal of Blighterghast in power, an unprecedented feat among the dragons in recorded history. This action did not go unnoticed, however. Blighterghast, after being made aware of his sibling's destruction, has sent a call out to the other dragons of the alliance across their athancs, warning them of the movements of their once weak, disembodied sibling. By making such a bold move Everblight has made himself the enemy of all his siblings, who even now have mobilized to ascertain the validity of this new threat. Toruk, too, has not remained ignorant of his progeny's actions. Word has reached the Nightmare Empire of a blighted army that has risen in the north, an army which bears the unmistakable mark of a dragon Toruk once sought to consume, but was thwarted by cunning and treachery. As his progeny begin to stir Toruk has sent his most powerful agents to the mainland, dispatching them to the north to find this wayward and arrogant dragon whelp so that he might finish the job he once started.
So it is plain to see that for all its power, the Legion is not invincible. Toruk moves to learn Everblight's whereabouts while the other dragons soar across the skies looking for signs of their would-be hunter. The druids of the Circle Orboros hound the Legion's every step too, using every tool in their vast arsenal to thwart the dragon's plans and save the natural world from Everblight's blighted influence. Yet for all the power its enemies can muster, no matter how fearsome its enemies may seem, the Legion has one ace up its sleeve. All the other dragons, the Circle Orboros, even Toruk himself are looking for something they'll never find: a dragon! For a dragon to consciously choose not to reform its ruined flesh is a possibility no dragon would ever comprehend, let alone actually consider. By remaining bodyless Everblight has given himself the greatest camouflage possible while still enabling him to work his will across untold distances through the shared consciousness of his warlocks. What's more, due to the unique nature of Everblight's divided athanc he is further ensuring his own survival. Even if one of his generals should fall to one of Everblight's siblings or to Lord Toruk and be consumed Everblight's essence will live on. As long as one shard of Everblight's athanc endures, so too shall Everblight. And that is perhaps Everblight's greatest weapon against his foes: his cunning. It has always been his greatest virtue, and it remains his greatest asset. All dragons may plot and plan, but none actually take the time to think as Everblight does. Even their vaunted Dragonfather cannot yet perceive the scope of the threat that this new army represents, and just like the doom that befell the Nyss it is Everblight's hope that by the time his enemies realize the truth it will already be too late.