WARMACHINE: Guardian and Harvester of Souls

by Faye Reppas

To break the valiant defense of those occupying the portal at Henge Hold, the infernal masters summoned something truly terrifying. The rituals took time and numerous sacrifices, but once completed, it brought forth these new behemoth horrors torn from the fabric of reality. With each massive step they took, the ground quaked, and their mere presence caused an aura of dread strong enough to disable all but the most stalwart heroes.

It’s the day all infernalists have been waiting for: both the Guardian and Harvester of Souls are now available. These models are part of the Black Anchor Heavy Industries (BAHI) line, so they are available only directly through our webstore. But before you jump directly over to the store, I’ll go over the rules for these two Colossal horrors and some of the development process for making them come to life.

Before getting to the first Colossal horror, I want to let you know that in forthcoming errata, we’ll add a slight update to how Colossal horrors work in general. For now, it is important to note that they effectively work exactly like Colossal warjacks and Gargantuan warbeasts, though they aren’t actually either warjacks or warbeasts. They will have new rule names (and will refer to Colossal horrors exclusively) but will use the same text as the rules on page 73 of the rulebook: Controlling a Gargantuan, Gargantuan Movement, Great Beast, Massive, and Ranged Attacks While in Melee.

Before you start counting, the Guardian (and the Harvester) has 56 boxes: 30 outer, 16 middle, and 10 center. That number is comparable to other Colossals and Gargantuans, putting them in the middle of the road for health. They also have fairly low armor for a Colossal—in fact, they join the Storm Raptor with having the lowest base armor among this class of battlegroup model. Unlike the Storm Raptor, however, it has one extremely powerful built-in armor buff. Hollow Ward grants the Guardian +2 ARM against attacks made by most non-living or soulless models, which is already quite a few models in the game. And note that the Guardian gains the benefit of Hollow Ward against Soul Vessel models that are constructs or undead.

Just to be sure you are getting enough use out of Hollow Ward, the Guardian also has the Soul Shatter ability. This strange new type of ability causes an enemy living model to become soulless for the rest of the game, giving that soul to the Guardian’s controller. This ability gets around all other effects that disallow you to take souls from enemy models. Further, there is no protection from this potent soul-sapping ability. As a quick aside, models with Soul Vessel will be affected by Soul Shatter. Having Soulless will effectively turn off Soul Vessel, and there will be a tactip in Warroom saying exactly that.

Moving on from survivability, I hope it comes as no surprise that Colossal horrors cannot be summoned. Incogitable Abomination was the first rule added to these models, and we only briefly considered trying to do anything with the summoning mechanic with them. Unfortunately, it just would not possibly work. Colossal horrors do need to pay tithe, though, so be careful and don’t let your Colossal disappear from the battlefield!

Despite its name, the Guardian of Souls isn’t all about defense—those giant crab claws aren’t just for show! It has a fairly effective range attack that leaves behind a hazard that can make spellcasting a bit tricky, but it’s those titanic claws that are its main weapon. Coming in at a respectable P+S 21, the claws can rip apart even the most heavily armored foes. They also introduce Chain Attack: Sweep for the first time, so even if this Colossal horror has to focus on one target, there will still be massive collateral damage. It is important to point out that despite needing to hit with both the left and right titanic claws, you will still need to choose either the left or right field of attack, not both, when making your Sweep power attack.

The Guardian of Souls should be Omodamos’ favored horror, although it certainly works well with both of the other infernal masters as well. Synergy and Locked Horns really make this horror shine! I’ve had some success with using Lamentors to initiate the synergy chain, and then come in with the Guardian to scythe through my opponent’s main force. The occasional additional soul provided by Soul Shatter also really helps Omodamos’ small essence pool.

Next, you’ll start out by noticing that the Harvester has a lot of the same rules as the Guardian. Between Incogitable Abomination, Hollow Ward, and the Abyssal Blast attack, these Colossals should feel fairly similar. Unlike the Guardian, though, the Harvester is all about making devastating ranged attacks.

The Abyssal Harvester is an incredibly dangerous weapon. It is among the highest POW spray weapons in the game. Yet the Harvester isn’t just a weapon platform; Soul Splinter has similar mechanics to Soul Shatter, but it is much more potent. It also introduces some new wording, “Once per attack…” means exactly what it says: you can use Soul Splinter on only a single enemy model from among all the models you hit each time you attack with an Abyssal Harvester. It doesn’t need to be a normal attack, so it will work on out of activation attacks, like from the Ancillary Attack ability on the Wretch. You also don’t need to use Soul Splinter on the first model you hit—you can choose which model to use Soul Splinter on after you have determined which models have been hit by an Abyssal Harvester attack.

This all means that each Harvester in your army can provide your infernal master with up to three souls a turn, regardless of any abilities that would normally stop you from getting them. One soul can come from each of its base Abyssal Harvester attacks and a third if it is affected by the Ancillary Attack special rule. Though it’s obvious, saying that Agathon likes utilizing Soul Splinter is very much too gentle of a statement.

Rounding out the Harvester’s kit are fairly decent melee attacks and Kill Shot. Most of the time, this horror will be shooting its powerful guns, but when push comes to shove, it can still smush pretty much anything with melee attacks. When it does, it still gets to make one ranged attack to allow it to protect itself from any potentially dangerous living models that might bypass the Hollow Ward bonus armor.

That is it for the Infernal Colossals—and we hope the grim wait has been worth it. Be sure to pick up your Guardians and Harvesters of Souls on our webstore today! If you aren’t an infernalist (yet), you’ll be happy to know that the zero-level warlocks for HORDES are just around the corner. Stay tuned, and until then, happy gaming!

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