Greetings universe, this is the first article in what I hope will be a constructive series of unit reviews for Warmachine and Hordes.
I am going to start off with one of the force I know the best, Legion of Everblight, and decided to start with the unit I never play without, Swordsmen.
I will be honest from the start, I think this unit is one of the best in the game. Looking at their stat line in the book is becomes apparent that this is a unit that should be able to hold its own against a lot of things.
Their MAT 7 and POW 11 weapons might seem a bit run of the mill for a combat unit, but combine that with Weapon Master and DEF 14 and you have a unit that has a lot of potential. On the charge there are not a lot of units that can go toe to toe with the Swordsmen and win, their SPD 6 means that they have a fairly standard charge distance, but having 10 of them for 8 points makes them a daunting prospect to charge, and leaves a few that will be able to take revenge on the models that do feel brave enough to charge.
They have a low ARM at 13, but I feel that the higher DEF means this isn't too much of an issue. Until units get up to ARM's approaching 17+ one hit is normally enough to kill them, it's not too often your opponent gets a bad roll and misses, but having the DEF of 14 means that apart from dedicated combat units, a lot of things will miss them, and gives them a massive DEF in cover to avoid the ranged attacks of your enemy.
Beast need to boost to hit Swordsmen a lot of the time, which works out well as their attacks go down, the thing they really need against this unit, and Swordsmen hitting a warbeast/warjack are going to do some damage.
On the charge you might get lucky and take out a beast/jack, but most of the time you are just going to cripple a spiral/column or 2 on a heavy, but that is nothing to be sniffed out, it only takes a couple of lucky rolls and its going to be in big trouble.
One thing I would always advise to do with this unit it to take the unit attachment, the Abbot and Champion (both have 5 wounds).
The Champion gives you a model you are going to want to stand towards the front of the unit, his defensive strike might seem a bit weak at first, but when it hits at MAT 8 its going to hurt, and can make a big difference against the smaller multi-wound units. Add to that his duel Nyss Claymores and combo strike and you have a fantastic character to get stuck into the melee.
The Abbot is a bit different, he also has the higher MAT of 8, but he's not someone you are going to want to stand out if front of the unit (use the Champion for that), this is a character you are going to want too keep towards the back, for very good reason.
The Abbot grants the Swordsmen 2 abilities, the Tactic:Overtake and Granted:Cleave.
Overtake is a nice ability, and allows the Swordsmen to clear charge lanes for models that are still to activate to get through, or block a charge lane that your opponent could take advantage of.
Cleave is the real gem, allowing the swordsmen to make a 2nd attack is brutal, and makes taking on multi-wound units a real possibility, positioned and activated correctly a unit of Man-o-War will not survive this bonus.
One thing that you will need to keep in mind though is that the unit cannot use both from the same attack, after the first attack you have to chose which one you want to activate, if you choose Cleave and it works, then you can only use Overtake.
Cleave is not an ability you want to lose, so protecting the Abbot is important, if he dies you will lose it (Overtake is a tactic, so he can be dead and the unit will still have this ability).
This unit attachment for 3 points is a bargain, and well worth taking every time you have Swordsmen in your army.
So that is my first review article, hopefully it will be useful to the gamers reading this, if I have missed anything do let me know in the comments below.