Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moonlighting with Mercs: Retribution of Scyrah

This will be the last article in the 'Moonlighting with Mercs' series.  It will also be the shortest, as elves with an urge to destroy all human mages are somewhat unlikely to employ a lot of humans.

In all honesty, you may be able to use mercs as the core of the army, but you'll be using more Retribution components in the army, just because of the paucity of the selections open to you.

A Note on 'Friendly Faction'
Currently, the Retribution has a handful of warcasters.  Most of them have some buffs, and these tend to be 'faction-specific' in nature.  Bottom line: Retribution isn't very merc-friendly.

Garryth, Blade of Retribution
Everyone loves a stealthy, psychotic assassin, right?  He's got a pretty light spell list.  He's got two major buffs: Death Sentence and Mirage. Both of them are faction-specific.  His feat is purely denial in nature, and probably involves him running up and flipping everyone the bird.

Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper
Everyone loves a crazy sniper, right?  She's one of the few Retribution models with the innate ability to ignore stealth, and her offensive spells mean you'll want arc nodes.  On the bright side, her Banishing Ward isn't picky about targets.  Arcane Reckoning is faction-specific, though, but it's also not one I see a lot of people using.

The biggest potential downside with Kaelyssa is her feat: it 's faction-specific, and denies the enemy the ability to charge you and hands out stealth.  That means your mercs are NOT protected, so they need their own innate ability to avoid getting singled out on the feat turn.

Adeptis Rahn
Honestly, this is about as merc-friendly as it gets for Retribution.  There are two buffs this guy brings for his troopers: Polarity Shield (no charging the affected unit) and Force Field (you dictate the direction of deviations in their blast area).  The only two things he wants past that are arc nodes and units with Magic Ability for his feat.

Ravyn, Eternal Light
On the bright side, Snipe and Vortex of Destruction help anyone.  On the down side, Veil of Mists and the Feat are faction-specific.  I honestly can't recommend her for merc-heavy play, because they lose out on the feat.

Dawnlord Vyros
Again, I can't really recommend him with mercs.  He's got battlegroup support, but his troop support and feat are all faction-specific.  Mercs miss out on the +2ARM, Hallowed Avenger's free counter-charge, and the feat.  I'm sure some folks will debate just how good his feat is, but the fact remains that mercs miss out on it.

Lord Arcanist Ossyan
The newest addition to the Retribution's roster is somewhat merc-friendly.  He's got two unit buffs, and at least Quicken isn't picky.  Shatterstorm is fairly sick, though, AND faction-picky.  The other big downside is that his feat's offensive perk only works for Faction models.  Honestly, I have a hard time recommending mercs with him, much as I would love to.

The Merc Roster
Like I said, there aren't a ton of options available.  I'm going to skip the Eiryss's and Wyshnyllar, as they're Retribution faction models and known quantities.

Cylena Raefyll & the Nyss Hunters
Hey, shock: elves will work for other elves.  These elves bring hard-hitting melee, and reasonably accurate ranged attacks.  They're competing with two Retribution units, in terms of cost: Mage Hunter Strike Teams (with UA) and Dawnguard Invictors. 

The MHSF has Stealth and slightly lower defense, making them harder to kill at range.  The MHSF loses out on ranged accuracy as they lack Combined Ranged Attacks, but they also ignore defensive buffs and concealement/cover.  Hunter from the Nyss Hunters means they're on par with everything but the defensive buffs, which they may or may not be able to overcome with CRAs.  The MHSF can be more accurate in melee with CMAs, but won't hit as hard unless engaging warjacks.

The Invictors have less range and mobility, but can probably ignore blasts between their DEF15 and Defensive Line.  They also have harder-hitting guns, and Combined Arms makes them hideously accurate when pairing off.  They have a one-turn minifeat with the UA that grants 'em 14" range.  in melee, they're more accurate due to higher MAT, but they need a warjack for Flank to make them hard hitters.  The invictors end up being more expensive, but can do some nasty things with that support.

I would say the best buddy for the Nyss Hunters would be Rahn.  He can let them play forward and avoid being charged with Polarity Field, and his Force Field can help mitigate blasts, which are arguably the main way of killing these guys outside of hideously accurate gunfire.

The runner-up would be Kaelyssa; her Banishing Ward can work on them, and their speed/mobility and Hunter can let them use forests as cover while the rest of the army is protected by her feat.

Lady Ayana & Master Holt
It's a damage buff that can deliver itself, via Ayana's Stealth spell.  Critically, it's about the only way Retribution has to boost damage output, outside of Ossyan's feat and Concentrated Power.

Madelyn Corbeau
She's in intel; she loves to hang out with anything that looks vaguely human.  If you're going to work with warrior models that love to move, or love clear lanes, then you'll find a use for her.  The downside of Intrigue is that the enemy has to help you trigger it by putting a model within 9" of her.  She'll probably be within command range of a friendly, because of that whole 'Sucker!' thing where she pawns off gunfire. 

Her other, less-publicized ability, Seduction, is fun as it lets you move an enemy living warrior model and even make an attack with it.  It's fun to use on people like Vilmon, but you have plenty of utility in there just by being able to move someone out of the way.

Garryth is the one most likely to use her, I think.  Mage Hunter Assassins are the obvious choices for Intrigue, but you have to keep 'em within Madelyn's command range to get the mileage out of it.

Dahlia & Skarath
Do you want a heavy hitter, but don't want to feed it focus?  This is your duo.  It's also one of the two large sprays available to the Retribution.  Dahlia's a mini-denial caster, as she can hand out pathfinder/prowl to herself and her big snake buddy.  Once they get close to the action, she can chuck out Haunting Melody to keep herself safe and keep the enemy from giving/taking orders within 8" of her.

Skarath is a glass cannon (which should be nothing new for the Retribution, right?).  He can't be knocked down, and if he crits against a small-based non'lock, it gets a case of Removed From Play.  As he's PS16, that might not come into play too often, but what the hell.  It's RFP in Retribution, which is rare.  The other selling point is the RAT5, SP10 POW12 Continuous Corrosion spray.  If this guy can get an Aim off, it's even sicke.  DEF14 is kinda light, as is ARM16.  The Animus compliments the DEF a bit, as anyone that misses him gets swung at in return.  This would be cooler if we had higher-DEF jacks, but anyone can benefit from his animus.

Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress.
First, she's proof that elves have vowels outside of 'y'.  She's got defensive stats on par with the Nyss Hunters, and picks up Prowl as a wondeful aside.  Her major money-maker is Hunter's Mark; if she can hit a target with her Magic Ability of 7, anyone going after it can charge without spending focus AND get another 2" on the charge move.

Considering that the Retribution doesn't have much to make jacks focus-efficient, and likes hitting first, this ability is pretty nice.  It's probably not reliable enough for doing much aside from extending jack threat ranges, but the jacks get the full benefit of the spell as well.

She has a token melee attack (MAT6, PS11 is hardly intimidating) and a nice critical on her Ice Bolt (MA:7 and POW12 Cold damage is nicer if she crits) but she's not an offensive powerhouse.  her Winter Storm can be some fun denial (as it shuts down Pathfinder, Flight, and Eyeless Sight), but the enemy has to start within 8" of her.  It's more like a 'be careful about your activation order' than a 'SCREW YOU!'

Sadly, merc-heavy with the Retribution is pretty limited.  You can fill 19 points with the Nyss Hunters and Dahlia/Skarath.  I would say that your best bet for this is Kaelyssa, as she can bring a Phoenix (for the node) and, say, an Arcanist.  At that point, you're looking at 24 points; room for expansion?  Yes please.

Second place for merc-heavy would go to Rahn.  He can support the Nyss Hunters just fine, and would be happy to Lanyssa in there as well, to give him even more focus efficiency.  Rahn, a unit of Battle Mages, Phoenix, Nyss Hunters, Arcanist and Lanyssa would run 22 points; not a bad start.

Past that, frankly, I think you're not going to get a lot of mileage out of merc-heavy.  Ayana & Holt are ALWAYS solid choices for support, and D&S are great if you're not looking into a second arc node (As you'll be spending your jack points on either a Phoenix or Chimera, frankly...).

1 comment:

joel said...
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