Sunday, January 23, 2011

Evaluating Vyros

It's everyone's favorite sword-wielding elven warcaster, the Dawnlord Vyros. This guy's a little bit of an oddball caster and occasionally gets some flak. On the other hand, I like the idea of crushing someone's face in with a sword, and Vyros can do that. Vyros can also help deliver Warjacks to the fray, arguably faster than the rest of his faction at this point in time.

I'm going to run through the framework I've outlined in a previous post for putting my impressions down.

Round 1: Basics
1) How Hard is it to kill Vyros?
DEF 15, ARM 17, and a small base make Vyros one of the harder warcaster targets out there. Honestly, it's a sold combo of defense and armor: you need to be Terminus to have harder armor, and you're either Legion or eCaine if you have higher defense. He's upper middle-of-the-road for defensive stats, on top of a small base and no rear arc.

If you DO manage to hit him, he's sitting on 18 boxes. Not invincible, but pretty hefty. If he does camp on his focus, he's sitting on DEF 15 and ARM 23.

Invincible? No. But, if he's in terrain he's hard to shoot down, he's not too hard to hide, and he's reasonably durable.

2) Personal Threat Value
Vyros has no guns. He DOES have a PS14 reach sword with MAT 8. More than that, he's got flank [friendly warjack], so if you put a friendly warjack in melee with the target you are a MAT 10 PS14 weaponmaster.

Yeah, Vyros can wreck face. Can he get there? That SPD5 doesn't look too promising, but mobility turns him into a SPD7 Pathfinder, AND he can charge without paying attention at all to forests.

Vyros does NOT really have an offensive spell; technically he has Eliminator but it's half his focus for a POW13, 3" AOE and he can get a 2" move for each enemy it tags. Ok, this isn't bad, but you still probably won't use it so much.

If you fire Stranglehold at someone, it's only 2 focus, but with a POW11 and a need to damage the target you're going to be spending 3 focus because you'll either boost the hit or the power. It's a fun little denial spell that may work, but not a way to kill the target.

3) What kind of spells/utility does Vyros have?
Vyros is friendly to myrmidons, but in a different way than other warcasters. By this, I mean he's got a pair of neat spells and a solid ability to buff warjacks, but he does not have a way to make his jacks for focus efficient, a la Iron Aggression*. He's also sitting on FOCUS 6, and CMD 10.

First, Bird's Eye. That bird isn't for show. Vyros' battlegroup has no rear arc in his control area, and ignores clouds, forests, and intervening models when determining LOS. His buddies can hit you, wherever you are. Do be aware that this can allow the enemy to potentially work around free strikes, since you have to leave a warjack's melee range to get the hit.

Vyros' other moneymaker is Mobility. 2 Focus for Pathfinder and +2SPD for his warjacks. You can use this to fire warjacks through cover, or just to help them pace you. You can also increase warjack threat range; suddenly that Phoenix is hitting you from 13" away through a forest, and crushing your face in with a sword. Or, your other heavies are going 11" and crushing something when they get there.

The other explicit warjack buff is Hallowed Avenger. It's an upkeep that lets the friendly warjack charge for free if the enemy KOs a living target within 5" of the jack.

The last buff is Inviolable Resolve: good for a flat +2ARM and fearless. You do one of three potential things with this:
a) Make a warjack a little tougher
b) Make a Dawnguard unit even MORE annoying to kill (YAY ARM19 after defensive line)
c) make a lighter-ARM unit less allergic to blasts
Honestly, I'd rather use this to put Dawnguard up to needs-warjack-to-kill ARM19, though it doesn't help them against things like Corrosion.

Your other spells are offensive; Eliminator is an AOE with a side of 'move the Vyros'; however it's half your bloody Focus. Stranglehold is 2 focus and has a RNG of 10, but POW11 on top of 'must damage the model' limits the effectiveness of it; if it DOES go off then it makes the target forfeit its movement or charge as the owner decides.

4) Feat
Vyros' feat is one of those 'oddball' feats. If a friendly kills an enemy model with an attack, you get to allocate 1 focus to a friendly warjack in Vyros' battlegroup in his control area. Of note is the part that your own warjacks (especially those with reach) can basically stand still and start cutting everyone around them.

Round 2: Synthesis
5) Playstyle
Vyros has the melee capability and defensive stats to play in the second line. He's still gonna die if the enemy hits him with a fully-loaded warjack or a heavy warbeast with some attack buffs, but that's the game for you. Still, he CAN assassinate personally, especially if he's got Flank from a friendly warjack.

Turn one is probably Mobility + Inviolable resolve, and focus from arcanists to make sure his warjacks move upfield. Turn two may involve more Mobility, and possibly Hallowed Avenger. Note that with both upkeeps up, Vyros has a whopping four focus to hand out, so he's not necessarily going to be fueling a ton of warjacks.

6) Win Condition
Vyros can personally assassinate from 12" away. Measure range (since your threat range with Mobility is 12") and see if you can get a warjack in there, then go forth and beat the holy mess out of the target; if you can't kill it with 3-4 PS14 MAT 10 weaponmaster attacks then you should microwave your dice (or think twice about charging Karchev, maybe, I dunno).

Vyros has no particular tricks for a scenario victory outside of killing the hell out of anything in places you need for the enemy to not be.

Vyros is capable of hurling a fully-loaded heavy great distances; Mobility does great things to the enemy threat range.

If you feel like trying to make fully-boosted Hydra shots work, you can fuel a couple up and then use Bird's Eye to make a jolly lil' jack walk 8" and throw a POW15 up to 15". Hope you hit...

7) Army Composition
I admit that I'm still fine-tuning this. Basic framework involves a couple of heavy warjacks, and a heavily-armored infantry unit to slap Inviolable Resolve onto.

Myrmidon Selection
Phoenix: the Arc Node is optional, but otherwise it's a solid jack.

Hydra: ignoring forests and intervening models is always solid when you're a giant gun. Focus Battery is nice for a guy who likes to hold onto his focus. Might get iffy to keep them fueld, though.

Manticore: covering fire is always tactically useful, and these non-reach guys love an extra couple inches from Mobility.

Discordia: the imprint on top of Inviolable Resolve makes for some VERY hard-to-kill Dawnguard; ARM21 at range means the enemy will either rely on snipers or heavy warjack guns. Failing that, you can always find a use for a boostable spray and an accurate melee warjack.

Chimera: you really don't need a dedicated arc node.

Gorgon: Force Lock checks for the melee range of this warjack, so you double your Force Lock coverage, and make yourself that much more annoying/of a target.

Griffin: now it's an even longer-ranged missile, and a mini-thresher in Feat turns.

Frankly, I think you can make any of the heavies work with him, but I think the Hydra may have issues if you intend for Vyros to fuel them all the way if you want 'em full-up quickly. If you think you'll face heavy ranged combat, consider Discordia.

Unit Selection
Inviolable Resolve suggests you pick up a well-armored unit, which means 'Dawnguard.' Putting Dawnguard up to ARM19 after defensive line makes them a pain to deal with unless the other guy has thresher warjacks, snipers, or ample corrosion.

Dawnguard Invictors give you a shooting game, but suggest at least one Reach warjack to take advantage of Flank once the enemy closes. Invictors also, in a pinch, give you another potential assassination vector by shooting the enemy HQ repeatedly.

Sentinels are fairly self-explanatory: they're hitty, they kill whatever they touch in melee, and only get meaner with ARM19/21. On the flip side, higher ARM does make it harder to trigger Vengeance, but what the hell. Free movement, or more weaponmasters reaching the enemy? If you bring Sentinels, consider Manticores/Discordia for the ARM buff and for covering fire.

Destors are, at this point, a bit of an unknown. With SPD8, they can pace your warjacks. They go up to ARM19 (21 with Discordia) and give you a bit of a ranged game and an army that's happy to relocate on a moment's notice.

If you do take a costly Dawnguard contingent, consider dropping a point on a bloody Soulless escort, since you'r bringing one big, juicy, lethal target (aka brick-in-a-sock).

If Dawnguard isn't your thing, you can make Houseguard Halberdiers annoyingly tough to kill. Base ARM14 is only slightly less than Dawnguard; with Inviolable Resolve it hops to 16. Throw a Shield Wall order on top of that and you've got ARM20 infantry; Discordia pumps that to ARM22 vs ranged. Suddenly, a Defender is wondering why a friggin' elf with a shield didn't go down when it backstopped a cannon round.

Note that you're getting a little more defense (13 vs 12) and you're paying a little less (9 for full+UA vs 11). You're also losing some hitting power, going down to MAT6 and PS10. You can shore that up with CMA and the mini-feat, which is good for Gang. Under gang, your boys can pair up for MAT8 PS14 attacks (vaguely comparable to PS12 weaponmaster attacks, albeit with lower max damage); and if they pull this on a charge, you get friggin' MAT10 PS14 hits thanks to Powerful Charge.

Hmm. AJ the Ronin might've sold me on these guys, as they lose a whopping 1" to the Dawnguard; you bring the UA, walk 6" with Shield Wall, and Reform 3". Ooh, 9" vs a Dawnguard 10" run. Not bad, not bad.**

Points permitting, you could probably find use for House Shyeel battle mages, and with high ARM values firing into your troops with stormfall archers (provided you don't use the Fire round) is even an option.

Bring two arcanists, full stop end of story. You're gonna bring a couple of warjacks, and you're not always high on focus. Either hand out the focus to run, one charge, or buff hitting power. Come on, these guys are almost always useful.

I'm torn on trying to make a Dawnguard Scyir work with this army. Marshalling a warjack excludes it from the feat, Bird's Eye and Mobility. On the other hand, Vyros probably has a mob of Dawnguard for you to use Coordinated Strike with. I figure if you were set on making a Scyir work, you'd take it with a Griffin in support of Invictors.

House Shyeel Magisters can be used to make you throw that heavy warjack (or Vyros) even further. It's another 3" and a useful solo.

Mage Hunter Assassins are ALWAYS scary. Given the kind of threat ranges Vyros can give his warjacks, it probably doesn't hurt to have a psychotic chain-weapon-wielding elf running up a flank and worrying the enemy.

Ghost Snipers can be an auto-focus on feat turn by popping an enemy model.

Lanyssa Rivel's Hunter's Mark is another potential 2" on the (focus-free) charge, but requires her to hit your intended target with a Magic Ability 7 attack.

If you want to make Vyros the primary assassin, Madelyn Corbeau is 2 more points for another 2 inches, but I'm not sure I'd hinge on making Vyros the primary assassin in the force even if he IS bloody scary.

Vyros is likely to be leading (or following closely behind) a force of Dawnguard and a couple of heavy warjacks. Expect him to fire warjacks a fair distance, and while he won't make them sing and dance, he'll increase their threat range and have them avenge insults to his army.

*Iron Aggression: Upkeep spell; the jack gets to charge/slam/trample/etc. for free, and gets boosted melee attack rolls. MAN does it make jacks into wrecking balls.

**Credit to AJ the Ronin for suggesting Houseguard Halberdiers. I don't have 'em at the moment, but I can see these guys competing with Dawnguard here. The only complaint one might have is that Vyros is a Dawnguard caster and these are mere houseguard. Hey, you like Dawnguard so much, consider the Vyros tier list.


A.J. the Ronin said...

If anything you should consider Halberdiers. With Shield Wall and IR they are ARM 20. Add Discordia and suddenly even those POW 16 range attack on the game will need average rolls to kill a single Halberdier. They lack the punch of Sentinels but it is something to consider.

Raptor1313 said...

I hadn't considered Halberdiers as I don't own any, but they end up being somewhat comparable to Sentinels. More armor, almost as fast, a little cheaper, though they can potentially crack higher-DEF targets in tandem better than Sentinels.

Xaereth said...

Nice writeup... I wasn't even aware of the existence of this guy, lol.

Don't forget that Cryx warcasters also have ridiculous DEF (or at least the 4 I use do, lol)

Keep 'em coming :)