I had a tourney last weekend where I wanted to use my Norscan Varangur army. The goal with my Norscan army was to get a playable 2k force ready fast, as closing projects is something I have been fairly bad at. While I will not close the Norscan army project for new units, reaching 2k points allow me leave them for a while as I move on to other projects.
The list I landed on was:
2x Bloodsworn hordes, fury
1x Fallen horde
2x Magus conclaves
2x Devourer, breath
1x Cave dweller
1x Troll king
1x Magus, bane-chant, inspiring
Only 11 drops and 12 unit strength makes this a very elite army that will certainly not win the game by just capping objectives last turn. However, it is also an army that can play in all phases of the game. While it does not have the speed and raw hitting power of my Kislev army, it has more staying power, more flexible shooting, better terrain game and a ton of monsters. And of course, most importantly, it is a fairly quick army to paint now that the bloodsworn hordes are finished. The finished 2k army can be seen below. Click the images for larger view:
Bloodsworn hordes – With a meaty 22/24 nerve and 5+ defense, these guys are great anvils. Of course, costing a hefty 240pts, they better be as well!
Offensively, they are just ok, dealing out the same damage as a horde of city militia, which is not super-impressive for their cost. Of course, infantry hordes are a pain to move around, they can be blocked very easily by individuals and other chaff, so anvil is the role these guys take anyway.
I have contemplated switching them out for warbands to save 120pts for something else, and that is probably an option I will try in the future.
Fallen horde – After the nerf these guys got in COK18, they are hardly no-brainers anymore. With only CS1, they do feel a bit pillow-fisted at times. If I didn´t need the unlock, I would have preferred mounted sons over a fallen horde, as they get more attacks and TC2 as well. Nimble is still nice though, and 18 3+ attacks is decent enough.
Magus conclaves – BEST warmachine in the game! These guys are amazing for their points. They have great nerve for a warmachine at 11/13, and with individual, enemies are at -1 to hit them with ranged, so they are a pain to remove with shooting. Offensively, the two shots with 4+ to hit and piercing 2 mean that they consistently put some damage on anything. Individual combined with 36″ range just gives them the mobility needed to do whatever you need them to. The combination of offensive and defensive perks this unit has means that they will have great choice of targets, they will hurt something each turn, and they will continue shooting through the entire game. It really racks up in the end. Tons of big monsters have been ground down by these guys alone in my games.
Devourers – I love these guys!
High speed + nimble + small base + strider + pathfinder = DANGER.
Enough attacks and strength to do damage even from the front, and they are easy to get into flanks and even through enemy lines into rear arcs. Breath gives them something to do while they wait for opportunities. Stealth is just the icing on the cake, as their low defense and nerve means they will die quickly to determined resistance. These guys often end up dead, but not before they do big amounts of damage on the way out. They also got me second place in Monster March painting challenge 🙂
Cave dweller – Super giant. 3+ to hit and regen on a giant is scary. To compensate, he does not have brutal or fury, which does hurt when you need them, but at least he has kept strider. I like him, he is a nice and hitty anvil-ish monster. I often line him up in terrain or behind an obstacle and dare my opponent to charge him. Compared to the devourers, the lack of breath is sad, and speed 6 feels a lot slower than speed 7, but he tends to survive a lot of situations that they would never survive, so they make a good team.
Troll king – Very inspiring, for himself. Of course, he is at his best when he brings along some troll friends, maybe in a formation. However, he is cool alone as well. Big shield, a good nerve and regen makes him a great anvil. Nimble and his decent offensive power makes him a huge threat on flanks. He is held back by low speed, but since he has breath, he contributes early. Most of the time, he stands around in terrain, anchoring my flank, keeping enemies occupied for a long time before going down.
Magus – Lightning bolt 4 is great, although it does make him expensive as a bane chanter, and I often want to cast both lightning and bane chant. I have considered dropping down to a Skald with lute to save some points, but at the same time, the lightning is often clutch in removing some important units, so it will hurt to lose it. 5+ defense and 11/13 nerve is very nice in keeping this guy alive against enemy lightning bolts and shooting.
Magnhilde – The new girl on the block. I am glad she killed of Herja and grew some one-use only wings. Magnhilde is a great controlling piece. Just the threat of her one turn of flying keeps opponents honest. 7 attacks with elite and CS2 is enough to consistently put wounds on anything, and she has taken out many damaged or smaller units on her own or larger units when working with other units. At only 175pts, I think she is one of the best value combat individuals in the game. As she is killable, you also don´t loose friends the way you do when you play the 6+ defense unkillable bastards.
As a sidenote: Removing Herja was really good for the game IMO, we don´t need units that are impossible to kill, super fast and maneuverable and that just break too many of the rules of the game. I hope all the remaining 6+ super characters get hit with a nerf-hammer in COK19.
Overall, as this is a very elite and small army that will never out-drop an opponent, I have pre-planned combat groups and deployment, and I only do minor changes to that based on terrain, opponent drops / list and scenario. I try to fight on one half of the board with practically my entire army. I load up a fast flank which will push hard to threaten flanks and the rear of the enemy line and anchor that move with the hordes in the middle of the board. The weak flank is most of the time held by the Troll king with some support if needed. I think having a basic plan for both deployment and the game itself is very helpful for getting good results.
The army has done better than I dared to hope as long as I have followed this basic plan. I will write up a report from the tourney soon to give some insights into the actual combat performance of the list. More pics of individual units is also coming up soon.