Warhammer Army Project/Cathay
- 1 Cathay: Warhammer Army Project, 9th Edition Tactica
- 2 Why Play WAP Cathay
- 3 Army Special Rules
- 4 The Lore of Yin & Yang
- 5 The Art of War
- 6 Treasures of the Seven Heavens
- 7 Army Units
- 8 Regiments of Renown
- 9 Tatica
- 10 External Links
Cathay: Warhammer Army Project, 9th Edition Tactica
Created by Mathias Eliasson, this project was a homebrew attempt at giving many of the nations and factions that never got Armybooks of their own (and those left behind and never got one in 8th Edition) such a thing.
It should also be noted that Eliasson is continuously updating his work, so don't expect this page to stay current forever. If anyone wishes actually to update this page and the items that need it, later on, go ahead.
Why Play WAP Cathay
Cathay has some of the strangest gatherings of units from any Armybook assembled from the few snippets of lore about how it was exotic. They have anything from flaming horses, titanic automatons forged from brass, animated statues called Foo Dogs, all the way to wandering 'knights' riding giant toads...oh...and monks that can kick in people's shit with just their fists! They also have their version of the Imperial Guard's orders called Stratagems as well as a cool Lore system with powerful spells. And let's face it...you LOVED Dynasty Warriors and want to see if you can recreate some of its best moments (a single warrior holding a bridge by himself comes to mind). So beat the drums, wave the flags and send in your low-born infantry to die by the thousands for the glory of the Emperor!...that sounds oddly familiar...
Army Special Rules
- Iron Discipline: Units with this special rule double their combat result bonuses that come from having extra ranks. What does this mean? Take your low-cost units with a high model number to maximize their efficiency in close combat, and perhaps a few expensive(ish) units to do the same. Simple as that.
- Auxiliaries: Units with this rule don't cause Panic for those units that don't have this rule, making it essentially Expendable. You also can't field more Auxiliary units that you do other Core Choices that don't have this rule. However, only three units have this rule. Nothing big, but *shrug* it's something.
The Lore of Yin & Yang
- Lore Attribute: Equilibrium A Wizard gains access to both Yin & Yang's versions of a spell when they are rolled, similar to the Eldar's Runes of Battle. Every spell that is successfully cast must be from the opposite energy type of the one cast before it, otherwise, the Wizard rolls a miscast on the roll of ANY double. This means you get a larger pool of spells, but it also means you won't have the same freedom of being able to cast a spell whenever you want (well you do...but it comes at very great risk, and risking something like this on your Level 4 Wu Jen Lord isn't something you'd want to do).
- Signature for Ying: Ancestor's Courage An augment with 12" range, lasts until the caster's next Magic Phase and has a Casting of 8+. It gives Stubborn and Immune to Psychology to the single target unit. Want a unit to hold its ground? Are you trying desperately to keep an area under your control? Drop this on the holding unit.
- Signature for Yan: Warrior Incarnate An augment with 12" range, lasts until the caster's next Magic Phase and has a Casting of 8+. Gives the chosen unit Frenzy and Hatred. Pushing an advantage? Want to give your unit that little extra edge they need?...you know what to do.
-Both signatures are essential, basic but seldom useless, except on units not intended for CC.
- 1st for Ying: Sapping of Will A hex with 18" range and Remains in Play and has a Casting of 5+. It gives the target unit Always Strikes Last and -1 to their Weapon Skill...What? You're telling me for a 5+ Casting I can turn a quick, elite enemy unit into a bunch of snails who hit with the skill of a militiaman? WITH REMAINS IN PLAY!?...I'll fucking take that shit for every battle I'm in.
- 1st for Yan: Strength of the Heavens An augment with 12" range and Remains in Play and has a Casting of 5+. It gives the target unit +1 Strength and Magical Attacks...GOOD GOD! How am I ever going to find someone willing to go against me with this kind of magic potency?!
-I mean...do I need to tell you how useful this shtick is?
- 2nd for Ying: Absorbing Chill An augment with 18" range and has a Casting of 6+. Enemies that are attacking the augmented unit suffer -1 to their To Wound rolls. Make your basic infantry that much more challenging to deal with or protect your more critical units...what? Did you want something more profound? More insightful? It's a basic but excellent spell, there's no secret to using this spell, JUST USE IT! SPAM THIS SHIT!
- 2nd for Yan: Flames of AzureAn augment with 18" range and has a Casting of 6+. The target unit gains Flaming Attacks and enemy models in base to base contact suffer Strength 3 attacks with the Flaming attacks special rule. These count towards combat res. Okay, this one isn't BAAAD, but it's definitely more situational than its counterpart. The Strength 3 hits aren't worth the cost by themselves. Put this on a ranged unit you think is going to be trapped in combat by a unit that has the Flammable special rule in the near future, or even just a ranged unit that can target a Flammable unit. Just don't waste your dice on using this for those Strength 3 attacks...use something else.
-Somewhat more specific spells used for more specific situations (at least the Flames of Azure one). But both are worth it when used properly.
- 3rd for Ying: Blazing Phoenix A Direct Damage spell with 8" range. All enemy units within the range suffer D6 Flaming Strength 4 hits.
- 3rd for Yan: Call of the Dragon A Direct Damage spell that is put on the Wizard, the Wizard can make a Flaming Breath attack at Strength 4.
-Both of these are direct damage dealers. Blazing Phoenix is for multiple, close enemy units surrounding the Wizard. Call of the Dragon is more useful for a single unit...simple and straightforward.
- 4th for Ying: Bereavement of Life Magic Missile with 24" range and a Casting of 9+. Causes 3D6 hits. After rolling for how many hits you have and rolling again, every result of 6 you get for these die results is a wound with no armour saves allowed. Wit 3D6 hits, you're sure to get a few, but other spells can do a better job against hordes as well as basic infantry. This is a gambling spell that, for most of the time, wouldn't be worth it. Against high Toughness units, high Armour Save units and even just individual Lords/Heroes/Monster would be good targets for this.
- 4th for Yan: Resurgence from Death Augment with 12" range and a Casting of 9+. Gives the target unit Regeneration (5+) until the user's next Magic Phase. Eh, okay but this is probably the "worst" spell in this lore (which definitely says something). Other spells in this lore (Absorbing Chill) would probably be better than this for survivability...though this one is better for high Toughness units/models where the enemy is going to be wounding you on a 6+ either way.
-Slightly less versatile than the other pairs before it, but they still have good uses and shouldn't be labeled as useless.
- 5th for Ying: Shroud of Darkness Hex with 18" range and a Casting of 10+. The unit affected by this will have its line of sight limited to 8" until the start of the caster's next Magic Phase. They also can't declare charges, cast spells at or shoot targets outside the range. Holy hell, this spell has a wide amount of use for it. First is the obvious; essentially neuter an elite ranged enemy unit *cough* WOOD ELVES *cough* or those uber dangerous Magic Users (that use spells that can be affected this anyway) *cough* SLANN MAGE PRIESTS *cough*. Or use this to sever an enemy unit from their General and his Inspiring Presence or a BSB and his "Hold Your Ground!" rule. This will also help against shock cavalry coming for a big impact (Bretonnians will hate you for this...and call you an honor-less cur to boot). The only thing this wouldn't help SO MUCH with is Artillery since you'll have to wade across the field to get to them...and by the time you get there, they'll probably have already done their work. Nevertheless, this is an excellent spell. USE IT, DAMN YOU!!
- 5th for Yan: Path of Light An augment with 12" range and a Casting of 10+. The target unit immediately moves 3D6 FORWARD as if in the Remaining Moves sub-phase. Notice the word forward...that means that this is just an "advance quickly" spell that lets your units get places fast...not really for redeploying or shifting. If your highly aggressive, you'll like this spell...otherwise you'll find minimal use of it. Still, not a bad spell to have (especially for how many spells Cathay armies CAN have).
-I see good synergy going on with these spells. Experiment with these together and see if you can't make some tabletop magic to happen.
- 6th for Ying: Earth Eruption Direct Damage spell with 18" range and a Casting of 12+. Place a small template within the range. Models at least partially covered by the template suffer a single, S4 hit, per model. Those completely covered by the template instead take S6 hits with no Armour saves allowed. An interesting spell...hm...since it's small you'll most likely want to use this against non-horde units and non-Monstrous Infantry units (since you'll get few hits to begin with...and most Monstrous Infantry have T4 or higher). You'll probably have to find a happy medium of small enough bases, expensive enough models and high enough armour save without high Toughness to make this spell fairly efficient.
- 6th for Yan: Meteor Rain Direct Damage spell with 24" range and a Casting of 12+. Place a marker within the range and roll 2D6. The results of those 2D6 are the radius for Meteor Rain. ANY unit within the radius takes 2D6 S4 hits. Again, this one is a bit of a tricky to use properly since the range is dependent on a 2D6 results and how many hits you get are based on a 2D6 results...this is a gambling spell, make certain you know this. I see this being most useful against many, packed, small, fairly low Toughness, units. There's little effective use for this elsewhere. This will make Skaven and Goblin lists cry of course.
-Interestingly enough, these are the least effective spells in terms of universality and literal effectiveness.
This lore is the kind of lore that the tears of Chaos Warriors are made out of, turning their mighty warriors into weakling school children waiting for you to bash their faces in and some of the debuffs can also completely fuck over gun and arrow lines as well as cavalry. Really as a whole, this lore has some of the cruelest debuffs for the power dice you're investing in the game. It's not really a bad idea to stick to this lore over the rulebook lores that Cathay has access to for this purpose.
The Art of War
Essentially Cathay's version of Imperial Orders, these Stratagems can only be used by Strategists and Chu-Ye Xian and the only units that can be affected by these have the Iron Discipline (both variants of Imperial Infantry, Dragon Lancers, Emperor's Guard, Sword Saints, and the Wu Xia). Not to mention that they cost points with Strategists having a 75pt allowance each to spend on Stratagems. As such, they won't be as common as the Imperial Orders...but they're good nonetheless (SOME of them are good, anyway).
Strategists can use these in a 12" bubble; you then roll a D6 and on a 2+ the Stratagem can be used. On a 1, that Stratagem doesn't take effect for that turn. You can only use one of each of the Stratagems per turn.
- 30pts: The Swift Feline This is used during the Remaining Moves phase. The target unit can Reform without suffering movement penalties for the rest of the turn. At thirty points, this is a fairly odd one. It only lets you Reform, which isn't utilized all too much. However, it seems the intended state for many Stratagems is to be a tricky git...so if you actually use Reform moves and would like to utilize this to see what you can do with it, then go ahead. The only thing wrong with this is that Reforming just simply isn't something too many players use (and it might be smidge overpriced for what it does).
- 30pts: The Cunning Fox This is used after deployment. The target unit may re-deploy 6" away from its placed position. BUT, it must be deployed within the allowed deployment zone. Again, another tricky Stratagem is only slightly useful. For one, you are spending 30pts to push a unit 6" in some direction...it's fairly pointless unless if you have an Artillery unit exposed to fire and you want to ensure that it stays alive and so it can start shooting right away instead of using a turn to move a bit. And even then, there's no guarantee you'll be able to get into cover (and why weren't you in cover in the first place?). I mean...if you REALLY feel the need to get this to be 'tricky'...go ahead, but for most situations, this is just a waste of thirty points.
- 30pts: The Swooping Hawk Used after deployment. The Cathay player adds +1 to the roll of whether they go first or not. Okay, something fairly nice. If you really feel like initiative and being the first to do something is important to you, this a good 'un. Sure, it's thirty points for something you'll use once and not even something that's guaranteed...but it's still noticeably more useful than "The Cunning Fox".
- 25pts: The Sleeping Crocodile If the target unit has been charged in the flank, they can perform a swift reform to face the enemy as a Charge Reaction (provided they aren't already in combat). Ehhh...good for what's supposed to do, but something not universally useful to the majority of players...a pretty common theme it seems amongst the Stratagems so far. I mean, if you have spears or the like (and using Eliassons's rulebook) and cavalry are trying for that sweet rear charge, this can scare them pretty well. Useful in a handful situation, kind of meh in most others.
- 25pts: The Stinging Scorpion ALRIGHT! Now we are getting into the good stuff! Used in the Close Combat phase, the target unit receives +1 to their To Hit rolls if they charged that turn. Most exploitable on cavalry (especially for those units that are already hitting on 3's) but still use all around. Good to bring in most lists.
- 25pts: The Stoic Porcupine Activated during the target unit's Charge Reaction. The unit counts as having no flanks or rear, however, they do not benefit from the Iron Discipline rule. It's okay...ish...if you know what you're doing. For the average player, you won't be able to exploit this (even if it has an exploitable feature or design to it) nor make good use of it. It's just sound not to get this if you don't have a way to make this useful.
- 20pts: The Rain of Death This is used in the Shooting Phase. The target unit may fire even if they've marched. A fairly nice mobility spell that ensures you can keep your ranged units just in range by moving them rapidly forward or back to avoid retaliation. Not as universally good as The Stinging Scorpion, but it has fairly widespread applicability (except in CC concentrated armies).
- 20pts: The Running Rabbit Used in the Movement Phase. Until the start of the target unit's next turn, this unit ignores panic caused by friendly units fleeing through them as well as friendly units breaking in combat. This is a specific spell that's basically for retaliation and giving your units a fallback. Say that you have a weakened or important unit not good in CC, an enemy unit that's sure to wipe them away is close by, but so is another CC unit under your command. You put this on the CC unit and when the enemy declares a charge against the weaker unit, you fallback with the said unit and the other unit ensures the enemy can't chase them. It's good for what it does (and if your plans succeed) but it's not something you'll make use of in every situation.
- 15pts: The Blinding Light Used as a Charge Reaction; this can only be used to target Imperial Infantry units that have shields. Any enemy charging the target unit loses all of their charge bonuses. Wow...anti-cav is strong with this one. Bretonnians are going to revile you with extreme prejudice, should you ever dare to use this on them; bonus points if it's a Grail Knight unit. Apparently, the power of a goddess is no match for some shiny metal...But really, if you're fighting a highly aggressive foe, this is great.
- 15pts: The Impregnable Tortoise Used in Remaining Moves Phase; the target unit can only be an Imperial Infantry unit with shields. The unit gains +2 to their Armour Saves from missile attacks, but they also can't march. Upon entering CC, this formation immediately ends. Most of the time this is just okay since most factions don't make too much use of ranged weapons, but against spammy Dwarves, Empire, Wood Elves, some types of Dark Elves and High Elves as well as the rare Bretonnia list, this will be put to good use. If your going against Orks, Warriors of Chaos or Daemon...this is better left for something else.
- 15pts: The All-seeing Eagle Used before deployment. The controlling player can add +1 to the roll of where you choose sides. Eh...in your average battle, this isn't something too important. But, if there's a strategic asset or a big defensive feature or WHATEVER on the board and it's important to control as well as being closer to one side (as well as you actually being able to exploit these features) this'll usually be worth the points.
Treasures of the Seven Heavens
- Blades of Gan Jiang and Mo Ye: Counts as paired weapons; the wielder gains +1 to their To Hit and To Wound rolls. Also, successful enemy Armour and Ward saves must be re-rolled. Hm...it's pretty nice (and at least it doesn't take up all 100pts allowance you have) but since it is 65pts, it'll force you to take a fairly mono-build leader; and with the Warlord being a squishy human, you'll have to take great care about where you deploy and maneuver this guy. In other words: take these blades, and you'll effectively turn him into a glass cannon (pst...get reading and you'll see how this can be false).
- Jade Sword of Feng Wu: Essentially makes the wielder an Elf. The wielder gains ASF and +1 to his Weapon Skill. It's okay, but for what it costs, you can probably get better. Meh, all around.
- Imperial Dragon Armour: Counts as Hvy. Armour. Enemy attacks suffer -1 to their To Wound rolls. The wearer also gains a 2+ Ward against Flaming Attacks...oh and it also allows the first unsaved wound to be discounted automatically. It just so happens to be 35pts...and the Blades of Gan Jiang and Mo Ye just so happen to be 65pts...and it just so happens to be that neither Absorbing Chill nor Imperial Dragon Armour says that they can't stack with each other...HMMMMMMM.......
- Fist of Iron: Gives the bearer another point of Armour Save. He also gets +1 to his Strength for every rank his unit has (to a maximum of +3). Eh, it has fairly gimmicky rules for a whopping 50pts. Competitively, no. Friendly game and you don't care who wins? Go ahead.
- Jade Dragon Token: Wielder gains Regen (5+) and 3+ Ward against spells for 35pts. Long story short: put this on your Wu Jen Lord, not your Warlord (He needs a universal Ward save DAMN IT! (except when you use the previously mention cheese)).
- Brush of 1,000 Years: Every time the bearer successfully casts a spell from the Lore of Yan and Ying and rolls any doubles, he may choose to make a leadership test on his own, unmodified Leadership statistic. It the test is passed, the spells count as having Irresistible Force. If the test fails, the spells count as having miscast. Though this is 65pts, it's really nice for your Wu Jen Lord. Since the Irresistible doesn't come into effect until after the end of the rolling (where you'd get the negative side of Irresistible). Have an enemy you know is going to bring that Slann? Ruin his day and his perfect gaming record with this. If you have an enemy that will hardly have any chance of dispelling your spells anyway, those 65pts could be better spent elsewhere. Oh, and remember, DON'T uses this willy-nilly! Though you can't be affected by negative leadership modifiers, a Ju Wen Lord only has Leadership 8...Tread. Carefully.
- Cui Dan's White Orb: Another high risk/reward item for magic users. This one gives the bearer +D3 to his Casting and +1 to Channeling. However, if the bearer miscasts he must roll 3D6 for the test and use the lowest two. This one doesn't have an option to not use so you'll constantly be in greater danger of having your Wu Jen Lord being sucked into the Warp. Both this and the brush basically have the same purpose; to increase the potency of your spellcaster and try to shut the enemy from nullifying it. It's arguable to which is better overall; the brush automatically gives Irresistible with the 'substantial' chance of suffering for it while the Orb gives a small increase to your potency for far fewer points. And whilst with the Brush you have a greater chance of having miscasts, you suffer the worse with miscasts when you have the Orb. It's really your preference which you choose.
- Gong of Tsao Taso: Enchanted item with a one-use bound spell at Level 5. Enemy warmachines, chariots, unique units and units in buildings suffer D6 S6 hits within 12" of the bearer; while other enemy unit types take panic tests. Eh...unless you have a spammy Dwarf artillery enemy (which you'll have a hard time getting to...if you can even get there before getting shot down), an enemy with lots of chariots (maybe SOMEONE actually uses chariots...I actually haven't seen any being used) or lots of occupied structures (can't remember the last time occupied buildings were used in Fantasy), you'll find almost no use for this. Panic is fine but it just doesn't compensate for this being forty points. This just feels like a miss...it's a fluffy one but little reason to actually use it.
- Standard of Cathay: For one hundred points you get the following: the bearer units gaining Stubborn, friendly units within 12" getting Immune to Panic and enemies in base contact suffer Strength 3 hits with Flaming (these count towards the combat resolution). It's a fairly nice banner...but...it just costs too much. In your 2,000 point games...no. No way. If you're doing a large Apocalypse-esque game...GO FOR IT! Get a line of Imperial Infantry before the enemy horde and HOLD THE LINE!
- Sky Banner of the Lofty Heavens: A one-use banner that gives a unit fly at the beginning of the Movement Phase for the rest of the turn. This does have great potential. Put this on cavalry, pop it and use it to get over a large, impassible terrain piece into your enemies more juicy units...but its cost is a bit much. Bring this only if you know you can properly use it without wasting fifty points or leaving your troops stranded without help.
The Weapons, Armour and Arcane Items are pretty good and worth looking at. But the Banners and the Gong are definitely situational...if even that.
- Xen Huong, Celestial Dragon Emperor: This here is the Emperor himself...but don't be fooled by children stories about Chinese Emperors. This one is far from old, crippled and completely helpless. This here bad-ass can stand toe to toe with a Chaos Lord and turns into A MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON! But before we get into the meat of his kit, let's look at his stats. Weapon Skill 7; Strength, Toughness, and Attack are all 5's, Initiative of 6 and 4 Wounds...pretty beastly, wouldn't you say? Now, his magic items. First is his long sword; called the Phoenix Talon. It gives an additional -2 modifier to Armour Saves against wounds made by this weapon (on top of his S5) as well as giving him +2 Attacks...whose the horde blender now, Undead scum?! He also has the Imperial Dragon Seal that gives him Regeneration and enemies targeting him suffer -1 to their To Hit rolls; in both CC and Shooting.
- As stated before he can change into a Celestial Dragon. He gains two Strength and Wounds as well as another point in Toughness but -1 in Attacks (he also can't use his sword...for obvious reasons) and -2 in Initiative (as well as the other special rules for Celestial Dragons). Despite how good he is as a CC Master, his lack of an obvious Ward Save is quite troubling...so yes...Glass Cannon Lord and he IS a whopping 450pts. Don't take him in smaller games...he's just simply too much for someone without a Ward Save (unless you're playing for fun...then have at it!)
- Zhao Fei, Grand General of Cathay: A significant step down in cost from the emperor at 210 points, Zhao Fei has a more supportive role. His statline is nothing to write home about, being the same as the generic lord option, and he rides a normal warhorse. However, his magical spear can be thrown and acts as a bolt thrower when he does so, and his armor with the Horse gives him a 2+/5++, the ward save being a marked advantage over Xen Huong. His special rules are where he benefits the most, however: Everything within 12" re-rolls failed panic tests, and most importantly, he can take 50 points of stratagems. This means that Zhao Fei fulfills the role of both a strategist and a warlord in your army, and so can very well be the only character you take besides a wizard. In addition, his armor and warhorse mean that you'll be able to use stratagems on cavalry units that would often be outside of a Strategist's range. Overall he's a bit pricey at 260 when loaded up with stratagems(and why would you take him if you don't), but he's alright and can fit into smaller point games nicely.
- Tian Shi: Named character Level 4 wizard, he's a loremaster of Heavens and damn good at his job at a hefty 340 points. Of course, he *only* has access to Heavens, so keep that in mind. He has the rule "Grand Astromancer", which allows him to re-roll one power die in each magic phase, and his robe allows him to generate d3 extra dice in every magic phase. In addition, once per game, he can auto-cast any spell at its lowest level for free, but he no longer generates d3 power dice a turn. Excellent for the end game, throwing out a bolt of free chain lightning, on which he can re-roll the number of hits on due to his staff along with Urannon's Thunderbolt. He's a hell of a wizard, giving more dice and buffing two spells that he, of course, possesses automatically. If you want a great heavens wizard, he's your man, but for any other lore, you'll need the basic Wu-Jen.
- Huan Bei: Captain of the Emperor's Guard, and thus must join a unit of them. This isn't as big a deal as it sounds since he now makes them core, and they all have a re-rollable break test on 3d6, dropping the highest. His particular weapon is that Green Dragon Glaive, a halberd that deals d3 hits on every successful hit, has armour piercing (1), and provides a -1 to hit him in combat. If you decide to take multiple guard units, pick him to lead the biggest and stack the Razor Standard to really throw in the hurt.
- Chu-Ye Xian, Grand Imperial Strategist: He is the most elite strategist, capable of buying up to 125 points worth of them. His strategies all have double range and he can re-roll their tests. While he's far from a good combatant, he has used. His shooting can either be in the form of a poisoned Cathayan repeater crossbow or in an instrument that can knock out an entire unit for a turn on a failed Ld check. His only protection is in a fan that robs an attack from anyone in b2b and makes them ASL, which is the only way he might be able to retaliate.
- Cheng Long: Grand Master of the Celestial Dragons. While he can't be general, he's plenty impressed with the fire breath, hover, and the ability to give a pack of his boys stubborn while he possesses Immunity (Psychology). On top of being just a better monk, he also possesses upgraded versions of each style (Black Tiger adds +d3 attacks, White Crane adds ASF and +1 to hit, Fanged Snake gives HKB, Great Dragon gives +2 Strength, and Praying Mantis gives a 4++ ward).
- The Monkey King: Because calling him Son Wukong or Son Gokuu would be too damn obvious. He's actually a mix between monk and monkey, possessing flight and the fighting styles as well as the ability to provoke berserk fury (a la Frenzy) to anyone in charging range. Of course, he wants to be in combat, where his quarterstaff can add +2 to his strength and he can make use of his single-use ability to double his attacks and gain a 4+ ward for the turn.
- Dalan-Tai: Khan of the nomads. He's the best when it comes to Steppe Nomads and lets an attached unit re-roll dangerous terrain, flee, and pursue tests. On top of this, he lets his unit fire while fleeing by sacrificing swiftstride for the turn. All this archery is based on his Dragon Bow, an S5 bow that goes through armor like nothing.
- Warlord/Duizhu:The Commander is your generic fighty lord, very customizable and with a reasonable price tag. That's it. Seriously, he on his own has no special rules that make him unique. He DOES, however, gets more interesting when you consider what you can give him, and what he allows you to take. In addition to the usual weapon options, he can take a Cathayan longsword, a two-handed weapon giving a 6+ parry and armor piercing. The really interesting aspect of the commander is that if you have one in your army, you may take a Drum & Gong. Counting as a war machine, the Drum and Gong acts as a musician to all units within 12, and VERY importantly, it affects STACK with actual musicians. This is very useful as your core infantry has low leadership across the board, so any help in that regard is useful.
- Wu Jen:Standard Caster, nearly identical to an Empire wizard except for lore options. While not having access to the excellent lore of life, he gains access to the lore of yin and yang, which as mentioned above is quite powerful, on top of Fire, Metal, Heavens, and Shadow.
- Strategist: A character truly unique to the Cathay army, he's cheap as chips at 20 points base and does fuck all in combat. His actual ability lies in the army-unique stratagems. He can take seventy-five points worth of stratagems, and issues them to any unit within 12" on a 2+. Interestingly, while the same stratagem can't be used twice in one turn, there is no restriction on how many stratagems one Strategist can use per turn, nor is there a restriction on stacking stratagems on a single unit. If he took the cheapest stratagems, one strategist could potentially use four in one turn. This opens up very interesting possibilities tactically, such as using the "Sleeping Crocodile" stratagem to face a flank charger and then using "The Blinding Light" to eliminate their charge bonuses. All around, a very cool and solid character.
- Warhorse: Tried and true, you can take barding for a few extra points and slap a Commander in a cavalry unit.
- Qilin: A swole flying unicorn. M9, WS4, S&T4, 3W, I5, and 2A, it gets +1 strength on the charge and has magical attacks. Bonus points for the image of a Cairn wraith dying from a kick to the face from your magic horse.
- Pixiu: Winged Dog-Dragon-thing, with griffon stats. beefier that the Qilin, at over double the points. Causes Terror and has Hatred: Daemons of Chaos as a nifty little extra.
- Bastion Chariot: A Beefy four-horse chariot that a Commander can replace one crew member in. A very solid choice, cheaper than the Pixiu, and can join a unit of chariots for extra security.
Simple, solid, cheap, and with mostly piss poor leadership, these are guys get shit don, as long as they don't run away.
- Imperial Infantry: Cheap as chips basic infantry. Man-at-Arms stats, at 4 points a model base. Can take spears for free and halberds for a point each, which is highly recommended, as this unit should be taken in big blocks to maximize benefit from iron discipline. A unit with max ranks can scrape by in unfavorable match-ups due to the bonus from iron discipline, so it's important you take advantage of it. They also can your archer units by replacing their shield with a bow for a point or a crossbow for 3.
- Repeater Crossbowmen:"FUCK YOU DARK ERVES!" -Cathayan Bowyer, probably. Also cheap at 6 points, they come stock with repeater crossbows, having an 18" range, S3, and multiple shots(3). Not much else to say but move up and throw some dakka down. Good unit.
- Dragon Lancers: Your entry-level heavy cav, they're no empire or Bretonnia knights, and they're certainly no chaos knights, but they do have some interesting options. Also the only core choice with leadership 8. They start at 16 points with heavy armor and halberds and with barding you'll get a 3+, bringing you to 18 points. You can give them short bows for a point if you want a bit of extra mobile ranged fire. The most interesting option is fire lances for 2 points each. While only single-use, in the first round of combat the Dragon Lancers can fight with an extra attack that is S4, flaming, and armor piercing (1). Note that despite the name it is NOT a lance, and does NOT replace the halberd. Whether the extra two points a model is worth it for a one use handgun shot is up to you, but it will make that first charge extra painful.
- Steppe Archers: Basic light auxiliary cavalry, though they do have BS4 (5 on the champion), which is nice. They come with short bows, but can be given spears and shields without losing fast cavalry. Decent, but nothing exciting. Notably has leadership 7, making it one of, along with the dragon lancers, the only two core units above leadership 6.
- Hill Tribesmen: 4 point auxiliary infantry with ambush. They're slightly better at fighting than imperial infantry with WS3, but have no armor and lack the Iron Discipline rule. They are however auxiliaries, so they won't panic Your other troops when they inevitably run given leadership 6. Dirt cheap, throw them in someone's flank or warmachines.
- Monkey Warriors: Anyone who's read Journey to the West knows why these guys are here. They have Movement and initiative 5, but a rather pitiful toughness 2, with their only weapons being a two-handed quarterstaff with a 6++ parry. These guys are harassing skirmishers, and they have blowpipes with Multiple Shots (2) and poison. Take these guys to whittle down tough units with poison and occasionally beat a weak unit in melee before they can strike back. As auxiliaries, they also aren't much of a concern if they flee a fight.
The Cathayan special units are quite interesting, fulfilling several disparate roles and filled with strange units.
- Emperor's Guard:The simplest of the special units, these guys are only pseudo-elite infantry. A definite step up from the imperial infantry, at WS4, I4, and L8 with stubborn, these guys are here to hold the line. They only have Heavy armor and halberds, and they can take a magic banner up to 50 points. Of the elite choices, these are the guys you really wanna max out. With halberds and Iron Discipline, you'll get lots of decent strength attacks and they'll be able to power through many engagements through the combat resolution bonuses, and at a reasonable 10 points each it won't break the bank.
- Swordsaints: Your true elite infantry, these guys are the next step above the Emperor's Guard, with WS5, S4, and 2 attacks each, these lads will tear through most targets. With two attacks and strength 4, they'll chop through light infantry, but they can also take on other elites with their armor-piercing Cathayan long swords and killing blow. They also have iron discipline but are 13 points so it will be more costly if you want to take advantage of it. The main disadvantage of this unit is durability. While the longsword gives them a 6+ parry, with only heavy armor and no option for a shield, ranged fire is the arch-enemy of this unit. However, if you're using the lore of Yin and Yang on your wizard, a shroud of darkness will keep enemy firepower off these guys, and path of light will get them to the enemy faster.
- Nightblades:Ninjas! In...Fantasy China...? Come on Matthias. Historical nitpicking aside, these guys are alright (the basis of ninjutsu did migrate through China before reaching Japan). They fulfill a similar role to the monkey warriors but are much better in melee with a better weapon skill, T3, two hand weapons, and poison in melee. They also possess scout, which the monkey warriors do not. However, they still aren't excellent in melee, and at 12 points a model with throwing weapons they don't have as good shooting weapons as monkey warriors. To me, this unit's job can be done by hill tribesmen and monkey warriors, which are cheap enough for you to take both for the same price and importantly do not compete with, in this user's opinion, better special options. TL;DR: They're not bad per se, but not optimal.
- Celestial Dragon Monks: Shaolin Monks! Now we've got our stereotypes straight! This unit is a strange one, as its role is rather unclear. It's a skirmisher unit with no armor and strider...with a chaos warrior statline and immune to psychology. Ain't that a kick in the head? At 15 points a model they're expensive, but in addition to their beastly statlines, they can pick one of five stances that boosts their abilities every turn.
- Black Tiger: +1 attack
- White Crane: Always Strikes First
- Fanged Snake: Killing Blow
- Great Dragon: +1 Strength
- Preying Mantis: 5+ Ward save
- These stances allow the monks to adapt to a variety of situations, meaning they'll be useful no matter what they're facing. These guys will absolutely mulch infantry with Black Tiger, have three attacks each, and did I mention that the unit champion has a Strength 3 breath weapon? Elves? See how green they get when you throw out ASF against them. Are some enemy elites getting you down? Throw some killing blow in there. I don't think I need to explain how +1 strength or a 5+ ward save is useful. Its main weakness is it's complete vulnerability to ranged fire. Skirmisher will help a little, but they have no armor and that ward saves only works in combat. So get em in combat quick.
- Wu Xia: Good luck finding models for these guys because they are WEIRD. Wandering vigilantes that ride giant fuck off frogs into battle. +1 for creativity at least. These guys are monster Cav, but frankly, they don't fight like it. The rider is essentially an inner circle knight with heavy armor and a lance/halberd combo weapon. The frog...well, it's not that strong. Only strength 4 and two attacks, poison is good but not enough to make up for it. It's slow too: only a 6-inch movement. The unit has iron discipline despite getting very little use out of it. The big advantage to this unit is its special rule great leap: the unit can move up to 6", bypassing any terrain less than 4" and any enemy units that aren't large, even when charging! This allows them to bypass chaff units that are often the bane of elite units like this. However, with their intensely mediocre stats and mediocre save, there's no guarantee they'll even win once they get to their target. At 42 points, I'd take the equivalent in dragon lancers every time.
- Bastion Chariot: A big beefy chariot. What more do you want? It's got four horses and three crew, t5 and 5 wounds, and you can take them as a mount for your commander. Take a few and smash some stuff up.
- Foo Dogs: "Hey look at that cool statue-OHGODITSEATINGMEPLEASGODNO!!!!" Monstrous beasts, they are a very solid choice with a different role from most. They come in units of 3+, so no singular models to catch charges or lone wizard hunters like razorgors. These guys honestly function like the monster cav in the way that the Wu Xia doesn't. They have three attacks each at S4, WS4, and cause fear, but their big pull is their durability. A 3+ Scaly skin, toughness 5, magic resistance, and UNBREAKABLE means these guys aren't going away anytime soon. These guys will hold up an infantry block for ages, and they're damn hard to take out before they get to melee. Great unit, take it and watch your opponent weep as they fail to kill your doggies.
- Terracotta Warriors: Living stone warriors come to kick your ass! They're strength and toughness 4 with halberds, magic resistance, and unbreakable, at 9 points a model! Seems broken until you see their big downside: unstable, and leadership 3 at that. That's right, your magical stone badasses crumble like basic skeletons if they lose a fight. They are excellent fighters for their cost, with the only downside being the lack of armor saves, but with unstable and no method of resurrection like the undead armies, they'll completely collapse in an unfavorable matchup.
- Field Engineers:Essentially skaven weapon teams, these guys can be attached to any non-skirmishing infantry unit, and up to 2 can be taken as a single special choice. They can take firebombs for mobile and cheap, if short ranged, firepower, skyrockets for longer ranged, Harding hitting shooting, dragons breath for an S4 breath weapon, or even a hand mortar for a mini mobile stone thrower!
- Stormhurler Ballista: The last special choice, it's a generic bolt thrower with an alternate fire mode of 6 crossbow shots. Simple.
- Fire Arrow: Empire HellRockets. More of a big multishot bow actually, roll the artillery dice and fire 3 times the number at an infantry block with S3 volley of arrows. A means of firing long-range arrow volleys on goblins while cheaping out on buying archers.
- Dragon Cannon: A cannon with a particularly explosive landing before bouncing. d6 S3 hits with Piercing 1 will wipe out most infantry and cavalry, but it'll fall short against all the big bad monsters.
- Phoenix: A Flamespyre Phoenix with one more attack and other abilities in exchange for any of the magical boosts. It can, instead of moving or charging, it make an 18" pseudo-move/charge that does a strength 5 hit to all that it passes over and engaged anything it encounters at the end of its movement. Do stay in the fight longer for better or worse, with a 50/50 chance a fatal wound results in death or cause all in direct contact take S5 hits.
- Brass Titan: A Giant Monstrous terracotta warrior but with 3+ natural armour and can instantly damage all units in contact to it in addition to his 5 normal attacks. And this isn't his stomp. A real infantry mulcher.
- Celestial Dragon: Your flying Dragon. Not much to write home about when compared to others like it, but this dragon can become a Wizard of Fire or Heavens. Are one of the few fire wizards that can efficacy use Cascading Fire-cloak as it has the stats to be in melee.
Regiments of Renown
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