Saturday, October 9, 2010

Retribution: Testing with Kaelyssa

I've been trying to put my money where my mouth is with Kaelyssa, and I've tested out the following 35pt list:

Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper

10 Dawnguard Sentinels
-UA: Officer & Standard

6 Mage Hunter Strike Force
-UA: Officer

2 Arcanists
Eyriss, Mage Hunter of Ios

Logic in the List
The Hydra is intended to hunt solos/ping stuff with Kae's Phantom Hunter, and the Phoenix is its versatile self. Arcanists provide foucs/melee support, and Sentinels are...nasty. Reach weaponmasters with vengeance and MAT 7 tend to ruin anything they can hit. The MHSF is a reactive element for support-hunting and jack-softening.

Some of the Matchups
I ran up against my buddy Jon's Khador. Mmm, freaking ARM20+ jacks...and the Winterguard. I managed to pull off a win on a scenario, due to going first (and getting into the middle before he could) and blunting his advance long enough to grab the requisite 7 control points.

Against Kara Sloan, well...sure, SHE can get True Sight, but Kae's 'We're All Stealth Here' feat is pure yum. Add that on top of getting into position early in No Man's Land, and it being his first time playing Kara and it was...yeah. It was one part bad matchup for him (since my feat pretty much denies his ability to grab position) and one part inexperience with the caster.

Thoughts on the List's Components
Whenever I need to damage something disrupted with Arcantrik Bolt, I'll see...nothing. Still, being able to threaten to deny warjacks with this and Eyriss gets the enemy to pay careful attention to where the Elf Witch and my arc node(s) are.

I know that if/when I run up against someone with de-buffs, I'll love me some Banishing Ward.

Arcane Reckoning I think it's the most situational, since the enemy has to MISS. It's best slapped on a high-DEF target that the enemy might try to cast spells on. Honestly, I can think of three uses for this:
1) My enemy will try to tag Eyriss with a spell, and it's not the Epic version
2) Mage Hunter Strike Force, for folks with magic AoEs
3) Someone might try to spell-assassinate Kaelyssa

Phantom Hunter means I'm really, REALLY going to think long and hard about bringing a Hydra with her almost automatically. In fairness, all myrmidons with guns can benefit from it.

Phantom hunter + her rifle lets her, in a pinch, pick off infantry from anywhere. This actually came in handy when I had to make sure an infantry unit wasn't in the No Man's Land.

I have to say, this is a warjack I'd initially kind of gone 'eh' in the general direction of, given the Phoenix and the Manticore. On the other hand, it's very focus-efficient. Turn one, it gets a full three focus and jogs. Turn two, you...hand it a focus, maybe. Then either it starts popping shots at solos, or starting to put POW 15s on jacks. In a pinch, it can also go into melee, though it really wants Arcanist support.

The big thing the Hydra does is STORE focus. Also, if the enemy scatters AoEs or lets you walk into covering fire templates...yeah. It's FUN, and it's a psychological weapon with Kae's Phantom Hunter: it will shoot you from 15" away, and if you ding it, you fuel it.

It's neat. It kills stuff. It has reach, combustion, an arc's got a little of everything. The enemy ALSO likes it dead, and in my experience it gets focus-fired until it's dead, but it usually does something neat prior. Reach DOES give it a pretty solid threat range of 11", and it's a solid workhorse. But, you pay for what you get.

Mage Hunter Strike Force and UA
I think I'd almost always take the UA with them. Advance Deploy lets you deploy reactively, and Phantom Seeker is of course sweet for hunting support and the odd warjack.

That being said, I'm glad I haven't decided to go with the Tier lists where I have to own 20-30 of these guys. They're not bad for hunting support, and they've got a solid DEF 14. MAT/RAT 6 is respectable, but sometimes I worry about how hard they can hit. They just don't seem to be so graphically killy, but what they DO offer me is mobile anti-infantry support that fires through forests and the like. Give me Pathfinder and that, and I think they're a solid support element.

Dawnguard Sentinels and UA
Reach weaponmasters with solid armor and vengeance? Yes, please. Kaelyssa doesn't actually DO a lot for them other than keep stupid upkeeps/spells off them. ARM 17 in defensive line means that you start to need warjacks, weaponmasters, or nasty stuff like corrosion/anatomical precision to kill. The average infantry POW 10 bounces off this, at least.

And, of course, PS12 weaponmaster attacks break things they hit. Add in vengeance from the Officer, and when the enemy DOES break one, they get a handy-dandy 3" move. Considering the SPD 5, they need all the help they can get in that regard.

I think if points permit it, having one per heavy myrmidon is a great idea. Myrmodons don't have the largest of damage grids, and it's full of squishy stuff, like crucial systems. Since it doesn't take that much to bring systems online, you might be able to restore some crucial functions. If you can get focus, then a repair can also get you the ability to regenerate your field.

Other than that, they're focus efficiency on a stick, and +2 to melee damage rolls helps make sure that the stuff your myrmodons tag stay down.

I'm starting to like the way that Kae plays. Still, the bulk of her toolkit is matchup-dependent as to how you'll use it. Most of the time, though, you'll have something to do with her spells. All else fails, having a Hydra chuck POW 15s through solid walls is great fun, and a bunch of weaponmasters bearing down on the enemy is also good stuff.
Most of my wins seem to have come from scenario. I'm not sure Kae has a good way to pull off an assassination herself, so it's either bring something else that can kill the caster (perhaps Narn) or go for the scenario win.

I'm debating on testing something else out for the MHSF slot. Unit-wise, I'm entertaining two options:

1) Stormfall Archers
They throw out AoEs up to 12", and it's either more damage (extra dice on direct hits), fire on direct hits, or snipe. It's not a lot of models, but it IS good for contributing at range. They also provide me an easy counter to high-DEF, low-ARM infantry. In a pinch, they can also throw the equivalent of boosted POW12s at warjacks.

2) House Shyeel Battle Mages
Movement shenanigans for the win. The ability to push or pull things into/out of position is great. I think I could always find a use for that ability.

3) More Solos?
Seven points could get me Narn, and leave me four points for either Ghost Snipers or Mage Hunter Assassins. I suppose it could work, though my gut says that one unit-of-the-line and a pair of heavies is a bit light for 35 points. I could also drop Eyriess and add Dahlia/Skarath, perhaps.

I dunno. More experimenting will be in order.

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