With the latest CoK addition to Kings of War, a lot of new playstyles have opened up for all armies. Lots of underused units were buffed, and conditional inspiring becoming normal inspiring also helped a lot in opening up new builds. I have been trying to make my Norscan, almost all infantry-based army work for a long time. I had success using them as Kingdoms of men, but not as Varangur in 3rd. However, with the updated rules, the clansmen finally got a real buff with the ability to become CS2, and Varangur also got good heroes to support infantry and some great chaff in the night raiders. With the new lease on life for infantry-heavy varangur, I decided to run a variant in a one day tourney last weekend.
Clansmen horde, pathfinder
Clansmen horde, boots of strider
Clansmen horde, fire oil
5x Night raider troop
Tundra wolves troop, +1 TC
Tundra wolves troop
Lord on Frostfang, +1 WC
Skald, Lute of darkness
It is a list that is vulnerable to shooting, with a lot of def 3+, but against close combat armies, it does very well, having shooty/punchy chaff, lots of units to trade, fair amount of nerve and good damage output.
Game 1 – the herd, Dominate
2x Longhorn regiment
2x Guardian brute regiments
2x Hunters of the wild troops
1x Forest shamblers horde
2x Tribal tracker troop
1x Chieftain on chariot
1x Tree herder
1x Shaman, heal, lightning bolt
1x Greater earth elemental
Dominate is a great scenario for my list, allowing me to pile row after row of infantry into the middle. With practically no shooting in the enemy list, it was a good matchup.
I got first turn, and was able to grab a very good position on the right flank, with three units on a hill, ready to use the +1TC. My lord quickly gained a very dominating position on the outer right flank. On the other flank, a unit of tundra wolves moved into annoying positions against the slower herd units, slowing the flank. I took out a unit of trackers with some over average javelins in the first turn.
The herd player felt the need to push forwards, even though that would open up units to charges, as I had a decent amount of shooting putting wounds here and there. In my second turn, I took out 3 more troops, getting my lord and tundra wolves on the right flank behind his lines.
From there, it became a battle of attrition, where I had the upper hand from the initial trades and positioning. An unlucky high nerve roll that wavered a longhorn unit sealed the deal, making it a total massacre and a full score for me.
Game 2 – Brotherhood, Control
2x Abyssal hunt regiment
3x Paladin monster slayers, 2h weapons
2x Pentient legion
3x Pentient regiment
1x Chaplain, fury aura
1x Chaplain, bane chant
1x Paladin, horse
1x High chaplain Augustus
This list was somewhat similar to mine, having a ton of nerve and attacks, and a bunch of quite meaty units. Lots of units I have never played before, but very straight forward list, so practically just KOM+. No shooting was another nice matchup, but he had better chance of actually outfighting me with his high nerve and CS units.
We both had a solid centre, mine being stronger at the cost of him being stronger on both flanks. The lines converged, and we both had some bad luck and good luck that meant that he took control of my right flank, while I gained the upper hand on the left flank, when his paladin put 0 wounds on my tundra wolves.
In the centre, I chaffed him up decently. He took a gamble, and charged my reavers with some foot paladins and a chaplain through a forest. However, he did not break them, and in return, the reavers killed his chaplain with bane chant and the paladins. I also got the drop on some of his other units since I had WC1 and more chaff, which meant that I crushed everything in the centre in the end, leaving me with both centre table edges.
On my left flank, it could have gone either way the entire game, but in the end, I cleaned out the Paladin, a unit of knights, foot knights and a pentient regiment, and I had two units left to claim both quarters.
On my right flank, his legion munched through my units, and he claimed a quarter there, leaving it at 5-1 to me.
Game 3 – Nightstalkers / Trident realms, Loot
5x Scarecrows regiment
1x Dopplegangers regiment
1x Horror riftweaver
2x Soul flayer regiment, pathfinder, strider
1x Horror, scorched earth
1x Banshee, chorus
1x Depth Horror horde
1x Depth horror eternal
My first opponent with shooting, not a massive amount, but the banshee with chorus was a huge threat to my list. 16 shots at 4+/3+ each round, with no help from stealth or cover, and pushing me back as well. The list also has a bunch of flyers and very high speed nimble units, which is another weakness of my list, as I don’t have an individual to hunt them down.
I deployed fairly evenly, one horde with support in the middle and on each flank, close enough to at least somewhat support each other. Using my tundra wolves and lord defensively, I was able to deny him any chance of getting into the rear or flanks of my battle line. However, his Banshee started picking on my units from turn 1, taking out a unit each round and spreading wounds around.
My night raiders managed to put 4 wounds on the depth horrors, which was enough to trigger him to go in. He charged along the line, and although he took out some units, the trades were alright. He also gave Kruufnir a charge on the Banshee because he wanted to use wind-blast, which cleared her out and put Kruufnir behind enemy lines.
The game was close fought, with both sides losing 1500-ish points. However, I managed to grab the right and centre loot counters, and delayed him enough on the left side to stop the remaining units there from being able to help. It ended 4-2 to me, securing the tournament win for the Norscan hordes.
I like the list overall a lot. The night raiders put pressure on the enemy, and allow the clansmen to actually get the first charge fairly often. The reavers are a great glass hammer, and the tundra wolves do great duty as anti-flyer / flanker, or as flankers if they are not needed defensively. The list is vulnerable to shooting, but at 1995, it is hard to cover everything. Not sure what I would drop to help that issue. Having 14 drops as Varangur at 1995 is also great.
Clansmen horde, pathfinder, B+ With the option of getting CS2, clansmen are now fairly good, as they finally have a damage output to actually kill stuff. With pathfinder, you also get much more options in their use, and they can easily get cover from shooting. Overall, I think Huscarls are probably better than clansmen, but at 25pts cheaper, it is a close race. For me, it is only the CS2 variant that is interesting.
Clansmen horde, boots of strider, B+ Same as above, just slightly less useful item
Clansmen horde, fire oil, B With the other two hordes being able to fight in terrain, I am often able to let the last one get a clear field to fight in. However, when they end up in terrain, that 5+ to hit is just brutal.
5x Night raider troop, A Very flexible unit, which can both do good damage with Piercing 1 and 4+ to hit, and with TC1 in close combat. Stealth and pathfinder is very useful, making them great chaff. This is the best chaff Varangur has access to IMO. If they live to the end, they can often finish off wounded units with their decent shooting. If you can get a flank, they will also hit way above their pts.
Tundra wolves troop, +1 TC, A For my list, the tundra wolves are critical. They are great defense against flyers and other quick and nimble units when needed, and they are fast enough and hit hard enough to be very annoying on flanks. I often get a unit into the side or rear of the enemy army. The +1TC is a great upgrade for them, taking them up to knight damage levels. If I can find a hill as well, it is laughing all the way to the bank.
Tundra wolves troop B Same as above, but lacking the +1TC to do as much damage
Reaver troop B+ These guys are now very cost effective damage dealers. At -/13 nerve, they can withstand some charges, and as long as they get to hit, they usually manage to work back their points. Lifeleach is kind of a luxury on the troop, but could have been useful if I had the points. I use them as a second line hitter, and they are also a priority if there are hills to occupy.
Lord on Frostfang, +1 WC A Everybody knows this guy. 9 attacks, decent range, very inspiring…
Kruufnir B+ The option to hand out duelist can be incredibly important in some match-ups. He also brings very inspiring, anchoring my centre, and against things he can use rampage against, his damage output is also good. Only lackluster when duelist and rampage is not really needed.
Skald, Lute of darkness B+ Inspiring + bane chant. Does the job, and not much else.