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Monday, June 22, 2015

Conquest Warlord Review: Baharroth

After a brief hiatus from gaming in general due to some crazy life stuff popping up, I have found myself reinvigorated by Conquest. I was playing almost every night in preparation for a regional tournament (that I ended up skipping), and really diving into some decks and warlords that I hadn't yet had the opportunity to play (although, I still haven't played Zogwort, and probably never will). The warlord that has grabbed my attention the most has been Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind in Eldar-speak.

When it comes to the 40k lore I obsess over two factions: Eldar (of all varieties) and Chaos. I love the Eldar storyline and background, especially concerning the Phoenix Lords. Now, Baharroth isn't my favorite Phoenix Lord in the background, but in Conquest he's a fun, unique, and effective crusader for the Eldar race.
Whenever we get a new release for Conquest, our first thoughts concern the new warlord and the impact of his ability on the game. Baharroth's ability can take quite some time to read through, so you should sit down before continuing this article. Ready? Deep breath....


Oh...well...ummmm... That's a bit underwhelming...

At least, that was my first reaction, and the first reaction of many other players as well. But rigorous playtesting has confirmed that while the Mobile keyword on a normal unit adds a bit of flavor, having it on a warlord can be extremely powerful.

Baharroth is a command phase monster. Most warlords, when they commit to a planet, will be stuck there for the rest of the turn. Eldorath has the ability to move, but only if he has his signature event Foresight in hand. Aun'shi can use Kauyon Strike or Over-Powered, er, Orbital City to bounce around to different planets, but only Baharroth has the built-in ability to commit to one planet and then move around to others without an event card. This effect is huge, as it effectively leverages his warlord trait across multiple planets in a given turn. He can claim a good command value on one planet, then fight on another. Of course, he can also get out of harm's way if necessary, making him very hard to bloody.

Some art from the 3rd Ed. rulebook 

That said, he only has 6 HP, and can become vulnerable if you pick the wrong fight. Plus, you have to remember that movement via mobile occurs before combat starts, so make sure you have a plan to fight when you have to. Luckily, Baharroth's signature army units can move around as well to come to the aid of their leader.

There has been controversy surrounding this unit, much of it deserved. Namely, is it too damn expensive for what it does? I'm inclined to say that it is a little expensive, BUT! the unit is still very good. Note that its +3 attack only applies if Baharroth is present ("your" warlord, not "a" warlord"). If an enemy walord commits to their planet and you can't get Baharroth there, or don't want to, then get these guys away from the action, because they'll be obliterated.

This lack of attack ability is the primary reason why I'm inclined to ally with Tau for Baharroth, since Tau provide access to Ion Rifles (and the Earth Caste Techs that can fetch them). Now, this is a four-cost investment, but now we're looking at a mobile unit that could be swinging for 6. Plus, the Eldar event Death from Above can help reduce the cost of these guys, but automatically places them at the last planet. I've been including that event in my deck thus far, but the jury is still out on it.

Assuming we live in an ideal world, that 6 attack can be boosted even further by:

Now this is a great support. Simple, cheap, and effective. Also, the artwork continues in the game's grand tradition of stomping all over the Imperial Guard. In addition to Baharroth and his Hawks, this support can target Wildrider Squadrons and get them swinging for a beastly 5 attack. All in all it's a fantastic support that synergizes perfectly with the warlord and the faction as a whole.

We go from a great support to a very middling attachment. There's no base attack boost, and the ability can take some serious maneuvering to set up. When you compare this warlord attachment to the Tempest Blade, Plague Banner, Glovodan Eagle, Frostfang, etc - there's simply no comparison. Most of the time I've been using this for the 3 shields.

We're going to end on a high note with Baharroth's signature event: Cry of the Wind. "Baharroth" roughly translates to "Cry of the Wind", so A+ on theme for the designers. The obvious use for this card is to make your units super-mobile. But it's important to note that this card can apply to enemy units as well, which is how I prefer to employ it. If an opposing Eldar or Dark Eldar player tries to use their Wildrider Squadron against me, I can just move it right back to where it came from. If someone tries to get cute with Plannum, I can move their unit right down the line and out of contention for the rest of the game. This is a fantastic event with a ton of utility, and can really get in your opponent's head.

Time will tell if Baharroth is a competitive warlord or not, but I can say that he's been a blast to run. He may not be my favorite Phoenix Lord from the lore, but he's carved out a space among my favorite Conquest LCG warlords.

Now we just need badass Maugan Ra and I'll never play another warlord.

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