Warmachine & Hordes 101: Part 2 – Assassination Victory Condition

Going for assassination is much like playing a puzzle: Order of activation is VERY important. If you mess it up, you’ll miss a piece of the puzzle and you may have missed your chance. Warcasters and warlocks are usually the most guarded model on the opposing army; hidden behind intervening models and models with defensive abilities such as shield guard. You need to peel off those defensive measures layer-by-layer before hitting the gooey insides.

If you’re planning for assassination victory, you need to bring model(s) with high threat range that can reliably hit. Warcaster and Warlocks are usually hard to kill due to their higher than average DEF and/or ARM value and screening model(s) in front of it. Hence, to assassinate them, you’ll need to plan how you want to get through all of it and still hit reliably hard multiple times.

Hitting Reliably

So, step-by-step, first determine your method of hitting reliably: Can you knockdown the opposing caster from afar? Or perhaps you have a debuff that makes your army easier to hit? Or maybe you want to achieve it by slamming models? If you have any of these, that’s the first and VERY important step of your assassination.

Sending multiple attacks that far ahead is hard enough; to miss some of them would be disastrous for your plan. Don’t be stingy to make sure that your debuff is delivered, boost your attack roll if you can, because if this doesn’t happen roughly 50% of you assassination chance is gone.

Type of Attacks

Next, what kind of attacks that you want to use? Ranged attacks? Melee attacks? Can they be boosted? Due to Warcasters’ and Warlocks’ survivability, you may need to bring the big guns. Units with melee attacks are generally more powerful than units with ranged attacks because they can be boosted (by charging). Melee warjacks are also usually more reliable for assassination than ranged ones because they don’t have ROF limits; you can buy as much as your assigned focus. However, ranged units and warjacks have much more threat range than melee ones, and therefore easier to reach your target.

In general, multiple boosted pow 12s is enough kill most casters. However, you need to prepare a lot of attacks in your list because most Warcasters and Warlocks don’t die after just one big hit. That’s something you need to calculate off-game to get a feel on approximately how many attacks needed in order to kill a caster (on average); then put them into practice.

Delivery of Attacks

Next is to plan on delivery: how will you deliver your attacks to the opposing Warcaster or Warlocks? If you’re planning for melee assassination, then you better prepare multiple movement buffs so you can threat further. Being able to ignore free-strikes also helps, using models or effects that give parry. The strongest one is usually to use or give models incorporeal or acrobatics that can allow you to move through intervening models with ease.

If you’re going for ranged & spell assassination, then prepare on how you want to give LOS to your army and bring units with long ranged guns. For example for LOS, knockdown-ed models are not blocking LOS, or perhaps moving them aside using telekinesis; there are also special rules in the game that can allow you to ignore LOS like Shadow Fire in Taryn. Arcing fire is also an option because it allows you to ignore some intervening models. For spell assassination, Arcnode is a very important piece since it’ll allow you to extend your threat range considerably.

Putting Everything Together

Once you know what type of attack you would like to use, method of delivery, and how to hit reliable; use all of those knowledge in list building and game planning (refer to the first article of this series). Build your assassination list, then try it out and make revisions to make it work better.

Assassination victory is something that you should always put in your mind; even an attrition or scenario oriented list can perform a reliable assassination if the opponent is too aggressive in moving their caster. Remember that it is usually a good idea to ask yourself every time you start your turn: can you deliver a reliable assassination attempt this turn?

That’s all I got for today in assassination victory. As always, I hope it helps you to better understand the art of assassination. Please leave a comment if you want to ask about something or if you want to point out something that I missed in this article.

– Daniel –


One thought on “Warmachine & Hordes 101: Part 2 – Assassination Victory Condition”

  1. Great tips. I ll make sure to put those in mind. Since.. Apparently my fav warcaster is most potent when attempting assassinations. Still wondering tho, when the scenario is one big 12“ inch killing field. Gonna try that soon.


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