- 1 Mercenaries Faction overview
- 2 Starting your own Mercenary force
- 3 Mercenaries Theme Forces
- 4 Mercenaries Models and Units
- 5 Mercenaries Deep Lore
Mercenaries Faction overview
Mercenaries are soldiers for hire that can be fielded in a variety of Faction armies. Alternatively, you can field an army made up solely of Mercenary models. In the later case, all Mercenaries can work alongside each other, regardless of what factions they normally prefer to hire themselves to. Mercenaries are the only factions that can run Warjacks and Warbeasts as faction models.
Starting your own Mercenary force
Mercenaries are not a faction in the strictest sense of the word. A faction represents a group owing allegiance to a particular land or ruler, and often of a particular race. Whereas mercenaries represent individuals loyal to no land in particular, often in pursuit of their own agendas which vary widely.
If there is one overarching "feel" to Mercenaries, it is that most of it is second-rate and cobbled together. The warjacks are mostly decommissioned military warjacks or repurposed laborjacks. Mercenaries boast no warjacks that shoot like Cygnaran Defenders or hit like Khadoran Juggernauts. Instead, they rely on cheap mainstays like the Mariner and the Nomad to get the job done on a budget.
That said, well-constructed Mercenary armies are easily able to go toe-to-toe with the best the other factions can muster provided the player takes advantage of the faction's strengths - especially so with The Irregulars theme force becoming the default mercenary army.
Mercenaries have two great strengths compared to the other factions. They have the best selection of solos in the game and a bevy of cheap but effective warjack and unit options. Many Mercenary solos and units hand out abilities that can solve problems that the mercenary casters cannot, such as stealth removal, magic weapon or pathfinder.
Mercenary warcasters tend to be low focus (usually 6), support-heavy and most have unusual and very powerful feats.
In general, cheaper is better with Mercenaries. 3 Nomads is better than 2 Manglers for only 3 more points. 2 units of Steelhead Halberdiers is better than a unit of Precursors with a Command Attachment. 6 point Grundback Gunners are the pinnacle of focus-efficiency. Mariners are a poor man's Defender. Buccaneers are a 17" knockdown on a stick. Talons are 7 point nuisances with good staying power. You can't compete with Cygnar by spending tons of points on expensive stuff like Nyss Hunters or Rocinante. Their stuff is better for the points, but your cheap stuff costs less, so take advantage of the strength of the faction. More is more, as they say.
New Mercenary players will want to pick one or two of the five subsets (below) and build from there.
Broadly speaking, Mercenaries fall into five categories. These are Cephalyx, Rhulic, Privateers, Llaelese Resistance, and (ir)regular sellswords.
Cephalyx are an reclusive and pitiless race of psychicaly powerful creatures that live underground. They are arguably the worst of the worst as being caught by the Cephalyx is a far worse fate than anything Cryx or Skorne might do to you. They capture and experiment upon live creatures, turning them into unthinking brutes to wage their wars for them. On the tabletop, they play as a swarm of expendable infantry interspersed with hulking Monstrosities and backed by powerful psychic overlords.
Cephalyx fall under the Mercenary umbrella for the purposes of tournament pairings, but are a sub-faction unto themselves for all intents and purposes (although they can include some regular Mercenary units within their armies). From a fluff perspective, they have no interest in coin or the wars of the world above beyond replenishing their supply of drudges to further their own inscrutable ends.
The Rhul is a nation of Dwarves and Ogrun, located in an impregnable mountainous region between Khador and Ios. Rhul has a military on par with any of the Iron Kingdoms and they defend their own borders meticulously, but only involve themselves in the conflicts of the Iron Kingdoms to keep the trade lanes open and provide training and combat experience to its troops. On the tabletop, Rhul play to all the standard tropes of dwarves: slow, sturdy, well-trained, and well-equipped.
Another point of note is that, unlike the other Mercenary warjacks, the Rhulic warjacks can only be taken by Rhulic warcasters and Rhulic jack marshals.
Privateers are, as the name would imply, a bunch of pirates. They have their own nautical-themed warjacks. The basic troopers are a little ... basic, but there is a swathe of characterful solos that buff them (and each other) in various ways. On the tabletop they tend to be flimsy, fast and have trouble with high ARM.
The Llaelese Resistance is a collection of freedom fighters fighting against the Khadoran occupation of their homeland. At the beginning of the occupation they sold their services to Cygnar and the Protectorate to fund their war against Khador, but have since morphed into a cloak and dagger organization engaged in a guerilla war.
Finally, there are many mercenaries that don't fit neatly into any of the above categories, from the in-it-for-the-money Steelhead licensed company, to the trying-to-survive-their-people's-genocide Nyss Hunters. These are the more colorful characters of the Iron Kingdoms with quite the collection of oddballs on offer.
Naturally given the sprawl, there is quite a bloat of models to collect in the Mercenary "faction" if you want to 'catch them all'. Also you can mix-and-match so many different permutations of models/units and it is perfectly fine to field an army with Humans, Trollbloods, Dwarves, Undead, Gatormen, Ogrun, Farrow, Iosans and Nyss. You can do almost anything ... with some exceptions (such as Cephalyx, Rhulic's monopoly on their warjacks, and various Animosities).
However, the theme forces within the faction provide incentive to play groupings of models that make more sense (fluffwise, at least), and are a good point to start your purchasing choice from.
Mercenaries Theme Forces
The "default" Mercenary theme force, this theme allows (almost) any Mercenary model, and gives bonuses to jack marshals.
Cygnaran rebels and hired sellswords led by Magnus in his ultimately successful effort to install a new king of Cygnar.
A guerilla force made up of Llaelese patriots engaged in a desperate struggle to restore Llael as a free and independent nation.
Cephalyx are an inscrutable and merciless race of psychically powerful creatures that live underground. They may only be played in this theme force.
Rhulic (Dwarf & Ogrun) sellswords.
Pirates of the Broken Coast.
Mercenaries Models and Units
- Ashlynn D'Elyse
- Captain Bartolo Montador
- Captain Damiano
- Captain Phinneus Shae
- Caine's Hellslingers (Cygnar Partisan)
- Note this is Caine3. Caine1 and 2 are Cygnar-only casters.
- Cognifex Cyphon
- Constance Blaize, Knight of the Prophet (Cygnar Partisan)
- Drake MacBain
- Durgen Madhammer
- Exulon Thexus
- Fiona the Black
- Lieutenant Gastone Crosse
- Note that this is Gastone2. Gastone1 is a solo.
Mercenaries Deep Lore