Reflections of a Dawn
Hi there everyone, my name is Tobias Ford and I was invited to post on Muse from a good gaming friend of mine Ben Hayes (The chunder from down under). Initially he asked me as a positive spin for the Ret faction as that element is currently under-represented by the other authors and being fond of writing I said that I’d love to! Of course then life and work and everything in between got in the way so I have been unable to complete the registration or write anything until now.
I thought I’d start with a bit of a brief introduction through my WarMachine journey and how I got started with the Retribution.
So it’s not really secret (to a lot of Australians at least) that I am a fan of Dawnlord Vyros. Well, the story goes – that back in 2009 I managed to take out the Aus Gencon WM event (Trumping my very good friend Heath Eblen or Kojiro) – and well, the game has grown and evolved in leaps and bounds down under since then, but it remains one of my crowning glories.
That was the twilight of mki and Retribution had just been released. The lion’s share of my prize was a burgeoning Ret force that consisted of a squad of Sentinels and their UA, a Chimera and Dawnlord Vyros. I thought to myself, I’ll just give them a bash – Elves are cool (and I have a lot of nostalgia for my first fantasy army – High Elves), maybe I’ll just buy enough to get thirty five points…
Well, we all know how that fairy tale goes, and three years later they are my primary faction. In the interim I’ve sold off all of my Cryx who were the faction that I started this game with back at the beginning when the cards were black and white and the only infantry you could buy for love or money were scrap thralls. I never managed to sever the ties with my Skorne though (the faction I won Gencon Aus with) but they have taken a back seat – like a ceremonial blade. I’ve dabbled in mercenaries, Circle and recently Cygnar but my faction of choice is the Retribution.
My progress with them has been a pretty checked affair. I remember when Skorne came out in mki and I started playing them the learning curve was quite steep. They had some serious obstacles to cross and right up until metamorphosis they were a difficult faction to do well with (for me at least anyway), so I was certainly use to the xp grind.
Vyros was similar in a way to Xerxis in that it took me a long time to make any progress with him, eventually though I started to get the hang of him though, and stop making bone headed errors. Lacking any particular strength or an overwhelming feat, so all his game has to come from list creation and player skill, and the occasional prayer that his armour will hold together :p.
I’ve gone through a lot of incarnations with him, trying to get him to work in various guises from assassin, to tank to support caster. Over time I’ve found that he is capable of doing it all and his army is the key to making any of it work.
One thing that I’ve certainly come to appreciate is that his spell list despite appearing very dull and almost second rate combines together to form a package that is quite versatile and has the ability to get him out of a lot of situations.
Until recently I’ve noticed that the tools at Vyros’ disposal form an incomplete package. Having tried just about every combination from the all cavalry list to the fast lock down to dedicated melee or dedicated range lots of jacks few jacks and both tiers. What I have learnt from all those games is that Vyros makes an excellent combined arms caster and like most Ret casters works better with a tactical approach to lists and engagement.
Wrath has been a huge boost for Vyros not least of which is thanks to Wyshnallyr. One of Vyros’ problems is that he’s always felt just that little bit of focus shy of doing well, being able to take a free upkeep as well as the ability to make sure things like stranglehold and eliminator hit their mark go a long way to diversifying his otherwise melee based nature.
Unlike muzzle or Arcanatrik bolt stranglehold works on everything and even though it is slightly on the low POW side the ability to shut down melee heavies is something that Ret really benefit out of and even if it costs three focus it’s a good way to isolate an otherwise dangerous threat.
Hallowed avenger is another spell that for a long time I just ignored rather than putting to use. My thought was that it would always basically feed your opponent a heavy and it was too hard to position things properly and all kinds of problems also up keeping it reduced his available resources significantly. Having tried it a lot more though in the past few months my opinion has shifted and rather than feeding your opponent a heavy it can be used to cut off range units, or do a number of various things and with a banshee particularly can lead to some interesting stymies by catapulting the wailing zone way up the field.
Insight is a wonderful thing and sometimes it just comes from a very organic process of trial and error. I think that Ret can be a tricky faction to play and learn because they do lack some of the longevity of other faction’s troops as well as top level caster support. One of the reasons for this I think is the abundance of arcane assassin in faction and I think the original design (based on the tiers) is that most lists would just throw mass mhsf at the other player, so buff spells were clearly out of the picture. Having played them for three years now I know that my knowledge and ability is way higher than it was at the start and a lot of that comes from just putting in hard yards more so than conferring with factional confederates.
One of the interesting things about RET as a faction is discovering the round about ways that they have to do things. As I said earlier the abundance of AA leads to some interesting buff choices as it would be easy to blow the faction open should mhsf get access to the wrong buff be it shooting or melee. Things like synergy present really great options not just from an efficiency or tactical perspective but they also (I feel) add a level of elegance to the faction that I for one really appreciate; It’s like comparing Light sabres to blasters.
At present the Vyros list I have is made to be taken in conjunction with three others for an eventual Super series final so it is under some heavy character restrictions but it is doing really well in its current incarnation. I’m just going to talk about it briefly and then say goodbye!
Dawnlord Vyros (+6)
Sylas Wyshnallyr 2
Ghost Sniper 2
Ghost Sniper 2
Eiryss, Mage hunter of Ios 3
10 House Guard Halberdiers 7
Halberdier officer and standard 2
10 Dawnguard Invictors 10
Invictor officer and standard 2
Total: 50 pts.
Firstly just talking about the jack load out, when Wrath came out there were all these ideas about just dropping the Shyeel chassis off a cliff and not looking back – well I think that is the wrong approach and certainly with respect to the Phoenix who is just an amazing jack that tick s all the boxes you could want. For a faction that is so multi-tasking too, I feel that it is generally always beneficial to have access to an arc node. You might not always want it but having one is a huge boon when you need it. The Banshee is another incredible jack that gives Ret the tools to go toe to toe with hordes – where I often time feel just completely outclassed by their heavies and the dps they can put out, especially when it takes the flick of a wrist to fully heal them, but the crit grievous wounds is a huge equalizer – even if a crit, and wailing can be worth its weight in gold – at its basest level giving the Banshee three extra armour from the effective lack of charge. Initially in my list there was just the two heavies and a destor thane, after a lot of play testing I found that when it got to the late game if there was significant piece trading involved, or just getting hit hard fast then Vyros lost a lot of his threat by not having a jack. The Aspis performs two roles in that it makes it a lot harder to ranged assassinate him as well as being able to just passively heal up to the point that when the late game does roll around he’s ready to jump in there and start triggering some flank bonuses – as well as having a fairly mediocre meat grinder on the feat but a meat grinder none the less. As talked about earlier Sylas is there to make his strangleholds take root, as well as provide a boost to focus efficiency, or help with late game tanking just that little bit, having a magic stick too is never a bad thing.
The solo mix is also a little unusual from what I would normally take with Vyros but often times I found that I would just need that little bit extra damage on something and the deadly shots can provide that. Two of them can drop the book or a shifting stone with exceptional ease and with Eiryss there they can strip an arm off of most heavies or the spirit from a lot of beasts. The other alternative for this was a thane or storm falls and the list that it gets coupled with generally has the Stormfalls so I wanted to make sure that I had the armour penetration rather than the spread fire, and the ghosts have thus far proved quite effective in that role.
The unit mix is also a bit different for me. Traditionally I would always take Sentinels with Vyros and throw IR onto them and march them up in two’s and three’s to try take the field, but there comes a point unfortunately where MAT 7 is just insufficient and the halberdiers provide a very good and mobile melee front line. The ability to shield wall if needed or charge and then reform to a safe position or for board position is really good. Their mini-feat and other passives allow them to work much higher than their weight class and the other thing making them more effective than the sentinels is that the ranked attack allows the Invictors and other ranged elements to shoot through them without having to worry about los blockage. The Invictors themselves provide a very accurate ranged scalpel with combined arms and are also a good solid second wave able to damage heavies with flank or high def infantry with an effective mat 9 should they get a jack in there.
All in all I feel that the list works quite well and is able to take on a lot of match ups without feeling as though its working from a deficit position, it ticks most all the boxes from melee to range as well as being able to remove both high def and high arm. Has reasonable staying power due to shield wall and high base armours and can hold its position on the board. Not really the most efficient assassination in the list but even so bird’s eye can present opportunities that an unwary opponent might not notice or be looking for.
That’s my Vyros list and so far it has been doing quite well on the vassal circuit (since work takes me out of town a lot that is my best option to play) I had hoped to take it to the Sydney super series qualifier last month and see how it cuts its teeth there, however I was kept in the field much longer than anticipated..
Thanks for reading everyone,