The idea behind the Brass Stampede army started out as a question, “How many Juggernauts can I fit in a 2,000 point list?”. That question lead to the next question, “How competitive would 30 Juggernauts be?”.
This list started out as a fun idea that I mentioned while our group was trying to come up with lists for upcoming tournaments. I had never seen a pure Stampede list before in person and so set about building it and testing out options. The list is deceptively grindy in nature and not nearly the ‘lawn mower’ (push everything forward and cut down everything in your way) I had thought it would be. The strength of the army is in its incredibly sturdy, long lasting, mortal wound output. Each Juggernaut rocking 5 wounds, a 4+ save, and immunity to DAMAGE from spells on a 4+ provides a very stable foundation that, every hero phase, puts out d3 mortal wounds on a roll of a 2+ to everything within range of the Battalion ability and a further d3-d6 mortal wounds on each completed charge. You don’t clear through units so much as drag out fights and win in attrition, that might be something that went over my head in the early stages of list building but I leaned hard into after my first few games.
The Khorne Blood Bound allegiance ability are Blood Tithe points. Each unit (friendly or enemy) destroyed grants 1 blood tithe point. You can collect up to a maximum of 8 in this army before additional points generated are lost. They are a nice bonus but since you don’t kill units overly quickly and your units also don’t die very quickly they are a nice bonus more than a reliable source of resources. You can use them in EITHER player’s hero phase but the ones I found most useful or used most often were;
- Spelleater Curse– For 2 points you get a table wide automatic unbinding of a single spell. Since we are only running one wizard, and debuff spells can’t be stopped by our shields this is a cheap and important one to utilize.
- Crimson Rain– Use 4 points and all KHORNE models on the battlefield heal D3 wounds. Since we are running 7 units of multiple wound models this heal often equates to at least 14 wounds being returned before counting heroes. Very powerful swing mechanic that can catch your opponent off guard.
- Apoplectic Frenzy– 5 points one of your Khorne units within 3” of an enemy may pile in and attack. Extra attacks are always welcome, and can help to reduce some pain from an opponent getting a double turn on you, or to free up a unit for the movement phase if they are fighting a small unit at the start of your turn.
- Summoning– Depending on what you have available this is just a strong ability in AOS 2.0. Summoning a unit of 10 bloodletters onto an objective since your juggernauts want to be fighting and not sitting still is always helpful.
Subtopic- The Brass Stampede
Rather than talk about these abilities later in this breakdown I think it’s valuable to talk about it early before we get into the meat and potatoes of the army since it’s basically an army wide “lesser” allegiance ability.
The Brass Stampede battalion gives us 3 bonuses to everything in our army.
- Avalanche of Brass – Since we start the game with 7 units of Mighty Skullcrushers and 1 Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut -the maximum number of units in the battalion- we roll a dice for each enemy unit within 3” of any units from the Stampede in each of our hero phases. On the roll of a 2+ that unit takes D3 mortal wounds. The bulk of our army damage comes from this ability since we can often be stuck in combat for 2 or 3 hero phases and it hits ALL units within 3”.
- Blood-scent – If either army has a unit completely destroyed, all units in the Stampede add 3 to their charge rolls. Something to keep track of since this makes your average charge distance 11” with the unit horns.
- Obliterating Charge – Our Skullcrusher’s Murderous Charge ability will now automatically go off if the unit rolling for it is within 3” of another unit from the Stampede. This bonus applies to all our units, not just ones that also completed a charge. So if you can’t find a way to get a unit into combat, keeping them next to a unit that did charge helps them get their automatic mortal wounds to go off.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
We’ll start with The Brazen Rune since it serves the most simple purpose. The Brazen Rune just gives you another layer of protection against spells, mostly debuff spells in the form of a once per game automatic unbind of an enemy spell.
The next item we take is The Betrayer’s Crown, another once per game ability but its a Gaunt Summoner duct taped to our general’s head. Once per game, you pick an enemy within 3” and roll a dice for each model in that unit. On a 5+ they take a mortal wound. It helps give you a little push to get through a big block of guys, or since it’s used at the start of the combat phase, to break the buffs that a unit gets for having more than X number of models in it, Skeleton Warriors for example.
Our Command Trait Violent Urgency allows all friendly KHORNE units that start within 8” of our general to re-roll charge rolls. Our army isn’t about blendering units in combat, but we do want to get the bonus to charging we get from the Stampede. Straightforward, we want to be going places fast and this helps us get there faster.
Lastly our Command Abilities, while we have two unique command abilities from heroes we only really use the Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut to give us +1 to wound on 3 friendly units when they complete a charge. This makes our lances on charges go from 4+/3+ to 4+/2+ which helps to offset their lackluster melee To Hit profile.
When in doubt, use Inspiring Presence to keep models from fleeing to battle shock, it really hurts to have even one Juggernaut flee to a bad dice roll.
If you have to make a charge connect, be sure to use the reroll ability, we don’t need to be saving up command points.
Of the three command abilities, I tend to use Inspiring Presence and the Reroll Charges the most, since both help with the overall synergy with our army. Yes the +1 to wound is nice, but we mostly do damage in mortal wounds.
The Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut. Our General, he allows us to unlock the Brass Stampede battalion’s full potential, makes Juggernauts Battleline, and isn’t a slouch with 8 wounds, a 3+ save, a 4+ stop wounds from magic save, and 3 attacks that do d3 damage a peice! Don’t rely on him to save the day, instead leverage his Obliterating Charge and Avalanche of Brass abilities because as a single model he can get into places units of three or six definitely can’t and can help to boost the damage output of a less than favorable charge by up to 2D3 mortal wounds.
Aspiring Deathbringer. A cheap hero for objective scoring that requires heroes, and a sneaky way to get a +1 attack bubble in a pinch. In reality he is most likely a hero that could be swapped for an equally cheap hero, since he brings very little to the table other than a body that can take objectives and you won’t miss him in the fight.
Great Bray-Shaman. An ALLIED unit to get us access to Chronomantic Cogs and anther unbind attempt if we need it. More importantly he is our only wizard so any of the missions that require a wizard or priest to hold an objective, we need to rely on him pretty heavily. He fills similar spots as the Aspiring Deathbringer in that he sits back, holds objectives, casts Cogs and then is a hero to use blood tithe points for summoning.
Overall our army isn’t built around heroes carrying us to victory. Our bread and butter is our battleline.
Mighty Skullcrushers. Not only do these guys have great models, but it looks awesome on the table to have 30 of them thundering down on your opponent. Their melee damage output is lacking, 4+/3+ with -1 rend, or 3+/3+ with no rend and in each case only 1 damage. However in a turn they charge a unit of six will do D6 mortal wounds, while a unit of five or less will do D3 mortal wounds. The following turn during your hero phase they will do an additional D3 mortal wounds to everything within 3” of them and that is where their grinding power comes in. With FIVE wounds per model and a 4+ save even units of Witch Aelves take more than a turn or two to mince their way through a unit of 6.
Be careful though, multiple damage attacks from the likes of Bullgors or cannons can put the hurt on you really quickly. It’s best to ignore and avoid these units when you can and utilize your speed. Sacrifice units of three to scary units, you’ll do mortal wounds on the way in and maybe hold them for a turn or two, but most importantly will keep them locked up and not smashing up your bigger units. You can always come back for them if you start to get ahead, but the primary goal of this army is to win on objectives, not table your opponent.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
We only have one
Chronomantic Cogs, the +4” to movement for our army helps us way more than it helps most other armies. We want to pick our fights and take units out one by one as often as we can. Cogs helps us pick our targets and get to them without overextending ourselves. The Stampede works best as a group that hits together and then breaks off to deal with threats as needed.
Most games we need to play to the objectives, in most of the games that I won it came down to only a few hundred points left on the table for BOTH players. We need to leverage speed, survivability and blocking the opponent’s movement with our large base size.
I like to evaluate not on a battletome vs battletome basis but rather an army list vs army list match up. So my evaluation of matchups won’t be “we’re good against stormcast, but bad against daughters of khaine” because that feels very one dimensional to me. Instead I will outline the types of armies we are strong against and the types of armies we are weak against.
We like to play against armies that try to match what we do, high wound models with good saves. We normally will out do them in this category. Stormcast have a hard time dealing with us for example because our unit size is relatively small, reducing the effectiveness of Evocators, while having a good armor save to deal with their lack of rend. In return Stormcast struggles to prevent mortal wounds.
We also fair well against elite armies. Low model count armies that try to kill us outright run into more wounds than they expect having to deal with and again we return mortal wounds rather than straight up melee fights.
Since we are a grinding army anything that can stand toe to toe with us is going to be a problem. If that’s number of models (Daughters of Khaine) or just being tougher than we are (Blightkings) we start to run out of steam around the fourth round of combat. So in these matchups try even harder than normal to get on objectives and score points quickly, or try to deal with key units (cauldrons of blood ect) as quickly as possible.
Over all the army is a lot of fun to play, very unique and gets people excited to see how it plays when you deploy. This was definitely the most commented on army I have ever run. Competitively it might be an uphill battle for you until you can wrap your brain around the army play style and it’s performance greatly relies on your ability to decide what are the correct fights and to be in the right spot at the right time.