Saga Age of Magic is now out in Australia and a few people have been asking about the different factions and how they play.
So this is my first attempt at a faction review and/or play guide. I hope you find it interesting.
The Horde, what are they like?
The Horde is the faction most associated with the idea of barbarian warbands, the mass of unruly blood crazed warriors and races such as orcs and goblins. Regardless of the miniatures you choose and your flavour of fantasy I see them as the charge and bash faction.
The warband is combat driven, with regular heavy weapons or mounts being the core options and you shooting limited to levy bow, mounted composite bow warriors, Scourge monster, a single war machine and javelins on war chariots.
The Horde battle board only has one shooting ability, but since everything else is mostly movement and melee based, you are going to want to build a melee oriented warband.
The Horde’s sorcerers have access to Earth and Metal magic, which buff the Horde battle board and troop types really well. With right spell selection and the full battle board, the Horde are very fast, hit hard and can deal out a lot of damage very quickly. The have some defensive abilities which reduce the likelihood of taking casualties in return, but overall you can expect that unless you can significantly reduce your opponents Saga dice generation abilities early, there counter attacks are going to hurt.
The Horde’s special rules include
- a lieutenant upgraded to a aggression 6 Champion with Pride.
- War Chariot heroes which hit hard with javelins and have double aggression if starting melee with no fatigue.
- and, a Sacrificial Stone as their Sacred Ground which imparts a bonus attack die to all Horde units within S in melee.
Battle board and spell synergies:
- for a rare dice, For the Horde (Orders) increases your charges over open terrain by S and your fatigue can’t be used against you. This means you can camp outside of shooting or cavalry charge ranges with mounted units or outside of the foot unit charge range and initiate charges from far away. This makes me want to take lots of mounted units and quadruped creatures. Combined with the metal spell Stoke Fury, you now have a mounted unit capable of charging L+S+S or a monster charging M+S+S. This is potentially brutal.
- Me First (Orders) stacks well with either of the above to give you 4 bonus attack dice, if your first activation for the turn is a charge. Play this on your Behemoth and it enters melee with 16 dice.
- Domain of Metal spells are particularly useful for the Horde as they give bonus dice when calculating your initial attack dice pool. So you get to max out your monster in combat despite not being allowed to use advanced saga abilities and your other units can use Rage and Prayers to the Old Gods to their best effect.
- Let the Blood Run gives you two charge activations for the price of one so long as you have no more than one fatigue. With For the Horde up this gives you the opportunity to charge in and then use Let the Blood Run to finish off small units etc…
- Having played a handful of games with the Horde, I like the fact that they are fast, really fast if you let them. I think you need to be patient and wait the right time to unleash their charges. If you get that rare sage dice early, I think you need to place it on For the Horde as it is only to screw with your opponents mind early on. You can fill your battle board over a couple of turns knowing that if your opponent wants to stand off you can use manoeuvre to close to just outside of L. If you get a second rare, placement on Activation Pool means that you are guaranteed two extra saga dice on your charge turn to ensure you have all the activations you need.
- If you take only one sorcerer then my spell choice is Chrysalis (Earth), Stoke Fury and Rites of Battle (both Metal). Chrysalis is so you can re-roll one magic die per spell cast, which gives you two chances to get the +2 bonus attack dice on Stoke Fury and range L with Rites of Battle. On the turn you charge you want to have both of these off if possible and you need Rites of Battle up to give you extra hitting power during your opponents counter attack.
- Placing the Sacrificial Stone early and in your opponents deployment zone sounds like a good idea as clearly indicates to your opponent that you are coming to get them. Uneven terrain is your enemy, so you also want to place these out of the way and limit the amount of terrain on the board as early as possible.
- To mount of not to mount. Given that your strike range can be L+S, I think that it is feasible to have an all mounted melee warband. A mounted sorcerer enables you to maximise the Rites of Battle bubble and ensure you get Stoke Fury on the right unit.
Disclaimer, I am playing Age of Magic so I can bring out all my old fantasy armies. Given the size of my collection I can pretty much take any combination units I want and I have so far. But based on my games so far this is what I will be taking next.
Warlord – Mount: Animal
Lieutenant– Mount: Animal (cull 2 HG)
War Chariot (1 point)
Sorcerer – Mount: Animal (Chrysalis, Stoke Fury and Rites of Battle) (1 point)
6 x Heathguard – Mount: Animal (2 points)
2 x Quadruped Creatures (1 point)
2 x Quadruped Creatures (1 point)
8 x Warriors – Mount: Animal or with Composite Bow (1 point)
1 x Behemoth Monster (1 point)