This article was picked by Greylord Dave as his prize for my 5 years of blogging celebration.
Jack Marshals are available to most Warmachine factions and two Hordes factions, they are a different way to add a Warjack to a list without it using your Warcasters rescources.
The choice to put a Warjack with a Jack Marshal is made during list creation, so you can't swap a Warjack from your Warcaster onto a Jack Marshal before a game starts. You also can't spend a Warcasters Warjack points on a Jack Marshalled Warjack.
Jack Marshal Benefits
During the Warjack's activation it can gain one of the following benefits if it activates in its controllers command range. If its controller is knocked down or stationary, or the Warjacks cortex is crippled then it can't gain any of these benefits.
The Warjack can make an additional melee attack during its activation and gains +2 to all its melee damage rolls this activation
The Warjack can run, charge, or make a power attack without spending focus during its activation. It also gains +2 to charge and slam attack rolls during its activation.
The Warjack gains +2 to all its attack rolls this activation.
If the Warjack forfeits its movement to aim this turn it additionally gains +2 to all its ranged attack damage rolls.
Many Jack Marshals have a special rule called a Drive, this is an extra bonus that they grant to a warjack that they control.
These can vary a lot and they often influence what type of Warjack you would give to the Jack Marshal.
For example the Cygnar Gunmage CA gives a Warjack it controls the Drive: Rune Shot, which allows it to use the Gunmage's shot types and makes its ranged attacks magical. This makes it a given that you would put a Warjack with a decent ranged weapon for the Jack Marshal to control.
The death of its controller...
Should the Jack Marshal be destoryed or removed from play the Warjack becomes autonomous. Which means it can still activate normally but is unable to gain any of the benefits listed above.
A friendly faction Warcaster, Journeyman warcaster or another Jack Marshal can take control of an autonomous Warjack by moving into base to base contact and spending a focus (for Warcasters and Journeyman Warcasters) or forfeiting their combat action (for Jack Marshals) the Warjack must forfeit its combat action the turn it is reactivated.
It is worth checking what other models in your army have the Jack Marshal special rule so that you can bring the Warjack under their control should its original controller die.
If a Jack Marshal is a member of a unit only the model with the Jack Marshal special rule actually controls the Warjack. This means you measure from that model for the Jack marshal benefits, and if the model with the Jack Marshal rule dies the jack has no controller. (Unlike in mk2 which made the unit take control of the Warjack. I have seen a few people still play it this way unaware that it has changed)
Jack Marshalled Warjacks can still beneifit from a lot of spells, but spells that mention "battlegroup" will not work for them. A battlegroup is the term given to a Warcaster or Journeyman Warcaster's and their Warjacks
The most common question I see asked about them in forums and Facebook group is "do their Warjacks gain power up Focus?"
The answer to that is no, as they are not part of a battlegroup they don't gain power up Focus.
Because they don't gain any Focus during the Control phase they can not shake effects like Knockdown, Stationary, Blind and Shadow bind. This makes them more vulnerable to being taken out of use for a turn or two if the other players army has easy access to these effects.
A Jack Marshalled Warjack can still gain Focus from alternative ways such as the Empower special action some models have, or from Accumulator special rule.
Ranking officers attach to Mercenary units to make them count as the faction of the army they are being used with. Currently at the time I'm writing this there is only one Mercenary unit which has the Jack Marshal rule which is Captain Sam MacHorne & The Devil Dogs. They can be taken in Cygnar and Protectorate of Menoth.
The question which often gets asked about them is can they still bring a Mercenary Warjack or can they bring a Warjack from their adopted factions. They can bring a Mercenary Warjack and can control it, even though technically they count as being from different factions while the Ranking Officer is attached.
This means that Sam MacHorne can't benefit from her Iron Sentinel while base to base with her own marshalled Warjack, but will gain the benefit from her adopted factions Warjacks.
If the Ranking Officer dies during the game she reverts back to being a Mercenary model and would be able to gain the Iron Sentinel benefit from her own Mercenary Warjack.
In summary Jack Marshals are an alternative way to run a Warjack in your lists, with their own pros and cons. I personally recommend writing out a "cheat sheet" of the 4 different Jack Marshal benefits to remind you during your games when using them, until you are familiar with them all.
I hope you found this article helpful, if you did please let me know. If there was anything you thought I missed I'm sure you are already typing it! I appreciate all feedback as it all goes towards improving future articles!