Warlord: Savage North Army Analysis - Bloodstone Gnomes
October-14-2010 - An in-depth review of the Bloodstone Gnomes by Doug Bush
This week we're going to take a closer look at the Bloodstone Gnomes army. The Bloodstone Gnomes are a very diverse army with the ability to handle all of the different scenarios you will likely face on the battlefield.

Pros

A large selection of cheap, diverse models makes this a great faction for tournament play, where you are often asked to complete multiple objectives. Strong casters, fast-striking cavalry, incredible solos, and great Faction Doctrines makes this an army that can handle anything it goes up against. Plus it has crazy, evil, blood-thirsty, beetle-riding gnomes done Reaper style! What's cooler than that? The bloodstone golems have spikes for hands! Spikes for hands!

Cons

One well-placed AoE can decimate your forces. The gnomes are also on the slow side, and the archers, while good shots, have a short range.

Overview

The bloodstone gnomes (or BSG) are a race of demented, underground gnomes whose culture revolves around the worship of bloodstone. In exchange for "feeding" these stones with blood, the gnomes are granted powers that make them an unstoppable horde in battle. From the largest selection of single-track models to its towering stone constructs, the BSG faction is able to bring a very diverse force to the battlefield.

The Tunneler Faction Doctrine has one of the coolest abilities in the game - "They Came from Below". By allowing you to hold one of your troops in reserve 'til the second game turn and then deploy them within 2" of any edge of the board, this great doctrine will keep your opponent on edge. Tired of those lame elves sitting back and peppering you with arrows and spells as you close the distance to fight like real men (or gnomes)? Saving a troop of Beetle Riders, led by the master herself Bata, gives you an effective 14" rush attack charge that also deals poison damage! Eat that, squishy caster! Overall, the BSG aren't a very fast-moving faction, so smart positioning on the first turn, combined with "They Came from Below", can put you right where you need to be to feed those stones.

Although we won't be using him today, when using Kurand the Ever Living as your Warlord, the Return to Me Faction Doctrine is the way to go. Kurand is one of the best spellcasters in the Savage North. To gain the full advantage of the Living Rock part this doctrine, you will also want to include a couple more casters in your army and, of course, some lesser and greater bloodstone golems. This way, if any of the enemy models get to close to your casters - or even in B2B with them - you can teleport your damage reduction, life-seizing models from anywhere on the battlefield to wreck shop! Again, this is another great doctrine that will put your opponent on edge and force them to rethink their usual tricks to protect their important models or go after yours.

Both doctrines include "Chaotic Behavior". Frequently, a well-timed use of the Spy special ability (SA) can change the fate of an entire turn, or even the game. With "Chaotic Behavior", it becomes very difficult for your opponent to use his Spy SA by making him roll for it. The best part is that if he fails the roll, that Spy is used up anyway, which prevents your opponent from trying to use it on you again.

Suggested Army List

Bloodstone - 1000 points

Troop 1
Herald of Blood
Lesser Bloodstone Golem x 2


Troop 2
Great Worm


Troop 3
Bata, Lancer Captain
Glaktu, Lancer Champion
Beetle Rider Lancer x 3


Troop 4
Greater Bloodstone Golem


Troop 5
Kordtok the Gutter
Kulgurk the Cruel
Hok x 4
Scragger x 3


Luck Stone


This army list is played using the Tunneler Faction Doctrine (saving Troop 3 to come in where you need them). It shows of the strength of supporting the BSG's more expensive heavy hitters with expendable gnome models.

Tactics



Troop 1: Troop 1 takes advantage of the Herald's ability to be fielded with no soldier models and only elites. The Herald is one of the only Warlords in the entire game that can do this, and by supporting him with two lesser golems, this troop becomes your ultimate bait. The damage reduction, life seize, and construct immunities ensure that your opponent will have to commit a large part of their force to take these guys down. Just move this troop in the direction you want your opponent to go, and watch him flock to you!

Troop 2: Around Reaper we have a nickname for the great worm: "Mage-seeking missile"! With incredible burrowed movement and a 16" Rush Attack charge that can not only shock your enemy but potentially do four points of damage, the great worm is arguably one of the best models in the game for under 100 points. The great worm is also another great psychological tool to put your opponent on edge, knowing that by turn two you can get him to wherever he needs to be.

Troop 3: With only a DV10 and two tracks, the beetle rider lancers aren't the toughest cavalry in the game, but they are some of the cheapest. This means you can use their great movement and Rush Attack SA to hit-and-run your opponent in his back yard (and not cringe every time one gets taken down), while your true powerhouses - the worm and golems - are getting in position to mop up what's left. Focus Bata and Glaktu on key solos and elites to lay down serious pressure.

Troop 4: For Troop 4, you could go with the greater bloodstone golem or the charnel grub, depending on your play style. They cost 133 and 132 points respectively, and both are worth every single point. For defensive play, the greater bloodstone golem is a safe bet. Three tracks at DV11, Damage Reduction/2, and life seize will go a long way to keeping this guy alive. Plus he's got a great MAV that doesn't degrade and is even better defensively. Use this guy to go for your true targets while your opponent is distracted by the herald, great worm, and beetle riders. For the offensive player, the charnel grub is a dice roller's dream. One of only two models in the entire game with six attacks, and the only model with six attacks at a MAV six, grab yourself a fist full of dice and get ready for the slaughter. The Nauseating SA and Tough 2 will give you a shot at surviving melee combat, but focused ranged attack and spells can doom the grub before he makes it across the board. Strategic movement from cover to cover is a must for using the charnel grub correctly.

Troop 5: Finally a troop full of gnomes! Kulgurk the Cruel is a great spellcaster to give you that needed magical presence on the field. A well-placed toxic cloud or use of hail stones can help soften the enemy up before your main force arrives. Shaerdra the Bloodstone Matron is another great choice, as a successful domination spell can help reinforce that psychological edge of taking control away from your opponent. But as with most gnomes (and casters for that matter), these guys will go down easy, so keep them protected! The hoks are your glass cannons. They are most effective when attacking previously-damaged models, and their Bloodlust SA gives them two attacks at MAV 4. Team these up with scraggers so that when they hit, their Provoke SA will force your opponent to put his precious defensive strikes back on the expendable scragger, and let the hok live to fight another turn!

Luck Stone: Do you really ever show up without a Luck Stone? Those simple three points could be the difference in making that Tough check or casting the spell that wins the game. Plus, why would you show up with bloodstone gnomes that don't use a magical stone?



Check out the previous strategy articles in this series:


Week 1 - Sisters of the Blade
Week 2 - Icingstead
Week 3 - Darkreach
Week 4 - Bloodstone Gnomes