Warmachine & Hordes 101: Part 4 – Attrition and Time Victory Condition

For the last of the Victory Condition article, I decided to combine the attrition and time victory condition. Not only because the time victory condition is very seldom pursued as a primary winning condition, but also because the way in order to achieve them is somewhat similar.

Building a Brick (and a Hammer)

To win by attrition you must fill your list with models and units which are very hard to remove from the table. Obviously, not every faction can achieve this; and some excel much better than the others because of their faction’s unique characteristics. It is also worth noting that survival by high ARM is better than high DEF; because there are more ways to bypass DEF such as knockdown (either by slam, throw, or other effects) than ways to bypass ARM. You can also use models that need specific condition in order to be hit such as Incorporeal; because magical attacks are uncommon. The bottom line is, you must use models that have innate ability to survive.

However, you must also remember to sprinkle your list with models that hit back pretty reliably; because if all you can do is trying not to get killed without killing back, the opposing army will eventually succeeded to wipe your army slowly (but surely). The hard part is finding the right composition between models with high survivability and ones that can hit back. If you can find models with both properties, that’s the ideal one, but also consider the point cost so that you don’t end up with too little body count.

Finding the Reliable Combo

The next step is to find spells and effects that can dial that survivability to 11. For example, giving Defenders’ Ward spell to a unit of Cetrati; or perhaps Arcane Shield to a Centurion. Such spells and effects mostly comes from the caster, which is why usually attrition game is correlated to several specific caster, or other models in the faction such as the Stone Scribes in Trollblood. The best ones are those that covers a lot of models at once, because it can be a big multiplier to your existing brick(s); which is why Stone Scribes is such a great unit.

You can also use spell and effects that controls the enemy models, such as Polarity Shield spell that prevents a model/unit to be charged from the front; not only you deny the extra threat range, you also deny a unit their boosted charge damage roll, and that can be a big thing for a model with high basic ARM value.

Other ability that you can use is the one that gives tough, because it  potentially forces your opponent (33% chance) to make multiple attacks to kill one model. Even better if you have abilities that can make that tough roll chance higher (or even certain) such as the Harbinger’s Martyrdom, Drake MacBain’s feat, or Makeda’s Stay Death.

Controlling Threatened Models: Force Bad Choices

Once you have the main ingredients, time to cook them on the table. Even though you have a very durable units on the table, it doesn’t mean that you can/should always jam everything to the opposing forces at once; remember that they might also have great combos that can ruin your game plan.

Therefore, before the game starts, identify opposing models that can ruin your attrition. For example, if you’re relying on DEF then you should be careful with Storm Lances who have Electroleaps, or models with big AoE guns. If you’re stacking up ARM to survive, you still have to be careful to models like Tiberion or Gargantuans and Collosals in general.

Know their threat range and limit what they can take in a turn; don’t offer your key pieces unless it is critical to your game (such as to contest a flag/zone). Force your opponent to make hard and bad choices. Offering a Stormclad with Arcane Shield on to a unit of Nihilators is an example of such situation: Unless buffed by some spell or feat, Nihilators don’t have enough firepower to one-round a heavy warjack with Arcane Shield; however if they don’t charge, they will surely wiped the turn after by Stormclad’s attacks and Electroleaps, or giving ground to the Stormclad to grab an objective.

Make Them Waste Their Time

Especially if you’re pursuing the time victory condition, make your opponent waste his/her time. You can achieve this by doing all of the above, especially the one where you force bad choices. Make them spend their time thinking about their best course of action. You can also make them waste their time by forcing multiple attacks such as by giving tough models, which makes them spend more time rolling dices.

Obviously this is not something you can control too much of, especially if your opponent already have experiences playing against your list. Therefore, don’t rely too much on this; but it is still something handy to keep in mind.

Closing the Game

If you done everything as described in this article, by round 3 or 4 you should have more relevant models on the table than your opponent. When that happens, decide if it is safer or easier for you to close it by assassination or scenario. Whichever you pick, it should be fairly easy if the opposing army already lose most of their key pieces to the attrition trade.

So that’s all I can say about this victory condition, and this article also complete my article series that discusses about victory conditions. Despite what I’ve written in the article, it is very important for you to test them yourself on the table: you might find some key steps and formulas that works better for your own preferences and meta.

As always, if you have any questions please drop a comment down below and I’ll try my best to answer them.

– Daniel –


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