Friday, September 26, 2014

Tourney Prep - B4AC 2014

Last year I attended Dark Omen Gaming Club’s second annual “Boost for a Cure” charity tournament and put on a profoundly average showing (here’s a link to my battle reports from last year). This year, I hope to at least recreate my past mediocrity; ideally do better, though. To that end, I’ve gone about crafting some successful yet not particularly creative lists that I’ll talk about a little. The pairing is my absolute favorite; Haley2 and Stryker2! According to local Cygnar guru and all-around scarf fanatic Ben Cort, the Haley “Thornwall” variant (that features a Bonded Stormwall in addition to Thorn, as opposed to being restricted to one or the other) paired with an anti-infantry oriented Stryker2 variant (the new “New England” Stryker2 list or, as Ben calls it; “Out of Order”;) is one of, if not the single strongest list pairing Cygnar can offer. As much as I like sweeping generalizations, I don’t know if I’d make that one personally, but it is a strong pairing. Both lists can play out of poor matchups while being much stronger in specific matchups so list-chicken isn’t as much of a problem and they both tend to have strong game against particular list archetypes, giving my opponent a bit of trouble in the list-selection phase. That’s a lot of words I just wrote, so let’s go ahead and get into what makes this particular pairing hum.

List One: the Dreaded Thornwall

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts)
* Stormwall (Bonded) (19pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 2 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (2pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2pts)

As much as I hate the Haley/Stormwall archetype, this list has to be the highlight of the two. It’s purpose is simple; Thorn exists to allow Haley to use her incredible control abilities to shut down enemy threats to the Stormwall, in order to allow the Stormwall to deal as much damage as possible. There’s also a reasonable number of infantry in there to do their own thing without taking too many resources from Haley, dealing damage of their own and taking pressure off the big guy.

Despite how point-and-click Haley/Stormwall lists tend to play, this list actually requires an intense amount of finesse (that I absolutely do not have yet… I think Haley’s been killed out from under me 3 times in practice) since Haley is forced to spend almost all her Focus every turn casting spells and fueling the Warjacks. That said, against heavy ARM skews such as Meat Mountain and beast bricks, this list has the chance to be absolutely brutal, controlling some armor elements as others are gradually pummeled to death by the Stormwall.

Preferred matchups? Trollbloods (maybe not Runes of War, but certainly other archetypes), Legion, Protectorate, most Cryx stuff, anything with an opposing Colossal, center scenarios without Killbox.

List Two: You’re Out of Order, Soldier!

Lord Commander Stryker (*6pts)
* Lancer (6pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Captain Jonas Murdoch (2pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Storm Lances (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Archduke Alain Runewood (3pts)
Captain Maxwell Finn (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

That list title gets me every time. :D
I like Stryker2 waaay better than Haley2 and a Stormwall. He’s more fun to play, dynamic, survivable, personally threatening, badass, antiheroic and cool, but even the Lord Commander of the Storm Brigade falls down sometimes and needs a time wizard to save him. Oh well.

I’ll talk about Stryker2, and specifically this method of playing him at length in a future article, so I’ll just give the list a quick run-down here. This list wants to see a reasonable number of front-line or melee infantry supported by a limited number of jacks. Basically a balanced list; because it beats the crap out of your silly balanced lists. Your infantry gets slowed to a crawl, you lose any special Orders or attacks your troops were relying on and your shooting does little-to-nothing. You’re forced to take the alpha and get Rolling Thunder’d into, probably losing a good 50-70% of your force as you do. Even then, if you can chew through the high-ARM infantry I’m pushing in your face, Stryker can usually close out a game with his survivability, and constant damage output.

Unfortunately, if it can’t play that style of game, the list falls down a little. Fortunately, it’s lead by the frickin’ Lord Commander of the Storm Brigade and Stryker cuts his way out of bad matchups like paper bags. Kiss+Positive Charge can push the damage output of Stryker’s infantry to insane levels, especially when Rolling Thunder is still available, or Kiss can be applied to simply shoot lighter ‘beasts and ‘jacks off the table. Rebuke+aiming Pistoleers can punch through infantry swarms and the Storm Lances can remove high Def with MAT 9-13 charges or simply attacking each other to trigger e-leaps.
I do wish that I could fit some Rangers in this list to deal with really high DEF stuff (e.g. Satyxis Raiders and Kayazy) before it gets to me, but we can’t have everything.

Preferred matchups? Circle that isn’t Baldur2, most Cryx stuff, Khador 4 dayz, most Skorne stuff.

So those are my lists; unfortunately woefully underplayed so any errant Cryx player will probably jump on me Round 1 and kick the crap out of my poor swans. Boost for a Cure is a great event for a good cause anyway, so I’ll have a good time regardless!

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