Rate that Caster! (38, Harkevich)

Another new thing, more for my benefit than for anyone else. I’m going to ramble on about a random Warmachine caster for a while (my thoughts/opinions, strengths and weaknesses, ups and downs, why I like them, why I don’t). No set schedule for this, but I have punched all the casters into a random number generator, so lets see what comes up! (also, no warlocks because I have very limited experience with Hordes, I might add them in one day *shrug*). So, without further ado, here’s number 38, Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf!

I could call Harkevich “a red Bart” and I wouldn’t be wrong. Harkevich is a supreme ranged jack caster. He wants a large ranged battlegroup, a gunline of jacks. He does wonderful things for the slow red death machines, namely granting them 5 inches of extra movement every. single. turn. He grants [Reposition 3″]  to his battlegroup and for 3 focus a turn, casts mobility (which adds 2 more inches and pathfinder). His other important spell is “Broadside”, which forces his battlegroup to immediately fire one ranged shot. That’s all of his focus, every last drop (thank GOD for power up!).

Harkevich both loves and requires a mixed arms battlegroup to maximize his potential. He wants a multitude of big guns that he can squeeze for extra shots (on his feat turn, it’s possible to get two shots from every single jack along with a charge). His biggest weakness is that he doesn’t have the spare focus to feed focus to all of his jacks and cast his spells.

Harkevich does practically nothing to protect or support his army. Even his battlegroup has it tough. Enemies will have free reign as his only defensive option is a reactive purge for stationary and knock down. Sadly, Harkevich is the proud owner of a glass jaw.

ALL GLORY FOR THE MOTHERLAND! This feat is incredible for Khador jacks (you know, the ones that are expensive because they have a gun they can’t hit with?). This feat let’s each jack toss out one last shot before charging (or slamming) into the enemy (and it doesn’t even have to be at the charge/slam target!).

This is where Harkevich shines. He takes a battlegroup and doubles their ranged firepower while making them some of the most mobile jacks in the game. While he doesn’t have free focus to pass out if he does both, tuck Behemoth, Black Ivan and a couple of Decimators into his battlegroup and what the shrapnel fly!

He has 4 spells. Out of those 4, he will only regularly cast 2 of them. Of those two, both are cost 3. Harkevich has only 6 focus…on the upside, those two spells are some of the best in the game and he is completely immune to upkeep removal (he has no upkeeps).

Things are not great for Red Bart. He sits firmly in the “victim” category for warcasters with not enough defense or armor to actually survive. He does have Iron Sentinel, which really only helps your opponent kill him with splash damage (to quote Dr. Cox, “Newbie!! It’s a trick, that’s a trick!” since the highest defense jack he can snuggle with is 11…)

Battlegroup: 7/10
Defense: 3/10
Feat: 8/10
Offense: 9/10
Spells: 6/10
Survivability: 5/10
Composite Score: 6.33/10

So Harkevich wants survivable, self sufficient infantry that he doesn’t need to worry about. Black Ivan is worth the 3 extra points over a normal Destroyer since the bond equates to a free focus every time it shoots. With Behemoth and a Decimator or two. Decimators have Beat Back on their gun, with Broadside from Red Bart means that you can shunt something 3″ away which can clear a zone or deny a charge. From here, season with whatever flavor of red suits your fancy. A Field Gun Crew works decently well to help the rubbish RAT of the jacks and Kayazy’s are as good as the normally arm. Personally, I like the look of a couple units of Steelheads to screen and jam (they are slightly better than vanilla infantry and cost the same). Another thought is drop 10 points onto Rutgar Shaw and Buccaneer, it’s a point cheaper than a Rager, provides another source of knockdown and can shield guard decently well (for the same point cost as a Rager, a Talon can be run to double up both as a Shield Guard and as a counter charge piece with the Stall Spear).

There are a few cracks with Harkevich to exploit against him.
-No Focus.
-No buffing.
-Battlegroup intensive.
Everything in the Red Bart’s list has to stand by itself. This means that there’s not any skew to worry about (no unkillable Iron Fang brick, no giant ball of unhittable WGI, nothing!). This leaves his list very vulnerable to enemy shenanigans (flat RAT can punch his things in the face). Harkevich has to respect anything that mucks with his focus (since he has 6 and casts in increments of 3). Threatening assassination also limits his ability to participate in the game, “does his camp to make sure he doesn’t die or hand out focus?” Also fire. While only 2d6-6, spikes do happen and being on fire (or the threat thereof) also strong arms the player into make the decision “do I camp or do I pass out this focus.”

All of this ties together into a battleplan (for Menoth because that’s what I play) of: Threaten his focus, set him on fire, make sure he’s camping and not casting and blow the everliving hell out of his jack.

Warcaster Jacks Units Solos
Severius 1
Reznik 1
Kreoss 1
Reclaimer 1
Deliverer Sunburst Crew
Daughters of the Flame
Choir of Menoth
Croe’s Cuthroats
Nicia, Tear of Vengence
Reclaimer Gatekeeper
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Kell Bailoch
Rhupert Carvolo

So these are my choices of Menoth things to make Harkevich’s life on the table miserable. The casters were chosen because of one of three main reasons: They threaten spellcasting (Kreoss, Reznik, Severius), they threaten assassination (Thyra), or they offer army wide buffs to help win the attrition battle (Thyra, Severius, Reznik). The High Reclaimer is a dark horse, but comes along because he can drop clouds and Khador is a faction that can’t handle clouds! The jacks are of similar logic, selected because they offer long range threat (Redeemer) or set things on fire (Vanquisher, Repenter). In a catch-22, jacks are not what I really want to run against Red Bart, since he’s going to be able to turn them into scrap fairly quickly. I wonder if running our defense skew, light jacks (Dervish, Purifier, Devout) would be the correct option (since with a defense buff, they become nigh untouchable for Khador heavy based shooting). Khador also struggles with stealth, hence Croe and Daughters. The Choir is good, just passage every single turn. Sunbursts can put damage onto jacks, damage onto infantry, and threat at 20″ (which is terrifying). Solos fall into a few categories: Defense Skew (Allegient, Nicia, Rhupert, Reclaimer), Assassination Threat (Nicia), Sniping (Kell, Eiryss).


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