An Economic Guide to Warmachine and Hordes
by Micah Walker · Published · Updated
First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Micah Walker, and I was just recently invited by my friend Dan White to start writing here. Little did he know when he extended the invitation that I was already working on something, a comprehensive guide to the dollar cost per point of models in Warmachine and Hordes. Let’s dive right in.
So why an “economic guide”? There are a few reasons. One is that some factions were always perceived as being more expensive than other factions. Mercenaries is a good example of that, because of the wide range of models you have to buy into to have a reasonably complete or competitive collection. I mean, it is basically four factions in one, and it does have the largest number of SKUs for any one faction. Another reason is purely financial. Some people have tighter wargaming budgets, so playing a faction where you get more bang for your buck can really be important.
My personal reason for this was a little bit of both. I bought into Trollbloods early MK3 as my Hordes faction. I was not intending to play them a lot, but I thought they looked interesting. A lot of people were trying to get rid of their trolls, so I picked up a few inexpensive used lots and quickly had decent army. Because of buying things used, I didn’t have much of a concept of buying things at MSRP for Trollbloods like I did for Protectorate, my main faction.
Enter the Northkin CID and the massive updates to the Trollbloods faction. Trollbloods were back on my radar again, and I was very interested in the new releases and acquiring new models. This is when I started to notice that certain things in Trollbloods were a lot more than I wanted to pay for them. Now I have always wanted a Mountain King, and I have always felt hesitant to drop $145 on the model. But I was finding more and more things in Trollbloods I was struggling to justify dropping money on, specifically the new Northkin Models.
Most of the new Northkin models are made out of resin and are just beautiful. Unfortunately resin makes models more expensive. I was now looking at the 10 point Bear Handler unit for $40 and the 15 point Northkin Raider unit for a whopping $85. I had not had too much of an issue with justifying the odd solo or warlock up to this point, but I just could not stomach these price points. Now this kind of struck me as unusual. I already own two Revelators, a colossal that just came out, so why was I getting so hung up on the price of these new models?
It was because my internal calculator had kicked on, and I had been subconsciously telling myself that I could probably buy better lists for less money. I already owned almost all the models I needed for solid Power of Dhunia and Band of Heroes lists. I found myself making the cost benefit analysis for picking up the new Northkin theme and turning it down for what I already had, already was comfortable with.
So that’s how I got here. That’s what sparked the curiosity to find out what really were the most expensive things per point to buy in this game. Clearly, Northkin Raiders were one of the most extreme cases I had encountered, but being the number fiend I am, I had to make the spreadsheet and really figure it out. I had to see the data for myself.
About ten hours or so of looking through the Privateer Press website and cross-referencing Conflict Chamber, I came up with this graphic.
Color guide: Green are least expensive three of each category, orange the most expensive three.
What I had done was taken the MSRP information from the Privateer Press website for each model or unit and divided by the command point cost for that model or unit. This gave me a statistic I refer to as Cost Per Point, or CPP. I did this for every faction, as you can see, and then broke it out into different subcategories as well. Continuing my example from earlier, I didn’t have as much of a problem with how much I had to spend on a Trollblood heavy kit, but I was having issues with the units, which are clearly dollar to points more expensive.
I decided not to include casters because I was initially unsure how to handle that. Since warcasters and warlocks don’t actually cost you command points, they did not seem to fit here. I have some better ideas about how to handle them now that I have worked on this data for a while, but I will save that for another day.
I showed this graphic to some friends, posted it on Discord and Facebook, and one of the immediate questions was how field allowance was accounted for. Initially, I made this graphic in a way that arbitrarily assigned FA 1 to everything. After all, I was curious to see how the cost of each item you could purchase stacked up in game versus out of game. However, when I talk about faction averages, which is what the graphic above is showing, I really need to account for field allowance.
Revisions and Results
I made some adjustments to my spreadsheet. I added two new columns, one for FA and the other for the product of FA and CPP. This I called Weighted Cost Per Point, or WCPP. This stat does not matter as much when you are looking at an individual piece, but it helps you better see how it stacks up against the rest of the models you are comparing it to. FA C and FA U pieces in particular can dynamically change the way the numbers shake out. When comparing a selection of models, I then took the sum of the WCPP for those models and divided it by the sum of the FA’s for those models. I call this statistic the Average Cost Per Piece, or ACPP. Note: for FA U, I substituted FA 3, except for in the cases of weapon attachments, which I made FA 6 or 9 depending on the model in question.
Color guide: Green are least expensive three of each category, orange the most expensive three.
As you can see by comparing them, some things changed, while other things stayed remarkably the same. Since I already talked a lot about how and why I got here, I just want to go over some of the highlights. After all, a lot of my intent was just to come up with the graphic you see here.
Warbeasts, Warjacks, and Monstrosities
The winners here are Circle, Cygnar, and Legion. It turns out having expensive warbeasts like Feral Warpwolves and Ravagores really increases your dollar’s worth. Cygnar does not gain as much from that, and their score comes more from their range of light jacks. Legion had a few extra odd things that added to it’s score. Typhon costs $50, but with a point cost of 24 he is an exceptionally economical model in terms of CPP. Also, you can get 16 points of shredders in one box, making them the only model in the game to have a CPP of less than $1.
Khador and Minions suffer because of the number of low point cost heavies that they have. The usual price for a heavy kit is $35, and a lot of Minion heavy kits are $40 as well. Convergence gets hosed because their light jacks have such low point costs.
Cygnar and Mercenaries have one thing in common: they have lots of small based character models that have high point values. Surprisingly, Skorne has a lot of $10 solos, which has a similar effect.
You would expect Minions to be a lot like Mercs, and for the most part they are. But all their more economical character solos are countered by the Swamp Gobber Chef and the Gobber Tinker, 1 and 2 point models with FA 2. The ACPP for these two models is $12! Convergence and Grymkin suffer because of how few solos they actually have and how low the points cost on some of those models are. Enigma Foundries also are expensive models.
The more expensive your max units are, the more likely you are to get good dollar value out of them. That is how the top three here made it on this list, for the most part. I would also like to add that any unit kit that includes an officer or weapon attachments with it substantially increases the value of your dollar. I am somewhat surprised that Retribution didn’t make it to the top, because they have several instances of that.
Cryx and Grymkin have lots of units with low point costs and high field allowances. Trollbloods are well known to cost a lot, but I was surprised to find that their cornerstone unit, the Krielstone itself, is even less economical than the Northkin Raiders I was complaining about.
Battle Engines and Structures
This is a much smaller field, so the results are a lot less interesting to talk about. All I am going to say is that there really is no excuse for Convergence players to not own two TEP’s.
Also the relatively high price versus other model types is something to note. I still do not own a Vessel of Judgment specifically because I would rather be spending that kind of money on heavy kits or, you know, Revelators.
So I’ll wrap up for tonight with the best and worst overall models. Shredders are a steal, coming in at $.94 per point. Too bad you can’t spam them, unlike the runner up, the Woldwyrd, at $1.11 per point. The Cephalyx Dominator comes in at $18 per point, because it costs $18 and just one point. Funny how that worked out. Side note: single point models really mess up the math here.
I have a whole lot more data to unpack now that I have it all compiled all of this. I will be talking about casters next, but in the future I will also be doing a breakdown of the monetary cost of each theme by faction. I know this article was probably a bit dry, but a lot of people expressed interest in my methodology. On the plus side, I will have less to explain next time and will be able to just jump right in to the fun analysis.
Let’s keep those dice rolling!
Wargamer, miniature painter, and now blogger for Midwest Wargaming. I love crunching numbers, and I can nearly guarantee that my articles will be the most boring, but you will learn something, damn it!
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