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November 15, 2012

Warmachine: Hyperion 101

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Hello all! October saw the release of the new Retribution of Scryah Colossal: Hyperion. Let’s take a gander at what this new model brings to the Retribution's bag of tricks and treats.


 Guest article by Steven Garcia

Let's look at the general Colossal rules and base stats on this beast and then dive into his synergies with our current roster of casters.

Colossals Basics
Colossals introduce new tactics and considerations to the table before you even consider the faction specific abilities involved. They all come stock with a 2” melee range and Pathfinder; getting around isn't much of an issue when you can barrel through everything. Colossals can't be moved outside their normal movement so no pesky Telekinesis, Slam, Push, model control, etc. for that “finesse” win. Just sit a Colossal where it can fit, hopefully causing worry or heartache for your opponent, and they'll have to deal with them if they're going for a scenario win. Unfortunately in Hyperion's case, this means he can't benefit from the movement shenanigans Retribution can pull off. Heck, even the huge base these guys are propped up on has uses on the table.  Between screening that much table space behind them and being able to contest multiple objectives or zones you get benefits for just putting them on the board.  They can't be knocked down or made stationary, although with their low def these effects are arguably irrelevant ha. They also cannot benefit from Stealth, Incorporeal or Advance Deployment, so a balance was struck when Privateer decided to put these mythic figures onto our game boards. Finally, when you buy one of these guys they come with a pre-marked base that denotes wheres its weapons arcs lie. Pretty simple in game terms, if you're in a weapons arc that weapon can target you.

Colossals get two new power attacks in addition to those already available: Power Strike and Sweep. The former is a “Roid Rage” one arm Slam. With the addition of an extra Colossal 2” tagged onto the normal d6, slamming other models out zones and off objectives is actually reliable when you're concocting your scenario win. Sweep, the other power attack available to Colossals is a straight “*****, you ain’t my baby’s mama!” to all models within a weapon's field of fire essentially making Sweep a ‘jack Thresher attack. When you consider the collateral damage the Power Strike can incur, you have two good anti-infantry attacks available in the Colossal's profile right off the bat.

Colossals also have the ability to make ranged attacks while in melee. Of note is an Infernal clarification that came up with Colossals on the distinction between their ability to make ranged attacks in melee, and the more common Gunfighter ability. Gunfighter stipulates you can’t get an aiming bonus with models you’re engaged with but a Gunfighter can still forfeit its movement to get the aiming bonus (not to mention other movement forfeiting benefits) and apply it to ranged attacks after clearing themselves of the enemy models engaging them.  Of course that's only if they have enough shots and they kill those engaging them. Not the case with Colossals, their rule says flat out they don’t get the aiming bonus while engaged. So at the point you check for forfeiting movement, an engaged colossal = no bonus regardless of becoming unengaged somehow before attacks start flying. It’s a small detail but that’s the game and it's played incorrectly on the table often with the “big” guys.

So you pawned your Xbox and kid sister's jewelry to get a Colossal, you’ve invested the Monster infused 3am paint sessions, cleared out half the models in your carrying case… and he gets scrapped in turn 2. No bueno indeed. First thing to consider in avoiding this situation is taking a look at your opponents army and identifying those pieces that will have the most negative, harmful impact on your “Sultan of Swat”. Seems simple enough, and should be the first thing you do in every game hopefully, but it's ten times more evident when a 5” circle just appears in the middle of the field and out of your master strategist hands. Don’t forget to consider those models and abilities that can’t necessarily scrap the guy but can neuter him from the game through indirect means like forfeiture of movement or action, locking him in position etc. Colossals cant be disrupted but there are models that can cause the same effect in everything but name like Hypnos' gun when he’s with Lord Arcanist Ossyan, eEiryss Technological Interference, etc. These model's ability to earn their points back on the table are most evident on Colossals and models with the Shield Guard rule do the same in protecting them from these effects. So if you're thinking “I'll go running for a forest or crafty placement of cloud effects” to hide your Colossal, think again because LOS isn't blocked by these for Colossal targeting purposes and your Huge based 'jacks cant benefit from Concealment, Cover or Elevation.  This means your only means of protection are in-house spells and effects. Regardless, if you have a decent ARM buff or above average DEF buff, their return will go a long way to your Colossal's survivability.

Hyperion
Ok, on to Hyperion. A House Shyeel Myrmidon with SPD 5, STR 16, MAT 6, RAT 5, DEF 10 and ARM 19 make for an average Colossal stat line - if anything is average for a Colossal. When you add in his Power Field Damage, Hyperion has a total of 64 boxes on its grid making it the hardiest of all the current Colossals. Add in the Arcanist’s repair and his own ability to “heal” his power field and Hyperion has some serious staying power before any faction buffs. Hyperion rocks 3 ranged weapons, the first being the “fury of the Iosan people”...the magical Starburst cannon. At POW 18 it's the strongest ranged weapon in the game and an AOE 5 makes even its blast damage something to be feared by heavy infantry. The Starburst critical effect is really where the star shines though, with the ability to remove small-base non-warcaster models from play.  That means no Tough rolls from Banes or Sea Dogs.  Even models affected by McBain's feat will just go away. While you only have a 37% chance of a crit on 3d6 most of the time, it's something your opponents have to consider in their movements and positioning on the table. At RNG 10 though it puts him just inside a lot of major threat ranges (more on that later). His Thresher Cannons rock the Auto FireD3 rule, making these RNG 12, POW 12 “mini” guns pretty good at clearing infantry or whittling jacks down for its Starburst attack. Hyperion’s Thresher Cannons are non-magical, so don’t go getting swept up in the fun of Starbursting Blackbane's crew before unleashing these bad boys cause they wont work. Its Blade Fists are POW 20, also not magical, doing straight damage to even Khador warjacks. Add on the Arcanist’s Concentrated Power +2 melee damage buff, Aiyana’s Harm debuff, a “Leroy Jenkins!” yell for good measure and Hyperion will demolish anything in its path. So on to some quick Hypno-synergy....

• Ravyn: Between Snipe and her feat, Ravyn has one of the best and easiest to apply benefits for Hyperion. Snipe gives Hyperion the range to start applying pressure early on with his plethora of ranged attacks and Discordia, a very popular choice with Ravyn, can give him the extra ARM not to be outshot by those few lists that are on par with Ravyn’s range game. Ossyan (More on him further down) is a popular choice for the extra damage but Ravyn’s Vortex of Destruction combined with a Colossal’s ability to fire in melee can mimic the same if you set it up right. Hyperion also offers protection for the typical Ravyn list with his sheer presence and melee output. With the fear that Ravyn can instill at range, many armies will rush at her force to tie them up in melee...with Hyperion, his POW 20 fists or POW 18 5” AOE, that starts to get impractical. The only thing that gets wasted with Hyperion and Ravyn is her Locomotion spell, a small price for everything she offers him. Depending on your flavor, having Lanyssa with a Veil of Mists to trigger Stealth with her Prowl is a reliable combo for her to advance up the field to give Hyperion the speed boost and focus efficiency with Hunters Mark...making his shift to melee beat stick balanced with his more ranged focus with Ravyn.

• Vyros: Probably Hyperion’s second best pairing with our current roster of casters. Again, more straightforward applications with Mobility, Inviolable Resolve and Bird’s Eye make his potential with Vyros easy to apply. Bird’s Eye has its usual uses for assassination avenues at range but melee is probably where you’ll be wanting to focusing Hyperion with Vyros.  Keep in mind that this battlegroup special ability doesn’t ignore the Colossal's Field of Fire rule but still extends Hyperion’s front arc 360 degrees. Don't get caught off guard if Hyperion fails to destroy or immobilize what he’s in combat with and Vyros or another juicy target is using his bulk for protection. Vyros’ feat also synergies well with Hyperion at range or in melee.  Bear in mind a critical hit with the Starburst wont dish out the extra focus under Vyros’ feat since it removes the models from play before the trigger. Vyros also offers some built in anti-Colossal protection with Strangle Hold, the forfeiture of movement or action can buy Hyperion another turn to wreck shop against his faction counterparts.

• Ossyan: Ok, his extra damage die on his feat turn is obviously a head turner for Hyperion, a 4 dice strong POW 18 pie plate is an awesome prospect and we’ve already seen which targets 3d6 POW 12 shots can take down but the challenge with this pairing is Ossyan’s limited means of helping to hit those targets. In a more typical Ossyan list you have a Banshee help with this, knocking models down left and right. But with the point sink of Hyperion you'll be stressed for points as it is. This leaves Ossyan’s Chronophage Cannon and his Chronomancer spell as his only options. Chronomancer....oh Chronomancer, boosting attack and damage rolls after the fact has the potential for serious focus efficiency on paper, especially with attacks like Sweep available. But it hardly pans out on the table leaving you using focus like normal or wishing you'd just kept one of Ossyan’s other upkeeps on him. Hyperion walking around with Quicken, giving him +2SPD and DEF, is nice and straightforward. It gets him where you want him but at DEF 12, not much will need to be boosting. If you have an Artificer with Force Wall up scuttling behind the big guy, his additional +2 DEF can start adding up. Shatterstorm gets really fun with Hyperion whether it's with his guns blazing or his fists, giving him some more anti-infantry shenanigans.

 • Rahn: Rahn offers Hyperion some Always appreciated survivability through Polarity Shield. With that shorter range on the Starburst, Hyperion needs to get dangerously close to retaliation if he isn't able to finish a model/unit off. Polarity Shield robs enemy models of that automatic boost that most are banking on to put a dent in Hyperion. Rhan’s Force Blast offers even more board control when Hyperion is the target. Between his large base, the extent of the push from Force Blast, and Polarity Shield, Hyperion can sit on almost any point/zone to auto claim control points turn after turn.

• Kaelyssa: Kaelyssa’s big boons to Hyperion are the no-charge half of her feat and Banishing Ward preventing him from being the target of spells. With Colossals stomping around the tabletop throwing ARM debuffs around is one of the best ways to stack things in your favor to take them down in one go.  Banishing Ward puts the breaks on those plans.  While her Witch Hound battlegroup ability doesn't allow Hyperion to move he still gets to make an attack. A 5” AOE or that huge fist getting the chance to hit your opponent in the middle of their turn can be enough of a concern to deter their plans.

• Garryth: Garryth doesn't do much for Hyperion unfortunately. Death Sentence can help with hitting models but Hyperion’s lower RAT doesn't scream for a successful reroll.  Gallows has the potential to drag models into Hyperion’s threat range but its unreliable d6 pull isn't something to plan a victory around. Hyperion can be a giant moving screen to deliver Garryth up the board and his feat has the potential to give Hyperion some staying power if he’s up against another Warmachine faction by not allowing jacks and casters those crucial boosts and extra attacks.

~ Retribution is a toolbox faction with tons of combinations at their disposal and Hyperion’s definitely a welcome addition to this trend. At 18pts, his value lies in his straight forward use on the table and just gets better from there. Creativity in how you want to go about getting the most from any model is the best part of this game. Hopefully this has given you a good introduction into the capabilities of Hyperion, what Colossals bring to the table, and some ideas on how to employ them in your games. Happy gaming.
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