Sunday, October 24, 2010

Retribution Mercs: Cylena Raefyll & the Nyss Hunters

The Retribution is not exactly popular with mercenaries, for whatever reason. I guess when you're vaguely omnicidal against humans (or at least want to kill all their magic-users) these things are bound to happen.

As it is, Cylena & co are one of the few mercs that currently work for the Retribution. The next question is how can the Retribution use them? To answer that question, first ask what the unit can do on its own merits, and then ask how it can fit into the Retribution's current lineup.

Cylena & Company
Speed 7 pathfinders are going to get where they want to be. They all have an awesome DEF 15 and a piddly ARM 11. They're hard to hit, but you generally don't need to roll for damage against that armor. The basic grunt has MAT/RAT 6, and Cylena boasts one better on either side, and five hit boxes.

Everyone carries a Nyss Bow, with a foot of range and POW 10. Not bad on its own, but it's not going to do much other than ping infantry. If you really want to put damage on, you've got a POW 9 claymore with weaponmaster. If you can put the hit in, then it can do the damage, especially on a charge.

This is where they start shining. Pathfinder keeps them swift. They have Hunter, so they ignore forests, concealement, and cover when determiing LOS for shooting things. You'll get that 12" shot whenever and wherever you need it.

So long as you keep Cylena alive, the unit ALSO gets Combined Ranged Attack, which lets them double up to hit higher-DEF infantry with RAT 8/POW12.

Unit Summary
The Nyss Hunters are swift, and capable of laying down a nasty charge, especially against targets with average-to-low DEF. They can also ping high-DEF infantry reasonably well with doubled-up combined ranged attacks. So long as you keep them away from blasts, they'll do well. In a pinch, you can use them to try to tie up lower-MAT enemies, since DEF 15 is pretty high up there. You will pay for what you get, though, since they cost 7 for a min 6-elf unit, and 10 for a full set.

Working with the Retribution
Now, unlike some folks that Cylena will work for (IE: Cryx), the Retribution has access to some shooty infantry.

Dawnguard Invictors have a higher-powered shot and more armor (15 base, 17 with Defensive Line), and if there is a myrmidon around, they can take advantage of flank. They are slower, and generally are more suited as main-line infantry since they can take lighter hits and laugh off blast damage. They do have a max range of 10 base, or 14" with the UA's mini-feat. However, fully kitted out you're looking at 12 points, but it IS your main line.

Houseguard Riflemen are pure shooty. They're cheaper than the Nyss Hunters, but are pretty much incapable of melee duty. They have a 14" base range, and are 4/6, or 8 with the full unit and UA.

The Mage Hunter Strike force is multi-role, though they can only get that high damage output against warjacks. They have DEF 14, but Stealth means they can't be hit directly outside of 5". They share the Nyss Hunter allergy to blasts, and a full unit + UA is the same 10 points. However, at 10 points, you're trading weapon master on melee, one point of Defense, and a reliance on your Officer for combined ranged attacks for advance deployment, weaponmaster vs warjacks, and Phantom Seeker. Honestly, the MHSF is probably the closest analog to the Nyss Hunters in terms of a 1:1 unit tradeoff.

The next question is, what do the various warcasters offer the Hunters, and are there any other units they particularly like working with?

Death Sentence and Mirage are Faction Model Only. Honestly, he could probably use them, but he doesn't particularly offer them anything. They have the speed to keep up with him and his preference for a quicker force, but I don't see anything inherently outstanding here.

Banishing Ward works on friendly models/units, so if the Hunters get tagged by de-buffs or could be hit by magic AoEs, you can remove that vulnerability. Her feat doesn't affect them, which CAN leave them as the only targets for charges/shooting. Then again, DEF 15 is like as not a solid defense against direct shooting, so it's debatable whether they'll miss the Feat or not. Against warmachine, she can ensure they hit warjacks that she can stick with an Arcantrik Bolt.

Adeptis Rahn
Rahn can actually affect them with two things: first, he can target them with Polarity Shield. This stops charges, which is potentially useful. Rahn can also help them out with Force Field; if someone misses them with an AoE (which is pretty possible with DEF 15) then Rahn can nudge it in a beneficial direction.

Honestly, they lose out on the least with Rahn; he can potentially mitigate their sever AoE allergy, and you're limited on what you can take to benefit from the Feat anyway.

The Hunters can benefit from Snipe, but that's it. While Snipe looks good, I think her Feat (which only gives Faction models boosted ranged attack rolls and Swift Hunter) will nudge most players towards in-faction ranged options. The Hunters just eat a chunk of points, and I think most folks would rather spend that on stuff that benefits from the feat.

You need Faction models for Hallowed Avenger and Inviolable Resolve. You need Faction models for the Feat. Once again, I'm not sure that folks would put so many points into a non-faction unit.

Houseguard Units
Ranked Attacks mean only faction models can see through them. Then again, putting Nyss Hunters behind a wall of Halberdiers or Riflemen is wasting their speed.

epic Eiryss
Against warmachine, you can get some mileage out of Technological interference. DEF 15 is not gonna get hit reliably without boosts, so Eiryss and the Nyss Hunters can work together to lock down enemy warjacks. Watch out, though, as the enemy may just shoot AoEs at their own warjacks and scrape you off like that. Still, eEiryss is solid enough to take on her own merits, and she's also got the ability to pace the Nyss Hunters.

Thoughts on what to put Nyss Hunters alongside
I think if you're bringing Cylena and co., you're either going to use them as a swift flanking unit (in which case you don't CARE about all your stuff that requires friendly faction models...) or a swift army in general.

Given that the Retribution doesn't have a lot of long-ranged AoEs (other than Stormfall Archers) I think you can get some valuable mileage out of the Hunters as a means of killing high-DEF infantry, and of course who doesn't love weaponmasters with a 10.5" threat range, regardless of terrain?

If you're going to play against Hordes, then the minimum unit is the same price as a minimum size Mage Hunter Strike Force unit with UA, and it lets you hit high-DEF targets AND charge lower-def ones to gruesome death.

I would probably lean towards Kaelyssa and Rahn as your casters, since you lose the least in terms of feat/spells, and they can still help out your expensive mercs. Rahn in particular can shore up their fear of AoEs. Once I get around to assembling mine (...huh boy, that's gonna be some fun with pinning there...) I intend to do some testing with 'em.

The bottom line, though, is that at current Retribution doesn't have a lot of "OOH! OOH! TAKE ME WITH THEM!" options. They're largely self-sufficient (and can't impact a lot of feats/buffs) and versatile. If you can avoid AoEs with them, I think you can get mileage out of 'em.


haydn said...

Rahn can also give them telekinesis :P

I haven't thought much of using the Nyss beyond liking the idea of a Rahn mercenary/minions force.
...I actually really like that idea.

Raptor1313 said...

True, he can TK 'em, which is good hip-pocket info.

I got 'em because I can roll 'em with Cryx, Retribution, AND mercs. I know Cryx digs the ranged aspect, but it's the fact they're competing with similar units that makes 'em hard to place for ret.

I think I would roll 'em with Rahn, just for the giggles and because they lose the least and atually make gains there.