"What am I going to get myself for these last points I have left over?"
The actual difficulty in answering that question differs from faction to faction (I'm looking at Minions here), and this article will attempt to take the bull by the horns - we're going to list all 1-,2-,3- and 4-point options Khador has available, comment on their plausability or catches (list-building-wise), and try to arbitrarily rate them as objectively as possible. Enjoy!
Maybe another advance word: Before considering the options, let's assume we built a list out of in-faction models. If an options more or less needs sth specific, I'll mention it. Also, let's assume we're talking single lists, I think you can all work out how character restrictions would impact the choices for yourself.
Oh, and here's what the rankings mean:
( ) - I'd probably never consider this
(*) - Borderline case, you should know what doing
(**) - Probably a fine but not outstanding choice
(***) - A very good choice
(****) - Deluxe choice, will always contribute
(These are the Iron Kingdoms, so there can only be Four Stars at max. ;) *wink*wink*)
Let's start with the 1-point options as an appetizer:
Assault Kommando Flamethrower (**): This one has a particular prerequisite - you need to have Assault Kommandos. Yeah. I'm not hating on them as much as the next guy, but still... ...however, if you actually have AK's, the Flamer is one of their actual selling points, even if they only serve as Conquest ammo.
Winterguard Infantry Rocketeer (***): This one has a different particular prerequisite - you need to have Winterguard Infantry that does not yet have Rocketeers. For shame! Well, they work just fine without Rocketeers, but who can argue 14" guns?
War Dog (***): The only reason this one doesn't get four stars is the existence of Sylys Wyshnallyr, who might just be the better choice, depending on your 'Caster. But if he's taken (or not needed, or shunned), go ahead and take the Dog!
Drakhun's dismount option (***): This requires you to have a Drakhun already - not the worst model there is, but I don't consider the dismount to be automatic. It does keep your opponent a little busier, though, and you might want to see it this way: 1 point buys you an additional model with very good stats. It's in harm's way, though, but at least, it is there.
Max Out: Battle Mechanics (*): This option a) requires you to have battle mechanics and b) requires you to have enough points in Warjacks you actually think the additional two guys will make a difference. Alternatively, you might be rocking Kommandant Irusk, who can make very good use of them.
Upgrade: Destroyer -> BlackIvan (***): This is one of three actual "Upgrades". I don't like the term, because different 'Jacks are meant to do different things. However, the Destroyer and Black Ivan are so similar, that you can actually argue 1 point buys you +2 DEF, Dodge, a simpler Crit, and Bulldoze.
Upgrade: Decimator -> Torch (**): This is the second of the three "Upgrades". Many people have issues with the Decimator (especially it's gun), so for 1 point, you can forgo that gun to get Immunities, Clouds, Pathfinder on the charge, and more attacks. (That being said, people have issues with Torch, too.)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (**): This guy has a few Warcasters that can really rock through his abilities, both Sorschas, Zerkova, and Kommandant Irusk in particular, and he's at least helpful for most of others, but then again, he might just be unnecessary.
Gobber Tinker (**): Well, I don't own one of these. I probably should get him, just because... the model's nice! He might be a consideration if you don't have any Mechaniks and all the other options are already taken.
Now, part two of the menue, the 2-point options:
Battle Mechaniks (min) (**): These might work out well if you have enough points invested in 'Jacks, or if you're Irusk, or if you're in need of very cheap (and weak) bodies, but otherwise, I'd skip them.
Battle Mechanik Officer (*): He's even more situational because he a) needs Mechanics, and b) he mainly benefits Man-o-War, which I consider corner-case. However, his model is cool.
Greylord Escort (**): This guy is so 50/50 in the eyes of the vocal internet public, you can consider him a toss-up. I personally like the CMD 9 for the Doom Reavers, though.
Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard (***): Well, this is no toss-up, and assuming you're having an IFP unit without a UA, it's definitely a very good pick. Pathfinder on the charge, Defensive Formation, and a 1/144 chance to fail CMD checks just speak for themselves.
Black Dragon Officer & Standard (****): Assuming you're having an IFP unit without UA, this is almost a better pick - fearless beats 1/144, Precision Strike is great, and Iron Zeal gives added resilience in key moments. If you have the pathfinder issues covered, these are clearly better.
Kayazy Assassins Underboss (***): You're having Kayazy without Underboss in your list? So you're either using them as tarpits, are playing "The Art of War", or both. If you don't, you'll want this guy - mostly because of "Duelist", but the one-time acrobatics is very good, too.
Winterguard Officer & Standard (****): This is another one of those UAs where you will have to defend yourself if you're not taking it. It simply takes the Winterguard Infantry, who are nothing but crappy conscripts, and single-handedly tunes up their offense with sprays and their defense with Bob&Weave.
Winterguard Field Gun Crew (**): I like it. I'm pretty much alone with that opinion, but I have so far found that you can set it up for it to run onto a hill turn one, then pester a lot of the board with highly enhanced LOS.
Iron Fang Kovnik (***): This guy is good on his own, though he really shines if your list already has Iron Fangs, Assault Kommandos, or MoW Shocktroopers (those especially).
Koldun Lord (***): One of the very good choices, this guy always helps if you have an economic 'Jack on the table (any that needs nothing but one focus). I've had many games where he did nothing but power booster a 'Jack the whole game.
Manhunter (**): Many options outshine this guy, but you should never underestimate a pathfinding MAT 8, P&S 11 Weaponmaster's threat. If you really don't know what to take, before you take anything wacky, try this guy.
Widowmaker Marksman (***): One might think he'd be ***, but I found that the Swift Hunter bonus is nice, yet not more. So taking the Marksman on his own is actually quite sensible, and he really performs well without outside help.
Koldun Kapitan Valachev (***): You have a merc unit? Well, should you have a 'Caster heavy on in-faction buffs (we're looking at Irusk), Valachev is your man. Zephyr helps all of them greatly, so he's good even with other 'Casters.
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich (***): He's fundamental to the Death Star, but a) Winterguard does perform good enough without him, b) he works really good with all of them, and c) in a pinch, he's alright by himself (boosted/tough Blunderbuss). But his main strength lies in his WG audience, just as with every orator. ;)
Max Out: Cheap Units (***): Yes, there's always the option to max out a cheap unit - those that are costed 4/6 (on those, see also below). This is generally a very good idea.
Sea Dog Deck Gun ( ): Privateers tend to need their package, but these guys are dubious even outside that package IMO.
Alten Ashley (**): Some people tend to see him as "metaing against Hordes", but I don't think that's the case. Since his money is invested in a 14" rifle, he's generally behind Kell, but should you have him already - packing Widowmakers + Marksman with Kell and Alten, that seven guaranteed sniper shots for 10 points, potentially eight.
Bloody Bradigan (*): I'll let the Merc players explain just why the guy isn't really worth considering, I never played with or against him, but I don't see where he'd be a real benefit to Khador.
Dirty Meg (*): The main downside of her is the necessity for a marshalled jack, and that pushes her package into the 5+ point range, which is beyond our considerations.
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile (*): Similar issues with MacNaile - if you already have ranged Mercs in the army, then he could be worth it, but without them, he really isn't, I feel. YMMV, though!
Gorman di Wulfe (****): This has had to be more obvious than a predeploying Galleon, but Gorman really is the man. Just because he's even good against Hordes, and the blind effect is simply idiotically good.
Bosun Grogspar (*): Just as mentioned, pirate-package-problem. And he isn't exactly convincing on his own when compared to the other choices.
Harlan Versh (***): The great thing about him is that he is two points upkeep hate. And, he's quite safe so he'll probably get to do what he's good at.
First Mate Hawk (**): She's above the pirate pack because, uhm, she's a SPD 7 acrobatics two attacks weapon master. That is a number of good stand-alone qualities.
Kell Bailoch (***): I mentioned him in Alten's entry already - 14" magic sniper rifle? With dual shot? Yup!
Doc Killingsworth (*): Pirate package problems.
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan (**): She fits in really well with any assassination-style list, as with the Sorschas, Vlads and Butchers. Outside of those, she has not that much crazyness potential.
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (**): I can't say that I found myself wanting him badly for a build, or that I would completely shun him because he's bad. A real toss-up, I should play him more often.
Ragman (***): Now, this guy is good. With dark shroud, tarpitting Assassins are suddenly P&S 14 with gang, Pikemen turn into P&S 15... and Conquest cranks up to P&S 24 [I think] with Khador's infantry-centric armies, he also tends to have enough sacrifical pawns around.
Raluk Moorclaw (**): Well, he does have the Jack Marshal issues, but at the very least, he's what? ARM 16 with 8 boxes? That's one very sturdy solo!
Lord Rockbottom (*): He both has pirate and/or rhulic problems to deal with. If all I wanted was sprays, we can have enough of those in Khador.
Rutger Shaw ( ): a) Jack Marshal issues. b) his partner doesn't work for Khador.
Sylys Wyshnallyr (***): I hope you all read my article on whether a 'Caster needs the Dog or the Elf, if you haven't, do it. Basically, he's great with a lot of our 'Casters. So if you're not taking the Dog, you could do worse than take him.
Thor Steinhammer ( ): Jack Marshal and rhulic issues. He just doesn't work as a stand-alone.
3-Point options are part two of the main course:
Battle Mechaniks (max) (*): If you haven't included Mechaniks yet, the 3-pt option is probably the worst bet (unless you're Kommandant Irusk), especially with all the other options available.
Winterguard Mortar Crew (**): Blast damage is no longer all the rage it was, but there's always a use (i.e. TARGET) for the Mortar to fire at.
MoW Kovnik (*): Yes, most of the time I think "Why is this guy not two points?", but he's three, and in that slot, there certainly are better options, especially when thinking about the fact that he's a (more or less) dedicated 'Jack Marshal, and that our own 'Jacks are better off in a BG.
Yuri the Axe (***): Stealth, AD, Pathfinder, Treewalker bonus to Manhunters and Kossites? Thresher Weaponmaster? All at once? Yeah, sign this guy up for the bloody justice league!
Eliminators (***): If the whole assassin boat is your favourite type of drive, why not go with this sleek speedboat version? They can hunt solos, flank for backline harassment, or act as guided missiles taking out key models.
Max Out: Regular Units (5/8, 6/9) (***): This is probably close to a four star option - because our units in that range tend to be really good, and thusly even better with more dudes.
Herne & Jonne (**): Walking Light Artillery, these guys get very crazy when coupled with Valachev. As stand-alones, they'll do their job, but still lose out on a number off support buffs.
Ogrun Bokur (***): This guy's shield guard ability currently is the only way to get it in regular Khador lists, and it so worth it. Also, Bokurs break stuff.
Eiryss, Magehunter of Ios (**): The original elven hooker. Since she's caught in the same price bracket as her epic self, she's been out of favour, but I would not discount her.
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (***): Well, no need for lengthy words. The only place where she won't help is in a 'Jack-heavy list.
Gudrun the Wanderer (**): Another toss-up. I'm still working out how to get the most out of him. As we have a lot of AD solos, using Gudrun as a Bokur client isn't an exactly strong argument.
And for dessert, our 4-Point options:
Kossite Woodsmen (min) (**): If you're just looking for some cheap, warm bodies to clog up the field or be in the way - these guys aren't for you. They rely on their ambush ability to work, and their stats mean they die to direct attention. However, I'm in the camp that's convinced of their abilities, that they can pull their own weight, in their own special way.
Winterguard Infantry (min) (**): Here's some cheap clogging infantry, maybe as a second wave, maybe as expendables - at the very least, they're cheap and in-faction, and profit from Joe. However, they want him a lot, or their three rocketeers, or even the UA, all of which puts their preferred module beyond the points bracket analysed in this article.
Greylord Ternion (***): Why these three old men are four points? Because they provide Khador with stuff nobody else has. Clouds, DEF reduction, and magic ability 7 shotguns. If you don't have a unit of them yet, they're a very good option to take. They're also a very good option if you already have one unit. Double Ternion can seriously rock the house, at least to my experience.
Widowmakers (***): The only reason not to take them is, if at all, knowledge of a heavy armour skew coming at you, and they can provide battle support even in such a case, though that requires a different style of playing them, which isn't that easy.
MoW Drakhun (w/o dismount) (****): For four points, you get a real face wrecker that punches way above its own weight class when working to get the most out of Combat Rider, Ride-by-attack, Countercharge, Impact Attacks, Cavalry Charge and Weapon Master.
Uhlan Kovnik Markov (**): Most people only consider him together with Uhlans, but there are some that acknowledge his value if he is by himself. I do not own him, sadly, so cannot contribute personal experience, but I like to see things positively. :)
Max Out: Expensive Units (7/11) (***): This I consider another very good choice - five Uhlans are way better than three. (No, I'm not convinced this also holds true for Bombardiers)
Upgrade: Juggernaut -> Beast 09 (**): This is the last option I'd consider to be an upgrade, and I mainly do so because obviously, Beast 09's battlefield role is the same as a Juggernauts, with added potential against infantry, added abilities, and reach. It's just not as good an option IMO because with Beast, you sink a lot of points into a single heavy warjack that dies just as fast as the Juggernaut, who is a lot cheaper.
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (****): Another deluxe choice, this reknown pair will help out any army through Harm, Magic Weapons and/or Master Holt's combat abilities.
Dannon Blythe & Bull (*): I really want to like these guys. Bull is cool, and probably worth 2-points, but I haven't found that the same is true for Blythe. One the plus side, they seem not to need Valachev, so can be considered on their own, on the downside - there's so many other options that could help you more.
Pressgangers (min) (***): Surprise! These guys are, in my opinion, the best choice when it comes down to "cheap bodies". Why? Because they natively have Advanced Deployment, Tough, and a recursion ability in Shanghai! For four points, these six guys certainly have the most number of independently useful rules tacked to them. I'm so getting a box of them.
Steelhead Halberdiers (min) (**): Our last entry in the "Six guys for four points" category, the halberdiers are another "you can, but don't need to" choice (for Khador, at least, which is the sole focus of this article).
Tactical Arsonist Corps (**): To me it feels like these guys, as good as they are, want Valachev too much to really be considered by their lone threesome. They might still work out fine, but in direct competition to the Greylord Ternion, I'd decide against them, currently.
Alexia Ciannor, Mistress of the Witchfire (***): She highly underrated in my eyes. With DEF 15, a potential ARM 19 and ten boxes, it'll take a lot to take her out. Not to mention a highly threatening Hellfire, and the ability to pop out dangerous solos at a potential rate that puts the Legion's spawning vassal to shame - and Arcane Vortex, something that Butcher Xp2 highly appreciates.
Stannis Brocker, Steelhead Commander (*): He goes very well with Steelhead Halberdiers, if you already included them, but that's unlikely. On his own, I don't feel he's a good choice to spend points.
So, that's it with my personal review of our 4-, 3-, 2-, and 1-point options. I know it's centred on Khador, but I think it's a useful references for list-building, and I strongly encourage you - especially if you're playing other factions - to make a similar list, and give each entry some amount of thought and rational debate. I for one have certainly found some things that'll want to give another round on the table.
So, until next time, farewell!