Cead mile fáilte, and welcome back to Nemesis!
Today we’re going to start thinking about Major Victoria Haley, and her two favourite Stormwalls, Stomp Wall Sr. and Bondy. I’ll take a brief pause while you huck up old school!
All done? Excellent! We’ll dive right into our business, the following is the Haley Double Stormwall list that you will encounter in the competitive setting (Most of the time).
Haley2, 5 warjack points
-Stormwall, 19 points
-Stormwall, 19 points
-Squire, 2 points
Arcane Tempest Gunmages, 6 points
-Officer, Gunmage unit attachment, 2 points
Black 13th, 4 points
Junior, 3 points
Let’s do the Time Warp…
That is a lot of shooting, a lot of Arm, and a lot of high Pow punches. This is all backed up by an incredible spell list (That will be largely unused here), a huge bank of focus, and one of the best feats in the entire game.
It is however very much so a skew list; Skew lists while powerful, and typically very good against balanced lists, are susceptible to hard counters. We should discuss the strengths and operating plan of this list first though. Strategy 1: The Stormwalls will shoot a heavy off the table. Expect at least one turn of being shot by 5 Rat 6 Pow 15 guns from 19”+ away. If you have low Def that’s 5 boosted Pow 15’s, which will do 25 damage on average to a Khador heavy. You’ll still be miles from engaging them, and even if you have huge threat ranges, you’ll get feated on, and still lose a turn. Running the rest of your heavies at her will have the bonded stormwall charge one of them and kill it. At this point you are 2 heavies down, and you may kill on stormwall, but the second is nearly impossible after it can charge another.
Infantry is the answer? Well you’ve got a unit of gunmages, then 4 covering fire templates, and a mage storm that can be targeted on a pod to be exactly spaced. You’re infantry will struggle to get there. In a typically Cygnar fashion it’s all about getting there, in an atypical fashion you have to get an enormous projection of force to arrive. So what are its weaknesses?
They see me podding…
There are 3 goals going into the game, Attrition, Scenario and Assassination. It’s very difficult to beat Haley on attrition with a generic list. You need to have overwhelming threat saturation, and shooting denial. Scenario and Assassination however are weaknesses. More than half of the scenarios will require the Cygnar player to split up. If you can clear one zone’s stormwall and start scoring, while maintaining the ability to contest the other zone, you will tear ahead. On the other hand, there is Destruction. That scenario is really difficult to beat double stormwall on with a very serious hard counter. Infantry will nearly not be able to enter the zone and needing to kill 2 objectives makes it harder to get into the zone, but means you aren’t hurting stormwalls.
It is important to note, that really nailing heavies from far away and getting those guys to clear zones if the gunmages go down, requires spending a lot of focus. Only two of the non-kill box scenarios have one contestable zone, Ammunition Run and Into the Breach. This means that if you can engineer a turn two assassination run, Haley will often feat to stop it as she wants to spend her focus that early. If you are still slowing down the walls she’ll become increasingly tempted to spend her focus, and as she does she gets a lot easier to kill.
Seems messy? Sadly it is. I’m being honest when I say I don’t like the list to play. It has very little flexibility, it tends to play very predictably in scenario, and every now and then Haley just dies. The best way to play it is to be very boring and slow, and remove almost all pace from the game. This means that exasperating attention fatigue for the Haley player is an important tactic. Make them make hard choices every turn, that kind of low model count brick doesn’t forgive mistakes, or model loss. The best way to figure out what these situations are is to play the list. Then you’ll see when you’ve forced them to need to use the gunmages in two places, or how to do that.
My handgun kills all the boys in the yard…
So let’s look at the problems posed?
-My heavies get shot off the table.
-My infantry either can’t hurt the stormwalls, or can’t ever get there.
-Haley’s 14” and 12” charging stormwalls outthreat me in melee.
-Haley’s feat buys my opponent a turn even if I force his hand on one of the other issues.
-High Def Stealth jamming is countered by the Black 13th and gun mages.
Killing the things accompanying the stormwall seems like nickel and diming, but it is vital. Reducing her number of activations really affects her infantry killing power, and further hurts her flexibility. Having a good plan for bringing the gunmages from the back lines and into the action then killing them is vital. Killing them early is absolutely golden, but very hard if they are hanging out behind the stormwalls.
It is also nice to have quite a few small scoring and contesting solos. This makes it a lot easier to play the good scenarios against Haley, run a few up one flank to contest, but have the gunmages preferred unit on the other flank. It’s all about hard choices, tire the mind, strike the body.
Next week we’re going to look at faction specific answers from the Protecterate of Menoth and the Skorne.
P.S. Listen to Muse on Minis #39 for a really excellent overview of this meta bending list.
P.P.S. I’m going to assume going forward that the Haley list has Black 13th not Aiyana and Holt, because this is often true. However it subtly changes the solutions and problems offered by the list. So watch this space for thoughts on that alteration.