A Tale of Four Gamers Nords
The Nords from Purchase to 2000 points
You’ve been eying Conquest in the store. The inspired backstory and detailed models have grabbed your attention. You’ve reviewed the factions and the glories of Manheim and the frozen north, the Nords, have captured your fancy. But what do you buy? How do you plan out your purchases? Welcome to a brand new adventure! The purpose of this article to provide one glimpse, not the definitive glimpse, into how you might buy into the Nord faction and slowly build your forces to 2000 points, a good benchmark for enjoying the full range of Conquest. I’m going to focus on what is currently released and expected to be released between August of 2020 and January of 2021, but I hope that much of the main content of this article will remain relevant for years to come.
At this point, you should be aware of BTJ’s post (link) announcing our series, and that Para Bellum in Conjunction with On Table Top (https://www.beastsofwar.com/game/conquest-the-last-argument-of-kings/) have announced a build plan and buy sequence in a set of 6 milestones. This project will closely track those milestones (but not exactly), and will follow along approximately the same time-table, but with monthly instead of bi-weekly updates.
Why the Nords?
- You like glass cannons: units that do a lot of damage in offense, but are light on defense and succumb quickly when attacked.
- You’ve always been drawn to Norse mythology, and are simply excited to play a fantasy setting that draws upon Norse mythology for inspiration
- You like lists that hit fast and hard
- You like putting Monsters and Beasts (called Brutes in Conquest) on the table.
- Your buddies in the gaming group already have 100 Kingdoms, Dweghom, and Spires. No one has Nords and everyone wants them on the table. Go for it!
Overview of the Nords faction
The Nords feature one of the most diverse faction lists that have been released so far. You can peruse the faction list at Para Bellum’s website, but in the present iteration, three characters and four regiments have been released, with one regiment forthcoming.
Characters in Conquest unlock regiments, and those regiments give a flavor to each character.
The Blooded is effectively your Beastmaster and has a ranged feel to him. He presently unlocks Stalkers, Ugr, and Mountain Jotnar.
The Jarl is a human raiding chieftain. He presently unlocks Raiders, Huscarls, Ugr, and Mountain Jotnar.
The Shaman is a niche magic unit, unlocking Raiders. His spells are designed to help him shepherd raiding forces forward.
Raiders: As a light regiment, they hit the table early. Their motto is “Always be charging.” With armor 1, they will go down quickly to everything that sneezes in their direction, but with flurry and throwing weapons, they will do a lot of damage to opposing units in an initial clash.
Stalkers: The first major range unit for the Nords. Their range is shorter (only 18 inches) than some other faction’s light ranged units, but they have a Volley score of 3, so they’ll produce a lot more hits typically than the opponent’s ranged units that come with a basic Volley score of two. Because their clash score is 2, they can also hold their own in melee with other early game units. They do bring three critical strengths to their game: First, they move at 6 inches. Many Nords units are a bit faster (think 5 inches as normal for infantry), and an extra inch of movement adds up quickly over several turns. Add to that, they have the Vanguard special rule. So the first turn that they enter, you’ll likely do 3 marches, for 18 inches. They are also a good candidate for taking a Banner, providing the second March on a single activation with one additional inch. Finally, Flank allows you to bring them on the field during the first turn. Put all of that together, and you are advancing your reinforcement line 18 or 19 inches and you’re now in range on turn-2 to threaten the opponent’s units that made even the smallest march onto the table.
Part of the Nord’s game plan is creating reinforcement lines and rushing across the map, and Stalkers help with this.
Ugr: Ogres. This medium Brute unit also moves 6 inches across the field. Cleave-2 will help them remove high armor enemies. Resolve 2 and Defense-2 is better than Nord light infantry, but it is still not a very heavy defensive score, and even a small amount of cleave or armor-piercing is going to hurt them. Fearless negates the Terrifying and Fearsome rules. Ugr represent the Brute force approach of the Nords. You’ll hit hard when you hit, and the speed-5 gives you more chances of moving up and staying in the enemy’s face. A solid strong unit.
Mountain Jotnar: 12 attacks with Cleave-1 will do a lot of damage. Note his defense-1, so despite being a heavy, he’s not more defensive than many of the Nord units that have been put on the field. A small amount of focus-fire will cut through his 12 wounds quickly. The Mountain Jotnar thrives when you’ve already been successful at setting up your reinforcement lines and can have him enter advantageously from a side, and advantageously away from threatening range units. If you’ve not had a successful reinforcement game, then even a couple of ranged units can stop him before he gets to the front.
Huscarls: In September, the Huscarls will release. These are solid medium infantry, a clear upgrade from the Raiders. They gain a point of Clash but lose Flurry over the Raiders. So their first roll will produce more hits, but they’ll lose the benefit of any further rerolls. They have the Throwing Weapons special rule, so they still want to be on the charge. They don’t exist to stand there and take an enemy’s charge. And since they have a shield, they become a solid R3, D3 from the front, basically in line with many other faction’s mainstay infantry regiments. Noteworthy here is that they can take two additional upgrades: The Skald gives them +1 Resolve, generally a worthy upgrade if you’re bringing a mass of Huscarls (6+trays) and want to maximize your resolve to reduce incoming damage. The Thegn gives them Bastion and provides any character with a +1 defense while dueling. Bastion is one of the most useful draw events in the game and is extremely useful for a faction’s main infantry.
What to buy first?
So now that we’ve done an overview of the current Nords list, let’s talk about a purchase order. Our goal with these purchases is to purchase a little bit every month, paint it, try to put it on the table once or twice against lists from other factions that reflect the point value, and then write a post about the journey.
- Our first purchase is going to be the Nord’s faction pack. This pack retails at 115 dollars and comes with a Jarl, two regiments of Raiders, and a regiment of Ugr. It also includes some paint, a paintbrush, and dice. In my opinion, these will become the stock buys down the road whenever someone wants to start a new faction. If you add some upgrades to the units, you’re generally between 600-650 points. The character specifically unlocks the unit types contained in the starter, and you’ve got a good foundation for things to come.
- Nords Faction pack 2: A second wave of “starter” kits with a different character and set of three regiments releases in October. These remain the most cost effective way of starting a faction. The second starter kit comes with the Blooded, Stalkers, another set of three Ugr, and a Mountain Jotnar. This is a complete warband and adds another 600-650 points to your faction roster. With just two purchases, you get a lot of units and you’re now at a point where the game starts to get good, and showcases the decision-making that makes Conquest an exciting game.
- Shaman: The Nords have an ugly weakness to magic and ranged attacks. The Shaman helps them stay viable against both.
- Hurscarls, two boxes. A solid medium infantry that you are likely to take in some quantity (6 trays + upgrades) with the goal of holding a key objective or spot on the battlefield
This should be approximately 1700 points. So what comes next? My first inclination is really toward another box of Stalkers, but by the time we get through the above and have played a few games, I may have a different opinion.
Next month, I will talk about the purchase of the Nords-1 Learn-to-Play pack and the process of painting those miniatures, and talk early lists and the gameplay.