Tuesday, January 31, 2017

WotS Batrep 11 - Blaize vs. Talons

Some sweet theme force action with Blaize vs. Talons!  It's a classic knights dragons fight!  Have at thee, villains!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

WM Tactics Let's Play Part 4

In this exciting installment of the Adventures of Bandit the Charger, Bandit is painfully overshadowed by Larry the Lancer!  Will this slight stand!?  Tune in next time to find out!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WotS Batrep 10 - Nemo3 vs Vayl2

Nemo3 takes the stage in an electrifying performance, bug zapping the weird dragon beasties of the Legion of Everblight with lightning speed!  I'm positive joule be amped for this one; I was certainly galvanized to make it!  Electricity pun or something.

Monday, January 16, 2017

List Dojo - Squall Detachment

"In lightning clad... bitch."
In an event that seems commonplace and dreadfully banal in the game at the moment, another very exciting thing has happened!!!!  Everywhere fluffy bunny players like me are jumping for joy that we can finally play lists designed entirely for their thematic element and definitely not engineered to get the most benefit from poorly tested force construction bonuses!  Real talk tho; I don't think that Cygnar's new theme force; Storm Division, is particularly poorly constructed... in fact, I think it's great!  Strong enough that it'll definitely see play competitively but so much that it invalidates lots of other play styles or is an auto-include.  The biggest criticism I can level is that it places slightly too much emphasis on models that were already seeing table time (i.e. Storm Lances) while not including enough benefits for lesser-played Stormduders (looking at you, Stormguard), but it still makes units like Stormblade Infantry that have been near-extinct way more exciting to play.  Playing in or out of theme is going to be a tough choice, but for some 'casters the additional points allowed it going to help a ton.  Today I'm going to be going over my favorite winners for swans with these new benefits.

#1 - Born Again Morrowan

15 free points might be what it takes to pull one of the worst designed Warcasters in the game off the heap.  In my opinion, Constance Blaize makes the biggest comeback with the new theme force.  She already brought strong synergies with Storm infantry; namely in Crusader's Call to help their abysmal threat ranges and while she might not be particularly top tier, the benefits from Storm Division at least make her palatable.  Here's my list:

Constance Blaize, Knight of the Prophet [+30]
 - Gallant [17]
 - Lancer [10]
 - Squire [0]
Stormblade Infantry [10]
 - Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard [0]
Stormblade Infantry [10]
 - Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard [0]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Field Mechaniks (min) [3]
Journeyman Warcaster [4]
 - Firefly [8]

Things I like: Tons of dudes!
This list has phenomenal table presence; Advanced Move from the SBI lets them keep up with the Lances, and +2" threat on everything from Crusader's Call gives it tons of scenario pressure.  The feat is generally strong too; with lots of high-ARM infantry models to take advantage of it.  Combined with Arc Shield/Iron Zeal, Storm duders get to super armored levels very quickly.

Things I don't like: The Battlegroup
Like Connie herself, the list needs a little work.  There's a Thorn-sized hole in the battlegroup that'd make me love it more, but since he's not allowed out w/o Haley he gets to stay home.  I'd put a second heavy in there but I like the flexibility of being able to get Repudiate out where I need it.

Needs a Stormblade Captain for sure; with so many duders on the table makes things difficult to move around w/o Tactician.  I'm sure future iterations will drop an SBI CA for one.  Laddermore is also looking at this list longingly and the Lightning Generator (combined with army-wide E: immunity) as well as the buffed shooting on the Lances might be worth it.  A unit of Lances might drop down to min size to fit her.

Caveat; ^^ is the only of these lists I've played so far.

#2 - Commander Lightning Stryke

"Y'all remember when people thought I was bad!?"
Not particularly surprising, but Stryker1's regular list can transform into a very interesting dudeguy-spammy sort of deal with a generous application of free points:

Commander Coleman Stryker [+30]
 - Stormwall [39]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Stormblade Infantry [10]
 - Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard [0]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
 - Firefly [8]

Things I like: Something something water on rocks
This list presents the problem of suffering through multiple waves of charging Storm Knights, especially if you can't deal with Stryker's feat.  Long threat ranges from Storm Lances can set up for an SBI attack at the creamy nougat center of an opposing force, with the Colossal acting as an anchor piece.  With Laddermore and Snipe on the table, this list can attrition excellently at range, as well; able to force engagement by virtue of many lightning guns.  Mostly it's a normal Stryker1 list but with an additional anchor piece in the SBI.

Things I don't like: Solos again
This list is hurting for some support; Arlan at the very least, but probably a Squire as well to extend the range of Invincibility.  It might be in for another case of dropping 2 Storm Lances for the necessary support. :(

It's not April yet
After some thought I'm fairly sure this list goes absolute bonkers once the Hurricane is released.  Sniped Storm Emitters knocking down enemy heavies to set up the Storm Knight Assaults could let this list deal crippling damage before melee is even reached, at the cost of a little anti-infantry presence.

#3 - To Nobody's Surprise...

This list has been making the rounds lately so I'm fairly sure most Cygnar players have seen it, but it bears repeating.

Major Victoria Haley [+25]
 - Thorn [13]
 - Stormwall [39]
 - Squire [0]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
 - Firefly [8]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]

Oh boy; Haley2 makes good things better, do tell me more.  Can you tell how exciting and novel this is from my passionate writing tone?

In reality, this list looks incredible.  There's a noticeable lack of a trading heavy but free solos let you take enough Storm Lances to do that job just fine.  This may be another case of "IIAY Syndrom"  (Is It April Yet?); the massive damage output from all the lightning guns lets it stand off and erase heavies with shooting from long range... not something you really ever want Haley2 to be able to do consistently.

Things I like: All those things I just said

Things I don't like: No mercs
Haley might be our most reliant 'caster on non-Faction support (except Stryker2 maybe?), but none of those unsavory characters are allowed in the elitist environment of the Storm Brigade!  Haley can deliver solos like Ragman or Gorman with ease at let them do their thing over multiple turns, so losing access to them is a big hit.  Whether it's big enough to forgo 9 free points in a usually-points-strapped Thornwall build is the big question.

I'm sure more cool Storm Division builds will come along in the near future, but those are the stand outs that are immediately obvious.  I am excited about the new playstyles this list makes available for existing 'casters, and while the immediate strength of builds with already powerful Warcasters is a little disappointing I'm excited for more themes to be released and offer even more varied ways to play!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Stormsmiths Killed the Time Wizard

Who knew these little cuties could be so devious!?

Like most Cygnar players, the recent errata left me baffled at the repeated bashes to Haley1's soft, unprotected head.  Fortunately after much theory, very scientific experiementation and peer-reviewed articles I think I've uncovered the cause.  I've touched on this a bit on the social medias and stuff after I published my errata post but I'd also like to go over it in a littlemore depth here.

Immediately after the errata dropped I set to work contemplating the mystifying foam-rubberification of our favorite bullet magnet.  Like most people I came up empty trying to figure out what PP thought made her too powerful, but rephrasing the query to; "what changed between her release and now" prompted a head-slapping 'you dummy' response.

"Stormsmith Grenadiers, idiot." -my brain, c. Dec. 2017

Yes, those diminutive nerds pretending to play real sports by dressing in gridiron football pads and throwing vaguely ball-shaped electronics at people in the facepalmy attempt to get popular girls to like them.  Only, they caught the eye of one popular girl and like an insecure high school jock rising in defense of his territory, PP swiftly punted that girl back into her place.

"Only popular models with good prospects for you, young lady," scolded Privateer Press; "stick to Hunters and those dashing Gun Mage Captains."
"But moooom, Derek and his friends are really smart and could introduce new and interesting mechanics to the faction!" Haley whined.
"No!  They'll never get into a good school on an Arcane Savant scholarship and will end up spending the rest of their lives buried in debt and saddled with a laundry list of mediocre rules many players will bash their heads against a wall to use effectively.  If you ever see Derek or his friends again I'll revoke your SPD debuff privileges."

Haley1 was basically the only place I was excited to play Stormsmith Grenadiers; and I was very excited to play them there.  It's a good day any time you can stack multiple debuffs, and SPD is one of the most powerful stat to play with.  Between Barrier and Kinetic Grip you could drop the speed on specific models by 4.  Khador 'jacks become SPD 0, most other heavies SPD ~1 and even SPD 6 heavies drop their charging threat to 6-7".  On top of that with Blitz these little guys could spread the love around and chuck 6-12 SPD debuff AoEs or combo Voltaic Vortex to catch huge swaths of the table.  Seems pretty sweet, right?

Was it going to break the meta wide open though?  Probably not, honestly.  I'm fairly certain the combo, while strong, would've entered the "win more" category pretty quickly.  With a very low threat range (12" on the grenades) and susceptibility to stuff Haley already doesn't want to see; i.e. high accuracy shooting, these guys just end up screwing over matchups Haley probably already had in hand.  That said, I imagine that the NPE is real; whether a newer player or just somebody who didn't bring the right list that day, getting stuck into Haley1 already probably sucks; not being able to move your Juggernauts more than 3" at a time definitely sucks even more.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

List Dojo - Belligerent Cattle

With the errata drama (dramerrata?) quickly fading into the rearview mirror and the melodious tones of the Privateer Press Forum's collective wailing unfortunately being drown out by the dejected grumbles of players continually bad touched by subterranean hentai monsters... it's time for something completely different!  Con season is coming down the pipe like a train in a long dark tunnel and with it I'm sure I'll be talking far too much of the short collection of Cygnar models I've professed my eternal love for, so let's cover someone I rate on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum... our resident battlebox 'caster Major Beth Maddox!

"I'll take 'stuff that never gets old' for 500, Alex."

Major Angrycow was a bit of an enigma to me when she was released.  It can't be said that she isn't a great Battlebox 'caster as she brings a wide toolbox of different stuff to do.  Snipe for gun stuff, Onslaught and Assail for movin' stuff, Thunderous Rage for punchin' stuff and Dauntless Resolve for not gettin' punched stuff.  All great stuff, but I didn't think they really built up to anything exciting.  She clearly wants to be melee-focused with a decent damage buff in the feat and a couple mechanisms to try halfheartedly at delivering her models.  But then there's Snipe, the red-headed stepchild in the all-blue family of punchy punchy melee stuff.

Unfortunately, none of Major Iratebovine's great tools are actually very great.  Damage buffs are great but being generated by a feat means they're pretty limited in scope... and to be honest it's pretty depressing to have your defining feature be upkept for 1 Focus by another Warcaster.  Assail is an okay spell but an 11-12" threat off a single 'jack gets laughed out by the cool kids of the Warmachine lunchroom.  The real winner here is Snipe for sure.

So here's the deal; Maddox doesn't bring a particularly impressive threat range to the table, which she'd like to have to leverage her feat to punch all the things... or does she?  As it turns out, it's pretty easy to charge anything in the game if you annoy it enough to walk into your charge range!  Snipe makes that pretty easy and if she's willing to spend the Focus for it she can swap it around the place and shoot the crap out of all the bad guys.  In a surprise twist, bad guys don't like being shot, and a plethora of long range shooting can make them come forward to get charged at +3 POW or die in a hail of bullets and lightning!

So with that that battle plan in mind, this is where I went with a list for Major Sullenbullock:

Major Beth Maddox [+30]
 - Stormwall [39]
 - Dynamo [18]
 - Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker [4]
Journeyman Warcaster [4]
 - Firefly [8]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [4]

So here's the theory; in most matchups (where guns can go pew and kill the bad guys), Snipe starts on the Storm Lances until they get the opportunity to leverage their 20" threat range with RAT 7, POW 14/16 guns (w/ Laddermore & the Firefly in play).  Then Maddox goes and swaps Snipe to Dynamo and puts Dauntless on the Storm Lances so they don't get killed, so Dynamo can finish off whatever the Storm Lances started doing.  With RNG 14, the Stormwall doesn't need Snipe most of the time, so he'll contribute shots wherever they're needed to finish heavies or important solos, drop pods to bounce lightning off and kill duders or just put Covering Fire in front of baddies.  Unfortunately it leaves Maddox pretty FOC strapped, so Arlan and Sylly Wylly are in there to give her a helping hand.

Mistress Maddox; making you cum into her "threat range"

With that mildly blistering amount of magical lightning bullets flying downrange, the list kills a heavy most turns, or just vaporizes a bunch of infantry with sweet Storm Lances pokey-guns.  That's a lot of hurt at a very long range, putting pressure on the other player to advance forward so Maddox can have a strong feat and try to mop up the game around turn 3-4.  It's around that time that poor Major Crosscattle gets super bored with no Snipe to toggle around and spends the rest of the game twiddling her thumbs in the back corner and weeping silently about lack of any actual personal agency.  Sometimes she'll get to dominate a zone.

While I'm not sure I'm going to get the chance to play this list too many times in the immediate future, I still look forward to this whole article being totally invalidated when Maddox' brick shithouse of a character 'jack gets released in a couple months.  Oh well.