Jack Marshal rules question

I was looking at the rule book and curious if this has already been brought up. I don’t see the Jack Marshal rules explained in to much detail. Can someone explain them to me please. The only benefit I see is a Jack and run/charge without a focus. Cool but….anything else?

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In MkIII jack marshal gave a choice of 3 abilities to use each turn. Those have been taken out in this edition in favor of a simple set of rules. From what I have heard on an episode of primecast awhile back, they plan to give more special abilities to affected marshaled jacks directly to the model with Jack marshal. So some of the cool things from MKIII should appear as special rules for specific jack marshals.


Oh, okay. That seems cool. Just looking at the rules now a Jack marshal seem kind of not worth bringing to the table yet. Key word yet…if they add more rules to the existing Jack marshals.

Don’t overlook the ability to reactivate a warjack. If a battlegroup controller dies, the warjacks in its battlegroup go inert, and a jack marshal can reactivate them. Then if the jack marshal dies, the jack can still do work, just not as effectively.

In the First Army, you could take the Trencher Warcaster Lieutenant with a jack, and if the Lt dies, Commander Anson Hitch, or a Trencher Master Gunner could reactivate it.

I don’t see that type of interaction in all armies, but some armies with jack marshals do have empower as an ability, including Cygnar First Army. That means a gun-platform jack can work fairly well with a jack marshal that also has empower. In Khador Armored Korps, this is the Greylord Forge Seer. There is another jack marshal in that army, but he doesn’t do anything for the jack or benefit from running one.

Some jack marshals have Drives, that help jack marshals run their jacks a little better, making them almost as effective as a warcaster under certain circumstances.

Dirty Meg, from the Mercenary Talion Charter, has Drive: Reposition, and Veteran Leader to all privateer warjacks, but I don’t see any extra focus or a jr warcaster in that army. So you’re risking a little bit by putting a jack under Meg just for a reposition (which could actually be valuable, depending on the jack).

Rhul has Thor Steinhammer for a jack marshal, and Tactical Arcanist Corps for empower. Thor also has a reposition drive and Tune up, to give the jack pathfinder and to remove stationary and continuous effects on the jack. Tune Up works on any jack, not just one under his control. That’s pretty handy, but one of the leaders has repo as a field marshal ability, and I don’t think they have trouble running their own jacks, so it’s a serious commitment to place a jack under Thor.

In the Soldiers of Fortune army, Sam MacHorne also has Drive: Reposition, and Iron Sentinel for herself. So she could reposition a jack to be near her if one was under her control. The Steelhead Arcanist is a source of empower, and the ironhead is an interesting model that also works as a backup to Sam’s jack marshal. There aren’t any jr warcasters here either, which was always a little disappointing. The casters are all ARC 6, so they don’t have a lot of focus to throw around, so maybe a jack on Sam is good. They all have good cohort spells, so it is a trade.

The Protectorate’s Exemplar marshal (Bastion Seneschal) has one of the most interesting drives in the game. Rhythm of Steel gives out flank with Bastions, but only to its jack. It also has leadership to bastions so they heal, and gives out tactician. Wow! But would I put a jack on it? Sure, for flank! Empower comes from vassals, and the choir grants other bonuses, so a cheap crusader under the Seneschal can actually do a lot of work without taxing your leader.

Raluk is under thornfall, and I guess he could take a jack, but he doesn’t really offer anything to it. He benefits from Iron Sentinel, but it seems a lot of points to put on him. Personally, I think he is overcosted, especially when compared to the Seneschal, which is also a 4 point model. Raluk has no drive, and no abilities that extend to the army.

Those are all the jack marshals that I know of. I don’t believe the ability is being added to the new armies. We might see one in the Cygnar old storm knight army, and Khador winter guard army, because there were models in them previously that had the ability.


They can still be worth it in some list. For example, if your caster has a smaller control range, you may use a jack marshal to allow you to spread your forces out and not worry about being out of range of your caster and not able to run or charge. I don’t use them often but I can see the benefits of having access to them

Steelhead Ironhead is also a jack marshal but it doesn’t give anything special to the jack under him

That’s what I meant when I stated that it is an interesting model that also works as a backup to Sam’s jack marshal.

The Ironhead has some cool placement abilities which would be fun to play with.

The only jack marshal I can take is the one for Thornfall. I guess that’s why I feel like it’s not worth it yet. The only Jack I would take in that army is Rover mainly due to is shield guard and shield gun. The other three don’t seem worth it. Plus he can repair a few of the beasts so there is that too. But if PP rolls out more rules for JMs then maybe he might be more tempting to take. Thanks for the breakdown though it was super helpful.

I don’t think jack marshals were used much in Mk3. Back in Mk2 it was harder for warcasters to fuel jacks as there was no “power up” rule, and jack marshals could run two jacks each, so there were some combinations that could be worth bringing.

For example in Mk2 the Khador MOW Kovnik boosted all initial melee attack rolls; that could be good with a cheap MAT 5 Berserker (it had Aggressive and Chain Attack: Headbutt, so you could charge and boost both attacks and the chain attack to knock something down without costing your caster anything). The Cygnar Gunmage Officer (iirc) gave his jacks rune shots, so a Cyclone putting out 2D3 slam shots could really push stuff around.

Jack marshals were still incredibly common in mkiii. Drives were powerful, especially the ones that were model-specific ones. In fact, a while theme (Mercenary irregulars) were based on the idea of many jack marshals.

Well maybe that army isn’t well suited to jack marshals. But just because that army doesn’t have amazing ones doesn’t mean there aren’t others. Dirty meg and a seneschal were mentioned above, and I expect the Stormblade Captain to appear soon and he gives out Repo 5. Rutger Shaw and _____ we’re good marshals in mkiii and probably will be in mkiv

One of the biggest advantages of jack marshals is they reduce focus burden. In order to be focus efficient on a 6 focus Warcaster you usually can only manage 2-3 warjacks (usually 2-3 upkeep spells you want, assume each warjack needs 1-2 focus). 2-3 warjacks is super limiting, especially if your journeyman (If you have one) isn’t great. Jack marshals are a great way to get a lot out of jack, without having to put it on a Warcaster. Also, a 4x4 map is a lot of space. 6 focus 'castsrs generally on have a 12" control area. They’re limited to less than half the map. Marshals let you spread out.

Also, thornfall is what was traditionally “hordes”. Shouldn’t really have jacks go begin with so that’s a special model.

We may have a different opinion on what counts as getting a lot out of a jack. In the present iteration of the rules, most warjacks would be much happier in a battlegroup than marshaled. The benefit of free charges, runs and power attacks is less than the free focus gained from Power up (and its range is limited to 8" from the marshal), so really the only reason to marshal a jack is spreading out in scenarios with multiple jack-controllable elements. Most drives aren’t worth giving up Power up and the possibility to allocate focus.

In earlier editions, marshaled jacks could get a free boost, which was enough with some specialist jacks such as the Cygnaran Hunter or the Mercenary Buccaneer. Power up made that redundant in Mk3, so marshaling needed (and got) something else to make it worthwhile. Mk4 doesn’t have a sufficient incentive to marshal a jack, in my opinion.

Yes, marshaled jacks can gain focus from Empower, but so can battlegroup jacks. So, depending on jack, it may be more effective to keep it in the battlegroup, cast a battlegroup-only buff spell on it, and then let it run on its own powered by an Empower unit.

That’s true, I defintely agree it’s more situational, but I feel like there’s enough specialists out there, especially with the variety of mercenaries, that they often times become a nice alternative for focus-strapped casters.

My few cents:

Jack marshaling was at its apex in MK III. Even then, in my experience, it was hardly ever used by the player base, outside of highly-specific super-effective scenarios. (Also, I frequently heard the cries of “this is too complicated!” both in real life and on the forums/social media, and about twice a quarter somebody would come up with ways to “fix” the rule. In my experience, I was one of the few people who bothered to read and learn the jack marshal rules.)

I suspect that the lack of these super-effective jack marshals this edition is an intentional choice. Warmachine has always been focused (theoretically, early on, but increasingly more so as the game as evolved) on warjacks and the battlegroup. Especially given the point constraints in this edition, I think you’d be hard-pressed to have effective jack marshals that can make up their points without overshadowing the battlegroup.

Jack Marshaling has always been a problematic rule. For the sake of lore it both makes sense for them to be around as they’re waaay more common than warcasters, but also they have to be weaker than warcasters because that’s supposed to be the whole point of warcasters. In the lore it’s a lot more common to see a unit with a marshaled jack because warcasters are like 1 in every 100,000 people, but on the table we always have a warcaster because that makes the game exciting.