As our exploration of Para Bellum’s Conquest continues, we take a deeper look at the hard-hitting heavies of The Hundred Kingdoms, the Steel Legion.
I won’t blame you if you found this article in error. This is Frontline Gaming afterall and when someone yells “Steel Legion” shell-heads and tread-heads might think we are talking about another game. No, not today, as this discussion is all about one of Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings’ hardest hitting, butt-kickers.
Another week into my journey with this system, and the MVPs of the last few days worth of games have undoubtedly been The Hundred Kingdom’ Steel Legion. In a game of combined-arms every kind of unit has value, but this unit has helped me rediscover my love of a good old hammer, that does double-duty as a hell of an anvil.
First a bit about these guys. As is often the case with Conquest, there is a refreshing intersection between fluff and function when it pertains to the Steel Legion. One of six military forces during the days of Otto IV, the Steel Legion survived during the period of chaos following his death by simply refusing to be disbanded. While their contemporaries bowed to pressure to disband, the Steel Legion said they would only answer to an Emperor. Seeing as there wasn’t one, they held that until a new leader earned the right to command them, they would simple protect the people and the kingdom. I believe that is what kids these days call “badass”.
Stalwart, unyielding, and wielding the iconic weapon of the former Emperor’s own bodyguards, the Steel Legion translate to the table exactly as you would hope.
Starting at 150pts for three stands, and being Heavy class infantry, this is unquestionably an elite unit. Further stands are the expected 50pts each, though as they lack the Support special ability, I would say they shine at three to four stands abreast… that is if you are planning to use them as an offensive aggressor.
Their stats certainly justify their cost, however. Starting with defense, a base Def3 means they don’t need shields to be fairly hearty. Considering 100K’s ready access to the Bastion draw-event, this unit will be able to shrug the majority of attacks thrown their way. With a similarly strong Res3, they are also much likelier than most units to resist losing further men to morale issues.
Sure, a unit with both Cleave and Terrifying could do a lot of work against them over time, but that assumes that said unit survived against them. Boasting Cleave 2, and Clash 3, Steel Legion absolutely destroys any unit it chooses to, virtually on demand. For those just starting with Conquest it is worth reminding that there are no “to-wound” rolls, merely saves. In this case Cleave 2 means that those saves are two-worse, meaning even incredibly durable units (I am looking at you, entire Dreghom army) are likely to only save on dice rolls of 1. Further, as every wound translates into a resolve test, Steel Legion’s high damage output inevitably translates into further losses to morale. Against even high defense units the Legion can expect to remove three models, per attacking stand, on average, by the end of a Clash action.
Now, not all wounds are created equal. As Cleave 2 is wasted against low Def units, you will get the most value out of your Legion if you head-hunt more defensive targets. This shouldn’t be a problem, however, when playing them while keeping in mind the full suite of Conquest’s rules. As a heavy class unit they aren’t likely to even be on the table until turn 4 of the game. In this time a good combined arms approach will have resulted in you pushing up you reinforcement line. Here the Steel Legion can offer real flank denial as they can take a decent kit, and most opponents won’t be eager to experience the counter-attack.
Before anyone thinks I have forgotten, there is another huge aspect of the Steel Legion’s offense. At 35pts, the unit can be given a Drillmaster as a special Command Option. This grants the unit the Fury Draw Event, giving them an extra attack per stand. Yes, that functionally adds another whole stand to the combat, if you take them at my suggested four stands. This makes the Drillmaster one of the most value rich Command Options in the game.
Other options to consider when looking at the Steel Legion include the real value in bringing along a Theist Priest for Saint’s Favor which gives them another +1 to their Defense. Earlier I mentioned the value of 3-4 stand offensive units, but a very viable, and likely competitive build worth considering is a unit of as many as 8 stands, with both a Bastion Lord, and in range of said Theist Priest. This creates a costly anvil, but one no player will opt to grind against. Placed near the center of the table, such a unit is such a great deterrent that it would alter the movement and board-control of the entire game. Well worth 400pts as we eventually work our way up to 2000/2500pt tournament events.
And so my Conquest journey continues, bringing me ever closer to an eventual review. While I log more game, though, tell me what units YOU want to see me testing this week, or what aspects of the game you want to learn more about!
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