One of the thing that really sets Judgement apart frossm other games is the flexibility of “list” creation. In Warmachine, Warhammer, and Infinity, you bring a set list of models with you and play the game with them. Additionally, you are restricted to one faction (occasionally with mercenary options) in basically every tabletop game of which I am aware.
Judgement is nothing like this. There are no factions, and you are completely unencumbered by point costs or field allowance since every single hero is a character and can only be present once in a warband.
In this article, we will discuss what differentiates heroes in Judgement, and we will briefly discuss how Warbands are built prior to playing the game.
If you have not read my overview of the game, you can find it here. If you want to check out their rules and print and play info, click here, and if you want to get the free apps for Android look for Warband Commander in the Google Play store, and for iOS look for Judgement Warband Manager,
Heroes in Judgement are divided into different battlefield roles just like the MOBAs that inspired the game. These classes loosely describe the way in which the heroes work, but there are tremendous variations in the abilities and playstyles between heroes of a particular class.
These are the damage dealers of a warband, capable of doing significant damage to enemy heroes in single activations using a combination of high damage attacks or powerful fate abilities that allow them to burst down opponents.
There are ranged, magic, and melee aggressors, and they all play extremely differently. Typically speaking, they have a high value for whatever stat they use to attack in order to generate large dice pools and are more likely to land crits or get special combat maneuvers that do powerful things.
For example, Rakkir is a melee aggressor. He has a relatively high Melee stat of 7 which means he often gets dice pools of four or more when he attacks. (Remember, you compare your attack stat to your opponents Agility stat to create your dice pool, and most heroes are Agility 3-5). He has a pretty good damage output at 2/3/5 which means that if he rolls a single hit, he does 2 damage, if he rolls 2 hits he will do 3, and if he gets 3 hits he does 5.
Additionally, Rakkir has a special combat maneuver that he can trigger if he gets two Symbols which applies Poison to his target. This lowers the enemy Agility, making his next attack better, and it allows him to use a special rule called Toxin for a Fate, which does 2d6 damage to poisoned enemies near him. Combined with a really neat escape mechanic (check out www.judgement.game or download the appropriate app for your device if you want to see all of his rules!) and you have a very powerful Rogue who charges in, applies some poison, does massive damage and then teleports out in a shadowy blur. It is an incredibly cinematic and cool way to play, and it is unique to him. On top of all of that, his model is gorgeous!
Again, for a complete list of aggressors check out the judgement website or download the app for your device as mentioned above.
Defenders are the tanks of the game, often boasting large numbers of Hit Points combined with high Resistance (which reduces damage you take) or Agility scores (which makes hitting them meaningfully harder).
They also often have interesting control effects such as making enemies unable to advance, making your opponent hit them before targeting any of your other models, or being immune to pushes or knock down.
Thrommel, for instance, has a high Resistance of 2, which means that every time he takes damage that is not True Damage, he reduces that by 2. Since many of the combat maneuvers specify that you have to damage your target in order to use them, this makes Thrommel effectively immune to many of the powerful effects in the game.
Additionally, once per turn Thrommel can give a friendly hero within 2” of him 2 Resistance for the duration of an attack, which can help a squishy Rogue like Rakkir survive a powerful hit or prevent a status effect from being applied.
As he levels up, Thrommel gains more hit points and becomes impossible to Knock Down or Push, and at his final level 3 upgrade, gains the ability to jump around the map and knock enemies down in an area around him, disrupting plans and getting in the way.
For a full look at his card, check out the Judgement website!
The “scenario” that Judgement plays with is based around capturing free roaming souls that spawn on the map. Every hero can try and take these souls, but unless that hero is a soulgazer, they have to be within 2 inches of the soul and they often have very low soulgazing ability. Soul Gazers can take souls from 4 inches away, and they are all universally higher in their Soul Gazing ability as well.
Soul Gazers are generally Magic users with fewer hit points. Their offensive stats are usually midling as well, but this is all balanced by the fact that if you can zone out an opponent for a few turns and get a kill or two, that soul gazer will just win you the game.
In addition to having their Soul Gazing abilities, this class often has support options that are unique and interesting. For example. Kruul can nullify magical items and at level two can contest souls from a much greater distance than the usual 2 inches.
Supports and Hybrids:
This is a difficult pair of classes to talk about since what they do is so varied. Many supports have really strong abilities to apply negative status effects to enemies, or to remove them and heal friendly heroes. Hybrids are odd mixes of support and defender or aggressor. Many of them also have higher Soul Gaze abilities than non Soul Gazers. Some of my absolute favorite heroes fall into this category, and I often reach for them in place of other heroes.
I do not have a great example of a typical support/hybrid here since their abilities are so varied, but this category tends to be the most skill based and interesting heroes in the game.
Building a Warband - Three Options
Building your Warband is one of the coolest part of Judgement. Unlike basically every other miniatures game I can think of, you have access to the entire range of models. This gives you massive flexibility in playstyle as the synergies between heroes can be deep and powerful.
The first way to play is to just bring your 3 or 5 member Warband. If you are new to playing, this is often how you start. In my current demo kit, I have a Warband of Kruul, Rakkir, and Doenrakker paired off against Thrommel, Istariel, and Sayin. You will notice that I have included an aggressor, a defender, and a soul gazer in both Warbands.
The second way to play is to bring 2 more heroes than the game size and you and your opponent both get to ban one of your opponents heroes. For example, if I have built a five member Warband for a 3v3 game that relies heavily on Resistance, and my opponent has Istariel in his Warband, I will likely ban her since she ignores a Resistance when she attacks. Once you have both banned a hero, you build your final Warband from the remaining heroes. This version is one of the two main tournament formats, and it lets you build an optimal Warband and tailor it to the scenario and enemy Warband.
The final, and most interesting way to play is a draft. This is a process where you bring a large number of heroes (usually 18-28) and draft your Warband from the heroes available. This is a process where you and your opponent alternate banning and then picking heroes in a set order. This is a super interesting way to play, since you get to play a game before the game and draft out a Warband for the specific game and opponent opponent and scenario that you are playing. The downside to this method is that it requires you to have many many heroes OR to put together paper dollies for the occasion. I personally have found this method the most interesting because it ensures no mirrored heroes in the Warbands and you get to see some really unusual combinations that would not necessarily be found in deliberate constructions.
Judgement has some of the most interesting game play out of any miniature game that I have played, and it is largely based off the flexibility of the Warband construction and the crazy synergies you can generate off of the different heroes.
As always, thank you for reading and I will be back next week with another article about this crazy game.