“The Motherland’s have given rise to a new type of soldier bolstered with defiant patriotism and grim resolve. Brutal and effective, the Assault Kommandos are the edge of the Khadoran sword of conquest. Serving on the front lines of western Immoren’s most hostile battlefields, these troops drive the enemy from the trenches and break their will using cold, calculated efficiency”
That is how the Forces of Warmachine: Khador book describes Assault Kommandos, they are badass frontline troops ready to bring the Motherland’s own special brand of pain to her enemies. However, on the table most people find them to be… let’s say lacking. So in order to talk about Assault Kommandos we need to talk about the problems first so we can look at how to make them better.
**This article reflects Assault Kommandos in MK2 it will be updated for MK3**
Whether you take a full unit plus flamethrower or a minimum unit plus flamethrower they are sitting in the same point range as Iron Fang Pikemen and The Winterguard Death Star, which paired with their mediocre average stat line makes it pretty hard to choose the Kommandos over those units. We could probably talk bad about AKs all day soooo…. Moving on.
Their strength lies in targeting enemy infantry, the Low POW on their attacks causes them to struggle with high arm and their RAT causes them to struggle with high DEF. They have multiple attacks to give you more opportunity to connect with something and sadly there is no Kovnik like Kovnik Joe for them so…. I was going to stop with the negative….Crap! Ok, get back on track. For now we’ll age that they need help and we’ll talk about Warcasters and solos that can help them. Ok now that’s out of the way so now to their abilities and what makes them worth taking.
- Immunities-They have immunity to corrosion and fire which negates anything with those damage types which can make them a pain for several other factions; Cryx, Menoth,Skorne, anyone bringing Croak Raiders I’m looking at you.
- Melee Attacks– their Gun Blade and Combat Shield are average for damage. Again they’re made for fighting infantry.
- Ranged Attacks-Their Carbine is average for range and damage, nothing special. The Gas Grenade launcher debuffs the DEF and Attack rolls of living models. If it hits it makes a small AOE that can affect multiple models and help the AK’s to hit. This does not create a cloud effect and will not block line of sight or provide Concealment. If you bring two units of Kommandos you can position one unit close to an enemy (but out of melee) and have the other hit them with the gas grenade. The friendly AK will be easier to hit (roll of 5+) and the AOE will catch an enemy model that is just out of melee range making it easier to send Grenades deeper into the enemy unit. This weapon is Cumbersome so any trooper using it can only make one ranged attack that round.
- Alchemical Mask– This lets them ignore cloud effects. They can hide behind a Greylord Blizzard and make ranged attacks or shoot through your enemies clouds and protects them from their own Gas Grenades.
- Shield Wall- The Shield Wall order gives them the same armor as a Berserker, paired with an Iron Fang Kovnik’s Shield March ability they are high armor and very mobile.
- Assault & Battery-When you’re done Shield Walling into position you have the Assault & Battery order to do some killing with. With this you make one ranged attack followed by a run/charge. Because the Gas Grenade Launcher specifies “ranged attacks” you can use it to debuff your target and then charge them with two melee attacks. Or you could debuff an enemy with the Gas Grenade and instead of charging it move the AKs out of the way opening a charge lane for another unit. The charge target does not have to be the same as the ranged attack target.
Because of these abilities Assault Kommandos can be a fast and durable unit and if the dice will allow it they can clear out infantry effectively especially with the right caster support, more on that in a minute. Before we go any farther lest talk about the flamethrower Weapon Attachment!
The Flamethrower WA has the same stat line, immunities, Alchemical Mask and Combat Shield as the other AKs but his Carbine/Gun Blade/Grenade Launcher has been replaced with a flamethrower that produces a medium size spray with the fire continuous effect. When the flamethrower trooper is disabled he dies in a Fiery Blast which is a large AOE that causes FIRE EVERYWHERE! Er, I mean the Continuous Fire effect. You can put the AK Flamethrower in the middle of the other Kommandos to screen him and he can Shield Wall with them, without fear of the Fiery Blast hurting anyone should the model be disabled. While inside the AK screen he can target other Kommandos to get the best angle catch the most enemies with their spray. In certain situations you may want to sacrifice your flamethrower to light a lot of stuff on fire, there are a couple options for this. First you could run it into position and have another AK shoot/melee it causing it to blow up. Second you can put it in melee with an enemy unit and trust them to disable it and light themselves on fire. Or third you could use the Assault & Battery order to clear a path with the spray then use the Charge/Run to send them deeper into the enemy then use option one or two and create a whole lot of fire. The Flamethrower WA is in my opinion the best reason to bring Assault Kommandos.
Earlier I mentioned that they needed help hitting (ok, we ask knew that coming into this thing) so let’s just get to the models that help them work.
- Iron Fang Kovnik– Mentioned this one in the Shield Wall section, his Shield March gives them a little boost to movement when they are issued the Shield Wall order.
- Gorman di Wulfe– Gorman’s Black Oil is an excellent debuff that will make it much easier for the AKs to hit and it can stack with their Gas Grenade. The AKs make an excellent target for his acid bomb even if they are just a starting point for deviation.
- Lady Aiyana & Master Holt– Aiyana’s Lurynsar’s Touch gives them magical weapon which is situational but can come in handy against incorporeal models like Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders who struggle to damage the high ARM Kommandos and their continuous fire is useless against AKs.
- Unnamed, Unteased, Non-Existent AK Kovnik– One day I just know it’ll be real. Sadly, not today.
- Kommander Strakhov– He is the reason these guys even exist and so he has Elite Cadre with them that gives them Pathfinder.
- They are immune to his Cinder Bomb so it can be used to give them a cloud for Concealment.
- Occultation can help their survivability by giving them Stealth.
- His feat gives everything extra movement on a Charge so it greatly extends their range. Overall he doesn’t do much to help them hit more often but he helps them get where they are going.
- Kommandant Irusk– Irusk 1 is a solid infantry caster who has several things to offer Kommandos.
- Battle Lust makes them fearless and they gain an additional die on melee damage rolls. This one is pretty situational because it will most likely be used on a higher MAT and damage unit like Iron Fang Pikemen or MOW Demolition Corp so it’ll take something special to use it on AKs.
- Iron Flesh gives a good boost to DEF and a slight debuff to SPD. The plus side of this is that it gives your Kommandos high DEF and under Shield Wall high armor making them much more difficult to kill but the down side is that the speed debuff means no charging and so it limits the usefulness of Assault & Battery.
- Irusk’s Feat gives everybody Fearless and Tough that triggers on 4, 5, or 6 along with a slight buff to melee and ranged attacks all of which is great for them.
- Supreme Kommandant Irusk– Epic Irusk his some things the Kommandos will take advantage of but overall I don’t think he’s a great match for them.
- Everyone in his control area gains Tough
- Martial Discipline allows small and medium base models to ignore each other for LOS and move through each other.
- They only get a small benefit from his Feat, it will allow them to ignore forests for LOS and give them Pathfinder. If any are knocked down they will stand up.
- He also has Battle Lust, same as Irusk 1.
- Fire For Effect grants boosted attack and damage to ranged attacks but only affects one model, it’s best used on a Jack with an AOE or a unit with Combined Range Attack, not a loneKommando.
- Tactical Supremacy gives them a move after their action in some situations it is good but probably not a game changer for them.
- Vladimir Tzepesci The Dark Price– Vlad only had one thing to help the Assault Kommandos but it is an excellent one.
- Signs & Portents gives them a much better odds at hitting and damaging by giving them an extra die for each attack and damage roll then you discard the low die, this helps them hit and damage more often. This affects everyone in Vlad’s control area.
- Vladimir Tzepesci The Dark Champion– Vlad 2 had a little more to offer but there may be better uses for them in your army, these situational for the Kommandos.
- Hand of Fate is like Signs & Portents but instead of being control area it is limited to one model/unit so they will have to positioned well to get this cast on them.
- Transference let’s any warrior model in Vlad’s control area use his focus to boost attack and/or damage rolls, again only good positioning is going to let them get their hands on that sweet sweet focus.
- Vlad’s Feat gives gives d3 +3 warrior models a good buff to their whole stat line if you have AKs in position to attack a priority target this is an excellent way to make sure they kill it.
- Vladimir Tzepesci Great Prince of Umbrey– This Vlad is calvary focused and much like Vlad 2 his options are limited as far as Assault Kommandos are concerned.
- Hand of Fate- Same as Vlad 2
- Dash is a control area spell that give a small bonus to SPD and let’s warrior models not able to be targeted by free strikes. This works well with their Assault & Battery order or if they are getting wrecked by a Wraith Engine and you need to get them out of there…. just for example.
- Orsus Zoktavir The Butcher of Khardov– Butcher 1 is not a likely match up for Assault Kommandos but he does have two spells that can increase their effectiveness
- Fury gives a model/unit a solid buff to melee damage which will help them if they are against something with higher armor than light infantry.
- Iron Flesh- Same as Irusk 1
Several Khador Warcasters have little to no support for their army and require units that can operate effectively without Caster support so Assault Kommandos are not for them. A couple have limited support for them, the Old Witch and Sorcha 2 have Iron Flesh but will likely be using it on other units, especially Sorcha who likes to hang out with Winterguard. Maybe they could be a a Sacrificial Lamb target for Zerkova 2, hmmmm…. probably best not to think that way…. but…. maybe. Anyway, with the right Support from a Warcaster and/or solos it is possible for Assault Kommandos to be not terrible, maybe even useful. They don’t belong in every list but they definitely is a time and place to use them. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to work on that Zerkova 2 idea I just had.