Soon after the release of HIGH COMMAND : Warmachine, Privateer Press rallied together to begin bringing more options to player decks. This would begin the true customization of the deck-building game and sets out to make the game what it is truly meant to be. Released in December of 2013, The Big Guns busted through and arrived on store shelves and in gamer’s collections. Let’s take a look at what it adds to the game.
What Comes In This Expansion
In The Big Guns, players will see the beginnings to building their own customized faction decks for Privateer Press’s deck-builder. Included in the new expansion are
- 4 new Warcaster cards (one each for Cygnar, Khador, Menoth, and Cryx)
- 20 unit cards for each faction (Cygnar, Khador, Menoth, and Cryx) – 4 new card types, 5 of each card
- 1 rule reference card
Altogether there are 84 playable cards in this new set. The rule reference card explains the one new “rule” that players must heed to. Some of the new cards have small “pips” at the bottom of the art portion – these pips indicate how many copies of this card can be in one deck.
About This Expansion
No rules have changed with this set, and since the game is pretty new, that is to be expected. Please check out Raine’s review of the HIGH COMMAND : Warmachine base game for full rules. The only restriction with this deck is the new graphic indicating how many copies of a card type can be in each deck to keep some balance in the game. That being said, let’s look at what each faction can look forward to adding to their armies.
The Cryx players will meet Lord Exhumator Scaverous as their new warcaster. He gives friendly warjacks at his location +1 power and reduces the Purchase and Rush costs of cards by 1 CMD or 1 WAR (minimum of 0). That’s pretty sweet.
There are warrior units called Revenant Cannon Crews that let you deploy a non-Character revenant card from your hand for free if an enemy warrior card is destroyed. The other warrior unit is called Revenant Rifle Crew. These guys let you add Revenant cards to your hand from the discard pile when enemy warrior cards are destroyed. They’re the dead guys that just keep on coming.
Now, the Warjacks. The Leviathan gets +1 Power when enemy cards at his location are all Warjacks and Warbeasts. Combine that with Scaverous’ power and you’ve got a terrifying presence. Finally, the Defiler joins the game. This guy is little but can cause a small location wipe if played correctly. If he is alone, your attack phase doesn’t happen but he destroys all enemy cards with health equal to or less than the Defiler’s power (2).
Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova leads the new Khador units into battle with this set. She also gives Warjacks at her location +1 power, but also has an ability that allows you to return a card from her location to its owners hand when you rush her. That can be a game changer if played at the right time.
With her she brings a slew of warriors. The Man-O-War Bombardier Korps gets pumped when there are 1 or more warrior units of a selected enemy player at a location. Alongside them, the Winter Guard Artillery Korps get boosted +1 power when placed at locations with friendly cards.
No one will be surprised at the massive punch in the head for this faction, the new warjacks. The Berserker destroys all cards with Berserk when no enemy cards are left after an attack. This can backfire quickly, so place this guy carefully! Finally, the Decimator has an incredible defense of 6, and gets pumped when facing only one enemy card at a location.
Protectorate of Menoth
The High Reclaimer raises the flag for the Protectorate of Menoth. This guy gives other warjacks +1 power like the other Warcasters, but he also allows you to move warrior cards (cost 3 or less) to his location from the discard pile when he is rushed. This guy works well with the warriors that come in this set, and gives you reason to pack your deck with warrior units.
The Deliverer Skyhammers destroy a card with 2 health or less after the attack phase. The other warrior unit is the Deliverer Sunburst Detachment. They get +1 Power when other friendly units are present at the start of an attack, and it lasts through the end of turn.
The warjacks pack a fiery faceful of pain, as you’d expect from Menoth. The Redeemer allows you to move a card from your hand to the occupying forces to give him +2 Power. Joining the battlefront is the Vanquisher, sets anything not already suffering from Fire damage, you guessed it, on fire. decreasing the health of all enemy cards by -1. Ouch.
The Cygnar is led by its new caster, Lieutenant Allister Caine. Giving warjack cards +1 power at his location, he allows you to destroy an enemy card with health equal to or less than his power after an attack at his location. This ability could give the Cygnar the upper hand at the end of an attack phase.
The Trencher Heavy Artillery Team uses Blast and gains +1 power for each warrior card friendly to the chosen enemy faction. The Arcane Tempest Gun Mages bring the most variety to this faction by allowing you to choose whether it gains +1 power or Superior Range at the start of an attack
The Avenger can be ganged up on and taken down to lower the Cygnar’s defenses at a location, but when he is destroyed, each opponent with units at that location discard a card. The Hunter takes an extra shot, so to speak, as he chooses an enemy card with 4 or greater health at the beginning of an attack phase and decreases its health by -2 until the end of turn, making their opponents easier to kill.
Bigger Is Better, Right?
Some cards in this expansion set are better than others, that’s for sure. But the introduction of these new cards are finally really opening up High Command for deck-customization as originally intended by Privateer Press. I think that those turned off by the base set and lack of personalization will consider giving the game another try after incorporating The Big Guns.
In previous reviews of High Command related games it has been mentioned that the VP balance was, well, unbalanced. At first glance, that still rings true in this set. Cryx packs 10VP, while the other factions bring 15VP. However, with the limitation of how many copies of a card type you can place into a given deck, Privateer Press has began to level out the playing field. You can have more Cryx VP units than the others, however the points themselves balance. I was really happy to see this come forth.
Each faction still works differently in their own regards, and your decks may contain more Warrior units or Warjack units depending on your style and build, but with this and more expansions set to come forth, I think that the game is finally coming into what it was meant to be. At $15.99, players still hesitant to the game might find the price steep, but those that have played with newly customized decks, or those who already love the game, will find that to be a small cost to pay to bolster their existing decks. You do need the base set to use this expansion, so find someone with the game if you don’t have it and see if its for you!
Thanks to Privateer Press for providing a copy of HIGH COMMAND : Warmachine – The Big Guns for review!
- VP balance is showing
- Combos are becoming clearer
- First chance for true customization of decks
- Use of copy limitations keeps decks from being overpowered
- Card font is still tiny and difficult to read at times
- Some combos are more powerful in one faction and less powerful in another – this is really determined by individual player’s play style, though