Well here we are on another exciting episode of “The Dark Horse.” This time we take a look at one of my favorite cygnar warcasters. Granted this is also one of the warcasters if we could ever get the great Legion of Jake to play warmachine he has said this would be the guy, so this article even has Jake’s stamp of approval. To me I think he is just a great toolbox of abilities and have even seen the request for a list on the forums on how to make him rock. I think the key is found in the list below as a majority of things will have high ARM of DEF throughout the game, even on a non-feat turn. So here he is, the Commander Coleman Stryker:
Prime Stryker +6
Centurion (6) 3
Journeyman Warcaster 3
Hunter (controlled by Journeyman) 6
Arlan Strangeways 2
Stormblades with Officer and Bearer with 3 Gunners 11
Stormclad (Jack marshaled by Stormblade Officier) 10
So lets take a look at Stryker’s stats shall we. Though a majority of people like to say that he is an average caster I can agree with this. His SPD is the basic you could expect, his MAT and RAT though are both above average with his MAT being on par with heavy hitting infantry, his DEF is above average while his ARM is a little below average. Combine this with his low range attack, low in regards to RNG and POW, and his melee weapon just barely higher than a hand cannon. Also having an average FOC stat, though his CMD is high. This all makes someone look at just an individual stat and think it might be average, or at least from what I have heard people say. I think though when you combine them it makes for a great warcaster. His MAT/RAT allow him to hit the average DEF warjack, though won’t do much damage both attacks have disruption. His high DEF means it will be hard to hit him, especially if it is a warjack that is disrupted. His life grid is average, and though his ARM is average combine with the fact I have put some warjacks with him that don’t need a lot of focus means he has decent survivability.
As for his spells and feat now. He has an attack spell called Arcane Blast that costs about half his FOC to cast with average range and POW with a small AOE. He has a low cost attack spell called Arcane Bolt,that has the range of a handcannon and a POW just a little lower than the handcannon. His great attack spell is called Earthquake, cost half of his FOC but has average range a the biggest AOE possible, though does no damage but all models that are in the AOE are knocked down. He also has 3 upkeep spells that are all usually good to upkeep and affect friendly model/unit. The first is Blur, this is where the targer gets a good bonus to its DEF vs range and magic attacks. The second is Snipe and it gives the target a great bonus to the range attacks’ RNG. The last spell is Arcane Shield, this gives a good bonus to the target’s ARM. His feat is very solid, while in his CTRL friendly faction models gain a very high bonus to ARM.
Stryker to me is a very forgiving warcaster. What I mean is that he is one that at times you can make a mistake in the game and he is one that with his toolbox of tricks allows you to recover from the mistake. With his spell list and feat you usually don’t have to worry about to many things contradicting themselves. What I usually do with him his I have him snipe Gorman, because if the bombs of either acid/rust/black oil are already annoying and he has to get close to you then I think a 10″ RNG is just as bad as a baby crying on an airplane. I have him Blur the Stormblades as they have crap for DEF so it allows for them to usually make it across the battlefield. He puts Arcane Shield upon Rowdy as I feel of my 2 heavy jacks he is more important. This is partly due to the fact that he can charge for free, great MAT, doesn’t move when slammed while in base contact with Stryker and Stryker gets a bonus to DEF against melee attacks too.
The Centurion usually is used to hold points or contest scenario zones as with the Journeyman’s Arcane Shield on him makes him hard to get rid of. The Journeyman has the Hunter, I know I am given crap all the time for putting a warjack at all on the Journeyman but I just can’t let focus that could be used go to waste. The Hunter usually gets at least 1 of the Journeyman’s focus, sometimes both of the focus that are left after he upkeeps Arcane Shield. The Hunter is able to go after the high ARM enemies, of the medium and large base type, though I do at times try to pick off the occasional solo of infantry that just needs to be gotten rid of. The Squire is there to help extend Stryker’s feat and to also allow for extra focus, though only 3 times a game, to help him manage his battlegroup.
The Stormblades usually try to go after infantry with their assaulting range attacks. Though they usually have difficulty hitting something this is why Stryker has Earthquake. With the Standard they are able to generate AOE attacks that have an above average POW. I do tend to send them after warjacks and warbeasts as they do have an above average melee POW. The Piper is here for this unit as I usually put Dirge upon them which makes them with Blur DEF 13 vs melee and 16 vs range and magic attacks. Granted he can give them tough, though I prefer the DEF bump, I also can give them pathfinder if need be. Though the Stormclad does not usually activate until one of the Stormblades are close to it as it gets a focus allocated to it for starting close to them when it activates. Now the Stormblade jack marshal doesn’t have a drive but the Stormclad does hit very hard in melee. Combine this with the fact it gets to charge, run, boost an attack, boost a damage roll, or buy an additional attack due to jack marshal. Now it gets another focus for activating near a stormblade, now it has effectively 2 focus. But with Strangeways there I have Strangeways activate first, he gives the Stormblade a focus due to Power Booster, so now the Stormclad has about 3 focus (though 2 actual focus). Strangeways also helps repair the Stormclad as he will be my heavy warjack that doesn’t get Arcane Shield and will suffer more damage than the other 2 heavies.
Though this is where the beauty in all this craziness lies. Even if he gets his cortex knocked out, which means normally he wouldn’t get a focus for being close to the Stormblades or even if he has been disrupted for some reason, you can normally get around both. Arlan can fix the cortex if it gets crippled by repairing it, which allows for it to get the focus for activating next to the Stormblades. Or if it has been disrupted normally it wouldn’t get a focus from the Stormblades as this is an allocation effect. So Strangeways gives it a focus due to Power Booster and now it is no longer disrupted and can get another from the Stormblades.
All and all you can see now how this is a list that is able to stand strong against whatever the enemy throws at you and is more than able to make up for its mistakes. Though of course upkeep removal will be a problem so make sure to get rid of those things. If it is coming from a warcaster/warlock then get rid of the warcaster/warlock and you will be fine and able to upkeep all the spells you want.