The latest version of Wild West Exodus stat cards and core rules was released in March, bringing a few notable changes to the game and some hints as to what’s to come hidden away in the .pdf files containing the complete faction card collection. I’ve had some time to sit down and go over the new cards to see just what this will bring to the game once the miniatures are finally available. This will be a multi-part series focusing on a few factions per article to help evenly distribute the information and avoid a massive infodump.
First off, let’s get the bad news out of the way. Fans of the Order, Union, Watchers, and Enlightened are out of luck this card update, as there are no new units available. Warcradle staff tend to be rather tight-lipped about release dates, so your best bet is to wait until the next scheduled card update sometime in the autumn.
First up, we have the Hex. Their stat card bundle contained three distinct Face units: Vor Khet, Khali, and Garrat Morden. Vor Khet and Khali are unique in that they are the first Legendary Faces to be announced. It is entirely possible that non-Legendary versions of these two will be arriving at some point in the future. The faction also gain access to several Bandit Support vehicles (Bandit Outriders, Bandit Interceptors, Bandit Blackjacks, and the Banditr Dustcutter), giving them more mobility and firepower for generic Support slots.
As we’ve seen in the various concept art and 3D renders previously, Vor Khet is a big boy. Coming in on a large base at 185 points, he’ll definitely be an investment in points and money. He comes with a high Grit of 7 along with the Tough special rule, letting him re-roll any failed Grit checks he makes. He also comes with the Unstoppable special rule, which when combined with Frenzy giving him and extra strike action on every critical success makes his battlefield role very easy to figure out: he’s a living battering ram. While he’s a bit slow with a Quickness of only 4, you can easily get some extra range out of Vor Khet by focusing (adding +2 inches) and dashing (adding +d5 inches) to get him in the middle of a group of hands or something equally squishy.
What makes him even more terrifying is the Dark Nation keyword on his card. Take him in a Dark Nation posse with Wicisasni and he also gains Shrouded, meaning not only will you have to re-roll any successful Aim checks, but Vor Khet also gets to re-roll any failed Grit checks as well. I’ve gone up against a Dark Nation posse once before, and constantly having to re-roll shots against them is maddening. If you’ll be facing off against Vor Khet, your best bet is to simply stay our out of his charging range. Or if you’re a Union player, feel free to dump as many shots as you can in one turn into him and hope for the best.
Khali is the second Legendary Face unit in the faction’s card deck, and she is terrifying for nearly the exact opposite reason: Khali is a fast and agile creature that can quickly move across the battlefield to disrupt or pin down key enemy units at opportune times. Clocking in at only 170 points, Khali is a little bit cheaper than Vor Khet but has several advantages over the juggernaut. Among her special rules are Durable and Agile, allowing her to easily climb vertical surfaces and dull down incoming fire (to a point). While she’s not as tough at Vor Khet with a Grit of 6, she’ll still take some dedicated effort to bring down. Khali comes with a pair of torrent weapons: an acid spray that automatically applies the Hazard condition and is considered Lethal on a critical success, and a web launcher that applies the Tangled condition upon a successful hit. While this may not seem that impressive when looking at her meager Aim of 3, keep in mind that she does not pay for Focusing her movement, freeing up the action points to focus her shots for an additional +2 bringing that laughable 3 up to a nervous 5.
Khali also comes with the Compel special rule, allowing her to take over either a friendly or enemy unit and make a single Action. While this single free action can’t be focused or use Fortune, the possibility of someone like the Union’s Alfred Woodhouse calling in an artillery strike against his own forces is enough to make opponents pay very close attention to her. This is her primary function in a list: dash in, disrupt an enemy unit in whatever way she can, and get out before her opponent can respond. And to make things worse, Khali has the Dark Nation keyword just like Vor Khet, making her that much harder to shoot down.
The last Face we have on our Hex list is Garratt Morden. A generic Hex Face costing 170 points, he doesn’t look like much at first glance. Rather mediocre stats with a slightly above average Mind of 6. His weapons are rather short range, with the Hex Bolt being the longest at only 12”. So what makes him so special?
For starters, Garratt comes with the Shrouded rule by default, so he’s that much harder to hit. He also comes with the Dark Council rule, allowing him the chance to Compel a unit with the Tainted special rule. As we mentioned above, this has the potential to seriously mess with your opponent’s plans and deployments. Want to make sure Grant is taken out of the game easily? Compel him and have him walk into the range of that booby trap over there. Or take control of Thomas Tate Tobin and have him snipe out a unit you’re concerned about dealing with.
The final interesting rule with Garratt is the Rapport special rule, which allows him to take a Civilians unit in the same posse slot with him and also allows a free re-roll when within 12” of any Civilian. While some of the strategic units in the game have some dubious utility, like Angry Mobs, the Civilians can tip the scales to your favor at the end of the game. If the unit survives until the end, even if it’s reduced to only one model, they’re worth an extra victory point. I’ve had a few games that came down to double-checking Adventure cards at the end to tally up victory points; these can come in handy. You will have to plan your game around them a bit to make sure they make it to the end, but it can be the difference between victory and defeat.
Overall, Garratt is a fairly solid support Face that will fit well into generic Hex posses and the Absolute Power theme posse. He should also do well in most Union lists, as he has both the Hex and Union keywords.
Speaking of the Union, let’s take a look at their two new additions: the Union Heavy Gatling Gun and Milo Jefferson. As I mentioned before, Garratt Morden is also available for the Union, but we covered him already.
The Heavy Gatling Gun, as expected, is a Support unit containing a gatling cannon that can do an excellent job of holding down a fire lane and keeping an area secure. The unit is also unique in that it actually came from Dystopian Legions rather than Wild West Exodus; the unit was added to the game when a Legions player asked Warcradle Studios for a stat card to use the miniature in the new game on the game's Facebook page, which the company agreed to and provided a stat card within the span of a few hours. Its main gun has a 20” range and a ROF of 4, allowing it to throw a massive number of shots downrange. The unit can contain anywhere from 1-3 models, but at 100 points a pop, don’t expect to see them in smaller games. They also come with the Mettle and Durable rules, making them harder to shoot down. Expect to devote a good amount of firepower to removing a nest of these guns.
They don’t come without any downsides, however. They have a paltry Quickness of 3 and a Limit of 2, making them very difficult to redeploy. If your opponent has a good number of units with Counter Intelligence or other rules allowing for redeployment at the start of the game, it can leave your heavy fire support stuck in a useless part of the map. Smoke grenades will also wreak havoc on this unit, as it reduces their Aim attribute by 1 when targeting a unit through it on top of any other terrain in the way.
The other new addition to the Union roster is Milo Jefferson. For starters, he comes with the Agent keyword, making him available as part of the Secret Service posse. His stats are rather mediocre, but his weapons and rules make up for this. He comes with both a Chace pistol and Masterwork Chace Launcher with an Ammo Clip. This means his weapons get a critical success on both a 9 or a 10, and his 15” rifle can choose which effect their shots will have. This gives Milo a good amount of versatility in dealing with various threat types on the fly.
As for his special rules, the stand-outs are Teamwork and Sic ‘Em. Teamwork allows the unit with the rule to activate immediately after a Face or Boss unit finishes their activation within 8” of him. This combined with the perk for using the Secret Service posse (Face units gain +2 Victory Points for killing a boss) means a canny Union player can spend a turn or two moving their units into position before chain activating a few key units into unloading a barrage into an enemy Boss to bring them down and get the extra Victory Points to either establish a solid lead or catch up from a deficit.
The Sic ‘Em special rule allows Milo Jefferson to take a unit of K-9 units (either Attack Dogs or Gun Dogs) in the same posse slot. The K9 unit taken gains the Teamwork special rule if they are within 3” of Milo. On top of this, Milo can spend an action point to nominate a unit within 18” to give his K9 unit the chance to Focus any Shoot and Strike actions the K9 unit makes for free against the nominated unit. If you have the points available, taking a unit of Gun Dogs with Milo will make assassinating Bosses that much easier, especially if you use the Teamwork special rule to chain additional activations against the enemy Boss.
Rounding off today’s discussion is the Warrior Nation’s sole addition: the Storm Riders. A Support unit coming in at 85 points each, they have a very specific function on the tabletop: opening portals. The Warrior Nation is the primary melee faction in the game, and they need to get into their opponent’s face as quickly as possible to avoid being shot off the table. In the previous stat card version, the only way the Warrior Nation could use portals (or Spirit Totems) was by taking units with the Totemic special rule, which placed the totems on the table during deployment. This let opponents know just where units would be coming from at the start of the game, lessening the faction’s ability to move around the table.
The Storm Riders alleviate this problem by giving the Warrior Nation a way to put down portals (not Spirit Totems) with a greater degree of freedom of mobility on the tabletop. Not only does this improve the Warrior Nation's ability to cover ground quickly, but it also makes portal usage for your opponents that much more difficult. If your opponent wants to use one of their own portals in the game, they need to make a Mind check with a -1 penalty for every enemy portal (or Spirit Totem) in play. Using Storm Riders to drop portals across the table will quickly make that extremely difficult without a considerable investment. They come with a Quickness of 8 and several special rules to make them very hard to hit. Storm Riders come with:
- Skirmishers (increasing their coherency to 4”)
- Moving Target (successful Aim checks against them need to be re-rolled)
- Mettle (can go Disordered after a failed Grit check)
- Galvanic (ignore Stun and Disrupt)
- Child of the Great Spirit (ignore Yeller Checks and uneven ground)
Their weapons aren’t spectacular; the Storm Riders come with a Portal Launcher and Spirit Blast which aren’t all that impressive. They also have a Limit of 2, meaning they won’t be able to accomplish a great deal without using Guts cards to increase their Limit. They’re a one-trick pony (no pun intended) focused on dropping spirit totems on the board, but their trick can be incredibly useful in just about any Warrior Nation posse. Or the Lawmen’s Tribal Alliance posse, but we’ll get to that in a later article.