Gunlines…(part 1)

So I’m mainly a Protectorate player, I love the models, I love the rules, I love how they play on the table but the transition from mkII to mkIII is shepherding in an age of gunlines and spam lists (from what some podcasters are saying, its much like the gunline swarms that were seen at the beginning of mkII). What’s more interesting (to me at least), is the fact that each faction can field a passable gunline of some flavor or another. Most of these gunlines are fairly poor, shrug worthy affairs, but there are two factions that are clearly capable of fielding monstrous gunline armies, Cygnar and Khador.

Now before I dig into the specifics of how each of these factions manages the gunline (and believe me, they’re different), I wanted to touch on a picture that I tripped across recently which detailed a rock-paper-scissors element of warmachine.

Weaponmasters < Heavies < Gunlines < Weaponmasters

This is not an immutable diagram. There are gunlines that can decimate heavies and heavies that can mulch weaponmasters (and let’s not even discuss weaponmasters that reached a gunline). Warmachine is a game that functions well because of “imperfect balance”, the concept that choices have strengths and weaknesses and something that is good against one thing is weak to another. A well designed game can utilize imperfect balance to create a dynamic and fun system (compare warmachine with chess, a game that is perfectly balanced).

So, back to the meat of the matter, Gunlines. There’s two main threats to Protectorate in terms of gunlines, Cygnar and Khador. The basic concept to handle these sorts of lists is the same: Close the distance as quickly as possible. A gunline that is engaged is a gunline that cannot shoot. There are some big differences between these two factions in the specifics of how they throw out their ranged power. I’m going to start with Khador.


Khador possesses someof the best ranged firepower in the game. It’s long ranged and high powered and can be divided into three main catagories; Jack Based, unit Based and Solo Based.

Khador’s jack based shooting is designed to crack other heavy jack wide open in prepperation for mellee. Jacks such as the Destroyer and Behemoth host the iconic heavy jack ranged weapon, the bombard. Typically shot from a model that sturggles to hit the side of a barn, the Bombard threatens 14 inches down the board with an AoE4, POW14 shot. These weapons find can find a target within most enemy armies and normally will see two or three shots before the jack gets engaged.

Khador’s Unit Based shooting is a little different. There are a few flavors, ranging from POW10 spam, to POW16 jack crackers, but pretty much all of it spells one sort of death or another (I’ll get into more detail in a later post)

Finally, there’s Khador’s solo based shooting. This is a direct contrast to the previous two sections (high range, high POW, low RAT). Khador can boast some of the best precision based firepower in the game. A Khador player can load a list with no fewer than 8 snipers (this includes the unit of Widowakers since they largely function as 4, 2-point solos).

To sum up, Khador has high explosives on their jacks, POW10s and POW16s in their units, and all the sniper solos. The kicker? Almost none of it is magical damage.


With the Age of Cygnar upon us, the swarms of Cygnar gunlines are coming. Cygnar shooting is much harder to qualify and sort into model based catagories, but the big sorting mechanic I’m using is whether the gun is electrical or not. Most of Cygnar shooting lies between POW10 and POW 12. That’s not to say there’s a lack of higher powered options, its just the most common choices are between POW10 and 12. Compared to Khador, Cygnar shooting has the potential to be almost entirely magical (and that is the important distinction between Cygnar gunlines and other gunlines).

So there’s part 1 of a “more than one” part series. More parts as I can be bothered to write them!

tl;dr: There’s magical Cygnar shooting and then everyone else (represented by Khador).


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