Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ashlynn at 35

I have taken a break from the Everblight to sample the joy that is Mercenaries. As of late, I've been rocking Ashlynn d'Elise at the 35pt level of our map league, and have been enjoying her.

The List

Ashlynn d'Elyse


Arcane Tempest Gun Mages with UA


10 Horgenhold Forge Guard

Ayana & Holt

The Piper

epic Eiryss

The Breakdown

I've been keeping an eye towards the feat with Ashlynn, and if I can get a neat critical effect into the build, then why not? More tools, the merrier, right?

The Mangler is there to give Ashlynn a melee beat-stick that uses her jack points. It is a bit expensive, but it's got a solid threat range and can either beat up hard targets, or tear up some infantry without a lot of work. Plus, Admonition can help me keep the big lug safe.

The Gun Mages are ranged anti-infantry support. With the UA, they can work around Stealth. Thunderbolt is useful even without the crit, though Critical Brutal Damage is nice for the feat. Plus, hey, they can give me Snipe on the Mule without burning focus. It's a good source of anti-personnel and control.

The Mule? It has a devastating critical, and the ATGM UA lets me Snipe the thing. I mean, what's not to love? Solid AoE damage, enough power and RAT (especially with an aim action) to threaten heftier's solid all around.

The Forge Guard have a few solid offerings. First, Ashlynn's Quicken puts them up to a respectable SPD6, turning a slow unit into one with a very respectable threat range. The DEF bonus is largely wasted, but Defensive Line lets them pull together to shrug off low-POW hits. Ranked Attacks is another major consideration, as I can keep shooters behind them without caring about LOS as much. Finally, Critical Smite is some nice potential utility on Feat turn, though it costs that guy damage output. The most common use I can think of is making large targets fall over and get auto-hit, as any of the more nuanced uses of slams might be a bit harder to pull off, given that there's no boosting and angles matter.

Ayana and Holt do what they do: Mercs are a bit short on magical attacks, and the utility of Kiss of Lylyss only grows as you up the volume of attacks. And, well, Holt shoots things.

The Piper is there to assist the Forge Guard, or in a pinch up the DEF of the gun mages to 'hope you have blast template' levels.

Epic Eiryss is there for utility, pure and simple. With only one battlegroup jack, it's harder for me to hurt myself with Arcane Interference.

Possible Changes

Admittedly, the list has 9 points sunk into support solos, and I could always trim the Mangler down into something else. I think the Forge Guard and Piper are definitely going to stay, as reach weaponmasters with SPD6 and pathfinder or tough are hard to argue with. The Gun Mages and Mule mesh nicely with the ranked attacks on the Forge Guard, and they give me anti-personnel to go along with the Forge Guard's hammers.

Epic Eiryss is just too useful to lose, between the chance of knocking out terrifying buffs on the enemy and/or the odd crippling debuff on something of mine (moreso the former than the latter).

That leaves the Mangler and A&H as room for alterations. As it stands, the Mangler costs me 2 points after Ashlynn's jack points, so I'd be looking at 6 points of wiggle room at best. I kind of want to keep a heavy warjack in her battlegroup, just tgo give me some crushing power. A Nomad loses the Thresher, but can still beat the tar out of hard targets. I can probably lose the thresher, given the volume of attacks I have available elsewhere.

So, what to do with that last 6 points, assuming I drop A&H? I could add a full unit of Steelhead Halberdiers, or a min unit with another support solo. It's more bodies and potentially more utility, but I'd be dedicating those guys to a flank as they'd be in the way of Ranked Attacks from the ATGMs. I could grab a min unit of Boomhowler's. I could take an Ogrun Bokur, a 2pt solo and Reinholdt...the list goes on. My problem with taking another unit is that they're either gonna have guns, or need Ranked Attacks.

On Ashlynn Herself

Most of the time, turn one has been handing out Admonition on the Mangler, Quicken on the Forge Guard, and allocating one so the Mangler can run. That leaves Ashlynn with ~4 focus, enough to fuel the jack or kick off an offensive spell. I don't think she needs another melee jack, just from a focus standpoint. I suppose I could forgo the melee heavy and use Ashlynn herself, but that's a) risky and b) she doesn't hit THAT hard.

The rest of her spells are fairly situational. I've yet to find a good use for Twister; I would love to block LOS with it but placing it accurately requires a target. At best, I could sacrifice a pair of Forge Guard to dump some clouds into place (and they might even survive, if in Defensive Line; I'd need 9+ to kill the direct hit guy...).

Gallows would be nicer with an Arc Node, though it's a good tool to have. I'm using most of her focus to get it off, likely with a boost to reel a target in. On the downside, I'm probably dragging the target into striking range of Ashlynn, so this one's a no-go unless Admonition is on her, or I can otherwise keep her safe.

Flashing Blade is, of course, fun when the enemy tries to close with you and doesn't kill you, or if you've an opportunity to take a chunk out of the enemy. Frankly, I think that Admonition is almost a must on Ashlynn if you want to get use out of her to kill anything, but there are still ways around DEF17.


I've enjoyed Ashlynn; even if I lose, the feat turn feels like a victory because of its ability to frustrate the other guy's plans. So far, I've preferred to keep her in the back as support, though it's nice to know I can plop admonition on her and go forth to destroy things.

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