I get a good deal of good-natured ribbing from people for the amount of factions I am, and have, played. I currently own three factions (Khador, Cryx, Protectorate of Menoth), and I have previously owned two others (Circle and Legion; I guess Hordes doesn’t suit me). Whereas many of the other players I know will amass hundreds and hundreds of points in a single faction (and be able to run any tier list), I have found that having a smaler force in multiple factions suits me much more. Not that I don’t see the appeal in owning a full FA of every model a faction has to offer, but I have preferred the ability to easily move among largely different mechanics by way of playing many.
For me, much of the appeal in the game originally were the warjacks. Mistakenly, I thought Khador packed the best ‘jacks, and that is what originally drew me to the faction. I now have around 220 points of Khador, but I rarely field more than 1 or 2 jacks, for reasons I am sure any seasoned player could tell you. However, the real joy in playing Khador for me is in the infantry. The sheer destructive power of Great Bears, the unique threat posed by Doom Reavers, the endless and varied threat that fully buffed Winterguard bring. These and others (don’t even get me started on my love of Iron Fang Pikemen) are the real gems of Khador. I love the faction, yet I will be the first to admit that, relatively speaking, it is a shallow faction. I knew that I wouldn’t be happy playing the Motherland exclusively. I still wanted to keep playing Khador, but my heart was already wandering…
Cryx was a good fit for me because they bring a bag of tricks very different from Khador, and that juxtaposition was very refreshing for me. Immediately what I liked about the switch was obvious: the speed of Cryxian warjacks (especially Bonejacks), the debuffing mechanic of their casters, and the stacking tricks you can pull off (Parasite on a model during Deneghra’s feat turn with a Bane Thrall standing near the model). The game was new to me again, because I saw it through a very different set of eyes. I once again had to relearn how to solve the myriad of problems my opponent could present because Cryx’s methodologies differ greatly from that of Khador. Now a year after starting them, I have enough Cryx to plan an Unbound game if I wanted, and I regularly break out the faction. However, one need was still unfulfilled : where Khador rocked the elite infantry, and Cryx packed a great bag of assassination tricks with their warcasters, I still hadn’t had my original warjack itch properly scratched, and by now I knew where to turn.
The Protectorate of Menoth. Early in my playing days, I didn’t understand how this was the ‘jack faction’. I regularly played a Menoth player, but he was new to the game as well, and I couldn’t comprehend the power of speed 5 versus speed 4, and reach on a warjack, and a song of battle; I didn’t see the immense significance in those numbers. About 3 months ago though, I knew I had finally learned enough and decided to dive into a new faction once more. My early purchases were all those things I had seen used to great effect against me (Temple Flameguard, Vanquisher, Vassal, Daughters of the Flame, etc). But the big reason I picked Protectorate were the Choir; I wanted my jacks to charge in at MAT 8 with an insane POW. I quickly purchased a full unit of choir and some SPD 5 reach jacks. In a recent game, I had Blessing of Vengeance, a Sanctifier, and a Reckoner all wreck face repeatedly with the help of their reclaimer, choir, and vassal friends. This was the game I originally wanted to play years ago, and I finally was playing it. Of course, my record hasn’t been as good, because once again I am having to learn the game anew. Where I am used to throwing a full unit of Pikemen or a trio of Stygian Abyss’s, now I have to think about delivering a payload of warjack fun.
All of this isn’t to pitch these three factions in particular – I wanted to speak a bit about why having faction choices is so much fun. Even though I am a jack fan, there are times when bringing 50 pts of infantry with Irusk is great fun, and I still love to trot out Bane Thralls on almost any opponent. High defense, high armor, jack lists, infantry swarms, melee, ranged, magic – I can play it all, and I often do. I feel that the game for me is so much more rewarding when I can, from a first person perspective, experience that large a range of the possible play styles and mechanics. Single-faction players miss out on that breadth. Sure, they get a depth of the faction that I might not appreciate, but I guess that approach just isn’t for me. So, if you are thinking that buying that 3rd unit of Doom Reavers to hit eButcher’s tier list seems wrong, then open yourself up to another faction and see what it can do for you.