Lock and Load (as well as L&L Outposts) are still going, so I keep going with looking at and overthinking what was spoiled - for my faction. This will eventually end in three articles:
- Victor revisited
- Berserkers in Arms
- Lady E-to-the-m*****f***ing-Z
If you join me beyond the break, we'll talk about disappointments, surprises, and potential of both the Rager and the Mad Dog.
1. The Mad Dog
I'll start with this one since... I guess we knew it was coming. First things first: It's not a character. A bunch of people thought it would be, and when I was involved in such a discourse, I always pointed to the High Command card, which wasn't, and lo and behold, doing so was the right thing. Now we'll proceed through the card from top to bottom to the back.
Stats: Berserker, unsurprisingly. Which means STR 11 and MAT 5. That does not bode too well, but with the art making it a Berserker-variant... what where we really expecting?
Weapons: Two P&S 14 Hammer Spikes. I woe'd about the Jack being on lower end, but this exceeds even my worst expectations. He'll only be killing Infantry (and low-ARM lights), which is the kind of model he'll have a really rough time hitting. *sigh*
Grid: Berserker, down to the missing Cortex box.
Points: 5. In words: five. Uhm. Yeah. Talk about redeeming qualities. I mean, the front on it's on seriously isn't anything to write home about, but for five points, that's kind of a steal already. He'll be there for all Warcasters with 5 WJP that want a token Jack and leave the rest to infantry.
- Agressive: This Berserker staple is always nice to have. Since we already spoke about this as a potential token warjack, most of the 'Casters wanting one will also be greedy with their Focus, so it's nice to know the Jack can do his main thing without their precious attention.
- Crusher: Now here's the completely new thing (besides the name, which is also what Madrak1's feat is called). This warjack gains an additional die on trample attack rolls. So, with regards to tramples, his MAT of 5 will be less of an issue, and it's an additional die, so it'll still be boostable. It also allows the Mad Dog to make Trample attacks without spending focus, so that's great... it's just that the 'Jack is SPD 4.
- Jury-Rigged[SPD]: But there's even a solution for that issue, one which stacks with our 'Jack-buffs to boot. Just know that he HAS to spend focus on the, so after a Jury-Rigged trample, there is a 1-in-6 chance of the Mad Dog blowing up.
- Unstable: And that's because of this other Berserker staple ability.
Summary: I really don't like the Mad Dog's damage output or the idea that he should attack infantry, however I do like his focus efficiency for tramples and that fact that he isn't necessarily limited to SPD 4 tramples. And I like all of that in a 5-point package.
Looking forward: While he seems underwhelming, I feel there is some real potential for the Mad Dog between being cheap, the additional trample attack die, and Jury-Rigged. To name a few:
- Karchev's "Iron Curtain" theme force grants -1 point to all Jacks. So that's four points per Mad Dog. With Unearthly Rage, the best spell for Warjacks ever invented. I can see that becoming our own "Meat Mountain" (aka box-spamming) list. Which sounds ridiculous, but between MoW, Greylords, and Mad Dogs... I'd be so blunt as to say that Theme Force may be the overall winner w/ regards to the Mad Dog.
- Butcher2's "Mad Dogs of War" theme force - even if it's just for the sake of the pun.
- Butcher1 loves the SPD buff from Jury rigged which makes his threat ranges less predictable, and Full Throttle can A) makes those tramples accurate and B) enables a Mad Dog, loaded with Focus, a rather decent trample-assassination run on squishier 'Casters. Especially if he blows up in their face, too.
- Sorscha1 provides the Mad Dog with some awesome help on her feat turn by reducing enemy models to DEF 5, which even the Mad Dog can hit.
- Malakov and a Mad Dog is only 8 points, and Red Line both increases the damage he puts out as well as the distance with Jury-Rigged. SPD 8 tramples are nothing to sneeze at.
- Koldun Lord. I'm being serious, but if a Jack needs only 1 Focus to do its main thing... that Focus can come from the KL. And when Jury-Rigged is not needed, the Jack Marshal boost will be all that's necessary. It's probably not a perfect pair, though.
- MoW Kovnik. The Drive might be really good on the Mad Dog, and, well, he's cheaper than a Berserker, making the whole thing more palatable.
2. The Rager
Everybody was expecting a new Solo from Reckoning, so surprise - at the very least, my surprise - was really great when confronted with yet another Warjack, and yet another Berserker-"variant". I may jinx it, but I'm calling dibs on a Berserker/Mad Dog/Rager box set right here and now.
Stats: Berserker. That comes as no surprise, though it has a little amusing relevance later on.
Weapons: Not only does he have a funny little Gladius (P&S 15, which is, at least, more than the Mad Dog), he also sports a Shield with which he can beat the enemies of the Motherland into blissful submission [P&S 12], but that Shield also sports a Shield Cannon [Pow 15, basically the same gun as the MoW Kovnik]. On the one hand, that Shield Cannon is a joke, not at Pow 15 (which is actually high), but at RAT 3. To put it in perspective: He'll miss a Khadoran heavy Jack 42% of the time. OTOH, that cannon is glorious, since it allows him entry into a number of theme forces that both WANT him and give a sweet sweet points discount.
Grid: Berserker, also no surprise.
Point Cost: Six. That's the same as the Berserker, not bad, nice and cheap, but doesn't make him immediately tempting as the Mad Dog was at five.
- Aggressive: Unsurprising, see Mad Dog above.
- Shield Guard: In-faction Shield Guard? On a heavy 'Jack (31 boxes)? Hold the FRIKKIN phone! All that about what's good about the Rager and what's not? Forget that. Shield Guard alone is a reason to bring him, and all the Lists that fielded a token Berserker, which aren't better served with a Mad Dog, will most likely immediately switch to this guy here. Also, Raluk Moorclaw just dropped in significance. All lists that fielded him with a Vanguard can now save one point and get next to the same effect.
- Unstable: Unsurprising, and no real bother. The Rager needs Focus the least of all.
- The Shield with the Cannon counts as a Shield (granting a conditional +2 ARM). I didn't notice at first - the prospect of getting an in-faction Shield Guard with 31 boxes sounded alright with me even at ARM 18, but he'll actually be ARM 20.
Summary: I'm loving this guy, rules-wise and looks-wise, too. I think this is a must-buy for everybody and will be one of the best-selling Warjacks in Khador. I also think that a number of lists will field him because he can take so much more damage than an Ogrun Bokur. If you are just starting out Khador, I'd say that between him and a Spriggan (and maybe a Juggernaut) you're pretty much set for most of your non-character needs.
Looking forward: The number of 'Casters that want a Shield Guard model nowadays is, with the release of this book, probably around fifteen (i.e. everybody in Khador). A few should deserve special mention:
- Harkevich: So long as you're not going double Conquest/Viktor, it may very well be viable to include one of these bad boys, especially since they also fit into the theme force, where they will likely drop to an awesome five points a piece.
- Zerkova: She won't need him in her Hunting Wolves theme force, since that one has Vanguards... but a Rager and a Vanguard are two different things. I guess I'll elaborate on that in a different article. Outside of that particular theme force, I'd really recommend him, though. Considering her Wolves of Winter theme force (and what I say about the Koldun Lord below), I almost feel that he gives that theme force some actual game...
- Irusk: He has six WJP and not a lot of need for Warjacks, so I guess a bodyguard 'Jack may be just what the doctor ordered.
- Koldun Lord: I'll mention him because... we'll, he's most likely the Jack Marshal you have around the most, and the Rager is certainly one of the best 'Jacks to be marshalled since he doesn't need any focus to do his job. Also, in a pinch, between the free charge, the Jack Marshall bonus and the focus from Power Booster, he could get as much done as any regular heavy, just fewer damage.
So that's my take on our new old 'Jacks. If you have any comments, leave them below, and I'll see you tomorrow for the final article in this mini-series.
But until then, farewell.