Having finally snagged a copy of this month’s Game Trader Magazine (while later getting access to the rules at GTM’s website), I can get a first-hand glance at the rules for Cygnar’s upcoming battle engine, The Storm Strider.
Starting with its stats, it looks decent. RAT 6 isn’t all that exciting, but with a decent RNG value and access to abilities that either increase its effective range or make the Strider more accurate, hitting shouldn’t be a terrible burden. While its ARM value is a bit lower than I’d hoped, the Strider has a few things going for it. With 22 wounds, access to repair via Field Mechaniks or the ubiquitous Arlan Strangeways, and the availability of Arcane Shield from a Journeyman, keeping the Strider up and running shouldn’t be terribly hard provided your opponent doesn’t get a round of highly-concentrated attacks against it. In addition, the Strider has the Repulsion Field rule which works much like the Repel ability on the Protectorate’s Revenger. This quite nicely limits the damage that a warjack or warbeast can do to the Strider, but it does still leave it vulnerable to charging Weapon Masters. Fortunately for you, Cygnar isn’t without methods for keeping them away. It seems that Cyclones, Trencher Chain Guns, and Long Gunners will get along quite well with your Storm Striders
In terms of its weapons, the Strider’s paired Lightning Cannons are fairly well-rounded in application. A pair of POW 15 shots is enough to put damage on most targets, while the resulting arced lightning serves well for thinning out infantry. The Kinetic Accumulator is an interesting rule as well. That big, 120mm footprint is going to attract a lot of fire; getting a bonus for that is nothing to complain about. The ability to boost attack and damage rolls via power tokens received from suffering a damage roll is pretty nice, and also works well to make up for its RAT value while also giving you more punch on high-ARM or priority targets.
While it doesn’t have any melee weapons, the Strider does have Gunfighter and the Superconduction rule. Superconduction is a bit strange on first read, but it does effectively make the Strider RAT 8 against targets within 5″ of it (including those in melee with it) while also granting the same +2 to other lightning-type attacks against models within 5″. This serves to make things like Stormclads, Stormblades, and Storm Lances a good paired choice. Storm Lances in particular will be rather adept at dispatching infantry that move up to threaten or attack the Strider thanks to their Electro Leap ability.
Some of the initial comments that I came upon over the Strider was that it was seemingly less powerful than Khador’s Gun Carriage, which occupies the same cost bracket. I can agree to that, but it’s also important to note that the Gun Carriage lacks for army support. There are only two or three spells faction-wide that benefit the Gun Carriage, while the Strider has access to a multitude of abilities that will bring it to new heights. In fact, every warcaster in the faction has something to give the Strider, save Epic Caine and Kraye. Spells like Snipe, Temporal Barrier, Earthquake, Return Fire, Temporal Acceleration and Deadeye will serve to increase the Strider’s effectiveness at range. Conversely spells like Arcane Shield, Electrify, and Polarity Field will keep it up and running.
The Storm Strider drops in July. It’s going to be a bit of a wait before I can get my hands on it, but expect some batreps once I do. Progress on painting my 35-point list has culminated in a fully-painted force. I’m hoping to get in a game with a video battle report this week. Stay tuned!