TACTICS: Hordes – Countering Cygnars Wrath
Wrath, the newest Warmachine expansion is out, and Warmachine players have all sorts of new toys to play with. Here’s what can expect:
Cygnar receives another great melee-infantry-centric Warcaster in Constance Blaze and her pet heavy, Gallant. They also receive the Minuteman light Warjack to take out back-line models, the Avenger heavy Warjack to add even more knockdown potential, and Triumph to help their ranged anti-stealth capabilities. Archduke Runewood is a character solo who adds some nice accuracy and mobility to the already-solid Sword Knights (expect to see him paired with the Piper). Jonas Murdoch is the mercenary attachment, who can give a unit, say, the Nyss Hunters, the Assault rule as well as the ability to gain cover and ignore blast damage for 1 round. Lastly, the Storm Strider steps in with two big RNG 14 POW 15 crit disruption shots, as well as helping out nearby friendly lightning attacks.
Countering the Lightning: Constance’s mediocre DEF and ARM stats mean she is vulnerable to assassination on her non-Feat turns. If the player uses a Journeyman to buff her with Arcane Shield, then other infantry units will be easier to handle than they otherwise might. Ranged assassination armies are one nice way to go. If you’ve got really long ranged capabilities, you can even force her to stay back, preventing her from really capitalizing on the Feat. Another option is to go with either all non-living or at least small-model forces. If she doesn’t have any living targets for her forces to kill, her Feat is completely denied. Magic attacks aren’t going to help you as much here, sorry Circle players. That said, because Constance is a mid-to-front-line caster, you’ll have your chances to get in her face.
The Minuteman gives Cygnaran players a solid option to completely bypass your front lines and kill your support models in the back. Troll and Skorne players will especially need to watch out for this. But it’s not overly survivable, so shoot it first. If you do try to nail it in melee be careful- it’s Leap ability means you can’t count on tying it up in combat. Send in something big enough to kill it in that first round of combat.
Both the Avenger and Triumph heavy Warjacks have the same basic counter- know what they do. In both cases, you’ll want to spread out. Against the Avenger, that’ll keep any knockdown shenanigans to a minimum. Against Triumph, that’ll keep you from having multiple models nailed by the potential 3″ AOE. Both are heavies, meaning you’ll need to hit them with multiple strong hits to take them out. The Avengers’ 10″ gun RNG means it’ll be closer to the front lines, though Snipe can extend that out to 14″. Triumph is essentially a Defender with the ability to ignore Stealth if it stands still. A Sniped Triumph can shoot a Stealthed model from 20″ away with boostable RAT 9, POW 15 shot. Weaker Warlocks beware. I’m looking at you eLylyth. Camp at least 1 Fury to transfer damage when playing against this one. If you can get into melee with Triumph, do it. It’s shield isn’t all that great. The Avenger’s Stun sword makes going after that jack another matter. As with the Minuteman, hit it first and take it out in one turn.
Jonas Murdoch makes the Nyss Hunters or Boomhowler’s Trollkin nasty, nasty units to face. Imagine getting hit with bunches of bow shots during a charge by Weaponmaster elves. Or stink bombs as part of a charge by angry trolls. Not fun. Oh, and of course those elves can effectively dig in once per game to keep them safe from AOE’s that are otherwise the bane of their existance. If you see merc units with guns, expect to see Murdoch. The guy himself is pretty squishy at DEF 13, ARM 14 and 5 wounds with Tough. Try, try, try to shoot him first, just expect to have to also deal with a defensive buff such as Blur, or Arcane shield on the unit. Along with Go To Ground, Blur can push his DEF up to 19 against Ranged attacks for one turn, or DEF 17, ARM 17 with Arcane Shield. Long ranged AOE’s are a solid counter. Go to Ground only last for one round (unless the unit doesn’t move). Warbeasts like Titan Cannoneers and Ravagores can put the Cygnar player in a real bind- use the ability early and risk models dying later. Use it later and risk AOE death early. Or use it early, and don’t move, limiting mobility and flexibility. Either way, you can limit his options and create the opportunity for him to make a bad decision and that’s always a good thing.
Archduke Runewood buffs up Swordknights. If Swordknights are a central feature of the list, say in eStryker lists, then I’d expect to see Runewood with them. The really nasty threat is when Rupert (the Piper) is added as well. Now you can have Swordknights that are tough and stand up for free, or can have pathfinder and tough or the DEF bonus from Rupert. Runewood will make Swordknights more accurate in melee, more maneuverable with Reform, and more survivable with Tough. But there’s a catch, Runewood must be on the table to grant those abilities. If you can take him out first, you can prevent a lot of nastiness from hitting your lines. Runewood can shunt ranged damage off onto a nearby Warjack, so don’t count on long ranged fire to take him out unless you can first push or slam the ‘jack more than 3″ away from him. Runewood can’t shunt magic or melee attacks. So either hit him with a spell (Woldwarden’s can shine here), or send in an assassin. This is one of those cases where a Totem Hunter could be a very nice investment. With Runewood as the prey, a Totem Hunter has a very good chance of taking him out in one attack, even if he’s not charging. The point costs of the two models are even, making it a 1-1 trade, but denying the Cygnar player a lot more internal synergy than you’ll lose when the Totem Hunter dies in retaliation.
The Storm Strider is Cygnar’s battle engine. I compare this guy to a Defender. It’s the same point cost, and has two RNG 15, POW 15 shots that then arc d3 POW 10 lightning bolts to nearby models. Taking it out can be difficult. The Storm Strider has Repulsor Field, so non-reach models will only get 1 melee attack before they’re pushed 1″ away and out of combat. Melee models will still only have 2 attacks, probably not enough to take out ARM 18 and 22 damage boxes. Shooting it can work, but make sure you kill it, as every hit on the model gives it a power token (max of 3) which the Strider can use to boost attack and damage rolls. Pretty much every Cygnar Warcaster has a means of buffing either the offensive or defensive capabilities of the Storm Strider. Snipe will let it shoot from 18″ away. Arcane Shield will push it to ARM 21. Siege can help it get around Stealth. You get the point. My best suggestion with this is not to take it on until you’re ready to take it down in 1 turn. A potential two RAT 8 (if aiming) POW 15 shots will hurt a heavy or a Warlock, but won’t necessarily kill them, especially if you keep a fury for transferring. If those same shots are boosted, it’s a whole different story. Cygnar has ways to boost ranged attacks (Deadeye), but doesn’t currently have any that boost the accompanying ranged damage rolls. So don’t attack the Storm Strider early and give it power tokens. It’s not a Warjack where you can take out the gun system. Unless you can do 22 points of damage in one turn, accept that you’ll have to suck up some damage.
That’s a basic rundown of what you can expect from the new Cygnar models. It’s difficult to get much more specific in counters since terrain, deployment, the scenario, and what’s in the rest of the list has such a big impact. Next up- Khador!