So to fulfill another request I have decided to write about a Cygnar warcaster that does not get a whole lot of love. I have even played this warcaster in a tournament against the Great Legion of Jake, though I must admit that in a weekly game we get together for he had beaten me and this was a rematch we had in the semi-finals of a local tournament. So maybe one day we will have our best 2 out of 3 match. This list was not used in that tournament though many of the models were and I have had to tailor the list to match part of the request but as I present the list I will put next to the models which were part of the tournament list. So here is the list, it is a theme list so I will make sure to put in there the requirements and benefits at the end which will explain point reductions in models:
Captain Darius +5-Model that was in game against Jake
Centurion (1) 8-Jake Game
Stormclad (1) 9-Jake Game
Thunderhead (1) 11
Squire 2-Jake Game
Journeyman 3-Jake Game
Iron Clad (1) 6
Arlan Strangewayes 2
10 Swordknights with Officer and Standard Bearer 8-Jake Game
10 Swordknights with Officer and Standard Bearer 6 (2)
Tier 1 Requirement: List only includes certain models
Tier1 Benefit: Models in Darius’s battlegroup gain parthfinder during first turn
Tier 2 Requirement: Army includes 2 or more Sword Knights units
Tier 2 Benefit: Add one unit attachment to a Sword Knight unit for free and regardless of FA
Tier 3 Requirement: No light warjacks in the army
Tier 3 Benefit: Reduce the point cost of heavy warjacks in the army by 1 point
Tier 4 Requirement: Darius’s battlegroup has the Thunderhead
Tier 4 Benefit: Deployment zone is extended 2″
So lets take a look at the warcaster first. He has average FOC and CMD, hence the squire to help him extend his control area and help upkeep his spell. His SPD is a little below average, his heavy warjacks can keep pace with him on a walk, but this is ok as he has way above average ARM and damage boxes. His MAT and RAT are about average for a jack caster, though he has 2 different melee weapons and 1 ranged weapon. His primary melee weapon is the quake hammer that the Ironclads carry, though due to his light warjack STR it is a little lower than the hammers carried by the Ironclads. It does however have the ability to knock down models on a critical hit as well as the special attack where he can knock down models within a close distance to him. The range attack has the range of a hand cannon, and a barely higher POW, but it comes with an above average AOE. Not something that you might use all the time but definitely you will use it as if your not using your melee attacks, charging, or any of the special actions he has then why not use it. He as the ability to repair his warjacks with an above average repair skill that removes a D6 worth of damage on a warjack he is in base to base contact. His greatest action he can do is immediately stand up all knocked down models within a close distance to him, he can do this and also select a model within this distance and place it anywhere within a very close distance of its current location. Keep in mind this is within, not completely within, so this means that you also get the length of the base of the model too.
Now he gets to bring to the battle with him 3 companion halfjacks, I say it like this so you don’t think that they are warjacks as they won’t benefit from Darius’s warjack spells and abilities, even though they are constructs and look like mini versions of warjacks. They do have the action to bodge a warjack in base to base contact so they can repair 1 point of damage on a friendly faction warjack. They also can become little land mine markers as their other action. They do have average SPD more solos but no melee or range weapons, though they do have above average DEF and ARM though they only have 1 damage box so when they do get hit you can say goodbye to the model. Darius does have 2 special abilities on his card that affect the halfjacks, thus why I put them in this section. If there is less than the 3 halfjacks in play that he gets to start the game off with in play then at the end of the control phase he gets to put into play 1 halfjack within a very close distance to him. Also after the continuous effects stage he can for free detonate any number of those little land mines, you get to then center an above average AOE over the marker and models under it take an above average POW blast damage. This damage roll can’t be boosted but as it is blast damage it applies to all models in the AOE, and like I said the POW is above average and I mean its POW is on par with POWs that are the initial POW of an AOE. Usually I try to keep the halfjacks to where they can be protected against the enemy so that when the time comes they can run to get in base to base contacts with the warjacks in the army so I can get as much use out of Darius’s feat.
Speaking of which lets now take a look at his feat and spell list. His feat is really dependent upon how many half jacks he has in play and his and their locations. Darius and the half jacks that are currently in his control area can completely repair one warjack they are in base to base contact with, has to be a friendly faction warjack. His spell list is pretty straight forward for a jack caster. He does have one attack spell, Arcantrik Bolt (low cost spell, average range and POW, if a warjack is damaged by the spell it becomes stationary for one round). He has a awesome upkeep spell, Fortify (affects a warjack in his battlegroup, gives the models a bonus to ARM and it can’t be knocked down or slammed or pushed, as well as friendly models in base to base contact gain the same benefits minus the ARM bonus). His primary spell that will be cast often, and take about half of his focus, is Full Throttle (warjacks in his battlegroup that begin their activations in his control area can run/charge/slam/trample for free, the second part requires those affect models to be within his control area as while they are in it then they get boosted melee attack rolls). Lastly he has the spell Jack Hammer (target a warjack in his battlegroup and the model gets to make 1 normal melee attack, this spell costs the bare minimum to cast though it is a very short range spell), great for running a warjack up, and then casting the spell a bunch of times to make attacks after a run, or even load up a jack with focus and then when you cast the spell its like getting more focus for your jack. One good thing to do with this spell is remember it does not mess up your activation with a model so you can cast the spell, jack makes an attack which can free up models and charge lanes.
Now to take a look at what I do with the list. First of all the benefits of the theme list. I enjoy always with a slower army, slow in that your hard hitting warjacks move slower than some other hard hitting models, the extra inches to deployment zone. This means that you will be deployed 9″ going first and 12″ going second. You also are getting pathfinder in the beginning for you models that usually don’t have access to them. But the biggest thing is the combination of bonus points you get for your army. You are getting a free unit attachment for your sword knights which gives you 2 points to put somewhere else and you are getting a 1 point reduction on all heavy warjacks in your army, yes you don’t get some awesome lights but hey this is a melee power house list meant to take damage and repair it easily. This whole set up gave me in the army 4 extra points to throw around and to get something for a unit for free. The 4 extra points allowed for me to bring the squire and Arlan.
First thing to point out, and the thing I usually when I play my Cygnar, is the question “why do you have the Journayman controlling something, if you lose him you lose the warjack.” Well many people who have seen me play know I usually can protect him pretty well and don’t have to much need for worry, if it happens then Darius has to waddle his butt over there and reactivate it. But the Journayman does have access to Arcane Shield (an upkeep spell that gives an above average ARM bonus to the model/unit affected). Most people put this spell on Darius but I like to put it on one of his warjacks instead, when I do start to get a little low on warjacks and Darius is having to expose himself a little more then it gets put on him. The warjack that usually gets it is the Stormclad, this bonus along with his buckler, puts his ARM above even Khadoran heavies. The Stormclad in my eyes is the heavy hitter with a way above average melee POW so I feel he is the one to get the most protection, also with reach on that weapon and Darius’s crane ability he can have a surprising threat range on a charge. The Thunderhead can be used to clear out infantry, or if he happens to get a line to an important model with his range attack that has average range but above average POW as well as sustained attack with ROF 3. The Thunderhead also has a decent damage grid which allows for him to last through the fight for a while. I usually will have Fortify upkept on him as he will see the fight first along with the Stormclad as they are a little faster than the Centurion. Which brings me to the Centurion. He is one of those models that can take a hit and as long as his shield is active then he has ARM higher than Khadorans, which is why I have Arcane Shield and Fortify on the other jacks as now all 3 jacks in the battlegroup have ARM above 20.
The Centurion is most of the time for me running into position so the fact he has reach helps trigger the flank ability of the sword knights. So this brings up the reason why one unit usually follows the Centurion and the other unit follows the Stormclad. They are units that can handle things on their own without much support from other models as they have average stats across the stat line, though while they are in base to base with other models in the unit they do get a decent ARM buff, though still short of shield wall but is an ability that currently can not be ignored by the enemy. Not to forget to quote a friend but some infantry is just there to tie up things until your ability to boost warjacks make the fight. The Ironclad is there as I had 6 points left over and felt “why not another heavy.” It can be pretty effective with the 2 focus the Journayman will have after upkeeping his spell. The squire is there as to help Darius extend his control range for his important spell and upkeep his spell which then allows me to on average hand out 3 focus to his battlegroup jacks and still cast full throttle. This still does not leave a whole lot of focus so enter Arlan. He can usually give out a focus to a warjack, as long as it doesn’t have one already, which then means on average I can at least give out 2 focus from Darius to one jack, 1 focus to another, and then Arlan can give 1 to the other jack. He also has a way above average repair skill and even though might ask “but you already have the ability to repair with Darius and the halfjack regardless of whether its a feat turn or not. But lets look at this realistically, a smart enemy is going to know that the halfjacks are the key to the feat, so you will have to protect them and even with a couple of loses Arlan can at least step in to repair when you need it.