“I’m going to activate this guy and run.”
“He’s inside temporal barrier, just about.”
“I thought that. And Haley’s right behind stormwall… So. Yup I have the space.”
“Wait… what? You’re not able to feat against Haley tha-“
“SPECTRAL LEGION! ASSEMBLE!”
True story. Not my true story, but MoM fans will know what I’m talking about. Jokes aside, though, if any faction can be considered a hard matchup for Cryx, it’s Cygnar. Cygnar is filled with stealth ignoring accurate guns, a plethora of infantry hating special rules, and denial out the wazoo. The stormwall in particular elicited many cries from Cryx players. Not Lich players. Lich, like plenty of other Cryx lists, can ‘gotcha’ a stormwall. No-one does it with the panache Lich does. It’s the one game you can be sure he’ll feat in.
Cygnar also have a rarer, but very effective, tool in this matchup, charge denial. Not line of sight blocking, no position games, just straight up ‘you cannot charge me’ kind of denial. It’s a very potent tool. It’s on Haley1, who is considered the game’s best hard counter to Lich, and most Cryx lists. She is also often thought to be un-fun. I, however, think she’s going to get a revival with ponies, probably of both types. Armoured ponies, which is to say storm lances, are also pretty bile thrall resistant. I have long been on the opinion that medium infantry are what Haley1 wants to run. She increases attack numbers, impedes swarms and weapon masters, and has arcane shield. Cavalry are kind of like 5 box medium infantry (a lament for another day), and get all of those benefits. And more taking ride-by into account. Arm 20 and un-chargeable is a pretty tough nut to crack.
Like many young women, Vicky always secretly loved ponies.
I’m going to suggest not running her with a stormwall. That big robot is a hungry sort of fellow, and she doesn’t like spending focus. Instead, accept your fate as a boring warcaster, cast TB every turn, then upkeep arcane shield on Haley. Protect her from stray reaper and pistol wraith shots with a sentinel. Sentinels really like the -2 Def from TB. The fun can come from your army and models. I’m going to suggest lots of ponies again. Is it expensive? Hells yes. But suggesting Haley with a stormwall and a few gunmages is awfully blasé. The new tempest blazers are incredible with her. In a straight forward way, and they adore being rat 9. They can actually be the raptors everyone compares them too. Storm lances, perhaps, warrant some more discussion. They have the usual dilemma of cavalry units- you get one good charge turn, then your unit dies. It’s not even a good charge turn if you charged into a tarpit.
Instead, play to Cygnar’s strengths and use them as a combined arms unit. You can always position them just at the edge of threat range with a run first turn, then they get to ride-by, strolling forward, making some effective rat 7 electro-leap shots before backing up a bit. And your opponent can neither run to engage them or charge them. A turn or two of this will do a number on almost any unit of infantry. Combined with your blazers, all those electro-leap shots should be removing units faster than they can jump into the meat grinder. I really like the centurion with her. She can keep it safe with TB even if it is making attacks, or still be an un-chargeable monster if she camps. It likes arcane shield a lot, and there are two copies of it in the list. The Khadoran Cygnar chassis really likes accuracy buffs too.
If Stryker3’s horse looks like it’s art, I’m converting some storm lances! Money be damned!
Aiyana and Holt should be an obvious choice for more magic weapons, etc. The incredibly accurate damage buffing lets storm lances really do some work. Everything Rhupert does is magic in your list and I’ve discussed Harlan with accuracy buffs before.
My suggested list is:
Haley1, 5 warjack points
-Centurion, 9 points
-Sentinel, 4 points
-Squire, 2 points
Tempest blazers, full unit, 10 points
Storm lances, full unit, 11 points
Arcane tempest gun mages, 6 points
-ATGM unit attachement, 2 points
Aiyana & Holt, 4 points
Journeyman warcaster, 3 points
Harlan Versh, 2 points
Rhupert Carvolo, 2 points
That’s a very straightforward answer to the Lich. It’s not even designed as a counter, because pHaley herself adds most of the counters you need. Cygnar have others. For example – Keith Christianson’s Caine2 list. It’s got rfp, attrition power, etc. The clouds are a nightmare in that matchup, and you have to be really careful to focus on the blood hag and the biles with Caine, but it’s certainly a list you can play in that matchup and not be at a huge disadvantage.
There is one warcaster, however, with whom you bring the Stormwall back to incredible levels of power against the Lich. That, as you may have guessed, is Nemo2. Polarity shield makes the stormwall immune to Lich2’s feat. All of a sudden you have an un-chargeable, covering fire and lightning pod dropping monster wading around the field with near impunity. The problem is that the way I usually play Nemo2, you are on a razor wire dealing with that many troops.
In my day, that there Lich would have Black Offerings.
I use the tier, with 5 stormsmiths! And it is awesome. You can clear incredible amounts of infantry, but you will get enveloped very fast. In a kill box that can put Nemo in a lot of danger. You need to play and camp very carefully. Still don’t use stormguard though. Put lightning shroud on one centurion and let it be working away, while dropping a covering fire in front of or around it. Once the knights are gone, exactly centering a 3” AoE on the centurion means non-reach troops cannot attack him without taking Pow 12s. Sure, your opponent can feat, but all he gets is one centurion, and Nemo is in a lot less danger! As is often the case, you want to frustrate him into feating.
You also need to be incredibly careful with your stormsmiths. They die very easily, and are worth a lot of work. Getting 5 triangulations in one turn is the dream, but it usually won’t happen. Instead shave off everything he puts forward and cozen your science wizards. The more he jams you, the more you bring the thunder, and if he doesn’t jam you, you’re winnng. All of the best Arm bricks love to get jammed, Thagrosh1 and sprays, Madrak1 and his feat, and Nemo2 and the mechanised legion. There is an art to letting yourself get just jammed enough to kill your way out of it, and getting that balance right is incredibly dispiriting for your opponent. Which lets you taunt out the feat.
I’ve been using:
You have an incredibly low model count, so you are asked to use skill to maximise every point. If this list works for you and you can handle walking that knife’s edge though, it’s very powerful and completely character independent. I usually pair it with Siege and all the Mercenaries. The main problem this list has is dealing with all of the incorporeal shenanigans. Don’t be afraid to arcane shield Nemo, camp solidly, and run Junior to the back of the board. You are playing the slow game.
The sad fact is that the charge denial lists are less fun for most people, they are all about nickel and diming, while giving nothing away, a strength of Cygnar. Patience is key. The most dynamic answer is definitely Caine2, but the most complete hard counter is Haley1. Things you shouldn’t play against the Lich in Cygnar are Siege who plays to far forward, with too low Def, Kraye because large base and Def 14, and Stormwall, with our aforementioned exception. As usual Aiyana and Holt, gun mages, Harlan Versh and stormsmiths are good against Cryx.
Next time, we return to Asphyxious’ old cronies, the Circle Orboros!
P.S. Here is my 40 word pledge, a slight alteration of the work of one of the great poets of our time.
Nah, I ain’t better than the best but I know a little bit,
Enough, that you can’t charge, you can’t do shit;
“We’ll see how epic you are when TB come,”
I got 99 problems but the Lich ain’t one.