Warmachine: Thememachine – Stormbringers

cygnar

This time on Thememachine we cover the personal lightning-powered army of everyone’s favorite time witch; Major Victoria Haley!

What’s up guys!? It’s Trevy the Great from Way of the Swan here again talking about another sweet theme force! This one is near and dear to my heart because it features one of the most reviled Warcasters in the game who, consequently, is one of my favorites; Major Victoria Haley, the time-wizard herself. Haley has two Theme Forces; an uninteresting one in Cygnar’s Forces of Warmachine book that features zounds of Trenchers and the one I’ll be writing about today; Stormbringers, found in No Quarter issue 37 that focuses on all the of the lightning tech forever!

 

haley

Haley; poster child of the poster children.

To start with, this theme force seems surprisingly unrestrictive; it ostensibly disallows Mercenaries and any solos that aren’t Stormsmiths, Gun Mages, Stormblades or Arlan Strangeways but still allows you to take any Arcane Tempest units (i.e. Blazers, Black 13th, Gun Mages), Field Mechaniks (these are important later), Storm Towers and Stormblade Infantry. Gun Mages are surprising, and are one of my favorite units to field with Haley2 alongside Stormblades, so this part of the theme force is unusually unrestrictive. The available Warjack options are interesting; in addition to Thorn, only ‘jacks with Damage Type: Electricity or Electro-Leap are allowed; it doesn’t specify non-character, however, so Dynamo and Thunderhead are fair game (although I wouldn’t recommend that latter). Obviously both Stormclads and Stormwalls are available as well. Lastly; Storm Striders can be included in the list; while not the usual choice, this Theme Force certainly makes the big walkers worth the hefty investment as you’ll see later.

 

So what do you get for following all these restrictions? Some pretty interesting benefits:

  • Tier 1 provides Advanced Move for one of your Storm Striders for each Field Mechanik unit in the army if you follow all the model restrictions. Since Storm Striders are the focal point of the theme force, paying 4 points for Advanced Move and some repairs for them is never a bad thing and can get them shooting those big guns much faster.
  • Tier 2 adds a free Stormsmith Stormcaller for each Storm Tower as long as one of each are included in the army. Because they’re so cool, maxing out on Stormsmiths in this list is a solid plan so this is a good way to get them while also getting more lightning generators into the list.
  • Tier 3 allocates a Focus to Haley’s Battlegroup on the first turn if you take Thorn; not super exciting but handy if Haley wants to spend her Focus elsewhere.
  • Tier 4 is what we’re all here for; by taking two Storm Striders they start the game fueled up with 3 Power Tokens. That’s huge; normally Storm Striders need to get in harms way to charge up where the fragile battle engine can potentially suffer catastrophic damage, but starting the game with 3 Tokens means that they can shoot first with an alpha strike with the hitting power of a Stormwall at range. With two of them shooting and boosting, they can wipe a heavy off the table without too much trouble.

 

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The blueprints for greatness

 

 

So putting this all together, what do you get? Obviously the main draw of the list are the Stormstriders, but it’s relatively flexible and can be played without them in a pinch (although for very little benefit). At Templecon I took a version of Stormbringers that sat at Tier 1 to the “Blood, Sweat and Tiers” event and it ended up being one of the most interesting and enjoyable Haley2 lists I’ve played yet:

 

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Stormclad (10pts) (Bonded)
* Dynamo (10pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
* * Stormclad (10pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 3 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (3pts)
Captain Arlan Strangewayes (2pts)

 

Way back in this day I used to play Haley with two Stormclads religiously, so this list took me back a bit. While obviously it doesn’t benefit at all from the Theme Force, this list has a lot of tricks that took people by surprise. While Haley’s Bonded Stormclad is the biggest obvious threat on the board, the list was designed to skirmish for a couple turns before the heavies needed to get into melee, and it does that very well. The Stormclad ‘jack marshaled to the Pistoleers can use their Rune Shots on its Generator Blast, making it RNG 12” using the Snipe shot and gets the equivalent of 3 FOC every turn from the marshal, Arlan and Stormblades. Dynamo is another powerful ranged threat and Haley can keep him safe from reprisal by using Telekinesis to pull him back away from enemies that could get to him. All these big lightning guns combined with Gun Mage and Stormblade shooting created a deceptively powerful gunline that forced enemies to close with it so that those heavies could get into melee and start wrecking face. Obviously, at Tier 1 it could stand to shift some points around and drop out of tier if you really wanted to.

 

Wratch_Cover_4

 

Let’s talk about lists that focus on those big lightning walkers, though! That’s the real reason to put Stormbringers on the table! Once you put all the pieces to get to Tier 4 into a list, you aren’t left with a ton of flexibility:

 

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Storm Tower (2pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

 

The Field Mechaniks aren’t required per se, but I find the Advanced Move so useful on at least one of the Striders that it’s tough to leave them at home. DEF 14 and some repairs is always nice as well.

 

From here there are a couple ways to go; obviously you can go whole-hog on the big, stompy lightning robots and bond a Stormwall to Haley, which is my favorite variant for a couple reasons. Combined with the lightning cannons of the Storm Striders, the list then puts out 6-7 (when Temp Accel) boosted POW 15 gun shots on its first turn of shooting, enough to deal crippling damage to enemy armored targets (~35 damage vs. ARM 20). Besides its obvious power, the Stormwall synergizes extremely well with the Storm Strider’s abilities; it can protect them with Covering Fire and offer a significant melee presence to back up their powerful shooting. Lightning pods offer an easy target for Lightning Generators from the Stormstriders guns, even allowing you to leap lightning into your opponent’s Advanced Deploy models on the first turn of the game! With 3 Power Tokens a piece, boosted lightning generators can offer a strong assassination threat if your opponent decides to get too frisky.

 

CygnarStormwall

“Did someone say lightning!!!?”

 

 

In a Stormwall-based list, I like to take more Stormcallers, not only to act as spark nodes for the Storm Striders and Towers themselves, but to Triangulate off Lightning Pods and further increase the anti-infantry capabilities of the list. Between lots of powerful shooting, the Stormwall’s melee capabilities and the massive amount of lightning being thrown out to lawnmower infantry, this list can be a force that truly takes all comers:

 

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts)
* Stormwall (19pts) (Bonded)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Storm Tower (2pts)
Storm Tower (2pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (0pts)

Stormsmith Stormcaller (0pts)

 

Instead of an expensive Colossal, the list can bring a stronger infantry game if Haley reduces the size of her battlegroup. Unfortunately, without the support options that Cygnar often needs to get the most out of its soldiers, these troopers aren’t going to be as effective as they would in a standard list. Regardless, if there’s a Warcaster in Cygnar that gets work out of Gun Mages and Stormblades, it’s Haley2.

 

Personally, I am fan of a Bonded Stormclad with Haley2; with a potential 18” theat range between Telekinesis and Temporal Acceleration and Temporal Shift to protect it once it makes contact, this little ‘jack can cause an obscene amount of death. The points saved by reducing the Stormwall to a Stormclad can be used on a unit of Stormblades to destroy enemy heavies or a bevy of Gun Mages to specialize the list into more of an anti-infantry role:

 

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts)
* Stormclad (10pts) (Bonded)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Storm Tower (2pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 3 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (3pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

Stormsmith Stormcaller (0pts)

 

captian_haley_by_howietzer-d49uhor

Art by Howietzer (http://howietzer.deviantart.com/)

 

Similarly, by removing the Stormclad altogether and relying on the theme’s infantry options, a well-rounded list with more of an infantry skew can be created. A mass of Stormblades followed up by the powerful shooting of two buffed Storm Striders is a tough opponent for any enemy:

 

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts) (Bonded)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Field Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Storm Tower (2pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 3 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (3pts)

Stormblade Captain (2pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (0pts)

 

As you can see, Stormbringers is an exciting option for Haley2 players that brings the powerful lightning tech of the Storm Strider to the fore. This theme is very flexible and can be run many different ways, each supported differently by its controlling Warcaster.

 

Are you a storm-head? How do you play your Stormbringers? Remember to check out Way of the Swan for more sweet Cygnar content!

  • zeno666

    You evil, evil person. Now I want to get another Storm Strider 😉

    Again, awsome writeup, much appreciated for a newbie Cygnar player

  • Shawn

    Very cool write up. Makes me want to play Haley. Typically I play Nemo3 if I want a wrecking lightning list. I got to try this out.

  • Mr. Nailbrain

    Now if only PP made a theme force that buffed the Animantarax as well as it did the Storm Strider!