It has been some time since I last wrote something. I’d like to say that I’ve been gathering my thoughts or accumulating data on my Cygnar experience. I would like to say that I’ve had a lot of big things in the works. But to be accurate I would say that I am not allowed to “browse” the internet at work anymore. But now it’s 1:30 in the morning and a full nights sleep is a luxury that I choose not to buy. Cygnar is the topic. Lt. Allister Caine is the caster.
Caine himself can be somewhat of a terror on the battlefield. He has 2 magical hand cannons with RoF 2 and one of the highest RAT scores in the game. Between his initial shots and Malestrom he can do a considerable amount of damage to an enemy army. The problem he has to compensate for is his terribly low armor score. Blast damage is a serious threat to his life. Luckily he has what I would classify as the best, and certainly my favorite, defensive spell in the game. Teleport. The ability to flee from danger gives Caine a tremendous amount of freedom to use his guns, spells and feat to their best effect. Between his mobility and 5 (or 7) extra inches of range on all of his spells it is nigh impossible for an opponent to keep him out of the game.
In addition to his own personal contribution to the fight Caine brings with him two of the best buffs available for a ranged army, Snipe and Deadeye. Range and accuracy all in one package makes Caine a top contender for best gunline caster ever. Just for kicks he adds in another impressive defensive buff for his boys, Blur. I haven’t been making much use of it up to this point but I feel Blur is the kind of spell that when you see the right situation, becomes incredibly influential.
Here’s a list that I like
Lieutenant Allister Caine +6
-Silas Wish-Nailer 2
-Reinholdt Gobber Speculator 1
Journeyman Warcaster 3
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages 6
-Gun Mage Officer 2
Black 13th 4
10 Greygore Boomhowler and Company 9
10 Long Gunners 10
10 Long Gunners 10
List Composition for Lt. Caine
Step 1. Building a Battlegroup
I ask myself “Self, how much focus will I have to allocate to my Warjacks each turn?”
I answer myself “Well on any given turn you’ll want to cycle Snipe, cast a Deadeye or 2, shoot some stuff, cast Thunderstrike and Teleport back. So right around -10 Focus, but you might be able to spare one on the first turn.”
“Huh, probably just one Warjack then”
“hmmmmm, well Self I’m putting a lot of guns in this list and scenario zones can be pretty problematic, what should I do?”
“There’s always a Centurion. An un-chargeable ARM 24 heavy seems like a deal for 3 points.”
The Centurion has 1 job and 1 job only in this list. Sit somewhere that prevents points from being scored and not die. He is, by miles, the best candidate for the job.
Step 2. The Core Concept
Shoot them until they are dead. That’s the plan.
20 Long Gunners bring the potential for up to 40 single shots or 4 POW 20 attacks at targets up to 18” away. Or 20 shots or 2 POW 20s from up to 23” away. This combination of extreme threat range, volume of attacks, and potential power gives this module a lot of versatility. The real power of the 18” range is that, more often than not, when they’re done shooting they’re still safe. The trouble with the range 10 or range 12 shooters is that after they get their good round of shooting they get retaliated against. The long gunners are still 20” away behind Boomhowler and a Centurion. I just line these guys up in a ring around a scenario zone and dare the opponent to put a toe in. The list is designed to pose a question. “Can you deal with 20 Long Gunners with access to Snipe, Deadeye, Blur, and Arcane Shield?” The answer is often; “Holy %&#@ that’s a lot of guns.”
Gun Mages solve problems. Stealth infantry? No worries, the gun mages will take care of it. A heavy you can’t kill yet is camping in an important zone? No worries, the gun mages will take care of it. Problematic stealth model? Lynch has you covered. Annoying clump of infantry? Ryan’s your girl. A few lucky infantry models managed to survive to engage the Long Gunners? Hit em with Black Pennies. Gun Mages with Snipe have the ability to perform Thunderbolt (push d3”) shots from 14” away. In one game I pushed a Devestator that was completely inside a scenario zone so far away it could not run back to contest. Critical Brutal Damage shots from 14”, sometimes with 3 dice to hit (thank you Deadeye) aren’t bad either. The Black 13th are situationally incredible with Snipe. 14” Mage Storm or 14” Flare are big time matchup fixers.
Boomhowler shares a role with the Centurion. He’s there to keep me alive in scenario and keep pesky swords, axes, spears and other pointy or blunt objects away from the talent. What is there to say about Boomhowler that we don’t already know? Tough on 4-6 is good. Rage Howl is good. Stacking Arcane Shield on them is good. There is nothing shocking there. In keeping with the core theme Boomhowler also brings guns, though not great ones. Sometimes you get good value out of the unit’s guns but more often you’ll reserve the buffs for the long guns or the mages. The one trick I want to mention specifically involving Boomhowler and his lads I will come back to.
Step 3. Caine’s Cronies
Caine is a rockstar. We want to maximize his potential, and keep him alive.
Reinholdt the Gobber Speculator. I don’t always bring this little guy for Caine1. I feel the extra shot is often more valuable with another Warcaster. Recently I’ve been pairing Caine with one version or another of Victoria so the Gobber is available. I use Lucky Charm (Signs and Portents on 1 hit or damage roll) almost as often as I do reload. He’s certainly worth his one point.
Junior. Arcane shield is incredible on the Centurion (nearly required) or on Boomhowler. Sometimes it will save a unit from blast damage. Sometimes it will save Caine’s life. He also has a boostable hand cannon. I have a hard time omitting this guy in any of my lists.
The Nailer of Wishes. For most Cygnar Warcasters the Squire is the obvious choice. Extended control range plus the flexibility of additional focus is tough to pass up for 2 points. But what Sylys does for Caine1 blows the little mechano-Patsy right out of the water. Caine always has upkeeps out. Unless you’re playing against Harbinger he can make use of a free upkeep every turn after the first. Caine has +5” of range built in on his spells. Increasing that number to 7 is phenomenal for 2 reasons. Caine can stay further back when buffing (he can cast Snipe or Deadeye further than his control area reaches). This essentially lets him buff like he has an arcnode or 2 without bothering to pay for them. He can also really reach out and touch you with an offensive spell if the situation should arise… if only Caine wasn’t just Focus 6. If only his offensive spells could be made in some way to connect more reliably. Oh yeah, Secrets is amazing. Signs and portents for the first spell you cast each turn, attack and damage rolls. I like to combine Secrets and Lucky Charm to roll 2 extra dice to hit dropping the low ones. It makes my favorite spell even better.
And now for a musical interlude…
YOU’VE BEEN . . . THUNDERSTRUCK!
Talk about a spell that you can turn all the way up to 11. Range Amplifier gives Caine a base range of 13” with this Pow 14 slam spell. At the high cost of 4 Focus I want to do everything that I can to ensure that it is effective every time. Wish-nailer is the key ingredient in maximizing the voltage of the Thunderstrike. The two extra inches of range gives Caine the option to boost and still be in a place of relative safety. It also gives him the option to go balls out and really reach out and touch someone. The maximum potential threat range of the spell is then 25”. Seems pretty good. Secrets gives me some security in hitting targets up to 13 defense without boosting. When I’m using Secrets in conjunction with Lucky Charm it gets very consistent.
Thunderstrike is an incredibly powerful and versatile spell. It hits hard, from a long ways out. It moves things away and knocks them down. It solves a lot of problems for me and creates them for my opponents. It forces people to play conservatively with their casters (when there are 20 Long Gunners lurking in the tall grass having a caster knocked on his ass is a bad thing) and commit to scenario zones more heavily than they would like to in order to preven Caine from running away with the game on scenario.
Here’s my favorite Thunderstrike trick. Take a Boomhowler. Run him up in front of some thing/s that annoy you (like Kayazy, Eiryss, Gorman, Mage Hunter Strike Force, the enemy warcaster etc.) Position him with his back to Lt. Caine. I’m pretty sure the rest explains itself. The best part is there’s only a 50% chance to lose Greygore’s lad.
Think of it this way. Caine is a speed 7 Commodore Cannon.