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May 13, 2013

Retribution of Scyrah: Battlebox Intro and Tactics

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Privateer Press updated their Retribution of Scryah collection with the inclusion of a spanking new battlebox.  Let's take a look.



While Privateer has had an “official” Retribution battlebox roster that was published shortly after the factions release, you had to purchase the models individually. This new box puts them all in one spot at a reduced price of their individual pieces and in plastic to boot, keeping with Privateers increasingly larger plastic miniatures in their product line. To get all the young aspiring Dawn Lords and Mage Hunter Commanders started, coming in at 11pts, the box comes with Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper,  a Chimera light myrmidon, Griffon light myrmidon and Manitcore heavy myrmidon. The myrmidons mirror their pewter brothers in look and design but Kaelyssa comes in a snazzy, new dynamic alternate sculpt. Enough of the looks, lets talk on what the battlebox brings to the table. (Note: This article is geared toward players looking at getting into the game and starting out with battlebox games)

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper 
Kaelyssa’s one of the Retributions mage hunters up and coming commanders, a fast rising star in their ranks. She comes stock with a good denial and anti-magic game, as befits a mage hunter. The rest of her stat line is pretty standard for a retribution caster, with her RAT being one point higher than most and her ARM being two points lower than the majority of Retributions casters...so with that, be wary of a few good AOE deviations. She hosts a good number of special abilities, with Energy Siphon, on both her range and melee attacks, being the standout. 

Energy Siphon allows her to strip a focus or fury point off a model hit and add it to her focus pool (FYI this doesn’t extend her control area...in case that crossed your mind:) At ROF 3, her magical Runebolt Cannon gives her a deceptive punch against a lot of threats when combined with this ability (not to mention one of her spells,...more on that later). The POW 10 shots gets increasingly powerful against casters as it reduces their camping ARM value and gives her that extra dice for boosted damage rolls. Alternatively she can use that gained focus for boosted attack rolls against those higher DEF casters or additional shots if she's really throwing focus around before going for the killshot.  Hordes casters don't get off easy either, in fact Energy Siphon catches many of them off guard and bones them worse as their, all to valuable, fury transfers are stripped as they are being whittled down. With their generally lower ARM stats, they’ll transfer what damage you do deal just to not have it used against them in that and/or the next attack against them. 

Most WarmaHordes factions are, at a minimum, aware of the myriad of model/units that have Arcane Assassin within Retribution, allowing them to straight ignore buffing spells and focus camping, so relying on those abilities isn't at the forefront of their battle plans to begin with...Kaelyssa takes it to the next level with Energy Siphon alone but thats not where it stops with her. Next up is True Sight, an ability that allows her to ignore Stealth, concealment and camouflage. Ret has some solid answers to stealth but it’s a notoriously troublesome ability to many new players, being able to straight ignore it, is of course a boon. Witch Hound kicks off Kaelyssa’s anti-magic shenanigans, giving a model in her battlegroup an out of activation a full advance and attack. There are of course a plethora of tactical options to take advantage of this one, the simplest using to to move a key model either out of harms way or to gain better offensive positioning for the following turn. It at least gives opponents pause, at best total abandonment, of shooting those all important debuffing/offensive spells at her battlegroup. 
Feat: The Vanishing...not just a creepy Kiefer Sutherland movie lol. The Vanishing gives all your friendly faction models Stealth and cannot be charged. A fun feat, with a lot of board control potential. The Vanishing gives your opponent that ultimatum of holding back his army or putting it in a vulnerable position for retaliation (just be wearily of those cunning players who will weigh the cost/benefit of trampling into your line to get off a a couple purchased attacks...and sprays, dont forget how great those got in MKII and that they’ll circumvent your feat). For these reasons it takes practice to time it right, either earl on to deny an opponent the range game or to ensure the charges are happening on you terms.
  • Arcantrik Bolt: Not the rarest of offensive spells in Warmachine, causing warjacks damaged to become stationary for a round. Of course this can be “shaken” off but it’ll drain focus pools and is hands-down useful as the catalyst for an offensive push. 
  • Arcane Reckoning: This one grants Whiplash to a model/unit, so when they are missed by a magic attack, the attacking model becomes the new target and automatically hit. Arcane Reckoning pairs well with Kaelyssa’s feat...it’s not uncommon for an opponent to forget all models in her CTRL area gain stealth when they did not the turn prior:)
  • Backlash: A great spell when pitting the Retribution battlebox against fellow Warmachine ones. Backlash is an offensive, upkeep spell that causes 1pt of damage to the controller of a warjack that is damaged. Preferred targets are obviously jacks but heavy’s that are roughly 5pt of ARM higher than the POW of the attacks your doing are ideal, since you are averaged to do enough to trigger Backlash but not so much that you only get a few pts of damage to their controlling caster before scrapping the thing. 
  • Banishing Ward: Further adding to Kael’s anti-magic vibe by expiring enemy upkeeps on friendly model/unit and preventing them from being targets of enemy spells after. No more annoying enemy debuffs ruining your day or those all powerful spell assassinations other battlebox’s can dish out. 
  • Phantom Hunter: An awesome spell that makes any model in Kaelyssa’s battlegroup 10x more troublesome on the table. The ability to ignore LOS when declaring charges, slams, attacks, concealment and cover is absolutely brutal when combined with Witch Hunter and Energy Siphon by themselves, let alone the myriad of abilities and combos the dual purpose warjacks of Retribution bring with them. 
  • Rift: A solid 4” AOE spell that sticks around for a round as a patch of rough terrain...not a terribly unique spell but it is Kaelyssa’s highest POW offensive spell on her list. Strictly speaking battlebox bouts, not many of them have access to pathfinder so this spells uselessness really shines in that context.
Chimera 
True to the battlebox “math” the Retribution box has an arc node in the Chimera. Its stat line is on par with other light warjacks across the game, where it stands out is in its Apparition and Phantasmal Field abilities. Apparition places the Chimaera completely within 2” of itself during the control phase and Phantasmal Field gives it a cumulative bonus of +1 DEF against ranged and magic attacks for each focus pt on it. Combined, these make for an extremely mobile and survivable arc node thats extremely difficult to pin down in the traditional methods, like your opponent running to engage it. Both these abilities have a catch, as the good ones always do; they only work as long as the Chimera’s Field Generator system is up....of course at that point the Arc Node, and jack for that matter, are probably already scrapped. If the Node does get thrashed or your up against an opponent that straight shuts done Arc Nodes, the Chimera ca still add to the fight with its two P+S Glaives independently or use its Combo Strike to deliver a more powerful blow. Don't forget it also has access to the normal power attacks available to light jacks. 
Griffon 
In a lot of regards the Griffon is a “Simple Jack” ha...at 4 pts its more akin to a badass medium infantry model and has definitely found its place in a lot of the popular internet lists for good reason. The Griffon comes stock with a Shield, taking its ARM to 18, and, for 1 Focus, give itself +2 movement for a turn. In the batlebox game its Pathfinder, Halberd, Fleet and Powerful Charge abilities make it a cruise missile waiting to be shot. Throw Phantom hunter on it and lie in weight behind a forest for added board control in Kaelyssa’s game. Like the Chimera, its Pathfinder and Fleet abilities are reliant on a working Field generator system. 
Manticore 
If the Griffon is the “guided missile” of the Retribution battlebox, the Manticore is battleship. Stat wise, his DEF and SPD are the standouts for heavy warjacks at 12 and 6 respectively. Those two will obviously see  use on the table as you start setting up those charge lanes and defensive positions.  Weapon wise, its lead is its ROF 3, RNG 12, POW 12 Cyclone Cannon. This one also contiune the Ret battlebox gear toward board control with its Covering Fire Special Action, allowing you to place a 3” AOE within the weapons range. Any model entering it or ending its activation in it take a POW 12 damage roll. While not blatantly useful in battlebox games due to the heavier ARM of jacks, as you expand out your game levels and see more infantry, it’ll start to shine. 

Another great target for Kaelyssa’s Phantom HunterIn the melee department, the Manticore is no slouch. His two, P+S 15, open hand fists can be further augmented in a turn with its Force Generator, adding an additional +3 STR for a focus pt. Throw its Combo Strike special attack and take that up to one massive P+S 23 hit, the strongest single damage roll in all the battlebox’s. Catch here is that after all that, assuming you had to charge to get to your target, you have one focus, again assuming you loaded the Manticore up, for one more melee attack at P+S 18. Not shabby but a bad die roll here can put it all to waist even more than a bad die roll in other circumstances lol. Also, the STR bonus applies to all the power attacks the Manticore makes so use that to your advantage combined with Kael’s Arcantrik Bolt to cause double the shake off drain on your opponent focus pool, on top of the extra distance his added STR provides. Mirroring its two light brethren, the Manticore’s loses both the Force Generator and Cyclone Cannon if its Field Generator goes out. 

Final Thoughts
Summing it up, at SPD 6, everyone’s quick; only the Cryx battlebox has a lead in that regard. The Ret jacks all benefit from Field Generator, for a focus point they can “heal” d3 off their Force Fields, helping to take at least a few good hits before getting to the  juicy center.  Like I stated earlier, the force is heavy on denial, both in board control and magic centric lists. Add in the multiple offensive options and this box highlights the Retributions combined-arms play style that wants to go for the throat and avoid protracted battles.

~ Hopefully all this gave you some good insight into the Retribution of Scyrah battlebox as you venture into Privateer Press game systems and gander at the pretty white elves. How do you think the Retribution battlebox stacks up against the rest? 
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