Can Warmachine and Hordes players expect to see Kara Sloan everywhere?
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with the first in a series critically assessing the rising “hot lists” of Mark III. What casters are going to be the early dominant ones for the new edition, and what lists are going to pick up steam and become common features of the tournament scene?
Cygnar’s Kara Sloan is the very first one that I noted making the rounds. Players looked at her feat (all models in her battlegroup take an immediate shot, with a bonus to hit) and saw the power of combining it with the new warjack focus rules, the fact that she lets her battlegroup ignore clouds and Stealth, and the Hunter light warjack. The Hunter is especially intriguing as an option because of a few factors: advance deploy plus extended control range, 14″ normal range on their gun, and the fact that every shot halves the base armor of the model they hit for purposes of calculating damage. Now, the gun is only POW 6, with the halving note what happens: solid infantry (ARM 16) are dice minus 2, while the average Khador heavies are merely dice minus 4. And she can fit in a whopping NINE of them, with points left to include Reinholdt for his benefits, Ragman for a second source of magic attacks, or whatever else you feel covers a gap. With her feat as written, especially if she gets second turn, her Hunters can even run in their first activations–then her feat lets you get off nine armor piercing shots at 42″ deep (10″ deploy plus 6″ advance deploy, 12″ run, 14″ range). That can catch a number of players unaware to be sure.
There is outcry on the forums and social media that the list is broken, shoots anything off the table, and permits first-turn assassinations. There’s a persistent report that the feat will be changed with errata to be an extra shot during the model’s activation (and casting her buff spell for free)–which stops the bottom of turn one assassination but still leaves it a rough list to face. Many non-Cygnar players are talking about variations of this list in terms of planning how to build a list that can survive the onslaught. And I’ve seen the rumor spread that distributors are completely sold out of Hunter kits owing to people buying them up for spam lists.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Gamers with inside knowledge of what remains on the shelves of all the distributors have been spotted!
Now that said, it’s also clearly the case that Kara Sloan warjack gunlines are likely to be a thing. The first big Mark III event (Texicon 2016) had a Cygnar player finish in the top eight: Albert Hanna. One of his three lists was a Kara Sloan list, but it was hardly the spam-threatened Kara plus eleven Hunters. His list had only three Hunters, paired with two Defenders, and shooting infantry in the form of Tempest Blazers and Gun Mages (and was paired with a Caine2 and a Haley3 list). Many players are tempering and adjusting the list, putting in Defenders or other guns to have more variety in the shooting (high POW, even longer range, durability, or AOE’s), or some infantry clearing options to keep an infantry spam list from being able to weather the storm of gunfire with sheer numbers.
What a Kara Sloan Spam List Does to the Warmachine and Hordes Meta
So whether the Nine Hunter Spam List becomes a thing or not, the buzz will still have an effect on the meta: both what Cygnar players bring and what other factions include in one of their lists. As always, that means thinking one step ahead of the meta. If everyone thinks they need a Kara Sloan answer, what are those answers likely to be and how can you craft your lists to include that answer yourself as well as an answer to those answers.
Let’s not go any deeper by looking for the answer to the answer’s answers. Curse you Hunter for breaking our brains!
When dealing with the massed Cygnar Hunters list in Warmachine and Hordes, one of the usual responses to a gunline (bring armor hard enough that it can shrug off the fire as it comes in) is limited. Hunters punch heavy armor pretty easily, and heavy-armor stacking lists tend to be slow–allowing an additional round of shots after Kara’s ruinous feat turn. So it seems there’s a turn to the two other strategies: bring enough fast jamming infantry to swarm them early, or find ways to block their shots.
The good news about the latter, is that it’s seeming much more likely given the new encouragement for table terrain in Mark III competitive play. One recent Steamroller in our area included the warning: “I will be using SR 2016. 8 Pieces of Terrain. All in the middle. Plan accordingly.” Boards crowded with at least a fair number of obstructions, woods, and line-of-sight blockers definitely helps, and creative play and positioning can make them all the better. Other than that, it’s somewhat limited thanks to Kara’s ability to give her battlegroup True Sight (so clouds and Stealth are not going to save you).
Thus, I think it’s most likely that people’s answer will be high defense, massed jamming units: Satyxis Raiders with their UA, Skorne Keltarii, Trollkin Fennblades supported by Dirge of Mists from a Stone Scribe Chronicler, Kayazy in both their forms with defensive buffs, and more.The goal is to put out enough fast, cheap, high defense infantry that even on feat the Sloan player has to choose between shooting useful targets or trashing infantry. If some slip through, they can simply jam and prevent the shots as the rest of the line closes–and potentially slip free and give Sloan a rough time if they get past (two units of Skorne Keltarii, with effective DEF 15 versus shooting are front runners for my response to the list with my Skorne–and with CMA and Parry they can put the hurt on Kara themselves if the Hunter spam doesn’t take them seriously).
Given that, and the fact that lots of players are asking the “how do I deal with Sloan” question (along with some of the other gunlines out there), I’m guessing that being ready for a lot of lists with at least two very fast, cheap-as-can-be-managed jamming infantry is likely to present in at least one list. Thus, having answers to massed high defense infantry as well become important. Rotterhorn Griffons, ample AOE’s, and sources of knockdown and stationary that affect multiple models are going to be useful as ever–despite the fact that we’re likely to see slightly larger battlegroups than folks were used.
Overall, I don’t think Sloan is insurmountable, but having a plan is going to help–and knowing that every other player at the tournament will also have a plan can’t hurt either. Good luck running against Kara Sloan to most, and steady eyesight to those endeavoring to paint nine of the same Warjack for a spam list.
~ Are you planning on running this list? Or are you expecting to face it? What strategies would you use to maximize Sloan? Or to stop her in her tracks? Share in the comments below!
If you’re looking for the opposite of a “Hot” list, you check out Chalkboard’s blog at: