WarmaZone 20 is finally here, and hopefully you’ve all had the time to try out your Imperial armies on the fields of Immoren. For my twentieth installment, it’s time to revisit #1 and give the Trenchers a well-deserved upgrade. To give them, and the rest of your MOW force, more bang for your buck, we have a special two-for-one deal: the Trencher NCO and Battle Standard.
Currently, both of these models are only available in the MOW starter box pictured above, and though I don’t like to advertise on my blog, this box is the best way of starting a MOW force. You get a full squad of Trenchers with two Chargers, a Greyhound, the Standard Bearer, and the NCO, so that’s 1 battle engine, 1 solo, and 1 fully-loaded unit. Not a bad starting point, and there’s also a Wolfbane box too, if you prefer your armies more savage. So, what can these two do? Let’s look at the Standard Bearer first:
- Unit Composition: 1 Command Attachment
- Cost: 3 points
- Force Allocation: 2
- Stats: SPD-5, STR-7, MAT-7, RAT-6, DEF-10, ARM-14, CMD-8, HP-5
-Aggressor Handgun: RNG-8, ROF-2, POW-10
-Trench Knife: RNG-0.5, POW-3, P+S-10
- Special Rules:
-Extraordinary Achievement Medal: For every enemy model removed from play by this model or its unit, place a “Ribbon” marker next to this model. During this model’s activation, you may discard the appropriate number of markers to get one of these effects. All effects last one turn except “I need artillery…” Using an effect is an Action.
-“Move it you ‘lags!” (2): Models in unit gain +1 SPD.
-“Don’t you die on me” (2): the officer gains Field Medic
-“Incoming!” (2): Models in unit gain +1 ARM. This effect is lost when the unit moves.
-“I need artillery on this position NOW!” (5): Place a 5” AOE within LOS of this model within 6” and scatter it D6/D6”. Every model within the AOE takes a POW-4 Poison Gas autohit, unless they have the Alchemical Mask rule.
-“Take that down!” (5): Models in unit gain +1 ROF on ranged weapons.
-Nighthawk Strike (8): Place a 30mm token anywhere on the battlefield. Any model finishing its activation within 3” of the token takes a POW-2 Poison Gas autohit, unless it has Alchemical Mask.
The Trencher Standard Bearer is a relatively cheap Command Attachment that takes the mediocre Trenchers from good to great with only 3 points. On his own, There’s nothing special about him. He’s the same speed and has better offensive stats than his men, letting him hit his targets more reliably, but his defensive stats are still quite pitiful, and he will die to prolonged fire, so he won’t be surviving any front line brawls. His armaments aren’t too spectacular either, having just a standard-issue Aggressor and Chain Ripper, but you don’t add this guy to your squad for his combat capabilities. You take him for his special rules, and the rules the Standard Bearer has serve to make the Trenchers even better on the field. First of all, he has standard-issue Alchemical Mask, Officer so he can take control of his attached unit, Pathfinder, and Standard, granting a CMD bonus to his troops. He has now gained the Artillerist special rule, which works well if you’re playing right out of the box and have the Greyhound armed with a Slinger following the Trenchers into battle. Outside of that and the few mortars and AOE attacks the MOW has access to, this ability really doesn’t come into use all of the time. His main ability is the Extraordinary Achievement Medal, which is Imperial’s way of boosting its soldiers’ morale through rewards. For every model killed by the Trenchers or the Standard Bearer, the unit gains a ribbon marker, and these markers can then be cashed in to gain bonuses for the whole unit. Move It lets you move your troops faster down the field and get them into position sooner, Don’t You Die essentially grants the Trenchers Tough in order to make them more survivable, Incoming is another version of Dig In to give them more resistance to ranged attacks, and Take That Down gives one unit of Trenchers the firepower of two, letting you shred your opposition with a hail of bullets. If you prefer the offensive choice, as long as you have enough ribbons, you have the choice of two artillery strikes, one inaccurate and more powerful, and one less powerful but more devastating and accurate. These two abilities aren’t all that spectacular, but they’re more effective than the officer’s existing weapons at destroying the enemy, and can be incredibly deadly against troops without gas masks. With the wide array of options and choices available to Imperial’s MOW outside of the Line Infantry, the Standard Bearer lets the Trenchers keep up with their comrades and makes this straightforward unit more adaptable, in the vein of the other Special Forces. This ability also comes in handy when you’re fielding the Trenchers alongside the Wolfbanes in the Wolfpack theme force, making them more resilient or making their ranged support better to keep the Weapon Masters off of the short-ranged wolves.
Now onto the Trencher NCO, the other choice. Unlike the Standard Bearer, the NCO is a solo that operates independently, has greater offensive capabilities, and can dole out buffs to more units than just one unit of Trenchers.
- Unit Composition: 1 Solo
- Cost: 5 points
- Force Allocation: 2
- Stats: SPD-5, STR-7, MAT-7, RAT-9, DEF-10, ARM-15, CMD-9, HP-5
-Aggressor Handgun: RNG-8, ROF-2, POW-10
-Chain Ripper: RNG-1, POW-3, P+S-10
- Special Rules:
-Ammo Dump (Action): This model may place a permanent 30mm “Ammo Dump” token within 3”. Any MOW non-battle engine model within 5” of the token gains +1 ROF to its ranged weapons (non-cumulative). If the token is destroyed, all models within 5” take an unboostable POW-12 damage roll. Only 1 Ammo Dump may be in play at a time.
-Rally Point (Action): This model may place a permanent 30mm “Rally Point” token within 3”. Any MOW model within 2” of the token gains a +4 bonus to CMD checks and Dodge. Only 1 Rally Point may be in play at a time.
-Run & Gun
Unlike the Standard Bearer, the NCO has much greater offensive stats, especially a very high RAT which, even coupled with the pitiful Aggressor, will kill lightly-armored infantry. His MAT and Chain Ripper are also decent in melee, though a POW-10 will only do so much on its own, even with Critical Shred. His DEF is downright lousy, and even with average ARM, he won’t survive for very long on the front lines, relegating him to the back lines. Fortunately, his special rules make him much more survivable than he initially seems. Dodge lets him duck out of melee to stay alive when engaged with dedicated melee units, Run & Gun lets him pop off a couple shots and dive into cover when targeted, and Sucker lets him push one of his men into the line of fire to take the bullet. Kind of a dirty move, but Imperial’s line infantry aren’t known for their honorable methods when on the battlefield. Outside of his slippery movement abilities and good offensive capabilities, the Trencher NCO’s worth comes in the form of his two special actions. Ammo Dump lets him place a 30mm token that grants a non-cumulative ROF bonus to all MOW models and warjacks around it. With lots of ranged units and warjacks, like the Hurricane and upcoming ones like the Tommy and Stokes, this can become devastating to the enemy’s forces. Unfortunately, this power will come at a cost, as the token will explode quite spectacularly when destroyed, potentially wiping out a whole unit when it goes up. Rally Point isn’t as useful offensively, but it helps Imperial troops with lower CMD values to pass their CMD tests more often, and it lets your ranged-centric units duck out of melee when things get too hot. This ability is useful for units like the Mourning Wolves or Grey Ghosts, to keep them from getting embroiled in melee and getting killed, or specialist/support units like the Special Forces. If you end up buying the Imperial Starter Box to get into the MOW, the Standard and NCO are a good addition to your army, and provide solid support to both the Trenchers and the other units you’ll have at your disposal. If you’re running an army high on Trenchers, the Standard is a must for them, while the NCO works well in any MOW force to keep your men alive in a melee brawl.
That’s all for the Standard Bearer and NCO, and I hope these two characters will make a solid addition to your MOW army. Next time, we’ve got some more love for the Wolfbanes, as we look at their version of the Greyhound and the other of Imperial’s trademark units: the absurdly awesome Hedgehog Necromower. Think an ATV with an alchemically-supercharged engine and machine gun. I’ll see you all next time on the next episode of WarmaZone!