You might remember, if you read my Regiments of Renown article, that the next step for me in the road of skirmish games in the world of Warhammer Fantasy was going to be Mordheim, or to be more precise, Coreheim. Well, the planning for this is getting underway and I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on it at this early stage.
The first thing that came to mind when I was getting ready for this series of games was ‘What warband am I going to pick?’ I had had a look at the rules and alas this had made me sad at the lack of Dwarfs. So, Treasure Hunters were certainly out of the question for the moment. What I did have on offer were a selection of some oldies, and one new addition to the collection of miscreants running around the City of the Damned.
Much like with the original game the three main provinces of the time, Reikland, Marienburg and Middenheim are present in Coreheim. Each of them retains much of the same flavour it had previously with the Reiklanders benefiting from better leaderships qualities. However, they have dropped their beneficial shooting qualities in favour of a better drilling, meaning they stick around longer than most.
Middenheimers are the typical warriors of Ulric. Instead of a boost to strength right off the bat they get access to all Strength skills and have a bonus vs animals due to their dangerous exploits in the North. Marienburgers have benefited greatly I would venture in that they can now look after their Hired Swords better and all come with access to the Rogue skills making them the cutthroats they should be.
All in all a good selection with a fairly standard choice of folk to add to their roster.
Next up are the Sigmarite loving Witch Hunters. These fiery folk have access to some of the best heroes in the game, on a broad section at least, with no dawdling young bloods getting trapped underfoot. They obviously pay a bit extra for this, but their hatred of wizards means that against the likes of the undead they do get a chance to bring down those dangerous vampires.
Witch Hunters also got access to the quite novel Bounty Hunters in Coreheim. These folk come with manacles allowing them to drag off heroes that get battered about. Always good to ransom them off for some extra gold!
Vampires are just as deadly as you might expect in Coreheim coming with two wounds right off the bat and a Weapon Skill of five. You might think that you’d then just be hitting on fours, and maybe threes if you were lucky. Coreheim does away with that table instead giving you a Ballistic Skill style chart to refer to. That means yes, the Vampire is hitting on twos!
Both the Vampire and the Necromancer will be your spellcasters in this warband and they have access to some rather neat spells to get things going. They will be augmenting their rather lowly minions with their magic but don’t underestimate the power of skeletons and all sorts with their ability to cause fear. Overwhelm a foe and get the drop on him and they will make short work of your men.
The greenskins are the surprise entry to the city of Mordheim. I didn’t see this coming when I was playing this a few editions ago but I see that they are a nice bridging force between the likes of humans and the swarming Skaven. They are also insanely fun to play as you might imagine from Night Goblins and they play very much like a pet class from an MMORPG with Cave Squigs and Trolls making up some of their number.
The Shaman will be hurling your little runts into battle as quickly as he can and then playing around with the idea of summoning the Foot of Gork to stomp on your favourite hero in the mean time. These chaps are a very good side.
Cult of the Possessed
Much like the original Cult of the Possessed these folk have access to one of the most powerful creatures next to the Vampire in Coreheim. The Possessed himself is a machine with a sickening strength four off the bat and a toughness of five to try and crack though. He also can’t die much like the Vampire and although he can take multiple injuries he will still be skulking around in the shadows threatening your men.
What you choose from that point is essentially an entourage for your Possessed. He will be dealing with combat fairly well but you would do well to take some Beastmen to run alongside him. Back him up with a selection of cultists with bows for ranged support alongside the Magisters and you have something very deadly.
Skaven Clan Eshin
Last but not least are the numerous hordes of the Skaven. They, like in Mordheim, have access to some of the funkiest bits of kit around and will be bringing a bevy of tricks to the table to slice and dice with. At Initiative four across the board they are fast and will be scampering across rooftops and the mass of terrain you lay out with ease. Terrain plays a big factor in this game and the Skaven can use it to their advantage.
You could go for the lumbering Rat Ogre but I think I favour the mass of cloaks and daggers that is the swarm. Send a few of your best agents around the front, get those deadly fighting claws sharp, and then ambush from all sides. Why go and pick up the objective for yourself when the foe can and you steal it from their cold dead corpse?
So, that’s what we have on offer. I had a good look through my collection, not wanting to spend much if I could help it. I had considered a Middenheimer force since they are probably my favourite of the Mercenaries but the lure of Witch Hunters was too strong. After a bit of pondering I have settled on the Witch Hunters and assembled the righteous and the pure to take back the city from the foul witches within.
So, this is my force as it stands after a demo game (I refuse to call the leader an ‘Inquisitor’!)…
Templar (60) Dagger (-) Sword (7) Pistol (15)
Priest of Sigmar (35) Hammer (5) Shield (5)
Prayer: Might of Sigmar
Witch Hunter (30) Crossbow (25) Sword (7)
Witch Hunter (30) Hammer (5) Shield (5)
Witch Hunter (30) Great Weapon (10)
3x Zealots (60) Bows (21)
2x Zealots (40) Swords (14) Shields (10)
2x Flagellants (60) Great Weapons (20)
My thinking behind the warband is that I have a fair amount of combat power from the Witch Hunters and the Templar (Inquisitor) so bringing up the ranged support would be my three zealots with bows. They might not be great shots but along with the Witch Hunter with Crossbow it should prove a good firing squad.
After a game I realised that the main punch of this force came from the Flagellants and the Witch Hunters with the Hammer and the one with the Great Weapon. They could really get stuck in and with the Priest ability to cast Might of Sigmar, granting hammer/club wielders +1/+2 strength and a bonus on the injury roll meant they could keep folk out of action.
My demo game also gave me a real appreciation for the shield and hand weapon combo. My Zealots with Sword & Shield were on a 5+ save thanks to 6+ from the Shield and then a further +1 from the ‘Nimble’ rule. This grants you +1 on top of the basic armour save to demonstrate you ducking and diving around. It might not seem a lot, and in the previous version of Mordheim armour was very much a luxury but it can make the difference in Coreheim.
This was where I regretted not putting at least a shield on my Templar. He went down so quickly to the enemy Vampire that it wasn’t even funny! By contrast the Vampire was wearing heavy armour, alongside a sword and shield meaning he was at a 3+ armour save. While I wouldn’t say that buying armour for all of your heroes is a good idea, at least give them shields if you can and consider armouring up your leader with something more than sack cloth like I did!
I have also realised that Witch Hunters need to play dirty. You need to gang up on smaller groups of men and batter them down with hammers before moving on. Also, putting their ability to slice up Wizards to good use is integral, especially against the Undead. With three spells floating around from the very beginning they can be a pain. The Hatred rule means you can strike your foe on the ground regardless of other combatants so putting people out of action and gaining valuable experience through cruelty is a real possibility.
Might of Sigmar proved to be the saving grace of the Warrior Priest (at least for some of the game anyway). His boosted strength meant he was crushing through skeletons and the added shield and my perchant for rolling fives was also helpful.
I have decided to make some changes before I take them to Mordheim proper however. I will be buying armour for my Templar, no doubt about it. This means I will have to lose some of my men from elsewhere and I think one of the Zealots with Bows might have to drop off the radar. Two shortbows should be enough to begin with. I have also toyed with the idea of potentially dropping something so I can work a Dwarf Slayer into the warband as a Hired Sword. They are fairly expensive coming in at 25gc and then 10gc upkeep, but it should be do-able. I just have to work out if I want to sate my Dwarf lust that quickly!
I feel it’s also quite important to name and come up with a background for most of your men in Mordheim. So, here is the cast of characters I will be bringing to the City…
Templar – Richter Haustman
Priest of Sigmar – Gottfried Von Otun
Witch Hunter (Crossbow) – Waldemar Branh
Witch Hunter (Hammer/Shield) – Rudiger Howard
Witch Hunter (Great Weapon) – Ulrich Von Lichenstein
Zealots (Bows) – The Stakers
Zealots (Sword & Shield) – Brothers Grimh
Flagellants – The Dark Souls
The thinking behind this warband is that Richter Haustman is a bit of a renegade Witch Hunter. He doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. This has of course bought a rather different breed of warband together and Gottfried’s flock were happy to answer his call for fire and vengeance. I will be using some Warrior Priest models to mark the other Witch Hunters apart from Waldemar to represent this. Waldemar I see as Richter’s rather silent and brooding dogs body. He does the work for the gold and nothing more, but Richter sees that as a plus. As long as he can pay him Waldemar will be happy.
Bringing up the rear are the minions. The Stakers seemed to be a good name for a roving band of zealots intent on hunting vampires. The Zealots were also a nice excuse to play with the Games Workshop way of twisting well known popular culture references and therefore the Brothers Grimh were born.
Last but not least are the Flagellants, represented by two Dark Souls from the old metal Possessed Warband. My thinking here was that Richter uses the weapon of the enemy against them. These two crazed Khorne worshipers have been muzzled and leashed almost like attack dogs and even though they might be a bit heretical when sent into a scrap they care for nothing but the slaughter. With no fear and a desire to cause pain it makes the perfect blunt instrument.
I’m sure another Witch Hunter would have something to say about Richter’s plans but the City of the Damned is a terribly accident prone place and they could so easily lose their life in the twisting streets. All that matters to him is that he seeks out evil and vanquishes it, whatever the method.
Studying the Maps
This new foray into Mordheim through Coreheim is going to be very fun and although the rules take a bit of getting used to it is a very fresh take on the game. A lot of the funky almost weird parts of the original have been taken out along with characters and warbands that seemed somewhat against the grain with the pace of the game. Sisters of Sigmar, as cool as they are, unfortunately bit the dust.
I still have a very, very soft spot for the original game in my heart and I did quite like the quirky design but it did make for some rather stupid moments, and warbands that were practically unstoppable. Then it became a case of trying to convince your mate to play a new one rather than the one he’d built.
I will still yearn for Dwarf Treasure Hunters and maybe I’ll come up with rules for them myself but in the mean time Richter has an appointment with your wizard and the fire is just getting started.
Reckon you’ll come back to Mordheim?
"Why go and pick up the objective for yourself when the foe can and you steal it from their cold dead corpse?"
"I’m sure another Witch Hunter would have something to say about Richter’s plans but the City of the Damned is a terribly accident prone place.."