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.

Solos
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!

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