Victoria, for she does not know defeat… Warmachine Cygnar Tactics
I think eHaley is the best caster in the game. I’m not in love with all of the deliberate handicapping that’s going on lately. So I wrote a tactica for the model I think is the best.
eHaley has fairly average stats. Her focus is conspicuously high, and her def is on the high end, but her armor isn’t the best, and her offensive potential is minimal. I’ve seen her charge Rasheth and stab him to death, but that’s about all.
Warjack Bond: I’ve seen others (notably eSorscha’s) argued for best in the game, but its hard to discount a blanket 2″ threat range increase for your heavy hitter, with no downside. eHaley’s Stormwall can get 4 focus, and can advance 7″. That’s a pretty big deal. The bond can’t be dispelled, it is a wonderful perk on a caster.
Set Defense: This is a nice perk for eHaley, thus its the sort of thing Constance and some of the other casters and Cygnar would give their right eyeteeth for. Infantry basically can’t hurt a caster without charging. Charging infantry have to hit 18 to hit eHaley. Now, normally you don’t get to charge eHaley, but I’ve seen a certain Lich Lord feat on her a couple of times, and I’ve seen eHaley’s sky high anti-charge defense save her twice.
Replication: This ability rarely comes up, because eHaley would rather cast her amazing spells than your comparatively less impressive ones. But I’ve seen it used. She can cast anything offensive you cast in her (massive) control radius by spending focus. So casters and the Deathjack are valid targets for mimicry. Signature Spells are usually where this gets cast. Overrun, crippling grasp, freezing grip, etc.
Arcane bolt: This is a pretty rubbish spell. But range 12 is noteworthy. Everyone has to have an attack spell, and this is her basic one.
Domination: This is ostensibly her signature spell, but its more of a circus trick. She rarely deploys this one, TK usually accomplishes the same thing (get the enemy closer, turn shield the wrong way) for less investment. But from time to time she’ll trot this out. Shooting Magnus with his own Renegade. Making eSorscha’s bonded devastator attack something and drop to arm 17, or just putting a pow 19 on something with a jugger’s ice axe. Its an exclamation point spell. She doesn’t usually need it, but it helps with a few select situations, and it is a stylish way to win.
Time Bomb: Oh PP and your pun names for things….This spell is a big deal. It allows her to put a speed debuff on spell warded models. Normally that’s only possible with a feat. But if the Defender’s warded avatar is bearing down on her army, and she’s already feated, she can slow it to a crawl by time bombing something B2B with it. The def debuff on a spell that is an AOE (and hence can hit things without rolling) is also a nice touch. It is saying something about eHaley that this isn’t one of her best spells. I’m not saying that this spell is fantastic, in fact using it is usually a mistake, since you can generally get the bennies from TK, but having the option is awesome.
Deceleration: This is a Basilisk Krea aura that covers her whole army. This spell is nonsense. This isn’t deflection (which only works on warrior models), this isn’t batten (which reduces def), this spell is just a blanket +2 +2 to her whole list. This spell heavily tilts the trades her way in a gunline on gunline scenario.
Deadeye: Ugh, gutpunch of a spell. Cygnar is already an incredibly accurate faction, because of rangers and because their long range models often get to aim. This spell makes them preternaturally accurate. Iron Fleshed Nyss Hunters run up on you, and you run one ranger into them, aim with your gunmages, and now you need 7’s on 3 dice. Preposterous. Gunmages under this spell can often aim and shoot models out of melee. To say nothing of what it does for your crit chances for brutal and KD. There is a reason this spell is one of the most desired in the Cygnaran arsenal.
Telekinesis: What’s there to say. Considered the best spell in the game. TK is such a good spell that Sturm and Drang get a second look just for having it. eHaley has a great character arc node, a reroll from her squire, and a cozy 8(9) focus to cast from.
Temporal Acceleration: *Sob*. Every part of this spell is nonsense. The first thing to notice is that the 2″ of extra movement is not contingent on it charging. The other part is that the extra initial can be a ranged attack or a melee attack. Anything with awesome initials just gets better with this spell. Toss it on a hunter. Toss it on a Gunmage martial’d defender. Give it to the Stormwall. Knock another 5″ circle down with the Avenger. Whatever. This is eHaley’s best spell in my opinion.
eHaley’s feat is, hands down, the best defensive feat in the game. Local opinion is that defensive feats are better than offensive feats in general, which would make this the best in the game. That’s debateable, but what is not is that it is completely crippling.
Looking at it, the brutality is obvious. KD you can’t shake, right? But it isn’t until you’ve played it a few times that you get an idea of just how awful it really is. The naive interpretation is that its pretty much a coven/eDenny control feat. Your melee guys are going to be useless, but you have some hope for your magic/ranged guys, and your caster is going to be unhindered…except that that’s a lie.
The melee guys are helpless, sure enough, but the ranged guys are basically also hosed. First off, they can’t aim. Most of us automatically count on that +2 to hit, once we are in range. I tend to think of my woldstalkers as rat 8. Not so under Haley’s feat. Next up, remember deceleration. Odds are that that’s in play. Lastly, your buffing stuff won’t work right. Joe goes after winter guard, choir goes after jacks, deadeye caster goes after shooters, etc Lastly for the shooters, you have to remember that eHaley’s army might be engaged. She’ll run reachers up to non-reachers and not let you move the model they are engaging until after the long gunners go.
This even messes with your caster. Your arc nodes will go after you. Sylas & the Combine will go after you. It is maddening. This can even mess with your feat. Even if the Strike Force are in aim range of eHaley they can’t kill her this round, because Ravyn can’t feat (she gets to go after them) and they can’t aim. eButcher gets to go after his army, so even if they kill something he doesn’t get any corpse tokens.
Oh, and the feat is massive, and its an Aura (so if you someone warp guys into it preactivation they fall victim as well), and it is models/units (so she can TK one member of a unit that was outside of the feat into it…and now the entire unit is affected).
How it works on the table:
So, here’s eHaley’s basic KO pattern. She’s an attrition specialist.
Step 1: As the army’s close on one another, her gunmages and other long range models get deadeye, and she decelerates. This basically guarantees ranged superiority.
Step 2: The enemy, withering under the firepower, runs up on her.
Step 3: eHaley deep commits, inflicting heavy damage, feats.
Step 4: The enemy flounders under eHaley’s feat. Basically they advance a bit.
Step 5: eHaley herself backs up and camps, her army takes the enemy apart in a second round of close range attacks.
Step 6: Desperation assassination attempt (after losing the initial long range exchange and enduring 2 rounds of attacks the enemy is too far behind in attrition to do anything else).
Step 7: If Haley isn’t dead, she wins with a third round of attrition.
Now, obviously, I didn’t figure in the enemy’s feat, but the two things to take note of are:
#1: eHaley controls the feat tempo with ranged superiority (derived from deadeye + decel+big focus pool+Cygnar being a great shooting faction)
#2: eHaley can crush the enemy’s feat turn with her own (if they have an offensive feat they can’t use it as they are forced to go after their guys, if they have a defensive feat it probably won’t affect her mostly shooting based army)
Part of her superiority is how good she is at this game plan. It is a robust framework for victory, relying on very broad assumptions about the enemy army. It nearly always works. I’ve seen all sorts of tourney lists get mired in the feat and ground down. The other part of her supremacy comes from the fact that this isn’t remotely all she can get up to. Attrition is her ground game, but she casually excels at the other 2 victory patterns as well.
if eHaley decides to concentrate on scenario, she’s a deadeye caster with gunmages for pushing, and her feat stops running and goes deep into the enemy’s backfield. Then too, she’s a TK caster with an arc node. She isn’t quite the Stormlord, but she isn’t far off. She can shove folks out of a zone and feat on them with the best of em. Her feats huge radius is especially significant, as is her ability to choose the enemy’s activation order back to front, so only the front line even get to try and walk into the zone. (remember, no trampling under the feat)
eHaley’s bonded, accelerated stormclad walks 9 inches, has reach, and can have an extra initial and 4 focus. It threats 14″, base. She can TK it for 16. That’s basically a primal’d warpwolf stalker (-1/-1 but one extra initial), but much faster, and in a faction with eEiryss. Arlan might make it immune to frees strikes, if he’s around. Worst of all, this thing often gets to try twice, as her feat can spoil any attempts to counter-kill it.
So, in eHaley we have a caster who has it all, and can do it all. She can attrit, assassinate or scenario at levels that I’d classify as roughly A+, A and A. On top of that she has all the extra special shenanigans that you could ask for. Affinity with Thorn, Bond, Set Defense, Replication, Domination, cool Tier list…
Finally, in a hilarious twist, she’s actually more rare than you’d think in tourneys. My theory is that she’s not something you play in friendly matches, so when tourney time comes round people don’t feel that they have sufficient experience with her. Also, eHaley is so obviously the best that she gets hit hard by people decrutching or army swapping or trying to prove a point to the internet or what have you.
eHaley doesn’t have any big weaknesses, these are more like things to be aware of.
#1: No personal attack power. The only caster I’ve ever seen eHaley stab to death is Rasheth. Her personal offensive capacity is almost nill. This shouldn’t, in general, matter, but if your enemy plays his heart out and matches your attrition eHaley will usually be unable to break the enemy’s camp on her own. (The reverse might well be true, depending on who it is).
#2: Spends her focus. eHaley has Cygnar jacks to fuel and the game’s best spells to cast. She’s nearly always out of focus. If someone gets an assassination attempt on you before you’ve dropped into camp mode it’ll usually work out for them. Normally, distance keeps you safe from this. The Feat turn, however, is the exception. On the feat turn eHaley wants to be in 18″ of the entire enemy army, so she’s way up in front, with no focus. Be incredibly careful about the feat turn.
eHaley shares her sister’s ability to take any models and make them great. If you have a particular model you want to get more work out of you can use eHaley to see it in its optimum light. I knew a guy who loved Triumph. So he played it with eHaley. It got 2″ of movement from TK while still aiming, and an extra initial, and a round of free shots while the enemy was feated on. It looked like a heck of a piece when you saw how much it did on the table.
The Big Split(s)
eHaley’s ability to use anything can make building a list for her a little bit bewildering. The basic shape is:
But what comes next? You’ve got the Cygnaran power pieces, but what kind of meat do you put on these bones? There are basically 2 choices you have to make.
#1: Stormwall or Stormclad.
You need a main piece, and it is going to be a giant lightning powered jack. The Stormclad is the trusty dusty Cygnaran workhorse. He can be TK’d. He’s much smaller in terms of fitting places. He’s half the price. The Stormwall is the new hotness. He hits like a train full of trucks. He has guns. He can walk 9″ (with bond and accel) and make a power attack on something 2″ away.
There’s also a second question, the eternal question.
#2: To Arc or not to Arc?
eHaley has a great character arcnode. But does she need it? Thorn/Lancer unlock her offensive options (time bomb, TK), but she can play a fine game without it just spamming accel, decel and deadeye, and feeding jacks. I’ve played against both styles of eHaley list, and they are both deadly.
Once you’ve got your battlegroup, whatever it might be, and your Cygnaran ranged infantry the only thing that remains is to fill up your extra points. I’ve seen Rangers for AD, I’ve seen merc solo spam (Anastasia with eHaley’s feat is a hateful thing), I’ve seen Boomhowlers. There isn’t really any way to go wrong. Take good stuff, rejoice as it gets 2 turns.
So that’s my eHaley tactica, such as it is. Aside from taking her up on the front line and stabbing things its hard to do eHaley wrong, but I hope I’ve contributed to some folks understanding of this caster.