Friday, August 21, 2015

Cygnar in a Post-Errata World

For those who don’t know, Cygnar underwent some significant changes in yesterday’s errata.  If really truly didn’t know that, you need to head on over to that document and read through it so that you don’t fall into an endless spiral of depression after an Archangel sets your Warcaster on fire after forcing twice to shake both Black Oil and Shadowbind.

Cygnar got directly hit by three big changes in this document; most importantly; the second half of Haley2’s Temporal Shift (dictating the order in which affected models/units activate) was removed entire, Blind from Gorman’s Black Oil bombs was changed to be a shakeable effect and Haley3’s Temporal Flux was altered to buff only Faction models because time is racist or something.

Let me start by making something abundantly clear; these are *good changes.  The nerf to Haley2 is something that I’ve been a proponent of for a while; any Cygnar player who tells me that Haley was balanced in line with most of the other Warcasters/Warlocks in the game is naïve.  Furthermore, many of the changes in this errata strongly debuff control effects, which are not only inordinately powerful and popular in the game at the moment but also primarily responsible for negative play experiences.  Toning them down is nothing but good for the game.

And let’s get this straight; stop freaking out, throwing your hands in the air and opening an eBay account to pawn off your toy soldiers; Haley2 is still *incredibly powerful; this errata may have dropped her out of contention for best single Warcaster in the game, but she is still undeniably top 10.  In the vast majority of matchups (re: melee oriented) she will function almost identically, albeit with your opponent able to advance slightly more effectually and actually use the synergies that they built their list around.  The biggest changes this makes to Cygnar’s game is Haley’s matchups into some of the scarier ranged assassins in the game.

Obviously Temporal Shift requires Haley to move up the table pretty aggressively and veteran Haley players are good at keeping her safe.  Unfortunately, opponents like Lylyth2, Vayl2 and Ravyn aren’t particularly worried about the vast majority of defensive effects (mumble grumble game design mumble), so giving them the option to activate in the order that they choose could spell death for our favorite squishy time wizard.  While the SOP vs. Vayl2 in the past was to block LoS to Haley w/ clouds/models (to shut down the move-Refuge into double Oblit), ensure that she wasn’t within 10” of anybody with LoS to her (to shut down arcing double Oblit) and activate Vayl first.  Now, Vayl has the option of moving models into range to arc or removing the pieces blocking LoS to Haley in order to deliver her assassination.  Lylyth2 presents a very similar conundrum, but with the added option of simply feating, handing out Wraithbanes and blowing a Stormwall off the table.

This means a couple things; Haley2 has often been Cygnar’s answer to Legion, bringing a very slightly safer game to the table than our other ‘casters.  The matchup has never been good for Cygnar and even with pre-errata Shift it still took a lot of effort to keep Haley and her most important pieces safe.  Now, with no ability to do that, the matchup is all-but unplayable, which opens a massive hole in a lot of list pairings.  Obviously, this will require a shift in Cygnar pairings to account for the deficiency, which will likely open up holes in other matchups.  Overall, the change pretty significantly weakened Cygnar’s competitive game.

Credit to ninjakat5

The other changes aren’t as big of a deal; Gorman goes from being an auto-include in a lot of lists to being a useful toolbox piece, which is where he should be.  The Haley3 nerf is absolutely mind-boggling to me.  Not only does the change not make sense, but it massively hampers the type of list that can be played effectively with her; she goes from being an interesting ‘caster, able to play LoS denial or DEF skew equally effectively to being shoe-horned into a Trencher cloudwall build followed up by Faction Storm Knights and probably a single Murdoch’d unit.  Especially crappy is that a lot of players purchased merc models such as Acosta specifically to use with her, only to have the inherent synergy stripped away almost immediately.

All that aside; ima get all editorial and shit up in this beeahtch.  I said before that these changes are good, and I stand by that.  That said, in the short term this errata may have devastating consequences on the competitive meta in the short term.  While changing some of the strong ‘casters is good for overall game balance, it still leaves the majority of the primary offenders untouched and now with less counters than ever!  Nerfing tools that players needed to answer the likes of WW, EE/Row, Mechanitions, Lylyth2, Guardians, Denny1, Asphyxious2 (even B&S is still pretty egregious) only makes these lists more effective.  While one can only hope that a similar errata is on its way for the remainder of the highly competitive lists to level the playing field.  This also brings up the question of Theme Forces in competitive play once again since they are seeing more play than ever and people’s tools to deal with them are being removed.  I have faith in PP to come to the right decision eventually, but I’m worried that it may take a long time.


  1. This started out not sounding like a stereotypical whiny cygnar player...

  2. I agree entirely, as a Haley2 player I'm glad about the nerf and agree that it on the whole all nerfs targeted negative play experiences. Poor poor Coven :'( My poor 'fun' caster...


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