Thursdays with Thanan: Cygnar Battle Box

Welcome back to another semi-exciting Thursdays with Thanan! Today, we look into the iconic faction of Cygnar. The Cygnar battle box comes with Stryker 1 (aka pStryker), an Ironclad heavy warjack, a Lancer light warjack, and a Charger light warjack. This battle box contains a very mixed arms approach to Cygnar, with a dependable, if basic heavy, an arc node to sling spells through, and a light with a good gun. This pack has a little of everything and does most things pretty well, focusing on giving good options in each situation instead of dominating any one particular part of the game.

Stryker 1 – Stryker is Cygnar’s poster boy. He is pretty OK at just about everything, with stats to match. He is slightly better at hitting in melee than at range, and has slightly above average defensive stats, with defense of one higher than his armor. His average focus allows him to cast all 3 of his upkeep spells on turn one, and then upkeep them and have 3 left over each turn to boost his armor a bit, or use to pass out to his jacks for charges, boosts, and such. Both Stryker’s weapons have the disruption ability, which is good against jacks, a disrupted warjack loses any focus currently on it, cannot be allocated focus next turn, or have spells channeled through it. This can, potentially, help minimize retaliation or stall an opponent’s battle plan.

  • Arcane Blast– A small AOE to take out clumps of infantry. Probably not going to use this too often in the battle box, but it hits hard enough that when boosted, it can definitely put some damage on most things.
  • Arcane Bolt– A ranged magic attack. Mostly useful for taking out solos or key individuals in a unit through the arc node on the Lancer. The POW is one better than Stryker’s gun, but the spell costs more focus than just shooting and boosting.
  • Arcane Shield– +3 armor? Yes please. Put this on squishy things and they live longer. Put this on your jacks, and they become very hard to crack. Put this on Stryker, and he is suddenly pretty darn tough! Turn 1 + upkeep.
  • Blur– +3 defense against ranged or magic is pretty awesome on the approach. If your opponent has shooting or arc nodes, this is a good thing to put out there. If you’re facing an all melee list, this clearly won’t help as much, but does still help against magic. Turn 1 + upkeep.
  • Earthquake– large template, and everything is knocked down. Arc this through your lancer, and you can knockdown a heavy or light (or a caster!) and make them super easy to hit! Suddenly defense 17 doesn’t seem so bad, as the large template probably won’t deviate that far off your target. Do beware, however, as your own models can be knocked down too. If your own guys get knocked down on your turn, that sucks, because they have to sacrifice either their movement or their activation.
  • Snipe– this spell is great, +4 range on any gun. Put this on your charger, and he will be able to gain the aiming bonus on so much more! Or put it on Stryker and take pot shots to disrupt those jacks from a somewhat safer location! I love this spell so much. Turn 1 + upkeep.

Stryker’s feat: everything in his control area has + 5 armor. This stacks with arcane shield, so that model gets +8. Also stacks with overboost, so a maximum (in the battle box) of plus 13 armor. If Stryker has arcane shield, camps 5 focus (he had to spend one to upkeep arcane shield, remember?), and uses his feat, he’s suddenly defense 16, armor 28. Even heavies will have a tough time putting damage on him. That said, please do not put Stryker up against a heavy and assume that he will survive. This feat can be used two different ways primarily. Use it early against a heavy shooting or magic list, to keep your force intact to engage more directly, or use it on the charge turn, to minimize retaliation. Of course, you could cast it pretty much any turn after one.

Ironclad – The Ironclad is the main heavy chassis on which most of Cygnar’s heavies are based. It is moderately speedy, has the same mat as Stryker, and is fairly easily hit in combat. Luckily, he does have pretty solid armor. This makes him fairly survivable in melee, especially with arcane shield on him (or Stryker’s feat!).  His main weapon is his quake hammer, which has critical knockdown, hits like a truck, and as a special action, he can knockdown everyone in 2” range of his base. He also has a somewhat less awesome open fist, but that does allow him to make weapon or head locks or one handed throws.

Lancer – The Lancer is Cygnar’s arc node. Ironically, for the faction that invented arc nodes, it is the only one Cygnar has. Regardless, the arc node ability allows your caster to sling spells through this model, as long as it is in his control area, essentially adding 12” to Stryker’s range for using his spells. This is stopped if the lancer is engaged, however. The lancer has the same speed as Stryker, letting it run up to 12”. It isn’t particularly good in combat with just average mat, but then it wasn’t meant to be. It does have slightly higher defense than average, with set defense, so models in it’s front arc are at -2 to hit on charge, slam, or impact attacks. It also has a shield, which while not disabled grants +2 armor. One important thing to note about the lancer’s shield is that it does cortex damage. If an opposing jack hits the lancer with a melee attack, it takes one point of cortex damage. Also, if the lancer attacks an opposing jack with the shield, it takes one point of cortex damage. Frying cortexes is pretty sweet, but having an arc node is generally better.

Charger– The charger exemplifies versatility. It has the same stats as the lancer (or is it the other way around?). Instead of a lance, it has a battle hammer, but it’s dual cannon is the reason to bring it. The dual cannon is rate of fire 2, range 12, with the same power as the battle hammer. The cannon has the special rule powerful attack, meaning if you spend 3 focus on it, you can take two fully boosted attacks with it, which is pretty sweet.

Cygnar battle box play style and tactics – As I’ve hopefully made clear, the Cygnar battle box’s approach to the game is one of diversification. It has some shooting, some magic, some melee. The general approach depends on whether you can force the opponent to come to you by utilizing the magic and shooting part, or if they have similar (better?) ranged game than you. If you can keep the lancer and the charger up front a bit, slinging spells and lead at the opponent, forcing them to run to you, that works in your favor, as it gives you a turn or two of putting damage on them before they can hurt you. If the opponent forces you to get in close to really do much, you can continue putting damage on as you close. One popular way to get assassinations with Stryker 1 is to use the lancer to run close to the opponent’s caster, arc earthquake, and then use the charger and Stryker to shoot them while they’re knocked down, as only double 1s will typically miss. Then, if they are still alive, insert Ironclad quake hammer to face.

Warnings and such– The strength of the Cygnar battle box is also, potentially, a weak point. Some opponents can close the distance quickly and engage you without taking many points of damage, or they may be stealthed and you cannot shoot them, or they could have a better ranged game than you and you need to close the gap or risk attrition and death at range. Use of Stryker’s spells and feat will certainly help you minimize these risks, but keep in mind that knowledge of your opponent’s forces and threat ranges is key to ensuring a victory.

Tune in next week where I’ll review the Legion of Everblight battle box! If you have any requests or questions, leave a comment, and I’ll address it in a first come, first served style.


Author: David Counts

David Counts plays Circle Orboros primarily, and has recently gotten into Cygnar. He enjoys rolling 1s way more often than statistically probable and long walks on the beach. You can find David most days in or around Des Moines.

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