Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Firing Squad dies by firing squad

Courtesy of Mr. Malorian and his hilarious WM/H memes

Earlier today I made a Facebook post referring to the recent errata to Kara Sloan that confused/unspeakably enraged a lot of folks, so I figured instead of replying to everyone individually (which sounds exhausting) I'd just lay out my feelings on it here.

So here's the deal, and it's pretty simple, really; Fire Group is not as good as Guided Fire.  Kara usually only needs Fire Group in two turns during the game; the first turn of shooting and maybe the turn she's shooting at their 'caster.  It most cases, the turns she's casting Fire Group it's to push 1-2 models (usually Hunters) into range for very early turn 1-2 shots, not to power up the whole battlegroup.  Good players will try to close with her too quickly to make use of Fire Group more often.  I think that in the vast majority of games, the free Fire Group portion of her Feat is unessecary and will generally not get used.

So with that in mind, the feat is most importantly +1 ranged attack for her BG.  Seems good, right?
Nah.  Let's talk about Focus for a second:

Kara is FOC 6.  In most matchups she's going to need to cast Guided Fire every turn; to kill screening infantry and guarantee hits on DEF 12+ heavies (she generally has trouble vs. low DEF/super high ARM stuff anyway so those aren't going to be the majority of her games).  That leaves her with 3 FOC.  She's probably got Refuge upkept on herself so she doesn't die so she has 2... not even enough to boost her own damage rolls.  Kara has the most reliable heavy gun on the table, so keeping FOC to boost her shots is *usually* more valuable than those of her 'jacks.

This means that the feat, as it stands, gives your BG a bunch of unboosted shots; you can squeeze one more boosted damage roll out of Empower but the rest of the BG is unbuffed; in essence what you got out of her original feat but lacking the +2 RAT that was useful to spot remove high-DEF individuals.  Obviously the weird order of activation issue has been resolved in favor of requiring Kara to activate first, which is helpful but not necessarily a buff (there were certainly situations in which Kara would activate to Feat after her BG had fired).  At best the errata'd feat is on par with her original.

Compared to her previously altered feat (which allowed her to cast Guided Fire for free), this is a very clear downgrade.
Inb4 (Simpson's nerd-guy voice) "well, technically..."  Calm yourself; it was confirmed by multiple sources from LnL '16 to be "the official version that will be included in the errata" and I didn't know anyone not practicing using this version of the Feat.

Obviously the strength of this version is that Kara could manage a very efficient Feat turn; she could fully fuel most of her BG and leverage her additional shots to actually mitigate highly armored targets  rather than just scratch up their paint impotently.

Anyhoo, that's all.  It'll take some play and dojo time to re-evaluate Kara's list to compensate for the changes.  Her place in my Cygnar pairings is in flux at the moment; I'm not sure she can pull her weight anymore with the new Feat, but we'll see.


  1. Do you think there's a build possible utilising rangers to alleviate the need for guided fire? I'd suggest the avenger but it's range bothers me.

    I feel like Sloan was going to be a subpar choice for a pairing anyway, what with her obvious strengths causing people to tech for her to a huge degree. Do you think otherwise? :)

    1. Sloan brings a pretty strong skew and I'm sure she'll make a lot of pairings early on based on that alone, especially now at the start of the new ed when people are still making up their minds on pairings.

      Her list comp is up in the air right now tbh. The build I've been playing relies pretty heavily on the free Guided Fire and may not hold up as well now. It might be worth bringing DEF fixers in some lists but I think Guided Fire will still be necessary a lot of the time.

  2. As Fredrik made mention above, using rangers becomes really important to alleviate the need of Guided Fire. Plus with the range you jacks will have with Fire Group, some can stand still to help with accuracy as needed. I think this forces you to play a more balanced approach with her, instead of OMG MASSIVE BATLLEGROUP + FEAT COMBO.