Theme - Hammer Strike

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Mercenary Theme Force
Hammerstrike army.png

Fighting in the wars of the Iron Kingdoms has allowed the mercenaries of Rhul to stay apprised of the ongoing struggles abroad. These sell-swords fatten the coffers of mercenary clans and receive valuable combat experience against a variety of opponents. Numerous such clans offer the might of Rhulic ’jacks and veteran warriors to those who can afford their asking price. Together they crush enemy armies to dust beneath the tread of their machines and an unceasing rain of hammer blows.

Theme Rules[edit]

Theme Force Restrictions[edit]

A Hammer Strike army can only include models from the following list:

Allowed models Which includes
Last updated 2017.09
Rhulic warcasters
Rhulic Non-character warjacks
Note: Character warjacks can be taken, but only if bonded with their favourite warcaster (Cankerworm with Asphyxious, etc)
Rhulic models/units

Theme Force Bonuses[edit]

  • For every full 20 points of units and battle engines in this army, you can add one weapon crew unit, command attachment, or Ogrun Bokur solo to the army free of cost.
    • Free models/units do not count towards the 20 points.
  • Heavy warjacks and weapon crew units gain Reposition [3"]. (Reposition [3"] - At the end of an activation in which it did not run or fail a charge, this model can advance up to 3", then its activation ends.)
  • Your deployment is extended 2" forward.
  • Warrior models gain Tough.

Recent Changes[edit]

2017.06 Errata

Battle Engines now count towards the free points.

2017.09 Errata

Warrior models gain tough.

Thoughts on this Theme Force[edit]

Hammer Strike in a nutshell[edit]

This theme force is used to field the dwarf and ogre alliance of the Rhulfolk. Warmachine has a small but passionate collection of Dwarf players, and this theme is just for them.

Extended deployment zone, and heavies with Reposition are good things. Repositioning Horgenhold Artillery Corps is better. Tough on high ARM models is alright.

Dwarves can field a lot of ARM and boxes, they're all tough and they are adept at both ranged and melee combat. Hammer Strike rewards taking units and Crawlers, so 20 Forge Guard and 2 Crawlers is something to seriously consider to get your three free picks.

Theme weakness and mitigating them[edit]

It is the slowest army in the game. Ossrum mitigates this to an extent, however Gorten and Durgen do not and you may struggle to contest those distant flags and zones in certain scenarios.

The limited choices makes this theme tough to run. Most of the Rhulic units are considered subpar, while their warjacks are good to excellent. The lack of solos means that some flag scoring may not be possible.

On early turns your heavy warjacks will get further with a Trample + Reposition than they would with a regular Run.

Many Rhulic units aren't exactly the greatest choices, so you're basically only going to take Forge Guard and Siege Crawlers to get freebies.

Tactical Arcanist Corps are the only magical attacks in the entire army besides your caster. This makes Hammer Strike nearly unplayable into Cryx for all intents and purposes.

List Building Tips[edit]

Several ways to max out free points:

  • 20 points: Two minimum units of Forge Guard (20 points)
  • 21 points: Full unit of Forge Guard (16 points), and Herne & Jonne (5 points)
  • 22 points: Full unit of Forge Guard (16 points) and a unit of artillery (6 points)
  • 23 points: Siege Crawler (18 points) and Herne & Jonne (5 points).
  • 40 points: Full unit of Forge Guard (16 points), a Siege Crawler (18 points), and a unit of artillery (6 points)
  • 41 points: Two Siege Crawlers (18 points), and Herne and Jonne. With two free artillery corps this is sometimes known as Full Madhammer.
  • 41 points: Siege Crawler (18 points), 10 Forge Guard (16 points), Tactical Arcanist Corps (7 points)
  • 42 points: Two full units of Forge Guard (32 points) and one minimum unit (10 points)
  • 60 points: Two full units of Forge Guard (32 points), a minimum unit of Forge Guard (10 points) and a Siege Crawler (18 points)

Ogrun Assault Corps could stand in for any unit of Forge Guard, but are universally considered a poor choice.

The Artillery Corps are considered the best item to take as the freebie, rather than a Bokur or a High Shields CA; to take the CA would first mean taking High Shields (there is of course nothing wrong with the Bokur).

Caster thoughts[edit]

Ossrum used to love this theme exclusively, even before it got buffed with Tough. Now however, since the release of the Irregulars theme force, there is some debate about whether he prefers the Rhulic-specific buffs of Hammer Strike or the flexibility of the Irregulars. The major difference being Ossrum can be built to beat Cryx in Irregulars, but not in Hammer Strike.

Ossrum likes to include a large battlegroup and the Siege Crawler in his force. A large battlegroup doesn't count towards free points in Hammer Strike (but does in Irregulars), and the Crawler doesn't count towards free points in Irregulars (but does in Hammer Strike). So it sort of balances out.

There is no debate that Durgen is much better in Irregulars where he can take Reinholdt and bring units that work well with Primed.

With the addition of Tough to Hammer Strike, a compelling case can be made for Gorten to use this theme over Irregulars since he can keep Tough models upright and put walls in front of them.



In Mk1 and Mk2 this was known as The Searforge Commission.

Rules Clarifications[edit]

Rules Clarification : Tough - None yet. (Edit)

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Reposition      (Edit)

  • Models out of formation cannot move via Reposition. Refer to the "Out of Formation" rules in the core rulebook.
  • You cannot trigger abilities that occur "at the end of activation" (such as Sprint) after resolving Reposition, because your activation has ended. (Infernal Ruling) See also this article for a detailed explanation.
  • You cannot trigger abilities that occur "at any time" (such as Go To Ground) during a Reposition. Because you can't trigger it while moving, and after moving your activation has ended. (Infernal Ruling)
    • This holds true even if it's a unit with multiple Reposition moves. (Infernal Ruling)

Rules Clarification: Theme Forces     (Edit)
Warning: This is a long one.

Mercenaries and Partisans
  • When you take a Partisan Mercenary, it counts as your Faction. However this doesn't increase the number of total mercenaries allowed. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Exception: If the Partisan Mercenary is explicitedly listed as one of the models you can take in the theme (such as Cephalyx in Cryx's Black Industries theme), then you can take the full FA plus your "up to one Merc" allotment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Sometimes a specific Mercenary/Minion model/unit will gain a theme benefit of "If this model is included, it counts as a Faction model" (such as Greygore in Kriel Company). In this case, the model/unit might or might not count against your "up to one merc" limit:
    • If that Merc is in the list of models explicitly allowed (such as Savio in Storm Division), they won't count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
    • If that Merc isn't in the list, (such as the Devil's Shadows in Slaughter Fleet Raiders), they will count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
  • Partisans will count towards any relevant free points. For instance, Nyss will count twoards the "20 points of Retribution units" in the Defenders of Ios theme. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Partisans can be eligible to be taken as free choices. For instance, Erysis1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenaries and Ranking Officers

  • If you can include a Merc unit, and its attachments, then you can attach a Ranking Officer. This is true regardless whether or not that Ranking Officer is on the list of "Allowed models" . (Infernal Ruling)
  • Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
  • The Merc unit will count towards your "X points of [Faction] models/units" benefit (if your theme is worded that way). (Infernal Ruling)

Mercenary Warjacks, Warbeasts, & Companions

  • As per the errata to the core rules, if your "up to one Merc" ...
    • ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
    • ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)

Bonus - One [X] gains [Y]

  • If you need to choose which models get your theme bonus, then you do this choice after deployment. (Infernal Ruling)
  • An example is how Winter Guard Kommand gives Advance Move to one-warjack-of-your-choice-per-WG-unit.
    • In comparison, Destruction Initiative gives all Servitors the Shield Guard ability so you don't need to "make" a choice.
  • You should still write on your army list how many of these bonuses you get to hand out, though, so your opponent can clearly see. (Infernal Ruling)
    • ie at the bottom of your list, you'd write "3 warjacks gain Advance Move" but you don't need to state which three are going to get the bonus.

Theme Forces, free models, and Specialists/ADR in Steamroller

  • You can swap out as many models from your main list into your specialists and vice versa as you like, but you must completely recalculate the new army list when you do, including bonuses. As long as the new army list is valid, including all free models, it doesn't matter what the left over points in your specialists are. (Staff Ruling)
  • If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.

Unit Attachments & free points

Theme - The Bones of Orboros

  • Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Call of the Wild

  • When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
  • Due to the way Tanith's feat is worded, during her feat turn the COST of animi cannot drop below 1. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - The Faithful Masses

  • A Mercenary unit with an Attendant Priest does count as Protectorate unit for the purpose of calculating points for free cards. There is a bug in Warroom that prevents it counting properly. (Staff Ruling)

Theme - The Ghost Fleet

  • The "free solo" can be any kind of solo, it doesn't have to be a Revenant solo.

Theme - Kriel Company

  • Greygore/Dannon count against your "up to one Minion unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Llaelese Resistance

  • It is 2 Cruicible or 2 Cygnar or 2 Menoth.
    You can't take more than 2, and you can't mix and match from multiple Factions. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Scourge of the Broken Coast

Theme - Slaughter Fleet Raiders

  • The Devil's Shadows Mutineers count against your "up to one Mercenary unit" allowance. (Infernal Ruling)

Theme - Clockwork Legions

  • If you attach a small-based model to a medium-based unit, it is no longer a medium-based unit and won't benefit from Vengeance.
  • However, it will regain Vengeance when the small base dies. Furthermore, the small base dying will trigger Vengeance.
  • (Infernal Ruling)

Models in this Theme Force[edit]

Refer to Category:Hammer Strike

Other themes[edit]

Theme Forces (Edit)
Cygnar Gravediggers - Heavy Metal - Sons of the Tempest - Storm Division (Edit)
Protectorate of Menoth The Creator's Might - Exemplar Interdiction - The Faithful Masses - Guardians of the Temple (Edit)
Khador Armored Korps - Jaws of the Wolf - Legion of Steel - Winter Guard Kommand - Wolves of Winter (Edit)
Cryx Black Industries - Dark Host - The Ghost Fleet - Infernal Machines - Scourge of the Broken Coast - Slaughter Fleet Raiders (Edit)
Retribution of Scyrah Defenders of Ios - Forges of War - Legions of Dawn - Shadows of the Retribution (Edit)
Mercenaries Hammer Strike - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - Operating Theater - The Talion Charter - Llaelese Resistance (Edit)
Convergence of Cyriss Destruction Initiative - Clockwork Legions (Edit)
Crucible Guard Magnum Opus - Prima Materia (Edit)
Trollbloods Band of Heroes - Kriel Company - Power of Dhunia - Storm of the North (Edit)
Circle Orboros Call of the Wild - Secret Masters - The Bones of Orboros - The Devourer's Host - The Wild Hunt (Edit)
Skorne Winds of Death - Disciples of Agony - Imperial Warhost - Masters of War - The Exalted (Edit)
Legion of Everblight Children of the Dragon - Oracles of Annihilation - Primal Terrors - Ravens of War (Edit)
Minions The Blindwater Congregation - The Thornfall Alliance - Will Work for Food (Edit)
Grymkin Dark Menagerie - Bump in the Night (Edit)