Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Reznik's New Tier

The whole reason I own some Menoth figures is because I like Reznik. He's got a nice, simple, three-step approach to life:

1) Find a Heretic

2) Wrack or Burn Heretic

3) Profit! Return to step 1.

He's got a lovely new Tier list in NQ 35. I've given it a spin, and am reasonably impressed with it.

What's (new) in the box?!

Apparently, Reznik's on cleanup operations for the Protectorate as they wander through Llael and make sure they have a kind, loving, loyal populace that believes in the Creator of Man.

Or, the bogeyman (Reznik) comes along to pacify your village. And by 'pacify' I really mean BURN EVERYONE THAT DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE NICE MAN.

Tier components:

Much like his old tier, but you are allowed Steelheads, Kell Blailoch, Stannis Brocker, and Vessels of Judgement.

Tier 1: Deliverer Sunburst Crews gain advance deployment. Honestly, I like AD on my artillery for two reasons: 1) free move up, and 2) lets me react to where the enemy places their infantry.

Tier 2: field 1+ small-based steelheads; get free Attendant Priests. I think this goes a way towards shoring up Reznik's relative lack of support for infantry (outside of Ignite, I suppose). Hey, giving your guys Pathfinder, Magic Weapons, or Immunity To Spells. Get your guys where they need to be faster.

Tier 3: 2+ vassal solos; you get your upkeeps (Ignite and Iron Aggression) out on the first turn. There are a couple of perks for this: if Reznik has more than two warjacks, one's not running on turn one if you want Ignite out. You can get all your jacks upfield with a run, and get Reznik to run and camp some focus.

Tier 4: 3+ heavy warjacks in your battlegroup; you get +2" to your DZ. Hey, get all your happy stuff upfield faster, and AD your incendiary ballistae up further.

What To Do With The New Toys

The cheapest you'll get a tier four list at is 18 points, assuming a minimum Halberdier unit, two Vassal Mechaniks, and three Crusaders.

The biggest decision you'll want to make is how many Steelheads to bring. Your screening unit choice is a happy little Steelhead Halberider unit. From there, you can go with the 'steelhead module', a full Halberider unit, a full Rifleman unit, and Stannis Brocker. That means your Riflemen can fire through your Halberdiers like they aren't there.

Alternatively, you can crack out Flameguard Cleansers (still in the tier) and their sprays ignore the melee bonus. Even if you're engaged, the burnin' boys can take care of the problem. The difference: you're relying on your halberdiers to KO high-DEF targets with directed attacks and let the Cleansers BBQ heavy infantry; the Rifleman can reliably hit solid defense (with CRA and Combined Arms) but become pretty incapable against stuff the Halberdiers have engaged.

It's 19pts for the aforementedion Steelhead 'module' but you DO have a mobile support unit with Pathfinder capabilities. Alternatively, I'd look at Halberdiers + min cleansers + 2 Sunbursts for 18 points. Or, you can just go for the minimum and drop six points on some Halberdiers.

Frankly, I'd suggest a pair of Vassals, just because I dig these guys, and Reznik loves him some jacks.

Jack-wise, I'd probably open with a Reckoner (because it's just plain fun). I'd consider a Vanquisher for the ranged element, or maybe another Reckoner, just because of its combination of reach and SPD5. If you really want an Arc Node, I'd probably go with the Guardian just to keep another heavy in the mix. It's not TERRIBLE, but I admit that we have some solid choices.


While this list requires infantry just as his last one does, I believe it does a much better job of supporting your infantry and giving you options. Previously, you were going to dump at least ten points into a couple of flameguard cleansers, and your only real option for melee infantry is Cinerators, which are slow and expensive, but do screen reznik.

At 35, I've had fun with the list, but only went up to tier 3. It included:




Full Halberdiers + UA

Full Rifleman + UA

Min Choir

Stannis Brocker

2 Vassals of Menoth

Not bad, I think, but I think some of thei nfantry would have to give in order to fit everyone, but I like having some accurate ranged support.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Collected Thoughts on Mercs

Because, hey, there are some things worth doing for money, right?

First, obligatory apology: I got sick for a solid two weeks and change. Yeah, antibiotics with "DO NOT DRINK OR YOU SHALL SURELY DIE!" warnings during St. Patty's day are what we call 'deal-killers.' And it's the second year in a row, and I love me some Irish Car Bombs.

Sick Raptor on Saint Patty's day = Sad Freaking Panda Raptor.

Anyway, we've got an escalation league going on locally, so I've opted for a break from the Legion of Everblight (or, as my opponents call it, Legion of 'Where The Hell Did That Spray Of Death Come From?!!'). I figured, hey, time for mercenaries, right? I like mercs, and they're modular, so I can justify being choosy with caster/battlegroup and get a taste of other factions.

What follows is some reflections based on a handful of games with various merc models.


Ashlynn d'Elyse

First, let me say that popping her feat alone feels like winning. The amount of invective my opponent generated after realizing I'd caught most of his army with it was totally worth it, and kind of HAD to be my consolation after the face-crushing beatdown that ensued (hint: my face got crushed; I didn't bring a heavy-enough hitter to kill buffed Trollkin Champs).

Honestly, she's got a pretty solid suite of spells. Quicken can get a tarpit up there, or increase the speed of your heavier infantry (IE: the Forge Guard; reach weaponmasters with Crit Smite, but SPD4? Just Add Quicken for sweet weaponmasters with SPD6 and reach, AND good synergy with the feat!). Admonition is fun for either her (when she wants to get into the fray) or when you're going to try to take out a hard target, and may want/need to risk a jack.

She's no slouch in melee, with MAT8 and a PS11 weaponmaster turbo-shank, combined with basically 'thresher' for a 1-focus spell. Balance factor: she's not got reach. She does have a lovely DEF17 and a decent ARM15, but she's sitting on 14 health, so there. Basically, if you're committing her to the front, you're going to think about Admonition against melee, or using Quicken on her and/or having something nearby that can block the shot (IE: Vanguard, Bokur).

All in all, I see a few downsides:

1) Not Really a Jack Caster

This is an issue mostly because you may want a heavy-hitter. The only real support she has for something like a Nomad or Mangler is giving it focus. She CAN try to debuff the target's DEF with Distraction, but that's more or less 3 focus to get it done, leaving 3 for the melee jack only if you have none of your upkeeps up, though you probably want one of them up as defense if you're within 8 inches to fire off distraction.

Without a heavy jack, you're kind of limited on your choices for heavy-hitters, which may relegate you to playing for assassination.

2) Squishy

Beware boosted blast damage. 14 health is not a lot. Also, beware knockdown. Unless you're hugging a marine warjack with lash (...and with your feat and being able to marshal it to gunmages, you probably have a Mule instead), the enemy has an easy way to deal with DEF17: slam a warjack over you. Then you are DEF5 vs ranged.

3) Semi-reliant on the feat

I see her feat as having two major uses: either you can overextend yourself, or go hunting for crits or just go for being hideously accurate on the feat turn without fearing a lotta reprisal. I mean, it's a nasty feat, but you're still relying on dice, and that doesn't always work out. Also, if you're going crit-hunting on things like Gun Mage Critical Brutal Damage, higher-DEF enemies are going to give you more trouble than lower-DEF ones, simply because there'll be fewer doubles that hit.

Overall, I like Ashylnn. I expect to start most games with taking a Nomad, Bokor, and a Mule marshalled to a Gun Mage UA and going from there, or maybe experimenting with Forge Guard.


Ah, Magnus. He's kinda simple, but still plenty brutal. The one thing I'm not 100% sold on is taking double renegades at lower point values. At 35, I can see it. At 15, it felt like a hell of a risk. At 25, I feel that I did better by dropping a Renegade and going for a Mule instead.

I mean, Magnus is not the most complex of spell lists. He does a few things:

1) Make a melee jack more killy with Iron Aggress (Read: Mangler or Nomad, and the Mule in a pinch as backup)

2) Make one of your ranged warjacks nastier with Snipe (read: cycle on Renegades for the win, or the Mule for great profit)

3) Make one tougher, assuming you find time/focus to cast Temper Metal

4) Make himself harder to kill at range with Blur, or help a unit out. Just remember hte latter costs focus.

Then you kind of have to bring self-supporting infantry, since all Magnus has for them is Blur.

Honestly, I've yet to really use the Arc Node aspect of the Renegade(s) for two reasons

1) I'd use it for Arcantrik Bolt, BUT I've been playing against hordes lately (and it's 3 focus to go off, either because you're boosting the shot or boosting the damage)

2) I'm usually handing most of my focus off to my warjacks; 3 focus for attacks, one focus for a boosted mule shot, or 4 for obliteration?

I mean, frankly, he's nasty. In a pinch, he can take care of himself with Foecleaver, the Powerfist Of Knockdown, and the 12-gauge (which makes Reinholdt fun, for double-barrel happiness and/or measuring range on crucial Obliterator shots).

So far, the staples with him have been:

Mule (because Snipe is fun, and in a pinch he can get Iron Aggression)

Heavy Melee Jack (Mangler if I can afford it, otherwise Nomad)

1-2 Renegades, depending on points

Master Gunner Dougal McNaile (because I have 2-3 warjacks with AoEs)

Reinholdt (good for filler, either two shotgun blasts, or measure range for Mule/Renegade)

And honestly, I find his feat to be plenty useful. It's not an obvious I KEEL YOU!! feat like, say, pSorcha or pKreoss, but it lets me basically refuse a flank at will, or potentially overextend myself. The other day, it let me overextend the Mangler to KO a heavy warbeast (albeit, with the help of some AWESOME dice rolls) and then pull back out of range of retaliation by anything more significant than some Kriel Warriors.

Overall, I like Magnus. I can think of only a couple downsides

1) reasonably straightforward; the other guy kind of knows what you'll do

2) HATES those with Upkeep Hate

3 ) Nil infantry support

Gorten Grundback

Well, now I see why everyone groans whenever this dude comes out in a hold-the-ground scenario. This is basically a little stomping brick shithouse that's making its way to you, and it will then ruin you. He can rock a shooty army in the lead, and then transition to face-crushing melee when the time comes.

I think that the big moneymaker so far is Rock Wall. I mean, it's a SPD4 caster with a SPD4 battlegroup, SPD5 on the more spry stuff. Being able to deny the other guy the charge is huge, and it also boosts your Rhulic jack defense into the 'might miss' category at DEF13 for heavies and DEF16 for the gun-bunnies. I can see a use for the rest of his spells; especially Strength of Granite when the time comes for melee. The rest of it's more situational; Solid Ground is nice against guys that like AoEs and Molten Metal is fun against jacks (hey, auto-6 damage? Not bad, and pretty economical against heavies that you can probably actually hit with your FOCUS of 5, little guy).

And, of course, the feat is just sick. Deny the enemy crucial ground. Drag them to you and make them very hittable before you make them dead. Or, shove them away, slow them down, and get MORE time to shoot at them.

On the downside?

1) SLOW. SPD4. I mean, you'll be cranking out spells to begin with, then maybe CHARGING to get reasonable movement out of the guy.

2) Reliant on upkeeps.

3) FOCUS 5. Thank god most Rhulic jacks are focus-efficient, but you'll still want a melee heavy in the battlegroup to use Strength of Granite.



Not much to say: it's simple and effective, like a lever-action rifle. It's cheap, reasonably durable, reasonably hard-hitting, reasonably swift...I mean, that's kind of the word for the Nomad: 'reasonable.' Good price, simple, and it exists to hit things with a big friggin' sword. It's where you go when you want a melee beater.


It's the flashier upgrade to the Nomad. It hits harder, between Thresher on the reach weapon and one better P+S on the off-hand. It's slightly tougher, as it's naturally ARM19 versus ARM18 plus buckler. Really, though, you're paying two points for Thresher. I don't count DEF10 vs DEF11 to be that much of a difference, since it's still crap (but, hey, better than a Rhulic heavy, right?).

Bottom line? If you need Thresher (and it can be sick, especially if you can tag multiple hard targets with it) then this is the guy. I think it gets a special note with pMagnus, as Iron Aggression + Thresher = Lots of Dead Infantry, potentially even the multi-wound kind. That's honestly where I think it shines: breaching a heavy line.


Honestly, it's not a bad jack, but it's more of a support piece. If you want to keep someone from getting shot the hell up for more than a couple of turns, Shield Guard on an ARM17+2 (thanks to the shield) is one way to do it. On the downside, it's not much of a heavy hitter, given a PS13 poking stick and a PS10 shield.

I see the Vanguard's duties thusly:

1) Eat bullets for important target (like thing you don't want dead/disrupted)

2) Delay/kill infantry (PS13 + Reach = enough to handle most infantry, and ARM19 = laughing at said infantry while you methodically butcher them)

3) delay larger targets (you're friggin ARM19)


Ok, I'm only a little sour on this guy because he managed to Net a pMadrak with Surefoot up. The Buccaneer did the happy dance, and Madrak was like "There is a net on me. Hmm." My opponent then calmly informed me that Madrak was immune to Knockdown, so there you go. Whoops.

That aside, it's 3pt jack that does two things:

1) take two focus, assault and boost the ranged attack to knock something important down

2) tie up infantry. Briefly, anyway.

Take it if you need those things done.

Wroughthammer Rockram

Frankly, I took it with Gorten because it had a gun, even if it's just an 8" range. However, this guy can hit like a hoss, and his criticals are frankly disturbing: Hey, I Hammered You So Hard You Forgot To Make Initial Attacks, and I Shot You So Hard Your Column Fell Off. It's slow, and it's focus-hungry, but I can see it being sick with Tune-Up and/or Strength of Granite/Redline.

Grundback Gunner

Frankly, these little guys are sweet. They're focus-efficient with Powerful Attack, and boosted POW12s from up to 17" away make them legitimate threats to most casters as well. They're a bit light-weight on the damage grid side (though ARM18 helps them out), and they require help to get out of melee without a free strike (as MAT5 and POW6 does NOT cut it...) but they are very simple, elegant, and cheap.


Herne & Jonne

I own these guys for a couple of reasons:

1) blasts are fun; more blasts are more fun (and I will evetually have Madhammer painted up)

2) they're Seaforge fodder, which is always good to have

Frankly, if the enemy pots the little guy, then the big dude is kind of 'eh.' On the other hand, they can cover a fairly substantial amount of real estate with shrapnel. I'm not saying they're an auto-include, but it's an option for Seaforge, and a cheap way to get some AoEs in there for dealing with high-DEF infantry.

Arcane Tempest Gun Mages

Hey, they're a merc unit for Highborn. Frankly, these guys have some awesome utility. It's pretty much the only way a merc is gonna get movement shenanigans outside of Gallows, which implies being close enough to the action to get hit. They are a bit reliant on Critical Brutal Damage to do much more than shove large targets around and peg infantry.

Oh. And for 2 more points, they can give a Mule snipe, and give it the boost for Critical Brutal Damage, which is always good.


epic Eiryss

So far, I don't see a lot of ways for mercs to boost the accuracy of their troopers outside of combined attacks. (I know the popular answer to this is Ayana & Holt, but I'm still painting them and playing smaller-point games). Being able to drop defense buffs is handy. Hell, being able to drop ANY buffs is a great way to demoralize the other guy.

The only downside? Watch that 5' radius of Technological Interference, as it means your friendlies can't get focus. Note, though, that it does NOT hamper enemy myrmidons.

I mean, she's pure utility. If you've got the points, I think she's excellent. She can handle troubling animi/upkeeps, and disrupt warjacks. These are nice things to have for 3 points. Also, it's not on her card, but her other ability is "SHOOOT MEEEE!" because no one seems to like her for some strange reason.


This guy holds a special place in my heart because he ran in front of a Dire Troll Mauler, holding him in place long enough for a Renegade to threaten him with free strikes, and it turned out to be important.

That aside, this guy's a fine 1pt filler. I mean, there's a good chance he'll be useful for any caster. If you've got ranged attacks, he can gauge range for you. If you've got a gun, he's got another shot for you. And, if your caster is going for the gusto personally, he's got a reroll for them.

Downside? He only works for Cygnar or Khador, but this means he'll work for both Four-Star Syndicate AND Highborn, which is good enough for me.

Taryn di la Rovissi

Honestly, she's a bit situational. Note, though, that it IS a source of magical attacks that does not require your warcaster OR Ayana & Holt. However, she's only available to Highborn, who have access to regular Gun Mages.

She's got three things going for her with her ammo types:

1) pick lighter infantry off of a target that you want to do something other than crush light infantry or eat free strikes

2) do 2d3 damage to a warjack's hull boxes

3) only for Highborn, but can make 1-2 models not count for screening LOS purposes.

Frankly, it's #3 that's her money-maker for me. If you want to do something fun, like fire a bunch of gun mages or combined ranged attacks from Steelhead Rifleman into another dude's caster, she's got a way to help you with that.

Otherwise, honestly? She's kind of situational. Not bad, but she's a piece you take to compliment a plan.

Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile

Here's another guy we take because we have a plan for him. Our plan here is 'make AoEs better.' I'm not sure I'd take him just because I'm taking one mule. He's got two things that help him out with the AoEs:

1) Artillerist; one friendly faction model gets +2 to AOE ranged attack rolls, and you can re-roll distance and/or deviation. Not bad when you need a shot to land.

2) Double Powder Ration: +2 RNG for everyone in his command range, once per turn.

So far, I've taken him pretty exclusively with Magnus, as Magnus is likely to roll with 1-2 renegades and a Mule.

However, the other thing to remember with this guy: Quad Iron and RAT7. If you need to thin out some infantry, he's a pretty bloody accurate shot. You can string together up to four hits with his trusty sidearm if enemy infantry is getting to danger-close.

Ogrun Bokur

He's not an auto-include, but he's another source of slams and he can shield more important stuff. Importantly, he's also Rhulic, which lets you put 'em in Seaforge and still try to get that +4" to your DZ. The only downside is that you can't slam heavies with him that far, but he DOES hit surprisingly hard on a charge and/or near the client. Hell, if you charge in client range, you're looking at a MAT10, PS17 charge, which WILL leave a mark. Or a greasy smear.

Thor Steinhammer

Ok, guys. Are you playing Rhulic? He should be in your army. He should maybe hav a Bokur near him, too. Tune Up is just too damn useful for the Rhulic folks; the ability to boost all of your attack or damage rolls is just disgusting. That's a HEAP of focus efficiency there, and flexible.

I've not played him with enough poitns to make marshalling a benefit, but again there's Tune Up, and with Pronto you can make your slow guys reasonable. You can also use it to get nice angles for shots/charges; something like a Basher can pronto into a fun slam angle, and then throw a boosted slam attack into the other dude's nice target (THEN fart out shrapnel, but I digress).