Unpopular opinion Inbound !!
Halfbreeds are Fun Too!
The grumpy fusion of an Abyssal Dwarf and some sort of small mutated cow, the Halfbreeds are the Fast Movers of the Abyssal Dwarf Army.
On the whole the attraction of these guys started with the Models , the First Mantic Models I bought ( For Warhammer Fantasy Battle when I wanted to revive the Chaos Dwarf Army) and despite them being a little bit dated now they are still one of my favourite Mantic models ( Close second to the amazing Brock Berserkers !) The thought that the twisted minds of the Abyssal Overmasters had decreed that such an abominable experiment as to interbreed Dwarfs with Cows to create a fearsome Cavalry arm for their otherwise slow moving army somewhat appeals to my rather warped sense of humour. The fact that Dwarfs agreed to this unholy mating smacks of their unwavering devotion to their malicious and twisted deities, the thoughts of the cows involved in the unseemly rituals are, alas, not mentioned in the Mantic canon.
The Halfbreeds come in Three flavours, Troops and Regiments and a Champion and are standard sized Cavalry bases for Kings of War, I have based mine as 3 to a Troop, 7 to a Regiment so that one Regiment Box of 10 models makes 2 units on the tabletop because I am a bit of a scrooge. But I have paid out for the Mantic metal Halfbreed champion Models as they are sooo nice I couldn’t resist. However, when it comes to Brakki Barka, I have strayed from the path and purchased a lovely 3D printed model from an Etsy store, so that he really stands out as the powerful special character he is! The rest of the Army is Mantic so this is my guilty pleasure.
The Halfbreeds in the Hellforged Legion of Brass are currently undergoing an overhaul in order to make them worthy of the new 2023 season, a new colour scheme for their armour to make them really stand out on the table and new bases to make them match the upgraded army as a whole.
With a Melee of 3+, Crushing Strength (1) and Fury combined with speed 8, regen 5+ and 8/16 Attacks plus the addition of Thunderous Charge (1) the Halfbreeds are obviously designed for combat, back this up with an artefact and you have a Height 3 hammer available as a Troop or a Regiment for the same base price as Berserker Brock Riders. While the Brock riders have 26 attacks on 4+ the hit output is similar 13 for the Brocks and 11 for the Halfbreeds but the extra CS(1) in addition to TC(1) make up for that 2 hit deficit by increasing the number of possible wounds as both Brocks and Halfbreeds have Vicious to help those wound conversions.
The Def 4+ is mitigated slightly by Regeneration 5+ but the Halfbreeds can’t soak up damage like brocks can, they do need to be properly screened, either by troops of Halfbreeds or by the ubiquitous Gargoyles. Throwing a screen of Height 1 or 2 units out in front of the Halfbreeds can be a useful way of absorbing an enemies initial attack before the Halfbreeds deliver their devastating counterstroke (at least that’s what I tell myself) but against a shooting army this tactic can lead to lots of dead Gargoyles and Mastiffs with no gain, better in this instance to get across the table and deliver the death blow as soon as the Halfbreeds little Cow Legs can carry them.
With the comparison with Brocks in mind I have been looking at copying across some of the systems that have worked with the Brock riders, hence my use of Troops and Regiments in conjunction. With a couple of artefacts and maybe some support from an individual Character some interesting little “Battlegroups” can be formed which can have a surprising impact beyond their points cost on the KoW battlefield.
Terrain mitigation is one use for Artefacts but with the loss of the Maccwars Potion of the Caterpillar, care must be taken when deploying the Halfbreeds, although a Regiment with Brew of Sharpness and Bane Chant support can still cause substantial wounds on an enemy in difficult terrain. The One shot “Sir Jesses Boots of Striding” are still useful for that time when you absolutely have to charge across that wall or into that wood but the item is situational and one use only. Brew of sharpness can work all the time and with a bit of Bane Chant back up can result in normal service for the Halfbreeds in most situations (including those pesky ensnare or Phalanx thingies) but if you are hoping to negate the effects of charging a pike block in a wood then you need to rethink your decision making paradigm urgently! other items that can help are the Blessing of the Gods and Brew of strength – anything that can increase either the hits or wounds output of the unit can be considered, hell even the Blade of Slashing or Mace of Crushing can be useful if you are running a lot of Regiments.
Skirmishers boots on a troop can result in some interesting opportunities for outflanking enemy units with a swift 16” march and pivot to take up a good position, equally the troop excels at being chaff as the Nimble can be utilised to great effect on backing away to angle the charge of an enemy unit thus giving your opponent pause for thought.
Equally having Mead of Madness on a troop can catch an opponent unawares or at least make them have to think more about threat angles and ranges when advancing on your units.
Useful items that could also be put on Halfbreed units destined to be part of a strike force could be Staying stone or Dwarven Ale to help reduce the chance of waivering by shooting which is a deadly enemy of the Halfbreed. Brew of Haste to gain an advantage over the opposition cavalry (apart from filthy Elves with their unnaturally fast horses of course, Boo!) in order to threaten longer distance attacks or get a first strike in. Wine of Elvenkind can be combined with a Skirmishers Boots equipped Troop in order to push up a flank to a position of advantage or sit back in a battle line and pick out some juicy flank charges once other units are engaged, sometimes just the threat of this can cause an opponent to rethink charges or back off entirely, thus giving the rest of the Abyssal Dwarfs time to move forward and take advantage of charging opportunities (an otherwise rare thing for the short legged lads)
These Items can be considered “luxury” items in a small points game(unless, of course, you have an all Halfbreed Army! Lucky you!) and their use must be carefully balanced against the composition of the rest of your Abyssal Dwarf Force.
Halfbreed Champions are awesome Fellas, with their 6 attacks, melee 3+ and CS(2) they can really lend a hand to an attack and their inspiring makes them indispensable for keeping up with the Angry WarCows as there isn’t a lot of choice for fast moving support in the Abyssal Dwarf list. Give them the Mournful blade for taking out opposition wizards or nasty little irritating flying individuals or the Blade of the Beast slayer for taking on Large infantry, Monsters or flying Titans as CS(4) will make most opponents take notice , especially with vicious to help the damage conversion. Also the new items that give Slayer or Rampage could be useful if the intention is to help the Regiments break infantry or large infantry hordes, but all of these items depend on what you are facing and Halfbreed Champions are quite handy enough without them. The Champions nerve of 12/14 and Regeneration 5+ albeit without Fury make them quite the little combat booster and the most impressive of these is the Living Legend Brakki Barka, with his Very inspiring and Dread and an extra Crushing Strength he can give pause for thought to most opponents and can provide a nice support to a Halfbreed based Battlegroup in the Abyssal Dwarf Army, however his 200 point price tag can often give him a seat on the bench in smaller games in favour of one of his lesser known colleagues.
Other Characters that can support include Ba’sa’su as she can keep up with the Halfbreeds , inspire them and is no slouch in combat, but like Brakki her points cost can be prohibitive in smaller games. One cheap option is a Slavedriver with the Lute of insatiable Darkness to trundle behind the Halfbreeds and provide some inspiring, if he can and Bane Chant support to help any Halfbreed unit on the charge or grind. Along the same kind of lines is an Ironcaster with Bane Chant and the Crown of the wizard Kings, which is a slightly more expensive option but can work a bit more indirectly due to the extended range the crown offers and he can pull double duty if the army includes Golems. An Abyssal Grotesque Champion can support Halfbreeds with inspiring and can use his height 4 and Nimble to support the front line of Halfbreeds when they are engaged by lending his attacks to a combat either doubling up or taking an opportune flank when presented, an inferno could provide a similar, albeit, slightly slower role. Of course the ultimate support is the inclusion of a Greater Winged Halfbreed to the list, which has all the advantages and disadvantages that a large, expensive flying Titan has – however this will be covered in a subsequent bit of Bloggery.
Also this Blog has been written in a relatively early stage of the development of Azgars Hellforged Legion of Brass and so there will be updates and improvements on the opinions and experiences shared in this homage to the Humble Halfbreed,