A Beginners Approach to the City States

The arrival of the highly anticipated City States faction, the 7th faction to be released in TLAOK, is just around the corner. With it, it brings a host of new players – be they new to the faction, or new to the game in general. Because of this, I wanted to take a bit of time to make a short, easy to build and relatively easy to pilot list. So strap on your shield, heft your pike and join me in this list building exercise. 

TLDR; The list. 

=== The Last Argument of Kings ===

City States 1k [995/1000]
The City States

== (Warlord) Polemarch [110]: Atalanta’s Spear

  • Hoplites (6) [265]: Minotaur Haspist Auxiliary
  • Hoplites (5) [225]: Minotaur Haspist Auxiliary
  • Phalangites (3) [145]:
  • Minotaur Thyreans (4) [250]:

Where to start: 

I would be remiss to not mention the upcoming awesome starter set which heralds the arrival of the City States. The set contains a hero – the limited edition sculpt for the Polemarch, a front line character schooled in combat and tactics and a master of conflict (his name literally translates to Lord of War!). So this is where we will start. Our Polemarch will lead the only warband in this first 1000 point list. There is an argument for bringing a second champion at 1000 points, but a few expensive upgrades for our units have made me avoid that for now – more on that later. 

The Warlord: 

So – the Polemarch. The only upgrade we will be giving him is ‘Atalanta’s Spear’ for 20 points. This takes him to up to 6 attacks, with Cleave 1 (makes your opponents armour less effective) and Flurry (reroll missed dice!). He already has great defence and resolve and is the ideal leader for the force. His Draw Event ‘Battlefield Orders’ allows him to buff his regiment, either making ranged attacks less effective against them, or making it impossible for opponents to claim an objective they are fighting over. This really plays into that super defensive wall of spears theme that the hoplites of old (and new) embody. His supremacy ability ‘Army of Lions’ dials his unit up to 11, giving all stands in the unit +1 to their clash characteristic (to a maximum of 4). It also grants ‘Unyielding’ to all friendly units within 6 inches, letting them automatically convert a failed save into a successful one. Speaking of hoplites… 

The Warlords regiment: 

The Polemarch will be situated in a unit of hoplites. This unit is will contain 4 stands of hoplites and one stand of Minotaur Hapist Auxillary. That’s right, Minotaur, in your unit of hoplites. This is one of the City States unique faction traits. Some of their units are allowed to embed a stand of another specific type into their regiment. In this case, we get to take a stand of the Hapist. These guys are tough, can swing hard and contribute some impact to the unit on the charge. The hoplites themselves have a shield, the special rule ‘Phalanx’ which means the unit gets +1 to its defence for attacks from the front. That means our hoplites base defence from the front arc is 4, tasty! Phalanx is not all giveth, and it does do some taketh away. Phalanx does mean our unit can not count as inspired (this is mitigated in the warlords unit by his supremacy) but our second unit will suffer from this. The other feature of phalanx is that our charge distance is always set as ‘March distance +3 inches’ which is both a blessing and a curse. It means we always know if we can charge, but it also means our opponents will know where to position to stay outside of charge range. This gives us a 6 stand unit and a good bunker for our warlord. Additionally ‘Support 2’ gives our stands that don’t get into the thick of it the ability to contribute some more dice in clash action – thank the council for pikes. 

The rest: 

We also include a second unit of hoplites. This time with 5 stands of hoplites and 1 stand of Minotaur Hapist Auxilliary.  

Our last infantry unit is a 3 stand unit of Phalangites. These guys are designed to interfere with cavalry and brutes with their ‘Pike Formation’ reducing the Impact attacks contributed by each stand by 3. Other than being a thorn in the side of anything with Impact, these guys are great when ranked up in multiple ranks (unfortunately this list doesn’t have room for big blocks of them). 

Last but not least: 

The real power house of the army, a 4 stand unit of Minotaur Thyreans. These guys are Terrifying (literally and figuratively). With 5 attacks each, Cleave 3 and Terrifying 1 their damage output is substantial. They also get Impact 3 with Brutal Impact 1 so a charge and clash activation could really dish out some damage. To amplify this, they also benefit from Linebreaker which cancels the effect of both Shield and Bastion – making some of even the most tough and defensive units open like a cheap tin of beans to the Thyreans.  

So – what is the cost? 

Assuming you are working with starter sets, 1 start set gets you 
1x Polemarch 

2x Regiments of Hoplites/Phalangites 

1x Regiment of Minotaur Hapists/Thyreans 

So for this list we would need two of the city states halves of the new starter set to build it (and leave you with a spare Polemarch to either use for a conversion, or sell to recoup some of the cost!). Assuming you split them down the middle with a friend, and at a cost of about £130 for the new set from retailers, you can expect to build this army for about that – £130!  

A 1000 point army is a great foundation for a Path to Conquest campaign, slow grow league or even small scale tournaments. I am looking forward to setting this exact list up for my club members to try and getting some games in. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for a beginner list for City States? Let us know! 

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